Friday, July 07, 2017

Dark Ugly Communist Red Corners: Prague Nights

May you be like a lamp: hang by day, burn by night and be snuffed out in the morning." Welcome to the long tradition of bohemian mystery fairy tales and Praha aka Golem like curses

BIG DEAL, I THINK MY CZECHOSLOVAK ARMY CANTEEN HAD THOSE: 10,900 Year-Old Mashed Potatoes Found in Utah by Archaeologists

The life of a golem ghostwriter. Don't argue with clients, however repulsive. And remember, you'll probably receive no recognition — which may be a good thing Be Happy  life is as it is 

For many historians, the Polish-born pope’s Mass in Victory Square, more than anything else, set in motion the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall a decade later and the dissolution of the Soviet Union soon thereafter. The people in attendance knew exactly what President Trump meant when he spoke of how the millions of Poles attending that Mass “did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: ‘We want God.’”
But I wasn’t in the audience; I was watching it on TV and following Twitter’s response to the speech. It was remarkable how many people immediately assumed Trump was talking crazy or just making stuff up (I am paraphrasing very charitably here).
I understand that response. Trump often does say crazy things. He does make stuff up — but usually not in prepared texts at big events.
It struck me how a lot of our political polarization is fueled by plain old ignorance.
* * * * * * * *
It is a common human foible to think you know more than you do and to assume that when someone, particularly someone you don’t like, says something you don’t understand that the fault must be in the speaker, not the listener. “It’s a universal law — intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education,” observed Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”

Catching up with the Beats. Kerouac and Ginsberg are gone, but their writerly friends carry the torch. In their 80s and 90s, they haven’t exactly mellowed with age Recycled Teenagers 

E.M. Forster called him a “mixture of insolence and nervousness.” Hemingway said he had “the eyes of an unsuccessful rapist.” What made Wyndham Lewis so unlikable?... Successful East Latituder MEdia Dragon 

Yes, power corrupts. It also makes us stupid by undermining the same capacities we need to gain it in the first place Christ and G-d  

He fell into a vat of boiling water for scalding pigs; then he contracted polio. Does Harry Crews’s childhood explain his affinity for the grotesque?  Kafkaesque 

Take a trip to Sin City: John Banville on why the best crime fiction is ...

Benjamin Black's Prague Nights review: hell in a Habsburg town

Irish Times

By the end, Prague Night's world of secrets, shadows and murder not only charts devious pathways to denouement but foreshadows a Europe ...
 I had become addicted, to a drug of my own design and manufacture. Now, nine novels later, the monster has escaped from Dublin, and from contemporary times, and in his latest, Prague Nights, we find him dabbling in blood and alchemy at the court of Rudolf II in Prague in 1600 - John Banville: My twin, lost and found

In the  snow-encrusted “heart of winter” of 1599, a bright, ambitious young doctor, Christian Stern, arrives in Prague. His intention is nothing less than to find a place in the court of Rudolf II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, and there become one of the emperor’s learned men at Hrad?any Castle.Two unexpected developments speed Stern towards his goal. The first is his discovery, within a few hours of his arrival, of the body of a young woman, a violent hole torn in her throat. The second is the fact that the eccentric Rudolf, it emerges, has dreamt of a star coming from the west, sent by Christ, and a good omen for the throne. The very name of Christian Stern persuades His Majesty that the new young man is indeed that omen... Courtesy of Synovec Marcel ... He has contacts With most Communion Ministers around the world 

"You should speak so beautifully that only the fat cats understand you!"

G-d should bestow him with everything his heart desires, but he should be a quadriplegic and not be able to use his tongue.

"A hundred houses shall he have, in every house a hundred rooms and in every room twenty beds, and a delirious fever should drive him from bed to bed."

S-it in one hand, wish in the other, see which fills up first.

Go s-it in the cold ocean.

"May all your enemies break their legs as they dance on your grave."

"They should name someone rich after you already!"  

(Stockholm, 3 July 2017) “The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today launches its annual nuclear forces data, which highlights the current trends and developments in world nuclear arsenals. The data shows that while the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to decline, all of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are in the process of modernizing their nuclear arsenals and will not be prepared to give them up for the foreseeable future. At the start of 2017 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 14 935 nuclear weapons, compared with 15 395 in early 2016…”

BB's Pen name for John Banville - Irish carrotheads do not have to be mad about cults in Prague but it helps  ...

 "I felt as if I had been caught up in the working
s of some terrible machine from which I would never be released"

Christian Stern, or more likely Kristof Stein, a young scholar, arrives in Prague in 1599 hoping to make his fortune. His unhappy upbringing has forced him to develop sharp elbows  but there’s vulnerability and loneliness in his character too.
No sooner has he arrived in Prague then he stumbles across the body of a young woman, Magdalena Kroll, who turns out to have been Emperor Rudolph’s mistress. She has been brutally murdered. Stern is arrested but fortunately for him, the eccentric Rudolph, who is obsessed with the occult and arcane learning, believes him to be a messenger sent by the spirit world. Christian is freed and given the Imperial favour he craves. Rudolph is however very reclusive, spending most of the time shut up with his male and female lovers, his pictures and his mysterious artefacts, terrified of the threat from his brother Matthias, who would like to seize power. Christian seems to have little contact with him as he negotiates the shark-infested waters of the court and the wiles of Caterina Sardo, the Emperor’s chief mistress.
He is given the task of finding out who murdered Magdalena and also becomes involved in the search for a stolen box of coded documents. This takes him away from Prague to the town of Most (most means a bridge i.e. over cold or hot war rivers) where an English spy, Kelley, who is an associate of the alchemist John Dee, is imprisoned. Black (aka Booker prize winner John Banville) really knows how to write...
   Stern’s efforts at amateur detection are hampered by the secrecy of the court and his own lack of  

  While the story opens in the style of a classic murder mystery, the story quickly evolves into a wider and  more complex creature, taking in political machinations, English diplomats and the whereabouts of an I rish iron box whose contents quite possibly may not have anything to do with Magdalena’s death. It’s more of a study of medieval politics in Prague than a classic murder mystery... Historical figures mix with fictional characters rather brilliantly in this unravelling mystery

  This is a impressively researched piece of dark historical crime fiction by John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black, set in the Prague of 1599 and the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, The central protagonist is Christian Stern, a markedly unlikeable man. Stern is an arrogant young doctor with ambitions to make his mark and rise in the court. He arrives in Prague, gets drunk on his first night, only to find himself stumbling over the dead body of a woman in the snow. It transpires that the murdered woman is Magda Kroll, the mistress of the emperor. Rudolf takes in Stern, tasking him to investigate Magda's murder. The emperor is a man given to odd whims and has a strong interest in the occult and curses Prague Nights by Benjamin Black review – murder in the city of masks | Books | The Guardian

10 Things To Do in Prague at Night |

 On any night of the week, you can find a plethora of live music in Prague. For jazz lovers, visit the Jazz & Blues Club Ungelt, next to Old Town Square. Located in a nearly 1,000-year-old underground ...
"May G-d make you like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Like Abraham, may you wander from town to town; like Isaac, may you go blind; and like Jacob, may your children plot to kill each other."