Friday, September 30, 2011

Did The Enlightenment Fail ?

Jurgen HabermasImage via Wikipedia
Jurgen Habermas
"Enlightenment thinkers still had the extravagant expectation that the arts and sciences would promote not only the control of natural forces, but would also further understanding of the world and of the self, would promote moral progress, the justice of institutions, and even the happiness of human beings. The 20th Century has shattered this optimism...Should we try to hold on to the intentions of the Enlightenment, feeble as they may be, or should we declare the entire project of modernity as a lost cause ?" - Jurgen Habermas, "Modernity versus Postmodernity" in New Left Critique, 22 (Winter 1981)
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is This Land The Nurse That Bred Thy Soul ?

Seneca, part of double-herm in Antikensammlung...Image via Wikipedia
"Declare with speed what spot you claim by birth. Or with this club fall stricken to the earth! This club hath ofttimes slaughtered haughty kings! Why mumble unintelligible things? What land, what tribe produced that shaking head? Declare it! On my journey when I sped Far to the Kingdom of the triple King, And from the Main Hesperian did bring The goodly cattle to the Argive town, There I beheld a mountain looking down Upon two rivers: this the Sun espies Right opposite each day he doth arise. Hence, mighty Rhone, thy rapid torrents flow, And Arar, much in doubt which way to go, Ripples along the banks with shallow roll. Say, is this land the nurse that bred thy soul?" - from Apocolocyntosis by Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Suspect A Stroke ? Act FAST

Suspect a stroke? Act FAST

What is FAST?

FAST requires an assessment of three specific symptoms of stroke.

Facial weakness - can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arm weakness - can the person raise both arms?

Speech problems - can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?

Time to call 999

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, sculpture by Puerta de ...Image via Wikipedia

Then Hercules said, "You just listen to me, and stop playing the fool. You have come to the place where the mice nibble iron." Apocolocyntosis, Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Pic - Sculpture of Lucius Annaeus Seneca by Puerto De Almodovar in Cordoba.

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Cezanne vs. Zurbaran

Cezanne's Jug and fruit

Zurbaran's Still life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose

Fight !

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review - The Underdogs : Mariano Azuela 6*

Revolutionary camp outside Ciudad Juárez in 1911Image via Wikipedia Written about events during the Mexican Revolution, this tale follows the exploits of a group of villagers who band together under their local leader Demetrio Macias.  The men seemed to have joined the Revolution not out of ideals, but because a side has to be picked, and a poor working man has to be anti-Federal.

Demetrio leads through force of action, but when a Federal deserter, Luis Cervantes, arrives with his city education and, initially at least, his strong sense of ideals for the Revolution, the group find they have a spokesman who can express why they are fighting.

As the war grinds on, Demetrio's band experience some success, but along the way they become corrupted by greed and revenge.  Petty killings occur on the flimsiest of pretexts, and robbery and looting become the order of the day.  Eventually they come to be feared and hated by the peasentry in turn as the federal soldiers who burn Demetrio's home were hated by them. Cervantes uses the power of his speech to set Demetrio up as a great general, with Cervantes rising in power at his side.  The city man though can see which way the wind blows, and as the Revolution begins to turn on those people it was meant to serve, he flees the fighting with his war loot and sets himself up in business.

When the gang eventually return home they can find no peace.  Demetrio is asked why he keeps on fighting, but after two years the fighting has come to define his life and he can see no other purpose for it.

The Underdogs chronicles the failures of the Mexican Revolution as it turns on the very people it was meant to serve.  In its unflinching treatment of the main characters and Azuela's depiction of men changed by war and greed, it paints a picture which has become more familiar to us in more recent war books and films, particularly those concerning the American involvement in Vietnam.

An interesting read that introduced to me a period of history I knew nothing about, but which makes clear the eternal pointlessness and brutalising nature of war.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

I was having a row with my wife over who was boss of the house, so I told her "From now on you will cook my dinner when I want it, you will iron my clothes without complaint, you will do the shopping and remember to ring me beer, and tonight I am going out to dinner with my friends and do you know who will be tying my shoelaces and straightening my tie ?"

She looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Yes, the undertaker."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped (Charles Scr...Image via Wikipedia"I would have given the world to take back what I had said; but a word once spoken, who can recapture it?" - Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
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I Have Returned

Universal StudiosImage by Rob J Brooks via FlickrThe blog isn't dead, yet. The past two weeks have been exceptionally busy here at Ilkley Golf Club with the Autumn Senior's Open, Ladies Invitation Day, Yorkshire Golf Guide Qualifying Event, Clitheroe Ladies Exchange and a host of visiting club and golf societies to look after.

The whole team have done a wonderful job, but as the season draws to a close there have been some changes on the staff front.  The summer uni student brigade have gone back to their palaces of learning, so it is goodbye for now to Rob C, Calum and Izzie.  Little ray of kitchen sunshine Hannah is moving on to become a shop assistant, bye Hannah, it has been fun working with you. Staying on with chef Rob W and myself we have Fred (although he wants to work away in the ski season over the winter), Laura, Rachel and Ellie.  We had a bit of a false start with new girl Brook, although we will welcome her back if her circumstances change, so our latest addition to the team is Maddy.

I like this time of year, the brutal long shifts and work patterns are almost behind me, the nights are drawing in so we can get to close earlier on evenings when there are no bookings, and it is very nearly holiday time.

We bought some flights at a fund raising event for Ilkley Rugby Club (and I'm still waiting for an invite to look around the place !), so we are having a few nights in Amsterdam in October.  For our big holiday this year we pondered over going to California and doing a long distance driving holiday, but then we changed our minds and decided on Florida and a single base holiday.  So we will be going to some of the big fun parks, Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Seaworld, and then a few lazy days at the nice villa we are renting.

Ripon Cathedral, North Yorkshire, EnglandImage via WikipediaWe arrive back from the USA just in time to get to Hard Rock Hell V for a fairly raucous weekend featuring Girlschool, Magnum, Black Stone Cherry, Therapy ?, Ginger Wildheart, Lizzy Borden, Ace Frehley, Michael Monroe and a host of other bands.

On Christmas Day, the one day of the year when the club is closed, I will of course be cooking for the family, and no doubt the twins Alice and Jack will be the stars of the day, adored and pampered by everyone.  I will try to get up to Ripon Cathedral to watch Joe singing, and a big hug from Ellie, plus some chin pie for Ellie, are compulsory.

Who knows, with the nights drawing in, I might even do things that normal folk do, like having nights off and going to the pub, see you in Bar'Tat, mine's a bitter.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Do Our Colleges Fail Their Students ?

Hairdresser WindowImage by RobW_ via Flickr"There are more college students studying performing arts than there are people employed in the entertainment industry as a whole, this includes ticket sellers, cinema cashiers and lap dancers"

"There are ten times more people studying hairdressing than there are jobs in the hairdressing industry."

Educating Cinderella, BBC Radio 4
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Thursday, September 08, 2011

How To Troll On Facebook

Witty Status Update

Album Review : Peace Sells Remastered - Megadeth 8*

Vic Rattlehead on the cover of Peace Sells... ...Image via WikipediaI have made a mistake here, I realised that my vinyl copy of Peace Sells is no longer worth playing, my CD copy has vanished so I thought I would buy a download, and got seduced into buying this remastered version of Megadeth's classic second album.

I only own a handful of remastered albums, and to be honest, they are nearly all worse than the original releases. Marillion's updated Fugazi sounds like the drums were recorded in a telephone box, and on this effort Dave Mustaine has looked back on Peace Sells...But Who's Buying ? and thought to himself that he could make a better job of it, he was wrong.

The thing is, Peace Sells for Megadeth was pretty much a perfect album, it was full of rage and anger and fantastic guitar and drum work, it sounded raw and dangerous and brash and exciting. I think part of the problem with this re-mix is Dave's still not quite resolved problem with being fired from Metallica. In March 1986 Metallica released their finest album, the one that cemented their growing reputation and established both the band and thrash metal firmly at the forefront of popular metal, Master Of Puppets set a template for other bands to follow if they could.  MoP was massive, huge rhythm sections complemented great song writing and the polished, incredibly well rehearsed sound Metallica had achieved pulled their own style of thrash away from its hardcore roots.

In November 1986 Peace Sells was released, and it was a different sort of album.  Megedeth sounded like they walked into the studio drunk and angry, then they pounded out a few tracks in a fit of barely controlled rage. It was that feeling that at any moment Megadeth might go completely out of control that I loved about the band and this album, they always pushed to the very edge of their technical ability. This wasn't Metallica with their endless practise and overdubbing, most of the solos on PS sounds like Dave and Chris Poland just picked up their guitars, let rip at each other and then shouted "Fucking A!" when they'd finished. At any moment on Peace Sells you thought that Mustaine might throw down his guitar, snort a giant line of coke, punch and policeman and set fire to the place (actually, this is more or less what did happen).

So what has happened on this remastering ? Well, some of the vocals sound like they have been reworked, Mustaine's trademark sneering vocal style has been tamed a little, and overall the sound has been cleaned up a little.  This is where the problem lies, Megadeth's second album sounds like music made by men on the edge of sanity, it was an awesome, thrilling musical experience, and this remastered version has trimmed away some of those manic thrills and spills and made the whole thing just a touch too safe and clean.

I still rate this version as 8* as Megadeth have not managed to totally cock up their original sound, but if you are thinking of buying Peace Sells, then search out the original version, it's a solid 10* album on which Mustaine and company threw everything they possessed wholeheartedly into the music and created a quite awesome technical metal sound.
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Saturday, September 03, 2011

You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man

CHUR, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 21:  A bearded man ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeGreat song by The Beards

"He rubs his bristles on your mammary glands" - this song is full of hirsute win.

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"I would have given the world to take back what I had said; but a word once spoken, who can recapture it?" - Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Light Of A Single Candle

St. Francis of Assisi (circa 1182-1220)Image via Wikipedia“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

— St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, September 01, 2011

It's Grim Up Elland Road

Max GradelImage via Wikipedia
Max Gradel
Although my passion for football continues to wane with every obscene transfer fee, wage demand and episode of diving and cheating, I still want Leeds United to do well and so at the start of this season I am more disappointed than ever with Ken Bates.

On transfer deadline day yesterday Leeds lost the excellent Max Gradel along with Fede Bessone and poor Mike Grella got the sack. Coming in to bolster the side there is nobody of any real note.

Leeds fans didn't fail to notice that our defence was weak last season and with our best striker for the past few seasons already having moved on, Leeds could certainly have used another good player up front.  Oh yes, we got Billy Paynter.

If you has asked me before the beginning of this season where LUFC were likely to finish, I'd have said well short of the play-offs, and nothing in the transfer window has changed my opinion.

Mind you, the lean times at Leeds are as nothing when you have a look around the rest of Yorkshire, we don't have a club in football's top flight and yet the likes of Swansea, Norwich, West Brom, Wolves and Wigan are all up there.  Barnsley, Leeds and the doomed looking Doncaster are floating around in the Championship with none of them having a really good chance at promotion, both Sheffield sides and Hudds are doing reasonably well in Division 3 and down in Division 4 Rotherham are on top, but once Premiership Bradford are in a lowly position and lucky to still be in existence.

In other sports, the Rhinos are rugby league's almost side this season and over at Headingley...

Well, what on earth has happened to the lads at Yorkshire CCC ? This year's team is largely the same team as last year, but Yorkshire have gone from challenging for the title to certain relegation, this season's results being a constant drizzle of dismal batting and bowling figures which account for a terrible record of 2 wins from 15 games.  What happened lads ?  It makes me glad that I've spent half the season watching Ilkley CC, at least I have seen a few wins there.
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