to links pages 
phone texts to +36 -- --- ----
Monday. Travel by train to Szeleveny on the Great Plain. Kind Folklorist Edina
and her cheerful boy Bendeguz are waiting there by the railway track to pick me up.
She`s had a book published: `Napevo, Holdfalo`
(Sun-Eater, Moon-Gobbler - Mythical Creatures of the Volga Turks).
Sunday. Careful, detailed late-March article by Iain Davis about why we should disbelieve covid-19 death figures.
Saturday. `Why Is Everyone In Texas Not Dying?` More common sense and
rational science about the covid tantrum.
Friday. A nice Unherd piece about the
tediousness of modernists like Virginia Woolf.
Thursday. Finish a book of Victoria's:
'The Queen's Conjuror',
a biography of astrologer, cryptographer, and all-round 16th-century wizard John Dee, put together
very nicely by Benjamin Wolley. The recurring sadness of his life, and the repeated struggles to find
a stable income or profitable business come over clearly. I would have liked to read more about his
cryptography and code-breaking for Elizabeth. The slightly malign and shadowy court presences of Cecil
and Walsingham, the Tudor spooks, is also covered. Wolley handles reasonably well the difficult
business of what actually happened when Kelley & Dee summoned demons and angels together in Bohemia.
Wednesday. Neck still hurts. Wake out of a strange short nightmare, hooting like a steam-train
whistle, where part of the wall seems to loom at me in the early morning. End-of-March news round-up from Lockdownsceptics-dot-org.
Tuesday. Another topic
of conversation last week.
Monday. Fall asleep in late afternoon as a golden dusk falls over Orczy ut. A strange sense of
beauty and safety seems to glow in the gently darkening open skies that Victoria`s flat on the
top floor of her building look out on.
Totalitarian tendencies noted in the bogus covid-19 emergency by
a Flemish psychologist.
Sunday. Visit Victoria again. A conversation from last week where I learned about irrigation pivot
wheels, and approaches to the soil-rutting
Saturday. The attempt to build up a danger story from a
variant" of covid-19 begins falling apart like the other stories.
Friday. Seems mortality in Israel is quite a bit higher
among the vaccinated. As the man on the Balkan train said,
"How can this be??"
Thursday. Another article argues that the covid-19 "crisis"
(using that word very loosely)
Wednesday. Again discussed Wollstonecraft`s legacy with a friend. Look at her portrait, particularly.
Tuesday. One from Memory Lane: Jean Luc Cornec`s
Rotary Phone Sheep. From a chat with Irish Michael.
Monday. Neck still uncomfortable - some taste & scent have returned.
Take Victoria's 2 chairs over to her place in the Orczy square area, just a few doors along from Harry.
Ask her about Quinton water.
Sunday. Why the French hate the English.
Saturday. Why the English hate the French.
Friday. Review of Rousseau-esque book on original innocence.
Thursday. Interesting article about free debate & identity cultism.
March 17th; Wednesday.
March 16th; Tuesday.
Article from the younger Robert Kennedy showing advance plans for
social-media censorship came just weeks before covid-19 itself. Another article alleging the politician is not to be trusted or listened to is here.
March 15th; Monday.
Everything closes for public holiday in a country where it's all been quasi-closed for a year already and even in a normal year only lets customers through the door with bitter reluctance.
March 14th; Sunday.
Successful small-scale quantum teleportation? Sounds legit.
March 13th; Saturday. Not only is there German leader Angela Merkel, and not only has the affair around the supposed victim wife of Harry of Sussex been enjoyably dubbed "the Markle debarkle/(debacle)" but it seems there is a thing in cryptography called a "Merkle tree". Truly our cup runneth over.
March 12th; Friday. Neck still hurts. Slightly better, with the pain-killing drug-infused bandages still attached, but really should be gone by now.
Zero Hedge predicts silver could break its record from 1980 of 50 USD/oz.
March 11th; Thursday. The head cold, that came along with my neck crick, continues. No scent or taste for six or seven days now.
CDC study now shows that face masks to slow covid-19 have had no benefit.
March 10th; Wednesday. Article in Nature: covid-19 curfews have had no benefit.
March 9th; Tuesday. A slightly odd article claiming that the witch stereotype (cauldron, pointy hat) was concocted to discredit women brewers.
March 8th; Monday. Almost exactly a month ago was struggling to remember this word: Mithridatism. Am proud to recall I got almost all the syllables in place.
March 7th; Sunday. 'The Son Also Rises' by Gregory Clark. A carefully researched book about surname frequency which finds that social reform, revolution, egalitarianism, all have close-to-zero effect on social mobility. Whether it's communist China or mediaeval England, the modern United States, caste-ridden India, or social-democratic Sweden, successful families rises and decline at roughly the same rate everywhere and everywhen. By tracing the persistence of rare surnames in national registers of doctors, scientists, members of Parliament, Clark obtains a broad and powerful result which should have a chilling effect on social reformers of all types. Quite simply, you can't keep a good clan down - until its natural time is up, and it starts returning to the mean like everything else.
March 6th; Saturday. 'Michael Powell' by James Howard. A good overview of the career of one of the 20th-century's most unusual film-makers, an English director roughly contemporary with Hitchcock. Powell worked closely for most of his life with a Hungarian emigre screenwriter, Emeric Pressburger, and the "Powell & Pressburger" duo ('Archer Films') accounted for almost all the best films of both men. Some extraordinary films like 'A Matter of Life and Death' and 'Black Narcissus' emerged from the partnership. As one reviewer on Goodreads-dot-com succinctly says, the book doesn't go too deeply into specific films. I particularly missed a deeper account of Powell's very controversial 1960s film 'Peeping Tom', the film which had such a hostile reaction from critics and audiences it effectively finished Powell's career (although he did go on to make one or two more films). A horror story about a man who murders women with a gun concealed in his camera, it made a tremendous impact on cinemagoers, losing Powell the good will he had from his bigger-hearted films of the 1940s. Much of the dreamlike atmosphere of his films is lost, and the later re-evaluation of 'Peeping Tom' as a masterpiece is touched on, but this book could have given it (and each other film) perhaps three more sentences to explain the plot and the mood for anyone who hasn't seen it.
March 5th; Friday. I think it was today I woke up out with an acute pain in my neck. Clearly I twisted it in my sleep. Have never had a crick in the neck this bad.
March 4th; Thursday. Long rewarding piece on putting viruses on the tree of life.
March 3rd; Wednesday. An interesting time to look back at a British TV drama from 2013 about a politicised pandemic: 'Utopia'.
March 2nd; Tuesday. Toyota CEO (confusingly called Mr Toyoda with a D) says there is not enough electricity for all the electric cars.
March 1st; Monday. Among discoveries of the last few days, "Sheilaism".
Recent weblog entries
Who can translate the next 300 words into
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
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?
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
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.
Wireless radio can be a great comfort to those unable
to leave the textbooks in which they live *6
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
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
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 /
*1 image from , with thanks
back up to top of page
*2 "Al-Araby" in written
*3 "What?" in American Sign
Language; image from , with thanks
*4 "Big" in written
(read more); image from , with
*5 image from , with
*6 image from , with
*7 image from
'B?ume', with thanks to
Bruno P. Kramer,
and Franckh-Kosmos Verlag
February 28th; Sunday. Amazing alternative-history claim by English woman Claire Khaw: had Louis 16th been an Islamic Caliph there would have been no French Revolution.
February 27th; Saturday. Q: Why are covid-19 "cases" sharply dropping now? A: Because in mid-January WHO changed instructions to labs worldwide on PCR cycle numbers to magic the pandemic away, now that its two main goals have been achieved. Cut the high cycle counts from 45, 50 down nearer 20 (as they should have last spring), and the huge numbers of apparent covid-19 "cases" globally (the false positives) are melting away. This will create the false impression that the completely unnecessary vaccination drive was a success.
February 26th; Friday. Smart-alec sniping at the mildly unsettling Peter Thiel, but interesting detail.
February 25th; Thursday. Yesterday woke out of a dream at 7am hearing someone speak the following sentence: "And among those studying Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic was a light sprinkling of Italian blonde girls driving Mustangs and Ferraris." (This is an authentic passenger statement.) The feeling these are someone else's dreams, not mine, is stronger every week now.
February 24th; Wednesday. Another type of human.
February 23rd; Tuesday. In a big patch of warm sunshine just out of the chilly silhouette of a 19th-century building, I spot a mobile telephone lying on the Andrassy street pavement at Oktogon. When it starts ringing, I find I cannot answer it, so take it home, and begin texting the numbers that keep calling in. Eventually, meet the owner just outside a nearby supermarket for the handover. Building-site labourers and other manual workers come in two body types in Hungary: bulls and goats. The phone owner, broad-chested, cheerful, stocky, wearing one of those crisp chartreuse dayglo jackets, was a bull. With him was a friend/colleague in a tracksuit, so painfully thin and shrivelled (one of the goats) he looked as if he'd been packed in a barrel of salt for a week to extract all moisture. Also cheerful, but in a vaguely sad way, his head balanced endways on his neck like a large raisin. Everyone parted happily.
It seems Ivor Cummins has been banned from Linkedin.
February 22nd; Monday. More from Mises-dot-org about The Great Reset.
February 21st; Sunday. Salisbury Review reviews postmodern wokeism book.
February 20th; Saturday. Our Man in Bucharest reviews why governments didn't panic about Hong Kong flu.
February 19th; Friday. Speak to the dreamers!
February 18th; Thursday. For several days in a row, have been catching the golden hour of the early afternoon when a slice of winter sunlight pours down Kiraly street, but today was out earlier. The sun was warmer and this week there's an unmistakable feeling of hope and energy returning to the Big Pogacsa. Yesterday, I ducked into the nearest supermarket and saw two laughing long-legged brunettes tottering on heels and towering over the security dude flirting with them. Delighted by the male attention, they were giggling with an upsurge of sheer girlyness, both their coiffs tressed up to add to the tallness & slimness. Possibly dancers, but probably trade-show girls or receptionists. Spring here always arrives suddenly, like an ambush, and it seems to have just turned up.
February 17th; Wednesday. Last night finished Zoe's copy of her father's 1994 book ('Not Ordinary Men') about the 1944 battle to hold the pass at Kohima in northern Burma. This is what stopped the Japanese army from entering India, and Colvin describes it as the Indian/British Thermopylae. As Colvin stresses, in two weeks of vicious and unrelenting fighting in April that year, in the grimmest of monsoon conditions on steep hillsides in thick, muddy jungle, a few hundred Indian & British men, alone and without support, halted the advance of thirteen thousand hitherto-undefeated Japanese soldiers. More maps scattered through the text would have helped me, since Colvin clearly had the layout of the fighting vivid in his head, almost hour by hour, individual officers and privates described in quick, crisp prose. Almost every death & sacrifice is remembered where possible. The reader comes away with a sense of the near-inconceivable tenacity & willingness to die it takes to block an attacking army of hugely superior size. An army which until Kohima was having one of the most remarkable winning streaks in the history of all warfare.
February 16th; Tuesday. Useful overview of how China's CCP corrupted the US.
February 15th; Monday. Genetically-engineered CCP Chinese super-beings? Exciting!
February 14th; Sunday. Saint Valentine's Day - from an Instagram account for France's online libraries comes this gorgeous Valentine book from the 1475 Savoy court. Raises the curious question of just what it was France did to the Duchy of Savoy in the mid-19th century, but that's another topic.
February 13th; Saturday. Nifty tips to distinguish Arabic/Persian/Kurdish by sight.
February 12th; Friday. 2 views of
Michael X, the man who wasn't Malcolm. Adam Curtis versus V.S. Naipaul.
February 11th; Thursday.
'Hudson Mohawke' sounds more like a US attack helicopter than a Glaswegian DJ/music-producer -
perhaps why this
radio-show/mix gets a rating of Outstanding, Red Team.
February 10th; Wednesday. Half an hour early for an appointment, and not allowed to sit down anywhere for a coffee because covid-19 etc etc, finally head for a sad-looking used-book outlet with orange walls I know is ten minutes away. Some odd sense tells me that there are some books waiting there for me. It's underground in a grim 1960s tunnel beneath Nyugati railway station and I've walked past it hundreds of times over the years. Within five minutes, I find the books. An illustrated biography of the cinematic career of Michael Powell, who made his best films with Hungarian emigre screenwriter Emeric Pressburger; then a slim Christmas-stocking-sized booklet, almost a pamphlet, with an untitled purple spine barely 1/16" wide; and a 2004 novel called 'Codex', part of the Historical Relic / Mysterious Old Book genre (Name of the Rose, Harry Potter, Dan Brown) that a one-time schoolfriend predicted when we were in the sixth form would be the big new thing after the year 2000. This is a scene which plays out in the opening pages of many novels & films: the curious urge to go in and look at the old books, the drab-yet-enigmatic premises, the magnetic pull drawing me towards a certain shelf, the bookshop owner's conspiratorial nod of approval as I take custody of the volumes, as if he knows that exactly the right person has come to collect these three titles.
Just good salesmanship, of course.
February 9th; Tuesday. There seem to be people still playing the kind of records I listened to at college: they still sound the same.
February 8th; Monday. Some handsomely bookist accounts on Instagram:
konyvcsempesz (book smuggler) /
rita_konyvespolca (Rita's bookshelf) / gallicabnf.
February 7th; Sunday. Stumbled across references to two novels by this woman: Madeleine Henry. They certainly sound like the kind of thing you have to write to be crowned Smart Young Novelist.
February 6th; Saturday. About ten days ago Esoteric Veronica told me she was practising her English by following a period costume series set in Regency England (the 1810s) called 'Bridgerton' which absurdly has several major characters played by black-skinned & brown-skinned actors. She referred to it offhandedly to me as "the satirical drama". As an intelligent East European, she naturally assumed that wokeism is some sophisticated new trend in British humour.
February 5th; Friday. The dark, locked-up, pleasantly scruffy second-hand book shop a hundred yards down the street looks alluring, but of course I can't go in. The respiratory disease which kills typical flu victims at an average age of 80 if they're already dying of something else means this and millions of other small firms must be driven out of business.
February 4th; Thursday. In the dark, empty countryside, I persuade Bela & Robin to watch a couple of delightfully eccentric Russian documentaries, including this fine specimen - those mirror-assisted telepathy experiments again. The almost-English subtitling is a special feature.
February 3rd; Wednesday. Suddenly whisked off to Robin's country retreat for a couple of nights. Hungary's Great Plain and its small villages are as flat, bleak, and eerie as ever.
February 2nd; Tuesday. Book-themed excitement picks up pace over at Instagram.
February 1st; Monday. Reports from the home country sound stranger and stranger. I wonder if finally the world is ready for a film adaptation of that curious British sci-fi novel 'Mandrake' I read in Ghana? From the mid-60s but set in the near-future of 1973. Mandrake's time might finally have come.
diary entries by month
January 2021 /
February 2021 /
December 2020 /
November 2020 /
October 2020 /
September 2020 /
August 2020 /
July 2020 /
June 2020 /
May 2020 /
April 2020 /
March 2020 /
February 2020 /
January 2020 /
December 2019 /
November 2019 /
October 2019 /
September 2019 /
August 2019 /
July 2019 /
June 2019 /
May 2019 /
April 2019 /
March 2019 /
February 2019 /
January 2019 /
December 2018 /
November 2018 /
October 2018 /
September 2018 /
August 2018 /
July 2018 /
June 2018 /
May 2018 /
April 2018 /
March 2018 /
February 2018 /
January 2018 /
December 2017 /
November 2017 /
October 2017 /
September 2017 /
August 2017 /
July 2017 /
June 2017 /
May 2017 /
April 2017 /
March 2017 /
February 2017 /
January 2017 /
December 2016 /
November 2016 /
October 2016 /
September 2016 /
August 2016 /
July 2016 /
June 2016 /
May 2016 /
April 2016 /
March 2016 /
February 2016 /
January 2016 /
December 2015 /
November 2015 /
October 2015 /
September 2015 /
August 2015 /
July 2015 /
June 2015 /
May 2015 /
April 2015 /
March 2015 /
February 2015 /
January 2015 /
December 2014 /
November 2014 /
October 2014 /
September 2014 /
August 2014 /
July 2014 /
June 2014 /
May 2014 /
April 2014 /
March 2014 /
February 2014 /
January 2014 /
December 2013 /
November 2013 /
October 2013 /
September 2013 /
August 2013 /
July 2013 /
June 2013 /
May 2013 /
April 2013 /
March 2013 /
February 2013 /
January 2013 /
December 2012 /
November 2012 /
October 2012 /
September 2012 /
August 2012 /
July 2012 /
June 2012 /
May 2012 /
April 2012 /
March 2012 /
February 2012 /
January 2012 /
December 2011 /
November 2011 /
October 2011 /
September 2011 /
August 2011 /
July 2011 /
June 2011 /
May 2011 /
April 2011 /
March 2011 /
February 2011 /
January 2011 /
December 2010 /
November 2010 /
October 2010 /
September 2010 /
August 2010 /
July 2010 /
June 2010 /
May 2010 /
April 2010 /
March 2010 /
February 2010 /
January 2010 /
December 2009 /
November 2009 /
October 2009 /
September 2009 /
August 2009 /
July 2009 /
June 2009 /
May 2009 /
April 2009 /
March 2009 /
February 2009 /
January 2009 /
December 2008 /
November 2008 /
October 2008 /
September 2008 /
August 2008 /
July 2008 /
June 2008 /
May 2008 /
April 2008 /
March 2008 /
February 2008 /
January 2008 /
December 2007 /
November 2007 /
October 2007 /
September 2007 /
August 2007 /
July 2007 /
June 2007 /
May 2007 /
April 2007 /
March 2007 /
February 2007 /
January 2007 /
December 2006 /
November 2006 /
October 2006 /
September 2006 /
August 2006 /
July 2006 /
June 2006 /
May 2006 /
April 2006 /
March 2006 /
February 2006 /
January 2006 /
December 2005 /
November 2005 /
October 2005 /
September 2005 /
August 2005 /
July 2005 /
June 2005 /
May 2005 /
April 2005 /
March 2005 /
February 2005 /
January 2005 /
December 2004 /
November 2004 /
October 2004 /
September 2004 /
August 2004 /
July 2004 /
June 2004 /
May 2004 /
April 2004 /
March 2004 /
February 2004 /
January 2004 /
December 2003 /
November 2003 /
October 2003 /
September 2003 /
August 2003 /
July 2003 /
June 2003 /
May 2003 /
April 2003 /
March 2003 /
February 2003 /
January 2003 /
December 2002 /
November 2002 /
October 2002 /
September 2002 /
August 2002 /
July 2002 /