The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats — a muse on literature
Cast a cold Eye On Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by!
Epitaph on Yeats grave, Drumcliff, County Sligo
When I was living in Derry, I stopped at Yeats’ grave a couple of times on my way down the west coast. My memory of it was coloured by the season — terribly cold, grim and isolated.
We passed by in 2014, travelling up the west coast in an unlikely Indian summer. The grave was no longer isolated, nasty strip developments along the highway had almost caught up with it. The site was pleasant, warm and sunny with stunning views of the escarpment.
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Ireland and died in France. His remains were exhumed and moved to Ireland in 1948.
A postcard from coastal Lake Tabourie, NSW, southeastern Australia
We spent five days at New Year at Lake Tabourie with Judy, Neil and other friends. It was a wonderful time with good food, wine and friendship in a relaxed and delightful atmosphere. A great beginning to 2018.
I realised that I have been going to Lake Tabourie for 52 years, a frightening thought.
When I was much younger the family began to go to Lake Tabourie in summer for a few years. That is, until we refused to go anywhere with our parents any more. We stayed in a converted garage on another property then.
Since, I have been privileged to use Judy’s house regularly. Judy’s father bought the house in the early 1950s. The house continues to have a 1950s character but with 2017 facilities. Judy and Neil have done an enormous amount of work to achieve this. Continue reading “Postcard from Lake Tabourie, Australia”→
Percent or (percentage) used to be spelled per cent (and sometimes still is). It comes from the latin per centum meaning by the hundred.
What percent means is changing any list of numbers that add up to an irregular total into a modified list that adds up to 100. Once you get used to it reading a table of percentages becomes familiar and comfortable. Percentages can also be expressed as fractions and odds (think racecourses).
For example, 50% is a half, or odds of 2 to 1 in racecourse parlance (still meaning 1 chance in 2, but expressed this way because you get $2 profit for every $1 bet). 33% is about one third, 25% a quarter, 20% one fifth and 10% one tenth. Continue reading “The Humble Percent & Food Labels”→
What is History 6: The Development or Evolution of Religion
Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens: A brief history of humankind Harper 2014 (first published in Hebrew in 2011).
I feel guilty delving into Harari before embarking on Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel 1997 a much more profound book and one I have spent an enormous amount of time with, by reading and delving into Diamond’s sources. Harari himself acknowledges Diamond. He says:
Special thanks to Jared Diamond, who taught me to see the big picture.
Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A brief history of humankind is a brave and ambitious enterprise, but he doesn’t quite carry it off. In some ways, he reminds me of Marvin Harris a popularising anthropologist who wrote Cannibals and Kings in 1977, which I also like immensely. For all his faults, Harari takes us on a great journey.
Classic SciFi 10: Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic 1977
Vladimir Putin is sometimes treated as a bit of a joke in the West. This is a dangerous delusion, Putin has resurrected the oligarchy of the old Soviet Union. The uncontrolled Mafia and free market millionaires are gone. The Kremlin wants its cut of everything. If one resists, ruin or death may follow. If you cease to be useful or know too much, you can end up face-down in your own swimming pool.
The poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in the UK in 2006 with polonium-210 seemed extreme, but it sent a powerful message to other Russians.
Denise and I have recently read two books on the new Russia and would recommend them to you.
Everything is True and Nothing is Impossible by Peter Pomerantsev 2014 covers the changes in Russia from the early 2000s to 2010. Pomerantsev, a UK born journalist of Russian descent, worked in Russia for around eight years making documentaries for Russian television, beginning in the midst of an oil boom. In the process, he covered much of the weird and wonderful in Russia at the time. The portrait is amazing and idiosyncratic. It documents the rise of Putin’s Russia and the strange consequences in Russian Society. It is amusing but also chilling and rather frightening. Returning to the UK in 2010, Pomerantsev discovered that many of the beneficiaries of the Russian system had moved to Britain and were continuing life in the UK, as if in Russia — an internationalising of the wealth and the excess, but still firmly controlled by Putin’s Russian oligarchy.
The true reason I chose to write about travel blogs was that I was embarrassed about my links page. I’d neglected it since shortly after setting up my blog. I thought that writing articles about the relevant categories was the way to make the links more relevant and useful to others. Continue reading “19 Best Travel Blogs & Websites”→
Huw Davies Gallery, Manuka Arts Centre, Canberra, 27 October — 13 November, 2011
Moral Ambiguities in 2011 was a major exhibition because it was a compilation of artworks that had been tentatively shown elsewhere in smaller size. It was the first time that the majority of works from this period had been shown together in one venue and at full size.