Thursday, February 21, 2013

Where the Customer is not King

Unlike the maniacally smiling baristas of Pret A Manger, Vienna’s café waiters are permitted eccentricities... The great Viennese cafés, for all their aura of imperial grandeur, seem to me havens of democratic humanity. The democracy comes from the way all conditions of people, young and old, shabby and smart, sociable and solitary, can be gathered under high chandelier-hung ceilings. I even find it reassuring that the waiters – unlike the maniacally smiling baristas of Pret – are permitted their all-too-human eccentricities and grumpiness. They have a reassuring permanence, they are part of the order of things; the waiters, after all, are the ones who remain and set the tone of the establishment, while customers come and go. Where the customer is not king

US electronics engineer Shane Todd was found hanging in his Singapore apartment Police State of Statements

Another part of the feeling that the modern human is misplaced in urban society comes from the realization that people are still genetically close not only to the Romans and the 17th-century Europeans, but also to Neanderthals, to the ape ancestors Holland mentions, and to the small bands of early hominids who populated Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. It is indeed during the blink of an eye, relatively speaking, that people settled down from nomadism to permanent settlements, developed agriculture, lived in towns and then cities, and acquired the ability to fly to the moon, create embryos in the lab, and store enormous amounts of information in a space the size of our handily opposable thumbs. Misguided Nostalgia for Our Bohemian Past

Art and violence. Theater and film have always delighted in depictions of suffering. But how much is too much ...Like Freud, Aristotle thought that repression carries more dangers than representation. Yet his theory of catharsis — for him, the raison d'être of tragedy — isn't unlimited. There are experiences better left undramatized. The test of an action's moral suitability, however, lies in its artistic ends, not in its inherent balefulness Saved: Doer and dreamer, realist and romantic

For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of WWII In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga Soviet geologists came upon a family of six in remote Siberia. They had lived off the land, undetected, for 42 years. Then civilization had its way with them... Russian Family

In search of timeless art. Hear a song over and over again: the magic fades, the melody grates. What if you discovered an immortal song, painting, poem, novel? "I wish this would last forever Hallucinations can be brilliant, bothersome, even frightening. Imagine hearing Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” for days on end... Oliver Sacks on drugs

Gabriele d’Annunzio had discolored teeth, little hair, one eye, and a libido that thousands of lovers couldn’t satiate... Think Wilde crossed with Casanova and Savonarola; Byron meets Barnum meets Mussolini - and you would have some of the flavours, but still not quite the essence, of this extraordinary, unstoppable and in many ways quite ridiculous figure. In The Pike, Lucy Hughes-Hallett has taken on the vast and frequently thankless task of trying to capture this strange genius, ten years after the most authoritative literary biography to appear in English thus far, Gabriele d'Annunzio: Defiant Archangel by John Woodhouse. The Poet-King of Fiume