Hello there. Always on the look-out for interesting selfies and selfie-related stories, I came across this the other day. It’s a rather charming selfie taken by a crested black macaque, and has been (along with 100-or-so other similar and less focused images) at the centre of a row between a wildlife photographer, David Slater, and Wikimedia Commons. They have been using this image and not credited the photographer, which understandably irritated him. However, they would not remove the image, as they claim that he doesn’t own the copyright. Right. So who does? The monkey, apparently, because it took the image. Well, yes, technically it did. But come on. What a ridiculously stupid argument to make. Is someone from Wikimedia going to track the macaque down to give it its royalty cheque? Are they going to demand that Mr Slater buys the copyright off the monkey? I’m all for animals being treated fairly, humanely and as we would like to be treated (one of the reasons behind my recent move to becoming a vegetarian, but that’s for another post), but come on. This can be taken a bit too far, and has been here to be honest. Now come on, Wikimedia- give that man back the money he deserves. You’ve had your joke.
These speak for themselves really. Well; I hope they do.
This is a bit old but (I thought) worth sharing. As the title suggests, I posted this on Facebook almost a year ago, but the sentiments are the same now. Obviously, when I mention something is ‘current’, I mean current in July 2013.
Here is the original article that I refer to:
This article has irritated me somewhat. Firstly, I hate that the thumbnail for the article has that picture on, but I can’t really comment without putting the article on that I am moaning about, and the picture won’t disappear. I missed this story when it was first in the news, but picked up on it thanks to a cartoon in the current issue of ‘Private Eye.’ Basically, two archaeologists from Leicester Uni have objected to Damien Hirst exhibiting a photo that shows him at the age of 16 posing next to the severed head of a man who donated his body to science. Fine. The picture is in ridiculous bad taste, and they have a point about the family of the dead man and the fact that he probably didn’t give permission for photos to be taken of his corpse (which needs to be given when bodies are donated). But the article irritates me due to the complete ignorance that the writer has. Apparently, it is “academic pomposity” for archaeologists to speak out about something they believe is wrong if it impinges on others. Right. Hmm. Also, “archaeological ethics” needs to be put in quotation marks in the original article, as though it is some sort of alien or laughable concept. It is not. It is an integral part of the practicing of modern archaeology that needs to be taken into account at every turn when excavating and when presenting the past to the public. Next-“Only in dictatorial regimes do university professors decide what does and does not belong in an art gallery.” Erm….nope. Surely many art gallery curators are also able to be lecturers, and academic opinion coupled with the sensitivities of the public are always to be taken into account when presenting art and archaeology. But archaeologists cannot comment on art, can they? I’m sure the writer also thinks that anthropologists can’t, either. Then there’s this bit, which I will quote at length- “Leicester University’s experts say it contravenes guidelines on the ethical treatment of the dead: the poor man whose head is in the picture, they say, would have been recognisable to his relatives. He left his body to science and it was used in a jokey work of art. As archaeologists, they claim expertise in this strange field of postmortem ethics. Perhaps they got carried away by the sentimentality that surrounded Leicester’s rediscovery of the bones of Richard III.” Oh come on. Richard III is not quite the same. And then, the final flourish of ignorance- “Archaeology is the scientific study of the past, and it has no business pronouncing on the ethics of modern art.” Give me strength. Of course archaeology has the right and the position to comment on the present as much as any historian, author, artist or religious leader. It just annoys me that such a woefully ignorant person can comment upon a discipline that they clearly do not understand, and can therefore present it any way they like in the media, biasing those who do not know the subject to think that it is something that it isn’t. Okay. Rant over now.
Another example of a selfie here that’s recently popped up in the news- the Duke of York was hosting an event for start-up technology businesses at St James’s Palace when he decided to take this:
I love the fact that the Duke has managed to almost chop himself out of the picture, but even better than this is a quote off MSN regarding the image:
“The Duke of York has torn up hundreds of years of protocol after he became the first member of the Royal Household to take a selfie in a Palace.”
Since when has there been “…hundreds of years of protocol” regarding the taking of selfies in palaces?
You may have realised that I am quite fond of strange selfies, and so I thought I’d post these two images I came across the other day:
These are two images taken by Bekily, a 12-year-old ring-tailed lemur at London Zoo. ‘Nuff said really.
Well- it’s New Year’s Eve, and time to reflect on what has gone on over the past year. For my family, this has been a big year, as we left the comfort and splendour of Oxford to return to our home city of Stoke-on-Trent; I graduated from university; I got my first job; we decided where we want to go with our life in the near and more distant future, thanks to an American man and his family on YouTube; I completed my first book of poetry, which had been languishing prior to this summer; I took the plunge and begun this blog, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while; and have got back in contact with several family members that I haven’t seen for the best part of a decade thanks to Facebook. It has been eventful, and had also been emotional and tiring for all of us. Also, with any luck, next year should be just as eventful- beginning work; trying to get my book published; endeavouring to write the novel and short story collection that I’ve been planning for a month or so; and getting married. Yes: my partner and I are getting married next year!
In terms of this blog, I will be getting up several ‘Thoughts on…’ posts for the books I have read recently- the first two Adrian Mole books, Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’, Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, and Tove Jansson’s ‘Finn Family Moomintroll’- in the new year, and hopefully will get the first few up on New Year’s Day. For now, though, I thought that I would highlight a selection of posts from this blog that have proved popular, may have been overlooked, or are of relative interest for me.
I think that’s enough links to my other posts to be getting on with for now. Anyway- check some of these out if you haven’t already, or have a browse of the blog and see what you come across. Also, you can follow Electric Puppet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog
Lastly, here are a few fellow bloggers that I’ve come across in the past few months that you may find of interest:
A Corner Of Tenth-Century Europe (written by one of my Anglo-Saxon lecturers from Oxford; he has since moved on to work at Birmingham University)
I hope you have a very happy New Year, and that 2014 will be good for you.
I saw this photo yesterday, and thought that it was too good not to share on here. Following on from my posts on the Papal selfie and the Darth Vader selfie comes this new addition to a very occasional series, which was taken by (I think) a Japanese astronaut on a space-walk from the International Space Station. You can see the sun sitting on the left, but the best bit for me is seeing the reflection of the Earth in the astronaut’s helmet. Just wonderful. Nothing else to say really!
Just a quick post here. I’ve just come across this set of images and thought that I would share them on here. I don’t know who they are by or where they are originally taken from, but if I find out, I will make sure to credit the relevant person or people.
I think that these speak for themselves (or I hope that they do), and really bring home just how close the past is. As an archaeologist, I obviously believe that the past and history are literally all around us if we chose to look for it- for example in the layers of wallpaper in a house, the way in which shops and buildings are refigured, and in the general detritus of our lives- and can see that some places evoke memory and bring up the past. Not sure where I stand on ghosts, to be honest, and I plan to write an archaeological paper on the way in which places cannot hold memories in themselves, but these images do work well to show that past events occurred in places that we can visit and inhabit in the present, rather than in some ‘other’ place. Anyway- I’m beginning to ramble, and so will wrap this up here. Just thought that I would share, and hit the ‘like’ button if you wish!
Before I start, let me just apologise for my use in the title of this post of a word that fell out of popular parlance at around the turn of this century. I’m a Dad, so I have a license to be cringeworthy at times.
Anyhoo- I just thought that I’d share these pictures, as I personally find them both rather telling and also highly encouraging. The new Pope, Pope Francis, was greeting a group of around 500 young people from the Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio at the end of August when he posed for a photo that has gone viral on the ‘net, and which I’m sure you have come across.
It’s a nice photo- even if he does look a tad awkward and unsure there on the left- but what makes it quite remarkable is the fact that the bloke on the left is the Pope. He whom Catholics regard as God’s ultimate representative on Earth. I can’t imagine Pope Benedict XVI posing like this for a ‘selfie’, but as many have pointed out, Francis is a lot more down-to-earth than his predecessor, having come from a normal diocese rather than directly from within the confines of the Vatican. I mean, Benedict was already installed in the Vatican before he became Pope, making him more accustomed to the finery and the protocol than his successor. I feel that Francis is in fact a more ‘holy’ Pope in as much as he is willing to carry his own bags, pay his bills, live in an apartment that is just big enough for his needs, and wash the feet of female prisoners as well as males. He lives a more Christian life through his shunning of the extravagance that became the trademark of Pope Benedict- the fine red stole and cassock, the red slippers made by nuns, the over-sized living quarters. Also, this image shows a Pope that not only embraces the modern world (as indeed Benedict did when he joined Twitter), but also one who sees the importance of engaging with the next generation of the church in order to be relevant to it, and to be seen as someone who is not out of reach, inaccessible and aloof. if he is God’s ultimate etc., then here we have a God who is within reach; who is able to be engaged with and responsive to the changing face of the world. A modern God, and a modern Pope. Something to be embraced, I think. It’s just a shame that he will not alter the view of the Catholic church on issues such as contraception and women priests and bishops. But I suppose there is time, and indeed it is only a matter of time before a future Pope hopefully not too far down the line will correct these and other matters.
As the caption suggests, that eye belongs to a llama. I had never quite imagined that llama eyes were so beautiful, strange, or geological. It almost looks like a dazzling Mediterranean or Caribbean lake surrounded by large rocky formations instead of an eye. I’ve posted several more here which speak for themselves, really, and more eyes can be found at
For me, nothing comes close to the human eye, and it is easy to see why the eye has been put forward by many as proof that life must have had a Creator, with nothing so amazing ever having been able to be produced by evolving. Personally, I believe that Creation and theories of evolution can quite easily be reconciled, seeing evolution to be a process put in motion by God, but however you see it, the eye is a truly fascinating and spectacular piece of biology.
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