2010 — 27 January: Wednesday — happy birthday, Big Bro!

Though how he can be 64 is a bit of a shocker. This1 should help show his daughters that he had a sense of humour back in the day :-) It may even soften the blow as he rushes towards his pension (though he has no intention of retiring):


Right. I've been listening to Brian Sibley2 and David Puttnam's fascinating "Century of Cinema" programme.3 But now it's time for some shut-eye. G'night...

The end of civilisation...

... as we know it. One of several overnight emails from NZ is from Big Bro pointing me to this insane "PC" story and asking whether it's time for me to "abandon ship". (By which, he means emigrate, of course.) Since another of his emails accused me of never throwing anything away, he should ponder the likely "excess baggage" unless I go steerage on the Titanic.4

Need cuppa and breakfast. It's a frosty start to the day at 09:18 or so (yawn).

Do they really think this is new?

Software code re-use (not to mention libraries of canned solutions) was a hot topic in ICL when I joined in Feb 1974. Tick tock. Here's the government's chief information officer:

The government also wants to build its own "app store" of software to solve frequently-seen problems, by re-using programs that have been written elsewhere and can be re-applied. "In government I've seen innovations where we have cracked hideously tough problems, but other parts of government are looking for the same solution and don't know it's there," said Suffolk.

John Suffolk in The Guardian

I seem to remember Santayana mumbled something about those who cannot remember the past being condemned to repeat it... Perhaps there's a job opportunithy there? (I seem to have a lisp there.) [Pause] Now back — 6.31 miles later and in need of calories. My last Braeburn unkindly turned into cider in my jacket pocket and leaked over my trousers. It seems I'm not having a good time with fluids at the moment. Still, the temporary filling survived the cold air. It's 13:31, and I've just watched a grown man converting a Star Trek phaser toy by putting a laser in it... (Source.) Thanks for that, Zeno!

I'm shocked, Rick, shocked!

Nobody who regularly reads the "Street of Shame" feature in Private Eye will be greatly surprised by this well-argued assertion that "British Newspapers Make Things Up". (Source.) In the case of the particular "newspaper" concerned, I fear I stopped taking it seriously as soon as that charming chap Murdoch got his kangaroo paws on it.

Well, that's the (audio) saga of The Pallisers concluded. Meanwhile, "Can you forgive her?" is my current bedtime reading; sadly, I have to say it's (still) not the most gripping of the six, fat volumes. I first read this in 1972 in my student "digs" in Hatfield. I suspect most of my fellow engineering students were busy ingesting the contents of various car workshop manuals — also not very gripping, in my opinion. They also opted for toolboxes as apprentice prizes. I chose Dali. It's 16:55 and I feel an urge to wash my hair (and empty the washing machine, too).

Posh car

I'm sure the birthday boy will be able to remind me roughly when his nephew took this picture...


... Big Bro had borrowed this rather grand BMW (755? 765?) from one of his rather grand business chums in London (Branson? chum of Branson?) and popped up to the mucky Midlands to retrieve dear Mama for a day out with the rest of her UK family (viz., me and Christa and Peter). I remember him making a "hands-off" phone call to Lis in NZ as we drove round locally.



1  It's a scan of a card he sent me 40 years ago.
2  I exchanged emails with Mr Sibley back in November 2008, having heard and enjoyed his production of Shadowlands read by Ian Richardson.
3  I've had to email the poor chap again. I've been going nuts trying to identify the hauntingly simple six-note theme playing in the background about five minutes before the end of the show. Eno, perhaps? Grrr!
4  Upon which, I expect (if I browse the website of my local JobCentrePlus) to find there are steady jobs re-arranging deck chairs. About my limit these days.