Friday, August 3, 2012

What I’m reading #73

Imperator Fish on Hamilton’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Don’t kid yourself, it’s gonna happen. Money quote:
Granting Hamilton Olympic hosting rights makes sense, because Hamiltonians love their sport. Boxing and other fighting disciplines are well catered for in Hamilton, with impromptu fights breaking out every few minutes in the city streets on a Friday or Saturday night.  Street racing is a favourite pastime, as is the sport of throwing bottles as passers-by.
But rugby is the real passion in these parts.  Most Chiefs games are at least half-full, and if we schedule Olympic events in the Waikato Stadium immediately after big rugby matches, we believe a good number of the crowd will stay to watch.
The Economist on plastic surgery by country. Money quote:
There are seven times more buttock operations in Brazil than the top-25 country average, and five times more vaginal rejuvenations. In Greece, penis enlargements are performed ten times more often than the average.
Dark matter is out there somewhere, possibly, it is alleged that some say. Maybe so. Or maybe so not. Hard to tell. Could go either way, as Stuff reports:
The coming decade will be the decade of dark matter, some scientists say, as efforts to detect the mysterious stuff will either pay off or rule out the most promising hypothesis about what it is. However, astronomers may have already detected signs of dark matter in the heart of our own Milky Way galaxy, a pair of astrophysicists now say.
Chris Barton in the Herald is good, isn’t he. Here he is on Paul Goldsmith’s new book about Alan Gibbs.

Paul Litterick on the state of England today.

Lacan’s hairdresser from 1965 to 1976 speaks. Money quote:
He was never one to wait in the salon, he never wanted to wait. I would arrange everything, because every day I did 30 clients and so when he had the appointment I knew I had to arrange everything. And then one time he came and I couldn’t arrange everything. I had four clients and so he goes up to have his shampoo and his blue rinse, and he says to me ‘What time will you see me’, and I told him I’m not free so you have to wait a bit, go and sit down. Anyway he had a pink bib on, and the blue rinse was going down on it, and he was annoyed, and then he got up and then went out and went home, with the blue rinse still on and the pink bib. The owner of Carita told me that he’d gone home with all of the blue rinse on him, and she told me that I have to go and to see him at home. So, I had to go to his house. She was very furious, and she was the one who insisted that I follow him to his house and cut his hair. So I went there and he was in his bathroom, sitting there waiting, and he told me ‘I like Greek people’. So then I cut his hair, and then I when I was finished I took the tip of hundred francs and I said to him ‘Now Doctor Lacan I don’t any more want to cut your hair anymore.’
Ally of Today is my Birthday! is back and has been looking at 50 Shades of Grey discussed here previously. Inspired, she has invented an Erotic Fiction Plot Generator. Go on, you know you want to. There are many parodies and jokes about the books – 50 Shades of Grey Power, 50 Shades of Grey Lynn etc – but not yet, as far as I know, 50 Shades of Steve Gray. It is only a matter of time. And I would like a percentage, please.

Stephen Franks on Maori Language Week is very sound on the ghastly and pointless macron but is also interesting on how purity may be self-defeating:
This view of language as property was blessed by some of our judges in a silly period, but more recently the own goal nature of that attitude was typified for me by the witless reaction to the intended use by LEGO of Maori names. If there had been a genuine interest in the promotion of the language for communication, it would have been welcomed as a great way to get kids familiar with the vowel usages and familiar with the tones. Instead it was treated as infringement of a proprietary secret knowledge. Language thrives when it is used, when it is comfortable and conveys the same meaning to speaker and hearer.  When the pretended guardians of the health of the language threatened LEGO into abandoning the plan, I knew that it was probably doomed. Those who want it kept pure to function as the property of an elect, their ID or passport, will never promote it as a genuine open medium of communication.
Good to see Mike Heron becoming the new Solicitor-General. Multi-talented guy – he was a big influence on Led Zeppelin from his years with the Incredible String Band, seen here at the Fillmore West in 1969 playing “Dust be Diamonds”. And, below, here they are in 1973 with Heron’s epic “Ithkos”. Mad, but in a good way. That’s Heron playing the harmonium, talking, and – rather shocking for a rock/folk/hippie musician – writing notes down on paper. Clearly from the rehearsal the rest of the band hate it and the other ISB guy, Robin Williamson, gets very Alan Partridge passive-aggressive. Boring for anyone who has never been in a band and horrible for anyone who doesn’t love the ISB but for those of us who were and do, here it is:

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