Last Saturday of March 2012: Recalling a Conversation with the Colonel’s Wife, “The Hunger Games,” and Robert Greene

One of the best things about self’s first trip to India was meeting the Colonel and his wife, the couple that run The Colonel’s Resort in Bir.

Oh, how self loved this couple. Their generosity and kindness were unmatched.

They always joined self for meals (and the food was always very good).  During one of her last meals in Bir, the Colonel’s wife said:  “You should treat people the way they deserve to be treated.”

Self thinks the conversation revolved around how the Colonel’s wife manages to run a resort, what are the difficulties, and so forth.  It can’t be easy, being a woman in India, which in many places still holds women to the traditional roles of helpmate, housekeeper, wife and mother.

When the Colonel’s wife said to self:  “You should treat people . . . ” self recognized immediately that this was a simple but profound statement.  Something, in other words, that self would remember to the end of her days.

Today, the husband and self went to see “The Hunger Games.”  This is a passable adaptation, and Jennifer Lawrence was right for her role.  But the men were pretty much (with the exception of Woody Harrelson, who plays Haymitch, mentor to District 12’s tributes Katniss and Peeta) generic wimps.  Self also didn’t understand why everyone looked so well-fed, when “hunger” seemed to be a crucial issue in the districts outside the Capitol.  For heaven’s sake, isn’t that the point? That the scarcity of food makes people willing to fight one another for it?  There’s a reason, dear blog readers, that the book and movie are called The Hunger Games!!!

Self deliberately kept herself from reading the last 50 pages of the book, because she wanted to feel some suspense while watching the movie.  Self would just like to say:  the last 15 minutes or so of the movie seem so rushed.  And the Elizabeth Banks character, who in the movie is so delicious to look at, practically disappears after the games begin.

Now, self is home.  She is still extremely jet-lagged.  She thinks she will just crawl into bed and try and catch some zzzz’s.  It just so happens that self was reading Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power in the wee hours of this morning, so it makes sense to pick up from where she left off.  Here’s an excerpt from p. 100:

Image:  A Cord That Binds

The cord of mercy and gratitude is threadbare, and will break at the first shock.  Do not throw such a lifeline.  The cord of mutual self-interest is woven of many fibers and cannot easily be severed.  It will serve you well for years.

Authority:  The shortest and best way to make your fortune is to let people see clearly that it is in their interests to promote yours.

Reversal:  Some people will see an appeal to their self-interest as ugly and ignoble.  They actually prefer to be able to exercise charity, mercy, and justice, which are their ways of feeling superior to you:  When you beg them for help, you emphasize their power and position.  They are strong enough to need nothing from you except the chance to feel superior.  This is the wine that intoxicates them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

For These Gifts: Friday, 30 March 2012

Today, self could not believe her eyes:  was that really the husband walking in the house at 4 p.m.?

Indeed, it was!  Good thing self hadn’t yet started writing, or she would have been extremely cross!

Self had planned to cook frozen chorizo empanada (from Iberia, the fab Spanish restaurant in Menlo Park), but since the husband was home, self allowed him to take charge of this operation as he has a very special style of cooking.  For instance, he wanted to use the deep fat fryer.  And after emptying all of self’s vegetable cooking oil into the fryer, he declared that there wasn’t, after all, enough oil.  Then he had to pour all the oil back into the plastic container.  Then he sighed (many, many times) about how hard it was to cook empanada well.  Then he told self that we should eat out.  This was how we ended up at Formosa Read the rest of this entry »

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