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November 27th; Friday. Finish 'The Third Man Factor'
November 26th; Thursday. Finish 'Chaos'

November 25th; Wednesday. Finish 'Covid-19: The Great Reset'
November 24th; Tuesday.

November 23rd; Monday.
November 22nd; Sunday. The vital topic of 'human pups'.

November 21st; Saturday. Andras returns from the monastery. I finish the curious book of Thackeray essays I found at the mobile book stall in the next street a couple of weeks ago. 'The Book of Snobs' is a compilation of weekly articles (humour about snobbery, unsurprisingly) written for one whole year in Punch magazine and published in book form in 1846. The dark flesh-coloured hardback I now have was republished in 1959 in Moscow by a Soviet Russian firm (The Foreign Languages Publishing House). I dearly wish I could read the 9-page introduction and the 33-page footnotes at the back in Cyrillic Russian, framing and explaining the document laid out in between the two (doubtless described as "bourgeois capitalist"). Hard not to admire the seriousness with which Russians, then and now, struggle to master foreign languages to the degree of familiarising themselves with (in 1959) 100-year-old texts like this. The text between preserves original typesetting, spelling, dotted with 9 or 10 partly-successful humorous drawings from the columns as they appeared, I assume. Would that we would study our own recent past with the reverential earnestness of those Soviet students. Imagine them stoically plodding through these foreign pieces of 1840s British humour and social observation. The occasional mysterious, or just-known, word or term gave it a haunting almost-foreign feel for me.
For example, look at this section: "He had brought them thither in the light-blue fly, waiting at the Club door; with Mrs Chuff's hobbadehoy footboy on the box, by the side of the flyman, in a sham livery. Nelson Collingwood; pretty Mrs Sackville; Mrs Captain Chuff (Mrs Commodore Chuff we call her), were all there; the latter of course, in the vermilion tabinet --" I know a fly is a type of carriage, but 'hobbadehoy' and 'tabinet' were certainly new to me. Poor Soviet language students! Then there are expressions in quite plain English, but with some nuance missing, needing to be deduced.
Such as this, a typical monologue from a club bore giving his inside knowledge of a noblewoman having received a lashing with a knout at the Russian Embassy contains the following: "Why wasn't the Princess Scragamoffsky at Lady Palmerston's party, Minns? Because she can't show [Thackeray's italics] - and why can't she show? Shall I tell you, Minns, why she can't show? The Princess Scragamoffsky's back is flayed alive, Minns - I tell you it's raw, sir! On Tuesday last, at twelve o'clock, three drummers of the Preobajinsk Regiment arrived at Ashburnham House, and at half past twelve, in the yellow drawing room at the Russian Embassy, before the Ambassadress and four ladies'-maids, the Greek Papa, and the Secretary of Embassy, Madame de Scragamoffsky received thirteen dozen. She was knouted, Sir - knouted in the midst of England - for having said the Grand Duchess Olga's hair was red."
The missing nuance would explain what "she can't show" means. It must have been a common phrase every reader would have understood - he uses it three times. From that story I'm guessing it either means the woman cannot "appear at public events" or more precisely cannot "wear a backless dress". My hunch is the second, but of course I don't know. If that was it, the simplicity of the phrase tells us it mattered if a woman was able to show off the beauty of her almost-bare back, that this had social or fashion importance. Gory but fascinating detail - the book is crammed with sentences like this where you can fool yourself you understood, but if truth be told, you can't be sure. The effect is a glimpse of the language just close enough to be familiar, but far enough into the past to have a scent of the alien.
November 20th; Friday. Pick up Schwab's 'Great Reset' book from the bookshop near the cathedral. Recommended by the Nigel of Light, this article about what physicists think particles are is very rewarding & readable.

November 19th; Thursday. Press conference by Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell, and other lawyers explain their Kraken US election cheating claims in more detail.
November 18th; Wednesday. Election fraud discussions zoom in on the Dominion software. Vote-tampering seems to have been substantial & organised. Shifting of the votes / Slideshow explaining the numbers / More about Powell versus the reporters.

November 17th; Tuesday. Dave Brubeck's quartet supposedly playing Golden Brown, ++, 20 years before it was written. A set of sound snippets lovingly restitched on editing software, I guess.
November 16th; Monday. In support of this lady and her fetching southern accent comes a character defence.

November 15th; Sunday. A lady lawyer in her sixties (the attorney for General Flynn, an early victim of the 2016/17 Russian-hacker fabrication) has started rather lyrically threatening to "Release the Kraken." She says she has enormous quantities of testimony, affadavits etc, from witnesses seeing organised vote-tampering in the presidential election 12 days ago. My memory of krakens is pretty much limited to reading the John Wyndham novel (to mother's mild concern) when I was 8? 9?, right in my full-on sci-fi era.
November 14th; Saturday. Trailer for a perhaps rather wonderful recent film: 'Last and First Men', 2020. Essentially, it's an orchestral score set over brooding footage of communist-era sculptures/monuments in Yugoslavia, with a woman's voice reading out passages from a 1930s science-fiction novel. Here's a one-minute snatch of it as a trailer. The next is a seven-minute piece of what looks like a longer documentary about the making of the film.

November 13th; Friday. Vulpeck, putting jazz back into funk (am I allowed to say that?). Three seemingly, or partly, improvised tunes: Disco Ulysees / Dean Town / Cory Wong. Much admired by some musicians I've met.
November 12th; Thursday. The Spectator asks whether the silly masks help? Danish study says no.

November 11th; Wednesday. An early Knower song, when the duo looked young and innocent: Things About You.
November 10th; Tuesday. Andras sets off for his retreat at the monastery. A nice historical article from Newsweek, from before this year: the top 5 rigged presidential elections in US history.

November 9th; Monday. Here is a looped mini-film of something hovering in the garden. One of the things you can make if you have the right 3D graphics software. A sort of rotating blossom made out of drinking straws.
November 8th; Sunday. Excitement continues over the US elections. Even more implausibly, it seems the Republicans have increased their numbers in both chambers of Congress yet late-arriving votes somehow changed an expected win for Trump as president into a win for Biden. Here's another summary of why the presidential results look so suspicious in a handful of deciding states.

November 7th; Saturday. Two trailers for films about contemporary art: a fairly high-budget-ish offering about a living artist and a collector, with what looks like might be good acting by Mick Jagger. That one's called The Burnt Orange Heresy. The second, recommended by Andras, is a film about a Swedish modern-art museum director called The Square.
November 6th; Friday. Anecdotal claims of vote-tampering, observer-exclusion, ballot-stuffing pouring in now from the US election. Looks like Trump's widely aired worries earlier this year, that the Democrats would do large-scale organised cheating in the election, were justified. One legal group has been examining voter rolls. Ron Paul explains "ballot harvesting". An overview of vote-rigging claims.

November 5th; Thursday. Remember, remember, the fifth of November - gunpowder, treason, and plot.
November 4th; Wednesday. Fascinating stories of shenanigans last night in US swing states. Widespread reports of extra boxes of postal votes arriving at counting stations at curious hours like 4am, just in time to reverse majorities building for El Trumpo. Claims by Republican election observers of being kept outside counting stations, or let in but physically blocked from inspecting ballots close up.
From earlier, when the election still looked relatively normal.

November 3rd; Tuesday. USA population goes to vote on their traditional day. Always thought the Continental European habit of voting on Sunday implied that the post-French-Revolution republics subconsciously thought they'd replaced Christianity with their own modernised state worship.
November 2nd; Monday. Strange event in Vienna, where a handful of radical Islamists exchange fire with police, killing 4 people.

November 1st; Sunday. Andras is puzzled I suggest visiting the (now nearby) candelit Day-of-the-Dead cemetery goings-on.

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; Saturday. Go to delicious extended lunch with Andras's big family (five siblings!) in a town just outside Budapest. The rest of the city celebrates the vulgar festival of Hallowe'en.

October 30th; Friday. How to build an artificial sun. Love that title.
October 29th; Thursday. Leftist journalist resigns after critique of Biden censored.

October 28th; Wednesday. Already almost two weeks since the latest act of Islamist imperialism in France, the beheading of a schoolteacher.
October 27th; Tuesday. Mutant creature thingies take over Belgian cemetery.

October 26th; Monday. Media bygones: 3 terribly old tunes from The Byrds: I See You / It's No Use / I Know My Rider.
October 25th; Sunday. Thought-provoking Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony Daniels) article about free will & addiction.

October 24th; Saturday. Nice Samurai Jack clip where arch-villain sees a psychiatrist.
October 23rd; Friday. I was always mystified by the cult of Seinfeld - I watched a few moments of the series this century, baffled at how it was even considered slightly different from the smart-talking NY Jewish humour of 'Rhoda' that I enjoyed as a small boy in the 1970s. But these few moments about men watching other men work are amusing.

October 22nd; Thursday. A few days ago, I was in the 24-hour grocery near Andras's flat, and I tried to buy some disposable razors. The cheerful & alert gay guy on the till offers two types, one blue and one pink, telling me he's found the pink ones for women actually have better blades (quite believable). I say all right and decide to try the pink ones. 'YMCA' is playing on the shop's radio, and the large-shouldered security man starts humming along with the tune behind me. I glance back and he is good-naturedly catching my eye and also pointing out the unembarrassed camp shop assistant with his glances. Interestingly, we all seem to share the joke - everyone, including him, finds the situation funny.
October 21st; Wednesday. Old Minnie Riperton tune lurking on a Russian site.

October 20th; Tuesday. My brandy-coloured piss seems to be slowly returning to normal. Solar disc sun-spot-free for long stretches, here 28 days in late September.
October 19th; Monday. Electrocuting tongues might relieve tinnitus.

October 18th; Sunday. Allegations on covid-19 return to the bioweapon theme.
October 17th; Saturday. Time travel might work without grandfather paradoxes.

October 16th; Friday. I realise for several days that my urine has been reddish-brown, the colour of madeira. There's no pain though - can I hope this is the last of the perhaps blood-stained fluid being gradually rinsed off my heart by the furosemide?
October 15th; Thursday. Arrive in Budapest at the flat of Andras, on the cusp between being able to sleep lying down and not. His heated flat just the answer for the cold-sensitive cuts and open sores on my fingertips (this must be the blood-pressure-lowering medications weakening my circulation).

October 14th; Wednesday. Again up late watching films with Robin. The Korean film 'Snowpiercer', while visually impressive and stylish in several places, uses a disappointingly Marxist/Dickensian myth, boiling all society down to one long train cruelly segregated into classes that zooms across a frozen world, never stopping. Of course, the great liberating metaphor is revolution. Cartoonish.
October 13th; Tuesday. Still not really able to sleep lying down, still feeling the cold unless in front of the log fire all night cocooned in a duvet, stay up with Robin to watch 'Hotel Artemis' (2018), where an older Jodie Foster (a sort of likeable Nurse Ratchett character) runs a secret hospital for criminals injured in bank heists and the like. Definitely one of those films financed entirely because the premise sounded good over lunch.

October 12th; Monday. At some point during the afternoon as the radio in Robin's rural kitchen listens to classical music, I ask about the piece we're hearing as it rains outside? Robin, expertly spearing a cube of cheese on a knife point mutters something about "Northern European dickhead". Drawing on my dazzling knowledge of the classical canon, I question if by this he means Sibelius? Seems he does.
October 11th; Sunday. Priest arrested for sexual threesome on altar. Their portraits are perfect. Naturally: Louisiana. Whether good or bad, it's clear some people are living life differently from the rest of us.

October 10th; Saturday. Human babies are evolving to not have wisdom teeth.
October 9th; Friday. On the desk next to the bed I'm trying to sleep in some nights I keep seeing a slim blue hardback with sun fading of the back marking out a darker rectangle where a smaller book must have lain on it for a decade or two. I just yesterday opened it and, slightly to my surprise, saw it's a 1946 edition of Eliot's 1909-1936 collected poems. Imposingly slim. The final page ends
- Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
  Even while the dust moves
There rises the hidden laughter
  Of children in the foliage
Quick now, here, now, always -
  Ridiculous the waste sad time
Stretching before and after.

Why "ridiculous"? Because the immediacy of this moment trumps all? Because the experience of now, symbolised by that light and the laughing children, matters so much more than time's other senses? Not so much magic realism as magic wearyism.

October 8th; Thursday. Handy map of pornstars per million people, from slightly unsettling 'Kafkadesk'. Interesting to see the two countries who lead.
October 7th; Wednesday. Hope returns. Last night slept around 12 hours, finally lying down. Bliss. Water moving off heart at last thanks to daily doses of furosemide, so thank God am losing the nauseous smothering sensation that if I lie down at night to sleep I am somehow going to drown. This evening, Robin & I watch 'The Silent Enemy', a rather good 1958 adventure film, black & white, set during WW2 in Gibraltar. It's based on the daring exploits of "Buster" Crabb and his elite team of underwater frogmen.
For anyone who's curious, here's a Beatles LP claimed to be from a parallel universe.

October 6th; Tuesday. Up late watching old films with Robin on his television service. We see a 1950 American movie called 'Tripoli', relating the 1805 defeat of a North African slaving state, famously commemorated in the US Marines regimental anthem. There's a rather impressive scene where their overland camel train struggles through a ferocious sandstorm. A supposedly erotic moment where a military man challenges the copper-redheaded leading lady (mistress to the Arabian prince) to dance, since she is entered in the list as one of the "dancing girls", and is smitten, is possibly the part of the film that's most substantially dated. The music isn't right, the dancing isn't right, her build isn't right.
Fascinating to note how the nominally serious plot is propelled forward by an endless stream of wisecracks. Two out of every three lines of dialogue (perhaps more) are smart-alec remarks that sound fresh off the music-hall/vaudeville stage.
October 5th; Monday. The soothing Germanic tones of 'Mr Puzzle' and his courteous tabletop reviews of various austere, stylish-looking puzzle objects, such as the chunky metal cross, the slinky steel snowflake, and the counterintuitive jigsaw.

October 4th; Sunday. When you are forced to stay awake all night, desperate for sleep, for days in a row, random bits of once-entertaining film can be handy. So we have the original version of Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, along with a studio audience visibly bored to the point of disgust. The adorable moment in Galaxy Quest when aliens disturb the hungover Tim Allen, asleep on his sitting-room floor. And a review discussion about the unfairly forgotten early-1970s 'Organization' drama, long praised by the Nigel of Light.
October 3rd; Saturday. A slow, heavy night-time vaguely like this (A wearying dirge that always reminded me of de Quincey. When he says opium let him sketch images in the darkness of his bedroom - vast teeming intricate visions of ancient Oriental civilisations). Afterwards I find Marion nearby at 12.30 lunchtime. We deal with another couple of obstacles, and finally I can take my first set of medications with mineral water. This is at a cafe table outside in the square named after Franz Liszt, the composer Paul specialises in. She lends me Paul's blood-pressure meter (my new doctor stresses the value of methodically collecting data) and shows me how to use it. After a night in which I only slept between 9am and 11am, rarely have sunlit boulevard buildings looked more beautiful against that blue sky.

October 2nd; Friday. After almost no sleep, get across the river again to the clinic to see Paul's cardiologist. He turns out to be a charming, intelligent man who has no patience with the face-mask hysteria over covid-19, doesn't wear a mask and is perfectly happy for me not to wear one either during our hour-long consultation. He reads through my blood test, takes electrical readings off my chest, and listens to my heartbeat with an ultrasonic microphone. At one point, as he runs the microphone up and down my side he murmurs quietly partly to himself, partly to me, almost tenderly, "Yes, it's an exhausted heart, very tired. But still - pumping quite well." Almost as if my heart was a person. In the afternoon I stumble around town, wearily realising I've mishandled the chore of actually buying the medications he's prescribed. The subsequent fifteen hours waiting to meet Marion at midday Saturday probably count as my longest night in a couple of decades.
October 1st; Thursday. Musicologist Paul kindly helps out with his cardiologist and I force myself over there in the early morning to give blood samples. Apparently, the End Times disaster movie of Greenland's ice-sheet is being written again.

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