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Archive for December, 2011

Song of the Year

Saturday, 31 December, 2011

Taken from the album 21, which was released on 24 January this year, Someone Like You has been described by Adele as the summation of her attitude towards the heartbreak of a relationship gone wrong: “Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you / I wish nothing but the best for you, too / Don’t forget me, I beg / I’ll remember you said / Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.” Sean Fennessey of The Village Voice wrote that Adele’s “nuanced” voice ascends “into a near-shrieked whisper” before she “rebounds and gathers herself” before descending into a more melancholy state. The maturity of the lyrics is extraordinary, the singing is sublime.

Communism vs. Capitalism

Friday, 30 December, 2011
Communism vs. Capitalism

This is a satellite image of North and South Korea by night that was taken in September 2003, when the Great Leader, the tyrant Kim Jong Il, was in his heyday.

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Northern and southern Europe are different places

Thursday, 29 December, 2011

Some of the best commentary on Europe and the euro this year has come from the keyboard of Walter Russell Mead. This week’s column is titled Europe Is Still Hip Deep In The Bad Stuff and here’s the money quote: “But if Europe dodged the charge of an angry bear last month, it is still […]

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The Sisters Brothers

Wednesday, 28 December, 2011
The Sisters Brothers

Another delightful item in the book-filled Rainy Day Christmas stocking was The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. In short: The Sisters Brothers are a pair of fraternal contract killers roaming the 1850s American West. Charlie Sisters is shrewd and remorseless; Eli Sisters is less psychopathic and more philosophical, but cross him and he’ll blow your […]

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Do Not Use an Apostrophe to Form a Plural

Tuesday, 27 December, 2011
Do Not Use an Apostrophe to Form a Plural

People of Ireland, listen up: when s is added to a word simply to make it a plural, no apostrophe is used (except in expressions where letters or numerals are treated like words, like “mind your p’s and q’s” and “learn your ABC’s”). Got that?

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Other People’s Money

Monday, 26 December, 2011
Other People’s Money

One of the nicest presents in the Rainy Day stocking was Other People’s Money by Justin Cartwright. It’s very much a novel of and for our times. The influence of Gatsby cannot be overstated, but Other People’s Money is not a clone of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. Rather, it is a meditation on morality in the time […]

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Happy, happy Christmas!

Sunday, 25 December, 2011 0 Comments
Happy, happy Christmas!

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!” Charles Dickens

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Family time

Saturday, 24 December, 2011

That’s what Christmas is. It’s also a time when feelings fluctuate between “happiness and madness”, which is where Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, says her music is located. Her latest album, Strange Mercy, was released in September and here’s the standout single, Cruel. So, let’s gather around the Yuletide fire and enjoy this untraditional carol.

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Vaclav Havel on Communist rule

Friday, 23 December, 2011

The state funeral of former Czech President Vaclav Havel is taking place in Prague at this very moment, which means that now is the time to read his great 1978 meditation on The Power of the Powerless. Snippet: “The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. […]

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The provisional wing of Occupy Wall Street

Thursday, 22 December, 2011
The provisional wing of Occupy Wall Street

Dublin’s newest favela can be found on Dame Street in front of Ireland’s Central Bank. The occupants of Dame Street, however, do not appear to be suffering very much at the hands of the system they wish to destroy. Indeed, if only these scruffy types were to sell their iPhones and give the proceeds to […]

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The Information Machine

Wednesday, 21 December, 2011

Charles and Ray Eames made their famous lounge chair as a gift for their friend Billy Wilder, the director of Some Like It Hot and Sunset Blvd. After years of development, the chair was brought to the market in 1956 by the Herman Miller furniture company and the result is design and corporate history. Two […]

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