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* Posts by Sir Runcible Spoon

5109 posts • joined 29 May 2007

UK taxman told: IR35 still isn't working in the public sector, and you want to take it private?

Sir Runcible Spoon
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MOO

The day HMRC determines that my clients get to tell me what to do is the day I start looking at re-locating my business.

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Brit tech forges alliance to improve cyber security as MPs moan over 'acute scarcity' of experts

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Half-life calculated yet?

“It is as critically important a job as it is soul-crushingly pointless. Good luck!”

Damn you, I was perfectly unhappy with my head in the sand until you reminded me.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Sigh.

From what I’ve seen they are having enough trouble defining what cyber security actually is, probably because they don’t realise that it’s a vague term that covers a lot of different roles.

Over the years I’ve attempted to explain what I do in more condensed form so non techies can grasp what I do for a living, but in the in end I have given up and now just say ‘I work in computers’. That seems to satisfy 99% of people as they ‘understand’ that, but obviously is completely meaningless - it’s just a way for them to express their tiny minds :)

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: If... (oh why bother)

Some CNI is managed by private companies. One in particular pays a pittance for salaried staff, so it has a hard time recruiting specialists/competent people.

Assumng HMRC continues on its path to ram ir35 changes down the throats of contactors in the private sector, I expect this will have a huge impact on the ability to recruit even contractors. Plenty will work abroad once the pay differential becomes meaningful.

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Heatwave shmeatwave: Brit IT departments cool their racks – explicit pics

Sir Runcible Spoon
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In my experience cold air is usually pumped into the underfloor space, allowing the racks to vent warm air out the top and drawing the cooler air in from below.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Devil

Re: Never seen the managers, project managers and PMAs do work!

Rapid power down of 100+ servers -> Breaker Switch >:)

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Wrong Type of Leaves

British businesses should ask how they do it in California.

I believe they use this quaint thing called 'money'. IT Depts. in the UK don't get to see a great deal of that.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: That last picture

Pin it in place with a toolbox and you've got yourself a Spanner Tree!

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UK privacy watchdog to fine Facebook 18 mins of profit (£500,000) for Cambridge Analytica

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Missed a trick?

Yeah, but didn't they breach the law twice?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: A poorly formed...

They fined them the maximum they could under the law, what else do you expect them to do?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Ouch... that must have hurt

GDPR allows for much bigger fines.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Unhappy

Re: Conclusions?

"https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44466213"

About this article - it mentions that we could end up facing negative decisions by AI with no way of knowing how it was arrived at.

If I, as a human being in a position of authority, make a decision, aren't I expected to be able to provide a rationale for that decision?

Surely if an AI system provided a decision with no ability to provide the rationale behind it, then the decision is not valid and could be challenged in a court of law? Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic. (There's probably no perhaps about it).

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Paris Hilton

Re: Conclusions?

"It's people choice to use it. It's a free service"

Did you not hear about it creating profiles for people who have never had an account?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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WTF?

Missed a trick?

The UK's ICO <snip> ruled Facebook had twice broken British data protection laws <snip> it has served Facebook with a notice of intent to fine the biz <snip> £500,000 <snip> the maximum allowed

So why not fine them once for each breach for a cool £1m?

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It's mid-year report time, let's see how secure corporate networks are. Spoiler alert: Not at all

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Network Complexity

Over the last few years I've been involved in projects which are starting to bring together multiple security products under one 'support' umbrella - in an area that's secured from the rest of the environment and locked down tight.

This is the future of network security (well, it's the present for some people, just not the majority).

I foresee a boom in holistic security products that provide both remediation and incident response capabilities, along with risk/threat analysis/monitoring (both real time and forensic).

Right now it's actually quite difficult to cobble all these things together into a single platform from which to conduct your security operations as it involves multiple vendors and suppliers etc. - it can get pretty complex once you start taking everything into account, especially for a large corporate with high value assets spread over the globe.

However, it *is* starting to happen, which means there will be a demand for more integrated solutions that don't require as much design effort to get right. And no, it doesn't involve AI anywhere (unless you are referring to some of the managers I've had to work with).

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I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Terminator

Where will it end?

This isn't really about making AI smarter, it's about making humans dumber.

Keep giving people mental crutches and they'll forget how to walk - it's already happening to a large extent - AI will just accelerate the process beyond repair. One day we will have no-one left who can train people on anything, as everyone will have forgotten how to think.

It's inevitable at this point..Judgement Day is coming :)

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CEST la vie, IR35 workers: HMRC sets out stall for ignoring Mutuality of Obligation

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Fine HMRC...

What about when I want to invest my company profits to grow another aspect of my consultancy?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: @Herring: Just a question

The thing is, the client cannot sack me as I only work for *my* company - that's who pays my salary at the end of the day.

The client can terminate the contract, at which point I need to source more income for my company by securing more contracts so that I can keep myself employed. It isn't rocket science.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: where does MOO fit in?

"Similarly, a contractor doesn't have to request leave, they can say "I'm not working tomorrow" (or even, by contract, just not show up, although this is discourteous to the point that the client may just tell them not to bother coming back)."

I typically inform the client when I will be taking leave, but provide them with an opportunity to let me know if it will cause them any problems. 99% of the time it's a non-issue, on those rare occasions when a client says it will cause them issues on their project I work with them to come up with a work-around (such as providing some training to one of their permies to cover the gap whilst I'm off) - it doesn't mean I won't take the leave, but as you say - it's polite to mention it.

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Boffins build neural networks fashioned out of DNA molecules

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Boffin

Dury was right

There ain't half been some clever bastards!

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'Plane Hacker' Roberts: I put a network sniffer on my truck to see what it was sharing. Holy crap!

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: So... who pays for the 3G/4G data connection?

I can see where Wayland is coming from with that comment, but it doesn't cover vehicle use on private land - you don't need a licence for that, so driving *isn't* illegal without a licence.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: What about the Toyotas that get sold to the Middle East ...

I thought you said 'pringle-mounted' and wondered if that would extend the range. /nerd

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: So... who pays for the 3G/4G data connection?

I really don't think you *own* the drivers.

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Joke

They're always building better idiots :P

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Euro bank regulator: Don't follow the crowd. Stay off the cloud

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Windows

Re: They catch on fast, don't they?

Shit now I feel old, because I've been telling people that for 20 now :(

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Mushroom

Re: Crufty CICS?

Get them to upgrade to Microsoft Access, it's da bomb!

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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When will they learn? (Beancounters)

Outsourcing something doesn't magically make it cheaper, it just hides the costs.

If you want to know how much something costs, work out how much it would be to set up a team with the requisite skills (assuming you don't have them) plus the hardware and the time required, you can save support costs by retaining some of the people that build the thing if you like, or just get in drones and let them call the vendor. That's probably going to be the cheapest model in the long run, although it is a lot more hassle to manage and you can't blame someone else if it goes Pete-Tong.

If another company offers to do it for significantly less, you have to start looking at where they are going to hide the charges. A company that does this well and protects themselves from hidden costs can look forward to being sacked as a customer as the outsourcer will likely be losing money on you hand over fist.

Get the right people and you can half development time, remove expensive support contracts and create a lot of good will with your customers, leading to repeat business and continuity. That is a *lot* cheaper in the long run than the scenario's I see playing out every day, where the external supplier provides sub-par developers who do a crap job, then you have to get contractors in at 3* the price *in addition* to sort out the mess, then hand it all back to the people who fucked it up in the first place. Oh, and you can at least double the development time too.

They (beancounters) really need to learn how to count properly, but that would require a level of trust in your IT specialists - I don't see that happening any time soon. I often get the feeling that cost is the last thing they are actually worried about, no matter what they might say.

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RIP Peter Firmin: Clangers creator dies aged 89

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Niet niet niet niet

Professor Yaffle - one of my favourite characters

The mice could only prove him wrong because he was bound by science and they were really pan-dimensional beings that could do magic.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Joke

Re: Doctor Who connection...

A purple dinosaur? That's just silly

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Space Education

I had all the makings of a fine serial killer until I got lost in a nest of ethernet cables.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Similar

There is a new games creation tool coming out on ps4 called Dreams that will hopefully revive stop-motion animation to some degree - I for one will certainly be creating a Clangers tribute!

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Joke

cat?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Professor Yaffle was a personal favourite - although I can see why someone might have nightmares over Hartley the Hare

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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"Strange really, because I had a Tiny Clanger plush that played that exact phrase when you squeezed it."

I've still got that somewhere - unless the dog ate it

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A £1.3m prize for a plunging share price at BT? Not so fast...

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: If you mean cunts then type cunts

I was about to chip in with a 'this isn't a cunt-free zone you know' when I realised that it would be self-evident.

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Uber's London licence appeal off to flying start: No, you cannot do driver eye tests via video link

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: @Hamsternet

You should look up the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.

Seriously, how can such a simple system be made so complicated? It has a driver, and the buses drive along a section of concrete road with 'sides'. Even so, you wouldn't believe how long it took them to make it work.

Self-driving vehicles isn't going to happen in my lifetime unless we do away with the corporate manslaughter laws.

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'Tesco probably knows more about me than GCHQ': Infosec boffins on surveillance capitalism

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Tesco Does Not Know More About Me

I usually give all the clubcard points to the person behind me at the till. Track that :)

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GCHQ bod tells privacy advocates: Most of our work is making sure we operate within the law

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Black Helicopters

Re: Honeypot?

"Twas always thus, and always thus will be"

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Facebook vs FISA

Perhaps he could be challenged to devise a strict policy himself that would prevent scope creep and frog boiling by politicians within GCHQ?

Not saying we should immediately adopt it, but it would be interesting to see what kind of safeguards he deems to be important over others.

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High-end router flinger DrayTek admits to zero day in bunch of Vigor kit

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Disable remote admin

you can add mac addresses to your white-list (from locally connected devices)

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'Facebook takes data from my phone – but I don't have an account!'

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: host file?

Back when I used to use a smart phone, I seem to recall installing a local VPN app that created rules every time another app wanted to talk to someone. It gave you the option of denying the flow - so if you have s/ware you can't un-install you could always try blocking the data flow.

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Lawyers for Marcus Hutchins: His 'I made malware' jail phone call isn't proper evidence

Sir Runcible Spoon
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At some level we all have to consider the impact, and potential impacts, of our actions. We can't just skate on by unless someone has given us a clear wirtten statement that they intend to use our work to break the law. Society, such that it is, simply cannot work that way

Personally I'd like to see a little more accountability from our representatives paid by the public purse for the many, many, crimes committed in our name. I'd also like a Ferrari, and a boat, and a Ferrari boat (with a never ending supply of Ferrero Rocher).

I'd quite like the moon on a stick as well, but I'm not sure where I'd keep it, my spares cupboard is already looking like a tribble's workshop.

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Brit IT contractor wins appeal against HMRC to pay £26k in back taxes

Sir Runcible Spoon
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So, HMRC, how's that windfall coming along?

@HMRC - still struggling to find people to work on your IT projects, or have you bitten the bullet and increased your costs by paying the contractors more so they can cover the additional risks you dumped on them?

Not exactly stellar thinking, and it's not as if they weren't warned. Roll this out to the private sector without some cast-iron directions and it won't be contractors taking you to court. Businesses take a very dim view of loading costs on to them (such as finding people at short notice to fix all the stuff that permies struggle with because they have to adhere to office politics).

Here's a suggestion for a possible test of in/out of IR35 - if the contractor can talk to a senior manager in the business and tell them straight (no need to be rude) that their ideas/decisions are the root cause of some major issue and that contractor is still wanted to work on the project the next day, they aren't an employee.

One of the main reasons I went contracting was to get away from office politics. You don't escape entirely as you can often be used as the lightning rod and expendable flare for managers, but it's nothing personal and they pay you a shit-load for the risk.

Doesn't bother me, because I work hard to have a cast-iron reputation, so loss of contract due to 'unforeseen circumstances' is usually interpreted correctly as having taken a fall for some dick-head in a major corp who can't be sacked (maybe they get moved on somewhere where they can do less harm) - but someone has to take the fall - it happens (not very often fortunately, because as a *real* independent consultant I get to tell the clients' senior staff what they're doing wrong before it comes to a heads-rolling scenario).

You'd be amazed at how few senior company managers hear the *actual* truth from someone at the coal-face that can't just be dismissed as whinging. Some of them actually value it (just keep it civil and constructive).

With regards to this judgement - if it had gone the other way, does the client get back all the VAT that the 'employee' charged them during their tenure? Permie's don't charge their employers VAT after all. I can see companies suing HMRC to recover all that VAT they paid out, they can't have it every which way and not expect some kind of push-back.

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There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Sir Runcible Spoon
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Joke

Re: Most people are not just thick.

"Yeah, but it's a dry wet"

/Hudson

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Boffin

Re: Education is no longer designed to teach.

As time goes by I realise just how special the comprehensive school was that I went to.

I had several teachers who actively encouraged you to discover new things about the stuff they were teaching. My history teacher taught us how to research, my Physics teacher taught me how to think from first principles.

My German teacher taught me the benefits of inviting attractive exchange students over to teach us, and my Chemistry teacher taught me that just because people are older and have degrees, they can still be stupid and biased.

One form tutor taught me about tolerance and understanding, another taught me about encouraging people who are on the wrong path to channel their energies into more constructive activities without it having to be boring.

My woodwork teacher taught me how irresponsible a teacher could be when they'd had enough and was buggering off round the world*.

Bloody hell, the more I think about it the more I realise just how lucky I was.

*This involved letting 30 kids run loose in the local Spinney and engaging in stone fights across a railway crossing just as it crossed a river.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Coat

Whilst passing round the fags?

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Engineers build things, technicians service the things that engineers build, imho :)

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Facepalm

Re: "I did read Hamlet all the way through"

"Saracen and Roland" -> Blank look.

And there was me wondering if it was safe to look up whilst at work - quite disappointed I must say.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: Thanks

Weird, I would have understood Deosil, but Deasil left me blank.

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Sir Runcible Spoon
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Re: That takes me back

"hey that's poo" - doesn't seem to have quite the same impact. Possibly because it doesn't have a hard sounding consonant at the end?

How about 'sphincter bile'? Too long?

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