Last Days of Summer (2013) - Part 3/3

» This page is PART THREE, continued from » Part Two. This entry was split into THREE pages in order to adhere to principles of web site optimization. Here you go...

Thelma & Louise | directed by Ridley ScottSpeaking of Thelma & Louise...

» The Counselor | the Cormac & Ridley Tag Team

I should probably mention that The Counselor comes out October 25. I might have to get in shape to go see that.

I am curious about Cormac's ability to adapt his obvious skill in writing the novel ..

.. into the theater of cinema, non-adaptively. Cormac is known to set before his dinner guests literary plates that are rich, but not easily digestable. So I wonder if some will choke on his challenging cinematic story.

With Ridley directing. Lots of talent there. All the top leading men in one film. Most promising.

I'm also curious as to how Mr. Cormac will play his story .. cuz he is not mainstream. [ Tolstoy talks about ordinariness as being » "most terrible." ]

The Film school kids, back when I was dating the Film school girl, used to rail on Spielberg .. for being so 'commercial' .. as tho he had sold out.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my all-time favorites. I even love the ride at Disneyland. How could these Film school students say such a thing?

Bukowski expresses a similar sentiment. Certainly Cormac understands the nuances of commercial success .. but at his age (and Ridley's age) ..

Cormac McCarthy.. I would expect that they are more interested in making a definitive parting statement .. than winning popular acclaim.

So it might be a few decades before viewers can say, "Oh, I see what he was saying."

(Certainly they have assembled the talent to make whatever statement they like.)

[ Even Einstein said » "To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself." ]

Stendhal (1783-1842) is famous for saying at the publication of » Le Rouge et Le Noir (1830, which met with harsh reviews) » "Dudes! It will take you 50 years to figure out what I'm saying."

The critics of Stendhal's day were pissing on his novel out in front of his house (figuratively speaking).

And sure 'nuf, come 1880, Stendhals writings experienced a resurgence of interest.

No, Stendhal did not live long enough to see his novel appreciated .. a novel now considered one of the best. Ever. Of all time. In any language.

For me, Cormac's writing has that same prophetic quality. Or at least something that feels similar.

Give Cormac 50 years and I think you will find that his writing wears well. Remarkably well. Time will tell.

But you neednt wait 50 years .. in order to learn the lesson that Cormac teaches » "There is NO LIMIT .. to the depravity that some will embrace. Here, let me show you what I mean."

Many of his other titles have been made in to film. Why not this one?

Anyway, I also took note of what Ridley said about Cormac's art »

"I think he writes the truth. Cormac is a writer's writer. Reading this script -- it was so fast and precise and crystal clear. It's like there's a series of cogs in a very clever clock. The cogs start to engage and -- a good word is dread. "

There is a guy painting the house here (the inside). Several days now. I made him coffee and asked if he was planning on seeing Ridley's new movie.

"What else has he done?" he asked.

When I got to Blade Runner, he said, "Blade Runner? That's like the best movie ever. A cult classic." He went on about what he liked about it. Eerily prophetic. So I told him the story about my furniture crafting friend.

The painter is also a fan of Anne Rice .. having read several of her titles. He particularly liked Lestat.

Mr. Scott has assembled for himself a cast consisting of some serious testosterone, no? The chemistry with the girls must be inflammatory. Downright combustible. Very sexy cast.

Katie Holmes at Gravity PremiereI also saw » Gravity .. with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. (And that's pretty much it, cast-wise.)

Definitely a film you want to see AT the theater .. on a BIG screen (.. bigger the better). Unlike any other movie I have seen.

Very cool. Strong reviews. Katie liked it.

Stays with you. Very cool the way it shifts your perspective to satellite-orbiting heights.

While the idea of floating alone out in the darkness of space forever .. can be terrifying to some ..

.. I later found myself thinking about how George made those "figure-8's" out in space .. sort of the diagram of an orbital electron .. around Sandra and the space station.

And how very amazingly cool, in real life, that must be. Boner city. He was thinking out loud » "That reminds of the time...".

My mom used to take me to the Hayden planetarium there in New York .. where they would turn down the lights to very dark, and show high definition images of the stars and galaxies on the curved ceiling there.

I must say, it definitely gets going the imagination of a little guy. We wrote to NASA and they sent us photos of the astronauts. Large photos. Very cool.

To be honest, tho, I am not really crazy about the idea .. of the ship I use to get home catching fire .. every time I need to go home. Feel me?

"Oh, you mean that your Porsche catches on fire every time you go home? Uh, I think I'll just ride with Bob. Thanks, anyway."

The intensity of Gravity reminded me of (surprisingly enough) of » The Terminator (with Arnold) .. in that the distress of the relentless threats can be emotionally fatiguing.

Like maybe you want to go home and lie down .. and think about Newton and apples.

While there to see Gravity, I also saw some previews, of which » Out of the Furnace .. looked most interesting. It sports a surprising number of Academy Award winners and nominees (6). Lots of talent.

Woody Harrelson looks to be in rare form, natural-born mountain man. Eddie Vedder did the soundtrack. I am always impressed by his work.

And Casey Affleck. Wow. At first it seemed like he might be getting acting roles because of his brother. But now, it seems he has gone beyond Ben. He is in there with the big boys and holding his own.

He seems like one of those people (like the Dog) who everybody likes. Don't you just hate people like that? =)

I read somewhere that actors, as a group, tend to have more testosterone than any other. Certainly a believable statistic.

Edward Snowden celebrated in Boston as a hero» Mr. Edward Snowden

I would like to send a quick shout-out to Edward Snowden .. and say that I was thinking of him the other day ..

.. that, while he is there in Russia, he should look into conducting a comparative study ..

.. of Dostoevsky's » Notes from Underground (120 pgs) .. and/with Daniel Kahneman's » Thinking, Fast and Slow (420 pgs).

Because, if I am not mistaken .. both books seem to be saying a similar thing .. certainly heading in the same general direction. And then apply this comparison to the way governments govern (sometimes irrationally).

Residing there in Russia, after having lived here in the States .. gives you an international perspective. An authoritative platform from which to speak .. beyond what a tourist can glean in a mere week or 10-day visit ..

.. a nice perch from which to share your ideas and insights .. on things beyond even the NSA. (Putin said » "No NSA shit.") Your views on cultural differences could be fascinating ..

.. especially if you can get out into the smaller villiages and explore and meet people there.

Notes from Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) | Cover art by Theodore Gericault (1791-1824)Because we-the-people are desperate for fresh ideas that do not included a financial-nuclear winter (.. or worse).

Friedman concurs. I'm sure Hemingway would, too.

Does Friedman's data-point, his insight from abroad (distant perspective) suggest, or even confirm, that the slide contines?

Notice that Notes from Underground was first translated and published in English in 1918 .. after World War 1 had been raging for a few years ..

.. some 50 years after the novel was originally written ..

.. as tho English-speaking peoples were suddenly looking for answers better than what they were getting from their leaders at the time.

» Dostoevsky Anticipates Kahneman?

Kahneman's book (2011, from the book's own inside-flap) » "challenges the rational model of judgment and decision-making."

While the Russian's 'gateway' novel (1864, also taken from the inside-flap) is » "an assertion of man's essentially irrational nature."

Question: Does Dostoevsky (the artist) foreshadow Kahneman (the scientist)? .. in the way similar to how Jonah presents Proust (1871-1922) in » Proust was a Neuroscientist?

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Kahneman is a nobelist in Economics (the 2002 prize) tho he is really a psychologist, at Princeton (same place where Einstein was .. my friend's kids go there).

Kahneman is the only non-Economist to receive the prize. while Dostoevsky has been praised by them (nobelists). So I do not think that you would be wasting your time ..

[ It was the seemingly irrational behavior of the Republicans that got me started thinking along these lines .. of composing this comparison.

(Yes, there are other, more colorful adjectives that we could use in leui of the word » irrational.)

Even atheists know that hate is irrational. ]

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881).. especially when you consider a passage from the introduction to the Brothers Karamazov (.. written by Malcom Jones ..

.. who is discussing why Dostoevsky's final book is considered a classic) .. that Dostoevsky's novel:

"finds an echo in every significant intellectual development to have gripped the western mind since its appearance."

and that it:

"forsees intellectual, social and political developments of our time."

Such big words. Such remarkable claims. For the Russian and his work. (People far more qualified than myself have called him a prophet.)

Did you know that Joseph Frank, who died earlier this year, the man who wrote one of the greatest literary biographies ever (.. and who is another Princeton dude, like Kahneman & Einstein & Krugman) actually learned the Russian language .. so he could better understand Dostoevsky's writings?

Frank, by the way, never intended to be Dostoevsky's biographer. He merely got started by reading » Notes from Underground .. and said, » "This is some gnarly shit. Downright fascinating." (Yes, I know the feeling.)

Notice here, where it says » "The previous translations of the husband-and-wife team of Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear--The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Notes From Underground--have been universally praised for capturing Dostoevsky's force and subtlety, and all three works are now considered the English standards."

And for Kahneman .. note that the guy who wrote the book titled » the Black Swan, is quoted as saying the following about Thinking, Fast & Slow (on the back cover) »

"A landmark book in social thought, in the same league as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations [1776] and Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams [1899]."

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman» Flawed Decisions From Flawed Apparatus

Another excerpt from the inside flap of Kahneman's landmark book:

"Kahneman is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields .. including economics, medicine and politics."

So there exists a connection between Kahneman's book and politics. [ Seems that pretty much anything that affects economics also affects politics .. cux politicians are very much about the money. ]

And speaking of politics .. Obama is going to give Kahneman the Medal-of-Freedom. So folks will be talking about him and the cool ideas contained in his fascinating book (.. a black hardback with a white cover with black letters).

2013, by the way, represents the 50-year anniversary of the award .. begun by Kennedy. The Medal of Freedom.

I would like to ask Obama how Kahneman's ideas have helped shape his politics.

Kahneman has produced truly fascinating shit. Tho not easily grasped (also like Dostoevsky's work). His book involves » thinking about thinking .. which itself seems recursive .. something that programmers are familiar with. (Something powerful.)

Daniel KahnemanBasically, Kahneman-the-Nobelist (who is preparing to receive the Medal of Freedom from Obama) says »

"The part of your mind that makes decisions and renders judgments contains » flaws ..

.. that you don't even know about .. that you don't even realize you have (.. or you wouldnt be making these errors of judgment)."

[ But come on .. after eight years of 'the Decider' (and subsequent Washington insanity) .. you think we dont already know this?

Here is what I'd like Mr. Kahneman to tell me » Where lies the line that separates (mere) poor decisions from unadulterated stupidity? ]

The interesting things is not that people sometimes make flawed decisions .. but rather that » it is the decision-making apparatus itself .. that is flawed.

The human decision-making system itself. As tho we humans were "blind to our blindness."

Oh, wait. Look » here. Alan is making my point for me. No, I have not read Alan's new book. What I hear Alan saying is » "How could I have fucked up so badly?"

Alan Greenspan receives the Medal of Freedom from the Decider-in-Chief, George W BushKahneman is like Einstein in that he has the balls to question our most basic assumptions. Heuvos gigantikos.

Einstein questioned centuries of accepted thought on physics (based primarily on Newton) which assumed that space and time were absolute.

Kahneman questioned our view (in the social sciences), which assumed that we humans are rational creatures.

My favorite part of his book comes at the very end, Part V » Two Selves .. which he calls the Remembering Self and the Experiencing Self.

But, if you are too busy to draw up such a comparison (.. eluding the secret service and whatnot) ..

.. then I could probably craft something crude but nonetheless interesting.

» Kahneman Says Your Intuition is Flawed

Kahneman basically says » the intuition that we humans use to make countless judgments and decisions, while truly remarkable and correct most of the time, contains FLAWS .. that we humans are NOT EVEN AWARE OF.

Which is why he wrote the book for the average person.

This is why it is very difficult (nearly impossible?) for the average investor to compete with Wall Street firms .. who study market dynamics down to the gnat's ass ..

.. and can afford to pay the very best programmers to code into software the fruits of their research .. which is then executed with split-second accuracy.

The average investor will begin after all of the big gains have already been pocketed by smarter people and then chase the market higher .. before losing his ass again (after all the smart money has quietly gotten out).

When the market starts to tank and everybody is trying to get out at a decent price, their trades will be executed before yours (called » front-running) because they pay the best programmers big bucks to write programs to do just that.

When the market is going up and everybody is buying, they get a lower price than you, and conversely, when selling, they get a higher price than you. They get you both coming and going.

» The Judo Master Goes For the Questionable Moral Leg

Did you really spend 40 days and 40 nights there in that airport terminal in Moscow? .. that political no-man's-land? Seems so biblical and foreshadowing. =) Or maybe just coincidental.

Tolstoy (1828-1910)I saw that Putin posted an op-ed to the NYTimes. That seemed like a judo-move to me.

He did not take on Obama directly, but rather went after his weight-bearing leg ..

you know, our "exceptional" morality .. that was marred in Iraq ..

.. and continues to take a beating in other places.

This was something you might expect from a judo master.

Very interesting when these Titans spar. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Beautiful, in a way.

And interesting, when you consider that Obama can trace his political roots back to Tolstoy .. a Russian.

I would like to tell Mr. Putin about something an old, experienced clever boss once told me. He said, "Son, a complaining tech is a happy tech. It's when they STOP complaining that you need to worry."

(I would also like to thank you .. for providing our friend with sanctuary.)

I feel that the main thing your [Snowden's] revelations have done .. is to produce a (an obviously well-deserved) » mistrust of our government.

Call it enlightenment.

Obama Selfie-gate at Mandela's Funeral on Dec 10, 2013 with Denmark's Helle Thorning-Schmidt while Michelle is clearly not happyOnce you lose trust .. it can be difficult to regain.

Exceedingly difficult.

(A principle that might also apply to » parenting, no?)

Certainly, Obama is familiar with this concept.

[ When I look at this photo here of Obama with the cutie from Denmark (Helle) ..

.. I can't help but think of Bill Clinton looking at it with me and saying (in that slow, southern drawl of his), "But for the grace of God, dawg." =)

Or maybe he is saying » "Been there, done that."

Do they both not look totally enchanted with each other? Telling photo. Remarkably telling.

Arent they glowing? Or is it just me?

I am catching the love buzz way over here .. from just *looking* at the photo.

I see chemistry. I see fireworks. I see a 20-mule team at work.

"What're you doing after the show?" ]

Alexander and Clapper both admit lying to Congress and nothing happens. What the fuck?

[ Dude, if you throw their asses in the slammer for perjury, I bet they will be less likely to lie to you next time.

But if you pretend like they did nothing wrong, then you are just encouraging them to do it again. No?

Which makes our government a bigger problem than the liars themselves.

If you cannot get a handle on our government, then go home (please) so more capable people can craft a plan to deal with Big Brother. ]

While you tell the truth (about obvious violations to the 4th Amendment) to the Press and they want to crucify you for espionage.

Espionage, by the way, is a very cool word. Four syllables .. just like 'Dahs-tuh-YEF-skee'. If they must charge you with something (for telling the truth) then espionage has serious cool factor. Very sexy word.

Instant cloak-n-dagger descends into thick London fog on a cold night .. even if it is a bullshit charge.

Anna Chapman, Russian Spy in a Red DressI think it would be good for you to meet Anna (if you havent already). Not to exchange spy secrets ..

.. but rather because you both have had similar experiences .. and that will allow for compassion and understanding .. which we all need and crave.

I'm sure she has some interesting stories. And she can probably help you learn the Russian language.

She certainly seems very nice.

I thought you would need to stay hidden at a dacha, but I saw photos of you out and about (on a boat).

So, I guess, if Putin says, "Dont touch," then you are golden.

Have you thought about taking your/our case to other nations? In person, I mean. A year or two here, and a year or two there.

It would be a way for them to honor your courage and sacrifice, and as a way to GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE / CULTURE there .. at these different countries ..

.. as a way to try to build /foster / accomplish a multi-cultural UNDERSTANDING .. on the PEOPLE's level .. and not necessarily on a political one.

Could just be so much pie-in-the-sky .. but I sense we need more multi-cultural understanding .. between nations. And cultures are rich and fascinating.

If I were king, I would punish you for your dastardly Crime Against Big Brother by sentencing you to 18 months in a long series of very cool countries .. including Sweden. Norway. Denmark. China. India. Brazil. Japan. And so on.

Perhaps right now such a thing is not feasible. But maybe in the future, because things seem to be changing at a promising pace.

Speaking of sparring titans [ Putin / Obama ] .. » Krugman calls out Druckenmiller (by name!). I find that kind of confrontation fascinating ..

Paul Krugman.. because of the old saying » "Those who can » DO .. while those who can't » teach."

And Druckenmiller has much experience and success with » real dollars.

While Paul (merely) has a Nobel prize. Valid points can be made for both sides.

[ Update Nov 2, 2014 » Does not Krugman seem to address my points here? » Business vs Economics.

I feel like Paul came over to my house and laid the smack down on me.

"Take that, bitch. And there's more Nobel-grade whup-ass where that came from."

<end Nov 2 update, Krugman smack-down> ]

Krugman is fearless. (Was he also fearless before the Nobel prize?) In another post I read where he mentioned Greenspan's new (tho not very good) book ..

.. as tho Alan's book sucked so bad that it wasnt even worth putting the comment in its own sentence.

It's almost like Alan is trying to blame the meltdown on Kahneman. =)

On the other hand » Druckenmiller cometh .. to a university campus near you. And he does not strike me as someone who is easily intimidated .. even by Nobel Prize-winning economists.

Is this not the epitome of » practical experience vs theoretical knowledge? And what issues could possibly be more important?

[ Krugman also reminds me of the way Chris Christie called out John Boehner. (By name.) ]

If I were called upon to select the combatants for an Economic Battle-Royale Tag Team .. a cage-match of global consequences, if you will .. I would start with these two ..

Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Columbia University.. and then add for alternate taggers » Stiglitz (who is not afraid to take on Adam Smith himself) and Roubini and Kotlikoff and Piketty ..

.. and Emmanuel Saez and Robert Reich and Jeremy Stein and Newport's own Mohamed El-Erian and Bill Gross.

Can't forget Jeffrey Sachs and Jeremy Grantham. I'd rather not but was told I must include Steve Forbes on the list.

[ I like the way his web site greets you with a thought-provoking quote. Sometimes they provoke such thought that I forget what I was going to his site for. ]

I am still considering Larry Summers. Paul seems to like him. But not Stiglitz.

I really like what Kotlikoff says (I'm paraphrasing) » if you don't define your metrics well, you will never get a handle on the problem.

Your metrics are designed for convenience and to more easily generate a pretty result. But they are not designed for accuracy.

One of the first things you do in programming is to » define your variables. Some programming languages even use the dollar $ign to represent a $variable.

For my epic cage-match throwdown of (for) the 21st century ..Vandana will be my referee and the folks from Yahoo Finance will call the blow-by-blow. Peter Schweitzer is my time-keeper.

Jack Bogle will visit the dressing rooms of the fighters and ensure that the gloves which each combatant wears meet approved standards and regulations.

And if I went to all that trouble, I would certainly see if I could get Robert Reich to sit next to me and explain wtf is going on.

Okay, let's get this party started. (For the kids .. to have a chance.) Somebody give the nod to Michael Buffer to do his thing.

Now I am no economist, but it seems to me that our current economic system is so skewed that any monetary stimulus merely serves to make the rich even richer.

Does this not seem intuitively obvious? To even the most casual economic observer? That the people who benefit most from monetary and fiscal stimulous are those who need it least.

Druckenmiller ComethThe discussion is good. So we can leave your generation ..

.. a nation that is not all fucked up, economically speaking.

That would be my introductory tone-setting comment to our fearless combatants.

Speaking of cage matches and fearless combatants ..

.. here is a fascinating exchange between Bill Keller (of the NY Times) and Glenn Greenwald ..

.. who is leaving the Guardian to start a new kind of news service. Great debate.

Sometimes I try to imagine what it must be like for you there in Russia .. and I try to put myself in your shoes (.. which naturally, requires a degree of compassion).

I was not nearly as mature as you are .. when I was in my twenties and early thirties .. so I see myself going out for a burger and a beer with the guys after a hard day at work ..

.. and a girl is there. A debutante named is Natasha or Tatiana, who is friendly. And I say » "I'm from America, but I can't go back .. cuz they've charged me with espionage. But Vladimir fixed it so I can chill here for a while."

Her eyes light up and she says (pointing, as a smile breaks across her face) » "Hey. You're that guy..." =)

[ Just joking. No doubt your life is much different from what I can imagine. ]

By the way, did you know that Einstein named his second son » Eduard (1910-1965) .. the spelling there a little different.

Speaking of father/son stuff, I saw that your dad flew to Russia to see you .. very cool. He said all the things that I would've said myself. (Any dad would.)

"Thanks for providing my boy with safe haven. With sanctuary. I'm a guest here and I'm grateful. Very grateful .. to many people .. including the Russian people."

Can you get caviar there in Russia? I heard they have the best of the best. They say it's an "acquired taste." Supposedly an aphrodisiac. When in Rome .. right? Experience the culture .. full spectrum.

[ Remind me to tell you the story about the Stoli-girl. Na Zdorovie. By the way, what is the correct Russian toast there? (First things first, right?) ]

Speaking of caviar...

Risotto and shrimpRisotto » The Caviar of Rice

Every time somebody would tell me about the wonderful risotto they made, I would ask » "How do you make it?"

But it wouldnt take long until I would say, "Whoa-whoa-whoa! Too much information. We're talking about rice here, right?"

In my rice cooker, I simply put 2-cups of water for 1-cup or rice and press the ON button. Voila!

When it is done, 20 minutes later, the rice cooker automatically turns itself off, and kindly keeps my rice warm until I'm ready to chow (.. after I return from a run). Could not be easier.

"I'm just not that into rice," I thought, "to make such a fuss over cooking it." And how can something as basic as rice be considered a delicacy?

The Italian guys, especially, would wax passionate when they described the process. It would be an exaggeration to say that tears welled up in their eyes, but not by much.

To them, to the faithful, calling risotto 'rice' .. means you don't understand. I see now what they mean. Because yesterday I made my first risotto. It definitely makes the house smell good .. with the sauteed onions and cooking with wine.

They say it's like riding a bike » takes a bit of practice to begin, then a certain amount of concentration thereafter.

Crème Brûlée All DayI do not make many things, but what I *do* make is usually yummy .. such as » puttanesca and nuclear-grade stew .. not to mention the world's best tacos.

Risotto would make a nice addition to my culinary repertoire, seeing you can flavor it with an endless assortment of extras, such as mushrooms or seafood.

Tho a simple sprinkling of parmesan cheese seems to be default topping.

Saying that » "risotto is a creamy, starchier rice than the basmati you're probably familiar with" doesnt quite capture the passion that people feel for it.

There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice, the world's #1 food-source, which dates back 4,000 years from India. I read that Olympians at the Olympics eat more rice than anything.

When I say 'creamy' I do not mean as in » adding milk or cream. No. I do not even add butter.

Rather, I mean that the risotto makes its OWN creaminess (.. which is the best kind) .. from the starchiness of the pearly rice.

Yes, you can add butter if you like. I use olive oil .. sometimes with a little quality grated parmesean at the end.

My intuition says that mushroom risotto would totally rock.

Yes, I looked for the Carnaroli variety that people claim is "the king of rices," but could not find any.

Nor could I find any Vialone Nano. (I would love to eat anything named 'nano'.) So I bought the standard arborio, which most stores carry.

Risotto cookingThe main thing you need to know is that » these rices absorb roughly 3-to-4 times their weight ..

.. so, if you use 1½ cups of rice (enough for 4 people) you will need ~ 5 cups of liquid (½-cup dry white wine + 1 quart organic chicken broth/stock + ½ cup hot water).

I dont yet have enough experience to speak with authority on the subject, but am proud of myself for adding another skill to my limited culinary repertoire .. since risotto is relatively inexpensive.

It's all in the starch (.. for all you geeks who like to know the science behind the flavor). Rices used to make risotto contain a starch called » amylopectin, while non-risotto rices (like basmati) contain more of a different starch called » amylose.

And this starch is the thing that makes risotto tricky to cook .. cuz you need to keep stirring or the creamy starch will burn at the bottom of the pan.

I mean, you can stop stirring for a minute or two, but you can't really walk away from the stove and let it cook by itself. That's what makes risotto trickier than most other dishes, especially as the risotto nears completion.

Bon appétit.

» Is Today's Uncharacteristically-Vague Title Artistic?

Don't you think that the title of today's entry is rather vague? The Last Days of Summer (2013). I mean, you could discuss most any topic you like under a heading like that.

Rainy Day on a Red BenchI tried hard to 'wait for' another, better, more descriptive title. But one never came.

It actually kinda bothered me .. that my provisional title became my Final Title.

Yes, I know that sounds stupid. And I agree. But there you have it.

So when it came time for the next entry [ on 11-12-13, a forward-looking date ..

.. that I simply could not pass up ].. and I needed to convert the home page provisional entry into more-permanent Moveable-Type pages ..

.. I said, "Okay, THAT's the title." And then I was okay with it.

You may have noticed .. that I usually try to be descriptive with my titles (.. for the sake of accurate search engine queries).

If I can't be descriptive (for whatever reason), then I'll settle for intriguing. But never vague.

Clarity shows (demonstrates) that you know wtf you're talking about. So vagueness can be a cover for ignorance and perhaps even incompetence.

I agree with spirit of Stendhal's quote, when he said » I see but one rule: to be clear.

I liked the simplicity of that quote long before I knew who Stendhal was.

I see more rules, of course. But what Stendhal (1783-1842) means, I think, is that » If the writer of prose does not have clarity, then what does he have? What good is he?

I have at times gone to some lengths .. to ensure that clarity was delivered.

Clarity-of-writing is more difficult than it appears .. because you first must get the shit straight in your OWN head .. before you can ever think to convey an idea with clarity to another.

"Dude, are you *trying* to confuse me?"

Don't get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate an artistic degree of ambiguity .. and perhaps today's title represents nothing more than transition to a more artistic posture ..

.. but there are times when ambiguity can be ______ (« you fill in the word). [ Unhelpful? Misunderstood? ]

And this is why I love Stiglitz. His clarity is so developed that it has a self-illuminating quality. Batteries included.

Inception Totem Spinning Top | Is this real or am I dreaming?Now I could certainly give today's entry a more descriptive title ..

.. but not one that feels right. (Yes, to my surprise, and despite waiting for one.)

So naturally, I am wondering .. does that mean anything?

What could it possibly mean? A nasty winter cometh?

If we were living one century ago, next summer would bring World War One.

The War to End All Wars.

Think about it.

The end .. of the Last Days (of Summer). ■

You can analyze the HTML details of today's entry » here.

Return to » Part One.

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Alibaba Goes Public NYSE » Biggest IPO Ever

Update Sept 19, 2014 » Exactly one year from the date of this entry .. Alibaba goes public (NYSE) in the biggest IPO ever .. valued at some US$200 billion market capitalization.

Alibaba Goes Public NYSE Sept 19, 2014I know that mentioning this event seems completely unrelated ..

.. but there is not really much that lies outside the purview of today's entry, given the title.

Does today's record-setting IPO mean anything?

Probably not to anybody but me and Jack Ma and the folks at Yahoo.

To be honest, I had not heard of this company before news of their IPO.

And they seem to fancy the folks at Yahoo .. giving them a 22% share. Must be nice.

But US$200 billion dollars is a lot of broccoli .. in any language.

What is 22% of 200 billion?

Answer » a LOT.

Congrats Jack Ma. (Cool name, no?)

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on September 19, 2013 9:19 AM.

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