August 31st; Tuesday.
The last couple of days of August have actually been a bit chilly. Not even mildly cool, but
suddenly verging on uncomfortable, cold, pullover-worthy. Truly,
August 30th; Monday.
Finish Tam's tutorial book, English-language version, 'Technical Modeling with
OpenSCAD', written with lots of examples, handy tips,
clear diagrams in sunflower yellow, and a jolly tone which I can now recognise as Tam's voice.
Other reviewers are positive too, and there are a few
Have not yet done the exercises - the usual bit readers of how-to books leave out, including this
reader - but I'm at least imagining practical implementation.
August 29th; Sunday.
Day watching television. Jessica and I watch the 'Pickle Rick' episode of Rick & Morty, in which the mad
scientist in the garage turns himself into a pickled gherkin. Then we watch the documentary
Four' where director Laura Poitras films Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald in a
Hong Kong hotel bedroom in the days Snowden's escape from the US becomes public.
August 28th; Saturday.
Over at Filmmaker Jessica's for a lovely dinner. She introduces me finally to the Rick & Morty show, including
the famous where-are-my-testicles?
episode Andras recommended me last year. I feel I've leapfrogged South Park and Family Guy
and am now updated on ironic cartoon shows for grown-ups.
August 27th; Friday.
An enjoyable letter from Budapest by British/Hungarian author Tibor Fischer writing in May.
August 26th; Thursday.
Most years the whole of August is stiflingly warm, and then cooler autumnal weather begins, almost
like clockwork, on either August 20th or
the day after. This year cooler weather and some rain started 10 days ahead.
Warm and cool days intermingled up until the Istvan/Stephen coronation holiday.
August 25th; Wednesday. A low-key
article in the Spectator by a woman says covid-19 vaccinations are affecting her and other women's
Robert Malone, one of the researchers who helped create the
mRNA vaccine technique, chats with Steve Bannon and someone else in a show with the
rather overblown title 'The War Room' (featuring a graphic of some burning stuff). However, the
details of the interview are valuable. The basic point is that widespread vaccination early in an
epidemic makes it more likely the virus will develop immunity to vaccines and evolve into more
dangerous variants, than if
the Swedish example (and that originally of Boris Johnson) had been followed.
One of our contributors, Zero Hedge (aka Tyler Durden), reports that Spain's
Supreme Court is banning use of 'vaccine passorts' to control access to public spaces.
At least they are in Spain. This same policy - not banned, in contrast vigorously enforced - is still
causing giant demonstrations all across France, Germany, and Italy, so my French, German, and Italian
August 24th; Tuesday.
Article from last month about
leftists rewriting Spanish history,
specifically rewriting the massacres that led up to General Franco's putsch against and war
against the left-of-centre government that ruled for several months in 1936.
August 23rd; Monday.
Interesting item from last month's New Statesman,
an interview with a pro-EU Tory who says Remainers must accept that they lost the
vote in 2016, showing how deeply confused and out of touch even the pragmatic anti-Brexit
wombles are. His yearning to again one day suckle at the euro-nipple is tangible throughout the piece.
August 22nd; Sunday.
documentary I might be editing the subtitles of - dark and absurd by turns - about
some mass murders in Budapest's 12th district during World War 2. It hinges on a commemorative statue
(of a mythical bird, the turul, a bit like a Hungarian version of the phoenix) five decades later put
very close to the site of the murders. Astonishing to say, the plaque under the big bird listed
the names of both some victims and some perpetrators of those murders who then died elsewhere.
It generated a bitter political quarrel which still rumbles on today. The central tragi-comic character
is the 12th-district mayor, who
(1) allowed the statue to be built in the early 2000s,
(2) apparently did not know at that time that his own grandfather was part of a lynch mob
rounding up and killing Jewish civilians near that site in 1944, and
(3) whose father (son of the grandfather of course) worked as a long-term informant for
the state-socialist dictatorship that ruled Hungary in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Truth really is stranger than fiction.
August 21st; Saturday.
A curious claim that those who vaccinated early are at
'increased risk' of severe disease.
August 20th; Friday.
Several of my students refer to today as
Hungary's birthday - which is a sweet way to describe it.
It commemorates the crowning of King (also Saint) Stephen, the country's first Christian king, in 1000 AD.
Rather lovely firework display along the riverbanks which I watch from Jessica's rooftop with Jessica & her
August 19th; Thursday.
abandoning Afghanistan continue.
August 18th; Wednesday. Over at
Filmmaker Jessica to watch the film 'Predestination' on her big screen. A 2014
movie about time travel which Jessica convincingly argues is really about loneliness.
August 17th; Tuesday. Seems
the comedy horror film I played a small role
in 2 days in May is now public.
August 16th; Monday.
Thorough piece on Edward Said's invented exile - seemingly from next month. Plus (also from next month) a
fascinating article on Marcuse by Anthony Daniels.
August 15th; Sunday.
Thought-provoking Unherd article about Mann's novel
August 14th; Saturday.
US withdrawal from Afghanistan gets people finally criticising Sleepy Joe.
August 13th; Friday.
Peer-reviewed journals, once the core of western science, have been
corrupted by Chinese ownership.
China attacks new covid-19 investigation looking outside Peking's favoured origin story.
Meanwhile, one of the founders of self-appointed "fact checkers" Snopes.com has been
August 12th; Thursday.
Interesting claim: Detroit vote-processing computers are
August 11th; Wednesday.
Over at Filmmaker Jessica's where we watch a fascinating documentary about John
'Milius', whose name
I didn't know. This was the
screenwriter so instinctive he could help Spielberg with 'Jaws', a film he wasn't working on,
by just dictating an extra couple of pages of crucial dialogue down the phone. The man who
wrote 'Conan the Barbarian' & 'Apocalypse Now'.
August 10th; Tuesday.
Interesting 6-month-old February article claiming mortality from covid-19 in Israel is multiples
among the vaccinated than among the unvaccinated.
August 9th; Monday.
The United Nations predict global
doom for 50 years straight.
August 8th; Sunday.
More on French demonstrations against
covid-19 passes being compulsory to go to a cafe or restaurant.
August 7th; Saturday.
Apparently the fourth weekend in a row that protestors opposing compulsory covid-19-vaccination
ID cards in France have gathered in public to tell
Mr Macron where to get off.
August 6th; Friday.
Last night slept 13 hours. Probably needed that. Today finish Robin's copy of Norman Stone's
A Short History'. Stone tidily skips through ten centuries,
revealing along the way
(he worked happily for many years at a Turkish university) that he likes the people and their
civilisation. Stone's command of some of the region's languages seems good.
His particular concern to explain the Armenian genocide as the result of
provocative Armenian nationalism seems to miss a crucial point though. Whether the Turks
should have been there in the first place, and how the Eastern Roman Empire might have
developed absent several centuries of predatory wars by Islam is left unexamined. The ethnic
cleansing of Muslims out of Crete or the rest of Greece - as soon as the Ottomans were
sufficiently weak to make it possible - is narrated rather as if it had been a constructive idea
for them to overrun the Balkan peninsula in the first place. Instead we shift quite soon
to the viewpoint where Islam is the de facto empire of the region, and the historian is instead
asking why did that by-then peaceful empire have to be dismantled? Byzantium can be
weak and corrupt and in need of new management, but not a thousand years later the descendents
of the Seljuk Turks when it's their turn to be attacked and broken up?
Stone's prose style is good, crisply moving along without getting lost in digressions or
over-detailed speculation. Amusing facts are injected on the fly, and the rhythm of the text
is witty and show him as the raconteur he was in real life. This brisk style helps to drive a
clean, straight narrative, but is also how the whole question of what the Ottoman Empire
added to Europe or did to damage history gets dodged. Stone's funeral service in Budapest
(which I attended but didn't write up) mentioned that Stone was a devoted & pious Anglican
church-goer, which also jars slightly with his fond acceptance of Turkey's centuries of political
domination of south-eastern Europe.
The book ends with mention of the democratically elected Islamist politician Recep Erdogan,
but without quoting Erdogan's eerie remark that "democracy is like a
train - you take it to where you want to go, and then you get off."
Stone mentions several Turks who "played a long game"
in their political careers. Erdogan's fake coup of 2015 came just after this book's
publication in 2014 (I asked Norman over some beers at the time what he thought Erdogan was
doing, and he didn't really answer). The five years of Erdogan's career immediately after
the historian finished off this quick, disciplined book negate many of the positive
conclusions. Stone seems to have seen the Turks as not a fanatical people: he writes as if
Islamist Turks are a kind of abberation, not the very essence of that culture. In the next
few years to come, Erdogan and his heirs may yet show this whole book up as misconceived.
August 5th; Thursday. That
whole 2-hour club DJ set by the desperately-serious
Solomun. This set ends with the slightly poignant moment
August 4th; Wednesday. A
Public Domain Review article about
Bell Pettigrew's wonderfully eccentric - and gorgeously illustrated - 1908 ideas about 'spiralism'.
August 3rd; Tuesday. The BMJ asks why
so many African
leaders die of covid-19?
August 2nd; Monday. Unusual electronics
account on Instagram everyone should have a
August 1st; Sunday.
Interesting piece about the ten-year wager between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich, and Ehrlich's
reputation mysteriously surviving his decades of hysterically forecasting
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
markgriffith at yahoo.com