What I’ve been reading lately, part 40

If I Never Met You — Mhairi McFarlane

This is is my fourth McFarlane book. (Previously: You Had Me At Hello, It’s Not Me, It’s You, Here’s Looking at You). She continues to impress and delight, although I do have to admit that by this point the plots are slightly starting to blend into each other a bit. Continue reading

Pulled pork

It wasn’t until my 2007 trip to Oklahoma that I realised the food called “barbecue” in the USA bears no relation to the charred-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside sausages that bear that name over here in the UK. My visit to Van’s Pig Stand in Norman, Oklahoma was a revelation to me. I experienced meat like I had never tasted before. I’ve never attempted to replicate the ribs or brisket — one day I will — but pulled pork is astonishingly easy.

So here’s how I do it.

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Three recent meals

On Monday last week, I made pizza from scratch for the whole family: but because it’s hard to separate a mass of dough out into five equal parts, I made enough for six pizzas, and saved the last dough ball for the next day. This is my lunch last Tuesday:

That’s a home-made dough of course, topped with a very simple tomato sauce, mozzarella, thinly sliced chorizo and jalapenos.

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“A little sound common sense often goes further with an audience of American working-men than much high-flown argument”

Let’s see what G. K. Chesterton has to say about Boris Johnson and the rest of our clownish government.

I read yesterday a sentence which should be written in letters of gold and adamant; it is the very motto of the new philosophy of Empire. […] It occurred in an article on the American Presidential Election. This is the sentence, and every one should read it carefully, and roll it on the tongue, till all the honey be tasted.

“A little sound common sense often goes further with an audience of American working-men than much high-flown argument. A speaker who, as he brought forward his points, hammered nails into a board, won hundreds of votes for his side at the last Presidential Election.”

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We’re getting bored of all the corruption

Today I read — a little behind the curve — that Richard Sharp, who the Tory government recently appointed as BBC chairman — has donated £416,189 to the Tory party since the turn of the millennium. Hence, of course, his appointment to this prestigous and influential role.

The thing is, I’m not remotely surprised any more. I can hardly even summon the energy to be outraged. I’ve got so used to the constant parade of flagrantly corrupt appointments that they seem … normal. Continue reading

Hulks (five different ones). Part 5: the MCU

Well, I blinked, and the best part of two years passed since the fourth and penultimate part in my series about The Incredible Hulk. (See also part 1, part 2 and part 3).

For this concluding post I’m finally talking about the MCU proper, in which the Hulk is played by Mark Ruffalo starting with Avengers (2012), as distinct from the 2008 movie The Incredible Hulk which is nominally part of the MCU but tonally and narratively quite different from the rest of it. I’m talking about this guy:

He has brief irrelevant cameos in post-credits scenes in Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel, which we will ignore, but is a major character in five films: Avengers, Age of Ultron, Ragnarok, Infinity War and Endgame.

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Paint the whole world with a rainbow

Back on 12 December last year, we had a spectacular rainbow out behind the house — so clear it felt you could reach out and touch it. Here’s a photo of it that I took on my phone, completely unedited:

That’s all: just something beautiful for these dark times.

“Lockdowns don’t work!”

“Lockdowns don’t work!”

Sorry, reality disagrees. This graph shows Covid-19 infection rates from the Government’s data as of today. I have superimposed pink boxes showing the 2nd lockdown (5th November–2nd December) and 3rd lockdown (4th January, ongoing.

This isn’t complicated.

I miss my Commodore 64

Building modern software is so complicated. So many layers where things can go wrong. Vagrant, VirtualBox, Docker, Maven, JVM, Vert.X, Spring, Node, NPM, Cypress, Chai, SSH, tunnels, git, GitHub, Jenkins, Travis, the list goes on and on.

I understood everything about my Commodore 64. Now I barely understand NPM. I know there are good reasons why things are the way they are. But that doesn’t mean I don’t lament what we’ve lost.

 

I suppose I ought to watch the Doctor Who new year special

And yet I can’t feel our family decision instead to re-watch the 2011 Christmas special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe was the smart play. Apparently Graham and Ryan leave the series during the special, though, so that’s something to look forward to. It’s just possible that Yaz as sole companion might turn out to have as-yet only hinted-at depths.

Word on the street[1] is that Jodie Whittaker’s on the way out, too, at the end of the forthcoming season. I for one will not mourn her passing, as I consider her the weakest of all the New Who Doctors. Now if we can just get rid of Chris Chibnall, we might really be getting somewhere.

And get of my darned lawn.

 


[1] OK, word in the Guardian if you want to be pedantic.