2011 — 19 July: Tuesday

It's not actually raining1 so it's a case of "New Forest, here we come" in a couple of hours. Should give me time to grab a bite of brekkie and gather a thought or two. Last night's entertainment was "Monsters", and I have to say (given that the maximum amount of horror I can comfortably assimilate2 is on a par with that supplied by the delicious "graboids" in "Tremors") I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Actually, I expect there will be about the same amount of horror on display in the 'grilling' of the similarly multi-tentacled Murdochs by a select committee later today. Vampire squid for tea, anybody?

Rational species?

We dig up one particular heavy metal element — formed, originally, in the aftermath of stellar explosions — and then we refine it (in a process involving some ghastly toxic chemical waste production) and then finally we bury the result again in secure holes back underground, far from where it was dug up. We probably guard it more carefully than we do nuclear waste, too. I wonder what an extra-terrestrial observer would make of that behaviour. The stuff now costs $1,600 per ounce, too. Weird.

I have never understood why "after-hours trading" is legal...

I.B.M.'s stock price rose $3.20 a share at one point, or nearly 2 percent, in after-hours trading. During regular trading hours, the company's shares slipped 26 cents a share, to close at $175.28 a share. In the last year, I.B.M. shares have gained more than 35 percent in value.

Steve Lohr in the NYT

... but then I have never understood that particular newspaper's continued use of periods in what has been, for many years, a registered trademark rather than an acronym.

Time I started getting ready for the great outdoors.

I'm listening...

... to the live proceedings of the Commons culture committee and I have to say that the two Murdochs are not coming across as quite such ogres as one might have expected. At one point, Lord Sugar (bless 'im) tweeted his distaste: "Bloody stupid questions to Rupert about micro detail when N.O.W represents 1% of his empire. Waste of time trying humiliate the old man". Priceless.

[Later] Ms Brooks is (so far) proving a somewhat more effective stonewaller. I can't say the committee of MPs has been impressive.

On balance... five hours of fascinating political theatre, further enlivened by the unseemly shaving foam / custard pie incident.

My cup runneth...

... over, this Friday, when not one, but two, NZ nieces come a'calling for lunch and a brief grandmotherly encounter. Just how lucky can one elderly Uncle get, do you suppose?

Nicely put:

Although I generally admire entrepreneurs who build giant companies, Rupert Murdoch, despite giving us Homer Simpson, generally has not been a force for good over the course of his long career. His Bill O'Reilly-ed, Glenn Beck-ed Fox News has done a great deal to coarsen the political discourse. His tabloids have lowered the standards of journalism on three continents — and routinely broken the law on at least one of them. He had dumbed down his prestige papers, like The Times of London. He has run roughshod over cross-ownership rules meant to prevent one man or company from having too much power — and then used his lobbying might to get those rules diluted.

Joe Nocera in the NYT

Or, as Dilbert's "Wally" once remarked: "What would be the point of power without abusing it?"



1  So far.
2  What with there being a daily over-supply of the real thing in the 'real' world.