Saturday, February 27, 2010

007: The Spy Who Loved Me(n)

Previously in my (re) reading of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, I've noted that the book Bond differs from the film Bond. Not in the obvious ways that every half awake reader would see[1]. Oh no. It's a truism that both book and film Bonds don't actually like women very much[2], but it seems that in Diamonds are Forever Bond doesn't even want to sleep with them.

But Bond has been through a lot in the previous three books, and despite a holiday in France, and (as M states) his last medical showing him in "pretty good shape" maybe he needs time to get over being buried under a cliff. After that he didn't actually consummate his relationship with Gala Brand in the previous book Moonraker. In fact, she returns to her fiancé at the end of the novel. Hmm. Anyway, let's return to Diamonds are Forever and meet Bond in his first appearance at the start of Chapter 2.
"Don't push it in. Screw it in," said M impatiently.

James Bond, making a mental note to pass M's dictum on to the Chief of Staff...

I beg your pardon?
James Bond, making a mental note to pass M's dictum on to the Chief of Staff, again picked up the jeweller's glass from the desk where it had fallen, and this time managed to fit it securely into the socket of his right eye.

Oh. I see.

There are still questions to be answered. Fortunately Tiffany Case asks the most pressing at (another) dinner:
She paused and smiled up at him. "Now it's your turn again," she said. "Buy me another drink and then tell me what sort of woman you think would add to you."

Bond gave his order to the steward. He lit a cigarette and turned back to her. "Somebody who can make Sauce BĂ©arnaise[3] as well as love," he said.

Is that "as well" as in "equally well" or "at the same time"?
"And you'd marry this person if you found her?"

"Not necessarily," said Bond. "Matter of fact I'm almost married already. To a man. Name begins with M. I'd have to divorce him before I tried marrying a woman. And I'm not sure I'd want that..."
Quotes taken out of context from Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming

Case has got to heart of the, um, case. James Bond: Early gay marriage proponent. My work here is done.

[1] Bond is less likeable, noticeably less competent and slower on the uptake in the books; he also actually gets hurt and is not at all witty
[2] With the notable exception of Countess Teresa di Vicenzo. I note that her wikipedia entry is part of the deliciously eclectic category Fictional Socialites.
[3] Bond, being something of a food snob, gives the french name for the traditional steak sauce. Not having ever made it I can't recommend a recipe, but I note this one. For another way of serving steak see this earlier post of mine.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Conversations of the Day

A bumper crop of conversation today.

Pupil H: Are you in our class today sir?
Me: Yes I am.
Pupil H: Right. Is that good?
Me: You tell me.
Pupil S: It is, because Miss doesn't get so annoyed when you're in the class.

The causal process is this: that when Miss is on her own, she can only help one pupil at a time. So work-related conversations spring up, followed by non-work-related, at which point the noise gets out of control and Miss has to lay down the law. If I'm there, there's more help, less work conversation and much less non-work conversation. Result: less aggravation.

I note that Pupil H and Pupil S have had to be moved to opposite sides of the classroom to stop them talking.

Later in class:

Pupil S: Can I have a ruler sir?
Me: There's one on the floor under the desk.
Pupil S: Can you pick it up for me.
Pupil S: I'm disabled and can't pick it up.
Me: I'm still not picking it up.
Pupil S: You're just lazy.
Me: That's right. There's no other reason why I wouldn't want to be seen crawling around under a table of teenage girls. No one would ask any questions about that.

And finally we join Miss S giving some advice for the exam next Tuesday:

Miss S: ...don't go out and get drunk this weekend.
Pupil C: We're going to an over-18s, so we have to drink.
Miss S: Right. I'm going to be trawling around every bar, club and alcohol shop in Thanet.
Me: Just like every weekend then Miss.
Miss S: [Laughs]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Album of the last 30 years

Oasis have won the Brit award for best album of the last 30 years at the 30th Brit Awards. To which I can only say that Phil Collins was robbed.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Addendum To Yesterday's Post

To briefly add to yesterday's post; Sun Tzu reacts as he does because the King is treating him as an amusment. But Sun Tzu is not a courtier or a toady or an entertainer; the King has many of these already. Sun Tzu is a general, a much rarer thing, and should be treated with respect. Or to put it another way, Sun Tzu murders two women to get the King to take him seriously.

Sun Tzu undoubtedly thought that this would allow him to win wars more quickly, more efficently and less expensively, in terms of both money and lives. Sun Tzu was also a much, much harder man than I am.

(I don't regret using words like "disgraceful" and "unprofessional" but it doesn't make the results any easier to watch)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I Am Inspired By Sun Tzu's Management

Following the events of today, my text is a legend of Sun Tzu (taken from this BBC webpage):

Asked to give a demonstration of his theories, Sun-Tzu created two company formations out of 300 of the king's concubines, appointing two of the king's favourites as company commanders. He equipped them with weapons and armour, explained and demonstrated a set of drill movements, and ordered them to perform the drill. The concubines laughed at the order. Patiently, Sun-Tzu repeated his explanation and demonstration, and again gave the order. Again, the concubines laughed.

Sun-Tzu remarked:

If the instructions are not clear, if the orders are not obeyed, it is the fault of the general. But if the instructions are clear and the soldiers still do not obey, it is the fault of their officers.

He then summoned the king's executioner and, despite the king's protests, had the two concubine commanders beheaded. New commanders were appointed from the ranks, and this time when Sun-Tzu gave the order, the concubines performed the required drill movements perfectly. (When asked why he did not heed the king's request to spare his favourites, Sun-Tzu replied, 'Once a general is directing his troops, he should reject further interference from his sovereign.') While shocked by the loss of his favourites, the king was nonetheless impressed by Sun-Tzu's character and understanding of warfare, and appointed him as a general.

The instructions were clear but the soldiers did not obey. This was the fault of the officer. And they are certainly not the King's favourite.