2015 — 19 August: Wednesday

An overnight email from Big Bro's newly-widowed sister-in-law assures me yesterday's funeral service "went off very well" and kindly forgives me for the way I fled the scene — as is my very long-established habit — rapidly and (almost1) silently.

Returning to the crematorium gave me an unwelcome flashback to my Dad's funeral service there in 1975. An occasion on which I very nearly lost my temper with a religiously-inclined uncle — one of my godparents, as it happened. This man took it upon himself, at his own brother's funeral, to opine Pumblechook-fashion that "the withholding of food from a dying man" (Dad's cerebral cancer suppressed his ability to eat in his final days) was nothing less than "the sin2 of murder" for which both I and dear Mama would be punished by his ever-loving and all-forgiving god. I trust nobody wonders why I avoid religion like the plague it is.

Today's adventures...

... start with the stewed plums atop the cereal breakfast that necessarily precedes a walk. Colour me soon to be gone. Again. Ahead, I hope, of the pending rain. Junior, meanwhile, is now on the hook to come down to pick up his "new" car from my drive. Its current road tax needs renewing at the end of September, so at least he has a deadline to concentrate his over-busy mind. And Big Bro (who was shocked by the quoted cost of repair) has made an entirely sensible suggestion about dealing with the ancient duelling scar in its rear bumper. Of course, he could have shared his expertise back in November 2007...

Elegance in science?

You know it when you see it, I guess. Source and snippet:

Tufte's candidate was the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the amount of disorder in the universe will always increase. "If we see alien science someday, they will have the equivalent equation," Tufte said. "That's real elegance." (Tom Stoppard, in his play "Arcadia," summarized this law as "You cannot3 stir things apart.")

Patrick House in New Yorker

I suspect Tufte could have read H Beam Piper's 1957 SF short story "Omnilingual". Its plot device uses the discovery of an ancient Martian artefact that turns out to be a representation of the Periodic Table of the elements — my own choice to illustrate elegance in science, as it happens. I was tickled to see Jonathan Corum among the people polled for their definitions. His CSS "inspired" the design and appearance of 'molehole.org' a decade ago.

Our walk...

... was a little truncated as neither of us wished to get soaked by the rain that was constantly threatening to start. We dodged it but, of course, my poor little new car is now out in it as I was too slow putting it back in the garage. Still, it needed a bit of a wash and, as Brian remarked, "white is very difficult to keep clean!"

I've just been archiving some of my BBC downloaded music files. I seem to have amassed quite a collection. I also had no success, so far at least, in persuading the Mazda's USB slots to play any of my MP3s. Deeper investigation of the (thick) manual will resume after another cuppa.

I drew the line...

... yesterday at wearing a suit, but I did wear one of my decent white cotton shirts, undisturbed in my wardrobe for at least eight years now. I also discovered I had nearly forgotten how to tie a neck-tie. (I wore my nice, silk, Escher tesselation that Christa bought for me many years ago.) Of course, now that I've laundered the shirt — after grappling with the M25 it needed it — I can see that I may just have to drag the iron and the ironing board out of their retirement. I have not used the iron once since Christa died, mostly because I hate ironing, partly because I take very little interest in clothing and appearance. (It shows, trust me!)

But there is, as they say, a first time for everything. Grrr.

Some (misguided) folk...

... think that Wilder's "Double Indemnity" isn't just about the greatest film noir ever. Some would claim that Hiller's "See no evil, hear no evil" and Poitier's "Stir crazy" are other than screamingly funny. And some would even try to argue the merits of Sayles' "Return of the Secaucus 7" over Kasdan's sublime "Big Chill".

5x Blu-rays

Can I help it if they're all wrong? (Though, I admit, I haven't yet seen Donner's "The Toy".)



1  The "almost" is because when I used my key to unlock my Mazda2 prior to sneaking away in it, a Mazda sports coupé parked about 10 yards away promptly started relatively quiet beeping for about 20 seconds (time, of course, I spent looking frantically around inside my car for possible reasons for what I assumed was its own displeasure with something I'd done — like, erm, sit in it).
2  "Assaulting an uncle at a funeral" was very nearly added to my doubtless already long list of sins. When — three decades later — I visited this splendid paragon in the hospice where he spent his own last few days I noted he, too, was by then on a light liquid diet. I didn't bother to point this out, but merely wished him all the best in his afterlife.
3  Actually you can, providing, of course, you have access to a co-operative Maxwell's Demon.