23 May 2007

Mars Retreats!

Despite the last couple of posts, I've no intention of turning Peculiar Times into a campaigning blog. I'm pleased, though, that Masterfoods have announced a partial U-turn on their decision to laugh maniacally while putting animal derivatives in their chocolate bars. I'm delighted that Snickerses and Maltesers will remain vegetarian, but continue to be annoyed that Bounties and Twices (that is the plural of Twix, presumably?) won't.

A cynic might choose to see this as an application of the familiar principle of overstating one's negotiating position in order to win concessions. Masterfoods are, after all, going ahead with their intention to make a large number of their products non-vegetarian, and most of the consumers who would normally be protesting are currently patting themselves on the back for a job well done. It seems a slightly extreme length to go to, but it would be a canny application of politics to marketing, and might well win some award or other.

What else? I'm expecting to finish the rewrites on Nursery Politics this week, which will be something of a relief. It's been dominating my brain for far too long now, to the detriment (I realise) of this blog.

There have been cygnets and moorhen chicks near work for two weeks now, zealously watched over by their respective parents, and the cygnets in particular have grown visibly during that period. Two weeks ago they were generic baby birds, tiny and grey and fluffy and easily mistaken for mutant ducklings. Today they're twice the size (though sadly reduced in number from nine to seven), and already showing signs of neck elongation.

Unfortunately I've repeatedly forgotten to take my camera in to work, so I have no photos. They're very sweet, though.

Finally, it seems I was premature in suggesting that I'd be able to finish Collapse and Iron Council within two weeks and thus keep up my book-a-week record for 2007 -- I'm barely halfway through either of them. Both are very good, though I find aspects of Jared Diamond's writing style and worldview mildly irritating. More of that later, I shouldn't wonder.

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