Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Black sheep of golden birth, I try to smother my mother. I bring tears to all I embrace. I thirst but water chokes me. I’m called holy though I come from hell. 

riddle answer

Smoke, born of golden flames, which it smothers, causes eyes to water. Sometimes called "holy," smoke is also said to come from the flames of hell.
This picture is of a trail of smoke from a meteor in the Leonid shower.  Thanks to our insomniac friends in Ireland for the shot.

Totally useless Treasure riddle

What is the most useless item of its kind but the most sought-after?
And of all the examples of this thing, the most painful and worthless is the most treasured of all.

Totally useless Treasure riddle answer

A crown.
Of all hats, the crown is the most ineffective for keeping warm and dry.
and Christ’s crown of thorns is the most highly valued of all, though it is made not of gems but dry, thorny twigs.
The photo of Reese Witherspoon as Marie Antoinette has a point: the crown she wore as queen did not protect her from the mob rule that cut off her head.
"Uneasy likes the head that wears a crown," Shakespeare has King Henry IV say.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb's "The Black Swan" is that rare book that can change the course of one's life, and, if enough people use its insights, the course of history.  
Summaries are inadequate--one needs to study the book, as the shifts in thinking the author shows us how to make are so great, we need to invest time and attention.   Stick with it despite the resistance that deeply ingrained ways may raise (even unconsciously) against it.  
This is the only book I've ever found that prepared me to deal with uncertainty, and the future. 
Check out his website:
In the book, he warned years ago that our current banking system could lead to worldwide financial problems, and he quotes that on passage on the site.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pink Slip

Saturday afternoon, at a pocket park in Chelsea, I waited for my last boyfriend. (OK, so he was also my first and so-far only one.) I’d agreed to meet for coffee, a year after dumping him.
At a nearby cafĂ© table, a group of young men chatted. One of them wore pink hot pants, pink tiger-striped sneakers and his uncombed, harshly dyed hair knotted and held by a gold plastic comb. An orchid fell from his hairdo each time he turned to yell at his dog. “Don’t embarrass me,” he scolded. The meek bitch looked nervously up from under a thick, cheap pink bow tied over her ears. The ribbon looped twice around her head and fell in her eyes. I think she was a mix of boxer and pit bull. She also wore a pink leather collar and leash.
The man entertained his friends with stories. “I was dragging this stuffed dog around, tying it up outside shops . . ..”
The boxer crept quietly over to me.
My ex arrived and looked at me, then the dog. She looked back at him, and then hopefully at me.
“I have a dog now,” I told Marc. “She’s named Precious.”
He raised his eyes sideways to the sky with a plaintive look that said, “Since she lost me, she’s gone barking mad.”

Keira Knightley in The Duchess

In the new film, The Duchess, Keira Knightley gives a mesmerizing performance as Genevieve Spencer, an ancestor of Princess Diana, who was Lady Spencer before her marriage to Prince Charles. Jeremy Irons brilliantly brings to life the rich old duke who arranges to marry her. It reminded me of his brilliant performance in "Reversal of Fortune." Both actors create characters who have layers of complexity. I felt that Keira was "channeling" Princess Diana--I saw in her the same paradoxical shyness and social brilliance, that strange mix of intimacy and mystery.  And the story of this duchess bears eerie similarities the Diana's own.  
Don't read a synopsis before you see it. Let the story surprise you.