2009 — 3 July: Friday

Another placeholder tonight. The picture of Christa and Peter is again in 1980 in Old Windsor. They were saying "hi" to our friend, Peter's honorary grandmother Val:

Christa and Peter in Old Windsor


It's cooler

And thus a bit more pleasant. 08:59 already, too. Minor qualms this morning as a) the Interweb connection was down briefly and b) the desktop had yet again reverted to the default colour scheme. Perhaps the PC was too hot too? BBC Radio 4 is discussing (if that's the right word) superstitions in sport. I preferred the klezmer on Radio 3. But now Arlene Phillips is the Desert Island castaway — think Hot Gossip, think Kenny Everett, think time for breakfast.

March of the turkeys?!

William Goldman famously asserts that the unsayable truth about Hollywood is that nobody knows anything about what makes a film succeed. That's why, for example, a sequel is almost invariably made to be as near identical to the original as possible. If you don't know which bit of the "incantation" makes the magic spell work, you hesitate to change it. (Of course, what people enjoy more than anything is something new and original, so there's a cute paradox at work.)

But, for the most part, the multiplexes show rubbish — directed by the likes of Michael Bay, whose films (Transformers, The Island, Armageddon) score an 8% average rating on the online reviews aggregator Rottentomatoes, or Roland Emmerich (10,000BC, The Day After Tomorrow; he scores 20% on Rottentomatoes), or Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand; he scores 15%). That these men get paid between $5m and $10m per film makes it more mysterious, because they can presumably afford the £16.98 Amazon asks for a 14-movie Hitchcock box set to see what a good Hollywood blockbuster looks like.

Ravi Somaiya in The Guardian

I'm not certain I'd use Hitchcock as my arbiter, but I take the point. Even if Mr Bay does have great hair.

Coming off the rails

I realise that to some people this chap represents the Devil incarnate, but you don't get much more sensible than this, surely? Source and snippet:

Time and again, we have seen the nationalisation of losses and the privatisation of profits. It's also the latest demonstration that it is a fairy tale that privatisation means the private sector takes the risk as well as taking its profit. In truth, every time a privatisation of a vital public service fails, the public sector picks up the tab... Part of the problem is that civil servants are taken to the cleaners in the construction of the privatisation contracts by the private companies' sharper legal teams.

Ken Livingstone in The Guardian

Some good stuff here, too. <Sigh>

40 years on

Not just an Alan Bennett play. Actually, I still have this issue of Life magazine...


Though the (50+) mosquito bites I got during my stay at the "Hotel Golfe Bleu" on a Mediterranean beach in July 1969 no longer itch. I actually watched the moon landing live on the portable monochrome TV kept in the bar and owned...


by the very Gallic proprietor!

Aside to Christa

What moved me to to tears this morning, my love, wasn't the two-year anniversary of your terminal diagnosis, but the sight of the three beautiful roses that have bloomed overnight on your favourite bush. I miss you very much.

It's Friday! 13:52, to be precise. Can't you hear all those syrens down in town? I can.


Just think — if I could do this: "An ability to proven strategic counsel to clients is key and enjoy fostering and developing the relationship further with your clients" then I could earn this: "£375-425 per day". (Source.) I recall that when the use of the term "Bullsh1t" was outlawed within IBM the alternative of choice was "Incredible"...

I was just sitting quietly downstairs with the "patio" door open, but no lights on in the house (it's 22:13) letting some cooler air percolate gently. Blow me down, not only is there another hedgehog, but he was preceded by a frog who was making two-footed two-foot hops. In all the years we had the garden pond we never managed to persuade any of the little blighters to move in. Now that I'm letting the garden basically revert to a more primitive jungle state...