Thursday Read: The Economist, 16 March 2019

An article on Artemisia Gentileschi is in the Books section.

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Illustration: Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes

“Gentileschi’s Self-Portrait as St. Catherine of Alexandria was acquired last year by the National Gallery in London, becoming only the 21st work by a woman in a 2,300-piece collection.”

Artemisia Gentileschi was the “first female artist to be admitted to the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence.” She was raped by Agostino Tassi, who her father had hired “to teach her perspective.” Her father “petitioned the pope for compensation. His daughter was considered damaged goods.” The case went to trial. Tassi, found guilty, “was exiled from Rome,” but continued to receive commissions from successive popes.

Gentileschi was “married off to a mediocre artist” but “nevertheless set up her own studio . . . She worked in Naples and London. She became the great artist she always wanted to be.”

“A play about Gentileschi’s travails that won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, transferred to London and will soon be staged elsewhere.”

“Roughly 60 paintings by Gentileschi survive . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Currently Reading: The Economist, 2 March 2019

Catching up with The Economist this morning.

Interesting review in the Books section, 2 March 2019:

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Opioid Addiction

According to The Economist of 23 February 2019,

  • The states with the highest opioid death rates are: Ohio, West Virginia, and New Hampshire.
  • Drugs kill an estimated 70,000 Americans every year. “In 2017, 47,600 of those deaths were caused by opioid overdose — a five-fold increase since 2000.”
  • Alexander Wood invented the hypodermic needle in 1853. He “touted it by claiming that morphine would not cause addiction if injected rather than smoked or swallowed.”
  • “Needles and morphine were deployed in the American Civil War . . .”  leaving “as many as 100,000 veterans” addicted.
  • Heroin was first manufactured by Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company. “To market it, they called it heroin from the German word meaning heroic.”
  • In 1996, a private pharmaceutical firm launched Oxycontin, an opioid “that, like heroin, is twice as strong as morphine.”
  • “Opioid sales quadrupled from 1999 to 2011.”
  • In 2012, the number of opioid prescriptions was 255 million.
  • In 2015, “Americans were still getting four times as many opioids per head than Europeans.”

These stats are terrible.

Books/ The Economist, 9 February 2019

As dear blog readers can tell from the date, self has a whole pile of Economists to catch up on.

Today is Sunday and the sun is shining and she’s made good on her goal to spend most, if not all, of today reading.

She’s on the 9 February 2019 Books section, and there’s a review of a really interesting book:

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Another book reviewed in this issue (though not positively, lol) is Let Me Not Be Mad, by A. K. Benjamin. Sadly, The Economist does not warm up to its unreliable narrator, but self confesses to being intrigued by this excerpt, quoted in the review:

  • I walked over London Bridge in rush hour, faces thronging around me, and diagnosed each one in an instant: Psychosis . . . Depression . . . Lewy Bodies . . . Panic . . . Depression . . . Sociopathy . . . OCD . . . Cynophobia . . . Panic . . . Guam’s. Everybody has something, and now there’s a name for it, even if it’s fear of having something, of going insane, aka dementophobia.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Kudos, p. 55: A Hamster

Whenever mice or hamsters enter a story — any story — self’s satisfaction quotient goes up 300%.

It happened in Dave Sedaris’s piece on how hard he had to try to kill a mouse (Self isn’t sure which collection contained the piece, she thinks it might have been Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim)

It happened in Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach. Self was on the fence about this novel until she got to the section where twins Ava and Zelda adopt a small clutch of baby mice. That’s when she realized the book was a gem.

It’s happening in Kudos. Oh JOY! The hamster page is 55:

The solid fact of the hamster made all the difference. She could describe them petting it and fawning over it while its imprisonment got increasingly on Linda’s nerves, and the way it solidified their bond so that Linda felt left out. What kind of love was this, that needed the love object domesticated and locked up? And if there was love being handed out, why wasn’t she getting any? It occurred to Linda that since their daughter had found a satisfactory companion in the hamster, her husband might have taken the opportunity to round that situation out by returning his attention to his wife, yet the opposite was the case: he could leave the child alone less than ever. Every time she went near the cage he would leap to his feet to join her, until Linda wondered whether he was actually jealous of the hamster and was only pretending to love it as a way of keeping hold of her.

The Economist really messed up by not mentioning the hamster passage in their review of Kudos.

Stay tuned.

Tech University, CA: Loaded

A month ago, Google made son an offer and moved him up from southern California.

Before Google, son worked six years for Blizzard, manufacturer of World of Warcraft. The Blizzard headquarters in Irvine is a sprawl of low buildings. Irvine even has a Blizzard way.

What young boy doesn’t play video games. Dream job! Son is the uber-nerd, going to San Diego Comi-con every year, reading science fiction exclusively, and attending Magic Card conventions.

Google put him up in fully furnished apartment in Palo Alto, biking distance from Google headquarters in Mountain View. Rent is free for three months. They sent him a real estate broker to assist in his hunt for a more permanent living arrangement. In the meantime, son signs up for free cooking classes held in his apartment complex.

Apple, Google, Facebook: the three big engines of Silicon Valley employment. During a brief stint living in the City, self shared a building with a bunch of Google engineers. Many of them had just moved to the Bay Area.

This past summer, her niece (19, studying in Michigan) got an internship for Facebook. They gave her an apartment in Palo Alto. AND she was driven to work each day by a Facebook car service. Her niece is still a teenager and she gets ferried to and from work in a Facebook car.

The Economist of 30 June 2018

“the headquarters of Western tech giants” as “typically horizontal affairs, in keeping with their supposedly flat hierarchies. Facebook’s Silicon Valley campus is a jumble of two-storey buildings connected by parks and bridges. Google is a collection of dozens of separate structures spread over an entire neighborhood in Mountain View. Employees commute between them on colourful bicycles.

So, yeah. Those tech giants are loaded.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

The Economist on Bourdain

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  • Food made him happiest if he experienced it in a purely emotional way. It might be the company, the moment, or some memory it evoked: of his mother’s grilled-cheese sandwiches, or his mother-in-law’s meatloaf. A plate of piss-poor peasant food could become something sublime, like feijoada in Brazil.

The Economist Obituary, 16 June 2018

What Has Happened to Oleg Sentsov?

In two years, Trump has arranged two of the most bizarre summits in the world:

  • with Kim Jong Un, a brutal dictator, who he made seem, according to The Economist (10 June 2018) “warm, jovial, and eminently reasonable.” The Economist maintains Kim Jong Un “ought to be at The Hague.”
  • with Putin in Helsinki, a “one-on-one” which offered Putin “the chance to be seen as a global statesman, an equal with the President of the United States, the leader of a country whose participation was needed to solve just about every pressing world problem.” (Joshua Yaffa in The New Yorker, 16 July 2018)

In the meantime, what has happened to Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed as a “terrorist” for “protesting against Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine four years ago” (The Economist, 10 June 2018)? No one knows. Here’s the latest article self found about him; it was almost a month ago, in The Guardian.

Trump instead calls for Russia to be allowed back into the G7, which expelled it “for the seizure of Crimea.” According to Trump, that “happened a while ago.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Economist Obit, 14 April 2018: Louie Kamookak, Explorer and Researcher

His ramshackle house outside Gjoa Haven, with hot water drawn from a camping stove, also had the best internet connection in town. Here he read and read and read.

Quote of the Day: Madeleine Albright

“We want to be told where to march.”

— Madeleine Albright in Fascism: A Warning

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