Thursday, 27 August 2015

BBC Fails Again to Cover Disability Issues

Inter alia the Huffington Post, The Daily Mirror, The Independent and numerous bloggers have managed to put out information in respect to the mortality rates of benefit recipients. This information has been subject to freedom of information requests and a ruling by the Information Commissioner, but the notorious Department for Work & Pensions has fought the release of the data every step of the way. Today, some information was published, concealed apparently within immigration data. Odd perhaps, one might think. However, not unusual for the Ministry of Truth that is renowned for feeding so-called propaganda to the neo-liberal press and sympathetic reporters (hardly journalists!).

The national broadcaster, the BBC, (paid for my a licence fee, a de facto tax on every TV-using household in the UK) has thus far failed to publish any item thereon. Or if it has, it has hidden it from accessible sight. I could find no mention on their main news page, so I searched elsewhere. Below are the timed screen-caps.

Nothing under "UK" news:

Nothing under "Politics" news:

 Nothing under "Science" news:

Nothing under "Health" news:

Next I though I should try specific searches. Here is how I fared.

Nothing under "mortality statistics":

Nothing under "death statistics":

Nothing under "DWP statistics":

 Nothing under "ESA statistics":

Nothing under "Employment & Support Allowance":

 Nothing under "WRAG":

 Nothing under "Work Related Activity Group":

 Nothing under "Iain Duncan Smith" (Minister in charge of the DWP):

 Nothing under "Fit for Work":

 Nothing under "WCA":

Nothing under "Work Capability Assessment":

I consider this yet another Anutie Beeb failure and snub to a large demographic section of British society (about one seventh of the population per ODI figures.). We chronically sick &/or folk with impairments, aka the disabled, deserve better. We also pay for our television licences and deserve for serious news that concerns us to be covered by one of the largest news-gathering organisations in the world.


An article appeared on BBC website an hour ago:

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

P*ss*d Off With Facebook's Censorship

I have just posted and ranted on Facebook:
Nut & Geb: ancient Egyptian creation myth; and yes, that is an erect #penis.
Facebook is obsessed with policing what adults can view, constantly censoring Art, health and academic posts that allegedly do not fulfil the requirements of its community rules. We are the community, we are adults and we ought to be permitted to share adult-themed materials. This puritanical vein is a hang-over and in some sense a puerile attempt at staving off maturity. It is anti-intellectualism. It is anti-freedom. It is cultural colonialism. Grow up #Facebook!

[Image description: papyrus image of Nut about to be impregnated by her husband, Geb; note the website jungy was unable to credit any copyright.]

Yesterday, a Facebook chum, author, artist and illustrator, Daniel Mainé was asked by Facebook to remove an alleged problematic image. The guy has never once posted anything that could be considered pornographic or contentious, let alone inappropriate. Recall, I was a primary-school teacher, I am quite aware of what might be appropriate.

Today, I discover, my good chum, artist Eric Lacavalerie has had his personal account closed for twenty-four hours for sharing the following image:

[Image description: a naked man doing press-ups on a bed; below him sits an at least partially naked man; the top man's unseen gentitals are on or above the seated chap's face/head; © Eric Lacavalerie aka GayArtbyEric]

In deference to Facebook's absurd puritanism, Eric had self-censored the naked buttock cheeks.

I myself was subjected to a rap over the knuckles for a health-related article (one of a series) I posted on damaged penes, despite the images being available on Wikipedia.

"If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out!" cites the Bible. Well, in the modern world, I would suggest that if something is visually offensive to someone, that they refrain from looking at it. Just because one person is offended, does not mean the majority are.

I have written elsewhere how I consider taking offence is a deliberate action by the emotionally &/or intellectually immature, so I shall not repeat myself. See my blog-post "Offensive language" if you are so inclined.

Grow up folks! Stop reporting things you do not like or are against your so-called beliefs. Your holier-than-me attitude does not win me or others over to your cause. If you have a problem, say so and debate it publicly. What faith to hide behind tell-tales!

Rant over.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Coitus At Last! / "White"

WARNING: the following blog-post is about sex, especially gay sex; if the subject matter might offend, please do not continue reading.


Those of you who have been following my blog are probably aware of my difficulties in finding a sexual partner. For BADD2012, Blogging Against Disablism Day, I wrote Sexual Eunuchs? about being gay and disabled, discriminated against twice by society at large and by the so-called gay community. Then for BADD2013 I scribed No Sex Please, We're… Disabled!, which hopefully highlighted some of the logistical difficulties in arranging a sexual liaison.

Well, a few months back, whilst on my annual sojourn in Spain, I finally - and fantastically - met a chap who was willing to play with this disabled writer. After more than eleven years without experiencing coitus, I truly felt like Madonna's virgin, "touched for the very first time". A tad nervous, to be sure. And giddy as an adolescent again too!

Thankfully, the lover and myself hit it off and we were able to have several days/nights of fun and games together. Yes, we had to pause to let cramps, muscle-spasms or stabbing pains pass. Yes, some positions proved impossible with my bone, joint and muscle issues relating to my various arthritic conditions. Yes, we had to pause so as I could regain my breath due to exertional apnœa. And yes, we had to stop for rest-breaks and sleeps, because of the ME/FMS. Through all this, though, we: laughed; gasped; giggled; chatted; kissed; and all the other things that lovers usually do. We had a lot of fun and parted chums. I was thankful for being able to both give and receive sexual pleasure once again. Mostly I was overjoyed to have tactile pleasure. I cannot say I did not want the sexual intercourse, as I very desperately did; but I was most happy at having someone to embrace and to cuddle me. I miss that intimacy.

Naturally, apart from my bodily fluids, my creative juices began flowing. As is my usual modus operandi, over several days I drafted a poem in my head, before finally typing it out and making final amendments and redactions.

What I wrote is neither poetry nor prose: it is somewhere in between. I have occasionally written other pieces that cross-over the two genres. Is it prosaïc poëtry or poëtic prose?


White: the virginal page, upon which nought has yet been written; under the hand-scribed or typed words.

White: the spume of the sea, tickling the sand and giggling in a low susurrus; exhibitionist surf crashing on the rocks; the once-shy now wild white-horses frolicking in the sunshine and the salty brine; sea-angels coruscating whilst they play in the isthmus between water and air.

White: the clouds occasionally slipping through the habitual cerulean firmament; the blanket occasionally blocking the sun from view.

White: all the flowers in my garden - alegría, geranium, rose, cyclamen, kalanchoë, marguerite, snapdragon,…

White: the sense of peace, calm, tranquility, clear-headedness, purity.

White: the froth on our cafés; the head on our beers; the wine we daily drank, and supped, imbibed and got drunk upon; libation unto we demi-gods.

White: all my bedding, your sheets and pillow-cases enveloping our hot, our cold, our fevered shells; your bathroom’s sanitaryware taking away our bodies’ unwanted fluids and detritus; your soft, warm towels drying our skin and hair.

White: the hairs amongst the silken grey and black on your head, your chest and my favourite hirsute spot, the wee hollow between your shoulders and neck.

White: your buttock cheeks, sandwiched between your lobster-red torso and firm legs.

White: the little jewel sewn on your puce rosebud.

White: the cum that spilled across your salt & pepper’d chest this morning; mimicking a champagne explosion and creating an ephemeral œuf; becoming diaphanous and then invisible as it soaked into your hungry flesh; disappearing as you from me, all except memory.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Severe M.E. Day

More than two months without blogging. I am afraid I have been rather unwell. The result has been sleeping in excess of my typical fourteen hours per day. And, when I have been awake, I have been suffering from cognitive and neurological symptoms. Nonetheless, I have been jotting notes for items. If I ever regain my faculties, I shall have plenty of material to go at.

Every year, the eighth of August is commemorated as Severe ME Day. I was too unwell to blog that day; but I did post to Facebook:

"I swing between "moderate", "severe" and "very severe". The account below describes my life as it is for the majority of the time. When I go into "very severe" mode I am paralysed by pain and am unable to move anything, even eyeballs is excruciating. Even in an emergency, in such circumstances, I should be incapable of movement to escape.
 #‎ME‬ ‪#‎MyalgicEncephalomyelitis‬ ‪#‎SEID‬"

Apologies to those with visual impairments: I do not have the energy to re-write the above.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Café Jelinek, Vienna: a Review

On our penultimate day of our trip to Vienna, we started and ended our "shopping" day with coffee. We opted for the gemütlich* delights of Café Jelinek, on Otto-Bauer-Gasse, a short stroll from our lodgings. It is a traditional and typical example of a Viennese Café, Wiener Kaffeehaus. As far as I know no-one of world renown is or was a regular there; but whilst there we were sitting next to an M.I.T. professor and a couple of academics.

One enters a slightly shabby-chic establishment (as the two photographs above probably demonstrate) that is confident in its decaying décor and plush velvet.  The attitude is: take it or leave it, nonetheless we shall treat you just the same as anyone else - pleasantly, professionally and without sycophancy.

At the end of the bar cum counter is a glass-covered zone set aside for the Kuchen, the cakes and pastries. My companion opted for Linzer Torte and I for a slice of the Apfel und Mandeln Torte, apple and almond cake; respectively the left and right confections in the image below. Thankfully they did not come garnished with Schlagobers (Austrian German; Schlagsahne in German German), or whipped cream. The portions are generous, perhaps overly so, as we were rapidly filled having consumed a hearty breakfast earlier in the day.

And what about the coffee (der Kaffee), the most essential part of any visit, you may ask. Well it was so delicious during my first visit I took two cups and then we returned later in the afternoon for a top-up. All coffees are served with a small glass of cool water. Ever so civilised!

Finally, below, pictures of the writer (on the left) and my companion (on the right) demonstrating how much we enjoyed ourselves - the big smiles are a dead give-away… %)))

* Gemütlich does not translate directly into English. My computer's dictionary offers the bland "pleasant and cheerful", which certainly does not do the term justice. For a more in-depth explanation, see Wikipedia's article on Gemütlichkeit.