31 October 2009

Find ...

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot,
who calls you back when you hang up on him,
who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat,
or will stay awake just to watch you sleep ...
wait for the boy who kisses your forehead,
who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats,
who holds your hand in front of his friends,
who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on.
One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares
and how lucky his is to have you ...
The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'

[Author unknown]

30 October 2009

The Zen of Taxonomy

These ambiguities, redundances, and deficiences recall those attributed by Dr Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into
(a) those that belong to the Emperor,
(b) embalmed ones,
(c) those that are trained,
(d) suckling pigs,
(e) mermaids,
(f) fabulous ones,
(g) stray dogs,
(h) those that are included in this classification,
(i) those that tremble as if they were mad,
(j) innumerable ones,
(k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush,
(l) et cetera,
(m) those that have just broken a flower vase,
(n) those that resemble flies from a distance.

[Jorge Luis Borges in his essay "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins". Quoted in Finding Moonshine by Marcus du Sautoy]

Foodie Meme


Food Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme was to choose your 6 (or 12) favourite/can't-live-without foods, either as dishes or as ingredients. Here are my 12 ingredients:

1. Curry. I'm classing curry as an ingredient as I love almost anything curried.
2. Olives; preferably Kalamata, but they're all good.
3. Blue Cheese. I can go ages without having blue cheese, but once in a while it's a must have.
4. Tomatoes; preferably old, so called "heirloom", varieties which have some real flavour; it's surprising how much flavour varies between varieties.
5. Avocado; whole or in chunks (just don't you dare mash/puree it, what a waste!)
6. Pasta
7. Butter Beans; I loved them as a kid and I still love them.
8. Chips (fries to you Americans); big, chunky, well fried, hot chips. With either salt and vinegar, tomato ketchup, or mayonnaise.
9. Chilli
10. Garlic
11. Soft Fruit; almost any summer fruit will do.
12. Seafood; although I try not to eat seafood unless I know it to be either sustainably harvested or farmed.

OK, so now your challenge is to rearrange these ingredients into a wholesome, balanced, 3 course meal. Tell me in the comments how you did it?

As always the photographs are not mine so 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 normally 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.

1. Sag aloo!, 2. my own olives, 3. Brie and Barkham, 4. Heirloom Tomatoes, 5. Sliced Avocado (Enhanced with Photoshop Fractalius Filter), 6. Sucked In By Pasta, 7. warm butter beans with rosemary & garlic, 8. 40/366 Chips! Frites!, 9. Red Hot Chilli, 10. GARLIC, 11. what's a drupel?, 12. Seafood Market

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

28 October 2009

Where we are now ...

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
[HL Mencken]

Somehow this has a worry ring of veracity in these trying times.

H/T Julian Allason

25 October 2009

Tick ... Tock ... F***

Aarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!

It's flaming clock change day again!

I get really fed up with continually changing the clocks ... forward an hour ... backward an hour ... forward an hour ... ad nauseam.

Why? It isn't necessary. It isn't as if are at war now. And the myth that summer time saves lives has been exploded as just that: a myth. All it does is create an irritation and cost industry money. FFS why can't we stay on GMT. We need to start a campaign:

Save GMT. It's our cultural heritage.

23 October 2009

ABC Meme


ABC Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme was an alphabet meme ... a word for each letter of the alphabet (but we were allowed to drop one letter to make a 5x5 square. Of course yours truly has to do it all -- and put a different (I hope) slant on it by doing the English comic alphabet as first produced by the variety duo Clapham and Dwyer in the 1930s. So I give you the not entirely original ...

A for 'Orses
B for Mutton
C for Yourself
D for Dumb
E for Brick
F for Vescent
G for Police
H for a Beer
I for Novello
J for Oranges
K for Restaurant
L for Leather
M for Sis'
N for Lope
O for a Pee
P for Relief
Q for a Bus
R for Askey
S for Teeda
T for Two
U for Me
V for La France
W for a Bob
X for Breakfast
Y for Husband
Z for Breezes

The two centre images are the first and last Greek letters, Alpha and Omega, so beloved of Christian symbolism.

As always the photographs are not mine so 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 normally 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.

1. Horse Eating Hay, 2. Assorted Beef & Mutton satay, 3. The day the little rocket hit a tiny little planet, 4. Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, 5. Heaved bricks, Glencoe between Reading Way and Kings Way, 6. Sweet and Bubbly, 7. Chief of POlice, 8. Felix having a beer., 9. Ivor Novello Plaque, 10. Jaffa Oranges, 11. Caff, 12. Gerald Tobin Hells Angel Funeral , 13. Tiny? Bite me! (101/365), 14. A (alpha), 15. Omega, 16. embroidery envelope 1, 17. Mannekin Pis, Brussels, Belgium, 18. Cafe Achteck (Pissoir) am Chamissoplatz, 19. Bus Queue, 20. British Film Icons, 21. Ferula asa-foetida, 22. ~Tea for two~, 23. 365 day one hundred & fourty-nine: will you for me, 24. vive la france, 25. 100708_Shilling_1955, 26. Egg for breakfast on pain complet in France., 27. husband and wife, 28. zephyr

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

18 October 2009

Human Rights and MPs' Expenses

Bystander, over at The Magistrate's Blog, has posted the list of our human rights, as promulgated in the European Convention on Human Rights and enacted in the UK via the Human Rights Act 1998. This list is:

  • the right to life
  • freedom from torture and degrading treatment
  • freedom from slavery and forced labour
  • the right to liberty
  • the right to a fair trial
  • the right not to be punished for something that wasn't a crime when you did it
  • the right to respect for private and family life
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom to express your beliefs
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of assembly and association
  • the right to marry and to start a family
  • the right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights and freedoms
  • the right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
  • the right to an education
  • the right to participate in free elections
  • the right not to be subjected to the death penalty

Nothing there which one can reasonably object to, of course. Although all these rights (with the exception of torture) are not absolutes and can be overridden by the authorities, eg. in order to arrest a suspect.

The one which stood out to me reading this was

the right not to be punished for something that wasn't a crime when you did it

I am not a lawyer but this seems to me to negate the whole of the MPs' expenses fiasco. What MP's have done was (mostly) not forbidden when they did it. That doesn't say the rules, and therefore what was done, were right, only that the rules allowed what was done. It is only now that what the MPs did is being made forbidden, retrospectively. That seems contrary to the above right.

Is that alone not grounds for a judicial review? And what is anyone therefore complaining at the MPs for?

Remember that anything not explicitly forbidden by the rules (or legal precedent) is permitted. And if something is permitted, someone will (quite legally) take advantage of it, even if that was not your intent when making the rules.

You can try arguing, as the Daily Mail no doubt will, that the MPs "should have known better". But really this doesn't hold water. Why should MPs be any more (or less) moral than the rest of us? They were taking advantage of the rules in good faith (even if perhaps somewhat cynically) in the quite reasonable belief that they would (could) not be changed retrospectively. We all do exactly the same every day of our lives. For example: the law allows me today to drive at 50mph along the A40; in doing so I have a reasonable expectation that I will not be prosecuted for my action today, after the limit is lowered to 40mph tomorrow.

Yes, by all means campaign for the rules on MPs' expenses, or indeed anything else, to be changed. But don't vilify someone for adhering to those rules just because you (retrospectively) decide you don't like them. At worst this violates that great institution "natural justice" and at best it is contrary to our legally enshrined human rights. Perhaps the tabloid press should be prosecuted under the Human Rights Act 1998?

PS. Note that I am not saying whether I agree or disagree with the rules on MPs' expenses. My personal opinion is of no importance here as I am making a purely logical point about my understanding of our legally enshrined human rights.

15 October 2009

Mini Sports Meme


Mini Sports Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme is about sport.

1. Your favourite sport. Cricket -- really good club cricket; I've given up on professional cricket: not only has it been dumbed down the idiots running the game seem totally inept
2. Your least favourite sport. Darts; the only place it belongs, if anywhere, is in the pub
3. A sport you use to play as a kid. Cricket was my first love, followed by hockey
4. A sport you like to watch. Rugby; I hated playing rugby at school, but always enjoyed watching it
5. The most stupid sport. Netball; how stupid is a game where you have to stop when someone is holding the ball?
6. A sport you wish you could play. Squash, although I'd settle for almost anything now my knees have given up; I used to play a lot of squash as a student, not that I was ever any good!

As always the photographs are not mine so 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 normally 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.

1. Village Cricket, 2. 127/365: Dart board, 3. The Fever named Cricket!, 4. Mini Rugby Tournament Cooke Rugby Club - 4th April 2009, 5. neilhodgins_volley_netball-18, 6. squash

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

13 October 2009

Selling the Family Silver

So our pathetic government is planning to sell off even more of the family silver. Well they would; they’re desperate for more money and anything they can do to make the state of our finances look healthier before a General Election. The proposals, which will actually raise at best a drop in the ocean national debt, include the sale of:

Eurotunnel. Yeah, great idea. Let the French, Spanish, Libyans or Saudis buy it. So we have no control at all of who can enter the country. We need more (illegal) immigrants.

Student Loan Book. Another great idea! Let’s package up all this bad debt and sell it off to someone else. Hold on ... isn’t this where we came in??

And when should we sell these assets? Oh let’s choose to do it at the bottom for the market!

Talk about the blind leading the inept! They just do not get it do they?

07 October 2009

Fictional Meme


Fictional Meme, originally uploaded by kcm76.

This week's Flickr meme allows our imaginations to run wild by providing an imaginary/fictional name for each of::

1. Pub. The Beaver & Dyke
2. Fictional character. Willie P Gentleigh
3. Steam engine. General Puffin A Long
4. Passenger liner (or battleship). SS Lieutenant
5. Place. Rutting-in-the-Wold
6. Company. Kidney, Scrotum & Codd, Debt Collectors
7. Restaurant. The Twist of Lemming
8. Cosmetics range. Poof
9. Railway station. Muddefield Parkway
10. Army camp. Camp Tutu
11. Model of car. Nissan Hutt
12. Pet animal. My late friend Victor always wanted to call one of his cats after the Georgian artist: Pirosmanashvili

As always the photographs are not mine so 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 normally 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.

1. Beaver Lodge, 2. Hold my world gently, 3. Puffing Billy, Emerald Lake, Victoria, 4. SS Great Britain, 5. Ashridge - the Rut 2, 6. debt collectors, 7. Garden Critter Yellow Mouse, 8. the poof tree, 9. Manifest on mud flats, 10. Pride 2009 (42 of 82), 11. shed on wheels, 12. Niko Pirosmani

Created with fd's Flickr Toys

06 October 2009

Camera Bag


Camera Bag, originally uploaded by kcm76.

A belated September self-portrait for Flickr 12 Months group. Taken at National Cathedral in Washington, DC -- just testing a camera!

03 October 2009

Niffiness

Some while ago Hails, over at Coffee Helps, was mulling over smells. Nice smells. Nasty smells. And it set me thinking about the same. So here are some of my favourite and most detested smells; ten of each.

Nasty Niffs

  1. Sewers. As you’ll gather from this list I don’t have a "strong" stomach; I’d never have been able to work in the emergency services or medicine.
  2. Vomit
  3. Pernod; especially Pernod and blackcurrant. Disgusting!
  4. Stagnant water
  5. Unwashed people
  6. Rubbish bins
  7. Rotting meat and maggots
  8. Tobacco smoke
  9. Wet, humid buses; which I think is related to ...
  10. New cars; that petrol, plastic and leather smell just makes me feel (travel) sick and "heavey". Actually petrol on it’s own isn’t too wonderful either.

Nice Niffs

  1. Fresh coffee
  2. Grapefruit; especially grapefruit aromatherapy oil
  3. Christmas spices; that wonderful mix of cinnamon, clove, orange, pine etc.
  4. Church incense
  5. Wood smoke
  6. Fresh baking bread
  7. Lilies
  8. The sea
  9. Lavender
  10. Jasmine

It isn't really surprising that most people have a fairly common set of abhorred smells as this is a biological design to make us avoid things which are potentially dangerous to health (eg. rotten meat) by making us view them as disgusting. But I'm always surprised at the things which people less commonly dislike -- such as Hails's dislike of lilies, or mine of Pernod. Similarly there are smells which it seems many people love; and here I'm thinking of baking bread (often used by supermarkets as an attractant) and coffee. Again why are some smells so commonly liked; I can see no obvious foundation in biology? What is it that makes us like or dislike something with no obvious basis in biology?

Smell is a surprisingly powerful sense, despite human olfaction being incredibly poor compared with most animals. So, yes, there are smells which bring back specific, pleasurable or not, memories and these will clearly influence our choices. But why the rest of them? As far as I know I have no experiential reason to like jasmine, lilies or wood smoke; nor to dislike Pernod. So why?

And why do some of use have "stronger" stomachs than others? Surely a "strong" stomach should be an evolutionary disadvantage?

What are your most loved and hated smells? And do you know why?

How a Dog Really Works


Dog anatomy from memory, originally uploaded by Nad.

Another from the same guy as the previous. Nearly had me falling off my chair!

Fertilization


Ammonia fertilizer, originally uploaded by Nad.

Brilliant!