Archive Page 2 of 77



London life

Casa Tua, a superb Italian family restaurant in Royal College Street, Camden, London.




An eternal golden braid

Thomas Harriot (1560-1621)

Robert Southwell SJ (c.1561-1595)

Kit Marlowe (1564-1593)

Henry Wriothesley (1573-1624)

Charles Diodati (c.1608-1638)

Nicolas Fatio de Duillier (1664-1753)

Edward Francisco Burney (1760-1848)

Alexander d’Arblay (1794-1837)

Eduard Rietz (1802-1832)

Arthur Hallam (1811-1833)

Matthew Piers Watt Boulton (1820-1894)

Henry Horton McBurney (1843-1875)

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904)

Warwick Potter (1870-1893)

Joseph Trumbull Stickney (1874-1904)

Jan Letzel (1880-1925)

John Medill McCormick (1916-1938)

Lucien Carr (1925-2005)




Reader’s Digest Condensed Haiku

From the letters column of The Grauniad of 12 April 2008:

“Like many people nowadays, I rarely have time to sit down and read a whole haiku (Letters, March 22; Letters, March 29). This prompted my “Short Poem About Brevity” –

Haiku, why ramble so?”

 

Steven Handsaker
Barnstaple, Devon




Reg Gilbert RIP

Reg J Gilbert was an Australian statistician who spent much of his career working in developing countries and for international organizations.  His career began in the Australian Bureau of Statistics after which he worked in Papua New Guinea and later in Botswana. In PNG he was Director of Statistics and led the first national population census in 1980 following Independence in 1975. He died between 2001 and 2004 [See footnote 9, page iv, of Anon 2004].  Although we never met, I keep meeting people in the oddest places who knew him, so I feel like my life has shadowed his. Florence Skelly is another person I never met whose circle of influences I keep encountering.

Bibliography:

Reginald J Gilbert [1986]:  The first complete enumeration of Papua New Guinea – The 1980 Population Census. Journal of Official Statistics, 2(4): 501–514.

Reginald J Gilbert [2001]: Asking questions on economic characteristics in a population census.  STAT Working Paper 2001-1, ILO Geneva, Switzerland. 2001.

Anon [2004]:  Collection of Economic Characteristics in Population Censuses.  Technical Report, Statistics Division, Department of Social and Economic Affairs, United Nations Secretariat and Bureau of Statistics, International Labour Office. ST/ESA/STAT/119.  Footnote 9, page iv.




Brussels life


Exhibition of abstract expressionist art from the Peggy Guggenheim collection, ING Gallery, Brussels, Belgium.




The Italians

A book review by Gian-Carlo Rota [1991], Editor of Advances in Mathematics (volume 88, issue 2, page 301):

Review of:  S. S. ABHYANKAR:  Algebraic Geometry for Scientists and Engineers. American Mathematics Society, 1990, 295 pp.

Every field has its taboos. In algebraic geometry, the taboos are (a) giving an exposition that can be followed by anyone but one’s two or three closest friends, (b) claiming that a result has any applications whatsoever, (c) mentioning the word “combinatorial,” (d) claiming that any mathematics existed before Grothendieck (only some vague handwaving references to “the Italians” are occasionally allowed, provided they are not supported by bibliographical data). Abhyankar has violated all these taboos. He’d better get himself some bodyguards.”




Caning John Pilger

Wilfred Burchett (1911-1983) was a brave and intrepid Australian journalist who mainly reported from the other side in the Cold War. He was the first western reporter to visit Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city, something he did without permission from the US Occupation authorities, and was thus able to counter attempted US military lies and disinformation about what we now know was radiation poisoning; he did this most dramatically at a US military press conference in Japan immediately after his visit to the city.  For many years in the 1950s and 1960s, conservative Australian Governments refused to renew Burchett’s Australian passport, something only remedied by the incoming Labor administration of Gough Whitlam on 6 December 1972, four days after Labor’s election win.

Another Australian journo, John Pilger, wrote a preface to a collection on articles about Burchett, edited by Ben Kiernen in 1986. On the second page of his preface, Pilger quotes from Burchett’s autiobiography, and then commits a schoolboy howler. “Soon afterwards [Pilger writes, page x], Wilfred went ‘on the road with a swag’ and in Queensland was adopted by a group of cane-cutters . . . ”

No, Mr Pilger, no! Although Burchett is careful not to name the location of the sugarcane farm he worked on, he says (page 62) it is on an arm of the Clarence River, upstream from a sugar-mill whose chimney effusions he could smell and possibly also see, on a large island bisected by a canal with horse-drawn barges transporting bundles of cut cane. The mill would be the one at Harwood (still in operation today, thanks to former state MP, Don Day), and the island most likely Palmers Island. Other large islands upstream of the Harwood Mill would be Harwood Island itself or Chatsworth Island, but these are not bisected by canals.  But all of these, including the entire mouth of the Clarence River are in New South Wales, Mr Pilger, not Queensland.

Burchett is briefly mentioned as a social acquaintance of Guy Burgess in Moscow in the 1950s in the recent biography of Burgess by Andrew Lownie, reviewed here.

 

References:

Wilfred Burchett [1969]: Passport: An Autobiography. Melbourne, Australia: Nelson.

Ben Kiernan (Editor) [1986]: Burchett Reporting the Other Side of the World 1939-1983. London, UK: Quartet.




Our life is but lent

“Our life is but lent; a good whereof to make, during the loan, our best commodity.  It is a debt due to a more certain owner than ourselves, and therefore so long as we have it, we receive a benefit; when we are deprived of it, we suffer no wrong. We are tenants at will of this clayey farm, not for any term of years; when we are warned out, we must be ready to remove, having no other title but the owner’s pleasure.  It is but an inn, not a home; we came but to bait, not to dwell; and the condition of our entrance was finally to depart. If this departure be grievous, it is also common; this today to me, tomorrow to thee; and the case equally affecting all, leaves none any cause to complain of injurious usage.”

Robert Southwell SJ: The Triumphs over Death.




More minimalist art at Temple Station

Following the previous exhibition, described here, more optic minimalism at Temple Underground Station:

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Central London churches

A list of some central London churches and their denominations:

  • All Saints Cathedral, Camden / Greek Orthodox, originally Anglican
  • Chapel of King’s College London / Anglican
  • Chapel of Hospital of St John and St. Elizabeth, St John’s Wood / Roman Catholic
  • Christ Church, Spitalfields / Anglican
  • Christ-the-King, Gordon Square / Catholic Apostolic
  • Corpus Christ, Maiden Lane / Roman Catholic
  • Emmanuel Temple, Westminster / Evangelical Christian
  • Finchley Quaker Meeting House / Society of Friends
  • Friends House, Euston / Society of Friends
  • Holy Trinity, Marylebone / Anglican
  • Holy Trinity, Sloane Square / Anglican
  • St Anselm and St Cecilia, Holborn / Roman Catholic
  • St Bride’s, Fleet Street / Anglican
  • St Clement Danes /Anglican (the home church of the RAF)
  • St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street / Anglican and Romanian Orthodox
  • St Giles-in-the-Fields / Anglican
  • St James, Piccadilly / Anglican
  • St John’s, Waterloo /Anglican
  • St Luke’s, Old Street / formerly Anglican
  • St Martin, Ludgate / Anglican
  • St Mary-le-Bow / Anglican
  • St Mary-le-Strand / Anglican
  • St Pancras New Church, Euston / Anglican
  • St Paul’s, Hammersmith / Anglican
  • St Paul’s Cathedral / Anglican
  • St Peter’s Italian Church, Holborn / Roman Catholic
  • St Sepulchre-without-Newgate / Anglican
  • Temple Church / Anglican
  • Wesley’s Chapel, Finsbury / Methodist
  • Westminster Cathedral / Roman Catholic
  • Westminster Quaker Meeting House / Society of Friends