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Category archive: Cats and kittens

Friday November 27 2015

What with Antoine herding drunken cats tonight, you’d think that today here might have been particularly feline.  But as it happens, recent archive trawling has brought various bird photos that I’ve taken over the years to my attention.

I find birds difficult to photo, by which I mean difficult to photo interestingly.  This is because they are so often photoed, very well, by other photographers.  The trick for someone like me is to photo things that other people, and other photographers, tend not to see, like for instance all the other photographers.  I think I managed to photo these two birds quite interestingly, just under a year ago, just before last Chistmas, but this sort of thing is rare for me.

imageOften, when I photo birds, I combine them with others things, as here, or as on the right, right here.  This being one of those photos which I suspect will look rather good if seen very small.  So, I am showing it very small.  Which also means I have to waffle now, to make sure that the next photo doesn’t collide with this one on the right.  What I really like about this snap is not the bird, so much as the unusual roof clutter.  The bird just tops that off nicely.  This shot was taken from Battersea Park railway station.  That should be enough waffling.

Next, what we see is some birds seen from an unusual angle, which makes their wings look really strange, like they are made out of metal rather than bird.  Whereas the earlier picture benefited from being small, this one squawked out to be horizontalised, so that is what I did:


For each of the two originals, above, click on the smaller version.

This last bird photo also shows something which is, to me, very strange.  Which is, that all the birds are pointing in the same direction, one way or the other, along the road.  Except one, who is, I suspect, turning from pointing one way to pointing the other way.  Why are they doing this?


One possible explanation is that they are all looking at me, to see if I would throw them any food, or perhaps attack them. My guess being that when a pigeon looks at you he has to look at you sideways on, with just one eye.  He doesn’t do what humans with their flat faces do, when looking at you, which is turn their faces towards you.  No, a pigeon displays his profile.  But what do I know?  Am I making any sense?  Anyone?  I am probably talking nonsense.

Anyway, truth or tripe, that concludes today’s Avian Friday posting.

Friday November 20 2015

On Friday November 27th (i.e. exactly one week from now), my friend from way back, Antoine Clarke, will be giving a talk at my place entitled “Herding cats, or lessons from drunks about organising anarchy”.

These talks happen every last Friday of the month, and before they give one of them, I ask each speaker to supply a paragraph or two about what they’ll be saying, so I can email my list of potential attenders.  Antoine has just supplied me with ten paragraphs on his talk:

It would be hard to imagine any more dysfunctional organisation than a leaderless group of drunks promising among themselves to quit drinking and to help other drunks to quit.

And then I realized that there is a similar organisation for narcotics addicts, one for cocaine addicts, crystal meth addicts and even “sex and love addicts” - whatever that may mean.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been described as a “benign anarchy” by one of its founders and manages to organize over 100,000 groups worldwide with between 1.5 million and 2 million members. Its power structure has been described as an “inverted pyramid”.

AA operates by having almost completely autonomous branches, no publicity, no professional class of “charity workers” and no set fees.  It has a “12-step program” and “12 traditions” which have been described respectively as “rules for not killing yourself” and “rules for not killing other people”.

The effectiveness of AA at curing or controlling alcohol addiction is not clear cut. Because of anonymity, self-selection and the difficulty of known if someone who stops attending meetings has relapsed or simply found he can lead a functional lifestyle. The fact that over a dozen other organisations have copied AA’s 12-step and 12 tradition system suggests at least some level of success, unlike, say the UK’s National Health Service which has fewer imitators.

One particular problem for AA is that any 12-step program will only really work if it is voluntary, but in the USA especially, courts mandate that convicted criminals attend AA meetings as a parole condition.  I think this reduces recidivism among the criminals (compared with them NOT following a program), but it surely dilutes the effectiveness of AA groups (more disruptive attendees, people going through the motions, possible discouragement of others).

I shall be looking at the elements of AA’s structure and organisational culture to see what lessons can be learned about the possibility of anarchic institutions especially at handling social problems.

What interests me is the “anarchy with table manners” aspect of AA and the contrast with truly dysfunctional libertarian organisations, like the Libertarian Alliance.

I’m also interested in the issue of government interference and the ways in which well-meaning interventions make matters worse. I shall also take a look at the spiritual element of AA’s 12-step program, noting that it claims to work for atheists and agnostics as well as for theists.

Hopefully, this is an attractive alternative to binge drinking on a Friday night in central London.

Indeed.  There will be no binge drinking at the meeting.

I see that of Counting Cats, in the person of Julie near Chicago, recently linked to a piece by the late Antony Flew entitled The Terrors of Islam, a piece which I had totally forgotten about.  But I am sure that this piece influenced me very strongly when I read it.  And I definitely did read it because I published it, for the Libertarian Alliance (Chris Tame Tendency).

It always pleases me hugely when someone links to an old LA effort of mine like this.  Not exclusively mine, you understand.  Somebody else had to write it.  But … mine.  And this particular piece of Flew’s is downright prophetic.

Counting Cats had a strange outbreak of junk postings about fake university essays a week or two back but seems to be over it now.

Monday November 02 2015

I think my fascination with the Union Jack really got into gear with the Scottish Referendum.  Why then?  Because then, we might have had to abandon it.  It might have become a relic.

Then, during the recently concluded Rugby World Cup, the Brits all got knocked out by the time the semi-finals came around.  But, the two nations whose national flags involve the Union Jack (for the time being anyway), Australia and New Zealand (England’s flag is the red and white flag of St George), were the two finalists.  So, the Union Jack triumphed, even if the nation that originated it did not.

So, I am now always on the lookout for Union Jacks, especially when the colours are being played with.  The shape is wonderful, I think, but the colours can get repetitious and they come alive when altered somewhat.

And today, I found just such a Union Jack, in a shop, in Tottenham court Road.  I went in and photoed it, several times.  Nobody objected, or tried to sell me furniture.  Or even to sell me the Union Jack that I was photoing.  I just did my photos, and also a few others of cat cushions, and then made my exit.

image imageimage image

If you look at a mirror, you tend to see yourself.  If you photograph a mirror, you tend to photo yourself taking a photo, unless you are a Real Photographer.  I am not, even if one of the above photos does exclude me.

£149 is what this mirror would cost you.

As I type this, Simon Schama is concluding his TV series about The Face of Britain, the final episode being entitled “The Face in the Mirror”.  He is doing selfies, or “self-portraits” as they have mostly been known, until now.  I expect that we will be shown regular folks posing with their selfie sticks, right at the end.

No.  No selfie sticks.  Instead: Gormleys.  I photoed Gormleys, way back, in London.  Schama had them photoed at the seaside.

Friday October 16 2015
Friday October 09 2015

Later on, in Richmond, still beside the river, but upstream, practically in the country, I espied a cat.  Here is the context, and the cat:


In other cat-related news, 6k did a cat-related posting for me to link to last Friday.  He mentioned me in the first line, and then showed one of my photos, but I only realised that there was cattery later in the posting too late for last Friday so I had to wait a week.  He went on to mention that video of that giant white fluffy Goodie stroke James Bond villain kitten attacking the BT Tower.  Said 6k:

Yes. Kittens were huge (literally) in popular culture, even before the internet was around.

Very true.

And if Brian reads this before the end of the day, he’s got a lovely Feline Friday tie-in opportunity with his post from yesterday.

Better a week late than never.  (There is also a cat connection in this posting, which is about the head of another sort of big cat.)

6k is taking a bit of a break, or so he says.  I’ll still keep checking in, just to see.  “For personal reasons”.  Ah yes, there are lot of those about, rampaging the earth, closing blogs and generally causing havoc.  Me, I try to avoid having personal reasons.

Another favourite blogger of mine features more cattery here, in the form of East End high end graffiti.

Friday September 25 2015

Yes, because that was when I took this photo:


One of the ways I have got (I think) better as a photographer is that I have gradually identified more classes of object or circumstance to be worth photoing.

This often starts with me just photoing something, because, what the hell, I like it, or it’s fun, or it’s interesting, or it’s odd, or it’s getting more common, or nobody else is noticing it and talking about it, or whatever and I just photo it, without even telling myself why, in conscious words.

Later, often much later, the conscious, verbalised thinking starts.  Perhaps because, as in this case, someone else starts talking about it. Guido having a go at that Labour politician was what got my conscious brain into gear on the subject of White Vans.  And I then decide to get more systematic about photoing whatever it is.

Mobile Pet Foods is still going, and if that link doesn’t convince you, then note the date on the latest piece of customer feedback here.  (That this feedback may be fake doesn’t alter the fact that the dates are recent.)

There is, of course, a cat angle to this.

Friday September 18 2015

Here he is in action:


That is one of these cat pictures, and the photographer is Walter Chandoha:

Chandoha might be considered the forefather of the Internet’s now-ubiquitous cat photo; and while digital cameras and smartphones have certainly made it easier for people to document their feline friends, as Chandoha sees it, “All of this technology would be for naught if cats were not the sweet, lovable companions they are, and who are held in higher esteem today than those in ancient Egypt when they were worshipped as gods.”

“All of this technology” really has made it a whole lot easier to photo cats, though.  That’s a big part of the cats on the internet thing.  When cats do their funniest stuff, they tend to be moving about a lot, and now, that can all be captured.

A Real (cat) Photographer
The wait continues
Alcoholic Architecture sign
Sorry!  No Photo’s!
Interesting vehicles
White cat – Mick Hartley’s photos and other photos he likes – black and white and colour
Phil Tufnell paints cats!!!
Cats and cricket – cats and drones
Cat picture on white van
Oh yes it could
Animals not understanding cameras
A Shiny Thing by Frank Stella Hon RA
Giant cat head worn by a human
CATable at the Building Centre
Big cat scan
From a cat cushion to Bill Murray and a nude to a demon horse sculpture that killed its creator
A weird view of the Wheel - and cats in Tiger
Feline Friday – an apology for yesterday’s premature posting about cat recognition
Peter Thiel on how humans and computers complement each other
Big cat advert
Drunkblogging a new London Big Thing
Exit Caesar
Big cats jacket
A feline Friday at Guido
Cats in Quimper shops
Two geese
To Covent Garden (3): Cat that looks a bit like a dog
Russia unleashes tiger on China
Cats – and technology
A cat book and a feline front page
Friday photo-puzzles
Big cat advertises guide dogs
Recently on dezeen
Not about cats
Tate cat
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
Happy Friday (eventually)
Back from France (plus cat photos)
Cat photo and cat news
Cat news
Cats … on scaffolding … with shadows …
A Bobcat digger and the Coade Lion from the back
Compact Cats buried under London’s poshest homes
The Lib Dem cat is out of the box
I see cats
Hao Ruan and LYCS Architecture are now world famous
Amusing cats versus important people
Classic Feline Friday quote from Tim Berners-Lee
Feline ephemera
When you are old you tend to assume that confusion is your fault even if actually it is not
Nowadays a picture is no longer worth a thousand words
Mash cats
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
Simon Gibbs last night at the Rose and Crown
Quotes from there
Stuart Broad has a kitten heel
Finding Rover app tracks lost dogs using facial recognition
Edwin is a bad person
A fake feline photo and a faltering feline enumerator
Savoy cat
Cats without tails are not scary
Looking along Victoria Street to The Wheel (and on how to be liked (or disliked) by Google)
Monopoly Cat replaces Monopoly Iron
Domestic cats are destroying the planet
Croydon cats
Kissa yrittää mennä laatikkoon
Piccadilly Halloween
The strange state of the enviro-argument
Black Katz
Mon chat se tient debout tout seul
Flat cat
It got my attention
Surely the answer is for them to get 275 cats each
Photographing the other photographers with my new camera
Like a crisp packet being popped
How to immobilise a cat
Quimper cat on Harley-Davidson
Lion steals camera
Friday link dump
Bizarre History - Johannes Brahms did not murder cats
Brainwave-controlled cat ears for humans created by Japanese Neurowear
Shostakovich with cat
Guido the cat
Cat news
It’s interesting …
Wot inflationz?
Animals that like the smell of humans dying
Julian Assange drove Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s cat Herr Schmitt crazy
The free market encourages curiosity
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
Happy New Year
Delayed action Dubrovnik cat
And here’s the proof!!!  Sixteen little square pictures!!!
From pop to purrfume
Cats only seem smart and dogs only seem dumb
Another ephemeron for David Thompson?
Cat defeats alligators
Cats know more about fluid mechanics than dogs
Only up to some random linkage and a little felinity
MP’s kitten custody battle
Funny feline ephemeron
Another strangely punctuated headline and a depressing television play
Cathedral photo
Why not just sell them?
Graeme Swann on drink-driving charge after 3am dash to save kitten
Farnborough (5): Supacat Bloodhound Falcon
Cool cat that obeys Allen’s Rule
Farnborough (4): Cat on teeshirt - insect on cat’s nose
Lynxes and an A380
Sneezing chat
Next door’s cat
Cats with human faces
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Yo! Sushi cat says:  Yo!  Stay away!
Darling and Darling cat
“Is this a case of us operant-conditioning them or them operant-conditioning us?”
Green cat email mystery solved
Green cat copyrighted picture email vanishes
Quota cat rubber
“I can’t respond to any e-mails today …”
Why David Hepworth is wrong about podcasting
Cat tales
Alfie the cat answers the Elmlea challenge
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Chained cat in Vietnam
The cats from out of town that cleared out the rats during the siege of Leningrad
Two real cats sighted in Spain!
Two red cats
In Alicante
How some cats are dividing Cyprus
A cat lands on its feet
Picture purrfection and a rather good Clive James piece
Short posting (with short photo) about SpaceShipTwo
In other news …
Strange purple cat with four eyes
David Farrer photos
Saying what we aren’t meant to say
Green cats - feral cats - cats murdered in Wales - more than 113 cats in Livingston NJ
God is killing cinemas!
Friday baby marmoset
Green eyed monster devouring cat food
Vince Miller with cat
My confusion about free banking
Philippa Micklethwait - the Eulogy
Actually quite a big cat
Feline flushing
Cat Car
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
Tama the feline stationmaster saves the Wakayama Electric Railway Co.
Not the same thing
Cats are (as of) now being counted in permanent italics
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
French cats
Paul Graham on the death of the family cat
Perkins photos
The return of Friday cat-blogging
What I’ve done so far with Jesus
Tatiana the normal tiger
Another cat!
Cat stuff on Tuesday?
Cats etc.
Operation Cat Drop and some Hello Kitty Bags
For Skimbleshanks read Tizer
What kind of blogger are you?
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
The cat genome is cool
Someone is displaying mutilated cats in San Antonio
Yes this is cat blogging
A visit from The Guru and a picture of three local cats
Cat power!
Photos - four transport - two artistic
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
At the dogs
Lots of links
City Cat runs on air
Not actually a photo of Saturn’s rings
Cat sculptures
When members of parliament attack
“That’s not Minnie Mouse - that’s a cat with large ears”
Insurance question
Armed police in Hertford hunt big cat
It’s Friday again
Cats can be taught!
A John Lewis cat and a John Lewis DAB radio
Cats cause mice
Clever old Catt
Cats and keyboards
Kiev cat
Norman interested – Harry has some wildness in his genealogy
A basic part of the domestic cat’s heritage
Friday cat-blogging
Very very low cost kitten in space
Other people’s photos (4): Kitten on man’s head