Archive for November, 2002

literary life

Saturday, November 30th, 2002

Last night to CB2. We took with us the eight-year-old son of friends, who was disgusted to find that his burger tasted of beef, rather than McDonald

No redeeming social value

Friday, November 29th, 2002

like it says.

Copenhagen interpretations 1

Monday, November 25th, 2002

I spent Saturday at a conference in Jesus college, organised by John Cornwell, on the subject of Werner Heisenberg’s war guilt and Michael Frayn’s play “Copenhagen”, which deals with the subject. The day started with a rehearsed reading of the entire play, which only has three actors, playing Heisenberg. Niels Bohr, and his wife, Margarethe Bohr, all talking together in the afterlife. They were absolutely splendid. I sat with them afterwards at lunch and said so. They said they had only had a day and a half of rehearsal, and were still wrestling with some of the pronunciation and the meanings of technical terms. Then one actor leant confidingly towards me and asked “Could you tell me one word I don’t understand. What is a quantum?” So I got to explain “quantum” to Niels Bohr.

reasons for war

Monday, November 25th, 2002

Bill Emmott, the editor of the Economist, has a lucid op-ed in today’s Guardian arguing for the war. The kernel of his argument is that only force, or the wholly convincing threat of overwhelming force, will make Saddam comply with UN resolutions and disarm. It is the credible threat of war that has now made it possible that Saddam could be disarmed peacefully, under the terms of the new resolution the UN security council approved unanimously on November 8. That still, however, leaves a question hanging: if he calls the UN’s bluff by making a fake declaration on December 8, should the threat be carried out? I believe that, not least because it’s true of almost every country threatened by the UN. But the inescapable corollary is that once we have assembled an overwhelmingly impressive force (which seems to happen once every ten years) we have to use it. Otherwise, Saddam will simply resume his efforts to rearm once the troops go away.


So perish all

Sunday, November 24th, 2002

Powerpoint users! This seems even worse than the dream I had all year when working as a paliamentary sketch writer: that I was taking a place on the opposition front benches stark naked, and everyone in the chamber had noticed but was being polite.

You can tell I should be working

Friday, November 22nd, 2002

But this should be flyposted all over London.


Friday, November 22nd, 2002

I sort of knew the Nielsen Haydens from the Well, so I drifted over quite naturally to their blogs when I discovered them. A real delight. Earlier this week, Patrick got tired of one contributor, so he banned him. The guy kept coming back from different IPs, so Patrick finally shut down all comments. So Mr Shropshire went over to Teresa’s blog to whinge. After about half a dozen long posts, she disemvowelled him.



Friday, November 22nd, 2002

This is just so sweet. (From Making Light.)


Thursday, November 21st, 2002

“Daddy, that was great! Except you sounded like a eunuch!” — A daughter listens to the radio — “Really. You sound like a castrated hamster.”
Thank god she’s not one of those vile teenagers.

gone mobile

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

At last, I have joined the rest of the human race. I found a netgear router/wireless base station and a card for the laptop in Technomatics (