Archive for Oktober 2011


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Oktober 17th, 2011 — 11:37pm

Vitam regit fortuna non sapientia.

“Idem est ergo beate vivere et secundum naturam. Hoc quid sit iam aperiam: si corporis dotes et apta naturae conservabimus diligenter et impavide tamquam in diem data et fugacia, si non subierimus eorum servitutem nec nos aliena possederint, si corpori grata et adventicia eo nobis loco fuerint quo sunt in castris auxilia et armaturae leves – serviant ista, non imperent – ita demum utilia sunt menti. [...] Quare audaciter licet profitearis summum bonum esse animi concordiam; virtutes enim ibi esse debebunt ubi consensus atque unitas erit, dissident vitia.” (Seneca: De vita beata, 8 (2), (6))

“Denn was hindert dich trotz alledem, deiner Seele die Heiterkeit, ein richtiges Urteil über die Welt und eine erfolgreiche Benützung der ihr gebotenen Gelegenheiten zu bewahren?” (Marcus Aurelius: Selbstbetrachtungen [OT: ?? e?? ?a?t??], Lib. VII: 68 [69])

“Pour Martin, il était fermement persuadé qu’on est également mal partout; il prenait les choses en patience. [...] ‘Le travail éloigne de nous trois grands maux: l’ennui, le vice, et le besoin’ [,répondit le Turc].” (Voltaire: Candide, ou l’optimisme, chapitre 30: Conclusion)

“Det begyndte å bli lyst imorges da jeg våknet. Dagslysset trængte ind på begge sider av rullegardinet. Ellen var også våken, hun sukket træt og smilte til mig. Hendes armer var hvite og fløielsagtige, hendes bryst overmåte høit. Jeg hvisket til hende og hun lukket min mund med sin, stum av ømhet. Dagen blev lysere og lysere.” (Knut Hamsun: Livets røst, ex: Kratskog)

“Comme une marée immense, l’être aura dominé le frémissement des êtres. Au sein d’un océan tranquillisé, mais dont chaque goutte aura conscience de demeurer elle-même, l’extraordinaire aventure du monde sera terminée. Le rêve de toute mystique, l’éternel songe panthéiste, auront trouvé leur pleine et légitime satisfaction. Erit in omnibus omnia Deus.(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Mon univers)

“Wirkliches Schenken hatte sein Glück in der Imagination des Glücks des Beschenkten. Es heißt wählen, Zeit aufwenden, aus seinem Weg gehen, den anderen als Subjekt denken: das Gegenteil von Vergeßlichkeit. [...] Alle nicht entstellte Beziehung, ja vielleicht das Versöhnende am organischen Leben selber, ist ein Schenken.” (Theodor W. Adorno: Minima moralia, Teil I: 21: Umtausch nicht gestattet)

“I et herlig øyeblikk forenes ånden og sjelen i kandidaten, og hans fremtidige tilværelse vil gå ut på gjennom tjeneste overfor sine medskapninger å la denne første forening av sjel og ånd gjentas inntil den blir en permanent og alltid herligere realitet. Som nevnt omtales denne innvielse som en fødsel, og i den kristne religion symboliseres den ved Jesu fødsel.” (Erling Havrevold: Stadienes vei: De store innvielser, ex: Det evige nærvær)

“Ich halte mich zurück. Durch den Himmel, die Arme unten, ohne Matsch, ohne Winter, ohne Lucio, ohne Muskeln. An nichts denken, denn das wäre Arbeit, und Arbeit ist eine Last, die größte Last überhaupt, sie verdirbt den Rhythmus. [...] Nach zwanzig Kilometern erreicht man eine Schwelle, hinter der die Erschöpfung ihre Kraft verliert, die Sinne schläfrig werden und die Muskeln anfangen, vor sich hin zu träumen. Die Unebenheiten des Geländes werden weich wie Gummi. [...] Geradeaus, durch eine bewegungslose Landschaft könnte man diesen leichten, mechanischen Rhythmus, den nicht einmal das Herz spürt, tagelang durchhalten. [...] Man könnte ewig durchhalten. Vielleicht ist das das eigentlich Erstrebenswerte, immerzu laufen, bis in alle Ewigkeit, die Jahre vorüberziehen zu lassen, alt werden, die Beine immer in Bewegung, damit das Herz vor den Füßen stehenbleibt. [...] Lucio braucht nichts zu verstehen. Verstehen hat keinen Einfluß auf sein diszipliniertes Bewußtsein. – Genug der Metaphysik.” (Alejandro Gándara: Die Mittelstrecke [OT: La media distancia], S. 16, 34, 55)

“Mornings without fail, every night when he returned. He looked into the dusty glass, reciting fragments from the instruction sheet. Hold to a count of five. Repeat ten times. He did the full program every time, hand raised, forearm flat, hand down, forearm sideways, slowing the pace just slightly, day to night and then again the following day, drawing it out, making it last. He counted the seconds, he counted the repetitions.” (Don DeLillo: Falling Man, p. 235f.)

“The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running.” (Fauja Singh, translated by Harmandar Singh)

Quia bonus est, sumus.

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Listing lists: NYC newspapers and journals

Oktober 6th, 2011 — 6:10am

Newspapers

1. New York Times: http://global.nytimes.com/
2. New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/
3. Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/
4. Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/

1. While the prestigious New York Times is without doubt the epitome of quality journalism both in print and online publishing, world-renowned for setting standards in news coverage and balanced, though opinionated editorials, and famous for both its extensive network of offices and social contacts and highly-regarded investigative journalism, all of which features which won the paper more than 100 Pulitzer Prizes in its long history, it proves at best its worth as a reference point for national and international news rather than local pieces. Top-notch are the features on NYC arts, culture, architecture and fashion, though.

2. A cursory, daily reading of the New York Post will on the one hand reinforce the impression of Brooklyn and the Bronx as epicentres of crime within the city limits and further highlight the trappings of the paper’s lurid, often voyeuristic tabloid style – never mind the plethora of frequently disgusting, xenophobic comments by its readership, mirroring the Post‘s political leanings and outright bias to the right. It will, however, on the other hand give you worthwhile insight into the actual manifestation of society and life in New York City and the often abrasive interaction of this city’s diverse and multicultural communities with one another, i.e. “real life”.

3. The Daily News is another yellow-press daily in New York City; unlike the Post it focusses less on sensational crime stories and more on reports on New York society. There is not really any need to invest time in reading it for a visitor to New York, unless one happens to harbour an interest in the Upper East Side socialites and charity events anyways. Gossip, entertainment and sports reports are its trademarks, plus classified ads if you still cling to the print media for such. (Craigslist and Backpage are vibrant, and better, online alternatives for such, though, and for free.)

4. The most widely circulated newspaper in the United States, the Wall Street Journal covers primarily economic and political topics, both on an international and national level. For business and financial news, it is the first choice in the city; one needs to be aware, however, of a noticeable conservative bias and growing influence by Murdoch’s News Corporation (which owns the Journal‘s publisher Dow Jones & Company) on its pronounced political and economic viewpoints – despite claims of editorial independence. For the New York vacationer who wishes to keep himself up-to-date on world affairs, in general, the Times seems the preferable pick du jour.

Fake Newspapers

1. The Onion: http://www.theonion.com/

1. You will probably pick up a free copy of “America’s finest news source”, originating from Madison, Wisconsin, on a Thursday night on the streets of SoHo or in the Villages, somewhere below the 14th St, and then have some pleasant fun with the Onion‘s cleverly disguised news features on mundane issues and current affairs alike. Their playful, sometimes boisterous take on things makes life in the city so much more bearable and merry, and there’s nothing bad about a weekly chuckle with laughter at fineprint satire and news parodies which put tabloids like the Post to shame.

Journals

1. New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/
2. New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/

1-2. Both of these journals feature distinguished articles on culture, literature and current affairs, and both exhibit a striking characteristic of fostering national and international intellectual discourse in the English speaking world. Neither of these journals will provide a visitor to New York with readily available trip advice, yet both will prove an entertaining and stimulating read at night, in the library or, if need be, on a sunny day at Central Park, luring fellow salon intellectuals to your company or knocking off a heated debate. A postmodernist novel, however, by Don DeLillo or Paul Auster, signals equal versatility in dealing with modernity without the pretentious attitude and nonchalant disdain for shallow societal mores. If not for a Columbia sophomore, a smile may get you more hits and chats. Rather study the highbrow narrative at home!

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Listing lists: Websites facilitating NYC life

Oktober 6th, 2011 — 2:42am

1. Hopstop: http://www.hopstop.com/
2. Seamless: http://www.seamless.com/
3. Airbnb: http://www.airbnb.com/

1. NYC is huge, and despite an extensive 24/7 public transit system ranking among the most advanced in the world (and the oldest, too), connecting the tri-state metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, it easily proves overwhelming when you start planning your trips beyond the immediate surroundings. The most reliable and simple way to navigate the city is Hopstop, always up-to-date, at day, at night, including real-time information on the service status of all lines, i.e. delays, service changes and cancellations. In addition, it provides alternative routes, schedules and transfers, and helps its users step by step, with maps and itineraries, for the traveller planning or checking his trips ahead of time. Less user-friendly proves MTA’s info page, and Google Maps is great for its street view feature, but useless for mapping out your routes.

2. Ordering food is tempting after a long day on tour or at work in the office, particularly given the negligent state of many Manhattan kitchenettes, which, often lacking basic utensils such as cooking knives and boards, turn food preparation much more into a challenge and ordeal than daily routine or artisan hobby. With Seamless, hundreds of restaurants, take-aways and other food joints in the immediate neighbourhood are at hand by instant online ordering, without the hassle of busy lines and phone miscommunication – and no awkward discussions about the amount of tipping, due to advance payment by credit card via Seamless’ system. Providing reviews and recommendations, photos, menus and detailed descriptions of the dishes, this site makes choosing (and bookmarking) your favourites and culinary hotspots awfully simple. And re-ordering even more tempting.

3. The NYC market for vacational rentals is stock full of schemes and scams, which renders any search for an (short-term) apartment from outside New York a vabanque, i.e. a risky enterprise, which in turn can get you to find yourself in front of an empty lot upon arrival instead of the shiny, newly refurbished flat you chose for your stay. Fraud is rampant, and Google’s search results unfortunately push some of the most shady and frivolous offers to the top. Airbnb‘s design as a social community, enhancing (or corrupting, depending on your point of view) the concept of couchsurfing by facilitating rentals among strangers and friends, is a huge step forward. Reviews for hosts and guests, a secure payment system holding transactions for 24 hours to prevent rip-offs, and verification features for profiles and apartments are among the mechanisms put in place, to make you feel better about choosing a place to stay and venturing into the unknown.

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Stray observations VIII

Oktober 5th, 2011 — 9:36pm

(i) The Great Deluge hits New York yet again. I need to keep in mind, that sunshine usually graces the early hours only, hence morning needs to be put to good use.

(ii) Cactus pear seeds ruin an otherwise fine dish, a fruit salad in my case, made out of fresh mango and kiwi slices in addition to the prickly pear. Mind, its pulp is nothing too spectacular, but it has a nice, exotic flavour. Such a waste!

(iii.a) New Yorkers love their pets dearly. Along Broadway, in the low 80s, you see “Adopt a puppy” stalls week by week, and kitten cuties looking for a new home can be found one day in front of Barnes & Nobles, the other on the corner of Amsterdam and 81st.

(iii.b) Sometimes, though, such affection borders on the insane. I have seen leg warmers on poodles as early as in late September, my dry cleaner’s wife puts her small bundle of cuteness into a fitted t-shirt, and stores like Canine Styles on Broadway and Wet Nose Doggy Gym in Greenwich Village (at 34 E 13th St) speak for themselves.

(iv) The homeless next door receive much less attention than bow-wow fido. A silent, conscientious choice on a daily basis, whom society considers the real fleabags, and a mark of shame for the haves in US society.

Taxi drivers at Friday Prayer, Riverside Drive

Taxi drivers at Friday Prayer, Riverside Drive

(v.a) Friday, 30 Sep: Jumu’ah prayer at 1 Riverside Drive, while festively dressed families take a walk along the neighbourhood streets and parks, honouring Rosh Hashanah.

(v.b) My speculations on an etymological link between Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah prove false. Yet many other similarities in the holy days of Islam and Judaism are striking.

(v.c) Falafel with French fries might not be a New York specialty; I, however, encounter this fast food merger of East and West for the first time. I am not quite won over by this (supposedly) halal dish.

(vi) With the onset of autumn in early October, charity ads appear on TV, imploring the audience to help the growing number of the hapless and less fortunate in American society. Wendy Malick gives maltreatment of animals a voice, Ben Affleck highlights hunger and malnutrition in America.

(vii) Recto: On the D line to Coney Island, at early evening, pretty much everyone around me speaks Mandarin. On the N train (local) towards Queens, Astoria: à la gauche on parle français, to my right Nihongo (Japanese).

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