Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Does this convey his bigness?

When old dormice like us need to buy each other presents it’s a long-term, covert operation. Neither is inclined to wait months for something we want and bang goes another choice. The trick is to listen carefully to murmured exchanges during that somnolent Sunday-newpaper part of the week and then spirit away what’s been learned. That’s why I’m now reading “American Prometheus” a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, who masterminded Los Alamos then fell foul of the anti-Red witch hunts in the fifties. (Note: The protruding bookmark was a gift from Plutarch.)

Oppenheimer was a clever man – marvellous on intuitive leaps into obscure regions of physics. His cleverness is measured by those he worked with and who thought well of him. Since his golden period was when physics was turned on its head by quantum mechanics, his address book contained all the big names: Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, Dirac, Rutherford, Pauli, usw.

I’m well aware not everyone out there is turned on by physics so I need an analogy. Say you’re a committed Christian; imagine a time-warped contact with someone who had rubbed shoulders with the twelve disciples. Something on that scale. That’s all on Oppie, for the moment anyway.

MUG SHOT Lucy has just celebrated her acquisition of a new tea mug from a craft shop in Josselin, a Breton town I dimly recall – but for what? Beautifully photographed, checked out for lip contact, tis a thing to be desired. My mug, another gift from Mrs BB, may be my most treasured possession. Acquired over a decade ago from John Lewis, it is bone china, has a William Morris pattern and is of austerely correct design. Fits my lip perfectly.