22 July 2013

We've Moved

The Zen Mischief weblog has moved house.

We've taken all our belongings with us,
but left shadows of them here for reference

Our new home is www.zenmischief.com/blog/

Please bookmark our new address

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Thank you all for your support here
We look forward to seeing you in our new home

Weekly Photograph

Blimey it's over five years since I went to London Zoo. It was an interesting, if not eactly cheap, day out. And I couldn't resist wandering off to see the meercats.

Meercats are just so comic. I'm sure they know they're being photographed! This one was looking away, heard my shutter and immediately turned its head and looked hard straight at me with an almost Roland Rat questioning look as much as to say "'Ere, was that you taking my picture then?". I almost expected it to follow up with "You can't do that, ya' know, I'm an international licensed character, I am!"

Click the image for larger views on Flickr
'Ere, was that you taking my picture then?

'Ere, was that you taking my picture then?
London Zoo, June 2008

19 July 2013

Something for the Weekend

Click the image for a larger view

18 July 2013

We're Moving

Yes, the time has come to move.

No, don't panic, Noreen and I are not about to up sticks and decamp of the wilds for Nether St Nowhere.

This weblog is going to be on the move.

I've been toying with the idea for some time and have resisted it because I didn't want to move yet again. But the time has now come to move onto Wordpress hosted on my own, already existing, domain — to integrate the blog and my personal website more closely.

Yes, that means I have to do everything for myself, which in some ways is a pain. But in other ways it gives me far more control. And means I am not beholden to Blogger's, Google's or "central" Wordpress's ever more restrictive T&Cs.

I don't yet know exactly how soon I'll make the switch over as I'm still refining and testing the new blog. I hope it will be sometime in the next week or two. But you can already set up your access to the new site if you wish. The new weblog will be at

There's not much there yet except a few test posts, but that means you can also have a play and try to break it. And you should be able to set up your new subscriptions etc. — I hope not to have to change anything more in that area.

When I do the switch I hope to be able to import all the posts from here onto the new site. And I will post a notice here, with a dynamic redirection if such works on Blogger (I think it does). The look and feel (aka. branding) of the new weblog should be very similar to this.

Meanwhile normal service continues here.

Watch this space for updates.

And thank you all for your support so far.

Grumpy Old Men R Us

I'm clearly getting senile: I'm getting grumpier in my old age.

No, correction ... I've always been senile and grumpy.

I get more and more irritated, to put it mildly, by sales droids cold calling me. They ring the landline (which is already registered with the Telephone Preference Service). They ring my mobile. They ring the door bell. They stuff rubbish flyers through the door, or mail them to me.

[Mailing stuff out speculatively like that has to be an obscene waste of resources: paper, fuel for transport, postage, etc. as 99.99% will go straight in the bin. Although at least it does provide employment for postmen.]

None of it does any good. All these people do is get themselves hated and probably blacklisted. I only ever respond negatively to cold calling.

If I want a product or service I will know that I want it and will go out and look for it. If I don't do that I don't want (or need) it. I do not need you to try flogging me your rubbish that I don't want. And it isn't just people selling things. Surveys, charities, and so on are just as bad. I do not do BUSINESS (of any sort, that does not just mean selling things) with anyone who cold calls.

And if you are stupid enough to cold call me ... do NOT argue with me. You're just digging yourself a bigger pit. And you'll lose. See I've worked in sales. I know all the answers and objections. I know why you do it (basically you're all desperate) and why you'll tell me you do it. I know all the lies.

The first rule of selling anything is to recognise when your (potential) customer has said "NO" and to take the hint.

If I want a product or service I will know that I want it and will go out and look for it. If I don't do that I don't want (or need) it. I do not need you to try flogging me your rubbish that I don't want.

I doubt I know anyone who actually likes people cold calling them. And I'll give you 10-1 that most of the sales droids who do it, detest having it done to them. Which surely makes it immoral for them to do the cold calling.

I've also seen how destructive it is of salesmen. Few survive very long at it. To me that makes it immoral for anyone to be asked to cold call.

So don't do it! It's counter-productive. Remember: Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Anything less is bad for your karma.

Besides it pisses me off. So you are likely to get a very dusty answer. "I don't do business with anyone who cold calls me. Thank you." [click] is the shortest and politest version. Argue and you'll get more than you bargained for because you've made me angry. Which is bad for my karma as well as yours.

So don't do it!


Another occasional selection of quotes, in some random order ...

The chief advantage of God, after all, is that he doesn't exist (or at least, he acts as though he doesn't) so is less of a threat to liberty than a state that aspires to both omniscience and omnipresence.
[The Heresiarch at Heresy Corner]

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
[Bertrand Russell]

His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy.
[Woody Allen]

Much like the panda, pubic lice are being threatened with extinction due to the disappearance of their natural habitat. However this is due to deforestation of another kind - the increased popularity of 'Brazilian waxing'.
[From a British Association of Dermatologists description of a paper by KS Chen & PD Yesudian, which presents an unproven hypothesis about pubic lice and the television series "Sex in the City"]

It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.
[Pierre Beaumarchais]

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
[Adlai Stevenson]

Humour is also a way of saying something serious.
[TS Eliot]

This freedom to doubt is an important matter in the sciences and, I believe, in other fields. It was born of a struggle. It was a struggle to be permitted to doubt, to be unsure ... If you know that you are not sure, you have a chance to improve the situation. I want to demand this freedom for future generations.
[Richard Feynman]

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
[Walter Bagehot]

Are we so narrow minded that we show war, murder, rape etc. on TV, but we do not allow to show one of the most wonderful creations (the human body) in its natural form.
[Mario Roman]

Clothes therefore, must be the insignia of the superiority of man over all other animals, for surely there could be no other reason for wearing the hideous things.
[Edgar Rice Burroughs; Tarzan of the Apes]

17 July 2013

You may have missed ...

Another selection of links to articles which interested me but which you may have missed ...

How the Greeks won the world.

The government's former "Drugs Tsar", Prof. David Nutt sets out to demonstrate that in banning qat, the government may as well ban cats. This simple analogy shows how absurd the basis for the home secretary's drug prohibition plan really is.

More on government madness ... why shouldn't we re-nationalise the railways?

A scientist documents what it's like to travel to the bottom of the ocean. It's a bit short on the "wow" factor though.

Scientists discover a new bird species, exactly where they didn't expect it: in urban Phnom Penh.

Tarmac, berry fruits and old socks ... Proof, if such were needed, that wine-tasting is junk science.

More junk science ... Why the myth of Bigfoot is so persistent.

Doubtless all you girls know about HPV and cervical cancer, but what about the incidence of HPV in men?

Seems that sperm like all that girly perfume.

On Caecilius’ willy.

Sacks of nuts! Why all may not be what it seems in the scrotal regions.

Oh no! We're descending into the nether regions of hell! Did you know that London once had a nude bus?

And finally ... Why do we indulge in cunnilingus? Is there more to it than just having a good time? Scicurious lifts the kimono.

Word: Jarvey


1. A hackney-coachman. Now frequently applied to the driver of an Irish car.

2. A hackney-coach or jaunting car.

Pace Wikipedia, a jaunting car is a light two-wheeled carriage for a single horse, in its most common form with seats for two or four persons placed back to back, with the foot-boards projecting over the wheels. It was the typical conveyance for persons in Ireland at one time (hence the reference by the OED to an "Irish car").

The Hackney Carriage (forerunner of the Hansom Cab, pictured) was first regulated in in London in 1654.

The OED gives the first use of jarvey (in the meaning of a coachman) in 1796. It is thought to derive as a by-form from the personal name Jarvis or Jervis.

Oh and forget the use of jarvey in Harry Potter. That's just part of the fiction.

16 July 2013

Quote: The World

We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic.

[David Russell]