Monday, 29 September 2014

Off to university? Why?

I'm not asking 'Why go to university?'. I am asking 'Why does one choose to go to university?' It is about this time of year that students in Britain are returning - or going for the first time - to university. (I would have put the less cumbersome '...are going up to university' but sadly that isn't phraseology that one tends to hear these days. I say sadly because there is a sense of gravitas in 'going up'.)

My question is prompted by something I remember Rabbi Lionel Blue saying many years ago on a television programme about his life. Reviewing his student days at Oxford, he said...

'I went to university seeking wisdom but all I found was cleverness.'

In going (up) to university, is one seeking wisdom? Will cleverness suffice? And if one is seeking neither wisdom nor cleverness, what else is there? Then perhaps one might legitimately ask 'Why go to university at all?'

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Den

When I was a boy, I was given one of my uncle's old Eagle annuals. One fullpage picture has stuck in my mind ever since. It was a picture of every 1950s boy's dream: a place of one's own where one could do the things that boy's found interesting. One day some months ago, I thought I'd do a web search and try to find out if it were possible to determine which annual 'The Den' was in. Maybe there was a cheap copy somewhere that I could buy. I found out that it was from an Eagle annual published around 1957. More than that I found a copy of the very picture. On the contents page it was called 'A Den of Your Own' but the page itself was simply labelled 'The Den'. It is very much as I had remembered it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Big Bang Theory - 2

This is the second of my collected Big Bang Theory quotes. It demonstrating seeing and thinking about things in somewhat different ways.

Leonard: All right, well, let me see if I can explain your situation using physics. What would you be if you were attached to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis?

Sheldon: Screwed. 


Sheldon: ... and I don’t want to be joined to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis.

Amy: In what way are you screwed?

From: The Desperation Emanation
BBT Transcripts
Wikipedia Episode Guide

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Some unattributed quotes

The following are quotes that I have collected but for which I cannot provide a source. I think that they are thought-provoking nonetheless.

"If I were to gain the status to which others aspire, I would have failed to do what I should do."

"What people tend to forget is that there is a huge difference between fame and fortune gained from mere notoriety and that achieved by doing something worthwhile."

"One of the most subversive things that somebody can do is be generous."

Friday, 5 September 2014


I had one of those annoying cold calls - even though I am registered with the Telephone Preference Service and am not supposed to keep getting pestered. The man 'phoning was trying to get me interested in claiming for compensation for hearing damage caused by working in a noisy environment. 'Is that you?' he asked wondering and expecting that to be a description of my work experience. 'No,' I said. 'I have always worked in quiet places.' And that was that.

Here is a picture of a place where I have conducted a lot of my work.

(St. Deiniol's Library is now known as Gladstone's Library (and Hawarden is pronounced 'Hard-en').)