Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Whistle while you work...

A busy day, so a bit of recycling: part of this first appeared a few days ago as a comment on a post by Captain Ranty*.

The Captain's subject, suitably acerbically treated, was the list of words and phrases the US Department of Homeland Security uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats.

It must be terribly boring for their analysts to have to wade through hours of facebook inanity and endless blog posts, so, since the effort below might well bring them to the Tavern door, I thought I'd liven up their day with a little ditty; a dozen or so more verses and perhaps they could adopt it as an aide-memoire...

(tune: Windmill in Old Amsterdam [again])

There’s a US department patrolling the net;
They're looking for a mention
Of hostile intention.
From morning to evening their analysts vet
Social networks for signs of a terrorist threat:

Assassination, anthrax, cocaine
Avalanche, plume and plane
Swine flu, evacuation,
Gas, hurricane
And all kinds of weather but rain.

They’ve drawn up a list of such words as Iran,
The Mexican Army,
Typhoon and tsunami;
So woe betide bloggers who name Pakistan
Or ricin or sarin or a full body scan.

Contamination, pork, quarantine
Hostages, docks, AQIM,
Crash, standoff, mitigation,
Cops and vaccine;
It’s all part of their daily routine.

*H/t for inspiration to Angry Exile who set me thinking with the first comment:
'I think it could be a project to use all of them in a single blog post in the most ridiculous way possible.'


  1. Nice work. I usually go with the Major General's song from Pirates of Penzance for this kind of thing because it's somehow easy to make that song do whatever you want it to, but it is a little overused. Props for superb work and an original choice of song.

    P.S. Colin sends his regards from the stockpot.

  2. Thank you, both - and AE, bon appetit!


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