02-15 January, 2004

This entry was posted on
Friday, January 2nd, 2004
at
10:12 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20040102
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:12
Funnily enough, it all seems to revolve around the New Year:

CNN hit us with the news that Earth is no longer slowing down and we’ve missed out on our 5th bonus leap-second in a row. (Bugger. I had big plans for those 5 extra seconds.)

LSSU’s 2004 List of Banished Words is out, as are the ‘top search query’ lists for Google and Yahoo.

Oh, and this panorama of the fun in Times Square, NYC is pretty cool – but for added realism, you need to click on the picture, keep your finger on the button, then push your mouse to the far left and occasionally let it drift uuuup then down, uuuup then down….

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Date
20040102
Conservatives
Time
11:06
Michael Howard spells out political beliefs in ‘I Believe’ list.

I’m not surprised at all that this began in the mind of an advertising ‘genius’, in that it seems to promise so much, but really offers very little.

The list can be seen in full here. It also dominates Howard’s online profile today. His choice of The Times for a two-page advertisement showcasing the list is interesting. Murdoch may very well be on their side come the next election and sweeteners like this can’t hurt matters. I should also note that The Sun chose among its highlights my favourite non-belief:

I DON’T BELIEVE

That one person’s poverty is caused by another’s wealth.

But isn’t it curious that a man with all these beliefs still doesn’t know quite what to believe when it comes to the illegal war on Iraq and the ‘missing’ WMDs? Still, I’m sure he’ll make his mind up once he knows which side his bread is buttered on.

Speaking of which…

I DO BELIEVE

That I’ll have some toast. With a little bit of jam. Yes, that’s the ticket.

UPDATE – Philip’s done a damn fine job of decoding the list; it’s worth reading in full.

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Date
20040102
Follow Up
Time
11:13
Serial horse molestor sentenced to nine months. He is also ‘prohibited from owning or possessing domestic animals’ for life. Sadly, nobody throught to take away his little stepladder. (The law is an ass! And begging for it, the little trollop…)

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Date
20040102
The Interwebnet
Time
11:17
Wired.com – 101 Ways to Save the Internet

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Date
20040102
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
11:21
I can’t see the point of www.how-to-keep-your-new-years-resolution.com, really. I’m also confused about the pet and hammock connection….

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Date
20040102
The Future
Time
11:26
The Independent – predictions for technology in 2004

Boston.com – a look ‘back’ at 2004

The Guardian – 101 things to do in 2004

Did everybody phone these in, or what?

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Date
20040102
Spam
Time
11:32
Wow, this looks like an amazing product….

As far as I can tell, you unwrap the patch, stick it to your chest and a few seconds later – bingo! – your penis grows to an enormous size, and changes shape so it looks like a Playboy centerfold. With no legs. Growing out of your crotch.

Damn, that’s sexy. I’m getting a pitifully small (and non-woman-shaped) erection just thinking about it.

Hell, they could sell these as quit-smoking patches, too. You can’t buy cigarettes if you never leave the house…

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Date
20040102
Corporate Wisdom
Time
12:03
Go to www.sl-am.co.uk (the online presence of Swiss Life Asset Management) for what is quite possibly the warmest welcome one can expect from a website.

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Date
20040102
Consume!
Time
12:29
These new U.S. stamps are just the ticket for final notices, sympathy cards and anthrax-filled envelopes.

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Date
20040102
Normal People
Time
13:15
Meet Roberto Marinos, Greek demi-god. He wants to send you his used underwear, show you pictures of his sister, and share his thoughts on health, lifestyle and lovemaking.

Many will be forced to turn their heads from the glare of his beauty, but if you shield your eyes and forge ahead, you’ll find the links page, which reveals yet another sibling – Alexandros – who, despite being judged unworthy of a primary navigation link, is still happy to pose with his brother, is quite accomplished at hiding/holding his own genitalia, and scores points for the neat trick of actually turning green when in the company of a beautiful woman. He also appeared in ‘a sensuous movie of short duration’ in his early twenties.

The whole family are into Gorean philosophy, it seems. If you’ve not heard of it before, this mostly involves hedonism, slavery ‘play’, eroticism and very, very bad art.

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Date
20040102
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
16:19
Relive the horrors of past weddings at uglydress.com, home of the maxipad slipper.

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Date
20040102
Activism
Time
17:05
Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Are you ready for Monday?

Here are some hints & tips if you’re short on ideas, resources or targets.

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Date
20040105
The Working Title Party
Time
08:51
I forgot to mention that the BBC got back to me with a nice rejection letter regarding the WTP. Channel 4 and Endemol appear to have liked it, though.

Spot the difference:

Bloggerheads – 13th Oct 2003: Over a 12 week period, we run an online forum that allows members of the public to propose and vote on articles that will form a draft manifesto for the Working Title Party. We also call for participants in a first stage of auditions to find this country’s next great political leader.

The Guardian – 4th Jan 2004: The producer behind the reality TV hit Big Brother is in talks with broadcasters about a political version of Pop Idol – a nationwide show designed to choose a brand-new candidate for election…. The project coincides with the separate launch next month of an internet-based political party, www.yourparty.org, which will start with a blank sheet of paper and ballot thousands of online ‘participants’ to come up with a genuinely popular manifesto. It hopes to stand candidates – strictly bound to implement that manifesto – in the European elections this June.

Incidentally, yourparty.org was created 15th Dec 2003… but perhaps they had this idea all along and just took a long time to decide on a domain name.

Yeah, that’s likely….

Right, who do I talk to about my royalty cheque?

More from Tom.

UPDATE – And now, even more.

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Date
20040105
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
09:04
Actually, not very interesting to anyone…

The Big Blog Show – The Internet’s 1st Reality Blog!

Will it be on TV? No.

Are there any prizes? No.

Is a group-blog anything new? No.

Is there any point? No.

Incidentally, BigBlogger would have been a much better name.

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Date
20040105
Follow Up
Time
09:12
Greek demi-God Roberto Marinos appears to be a little peeved with all the extra attention of late…. his site is still up but external links to anything but the front page redirect to hitler.org like so.

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Date
20040105
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:20
Tony Blair decribes Iraq as a ‘test case’ in the fight against ‘brutal and repressive regimes’. This illegal war sets no precedent. Nothing to see here. Move along.

He also took time out in Basra to thank the troops for saving Iraqis from a brutal regime. I am sure they will be well rewarded for their efforts.

Nice to know also that flying our PM into Iraq for a pre-Hutton political offensive is perfectly safe. Me, I was under the impression that we were on a a mega-high-double-secret-probation terror alert.

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Date
20040105
Christianity Watch
Time
09:25
God tells Pat Robertson that pResident Bush will be ‘re’-elected in a landslide.

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Date
20040105
The War on Terror
Time
09:37
CNN: Many visitors to the United States now face a demand for fingerprints and photographs as a government program intended to fight terrorism takes effect Monday. The new program covers those overseas visitors who are required to have a visa to enter the United States… Citizens from 28 countries, mostly in Europe, aren’t required to carry a visa if their visit is less than 90 days. Visitors from those countries are exempt.

Unless, of course, you’re a journalist.

Happy times. Alert times.

Al Qaeda threat to nuke NYC discovered on website.

Incidentally, the BA223 alert also came about as a result of ‘web chatter’. That the FBI and CIA are woefully short of translators probably goes some way to explaining why the alert managed to single out a child, an elderly Chinese woman and a Welsh insurance agent.

Flight number? Got it.

Seat numbers? Got ‘em.

Date? Well, we’re not entirely sure about that. It could be the 5th of January or the 1st of May…

Details? We’re working on that; what we can tell you at this stage is that all those squiggly lines look downright aggressive!

More at LNR – Come fly the friendly skies.

UPDATE – Speaking of alert times… Wordlab discover the Vigilant Watch.

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Date
20040105
Pretend You Care
Time
10:07
Looks like Britney’s career is all but over.

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Date
20040105
Good News
Time
10:26
Here are two small steps in the right direction….

BBC – US army ends Halliburton oil deal

NY Times – Afghan Council Gives Approval to Constitution

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Date
20040105
In The News
Time
10:34
Irwin-hating started before the baby-baiting.

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Date
20040105
The Liberal Media
Time
10:58
Phew! That was a close one!

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Date
20040105
Flash Thingies
Time
14:29
Not all Americans are stupid. Take the quiz. Know your place.

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Date
20040105
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
17:07
I’m trying to sort out a few short case-studies on the subject of consumer power and search engines. The Say NO to CafePress site is so far the most impressive, not only as a search result, but in bringing about change… but does anyone know of a site that out-does a major brand for most searches and/or a search result like this that has forced change in an ‘offline’ brand?

Oh, and the whole CafePress thing got me curious. I was wondering how long this very special store would last, given how jittery they are about copyright….

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Date
20040106
Activism
Time
08:57
Well, I can’t pretend not to be disappointed. In the end we saw more closed minds than we did locked doors. Take a look at the majority of comments regarding Guantanamo Bay Lock-Up Day to see what I mean… oh, and do note that Every Single One of these comments was made anonymously. Some through anonymous proxies, just in case.

(Yes, the worldwide liberal conspiracy is that scary, folks. We have tentacles in everything, so you’d better watch your fucking step!)

You may also note that – so far – not one comment has been made challenging any post on the subject of illegal detention (apart from maybe the occasional searing use of inverted commas, brutally disarming the word ‘illegal’).

From a website with – *gasp* – the word socialist in the title:

The Bush administration and other governments, including the Australian government, are seeking to change the relationship between individuals and the state—in fact, seeking to reverse it completely—and to turn the clock back 800 years on fundamental legal conceptions that have governed individual-state relations.

But that doesn’t matter, because they’re just a bunch of ragheads.

Ho-hum.

Well, that’s one outstanding success followed by one dismal failure. Time to surprise everyone and swing in from the right…

Next, we go for the balls of a well-known pornographer.

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Date
20040106
South West Trains
Time
10:02

Lots of traffic is rolling in thanks to a shiny new search result about a dismal service and lots of people wanting to complain about it…

The two Bloggerheads articles about SWT are results number 4 & 5 for ‘south west trains’ in Google… and one is 3rd in Yahoo.

I’ve received several emails from dissatisfied customers as a result. The one quoted below is pretty typical.

Ideally, I’d like to set up a permanent and indexable forum for such things, but for now I’ve made an update to the most recent SWT page to add information outlining how people can complain to – and about – the rubbish service of South West Trains.

From: Fulcieri Maltini

Sent: Mon, January 05, 2004 18:25

Subject: SWT and South Central

Dear Tim, congratulations for your battle against the rubbishness of the South Central trains.

On 31st Dec at 17.25 we boarded in Leatherhead the train to Waterloo. All carriages were freezing. 5 to 8 Celsius (same as external temperature shown in my car when parked). At Epsom, I did knock the door of the driver and asked him to heat the train. No way, he said, heating does not work. We froze for almost one hour with consequences still suffered today (cold, flu and cough). I wrote a letter of complaint to SWR.

Today in Dorking we were waiting for the 16.46 train to Waterloo (my wife had to take the 18.20 Eurostar to Brussels). All signs indicated trains cancelled. Talked to the station master who spent 10 minutes on the phone. At the end he said that there was a mistake. The 16.46 was running but nobody knew about the others. Most likely they were cancelled do to engineering works.

In the station master’s office there were five (repeat five) South Central green employees (all wearing very smart uniforms – they must have been top officials) and nobody tried to explain the malfunction.

When home I went on South Central site but no information are given on today’s malfunctions. However on the SWT website there was a list of engineering works that apparently had paralysed Clapham Junction.

I wish to congratulate you for your campaign and strong actions.

But how can we move the train passengers to react against such arrogance and malfunction of essential services? We should organize a strike or a march against the headquarters of the train companies. The Brits are too lazy and complacent. In France (from where I come) we would have made marches and strikes all around the Country. This country must wake up. We did it against the war in Iraq. Why can’t we do it against the railway companies and Network Rail?

The bit about Zero Information is spot on. A lot of SWT customers had to get home and watch the news to find out just what the hell had happened. I know that this delay was cause by a crane accident under Network Rail, but the main beef I have always had with SWT and the like is this disgraceful lack of information.

They treat us like cattle… it’s time for passengers to grab the bolt-gun and show them who’s boss.

The Evening Standard transport protest portal is a good start, but what we really need is a categorised (company by company) forum that’s fully indexable by search engines. That way, when people search for South West Trains, they’ll get the full story. When people search for Thameslink, they’ll see that the level of service is close to criminal. And so on…

Some of these people will be customers, some will be journalists. All will be able to see the full reality of the crap service we’re subjected to (instead of the usual ‘number of complaints’ statistics these companies trot out).

Slowly, it will have to sink in that privatisation has all but destroyed our rail system, and the wankers profiting from this are robbing us blind.

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Date
20040106
Flash Thingies
Time
10:22
You know, I used to be a fan of Stickdeath.com -even if XiaoXiao did it so much better. But now – after this – they’ve lost me. Dark humour is fine, but Rob Lewis’ politics are pretty clear in this collection.

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Date
20040106
Advertising Genius
Time
10:37
Heh. This is a nice find by FunJunkie.

Incidentally, BUGA UP have some great hints and tips on taking similar action yourself.

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Date
20040106
Animal Kingdom
Time
10:42
Pets with bags on their heads? This time those Muslim fanatics have gone too far! (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040106
The War on Terror
Time
10:44
Right now I’m busy reading Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

Chapter 17 is spot-on. In fact, here it is in its entirety. Enjoy.

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Date
20040106
Fame Is Good
Time
10:48
LNR on celebrities, alcohol and foolishness. I’m very disappointed in Britney, myself. For the full replay of Friends, she and Jason should have invited the press to watch them eat a lot of grapes.

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Date
20040106
It’s War! And Totally Justified At That!
Time
11:36
To be read in full: this excellent and remarkably coherent rant by ScaryDuck.

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Date
20040106
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
11:44
The Straits Times – Googlebombs subvert the Net to air political views… or just for a laugh is a pretty good read, but only *hints* at the implications for none-too-popular corporations (found via Black Triangle).

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Date
20040106
Consume!
Time
13:14
Yeee-hah! Ride ‘em cowboy!

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Date
20040106
Google
Time
15:48
Relax, we knew this was coming… it’s just suddenly big news in the city is all.

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Date
20040107
People Is Stupid
Time
09:06
OK, here’s how it works; conservatives shamelessly pander to the lowest common denominator, but when a liberal dares to point that out, he or she is branded an elitist.

It’s a bit strange over on this side of the pond, because Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch currently supports the left (which pretty much behaves like the right under Blair’s cartel), but in the end it’s still rags like The Sun that drive the majority of public feeling on any given issue.

I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again… We. Need. A. Broadsheet. With. Tits.

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Date
20040107
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:08
The finalists have been announced for Bush in 30 Seconds. ‘Desktop’ is a cracker. I’ll have leisurely browse through the rest later today. Do email me if you see one that warrants immediate attention.

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Date
20040107
Tony Blair
Time
09:12
Even if there is a big bloody lie behind it (Blair needs to engineer a win in London; he thinks bringing Livingston back in from the cold will do that) it’s still fun seeing Mr No Reverse Gear admit that he was wrong.

I missed the footage of this. Did he do it like Fonzie?

I was wr…

I was wr-wr-wrrrrr…

I was wr-wr-wr-wr-wrrrrr…

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Date
20040107
Consume!
Time
09:19
Victoria’s Secret accused of selling used lingerie. Snail trails at $50, skidmarks free.

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Date
20040107
Christianity Watch
Time
09:21
I may very well have to retire this category after today. How can I possibly top ass-kicking nuns and naked Bible study?

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Date
20040107
Lurning
Time
09:27
A student giving a presentation to his economics class provided some fake $10 bills as a study handout. He failed to collect them after class. Now try to guess what happened next

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Date
20040107
Fame Is Good
Time
09:30
See the paperwork from Britney’s marriage. Still no mention of how many grapes were eaten.

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Date
20040107
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:33
CNN: The Army will prohibit troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan from retiring or leaving the service for other reasons for up to 90 days after arriving at their home bases.

This, presumably, lets them relax and get back into a positive frame of mind before they meet with the Retention Officer.

How long will all of this last, do you think?

In completely unrelated news, South Korea has been granted primary jurisdiction over the 37,000 U.S. soldiers still stationed in that country for serious crimes committed when they are off-duty. FYI, the Korean War ended over 50 years ago.

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Date
20040107
The End of Democracy
Time
09:54
SFGate – How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech

Just let that sink in for a second. The Secret Service are acting not to protect the pResident, but to protect him from visible dissent. They are being used to drive propaganda enforcement – and this kind of activity comes out of the budget for the mostly-bogus ‘War on Terror’.

The story of 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel seems awfully familiar:

The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, but folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.

If you’re new to Bloggerheads, I should probably point out that Bush wanted to bring Free Speech Zones to Britain.

They (mostly) didn’t get away with it in London, but – with Blair’s full cooperation – a Free Speech Zone was set up in Sedgefield for Bush’s only ‘with real people’ photo opportunity.

And they have the nerve to accuse us poor, misguided peaceniks of appeasement…

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Date
20040107
Consume!
Time
11:03
It’s still live. Who do you think will be the first to complain?

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Date
20040107
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:39
From Tom

Scotsman.com: Lord Hutton is to make a statement this afternoon on Downing Street’s late submission to his inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

I’m reminded of Lionel Hutz for some strange reason…

“Your Honor, I’d like to call all of my surprise witnesses again.”

Oh, and it just me, or are Karl Rove and Alastair Campbell brothers under the skin?

Alastair Campbell (from a diary entry about a conversation with Geoff Hoon):

“GH and I agreed it would fuck Gilligan if (David Kelly) was his source.”

Karl Rove (overhead speaking about an unknown political figure):

“We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!”

That’s politics for you. Sooner or later, everybody gets fucked. One can only wonder at the language Tim Yeo uses to describe me behind closed doors…

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Date
20040107
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
14:22
Natalie Portman says Kenobi/Skywalker fight in Ep3 is ‘pretty sick’… and by ‘sick’, I think she means ‘good’ – and to shake ones booty means to wiggle ones butt.

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Date
20040108
Anyone but George
Time
09:12
Oh, you want to get biblical, do you? Fine. David. Goliath. We’ve got truth on our side, but that’s no guarantee with scum like Murdoch on their side. Watch yourselves. And don’t go doing anything stupid like waiting it out until the election. Impeach now.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
09:14
Tony Blair says he would have to resign if he lied to parliament over his role in the outing of Dr David Kelly. But… but… but… Tony – what would we do without you?

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Date
20040108
Arrogance of Established Media
Time
09:48
The Daily Star (a wank-mag for builders that isn’t even worthy of the title ‘tabloid’) has been busted ripping off website content wholesale. The feature was The Worst Movie Sex Scenes Ever and you can see the original here.

TimeMachineGo broke it to the bloggers, and there’s a buzzing link cosmos, but Robert Berry of RetroCrush (the original author of the hijacked content) has removed the article in question.. probably because the Star’s legal team is now involved.

This isn’t anything new. The Daily Mail has been busted stealing content from TV Cream and presenting it as their own work.

The Mirror won a bloody award for this front page image. If you can’t quite make out the date, it says ‘June 13, 2002′. Here it is #(being posted to B3ta 5 days earlier (note: the claim of authorship repeated in this post is also turned out to be false). Here’s me having a little rant about that way back when.

They tracked down the original creator (Carl Baldwin) after the fact and gave him a small credit of Page 7 or something the next day. Big deal. They also named him at the awards ceremony so they didn’t look like complete jerks, but they still accepted the award for ‘Picture of the Year’ for something that turned up in their Inbox one day. I would hardly call that ‘outstanding achievement in journalism’.

B3ta’s subsequent interview with Carl Baldwin reveals that he got a free lunch out of the deal. And The Mirror got to keep the award.

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Date
20040108
Art
Time
09:50
9 drawings done by an artist under the influence of LSD.

The report on Picture 5 is a classic, and they just keep getting better from there:

“Upon completing the drawing the patient starts laughing, then becomes startled by something on the floor.”

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Date
20040108
Google
Time
09:55
The Guardian has some tips on better use of Google. It’s all part of the Google/Carr/Guardian consPiracy.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
10:05
Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Geoff Hoon has been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award by Donald Rumsfeld!

The timing is delicious.

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Date
20040108
Conspiracy Watch
Time
10:22
Space.com – Orbiter Photographs Viking 1 and Pathfinder Landers on Mars’ Surface. I’m inclined to be sceptical. After all, Space.com also claim to have similar images of the Apollo 15 landing site, and we all know that each and every one of these landings was faked. Right?

Oh, come on. You know as well I do that – despite what you may read in the New York Times – that the world is run by shape-shifting lizards.

Let me give you a quick run-down, using the tragic death of Diana as a focus-point…

Diana’s chosen role as an outspoken critic of landmines pitched her against the lizard-people’s greatest asset – the military industrial complex. She also started sleeping with swarthy types. Only those of pure Aryan blood have undergone the genetic modification required by our masters that will – within 5 generations – breed out independent and critical thought. This explains everything from line-dancing to Britney Spears, but I digress…

The point is that – from this point on – Diana’s days were numbered.

You know the old adage about penguins and polar bears never being pictured together because polar bears don’t live in Antarctica? This is a lie! The reason polar bears are never seen in Antarctica is because they are working undercover! I won’t distract you with the reasons why penguins don’t wish to be photographed with them but I will point out that Antarctica is the primary seat of the lizard-people’s civilization. Deep under the Antarctic Ice Cap is a fully functioning city that that was draped in secrecy thousands of years ago – Atlantis.

Atlantis, Antarctica. Antarctica, Atlantis. With me so far? Good.

An elite polar bear hit squad had been tailing Diana for months before they finally made their move in Paris.

To ensure a ‘clean’ hit with little cause for suspicion, the team split up and arranged ‘accident black spots’ in numerous locations around the city.

The subsequent inquiry focused heavily on the mystery Fiat, the phantom explosion, and the rampaging paparazzi, but nobody made the connection between the faulty wiring in a bedside lamp at Dodi’s central Paris apartment, the banana-skin on the floor in the Imperial Suite at l’Hôtel Ritz and a missing street sign.

UPDATE – If you wish to read something equally ridiculous, click here.

UPDATE 2 – Enjoy many a word of wisdom from LNR.

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Date
20040108
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
11:05
Another year, another round of weblog awards. As bored as I am with it all, I would like to win just one of these. I haven’t scored a trophy since my Under-8’s Rugby Most Improved Player award. And nobody’s nominated me for The New Statesman New Media Awards, either. You ungrateful bastards. You’ll miss me when the polar bears finally come my way, you mark my words…

FFS, I didn’t even rate an MBE for all my hard work making pornographic images of the PM’s wife. What is the world coming to?

I’m not asking for much this year; just a little more credit and a lot more money.

UPDATE – Martyn is a sweetie. Right…. who’s next?

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Date
20040108
Video
Time
11:16
Via Wibbler we find this video of a report on “a network called ‘Internet'” from Oct. 8, 1993.

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Date
20040108
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
12:37
A must-read from Mother JonesThe Lie Factory (requires payment or subscription).

Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, 43, a now-retired Air Force officer who served in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia (NESA) unit in the year before the invasion of Iraq, observed how the Pentagon’s Iraq war-planning unit manufactured scare stories about Iraq’s weapons and ties to terrorists. “It wasn’t intelligence—it was propaganda,” she says. “They’d take a little bit of intelligence, cherry-pick it, make it sound much more exciting, usually by taking it out of context, often by juxtaposition of two pieces of information that don’t belong together.” It was by turning such bogus intelligence into talking points for U.S. officials—including ominous lines in speeches by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell’s testimony at the U.N. Security Council last February—that the administration pushed American public opinion into supporting an unnecessary war.

Cherry-picking intelligence and using it out of context to make it sound more exciting? Pah. It’d never happen here.

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Date
20040108
Civil Liberties
Time
13:16
Somehow, I missed this little pre-Christmas nugget: A huge new database is being created in Whitehall, giving officials unprecedented knowledge of the daily lives of all UK residents who have ever paid tax or national insurance or received social security.

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Date
20040108
Photoshopping
Time
13:32
Slashdot.org – Photoshop 8 has built-in ability to detect images of American/Euro currency and prevents use of such files.

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Date
20040108
The War on Terror
Time
13:41
Bloody hell… now we can’t even take a dump in peace.

Oh, and the Bush administration says it’s going to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a federal appeals court ruling that requires them to release ‘enemy combatant’ Jose Padilla.

Here’s the good bit… they want to keep the reasons why a secret. All of them.

Parts of cases have been kept private in the past, but I can’t for the life of me recall an instance where the entire filing was kept secret.

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Date
20040108
Photoshopping
Time
16:16
It’s been a while. I thought I’d try my hand at some propaganda this fine and sunny afternoon….

Click here to see the new version of the $20 bill.

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Date
20040109
Bunch of Stuff
Time
11:30
Sorry, folks. Busy morning. I do, however, have a few minutes to spit out the following:

I got a copy of this press release yesterday that points out that the Yourparty.org initiative may break electoral law. Tom has picked up on it, so has The Guardian. The plan for The Working Title Party included an interactive manifesto, but the idea was to give both the potential candidates and the articles of the manifesto a public airing before cutting them loose.

Working at it from the other direction (i.e. bringing politicians to the web), Tom and I are right now trying to organise a seminar for Labour MPs on the benefits of weblogging. Similar seminars will be available for the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives (though for the latter I may have to drop Tim Yeo case study).

Right, next…

I’m very disappointed that our government is only working to secure the release of the Britons detained at Guantanamo Bay (you can see a full list of their names here). Surely we should insist on due process for all of them as a matter of principle? No? Then how about in the interests of legality and political stability?

BTW, I love the description of seven of them being a ‘medium risk’. A good thing they’ve been subjected to the highest level of security, then…

And yet more…

I couldn’t help but peek at The Sun again this morning. Today’s Page 3 girl is ‘shocked’ at Greg Rusedski testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Nandrolone. I don’t know about you, but these new opinion captions on Page 3 crack me up. Never mind the news; forget the editorial and the opinion columns, I want to know what the girl with the tits thinks!

Almost there…

I have to admit to being stumped about Bush’s new immigration policy. With 3 million unemployed in the U.S., it certainly does appear as if he’s simply importing some easy votes (and here’s someone having a little shout about that). Then again, maybe it’s simply a conscription drive on behalf of McDonald’s (with the border patrols being replaced by roaming gangs of recruitment managers).

But perhaps – just perhaps – the amnesty will be followed by the crackdown. You had your chance, now we get tough and kick a few doors in. It’s warranted, right?

Robert McSwain had a few thoughts along these lines, and was kind enough to drop me a line about it:

Upon further reflection of the illegal immigrant legalization thing, I believe that it is most likely a plan to identify and locate any possible or potential terrorists from the illegals living and working here. To be sure, there probably are some who might be sympathetic to terrorist aims among the illegal population but what may be more dangerous is that even if marginally successful this will probably be used as a model for smoking out anyone (no pun intended) who opposes any government policy. A vast surveillance machine is no good without its intended targets identified or suspected. This is simply another push into the totalitarian police state that we are fast becoming and just like the German citizens of pre WWII Germany they mostly were simply unaware of what was growing in their government and people until it was too late.

Finally…

A call to arms for Americans living abroad.

Oh and thanks to Tom and Justin for their nominations. Keep ‘em coming. 2004 is the year of Zero Modesty. The more people who know about what I do, the easier it is to get things done.

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Date
20040109
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:41
A heads-up from ScaryDuck:

Iranian Journalist Credits Blogs for Playing Key Role in His Release From Prison: Call them self-referential. Call them elitist. Call them blowhards. Call bloggers whatever you want, but you can’t deny that they can make a difference, especially when they band together for a serious cause. In the case of jailed journalist/blogger Sina Motallebi, the Iranian and American blogospheres came together to get publicity and thousands of signatures on an online petition. The result? Motallebi, 30, was released after 23 days in prison and recently left Iran for Europe.

Careful. The last thing you want to do is encourage us….

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Date
20040109
Consume!
Time
12:50
Pranksters hack into the wireless frequency of their local Burger King and refuse service to drive-through customers because they’re ‘too fat’

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Date
20040109
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
12:56
Neil Gaiman reads ScaryDuck! That’s pretty cool.

The same post leads us to some great takes on tapestries over at SomethingAwful and this site, which lets you make your own.

UPDATE – Also many a grin to be had in SomethingAwful’s It Came From Outer Space collection… and while we’re on a photoshopping kick, this week’s B3ta challenge; finding new jobs for TV has-beens.

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Date
20040109
Photoshopping
Time
16:44
What do you think Dubya will be doing this time next year?

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Date
20040112
Guantanamo Bay
Time
09:14
It’s a damn shame this editorial is subscription-only; it deserves a wider reading…

The Independent – Human rights and the release of the Guantanamo detainees. This points out that the reason why these detainees are scheduled for release (rather than trial) in the UK is that the latter would ‘would imply that all of the Guantanamo detainees had the right to have the evidence against them tested in a civilian court.’

It closes with this superb quote:

The longer the sorry story of Guantanamo goes on being made up as it goes along, the more apparent it becomes that the Bush administration has lost its way in the struggle to contain anti-American terrorism. That struggle, waged in defence of the highest ideals of liberty and democracy, has been contaminated by the contradiction of those very ideals at Camp Delta.

The camp where 600+ inmates are being detained without trial, legal representation, or access to the ‘evidence’ against them, has been operational for two years. Human Rights Watch chose to mark this happy anniversary with the following statement:

The Bush Administration has attempted to turn the forty-eight square miles of its naval base at Guantanamo Bay into territory beyond the reach of any law and outside the jurisdiction of any court. In its treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo, it has been unwilling to fully apply international humanitarian law (often called the laws of war), has flouted international human rights standards, and has fought hard to block judicial review by U.S. courts of the legality of its detentions. It has failed to articulate a clear legal framework which it applies to the detainees and which acknowledges their human rights and the government’s obligation to respect them.

Me, I’m sending the inmates a nice fruitcake. With a file inside it.

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Date
20040112
Flash Music Video
Time
09:14
JPEG Baby has been discovered by the Literotica Discussion Board (NSFW, obviously).

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Date
20040112
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:17
The Conservative IT team has learned nothing from Tony Blair’s Big Abortion and many other similar debacles.

Read Tom Watson’s post on their failure to spend a measly £5 to protect cutredtape.co.uk.

The ammunition used in this exercise (a previous post by Tom) was an obvious first choice, and it’s there at the top mainly because of his connection with the online community. Another reason why, if you’re an MP, you need to look into this.

Somewhat relevant is something I mentioned to Wibbler over a beer or two on Friday:

Every time Tim Yeo appears on television or gets some major press coverage, 50+ new visitors find the Tim Yeo weblog, because it’s the top search result for ‘tim yeo’ in Alta Vista, AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo. That’s over 95% of search engine coverage.

Tim Yeo, you are my web-bitch…. but it’s not too late to apologise.

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Date
20040112
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:04
The Guardian Media Diary noted on Friday the 9th that Kilroy’s republished anti-Arab article is an strong indication that Richard Desmond’s recycling/cost-cutting policies have well and truly infected the Express group of newspapers. Regular readers of Private Eye will know that he already does this on his wide range of top-shelf titles (regularly reprinting slappers of yesteryear as fresh totty whenever hairstyles will allow). This is an amusing, but misguided notion.

The Independent notes that this incident may endanger Desmond’s planned bid for The Daily Telegraph. This is an encouraging, but misguided notion.

Me, I’m of the opinion that Labour Party donor Richard Desmond engineered this in order to embarrass the BBC and muddy the waters just as the results of the Hutton Inquiry come due.

Blair has already softened his ‘I would resign if I lied’ assertion with the ‘totality’ gambit and even started backing down on his WMD assertions in preparation for this. I’m sure he also has The Sun standing by, ready and eager to nail any criticism of the BBC for – as we all know in this black & white world – if the BBC was wrong then Tony Blair was right… and the war on Iraq will therefore be seen to be justified (despite what the forever-labelled-as-biased BBC may wish to tell you).

It’s all going to be very messy. You’ll want to keep your bullshit-meters on full power.

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Date
20040112
Photoshopping
Time
10:08
The new Bloggerheads Impeach-a-Bill prompted Dave Halligan to pipe up with another fine example of counter-fascist currency:

Blood Money (front)

Bloody Money (back)

Also, Joe Smith wrote in with more information on the issue that prompted the ‘shop:

Re: Photoshop and banknotes. Some months ago I tried to print a £5 note with someone elses head on, the print job stopped halfway through after printing the words www.rulesforuse.org . I’m using PS7, and tried various file formats all with the same result. I thought it can’t be possible to hide the instructions to cancel the print in a JPEG or other format. Even if I concealed the banknote as part of a larger image like a landscape, it would print normally till it got to the bit that was the note then stop as before. Eventually I found, via a fair bit of Googling, my printers’ manufacturers, Hewlett Packard taking the credit for this. The detection software came installed on my 5500 printer – and unlike PS, I actually bought the damn printer. I’ve just found a concise explanation of how it works (PDF only).

Oh, and you all remember this, right?

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Date
20040112
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:24
“My six-year-old daughter is on the CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening) list as a security risk”:

My daughter was scared and shaken up by the ordeal and told us that she “hated it.” At least the security people were polite to her. But they were like polite robots, unable to laugh at the fact that someone had mistakenly pegged a little girl as a potential terrorist. No, they insisted that she had to take off her shoes and get patted down and have a wand passed over her body and have her Hello Kitty suitcase opened and examined with a fine toothed comb.

I’m reminded of an MPEG of a clip from the ‘Road to Rhode Island’ episode The Family Guy that did the rounds less than a week after 11/9 (please note correct formatting of date). The sequence has since been cut from that episode (for broadcast and on the DVD release) by Murdoch’s media machine, but you can still see a copy of it here.

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Date
20040112
Photography
Time
10:32
Sorry for the heavy focus on politics today. Here’s a little something-that’s-not-politics for you:

The Decline of Fashion Photography – An argument in pictures.

Oh, and you may wish to find out what score your name would get in Scrabble. Not that you’d be allowed to use it. Unless, of course, you’re me. But you’re not. Suffer.

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Date
20040112
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:38
Today’s Page 3 girl is upset to hear that Col Tim Collins is leaving the Army. Says Zoe (22, from London, wearing underwear by Showgirls): “He is a born leader and I’m sure that whatever he does he will get the same well-deserved respect.”

UPDATE – A quick giggle for those of you who do succumb to The Sun from time to time.

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Date
20040112
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
10:52
Tony’s not the only one desperately trying to find a not-quite-reverse gear. Colin Powell has finally admitted that there was no hard proof of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa’ida, contrary to his claims before the illegal invasion of Iraq.

We also have this:

Paul O’Neill in Time

Paul O’Neill on CBSnews.com

Paul O’Neill in The Independent

Read it. And this (sorry, subscription time again – but well worth it):

Jonathan Raban: George Bush is using the ‘war against terrorism’ to justify frightening change

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Date
20040112
Can Weblogs…?
Time
11:03
Can Weblogs Get Their Own TV Show enjoys a new lease of life at LostRemote.com

Cheers, Steve.

Actually, I now have plans for a low-budget television station… but I’m keeping it under my hat for now.

Kind of on this subject… French Connection should sue Murdoch’s team for the not-at-all-original branding genius that is fxuk.tv

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Date
20040112
Fame Is Good
Time
11:09
Paul Carr – You can write but you can’t hide : Journalism can be a dangerous business. Not as dangerous, perhaps, as firefighting or soldiering or opening letters addressed to members of the European Parliament, but still pretty risky. Especially if you write nasty things about nasty people.

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Date
20040112
It’s War! And Things Is Getting Ridiculous!
Time
18:53
US jet accidentally drops bomb on… Yorkshire!

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Date
20040112
Party Time!
Time
19:06
I’ve just received word that the next Circle Line Party is in the planning stages. Do get in touch if you’d like to attend, so I can keep your email on file for any secret-squirrel information. Perhaps, if you’re up for it, we can all go as a group or dress to a theme.

(Strangely, I get the feeling that the authorities are going to be much harder on the event this time around. Perhaps we should bring an MP or two along. Or maybe even the mayor.)

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Date
20040112
Tolerance
Time
19:22
Chavscum.co.uk – a field guide to Britain’s peasant underclass.

I recognise that picture on the front page. It’s from Thinkofthechildren.co.uk

A connection, or outright thievery…?

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Date
20040113
RWCs
Time
09:08
Following on from the Paul O’Neill story yesterday (here’s a fresh link for you) we have this wondrous bloggage:

Powerblog – Lid Blown Off O’Neill Suskind Hoax (which is a load of crap, BTW)

The first interesting thing to note is the link cosmos, which begins with the widely-read Instapundit (includes prominent links to the Fox News website and a blog titled ‘Biased BBC’) and the equally rabid Little Green Footballs (you should already be familiar with LGF; they were a big fan of Chasing Bush, and prompted the bulk of our hate mail).

What’s just so wonderful about this is the wannabe army of the right is trying to convince us that it’s Paul O’Neill and Ron Suskind ‘attempting to perpetrate a massive hoax on the American people’….

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Date
20040113
Anyone but George
Time
09:24
I was pondering on the finalists for Bush in 30 Seconds over the weekend, quietly exercising that small part of my brain that used to enjoy making really awful television commercials.

In My Country has a powerful message and Wake Up America was my favourite by far, but I forced myself to think about reaching a wider audience and hitting them where it counts. The only real choice on this front was Child’s Pay, as it has the kids-meets-hip-pocket double whammy, and I really wish that I’d blogged that now because yesterday it was announced as the winner. Oh well. I’m sure you trust me.

You can see the winners of each category on the front page of bushin30seconds.org today, but that collection of finalists is also worth a fresh look, even if you saw it last week – as it’s been expanded to show the finalists in all categories.

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Date
20040113
Church & State
Time
10:12
Last week I had a jolly time breezing through Al Franken’s LIES: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, but the chapter on Bush’s abstinence-only sex education program really threw me for a loop. I actually had to go back and read it again. Was this real, or was there some Merkin-based humour that I was missing?

It was real. And last night I watched the Channel 4 program that I taped on Sunday; Texas Teenage Virgins. (Great title, isn’t it? Be careful when researching this programme on the Interwebnet; it may just bring up a few questionable search results.)

There was Pastor Ed Ainsworth looking straight into the camera and telling us that condoms had holes in them (“They’re porous, with the fibres, and the latex going in all directions, y’see!”) and a bunch of very confused children in Lubbock, Texas who are forbidden to receive any kind of sex education at school for fear that it will promote promiscuity. Instead, they get regular doses of this. Oh, and they can receive pre-marriage counselling a few days before doing the deed which teaches them – amongst other things – that ‘men are microwaves and women are slow cookers.’

Convenient for the church that teenagers need some form of outlet for ecstasy; because it plays right into their recruitment drive. Again with Pastor Ed, preaching to a bunch of teenagers – eyes closed, swaying in a state near to orgasm – as he passes through them with the talking in tongues and laying on of hands. At this stage we quitely reminds ourselves that it is Muslim extremism that threatens our very way of life…

Of course, kids being kids, they find a way to make do. Even those who have made their pledge for purity find ways to justify anything from frottage to full-blown anal sex… which goes some way to explaining why the teenage pregnancy rate has dropped a little in that neck of the woods, but the transmission of STDs is still on the rise.

There’s some info on this in this Washington Post report on the subject and a wide range of informative links at this GetDonkey.com post, pointing out that Bush wants to make his abstinence-only sex education a nationwide policy. A couple of UK viewers in a similar state of disbelief have already found this bloggage and left comments. If you also saw the programme, you may wish to join them.

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Date
20040113
Normal People
Time
10:13
One for Wibbler (not that I can talk).

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Date
20040113
It’s War! And You Just Volunteered!
Time
10:16
Germany Set to Abolish the Draft. For you, ze var is over!

To help balance things out, Bush is warming up for U.S. draft. Oh, and the U.S. military’s small-arms ammunition plant is running at near capacity.

OK, that’s gun-fodder and ammo sorted. Now all we need is a new playground….

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Date
20040113
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:23
Clive Soley still has his teeth sunk into News International. Good for him.

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Date
20040113
Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace
Time
10:25
Kids! NASA wants your rocks!

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Date
20040113
The War on…..
Time
10:26
The War on Drugs. How’s that going then?

Alternet.org – Top Ten Drug War Stories of 2003

OK, how about the War on Terror? I hear that’s going swimmingly!

Washington Post – Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror’s Scope

BBC – US war in Iraq ‘strategic error’

Oh dear. You can read that report in full here. It addresses, amongst other things, the administration’s ‘postulation of the terrorist threat’… but I’m sure those WMDs will turn up someday.

Sorry? What’s that? Oh…

The Guardian – US disbands Iraq team looking for WMDs

Ho-hum. No matter. At least we still have The War on Porn to look forward to. Fear is on the rise and the prospects look good.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040113
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:33
Today’s Page 3 girl (Nikkala, 21, from London) is ‘horrified’ that Juan Sebastian Veron has been burgled and says: “It shows that anyone can be a victim of burglary, no matter how rich or famous.”

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Date
20040113
Christianity Watch
Time
10:46
Church of ‘Elvis Priestly’ celebrates one-year anniversary.

BTW, I had this mad idea about taking a Spice Girls tribute band on the road with spiffy new pure-white outfits and a religious theme. They could sing songs like If You Wannabe My Saviour and Christ Up Your Life.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040113
Photoshopping, Death, Fame, Etc.
Time
11:37
Harold Shipman found dead in cell (Wibbler found it first).

The next few hours on the B3ta messageboard should be interesting…

UPDATE – A link for the archive. Shipman reposts and reactions start from this point on. First post on the subject is here. The honour of the first obit goes to the BBC, with The Independent only 10 minutes behind.

Please, please, pleeeeeease let tomorrow’s Page 3 editorialette in The Sun carry a comment on this….

UPDATE – And so it came to pass (in my head, anyway). Posted to B3ta.

UPDATE 2 – Front page! That’s the ticket…

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Date
20040113
Fame Is Good
Time
13:39
Here’s a shot at worldwide fame that you can’t possibly pass up; and all you have to do to qualify is be reasonably presentable and show a willingness to stop breathing (link via Greenfairy).

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Date
20040113
Normal People
Time
15:41
Gentlemen… raise your glasses!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040113
Tony Blair
Time
17:01
Tony was answering questions live on the radio this morning and I wasn’t informed? Pah! I’ll have to make do with the replay at 7pm, then.

Thanks for link, Martyn. How about sending it to yesterday when I could have used it?!

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Date
20040114
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:28
Bummer. No tit-tastic editorialette about Shipman today. Instead, the issue is survival!

Michelle (20, from Oldham) is furious over MP Clare Short’s ‘new rant’ about banning Page 3. Michelle said: “She should listen to my fans who tell me how much I brighten up their day. She’s just a jealous old battleaxe.”

The Page 3 girls get to speak further on this matter on page 15, where a range of glamour models all agree that Clare Short objects to soft porn in a daily newspaper purely because she is fat and ugly and daren’t brighten someone’s morning herself. To illustrate this point, they have ‘shop of Clare topless… and a picture of the back-end of a bus.

The Sun Says (subtitle: What To Think) makes it clear that this view comes not from the top, but from the topless, by saying:

Page Three girls say their arch-critic Clare Short is just “jealous”. They also call her “fat and ugly”. And who are we to disagree with their verdict? Page Three girls are intelligent, vibrant young women who appear in The Sun out of choice and because they enjoy the job. Unsurprisingly, millions of our readers — men and women — enjoy looking at them.

They also enjoy looking at them when they do more hardcore work… and continue to enjoy looking at them in The Sun while this goes on. Until any given girl makes too much of a name for herself, at which stage The Sun will simply disown her for fear of being revealed as the first step to a wonderful and empowering career in pornography.

A good example is a young lass by the name of Rebekah Parmar Teasdale (NSFW), who was out in the cold and then back in the fold the moment they needed a girl by the name of ‘Rebekah’ gracing Page 3 on new editor Wade’s first day to let the lads know that it was business as usual under the new regime.

Given that many readers of The Sun are so thick they can barely read the headlines (I’ve actually read a Sun survey that asked how many readers did this), I would even dare to suggest they hoped to convince some of them that this lovely young thing was the new editor (instead of the grizzled old hypocrite we’re all familiar with).

Incidentally, the new regime has now been in place for a year. You can read all about the good Rebekah Wade has done for Britain in this time by reading this article in that filthy pinko rag The Guardian.

Clare Short is unlikely to be devastated by this round of name-calling, but all the same I’m going to take the time later today to send her a message of support and maybe even offer my help.

I support a woman’s right to strip for the camera. Shock, horror… I personally enjoy looking at naked flesh from time to time. But I still object to this kind of material saturating the mainstream, and I have a biiiig problem with the hypocrisy of a ‘conservative’ paper (that still can’t bring itself to print the word ‘fuck’) using soft-porn as a springboard for their right-wing garbage and outright lies.

But of course I’m only saying all of this because I’m fat and ugly. And I don’t have any tits.

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Date
20040114
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
09:31
One might very well wonder why Rupert Murdoch chose today to launch an attack on Clare Short:

The Independent – Short says Blair must resign if he loses fees vote

But, as we all know, Clare Short is a ranting loony and a control freak. And the main issue of the day is tits…

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Date
20040114
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:35
Welcome to Mars. Have a good look around.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040114
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:37
The Guardian – News agency demands inquiry after American forces in Iraq allegedly treated camera crew as enemy personnel

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Date
20040114
The Impeachment of George W Bush
Time
09:47
The New York Times points out that ‘a few months of good news doesn’t excuse a consistent pattern of dishonest, irresponsible leadership.’

Neither does making pie-in-the-sky promises about going to the Moon, Mars, etc.

C’mon America, lead the way. Stand tall. Impeach!

Even if you’re a Republican, it makes sense. These crooks are poisoning the reputation of your party. This could lead to years of Democratic rule.

UPDATE – Incidentally, the George W Bush Photoshopping Gallery was updated late yesterday with some more recent works. Enjoy.

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Date
20040114
Photography
Time
09:55
Now then … where did I leave my bike?

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Date
20040114
South West Trains
Time
09:55
Geoff hasn’t asked for it, but he’s about to get a shedload of help from me on the SEO front. I want people to search for ‘south west trains’ and find his site.

The angle is wonderful (and it’s just what I would be doing right now if I were continuing to suffer under SWT on a daily basis); he’s clocking up every hour of his time that they waste.

Pop over and visit to see the early days of a wonderful idea.

UPDATE – SWT is calling for new members of their passenger panel. You’re welcome to go this way if you want to, but its aims aren’t in keeping with mine. I want an end to rail privatisation. Failing that, I want Stagecoach and SWT nailed to the wall for their continued failure to deliver.

UPDATE – Toby Bryans has also answered the call! Good man, that Toby. He plans to keep a log of delays on his regular journey from Queenstown Road (Battersea) to London Waterloo and show them in easy-to absorb chart form. There’s not much to see there at the mo, but he did bring us this wonderful story to tide us over:

Evening Standard – Ministers ban rail report: A Government report laying bare the dreadful state of Britain’s rail network is so damning ministers have stopped it being published.

So, it’s not as bad as we think. It’s worse.

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Date
20040114
Anyone but George
Time
10:08
Seriously, why would you trust a mean drunk with power?

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Date
20040114
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:22
Not bad for a man who has his staff do most of the blogging for him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040114
The Big Conversation
Time
13:36
Martyn has coughed up with a link to the full MP3 of Tony Blair’s live question time with a few lucky voters on LBC 97.3FM yesterday (MP3, 6.3 MB, 54 mins dur.).

Why did we not hear about it until it was too late? Well, it was only announced Monday afternoon on air, in the LBC Listener Club newsletter and on the website, but it’s ‘just one of a series of events around the country’… so keep your ears peeled for a similar hit and run on your local radio station.

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Date
20040114
The End of Democracy
Time
13:46
London Met bans elderly council tax protestors from marching on Downing St. The only reason given was a vague reference to ‘health and safety concerns’. Authorities have tried this kind of bluff on other groups before, but it always falls apart when you put a bit of pressure on. So this isn’t a ‘no’… it’s a test of the organisers’ mettle. If they want it badly enough, they’ll have to fight for it (and win some media support in the process).

Otherwise, they’ll just have to be happy with the rally.

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Date
20040114
A Blog Is Born
Time
13:59
Hey, folks. I’d like you to meet Larry Grant, who’s just made his first post on the first business-based blog to roll off my factory floor. Go visit. Be nice.

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Date
20040114
Photography
Time
15:22
I know you’re just dying to look inside the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office photo gallery. Highlights include a rather empty-looking detention centre and pictures of old badges and patrol cars.

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Date
20040114
Photoshopping
Time
17:29
What Will George W. Bush Be Doing This Time Next Year? could very well turn into an ongoing series….

Posted to B3ta.

UPDATE – A cool game via FunJunkie on a similar theme:

Escape from Alcatraz

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Date
20040114
Normal People
Time
17:51
This is a work of genius: the ‘my computer is full of potatoes’ scam. Destined to become a classic.

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Date
20040115
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
08:59
This isn’t a new story; it’s just been revived by the release of the (taped) diary of the soldier concerned. That, and his widow no longer seems content with an apology that’s already been refused… and can you blame her?

Widow of soldier who died for lack of equipment calls for Geoff Hoon to resign

This poor chap had his body armour taken away and reassigned to a front-line trooper. During a riot in Basra, he was shot and killed. The armour would have saved his life.

I just heard on the radio that Geoff Hoon has stated that all troops in Iraq have sufficient equipment ‘when going into battle.’ But if you’re on security patrol, you’re screwed. Nice wording there, Geoff. That’s your butt covered.

The Independent reports that Nicholas Soames, the Conservative defence spokesman, said that ‘body armour and other equipment had not been ordered in time because the Prime Minister wanted to hide the decision to go to war from his backbenchers,’ but Private Eye readers will know that the situation is even worse than this. They reported – just before the conflict in Afghanistan – that troops on training exercises in a nearby desert region were being forced to buy their own desert boots, or suffer with ‘bake in ten minutes’ Army-issue black.

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Date
20040115
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:00
Adage reports on the release of bushin30seconds.org ad. It’s due to be aired ahead of next week’s State of the Union address and MoveOn.org are negotiating with CBS to gain airtime during the Super Bowl. CBS have all but said ‘no’.

Also, here’s Matt Drudge with a shamelessly right-wing report on the bushin30seconds.org awards ceremony. We’re guilty of hate-crime again.

Oh, and the account given by Paul O’Neill that RWCs are busy telling everyone is a hoax has been corroborated by and un-named official who was present at the same National Security Council meetings immediately after Bush’s inauguration in January and February of 2001.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040115
South West Trains
Time
09:13
The Independent has a leaked copy of the suppressed rail industry document blogged yesterday. What is supposed to be a factual report has been scrapped after its fourth rewrite, as it still fails to deliver a politically-convenient message to an unwitting public. Sound familiar?

If any other readers are regulars on any service – not just South West Trains – and wish to run a diary of failures similar to Geoff’s or Toby’s, do get in touch.

You provide the voice, I’ll provide the audience. Search Engine Optimisation isn’t just for selling tat.

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Date
20040115
Only Interesting to Hardcore Geeks
Time
09:22
Here’s the full story of “net send * Hey!” kid, as reported at Slashdot.

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Date
20040115
Church & State
Time
09:25
I remind you again; it is Muslim fundamentalism that endangers our very way of life:

New York Times: Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address. Several conservative Christian advocacy groups are pressing Mr. Bush to go further and use the State of the Union address to champion a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The Guardian: American Anglican traditionalists are plotting the break-up of their national church and the creation of a new fundamentalist church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson.

The last time we had a schism like this, a bunch of folks had no choice but to head off to the New World (I’m not saying they were bumgays, I’m saying there was a significant difference of opinion is all). With no undiscovered corners of the world remaining, perhaps this explains Bush’s interest in colonising other planets.

Heh. Colon-ise. Ur-anus.

(OK, I’m done…)

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Date
20040115
L33T Hax0rs
Time
10:36
Greenfairy was the subject of a kiddy-crack the other day, and last night it was Tom Watson’s turn. It looks like an automated attack, formed of nonsense text with random submission details (from random/spoofed IPs) and the repeated line; ‘I’d just like to say, keep up the good work, Tom, and thanks for being a great guy! Labour is rad!’

You can click here to see this comments thread, which I’m leaving up (for now) for reference purposes, but do be warned that it’s not really worth reading and – with 647 nonsense comments – its a pretty hefty download.

My initial reaction – mainly due to the ‘rad’ content – was to suspect a single kiddy-hacker who misconstrued the purpose of the Teens page. That, and an attack from a group usually leaves a referral trail leading back to the forum (or even a mailing list, if you look carefully) where the attack is prompted.

Once the comments facility on this top post was closed (and another ‘no comments’ post was added above it), the attacks ceased. Another indication that it was an automated ‘set and forget’ attack. There are automated bots designed to deliver comment spam; this appears to be a derivative of those. There are traps designed to stop such attacks. Those of you familiar with Tom’s site will know that it boasts a few modest glitches. Now seems as good a time as any to set a developer on these and install a security measure or two. Until now, the site has relied heavily on trust and goodwill. That’ll learn us…

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Date
20040115
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:47
If you only blog one thing today, blog this. (Apologies again for the lack of permalinks. Feel free to prompt me to set up a static page – or set up your own so I can throw traffic that way. We’ll need a home base or two as matters progress.)

The Sun has stepped up its attack in Clare Short. Last night they sent a bunch of glamour models and photographers to doorstep her at her home.

They proudly report on this today and have also reacted by putting barely-concealed boobage on the front page (where any kid who walks into a newsagent can see it). They also call on readers to sign ‘a nationwide petition to ensure that one of Britain’s greatest traditions remains’. The print version of this petition features yet more glamour models and a photoshop of Clare Short in her undies, as does this new dedicated page on their website.

The first celebrity endorsement comes from darts player Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham, who is quoted as saying: “Clare Short should keep her nose out of Page 3. The girls put a smile on everybody’s face. It is just harmless fun.”

Their editorial today targets her comments as ‘stupid’ and glaring headlines on Pages 4 & 5. declare she is Short on Looks; Short on Brains, but quote of the day goes to ‘Page 3 favourite’ Nicola Tappenden, who said: “How dare she. She is degrading us.”

Pot, there’s call for you on line one from a Mr Kettle….

This shamelessly harsh attack (designed to discredit and harass a known critic of Tony Blair) makes me mad enough to spit.

To all journalists, MPs and ‘helpless’ members of the public who read this blog…

1 – Most important of all, you need to send a message of support to Clare Short. Don’t just sit there and think what a jolly good idea it is. Do it. Right now her office is no doubt being inundated with hate mail from brainless twats who have been whipped up into a frenzy. She needs to know that she has us onside.

2 – Do what The Guardian has already done and write about it.

3 – Prepare yourselves for combat. Rebekah Wade and her leash-holder Rupert Murdoch cannot be allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour.

Oh, and Rebekah? Do you remember killing the print version of an article on my blog (and promptly discontinuing the ‘blogging’ series) in your paper in September of last year when I posted this image on my front page? I’m sure you have an inkling of what your kiddie journalist tripped over, otherwise you would have just skipped me and continued the series. My advice; next time to start a war, try to choose a more defensible position.

UPDATE

4 – I’m quietly simmering and considering for now, but feel free to email me with simple messages of support or ideas for turning this around so it knocks Wade square on her grizzled butt. Normally this kind of thing would be beneath contempt, but this is being done to discredit Clare Short just as she’s about to play a very important role on the subject of student fees and the release of the Hutton Inquiry. That particularly needs to be brought to light.

UPDATE 2 – Ooooh, look at all the angry people over at B3ta. I didn’t even have to start this one. Rebekah Wade sure is an unpopular lass… one can only wonder why.

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Date
20040115
Anyone but George
Time
14:49
Michael Moore endorses Wesley Clark: I have decided to cast my vote in the primary for Wesley Clark. That’s right, a peacenik is voting for a general. What a country! There are times to vote to make a statement, there are times to vote for the underdog and there are times to vote to save the country from catastrophe. This time we can and must do all three. I still believe that each one of us must vote his or her heart and conscience. If we fail to do that, we will continue to be stuck with spineless politicians who stand for nothing and no one (except those who write them the biggest checks).

Well, at least he’s off the Oprah-can-win-it kick – but I’d much rather a call to impeach. (Link via Steve.)

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Date
20040115
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
15:54
Lord Hutton’s report goes to the printers on 19 January and will be published in Parliament on Wednesday 28 January.

The Guardian reports that ‘the six interested parties’ (the government, the BBC, the speaker’s counsel, Dr Kelly’s family, and BBC reporters Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts) will receive theirs on the 27th.

The Scotsman notes that the 27th is also the day of the university tuition fees vote.

1 – I predict leaks from the 19th onwards. Perhaps even a copy left in a field somewhere…?

2 – Heh. I’ll be in Westminster on the 27th. If only there were a device that could digitally record and display levels of tension….

UPDATE – I wonder how much it would cost to get some personalised balloons made up and hire a tank of helium? I’d love people to be walking past the front of the House and Downing St carrying special messages.

“Don’t Panic” springs to mind…

UPDATE 2 – The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. They’ll be just like placards, only fluffier.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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