Random Delusions of Identity

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve changed the tag line of Shooting Parrots, dropping the Random Thoughts in a Random World in favour of Pick a delusion that helps get you through the day.

I like it because it sums up what most of us do when we wake. We get up and armour ourselves with whatever delusion stands between us and the rest of the day, whether it be God, science, Mammon or the Daily Mail. Or the opposite of the above.

I lifted the phrase from God’s Debris, a “thought experiment” by the creator of Dilbert, so not only am I pretentious, but I’m not even originally affected which I think says a lot about me.

But why drop the original tag line that I’ve used for the last eight years? Well apparently Random Thoughts is even more unoriginal than borrowing words from a cartoonist, at least according to some research I read a while ago that reckoned that my “original” phrase is among the most commonly used blog tag lines.

Anyway, I thought it time to ring the changes. I may even ring them again should I feel less delusional tomorrow.

But while trawling the web in a failed attempt to recover the research I mentioned above, I stumbled on this rather sinister site that can not only generate a random name for you, but a brand new identity complete with email address, mother’s maiden name, credit card number and blood group.

I couldn’t think why anyone might want to use this service, other than perhaps criminals and News Corporation journalists, but they say it is useful for:

  • Quality test data
  • Websites that are difficult for visitors from foreign countries to sign up for accounts.
  • Using fake information when filling out forms to avoid giving out personal information.
  • Generating a false identity to use as your pseudonym on the internet.
  • Getting ideas for names to use for characters in a book or story.
  • Generating credit cards to test validation techniques without accidentally processing a real card.
  • Generating national identity numbers to test validation techniques without risking disclosure of real information.

Oh, and you can also use it to generate the names and occupations for a whole family in The Sims.

All very odd and in just a few clicks I became Lewis Nixon of 59 Old Edinburgh Road, Belper Lane End, Derbyshire. I’m not sure I’d be able to keep a straight face though when explaining that my occupation was Rock Splitter.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 15th July 2011

    Dear Mr Lewis Nixon,
    How are Fred and Barney down at The Bedrock Quarry? For me the “random thoughts in a random world” strapline continues and I cannot see your newfangled sub-heading at all. Here in Yorkshire we do not begin the day with delusions. We prefer a nice slab of bread and dripping and a mug of sweet tea.
    Yours very randomly,
    Mr Y. Pudding aka “Harold Crippen”

  • Mr Parrot 15th July 2011

    That was why I put the “or may not” rider. The header will be lodged in your cache, if you’ll forgive men being so personal, but should work its way through the clogged arteries of Yorkshire steam broadband in time.

  • Jennyta 15th July 2011

    Like YP, the original strapline is still showing over here in north Wales so we must have clogged arteries as well. 😉

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 15th July 2011

    I like your new tag line! I do love a good delusion.

    However, I have to say that when I thought of the phrase ‘random thoughts’ it was always associated with your blog, however many of them there are out there!

    I don’t even HAVE a tag line!

    BTW – good heavens! Is that identity generating site legal?

  • Mr Parrot 15th July 2011

    Hmm. I may go back to the old tag line — I was feeling particularly cynical last night. I may even be able to mange to do it before the elastic bands on the broadband catch up!

    My thoughts exactly about the identity site, although the NI numbers don’t look real. Seems you can do what you want these days as long as you have a disclaimer.

    “Here are the plans for an IED, but we in no way condone you blowing anyone up.”

  • rog 16th July 2011

    Well, if you drop your new tagline, I may adopt it!


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