Friday, June 30, 2006

let them go

BBC News: World: Americas: Drawn-out endgame for Guantanamo?

Thank goodness for the Supreme Court (we could do with one of those in Britain). Presidents always try to scupper the independence of the Supreme Court by loading it with conservatives, but they inexplicably become liberal once they have security of tenure. The Court has ruled that the military commissions which were to try Guantanamo Bay detainees are illegal. And in 2004, they ruled that the detainees could bring habeas corpus suits against the US government. But the process is still taking too damn long; if the remaining detainees are not freed soon, more of them are going to crack under the insanity of the place and the way they are treated. A few of them may actually have been terrorists, but it looks as if the US army just rounded up a few random people around the Pakistan / Afghanistan border to make it look as if they were doing something in the aftermath of 9/11.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Goring and Stowe

Goring and Stowe photos - at the weekend, we went to visit some friends in Goring. On Saturday, we walked along the Thames and visited a lovely meadow.

On Sunday, they took us to Stowe, a mad landscape garden which inspired a lot of other landscape gardens (including West Wycombe, where Francis Dashwood took the micky out of Stowe).

Had lots of good coversation, marvellous food, and was introduced to Alan Moore's Promethea (Book 1).

Corfu photos

My Corfu photos are now on Flickr. As I took around 300 photos it was difficult to decide which ones to upload, but I think these are the best.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

last stand of the Bushmen

Appeal from the Bushmen of the Kalahari
This is our home, the home of our ancestors, which we have inherited from our forefathers. Our ancestors have not told us to move on. This is our ancestral land. Now we are not allowed to hunt and gather food, which we do in order to live. They have prevented us from doing this, therefore how can we survive? This is our way. This is our culture. We survive off this land that feeds us. The government have stolen our goats and banned our way of life. The government lie, they do not tell the truth, we do not choose to move, we choose to stay and live on our land. - Letter from the Bushmen of the Kalahari

If you want to take action, you can write to the Botswana government or the UK government to protest. Also visit Survival's How you can help page.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

still afloat

Geiko photo-journal

It is really interesting to see that the floating world is still afloat, despite the many changes in Japanese society. Being a geiko is such an amazing art (it's a total thing, everything they do is artistic, even opening doors) that it would be sad if it was lost. Though, if they want it to survive, they need to make some changes, according to Mineko Iwasaki.

Also this photo-journals corrects some of the misconceptions put about by the film, Memoirs of a Geisha.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

roll up!

Hurrah! People are actually going to pay money to hear us talk and Nick and I are now officially university lecturers.
10,000 Years in One Mile: the Archaeology and History of Brean Down
N Hanks MA
Course explores the rich archaeology of this Somerset headland including Bronze Age barrows, a Roman temple, a Napoleonic fort and World War Two special weapons features. Students meet in the classroom for the Saturday and attend a fieldtrip to Brean Down on Sunday (students will have to make their own way there).

A weekend course from 10.00 am to 3.30 pm on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October 2006
Department of Archaeology, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol
Fee £40 4 credits at level 0

B06J076OH An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary Paganisms

Y Aburrow BSc PGCE
This course explores the development of contemporary Paganisms over the last 50 years, examining historical antecedents and social movements. Topics covered include: historical perspectives; misperceptions; theologies; ethics; Wicca; Druidry; Heathens and Reconstructionists; Science and Paganisms.

10 meetings weekly on Wednesdays from 7.15 to 8.45 pm starting 11 October 2006
Lecture Room MA 1/2, 43 Woodland Road, Bristol
Fee £70 10 credits at level 0

Sunday, June 11, 2006

don't attack Iran

Bush refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to attack Iran

This is absolutely insane. Bush wants to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, so he is prepared to use nuclear weapons to stop them. If that happens, it will kick off full-scale war between the Muslim world and the West. It is really really frightening.

I don't know if it will do any good, but we have to make our voices heard. Go to the Our World Our Say website to take action.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I am the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker). Wild, eccentric, wacky!

4th Doctor


1st Doctor


9th Doctor


3rd doctor


10th Doctor


5th Doctor


What Doctor Who character are you?
created with

Found on rssefuirosu


My Corfu diary. Corfu was very beautiful, a green jewel dividing the Ionian and the Adriatic seas. If you go there, be sure to obtain the excellent Rough Guide to Corfu by Nick Edwards; Hilary Whitton Paipeti's book about the places associated with Lawrence and Gerald Durrell; Prospero's Cell (Lawrence Durrell); My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods (Gerald Durrell).

glowing spheres

Which Lovecraftian Horror Are You?

You are Yog-Sothoth: The Key and the Gate.
You live in the space between realities, and whe you are released you drain life from the world. You appear as a mile long collection of glowing spheres.

Take this quiz!

Now that is a cool meme. Thank goodness my result wasn't George Bush, which was one possible outcome. The other day I was in Forbidden Planet, and they had a very amusing cute Cthulhu on sale - surely a contradiction in terms made manifest if ever I saw one. They also have a plush velour Alien, which is a bit bizarre, though it really cannot be described as cuddly.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

the g-word

Liberal Democrats : BBC ruling on use of 'gay' extremely concerning - Williams.
Liberal Democrat Higher and Further Education Spokesperson, Stephen Williams MP, has written to BBC Chairman Michael Grade following a ruling from the BBC Governors Complaints Committee that Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles could use the term 'gay' to mean 'rubbish' or 'lame' because it is commonplace amongst young people.
I am worried by this too, as I thought the BBC was supposed to be a leader and not a follower in the matter of ethics, and because it is condoning homophobic language. (And apparently disabled-ist language as well.)

It used to drive me nuts when I was teaching and kids would say stuff like "this computer is gay" - and I can just imagine them saying "But I heard it on Radio 1" if they get told off for saying it. How will teachers be able to stop homophobia in schools if homophobic language is endorsed by the BBC?

remote viewing

Apparently, when it comes to psychic abilities, I have an unusually strong talent in the area of Remote Viewing, according to this ESP test.
This means you have an uncanny ability to travel great distances with your mind, to virtually any location, and actually get a true glimpse at what is located there. The best conditions for traveling space with your mind, or remotely viewing another location, are silence and a calm state of mind. Even without these conditions, you managed to show considerable talent in this area, which is called remote viewing.
How embarrassing, as I am rather sceptical about remote viewing, since it has generally proven rather unreliable.

praise the lord and pass the ammo

Make your own church sign

Here's my effort:

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

Real Church Signs - hilarious. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

poetic spam

This is the most poetic spam I have ever received. I have no idea what its purpose is, but it is an improvement on the usual adverts for improbable sexual enhancements... Ah actually the gif file attached to it turned out to be that sort of thing, but it was almost forgiveable, considering the following:

My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted

Hearty reception,

addressing them all. Going along the narrow path to a little uncut meadow covered on one side with thick clumps of brilliant heart's-ease among which stood up here and there tall, dark green tufts of hellebore, Levin settled his guests in the dense, cool shade of the young aspens on a bench and some stumps purposely put there for visitors to the bee house who might be afraid of the bees, and he went off himself to the hut to get bread, cucumbers, and fresh honey, to regale them with. Trying to make his movements as deliberate as possible, and listening to the bees that buzzed more and more frequently past him, he walked along the little path to the hut. In the very entry one bee hummed angrily, caught in his beard, but he carefully extricated it. Going into the shady outer room, he took down from the wall his veil, that hung on a peg, and putting it on, and thrusting his hands into his pockets, he went into the fenced-in bee-garden, where there stood in the midst of a closely mown space in regular rows, fastened with bast on posts, all the hives he knew so well, the old stocks, each with its own history, and along the fences the younger swarms hived that year. In front of the openings of the hives, it made his eyes giddy to watch the bees and drones whirling round and round about the same spot, while among them the working bees flew in and out with

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

change of plan

I've decided, I'm going to use my LJ to post about Pagan stuff, and this blog to post about other stuff. It was getting to be too much of an effort to write my LJ in German - but if you liked it, I have archived the posts at my blog archive, alongside my old blog from 2003-4.

You can also see Pagan and related posts from Nemeton by visiting my account, under the tags Pagan and religion.

Posts on Vogelbeere will be classified using the tagging system on LJ.

The main reason for this is that most of my Pagan friends are on LJ, and they are the ones most likely to want to read and comment on posts about Pagan stuff. However, blogger users will also be able to comment.

Friday, June 02, 2006

honoured strangers

I will be writing about my adventures in Corfu shortly (when I can find something to say that hasn't already been said beautifully by either Lawrence Durrell or Gerald Durrell), but for now, a short rant about the courtesies demanded of visitors to other countries.

Is it just me that feels that it is only courtesy to learn a few words of the local language before visiting another country? It appears that I am alone in this view, judging by the ecstatic reaction of one taverna owner to me asking for my food in Greek (I read the words off the Greek bit of the menu and added the word paracalo - please). As Nick Edwards says in the Rough Guide to Corfu, the utterance of even a few words of Greek elevates you from the status of tourista (grockle) to the status of xenia (guest, foreigner, honoured stranger).

When I went to Prague, I learnt how to say please, thank you, good morning, good afternoon, good night, etc in Czech. I also know these basic phrases in Italian, Greek, and Welsh (and I speak French, German and a bit of Spanish). It is is only polite, and doesn't take that much effort to learn (unless you are dyslexic). And there are lots of websites where you can find this sort of information, some of which have short sound files demonstrating the pronunciation. So there really is no excuse.

Here's my contribution to international relations.