2008 — 1 June: Sunday... rabbits!

Good God, it's 00:12 and my eyeballs are suffering more than somewhat. It's either the pollen or the scanning, but enough is (nearly) enough for the moment. I always felt a little sorry for Christa that her birthday (December 16th) was so close to Christmas — many people combined the two, but I took care to separate them. Here she is in Old Windsor thirty years ago on her 32nd birthday doing some Christmas decoration preparation. I'm amazed, by the way, how much the Dali block print (from Athena) has faded in the intervening years.

Christa with her birthday cards, December 1977

Now I really am going to turn in for the night. G'night! (At 00:56 or so.)

Where's that sun gone?

It's raining a little (at 08:47) but remains warm and humid, so the solar globe must be fizzing away up there somewhere. Big Bro has commissioned me to buy the next two issues of his Air Forces Monthly aviation porn useful business-related professional literature — a magazine whose existence I've remained in blissful ignorance of these last four decades or so. Why can't he ask for something simple? He's also sent along a Word file that Open Office makes difficult for me to grab a photo out of. Oh, the joys of conflicting doc standards. I suppose I could whizz it over to Christa's PC (she has a pukka copy of Word that I bought her some [years, now] time ago) but there must be an easier way... And to think Microsoft is setting so-called Open Doc standards for the species. Good God!

Time to feed myself and pack a lunch for a gentle (I hope, in this humidity) ramble. We're overdue our exercise. But I do like Joe Queenan's style:

I'm not suggesting that gigantic books are useful only as an excuse for avoiding responsibility. No, those who read them also reap the psychic benefits of being admitted to an exclusive club, like Icelandic rodeo queens or American presidents whose administrations did not end in disaster. Those who have read the unabridged "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and "Remembrance of Things Past" and "Man Without Qualities" belong to a very special group because at any given time there are no more than a few hundred such people on the face of the earth, and none of them live in Tarrytown.

Joe Queenan in The New York Times

My preferred "Jumbo Lit" authors are Dickens and Trollope, personally. Right! Time to get the wheels spinning underfoot, as it were.

Eternal Verities? Pah!... dept.

Having tried to get to this piece on Pythagoras for about 24 hours... I now learn (if the Wall Street Journal can be trusted under its new ownership) that: "Pythagoras did not invent the notion of mathematical proof after all... Nor did he discover the theorem1 that bears his name... It was known a thousand years earlier in Mesopotamia."

Is nothing sacred, dammit? It's 17:54, by the way, and I'm back from an enjoyable ramble around Horsebridge. Mike's also let me use some of the photos he took today, including this wonderful mushroom2 that I can claim credit for spotting about five or six feet up the side of a tree:

Eggs with that, sir?

I have not cheated the colours at all... check the ivy on the left.

Amon Düül who?

The ever-excellent Stuart Maconie is unleashing some of their music on the nation, right now, from the wonderful "Dance of the Lemmings" album. (BBC 6Music's Freak Zone). I bought this on vinyl while staying with the Birmingham cousins in 1971. (I was supposed to be working on an engineering project to construct, in balsa wood, a pin-jointed structure of the lowest weight possible to bear a specified load — not my finest achievement.) I never found it easy to accept the term "krautrock" (no matter how affectionately intended) while married to a German citizen, but it is (I have to admit) an effective adjective.

It's Ansible time

Thanks to which, I was led into the weird set of comments here on a certain popular (if derivative) fantasy writer whose name (like that of the chief baddie) must not be spoken aloud. Comments sparked, if you please, by a Harvard student newspaper "piece". This is what passes for national news in a supposedly serious broadsheet newspaper in the Benighted Kingdom.

Calm down, grumpy! Finish digesting your sea bass. (And the last of the Freak Zone — it's 19:51 already.) Or go back and break off a bit of that "Chicken of the Woods" — thanks for the link, Peter! Try this one.

Remember Milliways?

What a fabulous thing to find!

Is he called "Brian"?

Today's snail picture (compare and contrast with this earlier one, from Figsbury Ring):

Almost crunched underfoot

Did she mean me?... dept.

This is too delicious. I phoned dear Mama earlier this evening (she'd not picked up yesterday). She neatly deflected any idea of contributing to my NZ air fare, telling me that her advice was not to travel anywhere, ever! En passant I asked her if she'd spoken to either of her sisters or her sister-in-law (my batch,3 that is, of surviving aunts) lately. No she hadn't: "they never ring me, so I think 'Why should I bother?'..." Well ring Aunty Mary, said I.

I then called both Aunty Ivy and Aunty Mary separately just to shoot the breeze and note, for example, the fact that it's just over six months since Christa's death. Aunty Mary knew who was calling more or less as she picked up her phone, as she'd just had a call from dear Mama (rather to my surprise, but a pleasant one nonetheless). "Guess what she said to me when I answered?" asked Aunty Mary. She said "I've just had a phone call from Christa's husband!" You mean your son, David? "That's right; Christa's husband."

Priceless. I know it's awful, but I roared with laughter.



1  The one about the sons of the squaw on the hippopotamus hide.
2  Mike's chum Graham informs us that there are no such things as the "toadstools" I was told to avoid as a youngster — they're all simply "mushrooms". He must be such a fungi to eat with!
3  I'm sure PG Wodehouse would have coined something better than "batch", by the way. Remember his wonderful "Aunt is calling to Aunt like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps".