Simplify, simplify

I just discovered on this blog that I have 1,300+ tags! I deleted 1,000 of them before I reached any that were linked to more than 1 post. I could probably get rid of a couple of hundred more, but I think that’s about enough fun for one day, don’t you?

Van Gogh – in his own words

Wow! I never knew. Always imagined him a sad and rather despondent man. His letters belie that.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

The wisdom of the ancients…and today

And the arrogance and spiritual alienation of modern man…

And the hope and the possibility for us living today.

“… You can read the ancient Greeks about creativity and it still applies.”  (Tiago Forte in his first filmed interview).

Ram Dass on his journey from rich playboy, via psychedelic mentor to a real guru Baba Neem Karoli Love Serve Remember Movie | Ram Dass. This is a remarkable video. Ram Dass speaks with almost perfect clarity, all the more remarkable for being a) unscripted (I’m guessing) and b) after his stroke. The journey he describes in the first 5 minutes of this 20-minute video parallels my own in many ways, and perhaps parallels yours. The journey from the head to the heart. And how helpful another human being can be on that journey, especially someone who is rooted in that heart experience and yet who understands about the head and how it tends to pull you away from experience.

Take time to watch this undisturbed, on headphones if possible. At least the first 5 minutes.

Neither Ram Dass nor Baba Neem Karoli are with us any longer, but people like them are, and that experience is of course still possible for each one of us, while we’re alive.

Nic Askew is an unorthodox film-maker who interviews people, and somehow, in that time, the heart is touched. Has Nic understood what Ram Dass was talking about? Nic (by his own admission) has not read a book since leaving school. Has that hindered him, or helped him? Irrelevant question.

Nic calls them soul biographies. Here’s one:

Would you like an invitation? Here’s one:

Nic talks about his work, why and how in a couple of TED talks.

Gerald who? More good English music and paintings

YT keeps introducing me to wonderful painters and composers I’ve never heard of. David Harris took the time and trouble to create this video that puts London-born, Yorkshire-bred Gerald Finzi’s music to paintings by Newton (no, not that Newton, Algernon Cecil Newton). Sit back and enjoy the soothing, sweeping beauty. The music puts me in a very sweet space. In that space, I ponder the patience and love of Newton, spending how many hours carefully observing, noting, sketching, drawing just a single view of a lake glimpsed through pine trees. One man’s experience of one facet of being alive.

David Harris has put up a few other music/painting vids. Check out his channel. (Or let YT’s auto-play function surprise you.)

Barry Lyndon and Schubert trio

A montage of scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s movie “Barry Lyndon”, based on a short and rather frivolous novella by “Vanity Fair” author William Makepeace Thackeray. Kubrick built it up into a gorgeous biography of a rags-to-riches-back-to-tragedy story of a life, with stunning scenes of rural England. I have not seen it since I first saw it as a university student, with my girl-friend (I think she fell asleep), but I’ve never forgotten it.

This piece of music just haunts me since I saw this video a few days ago. Can’t get it out of my head. It matches the scenes so perfectly, although I don’t think all these scenes had this music as background – it’s a montage, but an excellent one.

Here’s a scene which accompanies the music originally – right at the end of the movie.

Gara who? Music and pictures

Another composer I’ve never heard of. (The world is full of them!) Here’s his Wikipedia entry:

I find it haunting. Plus I’m a sucker for good piano music.

English music and landscape

Feeling a little sentimental. Came across this video of music and paintings. Both capture a perhaps romanticised vision and sound of England. The music harks back to Vaughan Williams, Delius and perhaps Holst. It reminded me of b/w movies I saw as a child. It may mean little or nothing to people who have not lived in rural Britain (I grew up in Sussex). Anway, here it is. I’d never heard of Harold Darke but I’ll be looking out for more by him.

Online teaching? A great opportunity.

Putting all your classes online suddenly is a big challenge and a great opportunity to do things differently, i.e. better.

Give doctors the freedom to exercise their profession without interference.” (Dr. Marc Wathelet, Belgian virologist.)

What kind of world do you want to live in? We now have a possibility to reset things: not go back to how things were, but go forward, but not in the same direction we were going before.

In this blog post:

Read the rest of this entry »

London in lockdown

Some pictures and questions for my EFL students.

What famous buildings can you see in this picture? Which city is it in? When was the picture taken? Why are there no people?

What are these buildings? Why are they lit in blue? What is the NHS? Visit this page: how many of the 19 famous places in UK do you know?

Who is this man? Why was he on TV saying “thank you” on May 1, 2020?

A summary of the facts so far (with my comments)

This short April 27th post by Karl Denninger is a good summary of the facts as known so far. My summary (with comments):

  • What was demonstrated by the Diamond Princess cases (that despite being very close proximity not everyone became infected and at least 50% of infections show no symptoms).
  • What was demonstrated from early March by the Kirkland, Washington, nursing home debacle (Kirkland now facing at least one “wrongful death” lawsuit) was that nursing homes and hospitals were a major vector and therefore inaction by the owners of those institutions and by the governors of those States is tantamount to negligent homicide. (If elected President, Denninger promises to hold those folk criminally and civilly liable, and deny Medicaid funds to institutions that continue to refuse to obey the law. He does not seriously expect to be drafted, I might add.)
  • Testing has proved that mitigation policies do not, cannot and have not stopped transmission.
  • Lockdowns are a waste of time and probably indirectly harm and kill people, as shown by serologic surveys.
  • The data out of Wuhan showed that vents were mostly ineffective, and therefore trying to “flatten the curve” which means making vents available, “driving people into hospitals and encouraging invasive procedures” was and is counter-productive and even dangerous. Adding financial incentives to do that is manslaughter and should be dealt with accordingly. I don’t agree with this entirely: while it is now clear that vents kill more people than they save and why, hospitals may still be the best places for seriously ill people to get the prophylactic treatment they need.
  • Data now proves (what was fairly obvious from early on, especially when considering historical examples such as the 1918-19 “Spanish” flu (which started in the US and was spread to Europe by US soldiers, and the 1950s Canadian polio epidemic ) that the sanatorium model is the most rational way to deal with the seriously ill or compromised patients. (“Her day would end 12 hours later by carefully removing the awkward gown, gloves and mask she wore, ensuring as she did that none of her clothes became contaminated. She would return to the former army barracks where she and other nursing students lived in isolation, their food delivered from the hospital cafeteria.”)
  • Since a huge percentage of those infected are not harmed at all or only have minimal symptoms you want to encourage that event since it is the only means to build immunity in the population.  (But there is some doubt as to whether immunity is acquired and how long it lasts for: see especially 1.10 of this report by Belgian specialist Marc Wathelet.)