I've seen a couple of adverts on telly recently (on Meridian) for a bizarre and yet intensely necessary theme park called "DiggerWorld". That is, a visitor attraction based around JCB diggers and located somewhere near Strood. I wanted to find out more, so I tried to go to there advertised webpage, diggerworld.com, but found it to be sadly lacking in content (last time I looked it was one of those irritating "this domain has been registered but we can't be bothered to put any content on it" style pages). I tried every variation of this URL, and also googled for a bit, but couldn't find it.

Is this just a cruel hoax? Is the promise of exciting JCB rides, and the chance to operate a digger just a mean trick to get young children's hopes up? Or are the web people just incompetent?

Ah well, perhaps it is for the best that the world shall never know the true glory of... DiggerWorld!


New Television Ideas

Given that every television show made at the moment is essentially done by picking randomly from a few basic ideas: celebrities, voting, reality, gardening, games, hidden cameras, house buying, nostalgia, cooking etc., then here is my suggestion for a new TV show: "I remember nostalgia!". A hilarious hidden camera show where c-list celebs are asked to provide heartfelt reminiscences about TV programmes and fads from twenty years ago. The twist is, that all the items are made up and the non-celebs are tricked into reminiscing about something that they've never seen.


A hasty vaguely topical rewrite. It's not perfect but hey, you're not paying for this, so why are you complaining?

To the tune of Billie-Jean.

She told me her name was Billie-Jean, and she was nineteen
So I logged off and booked a flight, thinking she was the one
When I met my little pet on the net

Nobody ever warned me, be careful on the web
And don't believe in the young girl's profile
I should have Googled for her, before I fell in love
And be careful on the web or you're labelled 'paedophile'

That Shevaun was not my lover
She's a schoolgirl who came from Manchester
But I really do protest, er,
It was all in jest, I never did molest her

For four days and a few more nights
The law was on our trail
Paris, Stutgart and then to Frankfurter
I never hurt her
When I met my little pet from the net
Now take my wisdom sage, remember to check her age (check her age)

Nobody ever warned me, be careful on the web
And don't believe in the young girl's profile
She said that she had to come clean
As the cops began to call
I lost my little Billie-Jean ---
No b-j at all

That Shevaun was not my lover
She's s a schoolgirl who came from Manchester
But I really do protest, er,
It was all in jest, I never did molest her
(repeat to fade)


Death of a Travelling Salesman

Well, actually, death of a laptop. My laptop died today, after roughly three and a half years of service. It may be possible to revive it via electrical shock (a new power adaptor), but do I want to spend the best part of $100 on restoring an item which has been about to die for six other reasons for the last year? Anyway, this event in no way explains the long delay since the last entry. Nevermind, have an almost topical haiku:

Alastair Campbell
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Sex'd up dossier?

Or, since I'm experimenting with the form, a limeraiku (that's a limerick in the form of a haiku) from the perspective of the BBC:

So Campbell's mangled
Dossier was toss, we say.
Oh, what a shambles!

That'll have to do for now. Quick moral dilemma till next time: what do you do when you are looking over someone's wedding list trying to select a gift, and you feel that all the items on there are a flagrant waste of money?


One last lolly blog post before I scoot back to the UK, where the Internet has yet to be invented. And, appropriately enough, it's a technology based joke.

What were the two talkative computers doing?
They were having a disc-cussion

What a pity that this joke sucks. Let's put aside the unjustified anthropomrophism of making computers into sentient beings. It's a crap pun. What exactly is a "cussion"? It just doesn't work. It might just work if you somehow managed to make pun into being something about a "disc-cushion", but quite what one would be, or why you would want to cushion your discs... well, that's your problem.

Anyway, I sent Robert Eger to New York yesterday, to swelter in the 90 degree heat and to watch a movie. Here's what he came back with.

The Italian Job Reviewed by Robert Eger, of "Robert Eger hates the movies".

For a film supposedly about minis, this one rather resembles a bicycle. Or rather, a philosopher's bicylce. You know, the one that's had a new frame, and new wheels, and new tires, and new breaks... so is it the same bicycle? Well, on the basis of this film, no, it's not.

OK, let me explain. This is a remake of the classic Michael Caine film. I know it is, because it has the same name and because it says so during the credits. You wouldn't guess otherwise. Because pretty much every aspect of the film has been changed. In fact, the only thing about the film that has been retained has been the three mini-coopers, and they've had extensive plastic surgery in the intervening thirty five-odd years.

You can tell things aren't going to go well in a remake of a film which is famous for its staggering, seemingly never-ending car chase around an Italian city when the, in the remake, the Italian city is Venice, chiefly famous for not being too well off in the roads department.

Also, at no point does anyone in the film say, "Hoi! You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off", whilst being Michael Caine. Admittedly, if they had, then I would have lambasted it as a shallow, weak imitation of the far superior original, but since I'm going to lambast it anyway, it doesn't make too much difference. "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" is of course the punchline to a mildly filthy joke which I'm not going to tell you, but since I've already given you the punchline then you should be able to work backwards and fill in the rest from there. It's not like it's one of Anchor's bloody lolly stick jokes or something.

The main villian of the piece is Edward Norton, although he is only a supporting actor. The actor his is supporting is Edward Norton's Facial Hair, the one you want to boo every time he comes on screen, mostly because Edward Norton's Facial Hair is pure evil, a sinister brooding presence, who makes every one else on screen look like a ham. And he's pretty callous too, in an evil genius kind of way. The original movie famously ends with a truck full of gold hanging precariously over a precipice in the alps, and Michael Caine claiming to have a good idea; Edward Norton's Facial Hair's good idea is to shoot the rest of the crew and scarper with the gold all for himself, which seems a bit harsh. They may be thieves, but that's no excuse for them to try to nick stuff from each other. The remainder of the movie consists of the remainder of his gang, who somehow manage to survive being shot, drowned and frozen to death, trying to get him back like some kind of tit for tat game. The hero is played by... some guy... or other... I think. He leaves such a little impression on the viewer that I can't even... remember... what it was that I was talking about when I started this sentence. Sorry, what?

For computer nerds like myself, there's a running joke about Napster which begins with a cameo from Shawn Fanning. It can't even lead up to the cameo. Poor guy, forced to make any money he can by selling his name in some dumb summer action movie. How are the mighty fallen; think on't, Page and Brin. You might have to finish those PhDs some day, smart boys...

Final verdict: three thumbs, way down.


I have decided to sue someone, for copying my idea of taking tedious events that happen to me, and recording them in a daily format on a webpage, something that I am calling my "net diary". Anyway, I got a lawyer to get onto this. This was a few weeks ago; nothing seems to have happened, and on looking into it, I found out that he hadn't sorted out the paperwork to sue this person.

So I went round there, and started complaining to the lawyer that he wasn't doing what I had asked him to. He interupted, and asked me to take off my jacket. I did, and he folded it up carefully, opened a drawer in a cabinet, and placed it inside. Then he asked me to take off my trousers, and then he proceeded to do the same thing with those. "What's going on here?" I demanded to know.

"What are you complaining about?" he asked, "I'm filing your suit, aren't I?"


Bored on the Fourth of July

Or, That Was Zen, This is Tao.

Actually, I'm not really bored. I've spent the day at home doing all those tedious computer housekeeping tasks that our grandparents never used to have to do. You know, updating web pages, backing up email, responding to messages that have been lying in the inbox for six months, deleting old versions of files, wondering why there is only 20Gb left on a 120Gb drive that was new last month (actually, I'm still working on that last one).

But you don't care about that, you care about lolly stick jokes. A reader, AJ, has sent one in. First, let me remind you that you're not actually supposed to read this blog. I'm not writing this for your benefit, I'm writing it for mine. Therefore, there is no "implied audience", and the fact that there is nevertheless an audience is messing things up considerably. Anyway, AJ notes that she once saw a joke on a gum wrapper:

Q. Which salmon don't swim upstream?
A. The dead ones.

There's a certain delightfulness in the harsh brutality of that one; not as charming as the hydrogometer joke on the recently anonymized DB's website.

OK, onto the other housekeeping stuff: the signs arrived yesterday. You're not supposed to know what the signs are, by the way, although you can probably guess. Maybe I'll put a webpage up about them on one or other of my sites, assuming that the whole things works out without injury or arrest.

AJ also suggests some anagrams of "Strom Thurmond". The point was not really to find anagrams of Strom Thurmond, but more to point out that it doesn't look like a name, but more like an anagram of something else. I blame Chris Morris, who once made a point of introducing all Nine Inch Nails records as featuring "The well-known anagram, Trent Reznor".

My favourite (made by me with the help of a computer and William Tunstell-Pedoe's excellent Anagram Genius software) is that Vladimir Nabokov = Vivid Amoral Bonk. It was subsequently pointed out to me by Google that Vladimir Nabokov is also an anagram of Vivian Darkbloom, who is a character in one of his novels (smartarse). Of course, search for Vivian Darkbloom on the net, and instead you get a load of Xena the Warrior Princess Slash Fiction by someone who has adopted Darkbloom as a pseudonym.

Oh dear. I've just been reminded of fan fiction, and for reasons which made sense at the time, I just tried googling for "Mel and Sue" "fan fiction". About the only hit I found was CreepyLesbo, who I'm sure was recently linked to by DB. It's a painfully tiny internet, kids, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. CreepyLesbo, if you look at your referrer logs and wonder where the bizarre search queries are coming from, it's probably just me.

Which reminds me, I should make a competition: the competition is for who can make the weirdest google search query that brings them to my site. To win, you'll have to get the search terms into my logs, and then email me to claim that it was you. Cheating will be made difficult, since the servustats.com thing operates via JavaScript to get the http-referrer, so you can't just use wget with some made up search string (unfortunately). The same process makes winning without cheating equally difficult since servustats seems remarkably moody, and refuses to record most legitimate accesses, something to do with IP addresses and the like, I'll warrant. If you do manage to cheat, then you can still win, since I figure that the difficulty of cheating means that it's more effort than trying to win legitimately.

The prize, should anyone bother to take part, is my complete collection of used lolly sticks. I'm currently storing these on my keyboard, in the valley between the number keys and the function keys. It's just the right size to store lolly sticks, so I wonder if this is a design feature. Also, does anyone know the name for the gap between the number keys and the function keys on a keyboard? It's the kind of thing that ought to have a technical name. Otherwise, I shall christen it the "uvula", which completely fails on the grounds of analogy, but is in honour of a far side cartoon.

Crap, people have been getting their uvula's pierced. That's something I could have lived without knowing.

Boring stuff: I'll be in England for most of the rest of July. So, er, there.


I'm waiting in for my signs to arrive, and after the freneticism of writing a paper for infocom, it's time to relax wth some more inane babbling to a webpage.

First, some traditional blog stuff: look, it's a job where not only will you not get sacked if you keep a blog, you actually have to keep one.

According to the Guardian, Dried sperm could be stored at home. Funny, I know some people who've been doing that for years using only common household items like tissues... the journalist also has an appropriate name, what more could you ask for from a news story?

AOL has sent me some more coasters/wall decorations/frisbees. The passwords are more surreal this time:
The first one sounds like some kind of a McGuffin in a scifi movie, or possibly the work of a crazed postdoc in Italy working on semiconductors. The second... well, if it was Ironic Suitor, then I'd have some clue what it means, but as it is, I have no clue.

Back onto blogs, and I was thinking about new words that will arise because of bloggers. In the same way that google has launched an entire vocabulary (to Google, TSOGL, googlewhack, googlebomb, googlewash and so on), what words will blogging add to the lexicon? Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Blogorrhea: I think this one's been used already
  • Blogtopus: someone who keeps eight different blogs and seems to update them constantly.
  • Blurker: Someone who reads lots of blogs, but doesn't have their own and never leaves comments.
  • Blogtogan: an eight sided-blog
  • Blogasm: the euphoric feeling you get when your favourite blog has just had a massive update.
  • Blogan's Run: In the not too distant future, the government attempts to cut down overcrowding of the net by tracking down bloggers who have grown too tedious, and having them shot.

There's also scope for a whole range of subgenres of blogs devoted to particular subjects, such as:

  • HotDogBlogs: for fans of fast food
  • DobbyBlogs: for authors of Harry Potter slash fiction
  • PablogPicasso: for art fans
  • Globeblog: for dyslexic palindrom enthusiasts
  • Norweblogs: for fans of electricity generating companies

Hmm, that'll do for now.


There are few things finer than listening to the Smurfs covering Supergrass on a warm summers evening with the prospect of a couple of paper deadlines looming within 24 hours of each other.

Oh well, back to the lolly sticks:

What did the girl melon say when the boy melon proposed?
We're too young, we canteloupe.

I don't know what to make of this one. On the one hand, it's probably the closes to a half decent joke that I've seen after sucking off a lolly. On the other hand, it is rather, well, contrived. And on the other hand.. that would make three hands, which would be weird.

Is there anything worse than listening to the Smurfs singing "Smurfland Olympics" on a sticky summer night with the prospect of a couple of paper deadlines looming within 24 hours of each other?

I watched "Agent Cody Banks" the other night. I'd get Robert Eger to review it, but I don't think that there's all that much to say about it. Besides, how can you fault a film that has Ian McShane as a glowering cackling bad guy who gets his comeuppance when he is consumed from the inside by a swarm of deadly nanobots?

It's amazing what they'll show in kids' movies these days.