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April 5th; 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).

April 4th; Sunday. Careful, detailed late-March article by Iain Davis about why we should disbelieve covid-19 death figures.
April 3rd; Saturday. `Why Is Everyone In Texas Not Dying?` More common sense and rational science about the covid tantrum.

April 2nd; Friday. A nice Unherd piece about the tediousness of modernists like Virginia Woolf.
April 1st; 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.

March 31st; 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.
March 30th; Tuesday. Another topic of conversation last week.

March 29th; 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.
March 28th; Sunday. Visit Victoria again. A conversation from last week where I learned about irrigation pivot wheels, and approaches to the soil-rutting problem.

March 27th; Saturday. The attempt to build up a danger story from a "British variant" of covid-19 begins falling apart like the other stories.
March 26th; 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??"

March 25th; Thursday. Another article argues that the covid-19 "crisis" (using that word very loosely) is over.
March 24th; Wednesday. Again discussed Wollstonecraft`s legacy with a friend. Look at her portrait, particularly.

March 23rd; Tuesday. One from Memory Lane: Jean Luc Cornec`s Rotary Phone Sheep. From a chat with Irish Michael.
March 22nd; 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.

March 21st; Sunday. Why the French hate the English.
March 20th; Saturday. Why the English hate the French.

March 19th; Friday. Review of Rousseau-esque book on original innocence.
March 18th; Thursday. Interesting article about free debate & identity cultism.

March 17th; Wednesday. Three journals: New Criterion, The Critic, Perspective.
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 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
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.5000 English words
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.find old websites
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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

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: romanceofbooks / konyvcsempesz (book smuggler) / khajdu1 / 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.

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