Friday, May 31, 2019

Dads Do Get Old

43 die of flu in NSW as temperatures plummet

A total of 43 people have died of flu in NSW so far this year, eclipsing the total death toll for 2018, health authorities report.

Our dad got old. He moved in with his brother. We had all left home because we were supposed to figure out what we were good at and do it. He’d taught us that. When we came to visit, he lay in bed all afternoon, and we had to go in and get him, like he was something to be brought in out of the rain, a bag of groceries falling apart because it got wet. Pieces of memories came off: Hampden Sydney, Buckroe Beach, the shotgun.
He’d given up tennis and refused to dance. Local newspapers sat on his kitchen table for months. We talked about his life, offered tongue-in-cheek eulogies that were more like roasts. He enjoyed them all. Dark humor was the last to leave the party. It turned out the lights and took a pratfall that seemed rehearsed.
After he was gone, what next? Another man slept in the bed he’d left behind; his brother had rented the room. We filed the paperwork and waited for a sign from him, like a signal from offshore. He’d known semaphore when he was young, and we kept looking for the red-and-white flags, relaying his impressions of the afterlife.
We are old now, too. We are slowing down. We bicker and spit. We ache and stumble along with the toddlers. People never talk loud enough on the phone anymore. They never print directions big enough, and pop stars’ names look like typographical errors. But we get it now. A little late, but we get it. A glorious falling-apart is in our future.
We are on an ocean liner, leaning over the railing to see which end of the ship we are on and which way we are going. We are leaning over the railing, whistling a tune from the war. He is waiting in that small bedroom where he went and did not come out. He is sitting at the kitchen table with hundred-year-old papers. He is waiting for us...
Via GF

Assange a victim of torture and Australia shares blame, says UN expert

Meeting Assange was like seeing "some of the graver cases in interrogation prisons in terms of his psychological reaction patterns," says UN torture rapporteur.

Pity the Precocious

Pity the precocious? The hyper-intelligent often suffer from boredom, isolation, and depression — and so genius may not be the gift we perceive it to be

As Oliver Sacks wrote, between mania and depression lies “a narrow ridge of normality.” Despite his best efforts, he sometimes slipped off that ridge  

Christians have historically understood that it is not about “picking and choosing,” and that Jesus Himself is not arbitrarily throwing away some part of the law as Evans alleges here:
As a Christian, I do take some comfort in the fact that Jesus got Himself into quite a bit of trouble for his own selective literalism. Known for healing on the Sabbath, touching the untouchables, and fraternizing with prostitutes and tax collectors, Jesus liked to begin his sermons by quoting a passage of Scripture (“You have heard that it was said…”) and then turning it on its head (“but I tell you…”). Perhaps the most famous example of this technique is captured in Matthew 5:43–45, where Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”8
There is no text in any portion of the Bible that commands anyone to “hate your enemy.” Jesus is addressing either a scribal or popular misapplication of the Old Covenant Law, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which justified the adversarial treatment of Samaritans in particular and Gentiles in general (Luke 10:25–37).
A coherent Christocentric reading of the Bible reveals that loving one’s enemy is the very heart of the gospel. Beginning in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve become enemies of God, God, in response, sets about to love them — and all their fallen ancestors — with the self-sacrificial love that characterizes His own person. It is a complicated story, a story of love, of agape, a story that takes millennia to unfold. It culminates in a dehumanized, rejected Christ on the cross. It is the perfect picture of a God reconciling Himself to His enemies. The close reader understands that Jesus did not “overturn” the law, but perfectly and fully embodied it. Love has to be defined by His character, person, and actions in the Scripture. We cannot take a 21st me-centered definition of love and impose it on the text.
Furthermore, the preponderance of the times Jesus said, “You have heard it said that…,” He was not quoting the law itself, but rabbinical additions to the law. When He said, “but I say…,” He was stripping the law back to its root, affirming its goodness and offering Himself as its merciful fulfillment to those who could never keep it.
Rest in Peace: The Theological Legacy of Rachel Held Evans - Christian Research Institute

Q. Some paintings are very enigmatic. For instance, when we looked at Up the Hill and I said I thought the figure at the back looked a bit like a scarecrow, you said it wasn't intended that way but you were okay with people thinking that. Looking longer at the painting, I find myself fascinated by the very weird, somewhat ominous shadow, which seems like a tangible thing attached to the figure. Or there is the hard-to-understand setup of the two men with towels in LeBelle Cascade. And you cannot help but wonder what all that stuff is on the floor and the sideboard in Opium. Of course, there are also very straightforward portraits and outdoor scenes. So did you want a mixture of the more direct and the more mysterious (again, like putting together an album)?

A. Yeah, sure, but everything in life, directly or indirectly, has a great degree of mystery. To paraphrase Warren Zevon, "Some days I feel like my shadow's casting me." Persons, places, things … time itself is a mystery. You know, like, who can explain it? It's really difficult to define anything. What's slow can speed up. Love can turn into hate. Peace can turn into war. Pride can turn into humility. Anger to grief. How would you define a simple thing like a chair, for instance—something you sit on? Well, it's more than that. You can sit on a curb, or a fence. But they are not chairs. So what makes a chair a chair? Maybe it's got arms? A cross has arms, so has a person. Maybe the chair doesn't have arms? Okay, so it's a post or a flagpole. But those aren't chairs. A chair has four legs. So does a table. So does a dog. But they're not chairs either. So a chair is a mystical thing. It's got a divine presence.

There's a gloomy veil of chaos that surrounds it. And "chaos" in Greek means "air." So we live in chaos and we breathe it. Is it any wonder why some people snap and go crazy? Mystery is ancient. It's the essence of everything. It violates all conventions of beauty and understanding. It was there before the beginning, and it will be there beyond the end. We were created in it. The Mississippi Sheiks recorded a song called "Stop and Listen." To most music aficionados, it's but a ragtime blues. But to me, it's words of wisdom. Saint Paul said we see through the glass darkly. There's plenty of mystery in nature and contemporary life. For some people, it's too harsh to deal with. But I don't see it that way.
~Bob Dylan, interviewed 2011

Jennifer L. Thurston, Black Robes, White Judges: The Lack of Diversity on the Magistrate Judge Bench, 82 Law and Contemporary Problems 63-102 (2019

Washington Post – Apple says, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” Our privacy experiment showed 5,400 hidden app trackers guzzled our data — in a single week.
“…You might assume you can count on Apple to sweat all the privacy details. After all, it touted in a recent ad, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” My investigation suggests otherwise. IPhone apps I discovered tracking me by passing information to third parties — just while I was asleep — include Microsoft OneDrive, Intuit’s Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Washington Post and IBM’s the Weather Channel. One app, the crime-alert service Citizen, shared personally identifiable information in violation of its published privacy policy.

Lowest Denominators

Get Rich generation ignores society 

Thank you for a truly thought provoking article. It's central theme is, regrettably, well beyond my Baby Boomers' generational grasp ("A view of wealth to make us richer", May 30).
Witness the obsession that encourages unrelenting individual wealth creation regardless of the consequences for the rest of society.
Consider negative gearing. Despite the well documented restrictions of home ownership for following generations, we have elected leaders who own 13 properties each.
Until we have elected representatives who lead by example, instead of playing politics calibrated to appeal to our lowest common denominator, l don't see a chance of change. - Cleveland Rose, Dee Why

'Bigger and better than NASA': $300m rail control centre opened

Make philosophy great again

Philosopher and Music Professor Paul Kelly is invading Sydney again ... this weekend
Paul Kelly's imagination takes flight with new project

The TPB’s new chief exec, Michael O’Neill, will be familiar with Gould’s work because as assistant tax commissioner, O’Neill headed the mammoth Project Wickenby investigation. It was Wickenby’s Operation Rubix that targeted Gould and clients, including former Sunland Group chairman John Leaver and colourful investor Joe Ross

Curtains for Vanda Gould’s $383m tax panto

Neil ChenowethSenior writer


It will come as a shock to readers to learn that the Anglican church’s favourite accountant, Vanda Gould, has been defrocked, over the trifling matter of a $383 million tax fraud.
Yes, it seems way harsh, but the Tax Practitioners Board is firm: no more tax returns from Vanda, merely because of some findings of “sustained, calculated and layered

Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark, who knows as much about journalistic writing as anyone on the planet, looks at this year’s Pulitzer Prize stories and names his top leads of the year among the Pulitzer finalists.

Clark writes, “What makes a good lead? I like John McPhee’s metaphor that a lead is a flashlight that you shine into the well of the story. You don’t have to see all the way to the bottom — just far enough along to know what you are getting into.”

Clark cites one of his all-time favorite leads from a 1968 New York Times story written by the late Mark Hawthorne:
“A 17-year-old boy chased his pet squirrel up a tree in Washington Square Park yesterday afternoon, touching off a series of incidents in which 22 persons were arrested and eight persons, including five policemen, were injured.”

How Carl Jung Inspired the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous | Open Culture

Make philosophy great again. The field has been reduced to bland Continental and analytic variants — a trend that must be reversed  

The history of psychiatry is the history of our beliefs about our own minds. Breakthrough and disappointment, dogmas and counter-dogmas   

Game of Thrones finished. So did the election. What should We binge on next?

Natural preserves have beenhavens from the modern world, a place to get away. On social media, the good spots can no longer hide ...

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott apologized for police raiding the home and office of a journalist in an attempt to find the confidential source of a story the journalist was working on. On May 10, after obtaining a search warrant, police searched the home and office of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody, who had obtained a police report about the death of a public defender. He later sold that information to local media.

Evan Sernoffsky of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Scott admitted the searches were probably illegal and would be calling for an independent investigation into the incident.

“I’m sorry that this happened,” Scott told the Chronicle. “I’m sorry to the people of San Francisco. I’m sorry to the mayor. We have to fix it. We know there were some concerns in that investigation and we know we have to fix it.”

San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper tweeted:

“The problem is, you can't put this egg back together. The police have chilled sources with their actions and also know whatever is in this journalist's files. The implications are chilling.”

  • What is the most important political show TV show in America? “Meet the Press?” “Fox and Friends?” “Face The Nation?” Actually, writing for the New York Times Magazine, Amanda FitzSimon says it’s “The View.”
  • Sad news over the weekend as sportswriter Gerry Fraley died at the age of 64 from cancer. I knew Gerry. Good man and a very good sportswriter. His Dallas Morning News colleague Kevin Sherrington remembers him.
  • CNN’s Jack Guy writes that a German newspaper prints cut-out kippah and urges readers to wear it in solidarity with Jews.

“Microsoft has unseated Google at the top of the 2019 RDR Corporate Accountability Index. Telefónica outpaced Vodafone among telecommunications companies. Yet despite progress, most companies still leave users in the dark about key policies and practices affecting privacy and freedom of expression, according to the 2019 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, released today.

Who Is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the Creator of Killing Eve and Fleabag

'Fleabag' Season Two Review: A Heaven-Sent Sequel

How 'Fleabag' Sold Thousands of Jumpsuits and Made Religion Sexy

LONDON — In the first episode of season two of “Fleabag,” which debuts on Amazon Prime in the United States on May 17, the heroine, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, wears a black jumpsuit to a magnificently awful dinner with her family.

The jumpsuit cost 38 pounds, or about $50, was made by the London-based label Love, and once British viewers of the show found it online, it sold out in a day. Since the episode aired in Britain on March 4, Love has sold 2,200 jumpsuits; in the whole of 2018, they sold 800, a spokeswoman for the company said.

“All of a sudden, sales jumped,” Teri Sallas, a co-founder of the family-run label, said. “We didn’t have enough. We have had to manufacture 2,000 since then.”

In the second episode, Fleabag shares a drink with the season’s new lead character, a “cool, sweary” and “hot” (as she describes him) priest, played by Andrew Scott, who has been asked to preside over her father’s second wedding. “Do you want a proper drink?” he says, his eyes lighting up. “I’ve got cans of G and T. From M&S.” And lo, in the week after the broadcast, the British supermarket Marks & Spencer saw sales of its pre-mixed gin and tonic spike, according to the magazine Radio Times.