Hi, this is Gerry and this is my Diary for Friday, 8th April, 2011. Spring always seems to be a busy time for me. I was away for another short trip to France last week - no trouble with my tickets this time, I'm glad  to say! And now I'm getting ready for a short trip to Switzerland. We're going by car and we're going to bring back some more things for our daughter. She moved to London last December. And there wasn't enough room in our car for everything when we came to help her last year. But before I go to pack my bags again, let me give you the news from here. On today's show I'm going to tell you about this year's Red Nose Day and a new record for the longest radio show in the world. Then I have a funny story about an absent-minded professor. I'll explain what that is in a minute. Finally it was Mothering Sunday here, our Mother's Day, and so I thought we should all think about our mothers. But before all that, it's pub quiz time.
Congratulations to Michele who posted  the correct answer to my last pub quiz question. The question was about some Swiss people who won medals at the 1948 London Olympic Games. The answer was that they all won medals in the Art Contests of those Olympic Games. Werner Schindler and Edy Knupfer were architects and they won their silver medal in the competition for town planning. They had a design for a sports and gymnastics centre. Alex Diggelmann won both the silver and the bronze medals in the category "Applied Graphics" for two commercial posters he did - one for cycling and one for ice hockey. There were other competitions for painting and sculpture, for composing music and for literature. The reason why none of these three Swiss men were able to win medals again at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics is because the 1948 Olympics were the last Olympic Games that had artistic competitions. Since 1948 there has been a tradition to have art exhibitions and so on which are held at the same time as the Olympics but no medals. But when we think of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we could say that two Swiss architects were winners there: Herzog and de Meuron built the famous bird's nest stadium and they're now very famous.
Right, now here's my pub quiz question for this show. You probably remember the name and nationality of the first man to go into space. It was Yuri Gagarin from the USSR, but how many countries have now sent people into space since then? How many countries have sent people into space? Have a guess!
And before I end this section, I have a little request. A journalist from the Migros cultural service wants to write an article about Podclub: about my podcasting colleagues and me, and also about the listeners. So if you are a regular listener to my Diary or my News Digest, could you please write an email to
, that's kontakt: k-o-n-t-a-k-t at podclub dot ch. Give them your email address or a telephone number and tell them that you are ready to speak to the journalist about why you listen and so on. They'll then contact you. If you enjoy our podcasts, it's a good chance to help give Podclub a bit of extra publicity. So thanks in advance for that.
The month of March in Wales this year was the driest March since 1944. That's what our weatherman told us at the beginning of April. But March was also a record-breaking month for another reason. Every March we have a special day called Red Nose Day, or Comic Relief  Day. This is a special day when people are asked to "do something funny for money". It's a special day for collecting money to give to charity . 23 years ago a group of comedy actors and comedy writers decided to see if they could collect money to help poor and sick people in Africa and also at home in the UK. They had the idea that people could buy special red noses, to look like a clown, and they could wear them to go to work and so on. Then on television they also had a special show where comedians and other funny people did little sketches and so on and then they asked the television audience, the people watching the show, to send money to them.
Now, 23 years later, Red Nose Day is a very big event. All the top stars of British television take part. And the radio stations also do things as well. Radio1 is the BBC radio station for pop music and the early morning presenter, the man who does the breakfast show, is called Chris Moyles. This year he continued his show non-stop for 52 hours. This is a world record for a radio show. He asked people to text a special number and each text gave £1 to Comic Relief. After 52 hours he raised nearly two and a half million pounds. That's a lot of money, but the total collection at the end of Red Nose Day was over £74 million pounds . This was also a new record.
In a time of economic problems it was really good to hear that people still wanted to give something to people who are poorer than them. It is also one of the ways that people do voluntary work these days. Both at work and in their free time, people form groups to collect money in one way or another for charity. There is another organisation that came after Comic Relief, and that's Sports Relief. This is a day when sports people and ordinary people do some sport to collect money. People run 10 kilometres, for example, and ask their friends to give them a £1 or something for every kilometre that they run.
On my trip last week, I read a book by a famous linguist - that's a person who studies languages, all languages: how languages work, how they change, how we use languages, how we learn them and so on. The author's name is David Crystal. He lives on our little island in Wales but he's famous all over the world, and he's written lots and lots of books. Some of the books are very serious academic works, others are popular and fun. And it was one of his less serious books that I was reading. It's called By hook or by crook  and it's the story of a trip that he makes which starts in Wales, goes into England and comes back again. But everywhere he goes and everything he sees makes him think of some story about the English language, or about English writers or about things that interest him. It's a very nice book and I really enjoyed reading it. There was one joke in the book that I think you might like. It's a story about an absent-minded professor.
Professors are famous for being very clever but sometimes also not very good at everyday life. They can remember everything about their subject but they forget what time it is, or other people's names, or appointments and so on. We call these professors "absent-minded professors" - their minds, their brains are thinking of academic things all the time. Anyway it seems that the most famous absent-minded professor of modern times was a Professor Norbert Wiener at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The story is about the day that he and his family had to move house. Professor Wiener went to the university in the morning, and his wife was going to organise the move to the new house. She knew that her husband was going to forget about the new house so she wrote the new address on a piece of paper, gave it to Professor Wiener and said: Don't forget that we're moving house today. Well, Professor Wiener had the piece of paper in his pocket but during the day he needed something to write some notes on, so he used the piece of paper. And when he finished with his notes he threw away the piece of paper. At the end of the day, he remembered about the house move, but he couldn't remember the new address and he couldn't find the piece of paper. So he decided he had to go back to the old house. When he got back to the old house he found a little girl sitting on the step and so he decided to ask her: Excuse me, little girl, he said, can you tell me where the Wiener family now lives? The little girl replied: It's OK, Daddy, Mommy sent me to wait for you.
These days we have mobile phones, of course. Good for absent-minded professors. And I wonder if absent-minded professors are always men. I've never heard of an absent-minded woman professor. Have you?
If we're talking about women, perhaps we don't know any absent-minded women professors but we know lots of women who have another very important job, and it's a job where you can't really be absent-minded. The job is that of a mother. I think I told you before that Mother's Day in Britain is the third Sunday before Easter. And so to mark that day, here's a job description for a mother. Would you be interested in the following job?
Necessary qualifications or experience for this job: none. However, some qualifications or experience in the following would be very useful: nursing; cooking; management; teaching; counselling ; driving; negotiating; conflict management; creative skills in art, literature and music; cleaning; mechanical repairs; etc. Working hours: 24 hours a day for the next 18 years at least. Salary: no fixed salary apart from a small amount, a very small amount of money from the government for each child. Holidays and time off when you're ill: well, that would be nice. Possibilities for promotion: none really. You may perhaps become a grandmother one day, but this doesn't always mean a promotion. It will perhaps mean starting the job again.
So, because it was Mothering Sunday last weekend, I think my saying of the day should be about mothers. How about "Mother knows best"? We don't always believe this, but we're often sorry that we didn't listen to her better. Another saying that you sometimes hear is "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World". A cradle  is a place for a baby to sleep. This was from a poem written in 1865 by William Ross Wallace, an American poet. The poem explains how important mothers are, but we have to remember that this poet probably didn't think that women should have the right to vote and participate in politically ruling the world. But in our personal lives at least, I think we all know how important our mothers - and fathers - were and are to us.
Don't forget to write a quick email to
if you are willing to talk to the journalist. But from me, that's it for another two weeks. I hope to be in Zurich the next time I talk to you. Thanks for listening and until then, take care.
 glad: happy  posted: here: wrote on the comment section of the website  relief: here: help (e.g. food brings relief to people who are hungry; medicine brings relief to people who are sick)  charity: here: organisations that give help to people (for no money)  £74m: about CHF110m  by hook or by crook: by any means, using any kind of method (The book explains this expression in a lot more detail!)  counselling: giving advice  cradle: a baby's bed that can swing from side to side (so you can rock it)