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*4
May 24th; Sunday. Get to the end of a paperback novel borrowed from Iris, 'The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man' by Jonas Jonasson, translated into English from Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. Iris warned me that the first book (this is the second book to star irrepressible centenarian Allan Karlsson, and it was published in 2018, nine years after the first) was better and this second follow-up was not so good, but I was pulled in by the first few pages. The style is a neat trick, a sort of shaggy-dog novel, where the author faux-naively embraces the childlike approach of "this happened and then this happened and meanwhile that other thing was happening, and then this other thing happened too." Done with coy deadpan charm, this was obviously the main gimmick in the first novel, and in this one it starts to wear thin afer a few chapters. Then, once confident his readers are with him, Jonasson's restraint slips, and he begins to involve famous characters and forces like the North Korean leader, the "far right" AfD in Germany, leaders like Putin, Trump, Merkel, he and his readers smugly assured that we all know what they're really like, how they speak in private, etc. Brexit is Britain "turning its back on Europe" and is (of course) orchestrated by agents of Putin. Trump is (of course) a short-tempered idiot - you get the idea. This is really going to age very fast, even among the people who still hold this worldview. Merkel (despite 2015) is viewed as a force of stability and common sense in the book, nationalists are all dangerous bastards etc. The pseudo-liberal globalist outlook is a bit like the lip service the greasy class creep pays to the cool kids, where he thinks he'll be part of their clique if he uses their language and apes their style. The self-congratulation is almost tangible as Jonasson cycles through these reassuring tropes that Trump's election, Britain's decision to leave the EU, the rise of the in fact rather moderate AfD, and so on of course really only happened because of a mixture of Russian-funded contradictory web bots and mentally retarded Nazis. That and the quiet but audible humble-brag humour about boring bourgeois little Sweden still being a notable player in world events.
May 23rd; Saturday. Latest music homework from Andras the Benedictine coder monk for next time we try to put something together with keyboards and bass guitar: background culture Finnish youth / more background culture McAfee Speaks / Bjork explains the background of her television set / some 1980s new wave pop magyarul / some beautifully coloured fantasy camp.
May 22nd; Friday. An active day, and around 3am one of Andras' younger brothers (Bela the drummer) turns up with his producer friend Tzapa: both very much under the influence of various jolly stimulants. Switching into English at one point Bela amiably tells me "Go home nigger, no blow jobs for you here!" He seems quite focused on this topic because when I offer him commission if he can get a book deal for me, he immediately warns me he's not doing any blow jobs to secure the deal. We all chat (after a fashion) until around 4 when the two leave. Turns out that that clip was the work of Tzapa.

May 21st; Thursday. More tunes from Knower: It Goes On / That's Where You Are / Lady Gaga / Die Right Now.
May 20th; Wednesday. How Taiwan warned the world about the boring virus, and nobody listened. Not least because the World Health Organisation's been so busy sucking the Peking Dick.

May 19th; Tuesday. A modest attack on British journalism today.
May 18th; Monday. Finish a book borrowed from Andras, 'The Righteous Mind', in which American sociologist Jonathan Haidt explains the emotional & instinctive underpinnings of moral & political loyalties. Decades of experiments by different sociologists and psychologists gradually brought him to see Hume ("reason is the slave of the passions") as the deeper thinker about morals than those who try to claim that ethics is an outgrowth of reasoning and intelligence. Haidt has reached a point where he see Americans on the left ("liberals") as basing their moral views on three pillars: care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating while Americans of the Republican/traditionalist persuasion base their moral views on six pillars: care/harm, liberty/oppression, fairness/cheating, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, sanctity/impurity. Haidt counts himself as a liberal, excited when Barack Obama was running for president, and so he makes a powerful critic of other liberals in their thoughtless contempt for non-leftists. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this thoughtful, well-reasoned book, is the revelation that huge swathes of academia literally regard people who don't share their political views as mentally ill and in need of medical attention.

May 17th; Sunday. Among sounds Andras shows me is Knower, a jazz-funk sci-fi counterattack, bracketed here at each end by Louis Cole, I suppose branding himself. With him fronting Knower for female vocal is 'Genevieve', the first Genevieve I've come across since that sartorial guide of Robin's. F*** It Up by Louis Cole with live band in someone's house / Overtime by Knower live in the same house / Time Traveler by Knower live etc / impressive 22-minute 'living-room set' by Knower, with slide shows / Butts, Tits, Money by Knower / The Government Knows by Knower / Time Traveler by Knower, another slide show / Thinking by Louis Cole.
May 16th; Saturday. Andras the Benedictine coder monk turns up in the early evening with a bass guitar, lots of wires coming out of a small red box, and huge amounts of alcohol. He genially insists we do a jam session together. Toiling over keyboards, bass guitar, sampling software, and cans of beer, the two of us manage - astonishingly - to produce something quite good. Andras keeps explaining chords, scales, time signatures, and the looping program all through the chaos. At intervals we compare videos, including two polished versions of one song by Russian duo Little Big: Skibidi main version, and Skibidi romantic version. Not to mention Billie Eilish & Bury A Friend (from the cleverly-named record 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?') / a Russian song called In Piter We Drink by Leningrad / some non-famous Hungarian rap / song called Zsebeibe zse - a local parody of whatever that French style is / and a bass-guitar tutorial where Andras adores the (Italian?) girl's happy, funny expressions as she enjoys playing over the tune.

May 15th; Friday. Computer code used by Niel Ferguson to persuade Britain's government that epidemic stats urgently justified crashing the economy for Covid-19 reviewed harshly as clunky, amateurish, and lacking credibility. Which civil servants slyly steered government ministers towards this fool with the Avaaz-activist girlfriend (surnamed Staats, seriously), one wonders?
May 14th; Thursday. Fascinating dialogue with a sleep-biology researcher, Matthew Walker, the interviewer again Rhonda Patrick. Choice quote: "Sleep is the Swiss Army Knife of health."

May 13th; Wednesday. Very interesting interview by Rhonda Patrick of a researcher, Charles Raison, who thinks depression is inflammatory and evolved from our immune systems.
May 12th; Tuesday. Pretty girl, beware of his heart of gold: this heart is cold! Perhaps the Bond themes were arias for the Cold War opera?

May 11th; Monday. Inside the mind of A Master Procrastinator: sharp, witty talk.
May 10th; Sunday. Andras alerts me to the following tunes: Volcano Hamster by Szagos Ho:rigekkok / Slaves from Wonder Showzen / Fuck the Shit by Sons of Butcher / and in similar vein I Kill People by Jon Lajoie. So much out there, citizens.

May 9th; Saturday. Someone is seriously going to make lab-grown salami for public sale cultured from the protein samples donated by famous chat-show hosts, musical performers, whoever signs on the dotted line. Ugh, honestly.
May 8th; Friday. Italy's COVID deaths far higher than official figures, says Reuters.
An Istanbul "private party project" with DJ Armen Miran here: I have mild qualms about using audience members as footage for music, but those girls right up against the mixing desk seem happy to be seen.

May 7th; Thursday. During our lesson in the early afternoon, Esoteric Veronica makes me watch on her phone a video (already removed one day later by Youtube) about viruses, drug patents, and nefarious pharma firms, asking my opinion. The video is a long interview with someone called Judy Mikovits, co-author of this book.
The same night later pop out to look around, getting an almost-empty tram towards the river. I sit somewhere in a central carriage of four or five connected carriages, lodging an empty drinks can in position that threatens to roll. Once I'm 200 yards before the river, I get out and catch another tram one stop up the side street where I almost worked in a primary school two years ago, so as to visit the all-night Spar supermarket. Walking back ten minutes to the main road, I wait at the tram stop and let the first tram back home pass me. That's because I'm in some accidental WiFi hot spot there at the tramstop and am reading something on my old phone. The second tram away from the river comes and I get on it, stroll down the length of the tram, sit down, and after five minutes see I'm sitting exactly opposite the seat I used in the opposite direction half an hour earlier. I know this because the drinks can I lodged in place so it wouldn't roll as the tram drove off, going back in the opposite direction, is there right opposite me just where I left it. Both completely banal & oddly magical.
May 6th; Wednesday. Here's a 25-minute film in Babylonian. The Poor Man of Nippur.

May 5th; Tuesday. Allegation that US Senate intelligence committee chair sold shares ahead of the market crash when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
May 4th; Monday. Interesting long article on China's superpower aspirations. Sample quote "As matters stand the United States will be overtaken by China in the next several years. China is developing its own intellectual property in key areas. Some of it is better than ours - in artificial intelligence, telecommunications, cryptography, and electronic warfare. In other key fields like quantum computing - possibly the holy grail of 21st-century technology - it's hard to tell who's winning, but China is outspending us by a huge margin."

May 3rd; Sunday. Wake out of a very vivid dream where I am travelling to somewhere in a German-speaking country to either teach or take part in a seminar with some young students. I reach a clean, sparely-decorated modernist room with maybe six of them, and the tables have textbooks which are like menus, little more than large pieces of card folded 3 or 4 times to make 4 or 6-page booklets. They concern some arcane type of computer science which I don't understand. But I trust the friendly Germans to explain it to me, translating from technical English to slightly less technical English. Above one small spreadseet or look-up table of about 12, perhaps 15, cells I see the intriguing sentence "A wolf is like a 9-penny chaplin", knowing (in the dream) that this is some kind of definition of some technical terms in database something-or-other. I wake up musing on this phrase.
One scientist explains that COVID-19 was never exponential.
May 2nd; Saturday. Some Swedish common sense in the Lancet about COVID-19.

May 1st; Friday. The scare story that some COVID-19 patients relapse after recovery now seems untrue.

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.

So?

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

useful:

.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
.webhost
.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


films

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


...............................................................................................................................................................
April 30th; Thursday. More sun. More people on the still largely empty streets. Please Stay, by Matthieu Faubourg: tries to capture a mood of (I suppose) longing, rapture, and regret in a few chord loops.

April 29th; Wednesday. Fascinating documentary film about sinkholes in northern Russia, intercutting investigations by oil & gas geologists with helicopters, and animist interpretations of the same phenomena by the local deer-herding nomads. Insects flit across the camera lens as the two groups trudge patiently across the endless tundra. "God must be punishing us," stoically says a nomad who lost hundreds of sick deer to a sharp winter, "We must have done something wrong."
April 28th; Tuesday. Article about the astonishing 18th-century utopian Charles Fourier.

April 27th; Monday. Findings on UV & heat versus COVID.
April 26th; Sunday. Kutiman looking a little smoother of late, and has conjured himself a producing career. Mind you, his older tunes assembled out of Youtube - instructional - videos still win on wit & charm.

April 25th; Saturday. For anyone hoping a commentary might help them through Fulcanelli's book on alchemy & cathedrals, this article might be a start.
April 24th; Friday. Corona-caused GDP drops worldwide - is CO2 dropping too?

April 23rd; Thursday. Piece about underlying disease cycles.
April 22nd; Wednesday. Times article about the 'bat lady', a Chinese scientist who was worried COVID-19 escaped from a lab. Wonderful photo of her in bio-hazard suit.

April 21st; Tuesday. A letter to Nature claims that COVID-19 isn't lab-modified.
April 20th; Monday. China's actions over the COVID-19 outbreak (such as lying about it for weeks) seems to have finally sunk Huawei's spyware project in Britain.

April 19th; Sunday. Spectacular 1930 cartoon. Obviously a main source for the Stephen Foster 1990s retro item. As one friend put it, this is the motherlode.
April 18th; Saturday. Turning out with increased testing that indeed COVID-19 death rates and infectiousness are much lower than claimed. Another summary. Seems that the dangerousness of the condition for most healthy people has been hugely exaggerated. So why have borders and streets been shut down across the world?

April 17th; Friday. Snatch from a live Chemical Brothers concert one or two years ago. Music a bit like circus, circus like the catwalk. Now effectively the chord change is the melody. Back in about 1981, when I was bored revising - and trying to imagine the pop music of the future - had a fleeting waking vision of puffed-up fluffy dancers in shapeless teddy-bear-like / Michelin-Man-type outfits with no faces. Not so far from the 2nd half of this: Gotta Keep On Making Me High.
April 16th; Thursday. Nothing like a bit of nihilism. Anti-motivational posters again with choice quotes from German film director Werner Herzog: friendship / wild bears / the beach / flowers / birds & trees / cows.

April 15th; Wednesday. Warm sun in relatively empty streets. This recent film might be very entertaining. Never come across it. Like an American Carry-On film?
April 14th; Tuesday. More on COVID-19: an Israeli mathematician gets into a quarrel on television for saying the epidemic is already burning itself out.

April 13th; Easter Monday. Stir myself out of vivid half-dreams about large-scale history, castles, Pope Gregory, the usual. Meanwhile, the newly-built 4,000-bed Nightingale hospital in London open for a week right now has apparently 19 beds in use. So perhaps not a runaway crisis after all.
April 12th; Easter Sunday: He is risen, as Greeks say.

April 11th; Easter Saturday. One of the great pauses of the calendar.
April 10th; Good Friday. Execution Day.

April 9th; Thursday. In the late morning read though a confusing set of increasingly tetchy phone messages to me from someone today & yesterday. Fascinating how something can escalate into a quarrel in one person's mind without the other person saying or doing anything. Meanwhile, three bits of video-song-knitting: Temptations & Danzig / Metallica & Los del Rio / Prodigy & Orinoco. You get the idea.
April 8th; Wednesday. Beautiful weather. Evening: I buy some inexpensive mineral water with an adorable brand spokeslass on the label called 'Emese'. She seems to be a chirpy cartoon girl with black hair who goes cycling in the Hungarian countryside under the benificent influence of these life-giving waters.

April 7th; Tuesday. Still more on COVID-19, the "coronavirus" is apparently not a lung disease, but a blood condition, which is why antimalarial drugs seem to be working to cure patients with it. If this is true, then ventilators are no longer the equipment bottleneck they seemed.
April 6th; Monday. Stumble on a rather lovely lecture: enthusing students about the writings of Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.

April 5th; Sunday. An article about the COVID-19 epidemic suggesting that in New York obesity is one of the biggest risk factors.
April 4th; Saturday. Vigorous early-70s group I'd never come across until a few weeks ago, Fanny: Blind Alley / Ain't That Peculiar (some major time-wasting, they don't start until 1:40). Versus something slicker & more recent. Was told this singer lacks merit - inclined to agree except for this song, suspiciously humble & apologetic to be her work: "I was wrong -- I won't let you down and run". Methinks some pro song-writing from middle-aged men in cardigans down at the studio.

April 3rd; Friday. After days, found how to switch off one of the lights in the kitchen, the three lampshades (above the strange electrical hobs with glowing red discs beneath a black glass surface). Gyongyi knew of an extra light switch hidden behind the bread bin. I remembered to ask Simon ten days ago - he revealed that the smoke extractor in his kitchen conceals a light tube not normally visible operated by a hidden button: another vital mystery solved.
April 2nd; Thursday. Finished another book I found in Iris's library, a book I bought for Eva many years ago in the 1990s: 'The Europeans' by journalist Luigi Barzini. Rereading it was strange - first because so much came back as I went through his witty, erudite chapters (one on France, one on Britain, one on Germany, one on Italy, one on the Dutch and the Belgians, and one on the USA) - and secondly because odd features vividly in my memory of reading the book the first time by contrast weren't there. However, the book is sadly marred by his central guiding belief that European unification is necessary, or desirable - which in a way shows that his reading and his years of thoughtful observation were largely wasted. One review starts with these words " 'On the eve of Sarajevo no passport was needed to go from one European nation to another.' Why does Europe not unite today?", showing just how poorly Barzini (and that book reviewer) thought the overall idea through.
Some of the erudition is suspect because there are mistakes. He claims Belgium built the Continent's first commercial railway line in 1832, yet there was already a line operating in France in 1830.
Among the odd features was the way I vividly remembered him framing each chapter around a central metaphor. Britons each see themselves like the captain of a ship at sea (Barzini claimed in the version of the book I read in the 1990s), Germans see themselves as individual trees brought together in a forest, the French are a people, not a nation, and so on. Strangely this was all missing from this edition. I assume that there was tinkering between reprints, and some editor nixed those folksy sentences I remembered so clearly from an earlier or later edition than this one. I would like to read his earlier success - a book called 'The Italians' from the 1960s. I'm sure it was/is wonderful, and paradoxically (I suspect) concealed a message he failed to tease out or reason from in his later whole-Europe effort: namely that Italy is still a rich patchwork of highly distinct and independent regions or cities. The idea that unification - the Risorgimento of the 1860s - was a mistake of historic dimensions (likewise Bismarck's creation of Germany, and Britain's earlier creation of Belgium) escapes the European unifiers. Of course I have yet to read Barzini's doubtless entertaining and shrewd (though also doubtless not too shrewd) book on his own people, but if he thinks European unification is wise, it strikes me it never occurred to him that perhaps Italian unification wasn't. He ticks off the French, seems to admire the Germans and the British, and has the usually affectionate mixture of hope & despair that intelligent Italians have about their century-and-a-half-old country. He also quietly notes Italy lurches from disaster to disaster yet seems strangely resilient, mysteriously bouncing back from each period of chaos. That quote I often recall from a 1980s Economist survey of the peninsula (a businessman: "I am a Venetian first, a European second, and an Italian last.") more apposite than ever.

April 1st; Wednesday. The fashion_for_bank_robbers Instagram account has some whimsical images like this or this or this.

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