Showing posts from May, 2018


When you can no longer tell yourself that all will be OK in the end, and how it can’t possibly get any worse, you confide in the relentless march of time: it must be over soon. The twenty-second amendment of the United States Constitution means that Monday 20 th January 2025 is the latest possible date that Donald Trump must vacate the office of President, even if he ends up serving two consecutive terms. With the prospect of a Trump presidency lasting into my forties – hell, “The Simpsons” may still be producing new episodes by then – I need to plan for what lies ahead. When the date of a meeting with North Korea was first announced, I refrained from writing about a post-Trump world because I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, even if I previously said that was something he never needed before [ link ]. However, after the commemorative coins were minted, Trump cancelled the meeting, then said it was back on, then said “we’ll see,” then attacked “The New Yor


Nine months after promising myself that I would upgrade my iPod nano to a Sony Walkman [ link ], I have done exactly that, when the iPod stopped working for a few days. I have now launched headlong into the devotional task of loading my CD collection of twenty-plus years onto it – the first purchase, from Virgin Megastore in Portsmouth, was of “Jagged Little Pill,” by Alanis Morrissette, and “Now 35.” Apparently, my NW-A45 Walkman can play “HD Audio,” which Sony defines as anything above CD quality. I had not looked into this before buying it, as my main intention was to find something that can accept a 200 Gb micro SD card – Sony says it can take a card with ten times that capacity, but none has been made yet. However, if this Walkman is expected to beat CD quality, then I can leave MP3 behind: in 2015, Ryan Maguire reconstructed a version of Suzanne Vega’s atmospheric song “Tom’s Diner,” used in the 1990s as a control when testing the “lossy” codec that compresses sounds into


It has been nearly two years since I added a smart TV box to my television, and my viewing has never recovered. Unless I want to watch a programme right away, instead of catching up later, my TV will be switched from “DTV” to “HDMI-2,” so I can dive into the BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Netflix – “HDMI-1” is for my blu-ray player, having got there first. I am very suited to this arrangement, as I now have a larger screen to watch the video essays you often find on YouTube for films, music, computer games, dead shopping malls, and other subjects that may be too niche for “regular” TV. Because I don’t often watch traditional TV programmes, my TV has turned into a multipurpose screen for whatever I can put onto it, including films and podcasts. The same can be said of my phone, as well as my tablet and desktop computers: they all are now types of computers, able to do most, if not all, the same as each other. It reminded me of a Venn diagram I copied out of a book over fifteen yea


Sooty shearwater (titi) I love when people share something you had no idea about, which makes you want to find out more. I had been to an appointment last week, and once the main business was concluded, the subject came up of the local elections happening across the UK, and how nothing about it was mentioned on TV and radio news today – UK broadcasters cannot mention why they cannot report it. In fact, I said, that must be why “The World at One,” on BBC Radio 4, reported that the remains of a dodo, the notoriously extinct bird, held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, was found to have been shot, instead of dying of natural causes. It turned out this discovery, using a CT scan to inadvertently debunk what was believed for over three hundred years, was initially reported two weeks before, but was only now being aired on “The World at One” – it happened to also be the same dodo that inspired Lewis Carroll to write a dodo character into “Alice’s Adventures in