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Sans ceremonie

"What are you, a cold-blooded murderer or the controller of Radio 3?"
- good question


What I spoke: "Oh, I didn't know magpies were so blue."

What I said: "I see a magpie. (I haven't examined a magpie this close before.) This magpie has a lot of blue above its tail feathers; Therefore all magpies have a lot of blue above their tailfeathers. I did not generalize that before."

(Our hidden leaps...)


Some economics thoughts from summer notebooks (that is, all of them; it's pretty sick how little I think about it):

1. Children are a positive externality. (But the costliest good.)

"It is for children that we want heaven"
- John Irving

I mean children in general, not, say, the ones sitting just behind your plane seat. Production of the brand continues out of a curious mix of near-total market anarchism and the hiring of the greatest PR firm in history: Socialization Inc. They can bring direct, consumer (parent) utility, but I simply don't credit the idea that they're enjoyable on a net basis.

Why "positive", then? Well, we've all seen Children Of Men, and it's highly credible that this is how we'd go, without a symbolic future going around screaming and waving a stick with some poo on the end.

We want another chance; if not for ourselves then another round of poor buggers to try and set right our mistakes.

2. We keep killing everything because the solutions are so boring.

There's an environmental ec course running this term, and I really ought do it, because the real, applied ways to solve all the shit we do are psychologically unavailable and somebody has to.

An exception to the tedium being Myhrvold's silly-ass sulphur-dioxide SKYPUMP and all the other macho-Enlightenment things that ring of Team America.

3. The oppressed have such sinister dreams. (Get rich / die tryin.)

4. Doing flexitime properly:

The basic equation for income is just (wage x hours-of-labour). But this ignores the marginal product across different people at the same task. So, adjust:

wage x labour x intensity

Intensity might be rate of assembly, or no. of emails to answer per whatever. (Where the job is something which can scale MPL without loss of quality.)

This sounds horrible at first - just another hi-tech way for bastards to squeeze their underlings' life out - but it came from a thought-process against mechanizing folk - allowing individuals to choose their style of work.

1. Everyone has a set of abilities, a capacity for task [x].
2. Better, everyone has different priorities, like wanting to be out in the afternoon sunshine instead of at work.
3. You could design aptitude tests, and thereby find the upper level for each person. They then set the intensity between very low (for hungover days) and their tested maximum (for when you need the money / to leave early).

Two hours at intensity 0.5 = one hour at intensity 1. And so on.

5. "The bitterness of poor quality /
Lingers long after /
The sweetness of low price is forgotten..."
- John Ruskin


Horrible anecdote from Heathrow toilets; the savage, note-perfect callousness of children:

Dad: What's the matter, Si? Do you wish we were still in Italy?

Si: Yes. [pause, gets an Idea.] It's all your fault, Daddy.

Dad: [uncomfortable] Well. Come on, do up your trousers.

Si: It's all your fault.
It's all your fault! It's. All. Your. Fault.
[being led out by dad, silently]


Why do we make such weird noises when waking reluctantly? Can only have evolved so that our partners can smile and shake their heads at us.


Thing which needs a neologism:

a cluster of rock music phenomena involving

  1. an aged musical artist (especially country or blues) accruing
  2. critical acclaim from
  3. an overdue comeback,
  4. especially under a young svengali producer/collaborator,
  5. perhaps containing covers (especially zany covers).
  6. >
  7. The festival circuit and/or very large sales may follow.


  • rubination - "The rubination is nearly complete." (hmmm)

  • May-to-September Music - "Jack White pulled 18 hour days making sweet may-to-September music"

  • retro-rocket -

  • readvention

- Johnny Cash (& Rick Rubin) - on the American Recordings (1994-2003). Satisfies 1,2,3,4,5&6.

- Neil Diamond (& Rick Rubin)- on 2005's 12 Songs. Satisfies 1,2,3,4,5&6.

- Wanda Jackson (& Jack White) - on 2011's The Party Ain't Over. Satisfies 1,2,3,4,5& perhaps soon 6.

- Loretta Lynn (& Jack White) - on 2004's Van Lear Rose. Satisfies 1,2,3,4.

- Mavis Staples (& Jeff Tweedy) - 2010's You Are Not Alone. 1,3,4.

- Shirley Bassey (& the world) - on 2008's The Performance. Satisfies 1,2,3,4,5, and of course 6.

- Vashti Bunyan (& Max Richter & Animal Collective!) - on 2005's Lookaftering. 1,2,3,4,6.

- Bettye Lavette (& Joe Henry) - on 2005's I've Got My Own Hell To Raise. 1,2,3,4,5.

- Willie Nelson (& Daniel Lanois) - on 1998's Teatro. Satisfies 1,4,6.
- Willie Nelson (& Ryan Adams) - on 2004's Songbird. Satisfies 1,2,4,5,6.

- Howlin Wolf (& Norman Dayron) - on 1971's The London Sessions. Satisfies 1,2,3,4.

- Muddy Waters (& Johnny Winter) - on 1977's Hard Again. 1,2,3.

- RL Burnside (& Jon Spencer) - on 1996's A Ass Pocket of Whiskey and others. 1,3,4.

- John Fahey (& Jim O'Rourke) - on 1997's Womblife, leading to a bizarre avant-garde turn. 1,3,4.

- Glen Campbell - 2008's Meet Glen Campbell, cover dreck. 1,3,5.

- Gil Scott-Heron (& Richard Russell) - on 2010's I'm New Here. 1,2,3,4.

- Candi Staton (& Mark Nevers) - 2006's His Hands. 1,3,4,5.

- Robert Plant (& T-Bone Burnett) - on 2006's Raising Sand. 1,2,3,4,6.

and even
- The Stooges (& Steve Albini) on The Weirdness. 1,3,6.

Tom Jones continues to try, but he really never rose anywhere in the first place and so cannot fall.


So, I'm putting together a series of teasers for Aberdeen Uni's philsoc at the mo. Here's the proofs:

And, in response to that last one, some old-time religion: