2008 — 1 July: Tuesday — rabbits!

Tonight's picture? Another shot of Christa, replenishing my necessary supply of tea, I suspect. August 1976 was pretty damn hot.

Christa in August 1976

G'night, at 00:01 or thereabouts.

Good morning, sunshine!

It's 08:46, the barometer has twitched a smidgen downward but the sky is blue, the sun is golden, and the young lady from the corner has driven away her dented rust bucket, thus clearing the escape hatch of my drive for a supplies run at some point. (Pickled onions have run out, oddly. And lamb stock. Two commodities I barely realised existed in earlier years.)

Lest we forget — and there's a great deal of evidence to suggest that we do, all too easily — Mr Wogan has reminded us that this day 92 years ago was the first day of the battle of the Somme. Good god! It ran horribly parallel to Christa's own battle just one year ago. This was the day Peter and I took her back into hospital...

My landlady's husband in my Hatfield digs for two years was a veteran of that horrible war, but almost never spoke of it. A sweet old gentleman. Indeed, Mr and Mrs Bull were immensely pleased when I took Christa over to meet them in 1974; I'd been showing her Hatfield Poly and various student haunts as she was curious. She, in turn, took me to Saarbrücken on a similar pilgrimage. Very happy days. I still barely have words adequate to begin to express how much I miss my Christa...

The yammer of many monkeys... dept.

Buried in the comments in response to an attack (no other word fits) by Charles Arthur on a piece by Kevin Kelly (in Wired) suggesting the Interweb thingy has about the same power (whatever that means) as a human brain is this wonderful thought:

The numbers are, I suppose, wowifying on their own, for the easily impressed, but to turn them into an argument for 'We are headed toward a singular destiny: one vast computer composed of billions of chips and billions of brains, enveloping the planet in a single sphere of intelligence' seems to me like finding it amazing that if you laid 36,000 Statues of Liberty on their end it would reach the moon and deciding on that basis that sculptors are actually working on a space programme.

CSClark in The Guardian

I'm reminded (it's the way my own brain is mis-wired, no doubt) of Dorothy Parker's acidic comment about the Yale Prom: "If all the girls in attendance were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised."

Time (09:37) for some brekkie, though there's a lovely bit of Gershwin just finishing on Radio 3.

Monsters, spaghetti or otherwise... dept.

This graph crops up in an open letter to the Kansas School Board. Who says satire is dead?

Pirates and global warming

Thing is, is this also satire?

Or even this "Special Resolution Regime"? If one believes what one reads about the Financial Services Authority and its speedy habit of regularly leaping into effective action (or not) in (for example) Private Eye or even on that trustworthy organ the BBC, one might just have the occasional doubt. "The £50,000 isn't going to affect most consumers" says a young lady on Radio 4 at 13:19.

Better on the ol' blood pressure to listen to Helen Shapiro and a "lost" Beatles interview. (30 April, 1964 — good grief!)

DNS? Don't talk to me about DNS... dept.

If niece #1 over in Tuscany (or some such hot, northern Italian location) can read this, it will mean I've just helped guide her back on to the path of DNS righteousness. In researching the correct piece of thaumaturgy to toss into the foul Vista cauldron, I discovered that — whereas in former times, you could identify our AOL friends by their uppercase shoutiness — public calls for help can now look more like this poor chap's:

heyy ... wow, my god am i EVER having one hell of a time trying to hook $#@*en xbox live, jesus this is hillariouse, i have the stupid cord hooked up to the stupid modem and the stupid xbox, but when i go to "Join Xbox Live" it says "No Network Connection", and when i go to "Test Connection"...everything connects until it gets to DNS server...it says something about failing, im soo confused, what in the blue hell is DNS...and why is my xbox not connecting to it...HEEEELLLLPPPP!!

Brandon (bless him) in nixCraft

It's a jolly good job computers are exponentially easier to use than they used to be, don't you agree? Time (16:26) for a late afternoon tea and cucumber sandwich. (I jest.)

History in the building... dept.

When we first moved here, Christa was so thrilled to be "near" the sea1 that we quickly established a New Year's Day tradition of a visit to Bournemouth and a walk out along the pier. January 1983 saw us there with our friend Val (a contractor working at the Hursley Lab). Directly beyond Val's head you can see that the Bournemouth Aquarium is not there yet. And that blurred framework in the upper left corner is the skeleton of the unbuilt BIC.2 (The entire staff of the Lab had a day out there in January 1985 for a mammoth offsite meeting.)

Bournemouth in January 1983

Is that a budget I can hear chirping?

Just heard on the 22:00 radio news, a report from the Joseph Roundtree Trust on minimum living standards for various demographic groups here in the Benighted Kingdom: "A single pensioner's budget includes a bird feeder for pleasure".3 Good god!

Budgets for 2008 in the UK

I see us single pensioners are not expected to travel much! Bloody cheek.



1  We even regarded Solent water as the seaside!
2  Dreadful acoustics as Christa and I later discovered on 22nd June 1989 when we popped down to see (and try to hear) the group Santana. We left about half way through with our ears ringing from the overloud and distorted sound.
3  And, no doubt, "a melon for ecstasy", for those of you who recall the 1971 satirical novel by John Fortune and John Wells.