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Tuesday, 15 June 2004

stinging nettle

The plants with the jagged leaves in the above photo are called stinging nettles and need to be avoided, as they cause severe irritation to the skin.

Posted by bigblue on 15/06/2004 at 12:53 AM
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doc leaf

The weedlike plant coming up out of the bushes in the middle of this photo is called dock, or perhaps doc for “doctor”.  It is normally found growing near stinging nettles. If you get stung by stinging nettle, then look around for one, and rub a dock leaf into the affected skin.

Posted by bigblue on 15/06/2004 at 12:43 AM
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Saturday, 12 June 2004

Prague Castle Needle

The above photo of a needle is from a courtyard in Prague Castle.

Imagine my shock this afternoon when I find my webpages (bluemeanie) replaced by some porn site. As I write the problem has been resolved but the technicians from my hosting service are still investigating the cause. Apparently 13 of their customers were affected. 

On the subject of porn, the New York Times email I received on Monday advised me that:

For all the legislative posturing, the prospects for a measure banning indecent material reaching President Bush’s desk before the November election is not assured.

They seem to have recognised the ambiguity in the above, and on their website have reworded it to

But for all the legislative posturing, the prospects for such a measure reaching President Bush’s desk before the November election appear far less assured than they did a few months ago.

Now, one reason given is that

in recent weeks, the issue of the war in Iraq - particularly the prisoner abuse scandal - has moved to the forefront of the national political agenda in a way that was not the case on Super Bowl Sunday, when the exposing of Janet Jackson’s right breast during the halftime show caused such a stir. Politicians who push too hard on the decency issue may risk appearing to have their priorities out of whack.

Quite rightly, because a sense of perspective is important.  However we-the-people always seem keen to make such judgements concerning the priorities of politicians, but what about those who made such a brouhaha over an exposted nipple in the first place, i.e. the journalists?

Posted by bigblue on 12/06/2004 at 12:32 PM
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les baigneurs

Bexhill Swimmers

What is it about bathing that we all seem to enjoy?  Or we sometimes simply enjoy observing, photographing, painting it. 
See for example:
Les Baigneurs by Elina Brotherus, 2000;
A few of the bathing studies by Paul Cezanne and some of those by Pierre-Auguste Renoir;
les baigneurs photographs by solange reboul; and
Les Baigneurs by Stéphane Ruais.

Posted by bigblue on 12/06/2004 at 12:52 AM
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Thursday, 10 June 2004
mettons cela aux voix!


Last night I received the following Green Party mailing, which I will pass on here. I can’t bring myself to forward the mail to people, or to send bulk e-cards from the Greens site.

The most important day in the Green Party’s history is tomorrow: Thursday June the 10th.

The Times has us polling on 8 or 9%. This means we are on the verge of getting a Green Euro-MP elected in almost EVERY region! So we need absolutely every vote we can get. And you can make the difference.

To help our campaign, please have a look at the e-card attached, and send one to your friends! We have a range of e-cards, from ones satirising George W. Bush or Tony Blair, to the attached e-card which is a nod to the Hollywood blockbuster film about climate change “The Day After Tomorrow”. You can go to to send ecards to your friends.

Hopefully, the day after tomorrow, Britain will have elected several more Green MEPs, as well as many more local councillors and members of the London Assembly. But we need your help to make that difference. Please go to to choose the ecard that you think each friend will like best. And if you haven’t already voted yourself, make sure tomorrow that you make your vote Green.

Thank you, and best wishes,

The Green Party

The mail was published, printed and promoted by Matt Wootton on behalf of The Green Party, 1a Waterlow Rd, N19 5NJ (and that sounds like an official or legal declaration, so I had better include it).

I don’t endorse the ecards at the above site. I tend to cringe at ones that attack a person (for example the one with the image of Tony Blair).  I find TB an unfortunate individual, but he is an easy target for humour, and easy targets invite ridicule, and ridicule is cheap humour that aims to demean rather than inform.

Anyway, we will see how well the Green Party does later today, or tomorrow.  Everyone is predicting that the small parties (including the anti-EU UKIP) will do well at the expense of the big parties. 

Posted by bigblue on 10/06/2004 at 09:10 AM
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Wednesday, 09 June 2004
défense de fumer

Stanstead Airport

The above photo shows a group of Ryanair airport staff, at Stanstead, who take smoke breaks together in between boarding passengers, so that by 8 or 9 in the morning the departure hall is filled with smoke. They do this just below a large “non-smoking” sign.  Even then, this is a ridiculous concept: that in a departure hall you have one end for “smoking” and one for “non-smoking”.  There is a single air system in the hall (with inadequate ventilation).  It makes as much sense as having a “urinating” and “non-urinating” section in the public swimming baths.

And so our government has been talking recently about outlawing smoking in public places. But it is just before an election, so yesterday our Health Secretary had to make some concilliatory noises, lest the government lose the “smoking vote”.  That could be a disaster because it has already lost just about every other interest group vote, besides for the “keep the Tories out” vote.

So yes, tomorrow are our European elections. During their reports on Euro-apathy on TV tonight they mention that Leicester is a twin city to Strasbourg. They interviewed a bunch of people in Leicester who all said that they were blissfully unaware of this fact. I guess if you interviewed a bunch of Strasbourgois you would find that they too are unaware the link between their city and Leicester.

Posted by bigblue on 09/06/2004 at 11:22 PM
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Tuesday, 08 June 2004
la maison ronde de Worthington

Round House Worthington

I spotted the above building in the town of Worthington.  The sign on the door reads

The Round House
The Round House is believed to date back from the late 18th Century. It is a listed building and Ancient Scheduled Monument.
Until the Leicestershire Police Force was established in 1839 the responsibility for maintaining law and order lay with the Parish Constable. Among his duties was that of apprehending suspect criminals and keeping them secure in the Round House until he could bring them before the Justices.
For further information please contact Worthington Parish Council on 01530 222970. An information leaflet on the Round House is available free at the village shop or pub.

I guess that many of the former occupants of the Round House were well acquainted with the village pub.

Posted by bigblue on 08/06/2004 at 11:43 PM
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Monday, 07 June 2004
what you saw ...


You took this photo of the memorial to Jan Palach who committed suicide in this spot in 1969 in a protest against Soviet occupation.

We were later to find out that the busy road at the top of Wenceslas Square was built after 1969 with the objective of enabling tanks to enter the square and suppress future demonstrations should the Stalinist leadership decide that they needed to do this.

Posted by bigblue on 07/06/2004 at 09:54 PM
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