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Renzo and Joe

Dec. 28th, 2015

02:06 pm

Just changed computer,and logged in to Live Journal for thefirst time in quite a few years. Amazed that I am still allowed in after all this time. Live Journal is like a rock - solid and unbending. (It feels a bit like that Woody Allan film with the VW Beetle) Happy new year to my Live Journal friends. 

Current Location: home
Current Mood: mellow
Current Music: none

Aug. 28th, 2013

01:57 pm - Syria


The repression of a majority population by a minority government is clearly morally dubious. The use of chemical weapons on any civilian sector of society is morally objectionable. The scale of civilian losses and refugees in Syria is totally unacceptable.

Clearly, there is a lot of potential for thinking that we, the "USA" and "UK" have the moral high-ground here, and that this justifies direct military intervention, despite that this intervention is likely to be illegal if not sanctioned by the United Nations.

We have been here before. Our governments claimed that there was evidence that the Saddam Hussein regime had weapons of mass destruction. Where there are energy resources at stake and/or potential economic benefits for the intervener we should be doubly cautious. Any decision by our governments should be made based upon evidence that meets the test of “beyond reasonable doubt”.

I think:
1. This alliance should seek the appropriate standard of evidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on its own people. Perhaps the evidence being gathered by the UN could substantially contribute to this, if only the alliance can wait that long. However, whatever the evidence, it needs to be independently verified by those without an axe to grind.
2. Assuming that the evidence is obtained, the alliance should again seek the backing of the UN for any action contemplated.
3. In the event that the UN is not forthcoming, and the alliance proceeds, then we will be witness the weakening of international law, with our governments' de-facto declaring that they have the moral high-ground, and that the are not subject to the rule of law.

I would urge both governments to use patience and await the outcome of the UN inspectors on the ground, and to use all channels necessary to take action within the framework of international law.

Sep. 22nd, 2011

02:07 pm - Sony IT systems

Persevero and I are both prone to brand loyalty with it comes to consumer products. We tend to buy German cars, dishwashers and washing machines, and to buy Sony TVs, video recorders, etc. etc.

Sons 1&2 are both Playstation users, and accordingly they were put out when the Sony Playstation Network was hacked, and we also were put out, as it is our credit cards that had been used to purchase software on the network.

Yesterday, I purchased a Sony hard disc recorder, which arrived this morning. Being the good citizen that I am, I decided to register the product on-line following the instructions in the warranty information booklet. However, it appears Sony really does have major problems with their internet programming as this site falls over when you try to read their privacy policy before registering with them. I called the UK Sony help line, and they admitted that they had been having problems with the web-site for some time. I asked when they expected the web site to to be back up and running properly, and they were unable to give me an expected time-frame. It would seem this is a low priority in their organisation.

I asked if I could give them the details over the phone, but "we are not authorised to take the details over the phone".

Registering one's product for warranty does not change one's statutory rights, and so accordingly I plan to take the lazy option and not register my product with them.

So much for Sony being a premium brand.

Current Mood: annoyed

Sep. 3rd, 2011

05:55 pm - Growing up

Son one has been having driving lessons for the last few weeks, and today was the first time he drove my car with me as the driving chaperone. It was also the first time he has driven a diesel, and the gearing is much much higher than in the little petrol ford he has been driving in with the instructor.

In reality, he is doing really well. Still has a very slight connection between the gear stick and the steering wheel. No really scary moments. Pretty good spatial sense. And I arrived back not stressed out.

So all well on that front.

While we were out this morning getting a replacement L-Plate from Tesco, we saw a dead polecat at the side of the road. For those who know the area this was on the road through Madingley that connects to the A14. It is the first time I have seen a polecat in Cambridgeshire.

Superb weather today. Planes flying overhead in formation. Gaggles of pheasants everywhere. In fact while we were with son 1 practicing his driving we saw both a melanistic dark pheasant and an all white (albino?) pheasant. The joys of autumn.

Current Mood: cheerful

Aug. 21st, 2011

04:35 pm - Society and looters and rioters

persevero and I went to schul yesterday.

Interesting sermon given by one of the intellectual heavyweights of our synagogue.

The theme was about how the structure of Jewish society would probably contribute to a sense of belonging, a set of rules to abide by, a calendar of events to be involved in, etc.. Probably the same is true of most religions, or for that matter other social groupings, such as theatrical societies, sports organisations etc. These communities represent a local and personal version of "society", the absence of which may, amongst some people involved in the riots, have paid a part in their behaviour.

Please do not get me wrong, I am not advocating religion, mine or anyone else's, as a cure for society's ills.

Aug. 15th, 2011

06:47 pm - Not naming and shaming - but in the public interest!!

I have just returned home from a day in the city.On the Radio 4 news on the way home it was reported that the criminal courts are to be encouraged to release the names of under eighteen year old persons involved in the recent rioting and looting if this is in the public interest.

I cannot see how it can be in the public interest to permanently ostracize and alienate a generation of under privileged and poorly brought up children.

Surely our society can do better than this?

Aug. 7th, 2011

09:31 am - Iron Maiden concert

Yesterday I took son 2 to the Iron Maiden Concert at the O2 Arena.

Interesting in a number of ways:

1. While I admire some heavy metal, it is not my music of choice, especially after a stressful week at work.
2. Last time I was at the O2 it was called the 'Millennium Dome', and I have to admit that, in contrast to the majority of the British press, I enjoyed my previous visit there, though it was more than a bit surreal.

Getting to the O2 from Cambridge is a doddle by car, and took a little over 1.5 hours including the mandatory detour caused by my inability to read signs, talk, listen to music, muse about the day, and drive at the same time. getting back was equally easy once out of the car park.

Thoughts on the concert.

Trivium is crap live. The music was not interesting, the singing (growling) was unintelligible, and the unnecessary and incessant use of the word "fuck" (fucking.. fucked..) added nothing to the act, and made one realise the band has little to say. (The drummer was fantastic, and there were some excellent guitar riffs in places)

Iron Maiden, on the other hand, was superb theatre, with excellent musicianship, with songs with lyrics and white space in places. Excellent showmanship, and superb musicianship. The set was interesting and the use of props good, including two Eddys and the devil. Son two and I were up in the Gods in vertigo territory overlooking the side of the stage.

Great experience. I plan to visit the O2 again soon.

Jul. 22nd, 2011

09:41 am - sad news

On checking my email this morning I found I had received an email informing me that my step sister, Debbie, died yesterday in Australia, as a consequence of breast cancer.

Today I will be making a donation to a breast cancer research charity. In the past I have supported the Shocking Pink Party (Mr Gui, at the Royal Marsden Hospital). Any suggestions?

Jun. 29th, 2011

09:55 am - Ken Clarke

Just heard Ken Clarke being interviewed on the BBC Radio 4. His comments on the Milly Dowler case show a clear understanding that while the outcome is unfortunate in the circumstances, that the proper processes of law were followed, and that abandoning them would leave would leave our justice system damaged.

The one area where I disagree with Ken is with respect to the need to modify the law with respect to the ability to protect one's own property. It is my understanding that that right exists provided that "reasonable" force is exercised. So I am unclear as to why the law needs to be changed except to win favour with the Tory tabloid press.

May. 22nd, 2011

09:45 am - Late adopter

All my working life I have worked with technology, and have been an early adopter with lots. But I am also a romantic and a traditionalist. I like old cars, preferably with eight or more cylinders and smelling of Castrol-R. I have always taken an interest in early examples of brilliant innovation in automobiles, computers, etc, e.g. in cars; desmodronic valve actuation (on 1950s Mercedes 300SLC, disc brakes (Jaguar C-Tyke (XKC)), and the such like. I love books and reading. I like quality leather and cloth bindings, I like watches that tick.

Once a week I have a fairly long commute to the London office which involves an hour on the train and half an hour on the underground. About a year ago I first saw a kindle commuter in action on the underground. I was not won over. In the last few months, I have been seeing tons of kindles on the commute, and I have started to feel "kindle envy". While not seeing the point, I was beginning to feel left out.

Persevero, in her infinite wisdom, bought me one as an early birthday present, and gave it to me last Thursday. So over the weekend I have been discovering what it really is. Once I recognised that it isn't an I-pad equivalent, and that the user interface is too clumsy to allow you to use the "experimental" browser for anything but simple web browsing, I found that it really was fit for purpose. I am a total convert. You want a book, you find it on the kindle store, and it is yours in 30 seconds. The screen in fabulous, and perfect for the job: reading books.

I have now sampled 3 trial chapters and bought my second book.

Total late adopter convert!

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