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31 December 2009

The Storee of The Soc pupiTs


Along time ago
There livd a soc pupit
and he lovd chocolate.

But wen he open The cubud
There was no chocolate.

Sow The soc pupit went To The shops
But in The shops
They had rund out.

sow the Soc pupit went bac home
wiv no chocolate.

he lookt on the Top shelf
and he sor a chocolate Bar.

The End

I commissioned my 6-year-old to write and illustrate a story for my birthday. This is what he came up with. Can anyone spot his theme? Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

30 December 2009


and as i wrote the previous entry
my battery goes dead and obama walks past
with a very grim expression, everyone
thought he was storming out but no
he'd just been in talks with the chinese.
just now a french delegate tells me that
brazil has stormed out of the talks.
this is all so sad. still peace and goodwill
to all men. love and understanding.
just no more business as usual ok??
this is all starting to really feel like
some enormous vaguely pointless corporate expo.

Thom Yorke on the Radiohead blog, 18 December 2009, reporting from the UN Climate Change Conference. Punctuation as found. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

17 December 2009

Looking back

Ten years ago. Stock takers; thieves in Hexham
resorted to extreme measures to avoid
punishment, by stealing a set of stocks
and a pillory from outside the Old Gaol.

Fifty years ago.
Head case; A thief stole the
shrunken head of a South American Indian
from a wall of the Fox and Hounds in
Whitley Chapel, where Fred Gazzani was landlord.

Seventy-five years ago.
In the dark;
Defying the wishes of the parish
and county councils, a packed meeting of
one hundred and fifty seven parishioners
voted against a scheme to install
electric lighting in Allendale.

One hundred and twenty-five years ago.
Carte blanche; Hexham labourer George Wilson
was fined five shillings for not having a name
on a cart he was using on the highway.

One from earlier this year. From the 'Looking Back' column in the Hexham Courant, Friday 29 May 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

13 December 2009

I want to

I want to die.
I want to break free lyrics. I want
to be anorexic.

I want to break free.
I want to be skinny; I want
to be a model.

I want to be thin.
I want to lose weight; I want
to know what love is

lyrics. I want
to get pregnant.

These are the Google automatic suggestions for the search term 'I want to', noted back in September, when we published Autosuggestion. This time, the lines have been reset. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

09 December 2009

Narrator in Nativity

unusual …

This morning I attended the school Christmas play involving two of our sons. Our 6-year-old had a speaking part, and made us wait until the performance to find out what his line was. That was it. He delivered it splendidly. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

03 December 2009


No Trespassing
Staff Only

One Two

Question mark

One Two

Welcome to Shenfield

By Andrew. These are the signs across Shenfield station seen from a moving train. This completes his train trilogy.

01 December 2009

What happened was this, doctor

We strongly recommend
you do not leave the camera
in your pants pocket
when you sit down
or forcefully insert it
into a full or tight bag.

Damage to the LCD monitor
or personal injury may result.

This safety warning came with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX37 digital camera. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

26 November 2009


Couple number one, have a little swing,
keep swinging ...
Say hello to couple number two
and hello to couple number three,
then everyone has a little swing.

Pass by your partner
dance with the person you meet
come back together
and have a little swing.

Bec says 'I was at a ceilidh on Saturday and the caller was always looking into the middle distance as he gave us directions.'

24 November 2009

Sixteen Degrees

Most agents report
to a district group manager who reports
to a branch chief who reports
to an assistant chief of their division who reports
to the assistant district director who reports
to the assistant regional commissioner who reports
to the regional commissioner who reports
to the chief of staff to a deputy assistant commissioner in Washington who reports
to the deputy assistant commissioner who reports
to the assistant commissioner who reports
to the chief operating officer who reports
to the deputy commissioner of the IRS who reports
to the commissioner who reports
to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury who reports
to the Secretary who finally reports
to the President.

According to Futility Closet, this is the testimony of public policy director Paul C. Light before the Senate Finance Committee 11 February 1998. He was describing the supervision hierarchy of the IRS. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

20 November 2009

My Sweater Guard

around shoulders
guard holds securely.
Cannot slip off.

From Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. Submitted by Marika Rose.

18 November 2009

thetford girls

dimonds are pretty. so are pearls
you aint got nothing on us thetford girls
thetford born thetford bred
phit as fuck and wicked in bed

best things ever is being with shannon
yehh boyy in shitt school but living it up
in DT wiht my best matee shannon

yehh yehh

yeh boy me, mel, lewis living it larg
in RMHS science. its shit
we doing a fucking text but hay
we with all r mates so its okaii
my lil shannon mate love her so much
taylor mate ya phitt ass babe ;)

abbey farm woo
fair wen its down
the good thetford crew
and me mates

Shannon Nn Danielle Ere In Dt 09 What A Shit Day x

i love my baby nephew Harley Clark Goldson
and i love my sisterr .. and her tatoo :D lol xx
thetford is allright but some times people
just make it really bad such as the parks
but castle park has been allright xx

melissa and sasha love aaron kameana
4eva coz he is 1 fit guy!
melissa and sasha love aaron kameana
4eva coz he is 1 fit guy!
melissa and sasha love aaron kameana
4eva coz he is 1 fit guy!

Thanks to the Portuguese, Thetford town center
now has, for the first time in many years,
women who look good in tight jeans.

These are simply public submissions to the web page The Best Things About Thetford, Norfolk on the Knowhere Guide. Extracted 16 November 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 November 2009

Poems from the Menu Bar #2-#4


Get info,
batch change,
rotate clockwise
rotate counter clockwise.
My rating
move to trash.
Revert to original.


View as list,
as grid, as cover flow.
View options,
show column browser, show
artwork column,
show genius sidebar. Go
to current song.
Video size visualizer, show

visualizer full screen.
Switch to mini player.

iMovie HD/Markers

Add book, Mark.
Delete book, Mark, delete all.
Book Mark's previous book, Mark.
Next, book Mark, add chapter.
Mark, er, delete chapter.
Mark, er, show pod.
Cast U R L S.

More poems from the menu bars of software applications on my Mac (after #1 and before #5). The first is arranged identically to the menu, the second has alternative breaks, while the third breaks up words and punctuates liberally. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

09 November 2009

The Little Red Ship


The Litt Red Ship went to town.
Some shopping The Little Red Ship.
Bid some eggs, shoes, Bred and.
Some cookies and The Little Red Ship.
Bid a Blangcit and The Little Red.
Ship had los fo Fun gud I.
hav Evreey Thing I need but The Little.
Red Ship Forgot To Biy some tishoe.
Soow The Little Red Ship went back To The.
Shop and Brot some tishoe and went.
back To his house.

Last Sunday I returned from a weekend away to find a pile of stories written by my 6-year-old. This was one of them, reproduced above exactly as it appeared on the page. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

05 November 2009

The System Eats You

Don't know if it's appropriate we go
swimming; you go – where I get inspiration.
I noticed your interest, your picture, few
years ago, used to draw attention.

please please

We haven't talked a while: share your life goals –
table is here, stop the discrimination.
Party arrangements too wild for you? The
system eats you. Fantastic demonstration.

please pay attention
please be with us

Another poem from the subject lines of recent junk email messages in my spam folder (read the first one). I simply take the whole subject lines and put them together with a little additional punctuation. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

02 November 2009


Magnus only had to face one
other person for the rule over Norway
– Hakon.

Olaf had the Trondelag
and Hakon had the south
and they ruled uneasily, together.

Ordericus was a bit confused and stupid.

Bec sent this poem from her own notes on Norwegian Kings, 20 October 2009.

29 October 2009

I Dropped A Caterpillar

I dropped a caterpillar
Into a spider's web
When I was six years old.
It was horrific.

From that point on,
I deserved all the ill the world could throw at me.

By Jim. Taken from Objectify's comment in response to the Guardian's article 'Bold Gill sans sense'.

27 October 2009

From Russia With

'Linking the price of gas
to the one of oil is

an anachronism,'
argued Mikhail Korchemkin

of East European
Gas Analysis. 'There is an

oversupply of inexpensive
gas in the world, and the market prices

of oil and of gas often move
in opposite directions.'

From Andrew, spotted half way down this article on the Russia Profile web site.

22 October 2009

Staring At Not Out

Instructions to be undertaken
by trained personnel only

Opening Window
Remove mishandling
block with black
key provided.
Press button
marked Press
whilst pushing
window open

Cleaning Window
Press button
marked Press
and push window
open to arms
length, then
continue reversal
by pulling
window from the top
until window
with restrictor.

Leaning out of the window is not necessary for this operation.

Noticed on the pane of the new office window. Window spotting enthusiasts will recognise the instructions as belonging to the ECON 75 T.S. Submitted by Alan Mitchell.

20 October 2009

Poems from the Menu Bar #1


Preview overprint,
preview pixel, preview.
Proof setup, proof,
colors zoom in, zoom.

Out fit in window,
actual size. Hide edges,
hide artboard, hide,
page tiling show.

Slices lock, slices,
show template, show,
rulers hide bounding box,
show transparency grid.

Show text threads,
guides smart, guides.
Show grid, snap to grid,
snap to point new:

View edit, views.

The 'View' drop down menu from the Adobe Illustrator menu bar on my computer, but with punctuation forced upon it. Submitted by Gabriel Smy. See also Poems from the Menu Bar #2-4 and #5.

15 October 2009

Called Out


The Facebook status of fugitive Maxi Sopo, 21 June 09, shortly before he was arrested in Mexico having been traced through Facebook by US investigators. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

13 October 2009

Tick Tock

In Nineteen hundred and three
Benjamin Ginsberg,
–the founder of rooibos tea–

rode into the remote Cedarberg Mountains
in the Cape and found farmers
making a rough brew from a wild plant.

Using traditional tea curing
techniques he perfected
–this delicious tea–

now enjoyed round the world.
Today his family continues
–their unbroken rooibos tea–

tradition from Nineteen hundred and three.
Tick Tock tea is still made
to his original specifications.

Gentle and soothing, rooibos tea
is well known for its many health properties.
–Naturally caffeine free–

Tick Tock can be enjoyed by the whole family
at any time of day, or as the ideal
bedtime drink. And it is high

in antioxidants that can help protect
your immune system against free
radicals. Organically grown,

–Tick Tock rooibos tea–
is still harvested by hand and cured
naturally in the clear Cedarberg air.

From the side of a Tick Tock 80 tea bags box. Dashes have been added to accentuate the rhymes and phraseology more. Submitted by Amy.

08 October 2009

Throwing Things

Once I know what beliefs and emotions
are behind my kids’ bad behavior,
it is a million times easier
to craft an effective response.

Why is Fiona
throwing things in
the grocery cart? Is
she bored? Craving my
attention? Remember that
often kids don’t know why they
are doing something, so just asking
them outright might not work. But I’ve learned
over time that when my kids are acting really big
(screaming, for example) they are often feeling very small.

05 October 2009

On The Shelf

Knowledge, Power and Educational Reform
Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity
Education, Culture, Economy, Society

Sociological theory: A book of readings
Sex work: A risky business
Semiotics: The basics

Sixth-Form Colleges
Education for Sale
Born to Buy


Book titles on my shelf. Submitted by Lucie Shuker.

02 October 2009

At rest

A nonet

At rest. After much suffering, rest.
Sadly missed. In the midst of life
we are in death. Satisfied
when I awake with thy
likeness. Wife of the
above. Not gone
from love. Thy
will be

I missed a trick yesterday. Having collected all those different length sentiments from gravestones in Histon Road Cemetery, the world was my oyster in terms of (smaller) poetic forms. Instead I banged out this free verse. So here's a nonet from the same material to make up for it. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

01 October 2009

In the Midst of Life We are in Death

In the midst of life we are in death.

Be ye faithful unto death, a crown awaits for you.
Satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.
Not lost but gone before.
Gone but not forgotten.
Thy will be done.

Not gone from memory
Not gone from love
But gone to his father's home above.

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.
Thy will be done.

'Thy will be done' seems hard to say
When he we loved was called away.

Sadly missed.
She hath done what she could.

None knew thee but to love thee
Nor named thee but to praise.

After much suffering, rest. Peacefully
resting until the dawn breaks.
In the garden of memories we meet everyday.

Why do the robin and the butterfly
linger where you have lingered? Can they know
the knowledge, wit and charity that lie
here now and yet go with you where you go?

At rest. Wife of the above. Thy will be done.

A selection of sentiments from the gravestones in Histon Road Cemetery, Cambridge, UK. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

29 September 2009




This is exactly what I saw visiting this page, using Safari 4 browser. Anyone else get the same problem? Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

25 September 2009

Alan to Zoe

Alan, Alfie, Ami,
Benedict, Clementine, Eilidh.
Gemma, Georgia,
Huxley, Isaac, Joseph, Leah,
Liam, Macie, Marika.
Mateus, Matthew,
Muadh, Niuniu,
Risha, Seungji, Shilo.
Tamzin, Taslima, Tyan,

My son has just started school. This list contains the first names of all his classmates (memorised from their pegs). He's having trouble remembering them. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 September 2009


it true
that postmodern people
do not believe in
absolute truth?
and if so
why cant we
find any real-life people
who fit this description?
and if there are none
but only straw men?
then who
if we cant find an enemy
(where are all those atheists
when we need them?)
how will ministries
raise money?
even worse
if postmodern
MORE open
to the story of God
than people
why have
our churches failed so miserably
to attract them?
whose job is it
to communicate the gospel
THEIR JOB to understand
or OUR JOB to create
to change
the way it is
doing things?
but then
means change
and change brings loss
and nobody likes to lose anything then
it may be easier
for the church
to just point the finger
at the emerging generation
and say that we failed
in the
Great Commission
and it is all your fault for
not holding to the paradigm
that has worked for our fathers
we have good news
for modern man
but not for you
if you can change
the way you process information
then we have a message
from God
for you
either God is not able
to speak to you in
your language
the church
need to go back
to the drawing board
and yet if we are honest
we have too much investment
in our drawing board
to rethink it
in todays
of course
we begin to believe
that the story of God
is already making sense
to postmodern people who see
truth personified in The One Absolute
He Who Can Be Trusted
He Who Is
Is Truth
Is Way
He is

Straight from Andrew Jones' post on tallskinnykiwi, discovered this month but dated 5 December 03. Submitted by Marika Rose.

21 September 2009


why is the sky blue
why is michael jackson white
why is the sea salty
why is my computer so slow
why is a raven like a writing desk
why is my period late
why is there a dead pakistani on my couch
why is yawning contagious
why is friday 13th unlucky
why is the sea blue

Start typing in the Google search box and it automatically suggests 10 popular entries that begin the same way. These are the suggestions for 'why is' 21 Sep 09. Submitted by Alan Mitchell.

17 September 2009

He Do The Peppermint in Different Voices

Pure peppermint flowers.
Hojas de menta.
Folhas de hortela-pimenta.
Feuilles de menthe poivree.
Foglie di menta piperita.
Pure Pepermuntbloesem.

From Dr Stuart's Peppermint Tea, 2 September 2009. Submitted by Marika Rose.

15 September 2009

Alfrot Muses

Today, a fishmonger
On the central line.
With gills.

Despot, magistrate,
Mother. Never colludes
In my defiant fantasies.

Another tweet from @alfrot, on 7 September 2009 from TinyTwitter. His first here. Submitted by John Whittaker.

10 September 2009


This is a pressurised container.
Open with care.
Avoid physical impact
and extremes of temperature
as this may weaken the bottle.
When opening, hold cap firmly
and point away from people
and fragile objects.

Spotted 27 August 2009 on an M&S Cola bottle. Submitted by Marika Rose.

08 September 2009

Dissertation and Independence

The problem of ‘ideology’ and ‘politics'
influencing statistics
affects not only their reliability
and validity,
but also their availability.

In some cases this problem was insurmountable,
and statistics on, for example,
the number of young asylum seekers,
were simply not available;
the discussion section deals with this.

However, rather than allow the availability
of statistics – a political issue -
to shape which variables
I chose to present
data on, I felt a moral

imperative to present the findings with 'gaps'
since, in any case, the gaps
in these statistics spoke perhaps
more, than the statistics
which were available.

From Emma, who sent this excerpt from her 2009 dissertation.

02 September 2009

Dear Dear Edmund

Gentlemen, Clergy, Yeomanry
County of Devon.

Offers of support from every part of the County
excite my warmest gratitude, and encourage me
to solicit earnestly the personal atttendance
of my friends on the DAY OF NOMINATION,
fixed by the High Sheriff for Saturday the Eleventh
day of May, at
Eleven O'Clock at the Castle
of Exeter. Your EARLY appearance on that day
will be essentially important.

to acknowledge favours never to be effaced
from recollection,–my unintentional omission
to address EVERY Freeholder in this extensive
County,–must be attributed to the haste and
confusion of the moment, and, more than all,
to my peculiar domestic circumstances.

I have the honour to be,
with the greatest respect,
your devoted humble servant,

Edmund Pollexfen Bastard.

I have been staying in a holiday cottage in Devon, UK, where this letter was framed on the wall. Underneath was the description: 'This letter, dated 1816, the year after the Battle of Waterloo, fell down from behind the living room mantelpiece when the Old Rectory was being restored.' It was sent from 'COMMITTEE-ROOM, Gandy's Street, Exeter, 29th April 1816'. I've tried to recreate the drama of the emphatic styling from the original letter. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

Up the Wall

Hey ... sending hugs!
Going to visit your mum
and friday ... fun at the farm.

Found fantastic bright red sofa
for lounge will be so much fun.
Kidz in paddlin pool today yes pool
it was lovely x Paula was

given fish by fisherman at loch ...
had it for their tea.
man want to give them fly fishin lessons!
joseph and Paul very keen

x love and hugs x you doin ok?

By Heather, from 5 August 2009. Facebook wall post from one friend to another. Original punctuation but with punctuation marks greatly reduced.

27 August 2009

Breaking the Rules

the original source,
word for word.
Isn't a poem
(only in matters of style)

words invent
spoken or graphical sources;
In italics or speech marks.

Extract whole excerpts,
keeping them…
And arrange them in lines ☺

Capitalise line beginnings,
to show the veracity of the excerpts.
you may choose whether or not to…
… disguise personal names!

Exercise poetic licence,
Invent punctuation,
E.g. render numerals or symbols as…
YOUR OWN TITLE!!!!!!!!!!

Dan has literally broken the rules.

25 August 2009


Once upon a time, not so long ago,
there was a little girl and her name was Emily.
And she had a shop – there it is.
It was rather an unusual shop
because it didn't sell anything.
You see, everything in that shop window
was a thing that somebody had once lost,
and Emily had found,
and brought home to Bagpuss.

Emily's cat Bagpuss:
the most important –
the most beautiful –
the most magical –
saggy old cloth cat in the whole wide world.

Well now, one day Emily found a thing
and she brought it back to the shop
and put it down in front of Bagpuss
who was in the shop window fast asleep as usual.
But then Emily said some magic words:

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
old fat furry catpuss,
wake up and look at this thing that I bring.
Wake up, be bright,
be golden and light;
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing.

And Bagpuss was wide awake.
And when Bagpuss wakes up
all his friends wake up too:
the mice on the mouse-organ woke up and
stretched; Madeleine, the rag doll; Gabriel,
the toad; and last of all, Professor Yaffle,
who was a very distinguished old woodpecker.

He climbed down off his bookend and went to see
what it was that Emily had brought.

The voiceover from the beginning of each and every episode of Bagpuss, a UK children's TV programme from 1974. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

19 August 2009

Who Are You Looking For?

Who are you looking for?
Penelope Twee –
Search for a username,
first or last name.
Did you mean Penelope Tree?
couldn't find anyone named
Penelope Twee.

Who are you looking for?
Gilbert Same –
Search for a username,
first or last name.
Did you mean Gilbert Lee?
couldn't find anyone named
Gilbert Same.

Who are you looking for?
John Bob Bobson –
Hmm. Our
name search server seems
to have wandered off.

Who are you looking for?
Wigan Pier –
Sorry, but
you've reached your limit
on searches for now.

These are the words, in order, on the Find People page of Twitter and what happened when I entered the names above. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

17 August 2009

Full Metal Jacket

RORG, 06–04–09

Twenty carts

:5.56 mm



Handle with care. May cause death

By Rupert, seen 15 August 2009. It gives me great pleasure to know a member of the Parachute Regiment (UK) was looking at his ammo box and thinking of poetry. This is from the BAE packaging for 5.56mm rifle ammunition.

13 August 2009

The Top Ten Weirdest

The top ten
weirdest and funniest
Japanese condoms. Ten
ways to have fun with boobs. Fifteen

ads that prove
sex sells ... best? Thirteen
haunted houses that will make you wet
your pants. Girls get

the anime look with extra-wide
contact lenses. Fresh
baked bread, anyone?
Gruesome body bakery. Fifteen

strange and bizarre gifts
for the weirdos in your
life. World's first
eyeball tattoo – ouch! Ten

types of women you
need to avoid. The top ten
weird and bizarre
Japanese soft drinks.

The top ten All-time most popular articles on, as of 13 August 2009. Re-ordered, but otherwise unchanged. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

10 August 2009

Steam Room Rules

before entering avoid contact with steam
inlet No
shaving permitted
No persons
under fifteen years permitted in steam
bath Do not
add essence

By Heather. Total Fitness steam room rules, seen 5 August 2009.

06 August 2009

Hose on Charlie's Nose

–Drip. Drip. Drip.

Charlie, can I ask you a favour?
will it be alright if I stick my hose
on the end of your nose
because we need a lot more water
to wash the soap off Button Moon.

Of course you can Small. Come on,
Charlie, get ready to be turned on.

–I don't want a hose
on the end of my nose.
I'll look like an elephant.

O but Charlie, just think,
you'll be doing a great job.
Your cold water will be cleaning
Button Moon.

Please Charlie.

–Alright Small,
just for you.
Go on.
Stick it on.

Small, when you're ready
for Charlie to be turned on
you just call out
and I'll get soggy cloth.
He spends most of his time
sitting over there in that soap dish.
It's about time he did some work.

Sorry Captain Large,
I've got the other end of the hose
but I don't know what to do with it.

–Look Small, we're running out of time
so you give me the hose and I'll do it
while you operate the remote control.

You might as well get ready to turn him on.
Slurp. Slurp. Slurp.

–Oh well done Small.
Now you can press the button
nice and slow.

I've never worked these before.


My kids were watching Button Moon and the dialogue caught my ear. Button Moon is a British children's TV series with puppets broadcast in the 1980s. The dialogue above is from the episode 'Hose on Charlie's Nose.' Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

04 August 2009

I Find the College

I find the college...
infinitely the best in the university;
for it is the smallest,
and it is filled with lawyers,
who have lived in the world,
and know how to behave.
Whatever may be said to the contrary,
there is certainly very little
debauchery in this university,
especially among the people of fashion.

An unattributed quotation on page 9 of 'The University of Cambridge', an "unofficial history produced by the University of Cambridge Board of Continuing Education for the use of participants in its courses". Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

31 July 2009

Gap Year

Dan Strong is bungee jumping,
Dutch boys, lies and more lies, Oxford lads, the north, small Thai ladies, happy elephants, 'bamboo rafts don't fucking float', jungle treks, more Irish girls, Thai boxing, watching failure, and how far does the rabbit hole go...

Dan Strong is maekong man,
he came, he saw, he mankini'd vang vieng in two! tubing, happy shakes, happy bread, and the rest, lying in rivers ''soooo.....this is nice'', being gracefully shot down, 25m rope swings, how to save a life, and a lot of unexplained injuries! TIL baby.…

Dan Strong is crashing motorbikes,
hefty fines, ''the biggest island is a shithole'', german girls, being unable to get rid of our dutch companion, chilling in rice paddies, getting groped by a french teacher, best bus trip ever and sleeping aids....

Dan Strong is capsizing tuk tuks,
killing fields, tuol sleng, sleeping on rooftops, 'im so excited about these temples, cock blocking, wasting time in hammocks....ha! cambodian clubs, dirty western perverts and the master of sublety, TIC baby.

Dan Strong is the child tree,
waiting far too long for overpriced bar shirts, drinking games for boys, best gay ever! gecko vs snake, street dancing, clean clothes, temples, lara croft, pissing off the tiger, best meal ever and maybe there is light at the end of this very deep rabbit hole.…

Dan Strong is best coffee ever,
last night with mum and dad, back in t land, 6 hour waits, israel girl, tittus, and khao San mornings.... Same same but brilliantly different! P

A series of status updates on Facebook from a young guy who is travelling. Apart from giving each first statement its own line, the punctuation and format is unchanged. Submitted by Lucie Shuker.

28 July 2009


Be fulfilled ... satisfy the hunger within
—Noodfucius 12:45 After Dinner

Dojo Yaki-Udon or Dojo
Yaki-Soba (Japanese): chicken,
char siu pork, assorted seafood, tofu,
egg, bonito flakes, onion, mange tout,

red pepper, Oriental greens, with
yaki-udon or yaki-soba.
Ho Yo Peppered Beef Mi Fan (Taiwanese):
seared peppered beef fillet, green pepper,

onion and mange tout with a rich black
bean and soya sauce topped over steamed
rice. Spicy Seafood Tom Yum Mee (Thai):
scallop, squid, king prawn, mussel, fishcake,

crabstick, pineapple, spring onion,
coriander, lemongrass and fresh
chillies with rice vermicelli in
a spicy Tom Yum broth. Saigonese

Chicken Fillet Pho (Vietnamese
fusion): chargrilled chicken marinated
in Teriyaki sauce with thick rice
noodles, beansprouts, coriander, chillies,

Oriental greens, wakame, menma
and a wedge of lime in a meat broth.

A proverb and four items from the takeaway menu of Dojo Noodle Bar in Cambridge UK, 28 July 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 July 2009

The Mundane Mr Eggleston

"Old tyres, Dr Pepper machines, discarded air-
conditioners, vending machines, empty and
dirty Coca-Cola bottles, torn posters, power
poles and power wires, street barricades, one-way
signs, detour signs, No Parking signs, parking meters
and palm trees crowding the same curb."

Eggleston has
a unique ability to find beauty, and
striking displays of color, in ordinary
scenes. A dog trotting toward the camera; a
Moose lodge; a woman standing by a rural road;
a row of country mailboxes; a convenience
store; the lobby of a Krystal fast-food restaurant –
all of these ordinary scenes take on new
significance in the rich colors of Eggleston's
photographs. Eudora Welty suggests that
Eggleston sees the complexity and beauty
of the mundane world:

"The extraordinary,
compelling, honest, beautiful and unsparing
photographs all have to do with the quality
of our lives in the ongoing world: they succeed
in showing us the grain of the present, like the
cross-section of a tree."

Taken from the Wikipedia entry for photographer William Eggleston. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 July 2009

Ladies Three

Fell on a lady on tube
who smiled.
Helped another with a bag
who effused.
Sat opposite a third
who politely
ignored me.

Andrew has wittingly contributed three poems to this blog so far. Now, unwittingly, a fourth: this his twitter post, July 9th from TinyTwitter (PS. hope you're enjoying your honeymoon, Andrew). Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 July 2009

One For You

This seems to be one for you:

date1 July 2009 06:11
subjectThere he sat and cried

hide details 06:11 (6 hours ago) Reply

Hello. Is there perchance!


This genuinely confused me when I received it as a message on Facebook from a writer friend. I thought she was sending me a poem for this blog for a moment before realising it was spam. Here it is anyway, untouched, except for removing the offending link. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

14 July 2009

Harry Has Uses

Harry is developing good control
of his pencil movements. He is working
on counting up and back in steps of twos
and tens. Harry enjoys spending time on
investigative sites on the computer
and is competent on the internet.

He likes to use clay and box modelling
to interpret his ideas. Harry
has developed a good understanding
of the past, present and future,
exploring texts that relate to his topic
work. He has been keen to spend time on
developing the role-play area
into a bakery, resulting in
him producing some very good price lists.

Harry is one of a very few children
who have mastered the ropes in gymnastics.
He is now developing his target
skills. He has uses his imagination
well in his investigations.

Excerpts from my eldest child's first ever proper school report. He's five. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

08 July 2009


That's why I hit you today,
for the first time in my life.

Because you opened the letter,
because I wanted you to...
because of mother,
because she told you something she didn't tell me,
because I love you and you are not my daughter,
because everything could have been different,
because the past will never return...

Because of the times you caressed my back
when I cried
candy king

gingerbread page
marzipan princess.

Just watched Krzysztof Kieslowski's Dekalog, episode four. These are the English subtitles from a key scene towards the end (it's in Polish). Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

07 July 2009

Thought and Jocularity

When I was twelve, I was interviewed by
a doctoral candidate in
education and asked what I wanted
to be when I grew up.

I said that I wanted either to be
a philosopher or a clown,
and I understood then, I think that much
depended on whether or not

I found the world worth philosophising
about, and what the price of
seriousness might be. I was not sure I
wanted to be a philosopher,

and I confess that I have never quite
overcome that doubt.

Read on 1 June 2009 in 'Undoing Gender' by Judith Butler (London: Routledge 2004), p234. Submitted by Marika Rose.

03 July 2009

Strangulation By Any Other Name

Tenir ce sac et sa poignée
hors de portée des bébés et enfants
pour éviter tout risque d’étouffement.

Plastiktüte und Gryff von Babys und Kindern
fernhalten, um Erstickungs – und
Erdrosselungsgefahr zu vermeiden.

Per evitare rischi di soffocamento
o strangolamento, tenere questa busta di plastica
fuori della portata del bambini.

För att undvika risk för kvävning
och strypning, förvara plast
och handtag utom räckhåll för barn.

Tukehtumis – taikka kuristumisriskin
välttämiseksi on muovipakkaus ja kahva
säilytettävä lasten ulottumattomissa.

For å unngå kvelningsvare,
oppbevar posen on håndtaket
utilgjengelig for barn.

For at undgå fare for kvælning
og strangulering, opbevar plastikposen
og håndtage utilgængelig for børn.

Houd deze plastic zak en het handvat
uit de buurt van baby’s en kinderen,
om gevaar voor wurging
of verstikking te vermijden.

To avoid danger of suffocation
and strangulation keep this plastic bag
and handle away from babies and children.

Warning on the side of a packet of Pampers nappies (diapers) bought this week. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

30 June 2009

Lines Written Upon a Brassiere

One hundred way convertible bra,
the bra you can wear one hundred ways.
Wow! Infinite possibilities,
the only bra you’ll ever need.

Wear it as a plunge, two-strap, one-shoulder,
racerback, boatneck, crisscross front, halter –
and so many more! Comes with three
sets of straps: regular, clear
and a low back converter strap.

Provides added coverage for contour shaping.
Smooth, moulded, lightly lined under-wired cups,
with removable pads. One bra one hundred ways.
Customise your look with our life changing
one hundred way convertible bra.

The most versatile bra ever!
Simply insert straps into any of the
hidden eyelets for any look you want.
There’s now no excuse for showing straps!

Spotted on the 4 June 2009 on a BHS bra tag. The word 'cross-back' is omitted after 'racerback' to aid scansion. Submitted by Marika Rose.

27 June 2009

roads? where we're going we

roads? where we're going, we
don't need roads – game
over man, game over –
these go to eleven – i am serious,
and don't call me shirley –
i feel the need, the need for
speed – say hello to my little
friend – i'll have what she's
having – would you like me to
seduce you? is that what
you're trying to tell me? – get
busy livin' or get busy dyin' –
i'm not bad. i'm just drawn
that way – if the pirates of the
caribbean breaks down, the
pirates don't eat the tourists
– i'll be back – may the force
be with you – here's johnny!

Taken from an advert for Fopp in the Cambridge Arts Picture House programme 3 April – 28 May 2009. The line arrangement is unaltered; the dashes replace the little Fopp splat icon. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

23 June 2009

The D Word

Truth and lies
Life and death
Love and hate
Night and day
Male and female
Hot and cold
Rich and poor
Young and old

Numeric success/emergent community

From notes made in November 2006 at the Being Here conference – a spirituality and psychology event. Submitted by Marika Rose.

19 June 2009

Pack a Punch

Travel is subject
to National Rail
Conditions of Carriage
(NRCoC) and to the
conditions of carriage
of other operators
on whose services
this ticket is ( )

Copies of the NRCoC
can be obtained
from any staffed
national rail station
or from website:

From Andrew – Offpeak Day Travelcard, 6 June 2009. The gap in parentheses marks a word that was punched out by the ticket inspector.

17 June 2009

Someone Wrote You Message

Look at this glorious shit. Chinese
community lived on skyscraper roofs,
people for sale in Miami, one more
president killed. How can you explain it?

Revolt in Mexico. A person is
missing – problems with sending – didn't receive
anything. See that girl anywhere?
Can you fix it? Tell me what happened?

Surprise. What I learned: found your mistake, caught
you on camera, all dates of meetings –
he – I recorded your voice. I found your
task. Jolie cut her face, make her your queen

forever. Chief asks for you – sending you
delivery boy, oh you are lucky.
Let's make a barbecue on a weekend,
flush up to fifteen pounds of waste and toxins

from your body. See you there, address
attached. Where was your mind? You were great.
You were banned. Something strange happens to
everyone. Someone wrote you message.

A compilation of email subject lines from my spam folder over the last month. Is it just me or has spam got less filthy? Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

15 June 2009


When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

Marketer Seth Godin's blog post You Matter, 15 June 2009. These are not only his words but his line breaks too, merely with the bullet points removed. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

12 June 2009

Stuck in the Middle

A senryu

The slide doesn't slide!
The kids get stuck half way down.
Very frustrating.

Another poem from the Hexham Courant, Friday 29 May 2009. These are the words of mum-of-one and owner of the Miner's Arms Lynn Crozier in the article 'Playfield Mums Launch Campaign for £60,000'. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

11 June 2009

Tunnel of Love

Undoubtably one of the highlights of
the day – and a first for the show – was the
successful world record breaking attempt
by Alnwick-based North Northumberland Dog

Training Club. With the help of one thousand
pairs of legs the club comfortably smashed the
existing record for a dog running
through a tunnel of legs. As one thousand

volunteers stood patiently in the main
arena with their legs akimbo,
Staffordshire Bull terrier cross, Elsa,
and Border Collie, Shadow, broke the world

record with ease.

From the Hexham Courant, Friday 29 May, 'Record Breaking County Show draws 27,000 Crowd'. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

09 June 2009

For When the Numbers Don't Speak for Themselves

a typical reader
looking over your shoulder as you write,
and reacting to your words.
Try to keep this reader interested,
but not baffled.
Try and make
a continuous chain of written thought. Do not
one topic to
another without adequate introduction or
ale. ‘Discontinuity’ and jumps
are off-putting to your
readers. Hence clear
organisation is very helpful, to the
reader and to the
writer. Unless it is very short,
divide your work
into sections, each dealing
Begin by saying what the project is about;

do not give the impression of grinding to a halt because you can not think of anything more to say.

By Kat(i)e, 6 June 2009. Writing advice in a final year undergraduate project handbook put together by Bristol University Maths Department. Kat(i)e used ellipsis to represent omitted text.

04 June 2009


Please take care of the
University’s books and
books are expensive;
handle them with care.

Protect them at all times
from the elements
and from ink, food
drink and other potential
sources of damage.

Photocopying can damage
books seriously if not
carried out carefully.

Please point out to the
Library staff any necessary
repair work you may notice.

Information on the back of a book reservation slip, Cambridge University Library, 15 May 2009. Even the line arrangements are original. Submitted by Marika Rose.

01 June 2009

Wee Imperative


Message seen on a digital road sign on the M74 driving into Scotland, 30 May 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

29 May 2009

Flickr Case 1206715

I have escalated your email
to a senior representative
in an effort to obtain
the best answer.

Please allow some time
for a follow-up reply
to your question.

Email from Yahoo in response to my request to get back into my Flickr account 3 years after last using it, having forgotten all of my login and security details. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

26 May 2009

To Bumble Beer

Simply the Best, The Bee’s Knees,
Eight Hundred Years of Innovation;
William Wilberforce Freedom Ale,
Eight Hundred Years of Inspiration.

Jack's Revenge, Geronimo, Polly's Folly, Oscar Wilde,
Nelson's Revenge, Tally Ho!, Nero, Black Dog Freddy Mild.
Merry Andrew, Happy Jack, Prometheus, Sir Roger's Porter,
Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout, Betty Stogs, Gunner’s Daughter.

Cock ‘n’ Bull story, Mutt’s Nuts, Straw Dog, Stoat,
Golden Newt, Sly Fox, White Hart, Old Goat,
Curlew's Return, Black Dog Mild, Double Swan, Porker’s Snout,
Funky Monkey, Whapweasel, Marmalade Cat, Oyster Stout.

Porta Porta, Salem Porter,
Black Jack Porter, Aviator;
Rivet Catcher, Umbel Magna
Golden Plover, Silver Adder;
Cornish Knocker, Spingo Bragget
Broadside, Spingo Jubilee;
Kellyhopter, Maritime, Frigate,
Wherry, Village Bike, Maybee…

Nyewood Gold, Somerland Gold, Golden Lance, Dark O,
Shackler's Gold, Halzephron Gold, Golden Shower, Nero.
Honey Blonde, Sunchaser Blonde, Blonde Bombshell, Loveley’s Fair,
Lakeland Red, Kingston Black, Dark Ruby, Ginger Bear.

Polar Eclipse, Stormwatch, Spooky Moon, Storm Force,
Polar Star, Impy Dark, Dark Forest, Golden Gorse;
Lost in the Woods, Armageddon, Pendle Witches’ Brew,
Flying Serpent, Red Dragon, Iron Bridge Brew.

Elderquad, Agincourt, Danish Dynamite,
Scapa special, Chawden Aur, Chocolate Orange Delight.
Elderfizz, Shacklebush, Mad Monk, Pioneer,
Welterweight, Slumberjack, Pi, Bumble Beer.

A list of beer names (and three ciders - can you spot them?) from the Thirty-Sixth Cambridge Beer Festival Programme, May 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 May 2009

St Agnes Smooth and Creamy

St Agnes – smooth and creamy with bananas
to the fore in aroma and taste.
Smoky malt overtones subside as
increasing bitterness dominates
a gently receding finish. Comrade
Bill Bartram's Egalitarian
Anti-Imperialist Soviet Stout

a bold and tasty Russian stout with
a mouthfilling, airy texture and a lot
of enjoyable, peppery, bitter
chocolate flavours. Umbel Magna
coriander is added to the Old
Growler wort to complete this original
seventeen-fifties' recipe. The subtle
spiciness adds to the appeal of this
rich, dark porter. Ported Porter – an old-style
porter. Smooth and creamy, spiked with port to
give it the flavour of dark berries. Spingo
– this beer gets its deceptively
smooth, sweet taste from apples and honey but
beware – it isn't a beer for lightweights.
Old Stoatwobbler – strong, dark and luscious. Complex
and fruity with a smooth, soft finish. Vegan.
Eight Hundred Years of Innovation
gruit ale, sweet gale, wormwood, caraway and
wild rosemary are used instead of hops
to flavour this ale. It is said gruit ale
stimulates the mind, creates euphoria
and enhances sexual drive. Golden
– sorry, no tasting notes available.

A selection of ales and their tasting notes from the Thirty-Sixth Cambridge Beer Festival Programme. A poem made purely from the beer names to follow. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

18 May 2009

A Network of Flu Friends

Flu friends are neighbours,
friends and relatives
who can help you

if you get ill.

For example, they
could collect medicines,
food and other supplies for you,
so that you don't
have to leave home

if you are ill.

(Some of the symptoms are
the sudden onset of
fever, cough or shortness of breath.)

From 'Important Information About Swine Flu' - a leaflet distributed nationally last week by the UK government - pages 7 and 9. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

12 May 2009

Seven Types of Ambiguity at the Post Office on Histon Road


The pull-down blind notice in the serving position window inside the Post Office, as stared at for 15 minutes of my lunch break today. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

08 May 2009


domain-specific language (DSL), 367
"Don't repeat yourself" (DRY) principle, 383, 390
DoPasswordChange() method, 476
DoSomething action, 308

double curly braces ({{}}), 229
drop-down lists, 336-338
DRY ("Don't repeat yourself") principle, 383, 390
DSL (domain-specific language), 367

Duration parameter, 301
dynamic content, 547
dynamic output, 22
dynamically typed variable, 73

echoes back, 463

From the index of Pro ASP.NET MVC Framework by Steve Sanderson. Not the first time his book has featured. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

05 May 2009


As a finishing trick for this chapter
let's refactor
the application slightly
to simplify the List.aspx view template
(views are meant to be simple,

My friend Steve Sanderson has just had his book Pro ASP.NET MVC Framework published. Congratulations. A little poem from p.117 to celebrate. And there'll be one more later in the week. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

01 May 2009

A Prayer for Skeletons


Father, thank you for today.
Thank you that you made us
and that you love us.

I pray that Harry and Toby
won't be afraid of anything:
not monsters or dinosaurs,
noises or the dark,
aliens or skeletons
(or pirates),
school or nursery.

Or anything they've read in a book
or seen in a film.

I pray that they will sleep really well
and have good dreams not bad dreams.

In Jesus' name, amen.


You didn't say pirates
I did say pirates.
You didn't say skeletons
I did say skeletons.

You didn't say football club
You're not scared of football club.
I am. You're not going to football club
for another four sleeps.

You didn't say nursery
I did but just for you,
help him not be scared of nursery
amen now go to sleep.

Part 1 is the word for word prayer that my sons make me pray every night before bed. Part 2 is a typical conversation that ensues. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

27 April 2009

The Pipes O' Bladnoch

Spent lees
Pot ale out

Pot ale in
Pot ale out

Intermediate spirit receiver
Cool wash into still, through heat exchange
Wash to heat exchanger
Warm wash into still after heat exchange

Pot ale from still
Pot ale out
Pot ale in
Pot ale out

Warmed wash to wash still
Pot ale through heat exchanger to effluent tanks
Pot ale from still
Pot ale out to effluent tanks

Words written on the pipes at Bladnoch whisky distillery in Scotland to identify their contents. Visited 23 April 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

22 April 2009

We're Here For You

We’re here for you
24 hours a day,
365 days a year,
and not just for breakdowns.

Flat battery,
flat tyre,
locked your keys
in the car
- with your RAC membership
you’re covered for all of these
and more.

We aim
to find you fast
and solve your problem
quickly too.

We fix
almost 80%
of cars at the roadside
(excluding accidents
and extreme failures).

Once you’re on your way again
we can follow you
for a while
just to make sure everything’s okay.

If your car does
let you down
we won’t.

Extract from a customer welcome letter from the RAC, received 19 August 2008. Submitted by Marika Rose.

19 April 2009

Agoraphobia Bites

I started to feel like
something was pushing me
down into the ground and I just freaked out.

So I grabbed the bairns and
said we've got to go home.
I felt like everything was just closing

in on me I thought I
was dying. I heard the
bairns in the garden playing in the snow

and I got angry with myself
and I thought I'm missing out on them.

So I slowly sidled
to the edge of the bed,
crawled on my hands and knees to the window

and looked out all wide-eyed.
One of the bairns looked up
and waved and said 'there's mam' I said 'hi son'

and shot back into bed.

The reported speech of Sue Curtis, 40, in the BBC article Woman Leaves House After 20 Years. I'll come clean and admit that I removed two words ('just' and 'and') to make the line lengths right - count those syllables! Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

16 April 2009

Kamikaze Pigeon on the M5

I had it happen
To me by a blackbird, strange
Experience huh!

My friend Dave's comment on my Facebook status update on 06 April 2009. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

15 April 2009

Genius Bar None

Data transfer, no.
Data transfer detail, none.
Known liquid damage, no.

Cosmetic condition, unknown.
iLife version, unknown.
User-name, na. Password, na.

Issue, fraid cable.

From the Apple Genius Bar 'Work Authorisation and Service Confirmation' after they replaced my melted power lead on 7 April 09. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

09 April 2009

The Love Song of I. Buprofen

If you suffer from any of the following
at any time during your treatment
stop taking the medicine and seek
immediate medical help:

Pass blood in your faeces.
Pass black tarry stools.
Vomit any blood or dark particles
that look like coffee grounds.
Develop a stiff neck, headache, nausea,
vomiting, fever and disorientation.

Stop taking the medicine and
tell your doctor if you experience:

Indigestion or heartburn.
Abdominal pains (pains in your stomach)
or other abnormal stomach symptoms.
Asthma, shortness of breath, skin rash,
itching or swelling of the face and tongue.

Fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers,
flu-like symptoms, severe exhaustion,
unexplained bleeding or bruising.

Other side effects that some patients
have had with ibuprofen include:

Stomach discomfort,
flatulence (wind),
headache, dizziness,
vertigo, tinnitus

(ringing in the ears),

fluid retention,
high blood pressure,
visual disturbances,
feeling unwell,
tiredness and drowsiness,
sleeping problems,
nervousness, numbness
and tingling,

confusion, hallucinations and depression,
swelling of the feet and occasionally
blistering or flaking of the skin.

It has been known for Ibuprofen
to cause gastro-intestinal disturbances
such as abdominal pain, nausea,
vomiting or ulcers. Ibuprofen
can make colitis and Crohn's disease worse.

Very rarely,
blood in the urine,
kidney damage or
even failure,
liver damage
(including jaundice,
with yellowing of
the skin or eyes),
blood disorders or
to light may occur.

Some patients with
auto-immune disorders
(such as lupus)
have experienced a
kind of meningitis
of the brain) with
symptoms such as
stiff neck, headache,
nausea, vomiting,
fever or disorientation.

If you experience any other
unusual or unexpected symptoms
which persist or are troublesome,
consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you experience
dizziness, drowsiness,
tiredness or problems with vision,
do not drive or
operate machinery.

Medicines such as Ibuprofen
tablets may be associated with
a small risk of heart attack
("myocardial infarction")

or stroke.

This is the 'While Taking Your Medicine' section of the Patient Information Leaflet for Ibuprofen Tablets BP 200mg, bought from the Co-op last week. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.