Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: This and that

Sunday September 21 2014

Just to drive the point home that not all the photos of mine that I show here were taken several weeks or even months ago, here is yet another which I took (just like the previous two in the previous two postings) today:

image

My picture is somewhat cropped.  Her hair somewhat less so.

Thursday September 11 2014

Last night, at that birthday party I attended, I was asked all the usual questions about what I was doing.  Which is not a lot just now, what with my waiting for Godot problem.

Inevitably, in some of these cross-examinations, this blog came up, with me saying that I write here about whatever I feel like writing about, with very little thought for the interests of my readers.  Cats on Fridays, general trivia, etc.  I do Big Issues at Samizdata and trivia here.  Blah blah.

However, an American lady friend, whom I had not met in quite a while and whom I was very pleased to meet again, told me that she quite liked my trivia stuff, and that she even read my postings about cricket (this being the most recent one).  I thought that only I and Michael Jennings and Darren the Surrey Member were at all interested in those.  It seems not.

I’m guessing that this interest on her part is partly actual interest, but also partly that a principle is at stake here.  Which is: that the trivia that other people are interested in, but not you, is not actually an entirely trivial matter.  Life is not only Big Issues.  It is the small pleasures that give colour and texture and individuality to life.  Watever matters, to someone, matters.  Your opinion about what the Big Issues are should not be allowed to drive a tank or a government bureaucracy over my trivial pleasures.

So, her reading about the trivial pleasures of others is her asserting this Big Issue to herself, as well as maybe learning something about other little parts of the world, like the world of cricket (actually quite big of course, as I daresay are the worlds of embroidery and gardening and croquet and rap music and all the other little things in life that I don’t personally care about, other than to believe that tanks or government bureaucracies should not be driven over them).

Me being me, my way of asserting the importance of trivia, in general, to people, in general, is me writing about the trivia that interests me.

Her way of asserting the importance of trivia to people generally is her reading about the trivia that others write about.  But we are both making the same point.

I don’t want to say that I have entirely described why my American lady friend likes to read what I write about cricket.  I merely speculate that the above speculations might be a quite small part of why she does this.

(She, like me, probably also thinks that thinking about trivia can often lead to interesting angles on Big Issues, of the sort that merely looking straight at the Big Issues might cause you to miss.  Pointless fun and truly original insight are often delightfully close neighbours, I think.  But that’s a tangent for another time, hence this paragraph being in brackets.)

Monday July 21 2014

I was laden with bags of shopping, but I still thought this worth photoing, late this afternoon:

image

Which do you think is better, a good photo of an okay thing, or an okay photo of a good thing?  This, I think, is a photo of the latter sort.  Digital cameras come into their own in taking such photos, because, although lacking that last ounce of phototechnicality, they are easy to have with you and easy to use, even when you are basically busy with other things.

What I like is how totally different each of the nine shapes are, like they are nine different pictograms or something.  Only the one bottom right rather lets the side down.

Also, the car wasn’t helping.  Had that not been there, I would probably have done it from right in front, and it might have ended up being a good photo of a good thing.

Wednesday December 18 2013

I am now reading Bourgeois Dignity by Deirdre McCloskey, on the recommendation of Anton Howes.  It is very clear that Howes has been strongly influenced by McCloskey’s voluminous writings.

But, until a short while ago, I did not know this:

Deirdre McCloskey is a well-known economist, with a reputation for originality or, depending on how you like to see it, being a maverick renegade. She is a neoclassical Chicago economic historian by training. But she has been asking about the rhetorical underpinnings of economics for some time. She also, in a story well-known in the profession, used to be a he, Donald McCloskey, but has transitioned to being a woman.

Blog and learn.

Thursday May 31 2012

For much of yesterday, the world economy teetered on the edge of chaos, on account of this blog being out of action.  In the USA, people from all walks of life complained that, without this blog, sneering at Brits and celebrating the defeat of Britain in the revolutionary war of 1776 or whenever became too difficult, without this blog as an explanation for their otherwise incoherent resentment.

Australians wanting to find out who won the Ashes in 2011 had to look elsewhere for news.

And all over Europe, policy makers, seeking light relief from their self-imposed task of ensuring that the EU goes out with a huge bang rather than with an orderly and rational recognition of what ought really to be done, looked to BrianMicklethwaitDotCom for solace.  But it was not there.

How can we be expected to lead the European economy over a cliff in the proper manner, exclaimed Big European Cheeses, if we can’t divert ourselves every now and again with pictures of London bridges, and of new London towers, like the big spiky one and the one with the three holes in the top?  After a hard hour fretting about Spaniards who are about to riot and then die of starvation unless we print some more money and give it to ourselves, we need to be able to contemplate roof clutter, stuff about something called “Samizdata”, and photos of London tourists taking photos, another Big European Cheese added. 

Fortunately, BMDC came back on line yesterday afternoon, and the happiness of the world and the orderly progress of Europe towards self-inflicted ruin was reestablished in the nick of time.

Tuesday May 31 2011

Tidying up, with me, doesn’t happen because it’s that time of the month or the week or the year, or because the place just generally needs tidying up.  It happens because I am looking for some particular thing.  It is there, under the chaotic topsoil.  But where?  Let the archaeology begin.

Rather than just scatter the topsoil up into the air randomly, which even I know will massively increase the chaos, I instead find myself sorting the topsoil out, into crude categories of different topsoils.  By topsoil, I mean basically: paper.  Somewhere under all the paper is that particular piece of paper, or clutch of paper, that I seek.  Twice in the last fortnight I’ve had a day like this.  The earlier tidying frenzy was to find the book of words for an electrical gadget, which was duly found.  Today’s frenzy was to find an ancient financial document, which if found will yield money.  Today as before, many other lost and forgotten objects of value also surfaced.  Today has been more complicated, and must continue tomorrow.  The financial document has yet to materialise.

I managed to chuck out quite a bit of topsoil.  Well, not yet, but the chuckable out topsoil is already in quite a big pile of its own.  But to make room for that, I had to take out previously accumulated piles of topsoil, to make way for the new topsoil that would then have to go also.  And to take out the old topsoil I needed bags, bags which had been doing other stuff, and had never been unloaded.  So that had to be done too.  And so the task elaborated, before I do this, I will have to do this, and in order to do that, I will first have to do this.  And so on.  But progress was made.

Wednesday October 20 2010

Cricinfo a few minutes ago:

Anand: “Did anyone notice, today’s 20-10-2010?” Did you?

Not me, until Anand said.  India now need 77 runs at exactly 7 per over, with 7 wickets left, to beat Australia.

Sunday October 17 2010

First it was the captain of the England cricket team (Botham).  Then it was the Prime Minister (Blair).  Now the dead people are starting to be younger than me.

Another senior moment
Links to this and that
More random links
Random links
I need to get out less
This and that on the Graham Norton Show
Blogroll dilemma - question I already know the answer to - irrelevant photo
Banks
Young people these days
Party pieces
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
3D!
Avoiding barbarism in the street
Is my brain failing, or not?
Ridiculous story but great headline
Oddities and specialisms
Slow day here
Exciting posting about shelves
The goat menace
Lots of links
Random London snaps from last year
Firewall nonsense
A breezy day in London
Screen madness
Feeling Much Better
In a bad way - but recovering
Discarded needles, wrappers and makeshift crack cocaine pipes
Top tips from Viz
Links I like
Bizarre London
Unpaid happiness is not misery but it is a step in that direction
Trouble
Jack Stravinsky
Unplugged and writing about sport because sport Doesn’t Matter
The thief of time
He loved my book
Happy New Year
Heat in my pocket
This and that at 9.07am
Plink plink plink plinkplinkplink plinkplink plink plink plinkplinkplinkplink plinkplinkplink
I actually think that this is quite mindful
Everything
Cold winters
Car bomb in Bogota
Today I took some more photos of the dca but you don’t get to see them yet
58
Contingent fees for lawyers are good!
English Grammars
Feeling under the weather - and watching The Butterfly Effect