Paul Simon partially stops performing

The acclaimed singer-song writer-guitarist has announced that he is retiring from concert tours. He has had a long and illustrious career and the Simon and Garfunkel songs were the soundtrack of my youth. There are so many songs that I love, many of them with quirky and cryptic lyrics, that it was hard for me to pick one to post here but I finally went withThe Boxer. Here is a live version performed in New York’s Central Park in 1981.

The Khashoggi story takes a very dark turn

The story about the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a permanent resident of the US, who disappeared after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, has taken a very ominous turn with grisly rumors about what might have happened to him.

It’s not yet certain what happened to Khashoggi, who wrote columns for The Washington Post. But media reports have uncovered a growing mound of information indicating he was killed by Saudi operatives while he was visiting the country’s consulate in Istanbul last week. Saudi officials deny this, saying Khashoggi left the consulate safe and sound.

The latest reports, in Turkish and international media, offer details of how Khashoggi might have been dismembered and identify specific members of a Saudi team alleged to have killed him.

The Post reported Tuesday night that prior to Khashoggi’s disappearance, U.S. intelligence officials had intercepted discussions among Saudi officials about capturing him. Citing unnamed sources, the Post said the plan was to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and grab him there.

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Found in translation

I do not read much fiction these days but I used to read it a lot in the past, especially the classics that were written in so many different languages. Because my language skills are so poor, I only read English translations of them and almost always the translations were so good that you forgot that you were doing so. The translators were able to make the English versions feel familiar while not losing the foreign culture that the source material was describing. The ability to make translations so smooth, especially in literary works where metaphors and style are so crucial, was always something that impressed me greatly.
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Hurricane porn

Hurricane Michael is hammering Florida right now. Unlike the previous hurricane to hit the US where there was a long lead time, this one seemed to appear suddenly. Hurricanes cause deaths and injuries and massive amounts of damage that lead to a great deal of suffering due to people losing their homes and livelihoods. And yet, there is something fascinating about seeing the power of nature as the winds and rain lash the Earth. I cannot help watching videos of its destructive power even as I feel guilty for doing so.
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Want to chat with the Clintons? It will cost you and you likely won’t be able to

Bill and Hillary Clinton are going on a 13 city joint tour of the US and Canada titled “An Evening with President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” where they will supposedly engage with the audience in a conversation.

Each event promises to “feature joint on stage conversations with the two leaders sharing stories and inspiring anecdotes that shaped their historic careers in public service, while also discussing issues of the day and looking towards the future,” Live Nation said in a statement.

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How to mourn like a Stoic

The death of people one is close to, either family and friends, inevitably triggers feelings of grief and sadness that will vary with the individual. In this article, Brian D. Earp says that how the Stoics mourned may have some lessons for us.

How should we grieve when someone close to us dies? Should we wail and gnash our teeth? Should we swallow our pain? Some would say there is no right answer. You feel whatever you feel, and heal however you heal, and that’s okay. But according to the ancient Stoics – those Greco-Roman philosophers making a comeback as preachers of practical wisdom in a self-help world – there is a correct answer to the question of how we should grieve. And the answer is that we shouldn’t. What’s done is done. There is nothing you can do to change the situation – so move on.

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Real snakes on real planes

I don’t like snakes. There is something about the way they look and move that gives me the creeps, even when I know they are members of a harmless variety. Apparently fear of snakes (and spiders) is a primeval instinct shared by many species that may have never encountered a snake before and yet recoil when they see one for the first time. On the other hand, I have no fear of spiders, though I know people who are terrified of them, so I am not a total coward.
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Songs that look back on life

When they reach a certain age, singers often take up songs that reflect back on life. Some songs betray boastful arrogance and self-satisfaction, such as Frank Sinatra and My Way, while others convey a jaded, world-weary, disenchanted sensibility like Peggy Lee singing Is that all there is?. To my mind, one of the best such songs is by Charles Aznavour, who died last week at the age of 94.
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