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16/10/2003: Home Is Where The 'Chart Is

This week, the precious rarety that is a flowchart. The Flowchart of Life, to be precise.

15/10/2003: Sham Poo

Have you ever taken time out of your busy, hectic playboy lifestyle to read the ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle? Seriously. Next time your live-in partner has left you, and the rain is pouring outside, and there's nothing on TV but old monochrome films starring lots of people with thin moustaches, and you're so excrementally bored you think you might push a teaspoon into your eye just for a brief diverting burst of light and colour, give it a try. There's a good chance you'll find one of the most retarded marketing strategies known to humankind.

On every shampoo bottle I've ever seen, the principle ingredient is always the same thing. The thing that there is the most of in any bottle of shampoo is this mysterious element called - brace yourselves - 'aqua'.

No, not the formerly popular novelty Scandinavian musical band, you silly person. For the benefit of everyone who wasn't born with the regulation amount of brain matter, aqua is water. Just water. Plain ol' H2O. No additives, it doesn't have any molecules moved around or anything, it's WATER.

Now, water is a basic human staple. Two thirds of the human body is water. Every single human being on Earth has a right to take whatever water they can use. Hell, we could all drink a litre of water every minute of every day and we'd never run out, although we may die grisly explodo deaths. A lot of companies sell water with stuff in back to us. But they've been doing it shamelessly for generations, so why are the shampoo merchants so coy about it?

I think it's something to do with the 'image' of shampoo. You know what I'm talking about. We've all seen those adverts where some woman sashays around a moodily-lit curtain-filled room allowing the light to play upon her hair as it bounces and swishes around like a playful hair monster. Then maybe we'll get a shot of her perfect, hairless legs as a silk dressing gown drops to the floor, then we'll see her in the shower with her nearest leg bent in exactly the right way to hide pubic hair. All to the tune of some smoochy music and some female opera singer/smooth-voiced male artist going 'la la la' at varying degrees of pitch and duration. You can't really have that sort of thing in connection to something that can be described as 'water with stuff in'. No, we want to hear that it's made of magic dust hanging in a solution of fairy teardrops and the vaginal secretions of Helen of Troy.

Having said that, it still doesn't seem like much of an excuse for pretending something isn't water when it is. But even if there was an airtight argument for it, it's still fucking stupid. If you're going to pretend something isn't water, give it a slightly better made-up name than 'aqua', for crying out loud. Maybe they think it's nice and mystical enough to support the notion that their product is mixed in the middle of horse chestnuts by adorable red-cheeked sprites, but two lines down we've got stuff like Polysorbate LX being rubbed in our hair. Call it something like 'Oxygen Hydrate' or 'Hydrogen Oxide'. You'll have covered your arse legally and a lot more people would fall for it. Now, if I'm ever trekking the desert and I find one of your marketing people dying of thirst and begging for water, I'm going to have to say "No, I'm afraid I've only got 'aqua'," before leaving him to his lonely death.

But we're not even finished on our voyage of discovery. Go a little further down on the ingredients of shampoo and you'll sometimes find the ingredient which gives shampoo its magical nice smell: "Parfum". This marvellous stuff is apparently unrelated to "perfume", which is what non-fags (and non-French people, he added rapidly) call it.

I can sort of understand the whole disguising water thing, but surely perfume is from the same girly silky curtains sashaying-around school of marketing as shampoo. Surely you don't need to give that a quasi-disguise unless you felt like being a COMPLETE prick.

Well, what the hell. I leave you with this thought: Winnie the Pooh was named before 'poo' became popular slang for faeces. Sham-poo, however, does not have the same excuse.

Think about that.

14/10/2003: Fur Crying Out Loud

Something Awful had an eye-opening article last weekend, on the subject of furries and the large internet community surrounding them. It's something I'd like to talk about, because it's yet another piece of damning evidence that will one day be used against humanity in an intergalactic tribunal. If you're not familiar with them, they're people who think that they're animals on the inside and attempt to bring their fantasies to reality by wearing animal costumes, pretending to be animals on the internet and fucking actual animals. If you are familiar with them, I apologise for my patronising manner.

It wasn't too long ago that our attitude to fetishes (and indeed homosexuality) was something along the lines of the following:

MAN WITH FETISH: Hello, I have a fetish.

But now, things have changed. Humanity gradually became ever more wimpy and we've had to accept and tolerate the existence of all kinds of weird turn-ons. Everything that would have had you locked up about a hundred years ago now has a webring and thriving online community. All those homophobes and prudes now have to grit their teeth and say they don't mind what people do in the privacy of their own homes, while every fibre in their being is urging them to gouge out their brains through their eye sockets and bury the bodies in shallow graves in the woods.

I'm not saying we should ostracise and murder people with bizarre sexual fetishes, I just think we should be trying to help them. If you honestly can't find a horny and naked woman splayed out in front of you begging for your hard sex arousing until she puts on a Cheetara costume, there's probably something badly fucking wrong with your head, dude. I don't care how many noble wolf spirits you were in your past lives, if you can't get it up with human sexual partners you need to fucking get your-fucking-self look-fucking-ed a-fucking-t.

For the most part, sexual deviancy we can live with. Leather, submission, sado-masochism, you name it, we'll tolerate it and watch segments about it on late night telly. But there's a line. There's always a line. Once you go over the line, you're a monster and everybody hates you, when really your fucked-in-headness is no worse than most people with bizarre fetishes.

Take paedophilia, for instance. People get very hysterical about paedophiles. The attitude of most tabloid newspapers ("Hey everybody, that guy's a paedophile! KILL!") doesn't help. Because paedophiles aren't, fundamentally, evil men; they've just got the 'what ye should hump' part of their brain wired up wrong. Where most men's brains think "Pretty young woman; me should hump! Small cheeky boy; me should pat head and give sweeties!", these men have it the wrong way round. That's why paedophiles are also well known for giving sweeties to pretty young women. I would imagine. Rather than lock paedos up to be bumraped forever, shouldn't we be trying to understand why their brains have gone wrong?

And Jeffrey Dahmer! Jeffrey Dahmer killed and ate a dozen young men, but he did that because he LOVED them. That's how he showed affection. He was really a very nice, well-adjusted young man, he just had one little flaw in his mind that spoilt it for everything else. Most of us have the "I like this person" neurone connected to the "send chocolates and flowers" neurone, but Jeffrey's was hooked up to "kill and eat" by mistake, the dozy git. Jeffrey wasn't evil, and neither are paedophiles or furries or gays. But if you genuinely believe yourself to be a cat on the inside or whatever and are sexually attracted to them, your mind is fucked up in almost exactly the same way Jeffrey Dahmer's was.

What I'm saying is, a little prudishness can be healthy. If we just let people have the bizarre fetishes, it's the start of a slippery slope. We're already seeing things like paedophilia, how long before someone acquires a fetish for hitting babies with sticks while dogs piss in his ears?

But getting back to them furries. Time was, evolution would sort out those weirdoes, since they apparently can't find regular humans attractive enough to impregnate them and they can't father a child with their Staffordshire Terrier no matter how hard they try. But what with sperm donation and adoption, these days I'm not so sure. Of course, you have to wonder what sort of adoption agency would allow a child to be adopted by two people in horribly stained Tony Tiger suits.

I'd like to address the furries directly if I may. I trust my readership is broad enough that there may be one or two lurking around somewhere. Furries, no matter how many times you may wish it be so, you are NOT a fucking wolf. You're not a fucking tiger, or a horse, or a goddamn arsing fire-breathing dragon. You are not an animal 'on the inside'. You're just a bunch of lonely human beings with computers who need their fucking heads looked at. Rather pathetic examples of human beings I might add, but human beings nonetheless. Our ancestors didn't go through millions of years of evolution just so tossers like you could put on horse heads and neigh at people.

SPECIAL BONUS FOR FURRIES! How To Summarise This Article For Your Furry Mates And Completely Miss The Point: "Hey, this guy thinks furries are as bad as Jeffrey Dahmer! What a bastard!"

13/10/2003: It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World

I wonder, you know. I wonder as I sit here in the office, typing an update in silence because the office internet connection is down and I can't listen to Radio 2, wondering how long it will take for me to start talking to myself.

I wonder: have I gone mad?

I mean, most mad people don't realise it when they do cross the line. They think it's perfectly normal to talk to deckchairs and eat human flesh. It's only when their family come home to find them sodomizing the family dog and pouring sheep entrails over themselves, looking at their shocked faces and saying "Is something the matter?" does their true head-fucked-ness come about.

Admittedly I've never fucked a dog, but I have done other things that people have gone to loony bins for. I mean, if Friday the 13th part 5 is any reliable source, you can be qualified for institutionalisation for possessing any of the following character traits:

- A stammer
- Nymphomania
- Being a sulky goth
- Being fat
- Being quiet
- Having no defining personality traits whatsoever
- Being a murderous psychopath

Blimey! Looks like me and all the teenagers in the world qualify for the loony bin! But seriously folks, let's have a look at all the things I do that worry me and decide whether I am totally bonkers, or merely a classical eccentric Englishman, toodle pip etc.

1. I talk to myself

First sign of madness! Of course, admittedly, when I talk to myself I'm generally just reciting dialogue I may want to use, or practising stand-up material, not because I'm engaged in conversation with my imaginary friend Mr. Twinkle or anything. But I do occasionally mumble to myself when I'm looking for something to eat, generally things like "Boy, I really want something to eat". And sometimes I shout random swear words for no reason, but I think I just do that to scare off wasps.

2. I don't get sentimental

I just can't understand why people get so blubby about other people dying. You'd have thought the human race would have had time to get used to the phenomena by now! But no, everyone has to have a good old blub when someone kicks it. Around the second anniversary of 9/11 I almost uploaded an update I wrote stating that those relatives of the deceased should shut up, stop whinging and get on with their lives, but stopped myself putting it up 'cos I thought it might make people cross. When my gran died, all I could think of was that I wouldn't have to watch her eat anymore. And I sometimes like to take a walk around the local memorial garden and shout at the tombstones. "He didn't fall asleep, he DIED! If he did just fall asleep there's going to be a lot of explaining to do when he wakes up!" Is this sociopathy? Something like that, anyway.

3. I sympathise with James Bond villains

Well, I do! Take that guy from The Spy Who Loved Me. His plan was to blow up the entire world with nuclear warheads in order to erase the human race in its current corrupt, stupid form and start from scratch in an undersea city. That seemed like quite an intriguing idea to me! I mean, let's face it, the world is pretty corrupt and stupid, perhaps it's time to give up on it and have another crack. I know the villain's plans were foiled by James Bond, but here's something encouraging: James Bond doesn't exist in the real world! If I could translate this plan into the real world, there could be no-one to stop me! So there I am, contemplating genocide. I wonder idly what an outsider would think if they knew I thought these things. I concede they'd probably consider me an evil madman, but then what do they know. We'll never know how well evil repopulation schemes will work until we give them a CHANCE.

4. I fantasise a lot

What with my life being so utterly, horrendously, scrotum-teasingly boring, I have a tendency to let my mind wander off into some magical dewdrop land where I am a much more glamourous figure leading a much more interesting life. Often, I take these fantasy personas, give them new names and use them as characters in novels and adventure games (this is the process that led me to Rob Blanc, Articulate Jim and Trilby). Going to Australia may stop all this nonsense, but I'm not sure I really want to stop. I have fantasies that are way cooler than real life. Real life sucks balls.

5. I update a website every day

And if that's not a cry for attention, I don't know what is. A lot of people run websites, but few of them manage to update every day. I suspect some kind of insecurity complex with a generous sprinkling of delusions of grandeur on top.

6. Ping, pang, boodle, splat

Ping, pang, boodle, splat.

12/10/2003: Forever Searching

]Yes, disgusting hairy internet users! It's the beginning of a new month, and as such time once again to compile some hilarious search strings people have used to get to this site so we can all point and laugh heartily, like this: "Har Har Har"! Without further ado, let's begin our exodus into the world of madness and perversity! Ladies first!

"aharr me hearties"

This site has never pretended to be any sort of resource site for pirates. I am not, have never been, and do not know anyone who is or has ever been a pirate. I have no idea of the operation of 18th-century galleons beyond what I've seen in repeats of Hornblower. I don't even have any idea what a 'mainbrace' is, never mind how one would splice it. But knowing that entering 'aharr me hearties' into Google brings up my site, I feel oddly satisfied.

"broccoli world's most intelligent vegetable"

It doesn't look too intelligent when it's sitting on my dinner plate. On the other hand, maybe its intelligence is in the fact that it's absolutely revolting, a fact that seems to pass my parents by, since they serve it up regularly as if expecting me to spontaneously overcome my lifelong hatred for the stuff. Joke's on the broccoli if being disgusting is some kind of defense mechanism; being boiled alive then left on the side of the plate and chucked in the bin to stagnate alongside dead wasps and fetid dogfood is a far more ignoble fate than being dissolved in my tummy.

"curse breasts hair mirror"

I don't know. I just... don't know. I don't know what the hell was going through this guy's mind, nor what, exactly, he was searching for. I suppose it does kind of make me think of some kind of Grimm fairy story. Maybe there's one about some woman who is CURSEd to have her BREASTS grow HAIR every time she looks in a MIRROR. A sorry fate for any woman, but I'd imagine she'd be able to find some internet fetish subculture who'd find her attractive. You can find an internet fetish subculture for pretty much everything these days, up to and including cancerous tumours and supernovae. Whoa, I just had one of those sudden revelations; 'Sonic' is a really crap name for a hedgehog!

"do your balls and lyrics"

Seems like another somewhat random stringing together of words, but I think our anonymous website patron was looking for the lyrics to the classic schoolyard song "Do Your Balls Hang Low", sung to the tune of "That Nautical Song No-one Knows The Proper Name Of". If this was the case, then search no further:

'Do your balls hang low
Can you swing them to and fro
Can you tie them in a knot
Can you tie them in a bow
Can you swing them o'er your shoulder like a regimental soldier
Oh, you'll never be a sailor if your balls hang low'

You can replace 'balls' with 'ears' if you're going out before the watershed, but really, you could've acquired these lyrics from pretty much any passing 12-year-old.

"dancing goldfish"

Unless you count 'swimming around a little bit' as dancing, goldfish cannot dance. They lack the feet required to tap dance, the arms required to ballroom dance and the total lack of shame required to do the Macarena. About the only dance they do is something I like to call the 'flippety flippety flop' dance, which they only do once in their life when someone takes them out of their water and throws them down a flight of stairs. You could also try applying electrodes to the water, but the rhythm would be rather ragged and as a cabaret act it would be extremely brief and ill-received at a fish lover's convention. That's a mistake I know I certainly won't make again!

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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