Friday, October 31, 2003


Don't forget

Buy Nothing Day is coming around again....

In the US and Canada it is November 28th (day after Thanksgiving) but in the UK and Europe it is November 29th.

Just go one day without shopping...

You can even check out Buy Nothing Christmas, if you are so inclined...
Ah tea-break!

so it's Halloween again. It never was a party when I was a kid, but American influences and capitalism's desire for a 'theme' to sell junk with have conspired to create yet another silly holiday. To me it's the Celtic New Year's Eve. The trick or treating is just like the carol singing / begging for food and drink bit that the poor used to do at Christmas.

We don't have ordinary days any more. Every day is a winner. Every day is a feast (hence the obesity epidemic), a day for a 'treat'. I don't know why we don't just get the calendar and combine all the days we have - from Mother's Day (traditional) to Father's Day (recent invention) - from Christmas to Easter - from birthdays to wedding anniversaries - from No Smoking Day to Smoking Day (when smokers are allowed to enjoy a cigarette ANYWHERE without anyone being allowed to complain - well, I know I made it up, but perhaps it's only fair).

So, eventually , we could end up with a continuous calendar and they could ALWAYS sell us something - National Pink Day - Random Acts of Kindness Day - .

For me this is an appropriately 'death and spirits' day, as my best friend (at the time) managed to drop dead on this day several years ago...while I was clearing out my mother's effects shortly after her death. It was all a bit of a shock. Not a lot to celebrate, but just time for a quiet thought for 'absent friends'.

And one of Ali's black cats just died (suddenly) too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Well, it was very interesting watching people bid on the Labyrinth script. What a strange and remote business eBay is - people could be literally anywhere. I have stuck the old crew shirt up now, just to see what happens. I must admit, I still don't find buying and selling things very easy.

Anyway - I got some magic books for Alf this week - and fascinating stuff it is indeed. I loved the warped way of thinking that goes with magic. It's the same ingenuity which is so crucial in (say) heist movies...

I love the thinking most. I am not much of a practitioner any more, but you never know with a revitalised hobby...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Who was Bucky Fuller?

Fuller was a practical philosopher who demonstrated his ideas as inventions that he called “artifacts.” Some were built as prototypes; others exist only on paper; all he felt were technically viable. He was a dogged individualist whose genius was felt throughout the world for nearly half a century. Even Albert Einstein was prompted to say to him, “Young man, you amaze me!”

In 1927, at the age of 32, Buckminster Fuller stood on the shores of Lake Michigan, prepared to throw himself into the freezing waters. His first child had died. He was bankrupt, discredited and jobless, and he had a wife and new-born daughter. On the verge of suicide, it suddenly struck him that his life belonged, not to himself, but to the universe. He chose at that moment to embark on what he called “an experiment to discover what the little, penniless, unknown individual might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity.” Over the next fifty-four years, he proved, time and again, that his most controversial ideas were practical and workable.
Check out the Bucky Fuller Institute and Spaceship Earth.

I just joined and went for the map and crew shirt.

“Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all, to feed everybody, clothe everybody, give every human on earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before—that we now have an option for all humanity to “make it” successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Why not check out the Simple Living Network anyway...

Or this sad but relevant article, for creative types who don't want to get trapped into work they don't enjoy....
Is this guy right?


* After paying 15 years on your 30 year mortgage, you'll still owe 90% of the amount you borrowed!

* After paying nearly 24 years, you'll still owe over 50%!

* You will pay over 3 TIMES the amount you originally borrowed before paying off your mortgage!

* To make matters worse, the FDIC estimates that 1 out of every 2 mortgages are miscalculated, overcharging homeowners $8 - $10 billion dollars each and every year!

* Of the 52 million mortgages in the U.S., only 2.7% of homeowners ever prepay for more than a year!
(How sad).

* It will take nearly $500,000 in gross income to net $300,000 in mortgage payments to pay off a $100,000 loan!

* If you move about every 5 to 7 years, like most Americans, you are really paying 91% of your payments toward interest on your loan!

* After paying every month for 10 years, you will have paid off only about 10% of your loan!

WEEKLY OR BI-WEEKLY: What the Experts are Saying!

Your mortgage is costing you $50,000 to $100,000 more in unnecessary interest payments.

For those of you who have picked up on my anarchist anger (with a green tinge) I will offer another object of hate.

The Enclosure Acts.

I am not romancing the life of Celts or Saxons, but nevertheless it was only really after the Norman Conquest that so much land was taken from the common people and given to individuals. And there was a fresh wave of Enclosures in the 17th 18th and 19th Centuries in the UK.

What's worse is that (by colonisation) we passed this concept of 'land ownership' around the world - imposing it on people to whom it made little sense to 'own' land....

"A third problem was the U.S. Government's inability to understand the native way of life and religious practices. The standard EuroAmerican way of life revolved around the private ownership of land and property. These ideals were not embraced by Indian Nations. Theirs was a communal life style with no concept of private land ownership. Some nations were nomadic but maintained a specific territory they considered their own. Others were sedentary farmers but maintained communal fields and shared their harvest. All of this flew in the face of the EuroAmerican "religion" of privatization and had to cease."

We use bits of paper with magic runes on them to 'prove' ownership. Accurate maps are to do with property boundaries. Native 'maps' were different.

"The obvious difference between European and native maps was the result in their differing views of land usage. For Europeans, land ownership was determined by "right of discovery." The native concept of land stewardship contrasted with the European view. While the colonists engaged in a land grab which required deeds, maps and written records, Natives relied on their oral tradition to describe social relations with nature. All land was viewed as commonly owned, while fishing and hunting grounds and crop fields were assigned to clans or bands. Land use reflected mobile, migratory patterns that changed with the seasons, and sometimes through tribal warfare.

That a society would require paper to demarcate land was a totally alien concept to Native Americans. "

And then in recent decades, as people got bored with the 'landlord' role, with its responsibilities for maintaining the property, collect rent, etc, the rich elite came up with another grand scheme - keep the reins on the land, but get people to borrow huge sums to hand over in a lump (rather than a trickle of rent) - tell them they now 'own' it, and leave them with the problem of paying it all within their they got people to sign a 'death pledge or wager' (mortgage) is another matter.

A serious consequence of this pattern was that (if you don't have to pay cash, but just promise your life away) the bidding for this dubious pleasure of 'ownership' can go through the roof ("I'll promise 20 year's earnings!" I'll promise 25!" "OK I'll promise all the money I'll ever earn, and I'll throw in my children's earnings as well") and this ever-receding debt is the 'value' of the property goes people have to promise more. And the rich, the banks, the original landowners get all that money 'up front'...and when people find they can't pay it, guess what happens, it turns out they never 'owned' it at all, as it reverts to the bank...

And I am studying the 'short cons' like The Three Card Trick, but those street hustlers can't hold a candle to the big money and the old money people....

[rant over] [he sings...] "Don't Fence Me In....."

"Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,
Don't fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in."


"I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hovels and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in."

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

"If you can see your path laid out
in front of you step by step, you know
it's not your path. Your own path you
make with every step you take. That's
why it's your path."

--Joseph Campbell

Strange time warp last night. I went down to the juggling workshop, where people were still buzzing from the show last week. I think it is a motivator when people see a good show - they suddenly realise they could be in the next one! That makes people work on the skills with a bit more enthusiasm.

I saw Andy and Jenny with their new baby. "Welcome to the planet!"

Then Cathy gave me a copy of a book from 1976 with me juggling on the cover! It's out of print and I haven't seen one for years. Strange to see oneself at age 27, juggling under a was the first rip-off. John Hedgecoe never did pay me for modelling that shot...

Then to top that I bumped into Simon from the original Balls-up crew who remembered me from when I ran a juggling convention in Spain, up in the mountains at Castellar de la Frontera. It was a good time, but it was also a long time ago (back when I was 40 years old, in 1986!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Sadly, my scanner has died, so it is hard to put photos up on the web which were not digital. I have recently found some old negatives (having lost all my photo history in a disaster a few years back) and have got a few prints done. Mostly on the set of Labyrinth, with Keili...with me looking forty years young.

Hey ho, I guess I'll get to replace it with what I get from the script on eBay. I always seem to break even - I never get in front! Just the way this life is, I guess...

I didn't exactly choose to be a poor recluse living in 'voluntary poverty' - it was more the 'involuntary poverty ' of someone who was willing to starve to do work he enjoyed (Artist in a Garret) - or, if you aren't romantic - someone so selfish and irresponsible that he never really played the game or paid his way in society. Take your pick.

Still - breaking even is pretty good, you know, in a world of debt (called 'credit' in Orwellian Double-Speak).

Monday, October 20, 2003

I was very happy yesterday, as I managed to get to see Jacques Tati's "Play Time" in a cinema. I saw it originally in 70mm which was the way it was shot, and I remember how it doesn't work on television (so much of it depends on the long shot). It was uproarious...wonderful!

I had forgotten so many details. It takes me back to the 70s, when I was studying clowning, and made a point of seeking out ALL films with physical comedy in, and watching them analytically. Tati was always one of my favourites. Part of the reason is the genuine kindness behind the comedy - it is (at the most) teasing about other people's folly, never cruel or sarcastic. He is quoted as saying "I should like to make films that are not lowering to the spirit".

The close observation of the tiny comedy moments of everyday life is flawless, and was extremely relevant to me as a street performer (not working in the disciplined and controlled environment of the theatre).

His films do not force jokes on you - they use wide shots, so you can see the whole body (so much comedy is in legs), and can choose where to look on the screen. There are little details everywhere - and elegant visual jokes and echoes, as well as perhaps the most creative soundtracks ever.

He says he likes his films to be "about everybody but also about nobody big" and that is evident as your eye wanders around the frame, watching all the different characters who (in ordinary movies) would be merely 'extras'....

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Here's a thing, I knew you were going to look in here today (spooky isn't it?) so I did a Tarot reading for you and this is what it came up with. I could do it in more detail if I could meet you, of course, but I hope you find it interesting:

"You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic"

If you want to pursue this and get a more detailed reading, look at my earlier posting, under Barnum.
It's funny that magic should be cool again. (Some of these slang words just keep on keeping on, how come 'cool' doesn't go out of fashion?)

I like the exposure of psychic frauds, but then I enjoy anything that destroys dangerous illusions (delusions) like the false over-importance people give to religion, money, politics, etc. Unfortunately, many of the methods are (of course) the same. It is hard to stand by and hear co-workers talking as though David Blaine can levitate, and REALLY hard not to go 'it's just this!' [Warning:spoiler: don't go there if you prefer the illusion]

Everyone knows David Copperfield doesn't claim to levitate, he is a stage illusionist who can appear to fly...but I saw actors flying (live) on stage in Peter Pan when I was about 6 (1952). Mr Copperfield does a beautiful job of it, but it's nothing new. Blaine was walking in that dangerous territory that Geller took over (not just allowing people to be mystified, but implying even more). I saw a South Park with a David Blaine cult which was spot on. People wanna believe. There's little we can do about it. Silly explanations like 'The Masked Magician' stuff is OK, but dull. Trying to stop people falling for obvious cons and false claims is well-intentioned but almost futile (ever argued with a fundamentalist Christian about whether the Old Testament is actually the Jewish Torah? - I mean, I just say 'look it up' but I bet they don't.)

You can still get thrown out of the Magic Circle though, either for exposing tricks, or for claiming 'special powers' (although that's a fine line for mentalists and the Derren Brown's of this world). Here's an Angry Magician reviewing a rather crap program called 'Secrets of Magic' and here's the story of the Magic Circle asking the people who produced it to resign.Look at Sept 21st.

And, in passing, I find it hard to feel sorry for Roy after getting mauled by the white tiger. My cat used to scratch me sometimes, if I touched a nerve, (nothing personal) so if you own really big cats and then tap them on the nose with a microphone, it's kind of your own fault, in my opinion. I feel more sorry for the tiger.

So Mr 'chubby' Blaine doesn't seem to have died...most people are sure he is swapped out when the cherry picker goes up to clean the box. It's probably 'agents provocateurs' who throw the eggs and paint balls anyway (otherwise they would have no excuse to take a cherry-picker anywhere NEAR the box). Put him in the self-publicist performance art bracket and I say 'well, good luck mate' but "magic"? Naaaah...
I watched a bit of tv last night (first time for a while). It was interesting to see the latest evolution of 'dancing instead of fighting' from The States. Clowning and Krumpin'. I gotta say it isn't as exciting or as magical as BreakDancing was when it first hit, as that was such an exciting mixture of the stuff I was into myself (acrobatic tumbling, mime, stage fighting, slapstick, etc). This was more frenzied, more angry. But, OK, that's probably the way that it is - it's an expression of just how bad it can get down there amongst the oppressed. Fascinating stuff though.

Then there was yet another episode of Channel 5's Psychic Secrets Revealed (which the Guardian, tellingly, described as revealing 'the disappointing trickery behind more allegedly psychic feats'. Alistair Cook (one of the Monkey Magic crew) does convincing demos, and then exposes the method. Of course, most people are true believers...they wanna believe, or, as one of the Barnum statements they used in the Tarot reading said "you are sceptical about psychic matters, but like to keep an open mind". The bunch of people who had readings were all told exactly the same script, and afterwards they each assessed the accuracy of the 'reading' as between 80% and 99% accurate. Sad, huh?

It's also amusing to me to see how 'sad old git stuff' like clowning in fright wigs and makeup (Tommy the Clown and his social work in the Hood), or conjuring, are 'cool' again - when they have been so essentially naff for so many years. What goes round comes round.

Anyway - for those not in the UK, this is the Friday night schedule for the winter. A new series of Ab Fab, and although it is a little tired, I still love the female cast and the self mockery and savagery (and, of course, I have a thing for Joanna Lumley).

And then (treats) we got a new series of Have I Got News for You - with more rudeness and intelligence. Not a bad evening.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Don't you love Doonesbury huh? don't ya?

This was an archive link to his take on Blogs, last October 21 and following's worth clicking through the calendar days, if only to find out the real identity of Jenny McTagarty Girl Pirate "the blogger's blogger" - and where she is writing from...................

It's a great archive to explore (maybe in your lunch hour......)
Oh, and talking of money (as I was before - or BELOW, in this context) don't forget to put Buy Nothing Day in your diary for November 28th.

Of course, I know I can't really change any people, not even close friends, who have accepted the whole idea of getting through lives they don't really enjoy by giving themselves 'treats' the whole time...

But I have a soft spot for alternatives which may (still) carry us into the future.

The Sixties was only a seedbed, just a mere glimpse - and a lot of forces have worked on trashing the dreams that started back there - they have worked on making them unfashionable, or silly, they have done character assassination on individuals and groups - but they can't keep the dream away.

As Bucky Fuller pointed out, you can't rush the acceptance of new ideas, but you can't stop them when their time has come, either. So at least go and have a look at some of the ideas on the Adbusters site - LETS schemes, alternative economies for local communities, etc.

Enjoy! And don't take offence, don't take it too personally - we are all walking wounded under State Capitalism...
In my endless quest to try things out, I have now finally gone into the market place again. Although I love markets (started out street performing in Mexico in the markets and town squares) I have never been much good at buuying and selling THINGS.

I just don't understand 'value' and 'worth' and haggling and all that stuff.

"WAS £99, now only £50" surely means "We originally asked a silly price, but now we are getting realistic, if we want to get rid of the thing".

"Worth £100 but we are selling it for £50" is surely meaningless, as it can only be worth what someone is willing to pay for it at the time. There is no permanent 'value' on anything - that's the same illusion that money is real wealth, when it appears to me to be simply a measurement of wealth - and I would never try to hoard inches or degrees Centrigrade.

You can see why me and Capitalism never got on, and why I have never had more than the cash in my pocket....If you charge interest you'll get inflation, surely it's obvious (sigh).

Anyway, back then I could only offer services (amusement or hard work) in the market place, but not things. I tended to trade those or give them away, rather than have to carry them around.

So it's a big adventure for me to take my last film memento and stick it on eBay. Everything else got given, loaned, traded, or abandoned, lost or destroyed along the way. It's just that I wanted to try eBay (having read the book) and was stumped for something odd enough to offer up.

So - tonight I put up my original Labyrinth script, just to see how this stuff works. I'll be quite happy if I don't sell it, but I didn't put a high hold price on it. If it doesn't get bid up to the price of a trip to Barcelona then I hope someone who loves it gets it.


I still have a pile of call sheets and shooting schedules, photos from the set and other stuff to wade through for the memories....all fascinating stuff. To me.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

I just came across some photos I took of Pete with his fire whip (I kid you not).
It may be that this year's little adventure is over now. I don't have any other conventions lined up, and I certainly don't go out looking.

It was fun to come across these photos of us all hanging around in Charleroi with Mark Dermul - who came to save us from a fĂȘte worse than death (OK, OK, just a rather quiet morning).

It's only a joke, Aurélien, honestly! I am not sure that puns translate very well.....

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

And if you want to really freak yourself out, try this

But don't blame me if you don't know what to do after......

Microsofties can try Alt+F4

or Ctrl+Alt+Del and kill the sesssion....

Don't say you weren't warned.... Just don't push the button!
You'll need Flash and Stereo to enjoy this one
Honestly, a lot of people like this joke
Or this more library orientated one
I can't remember if I showed you the end of Internet before....
Having my day off today (I'll work Saturday, instead). I am not fully recovered from that cold. I enjoyed watching Lovejoy on morning tv (I have a soft spot for the lovable rogue) but I am appalled at all the daytime tv offers of money.

I seriously do think we need to reword these ads. I mean:

"Worried about your financial situation? Let us sort it out" means "Why not borrow MORE, and get DEEPER in debt!" Of course the monthly payouts will be less, because they will go on for a lot more months (or years). I can't believe I am the only one who hears stuff this way.

I am not completely shocked, of course. Growing up in the 50s I heard people talk about Christianity as though they really believed that stuff (not just as though they were too scared to criticize their own culture, or disagree with their parents). I just couldn't believe that people could 'compartmentalize' like that. I am not talking about just ignorant people - but college professors, and such. You can't be the Prime Minister or the President of the USA without spouting this guff (oh, sorry, without claiming to believe the embedded religion of the culture).

I also understood how people can turn a deaf ear to their internal common sense, because I was a vegetarian when that was an extremely odd thing to be - and got used to hearing all the imaginary defences that people invented for persisting in cultural patterns. At least (now) meat-eaters sound sheepish (sorry!) when they discuss the issue - they tend to sound like smokers - they either say 'I know I ought to give it up' or they defiantly say ' I don't care about my health, I LIKE it'.

Personally I don't care. I was never a 'moral' vegetarian judging others - I am a veggie the way rabbits are - I never even thought about it - I never resisted temptation, or gave anything up - I just am that way by nature.

Similarly - when I stopped believing in Tooth Fairies and Santa Claus I assumed that everyone else would also 'grow up' and put Jesus where he belongs in the fairy tales of our childhood - so I find it strange that grown-ups hang onto their 'teddy bear/security blanket' like that.

And so back to money. 1% of the population of the planet owns most of it. The rest is usury. If money is lent at interest, then inflation is inevitable. If you can borrow against all future earnings you don't have to be paid properly. You can sell all your future earnings for a roof over your head, and return to slavery voluntarlly.

It's amazing. People still fall for that old Three Card Trick. Well, I am skint, and I never have any property to speak of, but I don't owe my future to anyone, and I am still in a position to make a sudden change if the impulse strikes me (I am no more insecure now than I ever was).

Incoherent jottings, I know, but it's not the Third World who is failing to pay their debt, its the USA and the UK - two wealthy countries living well beyond their means almost entirely on borrowed money and assets. We ought to be ashamed - especially as we are not just surviving, but becoming obese with over-consumption, and restless for more and more and more - holidays, treats, presents, toys - more, and more and more.

OK, I'll shut up now. I'd better clean my 8' x 10' room....

Monday, October 13, 2003

I keep forgetting how bad my layout is, and how many things get lost. One day I'll really think about being an Information Architect, and redesign this site. It just grew, you see.

I had completely forgotten this page of links, compiled one wet Sunday - great stuff for magicians and jugglers.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

I really enjoyed my Maybe Logic DVD of Robert Anton Wilson's life. I recommend this DVD (I got an early release, but the standard edition is now available) and there is an interview with the film maker here, if you have no idea what I am talking about.

I don't get to The States much, so I am not likely to be able to go to a screening, or help out, but these are the current dates, from their newsletter:

"Nov. 1-3 Clinton Street Theater - Portland, OR
Nov. 15 Van East Cinema - Vancouver, B.C.
- after-party will follow the Vancouver show
Nov. 17-18 Van Duzer Theatre at HSU - Arcata, CA
- Q&A w/ filmmakers on the 18th on HSU campus

From the newsletter:

"We need some assistance spreading fliers
around the above towns as well as any other
pirate or legitimate promo contributions. So,
if you would like to help, or have a media
connection or two, please contact us []
and we'll get you the promo materials and a
couple tickets to the show. If you live near
these cities, tell every critter you know!"
The circus's one night show was absolutely great!

It was a tribute for ten years of Splott State Community Circus, and there was a mixture of performers - amateur and professional. There were also some of the crew from more recent incarnations of NoFit State. I enjoyed it all (it's always a good sign when I stop taking notes and pretending to be a 'circus critic') - and then went to a very late night party.

I am so hungover today that I can't tell that I have got a cold. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not - that's like hitting your thumb with a hammer to stop you noticing the toothache (or something).

I am enjoying mingling with the magic gang again. I am getting to do research for people (given that my own knowledge is scattered and unsystematic, but wider than many people's) and that inevitably involves spending money, too....hey ho.

I really like the mental exercise of 'thinking like a conjuror', and if I actually put some practice in I might still have a way of making a living when I am forcibly retired without a pension....stranger things have happened (to me).

Friday, October 10, 2003

Well, I gave up, and didn't go to work. Two days. I feel terrible.

However - I noticed a fair few visitors today (See the Stats at the bottom of the Home Page) - so that's good news.

Hi everyone!

And I may have heard word of a few more Star Wars call sheets to add to the few I have. Only as photocopies, of course, but the information really helps pull together the memories of those faraway days....more on this later maybe.

I am now seriously considering putting my 'Labyrinth' material up on eBay. I've given away or lost all my other film souvenirs, without ever checking whether they really are as valuable to collectors out there as the rumours have it.

I guess this is my last chance to try and find out (and if it's not great, well, someone who wants it will get it. If the bidding goes up and up, well I can kick myself about all those bits and pieces (crew shirts, belt buckles, small props, name tags, call sheets, scripts, etc) which I have spread around so casually.

It was the travelling life, you see. If you don't have a basement or a loft, and you have to carry everything (not even pile it into a car) when you move - you tend to give stuff away. It's lighter that way.

Hey ho.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Oh no! Julie has been quite ill the last few days with a 'bug' (flu or whatever) which I didn't get, but now I seem to have all the first round of symptoms, so if I go downhill rapidly I may have to take a day or two off work, and I'll probably neglect my blog/email/website.

Nothing personal - I am just a bad invalid - but once I do give up I let go completely.

I grew up with 'the show must go on' (the old theatre rule) and moved into the circus (if you're not dead you can do your act) so I do tend to battle on, but that does have to be balanced by how sensible it is to go into work and infect everyone else....

How popular would a children's entertainer be if they pop in to do a school show and leave their snuffle behind? Of course, the library is a perfect breeding ground - it's a sick building anyway, and is a refuge for a lot of people - including the old the sick and the lame and loads of kids, if the city has got something, we get exposed to it.

I'll get off now - it's not a pretty sight, watching a grown man feel sorry for himself.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Dull reading for others, I guess. Sorry about that, but I do notes to myself, and that's at least part of what this blog is for.

I was amused to visit the Blue Harvest site again. Back in 99 I wandered on to the Net for the first idea how browsers worked, etc. Now I work on computers, and have done other online interviews, gone to conventions organised by email, and all in 3-4 years.

Here's my first ever posting to a guest book:

Fri Feb 5 22:31:37 1999 Toby Philpott (Host:

I just stumbled into cyberspace this week, and like most people I began by looking for friends and myself... Back in 1982 I operated the left hand, head body and tongue of Jabba in 'Return' (then known as Blue Harvest, or occasionally 'Revenge of The Jedi' (as I am sure you all know better than me...) Many years have passed since that six week's work, and I get no repeat fees, just reflected glory. Hello to you all anyway, and especially to anyone else who worked on that particular set. Be Seeing You.

Friday, October 03, 2003

PS: the contrary view

In case anyone thinks I am preaching Omega at you - don't forget all the previous discussion which reckoned that unsaturated vegetable oils were bad for you.

Go read Raymond Peat, for instance.

We are extremely complex creatures, it is an extremely complex environment, and everything is changing all the time.

All generalizations are dangerous (even this one)

I do wish people would start treating us as intelligent, and not do all public health information in Black and White forms of Good and Bad for you.

Giving things up, Having to include this.

What we need these days is a little more of the 'fuzzy logic' approach...let's talk about both Use and Abuse of substances. Get into the grey areas.

Whatever happened to moderation, and 'A little of what you fancy does you good'?

Everyone knows you can OD on anything from chocolate to water, from alcohol to computers, from jogging to sleeping - so give us a break guys - leave out the moral lecture!

Further research needed: referring to the item below (time goes backwards in here) I should point out that Omega 3 is also linked by some research to being good for Depression, hyperactivity, allergies, heart disease, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, etc.

Check it out.

The (allegedly ideal) Mediterranean diet for omnivores includes plenty of fish, and relatively little meat. There is certainly some kind of link with regular fish eating and getting enough of these important fatty acids.

Personally, I prefer being a guinea pig for the plant-based forms. I am fairly erratic in my consumption of them, but I try to keep it up when I can.

On the national tv test for 'intelligence' (whatever that is) I scored higher than the people in the studio, and one point higher than the best on-line participant. I am not bragging, just saying what happened. So I don't think I am seriously lacking in these particular nutrients (although good genes help with some of this stuff - and the ability to synthesise some of the things you need).

I didn't watch the programme in the mayhem of realtime, but video'd it. I still did the test fairly, though - no rewinding, or pausing. I don't care what it means, I just enjoyed the mental exercise. I don't want to join MENSA (even if I could pass their more rigorous tests. But I think I have a grasp on what intelligence might mean (and it's not all blessings, being the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind). And I agree with Julie when she points out the cultural bias in IQ tests - especially when I was a child and the 11+ test in the UK was loaded towards boys.

Still, this was a generic test, with a large sample base.


When I think about intelligence I know what I mean, but it's hard to define. I feel like St Augustine "I know what time is until you ask me to define it." [paraphrase, preceding research and correction].

Still, I empathise with the idea that the planet is smart (Gaia), and that the universe is smart (not The Great Designer - noun - but smarts in action - evolution and other emergent phenomena - verbs).

And I know I could still work on my 'emotional intelligence'. There's always more work to be done in the world of Lifelong Learning.

Stupid, however, we can easily do without.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

And for those who don't know me, I have always thought there was one enemy - Stupidity [see Stupid White Men - Michael Moore] and only one 'god' - Intelligence.

My current rage is triggered by being told about Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils, and their beneficial effect on dyslexia. I have been aware of these oils for a while (it was a fad of the 80s) because being a lifelong vegetarian I have always been aware of possible gaps in my nutrition. I do the research. I didn't want to take Cod Liver Oil, though, even though people said it was essential. If you're a veggie that product couldn't really have a worse name! And I didn't even care if George Bernard Shaw (a veggie convert) took it as a supplement. I would rather die...(I used to say). I also used to point out Gorillas and Elephants if people thought veggies wouldn't grow up big and strong!

Anyway - the anger is not about our resistance to knowledge - a certain caution is wise when faced with fads (even doctors' fads) - no, it's the recurring one about hemp. How a futile attempt to stop people smoking marijuana caused the whole hemp industry to disappear - and more scary than that, to be written out of the history books. Check out books on wild plants in the UK. Most of them don't even list it, or just (maybe) mention it in the preface, and that cultivating it is illegal - it's a natural weed, for goodness sake - it doesn't need cultivating. It was the 'canvas' (cannabis) on the British Empire's sailing ships, as well as all the (hemp) ropes. It was food, fuel, clothing, etc.

Try The Emperor Wears No Clothes if you want all the facts. The short version, however, is that hemp is one of the few plants that has complete and balanced Omega 3 and 6 oils in it. It predates wheat as a food source for humans and animals. And you can buy hemp oil in Sainsbury's these days, so it's not exactly an obscure product. Flax is good, too.

Anyway, now that we are coming out of the era where hemp was air-brushed out of history (and Jack Herer puts a convincing case for opportunism on the behalf of the cotton industry (USA) and the pharmaceutical firm DuPont (USA) - who make fertilizers and pesticides and tranquilizers and nylon. Those corporations jumped in when a hick town sheriff with his 'Alcohol Prohibition department' in place didn't know what to do to avoid unemployment after they legalised alcohol again, and simply redirected his department's attention to the (then legal) pastime of the blacks and mexicans (and quite a lot of people in Hollywood and the jazz and blues sub-cultures).

Harry J Anslinger banned 'marryjewanna' one day, and all the American hemp farmers woke up the next day to find their hemp crops (for oil, livestock food, rope, canvas, etc) were suddenly illegal because Harry was too dumb to realise that the Mexican 'marijuana' he stuck in the law book was the same plant, hemp, under its Spanish name (duh!)

Instead of backing down, the USA then bullied most other countries into banning dope, and never talking about it again. It was removed from history just like those unfortunates that Stalin painted out of the photos and history books. They couldn't even acknowledge that they had ever used hemp for anything - there was/is a serious attempt to make this plant extinct!

It really would be funny if it wasn't so sad and scary. I'll award Harry J Anslinger my Stupid White Man of the day award today. [Is this the start of another regular event?]
With the system down this morning I have had a bit of frenzy. Now (as I sit and wait for the fix) I have decided to come in here.

I found a cool blog today, it was at this site - Elegant Hack Enjoy the great design....

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Alf came around to show me some magic stuff, and we traded a few ideas. I went to juggling, and found myself trying to remember moves with Linking Rings with Gordon. After manhandling a trampette to someone's house, I went to have a drink with the circus crew - which turned into quite a late one, including 'all back to my place' and a bottle of Irish Whiskey I brought back from Belgium. I left a couple of people still asleep on the floor as I bimbled out to work this morning.

Does anyone read this stuff? Does anyone really care? I am all too aware that there is a certain vanity in an online diary, but I guess it does allow people to drop in to see how I am doing, without me having to remember to 'stay in touch' all the time. Hi Julia!

Oh. 'bimbling' is a word I first heard used at Glastonbury, it's a kind of semi-unpurposeful wandering about. And that explanation isn't going to help. Sorry.
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