2013 — 25 May: Saturday

Given the lateness1 it's clear I needed the sleep after sticking all the way though to the end to hear all the Loudon Wainwright chat. The lad was in fine fettle.

Inspired by...

... my friend Carol's amusingly-told tales of woe on the (sometimes painful) process she's been 'enjoying' recently of transferring (following my advice and guidance, I fear) from an ailing old XP laptop PC to a new Win8Pro one I've just ordered my first pair of 16GB USB3 memory sticks for less than a tenner each.

The sun is trying to shine, breakfast is still on my 'to do' list, and there's an empty crockpot waiting to be filled. Ever onward.

Mr Postie has...

... just dropped off the latest book by Frans de Waal:


It's the second of the titles I'd spotted in Bournemouth, but wasn't prepared to pay the full High Street price for. The author writes beautifully, as is clearly recognised by another chap I rate highly, who says of it, in part:

The perpetual challenge to atheists is that moral behaviour requires religion — all that prevents tsunamis of depravity is a deity or two, some nice hymns, and the threat of hellfire and damnation.2 De Waal shows that human morality is deeply rooted in our primate legacy, long predating the invention of that cultural gizmo called religion.

Robert Sapolsky

Of course, opinions of what constitute moral behaviour vary entertainly:

"... of the superior clitoral dimensions found on a number of nonhuman primates there is no doubt. Queen among the clitoral nobility is the bonobo... as a young adolescent, a female bonobo is maybe half the weight of a human teenager, but her clitoris is three times bigger than the human equivalent, and visible enough to waggle unmistakably as she walks... it is drafted into service by its owner several times an hour."

Natalie Angier, in Woman: an intimate geography (1999)

Crockpot warming up nicely, sun shining, plenty to read, no pressing domestic administrivia. Excellent! [Pause] One of the BBC's foreign correspondents has just described the (English) phrase he spotted on the vest of a German bomb-disposal chap working on a just-unearthed WW II UXO in Berlin:

If you see me running, make sure you catch up!


A psychotherapist writing in the FT about the newly-published DSM-5 seems (to me, at least) fairly clear on the "Emperor's New Clothes" nature of the stupid thing:

Mental illness is an intensification of normal behaviour, not something different from it in kind. By gradually slackening its criteria the DSM has estranged us from our eccentricities, our survivable rough patches, our shyness and sorrows, and made them sound like diseases.
There have been attempts to guard against this over-inclusiveness. The DSM-IV definition of "major depressive disorder" included a "bereavement exclusion": if you had just lost your partner, you wouldn't be called depressed. But the exclusion begged a lot of pesky questions. What about other life circumstances? On what authority does a psychiatrist or GP decide whether my reaction to divorce or to the loss of my job is not worth noting? There will be no "bereavement exclusion" in the DSM-5. When Greenberg asked Spitzer whether psychiatric diagnosis shouldn't always take into account a person's life circumstances, the old king of American psychiatry replied: "If we did that, then the whole system falls apart."

Talitha Stevenson in FT

You think?

My initial...

... impression of the re-worked CD of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was a little harsh. It's been steadily growing on me...


After all, if — to the apparent bemusement of some of my chums — I can enjoy various "fan fiction" variants of original material, be it TV or books, why should music be any different?

My evening entertainment...

... was the excellent 1971 Granada production of "Persuasion". Not the best of prints, and annoying to have to have imported it from the USA, but a fine piece of work. Her masterpiece, in my opinion.



1  Brian Matthew has only 20 minutes left of his two-hour "Sounds of the 60s" show.
2  Such a cuddly god the West seems to opt for...