29 March 2009

Zen on Lyme Regis Beach

Rock Pile, originally uploaded by paul.lloyd17.

I think this is just brilliant! Enterprising and unusual. Why can't people be creative and do more things like this?

In the Taxi

In the Taxi, originally uploaded by kcm76.

March self-portrait for Flickr 12 Months group.

Quote: Bicycling

Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.

[Bill Nye]

Green Custard

Some of this week's stranger headlines (mostly from BBC News); with commentary:

Advice to Vultures: Avoid Spanish Livestock
Why only vultures?

Color-Coordinated Courtship
I'll only like you if your pink bra looks good with my pink jock-strap

Agreement reached in tram talks
Didn't know trams could talk?

Armenia row
It's a turning off Acacia Avenue, Neasden isn't it?

Plea for clean coal investment
Yeah, it needs therapy to make it's mind wholesome

Deadly stampede at Pope speech
One assumes they were trying to escape?

Call for clearer green labelling
If the labelling is more transparent won't it be harder to read?

Dead girl given truancy warning
Wewl, logic innit, she weren't at skool!

Therapists offer gay treatment
And the next act will be the Singing Postman

God will not give happy ending
So why bother with him then?

26 March 2009


Why is it that female circumcision (aka mutilation) is not acceptable, but that the medical world believes that male circumcision is OK and even good practice?

Wake up and smell the coffee guys -- it's all abuse!

World's Tiniest Meme

World's Tiniest Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week we have a midweek Flickr meme, called World's Tiniest Meme!

These photos are not mine . . . please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

As usual here are the questions and my answers:

1. What's your favourite quotation?
It'll pass, Sir, like other days in the Army [Anthony Powell]

2. What's your favourite book title?
How to Fossilise Your Hamster

1. Comics 'On Patrol' - Ottawa 2006, 2. "Horned Hamster"

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

23 March 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Meme

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is about colours.

These photos are not mine . . . please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

As usual here are the questions. Having, as I do, a skewy slant on reality here's a strange take on colours! (And no, I'm not colour blind.)

1. Sun
2. Sky
3. Water
4. Red
5. Orange
6. Yellow
7. Green
8. Blue
9. Indigo
10. Violet
11. Rainbow
12. Your Name Keith Marshall

1. diamonds to the sun, 2. "good morning,today's sky", 3. Kongxincai, Ong Choy, Hollow Vegetable, Water Spinach, 4. April Snow in Red Square, 5. Orange Sulphur or Alfalfa Butterfly..., 6. A touch of Green..Bamboo forest, Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain) 2a, 7. Green Sea Turtle Being Cleaned, 8. Blue Hotel, 9. Indigo, 10. Violet 03, 11. A hint of RAINBOW, 12. Marshall's Beach Sunset

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

22 March 2009

Daffodils in Our Garden

Daffodils, originally uploaded by kcm76.

What I had forgotten, momentarily, when I took this is that these daffodils are growing on the spot where we buried the Floss Cat's ashes -- it was his favourite sunbathing spot. They've been there for 11 or 12 years now and are still going strong, unlike many naturalised daffodils.

20 March 2009

Green Custard **

Some of the week's odder headlines (with commentary) ...

Khat spread
as opposed to anchovy spread, one assumes!?

Sweaty armpits
this week's new expletive

Barclays in Treasury debt talks
good that someone's paying off our national debt

Pope rejects African condom use
you'd have a problem fitting one on the Horn of Africa anyway

Can eating Chinese staples ward off breast cancer
what's wrong with the staples from my desk draw?

Construction faces migrant curbs
dangerous these migrating curb stones

France chastises Pope on condoms
new SM fetish – being whipped while lying on a pile of condoms?

Pink elephant is caught on camera
mustn't be racist and have nothing but white elephants

Papal embrace
well that's a new name for it!

NZ plane birth charges
but do planes reproduce sexually or asexually?

** These posts are named in honour of His Imperial Sliminess Peter, Lord Mandelson as originally blogged here.

17 March 2009

Getting to Know All about You Meme

Getting to Know All about You Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is about getting to know you.

These photos are not mine . . . please click on individual links below to see each artist/photostream. This mosaic is for a group called My Meme, where each week there is a different theme and 12 questions to send you out on a hunt to discover photos to fit your meme. It gives you a chance to see and admire other great photographers' work out there on Flickr.

As usual here are the questions and my answers:

1. Who would you most like to meet? Dalai Lama
2. Who would you most like to have dinner with? Dinner is such a restrictive idea, but I would like to meet the Genie who dispenses health wealth and happiness
3. Who would you refuse to meet? The pure evil known as Robert Mugabe
4. What are you best at? Organisation, administration and procrastination
5. What are you worst at? Anything that requires fewer than 20 left thumbs; I'm hopeless at anything practical -- after 3 years of woodwork at school I still can't saw a piece of wood straight
6. What is your favourite poem? "Macavity: The Mystery Cat"; TS Eliot
7. What was the first record you bought for yourself? "Albatross"; Fleetwood Mac
8. What is your motto? Zen Mischief
9. What’s the biggest/best compliment you’ve ever been paid? What’s a compliment? I don't think I get them. I just do the job right the first time.
10. Who did you hit? Me? No-one. I have an alibi.
11. What is your worst phobia? Not having money
12. What insect do you dislike most? Maggots

1. Dalai Lama_Geelong_6_ 10.jpg, 2. Genie In A Bottle, 3. Mugabe, 4. Overcoming Procrastination Motivational Mind Map Poster, 5. the freak of the rubber duck world, 6. Macavity the Proud, 7. Royal Albatross, Southern Ocean, 8. Zen Kitty, 9. The Original Version., 10. Who Me, I am Innocant, 11. Old diesel train, 12. Maggot Art

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

15 March 2009

This Week's Oddities ...

Some of the odder headlines I've seen this week (mostly perpetrated by the BBC) ...

Green custard thrown at Mandelson
the mind boggles

Arrest in Mandelson custard probe
and the mind boggles even more

TV magician Ali Bongo dies
nah, you're 'avin a giraffe!

Modular Windows plan welcomed
yeah, it's called double-glazing these days

Swiss blackmail gigolo jailed
but why would the Swiss be blackmailing a gigolo to start with?

Moyes unhappy with Wembley semi
well they're good enough for the rest of us ...

Twitter made me lunch
well at least it's good for something!

Sea rise to exceed projections
we have a logic problem!?

Indian police enrol rat recruits to fight mice army
sounds more Irish than Indian to me

Deep water fish decline concerns
so deep water fish are fed up with the nanny state too!

Conference on Vikings at Cambridge University
I didn't know CU was that old

Zen Mischievous Moments #150

I offer you two snippets from the ‘Feedback’ column in this week’s New Scientist:

The entirely flat cotton bed sheet that [Reader A] bought from the department store House of Fraser came with a label telling him to wash it inside out.

[Reader B] from Edinburgh in the UK reports on a pack of condoms bought at the supermarket Sainsbury's which had a security label stating: "Please remove prior to putting in the microwave." [Reader B] is worried that he might have dozed off and missed a crucial part of his sex education classes at school.

14 March 2009

Photography Meme

Photography Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr Photo Meme is to about, well, Photography!

So here, as usual, are the questions and my answers:

1. What camera do you use the most? Olympus E500 dSLR
2. What is your favourite lens? My Spectacles; I'm as blind as most of a bat without them.
3. Who is your favourite photographer on Flickr? Tina Manthorpe, although that is a really hard choice
4. Who is your favourite photographer of all time? Leonardo da Vinci. What? You mean all those things aren't photographs? Oh come, on ... he invented everything else so he surely had a camera! (In fact David Hockney has the theory that even as early as Leonardo artists were using camera obscura
5. Who introduced your to photography (mom, dad, friend, sibling, etc)? My father; I started by using his Box Brownie
6. What is your favourite thing to shoot? Arrows. In the air!
7. What is the one most important tool? Excluding your camera! Err, my eyes!?
8. What inspires your photography? Almost anything, but probably mostly colour & pattern, and the humorous
9. If you could shoot one event in history what would it be? This isn't something I've ever really thought about, so I'll go for: Great Fire of London, 1666.
10. Where would you be published if you could choose? Anywhere they’ll have me; I’m not proud
11. Choose anywhere in the world that you would love to photograph Shinto Temples of Japan
12. What was the subject of your favourite photograph? Pretty Girls

As always these are not my photos (except #5) so please follow the links to enjoy the work of the photographers who did take them!

1. Enjoy summer (and beer), 2. Funny Glasses in Rome, 3. Swaledale, 4. Leonardo da Vinci Annunciation, 5. kcm76 and Parents, 1984, 6. I shot an arrow into the air, ...., 7. Black Line Eyes, 8. Shaping Light, 9. London's Burning005, 10. Fish., 11. Giant Wooden Phallus, 12. While waiting for you...

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Quote: Future

We are all making the future every minute that we live, by way of our collective and individual decisions.

[Hazel Henderson]

08 March 2009

Little Gnome Facts

little gnome facts, originally uploaded by David C Mills.

Well it amused me, anyway! :-)

D is not for Dog

Neither is D for Dolphin! Not that I have anything against dogs or dolphins; they’re just not creatures which interest me. But D is for Daffodils ...

OK, so here’s one of the current interspace memes. A blogging friend issues you with a (random) letter. You then have to write a weblog post around ten things beginning with that letter which you like, or are at least meaningful to you. So thanks to Hails over at Coffee Helps for giving me the letter D. So my ten things are:

No not those toroidal creations so often topped with sugar icing and ADHD-laden e-coloured sugar ants. Definitely, No. Donuts here have to be the roughly spheroidal, cricket ball-sized variety in the middle of which there is a large dollop of gooey red jam just waiting to squirt out all down the chin and shirt-front. It’s the special red sticky jam otherwise reserved only for the fingers of two-year-olds! Good donuts are wicked but heavenly. Bad donuts are evil.

Desprez, Josquin
Josquin is here as a representative of all composers of the early music era. Although perhaps not my all time favourite Josquin’s work is sublime. My real interest is more in the liturgical works fo the English Medieval and Renaissance composers, especially Nicholas Ludford and William Byrd. Byrd is in fact one of my heroes. How he survived as a recusant in Elizabethan England is something of a mystery. Although arrested and fined for recusancy on a number of occasions he not executed or imprisoned at length – something any other person at that time would have been. Moreover he kept his place at court. One can only think that he had special royal protection for some reason, perhaps as a valued spy? And his liturgical and keyboard music is for me unsurpassable.

Let’s be open and frank. I enjoy a drink or three; beer or red wine for preference. It’s fashionable these days to knock anything to do with alcohol, and, yes, I admit it is a drug. But the anti-booze campaigns have in my view gone too far. Yes, it isn’t good for you to get smashed out of your skull regularly. But a few drinks? I seriously doubt a few drinks really hurt anyone (with perhaps the odd exception). Indeed there is good medical evidence that small quantities of alcohol (like a glass of red wine a day) are beneficial and help protect against things such as heart problems.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about 3 years ago, and it can be a real pain in the posterior, although I will be the first to admit that I still haven’t fully engaged with it. You’re supposed to watch what you eat and need to rebalance your diet away from naked sugar to complex carbohydrates which release energy slowly. Diabetes is actually, in my view, two distinct diseases which result in the same long-term effects.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body does not produce Insulin (the islet cells in the pancreas either don’t work or are destroyed), so the body cannot metabolise sugar (glucose/glycogen). It generally appears at a young age and often runs in families. Type 1s are the people who have to inject themselves with Insulin, often several times a day.

Type 2 Diabetes normally appears later in life and although there can be a genetic tendency it is also triggered by things like excessive weight. In Type 2 the body produces Insulin but the transport mechanism which allows the Insulin to diffuse from the blood though the cell membrane so it can work in the cells, fails. The effect is high blood sugar, as with Type 1. Type 2 is mostly managed by lifestyle changes and drugs, although through complex feedback mechanisms in the body it can destroy/disable the islet cells so that one progresses to needing Insulin injections.

Of course those descriptions are a generalisation and it isn’t as simple as I make out. Both types of Diabetes are serious but often don’t get taken seriously, even sometimes by those with the malady. They are largely invisible (unless someone passes out, which can happen with either very low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) or too much blood sugar (hyperglycaemia); both are medical emergencies). But ignoring one’s Diabetes is a mistake as it can lead to many serious complications including major effects on the circulatory system, the nervous system, the kidneys and the eyes. If you even suspect you might have Diabetes then get it checked out by your doctor and take it seriously.

Am I sad? Am I really the only person in the country who doesn’t dread going to the dentist – and even enjoys it? Judging by conversations I have I seem to be. But it is true; I genuinely do enjoy trips to the dentist, even when he’s doing nasty things in my mouth! Jonathan, my dentist man at White House Dental is a dream and a genius. Were I female I would swoon. He is just the best dentist – ever. OK so I have the privilege of paying him privately, but is it worth it! He is a superb technician, incredibly dexterous and his attitude is “the best will do”. And I have that on authority too. A couple of years ago he wanted a problem in my mouth checked by an oral specialist at the local BUPA hospital. While looking at my mouth the specialist’s (quite unprompted) comment was “I don’t know your dentist; I’ve never met him; he just refers people to me. But I see a lot of dentistry [well he would, wouldn’t he!] and your guy does the best dentistry I ever see”. Can one get better than that? Well yes, because not only is Jonathan a brilliant dentist, he’s an interesting guy to talk to and we almost always have chat about something medical or scientific between bouts of jovial banter.

Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers and for me the real harbinger of Spring. I’m not so fond of masses daffodils (as on the walls of York), and I detest that awful piece of Wordsworth poetry! I’m happier with a few bright golden trumpets in a vase; they are a real joy.

Driftwood and Dunes
Driftwood and dunes here stand duty for the seaside; not tourist infested beaches but the quieter shores of the less fashionable seaside towns. I’m a Londoner, born and bred, but like so many Londoners I would rather be in the country or, better, by the sea. Especially if it is warm, sunny and there’s an interesting beach with driftwood to find or dunes to explore and where one can laze out of the wind. Sun, sea, sand … what could be better?

Still on the seaside theme one of the places I love is the Dungeness headland in SE England. It is a relatively modern wilderness, created naturally by the sea in the last few hundred years, and is one of the largest expanses of shingle in the world. It is a wilderness of shingle; with scattered shanty housing, a lighthouse, a nuclear power station and one end of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (see also here for more on RH&DR). It is genuinely wild, a haven for birds, especially as a stopover for migrants, and for salt-loving flora.

Devon and Dorset
Dorset and South Devon are another area of England which I love, both for their countryside and for their coast. With a few large-ish towns (Exeter, Weymouth, Torquay, for example) large areas of the counties are open rolling countryside with patchworks of fields, woods and villages, fringed along the southern edge by the sea with some glorious relatively quiet beaches, beautiful sandstone cliffs and fossils – it isn’t called the Jurassic Coast for nothing.

Isn’t that a wonderful word: drupe. And it is pronounced, as one would expect, just like “droop”, which means something totally different. Drupe is a word which is not much used and hence known by few. Drupe is the correct botanical name for what are sometimes called the “stone fruits”: the fruit of all the genus Prunus (cherry, plum, almond, peach, etc.) as well as oddities like olives and most palms including coconuts and dates. They are characterised by having a hard kernel (hence the “stone”) which contains the seed and a soft, often fleshy and edible, outer. Apparently the word drupe derives from the Greek druppa olive, via Latin druppa, overripe olive. These are fruits which I love.

So there you have it. Ten things which are meaningful to me and begin with the letter D. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. And if you'd like your own letter why not visit Hails over at Coffee Helps and ask nicely (would you do otherwise?) for a letter.

05 March 2009

A Modern Day Maudie?

On Wednesday this week there was this wonderful picture (below right) of the delightful "not quite Essex girl"* Mrs Beckham in The Times (just see the close-up of those feet!) .

One was struck by the uncanny resemblance to Osbert Lancaster's rather more upper class heroine, Maudie Littlehampton, seen (above left) in a characteristic 1966 pose.

** Mrs David Beckham, née Victoria Adams (aka Posh Spice) is described in Wikipedia as "an English singer, dancer, fashion designer, author, businesswoman, actress and model" – whoever wrote that surely had their tongue firmly in their cheek, didn't they?! She actually comes from Goff's Oak, a area of my home town, and just a couple or three miles on the Hertfordshire side of the Herts-Essex border.

Hat-tip: Noreen of Norn's Notebook

02 March 2009

Themed Colour Meme

Themed Colour Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr Photo Meme is to choose one of a number of themes and then find that item in all available colours. I chose my pets: pet cats and pet fish!.

So here are pet cats and pet fish in Black, Red, Tabby, White, Yellow, Spotted, Blue, Orange, Brown, Silver, Gold and Grey.
And all the pictures are from my Flickr favourites as well!

1. Box Cat, 2. Koi Carp Kyoto, 3. Georgina Relaxing, 4. Roger is rather partial to roses, 5. DSC00120, 6. Wee Spotty Beastie, 7. Lemon Jake displaying colours, 8. OPEN MOUTH, 9. Buster, 10. Red Eye Tetra, 11. Koi like sakura, too, 12. tsukareta nya~

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.