2012 — 9 April: Monday

No more HP Lovecraft for me.1 So far this morning, all I've managed to do is attempt a remote diagnosis of a "no audio" complaint from a chum who's been trying out Handbrake.2 That verb "attempt" reminds me why I made such a terrible job as a support technician, but let's not revisit old failures, shall we?

I can't believe that someone in business has only just realised that the UK economy (for want of a better word) stalls during a Bank Holiday. That's what happens if you destroy the manufacturing base and let Joe Public loose in shops full of imports, I guess. The 'solution' suggested — spread out the holidays more evenly — contains within itself a glaring logic flaw, too. Shut up and keep spending your (newly-enhanced) pension, David.

You can start with two items to be found in the latest issue of "The Word" magazine. L'Illusioniste has already been recommended to me, and The Story of Film: an odyssey sounds too good to miss (though when More4 showed it last September, that's exactly what I did [apparently]).

Am I itching...

... to try this out when it crosses the Atlantic?

And this is pretty depressing, too. Maybe I'll give it (Hupert Sauper's film "Darwin's Nightmare") a miss:

At the center of the film are the devastating ecological consequences to Lake Victoria following the introduction of Nile perch, a fish coveted by European consumers. As the film traces this out into the social, economic, and political realms things go from bad to unimaginable. We learn that the planes exporting Nile perch fillets to Europe are importing weapons that fuel sectarian conflicts in the region. Factory owners exploit this political instability by overworking their employees in inhumane conditions (the legal economy), while the Russian and Ukrainian pilots pass their time doing drugs and often abusing local prostitutes (the quasi-legal economy). Add to this a spiraling AIDS epidemic, gangs of homeless and drug-addicted youth, and a food crisis at the heart of a thriving export market, and what you are left with is the condensation of our darkest suspicions about globalization. Darwin's Nightmare happened to find one of those sites where these are unambiguously confirmed.

Michael Schapira in Full Stop

Cue Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful world". [Pause] As it's Easter, I actually read the essay here. Well worth the effort. And I'm not even Jewish. Though I do like Bob Dylan. [Pause] Meanwhile, I (think I) take from this review the idea that Nature really does abhor a vacuum. Of course, since I know nothing, I could be wrong. Time for breakfast.

The way I...

... read this, Win7 Ultimate 64-bit seems to be getting off lightly tomorrow. That's good, right? [Pause] Unlike today's weather. It's now 17:02 and has been raining out there, on and off, for much of the day.

It was the late...

... Sir John Squire (in a publisher's blurb praising an edition of Ernest Bramah's almost indescribably wonderful tales of an imaginary China) who confessed he'd been reading these "gravity-dispelling tales" one evening until two candles had guttered out. The little end-piece here...


... instantly reminded me of his quote3 — it's from the end of Joseph Moncure March's Jazz Age poem "The Wild Party" with drawings by Art Spiegelman. That first appeared in 1928 though my edition is from 1994. Oddly (though I was unaware at the time) the chap (Louis Untermeyer) who compiled a Pan(?) collection of limericks in the mid-1960s (that has also long since evaporated from my shelves) praised this poem extravagantly. Small world, heh?

Perhaps even more oddly I still recall a number of the limericks. For (random) example:

A young debutante from St. Paul
Wore a newspaper dress to a Ball.
   The dress caught on fire
   And burned her entire
Front page, sporting section, and all.




1  Or, at least, certainly not as bedtime reading!
2  At my suggestion, so I feel a certain residual moral responsibility to help.
3  Though the particular Bramah edition that contains it is but one of half a dozen or more that I've given away over the last 35 years or so.