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Archive for December, 2011

King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s plays to which I have taken to with avidity as and when I had found time. On checking its background I read that English theatre- goers at first preferred a tragicomedy version than the original. This was an adaptation by Nahum Tate which first appeared in 1681, some seventy-five years after Shakespeare’s original text, and is believed to have replaced it on the English stage in whole or in part until 1838. Unlike Shakespeare’s tragedy, Tate’s play has a happy ending, with Lear regaining his throne, Cordelia marrying Edgar, and Edgar joyfully declaring that “truth and virtue shall at last succeed..”
Edmund Keane had previously acted Tate’s Lear but “stimulated by Hazlitt’s remonstrances and Charles Lamb’s essays,” became the first to restore the tragic ending, though much of Tate remained in the earlier acts. “The London audience,” Kean told his wife, “have no notion of what I can do till they see me over the dead body of Cordelia.” Kean knew in his bones the audience would believe it in the way he played it. The fate of King Lear lay in the way he essayed it. Is Life tragedy or comedy?
Edmund Keane (17 March 1789 – 15 May 1833) in his time was considered the greatest Shakespearen actor ever despite other thespians like David Garrick and William Charles Macready.
Over a scandal his wife left him in 1825 and the adverse news report in the Times aroused against him such bitter feeling, that he was booed and pelted with fruit when he re-appeared at Drury Lane, as nearly to compel him to retire permanently into private life. Later he was received with favor by which time he was merely a shadow of his former glory. His last appearance on the stage was at Covent Garden, on 25 March 1833, when he played Othello to the Iago of his son, Charles Kean, who was also an accomplished actor. At the words “Villain, be sure,” in scene 3 of act iii, he suddenly broke down, and crying in a faltering voice “O God, I am dying. Speak to them, Charles,” fell insensible into his son’s arms. He died at Richmond, Surrey where he had spent his last years as manager of the local theatre, and is commemorated in the Parish Church where there is a floor plaque marking his grave and a wall plaque. He is buried in the parish church of All Saints, in the village of Catherington, Hampshire. His last words were alleged to be “dying is easy; comedy is hard.”
benny

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I am starting exposition on the book of Ezekiel in my blog Guide to his Word. Those who are interested may visit my blog url of which is http://obi4b.wordpress.com
benny

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Just as the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk were experimenting with their aeroplane (1903), in Germany Count Zeppelin was well advanced into rigid airships filled with hydrogen.( Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin became interested in constructing a “Zeppelin balloon” after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, where he witnessed the French use of balloons to transport mail during the early part of the war. He had also encountered Union Army balloons in 1863, during the American Civil War, where he was a military observer.)
During the early stages of WWI Germany did not have as many ships as British Royal Navy had; so the Zeppelins were used as an aerial eye to monitor the movements of the enemy ships and warn the German fleet accurately. From there it progressed to drop bombs since the airships could travel great distances, and higher, beyond the range of stationary English antiaircraft guns. At the outbreak of war English defenses relied almost entirely on the Army and Navy. The lack of an adequate Air Command allowed Germany to take the initiative during the early course of the war. In 1915 Zeppelins successfully raided the English airspace and carried out a number of indiscriminate attacks on civilian population. By January 1916 the English scored their first victory by shooting down a Zeppelin on an English countryside. Once Great Britain gained enough airplanes and pilots the inherent weaknesses of the Zeppelin soon showed up. Inflammable hydrogen made every hit an inferno from which the Germans ould not escape. Soon Imperial Germany grounded the dirigibles forever.
Germany carried war into the air but within a quarter of century aerial warfare would become an indivisible part of any onslaught. Without which could Japan have taken on the USA by dealing a ‘knock-out’ blow at the Pearl Harbor?
Can we now think of a war without the air support? No. Our experience in a century had overshot the bank of experience of our forefathers. For ever.
Integration principle ties up London, Rotterdam, Dresden, Hiroshima Nagasaki and Baghdad.
Integration principle explains how good and evil that man devises will spread past the barrier man sets out. The Manhattan Project was higly classified and the USA did not imagine it would fall in the hands of the Soviet Russia. But it did.
One of the scientists Karl Fuchs was involved with the Project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
As Fuchs later testified, after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 he concluded that the Soviets had a right to know what the United Kingdom (and later the United States) were working on in secret. Hence he began transmitting military intelligence to the USSR, though the historical record is unclear about exactly when he started. Fuchs’s testimony confirms that he contacted a former friend in the Communist Party of Germany, who put him in touch with someone at the Soviet embassy in Britain. The rest is history. By the way his code-name was Rest.
Then there is the ubiquitous hand AQ Khan who was too free cutting and pasting nuclear secrets on the internet with the connivance of his country. Was A Q Khan prompted by greed or because he wanted the Muslim states also have nuclear capabilities? From Syria to North Korea anyone could have made a pile of nuclear arsenal if had chance. Integration principle connects conscientious objector and a mischief-maker as much as nations the US and the ‘axis of evil’.
benny

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What is Art ? It is the mirror to life.
Primitive art thus has certain characteristics that mirror the culture of the artist. In May or June 1907, Picasso experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadéro. Picasso’s discovery of African art influenced the style of his painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (begun in May 1907 and reworked in July of that year.) In the early 20th century African artifacts were being brought back to Paris museums in consequence of the expansion of the French empire into Africa. The press was abuzz with exaggerated stories of cannibalism and exotic tales about the African kingdom of Dahomey. It was in this climate of African interest that Picasso would look towards African artifacts as inspiration for some of his work and it makes no difference that he was an outsider reinventing artistic impulses of his life and the times into art. It is recognizable and and the life of a nameless primitive artist is interpreted according to canons of art. Whereas in the hands of Joseph Conrad the African interest would focus altogether on the mistreatment of Africans in the Belgian Congo. Heart of Darkness is a literary work of exceptional quality that can transcend the narrow boundaries of time and place to be equally at home in another time and place. Francis Coppola set it in Vietnam with equal success and called it Apocalypse now.
Art as the mirror of life. This is what Art can achieve. It gives life thousand faces and the mirror is telling the truth each time. Only that the beholder need to remember the emphasis is laid in each case differently. Truth is absolute and only God can define what it is. So let us not assume to know what it is.
When Patriarch Jacob wrestled with angel or saw a ladder reaching heavewards we need to accept Truth is set in a certain form that does not vitiate the narrative or the underlying veracity. Does it touch some familiar chord in you? If you have in your life wrestled with good impulses with all the might and sought a blessing from the Highest the story of Jacob cannot remain alien to you. It does not mean if you succeeded or not. The Scriptures holds up the mirror to your life so as to elicit certain feelings in you. When you respond to it in a positive manner the Word has achieved its purpose.
According to Moslem tradition Prophet Mohammad was carried at night by a fabled beast Al-Buraq to the presence of Angel Gabriel. We need to remember that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction simply because we have no way of knowing Truth in its perfection. Art as I said earlier gives Truth a human tongue. It is thus we get the best out of the Word. For that matter how is that we have the Hand of Fatima in many versions ranging from Egyptian, Hebrew and Christian traditions? It is life given a certain symbol naming it as good omen or charm and so on. It is to be treated as such and not make undue fuss over it. Instead some silly fellows want to impose their own nonsense as truth. They pose as the Watch and Ward staff for God. Among Jews and Moslems alike there are those who want to make worshippers think in the way they think. What makes them think they know the truth? Wahhabism would try hard to make Islam ‘pure’ but would require plenty of money to stuff down the throats to make it digestable! In sacred and secular art also you find such misguided fellows. Shakespeare had been bowdlerized by some and yet Shakespeare lives on preeminent above such ignoble souls.
For me art must serve life. When we see Truth in its perfection words of human artifice shall fail since we ourselves shall be part of that Absolute quality.
benny

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Slapende Zee Hond

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‘President Barack Obama hit China automobile tire makers with a trade tariff in 2009 and now Beijing has struck back with a potentially more punitive tariff, as much as a 21% tax hike on U.S. car exports bound for China, the world’s largest auto market.

This week, the Chinese government upped the ante in the Obama-China trade dispute by surprisingly imposing new tariffs on imports of Honda and Cadillac models, Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee, the BMW X5 and X3 and Mercedes Benz models made in Michigan, Alabama and South Carolina. China argues that the U.S. provided illegal subsidies to these companies during the economic downturn in 2008 and is selling those vehicles cheaper in China than they are sold for in the U.S.
The U.S. exports around $92 billion worth of goods to China and cars account for around $4 billion of that. The tariffs, which range from just 2% to as much as 21.5% could impact $2.5 billion worth of American auto exports, according to preliminary estimates by the U.S-China Business Council, a Washington lobby’.

Times have changed and in the spirit of free enterprise the US might require every dollar it can get. China has plenty to give or take and the US knows it. This sort of flexing muscles is not new.Here is a news item from The Telegraph of 6 March 2002:
‘PRESIDENT BUSH risked provoking a trade war with Europe last night when he imposed tariffs of up to 30 per cent on steel imports despite a last-minute appeal by Tony Blair not to damage British interests.
Digby Jones, the CBI director general, warned that imposing tariffs in the US would put British jobs at risk and could lead to foreign steel firms selling products to countries other than America, including the UK.
“The US should be setting an example to the world about what free trade really means,” he said. “It means global free trade, not American free trade.”
Now for the second news item from guardian.co.uk 4 Dec,2003
The US today stepped back from a trade war with the EU and Japan as George Bush lifted punitive tariffs on steel imports.
Mr Bush made his decision just days before a deadline that would have triggered retaliation from the EU, which was preparing to impose sanctions worth $2.2bn (£1.3bn) on US goods ranging from Florida citrus products to Harley Davidson motorbikes.
“These safeguard measures have now achieved their purpose, and as a result of changed economic circumstances, it is time to lift them,” Mr Bush said in a statement.
The measures were designed to inflict maximum political pain on Mr Bush, with the EU targeting products from states that would play a crucial role in next year’s presidential election. The World Trade Organisation last month ruled the US tariffs illegal and said the EU had the right to retaliate.
Reading these news should give the convoluted rationale that dictates power to nations to punish or reward one another. If Timbuctoo, don’t ask where it is located, has 7 billion population and products or commodities to trade it would be also in a position to call the shots. We are a global village now. Look at our history: the USA got its independence from Great Britain once a super power. Being a mercantile nation Britain wanted to impose fresh taxes on tea for its losses in Canada. It overplayed its hand and lost. It always dawn on a super power at a point of time that times have changed. Britain realized it and now it is time the US knew it.
The world is no longer to be divided as the private preserve of UK, the US or of China. So nations need to get its act together. It may be possible that nations would be a concept too old-fashioned to continue, instead we need to think of one Village and 7 billion inhabitants to keep every other afloat.
benny

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Sunbathing-rocks

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