Flickr recently removed their WordPress sharing support, so all you get now is some generic HTML code that’s not ideal for WordPress. (Mind you, neither was Flickr’s old sharing code, which didn’t work well out of the box — I described how to fix it in this old blog post.)
Just go to Flickr, find the sharing code, select “Small 240 x X“, then “HTML”, and paste the result into the text box on the left and click the button. The WordPress-style code will then appear on the right, and you can copy it and paste it into your blog post.
It’s not quite as convenient as Flickr’s old system, but it gets the job done.
When Iain Banks died, Phyllis and I realised that we had never actually got round to reading anything by him. We decided to order a few of his books to rectify this issue.
Since then I’ve read Consider Phlebas, The Wasp Factory, Complicity and Whit (in that order).
I didn’t like Consider Phlebas at all, I must admit. I love some science fiction novels, but not all, and this was definitely in the latter category (together with for instance the Red/Green/Blue Mars trilogy and Doris Lessing’s Canopus in Argos books).
I then turned to Banks’s non-SF books. The Wasp Factory wasn’t at all what I had expected, but it was rather enjoyable in its own way, and it definitely made me want to read more of his books. Complicity was good, too, although surprisingly different.
However, in my opinion Whit is far superior. It’s a book about a small religious sect in Scotland, seen through the eyes of the founder’s granddaughter. The religion was invented by Iain Banks and he manages to make it very believable, which is no mean feat.
Perhaps it’s just my upbringing as the son of two theologians, but my main complaint about this wonderful book is that at 450 pages it is far too short. I thoroughly recommend it.
My old friend Kakha from Georgia was visiting us last week, and at one point I asked him whether Rabbie Burns was well-kent in Georgia.
“Absolutely, we love the song about the man and his hat,” replied Kakha.
“The man and his hat?!?”
“Yes, you know: კაცი ვარ და ქუდი მხურავს (‘I am a man and I’m wearing a hat’),” said Kakha. He started to sing: “კაცი ვარ და ქუდი მხურავს // ქედს არ ვუხრი არავის. // არც არავის ვემონები // არც ვბატონობ არავის.” (“Ḳaci var da kudi mxuravs // keds ar vuxri aravis. // Arc aravis vemonebi // arc vbaṭonob aravis.”)
I managed to find a YouTube clip of Georgians singing this:
At first I couldn’t find any poem by Burns that matched the lyrics, but the line “არც ვბატონობ არავის” (“and I don’t rule over anybody”) gave me a clue. It must be “I hae a wife o’ my ain“:
I Hae a wife of my ain,
I’ll partake wi’ naebody;
I’ll take Cuckold frae nane,
I’ll gie Cuckold to naebody.
I hae a penny to spend,
There — thanks to naebody!
I hae naething to lend,
I'll borrow frae naebody.
I am naebody’s lord,
I’ll be slave to naebody;
I hae a gude braid sword,
I’ll tak dunts frae naebody.
I’ll be merry and free,
I’ll be sad for naebody;
Naebody cares for me,
I care for naebody.
Georgians love this song — they feel it describes them. It’ll never cease to amaze me how Burns was able to write songs that reach out to people from all countries at all times.