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Sep. 14th, 2010

Moving out,

Too much commercial noise on LiveJournal. I found a more peaceful home http://endymion2021.wordpress.com/

See you there.

Aug. 13th, 2009

"The Invention of Solitude" by Paul Auster

"Memory: the space in which a thing happens for the second time."

"The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other things have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any of this."

"The world in not just the sum of things that are in it. It is the infinitely complex network of connections among them. As in the meanings of words, things take on meaning only in relationship to each other."

Aug. 1st, 2009

"A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen

Barbie fight back.

Jul. 31st, 2009

Some reading ...

Work has kept me fairly busy, so the list is short:

"The Razor's Edge" by Somerset Maugham
Disappointing compared to "Of Human Bondage", still readable ...

"The Symposium" by Plato
I am sure you heard of him.

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
Not a summer read.

"The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros
Did not really enjoyed it that much, appreciated "Woman Hollering Creek" more.

"Le Festin chez la Comtesse Fritouille" by Witold Gombrowicz
The last story was delicious.

"The Book of Sand and Shakespeare's Memory" by Jorge Luis Borges
Breath taking.

"Steppenwolf" by Herman Hesse
A bit too close to home.

"Les libertins baroques" by Michel Onfray
Extraordinary writer, will need more detailed write up.

"La crise, et apres" by Jacques Attali
Some interesting ideas

"The next 100 years" by Geroge Friedman
Apart from the stupid title a very insightful perspective as usual.

"Things I've Learned From Woman Who've Dumped Me" by ...
A very disparate miss match

Mar. 14th, 2009

Pale blue dot

"Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea." - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Feb. 2nd, 2009

Obama inauguration

It was pleasant to be back in DC for a couple of days even if we ended up staying in one line or another most of the time (we waited more than an hour to eat at busboys and poets). I am glad we were able to stay with Lauren and Jeff in Dupont circle.

The inauguration per se was a massive cluster fuck, at the last minute we exchange our purple tickets for some orange tickets, and after some sneaking in were able to enjoy a really nice view of the main action :

Obama inauguration

The most impressive was by far the crowd in the back even if I could not only see up to the Washington monument :

Obama inauguration

We had invitation for two official balls; the youth ball and the staff ball. The youth ball seemed more like the proms I never had. We ended up stuck in the lounge area and never got to see the main stage action.

Youth ball

The staff ball was much better event. It is the last official presidential ball and takes place the next day, does not compete with any other events, and the media are not invited. So we got to see Obama, the VP, and couples of guest in a short amount of time.
Obama inauguration

The band line up, kept secret until the very last minute, was pretty good : "Arcade Fire" and Jay-Z.

Arcade Fire at the staf ball

Obama inauguration

Jan. 25th, 2009

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce

I was excited to read this classic but I ended up hugely disappointed.

Mainly because of my total undifference to the two main themes of the novel: religion and patriocism.
I can try to understand the struggle of someone diverging from such strong cultural artifacts. But my interest for them is comparable to the eternal question of how many angels can dance on the head of pin (zero by the way, angels do not dance. It is not a holly activity).

I feel really let down by this book, maybe another case of over hyping ?

Jan. 15th, 2009

Coming soon !

Coming soon to a blog post near you :
- books read in 2008
- white pictures of Chicago
- account of Pierre and Melodie weeding in Manathan

Aug. 10th, 2008

Trying to make some sense of the Georgia Russian war.

If you have not catch up on the history already go read this decent NYT article first.

The war is not a surprise to anyone and this explain the level of readiness of the Russian.

Do not pay too much attention to the rhetoric on both side. Georgia may be a democracy but more in the Russian sense than what the founding father had in mind when they wrote the US constitution.

The most important element that western media tend to forget is that Gerogia started this round. On August 7 they fired rounds of heavy artillery, large-caliber mortar and Glad multiple launch rockets on Tskhinvali. A clear and brutal act of aggression that begged a response from Russia.

The real question is why?

Ossetia is an impoverished piece of land with no natural resources. The province has been more or less autonomous for a while and short of an ethical cleansing impossible for the Georgian to control.

I try to never underestimate the stupidity of politicians that use patriotic rhetoric but provoking Russia is pure suicide. It is a loosing move for Georgia from the beginning. There must be more to it so lets zoom out a bit.

So where does the move come from?

The players are Europe and the US. Europe has a strong interest in keeping peace around its borders and want to avoid confrontation with Russia at all price. This leave the US as the architect.

I can see two possible reasons for this move.

A play to reinforce NATO. The Russian drew the red line on Georgia and Ukraine. After the war is over the US will have the green light to come protect "the peace". Georgia will become a direct NATO/US protectorate even if they will not become an official member in the short run. What is here for Georgia? Reconstruction money, a lot of it. This will be a god send for the ruling party. Also they will clearly move out of the Russian sphere of influence.

For the US? A big finger at Russia next to their border, but more importantly the control of a chock point. Just look at the map of the region. It will help isolate Russia from the middle east and surround Iran even more. The US will also be able to personally protect the pipelines in the region.

Also this crisis will reinvigorate the importance of NATO in Europe. Europe as lost interest in NATO after the cold war was over. There is no more direct utility for it, therefore no good reason to accept US military dominance inside Europe. But with Russia showing its claws again Europe will probably reinforce their commitment to the alliance.

The second reason might be a side move on Iran. Military actions in Iran, in the form of air strikes or a maritime blockade, are becoming more and more likely as the electoral victory of Obama seem unavoidable.
There is two possibilities here. Just distracting the Russian or creating a bargaining piece. We do not flood Georgia with advanced weapons system like we did in Afghanistan if you let us fuck Iran.

The timing is also critical. The Olympic game makes it easy to push all the action under the radar. More importantly; China, the other potential player in Iran, will have its hands tied for the duration of the games.

If this is about Iran things will be moving very fast to keep taking advantage of the game.

New musical project

My friend Olivier resurrected is musical blog. It is a group project and everyone is invited to participate to some cross continent musical adventures.

Be sure to check it out!

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