Crap Facebook covers

In my other life as an internet marketeer I get hit with a lot of special offers. Some are dreadful. Take these two suggested Facebook covers for small businesses. Hmm… I can see all the fathers signing their kids up for the kindergarten teacher, and who cares if your ‘proffesional’ photographer can’t spell? I wouldn’t choose him for a wedding shoot though! How can you market your own Facebook cover product so badly?

Kindergarten teacher's facebook cover

Facebook cover for kindergarten teacher


Facebook cover for professional photographer

Facebook cover for professional photographer

New plans for ‘noiseless’ Heathrow expansion

Heathrow airport’s operator yesterday published controversial new expansion plans. Two new runways are being proposed, but the company denies that increased noise levels will be a problem.

“Increased noise isn’t a problem for us because we’re deaf to protests,” insisted a spokesman for the company. “We can silence our critics with political lobbying and by presenting ludicrous economic cases which don’t stack up. As a Spanish company, economics in the realms of fantasy come naturally to us. We’re not just deaf to protests, we’re blind to common sense. Besides, profits from British airports are about the only thing keeping Spain from bankruptcy.”

Deafening silence

“The flight path over central London is no longer a problem for Londoners,” continued the spokesman. “Sky-high property prices mean that no honest, native Londoners can afford to live in those areas. All the properties are owned by Russian oligarchs and tax-dodgers from Southern European countries looking to stash their ill-gotten gains. These properties aren’t lived in for more than a couple of weeks a year, when the owners tend to throw loud parties and are mostly too drunk to notice aircraft noise.”

Something stinks

Deepskram challenged the company over the impact on communities near Heathrow. “Our initial move will be to wipe one 2,700-home community off the map – so the noise won’t affect them at all. We’ll then build a runway over that and the sewage works. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book and the church is nearly a thousand years old, so there really is a desperate need to modernise. For one thing, the church falls short of current building regulations and insulation standards, so it’s an environmental hazard. Our architects tell us that an air-conditioned combined-use multi-faith prayer-room and fried chicken bar in the bowels of the terminal, adjacent to the sewage farm, will be far more representative of modern British values.”

Old trick

“We’ll be moving families out of the area and replacing houses with old people’s homes. Most of them are deaf, so noise won’t be a problem for them. It’s a cinch.”

The Farmer and the Technocrat

With thanks to my sister-in-law for this…

A farmer was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous
pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan®
sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the farmer,
“If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd,
will you give me a calf?”

The farmer looks at the man, then looks at his
peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”

The young man parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer,
connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA
page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact
fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that
scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and
exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany …
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image
has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL®
database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his
Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech,
miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the farmer and says, “You
have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says the farmer.

He looks on with amusement as the young man select one of the animals.
Then he says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what
your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why

“You’re a Member of the European Parliament”, says the farmer.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the young man, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the farmer. “You showed up here even though
nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew,
to a question I never asked. You used thousands of pounds worth of
equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you
don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about
cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my dog.


Fiscal cliff is a cure for a sick system

Why all the terror about the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ in the United States? Finally, America will have to repeal Bush-era tax-cuts and begin cutting its chronic over-spend. So people like presidential candidate Mitt Romney would no longer be able to pay just 13% tax, and maybe have to pay 30%+ like the rest of the electorate. The ballooning federal budget will be forced to deflate just a little. Does the US really need to spend nearly 50% of all the ‘defence’ spending of the entire world?(1)

Will there be an economic crunch? Yes, there will: an almighty one. The dead wood of redundant government will crunch underfoot. As it rots, the real economy will be able to grow without the dead weight of zombie spending. Finally being forced to pay the bill for George W Bush’s ‘revenge for ma pa’ war in Iraq might sober up a few NeoCon hotheads. It won’t be anything like the financial reckoning that’s needed, but it might be the detox the poisoned economy needs.

(1) President Eisenhower, a former five-star general, warned the US about the military-industrial complex in this speech, three days before he relinquished the presidency: and it has come to pass. Perhaps when they realise the con-job that’s been pulled on them, the Americans might want to legislate special interest groups buying favours and return to real democracy?

Steve Jobs on focus

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.”

Why I set up

Thanks for dropping by. As the above header suggests, this website is the opposite of my serious site It’s not necessarily the darker side, but it’s the lighter and more stupid stuff. My marketing gurus said I should think about separating Mark the serious Writer from Mark the performer and comedian. Yes, it’s all about branding: a serious reader wouldn’t want to visit the other website and be exposed to some of the absurd nonsense on this site. You can see the logic. However, the comic in me can’t help but point out that, not only are the manifestos of every political party in this country manifestly absurd and stuffed full of nonsense, but that they take themselves terribly seriously. My reason for the separation was that I’m aiming to make a living from my writing, and that this separation was therefore necessary. In writing this, I’ve realised that the political classes not only make a very good living indeed, but enjoy charitable status (despite a distinct lack of charitable behaviour) and enjoy the privilege of shafting the rest of us.

Oh dear. My first post on this site and I’ve ended up being serious.

Ineptocracy – new word definition

Just came across a new word: Ineptocracy (noun)
Definition: a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of the society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods & services paid for by the confiscated wealth & work of a diminishing number of producers.

Every democracy eventually turns into an ineptocracy as large swathes of the population realise that they can vote in politicians who will do anything they can to hang on to power – most especially by kicking the can down the road. This is why democracies tend to go bust.

Voice of reason?

Last night I watched Voices in my Head on Channel 4.  Some 3-4% of any age group of any population hears voices in their heads.  Amongst those interviewed was the novelist Hilary Mantel, who said the voices she hears when writing novels were what she imagined a religious experience to be like. So far, so good — creativity and this sort of insight go hand-in-hand.

We were presented with a banker who had enjoyed ‘a highly successful Wall Street career, thus ‘proving that even sane people can hear voices’. Whoa! Logic attack! I beg to differ, the ‘sane’ person who wrote the programme doesn’t seem to have a grasp of causality. Surely this proves the very opposite point: that people who hear voices can hold down high-pressure jobs on Wall Street.  The programme’s flawed logic goes only to show that ‘sane’ people lack the insight to make basic logical deductions.  Person-for-person it’s the sanity-challenged who’ve done most to drive human innovation.

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