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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Thoughts on the idiot's goldfish bowl

To me every day when I meet someone or learn something new and interesting is a wonderful day.

I don't count on TV much in that respect. Maybe it's the churlishness of old age.

However, yesterday having laboured over my current nightmares for few hours, I looked to see what the fool's lantern had to offer. Not a lot. Hundreds of channels almost entirely choked with garbage.

Then, quite by chance, I ended up watching a programme about Ireland. I'm a great fan of the country. I once went there for a weekend and spent two weeks, and I love the stories about the old Brehons.

Anyhow, the programme was wonderful.

I learned about Ogham, the ancient Irish form of writing. I discovered how places I visited, like Waterford and Wexford, got their names (from old Norse). I saw a fantastic railway line designed by Brunel that runs along perilous seaside cliffs, an 800 year old lighthouse first built by a Norman warrior, and the recreation of an 1849 experiment on a beach that led to the science of seismology - for which we have to thank a Dubliner called Mallet.

Glorious stuff - all on the Open University channel. There were probably only about 17 of us watching it because The Apprentice was on at the same time, but I know who got most value.

My only worry is that I learned a while ago that the Open University has a marketing department of 40. The devil usually find work for idle hands to do, so I hope we're not going to be afflicted by a plague of "station idents".

On a totally different subject, I keep wondering why every time Microsoft brings out a new version of something it's more complicated and far worse than it was before. Maybe they operate in the same way as the great Toad's lunatic tax system.

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