Tag Archives: Israel

Be pessimistic when you’re young, but optimistic when you’re old

The optimist is on the right hand side of the picture, with her arm round the pessimist.

The optimist is on the right hand side of the picture, with her arm round the pessimist.

Be pessimistic while you’re young, but optimistic when you get older. Do you agree?

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the message from Diana Athill in her entertaining autobiographical installment  Somewhere Towards The End.

To boil it down further: Be thankful, be appreciative, be optimistic. (Don’t worry too much about being pessimistic at all.)

It’s not just Diana Athill’s credo – she was inspired by newspaper interview with 100+-year old Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer.

According to Alice, people are born either pessimistic or optimistic.

According to Diana, pessimism or “a painful sensitivity to evil” may be useful in providing a spur to struggle against wrong, but optimism enables one to endure.

Do you agree with either of them? I think I do. Though I also think one can change or learn new behaviour – so the born pessimist may mellow Continue reading

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This made me cry…

This story made me cry. Which is unusual. Continue reading

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13 gifts from Basel to the world

  1. Barca or Basel?

    Basel or Barca?

    BARCA. FC Barcelona comes from Basel. Barca was co-founded by a Swiss guy, Johann (who became Joan) Gamper who was allegedly inspired by FC Basel. Both teams play in red and blue. Both are FCB. Both have the same football.

  2. BABIES. All babies come from Basel. You just need to look at all the storks pootling around the fields.
  3. LSD. LSD comes from Basel. It was made by local chemist Albert Hoffman in 1938, though he didn’t realise until 1943 when he accidentally absorbed some through his fingertips. He described the sensation:  “I sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.”
  4. ISRAEL. Israel comes from Basel. Continue reading

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H-blocks in Edinburgh

I was doing some work in Edinburgh, at the Festival, and had the good fortune to see Martin Lynch’s play The Chronicles Of Long Kesh. Great production. I’d recommend it. The performance got a great reception, but even so, the cast surprised me by making it out and down before the audience, so as to be able to thank each person individually for coming to see their show. Bit overwhelming. And lovely too.

After which I checked out the play Go To Gaza And Drink The Sea. Some haunting music woven through it. Rather unremittingly sad. And odd to see someone I actually know being played as a character on the stage.

On a lighter note – Rhod Gilbert and the cat which looked like Nicholas Lyndhurst is the stand-up show for anyone who battles with technology and is suspicious of toasters, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and other humans in general. Very clever and very funny.

Here he is mithering on about something else in Australia.

And coincidentally it Australians who were singing news bulletins in the Dean Gallery. Their song about Jose Ramos Horta rejecting human rights criticisms in East Timor stuck in my mind.  Endearing.

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