Some change from silly money…

A couple of days a go, a poorly worded phrase on an advertisement inspired a blog post.

I took issue with the logic – or rather, lack thereof – embodied within this statement:

Old offer

My criticism also included discussion of the ad’s recursive imagery, which I felt was far cleverer than the text (because its absurdity was deliberate, artistic, eye-catching):


It would appear somebody has taken my criticism to heart. The page has been updated with a less absurd offer of service:

New offer

And the recursion has been replaced with an image that is as cutely absurd, albeit slightly less artful – the ‘screen’ being ‘peeled back’ to reveal… well, it doesn’t matter what it is; I’m inadvertently driving traffic to their website, clearly, because they’ve obviously traced the link back and read what I have to say about it. I don’t have to pretend I understand it or care about it.

Peel screen

So there you have it: I may not have ‘gone viral’, but I seem to be having some effect.

Designer types: hire me to point out ridiculous verbiage before you go live.

Big corporate entities with silly money to spend on websites, hire me to drive traffic to them by being cynical and critical. I, too, could do with some change.

Silly money

I’m a bit old school insofar as I prefer to be paid for the work I do.

And I don’t just say that because I still get offers, every so often, to contribute to someone’s new online whatever-it-is, in exchange for… nothing. Well, the promise that “when it starts making money, and someone finances or buys it, blah blah blah…”. That’s okay. I have a blog of my own for whenever I want to write for free. You can link to it any time you want.

I still foolishly try to pitch a story whenever I find a website that seems to actually contain well written, original articles with things like opinions (as opposed to obvious pastiches of press releases and Wikipedia articles based on earlier press releases) only to discover “we don’t really pay contributors, but we’d happily run your article in exchange for promoting you…”. That’s okay, I have a blog of my own for whenever I want to write for free. You can link to it any time you want.

I’m not quite into speculating on the stock market. I think you ought to have money before you start buying and selling shares. Lots of it. And I particularly am not impressed by the concept of CFDs – or ‘Contracts for Difference’ – which seem to consist of gambling on how much the price of stock or assets will change… without actually having to own the stocks or assets. I’m sure it sounds less dodgy when you actually have the money to toss at such market speculation.

But not a great deal less dodgy. 

Like betting on a horse race being run by horses that don’t exist. “Hey, wanna wager on who’s gonna come first in the unicorn race? No, it’s okay… I’ve got the money…”.

Take this  GFT ad I stumbled upon, for example, encouraging you to try out CFDs with a “risk-free GFT practice account”.


The term ‘risk-free’ is foot-noted with the statement, ‘Risk-free applies to demo accounts only’.

At the bottom of the page is a more ominous statement that people like me do well to heed:

“Trading in derivatives, such as contracts for differences and foreign exchange contracts, and other investment products which are leveraged, can carry a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. It is possible for investors to lose substantially more than the initial deposit.”

Oh yeah.

That’s exactly why I’d avoid CFDs in general.

But why I’d avoid GFT’s CFDs specifically is because of something else that’s in the white box containing the list of advantages to CFDs.

Did you spot it?

It’s the third item:

“24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week.”

What can that possibly mean?

If GFT doesn’t have a problem with this statement, you perhaps don’t want to be giving them any of your money. And if you don’t have a problem with it, whether or not you should give it to them is academic – you’ll be parted from it soon enough.

See, for five of those days, I’m sure they can enable you to engage in 24-hour trading. But as to that remaining 0.5 of a day: in what half day, in what week, can they be offering 24-hour trading? None, surely. No half-day contains 24 hours, so by definition, they can’t be offering ‘24-hour trading’ in it. Not unless the people at GFT are wizards who have somehow found a way to violate certain laws of physics.

Whatever happens on that last day, “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week” is nonsense.

Yes, yes, I’m sure what GFT means is that they offer 24-hour trading Monday to Friday and… half a day Saturday? Because Australia is on the other side of the world from major financial markets. So perhaps they stay open til midday Saturday? While it’s still Friday in the US and Europe?

But if that’s the case, what time do they start on Monday? Not at the stroke of midnight as Sunday becomes Monday, surely… it would still be Sunday in the US and Europe at that time.

Yet if it’s not at the stroke of midnight Sunday, then there are two days for which GFT cannot guarantee 24-hour trading… that becomes ‘24-hour trading, 4 days a week – and some hours on two other days…’.

Perhaps the real clue is in the ad layout, with its excellent use of recursion.


It would appear more work went into composition of the image than the text. Except that both are patently absurd. You can't logically have an image of an object that contains the image of the object, containing an image of the object, containing an image of the object, containing the image of the object, cont… you get the idea. It can't exist in real life. The same absurdity applies to the statement, “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week”.

So what do they actually, really mean?

Perhaps the computer within the computer within the computer getting smaller and smaller and smaller can represent the devaluation of your capital – a very real possibility. If you do intend to investigate CFDs, with GFT or anyone else, do indeed read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement on the company website. But with GFT specifically, get them to explain exactly what they mean in the phrase “24-hour trading, 5.5 days a week.” And while you’re busy pinning them down to the actual meaning of the phrases in their ad, make sure you do the same for the phrases in their contracts before you sign them. Because instead of “Contract for Difference”, you don’t want to discover ‘CFD’ could also stand for “Completely F*cked-over, Dear”. Or that GFT could come to mean “Got Fleeced Totally”.

Meanwhile, is there anyone who can offer this freelance writer a regular gig? I can guarantee 24-hour dedication for at least 0.33 days a week.

‘Hot tip’ for the environmentally conscious car buyer…


This is currently my favourite bus shelter poster advertisement. “What’s your favourite colour?” it asks, with a row of, let’s face it, wussy-coloured Nissan Micras depicted. The word ‘Micra’ is in aqua; the first Micra is that colour. The next is a kind of pink that I guess would be somewhere between mauve and what apparently is called ‘opera mauve’, followed by an even wussier shade that seems to be between grey and light mauve. Only the blue and red cars exist in strong colours. And what a shade of red. It’s lipstick red.

So what’s this ad actually communicating?

Is it saying, ‘our cars come in great colours to mix and match with your accessories; just like make-up’? Maybe it’s an attempt to make a pissy little car seem trendy.

But the pissy little car is a positive feature, in this modern, globally warming world in dire need of reduced carbon footprints. I assume they’re pissy little cars – the model name is ‘Micra’, after all. Like ‘Micro’, only more effeminate.

So is this a chick’s car? Is that why it’s being advertised as lipstick?

Well yes, that’s probably part of it. But look at the shade of lipstick: it’s a hot, provocative shade. As if to say, it might be a little car, it might be a sensible car, but it’s not a ‘girl-next-door’ car. It’s a ‘racy’ car; it’s a ‘saucy’ car; a ‘sexy’ car that ‘goes off like a firecracker’; a car that ‘bangs like a dunny door in a windstorm’. Or words to that effect.

But there’s another layer to this ad.

Sports cars have long been looked upon as phallic symbols, penis substitutes…. There’s always been that connection between ‘fast women and hot cars’. And there’s no mistaking the lipstick as a phallic symbol in this ad.

So what if you are an environmentally aware male driver, opting for a smaller car? Or a driver who can’t afford or can’t handle a bigger, stronger, environmentally inconsiderate car? This is what the ad is saying to you:

“There’s no need to feel totally emasculated by having a tiny dick-car. Your car is still phallic because it equals lipstick. So, even if you’re so clever that you can no longer kid yourself about the big dick-car’s damage to the earth, or that your car will get you laid, even if you won’t be burning much rubber (so to speak) this here micrapenis car will still get you the odd spot of… lip service….”

No, really.


  • My friend Cristina writes, “This is definitely a chick car – one of its major selling points is that it has a spare shoe compartment under the passenger seat…”. Since I don’t actually drive, I don’t know stuff like that exists. Instead, I get annoyed by stupid posters at bus stops.