May 6th, 2008

breaking bad

Hi all

I had a great time in the Peak District, though the weather was awful on Sunday. Monsall Head Hotel is worth visiting not only because of its great location but because they have a really good chef there now. Big breakfast. Walk all day. Come back. Big dinner. Go to sleep. Repeat.

A couple of interesting links.

Virtual Age Calculator: I am actually 46. My 'virtual age' is 38 (for some reason) and my life expectancy 82. 13,200 more days to go! That doesn't sound like much does it?

Perfect Pitch: test how well you recognise notes.

ETA - 'zounds I am virtually older than all of you, by several decades in most cases.
breaking bad


Sorry to follow a cheerful post with one of my usual hysterical Cassandra type ones, but I finally read this Guardian report on the Rome Mayoral election (because my sister told me I had to). The Northern League (formally I think the Lombard League) are racist against Southern Italians, and wish to divide off as a semi-autonomous federal region.

The prime minister-elect's closest ally, Umberto Bossi, the Northern League leader... warned of violence if the centre-left did not go along with his plans for federalism.

"I don't know what the left wants [but] we are ready," he told reporters. "If they want conflicts, I have 300,000 men always on hand."

On Monday night, the area around Rome's city hall rang to chants of "Duce! Duce!", the term adopted by Italy's dictator, Benito Mussolini, equivalent to the German "Führer". Supporters of the new mayor gave the fascist Roman straight-arm salutes.

That's real fascism. Not 'warned the centre left to comply because he had the popular mandate'. Not even 'warned the left to comply because as elected representative he controlled the law'. No - 'Warned them to comply because otherwise his private army of 300,000 thugs would beat them'. Now that's fascism.
breaking bad

La Smorfia

There's an interesting article in this month's Fortean Times about the Neapolitan lottery-number-foretelling system that's grown up as a sort of folk myth. It's called La Smorfia (possibly derived from Morpheus). To summarise, Italian lotteries have 90 numbers. La Smorfia assigns an image to each number. For example 6 is the vagina, 13 is Saint Anthony, 23 is a fool, 42 is coffee, 54 is a hat, 90 is Fear. If you have a dream, or experience a striking event, you convert it to numbers using La Smorfia, and use these as your lottery numbers. Isn't that fascinating? Sophisticated Smorfia adepts apparently know a whole network of further associations. Like, I don't know, St Anthony is patron of lost things, so a lost thing might = 13 (that's just a guess).

Anyway, this all reminds me of the alethiometer in His Dark Materials.