Samstag, 30. Oktober 2010

Playing Hooky or hookey or Hockey?

In my schooldays I was the most proficient in not attending class. Not wanting to boast but I think that I was the best in the whole city of Vienna, in this discipline, then! Instead I often went to some Kaffeehaus. The Hawelka as is depicted here (with the old owner, the old Hawelka) wasn't one of my major hang-outs then, but now and again I paid it a visit, too. Then, in the late 80s the ol guy still used to serve us personally in the morning with a nice warm coffee, a Melange, and Powidltatschgerl (some dough-bakery-intricacy fílled with plum 'marmalade', actually not marmalade but something else that would take me two pages to explain).. Anyway, old Mr. H. has bequeathed his café to his son and grand sons already but he still turns up now and then, I heard...

Nice video, slightly annoying singer (or not? have some love-hate relation to that....ahh, the perpetual agony of choice!):

Via: Les Nouveaux Dandys

Out of the past cometh this New thing

Nice looking loafer

The tongue looks a bit prominent but if worn it ought to be cool and smug. I think that it was some ad in the latest Uomo Vogue fall/winter style-supplement, the only part of that otherwise boring mag. that I am usually giving a closer look.

Barbey d'Aurevilly

“Beloved of Fin-de-siècle decadents, Barbey d'Aurevilly remains an example of the extremes of late romanticism. Barbey d'Aurevilly held extreme Catholic opinions, yet wrote about risqué subjects, a contradiction apparently more disturbing to the English than to the French themselves. Barbey d'Aurevilly was also known as a dandy artisan of his own persona, adopting an aristocratic style and hinting at a mysterious past, though his parentage was provincial bourgeois nobility […]”

For a compassionate and succinct characterization of Barbey d’Aurevilly I’d also recommend the obituary written by Paul Bourget in 1889.

Waterville Jackets

This exclusive North-Italian firm makes nice coats and jackets for late fall and winter. The aesthetic resembles somehow the Barbour-line but with a more elegant cut.

I’d also recommend them to my American (and British) friends both female and male if you can get them over there, or else: it’d be another good reason for visiting the continent.

They are good for storming into a liquor-store before the long weekend and telling the Central-Asian Turk-folk clerk who obstructs your passage and tells you to please take care, Sir that it is he who should take care of the customers. Disgusting if people have no manners, no culture cause then one has to recur to the international language of greed. God, I hate this modern economic primitivism! Anyway, Waterville jackets- buy them!

Samstag, 23. Oktober 2010

Paradise Lost!

What has become of the promise that mechanization and industrialization would reduce work and increase man’s leisure?

En Garde!

Beer-duell by Georg Mühlberg: to the left and the right side one can see the opponents (corporated students); the colleague in the middle functions as the judge.

"In der Regel trinken sich die beiden Kontrahenten zu, als Startsignal das Anstoßen oder das in der formellen Austragung das Kommando „Sauft's!!“ des Unparteiischen. Sieger ist, wer sein Gefäß als erster vollends austrinkt und senkrecht abgesetzt hat."

Donnerstag, 21. Oktober 2010

50 cult-books

A fun article with sometimes intelligently and sometimes funnily written short-reviews of books most of which I knew and some of which I have read; a few I have even enjoyed:

For example:

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an Inquiry into Values by Robert M Pirsig (1974)
Burnt-out hippy takes son on bike trip. Remembers previous self: lecturer who had nervous breakdown contemplating Eastern and Western philosophy. Very bad course in Ordinary General Philosophy follows. If he’d done Greek at school and knew what "arête" meant, we could have been spared most of the 1970s. AMcK"

"The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (1993)
Deep in the South American jungle an intrepid explorer is about to stumble on a sequence of ancient prophecies that could change our way of living, even save the world. If only we didn’t have to buy the other novels in that the series to find out what they were! For a similar effect on the cheap, rent an Indiana-Jonesalike film – Tomb Raider, say – and ask a hippy to whisper nonsense in your ear while you're watching it. TM"

Mittwoch, 20. Oktober 2010

The Horseman of the Storm

Every child of the plain knew about the Rider. Some of us had seen Him in the month of august after the harvest when the land was an endless sea of golden stubbles. From time to time and quite sudden a storm would approach and I will never forget the stark contrast of blue sky and dark-grey clouds and the glorious rolling waves of the shorn, sun-coloured land beneath. It was then that some of us saw Him as a black silhouette on the horizon charging headlong towards the oncoming darkness. All kids knew of Him but only I had once seen him closer so to discern some of his features; he had seemed to halt and come toward me before he suddenly reined in his steed and again sped off into oblivion accompanied by the turba ferox of the Wild Hunt.

When we got older we of course found rational explanations for such childish fancies. There was a castle in the village that a Habsburg-emperor (the dynasty from ‘outside the land’, as it was still referred to in my family) had built for one of his maîtresses, and annexed to it was a modern horse-riding school, so that the Rider must have been one of its patrons. Yet I still never believed in such explanations, maybe because of my qualified encounter, maybe due to my otherness or due to the fact that one day he had sent me his envoy, a large black butterfly that only I had seemed to notice: it had flown straight at my face and then had miraculously vanished.

I had forgotten all about it until I was 17 years old and dying on a bathroom floor in Hong Kong, laying there poisoned by a girl for revenge of a murder that I had committed in innocence. There, He threatened to come through the wall, half-visibly looking down on my squirming form and that was when I saw Him even closer and I also saw his flesh-dripping horse. Maybe I made a promise there and maybe I did not care to remember it thereafter, anymore.

Tonight, I saw Him again for the first time in dream. I just woke up: 2:45 a.m., the room is very cold and the town unusually quiet.

Freitag, 15. Oktober 2010

The Laphroaig-time of the year!

It is quite healthy, I heard, to leave open the window even in the cooler months of the year to let in some fresh air. With the help of single malt whisky and good knitwear you will be able to achieve this objective, even when the temperature drops below 10°C. Thus you may harden your constitution for your next expedition to Central Asia and eventually- in combination with other longevity-exercises- prolong your life!

Some Knitwear for the cooler season:

From bottom to top by maker: Alan Paine, Loro Piana, Pringle, Knize, Peter Scott, A. Paine for Harrods, Boss Orange, Pringle, N.N. (cut out the label long ago), Barbour, Dalkeith, N.N., RL., most are Lambswool some cashmere...I also have or had a very heavy one from China that a friend from the province of Gansu once gave me but it is nearly unwearable in Europe; you could go outside wearing it when there are minus -10°C and wouldn't need a jacket..

Drinking Wine by Tao Yuanming

Tao Yuanming drinking in the shade of a willow-tree.

Drinking Wine
Tao Qian

I made my home amidst this human bustle,
Yet I hear no clamour from the carts and horses.
My friend, you ask me how this can be so?
A distant heart will tend towards like places.
From the eastern hedge, I pluck chrysanthemum flowers,
And idly look towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is beautiful day and night,
The birds fly back to roost with one another.
I know that this must have some deeper meaning,
I try to explain, but cannot find the words.

Poems Written While Drinking Wine (Chapter V)

In the introduction to his 'Poems Written While Drinking Wine', Tao Yuanming tells us: I am leading a simple and secluded life without many pleasures. Now, that the nights are growing longer, if I have some wine no evening passes without drinking. Alone, only with my shadow to keep me company, I empty a bottle and suddenly feel intoxicated. Thus inebriated, I scrawl some lines of poetry here and there for my amusements sake. Paper filled with verse already piles up high around me but there is no order in it so I asked a friend to copy some of it out […]

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Already as a child, Lampedusa had 'preferred the company of objects to that of human beings'. He spent his afternoons reading or writing in his library. Twice a month princess Alexandra, his wife, received friends of her husband, mostly intellectuals and a few aristocratic relatives.

Following a book-recommendation from this BLOG, which is actually putting me in touch with my long-neglected conservative roots again- I got reminded that I also wanted to read the 'gattopardo' for some time. Judging from the reviews that I read, it could either be a bit boring and long-winded or written in a beautiful lyrical language that poetically dwells in the moment and melancholically laments the inevitable loss of the old world. Let's see...

Dienstag, 12. Oktober 2010

Short internal note for a political campaign- that is how I want to see Mr. Kirschner presented!

Montag, 11. Oktober 2010

Happy Meditrinalia, Everyone!

In Roman religion, Meditrinalia was an obscure festival celebrated on October 11 in honor of the new vintage, which was offered in libations to the gods for the first time each year.

The fascinating world of Auberon Waugh

"The world of Auberon Waugh is a coterie of reactionary fogeys centred on the Spectator and the Telegraph who affect an imaginary style of 1930's gent - Evelyn was the icon. Battered brown trilby, chalk-stripes, sit-up-and-beg bike with a basket full of books from the London Library are the accoutrements. The mind-set is all Evelyn Waugh too - the smells and bells of aristocracy and old Catholicism (recusant priest-holers only - God forbid any happy clappy stuff). Effete, drunken, snobbish, sneering, racist and sexist, [...]"

Addendum: of course this article is overly polemic but not only is it -for this very reason- extremely fun to read the author also makes some good points about herself and people in general who are only able to think politically, and in no other way (mainly the off-spring of the Enlightenment). They cannot abide of ‘stupid things’ like aristocracy or religion, things that would help them to look at the world in love or not to take it overly serious or to simply enjoy life. They are modern so all they have is their ah-so-precious selves and anyone who has honestly and philosophically looked at oneself knows what a sad sight that can be- about as sad as some modern art…

Samstag, 2. Oktober 2010

Knowledge and Wisdom

To know much but to never think of it!

'For learning you gain daily; for the Way you lose daily.
Losing and losing, thus you reach noncontrivance; be uncontrived, and nothing is not done. Taking the world is always done by not making anything of it.
For when something is made of it, that is not enough to take the world.'
Chapter 48 [transl. Cleary])