American Government (8th edition) by Gitelson, Dudley and Dubnick
    Purchase at: Amazon;

  • Randi Art
  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from randubnick. Make your own badge here.
  • Draw Breath (Friends CiarĂ¡n and Isabel)
  • Sociable Geek (Friend Stephen)
  • Meditations71 (Friend Stefan)
  • Slugger O'Toole
  • Ideal Government Project
  • Thur's Templates

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Odds and ends....

Some odds and ends from various observations of the past several days.

David Aaronovich chimed in on the AUT boycott in today's Observer.

My fascination with the book review sections of both the Guardian and the Observer have waned a bit over the past several weeks, and this may have more to do with my lack of interest in the material they are reviewing or the essay topics they are publishing. It can also be a result of my finding it difficult to reorient myself back into a UK mindset after sometime in the US.

That said, I have been fascinated by excerpts published in the Guardian Review section over the past two weeks from a biography of E. E. Cummings that focus on an affair he had as a young man with the wife of a close friend and patron as well as the nonrelationship he formed years later with his illegitimate daughter from that affair. Not being much of a fan of poetry, I knew little of Cummings or his work, especially the fact that he was a painter as well as a poet. Now that I live in New England, the fact that Cummings grew up and lived most of his life in Massachusetts and New Hampshire piqued my interest in the articles.

There is also an interesting review in today's Observer of a book that tries to assess "The Strange Death of Tory England." Besides disputing the author's declaration of the Conservative Party's demise, the reviewer offers a more positive outlook for the future of the Tories -- although not in the immediate election. He seems to be implying that it will take the passage of an entire generation of party leadership before they rebound against New Labour.

Also noted was a very positive review of a book by Henry Hitchings on "Dr. Johnson's Dictionary". Although not getting as much attention has Shakespeare's 441st birthday (the significance of that particular number escapes me), the 250th anniversary of the publication of Samuel Johnson's dictionary has been drawing some attention. The best little piece on this was published on the BBC web site.

In a continuation of the observed fascination of everything American by the UK media, there was a review/analysis of Bruce Springsteen's new album, Devils & Dust, in today's Observer. As interesting and insightful as the review by Sean O'Hagan was an insert by Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, who essentially confesses an obsession with Springsteen and his music that goes back several decades.

And for the second time in as many days, I found myself reading a very positive review of a new American movie that seems to be fascinating to everyone who sees it. Tarnation is described as a "autobiographical documentary" by Texan-turned-New Yorker Jonathan Caouette. Of the Guardian and Observer reviewers give it "film of the week" status. Another on my list of movies that I hope to see at some point.

And as might seem fitting (so to speak) for a post with this title, I must make note of the difficulties I'm having fitting American plugs into British sockets. One of the more difficult things to purchase in the UK is a converter socket that allows one to use American two-pronged plugs into the British three-pronged sockets. (Yes, I am aware of the issues relating to voltage compatibility -- a lesson learned the hard way last year when I caused a minor explosion in my flat and destroyed a thankfully cheap wireless router.) I came to the UK fully equipped with a appropriate conversion wires and plugs for my computer, PDA, etc., but I fully expected to be able to purchase conversion sockets for US to UK plugs as I needed them. But despite my best efforts, I've found it extremely difficult to make such purchases. I was convinced I would find the right kind of equipment at airport shops if nowhere else, but it seems that there is a bigger market for converting UK plugs to any other kind that there is for converting other plugs to the UK standard. When I finally came across the right kind of US to UK converter I purchased three at what I'm sure it is an outrageous price. But when I got them home I found that the construction of these conversion plugs made it impossible to use the US appliances. It's difficult to figure out who's to blame, the manufacturer of the conversion plug which is recessed (I assume for safety reasons, although I suspect it is merely a matter of design choice) or the manufacturers of the US appliances who seem to be following a design that assures that the unit cannot be plugged into a recessed receptacle. In any case, these conversion units are now part of the growing collection of odds and ends that will be inherited by the next resident of my Belfast flat. I hope they find some use for them....Some odds and ends from various observations of the past several days.

My fascination with the book review sections of both the Guardian and the Observer have waned a bit over the past several weeks, and this may have more to do with my lack of interest in the material they are reviewing or the essay topics they are publishing. It can also be a result of my finding it difficult to reorient myself back into a UK mindset after sometime in the US.

That said, I have been fascinated by excerpts published in the Guardian Review section over the past two weeks from a biography of E. E. Cummings that focus on an affair he had as a young man with the wife of a close friend and patron as well as the nonrelationship he formed years later with his illegitimate daughter from that affair. Not being much of a fan of poetry, I knew little of Cummings or his work, especially the fact that he was a painter as well as a poet. Now that I live in New England, the fact that Cummings grew up and lived most of his life in Massachusetts and New Hampshire headed to my interest.

There is also an interesting review in today's Observer of a book that tries to assess "The Strange Death of Tory England." Besides disputing the author's declaration of the Conservative Party's demise, the reviewer offers a more positive outlook for the future of the Tories -- although not in the immediate election. He seems to be implying that it will take the passage of an entire generation of party leadership before they rebound against New Labour.

Also noted was a very positive review of a book by Henry Hitchings on "Dr. Johnson's Dictionary". Although not getting as much attention has Shakespeare's 441st birthday (the significance of that particular number escapes me), the 250th anniversary of the publication of Samuel Johnson's dictionary has been drawing some attention. The best little piece on this was published on the BBC web site.

In a continuation of the observed fascination of everything American by the UK media, there was a review/analysis of Bruce Springsteen's new album, Devils & Dust, in today's Observer. As interesting and insightful as the review by Sean O'Hagan was an insert by Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, who essentially confesses an obsession with Springsteen and his music that goes back several decades.

And for the second time in as many days, I found myself reading a very positive review of a new American movie that seems to be fascinating to everyone who sees it. Tarnation is described as a "autobiographical documentary" by Texan-turned-New Yorker Jonathan Caouette. Of the Guardian and Observer reviewers give it "film of the week" status. Another on my list of movies that I hope to see at some point.

And as might seem fitting (so to speak) for a post with this title, I must make note of the difficulties I'm having fitting American plugs into British sockets. One of the more difficult things to purchase in the UK is a converter socket that allows one to use American two-pronged plugs into the British three-pronged sockets. (Yes, I am aware of the issues relating to voltage compatibility -- a lesson learned the hard way last year when I caused a minor explosion in my flat and destroyed a thankfully cheap wireless router.) I came to the UK fully equipped with a appropriate conversion wires and plugs for my computer, PDA, etc., but I fully expected to be able to purchase conversion sockets for US to UK plugs as I needed them. But despite my best efforts, I've found it extremely difficult to make such purchases. I was convinced I would find the right kind of equipment at airport shops if nowhere else, but it seems that there is a bigger market for converting UK plugs to any other kind that there is for converting other plugs to the UK standard. When I finally came across the right kind of US to UK converter I purchased three at what I'm sure it is an outrageous price. But when I got them home I found that the construction of these conversion plugs made it impossible to use the US appliances. It's difficult to figure out who's to blame, the manufacturer of the conversion plug which is recessed (I assume for safety reasons, although I suspect it is merely a matter of design choice) or the manufacturers of the US appliances who seem to be following a design that assures that the unit cannot be plugged into a recessed receptacle. In any case, these conversion units are now part of the growing collection of odds and ends that will be inherited by the next resident of my Belfast flat. I hope they find some use for them....
links to this post

Comments on "Odds and ends...."

 

post a comment

Links to this post:

<\$BlogItemBacklinkCreate\$>