Friday, May 31, 2019

"That's My Chair, That Is : The Welsh Game of Thrones"



Now the King is dead, the Houses of Jones and Llewelyn have both eyes set on The Great Chair, meanwhile Cerys-Leigh spends her first day with Carl, and a new threat looms over Wales...

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Someone Saved My Life Tonight



The 30 Best Elton John Songs, Ranked, in Esquire puts Someone Saved My Life Tonight first. I remember thinking it was great and trying to work it out on the piano, but I didn't know a lot about it before reading:
In terms of story alone, this is John and Taupin's greatest. “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is the brave autobiographical story of John’s attempted suicide. If there’s a single that offers a testament to the bond that John and Bernie Taupin share, it's this one. John entrusted his story to Taupin and the result is a breathtaking cut that combines the heady vibes of '70s pop rock and the deepest vulnerability a human can expose. The song clocks in at well over six minutes, but John reportedly wouldn’t allow any to be cut. That move proved to be beneficial, with the 1975 single peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard charts. The song is more than a pop hit—it’s an anthem of survival, resilience, and being able to throw a finger to the vices that nearly ruin our souls. There are bigger Elton songs that people know every word to, but no song in his songbook captures his range as an artist like "Someone Saved My Life Tonight."

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The feeder

Wales Online
A canal which once ran through the middle of Cardiff would be brought back to life under new plans revealed for the city.
A proposed 'Canal Quarter' scheme in the capital would form part of a larger project which would also see much loved threatened buildings in the city's Guildford Crescent saved.
If approved the old canal buried under Churchill Way will be reinstated.
Unless I miss my guess this will be the old feeder canal in which my Dad (who lived just round the corner in Adam Street opposite the Vulcan) learned to swim.

I met up with old friend Kevin (who went to infant, primary and secondary school with me) in the West End last night. His dad sank or swam in the feeder as well. Small, wet world.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Yesterday's papers

When Michael Gove chooses to announce that he is running for Prime Minister in a podcast recorded at the Hay Festival, the media landscape is certainly changing.

Monday, May 27, 2019

I think they take the occasional pot shot to relieve the monotony



Mad props, to the Goggly algoriddles that You-Tube-Can-Have-A Body-Like-Mine'd the Munchies episode above to yours truly.

J.J. Johnson, the James Beard award-winning chef on the African (and particularly Ghanaian)  diaspora’s effects on global cuisine. What with Red Red, Paapa and the Hudson-Odois I am beyond ready for this.

WINNER OF THE JAMES BEARD AWARD: BEST AMERICAN COOKBOO"This is more than just a cookbook. Alexander and JJ take us on a culinary journey through space and time that started more than 400 years ago, on the shores of West Africa. Through inspiring recipes that have survived the Middle Passage to seamlessly embrace Asian influences, this book is a testimony to the fact that food transcends borders. Alexander Smalls and JJ Johnson have elevated the cuisines of West Africa and its diaspora without losing any of its essence. Afro-Asian cuisine is a new concept and it works beautifully!"

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Mad Professor



Last night at the Hideaway, the bass was so gooey it was sticking to the walls and glooping down like gel. I cut some off with my pen knife and brought it home in a jam jar.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ramblings

Clare Balding joins singer Feargal Sharkey for a river walk on the south London/Surrey border along the River Hogsmill one of just 200 chalk streams in the world. He's always been a rambler and is currently walking all of the river routes of London. He is often dismayed and pleased in equal measure at the state of our rivers as he is a passionate advocate for water health and quality.
The walk is part of the London Loop and starts from Ewell West Station and ends at Kingston upon Thames passing through Old Malden.
I found this offering from Radio 4 rather soothing just after six this morning as I surfaced from the blackness, hot and fidgety, fuss, bother and itch, conscious mind coming up too fast for the bends, through pack-ice thrubbing seas, boom-sounders, blow-holes, harsh-croak Blind Pews tip-tap-tocking for escape from my pressing skull.

You may fill your boots here if you fancy it. I had never previously heard of the London Loop. The section that they did is not too far from me.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Robinson Road

A woman has been taken to hospital after she was attacked with a bottle in Colliers Wood.
Scotland Yard say they are treating the incident as an assault, but no arrests have been made, after they were called to Robinson Road at 4.30pm (May 23) this afternoon.
Feck! Robinson Road is where I say goodnight to Frankie on Mondays after the quiz. I turn right onto Park Road while she carries on up to Devonshire.

Too much perspective, that's the problem.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

No meat in this sandwich

I finished reading Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left by Roger Scruton yesterday.

I cast my vote in the surreal European elections on the way to work today.

I will start reading Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee by John Bew next.

Books notwithstanding, the workaday centre cannot hold. God help us modern politics furnishes but thin gruel:
We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven
Though much is taken, sod all abides.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Huawei you? Who, who, who, who?

I seem to remember that Android is based on the, famously, open-source Linux operating system.

Does this open-source bedrock have any implications for Google restricting Huawei's use of Android in the light of Donald Trump adding the Chinese company to a list of organisations that US firms cannot trade with if they don't have a licence?

The question just popped into my mind. I imagine attempting to answer it would involve plummeting down the rabbit hole, so I will just leave it hanging for today.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

El Jefe Rides Again


Coming to Netflix June 7.
In The Chef Show actor/director Jon Favreau and award-winning Chef Roy Choi reunite after their critically acclaimed film Chef to embark on a new adventure. The two friends experiment with their favorite recipes and techniques, baking, cooking, exploring and collaborating with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and culinary world. From sharing a meal with the Avengers cast in Atlanta, to smoking brisket in Texas with world-renowned pitmaster Aaron Franklin, to honoring the legendary food critic Jonathan Gold in Los Angeles.
Love the movie and have Roy Choi's book on my wish-list. I will be all over this show like a cheap suit next month.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Tooting's finest

Mail (originally The Times but behind a firewall there)
Britain was today accused of giving ministers the chance of sharing intelligence with allies even if it leads to torture, it was claimed.
An internal Ministry of Defence policy document from just before Christmas reportedly allows the Government to pass tips to foreign spies if the benefits to Britain outweigh the risk of a detainee being abused.
Former Brexit Minister David Davis believes this is illegal and called on new Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt to tear up the policy because it has 'betrayed' British values.
Mr Davis and human rights campaigners claim that the document allows ministers to circumvent a Cabinet Office document that says that in 'no circumstance will UK personnel ever take action amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'.
David Davis (Icons passim) has always been sound on this sort of thing.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

About last night

Concerning Andy and Ollie's joint 50th birthday party yesterday.
Myself: I'm not presently disposed to discuss these operations, sir.
Prodnose: Did you not work for the CIA in I Corps?
Myself: No, sir.
Prodnose: Did you not assassinate a government tax collector in Quang Tri province, June 19th, 1968 ? Captain?
Myself: Sir, I am unaware of any such activity or operation - nor would I be disposed to discuss such an operation if it did in fact exist, sir.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Tennessee Ernie Williams

We've got tickets already for Clive Owens in Night of the Iguana. Scarce time to take a breath and a Menier Chocolate and Theatr Clwyd co-production of Orpheus Descending has landed.

Consider the movies: if you prayed we'd moved beyond my Richard Burton impersonation or my Marlon Brando, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Ben and I went to Odeon last night to see the deliriously entertaining John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Both judoka from an early age we were amazed at just how well executed and authentic the judo elements of Keanu Reeves' hybrid fighting style were.

Nomura Tadahiro presents honorary black belt to Keanu Reeves, may cast some light on this.  Nomura Tadahiro being the only person in history to have won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in judo.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Open AI



I was half listening to this podcast on AnyPod last night as I was pottering around.

I must listen again and to the end with more attention. I am intrigued by the perceptron. And by GPT-2 which has led me to Talk to Transformer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Doris Day

Doris Day wasn't just a great actress – she was one of most expressive jazz singers of her generation, says the Torygraph and I agree.

The article signs off with
Sarah Vaughan, when asked to name her favourite singer, replied "I dig Doris Day!"
Sarah Vaughn is my favourite singer. Two degrees of separation from me to Doris then.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

911

I just dialled 911 rather than 901 by mistake trying to get my O2 voicemail messages and got the emergency services.

I thought 911 was a US only equivalent of our 999.

Possibly it is not the greatest idea in the history of the world to have such similar numbers with such disparate purposes.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Manchester United 0 - 2 Cardiff City

I thought my home town football team was called "Cardiff City Nil" until I was well into my teens.

If you had told me that one day I would be able to roll "Manchester United 0 - 2 Cardiff City" round my mouth I would have thought you should be carted off to the funny farm.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

My Name's Not Prince

My name's not Prince and I'm not funky
My name's not Prince the one and only
I did not come to funk around
'Till I get your daughter I won't leave this town
We're not going to see Wall to Wall Prince at the Hideaway on Friday because it is sold out.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

I was the mob until the mob came for me

As l'affaire Danny Baker seems to divide me from all the "good Germans," there are always those who ask, what is it all about? For those who need to ask, for those who need points sharply made, who need to know "where it's at," this:
I drive food delivery for an online app to make rent and support myself and my young family. This is my new life. I once had a well paid job in what might be described as the social justice industry. Then I upset the wrong person, and within a short window of time, I was considered too toxic for my employer’s taste. I was publicly shamed, mobbed, and reduced to a symbol of male privilege. I was cast out of my career and my professional community. Writing anything under my own byline now would invite a renewal of this mobbing—which is why, with my editor’s permission, I am writing this under a pseudonym. He knows who I am.
In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LGBT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice. Many of the opinions I held then are still opinions that I hold today. But I now realize that my social-media hyperactivity was, in reality, doing more harm than good.
Within the world created by the various apps I used, I got plenty of shares and retweets. But this masked how ineffective I had become outside, in the real world. The only causes I was actually contributing to were the causes of mobbing and public shaming. Real change does not stem from these tactics. They only cause division, alienation, and bitterness.
How did I become that person? It happened because it was exhilarating. Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.
Just a few years ago, many of my friends and peers who self-identify as liberals or progressives were open fans of provocative standup comedians such as Sarah Silverman, and shows like South Park. Today, such material is seen as deeply “problematic,” or even labeled as hate speech. I went from minding my own business when people told risqué jokes to practically fainting when they used the wrong pronoun or expressed a right-of-center view. I went from making fun of the guy who took edgy jokes too seriously, to becoming that guy.
When my callouts were met with approval and admiration, I was lavished with praise: “Thank you so much for speaking out!” “You’re so brave!” “We need more men like you!”
Then one day, suddenly, I was accused of some of the very transgressions I’d called out in others. I was guilty, of course: There’s no such thing as due process in this world. And once judgment has been rendered against you, the mob starts combing through your past, looking for similar transgressions that might have been missed at the time. I was now told that I’d been creating a toxic environment for years at my workplace; that I’d been making the space around me unsafe through microaggressions and macroaggressions alike.
Social justice is a surveillance culture, a snitch culture. The constant vigilance on the part of my colleagues and friends did me in. That’s why I’m delivering sushi and pizza. Not that I’m complaining. It’s honest work, and it’s led me to rediscover how to interact with people in the real world. I am a kinder and more respectful person now that I’m not regularly on social media attacking people for not being “kind” and “respectful.”
I mobbed and shamed people for incidents that became front page news. But when they were vindicated or exonerated by some real-world investigation, it was treated as a footnote by my online community. If someone survives a social justice callout, it simply means that the mob has moved on to someone new. No one ever apologizes for a false accusation, and everyone has a selective memory regarding what they’ve done.
Upon reading Jon Ronson’s 2015 book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, I recently went back into my Twitter archives to study my own behavior. I was shocked to discover that I had actually participated quite enthusiastically in the public shaming of Justine Sacco, whose 2013 saga following a bad AIDS joke on Twitter forms one of the book’s central case studies.
My memory had told me different. In my mind, I didn’t really participate. It was others who took things too far. In reality, the evidence showed that I was among the most vicious of Sacco’s mobbers. Ronson describes a central problem with Twitter shaming: There is a “disconnect between the severity of the crime and the gleeful savagery of the punishment.” For years, I was blind to my own gleeful savagery.
I recently had a dream that played out in the cartoon universe of my food-delivery app, the dashboard software that guides my daily work life. The dream turned my workaday drive into a third-person video game, with my cartoon car standing in for me as protagonist. At some point, I started missing some of the streets, and the little line that marks my trail with blue pixels indicated where I’d gone off-road. My path got erratic, and the dream became other-worldly, as dreams eventually do. I drove over cartoon sidewalks, through cartoon buildings and cartoon parks. It’s a two-dimensional world in the app, so everything was flat. Through the unique logic of dreams, I survived all of this, all the while picking up and dropping off deliveries and making money. In my dream, I was making progress.
As my REM cycle intensified, my dream concluded. I was jolted from my two-dimensional app world and thrust back into the reality of the living world—where I could understand the suffering, carnage and death I would have caused by my in-app actions. There were bodies strewn along the streets, screaming bystanders, destroyed lives, chaos. My car, by contrast, was indestructible while I was living in the app.
The social justice vigilantism I was living on Twitter and Facebook was like the app in my dream. Aggressive online virtue signaling is a fundamentally two-dimensional act. It has no human depth. It’s only when we snap out of it, see the world as it really is, and people as they really are, that we appreciate the destruction and human suffering we caused when we were trapped inside.
Note on method

I have taken this whole thing from https://quillette.com/2019/05/08/i-was-the-mob-until-the-mob-came-for-me-by-barrett-wilson/ where it is free, but I dropped a donation into https://quillette.com/helpfreethoughtlive/ which I hope squares things.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Touch of Velvet


Why (you may well ask as I did) is Nicholas being plagued with adverts for sex toys, cannabis balm and virility tablets as he innocently trawls the interwebs? I defy anyone to give of his best scrabbling Words with Friends when another part of the screen is pulling on his sleeve with "thrill to the magic Velvet bullet - silky smooth, with 10 powerful stimulation modes".

The explanation appears to lie on the right hand side of the image above. When I went to see Mum at Ty Enfys on Wednesday she was saying she had lost special gloves that soothe her arthritis. She couldn't remember a brand or name but said she ordered them from a magazine. When I got back to Bronwydd I found a catalogue called easylife, and WhatsApped my sibling group to see if the gloves were this pair that I found leafing thought its pages.

After that I couldn't help but rib them about pages 92 and 93 of the publication along the lines of:
They start with https://www.easylifegroup.com/product/kegal-trainer-set/3558 then just get saucier and saucier. I forbid you to read it. To think my parents had it in the house.
Two days later kegal balls are being thrown in my face every working hour. Serves me right.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Hands free, as free as the wind blows

I arranged client meetings yesterday so that I could get to Cardiff in the late afternoon and visit mum and dad. It meant (lest you raise an eyebrow) that I had to leave the house before six and visit three towns in the Midlands before heading back home down the M50. (O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods, How often has my spirit turned to thee!)

Duty done, I returned to spend the night in Bronwydd. Curious as to how Spurs were getting on I launched "Alexa, play Radio 5 Live" in to the ether. "No answer!” came the stern reply; “You’ll get no help from me!"

There are no native Alexa devices in Browne Acres, but it did lead me to revisit the limp-wristed Alexa app on my Surface Pro. Alexa is now hands-free on every Windows 10 device, and has been since yesterday. I can talk to it. Order is restored to the universe.

What can be in this for Amazon I wonder? There is no income stream. It must be to do with making the platform ubiquitous.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

six impossible things before breakfast

Yesterday Liverpool overturned a three goal deficit in the second leg of the semi-final, to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate and qualify for the Champions League final.

On the same day the government confirmed that the European elections will go ahead on 23 May, despite the fact that the country voted to leave the EU nearly three years ago in June 2016.

If you ask me, the latter is the crazier.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

INCREASINGLY LESS SURE WAYS TO GET BOB SEGER TO GO

  • Stop playing old-time rock and roll.
  • Try to take him to a disco. (see also: “tango, go to hear them play a…”)
  • Fail to stifle a yawn when he reminisces about the days of old.
  • Leap into the room and shout, “Who wants to go to Fire Lake!”
  • Instigate a debate about alternative energy sources and obstinately come out against the wind.
  • Subtly remind Bob Seger that Betty Lou’s gettin’ out tonight.
  • Tell Bob Seger that he’s still the same, but in a tone that’s not necessarily a compliment.
  • Call Bob Seger “a relic,” call him what you will.
  • Continue playing rock and roll that is not old-time but nonetheless recognized as a classic of the genre.
  • Start humming a tune from 1962.
  • Suggestively tell Bob Seger that you know it’s late, you know he’s weary, you know his plans don’t include you…
  • Just take those old records off the shelf. (see also: “old records, proper storage of”)
  • Whip out the sax.
  • Night moves.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Crocodile Park



All this is filmed yards from my house. O brave new world, that has such people in it.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

The Ruler of the Queen's Navee

Penny Mordaunt - Wikipedia
When receiving The Spectator magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year award in November 2014, Mordaunt said that she had delivered a speech in the House of Commons just before the Easter recess in 2013 on poultry welfare so as to use the word "cock", as a forfeit for a misdemeanour during Naval Reserve training. Mordaunt used the word "cock" six times and "lay" or "laid" five times. Following her comments, she was accused by Labour MP Kate Hoey of trivialising parliament.
.........
In 2014, Mordaunt appeared on reality television programme Splash!. Although some[who?] criticised the media appearance, in terms of questioning whether her focus should have been on her constituency work, Mordaunt stated that the response was overwhelmingly positive and defended her appearance.


On 1 May 2019, Mordaunt was appointed as the first ever female Defence Secretary.

Friday, May 03, 2019

You don't have to brush your teeth - just the ones you want to keep

The Bomber had a tooth out this morning. His orthodontic treatment that has now been going on since October 2014, but I think we are in the home straight.

His suffering in the car on the way back triggered a flash back. I seem to remember my father removing a wobbly milk tooth of mine by tying a slender cord (cotton?) around it and attaching the other end to the handle of a door which he then slammed shut. Thus effecting the extraction.

Can this be right or have I imagined it? It seems almost inconceivable in 2019, for all that it has left me with a famously winning smile.

Update

I got this message from my brother Vince via WhatsApp:
I quite clearly remember dad removing your tooth (eventually) just as you have described!
Take that Generation Snowflake!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Fan (the flames?) Club (the seals?)

Rory Stewart was named  cabinet secretary for international development on Wednesday in a reshuffle sparked by the firing of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson over the leak of information about Chinese telecoms company Huawei.

I approve of Rory Stewart. I first approved on September 15 2011.

Subsequent approvals:

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Jackfruit

Last night, Kevin and Frankie were talking about starting to serve jackfruit at Coffee in the Wood.

On my way home I popped into the Co-Op, spied and picked up pulled jackfruit in a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce served with seasoned wedges and red cabbage slaw from the reduced price shelf.

There could definitely be room in my life for this.

While we are on the subject of grub, I am also currently two episodes into Netflx's new Street Food series.