Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Bit of Poetry

When I was at university, we had to study this poem:

This Is Just to Say
(by William Carlos Williams)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

While I was convinced that this was not really a poem but rather a note he'd left on the kitchen table that had fallen out of his ephemera; others in the class got terribly serious about his literary style. Today I was delighted to find this blog. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Story of Susan Travers

The amazing story of the only woman ever to serve in the French Foreign Legion is reported here.

"When France fell to the Nazis she made her way to London and signed up with General De Gaulle's Free French and was attached to the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Legion Etrangere, which sailed for Africa. Volunteering as a driver to the brigade's senior officers, she exhibited such nerves of steel in negotiating minefields and enemy attacks that she earned the affectionate nickname "La Miss" from her thousand male comrades."

She would have been 100 this week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If James Dean Had Lived

This is an ad for an investment company I think. Nevertheless I like what they have done. Have always been a big James Dean fan :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jedi ejected from Tesco's Supermarket

This lovely story via the Telegraph and a fb friend:

"Daniel Jones, 23, who created the International Church of Jediism, claims he was “victimised over his beliefs” by staff at the supermarket in Bangor, North Wales. The religion, inspired by the sci-fi films, is practised by 500,000 around the world and requires believers to cover their heads in public places. But Mr Jones, from Holyhead, said that staff ejected him from the store over security fears when he refused to remove his hood. Mr Jones, also known by his Jedi name Morda Hehol, told The Sun: "I told them it was a requirement of my religion but they just sniggered and ordered me to leave. "I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone." The handbook of the UK Jedi Church, founded by the Star Wars fan last year, states: "Jedis must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience." Daniel added: "It was discrimination. I was really upset. Nobody should be treated like that.” "I'll advise worshippers to boycott Tesco if it happens again. They will feel the Force."A Tesco spokesman said: "Jedi are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods."Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all went hoodless without going to the Dark Side. "If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers.""

To find out more about the Church of Jediism, you might try clicking here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What's In a Name (2)?

Apparently Nigella Lawson's mother originally intended to name her 'Gondola'.

For this, and other tidbits, watch this BBC 5-Minute interview.

Twinkle Twinkle Mega Star

My friend Yuri posted this for me to see, and I thought the musical ones among you might be interested, as I was, to hear the diversity of Indian musical traditions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Message From the President

Thank you Mr. President, and congratulations to both the writer of your speech and the person who helped you practice the Hebrew words so they came out right :-)

Happy New Year to you if you are celebrating Rosh Hashana; Eid Mubarak and/or a great weekend to everyone else!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

R.I.P. Mary Travers

Growing up in England, with a mother who was a classical pianist, I was not terribly exposed to American folk music of the 1960's. It wasn't until our friend Bob z"l gave me an album by the Weavers when I was about 18 that I got my first taste of it. To this day I continue to listen, and the songs of Peter, Paul and Mary have a place in that canon. Thus I say thank you and good night to Mary Travers.

Telegraph announcement.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

People Can Be So Rude!

A mash-up of two notable interruptions that took place in the US this week - Joe Wilson heckling the President and Kanye West spoiling Taylor Swift's special moment at the VMA awards.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shock Value

I begin by conceding that my taste in most things to do with the Arts is highly influenced by the likes and dislikes of my parents and therefore access and experience I had growing up in London in the '70's and '80's. I like Charles M. Schulz, Magritte, Russian ballet music (but not so much the dancing), Preston Sturges, Oscar Wilde, the Beatles, German Expressionism, Dame Judi Dench, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, The Threepenny Opera, klezmer, Holbein, Queens Park Rangers FC, the Specials, the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and maltesers. I appreciate wit, imagination and a touch of the macabre. I am grossed out by most comedy that pushes the envelope in the area of bodily functions (think Little Britain). Pretty average tastes really. And then I come across something like this:

"Hard day at the orifice, dear?
The focus of a new production of Le Grand Macabre is a vomiting fibreglass model. No wonder they're screaming in the aisles, says Oliver Marre
The Observer, Sunday 13 September 2009

The instruments in the orchestra pit next week at the Coliseum in London, home to the English National Opera, will include brown paper bags, planks of wood, car horns and an enormous metal saucepan. The performers will be dressed in costumes ranging from body suits in primary colours to nothing very much at all. The action will involve pretty graphic sex and very graphic violence. And the music will be by Gy├Ârgy Ligeti, most famous for the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's weird movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it is the set which is really causing a stir.

An enormous, naked, crouching woman (she's called Claudia), made of fibreglass, with enormous hanging bosoms, forms its centrepiece. Claudia will rotate, she will have parts of her peeled away as the opera progresses, revealing anatomically correct insides, and inside her bottom is a fully stocked bar, to be used for an onstage party. When this production, by the Catalan opera company La Fura dels Baus, of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre was performed in Rome, the audience screamed abuse from the stalls. The ENO's musical director, Edward Gardner, describes the opera as "a crazy fantasy of a piece" and the production manager, Nicholas Sperling, explains how the performance will begin with film of an actress playing Claudia in a dirty flat. She falls ill; she collapses onto her hands and knees; the screen gives way as the curtain opens and there is fibreglass Claudia, 20ft high, vomiting out the first singer. This is just the first of her orifices from which someone will emerge. Ears, nose and the rest come into play as the evening progresses."

Am I getting old? All I could think of when I read this was 'what is the point?' It annoys me. It just seems like a colossal waste of time and energy. And thence the shock value. O my goodness, I am turning into a fuddy-duddy! The cool and liberal; laid-back, open and always interested image I imagined for myself is a tissue of lies! Help!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Atheist T-Shirts

I have a dear friend who is an atheist. This one's for her!

NB A list of a top twenty of atheist t-shirts may be found here.

Caster Semenya responds here to the assertion by the Times of London that Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite. The press is propagating a stolid belief that gender identity is polar, rather than promoting the understanding that it runs along a spectrum. This isn't going to end well. Meanwhile,I hope Semenya gets to read the Salon article:

"It’s also worth noting that Semenya is far from the first person to fail a sporting gender test. In 2006, Santhi Soundarajan, an Indian runner, was stripped of her Asian Games silver medal after being discovered as intersex ... She ... had moving words of advice for Semenya. “She is a woman and that’s it, full stop,” she said. “A gender test cannot take away from you who you are.”"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What is Wrong With This Picture (iii)?

Absolutely nothing is wrong with this picture from the September issue of Glamour magazine. Well that's what I say. Strangely enough, the comments have come not because the model is, albeit tastefully, naked. Rather it is the small, the o so small roll of fat on her stomach that has caused a furore. "Hurrah for showing a real woman" was the main sentiment of the myriad e-mails that flooded the magazine's website. The model herself, one Lizzie Miller, was less gung ho about it. She "admitted that seeing her small roll of flesh in the magazine made her cringe. "I'm just like every girl or person with insecurities," the 20-year-old said. "You zone in on the (worst) part. Let's just say you're your own worst critic." "

Look here for more or just google Ms. Miller

Sunday, September 06, 2009

And We Return With ...

from the Lego reconstruction of the New Testament book of Revelation - The "Saving" of 144,000 Jews. This is on a website called The Brick Testament. I might have found it amusing, except that the picture preceding the above was this:
on the other hand, there are some interesting ecumenical pics out there as well:
This is Siddhartha Gautama under the bodhi tree.

The Hiatus is Over

If any of my three formerly regular readers are reading this, hello! The ravaj has been in the process of moving to another country, and this has seriously interfered with her blog-writing. The move has now taken place, although there is, as yet, no permanent location for person and possessions. In any case, this page has been empty for too long. Hope to see you here again quite soon.