Showing posts with label William Skyvington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Skyvington. Show all posts

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Xmas gift for me

Here’s an excellent suggestion. Since this French issue of Blake & Mortimer volume 24 is a comic book, I’m sure my momentarily degraded eyesight wouldn’t be a problem.

Some observers claim that the hero of this tale is an archaic writer named Shakespeare. That can’t be true, of course, because we all know he didn’t even exist.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trying to find ancestors who made me smart

A few days ago, I was trying to solve the enigma of a charming ancestor named Frank Skyvington [1845-1916] whose son named William Skyvington [1868-1959] turned out to be a scoundrel. I kept saying to myself that it was strange to find a father and his son who were clearly so different. Why did this madness appear suddenly, before disappearing just as suddenly. I searched around intensely on the web to find an explanation of the ways in which chromosomes of madness might suddenly come into existence, maybe introduced by a baby’s mother. But every article I found on this genetic question was prefaced, as it were, by a huge warning: Be careful. Don’t assume that genes play any role whatsoever in the situation that concerns you. Maybe the factors that interest you were acquired, not from nature, but through nurture.

For ages, that sort of advice always infuriated me. It was unthinkable that environmental causes might have made me interested in science, then computers, then France, etc. To put it bluntly, nobody in my surroundings could have possibly persuaded me to get interested in out-of-the-way passions such as science, computers, France, etc. The only plausible explanation was that one of my ancestors must have supplied me with the necessary “good genes”.

Well, that last statement is utter nonsense. The only causes that make somebody smart come from the people who talk to him, the books he reads, the stuff he learns, etc. There are no magic genes in our bodies that turn on brightness as if we were an electric lamp.

It has taken me a long time to reach this simple conclusion.

Not as bright as I thought I was

I’ve always considered myself as relatively intelligent. That’s what people told me when I was a kid at school. Later, I thought I was bright when I became a computer programmer with IBM Australia. I simply failed to understand that I was merely the proverbial right man in the right place at the right time. Then I thought I was bright when I moved to France, married, raised a small family, and finally became a French citizen. Once again, as in Sydney, I was simply the right Australian in France at the right time. More recently, I started to think of myself as bright when I used my Macintosh computer at Gamone to publish a couple of family-history books. The truth of the matter is that I would have been silly to not take advantage of that excellent environment to produce those books. In any case, their existence doesn’t suggest for an instant that the author/publisher might have been in any way bright, merely fortunate.

A few days ago, for the first time in my life, at the august age of 76, the truth hit me with a bang. I’m not particularly intelligent. Purely lucky. The good old game consists of being in a convenient situation at exactly the right moment. Right place and right time. There’s a tiny bundle of convenient talents in my brain, but nothing whatsoever of an extraordinary nature.

It's high time that I made this clear! To myself, above all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Video talk for bloggers

I recorded this video talk on Sunday afternoon, before the amazing US raid on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan. It's essentially an experimental project, enabling me to know what's involved in using the camera as a blogging tool. Incidentally, I screwed up my mention of two well-known software products. My video editing tool on the Macintosh was Final Cut Express version 4.0.1 (not the Pro product, as I said mistakenly). And the browser that doesn't seem to be able to handle HTML5 is, of course, Internet Explorer, not Express. Also, as with quite a few English words, I'm simply not sure how people pronounce the verb "beatify" (which I can nevertheless pronounce perfectly well in French). The truth of the matter is that I hardly ever listen to English-language TV, and I've become rusty concerning my spoken mother tongue.