Friday, 24 October 2008


Oh, I am so sick of seeing moronic things like this:

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Just who thinks this is a clever way of doing things? The blethering bloody idiots. I've had clients argue about this kind of thing in the past because under the Data Protection Act there are now things you have to have an opt-in for, but still some things you only need an opt-out for. But what kind of twerp thinks it makes sense to mix the two together? It's stupid, and it's sad - what it invariably says to me is that anyone who's that desperate to send me spam doesn't have anything worthwhile to tell me, and anyone whose thinking is that muddled wouldn't be able to string a coherent sentence together even if they had. Oh, and they don't care about usability. I cross them off my Christmas card list. Hah!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Way to go, girls

I was reading a copy of Cosmopolitan that I retrieved from a skip - I don't acquire women's magazines any other way, these days - and they had a little reader survey. Apparently, 58% of Cosmo readers said they would marry a millionaire whether they loved him or not.

Disgust doesn't even begin to cover my reaction to this. My first thought is that feminism in any meaningful form seems to be dead. My next is that any guy with serious money shouldn't even consider marriage, given that it seems to be inevitable that he'll be stalked by gold-diggers. Presumably the idea in their flimsy little minds is that they'll put up with it for a bit and then screw him in the divorce settlement. Frankly, if that's the way it's going to work, he might as well pay for a sex on a formal basis with real professionals and know exactly where he stands. Given what divorce settlements are like these days, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the hourly rate worked out a lot more competitive that way too.

But urgh. Doesn't it make you feel queasy? And this from a magazine that used to advocate feminism? Not in its most meaningful form, sure - but at least it made an attempt to marry an idea of equality with its capitalist agenda (Be the boss but still wear lipstick!). Now it's just another glossy hymn to self-obsession. Gack.

Friday, 3 October 2008


(A has just emailed me to say that I had a breach of blog anonymity and inadvertently named him - I don't know: is it actually worth being secretive? I have a feeling I decided on it when I was in that frame of mind that assumes that all blogs get picked up for international syndication and then turned into best-selling novels. (This alternates with days when you know that only your Mum reads it.)

I think it was also that I could write about A's children, without their being identifiable (hmm - and does anyone but me use possessives with the gerund any more? Does anyone know what the question means? I'll bet more than one of my gentle readers does, actually).)

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Total miscellanea

Lawks, I feel as though I haven't stopped scudding around for a fortnight. I really, really have to write about our fabulous musical week at La Maison Verte, but I've got behind myself. To the Globe last night for A Midsummer Night's Dream - I was sorry to miss Timon of Athens, but we couldn't find a babysitter so A went alone - and found it surprisingly pertinent. Dream was great fun, though boy it's long - a solid three hours. As ever with Shakespeare, packed with quotations. "In maiden meditation, fancy-free" I'm sure is quoted in Alcott somewhere. Now I'll have to reread everything. Oooh.

I've been reading a shortened version of Pepys's Diary, and loving it. He's only 28 at the point I've got to, but so thoughtful and entertaining. I really need the unabridged version, with footnotes, though - the editor of this one rather charmingly says that they decided to have fewer notes so as to have 'more Pepys'. The mixture of history - at the pace it actually happens, not the speeded-up version of history books - and domesticity and trivia is uttterly beguiling. And everyone is so cultured: always popping down to the pub to sing part-songs, or staying up late playing the lute. I suppose that's because nobody below a certain level of income is involved. It's obvious what a tough time the servants have: the amount of physical punishment they get is notable.

I'm pleased I read Tomalin's wonderful biography first, to get an overview. I'll have the fun of reading it again afterwards, too!

I also read a biography of Jaqueline Kennedy, as fallout from a brief obsession with the JFK assasination: I remembered one evening that I'd meant to look up the Zapruder video on YouTube as I hadn't ever seen it. About five hours later I looked emerged from the internet, pallid and slightly paranoid. Actually, Wikipedia, the wonderful thing, had a perfectly cogent analysis of the best current thinking. Anyway, Jackie. Gosh, she was a boring woman. There's a photo of her as a stunningly arrogant six-year-old, then as an airily arrogant teenager. Then she marries JFK - for the money and prestige, it seems (they didn't seem to talk to each other much) - finds her vocation and becomes a calmly arrogant clothes horse. Then she marries Onassis for money. What's to like? The biographer obviously loved her, but even so couldn't come up with any reason anyone else should. I dipped in and out and then put it on the Oxfam pile.

I was going to say something about Berty, so I could put in a link to his site, which I built recently using iWeb (free Mac software, pretty results but I suspect rubbish with screen readers as the code must be a dog's breakfast, and you can't reliably increase the font size, which is pants). If anyone knows of something better - maybe a simple CMS system - do let me know: the Fagiolini site is in desperate need of an overhaul, but neither A nor I is any good at building websites, dammit. Have a look at Berty's site and tell me what you think - it needs more visitors as it's not showing up on Google yet.