Weird comment spam

I’ve been getting some bizarrely customised-for-this-site comment spam recently. For example:

As well as the main critical mass ride there’s now a north london version.

Those Friday Thing folk said that boobah is “a bit odd”

Today is the European Day of Languages. I wonder if David Blunkett is taking part?

Linguist Geoff Nunberg considers the way politicians and journalists are pronouncing place names associated with the war on Iraq.

When we moved here, Mrs Stefanou told us this was one of the nicest bits of Crouch End, while her son told us it was a great place to be because it was so easy to get to Crouch End from here

I wonder how robust this statistic is? And does this one only tell half of its own story?

You had your last chance girl. Now you will get a sound lesson in obedience and respect for your elders. Take off your clothes.

Actually, the last isn’t particularly customised-for-this-site. But you get the idea – the spambot is not only using randomly selected nonsense phrases to get past filters looking for the traditional ‘viagra [email protected] cl1ck h3re’ kind of spam, it’s picking ones that are relevant for a vaguely political, vaguely pedantic North London-y blog.

Perhaps the idea is that I’ll probably be busy, bored or drunk when I’m moderating my comments, therefore probably won’t notice that the commenter’s name is ‘cheap-prescription-drugs’ and their alleged blog URL is, and therefore that I’ll probably let their spam through…

On tax

Let’s abolish inheritance tax. Let’s abolish capital gains tax.

Instead, let’s treat all income as, well, income, and tax it as such. Whether you happened to make it from being clever and lucky enough to get a job, being clever and lucky enough to find a high-interest bank account, being clever and lucky enough to invest in profitable shares, or being clever and lucky enough to have a rich granny who liked you when she died.

This seems both fairer and more efficient than the current scheme of treating “money that a person receives based on stuff they’ve done” differently based on entirely weird and arbitrary criteria.

The Games

You may or may not be aware of The Game. The Game only has one rule: if you remember you’re playing it, you lose. I just lost the game, thanks to a reminder from Matt Turner.

But Matt has a new, more insidious version of The Game, which I’ve also just lost: if you remember Melanie Phillips exists, you lose. Thus, the punishment for losing is doubled, as is the reward for not losing.


1) This website keeps disappearing. If it happens again I’m going to have to kill my hosting provider. Which is a shame, since I’ve met him and he’s a nice chap.

2) I’d forgotten I said this: “blogging is a bunch of midgets fighting over bugger all”.

3) The Sharpener, which is not a bunch of midgets fighting over bugger all, is back with a new look, new contributors and regular updates. Yay!