Thursday, March 31, 2011

Deserts Attract/Encourage Quirky Individuals

A recent trip to Palm Springs, California included excursions to several places that were excellent examples of "only here could this exist"!  These were: Cabot Yerxa's Pueblo in Desert Hot Springs and The Edward-Dean Museum in Beaumont.  More along the lines of normal were Moorten  Botanical Garden in Palm Springs, The Palm Springs Art Museum (especially interesting is an exhibit of architect Donald Wexler's work:  he is the father of Palm Springs desert style homes and buildings), and Joshua Tree National Park, where you can see the San Andreas Fault
San Andreas Fault
Joshua Tree

Cabot Yerxa's Pueblo

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fabulous book!  A book about family, history, achievement, accumulation, and loss.  It is both personal yet a story to which anyone can relate.  It is full of insight, reflects hard work and dedication and how we become obsessed in pursuit of ideas, things, stories, and answers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thoughtful Pieces of Writing

The eminent thinker and sociologist, Daniel Bell, died in January.  Very early on in his intellectual explorations he realised the bankrupt nature of Communism and ideologies in general, yet was able to study and understand the social needs and underpinnings of societies/communities and why they need ideologies.  Mark Lilla has written a thoughtful and touching elegy in memory of his mentor in the current issue of The New York Review of Books.

Speaking of ideologies: The online news aggregator,, reproduced an essay titled 'Manyi and Manuel-Why Apartheid Didn't Die' by Leonard Gentle.  This essay is wonderful in showing how people manipulate ideas and language to suit the circumstances and what a complex subject this is.  The article originally appeared in The South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS), an excellent forum for the discussion of difficult topics.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Winning Outfit from the Paris Collections!

From left: Chloé, Christian Dior, Chanel, Hermès 
The Chanel number is actually something an ordinary human could wear!

A Double Sided Quotation....

The Financial Times of London's reporter, Alec Russell, had dinner with Morgan Tsvangirai and reported on this difficult-to-arrange event.  It was quite depressing!  Tsvangarai actually said "Mugabe is very human" and interesting to work with!  Are these quotes from a man desperate to survive and hang on until the dictator finally dies?  A man so weakened and worn down by having to deal on a daily basis with a nutcase?  It does not bode well, in the short run, for the opposition in Zimbabwe.   Sigh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Story of Pain and Suffering in Libya

In the Country of MenIn the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Short listed for the Booker, this emotionally searing book about a boy in Libya in 1979, sets the stage for what is happening today. The author, Hisham Matar, has an essay  in the Weekend FT (25 Feb 2011) and an opinion piece in the NYT, 9 March 2011.  Gideon Rachman, of the FT, has an interesting article on fiction as a route to political truth, discussing Matar's book along with several others: J. M. Coetzee and Aravind Adiga.