Archive for November, 2010

Things that didn’t work

14 November 2010

20 things that people on the internet say didn’t work:

Quit Facebook Day
the South West Regional Development Agency
horses … as well as tractors
one day yeast infection treatment
facts
XP’s Bluetooth patch
the Totable Tornado Observatory
being hip
the fridge
deleting cache
Five Superheroic Re-Castings
Twitter
laxative
Prohibition
my braces
The Lightning Process
hyperfiction
sex with guys
Toyota fixes
TinyUmbrella

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Things that don’t work

13 November 2010

Been trying to make some changes recently and doing lots of planning. Wch is great, so they tell me, but sometimes it just falls apart. So I’m back to counting things.

50 things that people on the internet think don’t work

The Da Vinci Code (source)
The Jamie Oliver health approach
social networking (2005, you are so five years ago)
crunch mode (take that, working too hard)
torture
government
normal
prison
my Apple USB mouse
Bill Gates … at Microsoft anymore
terrorism
homeopathy
monarchy
working on yourself
Outlook 2010’s conversation view
cramming
functional programming
detox
dieting
FindWindow
document.write()
positive thinking
the Cuban model
the war on drugs
team building
astrology
most advertising
austerity
Insert Button
DRM
complaining
my password
brainstorming
goalsetting
role playing
pandering
abstinence education
my dear unintuitive adventure game
being “nice” … with women
Tamiflu
Autofill
Open in New Window
the iPhone … in Korea
manufacturing communities
rehab
PR
innovation
my clock
Copy Paste
risk management

By theme, I make that:

books – 1 thing that doesn’t work
health – 5 things that don’t work
business – 9 things that don’t work
people – 10 things that don’t work
social policies – 10 things that don’t work
technical – 15 things that don’t work

Surprised that I didn’t find more individual / specific stuff, but maybe need to try “didn’t work” rather than “doesn’t work” – on the grounds that if something of your own stops working you get rid of it or mend it so it’s always in the past tense.

… things that do work to follow.

Marrying the Mistress (book #87)

7 November 2010

Juliet Landon, 2008.

I can’t remember anything at all about this book. But I did make some notes so will see if I can make sense of them. I seem to have marked some sentences that didn’t fit the time, 1802:

“I don’t do lists” – Safire suggests that this form originated sometime between the 1970s (when apparently “I don’t do windows” was a catchphrase) and the 1990s.
“Jamie’s birth certificate cannot be altered” – no, it can’t, given that there were none; it would have been an entry in a parish register.
“it’s the problem of my brother’s lifestyle that concerns me most” – “lifestyle” dates to 1929.

I was interested in the mention of “ikat-dyed muslin” (Landon is a textile writer under her own name, Jan Messent – see this review and terrible Knitted Madame de Pompadour) and found this great picture of a dress of the right period in ikat muslin.

The Covent Garden Ladies (book #12 updated)

7 November 2010

Hallie Rubenhold, 2006.

Took me a while to get round to updating my previous entry, and I now can’t interpret most of my notes.

The book focusses on the writing and publication of “Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies,” 1757. Here’s an extract from the description of Mrs Cuyler, Craven Street:

She was brought up under the Wing of the celebrated Bird of Paradise, who taught her the rudiments of knowledge by which she soon, by the strength of her own natural genius, became a complete mistress of the science, in which she has cut a conspicious figure. … She lately behaves with a great deal of reserve in public, but in private, when she likes her company; there is not a more agreeable, good-natured convivial soul in the universe. At such times she is very fond of singing ‘King David on a certain day, &c.’ which she performs with a good deal of humour.”

Google is not finding anything for the song, sadly.

Satisfyingly, the author compiles a list of men using Covent Garden prostitutes – to parallel the women’s names that were published.

Rubenhold on Women’s Hour discussing the book. The grandly titled Assistant Content Producer advised me that this recording pre-dates BBC iplayer, so to listen to it you need Real Player – see here.

Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms (book #86)

7 November 2010

Alistair Moffat, 1999.

Moffat’s homepage.

Moffat on In Our Time discussing the Celts in 2002 with Barry Cunliffe and Miranda Aldhouse Green.

Quotes a Welsh poem I hadn’t come across before – Dinogad’s shift (smock, petticoat etc). Here’s someone pondering it, having heard a CD with it on. I do wonder why people insist on making things up. If you Google it you find people assuming it was written / written down by a woman and that it’s a nursery rhyme, when we have no way of knowing these things. I can’t find anything more academic online, apart from the suggestion in an examination paper from Aberystwyth that the text poses problems “for the historian, the literary historian, the philologist and the literary critic”.

I’m not sure what to think about Moffat’s thesis that Arthur was based in the now lost town of Roxburgh in the Borders. Short discussion here. He does make it an attractive and romantic theory, but the emphasis on linguistic evidence worries me. For instance, he quotes the motto of Hawick in the Borders, Teribus Ye Teriodin and says “no one [in Hawick] knows what it means. In fact it is a P-Celtic phrase, more correctly rendered Tyr y Bas y Tyr y Odin, and I believe it is an ancient connection with the legends of the Ride of the Dead … Odin led the Ride of the Dead, collecting souls as they rode through the night sky … a motto in P-Celtic a millennium and a half after it was the common tongue of the countryside”. Of course I don’t have the expertise to make much comment on this, but I’m not sure that phrases do get handed down so well-preserved; and Moffat’s “in fact it is” is worryingly certain. First rule of etymology – the more attractive an origin story is, the less likely it is to be true.

It is unfortunate that the landowners, the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, apparently won’t allow an excavation.

The Body in the Moonlight (book #85)

1 November 2010

Katherine Hall Page, 2002.

This is darker than this series usually runs. I thought that Faith was going to find she was ill, with the references to her mind wandering. Turns out to be emotional stuff of course.

I liked the sound of the books by Veronica Brookside: “a hard-boiled series that featured a foul-mouthed female former librarian turned private detective who could hit a knothole at seventy-five feet while quoting the ruder parts of the Canterbury Tales“.

Also, I urgently need to cook Doughnut Muffins.

Interesting hymm quoted – I Sing a Song of the Saints of God, written by an English woman, Lesbia Scott, in 1929.