Warum gibt es etwas und nicht nichts? (Why is there something rather than nothing?) - Leibniz

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Labour's conundrum


I suspect the Guardian hates Corbyn and wants Guardian-type socialism instead - the kind where you do well out of doing good, and get to condescend to the lower orders.

The trouble with being the friend of the poor is that you need them to be poor always so you can be their well-paid friend forever.

This is why the way out for the poorly paid and unemployed could come from the sort-of Right rather than the Left. A real Labour Party would seek so to improve the lot of the workers that in time, they wouldn't need the Party. What are the chances of that happening?

In the USA a maverick like Trump is hated not only by the Left (Michael Moore seems to be another one doing well for himself by noisily championing the poor without actually giving them jobs) but by the Right because he is interfering with the extractive setup that has seen a small minority hoovering up the wealth gains of the last 40 years. If he succeeds then we should all forgive his crassness and history of buccaneering business deals.

Is there a British Trump among us?

Cheap cameras, great results, by JD

A reposting from 2010, originally published on Nourishing Obscurity -

JD is big-leggy…………

…and is also a happy shopper….

…and is bemused by silly road signs….

and is also lost…

These pictures were all taken with a digital camera which I bought for £35 at a time when the cheapest Canon or Pentax etc were around £200. It is basically a webcam to sit above the computer screen but can be used out and about as you can see.

Cheap doesn’t always mean bad and expensive isn’t always good.  The camera shown here is an updated version of the one I have.

The picture to the right is of my key ring camera.

The key ring itself is more robust than the flimsy plastic box on the other end of the chain. When I saw it in the shop I thought it was just a novelty but I was assured that it was a real digital camera and it worked.

So for £12 I had myself yet another camera (current count is eight I think) and I set about seeing what it would do.

Because it was so cheap I didn’t mind when this very friendly horse, curious to know what I was up to, stuck its nose over the wall and snorted into the lens. As you can see this toy of a camera produces good pictures.

Two other photographs show that it is good for bold colours and strong shapes and patterns.

Pillar box


Pinhole Camera

It’s back to basics with the pinhole camera shown on the left. Can’t remember where I bought it but they are available in the USA from here

Just fold the cardboard, assemble all the other bits and pieces, glue it together and you are ready to go. It takes 120 roll film and gives eight pictures per roll.

With digital photography having almost completely taken over it is difficult to find anywhere that does 120 film processing now. So that and a lack of time means I haven’t fully explored its potential.

But this self portrait sitting outside my little hovel shows what can be achieved:

Those two cameras could be described as Toy Cameras and if you search the internet for Toy Cameras you will discover a whole sub-culture of reactionary enthusiasts dedicated to their Lomo, Holga, Diana or Seagull cameras. (Unfortunately Lomo and Seagull have exploited this enthusiasm and their products are not as cheap as they ought to be.)

And if anybody knows of anywhere that still processes films for my Nimslo 3D camera then I might be able to use it again.

JD adds (18.02.2018):

A necessary postscript is that the two cheap digital cameras no longer function; not because there is anything wrong with them but because the likes of Microsoft have 'improved' their product with Win10 which does not accept old gadgets (my scanner no longer works either).

There was nothing wrong with XP but the technology companies want us to keep on spending money we do not have on their new stuff which is all created in the spirit of Hutber's Law:


You can insert swear word of your choice at this point!

Friday, February 16, 2018

FRIDAY MUSIC: Yann Tiersen, by JD

Once more some musique française pour apaiser vos soucis......

This is from Yann Tiersen who is a Breton of Belgian/Norwegian descent. Finistère was not far enough to the west so he currently lives on the island of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany. His new recording studio there will have uninterrupted views of what he calls the Celtic sea.

On some of the videos below Tierson plays a 5 string violin. Here is a guide to the history and the reason for the additional string-

In the final video here the music is played on a toy piano which I think sounds better than the original grand piano.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Dream Of Reason (Revisited), by JD

Nearly seven years on, and after an unexpected result in the 2016 EU Referendum, JD offers this reposting, which first appeared on Nourishing Obscurity here:


JD says:  "It remains appropriate because the EU is still wedded to that dream of reason, that all problems can be resolved by 'wise' political 'elder statesmen'. Bah humbug!"

El sueño de la razon produce monstruos 
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

I have lost count of the number of times I have seen the title of this etching mistranslated as “The sleep of reason…”

Sueño can mean either sleep or dream depending on the context.

“The dream of reason calls forth monsters” is the correct interpretation.

When you are asleep you are unconscious and brain activity is flat. When you are dreaming, the subconscious is actively creating pleasantries or nightmares according to your inner true nature, as in the scene above.

Goya lived through a turbulent period in European history and, even though he was a proponent of the political enlightenment and freedoms promised by the French Revolution of 1789, he became aware of the Terror that followed, where Reason prevailed and the old ways were swept away.

No one is innocent once he has seen what I have seen. I witnessed how the noblest ideals of freedom and progress were transformed into lances, sabres, and bayonets. Arson, looting and rape, all supposed to bring a New Order, in reality only exchanged the garrotte for the gallows.
After the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808 with this painting. Along with its companion piece of the same size, El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid (La carga de los mamelucos en la Puerta del Sol) it was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain at Goya’s suggestion.

El 3 de Mayo de 1808 en Madrid. (Los fusilamientos en la montaña del Príncipe Pío)
As Goya noted, the ideal of reason does not produce reasonable behaviour.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Germany and the Russian Revolution; George Soros and... ?

Gosh, will I ever cease to be so ignorant. Douglas Adams' hapless hero Arthur Dent  "no more knows his own destiny than a tea leaf knows the history of the East India Company," and until Peter Hitchens' column today (second section, here) I didn't know Germany started the Russian Revolution to free up 50 divisions from the Eastern Front and (so nearly) win the Great War in the West.

I'd always fuzzily assumed that Lenin had been deported from Germany (in a sealed train) as an undesirable; I hadn't known that the plan was not to deport, but to export him - to send a spark into the Russian gunpowder room.

An explosive situation prepared, it seems, with some 50 million gold marks funding high-print-run, quality-paper subversive newspapers among the Russian armed forces and factory workers:


In the same edition of the Mail On Sunday - a paper edited by a Scot who, confusingly, wants independence for Scotland but for the UK to remain in Europe - George Soros is allowed to tell his version of the story in the controversy over his funding the pro-Remain "Best For Britain."

I don't know what Soros' game is, but if he wants more amicable relations between the increasingly hysterical and demanding EU negotiators and the limp-as-old-lettuce UK leadership, wouldn't he do better to grease the wheels on the European side?

What does he imagine to be the eventual result of unrestricted movement of people into a country like ours with high (albeit disguised) unemployment - not to mention skewed employment, away from wealth production and into various forms of bandaging for a wounded society - and a generous but ever more unaffordable Welfare state? Is it - revolution?

Friday, February 09, 2018

FRIDAY MUSIC: Moriarty, by JD

The 'three French hens' a couple of weeks ago seems to have been very popular. The final video in that set was labelled "Jimmy (Moriarty cover)" so, naturally, I looked for the original and what I found was another group of French musicians who turn out to be rather good also. You can read about them here- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moriarty_(band)

The sound quality/balance is less than good on one or two of these videos; apologies for that, hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.

Friday, February 02, 2018

FRIDAY MUSIC: Edgar Meyer and friends, by JD

This music post came about after listening to the violinist Joshua Bell on Radio 3 last week. Among the tracks played during the interview was one from an album called Short Trip Home which Bell had recorded with the virtuoso double bass player Edgar Meyer and others, a strange mix of bluegrass and classical. My curiosity aroused, I looked for more of the same on YouTube and found a whole new world of wonderful music and what follows is a selection from Edgar Meyer and friends.

Meyer himself began playing bass at the age of five! The mind boggles at the image of a small child grappling with a musical instrument almost twice his size but, no doubt, there are ways around such minor problems. You can read a short bio of him here in which The New Yorker calls him “…the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument.”

Monday, January 29, 2018

JAZZ: Seated One day At The Organ, by Wiggia

Not an obvious choice for the playing of jazz, but these examples show it can be done with some aplomb.

Very brave lady, Sandra Kaye, taking on the mighty Wurlitzer with such bad acoustics.............

and to finish on the pipe organ at the Rockefeller Chapel, Chicago, Barbara Dennerlein.

Bonus footage: the largest working organ in the world (28,500 pipes):