The beverage "carries a distinct presence of candied fruit and marmalade."
Thursday. Lovely long lunch with Paul, who recommends I read some Stanislav Jaki.
Wednesday. Was it American comedian Chris Rock first pointed out what's odd about Honey Monster's leggy Slovene wife: she constantly looks like she's seen you somewhere before but can't quite remember where?
Tuesday. Disturbing research into spotting criminal faces before a crime is committed, even if hysterically written up.
Monday. Chat with student's father about Runyon short story The Brain Goes Home.
Sunday. 6 days ago on Monday, the Christmas trees reappeared in the shopping centre, alien green cones decked with balls of gold. The sentinels have returned to watch us consume. After the Spanish stall selling numbered perfumes vanished, and that section of floor was empty for a few days, a double-sided stand appeared hung with about 150 leather bags, wallets, and handbags. Warily minding the stock there all day every day is an authentic street-trader type. He has silver hair, steel spectacles, wears a zip-up parka indoors with the fake-fur-lined hood down, and scans the scene with a pair of sharp flinty eyes. He looks just how Britain's greatest 2nd-hand-car salesman of his generation, Bernie Ecclestone, would look after being stretched 6 or 7 inches longer on a mediaeval rack.
Saturday. My first time inside the Literature Museum. With Mihaly & Agi to a screening of Polanski's 1971 version of 'Macbeth' (co-adapted for screen with Kenneth Tynan). It's introduced by a genial British linguist with an interest in Shakespeare and films. He leads a short discussion afterwards, also in English. Before we watch it, this academic's ten-minute run-down of interesting features in the film to know about is excellent. For example, the fact this was Polanski's first film after his 8-months-pregnant wife was butchered by 3 crazed members of the Manson Family cult in 1969, or that a small eerie scene is added at the end, or that he ran out of cash filming on location in Northumbria and had to get emergency funding from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. He also mentions in passing Welles' older film version of the Scottish play, shot entirely on theatrical stage sets, which sounds intriguing. Bit startling to see Keith Chegwin's name in Polanski's cast. Although as Mihaly points out to me in a whisper, the progressive-rock-musician haircuts very much identify the date it was shot. I felt Lady Macbeth was not quite sinister enough. In the discussion afterwards, someone English-sounding in the audience helpfully answers my question about how politically daring the original performance in front of Scots/English king James 1st was. A Hungarian man and a Hungarian woman several rows apart begin to disagree about the nature of Macbeth's villainy. They both show deep sensitivity to, and grasp of, the play in awkward contrast to my sketchy knowledge of Magyar literature (*fidgets*). After sharing wonderful insights, the linguist veers rather off-piste with a suggestion that the Brexit vote, the death of Jo Cox MP, and the election of Trump mark some strange new "post-truth" era when all presumption that politicians should speak truthfully is lost (as if entry into the EEC/EC/EU, never mind All Previous History, didn't mark that point better). I ask him what he thinks the Stalin show trials were, if not "post-truth", but no answer. Handling the hiccup much better than me, the police-state-reared locals tactfully conceal their embarrassment with the parochial visiting Brit, and gently steer him back to what he knows best.
Friday. Lorinc asks about chi & telekinesis.
Thursday. Meet Katarina for coffee.
Wednesday. During her lesson, slightly to my surprise, Zizi coins the phrase "trumping out" to capture the behaviour of some disappointed Clinton supporters. She then suddenly suggests tongue-in-cheek that the election might have been altered in Honey Monster's favour by time-travelling desperadoes coming back from the World-War-3 future in which Hillary won the election. Goodness. We talk for a while about alternative history and timeloops.
Tuesday. A new theory about small children's hide & seek games.
Monday. Robin & I are still both sad and a bit shocked that Sanyi of the Stranded Truck died suddenly a year ago or so, when both of us were preoccupied with other worries. Thin, wiry, cheerful, late 40s, missing some teeth, addicted to nasty black coffee, Sanyi was virtually the only adult on the Great Plain within 15 miles radius of Tiszainoka who never touched alcohol.
Sunday. Beautifully-illustrated piece on the struggles of Leibniz to build a mechanical calculator.
Saturday. Last night slept 10 hours. Annoying grey skies & rain all day. Cross town for coffee with Robin. Late in evening eat fabulous creamy chocolate/mousse/cake-in-pot from Romanian Adina. So intensely chocolatey as to be almost drug-like.
Friday. Last night slept 14 hours. In small hours of Saturday read a strange 1911 book by Rider Haggard 'The Mahatma and the Hare' with some wonderful
Recommended by Troy. Perhaps a source for 1972's 'Watership Down', only with an eerie esoteric component. Haggard says it was a vivid dream he had one night (that changed him), and the blend of local clarity and global vagueness feels authentically dream-like.
Thursday. Unusual day starts with the glamorous Adina hand-delivering her special chocolate cake to me in a cafe straight off the plane from Montreal, and ends with an evening of pizza slices at three interesting data-science presentations with programmer friend.
Wednesday. Read intriguing article recommended by Claudia about the people Piketty calls "supermanagers" and how they ran industry in Nazi Germany. Some interesting parallels with today, but the author's thesis looking strained by the end.
Tuesday. The office-block-building Honey Monster is elected US president in perhaps the strangest campaign of media bias and underhand tricks since ---well since this June.
Monday. A beautiful new gear-transmission mechanism. Elegant.
Sunday. Sad aftermath of the Carlos Castaneda yarn, still being sold as non-fiction.
Saturday. Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot; I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot! Yesterday evening as darkness fell in late afternoon, I once again descended like Gilgamesh into the sprawl of sheds and old warehouses up at the Chinese market district, in search of a herb. In one building the size of an aircraft hangar with steel rails (partly swallowed by old tarmac) set at right angles to the roof there was a huge space of deepening gloom. Only some grey dusk sky showed through a strip of glass roof fifty feet up not changing the blackness. At ground level inside the giant shed a few tiny stores were lit where weary but busy Chinese and Vietnamese people were heaving cardboard boxes of cheap clothes in or out of the backs of vans in the shadows.
Friday. Much excitement in Britain where a High Court judgment rules that the government cannot leave the European Union using royal prerogative (although royal prerogative seemed to be just fine for enacting the Single European Act in the 1980s deepening integration with EU law and enabling some euro-laws to bypass Parliamentary debate). While in 2013 when Britain's government obtained an opt-out from EU Lisbon Treaty provisions, again this move away from EU integration had to be debated in Parliament, not just prerogged into law. British parliamentary involvement seems very important to people who want to slow or modify any disengagement from the EU, yet not the other way round. A pro-federal valve? Odd also that parliamentary sovereignty should (they claim) matter so much to people who believe in the EU integration project and therefore ultimately want Britain's sovereign independence to dissolve smoothly into a larger, nobler eurostate.
Thursday. In the supermarket by day encounter a lass testing her power. Small, with improbably high heels and impossibly slim legs, she is moderately cute looked at coldly. Yet she generates an impressive force field around herself with exaggerated femininity. Deliberately prancing (not quite strutting) slowly around the aisles examining shelves in a vacantly posed way, she emits the classic some-suitable-male-could-flirt-with-me-now vibe at fairly high voltage. Tempted for a moment, I decide against. Something too steely and controlling in the whole presentation - but if this was Britain (or somewhere Nordic) the whole shop would be giggling and mocking her for "taking herself too seriously". Perhaps why there's more unironic sexiness on the Continent: less desperation to always find things funny.
Meanwhile, from the Donald-and-Hillary show, a careful analyst shows that famed pollster 538 has a pro-establishment bias, specifically a pro-Clinton bias. Some agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation seem to be furious with Mrs Clinton. One retired FBI official publicly describes the Clintons as a "crime family", comparing them to the Gambinos. One side is accusing the FBI of outrageously partisan behaviour so close to an election, while the other side accuses the Democrat campaign of politically pressuring the FBI to stop its year-long investigation into alleged abuse of high office by both Clintons. Meanwhile colourful ex-husband of Huma Abedin gets his moment of glory in a Steyn article.
Wednesday. A couple of academic papers to deepen our knowledge: the perilous whiteness of pumpkins / the black anus "as a critical site of pleasure, peril, and curiosity". Lots of peril, suddenly.
Tuesday. Day of the Dead. Nice cheery map of suicide rates across Europe (poor Lithuanians!) Since it increases with closeness to the poles, researchers into people who top themselves used to say Hungary is like a country with the profile of a Nordic nation, but 1,000 miles further from the Arctic. Notice here how perky Britain is, SelbstMord-wise, like a Mediterranean country, but 1,000 miles closer to the Arctic. Every place north of Milan has more suicide than Britain. Upper lip perhaps not so stiff after all.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com