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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Sunday, May 24, 2009

CFZ PEOPLE: Stuart Rickard's battle with cancer and NICE

Those of you who have been regulars at the Weird Weekend will mostly all know Stuart Rickard. He is the bloke who lives next door to me, and who is also Chairman of the Community Centre Committee which manages the venue which we take over once a year.

He is a nice guy and can always be seen necking back the tequilas at the cocktail party and helping the younger attendees with the more rigorous bits of the pinata (see left).

Last year he even came on stage and gave a short talk about how the Community Centre is at the vanguard of energy saving technology and is doing its bit to help the village achieve carbon neutrality.

All of you who know Stuart are going to be appalled by the picture of him in the press cutting presented here. He has serious kidney cancer and looks thirty years older.

The good news is that the people at
the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), who have to have one of the more sickening acronyms in modern Britain, have changed their mind, and Stuart is now going to receive the drug.

But the implications of this are appaling. It is just like what happened when NatWest cancelled my bank accounts for no good reason a few years ago. For as long as the injured party does things through conventional channels nothing happens. As soon as one writes a letter to the newspapers, or contacts the MP, or does anything which will focus a searchlight of unwanted publicity onto whichever part of the faceless beaurocracy of our increasingly neo-Stalinist state has screwed up this time, then they capitulate like toy soldiers being knocked over by a playful puppy.

No wonder the increasingly cvacuuous media is so powerful.

So, congratulations to Stuart. Let's hope the medicine works mate. You are in our thoughts and our prayers. And commiserations to us all for living in such an increasingly messed up society.

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