Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Mumbles

The 100 Greatest Female Artists of Rock'n'Roll has been published.

How is Celine Dion there and not Nina Simone? I mean really, how is Nina Simone *not* on there? It's obscene!

Still on music, it's surprising just what can be created using only sounds from Windows XP and Windows 98.

If you're running short of toilet paper, why not try the 100% recycled Shit Be Gone! That is seriously its name. I do like it when you know where you are with a product, and exactly what it will do!

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose teenage years were characterised by Judy Blume and all her books and characters. Interesting to see, then, that two of her books have been updated to reflect more recent practise in sexual health. And one of them's Forever, which was the one we all thought was exceedingly rude. Ah, the innocence!

New Photo Blog Updates

The Orton Effect

Photo to Drawing: Raspberries

Spell With Flickr

More Orton Effect

Fake Model Photography

Same Photo, Different Treatments

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Duel / Dangerous Pathways.

I don't know if you've ever seen the film Duel, but despite it having virtually no dialogue, not much of a plot, and a tiny budget, it is one of the scariest films you could ever see.

This, my friends, is just the same.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


From worldwidewords

"Don't most people know this already?" was Tom Gould's comment on a
front-page teaser headline advertising an article inside (what's
the newspaper term for these?) that appeared in The Tennessean on
26 March: "Don't expect smart car dealer soon."

What a difference a misplaced hyphen makes. Annie Clarke reports
that the London freesheet Metro included a headline on 27 March:

"The instructions on a carpet cleaner," e-mailed Pete Swindells,
"caused me momentary confusion: 'Empty when full'."

Department of athletic horticulture. Henry Drury was reading the
Home & Living section of the Sunday Telegraph for 30th March and
found this property advert: "Paradise Cottage, West Berkshire, a
glorious Grade II listed four bedroom hotchpotch of a cottage.
Gardens and a stream run through the property."

Bankers struggle against their reputation for unfeeling arrogance
but error messages like the one that Roger Jones encountered on the
Barclays Bank Web site don't help: "We suggest you try to log in
later and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Not really ok

It's a year today since Helen died.

Well, probably. The inquest couldn't give an exact date, they gave a week's time span, but from the evidence given I do think it was the 3rd.

I miss her every day. Every day. But today feels even worse. I feel weighed down with sadness.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

incurable hippie is 'a convergence of the worst aaspects (sic) of the religious right and feminism'

I am, apparently, a tool of the religious right. And the brave 'Anonymous' tells *me* to get a grip!

In other, less surprising, news:
Homophobia rife in British society, landmark equality survey finds.

· Bullying in schools worse than for older generations
· Public bodies complacent, says gay rights charity

Britain's 3.6 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people see themselves confronted by huge barriers of prejudice at every level of society, according to the first authoritative poll of their views.

The poll, commissioned by the equality charity Stonewall, which said some public bodies were too "smug" about their record on discrimination, indicates that the schoolyard is the most entrenched bastion of prejudice.

The YouGov poll of 1,658 gay adults found homophobic bullying in schools is more prevalent now than in previous decades. Around 30% of lesbian and gay people expect to encounter discrimination if they were to try to enrol a child at primary or secondary school, and 80% believe they would have difficulty if they were to apply to become a school governor.

The NHS, police and courts are doing better than the education system in combating discrimination. However, a significant minority of gay people expect to be treated less well at a GP surgery or during an emergency admission to hospital.

One in four think they will be treated less fairly by police if they become a victim of hate crime, while one in five expect to find it harder than a heterosexual person to get social housing, and nine in 10 expect barriers to becoming a foster parent.

The poll also suggested prejudice is endemic in political life, with most lesbian and gay people expecting discrimination if they seek selection by a party to run for parliament. Nearly nine in 10 think they would face such barriers from the Conservative party, 61% from the Labour party and 47% from the Liberal Democrats.

Ben Summerskill, the charity's chief executive, said: "Too many public services are a bit too smug about the progress made towards fair treatment for the lesbian and gay taxpayers who help fund them.

"Last spring we heard from a 14-year-old girl who had - incautiously - shared with a teacher at a faith school the thought that she might be gay. Subsequently the girl has been required to sit outside the changing room at the beginning and end of sports lessons while the 'normal' children get changed."

Of those polled, two-thirds of lesbian and gay people under 19 said they were bullied at school on grounds of sexuality, compared with half of those aged 35-44 and only a quarter of those over 55.

Stonewall said the problem was exacerbated in schools when teachers were banned by Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act from doing anything that could be perceived as promoting homosexuality. Section 28 was repealed in 2003, but the charity says the education system is years behind in its efforts to tackle prejudice.

Across Britain, one in 14 lesbian and gay people expect to be treated less well than heterosexuals when accessing healthcare. Gay women are almost twice as likely to expect discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

There are big regional differences in perceptions of discrimination in the NHS. In Wales, 16% thought they would get inferior treatment if they were admitted to hospital in an emergency, compared with 2% in the south-west.

Summerskill said: "The research highlights the one remaining gap at the heart of Britain's legislative equality framework. There is not yet a duty on public bodies requiring them to promote equality of service for gay people in a way that already exists for gender, ethnicity and disability. We'll now be pressing the government to honour its outstanding manifesto pledge to introduce such a duty."

Summerskill said he regarded the debate about the size of Britain's lesbian and gay population as having been settled by the Treasury's actuary department, which said it was 6%, or 3.6 million people.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It's that time of year again... the one where for an hour a week I turn into a raving capitalist.

The Apprentice. I just can't help myself! I guess I'm fired.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

'I was seen as an object, not a person'

"I was seen as an object, not a person" | Lifeandstyle | Life and Health

Lap-dancing clubs are advertised as exclusive, glamorous entertainment for 'gentlemen'. As a former dancer tells Rachel Bell, the reality for the women who work in them is both degrading and dangerous

Wednesday March 19, 2008
The Guardian

Lap-dancing clubs
'Just by being there you're acknowledging that you are something the men can pick and choose from.'

Weeks after moving into a new flat, Elena [not her real name] learned that her temping contract was to be cut short - she had to find money to cover the rent as quickly as possible. She had recently met a woman who worked as a lap-dancer, which had reassured her that it "wasn't too dangerous. It made it seem normal." For the next six months, Elena worked for one of the many lap-dancing chains that assures customers that they are "gentlemen", paying for an "exclusive" experience. During that period, any sense that she had had of lap-dancing as just another job was laid firmly to rest.

It wasn't only the earning potential that led Elena to try lap-dancing - she now believes that she, and women in general, are socialised to see it as an inviting occupation. "I thought, well, I'm a sex object anyway, I might as well have it out on the table. It was as though I felt I couldn't do anything else. Everywhere I look I'm being told that my main source of power is my sexual power, my body is the best thing I have to offer and so to use those things in your job is empowering. But sexual power isn't power. It's meaningless in the real world."

Lap-dancing reinforced all Elena's negative beliefs about herself and about men. "The men just see you as an object, not a person, and whether you are equally engaged in their desire is irrelevant. Increasingly, you learn to despise the men because of the way they perceive you. Lap-dancing is about creating a situation whereby the men feel they are doing you a favour - that's the way the game is set up, so all the power is with the customer." She believes that for men who visit lap-dancing clubs, enjoyment derives primarily from handing over the money, not from the dance itself.

Rather than being a lucrative job, in her experience, as soon as a woman starts working at one of the clubs, it costs her money. "You pay 'rent' to the club just to be there and if you can persuade someone to buy a dance, you get £20 - about 20% of which the club takes. Then there are the fines - £10 if you miss your turn to pole dance, if you're late, you're wearing the wrong shoes or you break the rules. There are so many ways to make money from you. You are constantly trying to make as much money as possible out of everybody, otherwise you are literally paying to be there.

"The club management take on more women than are needed in a night so it really becomes dog eat dog. Quite often I made nothing. There were a lot of nights when I would have taken money out and come home with less." The most Elena made in a night was £205. "I love talking to people, but to make any money you really have to act stupid, admire their tie, massage their ego for hours. I could never go to work as anything near myself and that becomes damaging."

The message that working in the sex industry is normal, exciting - sometimes even empowering - is a popular one in our culture. Over the past few years, lap-dancing clubs have proliferated, branding themselves as a respectable part of the leisure industry. At the end of last year, Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler magazine, opened his first British lap-dancing club in Croydon; Manchester has its first student lap-dancing bar, the Ruby Lounge, and a former stripper has been shown giving a topless lap-dance on Big Brother. Music videos by mainstream artists including Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake, have featured lap-dancing or pole dancing, while job centres advertise lap-dancing jobs alongside the more usual calls for human resources managers and chefs.

Yet academic research has linked lap-dancing to trafficking, prostitution and an increase in male sexual violence against both the women who work in the clubs and those who live and work in their vicinity. A recent conference in Ireland highlighted the use of lap-dance clubs by human traffickers as a tool for grooming women into prostitution; the clubs also normalise the idea of paying for sexual services. And a report by the Lilith Project, run by the charity Eaves Housing, which looked at lap-dancing in Camden Town, north London, found that in the three years before and after the opening of four large lap-dancing clubs in the area, incidents of rape in Camden rose by 50%, while sexual assault rose by 57%.

One factor in the proliferation of these clubs is the 2003 Licensing Act which introduced the one-size-fits-all premises licence, meaning that strip clubs are no longer required to get special permission for nudity. The campaign group, Object, which is launching its Lap-Dance Challenge on April 22, wants legislation changed to classify lap-dancing clubs as "sex encounter establishments" and recognise them as part of the sex industry, which would allow local authorities to regulate them as such. Following round-table meetings with supportive MPs and local authorities, it is working to put forward a bill in the Commons.

Sandrine Levêque, advocacy officer at Object, says: "Ten years ago, a handful of lap-dancing clubs operated in the UK. Today that figure is well over 300, according to industry sources. This has been facilitated by liberalisation of the law, which licenses them in the same way as pubs and cafes, and not for what they really are."

The Fawcett Society and the Lilith Project are also calling for tighter controls on lap-dance clubs. In its 2007 report, Inappropriate Behaviour: Adult Venues and Licensing in London, the Lilith Project showed how current licensing policy helps to foster the illusion that all women are sexually available, in a culture in which a rape is reported every 34 minutes, and 26% of people believe that an "inappropriately" dressed woman is "asking for it".

Elena supports the calls for a change in licensing legislation. "I live in a country with unbelievable levels of rape, where two women die every week because they are murdered by their partners ... For me, I suppose, the question is always, why would you want somebody to take their clothes off for you when you know that they don't really fancy you, when you know it isn't what they really want to do?"

The sex industry doesn't just tell lies about women. One of its biggest lies is that it is positive for men. Statistics show that addiction to the porn and sex industries is the third biggest cause of debt in the UK, while sex and relationship therapists are seeing an increase in the number of men suffering from sex addiction. Does Elena think lap-dancing is damaging to men too? "Stag do's, in particular, made me think there must be a lot of crossed wires about it," she says. "I think men are fed just as much bullshit about their sexual identity as women are ... I don't think that it makes anybody happier".

One body of research on strip clubs in the US found that all dancers had suffered verbal harassment and physical and sexual abuse while at work; all had been propositioned for prostitution; and three-quarters had been stalked by men associated with the club.

Was Elena ever verbally abused, or propositioned for prostitution? "Just by being there," she says, "you're acknowledging that you are something that they can pick and choose from, in that dehumanising way. A lot of men are totally blunt, and will say 'I like bigger tits than you've got', or 'How much for a blowjob?' Sometimes men try to persuade you to go back to their houses or to a hotel room for sex. There's a lot of blurring of the understanding of what it is you're supposed to be doing and whether you're actually a prostitute.

"The clubs maintain a veneer of no touching, but touching is more standard than not," she continues. "If I had a boyfriend now and he said he was going to a lap-dancing club, I would consider it to be infidelity. The fact is that if you break the rules, you make more money. If one dancer starts breaking the rules then the pressure is on others to do the same. Otherwise a bloke would think, Well, that dancer charged me £20 and stayed three feet away, but that one charged me just the same and she put her breasts in my mouth and sat on my crotch. Once you've been there a while, you learn that certain things are profitable, and no contact is the first rule you learn to break. Eventually you start to wonder, what is the difference between me and a prostitute?"

Oddly, men who pay a naked woman for a sexual service in a lap-dancing club do not see themselves as "johns", she says. "It's seen as a totally respectable thing for a man to do. Yet I don't feel it's something I'd put on my CV. The respectability is very one-sided."

Elena doesn't believe that lap-dancing is about sex, instead, she says,"It fosters sexual violence. It is damaging even if people are doing it voluntarily. I chose it and that's part of the problem. Even if lap-dancers did make loads of money, it would be irrelevant - paying a lot for something doesn't make it all right. The point about lap-dancing clubs is to ask what they represent culturally and what they do to all of us, not just women working in them".

One reason that Elena stuck with the job was other people's perceptions of it. "The reality didn't matter as long as I could pretend [to myself] that other people thought it was interesting, glamorous or sexy. It's hard to say, 'I am shocked by the reality of it, I do feel degraded, but I need to pay the rent and gas bill'." Research shows that the majority of women become lap-dancers through poverty and lack of choice. "There was definitely a hope among the people who worked there that one day someone would come in who would just pay them loads of money and 'rescue' them," says Elena. "Cinderella thinking, if you like. There were single mothers, nurses - it wasn't what you might think. Some of these women had a whole other career but, for whatever reason, they needed to supplement their income. Some of the nurses would come in knackered after a day on A&E, strip till two in the morning and then go home."

Elena wishes to remain anonymous for self-protection. "The shadowy world behind some clubs is not something that you would want to go up against," she says. "You just know that instinctively." What finally made her leave? "I began to sort myself out a bit and realised that it was a crazy thing to do. I could never be myself. I just suddenly thought, Oh, there are loads of things I could do other than this. This is really shit. I'm going home."

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Dribblings

Bad punctuation is everywhere, and I try not to be upset, but sometimes it is just unbearable!


is a sign in Sheffield city centre. Caf'e. What happened?! I guess they were trying to convey the E acute accent on the E, but surely, if you really want to do that, and the signwriter doesn't have an E acute accent capability (?!) then you do CAFE'.

But if you think that's bad, I came across this in the Bon Marche magazine yesterday. It is entirely bewildering.

There is no excuse!

First to confirm, the product is not called TAKE. If it was, there could perhaps be some mitigating circumstances to the ad. But no.
'TAKE', control of your pelvic muscles.

Why? Why oh why oh why? Why is TAKE in capital letters? Why does it have quotation marks? And why is there a comma after it? Why?! Nothing in the world makes sense any more. Who wrote that ad? And who the hell approved it?! It's actually painful to my little mind.

New Photography blog updates.

Different Lomo Effect Tutorial
Create a Rainbow in Photoshop
More Classical Art Colour Match
Comparative Lomography!
Human Impact

I watched this video on facebook, it was quite funny. It led me to look up the original on youtube, which was better (though without the sheer number of impressive celebs). However, it has left me singing to myself, "I'm fucking Matt Damon" all the time. Not a good one to be overheard singing, it gives entirely the wrong impression, i.e. that I'm fucking Matt Damon. And actually I'm not.

It is time to tell you about The PIPS. It's a Radio 4 blog, with a few of us on board. Radio Four has something of an obsessive following, of which I count myself a member. If you listen, or if you don't, check us out at The PIPS.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spring Clean of Hippie blog

I have spent the last few hours spring cleaning. Not the house, though God knows it needs it. Nope, hippie blog.

The blog links are all up to date, and the numerous which no longer exist or which have moved or which require password access are moved down to the now huge 'Quiet Just Now' section on the right.

The bottom of the blog is also seriously trimmed. Out of date rings, links which lead to different places now than when I first added them, and unnecessaries were removed.

The 'Sites I Like' section hasn't yet been done, but you have to start somewhere.

BBC NEWS | Magazine | 'Robbed' of the right to smoke

Robbed of the right to smoke

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places has caused controversy, but what if you couldn't smoke in the place where you lived? It's what mental health patients are claiming.

Life in a typical mental health unit is not exactly festooned with luxuries. Like all hospitals, they can seem cold, clinical and austere places to many patients.

And life is about to get worse for many of those held in a unit. By 1 July 2008 they must all be smoke-free. Prisons, on the other hand, will remain exempt from the smoking ban.

The move is likely to anger many patients, who are not allowed to leave the unit and are not being punished for any crime. Already three are taking legal action over their right to smoke.

You have the choice to smoke in prison, but not in a mental hospital - but prisons are there for punishment, and hospitals are there for treatment
Rob Beech, legal advocate

Two of the cases, brought by Terrence Grimwood and another patient, are arguing against the early introduction of the ban at Rampton secure hospital by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in March 2007.

They say the ban infringes their human rights, namely article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for private and family life.

The third case, brought by a Rampton patient who can only be identified by their initials of WN, is against the secretary of state for health, for bringing the legislation through Parliament.

The patients argue the hospital is effectively their home and therefore they should be able to smoke. The new rules even prevent them smoking in the grounds.

Hospital is home

Smokers make up 26% of the general population, but 70% of mental health inpatients are smokers, according to Mental Health Today.

Mr Grimwood's solicitor, Marcus Brown, says it is a question of basic freedoms.

"They are being deprived of the choice of doing what they want," he says.

Legal advocate Rob Beech is representing the third Rampton patient to bring a legal challenge against the smoke-free policy.

"You have the choice to smoke in prison, but not in a mental hospital," he says. "But prisons are there for punishment, and hospitals are there for treatment."

One person who thinks the effects of the ban could be catastrophic is former patient, Judy Mead.

The 42-year-old, from Bristol, was sectioned twice - in 1985 as a 19-year-old and then again two years later. She spent several months as an inpatient and smoked about 15 cigarettes a day.

"I hadn't committed any crime when I was in a mental health unit and I was already angry at why I'd been sectioned, so being prevented from smoking would have made things worse.

Coping method

"What would have happened is that I would have been given more medication, because I already felt suicidal and having to give up smoking so suddenly would have made me more determined about taking my own life.

"For the first few weeks, my parents dissuaded my friends from visiting and as I didn't know any of the patients, the only friend I had was a cigarette."

A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said the ban had been introduced across the whole of the organisation in March, and not just at Rampton.

Patients are all offered help with stopping smoking, she says.

40% of mental health service users smoke
70% of mental health inpatients smoke
50% of those using inpatient units classed as heavy smokers
Between 70% and 74% of people with schizophrenia smoke
56% of people with depression smoke

Emily Wooster, of mental health charity Mind, argues that asking people to stop smoking while they were mentally unstable could prove problematic for them.

"People who use mental health services are twice as likely to smoke as those who do not, and some may use this as a means of coping with distress," she says.

And there is even an argument that suddenly being made to give up smoking could worsen their problems, suggests Dr Chris Allen, a consultant clinical psychologist.

"If they're using smoking as a way of assistance to cope with their mental health problems, and then that's taken away, that could lead to problems being exacerbated."

A Department of Health spokesman insisted it was a question of mental health patients being entitled to a smoke-free environment, like other NHS users.

But whatever the arguments of those who want the smoking ban, many mental health patients will continue to think they are being singled out unfairly.

Below is a selection of your comments.

As a non-smoking community mental health nurse I have to agree with the in-patients comments. It is definitely not the best time to give up smoking when their mental state is unstable, and will-power is weaker than when mentally well. Ethically it's wrong to force vulnerable people, who may have no choice about being in hospital, to give up even though we know the health benefits of them doing so. The answer is to provide well ventilated separate smoking areas and probably a specialist support service to assist those individuals who choose to do something about their addiction.
David Barclay, Kirkcaldy, Scotland

This is typical of the way we are being forced to live by this government - the guilty are rewarded and the innocent are hounded for doing something perfectly legal. How arrogant of the Nottingham NHS spokesperson to blithely defend this blatant disregard of people's rights by saying they will be offered help to quit - what if they do not want to? Smoking is, as far as I am aware, still legal in this country and therefore every citizen should be given the right to exercise the freedom we are supposed to have - with the exception of people in prison, who are being punished for breaking an actual law and not just a knee-jerk health-freak one. It seems that the "human rights" of prisoners are far more important than those of the general population - the answer? Light up in a public place, get sent to prison and then puff away to your heart's content, safe in the knowledge that the government is too busy restricting the basic freedoms of the general population to realise that! You are doing as you please in the very situation which should restrict your freedom.
Paula, Ipswich, Suffolk

Whilst it would seem reasonable to create healthier environments for all, I believe that patients in mental hospitals are already under many pressures. My mother spent time on several occasions in mental hospitals and smoking was one of the ways which helped her to cope. I believe that by forcing patients to not smoke, could exacerbate their problems. It would be better to provide a separate smoking area and gradually help the smokers to weane off the cigarettes along with the other help being given for treatment.
Christopher Merriein, Chichester

It's ludicrously unjust to deny detained psychiatric inpatients the right to smoke while allowing prison inmates to do so.
Gavin Nash, Manchester, UK

Some mental health inpatients already feel, because of the state of their mind, that they are already being punished because, for various reasons, they have been admitted to hospital either voluntarily or sectioned. If their cigarettes are taken off them as well they are going to feel victimised even more. I do appreciate that non smokers are entitled to a smoke-free environment, but surely common sense should come into it as well. After all a ward is the only home a lot of mental health patients are going to know for a while. A wee corner should be found somewhere for smoking patients to be able to have a puff.
Andrea Brown, Ayr

Straw sacrifices prostitution law to ban strikes by prison staff | Politics | The Guardian

Straw sacrifices prostitution law to ban strikes by prison staff

The government last night dropped key parts of its criminal justice and immigration bill, including a crackdown on prostitution, to ensure that powers banning prison officers going on strike are rushed on to the statute book by May 8.

The justice secretary, Jack Straw, is also sacrificing a proposal which would have barred the appeal court quashing convictions on a technicality in cases where there was "no reasonable doubt" about the defendant's guilt. It stirred strong opposition in the legal world where it was seen as incursion on the discretion of judges.

The bill would have introduced a programme of "compulsory rehab" for those involved in prostitution and removed the pre-Victorian term of "common prostitute" from the statute book which ministers said was widely regarded as stigmatising and offensive.

Women who were persistently found to be involved in loitering and soliciting were to attend compulsory drug and alcohol rehabilitation courses instead of being fined. If they failed to attend at least three meetings of the course they could face up to 72 hours detention before being brought before a court.

Women's groups, penal reformers and probation officers said women would be locked up simply for missing meetings.

Ministers said the changes were a way of providing women with an "exit strategy" from the sex trade and were the only legislative proposals to emerge from a review of the laws surrounding prostitution carried out in 2003.

The term "common prostitute" dates back to the 1824 Vagrancy Act and a public consultation showed that it is now widely regarded as offensive.

The Ministry of Justice last night said it was withdrawing the prostitution and criminal appeal provisions of the bill to ensure the legislation received royal assent by May 8, when a voluntary no-strike agreement with the Prison Officers' Association will lapse 12 months after the union gave notice it wanted to end it.

A ministry spokesman said: "We are taking this action to ensure that legal protection is in place in the event of further industrial action destabilising the prison estate, as was witnessed on August 29 last year. We must take this action in order to meet our duty to protect the public."

A special delegates conference of the POA on February 19 gave the union executive a mandate to take action, including a strike, and a mandate not to sign a new no-strike agreement. Straw was prepared to sacrifice key parts of his criminal justice bill yesterday to ensure that there was no gap between the voluntary agreement lapsing and the introduction of the statutory ban on industrial action taking effect.

The bill was the 55th criminal justice bill since Labour came to power in 1997 and would have created 19 new criminal offences on top of the 3,000 created in the past decade.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo is actually a complete and grammatically correct sentence.

Bison from Buffalo, New York who are intimidated by other bison in their community also happen to intimidate other bison in their community is a quick-ish translation, but if you're still confused, read the wikipedia page.

Love this stuff.

See also James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation
is a fun site, looking at the difficulties of translating between languages, especially when done automatically by a computer. And especially when used by a (cunning) linguist.

You give it something in English, then it translates it to and from numerous languages then back into English, where the results are frequently comedic.

I asked it to translate, "I get knocked down then I get up again you ain't never gonna keep me down".

These are the results:
Translated to Japanese:
私はたたかれてそれから私を起こす再度でない決してgonna 固定しない私を得ない

Translated back to English:
As for me being hit, then it causes me, you do not obtain me whom for
the second time gonna which is not it does not lock under any

Translated to Chinese:
至于我被击中, 它然后导致我, 您不获得我第二次去哪些不是它不锁定在任何情况下

Translated back to English:
Is hit as for me, does it then cause me, which you not to obtain me
second time to go to is not it does not lock in any situation

Translated to French:
Est frappé quant à moi, le fait me causent alors, au lequel vous
pour ne pas m'obtenir la deuxième fois d'aller n'est pas lui ne
verrouille dans aucune situation

Translated back to English:
Is struck as for me, the fact cause me then, with which you not to
obtain the second time to me to go is not him does not lock in any

Translated to German:
Wird angeschlagen, was mich anbetrifft, die Tatsache verursachen mich
dann, mit dem, um zu gehen nicht zu mir das zweite mal zu erreichen
Sie, nicht er sperren nicht in irgendeine Situation sind

Translated back to English:
Fastened, which concerns me, the fact cause me then, with that, over
to go not to me second times to achieve you, not it do not lock into
any situation are

Translated to Italian:
Fissato, che lo interessa, il fatto mi induce allora, con quello,
l'eccedenza ad andare non a me seconde volte realizzarli, non esso non
blocca in tutta la situazione è

Translated back to English:
Fixed, than it interests it, the fact induces to me then, with that
one, the surplus to go to me second times not to realize them, it does
not block in all the situation is

Translated to Portuguese:
Fixo, do que ele interessa-o, o fato induz-me então, com esse, o
excesso para ir-me segundas épocas não os realizar, não obstrui em
toda a situação é

Translated back to English:
Fixture, of that it interests it, the fact induces me then, with this,
the excess to go me second times not to carry through them, does not
obstruct in all the situation is

Translated to Spanish:
La base, de ésa que lo interesa, el hecho entonces me induce a, con
esto, el exceso que vaya yo las segundas veces de no llevar a través
de ellos, no obstruye en toda la situación es

Translated back to English:
The base, of which it interests it, the then fact induces to me to,
with this, the excess that goes I them second times of not taking
through them, does not obstruct in all the situation is

So then I tried it with the description of me and this blog in the top right.

Original English Text: About me? Mad, in debt, feminist, radical, angry, pacifist, warrior, radio 4 listener, geek, flower-power chick... About Hippie blog? Ramblings, photos, fury, giggles and musings about love, peace, friendship, madness, happiness, the state of the world, my life, cool pics, my health and general ranting...

Translated to Japanese:
私についてか。、負債、男女同権主義者、怒っている、戦士で平和主義的な気違い、基、無線で送りなさい4 つ傾聴者、マニア、花力のひよこを... ヒッピーのblog についてか。世界の愛、平和、友情、狂気、幸福、状態、わめき散らす私の生命、涼しいpics 、私の健康および大将についての取留めのない会話、写真、激怒、くすくす笑いおよびmusings...

Translated back to English:
Concerning me? Debt, the man and woman same right principle person, it
is gotten angry, with the soldier the pacifism lunatic, send with the
basis and the radio 4 listening people, the maniac and the chick of
flower power... concerning blog of the hippie? My life which love,
peace, friendship and insanity of the world, happiness, state, screams
and scatters, cool pics, concerning my health and the leader
conversation, the photograph and the rage which do not have the taking
finishing blow, secretly laughing and musings...

Translated to Chinese:
关于我? 债务、人工和妇女同样合适的原则人员, 它被得到恼怒, 以战士和平主义疯子, 发送以基本类型和收音机4 听的人员、疯子和花力量小鸡... 关于嬉皮的blog? 爱的我的寿命, 和平、世界的友谊和疯狂, 幸福, 状态, 尖叫和没有采取的精整吹动, 秘密笑和musings... 的消散,
冷静pics, 关于我的健康和领导交谈、相片和愤怒

Translated back to English:
About me? The debt, the man-power and the woman similarly appropriate
principle personnel, it are obtained angry, by the soldier pacifism
lunatic, transmits by the basic type and the radio 4 tins of
personnel, the lunatic and the colored strength chicken... about plays
skin blog? Loves my life, peace, the world friendship and is crazy,
happy, the state, screamed and has not adopted the finishing moves,
the privacy smiles with musings... dissipating, calm pics, converses,
the photograph about mine health and the leader and the anger

Translated to French:
Au sujet de moi ? La dette, la main d'oeuvre et le personnel
pareillement approprié de principe de femme, il sont fâché obtenu,
par le pacifisme de soldat fou, transmet par le type de base et
est-ce que les boîtes de la radio 4 de le personnel, le poulet fou et
coloré de force... au sujet des jeux pèlent le blog ? Aime ma vie,
paix, l'amitié du monde et est fou, heureux, l'état, crié et n'a
pas adopté les mouvements de finissage, les sourires d'intimité avec
des rêveries... absorbant, PICS calme, inverses, la photographie au
sujet de la santé de mine et l'amorce et la colère

Translated back to English:
About me? Are the debt, the labour and the personnel pareillement
adapted of principle of woman, it annoyed obtained, by the pacifism of
insane soldier, transmits by the basic type and the boxes of radio 4
of the personnel, the insane and coloured chicken of force... about
the plays peel the blog? Like my life, peace, the friendship of the
world and is insane, happy, the state, shouted and did not adopt the
movements of finishing, the smiles of intimacy with daydreams...
absorbent, PEAKS calms, opposite, photography about the health of mine
and the starter and anger

Translated to German:
Über mich? Werden die Schuld, die Arbeit und das Personal
pareillement von der Grundregel der Frau angepaßt, es störten
erreicht, durch den Pazifismus des geisteskranken Soldaten,
überträgt nach dem grundlegenden Typen und die Kästen von Radio 4
des Personals, des geisteskranken und farbigen Huhns der Kraft...
über die Spiele ziehen dem blog ab? Wie meine Lebensdauer ist
Frieden, die Freundschaft der Welt und geisteskrank, glücklich, der
Zustand, geschrieen und nahm nicht die Bewegungen der Fertigung, das
Lächeln von Intimacy mit träumt... Saugstoff, SPITZEN beruhigt,
Entgegengesetztes, Fotographie über die Gesundheit von meinen und der
Starter und der Zorn an

Translated back to English:
Over me? Does the debt, which work and the personnel disturbed
pareillement adapted by the basic rule of the woman, it achieved,
become by the Pazifismus spirit-ill of the soldier, does transfer
after fundamental types and the boxes of radio 4 of the personnel, the
spirit-ill and colored chicken of the strength... over the plays takes
off blog? Like my life span peace, the friendship of the world and
spirit-ill, is lucky, the status, cried and did not take not the
movements of the manufacturing, which dreams smile of Intimacy with...
Sucking off, POINTS calms, opposite down, photography over the health
of my and the starters and the anger on

Translated to Italian:
Sopra me? il debito, che lavorano ed il pareillement disturbato
personali adattato dalla regola di base della donna, esso ha
realizzato, diventato dal Pazifismus spirito-malato del soldato,
trasferisce dopo i tipi fondamentali e le caselle della radio 4 dei
personali, del pollo spirito-malato e colorato della resistenza...
sopra i giochi toglie il blog? Come la mia pace della durata,
l'amicizia del mondo ed il spirito-malato, è fortunati, la
condizione, gridata e non hanno preso non i movimenti del
manufacturing, cui sorriso di sogni di intimacy con... Succhiando
fuori, i PUNTI calma, di fronte a giù, la fotographia sopra la salute
dei miei e dispositivi d'avviamento e della rabbia sopra

Translated back to English:
Over me? the debit, that they work and the pareillement disturbed
personal adapted from the rule of base of the woman, it has realized,
become from the spirit-sick Pazifismus of the soldier, transfers after
the fundamental types and the cases of radio 4 of the personal, of the
pollo spirit-sick and colored of the resistance... over the games
remove the blog? Like my peace of the duration, the friendship of the
world and the spirit-sick one, are fortunate, the condition, screaied
and they have not taken not the movements of the manufacturing, which
smile of dreams of intimacy with... Sucking outside, the POINTS calm,
of forehead down, the fotographia over the health of mine and
dispositi you of starter and of the anger over

Translated to Portuguese:
Sobre mim? o débito, aquele que trabalham e o pessoal perturbado
pareillement adaptado da régua da base da mulher, realizou, tornado
do Pazifismus espírito-doente do soldado, transferências após os
tipos fundamentais e as caixas do rádio 4 do pessoal, do pollo
espírito-doente e colorido da resistência... sobre os jogos removem
o blog? Como minha paz da duração, o friendship do mundo e
espírito-doente, são afortunados, a circunstância, screaied e não
fêz exame não dos movimentos do manufacturing, que sorriso dos
sonhos do intimacy com... Sugando fora, os PONTOS acalmam-se, da testa
para baixo, o fotographia sobre a saúde da mina e dispositi você do
acionador de partida e da raiva sobre

Translated back to English:
On me? the debit, that one that they work and the staff insane
pareillement customized of the ruler of the base of the woman, carried
through, become of the Pazifismus spirit-sick person of the soldier,
transferences after the basic types and the boxes of radio 4 of the
staff, pollo spirit-sick person and colored of the resistance... on
the games remove blog? As my peace of the duration, friendship of the
world and spirit-sick person, they are fortunate, the circumstance,
screaied and not fêz examination not of the movements of
manufacturing, that smile of the dreams of intimacy with... Sucking
outside, the POINTS are calmed, of the forehead for low, the
fotographia on the health of the mine and dispositi you of the paddle
of start and the anger on

Translated to Spanish:
¿En mí? ¿el debe, aquél que trabajan y el pareillement insano del
personal modificado para requisitos particulares de la regla de la
base de la mujer, llevado a través, pasado con la persona
alcohol-enferma de Pazifismus del soldado, transferences después de
los tipos básicos y los rectángulos de la radio 4 del personal,
persona alcohol-enferma del pollo y coloreado de la resistencia... en
los juegos quitan el blog? Como mi paz de la duración, de la amistad
del mundo y de la persona alcohol-enferma, son afortunados, la
circunstancia, screaied y no examinación del fêz no de los
movimientos de la fabricación, con los cuales la sonrisa de los
sueños de la intimidad... Aspirando afuera, las PUNTAS se calman, de
la frente para el punto bajo, el fotographia en la salud de la mina y
dispositi usted de la paleta del comienzo y de la cólera encendido

Translated back to English:
In me? it must, that one that they work and pareillement insano of the
personnel modified for particular requirements of the rule of the base
of the woman, taken to traverse, passed with the alcohol-ill person of
Pazifismus of the soldier, transferences after the basic types and the
rectangles of radio 4 of the personnel, alcohol-ill person of the
colored chicken and of the resistance... in the games clear blog? Like
my peace of the duration, of the friendship of the world and the
alcohol-ill person, they are lucky, the circumstance, screaied and
nonexaminación of fêz not of the movements of the manufacture, with
which the smile of the dreams of the privacy... Aspiring outside, the
ENDS calm, of the forehead for the low point, fotographia in the
health of the mine and dispositi you of the trowel of the beginning
and the ignited rage

I found that fab site through the worryingly disappeared French Mistress blog.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Project Chanology.

A group of 'Anonymous' people have commenced Project Chanology, launching an online attack on Scientology, naming it a dangerous cult and a brainwashing cult.

My work here is done.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Justice for rape victims

Justice for rape victims

Please add your signature to the open letter at the link above, addressed to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Thousands more victims do not come forward.

Yet women are being failed by the criminal justice system, and left with nowhere to turn for support. We need your help to make a difference.

Please add your signature, and we will present the letter to her after the end of the campaign on 8th March, International Women's Day.

If you have any problems signing online, please email your name and organisation (if appropriate) to or call us on 020 7253 2598 and we will add your name to the letter.

Dear Home Secretary

Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Thousands more victims do not come forward.

Yet despite the scale of the problem, the Government has failed to provide the support that women want and need. The few remaining rape crisis centres are at risk of closing due to inadequate and insecure funding, and the vast majority of women in the UK have nowhere to turn to for support in their local area.

Not only are women who have been raped denied access to support, they are also denied access to justice. Only one out of every twenty rapes reported to the police results in a conviction, with less than one in five rapes even leading to a prosecution. This failure to bring rapists to justice amounts to a near ‘licence to rape’.

Money must be invested in support services without delay, so that every area has a fully-funded rape crisis centre, while the Government must take immediate steps to ensure that real improvements are made in criminal justice practice, so that every case is properly investigated.

The Government must do more for victims of rape. We call on you to give this issue the political priority that it deserves.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some Astrologists They Are!

'We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the publication of The Astrological Magazine will cease with the December 2007 issue.'

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


A terminally ill Ghanaian woman has been removed from hospital in Wales to be deported, because her Visa had run out. I'm so disgusted with my country's lack of care, humanity and basic respect.

Cancer Patient Loses Visa Battle
A Ghanaian woman who came to the UK five years ago and became a student is being flown back to the African country, despite being terminally ill.

Ama Sumani was taken by immigration officers from a Cardiff hospital where she has been receiving dialysis for a year after cancer damaged her kidneys.

Ms Sumani, 39, whose visa has expired, said she cannot afford care in Ghana.

Her solicitor said they had pleaded compassionate grounds. The Home Office said it examined each case "with care".

Before leaving, she had been comforted by a nurse in a day-room at the University Hospital of Wales.

The immigration service arrived at 0800 GMT.

Ms Sumani was tearful but calm when she left hospital in a wheelchair with five immigration officials, one carrying her suitcase, and she was driven away.

She left on a flight from Heathrow to Ghana at 1435 GMT.

The cancer she is suffering from - malignant myeloma - would ordinarily be treated with a bone marrow transplant, but she was not entitled to the treatment.

The dialysis treatment she has been receiving is helping to prolong her life and her last treatment was on Tuesday evening.

Legal status

But it needs to be repeated regularly and there are concerns she would not be able to access dialysis treatment centres in Ghana.

Health care there is also private but Ms Sumani said she could not afford it.

A spokesman for Ghana's high commission in London said the country had two fully-equipped hospitals in Accra and further north in Kumasi.

He did concede that access to treatment was costly but said that if Ms Sumani was a member of the Ghana national health insurance scheme she would still receive treatment.

A friend Janet Simmons said Ms Sumani was a widow and a mother of two children, who were currently being looked after by members of her church in Ghana.

She first came to the UK as a visitor in 2003, but then changed her status to student and attempted to enrol on a banking course at a city college, her solicitor explained.

Ms Sumani's lack of English prevented her from pursuing the course and she went to find work which contravened her student visa.

In 2005 she returned to Ghana to attend a memorial service for her dead husband.

But when she came back to the UK her student visa was revoked and she was only given temporary admission which effectively meant she was given notice she would be removed, her solicitor said.

She did not keep in touch with immigration officials and was first taken ill in January 2006. Without the dialysis doctors fear she only has weeks to live.

Her solicitor said she accepted her removal was fair but said they had made representations on her behalf on compassionate grounds.

Ms Sumani is being removed from the country rather than deported because of her expired visa which means she has no legal status in the UK.

A removal means that in theory she could apply to return to the UK in the future.

A spokesman for the Border and Immigration agency said said it would not remove from the UK anyone who they believe is at risk on their return.

"Part of our consideration when a person is removed is their fitness to travel and whether the necessary medical treatment is available in the country to which we are returning," he added.

"Removals are always carried out in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with courtesy and dignity." (my emphasis. Bastards)

Saturday, January 05, 2008


This word featured in a piece by Ian Urbina in the New York Times
on Christmas Eve. It's a curious process that the writer succinctly
described as reverse shoplifting.

Its beginnings lie in a US west-coast guerrilla-art movement that
wants to take over part of the public spaces of stores for artistic
and political purposes. One aim is to subvert commercialism as a
form of culture jamming (see As one
example, an artist might replace a product label with another that
features a political or consumerist message.

To judge by the New York Times article, the term has since spread
beyond its artistic origins to refer to any unauthorised placing of
materials in stores. Some is still political or consumer activism,
but the technique is now used for religious proselytising and for
straightforward advertising and promotion. Independent bands, for
instance, put copies of their albums in stores to promote them.

Early appearances of the term were linked to the California artist
Packard Jennings. The first example I've so far found was as the
title of an exhibition in San Francisco in March 2005 that included
some of Jennings' work.

Another term, which specifically refers to putting copies of CDs in
record shops, is "droplifting", which was coined by Richard Holland
of Turntable Trainwreck and The Institute for Sonic Ponderance in

* Ryan Watkins-Hughes, on, 26 Dec. 2007: Similar
to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self
expression, my shopdropping project subverts commercial space for
artistic use in an attempt to disrupt the mundane commercial
process with a purely artistic moment.

* New York Times, 24 Dec. 2007: At Mac's Backs Paperbacks, a used
bookstore in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, employees are dealing with
the influx of shopdropped works by local poets and playwrights by
putting a price tag on them and leaving them on the shelves.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


First photo of 2008: to be uploaded later

First rant of 2008: How did this bastard get aggregated in google news?? It's fucking outrageous.

First drink of 2008: pepsi max, am on too many painkillers to have had a real drink :-(

First wish of 2008: may these period pains please ease quickly

First voice heard in 2008: woman across the road shouting Happy New Year

First crisis of 2008: hopefully dealt with

First wish to blog readers for 2008: Have a great one!

First resolution for 2008: Don't give up anything, especially cigarettes or chocolate.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Provident.

Shame on for this email, which is neither a great offer, nor anything about savings.

The Provy, those bullying, preying-on-the-poor, knocking-on-the-door loan sharks, have offered me possibly the worst terms for a loan ever.

Have a look at the bottom right,
*Example. Cash loan amount £300.
56 weekly repayments of £9
Total amount payable £504

183.2% APR

183.2% APR typical. So some people presumably get even higher rates!

Let's have a look. CCJs, poor credit history, been turned down before, renting a home, unemployed... yep!

So you're perhaps not in the best financial situation? How can you almost guarantee to make it a million times worse? Oh yes, borrow from the Provy! Borrow £300, pay back £504. And that, of course, is if you make every payment every week. If not... well, higher interest, increasing your 'loan' amount to cover missed payments... add a bit more to the end cost. You're already buggered, why not?

I am furious that this was sent to my email. I *hate* these people.

Now, a good organisation is Church Action Against Poverty. A Church group putting their faith and efforts to the good (unlike some).

Their Debt On Our Doorstep campaign
is a national campaigning organisation made up of local activists and public organisations. We aim to end extortionate lending and ensure universal access to affordable credit and other financial services. To this end our objectives are to:

* Publicise the extent and impact of extortionate lending on low income groups

* Lobby Parliament, assemblies and other decision makers to end extortionate lending

* Research and promote models of affordable credit

* Provide a platform for people on low incomes to comment on the impact of debt

We are part of a growing international movement for responsible lending and have been involved in the planning of a series of national conferences throughout Europe which culminated in the launch of a European Coalition for Responsible Lending in Brussels in 2006.

Debt on our Doorstep was the first organisation in the U.K to call for a 'responsible lending' duty to be placed on lenders, and this has since been introduced into the new Consumer Credit Act. We are expecting a consultation exercise on the requirements for lenders in the near future. Unfortunately, our campaign for interest rate ceilings to be introduced has not been successful, although the Government has pledged to keep this matter under review, and our work to bring about a competition commission inquiry into the Home Credit industry has recently brought about a real possibility for price caps in that market.

We are also working to develop local financial inclusion partnerships, and are calling for requirements to be placed on the banking industry to disclose, and then improve, the level of financial services available in low-income communities. In this respect, our work has been informed by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in the U.S, with whom we are closely involved in our international work.

Debt on our Doorstep is also calling for excessive default charges, made by credit card lenders and banks to be refunded to borrowers - a total of £1.8 billion has been overcharged in the past 6 years for credit cards alone - and is working with the Bank Charges Action Group to recover these..

Good on them.

Also, if you're in financial trouble yourself, I can't recommend National Debtline too highly. They are a source of great advice and support, they don't charge anything (unlike so many of those companies who advertise on TV to help with your debts) and have helped me consistently over a long period.

As for, gmail rightly put their shit into my spam folder, where it will stay.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I just went to my local shop, to find it had displays of Mini Eggs and Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

Happy Easter, folks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The 90s

I'm watching some old Silent Witness episodes (an Amanda Burton fix was feeling necessary).

Weirdly, one of the things that dates them is the fact that all the women's trousers come up to their waists! Every woman really stands out because she's not wearing hipsters. Damn those things have taken over.

They look cool, but I can't wear them. My tummy is too round and they fall down all the time. It's now virtually impossible to buy jeans that cover tummies.

Let's go back to the days of Amanda Burton on telly, and jeans with tummies. In finding a link for her I discovered that Ms Burton's last two relationships have been with photographers. Admittedly they were male, but there's hope for me yet. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Helping Charities with Recycled Used Stamps is in need of an update, so until that happens, still collect all the used stamps off envelopes you receive (particularly at this time of year with Christmas cards and such), and send them off to:

Posted! Stamps for Charities
Education Distribution Service
Freepost FPN 772
Castle Road
Kent ME10 3RL

Apparently these will be distributed to charities such as Great Ormond St Children's Hospital, RSPB, Macmillan cancer support and RNIB.

Info from the ever good money saving expert forums.

Go awn, it's an easy good deed to do :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's exactly as we all hoped!

Jodie Foster comes out - at last!
Congratulations, Jodie. But why did it take so long to confirm what we already knew?

It's standard practice for Hollywood stars to thank friends and family when accepting awards. But when Jodie Foster paid tribute to "my beautiful Cydney" during a speech at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment breakfast last week, it caused a ripple of excitement.

So now we know. Jodie Foster's partner of at least 15 years is a woman. Just like Jodie. That's right, folks: Jodie Foster is a lesbian. This startling piece of news is akin to the shock revelation that Rudolph the Reindeer has a very shiny nose. In other words, if you didn't already know this, you seriously need to retune your gaydar.

It's a secret as open as the Grand Canyon that Foster has been stepping out with film producer Cydney Bernard for years, and that they are raising Foster's two children together. The surprise is not that Jodie is gay, but that it has taken her so long to say so.

Famously protective of her privacy, Foster has long resisted calls from gay rights advocates to become an out-and-proud role model. Lesbians across the land have long been divided by the Jodie question. Her willingness to take on gutsy, serious, even feminist roles is admired, while her coyness about her sexuality has been met with disappointment. After all, we don't have many role models, and a trip down the red carpet hand in hand with Cydney would have done a lot to raise lesbian visability.

There's a widely held view that being gay is bad for a celebrity career: Ellen DeGeneres - who had a TV series cancelled shortly after both she and her character came out - is a case in point. But surely someone with the prestige and power of Jodie Foster could challenge the squeamishness about homosexuality that still prevails in America.

Perhaps, though, we should cut Jodie some slack. I don't recall Nicole Kidman, say, having to "announce" her heterosexuality. The fact that the grand gesture of "coming out" is still a big deal just shows that most straight people still assume everybody else is heterosexual. The advantage for Jodie is that she only has to come out once. Non-celebrity lesbians and gay men have to do it every time they meet someone new.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Continued 2

We just wanted the life insurance money, and that was more important than letting you grieve your dad for 5 years, believe he's gone forever, and actively hide his existence from you.
I don't think you could ever forgive that.


Who is thought to have left panama for florida, has been feeding stories to the papers about how, amongst other things, he hid in a tunnel when they had visitors, including their sons.
Now, this is what blows my mind. Life insurance fraud, while maybe unusual, isn't that weird. But pretending to your sons that their dad is dead, when you know he's not, is just horrific.
It was recently the 2 year anniversary of my dad's death. If, in another 3 years, my mum said oh, by the way your dad is fine, we just


I've been following this news story over the last week or so, of the guy who turned up at a police station saying he had lost his memory. It came out that he had been presumed dead after disappearing when canoeing in the sea 5 years ago.
It then got stranger, when someone told the police that a recent photo of this guy + his wife was on a website about buying property in Panama.
It all began to look like a big life insurance scam. He has indeed now been arrested and charged with fraud, and his wife

Thursday, November 29, 2007

About Bloody Time

Reforms aim to dispel rape myths and increase convictions

Clare Dyer, legal editor
Thursday November 29, 2007

Juries are to be told how rape victims typically respond in an attempt to dispel "rape myths" which ministers believe are contributing to plummeting conviction rates for the crime.

A panel of judges, doctors and academics will start work next month on the project, which will attempt to put together a package to inform the jury without interfering with the fairness of a trial.

The move is part of reforms announced yesterday by the solicitor general, Vera Baird, aimed at boosting a conviction rate which has dropped from 33% of reported rapes in 1977 to just 5.4% in 2005, rising slightly to 5.7% last year. A US study in 1989 found that myths affected the outcome of rape trials more than any evidence.

Jurors are expected to be told that victims may be slow to report the attack and that they may appear unemotional in the witness box, contrary to expectations.

"Juries sometimes find it difficult to understand why a rape has not been reported to police immediately when, in fact, it can take victims some time to decide to make a complaint," said Baird.

"Juries can think that she [the victim] will be upset and very emotionally raw when she relives the episode for the court when, in fact, post-traumatic stress makes people seem unemotional and almost matter-of-fact."

Ministers initially proposed allowing expert witnesses to give evidence to the jury on how rape victims behave. But that idea, which circuit judges described as a "minefield", has been shelved. The panel is expected to recommend an information booklet, a video or directions from the judge. A proposal for a statutory definition of "capacity to consent" - to deal with situations where a woman was so drunk it was questionable whether she had the power to say yes or no - has also been scrapped.

Baird said legislation was unnecessary since the court of appeal had set out in a case last March how juries should approach the issue when it quashed the conviction of Benjamin Bree, a 25-year-old software engineer found guilty of raping a 19-year-old student after a night of binge drinking.

The reforms include proposals to allow victims to substitute a videotaped interview with police for their initial evidence in court. Restrictions on the admissibility of "hearsay" evidence - occasions when the woman confided in friends or relatives - about the rape will also be removed.

Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, welcomed the proposed changes but added: "These changes will not by themselves lead to a significant improvement in the conviction rate as most cases fail long before they get to court.

"Responses to allegations of rape need to improve across the whole criminal justice system and wholesale reform is needed to tackle the failures in the investigation and prosecution of rape cases."

Friday, November 23, 2007

China and the Lamas.

The Chinese government has brought in a law making it illegal to reincarnate without their permission. It's all because the Dalai Lama is now 72 and they want some control over the next one.

As well as imprisoning the Panchen Lama chosen by the current Dalai Lama, they have nominated their own Panchen Lama which could potentially lead to *two* Dalai Lamas being appointed on the current one's death - one officially sanctioned by the Chinese government, the other by the Tibetan and other Buddhists.

The current Dalai Lama has said that he will reincarnate, and that he won't reincarnate as a Tibetan, leaving the interesting position of the Chinese Government having to sanction a Tibetan person in the position.

Interesting stuff!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

TJ Hughes sends you a hug

with their faulty lighting, in Sheffield city centre tonight.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


(What is glurge? Glurge is best described as the cloyingly sentimental stories, testimonials and object lessons frequently sent as email or chain letters. Glurge can also be experienced at the end of religious services or motivational speeches, usually in the form of a 'true' example of perseverance against seemingly impossible odds. read more...

Emma's Story

Many years ago, a new family moved into our neighborhood, little six-year-old Emma and her mom and dad. They were a fine and upstanding Christian family. The first Christmas they were there, her parents bought Emma a fluffy white little bunny which she called Buster. Emma loved Buster with all her heart, and it brought such joy to me to watch Buster and Emma playing happily in their garden.

One day, Buster fell ill, and Emma and her parents carefully carried him to the car and drove off to the vet's. But on the way, a drunk driver drove through a red light and crashed into Emma's car. Her dad and the bunny died instantly, and Emma's mom died three days later in the hospital, never having come out of a coma.

Emma was alone in the world, a scared, sad little girl. Looking at her, I could hardly believe it was the same child who'd played with with such delight with Buster in their garden. I learned from the police that they couldn't find any other members of Emma's family, and that she was indeed alone in the world. Emma would in all likelihood go to an orphanage.

I prayed to Jesus to help me find a way to help little Emma. And He spoke to me deep in my heart and told me what to do. Jesus told her that my husband and I--who had not been blessed with a child of our own--must adopt her. He said it would be a hard road, I would have to fight for her, but that little Emma needed a new mommy and that I had been chosen. Suddenly, my spirit filled with His love and goodness, and weeping, I knew He was right.

On Christmas Eve, the final adoption approval was given, and Emma moved into our home.

Slowly, with help from the Lord, Emma came to love us as her own parents. Every night, I'd pray with her, thanking Jesus for His love and for all our blessings and our happy family. Once again, Emma became the contented little girl I'd known before tragedy had descended on her.

But then, one night as we were praying, she asked the question I'd been half-expecting, half-dreading. She looked up at me with her big, blue, innocent eyes, and said, "Mommy, if God loves us all, why does He let bad things happen? Why did He let my first mommy and daddy and Buster die?"

I smiled sadly and prayed silently for a moment to Jesus to help me find the words. But just as I was about to answer, Emma interrupted me.

"See, if God is omnipotent, then he cannot be omnibenevolent given that evil exists in the world. It's not logically consistent. And don't give me that crap about 'free will' because that's not compatible with God's omniscience, which must surely extend into the future."

Taken aback, I prayed silently again to Jesus to help me find the words. And He gave them to me. But before I could speak, Emma, seeming to read my mind, smiled softly and shook her head.

"And no, that garbage about 'God moves in mysterious ways' won't cut it either. Don't you think it's incredibly convenient that Christians have no problem giving credit to God for the good stuff, but anything bad that happens is just pushed into the too-hard basket? And you've got to admit, it's strangely self-serving to believe that the entire, majestic cosmos was made just to be wallpaper for a single species of primate on an insignificant planet on a spiral of a rather average galaxy, isn't it?"

As those questioning eyes gazed up at me, I realized she was right. And that night, I became an atheist. What a relief.

If you love cute, fluffy, white bunnies and little girls with big blue eyes, and really hate drunk drivers, please pass this email on. Jesus wants you to.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Updates 13/10.

Newly Added Blogs

Anti-Pornography Activist
Daily Dose of Imagery
Javajive - Photography from Indonesia
3 a.m. from Kyoto
Spice of Life
Newly Added Sites

The Feminist E-Zine
Free Sewing Book

Of Interest

In June, I wrote about my city flooding - not something that ever happens here, and a shock to everyone. According to Environmental Defense in America, global warming will cause more and more flooding. The Spicy Cauldron eloquently discusses the same issue. Will we ever listen??

Trying to reduce your plastic carrier bag usage? Well, don't shop at Primark! Refusing a carrier bag just isn't allowed for security reasons. Ridiculous! Complain, quick!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women and Pensions (UK)

Because women often need to take breaks from our careers, to have children or because of caring responsibilities, it's quite common for us to lose out on a state pension due to lack of National Insurance contributions.

So, as a service to the women of Britain aged over 60, I'm sharing this article from the fab Money Saving Expert site.

Are you a woman over 60 who doesn't get a state pension?
Are you a woman over 60 who doesn’t get a state pension? Get £1000s back
What's this about?

A parliamentary question by a Lib Dem MP has shown that many women in their 60s are unnecessarily missing out on the state pension. To get a pension you need to have paid national insurance for 10 years of your working life; around 750,000 women are believed to be very near, but just under, this threshold.

By offering to pay a few £100, if you're near the threshold you can start to get the basic pension of £87 a week, and get a backdated payout from your 60th birthday, which is likely to be £1000s.

The reason I write 'offering' is actually you won't need to pay them money - it can just be taken from your payout. E.g you need to pay £340 of National Insurance to get your entitlement; and then you're owed £2000 back pay. The £340 then just comes out of the back pay.

Who's affected?

Women most likely to be affected are those that have paid some national insurance contributions but may have taken a break to have children, and not quite met the 10 year contribution quota to get a pension. But if you're a woman over 60 and aren't withdrawing a state pension, check now.

How to check

The quickest way to check is to call the National Insurance Deficiency Helpline on 0845 915 5996.

Explain your situation and ask how far off the required national insurance contributions you are to get a pension. You won't actually need to part with any money; the top-up contributions will simply be deducted from the backdated pension you are owed.

What you need to find out is

A. How much more national insurance must I pay to get a pension?
B. How much will the pension be each week?
C. How much will I get backdated?

Assuming the benefit of B and C outweigh A.... go for it!

Will I lose benefits elsewhere if I draw a pension?

Drawing a pension may affect other means-tested benefits, but this differs case by case. The best thing to do is follow the steps above to check whether you may be eligible and if it's worth it.

Also if you are married, have a husband more than 5 years older than you and are drawing a pension on his contributions you're unlikely to benefit.

More information

This was first reported on BBC Radio 4 by the Moneybox team... if you're looking at this it's well worth reading the article and listening to the audio.

Read the BBC article: Pension Boost For Older Women
Listen to Radio 4: MoneyBox Item on this pension boost

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Great news, via the Indie and the f-word, Major airline refuses to help with forcible removal of immigrants.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Published: 08 October 2007

An important part of the Government's immigration policy has suffered a serious blow after a leading airline announced it would no longer carry failed asylum-seekers who were being forcibly removed from the United Kingdom.

XL Airways, which has a fleet of 24 aircraft, said it was opposed to the policy because it had "sympathy for all dispossessed people in the world".

Last week, The Independent revealed that hundreds of failed asylum-seekers have claimed they have suffered physical and racial abuse during the removal process at the hands of private security guards.

The Government relies on airlines using chartered and scheduled aircraft to deport asylum-seekers who have failed to win a right to remain in the UK.

In an email to a campaign group which supports failed asylum seekers, XL said its chief executive had told the Government it had not "fully understood" the political dimensions of these flights. In February, one of its aircraft was used to deport 40 failed asylum-seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the Government's "operation castor".

Now it has emerged that the airline has written to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns confirming its decision to pull out of any further flights. The XL email, sent on 12 September, said: "We had a contract with the Government along with other carriers, for a range of flying. Under this contract we operated one flight in February to DR Congo as part of this contract, without full understanding of the political dimensions involved.

"Our chief executive [Phillip Wyatt] had made it quite clear to all concerned that we will not be operating any further flights of this nature ... We are not neutral on the issue and have sympathy for all dispossessed persons in the world, hence our stance."

A spokesman for the airline told The Independent the Government had been informed of its decision. Other airlines are now expected to make their own objections public.

It is not known how many airlines have contracted to carry failed asylum-seekers but it is estimated that the Government pays out several million pounds each year. Emma Ginn, of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, said last night: "It's time airlines rethink what they are doing. Shareholders and customers will be horrified by the reality of what happens to deportees taken for these flights."

The Borders and Immigration Agency, the government body that has responsibility for forced removals, has refused to disclose details, requested under the Freedom of Information Act, about deportation flights. The agency said: "If we were to disclose the information you have requested, this would prejudice the number of airlines willing to contract with the agency on charter operations and could drive up the cost of such operations. In addition, the release of information could damage commercially those airlines who offer this service."

British Airways and Virgin, who were contacted by The Independent, said their aircraft had been used for the purposes of escorted deportations as they were under a legal obligation to return failed asylum-seekers. A Virgin spokesperson said: "That is a matter for the Home Office, who makes immigration policy. We are simply not qualified to make those decisions."

British Airways refused to say how many removals it carried out each year, but said it adopted a policy of permitting one escorted or two unescorted removals per flight : "It is UK law and we comply with it – it's like asking whether we are happy paying income tax."

But a Home Office spokesman said the Borders and Immigration Agency only contracted with airlines willing to operate removal flights. He added: "The agency uses agents/brokers to arrange both charter and scheduled removals. Airline captains have the right to refuse carriage of a passenger

Helen Mirren is Impossibly Beautiful. But she looks so much better without!

Be proud to make a difference - Subvert an Army Ad

Market Forces, Many men consider buying sex as just another form of shopping, but their attitude is fuelling the trafficking of women to work in the trade
from The Guardian.

Let the Brailleway take the strain - very funny article about Braille signs in train toilets from BBC Ouch.

Coolest search results on the hippie blog referrer list:
average penis size - ringsurf

self inflicted supermarket injuries

old hairy women smokers

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dreams and What They Mean.

A few nights ago I dreamt that I bought a pack of 3 rolls of sellotape. I needed to sellotape up an envelope so I got one roll out and cut off a long piece. It was only when I stuck it to the envelope that I realised that the tape was made up of a long row of photos of Tony Blair.

I looked at the second roll, to find that that was made up of photos of Cherie Booth. I decided this was preferable and so cut some off to cover up the Bliar pics, which I would be too embarrassed to put anywhere!

I didn't look at the third roll.

My questions to you:
1) Whose photos were covering the third roll of sellotape?
2) What the hell was the whole thing about anyway?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Burma Solidarity Demo in Sheffield this Monday.

Dear Friends,

I'm sure all of you will be aware of what's happening
at the moment in Burma. You might also be aware that
Sheffield has the most Karen (ethnic minority from
Burma) refugees of any town in the UK.

The Karen community have organised a solidarity demo
this Monday 1st October, meeting at 4:30 outside the
town Hall / Peace Gardens.

These are incredibly exciting times, the closest the
grassroots Burmese have come to overthrowing the
military junta in 20 years. Every day they're risking
their lives to challenge a brutal regime. It would be
nice to let them know that people in other countries
support what they're doing.

If any of you can come, please do so.

Hope to see you there,


Burmese More Isolated.

Internet access and mobile phone networks in Burma have been disrupted, to prevent the dissemination of information about the uprising. Soldiers are searching people for mobile phones and cameras.

We need to follow and support all the information we can find from the people in this situation.

Accounts from Inside Burma

Photos from Inside Burma

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free Burma

Free Burma, originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.


There are amazing people in Burma risking their lives to take, and spread, word, photographs and film of what is really happening there at the moment.

Two of these people are gmhembree and NaingKo on flickr.

Looking at these photos, direct from the people witnessing these events is powerful, and brings to mind the huge risks being taken for truth and democracy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I saw a TV ad for Evans earlier, and none of the models could have been more than a size 14, I'm sure. Given that this is a clothes shop for women of sizes 16 upwards, going up to size 28 or 30 I think, that is crap!

I wasn't represented. It didn't make me want to shop there because they have clothes for bigger women.

It made me feel like 'there's yet another shop who designs their clothes for thin people' when they are the only high street shop who supposedly don't!

Who are they supposed to be selling to? Big women? Why not use them in their bloody ads then?


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How to Lose on Ebay...

From an email from a lovely person who doesn't have a blog I can link to...

You may have seen this in the paper (or elsewhere)
This guy listed it, with a spelling mistake in the subject line.

This guy bought it and re-listed it *without* the spelling mistake...