Thursday, 27 June 2013

I am writing so many words every day on not this blog that there are very few left over.

This is the song of the summer (thanks twitter - probably Ian Leslie if history is a judge).

John Lanchester keeps churning out magic things about the banks. Did you know that 'if there hadn’t been so much other lurid wrongdoing in the world of finance, and if mis-sold payment protection insurance had a sexier name, PPI would stand out as the biggest scandal in the history of British banking'? It's big to the tune of at least £16bn. Much more than the Olympics, as he points out.

Would you be more uplifted by a mediaeval child's drawings of Novgorod?

Chris Kluwe is a bleeding heart liberal and NFL punter. Like not many English professional sportsmen, he's written about Ayn Rand.

While you're at Salon, read about Texan senator Wendy Davis. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

It's a tennis golden age. A very interesting thing about one of the reasons.

Mike Cervenak plays minor league baseball for the Toledo Mud Hens. He's a great guy, but he's never going to the Big Show. Like a lot of us in our mid-30s, he has found his career has landed somewhere between optimal happiness and utter futility. These days, Cervenak is more valuable for his reliability than his potential. He would be a tough guy to lose but not a particularly hard guy to replace. He is organizational depth. He is not a prospect.

My Struggle seems like a terrible title for a 6 volume Norwegian novel, but if you're Norwegian you have already read it and if you're not, you should at least be interested.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

the king of prussia and the bad bankers

It's like the title of a children's story.

No. It's just that A) I heard there's a place in America called King of Prussia, named after a pub.

And B) I just wanted to register that I couldn't agree more with the banking commission that jailing a few bankers would be a good idea. As I've said before, this is not because I want revenge and show trials, but because they committed crimes.

I get that they are complicated crimes, and very hard to prosecute, and bankers are rich and will try anything to stay out of jail, but that's the point. They will have to try everything, and even if they don't go to jail, people will think they are guilty. Because a chunk of them are. And they will rat each other out if they're scared, which will help.

They are scared of what other people will think, and when I say people, I mean their friends. I know, because I am one of some of their friends. For the record, I bet the bankers I know haven't committed crimes. They are not bad people but some of them don't get that they and their colleagues done wrong things, and that some of these things will have been over the line.

Believe me, this is one of the few cases where jail, or just the serious, credible threat of jail, will have a deterrent effect, like jail is supposed to. It absolutely would.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

i did not expect this movie

I recorded it because it was a Cary Grant film.

Something happens in it which neither me nor my wife in any way expected. It absolutely delighted us. There is no way you could have gone to the film and been unaware of it. I would still have enjoyed the film a lot.

The script was good, I thought. So, it turns out, did the Oscar judges.

I did some checking into the minor characters (and if you don't want to know what delighted us when we watched it, don't follow this link). I learned the truly interesting fact that in 1965, elephant jokes were all the rage, and Grant 'was very current on the latest jokes'.

(Bonus fact: Cary Grant was offered the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady but turned it down to star in this movie. He wanted Audrey Hepburn to play Catherine, but she was already committed to My Fair Lady.)

Friday, 7 June 2013


Right. Ok. Back.

Among the most important things I have learned is that cronuts are going crazy and Ian Leslie has written the best thing you'll read about them.

I am so sad Orson Scott Card is a nutter. I really loved Ender's Game when I was fifteen and I hope the film is good, sort of, except I also hope it's so terrible that no one funnels money towards him ever again, because he's so horrible. This is a typical clever nutter piece of writing: it starts with an actually interesting point ('Why don't people believe the things that certain loony leaders say they are going to do?' which is, sorry Godwin, exactly where the world went wrong with Hitler - everyone just assumed he couldn't be that crazy and he must have more sensible plans really, including the people who voted him) and then heads off in a basically crazy and potentially damaging direction.

I have been listening to this song for days. The story of this particular performance is quite moving. It made me like David Letterman more than I did before (I had almost no opinion of David Letterman, really).

How did I not know that Sea Shepherd's ships (for eg, the Steve Irwin) are painted in dazzle camouflage?

You know how you hear something, and a few weeks later you follow up, and the follow up is about a million miles beyond your expectations and you realise that in about five years, when you've circled the story several thousand times in the British Library looking for the right way in, you will be writing a novel about it? That.