marți, 28 februarie 2023

The Quiet Girl based on Foster by Claire Keegan, author of the stupendous Small Things Like These long listed for The 2022 Booker Prize - 10 out of 10


The Quiet Girl based on Foster by Claire Keegan, author of the stupendous Small Things Like These long listed for The 2022 Booker Prize

10 out of 10



I have been elated by Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, I wish she had won the Booker Prize – I have not read the winner, however, seeing as I have learned about the subject, the other world, ghosts and the like, it does not look like I will read it, never mind prefer it to the magnificent short narrative…were it to win, it would have been the shortest chef d’oeuvre to get the Booker – and I came with high expectations to The Quiet Girl.


It is recommended that we lower our expectations, in order to aspire to be happy, only in the case of this work, The Quiet Girl delivers, this note is about the motion picture based on the story, which has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, two BAFTAs, one for Best Film not in The English Language, seeing as it is mostly in Irish, with passages that are in English, but few and far between, and the other for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it is clearly one of the best movies of 2022.

We could argue that Argentina, 1985 would have the upper hand, more chances, since it has won the Golden Globe for Best Film in a Foreign Language it may have a head start, and it is an impressive, extraordinary tale, looking at the period that followed the dictatorship in Argentina, in 1985 as it happens.


The army had been committing atrocities, killing, torturing people, taking large numbers over the ocean and then dropping them to their death, women gave birth in gruesome circumstances, they have been raped, abused, and we have the chance to hear their testimony in court, the first civilian one in the world to take to the stand the military, which denied their responsibility, until they would be found guilty.

Then we have the equally outstanding All Quiet On The Western Front - an earlier adaptation has won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture, and that was seventy or more years ago – which has been shortlisted for multiple Oscars, BAFTAs and other prestigious trophies, a favorite to win for International Film


The Quiet Girl does not have the explosions, turmoil, incredible production display of All Quite on the Western Front, or the intense drama which is part of Argentina, 1985, where the testimonies are hard to hear, telling the public about horrors that had been inflicted in the name of the fight against enemies of the people


However, there is plenty to admire in The Quiet Girl and to feel deeply sad about…The Quiet Girl is an unlucky child, living with parents that have too many children – one of the splendid, hilarious sketches of the best comedy team in the history of the world, Monty Python, comes to mind wherein the regretted Terry Jones plays the mother of…maybe 132 children, all pressed inside a flat, with a dialogue that is attacking the imposition of the Catholic Church, which considers all sex destined for procreation, otherwise it is a dreadful sin, to make matters worse, I think they still forbid contraception – and they neglect her

Somehow, The Quiet Girl reminds me of another great motion picture, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the work of Cristian Mungiu and a team of extremely talented people, in which we have a look at what has happened during the tyranny of the Ceausescu regime, one which outlawed abortion, and the tragedy of the film centers on what happens when a baby is not wanted, and the young woman has few choices.


She is expected by the dictatorship to have the child, raise him, her or they so that the despot could have more soldiers for his army of subjects, to work for him and his acolytes – I have heard in the eternal sauna, the place where the most extravagant, and yet widely circulated on the net, conspiracies are brought to life, with admirers of…Putin trying to convince me that the Americans are to blame, the poor Kremlin Monster is in fact a sweet pussycat (or just a pussy with atomic weapons we could say, and we could be politically incorrect here, nobody is reading), that Ceausescu was in fact a firm believer in the ideals of communism and he did not really know what was going on, which is so damn stupid… this is a link that will show you an article in Newsweek, the one covering the Revolution of 1989, at the end of which Ceausescu and his wife would be shot dead, one in which I have taken part (and I am so proud of it, no matter how futile it was on some fronts, disregarding the fact that it eventually brought to power the second echelon, the children of the former nomenclature and the apparatchiks themselves in most cases, that I keep mentioning this, give you the link, no matter if there is any connection or not, if it feels like by the way, good, if there is no incidentally) and seeing The Quiet Girl made me remember the many orphans that ended up abandoned, because parents could not take care of them…


mothers were forced to give birth, even when the father was absent and they had no means to offer protection, food – in the communist era, there was a shortage of everything, eatables, electricity, heating, liberty was absent – and thus we ended up with families that resembled to a degree what we see in The Quiet Girl

BAFTA Nominated Empire of Light

73 out of 100 for Scream 2022

sâmbătă, 25 februarie 2023

L’evenement aka Happening, winner of The Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival based on the novel Happening by Annie Ernaux - 10 out of 10


L’evenement aka Happening, winner of The Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival based on the novel Happening by Annie Ernaux

10 out of 10



This magic work of art has brought to mind one of the Best 100 Movies Ever Made (at one point, I know it was on the TIME Magazine’s list, but never mind that, it is on mine) 4 Months, 3 Weeks and Two Days by marvelous Cristian Mungiu wherein we have a young woman facing the issue of abortion, in the time of Ceausescu, the tyrant who wanted to rule over as many as possible, therefore he banned any means of birth control, making it a very serious offence, no matter what the circumstances, just like some of the American red states (that is Trumpian) are imposing inhumane, blanket bans, specific to the Dark Ages.


Indeed, I have had my own experiences with the illegal situation – let me just emphasize again that this is not about the book per se, but about the film inspired by the opus of Annie Ernaux, I did not find an entry for the motion picture, and besides, look at where this scribbling is going, it does not even concentrate on the film, which means that this is often the drill here, the pretense is one subject or another, film book, but then I take off on a tangent, and write about ‘nothing like the sun’, the concern of the day, or some permanent obsession – for there have been two abortions under Ceausescu, which were in part my responsibility, that would be at least half of the blame, without the associated pain

Once it was the wonderful girlfriend, Sherika aka Dana Andronescu, maybe the person with the most beautiful inside, soul, who got pregnant, and we had to find a solution, which came from a…basement, where my mother used to work, for a printing shop, and she had had a colleague with lots of experience and contacts, including with a person who performed the dangerous ‘operation’, just like in Happening, using a knitting needle to provoke the death of the fetus (I Guess that is what must have happened)


This took place sometime later, as we went to the apartment where I lived with my parents, and after some time, the ‘elimination’ took place in the bathroom, and we did not have to become parents – one has to wonder what life would have been like, had we gone to have a child, it is not clear that it would have been that bad – I probably would have missed on the participation in the Revolution as responsible father, I would have avoided exposure in the Roman Square, to try and overthrow Ceausescu, and would not have had the chance to be the lover of the first Miss Moldova, the first in decades, due to the dictatorship…

Anamaria Vartolomei, an actress from our realm, nominated for and winner of important trophies, portrays Anne Duchesne, including one Cesar – the young woman wants to be a teacher first, and then a writer, and we could easily assume that this is the Happening that Annie Ernaux was involved in…


She becomes pregnant in 1964 – a very important one, this is when I was born – when in France, attitudes on abortion were much like those in Ceausescu’s territory, with the operation banned, and doctors against it, apparently in a majority, one is so damn fervent, fundamentalist and bigoted that when he prescribes something to the poor girl, he in fact gives her something that strengthens the fetus…

Thus, all attempts that the woman makes are destined to fail, she tries heavy lifting, uses the shots given by this mad doctor, which have the opposite effect, she tries herself to inflict a terminal wound on the small creature inside her – I hesitated here, nearly putting in ‘baby’, which he, she or they are not, at that stage, but I must say that though in favor of women’s choice to determine what happens with their bodies, pretty much of a progressive and liberal on most, or all fronts, including this one, there is a feeling that something more modern, civilized, advanced as our civilization is (or it is not, considering the barbarism of Putin, his allies and acolytes, from North Korea to…shockingly South Africa, which has military maneuvers with the Russians, as we speak, Lula of Brazil is a fan, so many others, never mind China, a terrible tyranny, that in the near future will attack and presumably occupy and eat Taiwan) than to just eliminate the fetus, as in killing an inferior being, not human at that stage, but still, a breathing creature…


There are passages that are gruesome, it is terrible for Anne to go through this trauma – ironically her name is close to Duchenne, which is in psychology the ‘authentic smile’ and studies have shown the importance of positivity – there is a classic by Barbara Fredrickson called Positivity, she has identified awe, interest, amusement, inspiration, hope, gratitude, pride, serenity, joy, and especially love as the components of positivity – in our lives, those who are optimistic have longer, more successful private and professional lives, they get sick less often, when they are ill, they stay so for shorter periods, in short, try it, it is fun even a small, but genuine smile (again, called Duchenne) makes a difference, and in this experiment, they took photos from the end of college and discovered that those who smiled in these photos were like above, more successful in their private and professional lives…researchers went to see those folks after years to put down what has happened with them…

happening is an invitation to look at what happens with women when they are forced into a corner, in societies which forbid abortions, the dangers are horrible, if they want to have a career and study, it is almost impossible with a child at a tender age, then the options are so perilous, legally and medically, that the story of Anne Duchesne, terrifying as it certainly is, will not be an isolated case, there are millions of women that have to face such cataclysmic prospects, even in an advanced country as America, indeed, until recently, the land of the free, of limitless possibilities, and a model to the world…I am still a militant for that model, but that is when placed in contrast with Russia, China and the like call if you need details about the link

88 out of 100 for Comet

86 out of 100 for Sex and The City, Series 4, Episode 3

miercuri, 22 februarie 2023

Hector and The Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord, made into a pathetic motion picture, otherwise about as lame as the original material - 8 out of 10


Hector and The Search for Happiness by Francois Lelord, made into a pathetic motion picture, otherwise about as lame as the original material

8 out of 10



I have felt like destroying the book and the film right there, at the start, albeit we should climb down from that attempt at foolishly jesting and talk about the merits of the admittedly rather silly book – which I have received from an old friend, old friend in that we have known each other for about four decades, and thus we are not that tender anymore (even if he does have an impressive night life, he comes back from night clubs when I wake up and prepare to go to the World Class [what a joke that is, they have chosen a name that implies a high level of service, when what they have is terrible and going down] Downtown) and as for friends…well, if he gives me this kind of gift, then he must think me rather slow


‘be a merit finder, not a fault finder’ says the Harvard Professor Tal Ben-Shahar, of positive psychology fame, a course that is the most popular in the history of that Ivy League institution, whose lectures you can find on YouTube and we should certainly go down that path (or I should better say up that road) and first say that even in this rather simplistic form, the search for Happiness is worthwhile and needs to be commended

Those who are positive, optimistic live longer, more successful private and professional lives, they get sick less often, and when they fall ill, they stay so for a shorter time than the negative ones, therefore there are multiple benefits, that have been confirmed by thousands (or maybe hundreds of thousands by now) of tests and metastudies, one of which would center on the…nuns of the Notre Dame, that have been part of research that looked at their diaries and discovered that the ones that were positive in their notes would live on average nine years more than their neutral comrades and we can add that negativity kills


I now look back at a note on How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton and find the experience of the Korean War and how devastating the techniques used there have been, and then the attitude at my own company (well, the small one, in which I have 14% and not much say into how it is organized, the position of the director, who had told us some seven or more years ago that he would double the profits, do all sorts of miracles that never happened in the meantime) where I was told some twenty years back, when I have mentioned positivity and more energy, smiles, that ‘those people work over here, they can ‘be happy’ and the implied message was that I had clearly been rather thick, not to get that…

Hector is a psychiatrist and decides to look for happiness, just as the title makes clear, thinking himself something of a fraud, if he does not help his clients aka patients to get better, and he does not know much or more about this essential problem - “Happiness [Eudaimonia] is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” –Aristotle…and he may have said something like ‘while we are not happy, we look for happiness, and we get there, we have succeeded’ or maybe just words to that effect, though now that I have put this down, I am sure it is not anywhere near…the latter part, the Eudaimonia quote is correct and indeed, we try to be happy, though actively looking for it seems to be just the wrong way, according to our own luminary, Andrei Plesu…


Hector starts by travelling to…China, which in itself looks like the epitome of the ‘other place’, the realm where you should try finding the essence of unhappiness, seeing as it is a tyranny, led by a fellow that has recently amassed even more power (absurd in itself, given that the commies are dictators, why on earth would you ask for even more than the already massive force you have) and we know about this – come to think of it, Hector should have asked me about happiness in a tyranny I have taken part in the revolution that took down Ceausescu and the link is to the passage in Newsweek that reveals some of my contribution

The shrink finds some truths or one could say platitudes – if one is jesting, or just negative and mean – on his quest, such as ‘many people think happiness comes from more money or more power’ and indeed, studies with lottery winners, among others, have found that getting one million dollars or more does boost the wellbeing, but only for a few months, after which the subjects return to their base level of happiness – some will protest and say they just do not how to spend it, and there may have been a Lexus ad playing on that theme, as in if you get a Lexus, then you have really made the smart move…


‘Happiness is being with people you love’ and then he explains unhappiness as being separated from those, which is confirmed by the often mentioned research, that shows this is what the happiest have in common ‘strong, good relations with family and friends’ – a very weak point for yours truly, the one that surely justifies my frequent descents into lamentations (just like here) and moaning…it is the spouse, who takes shots at me daily (so far, given that this is not Red America, the shots are not literal, just metaphorical, albeit there has been the odd scratch and so on) on all sorts of matters, determined by my decrepitude, the appearance of a beggar that I have, the fact that I spend only about two hours every day cleaning after the macaws and not a full ten hours on the bathroom, my room (we have not shared a bed or anything except some common space in this too large abode) the garden and so much more…

She has brought in five borzoi (5) and a mongrel, and these are officially classified as ‘giant breed dogs, which means the equivalent of about twelve, maybe fifteen ‘common’ ones, and she calls me crazy, which I certainly was to participate in that mad scheme, and even take them out in the morning for years – not anymore, there is just one left, very old, sick and awfully smelly (but hey, I am the stinking old fart), and even taking him out at the corner is a curse, given that one of the loathsome buffoons that live around here is often there to show his contempt (the fucking moron abuses the rules, but hey, that is smart, and the spouse is only upset of that kind of abuse when it affect her, anyone doing harm to her husband is to be praised, and the opposite when it touches her)…ergo, to end this optimistic, grateful finale on a high note, be merry and (do not) multiply

83 out of 100 for The Wrong Arm of The Law

66 out of 100 for Infinity Pool

duminică, 19 februarie 2023

The Survivor, based on the book Harry Haft – Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano by Alan Scott Haft - 10 out of 10


The Survivor, based on the book Harry Haft – Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano by Alan Scott Haft

10 out of 10



Two of the most important Character Strengths identified in studies by positive psychology, in particular, the co-founder, Martin Seligman, would be resilience and vitality and they are in full display in the movie based on this important book.


This note is not about the original work, it is on the motion picture inspired by it, this is the third time that this is mentioned, to avoid any misunderstanding, I used to introduce the new entry for the script or film, when there was no such preexisting item, but Goodreads limits this to librarians now, and since you have so many scripts you can comment on this site, why not on this remarkable feature?

The Survivor is a lesson on ‘Happiness Activity No 6: Developing Strategies for Coping-practicing ways to endure or surmount hardship or trauma’ as described by magician and professor Sonja Lyubomirsky in her majestic The How of Happiness a book that can be life changing, because it tells you what it says, how to be Happy…


Survivor Harry Haft emerges from the Auschwitz labor camp, just as the title makes clear, due to his incredible Character Strengths, on top of the aforementioned vitality and persistence, the Super Hero (only a real, not an invented one, escaped from comic books, the Marvel or another imaginary universe) is brave, kind – if it is not always possible, he has to be cruel to be munificent…he has a friend with whom he had shared all he had had, just as the friend would split a crust of bread or any other thing with Harry, and when they meet in the ring, forced by monstrous Schneider, Harry has to take his friend down

The latter insists that he does not want the Nazis to kill him, he would rather see Harry do it, he wants to end ‘like a man’, which in this case would be fighting in a boxing match, kicked by the one he feels for, rather than give satisfaction to the inhumane brutes – by the way, you could consult the absolute classic Influence by Robert Cialdini and find The Principle of Respect for Authority, which we all (or almost all) obey…


In a famous, or infamous, Milgram Experiment, participants in the research have been told to apply electric shocks to people who had agreed to be punished for giving the wrong answers, and astonishingly, they would go as high as deadly voltages, of 220 or more, the majority of individuals would not stop, even when the humans in the chair would scream and show signs of intense pain, because they Respected the Authority


This was used to explain at least in part the obedience showed by most Germans during the World War II, when atrocities were committed – something many claimed they had been unaware of, exterminating camps and horrors – and when they cooperated, it was due to the Respect we show for authority, even when asked to do the most abominable acts – one other example, you find in Influence is about the sect (I think the name of the leader was Moon) that went to Guyana and the members committed mass suicide, in their hundreds, when their atrocious authoritarian asked them to do it…

Another quintessential magnum opus is Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, a wondrous psychologist, who had had the chance to escape the Holocaust and refused it when he was the only one in his family who could avoid the disaster, went into the camps, later wrote this fabulous work, in which he states “Meaning „is the key: in the camp, those who lost the meaning capitulated and died…Frankl quotes Nietzsche: the one who has the WHY can cope with almost any how”.


As opposed to Freud, doctor Frankl believes people are not mainly driven by sexual urges, but by a “superior” motive: meaning…Harry Haft is forced to fight other prisoners by the Nazis, in particular the SS officer Schneider, a devious, diabolical fellow, who claims to feel nothing against the Jews, he is not anti-Semitic in statements, but he maintains that everything is a question of hammer and anvil, there are only two alternatives

You could be the hammer or the anvil, I a zero-sum game, there is power and weakness, and for this Nazi, he had hoped that they will win, and then it will be civilized, he regrets it is not the outcome he had hoped for, and in the meantime, he acts like a vile little fuhrer, a Putin avant la lettre and at a smaller scale, making money off his prize fighter, making bets and organizing panem et circenses for fellow brutes.


I was made to think of the present, I have read an article in The Economist, or it was in one of their podcasts, describing a visit at the Chinese –Russian border, where the journalist tried to see what the Chinese feel about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the result is that the propaganda works, the brain washed respondents admire Putin, no less, say that a big power must be respected, and this will also be the sentiment on China attacking Taiwan, sometimes in the (alas) near future, we must submit to power.

However tragic and somewhat improbable it sounds, this Kremlin and Beijing version of events is embraced and shared even in places which have access to genuine news and information, at the Downtown Club where I go, ‘educated’ eejits, a doctor, other folks, say it is the fault of the Americans, not the bloody Russians, and they impart with all manner of conspiracy theories, act as traitors and they spit on the victims of the war, telling them ‘goddamn fools, you are paid by the capitalists’ or something of that manner, in my view…The Survivor should be a lesson to these creeps, on what happens when you surrender your mind and body to tyranny, the rule is all too clear in this narrative…

One of The Most Interesting Films of 2022 - Babylon

82 out of 100 for Alice, Darling

luni, 13 februarie 2023

The Middle Man aka Sluk by Lars Saabye Christensen seen through this lens - - 9 out of 10


The Middle Man aka Sluk by Lars Saabye Christensen seen through this lens -

9 out of 10



This is a note about the motion picture based on Suk, since there is no entry on goodreads for the movie, I am not a librarian and therefore unable to introduce that item, and anyway, the habit here is to start from the alleged subject, then move on to…And Now For Something Completely Different so it does not really matter…


Besides, the film inspired by the book is more than worthwhile, and deserves notice, even if a feeble one as this would not change things, if there is just one person reading here and then decides to see it, enjoys it, it will have been worth it, and if not that, then there is Artificial Intelligence which in the future will have reached Singularity, the time when they will be so damn clever that they need a billionth of a billionth of a millisecond to go through the whole of the British Library and thus will need more material to read, and yours truly is happy to oblige with the volumes that will fill a medium sized mansion

There we go again, thinking of the distant future and the smart robot that will take this, and a trillion more texts in that fraction of a second, to get better informed and telling him the story of The Middle Man aka Suk – the latter presumably means Middle Man, only I have not bothered with Google translate to see if this is not dick or some such thing…see how we move from the discussion, as I mention Compartment No 6 and the fact that the Russian fellow thinks he has learned how to say I love you in Finnish, when he was actually told fuck you, remembered as hakku vista, but when checked, it is not that, and why on earth should be go down this path…except to confirm that book or film, the note about it is just as calamitous


Serenity Now says Frank Constanza in the admired Seinfeld comedy, and to confirm the message, I am reading again Siddhartha by sublime Herman Hesse, and one of the main messages from there seems to be just that Equanimity, peace, rejection of struggle, concern for what does not matter, though the path is tortuous, the hero starts with the ascetics, then engages with the world and Kamala (hm, just like the undistinguished American vice president) and his son, only to give it all up again…

Glasperlenspiel is the ultimate goal as in get engaged in the Glass Bead Game, representing an isolation, a run from the useless, tormenting, upsetting turmoil, the continuous conflict that is there, in the world of Maya, the daily routine wherein I, for instance, have to swear every other five minutes, on the way to, but especially from the Club Downtown, where I use the bicycle and hence I am assaulted by mad drivers, who take their cars within millimeters of my bike, thinking of a poor joke, I said that they see me as a cloth, one of those moving contraptions they have at the car-wash and they say, oh, let us take some dust off with this beggar, for he can’t be anything else, he does not afford a vehicle, so there you go


That somehow has to stop, albeit it looks rather hard, yes, there are plenty of Stoic precepts, ‘it is not what happens, but what you make of what happens that counts’, be a merit finder, not a fault finder’ ‘the mind is its own place, it can make heaven out of hell, and hell out of heaven’, plus, you should thank the crazy drivers for the means they offer you to test your resilience, strength, courage, kindness, social intelligence, transcendence, spirituality, humor, gratitude, temperance, forgiveness and mercy, modesty and humility, prudence (except maybe that is not in play, seeing as you are lunatic enough to try navigating the Maddening Crowd on a flimsy contraption), self-regulation, sagesse, curiosity, creativity, open – mindedness, leadership, citizenship, appreciation of excellence and beauty, vitality, persistence, perspective, love of learning (only have you not learned anything from falls and stumbles, narrow escapes from potentially terminal impacts) and ultimately love, and this will be the whole list of Character Strengths, as you find them on the dedicated site created by Martin Seligman, co-father of Positve Psychology…

Which is not the subject of The Middle Man by the way, this is a motion picture that uses humor, in a rather outré, Scandinavian way – Kingsley Amis the author that I adore and concentrate on over the past few years says in his Magnetic masterpiece One Fat Englishman that Danish humor is weak, or maybe does not exist…in a survey of the least liked people in the European Union we came last, as in the most disliked or hated and who do you think liked us the least…well, the Great Danes, not the dogs, the supposedly enlighted Northerners- in the darkest of contexts, the Middle Man is supposed to deliver the tragic news.


To give you a sample, Frank Farrelli aka The Middle Man talks to this father, in the elevator of the hospital about his friend, who is in a coma, waited on by his father, the latter claims to see the eyes of the comatose son moving, and so does the mother of  daughter, who had been hit by the train, says the father, she sees the eyelid twitching, only at the conclusion of a rather ‘optimistic exchange’, at least under the somber, apocalyptic circumstances, the father says ‘my daughter does not have a face anymore’

Now, what do you say to that, I mean you cannot possibly fall from the sofa, laughing, but it does have a trace of humor, faint, or is it powerful because of the absurdity of the exchange, they spend a few lines, and Frank is getting up to that conclusion, they may know something about who is there, and then bang, you see there is no hope, without a face, the young woman will not move her eyelids, since there are none…

Nonetheless, maybe the ‘father’ need not worry about that, for there could be some dramatic changes, news that will completely transform the playing field, in a small town, where catastrophe appears to be the leitmotif, sprinkled with amusement…when he starts his job, Farrelli appears to be rather tense, he wishes for calamity to happen, otherwise what is he supposed to do, the job is temporary, and without pandemonium, he can become redundant

duminică, 12 februarie 2023

The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal, based on the novel with the same name by Elena Ferrante, author of My Brilliant Friend and a few other big hits - 9 out of 10


The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal, based on the novel with the same name by Elena Ferrante, author of My Brilliant Friend and a few other big hits

9 out of 10



This note is about the film based on the novel of an author that has caused a sensation, I have read about her (or maybe his, or their) astounding rise to popular and critical acclaim in The Economist, where some time later after the initial article, there was another look at the mystery behind this writer, thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of readers and experts wondering who this Elena Ferrante is, for this was the pen name (still is, presumably) and there had been speculation over what well known literati, luminary could be using tis pseudonym and I think at some stage the secret was uncovered.


However, long before it became public knowledge I had lost interest in the matter, given that the next opus by the same under cover creator would prove a disappointment – they may still search for some details regarding the veracity of the ‘real Elena Ferrante’, contesting the facts, the identity anyhow, there would be conspiracy theories springing, even after someone had come out, there would be battalions disputing, claiming they know it is really Lady Gaga, Trump, Messi or somebody else, doing this on the side, with the help of aliens, the CIA, FBI and other Western malevolent forces, let me not forget Bill Gates and Soros

You may not be assaulted by this vile, bilious propaganda, but I find it obnoxious and sometimes (like now) I am tempted to look on the pandemic years and the associated lockdown with nostalgia - no, I do not actually, but I think I am trying to make a joke, or else, more plausibly, I am starting to suffer from one (or more) of those diseases where you talk (or write) to yourself and then feel that you are now one person, and then the opposite – and say it is often good not to meet humans, none of those with mad notions anyway…


Some years back, I used to spend about five hours every day at the Downtown Club – part of a World class chain, I think I am going to use this name quite a few times here, I mean in following notes, not this one, though who knows, the way it looks, anything is possible, because of the mirth of putting down such a preposterous claim, world class service it would imply, when in fact they have turned somehow against clients, admittedly, there are many customers that are more than a bore, outright offensive, rude, a number of criminal types -there was this goodfella that had the number one key [ a sign of meagre progress, they have cards now) and you could not have this at the locker room, even when the small Trump was away on business, since he took it with him, and his status of a gang leader would not allow for such a claim, and at one point, they would send a contingent of policemen to take him into custody from the club, they were worried that if they just have a couple of them, he could knock them down, as he had done with a massive badass from the force


However, plenty of conspiracy theories…once, I was sitting in the sauna with one other client, when we came to talk about the Twin towers and 9/11, and he tried to explain to dumb me that it was the Americans themselves that took them down, so that they could justify the war they wanted, and when another eejit came into the hot place, I said to myself, good, there would be someone with some sense, and maybe we could silent this loonie, only it turned out that there were two now, with the same conviction, and then more, as others walked into the frame, finally it was just inglorious me standing for my firm conviction, while this squadron and others met along the years showed contempt for Americans (justified if we talk Trump and the sect) and despised me for my god damn lack of sense

About a couple of months ago, I returned to the place, after the hiatus provoked by the pandemic, only the place had been closed for just some months, and when it reopened, I felt among other things (a worry that the business could collapse, and then what about money for food and anything, never mind luxuries like saunas, which anyhow, worked with stops and scandalous outings) a reluctance to return to the same, old crowd of fools and lunatics (there were two ardent supporters, one, who has changed his mind in the meantime, had worked as a bell boy maybe at the hotel and felt that he owes the Confidence Man his vote and devotion, no matter how irrepressible, loathsome the Orange Clown could be, the other, a young man of apparent good sense, had in fact some deep, troublesome issues, embracing such a fraud as that) and have them pollute me again with their grievances and schemes.


As it happens, maybe five weeks ago, we have a conversation that hits on Ukraine and the war, and this revolting mother fucker who is a doctor and hence has no justification as one with little or no education, with somewhat justified incomprehension of events, unable to distinguish between propaganda and truth, spits out ‘Zelensky and Putin are two idiots’ and when I tried to retort, startled at such a monstrosity, he went about the Americans and the Cuban missile crisis, and this was just a point against his madness I tried to state, for the Americans had not invaded Cuba, which what his patrons, the awful Putin and his cohorts have just done years ago in Crimea, and now they try to swallow the whole of a country that had done nothing to unleash the Wrath of the Small Guy in the Kremlin (small in character, never mind that he has the Napoleon complex, trying to over compensate for height, or shortness)

I had to walk out of the sauna, saying that this is not a debate worth having, and I know from the other, 9/11 deniers that no matter how much you try to explain that this is more than absurd and preposterous, it does not work, and furthermore, they try to explain every terrorist attack, on a priest in some small church in France, those who run with trucks and cars into huge crowds, use machetes to decapitate, machine guns in concert halls in Paris, they have the same theory that these were sent by Americans, secret agencies and what have you…now about The Lost Daughter – yes, the film works, but in my humble view , not because of Elena Ferrante, which I managed to somehow cherish on the first read and then reject  but in spite of the original work, due to the magical skills of Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Olivia Coleman, the latter wonderful in the role of the divorced, troubled, mother that is vacationing near a family with serious problems of their own…you my wonder if I have written this gibberish in this position

One of The Best 100 Movies - Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

90 out of 100 for Sex and The City, Series 3

luni, 6 februarie 2023

All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque the 2022 adaptation of the classic was nominated for the most important BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars, winner of multiple prestigious awards and the idea for this note - 10 out of 10


All Quiet on The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque the 2022 adaptation of the classic was nominated for the most important BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Oscars, winner of multiple prestigious awards and the idea for this note

10 out of 10



All Quiet on The Western Front is not just a ‘classic magnum opus’, it should also a quintessential part of the education of teenagers – younger children would probably be overwhelmed by the violence and monstrosity exposed, albeit this is often too much for adults, I had to see the latest adaptation in installments, all at the same time would be too horrible, no matter how much of the ‘real thing’, images of war in Ukraine we have now on the daily news – so that they learn what war means


There is a wonderful book by mesmerizing Ian Morris, War What Is It Good For that looks at the history of warfare and comes to some astounding conclusions…he is also the celebrated author of Why The West Rules For Now two fabulous works that will transform the view of the world of the reader, unless he is a bigoted, conspiracy theory enthusiast

Reading War What Is It Good For and Why The West Rules For Now we understand much better the history and perhaps to some extent the present of humanity, while being amused in the process -“Reg: All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us? PFJ Member: Brought peace? Reg: Oh, peace? SHUT UP!” this was a dialogue from Monty Python’s Life of Brian that makes a good point


The Romans waged war on much of the world as they knew it, when barbarians and others did not attack them, but we could argue using the comedy lines above that, once they conquered new territories, the old, among the first major ‘imperialists’ brought sanitation, medicine, education, public order, irrigation, the famous roads, fresh water system, the baths, and yes, eventually peace, and Ian Morris makes some strong arguments in favor of the theory that wars have brought some good…

Besides, he is demonstrates that with time, the conflicts would diminish, we would have less and less wars and a more stable peace, a theory embraced also by one of the most distinguished luminaries of the present, Yuval Harari, author of Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow and two other major books, Homo Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, and 21 Lessons For The Twenty First Century


Indeed, in the last century we have had two cataclysmic, horrendous World Wars, but statistics showed that overall, with the end of these two awful, planetary conflicts, the world has seen a wonderful advent of peace, Europe looked set to enjoy a bright present and future, with humans becoming almost Gods, as predicted in Homo Deus, where we see a luminous perspective, people living more and more, to the point where they may reach immortality, Artificial Intelligence will drive cars, and we will have Kant and Schumacher taking care of that, the perfect efficiency and unlimited knowledge of the machines will improve almost any aspect of the lives of those generations, except they will have to choose their careers carefully, few areas will be spared, archeologists will still be in demand…as humans, not AI

Alas, there came the war in Ukraine, we should say the latest, for the brief conflict in 2014 was mostly ignored, since Russia used its ‘little green men’, after denying it has anybody there, to snatch the Crimea from its ‘brothers’ and then, almost one year ago, they have launched a brutal, massive, monstrous attack on a country that had done nothing to deserve this, they just have land that Putin wants.


At the health club where I have returned after a long absence, caused by the pandemic and then prolonged due to mistrust of their managerial skills (for instance, in 2019 I had told them about the massive quantities of soap that they throw down the drain, since they have one soap dispenser that is broken, and all they put it, comes out almost instantly and then is washed to the sewage in a  repellent way…they had not fixed it, and furthermore, when I insisted and said OK, you do not have the plumber or some god damn reason for all this, but at the very least, stop putting soap in that damaged recipient, because it is all down the toilet, nothing doing, I return in December 2022 and keep telling them the same story, and what do you think they do, they close the outdoor Jacuzzi on making savings grounds, but all the time, perhaps for an uninterrupted period of Three Fucking years, they have thrown a ton of soap down the pipes, and what a lough, they call themselves World Class, as in that is what they offer and have, unbeaten management, services…Jesus, Mary and Joseph) we were talking war.

Some were just saying about the fact that Putin may have tried to spare the enemy, for he could use such force…well, he did pound the innocent civilians massively, the only thing that he has not used, but used as blackmail – and it works, they have repeated yesterday the leit motif, that the Americans and others will not send fighting jets, worried that it could escalate, and climb up to what, well, nuclear clashes would be the only thing left and then a head on between the nuclear armed countries and the end of it all –


We should have learned from All Quiet on The Western Front, history and what we could still see from clashes that take place in realms of the world, from Somalia to Myanmar, Congo to Libya and Syria, but the problem the world has is that tyrants and lunatics seem to make their way to the top, Putin in Russia, his fan, Trump in America, and the Chinese will attack Taiwan, it is just a question of when, not if, and seeing as their military, economic power is increasing and they will take the first place soon, with the rotten system they have (we had had commies here for decades, care of the Soviets and the old Putins) the world needs to worry I took part in the Revolution that toppled Ceausescu, this is The Newsweek article that proves it and this is how I look at the world

92 out of 100 for Cyrus

89 out of 100 for The Middle Man

duminică, 5 februarie 2023

Comrade Don Camillo by Giovannino Guareschi, author of The Little World of Don Camillo , one of the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read - 8 out of 10


Comrade Don Camillo by Giovannino Guareschi, author of The Little World of Don Camillo , one of the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read

8 out of 10



If The Little World of Don Camillo is a fine comedy, included on the list of 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read, the sequels, prequels and spin offs of the franchise do not seem so enticing, indeed, not even the original World of The Priest looks all that elating, looking back with some insight, it would not do for a second read.


The subject could not be more important, treated with a light touch, as it is, the Don Camillo series are comedies and have been adapted for the big screen with the mirthful Fernandel in the title role of the intrepid, mischievous, amusing clergy.

We can see this as the eternal dispute between the religious and the atheist, God versus Satan for those who are sure that those two exist and fight each other, upstairs and here, on earth…if for centuries there had been no question on who the winner is, the church could take you down with its Inquisition and I have read a magical novel, winner of the last, 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Literature, The Netanyahus by effendi Joshua Cohen that gives the reading public a completely new perspective on the Spanish Inquisition


The absolute favorite creator of the past few years is Kingsley Amis, the one who has temporarily toppled Marcel Proust with the indefatigable A La Recherche du Temps Perdu from the pole position – I mean, yes, Proust is the Divinity, but for a good many years, maybe as many as twelve, I have not read again from the roman fleuve, and in the meantime I have more than twenty works by Amis (a couple from Amis Junior) under my belt – and much of the time, I am reminded of some aphorism of his

Or a quote, like the one about a short dialogue with a Russian poet (maybe this is not true) who asked ‘you atheist’ and Kingsley Amis replied ‘it is not that, it is more that I hate Him’ or something to that effect (Insha’Allah) which might be from The Russian Girl, or One Fat Englishman, but it could just as well come from Ending Up or another masterpiece...


Wait, I have something that is clearly from Ending up, and has to do with the image of the absurd, preposterous and at the same time the cathartic and hilarious, when one of the characters renders the enormity of a situation, they explain it something like ‘imagine you are at the Ritz (or it could have been another, equally prestigious, exorbitant, dazzling venue) and you order, the waiter comes back and sits to chat with you’ – I started laughing now, as I put this down, which is part of the point of writing all this nonsense, nay, often the only point, as I enjoy the privilege of offering myself rare treats, I am the only reader of an unique manuscript (well, it used to be that, now it is just some fool’s gold on the blogs) and treat myself royally, with access to something that nobody else gets to see…


Evidently, it is posted online, for the world to read and enjoy, but then humanity does not care, this might be corrected in the not too distant future, when Artificial Intelligence will have reached the Singularity stage – explained in the magnificent Why The West Rules For Now by glorious Ian Morris - when AI will have all the knowledge of humanity, past and present, and the ability to surpass all our minds combined, or something to that effect, a time when this Super Galactic Brain will take all my texts (tens of thousands of them it looks like at times) and all the other and ingest them in record time, with the progress they make, it could be just days until that Superhuman Intelligence takes it all in, anyway, all my ‘productions’ will be consumed in a billionth of a billionth of a second and thus, I will have had my reader

Nathaniel Branden is the author of the quintessential The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, considered a classic, but he has also taken the subject of religion, which is key for our Don Camillo and his misadventures, in The Psychological Effects of Religion wherein he explains that these effects are all badass


The notion that we have an Almighty Fellow looking over our shoulders all the time, night and day, is in itself horrendous – yes, for the faithful, it works often as a solace, comfort, they feel protected, nut nonetheless, I shudder – and he has this habit of thundering, puffing, and making mischief, striking you down at seventy, for the masturbation you indulged in (self-fornication, what would they call this in their parlance, the lingo talks of self-abuse, if I remember well) for The top Guy never forgets…adjectival, as Peter Carey used to say with munificence in his marvelous, phenomenal The True History of The Kelly Gang winner of The Booker Prize and a magnum opus without any doubts, adapted for the big screen twice

As for myself, I am hesitating between deism, atheism and it could happen that I become penitent, with age, start repenting and who knows, like the patriarch (played by Magister Ludi Sir Laurence Olivier in the miniseries) in Brideshead Revisited by another outstanding creator, Evelyn Waugh, honoring the Wager of Pascal, the one that said there are two alternatives, and if you believe in god, you are safe, if he does not exist you will have lost nothing (as aforementioned, Nathaniel Branden begs to differ) while if you reject the faith, think of what happens if he is The top Man Upstairs…there are obviously a number of arguments on both sides, however much the scientific and materialistic view is getting ground, there is that ‘finding the watch, and then realizing it is not just an accident, somebody must have made it ‘and a good many more…meantime, I am trying to find The Absolute Truth, as evidenced here:

The BAFTA Nominated See How They Run

84 out of 100 for Father Stu

joi, 2 februarie 2023

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, brilliant author of The Rabbit Angstrom Tetralogy, which starts with Rabbit, Run - 8 out of 10


The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, brilliant author of The Rabbit Angstrom Tetralogy, which starts with Rabbit, Run

8 out of 10



I have been fascinated by The Witches of Eastwick, alas, that was when watching the motion picture, and even then, it was mostly due to the mesmerizing, dazzling performance of the ultimate bad guy, the Devil himself, Daryl van Horne, as portrayed by the Master Ludi aka Master of the Glasperlenspiel, Jack Nicholson…it was such a scintillating presence than I have named by dog after the character, which in the end might have been a bad idea, notwithstanding my atheism, the beast has been sick, which could be on account of The Wrath of God that has descended upon us, taking us to the vet more than one thousand times


There are the works that have been grouped in the Tetralogy, starting with the aforementioned Rabbit, Run, continuing with Rabbit Redux masterpieces that I have not only enjoyed once, but taken to reading a second time, and then being thrilled and impressed on a new encounter, which happens rarely…I have recently took again White Man Falling by Mike Stocks, a venerable comedy that has made me blissful the first time, only a few days ago, when I finished it a second time, I could not say that it is so titanically inspired with all the humor you could find in it, and the insight into Buddhism and religion at large, the conclusion being that we need to live in the present, be aware of the charlatans that try to make money.

The Swami of White Man Falling is not a cheat, on the contrary, he tries to escape the brouhaha, commotion caused by his ascendance to divine status, after a heart attack, returning from the dead, he is assumed to have walked with God and venerated, against his mute protestations (he could not speak before this incident) and when he takes one hour of silence in a clearing, the place becomes crowded with worshippers, on a bus home, nobody dares to join him and his daughter, and such scenes make for mirthful reading.


Lucky Jim is fantastic on the second meeting which is happening as we speak – I mean I do not write this and read the chef d’oeuvre, Napoleon was reputed to do a few things at the same time – because I try and read a few books on the same timeline, that is starting in the morning with a book, audiobook actually, read to me while I cycle back from the Downtown World Class (what a joke this really is, pretending to offer a ‘world class’ service, by just assuming that name, when in fact you have a flawed, somewhat anti-client system, at the start of December, I Told them that the liquid soap at one of their showers is just wasted down the drain, for the thing holding it is broken and now we are half way through January and they have not done a damn thing about it, except claim they will fix it, and at the same time, they have closed the outdoor Jacuzzi to save money, energy, all right, but be fucking consistent, do not take services from the customers like that, in the name of a good cause, while you through energy and chemicals down the toilet with the other, this is really green washing and an aberration) and that magnum opus is Lucky Jim these days…


When I have tried to read The Witches of Eastwick it did not work, though I try to reason why there is no review, or an indication on goodreads that I have tried, and failed to comprehend, enjoy, navigate with it, and the conclusion is that I must have thought I could try again, in a different mood, which could work, eventually, seeing that I am not reading in the aforementioned Jacuzzi anymore, since it is shut, but also because the program has changed, I have to get back home to stay with my boys, the two macaws, Balzac and Puccini, and there is no time for indulging in too much hedonistic activity at the ‘world class’ facility (what a joke, I have to laugh again) where part of the object of reading in the hot, sizzling water was to watch the sirens coming in, then trying to talk and find flow in that endeavor  that could not be repeated

The conditions for Flow ‘Action/awareness merging, Clear goals, Unambiguous feedback, Intense concentration, challenge–skill balance, Control over the task at hand, Loss of self-consciousness, Transformation of time, And autotelic experience’ are listed in the quintessential psychology magnum opus, and come to think of it, if they allow us back into the Jacuzzi, some time in spring, then why not repeat the experience, creating the conditions, at least on some days, when the spouse will back up with the screaming monkeys (sorry, did I say monkeys, I mean fucking birds) and then I could take up Rabbit Is Rich


Perhaps another masterpiece would be available, although I seem to select novels that I have admired, because concentration is lacking for some of the books I attempt to read (it could, no it surely was part of the reason why I did not stick to The Witches of Eastwick what with the Aphrodite, Dianas, Venuses that were hanging then in the huge hot tub, the size of a pool really, it would be really stoic for someone to concentrate on a book, albeit stoic might not be the right word, it is a myth, a ‘fake news’ that stoics were all about grim existence, skipping on food and joys, think Seneca, one of the richest men of antiquity and a stoic, he said that we should not be obsessed by wealth, and we have it, not get addicted, but benefit from it, and in short, they advertised a good, decent life, avoiding excesses, which is such a wonderful philosophy, one of the best, with its few flaws, like the superstition they embraced)

Very soon, a second note will be posted on the blog on Rabbit At Rest seven years after I first had the great pleasure of reading this complex fresco, which has thoughts on almost everything, from religion to drug addiction, the American politics, the Japanese culture, The Angstroms sell Toyotas, until maybe they don’t, and however deep and thoughtful it is, it offers readers the surprises we usually find in soap operas, where everyone if fucking everybody else…speaking of which, there are incredible passages with quite, or very detailed sex, felatio, cunnilingus and all, the pubic hairs they used to have ( a joke on Bill Maher’s show was ‘what is pubic hair’ people in California and some other such places do not know of it anymore) and all the salacious innuendo possible

85 out of 100 for Sex and The City, Series j, Episode m

82 out of 100 for Stambul Garden

miercuri, 1 februarie 2023

Dangerous Beauty based on The Honest Courtesan - Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice by Margaret Rosenthal - 9 out of 10


Dangerous Beauty based on The Honest Courtesan - Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice by Margaret Rosenthal

9 out of 10



Anticipating some possible objections, for it has happened in the past, however seldom, let me repeat what is in the ‘headline’ of this note – it is not about the book per se, but about the film based on it, and I would put down a few reasons why this inconceivable tomfoolery is thrown out here…first, I have tried and inserted a new entry on some movies on the goodreads platform in the past, to do the honest deed, when they do not allow you to add to the extant script, like you can review The Banshees of Inisherin in my book, by far the best motion picture of 2022, far ahead of the competition, including the favorite to win, Everything, Everywhere All At Once – I could only watch about twenty minutes and then abandoned it


Only librarians can add items on goodreads alas – though it used to be different, I have added quite a few things and was not asked for credentials – then there is a second motive, which has to do with the notes I place on the books I read, and when I do not like it, I say so, and then I am tempted to go off on tangents and write about whatever the failed read has brought to mind…I have started a few days back Solomon Gursky Was Here and when I saw that this is six hundred pages long or something daunting like that, I lost the appetite and trust that I will stay with such a long narrative for too long, and there is no note on this ‘experience’, but there you go, I mention it here and who knows, it could be coming soon

A third reason would have to do with the knowledge that this is not going to make the day for anyone really – yes, once in a while, there are ‘likes’ attached to my ‘reviews’, but that is not because of the Unbearable Burden of Massive Talent (or whatever the name of the new Nicholas Cage fiasco is called) it is due to the Reciprocity Rule explained in the quintessential Influence by magician Robert Cialdini


You like my text, I like your note and therefore we have a virtuous (or is it vicious) circle, wherein we get a boost in morale, but is it really justified to be thrilled that somebody enjoyed, related to your thoughts, when you doubt whether that was just in answer to the rule of Influence, and not really any merit of whatever you say in your take…I have made a habit of provoking, inserting passages asking for a reaction (let us see yours), or just playing a solitary game, where I admit to myself that there are no readers out here, maybe a few start reading, but when they see the atrocious menu -as in The Menu - they run, as they should

Cortigiana Onesta aka The Honest Courtesan is Veronica Franco, a dashing, admirable, clever, educated, brave, honest, generous woman, who lived between 1546 and 1591 in Venice, a city state that was at the peak of its power, a zenith which had it fighting, and alternatively trading with The Ottoman Empire, received the visit of the British monarch, King Henry, who has an episode with the Cortigiana.


At that encounter, the sovereign shows the dark side, he takes out a small sword and threatens the woman, talking about his reputation, he is taken for a pervert, and he looks and acts like one, only the power, grace, emotional, social intelligence of Veronica Franco help her handle the beast, and not just that, but the result of her intervention (perhaps also the intimacy, however unclear I am on the issue, I mean did they copulate, was the badass into Carnal Knowledge or did he get his kicks only from bullying, threatening, cutting and who knows what other cruelties he liked to inflict on women and potentially other

The Honest Courtesan loves a young man, Marco Venier, but the difference in station prevents the union, in all but carnal ways, for he has high aspirations, for fortune and power, and whatever Paola Franco, the mother of the main character and once a cortigiana herself, had accumulated has been squandered on drink by the irresponsible father, and hence she is unsuitable for marital bliss with the rather loathsome Venier, at least at this stage in the narrative, he may have a chance to redeem himself later…


This has reminded me of Emma by Jane Austen, the archetypal classic right (?), and a comment from a documentary on Capital in the 21st century by the trendy economist, the French Thomas Pickerty, with a leftist outlook…apparently, there is no way under the sun that the characters in the Jane Austen, and for that matter, so many other novels, to meet, never mind get together and live for ever after, for they lived in different universes, their worlds never intersected, ‘forget about it’ – to quote Donnie Brasco with those love stories

in that, The Honest Courtesan is indeed genuine on two fronts, first, we have the plain verity, she can have a connection with the proud aristo only in bed, and without marital vows exchanged, otherwise, it is the end game, which indeed, it looks to be in the first chapter, when he tells her she wants to be with her, but not in front of a priest and she rejects that and is furious and destroyed, until her mother pushes her to become what was a prostitute maybe, but I am not sure about that, things were different


a courtesan could read, she gets access in a library, where a ‘common, normal woman’ was forbidden to enter, and though they end up near the canal, for most of the time, due to abuse, physical and mental violence, where they struggle to make ends meet, some of the most coveted women in this domain could acquire power and wealth, which Veronica sets to do, showing her literary and other talents in the process, with vivacity, resilience, dedication, even passion, forced as she is to become a cortigiana (and this the second front where she is honest, she does not hide it, and she would help Venice at a difficult moment) because her family has no more means to survive and Veronica has to support them…


If you are curious, this is me: