2008 — 27 Mar: Thursday

Apparently children laugh about 400 times a day. I guess it's official: I'm not a child any more! It's 02:01 and I'm thinking of calling it a day, or a night, as it were. I've just finished watching A lot like love and (Mike may be amused to note) just ordered my own copy. Also just finished cleaning the crockpot, but that's another story. The back to basic beefy was very tasty, and I have some chicken lined up for lunch later. How did Christa manage to stay on top of all this domesticity so effortlessly? Practice, I suppose.

Also found signs that Xubuntu is ending up on that little laptop PC I got recently.

And this just in from the Office of National Statistics, bless 'em:

... the average age for people to marry for the first time in 2006 was 31.8 for men and 29.7 for women. In 1991, it was nearly five years less for men and just over four and a half less for women.


Looking at their graph, it seems Christa and I got married at, as it were, the peak time in (relatively) recent years. I also note that, since 1992, civil ceremonies have been more common than religious ones.

Marriage trends in the UK

Readers of a certain age... dept.

Recall, if you will, those halycon UK days of 1973. Rolling power cuts. Strikes. 3-day working week. But at least we had Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon to uplift us. Recall, too, how very long we had to wait until Wish you were here was released, in its enticing black shrink-wrapped package. In our case, we bought a copy while on our delayed "honeymoon" holiday fortnight in Penzance in September 1975 even though I couldn't examine it for scratches (!) until we got back to our tiny little flat in Old Windsor.

Today, BBC Radio 2 has just reminded me that their album The Division Bell came out 14 years ago! 14 years! And A momentary lapse of reason came out 21 years ago... Where does Time go?

Pink Floyd albums

Each of these albums has memories for us. (As, to a lesser extent, do the live ones.)


Occasionally caustic comments made by Christa (during her stint [1973 to 1975] in the German department of the Royal Holloway College, University of London) helped form my otherwise non-existent opinions of literary matters. The professor who was her head of department, for example, specialised in 19th century German fairy tales (or, at least, that's what she told me) and simply recycled his lectures, year by year. I therefore set off to this link with a slight readiness to sneer. But it's worth the read, trust me.

It passes for news... dept.

I truly have better things to do than waste much time on persiflage (lovely word) regarding the State visit. But, when I see, on the BBC's home page, the following image and comment:

Height matters?

I can clearly hear Christa's voice saying "Good God!" and can only echo her sentiment.

This just arrived... dept.

I know, just by skimming down the cast list, that Christa would have enjoyed this. She had a soft spot for "Smitty". I admire, not for the first time, the graphics artist who came up with this clever image, too. Let's hope the film is as enjoyable as the one I was watching all of 12 hours earlier.

Jane Austen Book Club

I'm obviously (for whatever reason) on a bit of a nostalgia binge today, so why not read a lovely archived article on Linux? Its author (Glyn Moody) still has a loft full of copies of his essay collection "Glanglish and other weekly essays" that I heartily recommend. Indeed, I once passed one of them along to one of the Hursley Lab directors, though it didn't seem to change her behaviour.

I also found (in the murky depths of that recovered hard drive) a treasured text file of supposedly authentic (eighth grade through college) student bloopers...

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

Unknown US students (allegedly)

That last, of course, reminds me of the ancient joke about how you circumcise a whale...

An unfortunate quote (or translation): "The Munich magnetic levitation rail project has collapsed," said Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee. Come back, Eric Laithwaite!

Death doesn't deter...

... a determined car salesman. Christa got a letter today:

Toyota bribe

Some form of remuneration, heh? I await the young man's phone call.

Flipper? I think not!

As I work my way through my DVD cover artwork, slowly turning the Epson scanner into a heap of molten plastic (it's actually doing very well so far, though previous exercises — turning many cassette tapes into minidiscs, for example — have had a Mounce history of burning out various devices) I am discovering a few odd things. Many NTSC discs (Region 1) are pressed with a "normal" TV aspect ratio (4:3) on one side and a widescreen TV aspect ratio (16:9) on the other. But spot the logic error here:

Flipper DVD

From the Canaries

Via Christa's friend Ute and her partner Bob... An optical illusion that's new to me. I'm telling the truth when I say there's a word struggling to break out: