2013 — 5 February: Tuesday

I'd been more than half-expecting to wake up wrapped in a thick blanket of snow this morning1 after retiring when sleep came a-calling quite early. Elsewhere, I gather, people have been so wrapped. But not in this sub-tropical Southern neck of the woods. Despite the snowdrops and a couple of flowering daffs we saw on our Saturday walk it clearly remains winter. (Sales figures have been helped, after all, by a rush on Wellington boots.)

I'm not sure...

... that "deep-seated" is quite the choice of words I would have used here:

Their intervention represents a late attempt to persuade other Conservatives to drop their deep-seated opposition to legalising gay marriage.

Robert Winnett and Tim Ross in Torygraph

Reading (as I never have since leaving my parents' home [where the Torygraph was taken largely for its crossword]) just slightly further down the set of letters, I see that "normal" service is resumed with this little gem from a clearly-splendid chap who lives where we walked on Saturday:

SIR — In my interview with Elizabeth Grice (February 2), when I said: "I would like to line up the civil servants in the MoD on a wall and push every 10th person off", what I meant to say was five out of every 10.

Major Sir Michael Parker in Torygraph

A toast, or some toast... [Pause] Did you know the first use of the word "software" as a computing term was in 1958 by a Princeton mathematician called John Tukey? No, nor did I. (Link.) Wikipedia is unconvinced, too.

With the closure of HMV (CDs and DVDs), Borders (books), Comet (toys)... the continued presence of Waterstone's is almost the only thing tempting me to visit Soton in this Brave New Year. And I don't care much for their book prices, actually.

Personality traits for "success"

I've been glancing at the grim text message exchanges revealed in court yesterday between the latest MP to fall (finally) on his Sword of Truth and the adult son from whom he is now thoroughly estranged. (Well, if the terse phrase "you autistic piece of sh1t" is any indicator.) But, recall the opening paragraph of a recent piece by Kevin Dutton:

Traits that are common among psychopathic serial killers — a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and the manipulation of others — are also shared by politicians and world leaders. Individuals, in other words, running not from the police. But for office.

Date: October 2012 "Scientific American" page 68

Traits, I would submit, also to be found exhibited by Captains of Industry, senior bankers, tabloid journalists, insurance salespeople, market traders, "successful" business entrepreneurs, and (just reminded by yet another leaflet pushed through my letterbox) estate agents. Parasites, one and all. The only way the meek (my political party of choice) will inherit the earth is in the wake of an extremely well-engineered plague.

I (also) have no idea why I...

... waited quite so long to acquaint myself (for the first time) with the first five Art Garfunkel solo albums after the split of S&G. Today's delivery rectifies the matter:

Garfunkel CDs

Unlike the S&G albums I bought two years ago, these CDs have no bonus tracks. But, at £14-50, no complaints from me.

Time for lunch while I browse my new book:


Brian's recommendation, though he's since expressed himself "disappointed" by it. We shall see. [Pause] Well, I'm enjoying it so far.


Having declared it too dark to read without putting a light on, I'm now reverting to my PC to deal with the final "few" (hundred) music files that remain for me to disperse. I've decided that (logically) film soundtracks are also just like compilations (unless they're all by one composer or artist) so can safely be shuffled out, track by track, into more logical pigeon-holes. It's a jolly good job I'm not obsessive about all this.

Last time I checked — by loading the full set of files back into WinAmp2 yet again — it totted up to around 44,750 tracks or 128 days of music... give or take. And a casual (some might say "cursory", but there was definitely some cursing involved) scan quickly revealed some duplications that had managed to sneak in. My hope is that my (meticulously-corrected) metatags will (should, in theory) allow me to catch all of these and also reconstitute any of my original albums "on demand". We shall see.

Meanwhile, two cold calls from "no win, no fee" PPI help-lines. And welcome news from Uncle ERNIE, who's promised to send me £100 this month. Every little helps. [Pause] Oops. Just managed to crash Explorer. I'd rather hoped Win8 might have grown out of that annoying habit. Bother.

Oops. Nearly forgot to wheel out my green bin. It's jolly cold out there. Brrr. G'night.



1  In fact, the sun is trying (not very hard) to shine through some thick, low clouds and it's a scorching +1C as I sup my initial cup.
2  A process that now takes about 10 minutes (which is rather less time than it takes iTunes, I note).