October 31, 2008
The English is clear enough to lorry drivers - but the Welsh reads “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.”
i’m not in the office either. I’ve spent the day variously making a plant cell with zac out of a plastic box, pasta, an egg, a rubber, amongst other things; watching zoe practice ballet; and now getting ready to terrorise local residents in return for sugary things. the mulled wine is good though.
October 23, 2008
just back from berlin. it amused me that the only image of lenin left in east berlin appears to be this one, on the wall of a swimming pool, directly opposite the russian embassy.
October 22, 2008
the hitch on our recent troubles . . .
Remember the scene at the end of Peter Pan, where the children are told that, if they don’t shout out aloud that they all believe in fairies, then Tinker Bell’s gonna fucking die? That’s what the fall of 2008 was like, and quite a fall it was, at that.
i have a perculiar attitude to neal stephenson. i loved cryptonomicon, but it took the longest time for several people to persuade me to read snow crash. i loved that, too. i’ve had a copy of the first book of the baroque cycle sitting on my shelf for ages, and it’s still unread. it reminds me of reading Alistair Maclean when I was a child. it’s compelling, but you figure there are much better written books out there that you should probably read first. whilst in DC i bought Diamond Age. after 30 or 40 pages i was ready to pack it in, but i kept going. i’ve just finished it, and again find that i’m enamoured of it. i sometimes get the impression that stephenson tosses these things off in between doing other things he’s far more in to, but i’m grateful all the same. for sure he does no editing. look at the volume of words, it’s amazing. i’m pretty sure he writes from beginning to end, and then presses send. if he spends more than 3 months writing a tome, i’d be surprised. for fuck’s sake he can’t, he isn’t that old and he’s written volumes of many-hundred page novels. and i’m grateful he has. now, i just want to read more.
i’m off to berlin tomorrow and it’s time for a change. goethe’s “the sorrows of young werther” is up, then chabon’s “gentlemen of the road”. it’s unusual that i have books lined up ready to go that i’m looking forward to. and it’s good.
October 20, 2008
standing in the line at marks and spencer, pint of milk and green beans in hand, bemoaning the state of the english language.
yep, that’s “all entirely”
and “really true” and “tender flavour”.
October 15, 2008
suicide is up in the US as a result of foreclosures.
In July, on the day the house was to be auctioned, she faxed the note to the mortgage company. Then the 52-year-old walked outside, shot her three beloved cats and then herself with her husband’s rifle.
Notes left on the table revealed months of planning. She’d picked out her funeral home, laid out the insurance policy and left a note saying, “pay off the house with the insurance money.”
what to do when you do lose your home.
Soon she found herself with nowhere to live but her 4x4.
October 13, 2008
krugman spells it out in his latest op-ed in the new york times, gordon brown may have saved the world. too bad that no one in britain reads the NYT. gordo’s popularity ain’t high. recognition isn’t an issue for krugman, though, he’s just got the nobel prize.
i flew back from washington last night. what was an empty flight a few days ago was jammed with civil servants and ministers coming back from the crisis meetings at the white house. one couldn’t help overhearing a few things. suffice to say that the view was that america was finally getting it. the outlook is bad, very bad. everyone sees it now, and there was optimism that they now saw it gordo’s way.
October 10, 2008
my prediction(originally made when the FTSE was over 6000) that we’d see it dip below 4000 by christmas was way off. we’re already there (3,932 at close today).
the only people smiling must be all those who have contributed nothing in the last few years (me included) into a pension scheme. what a great way to make yourself poorer. pity those just retiring now. those who were told they would get a pension they could live on, but now find themselves on social security for the rest of their lives.
a while ago i questioned the bail out plan (at that time) proposed by paulson. why not inject capital into the banks directly?
in the UK Gordon brown has been having a pretty torrid time, politically. in his charisma-free fashion he constantly mumbles something about steering a course through the troubles, safe pair of hands, experience, vision, etc etc. all the time david cameron smiles and winks and watches his stock rise.
however, brown’s new rescue plan does inject capital into banks in the UK. Paul Krugman’s Op-ed piece today praises this and urges the US and Europe to follow suit. brown saves the world. go gordo, go.
So i’m in washington dc.
* it’s clean (the pavements even get washed every night).
* the weather is glorious
* there are no CCTV cameras, not even around government buildings. what’s with that? why does london need so many.
* biking around washington is great. being a tourist, occasionally, is good.
* i’ve been enjoying watching msnbc. let’s have seven people talk at the same times, all day, about the same subjects (the crash, the election), shouting and laughing wherever possible.
* i watched the presidential debate at an obama/biden fundraiser. it was great. mccain is an idiot.