Sunday, October 24, 2021

Carmen Mola - The fear of ageing is written all over rich men's faces.

how is it so easy for you
to be kind to people
 he asked

milk and honey dripped
from my lips as i answered

cause people have not
been kind to me

Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

~ Serving Kind Cold Revenge

Father Ray Kelly - Hallelujah

Last week, Tom Cruise's face had a moment. 

He went to a baseball game with his son. Sat front row. Smiled and waved as per the Tom Cruise brand, and... well, the photos went around the world in about three hours. Along with the headlines:

"Tom Cruise Looks Like Whole New Person At Baseball Game." 

"Tom Cruise Look Puffy After Having New Face."

"The Truth Behind Tom Cruise's Swollen Face."

Welcome to equal-opportunity body-shaming, where it matters not that we all completely respect the decisions individuals make about their bodies, we'll damn well comment on them all the same. 

The fear of ageing is written all over rich men's faces.

There is philosopher William Lane Craig who sees the (un)reasonableness of mathematics as huge evidence for God.

Microsoft Executives Told Bill Gates to Stop Emailing a Female Staffer Years Ago WSJ

       Mita Kapur Q & As 

       In the Hindustan Times Simar Bhasin has an Interview: Mita Kapur, Literary Director, JCB Prize for Literature - “I want to make the JCB Prize a true representation of what India reads”, while last week in The Hindu Anusua Mukherjee also had a Q & A with her, Art will always rise up to face adversity and succeed’: Mita Kapur

       The winner of this year's JCB Prize for Literature is to be announced on 13 November. 

      Premio Planeta 

       They announced the winner of this year's Premio Planeta de Novela last night, but earlier in the day they already dropped a bombshell about this prize which has long been by far the richest single-book-prize going: while they've paid out €601,000 to the winner in recent years, they've now topped-up the prize money, with the winner from now on getting a cool million. Very cool -- at yesterday's exchange rate that's about US$1,160,000 (or about 116 times what an American National Book Award winner-gets, or 77 times what a Pulitzer Prize-winner collects), and, at least this year, that's more than the Nobel Prize pays out. (The euro/dollar value of the krona-denominated Nobel varies year to year, depending on the exchange rate.) See, for example, the El Mundo report

       Manuscripts for the prize are often submitted under pseudonyms -- among this year's finalists, pseudonyms included: 'Yuri Zhivago' and 'El Arlequinado' -- and this was also the case for the winning title, submitted as Ciudad de fuego by 'Sergio López'. It turns out there's a well-known name behind Sergio López -- Carmen Mola, who has published several popular books in Spanish (none of which appear to have been translated into English yet); see, for example the Hanska agency information page, or 'her' official site. But ... 'Carmen Mola' is, itself, a pseudonym ! And the three -- yes, three -- authors behind the name revealed themselves for the first time with the Premio Planeta win: Jorge Díaz, Antonio Mercero, and Agustín Martínez. So they'll have to divide the (record) prize money by three ..... 
       Not only was the name they submitted the manuscript under fake, so was the title: it will be published as La bestia
       See also, for example, the EFE report, El Planeta del millón de euros acaba con el secreto de Carmen Mola

       The winner was selected from 654 entries, including 13 from the US, 2 from Israel, 1 from Romaina, and 389 from Spain. There was only 1 entry from Cuba, but 39 from Mexico, 41 from Argentina, and 18 from Colombia

Nobody knows what the experience is worth

but it’s better than sitting on your hands,

I keep telling myself.


Things slowly curve out of sight

until they are gone. Afterwards

only the curve



Night again

Again night


Fred bought a pair of ice skates.

That was 20 years ago.

He still has them but he doesn’t

skate any more.


The last surprise is when you come

gradually to realise that nothing

surprises you any more


With so short a time to live and think

about stuff, I’ve spent just about

the right amount of time on this


       Sally Rooney (not) in Israel 

       I had not thought that Sally Rooney (or any author) could possibly get more (over-heated) press coverage, good and bad, than she recently has after the publication of her new, very bestselling novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, but oh how wrong I was ..... 
       As you've no doubt heard, Rooney has, as she puts it: "for the moment, chosen not to sell these translation rights [for Beautiful World, Where Are You] to an Israeli-based publishing house"; you can find her full statement here, for example. 
       This has ... elicited reactions. 
       No way am I weighing in on this, thank you very much, but I am impressed by how quickly everyone seems to have formed an opinion (and, in most cases, published it), and obviously it's a 'big' story; if you do want to wade in, here are some links: 
       [Note: links are not to be considered endorsements of the opinions or the framing of the facts and/or arguments in these pieces. I've collected what I could find and thought might be of interest; I'm sure I've missed many insightful takes and the fact that that (or your) perceptive piece/take is not linked to should be considered an oversight, or attributed to hitting paywalls, or simply my laziness or carelessness; any and all snubs are not intentional.]

       And for some laughs (okay, yes, I do presume to judge at least this piece ...), check out Harriet Johnston's *thorough* spin on/take-down of Rooney in the Daily Mail with the breathless and very, very long headline, Normal Marxists ! How Sally Rooney loaded bestselling books with communist ideas -- from saying the 'world's beauty died with the fall of the Soviet Union' to money being a 'social construct'.  
       Shocking ! 

       About any and all of this: no e-mails, please; thank you. 

       Oh, yes, also: I haven't read or reviewed (or indeed seen) any Sally Rooney titles (or TV-miniseries adaptations), but if you're interested in Beautiful World, Where Are You, see the official site, or the publicity pages at Faber and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, or get your copy at or (It's also been widely -- to say the least -- reviewed.)