2007 — 24 September: wet and windy Monday

Time now (07:12) and in an hour or so we shall be en route to the first of four daily radiation sessions this week. We're exactly at the half way point. Fingers permanently crossed, making typing trickier.

She's breakfasting peacefully on the bed examining the Guardian crossword. Time to get me some food, methinks. And "faucet" down, of course! Meanwhile, I've just learned that Amadeus the axolotl is currently in an upside down position at the top of his tank in his school classroom. A vet's help has been requested. News to follow.

Farewell... Amadeus

Alas, Amadeus has gone to the great axolotl cave in the sky. R.I.P.

Pinker the Thinker

An interesting take on Steven Pinker's latest book "The Stuff of Thought":

The book is pegged to the anniversary of Sept. 11, and that's the first topic Pinker addresses. Here is Pinker's angle: Was it one 'event' or two? This question makes a $3.5 billion difference to the World Trade Center's owner and his insurance company, but you'd be hard pressed to think up a more pointy-headed question about the murder of nearly 3,000 people...
At one point, Pinker draws up a game-theoretic matrix for the question "Would you like to come up and see my etchings?" Etchings, of course, are code for sex. But in Pinker's case, you get the feeling that this guy actually would prefer to show you his etchings. That's his kink. He's interested in the stuff of life, but he's even more interested in how we depict it.
There's plenty of sex and scatology1 in Pinker's etchings. Some of it is shrouded in Nerdish, like the "gynecological-flagellative term for uxorial dominance." But most of it is brutally explicit. He catalogs scores of terms for genitals, sex acts and excrement. From them, he spins delightful theories about people. He pokes fun at Congressional censors for botching the grammar of words they're trying to ban. Foul language turns out to be an excellent window not only into human nature but into Pinker's nature: curious, inventive, fearless, naughty.

William Saletan in a New York Times Sunday book review called "The Double Thinker"

Lively afternoon

Made even livelier by a flying visit from Len (dropping off a DVD of The lost tales from "Babylon 5" while I was watching the recent BBC4 profile of French comics artist Jean Giraud2 [aka Moebius].) Plus a nearly overlapping visit from Mike and Bryan to drop off a little trinket Bryan very kindly picked up for the Girl in Winchester the other day. I'm not certain I can stand all this excitement!

But it's so far been a very good day with much reduced pain and even some periods of successful sitting. Mind you, She's now spark out on the bed catching up with a few chums via Her new cordless phone. She's also promised to make the evening meal, but I've no intention of holding Her to that!



1  I've been showing Christa a diary I kept back in 1968 when I was in the Lower Sixth. She's fascinated by it for some reason. I'm amused to note that the entry for Thursday 25th January ends (mysteriously) "Must look up 'scatological'." I wonder what that was about!
2  I didn't realise he'd done the production design on Tron, let alone worked on the unsuccessful first attempt to film Dune back in 1975. (The team assembled for that ended up working on Alien and Blade Runner — two superb films.) Great stuff. That diary, by the way, reminds me that in early 1968 (after re-reading Dune in its UK paperback form) I confidently opined that it was the best book I'd read up until that time — I had yet to discover the delights of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 (later that year, actually) let alone Jane Austen's sublime Pride and Prejudice which I only read for the first time a shameful 37 years later!