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.
Saturday. Lovely mulled wine with Marion in town. We speak of many things.
Friday. Police officer spends some time chasing himself. Helene mentions the business-card scene in 'American Psycho'.
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.
Wednesday. Second day teaching in Wieselburg. After work finally get wired cash with which to pay guest house. A website interviews Roger Scruton.
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.
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.
Sunday. Intellectually limited dweeb urges more of same thing. Starting with AI-controlled hedge funds. What could possibly go wrong?
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!
Friday. Handy quiz for concerned Muslim plutocrats: Are your wives cheating on you?
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.
Wednesday. Complete next stage with chairs
4. Bit tricky.
Tuesday. Dog wins 7th place in half-marathon by accident.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday. Weather gets milder. Chinese financial markets looking sickly, as our contributors have been predicting for several years.
Wednesday. Deep chill continues, snow on streets. 2 book reviews: an eccentric-sounding novel, and bio essay set on folk who knew Shakespeare.
Tuesday. My city-currencies article up on Aeon. Join in debate, citizens!
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.
Sunday. This 2001 film set in 1970 seems like it might be fun. Trailer fairly well mimics being made in 1970, but not quite.
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.
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.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com