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phone texts to Skype = mark-griffith

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*4
February 14th; Tuesday. Canadian who beheaded man on bus in 2008 walks free. Seems he ate bits of him as well.

February 13th; Monday. Engineer claims electric cars are "a fraud".
February 12th; Sunday. Computers aren't automating dull chores, but automating fun stuff instead.

February 11th; Saturday. Ewan recommends a book about leftist history leftists would prefer forgotten.
February 10th; Friday. Internet identity can be tracked across browsers now.

February 9th; Thursday. Some chill returns. People on public transport all over Budapest sulking again. Now we cannot trust taped speech or videoed faces. Good, in a way.
February 8th; Wednesday. Another slightly weird attempt to do maths on novels.

February 7th; Tuesday. Research suggests people in crowded conditions have fewer children. Thanks to Lily.
February 6th; Monday. Lovely evening meal at Photographer Terri & Alvi. Philosopher Kerrie reminds me of a MacNiece poem I like: Snow
  The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
  Spawning snow and pink roses against it
  Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
  World is suddener than we fancy it.
---

February 5th; Sunday. On the subject of the streets coming alive, change in air and so forth, 3 versions of Donovan's 'Season of the Witch'. A puzzling song, that like many celebrated pop tunes hints at something it doesn't bother spelling out. What's all that "You've got to pick up every stitch" about, except as a lame rhyme? Yet frequently covered. Driscoll, Augur, & overcoloured studio set; Suck (Saffers, apparently); Driscoll, Augur, & Trinity again.
February 4th; Saturday. Temperature even higher, at around 5 of Mr Celcius's degrees - or 4 of Monsieur Reaumur's gradations - of warmth. Everywhere in Budapest, women are eyeing up any half-smartly-dressed man. Film-maker Troy shows me a piece on sound moving faster than light, not a misprint.

February 3rd; Friday. Suddenly a week of ice is thawing, and even at 3 degrees above freezing, it feels warm and like the first day of spring. From one day to the next, the mood on the streets shifts. As if from nowhere, there are now groups of girls at busstops and tramstops laughing, as if high, intoxicated on their own girliness. Suddenly 2 or 3 early-20s women on each tram have dark dramatic makeup, serious glares, and skin-tight black rubber or faux-leather leggings. The last couple of years this fashion has popped up more and more. The leggings seem to serve as a still daring, but slightly more prim, version of thigh-high leather boots, considered a little too raunchy for daytime wear even here. Bright sunshine coming through fog creates strange effects. Interesting conversation with Boardgame Orsolya about nutrition. Fascinating but misguided article on early digital pseudo-life (cellular automata etc). Writer seems to struggle to see that simulated molecules or simulated amino acids are still just simulations. In the last ten minutes before the supermarket shuts, I buy for the first time in my life a block of lard. It's wrapped in quaint waxed paper instead of plastic or foil, and on the paper there repeats a cartoon image, wallpaper-style, of a plump cheerful pig. He strikes a jaunty pose, dressed in blue dungarees.
February 2nd; Thursday. Recommended by writer friend Ewan, some vaguely gloomy not-quite-minimalist music from a German who lives, as did Sebald, in Britain. Perhaps being German and living in Britain is a combination which encourages melancholia. Listening to this all the way through, it strikes me as the kind of music for a film where aliens from a distant galaxy come to earth but are too depressed to make up their minds whether to kill us or not. Then I find as it ends that indeed it was the same composer who scored a recent sci-fi film I'd read about. In this a woman linguist communicates in a language of circular coffee stains with beings inside what one friend notes are giant segments of Terry's chocolate orange. My perceptive powers as keen as ever. Crossing the river for coffee with Esoteric Veronica, fog cuts off both banks completely and even the surface of the river under the bridge melts into the cloud.

February 1st; Wednesday. Another article of mine, 'The Year of the Trumpster'.
January 31st; Tuesday. My rumbustious policy piece '5 Ways Theresa May Can Add Growth Now' is up.

January 30th; Monday. Moon-day news about firms lustily rushing to violate Selena and mine the lunar surface. And in sun-related news, some big solar gales hitting earth in about 36 hours or so.
January 29th; Sunday. Scott Adams, early prophet of Trump's election, warns us.

January 28th; Saturday. One blogger discerns a coup underway in Washington, DC.
January 27th; Friday. While Chinese officials huff & puff about possible war with Trump's US, a shopping mall there creates rather sweet statue of The Donald to welcome in this Year of the Cockerel.

January 26th; Thursday. A poster at the tramstop just the other side of the Danube is still advertising a now-lapsed Christmas season special offer on the trolleybus routes. Disconcertingly, the image shows a cartoon trolleybus flying through a night sky filled with snowflakes, its pantograph out to pick up power from overhead wires that aren't there of course since it's in the sky. Piloting the trolleybus at the steering wheel is Santa Claus, and the rest of the interior of the airborne public service vehicle is packed with cartoon reindeer, noses pressed up against the insides of the windows. They look puzzled, borderline worried.
January 25th; Wednesday. Intense rage & hysteria meets President Honey Monster's strikingly busy first days in office. "And then I start reading the news. And then I get angry again. And then I post more, I need to share, I need to say it loudly: resist this man and his administration! Resist his policies!" as one friend phrases it, coming to the lyrical but mournful conclusion that "I feel like I'm living in weird loops, that are quickly spiraling out downward."

January 24th; Tuesday. A protest march in the US has some women dressing in giant vulva costumes they're recycling from other recent protests. East European girls express to me stunned disbelief and compassion for Western men.
January 23rd; Monday. Artificial life is now alive. 6-base DNA a thing.

January 22nd; Sunday. Chaos as Baroque souls climb ladder, enter sky machine.
January 21st; Saturday. Chilly and not-so-chilly days continue to alternate. Comforting that some folk still do dress-up theatricals: pantomime lives on.

January 20th; Friday. Two articles about Northern Ireland: Provos of Animal Farm & the unfairly maligned work of the RUC Special Branch.
January 19th; Thursday. On the subect of time, we have talking alarm clocks & futureless languages. Plus a brilliant business trick to show us all how to create a new product: take off your minute hand, put 24 hours on the dial, and rebrand it as a new concept in wristwatches.

January 18th; Wednesday. Don't put jade eggs up yourselves, girls.
January 17th; Tuesday. Senior Hungarian lawyer tells me he's seen a fall-off in both 1) curiosity about international legal discussion and 2) raw intellectual quality among Britain's highest judges since a) drastic reduction to Lord Chancellor's role and b) move from House of Lords to separate Supreme Court.

January 16th; Monday. Pet dogs frolic in 17th-century library.
January 15th; Sunday. Big chill suddenly lifts. Sunspot numbers still falling though.

January 14th; Saturday. Continuing disagreements about President Honey Monster and Russia. Article finds the Russia-hacked-elections evidence weak. Another piece points out that officials from FBI never asked to see servers involved. Another website catches Washpo puffing up Russian electric-grid hack non-story. Glorious urinating-Moscow-prostitutes allegation still in full blossom.
January 13th; Friday. Sankt Peterburg DJ, 2 December shows: #409 / #410.

January 12th; Thursday. 1960s actress Fran Jeffries died back in mid-December.
January 11th; Wednesday. Vampirism works!

January 10th; Tuesday. Lucid summary of foreign-policy events in December by man in cowboy hat, including thoughts on the ambassador offing.
January 9th; Monday. Miraculously, after I get paid twice as much as I expected by the magazine, I'm able to redeem laptop, plus new topcase, from the laptop people. Otherwise couldn't have paid them.

January 8th; Sunday. US women to protest against Donald Trump by wearing pink pussy hats. Not yet anatomically correct knitting, but doubtless that will come.
January 7th; Saturday. Polish anglers find Nazi officer inside fish. Supposedly.

January 6th; Friday. Young Lorinc explains some of the moves he finds hardest in skating, and I get him interested in one of the short stories in 'The King in Yellow' collection. All about a ghastly, unspeakably horrific book that drives you insane if you make the mistake of reading it.
January 5th; Thursday. Good article about a new translation of a short book from John M.'s house by Spengler, author of 'Decline of the West'. Though I'm still an optimist. Am I "cowardly" or "criminal" in Spengler-speak, I wonder?

January 4th; Wednesday. Get to the end of a compilation of verse borrowed from Robin, 'A Book of English Poetry - Chaucer to Rossetti', collected by G.B. Harrison. There are some odd choices, and the sheer number of writers forces him to trim down many to just one or two poems. The overall effect is grand though. The penultimate poem, Matthew Arnold's 'The Scholar Gipsy', is intriguing. One stanza reads
    But once, years after, in the country lanes,
     Two scholars whom at college erst he knew
      Met him, and of his way of life enquir'd.
     Whereat he answer'd, that the Gipsy crew,
      His mates, had arts to rule as they desir'd
       The workings of men's brains
     And they can bind them to what thoughts they will:
      'And I,' he said, 'the secret of their art,
      When fully learn'd, will to the world impart:
       But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill.'

January 3rd; Tuesday. Finish Heikki's gift to me from last year 'Righteous Gentile' by John Bierman, the inspiring yet sad story of young Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. The long back half where he disappears into the USSR's prison system for decades, recalls Wilde's bitter remark that no good deed goes unpunished. Countless Soviet bureaucrats literally could not imagine a wealthy aristocrat from a neutral power endangering his life merely to save hundreds of the Jews they despised so much (therefore he must be a spy). This fact is almost enough by itself to prove the worthlessness of the 1917 revolution.

January 2nd; Monday. Train journey back to Budapest. Finish reading Che Guevara's 'Bolivian Diary', a slightly odd but intriguing Christmas present about the pop-star communist partisan who died in 1967 trying to overthrow Bolivia's government and almost at once become a bedroom-wall poster. This is a depressing read because it's easy to imagine how thrillingly heroic it must seem to immature readers lacking in human sympathy or understanding (lonely schoolboys, for example). To anyone with a more experienced eye what jumps out is the humourless, unreflective dogmatism of both Guevara and Castro (the edition has a pompous, mechanical introduction from Fidel, who outlived Che, imposing the communist dream on several million luckless Cubans for another half century).
The stiff-necked dullness of Guevara's minutely detailed combat diary (there is almost no fighting) in his last 11 months leading his band of revolutionaries through Bolivian hill country is puzzling at first. It reminds us he was a medic as well as a Marxist, and therefore apt to take himself very seriously on both counts. Still, reading this account from cover to cover it's hard to see what the point of the diary was in practical terms. The claim is, Guevara is earnestly noting down lessons and mistakes so as to hone his team into a successful spearhead for leading the overthrow of Bolivia's government. Yet a reader soon feels this was meant to be a statement, a kind of justification for his short, violent life - a record of why he felt what he was doing was righteous and glorious, disguised as a low-key, no-nonsense combat notebook of daily privations, injuries to his team, and distances walked. It was obviously of huge potential value to the government forces tracking them, and therefore supreme recklessness to be writing it in the first place. Even had his force grown bigger, the geographical information alone in the diary if captured would almost certainly have made the decisive difference in crushing whatever larger revolutionary movement he'd created. Yet that was the thing he claimed to be sacrificing everything for.
However if the goal was to leave a personal memoir of a conflict he suspected he might not survive, to burnish his own Marxist sainthood with an autohagiography, then he succeeded brilliantly. Read naively by someone who lacks discernment, this is an exciting day-by-day account, written in modest, unpretentious entries, of a romantically doomed historic struggle. Read a little more shrewdly, this is a tedious 11-month text where he sabotages the chances of the revolution he claimed to fervently desire, as well as the plucky band of comrades he was leading to their deaths. Both were probably sacrificed on the altar of Che's posthumous reputation by this incriminating, boring, yet "gritty" document. It has thrilled millions of boy readers despite lacking any literary or military merit. The whole point of reading it is you know he dies at the end. Reading it is an act of religious homage by penitents who piously trudge through the daily entries up to his capture.
Che's sabotage of his band's chances is not only in the act of writing the diary. It slowly becomes clear that his feckless leadership is what gets him and his men killed in the end. This detailed account of a difficult, not to say pointless, long march trying to "raise the consciousness" of understandably nervous peasants in remote districts shows none of the cunning and patience of Mao, nor any of Castro's luck and audacity.
It quickly becomes clear that Guevara was not a talented officer, nor a memorable writer, nor a flamboyant bandit. Like the narrow-minded medical student in the German joke who's handed a phone directory and immediately asks when the test is, Che shows himself here as a plodder. The mass of detail, his tendency to note down any event without an apparent pattern or system ("---the pig arrived, quite a large one", "Two turkeys were caught, a small animal was trapped but its foot was severed and it was able to escape", "Miguel still has a high fever", "We postponed target practice because of rain", "No special news today") remind the reader of someone mediocre struggling with what he feels is a historic task, yet a task which is beyond him. Guevara has no overview of his band's situation as they get increasingly encircled. They frequently get lost. They frequently lose specific men for days on end. Simple things go wrong for them. They are incompetent at hunting for food. They go round in circles without any apparent plan, struggling to cut paths through thick undergrowth. Worse still, Guevara quarrels with his men and comes across as a poor commander. He has to resolve what he feels are childish disputes, yet fails to. He writes that he must have a word with this comrade, yet doesn't talk to him for days. He writes of one man's desertion, yet he is still recorded as with the band several days later. He punctuates their aimless forest wanderings with finger-wagging little speeches to (he thinks) buck up morale. He repeatedly blames other people, in prissy tight-lipped prose, for shortcomings like lack of maps it was obviously his responsibility as leader to secure. He lacks initiative or flair.
It started to cross my mind that Castro sent the good-looking wannabe commando on a doomed mission to get him out of Cuba (perhaps as a possible political rival) for ever. Castro and he had seen live action together before, and Castro perhaps knew from close-up experience of his character that Che was gullible and wouldn't last long if given command in hostile country without proper support. Not the slightest hint of any suspicion of this shows in Che's unimaginative, bureaucratic text. It never occurs to him he might have been duped by Havana. You get just the faintest feeling he subconsciously sensed he was never coming back though. Otherwise why record all this banal laundry-list prose, except as a testament?
January 1st; New Year's Day. Robin returns from Debrecen. NYMEX closes open-outcry pit. Should be obvious by now this is a dumb move, you'd have thought. Intelligent people in the 1980s already could see it was a mistake closing trading floors - how slow off the uptake can you be? 30 years and they still don't get it?


Recent weblog entries continued:

Who can translate the next 300 words into Korean or Hindi? Contact us and there will be revelry.

Languages dying out each week - who cares?

We do - otherlanguages.org is gradually building a reference resource for over five thousand linguistic minorities and stateless languages worldwide.

Thousands of unique language communities are becoming extinct. Out of the world's five to six thousand languages, we hardly know what we're losing, what literatures, philosophies, ways of thinking, are disappearing right now.

So?

We may soon regret the extinction of thousands of entire linguistic cultures even more than we regret the needless extinction of many animals and plants.

The planet is increasingly dominated by a handful of major-language monocultures like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Indonesian, Urdu, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swahili, Russian, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese, Bengali - all beautiful and fascinating languages.

But so are the 5,000 others.

These are groups of people?

Linguistic minorities are communities of ordinary people whose native tongue is not their country's main official language. Swedish speakers in Finland, French speakers in Canada, Hungarian speakers in Slovakia - and hundreds more - are linguistic minorities.

And totally stateless languages are the native languages of some of the world's most intriguing, little-known, cultures. Like the Lapps inside the Arctic Circle, the Sards in Sardinia, Ainus in Japan. Cherokee in the US, Scots Gaelic in Britain, Friesian in the Netherlands, Zulu in South Africa. There are only a couple of hundred recognised sovereign states and territories, so 5,000 languages - more depending on how you count - are the native tongues of linguistically stateless people.

How could I help?

You don't need to learn an endangered language - any more than go to live in the rainforest to help slow its destruction.

A good start is to just tell friends about websites like this.

Broader public interest makes it easier for linguists to raise funds and organise people to learn these languages while there's time.

That's right. There are people who love languages and are happy to learn them on behalf of the rest of us, but they need support, just like zoologists, botanists, or historians.

Fewer languages still sounds good to me

Depends what you think languages are for. They're not just a tool for business. We never said you should learn three or four thousand rare languages - or even one. And which ones we make children learn in school, or whether we should force children to learn languages at all, is another question.


Typical scene in a European city; Chances are, folk here speak some sort of foreign language *5

A century ago - before we understood ecology, and when we cared less about wilderness, most educated people would have laughed at the idea of worrying about plants or animals going extinct. Now we understand how important species diversity is for our own futures, we are more humble, and more worried.

In the same way, linguistic triumphalism by English-speakers who hated studying foreign grammar at school is dangerously ignorant as well as arrogant. Few of us know what we are losing, week by week. How many people realise these languages have scientific value?

Scientific value?

You can think of these languages across the planet as beautiful cathedrals or precious archeological sites we are watching being destroyed. That should be motive enough.

But these five thousand languages may also hold clues to the structure of the human mind. Subtle differences and similarities

Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
between languages are helping archeologists and anthropologists to understand what happened in the hundreds of centuries of human history before written history. And that is one of our best chances of understanding how human brains developed over the thousands of centuries leading up to that.

Study of the mind and study of language go hand in hand these days. The world's most marginal languages are actually precious jigsaw pieces from an overall picture of who we are and how our species thinks and evolves. Every tiny language adds another brightly-coloured clue to this academic detective story.

Yet researchers have hardly started sifting through this tantalising evidence, and language extinction is washing it away right in front of us.

And worst of all, most people have no idea that there is this fantastic profusion of cultures across our world, let alone that they are in danger of extinction. Even just more people learning that there are still five thousand living languages in the world today (most of us would answer five hundred or fifty) is already a huge help.

We English-speakers hardly notice English - it's like air for us. But every other language is also an atmosphere for an entire cultural world, and each of these worlds has people whose home it is. Each language encapsulates a unique way of talking and thinking about life. Just try some time in a foreign prison, being forced to cope in another language, and you'll realise how much your own language is your identity. That's true for everyone.

Minority languages are a human-rights issue?

One of the most basic.

Dozens of millions of people worldwide suffer persecution from national governments for speaking their mother tongue - in their own motherland.

Many 'ethnic' feuds puzzling to outsiders had as their basis an attempt to destroy a linguistic community. Would the Northern Ireland dispute be quite so bitter if we English had not so nearly stamped out the Irish Gaelic language, for example? Almost nowhere in the world does a language community as small as the few thousand Rheto-Romanic speakers - the fourth official language of Switzerland - get the protection of a national government. Next time you see some Swiss Francs, check both sides of the banknote.

But outside exceptional countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands, speakers of non-official languages have a much less protected experience.

Speakers of minority languages are often seen as a threat by both the governments and the other residents of the countries where they were born, grew up, and try to live ordinary lives.

They experience discrimination in the job and education markets of their homelands, often having no choice but to pursue education in the major language of the host state: a deliberate government policy usually aimed at gradually absorbing them into the majority culture of that country.

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, of course *7

Most governments are privately gleeful each time another small separate culture within their borders is snuffed out by a dwindling population or a deliberately centralising education system.

The United Nations is no help. It is an association of a couple of hundred sovereign states based on exclusive control of territory, almost all of them anxious to smother any distinct group or tradition that in any way might blur or smudge the hard-won borders around those pieces of territory.

The usual approach by sovereign states is to deny their linguistic minorities even exist.

::

Mark Griffith, site administrator / contact at otherlanguages.org

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*1 image from , with thanks
*2 "Al-Araby" in written Arabic (read more)
*3 "What?" in American Sign Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written Chinese  (read more); image from , with thanks
*5 image from , with thanks
*6 image from , with thanks
*7 image from 'B?ume', with thanks to  Bruno P. Kramer, and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag

useful:

.languages of the world
.Internet free speech
.weights & measures
.5000 English words
.2000+ Chinese char.s
.persian/english dictionary
.currency rates 1 2 3 4 5
.country domain names
.language-learning 1 2
.find old websites
.fine HTML tutorial
.webhost
.minimalist websites

reviews: ................. books {...or films here}

1 metrologie historique
2 postmodernism & the other
3 disaster (news on sunday)
4 money unmade (russian barter in the 1990s)
5 the sleepwalkers
6 e
7 the kruschev era
8 the end of science
9 don't you want me?
10 the carpet wars
11 zelator
12 life of thomas more
13 faber book of science
14 gilgamesh
15 out of it
16 guns, germs & steel
17 words & rules
18 figure in the landscape
19 life without genes
20 bede's history of the english
21 the nothing that is
22 zoology
23 journey by moonlight
24 heavenly serbia
25 ratkay endre
26 the handmaid's tale
27 the selective eye
28 a megismerese epitokovei
29 intention
30 thirty nine steps
31 princess
32 the pyramids
33 the etruscans
34 moonchild
35 paradise news
36 culture of time & space 1880 to 1918
37 szimmetria
38 babel orokeben
39 astro-archeology
40 a history of islamic spain
41 high gothic
42 among the believers
43 the renaissance
44 augustine
45 mcvicar
46 atomised
47 tangled wing
48 da vinci code
49 nature via nurture
50 termeszet szamai
51 decline & fall of roman empire
52 practical cheesemaking
53 the sufis
54 fra angelico at san marco
55 the cryptographer
56 they have a word for it
57 szamok valosan innen & tul
58 artistic theory in italy 1450 to 1600
59 darwin's black box
60 indiai ejszaka
61 cleopatra: histories, dreams & distortions
63 what mad pursuit
64 language, the learner & the school
65 writing the romantic comedy
66 the blank slate
67 dougal & the blue cat
68 diego velasquez
69 horse nonsense
70 a certain chemistry
71 deterring democracy
72 textiles
73 thief of time
74 bloodsucking fiends
75 right ho, jeeves
76 generativ grammatika
77 1st time i got paid for it
78 galapagos
79 othello
80 understanding media
81 mysticism
82 short history of french literature
83 best on the market
84 art of seeing
85 culture & imperialism
86 food of the gods
87 arabic-islamic cities
88 the alchemist
89 verbal learning & memory
90 building a successful software business
91 don't make me think!
92 memory
93 the u.s. & the arab world
94 hard times
95 spells for teenage witches
97 the pig that wants to be eaten
98 encyclopaedia of stupidity
99 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part i
100 beach watching
101 the ancient greeks
102 brainstorms
103 seventy eight degrees of wisdom: part ii
104 utopia
105 technical writing for engineers & scientists
106 alphabet versus goddess
107 writing on drugs
108 news from somewhere
109 isp survival guide
110 petrus hispanus mester logikajabol
111 art of seduction
112 stet
113 penguin by design
114 the sense of being stared at
115 the golden ratio
116 dinamikus emlekezet
117 margins of reality
118 hopjoy was here
119 bump in the night
120 box of delights
121 color atlas of immunology
122 fashionistas
123 pi in the sky
124 a new kind of fool
125 one man's meat
126 greek fire
127 the buddha in daily life
128 beginner's dutch
129 private life of the brain
130 solar ethics
131 pedant in the kitchen
132 knots
133 the planets within
134 encyclopaedia of ancient & mediaeval history
135 consilience
136 the age of scandal
137 fashion: the 20th century
138 the tipping point
139 design literacy
140 the silent partner
141 hamlet
142 1421
143 the 1890s
144 godel's proof
145 rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead
146 beyond reason
147 little book of music theory
148 q-basic
149 alone of all her sex
150 social studies
151 eternal darkness
152 drawn from memory
154 a guide to elegance
155 medea & other plays
156 the future of money
157 cheese
158 grammars of creation
159 aquarian conspiracy
160 the climate crisis
161 true fiction
162 the making of memory
163 why most things fail
164 genetikai abece
165 finding fulfilment
166 genome
167 the broken estate
168 inigo jones
169 flashman & the dragon
170 from bauhaus to our house
171 100 great paintings
172 kis spanyol nyelvtan
173 the historian
174 tomorrow's gold
175 charting made easy
176 life after life
177 spanyol igei vonzatok
178 the eclipse of art
179 fire in the mind
180 the human body
181 out of control
182 possession
183 simplified chinese characters
184 the generation of 1914
185 intellectuals
186 world of late antiquity
187 riddle & knight
188 informacio kultusza
189 napoleon of notting hill
190 secrets: palm-reading
191 meet yourself as you really are
192 cat's abc
193 intro to spanish poetry
194 rise of christian europe
195 philip's guide to electric living
196 sins for father knox
197 celtic twilight
198 myths of love
199 snobbery with violence
200 just like tomorrow
201 7 basic plots
202 experiment with time
203 vile bodies
204 icons & images: 60s
205 fisher king
206 new jerusalem
207 born on a blue day
208 surveillir & punir
209 trial of socrates
210 how to catch fairies
211 conversations on consciousness
212 mind performance hacks
213 conscience of the eye
214 beau brummell
215 evolution
216 the outsider
217 raja yoga
218 rise of political lying
219 occidentalism
220 colossus
221 secret teachings of jesus
222 blue murder
223 nostrodamus the next 50 years
224 homage to catalonia
225 charity ends at home
226 palace of dreams
227 discovering book collecting
228 beyond the outsider
229 the last barrier
230 that hideous strength
231 indian sculpture
232 small world
233 evolution & healing
234 in search of memory
235 campo santo
236 llewellyn's 2007 tarot reader
237 dream of rome
238 why buildings fall down
239 the empty space
240 england made me
241 greek science in antiquity
242 science, a l'usage des non-scientifiques
243 utmutato tarot
243 hunt for zero point
244 william wilberforce
245 viktor schauberger
246 untouchable
247 the vitamin murders
248 straw dogs
249 elizabeth's spymaster
250 the hard life
251 the god delusion
252 the intellectual
253 undercover economist
254 quirkology
255 chasing mammon
256 early mesopotamia & iran
257 the strange death of david kelly
258 the pilgrimage
259 origin of wealth
260 maxims
261 the finishing school
262 the shepherd's calendar
263 islamic patterns
264 lost world of the kalahari
265 german short stories 1
266 electricity
267 liber null & psychonaut
268 born to rebel
269 wittgenstein's poker
270 will the boat sink the water?
271 romeo & juliet
272 why beautiful people have more daughters
273 the crossing place
274 the turkish diplomat's daughter
275 missionary position
276 lust in translation
277 teaching as a subversive activity
278 how german is it
279 empires of the word
280 warped passages
281 the power of now
282 ponder on this
283 sword of no-sword
284 narcissism
285 blink
286 shock of the old
287 basque history of the world
288 truth: a guide
289 who shot jfk?
290 newtonian casino
291 power & greed
292 the world without us
293 5-minute nlp
294 concise guide to alchemy
295 evidence in camera
296 4-hour work week
297 the rosicrucian enlightenment
298 de-architecture
299 how to lie with maps
300 a book of english essays
301 a time of gifts
302 the occult philosophy in the elizabethan age
303 le pelerinage des bateleurs
304 alchemy & alchemists
305 greenmantle
306 the hero with 1000 faces
307 goethe's parable
308 rhedeyek es fraterek
309 letter to a christian nation
310 the tryst
311 7 experiments that could change the world
312 mill on the floss
313 metastases of enjoyment
314 the isles
315 between the woods and the water
316 secrets of the great pyramid
317 life in the french country house
318 the china study
319 tarot: theory & practice
320 the roger scruton reader
321 alchemy & mysticism
322 picasso's mask
323 the rule of four
324 triumph of the political class
325 arts of darkness
326 neuroscience & philosophy
327 the art of memory
328 mind wide open
329 mud, blood, & poppycock
330 society of the spectacle
331 lila
332 de imaginibus
333 electronics
334 giordano bruno & the embassy affair
335 temporary autonomous zone
336 the human touch
337 the fascination of evil
338 the king of oil
339 dowsing
340 the book of j
341 the west and the rest
342 story of my life
343 plain tales from the hills
344 under the influence
345 modern culture
346 50 mots clefs d'esoterisme
347 giordano bruno & the hermetic tradition
348 development, geography & economic theory
349 das kapital: a biography
350 strange days indeed
351 hegel: a very short introduction
352 reflections on the revolution in france
353 history of sexuality: an introduction
354 why we buy
355 origins of virtue
356 the holographic universe
357 a dead man in deptford
358 obsolete
359 137
360 in your face
361 7 spies who changed the world
362 the noetic universe
363 why beauty is truth
364 imagery in healing
365 the craftsman's handbook
366 futurism
367 in the cards
368 dmso
369 les hommes et leurs genes
370 the franchise affair
371 the decision book
372 les harmonies de la nature a l'epreuve de la biologie
373 kibernetika
374 zuleika dobson
375 l'empire de nombres
376 circus philosophicus
377 some girls
378 number
379 island
380 how to get your ideas adopted
381 drive
382 emergence
383 rfid : la police totale
384 the tempest
385 aspects of wagner
386 view over atlantis
387 world atlas of mysteries
388 art of the dogon
389 genesis machines
390 the sirius mystery
391 the cult of the fact
392 anastasia
393 ringing cedars of russia
394 a whiff of death
395 spirit level delusion
396 wavewatcher's companion
397 the kybalion
398 elegance
399 death in a scarlet coat
400 architecture without architects


films

1 k-pax
2 very annie mary
3 wasabi
4 gosford park
5 arany varos
6 minority report
7 amelie
8 bridget jones' diary
9 arccal a fo:ldnek
10 monsters' ball
11 cube
12 man with no past
13 talk to her
14 szerelemtol sujtva
15 bowling for columbine
16 matrix3
17 zoolander
18 anything else
19 farenheit 9/11
20 8 & 1/2 women
21 madagascar
22 kill bill 1
23 dude, where's my car?
24 the woman in green
25 the hunger
24 nightwatch
25 de battre son coeur s'est arrete
26 wicker man
27 v for vendetta
28 courage the cowardly dog
29 casino royale
30 power of nightmares
31 charlie's angels
32 full throttle
33 foxy brown
34 paths of glory
35 airplane
36 between iraq & a hard place
37 mutiny on the bounty
38 flashmob the opera
39 octopussy
40 bakkerman
41 kiterunner


...............................................................................................................................................................
December 31st; New Year's Eve. Undisturbed by company, Zeno & I see in the new year with a small schnapps. As we prepare supper together by candlelight, Zeno tells me that (he says) all traditional cultures before the 19th century held the wife's family to be a bad influence on any marriage, even if they were kindly & helpful to a young couple. I wonder if that's true? I finish an interesting book Paul M. lent me, dismantling well-entrenched myths about negative Catholic influences on the modern world. 'Bearing False Witness' by Rodney Stark (not a Catholic) convincingly shows a set of claims, from Church antisemitism, hostility to paganism, hostility to science, vicious use of the Inquisition, promotion of slavery were all either hugely exaggerated or just made up out of whole cloth.
December 30th; Friday. Zeno & I potter about at Robin's farm. Gyorgy brings strange news that Zsuzsi's horse Solero kicked his way out of his box last night and was found in the morning together with the two cows Daisy & Kamilla in their box, as if something frightened him in the night. In the day take Solero an apple and, back in his proper compartment he does seem a tad nervous and distracted, though he graciously acknowledges that I brought him a tasty snack for once. Here are some excuses for not doing homework.

December 29th; Thursday. Robin drives off to Debrecen.
December 28th; Wednesday. Robin & I tackle the chopped up acacia trees, moving the logs of firewood from under the big sheet of black plastic on the grass to the covered walkway outside the house. We stack them against the wall of the house, ends facing out, to dry out in a neat German-style, three-foot-high wooden barrier of fireplace fuel. My laptop inexplicably dies. Might be another dead topcase.

December 27th; Tuesday. It feels quite remote here, but what counts as remote?
December 26th; Boxing Day. Empty pale blue skies scoured by scraps of cloud, like white wire wool. The upper studio windows next to the sofa look out on a bare tree, its bark golden in winter sun. One of the white shaggy komondor dogs has decided it is her responsibility to put me in my pen at night, so I find her dozing outside the door of the studio where I sleep the last two evenings and mornings. My Salisbury Review article about Scrooge goes online.

December 25th; Christmas Day. Unto us a child is born. The latest estate worker Gyorgy pops into the kitchen early afternoon to announce a lamb was born this morning. Zsuzsi takes me to see the pigs, a new species on the farm since I was last here, and they have mud and trees in their chicken-wired enclosure. They crowd up against the wire, snorting and oinking loudly at us, indignant that we bring them no food. Nearby Zsuzsi & I visit the new lamb in a small roofed open shed fenced but without walls which can only really be described as a manger. The two of us climb on haystacks to see the other lambs over the wooden partition while the ewes watch us carefully. Darkness is already drawing in as we go back past the grumbling mob of swine. For dinner the girls make delicious roast duck with prunes.
Looking for another Scott, I find that hidden in his mass of nightclub-crooner ballads (each named after a woman), Scott Walker also wrote a handful of extraordinary compositions. Clean, crisp voice, rousing orchestral backing, simple-but-surprising melodies, clever-but-simple lyrics. Here's his grand monumental The Old Man's Back Again / then a theme tune to a Spaghetti Western / the psychedelic-new-childhood style Plastic Palace People / another sound epic The Plague / and a defiantly ecstatic song of new beginnings: Get Behind Me.
December 24th; Christmas Eve. Back at Robin's farm on the Great Plain, and there are more animals each time. The whole thing is becoming very quack-quack here, a baa-baa there, here a moo, there a cluck, everywhere a so forth. After dark I slice strips of cloth out of a trouser pocket to stitch up ripped sleeves of a shirt.

December 23rd; Friday. Zsa Zsa Gabor died a few days ago, apparently at 99. Her joke about being a good housekeeper because every time she divorced a man she kept his house always made me uneasy, more so since I got to know Hungary. Her tall story about being deflowered by Kemal Ataturk was good though. Mid-evening after packing get to Robin's flat near Oktogon where I find Bela alone. We eat together and then while he goes to the other room to kill some imaginary commandoes in some virtual labyrinth on a laptop, I paint some of my fingernails silver to punish myself for biting them. Quite late, Robin, Bela, Zsuzsi & I drive across country in the dark, routing onto minor roads to get round some sad motorway crash.
December 22nd; Thursday. Among the animals, a Russian fisherman shows photos of his weird deep-sea fish, & a Russian biologist who spent decades successfully breeding tame foxes. Among the people, Japanese jazz pianist plays burning piano on beach, people convinced they remember watching a 1990s film that never got made, and another account of McKenna's favourite psychedelic drug, which still sounds alarmingly odd.

December 21st; Wednesday. Another sexual-behaviour map: percentages of people in European countries who think consent is not always needed for sex. Eerie research suggests future criminals can be spotted even as toddlers. A major Swedish party's youth wing urges legalisation of incest & necrophilia: perhaps time to revive all those relatively boring & dead boring jokes. Venezuela's struggling socialist government gets festive by seizing toys off toy companies in the name of the tiny tots, reports one of our book's contributors.
December 20th; Tuesday. Some chilly nights as temperatures drop. Thought-provoking map showing European countries legalising same-sex marriages over the last 20 years. I don't understand what the stripes mean, but behold the East/West divide!

December 19th; Monday. On the time-travelling-Trumpster front, a fascinating suggestion that Honey Monster is attempting to rejoin parallel universes previously ripped apart. In other news, man with thin tie shoots Russian ambassador during art-gallery vernissage in Turkish capital.
December 18th; Sunday. The ODNI & FBI are now falling into step with CIA claims that Russian state hacking enabled release of e-mails suggesting embarrassing things about Mrs Clinton's victory over Mr Sanders in the Democratic nomination. This detailed article describes what allegedly convinces US intelligence agencies that Russia tried to tilt the US election. Note the astonishing blunders that feared hackers of the FSB & GRU are claimed to have made, like adopting the name of a Russian secret-police officer during an exploit, or "forgetting" to set two accounts to 'private'. Plus an unrelated, but intriguing, article about the real-life struggles of Napoleon Hill, revered self-help writer and serial fraudster. (Not unlike the life of Carlos Castaneda 50 years later.) Interesting clues that one of Hill's later business partners was involved in Watergate in some unspecified way.

December 17th; Saturday. Must be about 10 days ago now that I bumped into Xenia from the photocopy shop passing my building with a pram containing her six-month-old infant peacefully dozing inside. We chat briefly, while Baby snoozes.
December 16th; Friday. Heartening news, O my brothers! Man flu is real.

December 15th; Thursday. Apparently a strange 'Christian' cult is growing in China.
December 14th; Wednesday. Provocative article + map claims immigration reduces almost every rich country's average IQ.

December 13th; Tuesday. Two unusual articles for unusual people. The first urges death on Britons who voted to leave the European Union and gleefully argues Brexit voters are dying in larger numbers than the virtuous Remainers. The second reveals that lots of people in the USA are discussing whether Donald Trump has a time machine? Seems Honey Monster's uncle was asked to assess freshly dead Nikola Tesla's laboratory notes in the 1940s when the federal government seized them.
December 12th; Monday. For more plausible evidence of Russian hacking: the 20,000 child-porn images supposedly found on the computer of Vladimir Bukovsky, long-time Russian dissident, exile, & critic of the KGB in his British retirement. The elderly, unwell Bukovsky, decades ago tortured by Soviet state psychiatrists, is countersuing Britain's Crown Prosecution Service. He deserves our help.

December 11th; Sunday. A quick round-up of the latest allegations in the US presidential thingie. The CIA is claiming without citing any evidence that Russian hackers helped Honey Monster to win, even though those of us who were paying attention in the summer recall the incriminating e-mails in question being passed to Wikileaks by a (now-dead) Democratic National Convention staffer. A rather shouty retired British ambassador says the CIA is bluffing. Slightly more convincingly, the office that oversees all 17 US intelligence agencies also voices doubt & caution, although a bit more politely. Of possible relevance: a close relationship between the Washington Post, and Jeff Bezos, and the CIA.
December 10th; Saturday. Refreshingly clear overview of gold market.

December 9th; Friday. Not only are some evenings in this flat quiet enough to hear bubbles popping in a carbonated drink, but on occasion I can hear the muscles in my scalp and jaw move (it's a sort of low roar, like the sound of a distant bath filling). If I water my three potted plants, the rustling of water moving down through the soil is audible sometimes.
December 8th; Thursday. Readable explanation of Bostrom's straightfaced claim we "probably live inside a computer simulation."

December 7th; Wednesday. Interesting article about feared forthcoming Algerian civil war. Plus three articles about a scandal in the silver market, one / two / three, emerging this week.
December 6th; Tuesday. An article of mine about Sunday's vote in Italy goes online here. Meanwhile, academic paper ('Birth of the cool') claims written English fiction has become less emotional since 18th century / Biographer thinks Sylvia Plath might have been rejected by lover before suicide / Intriguing graph suggests people born since 1970 care less about democracy.

December 5th; Monday. Buying some cheaper eggs all with white shells, realised that I haven't seen white-shelled eggs at the supermarket for years. Wonder if farmers now routinely feed hens some substance like caramel or some mineral to give the eggshells that country-goodness brown hue? Speaking of brown crunchy things, decided to check if burning my pasta sticks could affect health. Best that came up was an article about crusty bread & pastry: the Maillard Reaction.
December 4th; Sunday. Rather political day, with Austrians (now they have enough envelope glue) choosing the Green presidential candidate by a narrow margin while Italians vote by a big margin against proposed changes to the country's constitution. One of our contributors noted market interest in this referendum some days ago. Partly an Italian protest against the devastation caused by the euro, partly a chance to force resignation of annoyingly smooth prime minister Matteo Renzi. Last Thursday's vote by a big swing to replace eccentric-but-once-loved MP Zac Goldsmith in Richmond, Greater London (one of the country's most pro-EU & pro-Green constituencies), with a pro-EU/anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat has been slightly marred. Allegations surface Lib Dems promised £1/4 m cash if the Green candidate stood aside. She did. The long-suffering Dutch finally get tetchy and address some pointed questions to their government about the euro.

December 3rd; Saturday. Unfortunate incident reported yesterday in Mongolia. Russian diplomat physically attacked the country's most famous rapper (of course, on the show 'Mongolia's Got Talent'), beating the man into a coma. Supposedly, displaying large swastikas in Mongolia is almost normal; ancient local symbol but also extreme-nationalist, anti-Russian symbol etc. Diplomacy thrives on free & frank exchange of views: "My son was hit in the face several times with a metal object."
December 2nd; Friday. Days and nights switching between temperatures. Sometimes warmish with winds howling or moaning through doorjambs & cracks all over the building, large crumpled leaves that look as if cut from brown paper piling up in mini-drifts in doorways. Sometimes mild rain, and sometimes numbing cold. Of course, local weather is not global climate, but apparently average global over-land temperatures fell by an entire degree Celsius, the sharpest drop ever recorded, just in the last 4 or 5 months. It seems the culprit might be the end of several years effect from a very warm El Nino current in the Pacific. For a bit of balance, here is a piece about possible major ice shelf calving in the Antarctic.

December 1st; Thursday. Online chum Nick Jordan (no supporter of President Honey Monster, I should add) reports that "Last night I dreamt I was having dinner with Donald Trump. I gave him some much needed advice - something about making quick decisions like a businessman, not slow ones like a politician - and he gave me a battered, secondhand Rolex by way of a thank you. Then we went to the kitchen and put a couple of cats in the dishwasher. Only for a couple of minutes he said, it doesn't hurt them."

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2013
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2012
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2008
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2007
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2005
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2003
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2002
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