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Archive for October, 2008

Working With Limits©
The first farmer who settled from a nomadic existence after a couple of  bad starts, reproached the wind thus, ‘Didn’t you tell me to go ahead and plant wheat?”
“Yes?”
“Because you gave your word that you are everywhere, I took you on your word and the result,- entire field ruined by water! “ “Oh, it was the clouds which brought on early showers” said the wind.
” Next season it was a drought that did me in” wailed the farmer. “Blame it on the sun,” said the wind. “Aw shucks, What benefit is to me that you are everywhere?”
‘ To be everywhere is not to be anywhere in particular’.
2.
However close and hard we may look at Absolute principle or Absolutism at work we come up against uncertainties that no rational explanation can dispel. It is not in the principle but our blind spot that is at fault. Sheer numbers by which Oneness of things play off march of events, causes and their effects one another no human brain can follow through.  So the best a philosopher could do is to throw up his hands and say,’ God is dead.’ Simple uh?
benny

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A principle is the ultimate basis for our actions.
The correspondence principle exists on account of the fact same matter is the basis for life forms and our universe. At the level of atoms we are all one. Using material nature as the key we create some semblance of order out of cosmic events. (What we observe in our visible universe provides grist to our intellectual mill.)
Oneness is the template from which we correspond micro cosmos with macro cosmos however infinite it may be. Thus any idea that we tease out of Idea we consider as valid. Being finite and unable to work effectively with Time-Space what scale shall we adopt? Only thing that we can commend for such a measure is that the correspondence principle works. Yes to our time and place.
Thus we hold certain values as constant. Energy is constant. Another is Truth.  Absolutism is what gives our principles its validity. When one says God is our father we draw the conclusion using correspondence principle. Reverence to one who has given life to us is in the fitness of things. Truth is perceived as inherent in such an earthly conduct towards our parents. In Correspondence principle the equation of idea to Idea can only be changed in the idea and not in what is Absolute. A parent as giver of life is an idea so is God as the father. Nevertheless how we let the principle shape our conduct can only change our view of Idea not other way about.
benny

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The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (German: Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant) is a 1972 German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, based on his own play. It is the 13th of the 33 films he made in his short life. He explores the changing dynamics of love of a successful fashion designer who is a lesbian. Whether straight or gay, the dynamics of love are very much the same. Love has its object and expectations to which both parties must conform. Love, as a comic observed, is a give and take under all circumstances, only watch out the masochist who took all the time,  doesn’t switch roles on you. The film is a case in point.
In relationships the trouble occurs when power wants to get into the act and it is a complication. Power calls the shots and may not know when to stop as in the case of our eponymous heroine. Petra Von Kant (Margit Carstensen) tried straight sex and her both marriages were failure. The first was a great love and the second soon petered out in disgust and she divorced him.  Petra then begins an affair with her assistant. She shows her sadistic side to her in making codependent relationships. Through a friend Petra meets Karin, a desirable, ruthless 23-year-old girl whom she wants to subjugate. Petra persuades Karin to become a model and quickly falls madly in love with her. But Petra’s obsessive love is thwarted and Karin leaves Petra. Petra turns now to her assistant and would rekindle her desires once again. But the assistant, who has had satisfied her personal masochistic desire in submitting to Petra, leaves her, too.
Petra because of her position had the advantage and lets that guide her choices. It is an insidious poison chalice that must bring about unexpected results.  It is a witty tragedy of lovesickness and one of Fassbinder’s most powerful plays and films.
This film has an all female cast and is set in the home of the protagonist, Petra von Kant. This tale of intermingled love and hate is directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and It explores the universal dynamics present in close human relationships, even lesbian ones.

Cast

* Margit Carstensen as Petra von Kant
* Hanna Schygulla as Karin Thimm
* Katrin Schaake as Sidonie von Grasenabb
* Eva Mattes as Gabriele von Kant
* Gisela Fackeldey as Valerie von Kant
* Irm Hermann as Marlene
Directed by     Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Produced by     Michael Fengler
(Filmverlag der Autoren)
Written by     Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography     Michael Ballhaus
Editing by     Thea Eymèsz
Distributed by     New Yorker Films (USA)
Release date(s)     Flag of Germany June 25, 1972
Flag of the United States October 12, 1973
Running time     124 min.
Country     Germany
Language     German
Budget     DEM 325,000 (estimated)- wikipedia

Similar Movies
Personal Best  (1982, Robert Towne)
High Art  (1998, Lisa Cholodenko)
Female Perversions  (1996, Susan Streitfeld)
Lianna  (1983, John Sayles)
Go Fish  (1994, Rose Troche)
Io Sono Mia  (1978)
Claire of the Moon  (1992, Nicole Conn)
The Girl  (2000, Sandee Zeig)
Dani and Alice  (2005, Roberta Marie Munroe)
Johnny Greyeyes  (2001)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Effi Briest  (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Fox and His Friends  (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Marriage of Maria Braun  (1979, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul  (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Querelle  (1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Chinese Roulette  (1976, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
The Merchant of Four Seasons  (1971, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Wildwechsel  (1972, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Other Related Movies
has been remade as:      The Politics of Fur  (2002, Laura Nix)
Memorable Quotes:
Petra von Kant: It’s easy to pity, Sidonie, but so much harder to understand. If you understand someone, don’t pity them, change them. Only pity what you cant understand.
—-
Petra von Kant: Of course he took me seriously, respected my opinions… but nevertheless, he wanted to be the breadwinner. That way, oppression lies, that’s obvious. It’s like this, ‘I hear what you’re saying and of course I understand, but who brings home the bacon?’ So there you are, two sets of rules!
—-
Petra von Kant: … he hit a bad patch. At first it was almost funny seeing his ridiculous pride being hurt, and to be honest, I quite enjoyed it.
—-
Petra von Kant: He stank like a man. The way men stink. What had once had its charms now turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes.
Petra von Kant: I felt nothing for him anymore. Far from it, it got worse. When we ate together his chewing… it was like an explosion. When he swallowed my gorge rose. The way he cut meat, held his cigarette, his whiskey glass… it all seemed so absurd, so affected. I was ashamed for him because I imagined everyone must see him as I did. Of course, it was hysteria. Panic, Sidonie. There was nothing left to save. The end.
—-
Petra von Kant: I think people need each other, they’re made that way. But they haven’t learnt how to live together.
—-
Petra von Kant: Talented? She’s not talented, she just knows how to sell herself.
—-
Petra von Kant: It’s a waste of time being nice to servants.
—-
Sidonie: It’s Karins fault.
Valerie von Kant: Karin? What’s it to do with Karin?
Sidonie: Everyone knows Petra’s mad about her.
Petra von Kant: Mad? I’m not mad, Sidonie. I love her! Love her as I’ve never loved anything in my life… that girl’s little finger is worth more than the lot of you.
—-
Valerie von Kant: My daughter loves a girl. How strange. A girl! My daughter.
Trivia:
Film was shot in ten days.

(Ack: allmovie- by Clarke Fountain,wikipedia,imdb)

compiler:benny

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A slice of my father’s life in his own words. He was an orphan, a survivor and his life for all its anonymity was rich; despite of all odds against him he left nevertheless a legacy  among many other things, a hospital for the tribals and the poor; his life, as an example, enriched many of those who came in contact with him. b.

‘I was born at midnight of 11th February 1909,corresponding to 29th Makaram 1084 Malayalam Era. My father comes from a respectable Syrian Christian family by name Kuttichira,of the village Kythakuzhi near Chathannur in Quilon District…
My mother was the eldest daughter of Mr. Jacob Wilson of the Kythayil family, Puthupally,Kottayam. Mr Jacob Wilson was the English and Logic lecturer of the old C.M.S College, Kottayam…My father lost his own father when he was a young boy. I had  a young brother by name Mathew Wilson(Baby) taking my father’s name Mathew and my maternal father’s name while I took the name of my paternal grandfather, Kuttichira Mathew Thomas. In the year succeeding my birth, about a month before the birth of my brother my father died of typhoid.  I believe it was in the month of September 1910, and in the succeeding year my mother also expired when my brother Mathew Wilson was barely an year old.
My paternal grandmother Mariamma was from the Kallada Malayil family. She was widowed when she was only in her late twenties and had to struggle very much to bring up her children, three sons and one daughter, of whom my father was the eldest. It was another woeful tale of sorrows for my grandmother and her children but God’s grace sustained the family.
My father Kuttichira Ummen Mathew studied for Mechanical Engineering in Bombay (now renamed Mumbai b.) and was serving …in a private firm at Vypeen, Cochin, at the time of his death. (His two brothers turned to agriculture looking after paddyfields and gardens.)
It is to such an agricultural family set up at Kythakuzhy, that I was taken at the age of 3 from Kottayam, my maternal grandfather’s house.
The earliest streaks of my memory readily bring to my mind the funeral of my mother, the dead body being carried from home and the final lowering of the body into the pit. The next is a visit by my eldest uncle Ummen Koshy to Kottayam, my maternal grandfather’s home.
The next important indeliable impression is the journey from Kottayam
to Kallada in a country boat (Kettu vallom)

(image :A kettuvallom is much larger and is meant for traveling days together through inland canals.Two persons use barge poles front and rear to navigate. At the centre there will be a little hut of thatched cover for cooking and resting. The name kettu I suppose is derived because of boats are made of wood and lashed together with wooden nails than iron. Made waterproof with cashewnut oil etc.,Earlier there used to be navigable waterway all along the Travancore state fringed on either side by coconut trees. It was truly a magical place. b)

along with my grandmother, through backwaters, and reaching a land of canals and coconut  trees which is Kallada, a beautiful spot in the mouth of the Kallada river. After a stay for a week there the onward journey was again by boat (vallom) to Chathannur.
Another important unforgettable incident connected with the journey is the final arrival of the party consisting of grandmother, a paternal uncle (first cousin of my father), a servant who accompanied her on the journey to the new family house at Kythakuzhy. They say that there are instincts in animals which make them adopt certain irresistible course of actions; so they say, that rats leave a sinking vessel and animals shun the approach of a slaughter house. At the boundary wall of the house where I was to to live through, for the next 10 or 12 years, through several agonies and miseries of childhood, my soul rebelled and resisted entry to the compound even;  the grown up tried their very best to get me over the stile over the wall; the only answers they received were kicks and cries and a total refusal. So they had to take me back to a neighboring house of an uncle and after pacifying me with delicious mangoes and fruits I was somehow taken to the house , a little later, as I fell asleep…’
(selected: benny)

image 2. (my father in the early 70s).

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Given moral insensitivity of man ruining the form of government, whichever form it may take, why would anyone want to import it to others? Either he is a fool or he has a far more sinister motive in such a foolhardy enterprise.
2.
A white man went to the sub-sahara regions around 1850s. He was an intrepid traveler though somewhat dull. He lived among the tribes and learnt to speak their dialects. He adopted many of their customs and only fault he could speak of was the toilet practice of the natives.
One morning he asked rather peeved, “why use pebbles when you can use toilet paper? I never stir abroad without a cartloads of them.” The wizened old man said, “pebbles are free; why you want us to pay for something that goes out freely?”
Benny

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Definition-expert

An expert in finance on account of recent events needs to be redefined. We traditionally think he is a know- all watching over the economic trends; and now it seems he is more like a punter at the dog race.
“An expert is a fellow who is afraid to learn anything new because then he would not be an expert anymore.”(Harry S. Truman)
benny

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The Cannes Film Festival, 1960. Over two hours into a new Italian film, a woman runs down the imposing corridor of a baroque hotel in extreme long shot. Spectators shout: “cut, cut!” amid frequent laughter and jeering’.The director and the star of the film runs from the screening room. The director was Michelangelo Antonioni.

L’Avventura is a film that a viewer may either intensely admire or hate; there can’t be anything in between. Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), the male lead in this movie is as hollow as Marcello in Il Conformista( Bertolucci). He is an aging architect who has opted out for easy money and has grown up without acquiring any graces that maturity could instill in any. He has brought along his mistress Anna (Lea Massari) and her friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) on a yachting trip to Lisca Bianca, an almost unpopulated volcanic island off the coast of Sicily. Anna is unhappy and bored with Sandro. Her best friend is by her own admission a nouveau riche but she doesn’t fit with jetsetter’s shallow ethics. After napping on the rocks, they awaken to find Anna has gone without a trace. Claudia blames Sandro for her disappearance. But as they search all over the island for Anna they comes closer. Soon they are lovers. But love for one who is emotionally awkward must serve as prelude for many heartaches to come. The firstblow comes too soon as Claudia seeks out Sandro who is late in coming and she finds him in the arms of a prostitute. Sandro has a breakdown on the desolate beach and Claudia forgives silently. Antonioni in this film explores social-sexual relationships and the film is set on a windtossed and barren island. Environment mirroring the emotional states of Sandro and Claudia.
The audience at the Cannes expected to see mystery and drama and instead Antonioni gave them a study in existentialism of their own condition. Naturally the viewer was not amused.
Along with much of Antonioni’s other work, L’avventura is often cited as an early feminist film with strong and richly characterized female protagonists.

Analysis:
Did Antonioni forget to get back to Anna after she mysteriously disappeared on the island? Anna’s disappearance in a traditional film would have occupied the turning point around which rest of the events fall into place. ‘Antonioni is interested less in developing a logical story than in exploring states of feeling and breakdowns in human connection’(Robert Firsching-all movie). Sandro and his emotional barrenness is delineated through the prism of Anna’ disappearance; Here is a man who as Bertrolucci’s character, Marcello wanted to belong to those who are shallow and dissolute. The jetset have no ideology that we associate with Fascism or any other except having a good time. As Roger Ebert characterizes them they are “on the brink of disappearance”- Ebert -Chicago Sun Times, 19 January 1997) Anna’s disappearance must be unfortunate but their emotional depth being negligible they move on to other pursuits of the moment. Antonioni treats her case from Sandro’s own point of view that by association represents theirs as well.
“Without God, the universe may seem to have no ultimate order or rational unifying principle”, writes philosopher Peter K. McInerny of existentialism.
From an existentialist’s point of view man is adrift: before Anna disappears, Antonioni presents a joyless swimming party where the characters seem adrift and on the island, they perambulate and view one another as intrusive elements. With astonishing economy of style and mise-en scene isolation of the individuals as islands is further reinforced.
After Claudia has supplanted Anna in Sandro’s bed her guilt is projected in a scene that cannot fail us as hint of the film-makers intent: he is not telling a straightforward story. In Claudia’s guilt ridden mind the public squares acquires a menacing aspect, entirely composed of men.
Cast
Gabriele Ferzetti     Sandro
Monica Vitti     Claudia
Lea Massari     Anna
Dominique Blanchar     Giulia
Renzo Ricci     Anna’s Father
Dorothy de Poliolo     Gloria Perkins
Esmeralda Ruspoli     Patrizia
James Addams     Corrado
Lelio Luttazzi     Raimondo
Giovanni Petrucci     Young Prince
Jack O’Connell     Old man on the island
Angela Tommasi di Lampedusa     The Princess

Similar Movies
Picnic at Hanging Rock  (1975, Peter Weir)
Red Desert  (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Blow-Up  (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Le Grand Meaulnes  (1967, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco)
La Salamandre  (1971, Alain Tanner)
Under the Sand  (2000, François Ozon)
Climates  (2006, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Danzon  (1991, Maria Novaro)
Quiet City  (2007, Aaron Katz)
Paris, Texas  (1983, Wim Wenders)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Blow-Up  (1966, Michelangelo Antonioni)
The Passenger  (1975, Michelangelo Antonioni)
L’eclisse  (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Red Desert  (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Zabriskie Point  (1970, Michelangelo Antonioni)
La Notte  (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Le Amiche  (1955, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Grazie, Zia  (1967, Salvatore Samperi)
Other Related Movies
is followed by:      La Notte  (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
is featured in:      My Voyage to Italy  (2001, Martin Scorsese)
influenced:      Climates  (2006, Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Trivia:
First part of the unofficial “Incommunicability Trilogy” with Notte, La (1961) and Eclisse, L’ (1962). Michelangelo Antonioni didn’t make the three movies as a trilogy, but cinema historians have called it so since then.(imdb)
Compiler:benny

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Antonio Salieri (1750-1825)

Leopold Mozart, father of the composer called him ‘a scheming egotist,’ which perhaps was right. The kapellemister of Joseph II and the younger composer became quite friendly towards the end of Mozart’s life.

Salieri was highly regarded  as a teacher and his pupils include Hummel,Beethoven,Schubert and Liszt.

selected from Mozart,the man,the musician

by Arthur Hutchings

benny

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Democracy as a form of government, as any other suffers because of people who are placed in positions of trust. These invariably betray the trust overcome by their faults as soon as any presents itself as the proverbial forbidden fruit. It may be ambition, that one may be itching to get ahead over the heads of so many; in another the temptation comes in the form of some misplaced idealism where the man is out to discredit the government which he doesn’t believe in. Or it may a chance to make a quick buck. Of the last I have to say thus:
‘Greed is moral blindness in that man who struck by it sees nothing but greenbacks as a jaundiced man sees everything yellow’.
Let me quote the AP news.

“AP IMPACT: Mortgage firm arranged stealth campaign
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer Pete Yost, Associated Press Writer 20Oct2008
WASHINGTON – Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.

In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI’s chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain’s campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.

Freddie Mac’s payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel’s bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005. All GOP members of the committee supported it; all Democrats opposed it.

In the midst of DCI’s yearlong effort, Hagel and 25 other Republican senators pleaded unsuccessfully with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to allow a vote.

“If effective regulatory reform legislation … is not enacted this year, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole,” the senators wrote in a letter that proved prescient.

Unknown to the senators, DCI was undermining support for the bill in a campaign targeting 17 Republican senators in 13 states, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The states and the senators targeted changed over time, but always stayed on the Republican side…”
Benny

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We shall see a nation is not so much as good in setting any lasting value either in morality or in public good as an individual. The rise of Mafia is a  case in point.
The Mafia was originally comprised of a few families who migrated to the USA from Italy. Soon they established contacts in their adopted homeland and also gained political strength. They could pull strings and get what they wanted. In the era of gilded age money opened doors. So they prospered and  drew strength from the mass exodus of poor Italians to the USA at the turn of the 20th century.  The poor immigrants hardly spoke English and didn’t possess the necessary social skills either. They had to compete with the Irish community that had already established in Chicago. Besides Police force was filled with members from the Irish community. Mafia offered the newcomers their protection and found them jobs a service that, of course, came with a price tag.
After Mussolini came to power in Italy in the late 1922 he muzzled in the Mafia. In the USA Thomas E.Dewy in his role of District Attorney succeeded in sending the powerful Mafia boss ‘Lucky‘ Luciano to jail but the WW II intervened.
At a time Nazi Germany had sent their U-boats to create havoc on the Atlantic shipping lane Mafia secretly succeeded in scuttling Normandy berthed off the NY harbor. U.S government asked Navy intelligence to cooperate with the Mafia since labor unions backed by them effectively controlled the ports. Before the Allied invasion of Sicily the U.S government struck a deal with the mafia chief. As part of the deal ‘Lucky’ Luciano was released. Italy lost the war that proved as a shot in arm to the fortunes of Mafia.
Edgar J. Hoover was the FBI chief from 1920 for a period of 50 years and Mafia as reports go, was blackmailing him. His sexual predilections are not of interest as how much he contributed to the phenomenal growth of Mafia during his tenure as the head of FBI. In 1957 at Palermo a few clan chiefs including ‘Lucky’ Luciano, Joseph Bonnano and others held a meeting where an important decision was taken: Mafia would henceforth deal in heroin. It was a very lucrative business. As a result of that meeting shortly thereafter heroin was flooding into the streets of USA.

If anyone is interested to know the figures of hard drug users before 1957 and after one only need to go through the figures that are in public domain.

Moral of this narrative is that nations preach moral values but statecraft is often in breaking them than scrupulously keeping their nose  and hands clean. No nation has ever achieved the perfection it so vociferously trumpets from rooftops. Even under the most tyrannical regimes like Third Reich or the Soviet empire (under Stalin) rules have been broken with impunity. Why? The reason is simple: a nation is run by men. If a man in a very sensitive or vital point for example J. Edgar  Hoover or Lavrenti Beria, the secret police chief, NKVD (a notorious pedophile) can be influenced, the entire chain of command is at risk.Then policy makers need to ensure that they are reelected ; so they  often take shortcuts for short term remedies than sticking to any moral principles.

Now the question is: is the conscience of an individual( and his freedom to exercise his judgment) of paramount importance or that of a nation?

benny

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