Time for another 'best of...' selection to add to my sidebar. This one should be rather briefer than most, because I was on holiday for more than half of this period, and plagued by heavily restricted/censored Internet access (in the run-up to China's "60th birthday celebrations" on the 1st October) for the rest.
Pick of the Archives:
Favourite Posts, July-September 2009
1) Favourite trivia team names - 4th July 2009
A 'List of the Month' on some of the quirky labels I've competed under in my long though intermittent career of quizzing. (Oddly enough, this post does seem to be one of the ones that is most often uncovered by search engines.)
2) My Fantasy Girlfriend: Angela Hagenbach - 11th July 2009
The gorgeous jazz diva is a serendipitous discovery of mine while on holiday in the States.
3) Surely they jest? - 23rd July 2009
My pilots on Virgin Atlantic are in a playful mood...
4) The bond - 2nd August 2009
I speculate about the possible power of newborn infants - or lovers - to compel your long-term devotion, to enslave you with an onslaught of pheromones. There are two kids I know (and perhaps one ex-girlfriend) who make me believe it.
5) A comprehensive theory of history - 5th August 2009
Reading a young child's history reader on Cromwell, I stumble upon a brilliantly simple theory of everything in historical causation.
6) The Saint of Lost Things - 14th August 2009
A rather lovely lady of Catholic upbringing (half Italian) introduces me to St Anthony. I am not happy to make his acquaintance.
7) Tales of the Unexpected - 15th August 2009
A list of surprising highlights from my summer holiday in Britain and the USA.
8) The omnibus analogy (theme & variation) - 18th August 2009
A particularly BAD experience on the "express" coach from London to Oxford reminds me of a favourite old joke comparing buses and women...
9) An idealised history of Ireland - 19th August 2009
An amusing literary oddity I discovered in my recent reading: a suggestion that the history of my ancestral homeland goes rather better in reverse.
10) Getting Zen again - 28th August 2009
One of my favourite haiku in a long time. Funny how despair fans the poetic fires!
11) In the not too distant future - 1st September 2009
I speculate on what later generations of academics may be able to divine of our personal histories by tracing our online interactions. (This is just about my favourite post ever - but it seems to have been sadly neglected thus far.)
12) The sound of rattling sabres - 12th September 2009
I explain my disquiet at the massive parades of military hardware being rehearsed in the streets of Beiing preparatory to the upcoming '60th Anniversary of the Founding of the PRC' holiday.
13) Pillars - 14th September 2009
Two unwelcome pieces of news disorient and discombobulate me.
14) Manhattan Shorts - 27th September 2009
I attend a screening of this year's Manhattan Short Film Festival at the Yugong Yishan music club, and pen concise reviews of the ten contenders (and correctly predict the results).
15) Not even the pigeons shall fly - 29th September 2009
A brief note on the charming Beijing hobby of keeping pigeons (and keeping track of them with 'pigeon whistles' - a piece of technology I've never seen or heard of anywhere else in the world). Amazingly, even pigeons are banned from flying in the capital in the week leading up to the nation's '60th Birthday'!! No, really.