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February 10th; Wednesday. Some political disagreements: US Democrats / Bernie versus Hillary (thoughtful); US Democrats / Paglia versus Steinem (entertaining); Lanarckshire SNP / someone versus someone else (worrying).

February 9th; Tuesday. Austrian study says vegetarians are unhealthy?
February 8th; Monday. Sweet cartoon image about books.

February 7th; Sunday. Some high-minded quarrelling: Russian kills friend in prose-versus-poesy debate, while cladists and parsimonists mass for combat in Taxonomy Skirmish.
February 6th; Saturday. Read to the end of Robin & Sara's sumptuously illustrated catalogue 'William Blake, Apprentice & Master' of an art exhibition about his printing work they went to last year at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. The catalogue richly explains how Blake trained and grew as a craftsman printer and engraver, developing new plate-cutting techniques to find a way to make images expressing his intense religious and social beliefs, the agonies and ecstasies of his distinctive Christian vision. I wasn't aware he had been for so long influenced by Swedenborg, and perhaps affected by the tragi-comic opening of Swedenborg's grave decades after his death by some devotees. The experimental techniques of Castiglioni & Segers in the 17th century, then Lepic & Degas fifty years after Blake's death make a fascinating comparison - all seem to have rediscovered and invented new ways to print and engrave without being aware they were retracing other men's innovations. More intriguingly, all these engravers testing new ways to draw onto the printing plate seem to have strained after similar visual freedoms, fluidity of line, and similarly achieved eerie mood-tinted images. The influence of Blake on several young artists who came to know him in his last years (who called themselves 'The Ancients'), such as Palmer, Richmond, and Calvert, might have been given more space. The line of succession to Morris and Gill seems clear but also hauntingly fruitful to explore.

February 5th; Friday. I finish Lorinc's copy of 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul' by Jeff Kinney which is apparently part of a publishing sensation, a set of books narrated by the Wimpy Kid about the minutiae of his family life, accompanied by drawings, seemingly hand-written in blocky pen on the pages of a lined notebook. The core value seems to be authenticity. The prose sounds very much like the voice of a bored 11 or 12-year-old boy, coolly observing family chaos around him. The story solely concerns irritating mishaps of standard daily life. I was reminded of the battered cardboard boxes of Beano and other comics in the rooms where we all had to sit at primary school on afternoons when heavy rain cancelled outdoor sports. Those comics always seemed to me to carry the cluttered mundaneness of day-to-day events (classrooms, brick streets with corrugated metal dustbins, children hiding behind broken bits of fencing) into their crowded, scratchy drawings, as if living the greyness of urban reality wasn't enough already - we had to dream it as well?
Here too the Wimpy Kid illustrations look like a boy might have drawn them - unfortunately it achieves this by making the doodle-sketches scruffy and ugly. Since they are on every page, this is tiring. The boy - like a lot of the devoted child readers doubtless - is deeply immersed in the detail of everyday life (mobile phones, television, dishwashers, amusement parks). This book (about a long, tiresome road trip where everything goes wrong for a family squashed into a van) showcases the comic observation of daily trivia that I expect fills every book in this highly successful series. This child is recognisably Tom Sawyer updated by almost two centuries but with no wilderness nearby, no big unknown outdoors. Like Tom, he is a smart-alec quick kid making wry remarks about the adult failings he sees around him, but now in a world that's signposted, crowded, and built-up. There are some echoes of Just William, positioned about halfway in time and halfway in urbanness between Tom Sawyer and The Wimpy Kid, but the comparison over time is disheartening: William's independent social life - his child gang and its strange dream-like games - has vanished. Modern life has closed in by claustrophobic stages on the scruffy boy heroes, squashing Sawyer into William into the Wimpy Kid physically as well as conceptually in the back of the cluttered road-trip van. We see less and less opening for imagination or initiative, more and more cynical judgement of daily events, less and less homemade fantasy. The Wimpy Kid wearily explains how his mother wants to make everything a learning experience and he patiently narrates how his parents and siblings mess up the trip at each stage. The whole story is confined to the surface of official life today: motels, motorways, swimming pools, snack foods. Although many children will enjoy the slapstick humour about stinky socks, lost keys, chewing gum jamming sunroofs, the overall effect is dispiriting. A long haul.
February 4th; Thursday. Finish a book borrowed from Marion & Paul called 'The Secular Mind' by Robert Coles, which discusses secularism from the point of view of a thoughtfully religious American psychiatrist. Interestingly, he is keen to stress that secular, anti-religious thought is very old, has been inside the Church for centuries, and is not just a product of post-17th-century scientific materialism. He relies on long conversations with and long quotes from a small number of writers and activists, for example conversations with Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund. If I have any single criticism, it is that Coles takes Freud seriously and seems unaware that the unconscious was really discovered by Schopenhauer, almost a century before Freud, and likewise that Freud's additions to the existing idea of the unconscious were almost all incorrect. Rather, the writer allows himself to be charmed by the Id/Ego/Superego Trinity, even though he discusses it with sophisticated sympathy, not gullible enthusiasm. However, it never usurps his central view that humility in the face of spiritual experience, even spiritual doubt, is the route to a fuller kind of living. This comfortableness with doubt, defeat, and materialistic inadequacy compared to the spiritual in a strange way insulates him from the consequences of taking Freud too literally, or taking any other secular theory too literally. The bulk of the book, in fact, is a series of sensitive bits of literary criticism, where sections of George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, William Carlos Williams are read in the light of religious faith versus secularism. The core of these arguments is his discussion of the novel 'The Egoist' by George Meredith, where secularism emerges as a kind of self-isolating smugness, a sort of hermetic seal between the soul and all outside influences that sustain and justify that soul. His sentences are oddly dense and sinuous, yet readable, driven by a kind of lucid logic of emotion: "---the secular mind as ever wondering, probing, as ever intent on mastery." Here he tries to say what worries him about that secular mind, whether scientific secularism, religious secularism, or post-religious secularism: "One prays at the very least on behalf of one's kind, though unsure, in a secular sense, to whom or what such prayer is directed, other than, needless to say, one's own secular mind, ever needy of an 'otherness' to address through words become acts of appeal, of worried alarm, of lively and grateful expectation: please, oh please, let things go this way, and not in that direction - the secular mind given introspective, moral pause, its very own kind of sanctity."

February 3rd; Wednesday. Supposedly this odd film short is intended to deter people from taking drugs.
February 2nd; Tuesday. Strangely warm, springlike weather. Gabor tells me how members of his Sistema Sibirski club visited the dojo of an MMA/Krav-Maga/Thai-boxing master in Budapest for a sort of friendly fisticuffs session. Woman artist makes cardboard forests.

February 1st; Monday. A couple of weeks ago in conversation with an online friend, had to find an image of Mesmer at work. Notice overwhelmed young lady being carried out far right.
January 31st; Sunday. If you wanted to win a lottery by buying all the ticket combinations, how would that work? Plus a slightly unsatisfying idea that 'deep learning' has insights for evolution.

January 30th; Saturday. Lovely mulled wine with Marion in town. We speak of many things.
January 29th; Friday. Police officer spends some time chasing himself. Helene mentions the business-card scene in 'American Psycho'.

January 28th; Thursday. All three classes do their presentations in the gym. During day, I learn about the youngsters' favourite YouTube presenters, children their own age with "channels". One of the students, Didi, has a channel himself. Behold, the future of media is with us, citizens. Long mix of cars & trains to get us back to Budapest in the dark.
January 27th; Wednesday. Second day teaching in Wieselburg. After work finally get wired cash with which to pay guest house. A website interviews Roger Scruton.

January 26th; Tuesday. First day in Wieselburg. Children & teachers quite charming. In the US, much is hoped for from this physicist, who is about 22 currently. Aged 14, she apparently built (or at least assembled) an aeroplane, then flew it.
January 25th; Monday. Drive through the afternoon and evening in light but vaguely depressing rain to Wieselburg with Ron and Denis. The woman inside the GPS machine directs us to a Wieselburg so far north of Vienna it clearly isn't in Austria. I change the postal code in the device, and she suddenly changes her mind from 187 kilometres left to 17 km away. Not the slightest hint of embarrassment in her voice.

January 24th; Sunday. Intellectually limited dweeb urges more of same thing. Starting with AI-controlled hedge funds. What could possibly go wrong?
January 23rd; Saturday. My newly-washed wet floor rug is now only mildly damp, and smells of dry dog. Disheartening but interesting item on how North Korea used to kidnap people at random. Nation with planet earth's largest military submarine fleet!

January 22nd; Friday. Handy quiz for concerned Muslim plutocrats: Are your wives cheating on you?
January 21st; Thursday. Finally a writer makes out loud the obvious point that Islamic radicalism is all about men wanting more than one woman each. Same website has a rather no-holds-barred attack on Glenn Greenwald.

January 20th; Wednesday. Complete next stage with chairs 3 & 4. Bit tricky.
January 19th; Tuesday. Dog wins 7th place in half-marathon by accident.

January 18th; Monday. Back ache now mild enough to begin the muscle exercises trainee trainer Juci prescribed me. Strangely, we now hear that both mediaeval Europeans and ancient Babylonians knew how to calculate Jupiter's orbit using a kind of early integration.
January 17th; Sunday. Back ache suddenly fades substantially after trying the altered dosage yesterday of homeopathic remedy suggested by Boardgame Orsolya. If it's the placebo effect it's still wonderful. Why would anyone sane choose pain so as to feel morally righteous about scientific materialism? Strange times we live in.

January 16th; Saturday. The creator of the Dilbert cartoon strip continues to give shrewd warnings about the adroit hustling skills of Mr Trump. Meanwhile his early years seem strangely immune from discussion.
January 15th; Friday. On the subject of things falling from a height, British manufacturing seems to be suddenly worsening. On my way to see Lorinc, two men standing very straight-backed on a traffic island at the bottom of his hill are loudly singing some old Hungarian song as an unaccompanied duo. Immediately reminded of the Peter Sellers vinyl 7-inch record (early 1960s?) where doing a bit of an Ustinov he performs three typical folk tunes from different parts of the British Isles, introducing each song in the persona of a humourless German collector of people's culture. One of three on that record being a Scots singer who can only give of his best when standing "on the corner of Sauchiehall street in Glasgow" frequently drowned out by passing cars & lorries (from memory Sellers's fake German researcher warns "Please also notice ze noise of ze traffics"). The Glaswegian's rousing voice, the parody suggests, relished the struggle against the sound of the vehicles, and this Hungarian duo had exactly the same tone of sad but defiant wholeheartedness which almost all traditional tunes across Europe seem to share at some level. Among 20th-century songs the tone of the sadness and defiance shifted a bit as jazz & blues grow in influence, but 'I did it my way' perhaps still kept some of this flavour of the old European song about life to be sung while drunk. Unable to find that fake Glaswegian singer or the appropriate Hungarian tune, I must ask Gentle Reader to imagine an older rendering of something like this, of course chorused more shoutily.
Once we're in our lesson, young Lorinc on the computer shows me more of his Minecraft estate, including some alarmingly large boxy mushrooms the size of houses that loom up in one of his woods. I ask for some scale, and Lorinc explains that he is roughly two Minecraft blocks tall. Later, while he politely admires the photo of my start to making wooden chairs again in my kitchen area, I laughingly remark on my flat looking a bit lonely. "Lonely? Why?" asks Lorinc, genuinely puzzled. "Oh," I demur, "No wife or girlfriend at the moment." "Well get one!" says Lorinc, rolling his eyes with exasperation at my fecklessness. Such clarity!

January 14th; Thursday. About a week ago woke out of a vivid dream in which a policeman suddenly falls in front of me from a great height, hitting the road on his side dead on impact of course, with his arms folded. A party of about 15 British tourists behind me immediately climb out of a tiny swimming pool, indignantly singing a song with the chorus line "What a lovely start to the afternoon!" The whole group huffily tramp past me in swimming goggles and frogman flippers marching, dripping, across the street and away, still singing in irritation at the interruption of their leisure by the sheer vulgarity of an uninvited police suicide. This subjective experience of mine, according to the philosopher I heard speaking in November, did not take place. Meanwhile, new neurology chips away at the dumb (but surprisingly popular) belief that pre-conscious decision-making rules out free will. Other research suggests that criminality is a way of having more children.
January 13th; Wednesday. Remembering my experience many years ago of eating fried, salted crickets a photographer brought me from Mexico (surprisingly bland, tasting essentially of the fat & salt). Powdered insect protein in food flavoured with something else sounds unobjectionable.

January 12th; Tuesday. Some words of caution about Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, the New Yorker protests (thanks, Katherine!) that Donald Trump is not obnoxious the way proper New Yorkers are obnoxious. Now wishing I had backed my hunch and put a long-odds bet last summer on the final pair in the US presidential election narrowing to Bernie & Donald. Odds not so long now.
January 11th; Monday. The 5-year-old complex of quasi-luxury flats 200 yards from my door seems to house several families of Adriatic pirates. Several times in this cafe (facing the one that closed down) I've met vaguely hard-looking, assertive lads who tell me they speak 'Dalmation', along with small sinewy men with loud tough wives who claim to be speaking Croatian though their words sound more Latinate than Slavic. Their voices go up and down rather like Romanian Gypsies, and they're casually dismissive with the staff. A quite genial, well-dressed group of them is here right now. On one hand they seem normal & good-natured, but somehow their loudness and their gestures make me expect them to put their firearms in the middle of the table and start a card game. I meanwhile 2 days ago started to make chairs again: nos. 3 & 4. My back ache definitely something to do with the mismatched heights of my 2nd wooden chair and my trestle table.

January 10th; Sunday. Pain. I've somehow frozen up all the muscles across my lower back. Not disc or trapped nerve thank goodness, but still annoying. Everyone knows that in sex nothing succeeds like success, but now more studies confirm that women desire men they see other women desire. Adorable couple-of-minutes film of a 4-year-old little girl squeaking with happiness on a flight with her stunt-pilot Quebecois father. Almost heart-warming enough to make a jaded bachelor like me seek out a wife to have babies with.
January 9th; Saturday. Quite mild, only slim strips of snow left in gutters. Weakish rumour article in Guardian alleges French left-wing author Camus perhaps killed by Russia's KGB. Interesting technical reasons why our book sometimes crops up on second-hand webpages priced in hundreds or thousands of dollars.

January 8th; Friday. Several owners of a Hong Kong bookshop seem to be missing, presumed to be inside mainland China, "assisting authorities with investigations". Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding they be freed. Meanwhile, a quirk in mainland Chinese law apparently encourages motorists who knock down a pedestrian to drive over the injured person again & again until they're dead.
January 7th; Thursday. Weather gets milder. Chinese financial markets looking sickly, as our contributors have been predicting for several years.

January 6th; Wednesday. Deep chill continues, snow on streets. 2 book reviews: an eccentric-sounding novel, and bio essay set on folk who knew Shakespeare.
January 5th; Tuesday. My city-currencies article up on Aeon. Join in debate, citizens!

January 4th; Monday. Small flakes of snow start casually wandering down in late morning. By mid-afternoon there's a 1/2 inch of snow laid down. Spend evening over at Robin's where now Gio is the one who's ill.
January 3rd; Sunday. This 2001 film set in 1970 seems like it might be fun. Trailer fairly well mimics being made in 1970, but not quite.

January 2nd; Saturday. The sudden chill that dropped over the city on Thursday afternoon continues. Nice short article about curing Brazilian inflation. Of course, it has to be told in the compulsory American how-four-crazy-grad-school-guys-did-this-one-weird-thing style.
January 1st; New Year's Day. Another new year begins with no new year's resolution from yours truly. Another win for the new year's resolution I made aged I think 10 to never make another new year's resolution: 100% success so far. Here's an interesting calendar of dates charting Western Church views on marriage & celibacy for priests. To go with that, a helpful guide to various sex tricks to unhinge your man's mind.


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. Robin a bit ill with food poisoning, so Gio from Rio & I try to cheer him up. Dull muffled sounds of fireworks going off in nearby streets penetrate into his grand city-centre apartment throughout the evening. A 2-month-old interview with Freeman Dyson. The Register doing fine work re-establishing the word 'boffin'. Earlier in day, a friend describes over coffee what taking the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus in Peru was like.
December 30th; Wednesday. Mild weather in town. A quite detailed attack on the campaign to move concert-tuned A from 440 Hertz back to 432 cycles per second.

December 29th; Tuesday. English lesson with Boardgame Orsolya in Obuda. We read more of Graham & Dodd's 1930s book on securities analysis that Warren Buffett admires so much.
December 28th; Monday. The strange empty week we get each year between Christmas and New Year. An interesting article about how the 2003 Iraq War united Britain's Leninist left, plus a piece (behind paywall) explaining Mr Corbyn to Americans.

December 27th; Sunday. We all drive back into Budapest to meet Sara at the airport where she has just landed from Italy. Parallels between France's Algerian war and Iraq today: a 2007 write-up on Alistair Horne praised by our man in Bucharest, currently in Algiers.
December 26th; Boxing Day. We all open our presents under the indoor tree, like good Victorians. Over the last few days, fog on Hungary's Great Plain has been thick enough to make the front gate and wall vanish several times. Whereas, back in Britain it seems that the local pub one minute's walk from my still-unsold house in The Yorkshire Valley currently looks like this. I expect Calderdale Council are blaming the six-month-old national government for the floods that have occurred every 9 or 10 years in their valley for centuries.

December 25th; Christmas Day. Restful time in the countryside. Lovely lunch centres around The Retrieved Salmon. Suddenly returning to tradition, Letty's absence today means we will open presents tomorrow, Boxing Day, for the first time. A few days ago it came to me where I'd seen Donald Trump before, in his innocent younger days before he became a property developer. The Special Relationship made clear.
December 24th; Christmas Eve. Robin, Zsuzsi, Letty, Bela, & Gio from Rio pick me up in the early afternoon for the drive down to the Great Plain. As we travel out, the roads get mistier. Once in Tiszainoka, it emerges that someone forgot to pack the fresh salmon, which is therefore back in the flat in Budapest, going off. After dark, Robin & I drive back to Budapest through rapidly thickening fog to pick it up, returning to the countryside a second time, quite a long round trip. As we stop off to refill during the second trip out to the Great Plain, I chat briefly with the strikingly pretty & cheerful brunette at the till of a petrol station. As it becomes clear we are now leaving her, she suddenly gives us a jaunty mock salute, switching into English to say "So--- have a nice life!". I think this means "I suppose you have no intention of even trying to meet me again - or you're just too slow-witted to seize the moment?" although one never knows for sure, of course.

December 23rd; Wednesday. Some firms now stop folk they sue from countersuing.
December 22nd; Tuesday. Creepy new level of social manipulation: very disturbing online game in China.

December 21st; Monday. Feeling of turning a corner: let's see if it's real. 'Turn on the Smoke Machine', by Ursula 1000 remixed (always so complicated) by Fort Knox Five. Taken from a radio show by the St. Petersburg girl, though not this recent one #357, best in a couple of months.
December 20th; Sunday. Darker winter days since the corner office block and shopping centre cut down the sunshine angle. Here's a .pdf explaining in detail some fairly intractable problems with renewable energy. A rather depressing interview with a spry old German/British modernist painter. A curious article about a forgotten interwar British scout-like movement. Via the ever-alert Zoe, a bullet-pointy list of 52 facts some Silicon Valley bod who knows Bruce Sterling thinks are quirkily enlightening: 3 or 4 have value.

December 19th; Saturday. Dear oh dear. Calderdale Council really deserve to have their bottoms spanked. An interesting article which tackles free will, as I've been advocating for many years, from the animal direction, shorn of its theological and anti-theological baggage.
December 18th; Friday. And the big question: are books becoming longer?

December 17th; Thursday. French cheeses are under threat, it seems.
December 16th; Wednesday. Fax machines & printers use secret yellow dots; Russian propaganda channel claims the US can now legally create propaganda for US citizens; + a new encryption method a lot like the one I outlined to Sir John et al a year ago for phones with no metadata.

December 15th; Tuesday. The Geography Teacher and his krypto-party?
December 14th; Monday. Getting chilly in more ways than one. Nicely-written article about the dark mistake of interwar antisnobbery.

December 13th; Sunday. Chat with Mohammad about the stranger things in life. Is Jersey in trouble?
December 12th; Saturday. Interesting interview with a Republican moderate in Northern Ireland. Mallon is senior in the SDLP movement that (perhaps naively) gave Sinn Fein their current political respectability without ever having used violence themselves. He emerges as dignified and humane.

December 11th; Friday. Getting dark early, though I suppose December 21st isn't far away. Stephen Wolfram, who can't quite resist mentioning himself a lot, nonetheless writes a careful, well-researched essay about two important Victorians. Feels like he gets close to pinning down the real relationship between mechanical-computer-builder Charles Babbage and Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace (recently rediscovered as possibly the world's first ever computer programmer).
December 10th; Thursday. Dull weather here in Budapest. A couple of people are urging me to write an in-depth book on gold-digger femme-fatale types. Two others are saying no, don't.

December 9th; Wednesday. Amusing global-strategist profile: Edward Luttwak.
December 8th; Tuesday. Woman stabbed at art fair: onlookers think it's an art work.

December 7th; Monday. A relative oldie from a decade ago, a song which (still) raises the obvious question: what is it actually about? Camille Jones 'Creeps' versions one, two, & three certainly have in common bits of a visually striking video, a fidgety insistent sound, and the sense it's about something compelling & important ---but what? Insomnia? Nightmares? Ghosts? Being a single woman in New York? Urban angst in general? Feeling addicted to, yet trapped within, The Horror of The Dance Club? // Answers on a postcard, please.
December 6th; Sunday. Britain's Labour party perhaps losing touch with public opinion in opposition (in chart, DK = Don't Know). Meanwhile here, 3 or 4 days ago kittenish blonde from recently-closed cafe popped up again on far side of town.

December 5th; Saturday. Interesting map of drone-operating bases within Africa.
December 4th; Friday. Last night a couple of months of boxed covering came off a large-looking store inside Corvin Plaza, with giant backlit photo of stern-looking mannequin in outdoor clothing from floor to ceiling. Around midnight a girl with a luminous chartreuse jacket was photographing the workmen taking the casing off the big picture. Being dressed for the moment creates moments of its own.

December 3rd; Thursday. Quite intelligent talk-with-whiteboard: how women can acquire magnetic sexual power over men, narrated by a bubbly Slav girl (Bulgarian?) with curves & spectacles. One friend used to call this the Porn Librarian look. A woman talking frankly about the importance of presents: always funny to hear the advice they give each other about us.
December 2nd; Wednesday. Excellently odd film about multi-dimensional time. Like many, I've wondered this: why just one dimension? Cue stolid Russian researchers with touching faith in the maths, who - to tourist-ministry music - are soon deep in the Slav forest dropping metal weights down a tower to measure peturbations in other time dimensions with their instruments. Unmissable.

December 1st; Tuesday. Coffee & tea with Publisher John.

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