arcana imperii :: the book of j


a friday fortune cookie

«when you are in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut [in bed]».



fearing islamic immaturity and intransigence

Deutsche Oper Berlin declared that «incalculable» security risks would be posed by staging Idomeneo so it has cancelled the Mozart production scheduled for november. apparently the security fears stem from possible ridiculous and immature reaction of islamists and perhaps even some ordinary and reasonable muslims to severed heads of jesus and the prophet muhammad that the opera production would feature along with those of buddha and the mythological greek sea god poseidon. Idomeneo deals with the rebellion of man against the deity.

this drives me mad! if muslims demand respect to their religion, they must also be prepared to relinquish their thriving thirteenth century attitudes and prejudices as well as accept the freedom of thought, dissent and expression at the heart of real western democracy and society.

note that Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said the berlin opera director had made the wrong decision to scrap the production telling the Associated Press that «our ideas about openness, tolerance and freedom must be lived out on the offensive» and that «voluntary self-limitation gives those who fight against our values a confirmation in advance that we will not stand behind them».

germany's interior minister called the cancellation «unacceptable».

note as well that this sad decision closely follows the furore caused by the speech made by Pope Benedict in which he cited an ancient text featuring Muhammad, sparking angry street protests round the world.

source: the beeb.

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love and hate?

«the man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies
but also to hate his friends.»

~friedrich nietzsche

hate is an emotion with which i'm rather uncomfortable... but how some strive to earn it! and especially the so-called religious people.



quotation of the moment

«brevis ipsa vita est sed malis fit longior.»
«our life is short but is made longer by misfortunes.»



remembering 11 September 2001

Remembering 11 September 2001

remembering the 3,047 people murdered in New York City, Washington, DC/Virginia and Pennsylvania on 11 september 2001.

during the last week the nation's media has broadcast a number of documentaries and dramatisations focusing on the grief of survivors, remembering the murdered, the results of the latest research into the destruction of the World Trade Centre and the re-development of Ground Zero. americans have been asked if we feel any safer today. i find it difficult to answer in the affirmative because hardly anything seems to have been done since the attacks to also reduce the root causes of terrorism and anti-Americanism. horrifyingly, it would seem that much has been done to fuel continued hatred towards us instead.

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Wynton Marsalis to write opera for the Metropolitan Opera

The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Centre Theatre announced in February the first significant creative collaboration between the fellow residents of the New York arts complex. entitled the Met/LCT Opera/Theatre Commissions Program, it would «provide renowned composers and playwrights/librettists with the financial and creative resources to create and develop new works».

The first project to emerge from the scheme is an opera from trumpeter and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Centre, Wynton Marsalis, and American playwright John Guare. The subject and production date have not been revealed.

note: see the Opera News website for more details.


sweden has appointed new royal singers

sopranos Nina Stemme and Hillevi Martinpelto have been appointed court singers by the Swedish King, Carl XVI Gustaf. both singers were born and raised in Sweden and have gained international acclaim in recent years.

the tradition of court singers dates back to King Gustav III's reign in the 18th century. many eminent Swedish singers have been awarded the title over the years, including Jussi Björling, Birgit Nilsson, Anne Sofie von Otter, Nicolai Gedda and Elisabeth Söderström.

a spokesperson for the Swedish Royal Court explained that the director of the Royal Swedish Opera proposes names to the King, which are discussed internally before a decision is made. the person doesn't have to be a Swedish national but he or she has to be performing regularly in Sweden. it's an honorary title but court singers are frequently asked to perform at royal events.

via gramophone.

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they said what?!

«i never understand the need for a 'live' audience. my music, because of its extreme quietude, would be happiest with a dead one.»
~igor stravinsky, quoted in london magazine, 1967

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the slim(mer) lady'll sing

american soprano Deborah Voigt, who in 2004 was dropped from the title role in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden's production of Ariadne auf Naxos because she was deemed by the venue too large for her costume, a little black dress, has been reappointed to the production for the 2007-2008 season, having lost weight following stomach surgery.



priest drowns trying to replicate jesus walking-on-water fable

physics (again) has trumped religious faith so kids, please do not attempt this at home nor at the seaside.

the daily record and other news outlets and blogs have reported that a priest in libreville, gabon, died last month trying to demonstrate how jesus walked on water.

evangelist preacher franck kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle, but he drowned after walking out to sea from a beach. an eyewitness said that kabele told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water, like jesus.

«he took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the komo estuary, which takes round twenty minutes by boat.»

«he walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.»

one reckons kabele should have started with the water-to-wine trick and slowly worked his way up to water-walking.



the goddess returns

Bookcovers of the UK and US editions of Nigella's Feast
culinary goddess, internationally acclaimed bestselling author, new york times columnist, and television personality nigella lawson returns to US television this autumn in a brand new series based on her best-selling cookery book, feast – food that celebrates life. each episode is to feature a different theme, from major holiday feasts and special occasions to celebrations of small everyday pleasures like midnight snacks and solo meals.

the food network's press release on the series notes:
with her unique and refreshing approach to cooking, nigella's new half hour series, produced by pabulum and pacific productions for food network, will infuse the modern kitchen with her easy elegance and signature style. throughout the first season, nigella will explore such topics as spa snacks, foods for kids that adults can also enjoy, cooking for a crowd, comfort foods and leisurely sunday brunches.

during one episode of nigella feasts, nigella will show viewers how easy it is to prepare meals to pamper themselves, especially if they live alone, with mouth-watering recipes like roast lamb for one and spaghetti alle vongole. in another episode, nigella will illustrate how thrilling it can be to host an unforgettable "girl's night in" with a menu of eggplant and saffron dip, aromatic lamb meat balls, salt and pepper chicken wings, and, for dessert, honeyed figs with greek yogurt and pistachios. she will then explore everyone's favorite indulgence, chocolate, with scrumptious recipes like chocolate guinness cake, chocolate caramel crispy cakes, and alcoholic hot chocolate. finally, for those viewers who are always on the go, nigella will prepare foods they can easily take with them, like meatloaf and pasta salad primavera, which also double as perfect potluck choices for a friend's party.

«the interesting thing about food is that it's both about reality and escape… before you know it, you have made something that seduces people», says nigella.
nigella was deputy literary editor of the sunday times before embarking on a freelance career. she has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the UK's sunday times, evening standard, guardian, daily telegraph, observer, times magazine, and, in the US, gourmet and bon appétit magazines. she originated the restaurant column in the spectator and wrote the food column for british vogue for several years. nigella is also the inspiration behind the successful living kitchen collection brand of cookery and lifestyle products.

the show's premiere is scheduled to air 01 October at 13:00 et.

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four chinese proverbs

  • two good talkers... not worth one good listener.

  • laws control the lesser man... right conduct controls the greater one.

  • the wise man hearkens to his mind... the foolish man to his cronies.

  • at birth we come and at death we go... bearing nothing.

selections from «Chinese Proverbs from Olden Times» © 1956 Peter Pauper Press