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Home > Weblog w/e 29.9.2001

Saturday 29 September 2001, 22:50 BST
TV Misguidance. All programme descriptions are created from intact, individual lines from a single page of an existing listings magazine, for your viewing confusion.
23.00 Night Columbo
The trenchcoat-attired inspector's antics surfaced in a suburban family's run-in with some paranormal syndication in 1983.
[Via As Above]
Does your intranet suck? By these criteria, my employers have recently set up pretty much the suckiest intranet imaginable. Which would be about right. [Via Azzorz blog]
Clown Dentistry. Ouch! [Via Goatee Style]
Isn't it time you upgraded to Microsoft Girlfriend XP?
Plug-and-play configuration
Girlfriend XP's automatic investigation and configuration features allow her to retrieve your user profile, preferences, and any other personal details from any previous Girlfriend installations you may have had!
[Via Scobleizer]
The title that wasn't there. Apparently working with "les frères Coen" can be somewhat tiresome.
The latest trailer for The Fellowship of The Ring is now available. It looks simply gorgeous. I know that doesn't really prove anything about the film's overall quality - Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes looked the part, but otherwise fell well short of the original - but it does help encourage me to be in the queue on the opening night.
Friday 28 September 2001, 22:40 BST
Mrs Betty Bowers (Love the sinner. Hate their clothes!) on how to spot a Middle Eastern terrorist. [Via Looka!]
Following the recent break-in at an apartment Britney Spears shares with Justin Timberlake, Tom comes up with the perfect headline. [Via plasticbag.org]
Lovely dragonfly picture.
Jack Straw has been talking utter crap about encryption again. First, nobody has produced a shred of evidence that the WTC terrorists used strong encryption. Second, if they had I doubt they'd have placed their private keys in the hands of the government.
Ursula K Le Guin: On Despising Genres.
Basically my attitude is that "genre" is A. an unpronounceable French word, B. a very useful descriptive tool, and C. a pernicious instrument of prejudice.
[Via Yet Another Web Log]
Steve Anglesey remembers the trade union disputes of the 70s and 80s, and can't wait for the PFA to bring professional footballers out on strike.
Baiting By Riot Cops
A regular feature of industrial disputes was the sight of ranks of pickets, their pay long stopped and their families subsisting on paltry union handouts, facing 'special' policemen who had thoughtfully sellotaped £10, £20 and £50 notes inside their plexiglass riot shields for instant taunting.

Considering that the opposition this time will be a pack of high-earning footballers deprived of life's usual pleasures, the stakes will have to be raised. Therefore if possible, each riot policeman should tape to his shield either a top Page Three girl, a Ferrari Testarossa or a one-ounce baggie of nandrolone-spiked cocaine. It would help if the riot police's uniforms could be redesigned by Dolce & Gabbana.
Thursday 27 September 2001, 23:35 BST
Anyone for a game of Prostitute Trading Trumps? [Via blogjam]
Giving your employees a lesson in capitalism. EasyJet's founder is about to force through a revaluation of shares in several of his other companies, thereby leaving employees who invested £10,000 with just £100. Three points come to mind:
  1. It stinks that Stelios is using his 75% holding in the company to push this deal through.
  2. Why has everyone forgotten that putting your savings into shares - even in your own company - is only sensible if you can afford to lose every penny. The mid-80s wave of privatisations at bargain prices, followed by several years of rising share prices, made everyone forget that elementary fact. Its true that in the medium/long term equities usually perform well (provided you don't put all your eggs in one basket), but you can only afford to leave shares to accrue value over the long term if you're sufficiently comfortably off that you aren't going to worry if a change in market sentiment knocks 90% off the value of the shares one year. Capitalism works nicely for those with lots of capital.
  3. If the aim of the employee share purchase scheme was to buy staff loyalty, I think it might have just backfired quite badly.
[Via I Love Everything]
Barry Crimmins says "If you really want to annoy the Taliban airdrop elementary school teachers into Afghanistan and have them teach science -- to girls." Heh. [Via Off On A Tangent]
Dog letters to God.
Dear God,

Could you possibly make my tail an inch or two longer? I can almost catch it, but not quite. Plus, those extra inches would be great for knocking things off of shelves, don't ya think?
[Via Krisalis, who contributed the entry quoted above in a comment. But the other entries are very funny too, honest.]
Wednesday 26 September 2001, 23:15 BST
Tech CEOs Forced Into Moonlighting.
Some executives have been luckier.  Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has recently been touring as a backup dancer for Destiny's Child. Bandleader Beyonce Knowles exclaimed at a recent concert, "We saw him bouncin' around in that Developers video, and I turned to LeToya and said, 'Oooh, LeToya, we gotta get that boy on the road with us!" Ballmer was unavailable for comment.
Gbloogle, the GBlogs-specific search engine, has had a significant upgrade, and is now at a new URL: http://gbloogle.benhammersley.com/. [Via Ben Hammersley.Com]
Kevan is ... unimpressed ... with some of the bright ideas that are knocking around for combatting terrorism:
"An ID device would be ideal to deal with terrorism menace. Ideally, it should be worn like a watch on each and every person in USA. [...] Anyone without this capsule should be unable to make any transaction in USA."
Terrorist agencies will, of course, be made to promise only to use agents who are known to the police. Clever forgers will generously carry ID cards saying that they're clever forgers. Each card will be magically unstealable, even from a kidnapped innocent, and will immediately report itself if its owner mislays it. Police will be smiley and helpful towards anyone who has mislaid their card. Expensive technology will successfully conquer all of mankind's slightest tendencies towards 'evil' (as defined in an imminent government paper) by 2013. Etc.
[Via As Above]
Empire Online has a couple of pictures of the cast of the forthcoming live-action version of Scooby Doo, complete with CGI Scooby. It doesn't look good. [Via I Love Everything]
The Onion returns in triumph, proving conclusively that even the Current Situation isn't immune to satire.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the war against terrorism will be different from any previous model of modern warfare.

"We were lucky enough at Pearl Harbor to be the victim of a craven sneak attack from an aggressor with the decency to attack military targets, use their own damn planes, and clearly mark those planes with their national insignia so that we knew who they were," Rumsfeld said. "Since the 21st-century breed of coward is not affording us any such luxury, we are forced to fritter away time searching hither and yon for him in the manner of a global easter-egg hunt."
Bush Sr. Apologizes To Son For Funding Bin Laden In '80s


Former president George Bush issued an apology to his son Monday for advocating the CIA's mid-'80s funding of Osama bin Laden, who at the time was resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. "I'm sorry, son," Bush told President George W. Bush. "We thought it was a good idea at the time because he was part of a group fighting communism in Central Asia. We called them 'freedom fighters' back then. I know it sounds weird. You sort of had to be there." Bush is still deliberating over whether to tell his son about the whole supporting-Saddam Hussein-against-Iran thing.
The Blog Twinning Project has really taken off now. It's turned into a seriously good way to find weblogs that are similar to the ones you already enjoy.
Tuesday 25 September 2001, 23:30 BST
I think we can all agree that suggesting George W Bush might be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize is just a tad premature. Then again, if Kissinger could win it, why not? Perhaps it'd prompt Tom Lehrer to come out of retirement. [Via MetaFilter]
Grant Morrison has a distinctly idiosyncratic take on how to deal with Osama bin Laden.
We bring bin Laden back to the U.S. for trial and BEFORE locking him up, we keep him in house arrest.... IN THE PLAYBOY MANSION!
It gets even sillier after that... [Via Do You Feel Loved]
Monday 24 September 2001, 21:50 BST
Kevin the Spaced Penguin. Just go and play now. I'll still be here when you come back, a couple of hours or so from now. [Via Haddock.org]
Today's set of links on the Current Situation. Robert Fisk wonders what good bombing Afghanistan will do, Jesse Walker ponders the Gandhi/Kojak/Bronson/Bugs Bunny/Caesar/Strangelove options, Snopes pins down the wilder rumours, and everyone to the left of Tony Blair asks whether ID cards will really help. [Via t-melt.com, massless, making light, BBC News Online respectively]
I'd love to see Michele take on the Chocolate Nazi. They could sell a lot of tickets for that match-up.
Movie Robot or Programming Language? I scored 12 out of 15. I misidentified Cecil (I thought the programming language was spelled 'Cesil'), Johnny-5 and CHOMPS. Still, I suspect that any score above 5/15 identifies you as a total geek.
The end of the road for Catatonia. Damn. [Via feeling listless]
Mr Repeat Offender Takes A Bath. Cute. [Via a fire inside]
Ain't nature wonderful?
I can’t think of a better way to go than having a 1" fish swim into my urethra, lock its spines out so that it can only be surgically removed, and proceed to suck my blood.
[Via Davezilla]
Sunday 23 September 2001, 22:15 BST
What sort of a crazy, mixed-up universe do we live in where Kevin Costner gets to be a big star and Bruce Campbell ends up toiling in semi-obscurity? [Via MetaFilter]
Dave Coursey reports that Microsoft have announced that as we're all so suspicious of their Passport/Hailstorm online identity-tracking system they're prepared to open the standard up and permit competitors like Yahoo! and AOL to become repositories of user information. Their "clarification" of their intentions is still a tad vague for my liking - the devil is in the details, as always - but if this is true and there really aren't any hidden catches then it's very good news. [Via rc3.org]
The 'Current Situation': further developments. politicians are making idiotic comments, Bruce Sterling ruminates on the implications for the Viridian movement, black humour makes a welcome return, we're reminded that truth is the first casualty of war, and a British journalist shares the lessons it's taken the British authorities 30 years to learn about fighting terrorism. [Via Plastic, the null device, MetaFilter, What's New, Pussycat? and Salon respectively]
Felice Frankel has taken some beautiful pictures of scientific phenomena. This image of a ferrofluid is gorgeous - it looks like it's some particularly juicy, exotic piece of fruit, though I suspect it wouldn't taste very good! [Via As Above]

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