A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
Blue Suede Yarmulke
He told me that Elvis had put a Star of David on his mother’s gravestone. You can see it in the photo above. You won’t see it on her grave at Graceland, though. She was originally buried at Memphis’ Forest Park Cemetery, but after Elvis died in 1977 there was an attempt to rob his grave, and so he and his mother were reinterred at Graceland. The new gravestone, lacking Elvis’s active attention, didn’t get a star.
Hemingway in Paris
Paris in the Twenties was home to a wild range of American expatriate writers, including Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ford Maddox Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller and John Dos Passos. Hugh Scholfield considers how Ernest Hemingway’s time in Paris was and is remembered.
On 25 August 1944, the day of the German surrender, Hemingway entered Paris with the Americans from the west. With battle smoke marking the skyline, he careered down the Champs-Elysees to the Travellers Club – still there today, next to Abercrombie and Fitch – and ordered a bottle of champagne.
He and his band of brothers then drove through celebrating crowds to the Ritz hotel. The hotel was empty apart from the manager, a man called Ausiello, who politely acceded to their request for 50 martini cocktails.
Useful Foreign Words
David Shariatmadari points out that those supposedly untranslatable foreign words can, in fact, be translated. Spoil sport.
In Norwegian, this word means “to sit outside on a sunny day enjoying a beer”.
The gnawing sense of incompleteness knowing there is a partially eaten snack lying around.
Dying Of A Broken Heart
Male life expectancy at age fifteen in Russia compares unfavorably to that in Ethiopia, Gambia, and Somalia.
With Kremlinology back in vogue as we all try to figure out what’s up with that Putin guy, Masha Gessen’s review of research into Russian demography should make us pause to consider the depth and breadth of the Russian experience.
If this is true—if Russians are dying for lack of hope, as they seem to be—then the question that is still looking for its researcher is, Why haven’t Russians experienced hope in the last quarter century?
What Is A Book Cover?
One of the key things we lose as we move from analogue to digital media is the peripherals that we took for granted, such as LP sleeves and book covers.
Peter Mendelsun, an associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf Books, points out that book covers have many purposes: a skin, a frame, a reminder, a souvenir, a secret handshake, and so on.
Is the book jacket necessary? No.
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
- Voyeurism of the Bad, Sad and Silly – whether it’s beheadings by ISIS, hacked photos of naked celebrities, or school girls being silly, we just don’t need to look. It only encourages them.