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Archive for June, 2012

Scenes from the Holocene

Saturday, 30 June, 2012

The Holocene is a geological epoch which began some 12,000 years ago and continues to the present. Asked about the song tile, Justin Vernon, front man with Bon Iver, said: “It’s partly named after the (geological) era, but it’s also the name of a bar in Portland where I had a dark night of the […]

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Reading Camille Paglia reading Yeats

Friday, 29 June, 2012

After reading The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats, Camille Paglia wrote: “Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming’ has gained in prophetic power with each decade of the twentieth and now twenty-first century, from the rise of fascism and nuclear warfare to the proliferation of international terrorism. It expresses the melancholy realization that man, yearningly drawn to […]

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Waiting for the Supremes and Germany vs. Italy

Thursday, 28 June, 2012

While millions of Europeans worry that their money will soon be worthless and further millions are filled with fear that the Spanish style of soccer will eventually suffocate the beautiful game, the people of the United States are in a state of suspended animation as they wait for the Supreme Court to deliver its critical verdict on what has become known as “ObamaCare”.

Right on time for this historic decision, Megan McArdle, recently of The Atlantic and The Economist, returns to the blogging arena with a new perch at The Daily Beast. In “Waiting for the Supremes“, she puts her cards on the table:

“Two years after it passed, I’m still fairly well convinced that ObamaCare is a vast Rube Goldberg contraption that will undercut health care innovation while making the government’s finances much more parlous. So far, the law has produced a lot of nasty fiscal surprises as various revenue-raising components turned out to be completely unworkable. The only ‘upside surprise’ I can think of is the unsurprising revelation that if you force insurers to cover children up to the age of 26, more people under the age of 26 will have health insurance, at some increase in premium costs. It’s hard to support such an obviously damaged program even though there’s some chance I will personally benefit from it.”

Regardless of the outcome, “America will still be here. Flowers will still bloom, people will still fall in love, and yes, Americans will still wend their ways to the polls to select the tallest, best-looking, best-pandering politicians to lead them,” writes McArdle somewhat wearily in her first Beast post. And Spain will be Spain and the euro crisis will never end. But, as Robert Browning noted in Pippa Passes: “God’s in His heaven — All’s right with the world!” So let’s enjoy Germany vs. Italy tonight.


Wednesday, 27 June, 2012

Laurent Binet, son of an historian, was born in Paris and was awarded the 2010 Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman for his first novel, HHhH. The title is an acronym for Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich (“Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”), a popular Nazi quip about the monstrous SS-Obergruppenführer. It is a stunningly original work. Snippet: […]

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The EU Fab Four sings the blues

Tuesday, 26 June, 2012

Walter Russell Mead: “The ‘Fab Four’ (Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Italy’s Mario Monti) reaffirmed a pre-existing agreement to make some mostly symbolic adjustments to European policy, whomping up an air souffle that the Club Med countries plus France can claim is a “growth” package, but it is mostly made […]

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Taking the Microsoft Surface Tablet apart

Monday, 25 June, 2012

Danny Sullivan is devastatingly dismissive of the Redmond presentation in “Hands-Off: Microsoft Surface Tablet Review“: “Nice trick? No, you know what’s a nice trick? Bringing out devices that no one can actually use. I know they work. I could see that one of the Microsoft guys was all logged into his. But why not let […]

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Summiting Slievereagh on the longest day of the year

Sunday, 24 June, 2012

The mountain is known locally as Slievereagh. The Irish form is An Sliabh Riabhach. The summit offers a panorama of the plains of Limerick and Tipperary.

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Johnny Parry builds it, bubble by bubble

Saturday, 23 June, 2012

Drawing upon the bottomless well of clichés that the English language has stored up, the remarkable Johnny Parry adds a fistful of them to a musical collage of comic strip bubbles and creates something original, musically, lexically and visually. Can’t ask for more, can one?

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Keep writing, or else

Friday, 22 June, 2012

Write or Die: “How the app works: Writers begin typing in the app’s window. When the typing slows to a stop, there are consequences. The writer can set how severe those consequences will be. In “gentle” mode, a notice pops up with a kind reminder that it’s time to start writing. In “normal” mode, the […]

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The telephone, the secador and the tree trunks

Thursday, 21 June, 2012

Giovanni Battista Rogeri (ca. 1642 — ca. 1710) was born in Bologna and was sent to Cremona to be apprenticed to Nicolo Amati. After surviving the terrible years of the Plague, he started his own workshop in Brescia and there made some of finest violins in history. All of this, and more, can be found […]

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Kickstarting Amanda Palmer

Wednesday, 20 June, 2012

Amanda Palmer’s sensationally successful Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $1 million to finance her next creative venture, which will involve an album, a book and a tour. This is the future of popular music, she says.