2013 — 17 February: Sunday

This morning's dawn chorus has barely passed the threshold of audibility.1 And it doesn't stand much chance until I open a window. If last night's stellar display was any guide it's pretty cold out there at the moment. That's what the initial cup of tea is for, of course. The ceremony of the window opening will just have to wait a while.

And, on the theme of opening things, I have to smile when I see that the phrase "snap ploobadoof"2 has once more cropped up on my server search logs. Coined by the late, great, Don Martin, of course, to capture onomatopoeically the sound of Wonder Woman releasing her Amazon brassiere. Nice to see that the Washington Post still has Michael Dirda's December 2007 review online here. (Even nicer to see the creator of Mad magazine's "Spy vs. Spy" corrected.)

Attention to important detail; that's what I like to see :-)

Who owns the world?

Pause, for me to change keyboards before resuming. The sticking space bar has annoyed me once too often. Oops, not that one! Try another. [Pause] I could wish Junior hadn't "half-inched" all the Q-tips. I'm now using an ancient Dell with fairly unworn keys but a rather soggy action. It responded quite well to the electric toothbrush. Where was I? Oh, yes... Trust Chomsky to have an opinion. Source and snippet:

If you study international relations theory, there's what's called the "realist" school, which says there is an anarchic world of states, and those states pursue their "national interest." It's in large part mythology. There are a few common interests, like survival. But, for the most part, people within a nation have very different interests. The interests of the CEO of General Electric and the janitor who cleans his floor are not the same.
Part of the doctrinal system in the United States is the pretense that we're all a happy family, there are no class divisions, and everybody is working together in harmony. But that's radically false. Today power is in the hands of financial institutions and multinationals...

Noam Chomsky in In These Times

Ain't that the truth? As I remarked (a mere six years ago)... Multinationals set the agenda. How reassuring to know they are always and unfailingly such bastions of good behavior. They never dodge taxes. They always have the best interests of every last one of their employees at the forefront of every stage of their planning because they never forget who actually does the work and generates that all-important profit. And, of course, they never over-reward their own internal ruling classes by encouraging or even merely tolerating dodgy share option deals, let alone massive salaries and pension top-ups regardless of corporate success.

My opinions were formed partly by observing the IBM ecosystem (and, regrettably, the ICL one before that) and partly by reading, inter alia, Axel Madsen's 1980 book Private power. [Pause] Better grab some breakfast. The sun is now shining brightly, though it was -2C mere moments ago on my front porch.

Some of my evening entertainment...

... yesterday was the BBC radio programme of Oliver Burkeman "Embracing Idleness" — a much-underrated occupation whose appeal to a chap like me is probably pretty obvious. It contained quite a large extract from that classic Hancock episode on the boredom of a Sunday with "nothing to do". Sundays are supposedly days for rest, contemplation, and reflection3 among at least one of the major religions so this email from a chum rather tickled me:

... you made oblique reference a few days ago to the curse of Ham. This piqued my interest because, although I knew that "the sons of Ham will be hewers of wood and drawers of water" (as a justification for slavery) I suddenly realised I didn't know where Ham resided within the mythos. So I googled it.
Apparently Noah got drunk, Ham saw him naked and for this Noah cursed Canaan (son of Ham), for no good reason that I can see.
Wikipedia has a long article full of seemingly erudite bollocks trying to explain various religions "scholars" justification of this nonsense. The edit history is full of revisions being revoked, and the talk page goes on for ages with arguments over whether the "curse of Ham" is a misnomer for the "curse of Canaan", the part of god in all this, the historic existence of Ham and other irrelevant drivel.
All of which goes to confirm my belief that wikipedia is good for maths and TV shows, fair for physics and the other hard sciences but should be avoided like the plague for life sciences, history, sociology etc. due to the unrestrained opinion-pushing of the terminally obsessed.

Date: Today

I wonder if my Wikipedia-contributing ex-ICL chum would agree? Meanwhile, doing my own bit to embrace idleness, I'm deferring my next crockpot extravaganza until tomorrow as I already have my eye on something else for this evening.

Post-lunch pastime

A little telephonic consultation and I can now see a way of cracking the current musical "disarray" of my MP3 file documentation. For my own future reference:

D:\My Music\MP3s>dir /s /b > ../myFULLlist.txt
This builds, in about one second, a neat 49,000-line TXT file listing of my entire MP3 library. I'm sure I can soon carve it up and whip it into suitable shape for public exhibition. I must say, the last time I made any serious use of the command line on a home system was on my ancient Amstrad CP/M PC, on which I had no choice (of course). I have to admit I was taken aback at just how shockingly quickly a 3.4GHz 8-core 64-bit PC with oodles of RAM can recurse through a directory structure. Just like magic!

I'm getting hungry. Could it be? Is it? Yep, jolly nearly the end of Jarvis Cocker's show and jolly nearly time for my evening meal. Where did that afternoon go, I wonder. Only nine minutes were consumed by this amusing juggling video with President Raygun sitting in the front row. (Link.)

Having taken...

... another stab at the TV series "Arrested Development" ab initio I'm once again left baffled by the proposition that it was a comedy. And without any great interest in wasting any further time on it. I stand, therefore, by my original opinion. [Pause] And decided to settle for Almodovar's "Bad Education" instead. A grimly fascinating tour de force.


Tea! I need tea!



1  Contending (as it must, hereabouts) against the noise of a booting Buffalo and the first of the day's passing trains. Both of which temporarily drown the hum of the fridge a couple of metres behind me in the kitchen.
2  My Copernic desktop search tool, confronted by my request for "ploobadoof", gently inquired whether I meant "peniakoff". When I want to remind myself of the context in which I mentioned "Popski" of "Private Army" fame (to those of a certain age and bent) I can always look here.
3  Consider the verse by Sir Henry Wotton with that line And entertains the harmless day with a religious book or friend for example.