2008 — 12 June: Thursday

Midnight again, already. Tonight's picture of Christa is from 1977 and shows her in the tiny ("bijou"?) kitchen of our Old Windsor house. I wonder what happened to that tea cosy? Since we switched to tea-bags and mugs a few years ago, our various tea-pots have fallen by the wayside, it seems.

The Old Windsor kitchen

A chilly day ahead, heh? I'll believe that when I feel it. G'night.


For reasons that currently escape me, it's actually only 08:40. The sun shines (somewhat), the clouds scud (somewhat), and some rain has obviously dropped. With the exception of Christa's PC,1 the latest batch of "stuff" from Redmond has been allowed on to all the systems that need it, and everything seems to be working. Time to think about more important stuff, like the first cuppa and some brekkie.

Missed this, ("Kitzmiller v. Homo Boobiens") but I don't think it's a book I'll be buying. Too depressing. "Scopes" for the new millennium. At least I now know what OxyContin is, but I'll stick to my cuppa.

So I'm reading about the disadvantages of the cheap laptop for kids programme, and hit a statistical term I don't know ("regression discontinuity") which takes me here from where, spotting the section on "Retirees / Seniors" (so alluring) I eventually learn that the US also has a pensions problem, which they may yet tackle by doing what the UK intends to.

The problems posed by the pending increase in retirees (soon close to one-third of the adult population will be receiving Social Security), the unavoidable reform of Social Security, and our poor record on national saving despite the abundance of available tax subsidies now compel action. And they require more than ad hoc tinkering. It is time for a radical structural change, yet one rooted in simplicity and in the American private pension system. And, maybe in this case, our mother (country) does have something to teach us.

Pamela Rerun and C Eugene Steuerle in Why Not a "Super Simple" Saving Plan for the United States?

Better start saving for lunch, I suppose. It's already 11:17 though I don't know how that happened.

Is that so...? dept.

Just back from a swift, healthy, walk-in-the-sun to my nearest HSBC bank machine to change the PIN on my (finally) re-issued, re-activated JLP card and, having popped lunch into the oven to start its cooking thing I walk upstairs slap bang into the song by The New Radicals "You get what you give" with the line "Don't give up, you got a reason to live..." and, of course, floods of helpless tears for a few seconds. Believe me, this is getting so tedious. Mind you, Ms Ironside says "If you want to cry, listen to music; if you don't want to cry, don't." It's not quite that simple, my dear! I've lived my life to a musical soundtrack2 for the last 40 years — I'm not going to stop now.

Gosh... a man of principle...

... and in Parliament, too. So the shadow Home Secretary has resigned on a matter of principle, and will stand as an Independent. And the Lib Dems will not field a candidate in his constituency at the upcoming bye-election. What an extraordinary development. It's almost enough to make me reconsider my stance...

Not yet bedtime... dept.

But some economic advice related to it:

As for goods, forget showing off. "If you want to live like a billionaire, buy a $12,000 bed," says a financial-planner friend of mine. You can't park a mattress in your driveway, but it will last for decades3 and you can enjoy it every night.

Virginia Postrel in Inconspicuous Consumption

Nice place to get hitched... dept.

Santa Margherita Ligure, that is. It's just up the road from Portofino, where I was in the Spring of 1965 with my parents:

Portofino, in May 1965

I fell in love on that holiday, but that's another story. And I think the statute of limitations applies in any case. Besides, I was only a "bambino"!



1  I have yet to put XP SP3 on that machine... Though it will probably do its best to download that automatically next time I switch it on.
2  Much like Donald E Westlake's amoral character Grofeld, I guess, or (for that matter) the cat burglar played by Bruce Willis in Michael Lehmann's magnificent failure Hudson Hawk.
3  Unlike our two water beds!