Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Rebirot on Heroes?
Natalie Solent on Comrade Blimp
Michael Jennings on Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
Brian Micklethwait on Ashes to ashes
itrat batool on Ashes to ashes
itrat batool on Ashes black out
Michael Jennings on Ashes to ashes
Natalie Solent on Victor!
Natalie Solent on Victor!
Peter Briffa on Ashes black out
Most recent entries
- Ballerina with crane
- Taking photos with Big Flat Things
- Long Title (with italics)
- Confirmation that map use has seriously declined
- Comrade Blimp
- Ashes to ashes
- La Porte des Indes
- Friend on telly
- Sculpture at St James’s Tube
- Digital photographers holding maps
- More photos of things past
- Father Christmas Aerodrome
- How big should these squares be?
- Daniel Hannan’s latest book(s?)
Other Blogs I write for
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Boatang & Demetriou
Burning Our Money
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
China Law Blog
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Coffee & Complexity
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Deleted by tomorrow
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
Dr Robert Lefever
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
Gates of Vienna
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Laissez Faire Books
Last of the Few
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
More Than Mind Games
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Nation of Shopkeepers
Never Trust a Hippy
Non Diet Weight Loss
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
Police Inspector Blog
Private Sector Development blog
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Setting The World To Rights
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Violins and Starships
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours
Arts & Letters Daily
Bjørn Stærk's homepage
Butterflies and Wheels
Dark Roasted Blend
Digital Photography Review
Ghana Centre for Democratic Reform
Global Warming and the Climate
History According to Bob
Institut économique Molinari
Institute of Economic Affairs
Ludwig von Mises Institute
Oxford Libertarian Society
The Christopher Hitchens Web
The Space Review
The TaxPayers' Alliance
This is Local London
UK Libertarian Party
Victor Davis Hanson
WSJ.com Opinion Journal
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
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How the mind works
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
My blog ruins
Signs and notices
The Micklethwait Clock
This and that
Photoed by me this afternoon:
It’s to do with an an advertising campaign for Diesel clothes.
If the purpose of the stuff young people buy (or people still trying to be young) is to make old gits like me think that Western Civilisation is going straight to hell, then it’s mission accomplished.
Well, that was one weird weekend.
If you dislike blog postings which ramble on and off in all directions at excessive length, then you had perhaps better stop reading this one now, because as I start writing this, I have a lot of things in my head that I now want to ramble on about.
For starters, I’m back being ill. A sort of permanent throat distortion, that makes coughing a constant thought. It never accomplishes anything, but I keep wanting to do it. More troublingly, I am starting to have mild stomach pains and headaches. A combination of the flue bug that is doing the rounds, and mild hypochondria, probably. (Although, a friend has now suggested that Lemsip might also be the culprit.)
Next up: my sleep patterns are shot to hell. Despite not having left London for about a year, I am now jet-lagged. The recent see-saw cricket match between England and Australia in Australia put the tin lid on that tin, but the tin was already there and filled with nocturnal wakefulness, put there by the extreme difficulty of getting to sleep when in bed, hugely exacerbated by that throat thing. Sleeping in my armchair early in the evening, with the television as likely as not blaring away, easy. Getting into bed, switching off the light, and then sleeping, not so easy. Hence the temptation of not even trying to go to bed until I really am very, very tired, and confident of getting quickly to sleep once the light is switched off, in other words very, very late. And once you do that a few times you’re stuck.
In the small and getting bigger small hours of Saturday morning, I decided to (a) attack the problem of non-productivity during the wide-awake dead-of-night and (b) thereby stay awake so long that I could solve the jet lag problem by adding another huge gob of it and cancelling it out, instead of vainly trying to subtract from it. Sleep all day Saturday, starting as late as possible, and get to bed at a proper time Sunday evening. That was the plan.
So, at about 5 am on Saturday morning, instead of going to bed, I wrote a (though I say it myself) ripsnorter of a posting for Samizdata called They are not liberals and they are not progressives, and then added what seemed to me to be a pertinent SQotD for good measure. In an early comment on the liberals/progressives posting, I expressed the hope that I might get lucky with linkage in the USA.
Meanwhile England had been taken apart in the cricket. This was the night (i.e. Australian day) when Hussey and Haddin were making their 300 stand. The blogging was partly an attempt to take my mind off that horror.
Finally, at about 9 am, I went to bed, the video set to capture all the rugby during the day on the telly, ...
To be awakened at about 10 fucking am by fucking banging in one of the very nearby, probably right next door flats. Someone was getting rid of a bookshelf or hacking away some plaster or some pipes or some damn thing. For two hours I lay awake, hoping it would stop. I gave up and got up. At which point, of fucking course, Sod’s Law cut in and it stopped and never resumed. But I did not know about that, did I? By the time I realised that the banging was over, I was wide awake again. This is the absolute only time that there has been such banging in the morning in the last three months. None before. None since. Bastards. Total, total, bastards. And yes, since you ask, I was very tempted to use full stops there.
Further albeit metaphorical hammering followed when England then got hammered at rugger by South Africa, despite having promised so much against Australia. In retrospect, what the rugby pros always say about how if you play behind a winning scrum attacking with your backs becomes massively easier ... well, that’s true. Australia have a weak pack. Genius backs but a weak pack. South Africa have a very strong pack, and very decent backs. I videoed the highlights of this game but have yet to watch them. So, England hammered at rugby and in the process of being hammered at cricket. The only two sports I really care about.
But, while I was sleeping or perhaps while I was later lying awake in bed cursing the universe, Instapundit had linked to They are not liberals and they are not progressives, adding extra punch to the title by calling it They Are Not Liberals And They Are Not Progressives, quoting the key paragraph, and adding, getting the point totally: “So what do we call them?” I could tell that something like this had probably happened even before I looked at Instapundit, because in my email inbox was a flood of emails resulting from a flood of comments on the posting, including many from people with totally unfamiliar names, and almost all of them intelligent and getting the point of it all. I had hoped that Instapundit would oblige, what with my point being about what American politico-obsessives of my persuasion call their local enemies (which is his kind of topic), if only with a one line posting, but of course you can never assume you’ll be Instalaunched. A posting with the money quote quoted was ideal. So, England are crap at rugger and cricket. These are mere games. This is the future of mankind, and my contribution to that future. My opinions are now echoing around the USA, and I haven’t even been there!
Some time Real Soon Now, I want to do another Samizdata posting about Instapundit and the difference he has made to life, the universe and everything, both a personal thank you and a thank you on behalf of the universe. People often do thank him, as here, for noticing this posting or (as here) a previous posting. People often digress about what a fine fellow he is, before getting stuck into some particular thing he likes to say, and how very true that is of how things are here in London or Toronto or Phoenix or Timbuktu or wherever. Not so often does anyone focus directly on the man himself and the man’s considerable achievement, with that being the point of the piece. But, has anyone - anyone - had more impact on the current political landscape of the USA, and hence the entire world, than Glenn Instapundit Reynolds? Name someone else. Seriously, think about that. And if you have any thoughts about this (I think) fascinating individual, please write them down as comments here. This even (in fact especially) applies if you do not share my very high opinion of Instapundit. Boring plonker, is he? Tell me why. You won’t convince me, but your inability to understand this person will flesh out my understanding of him, just a little. Because he is a bit boring, but only in the same kind of way that a quite complex machine, that is fantastically productive and which never, ever breaks down, is also boring.
A good global financial system would be boring too. But also, like Instapundit, it would be a very good thing.
Okay so on Saturday night and then Sunday morning, and having had pretty much no sleep the “night” before, I had a chance to clobber that jet lag by going to bed at a proper time. And I did, but then I wake up far too early, to have a piss basically, and I clock into Cricinfo just to get the bad news that will confirm how totally cricket is only a game, and England are ... 238 for 1 at tea on the fourth day. 238 for 1. Nearly level. This is too good to ignore. Cricket, after all, is an important matter. More than just a mere sport. It’s central to the way of life of two great nations at opposite ends of the earth, Britain and Australia, especially Australia. By the time England (as Britain’s cricket team is known (it has twice been captained by Scotsmen (most notably Douglas Jardine))) had reached 309 for 1 - 309 for 1 - at the close of play, I was wide awake again, and jet lag remained horribly undefeated.
And the next night was just as bad. When once again I should have been attempting an early night and many hours of slumber, England proceeded until near to tea time, reaching an unprecedented score of 517 for 1 wicket, which rather put Australia’s second innings of 481 (for 10 wickets) in its place, didn’t it? Would there then be a clatter of Australian wickets, perhaps even a sensational England win? Well, as it turned out, not. But how was I supposed to know that beforehand?
It is now Monday evening, and tomorrow I face the self-imposed obligation to be at the British Library at 1pm, to attend a lecture by Alex Ross, which will no doubt plunge my throat into a state of even worse ... worseness. Also, no chance of spending tomorrow in bed either. Also, I will have to venture out for food.
At least tonight there will be no cricket in Australia to postpone sleep. On Thursday night, it starts again, but tonight, and tomorrow night and the night after, there will only be darkness.
Even more depressing for England than the start made in the Ashes by Andrew Strauss was the start made by (until now) ace England spinner Graeme Swann, whose first ball got clobbered to the boundary, which set the tone for his entire effort so far from what I have heard. Hussey and Haddin took their stand to over 300 on day three, and England are now facing a first innings deficit of over 200.
Basically, England must now try to bat for two days, in other words for over twice as long as they batted in the first innings. England might manage to save this game. If they do, it will feel like a win, just as it did for them at Cardiff in game one of the last Ashes series in England. But you have to fancy Australia now.
Michael J’s pessimism is, however, undimmed. Incoming:
I am not convinced the Australian lead in the cricket means much. Three outstandingly good individual performances by Australians in the test so far, but otherwise they have been outplayed, I think.
On day four, another outstandingly good individual performance from another Australian would give them an innings victory, despite basically continuing to be outplayed.
Although, I remember reading about another Ashes tour, way back when, when England were beaten by an innings in the first test, and the writer of the book said (at the time) that they still looked the better team, and England then won the series 3-1, thanks to Frank Tyson.
That thing where, in order to emphasise every word that you are using in some short phrase that you really, really want to emphasise, really does ... Get. On. My. Nerves.
At least putting the separated words in separate paragraphs brings a bit of life back to this otherwise, for me, overused technique.
But if you do that, you really must ... (emphasis added here by me in a way that I hope you don’t dislike too much in the form of all these words in these brackets) ... spell each word right:
East Germany tried Obamanomics from 1945-1989.
Aside from that little blomish (forgive me), Don Surber makes a very (dee dum dee dum) good point.
This “Dod” may have been corrected by now, but that is indeed how it was when I found it. Indeed, because of the editing (as in: not editing) policy of this particular internet organ, this particular error may live on thus for ever. (LATER: It now has been corrected!)
Now, excuse me while I spend the next twenty minutes checking this through very carefully. One of the many Sod’s Laws of Internetting states that whenever you mock anyone else’s grammar, your own grammar also collapses. So, despite my best efforts there will probably be errors in this.
However, if, after I have posted the posting, I spot such an error, I will correct it, as if it had never been.
If a commenter spots an error before I do, that error will also be corrected in the original posting, but using strike through and replacement rather than straight deletion and replacement. The error-identifying comment will not be deleted and the original error will be acknowledged (with a further comment from me) as having indeed originally been present, and thanks will be expressed in my comment to the commenter who identified the error. (The ability of commenters to identify error and for error thus to be corrected being one of the Great Improvements built into the internet.)
Those being my editing rules. For this. For today.
So, about that global economy ...
I have long believed that cats are, on the whole, dumb compared to dogs. If we instinctively feel otherwise, this is because cats behave like smart humans, while dogs behave like dumb humans.
The more sociable nature of dogs comes over to many of us as a rather contemptible dependence upon the reactions to them of others (other dogs, humans), i.e. as dumbness. Dogs tend to be goofy and enthusiastic, like dumb people. Dogs drool, like seriously dumb (because seriously unsocialised) humans. They even sniff each others arses. How dumb is that?
Cats, being less sociable, are relatively indifferent to majority opinion, including often to those of their human chefs and hoteliers, in the manner of smart people. Cats walk by themselves, again like many smart people do. But their aloofness and air of thoughtfulness does not mean that they are really having deep thoughts. It’s a illusion. I like cats, but I honestly don’t think that they are that clever.
Such, at any rate, are my prejudices. Which would appear to be supported by some scientists.
But I am only me, and the scientists who agree with me are only scientists as reported in a newspaper, so that could all be wrong.
And it begins:
England’s captain out for a duck, off the third ball of the game.
English Russia is worth visiting, if not daily then at least fairly regularly. My latest visit took me to this collection of Russian construction cock-ups. However, my favourite of these pictures, on the right here, is not so much a cock-up as a case of, I would say, inspired improvisation, in the form of a new twist on the ball and chain method of demolition. And since the object of the exercise is to knock something down rather than build anything, who can doubt that the story will end in this mission at least being entirely accomplished, with absolutely no snigger-worthy defects lingering on? Epic fail? Surely not in this case.
Sorry about the temporary violence done by this posting to the one below. I can only tell how these sorts of postings are looking by posting them.
Nearly two months ago now, I did a posting here about some trains that looked like toy trains. Those were photoed from the top of one of the Docklands Towers in east London.
Here’s another such train, this time in Switzerland:
Although I do admit that a lot of work has been put into making all that greenery look real. But once again, there is the implausibly tight turning circle, the steepness of the climb, the photoing of it from above, and ... well, just the general implausibility of it. Only toy trains do that or look like that.
It’s the Brusio spiral viaduct, the only purpose of which is to help the railway to start climbing a mountain.
Has there ever been a case of a really long train, on such a structure, going over itself? One of those weirdly long cargo trains in the Rocky Mountains, perhaps?
I am already familiar with the fact that still cameras do stupid things to airplane propellers. They freeze them, basically, frozen being exactly what they aren’t or the plane would just drop out of the sky. But that misperception is as nothing compared to what this guy got (with his mere mobile phone) by making a movie of an airplane’s propeller in action, viewed from inside the airplane. You thought that photo-ing the airplane from the airplane guarantees tedium? Think again.
If you share my fondness for high tech, high up, ruthlessly functional clutter, which looks great simply because that is how it needs to be, rather than because any “designers” were allowed near the thing in its formative stages (the inverted commas being because these things are of course designed in the true sense), then I recommend the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which is in Puerto Rico. I especially like this photo, of which this is a mere excerpt:
The photos here are also excellent, and there, commenter “Ailis” supplies that vital piece of info that you are definitely wondering about:
Another interesting bit of trivia: The telescope was used in the James Bond, Goldeneye movie and of course in Contact.
No, that’s two bits of trivia, the second being superfluous.
At the Christian Michel 6/20 talk (given by Detlev Schlichter on the subject of money (real (i.e. commodity backed) and not so real (i.e. paper)), which I attended last night, I had a small conversation with Dr Jan C. Lester (author of e.g. this), which went thus:
ME: Jan, how are you?
JAN LESTER: Never better!
ME: My God, you must have had a miserable life.
JAN LESTER: Yes.
At that point I was so amused that I broke it off, in order to write down what had been said so far. There could have been more, and maybe even more sparklingly, but posterity would have been denied even that.
I found Schlichter’s talk very good. This is because if I am to get to grips with a complicated subject, I have to have it explained to me at least a dozen times in a dozen different ways. Merely reading it right through, just the once, very carefully and attentively, is beyond me.
The particular point I got from Schlichter’s talk last night (he of course made many other points) is that gold works fine as a basis for currency, even though there is very little of it in the world (it would all fit in the gap under the Eiffel Tower, so Jan Lester said in a comment from the floor), and what is more, it will continue to. Prices will just drift ever downwards, and that’s good.
My Friday Feline Fixation continues to amuse me, and perhaps even others.
Thanks to it, I just found my way (via this) to this amazing piece of now-gone-viral video of a cat seeing off two alligators, through, so far as one can judge, sheer force of personality. Highly recommended.
Today I did something that (a) made me feel like a private detective, and (b) made me feel ridiculously happy.
A couple of days ago, while vacuuming some dust off my desk, I also vacuumed off one of the three tops of my three headed electric shaver. What happened was I banged into the shaver, one of its tops fell off, after which the vacuum did its thing before I could stop it. Which meant that three small components disappeared, seemingly (judging by all the rattling in the pipe) into my vacuum. One, it turned out, was still on the desk. So, one recovered. Two to go. I then undid my vacuum and started rootling around in the great ball of dusty muck inside its bag. Soon another small item was recovered. Two recovered. One to go.
But the final component proved recalcitrant. I could not find it. I searched elsewhere, hoping that, like component one, it would materialise in the vicinity of the disaster. Nothing. So, tonight, I had another far more systematic rootle in the dusty muck bag. I went through almost all of the dusty muck. And ... I found it!
It was a close shave, you might say. The thing is, buying replacement things for Things is almost as expensive as buying Things, and far more tedious and complicated. Also rather humiliating. (Accidents with vacuum cleaners are a routine source of TV embarrassment comedy.) Maybe buying these particular components might turn out to be easy, but finding out how easy might prove difficult. So I really did not want permanently to lose any of these small components. And, I didn’t!
The ridiculousness of the pleasure I now feel is that all I did was correct a stupid mistake, with much fuss and bother and dust up my nose. But pleasure is what I feel, and I am going now to continue to enjoy it.
Well thank goodness for that:
Ashes cricket will be shown free-to-air in England after digital channel ITV4 secured rights to broadcast one-hour evening highlights.
ITV had success with its exclusive UK coverage of this year’s Indian Premier League and now gets a first chance of showcasing Test cricket as well as the seven one-day and two Twenty20 internationals against Australia in January and February.
The highlights will be broadcast at 10pm, shortly before the following day’s live action will be about to get underway. Nevertheless ITV say the channel is available to 93% of UK homes and its coverage is welcome news to those who feared no terrestrial coverage of the Ashes would be available.
ITV4 seems to specialise in only making a deal at the last moment, when it’s them or nothing, presumably, and they can get it really cheap. The IPL was the same. That wasn’t in the Radio Times either, when it got started, just like the Ashes ITV4 highlights aren’t now, but it happened.
Which sounds even better if Sean Connery says it.
After a growth spurt in the summer and autumn, the Shard at London Bridge has now reached nearly three-quarters of its height. By this time next week, it will pass the 240m mark, and in doing so relieve One Canada Square in Canary Wharf of its 18-year reign as Britain’s tallest building.
About time. My most recent Shard shnap: here.
I’m talking about these ones. And here they both were, right next to one another in Currys, telling me that their prices were plummeting, even though it’s not even Christmas yet:
Which makes me want to wait even longer, so they either get even cheaper, or else get replaced on the shelves by something even better. They’re already quite a bit less on the internet, but we’ve been having our postal deliveries nicked in my flat recently, so buying it and having it in my hands is worth a bit extra to me just now.
Digital photography seems to be stabilising, in the sense that all who want cameras now have them. And the question now becomes, not: Is this new camera worth £XXX? But: Is this new camera worth £XXX more than the camera I already have?
I like this one, from “maddow”:
No matter who wins tonight, the important thing is that we all work together to achieve fundamentally incompatible goals.
Politics in one sentence.
Still coughing. Not ill exactly, and able to drink coffee in decent amounts (sufficient electrolytes presumably), but still coughing. Dark thoughts flow through the brain of how bugs have evolved into SuperBugs That Last For Ever. Horrible. Horrible.
Thank goodness for the England rugby team, who yesterday defeated Australia. Even better, one of the England guys scored a truly sensational try, running almost the entire length of the pitch. Here it is, commentated on by Australians, which only makes it better. It took them quite a while to work out who the bloke was who was doing all the running, and who scored it. It was Chris Ashton. The England player who supplied the final pass to Chris Ashton was Courtney Lawes, but at first they called him “Courtney Walsh” (who is actually a noted West Indian cricket fast bowler of times gone by). All in all, not a good rugby weekend for Australia.
Meanwhile the BBC commentators were comparing this Chris Ashton try to another great solo try scored for England against Scotland by one Andy Hancock, in about 1960, in black and white, Hancock also having run almost the entire length of the pitch. But because this Hancock try dates from the pre-VHS era when you could only see a try again if the BBC decided to show it again, nobody apart from the BBC now has it on video, and it consequently doesn’t seem to be viewable on the internet. I would love to be contradicted by a commenter, with the link that proves him right and me wrong.
Also meanwhile, the Aussies are starting to fret quite seriously about the soon-to-be-with-us Ashes. I hope they’re right to fret. Being English I always fear the worst when the Ashes are approaching, but this time I think I am also entitled to be hoping for the best.
I wanted to put “Jesi”, but Jesuses will presumably get more search hits. Put neologisticality in your text, not your titles.
I also liked the story of another giant Jesus, Touchdown Jesus, so-called because that’s what he looks like he’s signalling has just been scored. Or rather looked. Because alas, Touchdown Jesus was consumed by a bolt of lighting and burnt down to his metal inner frame.
The insurers, says a commenter, described this dramatic circumstance as an “act of God”.
Yes, answer me that. I am getting better, and today I did have a bit of coffee, but am not back to my full minimum-of-five-a-day habit. In other words, I am not fully recovered. This evening, needing to stay awake for a visitor, I had a glass of Tesco Own Brand Not Red Bull. Usually: delicious. This evening: not so good. Again with the caffeine resistance. Why? What is about ill people that makes them unable to drink coffee properly?
I have a cough, and every time I cough I get a burst of headache. Which is why I am not in the mood for much in the way of blogging.
But Perry de Havilland seems to be full of opinions just now. which always makes Samizdata motor along better. Try him. Here.
The previous posting here was about the maladies, real or imagined, that might be afflicting this blog. (Thanks for all the diagnostic comments, by the way. The symptoms don’t appear to be too severe.) Now it’s me. All week long I’ve been suffering from a sore throat, cough, and now headache, probably made worse by me doing things I really did not want not to be doing, which I duly did do. Now, this evening, I have had to forgo a free dinner, a short walk away from my home. Ill doesn’t get iller than that.
Anyway, a couple of things. First, an interview I did with Anthony J. Evans has just been made public. Cobden Centre blog posting by Andy Duncan here. Direct link to the mp3 here. I hope to say more about that when I’m better up to doing so.
Second, a visitor to London (see above concerning things I didn’t want not to do) took me yesterday to the London branch of Steinway & Sons, where a friend of hers works as a piano tuner. Said friend showed us a little of the intricacies of his art, which was fascinating. Again, not now up to doing that anything like justice, so I’ll content myself with saying that a great deal more than mere tuning is involved in making a great piano ready to be played by a great pianist, of the sort whose pictures adorn the ground floor walls.
Then another friend (with a car) joined in, and further delights were on offer, but soon I had to give up and go home.
Where I remain. I am, right now, consoling myself by watching one of the many star pianists featured on that Steinway wall, Daniel Barenboim, conducting (Barenboim also conducts) the Berlin Phil in the First Symphony of Brahms, on the telly. Superb. I missed the Elgar Cello Concerto which was done earlier, but my recorder has it.
Incoming from Michael J:
I can only connect to your blog from my home ISP about one time in 20. The rest of the time, it times out and I get an error. If I use my dongle or my phone or my iPad, I can see your blog, but it is still sometimes slower than connecting to most of the rest of the internet. There is something very weird.
In addition, your blog’s comments system still eats comments from time to time. This is more likely to happen if I am trying to leave a comment from inside a corporate firewall, or from inside a country that has an authoritarian government that likes to censor the internet. There are also issues with the Turing code system for reducing blog comments, which often rejects comments despite the word being types correctly.
Both these things can only be due to your hosting service having set things up in a very strange way.
Things like “HP has encountered an Access Violation at 01BEA37F” can only be due to server configuration problems and/or problems with the database behind the server.
Bluntly, whoever is hosting your blog is doing a dreadful job of it. Things are probably going to get worse. These are not one off problems that will clear up in a day but are ongoing. This is annoying your readers as well as you. You need to do something about it.
Okay first things first. Before I take this any further, does anyone else recognise any of the above? I occasionally get complaints about the comments system. But what of the other stuff?
The thing Michael refers to about “HP has encountered an Access Violation at 01BEA37F” was me, commenting on this earlier posting, which was unlike most postings here in having been concocted and then posted remotely, using a laptop and a dongle. Not a satisfactory experience. But this kind of nonsense doesn’t happen with my home computer.
I am aware that I am potentially in the somewhat ridiculous situation of saying “everyone not here please raise your hands”, because of course difficulties of this sort could turn a possible regular reader completely off. If only for that reason, I would be especially grateful if anyone, who can confirm what Michael is saying, does.
It occurs to me that I might usefully put a small posting at Samizdata, linking to this posting, asking people to report problems. That way, those who wouldn’t want to come here normally, or better yet, people who have tried in the past but been put off by problems such as those described above, might be able to report these. I’m very busy right now, but yes, I might just do that, Real Soon Now. Many might just try to link to here, and report how it goes.
Not content with being 6000 miles from civilisation, 6000 and family are getting a place that is even further Out of it, with views like this:
Follow the link above to see what’s above and below that horizon. There are no big dramas, which is exactly the point. The sky is so blue it’s nearly black.
There is electricity and water, but there’s no phone line and certainly no cellphone signal. It’s a far cry from busy city life and it really is going to be the perfect place to get away from it all.
What could be more civilised? Seriously, nothing says advanced technological civilisation like being able to get away from (almost) all of it, but not for (anywhere near) all of the time.
6000, Mrs 6000, 6000let: enjoy.
One of the themes I’ve already written about at recently moving-again-after-a-long-time-stuck-in-a-tunnel Transport Blog is advertising on cars. When I was a kid I wondered why there wasn’t more of this. Why was the world chock full of adverts, but with none of them on cars? Surely there was money to made with this? Surely the cost of motoring could go down, if you didn’t mind driving around in an advert.
Well, the idea of private cars advertising a product that is clearly nothing to do with what the private car’s human contents do all day long is yet to become established, in Britain anyway, perhaps because it’s still rather expensive to do very impressively and because mere private cars can’t be relied upon to flaunt themselves all day long. But a start has been made with taxis (which do flaunt themselves all day long), which used to be all black, but are now as often as not decked out in all the colours of the rainbow, like in the left hand one of these two snaps I took recently, near to my home:
On the right is a car that is presumably driven by someone who works at what is being puffed on the outside of the vehicle. Note the old school black Black Cab there, which is still very common.
The LA Conference yesterday shared the National Liberal Club with a wedding. Just as I was trying to leave, I was asked to wait on the first floor while the bride and groom were photoed, on the magnificent NLC staircase. Sorry, they said when they eventually let me through. No problem, I said. No problem at all. Congratulations. Click for the big picture.
Many days ago, Instapundit linked to a piece by Paulina Porizkova about aging. I remember Paulina Porizkova as the leading lady in one of my favourite not very good but I like it movies, Her Alibi. Apparently, though, she is not an actress who got married and gave it up. She is, or was, a “supermodel”, or as we used to say, a model.
Instapundit only linked to Ms Porizkova because in a list of “beautiful and strong and powerful women in their 40 and 50’s” she includes “although I hate to include her”: Sarah Palin. But I don’t care about that. What I think is that this is good writing:
When you’re used to one sort of treatment, it’s really hard to get demoted, even if that new treatment is still better than the average. Boohoo. I know. My life sucks. Now, I don’t actually know the exact cut-off age where beautiful ceases and “must have-once-been-beautiful” begins. It’s true it’s not forty-five. I can still get attention when I try really hard, even if it’s greatly reduced. But would I ever have dreamed that I would miss the time I couldn’t walk past a construction site unmolested? These days when someone whistles at me, it’s mostly a bike messenger about to mow me down.
In the sentence “My life sucks” above, it originally had an “is” between life and sucks, but I removed it.
If you follow the Her Alibi link above, you learn that Porizkova was awarded a Golden Raspberry for her performance in this movie, which perhaps explains her return to supermodelling. But I thought she was very good.