Thursday, July 07, 2016

Double 7 7: Once Upon Thirsty Six (36) Years Ago - Browse free or die?

"Is it more foolish to risk your life or risk wasting your life?"

"I’ve come to believe that there’s only one way to establish credibility with readers, and that is to show them how you’re making the sausage. I think reporters should open up their research to all those interested and bring them along for the ride. That means scanning and posting the supporting documents you use to gather your facts. But I think it should go further. What I’d like to see is an open-sourced form of reporting, where journalists put notes and documents and pictures and sources in something like a readable Google doc as they are reporting."

Looking for something else or different to read this winter (or summer)? We have got you covered:
Reality so made: it is like fiction ...

“At death you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see.”

“Against the burly air I strode
Crying the miracles of God.”

Cold River : The Cold Truth of Freedom - Even if it is sold out  this book is like having an old itch finally scratched....

HISTORY: Secret Tunnel Dug To Escape the Nazis Has Been Rediscovered

FUTURE: A Stark Nuclear Warning New York Review of Books Note given its status as an Acela corridor read, it puts the risks of our confrontation with Russia at the end, which many will miss. 

“…screaming and cries and a man’s thundering voice…. I saw the walls of the earth collapsing around us, and we, Samson-like in our decline, crumbling along with the walls. So was this how we would meet our end? An image of Mama came to my mind, Mama weeping before my dead body, Mama at my grave, mourning over me….”
 "Who are you writing for, then? The dead?"

“It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface; but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions—especially selfish ones.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “Peace and Violence”
*Global Reporting Centre, a new nonprofit, wants to tell the world’s biggest untold stories

"I was afraid of going to a country that was younger than most of Vienna’s toilets ” Bohemian Slav: An Evolving Journey - From Austria to Australia!

Gregory Fried reviews Freedom to Fail: Heidegger’s Anarchy, by Peter Trawny 

Long time readers of this blog, all three of you at this point, will know that I escaped from the Communist Czechoslovakia on 7 of 7 in 1980 (Symbol for Havel's Charter 1977) ... And often it is good for me to look at other stories which go even back to before my time on this earth such as Elyce Wakerman’s A Tale of Two Citizens ... This is an immigrant story based in the thirties and forties that rings true in today’s over-heated immigrant debate. Harry Himelbaum is a twenty year old Polish immigrant who must tell a lie (that he is not married) in order to enter the United States. The lie eats at him, but he tells it to start a new life away from the oppression in Europe. Nearly a decade after telling the lie, Harry is forced to address the lie when he applies for visa papers for his wife and son... He may not have been truthful, but he was doing what he thought was best for his family. Just as back in the thirties, the debate continues today...

Cechoslovakia 1968 - to Charter 77 to  Escape 7/7/80 An Earthly Paradise For The Eyes
Earthly: Zemský ráj to na pohled

Josh Bornstein has observed the effect of such attacks on the ABC is similar to that experienced by a victim of workplace bullying where “hyper-vigilance, paranoia and a pronounced instinct for self-preservation become the new norm, whether conscious or not” All extremes are bad ...Decades of conservative pressure on the ABC are paying off

How to make Google and MEdiaDragon forget your most embarrassing stork like searches ...

Vrbov and its Storks above the Catholic's Priest Parish:bocian links
Also note the beautiful “free city” of Rust, Austria.  (Among other things, Rust is known as a haven for storks, including those in the photos below.  Most buildings in the old town have stork nests on their roofs.)
I come from a town of beheaded closed cafés
from a town of latticed houses
from a town whose old execution square is now called Martyr’s Square
from the meeting place of cigarette smoke and angels’ wings
they’ve named the barracks The Resting Place
which makes no reference to the Restlessness of the Sentries
polluted by two strands of a woman’s hair
two strands!
I come from the town of stubborn singers
from the place of my own martyrdom
~ Bathroom Poetry 

 “The silence caught you by the throat, made sadness press into your thoughts." Notes from Bohemian Underground

In case you missed it, most deadly escapes remain invisible theatres of the absurd until something reminds us of their existence...

“In these few, graceful pages you will find
Translation of an untranslated mind;
A heart brought home that had aspired to be
At one with a serener clerisy—
Latin and Christian, still, unchanging, true:
And was, as it too intimately knew,
Contingent, fallen, unrelieved by prayer;
The prey of spleen, regret, bad jokes, despair.”  

Deceptively brief and seemingly lightweight: ‘Signs Preceding the End of the World’
It Takes a Village To Teach Swimming in a Fish Pond: a pale shade of green resembling that of the willow: Village of  Vrbov  

            When someone leaves
            Your life, you’re left with a story
            You’ll fetch from your minds library

            When sleep eludes you and you sit
            In the quiet of the kitchen, surrounded
            By the dark and empty rooms of self.

"Browse free or die? New Hampshire library is at privacy fore." Lynne Tuohy of The Associated Press has this report

“I ask you:
what are poems for? They are to console us
with their own gift, which is like perfect pitch.
Let us commit that to our dust. What
ought a poem to be? Answer, a sad
and angry consolation. What is
the poem? What figures? Say,
a sad and angry consolation. That’s
beautiful. Once more? A sad and anry

Citizen journalists’ have become powerful allies in the fight to afflict the comfortable 

A “masterpiece” once meant a singular work by a master. Nowadays, the word is used to praise collectively created work. We've lost sight of what makes a master masterly... Master Stokes

Politics without imagination is a politics without solidarity or moral understanding. It is a narrow politics of grievance, and it is prone to authoritarianism... Memories of Totalitarian Tendencies 

We want to believe in the idea of limitless potential, with success more a matter of willpower than of talent. But believing doesn't make it true...  Look at MEdia Dragon a Total Failure 

A progressive with a dim view of humanity, Ray Bradbury understood that tyranny is at its most potent when it seems most benevolent...  Velvet Tyrants 

“The life of Tolstoy  is a novel that might have been written by Aksakov in its beginning, by Gogol in the middle and by Dostoevsky in the years following the conversion. He was not so much a man as a collection of double-men, each driven by enormous energy and, instinctively, to extremes. A difficulty for the biographer is that while we grin at the sardonic comedy of Tolstoy’s contradictions and are stunned by his blind egotism, we are also likely to be infected by his exaltation: how is this exclamatory life to be brought to earth and to be distributed into its hours and days?”

We never rightly understand the existence of another, do we?
Curta The difference between ideas and facts is lost on leftist scholars 
Today Professor Florin Curta is a professor in medieval history and archaeology at the University of Florida, but his road to the sunny vistas of north-central Florida came by way of communist-controlled Romania, where growing up he grappled with empty grocery stores, power outages, and an oppressive government that discouraged creativity and free enterprise.
Curta grew up under the iron-fisted regime of Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu, a dictatorship characterized by unrelenting state-control, extreme poverty and widespread dilapidation and deprivation. Ceaușescu was overthrown and executed by firing squad in 1989, leaving his country in shambles.
Curta, meanwhile, managed to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of Bucharest in 1988, and left his country in 1993, having been invited to pursue a Ph.D. at Western Michigan University after delivering a speech before the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Mich Professor raised under communism explains academics’ love of socialism – and why they’re wrong.

“Winter evenings also had their charm. The entire family shut itself up, shivering, into the main house, isolated by snow and silence. The tile stoves crackled. Time passed with delectable slowness. Numb with contentment, little Leo told himself that no house in the whole world was more beautiful than the one in which he had been born.”
In looking for the best books of (every) month, we read as much as we can. But let's face it: every month there is a mountain of new titles, and sometimes we overlook something deserving. That's what happened with Matti Friedman's Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story, published in May. Best Books of the Year So Far: Biographies and Memoirs

The dark realization came to him that a difficult and miserable age had begun for him, and he couldn’t imagine when it would end. “. . . cooled by reflection and time, I came to see that perhaps it doesn’t matter whether the writers we most care about receive their `due.’ Only the living need praise. Writers like [Edwin Arlington] Robinson survive in their work, appreciated by readers who aren’t afraid to be left alone with an old book.” `To Be Left Alone with an Old Cold Book'
In Ben Lerner’s account, poetry is the perfect medium for failure. Even great poems, he claims, perform this failure by suggesting the transcendent in their absence. “You can only compose poems that, when read with perfect contempt, clear a place for the genuine Poem that never appears.”
The New Republic

Millennials are politically weird. If it were just that they’re generally more liberal than older folks, that wouldn’t be weird. In fact, that might be a reasonable thing to expect from a racially diverse and less religious group that has been unduly punished by the Great Recession. But the weirdness comes in the detailed pattern of their liberalism—in the issues on which the do (and do not) show unusual liberal tendencies. This pattern, as far as I can tell, is genuinely new and remains almost wholly unexplained. The Mystery of Millennial politics

David Goodhart writing about the UK: Why are some lower-income groups becoming more nationalistic?:
…while many people in the top 20 or 30 per cent of the educational and economic hierarchy have become less attached to national social contracts in the past couple of generations, most people have actually become MORE attached to them. There are several reasons for this. The welfare state has been expanding not contracting in recent decades—think tax credits and the rise of housing benefit—and although state employment overall has been in decline, if you live in some of the most run down parts of Britain you are more likely than ever to be employed by the state. The fragmentation and disappearance of a once familiar industrial working class culture and the declining status of much non-graduate employment may also have contributed to a greater attachment to the symbols and benefits of national citizenship. The loss of tight local communities may have produced a stronger attachment to the imagined community of the nation. And the benefits of national belonging CAN be diminished by European integration and rapid, large scale immigration: this is not merely false consciousness.
For perfect poolside reading I would recommend Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads: A new history of the world (Oxford University Press). It’s a long, eye-opening and comfortingly old-fashioned essay in “big sweep” history, telling the story of the world from an Eastern perspective, and nicely deflating Western prejudices (it’s a world in which ancient Iran is a beacon of stability and good taste, Greece by implication a small-scale trouble maker). I shall be taking a handful of Elena Ferrante’s novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend (Europa) – if only because it’s getting embarrassing to confess I haven’t read them (or worse, half-pretending that I have).
TLS summer reading recommendations

Scientists are finally figuring out why you only get mitochondrial DNA from your mum

When roving bandits appear on the scene, you begin to miss the old stationary bandits: Jonathan Rauch wants to bring back the political Establishment of days past, by revisiting primary and campaign-finance laws that were meant to curb the role of party regulars. [The Atlantic]
Bonus, Terry Teachout: “In a totally polarized political environment, persuasion is no longer possible: we believe what we believe, and nothing matters but class and power. We are well on the way … the gap that separates the two Americas has grown so deep and wide that I find it increasingly difficult to imagine their caring to function as a single nation for very much longer. …The main obstacle that stands in the way of the soft disunion of America is that Red and Blue America are not geographically disjunct, as were the North and South in the Civil War.”

Ikonnikov’s hands and face were smeared with clay. He held out some dirty sheets of paper covered in writing and said: ‘Have a look through this. Tomorrow I might be dead.’
‘All right. But why’ve you decided to leave us so suddenly?’
‘Do you know what I’ve just heard? The foundations we’ve been digging are for gas ovens. Today we began pouring the concrete.’
‘Yes,’ said Chernetsov, ‘there were rumours about that when we were laying the railway-tracks.’
He looked round. Mostovskoy thought Chernetsov must be wondering whether the men coming in from work had noticed how straightforwardly and naturally he was talking to an Old Bolshevik. He probably felt proud to be seen like this by the Italians, Norwegians, Spanish and English – and, above all, by the Russian prisoners-of-war.
‘But how can people carry on working?’ asked Ikonnikov. ‘How can we help to prepare such a horror?’
Chernetsov shrugged his shoulders. ‘Do you think we’re in England or something? Even if eight thousand people refused to work, it wouldn’t change anything. They’d be dead in less than an hour.’
grossman‘No,’ said Ikonnikov. ‘I can’t. I just can’t do it.’
‘Then that’s the end of you,’ said Mostovskoy.
‘He’s right,’ said Chernetsov. ‘This comrade knows very well what it means to attempt to instigate a strike in a country where there’s no democracy.’ …
Chernetsov’s blind, bloody pit stared at Mikhail Sidorovich Mostovskoy.
Ikonnikov reached up and grasped the bare foot of the priest sitting on the second tier of boards. ‘Que dois-je faire, mio padre?’ he asked. ‘Nous travaillons dans una Vernichtungslager.’
Gardi’s coal-black eyes looked round at the three men. ‘Tout le monde travaille là-bas. Et moi je travaille là-bas. Nous sommes des esclaves,’ he said slowly. ‘Dieu nous pardonnera.’
C’est son métier,” added Mostovskoy.
‘Mais ce n’est pas votre métier,’ said Gardi reproachfully.
‘But that’s just it, Mikhail Sidorovich, you too think you’re going to be forgiven,’ said Ikonnikov, hurrying to get the words out and ignoring Gardi. ‘But me – I’m not asking for absolution of sins. I don’t want to be told that it’s the people with power over us who are guilty, that we’re innocent slaves, that we’re not guilty because we’re not free. I am free! I’m building a Vernichtungslager; I have to answer to the people who’ll be gassed here. I can say “No.” There’s nothing can stop me – as long as I can find the strength to face my destruction. I will say “No!” Je dirai non, mio padre, je dirai non.’
Life and Fate: “There’s nothing can stop me – as long as I can find the strength to face my destruction.”

For a few, suffering and loss bring wisdom, often cold wisdom, which offers only cold comfort to those who suffer. The twentieth century was a vast machine for destroying human beings, and the twenty-first doesn't look like much of an improvement. Here is an anecdote told by Nadezhda Mandelstam (1899-1980) in the first volume of her memoirs, Hope Against Hope (trans. Max Hayward, 1970):
“Not long ago, as I was traveling in an overcrowded bus, an old woman pushed up against me and I found my arm was bearing the whole weight of her body. `That must be killing you,’ she said suddenly. `No,’ I replied, `we’re as tough as the devil.’ `As tough as the devil?’ she said, and laughed. Somebody nearby also laughingly repeated the phrase, and soon the whole bus was saying it after us. But then the bus stopped and everybody started to push toward the exit, jostling each other in the usual way. The little moment of good humor was over.”
Some would be offended by the old woman’s clumsiness and make a scene. Mandelstam had endured too much – her husband’s murder, decades of internal exile in the Soviet Union -- to indulge such sensitivities. And who is the referent to the “we” in “we’re as tough as the devil”? Human beings? Russians? Survivors of communism? Such moments of unprompted camaraderie are rare and fleeting. `The Little Moment of Good Humor was Over'

All my friends drowned  
in the river and left me
with the gods. They now called me digital dust...
“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life,” Nietzsche wrote in his 1873 reflection on the true value of education. The task of education, John Dewey asserted a generation later in his timeless treatise on how we think, is not “to teach every possible item of information [but] to cultivate deep-seated and effective habits of discriminating tested beliefs from mere assertions, guesses, and opinions.” But in order to reap the rewards of what we call education, we must actively elect the acquisition of those mental habits — for, as Adrienne Rich argued in her spectacular 1977 commencement address, an education is something we claim rather than something we get.  Iron Curtain Crossing

Man: a dance of midges,
Gold glass in the sunlight,
Prattle of water, palaver
Of starlings in a disused
Chimney, a gimcrack castle,
Seaweed tugging the rocks,
Guttering candles, the Northern
Lights and the Seventh Wave.

Man: A Flutter of Pages Living in a Taxing Cave ...
Whose life is a bluff, professing
To follow the laws of Nature,
In fact a revolt, a mad
Conspiracy and usurpation,
Smuggling over the frontier
Of fact a sense of value,
Metabolism of death,
Re-orchestration of world 

Writing A Novel Is A Painful Process With Very Little Chance Of Success, So Why Do It?

Writing A Novel Is A Painful Process With Very Little Chance Of Success, So Why Do It?“I once read another writer, I forget whom, saying that their writing was a sort of wolf call to their tribe, and I think there’s some truth in that; I write for my tribe, an imaginary group of readers who are a bit like me on the inside.”  LitHub

"World War II veteran's stories inspire Supreme Court chief justice, also a veteran": Steve Fry of The Topeka Capital-Journal has this report

“I was there, at Wipers and the Somme.
I left one leg at some place near Cambrai
And counted myself lucky, not like Tom,
My pal, what I won’t see till Judgement Day.”
~ via WWI poem

 Census Infographic: 30-Year-Olds: Then and Now: “This infographic shows how 30-year-olds today compare with those in 1975. It provides comparisons on characteristics of these young adults, such as having been married, enrollment in school, living on their own and living with a child. Selected socio-economic characteristics are also included, such as having a high school diploma, participating in the labor force, earning a moderate income and owning a home. This collection of visualizations presents data from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement from 1975 and 2015. Internet address:”

7 stabbed at neo-Nazi event outside Capitol in Sacramento Los Angeles Times

PreparationPour whiskey into Collins glassfilled with ice. Fill to desired level with 7 Up. Stir lightly.
7 and 7 is a popular type of highball, a mixed alcoholic drink containingSeagram's Seven Crown and 7 Up. It is typically served with ice.
Mac News: Not sure if iPhone 7 without Steve Jobless  will sell much iPhone 7