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Woman Crosses Pedestrian Bridge Nokia N95 8GB Tel Aviv, Israel Thursday, July 30th, 2009.

We like to do things together even though I think she’s a stupid cunt.

Aaron Livingstone

Daisy Way
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Daisy Way iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Wednesday, July 12th, 2017.

Frame
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Frame iPhone 6S East Sussex, England Sunday, June 18th, 2017.

Discovery
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Discovery iPhone 6S East Sussex, England Sunday, June 18th, 2017.

Clay Decoration
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Clay Decoration iPhone 6S Surrey, England Tuesday, May 30th, 2017.

Some Curves
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Some Curves iPhone 6S London, England Saturday, May 6th, 2017.

Darwin Garden
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Darwin Garden iPhone 6S England Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017.

Darwin’s Farpoint
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Darwin’s Farpoint iPhone 6S England Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017.

Neat
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Neat iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017.

Springtime with My Boy
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Springtime with My Boy iPhone 6S Hod Hasharon, Israel Thursday, April 20th, 2017.

If You Want You Can Build a City
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If You Want You Can Build a City iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Wednesday, April 19th, 2017.

Early for Everyone
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Early for Everyone iPhone 6S Hod Hasharon, Israel Monday, April 17th, 2017.

The Center Holds
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The Center Holds iPhone 6S Israel Saturday, April 15th, 2017.

Flowers Along the Path
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Flowers Along the Path iPhone 6S Netanya, Israel Thursday, April 13th, 2017.

Jaffa’s Nine Circles of Parking
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Jaffa’s Nine Circles of Parking iPhone 6S Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel Wednesday, April 12th, 2017.

Leaving Nevei Tzedek
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Leaving Nevei Tzedek iPhone 6S Tel Aviv, Israel Wednesday, April 12th, 2017.

Herzlia Peninsula
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Herzlia Peninsula iPhone 6S Herzlia, Israel Tuesday, April 11th, 2017.

Just Walking to Wilhelm
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Just Walking to Wilhelm iPhone 6S Hod Hasharon, Israel Monday, April 10th, 2017.

Holy Fecundity
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Holy Fecundity iPhone 6S Herzlia, Israel Sunday, April 9th, 2017.

Somebody’s Home
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Somebody’s Home iPhone 6S Trastevere, Rome, Lazio, Italy Saturday, April 8th, 2017.

On Me Way
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On Me Way iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, April 3rd, 2017.

Modern London
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Modern London iPhone 6S London, England Wednesday, March 29th, 2017.

Living London
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Living London iPhone 6S London, England Wednesday, March 29th, 2017.

Bike Run!
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Bike Run! iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Friday, February 17th, 2017.

Shapes
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Shapes iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, February 6th, 2017.

Heart of the Pantry
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Heart of the Pantry iPhone 6S Brighton, East Sussex, England Monday, February 6th, 2017.

•••

Briefs

Sunday, August 20th, 2017

Peggy Noonan opens and shuts the case on statues. To me it’s all very Taliban.

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

People who engage in mob political violence ostensibly for ideological reasons have particular psychological profiles shared by relatively small numbers of people.

Adam Garfinkle, “In the Shadow of Weimar”

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

On golf, drunk driving in Phoenix, and “the hillbilly passover Seder”: Alice Cooper eulogizes his good friend Glen Campbell.

There are unsettling but persuasive parallels between liberal democracy and communism. [via aldaily]

From iPhone 4S to 6S: An Appreciation

The increased size, something I was so hesitant about, feels fine to me now. And because it’s thinner it feels less obtrusive in my pocket.

Spectreview

With the villain’s quasi-sibling bond to the hero, 2015’s 007 movie deflates to an incestuous Möbius Strip.

In Gaza, Israel Should Own its Terrible Tactic

Although such excoriating labels as “collective punishment” and “state terrorism” aren’t entirely wrong regarding Israel’s application of the Dahieh Doctrine in Gaza, history does suggest that the method is effective in fighting a fundamentally defensive war.

Go Deny Yourself

This four-letter little word undermines our modern values of tolerance and presumption of innocence.

Some Consumer Affairs

I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.

From Nokia N95 to iPhone 4S

Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.

2001: A Space Odyssey: Dry, Juicy, Linear, Luminous

The dancers in the ape-suits; how they move is an incredibly energetic output for us. Contrast their physical reaction when witnessing the monolith to that of the astronauts in the newly-minted 21st century.

The Mouse and the Cantilever

Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.

Friendship is for Weenies

It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust US President Obama.

Before the Setup

It’s 1983: Go for the Apple IIe with 64k that could be opened up as a hobbyist machine? Or the smaller, sleeker and newer IIc with double the memory but a closed case?

At Modi’in Mall

There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown: Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.

The Israel I Love, the Bad So Far

If the signage were a bit more effective, the staff’s diction and demeanor more professional, then we might have avoided this testy altercation.

Shanghai Europe

So, finally, we stopped yesterday; the Israeli assault on Gaza of late 2008/early 2009 is over. With it, Israel lost moral purity and made vital strategic gains.

Panning for MacBook Pro

Even if it did nothing, was just a prop in a futuristic movie, the MacBook Pro would be impressive; it’s like a sculpture of my previous computer, the MacBook, except it’s actually an improved computer!

Stop Yesterday

Is the goal of Israel’s current assault on Gaza to discourage Hamas from firing rockets or to render them incapable of doing so? These are two quite different projects.

Short-circuiting Place-based Longing

If there’s one tangible benefit to having lived in a variety of places it’s that it furnishes evidence of the futility of longing to be elsewhere.

A Crawl Across Crawley, Part 1

Irit, the Jam and I walk from Brighton to Gatwick Airport.

Clash of the Midgets

I was annoyed to have my sauna moments despoiled and dominated, reverberating with this old geezer’s most naff yap.

Israel’s Greatest Victory Since Osirak?

If Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza was part of a masterplan to staunch the damage done by the victory of the Six Day War in 1967, then today we see another step in its unfolding.

The Small Adventures, Part 2

There in the empty restaurant by the water at Dieppe I had toast with foie gras, a carafe of red wine, a huge plate of mussels and chips, and finally a crème brûlée. Somehow, though I’ve eaten in restaurants hundreds of times, I felt grown up.

The Small Adventures

Late for the train, we enquired frantically among the taxis for one who’d accept the two dogs and take us to Termini Station so I could catch the 11pm train to Milan that would be one third of our journey to Britain.

Tony Blair and the Four-State Vision

Ariel Sharon’s disengagement policy reflected an understanding that ownership of the Palestinian issue is shared with Egypt and Jordan. If Tony Blair were to acquire this view, perhaps he really could help facilitate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Restoration and Return

There she was, sitting outside the apartment block! How did she do it? Dogs—or at least Jam—must have some sort of navigational sense we don’t understand.

Curs to Fate

Yesterday I lost Jam in Villa Borghese, the central park here in Rome, some five miles from Talenti, the neighborhood where we’re staying. She has not turned up since.

Jam and Bread, Jam and Bread!

My dog Jam has spent over a third of her time here in Italy as her fixtures have fallen away—first Maddie, then me. But now I’m back!

This Trip’s Last Day

I went to Astor Place Haircutters. I crossed Manhattan Bridge on foot. I walked west along Canal St, seeking a bamboo steamer.

I, Thou and Pastor Bob

At the Calvary Church here in Fort Lauderdale the Biblical locations feel so far away that they can be abstracted and spiritualized. There is religious energy here.

The Big and Easy

The American stage is grand, as are the achievements and ambitions, but daily life seems lamed by a compulsive denaturing.

A Drop in Time

The camera hit the ground lens first, bashing it in so that it would no longer wind in and out, and couldn’t switch on. Without it, my perception of an important personal era was degraded.

A Ride to Gatwick Airport

Airports. They’re so charged, so symbolic, and so empty once you’re at one; I dream of them so often.

Only the Rustle in the Trees

Grief, loss — these are the great teachers surely. What one has will pass.

A Cabaret, Old Chum

It’s a last bastion of civility, being allowed to drink at Penn Station, Brian mused ruefully as we carried our beers to his train home to Great Neck.

Fatahland and Hamastan

Now Israel has a dog in a real Palestinian fight: the nationalists rather than the Islamists.

Stars, Stripes & Superlatives

Here in Los Angeles I am bombarded with superlatives. Daniel’s record collection. The Bikram Yoga College of India world headquarters. Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. All mixed in with the most ravaging mediocrity.

Shite on Brighton

“Like many provincial towns,” the Private Eye reviewer stabs, “Brighton, as depicted in this hacked-together tribute, defines itself more by what it isn’t than by what it is. It’s not London, for one thing.”

Daily Yin

For my first test of the day as day, I open the back door and step outside to the little patio to see the sky and feel the air. I realize not everybody does this, so if people tell me I’m a miserable bastard then perhaps this little habit will correct their impression.

Mind the Dream

Dreaming about our passed companions as if they are alive requires tricks to the dreaming mind to overcome what it believes and knows to be true.

The Dharma Tits

Buddhism is the philosophy and psychology closest to Cognitive Therapy and vice versa.

Still Got the Jam

Jam was one of Maddie’s nine puppies, the one who remained after the others were all taken. That was always my plan, to keep the runt.

Such a Tramp

Maddie, who died 18 months ago today, was a mangy mutt and stank, but she was also among the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen and for me the longest, richest, widest, deepest streak of feeling lucky.

So You Noticed

I have had something very flattering: a request. Juan Carlos has asked me for comments on Casino Royale.

Fly the Blag

Ryanair has brought wretchedness to the skies. Rather than existing on a privileged plane, you stew in a poisoned atmosphere.

Approaching Infinite Justice

Immediately after 9/11, the burgeoning war on terror was named “Operation Infinite Justice”. Within days it was renamed “Operation Enduring Freedom”, but is the new name a mere cloaking of the first?

On the Seventh Day

The Mrs is skeptical of David Allen’s Getting Things Done self-management system because it eschews the rigors of time management for what feels right. But GTD is about informed feeling.

Don’t Panic!

An academic romp through Jewish American comedy starts out as a veritable rollercoaster ride, but grinds to halt with its obsession with one Bob Dylan.

Photographing a Handsome Old Man

I want to get people in my pics, but it’s tougher when you’re no longer a wide-eyed teenager, because people generally don’t like to think they are a spectacle.

The Beauty of Rain

Rain makes the rocks shine. It puts in motion things that are otherwise static. It illustrates gravity most prettily.

Ode to Salame

It’s supposed to be the arsehole of Tel Aviv, Salame Street, running east-west at its southern tip, but it always does me darn good.

I Love Laundry

How pleasing it is to have my own washing machine. If all isn’t right with the world, not even in my world, at least the laundry cycle is functioning.

Lovely Scenery, But Walks Getting Boring

Unless I drive somewhere new, it’s not much fun to just step out the door and wander. But driving to go for a walk seems a tad ridiculous.

For Love of Economy

It disturbs me to be driving a car that gets fewer kilometers to the shekel than did my previous.

Shinui and the Seven-Year Itch

How refreshing to see Asian faces out shopping in Tel Aviv, or Africans riding the bus to Ra’anana. With them Israel is given fresh wellsprings of culture.

Allah Help the Jackals

While it’s obvious that overplaying your power can result in a downfall, it’s less obvious that underplaying it also leads to trouble. America did this in the 1970s under Carter. Israel seems to have done it almost perennially.

For Tel Aviv, Better a Skylift Than a Subway

Rather than copycatting a transportation system from the 19th century, Israel could inject into its civic planning the same audacity and resourcefulness that it has historically brought to agriculture and defence.

Canada Obscura

There’s not a patch of water to be seen—the most liquid thing is the word “Coffee” on one of the low-slung strip-mall buildings. It’s a scene more artful than art itself.

Tour of Kitchen Duty

There was yelling and spray and I raced to keep up. One can enjoy, briefly, the company of men.

Tira Saunters

The one-lane road is empty; down below is the Sharon Plain, looking vast. Israel may be a small country but we’re still speaking here of land.

A Call to Thumbs

When you hitchhike it’s out of your hands, and that’s therapeutic. Paradoxically, you also see how much control you do have.

 

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

The key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships. This from an 80-year ongoing study of Harvard’s class of ’38.

The world’s most rhinestone cowboy, Glen Campbell, has died at 81. He is one of my favorites.

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Slant Magazine is once again in Jerusalem, this time for Jerusalem Film Festival 2017. By Greg Cwik.

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

InspireConversation is the parenting blog of, together with his wife, Jason Greenblatt. He is the presidential envoy who accompanied Israel’s Head of Security Services to Jordan to defuse the recent Israeli embassy crisis there.

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Trump Ends Support to Anti-Assad Rebels. Trump’s empty embassy move promise was it seems a symbolic harbinger of things to come. By letting Russia control what happens in Syria near Israel’s border, Trump is betraying the fundamental security interests of ally Israel, not to mention doubling down on its dereliction of superpower duty, which means abandoning American long-term interests.

Modi and Netanyahu, India and Israel’s prime ministers, are a match made in history. By Jonathan Spyer in The American Interest.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I appreciate this nicely laid out summary of wisdom reminders for the working life by Studio Lovelock, This Much We Know.

Now this you should see. Via Andy Serkis the motion capture king, Gollum reads a couple of Trump tweets as his own. Ah, excellence. [via motherjones.com]

Another dizzyingly ironic yet comic and worthy essay by a late 20-something “writer based in Brooklyn” (I shouldn’t disparage, to be such was my highest ambition), this is Daniel Kolitz’s What I Learned at Personal Branding School.

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Trump: The Art of the Deal

Donald Trump with Tony Schwartz

♦♦♦

This chatty, self-serving, very likeable book is arguably necessary reading today, now that the man has climbed to the pinnacle of life.

In buying the Commodore Hotel in midtown Manhattan, his first major success, he had to juggle getting the money from the bankers and permission from the city (though the book’s account glosses over the help he received from his father calling in favors). Each step forward with one party in the deal encouraged progress with another party. This iteration seems to me a fundamental part of the art of the deal: aiming higher than seems reasonable, bringing multiple parties to something they would never have come to otherwise, then inching forward by presenting progress with one party to another party to create confidence, iterating until everyone is aboard.

A must-read coda to the book is the July 2016 New Yorker article with the equally-billed ghostwriter Tony Schwartz wherein Schwartz expresses huge concern about the man he knows well.

Monday, July 10th, 2017

All our spines. A compilation of what Houston-based chiropractor Dr Gregory Johnson calls his ring-dingers.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

In a large study of US military veterans, researchers “consistently found a significant association between PPI (proton pump inhibitor) use and increased risk of death”. They don’t know why this happens but do know that “PPI treatment impairs lysosomal acidification and proteostasis and results in increased oxidative stress, dysfunction, telomere shortening and accelerated senescence of human endothelial cells.” [via The New York Times]

Friday, July 7th, 2017

What Cuba is like now, after the thawing with the United States. J. S. Tennant in The White Review.

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Robots don’t eat chocolate. James Meek weaves a rich tale of Cadbury’s moving its chocolate factory from Bristol in England to Skarbimierz in Poland. We get EU politics, British commercial history and contemporary Polish politics. It’s a microcosm of the economic game of musical chairs happening in our era. [via Tyler Cowen’s marginalrevolution.com]

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Giancarlo Esposito talks with Slant Magazine about, among other things, how he created Gustavo Fring. “So part of what I began to do in Breaking Bad was to use my ease of expression—my breathing in and out, my yoga practice—to drop my natural personality. So that I would be calm and relaxed and allow myself to witness a little bit.”

Efraim Inbar provides the background to the hugely significant first-time-ever visit to Israel by an Indian Prime Minister.

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

Scimitar

Peter Niesewand

♦♦

In a bookstore this thriller paperback jumped out at me due to its familiarity; I had read it or author Peter Niesewand’s previous thriller Fallback decades ago as an early teenager and remembered it positively.

It’s Americans versus Russians towards the end of the Cold War, and disarmament talks are going on, but the Soviets have been cheating and using secret weapons in Afghanistan. Turns out this author did indeed spend time in Afghanistan, hence the persuasive veracity of the book’s second half. He was a white Rhodesian, a political prisoner, who became a rather glamorous and celebrated foreign correspondent for The Guardian. Sadly he died at the very young age of 39 — Wikipedia says from a disease he contracted in Afghanistan.

It’s fun to read this sort of thing once in a while, even if the protagonists are a bit plasticky. The passage of time arguably gives it more value, as it captures the concerns and conflicts of a particular period.

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

What an internet treasure. Standard Ebooks is — according to their web site — “a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.” These are some beautiful, consistently-designed ebooks. The epub version works a charm in iBooks.

Monday, June 26th, 2017

“A wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.” In this perfectly pitched skewering of Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman & Dave Eggers et al’s confrontation of the Occupation in the West Bank, Matti Friedman wonders what it’s all actually about. All this, plus: I don’t think I’ve ever seen such skilful use of the exclamation mark!

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

As an antidote to the borderline smarminess of Jason Horowitz’s New York Times article about returning to Rome, here is a more substantial, dignified, rewarding and useful guide to visiting the city by a blogger named Nan Quick: My Recipe for a Stress-Free Week in Rome. Warning: she takes a couple of paragraphs to warm up.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

He had me with his first-paragraph mention of Trattoria Da Enzo, my favorite. I’ve forwarded to visitors this panegyric to Rome by the incoming New York Times’ bureau chief. A lot of attractive restaurants mentioned and described. [via Juan Carlos Bronstein, who was unimpressed by the tone, as are many others in the comments]

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

“Gazans today are more moderate than West Bankers on the key question of permanent peace with Israel,” reports David Pollock at The Washington Institute based on what he calls “reliable data from a new survey conducted there May 16-25 by a professional, independent Palestinian pollster.” I thought it might augur hope for an eventual end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but 44% of Gazans and 55% of West Bankers still believe the conflict “should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated”. And 46% of Gazans blame Israel for their economic woes while only 4% blame Egypt. [via dailyalert.com]

At the Borei Choshech blog about depression and Jewish prayer, a brief discussion on an important part of the Jewish morning prayer, Elohai Neshama.

If you happen to be on the lookout for a fresh homey brief humanistic web site, The Saunterer is by H. Charles Romesburg, Professor in the Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University.

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Words of wisdom from Jacques Mattheij: How to Improve a Legacy Codebase (for the computer geeks only).

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

David Arnold speaks to collaborating with Chris Cornell on “You Know My Name”, the theme song for the James Bond movie Casino Royale: “We needed someone who could sing the way Daniel acted…” This has become my #3 favorite, after Carly Simon’s Marvin Hamlish number and Nancy Sinatra’s John Barry one.

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

This fresh Los Angelino perspective on Frank Lloyd Wright tries to build the case that the somber Mayan style of the four homes he built in the city reflects the devastation of the mass murder at Taliesin a few years earlier.

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Brian Nemhauser’s inspiring rule of yes on requesting personal time from one’s co-parent.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Anti-fragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

♦♦♦♦♦

I’ve been listening to the Commentary Magazine podcast lately, enjoying John Podhoretz’s knowledgeable and intelligent monologues, even if regularly exasperated by their ideological blinkers. This week their discussion reeked of black swan events but they fumbled around for the logic that applies. It was obvious that none of the three speakers had read any Nassim Nicholas Taleb, otherwise they would have had the framework and could have moved on. That made them seem ignorant. Which makes you realize these books are seminal. Yes there are irritations, but perhaps these will fade from a more distant perspective. There are echoes here of the iconoclastic spirit of Nietzsche — can there be higher praise?

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

The Dispensability of Allies by George Friedman — probably the only required reading on President Trump’s upcoming visit to the Middle East, even if it is rather dismal.

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

“Even The Beatles have sort of faded for this generation, but Billy hasn’t. Billy’s still cranking,” observes cover band leader Mike DelGuidice. Billy Joel is outearning the likes of U2 and Adele.

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

This is fascinating: Turks residing in liberal Europe voted far more heavily for Erdogan’s authoritarian referendum — about 70/30 — than did Turks at home, about 50/50. Far less still did Turks in the USA and the UK vote for it — about 84% and 80% against respectively. A measure of ideological/cultural integration?

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.

Anthony Trollope

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Looks like a nice place to be, Amtrak in the 70s.

Customer service needs to be good not great.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

 
 

•••