2013 — 22 January: Tuesday

A stirring chunk of Sibelius1 sets enough neurons firing to enable me to work out that this overnight email from Amazon is, on balance, good news:

A Symphony Of Amaranths
                           Price on order date: £10.13
                     Price charged at dispatch: £8.47
 Lowest price up to and including release date: £7.36
                         Amount to be refunded: £1.12
                                      Quantity: 1
                                 Total Savings: £2.77

Whether Neil Ardley's jazz will join Aesop, Milton, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats in Wikipedia's informative entry could be up to me, I suppose. Certainly not before I've actually heard it.

It's a mere -1C outside and the snow/ice is only slowly retreating somewhat from many neighbours' roofs. As Shelagh remarked on Sunday, "No cannabis cultivation going on here." I'm at that early morning stage when it's too early for breakfast but not too early for another cuppa.

Pondering Prince Harry's...

... widely-reported remark about "taking a life to save a life" reminds me of an earlier generation's infamous soundbite about "to save the village it was necessary to destroy the village". My initial digging around on Snopes.com turned up:

To save the town, it became necessary to destroy it

Date: 8 February 1968 in the New York Times

This was on a now-closed version of their "Questionable Quotes" section, but not on their current one, so perhaps that NYT reference was indeed taken as confirmation that this was not to be regarded as a questionable quote. Let's see how long it takes for the more modern variant to make the cut.

I have half a mind...

... (which is not really enough) to comment on this unlovely conundrum. Source and snippet:

The unusual way in which physicists understand the weirdness of quantum mechanics might be especially instructive as a crude template for how the consciousness story could play out. Physicists describe quantum mechanics by writing equations. The fact that no one, including them, can quite intuit the meaning of these equations is often deemed beside the point. The solution is the equation. One can imagine a similar course for consciousness research: the solution is X, whether you can intuit X or not. Indeed the fact that you can't intuit X might say more about you than it does about consciousness.

H Allen Orr, reviewing Thomas Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos" in NY Review of Books

The only "Nagel" on my bookshelves — alas — is somewhat less lofty, though a great deal more readily intuited...


Patrick Nagel was the superb graphic artist (dead at only 38 in 1984) whose work often graced "Playboy" magazine a great deal more effectively than Hefner's pneumatic air-brushed blondes ever did. In my opinion.

Hark! Is that the call...

... of the jubjub bird? Source and snippet:

As for a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions, after an initial flutter of interest you are now more likely to hear the call of the jubjub bird in the House of Commons. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, a tax rate of just 0.01% would raise £25bn a year, rendering many of the chamber's earnest debates about the devastating cuts void. Silence also surrounds the notion of a windfall tax on extreme wealth. And to say that Professor Greg Philo's arresting idea of transferring the national debt to those who possess assets worth £1m or more has failed to ignite the flame of passion in parliament would not overstate the case.

George Monbiot in his web site

Never quite sure whether this is satire or economics theory.

My lovely ISP (Zen)...

... finally found a way to persuade a bit more money from me. Make me an offer I can't refuse. Namely, free installation and upgrade to a fibre optic broadband which, at my location, should deliver downloads of about 34 Mbps and uploads of about 1.9 Mbps. The download data cap on this is 20GB/month (which is about 4x more than I've currently been consuming). "Free" doesn't include the one-off payment of £36 or so for the Thomson router they supply.

It will be interesting to see if I start making use of all those streaming services the new toy seems to know all about. Should make quite a difference to the sprightliness of the system:

Router stats

I tend not to stray...

... too far from my venerable copy (visible here) of Danny Peary's 1986 Guide for the Film Fanatic. Browsing it at random (I ration myself) has led me to some interesting choices over the years. Today's example (which was re-issued a few years ago, with extremely misleading new artwork)...

DVD on order

... has just set me back less than a fiver, including trans-Atlantic post and packing.

Longish pause

If you can read this (as they say) I've now lunched, nipped out cautiously by car to the shops while it was still daylight-ish, discovered a previously-unrecognised driving hazard, learned the care-home finally re-opens its doors to visitors again tomorrow (I wonder if dear Mama will recognise me?), and totally refreshed the level of Linux and the web server on my little Raspberry Pi, all with only one cuppa. Phew!

And my rather chilled-looking young Mr Postie managed to unburden himself of this, bless him:


And, having just thoroughly enjoyed it, I'm now looking forward to Josh Radnor's new film "Liberal Arts" which is due out in a couple of weeks. (I also liked the look of "RED 2" having watched the trailer / teaser for it yesterday. But that's six months away yet. Perhaps the weather will have improved by then?) Meanwhile, Zen have already despatched the new router required for use with their fibre line, though I've set the line installation for four weeks from now to give myself some freedom of manoeuvre.

It was horribly cold and wet when I put the green bin outside my gate earlier. I expect either or both sleet and snow before the night is over. I expect my next cuppa rather sooner.



1  "Finlandia".