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: Bloggers and blogging

Friday July 24 2015

Well, it hasn’t really worked has it.  No way have I caught up.  But before today ends, I do want to show you this, because it is a cat and Friday is my cat day:

image

This photo is not mine.  It is Mick Hartley‘s.  I really like his photos, both the ones he takes himself and the ones he picks out for his blog that other people have taken.

What I love about Hartley’s photos is his attitude to colour, and to black and white.  He loves both.  He loves the black and whiteness of black and white, and he loves the colourfulness of colour.

So, that white cat above, for instance.  It adds an extra something that the white cat is surrounded by a white window frame, and that it is black behind the white cat.  And, neither the cat nor the window frame would be as white if it were not for the blue wall.

So, go to Mick Hartley.  You may not want to read the whole thing just because I do.  But, look at the whole thing.

Thursday July 23 2015

Said I to myself - said I, on the 10th of this month:

I need to get out less, and this weather is not helping.

Tomorrow, the weather will be helping very much:

image

This is perfect.  My life today, in the last few days, and for the last few weeks, has been one mad social whirl after another, my contented solitude being having been violated seemingly every other evening and sometimes more often even than that, which is all fun and all that, but I find that an evening out puts a blight on creativity for the entire day, because what if I start something, want to finish it, but then don’t have time to, because I have a social whirl to attend and to get ready for and to find my way to and to find out about finding my way to?  Last night I whirled out to watch theatrical stuff in an unfamiliar and transportationally complicated part of town with a theatrical friend.  Tonight, I face another social whirl, to meet Perry II.  Every time I go out I take photos, but because of all this going out I have no time to show them to you people or not with the sort of insightful commentary that I want to attach to them without which what’s the point? - They’re just pictures.

So tomorrow (a day during which I have nothing else planned), I will stay in all day, and try (although I promise nothing) to do here a mammoth day of catch-up blogging, showing you a tiny fraction of the pictures I have been taking lately, all properly explained, and anything else I’ve been meaning to put here for some time that I decide to put here tomorrow, in not one, not two, but many postings.

We shall see.

Monday July 06 2015

This is another of those “memo to self” postings.  Well, really, all the postings here are memos to self, but this one is more than usually of that sort.

Earlier today, I managed, at last, finally, to do a Samizdata posting, after a gap of well over a month.  It seems to have been quite well received, which is very nice, but really the big thing for me now is that I have done it, well received or not.

And in the course of doing it, I think I have identified an error in my thinking about how I should be writing for Samizdata.  I think I was in the grip of what “writing for Samizdata” was supposed to be, for me, and what writing for Samizdata was supposed to be was writing one or nearly one Samizdata posting per day.  And then, there came a time when I was unable to do this.  And since I couldn’t do it, I pretty much stopped doing it.  By aiming at too difficult a target, I was failing, day after day, and that made me just give up totally.  That is very silly.  But that, I think, is part of what was happening.

But now I think the time has come (in fact the change is long overdue) to revise my model of what writing for Samizdata should now, for me, mean.  Me writing for Samizdata means not that I post something on Samizdata pretty much every day, but rather, that I work on my next Samizdata posting, pretty much every day.  This means, for example, that by close of play tomorrow, I should have made some headway, not necessarily very much headway, just some headway, towards doing another posting there.  The sequence of events will be: decide what to write about at Samizdata, and then start.  Make some headway every day.  Work at it.  Polish it.  Try to make it good.  When it is good, or seems so, then publish.  And if that takes a week, it takes a week.  The idea of doing something once a day survives, but not in the form of a finished blog posting once a day, just some work on a blog posting, every day.  Believe it or not, I took several days to concoct this latest posting, coming back to it again and again.  And that felt like the way I should now be doing it.

The thing is, posting something here every day is quite easy.  Not a total breeze you understand, but quite easy.  This is because my standards here are very low.  When I say something, I do mean something, aka anything.  But Samizdata demands stuff that is better than that.  It demands stuff that has been polished, worked on, really thought about.  In 2005 you could shovel any old junk onto Samizdata and get thousands of readers, and we did, and actually it was pretty good stuff because we had all spent the previous quarter of a century thinking about it, and because we knew that thousands of people were reading it, and commenting in their hundreds.  Now, that doesn’t work, or not for me.  I now feel that Samizdata, unlike this place, needs better than just any old thing if it is to compete with the mainstream internet media, as it now does.

We shall see.

Wednesday May 06 2015

I am working on a quite big and unwieldy architecture posting just now, but this probably won’t be ready to go any time today, or even soon, so I’ll instead write a little essay on a related matter.  Which is: Why I feel more comfortable writing about architecture, of the contemporary and hence controversial sort, than I do about contemporary interior design.  The contrast between how fascinated I am by the architectural stuff (this is the posting that got me going with the architectural posting that I am now working on) at one of my favourite internet sites, Dezeen, and the indifference I feel concerning Dezeenery about interior matters, is becoming ever more extreme.  I mean, designer X has designed a chair.  And what does it look like?  It looks like a chair.  Hoo ray.

It’s not that I dislike or oppose interior design.  It’s just that I feel that what I feel about it, or for that matter what anybody else feels about it, is of no public significance.  We can all just pick whatever interior designs and objects appeal to us, and let others do the same.  Interior design is not a political problem.  There is therefore nothing vitally important to be said about it.  Why argue, when there is no need to argue?

If you are one of those people who likes to tease out why you feel the way you do, about everything in general and interior design in particular, fine.  Blog away about wallpaper, tea kettles, tables, chairs, standard lamps, stoves and suchlike, all you like.  You’ll surely find plenty of readers, probably a great many more than I have.  You certainly will if you specialise, as I do not.  I write about such things myself, from time to time, when the mood takes me. 

But on the whole, it tends not to.  When the answer the question is: each to his own, and when that answer basically takes care of it, I generally don’t feel like adding very much.

You could say that this mood, of insignificant self-scrutiny, is upon me right now.  After all, who cares what I put on my blog?  If you don’t like it, don’t read it, problem solved.  Choosing a blog to read is like choosing a chair.  Nobody else need be consulted, or imposed upon.

But architecture is different.  We can’t each step outside into a city like London and each have exactly the London that we want.  If I am to have those new Big Things that I like so much, you also have to put up with them, even if you hate them.  It therefore feels right to me to be explaining, to the entire world (even if most of the world pays no attention), just what it is about these Big Things that I like so much.  It makes sense for me to say (even if I haven’t done much of this lately) why I came to hate most modernistical architecture when I was in my twenties, and why I think that modernistical architecture has improved so very, very much since that time, at any rate in the places I mostly walk about in and see in photos.

For the same reason, it also makes sense, to me, for me to be celebrating roof clutter, cranes, this or that piece of public or semi-public sculpture, these or those public signs.  It is because these are public issues.  Political issues, even.  Definitely political, in the case of those signs I just linked to.  Things like these have positive (mostly, in my case) or negative (perhaps in yours) externalities attached to them.

Actually, it is most unlikely that you hate all the publicly obtrusive things that I love, because you wouldn’t want to be reading such opinions, day after day.  But, you get my point.

Monday May 04 2015

Part of getting old (new category here – I still have a lot of categorising to do so bear with me on that) is that you just forget to do things, even things that you like.  Thus, I have recently been forgetting to read Anton Howes.  Today I remembered, and started reading, in particular, this posting, which is most recent as of now.

Fun quote:

Uber isn’t a taxi company; it is a market. It provides a trust-based platform made up of assurances and ratings in order to let anyone ask “Can I have a ride? / Want a ride?” without sounding creepy.

Nicely put.

I will now read the whole thing.

Monday March 09 2015

Just before Christmas, Goddaughter 2 arranged for the two of us to see and hear a dress rehearsal of a Royal Opera House Covent Garden production of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.  This was, for all practical purposes, a performance.  I didn’t much care for Verdi before I went to this event, and I still don’t, but the show was at least notable for the outstanding singing of the lead tenor, Joseph Calleja, a new name to me.  I was extremely happy whenever he was singing.  (He has a blog.) The rest of the show I found somewhat forgettable, mainly because Verdi seems to have been opposed to doing nice tunes that you can remember, unlike my operatic composer favourites, Mozart, Puccini, and Richard Strauss.

But very memorable indeed, almost as good as Calleja’s singing, was the bar we visited afterwards, which is right next to the main performing space.

From the outside the opera house and the bar look like this:

image

The bar being the thing on the left as we look there.

And on the inside, the bar looks like this:

image

The ROH refers to this place as the Paul Hamlyn Hall.  What regular people call it for real I have no idea, but I like it.

I especially like that disembodied clutch of drinkers, suspended up there as if in mid air, but actually in mid mirror.

Here is a closer look at that same feature:

image

I know exactly what is going on here, and how this weird effect is achieved, but still I’m impressed.

A bit of hasty googling has failed to tell me what this place used to be and when it was first built.  I’m guessing it was at first something to do with selling fruit and/or veg, but that’s only a guess.  Anyone?

Tuesday March 03 2015

Yesterday evening’s rather blatant quota photo was because yesterday, I (a) failed to do my blogging duties here in the morning, and then (b) went on a photo-walk, from which I returned in a state of exhaustion.  It was all I could then do to pick out just the one nice photo and shove it up, accompanied by just enough words for me not seem rude.

Single photos are good when I have nothing much to say, nor much time or energy to say it with, because they take very little time to do or to look at.  They don’t exhaust me.  Nor do they take up much of your time unless you decide that you would like them to.  It’s up to you.  You can be done with a photo in a second, literally, while still quite liking it.  Or, you can contemplate it for as long as you like, even for as long as it might take you to read a quite long essay.  What you do not want from a blogger who is posting only for the sake of it is a long essay, which turns out to be saying nothing.  That you can not get a nice little second of fun from and be off, certain that you probably missed very little.  Hence quota photos.  Hence also quota quotes, provided they are short, and to a point.

Saturday February 21 2015

Today I decided that I would like to do one of those “A Year In …” postings, at the end of this year, featuring newspaper front pages, one for each month.  Everything hinged on whether I’d happened already to have taken any pictures of front pages during January.

And, I had.  These front pages:

image

And I expanded the picture, and scrolled across.  Tax demands.  Some NHS politics ruckus.  Snow warning.  Something to do with racing, which anyway is not properly visible.  Yawn yawn yawn yawn.  And then there’s that “Big D”.  I still don’t know what “Big D” stands for.  It’s incomprehensible.  But look at this subheading:

image

That’ll do.  The rest will have to be rather better, helping readers to remember big stories of the year, but this little story will do for starters.  The project survives.

A rather more serious newspaper page which I also photoed in January, not a front page but it got my attention, was this, from the Evening Standard of January 21st:

image

Latest news about that:

Badawi is serving 10 years in prison, and has also been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blog posts criticizing Saudi Arabia’s clerics.

The first 50 lashes were delivered on Jan. 9 and Amnesty said he’s had none since then.

His detention and sentence have stirred up worldwide condemnation.

Amnesty being one of the chief stirrers.  Good for Amnesty.

“Insulting Islam” is what Badawi has been convicted of.  Carry on handing out punishments like that for “crimes” like that, and the “insults” hurled at the evil monstrosity that is Islam can only grow in volume.

Islam.  The bad stuff in it is bad.  And the supposedly good stuff in it only helps the bad stuff to go on doing bad, which means that the “good” stuff is bad also.

January newspaper pages
Thoughts on habits and on changing incentives with the passing of time
Hand done photos
Photoing at the ASI party
How the internet is cheering up Art
MicheldeMontaigne.fr
An old story about colour perception
Not about cats
Breaking my Samizdata silence
A Sunday ramble
OpenOffice Writer default resetting nightmares
Amusing cats versus important people
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Megan McArdle on success and failure
6k quota photo of sea
Bits of music at non-musical blogs
Tube interrupted
A quota thought that (luckily for me) went nowhere
A blog as a semi-dustbin
Pain in the midriff
Simon Gibbs last night at the Rose and Crown
Guido in the Spectator (and in Free Life)
Chain link fence reflected in a puddle
Quotes from there
A free man
Getting started a bit earlier
Rob Fisher on the 3D printing future
The Alex Singleton blog
A fake feline photo and a faltering feline enumerator
The Johnathan Pearce Samizdata gap
On the pleasure of assuming the worst
The right sentences but not necessarily in the right order
the Norlonto Review is back!
Alastair James on Blythe Hill Fields and smartphones
Bad times for the NHS
Is Samizdata in danger of becoming a photo-blog?
Nice blog you have here … shame if something happens to it
All change at Samizdata and another outage here
On how being linked to enables you to tell your story as you wish and why long titles are good
Patrick Crozier has just arranged for accessing ancient comments here to be much easier
And on my other personal blog …
This is transport
Say it again Perry
Is Samizdata dying?
America 3.0
Lighter blogging here but not none
Matt Ridley’s demolition of CAGW
A review of Detlev Schlichter’s new book (multiplied by 4)
Alex Singleton has a new blog
Big Things and small things
A board to stick Post-it notes on reminding me of all the things I hope to blog about
Less (here) is more (at Samizdata)
My personal Fixed Quantity of Blogging unfallacy
A Good Old Day at Samizdata
The politics of humour in the USA and in Britain
Everything competes with everything
The most celebrated sporting win ever
Quota choke?
BM.com quote of the day
Why I prefer blogging to writing for a magazine
On the rise of Bishop Hill
Sean Gabb’s recent statement about the Libertarian Alliance
David Thompson’s blog is now four years old
On pictures that don’t get any bigger when clicked and on the power of the tangential
Yet more redirection
Leytonstonia
A down and up weekend
Obamanomics dod not work
Another ephemeron for David Thompson?
Giant Jesuses
Paulina Porizkova gets older
Blog hiati
Transport Blog restarts
10/10/10 launch for Norlonto Review
What if the British Empire had stayed together?
A blog posting linking to a science article
Woody Allen on media lies and on not learning as he gets older
Anti-aircraft guns may not have killed many enemy airplanes but they did point them out
Is Timberland guilty of spam commenting me?
“An alternative definition of intelligence …”
Sneezing chat
Natalie links back
Making those Big Statements one slice at a time
Robert Chambers
Muggins
A good bit about the future of art galleries and how to rescue good bits
Three cheers for Molly Norris but also a few small grumbles
Goddaughter One is now a photoblogger
I flipping told him
Why David Hepworth is wrong about podcasting
Will I ever tire of writing about the relationship between the new media and the old?
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom blog posting title of the day
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom understatement of the day
Old-school media versus (or becoming) new-school media (again)
India looking good against Sri Lanka
ClimateGate roars on and Man(n)-made warming is taking on a whole new meaning
The angst of team blogging about stories like the CRU hack
What’s up with this?
Samizdata and Zimbabwe both on the up and up?
A great Johnathan Pearce Britain-can-dump-the-EU blog posting - and the value of informative titles
Climbing aboard Samizdata
Rude Ian Morbin should have a blog
Unfair advantage?
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
Quotes dump
Back
Chrome now seems better than IE or Firefox
Idiot Toys is broken!
Summer break
Cat blogging and Gormley blogging
Minimum Wage flatvert at Guido’s and Iain Dale’s
Snapping the police
Our shortening atten … ooh look!
Quota posting
Is the original version of this with all the spelling mistaks what goes on all teh uther blogs?
Edinburgh’s skyline doesn’t suck
UK libertarian bloggers 2.0
Indy Flatverts and a Guido Q&A
What next for Guido Fawkes?
Thinking thin at the top
Tea hea
Thoughts on the Go Gordon petition
Who are all the UK libertarian bloggers?
Globalisation Guido – and other Bright Young Things
Two Samizdata comments on the sinking of Brown and on the sinking of the Daily Telegraph
Hail Guido
There’s no need to comment on this posting because it’s already perfect
James Tyler’s speech at Policy Exchange
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Clay Shirky on newspaper doom
Redesigned Bishop
The Rand revival - and some thoughts about Rand’s failure to understand architectural tradition
Clockwisdom and wisdom
Effing newspapers
You don’t wait for it – you go looking for it
Advice to daily bloggers
More random links
P. J. O’Rourke confuses the average with the significant
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
Billion Monkey hits 40
New addition to blogroll
That went okay
JD gets PTD
I need to get out less
Nothing here again
Guido Fawkes conflates the Monetarists and the Austrians – needs to chat with Antoine Clarke
Busy at my other personal blog
Mini-lit
Notes on libertarian tactics August 2008
Will Wilkinson
Not in the top twenty
Clang
Cats are (as of) now being counted in permanent italics
Linkable Lefever
Mainstream media bloggers and the problem of my blogroll
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Permanent Bold Disease strikes Brassneck
PID strikes Guido
Ducks - frogs - turtles – beavers – Galaxy Quest
Guido on Gordon
Underestimating crime
Stuff God Hates
Oddities and specialisms
An impulse posting about procrastination
PID hits DK
Kings Cross gasometer sunset travels 6000 miles
This is why I put stuff up here every day
Coffee House struggles with Permanent Italics Disease
Travis Perkins of Pimlico Road are not good at delivering timber
A blogger mutates towards being a journalist
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Instapundit succumbs to PID
Permanent italics disease at the Coffee House
The eloquence of the Bishop and a lady holding a big wheel
I love the internet
He is white and he is poking fun at himself
The white stuff
Obama a loser?
Posting with Jesus at the far end of the Kings Road
On hating and not hating commenters
Flat horse pictures
Not obviously but maybe …
Blogging – the end of the beginning
Now we aren’t allowed complete sentences in brackets
Facebook – not so social
Another don’t-get-it-right-get-it-written Samizdata posting
A bog standard (but rippling and therefore ultra-cool) tower soon to be built in Chicago
Engadget suffers from intermittent giant text disease
Treating the internet like the printing press
When the penny drops
Probably not right - but definitely written
Finally …
November 15th 2007 resolution - good enough is good enough
What kind of blogger are you?
It’s the decline of old-school advertising that’s really hurting old-school journalism
The business of gadget blogging
She’s alive I tell you! Alive!
Blogging as thinking aloud
Breaking blog silence
Che Guevara was a murderer and your T-Shirt is not cool
The permanent italics disease
An education link
Rival demonstrations in Parliament Square
Link
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Blogs are not cacophonous
Ideas and opportunities
Pleasure
Publogging
Adriana and Ivan in Addis
When inimitable means very imitable
Splog is the new splig
Lots of links
Short picture of a long distance
Voluntary World 3: Transport Blog illustrates the Muggins principle
Left behind?
How compulsion deranges the spreading of ideas
I know the feeling
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
A movie about a typeface
Lebrecht daily?
Susie Bubble turns shopping into a job with her blog
Stupid Billion Monkeys!
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
Umbrellas and other gadgets
“I already knew most of what they were to try and teach me …”
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Susan Hill on not having to be up-to-the-minute about book blogging
It’s only a Billion Monkeys if you count mobile phones (and then it’s far more)
One man one blog
One Man and His Very Thin Blog
The future of music
Normblogging
Me on internet telly this evening with Andrew Ian Dodge
Blogging has arrived
ASI blog post deleted under fire
Superb Simon Hewitt Jones gig – and a couple of blogger gripes
Screwed by Google – and Google screwed by the kitten-bloggers?
What next for the virtuoso violinists? - Simon Hewitt Jones has some answers
Everyone in the world is not like me
Perry de Havilland on the thinking behind Samizdata
Spreading the word for free
Antoine says why he got the midterms wrong
Load - fire - howl in agony clutching foot
“Publish it in your Blog!”
Hands off the Net
Talking with Tim Evans about the Libertarian Alliance
Antoine Clarke and I don’t talk about elections
Grassy car with blog
Editing as falsifying
Me on 18 Doughty Street tonight
How blogging is making Conservatives more polite to each other
Thoughts on the Age of Google
Greatest hits – good idea
Blogging is filing for those who can’t
Blogging pause continues
29th and 14th
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 - Middle East, Mexico, USA
Patrick and Brian mp3 about libertarianism and spreading libertarianism
The More4 news blog – I’m grateful but I’m also confused
Treacle
Kristine writes down some of what Adriana said
Jeffrey Archer - blogger
Being real on digital
Adriana’s Thing mp3
Unpaid happiness is not misery but it is a step in that direction
Blogging takes longer than doing things - a picture - and why does a hot bath make me colder?
Guido’s narrative
One click
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 on democracy etc. - UK, Latin America, China
“We are looking for a Cricket obsessive . . .”
The latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Bashing on for Samizdata
This is Iain Dale’s seventh favourite non-aligned blog
Banana phone
Spleeyiiiich-glockglock-glockle-PLOINK
On style and politics
Nosh
Unintended consequences
Wichita line (and colour) man
It’s help Brian with his new computer time
They really were excellent
Election Watch podcast number three
How links have weakened the mainstream media
Wrong comparison
Quoted but not linked to
Blogging fun and blogging profit
Antoine Clarke
The new comments arrangement – why and how
The Micklethwait Clock suffers
Flickr blog in and Flickrzen out
“What on earth gives every computer owner the right to exude his opinion, unasked for?”
The problem of long blog postings
Dr Robert Lefever
Iain Dale
Another permanent link
Deep fried eyelids anyone?
“The Internet has also brought a new class of people into politics”
The return of the prodigal
He loved my book
Talking about my generation
The Great Gulf War?
AngloAustria joins the blogroll
Some ins and outs to and from the BrianMicklethwait.com blogroll
Very readable blog but rather unreadable links
I am not too clever
More about music bingeing
Not well
Welcome back and goodbye
New blog?
And this blog is my blog of the day
Is sit-down comedy the new rock and roll?
A brief posting on causation and responsibility
What we eat but not what we say
The Micklethwait Clock is now back to being right
Perry and Adriana in the Guardian
tompeters!
“They needed one another”
This and that at 9.07am
When blog meant something different
Everything
The risk of not taking any risks
Cillit Bang made-up twat
What the …?
Progress
How can intelligent decent people be so badly mistaken?  And did 9/11 make you more opinionated?
I’m seriously thinking of restarting Brian’s Education Blog and Brian’s Culture Blog
More on Katrina
A new word for a new menace
On short postings
Today I am going to break the record here for the number of postings in one day
Blowing Smoke all over old school advertising
On error correction
From now on I’m going to try to put something up here every day
The joy of blogrolling
Giving the blogs what they want