I once met the daughter of a certain famous Russian ballet dancer and Soviet defector. I was buying garlicky humus and crackers at my local Co-op, andI once met the daughter of a certain famous Russian ballet dancer and Soviet defector. I was buying garlicky humus and crackers at my local Co-op, and noticed the name tag of yet another granola crunching, carob-chip-cookie making Osh-Kosh-Bgosh overalls wearing co-op employee, and thought maybe her name seemed a little more socialist than the other non-corporate names, (you don't meet a lot of Madisons and Tylers at co-ops, do you), but I didn't realize who it was until a friend mentioned it to me. Nothing struck me as anything less than what I would expect to encounter at my local co-op, where local farmers contribute their products to a marketplace that governs their profits and allows each farmer to profit from their own productivity, as Marxism states: "from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs."
That is the totality of my real life, in person, brush with famous dancer ballet experience. I might personally know a ballet dancer, have regular conversations with a ballet dancer and never understand why he or she always has hammer toes, resin on their shoes and never misses a chance to wave their hands in the air while delicately balancing on a street corner on one raised foot to hail a cab. I did read Black Beauty though, and it as the point in Li Cunxin's memoir when he too reads this story of a horse that I bought into his life story.
As a child of poverty in Communist China, Li Cunxin's memoir begins as a story of deprivation and abject servitude to Mao. Based on his memoir, it is after he arrives in America, and witnesses his benefactor purchasing thousands of dollars worth of Christmas presents that he begins to question the validity of Communist China and General Mao's grand vision. Ironically, it is the austerity of The White House that imparts a feeling of validity to Cunxin's growing unease with Mao's personal wealth and his countries third world living conditions. While learning to read and write English, Li Cunxin performs ballet on an international level with great success and acclaim, and as a Communist defector challenged the authority of a government he would not abide. Both are admirable. ...more
What can you say about a guy from Wales who rode around the world because an Irish woman inspired him? foolish? Naive? Soft hearted sentimentalist? IWhat can you say about a guy from Wales who rode around the world because an Irish woman inspired him? foolish? Naive? Soft hearted sentimentalist? I am sure somebody has already had their say about Robert Penn's private devices, his proclamatory penchant for his own garage, his mountainous ascents, the people he hob knobs with, his own rough scrapes flying down nepalese gravel roads...it all sounds so free spirited and liberalizing a reader might be sidled with grief for their own lack of experience. As a journalist approaches a story though, Penn forgoes his own (admittedly infrequent, compared to an average Strava user's twitter feed) philandering, and adopts a humble, awed perspective, as if he were holding the museum curators hand after wandering into the lecture hall after closing time. As a cyclist and as a journalist, he wants to know the long history of each component: the chain, the seat, the handlebars, the derailleur, the frame and does each piece of engineering the justice it deserves. As a cyclist himself, Penn comes across as an individualist and nearly peerless - his attitude seems appropriate for the characters he encounters while building himself what amounts to a white elephant. The vast majority of people who ride a bicycle would never have recourse to something like Penn's investment, but any of them could take it out for spin. Perhaps that's what Penn would want to know he had expressed in his memoir - dream bike or not, if it's got two wheels, a drivetrain, a seat, handlebars and a sturdy frame, it'll roll....more
Whether or not the garment fits every reader, Howard reaches into the past, pulls the threads of a historic tapestry and weaves a functional story. IWhether or not the garment fits every reader, Howard reaches into the past, pulls the threads of a historic tapestry and weaves a functional story. I appreciated and enjoyed his ability to delineate the grey areas between business, friendship, law, the strength of a person's word and each individual's capacity to create and destroy ourselves with ambition....more