E.M. Forster wrote: In daily life we never really understand each other, neither complete clairvoyance nor complete confessional exists. We know each other approximately, by external signs, and these serve well enough as a basis for society and even for intimacy.
Well...no, Maurice. It is obvious to any reader
or writer of novels that they do not serve well enough.
A while ago I found a small plastic zipper-bag on the floor
of the car I am driving.
When I picked it up I read Lama Yeshe Hair.
There are a few hairs in it.
Nobody could tell me who put them there.
He was one of the founders of
the Monastery. "Sponsor a Puja !"
In my Monstery of One I sport a wholly-holy beard - and a highly-holy tongue..
This is the European Meteorological Warning map
with text in Basque. The brief text can also appear
in most national languages, but not in Turkish,
Albanian, Maltese - or Catalan.
You will see that Albania is grey, like Turkey and Lebanon,
yet Israel is featured, as is a Hebrew text.
As an Albanophile I am vexed.
The cruelly-competitive turbo-capitalist South
where children don't get time to sleep, much less play,
and the truly terrible totalitarian North
where children don't get enough to eat,
especially in the Correction Camps.
Note that North Korea has a border with Russia not far from Vladivostok.
We Anglophones are lucky that we have to deal only
with little matters, such as theirs vs there's, its vs it's, dog's vs dogs, man's vs mans and Trump's vs trumps
(not to mention CDs vs CD's)
but the poor old Kazakhs are facing the fourth change in their alphabet,
which will use Latin letters (as in Uzbek) plus
apostrophes to represent sounds not accounted for
in the lame 26-letter Latin alphabet.
O' is thus pronounced differently from O,
and G' pronounced differently from G.
So a four-letter word could have two or three apostrophes.
Kazakhstan has about 15 different ethnic groups
and several languages, not all of them Turkic.
In the east of the country, as in the neighouring part of China
an adapted Arabic script is still employed
(as it was from around 1200 to 1929).
Kazakh was first written in runes.
Wikipedia's Kazakh entries are in Cyrillic: Қазақ әліпбиі
which came into effect in 1940
after 11 years of a Turko-Latin alphabet
with which Stalin replaced the 'unwieldy' Arabic in 1929.
I can find no text on Google in the new script,
except for the national anthem here.
when he had Those Two in His Over-controlled Garden.
My rescue-dog knows he's in Paradise
and (short of shouting and violence)
there's no way I could stop him
eating the apple-core
on the floor
(if I actually wanted to).
There is a Frenchman called Pierre-Benoît Dumont who stencils images on building all over Europe and signs himself Artiste-Ouvrier . This is one of his finest pieces, after a painting by the great Gustave Caillebotte.
asked Edward Lear (here).
Well, delightful old man,
it is a remote and rocky part of Pakistan,
home to many Taliban,
who are not and never will be the acme of calm.
The Wāli of Swat (Urdu: والی سوات) was the official title of the leader (wāli) of the erstwhile princely state of Swat and also the nomenclature of the dynasty that ruled there from 1926 to 1969. The earlier titles of rulers in this area were 'Akhund', 'Khan', etc. .
We are nothing more than consumers
(of caviar, clothing, aggression, injustice,
parenthood, bureaucracy, bombs, our own dissatisfaction...).
Self-worth, purpose, dignity, integrity
(and so on) are merely fantasy.
I found this butterfly today
sitting on the green roller-towel in the kitchen,
and carefully transported it (in a wineglass) to the balcony.
After about five minutes it flew away.
There were a few little spots on the upperside of its wings.
is (you might think) a fuzzy fantasy-word
whose vagueness can
be invoked and applied
to anything we wish to denounce and decry.
It is specific, indentifiable
and even quantifiable, the holy cornerstone
of civilisation :
uncontrolled, banal and terrible
"Ireland : North and South move to map out border crossings for Brexit.
"Dublin and Belfast are working together to list and publish for the first time
the hundreds of border crossings between the island's two jurisdictions" - of which there are more than the total number of land-border crossings into the European Union from the East, South-east and North-north-west.
Some of them are no more than muddy lanes.
The Uncle Remus, Little Black Sambo and Epaminondas stories
entranced me when I was little (in 1940s Northern Ireland)
and made me (ever since) want (futilely) to have a sweet black skin.
I have just read that many Americans consider the stories
(told by Uncle Remus to a little 'white' boy)
about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and others to be Racist.
But it is obvious to any child that Brer Rabbit is a trickster figure
(one amongst many in all continents) and, to an older person,
that the Uncle Remus stories were subtly seditious - and should not
have been removed from Public Library shelves
by totalitarian 'Liberals' - despite such advertisements as this:
and until quite recently - excess
in human behaviour was highly noticeable.
But now excessive and conspicuous consumption
is practised invisibly even by the relatively poor
in certain countries, who live lives of comfort
unimaginable to Roman emperors.
Europe's towns and cities have little that is olfactory left.
When I was young I passed through smells
from East Belfast to city centre:
undertones of filthy Connswater close to
then ropeworks, abattoir and docks
where pissing calves were shipped to Scotland;
finally an odour-symphony
emanating in heady, rich, delicious waves
from Murray's tobacco-factory,
where Erinmore, smoked in thoughtful pipes across the world,
was carefully composed.
Now the only smells are poor and localised:
air-fresheners, deodorants and after-shaves.