Monday, 26 March 2012

Better late than never

Yes, I know that many of you like to kickstart your week with a jolt of Vole of a Monday, so apologies for the absence of today's dose of bitter, pedantic ranting. The truth is that despite so many things to blog about (my new bike, Cash For Access, last night's fine moon, Stoke City's wonder-goal), I've been working hard. Marking. Moderating. Conducting tutorials (the 20% turnout was little worse than the standard classes, damn it). Finishing revisions to an actual academic paper what I wrote - four days ahead of the deadline! Eat that, suckers!

The rest of the week is likely to be more of the same. I've a review of a very bad book to write, lots of essays to mark and plenty more teaching to do. Which is why I'm still in the office 11 hours after I got here. Not that it matters: University Challenge is over for another season, so I can't spend the evening hurling abuse at Oxbridge know-nothings and the mouth-breathers who appear to be setting the questions these days.

But for the record, here's my collected Reckon:

new bike = good.
Cash for Access = not a new story, but well done to the Sunday Times getting good video of a billionaire flogging access to the Prime Minister
new moon = very pretty
Stoke City's Wonder Goal = a fine rejoinder to the unthinking abuse of certain readers whenever I mention the team.

I visited my poor old mum over the weekend. Amidst the general revelry, I came across a file of my old student journalism and some sixth-form essays what I wrote. Needless to say, the whole thing was hugely cringeworthy and I'll probably regale you with some choice tidbits at some point, but one essay caught my eye. It was 28 pages of appalling handwriting (this was 1992) on Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I was very much that distinguished, eccentric teacher's favourite (we frequently supped Stella and talked literature down at his semi-derelict house), and I'd gained a very high grade. But what really tickled me was the laconic note he'd scrawled on the bottom: 'Yeeeesssss, but are the orgasms really pertinent?'.

I'll have to read the essay again, as I have no memory of any orgasms either in said essay or indeed the rest of my miserable existence at that vile Catholic boarding school. I strongly suspect that the very word was new to me - the signified itself would have been still rather distantly in the future. I wonder if I've written the word between then and posting this? I rather imagine not.

Home soon, for squirrel pie. Yes, you read that right. I've eaten squirrel before, roasted. It was rather delicious, and rather delicate. I've virtually stopped eating meat at the moment - no particular reason, just haven't felt like it - but couldn't resist a plateful of tasty cute vermin. Though I have to admit that I draw the line at that Virginian delicacy, scrambled squirrel brains. Apparently it's largely off the menu these days because people were contracting a CJD-like disease from the critters' brains. Which may explain Elvis Presley's demise: he was quite a fan, apparently.

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