2010 — 13 January: Wednesday

Reaching the end of a long day by catching up on Ken Clarke's examination of that genial genius "Humph".

I wonder if the world will be all white when I wake in a few hours from now? G'night.

White all white

I admit it makes for a very pretty scene, but the prospect of going out in it for any business-related purpose? No thanks! So (at 09:09) the morning agenda looks like "make a cuppa" followed by "stuff a crockpot". And "get dressed" sooner rather than later.

And, with one minute to spare for the 24 hours notice, "postpone my visit to the hygienist" for a week. No sane clinician would want me in their facility at the present stage of my seemingly reinvigorated cold in da dose. Ghastly things, these rhinoviruses. So intelligently designed it's just not true. I shall similarly postpone my crockpot to give me a crack at another item or two on the "to eat" list. But the cuppa? That's right on schedule. And I'm dressed, and may even make a gentle start on some flake-shifting. Before breakfast.

We seem to have been blessed with about one inch of the stuff. Just imagine the chaos with more.

(Continued) reefer madness

Meanwhile the guvmint's drugs stance suggests they may have inhaled other forms of white stuff since last November and the sacking1 of the head of their drugs advisory panel:

... the home secretary tried to smooth over the row by making a number of concessions to his drugs advisers. Mr Johnson agreed to write to panel members to explain any decisions that went against their advice. He also said he would not pre-judge decisions on drug classification ahead of the committee issuing advice.

Anon in BBC

So that's ok. Evidence and research-based advice will still be ignored, but no longer in advance of its receipt. How typically British a compromise is that? <Snort>

On with the snow. My kite-flying camera correspondent has just checked in. He says: "Here we had snow (1" or so) which lasted until yesterday but has now completely gone. First real snow here for at least 20 years. It's still there (quite deep) up on Dartmoor though. No sign of snow today — it's well above freezing outside." And my legal cousin in the Midlands (still unvisited, alas, as the travel at Christmas was too horrid) who'd initially sounded a little glum on the resumption of her work after the Christmas break says: "I am a bit chirpier, thanks. Must be the snow. I lurrrrve it." She's quite insane, of course.

Meanwhile, my breakfast (re)-reading is Eric Raymond's political history of SF. And (at 11:22) I note a few more flakes doing what flakes do naturally when gravity sucks them out of the clouds.

Well done, that man!

The BBC's Martin Rosenbaum has published a fascinating item on vehicle MOT failure rates. The pathetic excuses for keeping this data secret are enough to keep anyone warm, despite the weather. Mind you, the comments attracted so far point out how much further data cleanup is necessary.

This also led me, via some archives, to this amazingly robust exchange of views between Mayor Jim Kalb and citizen Dr Robert Forrey over in Portsmouth (Ohio). Crikey.

I've been quoted

See if you can spot me, as it were. Meanwhile, I've cleared the snow off my drive (good exercise), listened to a doubtless highly-paid lady foolishly attempting to defend Jonathan Woss and his £18,000,000 BBC contract on Reithian grounds, learned that Buster died recently, and encountered some Romanian dietary advice:

Breakfast you should eat alone. Lunch, you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.

Michael Pollan in The NYT

Don't miss the Zen advice on drinking tea if you follow the link.

It's later than I think...

... if I think. Some time ago2 I reported to my friend Carol that I'd been reading an interesting set of essays (Writing in restaurants by Chicago playwright David Mamet [Carol's from Chicago, originally]). I'd found3 a lovely quote from Don Marquis, creator of "archy" — the cockroach with a talent for leaping around on the keys of a typewriter:


I may yet bring it to the attention of my neighbours, the doctors from Pakistan. They are both firm believers in Predestination. I cling, only slightly shakily, to the Doctrine of Free Will. On that thought, it's now time (18:16) to rustle up a little something for the starving creature who lives inside me and eats all my food. [Pause] Well I ate eventually. It's now 20:43 and just below freezing outside. Yuk.

My supper was eventually consumed during the last five minutes of "The One Show". I've never watched this before. Nor do I expect I will ever watch it again. It had the chap on who used to feature in Christa's favourite lunch break programme — Adrian Chiles from "Working Lunch". She would have been as appalled as I was to see this sad rubbish. For all I know, of course, it's the BBC's most popular TV programme. Nuff said.

Wonder if anyone will notice...

... the teensy-weensy one-line tiny minor-league change I've just made to my main CSS file, and thus to every page of "molehole", after reading this? (And to think it all started a couple of hours ago while I was poking around the web to see if I could re-equip my system with Matthew Carter's Galliard font without having to smash open a piggy bank.)

I last used Galliard for some DTP work on my old Acorn system, under RISC OS. But £183 is a bit too rich for my taste, alas.



1  Because his considered advice conflicted with the politically acceptable opinion of the latest in a dismally long line of toxic toads (or are they power junkies?) in the Home Office...
2  15th June 1988, to be precise, when my job in IBM consisted for a while (to my well-concealed astonishment) of pretending to be a CICS developer.
3  But where? I'd assumed it was in one of the essays but I've just re-read them and there's not a mention of Don Marquis in any of them. Mamet does come out with this Marquis quote in an interview with Hank Nuwer in 1984, however, that appeared in an inflight magazine. When or where did I stumble across that, I wonder? Mind you, I did cross the Atlantic in both July and September 1984, courtesy of IBM. Memory can be a fickle creature!