2016 — 20 June: Monday

My first task1 this morning? Take my fancy atomic clock carefully apart (precisely eight years to the day since it was made, if I believe the little sticker inside the case) and set about fixing it. Its display has been very faint recently, and started showing an outline of a hollow battery shape with a cross through it. That suggests (even to my icon-averse understanding) problems in its juice supply. Of course, proudly proclaiming its "SOLAR" powers, it shouldn't need separate juice. But it turned out to contain a couple of AAA-sized rechargeables2 that are (I assume) trickle-charged and have become (I assume) tired after eight years...

I expect...

... today's rain will continue to rule out any further brickwork repairs. Still, it's also washed clean the neighbours' many cars that were within range of drifting dust from the grinding-out of my tired-after-35-years mortar. I dodged a bullet with my roof tile repairs, getting the lid made watertight just in time for our summer.

I enjoyed...

... both my latest Charles Stross "Laundry Files" paperback — an excellent romp, (focusing for a pleasant change on Mo and her demon-killing violin while Bob was off-stage clearing up messes left by Angleton) — and Episode #1 of "Orange is the New Black", Season #3. I understand why Netflix has been told that, for award purposes, it will in future be classed as a drama3 and not a comedy. It is about as culturally, sexually, politically, educationally, linguistically, chemically, criminally, psychologically, and racially diverse as I can imagine! The music's good, too.

My admiration for Jenji Kohan (who also created the superb "Weeds") remains very high.

I smiled...

... at the Tory peer who has belatedly noticed the "Leave the EU" campaign is using "hateful, xenophobic tactics", and has accordingly switched from "Leave" the EU to "Stay in" the EU:

I look at that group of people and I think they're not the kind 
of people I'd get on a night bus with. Why would I want them to 
run my country?

I wonder how many Tory peers habitually travel on a night bus. Just sayin'.


... the potted history (link) of the EU's stumbling steps towards total integration and unification was interesting. So, too, was a remark made by the European Council President three weeks ago (link), about the utopian "illusions" of a united Europe. And a comment from a chap in Christchurch, NZ that I spotted on a seemingly-unrelated Spectator article (link) about the value of diaries. He asserted (though I haven't dug any deeper into this) that Attila the Hen offered Gorby cash to help the Soviets stay in East Germany.

I somehow managed to miss that little gem at the time! The official document of historical record versus amateur diaries? Interesting...

This chap...

... continues to make a lot of sense:


Though if we didn't all have to become multi-tasking system administrators wouldn't life be a bit duller?

I have a new hero...

... in the shape of Professor Michael Dougan of the University of Liverpool. In a 25-minute video "lecture" he has dispelled a lot of the "FUD" surrounding the insane circus of our current national debate. If even a handful of our elected Parliamentary representatives (not to mention our frankly disgraceful mass media) were one-tenth as articulate and well-informed, then this entire EU "In or Out?" debate would have been quietly settled on Day 1. And we would stay firmly "In".

Not being "on" Facebook, I could watch the video, but (fair enough) I'm prevented from reading, or making, any comments. Still, I see the video has been viewed over 3,000,000 times. That can only be goodness.

Tim Lomas...

... taught me the meaning of an "untranslatable" word that I have known (though until now only as the title of a jaunty music track on an album called Incantation)...

Incantation - Cacharpaya

... for more years than I care to think about. "Cacharpaya" is a Spanish term meaning (roughly) a farewell, or send-off, party. I'm almost certain this track was used as part of the soundtrack music to a lovely 1982 BBC TV Natural World series ("The Flight of the Condor"). It might help me to confirm that if I could only find my copy of the Michael Andrews book that accompanied this series. My bookshelves all too often emulate the topological characteristics described in "A Subway named Moebius".

Sometimes, of course, things just pop back into existence, even right where they should be, but also where they weren't when I looked an hour or so earlier:

Flight of the Condor

This is, by the way, the same "Michael Andrews" I mentioned here. Sadly, the only information on the music from the TV show is that Inti Illimani performed the Andean music. This was the musician who collaborated with guitarist John Williams on a version of "David of the White Rock" that I bought a while back.



1  Well, first after my initial cuppa — let's not go wild.
2  Slotting in a couple of standard IKEA AAA cells has done the trick for now, buying me some time to find a pair of "Golden Power MR800AAA-eR Ni-MH 800mAh 1.2 V" replacements. I'm going to assume any fire or explosion hazard from trickle-charging such small standard batteries by juice from 6.5 in2 of indoor solar panel is acceptably low. After all, I've already survived the Danish Oil self-ignition hazard.
3  Of course, any series set in a prison for women aces the Bechdel Test :-)