2013 — 29 January: Tuesday

Sleep having fled yet again, I wonder — having yesterday given the Yaris its most expensive drink yet (exactly £45) — what fresh delights and insights the new day has in store for me?1 I can say for sure it won't be the tiresomely-inane BBC 6Music pre-breakfast chap for very much longer unless he fades his mic and puts some more music on.

One of the trailers on last night's Blu-ray was for "Your sister's sister", so I've taken the necessary step to dip my toe in that congenial-looking water in due course. But I'm holding off on "Looper" for a few days, however, as Mike seems likely to end up with a duplicate copy for reasons to do with the recent demise (or, at least, current precarious state) of 'Blockbuster' video. Not a supplier I've ever used.

I lacked the...

... leisure in earlier times to enjoy the dawn chorus very often. I have to say, though, that for the last decade it's been a horribly pale shadow of its former noisy glory in these domestic cat and sparrowhawk-saturated parts. More of a string quartet than a full orchestra. It's tuning up as I type. Speaking of earlier times, come with me back to Peter's 4th birthday:

Weekend was spent thus: Friday evening, light-hearted (but fairly seriously intentioned) match-making by Christa and me by having a meal for a nice young lad and lass whose "chemistry" we thought might very well work. We've never done this before, let's hope it works...
Saturday was catch up on hifi day while C and P toiled mightily in the "garden". Evening, to a meal with Roger and Eileen (and thus missing Joan Rivers on the gogglebox!), but back in time to record Lassus' 2nd Penitential Psalm off Radio 3 at 10.50.
Sunday was domestic disaster day in the kitchen with two sets of birthday cake going very wrong indeed. The proximate cause of one being a non non-stick container. Cost: several hours, at least 8 eggs, and a galaxy of frayed neurons. Cure was to go for a soothing walk in the Queen Victoria country park at Netley on the Solent, and have an afternoon tea there.

Date: 19 March 1984

From an email to Carol a week after I'd turned down an attempt to lure me to a software house (CACI) in Richmond. Interesting times. The young lass (Gill) has been happily married for a couple of decades (though not to the lad mentioned above). And Eileen was back home and feeling fine when I checked yesterday. Since she was potentially exposed to norovirus, however, while on the ward overnight Roger's advised me to steer clear for a few days "just in case". Bang goes a potential tea and biscuits :-(

This "farewell" column...

... brought a continuous smile of rueful recognition to my lips. Source and snippet:

As usual, I then wandered through mythology and folklore — nothing — followed by history. In the Medieval section I pulled out a first edition of Andreas Capellanus's The Art of Courtly Love, translated by John Jay Parry and published by Columbia in 1941. I'd studied a paperback of this 12th-century rulebook for lovers back in college, and then a revised version in graduate school. But I don't really like paperbacks — except for 1950s mysteries with sleazy covers featuring blondes in dishabille — and this was a handsome, if jacketless, hardback, and I just wanted it. So, I shelled out $15 and finally prepared to go home...

Michael Dirda in American Scholar

As he says: "It gradually adds up." I wasn't sure about that "dishabille", so I conferred briefly with Mrs Google on the matter (as I prefer the "des..." variant) and promptly stumbled across this little gem:

When I was 14 or so, in the late '70s, I knew an Advanced Boy, a connoisseur of all that was cooler than whatever his classmates were listening to, smoking or reading. I was impressed with myself for having graduated from Tolkien to E. R. Eddison and Michael Moorcock. 'Kid stuff,' said the Advanced Boy. 'Try this.' He handed me a paperback copy of Vance's "Eyes of the Overworld." On the cover a giant lizardlike creature was tipping over a rowboat containing a man in regulation swords-and-sorcery attire and a buxom woman in regulation dishabille...

Carlo Rotella in NYT magazine

Jack Vance is an incredible writer. [Pause] Having gasped (in dismay) at the current price of an out-of-print copy of his recent autobiography, I've just installed Amazon's free Kindle-for-PC software and snaffled a much more reasonably-priced edition for £2-99. I fear this may be yet another slippery slope. [Slightly longer pause] Excellent tale, nicely told. I liked (for random example) Girls were a scarce commodity, due to the navy. I gave this matter a great deal of thought, and finally evolved a thesis, to this effect: If you want to find girls, you must go where the girls are.

At one point, I inadvertently clicked on a word. Next thing I knew, down comes a compact edition of the OED and up pops a definition! Blimey. But a new (advertising) pop-up from "Software Manager" claiming to contain an "important message", but merely extolling a couple of commercial voice to text packages has just reared its extremely unwelcome head. Thanks an unbunch, Mr Bezos. Way to piss me off.

Back from the supplies...

... expotition (only very slight drizzle, but enough to deter my fellow hordes, it seems) and with a last-minute lunch rendezvous arranged, 'cos that's the sort of chaps we are, I can now take a quick (and cautious2) peek at yet another time-soaking artefact of today's non-Regency Modern World. (Link.)


It's a little over six years since I last tried a film with "Prada" in its title. Neither Christa nor I could be bothered to sit through it to the end, though I may yet give it another "go". I've just watched my second such film which Mr Postie handed over as I was on my way out to lunch... and quite enjoyed it:

DVD and Book

The book is one that I found last week while reading the piece here with its amusing anecdote about roly-poly IQ200 genius Herman Kahn:

[Kahn] wanted me to work on a project related to drug abuse in New York. He said that the street price of heroin reveals a great deal about the effectiveness of drug enforcement efforts. ... "So," he stated, "as your first assignment buy heroin on the streets of Harlem."

Dawn Eden in Weekly Standard



1  Well, apart from yet another cuppa (or two) and my next leisurely supplies run carefully planned and timed, I hope, to dodge the showers I confidently assume are already lurking out there. In stark contrast to Big Bro's report of Antipodean drought. Or was that his dry humour?
2  These days, when the Grauniad labels something as "genius" I no longer take the claim just at face value.