Dolphin on Jupiter

Indeed:

NASA took the photos, but it was Sean Doran and Brian Swift who spotted the dolphin and “visual artist and citizen scientist” Doran then Tweeted it.

I’m guessing that this dolphin is not a permanent fixture, but an accident of cloud formation. I’m guessing it will soon be gone. But what do I know? About dolphins. On Jupiter. Or anywhere.

See also, these two galaxies, which resemble a penguin looking after its egg.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

From ridiculous to sublime

Ridiculous:

Octopus shorts. Photoed by me in the Kings Road.

Not so ridiculous and just a little bit sublime:

It’s this shop, in the Fulham Road, a few hours later.

Sublime:

Sublime compared to the Octopus Shorts anyway. If Jeff Koons did that, it would change hands for millions.

Not photoed by me. A friend featured that photo at her Facebook site recently, she having photoed it. My friend says that this unicorn is something to do with fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital, despite not being close to that Hospital. More the Gloucester Road area. But even given all that information Google could tell me nothing about it.

I’m guessing that, what with unicorns being very big business, this unicorn, even if it is on the www, is buried under a million other unicorny images and products and general nonsense, which have all paid Google to put them first. Such is the internet. If you aren’t paying, you’re the product.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

But will I be able to keep it up?

Well how about that!?!? You wait months for a Brian Micklethwait posting on Samizdata, and then two come along. This one, and this one, in the space of two days!!

The theme of the most recent posting, today’s, is that when it comes to architecture, I like both the modern style and the fake-antique style, and especially when they sit right next to each other.

Like this, for instance:

That was taken in the vicinity of Victoria Station.

The reason I bang on more about architectural modernity here is that I know more about it, and it keeps changing so very interestingly, and for all sorts of other reasons I am too tired to remember just now. But I like antiquity also, even if it is being faked.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Exit 60 coathangers

Today I continued with chucking stuff out, including these sixty or so coathangers, which have been accumulating in my clothes cupboard, for no reason other than they seemed like they might one day come in handy. For a sculpture perhaps? But I’m not a sculptor.

I say chucking out. These coathangers are still in my living room. But, they are in a black plastic bin bag and ready to go. So, nearly.

That’s it for here today. But I did manage a posting at Samizdata, after what I suspect may have been my longest gap there since I started in 2002. This posting started out as something for here, but then I thought: no, there. I really want to do more for Samizdata. I know I keep saying that, but I do. Thank goodness for Natalie Solent, who seems to be responsible for well over half the Samizdata output these days. Here’s hoping I can alter that ratio a bit.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Transcendence

I am now listening to this conversation between Roger Scruton and Jordan Peterson, about transcendence. While so listening, I found myself thinking back to this morning, when I listened to the first half of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, as recorded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner. I found listening to this recording to be an unsatisfying experience, which was why I did not also listen to the second half of it. For me (and I emphasise that this is only my personal take on this recording), what this recording lacks is … transcendence. To me, it sounds too brisk, too lively, too mundane, too earthly, too humdrum, too fussy. Too businesslike. Too lacking in legato. Not enough grandeur.

To repeat the point in brackets above: many, listening to this same recording, will hear exactly the virtues which, for my ear, it lacks. Gardiner himself was certainly aiming at transcendance:

That is the cover of this Gardiner recording, which is put out by Gardiner’s own label, Soli Deo Gloria, and Gardiner will definitely have approved that cover.

Neverthless, tomorrow, I think I will search in my CD collection for a different and older recording of this work, a less “authentic” one, the one conducted by Eugen Jochum. This one.

Pause.

During that pause, I conducted that search, so that tomorrow morning I won’t have to search, or to remember that I must so search. The CDs will be there, next to my CD player.

I also encountered, in one of the Amazon reviews of Jochum’s Bach B Minor Mass, praise for his recording of the Bach Christmas Oratorio. I also placed this next to my CD player.

Christmas is, after all, coming.

And, what do you know? The B Minor Mass gets an explicit mention in the Scruton/Peterson conversation. 1 hour 18 minutes in.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Fighting back against IO and dust

As I said earlier, a nasty old sofa is due to depart from Chateau BMdotcom, and nice new sofa is due to arrive. And as I also said, I hoped it would be in that order. Well, now it looks like the new sofa will be here tomorrow, while the old one is still here. This threatened chaos. In a place already suffering from severe infrastructural overload (aka IO, aka too much crap everywhere and nowhere to put new incoming crap), it’s all I can do to find space for a new copy of the BBC Music Magazine without it getting submerged. Yet today I managed to liberate enough space for another sofa and still have a large chunk of change, volumetrically speaking.

The secret was getting rid of a whole clutch of things like this:

The main things that such devices store are empty air, and dust. Lots and lots of dust.

I also found a pile of home-made versions of the same kind of thing, in which I had been storing more air and more dust, and (this time) nothing else:

That being about a decade’s worth of dust, going by all the bits of paper in the pile that I will soon be culling and compressing.

As one of my heroes, Quentin Crisp, once said, the secret with dust is not to stir it up. Do that, and you find yourself living in a dusty home. Just let it be and it behaves itself very politely.

I now learn (such is the internet) that what Crisp actually said was more like this:

There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.

I actually do do some housework, mainly in my living room, so this doesn’t really apply to me and my home. But I like his attitude. That gag about being a “stately homo of England” is also a Crispism. The link above is to a large stack of verbal Crispnesses.

Back to my dust. To get rid of that dust, which did have to be got rid of because the receptacles containing it had to go, I had to carry them out of my bedroom very carefully, into the living room, and part of this involved stepping down from my bed to the floor. Imagine doing that with a tray full of drinks. But, all went well, and I have now liberated a hug gob of space which I had previously thought permanently clogged:

That will accommodate a lot of IO, in the days and weeks to come. Those two boxes on the right can go too, come to think of it. All they contain is big envelopes that I will never use and whose glue long ago stopped working.

Each time I have a campaign against IO, I think that I really have, this time around, completely run out of space. But, each time, it turns out that there’s more, lurking in plain sight.

A good day.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

On supporting Spurs – but not properly

Well, it’s official. I care more about cricket, as played by anyone, than I care about football, as played by Spurs, the football team that I tell myself I support.

If I truly support Spurs, how come I only bothered to wonder the next day how badly they had lost to Barcelona recently, in their clearly doomed attempt to qualify for the last sixteen of the European Champions League, or whatever they call it? Answer me that. On the night, I was so concerned about when the next test match between Australia and India would start, and whether I could hear any commentary on it, that I completely ignored Spurs. When you consider that this Barca/Spurs game was on Tuesday night, and that the Australia/India game didn’t start until the small hours of Friday morning, you can see what a crap Spurs fan I am.

It was only some time on Wednesday that I internetted the news that Spurs had got a draw against Barca (thanks to a late equaliser), and that because Inter Milan had also only got a draw in their game, Spurs had squeaked through, but only after an agonising wait for the Inter result caused by that game going on for a couple of minutes longer.

While all this drama was going on, I was oblivious to it, and was instead scratching about on the internet chasing that cricket game.

Which is still going on. Day 3 will be getting underway in a few hours, on Radio 5 live sports extra. My sleep is already deranged, in a way that usually only happens when England are playing in Australia.

Today, I did keep track of the Spurs Burnley game, which Spurs won (thanks to a very late winner). So: more drama. But although I was aware of this while it was happening, I was again scandalously relaxed about it all, despite this game being billed as a Spurs Must Win If They Are To Stay In With A Chance To Win The League sort of a game. Oh well, I was thinking, as it remained 0-0 right up until extra time. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Maybe next year, when they have their own stadium to play in.

Maybe the reason I am not shouting at Spurs in my kitchen, urging them on to glory, is that they are indeed engaged in building themselves a brand new custom built headquarters, in the form of that new White Hart Lane stadium. So according to my way of thinking, they shouldn’t now be doing this well.

However, it would seem that all the money that the new stadium will bring into the club has caused Spurs to do something now that they haven’t been doing for several decades, which is keep their best players. I’m talking about the likes of Kane, Deli Alli, Moura (who scored the late equaliser against Barca) and Eriksen (who got today’s very late winner). Such stars might still make more money if they went to Real Madrid or some such even richer club. But, at Real, they might not do as well on the pitch as they are now doing for Spurs. They might then fall off the football pyramid of greatness, never to climb back on it again. Footballers are interested in money and glory, not just in money, not least because glory turns into more money later, when they later try to get football jobs without being players any more. Spurs look like they could be about to do both money and glory rather well.

The same goes for the current rather-hard-to-spell Spurs manager who is masterminding all this. Many now assume that he will shortly move to Madrid. I’m not so sure.

I mean, if this is how well these Spurs guys can do while the new Spurs HQ is still being finished, think how well they might do when they get really settled in in the new place and are able to concentrate entirely on football.

Or maybe it’s that a new stadium is not really a new headquarters building, more like a huge new factory, for something like a brand new airplane. Boeing bets the company every time they launch a totally new aircraft. A football club bets itself whenever it moves into a new stadium. But this stadium is actually for doing football, rather than just a place to do lots of headquartering.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Creature comforts

Two creature-related BMdotcom-Friday-friendly images from the Niagara of Trivia and Abuse that is Twitter, to feast your eyes, and your brain, on.

The first is American:

Which I encountered here. I miss Transport Blog.

And the second is Anglo-Canadian:

The Canadian being Jordan Peterson, and the Anglo being a Fox, and what’s more a Fox with an animal tattoo on his arm.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog