Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Gold Train Ticket from The Polar Express

contra omnia discrimina

Posted via email from uselessdesires

The Gold Train Ticket from The Polar Express

What does 'Contra Omnia Discrimina' mean?

Quite a few people have emailed me over the past few months asking what 'Contra Omnia Discrimina' means, as the phrase is often appended below most of my blogs posts and at the end of any email I send. Indeed, if you search Google for the answer, my blog comes out multiple times in search results. So, I thought I should define it here for future reference:

Put simply, 'Contra Ommia Discrimina' is Latin for 'Against All Odds.' It's become my mantra in life...

Contra Ommia Discrimina

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Monday, 27 December 2010

@ThisIsChrisO very nice! Where did you get it? Mines boring:

On Depression & Getting Help by Rob Delany

The passing of Andrew Koenig prompted me to write this, but it’s something that will apply to plenty of people.

I have dealt with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during these episodes. I couldn’t sleep at all, didn’t even think about sex, and had constant diarrhea. My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” These two episodes were the most difficult experiences of my life, by a wide margin, and I did not know if I would make it through them. To illustrate how horrible it was, being in jail in a wheelchair with four broken limbs after the car accident that prompted me to get sober eight years ago was much, much easier and less painful. That isn’t an exxageration and I hope it helps people understand clinical depression better. I’m saying that I would rather be in jail in a wheelchair with a body that doesn’t work than experience a severe episode of depression.

To clarify the timeline, I got sober eight years ago and my first episode of depression was seven years ago. I had been in talk-therapy with a psychologist for months and was getting used to life without booze. It’s my understanding that it’s not terribly rare for someone in early sobriety to get depressed. I started to exhibit the symptoms I described above and had no idea what was happening. My psychologist urged me to see a psychiatrist, as did my family, among whom alcoholism and depression are old pals, so to speak. Everyone wanted me to go on medication, except me. I felt that it would be “weak” to do so and that I could soldier through and get a handle on it. But everything got worse and it was terrifying. Most of my thoughts were telling me to kill myself and I began fantasizing constantly about suicide. The images of my head being blown apart by a shotgun blast or me swimming out into the ocean until I got tired and drowned played over and over in my head. My whole body hurt, all the time.
Fortunately, a tiny part of me recognized my thought process as “crazy.” I knew that if anyone other than me was describing these symptoms I would lovingly handcuff them and take them to the hospital and help the shit out of them, whether they liked it or not. So I tried very hard to step out of myself and look at the situation with a modicum of objectivity and “imagine” that I was someone who deserved help.
Quite literally I thought, “I don’t think anyone else would shoot me with a shotgun, so maybe, temporarily, I’ll postpone that and try this Lexapro that everyone who knows me is recommending.” It worked. It wasn’t magical, but it addressed some chemical issues in my brain that allowed me, gradually, to feel better and actually experience my life. I ate again, slept again, got boners when I encounted attractive women, and made normal number twos when I went to the bathroom. I didn’t and don’t feel euphoric all the time or anything. I still get angry, sad, and afraid sometimes. But I also get happy, excited, and horny too. I experience the full range of human emotions, rather than just one horrible one.
Just under eighteen months ago, after a couple of years of both my marriage and my decision to pursue comedy full-time, I experimented with a lower dose of medication and had another episode. It was as bad or worse than the first one, but thankfully I had some idea of how to deal with it. This episode drove home the knowledge that, like alchoholism, depression demands respect and attention. Whether it’s a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, I cannot pretend to know, but it exists and it can kill you dead.
My psychiatrist adjusted my dose and I got feeling better over time. If you know me personally, all this information may surprise you, as I think I generally have a pretty sunny demeanor. For most of my life, I’ve been a happy, optimistic guy. But for whatever reason, I’ve had depression of a serious, life-threatening nature rear its head a couple of times.

The sole reason I’ve written this is so that someone who is depressed or knows someone who is depressed might see it. While great strides have been made in mental health over the years, certain stigmas still exist. I strongly resisted medication at first. But after having been through depression and having had the wonderful good fortune to help a couple of people who’ve been through it, I will say that as hard as it is, IT CAN BE SURVIVED. And after the stabilization process, which can be and often is fucking terrifying, a HAPPY PRODUCTIVE LIFE is possible and statistically likely. Get help. Don’t think. Get help.

Reprinted with permission of the author ~ 
© Rob Delaney 2010

Image © Ryan Price 2010 (self portrait)

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Cat. Cuddly. Killer

What is a cat? Every child knows. Yet cats, among the most familiar of animals, are ineffably mysterious. What are they for? What do they want? Cats spend 85 per cent of their day doing absolutely nothing. Eating, drinking, killing, crapping and mating take up just 4 per cent of their life. The other 10 per cent is used to get around. Otherwise they are asleep, or just sitting. They say cats were the last animals to be domesticated, by the ancient Egyptians around 3,500 years ago. But it is cats that have domesticated us, in their own time, for their own reasons. Today, only a quarter of cat ‘owners’ say they deliberately went out to acquire a cat; in 75 per cent of cases, it was the cat that acquired them. And studies have shown that many more people claim to own a cat than there are cats. When your cat disappears for a while it is not, in fact, off on a hunting expedition, it is next door but one having another free meal or asleep on the window-sill with one or another of its many doting ‘owners’. Cats need to eat the equivalent of five mice a day. A cat given unlimited access to food will only eat a mouse-sized portion at a single meal. Is your cat eating five meals a day? Of course not: it’s dining out elsewhere, later.

"Most cats carry a parasite thought to have long-term, irreversible effects on the human brain. Toxoplasma gondii may turn men into grumpy, badly dressed loners and women into promiscuous, fun-loving sex kittens. Half the British population are already infected..."

One of the big selling points of cats is that they are clean animals that carefully cover up their own faeces. Except they don’t always - they only do it about half the time. They leave piles of the stuff all round the edges of their territory as a kind of malodorous ‘Keep Out’ sign. The polite word for this is ‘scats’. Milk, cat food and central heating are all bad for cats. Milk gives them diarrhoea, cat food rots their gums and central heating causes them to moult all year round. Then they lick off and swallow their fur, which clogs up their digestive system.

There are about 75 million cats in the USA, which are responsible for the deaths of a billion birds and five billion rodents every year. Right up until the seventeeth century it amused people to stuff wicker effigies of the Pope with live cats and then burn the lot. This produced sound effects that pleased Puritans but not cats: they have exceptionally sensitive hearing and can even hear bats.

Research has proved what every cat owner knows: apart from human beings, cats have a wider range of personalities than any other creature on the planet. And yes, they are intelligent. Very. When they can be bothered. There are numerous well-documented stories of cats abandoned by their owners tracing them to locations hundreds of miles from home. Can cats map-read? Maybe. They can certainly tell the time, as recent experiments have shown. The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods: killing a cat, whether deliberately or not, was a capital offence. When a cat died, its owner was expected to shave off his eyebrows. Whose idea was that? A cat’s, of course. Cats don’t have eyebrows.

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Monday, 13 December 2010

News, Video & Sound: X Factor Winner Matt Cardle Covers Biffy Clyro Track "When We Collide"

The Original:

The Cover:

A house painter with Irish ancestry has won the X Factor.

As he celebrated his victory, Matt Cardle revealed his family were originally from Ireland.

"They left for England during the potato famine. We were originally 'McArdles' but we lost the 'Mc' over the years," he said.

As usual, pop judge Simon Cowell was the real winner with an estimated 20 million viewers tuning in, bringing in a record-breaking £25m (€30m) from advertising.

No wonder show creator Cowell has seen his personal stock rising by £40m to £165m in the past year.

The night had begun with finalists Matt Cardle, Rebecca Ferguson and boyband One Direction chasing the final prize of a £1m record deal.

One Direction performing a cover version of Natalie Imbrugulia's hit 'Torn', were an early casualty of the first elimination.

"I'm absolutely gutted for them, but all I can say is this is just the beginning for these boys," their mentor Simon Cowell said, as he joined the group, which includes Mullingar teenager Niall Horan, on-stage to say farewell.

One Direction member Zain Malik added: "We're definitely going to stay together, this is not the end."

Legal secretary Rebecca Ferguson and rival Matt Cardle then both performed their winner's single.

Following Cardle's performance, a cover of Biffy Clyro hit 'When We Collide', judge Cheryl Cole told him: "You sang that from the depth of your heart. Whatever happens tonight I wish you the best of luck."

Simon Cowell added: "Back to business . . . thoroughly well deserved both of you. Matt, that was an incredible song. The best performance of the whole series so far, but I can't call this. I have no idea what is going to happen."

Rebecca Ferguson then sang her winner's song: a cover of Duffy track 'Distant Dreamer'.

"That song was absolutely perfect for you Rebecca," Simon Cowell told her.

Dannii Minogue added: "Rebecca, that was a beautiful performance and I'm so glad you turned up at auditions."

Her mentor Cheryl Cole then told her: "I could talk about this girl all night. You've been a dream to work with and I hope you realise your dream tonight and are crowned winner."

However, moments later Matt was announced winner of 'The X Factor' 2010. His shock was apparent.

"I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for me. I want to thank Dannii and all the judges," said the 27-year old.

All the drama was over until next year. But with Simon Cowell preparing to launch a version of 'The X Factor' in the US, there is some doubt if 'Mr Nasty' will be appearing on next year's 'X Factor'.

These rumours were fuelled when Cowell was asked if he would commit to next year's show and he would only say: "The show will be back.

Posted via email from uselessdesires

In Sound: The Salvation Army Band Play on Gallowtree Gate, Leicester - Christmas 2010

I recorded this on the 11th December 2010 at 14:43 - a bright, winter afternoon in Leicester city centre. The Salvation Army played Christmas Carols to shoppers on Gallowtree Gate. My last Christmas in Leicester.

In memory of George Thomas Brown
12th April 1920 ~ 11th December 1999

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Sunday, 12 December 2010

A chair is still a chair

A chair is still a chair
Even though there's no-one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there's no-one there to hold you tight
And no-one there you can kiss goodnight

A room is still a room
Even though there's nothing there but gloom
But a room is not a house
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart

Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your voice appears
But it's just a crazy game
When it ends, it ends in tears

Darling, have a heart
Don't let one mistake keep us apart
I'm not meant to live alone
Turn this house into a home
When I climb the stairs
And turn the key
Oh, please be there
Still in love with me


contra omnia discrimina

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When I think of home
I think of a place where there's love overflowing
I wish I was home
I wish I was back there with the things I been knowing

Wind that makes the tall grass bend into leaning
Suddenly the raindrops that fall have a meaning
Sprinklin' the scene, makes it all clean

Maybe there's a chance for me to go back there
Now that I have some direction
It would sure be nice to be back home
Where there's love and affection
And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time in my life to grow up
Time be my friend, let me start again

Suddenly my world has gone and changed it's face
But I still know where I'm going
I have had my mind spun around in space
And yet I've watched it growing

If you're list'ning God
Please don't make it hard to know
If we should believe in the things that we see
Tell us, should we try and stay
Or should we run away
Or would it be better just to let things be?

Living here, in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it taught me to love
So it's real, real, real to me

And I've learned
That we must look, look inside our hearts
To find a world full of love
Like yours
Like mine
Like home...


contra omnia discrimina

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Saturday, 11 December 2010

CHOCOLATE By John Scalzi

Chocolate is God's way of reminding men how inadequate they are. I am
vividly confronted with this fact every time my wife and I go out to a
restaurant. When it gets to dessert, my wife usually orders the most chocolate-saturated dessert possible: It's the one called "Unstoppable Double-Fudge Chocolate Mudslide Explosion" or some such thing. 

I always wonder why anyone would want to eat anything that promises a
catastrophic natural disaster in your mouth.

The dark brown monstrosity arrives at the table, and my wife takes the first bite. Before the fork is even removed from her mouth, a small moan escapes her lips. Her eyes, previously perfectly aligned, first cross slightly and then faze completely, pupils dilating in pure
chocolate pleasure before the eyelids clamp down in ecstasy. The hand
not holding the fork clenches into a fist and starts pounding the table. The silverware rattles. After about six minutes of this, she finally manages to swallow the bite, realign her eyes, and take the next shuttle back from whatever transcendental plane she's been visiting. Slowly, her sphere of
consciousness expands to include me, her husband, her life-long mate, her presumed partner in all things ecstatic. "Hey, this is pretty good," she'll say. "You want some?" No, I don't. I want nothing to do with an object that does to my wife in one bite what I've worked for an entire relationship to achieve. It
wouldn't do any good, anyway. Men just don't have the same relationship with chocolate that women do. It's not even close. I wandered around the office today and asked men - "Chocolate. Your thoughts?" - and the result was always the same. First, a confused look as to why they're being asked about something so trivial, and
then some lame, obvious statement: "'s brown?" 

Ask women the same question, and you get responses like "The ONLY food group," "ESSENTIAL to life as we know it," and the ultimate casual swipe at every member of the Y-chromosome brigade, "better than sex." Ouch. Some women will try to make up for that last one by quickly
adding that chocolate is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. Uh-huh. Chocolate certainly increases desire; problem is the desire is usually for more chocolate. The best a guy can do is buy a box of chocolates and hope he'll be considered somewhere between the cherry truffle and the strawberry nougat. Don't get me wrong. Guys like chocolate just fine; it's just not essential to life as we know it. Respiration is essential to life as we know it; chocolate is simply one of those nice little bonuses you get. We won't usually pass it up if it's offered, but I don't know too many guys who would get substantially worked up if it were to suddenly disappear from the face of the earth (ironic in a way, as back in the days of the Aztecs, only
men were allowed to have the stuff). 

When I eat a chocolate dessert, I
enjoy it, yes. My world view doesn't narrow to include only the plate that it's on. Maybe we're missing something. On the other hand, we don't have to
pick up our silverware from the floor after we're done with our tiramisu. Life is about trade-offs like that. All I know is that come Valentine's Day, chocolate will be among the things I offer my wife. I can't truly appreciate it, but I can truly appreciate what it does for
her. Which is close enough.

Copyright © John Scalzi

John Scalzi is a columnist and humorist living in Virginia. For more
columns and essays, visit his website:

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Thursday, 9 December 2010

In Film: Leicester Market, Winter 2010

From the film maker:
"A short observational documentary about one of my favorite places. Let me know what you think? I’d be particularly interested to hear from the traders and other people connected to the market, I wonder if there are any stories set in the market that could be the starting point for a longer documentary? In case you’re interested, this was shot between 6am and 10am on a freezing cold (-3) Saturday morning. Shot on a Canon 5DMKII using a 24-70 f2.8 and a 70-200 f4. This is the first time I have properly tested the 70-200 and I’m pleased with the results." ~ Nick Hamer. Courtesy of Intrepid Media:

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

In Photos: December Frost

Exclusive: Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!

Official Trailer:

Song: "The Word Is Love" from the movie "Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!"

They say mothers are the first to know. Mums can also the first to deny - even when the signs are obvious. Add stunting family expectations to a mother's nose for trouble, and happiness might not be as close as expected. So is the case in the new romantic comedy Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!, starring Carmen Electra, Lanie Kazan, John Lloyd Young, Jai Rodriguez, Saul Robinek, and Vincent Pastore. Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay! is the story of the Hirsch's, a Jewish family living in the North Shore of Long Island, where every Friday night Shirley Hirsch (Lainie Kazan) invites another "perfect" girl for Shabbat dinner in hopes that her son, Nelson (John Lloyd Young), will marry a nice Jewish girl. When Shirley and Martin (Saul Rubinek) once again set him up on a date, Nelson reveals that he is already seeing someone. Shirley and Martin are thrilled and can't wait to meet the lucky lady... But, soon learn Nelson's perfect mate isn't what they expected at all.... [RP]

USA Screenings start 24/12/2010. UK dates to be confirmed..

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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Grandmothers and Grandfathers

Have you ever wondered what the difference between a Grandmother and
a grandfather is? Well, here it is...

A friend, who worked away from home all week, always made a morning
available when he would take his 7-year old granddaughter for a drive in the car for some bonding time - just him and his granddaughter.

One particular Sunday however, he had a bad cold and just wanted to stay in bed. Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their granddaughter out in the car.

When they returned, the little girl anxiously ran upstairs to see how her
Grandfather was.

'Well, did you enjoy your ride with Grandma?'

'Great, Grandpa' the girl replied, 'and do you know what? We didn't see a
single tosser, blind bastard, dick-head or wanker anywhere today!'

Almost brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?

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Saturday, 4 December 2010

Jesus on Toast

British artist Adam Sheldon recreated Jesus’ crucifixion using some pieces of burned toast and a scraping knife. His work of art is now on display at the Anglican Church of St Peter, in Lincoln.

33-year-old Adam Sheldon took on the project at the request of his mother, who worships at St. Peter’s Church. Before starting work on his 1.8 ,meters long, 1.1 meters wide masterpiece, Adam scraped the Last Supper on three pieces of toast, to perfect his technique.

He used a regular toaster to burn the pieces of bread, then dried and flattened them so they would fit in a giant frame. Using a scraping knife he managed to create the lighter parts of the artwork, and darkened the background with a blowtorch.

At first, the reverend and parishioners were stunned by Sheldon’s creation, because they didn’t expect something this original, but now they’re thrilled to have such art on the walls of their church. The artwork was so skillfully scraped, some believed it was actually painted on tiles, before realizing the tiles are really pieces of bread.

The toast crucifixion of Jesus was on display at the Anglican Church of Saint Peter until January 30 2010.

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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Papa, can you hear me? ((tags: Lyrics, Song, Release, Papa, Barbra Streisand, diary

God, our Heavenly Father
Oh, God and my father
Who is also in heaven

May the light of this flickering candle
Illuminate the night the way
Your spirit illuminates my soul

Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you see me?
Papa, can you find me in the night?

Papa, are you near me?
Papa, can you hear me?
Papa, can you help me, not be frightened?

Looking at the skies I seem to see a million eyes
Which ones are yours?
Where are you now that yesterday
Has waved good-bye and closed its doors?

The night is so much darker
The wind is so much colder
The world I see is so much bigger
Now that I'm alone

Papa, please forgive me
Try to understand me
Papa, don't you know I had no choice?

Can you hear me praying?
Anything I'm saying?
Even though the night
Is filled with voices

I remember everything you taught me
Every book I've ever read
Can all the words in all the books
Help me to face what lies ahead?

The trees are so much taller
And I feel so much smaller
The moon is twice as lonely
And the stars are half as bright

Papa, how I love you
Papa, how I need you
Papa, how I miss you
Kissing me goodnight

© Sony Records/Barbra Steisand 

Performed by Barbra Streisand for the film Yentl. Composed by Michel Legrand, with lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman.

[It might not be my art, but it is big art to me, today. He's gone......]

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I, The Fool

Hopelessly bound,
by the chains of love's grip;
the greatest gift,
yet fate's cruelest curse.

Why do I weep?
at knowing the joy,
the warmth,
at feeling the peace,
the flame,
the fire.

Why do I weep?
unable to be complete Unable to just 'be,'
unknown to the kiss,
the flame.

Why do I weep
at loving, not living
seeing, not touching
breathing, not sharing
holding, not loving?

because I, The Fool,
Deserve love no more?

Copyright © Ryan Price, December 2010

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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Act Aware: World Aids Day - 1st December 2010 - Take Action

Act Aware


Over 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK and new infections continue every year. World AIDS Day 2010 is all about raising awareness to tackle HIV prejudice and help stop the spread of HIV.

This year, (RED) launches the most important campaign to date.

For the first time since AIDS arrived on the scene, we have a chance to realize, in the next 5 years, a whole generation born AIDS free. This goal is achievable through continued funding from the global health community, including the Global Fund.

As a way to educate people about the goal and create a rallying cry to help achieve it, (RED) have enlisted numerous street artists, painters, illustrators, photographers and sculptors to provide their creative interpretation of an AIDS Free Generation born in 2015. Each artist chose a headline and incorporated a unique take on “2015”.  We are launching with 10 artists, but many more will follow in the months to come.

The best way to understand the reality of living with HIV in the UK today is to read true accounts written by people with HIV.

People are often surprised to hear that what it is really like to live with HIV. Advances in treatment mean that many people diagnosed today can expect a near normal life expectancy if they get diagnosed early and take treatment correctly. However side effects of daily treatment can have an impact. For many people with HIV it is the social consequences that can have the biggest impact - dealing with prejudice, money worries or how to tell friends and family.

The stories below have been submitted from people living with or affected by HIV. Each person explains in their own words the impact HIV has had on their own lives.

Whether you have a family member or friend that is affected by HIV, or are HIV-positive and want to tell people what it's really like to live with HIV - we’d like you to share your story. Real stories, whether positive or negative, help build a true picture of HIV in the UK today and increase public understanding:

View real stories from people living with HIV and hear them explain in their own words the impact HIV has on their lives. These videos messages include stories from Gary, Steve and Adrienne who tell us about late diagnosis, long term medication and stigma and disclosure.
Gary - Late diagnosis

Steve - Long term medication

Adrienne - Stigma and disclosure

A special message from Annie Lennox:

Now visit these links, please:

Do Something

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees, 
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor, 
And the highwayman came riding-- 
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door. 

He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin; 
He'd a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin. 
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh! 
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle-- 
His rapier hilt a-twinkle-- 
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard, 
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred, 
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there 
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter-- 
Bess, the landlord's daughter-- 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. 

Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked 
Where Tim, the ostler listened--his face was white and peaked-- 
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay, 
But he loved the landlord's daughter-- 
The landlord's black-eyed daughter; 
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say: 

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I'm after a prize tonight
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light. 
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day, 
Then look for me by moonlight, 
Watch for me by moonlight, 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way." 

He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand, 
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand 
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o'er his breast, 
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight 
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!), 
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west. 

He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon. 
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon, 
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon over the purple moor, 
The redcoat troops came marching-- 
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door. 

They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead, 
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed. 
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side; 
There was Death at every window, 
And Hell at one dark window, 
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride. 

They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest! 
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast! 
"Now keep good watch!" and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say, 
"Look for me by moonlight, 
Watch for me by moonlight, 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way." 

She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good! 
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood! 
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years, 
Till, on the stroke of midnight, 
Cold on the stroke of midnight, 
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers! 

The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest; 
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast. 
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again, 
For the road lay bare in the moonlight, 
Blank and bare in the moonlight, 
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love's refrain. 

Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear; 
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear? 
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill, 
The highwayman came riding-- 
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still. 

Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night! 
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light! 
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath, 
Then her finger moved in the moonlight-- 

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The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding

Posted via email from uselessdesires

First Snow of the Winter ((tags; Photography, iPhoneography, Diary, Scraps, Winter, Snow, Leicester))

One and a Half Cats

Friday, 26 November 2010

Germany Debuts 'Mentally Ill' Stuffed Animals

Promising hours of fun for the whole family, a German company has introduced a line of stuffed animals that suffer from psychiatric disorders. There's Dub the turtle, who has severe depression; Sly the snake, who suffers frightening hallucinations; Dolly the sheep/wolf, who has multiple-personality disorder; Kroko the crocodile, who is terrified of water; and Lilo the hippo, who's been obsessed with solving the same wooden jigsaw puzzle for months. The company's founder says: "It started as a bit of a joke with my girlfriend, who has lots of soft toys, and then we thought there could be something in the idea. Children and grownups like their vulnerability and find something in them that gives them a great sense of comfort in helping to heal them." This should go over about as well as bacon sandwiches at a Bar Mitzvah... Funny isn't it? No...

A depressed turtle.
A delusional snake.
A paranoid crocodile.
A sheep with multiple personality disorder.
A hippo with autism.

At first glance, you might think these are cute. But go further and you'll learn that these furry animals are stuffed with stigmatizing beliefs about mental illness. - a European toy company - is selling these toys with the tag line "Psychiatry for Abused Toys". On the website, you can play an online game at "The Asylum" and give "treatment" to the toy of your choice. But be prepared for stereotyped crazy behavior, outdated and incorrect diagnostic labels, hallucinogenic drug reactions and the always insulting puppet-sock therapy. Make sure you see the "no-hanging" suicide policy wall sign in the community room. Insensitive. Distasteful. Stigmatizing.

Several blogs have picked up on this story - so you might be hearing about this in mainstream media soon. I'm no stick in the mud. I do enjoy humor. But this stuff needs to stop.


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Be a Contributor to - A Personal Plea from the Creator!

Are you a creative writer? Do you enjoy design? Maybe you write music or perform songs? Maybe you do all of these of these wonderful things? Maybe you don't do any of these, but feel you have something worth sharing?

I'm looking for regular contributors to this site. Once approved, you will be able to publish anything insightful, informative or creative directly to the site. Not everybody wants to run their own website or blog - this gives you the opportunity to post your photography, your written work, your experiences or your music, with minimal effort. Once approved, all you do is send an email from your own account to a special address which will create and publish your content directy online. You can even attach photos, audio files, videos, youtube links and any other type of file or document. I will format your conent quickly, ready for web viewing.

Have a look around the site and you'll be able to see the type of things I'm currently posting on my own. It would be great to have a bunch of friends all contributing to the same site, so please join me!

Regular contributors will also get a mini-bio with link to the work they have submitted. You can see the contributors link in the menu above. Get a place in there - it's empty at the moment!

Thanks for reading, and I really hope to hear from you soon...


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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Skyward Tree

Fantasia At The Tonys - "I'm Here"

contra omnia discrimina

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Depression - The Deepest Dark Hole - To The Depressed, From The Depressed

It is normal to feel periods of being 'down in the dumps' that last for a short time. Normal life events can cause these to happen. For example, when someone dies or you lose a job.

Clinical depression, on the other hand, is another event, in itself. It does not only last a week or two but is a deep dark hole, a lonely abyss, a black dog (as Churchill once said) that seems impossible to escape from. It is a dangerous medical condition that is caused by an imbalance in the chemicals of your brain. If it is not treated properly it can completely disrupt a persons life and sometimes leads to suicide.

Warning signs that depression has taken hold include being unmotivated, tired all the time and a flat feeling. As the depression becomes worse a person might not even want to be part of social activities that they once enjoyed. Sometimes they feel very lonely and alone, and often become reclusive. When depression becomes really deep a person might completely lose the will to work and have trouble with relationships. They tend to curl up in a safe house and want to not be bothered by anyone. The desire to live a happy and productive life can disappear, altogether.

There are ways to treat depression even when there seems to be no hope left. The first thing that needs to be done is to set up an appointment with the your GP, Nurse, private doctor or psychologist. They will ask you about your symptoms and how they are affecting your everyday life. Depression carries symptoms that are common in other medical conditions such as Cushing's disease and hypothyroidism. This is a big reason why you need to see your doctor regardless of whether you think it is depression or not. If the doctor thinks you are dealing with depression then you might be referred to a specialist for more precise care.

Never get scared about starting medication such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs or even anti-psychotics - they can turn out to be that one little thing that brings you life again. Also, don't give up if your medication doesn't seem to be helping. It might just mean you're on the wrong dose or a less-suited drug. See your doctor as soon as you can and discuss your thoughts with him.

Depression is most often caused by poor genes. If you know someone in your family that has suffered with it then the chances of you becoming depressed are greatly multiplied. Brain chemistry is also a big cause of depression.

Major stressful events in life can lead to depression, as well. Trauma to a child and poor parenting techniques or traumatic experiences at school (for example) can also make depression more likely to popup in adulthood.

Some natural remedies can work really well for treating depression without the side effects of conventional medicines. With caution, St. John's Wort can be a really effective natural method of treating depression; but be careful with this - if you are on any medication, such as antidepressants, talk to your Doctor or Pharmacist first. Passiflora Incarnata has properties that are similar to a tranquilizer and can also be used to combat depression with anxiety. Relaxation techniques can be useful in fighting off depression especially when the cause is anxiety.

Talk with your doctor about some of the many options you have.

Just do not sit idly by and let your life melt away. How do I know? Because I'm a living and unashamed testament of depression survival. Contact me if you want to find out more, or if you would just like a chat, leave a comment below...

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The Most Amazing Guitar Playing Boy There Ever Was

I want an interview with the original genius-guy who created this surprisingly brilliant masterpiece - contact me above - let's talk!

contra omnia discrimina

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dance Fail

contra omnia discrimina

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Crows, Ravens & Rooks

I may hesitate, to name you as a swan
That glides around the river bend
Enchants us, and is gone

Or if I did Then I could only do it once
For repetition in a love song
Will only make it seem too long

For heaven is a metaphor
The lovers of the world reach for
And truly, you may find the occasional angel

But mostly when we get up there
Far above the city air
All we have for company
Is crows, ravens and rooks

I may hesitate to say that you’re the one
When others came before you
And more may follow on
Or if I do Then it’s a lie I won’t repeat
Exaggeration in a love song
Will only make the truth seem weak

For heaven is a metaphor
The lovers of the world reach for
And truly, you may find the occasional angel
For mostly when we get up there
Far above the city air
All we have for company Is crows, ravens and rooks

[Sung and co-written by Kathryn Williams, this is, nevertheless, a somewhat middle-aged reflection on the virtues of serial monogamy. Features on David Rotheray's 'Life of Birds' album]

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A Very Vintage Update