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December 7th; Friday. 5-year-old piece on de Quincey's 1849 farewell to express mail coaches.

December 6th; Thursday. The Guardian, bless its cotton socks, gives space to a Cambridge politics don who suggests 6-year-olds get the vote. I remember the SPS students.
December 5th; Wednesday. Britain develops pre-crime software. What could possibly go wrong?

December 4th; Tuesday. First she was warned the EU would use the Ulster border trick. Now the Commons is onto May's deception (blocked by Safari?).
December 3rd; Monday. Non-stick frying-pans can shorten your stick

December 2nd; Sunday. Some days chilly, some days quite mild. People in high-viz jackets (blocked by Safari?) seem to be rioting in Paris. Much of it seems to be against Teacher's (blocked by Safari?) Pet. But he shall rule like a Roman God!
December 1st; Saturday. Times article (reg wall) says PM May was warned by attorney general about Irish-border EU trick.

November 30th; Friday. Tasteful 'My New Vagina' confessional. Autonomous vehicles will lead to more sex in cars, say sex-in-cars boffins. Parasitologists claim cat owners more likely to be subs.
November 29th; Thursday. Apparently, Himmler's daughter was a secretary for West German spies.

November 28th; Wednesday. Science deniers: who hates evolution now?
November 27th; Tuesday. US military seeks funds for EMF zap thing.

November 26th; Monday. Pro-EU sedition & hysteria continue.
November 25th; Sunday. A coffee with Folklore Edina as Robin & I drive out to Szeleveny towards dusk. Soothing emptiness in the one cafe, a single long dark room of tables and chairs. Three farmworkers drink quietly at the bar right at the other end. Light slowly drains out of a cloudy sky outside.

November 24th; Saturday. After we drive out, a fascinating evening in Robin's countryside kitchen, hearing goatherd Laszlo explaining his Bela-Hamvas-influenced worldview of ancient tradition, Christianity, the Great Chain of Being, and the transcendent. Only science disturbs his serene perspective.
November 23rd; Friday. How the USSR stoked the Arab/Israeli conflict. Good to see Pavel still writing.

November 22nd; Thursday. Frizzy-blonde-haired Hungarian masseuse Icu is again in a room upstairs at the firm on Crypto Hill, easing back pain for whoever asks. I interpret for her when the petite high-profile investment-marketer Barbara from Switzerland, speaking only English & German, wants strained muscles in one arm eased. Icu needs some cream: for want of anything else I bring margarine from the fridge. Barbara cheerfully says it's absolutely fine - she'll wash it off later. I remark that everyone in the company is anxious to butter Barbara up but in the end it's Icu who actually does it. Barbara laughs heartily, and Icu, not following the joke, smiles earnestly.
November 21st; Wednesday. Again, that blue-tinted bit of feedback-smothered moany melancholic electronica. Do the band's Sad-Rabbit costumes redeem the tune?

November 20th; Tuesday. Electricity back on in Michael's flat. About a fortnight ago he played me this interesting snatch of German Parliament with English subtitles. The AfD woman is lucid, reasonable, not remotely 'extreme'. "Instead of humbly acknowledging the result of a democratic referendum in a partner country and asking if you were to blame, Brussels was at once united. An example must be made. Britain must be punished. That is your policy."
November 19th; Monday and morning light comes through cracks in the wooden shutters on the window of Robin's spare room. Four nights of good sleep have energised me. When you wake out of the dream journey, it should be like this - like easing to a halt in an expensive vehicle, slipping through the gears as it purrs to stop. Rested, crisp, alert, ready to rise from the bed.

November 18th; Sunday. I sleep another night on Film-Maker Jessica's sofa and we chat of this and that. World's largest skyscraper (more accurately a 'groundscraper' as someone points out) will dangle upside-down from an asteroid? Nifty!
November 17th; Saturday. Over at Jessica's I finally persuade her into us both watching the 1940s original version of 'The Cat People'. Though the plot is flawed in some places, and some of the dialogue is not quite believable, it's a powerful fantasy (about an East European woman), wonderfully evoked with suggestion and shadow. A couple of moments are perfectly judged: our dashing atheistic modern man of science, a handsomely tweedy engineer trapped in a night-time drafting room, picks up a set square to defend himself from the supernatural beast. Doing this accidentally casts the shadow on the wall of the holy cross in the light from an underlit work surface. The subtext about sex & animality is a proper subtext. The black-and-white film's sharp visual definition and the characters' stilted courtesy they think is hip & fresh captures an old-fashioned fragility about modernity.

November 16th; Friday. Wake up in Robin's flat's spare room ready for a high-octane Friday. Typical word lengths in several languages: a handy chart.
November 15th; Thursday. A big conference on Crypto Hill with investment and marketing people. A masseuse called Icu (Itsoo) is there in a room upstairs for anyone with back pain. She kindly works on my painful shoulders, declaring I have not ripped any tendons or shoulder-cuff stuff. No, only two dense knots of muscle, she declares, forcing them out partly with her knuckles, recommending I must follow up with more sessions. I get back into town to find flat dark and a note on door from Michael saying the power has been cut off and the electricity meter removed.

November 14th; Wednesday. Resource for taking on large organisations.
November 13th; Tuesday. Troubled day. The worst year was AD 536? Dinner with jolly Zoe & Mark in the evening relieves the pressure a little.

November 12th; Monday. A week or two ago, I was walking through some woods, wet leaf mould aroma in the air and piles of vivid yellow or orange leaves sitting in mist under the frosty trees, when a car pulled past, the driver waving at me. It was a rather dishy business contact, and as she parked I walked round to her car door. I looked down into the car as we chatted. She was sitting in the driving seat batting long eyelashes, putting high-heeled shoes on for her office. This act forced her to squirm in her seat, her frock riding up her thighs to show lacy stocking tops for a few seconds before she casually brushed her skirt back down. A charming moment, strangely Victorian.
Fascinating piece about how the Mesmer scandal originated double-blind studies.
November 11th; Sunday. Armstice Day. 5 things Marx wanted to abolish.

November 10th; Saturday. Daily Mirror announces the End Times.
November 9th; Friday. Two months since Robin got the news that Piera in a fit of despair a day or two earlier threw herself off her Italian balcony on her birthday and died. That was the weekend he decided to drive out through Slovenia to attend her funeral just on the Italian side of the Slovene border, picking up Gio from Rio at Ljubljana airport.

November 8th; Thursday. A poetically horrible article: a woman explains why I no longer phone my mother. The New Left! Via Diane & Anthony.
November 7th; Wednesday. Brewery trying to make money to brew beer using a specific Czech girl's vaginal yeast. Yummy! Scroll down for the promotional video's wonderfully just-off English.

November 6th; Tuesday. More panpsychism: perhaps consciousness is a frequency effect?
November 5th; Monday. A UN statistical body reports that Britain was the world's second highest destination for foreign investment, second only to China, first half of 2018: Brexit still "complete disaster" for business confidence then. The Guy Fawkes celebration of traitors foiled more topical than ever.

November 4th; Sunday. Based on observed acceleration, some astronomers suggest an alien light sail just passed through the solar system.
November 3rd; Saturday. Apparently lots of Islamic computer hackers are "obsessed with gay porn" and sending each other pictures of their todgers.

November 2nd; Friday. Portugal, our oldest ally, breaking ranks with euroweasels?
November 1st; Thursday. In the end, don't take Michael down to the cemetery by night to see this year's candlelit Day of the Dead. Instead we stay in, nattering. Meanwhile, here's a lawyer discussing Trump's wish to abolish birthright citizenship.

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.


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


.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
.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


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

October 31st; Wednesday. A few days ago was at the pricey city-centre supermarket nearby in the evening. The pastry counter is not manned most of the time, so I call out "Good day!" in a hopeful voice, hoping someone in the back corridor the counter is linked to will hear. Another customer, a big-shouldered older Hungarian man in a long coat with twinkly humorous eyes, glances over and corrects me. He murmurs "Morning" with the object ending: "Reggelt". He's effectively saying "Good morning, you mean!", suggesting with one word the staff are all asleep. Not having heard him, the shop woman appears bristling. She glares at us blackly as he cheerfully asks for this and that pastry. She can feel he is genially mocking her, sharing some private joke with me. She's all the more livid for not quite being sure what the joke is. On the topic of jokes, a child at a school in England asks social media "Why is there a 30-year-old man in our maths class?"
October 30th; Tuesday. Old 2017 article seriously suggests secret ballot should be abolished to stop people voting for Trump.

October 29th; Monday. Perhaps one of the small, yet also big, changes over the last few months has been a switch on my part to grapefruit-flavoured toothpaste. No pricier than the normal kind. Not sure what the homeopathic bit does.
October 28th; Sunday. Utilitarian-by-default asks should autonomous cars kill babies or grandmothers. Fascinating to see quite bright people totally missing the point.

October 27th; Saturday. A couple of weeks ago, before Michael's return from South Africa, curious noises sometimes echoed round the empty flat at night. Many times I woke up convinced someone else was in the other room, only slowly realising that creaking floorboards and sounds of footsteps were from other flats up through the ceiling or nearby on this floor. For several days a Russian couple with an enormous blonde-haired toddler boy they clearly adored were in the next-door apartment. I still have trouble guessing children's ages but this could have been a vastly-enlarged child of 14 or 15 months or a very placid, infant-like 2-year-old. I met him one day with his happy parents and tried to greet the good-looking child. Huge Baby regarded me in silence with regal calm, almost princely indifference. Sometimes that week through the wall I'd hear him saying isolated syllables at different times of day or night, not urgent or angry or whining. Rather than that, he would pronounce firm, clear opinions on new things he encountered each day in the world around him, declaiming: "Boof!", "Zhu?", "Gnn!", "Fimp?", "Zubzub". It was like Adam naming the animals.
Echoey tune, rather self-consciously meant to be haunting with bittersweet photo - partly succeeds: The Trip.
October 26th; Friday. Cloudy overcast day with some shafts of autumn sunshine. Woman police officer in New York angrily stuffs her panties into a male colleague's mouth because he was criticising her.

October 25th; Thursday. Back on the crypto hill where, after climbing upwards a thick fog appears two bus stops from the end, as if a cloud is sitting precisely on top of the leafy Normafa mount. I step out into it, the closest thing to Scotch mist I've seen outside Scotland: a mass of tiny hovering raindrops wandering around looking for things to wet.
A reasonable article about Cultural Marxism, followed by an article heavily under the influence of Cultural Marxism. The interesting thing about the second piece is that it's by Mark Zuckerberg's sister. She seems to feel anyone she dislikes invoking ancient Greece or Rome is underhand and wicked.
October 24th; Wednesday. Two films about Yukio Mishima, the popular Japanese novelist who in 1970 tried to mount a military coup against his country's government, and then cut his stomach open when soldiers in the barracks refused to join his putsch. The more recent first interviews two Americans with thoughtful things to say about Mishima's novels and his politics, and the second is a BBC Arena programme from the 1980s.

October 23rd; Tuesday. Hungary commemorates the mass demonstrations in 1956 that intimidated Soviet military divisions into leaving the country for a fortnight. Robin throws a small party to mark the day. Some policemen try to make me pay to enter his street, but an older officer realises I'm not lying and escorts me to the door of Robin's building. The small party themed around cheese and sausages takes advantage of him having a balcony about fifty yards from where Viktor Orban speaks to the crowd just outside the old secret-police torture chambers. After the historic moment has passed and we can concentrate on eating and drinking, I read some Tarot spreads for Makeda & Erika.
October 22nd; Monday. Startlingly, the Saudis now seem to agree that pro-Muslim-Brotherhood journalist Mr Kashoggi disappeared in their Istanbul Consulate under less-than-wholesome circumstances. Our contributors zerohedge have news of a strange car crash related to the incident.

October 21st; Sunday. Some natter about how we now have assassination markets.
October 20th; Saturday. A few days before Michael got back the other week, I felt a strange warmth in the flat and went round turning off the radiators. A curious chugging sound began in his windowless bathroom, as if the building was slowly steaming north and a ship's engine were hidden somewhere throbbing behind the tiled walls. Turns out I switched on an extractor fan for several days. Here's a slightly snarky piece called Survival of the Richest. Not so much left-wing in tone, as simply assuming that everyone reading it is left-wing as a matter of course.

October 19th; Friday. Intriguing fringe-science moment from online contact Dave. Today bringing you Exotic Vacuum Object Generation.
October 18th; Thursday. Lurid tale of a screaming journalist being dismembered alive with a bone saw inside a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

October 17th; Wednesday. Clever new thin lens.
October 16th; Tuesday. Back at the start-up firm in the Buda Hills. Lots of tasty pastry in the kitchen there. Meanwhile, outside the East Bloc, here are some women who got themselves a feminist look. Exercise for the reader, identify the one woman where the After pic looks better than the Before.

October 15th; Monday. Curious, plausible claim that power harms people's brains.
October 14th; Sunday. Intriguing New York Times archive piece on the rising star of then office-block developer Donald Trump, reprinted exactly as it first appeared in the 1980s. Startled by the sheer mass of typos - at least 40 spelling mistakes. "All the news that's fit to misprint" might be a better motto judging by this article.

October 13th; Saturday. Not so much sex with the cow as the miniature horse detail that struck me.
October 12th; Friday. Interesting piece about the revolving public/private door that EU commissioners go through. Not that working for Brussels is really "public sector". Something more sui generis - working for the meta-state? Fairly early in morning pick up exhausted Michael from airport, after his overnight flight from Johannesburg via Istanbul. I'm in a parked bus asking the driver about tickets back to town when I notice Michael is outside being helped up by a stranger, his suitcase having toppled off the kerb. A very weary thin smile creeps across the lemon-like face of the bus driver as he gazes down on the small mishap in front of his vehicle.

October 11th; Thursday. Discussion of BBC climate-crisis bias.
October 10th; Wednesday. Finally someone says the totally obvious about driverless cars - they'll be weaponised.

October 9th; Tuesday. Finished the Erle Stanley Gardner book I bought secondhand in the ugly sunken 1960s disc of concrete shops next to the Southern Railway Station last week. Doubly interesting because it is a mid-1960s British Penguin paperback in good condition with a price in shillings and pence (not cover shown!), and (although I'm sure I read at least one Erle Stanley Gardner sleuthing thriller while chugging through my mother's detective-novel collection) it was a mystery featuring his lawyer hero Perry Mason. I don't believe I ever read a Perry Mason story before. That name's overlaid in my memory by snatches of some 1960s TV series about that character, as a sort of silver-haired solid-chested smoothie moving in the world of commercial jet airlines and chunky desk phones with buttons. I can remember as a boy being startled to find, after watching Roger Moore on black-and-white television as 'The Saint' flirting with sexily sinister girls in mini-skirts, and then borrowing some of the stories from the public library, that Charteris was writing them in the 1930s, then a vanished age of antique strangeness for me. The actual written stories often visited tweedy, wood-panelled gentlemen's clubs, and felt halfway back to Sherlock Holmes. Likewise I now find Perry Mason is a prewar literary character. This book originally written around 1938, features people travelling back from Hawai'i on a cruise ship, a journey with at least one night at sea. Most of the English seems almost normal, with the exceptions of one or two passages of slang. That's when it's suddenly clear that nothing goes out of fashion faster than fashion. For example, on page 18: "Oh, she's a kick. She's an observing kid, and chuck full of life. She's modern, impatient of all sham and pretence, and isn't too affected to show enthusiasm. She's as full of bounce as a rubber ball." 'Observing' instead of 'observant' particularly jumps out. Meanwhile, nowadays using the word 'affected' itself sounds like an affectation. From boyhood I have the dim memory, perhaps not him, of reading that Gardner was once put by his publisher in a department-store window prewar with a chair and desk pounding away on a manual typewriter to produce his latest detective novel under the curious eyes of passing shoppers on the street. The puzzle is nicely worked out, but I had the sense in a few places that he'd learned how to write books very quickly. Not quite on autopilot, but something close.
October 8th; Monday. Why do Scots and Welsh nationalists yearn to be absEUrbed?

October 7th; Sunday. Inspiring story: a black teenager from a poor home locates the richest bit of London, and goes up and down streets ringing doorbells, politely asking people there how they got wealthy and what he should do to be like them.
October 6th; Saturday. In the apartment of film-maker Jessica (she is 2 days back from Atlanta) I fail to get her radiator switched on for the winter, but by chance am there exactly when the senate hearings of Judge Kavanaugh finish. Jessica and I listen to the live vote, punctuated by screaming from protestors in the gallery, and then she kindly downloads 'CQ' so we can watch it together on her big screen while munching very tasty Mexican burritos from the late-night stall on the corner. We both agree the film is not so good (she recalled the negative reviews from the time - around 2001 - but didn't tell me so I wouldn't be put off), and the whole shaggy-dog plot of finding an ending for the film-within-the-film mars the film it's within as well. I explain that the bit from the trailer that made me want to see it was a Frenchman in a turtleneck thrusting his face into the camera and saying "What's the story? What's the structEURE? Do you zink you are clevEUR!?" I expected better music. Felt CQ was (at least started out as) an attempt to mix 'Modesty Blaise', 'The Thomas Crown Affair', and 'Blow-Up'. A combo well worth doing if it had even half succeeded.

October 5th; Friday. Seems many people still haven't seen the famous Russian menstrual-hygiene ad.
October 4th; Thursday. I get a super-basic beginner's poker tutorial (I don't even know the card combinations) from kind Eike in the Corvin shopping-mall food court. Perhaps "food attic" is more accurate, since it's the top floor.

October 3rd; Wednesday. With sandpaper & lemon juice, have almost got the stain out of Michael's wooden parquet floor caused by a rubbish bag sitting there and leaking during the 18 nights I was locked out of his flat. The mild fever, coughing, slight snuffle I've had about 2 weeks, soon after getting back into the flat and replacing the broken lock now got me, Gentle Reader might be relieved to learn, to shift off the floor onto the bed, and interrupt the cold-bath regimen.
October 2nd; Tuesday. In almost every large town now, you cannot stand at a kerb waiting to cross the road without standing on an array of little lumps, either from bobbly cement tiles or metal studs poking up through the pavement. While these bobbles are obviously helpful for blind people to know where the edge of the road is, it is a bit odd that now as a matter of course the other 99.5% of the population have to have studs hurting our feet through the soles of our shoes to help the non-seers.
Here's a page for supposedly a new political party in Britain. Seems they are getting no media coverage.

October 1st; Monday. Still only a few weeks ago in late August, was still so hot that I was sometimes going in the middle of the night for an extra cold bath in Michael's bathroom. The bath is half-concealed in a sort of slot at the back, where if no lights are switched on, it's possible to have a bath lit only by the ghostly blue glow of the idling water boiler's pilot flame or signal lamp. Yet during the day, the unlit bathroom looks completely black.
Interesting story of Chinese industrial espionage

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