Friday, March 19, 2010

Californicated


Oh yes, there was that little trip to San Francisco. Forgot to blog about that. Hardly worth mentioning, was it? [thud] [thud]

We were only there for five days; enough to see all the famous bits but not to go in depth, or to venture out to greater California. The bay itself is as impressive as you'd expect, and yes, there are lots of trams (sorry, streetcars) going up and down lots of hills. But otherwise, the popular image of Fr'isco - as least as I understood it - was fairly absent from what we experienced. Hippy culture? Virtually invisible. Arts scene? Present and correct, but hardly superior to any major western city. Homosexuals? :-) Well, my gaydar might not be the sharpest tool in the box, but I'm sure I've seen gayer-looking villages in the Cotswolds.

Certainly the city's best-kept secret, however, is its homelessness problem. Certain areas of downtown feel like the Third World, and I was certainly more comfortable - and less ashamed of my comfort - on the streets of Havana. Not good.

If there was a theme to my experience of the atmosphere of SF, it was "faded glory" - lovely when chilling in the quiet, architecurally eclectic uphill neighbourhoods, but rather grim when faced with the more prosaic civic decay near the waterfront. She's a sadder, wiser city than the one we know from the clich├ęs. I only wish we'd had more time to get to know her better.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mythbuskers

I'd like to know how many people in the UK read this;

http://www.express.co.uk/ourpaper/view/2010-02-26

as against how many read this;

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/coldweather-2009.html

On second thought, perhaps it's better that I merely imagine the numbers.

It must be conceded that the Daily Express has hit a rich vein of form in its quest for the ultimately disingenuous headline. In that spirit, might I suggest a topic they seem to have missed? Just for fun, of course.


"AGEING" MYTH EXPOSED BY MAN, 95

A 95-yr-old man awoke this morning at 7.45am and promptly pronounced himself to be "feeling absolutely marvellous".

In yet another slap in the face for the ageing lobby, Mr. Alan Young, of Runcorn, Cheshire, told The Express "I've never felt better. I feel like I could go on forever!"


Boffins at Runcorn FE College, however, continue to maintain that, whatever evidence to the contrary, people get "older" with the passage of time, gradually losing their physical and mental abilities until they ultimately "die".


"Do I look like I'm dying?" asked Mr. Young today. "I sometimes wish these 'scientists' would come out of their ivory towers and just take a look at the world around them."