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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 09:21:57 AM EST) Reading, Steam, Recycling, Museums, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Reading: A History of Britain, Jonathan Livingston Trafalgar Square Pigeon.

Poll: Best recent Home Secretary?



What I'm Reading
Finished the audiobook of A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? - 3000BC -AD 1603 by Simon Schama. Very good popular history. Based on a TV series, but it doesn't show too much except for the regular digressions into elaborate descriptions of architecture and paintings; obviously used to give the camera something to point at. Also a little bit erratic in what it covers: skims over things like the Wars of the Roses, pre-Roman Britain, and big chunks of Scottish history.

Still, written very accessibly with wit and a degree of passion. Informative, and manages to tell a good story without getting too teleological or Whig historyish.

Found it pretty much the ideal commuting audiobook: it's lucid, diverting and very easy to pick up where you left off.

What I'm Reading 2
Finished short spoof Jonathan Livingston Trafalgar Square Pigeon. Quite amusing if you've read the original, accurate even down to the black and white photos and vaguely sanctimonious text.

Steam
It was just the seasonality thing: have managed to get some garden peas in the pod from Tesco. Quite nice, but peas freeze very well, so there's not a huge jump in quality when you go for the fresh-shelled kind.

Got some broad beans still in the pods though, and that made a huge difference. When freshly podded they taste crisper, cleaner, tangier.

Recycling
So, the compost bins have arrived in our area. Strangely, the leaflet says that you can recycle cooked food and bones. In fact it says "food waste" not composting: maybe they're actually incinerating it instead. The really bad stink from the giant compost heaps in the park has receded, though you do get a bit of a pong occasionally when you walk past. Haven't actually seen the heaps lately though: maybe they've just stopped composting there.

The bins seem OK. They're pretty small, which is OK for me, but a big family might be generating more waste. They seem pretty pest-resistent if you use them properly: pull the handle all the way down at the front and a section of the hinge locks the lid in place. Don't think a rat would be strong enough or a fox dexterous enough to get it open. There were no instructions though: hope people don't use them and leave them unsecured.

Boxes   Hinge

Museums
Went to see the Howard Hodgkin exhibition at Tate Britain. Big exhibition of semi-representational paintings by a British artist: broad brushstrokes and careful colours give effects that are sometimes crude, sometimes uncannily accurate like the Bombay skylines. Cool, no children, uncrowded. Pretty big exhibition.

Forgot to visit the sculpture garden, but saw a few of the things-on-top-of-other-things sculptures in the main hall.

Also had a look at the strandbeests in Trafalgar square. Not much wind, and they were mostly pretty motionless except for one being pushed around by kids, but it's definitely unsettling when the wind takes one and it starts rattling along. Interesting.

What I'm Watching
Saw the classic TV satire Network. Made in 1976, but feels more dated than that. The filming style is 1970s with naturalistic tracking, but the dialogue has a 1950s style: very unnatural with people delivering long, affected speeches at each other all the time.

Has some good moments, like the brilliant scene where the communist guerillas start haggling over their contract. Overall it gets a bit too preachy though. Think it suffers from the usual problems of prophecy: what it gets right (network TV dumbing down, angry ranting dominating TV) seems obvious, and what it gets wrong seems absurd (angry ranting actually being productive). Nicely cynical in the way the system co-opts everyone who thinks he's against it though. #94B2A4 (Red=entertainment,green=originality,blue=intelligence).

It made #2 on the Onion AV club's Classic movies it's OK to hate.

Web
Heinlein-style tesseract house in Second Life.

Did Charles Clarke suffer for his liberal instincts?

Unlikely-sounding unsourced rumour: Gordon Brown to denationalize NHS?

< Things | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
I am not a crook | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
If you want to see a by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 09:39:46 AM EST
great movie about media, celebrity, power, corruption I can't recommend A Face In The Crowd highly enough. Made in the 50's it seems a lot more modern than Network did.

Schama is an infamous Jock-basher by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 10:13:27 AM EST
Not that we don't deserve it, mind, but it does bug me a little when Jockish history is skimmed over as a brief list of King Angus McSporrans and how they were all soundly thrashed by Edward the Lionheart.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Made for TV by ks1178 (4.00 / 3) #3 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:15:08 PM EST
So obviously they probably assummed that anyone interested in TV documentaries is probably already familiar with the great historical documentary Braveheart, and are therfore already well versed in Scottish History.

[ Parent ]
Hubby has had to go and lie down by Farmgirl (4.00 / 7) #4 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:23:47 PM EST
He'll be back after the lithium kicks in.

I can't be bothered to change this sig.
[ Parent ]
Scotland's contribution to history is staggering by Herring (4.00 / 5) #5 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 12:23:54 PM EST
No, wait. I've done that joke before and quite recently I think.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
[ Parent ]
hey man, history is written by the WINNERS -nt- by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 03:45:40 PM EST


[ Parent ]
that's ok by martingale (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 04:55:17 PM EST
no, really! There's nothing wrong with being soundly thrashed by a Frenchman.
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Pop quiz by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:05:03 AM EST
What is the only country that Britain has ever surrendered to?

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
what is this? by martingale (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:12:38 AM EST
a trick question? 1066 and all that!
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
Britain by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:21:02 AM EST
Despite what you may have heard, England is not all of Britain.  What country has the United Kingdom of Great Britain surrendered to and when?

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Is this post the act of union of 1707? by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:27:18 AM EST
If not, I would say United Provinces Of The Netherlands in the Glorious coup Revolution of 1688 when William of Orange came to throne and there was Dutch Invasion.

Post 1707, can't think of any apart from possibly a local surrender to the USA in 1783???

[ Parent ]
singapore? by martingale (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:36:59 AM EST
Didn't Britain surrender to the Japanese in Singapore?
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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
It's arguable by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:48:11 AM EST
Wavell and Percival were clearly disobeying orders by folding like a couple of cheap deckchairs, and the surrender of the army and the city were done in the context of an ongoing war (not that we really fought much more of it down there).

The surrender at Yorktown was different in that it effectively ended the war by forcing the British government to begin peace negotiations.  That surrender, by the way, was to the Frogs.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

[ Parent ]
you ba^tard [n/t] by martingale (2.00 / 0) #20 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:53:08 AM EST

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$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
My guess by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:49:06 AM EST
Britain by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #13 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:26:40 AM EST
As in Wales?

[ Parent ]
Don't be silly by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:38:32 AM EST
Wales is part of England.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Precisely by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 02:06:34 AM EST
Since they surrendered.

[ Parent ]
supermarket fresh peas by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:35:38 PM EST
If you compare the journey time the fresh peas took to get to market, and that the frozen ones can be frozen practically on site at harvesting, I'm not sure the former are worth the bother.

Not that I even eat peas, mind.

Peas by R Mutt (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:49:23 PM EST
Don't really degrade fast until they're removed from the pod. Then they lose their flavour very very fast.

I think the thing about fresh peas is that trendy or even moderately fashionable food is mostly Mediterranean or Asian. Peas don't grow well in warm temperatures, so they're not used much in those cuisines. So if you want nice peas you've pretty much got to cook them at home.

[ Parent ]
Poll anomoly by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jun 28, 2006 at 01:26:47 AM EST
I'm the one who clicked Charles Clarke, I ticked him by mistake along with Jack Straw.

I put an entire watermelon in our compost bin once to see what happened. It was disgusting.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

I am not a crook | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback