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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, January 31, 2005

January 30

I decided to leave the Diana post there for your enjoyment, for a while. But time's up for dear ole Di...again. On to the next quixotic blog entry!

Do you realise what a famous day is 30 January? It's part of 364 other days (365 on leap years), like any other, and yet, it's a date which pops up all too often in history -- memorable, goosepimply, and heroic all in one 24-hour span.

Here then is a list about the famous 30 Januarys of the past:

1649 - King Charles I of England was beheaded.
1835 - Shots fired in the US House of Representatives.
1889 - Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria commits suicide, after murdering his teenage maîtresse, Baroness Mary Vetsera.
1933 - Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany.
1948 - Gandhi was assassinated.
1968 - North Vietnamese forces launched attacks against the South Vietnamese, beginning the Tet offensive.
1969 - Beatles last public appearance.
1972 - British troops opened fire on civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland, sparking the "Bloody Sunday" massacre.
1979 - The Iranian civilian government announced that the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini would be allowed to return.
2005 - The cradle of Western civilisation, where the Tigris and the Euphrates meet in the most fertile of crescents, Iraq, had its citizens vote in their first democratic, no-strings-attached national election EVER. Well played, Iraq, well played.

Purple ink never looked so good

Finally, famous birthdays on 30/01 include Franklin Roosevelt, Vanessa Redgrave, Gene Hackman and Boris Spassky.

January 30. It's historic.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Diana Exhibit

I used today's conference for Med Students in Broward County as an opportunity to duck into the The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale , who are still showcasing their Diana, Princess of Wales exhibit.


It was held over from 31 December to 6 February, presumably to accomodate the floods of interested patrons, all wanting a look-see at the late English Rose's lifestory.

But if there are flocks, they were well-concealed under the Versace gowns, I can tell you.

It's true that it was a steady trickle of people, mostly women, although I was quite intrigued that there were some men there, all of whom actually looked fairly heterosexual. Several of them were actually unescorted, comfortably dressed older men, in their 50s at least, so that also came as a surprise.

(And before anyone complains, no, I didn't go there to check out the male hordes of Diana fanciers -- it was merely my eagle-eye always scouting around for minor details. Count yourselves lucky that I haven't critiqued the docent's impossible Scarlett O'Hara accent. And speaking of docents, these manicured-like-a-lawn know-it-alls of a certain age, what is up with having no guidebook to the exhibit? Good grief. Not that I was going to buy one, obviously, but that sweet little ole Jewish lady who hung around me, could sure have used it. She looked as if she didnt know an Earl from a Bubba)

Fortunately, I didn't pay to be there, since I'm not interested enough in the late Princess' life to poney up U$20, as cruel as that sounds. It was swag from South Motors BMW, which furnished my father's fresh new ride, gratefully giving us 2 tickets in recompense.

And am I glad I didn't, since the price of admission in no way made up for the lack of quantity of items in view (although to be more gracious, perhaps the quality did).

The first exhibit, immediately on entering, laid out the history of the Spencer family neatly for the uninitiated -- which due to that History degree I am cruelly saddled with, I do not count myself as belonging. I even knew there was a portrait of an older Spencer kinswoman who looked like eerily like the late Princess, and lo-and-behold, there it was -- and indeed, she looks just like her great-auntie, although her resemblence to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was also very pronounced, I thought. Same long nose and peaches-and-creme complexion, looking too devilishly like the "It Girl" of her own generation.

Second exhibit was the childhood years, with a plethora of "aww"-inducing objects, including baby Diana's red toy-car (for the curious, not a mini of a Mini, but an MG), her Upper 1st Form report card ("Ex" for reading, and "good" for all the rest, including "Tales"...the same boring curricula hadn't changed much later to my own time, although I can't remember any tales, except perhaps the ones I myself told), and also her father's home movies, prefaced by the opinion that Earl Spencer was a "talented amateur film maker". So why did it have the same ghastly dullness of my own home movies, I ask you? You've seen one energetic blond girlie hamming it up for papa's camera, you've seen them all.

But the anchor to which the whole exhibit revolved came next, to salvage a bit of interest for an hour spent: the famous wedding dress -- that deliciously flouncy work of art in taffeta by the quarrelsome Emanuels, who really have never lived that dress down. Come on, tell me what else they've produced even remotely newsworthy since that overgrown Cinders costume?

It really was stunning, perhaps a bit faded and lemony, even taking into account the lighting on top, but truly a masterpiece of bridegownage, if that's a word (if not, I'm making it into one, comme ça). Interestingly, I didn't know she had a parasol at the ready in case of rain, although she must've forgotten it in the royal carriage, since I don't recall any photo of her carrying it. I vaguely recall the occasion as a semi-rainy day, but later Queen's weather prevailed thankfully -- else we would've gotten a very different kind of "wet kiss" on the balcony.

The last real exhibit, since the penultimate and ultimate ones were uninteresting filler of Diana in her Dodiage, were her haute-couture gowns, rather a lot by Jacques Azzufray whom I had never heard of. The purply, ruffled crisps, Carmen Miranda-at-the-Mocambo ones were by Versace, I noticed unamazedly. How women are catty to each other, I thought, as I advanced like a bloody dreadnought out the door.

What I cannot abide by is having overpriced souvenirs in Museum boutiques, and this one was truly over-the-top pricewise.

Where is the tea cosy?

As much as I was willing to buy a bibelot of this or that item to remind me of my acid-tongue foray into Dianaworld, I'm afraid nothing caught my wallet's fancy. I was not about to pay:

- $9 for Althorp House Shortbread biscuits (25% off!!)
- $27 for Althorp House Earl Grey tea (which I hate anyway, where's the Darjeeling??)
- $225 for a Diana tea cosy set (made of solid spun gold and ranch mink, I hope)
- $99 for a Diana mizzuzah (yes, it's that Jewish thingamabob one puts on doorways -- maybe she had done a Sammy Davis, Jr and converted? Ay vat a shandeh)

But I did buy the $7 rubber ducky, with tiara.

You didn't think I would pass up a yellow baby bath ducky with a crown and eyelashes on it, did you? I should think not. And when I get a moment to scan it here in the Med School lab, I will show it to you.

Trust me, it was the best part of the exhibit.

Update: Here it is!

Just Ducky

Saturday, January 29, 2005


this is an audio post - click to play

Do as I say, and you won't regret it.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Arthur and his "two mommies"

Yes, I cop to it -- I was bemused that one of the best children's cartoons out there, namely Marc Brown's "Arthur" on PBS was going to feature an episode of "Postercards from Buster" featuring a household headed by two women. It's curious the article seemed to hint at some nefarious doings by Margaret Spellings (has there ever been a Secretary of Education with a more apposite name?). Now that's one memo I would love to have seen.

Dear Lord, it's a kiddie show for Pete's sake.

What next, Big Bird and Sebastian the Ibis (U of Miami mascot extraordinaire) caught in a torrid embrace on the sidelines?

Sebastian, GWI, 22, seeks mascot for long walks on the beach and bubble baths. Youpi! need not apply

Doc, do you think I'm the right bird for Sebastian? He's hot

Sesame Street's Maria and Miss Piggy in an episode of the "L word"? And is that Oscar the Grouch and Pee Wee Hermann watching videos in his rubbish bin? The visuals, the visuals...

Well actually, according to the article I've linked this entry to, PBS has backed off from distributing the programme, but that American ethos of lack of centralised control means that each PBS affiliate may override that decision, and decide to air it individually. If they decide to air the soporific Tavis Smiley every night, they surely won't balk at this particular thumbing of nose.

This incident reminds one of that Sesame Street character in South Africa who was HIV-positive, albeit that character never reached American shores. Might have something to do with the fact that our former presidents never denied outright that AIDS didn't exist, and that sleeping with virgins is a good way of curing the disease, but that could just be my cynicism tripping over the transom.

Well, storm in a teacup, I'm sure. Although if I know NPR, they'll be all over this story tomorrow. Maybe Terry Gross will bring on Daria and Jane to comment. My dears! That relationship was absolutely fraught.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Turner Classic Movies

Turner's Finest Hour, other than dumping Jane

Forget the days when Ted Turner and movies meant colourised classics -- although one family I used to know thought he had colourised "Gone with the Wind"; Leslie Halliwell must be turning in his grave...

These days Turner Classic Movies is the standard-bearer of all film channels in the digital world of cable.

Is there a more elegant cable channel than TCM? I doubt it.

I don't know who conceived its soigné 30's Art Nouveau design, but from start to finish, there isn't a detail they didn't personalise with its sleek lines. It reminds one of a 1932 Bugatti, a car whose original purpose of being ridden is far outdistanced by the secondary purpose of being admired.

Just the type of car ridden by a Bugatti Queen

The small intros they do before a feature begins are absolutely the smartest things I've ever seen on telly -- and I use the British sense of smart, but in fact, the American one applies as well. They appeal to the aesthetic and to the intelligence with such depth of feeling as to be almost a Caravaggio chiaroscuro come to life. "The Sunny Side of Life" always makes me smile warmly, and it evokes the kind of wistful warmth that comes with a slight touch of Great Depression bathos.

Just before turning in late last night, I checked my two recordings of Italian Realism landmarks: Visconti's La Terra Trema, and Rossellini's Germania Anno Zero (a name which lives on in Germany long after the film has been forgotten).

Now tell me, where else could I watch two such films on television? Not even the Starz! network which features "Starz! Cinema" has such a playbill, or would schedule them in prime time.

For those of you who have Turner Classic Movies in your country, namely:

TCM France
TCM Spain
TCM Latin America

You are both lucky to have the channel, but cannot imagine how much better the US version is. Oh sure, the Sundance Channel and IFC are excellent film channels in their own ways (although Sundance seems excessively preachy politically, and IFC has commercial breaks...), but they cannot compare to the artistry of TCM in film vault treasures.

And for a person such as I, whose favourite actors are character actors like Paul Muni or Lon Chaney or even Frederic March, there's no better place on television than TCM.

Oooh, Passage to Marseille is coming up. Humphrey Bogart (a character actor manqué) bliss!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Say good night, Gracie

Since the beginning of this term I have been arriving home dead to the world.

I haven't even wanted to IRC, so apologies to my friends who are awaiting news from me there. It'll be better next week, to be sure. Either way, I'll be on Wednesday, even if late.

On the plus side, the OB-GYN rotation seems rather fun. Much more than I thought, thank God. There is something about seeing life at conception and later inception, which has put the roses in my cheeks again this term.

Catch you later, guys!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Voluntários, Part Deux

I am just the tiniest bit unjaded enough to be happy that my blog has spawned itself on the 'net.

Namely, the lovely folks of "Voluntarios Pub" have contacted me with their sweet thanks for writing them up in my weblog -- Euding Maeshiro, the "guru" of the Life Symphony project especially. They've even put the 24th January entry on THEIR site.

-- Now I know how happy JSU felt when the New York Times cited his opera blog! How I love teasing that lad. --

And for those of you around the world who are Peru-bound, I'll personally feel aggrieved if you don't make the Voluntarios Pub your first port-of-call in Lima. Come on now, you can see St. Rose of Lima and feel Pizarro's skull any ole day!

Their address is:

Independencia 130 Miraflores. Frente al Double Tree Pardo Hotel.

Ooh, Miraflores. What Mayfair is to London, Miraflores is to Lima. And I see the Double Tree gang have planted there too. Is there no city they will leave unfertilised?

Here's the gang at the pub, which I found via "La Republica":

The Gang at Voluntarios Pub

That's the charismatic Euding to the right, hunks aplenty all around, with smiles looking like a million bucks -- even though their hearts are worth immeasurably more.

Good luck, guys!

Monday, January 24, 2005


I came home late last night, after a delicious day spent with my mother and her open wallet.

Leprechauns sold separately

I took her for Sunday Brunch to John Martin's Irish pub in Coral Gables -- a mainstay of the Miracle Mile restaurant scene. It had been years since either she or I had been, but it still looked a cross between an upscale eatery as conceived by an Irish-American owner for his international Haute Bourgeoisie clientele. Fortuitous, because that's exactly what it John Martin's is.

What a coincidence then, as I sipped my hot cocoa later in front of telly (trying to ward off the 40sF temperatures), that I caught sight of this SUR TV channel's presentation of Peru's Cuarto Poder ("Fourth Estate") programme.

What Fantastico is to Brazil, what 60 Minutes is to the US, so do Peru's twin Sunday news programmes fill that bill, one of which is Cuarto Poder -- hosted by the delectable Raúl Tola.

The best segment, other than some elderly Tarapaqueños who mourned the loss of their city to Chile in a war between the two Andean nations, was about a Japanese-Peruvian named Euding Maeshiro, who started a fully-manned-by-volunteers pub called, self-referrentially, "Voluntarios".

It's completely staffed by volunteers, with the exception of the bartender and bouncer I think I understood, most of whom by the looks of them, are upper-class Peruvians, educated, well-to-do, and white. This last is often the only needed social carte blanche in South America.

Maybe in the "Anglo" world, as Peruvians and others would call it, volunteering your time and effort to worthy causes isn't something which raises many eyebrows. Even the very rich -- no, I would say, especially the very rich -- have a tradition of doing so, without prompting, and without fanfare.

But in South America, and Peru, that's not so common. In fact, it's uncommon enough to end up as an inspiritational story on a Sunday newsmagazine broadcast. And of course, therein lies their tragedy, because though top-down power is common enough the world over, top-down charity is not.

I don't think this point can be overstated. A nation is only as good as its people, but its leaders must be the best of them all for it to succeed. This doesn't mean politicians, it doesn't mean their clergy, and it doesn't mean their bankers. It means their elite in totality.

This is why the Voluntarios pub is such a brilliant and much-needed concept. Young, rich, high-society Peruvians serving one or two nights on rota basis in this pub, as nothing more than waiters/waitresses, doing the washing up afterwards, tending bar, for free. All wages deferred, all tips donated, all going to charitable causes around Lima.

That's brilliant.

Interestingly, as I left John Martin's, I noticed they had a "Tsunami Kitty" drive on the way out, as you could put in this or that amount so it could be sent on to the victims of the Christmas floods. In went my tenner, and my mother's cheque, prompting a twinkle from the lady at the till.

So I think the moral of this blog entry seems to be, charity begins in pubs. But then, I suppose it always did.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Poor ole Johnny Carson

Bit before my time in the US, although I certainly have seen excerpts of his talk show, which holds the same affectionate place as does Michael Parkinson in Britain.

Just a bit naughty, but with the kind of naughtiness rather square men have, they who often get dated quickly, but we still love them for it anyway.

If they're good, that is.

If they're not, they fall the way of Joey Heatherton then, or Andrew Dice Clay, now.

Speaking of which, the parade of stars that came out yesterday, as news was plastered on American airwaves of Johnny's passing, was mind-boggling.

Every has-been (Don Rickles) or never-really-was (Joe Piscopo) was trotted out to remember a much more innocent time, when all it took to be funny was to put on a magician's hat, or giggle at a badly printed cue-card, and even taking an imaginary swing of a golf club tugs the heart strings, because who would do that today? No one.

It's not so much a person who has passed, so much as a whole 'nother time in American history. As long as he was alive, even though one knew it was gone, it still felt alive. Now it's just...gone.

RIP Johnny.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Opie inconveniences the French

Filming is set to begin in the Louvre, the opening locale of "The Da Vinci Code", Dan Brown's hyper-bestseller .

Some weeks ago, I read in the imdb board that the French were severely inconvenienced by this Da Vinci Code mania, tourists now adding L'Eglise de Saint-Sulpice to their set Louvre-Arc de Triomphe-Tour Eiffel itinerary, and even congregating outside that Swiss bank, goodness only knows what they're hoping to see; maybe a guard revealing a cilice on one of his brawny thighs.

La Gioconde is really very small

To be sure, inconveniencing the French is the least of prices to pay for bringing this book to life, they who think nothing of sticking it to the tourists with their interminable Métro improvements and who close down the Mikimoto shop in the Place Vendôme from June to September, JUST during the summer months, since of course, they're all busy having fun in St. Bart's then. Do you know how long I've tried to see the inside of the Mikimoto shop? Years, my friends. Years. Although of course I wouldn't actually buy anything, but they're not to know that.

Still, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks "Angels & Demons" would've made a better adaptation.

Yes, it shares the now trademark Dan Brown simplistic writing, lectural intervals, and dizzyingly anti-Catholic undertones, but it's a much pleasanter read.

Who can't love a book which features a smart and sassy character named Vittoria?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Soare cu dinti

There's a saying in Romanian...about a cold morning indeed but one in which the sun is shining; they call it "soare cu dinti", sunshine with teeth.

There are phrases in some languages that just capture the very exactness of life -- soare cu dinti is a living testament.

Today is such a day where I am.

Sun shining with a defiance despite the 50s° F weather -- not cold to be sure in Ulan Bator, balmy for Mongolians in fact, but the perfect weather for me, and yet the tiniest bit cold enough for me to put on a jumper as I drink tea on my balcony.

Stretching before me is the Bay of Biscayne, glittering and sparkly like a cracker whenever the sun chooses to rest on this wave or that, and the various oddments of houses, sitting like spoilt children, waiting to be plucked out by the sun.

The phrase itself reminds me of my schoolchum Alina Cantacuzino, a Romanian emigré foundling, who arrived late one schoolyear from New York. Her mother, it was rumoured in the cruel halls of my boarding school, had run away with another man, leaving her husband and child a few years ago. It was a story I was to hear rather a lot about Romanian emigrés, whose women were considered rather wild and not to be trusted.

Unlike almost all the rumours of one's childhood, this one turned out devastatingly true. Alina was the only girl in my form who, when Parents Day rolled around, didn't have a mother entered in the mother-daughter sack races. She was the only girl who, when Christmas rolled around, didn't receive a card and goodies bag from her mother, extra treats permitted by our Head, who otherwise kept a tight lid on excessive gluttony like all good low church Anglicans. She was the only girl who, at night, when some girls cried out during nightmares, didn't wake up rubbing her eyes, asking for her mother.

It was one morning, when the sun was shining against all odds in the depressing damp of Oxfordshire, that she quietly (she did everything noisily, so that was memorable in and of itself) told me about soare cu dinti.

I wasn't but 12 or so, but even then I realised, as children sometimes understand truths which become less noticeable with age, that soare cu dinti is not a phrase with which boring people like the good burghers of Oxfordshire can come up, they who stint themselves on too many sweets.

It's the kind of phrase that can only be dreamt up by a people who know that behind all happiness, there is a spectre of sadness lurking near.

I always enjoy sunshine, toothless or grinning. My mother taught me to, after all.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Llanelli three times

I came home for lunch, and now my Mercedes loaner car won't start. What a rotten piece of luck, on my first day back to Med School too (classes began on Tuesday, but the upper classmen report Monday -- I'm in fact early...for a change).

I've been watching the Inauguration, and in fits and starts, have been waiting for my recording of that indefitagably Welsh city in South Wales, "Llanelli", to appear on this blog. Nothing yet, 2 hours later.

How frustrating.

I so wanted to give Crankshaw a frisson. And let's face it, how many of those can he get in Troon?

Off I go, in public transport. And me wearing my best red power mini-skirt suit too. I shall be home by 7, I hope...

UPDATE: Here it is finally.

2nd attempt at Llanelli

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Your favourite Blogs

Seth Godin's head on Seth Godin's blog

This past week has been a cornucopia of blogs for me, as I run around blogospace in search of sites which might make my Haunts & Lurks section.

In doing so, I can't help but be impressed by the sleek lines and look of certain blogs. And in turn that makes me:

1) Admiring
2) Humbled
3) And gets my competitive juices flowing

Which I would hope would be the reaction of any ambitious person.

It was partly this reason why I changed my blog's look yesterday, from the dowdy Minimalist Ochre, to the smart lines of TicTac Green, so much more pleasing to the eye, and yet not dour like the Blue version. It even has a hint of what-the-hellishness...rather like its owner.

It'll take me a while to get, as car salesmen would have it, all the bells-and-whistles of other blogs. Already my attempts at a scroll-down thingie were foiled, because I can't get my head around the proper HTML codes. Ah well. What can you expect from a Ford Focus.

So my question to you is:

What are your favourite blogs that you can recommend to me? Why?


AudioBlogger.com - click to play

Ooh. Very cool. Now if only they'd offer webcam services, we'd be in there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Urban Buzz

The first of an on-going series, Urban Buzz, will be vignettes of what people from around the world are talking about. A cosmopolitan fly-on-the-wall if you will (or kaffeeklatsch gossip, if you won't).

Madrid: Jaded capitalinos may be excused their lack of interest in news. Sometimes, they can be very grim reading indeed -- especially on the ossified
ABC, the darling of the Opus Dei. But for those of us whose birthright is to be upbeat, possibly due to a character flaw, comes this new website called in Spanish "Positive News Portal" .

Featured today are stories about the Stony Girls (an Inglés sin Barreras rip-off), Argentinian arts-and-crafts, and a new TV station called "Pluralia TV", which outdoes FOX NEWS as the station Big Bad Media don't want you see. You have to check it out, if only for its unrelenting boringness.

South Florida: Tout le monde Miami is abuzz about having caught sight of Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte at News Café, a few hours after their participation in the Sheraton Bal Harbour's MLK, Jr. celebrations. This is rather akin to holding Stalin Appreciation Day in Buckingham Palace, but no matter. I'm sure the Bal Harbour
shul , practically next door, were amply represented.

Daylight come and me wanna go to News Café

Maya and Harry made a wonderful Civil Rights pair, as they supped quietly with friends in the immortal SoBe eatery. I would've been there, rollerblades on foot and autograph pad in hand, had I not been still bemused by Maya's mention of
dinosaurs in President Clinton's 1992 Inauguration.

Paris: 2005 seems a millenium away from 1998, the year the French cock conquered the Brazilian Bahiana. Today, it was announced from
Le Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication , that a series of cultural celebrations called "The Year of Brazil in France", would run from March to December all over the Hexagone.

Gilberto Gil, looking more bird-like with every passing year, was on hand to be fêted by his fellow monstres of culture. As his colleague, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, said "nous nous sommes nourris les uns les autres par-delà l'Atlantique". Long may that nourishment continue.

England: The quaint town of Newport has had several George V-era pillar boxes stolen! Good grief, is nothing sacred anymore? Apart from Elton John's toupée.

It is thought by local police that the pillar boxes, as British as the roast beef of olde Englande, and almost as tasty, would fetch up to £800 on
eBay. Not if I get there first.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Bring and Buy

I have few passions as expensive as my collection of Baccarat crystal.

Sturdy paperweights, champagne glasses so delicately fluted, they'd break in your hand if you applied the least pressure, perfume bottles which hold scented memories still, and decanters which adorn my side of the living room -- three Baccarat decanters, one made with inlaid rubies, my 18th birthday present from my late maternal grandmother. My beloved Oma. She knew what I loved.

My latest acquisition comes via my mother, she of the gimlet eye for treasures.

At the Sunday church bazaar, she pounced on a perfume bottle she knew was almost certainly a Baccarat, but incorrectly labeled "Waterford". Would Cher like to be confused with Annie Lennnox? I take umbrage on their behalf for even having suggested it.

And when I say 'pounced', I mean languidly approached other items first, then almost left the booth with a mere glance at the object she really wanted. Smart lass, just like her daughter. Better Catholic though.

She walked away with a perfume bottle not unlike this, only having relieved her wallet of 10 dollars of the meekly sought after 60.

No relation to Burt Bacharat

Lovely it was, and lovely it still is.

I know already the place it will sit upon in my home. Next to its two Lalique cousins on my boudoir, which gets ample north light in the mornings, turning my bedroom into Chartres cathedral with the noon-day sun.

I have few passions as expensive as my collection of Lalique crystal...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Great Borussia Mönchengladbach Caper


You know the drill: copy-paste this unto your Winamps or similar.

Please note, since Sven asked if I had a cold, that I recorded this early in the morning, and any similarity to Lucy Ball, age 65, is your over-vivid imaginations.

This just in!

Jackie Tellier - see photo below - becomes the Bundesliga's first 40-year-old female keeper!

Good catch!

Eat your heart out, Gaucci.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

You know there are too many blogs when

Rhinoceroses have their own blog .

As an opening salvo, we have "Rhinos ready to get it on" followed by a picture of the female rhino, who bears a not unperceived resemblence to Rosie O'Donnell -- that distinguished ex-citizeness of Miami.

Quite coincidentally enough, the cow is called Rosie. And so is the rhino. *boom tish*

Not Maradona, although you can be forgiven getting confused

Local famed zookeeper, Ron Magill, also reminds me of someone else who is famous, although I can't quite place him.

Ron Magill's million watt smile

With his deep-set eyes and toothy grin, he could pass for a Kennedy. Although a Kennedy never passed a rhino without consequences (allegedly).

Friday, January 14, 2005

Night and Day

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Diego Armando Maradona arriving in Greece for a speaking tour. Too incredibly sad. And I revile him.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


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One day, I will have an internet site which allows people to view what others from different countries are reading.

I can't believe there isn't a site like that already, not even in the haut-monde of French intelligentsia -- or New York, a close second. I'll add other touches, like top plays of the year, film as well, obviously, and "urban conversation" -- what townies are obsessing over in their (our) self-important worlds.

Until then, here is a list of books I am reading, and a sample of the Top Books around the world, in an on-going series I will call "Bluestocking". Please note, I am mostly a non-fiction reader, because I have to do something with that History B.A.:

My List of Best Books of 2004

  • 1) At the tomb of the inflatable pig : travels through Paraguay, Gimlette, John
  • 2) Snow, Pamuk, Orhan
  • 3) Spice : the history of a temptation, Turner, Jack
  • 4) Washington's crossing, Fischer, David Hackett
  • 5) Rats : observations on the history and habitat of the city's mostunwanted inhabitants, Sullivan, Robert
  • 6) 1912 : Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs-- the election that changedthe country, Chace, James
  • 7) Brazil red, Rufin, Jean-Christophe
  • 8) HIP : THE HISTORY, Leland, John
  • 9) The Italian boy : a tale of murder and body snatching in 1830sLondon, Wise, Sarah
  • 10) Soul made flesh : the discovery of the brain-- and how it changedthe world, Zimmer, Carl

NYT Best Seller List Non-Fiction

  • 1. AMERICA (THE BOOK), by Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin and David Javerbaum ¤
  • 2. CHRONICLES: VOLUME ONE, by Bob Dylan ¤
  • 5. EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES, by Lynne Truss ¤

NYT Best Seller List Fiction

  • 1. THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown ¤
  • 2. STATE OF FEAR, by Michael Crichton
  • 4. LIFE EXPECTANCY, by Dean Koontz
  • 5. NIGHT FALL, by Nelson DeMille

(Read ¤)

Amazon Germany Top Sellers Combined

Amazon France Meilleurs Ventes Combined

Amazon Japan Top Sellers Combined

And from a fellow blogger , this Top 10 of all Time from Brazil.

  • 1) Crime e Castigo, Dostoiévski - 163 - Russo [Crime And Punishment]
  • 2) Cem Anos de Solidão, Garcia Marquez -147 - Espanhol [100 Years of Solitude]
  • 3) Dom Quixote, Cervantes - 120 - Espanhol
  • 4) O Processo, Kafka - 113 - Alemão [The Trial]
  • 5) Dom Casmurro, Machado de Assis - 98 - Português
  • 6) Hamlet, Shakespeare - 96 - Inglês
  • 7) O Senhor dos Anéis, Tolkien - 91 - Inglês [Lord of the Rings Trilogy]
  • 8) Grande Sertão: Veredas, Guimarães Rosa - 83 - Português
  • 9) Metamorfose, Kafka - 64 - Alemão [Metamorphosis]
  • 10) O Nome da Rosa, Eco - 50 - Italiano [Name of the Rose]

Someone said there are few pleasures as good as reading a book in bed with an apple. I agree. Only I'd substitute a cup of tea and make it a dark and blustery night.

Strangers in the Blog

This thing is addictive. I feel like Timothy Leary having ingested his first LSD tab. Only less lucid.

Well, I was browsing other blogs, most of which have a lot of time and effort expended on them; far more than I intend to do on mine. But one feature I was curious about was in the "About Me" area -- Blogspot acts as a kind of web dating-service, friend-hooker-upper, and homing pigeon all in one.

Take my choice of interests, the first of which is the most revealing: books. A solitary passion. I clicked on books, and Blogspot landed me with some pretty nifty choices for soulmates.

There were:

- Lucy of Brazil, who likes books too.

Good, I can speak Portuguese with her, which sadly for her I will never do, seeing as how she also likes the Gilmore Girls.

- Heidi , a 24-year old female who also likes NASCAR and Arena Football.


- Pootlecat, who is from Aberdeen and likes books and TLK followed by a winkie-smiley.

Tender Loving...Kat? Bad spelling makes me spotty. Pass.

Finally, most promising of all, a fellow British ex-pat named Adrian who likes "Books, More Books, History, and Skiing". Bliss. He even rates Casablanca, which I grew up hating. A few years ago, I gave it a second chance and wondered what a foolish child I was all those years.

So I pootlekatted off to his weblog . Alas for kindred spirits, it comes before a fall.

The fact that he was an egghead was alright. Not all of us can be nerdy and socially-adept. Just me and Richard Branson.

But less intriguing was his Law Ph.D. (not another lawyer), and his bashing of young Harry in Hitler Jugend costume, plus the ritualistic slagging off of the Royal Family.

Any one of these three was enough to raise my hackles, not because I disagree with his positions, indeed, I find the Royal Family rather boring and useless (a bit like Gordon Brown actually), but I run away from people who pronounce the same pat ideas in ways they consider to be the dernier cri of expression. At least the Sun won't do that. They know they are bizarre and sensationalist, and so do we.

Mind you, all things being relative, I can live with a bloke with a blog like his. Where else can I read about an Israeli girl who recently was bat mitvahed in a rustic cabin 9000 feet up in the air?

Yes, I like blogs.

Oh dear, now I have a blog

Well, I already had one, but this just puts the finishing touches on my internetting career. And I see they don't have the font I like. Hmm. My recent obsession, other than collecting fountain pens and opera glasses, is turning back the pages of books to the end notes, to find by which linotype a book is printed -- my favourite to date is "Galliard" based on a design in the 1500's by the incomparable Robert Granjon. Take a look-see at it in Caleb Carr's works.


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