Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What is man? A miserable little pile of secrets.
--André Malraux, Antimémoires

A new camera captures hundreds of images and lets you choose your own reality Creative expression is a wonderful thing. It makes you feel alive. Small wonder then, that one of the most enduring forms of self-expression, writing, should turn out to be good for our physical and emotional health. So next time you’re feeling down or out of sorts – write it up! Real stories come from the successes and failures, joys and sorrows of everyday life. And 20 years of research tells us that devoting 15 minutes each day to writing about what we’ve experienced , felt or dwelt on can help improve almost any ailment, body or mind. Write the wrongs ; Putting pen to paper can reap surprising health benefits Time is a river, a violent cold current of events...

Never underestimate the role of the will in the artistic life. Some writers are all will. Talent you can dispense with, but not will. Will is paramount. Not joy, not delight, but grim application.
--Alan Bennett, The Habit of Art

Happy Scribing Sometimes Even to Live is an Act of Courage
Stock analysts are not known for being a rebellious sort. Their jobs generally involve writing up dry technical reports on public companies. But Mike Mayo is not your typical stock analyst.

Since joining the industry nearly 25 years ago, Mayo has shaken up the financial world with his bold and forthright analysis of the banks he researches. In 1999, he told investors to sell all bank stocks. In 2007, he was ahead of the pack in downgrading Bear Stearns Cos. and Citigroup Inc.
Perhaps predictably, this hasn't earned him a lot of love, given that he has worked at banks himself and that his employers wanted to do business with many of the banks he was analyzing. This led to often short and stormy tenures at UBS, Credit Suisse and Lehman Bros. before he landed in his current position at Credit Agricole Securities.
Now, after a financial crisis for which banks have taken much of the blame, Mayo has written a book, "Exile on Wall Street," chronicling the problems he sees with the procedures in place for monitoring the financial system. He contends that regulators, accountants and credit rating firms do not have the right incentives to serve as good watchdogs. He slams his fellow stock analysts for providing misleadingly positive portrayals of public companies because of conflicts of interests.

Watchdogs ; [It is a deep irony that FAMU student Jan Látal's newest documentary is titled Paroubek of a Thousand Faces. The finished product, admits the 31-year-old director, fails to uncover the "real" politician and erstwhile prime minister of 16 months. In fact, Jiří Paroubek wore his "politician's face" for the duration of the shoot, Látal says. Politician has a face for all occasions ; Only two-thirds of Czechs proud of their nationality - poll Only two-thirds ]
• · Having charted Billy Beane’s sports-management breakthrough in the best-selling Moneyball. Billy Beane’s sports-management revolution, chronicled by the author in Moneyball, was made possible by Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. At 77, with his own new book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, the Nobel Prize-winning Kahneman reveals the built-in kinks in human reasoning—and he’s Exhibit A. Michael Lewis on the King of Human Error ; In novel after novel, he floats lofty, universal ideas, and then unzips his fly. The Grapes of Roth: Solipsism and lust
• · · Pakistan lies to us, sponsors militants who attack American troops, and may have knowingly harbored Osama bin Laden. With a friend like this, who needs enemies? The Ally From Hell; Kurt Vonnegut wrote - We are what we pretend to be so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” He heeded his own advice The novelist and master of self-marketing became an icon of the counterculture
• · · · Fire snowball mask movie: how leaders spark and sustain change, Peter Fuda and Richard Badham, Harvard Business Review, November 2011, p145-148. Transform to become an effective leader using interdependent metaphors - fire (representing ambition), snowball (accountability) , mask (authenticity and movie (self-reflection). It takes utter courage to name the mask.; Going to work is a high-pressure business! Between the state of economic challenges, your personal issues and family concerns—it’s easy to overlook the value of a forgotten virtue called courage (and its intrinsic value). Courageous Leadership—Dare to Take Control
• · · · · Three dead at Moravian factory as gunman was brother of arms dealer Karel Musela opened fire at the Aircraft Industries (AI) plant, killing Pavel Vlach and Petr Veselý, both members of the company's board, and injuring director Ilona Plškova, before turning the gun on himself; A libertarian economist discovers that our political leanings leave us more biased than we think. I Was Wrong, and So Are You
• · · · · · A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but anyone with even a poor sense of smell and negligible knowledge of botany will have noticed that some roses smell sweeter than others. The same goes for the names of books. As some titles evidently smell particularly sweet, there can be some rather unexpected bookish twins. Inside Books: What’s in a name?; Italian clothing company Benetton withdraws publicity shot of Benedict XVI kissing grand sheikh of al-Azhar mosque in Cairo

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I know all about couch grass, and the fearsome bindweed, and the way to get the dandelion with its root . . . . Apple trees and pear trees shed their fruit barely formed and the currant bushes, as if taken by surprise in order to please me, are going back to the wild.

This song was dedicated (and vocalised by Helen's David) to our well-balanced friend, Mark, who was born under the relevant star-sign … Indeed, advanced age is not so bad when you consider the alternative.
We sang So may you live to be 100, Sto Roky, Mark!

Man of the Moment Libra Tango (instead of Libertango)

Having forgotten Petersburg and my criminal character
I found a way to please my wife quite legally:
I sometimes go to a dancing soiree with her
And there I am forced to count “one-two-three” like a lunatic

They teach me there to dance salsa
And tango and a bit of waltz…
But no matter how hard Eugenia trains me
When I dance waltz the freylekhs (folkloric jewish dance) comes through

I want to forget reality when dancing
To think that I am still 20 or at lease just over 30
But there is this orthodox part in me that
Does not let me get away from the Jewish rhythm

My wife dreams that I lead her properly in the dance
But when dancing with other women that I should behave myself
But the moment I see other people
My soul and lips are both ready for a kiss

I don’t get to go to parties on Sundays, -
I just pop in for a minute or two…
Then I spend another 15 minutes kissing
And for the rest of the night I have a party with my passengers

So what if there are cameras out there
And “film directors” hiding in bushes with radars, -
Nothing will interfere with my party -
Neither red lights nor huge fines.

Fellini is crying, Bertolucci is weaping,
As neither of them will get as much attention as me.
I am rushing forward, and I won’t brake,
‘Cos life is beautiful, and that’s what matters!
-Partly composed by his better half, Eugenia, who is a genus of flowering plants in the myrtle family Myrtaceae.

The Bronze Horseman (Russian: Медный всадник, literally The Copper Horseman is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, it is also the name of a narrative poem written by Aleksandr Pushkin about the statue in 1833, widely considered to be one of the most significant works of Russian literature. The statue came to be known as the Bronze Horseman because of the great influence of the poem. The statue is now one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg, in much the same way that the the Copper Harbour Bridge is a symbol of Sydney or Statue of Liberty is a symbol of New York City. Saint Petersburg has inspired great works of literature by Russian authors such as Aleksandr Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ivan Turgenev, and Nikolay Gogol. The city that arose from the swamps and rivers in the early 18th century became the grace and wonder of the northern lands.

Peter the Great: Window to the West via Peterhof, Tsarskoe Selo, and Kronstadt Czech in - World Wide Web of Global-literature Tour
The Guardian's been doing a world-literature tour, asking readers to name "the best authors and books from a series of countries, creating an atlas of literature." (Yes, they already know about Jozef Imrich)

We put the names in a hat and pulled out ... the Czech Republic

On the River Again [Birthdays are like girlfriends, they come and go-unless you enjoy them Job Watch and Media Dragon's Signature; Steve Jobs wasn’t an inventor. He was a tweaker, an idiosyncratic perfectionist who took Media Dragon's ideas and made them better.. The real genius of Steve Jobs ; Wall Street Journal blogger Steve Yang offers insights into the genius Apple co-creator and CEO of the world's second most valued company (and for some moments #1). The key is that much of Jobs' brilliance and the beauty of Apple's creations can be traced back to the influence of Zen Buddhism and an emphasis on absence defining presence...Absence of his Signature Defines Presence ]
• · Social science is wrong: Crowds are not violent forces that submerge individuality and destroy rationality. In fact, they bring out the best in people CROWDS R US ; When the day was done, P.G. Wodehouse returned to his chief pleasure: writing stinkers to people who attack media dragon A life in letters
• · · When obsessive math whizzes mate, it’s bad genetic news for their offspring, says Simon Baron-Cohen. That’s the theory, anyway... Simon Baron-Cohen noticed that children with autism are drawn to 'systems' such as machines and numbers. Geeks in love ; From Lionel Trilling to Huey Newton: What is it about this anti-Christian, antidemocratic madman that appeals to Americans?.. Nietzsche-mania Born in the USA; Vladislav Davidzon's story about reading Isaac Babel in modern day Odessa made Bookslut aka Jessa miss Odessa. (“The Godly city, the star of our exile, that reluctant wellspring of all our troubles!”) Even if the only things I learned there was that vodka with honey drizzled in it is delicious and how to hitch rides without being raped/murdered. (Old cars! Only get into old cars without power locks.) His story will make you miss Odessa, too, even if you have not been
• · · · In private, Samuel Beckett was as you might imagine him: sullenly professing distaste for his own work, too fatigued to do anything new. How I dislike that play now ; The lament of an aging professor: Everything is suddenly a distraction to William Ian Miller. His brain is balsa wood floating in a helium sea. In truth, his brain is shrinking. And so is yours Losing It
• · · · · As creatures of thought, we are thinking all the time, but that does not necessarily mean that we are thinking well. Answering the law school exam, like solving any problem, requires that the student exercise thinking in an effective and productive manner. This Article provides some guidance in that pursuit Thinking' in a Deweyan Perspective ; Will you still house me, when I’m 64?
• · · · · · This highly personalised political sphere provides the perfect environment for populist politics No role for the drover’s dog: the contemporary emphasis on leadership; Strategies without tactics is the slow road to victory . . . it is better to have the right strategy and then work out the tactics - Major General Jim Molan AO Leadership – Strategy rules!