2014 — 28 July: Monday

While I wouldn't quite go so far as to say there's a chill in the air1 it does feel quite pleasant at the moment. The moment being 06:57 or thereabouts. An email from Big Bro tells tales of mid-winter shivering down in New Zealandland. And I've a "Horizon" programme stacked up for watching if I want to be told all about what's 'wrong' with our weather.

A cuppa to hand, some organic Bach burbling in the background... what's to worry about? (Until I go looking for some news, of course.)

I've not read...

... anything by William T Vollmann, and little to be found in this piece will entice me to try. I seem to be losing my former enthusiasm for "thick, conceptually audacious" books — even (or do I mean "especially"?) books that "attempt to define a philosophically coherent set of moral coordinates for when violence was acceptable". Blimey. However, I wouldn't mind having a studio space like his.

I found this philosophical tale of a fly swatter more to my liking. Though I draw the line at throwing out half-finished packs of butter to banish death from my toast...

So, there I am...

... sitting patiently, second from the front, green bag full of some basic foodstuffs, in the "await green arrow and then turn left" queue at the lights at the corner of Leigh Road / Bournemouth Road. Arrow appears. Ladies in the car in front of me chatter on, oblivious. And unmoving. My decision (to count to five before beeping) was pre-empted by the impatient blonde lady in (you guessed it) a large BMW behind me. I suspect I was the one who got the glare, however.

[Pause] From an email seen just now when I returned to BlackBeast:

PS: You were also the one who was honked. The BMWitch was
hooting you because you were not quick enough at hooting
the slowpokes.

Today's resolution...

... having struggled as far (bottom of the garden) as Shed #1 to retrieve from it a distinctly second-best pair of secateurs2 — before going on to deploy them to thin by about one almost unnoticeable cubic metre the volume of brambles (40%) and vine (50%) plus odds and ends (10%) — will, of course, be to keep them a bit handier for next time. Brambles are all too clearly Intelligently Designed to poke holes in my skin in as many different places simultaneously as they can. I'm slowly being forced to the conclusion that Christa kept them under control by working out there a lot more often than I do.

Today's reward...

... when I managed to get near enough to focus on it:

Smells good, too

Filmic rambling

As I was hacking away at the triffids my mind was (as it so very often is) wandering elsewhere. Yesterday, I mentioned the relatively low cost of the three DVDs I'd ordered to replace "home-made" ones I'd cut, in two cases, from ancient LaserDiscs. I'd been pondering the money I'd tossed fairly casually into LDs over the years. Step back with me now to 17 August 1991 (the date of one of many unmerry trips we made up to dear Mama's bat cave in the Midlands).

We'd called in at Thames Valley Laser (in Bicester) en route to pick up 15 NTSC LDs for (I have to admit) the fairly eye-watering price of £385-34. The single costliest LD in this little batch was Philip Kaufman's3 1990 film "Henry and June" weighing in at £39-99. By the way, the "June" of "Henry and June" was June Mansfield, who had been using a young lady named Jean Lewin as a buffer between "Henry" (Miller) and her (Mansfield's) other lover. Lewin eventually married Bernard Gordon, about whom you can read a "Triffid" connection here :-)

I've never been...

... entirely clear what constitutes "blasphemy" — it was confusing enough when that delightful lady Mary Whitehouse brought a 'blasphemous libel' case against "Gay News" and a poem by James Kirkup back in 1977. Mind you, nearly 40 years on it's even more dangerous to blaspheme elsewhere on our lovely planet. Or — more precisely — to be accused by a mob of doing so:

A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities. The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.

Syed Raza Hassan in Globe and Mail

There is (possibly) a more secular explanation: Human rights workers say the accusations are increasingly used to settle personal vendettas or to grab the property of the accused. Now that I can more easily understand. I shall stay off Facebook.

Even as I become more like the Omega Man :-)



1  Not at 23.6C :-)
2  That would nonetheless have eased said struggle.
3  I had previously enjoyed the film Kaufman had managed to make of Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".