Monday, October 31, 2005

Monday Round-Up

Following on from my Ban Cars rant a few days ago, zinkibaru has written a rather stunning post about the dangers and irritation of passive driving.

She presents a sound case for banning cars, for the benefits of those of us who are passive drivers and indeed for the benefit of the earth. She even presents a way to go about creating and implementing the laws.
Obviously an outright ban may be too large a step to take all in one go, so I propose that certain areas are exempt from the Non-driving Bill. People would still be able to drive in private members' clubs and places where no pedestrian would ever go. Obviously they wouldn't be able to drive from home to these places though, as this would involve putting the public health at risk. They would have to keep their cars at the clubs. As a natural accompaniment to the Non-driving Bill it is only wise to also implement strict petrol rationing so that any form of public transport which cannot yet run on renewable energy can have access to the diminishing supply. Read more...

Buy a white poppy for peace here. Learn about them here.

Find out How Ethical your Pet Food is.

Last week's Link of the Week was the Opacity - Abandoned Photography and Urban Exploration site. For this week's, click on the Link of the Week graphic on the right.

Some cool / interesting articles from the Guardian.

Living for today.
People from all over the world are now squatting in empty 'des res'
properties in the UK to avoid cripplingly high rents in urban centres

Françoise is a well-groomed young French woman who works part-time in
fashion PR in London, pays her taxes and shares a cottage with friends
in north London. She pays no rent though, because she is one of
thousands of people across the UK who is squatting. "Many people who
squat are working in low-paid jobs and simply cannot afford to pay
rent, particularly in London," she says. "We want to do something
creative with our lives, not just working behind a bar or on a
building site. If you don't have to pay rent on top of all your other
living expenses it can mean the difference between having time to live
and merely surviving."

She wants to see a more pragmatic arrangement between owners of empty
properties and squatters, so squatters can move in and take care of
buildings until the owners need them. "The laws around empty
properties don't have much humanity," she says. "If people have a home
and some food to eat, they can make progress in life. Without these
basics it is very hard to move forward. I used to pay rent, but in
London it's so expensive. There are many beautiful buildings around
and they should be recycled."

Part of nature

She says she has learnt to get by on less since she started squatting
a few months ago. "Hot water and electricity are my basic minimum
requirements in a squat, but I don't mind if there are rats. After
all, they're part of nature."

In other news:
Met admits stigmatising mentally ill

The Metropolitan police owned up yesterday to stigmatising people with mental illness and "perpetuating a myth" that they are especially prone to violence. It promised a programme of reform to stop the inappropriate use of police cells to detain vulnerable people who are going through a mental health crisis.

Officers said damage was often done by unauthorised leaking of mental health records, giving a misleading impression of suspects' danger to the public. There were also problems if uniformed officers accompanied social workers in detaining a patient under the Mental Health Act.

A review by police and NHS chiefs in London said: "We recognise that people who experience mental illness are far more likely to be a victim of crime than a perpetrator."

Brian Paddick, deputy assistant commissioner, said holding violent patients in police cells protected other people but did nothing to protect them against themselves, or to care for their clinical needs. He promised training to educate officers about the need for patient confidentiality.

The police and NHS organisations agreed to set up a network of "places of safety" across London where people in a mental health crisis could be treated.

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Papercraft Perfection.

So, yesterday I went to my first ever Card-Making / Papercraft Show. I have been making cards for about 2 years now and am totally hooked, but I'd never quite made it to one of these big exhibition events before.

It was surprisingly difficult to find Don Valley Stadium, despite having got off the tram at the Stadium tram stop, but once we found our way in it was just great.

The number of stalls was just right. There were enough to find exciting products, get new ideas, and to find some marvellous bargains but there weren't so many that you had to skim past them in an overwhelmed fashion.

My passion for pretty papers was certainly well catered for and I came home with lots and lots of unusual, funky, sparkly and amazing stuff having not spent an extortionate amount of £cash. Of course, it would be very, very easy to spend an extortionate amount of £cash so I recommend taking along the maximum amount you want to spend, and leaving cards at home. (Which was easy for me as the bank has confiscated my card anyway.)

I came away with handmade paper, rubber stamps, ink, peel-offs, stickers, scrapbook papers, pearlescent card, angel wire, vellum and embellishments.

I came out of the show absolutely and utterly exhausted, but also inspired and fired up to make lots and lots of new cards, and to use papers and tools in new ways. It was a great way to spend a Sunday :)

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ban Cars! Seriously!

I was on a bus this afternoon, and I was furious. It was baking hot, stupidly crowded, and taking much, much longer than the journey I was making should have.

And I sat there, fuming (I was, at least, sitting down).

I was furious with all the car drivers who, each in their individual cars, were causing this hold-up by insisting on driving into / out of a city centre. Drivers who were probably all also annoyed by the traffic jam without ever stopping to think that they are part of the jam and that the jam is made up of people like them. It is not other people causing the jam, it is everybody in their car who is in the jam. If you are a car in a jam, you are the jam.

If all of those people were on buses, my bus would have sailed down the city's streets without hindrance. And not only that, if all of those people were on buses there would be more buses, with better provision and frequency.

If all of those people were even car-sharing - if each car in the queue held 4 or 5 people, as they are (mostly) designed to - then there would have been a quarter or a fifth of the cars, leading to much less of a hellish standstill.

But no. Individual people in individual cars. One after the next after the next after the next. Causing me and the 30 other people on my bus to get stressed and annoyed and uncomfortable and hot and vowing to never leave the house again.

I was absolutely furious. I wanted to write this but figured it would make me some enemies. I'm less furious now, but I'm more aware that making enemies is always a risk for someone like me, and that this blog is here so I can say this stuff. You can read or not.

Public transport needs extra money, but many of those who dismiss public transport out of hand have never been near a bus for years. They don't have the first idea what it's like. And, to be honest, the more people who use buses, trains, coaches, the more money will be ploughed into these provisions, and the better the services will be. I am the first to admit that public transport is not perfect, but carrying on driving your polluting, cluttering, dangerous, arrogant car around causes many, many more problems than the odd late bus.

World Carfree Network

(Disclaimer of sorts, incomplete: I know that there are people who really do need cars more than others - those who are disabled and particularly those in rural communities with poor public transport. I'm not talking about those people.)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

R.I.P. Rosa.

"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired but that wasn't true I was not tired physically I was not old. I was 42. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in."

"I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day, but I don't think there is any such thing as complete happiness. It pains me that there is still a lot of Klan activity and racism. I think when you say you're happy, you have everything that you need and everything that you want, and nothing more to wish for. I haven't reached that stage yet."

"To this day I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom."

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."

"I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move."

"Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others"

Rosa Parks, February 4th 1913 - October 24 2005

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Monday, October 24, 2005

10 Indisputable Facts for a Monday.

  1. New pillows feel really, really, really amazingly luxurious.

  2. However headaches hurt a lot and taint otherwise good feelings and thoughts.

  3. I have both of the above.

  4. I am confused by the hugeness of the bird flu panic.

  5. Z and I have been together for 21 months today :D

  6. ...which is a year and three quarters!

  7. These lists are always harder than they look.

  8. Absolutely masses of people are still sad that Scatman John died.

  9. Absolutely nothing is giving me the motivation to tidy my house today.

  10. There is no direct translation in French of procrastination. Last time I looked, the dictionary said something like Faire quelquechose demain qu'on devrait faire tout de suite. Hmmm.

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Photo Friday: Retro.

Originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.
Retro entry for Photo Friday. Otherwise known as my bed.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Buy, Blood, Boogie.

Alternatives to buying Christmas presents has some cool ideas if you are skint / anti-Capitalist / not Christian / just don't want to spend lots of money for that big December thing. I also recommend where you will find the alternative gift catalogue if you do want to spend, but not so much on stuff.

Do you want free ice-cream for giving blood? Apparently, Ben & Jerry's will oblige. Giving blood is very important anyway - even if you're not getting any ice cream. I think you do usually get tea and biscuits, if that is your prime motivator.

I take too many different medications at the moment to be allowed to give blood, but I really wish I could. Since my dad has been ill he has had lots and lots of blood transfusions, many of which have made him feel an awful lot better (when his iron levels have been very low). I guess I'd only ever thought about people receiving blood after car crashes or whatever, not on a weekly (or whatever) basis just to maintain a certain degree of health.

The Blood Donations site actually has a fun zone in which, amongst other things, you can read some of Billy Blood Drop's jokes...
Q: What is bright red and dumb?
A: A blood clot!

Q: What does Billy Blood Drop cross the sea in?
A: A blood vessel!

Q: What is Billy's favourite ice cream?
A: Veinilla!

It brings to mind a whole new sense of self-harm humour... a kind of cheesy, embarrassed one!

I am very much loving Audioscrobbler and Last.FM.

Last week's Link of the Week was FOUND Magazine. For this week's, click on the Link of the Week graphic on the right.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Any dream interpreters out there?

Ok, I am somewhat sceptical about dream interpreting - mostly the kind that if you dream about x then someone is going to die and if you dream about y you are going to get rich.

However, I do think that sometimes our heads try to sort stuff out when we're asleep, and sometimes this can be played out in our dreams.

Anyway, for three nights now I've had dreams with the same theme, which is that I am looking after an animal which I neglect / treat horribly and then (in 2 of the dreams) at the last minute I start looking after them and they're ok. Basically.

Dream 1: I'm looking after Z's cats but one of my hamsters had escaped so I put both cats into empty hamster cages and fed them from hamster bowls. They were too cramped to be able to move, although one bent the bars so she could get her head out.

Dream 2: I'm looking after a dog, a black, curly-haired thing. I'm not a big fan of dogs but this was pretty and cute. But I kept forgetting I was looking after it, so not getting any dog food. I tried to feed it hamster food a few times but (unsurprisingly!) it wouldn't eat it. I had it in a kind of fenced off area of my house. Then one night I realised that it was really very ill because I hadn't fed it, and early the next morning, as soon as the shops opened I went out, bought it dog food and gave it lots of nice food and drinks and it went from scrawny and ill to really healthy and shiny-coated.

Dream 3: I'm looking after a rabbit and a guinea pig. I put them both into one hamster cage, which gives them room to basically lie still next to each other and not move. I forget to feed them again and again and when I finally remember I think the guinea pig is dead so I start feeding the rabbit who starts looking healthier, then the guinea pig stirs and I realise it is still alive after all so I feed it and it ends up fine too.

Ok, so does anyone have any idea what this is telling me? I figured that after 3 dreams with the same theme, there is something that my unconscious, or whatever, is really trying to get across, and until I *get* it, it will keep on and on.

I wake up feeling incredibly guilty for how awful I was to these dreamed-up animals and have to reassure myself a lot that it was a dream and I do treat animals well in my waking life!

Any ideas would be most welcome!

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Definitions and Maps.

Looking something up in my 1952 French-English dictionary, I came across the following definition, of bricolier, which wouldn't be out of place in The Meaning of Tingo!

BRICOLIER - Horse wearing a breast-collar and harnessed at the side to a two-wheeled carriage.

My favourite postsecret of the week has to be:

It also reminds me of zinkibaru's entry for Lost (mine is here). It also reminds me of how I feel, as if I needed reminding.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Illustration Friday: Cold (4th post of the day!)

'It is only when the cold season comes that we know the pine and cypress to be evergreen'. Chinese Proverb.

'A cold needs the cook as much as the doctor'. Scottish Proverb

Illustration Friday.

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FACTS (Friends of the Aire and Calder Turbines) is a great site, with a wealth of information about the benefits of wind turbines and wind power, and in particular their Fact and Fiction page is worth a read.

You can also send an email to various Yorkshire MPs and MEPs from the site, and it was after doing exactly that that I got this message on the following page:

You can help further by adding your name to the register and the ailing list on the Home / News page.

I feel ill enough to be on some kind of ailing list, so this one seems as good as any!

Last week's Link of the Week was abortionclinicdays. There is now a new one, if you click on the Link of the Week link! (There is also a new one if you don't click, of course.)

The fact that this is my third post of the day suggests that I am being loquacious, multiloquent, prolix, verbose, voluble, communicative, conversational, demonstrative, effusive, enlightening, expansive, forthcoming, frank, garrulous, unreserved, chatty, cogent, copious, cursive, declamatory, disputatious, mellifluent, mellifluous, long-winded, oratorical, padded, palaverous, periphrastic, pleonastic, supererogatory, superfluous, supernumerary, surplus, tautological, verbal, vocal and voluble.

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Funny... Unfunny.

I am always disappointed by Quote... Unquote's very existence. It occupies the Monday 6.30pm slot on BBC Radio 4 when everyone knows that filling it with Just A Minute or I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is infinitely preferable.

And whereas the series of Just a Minute and Clue feel like they last about 4 weeks each, each series of Quote Unquote feels like it goes on for at least 26 weeks.

I did meet someone a few weeks ago who likes Quote Unquote, so it perhaps has one fan, but really that is all they have.

And, as Sunday 12pm slot is given over to repeating the Monday 18.30 comedy, the insuffrable corny and emollient nature of Quote Unquote is endured a second time. It thinks it is funny and it really is not.

I am glad to say that it is now 12.32pm on Sunday and so the repeat is over. Just another 18 hours until tomorrow's programme. :-/

(PS Has anyone else's gmail account become suddenly crap at spotting spam lately? I'm having to label most of mine myself even though it's so obviously spam...)

Spam is evil.

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Autumn Leaves, Lesbian Lies.

Originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.
This photo ---> I took in the park a few days ago.

Any other business:
Reading through my Snopes email newsletter I was, at first, amused to see that one issue which people submitted (which means they didn't know if it was true or urban legend) was,

The Weekly World News strikes again, this time with a tale about a lesbian mother who has scheduled her adopted baby boy for sex change surgery
It became less amusing when I realised that people really thought it might be true. That the level of homophobia and lesbian-hating in our society is such that people would actually believe that a lesbian would have her two-year old son 'changed' into a girl because she didn't like men. And so many of those people who believed it would also really want to believe it because it reinforces so much negativity.


I went to the Disability Benefits Conference yesterday and am intending to write an account of the day shortly. Suffice to say it was inspiring, exciting and exhausting.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

20 Random Facts.

Caroline has tagged me to post 20 random facts about myself and then tag the same amount of people as minutes it takes me to write the facts.

  1. I'm a Taurus, but I don't really believe in that stuff. However, I am stubborn.

  2. I am in love.

  3. I have a toy box. For myself.

  4. I live with 3 hamsters and 3 fish.

  5. Hamsters often feature in my dreams.

  6. I am more likely to sing along to the backing vocals than the tune of a song.

  7. I am really, really messy.

  8. I am usually in the middle of 3 or 4 books at once.

  9. I eat way too much chocolate.

  10. This is harder than it looks.

  11. I cannot abide anything or anyone touching my feet. Including myself, and including shoes. Is it any wonder I'm mad?

  12. I occasionally get strangely addicted to French nursery rhymes.

  13. I used to work in Sexual Health.

  14. I usually pretend I'm fine when I'm not.

  15. I have three lighters which don't work next to me.

  16. I sent my first email in 1995 and have been hooked ever since.

  17. I made a housework chart this morning and have three stars on it now!

  18. I'm considering lying about how many minutes this has taken me.

  19. Though I am a really bad liar, with too much of a conscience, so I probably won't.

  20. I think html is fun.

I tag:

Travelling Punk
Lisy Babe

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The nonsense, the whole nonsense, and nothing but the nonsense.

When Z woke up this morning I had been awake for a while, and I announced to her, with much indignity, that the Tory leadership contest had got even more ridiculous now that Richard Branson, Kenneth Branagh, and somebody else who I couldn't remember were all standing for the leadership position now as well as the ones we've heard all about for the last few weeks.

She looked so bemused that I considered what I had said, and asked, "Or did I dream that?"

She thought I had probably dreamt it. I was eventually inclined to agree that these guys couldn't be standing for Tory leader since they weren't even MPs.

But you never know?!

I also, while still asleep (I was later informed) asked her what the metal phone behind my head said on it, after coming out with several nonsense attempts at finding the word say (which I think included tink sink).

I do worry about myself sometimes.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Liar, liar, your bum's on fire. Your nose is longer than a telephone wire.

The threats to disability benefits are getting more and more frightening as time goes by. People who rely on and need these benefits as they are truly unable to work are getting frightened by the increasingly real possibilities of having their money stopped, being just as unable to work, but unable to claim benefits either.

The conference will hopefully be a force to reckon with, but the even more recent comments from David Blunkett just add more worry to many people.

And if nothing else, this level of stress and concern and anxiety is almost guaranteed to increase people's own experiences of mental ill-health and make them less able to work!

But then today I was listening to PM and heard that David 'Nightmare' Blunkett is considering introducing lie-detector technology onto the phone lines of Civil Servants who work with benefits, so that they can detect false or fraudulent claims from the public.

(I always think I can't be shocked any more, and I always, always am).

Now, this lie detector technology notes changes in the stress of the voice which is undetectable to the human ear. With these minute changes it can identify stress associated with telling a lie. But can it tell the difference between stress from telling a lie and stress from other causes?

There is an insurance company who have apparently used this lie-detector technology on their telephone claim lines for 18 months, to detect and prevent fraudulent applications for insurance money.

They then interviewed a Psychologist who specialised in deception. He stated that yes, the voice does indeed react to stress in certain ways detected by this technology, but this is not necessarily the stress or strain of lying. He pointed out that if someone is phoning esure after a burglary, their voice is likely to show these stress signs as a result of anger or distress or fear of having been robbed.

Similarly, if someone is phoning the Benefits Agency as a result of not having had their money on time, they might well be angry or annoyed or frightened or desperate. If the lie-detector software identifies the strain in their voice as them telling a lie - when in fact they are distressed in a totally different way - they could be labelled a fraud when they are really, truly not.

The psychologist stated that there is no machine that could detect the difference between stress in someone's voice from lying, and stress in someone's voice from being frightened, or angry, or many other emotions.

Putting lie-detector technology onto the phone lines of Benefits Agencies will make people even more concerned and scared to deal with these agencies than they already are. It will make people feel like criminals, and make them fear the repercussions if, for whatever reason, the technology brands them a liar. It will make people who already struggle with using a telephone even more wary. And it's just wrong!

As far as I know, lie-detector tests are not admissible in court because they are just not reliable. Should they then be used in these often life-and-death issues of giving people money to live on?

I think not.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Illustration Friday: Lost.

This is my submission for this week's Illustration Friday, the theme of which is Lost.

It is a collage of a large question mark, on which are layers of an old Sheffield A to Z map, and pages torn from a notebook made from obselete maps.

The background paper is Japanese (?) text, interspersed with various European and UK place names in English.

I thought these displayed confusion over place - my understanding (for this project) of lost - quite well.

(More Hippie images).

Following on from this post,

Switch off the TV and get on your bike, Blunkett tells long-term sick:
The work and pensions secretary, David Blunkett, today urged hundreds of thousands of people on incapacity benefit to stop watching daytime TV and start looking for work.

Speaking ahead of a press conference today on the government's principles for reform the welfare state, Mr Blunkett risked provoking further anger from Labour's backbenchers over his already controversial plans to overhaul incapacity benefit.(more...).

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

National Disability Benefits Conference, Sheffield.


The government is planning to make some of the biggest
changes in welfare provision for sixty years,
particularly that of disability benefits and
specifically Incapacity Benefit (IB). Sheffield
WelfareAction Network (SWAN)is setting up a national
founding conference (to be held Mid October) in
Sheffield to highlight these changes and the present
state of disability welfare and to facilitate the
setting up of a national framework to campaign against
these punitive changes.

National Disability Benefits conference, Sheffield
Challenge the cuts!

‘Welfare reform is one of the Governments seven
priorities for the coming term'
Tony Blair

‘Incapacity benefit (IB) can no longer be used as a
"crutch" for those who refuse to work.’
David Blunkett: Secretary Department of Work and

The Govt’s Welfare Reforms: Survival of the fittest?

The government is planning to make some of the biggest
changes in welfare provision for sixty years,
particularly that of disability benefits and
specifically Incapacity Benefit (IB). Over 800,000
disabled people may lose over £30.00 a week from their
benefit and face being cajoled into unsuitable work
These are changes which are of real concern to most
disabled people, and which will plunge many into
poverty and despair. While the changes are
comprehensive and also involve issues of personal
choice and civil
liberties (see below), the main thrust of the changes
is that there will be a penalty /cut of over £30 (well
over a third of benefit) if the person receiving IB
does not attend what they (the Gov’t) are calling
‘work-focused interviews’ to prove they are actively
seeking work, Clearly, as this will be based on
targets not need, (over 80% of IB claimants will be
required to attend), we will have the frightening and
frankly bizarre situation whereupon hundreds of
thousands of the most vulnerable people in the U.K who
find it hard to ‘just get through the day’ will be
pressured into looking for work that is not available
or impossible to undertake, or face losing this money.

Where are these jobs?

Clearly this is not about 'helping the sick back into
work' because as many critics of the policy have
noted, where are these jobs going to come from? In the
UK there are just 628,000 job vacancies at any one
time and there are about 800,000 people who are
unemployed on Jobseekers Allowance and therefore
'actively seeking work' in addition to the single
parents (around 700,000 people) and in addition to the
2,700,000 people on incapacity based benefits. So, a
whole lot of people looking for suitable work! David
Blunkett the DWP Secretary has been looking enviously
over the water to our U.S cousins to see how the
private sector and faith based charities can be used
to administer such welfare, perhaps he should look at
New Orleans to see how successful that model is.

A Soviet Union model revisited?

What is just as disturbing are the mechanisms that
will be used on People with Disabilities (PWDs) to
get them back to work which include training five
thousand psycho-therapists in Cognitive Behavioural
Therapy (CBT) (considered by many to be a
controversial therapy) in order to develop mandatory
sessions in which they can be ‘persuaded'
they are ready and suitable to pursue employment.
This is remarkably similar to the techniques used to
‘brainwash’ dissidents in the former Soviet Union. An
extension of the state into such an area is a very
significant and dangerous move. Already, a new model
of disability is being used by DWP medical staff with
severe consequences for PWD’s particular those with
‘invisible’ illnesses like M.E and IBS. (see below)

Challenging The Reforms…

In Sheffield, political seat of the DWP Secretary
David Blunkett,a new non party political group:
Sheffield Welfare Action Network (SWAN) has been set
up to challenge and campaign against these iniquitous
and cruel changes. Changes, which will affect and
burden vulnerable people, who already face one of the
most punitive welfare systems in Europe. The Left,
social justice groups and other progressive forces
have largely ignored welfare issues for many years and
hopefully this will be a start to raising the profile
of such welfare issues.

A National Response

However, SWAN is aware that such changes will need to
be resisted on a national level to be effective and is
proposing the formation of a network of U.K wide
campaigning groups to be called ‘Dignity: The National
Campaign Against Punitive Welfare’. To this end, SWAN
is seeking the widest support from individuals and
others, NGO’s,Health Support Groups, Faith Groups, the
Labour Movement, Student Unions, etc, to help create
this network. SWAN is setting up a national founding
conference (to be held Mid October)in Sheffield to
highlight these changes and the present state of
disability welfare and to facilitate the setting up of
a national framework to campaign against these
punitive changes. As well as the conference we aim to
have other future activities such as street protests,
lobbying ministers/m.p’s petitions, etc.

The Conference

The Future of Benefits
A national conference on cuts in disability benefits
and the reality of living on welfare

15 Oct 2005

Venue: Sheffield Hallam University Union of Students
The HUBS, Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2QQ
Complete Disabled Access and right
near main Train station)

Time 10.30 AM –4.30PM
Will be accepted on the door


Lorna Reith – Chief Exec. of Disability Alliance.
Sheila Messider - Advice Centre Support in Sheffield

Workshops(TBA)but include: how to campaign, running
groups, researching information, models of ill
health/disability, media views of welfare

Personal stories from those on disability welfare and
the difficulties they face

To highlight the coming disability welfare reforms and
raise the profile issue of disability welfare rights
and related issues (sadly neglected for many years)
and disability benefits issues generally and to
promote and widen its scope,

To set up a national campaigning network against the
proposed disability benefit welfare changes,
specifically disability benefit cuts and any coercive
measures that may be implemented.

To find out more or if you have any questions, do not
hesitate to contact our secretary Chris on
07903453006 or email us on (website coming



Labour to crack down on incapacity benefit

DAVID Blunkett yesterday drew the battle lines for an
autumn battle over welfare reform as he warned that
incapacity benefit (IB) can no longer be used as a
"crutch" for those who refuse to work.

Ministers plan biggest shake-up of the welfare state
for 60 years
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Published: 12 September 2005
The Government is to embark on the biggest shake-up of
the state benefits system for 60 years, according to
David Blunkett, the Work and Pensions Secretary."

Incapacity Benefit to be replaced in 2008

Incapacity benefit overhaul at heart of welfare reform


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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

And it's Good Night from Him...

I loved The Two Ronnies as a child, and Porridge too.

I was very sad to hear that Ronnie Barker died today. Sad enough to go for the corniest entry title ever, under the circumstances.
In a hardware shop. Ronnie Corbett is behind the counter, wearing a warehouse jacket. He has just finished serving a customer.
CORBETT (muttering): There you are. Mind how you go.
(Ronnie Barker enters the shop, wearing a scruffy tank-top and beanie)
BARKER: Four Candles!
CORBETT: Four Candles?
BARKER: Four Candles.
(Ronnie Corbett makes for a box, and gets out four candles. He places them on the counter)
BARKER: No, four candles!
CORBETT (confused): Well there you are, four candles!
BARKER: No, fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!
(Ronnie Corbett puts the candles away, and goes to get a fork handle. He places it onto the counter)
CORBETT (muttering): Fork handles. Thought you said 'four candles!' (more clearly) Next?
BARKER: Got any plugs?
CORBETT: Plugs. What kind of plugs?
BARKER: A rubber one, bathroom.
(Ronnie Corbett gets out a box of bath plugs, and places it on the counter)
CORBETT (pulling out two different sized plugs): What size?
BARKER: Thirteen amp!
CORBETT (muttering): It's electric bathroom plugs, we call them, in the trade. Electric bathroom plugs!
(He puts the box away, gets out another box, and places on the counter an electric plug, then puts the box away)
BARKER: Saw tips!
CORBETT: Saw tips? (he doesn't know what he means) What d'you want? Ointment, or something like that?
BARKER: No, saw tips for covering saws.
CORBETT: Oh, haven't got any, haven't got any. (he mutters) Comin' in, but we haven' got any. Next?
(He goes to get a hoe, and places it on the counter)
BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT: 'O's! I thought you said 'O! (he takes the hose back, and gets a hose, whilst muttering) When you said 'O's, I thought you said 'O! 'O's!
(He places the hose onto the counter)
BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT (confused for a moment): O's? Oh, you mean panty 'o's, panty 'o's! (he picks up a pair of tights from beside him)
BARKER: No, no, 'O's! 'O's for the gate. Mon repose! 'O's! Letter O's!
CORBETT (finally realising): Letter O's! (muttering) You had me going there!
(He climbs up a stepladder, gets a box down, puts the ladder away, and takes the box to the counter, and searches through it for letter O's).
CORBETT: How many d'you want?
(Ronnie Corbett leaves two letter O's on the counter, then takes the box back, gets the ladder out again, puts the box away, climbs down the ladder, and puts the ladder away, then returns to the counter)
CORBETT: Yes, next?
BARKER: Got any P's?
CORBETT (fed up): For Gawd' sake, why didn' you bleedin' tell me that while I was up there then? I'm up and down the shop already, it's up and down the bleedin' shop all the time. (He gets the ladder out, climbs up and gets the box of letters down, then puts the ladder away) Honestly, I've got all this shop, I ain't got any help, it's worth it we plan things. (He puts the box on the counter, and gets out some letter P's) How many d'you want?
BARKER: No! Tins of peas. Three tins of peas!
CORBETT: You're 'avin' me on, ain't ya, yer 'avin' me on?
BARKER: I'm not!
(Ronnie Corbett dumps the box under the counter, and gets three tins of peas)
CORBETT (placing the tins on the counter): Next?
BARKER: Got any pumps?
CORBETT (getting really fed up): 'And pumps, foot pumps? Come on!
BARKER (surprised he has to ask): Foot pumps!
CORBETT (muttering, as he goes down the shop): Foot pumps. See a foot pump? (He sees one, and picks it up) Tidy up in 'ere.
(He puts the pump down on the counter)
BARKER: No, pumps fer ya feet! Brown pump, size nine!
CORBETT (almost at breaking point): You are 'avin' me on, you are definitely 'avin' me on!
BARKER (not taking much notice of Corbett's mood): I'm not!
CORBETT: You are 'avin' me on! (He takes back the pump, and gets a pair of brown foot pumps out of a drawer, and places them on the counter) Next?
BARKER: Washers!
CORBETT (really close to breaking point): What, dishwashers, floor washers, car washers, windscreen washers, back scrubbers, lavatory cleaners? Floor washers?
BARKER: 'Alf inch washers!
CORBETT: Oh, tap washers, tap washers? (He finally breaks, and makes to confiscate his list) Look, I've had just about enough of this, give us that list. (He mutters) I'll get it all myself! (Reading through the list) What's this? What's that? Oh that does it! That just about does it! I have just about had it! (calling through to the back) Mr. Jones! You come out and serve this customer please, I have just about had enough of 'im. (Mr. Jones comes out, and Ronnie Corbett shows him the list) Look what 'e's got on there! Look what 'e's got on there!
JONES (who goes to a drawer with a towel hanging out of it, and opens it): Right! How many would ya like? One or two?
(He removes the towel to reveal the label on the drawer - 'Bill hooks'!)

You can also see lots of their cool stuff.

It's because of people like you that people like me are on medication

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Found Poetry.

In what is now called
the common practice
period consonant intervals.

Perfect consonances
unisons and octaves
perfect fourths and
perfect fifths

Imperfect consonances
major thirds and
minor sixths
minor thirds and
major sixths

This is as would be taught
in a beginning.
Intervals such as the
perfect fourth
and the thirds
were once considered
forbidden dissonances.

Consonances used
freely and unprepared,
occurring on weak or strong beats.

Polyphonic cadences
requiring two voices,
created by successive dyads,
the first an imperfect consonance
on a weak beat,
the second a perfect consonance
on a strong beat,

such as a major sixth moving to an octave
(for instance, the major
sixth D-B
followed by
the perfect octave

(found here).

Found Poetry: n. The presentation of a borrowed text or found object as a poem or as part of a poem.

Found Poetry Against the War.

Found Poetry in Altered Books.

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Illustration Friday - Float

Originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.
Illustration Friday.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Some points for a Saturday Evening...

1. The way Walter Wolfgang was treated at the Labour Party Conference was appalling, but not just because he was 82 years old. No-one of any age should have been treated that way for shouting 'Nonsense' at Jack Straw.

2. Re: Sunny's comment - the issue with the right bar links ending up under a single post, or the last post on the page is the same in internet explorer and firefox. It's not an error especially, just the way the coding works.

3. I feel ill. Everything aches and I'm exhausted. If I didn't know any better, it feels like I did some hellish aerobics class yesterday. In fact yesterday everything ached also.

4. I am absolutely in awe of The Crafty Girl. Stunning, stunning work. Have been reading her blog for weeks if not months, and never cease to be rendered speechless at what she produces.

5. The Sheffield Freecycle email group which I set up was featured in the local paper, and now has a stunning 906 members.

6. Taarna, I thought it looked sexual / sensual also.

7. Yesterday's Dead Ringers was particularly good.

8. I do not understand why Charlotte Green keeps being on the radio as a continuity announcer when she is normally a Newsreader.

9. hippie blog has exceeded 18,000 visitors tonight. That's pretty stunning.

10. I'm fed up and tired and cold and sore. I have no idea what this entry is about. I hoped to get to 10 points and I have, so I'm going to bed.

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