serious

Miscellania.

1. I have a new trackball. After thinking about who to buy it from, I realised that I've rather liked the Microsoft mice I've used, so I bought a Trackball Explorer. Odd to buy hardware from a software company whose software I don't especially like, but there you go. Seems good so far.

2. Yet another themed-logo day at Google. Rather a nice one today, though. And we know a song about that, don't we children?

3. It's true what they say. Yesterday there was a rabbit happily grazing on a piece of grass the size of a couple of tennis courts by a path, happily ignoring passers-by in the middle of the day. Today there are two. By the end of summer Earth will be replaced by a ball of rabbits the size of Saturn. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a twitch of the nose and a small pile of brown pellets.

4. Ruaridh Nicoll had an article in the Absurder on Sunday about the dangers of playing up to the overseas view of your country and its culture, with particular reference to how Ireland has done it and how Scotland should not (see also Paddy's day whinging passim).

5. For those of you who don't remember much about him, The Guardian's obit for Jim Callaghan is here.

6. (Yes, yes, I'll shut up soon) The BBC reports that William Wallace's sword is heading to the States, briefly. Now, I've never heard anything to imply that the thing is actually Wallace's sword. The Wikipedia says that it's too young (last paragraph). Do any of you know anything about this?
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  • Current Music: The Fall - Jawbone and the air-rifle
re: hardware; quite true I've found; I bought a MS sidewinder II joystick a while ago and it's pretty good, although the software for it is a bit annoying.
Yes, I saw the Van Gogh-esque Google, I was wondering what that was in aid of? Just 'cause, or is it his birthday or...International Art Appreciation Day (yes, I know there probably isn't one but there should be!) or something like that?

Still, you are right, it's really quite nice. Me being rather partial to Van Gogh helps, of course.
Ah, right. Ok then, an imaginary toast to Mr Van Gogh. May you be reunited with your ear in the afterlife!
I've a really good Martin Rowson cartoon at home, captioned "After years of searching van Gogh finally finds an ashtray". Accompanied by a discussion of his political views. It's from an odd but excellent book called "Scenes from the lives of the great socialists".
As of course I did. The original or the NoFX version - they're both good.
I really like microsoft mice; I have one myself. Also, Google themed logo days just don't seem special any more... they used to be a pleasant suprise, now they're a bit old hat. Mind you, that is a nice one. I seem to recall valentines day's one being a bit rubbish.
Yes. Indeed. I suppose I'm just better-disposed towards van Gogh than St Valentine
Microsoft's hardware is as good as their software is bad. Except the X-Box remains Deep Evil.
Annoyingly, Dead Or Alive Ultimate (DOA 1 and 2 with added pretty) is only available on X-Box.
However, I shall not be tempted!
From what I've heard and read on this (admittedly very little), the sword at the Wallace monument is believed to be his very own. Wouldn't be too hard to ask some of my chums at Scottish History and get their opinions. I'll do just that and get back to you here.
That'd be very good of you. Thanks. And what are you doing up at this hour?
I'd be interested in an "official" view. I doubt it, personally, because I know of no examples of that style of sword until much later - It's a late C15 to C16th style I thought. Swords of Wallace's time would not have had the secondary grip in front of the crossguard, as far as I know. Mind you it's a long time since I last saw the real thing, though there are copies all over the place since Bravefart.
Sorry it took me so long, gents, but I've finally received a detailed reply from a postgrad armour expert in Scottish History. The long and short of it seems to be that there is much speculation about 'famous' arms and armour in private collections (a book is just about to be published on this exact subject), and while there is no way to 100% corroborate that the one in Stirling actually belonged to Wallace, we know that James IV had a replacement hilt put on in 1505, when, even at that time, the sword was known as Wallace's own.

It's entirely possible, then, that the blade really was his. While swords of Scottish origin are quite rare before the 14th century, my contact says that there's no evidence against the possibility that it might have been forged from local ores in Wallace's time.

So the conclusion, then, is that the blade *might* be contemporary to our favorite rebel, but the pommel and hilt are, most certainly, not. Regardless, the belief that it was his was always more important than the fact of it. Relics, anyone?
Hold on. In what way is the world ending as a ball of rabbits not the same as it going out with a bang? Several billion of them in fact..?