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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cats

"I believe cats to be spirits come to earth.  A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through."  
Jules Verne

Monday, August 30, 2010

The End Of The Open Internet?

The liberal US magazine The Nation reports that Google wants to transform wireless communications into a digital version of a bad cable TV package. Instead of a free and open Internet that will take all users where they want to go—thanks to the longstanding neutrality principle, which guarantees equal access to all websites and applications—the Google plans would permit Internet service providers to speed up access to some content while leaving the rest behind. Such "pay for priority" would allow big business to buy speed, quality and other advantages—which would not be merely commercial. Now that the American Supreme Court has afforded corporations electioneering rights equal to those of citizens, decisions about how we communicate have a profound political component to them. We will be forgiven for presuming that the fight to maintain equal access to the Internet, or "net neutrality," could not possibly be as consequential as our wrangling over matters economic, social and military. It's hard to get charged up for a fight on behalf of "neutrality." Yet if citizens do not engage—and fast—decisions made now about how we communicate could warp every political debate in the future.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Heroic

"A man can be destroyed but not defeated. "
Ernest Hemingway 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Small World

As a child, Dong Young-bae used to hide from his parents to dance to cassettes of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. He says he was too shy to tell anyone he wanted to become a famous singer and dancer. Not anymore. Today the 22-year-old South Korean singer and dancer known as Taeyang is in the spotlight as an international pop star. Thanks in no small part to a long-standing trend in Asia that renders all things Korean cool, Taeyang is going global, riding the so-called Korean wave all the way out West. Taeyang, who is better known in South Korea as the voice of the Korean boy band Big Bang, released his first solo album, Solar, online last month. It hit No. 2 on iTunes' R&B sales charts in the U.S. and No. 1 in Canada — a first for an Asian artist. "In the beginning, it was hard to believe I had fans buying my album so far away," says Taeyang, whose name means "sun" in Korean. He says he didn't do any promotion in North America for the album, which was recorded in Korean and targeted fans in South Korea and Japan. "The world is smaller now."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Inspiration

"You can't wait for inspiration, you must go for it with a club!"
Jack London

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friendship

"True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable."
Dave Tyson Gentry

"A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad." 
Arnold H. Glasgow

"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." 
Elisabeth Foley

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As Good As It Gets

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chocolate for the heart

Note to chocoholics: When it comes to chocolate’s health benefits, less may be more. Swedish women who ate one to two servings of dark chocolate a week had almost one-third fewer cases of heart failure than those who didn’t eat it, a new study reports, but the results suggest that there was no protective effect for women who ate chocolate every day or almost every day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good People

"I get very tired of the smug self-satisfaction, the holier-than-you attitude, the sneering meticulousness of men and women with whose outlook on economic and social questions I often find myself regretfully in accord. They rush to the aid of any liberal victor, and then proceed to stab him in the back when he fails to perform the mental impossibility of subscribing unconditionally to their dozen or more conflicting principles. They cannot lead, they will not follow, and they refuse to cooperate."
Harold Ickes (1874-1952)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Auto-Tune For The Rest Of Us

In recent years the world of software for musicians has exploded, with performers using their smartphones as metronomes or tuning devices. The pianist Robert Taub has plunged in with an app, Improvox, which made its debut on iTunes last month, at $7.99 a download, and has sold a few thousand so far, Mr. Taub said. Improvox promises to do much of what a well-equipped commercial recording studio can do, correcting notes that are sharp or flat. That is a task that was pioneered by Auto-Tune software, a plug-in for audio software used in recording studios. Being able to fix pitch or intonation problems is particularly helpful after a recording session, when the engineer and the producer discover that their big-name singer was slightly off. MuseAmi uses different technology to correct pitch, and does so in real time. It can also generate harmonies, chosen by icons on its touch-pad screen. The icon that looks like Johann Sebastian Bach gives a singer a Baroque backup. The icon that looks like a barber pole adds three other voices for a barbershop quartet sound, with dominant chords. And there are other icons for other effects, but as Mr. Taub explained, “you don’t need to know any music theory.”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eternal Mystery

"Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer the great question that has never been answered: what does a woman want?"
Siegmund Freud

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some Eyes Can See

This a true, but nevertheless remarkable story:  Paulina Marks always wanted to be like Gloria Vanderbilt, the American celebrity author. In 1941, when she was 16, Paulina saw a picture of Gloria in Vogue. She liked her look so much that she immediately cut bangs and wore them for at least a decade. Fast-forward to 2010. Mrs. Marks is now 85. Gloria Vanderbilt has not figured much in her life for the past 69 years. She gave up bangs years ago. This June, as she came to the door at the Eighth Avenue entrance to Pennsylvania Station, a homeless-looking man, stretched out just to the side of the door, said to Pauline: “Hello, Gloria Vanderbilt, what are you doing here?” She replied, “I am on the town,” as she rushed for her train to New Jersey. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Enough Talk

"Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of the genius."
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Human Rights

The concept of human rights, including natural rights, stretches back centuries, and "the rights of man" were a centerpiece of the age of democratic revolution. But those droits de l'homme et du citoyen meant something different from today's "human rights." For most of modern history, rights have been part and parcel of battles over the meanings and entitlements of citizenship, and therefore have been dependent on national borders for their pursuit, achievement and protection. In the beginning, they were typically invoked by a people to found a nation-state of their own, not to police someone else's. They were a justification for state sovereignty, not a source of appeal to some authority—like international law—outside and above it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Art

"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. "
William Faulkner

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Question

Overheard in Manhattan while crossing West 58th Street at Columbus Circle: An impeccably dressed, middle-aged man on his cellphone: “I’m calling to see if you can explain Lady Gaga to me.”

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prophetic Words By Stevie Wonder


Good morn or evening friends
Here's your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to every-body
What I'm about to say
Could mean the world's disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It's that
Love's in need of love today
Don't delay
Send yours in right away
Hate's goin' round
Breaking many hearts
Stop it please
Before it's gone too far

The force of evil plans
To make you its possession
And it will if we let it
Destroy ev-er-y-body
We all must take
Precautionary measures
If love and please you treasure
Then you'll hear me when I say

Oh that
Love's in need of love today
love's in need of love today
Don't delay
don't delay
Send yours in right away
right a-way
Hate's goin' round
hate's goin' round
Breaking many hearts
break-ing hearts
Stop it please
stop it please
Before it's gone too far
gone too far

People you know that
Love's in need of love today
love's in need of love today
Don't delay
don't de-lay

Send yours in right away
right a-way
You know that hate's
hate's
Hate's goin' round
goin' round
Breaking many hearts
break-ing hearts
Stop stop it please
Before it's gone too far
gone too far

It's up to you cause
Love's in need of love today
love's in need of love today
Don't delay
don't de-lay
Send yours in right away
right a-way
You know that hate's
hate's
Hate's goin' round
goin' round
Breaking-hate's tried to break my heart many times
break-ing hearts
Don't-you've got to stop it please
stop it please
Before before before
gone too far

Love's in need of love love today
love's in need of love today
Don't delay
don't de-lay
Send yours in right away
right a-way
You know that hate's going around
hate's goin'
Hate's going around hate's going around
round break-
And it tried to break up many hearts
ing hearts Stop
You've got to I've got to They've got to
it please
We've got to They've got to We've got to
gone
Stop it before it's gone too far
too far
Love's love's in need of love
love's in need of love
Did you ever think that love would be in need of love today
to-day don't
Don't delay
de-lay
Send yours right away
right a-way

Hate's hate's
hate's goin' round
Bring it down a little love is very peaceful
So bring it down a little
stop it please
gone too far
love's in need
of love today
don't delay
right away awaaaay
love's in need
of love today
don't delay
right away awaaaay
hate's goin round
breaking hearts
Well, please stop it
Um L-O-V-E love Oh, L-O-V-E lo---------ve
love's in need
of love today
don't delay
right away
Just give the world LOVE.
(Written in 1975)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pill Beats Chocolate

You might think that, given the choice, most patients would prefer taking chocolate for their high blood pressure instead of popping a pill. But that isn't necessarily the case, according to a letter to the British Medical Journal from a group of researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia. While the scientists' research suggests that the flavanol or polyphenol compounds found in dark chocolate help to lower blood pressure, they also found that a daily dose of 50 grams of chocolate (a little bigger than a regular-size Hershey bar) was "significantly less acceptable to patients" than taking a single tomato extract capsule.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Writing/Speaking

For an author to write as he speaks is just as reprehensible as the opposite fault, to speak as he writes; for this gives a pedantic effect to what he says, and at the same time makes him hardly intelligible. 
Arthur Schopenhauer 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Birth Of Sartre's Philosophy

A haircut can have significant philosophical consequences. Jean-Paul Sartre, the French existentialist thinker, had a particularly traumatic tonsorial experience when he was only seven. Up to that point everybody referred to him as “the angel.” His mother had carefully cultivated a luxuriant halo of golden locks. Then one fine day his grandfather took it into his head that young Sartre was starting to look like a girl, so he waited till his mother had gone out, then he took him to the barbershop. Little Sartre could hardly wait to show off his new look to his mother. But when she walked through the door, she took one look at him before running up the stairs and flinging herself on the bed, sobbing hysterically. In an inverted fairy-tale, the young Sartre had morphed from an angel into a “toad”. It was now, for the first time, that Sartre realized that he was “ugly as sin.” The fact of his ugliness became a barely suppressed leitmotif of his writing. He wore it like a badge of honor. The novelist Michel Houellebecq says somewhere that, when he met Sartre, he thought he was “practically disabled.” It is fair comment. He certainly considered his ugliness to count as a kind of disability. Maybe ugliness is indispensable to philosophy. Sartre seems to be suggesting that thinking — serious, sustained questioning — arises out of, or perhaps with, a consciousness of one’s own ugliness

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poor USA

"The lights are going out all over America — literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights, but similar things are either happening or being contemplated across the nation, from Philadelphia to Fresno. Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel. And a nation that once prized education — that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children — is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead."
Paul Krugman

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enough is enough

It has been a long time since flight attendant was a glamorous job title. The hours are long. Passengers with feelings of entitlement bump up against new no-frills policies. Babies scream. Security precautions grate but must be enforced. Airlines demand lightning-quick turnarounds, so attendants herd passengers and collect trash with the grim speed of an Indy pit crew. Everyone, it seems, is in a bad mood. On Monday, on the tarmac at Kennedy International Airport, a JetBlue attendant named Steven Slater decided he had had enough, the authorities said. After a dispute with a passenger who stood to fetch luggage too soon on a full flight just in from Pittsburgh, Mr. Slater, 38 and a career flight attendant, got on the public-address intercom and let loose a string of invective. Then, the authorities said, he pulled the lever that activates the emergency-evacuation chute and slid down, making a dramatic exit not only from the plane but, one imagines, also from his airline career.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Virgin Writer

"When I write, I must convince myself that it's going to be wonderful. There's a character in a great play by Tennessee Williams, Camino Real. She's the Gypsy's daughter and she's a whore, but in her heart each moonrise makes her a virgin. I'm like that - each moonrise makes me a virgin too - I'm going to write it, and this time, this time, it won't be crap. When I don't have this confidence, I'm in big trouble... When I'm hired to write a movie, I may turn in a garbage script. But at least I know that, rotten as it may turn out, it was written by the best me available."
William Goldman

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Writer's Goal

I just wanted to make sure that what I write is what appears on screen, to not have some idiot change it on its way to the screen. 
Joe Eszterhas 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mad Dogs




In tropical climes there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire
To tear their clothes off and persprie.
It’s one of those rules that the greatest fools obey,
Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry-violet ray.

Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo,
Papalaka papalaka papalaka boo,
Digariga digariga digariga doo,
Digariga digariga digariga doo.

The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they’re obviously definitely nuts!

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun,
The Japanese don’t care to.
The Chinese wouldn’t dare to,
Hindoos and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one.
But Englishmen detest a siesta.
In the Philippines
There are lovely screens
To protect you from the glare.
In the Malay States
There are hats like plates
Which the Britishers won’t wear.
At twelve noon
The natives swoon
And no further work is done.
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

It’s such a surprise for the Eastern eyes to see
That though the English are effete,
They’re quite impervious to heat,
When the white man rides every native hides in glee,
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee on a tree.

Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa,
Bolyboly bolyboly bolyboly baa,
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa,
Habaninny habaninny habaninny haa.

It seems such a shame
When the English claim
The earth
That they give rise to such hilarity and mirth.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it.
In Rangoon the heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun.
They put their Scotch or Rye down
And lie down.
In a jungle town
Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok
At twelve o’clock
They foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit
Deplores this stupid habit.
In Hongkong
They strike a gong
And fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand each inmate
Who’s in late.
In the mangrove swamps
Where the python romps
There is peace from twelve till two.
Even caribous
Lie around and snooze;
For there’s nothing else to do.
In Bengal
To move at all
Is seldom, if ever done.
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Coward On Death

"The only thing that really saddens me over my demise is that I shall not be here to read the nonsense that will be written about me and my works and my motives. There will be books proving conclusively that I was homosexual and books proving equally conclusively that I was not. There will be detailed and inaccurate analyses of my motives for writing this or that and of my character. There will be lists of apocryphal jokes I never made and gleeful misquotations of words I never said. What a pity I shan't be here to enjoy them!"
Noel Coward

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Simple Answer

From a 1970 interview with Noel Coward on ABC-TV:
DICK CAVETT: You're, you . . . what is the word when one has such terrific, prolific qualities?
COWARD: Talent.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Envy

Gertrude Lawrrence was starring in a London play that was honored by a visit from King George VI and his Queen. As the Queen entered the Royal Box, the entire audience arose to acclaim her. Miss Lawrence, watching from the wings, murmured, What an entrance! Noel Coward, on tiptoe behind her, added: What a part!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Self-Esteem

In the summer of 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe met in the Bohemian spa town of Teplitz. As Germany's greatest composer and most famous poet of their time were walking in the park immediately behind the castle in the centre of the town, the Austrian Empress and her retinue approached them. To make way, Goethe immediately went to the curbside, bowing deeply with his hat in hand. Beethoven however pushed his top hat firmly on the back of his head, crossed his arms behind his back and strode past the Empress, intentionally snubbing her and her aristocratic entourage. When Goethe had caught up with him again, Beethoven hissed: You are paying those so-called High Borns too much respect;  they ought to bow to us. The event was reported by Bettina von Arnim who admired Goethe and was appalled at Beethoven's behavior.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Broadway

"Broadway is not a jungle, it is a machine into which a great many parts snugly interlock. Yet each of these parts is brutalized; it has been deformed to fit and function smoothly. This is the only theatre in the world where every artist - by this, I mean authors, designers, composers, lighting electricians, as well as actors - needs an agent for his personal protection. This sounds melodramatic, but in a sense everyone is continually in danger; his job, his reputation, his way of life is in daily balance. In theory, this tension should lead to an atmosphere of fear, and, were this the case, its destructiveness would be clearly seen. In practice, however, the underlying tension leads just as directly to the famous Broadway atmosphere, which is very emotional, throbbing with apparent warmth and good cheer."
Peter Brook

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fame


"I would rather be remembered by a song than by a victory."
Alexander Smith