2015 — 6 January: Tuesday

One might think1 that unwicked Uncle ERNIE could have sent me news of a little New Year 'checkie' if just to mark the start of my ninth (count 'em!) full year of non-wage-slavery. Nope. I have been cruelly spurned, again, alas. I shall just have to make do with my widower's mite. As usual :-)


... there was a little owl to report (at 02:01), a newsletter from Ubuntu to be skimmed and discarded, a dollop of pension to be exiled to a savings account where it will be encouraged to grow just a little, and a restart necessitated by whatever update my anti-viral defences have decided to take upon themselves / foist upon me this morning. That lot's got to be worth a cuppa. Time to shut the patio door, too. It's not so warm this morning.

On with the daily round, heh?

This isn't...

... the reason I left the world of aeronautical engineering four decades ago:

F-35 awaiting delivery

(though I did also turn down a lucrative contract writing about weapons delivery systems in Germany). The extract comes from half way through a long and very well-reasoned piece. Source and snippet:

Total taxpayer losses in the failed Solyndra solar-energy program might come, at their most dire estimate, to some $800 million. Total cost overruns, losses through fraud, and other damage to the taxpayer from the F-35 project are perhaps 100 times that great, yet the "Solyndra scandal" is known to probably 100 times as many people as the travails of the F-35. Here's another yardstick: the all-in costs of this airplane are now estimated to be as much as $1.5 trillion, or a low-end estimate of the entire Iraq War.

James Fallows in Atlantic

My post-breakfast treat...

... was to be gently reprimanded for dissing "mindfulness" yesterday. Re-reading what I said, I should have emphasised that it just wasn't for me, perhaps. But I find the faddish bandwagon aspect alarming. And that BBC programme was both superficial and sceptical at the same time.

A swift...

... but cursory pre-late-lunch count suggests I have so far managed to cull 191 physical discs from my little collection of moving pixels. Quite neatly housed — for the time being — on the copper heat pipe that was all I could salvage from the wreckage of an excellent Sony amplifier "taken out" by a (terrifying) ball lightning2 strike up in the study:

191 video discs

That's "Baraka" on the end, by the way, if you can't quite make out the title. Not a bad total, but definitely more can (and will) follow. The drizzle, meanwhile, has turned into a splendidly sunny afternoon with a few fluffy white clouds scudding gently overhead. Nice. [Pause] Now... about that aforementioned lunch... I'm starving.

While I concede...

... Mr Postie's latest (and rather late — getting on for a month in transit) delivery of my latest Mexican BD from Canada is another disc entering the house...

Point Blank BD

... at least it's displacing my existing DVD of the same title, imported from the US about 10 years ago. Though how this (superb) neo-noir film — Lee Marvin surely is the quintessential 'Parker' even though he's here named 'Walker' — can date back to 1967 completely baffles me. But then, lots of things baffle me these days. [Pause] I enjoyed listening to the moral quandary of "The Ferryhill Philosophers" this afternoon. It was almost Beiderbeckian (to coin an adjective).

In about...

... five minutes from now, I shall pass "Go" and collect a 98-year-old mother. I can't say that makes me feel very young. (I don't mean "collect" in any but the Monopoly sense, by the way. She's better off where she is — though growing steadily poorer — and I'm better off knowing she's safe, secure, and well looked-after.)

Life, heh? G'nite.



1  Though one would be quite wrong, of course.
2  David "DREADCO" Jones pondered the possibility of creating (and harnessing) the effect locally. See Ariadne's "Spot the sky-ball" column (10th August 1995) of plausibly outlandish ideas. Recommend it.