Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Newsroom, series 2

Just stopped watching Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom series 2 episode 1.

The bastards opened a whole bunch of captivating storylines without closing any just to make sure that, come next Sunday, I'll be sitting my nose on the TV screen and salivating like Pavlov's dogs into their empty food bowls. And shameful for not feeling any shame at all.

The biggest question: Why is Maggie looking like that red and spiky-headed girl with the dragon tattoo?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Of Mankell, and Hamlet, too

Picture from Mankell's WEB site.

Henning Mankell, an optimist even after 4 past marriages and 40 published books (first in 1973) of which only a quarter involve Wallander:

"...Too few writers accept they have a moral responsibility to take a stand".

The Guardian reports in an article called Henning Mankell: 'I shall not miss Wallander'.

I've always thought that every writer takes a stand, since, supposedly, the books are not published by accident, but, rather, by purpose. At least from a point of view of this, an eternally blue-eyed, reader.
Olivier as Hamlet in 1948

A problem may be how to make that 'stand' palatable to readers and not boring like the 'stand' most often is. But then, perhaps Mankell really means that the writers have a moral responsibility to take a stand similar to his. Looking at the Nobel winning writers, it may be that the Nobel judges have the similar stand to Mankell's. Which is Ok with me.

By the by, I don't read much crime at all and have only read a few of Mankell's books, although have watched with intense interest both the Swedish-made Wallander-films and the ones made with Kenneth Branagh. I liked the Swedish ones better. Branagh's version of Wallander was too angsty, Shakespearean sort of way, which, obviously, is no wonder at all. Branagh's Hamlet is probably as good a Hamlet as they have ever been. Recently I watched Olivier's (1948), Branagh's (1996) and David Tennant's (2009) versions back to back in one day. All are splendid adaptations and well worth watching.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Picture Hanhensulka: a Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) in Victorian Alps, Australia

Everybody knows that the Australian national poet, 'bush poet', is Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, who is well-known world-wide for the often misunderstood words of a poem called Waltzing Matilda, the unofficial Australian national anthem. It should, for all fairness, be the official anthem, too. Try to sing the current anthem, (by an order of the Queen Elizabeth II's representative in the Land of Oz, the Governor-General, since 1984) ‘Advance Australia Fair’ (you know: 'Australians all let us rejoice / for we are young and free...'), composed by a Scot, Peter Dodds McCormick, who called himself ‘Amicus’, and if you tried, you'd know what I mean.

Patterson is also, and rightly so, depicted on our 10-dollar note, perhaps partly to reflect the normally very low income of those, who step on the path to immortality by the way of writing poems.

The reason I started contemplating the 'Australia Fair' is that I took the picture of this Superb Fairy-wren in the Victorian Alps east of Melbourne, in an old prospectors' site, 8-mile Flat, on Howqua River not far from where the Australian movie, The Man from Snowy River, was made. The film is based on a poem of the same name by 'Banjo' Paterson. A part of the poem goes like this:
"...He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen..."
Superb Fairy-wrens, on the other hand, live in large groups and are very difficult to capture with camera due to their constant movement, swiftness and tiny size: full-grown between 10 and 14 cm. There are about 8 different species of Fairy-wrens in Victoria.

By the way, it may seem strange, when one considers how the two main political parties in Australia treat the asylum seekers, who come to these here shores to save their lives, literally, that the Australian national anthem has even these beautiful but so little truthful lines:

"...For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share...
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair."