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28

Nov

In the late 1990s the average house price in Germany was twice that in France; now it is…
…20% cheaper.

(Source: economist.com)

27

Nov

DRIVE through any number of outer-ring suburbs in America, and you’ll see boarded-up and vacant strip malls, surrounded by vast seas of empty parking spaces. These forlorn monuments to the real estate crash are not going to come back to life, even when the economy recovers. And that’s because the demand for the housing that once supported commercial activity in many exurbs isn’t coming back, either…

…Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.

The shift is durable and lasting because of a major demographic event: the convergence of the two largest generations in American history, the baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the millennials (born between 1979 and 1996), which today represent half of the total population.

Many boomers are now empty nesters and approaching retirement. Generally this means that they will downsize their housing in the near future. Boomers want to live in a walkable urban downtown, a suburban town center or a small town, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors.

The millennials are just now beginning to emerge from the nest — at least those who can afford to live on their own. This coming-of-age cohort also favors urban downtowns and suburban town centers — for lifestyle reasons and the convenience of not having to own cars.”

Christopher Leinberger

(Source: The New York Times)

23

Feb

Word of the day: contumely

The famous pronouncement upon Dylan Thomas’s death of a gross “insult to the brain” may have sounded weirdly poetic, but the medical expression is quite literal.  To ‘insult’ is to leap upon or assail in a physical sense  (from L. in + salire ‘to leap’). 

Thus to add insult to injury, as the old saying goes, is redundant. This explains why the Latin expression runs injuriæ contumeliam addere,’ to add contumely to injury.

18

Feb

              

                

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17

Feb

Paris shows the art of man-eating

"Nous sommes tous des cannibales. Après tout, le moyen le plus simple d’identifier autrui à soi-même, c’est encore de le manger" - Claude Lévi-Strauss

Inspired by the words of Lévi-Strauss (who once suggested that cannibals tend to boil their friends and roast their enemies), la maison rouge is holding an exhibition on “anthropophagy and its representations in contemporary visual art.”

Opens today in Paris and runs through May 15.  Bon appétit!

  

Madoff losses recovered?


            

            

He did not assert that any specific bank or fund knew about or was an accomplice in his Ponzi scheme, which lasted at least 16 years and consumed about $20 billion in lost cash and almost $65 billion in paper wealth […] Given that Mr. Picard has already recovered roughly $10 billion, the lawsuits against major banks and hedge funds would produce more than enough to cover the rest of the cash losses…[read article]

15

Feb

Ever metanoia you didn’t like?

  

 

Farnsworth shows us how rhetoric really works, as in this example of metanoia (correcting oneself in midstream) from Arthur Conan Doyle, designed to startle or surprise the reader: “And now, Doctor, perhaps you would kindly attend to my thumb, or rather to the place where my thumb used to be.”    [read article]

———

The quote, taken from Conan Doyle’s story, “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb,” continues:

He unwound the handkerchief and held out his hand. It gave even my hardened nerves a shudder to look at it. There were four protruding fingers and a horrid red, spongy surface where the thumb should have been. It had been hacked or torn right out from the roots.

14

Feb

Italians don’t want to respect laws, they don’t want to pay taxes, they want to do as they like, and he …

… personifies this.” - Benedetto Bruno

The Berlusconi debate distilled in a few frank quotes:

—————————

          

           

ROME - … Ginevra Coppotelli, a Roman homemaker, expressed an oft-heard complaint. “Berlusconi has insulted women, and even worse, he’s given political positions to his whores,” she said, referring to television showgirls who have become politicians in the center-right coalition.

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12

Feb

Nous sommes tous des cannibales. Après tout, le moyen le plus simple d’identifier autrui à soi-même …

…c’est encore de le manger” - Claude Lévi-Strauss

Inspired by the words of Lévi-Strauss (who once suggested that cannibals tend to boil their friends and roast their enemies), la maison rouge is holding an exhibition on “anthropophagy and its representations in contemporary visual art.”

Opens today in Paris and runs through May 15.  Bon appétit!

  

Not ‘today the same’

There is a good review by Arnold Hunt in the TLS of several books on the King James Bible on the 400th anniversary of its first edition.  One passage in particular stands out :

             

            400 years of the King James Bible

David Norton highlights a discussion recorded by John Bois, one of the translators, over the rendering of Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever”. Another of the translators, Andrew Downes, proposed an alternative wording, “Jesus Christ yesterday, and today the same, and for ever”, arguing that “if the words be arranged in this manner, the statement will be more majestic”…    [read article]

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The proposed alternative might have sounded more majestic to the Jacobean ear, but the original and final rendering of Hebrews 13:8 sounds more literary to ours. Why?

Both are marked by polysyndeton (“…and…and…”), which is found often enough in the King James Bible, but it is the disorder of the apparent hýsteron próteron (“the same yesterday, and today”) that makes the first translation so striking.

What, after all, are past, present, and future—and their chronology—to an eternal being?

A ‘bean’ is really the fermented seed of a cherrylike shrub, and if coffee is roasted carefully and brewed correctly, you can taste …

… the flower and the fruit.”

  

10

Feb

Brown dress shoes should be dark, like the color of coffee with just …

   … a touch of cream.”

  

08

Feb

I never want the Mercedes-Benz version of something. Fancy things always suggest a nervous desire…

   … to be splendid.”  - Jon Robin Baitz, on the KawecoSport.

  

27

Jan

The Facebook Revolution …

   … as seen through Facebook.”  - Martin Vidberg

  

28

Nov

The founding fathers rejected collectivist ‘European’ philosophies and instead derived their principles of limited government from fifth-century Anglo-Saxon chieftains…

… who in turn modeled themselves on the Biblical tribes of Israel.”

- Jeffrey Rosen, on the constitutional guru of the Tea Party movement and author of the “5,000-Year Leap,” W. Cleon Skousen.