...which reminds me of my favourite Kevein Greening joke ever, "...and you join us on the slopes of Mountain Tension, with no sign yet of Summit Happening...". And good news: I now have a nice good quality video of Weil der Mensch Zalt by Alf Poier. Excellent!


It's fifty years since Everest was first climbed. And to celebrate, there is a conference to discuss the problem of rubbish on everest. Of course, this is the Everest summit.
A long time ago (almost two years -- where has the time gone?) I was thinking about starting a webzine. Things being as they are, I couldn't be arsed. But, I did find an article for the first edition floating around my hard drive recently. It's an idea borrowed from one friend, and contributed to by several other friends: band names formed by taking the name of two (or more) bands and sticking them together. Perhaps the inspiration for this was from Quoasis, a short lived band that did cover versions of Oasis songs in the style of Status Quo (see also Dredd Zeppelin, a band which did reggae cover versions of Led Zep songs. Sung by an Elvis impersonator). So, here is our list of bands formed from other bands (fuxake, I feel like Clive Anderson introducing a game on Whose Line...).

Three Colours Simply Red
Al Green Day
The Vervana
Helen Love City Groove
Jackson Five Star
Shed S-Club Heaven Seventeen
Fatboy Domino
Curiousity killed the Catatonia
Everything but the girl thing
Rage against the Machinehead
Blondie, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch
Pink Floyd
Future sound of london beat
Tom Tom Lehrer
Madonna Summer
Radio Portishead
Burning Britney Spears
The Will Smiths
Captain Beef Heart
My Drugstorey
The Alarm Clock
The Other 2Unlimited
The Julianna Hatfield Three Johns
The Bobby Fuller Four Tops
The Dave Clark 5ive
Hawkwind and Fire
Spear of Destiny's Child
The Joe Dolci Music Theatre of Hate
Peter, Paul and the Test Tube Babies
Hatfield and the Northside
Blodwyn Pigbag
Hot Chocolate Watch Band
The Pete Best Band of Susans
Blink 182 Lockdown
Little Richard Clayderman
Jerry Lee Lewis and the News
Miranda Soundgarden
The Grateful Dead Kennedys
Lonnie Donovan
Another Level 42
Brother Beyond and the Holding Company
Climie Fish
Kinks of Convenience
They Might Be Giant Sand
Five Guys Named Gerald (more of a Broadway show, that one)
Traffic Jam
Camper Van Morrison
10CC Peniston
Gorky's Zygotic Monkees
The Talking Cure (...Talking Heads and the Cure, obviously)
Einstuerzende Neu! (and for that matter...)
Garbage Can
Stereophonic Youth
Frankie Goes To Portishead
A Tribe Called Westlife

I also have a plan for a tribute band to Strawberry Switchblade and the
Magnetic Fields, called (naturally): Magnetic Switchblade.

And my personal favourite, Half Man Half Limp Bizkit

Coming soon (if I remember) the Warwick University Slogan Competition.


Good news everyone: a new episode of Harvey Birdman finally aired at the weekend. Not as good as the classics, "Shaggy Busted" or "The Dabba Don", but good news after about a year since the last one. How can you not love a show whose theme tune includes the lines "Power of the Attorney! Habeus Corpus! Power of the Attorney!"? Meanwhile, I have Alf Poier's Eurovision entry on full volume and repeat play. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Feedback from my reader. Apparently the thingy attached to the teabags so as to remove said teabag from unsaid teacup is known in the trade as a tag. In fact, if I looked at the packet then I could probably have found this out for myself. They have instructions on their packs of tea. This is America. But, I'm going to try to avoid sounding like Douglas Adams and wittering on about tea all the time. I have a new crap lolly stick joke. This one just isn't trying.

Why did the annoying exterminator lose his job? He bugged his boss.

You can see that the author is going for a pun there, and the idea almost works. Except that exterminators don't bug people. Specifically, they debug houses. Hence the joke completely fails. The thing is though, this one is so close. If only the author had tried just that little bit harder. I can't believe that he messed up such an easy gag. Consider the following:

Why did the annoying secret service agent lose his job? He bugged a high-ranking opposition politician but a rival found out and leaked the story to the press prompting a witch hunt and a summary dismissal in disgrace.

Dammit! This joke writing is not as easy as it looks.


Concepts for which I have no words: the act of holding down the little paper thing on the end of the string attached to a teabag (another concept for which I have no word...) whilst pouring in the boiling water in order to prevent the piece of paper flying into thecup and thus failing in its designed purpose of giving a dry and non scarifying method with which to remove the teabag from the cup. Or am I the only person who gets this?

Saw an advert for continental airlines this weekend, which advertised "More direct flights. Less agita." For a while I thought that this was some copyediting mistake, or some misnomer for aggro, but it turns out that agita is some italianate word meaning, roughly, hearburn or indigestion. Huh.

Apparently the UKs spectacular failure in the Eurovision contest was down to politics, not the song being crap. Well, whatever; I just wish people would stop bandying around this phrase "nul [or nil] points": it's an entirely made up phrase that has nothing to do with Eurovision -- no one ever says the phrase at any point in the proceedings. Surprisingly, the phrase has fairly low currency on that arbiter of all things, google (a friend showed me some google goodies he'd picked up from their Noo Yoik depot: the highlight being Google Gum, a chewing gum described on the side as "Googalicious"). What no one seems to have mentioned is the utter superlative fantasticness of the Austrian entry. You can get the full scope, including the kickass video, from the Eurovision site, but hurry, it might not be around forever. How can anyone not love a song which (in translation) includes the lines:

The difference between animals such as apes and primates
Is no bigger than between noodles and pasta

But whoever wants to know more about animals should study Biology or inform himself on my homepage

No truer words have been spoken at any point in the history of mankind. Ever.


Strangely inconsequential lolly stick joke of the week

Look, don't get your hopes up or anything. These lolly stick jokes are slowly getting less wantonly nonsensical, without any improvement in the actual humour content. You'll remember that the last one starred a book who wanted to join the police force. Well, I've just sucked off another (there's room for endless innuendo here, so let's just assume that I've done all the obvious "sucking off" gags, and get on with our lives), and it's another book related joke. You get the impression that the poor person writing these gags is some frustrated novelist who ended up in a garett writing lolly stick punchlines to make a living. Well, that's the pathos, now for the bathos (which, for all fans of Dumas, sounds like two of the three musketeers to me... which reminds me of a comic strip in Look In magazine circa 1985 [remember that? No, thought not] -- it was a comic strip based on the lives of 5-Star -- you remember 5-Star, the teen pop sensation for about five minutes in the mid-eighties: they all looked like Jenny Powell, but with bigger hair. What do you mean, "who's Jenny Powell"? Didn't you watch "I [heart] the 80s"? Whatever happened to novelty pop acts getting their own comic strip? I can just imagine "Britney - the Graphic Novel": a dark reworking of the cheesy Britney myths, where the pop princess is recast as a dark knight, stalking the mean streets of Gotham, protecting the wealthy and tending to the needs of the moderately well-off. But I digress... this 5-star cartoon featured Leroy (I've no idea if it was Leroy, or even if there was a member of 5-star called Leroy... the laws of probability say that there's bound to be) telling the other members, "My boss keeps calling me his musketeer" [implied other members of 5-star: "Why's that then?"] Leroy: "Because he keeps telling me that I must get 'ere earlier".

This rises several deep and confusing questions. As a member of a moderately successful teen pop sensation, why does Leroy have a job? Aren't the lucrative earnings of a moderately sucessful UK chart band sufficient? So why does he need to take a part time job? And, given the gruelling schedule that eventually led to the disintegration of the band (probably), how did he have the time? OK, I can't actually remember any of their hits, and I do remember some of the recent press coverage of the demise of various members of Musical Youth, but I'm talking about a band at the top of their career (they'd have to be, to have a comic in Look In -- you don't get that for just anything, you know).

Where was I?

Ah yes, the lolly stick. Here it is:
Why was the book in the hospital? Because it hurt its spine.

Do you see how that works? It's because a book has a spine. Which is called a spine because it plays a similar role to the spine in vertebrates, viz, it forms a solid support to maintain the position and structure of the body. And of course a book can hurt its spine. Er, probably. And if a book did hurt its spine, it would go to hospital. Obviously. Um...


Please bear with me: I'm in the middle of acquainting myself with a new machine and a new operating system. The consequence of this will be to drag this scratch pad into a realm dangerously close to that of a real 'blog (as I may have said before, referring to Weblogs as 'blogs is about as archaic as referring to telephones as 'phones, especially if one talks about mobile 'phones. Hence I shall persist in apostrophising the word in order to irritate anyone that would find this habit irritating), with a discussion of the novelty of having a computer that actually does more or less what it is supposed to do without spending a week paging out to disk. At least this record has yet to degenerate into the mode of "today I got up and ate some toast" weblogs or worse yet, the weblogs which record every intimate detail of someone's dating and sex life, thus putting off any right thinking person from ever dating the blogger in question.

Anyway, mmm, computers. There should be a word to describe the process of hunting through menus in order to find the option that is causing the irritating behaviour that wasn't present in the previous version of the piece of software and turning it off. OK, that's a fairly complicated concept, but it's one I encounter every time I use a new machine. You know, the dull process of disabling those pain in the arse microsoft assistants that pop up in most office applications, switching off the feature that hides the menu options that you haven't used and so on. Can anyone see the flaw in the "thinking" behind that last example? I'm hunting around for some feature that I remember is somewhere in the program, but I can't find it because I haven't used it before? It's almost a catch-22 sitatuation. And am I the only person who finds that whole idea incredibly disorienting at the best of times? When I'm looking for an option and some of them are hidden, I can't begin to scan the menu until I've hovered long enough to see whether it's one of the hidden ones. It doesn't help that one never knows whether the option is classified under File, Edit, Options, Tool or Window.

I felt strangely empowered the other day when I managed to switch off that option that changes what it is you've highlighted. You know, you carefully click midway through a complex mathematical expression that you've typed into powerpoint for the presentation that you are preparing for a talk at the Institute for Damned Clever Stuff in Princeton, in order to make it sub-sup-super-sub-script, or something, and as you drag to the start of the section you want to change, suddenly the selection jumps over the whole thing. So you try again, in the vain hope that if you repeat it enough times then Windows will realise that you do know what you are doing, in the same way that if you type it enough times, the damn thing will realise that you do mean to write the word "teh" (which means, of course, the aspirant sound made by an exasperated computer user), but it's no use, and eventually you have to switch from mouse to keyboard in order to highlight the section using the undocumented keyboard shortcut (OK, it may actually be documented, but honestly, who reads Microsoft documentation anyway?), and eventually managed to get the right bit highlighted, and then switch back to mouse to carry on with the next bit. Anyway, I finally managed to find a check box somewhere deep within the powerpoint dialogues to switch this 'feature' off, and I then spent a pleasant half an hour or so delightedly sorting out my presentation the way I really wanted it to look and feeling like this was a real break through until I realised that this was the way the damn thing ought to work by default. Grrr. teh.


Is there any film coming out this summer that isn't a sequel? If it's not "X-2" (erm, literally), then it's "Terminator 3". Is no one brave enough to have any new ideas? Or have all ideas been used up completely? Also, what will we do without buffy?

I'm in the process of getting a new computer, with which blogging will be, like, 100 times faster, or something. The new machine's gonna be great: it's gonna have a maths co-processor, cache, EGA, a hard disk, two floppy drives (so I can copy disks without swapping them in and out of the same drive! Ace!), and an 8 bit sound card. Ha! It'll certainly put all your crappy little 8088's to shame!


Midwest vs Mideast

What follows is a brief comparison of the principle points of the Midwest, versus those of the Mideast.

For any unAmerican readers, a brief note of explanation. The Mideast is American for the Middle East: presumably that extra syllable is just too much effort to pronounce. The Midwest is American for America, or at least what you would take to be be America if you looked at it on the map. It consists of, roughly speaking, all the states of the USA which do not have a coastline, and therefore consumes roughly 90% of the landmass of the land, if you don't count anomalies such as Alaska (and most people don't). However, since most Americans live either close to the east coast or the to the west coast (much like awkward youths pushing themselves against opposite sides of the school hall at an ill-advised school disco, with a gaping gulf in between them populated only by the unpopular fat kid with the bad glasses: and that's how most Americans view the inhabitants of the midwest), then the midwest requires a special name to describe it.

A further note for unAmerican readers: calling someone unAmerican is about as big an insult as it is possible to make. Suggesting that someone does not posess the defining qualities of an American citizen is considered even worse than the second biggest insult, which is to call someone a socialist (that is, to suggest that they may have concern or interest in the safety and well-being of people other than themselves or their immediate family). Therefore, use this term with care.

Onto the comparison. The following consists of how most Americans understand the Mideast, and how most Americans understand the midwest.

ContentsLarge empty plainsLarge empty deserts
PeoplePortrayed as ill-educated sand monkeys by the mediaPortrayed as ill-educated country bumpkins by the media
Religious mattersPortrayed as ululating religious nutcases by the mediaPortayed as bible-bashing religious nutcases by the media
RebellionConsidered to be a breeding ground for terrorists and rebelsConsidered to be a breeding ground for arms-wielding right wing militias
PoliticsPolitical issues caricatured as clashes between old guard and modernising forcesPolitical issues caricatured as clashes between a past of slavery and reformist forces
RulersRuled by puppet governments controlled by conservative and religious forcesRuled by George Bush and the Republicans

There you go. I hope you found this informative. In my next post, I hope to solve the Middle East question. (The Middle East Question is, for anyone who's not been paying attention, why is there a Nat West Bank, but no Nat Gaza Strip?).


I am being victimized by AOL-Time-Warner-Brothers-Multimedia-Conglomerate-Inc. They are sending me AOL sign up CDs with passwords that are designed to annoy me. Let me list a random selection of the last few dozen to land in my mailbox:


No, I have no idea what any of them mean either (except for PLEBS-CHALET, which is presumably a mean-spirited attack on certain holiday resorts), but I still feel that there is some insidious insult hiding in these supposedly nonsense phrases. I think I shall go for a walk while I try to ignore them.


Just popped into a bookstore, and saw a book called "The Boy Next Door", which had a picture of a young girl on the front cover. The author was Betty Cavanna. But when I first read it, I thought her name was "Betty Canavva". Which would have been better.
Was passing a phonebox today, and there was an advert on it for some service called "Faircall". No idea what it is, but it's a great name... you pay your money, and what do you get? Faircall! [nb this works better if you have a slightly posh accent. Repeat it to yourself a few times].

Which has prompted me to write down all the perfectly innocent words or phrases which sound rude to me. I think you have to have my head for some of these to work.

1. King. As in the famous Radio 4 panel game, "King Stupid"

2. Cough. When a lout is harassing you in the street, respond by saying "I say you there! Why don't you just cough?"

3. Quit. Such harassing louts are frequently quits.

4. Queue. If the lout responds with a stream of invective, laugh off his threats, and merely mutter "Queue".

5. Q, Q_2. In a physics lesson once, there were a couple of unknowns: the total charge, Q, the charge on the first capacitor Q1, and the second capacitor, Q2. Someone was getting a bit confused, so the teacher explained: "You're meant to be solving for Q!". To which I was tempted to add, "And for Q2!".

6. Who remebers "A Time to Dance?" Featuring Ronald Pickup as a dodgy old man, hitting on the youthful Dervla Kerwin. It was very popular at my school, and fans of the show were referred to in the playground as "Kerwin"s. Repeatedly. As in, "Kerwin! Kerwin! Kerwin! Kerwin! Kerwin!"

7. Some people have had the temerity to suggest that my name, Hugh Anchor, sounds rude. Ridiculous, although I have got into an unfortunate number of fights when I thought that someone was calling my name, and I replied snappily, "Yes, what is it?" To be fair, they had been shouting at me, but for a different reason, it turned out.

8. Hugh Jackman. Now this really is a silly made up name! I know he's supposed to be a serious actor, but what made him think he could get away with making people go around commenting on what a "Huge ackman" he has -- everyone knows that 'ackman' is street slang for... er... something rude.

9. Getting back to my original theme, I read a paper about "Fair Queuing" once. What do we want? A Fair Queue! Fair Queue!

10. Lastly, a classic joke. It's the first day of a major trial, and all the press are there to report on it. There is a commotion at the front of the court: an important document has been left behind in chambers, and the case cannot start without it. A young lawyer pipes up, "Fax it up!". The senior judge looks over his glasses, and comments "Yes, it does rather...".

Got any more everyday words that sound rude if you are a depraved freak? Keep 'em to yourself then, pottymouth.


Oh that's just great: sarcastic thieves stole my bicycle lock, but left my bike there unlocked.

Crap lolly joke of the week: Why did the book join the Police? So he could work undercover.
That doesn't work either, does it?


SARS versus CARS

According to the Radio this morning, 140 people died from SARS in Beijing last month - about the same number as were killed in automobile accidents. Which made me wonder, why aren't we terrified of CARS? Consider the following:

  • CARS have infected every city on earth
  • CARS can be fatal on contact.
  • Wearing a face mask is no defense against CARS
  • In most cities, you are never more than 20ft away from a carrier of CARS
  • Children and the elderly are most at risk from CARS, but even a healthy adult can be injured or killed by CARS
  • You can't tell by looking at someone if they have CARS
  • Many people pick up CARS at airports
  • CARS have been growing steadily through the years

Well, anyway, you get the idea...


Is something that receives a severe attack from the maudlin Irish poet on Late Review the recipient of a Tom Paulin Maulin'?
As Bruce Banner says, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry". Well indeed; I don't like you any other time, so I fail to see why I should be any more endeared to you when you are riled.


Film review, courtesy of Robert Eger

X-Men Reloaded

A small band of rebels fight against the prevailing authority in an orgy of death, destruction, and computer animation. Am I talking about X-Men 2, Matrix 2, Stuart Little 2, Charlies Angels 2, or Hamlet 2? To be honest, it doesn't really matter. This movie is a rare achievement, one that it is entirely forgettable. It's pleasant enough to watch it for a couple of hours, but as you leave the cinema, it becomes apparent that the film left no lasting impression on you whatsoever. Like a snack, it gives you something to keep you occupied, but at the end of it you are still hungry for some real sustenance. This is quite an achievement: usually films are good or bad: to be some thorougly mediocre takes a real skill.

There are a couple of points of interest. I'm prepared to indulge any film that shows us Alan Cumming. I love watching Alan Cumming in movies, mostly because it gives me endless opportunities to use the same crap pun over and over and over again. Of course, this is not Cumming's finest hour; that honour goes to the sitcom "The High Life", where he played a camp air steward. Technically, that was his finest half-hour, being a BBC sitcom, but let's not quibble. It also featured the divine Siobahn Redmond, who was in that police corruption thingy with Neal Pearson, who was in Drop The Dead Donkey alongside Stephen Tomkinson, whose role "Spock" in All Quiet on the Preston Front was taken over by Alistair McGowan, once again demonstrating the truth of that age old claim that anyone can be linked to Alistair McGowan in under six steps. Anyway, Cumming spends the entire movie hidden in an entirely pointless blue costume, faking a central European accent that wanders from Berlin to Moscow, and points in between. This is certainly not to be confused with the last movie he starred in with Famke Janssen, Goldeneye, in which he played a Russian with a fake accent that wandered from Moscow to Berlin.

Hugh Jackman's sideburns deserve an oscar for best supporting facial hair; if you've seen the movies he appears in without sideburns (Kate and Leopold; Swordfish) then you'll know that the acting abilities don't lie with the actor himself. It was recently claimed that the term "sideburns" came about from a corruption of the name of General Burnside. It's one of those implausible things that people tell you and expect you to believe it for no good reason. At least he has a decent talent: knives sprout out of his hands when he gets angry, and steam shoots out of his ears. That must be handy, since it never means having to scrabble around in the cutlery drawer for a decent steak knife. Pity the poor x-men who have crappier talents: one kid's super-ice powers come in useful only for speed chilling beverages; Anna Pacquin demonstrates a talent for sucking off, but this refers to her ability to suck off the powers of other x-men, or to suck all the interest out of any scene she appears in. What must it be like for all the other x-men whose diverse special powers never get called on: the girl whose telepathy means that she knows exactly what someone is going to say, but only after they've said it, or the boy who can solve complex problems in abstract algebraic group theory.

Another interesting thing (look, I told you the film didn't have much to remark on, I'm really scraping the bottom of the barrel here) is the presence of spooky small girl character as the projection of another sentience: this peculiarly complex image is becoming something of a cliche, having been used recently in Resident Evil as well as an episode of Angel, besides the X-Men. Apart from this, the rest of the film is mostly an exercise in ticking of boxes: bad guy getting his brutal come-uppance? Check. Heroic self-sacrifice? Check. Garguantuan struggle between good and evil? Check. Mild twist that was signposted from the start? Check. Everyone finding a particular point where their power, and their power alone can save the day? Check. And so on.

Final verdict: Two thumbs, way down.

Robert Eger appears courtesy of "Robert Eger Hates The Movies Dot Com"


Another exercise for the reader: why is it that, after getting a much faster internet connection, I am much less inclined to write anything here? I guess it's because I have a lot of other things on my plate. In fact, not only do I have a lot of things on my plate, but I have an entire additional set of crockery that's fully loaded. Which still doesn't explain why I spent most of the day at home in front of the screen downloading stuff and wandering around websites. Such as those nice people at ntk (no link provided -- find them yourself), who seemed to appreciate the crossword thingy. I feel a little glimmer of pride. Almost.


I prefer not to indulge in mere linkrepostage, except in order to pollute google searches with inappropriate responses, but I'm prepared to make exceptions.
Today's time wasting frippery: play "find the hidden words" in yesterday's
Guardian crossword solution. There's about 10 to find.


Yesterday brought another surreal ice-lolly joke. Someone is clearly trying to poison the minds of our children with this wanton surreality:
"When is a fin not a fin? When it's a dol-phin".
Admittedly, I can't think of a better punchline: "When it's a dorsal fin", or "When it's anterior" come to mind but don't quite work. But neither does this answer: I mean, dolphins do have fins. It's like someone has taken the classic joke "When is a door not a door? When it's ajar", and not really understood it. This does suggest a whole new unfunny type of joke: "When is a chair not a chair? When it's a chair-man" "When is a fish not a fish? When it's e-fish-ent" "When is a joke not a joke? When it makes no sense whatsoever", and so on.

Someone challenged my claim that punchlines taken in isolation can be just as amusing as the joke itself, if you've heard the joke before. So here are some punchlines; fill in the joke yourself:
i) "Yes, but Betty's got Parkinson's"
ii) "In Iraq"
iii) "When Tariq Aziz"
iv) "A stick"
v) "Oh, I thought you said "What about a water bottle, Waddle"
vi) "One of its legs is both the same"
vii) "With prices like this, I'm not surprised"

And so on. Much quicker than telling the whole joke.

Has anyone else played the same game that I've been playing today? You go to the website of a parcel delivery firm to track a package, and hit reload every five minutes as you see that the package has arrived at the depot... left the depot... out for delivery... until finally... delivery failed, recipient not in... because all this time you've been sat in an office watching your parcel on its way to your house where there's no one in? Does anyone know what the point of this game is, since you already know what the outcome is going to be?


"Dude, you're getting Adele!"
"All in all, you're just another prick in the mall"

Um, yeah. So, as far as I can work out from the below ad-profile, I am supposed to be constantly thinking about buying a new car/SUV/truck (actually, I don't drive), and driving it to the movies or to the drive-thru branch of a fast food restaurant (can't stand fast food, and don't eat burgers on principle). So much for targeted advertising. I suppose it's my fault for watching Buffy & Angel, targeted at teens, and Comedy Central, targeted at... I dunno, really. People with a sense of humour? If I watch TV on weekend mornings (esp the cartoons) then I would get a load more toy & game ads. Likewise, I'm sure I normally see many more ads for mobile 'phones: perhaps they are just proportionately more annoying than other ads, so I don't see them.

What I'd really like to see advertised is an ad-blocker. Something that just switches the sound & visuals off while the ads are on, so I can read my book for a few minutes. Or, even better, seamlessly edits them out. If I can stop getting annoying pop-up ads on the web by using a different browser, why can't I rid myself of them on TV too? Obligatory blog link to adbusters

Some quick google observations on adverts: if you did a google search for motwani then you used to get a googlead to go and work for google (rajeev motwani was the advisor at stanford of larry page & sergei brin, and provided VC for google) -- but this seems to have stopped working since I last tried it. he is still the top hit for that search though.

Secondly, try a google search for sex: looks like no one has bought the keyword "sex" -- or perhaps google don't sell it? Now try some dirtier words: search for "oral", "oral sex", "anal" and "anal retentive". You'll notice that the searches that are potentially innocuous: "oral" and "anal retentive" don't have any ads, but the others do: looks like the advertising engine is getting smarter. I might investigate further if I get bored. Like tomorrow.


Introducing... the all new...

Well, the reports are in... for a week, I watched television. And, during the advertisement breaks, I carefully noted how many advertisements I saw, and recorded into which category they fell. The idea is to figure out what sort of consumer I am supposed to be, based on the demographic that is being targeted in these commercials.

Perhaps most surprising to me was the sheer quantity of advertising fed to me. I reckon that I watched for between 10.5 and 11 hours last week (which actually seems kind of low to me, but there you go... since I'm paying $40/month for satellite, this means that I pay around $1/hour that I'm watching). During this time, I recorded seeing
393 adverts. That's about 36/hour. This shouldn't be too surprising. As anyone who spends too much time downloading and watching US TV shows from illegal internet copyright violating web sites will tell you, the typical "hour long" TV show is 41-43 minutes in duration, and the average half hour show takes only 21 minutes. That means that there is 17 minutes of advertising space available, so 36 x 30 second on average commercials comes to about the right amount.

Now the part you have all been waiting for: the breakdown of the figures.

Quantity of advertsAdvertised Item or Product
95Other television programmes
55Cars, trucks and SUVs
35Fast Food
34Electronics, games and websites
31Movies and DVDs
24Soda, beer and other drinks
23Hair and cosmetic products
14Medication and drugs
13Snacks and snack foods
12Financial and money
11Telephones and telephony
8Clothes and clothing
6Home improvement and decorating
6Cable and satellite channels and packages
4Self-improvement: exercise and education

I'll try to analyze what kind of a person I am supposed to be later, but in the meantime, here are some additional counts for advertisements that I saw in the course of a week.

Quantity of advertsAdvertised Item or Product
0Books, newspapers, magazines or anything remotely literary
0Theatrical productions, operas, art galleries, museums or anything else "high culture"
0Fruit, vegatables, cooking products or healthy eating (except in the context of salads offered at burger restaurants)
0Toys, games (except computer games), sports (except televised)
0Modes of transport such as bicycles, trains, buses, walking - apart from cars, SUVs and planes
0Political adverts, pro- or anti-anything (including drug and alcohol awareness)


"The presidential candidates are beginning to butt heads..."
My week long advertisement consumathon is almost done, will post the results here when it is.
I just noticed that DSL is LSD backwards (presumably the rest of the world noticed this about a decade ago). Althogether now... "DSL is like the internet... on acid!" (xref to the relevant FistOfFun sketch also from about 10 years ago).


The Top 10,000 Rejected Onion Headlines

1. New online satire website not as funny as the Onion used to be.
2. Ordinary event reported as it were important
3. Onion style becoming tired, repetitive
4. Another reference to March 1974 Edition of Oui Magazine
5. You get the idea, there's no need to repeat it thousands of times over...
6. ... unlike some people...


Thanks to RjY and Matt for the links. Interesting to see that this gets 13 hits through RjY who labels this "weird shite" to 1 hit via Matt who says that he likes it. Anyway, those links should get this into search engines soon... I should explain, I'm only doing this as a way to collect bizarre search queries. Difficult to compete with the site that comes #1 for "hamster pipe arse" in Google, though.


An exercise for the reader

Construct scenarios in which the following sentences could be uttered:

a) "Nietzche teacher creature eat-yer heart out"

b) "Spender, lend a friend a pen to mend a tender fender-bender"
Fun with mathematics

I saw a poster recently for a country music channel, which made the following claim
"Tattoos: Eminem - 8 Dixie Chicks 27".
Well, that's all very well, I thought, but there are three Dixie Chicks, so that's hardly a convincing argument that they have more tattoos than Eminem. But, then I applied the probabilistic method. There is an average of 9 tattoos per Dixie Chick. Therefore, there must exist a Dixie Chick with 9 or more tattoos, more than Eminem. Isn't mathematics wonderful?