Friday, 30 March 2012

Most elegant thing of the day

This is absolutely brilliant. It is calm, clean, elegant, and powerful. I love the women in it. I love the sweet, serious reason with which it is presented.

When I say clean, I mean that there is nothing extraneous. It is just women, and some quite extraordinary words. There is  no need for anything else, and the film-maker cleverly knows that less is so much more.

There is also a very clever juxtaposition thing going on, as you shall see.

It's one of those videos where I want to say: tell all your friends.

By the way, if you don't know about the forced ultrasound thing, I do recommend that you look it up. It is one of the most shocking and inexplicable things done by a political party in my lifetime.

Ever since I have been conscious of politics, Republicans have been talking of making government small. Grover Norquist wanted it small enough to drown in a bathtub. This is what makes the whole thing so strange. In this case, government has become so enormous and intrusive that it can go into your vagina. That's wicked big. It's so big it makes your own doctor perform an unnecessary and invasive procedure, against her wishes or advice, because the law tells her to. Government, that thing which should be hardly visible to the naked eye, is making medical professionals stick vaginal probes up your jacksy.

But the good news is: you can always CLOSE YOUR EYES.

I wish I could be ironical and funny about this, but I can't. It makes me too cross. This should not be happening to American women in the 21st century. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to take to the barricades in support of the sisterhood. But what I really wonder is: what is it in women which makes some people on the right hate and fear them so? It's a genuine question. I like to think I'm a bit of a student of human nature, but I have absolutely no idea.

If you want to read more, there is an interesting piece about Governor Bob McDonnell here, and the mighty, mighty Rachel Maddow on the subject here.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Test of the day

Susan Cain's book about introverts is getting more and more attention. As a true introvert, I find this rather gratifying.

Here is an interesting test which accompanied an excerpt from the book in one of the papers today. Remember that it is generally agreed that introversion is graded on a curve. I scored 17 out of 20, which is pretty curvy. Oddly, even though one of the points of the book is that society is geared for extroverts, I have always felt oddly proud of my introversion. (Which should not be confused with shyness.) I have no idea why this is, since it was born in me, and is not my own work.

  1. I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
  2. I often prefer to express myself in writing.
  3. I enjoy solitude.
  4. I seem to care less than my peers about wealth, fame and status.
  5. I dislike small talk but I enjoy talking in depth about topics that matter to me.
  6. People tell me that I’m a good listener.
  7. I’m not a big risk taker.
  8. I enjoy work that allows me to dive in with few interruptions.
  9. People describe me as soft-spoken or mellow.
  10. I prefer not to show my work or discuss it with others until it is finished.
  11. I like to celebrate birthdays on a small scale with only one or two close friends or family members.
  12. I dislike conflict.
  13. I do my best work alone.
  14. I tend to think before I speak.
  15. I feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.
  16. I often let calls go to voicemail.
  17. I’d prefer a weekend with nothing to do to one with too many things scheduled.
  18. I don’t enjoy multi-tasking.
  19. I concentrate easily.
  20. In classrooms, I prefer lectures to seminars.

The more true answers you have, the more likely you are to be introverted.


Famous Introverts:<br />Fun Fact: Introverts only make up 30% of the population! Correction! We&#8217;re a small large bunch, we make up 1/2 of the population, as been informed to me by fellow introvert blogger, Susan! Good to know :) <br />Contrary to a common myth about introverts, we are not &#8216;afraid&#8217; to put ourselves out there, nor do we necessarily hate people. We just need time for ourselves; our brains work differently. To build up some of your own pride about being an introvert, here are just a few of the many famous introverts&#8230;some you would even be surprised to learn are introverts<br />Famous &amp; Successful Introverts:Albert Einstein Jackie KennedyMeryl StreepClint EastwoodTom HanksJohnny CarsonSteve MartinJane GoodallDiane SawyerHarrison FordJulia RobertsGwyneth PaltrowAudrey HepburnBill GatesAbraham LincolnMia FarrowMark ZuckerbergSteven Spielberg Mark Twain<br />Have more to add to the list?

Picture found on the Quiet Girl, Loud City blog.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Ducks of the Day

This is funny, and sweet, and really rather surprising.


Song of the day

This is the song I sang to my horse in the woods today.

Don't ask. Really. There's no telling, as my old dad used to say.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Thoughtful man of the day

A few days ago, in the Guardian, Sam Waley-Cohen, who rides the favourite in the Gold Cup today, gave one of the most interesting and humane and thoughtful interviews I have read in a while. I am putting it here in honour of Gold Cup day, but even if you have absolutely no interest in racing or horses, you should still give it a look.

I want Kauto Star to win this more than I can say. But Waley-Cohen is a Corinthian and I salute him.

The interview is here.

Photograph by Getty Images. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Good News of the Day

Is here. You can guess what it concerns. I shall be thinking of nothing else all week.


Lovely photograph of Kauto Star schooling this morning, with a very serious look on his face, by George Shelton for Racingphotos.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Horse of the day

Today is all about Kauto Star, as his Gold Cup bid hangs in the balance. You can listen to a nice song here. Or read an excellent piece in the Telegraph here.

Lovely old photograph from Getty Images. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Attempt to not editorialise of the day

Usually, when I put things up here, it is because I have very strong views about them. But sometimes there are things which are so difficult and complicated and combustible that they don't really need me pontificating. You will know what conclusions you wish to draw. I just want to bring the thing itself to your attention.

Today's story I think is interesting for about eight different reasons. Jenny Tongue, the Liberal Democrat peer, has said some things about Israel. She has form on intemperate and unfortunate and odd remarks.

As always, there is the bashing up of free speech against the yelling of fire in a crowded theatre. How much should politicians be punished for speaking their true mind? Is it just cheap grandstanding for leaders to dismiss members of their party who say the wrong thing?

And yet, the free speech defence can go too far. Humans self-censor all the time, usually from politeness. I wonder, quite apart from anything else, whether this is just an example of really, really bad manners.

Also: I am interested in the role of context. It is context and history, I think, which make some remarks much more inflammatory than others.

Generally, though, I tend to agree with the Chief Rabbi. He is such a thoughtful and moderate man. If he thinks something is beyond the pale, I am inclined to think it is so.

Read it here, and see what you think.

Soothing picture of a Nubian Ilex in the Negev Desert:

Oh dear. After all that, I did seem to pontificate a bit. The more I think of this, the more I think the oddity and wrongness of Tongue's statements were to do with a conflation of two different things. Surely it is possible to question the policies of a government, as people do with many different countries, without questioning whether the state itself should or will exist in the future. It is that, with its horrible echoes of past and current prejudices and hatreds, which strikes one as extreme and sinister.