30 April 2011

Free Portrait Offer

As both regular readers will be aware I am working with my nephew to create a new portfolio. We have some fun ideas for shoots.

This of mutual benefit: It gives me experience of model direction and gives him practice at modelling.

However I want to gain more experience of portrait photography. To this end I am offering Bloggers in the London area (and those in Essex living close to Havering) a free photo shoot.

If you are interested, contact me at thepoormouth@gmail.com to discuss requirements (no naughty photos of course!). I will come to you, take the photos. I will then send you photos by email. You are free then to download, make prints etc.

The only condition is that any photos I consider to be of merit will appear on my photography website. They will not identify you by either real or blogger name.

Unlike my post about the First cosmonaut on 1 April this is not a hoax

Celena III

Celena II


28 April 2011

More strange animal attachments

One day I will get Boris and Izzy together in a photo. In the meantime here is a cat with a strange affection for dolphins.

I'll be offline for a day or two now. Back Saturday or Sunday.

Pervy Penguins in Rubber Fetish Shock

Dennis Kübler is a zookeeper who looks after the penguins at Sea Life Konstanz. He has found himself to be the object of affection of his charges – not because they think he is some super hunky penguin but because of his choice of footwear. He made the mistake of wearing black and white rubber boots

It was a penguion called Bonaparte who first fell fell for Kübler’s boots when mating season began, rubbing up against them and apparently mistaking them for a lady penguin lying on her stomach.

Other penguins soon caught onto the idea, competing with Bonaparte for the boots’ affections, forcing Kübler to get a pair of blue boots, which do not seem to be so penguin-friendly.

The change seems to have cured Bonaparte and the other penguins of their unnatural attachment.

I am glad it was just penguins, heaven help us if a keeper had worn tiger striped boots in the big cat enclosure during mating season!

27 April 2011

Face of Jesus at the British Museum

A purported image of the face of Jesus is to go on display at the British Museum in June as part of a major exhibition of Christian relics.

The relic the Mandylion of Edessa usually takes pride of place in the Pope's private Matilda chapel in the Vatican. It is rarely seen in public, and is one of the earliest images of the face of Jesus

The Mandylion of Edessa is believed to have been created after King Agbar of Edessa, now the Turkish city Urfa, asked an unknown painter to go to the Holy Land to paint Jesus. According to legend, the painter was unable to capture Christ's image because he was so dazzled by the light shining from his face. Instead, Christ wiped his face on a towel after washing himself and left an image behind. When the cloth was returned to Agbar, it is believed to have cured him of leprosy.

Some believe the Vatican object is the original; others claim it is a copy created in the fifth century. It is thought to have once been on display at Constantinople's Imperial Palace and transferred to the Vatican in the 14th century.

The British Museum has acquired permission to exhibit the Mandylion in Britain for the first time. The cloth will be the centrepiece of the museum's Treasures of Heaven exhibition, showcasing assorted Christian relics.

"This is one of the most extraordinary loans in recent memory," said the director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor. "The exhibition is all about trying to represent the universal human desire to reach out and touch the absolute."

Now this is an exhibition that is a must-visit. Getting the Mandylion is a major coup. I wonder what other treasures will be on display. Sadly none of the dozen or so holy prepuces are still in existence…

Logging on to Jesus

It would seem that the Midlands are a god place for Jesus sightings. Having seen him appear on a drainpipe and a tea towel he has now taken to appearing in wood.

Solihull resident Mel Robertson is the proud owner of a fine sumulacrum she calls the 'holy log' which she keeps it as a 'lucky charm'.

The face first appeared back in October 2009, but got clearer and clearer as the months went by. She said: 'We had some firewood by the fireplace – at first it looked like a skull and crossbones – but as the months wore on, it just appeared around the knot in the wood. It was a dark mark and the sap made the face of Jesus – it came up more and more.'

Mrs Robertson says the log actually helps to cheer her up and her two kids love it. 'They think it's hilarious,' she said.The local vicar, who's seen a photo of it, is just as tickled. 'He thinks it's hilarious, too,' said Mrs Robertson, 41. She added: 'I'm not sure it's a sign – but I thought it would have faded by now.'

It should be noted that the log has not brought Mrs Robertson any particular stroke of fortune.

Ah well….

Sacred relic rediscovered in Coventry

The Veil of Veronica is one of most sacred relics of the Catholic Church. Second only to the Turin shroud in importance, it was reputedly created when Saint Veronica encountered Jesus when he was on his way to crucifixion. Saint Veronica used her veil to wipe sweat from the face of Jesus. His face was imprinted on her veil and so it became a treasured relic.

The Veronica was brought to Europe by King Henri IV of France following the 4th Crusade. He entrusted it to the Abbey of Poitiers which for many years was a major site of pilgrimage - almost equalling Santiago de Compostella in numbers of pilgrims. However it was seized by King Edward III in 1356 following his decisive victory over the French at the battle of Poitiers and it was taken to England,

The Veronica was presented to the monks of Walsingham Priory in Norfolk where again it became a major attraction for pilgrims. However, it was lost during the dissolution of the English monasteries and its location, if it still existed, has remained a mystery. Until now that is

Two months ago Rose McCarthy
visited a car boot sale in Stourbridge where she found an antique Coalport figurine at a bargain price. When she got home she discovered that the seller had used a piece of old linen to wrap the figurine. On a whim she decided to give it a clean – linen is not cheap after all and it may come in handy, she thought.

It was only after she washed it that she saw an unusual brown stain, which shows what seem to be the facial features of a long-haired, bearded man.

“When I took it out I could not believe it. I could see it was Jesus straightaway. I took it to my husband and he agreed with me, “she said. I am Catholic but I am not extremely religious we don't go to mass every weekend but after finding this it has definitely made my faith stronger.'”

An initial study by Roland Felcher, Professor of Mediaeval studies at the University of Northampton, indicates that the linen is of great antiquity and may well date back to the first century AD. Since this announcement the McCarthy family home has been besieged by pilgrims.

The Catholic Church has not made any announcement of the Veronica’s authenticity. “At present we have no view on whether this article is a genuine representation of the face of Christ or not” said a spokesman for the Suffragan Bishop of Yardley.

Well there you have it... I’m sure you all missed your tales of simulacra.. .Even when I make up 95% of the story!

26 April 2011

While I was away: BNP in further meltdown tragedy (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

Last year the BNP Gained 563,000 votes nationwide (1.9% of the vote – up from 0.7% in 2005). Mercifully none of these votes contributed to the election of an MP. While the BNP gained over 563.000 votes too many it was a significant reduction on the 6.2% share the party gained at the European Parliamentary elections the previous year (which was sufficient to send party leader Nick Griffin and some other Neanderthal to Brussels/Strasbourg).

Je good news last year was in the local council elections where only two of their 28 councillors who were up for re-election where returned. The biggest defeat was in my neighbouring borough Barking & Dagenham where all twelve BNP councillors were given the boot.

It is with absolutely no sadness whatsoever to read in the Guardian last week that the BNP’s position this year looks to be even worse. A string of defections and a parlous financial situation would see it come close to oblivion.

Dozens of prominent figures have either been suspended or have resigned and in the past few weeks several former members have announced they are to stand for rival far-right and nationalist organisations. As a result the BNP is standing around 250 candidates in next month's elections, compared with around 700 in the equivalent polls in 2007.

To make things worse the Electoral Commission has announced that the party had "failed to comply with the legal requirement to keep adequate financial records" for the second year running.

"The position of the party is extremely dire," said Professor Matthew Goodwin, from Nottingham University, an expert on far-right politics. "The defections and rebellions are going strong and we have seen a whole host of key figures leave to join other far-right groups … Nick Griffin is becoming increasingly isolated."

"There is growing anger within the party because there was a period when it looked like Nick Griffin may have been able to force the BNP into the political mainstream," said a spokesman for the anti-racist campaign Hope not Hate. "But it is clear Nick Griffin will himself be the BNP's nemesis. His mismanagement, arrogance and dictatorial leadership have dragged his own party off a political cliff."

Analysts say BNP infighting has allowed other far-right and nationalist groups to come to the fore. Organisations such as the English Defence League, the English Democrats and the British Freedom party are now challenging the BNP, but perhaps its biggest threat is a resurgent UK Independence party, which beat both the Conservatives and Lib Dems to come second in a byelection in Barnsley last month.

"The activists that are frustrated with the incompetence of the BNP are going to the EDL or other rightwing factions and many [former voters] are going to Ukip if they want something more espectable," said Goodwin. "The BNP are being outflanked on all sides."

Here’s to seeing the BNP being crushed like a bug. No matter how “respectable” the party tries to appear, it never manages to hide it’s vile, racist heart for long. I hope too that the BNP’s end does not mean a breakthrough for another racist rabble,


Well I've had an exceptionally lazy few weeks. I did very little of any consequence. Sadly that included photography. Perhaps now that I'm back my photographer's block will go away too.

02 April 2011


As I've said it's time for the Poor Mouth to take a short break.

Here are a couple of animal vids that I've posted before but what the hey. Enjoy cat antics and a randy kakapo

The Kakapo surely provides the finest moment in wildlife tv history since David Attenborough met the Gorillas!

Some old interlude vids have been autoposted too.

See you after Easter

Now we are five

Here starts Year Six of the Poor Mouth having lasted about four years and 10 months more than I expected when I put up my first post back in April 2006 when the world was young and digital watches were still a good idea.

After over nearly 4100 posts, over 1,015,000 visits and nearly 43,000 comments, the drivel still keeps on coming

I am grateful to everyone who continues to visit, everyone who has linked to the Poor Mouth and to everyone who has left comments over the years. Without you the Poor Mouth is nothing.

I will take a break shortly, After five years of relentless rubbish I deserve a little rest. But fear not it is more than likely that I will be putting up my sixth blogoversary post this time next year.

01 April 2011

The first cosmonaut

There has been a lot of speculation about whether the USSR attempted to send a cosmonaut into space before Yuri Gagarin. Most of the discussion has been within the realm of the conspiracy theorist and quite honestly, the supporting evidence is pretty thin… until now that is.

 model of a Vostok era cosmonaut

A new book published today reveals that there was in fact one partly successful space flight prior to Gagarin but the cosmonaut was so badly injured that Nikita Kruschev himself ordered the suppression of all records pertaining to the flight.

Ivan Ivanovich Maketov was born in Begemodsk, near Moscow, in 1923. Commissioned into the Red Air Force in 1941 he served with distinction and it was his exemplary war record that landed him a position as a test pilot for the Mikoyan Gurevitch design bureau.

In 1958 Maketov was one of six Air Force officers selected for cosmonaut training. Maketov was considered the most able candidate, better even than Gagarin and so it was no surprise whent he was selected for the first Vostok flight in March 1961.

Vostok 1 was launched on 9 March. Maketov made three successful orbits of the earth before returning to earth. During re entry, an electrc malfunction caused a fire in the capsule burning Maketov severely. Despite this he was able to bail out of the capsule but landed badly breaking his back, hip and legs.

An injured Matekov after bailing out of Vostok 1

Because of his injuries it was decided that a severely injured cosmonaut would not present the Soviet Union’ in the best light. All information about Maketov’s was suppressed. On 12 April Gagarin made his historic flight. His vessel was originally designated Vostok 2 but was renamed Vostok 1 as part of the cover up.

Maketov after reconstructive surgery

Maketov, spent two years undergoing rehabilitation after the incident but was unable to make a full recovery. Despite numerous reconstructive operations his face remained severely disigured. In 1963 he was granted a pension and flat in Sochi where he lived until his death in 1988.

The First Cosmonaut was written by scientist and aviation historian Matyob Govnovsky.. He had been was granted unprecedented access to the Soviet spacet archives. Even so he was shocked to discover several files on Maketov.

“There has been a lot of speculation about failed missions before Gagarin”, he said “It was a genuine shock to discover that the speculations were actually based in fact”.

Govnovsky has already petitioned the Russian government to erect a memorial to Maketov. “Gagarin was a true hero but so was Maketov. It would take nothing away from Gagarin’s achievement to erect a memorial to another true hero of space,” he said.

Cats in zero gravity

USAF experiment with cats on the vomit comet