Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Quotes 2 (Overheard)

Wife's friend "That must be awful to have 2 children one a lesbian and the other killed in Spain"
Wifes's Aunt"I've seen him walking up our road looking in all our fronts"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Talk to your robot

If you type ‘Klatu verada nictu’ into Google it comes up with 469 references to it, or at least there were today. This phrase has stayed with me for more than 40 years during which time I have forgotten countless other things, probably it stayed because I felt that someday it might save my life.
It comes from a ‘black & white’ film called ‘The day the earth stood still’ which starred Michael Rennie and a robot called Gort.
The phrase in question had to be memorised by the heroine and spoken to Gort to pacify him and prevent him from killing her and going on to destroy the world. Gort, by the way, was a huge figure, rather like an animated suit of armour but much more menacing.
The film terrified me but then for 30 years or so I never saw the film again or heard any mention of it.
I was watching, I lead a very sedentary life, the Rockford Files (James Garner) and there came a scene in which a huge thug hove into view, much to the despair of the hero who on sight of his massive opponent uttered the words ‘Klatu verada nictu!’
I immediately understood. I thought to myself surely I must be the only person in the UK who understands that reference, maybe the world?
That was more than 10 years ago so today I thought I would just check out Google in case the film has become a huge cult success and the reference was not quite so obscure as I had thought.
Well 469 does not I would have thought indicate a very high level of recognition. I reckon the James Garner script was almost a private joke by the writers and certainly to be welcomed.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Psalms 78.66

When I worked for the awful Pearl Assurance Radio 4 broadcast the complete bible over a number of weeks. Travelling to Hereford by car to the foul company as I was required to do weekly I found that the program had got up to 'Psalms'.
I was struck by a line in one which went;
He smote his enemies in the hinder parts.
I expect some awful Hip Hop rapper dumbed down translation has already rendered this as He kicked arse
Actually there is no connection between Pearl Assurance and the Psalm other than the arse connection. I only mention Pearl here at all because that is where I was going when I heard the psalm and it gives me the chance to express my contempt for them in passing.

Light question

We see a tree because light comes from the tree and enters our eye.
But why do we see a tree when all we get is light coming from the tree?
What information about the tree does the light contain?
It can only be colour or brightness or both – nothing else.
The colour of light is the same thing as the frequency of the waves of light.
The brightness of the light is the amplitude of the waves of light.
We are told that waves superimpose and that light waves behave in the same way as other waves (see diffraction of light).
Given that the tree is over there and I am here and there are rays of light coming from the tree to my eye made up of light at frequencies and amplitudes corresponding to the colours and brightness of the various parts of the tree.
My question is how does light preserve that information about the tree when in the intervening space between me and the tree there is light of all frequencies and amplitudes passing in all directions and superimposing upon my ‘tree light’.
I would have thought that this would destroy the original information completely by changing the wave.
I am missing something which is pretty obvious I am sure, as nobody else seems to need to raise this question. Can somebody enlighten me?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Round about the summer of 1979 I was sitting on the banks of a creek in the middle of an Essex saltmarsh, there was not another human being to be seen. After an hour or so the creek began to fill up energised by the incoming tide.I sat there and noticed something drifting in. As it neared I saw that it was a very old sealed bottle. It bobbed past and I grabbed it. Through the grime I could see inside a message written on some yellowed paper.
I tried to open it but the stopper was well and truly fixed. The only way to read the message was to break the bottle.
I thought ‘bugger that I might cut myself’ so I threw it out to sea.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Me and a recent Baguette

Just in case there was any doubt as to who you were dealing with here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

email after France again

Dear Pat,
just remembered something else - could this be an early manifestation of your interest in poetry? You and Dennis introduced me to autograph albums. There was nobody in mine except what either you or Dennis wrote which I remember as follows;
'The lightening flashed the thunder roared
And all the world was shaken
A little pig ran to his sty In time to save his bacon.'

You know you can have chunks of wood, stones etc found on a beach say which are exhibited as works of art -do they call it objets trouvés ?
Well you can find poetry in a similar way. I 'found' while listening to the shipping forecast,
'Low heading west, slowly losing identity' - sounded like a definite fragment of a poem to me.
Also last week on holiday in St Jacut de la Mer on increasing the croissant order from 3 to 5.
Me: Il mangent plus en plus
Bread lady: C'est le Bon aire de St Jacut.
I wanted to say 'You are a poet but do not know it 'but realised it wouldnt work in French even if if I had a clue how to say it. So I just said Vous etes poet.
Best wishes