Monthly Archives: December 2003

I know of four categories of people.

I know of four categories of people. People who hold no truck with New Year resolutions, people who make resolutions knowing full well that they are going to break them, people who make resolutions thinking they are going to keep them who then fail and finally people who make new year resolutions and keep them.

And I think that last one doesn’t exist. I’m not sure anyone has ever really kept a new year resolution.

The thinking behind my theory is this: people who actually have the self-control required to keep a resolution like that don’t need the crutch of having an excuse to make the resolution. So, I think, all the people who could keep a new year resolutions are people who hold no truck with such resolutions.

And all of this would be true except for the fact I’m going to prove myself wrong. See I’m somebody who really holds no truck with New Year resolutions but last year I was forced by friends to make one. So I did. I resolved to not take up smoking. I’ve never really smoked and over the past year I haven’t either and unless the urge suddenly, and rather miraculously, occurs in the next couple of hours I’ll have made it though a whole year keeping my resolution.

So maybe they do work after all.

Out of the 3 billion pages there is only 1 page that matches.

Now I’m not sure if all of the fair readers of the site will be aware of this phenomenon but it’s out there and so I feel it is time for me to document it.

I’m sure you’ve all used the search engine google from time to time. If you haven’t then you should, it’s very good. It has catalogued over 3 billion web pages. So when you do a search it’s normally likely that many pages come back for even quite complex criteria. If nothing comes back it usually means you’ve spelt something wrong. Google has a built in dictionary, and it will underline the words in your search if they are in the dictionary (the words are then links to their entries in dictionary.com).

The holy grail though, the thing that’s really unlikely, is that it will return just 1 page. Out of the 3 billion pages there is only 1 page that matches. This is called a googlewhack. The only conditions are that the words have to be in dictionary.com (they can’t therefore be names – or spelt incorrectly), and the page that comes up can’t be a word list (a word list might, for example, be a dictionary which listed every word on a page – luckily there isn’t a complete one anywhere or this wouldn’t work). And that’s pretty much it.

This very site is a googlewack. But obviously I can’t tell you what it is because if I were to write it in here then this page would be also return a result from google and then it wouldn’t be a googlewack anymore. But what I can do is show you a screenshot of the google page which has the words in it. The words in the box make the googlewack.

I just thought you’d like to know.

Yeah. Working with Fartus.

“Do you remember Mr. Fantus from school?”
“Yeah. We used to call him Mr. Fartus.”
“That’s him.”
“Man he had the worst B.O.”
“He still has.”
“What do you mean, ‘still has?”
“I’m working with him now.”
“Really? Working with Fartus.”
“Yeah and it’s incredible. He’s still got the same old nasty suits, same old B.O. and bad breath.”
“Well what did you think? That he’d be better?”
“Well I don’t know. He just seems to have given up.”
“I suppose that’s what happens to everyone eventually though. You just stop caring.”
“But it seems like he was young when it happened. I mean I know he seemed ancient but he was only around 35 when he used to teach us.”
“Wow, really?”
“Yes. Really. And now here am I, 35, a teacher in the same school. I wonder if I’m ready to give up.”

You see an easy question.

“Are you scared of commitment?”
“No, but I’m scared of you!”
“Why? Why should you be scared of me?”
“Because you’re the kind of person who would ask questions like, ‘Are you scared of commitment’.”
“And what’s wrong with that? Everybody in every relationship is allowed to ask questions like that.”
“No in every relationship you’re allowed to ask the easy ones like, ‘where do you think this relationship is going’. Not the impossible ones you’re going for.”
“Okay then, where do you think this relationship is going?”
“Forward. Where do you think this relationship is going?”
“Well I don’t know, I’d like to think that… Oooh, I see what you’ve done there. Very smooth.”
“You see an easy question. Those are allowed. You see we know about questions like that. We’re ready for them.”
“But all this leads me back to one thing. Are you afraid of commitment?”
“No, are you afraid of commitment?”

A star, said Steve.

“There it is again.”
“What? What am I looking for?” Melchior was upset, he had just been having a particularly nice dream about a hand-maiden that he had in his employ when Steve had woken him. He spoke again, he put an upset tone into his voice, “What, am, I, looking, for?”
“A star,” said Steve.

That was it for Melchior. “I know it’s a star you blithering idiot. If you wake me up in the middle of the night, thrust a telescope in my hand and tell me to look at the sky I’m not going to think it’s a mongoose am I?”
“Well…”
“Am I?”
“It could have been a comet.” These words had not come from the cowering Steve but had come in fact from behind Melichor completely. It was Balthazar.

“Stop messing around with that poor boy and concentrate on the matter at hand.” Balthazar swooped into the tower. Steve thanked his lucky stars and then stopped when he realised how much trouble that pun would get him in from Melichor. By this point Balthazar had glid* his way across the room to the observation point. With a swift flick of the wrist his telescopic telescope extended to it’s full length. He looked through it and announced “Steve is right. A star is born. We shall follow it. It is moving to it’s appointed place. When it reaches there a child will be born. That child will be the king of kings.”

Melichor on hearing this drew himself up and said, “this truly is a great day. I am with you Balthazar. We shall go and worship this infant child.”

Steve slowly put his hand up. “What is it now?” asked Balthazar.

“Well I’ve been making some calculations and it turns out that in fact stars are balls of fire that are millions of miles away. Even the closest one takes four to get its light here. So if we go and anoint some child that’s born there when the star gets to its resting point we’ll have the wrong one. We’ll have to work out how far away it is and then find who was born there that long ago. And it could be thousands of years ago.”

“Shut up Steve,” pointed out Melichor.
“Well said Melichor,” added Balthazar, “lets go and find Gaspar”.
“Yes, I always thought he had a better name anyway.”

*To quote Eddie Izzard, “you try and decline the verb to glide”.

Well. Chicken butt.

Two men are walking slowly across a bridge in London. They have just been for a lunch at the company they used to work at. The company that was their s until they were retired.

They had a great time at the dinner. They caught up with the old codgers, and told the youngsters what hey should be doing.

“You know what?” said one to the other.
“What?”
“Christmas makes me remember how much fun it was to be a kid. I mean, if I had been a kid I wouldn’t let you get away with saying ‘what’.”
“What? I mean, how do you mean?”
“Well we used to have this thing of if anyone said ‘what’ you said ‘chicken butt’.”
“Oh.”
“It’s strange, the way these things occur to you.”
“In what way?”
“Well. A million people have said ‘what’ to me since I was a child but that’s the first time I’ve thought about that since I was a youth.”
“But that’s what memory is like. When you think of something things that are near them in your memory become more available.”
“That’s true I suppose. But you know what I’ve been thinking?”
“What?”
“Chicken butt. No I’ll let that one slide. What I was going to say was that now when we look back we remember things with rose coloured glasses. We remember life as though it was in the movies. Hitchcock said ‘movies are life with the boring bits cut out’ and he was right except memory is the same.”

“And my question,” he went on, “is why don’t we think about it at the time? We love life as it was. But we don’t remember to love it as it’s going by.”

Tom could see Jack couldn’t he?

Jack was wedged between the vacuum cleaner and the coats. The nozzle of the hose was sticking into his arm, but he felt safe. It was dark under the stairs, but not the scary kind there wasn’t enough space for shadows. He was depressed, what did Tom know about Father Christmas anyway?

Jack decided there was an awful lot that Tom didn’t know about. Like him thinking that his parents couldn’t see Jack. Tom could see Jack couldn’t he? So why should his parents be any different? Why didn’t Tom believe that his parents and Jack had been playing hide and seek for years and that to reveal himself now would be a disaster?

“So,” Jack thought, “Now Tom doesn’t believe in Father Christmas”. Next he won’t believe in imaginary friends! This might be a problem in the long run but now Jack was more worried about Christmas. What if Tom was right, and that Father Christmas was just Tom’s parents?

The other day Tom had said, “If my parents have never seen you, then you won’t get any presents. You should talk to them”. But Jack knew the truth of the situation, the game of hide and seek he was playing with the parents could only end if they found him, he couldn’t just give himself up. Well, he could, but Tom’s parents would loose all respect for him and they certainly wouldn’t buy him any presents then. Jack hoped that Tom’s parents still remembered that they were playing the game with him.

Jack’s only hope was that Tom was wrong about Father Christmas. Jack thought about crying but he didn’t, because he knew that nobody would see his tears anyway.

Jenna was not happy.

Jenna was not happy. She was not happy because two girls who she had thought liked her had not given her a Christmas card even though they had spare ones on their desks and she walked past there three times.

Jenna was not happy because Wahkeem had been mean about her name. Which wasn’t even fair because he was the one with the silly name. Having “Wahkeem Marine” as a name was a sign that your parents didn’t really like you that much – Jenna was pretty sure of that. If they had even bothered to consult a dictionary and spell it Joaquin like everyone else it might have seemed less like they were joking. So when he had run down the corridor in break shouting out “Jenna Jenna smells like henna” she had become mad. When all she had been able to come back with was “Well at least my name’s spelt right”. She had suddenly become decidedly not happy.

But most of all she was not happy because of something she had heard in the toilets. She had heard two older girls talking. One of them had been really excited about what Santa might bring her for Christmas. And the other girl had corrected her saying “you mean your parents.” After a few seconds of explanation it had all been explained. The older girl thought Santa didn’t exist. But the thing that was making Jenna not happy was that she was starting to believe it too.

The way Jenna saw it the alternative explanation seemed to make a lot more sense. Which, she wondered, was more likely? That an overweight man visited every child on exactly one night? Or that parents really gave the presents? Jenna knew what Uncle Occam would say.

Finally while thinking about all of this and looking thoroughly not happy all the while her mother looked in the rear view mirror to check on her.

“Are you alright back there? You don’t look very happy about something.”
“No. I’m not happy. I’m not happy about three things.”

Jenna was just about to go on and explain what the three things were but just then her mother started slowing down the car. So instead she said “Why are we slowing down?”
“Well there’s a car just by the side of the road there which looks broken down. There’s no toher traffic around so I thought I’d better stop and check.”
“Oh,” said Jenna, “right.”

Once the car was parked Jenna’s mum got out and went to talk to the driver. Jenna couldn’t see if it was anyone she knew because they were standing around the front of the car and the bonnet was up so that they could look at the engine.

She couldn’t see if it was someone she knew. But she could hear if it was someone she knew. And just as she thought of that she heard the deep rumbling voice of a large man. But the voice had something else, something light and twinkling on top just so the rumbling wouldn’t be so scary. Jenna only knew one person with a voice like that. But she didn’t want to jump to any conclusions so she hopped out of the car and went to investigate. She slowly and carefully walked to the front of the car and when she got there she slowly and carefully peered around the corner.

Black boots. He had black boots! But so do lots of people Jenna thought.

Red trousers. But lots of people wear red trousers at Christmas time.

A big silver buckle. Jenna decided with that that this looking slowly business wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. She looked up and she saw Father Christmas.

“Santa!” she yelled.

Santa saw her and gave her a hug.

The rest of the conversation passed in a dream. And suddenly Jenna and her mother were back in their car driving home. But this time when Jenna’s mum looked in the rear view mirror she could see Jenna had on the biggest grin of them all – the one she kept for very special occasions.

“It was a funny thing running into Santa like that wasn’t it.”
Jenna could only nod.
“He told me he was just off to the Mall.”
“He was probably,” Jenna said, “doing his Christmas shopping.”
“Yes,” said Jenna’s mum, “he probably was.”

Jenna thought to herself that this year Santa might need an extra mince pie. Even if she had only doubted him for a second, he might need one extra mince pie per second of doubt she thought. Although it wasn’t total doubt so maybe she’d try and get low fat mince pies.

They steal my skin.

Today the return of one half of a conversation. For those who haven’t experienced this here are the previous articles: [It’s a cheese and wine party not a cheese and cheese party] and [Today another one half of a conversation]. These are all real conversations where only one half of the conversation was available. And here’s today’s, the scene is a restaurant with a loud man and an unfortunately quiet woman:

“You didn’t have to swap if you didn’t want to. It wasn’t that kind of party, it was very easy going. We just all sat down and took a look at each other and made a decision.”

“They cant track mobile phone text messages can they? I’m always writing all kinds of stuff.”

“Yeah. I know it’s a work phone but I never thought they could see it.”

“You know a lot about this technology stuff. What do you do for a living?”

“What’s IT?”

“Ah Ha! I’ve got it. Filet stake with garlic mushrooms. YeeHA!”

“I’m cold.”

“No I can’t wear scarves they steal my skin. That reminds me of my friend. He had to have a skin transplant. They took the skin off his arse and put it on his leg.”

“He’d poured petrol on his leg and it was evaporating but it was still flammable. We were just playing with fire. We were just kids.”

“No I can’t wear your gloves they’d cut off my circulation.”

I’ve been sick.

Some of my regular readers may have been wondering what’s been going on these last few weeks. Well let me tell you something. I’ve been sick. Really not well. But I’m better now. Not totally better of course, but I am better than I was at the worst of it.

So yes, there’s not much else to say except that from tomorrow all kinds of exciting new articles will start appearing. Not just in the future but in the past too. All of the gaps will be filled in. In fact quite a few of the previous articles have been written but it’s a matter of getting them up something that I’ll start addressing tomorrow.

In other news about the site itself which I rarely get to write about I’d like to announce that somebody found our site through the google search engine. Apart from the rather obvious searches that you might imagine that we would come up under (my name or gamboling) this person found our site after searching on the subject of “the pope card tricks”.

Now I’m not saying that we’re the number one site on the internet for the pope’s card tricks but we’re certainly up there. Although I must say that by mentioning the pope card tricks as many times as I have I imagine we might jump up a few places.