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Dodgy domains

A couple of years ago, I treated you to the stories of the ill-thought-out domains getfitta.com and powergenitalia.com

Courtesy of Gavin Esler, presenter of the Beeb’s Newsnight, I can share with you some more of these interestingly named sites.

Imagine for a moment that you want to find out who represents a particular celebrity. Some kind of database of agencies and stars might come in handy. But do you really think anyone would believe that explanation if they saw whorepresents.com in your web history?

A site I use from time to time is Experts Exchange. And yet I’ve never noticed quite how the URL – expertsexchange.com – could be misread.

A busy parent might well need to find a therapist – though maybe not through therapistfinder.com – if they send their child to the Mole Station Native Nursery – molestationnursey.com – and try and recommend it to others through that particular address.

And finally, my personal favourite… Where’s the best place on the web to buy pens? Why, Pen Island of course. Check it out today at penisland.com.

That’s all the puerile fun for today, folks!

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Guy Browning: Never Push When It Says Pull

This is the follow-up to the previously reviewed Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade, and follows the same format as its predecessor: It is a collection of Browning’s How to… columns from the Grauny’s Weekend magazine. Hence, if you don’t like the columns, you won’t like this book. And there’s also a fairly high chance that you’re not human.

Never push… is one of the few books I’ve read in a long time that’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny which, whilst good for me, is perhaps not such a good thing if you happen to live with me – unless, of course, you like the sound of apparently inexplicable hysterical laughter at random moments, and public book readings from some seemingly crazed idiot. This is why it’s so crucial that you buy this book now, before anyone else you know gets their sitcky mitts on a copy – it loses all humour when read aloud by someone who can’t stifle their continuous giggling.

It is a truly excellent book, absolutely first class standard, thanks to Browning’s wonderful sense of wit. It also happens to be perfect for reading now and again in odd moments, because each ‘How to…’ is only 500 words or so long, and so only takes a couple of minutes to enjoy. Though stemming the laughter can take longer. But, in terms of reviewing the book, it’s difficult to know whether you‘ll like it, because I don’t know you and your sense of humour. Having said that, the vast majority of people I’ve inflicted my copy on have loved it. But, as a service to you, dear reader, here’s an extract so you can decide for yourself whether it’s your kind of thang…

How to… use a lift

Calling a lift is easy. Simply press the button and wait. And then press the button again. Many lifts work on the pressure you exert on the call button, so hitting it a hundred times will make it arrive a lot faster. Before you get into the lift, it’s as well to check whether it’s going up or down. There’s nothing more embarrassing than saying confidently to a packed lift ‘Ground floor please’ and then feeling the lift rocketing upwards.

Getting into a crowded lift is like entering a mini party. Everyone’s already settled in there and when the doors open they all look at you as if to say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’ Just take a big breath, step in and then say something to break the ice such as, ‘You’re probably wondering why I called you all here.’ This difficult entry moment explains why even when the lift is the size of your living room and there’s only one small lady in it, the tendency is to wait for the next one. If the same lady is in the next one, it could be her job to operate the lift, so just get in and stop being so silly.

In a crowded lift it’s very bad manners ever to face anybody head on. You should always try and be at least 90 degrees to your neighbours so that an aerial view would look as if you were all finding your way around a particularly tight maze. Never talk to someone in a lift unless you know which button they’ve pressed and you can tailor your conversation to the exact second. Restrict yourself to saying ‘Morning’. In a lift it’s acceptable to say this at any time of night or day, because you’re in your own little world without daylight. The other word everyone wants to say in a lift, especially when the little bell pings, is ‘lingerie’. Don’t say this unless you’re with people you know and love or you’re absolutely positive the other person is getting out.

You’re allowed to look at a stranger in a lift a maximum of once, then you must look elsewhere for the duration of your trip. That’s why it’s a relief when everyone gets out and leaves you alone in the lift. You’re then free to pull faces in the mirror, say ‘lingerie’ loudly and pass wind extravagantly. Often at this moment you’ll discover that the little lady is still in the lift with you.

Being in a lift means invading someone else’s body space. This can be quite exciting when two people are attracted to each other. Passions often ignite in lifts and are sometimes even consummated. This can be awkward for the other passengers, even at 90 degrees.

I’d highly recommend the little handy-sized number that is Never Push…, because I enjoyed it loads. Thanks, Guy!

Update: Minor formatting corrections

This post was filed under: Book Club.

The non-stop Express to madness

Today’s Daily Express splash claims that the paper has been leading ‘the growing clamour’ for action on climate change. Today’s Daily Express leader complains that the price of oil is too high. Maybe not ‘The Greatest Newspaper in the World’, but clearly the most confused.

The incident does, however, call to mind an anecdote from a few years back (which may or may not be grounded in fact), when the Daily Express held a series of focus groups to try and reverse the continuing decline in its circulation. At these groups, members of the public were given copies of the Express and the Mail, and asked to comment on features in the Mail that they might like the Express to copy. Seems a good idea – except that several members of the groups left vowing to buy the Mail thenceforth, as they had never realised how good it was.

Good one, Des.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

Medical confidentiality and respect for the not-quite-dead

Prof Roger Williams, George Best’s consultant, has been giving regular updates on his status and even details of his treatment. I can’t understand how this is not breaking doctor-patient confidentiality. Best is unconcious and has been for some time, so he cannot have given his consent for details of his treatment to be circulated, and the consent of relatives would not be acceptable in this situation. The only possible way that I can see this being organised would be a long-standing agreement between Best and his consultant that the consultant would be allowed to discuss his case with the media, but I’m not entirely sure how watertight such an agreement would appear to be in a fluid situation.

I’m certianly not calling into question the Professor’s professionalism, but I’m just a little confused as to how this situation doesn’t break a fundament of medical ethics.

On a not dissimilar topic, it’s interesting to read that Jeremy Thompson and his team had some difficulty deciding whether it was appropriate to air comments like this:

“I know this may be a bit cold but I can’t feel sorry for George Best. No one made him drink and he knows what too much can do.”

I don’t even really see why there’s a debate to be had – the man’s very ill, and so surely its only appropriate to explore the reasons for that illness, which happen to be very controversial. Perhaps these comments could be seen as insensitive immediately following Best’s death, but, at last check, he was still alive. Maybe the above comment doesn’t take into account that alcoholism is an addictive illness, but, whether one agrees with the comment or not, it’s a valid point of view – and what’s the point of programmes airing viewpoints if they are only going to pick the ‘nice’ ones? It’s an interesting debate to have I guess, but I see no problem with the comment.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

Police 30 – 0 Public

From today’s Indy:

In the past 12 years no police officer has been successfully prosecuted for any of the 30 fatalities caused by police marksmen.

There’s something to ponder.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

Man thought he was going to die, but he didn’t

From the Beeb:

Punjilal, a 75-year-old resident of a village in India’s Madhya Pradesh state had said he would die between 1500 and 1700 local time on Thursday … But the time came and passed and the fortune teller survived.

A slightly off-beat story maybe, but why on Earth did it make the front page of the BBC News site?

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

GMail by any other name…

Due to a copyright dispute, GMail is now GoogleMail, in the UK at least. No more gmail.com addresses are to be issued, with the rather less sexy googlemail.com domain replacing them. Otherwise, the service remains exactly the same. But those ‘gmail.com’ early adopters get to look very posh all of a sudden. Hurrah!

This post was filed under: Technology.

Conservative leadership ‘race’

Ken Clarke’s dreams of becoming the Conservative leader have been dashed this evening, as he’s been knocked out of the Tory leadership race (I’m using the word ‘race’ in the loosest possible sense). That’s a Good Thing TM, because he’s not someone to whom I’ve ever particularly warmed. But then, frankly, I’m not that fussed about the other three either. Clearly none of them seem strong enough to be PM, and to be honest none of them even strike me as a partciularly good leader of the opposition… So when David Cameron wins it, don’t be surprised if I’m rather critical for a change 😉

But the best part about this story is Ken’s comment:

I think it sends a message that they are looking for a younger leader probably, but I don’t think my age was remarkably relevant

Translated: Err, I didn’t win cos they want a young bloke innit, but, I dint do nuffink gov, the fact I ain’t young had nuffink to do wiv it

Condensed: Yeah, but no, but yeah

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

The media, terror fatigue, and bird ‘flu

Just recently, the long-burning story of bird ‘flu’s potential to cause the due influenza pandemic (first picked up on this site at the beginning of the year) has become almost daily front-page news, despite the fact that it’s quite clear that any possible outbreak is months or even years away. Perhaps I’m being my usual over-cynical self, but could this not be symptomatic of the media tiring of terror, and Blair & Co. trying to distract the public from the disastrous anti-terror legislation they’re trying to introduce? And if so, is that a problem?

Bird ‘flu is pretty much the perfect story for the mass media. It’s an unknown, almost intangible threat to life, which is widely predicted to be a big killer. It’s indiscriminate, unfamiliar, and deadly. A bit like terrorism, but through a ‘sexy’ new sphere. And on top of all that, there’s the requirement to decide who should get anti-viral drugs and vaccinations – meaning that the ‘important’ people have to be named, which plays on people’s lingering sense of class division, one of the media’s favourite British preserves.

As far as the government’s concerned, it can quietly pass hugely controversial legislation whilst everybody else is distracted by the bird ‘flu figures they’re pumping out. The government also look very well prepared for the outbreak, and so get Brownie points in that department, too. And, of course, they have lots of information they can drip-feed to the media, who will inevitably lap it up, as they expand their coverage of this ‘inevitable disaster’.

In the worst-case scenario, there’s a whole shed-load of questions for the media to be thinking about – if 50,000 die at home, but millions abroad, how does one lead the story? How do you balance accuracy, responsibility, and sensationalism, so as not to cause mass panic but also boost sales of your paper? I’m sure these questions will be addressed in the fullness of time, and for now, bird ‘flu is a quick-and-easy unknown levelling enemy for the media – just what they like best.

So bird ‘flu suits the government and suits the media for the moment, which is good news all-round. There looks to be no immediate end to this fascination too, with the spread of bird ‘flu able to be tracked on a daily basis, and endless horror stories like this to print (ach, sorry ’bout that ‘un, gov’). But over time, it’s inevitable that bird ‘flu fatigue will set in, or some seminal event will give the news cycle a bit of a kick out of it’s predictable cycle. And that’s the worst part of the problem.

While bird ‘flu will ungracefully fall from the front pages, the H5N1 virus will continue to mutate, the expected pandemic will be coming ever closer, and the pressure on the government to be proactive will be conversely shrinking. Of course, this might be fine, as the pandemic may be prevented by early action in the outbreak country – but there’s always the slight possibility that it won’t be, and that one of the biggest natural disasters of our time will be witnessed – we have to stay alert.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

Health advice from Charlie Brooker

From today’s G2

What’s the most offensive thing you could possibly do in public? Squat down and crap on the pavement, or eat a bag of Wotsits? Pretty soon, it’ll be the latter, because eating healthily is now the law, and anyone who disobeys is a demented suicidal pig.

Some day soon, I’ll actually write a post, instead of just pointing you to things I liked… Though, in this case, it’s so funny that I’d quote the whole thing if it didn’t seem impolite, so make sure you click through and read it!

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

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