2012 — 30 September: Sunday

Big Bro sent me one of his occasional series of photos yesterday. It's of a restored Stealth machine, a clue to the identity of which is lurking a click away underneath this little blighter (which I lifted — only slightly laboriously — from the dustjacket of one of my books).

The only type of Mosquito I like

The machine1 shown, having 'done' three displays, is (I gather) now on its way to its new home somewhere over on the other side of the Atlantic. I hardly dare tell him the original image he sent over (at 5,184 x 3,456 pixels) blew the (5,000?) limit of my 14-year-old (but still preferred) Fireworks software and therefore had to be dealt with somewhat obliquely.

The Mosquito dates from what was, in some ways, a more gentlemanly2 age. Nice.

Soon be time for Cerys... definitely time for some breakfast.

It's been a while...

... since I last checked the delightful stuff by John Walker. His recent book reviewing is an example to us all. Source and snippet:

I am not going to fret about spoilers in this review. This book is so awful that nobody should read it, and avoiding spoilers is like worrying about getting a dog turd dirty when you pick it up with toilet paper to throw it in the loo.

I acquired this book based on an Amazon suggestion of "Customers who Viewed this Item Also Viewed" and especially because, at the time I encountered it, the Kindle edition was free (it is no longer, as of this writing). Well, I'm always a sucker for free stuff, so I figured, "How bad can it be?" and downloaded it. How wrong I was — even for free, this botched attempt at a novel is overpriced.

John Walker in Fourmilog

I've just placed my order — for the adjacent title :-)

And enjoyed his "Oh-My-God Particle" piece. A proton with an energy equivalent to a brick dropping on your toe is (I suspect) best avoided.

A (ridiculous) recent ruling...

... by our Benighted Kingdom's glorious judges (link) led me to an astonishing paragraph of guvmint "guidance" regarding the forfeiture of "pulp" magazines. I've highlighted the bit I find most offensive:

The Law Officers have undertaken that where a publisher intervenes in forfeiture proceedings and indicates an intention to continue publishing, whatever the result of the forfeiture proceedings may be, then in the absence of special circumstances and there being sufficient evidence the Director will usually proceed against the publisher by way of prosecution rather than pursue the forfeiture proceedings. The undertaking does not apply to "pulp" magazines. These are magazines where there cannot be any claim of literary, artistic, scientific or any other merit. These are magazines considered by virtue of their nature and character not worthy of consideration by a judge and jury. Therefore if they are obscene they can be consigned to the incinerator (i.e. "pulped") with a minimum of expense by the Justices.


I find it hard to believe a magazine can ever be entirely bereft of any claim to any merit. But (as John Mortimer so elegantly reminded us here) "censorship depends on the assumption that there is a superior type of person qualified to tell the rest of us what it is good for us to read". Whatever happened to Free Speech? Oh, wait, I've been watching too much "West Wing". Silly boy. We don't have a written constitution over here. We merely have constitutional experts.

I never knew that... dept.

Actual HDTV broadcast images are encoded as 1920x1088 pixels because MPEG-2 encoding requires the number of vertical lines to be a multiple of 16.

What would JB Morton say?

The term "beachcomber" is deprecated. The preferred term is now "Inter-tidal archaeologist". "Flaming eggs! will no one rid me of this stinking town?", perhaps? (Source.)

All praise BBC Radio 3

A nice reminder, as I await the Bulgakov drama. It's a long time since I gave any thought to Richard Brautigan:

All watched over...

Not quite like "The Forbin Project" :-)



1  The only type of Mosquito I like, and still made of balsa wood and spruce ply, he assures me... the fuselage being a game of two halves.
2  Unless you were its "target for tonight", of course.