2013 — 18 August: Sunday

I do think the BBC web site could have done better with their scrolling banner than the unpunctuated "When I am laid in earth by Henry Purcell"1 though if the whole miserably mournful show is going to consist of "Songs of Farewell" (no matter how beautiful) it will not be perturbing my equanimity for many minutes longer.

Tea! That's what I need, to combat what look like threats of drizzle this morning. Some summer.

Da Management...

... would like to apologise for the slightly delayed arrival of the expected breakfast cereal service at Platform #19 this morning. It seems some idiot — probably the Fat Controller — forgot to stew another batch of plums before clocking off last night. Typical!

Can you guess...

... the country of origin of this charmless tale?

Op-Ed piece


And the bitterness of...

... many of the comments this article has attracted does make me wonder. Christa was always amazed at the UK's sheep-like attitude towards its housing mortgage finance "trap", and soon converted me to her opinion. We cleared the debt as fast as we could. (And without benefit of such a ludicrously low interest rate, let me add.)


I would have had a great deal more success in tracking down today's little musical gift-to-myself — this album (by a band I'd never heard of)...

Qluster album

... had the blessed woman either spelled out the name or updated her programme's tracklist on time. She used one of the tracks from it as a background to her reading of a snippet from Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (which I've had cause to mention previously in the context of that unusual composer David Bedford and the equally-talented engraver Gustav Doré).

But is it my fault I thought at first she must have meant the Krautrockers "Cluster"? I don't think so.

Grasping my tiniest...

... flat-edge screwdriver in one hand, and my so-called "reading" glasses in the other, I've just swapped back in my Varifocus lenses as I'm thoroughly fed up of switching between three pairs of the damned things depending on my 'occupation' at any given time. And don't say "contact lenses" would be just the thing... 'cos I tried, and discarded, that solution back in the late 1970s. Besides, you only have to see what accumulates on the front of my glasses to see what they're daily deflecting from the elderly corneas.

I'm just grateful I can still perform such micro-engineering feats of DIY optical surgery with my unassisted Mk I eyeballs. I shall gloss over the fact that I was once able to read the phone directory in a callbox at night with just a streetlight, or halfway decent moonlight.

I can never entirely...

... convince myself that I can always tell when "Private Eye" is joking. The current puzzler: are there indeed 20 new books being published about a single 'Royal' baby? Are people in this be(k)nighted queendom truly so stupid?

An epiphany

Not one of mine, I hasten to add. I was browsing idly through Daniel Kohanski's book "The Philosophical Programmer" (amusingly subtitled Reflections on the moth in the machine). Chapter 16 actually bears that title, and also contains the epiphany:

Bugs, or errors, are the bane of a programmer's existence.2 We spend most of our careers locating and fixing bugs. Maurice Wilkes, director of the Cambridge EDSAC project, recalls the exact moment in June 1949 when, "hesitating at the angle of the stairs," he realised that "a good part of the remainder of my life was going to be spent in finding errors in my own programs."

Date: 1998

Having long since given up buying "Radio Times" I'm unable to confirm the Tom Stoppard / Pink Floyd BBC Radio 2 item apparently scheduled for 22:00 on the 26th of August. The online schedule only gets as far as that day's Breakfast Show so far.



1  Dido's Lament from Purcell's opera, of course.
2  Really? Not project managers... or users... or bean-counters with their fixed ideas about the value of counting lines of code?