Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dueling Bozos?

Jim Cramer, sell HK.

HK falls below its book value -- Forbes.


Twelve Little Preludes (Bach), Halida Dinova

A Note To The Granddaughters

The other day I mentioned I was back in my "physics phase" and enjoying Freeman Dyson's memoirs, as such.

His chapter on Robert Oppenheimer is incredible. His notes complement nicely biographies on Oppenheimer and histories of Los Alamos. We get another glimpse of why Oppenheimer was "great" and how he was so successful at Los Alamos.

In addition, for me, this paragraph was one of the highlights:
Nineteen thirty-five was a time of despair for writers all over the world. TS Eliot was not the only one who turned to poetic drama as the appropriate medium to express the tragic mood of that time In the same year, Murder in the Cathedral appeared in England and Maxwell Anderson's Winterset in America. a year later, Auden and Isherwood wrote The Ascent of F6.
F6 was played in London in 1937 with music by Benjamin Britten and marvelously caught the shadow of coming events. F6 is to Murder in the Cathedral as Hamlet is to King Lear. Eliot's Archbishop is a man of power and pride, redeemed like King Lear by serene submission to his fate in the hour of death. The hero of F6 is a more sophisticated, more modern character. He is a mountain climber, known to his friends as M.F., a Hamlet-like figure compounded of arrogance, ambiguity and human tenderness. Over the years, as I came to know Oppenheimer better, I found many aspects of his personality foreshadowed in M. F. I came to that F6 was in some sense a true allegory of his life.
[Note: "F6" is a mountain, such as Mount Everest, so the allegory had to do with a story on mountain climbing.]

And then the chapter continues for several pages "comparing" M.F. and Oppenheimer.

I started reading in 2007 while on temporary duty to a remote base in northern England. I had to read several biographies of Shakespeare and re-read three of his four great tragedies many times before I had even an inkling of what the plays were about. Had I not done that reading, I would have had to completely skip this part of Freeman Dyson's book describing one of the most enigmatic characters in our nation's history.

I write that because it is my understanding that Harvard no longer teaches Shakespeare per se and, in general, Shakespeare is now being removed from undergraduate programs. [I wonder if Shakespeare lost his cachet when the true identity of Shakespeare was exposed?]

Students will have to "learn" Shakespeare in high school (doubtful) or during select summer courses (which are incredibly wonderful opportunities for high school students). 

A second point that delighted me with regard to this chapter had to do with the fact that both Oppenheimer and Dyson, "despite" being physicists, were also poets. Wow, what a revelation. The joy of reading never ends.

[A nice book, by the way, on mountain climbing is Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer. The phrase, "into thin air" was coined by Shakespeare.]

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