Wednesday, October 30, 2013


One of the people I follow on Twitter came up with a new word by accident today.  While intending to type differences he came up with sidderences.  Now you'd think that an accidental shifting of the keyboard by one key would produce nonsense, and in a way you'd be right. Except that when you go onto Google and look up sidderences, you find that in its singular form (in particular) it's quite commonly used.

On someone asks:What is the sidderence between multigrain and wholegrain? I presume they did what the Twitterer did, and typed a couple of letters out of kilter.  In a response on the Apple Support Communities, someone else writes: ...nothing in my setup has changed. Ive done a full reinstall and that doesnt make a sidderence. [And neither do apostrophes, apparently.]

We get the plural version on GL1800Riders forum: There was another link here that someone has posted two pics showing the side sidderences between the stock '10 and '12 seats. This is actually quite clever, because if you've managed to substitute the 's' for the 'd' in the beginning of the word, why haven't you typed: sidderenced?

Someone else says, It makes a sidderence to Qantas! Another person writes in relation to a video on You Tube the following somewhat short-handed note: Remember the sidderence between a rocco and a golf is almost nothing, the engine bay is a dif shape and bigger, that is the problem, mounts go in the same place they are just an awkward thing to fit and make. Note that the sidderence is corrected to 'dif [difference] only a line later.  In another place someone correctly spells and then incorrectly spells only a few words later: All the little differences end up making one very big sidderence - pour, nose, color, taste. This is in relation to something called Hefeweizen, about which you can read here. I like that phrase: pour, nose, colour, taste. It has a kind of poetic feel to it.

I thought I might find a reference for discount jewelry and sidderence, but nope; though you'll notice, yet again, that the Americans insist on spelling jewellery as jewelry. Quite a sidderence!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Wasteful Things

We've just watched a Japanese movie called I Wish. That's the English title, of course (in Japanese the film is called Miracle).  The cover quotes the New York Daily News, who says it's Extraordinary.  The Guardian calls it A Gem of World Cinema.  And there are more lines from other sources telling us how brilliant and revelatory and delicate and observant it is....and so on.

Well, it's quite a delight, but extraordinary it isn't. Its script is very loose, and the long-awaited 'miracles' at the end of the movie turn out to be something of a fizzer. Sure, there's a more settled feeling in the air amongst those participating as the credits roll, but to all intents and purposes, life goes on pretty much as before.

The film is about two young brothers (perhaps eight and ten, and played by real life brothers) who live in separate cities, one with his mother and grandparents, the other with his muso father. The father is the 'problem' according to the mother, and there's a brief flashback about halfway through showing what life was like for all members of the family before the split. The two boys have telephone contact with each other, and after it's announced that the new bullet train will be starting up in a couple of months' time, the boys decide on asking for a miracle at the moment when the northbound train passes the southbound train. Quite why this is significant isn't clear, but then a lot of things in the movie aren't clear: you just accept them because you don't have a choice. The director, Kore-Eda Hirokazu, isn't into explaining things. Certainly you can pick up most points in some measure - and no doubt there's a bit of a cultural gap to cross - but Hirokazu just drops stuff before us and shows us something and leaves us to deal with it.  Because the movie has an immense amount of natural charm, and because the younger boy in particular is an absolute delight, with a face that lights up at the drop of a hat, and because there's no real villain in the picture, or any sense of an evil world out there (even the smoking volcano is fairly benign) you enjoy the movie as it wends its quiet way along (it's 128 minutes).  There's enough of a story to keep us interested, and the performances from the kids - the two young leads, their assorted companions, and various other children who get a few seconds of screen time - are so natural and enjoyable that the fact that there's little else going on barely matters.

There are a number of adults in the picture, but their lives are almost secondary to the children's, and for the most part they're a pretty amiable lot (the squabble flashback between the parents is the only grim note in the piece). The two grandparents (a taciturn grandfather and a grandmother with lots of hand-me-down information) and the elderly couple who suddenly find themselves landed with seven children late in the movie, are genial and pleasant people. Even the grandfather's drinking companions are played more for comedy than anything else. Compare the elderly people in some older Japanese movies, such as Ozu's Tokyo Story, for a quite different picture of the older generation.

The film doesn't disappoint, in spite of the hype on the cover. If you're prepared to take the movie as it comes, you'll enjoy it. Much of what happens skims across the surface like a breeze. And perhaps that's the director's intention. At one point, the father says to his younger son: "There's room in this world for wasteful things. Imagine if everything had meaning. You'd choke."  A lot of the detail in this film is trivial, seemingly unimportant; even the events are small-scale. But the father's point is that not everything has to be significant - children, for instance, are often seen as unimportant - and Hirokazu has managed to make something of considerable value out of 'wasteful' things.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Luddite reminisces about watches

My wife has always been very keen on wristwatches that do pretty much everything, so she tends to go for those that not only show your heart rate, the speed you're walking, the speed you should be walking, how far under water you can go, whether there's enough air to breathe and so on, but also - when they have the time to do it - tell the time.

These watches are great, but all I want to know when I look at my watch is what time it is. Yup, I know, really old-fashioned, but that's the way things are. I've had watches that would wake me up in the morning, or act as stop-watches, or tell me the time in another part of the world, but in the end I still only use them to tell me the time here where my body actually is. That's really all I need. An alarm clock is better for me that a watch that starts going pip pip pip in the morning, and when have I ever needed to time someone who's racing?  Never, that I can remember.

The first watch I had, which I was given for my 21st birthday, just rolled around second by second, day after day, and told me the time. It lasted until my daughter was 12 (around twenty years, in other words) and I only stopped using it because my wife kindly brought me home a new watch she'd purchased on her trip to England. I imagine, if I could find my first watch, that it would still be going happily.

That second watch was equally long-lived. I only stopped using it when I was back in England with my wife, in 2007, by which time it had long since got gunk in the works, and no one could fix it properly, or else the parts had long since ceased to be made. It still ran, but you couldn't adjust anything very easily. Since it was getting frustrating not being able to tell the time correctly (and I've never got used to checking my cellphone for the time) we bought a cheap watch at a stall in Norwich market. It's the one I'm still wearing, even though it's a pain at daylight saving time - the one where you have to put the clocks back - as it takes forever to shift back eleven hours (if that's what it is we do).  It's never had the happy relationship with me that my first two watches had, and perhaps it feels a little unloved. Anyway, it goes, and that's what watches are made for.

Church Camp Year 2

We've been away at a church camp for the last few days - went there on Friday afternoon and came back this afternoon, so almost three whole days. My wife and I were assisting the chief cook to prepare the meals, afternoon and morning teas and suppers for up to 140 people, and keep the kitchen from getting in a total state of chaos. So it was up early (started around 7 am on average) and finishing well after the evening meal - by which time supper would also have been prepared and laid out. We did this regime last year too, though that was over a shorter period of time. We'd learned one or two tricks as a result. For instance, just because the chief cook is apparently capable to going from 7 am until whenever at night, doesn't mean we have to do the same. I remember last year sitting down at one point from utter exhaustion - after having stood for several hours (it seemed) - and feeling guilty.  This year I just went off and had a quick kip, or sat and read for a while in the motel unit we were occupying. It didn't hold anyone up and I was all the better for it (my wife did this too). In spite of that, both my wife and I have come home very weary, with sore feet and legs, and feel like having the rest of the week off. The indefatigable chief cook goes back to work tomorrow, and not in a job that's in any way lightweight.  Some people just have inexhaustible reserves.

She's also wonderful to work with. You can ask as many questions as you like and she's always patient - so you kind of receive on the job training. Next year - if there is a next year - I might even be able to make the 'home-made' ice cream from memory without having to ask her yet again what to do. (The home-made ice cream actually has cream in it, and condensed milk, and crushed up Crunchie Bars. It's unbelievably rich, and not a good thing to make if you don't have any discipline about licking up the leftover condensed milk...)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Making passes

Supposedly no one makes passes
at girls wearing rimless eyeglasses,
something my mind soon dismisses
when covering a face with quick kisses,
because a face wearing glasses amasses
resistance to no-glasses smart-asses.

Since my severe brimless eyeglasses
no girl sees as pains in the asses,
nor sees she the need to take classes
in lip-synching met-metastasis
I'll keep making numberless passes
at girls wearing rimless eyeglasses. 

Read it with an English or American accent; it should still work...though I prefer the 'English' version, myself.

Exit Lines

Reginald Hill was a prolific writer (he died last year) who not only produced some 24 very popular titles featuring the policemen, Dalziel (pronounced, roughly, De-el) and Pascoe, but more than 30 other books, some of them under the pseudonyms Patrick Ruel and Charles Underhill.  He wrote mysteries and adventure stories and historical pieces and sci-fi.  He also used varying structural conceits - one of the later Dalziel and Pascoe titles is written with a kind of Jane Austen language and thought - and the books are full of wit, literary references, words that no one in normal life uses, but seem apt for the occasion ('a reboant cantillation of obscene abuse', 'a usefully cunctatory bout of coughing'), crafty plotting, and superbly humorous insights into his characters. These are all mixed with ordinary everyday language, and the books shouldn't be thought of as inaccessible to the average reader.  It doesn't matter if you don't know what a reboant cantillation is - you'll get the idea from the context.  Hill once said: "When I get up in the morning, I ask my wife whether I should write a Booker prize-winning novel, or another bestselling crime book. We always come down on the side of the crime book."

I hadn't read anything of his until this year - there are always more authors around than you can manage to keep up with, even in a dozen lifetimes - and I started off with his book of short stories,  There are no ghosts in the Soviet Union, which we'd picked up secondhand somewhereThe long title story is superbly written - a ghost story that works down to the last detail.  Some of the other stories are odd - one of them takes a Dalziel and Pascoe novel (one that's been filmed as part of the television series), takes us behind the scenes of the fictional television filming of the book, and makes the actor playing Pascoe a pompous self-centred ass, who, with some hasty rewriting of the script, gradually pushes Dalziel into a very minor role. Hill turns up as a character as well, the increasingly angry author who sees his popular story being turned into nonsense.

The only other Hill novel I'd had any contact with was Exit Lines, which I'd twice heard on CD while travelling to and from Christchurch.  When I say 'twice heard' I mean that the first time I heard about the first 60 pages, and then didn't hear any more, and then on a second trip, heard about 90 pages, and still didn't hear any more. So rather than trying to listen to the rest - I'm not good at just sitting listening to CDs unless I'm lying in bed sick - I bought a copy of the book, started it yesterday and finished it today. It's immensely readable, often very funny, and has a complex plot that Ian Rankin could easily have put together. The big difference is that Rankin's pervading gloom doesn't colour everything, and even though Dalziel may be on a par with Rebus when it comes to drinking too much for his own good, and may have a temper and sharp tongue to match his Scottish counterpart, there's such wit and humour from both the characters and the author, that you know you're in a different kind of world.

There's a strong theme of the difficulties of old age - people with Alzheimer's or trying to live on their own without family - and also the horror that many young people have for the idea of growing old. The story begins with the deaths of three old men, in fact; two of them may be accidents, the third appears to be the result of an attack. Nothing is quite like it seems, and the further the story goes, the more our original views about the deaths and their aftermaths are altered.  There are some wonderfully innocent people, and some surprisingly devious ones.  There are some that appear suspicious and aren't, and some that appear to be all above board - and aren't. Hill holds out attention right to the end, even though we think we've got to grips with what's going on at an earlier point. 

There are an endless number of lines that could be quoted (one character, Mrs Spillings, is almost Dickensian in her speeches), but Hill reserves some of his best lines for the taciturn, and ugly, policemen, Wield (a regular in the series of books). 

'Back door,' said Wield. 'Glass panel broken. Key in lock. Hand through. Open. Easy.'
Sergeant Wield was in fine telegraphic style.  He also seemed to have been practising not moving his lips, so that the words came out of his slant and ugly face like a ritual chant through a primitive devil-mask.
Wield looked at the new acquisition and raised his eyebrows, producing an effect not unlike the vernal shifting of some Arctic landscape as the sun sets an ice-bound river flowing once more through a waste of snows.

About Time

We flew in from Auckland on Wednesday, arriving about 4.30 and after about five minutes at home and absolute craziness from the dog, found ourselves going out again, to the movies.  Our daughter had won a couple of seats, courtesy of More FM, to a preview of About Time.  Written and directed by the New Zealand-born Richard Curtis (Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral) this is a wacky romantic comedy that, for the most part, holds its peculiar time travel idea together without losing credibility (at least while you're watching the movie, which is all that's important).  Curtis is supported by a wonderful cast, with one of Brendan Gleeson's sons, Domhnall, in the main role, and Rachel McAdams as his girlfriend. Bill Nighy plays the hero's father, with that wonderful dryness and seeming vagueness that he's so good at. And a great deal of warmth, because this isn't just a romantic movie, but one about fathers and sons, and their relationships, and about what happens when death begins to knock. There are a host of other excellent actors, including Tom Hollander as a bitter and foul-mouthed playwright, and brief and uncredited performances by Richard E Grant and Richard Griffiths as two actors in Hollander's play.

The script is a little loose in structure, but this may in part be the result of its telling the story of a man as he grows from his late school years into married adulthood, where he becomes a father himself. There are times when the time travel aspect seems to be put aside while other things move on, but just when you think Curtis has forgotten about it, he drops it into the story again and reshuffles the plot. At times it seems as though Curtis has given himself too many characters to play around with, but he seems to manage to juggle most of them pretty well.  Only Harry Hadden-Paton, as one of Gleeson's slightly dopey friends, and Richard Cordery, as an uncle given to seemingly Alzheimer's laden non sequiturs, seem never quite to fit into the whole scheme of things. Nevertheless, t
here are plenty of witty lines, lots of adept comedy playing, and some unexpectedly emotional moments.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Storage space

Having stayed in three different houses over the last couple of months, plus our own, you get to notice how kitchens are laid out. Why kitchens?  Because these are the rooms that are most likely to need a lot of storage space, and yet have less space available for it. A kitchen has to be massive and full of the sort of storage equipment available at before it can comfortably accommodate all those large and small items that regularly make their homes there.

Our kitchen is bigger than it used to be, but it still gets into a jumble at times as things wind up in places they shouldn't have gone. And like everyone else, no doubt, we've made decisions as to where to put things, and now have to live with those decisions...unless we're prepared to undo the whole caboodle and try alternatives. 

I had an uncle once who insisted - almost from the day I first met him (when I was a very young man) - that the motto should be, a place for everything and everything in its place.  This worked fine as long as people knew the place where everything went and put the things back. But laziness can creep into kitchens unless you're very disciplined, and certain cupboards and drawers in our kitchen work along the lines of a place for everything if something else hasn't got there first; in which case squeeze them both in, by force, if necessary. As mottoes go, it isn't the most succinct, but it's workable.

Thanks to the Embracing Our Inner Web blog for the photo.


While we were in Auckland over the last couple of weeks, we frequently noted trees with strongly pink leaves scattered around the city.  They were quite striking, and stood out wherever we saw them.

By chance I met a lady at the zoo - where there were several of these trees - and, since apparently she knew something about trees, I asked her if she knew what the name of these trees were.  She said she thought they were called a Chinese Toom Tree.  I may have misheard her, because in fact they're called Chinese Toon Trees.  She made the interesting comment that while the trees are striking when they're pink, they're almost unnoticeable once the pinkness goes, and they revert to a much more common green.

Seemingly these trees are well-known in many parts of the world, and quite apart from their colour, their wood is useful for furniture, and their leaves for medicinal purposes.

Curiously, neither of the Wikipedia articles I looked at mentioned their wonderful colouring. Yet that seems to me to be their greatest feature. Obviously those who wrote the articles thought in terms of practical uses. I tend to think, as I so often do, in the purely un-useful: therefore it's the appeal to the eye that I found most interesting.

I don't know whether they grow here in Dunedin, but if they do, I'd love to have one!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Human rights in the abortion debate

Today is the 16th October, here in NZ, and it's Blog Action Day again...or BAD, which always strikes me as a kind of ironic acronym to be using. Anyway, the focus this year is on Human Rights, a subject that covers an extraordinary number of areas.

One that concerns me greatly is that of abortion. Yes, I know all the old arguments as to why women should have abortion on demand and so on, and that men shouldn't have any say on the matter because they don't have to carry babies in their wombs (even though the babies wouldn't have got there in the first place if it hadn't been for the men), and that it's a woman's right to choose and all the rest of it. The arguments for abortion on demand have been running around like headless chickens for decades now, and are sound very tired and very hollow.

Too often those arguing for abortion on demand come up with straw men arguments. One such is claiming that those who are pro-life are all religious people, people who want to impose their religious views on everyone else. This isn't the case at all. Yes, there are plenty of people of faith involved in the abortion debate, but the reason they're there is because it's a matter of ethics, and ethics are very close to the hearts of people of faith.

Pro-life arguments are also about human rights, and the rights of the little human beings who are being carried in the wombs of their mothers are never given any credence by those in favour of abortion. Somewhere along the line, these evolving babies were turned into 'foetuses', blobs of jelly, or growths. Anything but what they actually are: potential human beings.  If we were to take a new-born baby and kill it, we would be charged with infanticide; this has been the case for many centuries. But somehow a baby - a human being - inside the womb is regarded by the pro-abortion movement as not a human being, and certainly not one with any human rights. According to the long-held myth - "it's a woman's right to choose" - the potential human being has no rights. (Many women who argue "it's a woman's right to choose" don't realise that this myth was propagated by a man originally, not by a woman.)

I know most of this will be pooh-poohed by women (and men) who favour abortion.  However, I'd like to suggest you read further on these straw-men arguments.  Even more I'd like you to stop and think about the human rights implications of abortion.  Where else in the world do we allow thousands of people to be killed day after day, hour after hour, without a major outcry?  Nowhere. If a tribe or a nation kills hundreds of members of another tribe or nation there is an international tribunal set up to investigate, even if it takes a decade or more to do so.  But because the abortion movement has so successfully redefined human rights when it comes to humans inside the womb, there is no outcry, except from those who fight against this evil year in and year out.

It's truly time for the ethical, human rights issues in the abortion debate to be honestly defined.  For several decades people have believed lies about the benefits of abortion, or the rights of women and so on. Lies eventually lead to nations being destroyed from the inside out. Don't let that happen to your nation.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Peters and Rankin

I came across some of Ellis Peters' non-Brother Cadfael murder mysteries at an op shop in Devonport the other day, none of which I'd read or seen before. Decided to start with A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs. It's an Inspector Felse mystery, though since he's on holiday with his family in this one his detective work is minimal. The plot is neat enough, with a few surprises, though I thought I'd figured out the villain early on, and for once was right. Except that things weren't quite as they seemed, and Peters had one or two twists up her sleeve before the end.
The dialogue made things seem very dated - it was written in 1965. Perhaps the most curious thing was having both the 18-year-old and the 15-year-old boys in the story call their respective mothers Mummy.  Even among the middle-classes of that period I would have thought this was a little odd.  In this book the characters don't seem to have distinctive voices, and sometimes when Peters doesn't qualify who's speaking, you can't actually tell who's speaking from what's being said. It seems that it takes a much stronger character, like Cadfael, to lift the bar for Peters.  In the Cadfael books it's generally seemed to me that most of the characters had personality - as opposed to having it described. I find this with Agatha Christie too.  If one of her strong characters, such as Poirot, or Miss Marple, is missing, the tone of the dialogue goes downhill.  These strong characters somehow make the other characters take on more life.  Of course there are Christie books in which nothing comes alive, but they aren't the majority.
I finished reading another book I picked up secondhand, last night: Ian Rankin's Doors Open. Compared to the more well-known Rebus books (Rebus is another character who lifts everything around him) this is largely a lightweight story, though it has an intricate plot and some considerable violence towards the end.  But it shows that Rankin isn't going to die as an author if he's not writing about Rebus. Still, the main character here isn't as rounded as Rebus, and he and the other characters are mostly subservient to the plot. The characters aren't memorable, as Rebus is, but they do well enough given their own room to play in, and the story is very entertaining, especially the way in which the professional criminal (as opposed to the amateurs he's surrounded by) keeps us guessing as to whether he's actually got a heart with a leaning towards culture or not.
The plot centres around an improbable heist - pinching reasonably famous, and certainly valuable, paintings from the storage warehouse belonging to Scotland's National Gallery, replacing them with fakes and then pretending there was no actual heist at all. Of course it all unravels, and the best part of the book is seeing how the various individuals react to the unravelling.  If you've had enough of gloomy Rebus for the time being (and when you think you have you find you can still take more of him) try this one out.  You'll read it in great gulps.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Bean Trees [and The Poisonwood Bible]

While staying at a friend's house I came across a book called The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I'd heard of her as the author of The Poisonwood Bible, a book I haven't read, but that was all. Anyway it turns out that the Bean Trees is her first book and probably rather different to the later more serious Poisonwood.  By all accounts Bean Trees is a good deal funnier, I suspect, from what I know of the story of the late book. Kingsolver's wit and humorous way with words sparks off every page. In fact the humour is pretty much what holds things in place, because there's only a minimal story, and there are times, especially later in the book, when it feels as though she's being quite didactic in telling us what she knows about the Arizona countryside, even though it may be interesting.  Her characters are strongly written, and often quite quirky, but they don't really get a lot to do apart from having conversations and picnics with each other. The attraction between Taylor, the young woman who finds herself landed with an unwanted child in the middle of the Oklahoma flatlands, and the married school teacher from Guatemala, barely smoulders; there's little real suspense in regard to the subplot about rescuing illegal immigrants, and the child abuse motif that lingers in the background isn't deeply explored. Indeed the climax of the book is more of a way of resolving Taylor's issues with caring for the child she's had foisted on her than with any concerns about whether the couple from Guatamala will get away from the authorities, or whether she'll be allowed to keep the child.

For all that, the book is very readable, and Kingsolver's eye on the world is unique and regularly shows us familiar things in startling ways. Her two main characters (the other one is a married woman whose husband has left and who is always on the verge of divorce but never quite getting there) both have a bit of a learning trajectory, but there's not much in the plot itself to push them towards real change. They somehow manage it on their own, as it were.

Lots of homespun wisdom - some of it hilariously suspect - lots of grumpy old women, some weird children, some strange locations. Not quite enough for a book to have real impact but certainly a book with a particular voice that's worth hearing.

I've now read The Poisonwood Bible. Here's the review I posted on Goodreads in April 2014

This is a brilliant book about a clash of cultures, spiritual viewpoints and personalities...until around page 450 (out of 600) when it begins to sashay into a book about how awful American culture is and how interfering American politicians are in world affairs. Those two last aspects have a degree of truth, but they aren't what the book is truly about. They've been implied throughout, but when they take centre stage they distract from what is going on in the real lives of the characters. I found the last hundred pages went nowhere for me: the chief antagonist of the book, the father, had disappeared from the centre of the story, and was replaced by invisible male antagonists at a distance, both Congolese and American. I finished up skimming those hundred pages because they merely detailed more of the three girls' lives and took the story nowhere.

There are many wonderful things in the book: the different voices of the five females, the detail of Congolese village life and the Congo itself, the host of minor characters. The father, who, unlike the five females, never gets to speak for himself but is only seen through the women's eyes, still manages to be a huge force to be reckoned with in the story. Once he's gone, however, the story has no centre anymore. Like him or not, (and he's almost impossible to like) he is the character against whom the women play out their lives, since they don't particularly get on with each other. After the big climax around page 400 or so, he remains offstage, and we only hear about him in passing. His death (still offstage) while it may be justifiable in terms of 'balance,' seems contrived. 

Christian mission plays a huge part in the story (and then this aspect gets lost as the politics take over). I've recently been re-reading Vincent Donovan's Christianity Rediscovered, a book about a Catholic priest who has to rethink his own cultural viewpoints in order to convey the essence of the Gospel to the Masai, and does so successfully. The father in The Poisonwood Bible, for all his vitality, never understands that his cultural view of Christianity is making him miss the mark in trying to convey Jesus to the Congolese. There are other Christians in the story who have better managed to integrate Christianity into the Congolese culture, though they play a relatively minor role. Kingsolver writes rather ambiguously about the Christian aspect of the story: we can see that the father hasn't got it right, but only occasionally do other members of his family get it right themselves.

This is certainly a book that keeps you thinking about it, so I 
guess that makes it successful!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Foggy and Old

The ULV fogger or ultra-low-wattage fogger is a useful little device if you have problems with mosquitoes or insects in your house.  (I've only just realised that the plural of mosquito, in English, is the same as the plural of potato, that is, it adds an extra 'e.'). I'm assuming that the fogger spreads a bit of a haze around, one that will include some pesticide, and the insects will come to a sticky end. 

However, I'm not sure that I'd want to be in the same room as the fogger.  What would it do to the human mind? I have enough problems with fogging as it is, without adding a fogger to assist with the job. 

Which brings me to my other topic, the International Day of Older People. (That's a bit of a mouthful, isn't it?)  It's supposed to be the day when we raise awareness of older people's needs, and show our concern for them.  I'm not sure, however, what constitutes an older person under this heading. Do have to be old or just feel old?  I don't actually feel old, even though by some people's lights I am old. (My grandchildren, for instance.) Do you have to not only be old but feel old as well?  I'm sure there are plenty of people in that category, but I haven't entered it yet. We have a group at our church for the older people which we resolutely refuse to join. And the thought of going into an old people's home as a resident fills me with horror.  I've seen too many people who were coping - for the most part - in their own home who've gone into a 'rest' home, and they've gone downhill very fast. It's something to do with the general atmosphere, I think. The fogginess provided by collective old age.  If you're old, my suggestion is to stay around young people.  They keep you alive much more readily...