29 October 2008

In the Office


In the Office, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 36/52 (2008 week 44).

27 October 2008

Happiness Meme


Happiness Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Meet the cat: VIC, 2. Sand Sea Sun - Snorkel!, 3. The meaning of Photography, 4. Happy Nude Recreation Week!!!, 5. my wine and Brad's beer, 6. My wife's hairy cunt, 7. 8x6 frosty morning railroad, 8. day one hundred five, 9. Longing for Spring, 10. ordinary pic, but really tasty salad, 11. Reading A Buyer's Market, 12. Katsuo-ji Temple bells

This week's question: Just tell us 12 things which make you happy, and a picture for each.

Answers:
1. Cats - because they're magic
2. Sun, sea and sand
3. Photography - it's about the only creativity I have
4. Warm sunshine on my skin
5. Beer and wine - two of the essentials of a contented life
6. Noreen, my wife (perhaps I should not say explicitly what I was going to!) and that after almost 30 years of marriage we still have great sex
7. Bright frosty mornings
8. Nudity - it's normal and it's comfortable
9. Spring green and blossom on trees
10. Good, tasty, fresh salad
11. Books, especially Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time
12. Bells

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

25 October 2008

Friday Five: When Did You Last ...?

OK so it's a day late, but after I don't know how many weeks I feel like doing this week's Friday Five. So here we go ...

When did you last...
1. Scrounge for change (couch, ashtray, etc.) to make a purchase?
I don't recall ever having done so, even as a student. Guess I'm probably lucky.

2. Visit a dentist?
Monday 4 August 2008, 0830 hrs.

3. Make a needed change to your life?
I don't do big, life threatening changes -- unless you count marriage or moving house, and I don't have a habit of doing them since I've done neither for getting on for 30 years! I do lots of small incremental changes -- fine tuning if you like.

4. Decide on a complete menu well in advance of the evening meal?
Don't make a habit of doing this either, so I don't know when it last was. We may have a sketchy idea of what we're going to eat 24 hours in advance, but it remains flexible until the last minute: eat what we fancy built around what we have available.

5. Spend part of the day (other than daily hygiene) totally/mostly naked?
I was going to say yesterday. But maybe I'll say today instead, although I will be out for a chunk of the day. If I'm at home I'm usually nude unless I'm very cold or we have visitors. And as I work from home a lot that is quite a few days a week. "Nude when possible; clothed when necessary."

[Brought to you courtesy of Friday Five.]

22 October 2008

Bell Damaged Brain

If I'm not getting serious brain damage I should be -- and yes, more than normal, even for me. Not to mention ringing in the ears. I've just had my mind completely blown away. I've been listening to a CD of handbells; change ringing on handbells. I know not everyone gets change ringing (or even bells) and it is a peculiarly English eccentricity. But if you line bells in general, handbells in particular or change ringing, then hunt out Change Ringing on Handbells issued on CD by Saydisc (CD-SDL310).

I had this on vinyl many years ago and recently discovered that Saydisc had eventually issued it on CD. I'd forgotten how incredible it is. It has seriously done my head in. Although I get the principle I can't get my (mathematical and logical) brain round change ringing at the best of times but certainly not done on handbells and at the speed with which these guys manage it so faultlessly. Maybe the logic is the problem?

The CD is available from Amazon UK, Amazon.com or direct from Saydisc themselves. It is just incredible!

And there's an interesting, albeit scientifically slanted, introduction to church bells and bellringing over at Cocktail Party Physics.

21 October 2008

Zen Food Meme


Zen Food Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Pudge - Leave Me Alone, I'm Sleeping!, 2. SPAM - Enjoy your meal !, 3. blue string pudding, 4. Sticky toffee rat onna stick., 5. Bull's Blood, 6. Not sure, but I think there's Mexican food in there somewhere., 7. Unsalted Butter Cone, 8. Eating the hanging meat, 9. 12x12 Happy Cats, 10. the little colorful Paki, 11. iCI - Independent Curators International, 12. The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat

Having done a fairly boring response to this week's meme, I thought, as I have a reputation to keep up, I'd better do a more mischievous one! So here, in the spirit of Zen Mischief, it is ...

Questions and Answers:
1. What is your favorite breakfast? Sleep
2. What is your favorite lunch? Luncheon Meat
3. What is your favorite dinner? Blue String Pudding
4. What is your favorite snack? Sticky Toffee Rat onna Stick
5. What is your favorite drink? Bulls Blood
6. What is something you eat everyday (or often)? Food
7. What is a food you hate? "It was the best butter"
8. What is your guilty pleasure (as far as food is concerned)? Eating
9. What food smells gross to you? 144 of Anything
10. What is your favorite ethnic food? Sub-Continental
11. What is your favorite restaurant? Ici
12. What was the last thing you ate? Genesis 3:13

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Food Meme


Food Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. Large Breakfast, 2. chish n fips, 3. The rock fishes, 4. Nuts to Christmas, 5. Adnams "The Bitter" (Cask), 6. Homemade Bread, 7. DSC11784 - Cow stomach (beef tripe) in meat market (Laos), 8. Too much f*cking pizza, 9. pernod, 10. my sister, the blue-eyed Indian bride, 11. Hinder, 12. Gala Apple

Questions and Answers:
1. What is your favorite breakfast? Fried cholesterol
2. What is your favorite lunch? Chish 'n' Fips
3. What is your favorite dinner? Bouillabaisse
4. What is your favorite snack? Nuts
5. What is your favorite drink? Adnams
6. What is something you eat everyday (or often)? Homemade Bread
7. What is a food you hate? Tripe
8. What is your guilty pleasure (as far as food is concerned)? Too Much
9. What food smells gross to you? Pernod
10. What is your favorite ethnic food? Indian
11. What is your favorite restaurant? Tilley's Bistro, Bath
12. What was the last thing you ate? An Apple

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

20 October 2008

Autumnal Boot


Autumnal Boot, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 35/52 (2008 week 43).

19 October 2008

Midweek Mini Movie Meme


Midweek Mini Movie Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

1. The Smartest Of The Goldfish, 2. Carry on Teacher (Gerald Thomas, 1959), 3. Boredom... , 4. happy new year, see you on the other side

As I don't do films, here are my usual off the wall answers ...

1. Favorite movie as a kid?
Brain the size of a planet and they think I care about films?

2. What movie has been shotin your hometown or near you?
Name any Ealing Studios film

3. While watching a flick, your favorite snack at the theatre or on your sofa?
Nothing, 'cos I don't watch films -- so here's a leggy brunette instead :-)

4. What movie character do you think you're most like?
Oh some goon or other!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

16 October 2008

Osho on Pornography

A final thought from Osho, this time on pornography ...

What is pornography, and why does it have so much appeal?

Pornography is a by-product of religious repression. The whole credit goes to the priests […] pornography is created, managed by the Church, by the religious people.

In a primitive, natural state, man is not pornographic. When human beings are naked, man knows the woman's body and woman knows the man's body, and you cannot sell Playboy. It is impossible. Who will purchase Playboy? […]

The whole credit goes to the religious establishment. They have repressed so much that man's mind is boiling. The man wants to see the woman's body. Nothing wrong in it, a simple desire, a human desire. And the woman wants to know the man's body. A simple desire, nothing wrong about it.

Just think of a world where trees are covered with clothes. I have heard about some English ladies who cover their dogs and cats with clothes. Just think, cows and horses and dogs dressed. Then you will find new pornography arising. Somebody will
publish a nude picture of a tree – and you will hide it in a Bible and look at it!

This whole foolishness is out of religious repression.

Make man free, allow people to be nude. I am not saying they should continuously be nude, but nudity should be accepted. On the beach, at the swimming pool, in the home – nudity should be accepted. The children should take a bath with the mother, with the father, in the bathroom. There is no need for the father to lock the bathroom when he goes in. The children can come and have a talk and chitchat and go out. Pornography will disappear.

Each child wants to know, "How does my daddy look?" Each child wants to know, "How does my mother look?" And this is simply intelligence, curiosity. And the child cannot know what the mother looks like, and the child cannot know what the father looks like; now you are creating illness in the child's mind. It is you who is ill, and the illness will be reflected in the child's mind.

I am not saying sit nude in the office or in the factory […] there is no need to be naked, it should not be an obsession; however, this continuous obsession of hiding your body is just ugly.

And one thing more: because of the clothes, bodies have become ugly because then you don't care. You care only about the face. If your belly goes on becoming bigger and bigger, who bothers? You can hide it […] let one hundred people stand nude, and they all will be ashamed […] and they will start hiding themselves. Something is wrong. Why is it so? They know only about their face – the face they take care of; the whole body is neglected.

This is bad. This is not good. It is not in favour of the body, either.

Any country where people are allowed a little freedom to be nude becomes more beautiful; people have more beautiful bodies […]

Nudity should be natural, should be as natural as animals, as trees, as everything else is nude. Then pornography will disappear.

[Osho, Sex Matters, pp 137-8]

14 October 2008

Caff Mirror


Caff Mirror, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 34/52 (2008 week 42).
Yet more reflections.

Taken at Nico's, the best "greasy spoon" in all London.

13 October 2008

Vacation Meme


Vacation Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr photo meme.

1. Small DSLR, 2. Popular Photography Magazine's Featured Sunset *, 3. Eel in the smoke, 4. steam train through avondale july 07, 5. 1600x1280 - Morocco-beach - sun-sea-sand-pebbles, 6. Flowers for Mothers Day- UK 2nd March., 7. A locomotive To Brocken, 8. Winterwald, 9. Wellcome...into Alice's Wonderland, 10. Bratwurst, 11. Mannequin Pis, 12. The most sacred place of Japan

Questions and Answers:
1. What is a must-pack in your travel bag or suitcase? (you just wouldn’t leave home without it) Olympus DSLR
2. What is your favourite thing to do while on vacation? Photography as an alternative to nothing with a bottle of wine
3. What is your great food/cuisine you have had or tried while traveling? Smoked Eel; heavenly
4. What is your favourite mode of travel – most enjoyable way to get there? Steam Train; first class, of course
5. What is your favourite way of “relaxing/unwinding” while traveling? Sun, Sea, Sand probably just edges out mountains and forest
6. Visiting friends and family sometimes involves travel – what relatives or friends do you visit most often when you go? (i.e. grandma, Uncle Bob, or Kate) My Mother
7. What was the best man-made wonder you ever saw/experienced while traveling? Steam Trains in Harz Mountains
8. What was the best wonder of Mother Nature that you ever saw/experienced while traveling? Winter Mountians and Forest
9. You could only take one book to read while travelling or on vacation – what would be in your bag? If I really can have only one volume then Alice in Wonderland; or more likely I wouldn't take a book but buy something interesting along the way
10. Okay, you need a snack in that carry-on or backpack – what would it be? Bratwurst in a Bun
11. What is the “most touristy” thing you have done or place you have visited? Mannequin Pis; it's such a horrible tourist attraction you have to see it once and be disappointed
12. You just won an all-expenses one-week trip anywhere in the world, where would you choose? Japan although it's really too far for just a week

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

10 October 2008

Nico's


Nico's, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 33/52 (2008 week 41).
Yet another reflection picture!

This week I've been eating out at the best "greasy spoon" in all London: Nico's, 299 Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 0EL. Open Monday thru' Saturday, 0645 to 1900. It is right outside Bethnal Green tube station on junction of Bethnal Green Road and Cambridge Heath Road.

Greek Cypriot, now run by the second generation. You can have anything from a bacon roll, through Egg & Chips to Dolmades or Kleftico. The food is cheap and the portions are large; do not order the mixed grill unless you are a real glutton or starving: it comes on two(!!) oval plates, one of meat the other piled with chips. A steak sandwich comes with (free) chips on the side -- a full portion of chips that is! And they're real chips too. Everything is cooked to order and the kitchen is openly visible from the counter. Needless to say it does a steady trade! Eat in or take-away.

It is very close to the V&A Museum of Childhood, where Noreen works; I was there too earlier this week and was taken out to lunch at Nico's: I had: 2 (large) Sausages, Mushrooms and (a pile of) Chips; can Diet Coke. Noreen had: Double Egg, Beans and (a pile of) Chips; can Diet Coke. Total cost £8.50.

Highly recommended for restoring the soul but not for either the cholesterol levels or the waistline. Pure food pornography. :-)


Nico's, originally uploaded by kcm76.

09 October 2008

More on Banking Bailouts

Just a couple of snippets of thought following on from my post of yesterday ...

BBC Breakfast this morning was reporting on the £400bn pledged by the government for yesterday's bailout. First of all they insist it is £400bn, not £500bn, as was reported yesterday. How? Why? Well it seems the missing £100bn had already been pledged, so was not new money. More government prestidigitation.

But no matter, Breakfast had calculated that £400bn amounts to £13,ooo for every UK taxpayer. Now how do the government think the "average" taxpayer is going to find £13,000? I am lucky in that I earn around twice the national average wage, which means I pay £7,500-ish in income tax every year (or £600 a month). And whilst I would love to pay much less tax, I see the equity in what I do pay, given that we have to pay at all. (That doesn't mean I agree with where it is all squandered, sorry spent wisely.) But another £13,000!! Even over two years that means my income tax would double. Now translate that into the effect on someone earning say £20,000 a year and who pays maybe £3000 in income tax. Where do they find all that additional money?

Oh sorry, that;'s OK because they now become poor; below the bread-line. So they can claim benefits. But wait! Where do those benefits come from? Our tax take. So those of us left paying tax get shafted for even more. Ad infinitum. You see what I mean about spirals of debt and destruction?!?!?

Jilly in response to my post of yesterday makes an good point -- well several actually. Banking was always smoke and mirrors. Which explains why the medieval Jews so despised; they were operating in an environment where people could still see through the smoke and they didn't like the (distorting) mirrors that were left? The Emperor's new suit was seen for what it was. It is just that in recent years, well at least during my lifetime, the smoke has gotten increasingly dense to hide the ever more distorting mirrors.

It's tempting to blame Mrs Thatcher for all this, with her philosophy that everyone must own their own house, thereby needing a mortgage and generating increasing debt -- not to mention the increasing wealth of those years with the instant gratification made possible by having more readily available money. While Mrs Thatcher undoubtedly didn't help, I think the root cause goes further back: to the spendthrift Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, both of whom spent more than we could afford.

Jilly also makes the point that credit controls should never have been abolished. Well up to a point, Lord Copper. While ideally borrowing only what one can immediately afford to repay is an excellent philosophy, it does mean there is only ever a very constrained money supply. Hence there would be no growth. The controls had to be loosened somewhat to fund growth and an entrepreneurial spirit, otherwise we would still be living in a grim post-war environment. But arguable we have taken progress too far, too fast; maybe a change from a money supply ratio of 1:1 to the current 1:27-ish was a step too far; perhaps a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10 would have been more realistic?

But then 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing. We are where we are and somehow we have to get out of it. I just have grave misgivings that the current spiral of debt to pay off debt is a good way. But then from where we are there probably isn't a pretty solution. But then, again as Jilly points out, we don't appear to have learnt any of the lessons of history. Plus ça change!

08 October 2008

Banking by Mirrors

Yet again the British taxpayer is being fleeced to prop up the banking system; the UK government has today announced a package of measures which could cost the taxpayers £500bn ... or around £10,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. BBC News story.

We know this whole thing is a mirage; money is no more than pieces of paper which are worth only the value of the ink printed on them. But would this happen if the government had to do all this in actual gold? I doubt it. For a start there isn't that much gold. As I understand it the capitalisation ratio is generally somewhere in the region of 1:25 to 1:30 (ie. 25-30 times as much money supply as there is real money, aka. gold). If we all wanted to draw our money from the banks we couldn't; there physically isn't even enough paper to do it! It's all electronic bits somewhere.

Notwithstanding that I do seriously wonder what these people are on! What are they doing? Basically they are making an ever increasing mountain of debt to service the debt mountain which already exists! And they can't see it! For instance £250bn will be available to the banks as loan guarantees for lending between banks! So Bank A borrows money from Bank B, with a loan guarantee from the government. Bank A fails and defaults on the loan, so the government pays off Bank B. So here now is a government debt, taken on to service a loan which is probably being used to cover Bank A's debt to Bank C. Is this a sensible way to run a business? Or an economy? Or a country? I don't think so!

Worse ... "Banks will have to increase their capital by at least £25bn and can borrow from the government to do so". Que? Banks need more money, to service their debt. How do they get more money. They borrow it from the government (ie. you and me the taxpayers). Borrowing money to pay off debt. Isn't this how loan sharks operate? Isn't this the whole basis of usury, for which the medieval Jews were so vilified?

Ah good! The FTSE as I write is down around 4%. So the money markets don't entirely believe this either! And neither it appears do the investors in some banks as their shares are down too.

But it's all a mirage. A house of cards built out of mirrors. And I feel sure it will come tumbling down. The only trouble is when it does it will be a whole lot worse than it would have been had the markets been left alone now to sort themselves out. I've been saying for years it's all over-hyped. The FTSE is a con; at best it should never have been above 3000. The end of the world is nigh. But fortunately most of us won't survive to witness it, but it might be an unpleasant end game.

06 October 2008

Zen and Sex

Further thought from Osho ...

What is the Zen approach to sex? The Zen people seem to have a neuter gender, or asexual aura about them.

Zen has no attitudes about sex, and that is the beauty of Zen. To have an attitude means you are still obsessed this way or that. Somebody is against sex – he has an attitude; somebody is for sex – he has an attitude. And for and against go together like two wheels of a bullock cart. They are not enemies, they are friends, partners in the same business.

Zen has no attitude about sex. Why should one have any attitude about sex? That's the beauty of it – Zen is utterly natural. Do you have any attitudes about drinking water? Do you have any attitudes about taking food? Do you have any attitudes about going to sleep in the night? No attitudes.

[Osho, Sex Matters, pp 178-9]

05 October 2008

Osho on Nudity

[…] man has created his own artificial world around him. Animals are naked – that's why we don't want to be nude. And if somebody is nude suddenly he hits our civilization totally, he cuts the very roots. That's why there is so much antagonism against naked people, all over the world.

If you go and move naked in the street, you are not hurting anybody, you are not doing any violence to anybody; you are absolutely innocent. But immediately the police will come, the whole surroundings will become agitated. You will be caught […] and put into jail. But you have not done anything at all! A crime happens when you do something. You have not been doing anything, simply walking naked! But why does the society get so angry? The society is not so angry even against a murderer. This is strange. But a naked man, and society is absolutely angry.

It is because murder is still human. No animal murders. They kill for eating […] So it is human, the society can accept it. But nudity the society cannot accept, because suddenly the naked man makes you aware that you are all animals. Howsoever hidden behind clothes, the animal is there, the nude, the naked animal is there, the naked ape is there.

You are against the nude man not because he is nude but because he makes you aware of your nudity.

[Osho, Sex Matters, p125]

Quote: Fantasy

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope ... and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities.

[Theodor S Geisel (Dr Seuss)]

02 October 2008

Squaring the Circle


Squaring the Circle, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 32/52 (2008 week 40).

This week I've mostly been trying to square the circless

01 October 2008

Chemistry is ...

I moved to London in 1973 to study Chemistry at University College, London. Here, if nothing else, I learnt that at degree level, Chemistry is Physics, Physics is Maths and Maths is impossible.

[Martin Dixon, Chairman of Subterranea Britannica]

I can tell Martin that it doesn't change at post-grad level either! Except possibly to add that Maths is Computing.