Sunday, February 25, 2018

Flood of Ideas

Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment
– From The Sandokai

“Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean,
is the moment the wave realises it is water.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

A taxonomy of unfinished parliamentary novels. Common causes include writer’s block and death. Then there are those works whose unfinishability is an aesthetic virtue... more »

Isaac Newton’s views included Arianism, alchemy, Egyptian theology, and the Noachian faith. Why was such a seemingly modern thinker so obsessed with ancient ideas? 

TF smuggler of Cold River note: Mystery wallaby found in apple orchard in Latvia LSM (World Bank and Latvian KGB )

By the time a new dictionaryis complete, it’s out of date. Still, the quest to capture the meaning of everything remains a  nobel one 

One can almost smell the distinct air of the stake burning as the story advances.

In the end, the Templars fell short in sainthood and knighthood. Victims of both success and failure, the order’s spiritual virtues were undone by temporal vices—their own and others. Despite the dark corners of conspiracy theory and occult interest in which the name of the Order of the Temple is too often whispered, the truth of the Templars still resonates. At a recent Catholic Men’s conference in Phoenix, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia said that knighthood provided the “animating ideal at the core of the Templars: to build a new order of new Christian men, skilled at arms, living as brothers, committed to prayer, austerity, and chastity and devoting themselves radically to serving the Church and her people, especially the weak.” To be a Christian is to be a warrior because, he said, “living the Gospel involves a very real kind of spiritual warfare.”  
The University Bookman's review of The Templars.

The article doesn’t say whether 12-year-old-and-up single-malt scotches are even better for you than everyday whiskeys, but I say why take chances.

BEST TO WORST: Every Full-Sized SUV Ranked. But where’s the Toyota Land Cruiser

Will Intelligent Machines Finally Free Us From Work?

The transformation to robot-led work is at once a threat and an opportunity to both devotees of the free market and socialism. New production technologies threaten to eliminate some jobs and make others more precarious, while delivering higher profits to owners of the means of production. But what if those same technologies could be used to usher in an era of unprecedented mass liberty? … Read More

London Police tell chicken lovers to stop calling them to report the KFC crisis.
       The most recent addition to weekend read is An Anthology edited and translated by R. Parthasarathy, of Erotic Poems from the Sanskrit, recently out from Columbia University Press. 

       Not all of the poetry is particularly erotic -- including one of the best little verses, by Māgha:
Did grammar ever feed the hungry ?
Did the nectar of poetry ever quench anyone's thirst ?
No one can raise a family on book learning.
Make your pile and screw the arts.
       There you go ! Even in the seventh century, Māgha knew ...

To be fair, I’m told by reliable sources that cocaine is a helluva drug.
(Classical reference in headline.)

Multicultural Television by Kevin Roberts

It’s great to see foreign language dramas getting an airing via Netflix and iTunes.  Different countries have their own special blends of pacing, storytelling, filming and directing – just as they have different styles, values and cultures.
Six foreign language series I’ve been enjoying (all with English subtitles of course) are:
An Israeli production set in the Palestinian Territories, Fauda (Chaos in Arabic).  Complex, contemporary, human, conflicted, back-stories abound with both Israelis and Palestinians appearing completely real.  Rejected by Israeli mainstream channels, YES committed to produce it and Netflix came on board to make it happen.
Series Two premiered in Israel on New Years Eve.  Can’t wait to see it here.
La Casa De Papel
A Spanish heist series – one of the best of 2017.  Am in the middle of it now.  Fascinating storytelling.  Great characterisations.
Babylon Berlin
Berlin 1929 – 1934.  $40million production from Sky Deutschland.  The most expensive non English language TV drama series ever made.
The Weimar Republic, the Soviet Union, the Jazz Age, sex, crime, politics and history.  Unmissable.
La Mante
The Mantis, a serial killer offers to help police solve a string of copycat murders – but only if her cop son handles the case.  Recommended by Stephen King.  A TF1 France production.  Scary.
Suburra: Blood on Rome
I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago.  Based on the 2015 film, this is a terrific Italian production based in Rome 2008.  Mafia, Vatican, politicians, family.  It’s got it all.
And Marseille
(Second series out this month.)  With Gérard Depardieu as the consummate old school, no-holds-barred politico in that most fascinating, multicultural hotbed city, Marseille.
A great way to feel the street-beat of different cultures and different cities.

TODAY: “Twice a month, Sting visits a Minnesota library so that young kids can read to him as part of a program called Paws to Read. He’s participated for the last two years.”It’s meant to be a fun environment,” Ann Wahlstrom, children’s librarian at the Ramsey County Library in White Bear Lake, located about 20 miles northeast from Minneapolis, told TODAY. “To give kids a fun, nonthreatening place where they can practice their reading skills to a dog.”  Sting’s visits usually last about an hour, during which time three kids get 20 minutes each with him. But that’s not what happened during Sting’s most recent Paws to Read session last week. “Unfortunately nobody signed up to read to Sting at the White Bear Lake library tonight,” Sting’s owner, John Muellner, posted to Facebook on Feb. 7. He included some photos of Sting looking lonely and forlorn, and urged anyone who might know “a 4 to 8 yr old who would like to read to a dog” to “please contact the White Bear Lake library by phone.” It’s been an extremely busy few days since. The library’s phone has been ringing off the hook with folks from all over the country who are desperate to connect with, and cheer up, Sting. “People are asking if we could hold the phone to Sting’s ear so they could read to him,” Wahlstrom said. “The whole staff of a Petco in California called to say they love Sting. It’s just amazing, the outpouring.”

  • Think about all the children, parents, seniors and of course their companion animals, to whom you may read – it is a delightful experience, especially when done frequently. All who participate, benefit – And remember, Reading Is Fundamental.

Spying on Oneself

The East German writer Christa Wolf grew up under state surveillance. Later, in her diaries, she continued a sort of spying on herself...  Cold War River of Spying 

The Dystopian Technologies Being Used to Control Workers

The history of anti-literature: Whether Plato's denouncing literary fantasy or Oscar Wilde's labeling art useless, they are unintentional tributes Everything is futile but We must go on 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

When Writer Hanif Kureishi Finally Starts Watching Binge-Worthy TV, He Just Can’t Stop

Why Artists And Criminals Have A Leg Up On Predicting The Future

"I decided to take a page out of William Gibson's playbook and go and find some artists and criminals and see what they were doing with new technologies. As I see it, artists and criminals have something in common: Neither is constrained by social conventions. In a later interview Gibson said, "Criminals are in effect entrepreneurs with the brakes off. They look at whatever the latest technology is and think, 'What can I do with this?' Artists are unconstrained by the limits of business and societal conventions." … Read More

La Casa De Papel review: This delightful Netflix Spanish heist drama will leave you begging for more- Entertainment News, Firstpost

When Writer Hanif Kureishi Finally Starts Watching Binge-Worthy TV, He Just Can’t Stop

The writer, screenwriter, and playwright says, “The television show is ideal for the exploration of character under pressure because of its duration. I recently watched all 86 episodes of The Sopranos, followed by all of Breaking Bad; then I did Gomorrah. I would happily have watched more.”

Multicultural Television

Lessons Hollywood Should Learn From The Success Of “Black Panther

Black Panther is a blockbuster that feels like it belongs to the artists who created it as much as the company that produced it. In a market dominated by sequels, the projects that actually break through with viewers tend to be movies that were made with more of a purpose than just being another link in a never-ending money-making chain. Black Panther is poised to make more money around the world than any Marvel movie aside from 2012’s The Avengers. … Read More

“Imrich Like Kafka A Terrible Boyfriend”

If technology is increasingly a place where we live, it needs to have space for the soul
~ Frank Chimero

Almanac: Wolcott Gibbs on how writers mature
“It occurs to me that writers don’t change much from the time they are thirty or thereabouts until they are laid away—permanently, I trust. As they grow older, they are apt to perform at somewhat ... read more

 “We’ll be living in small ghettos, far from where celebrities dwell, and yet in every generation there will be a new delivery of minds that will love long and slow thoughts and books and poetry and music, so that these rather pleasant ghettos will never perish — and one day may even stir more excitement than we’re used to now.” 

Yarra Bay of kiki fame : 'Red in the water': beachgoers pull La Perouse shark victim onto sand

Perish in the yappy restaurant - Population growth is in our long-term interest

New ‘Golden’ Man Booker Prize To Name Best Of All 51 Past Winners

“The new award, announced on Friday as part of the literary prize’s 50th anniversary celebrations, will be judged by five judges and then voted for by the public.” Of course, they’ve done this twice before, and the same book won both times.

An Ode to the Personal Writing Outlet: Why so many writers are choosing to share some work for free, and how writing for yourself can be both joyful and intimate.

In Praise of Unfinished Novels: Some parliamentarian novels left unfinished by authorial death are also some of those writers' most interesting works.

Milo Yiannopoulos Drops $10M Lawsuit Against Publisher Who Cancelled His Book

The 33-year-old alt-right troll provocateur “sued for breach of contract in July 2017 after the cancellation of his bookDangerous< .em>, claiming that Simon & Schuster violated the terms of their deal to publish following public outrage. Simon & Schuster claimed that the book had ‘substantial problems.'”

Don’t Want a Robot to Replace You? Study Imrich and Tolstoy

Why having explored the humanities is a career plus.

Bloomsbury has signed the latest work from Khaled Hosseini, a "lyrical and intensely moving story" entitled Sea Prayer.

No reason to make Cold River kind of films in Australia, Ausfilm wants more tax breaks ...

Why Altered Carbon is not about the future – nor is any other science fiction:
Society has been transformed by new technology: consciousness can be digitized; human bodies are interchangeable; death is no longer permanent. Takeshi "Kovacs" (Slavic for "Black Smith") is the lone surviving soldier in a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order.
By making our everyday world into something strange and alien, science fiction hopes that we will question and change our society. Science fiction does not invite us to be prophets, but anthropologists making sense of a complex and troubling foreign culture – which we may eventually come to recognise as our own. And so when reading or watching science fiction, look for the moments when the future seems shocking, repulsive, and alien to everything you hold dear. Ask what these moments correspond to in your world 
Why Altered Carbon is not about the future – nor is any other science ...

Iconic Icebergs Dives Into A Proud New Era

Nikon F2 The 1971 follow up to the Nikon F was the Nikon F2. Still aimed at the professional market and still a "go-to-war" tough camera. The F stayed in production until 1974, a testament to the quality of the F more than a criticism of the F2. Production of the F2 finally ended in 1980.


       I seem to have completely missed all the announcements about this, but apparently they announced the fifteen French Voices Award 2017 grantees a while ago, and yesterday they announced the winning title -- Alexia Trigo's translation of Mohamed Mbougar Sarr's Terre Ceinte (still "seeking an American publisher"; see also the Présence Africaine publicity page). 

       Quite a few non-fiction works among the other finalists, but the one that most stood out (just from the descriptions -- I haven't seen any of these) -- and not in a great way -- is Martin Page's L'Apiculture selon Samuel Beckett. Hmmmm. See the Starling Bureau information page ..... 
       The fact that this is the Martin Page who wrote The Discreet Pleasures of Rejection and How I Became Stupiddoes not reassure me. I wonder what the Beckett-estate had to say about this. 

From PwC tax lawyer to photographing the doormen of New York: Alina Gozin'a — Alina Gozin'a didn't pick up a camera for the first time until her late 20s. She had just quit her job as a tax lawyer at PwC and decided she wanted to be a filmmaker. The Sydney-sider liked the detective-like aspects of solving problems using tax law – but working in a corporate structure didn't gel with her. "You felt like just a number," she says. Her father was a photographer but he didn't help. "He kept away the camera from me. He did not want me to become a creative at all."

Atlas Obscura asked readers to send in the best things they found pressed between the pages of old books

Kafka Was A Terrible Boyfriend” is a sentence that is simultaneously unsurprising and revelatory. But it gives us a chance to dive into Kafka’s letters, which are, along with the stories, unfinished novels, and the conversation slips he passed back and forth at the end of his life when he could no longer speak, among his most treasured works.

It's not me, it's you: Why I'm breaking up with Sydney

It was love at first sight when Sydney and I met properly a dozen years ago. I fell hard with the sort of giddy infatuation that makes it easy to overlook the odd flaw or two, and to blithely ignore those flaws even as they crumbled into mighty chasms over the subsequent years. But now I'm ending things and moving out...
Frank Chimero has a long, insightful essay about how commercial imperatives have creeped in on the public commonwealth of the web, creating a bunch of pseudo-public spaces whose experience continually degrades (think a negative stereotype of NYC’s Penn Station) as opposed to free and open public spaces (think a positive stereotype of NYC’s main public library).
"Remember: the web is a marketplace and a commonwealth, so we have both commerce and culture; it’s just that the non-commercial bits of the web get more difficult to see in comparison to the outsized presence of the commercial web and all that caters to it. It’s a visibility problem that’s an inadvertent consequence of values."