31 January 2009

Philosophy of Drugs

Interesting little piece by philosopher AC Grayling on the prohibition of drugs in today's Times. He largely echos my long-standing views on the subject except that he fails to mention that by legalising and controlling all drugs (in the way alcohol and tobacco are) the government would not only save money but could make money as the drugs could be taxed. At a time when government is in desperate need of cash I'm surprised this is a wheeze they've missed.

Today's Cartoons

There are some rather amusing (no, not side-splittingly funny, just rather amusing) cartoons in today's Times, all making political comment on these trying times. As the Times doesn't print most of them, I naughtily reproduce them here; ownership remains with the Times, of course.

First Peter Brookes ...


And then three pocket cartoons ...


After the Barber's


After the Barber's, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 49/52 (2009 week 05).

After going to the barber's early this morning I decided to treat myself to pain au chocolat.

26 January 2009

Job Meme


Job Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is all about jobs. So here as usual are the twelve questions and my answers:

1. Your first job.
At 17 I was a shop boy in our local supermarket. This was in the late 1960s, when supermarkets were only just invented in England. We did everything on the premises in those days. I worked in the "Provisions Department" (ie. dairy, delicatessen, etc.). The first thing they did was teach me to bone a side of bacon. Yes, we had bacon delivered as cured half pigs and we had to bone, joint and then slice it. I also served on the deli counter as well as helping out wherever needed. I did this for about 2½ years in vacations ending up on checkouts, doing displays and helping run the wine counter. I still know more about bacon that most butchers!

2. Your best job.
This would have to be wasting time as a post-grad student and then a post-doc. In fact I wasted so much time as a post-doc I had to resign before I was sacked.

3. Your worst job
IT Technical Sales. I hated anything to do with selling and stress. I'm really a techie. I did this for 2½ years in late '70s, before PCs were around. I worked in the City of London and did get to go one or two interesting places as a result.

4. Your current job.
IT Project Manager. I'm currently running team who have just installed two of these enormous beasts of machines.

5. Job you are aiming for.
Retirement.

6. Job you wish you could have regardless of qualifications.
Gentleman of Leisure. Somehow I think I might be able to do that quite well!

7. Job you wish you could have regardless of salary.
Dilettante Researcher. Well almost regardless of salary; I would need enough to live on! I've always wanted to research what I like when I like. I should really have been an academic, but not in the sciences where I was trained; far too much like hard work! Oh and the picture is the Reading Room of the British Museum (it was the British Library); what a stunning place to do research; it really is awe-inspiring inside.

8. Job you would absolutely HATE to do.
Anything nasty and messy: abattoir work, butchery (bacon is OK, it isn't bloody), refuse collection, emergency services, medicine.

9. Job that you just do not understand how it is done.
Anything to do with electronics. I never did understand how to design circuits, and a totally inept with a soldering iron.

10. Least amount of time you've worked at a job.
Two Christmas when I was a student I did 2-3 weeks delivering the mail - back in the days when the Post Office took on casual staff at Christmas. It was horrible early hours and quite hard work, but interesting.

11. The silliest job in the world.
There are lots of these, but Fashion Model has to be somewhere near the top.

12. First thing you will do when you never need to have a job again.
Sleep and Recover

1. half a pig, 2. UEA, 3. Computer Sale, 4. New IBM Z10 Mainframe, 5. man in chair, 6. Gentleman of Leisure, 7. British Museum Reading Room, 8. Butchery Lane (4), 9. tag some of this stuff if you know what it is, 10. Red Bike in the Snow, 11. Sweet, sweet madness..., 12. IMG03898

As always these are not my photos so please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Kung hei fat choi

Today being Chinese New Year I wish you all

Kung hei fat choi

A happy and prosperous Year of the Ox

24 January 2009

Men Like Looking at Women

Let's face it: men like looking at women. And there are good biological reasons that can be used to explain this affliction, at least according to this article at canada.com.
Like the masses of planets and stars, our bodies curve the space around us. We
radiate signals constantly, radio sources that never go off the air. We cannot
help being centers of attraction and repulsion for one another.

Well that explains it all then, really. But for more read the article; it's interesting even if some will say it is male chauvinist. Personally I don't think it is, just good biological sense. But then I'm male!

23 January 2009

After the Blood Test


After the Blood Test, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 48/52 (2009 week 04).

As well as an eye test I've had to have two blood tests in the last week or so. Boring!

You get a little bit of my daily working environment too -- yes I work from home most days now; haven't been in the office yet this year!

22 January 2009

Midweek MiniMeme: All About Flickr


Midweek MiniMeme: All About Flickr, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week we have a mid-week mini-meme; and it's all about one of our favorite things: Flickr!

So as usual here are the questions and my answers:
1. First person you met on Flickr? Probably RogerGW
2. First pic you faved? Shoveller Lines by my namesake Keith Marshall -- it's really scary 'cos we even have almost identical tabby cats, tho' he's a much better photographer than I am!
3. Person on Flickr you would most like to meet? From amongst my contacts? Well it would have to be ~Misty~; we live quite near each other too!
4. Someone on Flickr you have already met? Melly Melly Me; we're both owned by the same large It company and when we were working on a project together we discovered we were both on Flickr!
5. Your funniest Flickr friend? This just has to be edartr; just check out his two hilarious dogs!
6. Most endearing Flickr friend? Claire who already belongs to Rom.. Oh to be young again! ;-)

1. Tomb plate, Standish, 2. Shoveler Lines, 3. Les socks de jour!, 4. Tig2, 5. oohh and THEN i get a cookie ?, 6. Portrait...

As always these are not my photos so please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

20 January 2009

Wonders of the World Meme


Wonders of the World Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's meme is to say what you think the 12 Wonders of the World are? This can be man-made, natural, things you've seen, things you haven't! Or a mixture!

So here are my twelve ...

1. Power of Natural Forces, especially the sea
2. Existence of Life. Even as a scientist just the sheer chemical and anatomical complexity blows my mind
3. Diversity of Life, from amoeba to elephant; from top of Everest to ocean depths
4. Amazon: the rainforest, the fish, the parrots
5. Cats, from domestic cats to terrifying tigers
6. Human Intellect / Mind, without which we wouldn’t have any of the following …
7. Agriculture. How do you get from being a hunter-gatherer to a settled community growing rice and pigs?
8. Stonehenge, being a representative of all incredible building by ancient peoples who as far as we know had no writing and no recognisable mathematics
9. Bread and Wine. How did anyone go, A, B ... X to discover them; bread especially
10. Writing, without which we wouldn’t have society or literature
11. Medieval Cathedrals: complex architecture, brilliantly built with no advanced mathematics or science
12. Zero, without which we wouldn’t have maths or science

1. Stormy Seas, 2. Coral Reef, 3. Bugs life, 4. Rainforest Parrot, 5. Wild Jaguar, 6. The Labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France, 7. Terraced Rice Fields of Sapa, 8. Stonehenge, 9. Wine and Bread, 10. Book of Hours : Use of Sarum, Prayer to St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury (circa 1330), 11. Focs artificials gòtics, 12. zero

As always these are not my photos so please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

16 January 2009

Desk Guard


hh222, originally uploaded by kcm76.

Harry the Cat in fairly typical pose guarding my desk, ever on the alert ready to repel any work which happens to try invading!

15 January 2009

Dark, Dubious & Depressed

"Dark, dubious & depressed" is very much how I feel about January every year! And this year they're playing in trumps.

I've decided that this year I'm going to do a self-portrait a month for the Flickr "12 Months" group. This is the first. (This will replace the weekly SP when I get to the end of the 52 weeks at the end of February.)

Special effects created with Dumpr

Eye-Eye!


Eye-Eye!, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 47/52 (2009 week 03).

I had my annual diabetic retinopathy scan today, where they take (digital) photos of the back of they eye. This entails having eye-drops to dilate the pupils so you can't see properly for several hours afterwards - not invasive or nasty, just a damn nuisance 'cos you can't focus. This is my eyes 3 hours after the drops when they are starting to wear off - and look how dilated my pupils still are!

13 January 2009

12 Ways to Win Your Heart Meme


12 Ways to Win Your Heart Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's meme is to tell us 12 ways to win your heart!

To win my heart you need to …
Be my friend
And my sister;
My mother
But not my father.
Share my interests
While remaining true to yourself.
Bring me food
And bring me wine (but the pine logs are optional).
Be my jester (but not my knave, and definitely no strawberry tarts),
My muse
And my soul-mate;
But most of all be my lover.


1. A Rose For My Friends, 2. My sister enjoys the morning sun, 3. mother-baby bathtime - dscf8133, 4. Super Angry Father, 5. Object #1, 6. Siamese Toast Twins, 7. miniature food en masse, 8. wine, 9. Clowns & Jesters at Alexandra Palace, 10. my muse..., 11. soul mates, 12. If u were my lover

As always these are not my photos so please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

08 January 2009

Oh FFS! Get a Life!

This just beggars belief ...

An atheist campaign claiming "There's probably no God" has been reported to the advertising regulator.

Methinks certain persons should not abide in glass dwellings!

Hockneylated & 13 Artists


Hockneylated, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 46/52 (2009 week 02).

I think the time has come to do another 13 things, so here are 13 painters I admire:
1. David Hockney
2. Nicolas Poussin
3. MC Escher
4. Leonardo da Vinci
5. Hans Holbein
6. Albrecht Durer
7. Eric Gill
8. Willem van de Velde the Younger
9. My mother
10. Rembrandt
11. Mark Boxer
12. Osbert Lancaster
13. Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

05 January 2009

Guilty Pleasures Meme


Guilty Pleasures Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's meme is all about those events, foods, hobbies, people, restaurants, beverages that we love, but bring about a little (or a lot of) guilt.

As usual here are the questions ans my answers:

1. Breakfast cereal -- As I don't do breakfast cereal as such I'll have to say Sausage and Bacon Sandwich
2. Cheap Restaurant -- Nico's
3. Expensive Restaurant -- If I must The Ritz is as good a candidate as any!
4. Alcoholic Beverage -- Beer
5. Non-alcoholic Beverage -- Hot Chocolate, with Cherry Brandy!
6. Sad song -- Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant
7. Convenience Store item -- Food
8. Tabloid Magazine -- Nah, don't read them!
9. TV Show -- Anything with one of my heartthrobs in it!
10. TV Celebrity -- Oh let's go for Michaela Strachan; she's been around forever and is still as luscious as when she started!
11. 80s Movie -- Emmanuelle, well it's 70s actually, but who's counting?!
12. Way to completely waste time -- CENSORED

1. 3/365, 2. Nico's, 3. Putting on The Ritz - Reworked, 4. German Beer Girls, 5. koko black hot chocolate, 6. Alice's Restaurant, 7. A seminar student choosing Convenience store food, 8. Day 47 of 365 Days of Music, 9. Paul Shirville (Heart Throb) Rose, 10. Michaela!!, 11. Pierre Bachelet and Herve Roy / Emmanuelle, 12. Some of my photos have been CENSORED by Flickr - Here are the instructions to see them:

As always these are not my photos (except #2 which is mine) but please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

04 January 2009

Work? What's That?

Like most of the rest of the UK, I have to go back to work tomorrow after a two week break during which I have done nothing, despite my best intentions. But I would really rather not have to go back to work! I'm not at all looking forward to what I fear is going to be a difficult year: a horrible project which is getting worse not better (due to micromanagement from the US) together with an economic climate that suggests there will be no pay raises (again) this year and most likely a further round of downsizing – just as long as I get a decent offer this time; the only question is whether it will be enough to be able to retire early.

But tomorrow will start even before work with an urgent visit to the dentist. Why is it that one always manages to lose a large filling (or worse) over Christmas? Fortunately I don't mind going to the dentist: it helps that we get on well, can have serious conversations and Jonathan is a seriously brilliant dentist. Just as well because my wallet will be in shock afterwards!

Let's hope I'm being over-pessimistic.

03 January 2009

Cat into Box will Go


Cat into Box will Go, originally uploaded by kcm76.

Sally in determined mood to gain entry to a box lying on the study floor.

01 January 2009

New Year's Drink


New Year's Drink, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's self-portrait: 52 Weeks 45/52 (2009 week 01).