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Showing posts from August, 2017

Come with me, learn the truth.

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I used to drink Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey:

Now I drink Bush Mills Irish Whiskey.

For some reason Tullamore Dew is no longer available in one of the biggest supermarkest in Italy. But Bushmills is:

One Summer evening, when it was too too hot to sleep, I stood on the balcony and looked towards the horizon. A few stars were visible, but the horizon was too bright too see many. And to my right, to the south, huge clouds climbed into the sky. The shapely bumpy gigantic clouds which I like and which I could go to sleep on. They were dark, because it was night, but they were not grey. So it was a dark white, not a grey, which piled up hugely into the sky.
And in these clouds were flashes of lightening, but no thunder. Presumably they were so far away, as if constellations, that no sound reached me on the balcony. And since there was no thunder I knew that our cat, outside somewhere, would not be frightened.
I remembered that one evening we came back late from a dinner. The cat was sittin…

The jewels in our collections...

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I discovered three "old" things which made me think that maybe I should have a careful look at my book and CD collections rather than ordering the latest thing from Amazon.

A few weeks ago I came across a very old CD, "The Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart. I bought it in the 1980s I think. I had a vague idea that he is/was(?) a one hit wonder ("The Year of the Cat" single), but I listened to the whole album, and it is all good. (There were none of the, er, crappy lyrics which pass for songs these days.)



And in the same week, not knowing what to order from Amazon to read, I picked up my old copy of "The Collected Dorothy Parker". The stories seem a bit dated now, but I read with glee her book reviews, which are mostly scathing sideways attacks on poorly written books and bad authors. And it did not matter that I had not heard of the books she mentioned, I just enjoyed her put-downs.



And finally, I re-read a book I'd read about eight years ago, &qu…

What if the shrink is more stupid than you are?

I heard an interview with a British screenwriter a month or so ago (I can't remember his name, the interview was on one of the BBC R4 Front Row podcasts). One of the things he said made me laugh out loud. He suffers from clinical depression. (No it wasn't that that made me laugh.) And he explained that he had tried everything, drugs and talking therapies, the lot. Nothing worked very much.
The problem with talking therapies, he said, was that you have to find a therapist at the very least as intelligent as yourself, and hopefully more intelligent than yourself. Otherwise, how on earth can you take the therapy seriously?
And the problem was that in twenty years he had not found a single good therapist. He was not saying, I think, that he was particularly intelligent, but that with, for example, 165,000 licensed therapists in the USA the average level is going to be pretty average. I mean, are all 165,000 brighter than their patients?
You may find a medical doctor or a mechanic, mo…

A Night In Milan With Bach

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A few months ago I went with some friends to hear/see the Bach Passion According to Matteo. It started early, 19:30, because it is long. We drove to Lampugnano and then got the Metro into Milano. 

At Lampugnano, near the bus station, lots of African males, and one or two families, standing around and lying on the benches. How did the mothers with children feel? Where were they going? Or going to end up? One bloke outside kicked a can angrily, one bloke inside had spread out fake handbags to sell.

We got off the metro at Duomo. The piazza in front of the church was packed, with Italian youth as well as lots of tourists. I hated it. I dislike the chaos of people more and more. I almost understood the quietness of some abstract expressionists. (Though a real and silent blue sky is better than their self-concious self-important daubs.)

There are big bright video ads on the side of Duomo now. I'm an agnostic/aethistic but it seemed sacrilege.

We got on the crowded tram, a number 3, and in …

How my mind reacts to text/signs, and how to nature.

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Last week, to escape the not humid weather of Lombardia we visited some friends with a flat in Val Sesia, an Alpine valley, much cooler than where we live near Milano.
I was not driving so I could look out at the passing scenery. And I noticed how my mind reacted to any text or artificial signage compared with any "pure nature".



As we drove by I'd think "That's a bad logo," and I'd imagine a very poor amateur artist being asked by a local company to design a logo. . "That's a good logo," and I'd wonder who designed it. And "I'm glad we're still making something in Europe" when I see a small factory making specialist mechanical parts. 

Every single phrase or commercial man made image on a roadside ad provoked a word-thought reaction. I expect that you would have had different reactions, but I imagine you mind would have reacted.
And as we moved further into the countryside the signs got fewer and fewer and I just looked i…