Saturday, October 27, 2012

I forgive Friedrich Durrenmatt (for writing the the play the physicists

The BBC Iplayer has a series called The Judge and his Hangman written by  Friedrich Durrenmatt.
The story is about a case solved by a fictional detective called  Barlach. This was a great series.
The detective was on the verge of dying from cancer and the story was great as well.
There is also a documentary called Foreign Bodies about fictional detectives around Europe and the work of Durrenmatt was featured. AS they pointed out in the documentary, there are only two books about Barlach because he is dying of cancer.

By the magic of Amazon I find that Friedrich Durrenmatt also wrote the play "The Physicists". This play really annoyed me when I saw it in Salt Lake City. The play is about a physicists stuck in an insane asylum. It was a typical play by a humanities graduate, who doesn't understand science.
Now that I know about Inspector  Barlach, I forgive Durrenmatt for writing the above play.

Dogma and Disarray

I have finished reading Dogma and Disarray: Cameron at Half-Time by David Walker and Polly Toynbee. Toynbee is a journalist for the Guardian newspaper.  The book summaries all the achievements and errors of the current coalition government. OK, the book is mostly about the errors of Cameron and his pals. The conservatives really hate the state and want to finish the revolution started by that evil Thatcher women.

I bitterly regret not voting in the last election. I am spending too much of my time reading about the chaos of the Cameron government.

A dream about being infected by blood swilling flies

Last night I dreamed that I was a party. I was just starting on my second beer and my mum had told me to slow down a little bit. A person said to me there are lot of flies on my hand. I said "well there are a few flies in the flat." But then I looked down at my hand and there were a lot of flies. I was that there was a sore which was infected by flies.

I then awoke to the alarm. I looked at my hand. There were no flies. I went over to my trusty fly trap and the flies were still stuck there.

On learning to swear in German

So I am trying to get back into learning German. One issue with taking lessons is that they never seem to teach you words you actually know.  For example I have been taught how to ask directions to the main railway station, but I have not been taught how to tell someone to fuck off. I spend more of my life swearing at people than I do looking for railway stations.

So after doing some book research I find that the phrase is: Verpiss dich. I am very disappointed by this German phrase. I am more likely to start laughing if someone tells me " Verpiss dich."

Good English swear words carry a threat of violence and a suggestion that the person who is sworn at has sexual problems.

I now understand why they don't translate the swearing on the TV from English to German. It just wouldn't work. On a German grammar level I don't understand the use of dich -- that seems polite.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I lust after a glass of Thunderbird wine

Reading the the book "Big Sur" made me sad. Jack Kerouac is slowly sinking under the booze. He can tell his life is falling apart,  but he just can't stop.  He still has power and insight, but I guess he would lose that soon. One time Ginsberg wants him and Kerouac to go and see some hippy Buddhist guy. Jack Kerouac says no, but goes and buys a bottle of thunderbird wine and drinks it out on the street. Later Ginsberg comes back and drinks with Jack.

Having said all that I have become obsessed about drinking a glass of thunderbird wine. I want it in a brown paper bag. Even with the Internet it doesn't look so easy to get hold of it.  I have a bad feeling that I will be at a restaurant in the US with a group of professional people. When the waiter asks "what kind of wine do you want". I will say "Thunderbird wine" and the room will go quiet, and the waiter will say "we don't serve that here. Try the store by the pawn store."

Hey man, Thunderbird wine has introduced me to Townes Van Zandt  I am now going to buy
Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas for 20 Euros, so I will have no money for thunderbird wine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My fly trap is more fun than my dreams

Between 6 and 7 I had a dream where I worried about make a poster of physics results. My dreams earlier in the night where more interesting, but even after 1 hour I have started to forget them. The earlier dream was more exciting with a criminal being helped by a woman.

It is no wonder that my dreams are lacking imagining. The highlight of my day is counting the number of flies caught on my fly trap fixed to the window. I also worry if it looks as though a fly has escaped and is planning on creating a fly army to flood my flat with flies. There are still flies and gnats in the flat, but I think I am winning the war. A fly trap is a cowards way to kill flies, rather than using an honest fly swatter.

Soon I will be in favor of using poison gas in wars rather than the more ethical drones and nuclear weapons.

Howl -- the film

Last night I watched the film Howl. In my 20s I got into the work of the beat generation. While I lived in Lexington Kentucky I did go to a poetry reading given by  Allen Ginsberg . He was old. He looked like an old safe Uncle. I only remember an anti-smoking poem, that involved putting something other than a cigarette in your mouth.

Th film howl was a bit strange. It was partly an acted interview with the younger  Ginsberg about the poem, at the time of an obscenity trail against his famous poem. There were court scenes with evidence for or against the poem. The film makes decided to also use a lot of cartoons in the film to illustrate the poem. This didn't really work for me. Don't get me wrong, I love cartoons -- particularly good for Saturday morning hangovers.  But the cartoons in Howl trivialised he poem.

I didn't realize that Ginsberg was mentored and switched him onto beat writing by Jack Kerouac. I somehow thought it was the other way around.

In the 50s this must have sounded dangerous. It still sounds passionate, but does not shock.

Friday, October 19, 2012

On losing a dog in a dream

Last night I dreamed that I took a little scottie dog for a walk. It was raining. The dog was really a puppy and it got scared. Fro some reason I walked into a fair ground. There were lots of other animals around and the puppy got more scared. At some point I looked down at the lead and I saw that the puppy had gone. I had a quick  look around, but then went for a coffee with a friend. I did make up some posters that asked people to report the missing dog , but I felt guilty that I had not done enough.

So I am no longer an animal lover....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A dream of Glasgow subway trains

Last night I dreamed that I was running to get on a Glasgow subway train. I got one foot on the door, but I fell off The train moved away. I got a thread from my sweat shirt stuck in the door. I was pulled along. for a couple of meters, before I cut the thread.

Later I was getting a lift in a friends car. I put my bag in the boot. It didn't fit, so I had to bang it in. Unfortunately I manged to destroy some kind of bed. My friend was mad at me for doing that. The foldaway bed was actually owned my somebody else. I offered to pay for it, but my friend was pissed at me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dick Gaughan

Perhaps 15 years ago I remember hearing a folk song by a Scottish singer with a line "do you think the Russian's don't love their children" or something. For a long time I have searched for the song. I thought the singer was Dick Gaughan. I even went to a Gaughan gig when he played a small hall in Burnley. Perhaps I should have asked him there. He was queuing for a drink at the interval.

This evening I did a better web search and found this song. My search is over. However on youtube I found an even better song.

I was creating my top 10

The Toff in New York

Over the weekend I read "The Toff in New York" by John Creasy. The Toff is an English gentleman who is also an amateur detective. He goes over to New York to help a sister of a friend, but very quickly there is murder and kidnapping. There was one scene where he was getting tortured  and he jumps from the roof of a skyscraper to a ledge below. It was exciting stuff.

Dear Radio 6 I still hate prog, but I like Henry Cow

Last night after watching TV for a hour before I went to bed I started to youtube for a bit. Google suggested I might like Henry Cow. Umm I thought, I dimly remember that Henry Cow have been played on the freakzone show and they are a prog band. Stuart Maconie (presenter of the freakzone) is a big fan of prog music. In fact I often that his ambition is to make prog music more main stream again. In fact many of the radio 6 presenters love prog music in a very unhealy way.

I was a bit too young to be too influencced by Punk.  However I do know that prog music is shit in the same intuitive way that I hate Manchester United. If I am honest I am not sure why I hate prog music
I didn't like the keyboard sounds and the very long solos. It just seemed to be played by nasty hippies.

Having said that when I played the youtube video below,  I was blown away. I am a big fan of Phil Ochs anyway. This is a great cover. And it doesn't sound too proggy.


So I clicked on another Henry Cow video on you tube.

So the above video is much more proggy and yet I still love it. This is more free jazz than standard commerical prog shit. I know I am getting old, but I can't be seen to like prog. Wikipedia says they are an avant-rock band. Phew so that works for me.

I still fucking hate the band yes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sorry the flies have to die!

There are some extreme religious sects that take the sanctity of life very seriously. For example they will not pick fruit from trees to eat, but rather wait until it falls to the ground. Of course this type of view can only be held by a few people.

I like to feel that I am a little bit merciful. So although I had a number of small flies flying around my flat, I didn't immediately try to kill them. OK I tried with a fly swat and some spray. But my mercy was abused. I got tired of watching flies do doing dog fights at night, so I then I though no more Mt Nice Guy. I got a fly trap from an Euro store. As far as I can tell, it is just a piece of transparent sticky paper. I don't think poison is involved. Still not a nice way for a fly to die.

I have stuck the fly trap to a window for three days and I seem to have caught two flies. It looks a bit nasty though, much like putting the severed heads of criminals at the top of city walls.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Geek Manifesto

This evening I just finished reading "The Geek Manifesto" by Mark Henderson. This is an interesting and important book about using "the scientific method" to help with problems with education, health and justice.

I particularly found interesting the section of the book that dealt with the Green movement and their attitude to science. They want to use scientific arguments for climate studies, but not for alternative medicine or nuclear power. The book is a call to use more rational arguments for developing policy.
Of course it would be bad if the world was ruled by technocrats, but somehow it is so inefficient when politicians rearrange things like the NHS, but with very little idea of whether their "reforms" will work.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The machine girl

I watched the film the machine girl yesterday on Itunes. Well, wow it was pretty extreme by any standards of taste. There was a lot of blood. A girl gets a machine gun for an artificial arm and then seeks revenge for the death of her brother.

Still I worry that perhaps  I shouldn't watch too many of this type of film. You know, need to keep sane.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The leaves are falling and darkness falls

I can't help feeling I am in a rut. It doesn''t seem like yesterday, when I was complaining about the falling of leaves, but it was a year ago. As I walk to work I start to see leaves on the ground. Soon all the leaves will be on the ground and not on the trees. The view from my window will be just a collection of barren trees. It is so depressing. But it happened last year, so I just have to wait until the spring when the leaves will be back.

On the plus side it is darked in the morning. I don't get woken at 4:00 in the morning by the bright sun.

I am sure that this is carbon copy of a post I wrote last year, but like I said I am in a rut

Power angst!

I slept badly last night. At one point I woke up because in my dream the fuses in my flat had blown. I was just getting up to flip the switch on the fuse box, when I suddenly thought it was unlikely that the fuses had been blown during the night while I am sleeping.

If I try and plug a computer or printer into the power socket too quikly the fuses will blow. This is annoying. But in fact my life seems to be an endless search for power. When I was on holiday I was watching for power sockets, as much as I was checking out the attractive women. When you have a smart phone in your pocket you are always worrying about the charge level. And then there is kindle and my laptop.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Dreams of dogs and inspectors

Last night I dreamned that I met inspector Montalbano at an airport. He seemed happy to see me. He bent forwards to kiss me on the cheek, but saw my English reserve and just shook my hand. We went off for a chat.

Later in the dream I was at my mother's house. She was preparing dinner. An older guy and a younger guy came around to drive me somewhere. I suspected the older guy was queer. I was also looking after a dog, that looked like the picture of a dog pasted to facebook. We sat on a wall near a beach. I worried that I would be late for dinner. Also I didn't have a proper lead to control the dog, which was running around free near a road.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The masters of money

Like everyone else these days I am more interested in the dismal science: economics. So I have enjoyed watching the three TV programs in the series: Masters of Money. Each episode featured the ideas of one famous economist. The three chosen were: Keynes (my hero), Hayek  (a f**king shit), and Marx (I am luke warm on).

Today I watched the episode on Marx. One problem with the left in the 1980s was that you had believe  Marxism. This was a problem for me, because I don't like ideas such as the inevitable will of history.
OK "had" is a bit too strong, but is was one of the main philosophies of the left.
I did try to read some books about it though.  I got depressed that I started to read that Marxism was coming back. However as the program made clear, people are more interested in the problems of Capitalism that Marx found, rather than Marx's ideas for a better society (such that he had any) .

I am sure Hayek was a good man, but his ideas were taken up by a bunch of crazy right wings people, such as Thatcher and Glenn Beck. The amount of information in a TV program can usually be written on a page of A4 paper. What I didn't realize about Hayek was that he was such a hard core fan of markets, that he didn't want the central banks to determine interest rates. in the 80s the govermant used high interest rates to control something, perhaps the money supply. A lot of people lost their houses because of that, and no doubt the same would happen again, if Hayek's ideas were tried.

Umm, so Hayek got a Nobel prize, but Keynes did not. Well the Economics Nobel isn't real anyway.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Chinese Maze murders

I spent the afternoon reading The Chinese Maze Murders: A Judge Dee Mystery . I just got hooked into the story.. I had other things I needed to do, but I have got a bit of a cold.

The book was about a new magistrate for a town at the border of China. He comes in with his team and family and to solve a number of crimes and rebellions. The author was an expert in the history of China, so there was a lot of local detail about ancient China, so in some sense I was really reading about history. This is third book I have read about the adventures of Judge Dee, but this was the one I liked the best. It was also the first book of the siries.


If you are tired of zombie films you are tired of life.

I rented from Itunes the film helldriver. My one sentence review of the film is "what the fuck". The film is so extreme. It starts with a guy on a wall decapitating zombies for a little horn on their heads. And things get weirder. There is just so much blood. The actors are playing straight as well. Given this is from Japan, there is non of the cartoon like stuff that there would be in a US film.

There is just something so sexy about a woman holding a chainsaw.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

No shiny shoes blues

I am not best known for my sense of style in the choice of clothes that I wear. In fact I sometimes get the impression that some people think I am a bit of a slob.  Even If by accident I do wear something stylish I usually get soup all over it. So why bother.

The one place where I try to make an effort is with shoes. I find it relaxing to polish shoes. I got into the  habit when I was in the air training core and I had to wear a uniform. Somebody told me that he thought that women were attracted to men with clean and shiny shoes., but this has never worked for me.

The bad news is that shops don't seem to sell boot polish, but some nasty liquid polish. I am all for progress, but I miss the quiet satisfaction of polishing my shoes with a brush.