02-16 June, 2003

This entry was posted on
Monday, June 2nd, 2003
at
8:52 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20030602

Time
08:52
Student suspended from last eight days of school after leaving obscene message hidden in school newspaper article. The first letter of each paragraph pretty much spelled it out for one of the faculty members – but the student only got rumbled when it was pointed out to teaching staff by one of his ‘mates’ (probably as a result of a bit of bragging).

Y’see, you have to keep this kind of thing under your hat; that’s why I’m not going to tell you where on the web you can see an example of this kind of thing from a certain copywriter who shall remain nameless.

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Date
20030602

Time
09:02
Defendant marks his territory in San Diego Superior Court.

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Date
20030602

Time
09:05
Reality shows face casting crisis. It seems the number of people willing to appear on nothing but a promise is slowly but surely dwindling. Producers won’t even be able to fake it by using desperate actors, as this lot are worried about being typecast. Sadly, the numbers aren’t reduced enough to actually knock anything off the air. Yet.

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Date
20030602
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
09:12
What movie quote are you?

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Date
20030602

Time
09:44
Looks like it’s all starting to come to a head.

PC Magazine has proclaimed blogging to be ‘the next big thing’ (i.e. the thing that will be ‘so over’ this time next year). FBI puppies gave this devastatingly attractive young student a damn good grilling over references to ‘hacking’ in her weblog.

Whoa. Hang on. Back up.

She claims to have been quoting from the movie ‘Hackers,’ but Googling for generic derivatives turned up nothing but this article and a bunch of junk. No reference to it here, either. I haven’t actually wasted time watching the movie – so let’s move along.

This, supposedly is the student’s weblog – but it looks very, very new to me.

Something smelly is going on with this one.

Now, where were we?

Ah, yes – blogging.

This Observer article responds to recent whinges about blog ‘pollution’…

“The moral is: if you want to score with Google, be on the web.”

Quite a familiar sentiment, I must say.

Finally, we come around to Andrew Orlanski’s latest piece on blogging. Either this is an outright troll, or Andrew’s cheese has well and truly slipped off its cracker.

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Date
20030602
Christianity Watch
Time
09:48
Are you a Christian into Cyberdating? Then use identidate.com to ensure that your prospective partner is of good moral stock and not some crazy sicko.

Also, if you’re looking for folks out for a good time, then why not join The Church of the Lion of Judah? The Rapture is coming, and these people are ready. I’m still digging, but so far my favourite quote is:

“In order to fully understand any of what has happened and is to come, one must accept certain truths as fact.”

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Date
20030602
Flash Music Video
Time
10:17
Visits to JPEG Baby started to slow down around Friday, but interest has been renewed (and then some) after a link at Metafilter.

Here’s a little forum love that resulted. We also featured at the NSFW entensity.net, Adam Curry’s weblog and cracked the language barrier again with a link on this Russian site.

Total page views since launch: 31,976

(Oh, and while we’re slumming it in parts foreign, a fair amount of traffic came this way today and yesterday from this Brazilian review of The Star Wars Photoshopping Project. World domination is within my grasp.)

UPDATE – Yay! More Russian love coming in from vpcom.ru & absolutus.nm.ru – and now the mighty BBspot has deemed it linkworthy. A good day. Still, I’m yet to hear from a single Elvis impersonator….

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Date
20030602

Time
10:27
According to the Jail Rape Calculator, I’m worth 3 cartons of cigarettes and two porno mags – and it would take me a mere 12 days to become Bubba’s bitch.

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Date
20030602
Operation Justification
Time
10:29
Blair claims to have ‘secret proof’ of WMDs. Meanwhile, George Bush claims that the two empty trailers they found were the proof. I’d be more inclined to believe them if they could keep their stories straight.

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Date
20030602

Time
10:36
This time next week, I’ll be in Boston attending the ClickZ Weblog Business Strategies conference.

Sadly, this means that I will be unable to attend The 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference (link via TTR2).

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Date
20030603
Murdoch is a Bastard
Time
08:47
When Rupert Murdoch told a senate committee plan that he had no plans to take advantage of any relaxation in America media ownership laws they laughed in his face – but still the Republicans managed to muscle plans through.

No surprises there. It was Murdoch who sold the idea that Bush had (just) won the election, and it was Murdoch who helped to sell the idea that the war on Iraq was necessary and just.

This, I suppose, is his just reward.

Using similar muscle here in the UK, Murdoch has been using tabloids like The Sun to support the government on pretty much every issue that counts. Until he gets his way, of course. Then it’s business as usual.

Murdoch is not a man to be trusted. I even have a sneaking suspicion that he has a tooth or two in the back of his throat.

UPDATE – Q&A: US media changes and the UK

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Date
20030603

Time
08:51
What makes a weblog a weblog?

Simple answer: the nut behind the wheel.

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Date
20030603

Time
08:53
Microsoft reluctantly, but clearly, calls it a day on the standalone version of Internet Explorer.

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Date
20030603

Time
08:59
The Register describes it as (maybe) better than Google (even though, like most metas, it relies heavily on Google and other search engines). Company spokeswoman Megan Hamilton says that “we want to become the Hotmail of search,” which certainly sounds promising to me.

It’s Turbo10. Go and have a play if you like, but watch out for the ugly, ugly interface.

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Date
20030603

Time
09:05
Japanese photographer sentenced to 18 months after cluster bomb kills airport security guard in Jordan. The bomb was a souvenir taken from Iraq. Presumably they were all out of art treasures.

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Date
20030603

Time
09:08
Why merely look up her skirt when you can see the whole works? Enjoy The Visible Barbie Project. I did.

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Date
20030603

Time
09:09
Find the shortest path between any two weblogs. Your first mission is to find viable links between this weblog and an intelligent one.

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Date
20030603

Time
09:13
Journalist spends entire time in Iraq associating with the Baghdad blogger, but fails to realise it until he gets home. Instead of interviewing the guy, the journalist sent him out for pizza.

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Date
20030603
Pets
Time
09:29
Woman claims her dog is worth $50K, because God told her so.

Cats are too smart for Meow TV.

Girl finds two-headed turtle.

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Date
20030603

Time
09:31
Company sells fake six-figure ATM receipts to saddos trying to impress dates.

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Date
20030603
Flash Music Video
Time
09:34
More Russian link-love for JPEG Baby. Total page views since launch: 37,228

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Date
20030603

Time
09:37
The latest story from Conspiracy Planet:

“Sources from the Department of Defense report that the covert-ops team sent to Iraq to plant the Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to justify the US War on Iraq have been killed by friendly fire – unfortunately before they could tell anyone where they hid the cache of WMD’s.”

Heh. I like this one. It has an entertaining double-spin to it.

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Date
20030603
Photoshopping
Time
09:40
The latest addition to The Star Wars Photoshopping Project sees Hislop and Merton teaming up to save the day.

I was going to include the ghost of Angus Deayton, but couldn’t be arsed…

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Date
20030603

Time
16:32
I think perhaps now is as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the basic principles of fair use.

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Date
20030603
Photoshopping
Time
16:34
Could this incredible image really mark the end of the The Star Wars Photoshopping Project?

Many would hope so, but I’m not making any promises.

Let’s just say that this one feels closer to that all-important finish line than anything else that has gone before it.

I mean, really, how could I possibly top this version?

Big’un is being shown off over at B3ta.

Enjoy.

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Date
20030603

Time
18:07
Help bring London out of the 19th century and sign the petition for a post-midnight service on the tube.

At least at weekends.

Ignore any arguments about the need for overnight maintenance. It’s bullshit. We all know that maintenance teams spend most of their time dodging work or catching up on sleep. I can’t see three less available hours each night (or two nights a week) messing up the current demand for maintenance if the workers are actually working. Right now this time is wasted by those with an overwhelming desire to nap or sit on one’s arse and stare into space. That’s what office jobs are for, boyo.

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Date
20030603

Time
20:17
Heh. Minerva has declared that back-to-iraq.com is a cultural artifact and worth preservation and display as part of their new collection of sites relating to the war in Iraq.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:08
Take your pick between domino art and toilet roll art.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:10
Bank robbers captured when getaway car fails to start. Obviously these bright sparks have never been to the movies before, or they would know that you’re supposed to leave the engine running. (Unless of course you’re operating in Sgt. Harry Callahan’s district, where this kind of forward-thinking behaviour merely invites trouble.)

The passenger jumped out and tried to steal a car, before breaking into a house and trying to steal some car keys – and then running off desperately trying to flag down a lift on the nearby Interstate.

The driver merely sat there and went “C’mon! C’mon! C’monnnn!” until the police finally, mercifully, answered his call.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:19
We had monkeys the other week. Today: Buy a penguin from the Penguin Warehouse!

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Date
20030604

Time
08:25
Oof! Thwack! Kapow! Kersplotch!

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Date
20030604
Christianity Watch
Time
08:27
Great. Just what we need. Another gimmick bible. That’ll make a good story. That’ll fill a few inches.

Fans of the The Mosquito Coast; feel free to gnaw your own arm off any time now.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:39
See some pictures of extreme weather at weatherpix.com (link lifted from The Ultimate Insult).

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Date
20030604

Time
08:42
Velvet-Strike allows you to submit your own counter-military graffiti and images for inclusion in the network shooter terrorism game Counter-Strike. Time to dig through the Bush/Blair porn collection…

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Date
20030604
It’s War! And Somebody’s Going To Get Laid!
Time
08:45
Nevada brothel offers free sex to troops returning from the war in Iraq.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:47
Property dispute turns ugly when owner responds to development/upkeep protests with lime-green signs saying “Keep the fuck out!” and “You started this shit!”

Now, there’s just no call for that. I mean, lime green? I don’t blame the council for getting involved. In fact, someone should call the police.

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Date
20030604

Time
08:53
Clay Shirky: The FCC, Weblogs, and Inequality

He misses one important point…

Anybody can start a weblog, but to start/buy a major traditional outlet, such as a newspaper or television station, you need some serious cash. To get your hands on this amount of cash, you usually need to be right bastard. Bastards need regulation.

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Date
20030604

Time
09:11
“How crazy would I have to make my signature before someone would actually notice?”

I’ve been tempted to do this myself. Maybe 1 in 10 shopkeepers check my signature. Even fewer give it more than a cursory glance.

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Date
20030604

Time
09:14
CIA report claims that Al Qaeda terrorists are set to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Hmmm. Is it as reliable as this CIA intelligence?

The claim could very well be true, but it stinks so highly of Bush’s perpetual war that I’m inclined not to trust it.

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Date
20030604

Time
09:21
BBQ brawl culminates in the inevitable skewering.

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Date
20030604
Flash Music Video
Time
11:26
JPEG Baby continues to break the language barrier.

Italians, Estonians and Argentinians have all been bopping along happily. We even reached this international community of Bakunians.

Folks in Instanbul have also been having a giggle, and it was probably the appearance at this Greek portal that prompted this morning’s request for a copy of the MP3 from a radio station in Veria .

Airtime in Greece. That entertains me beyond my capacity to make… the words… um, do stuff.

More on the local front, the link has almost travelled full circle by reaching this Irish forum, where some poor chap is actually wondering what the Wogan connection is.

The show has also started to feature on more and more adult-themed sites recently. I won’t link to all of these, as my long-suffering mother reads this weblog. I feel I must, however, point out the chap who left a link to this touching ode as part of his gushing comments in a porn queen’s guestbook.

‘I love those pictures of you doing your laundry in lingerie so much that I masturbate over them while listening to this song’… what a touching sentiment. I can’t help but wonder, though, exactly what this woman wears when washing her lingerie.

Total page views since launch: 40,710

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Date
20030604
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
14:49
OK, we’re ready to roll:

Write To Your Senator Today (So You Can Leave Comments On Their Weblog Tomorrow)

Right now I’m busy emailing a few folks what is smarter than me to see what they think of the campaign and if they want to get involved.

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Date
20030604

Time
16:06
Greenpeace occupies new Home Office HQ.

Heh. Investigators discovered that the contractors building the place were using logged plywood from Indonesia’s last remaining rainforests, so they went in at 6am this morning and declared it to be an environmental crime scene.

The plywood is being used for the hoardings and to hold wet concrete in place. After which it will no doubt be thrown away – or used to board up the local McDonalds next May Day.

Asked in parliament about the protest, Tony Blair said: “It may be an issue to be brought up with the contractors rather than the government.”

More:

Clock ticking for Indonesian rainforest

Lumber and Paper Giants to Announce Ban of Indonesian Wood and Pulp

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Date
20030604
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:21
This blogger in India wrote to his local representative, and asked him to start a weblog.

This is really spooky. He did yesterday what I only started suggesting today – right down to repeating the letter on his blog. Looks like the time is now.

(Link lifted from Tom Watson.)

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Date
20030604

Time
17:15
In keeping with new FCC guidelines, this blog has now been sold to Fanapco. All opinions from this point on will carefully reflect those of the Fanapco corporation.

All hail Fanapco, and their mighty regime!

(Yours sincerely, Little Girl…)

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Date
20030605

Time
09:13
Have fun dragging a skeleton around. And shooting it. Against a naff flaming background.

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Date
20030605

Time
09:14
Man who drove around blowing his horn so everyone would see him masturbate blames neglectful wife and mother. The man’s name, BTW, is one letter away from perfection.

Also on the roads: the 15-year-old stripper whose Mum drives her to work.

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Date
20030605

Time
09:22
Today we learn from ambrosian.org that the only true path to God is staying a virgin. Forever.

Via the guestbook, I also found Celidate.org – a dating service for celibates (transitional or otherwise). ‘Otherwise’ would include (I’m guessing) the medically celibate, but these people have their own network.

BTW, while we’re on the subject of abstinence, can anyone tell me when the term ‘safe sex’ was casually replaced with ‘safer sex’…?

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Date
20030605

Time
09:35
For sale: unopened jar containing one (1) captured poltergeist.

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Date
20030605
It’s War! And Somebody’s Going To Pay!
Time
09:37
Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil.

UPDATE – This story has since been withdrawn by The Guardian due to a slight (ahem) contextual problem. Read all about it here.

I like this article (requires subscription) that outlines not one, but four reasons why we had to go to war. No. 1 being that we had to slap someone around after 11/9 (please note the correct date formatting), not only for purposes of morale, but also to show the world who’s in charge.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair has agreed to an inquiry into alleged distortion of intelligence. The very idea of such an investigation (oh, I say…) was dismissed as ludicrous just over a month ago, but since then they’ve obviously got their sacrificial ducks in a row. Someone, somewhere down the line, is in for it. They just don’t know it yet. Tony, of course, will be astounded that someone in such a trusted position would deceive him and/or his staff over a matter of such importance.

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Date
20030605

Time
09:55
Woman found bound to a picnic table with leather straps and being spanked with a boat oar claims incident has been blown out of proportion.

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Date
20030605

Time
09:58
This image was reportedly part of a BBC slide show before being quietly, but no too quickly, removed from the site. It spent most of yesterday doing the rounds, but has been repeated here for folks who don’t get out much. And because it still makes me laugh.

BTW, I first saw this at groovymother.com, where I also found this great t-shirt project at threadless.com where you can submit a t-shirt design via their online community. Then everybody votes, and at the end of the month the winning designs are available for sale. Genius, no?

Me, I’m still waiting for the return of Hypercolour.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:08
Man steals bus. Follows route. Collects fares.

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Date
20030605
Christianity Watch
Time
10:10
Christian group seeks temporary rollback of flight restrictions over Disneyland. It’s been a no-fly zone since March due to terrorism fears, but they want a temporary relaxation of the rules. Not much, just enough for them to fly a banner over Gay Day so their organisation can let the sexually misguided heathens know that, through Christ, they can be saved.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:24
Barry Manilow walks into wall, breaks nose.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:25
What is it with politicians and blowjobs this week? I just got a copy of this from my sister. The chap in the background is Peter ‘Lose’ Costello. The chap doing favours in the foreground is gnome-like ruler-for-life of the lesser colonies, John Howard. Looks like he’s up to his old tricks again.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:40
Are Arabs warming to the U.S.? Survey says….

This is a little unfair. And potentially misleading. I suspect this negative result is mainly to do with Arabs being accosted in the street by loud people with clipboards asking: “Do you love America?”

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Date
20030605

Time
10:45
Copywriters mourn the loss of valuable words such as Free, Opportunity, Exciting and Credit. Spam gets the blame.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:48
Teens teach FBI agents cyberspeak so they can pose as underage girlies and nab a few pervs. Also covered are important subjects such as fashion and the hipness of Justin Timberlake.

“They, like, don’t know anything,” said Mary, 14, giggling.

I swear that last bit is really in the article. Go look. Or find out how you should really talk to teens. I’d normally add ‘Not!’ here, but that’s, like, sooooo 90’s.

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Date
20030605

Time
10:57
A ‘Worst-Case Scenario’ book is now available for those at risk in savage work environments. Is there a chapter on knife wounds to the back?

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Date
20030605
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:24
Some linkage supporting the campaign to get senators online with weblogs has come in from Martin, Scott, Steve and, of course, Tom – but so far Lance has had the most to say about the whole thing.

BTW, I’m tuned into BBC Radio 2 right now, as Tom is about to be interviewed on air about his weblog. Huzzah!

UPDATE – The interview resulted from Jeremy Vine’s attempt to find Britain’s most honest politician. Tom was nominated because of his weblog. If you’ve read Tom’s blog and think that he’s an exceptionally trustworthy chap (or at the very least that the weblog format is helping him to resist dark forces), then I urge you to contact the show and contribute/vote.

UPDATE 2 – A partial transcript of the inteview and some thoughts from me:

Tom Watson: Part of the reason to have an online journal, when you’re being interviewed… you only get two minutes to give an answer, but if you have an online journal you can show all the nuances and where you’re sharing policy dilemmas with people because quite often in politics, there’s not an absolute answer. There’s not just a ‘yes’ or a ‘no,’ there’s a ‘this is probably the best route to take,’ and it’s very difficult to get that across.

Jeremy Vine: But don’t politicians have to pretend there’s a straightforward ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

Tom Watson: Well, some do, but I think those days are gone. I think people just want you to be straight with them about where you’re sharing the difficulties of government, and of course you can always get attacked for weakness there, but… if you’re straight about what might go right and what might go wrong, people pretty much take you on trust.

And of course, with the weblog format, we can track Tom’s position on any given subject with a few clicks and (shock!) make up our own minds instead of relying on the interpretations of journalists and editors. We can also (horror!) view other people’s comments on the matter and make a comment ourselves. On our own weblog or on his.

In short, Tom is no longer impossibly distant and reliant on one-way communications channels (often controlled by others with a distinct political agenda). He gets to communicate with us. En masse and directly. We get to see what’s going on and what shapes his decisions. We even get to see what other people think about that, be it positive or negative. Presented in the correct format and context, this is powerful stuff.

You and I have developed certain expectations about communication after exposure to the Internet. Sooner or later, all politicians will have live up to these expectations just to survive.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030605

Time
14:48
The 8 Mile online MC championship has some very good – and very bad – entries. I’m sure you can guess which ones I’m enjoying the most…

Basically you just line up someone to challenge and call your entry in by phone. Rappin’ on the cordless, baby. That’s so hardcore.

My favourite rap so far is short but sweet:

Jamma.

What a dilemma.

You go to the gym to get, um, slimmer.

Or, erm, thinner.

Weird, innit?

Because, otherwise, you’ve got another dilemma…

Jamma.

Innit?

I’m not to sure why I’m rapping, or who I’m rapping to.

So that’s about my crew.

But why don’t you just f**k off?

Yeah, that’s right, you…


(contestant hangs up, leaving backing track to continue all on its lonesome)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030605

Time
17:03
Oh dear. Turbo10.com (‘a contender for the Google crown,’ according to The Register) has melted. It still delivers an entry page if you treat it gently, but errors abound with the simplest of searches.

I may go back and try to evaluate it again later. Or I may not.

OK, the follow-up article by Andrew Orlowski claiming that it’s the result of sabotage by bloggers goes live 5, 4, 3…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030605

Time
18:02
Planning on a quiet night in? Order one of these video blockbusters from the U.S. Secret Service and get a free Dominos Pizza voucher. Maybe.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
08:46
Seems everyone is trying to get a piece of ‘ghost in a jar’ action. A lot of tossers are just using the keywords on unrelated goods, but today’s search does turn up some useful items, such as this Ghost in a Jar Vacation Home (i.e. an empty jar). The search has appeared at Fark (see related thread), and auctions have started turning up for jars in ghosts, homeless ghosts looking for a jar and the inevitable Ghost in a Jar-Jar. I’m still waiting for ‘goatse in a jar.’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:12
Teenager wins lying contest; plans to go into politics. Well, that’s a side-splitter if ever I heard one.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:16
Executive Editor of The New York Times and Top Deputy Step Down. That’s actually at the NYT site, so if you haven’t registered, you won’t be able to read it. Sorry. Why not read about it on CNN instead?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:19
19-year-old porn star runs for mayor. Regrets, I’ve had a few…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:22
Is Lying About The Reason For War An Impeachable Offense?

The discussion thread relating to this legal opinion piece (see link at bottom of page) includes the following comment of great wonder and beauty:

“Being a strong leader is only a good thing when that leader takes the nation in the correct direction and not over a cliff.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:31
Gag-order on journalists at tech-conference bypassed by bloggers. Ah, we’re not journalists, you see. No, don’t start up with that – you can’t have it both ways.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:35
Convicted heroin dealer alllowed to claim massive tax deduction on money lost in drug deal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:37
OAPS fail to give good reason for sex act in fast food restaurant. Insert obvious joke here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606
Flash Games
Time
09:39
Here’s a cool football game to brighten your Friday. You’re welcome.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
09:42
It was via FunJunkie that I discovered the wonderfully diverting Buzzometer, a special web tool that measures buzzword density on any site you choose to point it to. On yesterday’s bloggage I scored a respectable 161. Today, a whopping 304.

The coolest thing is that it generates Buzzometer reporting links for every hyperlink that turns up on a page it has scanned. This means that you can just follow your nose and surf as normal, but get that all-important buzzword data every step of the way.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
09:53
Finally, a personality quiz that dares to tell the truth.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606
Photoshopping
Time
09:54
To all those hoping and praying for an end to The Star Wars Photoshopping Project

…I would like to apologise for getting your hopes up.

“No, *no*, Luke I Am…”

Big’un was released last night on B3ta.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606
Ghost In A Jar
Time
14:17
What can I say? I’m a sucker for a bandwagon. For sale: Ghost of Weapons of Mass Destruction in a Jar

Contains one (1) figment of the imagination and some recycled material. (Auction has now been removed – see below.)

UPDATE – Ahahahahahaha! I missed this one: Ghost in a Jar – movie rights. Also doing well is the “Free The Ghost In A Jar” Bumper Sticker. It’s too early for a plethora of related search results in Google (look tomorrow), but Usenet is buzzing with spectators.

There are already a bunch of domain name speculators selling related domains. You should also keep an eye out for keyword/query speculators producing optimised ‘ghost in a jar’ pages (that have nothing to do with ghosts in jars, but will offer exciting alternative opportunities). Ditto for Adwords and the like. Finally, your first attention-getting ‘Ghost In A Jar’ spam header should arrive sometime before Sunday afternoon. You have been warned.

It’s here, folks. The ‘All Your Base’ of 2003. We can go home now.

UPDATE 2 – Ebay obviously have difficulty recognising a valid work of art. I’ve replied to the following email with a very strong complaint.

—– Original Message —–

From:

Sent: Saturday, June 07, 2003 4:14 AM

Subject: PI NOTICE: eBay Auction Ended by Customer Support – Joke Auctions

–> 2933435358 Ghost of Weapons of Mass Destruction in a Jar has been ended.

–> All fees associated with this auction have been credited to your account.

–> The item you have listed does not appear to be consistent with eBay guidelines.

–> eBay does not allow listings that are intended as jokes or which feature items,

–> such as “Ghosts in Jars.”

–> Should you wish to relist your item, please remove any references to “Ghosts in

–> Jars.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
15:55
Whatever you do, do not push this button.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030606

Time
15:56
OK, that’s pretty much it from me for a few days. I’m flying off to Boston on Sunday for the ClickZ Weblog Business Strategies 2003 Conference & Expo and I won’t get back here until Wednesday.

Bloggage may be light as a result, but I’ll try to stay in touch.

This is the first time I’ve been on a plane since you-know-when. Nothing to do with fear, mind, I’m just not as windswept and interesting as some of you.

Still, a pilot gave me some good advice about air travel safety a long time ago, and I do plan on following it:

Always – always – sit somewhere at the back. There has never been a recorded instance of a plane reversing into a mountain.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030608
Boston
Time
18:45
Hey, I’m here. I landed. In one piece, too. You can all relax now.

I enjoyed a lovely chicken dinner on the plane. The guy sitting in front of me got to wear his.

I also read in someone’s copy of the Sunday Express (note: Richard Desmond is a pornographer) that a production company is floating the idea of a political edition/version of Big Brother – and that Tom was considering taking part.

Honestly, I can’t leave you people alone for a second…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030609

Time
10:04
It’s 5am in the morning here. I’m seriously jetlagged and – as a keyboard basher of some years – the need to be vewy, vewy quiet is slowing me down some. Hang in there.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030609
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:32
Off to the first day of the weblog conference in a few hours. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting Doc Searls.

BTW, the Doc blogged the following yesterday:

“Let’s face it: Blogs today are still unnecessary and insufficient for electing a damn soul. At best they’ll become necessary but still insufficient.

“Winning in elections, like winning in markets, requires something more than conversation, more than buzz. It requires involvement. Relationship. Connecting and reconnecting. Performing, and not just in the box office sense of that word.”

I’d agree wholeheartedly that blogs are likely to be misinterpreted by many politicians as a fundraising wonder and perhaps even a delivery system for the same old happy-slappy crap. Maybe they’ll even find a willing audience. Howard Dean has.

However, for those that do get it, blogs are going to act as one hell of a catalyst, as they allow a politician to (finally) realistically deliver the dynamite combination of access and involvement.

I really think that a significant shift is possible – and I’m inclined to think that this will happen faster in the political arena than it will in the commercial (not that the two are entirely separate these days). The invention of moveable type presented many opportunities to entrepreneurs of the day, but those who used it to press for social change had the earliest and most widespread successes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030609

Time
10:34
“Jonah did not know it was unusual for a ten-year-old boy to have an eight-inch penis…”

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Date
20030609
Bad Monkeys
Time
10:37
1. Mother watches helplessly as baboon snatches her child and eats his brain.

2. Monkeypox hits Midwest America.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030609
It’s War! And Somebody’s Going To Pay!
Time
11:06
Mark Steyn suggests in this Torygraph opinion piece that:

“the WMD song and dance is irrelevant, both de facto and de jure.. And as politics, two months after victory, it’s pathetically immature.”

Well, I know you are Mark, but what am I?

What a load of utter codswollop.

The action was illegal. Saddam is gone (well, missing at least) but the precedent set and the damage done to international relations by the Vigilante Justice League is going to have far more serious consequences than chemical/biological weapons that may or may not have existed and a few rusty missles that went 20 miles further than they should have.

The war itself, and the way in which it was pushed forward, requires some serious focus. Not least because it may just show people how often – and how effectively – we are lied to by those we trust with our lives.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030609

Time
11:55
Yesterday myself, Rod from GroovyMother and Scott from The Ultimate Insult all sat around the one table and enjoyed some facetime.

I regret to announce that we failed to set the world to rights (on this occasion at least) due to the overwhelming distraction of the recent smoking ban.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030610

Time
04:27
Xxxx me, what a day.

What to say, and what not to say…

One of the best moments for me today was when Xxxx hesitated quiteshortlybutstillnoticeably before announcing that Xxxx was introducing a xxxx xxxx. It made everything very clear to me.

Tomorrow, I’ll have the opportunity to speak on issues involving the use of weblogs in large IT organisations. One issue proposed for discussion is choosing the right model of moderation/management.

In the case of Chris Chambers, they chose the right man. Beyond being an NBB (‘Natural Born Blogger’- look it up sometime soon), Chris was an individual with the intuition to know instinctively and immediately what – and what wasn’t – right for publication. He was the right man to do the job all on his lonesome, and management knew it.

This meant that he could get on with his job without the kind of interference from management/marketing/PR that might otherwise rob him of the natural voice that made what he did so effective.

As Xxxx proved when Xxxxxx xxxxx the xxxx: ‘control’ is visible. And nobody likes it.

You only have to see the strings once to never look at a puppet show the same way again.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030610
Cheesecake?
Time
04:41
Sorry, I’m more into beefcake

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030610

Time
11:59
It is a bloody glorious morning here in Boston. I took a few minutes to explore the Christian Wrestling Federation (click the ‘Meet Jesus’ link for more joy), but life is too short to go any further.

(Note for new readers: when bloggage fails, see the archives or ‘stuff’.)

Right now I’m going to take time out to appreciate the wonderful water pressure folks enjoy in this part of town, then get down to the conference.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030610

Time
14:52
Jason Shellen of Blogger has just stated ‘for the record and once & for all’ that Google is not (repeat NOT) removing blogs from their database. In fact, Google is quite keen on the recency and relevance of the information they provide.

Told you so. Nyer, etc.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030611
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
11:30
I arrived at Heathrow this morning, and was in a pretty good mood until I read in the Guardian that Shadow Secretary of State for Trade & Industry Tim Yeo had ‘uncovered’ Tony Blair’s failure to connect to the world via email.

I get testy at the best of times when someone rips me off, but there are a number of added factors that make me almost ropeable about this:

1. It’s a pretty cheap copy (he set up the email address rthontonyblairmp@hotmail.com).

3. Unlike Sue Doughty and Tom Watson, who have actually taken action with parliamentary questions on the matter, Tim has obviously set up this action as a cheap stunt to gain a few column inches.

3. It’s all very well and good to criticise Tony Blair for his e-failures, but Tim Yeo’s web presence appears to be limited to this page at e-politics and this page at the Conservatives website.

Hello Mr Pot? There’s a call for you on line two from Mr Kettle. Also, this clue just arrived by mail. What would you like me to do with it?

I try to stick by the rule of never emailing when angry, so Tim won’t be hearing from me today… but I do intend to point out to him that if he really wants to embrace new technology, then he should get off his arse and start a weblog.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030611
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
12:01
Heh. A day after talking with David Winer about a certain crappy parody of his site, this tops the chart at Blogdex.

I’ll be writing about the conference (the fun stuff and the serious stuff) sometime soon, but right now my body needs to sleep.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030611
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
19:07
Now the BBC has picked up the scrag end of this story (thanks to Al Storer for the heads-up). However, to their credit, they’ve not mentioned the lame Hotmail stunt.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612

Time
10:47
My body clock is still adjusting and my brain is overflowing. I’ll try to spill a few things out here, just to equalise the pressure so I can get on with my day:

Trip Notes

1. Here’s a picture of the poor guy in front of me who wore dinner down his back. This hot chicken dish with a very messy tomato sauce could just have easily ended up on my lap.

2. Never travel by plane with even the slightest sinus condition unless it’s well-medicated, or the descent from 30,000ft will causes stabbing needle-like pains to repeatedly punch through your forehead and eyeballs and leave a residual headache that can last for up to 2 hours.

3. The I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival Form asked quite a few questions on the back, but this was the one that tickled/troubled me the most:

“D. Have you ever been or are you now involved in espionage or sabotage; or in terrorist activities; or genocide; or between 1933 and 1945 were you involved, in any way, in persecution associated with Nazi Germany or its allies?

4. Scott was kind enough to put me up (and put up with me) for the duration. He is a gent of the highest order and I really enjoyed spending time with him and his kin.

5. I also met up with Rod from groovymother.com (who, you may note, found my comments on the I-94W form we shared in a bar blogworthy) and Steve from Off On A Tangent, who was my guest at the conference. Steve was kind enough to furnish me with a recording of the segment of his radio show where JPEG Baby got an airing.

Conference Notes

1. The weblog conference was big on evangelism in the first day, but moved more onto some serious discussion of business applications in day two. Politics also got a late look-in.

2. Many, many folks blogged their comments and reactions live, but David Weinberger has by far the most comprehensive blow-by-blow of proceedings.

3. BTW, my rather scuffed copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto has now been personally signed by David, who has a doctorate, and Doc, who does not.

4. The biggest struggle at the conference was finding precedent to reference. Adoption of this no-brainer is painfully slow across the globe. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone on this front. When I get a chance, I’m thinking of writing an article on the benefits of early adoption. There’s a honeymoon period going on right now that makes the proposal of going live with a weblog much more attractive – but it’s not going to last.



5. Those of you who have met me more than once in the past will probably be aware that I change my business card design (based on photoshopping activity) on a regular basis. The current design looks to be a ‘keeper’ for now. It turned a few heads and raised more than a few laughs. I even got a nice email from Christopher Lydon who thought it was a real hoot. Besides featuring one of the most viral images I’ve created in the last 12 months, this design is also in keeping with the current political push here at Bloggerheads. And it’s got red-hot nipple action.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
Flash Music Video
Time
11:03
JPEG Baby linkage looks to be tailing off, but the song has today reached an audience in Lithuania, which is pretty cool. The American market remains largely uncracked.

Total page views to date: 50,448

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
11:34
And what happens when I finally calm down enough to draft an email to Tim Yeo?

1. The Register (who really have been slipping of late) pander to this stuntmaster without even mentioning the core campaign or – in what should be an obvious move for such mischief makers – that an email-to-facsimile address exists.

2. But what really got on my tits, ladies and gentlemen, was this repeat of the story on the Conservatives website that closes with the smug:

“By contrast, Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith is fully contactable by email and has a dedicated correspondence team to help him keep in touch with party members and the public.”

I got in touch with the Conservative party last year in search of a little backing – well before the whole thing descended into a pornfest – but was informed that they didn’t want to get involved because Iain Duncan Smith has a 0% response rating to emails and faxes, and they were afraid that Labour would bounce straight back with this.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
It’s War! And Somebody’s Going To Pay!
Time
13:01
US prints Saddam banknotes. Thanks to Mark for pointing this one out. Irony is our greatest weapon.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
13:31
Thanks to Al Storer (again) I’ve found out that The Guardian has grabbed the wrong end of the stick – again. Sure, it’s a mildly amusing angle, but as I made clear in these published specifications Tony does not require an email address; he requires an email facility.

My request to other journalists and politicians who may latch onto this is simple:

If you’re not willing to put forward realistic proposals or actually make anything happen, then please stay the fuck out of it.

UPDATE – Also stay out of it if you’re a bloody hypocrite. The article linked above – penned by one Blake Morrison – closes by with the following:

“All suggestions gratefully received. No postcards, though – only email.”

And which email address should I send my suggestions to, Blake? There’s none listed in the print or online version of the article.

UPDATE 2 – I neglected to mention (thanks, Molina) that journalists at The Guardian are normally contactable by firstname.lastname@guardian.etc (or, in some cases, first initial and last name) but I tried both b.morrison@guardian.co.uk and blake.morrison@guardian.co.uk ahead of making this post and both bounced. And before anybody emails, I’ve already been in touch with the Blake Morrison who writes for USA Today and they’re not the same person. So don’t go bugging him. You may, however, choose to take the logical step of writing to the Guardian’s editor, or the features desk at G2 (where the article appeared) via g2 AT guardian DOT co DOT uk – which is what I’ll be doing in 5, 4, 3, 2…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
A Blog Is Born
Time
14:22
Less than an hour ago, Al Storer and I were exchanging emails about Tony Blair and weblogs in general. He’d been thinking about putting up a weblog for ages, but was worried that, as he was off for a 3-month holiday soon, now may not have been the best time.

I emailed him back and told him to do it anyway. Now. You don’t have to post every day to run a weblog and holidays are fine (at least by my standards). He said he’d think about it. 35 minutes later he emailed me the URL of his brand new weblog.

This makes me very happy. Right now I’m off to insert proper link credits into the relevant Blair posts. Because I can.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
Tony Blair’s Email: Letters Special
Time
16:21
This comment following Tom’s post on this subject is simply brilliant. I am in Dr Funk’s debt, and currently kicking myself for not thinking of this yesterday…

—– Original Message —–

From: Tim Ireland

To: abuse@hotmail.com

Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2003 4:20 PM

Subject: Fake Tony Blair Address

Dear Sirs,

The following articles clearly show that the account rthontonyblairmp@hotmail.com has been set up in violation of your terms of service, in that it has been used to ‘create a false identity for the purpose of misleading others.’

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,9061,974811,00.html

http://www.conservatives.com/news/article.cfm?obj_id=63596

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/31142.html

Wide publication of this address also threatens to overburden or impair the associated network.

I am requesting that the account be deactivated immediately and that notification be sent to the service provider via webmaster@parliament.uk

Regards,

Tim Ireland

http://www.bloggerheads.com/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612
Atticus Finch is a Nigger-Lover
Time
18:49
Gregory Peck has just passed way at age 87.

I saw The Omen on television the night before To Kill a Mockingbird was shown at school, so this had me expecting a number of things from young Scout that Just. Didn’t. Happen.

It kind of ruined the film for me on the day, but a re-read of the book and a rental on VHS had me well sorted a decade later.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030612

Time
22:03
I still have to poke around a bit more and trial a few bits and bobs over time (plus wait for a few others by the look of things), but Technorati looks to be the most promising blog tracking tool in a dog’s age.

It’s dynamite stuff. I can’t believe I had to go to Boston to find out about it! Tomorrow I’ll be playing with the new keyword search.

If it continues to impress at this level, it’ll be on my nav-bar within a week.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20030613

Time
08:27
How good is Technorati? Well, Al Storer went live with a new weblog yesterday and Technorati had it indexed within 12 hours. Later today, I’m going to have a play with the new keyword search.

BTW, it was via Al’s new blog that I discovered the wonderful Voter Apathy Party. How do you combat voter apathy? Well, talking to us like we’re human beings would be a good start.

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Date
20030613

Time
08:37
Qwest fired an entire telemarketing firm after a representative left a ‘threatening, expletive-laden message’ on the voice-mail of a call recipient who dared to hang up on him.

Been there. Done that.

Mine even took the number home so his father could shout at me some more.

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Date
20030613
Flash Games
Time
08:43
Play Wild West (Pepsi) Pinball (link via flabber.nl).

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Date
20030613

Time
08:48
U.S. Patent # 6,485,773: Semen taste-enhancement dietary supplement.

Not the first product of its kind, and pretty dull to boot. Now, a dietary supplement that tasted of semen – that I could see a market for. You could call them Protein Slurpees.

Seeing as I’ve already made you spill your tea, here’s some advice on shaving your pubic hair. This site not only has a cool hairy puppet as a mascot, it prides itself on featuring ‘different methods of hair removal with a special concentration on areas that others don’t like to talk about.’

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Date
20030613
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
09:00
I suppressed my rage just long enough to send a short email to Tim Yeo yesterday (see Wednesday and Thursday in the archives if you missed the fun). He has yet to get back to me.

Perhaps someone should get in touch with the man and warn him that when I get ignored Mr Bigglesworth gets angry…

BTW, like most people, I have tracking that lets me know who’s watching. Yesterday, page views of Bloggerheads from parliament.uk increased tenfold. Hello everybody. While I have your attention…

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Date
20030613

Time
09:09
Microphone stand impales pregnant woman.

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Date
20030613

Time
09:11
Adam Ant appears to be settling down. He’s moved on from going beserk in pubs to going beserk in cafes.



UPDATE – Tee-hee! Look what happens when you search for ‘Stuart Goddard’ in Google.

I really must do something about Celebrity Bestiality soon. This was my first major experiment in SEO and was very useful in its day, but lately I just can’t be arsed to make up bestial nonsense each and every month.

After months of neglect it’s still No. 3 for the search term ‘bestiality’ in Google. A lot of this comes down to a little-known aspect of Google’s ranking algorithm relating to site/index history. I created CB almost 4 years ago – well before most porn merchants cottoned onto the fact that there was a widely-used alternate spelling of the word ‘beastiality’ – and have pretty much been updating it with fresh content on a monthly basis since then.

This puts it in a position that’s pretty hard to beat without a time machine. Fresh content each month would keep it exactly where it is indefinitely, but as I said; I simply cannot be arsed these days. I’m wondering right now if I should sell it to a porn merchant or just let it die a natural death.

Actually, let’s make it the subject of some Friday Feeback. It’s been a while, and I think I need a little moral guidance. Should I get back to work on it, sell it off, let it die, or do something else? Emails to the usual address.

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Date
20030613
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:14
The trouble with trackback. It’s long and boring, but kind of important.

If you understand all of that (or perhaps feel in some vague way that you need to) then you may also wish to take in the AlwaysOn debate.

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Date
20030613

Time
09:15
Martha sings!

Wing sings!

Wingdings!

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Date
20030613

Time
09:22
I barely had time to scratch my bum in Boston, but if I’d found a lazy hour or so, I would have been on a Boston Duck Tour in a shot.

Along the roads, past the sights, then straight into the river for more of the same. Is there something like this in London? If not – why not?

UPDATE – Hooray, there is! (Matt and Al submitted links within 10 seconds of each other.)

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Date
20030613

Time
09:29
Nigel Turner wants to put black into the Jack. Can we also have a little green dot to represent the shape-shifting aliens that secretly rule our lives? How about a brown smear to celebrate the bullshit thrown about in this great nation of ours?

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Date
20030613

Time
09:43
Jesus Christ: the press conference. I remember when advertising guru Siimon Reynolds (please note wanky spelling of name) was asked on a chat show to come up with a slogan for the second coming. He earned my respect for all of 11.5 seconds with this:

‘Jesus Christ; Thank God He’s Back!’

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Date
20030613
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
10:00
Blair email ‘discovery’ used as intro for spam article. The Guardian. Again. Neil, if you’re watching, can you send a memo around or something?

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Date
20030613
Flash Music Video
Time
10:03
Some forum love for JPEG Baby has been coming in from BeyondUnreal/Jolt and the Wil Wheaton forum. Also, here’s a bunch of people saying nice things about it in Italian. Total page views since launch: 51,751

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Date
20030613

Time
10:18
Job of lord chancellor abolished after 1,400 years; Law lords to be replaced by US-style supreme court.

Australians got a fair bit of stick for ‘voting to keep the Queen,’ but they only did so because Little Johnny Howard made damn sure that the alternative model proposed in the referendum was a presidential one. I’m not a big fan of the monarchy or outmoded institutions in general, but I do think there’s a need for safety valves – especially with a blinkered leader like Blair in charge. I’m not the only one who’s more than a little bit worried about this development.

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Date
20030613
Friday Feedback
Time
10:43
I’ve got a new song in my head, but to bring it to life I need someone who can perform and record a jolly good cover of The Dandy Warhols’ Bohemian Like You. Any takers?

If this isn’t you, then don’t panic. You still get to send me email. See the updated post about halfway down the page relating to Celebrity Bestiality.

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Date
20030616

Time
08:25
Coca-Cola delivery sacked after 12 years of service for drinking Pepsi on the job.

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Date
20030616
Photoshopping
Time
08:27
I really must look in at Worth1000 more often. This competition is pretty flat as far as variety goes, but the work itself is just wonderful: What do you think Martha’s cell would look like?

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Date
20030616
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
08:31
Hot on the heels of rent-a-negro.com comes downwithwhitey.com

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Date
20030616

Time
08:32
Virgin Mary appears in hospital window. And here’s a picture, boys and girls…

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Date
20030616
Flash Music Video
Time
08:34
Have we done Poland yet? Oh, and after weeks of two links here and three links there, JPEG Baby has finally entered the Blogdex chart – at #32. Total page views since launch: 53,206.

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Date
20030616

Time
08:42
Man arrested in million dollar eBay fraud. Lots of thousand-dollar laptops never arrived.

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Date
20030616

Time
08:43
Sausages for lunch, anyone?

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Date
20030616

Time
08:44
A fine collection of screen captures of farewell messages from failed dotcoms. The final message from misguided keyword ownership venture Realnames is my favourite. They just can’t believe it.

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Date
20030616

Time
08:48
This is why you never see an actual picture of the product on the front of a sex-doll box. Unsurprisingly, they’re all rubbish. The Dyanna Lauren Fantasy Doll has an artifical vagina where her bellybutton should be.

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Date
20030616
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:29
This looks to be the week where we might actually make a breakthrough. A lot of people, some prompted by me, some not, are waking up to the political applications of weblogs. Some have done so without even realising it:

“A third part of the answer lies in ministers’ own hands too. As well as listening to criticism, they have got to find a way of addressing the public more credibly. They have to find a way of being more grown-up in public. This means seriously dismantling parts of the centralised on-message culture to allow politicians to admit to uncertainty, error and ambivalence. The trust issue will never recover without such a loosening up.

“But the need to engage has to go much wider. Last week, the Hansard Society published a pamphlet, A Tale of Two Houses, which suggests ways in which the political class as a whole can open its mind and its eyes to the Big Brother generation. Politicians, suggests the author, should do far more to show that they live in the same world as the millions who live in this instantly connected world. Not necessarily to be like them, but certainly to know what it is like to be them.”

Some, however, have already got the wrong end of this bloody stick I’ve been gnawing on for what seems like forever.

Tom Watson gets it. Gary Hart gets it. Howard Dean does not.

By engaging their audiences directly, people like Tom and Gary have built up a natural network of support in a very short time. Howard Dean does not publish his thoughts directly, and so his support network has far less to go on. Their pleading posts to Usenet (and often directly to me) to visit and/or include a link to his so-called weblog read like associate spam. Why? Because his blog lacks personal content (and, therefore, the correct context).

I’m going to be in touch with Andrew Pinder’s office this week to see if we can’t bring something solid together here in the UK. His department is in charge of leading the e-volution of government services, they’re long-overdue for a well-publicised winning initiative, and this one is a no-brainer.

A ‘Weblogs for MPs’ intitiave also sets an excellent precedent for the senatorial weblog drive.

However, it’s also very easy to get this kind of thing very, very wrong.

It won’t be enough to simply make the technology available (although I do have plans to make it more accessible). An MP needs to know what a weblog is and why he/she needs it before theirs will come to life. The drive of the individual is all-important. (I’ve been congratulated in the past for ‘getting an MP to blog,’ but I have to point out that Tom Watson came to me knowing exactly what he wanted to do and why he wanted to do it.)

The existence of Tom’s blog makes the whole thing a lot easier to understand, especially as he’s doing so well at it. The main part of this drive, then, is finding a few more folks who can lead by example. I hate to sound on-message about this, but it’s ‘hearts and minds’ time, people.

Tom’s weblog has not only shown us what press clippings and soundbites cannot (that he’s a real person who faces real challenges) he’s brought a number of documents to light that – while being publicly available – often do not reach their audience as they seem terribly abstract when not presented in context (or are hidden away, buried deep in massive databases).

If Tom works on a document or makes a decision based on it, then he links to it. That’s engaging. I’ve read a number of things via his weblog that I normally wouldn’t have bothered to look up. Because I’m interested in him, I’m interested in what he’s doing.

Another reason for Andrew Pinder’s office to get involved. This will be a win well beyond a simple matter of accessibility. It will also breath life into many past initiatives (such as those web-accessible government reports and other such documents that are currently wasting away in the ether).

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Date
20030616
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
12:43
Still no word from Tim Yeo. I wonder if he reads his email?

Has anybody else emailed him and actually received a reply?

PS – Thanks for the weekend feedback. It looks like Celebrity Bestiality is destined for ebay.

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Date
20030616

Time
13:00
Twice since Friday I’ve had to send polite emails to Labour MPs who are requesting inclusion at Tom’s list of Labour MPs online, warning them that it is not a smart idea to have a domain name with ‘mp’ in it.

When an election is announced, you lose the status of being an active MP. Even if you get voted straight back in, this still means that you legally have to relocate the website at what is a very crucial time. Not smart. Ann Widdecombe came a cropper on this technicality during the last election, but she still hasn’t learned her lesson.

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Date
20030616

Time
13:31
Cool. I rated a mention in the weblog conference wrap-up. Thanks, Rebecca. There’s a crisp twenty in the mail.

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Date
20030616

Time
13:47
Labour website hacked; photoshopped images planted. Mum, I swear I had nothing to do with it. Really.








About Tim Ireland

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