Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Thursday 31 July 2008

The Dreamatists

The fascinating video here is designed to accompany a poem by Edgar Allen Poe: Annabelle Lee (or perhaps Annabel!)

It appears on an interesting blog: "The Dreamatists"

Here's the poem:

Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Until the next time


No, not a new Jaguar model but a curious website that describes itself as "A Webcomic of romance, sarcasm; math and language."

Here's couple of examples:

Click here for more.

Until the next time

Wednesday 30 July 2008

Don't Try This at Home

As a lifelong lover of thunderstorms, I am fortunate that where I live, there are plenty, especially around July and some of them are pretty dramatic. I have often wished I could photograph lightning, and it would seem that these days with easily available video recording that getting some lightning pictures should be much simpler.

No doubt the girl in the video below felt the same way until things went a bit pear-shaped.

According to the Gizmodo article where I found this video she survived the experience; like Benjamin Franklin* she was very lucky.

Until the next time

*Benjamin Franklin set out to prove that lightning was caused by electricity. His experiment consisted of flying a kit into a thundercloud. The end of the kite's string was tied to a metal key. Also tied to the key was a short length of silk cord which Franklin imagined would insulate him from lightning. He was able to draw sparks from the key to his knuckle thus proving his theory. Someone else tried the same idea some time later. Toast.

Sunday 27 July 2008

Phone Box

The blurb at the top of this blog promises amongst other things, black humour, and whilst I have not delivered much in this way, today's offering should make up for my shortcomings in this regard.

After all the publicity about the new 3G iPhone there are undoubtedly those who would say "I wouldn't be seen dead with one." Well, fair enough but how about being seen dead IN one?

Yes, according to Gizmodo, it's true: this superb example of the very best in American taste is offered by Creative Coffins (I kid you not).

The original article from T3 here offers some more dead clever ideas (groan).

Until the next time

Saturday 26 July 2008

Gates vs Jobs: Judgement Day?

A search on this blog under the word "Vista" yields a surprising number of articles, indicating the extent to which I have been occupied with this erstwhile thorn in my side.

There has been one positive effect: I have become quite involved in computers and have managed to learn a certain amount - but computers! A classic instance of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

And as the acclaimed series of Apple advertisements (I'm a Mac; I'm a PC) have shown, there is plenty of scope for humour in the subject. This video is entertaining although perhaps a little optimistic!


Until the next time

"Les Choses sont contre Nous"

The title phrase ("Things (i.e. objects) are against us") was created by Paul Jennings in his wonderful piece Resistentialism about which I wrote last March.

The Miscreant.
Picture: BBC

A friend sent me a BBC article today that rather reminded me of Jennings's brilliant work. The individual pictured above had had quite enough of his un-cooperative lawn mower and decided that the correct remedial tool was an implement like the one pictured below.

A sawn-off shotgun
Picture source: here

The police did not see the funny side of this and have charged the chap with disorderly conduct and possession of various weapons. He was not apologetic however, telling police:

"It's my lawn mower and my yard, so I can shoot it if I want."

A local retailer, Dick Wagner, of Wagner's Garden Mart in Milwaukee, came up with quite a dry comment:

"Anything not factory recommended would void the warranty."

I have to say that it is just as well that I did not have access to such deadly firepower when confronted with various recalcitrant objects, such as a brand-new video-cassette recorder and also a brand new printer, neither of which ever worked properly. In England, all I had available was a four-pound club hammer in the first case and my boots in the second! Both quite effective if not quite as dramatic.

Toujours, les choses sont contre nous!

Until the next time.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Are You a Font Enthusiast?

Well the answer to this question is that you have to tell me.

I have always been interested in fonts and it seems that I am not alone...

I do not agree with the choice of super-hero, but then I didn't make this amusing video!

Until the next time

Sunday 20 July 2008

Now all in Perspective

It's late, but I just came across this super clip.

When one sees this view of the Earth and Moon taken from 31,000,000 miles away, it does make me feel that all our struggles here are rather insignificant - no matter how real and often terrible they are. You will notice that at the bottom of the YouTube frame there is an option of infra-red - do have a look.

Until the next time.

No not the iPhone 3G - but the Olympic Games

iPhone 3G - source: mobilewhack.com

I am utterly fed up with hearing about the new iPhone 3G from Apple - and fed up with pictures of mugs queuing up for days in the street to buy the latest "must-have" from Apple. Talk about "get-a-life"! The rest of this article has nothing at all to do with Apple or the iPhone - this was just an opportunity for a bit of a gratuitous rant!

Anyway, soon I shall be fed up with the Olympic Games. I am sorry to say that every four years, I have felt utter boredom gathering around my head as the games play out to media saturation - they have never had any interest for me. However this time there is an element of anger too. I have already written about the forthcoming Peking games here but was especially interested to see the warm (in more than one sense of the word) welcome awaiting any visitor foolish enough not to toe the official line.

No, not for a barbecue as we know it - this is a flame-thrower...

A real old-fashioned welcome then!
Pictures: The Boston Globe

Now of course the Chinese are quite correct in preparing in case of terrorism, that curse of the modern age, but personally, I find flame-throwers un peu de trop...

More excellent pictures and text in the article in the Boston Globe.

Until the next time

Saturday 19 July 2008

A Mixed Celebration

A Pentium 4 Chip
Picture: PC World

Intel, the principal maker of processors for computers is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A huge success commercially of course, Intel can look back with satisfaction at the staggering technical progress made during its lifetime.

Consider that Intel made the first true micro-processor, the 4004 in 1971; its speed? 108kHz. By 2005 Intel had announced its Pentium 4 "Extreme" version, running at 3.8GHz - a 3,000,000% improvement. Since then of course, multi-core processors have taken over, with four-core processors becoming increasingly common and eight-core types in the pipeline. PC World has produced an interesting "Timeline" story.

On the other hand, as time passes and companies grow, they are apt to become increasingly aggressive in defending their market share, or in Intel's case, dominance.

And so it is, with arguably rather unfortunate timing, the EU regulators have, following lengthy investigations, accused Intel of paying distributors not to stock - or delay stocking - products containing rival AMD's processors and also paying computer manufacturers not to use AMD products in their machines.

The full story from the BBC may be found here; it seems that the EU regulators have the power to fine Intel up to 10% of its turnover, a tidy sum by any standards and a most unfortunate un-birthday present!

[Note to Intel: this article was composed on a computer that is equipped with an AMD 64 5600+ dual-core processor]

Until the next time.

Sunday 13 July 2008

Sunday Afternoon

"Friday night is my delight,
So is Saturday Morning,
Sunday noon comes too soon,
I HATE Monday morning."

And as Tony Hancock famously pointed out, Sunday would be much better were it not ruined by the thought of Monday - he actually developed this further by pointing out that in fact the thought of Sunday (ruined of course by the thought of Monday) ruined Saturday too.

Anyway, here's a bit of nonsense that might lift the mood for a minute or two.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Head-Scratching Time

It is said that life is full of surprises. When I hear this old saw I generally stifle a yawn and respond "Oh yeah?" reflecting that I had not received a welcome surprise whilst checking my lottery numbers.

But today I was surprised; a cynic such as I might have remarked that I shouldn't have been, but nevertheless I was.

Yes alright, I'm coming to it.

What surprised me was to find that there is a website in England called Readersheds.

Believe it or not, this site concerns Garden Sheds... "We Sheds" is the heading on the page!. There is a long list of blogs with such riveting titles as "Shedweek - Do you want a rotating mechanism in your shed?" (pass) or possibly more entertaining "What do YOU do in your shed?" (possibilities there I think).

I clicked on one of the pictures on the site and was thrilled to read that this picture had had 2980 views.

I now wonder if I really actually do need to get out more...

Until the next time

Thursday 3 July 2008

Robot Art

Sometime ago, I featured the lovely work of Alex Dragulescu. I was reminded of this (a bit) by seeing some interesting work from Japan on this site. Here art is blended with robotics; I am sure that you will find the work most attractive. The site includes a video of one of the works in action and there are more examples on the site Impress.

Until the next time.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

XP is Dead; Long Live XP

Image source: here

30th June was supposed to be the official end of Microsoft Windows XP - the most successful MS product ever with around 780 million copies sold.

For me, a fugitive from Vista, as you well know, it was a black day; CM on her blog Jour Après Jour summed it up perfectly.

However there have been for some time cracks in the facade as MS struggles with Vista's problems. Now it seems that MS is promising support for XP up to 2014 and the likelihood is that XP will be available until 2010. HP & Dell, the giants of the mass computer market are packing XP discs with their new Vista computers (sadly HP didn't with mine last October...).

Read all about it in this article from Internet News.com.

Long live XP - Vive XP!

Until the next time