Friday, April 20, 2012

Why to Get Rid of Chick Flicks?

Dear Reader would probably never have thought the kind of thoughts refered to in this posting and asked her/himself:

Why to get rid of Chick flicks?

 Chick flicks refered to above, of course, mean female-centric movies like, I don't know, On Golden Pond, Gone with the Wind, Legally Blonde, Ghost, Pretty Woman (OK, this might be better suited for certain types of men than women, although it, surprisingly, is a modern Cinderella story, no more, no less), Sex and the City (either), Black Swan...

Well, you know, chick flicks.

 Even though nobody may never have had a question about it, the Washington Post, as ever, has on answer (Roll the credits on chick flicks by Melissa Silverstein). And the answer seems to be: because they
"taint all movies about women, even ones that are not regressive and demeaning".

 Is the same true for the chick lit? Surely not.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anna Karenina and Other Hairy Tales

Picture:Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions

Anna Karenina is a book best gobbled when one is bound by one’s pubertal angst. It is more painful to swallow once one has tasted real life in great quantity. Funny that a writer like Leo Tolstoy got it so right for both.

Of course, it’s not the only such novel: think of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (for youths it’s an adventure, for adults a metaphor for the British Empire), or almost any of the Jane Austen’s novels (for youths the life’s passion is in the initial burning kisses, adults know that the real life starts only after).

If you havn't read Anna Karenina yet, here is a chance to do it on line. And check, if the most famous clichéd quote from high literature really goes:
"All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way..."
Of course, the translators always insert their marks in the original text, after all translators are really interpretors on behalf of those who don't read in many tongues.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dreams and Angsts

Picture: Umberto Eco as seen by John Macdougall's camera in Chigaco Tribune on 14.11.2011
"Because now I am excruciatingly aware, each time I pick up a book, of all the books I am shunning in order to focus on the one in my hand."
The above quote is from an article, Umberto Eco and the guilty pleasure of re-reading, by a cultural critic Julia Keller in Chigaco Tribune on November 9, 2011.

The older one becomes the more angsty urgency there is to read those books that should have been read a long time ago but never were for reasons of laziness, inattention, carelessness, active avoidance and other human failings. We all have only this finite time. As always: When one turns to embrace somebody, one's back is turned to all others.

I may have mentioned this already, Dear Reader, but my dream has been for a long time to read Dostoyevsky in Russian. I’ve even started learning Russian, several times in fact, just that particular dream in mind. Variations of the dream include Pushkin, Turgenev or Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina but funnily enough not his War and Peace.

I mention this in passing here because an angsty urgency has hit again and out comes the Russian learning material. Ludmila, a second-hand book dealer in the Saturdays’ book market in Melbourne’s Ian Potter Museum of Art-building, one of the post-modern buildings in an important Melburnian landmark, the Federation Square complex, has already got a request to look for a new Russian text for a desperate beginner.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Days and days

Kuva Hanhensulka 2012, A sun sets in St. Kilda.

February 17 was like any other day, only different.

Obviously, Dear Reader, there are dates in ones life that are more important than some others. This one is used to mark the passing of one lifetime. One tries to ignore it as much as possible.

It was easy when there was a cushion of parents to rely on. Funny thing is that even at a mature age, as long as they are there, one is still a child, well, to a certain extent at least, feeling protected against one's fate.

Of course, the fate always wins at the end.

Fortunately for the individual, they will not know about it, since life is without a start or the end. For the person, there is no birth nor death, only the existence and its opposite, which we will never know, in person.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Artist of Disappearance

The reading year 2012 has started. The first finished novel (actually a collection of three beautiful novellas) is by Anita Desai called The Artist of Disappearance.

Book's three novellas fit in 156 pages (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and share some big themes like problems of modernisation of society, solitude, social alienation, nature of art, role of artists and such things somewhat familiar from her previous books.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Whitman, Shakespeare and Company

Picture by Hanhensulka

The picture is of Walt Whitman and is located on a wall next to the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in St. Michel on the left bank of Seine opposite Notre Dame in Paris, France. The previous owner, an American called George Whitman, died in December 2011 in Paris at 98. The text (translated into French by León Bazalgette about hundred years ago) is from from Walt Whitman's poem 'To A STRANGER' from his life's work "Leaves of Grass":
"Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you..."
The Shakespeare and Company is presently owned by George's daughter, Sylvia Whitman. Neither she nor George is related to Walt the Poet.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Tilda has no errors, or does she?

Aargh! Apparently there is an error in this, if one can call it like that. The photo is linked to the image sharer site imgur.

The picture depicts Tilda Swinton as 'Orlando' in film by the same name, which is based on Virginia Woolf's book Orlando: A Biography. The book tells a tale of a woman (or a man) who exists through space and time starting in the Elizabethan England.

Aurora Borealis 70N, 30E

The Aurora from TSO Photography on Vimeo. Video is by a Norwegian nature photographer Terje Sørgjerd from TSO Photography

Ah, nostalgia. Here, it's been three days close to plus 40 deg, today was better but we'll get the heat back shortly.

On the other hand, through the warm, flowing tears or nostalgia I do remember the frost biting my cheeks, fingers and toes. Oh well, there it is...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It is no Stradivarius, just a naughty violin

Picture: Satu Vänskä of Australian Chamber Orchestra plays her million(+)-dollar Stradivarius, taken from The Age

It is a truth most likely that World is full of judgements governed by Wanker Index (WI).

I don't know how the index works but can give wine tasting by us ordinary mortals, who don't carry a dog's snout to smell things, as an example, or food tasting, appreciation of poetry, hiphop or music in general for that matter. It seems that judging violins also falls under the spell of WI.

Today's The Age reports of a finding by Dr. Claudia Fritz of University of Paris that modern violins are indistinguishable from, or better than, the Guarneris or Stradivari raped by time and lauded by hordes of opera and symphony loving rankers (like this blogger, by the by).

I wonder if WI also governs the use of plural with an 'i' for all instances of nouns ending with '-us'. Naah, most unlikely.

Read more in 'Million-dollar Stradivarius loses out in play-off with modern violin' by Ian Sample and Gina McColl in The Age

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Facebook celeb

Want to be a Facebook celeb? This is how.

Monday, January 02, 2012


Nothing is so cheerless than an old facebook entry (apart from an old, unchanging blog posting, maybe).

Sunday, January 01, 2012


The morning stirred up
like yesterday and before
Still, it’s a new year