2008 — 24 July: Thursday

Tonight's picture of Christa? Also in 1974, Dad's younger brother Tom visited from the Midlands with his family. Basically, we all realised how seriously ill Dad was, and were making the most of that summer to spend time with him. So, left to right, you can see Christa, dear Mama, Dad, Aunty Joan, cousin Leigh, and Uncle Tom. Only dear Mama and Leigh are still with us. The grim reaper keeps busy, doesn't she? (I like to picture Death as Neil Gaiman's attractive Goth, personally.)

I was delighted that Leigh and Christa became very good friends, each thoroughly approving of the other as well as of me, happily.

Christa and her future family, 1974

G'night at 00:24 or thereabouts.

All your routes are belong to us... dept.

When I wake up, what do I find? Walking directions from Google, that's what. Are they telling me to take a hike? It's only 08:40 and I need a cuppa first.

Man and dog

Yesterday's munch-stop (during which, alas, a number of insects munched on me, I now find). "Which?" tells us that people in the UK can't tell the difference between bottled and tap water, and spend £1,680,000,000 per year here on 2.275 billion litres of the former — on a per-litre basis the bottled stuff can cost more than petrol, about the cost of which everybody moans. Comment would be as superfluous as water off a duck's back.

Smoke and mirrors... dept.

Back in 1973, when I applied for a job as a trainee instructional writer at ICL, I was set a writing test. One of the tasks was to explain why a mirror reverses only the left and right side of things, and not up and down. I remembered the discussion in Martin Gardner's Ambidextrous Universe which I'd bought and read in 1970. Good job for me, if you'll excuse the pun.

Natalie Angier has a nice piece of reflection here.

Good morning, Ms Posties

This widowerhood lark can be pretty lonesome (albeit peaceful) at times. Ahead of Gill's lunchtime visit (after which I shall nip out and buy myself some more shorts — Life's too damned short to search the house for wherever Christa hid some of my more disreputable ones) I've just been cheered up by a handful of goodies. It's 11:50 and the temperature is still rising.


It's all a game... dept.

Life, that is. Interesting chatter with Gill over lunch in a garden centre where I then found the precise plant she was after. Back at the ranch, while I was vaguely thinking about what (if anything) to say about the small haul of goodies, I found a lot to smile at in a look back at WarGames which I've not watched for many years:

[Kevin] Mitnick:
That movie had a significant effect on my treatment by the federal government. I was held in solitary confinement for nearly a year because a prosecutor told a judge that if I got near a phone, I could dial up Norad and launch a nuclear missile. I never hacked into Norad. And when the prosecutor said that, I laughed — in open court. I thought, "This guy just burned all his credibility." But the court believed it.

Scott Brown, in Wired

So, RoboCop fills a gap in my Verhoeven titles.1 Wild China enables me to catch up at my leisure on the bits I missed — whatever else I am, I'm definitely a man of leisure! The Dawkins anthology juxtaposes stuff like Haldane's poem about his rectal cancer (I wish I had the voice of Homer, to sing of rectal carcinoma...), Lewis Thomas, Freeman Dyson, and a nice story (new to me) about the scientific unit of self importance (the Kan) with a value so high that for practical purposes physicists use the [Robert] Millikan. Plus I've always found Gregorian chant very soothing somehow; Christa and I had to agree to differ on both this and the music of Steve Reich, here reworked by Chris Hughes.

In later news...

It's 20:45 and I'm about to vacate the study — it's too darned hot up here at the moment. And slightly cooler down in the living room. I've been catching up on the backlog of DVD artwork scanning, and it's made me think it's time to watch one of the things, methinks. Also need to remember that "Still Game" is on later.



1  Christa and I went to see our first Verhoeven (Turkish Delight) back in 1975 or so (where does all this Time vanish to?).