2013 — 19 February: Tuesday

As unsuspected1 I've just picked up my nightly dose of a million or so high-energy particles. I shall try not to let it worry me, until after breakfast, at least. Besides, I presume there is a corresponding daily dose. I thought the planet's magnetic field deflected all this stuff which, apparently, is pretty much like the stripped nuclei of everything in the Periodic Table (up to Uranium, it seems) raining down on (and through) us. How Intelligently Designed is that, I wonder?

The Universe is a strange thing, to be sure.

I very much...

... enjoyed Evelyn Waugh's magnificent "Sword of Honour" trilogy back in 1984, so I've decided to dip my toe experimentally into volume #1 of Elizabeth Jane Howard's "Cazalet" saga, which seems to be set in a similar social and historical milieu. I know her only as the wife, at one point, of Kingsley Amis.

And this documentary also caught my eye:


I initially ordered an NTSC copy at more than double the price of this UK variant that Amazon was doing its damnedest to conceal from me.

The timely arrival...

.. of a couple of John Lewis vouchers incented me to hobble out (the blister is not exactly healed, yet) and replenish parts of Mrs Hubbard's cupboard. It's lovely and fresh out there, and sunny, but that's all going to change if one can believe the BBC. Meanwhile, I've been improving a few of the Shining Hours with that nerdishly-delightful bulk file renaming utility, cleaning up some less than sensible naming strategies devised when I was a lot newer to the hassles of a large digital music file collection. Meta-tagging is by no means the only consideration, it turns out.

As I sit, soaking my poorly foot prior to cleaning things up a bit and changing my bandage, I've been listening to a fascinating programme on waste conversion and disposal that would also have fascinated Christa (who worked, for a while, in a local company — now defunct — that was designing such plants all over the world). I've also been working through an accumulating pile of receipts, making sure I'm still solvent, and made the surprising discovery that in 2010 I bought fewer books than in any other year since 1969. Here's the tally in thumbnail form...

Titles bought in 2010

And if you need a bigger image. As usual, now that I view the list, I've spotted a typo. Dammit!

Should I be worried...

... that the relentless search for equine DNA is now being extended to examine stock? I regularly crumble a cube of the stuff into hot water as part of my crockpot assembly (some might call it 'cooking') process. I use stock that professes to be for lamb dishes since that's usually the meat I opt for. I've scanned the ingredients list, but how trustworthy is that...?

Manufacturers add other cheap ingredients including water and fat, and use concentrated proteins to bind the water and fat in. They may appear on labels as "seasoning". One of the cheapest sources of these protein additives is pork rind. It is possible that horse hide is now also being used. The widespread adulteration of cheap chicken breast with pig and beef proteins and water has been uncovered in previous scandals. The beef proteins were derived from hydrolysed cattle hides. It is not illegal to use these protein concentrates so long as they are identified correctly to the manufacturer.

Felicity Lawrence in Grauniad

I could be eating shoe leather? Perhaps it's time I re-watched the Nikolaus Geyrhalter film "Our Daily Bread". It deals with industrial food production and high-tech farming, all without voiceover commentary or music. Quite amazing, though likely to remove your appetite for, well, food, basically.



1  Until listening to the programme about cosmic rays.