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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Counting my chickens

Manic Depression ain't a fun disease and Diabetes ain't a doddle either. I was up a few hours yesterday, but had to give up and return to bed. Apologies to everyone whom I was supposed to do anything for and with yesterday - or today, for that matter. I have been in bed for about 40% of today - but have managed a few bits.

Some years ago, my friend Tim Matthews was talking at the Weird Weekend. For those of you not in the know Tim is one of my closest friends in the bizarre business of fortean journalism, and he is also one its most enigmatic and controversial figures. His shadowy past has been linked with ultra right wing political groups, covert military intelligence, political chicanery and skulduggery, football hooliganism and a long standing feud with self-styled bastion of left wing morality Larry O’Hara. He has been accused of everything from membership of the ultra right wing terrorist group Combat 18 to being an establishment spy sent to “destabilise” British UFOlogy.

As, by and large, British UFOlogy is the last refuge of many people who are so eccentric that their behaviour borders on, and in some cases goes far beyond total insanity, the idea that the British Government (or indeed any other Government) has the slightest interest in destabilising it is frankly laughable. Whatever Tim is, or appears to be, he is one of my dearest friends, and he was on stage, having delivered a fine lecture, when he came out with one of the best bon mots of his career:

"I can state here and now, that it is not true that my research is - or ever has been - funded by the FBI, CIA, MI5, NSA or any other Governmental Body, but this cannot be said about Jon Downes. After all, much of his research has been funded by the DSS"

This brought the house down, but it is true. When I was diagnosed with Manic Depression nearly a decade ago I was signed off sick and told necver to work again - a stricture which I have done my best to ignore. However, I am seriously ill, and whilst my conditions are not life threatening they are chronic, and I will be a semi-invalid for the rest of my life.

Now, I ain't telling this because I want people to be sorry for me. I don't. But as this blog is an attempt to explain what I do and why I do it, I feel that it is better to be honest from Day One! I am a Manic Depressive, a Diabetic, I have congestive Heart Failure, and a dozen other diseases, all of which will probably conspire to kill me earlier than I would otherwise go...

BUT

and this is the big BUT.

I ain't gonna let any of this beat me. For as long as I am able I shall continue to run the CFZ to the best of my ability. However, I received a letter the other day, from an old friend, who asked - straight out what would happen to the CFZ in the event of my demise.

This is a fair question, and particularly so from him (because he is planning to donate a large number of interesting and valuable odds and ends to our putative museum, and he wants to know that his family treasures will be safe). I have arranged the CFZ, so that on my demise (or pernmanent incapacity), the organisation will continue to be run by a three man committee. Graham Inglis (Deputy Director) and Richard Freeman (Zoological Director), will be joined by Mark North who (despite his protestations), is the obvious person to take over my role, should I die prematurely.

Our constitution can be seen on the website, and Chris Moiser and us are planning to put the whole thing in legalese as soon as possible. Also - on my death - the vast majority of my personal property, including houses/land becomes property of the CFZ.

BUT

and this is an even bigger BUT

I have no intention of dying just yet, so you guys are stuck with me for the forseeable future!

PS. To further bring down a blog entry of some degree of maudlinity, some of you will remember Dave Rowe who was married to my Cousin Pene. He attended the 2002 Weird Weekend. Sadly he died on tuesday. Remember him and more importantly Pene and Andy, in your prayers.

Also, our friend Jill Martin from the Tortoise Trust is seriously ill. remember her in your ptayers as well....