2009 — 23 June: Tuesday

Hoping for a walk later today. Meanwhile I'm almost certain that tonight's photo of Christa shows her down in Penzance, just outside the guesthouse we stayed in for two weeks in September 1975. My word, that was a long time ago...

Christa in Penzance, September 1975

I very much enjoyed "Twilight" in novel form, by the way. Next up: "New Moon". G'night.

Sunshine and pollen

Where shall we walk today, I wonder? It's 07:54 so there's plenty of time to decide. Why, I haven't even drunk my first cuppa (yet). I learned last night that I'm to have the honour of hosting Big Bro for a few days in a month's time. At last: an incentive to do some cleaning around here. Just what I needed. (The life of a recently and reluctantly bachelorised slob isn't necessarily a pretty sight, trust me.)

The late Molly Ivins was right...

... about the attitudes that prevail in Texas. Safety helmets? Pah! Source and snippet:

Wearing a helmet while motorcycling in Texas is not mandatory. Indeed, Texas is one of six states that have repealed mandatory helmet laws since 1994. The consequences remind me of an old Faye Kellerman novel, Prayers for the Dead, about a transplant surgeon who is active in a motorcycle club because he wants to discourage helmet use in order to increase the supply of transplantable organs...

Daniel Hamermesh in Freakonomics blog

It's not called "Freakonomics" for nothing. And, for what it's worth, I'm sure Larry Niven got there about two decades earlier.

Tut tut, Java

Having just fired up the PC on my return from a gentle stroll for 5.5 miles or so around Alresford in blazing sunshine (and under aerial insect attack), followed by a supplies run on the way home, I find that my Firefox browser session "closed unexpectedly" this morning. No it didn't. I'd merely used the Highways Agency traffic application to check before I set off. This application uses Java. Invariably after I've used the app and then closed the browser I discover that a) the PC won't shutdown until the browser is terminated, and b) it reports on next startup that the previous session terminated unexpectedly. Some code is being terminologically inexact.

The Law is an ass

Equally stupid, is the legal status of "who owns your body?" — the topic of Law in action which, following hard on the heels of the discussion of abortion argued in the US Supreme Court back in 1973 because of some further typically Texan attitudes, has made fascinating listening. Details here, though quite why "priests for life" are getting in on the act doesn't bear thinking about since, it seems to me, priests are male whereas pregnancies tend to involve women and their bodies...

Deep Joy

And now the first discussion I've yet heard on the radio of Bulgakov's marvellous "The Master and Margarita". That alone is worth the BBC licence fee today. Now they've turned to Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" — good grief!

Jam today?

I realise my taste isn't, as it were, to everyone's. I've just popped open a jar of a well-known brand (Tiptrees, if it matters) of damson jam, to go on to the fruit loaf that will accompany my rapidly-heating crockpot portion for tonight's evening meal. Since when, pray tell, did it become acceptable for this particular comestible to claim "extra fruit" while actually consisting of 67g of sugar per 100g of jam? Here I am, trying to eat healthily, exercise moderately, keep body and soul together and what have you... and in tiny tiny print I find damson jam (a fruit that I like precisely because of its tart flavour) to be two-thirds sugar. The game is rigged against me, I tell you.

For tonight's video entertainment, by the way, I'll be taking a simultaneous peek at Jan de Bont's 1994 film "Speed" in both the original DVD and hi-def Blu-ray variants. How sad is that? (Not very, but that's only my opinion, of course.)

Doctor, my eyes...

Mike's just sent over a shot that beautifully captures the subtle range of colours we strolled amongst a few hours ago. Had I not been sneezing at the time I might have enjoyed them even more. That linseed field in the distance, for example...


And the power line pole really was at a drunken angle, as was its companion further along. I seemed to succeed in sucking the venom from the puncture in my palm made during one of the aerial attacks I mentioned, too. It's no longer visible. You have to wonder at the malevolence of an Intelligent Designer when considering the range of flying biting blighters that clutter up the place.

Speaking of blighters, why do we suddenly need new laws regarding simple cheating to catch our errant parliamentarians? Wouldn't simple honesty suffice? Does this mean we no longer have to refer to them as "honourable" or "right honourable"?

Meanwhile, my neighbour's bottle brush tree / plant / bush has decided it's summer once again:

Bottle brush

Compare and contrast with the shots I took of this same colourful creature two years and two days ago.