30 September 2011

Photohunt - Covered

The theme for this week's photo hunt is covered. Here is a photo I took today during a mini-shoot with my nephew. For some reason I like to put my nephew in hijab-style head dresses!

Meanwhile in Bahrain...

The Independent reports that a Bahrain military court has sentenced 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics who treated protesters injured during pro-democracy rallies earlier in the year to up to 15 years in prison.

The harsh sentences, handed down by a military judge, are likely to anger Bahrain's Shia Muslim majority and torpedo hopes of dialogue between them and the reigning Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty. The court's action may be a sign that hardliners within the royal family have taken control.

A statement from the official Information Affairs Authority is headed "Bahraini Doctors Sentenced for Plotting Overthrow of Government". It quotes the Military Prosecutor, Colonel Yussef Rashid Flaifel, as saying that 13 medical professionals had been sentenced to 15 years in prison, two to 10 years, and five to five years. It goes on to say that the doctors, in addition to plotting a revolution, "were charged with the possession of weapons and ammunition, forcefully taking over control of Salmaniya hospital and its personnel, stealing medical equipment, and fabricating stories to disturb public security".

The sentenced include Rola al-Saffar, the head of Bahrain's nurses' society, and Ali al-Iqri, a distinguished surgeon who was arrested in an operating theatre on 17 March. None of the defendants was in court to hear the sentences read out and the hearing was attended only by their lawyers and relatives. Defendants say that the military judges refuse to listen to allegations that they had been tortured.

The medical staff worked in the Salmaniya Medical Complex in the capital, Manama, and treated those injured in fighting between protesters and security forces after pro-democracy rallies started on 14 February. After the government crackdown in mid-March, doctors and nurses were accused of planning an armed insurrection in league with Iran.

Ali Salman, the leader of al-Wifaq, the main Shia political party, said that the medical professionals sentenced yesterday alleged "they had been tortured". He said he suspected that hardliners within the royal family were using the trials "to send a message to [President] Obama", who last week at the UN called on the Bahraini government to negotiate with al-Wifaq.

An utter bloody disgrace. Perhaps it's time for another bunch of Arab despots to be consigned to the dustbin of history... Oh wait a minute they are on our side. With friends like that ...

Ted considers changing the channel

Ted is not enjoying the current programme on Tyrant TV. Perhaps Genovision will entertain him more

THe Battle of Inkerman by the Tayside Tragedian

'Twas in the year of 1854, and on the 5th November,
Which Britain will no doubt long remember,
When the Russians plotted to drive the British army into the sea,
But at the bayonet charge the British soon made them flee.

With fourteen hundred British, fifteen thousand Russians were driven back,
At half-past seven o'clock in the morning they made the attack,
But the Grenadiers and Scottish Fusilier Guards, seven hundred strong,
Moved rapidly and fearlessly all along.

And their rifles were levelled ready for a volley,
But the damp had silenced their fire which made the men feel melancholy,
But the Russians were hurled down the ravine in a disordered mass
At the charge of the bayonet-- an inspiring sight!-- nothing could it surpass.

General Cathcart thought he could strike a blow at an unbroken Russian line;
Oh! the scene was really very sublime,
Because hand to hand they fought with a free will,
And with one magnificent charge they hurled the Russians down the hill.

But while General Cathcart without any dread
Was collecting his scattered forces, he fell dead,
Pierced to the heart with a Russian ball,
And his men lamented sorely his downfall.

While the Duke of Cambridge with the colours of two Regiments of Guards
Presses forward, and no obstacle his courage retards,
And with him about one hundred men,
And to keep up their courage he was singing a hymn to them.

Then hand to hand they fought the Russians heroically,
Which was a most inspiring sight to see;
Captain Burnaby with thirteen Guardsmen fighting manfully,
And they drove the Russians down the hillside right speedily.

The French and Zouaves aided the British in the fight,
And they shot down and killed the Russians left and right,
And the Chasseurs also joined in the fight,
And the Russians fell back in great afright.

Then the Russians tried again and again
To drive the British from the slopes of Inkermann, but all in vain,
For the French and British beat them back without dismay,
Until at last the Russians had to give way.

And the French and British fought side by side
Until the Russians no longer the bayonet charge could abide,
And the Russians were literally scorched by the musketry fire,
And in a short time the Russians were forced to retire.

Then the British and the French pursued them into the depths of the ravine,
Oh! it was a grand sight-- the scene was really sublime--
And at half-past one o'clock the Russians were defeated,
And from the field of Inkermann they sullenly retreated.

Then the Battle of Inkermann was won,
And from thefield the Russians were forced to run,
But the loss of the British was terrible to behold;
The dead lay in heaps stiff and cold,
While thousands of Russians were dying with no one to aid them,
Alas! Pitiful to relate, thousands of innocent men.

There are plenty more poetic pearls at McGonagall Online

29 September 2011

Kelvin MacKenzie Hacked? Oh the Horror.....

Like most people in this cuntry I was disgusted by the News of the World Hacking scandal. Be it the murdered teenager Milly Dowler or a Z-list celebrity, what the paper did was utterly inexcusable. That said there is one hacking victim whose plight makes me feel a little less outraged.

The Guardian notes that even former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenziewas hacked by the Sun's erstwhile sister paper the News of the World. In this week's Spectator, MacKenzie writes about the incident in terms that show the level of his distress at betrayal by journalistic colleagues.

He does little to hide his displeasure at discovering the truth about the News of the World's interception of his mobile phone voicemail messages.

He begins by explaining that he was called in by officers from Operation Weeting – the Scotland Yard investigation into hacking – and shown "a tatty binder with my name down the side." He continues:

"Sheet one had my name on it with a number by the side... The next page was more interesting. It had the pin code used to access my phone's voicemails.

Up to this moment I had always believed that the pin codes of mobiles were 0000 or 1111 and that's why it was so easy to crack. But no.

In my case it was something like 367549V27418. That surely must kill the idea that the hackers guessed or blagged the number – they must have had inside help from the phone networks."

It gets even more interesting by the time he is shown the final page. It contained six dates in 2006 that gave the time and duration of his phone being hacked. He writes:

"For the first time I felt uneasy. If you have been editor of The Sun for 12 years, if you have floated and run a public company as founder, chairman and chief executive, very little worries or concerns you any more; your nerve endings have become encased in cement.

But, oddly, I felt quite threatened by this invasion and understood more clearly why celebrities — no matter if they were A- or Z-listers — felt they had been violated."

I know this intrusion was unconscionable but I shed no tears whatsoever for a revolting little cumstain like Kelvin MacKenzie.

MacKenzie was the Sun's editor between 1981 and 1994. During this time the paper produce a host of quality stories (pah!) including:

- Elton John had sex with underage rent boys
- Elton John had taken the vocal cords from his guard dogs so that they did not disturb his sleep

Unsurprisingly the former Mr Dwight received a seven figure sum in damages for these stories!

A fabricated interview with Falklands veteran Simon Weston who had received serious burn injuries during an Argintniean Air Force attack on the vessel Sir Galahad at Bluff Cove.

Un funded story that actor Jeremy Brett was dying of Aids when in fact he was dying of a cardiomyopathy

The coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy and his continued unrepentance. To this day the Sun sells very poorly in Liverpool

The list goes on and on...

MacKenzie represents everything that is wrong with the shit that passes as journalism across a large swathe of the British Press. It would be somewhat fitting if he were photographed publicly masturbating over a Royal Family tea towel. Hmm if only my Photoshop skills were up to snuff....



My mother

Young Love

Mum and Dad, 62 years after they first met and over 57 years since they married

Well it amused me...

28 September 2011


Poetic Bacteria: the Gene-ius of Art!

We all know the expression Art imitating life, or even life imitating art but it is going above and beyond for life to incorporate art. Yet this is what one poet has done: He has created an original piece of "living poetry" in a lab in Canada.

According to the BBC Poet Christian Bok has encoded his verse into a strip of DNA and had it inserted into a common bacterium, E.coli.

Dr Bok used cryptography to embed his poem into the genetics of the bacterium, devising a chemical alphabet in which each letter is represented by a specific triplet of nucleotides (Adenine, Thymine, Cyttosine and Guanine). So, for example, the nucleotide sequence "ATA" codes for the letter "y" and GTG stands for the letter "n".
This enabled him to design a novel gene called X-P13, which was constructed specifically for the project. The poem's opening words, "Any style..." translate as ACG(A) GTG(n) ATA(y) AGT(space) AAG(s) TGC(t) ATA(y) GCC(l) TAT(e) in his gene's DNA sequence.

Dr Bok has no formal scientific training, but he taught himself molecular biology and computer programming for the purpose of this project.

Similar biochemical feats have been achieved before. American scientist Dr Pak Wong encoded the lyrics to It's a Small World After All into a strand of DNA and lodged it inside the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans.

And when Dr Craig Venter, of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland and California, created the world's first manmade bacterial genome, he embedded his own name and those of his colleagues into its DNA; alongside quotes from James Joyce and from the Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman.

But Dr Bok, who teaches in the department of English at the University of Calgary, has gone one step further than just encoding his code into DNA: he has induced his laboratory bacterium to give its own bio-poetry response.

DNA is essentially a template for constructing proteins. Proteins are strings of amino acids. There are 24 amino acids, each is represented by a triplet of DNA nucleotides. These are coded in reverse on the DNA strand. DNA is used to create Messenger RNA which is then used to create specific proteins.

Dr Bok's chemical cryptography is designed to work on two levels. Not only did he devise a cipher to link letters of the alphabet to specific nucleotides, but he also designed a second cipher to allow the ensuing protein to be decoded back into a brand new poem, by assigning a different set of letters to specific amino acids.

For example his first poem's opening words "Any style", once encoded into DNA, instructs the cell to build a protein that starts with the following amino acid string: threonine, valine, isoleucine, serine, lysine, cysteine, isoleucine, alanine, tyrosine, which can in turn be decoded to spell out the start of the bacterium's new poetic response "The faery..."

His scientific collaborator at the University of Calgary, Professor Sui Huang, has now succeeded in implanting the poem gene as a free floating chunk of DNA into E. coli and witnessed the bacterium express its own poetic protein response. His hope is that once embedded into the genetics of D. radiodurans, his biochemical text could continue to reproduce for billions of years - outlasting any other human artefact. However, he has no intention of releasing it into the wild.

"The only legacy we will leave is the background radiation of nuclear waste and the ecological and geological effects of climate change and that is not an appropriate one. By genetically engineering a poem into Deinococcus radiodurans I am producing something that will last over epochal time" he said

Dr Julian Parkhill of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute was sceptical of the chances for literary immortality. "His poem would be rapidly removed by natural selection, as it would confer no benefit on the host bacterium," he said. "Natural selection as literary criticism".

Professor Huang conceded that this is a very real possibility. "If the poem protein conveys even a slight disadvantage on the bacterium, the gene could be kicked out over time," he said.

"We don't know what the selection pressure would be for it to be kept, if it isn't too much of a burden the gene might stay".
And he argued that there was a scientific value to the project. "It shows how biology is just like information science," he said.
"There is already a poetry to nature and I see a parallel with the Xenotext project"

Well there you have it. Make of this story what you wi

Al Qaida Tells Ahmanidiot - Enough with the 9/11 Truther Bullshit!

Given that I wholehearteddly support the termination with extreme prejudice of the theocratic monsters that rule Iran (by the people and not via, say, Operation Iran Liberation) I enjoy any occasion where Thief, sorry, President Ahmadinejad looks like a complete and utter idiot.

Last week Ahmatalkingbollocks caused a walk-out at the UN after he spouted bullshit about the cause of the 9/11 attacks.

However it seems that it was not just the US and EU delegates to the UN that took umbrage. Al-Qaida is pissed off too! According to the Guardian Al-Qaida is mightily pissed off with him and has sent him a message  asking him to stop spreading conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks.

Iranian media on Wednesday reported quotes from what appears to be an article published in the latest issue of the al-Qaida English language magazine, Inspire, which described Ahmadinejad's remarks over the 11 September attacks as "ridiculous".

"The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its president Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al-Qaida was behind 9/11 but rather, the US government," the article said, according to Iranian media. "So we may ask the question: why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?"

Ahmadinejad said in New York that the "mysterious September 11 incident" had been used as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. He had also previously expressed scepticism at the US version of events.

"By using their imperialistic media network which is under the influence of colonialism, they threaten anyone who questions the Holocaust and the September 11 event with sanctions and military actions," said Ahmadinejad.

The al-Qaida article insisted it had been behind the attacks and criticised the Iranian president for discrediting the terrorist group.

"For them, al-Qaida was a competitor for the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised Muslims around the world," said the article published in the Inspire magazine. "Al-Qaida … succeeded in what Iran couldn't. Therefore it was necessary for the Iranians to discredit 9/11 and what better way to do so? Conspiracy theories."

Al-Qaida also accused Iran of hypocrisy over its "anti-Americanism".

The article said: "For Iran, anti-Americanism is merely a game of politics. It is anti-America when it suits it and it is a collaborator with the US when it suits it, as we have seen in the shameful assistance Iran gave to the US in its invasion of Afghanistan and in the Shia of Iraq, backed by Iran, bringing the American forces into the country and welcoming them with open arms."

I know that this is a very serious matter but what has the world come to when Al Qaida feel the need to give Ahmadildoinlarijanisringpiece a verbal bitch slap!


Pere Lachaise

27 September 2011

I also believe that:

Beauty is everywhere, open your eyes, look around you.

If I carry on like this I should be able to put together the Little Book of Bollocks in a week or so

Maybe it's a cliche but I believe it

Everybody is photogenic. Bad photos are the fault of the photographer, not the subject... I should know - I have gigabytes of bad photos stored compared to megabytes of good ones!


A case of SHC?

An Irish pensioner found burnt to death at his home died from spontaneous human combustion(SHC), an inquest has concluded.

The West Galway coroner, Kieran McLoughlin, said there was no other adequate explanation for the death of 76-year-old Michael Faherty. He said it was the first time in his 25 years as a coroner that he had returned such a verdict.

An Irish police crime scene investigator and a senior fire officer told the inquest in Galway that they could not explain how Faherty burned to death. Both said they had not come across such a set of circumstances before.

The assistant chief fire officer, Gerry O'Malley, said fire officers were satisfied that an open fire in Faherty's fireplace had not been the cause of the blaze.

No trace of an accelerant was found at the scene, and there was no sign that anyone else had entered or left the house in Ballybane, Galway city.

The inquest heard that a smoke alarm in the home of Faherty's neighbour Tom Mannion had gone off at about 3am on 22 December last year. Mannion said he went outside and saw heavy smoke coming from Faherty's house.

Garda Gerard O'Callaghan said he went to the house after the fire had been extinguished and found Faherty lying on his back in a sitting room, with his head closest to the fireplace. The rest of the house had sustained only smoke damage.

O'Callaghan told the coroner that the only damage was to Faherty's remains, the floor underneath him and the ceiling above. .

The inquest heard that fire officers had been unable to determine the cause or the origin of the fire.

The state pathologist, Prof Grace Callagy, noted in her post-mortem findings that Faherty had Type 2 diabetes and hypertension, but concluded he had not died from heart failure.

His body had been extensively burned and, because of the extensive damage to the organs, it was not possible to determine the cause of death.

McLoughlin said: "This fire was thoroughly investigated and I'm left with the conclusion that this fits into the category of spontaneous human combustion, for which there is no adequate explanation."

A strange conclusion indeed. I thought that all SHC cases were down to far more mundane causes. I await a clarification of this article.

Sergeant Pluck on the Theory of Atomics

"Did you ever study atomics when you were a lad?" asked the sergeant giving me a look of inquiry and surprise

"No" I answered

" That is a very serious defalcation" he said, "but all the same I will tell you the size of it. Everything is composed of small particles and they are flying around in concentric circles and arcs and segments and innumerable other geometrical figures too numerous to mention collectively, never standing still or resting but spinning away and darting hither and thither and back again, all the time on the go. These diminutive gentlemen are called atoms....

"They are lively as twenty leprechauns doing a jig on top of a tombstone.....

"Atomics is a very intricate theorem and can be worked out with algebra but you would want to take it by degrees because you might spend the whole night proving a bit of it with rulers and cosines and similar other instruments and then at the wind-up not believe what you have proved at all ...

"Consecutively and consequentially you can safely infer that you are made of atoms yourself and so is your fob pocket and the tail of your shirt and the instrument you use for taking the leavings out of the crook of your hollow tooth. Do you know what takes place when you strike a bar of iron with a good coal hammer or with a blunt instrument...

" Ask a blacksmith fr the true answer and he will tell you that the bar will dissipate itself away by degrees if you persevere with the hard wallops. Some of the atoms of the bar will go into the hammer and the half into the table or the stone or the particular article that is underneath the bottom of the bar...

"The gross and net result of it is that people who spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...

Sergeant Pluck's Atomic Theory rates as one of my favourite literary creations. I thought it was high time I shared it with both of my readers in the hope of getting them on to buy the Third Policeman. They won't be sorry!

More to follow

26 September 2011

A point to ponder

"What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light?"

As said by Woland to Matthew the Levite. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

Muse at graves - revised

And in a flash he becomes Graffiti Boy

Balancing Tim II

Balancing Tim

Similar Cases (extract)

Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman

There was once a little animal,
      No bigger than a fox,
And on five toes he scampered
      Over Tertiary rocks.
They called him Eohippus,
      And they called him very small,
And they thought him of no value --
      When they thought of him at all;
For the lumpish old Dinoceras
      And Coryphodon so slow
Were the heavy aristocracy
      In days of long ago.

Said the little Eohippus,
      “I am going to be a horse!
And on my middle finger-nails
      To run my earthly course!
I’m going to have a flowing tail!
      I’m going to have a mane!
I’m going to stand fourteen hands high
      On the psychozoic plain!”

The Coryphodon was horrified,
      The Dinoceras was shocked;
And they chased young Eohippus,
      But he skipped away and mocked.
Then they laughed enormous laughter,
      And they groaned enormous groans.
And they bade young Eohippus
      Go view his father’s bones.
Said they, “You always were as small
      And mean as now we see,
And that’s conclusive evidence
      That you’re always going to be.
What! Be a great, tall, handsome beast,
      With hoofs to gallop on?
Why! You’d have to change your nature!
      Said the Loxolophodon.
They considered him disposed of,
      And retired with gait serene;
That was the way they argued
      In “the early Eocene”.

25 September 2011


Budapest - Cseh Tamas

Another artist I had not heard of this time last week. Once again a beautiful song but the lyrics would have been meaningless to me had I not been given a translation. 

Please tell me, where will our dwelling place be
Shall we stay here or one day shall we leave
This is the city we dwell in
This city has a name
It is called Budapest

In the morning, as it is the tradition here
Janos and Tamas go and buy milk
There are holes in the houses, they look through them
Then they leave the houses,  they start (to leave)

Please tell me this, where will be our dwelling place be
Shall we stay here  or some day we leave
This is the city  we dwell in
This city has a name
It is called Budapest

 In ponds watching themselves in ponds
I have a question is it alcohol
Do you recognize me or have you forgot me
Eva had an abortion yesterday

I Cant sell my winter coat
Smile to the landlord
Look, a stamp on my forehead
I am not the on you are looking for

Comrade F  I am not the one
The black hole is n a nonextiostent star
Can you recognize me my teacher or have you forgot me
But my question is, is there alcohol available now?

Now tell me this WILL be our dwelling place, the place to stay?
Will we stay or one day we leave it?
This is the city, we are its citizens  we stay
We stay here, here we stay

This still brings a shiver of delight

I've posted clips of Ghost Dances before but hell why not post again.

Ghost Dances was created by choreographer Christopher Bruce in 1981 for the Ballet Rambert. I saw them perform this at the Southampton Gaumant in 1982. I was trying to impres a girl with the depth of my culture (in reality at the time it was as deep as what you would find smeared on a petri dish!).

The girl was not impressed but I did fall in love with this piece and went to see them perform it again when they returned to Southampton the following year.

Ghost Dances is a political piece that condemned the dreadful human rights conditions in central America at the time.

It was subsequently performed by the Houston Ballet who filmed their performance. Sadly the DVD is bloody hard to find - I had to pay quite a bit for a copy from the US (and a bit more when customs charged me duty on top!). It is well worth tracking down. Sadly only short clips are available on Youtube. The whole ballet was available at one time.


Graffiti Girl II

24 September 2011

Serpentine Dance

I went to London yesterday for an artistic double header: the new Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy and the John Martin exhibition at the Tate Britain.

The Great Day of His Wrath

John Martin was a 19th century English artist popular for his overblown apocalyptic paintings but rather forgotten nowadays . Still it was enjoyable to see a representative collection of his work.

The Degas exhibition was superb.I had long suspected that Degas had had a photographer's eye. His ability to capture movement is something I would kill for! Part of the exhibition concerned his interest in the likes of Eadward Muybridge (whose studies of human and animal movenent was the subject of an extensive and utterly fascinating exhibition at the Tate Britain late last year) and lo! Degas' own work with the camera.

One item that brought me up short and had me watching in rapt admiration for an age. and it was the above film. Made by the Lumiere Brothers it features an unnamed artist performing Loie Fuller's Serpentine Dance. I had never seen this film before but I know I want to watch it again and again.

NB the frames in this from hand painting each frame rather than using an early colour film

Oh For the Wings of Any Bird

... Other than a battery hen

A line from my favourite Hawkwind song Spirit of the Age. Not high art but still a maxim to live by!

The bird, by the way, is a crow

Art is Everywhere - Words to live by

If you take the time to look around you will find art everywhere. Many may disagree but it is a maxim that works for me.

Pecker is a delightfully funny film made by Baltimore director John Waters. Starring Edward Norton as Pecker, a young man with a passion for photography, whose life (and that of his family) is turned upside down after  gaining the attention of New York art afficionados. The payback is hilarious. While it does feature particularly aggressive lesbian strippers iIt is a million miles away from Water's earlier work such as Pink Flamingos.

But I am digressing. There is a scene in the film where Pecker finally gets his Obsessive compulsive laundrette manager girlfriend Shelly to understand that art is everywhere. The scene takes place in a voting booth

Pecker: Art's everywhere.
Shelly: Yeah, here in my endless bags of dirty laundry.
Pecker: It is if you think about it.
Shelly: What? In the brilliant green of a grass stain?
Pecker: Yes. That's art.
Shelly: The subtle yellow of a urine-soaked sheet?
Pecker: Yeah, yeah. Keep going. It's what you see every day.
Shelly: The aqua blue of cold water as it dilutes a violent red bloodstain?
Pecker: Oh, you got it! Be spontaneous for once in your life.
Shelly: Pecker, I'm scared. You mean the almond brown of stubborn mildew stains can be beautiful?
Pecker: Yes, yes! Let your mind go and you'll be free forever.
Shelly: Oh, Pecker, I think I finally see it.
Pecker: Oh, art, Shelly! Art!
Shelly: Pecker, use a condom.


Just checking if the blog gets syndicated properly

Koncz Zsuzsa - Ha én rózsa volnék

I had not heard of Koncz Zsusza before last weekend but I was enlightened by a dear friend.

The song is set to the music of a much older Hungarian folk song. Her voice is sublime but the words would not have had not have had any meaning to me had Red not provided a translation

if i were a rose
I Wouldn’t bloom only once
I would bloom four times every year
I would bring flowers for the girl
I would bring flower for the boy
For true love
and for passing (death)

if I were a gate
I would be open all the time
Wherever people come from
I would let everybody in
I wouldn't  ask anyone, who sent you
As a gate I would happy
if everybody entered (through) me

If i were a window I would be so big
That the whole world could be seen thorugh me
People would look throughme with understanding eyes'
 And I would be happy
 When I could have shown everything (the whole world)]

If I were a street
I would always be clean
Every given night I would bathe in light
And if one  tank would roll upon me
Even the earth would collapse crying under me

If I were a flag
I would never fly
I would be the enemy of all kinds of winds
I would be hapopy if i were stretched
And I wouldn;t have to be the victim of the winds

An utterly beautiful song. Like the vast majority of Britons I know nothing about Hungarian music (classical music excepted). Time to explore methinks...

23 September 2011

Photohunt - Yellow

The theme for this week's photo hunt is Yellow. As you can see there is yellow in the background I used for a shoot with Tim and Celena two weeks ago.

Old Friend

A photo I took a few years ago of an old school friend who now lives in Paris. Sadly he was in Frankfurt when I was in Paris last week

Swearing? It's for the birds

The Fortean Times Breaking News section carried an amusing item a few days ago from a site called Treehugger. It seems that the tree topps of Australia are alive with a new sound - strange nonsensical conversations in English.

Once it was established that there were no Dadaist conventions anywhere on the continent and all sports commentators and right wing newspaper columnists were accounted for, heads were mightily scratched in puzzlement.... until it was realised that escaped parrots and cockatoos have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity -- and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives.

Jaynia Sladek, an ornithologist from the Australian Museum, says that some birds are just natural mimickers, able to acquire new sounds based on things they hear around them. For birds kept as pets, these sounds tend to mirror human language -- but that influence doesn't cease even after said birds escape or are released back into the wild.

Once back in their natural environments, these chatty ex-pets eventually join with wild birds who, in turn, start picking up the new words and sounds. The remnants of that language also eventually gets passed along to the escaped birds' offspring, much like it does for humans.

"There's no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn't pick it up as well," Sladek said in an interview with Australian Geographic.

According to the report, 'Hello cockie' is one of the most commonly heard phrases feral birds are teaching in the wild, along with a host of expletives -- perhaps the last words those escapees heard after their frantic owners realized they were making a break for freedom.

And yet these birds make more sense than the typical EDL supporter!

La Llorona

Oh God he's got his bloody camera out

Refugee Blues - W H Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

22 September 2011

Looking Out

At the Grave of Sadegh Hedayat II

At the Grave of Oscar Wilde II


What Are Years?
by Marianne Moore

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt, --
dumbly calling, deafly listening--that
in misfortune, even death,
encourages others
and in its defeat, stirs

the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
in its surrendering
finds its continuing.

So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
This is mortality,
this is eternity.

21 September 2011

Medium revealed as fraud (Jams O Donnell stating the blindingly obvious part 3,779)

Since 1735 England has had protection against fraudulent mediums in the form of the Witchcraft Act of 1735 (nothing much to do with persecuting witches despite the title), then the  Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 and since 2008, consumer protection regulations.

So basically it has been recognised in law for the best part of 300 years that fortune tellers, mediums et al are charlatans, frauds, cheats, tricksters and thieves…

The Guardian has an article on charlatan, fraud, cheat, trickster and thief , err sorry I mean medium, Sally Morgan. Morgan, who is better known as Psychic Sally, describes herself as "Britain's best-loved psychic". She has written three books and is currently filming the third series of  Psychic Sally on the Road for Sky LIVING.

A little while ago, however, an incident occurred which will hopefully cause at least some of her fans to realise that her act is probably nothing but a con.

On Monday 12 September, a caller named Sue phoned the Liveline show on Irish radio station RTÉ Radio 1. Sue said that she had attended Morgan's show the previous night at the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin and had been impressed by the accuracy of the readings she made in the first half of the show.

But then something odd happened. Sue was sitting in the back row on the fourth level of the theatre and there was a small room behind her ("like a projection room") with a window open. Sue and her companions became aware of a man's voice and "everything that the man was saying, the psychic was saying it 10 seconds later."

Sue believes, not unreasonably, that the man was feeding information to Sally through an earpiece attached to her microphone. For example, the voice would say something like "David, pain in the back, passed quickly" and a few seconds later Sally would claim to have the spirit of a "David" on stage who – you'll never guess – suffered from back pain and passed quickly.
A member of staff realised that several people near the back of the theatre were aware of the mystery voice and the window was gently closed. The voice was not heard again.

Sue speculated, again not unreasonably given the history of psychic frauds, that the man was feeding Sally information that had been gathered by engaging members of the audience in conversation in the foyer before the show began. This is a technique widely used by psychic fraudsters, as audience members will naturally discuss with each other who they are hoping to hear from "on the other side", how their loved one died, and so on.

The theatre's general manager, Stephen Faloon, claimed that the voice heard by the audience was actually the voices of two members of staff working for the theatre, not someone supplying information to Sally. Sally Morgan Enterprises also denied that the medium was being fed information during the show.

I will grant that some mediums genuinely believe they have a power. The only thing such mediums have is the ability to use cold reading to get a reaction from their audience. This category of medium is as deluded as their audience.

Most mediums, however, are downright frauds. From what the caller Sue had to say it would seem that Psychic Sally falls into this

Sadly Psychic Sally could be busted a thousand times and yet there will be people who will line up to hand over their hard earned cash to this charlatan.

Muse and foliage III

Muse and foliage II

At the Grave of Vincent van Gogh II

Muse behind foliage

At the Grave of Sadegh Hedayat