Bits and Pieces

Thursday, April 28, 2005

No Title

Apart from the whole death of my car farrago in the past week, I've also been distracted by a couple of other things. The most important of these is that my step-grandad is dying. He's been in hospital for a good while now, with alll sorts of illnesses related to both his old age and his years of smoking, but he worsened in the past week. My gran was called in with the rest of the family late last week with a warning that he would probably go within a few hours, but he managed to fight back from the edge - something he's done 3 times in the last 2 years.

Tonight, though, may be his final night. My dad came to find us at the pub to tell us that he's fading fast. My gran, mum and most of the family are at the hospital, but my brother, sister and I have had a few drinks so we thought we'd better stay away.

Anyway, blogging will be scarce the next few days. I just don't feel like it right now.

Monday, April 25, 2005

New Car

After a long weekend of searching around, calling dealers and - more often than not - discovering that the car I wanted had already been sold, I've finally found a decent ride. It's an R reg (1998) Ford Fiesta 1.25l Zetec with a little over 40,000 miles on it. It seems in good shape, but I probably wouldn't know a bad car unless it actually exploded on the test drive.

What pisses me off, though, is that I was looking at a much better car earlier in the day. I found a Fiesta on the Internet that was a year newer, had 15,000 fewer miles on the clock and looked, if you'll forgive the language, fucking cool. Diamond black (is that any different than regular black?) stunning alloys, electric windows, power steering, central locking and a nice CD player, and just a few hundred quid more than the one I ended up buying. I couldn't get through to the dealer on the phone so I drove out in my temporary company car to the dealership. As I approached I saw that the car was still in front, and wandered around it in awe for a few minutes, drooling all over the paintwork. After I reached a dangerous level of dehydration the dealer sauntered out and told me it had been sold last week. Were they just trying to torture me by leaving it out on show? We'll never know - I tore out the guys lungs and threw them into traffic. Grrr.

Anyway. I went on to another showroom and settled on a different Fiesta. It's cheaper, but it doesn't look quite as good and doesn't have the features of the other one (apart from power steering and a sunroof). Both front tyres are a little worn and it wants to wander to the left but otherwise it seems great. I got him to replace both front tyres, realign the tracking, tax the car and get a fresh MoT and agreed on a price. I can finally pick it up Wednesday.

So, all in all this has been a weekend that cost me a couple of thousand pounds more than I'd planned to spend, but otherwise it was good.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Apropos of nothing, is it just me or do you also get a little chill down your spine when, after 4 minutes of silence, Tom Hanks says 'Houston, this is Odyssey - it's good to see you again"?

Maybe it's just the novelty of Hanks shutting up for a minute.

Friday, April 22, 2005

RIP Punto

My beloved car passed away at a little after 7pm Thursday evening. After a long illness whose symptoms included corroded brake lines, a complete suspension failure, a shaky clutch, bent exhaust and bodywork damage, yesterday evening the straw broke the camel's back.

I had been driving all day on the motorway, and ended up at the end of the day in a local pub with a friend. Later on we drove back to his house, but on the way the engine cut out in the middle of the street. I put on the hazard lights, pushed the car onto the kerb and called my recovery service. While I waited I popped the bonnet and noticed that the cambelt had snapped.

It costs 50 quid (something like $100) to replace the cambelt (also called the timing belt), and they're supposed to last about 40,000 miles. This one lasted about 8,000. The reason is that I have a worn bearing in the camshaft, and I'm assuming it caused excessive wear on the cambelt. A new camshaft costs 200 quid (almost $400). On top of all the other necessary repairs I would have had to shell out around 700 pounds (a little less than $1,400). The car isn't worth that much, so it seems a little pointless to throw good money after bad.

So. I had the car towed to a nearby garage I know and the owner let me leave it there until it gets towed. I stripped all I could carry from the car and told the mechanic to go nuts - feel free to take anything he wants before the scrap metal scavengers pick it up.

I managed to wangle a company car from my boss for a few days, but in the meantime I have to spend the weekend looking for the cheapest car I can find. I have 650 pounds in the bank but I'm looking to spend about 400. For that price I'm guaranteed to get a piece of shit that'll break down after a few miles, but I can't afford anything else.

A few years ago, if you'll allow me to go off on a tangent, I was flying to Singapore. As we were landing R Kelly's 'I believe I can Fly' piped through the Tannoy, as if the only thing keeping the plane in the air was the collective will of the passengers. In that vein, I need you all to keep up a continuous prayer to keep whatever shitty piece of scrap metal I buy on the road. Say a quick prayer as soon as you wake up in the morning and with a bit of luck I won't end up in a fiery ball on the hard shoulder of some God-forsaken motorway in the middle of nowhere.

If, on the other hand, you decide not to pray for the car, you should feel pretty damned guilty when this site suddenly goes quiet for a few weeks, followed by a brief post from my mother to notify you of my painful fiery death.

Whatever. It's up to you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

From the Mailbag

Rusty Shackleford has posted part 1 of a 4 part interview with the family of Roy Hallums, a civilian contractor abducted in Iraq last November and held hostage since.

Roy was taken hostage along with six other foreign nationals, including a Fillipino named Robert Tarongoy. The U.S. did not publish the fact that an American citizen had been taken hostage because of a policy of treating civilian abductions as purely private matters. The Jawa Report was the first publication to identify Roy Hallums as the hostage.

Read the rest.

Monday, April 18, 2005

God Bless Alcohol

Jesus H. Christ I had a shitty day.

I noticed one of my rear tyres was almost flat this morning, so I drove to a nearby petrol station by a supermarket to pump it up. About 200 yards from the station the car started coughing, and I noticed it was totally out of petrol. I managed to nurse it into the car park, but it gave up the ghost just 30 yards from the pumps. So... I had to buy a petrol can to carry the gas 30... fucking... yards. Hell, the pump almost stretched that far. I could have pushed it but I'd look like such a loser I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Anyway, a few quid later the tank was full but the rear tyre was still flat and the station didn't have a working air pump, so I had to drive a few miles to the next station. That one didn't work, though, so I had to drive a few more miles looking for another. After almost getting into the centre of Manchester I gave up and drove back. Two hours wasted, and I only got half the work done that I planned.

Thank God I got drunk tonight.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Matt Drudge is an Ass

Matt Drudge in the Sunday Times (h/t Sisu):

Now he sounds disillusioned and says that the "din" is growing into a cacophony: "There's a danger of the internet just becoming loud, ugly and boring with a thousand voices screaming for attention." He is no fan of the blogging phenomenon (weblogs linking sites): "I don't read them. I like to create waves and not surf them. And who are these influential bloggers? You can't name one because they don't exist."

The Drudge Report earns Matt about $1.2million a year, a figure that has been climbing since Drudge shot to fame covering Clinton and Lewinski in the 90's. The Report, a muddled mess of news links and popups draws in, according to Drudge, over 200,000,000 visitors a month - far more than any blog.

Could it be, though, that Matt worries that the success of the blogosphere in recent times may come to overshadow his own success? Could it be that his position in the world of citizen journalism is in danger? After all, while no one site comes close to his level of traffic, the blogosphere as a whole drowns out the voice of Drudge in what he himself describes as a cacophony. But its a good cacophony.

For a journalist like Matt, suddenly bursting into the spotlight and gaining notoriety as an outsider long before anyone had heard the term 'blog', it must be worrying to watch the medium go beyond his control - to watch so many voices emerge in such a short time. These voices rarely have access to the inside sources that give Drudge his exclusives, but together they dig away at leads until they find the story with only their computers and the occasional phone call.

Anyway, have you seen the Drudge Report? It's like the front page of Google News designed by a drunk monkey. With no hands.

Update: Patrick Ruffini agrees.

Not about the drunk monkey part. Just the other stuff.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Lazy Reporting From the NYT

As I said in the comments here at Dean's World, picking up on the errors of the New York Times isn't exactly rocket science. Today, in an article entitled 'Security vs. Rebuilding: Kurdish Town Loses Out', they discuss the ramifications of cut-backs in Iraqi water projects:

But with the outbreak of insurgency in central and southern Iraq last year, the United States shifted $3.4 billion from water, electricity and oil projects to pay for training and equipping the Iraqi Army and police forces.

Hmmm, I thought. That looks familiar. Now where could I have seen that story before? Oh yeah. It was in the New York Times last year:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 25 - Rising security and other overhead costs of Western contractors are cutting into the billions of dollars set aside for some 90 planned water projects, allowing them to supply only half the potable water originally expected, Iraqi officials say.

Think it could just be an honest mistake? Maybe it was just a matter of two Times reporters writing about the same subject and happened to cover the same subject matter, right? Wrong. Both articles were written by the same guy, James Glanz.

Of course, even ignoring the dishonesty of rehashing old articles in an effort to attack the reconstruction efforts, I can point to at least three reasons why increasing investment in security for the reconstruction is money well spent:


and this

and this

Friday, April 15, 2005

Times Disassembles Truth, Strips Words of Meaning, Reassembles

Let tell you what pisses me off about the New York Times. Its not so much that they flat out lie, but that they're extremely selective with the truth when it suits them.

An example can be found in today's International section in an article titled 'A Trail of Pain From a Botched Attack in Iraq in 2003' regarding a "friendly fire" incident that claimed the lives of 3 US soldiers and wounded 5 in April 2003. An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle mistook a US artillery unit for an Iraqi missile battery and fired on them with a 500-pound bomb.

Where the Times departs from the truth is when they claim that the soldiers involved - and the public in general - were kept in the dark about the incident, and that the fact that it was friendly fire has been covered up. They go as far as suggesting that the soldiers involved were, in fact, pressured to conceal the truth.

Specialist Coyne, now retired from the military, received a Purple Heart for his injury. But he says that at the award ceremony at Fort Sill, Okla., his superiors instructed him to keep quiet about his suspicions that he had been bombed by American forces.

What they fail to mention is that an investigation into the incident was under way just hours after the incident, and the facts of the case were already common knowledge just days afterwards.

Until recently, some believed the explosion was caused by an Iraqi grenade,
while others blamed non-American coalition forces.

Who are these 'some'? Along with others, CNN reported the incident as friendly fire just days after the event:

An accidental F-15E Strike Eagle airstrike killed three U.S. service members and injured five others, U.S. officials said.

In addition to this, the father of Donald Oaks Jr., one of those killed on April 3rd, was actually informed by the Pentagon of how his son had died on April 4th, 24 hours after he was killed:

The Pentagon would only tell the family that Donny was killed by "friendly fire" on April 4.

Does it sound like they were trying to cover anything up to you?

Cross-posted at Dean's World.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Guest Blogging

I'll be guest blogging over at Dean's World for the next couple of days, so if you want more bloggy goodness go here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chronicles of Glenn IV: WTW Edition

LET ME TELL ya, I wasn't always a powerful high profile blogger-cum-professor. Far from it. I was raised in the rough 'hood of NorthNorthEast Knoxville, where you lived by your wits and only had basic cable.

One time I called a cop 'Pig'.

UPDATE: That was wild.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'm With Jay Tea

Wizbang's Jay Tea has stirred up an unlikely debate over Mormom baptism of the dead. It seems that the Mormon church has been post-humously baptising people for years without the knowledge or consent of the relatives of the deceased (and, naturally, the deceased him/herself). Dean and Rusty don't see the problem.

I'm not religious in the slightest, but if someone tried to baptise me when I'm lying there trying to get a good dirt nap I'd be pissed. Jay Tea put it best: I'm a huge believer in freedom of religion, but I've always thought that a key element of that concept was the right to be free FROM religion.

I get pissed off when religious folk try to make me see the light. I don't like the way they look at me like I'm some naive fool. Feel free to believe whatever you want, but just keep it out of my house, OK? If I choose one day to accept Jesus as my saviour it'll be on my own terms, not because a priest tells me to, or some ass in a cheap suit knocks on my door and sells me God like a set of encyclopedias.

Look, it's very simple. If you're Jewish and you find out your Dad was baptised as a Mormon after his death of course you won't be happy with it. Who would? These guys aren't just making some wishy washy blessings for you. They're swearing you in to the Mormon church. I've never been to Utah but as far as I've heard Mormon Central ain't no party I want to go to. Not only are they making you a post-mortem Mormon (try saying that ten times) they're insulting your faith. They're saying you were wrong to believe what you believed. Sure, they may have the best intentions but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

It would be the same deal for an atheist such as myself. I've made my choice and I'm sticking to it. If I die and show up in Mormon heaven someone's getting a beating.

Also blogging

Aaron, SobekPundit, Bogus Gold.


In response to a few comments I'd like to clarify: I understand that they don't actually exhume a body and dip it in a font. That isn't the point.

Jay Tea, I believe, puts it best in his absolute final word on the matter:

The Mormon Position: "We're only doing this because we care about you. If we're right, you'll thank us. If we're wrong, there's no real harm. So, what's the problem?"

The Jewish Position: "Regardless of your motives, we find it distasteful and offensive. Besides, whenever in our history people do things to us 'for our own good,' it almost inevitably turns out bad for us. Especially when it involves making lists of us. So please stop."

Monday, April 11, 2005

Heading to the US

A couple of weeks ago I asked for some advice about Frederick, Maryland, as a good friend of mine was moving out there to work for six months for an electronic engineering company. First, let me thank those who responded to that post: especially those who emailed links to nespaper articles and other websites. You were all a great help.

As it turns out, though, Craig only stayed briefly in Frederick. He's now been relocated to somewhere in New Jersey. He spent the weekend in New York and is now hard at work 12 hours a day in the cracker factory somewhere in NJ. He will, however, be spending his last three months in Frederick before moving on to Italy for another six months.

I'm fairly drunk right now but I'm getting more and more excited by the minute about heading to America for a short break. I'm thinking a week, but after receiving my commission for this month I can probably afford two. As we say in the UK, a few weeks with Craig in New York would be 'messy'.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Chronicles of Glenn, Vol. III

SOMETHING MY OLD man used to say seems prescient today. He said, 'son, when you've got a mean thirst and no cash, brake fluid can be your friend. Just make sure you choose a DOT3 or DOT4 solution: anything else'll burn your insides like a motherfucker.'

UPDATE: It just goes to show that wise words can survive hepatotoxicity and sudden, catastrophic kidney failure.

British Elections

British politics are dull. Trust me on this. The problem could be that the British electorate don't respond to the overblown drama that so interests me about US politics. Also, the UK isn't so sharply divided about news-making issues such as abortion. We're divided about it, but it doesn't dictate which party you support (at least not to the extent that it does in the US).

The result of this is that we don't seem to get fired up about UK politics (I don't, anyway). It seems my ignorance of UK politics has given me a little surprise today, though (h/t Outside the Beltway). The performance of the Conservatives over the past few years (with lacklustre leader following lacklustre leader) led me to believe that they are entirely unelectable. I never imagined that some polls could have them drawing level with Labour.

I've not yet made up my mind this time around. I'd be quite happy to give Blair another term, but I'm not sure I support him enough to vote. I might just withhold it again until it stops being a case of choosing the lesser of who cares.

The Roundup

Tim Worstall's Britblog Roundup #8 is up. Go. Now.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

If You Lay Down With Dogs...

A few years ago I was taking the bus home from a lecture in Manchester when I was approached by a guy who wanted to sell me a Minidisc player. It was a decent model, and back then this was the height of technology. He told me it was mine for 25 quid. I asked him if it was stolen, to which he replied 'does it matter?'. Naturally my answer went along the lines of 'I will have no part in this. I bid you good day, sir'.

I think I'm right in thinking that you wouldn't buy a Minidisc player if you knew it was stolen. You definitely wouldn't buy it if you knew the owner was beaten up during the theft. Imagine what kind of person you would be if you bought it when you knew the owner was killed during the theft?

So why is it acceptable for a news agency to buy photos from a guy who collaborates with terrorists? A person who makes his trade from recording the deaths of innocents, with full and willing foreknowledge of the atrocities he will photograph?

There have been several photos to come out of this war that were dubious in nature - just a little too perfect, a little too convenient to be just lucky shots, the photographer in the right place at the right time.

The argument can be, and has been, made that war reporters and photographers are simply unfazed of the danger of battle. They are willing to heroically risk life and limb in the pursuit of that perfect shot - the shot that encapsulates to spirit of battle; that highlights the courage and valour of the allied soldier, the futility of resistance. More than anything, perhaps, the shot that can contend for the much sought-after Pulitzer Prize.

However, there are certain situations that beg the question 'just how much did this guy know about what was going down?'. Are they willing to take tips from the enemy? Are they willing to collaborate? Are they even willing to stand and watch, invited guests to the slaughter of innocents and our troops?

The question must also be asked: if I bought the Minidisc player stolen during a murder am I innocent - or am I no better than the killer himself? Everyone has a price. I'm glad that mine is considerably higher than that of one CBS cameraman.

And the moral? If you lay down with dogs... you can fill in the rest.

Others blogging

Austin Bay
Random Probabilities
The Mudville Gazette
Sisyphean Musings
Blogs for Bush
Say Anything
Dean's World

and many, many more.


From the comments:

Reporting from Baghdad, CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan told Bob Schieffer that CBS News is cooperating with military investigators. The cameraman came with good recommendations, Cowan said:

"From every indication we had, the work he had done for us the past three months has been exceptional,'' Cowan said. He noted the all the networks employ locals in Iraq that help get footage that U.S. photographers couldn't get.
On Friday, CBS News issued a statement saying the cameraman had been working with the network for about three months, and had been referred by a trusted source with whom CBS has had a two-year relationship.

"It is common practice in Iraq for Western news organizations to hire local cameramen in places considered too dangerous for Westerners to work effectively. The very nature of their work often puts them in the middle of very volatile situations,'' the statement said.

First, some commenters need to learn that the 'name' field in Haloscan comments has a character limit - you're gonna get cut off if you try to start your argument there - as happened with 'Do a little bit of research be' (that goes for you too, 'Could Your Head Be Any Further')

OK. Lets not pretend that CBS are innocent victims of circumstance here. You're responsible for who you choose to work with, and when your photographer keeps submitting up-close and personal shots of terrorist activity somebody should be asking how this guy is getting so close to the action. "From every indication we had, the work he had done for us the past three months has been exceptional". Well. Duh.

I want to see Abdul Amir Younis Hussein's portfolio. He's been working with CBS for 3 months, so they should have a good collection of his photos and negatives. He was holding photographic evidence of four separate IED attacks on his camera. How many similar photos have been submitted to CBS? How many have been put on the news or website? Moreover, was this guy working exclusively for CBS or was he freelancing for several networks?

Greed and wilful stupidity won't exculpate CBS - and if it turns out that Hussein was working with the insurgents someone at CBS should be publicly flogged. But, of course, they will probably worm their way out of it with a few well-crafted statements that have had any real meaning stripped from them wholesale. It will have been a 'regrettable error' to have hired Hussein. A 'well-intentioned judgement which was, in hindsight, in error'. And then before you know it the spectacular ratings-grabbing shots will begin once again to flow in, and everyone will forget that the media pays the wages of the enemy.

'Nother Update

Mustang 23 from Assumption of Command agrees.

Chronicles of Glenn, Vol. II

WELL, I USED to be a UN ambassador for peace, but once the whole peanut boy scandal broke that was all pretty much over.

UPDATE: I'm not allowed to go back to Thailand, either.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

No Sleep 'til York

How about this for crazy? My friends and I are planning a long weekend to York next month (we did it last month, and I believe today's youth would have described it as 'off the hook' or something similarly nonsensical - christ, I'm only 23. I am today's youth).

Seem to have lost my thread there. Anyway, I was just looking at hotel prices for the weekend we want to go, and I've found 2 possibilities. The first, a Travelodge, is a 2 star motel type arrangement. Comfortable and clean, but nothing special. It's basically a bed, a shower, and possibly a window. 2 nights = 140 quid (about $260).

The second option is the York Hilton. 4 star hotel with everything you expect from a Hilton. 2 night= 210 quid (about $390).

Considering this is the rate for 4 of us, we could choose the roach motel or the luxury suite - for a difference of $32. Hhmmmm.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Statistical Analysis of Instapundit, or, Where's My F*cking Instalanche, Reynolds?

I've been looking at the link patterns of Instapundit in the past few days. I counted every link given from the start of April until around 5pm GMT today, April 6th - a total of 192 links.

To begin, I'm well aware that Instapundit isn't a king-maker. An Instalanche won't suddenly rocket you to the top of the blogosphere overnight, and you won't suddenly find crazy blog advertising money pour into your bank account. However, a sudden rush of readers, however fleeting, is always nice. The biggest rush I've ever had was about 3,000 in a few hours from IMAO. Mmmmm... readers.

Now I'll contradict myself. A link from Instapundit can be huge. Since many thousands of readers use Instapundit as a sort of blogosphere base camp, almost 100% of an Instalanche is made up of fresh readers unfamiliar with your site. There is the potential there to impress a few of these readers enough to keep coming back. Write a few good posts during an Instalanche and you can hook dozens of new regular readers - some of whom will go straight back to their own sites and link to you.

Anyway. What brought this on is that I noticed that Austin Bay Blog seems to have been getting an awful lot of attention in the past few weeks, and I wanted to take a look at the diversity of his links.

Of the 192 links so far in April, 92 have been repeated at least once. Bearing in mind the brevity of the sample set, the fact that almost 48% of Glenn's attention (and traffic) goes to the same 29 sites in just 6 days tells us a lot about the site's diversity.

Based on Instapundit's SiteMeter data, an average of 156,920 readers visit Instapundit in each 24-hour period. All things being equal (ignoring the fact that name recognition may drive more people towards any given link) this means that a single link from Instapundit during the past 6 days (discounting the expected lull in weekend traffic) equals 4,903 visitors. This means that just 29 sites shared 451,076 visitors, while the balance was spread over the 100 remaining individual sites.

And so, Instapundit suddenly becomes even less accessible for the aspiring blogger than before. While at first glance it may seem to be a hugely generous link farm, distributing thousands of readers around the less travelled avenues of the blogosphere every day, it appears that the site is in fact a much more closed system.

Not that I blame the guy. If I was asked to write dozens of posts a day, each requiring me to seek out quality posts to link - even with the promise of Blogad revenues and other benefits - the answer would be 'thanks, but no thanks'. The fact that Glenn has kept it up for several years, including holidays, shows just how dedicated the guy is.

What I'd like to see, though, is a similar analysis on a month-by-month basis since Instapundit's inception, to see if the linking policy has always been this limited or whether I'm just bitter about never getting a link.


Instapundit Links 01-06 April 2005

2 links
Daily Pundit
Tech Central Station
Hugh Hewitt
My Aisling
Small Dead Animals
Winds of Change
Washington Times
Q and O
Spirit of America
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Belmont Club
Inside Higher Ed
New York Times
Democracy Arsenal

3 links
US News
Chris Nolan
Opinion Journal

4 links
Publius Pundit
Roger L Simon

5 links
Trey Jackson
Austin Bay

6 links
National Review
Ann Althouse
Captain's Quarters

10 links


Dean Esmay, with almost supernatural timing, argues against the insular nature of blogs - also mentioning Instapundit. Meanwhile, Simon argues for it.

'Nother Update

I think the important point to note here, as Dean and others note in the comments, is that there's nothing at all wrong with the fact that Glenn goes through spates of linking a particular site heavily for a while. Moreover it would be churlish of me to bemoan the fact. Looking at my own reading habits it's clear that I fall into the same habit. In the two years I've been blogging my only two religiously daily reads have been Dean's World and Wizbang, with several others falling in and out of favour on a seemingly random basis. Recently I've been spending a good amount of time at Basil's blog, and most of my day in and out of Itsapundit.

For about 18 months between 2003 and 2004 James Joyner's Outside the Beltway was my first daily port of call, but in the past year it's been relegated to a weekly visit - and no, there isn't a good reason for that. James and his co-bloggers still do a great job, but its just one of those things.

'Nother Update

On a semi-related subject, I'm amazed at the speeds of Glenn's email responses. These past two weeks I've notified him of the posting of Tim Worstall's Britblog Roundup, and within two or three minutes he's linked it. Considering the number of emails he must get every day that's pretty remarkable. Yakes me the best part of a day to reply to an email, and I only get abot 5 or 6 related to the site each day.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Crazy Blog Money

I've got some new ads running up there today - those rather unsightly flashing godo boxes. Okay, they're ugly, but a) since when was this site well-designed? and b) they pay a tiny proportion of the bills.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Secret of Its(apundit) Success

Now, here's a perfect example of an April Fools joke that was well executed, didn't take advantage of the readers (grrr) , and had a positive effect on everyone involved. It's A Pundit.

Basil set up as a joke, a piss-take of Glenn Reynolds' ubiqitous Instapundit. He invited a select few of us to come along and guest post (he must have mailed me the invite accidentally, I'm sure), and guest post we did.

Now, a few days later, we're still posting. What's more, a lot of people are reading. Already itsapundit has around double my readership, and with the level of funny that gets written there every day - not forgetting the sheer volume of it - I can see it's popularity continuing. It's a unique opportunity to read the work of some of the funniest and most talented 1st graders in the blogosphere in one place.

For my part I'll keep posting there as long as Basil leaves it up. I recommend you read while you have the chance.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Chronicles of Glenn, Vol. I

SO I'M STANDING there, minding my own business - y'know, just browsing around - when I'm suddenly grabbed from behind by one of those rent-a-cop security thugs and dragged into a dark office with a hanging light bulb, where he proceeds to beat me mercilessly for the next 45 minutes.

UPDATE: Turns out you're not allowed in the Magic Kingdom wearing only a bowler hat and wrap-around shades.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

First Among Equals

Image courtesy Wizbangblog

"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence."

--Pope John Paul II

I've never believed in heaven, but I hope he's strolling through the gates about now.

Others talking

Dean's World
The Moderate Voice
Outside the Beltway
Michelle Malkin
Pundit Guy
Arthur Chrenkoff
Carpe Bonum
Confederate Yankee
Kevin Drum
Captain's Quarters
The Anchoress
Don Singleton

Lazy Saturdays

Today has been great. The north of England has been transformed from its usual bleak arctic tundra into a very pleasant spring day, complete with warm sun and a light, warm breeze. It was so nice, in fact, that I decided to go out to work for a couple of hours. Considering that my job consists of walking around the streets enjoying the sun while drinking bottle after bottle of fizzy drinks, that wasn't such a tough option.

Following that I came back and posted as Drunk Glenn over at Its A Pundit. It turns out to be a lot of fun to write as a less funny Jeff Goldstein while mocking Glenn Reynolds. Pretty soon I'll be getting a cab over to a friend's house so I can drink myself blind without having to worry about what to do with the car, and then sleep late tomorrow.

I'm considering expanding the Its A Pundit schtick to Sortapundit. I'm really enjoying writing about ferrying corpses over the Mexican border and setting alight squirrels.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Kevin Proves Survival of the Fittest, Fires Paul

Huh. Kevin Aylward has fired Paul over at Wizbang. After several warnings to drop the whole evolution argument that Paul's been leading these past few weeks, Kevin was finally pushed over the edge today.

I'm fairly sure this isn't an April Fools joke, but lets hold judgement until the morning. Traditionally April Fools jokes are supposed to stop at noon April 1st, so unless they're posting from Hawaii it's too late. More importantly, though, is the fact that this would be a very risky joke considering the vehemence of some of the comments. If we wake up tomorrow to a 'Ha Ha! Fooled ya!' I'd expect an awful lot of feet-shuffling and awkward apologies.

Just to throw my hat in the ring, I'm not too broken up about Paul's departure. I've been reading Wizbang since I first discovered blogs, so Kevin's writing has been part of my day as long as I remember. I actually applied to guest blog when Kevin threw open the doors last year, and I always blamed Paul for potentially stealing my job (kidding - I don't have a chance in hell to write at Wizbang).

Wizbang is better today as a group blog than it was as solo project, but I wouldn't attribute much of that success to Paul (who seems all too eager to take the credit for himself). Jay Tea has been the real discovery of the year. That guy's a genius.


Jay Tea says he may consider bowing out of Wizbang after this. There'll always be a home for him here.

'Nother Update

Yeah, yeah, you should never believe anything you hear on April 1st (though I'm fairly sure the high praise from my boss was on the level). So I'm a fool. What else is new?

When They Said There Was No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, They Weren't Kidding

Aw crap. I got caught.

'Our records indicate that your account has been deactivated. '

Dear Keith Taylor, The purpose of this letter is to inform you that your publisher account has been removed from the CJ Network and your earnings have been reversed ("charged-back") from your account and credited back to the relevant advertiser(s). This is the result of non bona fide transactions identified by the latest audit performed on your account. Non bona fide transactions include false, self inflated, and/or duplicate leads or transactions. You are not eligible to rejoin the CJ Marketplace and any attempt to do so will result in immediate termination and reversal.

Well, that's £150 I won't be seeing. Thanks for your help anyway, guys.

I wonder if Oliver Willis will enjoy his second mortgage, though.

Obligatory April Fools Day Post

Aw crap. Basil just reminded me that it's April Fools Day.

Not a bad thing in itself, but I just got woken up by a call from my boss to tell me that my performance had skyrocketed recently, and that I'm the best performing employee in the area. Am I an April Fool?
powered by web hosting provider