Monday, 29 July 2013

Product Parts May Vary

Found while searching Amazon on my iPod a while back.

Right and Wrong

There is perhaps one thing that is more important that being right - and that is not being wrong.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


In July 1979, I set off on my own around Europe with an InterRail pass. One of the most vivid pictures I have is of 'Brussels North' railway station. In particular, the entrance hall. This was a huge rectangular hollow the size of a small cathedral which opened onto an expansive plaza. (Indeed, some cathedrals I have visited have been a lot smaller.)
There was something that immediately fascinated me about the building; something grew that was more like an affection than a mere attraction. This is perhaps not surprising given my fascination with rectangles and right angles. Everything about the building, inside and out, was rectilinear - apart from the slightly arced ceiling. Finished construction in the early 1950s, there was something about the architectural that was typically post-war European.
I was not able to make a return visit for another 30 years or so. In that time, the plaza had been built upon and the environs of the station had become quite different. Within the heart of the cathedral hall there were now an accumulation of mismatching kiosks, outlets and left luggage lockers that did not fit the ambience or spirit of the building at all. The floor tiles, laid out to suit an empty interior, were now partially covered in unsympathetic ways by these encroachments. In short, the internal space that made the building what it once was had been violated. The only comfort to be had was that of knowing that the fabric of the building hadn't, it seemed, been altered and that the interior could be restored by throwing the stallholders out of the temple.


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Mary's Car - A Zero-Sum Game?

I started work in my current job at the same time as my colleague Mary. After a while she decided to buy a car so that she could drive to work. Not long after doing so she came to the realisation that it took all the money she earned at work to pay for the car that she had bought to get her to and from work. It seems that everything had evened out into some 'zero-sum game' - and in so doing become quite ridiculous in the process. Why work when all your money goes on getting to and from work and there is no net benefit? However, I wonder if there really was a 'zero-sum' and that her losses didn't, in fact, outweigh her gains.
By driving to work instead of taking the train, she had to spend her time concentrating on the road, so as to arrive safely. She had lost all the time she would have had available to her on the train; time that could have been spent reading or thinking about things other than the road. Indeed, there was no point in going to work at all. For no extra cash she might as well have stayed at home. Yes, she now had a car but they depreciate rapidly and rush almost as fast.
Eventually, she sold her car and married another colleague and they now come to work together another car.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Strange Religion

I once heard of a man who, for some strange religious reasons, decided that television was an evil influence. Being in possession of a television set when he came to this decision, he promptly gave it away to somebody else!

Perhaps he as thinking of Mark 9.47: "... if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell". However to, what is in effect, poke somebody in the eye with what you've just plucked out seems at a bit odd.