2008 — 30 June: Monday

Tonight's picture? Back in the days when I had hair, it tended to get very curly. Christa, on the other hand, would (on very rare occasions) resort to artifice. Each would tease the other, of course.

Christa and her Old Windsor hair curling

I was amused to realise, on closer examination (Blade Runner-style! — "Computer, enhance co-ordinates...") of just the upper corner of this slide, adjacent to the little vase, that she has (or, at least, had) a copy of Delia Smith's "How to cheat at cooking". I wonder where the devil that is now that I could use it...

Delia Smith book

I shall have to poke around in some of the kitchen cupboard nooks and crannies, I suspect. Oh well. G'night, at 01:45.

Yesterday's dragonfly...

... is, apparently, a "Golden Ringed". Almost exactly a year ago I was sent this picture of one on a chum's desk in Ampfield:

Golden Ringed dragonfly

It's a very strange sensation to be listening to a 1948 recording of "Letter from America" with Alastair Cooke's incredibly familiar voice overlaid with squawks and whistles as it bounced across the Atlantic. His themes were the victory of Truman and the emergence of marketing research. (Which signally got the result wrong, of course.)

Who'd be a pensioner?

This sounds almost as if it's bad news... (One can almost hear a company bean-counter bemoaning the fact that "staff deaths are under plan, and getting worse!") I found myself nodding at the union quote: "Unite is furious that HSBC is citing a financial justification for the changes when it made profits of £13bn last year."

HSBC pensions

There's more here (inevitably).

That's a good question... dept.

Are democratic societies happy because they are composed of satisfied fools? I've now made the time to read the two book reviews here, though I still don't know the answer to the question. Behavioural economics, heh? What a rich field.

I can't be a real writer because I've only just learned (in the context of an excellent stage direction) that the example writers always quote is Guy de Maupassant's line: "He was an elderly gentleman with ginger whiskers who always somehow made sure he was first through the door." (Source — an amusing article, in which Mr Boyce also recommends the excellent "Karoo".) I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I'm glad I did in this case:

Steve Tesich novel Karoo

And just look what nestles against it on my shelf. Dangerous business, this writing (ma)lark(ey).

Grumpy-pumpy... dept.

It's 41 years (and one month) since I first heard the episode of "I'm sorry I'll read that again" that BBC7 is currently transmitting. First time round, I seem to remember finding it a lot funnier. Particularly the appalling puns of John "Otto" Cleese. Still, the audience laughter seems genuine.

Come to think of it, it's also well over 30 years since the last time I made my own dental appointment. I've just had a postcard with a fang-filled crocodile on it, reminding me that I was last there last September. My! Time flies in this retirement world, doesn't it? It's also just been confirmed that the Pope doesn't wear Prada. (If he did, presumably they'd be full of soul?) Oh, and there's a risk of high pollen — tell me something I can't sniff out for myself.

In earlier times... dept.

... back when I still maintained a science fiction card index system (and we're talking somewhen between the 30 and 40+ years ago era) I sadly realised I had to start adding icons against authors to mark their demise. Today's "delivery" of the latest Ansible reminds me this is a sadly never-ending task. Algis Budrys is a recent casualty — I still recall his 1958 novel "Who?" <Sigh>

Goodness me, it's already approaching 18:00, let alone the end of June. Incredibubble.

It's been too long since David Langford's previous "Cloud Chamber", too. This made me giggle:

Brian Ameringen's favourite selection from Arthur N. Scarm's "very rare" The Werewolf vs Vampire Woman (1972) was: "Waldo had no intention of harming Ruth. In one yank he pulled of[f] her silk blouse and lace bra and left her defenseless against any young child who might come along who wanted his lunch." I decided not to include this in Ansible 248 because it looked too much like the author being intentionally funny, which is not in accordance with the Spirit of Thog. But Brian protested, and I must admit that Scarm is such an inept writer that he very likely wouldn't recognize humour if it came up to him and sucked his nipple.

David Langford in Cloud Chamber 158

It's a good Job(s) Steve...

... isn't here, with his infamous reality distortion field. The iMac has crashed, yet again, rather than letting me eject the iPod. Industrial strength? Rock solid? Don't make me laugh! Oh well, back to XP!

Spooky. It's just (having rebooted the hard way) offered me a 59 MB upgrade to OSX 10.5.4 — perhaps it heard my muttering... I've left it to its own devices, as it were, at the far end of the study.