linkmachinego.com

7 November 2002
[life] The Cost of Reunion — True life story which combines Friends Reunited, internet romance, sex and death … ‘Married for 22 years with a 12-year-old son, Joanne registers with Friends Reunited in January; her former fiance Tim responds in March; they meet up again for the first time in April, have sex once, and in June move in together, having seen each other only about a dozen times. The whole extraordinary process of getting to know a person – even if it is for the second time – flirting with them, falling for them and wanting them forever is concertinaed into just a few dizzying weeks – thanks to emails and mobile phones. In one four-week period they exchanged over 30,000 words in emails.’ [Related: Spouses Disunited]
6 November 2002
[russian proverb] ‘The situation is hopeless, but not yet desperate.’
2 November 2002
[holiday] Happy Campers — Johnny Vegas on his childhood memories of Butlins

“…the real beauty of [Butlins] was parents being able to go, ‘Right, you’re not really mine. From a certain time in the morning to a certain time at night, I don’t really care. Unless it’s something really serious, and the matron calls us.’ Because, really, there’s nothing worse than going on a family holiday, and your parents are finding things to do in the day that they think’ll be fun for you; they’re miserable, because they’d much rather be in the pub. You’re miserable, because you’re not really that arsed about castles. It was the entertain-yourselves thing at Butlin’s, while your parents were off doing their Paxo-sponsored chicken dance.” Paxo-sponsored chicken dance? “It was like the conga meets the chicken dance.”

17 October 2002
[science] You Ask The Questions — Robert Winston‘Q: Is it true that your new series, ‘Human Instinct’, is going to explain — scientifically — why men have the urge to cheat on their partners? A: Well, the accompanying book goes into more detail. It’s because a woman’s egg is much more precious — she only produces one so it’s a huge investment. While the man produces millions of sperm that he can spread around. In the programme, we go round a university quad with a male and a female wearing a hidden camera asking the students whether they’ll sleep with them that night. All the women shy off immediately. And all the men look at their watches and say, “Yes, I’m free at 8.30”! It’s quite an important scientific point.’
4 October 2002
[books] Angry Bed Positions from Mil Millington‘Think of it as a ‘K’. One person is in the standard half-‘X’ shape (facing away) and the other is a rigid ‘I’; lying prone, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. Here you lose points for style if the ‘I’ person doesn’t let out frequent sighs and snorts in an attempt to get the Half-‘X’-er to ask ‘What is it?'” [via Anglepoised]
20 September 2002
[web] The Online Life of Bigplaty47 — from upsideclown

‘call_me_katy: why weren’t you there???? say something!!!!!
call_me_katy: I’M CRYING i thought i knew you, i thought i might love you
call_me_katy: and you do this, you did this
call_me_katy: YOURE MAKING ME CRY
call_me_katy: you have no heart. no heart at all
bigplaty47 has signed off.’

16 August 2002
[war] Mock Cyberwar fails to end Mock Civilization‘We’ve seen cities immobilized for days by natural events like blizzards, the severest of which are often accompanied by power and communications breakdowns, financial inconveniences and failures of emergency response teams to function, and yet life goes on. Human beings simply aren’t as fragile and narcotically-dependent on state authority as the government desperately desires them to be. We shift for ourselves rather well for moderate periods of time when the infrastructure of state paternalism lets us down and the life-giving commercial heartbeat flatlines. People are remarkably good at solving problems, both individually and in small ad-hoc groups. Thus we survive earthquakes, floods, blizzards, depressions, epidemics, hurricaines, foreign occupations, famines, plagues, slavery, volcanic eruptions, sustained V-1 and V-2 bombing campaigns, and the like. If we couldn’t, we wouldn’t be here now.’
8 August 2002
[life] Why Me? — A psychologist tells why he is sick of self-pitying patients … ‘Everywhere we look, our culture is sending us the message that if we comply, we will be spared anguish. I have bad news. A brief study of history shows that we have put ourselves behind the cosmic eight ball. Mass extinctions, the growth and contractions of empires, sudden evolutionary leaps, even our children’s growth spurts, all show the same thing: If you live on this planet, you will experience periods of calm broken up by periods of intense crisis and radical change. No life is spared.’
28 July 2002
[booze] The Puzzling Red Wine Headache [login as: linkmachinego/linkmachinego] — this link is for Vaughan‘It may be caused by “compounds found in the skins of grapes and they are either naturally occurring or produced through fermentation,” Dr. Freitag said. He would postulate no further. “It’s not as if there are hundreds of thousands of dollars for funding” studies to determine the cause, Dr. Freitag said. There is actually a stigma to studying the subject. “I’ve entertained the idea of looking for grants to study this and I’ve been told, `Don’t go there, it’s bad P.R.,’ ” Dr. Freitag said.’ [via Follow Me Here]
25 June 2002
[relationships] Things my girlfriend and I argue aboutMil Millington on trousers … ‘This is how clothes work with me: I need a pair of trousers, I go out and buy a pair of trousers, I wear that pair of trousers for 15 years, or until a court order compels me to buy a new pair. Buying new trousers is very quick, because it’s simply a matter of walking into a shop and saying, “I’d like a pair of trousers. I’d like them to be precisely the same as the pair I have on now, except, you know, with knees in them.” Margret is different.’
24 June 2002
[art] Every Picture Tells A Story — Jon Ronson on a family portrait …

‘A few years ago, John Birt came in for lunch. My father approached his table: “Are you John Birt?” he asked.

“Yes,” said John Birt.

“I wonder if you can help,” said my father. “The TV reception in this area can be all crackly and fuzzy. Can you do anything about this?” I think my father wanted John Birt to get on to the roof and fix the aerial.

“We spoke about all sorts,” my father told me on the phone afterwards. “The problems I’m having with my car – he couldn’t believe that it’s been in the garage six times.”

“Oh, and he hasn’t heard of you,” added my mother, on the extension line.’

17 June 2002
[distractions] Limber Tongue Gallery — unusual things you can do with your tongue. What can you do with your tongue? :)
3 June 2002
[phones] How I became a ‘call’ girl — What it’s like to work on a phone sex line …

‘”Did you have any particular fantasy in mind tonight?” purred Jade.

“No,” the caller mumbled.

“What do you feel like talking about?”

“I dunno.”

“Where are you calling from?”

“Lying down,” he answered.’

18 May 2002
[swimming] Don’t be so wet — Julie Burchill on Swimming Pools … ‘I’m not being a killjoy here. I know that swimming pools can be used for physical activities other than swimming, and that “breaststroke” can have a double meaning in any place where strangers are packed together wearing very little. In fact, “No Running, No Diving, No Petting” made it on to my shortlist as a title for my autobiography, neatly summing up my steadfast idleness, my obdurate heterosexuality and my intrinsic heartlessness.’
9 May 2002
[net] Me and my Net Stalker — interesting article on stalking over the internet … ‘…last year Gobion Rowlands logged on as usual to check his email. There was a message from an unusual Hotmail address. Its title was Gob on Rowlands. Its text – not for sensitive eyes – read: “You probably don’t remember me, but I haven’t forgotten you. So you’re still into your wanky dungeons and dragons shit… Clearly you have lived up to your full potential: a self-obsessed arsehole with bad kidneys. Oh yes Rowlands, I fucking know who you are… So why am I emailing you? Just to let you know that you can’t leave your past behind…”‘
5 May 2002
[disunited] Web Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned — UK press mention of the Spouses Disunited Meme. ‘…although the site carries accounts of marriages between previously estranged friends and even some cases of adopted children reunited with their natural parents, it is also responsible for a growing list of divorces and painful separations.’
3 May 2002
[spouses disunited] When Friends Reunited Goes Bad‘Until recently he had his details on this site, accompanied with a photograph of himself, which was an extremely good likeness of the ugly twat. Unfortunately none of you will now be able to look at his photo because he has deleted all his details as he is embarrassed to admit that on 5th January 2002 he deleted his wife and 9 year old daughter out of his life when he met a hoar called CLAUDIA *******, just before Christmas and began shagging the slag while his wife and daughter were out shopping for Christmas presents.’ [thanks Phil]

Update: The Register has more details‘The posting has been pulled from Friends Reunited, but we’ve been sent a copy of the page, which is now doing the email rounds. We’ve checked out the address of the poster, the tel no. (which appears to have been disconnected), we know the school and the year. But we’ve not made contact with either protaganist. We know that one national newspaper is on the case, so we reckon a local stringer could be camping outside the protaganists’ houses right now.’ [via Blogjam]
14 April 2002
[uk] Call Me Middle-Class And I’ll Punch You — Julie Burchill writing about class in the UK … ‘And a special set of questions just for me, because I’m in charge of this page. Do you persist in believing that there is something intrinsically and non-specifically sad about anyone over the age of 16 who remains in full-time education? Would you rather eat your own head than mix your own salad dressing? Do you keep the TV on at all times between rising and retiring? Is the only thing you have put away for a rainy day a stylish raincoat? Yes, yes, yes, yes! – so, culturally, that means I’m working-class, too.’ [Related: Earl steps into ‘working class’ dispute]
12 March 2002
[wtf?!] The Enema Withinslightly extremely disgusting article about colonic irrigation holidays in Thailand. ‘…octogenarian bowel specialist, V E Irons, attempted the Herculean task of selling colonic irrigation on its erotic potential. I would lose my frigidity, he promised, my sex life would go stratospheric. “How could anyone fully enjoy sex when he has up to 15 years of encrusted fecal matter and mucus in his colon?” asked Irons. “HE CAN’T – and HE WON’T. If you want to remain sexually potent for your entire life, start cleaning your colon today. I’m 87, and I still enjoy sex. And if I can at my age, I know you can at your age… so get on with it!” It was of little consolation to Mez, whose hunger had now assumed epic proportions. She was considering eating her apricot moisturiser, she told me.’ [via Coffee Grounds]
6 March 2002
[blogs] Yesterday I asked Metafilter if this picture made them feel inadequate… lots of amusing responses. ‘…his hairstyle is horrid, his cock isn’t that big, and the expression on his face is ridiculous.’
15 February 2002
[wtf?!] I Was In Love With A Nutcase — What it’s like going out with a girl with multiple personalities … ‘Having four other personalities living in the body of your girlfriend was definitely an odd experience.’ [via JerryKindall.com]
1 February 2002
[uk] Lunch is for Wimpys — the return of Mr Wimpy … ‘There was something very British about Wimpy from the moment that it sprang from an item on the menu in the Lyons Corner Cafe, to its own fully fledged chain in 1954. Whether it was the insistence that fast food should be eaten with a knife and fork, or the appearance of toasted teacakes on the menu, or even the willingness to name itself after the burger-munching character from Popeye (can you imagine an American chain calling itself Nerdy?), it was markedly different from McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the rest; more closely associated to the tea urn than the flame grill. Then, in 1989, Wimpy went west, or so it seemed.’
6 January 2002
[wisdom] Fearlessness in Difficult Times‘We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.’ [via Wood s Lot]
29 October 2001
[flatmates] Cleaning The Fucking Kitchen For Dummies‘The pizza may have arrived at your door on its own, but once you eat half of it, it’s dead and it won’t actually go away on its own. It doesn’t matter if you hide it somewhere like some sort of demented squirrel, it will stay there. Unless someone throws it away. That means you, if the world is just, which it plainly isn’t.’ [via Ms. Woo]
8 September 2001
[death] The Autopsy — blogger Brooke Magnanti takes a close look … ‘The autopsy is an examination of the body as machine, a hardware hack on hopeless equipment. As with some bugs you may never find out what went wrong. There may be several ailments: a pancreatic cancer, say; a cirrhotic liver. The evidence of death is incontrivertible, but the cause is an eel slipping out of your hands.’

[Updated 11/2009: Searchers for Belle de Jour can find more about her here]
27 July 2001
[recession] Economics? It’s a piece of cake — are we heading for a recession? The Guardian does a number of totally unscientific tests to find out… ‘…Budd’s scientific method for testing the economic climate was to stand in the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex counting shoppers – fatally, he was fooled by their numbers into believing recovery was on the way, not noticing their sad noses pressed up against the glass gazing forlornly at the things they couldn’t afford.’
13 June 2001
[babies] Fathers Daze — Tim Lott talks about men and babies… ‘When I was in my 20s I thought that happiness looked like a big desk I could sit behind, ordering people around. I thought happiness was golden beaches, and exciting parties, and recreational drugs, and exotic travel and big salaries and gorgeous women. And I tried all these things – oh, how I tried them. But you can add them up and multiply them by their own power, and none of them achieve the simple intensity of the joy that is granted by pushing my daughters on the swings in the local park on a sunny day, or simply watching while they sleep. No clever piece of artifice – film, theatre, TV – can make me laugh half as much. No stunning piece of art can be so beautiful. No winning of a literary prize would make me so proud. Happiness, it turns out, like evil, is banal.’
3 June 2001
[crime] WMOB — The Wiretap Network. FBI Wiretaps of Mafia gangsters… Frank and Fritzy. Life imitates the Sopranos. ‘FRITZY: I eat yogurt about 10 o’clock, ’cause I didn’t eat all day from 2 o’clock. So I says, “I’ll have a little yogurt.” Then it had raisins and nuts. FRANK: I thought you don’t eat raisins. FRITZY: It was inside the damn yogurt. FRANK: What’d ya tell me about raisins? FRITZY: Yeah, what I tell you? They were in there, alright? So anyhow, so I, I downed it and five minutes after, I started fucking itching around the balls, you know?’ [via Follow Me Here]
19 May 2001
[burchill] Sticks and a stone. ‘I’m not, by any means, some sort of sex-prude, but the rehabilitation of Wyman has been one of the true markers of the increasing sickness and hypocrisy of our society in the past 20 years: him, the whore-master Charles Windsor and schoolgirl-shagger Chris Woodhead; each scumbag now a well-respected man who dares to tell other people how they should be and what they should do. It’s true what those loony Telegraph writers say about shame no longer playing its useful role in civilising society. Look at John Profumo: one quick blowjob from Christine Keeler and he’s off down the East End kissing lepers till the end of his days.’
14 May 2001
[my inner turmoil?] The Observer profiles Anthony Clare‘As he says, men are viewed today much as women were 100 years ago – as fragile, naturally ill members of the species who are prone to early death, vulnerable to the vicissitudes of random violence and disease, and who are riddled with self-doubt. ‘Freud got it spectacularly wrong,’ Clare says. ‘Women don’t envy the penis. And unlike them, men still can’t discuss their sexuality and resolve the problem. Every man, including myself, is ashamed of the size of his penis.”
7 May 2001
[the joy of stats] Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend. ‘…. I, for one, refuse to spend my life brooding over my lack of luck with women. While I’ll be the first to admit that my chances of ever entering into a meaningful relationship with someone special are practically non-existent, I staunchly refuse to admit that it has anything to do with some inherent problem with me. Instead, I am convinced that the situation can be readily explained in purely scientific terms, using nothing more than demographics and some elementary statistical calculus.’
2 May 2001
[luck] The Unluckiest Couple in Britain… what happens when you lose a winning lottery ticket. ‘The Totts have been caught in the contradiction that makes the lottery function – the insistence that it’s all just a bit of fun, a moment’s relief from the daily grind, overlain with the unspoken riposte: yes, but it could change everything forever. It was the former thought that explained why they didn’t check their ticket that week in September – “after seven years, you just think well, I buy a ticket, but I’m never going to win a blooming thing” – but it was the latter that got them hoping.’
25 April 2001
[dad] Becoming like your Father — every man’s worst nightmare? ‘…what men really fear is turning into someone they said they would never ever resemble. I might be a Guardian-reading Old Labour hack living in Highbury, but my dad is a Telegraph-reading former farmer who regards Ian Paisley as a moderating influence on the Northern Ireland peace process. Farmers have never been the most optimistic of people, and I have never been more grateful than now that I didn’t follow my father’s footsteps in that regard. Yet every so often, I come out with a sentiment that sounds just like my dad, such as advising Nicola not to put a window box on that ledge in case it falls on someone in the street and we are sued.’
23 April 2001
[nostalgia] 101 Things We Don’t Miss‘Pickled eggs. In Wales, where pickled eggs are still a foodstuff of choice, they buy them with a bag of prawn cocktail crisps, then they scrunch the egg up in the crisps and eat the offending egg with a carapace of crisp around it, for flavour. If that doesn’t say all there is to say about how noxious the things are, I can’t think what does.’ [Guilty Secret: I love pickled eggs… here’s a recipe.]
18 April 2001
[distractions] Another site I’ve been meaning to blog for ages — Notes & Queries. Important profound examples: What is the point of pubic hair? Why do Magpies collect shiny objects? How can I become a charismatic, likeable, well-connected and wealthy person with the least amount of effort? What is the most effective way to start an urban myth? [reminded by Tom]
18 March 2001
[men] My Ideal Woman. ‘If you are or know of someone who meets these requirements, email me. Chances are, though, that I will miserably fail her requirements for a man. Hence, I am most likely going to remain a bachelor.’ [via Wacky Brit]
17 March 2001
[amis] Martin Amis examines the US Porn Industry. ‘It is barely 10 o’clock in the morning, and I am, I realise, experiencing the kind of anxiety that usually precedes a mild ordeal. A line is about to be crossed. I shouldn’t be here. None of us should be here. But we all have work to do. Fifteen minutes later, referring to the achievements of Lola, Chloe stabbed a hand through the air at me, and shouted with joy and triumph (Chloe is the director, remember, and she was thrilled to have this scene in the can): “That’s the kind of blowjob I was telling you about yesterday!”‘
13 March 2001

Slightly disturbing card posted in my letterbox...

Shoved through the letterbox… the answer to all my crippling emotional problems?
10 March 2001
[death] The wisdom of the dead‘I have one final request…’ [Random Dead Letter]
9 March 2001
[globalisation] Delhi Calling. Call centres go off-shore — when you call your bank or mobile phone company you may well be talking to somebody half-a-world away. ‘Each computer screen shows Greenwich Mean Time and the temperature in the UK, in case a staff member feels the urge to reveal that India is enjoying yet another day of blue skies and sunny weather. “We find showing new staff videos of Yes, Prime Minister is particularly effective,” says Raman Roy, Spectramind’s sleek, pipe-smoking chief executive. “They get a two-hour seminar on the royal family. We download the British tabloids every morning from the web to see what our customers are reading. We make our new staff watch Premier League football games on TV. And we also explain about the weather, because British people refer to the subject so frequently. It is a science,” he adds, proudly.’
2 March 2001
[puke] Louis Theroux remembers his greatest vomits.‘This, I realised, is the paradox of the puke: that it is a provocative act and yet at the same time utterly involuntary. It’s like Tourette’s Syndrome made physical. I wanted nothing more than to be in bed with a cup of sugary tea and yet here I was instead staging weird, almost avant garde actions, spraying the walls of my friend’s parents’ toilet with regurgitated carrot.’
1 March 2001
[life] Things fall apart — The Guardian looks at the complexity of life in Britain in the aftermath of the train crash yesterday‘Complexity is the world we live in. People still think it isn’t. People still think that when they go to a supermarket and buy a pound of meat it’s exactly the same thing they used to do 30 years ago when they went to a shop up the road. In no respect is it the same. The meat has gone through the hands of 75 different people. It might be a French sheep, slaughtered in Belgium, butchered in Germany, part sent to Saudi Arabia and part sent here. I blame the training of today’s managers. They’ve not been trained to think about robustness and stability. They’ve been trained to think about efficiency. Efficiency, to a modern manager, means that every conceivable component is just about to break down.’
12 February 2001
[year] Guardian Unlimited explains… Why we hate February. ‘The dullest, wettest, cruellest month is upon us. Oh well, at least it’s short.’
16 January 2001
[life] How time can fly into a vacuum — Big Blue Dog on Time Suckage… ‘One of the prime culprits of time suckage in the modern work environment is the cappuccino. In the old days, office workers contented themselves with a simple cup of instant Nescafé, made in the office kitchen with a grime-encrusted teaspoon and milk of dubious maturity. Nowadays, with our hifalutin’ continental ways, we want froth on top. We want chocolate. Some of us even want a skinny mocha decaff latte with a twist.’
11 January 2001
[nude] Nudist ‘not a public nuisance’ — BBC News reports on a campaigner for nudism who was cleared of being a public nuisance. ‘As soon as he heard the verdict at Southwark Crown Court Mr Bethell – wearing nothing but a beard – shouted: “Being human is not a crime”. But Judge George Bathurst-Norman warned him: “I would not go away too much with that idea.’
4 January 2001
[yawn!] Duvet Days — what I could do with right now… ‘duvet days, n, buzzword; a day when employees have the right to stay in bed instead of going in to work, no prior booking required.’ [via Dutch Bint]
23 December 2000
[tedious autobiography] Tonight I was here — the Small and Beautiful in Kilburn. Highly recommended… great food, cheap, very relaxing… ‘We began with the Moules Mariniere (steamed mussels in garlic, lemon, parlsey and white wine) and the sublime Baked Red Peppers, which are stuffed with fetta cheese. Highlights of the main menu are the Char-grilled Tuna Steak, with a sauce of anchovies, capers and butter; and the Rigatone Verde, a risotto with spinach and cream.’
10 December 2000
[state of mind] Happy? Most of this article seems pretty self-evident to me… ‘Depression, unhappiness and happiness can be understood and dealt with only by understanding how we each interpret ourselves and our world. We create our own individual interpretations, and our interpretations determine what we do and feel. We cannot always change what is happening to us, but we are always free to change how we interpret what is happening to us.’ [Coincidentally, whilst reading the ‘Happy?’ article I was also checking out my Amazon personal recommendations… they had chosen for me: You Are Worthless. :) ]
6 December 2000
[annoying introspection] Wherever You Are asks Have You Ever?. Vaughan has turned weblogging into a destressing late night party session of Truth or Dare with a bunch of complete strangers…
23 November 2000
[the great unknown] Deathbed book a first for China: ‘In this passage, Mr Lu recalls an idyllic trip with friends 20 years ago to the lower Yangtze valley, a peaceful swath of countryside at the time, where heavy rain kept them stuck for several days. A local girl looked after them, listening quietly as they talked about poetry and the world and drank local wine with dried beancurd. Mr Lu was captivated by her innocence and purity, but was too shy to go any further. Now he muses on what might have happened if he had stayed and married her. “What would I be now? Maybe a teacher in the town’s primary school?” He wonders too whether he would have contracted the cancer. “Is life like a chess competition, where with one wrong move we change the result completely?”‘