to links pages 
phone texts to +36 -- --- ----
October 14th; Thursday. A
rather nifty 40-page report from the 1630s: 'A most certaine and true
a strange monster or serpent found in the left
ventricle of the heart of John Pennant, Gentleman,
of the age of 21 yeares'. Via the
Public Domain Review.
October 13th; Wednesday.
US Senator pointing out that compulsory vaccination doesn't match with pharmaceuticals being granted
immunity from prosecution.
October 12th; Tuesday.
Vaccinated 28-year-old woman MP collapses in Austrian
Parliament during a speech in which she was apparently advocating vaccinating children
against covid-19. Meanwhile Japanese nationalists celebrate
Otoya Yamaguchi Day, to mark
a 17-year-old killing Japan's Socialist Party leader in 1960. "Right wing" in the Wikipedia
article is wrong of course - nationalists sat on the left of the French National
Assembly in 1789, not the right. Yet more internecine left-wing violence, nationalist against
socialist, relabelled by liars on the left as not their work.
October 11th; Monday.
Fabulously dated-looking mid-60s pervert shocker movie with Bond-style theme tune, 'Who
Killed Teddy Bear?' Perhaps worth seeing - even
the poster is unmistakeably of its time.
October 10th; Sunday.
A weblog discusses globalist pressure to impose unnecessary
vaccine passes as conditions for
normal life (going into shops, catching trains, entering museums, gyms, cafes).
October 9th; Saturday.
Rather good short history article from 7 years ago about the heyday of
high-speed mail coaches in
Britain in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
October 8th; Friday.
The French version of the intended
world identity card.
October 7th; Thursday.
Some elegant, or at least austere, ceramic art:
October 6th; Wednesday.
A consciously liberal Twitter account, of someone appalled by covid-19 authoritarianism:
October 5th; Tuesday.
A couple of days ago, several Facebook-related apps and related bits of the internet went
down or slowed down. Speculation immediately started that this was the next aspiring
world-government power grab after the imminent failure of the climate-warming and covid-19
gambits. After dusk Victoria drops
by. She, Robin, & I natter into the small hours, putting the world to rights.
October 4th; Monday.
From a couple of months ago, a speech by a politician in the Dutch Parliament setting out the
passport project that motivated the dishonestly hyped covid-19 scare.
October 3rd; Sunday.
Wake up on Jessica Filmmaker's cream-coloured sofa. Last night she threw a party and we watched
two films on her big screen television. Both movies were really about innocence.
Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985), which I'd never seen, is really a film about
adults behaving like six-year-olds. Pee Wee is true naif, blithely in love with his fancy
bicycle and utterly devastated when it is stolen from him. He goes on a big mission across the
United States to find and reunite with his beloved velocipede. Various other characters, such
as the girl at the bicycle shop hopelessly and secretly in love with him, are also small children
inside the bodies of adults. Some remarkable moments.
Spinster (2019) is a
very low-key dry comedy about a woman in her 30s being nagged into getting married.
October 2nd; Saturday.
Our contributor Tyler Durden discusses India's use of ivermectin, which
turns out (what a surprise) to be
effective against covid-19 after all.
October 1st; Friday.
An old 1980s New Scientist interview with
September 30th; Thursday.
Two recent posts from Our Man in Bucharest:
French civil war; Wuhan research lab & covid-19
linked after all. Duh.
September 29th; Wednesday.
On which topic, a list of interesting books worth looking at if they decide to print them properly
September 28th; Tuesday.
It seems there's an author (Ralph
Ellis) who claims in a number of books
that several characters in Ancient Egyptian history are renamed people from the Jewish Old Testament. One book,
for example, says that Queen Cleopatra was grandmother to Jesus of Nazareth. What fun!
September 27th; Monday.
online document from the British government
says that between 2021 Feb 1 and 2021 Aug 2
the newest variant of covid-19, the so-called "delta variant", killed 741 vaccinated people but only killed 253
(bottom two rows of table on page 18).
September 26th; Sunday.
French tennis player says sharp pains make him
regret covid-19 vaccine. "I cannot train, I cannot play."
September 25th; Saturday.
Argy bargy begins on Serb/Kosovo border. Might be part of the Sleepy Joe dividend. Annette says
the German idiom is that, when the cat is away, the mice dance on the table.
September 24th; Friday.
Interview with an Indian businessman on
September 23rd; Thursday.
ice cover now 25% bigger at its lowest annual point than the lowest point last year - of course
hardly reported by the media.
September 22nd; Wednesday.
A short article summarises why France's government is so angry about the recent Australian/British/US
submarine decision. Plus more on the
empty Russian-collusion claims, the attempted
impeachment putsch against Trump the week he took office in 2016. Meanwhile,
Minaj realises that Twitter banning her for
questioning the covid-19 vaccines goes beyond health policy.
September 21st; Tuesday.
A Daily Telegraph article about dangerous-sounding work
Wuhan bat/coronavirus researchers applied
for 14m USD to carry out in 2018. Worth reading carefully.
September 20th; Monday.
Three interesting articles:
(1) A timeline of finance/banking motives to pump up the covid-19 emergency;
(2) A discussion of the character of one of the main vote hackers behind November
2020's election fraud;
(3) The Tablet reviews how China steered global overreaction to covid-19.
September 19th; Sunday.
Another International Talk Like a Pirate Day slips by the gunnel, me hearties. Why do I keep missing
this important festival?
September 18th; Saturday. I finish
'The Big Four',
the 1970s reprint of a 1920s Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot mystery I bought yesterday.
(Here's some slightly older
cover art.) I don't recall reading this as a child,
and I think I can see why. My mother had an austere taste for detective novels about character & intuition,
and she disliked Hercule Poirot. Even more she detested his predecessors, Christie's short-lived
Bright Young Thing detective duo Tommy & Tuppence - I recall reading one during the holiday in the fixed
caravan in Anglesey when I was 8 and it rained every day. Mother was muttering in the background, as I read
that book, about how appallingly characterised the
Tommy & Tuppence flappers were, how dated and twee they were, etc. I suppose she was very much a
child of the 1930s, hugely irritated by the 1920s.
Neither intuition nor character drives the 'The Big Four' plot. Indeed, it's
hardly a plot and it isn't really a detective story. It's in
fact Christie - in 1927 - having a go at muscling in on the then hugely popular
Manchu franchise of
wily Oriental villains with long fingernails and silken robes controlling vast, shadowy networks of
international crime. The name 'The Big Four' sounds hilarious now, and puts some of us in mind
of the four major accountancy firms Arthur Anderson, KPMG, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Deloitte, Ernst &
Young (albeit so recently a Big Five and a Big Six). Poirot must use his usual "little grey cells"
to deduce his way to the heart of the mystery. Yet
neither he nor Christie (hardly out of her first decade of writing detective books, the decade that also
invented the crossword puzzle - another passion of my mother's) had yet settled on the suburban milieu of
Miss Marple. This book has poison gas and locked cellars and sinister Limehouse streets that Holmes &
Watson (not to mention Bulldog Drummond or Richard Hannay) would have recognised. Some of the puzzle
steps or plot twists are smart if a bit unconvincing to newer, more cynical readers. Except - one of the
funnier effects of events since 2000 is that we now realise that the crassest of popular thriller tropes
were a better guide to what was really going on the 20th century than the official histories. It's only just
emerging now that Ian Fleming's Bond villains on tropical islands and the supernatural shenanigans of Dennis
Wheatley novels gave a truer picture than the Cold War narrative. Then along came 2020 with an elaborate
global disease scare playing to a script of Chinese-infiltrated media outlets and UN bodies to show us that
the Fu Manchu books were, however luridly, describing a real danger, not a fantasy bogeyman. Nothing is too
laughable or hackneyed to be true, it seems, and our smug bourgeois complacency wasn't so clever after all.
September 17th; Friday. Today
picked up this book,
'The Struggle for a Human Future', by Jeremy
Naydler, and read it later in the
evening. On the way there, I also bought a second-hand paperback that has been staring at me
from a nearby bookshop display window for a couple of weeks, an old Agatha Christie. That shop's
"covid" opening hours are three hours on three days, that is 10 to 1, on Monday, Wednesday, and
Friday. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. The Christie cover portrays a sinister
Chinese-looking chess piece with serpent coils in the background, in one of the 1970s
or late 60s Fontana reprints I saw a lot of when my mother was encouraging me to read through Christie's
Oddly, the Naydler book which had arrived for me at a bookshop across town, which
I also pick up today, also has serpent coils in the cover design, a William Blake image. This is a
curious book in which the philosopher of religion and gardener with a special interest in Rudolf Steiner
compiles five of his articles about the computerisation of our world and our lives. There is an article
about 5G, for example, the ongoing project to bathe almost every corner of the globe in
various frequencies to ensure internet ubiquity. Another essay or chapter discusses light as it's
regarded within the post-17th-century reductionist materialist research programme, and contrasts it
with sacred views of visible light, and Rudolf Steiner's ideas about the meaning of light in particular.
Naydler suggests that computers are damaging how people view the act of thinking, and are getting us
into the habit of not experiencing the world directly. They are also making us, as in Heidegger's
prophetic warning, view nature in an instrumentalist way, instead of our older attitude of reverence
& mystery. This 2020 book gets me curious to read Naydler's 2018 book
'In the Shadow of the Machine', about the "prehistory of computing".
September 16th; Thursday.
What a dismal intro it seems now:
My memory made it better, though I recall being puzzled as a small boy by
a detective series in which Amsterdam police officers lived their lives entirely in English.
The TV nostalgia sites call it 'gritty', and I can remember there were lots of storylines
about corruption & local politics. I wonder how Dutch people felt about a British
crime show offshoring bent-copper dramas to mainland Holland?
September 15th; Wednesday.
More details emerge of US
funding of coronavirus research in Wuhan.
September 14th; Tuesday.
Another claim from a doctor (a tropical pathologist) that covid-19-vaccinated people are the ones
who are dangerous to others.
September 13th; Monday. A
plausible motive for the curious new push to - quite unnecessarily -
Enjoyed several thoughtful articles in the copy of
'European Conservative' that I
got given at last week's debate where
Sessions spoke here in the Castle District. The magazine is much
better than I expected, as were the darling little savoury pogacsas (mini-scones) on plates at the event.
September 12th; Sunday.
Last night, visible to one side from Robin's balcony, crowds holding candles were slowly walking up
Andrassy avenue towards Heroes' Square. This was while choirs sang. This morning I wake late to find Robin
in the room adjoining the balcony, the room full of art ingredients,
listening to more church music, more choirs singing uplifting hymns
outside on the street. Another Catholic friend told me a few days ago quite mildly that Francis "did
something very bad" in his youth that caused another priest to serve some time in prison. He said it
as if perhaps it had been a valuable chance for the future pope to learn humility and repentance.
contributors, none other than
writes about Mr Fauci's involvement in the coronavirus scandal, lying when he called Senator Rand Paul a liar.
Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation describes how the spike protein in the covid-19
virus & vaccines causes changes to cells in heart tissue and elsewhere, migrating through
the blood stream.
September 11th; Saturday.
Barely 30 yards from Robin's front door, much of Andrassy avenue is shut down with parked police vans,
newly mounted overhead display screens, lines of chemical loos, metal crowd fences, and long white
ribbons marked 'Rendorseg - Police' in blue. This is all for tomorrow's visit by Francis the GloboPope,
as a waitress outside the downstairs bar explained with sneering contempt, in reply to my query,
two days ago. A Catholic friend told me a
few months back that the Jesuits swore on their foundation never to let one of their own become
pope (perhaps explaining why there has been no Jesuit pope until now).
Our Man in Bucharest judiciously celebrates
September 10th; Friday.
A good Salisbury Review article about
history teaching. Not one of mine, I hasten to add.
September 9th; Thursday.
Are white feminists evil? A nice Unherd piece. Small birthday party in the science cave for Tam, with Annette, Dag,
Alja, and her sweet but jittery dog. Interesting how the pale shirt with pink and light blue checks, on
being in the bucket of dilute bleach I put it in some hours a few weeks ago, stubbornly keeps the off-yellow
background hue that makes it look not-quite-washed, but lost much of the dye meaning the checks
fade in and out of white. In places the blue lines have gone altogether yet the white's failed to become
clean-looking. You'd think that after a century and a half of bleaching and dyeing chemistry they might
have worked this stuff out by now.
September 8th; Wednesday.
A picture of Venetians larking around on the ice during the 1709 winter, a winter cold enough for
the lagoon to freeze solid.
I visit Annette in the science cave for my first colloidal silver consultation.
September 7th; Tuesday.
This morning woke out of a vivid success dream where I was, with some companions, in a large rambling
building, part country house, part luxury hotel in some old city. One suite of rooms was haunted and
filled with disturbing magical power, which was not so much frightening as thrilling. To get there I got
into a lift which went vertically some floors and then horizontally down corridors and through rooms and
walls very quickly, rather like a cable car. Then vertically some more - these "sideways lifts" feature
in my dreams every few years, I notice. The suite of rooms was in some kind of tower overlooking from
high windows a forest in winter, and I found myself triumphant, empowered, raised to more
than health - "better than well" as the Americans say - as I clicked into
rest-refreshed wakefulness. Later in the day, finished reading a copy of
the Great Philosophers', published half a century ago oddly enough by
Barnes & Noble, a chain of American bookshops. I suppose booksellers branching into publishing was quite
common once. The book uses a nice approach. Instead of touring in order through philosophers and centuries,
or looking at specific debates, it does both. Each chapter is a topic (such as free will versus
determinism), and the chapter starts with ancient thinkers, briskly touring through the Greeks, Late
Antiquity, the Mediaevals, Renaissance thinkers, Early Modern, German Enlightenment and up to the
late-19th/early-20th century figures (Russell and/or Pragmatists like Dewey in most chapters). Rather
refreshingly for this reader, I don't recall seeing Wittgenstein, nor any of the Existentialists
mentioned even once. The trick of making each philosopher italic on first mention in each chapter is
very helpful, and some thinkers who tend to get left out of historical overviews, such as
Anaxagoras, are here.
Herbert Spencer gets
quite a lot of mentions, and it's nice to see philosophers like
mentioned in non-political debates, not just in his classic discussion of the state.
There's a proper effort to separate out Fichte and
This is an excellent book, but there
are some strange slip-ups. A couple of thinkers, such as
William of Champeaux and
Roscelin, get italicised, full-status mentions in the body of the text, but are
missing from the detailed biographical notes at the back, which include almost everyone else.
September 6th; Monday.
A dog who apparently has learned to press buttons each with a word on is, her owners think,
possibly becoming self-aware. Confusingly named 'Bunny', this affable hound is starting to
press sequences of buttons like
"dog / what / dog / is?" Not
quite enough to convince me, but certainly interesting.
September 5th; Sunday. Read
A Nuremburg Renaissance Casket for the Marquesses of Lothian', which is a lavishly illustrated exhibition
catalogue, lusher than most books, that Robin got at some art show or auction house. The web has a lot of
images of this casket, and other treasure boxes made by its maker, known simply
as The Master of Perspective, who had a workshop in Nuremburg during the 1560s. The period of the German
wunderkammer or cabinet of wonders was, it seems, exemplified by boxes to house valuables, themselves
richly worked and decorated, sometimes containing jewellery, sometimes scientific wonders such as
geological/biological/fossil curiosities. Pre-figuring Baconian science - the line was blurred between
collecting natural oddities and displaying decorative wealth. Containing wonders and each cabinet itself
sometimes constituting a wonder. The boxes made by the workshop in
Nuremburg appear to have had a very distinctive style, surfaces in and out decorated by inlaid marquetry,
mother-of-pearl and so on, almost invariably displaying what we might call
shown in perspective (hence the master's name) along with scenes from well-known classical stories such as
humiliating Aristotle, an episode Nietzsche & Lou Salome might have been referring to in their
famous cart-pulling photograph.
September 4th; Saturday.
This site opposes "covid passports" being pushed (clearly planned in advance) as
de facto ID cards.
September 3rd; Friday.
Up late, chatting with Robin. This
Leo Strauss book looks like something worth reading as soon as I can.
Strauss plausibly argues philosophers have always written in an 'esoteric'
code, partly disguising their message so as not to challenge political & moral assumptions of
their time head on.
September 2nd; Thursday.
'The crypto revolution is failing'.
September 1st; Wednesday.
'Afghanistan is where ideologies
go to die'.
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
August 31st; Tuesday.
The last couple of days of August have actually been a bit chilly. Not even mildly cool, but
suddenly verging on uncomfortable, cold, pullover-worthy. Truly,
August 30th; Monday.
Finish Tam's tutorial book, English-language version, 'Technical Modeling with
OpenSCAD', written with lots of examples, handy tips,
clear diagrams in sunflower yellow, and a jolly tone which I can now recognise as Tam's voice.
Other reviewers are positive too, and there are a few
Have not yet done the exercises - the usual bit readers of how-to books leave out, including this
reader - but I'm at least imagining practical implementation.
August 29th; Sunday.
Day watching television. Jessica and I watch the 'Pickle Rick' episode of Rick & Morty, in which the mad
scientist in the garage turns himself into a pickled gherkin. Then we watch the documentary
Four' where director Laura Poitras films Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald in a
Hong Kong hotel bedroom in the days Snowden's escape from the US becomes public.
August 28th; Saturday.
Over at Filmmaker Jessica's for a lovely dinner. She introduces me finally to the Rick & Morty show, including
the famous where-are-my-testicles?
episode Andras recommended me last year. I feel I've leapfrogged South Park and Family Guy
and am now updated on ironic cartoon shows for grown-ups.
August 27th; Friday.
An enjoyable letter from Budapest by British/Hungarian author Tibor Fischer writing in May.
August 26th; Thursday.
Most years the whole of August is stiflingly warm, and then cooler autumnal weather begins, almost
like clockwork, on either August 20th or
the day after. This year cooler weather and some rain started 10 days ahead.
Warm and cool days intermingled up until the Istvan/Stephen coronation holiday.
August 25th; Wednesday. A low-key
article in the Spectator by a woman says covid-19 vaccinations are affecting her and other women's
Robert Malone, one of the researchers who helped create the
mRNA vaccine technique, chats with Steve Bannon and someone else in a show with the
rather overblown title 'The War Room' (featuring a graphic of some burning stuff). However, the
details of the interview are valuable. The basic point is that widespread vaccination early in an
epidemic makes it more likely the virus will develop immunity to vaccines and evolve into more
dangerous variants, than if
the Swedish example (and that originally of Boris Johnson) had been followed.
One of our contributors, Zero Hedge (aka Tyler Durden), reports that Spain's
Supreme Court is banning use of 'vaccine passorts' to control access to public spaces.
At least they are in Spain. This same policy - not banned, in contrast vigorously enforced - is still
causing giant demonstrations all across France, Germany, and Italy, so my French, German, and Italian
August 24th; Tuesday.
Article from last month about
leftists rewriting Spanish history,
specifically rewriting the massacres that led up to General Franco's putsch against and war
against the left-of-centre government that ruled for several months in 1936.
August 23rd; Monday.
Interesting item from last month's New Statesman,
an interview with a pro-EU Tory who says Remainers must accept that they lost the
vote in 2016, showing how deeply confused and out of touch even the pragmatic anti-Brexit
wombles are. His yearning to again one day suckle at the euro-nipple is tangible throughout the piece.
August 22nd; Sunday.
documentary I might be editing the subtitles of - dark and absurd by turns - about
some mass murders in Budapest's 12th district during World War 2. It hinges on a commemorative statue
(of a mythical bird, the turul, a bit like a Hungarian version of the phoenix) five decades later put
very close to the site of the murders. Astonishing to say, the plaque under the big bird listed
the names of both some victims and some perpetrators of those murders who then died elsewhere.
It generated a bitter political quarrel which still rumbles on today. The central tragi-comic character
is the 12th-district mayor, who
(1) allowed the statue to be built in the early 2000s,
(2) apparently did not know at that time that his own grandfather was part of a lynch mob
rounding up and killing Jewish civilians near that site in 1944, and
(3) whose father (son of the grandfather of course) worked as a long-term informant for
the state-socialist dictatorship that ruled Hungary in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Truth really is stranger than fiction.
August 21st; Saturday.
A curious claim that those who vaccinated early are at
'increased risk' of severe disease.
August 20th; Friday.
Several of my students refer to today as
Hungary's birthday - which is a sweet way to describe it.
It commemorates the crowning of King (also Saint) Stephen, the country's first Christian king, in 1000 AD.
Rather lovely firework display along the riverbanks which I watch from Jessica's rooftop with Jessica & her
August 19th; Thursday.
abandoning Afghanistan continue.
August 18th; Wednesday. Over at
Filmmaker Jessica to watch the film 'Predestination' on her big screen. A 2014
movie about time travel which Jessica convincingly argues is really about loneliness.
August 17th; Tuesday. Seems
the comedy horror film I played a small role
in 2 days in May is now public.
August 16th; Monday.
Thorough piece on Edward Said's invented exile - seemingly from next month. Plus (also from next month) a
fascinating article on Marcuse by Anthony Daniels.
August 15th; Sunday.
Thought-provoking Unherd article about Mann's novel
August 14th; Saturday.
US withdrawal from Afghanistan gets people finally criticising Sleepy Joe.
August 13th; Friday.
Peer-reviewed journals, once the core of western science, have been
corrupted by Chinese ownership.
China attacks new covid-19 investigation looking outside Peking's favoured origin story.
Meanwhile, one of the founders of self-appointed "fact checkers" Snopes.com has been
August 12th; Thursday.
Interesting claim: Detroit vote-processing computers are
August 11th; Wednesday.
Over at Filmmaker Jessica's where we watch a fascinating documentary about John
'Milius', whose name
I didn't know. This was the
screenwriter so instinctive he could help Spielberg with 'Jaws', a film he wasn't working on,
by just dictating an extra couple of pages of crucial dialogue down the phone. The man who
wrote 'Conan the Barbarian' & 'Apocalypse Now'.
August 10th; Tuesday.
Interesting 6-month-old February article claiming mortality from covid-19 in Israel is multiples
among the vaccinated than among the unvaccinated.
August 9th; Monday.
The United Nations predict global
doom for 50 years straight.
August 8th; Sunday.
More on French demonstrations against
covid-19 passes being compulsory to go to a cafe or restaurant.
August 7th; Saturday.
Apparently the fourth weekend in a row that protestors opposing compulsory covid-19-vaccination
ID cards in France have gathered in public to tell
Mr Macron where to get off.
August 6th; Friday.
Last night slept 13 hours. Probably needed that. Today finish Robin's copy of Norman Stone's
A Short History'. Stone tidily skips through ten centuries,
revealing along the way
(he worked happily for many years at a Turkish university) that he likes the people and their
civilisation. Stone's command of some of the region's languages seems good.
His particular concern to explain the Armenian genocide as the result of
provocative Armenian nationalism seems to miss a crucial point though. Whether the Turks
should have been there in the first place, and how the Eastern Roman Empire might have
developed absent several centuries of predatory wars by Islam is left unexamined. The ethnic
cleansing of Muslims out of Crete or the rest of Greece - as soon as the Ottomans were
sufficiently weak to make it possible - is narrated rather as if it had been a constructive idea
for them to overrun the Balkan peninsula in the first place. Instead we shift quite soon
to the viewpoint where Islam is the de facto empire of the region, and the historian is instead
asking why did that by-then peaceful empire have to be dismantled? Byzantium can be
weak and corrupt and in need of new management, but not a thousand years later the descendents
of the Seljuk Turks when it's their turn to be attacked and broken up?
Stone's prose style is good, crisply moving along without getting lost in digressions or
over-detailed speculation. Amusing facts are injected on the fly, and the rhythm of the text
is witty and show him as the raconteur he was in real life. This brisk style helps to drive a
clean, straight narrative, but is also how the whole question of what the Ottoman Empire
added to Europe or did to damage history gets dodged. Stone's funeral service in Budapest
(which I attended but didn't write up) mentioned that Stone was a devoted & pious Anglican
church-goer, which also jars slightly with his fond acceptance of Turkey's centuries of political
domination of south-eastern Europe.
The book ends with mention of the democratically elected Islamist politician Recep Erdogan,
but without quoting Erdogan's eerie remark that "democracy is like a
train - you take it to where you want to go, and then you get off."
Stone mentions several Turks who "played a long game"
in their political careers. Erdogan's fake coup of 2015 came just after this book's
publication in 2014 (I asked Norman over some beers at the time what he thought Erdogan was
doing, and he didn't really answer). The five years of Erdogan's career immediately after
the historian finished off this quick, disciplined book negate many of the positive
conclusions. Stone seems to have seen the Turks as not a fanatical people: he writes as if
Islamist Turks are a kind of abberation, not the very essence of that culture. In the next
few years to come, Erdogan and his heirs may yet show this whole book up as misconceived.
August 5th; Thursday. That
whole 2-hour club DJ set by the desperately-serious
Solomun. This set ends with the slightly poignant moment
August 4th; Wednesday. A
Public Domain Review article about
Bell Pettigrew's wonderfully eccentric - and gorgeously illustrated - 1908 ideas about 'spiralism'.
August 3rd; Tuesday. The BMJ asks why
so many African
leaders die of covid-19?
August 2nd; Monday. Unusual electronics
account on Instagram everyone should have a
August 1st; Sunday.
Interesting piece about the ten-year wager between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich, and Ehrlich's
reputation mysteriously surviving his decades of hysterically forecasting
diary entries by month
August 2021 /
July 2021 /
June 2021 /
May 2021 /
April 2021 /
March 2021 /
February 2021 /
January 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 /