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  

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By the time a new dictionary is complete, it’s out of date.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

On 14 February 2006 our Mamka passed away, the day also marks the day of love as well as the birthday of our Tatko. They love reached diamond 60th wedding anniversary - a rarity these days in most families...

Most near, most dear, most loved and most far,
Under the window where I often found her
Sitting as huge as Mittleurope, seismic with laughter,
Pirozky and chicken soup filled with love in her Slavic hand,
Irresistible as Rabelais, but most tender for
The lame dogs and hurt birds that surround her -
She is a procession no one can follow after
But be like a little dog following a brass band.

She will not glance up at the bomber, or condescend
To drop her gin and scuttle to a cellar,
But lean on the mahogany table like a mountain
Whom only faith can move, and so I send
O all my faith, and all my love to tell her
That she moved from feudalism, republic, nazism, communism, capitalism
That she moved from mourning into morning.  

~A poem pinched from my Godfather Jan Brunovsky's Irish mates ...

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.) 

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.