Do you still believe in the Stendhal quote, “Beauty is the promise of happiness”?*Sigh.* I can definitely think of a short little story with what life would be like.
I think it’s a very handy way of getting to the core of something. When people go “Oh, that chair is beautiful,” or “That table is beautiful,” really what we are saying is, you imagine being happy around that chair. It’s a nicely psychological -- and in a way -- literary way of looking at the visual. It is making up little stories about it. I can imagine a happy little story. It’s what happens with people as well, when you see someone who looks attractive, very often you think, “This is someone I could be happy with.” You invent a short little story with what life could be like with that person. The same thing happens with visual objects: chairs, paintings, buildings…
If you'd like to read some other passages that were nominated, visit the Guardian... but you'll be sorry if your boss sees what you're reading.
And here's Iain Hollingshead in the Telegraph, so see what he has to say about his win.
Until now, friends' concerns about my budding literary career have revolved around the possibility that I might, unfairly, be confused with the rather more successful Alan Hollinghurst, author of The Line of Beauty.
Since this surprise victory, I feel we're on a level playing field. And he can keep his Booker Prize.
It was probably the creepiest question I'd hear all day and therefore I needed an explanation.
It turns out she wasn't consdiering a career as a serial killer, she simply discovered a poem that is able to ask this question in the most non-serial killer way possible. If you feel like reading a lovely poem today, visit the Academy of American Poets to read "A Green Crab's Shell" by Mark Doty. And thanks for introducing it to me, Emily.
Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart
The Collected Short Stories of Amy Hempel
The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir by Danielle Trussoni
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
The Places in Between by Rory Stewart
And while we're on Frenchie things, here's the SF Chronicle discussing the newest book written by the author of French Women Don't Get Fat.
It was an unusual exhibition because it illustrated, with Surrealist works, the views of a French critic, Georges Bataille, who thought that Surrealism had not gone far enough. The Surrealists hoped through dream and unreason to reveal a better, higher order in human life.
The catalogue presented such things as Picasso’s bird like an evil black star, Jacques-André Boiffard’s close-up of a big toe like a one-eyed monster and Eli Lotar’s abattoir pictures with their lumps of flesh and skin.
John Eskenazi, the scholar and dealer in Asian art and a member of the jury, said that it was an exceptionally focused exhibition with stupendous research behind it, and that this was reflected in the catalogue.
Is this the end of the condom? Unfortunately not. Apart from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases from a casual partner, the pill does not offer spur-of-the-moment temporary infertility on demand. It takes around five hours to take effect, which might take some of the spontaneity out of a one-night stand. And how many women are going to believe: "I took the male pill before leaving for the pub tonight"?
Kearns ordered the committee to require Jensen to remove the wreath, but members refused after concluding that it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Kearns fired all five committee members.Merry Christmas, indeed.
Introverted, unsmiling Walter (Haley Joel Osment) is left by his less-than-ideal mother (Kyra Sedgwick) with her uncles (Michael Caine and Robert Duvall) for the summer. It's rumored that the uncles, who disappeared for about forty years, earned/stole/found a fortune that they've hidden away, and Walter's mother not-so-subtly hints that if they liked him, they might leave it to him. The uncles, who spend their days shooting fish in the lake (literally, with guns) and shooting at traveling salesmen (again, literally, with guns), are less than thrilled with the idea of taking on their great-nephew, but naturally, they all come to enjoy each others' company. Garth (Caine) tells Walter all kinds of wild stories about Hub (Duvall), who kept Garth alive through many scrapes as they're kidnapped and enlisted into the French Foreign Legion... but Walter wants to hear about one particular story involving a young woman that Hub loved and lost. When the uncles buy a used lion that they intend to hunt and shoot, the lion that's delivered is too old for it to be sporting and Walter is allowed to keep it as a pet.
One big thing that they constantly return to is the idea of becoming a man. After teaching a lesson to some local teens, Hub gives them a speech about becoming a man, a speech that Walter wants his uncles to stick around and give to him someday. Unsurprisingly, the movie includes money-grubbing relatives, ridiculous flashback scenes, and a point when Walter must make a choice as to whether or not something has to be true for you to believe in it.
All in all, I found it to be adorable. Michael Caine fills his usual role as the narrator and Robert Duvall is the gruff uncle who has seen it all. Osment is potentially a bit old for this role, but he actually pulls it off, even if he's a bit weepy at times. It's over the top, but it knows that... and it wants you to know it, too... otherwise, you wouldn't be able to make your choice as to whether or not something has to be true for you to believe and find value in it.
Pretty cool, huh?
Read more on the Archimedes Palimpsest website, in the NY Times, or on Wikipedia.
Co-Worker: It's easier to be killed by a terrorist than it is to find a husband over the age of 40.Well, if Sleepless in Seattle said it, then we must believe it. And God help a girl if she's educated. She might have an MBA, but what about her MRS? Rest easy, bluestockings... there might be hope, yet.
Annie: That statistic is not true!
Becky: That's right, it's not true. But it feels true.
...for women born since 1960, there has been a revolutionary reversal of the historic pattern. As late as the 1980s, according to economist Elaina Rose, women with PhDs or the equivalent were less likely to marry than women with a high school degree. But the "marital penalty" for highly educated women has declined steadily since then, and by 2000 it had disappeared. Today, women with a college degree or higher are more likely to marry than women with less education and lower earnings potential.The same is true for having children. Check out the article in the Washington Post.
Consider Oxfam & their "Alpaca Package" -- just £20.
If you can't spare the cash, consider making a small adjustment to your online searches... use www.goodsearch.com and 50% of the procedes from advertisers goes to charitable causes. You can even pick which charity will receive the money from your search!
Well, if you don't want to buy a book that tells you how to write chick lit, simply consult the Scotsman -- their writer asked a bunch of chick lit authors (and one lad lit authors) for advice and passed it along. You're better off saving your money for those shoes anyway.
Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton) has just escaped Northampton and his family's shoe factory for London... when his father dies and Charlie must return home. Upon his return, he finds that his father has kept everyone working, but has failed to sell many shoes and the business is practically bankrupt. While his fiancee seems bent on turning the factory into condos, Charlie is told off by a cute factory worker and inspired to do something. Fate lands him face-first in Lola's path and Charlie comes upon the idea of heels that can hold the weight of a man. While Charlie's first attempt is rubbish (Lola gasps, "Please, God, tell me I have not inspired something burgundy!"), Lola starts designing stilettos and we have a movie. (A movie based on a true story, I might add.) Naturally, there's the clash of a drag queen in a quiet, Midlands town -- there's arm wrestling and arguments but the only surprise would have been if things didn't turn out all right in the end (though Charlie adds a bit of amusement to the Milan runway show when it looks like he might be the only model). Ejiofor does some fun cabaret (including, you guessed it, "Whatever Lola Wants") and he's really quite good.
It's sweet and it's charming -- go slip on some Kinky Boots and form a new appreciation for stilettos.
They're probably getting rid of a lot of palm trees in Los Angeles.
Age, disease, money problems... these issues cause the downfall of many personalities and now it's the palm trees' turn. Yes yes yes, we're aware that most of the world equates palm trees with Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, and Los Angeles. But they're not indiginous to the area. They don't even really process much carbon monxide from the air... and that's kind of important in a car culture. They were brought in for show and to symbolize the easy life. Since they've become so iconically equated with LA, it looks like they did a good job.
Of course, I didn't really need Patrick Süskind to raise that issue, as I had a professor named Richard Stamelman at Williams and he's recently written a book, published by Rizzoli, about perfume, its history, and its representation in the media. It's called Perfume: Joy, Scandal, Sin - A Cultural History of Fragrance from 1750 to the Present. (Note that not only are the words "joy," "scandal," and "sin" evocative of heady emotions but they're all the names of perfumes...) It's a beautiful book and if perfume interests you, then I would highly recommend reading it. Stamelman has all kinds of delightful insights on the matter. What wasn't delightful (so much as it was jealousy-inducing) was being on the receiving end of his eloquent emails as he wrote to say that he'd just visited France to see a Chanel jasmine-picking field in the dewy morning. When I grow up, I, too, want to be a retired professor. I'd just have to skip that whole teaching bit in the middle.
The NY Times & A.O. Scott let us know that most of Robert Altman's movies are available on DVD. Here's a list to help you add them to your Netflix queue.
The beautiful Rachel Weisz has a new movie: The Fountain. Director is the father of her baby, Darren Aronofsky, and Rachel stars opposite Hugh Jackman. The NY Times didn't seem to like it all that much and the article mentioned something about Rachel becoming a tree? That's a shame. Ah well. Here's an article from Canada.com, too, entitled "Of Weisz and Men."
Tony-award winner turned movie, The History Boys asks us "how to teach and interpret history." When I return to NYC after the holidays and I can once again seek out indie movie theaters, I'll definitely be going to see this.
Universal Home Video has released the first of its Screen Legend Collection: five films starring Rock Hudson. The collection is designed to draw attention to some big name stars' lesser known films. In this Rock Hudson collection, you will find Has Anybody Seen My Gal?, A Very Special Favor, The Golden Blade, The Last Sunset, and The Spiral Road. You'll also find sets for Bing Crosby (Waikiki Wedding, Double or Nothing, East Side of Heaven, If I Had My Way, and Here Come the Waves) and Cary Grant (Thirty Day Princess, Kiss and Make Up, Wings in the Dark, Big Brown Eyes, and Wedding Present). That should fill up the netflix queue, I think.
I saw the movie in theaters and Iwatched it again on DVD. The facts will astonish you. They'll also infuriate you because if people know these things, why aren't more people rising up to do something to slow all the damage we do to the planet? We only have one; we can't afford to waste it.
Oh, and in the Guardian comment section, a call for writers to raise awareness for global warming.
My big criticism is that there wasn't the same amount of bantering humor as in other Bond films (that was something Pierce did well), but the interplay between Craig and Eva Green was rather good so I let it slide. Eva Green is not supposed to be a token Bond girl (the scene where she's supposed to be breath-taking saw her in a rather horrid dress, I think) and I think she succeeds in placing herself apart from the rest. (It didn't hurt that I was somewhat inclined towards her character because her name was Vesper, a name that has been on my baby name list since I read Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly books as a child.)
This is not to say that I think Craig is the best Bond, but I certainly think he gave all the nay-sayers something to bite their tongues over.
Altman's work spans from MASH to Gosford Park. His latest film, A Prairie Home Companion, was released in June and just came out on DVD. He was nominated for eight Oscars (five for directing) and received an honorary Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards for Lifetime Achievement.
Not that I'm counting down the days or anything...
Duke and StudAss were moved by this explanation. "George, wow," Duke said, "all this time we thought realism required maintaining a modicum of verisimilitude."
"But what you're suggesting," said StudAss, "is that the mimesis achieved is only a simulacrum, which creates a diversion, so the 'central metaphor' can more effectively do its imagistic work."
If you can't see this train wreck waiting to happen, then I don't know how to help you. You can't suggest that religion drives them apart, but the way they approach life is a definite product of how they were raised. The whole film a good lesson in what passive aggressive behavior can lead to in a relationship, but it's also hard to garner anything that I consider worthwhile from it because Nicole is painted in such a poor light. She doesn't seem terribly interesting, though her interest in learning about others is lovely. She wants children right away and refuses to go on the pill, even after agreeing with Stuart that they will wait two years. She doesn't seem to understand Stuart's genuine concerns about having a steady income and providing for a child. She's incredibly moody and critical. Her Christianity rises up towards the end of the movie as she prays aloud; in a conversation with her sister above God and their abusive father, Nicole says that God took care of them when their mother couldn't. Her sister corrects Nicole: when their mother didn't.
You get my point. The performances were good, it's simply the story's off-kilter perspective that I dislike. You're automatically put on Stuart's side and the ultimate taste left in your mouth is that you can do everything right and it isn't enough... poor you. The problem is that Stuart isn't equally matched. He's chosen to protect someone that isn't making him her worth the way he focuses on her. If Nicole was someone that had more audience sympathy, then this movie would have something going for it about the difficulties of relationships... this is simply self indulgent.
I hear news like this and I feel like I need to get my act together and do something with my life before it's too late...
That is the version you can now rent and I recommend that you do so.
Intrigue, deception, sex, murder, manor homes... it's not Gosford Park, it's The Rules of the Game. It may seem tame by today's standards, but we shrug off most everything these days. This French comedy makes you understand how country home farces became so popular -- this one was so entertaining on so many levels.
Can't make it to Kensington to see the postcards? Visit the RCA's website.
Other Warhol pieces up for auction at Christie's this time around included Orange Marilyn ($16.2 million) and Sixteen Jackies ($15.5 million). The previous record for the most expensive Warhold painting ever sold was 1998's Sotheby's sale of another Orange Marilyn for $17.3 million.
And speaking of Mao, the Nepalese independent Human Rights Comission is reporting that Maoists are still recuiting/abducting children to be trained as soldiers.
Ms. Royal’s victory followed months of mudslinging and maneuvering in a campaign that pitted her against the party’s older, more established — and male — “elephants,” whom she had dared to challenge.Her civil partner is François Hollande, the French Socialist Party leader, and they have four children together.
Campaigning on a platform of “rupture” with the status quo, she has also capitalized on her femininity while accusing her competitors of chauvinism.
"Gazelles," she said last May, "run faster than elephants."
Responding to voters’ disillusionment with traditional elitist politics, she is promising more power to the people, giving local governments more authority, subsidizing small businesses, creating affordable housing and encouraging citizens to submit their ideas online, for example.
Read the A.O. Scott review and put it in your Netflix queue because I definitely saw this at the tail-end of its in-theaters run.
"Nepotism? I'm all for it." Giles Martin, son of George Martin, talks to the Guardian about compiling a new Beatles LP.
"Ancient Crash, Epic Wave." Scientists debate whether or not it's possible that an asteroid hitting the Earth caused an ancient tsunami that would explain sediment deposits in enormous chevrons in Madagascar.
"No one better captured the pity of war." A British army chief maintains that Wilfred Owen's poetry, which chronicled the horror of life and death on the Western Front, speaks to soldiers serving today.
"Hunters and collectors." The race is on to digitize the world's literature.
"The Name of the Genre: Philosophy Meets Mystery." A discussion of Umberto Eco's In the Name of the Rose and other philosophical mysteries from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
For centuries both women have been reviled as collaborators in Spanish conquests of the new world that verged on genocide. La Malinche was an Aztec turncoat who helped Hernán Cortés conquer Mexico; Inés Suárez was a Spanish seamstress who joined another conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia, in slaughtering the inhabitants of Chile.
Now two of Latin America's female literary giants, Laura Esquivel and Isabel Allende, have come to the rescue by writing novels casting them as misunderstood heroines who could be role models for today's women.
It’s the prize that Alfred Nobel forgot. In 2000 Mr. Kluge, the billionaire, gave $73 million to the Library of Congress for a scholarly center and other projects, which now include the million-dollar prize. The award was specifically intended for areas that the Nobel Prizes do not cover, like history, political science, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, religion, linguistics and criticism.
If you guessed the Upper East Side's 10021, you'd be wrong. The most expensive zip is Tribeca's 10013. If you live in 10007 or 10013 (SoHo), you're pretty close.
Meanwhile, the brokerage Citi Habitats reported that Tribeca and Soho are also the most expensive neighborhoods in which to rent (average rent: $3,718 a month) followed closely by Chelsea ($3,041) and the West Village. The Upper East and Upper West Sides are bargains by comparison, with average rents near $2,500.Read about "the Death (and the Idea of) the Upper East Side" it in New York Magazine.
I can't post an article about beauty and not include and image, therefore I offer up my ideal beauty... Rachel Weisz.
On the other hand, a film can show us in an instant, with a light touch, what it takes a novel two or three pages laboriously to describe. The collaborative nature of filmmaking means that more intensive creative work often goes into a film than into the original book, so a greater clarity can be achieved. Clumsy plot implausibilities can be elegantly sidestepped. And literal "fidelity" may not be the point: a film that stays true to the spirit of a book but finds its own ideal form is more likely to be a success than one slavishly adhering to the letter of the original's law.
The review for Flannel Pajamas.
A look at Soderbergh's new film, the Good German, which he filmed as a 1940s Hollywood set picture would have been filmed. He even used 32-millimeter, wide-angle lenses.
Bruckheimer exploding things as usual.
Carrie Fisher and her new one-woman show, Wishful Drinking.
This is Brown's second plagarism case -- earlier this year, British courts absolved Dan Brown of plagarism charges, suggesting he lifted from The Blood and The Holy Grail by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. Perdue should consider himself lucky that his case was simply thrown out and he didn't have to pay Random House's legal fees. In Britain, the claiments were ordered to pay 85% of Random House's legal fees.
“It took a long time because he is a tremendously meticulous, enormously dedicated perfectionist and now he finally completed the demanding task of finalising the Czech edition. Obviously, it is still the same book, but it also unique in a way, as it had to undergo a unique process of translating and rewriting.”Kundera went into exile in Paris in 1975 after being expelled from the Communist party for his involvement with the Prague Spring movement. He was stripped of his Czech citizenship in 1979 and became a French citizen in 1981. He currently lives in Paris and while some rumors had suggested that the delay to print The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Czech was the result of lingering animosity on the part of Kundera (he had previously forbidden the translation of his French writing into Czech), those rumors have been denied by his agent.
In a postscript to the new edition, Kundera says: “I wanted to have it without any omissions or mistakes, or in one word, a complete and definitive version, because I doubt that I will have the time to go back to it again.”
The two museums said the painting would be “virtually impossible to sell and therefore has no value on the open market.” While art that belongs to major museums is easily identified as stolen, the statement seemed intended in part to discourage any attempt at a clandestine sale.The Philadelphia division of the FBI is hoping to receive a number of tips and a large reward has been offered for information that leads to the painting's recovery.
While he may not have written it, when someone mentions Christopher Guest, my first thoughts go to The Princess Bride's six-fingered man.
And then my thoughts go to the Remains of the Day lunchbox.
Really, that's the gist of my argument. Stranger Than Fiction was delightful -- it's particularly so for people who enjoy writing, books, and the telling of stories. I expected the sky to fall as I exited the theater because I actually enjoyed a Will Ferrell movie... and what is more, I thought he was great.
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS Agent with a solitary, regimented life that doesn't change... until one day, he hears someone narrating his regimented life. She has a British accent and knows that he brushes his teeth with 76 strokes (38 up, 38 down). She knows that he ties his tie the way he does to save time. She knows that he thinks of an endless ocean of paper as he files. She is Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a writer who can't quite figure out how to end her novel... her novel where Harold Crick is the protagonist. But Harold Crick is real (though Eiffel believes him to be her fictional creation) and he tries to cope with her narration infringing upon his daily life. He audits a baker (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who he falls for, and seeks guidance from an English professor (Dustin Hoffman) who tries to help him decide if his story is a comedy (life affirming, ends in marriage) or a tragedy (ends in death). When Harold hears Karen say, "Little does he know that events had been set in motion that would lead to his imminent death," he sets out to find Karen and convince her not to kill him.
Ferrell is delightfully minimal in his acting. There are few typically Ferrell scenes (in fact, the most disgusting bits come from Thompson, who spits in napkins to extinguish her cigarettes) and his restraint shows impressive levels of acting from Ferrell that I hadn't ever thought possible. Thompson was wonderfully odd and prickly. Hoffman was a great literature professor, concerned more with the plot and his theory of everything than the fact that this is a man's life. Maggie Gyllenhaal was a bitchy baker with a soft side that refuses to pay a certain percentage of her taxes -- the percentage that supports the issues that she does not. My only qualm is that I don't see what she sees in the protagonist as a romantic partner as he plays the straight man. Ah well, a small flaw that I'm willing to overlook for the whole. Oh, and the watch doesn't get enough emphasis after the beginning. That's all I'll say.
In short, go see it. Here's the trailer and here's A.O. Scott's review.
With his long list of illustrious films, what is his best film, you ask? Well, I know my favorite... A Muppet Christmas Carol. He's an awesome Ebenezer Scrooge.
What is that that I feel? Is that... is that hope?
In case you missed Jon Stewart, here are a few clips from the Midterm Midtacular. Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert at the beginning of Election Night. Howard Dean on the Daily Show.
The total amount of sales for the evening added up to $491 million -- the previous Christie's record was $296 million (May of 1990).
If you're ready to stop being productive today, take the Mental Floss Geography Challenge. I assume that you're a relatively intelligent human, and therefore this game will drive you insane... unless you really are a geography whiz. If you're like me, you can get 100% on Europe and then cheer if you can manage a 50% when it comes to the rest of the world.
Of course, that isn't entirely right... young people might not be reading biographies but we are reading a lot of autobiographical work... or memoir work that is slightly altered to be fiction (admitted from the start, like Stephen Elliott, or forced into the admission, like James Frey). Lots of writers these days are using the short-story memoir genre to their advantage -- look at David Sedaris.
An adverb is a "doing word," a word that modifies verbs, adjectives, phrases, clauses, or even other adverbs, and will describe the manner, place, or time of an action. Daniel Handler's Adverbs is a novel that deals with love, constantly shifting and changing, and the varying effects that love has on the lives of his characters. This concept of modifying words and life is naturally apparent in a novel named for modifiers and every chapter title is an adverb. Handler reuses characters throughout, or perhaps he simply reuses the names, and he refuses to give a clean explanation of everything - after all, we're talking about love. Love is never easy, never clean-cut. "Love is this sudden crash in your path, quick and to the point, and nearly always it leaves someone slain on the green." It is, however, always around us, whether we're the main players in the drama or simply extras in the background. The interesting part isn't necessarily the person loving (the noun), but the manner, place, and time in which one is loved (the adverb).