Plum brandy and apple juice?
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The Times Literary Supplement Crossword, number 957: 11 across — Drayton’s blackbird in grouse location.
The woosel near at hand, that hath a golden bill …
Which was a direct rip from what ol’ Bill Shakespeare wrote for Bottom to sing in Midsummer Night’s Dream (III.i.118):
The Woosell cock, so blacke of hews,
With Orange tawny bill.
The throstle with his note so true,
The wren with little quill..
O.K., Titania: wakey! wakey!
Now, here’s a low thought …
How did Great Literature go from there to the bus, circa 1966, carrying Stockton Rugby Club‘s II and IV teams back from Newcastle City Colleges? It had been a bitterly-cold day, and Malcolm a particularly useless wing-forward. Anyway, the bus was redolent with Newcastle Brown and entr’actes of The Wild West Show —
We are off to see the Wild West Show
With the elephants and the kangaroo [Chorus interposes: … Cor blimey!].
No matter the weather
As long as we’re together,
We’re off to see the Wild West Show.
Recitative: And in this cage we have the Ousel-Woozle Bird …
Amazed audience: The Ousel-Woozle Bird?
Recitative: Yes! Indeed! Yer actual Ousel-Woozle Bird!
These birds fly in a single line.
The biggest bird leads in front, followed by the next largest and so on down to the smallest at the … err … rear.
At the first sign of danger, the smallest bird flies up the behind of the bird in front.
And so on up the line.
The single remaining bird then flies round and round, faster and faster, in every decreasing circles until it disappears up its own fundamental orifice …
From which advantageous position,
It continues to pour life-giving nutriment
Upon the earth beneath.
Ladeez and Gennelmen!
We give you the ousel-wousel bird’s after-life … the Liberal Democrat Party!
Just a quicky. More later.
How about Graceland for the main attraction? Then eating burgers in downtown Memphis, with Neil Young on the PA?
Yeah, the Peabody ducks sneaked in there, too.
Well, that’s the carbs of Thanksgiving out of the way. So now to a healthier diet.
The alternative to posting here (trying to use Facebook) has proved somewhat fraught.
So, a passing thought here (prompted by the New York Times front page): the US still allows HCFC-22 as a coolant. That puts it in 140 million central heating air units nationwide. This stuff is therefore present in every landfill — 0r rather was, and is leaking out. Bye bye troposphere.
And this in a country where your bar snack packet warns you it may contain nuts.
There are more nuts in the environmental destruction lobby.
Perhaps. One day.
Meanwhile Malcolm is off to the storm-battered State of Noo Joisey, in time for Thanksgiving.
A side-trip to Memphis and Nashville is on the cards. Expect — in the future — ignorances on the topics of the Blues, alt-country and how the Scots-Irish made good.
Meanwhile, thanks to the few who have frequented tho blog. Your interest and occasional feed-back has kept an old man (a) off the bottle (well …) and (b) exercising the odd brain-cell. Feel warm about your efforts at personal care in the community.
There are several posts in the ‘pending’ file (for example, Malcolm wants to have a go at the history of Doire before it became Stroke City). They may eventually see the light of cyber-day.
Who knows? You may find updates at http://www.facebook.com/MalcolmRedfellowsHomeService
Once upon a time the 600-pound gorilla on the corporate computing block was Big Blue — IBM.
One of the early Apple TV adds has a pair of old suits looking down at younger suits entering the building. These young ones (including the new wave of … women!) were carrying Macintosh SE30s. That would seem to date the memory back to about 1990. The old suits asked the redundant question: why were they bringing their “toy computers” to work. The message, then and still with Apple, is that their products “just work”.
A cynic might plausibly argue that the success of the SE in business owed less to Apple than to the way the hardware ran MicroSoft Excel (from a 1.4 MB floppy!) — and to the fact that Excel was way in advance of the clunky VisiCalc application to which behemoth mainframes were shackled.
You’ll still see SE30s in many laboratories — even if only used as door-stops, or under office desks. Plug ‘em in, switch ‘em on. Most still dong cheerfully, and boot up OS 7.5.5. Choose the right day of the week and you may get Arthur Dent telling you This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
We thought that neat, at the time.
Somehow that all seems relevant to Malcolm — but then he has a very disturbed thought-process.
Was Romney’s stab at PBS singularly ill-advised?
What he said to the moderator, Jim Lehrer, was:
I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.
The “cost”of that “subsidy”, as PBS quickly made clear is trivial:
Over the course of a year, 91 percent of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81 percent of all children between the ages of 2-8.
Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online — all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.
Far from huge tranches of money from China to pay for it, the PBS “subsidy” amounts to 0.001% of the federal budget. Were that the scope of a President Romney’s ambitions to cut the deficit, he — and we — really would be in trouble.
Big Bird is the man. He’s 8 feet tall. He can sing and roller skate and ride a unicycle and dance. Can you do that, Mr. Romney? I’m not talking about your fox trot away from the facts. I’m talking about real dancing.
Since 1969, Big Bird has been the king of the block on “Sesame Street.” When I was a child, he and his friends taught me the alphabet and the colors and how to do simple math.
Do you know how to do simple math, Mr. Romney? Maybe you and the Countess Von Backward could exchange numbers.
Blow is vamping on the educational values of PBS in general, and Sesame Street in particular. When told his American-born grandchildren had “etiquette” as part of their pre-school daycare experience, Malcolm had to control his eyebrows. Yet that, too, is in the overt Sesame Street curriculum:
Big Bird and his friends also showed me what it meant to resolve conflicts with kindness and accept people’s differences and look out for the less fortunate. Do you know anything about looking out for the less fortunate, Mr. Romney? Or do you think they’re all grouches scrounging around in trash cans?
Moreover, anything must be a good thing that dilutes and uplifts the pabulum, notably those crude (and, to Malcolm, violent) oriental- made cartoons, which is the staple fodder on the commercial networks.
Were the Obama campaigners and their assorted PACs truly Machiavellian they would be running Save Big Bird! ads in the post-school hours. All that is needed is a trim of that clip of Romney:
It would work on the same basis as those confectionary and SimpleWare [©] displays so adjacent to the supermarket check-out. Never underestimate the niggle factor:
Mom! They’re not going to hurt Big Bird, are they?
Basic, under-powered and over-stated — rather like the Macintosh SE — but it might. similarly, “just work”.
Malcolm’s hymn to a Long Liquid Lunch (hereafter 3L) is now offered to the world.
Back to the Stag
Which has appeared previously in these meanderings; and is now something of a regular pilgrimage, particularly when there are daughters to be fed and watered, or — as yesterday — when the Lady in Malcolm’s Life is restless and feels nomadic.
Finchley High Road
Costs not a penny
From Muswell Hill
With your Freedom Pass …
And about the same if you are going to outlying places such as Finchley Central and Golders Green: which brings up again the serious matter of the GNLP.
The GNLP, Malcolm?
As previously explained, you idle toad (click the hot-link next time: it helps Malcolm’s stats and makes him feel good) —
The Great Norf Lunnun Problem is best summed up by the Alan Klein/Geoff Stephens lyric for the New Vaudeville Band, back in 1967 — and, astoundingly not still not included in Time Out‘s list of 100 best London Songs (which manages to embrace some real stinkers):
At Finchley Central, ten long stations
From Golders Green, change at Camden Town.
I thought I’d made you, but I’m afraid you
Really let me down …
About the time that ditty was current, Malcolm was “involved” with a person in Hampstead flat-life, and so acquired a close interest in the failings of the Northern Line. For the record she is still the Lady in Malcolm’s Life, so cast no nasturtiums, please.
The Northern Line has improved, but that’s a matter of degree. In those days the rolling stock was pre-war, signalling was Edwardian, and punctuality and reliability were … not taken seriously. The lifts at Hampstead tube station were venerable antiques: since Hampstead is the deepest tube station on the network, that involved too-frequent resource to the 320+ stairs up to street level.
Even today getting anywhere between the two forks of the Northern Line involves the dubious joys of a change at Camden Town, where you are truly at one with your neighbour (who was then and still is invariably an odiferous alky nutter).
So, the Finchley Central/Golder’s Green conundrum solves itself by the 82 bus route: eleven stops, every five minutes, takes twenty minutes (half the time of that tedious tube journey), tops.
Err … the Stag?
Easy: buses 102 or 234 from Muswell Hill Broadway, which stop right across the road from the Stag. And there’s a very convenient controlled crossing.
No, Malcolm. Tell us about yesterday.
The Stag is part of a small chain of gastro-pubs which makes a virtue of offering products from independent brewers. For Malcolm the main event came courtesy of the Cottage Brewing Company of Castle Cary, Somerset: Blaze of Glory, a “special” 4.1% golden ale.
Let’s be frank here: Malcolm has a “thing” about those over-inventive beer-engine clips. The “wittier” the decal, the more the beer may disappoint. And here we have an awful warning of the type. Cottage Brewing make a fetish of their “mascot”, Jack the Whippet, and here he is in a frightener of a “seasonal” special.
Still, we’ve made the trip. We’re here for the beer. And what a surprise! A clean, crisp southern beer, served in a jug, and with just enough head to be decent. So Malcolm had another. And another …
And on the way home from his 3L was moved to compose the epic verse that heads this post.
All is far from well, good and dandy at Redfellow Hovel.
For reasons closely connected with the Lady in Malcolm’s Life demanding spring-clean tidiness, Malcolm’s command position has been evicted. He now has to retreat to a distant corner, the farthest point in the Hovel from his wi-fi source.
That works, up to a point. Then the Pert Young Piece signed herself up for on-demand movies, delivered, of course, through wi-fi.
Worse still: the Lady in Malcolm’s Life has just acquired a new Mac Mini, and a 22-inch monitor. Very nice, too. Except that this requires long hours of “catching up” with numerous TV dramas, all delivered to the Point of her Presence by … that same cable modem and wi-fi link.
Since the Hovel currently houses two Mac set-ups, three lap-tops, three iPads (one each of those latter two disappear transAtlantic this weekend) even a 60Mb Virginmedia link is a bit stretched.
The matter is further complicated by the way the Norf Lunnun bourgeoises have all discovered wi-fi. As Malcolm sits here he can count at least a dozen other wi-fi set-ups intruding onto his personal space.
Result: at some points of the day reception deteriorates through the intolerable to the impossible, from the frustrating to the futile.
There’s yet more grief.
Why is it that the Bluetooth signal from next door shows up as “not connected” while the trackpad, inches from the Mac, doesn’t raise even a peep?
Somewhat telling, Malcolm feels.