Thursday, 7 June 2007

A lost Word and a good deed

I have somehow made the Word icon vanish from the line-up on the computer.

My wife, who understands these things, is at present walking towards Pamplona. By way of her mobile, she made several suggestions. "Click on that, drag that, open that, close that." All no good. Then she said, crossly, "What have you done to it?" She often says that, at times like these. It was, I suspect, a rhetorical quesion.

But not always.

It reminded me irresistably, like the boy Proust with his wretched biscuit, of an incident many years ago on the Daily Mirror in London.

Late one night, after closing time, a small copy editor (the editor was small, that is, not the copy), whom we shall call Bob, was walking down Fetter Lane to get his train home, to Bexley Heath, or some such suburban journalists' ghetto. (The ghetto was suburban, not the journalists) As he passed The Printer's Devil, he came upon the inert body of one of his colleagues, whom we shall call Mike, in the gutter. The night was dry and Mike, a big man, appeared comfortable enough and was not dead. Bob nevertheless felt obliged to help his pal get home.

A pasing cab was hailed, and after a spirited discussion involving extra money "for the bleeding aggravation, Guv," Bob and the cabbie hauled Mike on board and headed for the station. There, after yet more money passed hands, a porter and Bob loaded Mike onto a train. At Bexley, or wherever, a similar pattern ensued, but in reverse. Eventually, Bob and the Bexley cabbie manhandled Mike up to his front door. Bob, reduced to penury by this point, paid off the cabbie, propped Mike against the wall and rang the doorbell.

After a few minutes, Mike's wife opened the door. She took in the scene at a glance. "What have you done to him?" she said.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Racehorses, fast Cheetas and slow carrots

My wife, Reb, thinks I should explain more about the horse race i posted the other day. I am inclined to think, like Ludwig, (Wittgenstein, that is, not Beethoven) that "Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent." in other words, the video seems to speak for itself.

However, it is of the Grand national, the world's most famous steeplechase, run at Aintree, near Liverpool Northern England. It is four and a half miles long and 30 fences are jumped. The fences vary from very big to huge. The year was 1973. Crisp was a huge horse and a magnificent jumper. His nemesis in the race, Red Rum later proved to be one of the legends of Aintree, winning it at least once more and running prominently several times. The closing stages in 1973, that is to say the last mile or so - have all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy, or whatever. It's like watching Romeo and Juliet - I always hope the priest will get ther in time to save the pair. And I always hope Crisp can get to the winning post before he is caught. Still and all, it is only a racel.

My rap on the creation museum provoked some comment. Considering how bizarre the whole creationism thing is, I don't know why I should find it exceptionally odd that the yokels - as Christopher Hitchens affectionately calls its followers in the New Yorker of May 21 - seem to believe that, before the Fall, all creatures were vegetarians. The peacable kingdom, maybe? Including the dinosaurs that were on Noah's ark. The yokels explain their big scary flesh-tearing teeth (the dinosaurs' that is, not the yokels') as being used to open coconuts. I am not making this up.

If creationists believe all animals were made by God in a day, six thousand years ago just as they are today, it must have been odd even to Adam and Eve, to see a cheetah hurtling across Paradise at 70 miles an hour in pursuit of a carrot. Hard to adam and eve it, really, as we Londoners say. Oh, well.

Apropos of God and evolution, I am reminded of the eminent geneticist Haldane. Someone asked him for his thoughts on God, in whom he did not believe. "He would appear to be inordinately fond of beetles," said Haldane, "We have catalogued over 250,000 different species so far, and are still counting."

I fully agree with the creationists on one point. If we don't accept the story of creation literally as told in the Bible, we might as well chuck the whole bleeding screed in the garbage. Although the yokels might not put it quite like that.