2007 — 7 May: "Oh, my aching back"

Today's theme is (not yet)-moving. See yesterday if you don't know why.

Sometimes, Life seems to consist of one, long coincidence. Yesterday, I bought that "Adventures of Tintin at sea" tribute (which accompanied the UK National Maritime version of an original exhibition at the Musée National de la Marine called "Mille Sabords!"). Today's Guardian G2 supplement has a feature by Gabriel Coxhead (filed, extraordinarily, in the "Children and Teens" nook of their website) describing the loving homages (and obscene pastiches) still being produced (in direct opposition to the wishes expressed in Hergé's will).

The copy of the only one I have dates back to a January 1990 expedition to Southampton's "October Books" and is the anarchist pastiche Breaking free1 attributed to the, doubtless spirited, Jack Daniels.

Time to investigate bog garden techniques

Off we go! I had no idea you could once again legally buy tortoises. But the paperwork that accompanies them is horrendous, and the price has sky-rocketed. They were (when I was a lad) a pocket money purchase.

Is it just me?

Or could the Washington Post article here by Alan Blinder2 (about the problems posed by free trade and offshoring) have equally been written a decade ago? Indeed, didn't the Hursley Lab Director Geoff Robinson say much the same over a decade ago?

And, on a related "globalisation" front, how does the following strike home? I particularly liked the catchy phrase I've highlighted:

"We live in an age of overwhelming religious globalization," he began. But, as late as a quarter-century ago, neither he nor most other academics saw it coming. Most analysts, he explained, had the same stale orthodoxy about religion's inevitable demise. "The idea was very simple: the more modernity, the less religion. . . . I think it was wrong."

Except in Europe, where it has proven half-right, the idea was all wrong. This year marks the European Union's 50th anniversary. Next year is the 40th since Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Europeans mocked the pope's warnings about family planning cultures that promote abortion and produce few children. As a result, a fitting inscription for the European Union's gold watches would be "World's largest unfunded pension liability land mass."

Peter Berger (as revealed in The weekly Standard article by John J DiIulio Jr.)

Mind you, seeing the reference to that ghastly pope's ghastly papal bull, reminds me that, under the heading How condoms could save planet (which is equally catchy, in my opinion) the Guardian's Rachel Williams informs me that the Optimum Population Trust said a lower birth rate would help cut CO2 emissions, claiming that having a third child increases a family's carbon footprint (yet another catchy, if meaningless, phrase) by the equivalent of 620 return flights between London and New York. A condom3 for 35p is felt to represent a "spectacular" potential return (9,000,000% to be precise!) on investment. I suspect Malthus4 was in his 1798 essay "on the Principle of Population" years ahead of his time in his thinking.

Day 185  


1  Advertised thus: Finally back in print! He's back, and he's bad! Now Tintin's back with his all his pals — Captain Haddock et al — battling it out against the State and bringing the old world to its knees, in a classic full-length graphic story of love, struggle and freedom. Give to your little niece or nephew for an adventure they can really get stuck into!
Reviewed thus: "Absolutely terrible...We have a free press but there is a limit to how far it can go." [The Police Federation]
2  A professor of economics at Princeton University, vice chairman of Promontory Interfinancial Network and vice chairman of the G7 Group.
3  One might well want/need more than one, of course!
4  It is an obvious truth, which has been taken notice of by many writers, that population must always be kept down to the level of the means of subsistence; but no writer that the Author recollects has inquired particularly into the means by which this level is effected: and it is a view of these means which forms, to his mind, the strongest obstacle in the way to any very great future improvement of society.