Just Merveilleux?

Life at № 42

Category Archives: thinking aloud

How the oligarchy wins: lessons from ancient Greece | Ganesh Sitaramanan | Opinion | The Guardian

“To understand that, we can turn to an instant classic from a few years ago, Jeffrey Winters’ Oligarchy. Winters argues that the key to oligarchy is that a set of … Continue reading

October 16, 2017 · 4 Comments

You weren’t wondering – but anyway

I’ve been quiet because I’ve been doing stuff. On occasion my mind becomes exceedingly unpleasant. Critical and negative, to an almost crippling degree. This has been one of those periods. … Continue reading

October 13, 2017 · 41 Comments

Now Canada Has Gone Too Far

I’m afraid this is a much more serious declaration of war on the entire world than any test North Korea might attempt. I have rarely, if ever, seen so many … Continue reading

September 27, 2017 · 66 Comments

Just a thought

One of those email forward things going around, but an amusing one. This woman is 51 yrs old. She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to … Continue reading

September 21, 2017 · 29 Comments

Lady Macbeth (Leskov) & Beatriz at Dinner

We finally got around to watching both films. This Lady Macbeth (as I mentioned in a recent post) isn’t the Shakespearean version, but based on a novella published by Nikolai … Continue reading

August 26, 2017 · 6 Comments

And then there were sirens

Red, white and blue, and sirens. Maybe yellow instead of white. I don’t really remember that part. I do remember it was dark and cold, and someone covered me with … Continue reading

August 16, 2017 · 58 Comments

How Well Can We Remember Someone’s Life after They Die? – Julia Shaw for Scientific American 

“Memory is often a social construction. Certainly in the context of grief, memories are often elicited and shared in group settings with family members and friends. Information is disclosed, information … Continue reading

August 11, 2017 · 41 Comments

A Boy (or more) to be Sacrificed

I watched the men talking on the beach with some degree of suspicion. I simply did not understand what was going on, what they were doing, or why. I’d never … Continue reading

August 9, 2017 · 16 Comments

Long Night’s Journey into Day

I’ve never used Facebook, not really. I’ve had an account for a few years, but it just sat there. Empty. My name incomplete. I’ve always thought Facebook blurs the lines. … Continue reading

August 7, 2017 · 39 Comments

Of what we feel – and don’t feel.

After posting that little excerpt from The End of Eddy I ended up reading the English version yesterday. Excellent, although the translation isn’t quite as stylish as the French original; … Continue reading

July 17, 2017 · 21 Comments

A day in the crazy; A crazy in the day

June 28th I woke up at 5am. That means I slept 2 hours and 40 minutes. When I woke up I considered, as I do every day, how many times … Continue reading

July 13, 2017 · 25 Comments

And one day you realise you’re a cartoon squirrel

And all the beautiful and sophisticated things you have are just you hoarding acorns- no matter how many romantic Dostoevskian justifications you may have. And you mostly socialise with other acorn … Continue reading

July 4, 2017 · 27 Comments

Aristocratic Ants, New York Times, 1892

July 3, 2017 · 17 Comments

The ecology of human fear: survival optimization and the nervous system | Neuroscience

“In this article, we gather ecological theories and empirical data from a variety of related fields in an attempt to create a unified model of how humans predict, respond to, … Continue reading

July 2, 2017 · 9 Comments

Safety in numbers?

One of (in my firm opinion) the best interior designers in the world has landed at number 42- bringing along with her a photo of us together many years ago. … Continue reading

June 28, 2017 · 31 Comments

Update: Ten Types of Human by Dexter Dias

Absolutely worth the time! The title may be off-putting because it’s gimmicky- but the contents of the book are not. He uses the Ten Types format as an outline to … Continue reading

June 27, 2017 · 16 Comments

Tentative Uncertainty

When my mother-in-law was first ill, it was a strange time. Sometimes she’d say unusual things. Things that didn’t quite fit in the conversation. Then she’d have the occasional fall. … Continue reading

June 26, 2017 · 43 Comments

A Mild Headache & Peonies

–I have a mild headache. –We’re entering summer mode. We had guests a couple of weeks ago, but as of Wednesday it’s basically non-stop until September. Cold soups will feature … Continue reading

June 19, 2017 · 31 Comments

The Changing of the Loos

The one terribly unpleasant thing I found when we moved into number 42 were the loos. From a little distance they look normal, but as one approaches, one discovers they’re … Continue reading

June 15, 2017 · 60 Comments

Hips, Lovage, Heat & Banks

Lovage: The only good part of the title. I can’t believe I’ve gone 39 years without it. It looks like big flat leaf parsley but with a much stronger celery-like … Continue reading

June 14, 2017 · 31 Comments

I burst out laughing: Trump orders the slaying of Clooney newborns – The Whitechapel Whelk

US President, Donald Trump, has issued an executive order calling for the newborn twins of actor, George Clooney, to be put to death immediately. Source: Trump orders the slaying of … Continue reading

June 8, 2017 · 6 Comments

An Agendist’s (Mostly) Private Thoughts

It’s usually a bad idea to put people on a pedestal; Unless they’re blind or in a wheelchair, in which case it might be funny. Three of my grandparents are … Continue reading

June 4, 2017 · 27 Comments

Must See: Betting On Zero

  “From ‘Darfur Now’ writer/director Ted Braun comes a riveting docu-thriller following controversial hedge fund titan Bill Ackman as he puts a billion dollars on the line in his crusade … Continue reading

June 3, 2017 · 10 Comments

Some things never change- mostly the chandeliers

  I was up a ladder cleaning the chandelier in the grey salon today and I started trying to count backwards to figure out the year when I bought it (because … Continue reading

May 19, 2017 · 41 Comments

Salvador Sobral WON Eurovision!!!

How absolutely wonderful. First Macron, now this. There is much light at the end of this tunnel.

May 13, 2017 · 3 Comments

The science of inequality: why people prefer unequal societies | Inequality | The Guardian

“… For example, studies of income and happiness have revealed that, once a basic level of wealth is achieved, relative wealth is more important for overall happiness. Similarly, a vast … Continue reading

May 4, 2017 · 31 Comments

From Denying to the Grave

From Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us by Sara E. Gorman, Jack M. Gorman, M.d., Jack M. Gorman, Oxford University Press Rabbit Feet and … Continue reading

May 2, 2017 · 26 Comments

Does Revenge Serve an Evolutionary Purpose? – Scientific American

“Why all the celebration after the killing of Osama bin Laden? A psychologist who studies evolution and human behavior explains the complex desire for vengeance” Source: Does Revenge Serve an … Continue reading

April 27, 2017 · 14 Comments

In the land of zeros and ones- there are questions

Curiosity, hope and the constant impulse to compare ourselves- all part of the human evolutionary strategy. Doesn’t that mean we can whittle everything down into those terms? What follows is that most … Continue reading

April 15, 2017 · 67 Comments

Heuristics & Biases (borrowed from GSU)

I love graphs and tables 😀 This one is amusing. The more I look through comments on newspapers and blogs, the more I notice the extent to which people rely … Continue reading

April 5, 2017 · 10 Comments

Ai Funghi

Here I am, a month or so in. This seems to be working for me. Intellectually what I knew I wanted was, shall we say, a divorce from the ego. … Continue reading

April 3, 2017 · 22 Comments

The Grey Agendist

Well, the hair is grey, anyway. Very, very grey. Also, very, very short. My mood is up. We’ve had over a week of excellent weather now. One day at 18º … Continue reading

February 27, 2017 · 41 Comments

Pastoral Amusements

Isn’t that room stunning? The tapestry you see on the wall on the left is the Cheval Fondu from the Amusements Champêtres series. It was thought to be Beauvais but … Continue reading

February 18, 2017 · 25 Comments

Thinking aloud

I was awake until very late last night looking at old pictures. In particular pictures where the Bacchus painting appears. A collector contacted me to make an offer. We haven’t … Continue reading

February 16, 2017 · 25 Comments

The fire that burns unseen – Luís Vaz de Camões

16th century poetry and also some wonderful music. Amor é um fogo que arde sem se ver, é ferida que doi, e não se sente; é um contentamento descontente, é … Continue reading

January 28, 2017 · 16 Comments

The Last Shaman by James Freeman

This documentary is now on Netflix. Interesting concept. James suffers from acute depression. He’s tired. He’s tried all sorts of treatments but nothing has really worked. He decides to “give … Continue reading

January 20, 2017 · 30 Comments

Lessons in Ethics: The Moral of Annie

The moral of Annie is that there was a time when it really didn’t matter how talented your child was and/or how well they could sing, if it was a Ginger, … Continue reading

January 13, 2017 · 27 Comments

The adventures of President Shyster & his Shysterettes

By now you’ve probably seen President Shyster posing next to a table covered in files: The setup was extraordinary. Basically he said, Dear Public, these are papers. Papers mean I … Continue reading

January 12, 2017 · 90 Comments

Little- thinking

When I was little I sometimes wished an aeroplane would crash. This was generally to get rid of a single person- which makes it terribly inefficient methodologically. Wishing for choking would’ve … Continue reading

January 11, 2017 · 15 Comments

What would 18 year old you think?

I read this the other day and it stuck in my mind. It’s from a speech by the author of The Black Swan, N.N. Taleb. Interesting notion. To go back to … Continue reading

January 10, 2017 · 34 Comments

Attempts at mind control

Because I obviously need(ed) to *wear* a reminder in very large letters.

January 5, 2017 · 19 Comments

The unbearable heaviness of being.

Milan Kundera is a stupid name. There, I said it. I don’t mention it often, but I was one of those clever children. You get high scores on a test … Continue reading

January 4, 2017 · 21 Comments

Darwin, Bonaparte & the Samaritan (starting the year on a good note!)

That’s the title of Michel Serre’s new book. Unfortunately I think it’s not yet available in English (but it is in French & Spanish.) He’s one of the great minds … Continue reading

January 2, 2017 · 12 Comments

Stufen

I remember being 10 and sitting in the back seat of the car (a town car), my parents were up front, and I asked them why they thought they should … Continue reading

December 29, 2016 · 80 Comments

Why we are willing to pay for mega expensive things

by Paul Harrison Director, Centre for Employee and Consumer Wellbeing; Senior lecturer, Deakin Business School- The Conversation Australia “It may not seem logical or good value for money, but there are … Continue reading

December 29, 2016 · 31 Comments