2015 — 6 June: Saturday

A promisingly sunny, and early, start1 and, of course, a very welcome dollop of IBM pension to look forward to on Monday. I've paid for the new kitchen sink, but this coming week also brings the new garage door. (It may be a bigger lump of metal, but it's a bit cheaper than the kitchen work.) Meanwhile, dear Mama's estate is "collected in" and now quietly waiting in the wings to be divided up 'twixt me and Big Bro. Well, not yet the proceeds of her BP shareholdings. They are currently frozen while the Registrar re-issues the share certificates I couldn't find. As far as I can tell, these went astray during the four years plus of postal redirection. No matter; it was the smallest tranche of the ol' girl's worldly2 goods.


... there's the more mundane matter of a fresh batch of foody stuff. Not to mention more tea. And some brekkie. All in good time. One doesn't want to rush these things. In other news, I've given up on Brian Greene's latest multiverse meanderings. I decided in some exasperation last night that I really don't care quite how bizarrely the universe may, or may not, work on a larger scale. I'm clearly not designed to understand it. So I moved on... to another of the more recent "Parker" yarns; this one from 2004. Bite me.

Yesterday's upgrade to the level of Xfce has done nothing to change the unpredictability of the size of BlackBeast's mouse pointer. Very odd.


Good job I set out early. I had no idea the Waitrose carpark would be so busy within less than five minutes of the store's opening. Lovely and sunny out there. And I've replaced the soggy cucumber.

I returned just in time to catch Brian Matthew playing a track ("Reno") from a re-issue of a 1967 Paul Revere & the Raiders "classic" album ("Revolution") I've never even heard of. Nor did I know Ry Cooder was one of their session players, but then I've got precisely two tracks from this group — both from the "Nuggets" box sets (over-priced and over-rated collections, in my opinion) — in my little collection, and I can't say I'm tempted to delve any further. It's back to BBC Radio 3 for me.

I am profoundly unconvinced...

... by the profession of psychiatry. Probably why I take the occasional pot-shot at the ever-fatter (or should that be fatuous?) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I'm not above enlisting satire to my cause... hence the snippet, a while back, from the marvellously funny piece here by Sam Kriss.

Re-reading it has just led me on a merry dance starting at the "Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge" (not, it occurs to me, a bad name for Wikipedia itself) and then to my copy of "The Total Library: non-fiction, 1922-1986" to see the 1942 joke essay therein by Borges ("John Wilkins' Analytical Language") that contains the fictional list quoted from, in part, by Kriss. The list (Borges assures us) is attributed by Dr Franz Kuhn (a genuine writer) to "a certain Chinese encyclopedia" and deals with the division of animals into a range of classes — including those that "belong to the Emperor", and those that "at a distance resemble flies"!3

Further enriching the joke, Wikipedia informs me that "alleged acceptance of the authenticity of the list among many academics is a sign of the degeneration of the Western academy". Even the Linguist got in on the action, on my birthday in 1996. (Link.)

I was delighted to find two further (and equally delicious) pieces by Kriss. Here, for example, on the BBC:

For years now the BBC has been less a public broadcaster than a continual seething crisis masquerading as a state institution. Its programming is at turns crass, crap, and cretinous. Its news reportage is propaganda. Its executives are paid vast sums for doing very little, while its cherished stars have one by one been unmasked as rapists and paedophiles. Its funding structure, a television license fee enforced by TV-detecting radar vans that don't really exist, is strange and stupid and out of date. It can't be long before the whole thing is chucked onto the slagheap of cherished British traditions earmarked for privatization, along with our green and pleasant fields, our quaint racist pubs, and what will surely soon become the ArcelorMittal Semi-Finished Steel Products Royal Family.

Sam Kriss in New Inquiry

And — given my abject failure to progress with those Multiverses — how could I not recommend this "Manifesto of the Committee to Abolish Outer Space"?



1  To a long day, I suspect. I doubt the younger generation will show up much before evening...
2  For all her riches — and they considerably exceeded those of her younger son! — I have to say it never struck me that she was happy during the last forty years. But it's a wise child, as they say, that knows its own parents.
3  Shades of Henry Reed's poem "Judging Distances" perhaps?