Thursday, May 31, 2018

Arkady Babchenko

Ukraine staged the murder of a Russian dissident journalist in Kiev on Tuesday in what it said was a sting operation to foil a Russian assassination plot.
Arkady Babchenko sent shock waves around the world when he arrived at a news conference on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after being reported dead.
Ukrainian security chief Vasyl Hrytsak said a sting had been set up to catch hitmen paid by Russian forces.
I don't know what to make of this at all. These are strange times.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What is a Dhuku?

Amazing what you can learn just from talking to people in the Standard.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

this great stage of fools.

Having read Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries by Antony Sher and then 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro recently, Anthony Hopkins in Lear last night on BBC2 was a given. Good stuff too.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Yesterday in sport

Not much in yesterday's finals went the way I was hoping but this Gareth Bale goal is one for the ages.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Today in sport

  • 15:00 Exeter v Saracens Aviva |Premiership Final
  • 17:00 Aston Villa v Fulham Championship Play Off Final
  • 18:00 Leinster v Scarlets Guinness Pro14 Final
  • 19:45 Real Madrid v Liverpool Champions League Final

Burgers from me and Ben from 14:00

Friday, May 25, 2018

Great insults of our time

I didn't really think she did a horrible job. Yes, I felt it was as lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium, and I thought it had all the build of a one-story motel, but, I mean, the girl didn't kill anybody. She didn't run over your foot. She just cut a very calm and somewhat boring take of one of the peppiest, happiest, most popular songs in history.
I had never previously hear of Allee Willis - co-writer of Earth, Wind and Fire's immortal 'September' - but after this majestically languid put-down of Taylor Swift's cover she is among my favourite people of all time.

I must dig deeper, but in the meantime let's just relish " lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium" one more time.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

It pays to increase your word power

A via ferrata (Italian for "iron path", plural vie ferrate or in English via ferratas) is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. The term "via ferrata" is used in most countries and languages except notably in German-speaking countries including Switzerland and Austria, which use Klettersteig (German for "climbing path"), plural Klettersteige.
The essence of a modern via ferrata is a steel cable which runs along the route and is periodically (every 1 to 10 metres (3.3 to 32.8 ft)) fixed to the rock. Using a via ferrata kit, climbers can secure themselves to the cable, limiting any fall. The cable can also be used as aid to climbing, and additional climbing aids, such as iron rungs (stemples), pegs, carved steps and even ladders and bridges are often provided. Thus via ferratas allow otherwise dangerous routes to be undertaken without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing or the need for climbing equipment such as ropes. They offer the relatively inexperienced a means of enjoying dramatic positions and accessing difficult peaks, normally the preserve of the serious mountaineer; although, as there is a need for some equipment, a good head for heights and basic technique, the via ferrata can be seen as a distinct step up from ordinary mountain walking. Conversely, the modest equipment requirements, ability to do them solo, and potential to cover a lot of ground, mean that via ferratas can also appeal to more experienced climbers.
Amazing the information you can pick up if you pay attention in the yoga studio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Royal Wedding

Even weirder than the Daily Mail, if such a thing can be imagined.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Year of Lear

The last book I read was Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries by Antony Sher. Currently I am about half way through 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro.

I have found out today that a new version of Lear with Anthony Hopkins is going to on the TV at half past nine on Monday. I definitely need to check that out.

It is a BBC2/Amazon co-production, though I have no idea what that will mean for its release on Prime and/or the iPlayer.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Henry Kissinger on Artificial Intelligence

We must expect AI to make mistakes faster—and of greater magnitude—than humans do.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would ever type the phrase "Henry Kissinger on Artificial Intelligence."

That said, How the Enlightenment Ends is well worth a read.
Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Very English Scandal

Anthony O'Donnell (Icons passim) played Leo Abse (Icons passim) in  the tremendous A Very English Scandal tonight.

Too much perspective.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Destination Wedding

I may be shallow, but this does make me laugh.

Friday, May 18, 2018


I have finally given up on TuneIn, the baked-in skill that Alexa uses for Podcasts, so I am trying out AnyPod.

Very happy with it so far:
AnyPod keeps track of what you've listened to. When you ask for a podcast you’ve heard before, it will play whatever episode you were listening to last time. When playing an episode you’ve heard before, AnyPod will pick up within the episode wherever you left off. (If it’s been awhile since you’ve played a podcast, AnyPod may ask if you want to hear the newest episode. If not, AnyPod will continue playing where you left off before.)


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe, journalist, novelist, contrarian, man of many verbal tics and white suits, is dead. He was 88... Louis Menand... Dwight Garner... Kurt Anderson.... Laura Miller... The Paris Review... Christian Lorentzen... Paul Elie... Graeme Wood... Christopher Bonanos... Elon Green... Adam Gopnik..
I used to buy Bantam paperback editions of Tom Wolfe from Lear's in the Royal Arcade. It felt incredibly glamorous.

Try 15 Great Articles by Tom Wolfe; classic reads from a journalistic pioneer, all free to read online.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I'm in the dark

Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters. “It was a heart-pounding experience—there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away. “I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honour.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Carillion displayed utter contempt for suppliers – Frank Field

Carillion used suppliers to “prop up a failing business model” and conceal true levels of debt, say MPs investigating the failed government contractor.
The parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of a company that provided a host of vital public services, including catering in schools, prison maintenance and construction of new NHS hospitals will conclude on Wednesday with the publication of the MPs’ final report. It is expected to name and shame those responsible for the failure of the listed company, which had a UK staff of nearly 20,000 when it crashed into administration in January.
In a taste of what is to come, the work and pensions committee chairman, Frank Field, said: “Carillion displayed utter contempt for its suppliers, many of them the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy.
“The company used its suppliers as a line of credit to shore up its fragile balance sheet, then in another of its accounting tricks ‘reclassified’ this borrowing to hide the true extent of its massive debt.”
See Icons passim.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cardiff Blues

Tonight at 8pm, in the first programme of the new look Blues Show, presenter Cerys Matthews is joined by Sir Tom Jones to chat about their deep, shared love of the blues.

Sir Tom selects some of the tracks which have inspired him over the years and shares stories of singing the blues with Elvis, duetting with Janis Joplin and encountering the blues singers who shaped the way he sings today.

For all that I can't stand Janis Joplin, this will be worth listening to on catch-up when I get back from the quiz.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Be careful what you wish for

During the season I joked that the best possible outcome would be for Cardiff City to be promoted to the Premiership while the Swans were demoted to the Championship. Now it has actually happened I feel strangely flat and sorry for Swansea.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Childish Gambino - This Is America

I think this is great, but I don't know why.

Friday, May 11, 2018


The completely self-powered, manual WOODWAY Curve Treadmill offers a one-of-a-kind workout experience that requires zero electricity.
I noticed this intriguing piece of kit in the gym this morning and did a minute on it even though it's a resistance rather than cardio day.

I think I will do half an hour on it next time I am in.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I've done the maths because you are too depressed to

Swansea City are on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after Huddersfield secured their safety with a 1-1 against Chelsea.

The Terriers needed a point to move out of reach of Carlos Carvalhal's side - and achieved that despite Marcos Alonso canceling out Laurent Depoitre's opener.

Huddersfield moved to 37 points with the draw at Stamford Bridge, taking them out of the reach of Swansea's 33.

It means that Swansea can now only catch Southampton on the final day of the season - but an inferior goal difference makes that scenario highly unlikely.

The Saints are three points clear of the Swans - with Mark Hughes' side sitting on 36 points.

It all means that if Swansea City are to stay in the Premier League for next season, they need to beat Stoke on the last day and hope that Southampton fail to move off that 36 points mark.

That would see Carvalhal's side move level with the Saints on points and then it would be down to goal difference.

The Swans have a goal difference of -27, a considerable way off Southampton's -18.

If they were to draw level on points with Southampton on the final weekend, they'd need to overcome a goal difference gap of 9 goals.

While the Saints are playing champions Manchester City, the odds are against the Swans staying up at Southampton's expense.

Though if the Swans beat Stoke 5-0 and Man City beat Southampton 5-0 the sun may come through the clouds.
It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong—but that’s the way to bet. Damon Runyon

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,

The Met
The Costume Institute's spring 2018 exhibition—at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters—will feature a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism
Serving as the cornerstone of the exhibition, papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican, will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.
It doesn't happen all that often,  but words fail me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

London Mithraeum

The mysterious cult of Mithras first appeared in Rome in the 1st century AD. It spread across the Empire over the next 300 years, predominantly attracting merchants, soldiers and imperial administrators. Meeting in temples which were often constructed below ground, these were private, dark and windowless spaces. The mythological scene of Mithras killing a bull within a cave, the ‘tauroctony’ is at the heart of the cult, and its full meaning is subject of much speculation.
And I am off to one this afternoon.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi wanted by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus

The Sun
Blues wonderkid has attracted the attention of European giants with stunning campaign at youth level
While the world keeps publishing these extraordinary things, I will keep taking note.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

“Travelers never did lie, though fools at home condemn them“

I went to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End on Wednesday, left just after ten and got the tube home arriving at twenty five to eleven.

Yesterday, I went to the Rose Theatre in Kingston, which you might think was more local, left my house at twenty to six, jumped on a number 131 bus and arrived an hour and ten minutes later.

I am sure there is a life lesson there, but I don't know that I am up to articulating it this morning.

Anyway, Much Ado About Nothing was good and we spied Jenny Agutter (as well as Hugh Dennis) in the audience.
Prodnose: Good Lord, lucky old you.
Myself: Jenny Agutter was in Avengers Assemble which was directed by Josh Wheedon. Josh Wheedon also filmed a version of "Much Ado about Nothing," in 2012.
Prodnose: Well I never. Will wonders never cease?

Friday, May 04, 2018

In a world where ....

In Codice Ratio is a research project that aims at developing novel methods and tools to support content analysis and knowledge discovery from large collections of historical documents. The goal is to provide humanities scholars with novel tools to conduct data-driven studies over large historical sources. The project concentrates on the collections of the Vatican Secret Archives, one of the largest and most important historical archive in the world. In an extension of 85 kilometres of shelving, it maintains more than 600 archival collections containing historical documents on the Vatican activities, such as, all the acts promulgated by the Vatican, account books, correspondence of the popes, starting from the eighth century.
Am I the only one who sees a movie here? Get me Harvey Weinstein on the phone now! And tell Nic Cage he can't retire, at least not yet.

Prodnose: It's a transmitter. It's a radio for speaking to God. And it's within my reach.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

School Dispersal Zone in effect

I have heard a rumour that that this timely intervention by the police was prompted by tensions between Ricards Lodge and Ursuline High, our two local girls secondary schools. For all the tears of laughter this provoked, we hear a lot of talk about entitled millennials but I, for one, will sleep more soundly in my bed knowing that the next generation on the distaff side owe more to Boudica than they do to the Kardashians.

“the march of civilisation has given the modern girl a vocabulary and an ability to use it which her grandmother never had”
P.G. Wodehouse, master of understatement.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Who's got Wood?

The Sultan is London's most loved pub and Coffee in the Wood is the runner up as London's most loved coffee place if Time Out is anything to go by.

Good place to live.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

if he keeps his feet on the ground and matures properly

Binned the Antelope quiz last night when I found out that the FA Youth Cup final was on ITV4 and was rewarded by two goals from Callum.