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Showing posts from December, 2009

Never read a book about an irritating subject before going to bed...

If you do, you won't sleep!

That's what happened to me last night. I opened up a book about Contemporary Art I had received for Christmas and settled comfortably in bed to read it. Now, Contemporary Art is a subject close to my heart. Since I've retired, all I do is paint (and write, of course) and go to museums and (sometimes) galleries and art fairs.

Well, let me tell you, this is a REAL GOOD book, written by a remarkable, highly respected economist, DON THOMPSON who's taught at the London School of Economics, the Harvard Business School etc and who's published nine books. The essay is aptly entitled "The $12 Million Stuffed Shark". The title refers to the price a New York banker paid for Damien Hirst's decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark. More generally, the book surveys the desolate contemporary art scene, diplomatically calling it "the curious economics of Contemporary Art and Auction Houses".

Curious indeed! As Professor Thompson brillia…

No hastle Turkey for Xmas

This is a variation on the classic turkey stuffed with apples...with a twist!

First of all, why stuff a turkey with apples? There are three basic reasons:
- one,the fruit stuffed inside ensures the turkey meat will be moist and tender without the hastle of basting;
- two, provided the turkey is big enough, there will be enough juicy, flavourful fruit to go with the meat so that you don't need to cook vegetables or add anything else beyond simple french fries (you can use the frozen variety to make it even easier;
- three, the fruit juices make for an extra light gravy with a minimum of fats because you don't need to smother your turkey in butter, oil or margarine: the fruit ensures it cooks without burning (and that means it's a low cholesterol recipe by definition)

But chunks of peeled apples are so run-of-the-mill, they're...boring: almost a cop out!

So how can you make it INTERESTING?

Simple, just leave your chunks of apple in a (tasty) mixture of chicken broth and bran…

Murder is a click away for 100,000 people...

What a thought! Murder is just one click away for 100,000 people. That's how many signed up on Facebook to sustain Tartaglia's attempt at killing the Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi four days ago...Since then, the site has been closed by Facebook which, understandably, doesn't admit violence among its users.

But the amazing fact remains: one hundred thousand persons supported Tartaglia's mad, criminal gesture.

That's exactly how many supported Hitler when he first founded his party: 100,000.

Sure, Berlusconi is a divisive political figure in Italy and he's been in trouble recently, what with losing immunity from prosecution and his wife asking for divorce...

Really it does make you wonder about human nature

The geography of Heaven

Have you ever thought about what the world looks like on the other side of Death? Of course, if you don't believe in an after life, skip this blog! But if you do, I'd like your help to think this one through...

First question: are you going to meet everyone you knew in your life, and I mean EVERYONE? That old, mustachoed aunt who got on your nerves but she was such a sweet soul...That gooey guy in the office who never stopped following you around but he was so full of good intentions...Your clever sister who got you in trouble without meaning to (or perhaps she did mean to)...I could go on and on. Sure, there are more people you'd want to see again than people you don't want to ever lay your eyes on. Still...

Second question: will everyone be thrown in together or will there be divisions? I suspect that each religion will be given its own piece of Heaven. The Christians over here, the Moslems over there, the Bhudists, the Hinduists etc etc and each with their own system …

The Old Masters vs. Contemporary Art: a losing battle

Yes, it's a losing battle. If you think the Old Masters are up there sitting on their eternal throne, the subject of adulation by the screaming masses, think again! True, museums showing their works have multiplied their audience by a factor of ten since the 1990s, perhaps more. I remember when I was a kid going to the Louvre forty years ago, it was perfectly empty. You could just walk in anytime of day and go up to the Monna Lisa and...nobody around! How wonderful! Today, you have to queue up and be ready to stand in line for hours, and once you get to the Monna Lisa, you have to wait again.If that isn't a roaring success for Leonardo da Vinci et al. , I don't know what is!

WRONG! The Old Masters are a success with the ignorant populace but NOT with the cognoscenti. These are the people with money - or access to money, i.e. the art merchants - who invest in Art. Only the very rich can do so, and now, crisis or no crisis, we have an ever growing new class of billionaires (y…

It's fun to be alone with my new Kindle...

First I noticed yesterday that through some incomprehensible error on my part I nominated ... myself as my "friend" - I really didn't mean to! I don't even know how to get myself off the list! Well, no matter. I know that I'm not alone in the blogosphere, at least I've got myself as a friend plus another brave person out there! Thank you and welcome to my blog...

Just a note on what life is like with my new Kindle. I love it! Electronic paper (since that's what ereaders are based on) is just great for all the reasons everybody knows: 1. you can read it anywhere, in bed, in the bathroom, in the post office waiting in line etc; 2. it's light and small, you can put it away or take it with you whenever you feel like it; 3. you can read it in the sunshine or inside without any adjustments; 4. you can buy your books directly from the e-store provided you're in a dedicated wifi area (or whatever they call it), and you get not only books but newspapers and…

Islamic Minarets and Christian Crosses

We've been recently treated to two rather surprising bits of religious news: on 29 November 2009, in Switzerland, a constitutional ban on the construction of minarets was approved by 57.5% of voters in a referendum, immediately causing a wave of dismay and contempt in European public opinion; on 3 November, in Italy, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that displaying crucifixes in Italian classrooms violates parents' rights to secular education for their children, causing widespread protest and an outcry in all political parties in Italy, from ledft to right.

Putting the two news together leads to some surprising conclusions about the state of religious affairs in Europe:

1. The referendum result in Switzerland clearly means one thing: Islamic minarets are considered offensive by a majority of the Swiss people. Some commentators have said it could be considered a normal reaction to the fact that no Christian church may be built in Saudi Arabia, the country that hosts the …