2013 — 28 February: Thursday

I've just been promised a blistering (+6C) day. A councillor is reported to have said that disabled children "cost too much, and should be put down". The Armed Forces' profligacy can only be brought under control by better computer systems. (Ain't gonna happen.) Bankers should not be treated as special bonus-worthy creatures.1

Nearer to home, I now know that it's sub-optimal to power on the two eSATA drives until after BlackBeast is awake since (I deduce) the drive order gets screwed up and — bingo! — no operating system to boot, as it were. Just a terribly polite failure screen suggesting I insert my Win8Pro installation DVD and choose "repair my system". (Ain't gonna happen.) I'm sure I will be advised that it's a simple matter of adjusting a BIOS setting but (as the narration at the opening of the David Lynch version of "Dune" reminds us) beginnings are delicate times.

Add to that the Lancet telling us that autism, ADD, bi-polar, (erm, hang on, what was I saying? Something about the sexuality of polar bears? No, that wasn't it) major depression and schizophrenia are apparently all linked (though it's not yet clear how, of course) to a smallish set of specific gene clusters. Sounds like the Intelligent Designer may have been Out to Lunch. For quite a while. And came back completely wasted.

Perhaps she needs a better computer system?

Oh boy

Another new word:

Ah yes, the amygdala. The little cluster of basal ganglia that regulates emotional response, sense memory, mood. It was quite an evocative reference, particularly after a presidential debate where a great deal of time had clearly been spent coaching Mitt Romney in the precise vocal intonations and hand gestures of Ronald Reagan. Indeed, millions of dollars' worth of media punditry was expended not on evaluating the candidates' empirical claims, but on haruspication of the public's response to the tilt of heads, the glint in eyes, the twitch of whiskers. The virtual absence of prefrontal cortical activity in post-debate analyses should remind us that without critical thinking, we are not much more than that little nub of neurons that constitutes the lizard's entire brain.

Patricia J Williams in The Nation

Haruspication? Divination by reading the entrails. Better than watching Fox News, I expect.

"Lewisham" was offered up as a new word in the John Lloyd programme celebrating 30 years of "The Meaning of Liff". It describes the momentary panic between thinking your car keys aren't in your pocket, and realising that that's because you're actually driving your car.

Sometimes, I sits and...

... thinks, and sometimes I just sits. So dear ol' Dad used to say. There's a chap whose (web) journal I cast an eye over from time to time. I was quite taken by his "Endurance of mediocrity" ruminations recently:

I was sitting in the chilly garden as the sun went down contemplating the idea that human existence amounts to little more than the daily endurance of mediocrity, growing increasingly annoyed with the little that life really offers, the constant barrage of backwardness, the uninterestingness of it all, when into the silence of dusk came the approaching cries of a hundred or more gulls, and I dropped the idea in preference to this visitation of the beautiful, although what I said still stands, but it is true enough that the two cannot be held at once, and it seemed the natural thing to do to get up from my chair and watch the gulls go, that lovely calming sound, and the rooks that started their own chorus when the gulls had gone as the light gradually seeped away.

Date: 7 October 2012

Or, perhaps, slightly more poetically... "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare..." etc etc

On that "mediocrity" theme...

... sometimes, you just hafta laugh in total disbelief. I was blissfully unaware of Maxwell, the Geico pig, but was less surprised to learn of the existence of an outfit calling itself "One Million Moms":

Of course, fundamentalist Christians are nothing if not hypersensitive about depictions of sexuality in any of its "perverse" forms, whether gay sex, premarital sex, or, you know, animal sex. In fact, it is the great Christian conservative and current Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, and editor and publisher of Movieguide, Ted Baehr, who instructed his faithful flock to eschew the delightful 1984 movie Splash because the sweet love affair depicted between Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah's mermaid was, you got it, "bestiality."

Lorraine Devon Wilke in Addicting Info

Wonder if it's out on Blu-ray?


My erudite chum Ian tells me "haruspication" (he adds 'for vaticination by splanchnic augury' but he could just be teasing me) comes to us from the Etruscan language. That's a first for me. Where's Etrusca? :-)

I do like connections. Indeed, somewhere I should still have a copy of James Burke's book "The Pinball Effect". On that theme, I've just watched the final episode of Season #1 of "Dead like me" and noticed the "Goth Girl" was played by 'Kaylee' from "Firefly". She went on to another equally quirky show from Bryan Fuller, namely "Wonderfalls". Small world, I guess.

It took nearly 10 minutes to find, of course, and was in the last place I looked...


About par for the assault course that is my haphazard book shelving 'system'. And (naturally) it was within six feet of me down here, though I first scoured the various bookcases upstairs.



1  It's asserted that capping bonuses will drive banking talent out of the UK, and it's implied that that would be a Bad Thing. Yet Royal Bank of Scotland have just managed to mislay over £5,200,000,000 of pre-tax profits while paying bonuses of £500,000,000 or so. See why I prefer music in my early morning routine?