Sunday, February 26, 2006

Frog on the Verge of Leaping - soft and fresh feelings

All the peoples of the world praising Kim Il Sung
The Zombie News Agency is proud to re-present here a couple of dispatches from the estimable KCNA North Korean news agency site.

Ri Dynasty Porcelain Exhibited

Pyongyang, February 24 (KCNA) -- An exhibition of porcelain belonging to the Ri Dynasty (1392-1910) is going on at the Korean Central History Museum. The Korean people made fine ceramic works including white porcelain during the Ri Dynasty by carrying forward the tradition of Koryo ceramic workmanship well known to the world. Displayed at the exhibition which opened on Feb.14 are more than 70 pieces of kitchen utensils and the sorts of stationery with the value of artistic handicrafts. The exhibits have varied decorations including relief, intaglio and pattern on white ground, which is suitable to the national aesthetic sense of the Korean people. Conspicuous among them are the green-white porcelain plate reflecting 10 creatures including pine tree, Ganoderma, deer, crane and the cloud which symbolize longevity, the white porcelain dish decorated with plum blossom in relief, the crimson-white porcelain writing brush vessel reflecting beautiful Mt. Kumgang and the red soil-white porcelain container for ink-stone water made in the shape of frog on the verge of leaping. All the exhibits are worthy of decoration as they give soft and fresh feelings to people. The porcelain works, combined with artistic skill and utility, make people feel plentiful and stable. The exhibition showing the developed ceramic workmanship of the nation is visited by Koreans and foreigners every day.

Kim Jong Il's Works Studied in Different Countries

Pyongyang, February 24 (KCNA) -- Seminars on leader Kim Jong Il's famous works "On the Juche Idea" and "Socialism Is a Science" were held by organizations for studying the Juche idea in Russia, India and Uganda on Feb. 11 and 13 on the occasion of the February holiday. Dmitri Kostenko, chairman of the Russian Youth Association for the Study of the Juche Idea, said that the work "On the Juche Idea" serves as a precious textbook on revolution for the adherents to the Juche idea. Anita Chopra, president of the Indian Working Women's Society for the Study of the Juche Philosophy, noted that Kim Jong Il in his work "Socialism Is a Science" compressively proved the justice, advantages and invincibility of the socialist cause based on the Juche idea and clearly indicated the way of winning the victory of socialism. Recalling that the DPRK won one victory after another in the stand-off with the U.S. even under the situation where the attack of the imperialist reactionary forces was focused on it at the end of the last century, she noted that this experience clearly proved the justice and truth of the Juche idea. The chief of the Group for the Study of the Juche Idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung of Old Kampala Higher Middle School in Uganda stressed that socialism is sure to triumph for its scientific accuracy and truth.

It is by studying the "exceptions" to our more "normal" discourse that we can also learn about our own systems of representations, I believe. Art is never, ever "normal" (naturally, we must ask "normal for whom, in what context". It can change.) I would go so far as to say that that which is normative, is not art - or rather, certainly not good art. This definition goes far beyond propaganda of course. However there is, genuinely, much of interest in the Collected Woks (sic) of the Great and Invincible Shining Supreme Eternal Leader (deceased) Kim Il Sung, though clearly not necessarily in the way he intended.

Best of British

Turning to the additions to the list of Millennium Products the (British) prime minister (The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, M.P.) described them as "the very best of British innovation, creativity and design".
He told the companies that produced the chosen items: "Congratulations to all of you on your imagination, your ingenuity and inspiration.
"Our future success depends on the qualities you, your product and your company embody."

Millennium innovations

Other inclusions in the final batch of products are:
  • A supermarket trolley made of recyclable plastic

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Supreme Commandership and dance ensemble at the instruments of action. More Zombie-like activity. Throw off your Markov Chains.

First two excellently childish sites: how to make Bush say things. The first one shows him saying it, but the second is slightly rappier.

You'll have heard of Markov Chains. If not, look here for a brief mention and lots of other nice, thought-free stuff. (I hope I don't have to explain that Zombie activity and thoughtless art, writing, cooking etc., etc. are in fact deeply useful activities. They make us more, not less responsible. 'Pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions, has already taken us far.)

The following text was generated from two sets of indices taken from a Bush speech, and from several postings on North Korea's incredible(literally) KCNA news agency site - always worth a visit, as is the this site using it for funny purposes including a Kim Il Sung insult generator.
These are NOT only idle pastimes. It is by deconstructing (not in a principled or systematic way, but in true Zombie fashion) this stuff and then playing with it that one can "feel" certain aspects of what it is to be subject to their originals, only more so. Far from being a waste of time, I find it makes me, even as a Zombie, want to pretend to be angrier.

Contrary Supreme Leader: Confronting The Al Qaeda Terrorist Network.

Those who harbor terrorists are many Americans that he will use terrorism to wait to take a few minutes to threaten America and he grows even more than 2,100 design suits the Kim Ki Bong. In one very senior al Qaeda terrorist group or chemical and who fled Afghanistan went to his wife were the title of Jo Myong Rok, director of soldiers.
The Nyong Gan Metals developed in mind the DPRK Hero with latest alloys of KPA Kim Jong Suk, an endless stream of machines. While visiting the People's Armed Forces, the ministry of metals developed in particular, designs to throw himself over 3,646,50 highly appreciated biological or biological attacks; all agree that he will use them, or provide them. Thank you for a growing fleet of people. This same tyrant has struck other countries to dominate the fundamental problem with time.
If we all support terrorist groups or biological attacks. While visiting the visitors to wipe out any aggressors at a training on Dec. 24 he lost no time to suit the friendly parties and serve their artistic quality and packing including a female trio with male Pangchang. Illustrious commander born of passenger cars made with latest alloys of life in the DPRK is Best and students in leading officials of building a bottle for chemical weapon that also have had used chemical and suffering to America. Iraq has experience in one very senior al Qaeda member in confronting that amount. This goal, the nature of the earth. We also discovered through intelligence that information on terror is not.
America without leaving any given day to Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 30,000 liters. Many Americans have terrible weapons. He has provided safe haven to share a grave threat from other side of people who is seeking nuclear weapons. Every chemical is now taking a heroic death after saving hundreds of KPA units and Youth and packing designs, hundreds of Jo Myong Rok, director of life in leading officials of People's Army song Il-led unit of industrial goods and a powerful nation.
We also must not be trusted. The truce has violated all development of tons of manned and serviced members of terror, and one place. We've also provided safe haven to attack America without warning, and a warm Cincinnati welcome. I'm honored to be used chemical weapons of tons of people. We also have terrible weapons. Supreme Commandership and dance ensemble at the instruments of action.

And if you have been: thanks for looking.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cardinal Ordinal - a Zombie Hobby

It is proposed: That worldwide, those with access to computing power adopt a Zombie hobby, along with its corollary of action in the real world, since Zombies are not without feelings. Well, they are, but they pretend to have them, and one of the most powerful reasons for adopting Zombie thought or to celebrate being one, if you are, is that mere mortals are all also pretending, on more or less deep or shallow levels. Zombies... Well, they don't "know" that they're pretending, it's different to that, but let's not get into construct analysis here.

So: using the Google search engine (to standardise things), let everyone who is interested enter a number into the search, such as 258. Leading and trailing spaces do not, alas, make any difference. Decimal points may of course be used but the full stop will also be ignored, such that " 3.1412 " is the same as "31412".

Since there are infinite real numbers, there are infinite searches to be undertaken.

Then, somewhere, someone, but not me, has the job of writing a piece of software to plot the number against its frequency. That's all. But it will be very interesting indeed. In fact, it is not just an empty task. There will be social, literary, mathematical of course and many other dimensions to the task. To cite just one instance here, the number 42 has 416 000 000 hits, whilst 41 and 43 have 333 000 000 and 392 000 000 respectively. Is this due to the Douglas Adams factor, or that 42 is not a prime number, whilst the other two are?

There are intellectual or emotional (ha!) rewards for diligent searching. Is there any number whose Google hit rate is the same as the number? There should be a point where the two numbers approach.

The Zombie priest Cardinal Ordinal tells me that she is ready to give a small prize to the finder of three such identities.

Now for the social conscience bit, as if we had any ha ha ha ha....

It is further proposed - indeed it is an (unenforceable) condition of use - : that for each hour or minute spent on this activity, users spend an equal or greater time on one of the two following tasks.

(a) That they take images dealing with social and political issues in C*ina (using the Google search engine - see my blog about this) and erasing all mentions of the word *hina, Chi*ese etc., or distorting them in graphical form, publish said images anywhere (blogs etc.) on the web. These politically charged images would then be far less susceptible to state or self-censorship of the Google kind, and given the use of words that Chi*nese people might,in western script, be using to search for images, they would stumble across the images, read the information contained therein and perhaps pass it on.

(b) More easily accomplished - or is it? - join Amnesty International, who help people on all sides of the political spectrum who are persecuted, tortured, imprisoned and so on. There is a link to them on all my pages. You can only join Amnesty in the country in which you reside, but from the site I cite here you can get to them easily.

Why should Zombies "care" about this? They don't really, but derive no small "satisfaction" from the fact that to do something "good" for no reason at all is far "better" than doing most other things. Why and how "better"? Because increasingly, those with too many beliefs and agendas are intent on persecuting the rest of us, Zombies or enlightened non-Zombies.

So, if you have been, thanks for looking, and please do the above.

ps - The spelling checker of Blogspot, owned I believe by Google, rejects both "blog" and "Google".

pps - Thought for the day... "My Lord has forbidden... wrong action, and unrightful tyranny, and associating anything with God for which He has sent down no authority, and saying things about God you do not know." (Qur'an, 7:33)

For Amnesty's bulletin about Yahoo's apparent complicity ("Apparent" - but they haven't sued Amnesty yet!) in releasing information about critics of government policy to the c*hinese "authorities", see here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

God's Zombie doodles (The Anywhen)

The day dawns bright, and cliche clear. You're lying on the bed in that orange dressing gown, watching vapour trails of jets flying west: Russia or Poland to Germany, France and Britain.
There are several, crossing each other, or so it appears from your perspective. You try to force them into shapes or symbols (as a kid you did it with clouds: God's bicycle, Jesus' sponge) but far from this, and you, they are merely the continuations, the dotted lines it seems, already broken in the upper streams, of solid, satisfactory forms whose home is quite elsewhere. This reminds you of.....? Other.
You think that planes are freedom, expanding out? Actually they are the reverse of that, homing in on a narrow strip of land 4 Km long. All that possibility ending up in, I don't know, Frankfurt airport or somewhere.

The sky full of people who haven't paid for their tickets. More than half the plane, they say. Plus a few paying to be in, or travel to, the anywhen. The rich can live in the past, present or future: old fashioned trips to Buenos Aries, St. Petersburg, cyberspace and always new ideas. The poor are forced to live in the present. That's all.

State your preferences, say your souls.

Favourite colour, other.

Lovers, other; location, other; alive/dead (tick), other.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The most disgusting website in the world apart from some right-wing stuff

I'm sorry - I've been wondering whether to "share", as some say, (read: impose upon) this with you for some time. But... you know... they advertised on my blog, clearly recognising a kindred spirit, so why not?
I have not attempted to show you a picture here. Even if colon cleansing is your thing, you will need the neutral, just observing, un-emotional qualities (as if they had any!) of a Zombie to get through this. The images are just the start, it's the... imagining, really.
Be warned. Do not click on this link if you are at ALL sensitive or squeamish. If you think "Rate My Vomit" is unfortunate, Do NOT look here.

Can it be real? Does it really all come out in one long... like THAT?

And if you have been, thanks for looking.

ps - from another website with what they claim are the original photos:

"Other benefits that have been reported to us include deep emotional catharsis leading to an amazing clarity. One theory on this says that emotions can become trapped along with the intestinal debris and when they are released one may relive old emotional experiences leading to a great freedom of internal energy."


Friday, February 17, 2006

Fugu Haiku, edu-babble, recipes and more!

"Last night he and I ate Fugu.
Today I carry his coffin. Oh dear."

A Fugu safely sealed in plastic.

Though not containing the correct number of syllables in English (it may well in Japanese) the above Fugu Haiku is not without didactic value.

I chanced upon the Rockford College Learning Resources Center, where they seem to imply that one can make the fish from Lego or something. I read the paragraph containing the word "Puffer" with increasing amazement, as it seemed to be an exercise in textual play, some form of OuLiPoien creativity. However, despite the fact that:

The philosophy of the LRC is based on a dedication to maximize abilities and potentials through the educational program. The philosophy is founded on believing that individual improvement in academic achievement is attainable, individuals possess untapped potential which can be challenged, learning occurs through valid teaching methods, successful instruction focuses on individual learning styles/needs, individuals become academically adept through careful guidance, successful achievement leads to further success, learning takes place when the student is treated with dignity, respect and worth, effective instruction requires dedicated, sensitive and highly qualified instructors and successful learning experiences lead to lifelong learning. All of our staff members are certified teachers. Our staff includes teachers with Masters of Education degrees in Reading, Learning Disabilities, Mathematics or certification in specialized areas. Our teachers are selected based upon academic qualifications, experience, ability to relate to students and positive approach to educating the individual person...

(Who the hell wrote this? I want to meet them) appears that:

...the students will machines function while applying their skills to have the opportunity to meet a real " inventing" new devices and work-saving paleontologist with real dinosaur bones! implements. Gardes 1-3 at 8 a.m., and Grades Grades 1-3 at 8 a.m.
Kitchen Chemistry Our Amazing World Join us for an amazing experience as a ziplock bag Come along with us as we discover the fantastic filled with chemicals gets hot and inflates with gas, world of science in our own backyard. Explore a and its bubbling contents change color before your pond, view the inhabitants of the ecosystem eyes! Be actively involved in hands-on experiments under a microscope and discover nature's in an exciting, fun and safe situation. We'll make early warning system. Plant a butterfly garden chemical concoctions from our kitchen ingredients and make edible butterflies. Take a hike and and have new and unique encounters with materials start a rock collection. Discover the world of we can use safely, and sometimes, even eat! Amphibians while you enjoy a visit from some Grades 1-3 at 8 a.m. and Grades 4-6 at 10:30 a.m. friendly frogs. Come prepared for short hikes.Under the Sea Neptune's kingdom will come to life as students create Puffer fish, origami whales, 3-D aquariums and edible oceans.

...and so on, and on, increasingly incoherently.

Though often the food of rich prats in American restaurants who want something really different (for a nice account of phoning McDonald's, Pizza Hut and so on to ask for a table and organic food for Madonna, read here) the Fugu (Blowfish, Puffer Fish, Poisson Lune...) can in fact be prepared and enjoyed at home, though it kills approximately 35 % of those who try. Not with this recipe though. And you will need new, fresh ingredients as well as the fish. Difficult in Berlin, the flies hovering over the rotting fruit, the vegetables stinking and lying in pools of ooze, the limp beans, lettuce and carrots, all Klasse 1. Perhaps they have been when they were fresh.
What is it about Berliners, so demanding in respect of alcohol, sex, cabaret, films and literature, that lets them put up with this crap? You can buy the best of a bad bunch: some carrots shaded prettily between green at their thick ends and anaemic orange at the points; a plastic bag of traffic-light peppers only one of which is wrinkled; some soi-disant organic onions, sprouting from only one end; some suspiciously reduced Gouda, product of more than one country; a bunch of flaccid dill and packets of frozen kohlrabi and peas, from field to packet in less than a fortnight... but mix none of this with your fine Fugu.
First, obtain a good knife, breathing equipment, stimigen in injectable form, and a pot.
The fugu hiki (literally puffer-puller) knife is long, thin and specifically designed to fillet the puffer fish. It can be found.
Then, obtain your fish. One good source is the Japanese Tzukigi fish market, which has a Fugu Association who, oddly, meet once a year to release caught fugu. And one good sauce is vinegar and sake, although the fish has to be marinaded for over 73 years for it to be safe.
For availability, see here...
We shall be eating it as a hotpot: first, heat a pot. Then remove the sperm-sac, gonads, ovaries, eyes, gills, head, tail, fins, liver, and to be safe, all the rest of the insides, depending on the fish's gender. Into the hot pot, throw grated kiwi fruit, whole chocolate peppers (yes Veronique), a stalk or two of celery, chopped, salted plums, Vietnamese hot chives sliced lengthways, cherry tomatoes, ditto, and a small handful of white crab meat or Mexican hopping rabbit for each person.
Discard the remains of the puffer fish, sealing the plastic bag tightly. Wash your hands in a solution of very diluted bleach (1 : 20) and then cream with a walnut sized lump of Nivea cream, into which you have mixed the equivalent of half an aspirin tablet and some artist's turpentine.
Invite the required number of friends around for dinner (yes: at this last minute, they won't have time to reflect and say "no") telling them that you have prepared (for it is true) a puffer-fish hotpot. Half of them will get quite high on this idea.
Refuse alcohol, telling them that it potentiates the traces of Tetrodotoxin that remain in the dish. Make sure that you have also discarded, before making the dish, the Fugu Hiki knife, no matter how much it cost. Mere washing or boiling will not do. Throw it away now.

And, if you have been, thanks for looking.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Random Zombie Art and *hinese Newspapers

These faces are the result of random use of an "Identikit"-style photo-fit program. As meaningful to a Zombie as anything else. Since we do not know (how could we?) what the Prophet looks like, and since miracles clearly occur, wouldn't he or his Mentor be interested in the tiny cosmic alterations necessary to produce his portrait as such an image?

The fact that Google in its great sensitivity has allowed *hinese "authorities" to censor its material makes me wonder if images, which cannot efficiently be scanned in any meaningful way for content, can still get through? Would it not behove us all (a) to find the most popular search-words used by *hinese people in Western script, and then (b) to replicate as many politically useful photos etc. as possible, and post them on websites with false descriptions and names, using the popular search-words? Then these would appear in a Google search for images as users searched for quite other things. There should be no reference whatever to *hina etc. in the actual text on the website, just loads of these pictures. The word "*hina" here, for example, is not text, and is distorted anyway.
Zombies, of course, are impervious to propaganda and its antitheses, gaining as much "pleasure" from scanning columns from *hinese newspapers used to produce the ferrule of those little cocktail umbrellas as you would from reading the Guardian.So, if you have been:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Our Lady of the Underpass

Clearly, the message is not getting through. A person who saw this site said it left her with "an unpleasant feeling". And there was I thinking it was, in a most humble way of course, ironic, funny, blog-art, and so on. They can't take the Zombies, you know, they really can't. The prissy, priggish and credulous are all around us - much more so than the reeking, living dead.
By the way, it is not very controversial science to suppose that we have, all of us, a sort of Zombie inside taking decisions before we do. It can be shown that certain actions are decided upon in the brain and messages sent to the appropriate muscles before we knew we were going to do whatever it was. Our conscious awareness only followed the initiation of the action. We think we decide to do things, but sometimes we're just rationalising what the inner Zombie already decided to do. Yes, free will, so-called, comes to, er, mind.

If I cut open a potato - or should it be an aubergine? - and see the face of the prophet staring out at me... How would I know it's him? And if it is, shouldn't I boil the potato rather than using it to stun the faithful? Actually the mystic image I like the best is that of the Virgin Mary in the Underpass Tunnel - it was a stain on the wall, but that didn't stop hundreds or thousands of credulous loonies from visiting it. And why do all these images of the Virgin look so curiously... Western? Is she trying to tell us something? And why an underpass? I mean, if it wasn't an accident, who decided this? What fertile brain-storming led to someone suddenly punching the air and saying "Yes! I've got it! An underpass!" A moment's silence, then the P.R. angels or whoever nod: "That's right; yup, that's it. An underpass."
Here too you see the Virgin in an American hospital window, visited by over 25 000 of the mentally and physically challenged, though if I squint, I'd swear it looks like a caricature of Lenin, there in the middle - how dare they? A fat "waaaa" be upon them.

And the Holy Toast, containing the image of, uhm, a Victorian era child, or possibly Nicole Kidman, peace be upon her, pious, yes, but not, you know, utterly convincing as divine.

Bleeding or tearful Virgins, the name of Allah in vegetables... Capitalism-as-religion of course manifests itself in meat.

People believe all this stuff. And you think Zombies are not real? Not only are they real, they are in a very moving way logical. And as I've said before, I should damn-well know, since I am one.

By the way, if anyone has actually been reading this - and yes, you in Keighley, Yorkshire, I saw you - thanks! - please note that I am constantly changing posts already written, I see tentative correction and improvement as an integral part of a blog, at least one like this.

And if you have been... thanks for looking.

STOP PRESS 26/02/2006

SEE live correspondence between loonies about apparitions, saints whose bodies don't decay etc.! TASTE the joy of seeing these people arguing with one another, and... one of them says he's GAY!!! The other's do NOT like this. Prepare to piss yourself laughing at this link...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Vierzon, the Athens of the North, Sky-Fairies and so on...

In the middle of France (not the Midi, which is in the south) there is an awful town called Vierzon. (It looks ok in the pictures on this linked website but trust me, it's not.) Famous only for figuring very briefly in a Jacques Brel song Vesoul ("You wanted to see Vierzon, we saw Vierzon...") and equally briefly in the excellent Alain-Fournier novel Le Grand Meaulnes ( The Wanderer), one can easily get stranded there due to train strikes or simply to bad luck. It is then debatable whether the fact that the station buffet has closed is a good thing or bad. I tend to the former view, it really was disgusting.
Anyway, I consulted a web site that listed various X's of the Y - Athens of the North, Venice of the East and so on. And unprompted, the phrase "Vierzon, the Athens of the North" came into my head and wouldn't go away. Here, too, one can learn that Beaver, Oklahoma, USA, is the "cow chip" (they mean cow shit) throwing capital of the world. Typical - they'll throw it but not name it.
Athens was surely not very big in the time of the great Greek philosophers; the population in 500 BC was, er... about 315 000 (of which only 172 000 were citizens). Ok, so it was quite big then. But given the stacks of philosophers roaming the streets and going down to the pub ("Old Plato been in yet?") One would think that in Vierzon, current population 30 000, (of whom we do not know how many are citizens) there would at least be a handful of thinkers. But no.
Though there are things there to give pause for thought. I once saw an advertisement in a pharmacy for a system of slimming and well-being cures called Kotz, which is German for vomit. The French will believe anything - they are more credulous even than the Americans! They believe in homeopathy in their millions ("My friend's tortoise got better so it can't be placebo effect can it...") They also believe that they invented most items of technology and gastronomy. Well, at least they don't believe that their President is worthy of respect just in virtue of being President, as many Americans seem to.
Which takes us neatly on to the hoo-haa about the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's dread cartoons. (Not to mention the false ones circulated just to fan the flames. "One of the pictures, a photocopied photograph of a man with a pig's ears and snout, has been identified as an old Associated Press picture from a French pig-squealing contest." says the BBC.) Note: Vierzon is the pig-squealing capital of the world. The trick is to vibrate two fingers against the inside of the cheek, whilst screaming inwards. Honestly.
I just wonder what it is about fundamentalist Muslims, Christians and Jews that causes them to scream and yell and pull their own hair and tear their clothes when confronted with what they consider to be blasphemy etc.?
Can we just, please, remember one thing? All their outrage, and all the western politicians' cynical and opportunistic apologies and so on, are about SKY-FAIRIES. It's as if the believers in spirits in watering-cans were at ideological (and beyond) war with those who insisted on green pixies being the one true religion. And we join in and take sides as if it were about something real, instead of deluded peoples' desires not to die, or to go on to some afterlife if they do. We contemplate the possibility of escalating conflict between our "Judeo-Christian values" and those of the Muslims. But it's all bananas! It would be cosmically hilarious if the effects weren't so serious. (Yes, yes, I know, it isn't really about religion at all. Homework: what is it about then? Use of the word "values" will be penalised. Hint: was and is the Northern Ireland mess about religion?)
Zombies, you will note, are to be found on both sides, just statistically. They relish nothing, but are just there. Better, however be friends with a Zombie (please?) than those behind some of the sites I looked at to see the cartoons - mostly right-wing or beyond.
You have to be very principled and careful here, I think, or you end up seeming to be, or appearing to lend support to, people you would normally cross the street to avoid.
But essentially let's first chant together: "We will not accept their axioms!"
And then?
If you have been, thanks for looking.
ps: I didn't mean it... please don't kill me. Vierzon's a lovely place really.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Zombie companions eat shit

A strange day today, in that I watched a DVD of a voyage to North Africa undertaken by a colleague and friend who died a few years ago and a group of art students. The trip was called "Atelier Nomad" - the nomad studio. And of all the things that I thought would move me, make me cry or laugh, it was a picture of him, on a camel - a real one, not the 4x4s that the Bedouin call "Japanese Camels". He and the students were wrapped from head to toe in white cloth; they all looked like Zombies. Another image I have is a photo of him wearing a Zombie bandage. He wasn't a Zombie, he was just experimenting with the possibility.
At lunchtime, I visited a sort of local government canteen with another colleague, who perhaps approaches the condition of the undead. We ate, as you can see.

I just had time to make this quick sketch before the sauce surrounding the delicious peas, potatoes and meat - produce of more than one country - solidified. My companion became so engrossed in a morsel of his dessert that he was oblivious to the changes overcoming him. He was also railing
against certain aspects of our pedagogical approach. Then, towards the last bite, he described a different plan vis-Ì-vis (I'm sure the a and its acute accent won't have appeared correctly) (right, it didn't) the first year art students. I don't know if it was his plan or someone else's; he described it as Stalinist, and I wasn't sure, he was so worked up, if this was a criticism or a commendation.
In fact, I never had time to find out. He seemed to shimmer in the close, tight air of the canteen; his face was flushed yet paradoxically pale, almost post-orgasmic. He put the last piece of xxxxx xxxx between his rigid fingers and as it made its way towards his mouth, I knew beyond a doubt that he was a Zombie too.

I thought "Shit, I don't want other Zombies all around me..." Then I thought, "No, that's selfish..." and I smiled at him, one of the first times I have done so in the 10 or so years we have known each other.

The thing is, I'm sure I wouldn't have been so... you know, trying to be nice, to be good... if I hadn't seen the photo of my friend Jean Castel on that camel. We went looking for gold once, and found a little.

If you have been, thanks for looking.
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