Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another violent weekend, another band-aid solution

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's response to another violent weekend in Chicago is police crackdown on Greater Grand Crossing, the neighborhood where most of the weekend homicides and shootings occured. Three of the nine homicides over the weekend and roughly 40 percent of the 32 shootings took place in Greater Grand Crossing.
The mayor credits heavy police presence as a crime deterrant in two other  dangerous areas in the city and apparently believes that patrols by police officers in the roughly 16-square-block area will reduce violence (and bury crime headlines and homicides statistics).
Chicago has reported 52 homicides so far this month, 17 more than August 2011.
Draconian measures, however, do not work nearly as well as the mayor would like. The offenders and gangs will temporarily dissipate or move their operations elsewhere.
Engaging community leaders may be a far more effective and long-lasting crime prevention tactic than deploying heavy police force; legal resources and moral engagement can effectively be used to combat gangs and gang culture, rather than targeting individual offenders.
The mayor, the city, the authorities and the communities should find common ground and share resources, faith and courage to include the criminals themselves as part of the solution.
- TYO / George Zorbas

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Download τhe August 26 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The August 26 Ta Yp' Opsin news roundup podcast (in Greek) available for download:
- Breaking news as it develops
- GOP Tampa convention
- «No Easy Day»
- Shootings and two Armstrongs in the news

-latest news from Greece / Euro-economy weekly watch
- Alawites and Syria’s future
- A year after the fall of Tripoli

Plus, in PART II:
- A naked prince and the spending of European monarchies
- Brain freeze and restricted cultural delicacies
- Blasphemy for some, insult for others
- The snake biter and the lazy postman

Download here:

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Τhe heart of Manhattan vs. Chicago’s South and West sides

The area around the Empire State Building in New York City attracted more news outlets and police officers than tourists and commuters on Friday morning, August 24, after news broke of a shootout near the tourist entrance of the landmark skyscraper.
Chicago, meanwhile, had just emerged from a night of shootings that barely made it to the national news.
A disgruntled women's accessories designer, Jeffrey Johnson, 58, shot his 41 year-old former boss, Steven Ercolino near New York’s most popular tourist attraction before he was killed by police. Nine others were hit by bullets, some possibly fired by police, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a press briefing.
Across Chicago’s South and West sides 19 people were shot from Thursday evening through early Friday morning. The majority of the shootings are attributed to gang rivalries. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not hold a press conference.
Once terrorism -- domestic or otherwise -- was ruled out in the New York shooting and the gunman proved not to be a white supremacist or mass killer, the press provided statistics on workplace violence and moved on to Romney’s comment about birth certificates and Lance Armstrong’s possible loss of seven Tour de France titles.
There are no tourist attractions in Chicago’s six districts where the shootings and murders mainly occur, only vacant city blocks and alienated and afraid residents. Gang violence casualties are reported any given weekend, a war zone like Afghanistan.
Emanuel’s anti-gang strategy seems to be a losing battle; measures like demolitions of empty buildings and citizen brigades policing streets seem radical but are detached, isolated and slow in bearing results.

-Unless gang violence becomes a national issue and true priority of politicians,
-Unless all city residents pressure for solutions and are outraged for every single report of gun casualty,
-Unless the press breaks old habits and focuses on grief and true concern of gang violence,
-Unless bold investments and courageous decisions by aldermen bring change and hope to these neighborhoods

The Midwest’s biggest city will be an active war zone with innocent civilians as the “collateral damage” of raging violence.

- George Zorbas, TYO

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Prince Harry's naked American adventure

A quirky take on a British royal "making it" in America:

"... one of the most enduring cliches in the British media is that if a Briton achieves an American accolade, it is not just a triumph for Briton but Britain. One sees this when a Briton wins an Academy Award ("The British are coming!") and, conversely, when a Briton fails to "break America". This latter occurrence sparks up collective shame and self-deprecation, that old inferiority complex flaring up again with accompanying mockery in the press that Oasis, or Robbie Williams, or whoever had the temerity in the first place to try to make it in America.
But today's subject was never one to be cowed by the risk of humiliation or regret. No sirree bob. So he headed west, with nothing more than a vague dream of good times and a reservation at the Wynn Encore Resort in Las Vegas in his pocket, his pinking face shiny with anticipation. He strolled into the town of bright lights and dashed dreams and, like the cunning neophyte that he is, he pitched himself up at Schwab's Pharmacy or, that is, the modern-day equivalent thereof, a hotel suite riddled with cameraphones, where he would be discovered. And discovered he most certainly was. Because he didn't worry about what others thought, or what tomorrow might hold, or what that stranger was doing in the corner with a mobile phone, this youngster attained the highest accolade in this modern age, one that doesn't capture the zeitgeist – it is the zeitgeist: "PRINCE HARRY NAKED PHOTOS DURING VEGAS RAGER – EXCLUSIVE.
Harry made tmz.com! That taste you taste, Great Britain? That is the taste of validation! The British are com – oh, um. Wait. Let's scratch that one, actually..."

-Hadley Freeman, Prince Harry's naked antics – a triumph for Britain?
The Guardian

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DON'T Do It Yourself!

It's one thing to stage a do-it-yourself renovation on a table, mirror or painting found deep in the weeds of a yard sale.
It's quite another to attempt a repair job on a one-of-a-kind 19 th century fresco by the Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez with a few broad brushstrokes.
Such was the lesson learned by an elderly member of the Santuario de Misericodia churchin Borja, in northeastern Spain. Her handiwork, or lack thereof, was discovered after the painter's granddaughter donated the work, "Ecce Homo," to the archive of religious paintings housed at the Centro de Estudios Borjano, also in Borja. When officials from the center went to examine the work at the church a few weeks ago, they found it was not as Martinez had left it, the U.K.'s Telegraph reported.
The last photo taken of the artwork before any damage was done, in 2010, showed Martinez's intricate brush strokes around the face of Jesus. A photo taken in July by center officials for a catalog of regional religious art showed the painting splattered by white marks, possibly the work of the woman trying to remove paint. The final photo, taken this month after Martinez's relative donated the work, showed broad and thick layers of paint now covering important details in the work, such as the crown of thorns on Jesus' head.
While not a good day for art historians, local officials said the restoration attempt by the woman, said to be in her 80s, was not malicious, just misguided.
Juan Maria Ojeda, the city councilor in charge of cultural affairs, told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that the woman turned herself in and admitted causing the damage when she realized it had "gotten out of hand." He added that the woman, who was not identified, attempted to restore the work with "with good intentions."
-ABC News
(Photo: Centro de Estudios Borjanos)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

GOP's 2012 abortion platform  contradicts Romney's position on abortions

No exceptions for rape, no civil unions for same-sex couples in GOP's platform

"The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed” the draft 2012 anti-abortion platform states and includes support for “a human life amendment to the Constitution."
The committee in charge of the Republican Party’s platform approved the language Tuesday without adding exceptions for rape.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and VP candidate Paul Ryan oppose abortion rights but they would not oppose abortion in instances of rape, their campaign has said.
Delegates rejected calls to include civil unions for same-sex couples in the party platform. The platform calls instead for approval of a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Barbara Ann Fenton of Rhode Island proposed an unsuccessful amendment to recognize civil-union partnerships for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.“Homosexuality is not the biggest thing in the world” for her generation, she said.
Social conservative activist Tony Perkins, a Louisiana delegate and president of the Family Research Council, opposed the idea. “We recognize nature, we recognize history, that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” he said.
The platform document must be approved by the full convention next week.
TYO               Source:AP, LA Times
Here's some GOP spin on the disparity between the Rebublican Party's 2012 anti-abortion platform and Mitt Romney's position: "This is the platform of the Republican Party; it's not the platform of Mitt Romney," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday on MSNBC! "I think as far as the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have and don't share some of the detail on some of those exceptions," Priebus said.

Just a few smirks...

Some of  the funniest(?) jokes from this year's Edinburgh festival fringe. Now remember, comedy is subjective and then there is British humor. No fear of bursting with laughter here.

The top joke:
"You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks." –Stewart Francis
Among the top ten:
"I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister." –Will Marsh
"You know you're working class when your TV is bigger than your book case." – Rob Beckett
"I took part in the sun tanning Olympics - I just got Bronze." – Tim Vine
"I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: 'It's not rocket salad." –Lou Sanders
(this one escapes us)
"My mum's so pessimistic, that if there was an Olympics for pessimism … she wouldn't fancy her chances." –Nish Kumar
The top joke picked up 20% of the votes to win the fifth annual Dave award for the funniest joke of the fringe. About 3,000 people voted for the joke, choosing from 30 which had been gathered by a panel of comedy critics and writers.

Source: The Guardian

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Download τhe August 19 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

Download Τα Υπ’Όψιν podcast 19 Αυγούστου 2012:

Στα Υπ΄’Οψιν της Κυριακής 19 Αυγούστου, μεταξύ άλλων συζητούνται:
Πρώτο Μέρος

-ΗΠΑ Προ-εκλογών συνέχεια: ο Πώλ Ράϋαν,  η  Άϋν Ράντ και η ...μαμά του
-Ελλάδα – Ευρωζώνη:  σημαντικές συζητήσεις εν μέσω διαφωνιών
-Μέση Ανατολή: η κρίση εξαπλώνεται
-Ν.Αφρική: αιματηρή καταστολή εργατικής εξέγερσης – Γιατί τώρα;
-Ασάνζ: προστασία της  ελευθερίας του από ανελεύθερο καθεστώς

Και στο Δεύτερο Μέρος,
-domains που προκαλούν και μια πόλη μόνο για γυναίκες
-e-mails και κατάθλιψη και παραπονεμένοι σερβιτόροι

Τα Υπ’ Οψιν με την Ελενα Σπηλιώτη  και το Γιώργο Ζορμπά. Σχόλια στην επικαιρότητα, συζήτηση εφ’όλης της ύλης και πολλή  μουσική!

Download τhe August 19 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The August 19 Ta Yp' Opsin news roundup podcast available for download:

-Breaking news as it develops
-The Ryan pick - one week later
-Objectivism and the shrine of Ayn Rand

-latest news from Greece / Euro-economy weekly watch
- Political chaos, anguish and a new envoy for Syria
-The anger over the South Africa mine killings
-The Julian Assange extradition saga

Plus, in PART II:
-'F-bombs' and ‘scandalous’ domains
- the most obese and the slimmest U.S. state
- lousy tippers, a city for women and the weirdo on the bus

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, analysis and great music

ChicagoGreekRadio did not broadcast Ta Yp’Opsin podcast at the scheduled time on Sunday August 19 due to technical issues. We apologize - TYO

'F-bomb,' 'sexting' among new Merriam-Webster dictionary words

The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has added "F-Bomb" and "sexting" to its list of new dictionary entries for 2012 along with the likes of "mash-up," "aha moment," (a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition), "cloud computing"(the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet). and "earworm." (An earworm is a song or tune you just can't get our of your head). "Terms like 'man cave,' 'underwater' (when used to describe mortgages) and 'bucket list'" (popularized by the eponymous movie) paint vivid pictures in your mind. They show that English-speakers can be very creative as they describe the world around them," Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski said in a statement posted online. The list also includes the likes of copernicium (a new chemical element) as well as phrases and terms so common you wonder why they need to be defined. Those include "energy drink," "game changer," "gassed," (a slang word meaning drained of energy) and "gastropub." "Systemic risk," is described as "the risk that the failure of one financial institution (as a bank) could cause other interconnected institutions to fail and harm the economy as a whole." The raciest words on the list, of course, are "sexting" and "F-Bomb." "Sexting" is defined as a blend of the words sex and texting, and first came into use in 2007. As most everyone knows, it's the act of sending racy messages or photos by cellphone. We're not going to fully define "F-Bomb," other than to say that the dictionary considers it "a lighthearted and printable euphemism" for something far more offensive. - LA Times

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taste for Caviar

"God Loves Caviar”
The world premiere of Greek director Iannis Smaragdis' 18th-century pirate epic "God Loves Caviar” will take place at the Toronto Film Festival,  Sept. 6-16. The film is based on the real life story of Ioannis Varvakis, an 18th century pirate-come-nobleman famous for selling caviar. Catherine Deneuve stars as Catherine the Great and Ioannis Varvakis is played by Sebastian Koch. John Cleese, Evgeny Stychkin, Olga Sutulova and Juan Diego Botto round out the ensemble cast.

«Ο Θεός αγαπάει το χαβιάρι».
Η νέα ταινία του Γιάννη Σμαραγδή «Ο Θεός αγαπάει το χαβιάρι» θα πραγματοποιήσει τη διεθνή της πρεμιέρα στο Διεθνές Φεστιβάλ Κινηματογράφου του Τορόντο, που θα διεξαχθεί από τις 6 έως τις 16 Σεπτεμβρίου.
Η ταινία είναι βασισμένη στη δράση και το έργο του Ιωάννη Βαρβάκη, πειρατή, ευνοούμενου της Μεγάλης Αικατερίνης της Ρωσίας, και ζάπλουτου από το χαβιάρι.
Ο Γερμανός ηθοποιός Σεμπάστιαν Κοχ υποδύεται  τον Βαρβάκη και η Κατρίν Ντενέβ τη Μεγάλη Αικατερίνη της Ρωσίας.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Manifesto for Psychopaths

Paul Ryan's faith in Ayn Rand 

Paul Ryan's faith in Ayn Rand
When I was a teenager, my American girlfriend at the time gave me Ayn Rand's cult novel Atlas Shrugged to read. It changed her life, she said. It changed mine, too. She was not my girlfriend by the morning. It was the most unpleasant thing I'd ever had the misfortune to read.
As a work of literature, Ayn Rand's cult nocel Atlas Shrugged is drivel, and not simply because it is so up itself with its own perceived radicalism; fundamentally, all propaganda is drivel, even if it is propaganda in a good cause. Rand's cause was to celebrate what she called "the virtue of selfishness", to denigrate the poor as scroungers and to celebrate the muscular individualism of the creative heroes of capitalism. Altruism, she contends, is "complete evil". The question she poses: what would happen if all the bankers and captains of industry went on strike? What would happen if these Atlas-like gods, who hold up the world, decided one day to shrug and refuse to support everyone else? Then the world would be buggered, she contends. Atlas Shrugged is cheap pornography for the nastiest side of capitalism.
The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand," said Mitt Romney's now running mate Paul Ryan four years ago.
He also admitted he made all his interns read Atlas Shrugged, dishing them out as Christmas presents...
Ryan has now predictably backtracked. "I reject her philosophy. It's an atheist philosophy. If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas." By the way, this is the same Thomas Aquinas who insisted that, "Man should not consider his material possession his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need," thus espousing the very collectivism that Rand so loathed.

-Giles Fraser, guardian.co.uk


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Download τhe August 12 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

The August 12 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast news roundup available for download:

-Breaking news as it develops
-Romney’s bold and risky V.P. pick
-America's deadly mix of race, guns and madness

-latest news from Greece / Euro-economy weekly watch
-can/should the U.S. end Syria’s war?
-Egypt’s Sinai problem

-the 2012 Olympic Games’ final day
champions and underachievers of the Games

Plus, in PART II:
-white lies, stressed men and “motherly" figures
-social media woes and WOWs
-texting sheep and sweet-tooth bears

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, interviews and great music!

Τα Υπ’Όψιν 12 Αυγούστου 2012:

Στο πρώτο μέρος:

-Τελευταίες ειδήσεις
- Η παράτολμη επιλογή του Μιτ Ρόμνεϋ
- Αμερική 2012: Το θανάσιμο μείγμα των όπλων, των φυλών και της σύγχισης

-Ελλάδα και ευρω-οικονομία: εβδομαδιαίες εξελίξεις

-Μπορούν οι ΗΠΑ να σταματήσουν τον πόλεμο στη Συρία;
-Η Αίγυπτος και το πρόβλημα του Σινά

-Ολυμπιακοί 2012: τελευταία μέρα. Ποιοί τα κατάφεραν, ποιοί όχι και πόσο αξίζει ένα μετάλλιο
-Ελβετία, Μεξικό και Πακιστάν: τί έχουν κοινό ( και δεν είναι καλό...)

Και ακόμα, στο δεύτερο μέρος,

-Αθώα ψέμματα, στρεσσαρισμένοι άντρες και μητρικές φιγούρες
-Τα καλά και τα άσχημα των κοινωνικών μήντια
-Πρόβατα που στέλνουν
SMS, αρκούδες και μπύρες

Τα Υπ’ Οψιν με την Ελενα Σπηλιώτη  και το Γιώργο Ζορμπά. Σχόλια στην επικαιρότητα, συζήτηση εφ’όλης της ύλης και πολλή, πολλή μουσική!

August 12 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast

Listen this Sunday, August 12 Ta Yp' Opsin podcast news roundup:

-Breaking news as it develops
-Romney’s bold and risky V.P. pick
-America's deadly mix of race, guns and madness

-latest news from Greece / Euro-economy weekly watch
-can the U.S. end Syria’s war?
-Egypt’s Sinai problem

-the 2012 Olympic Games’ final day
champions and underachievers of the Games

Plus, in PART II:
-white lies, stressed men and “motherly" figures
-social media woes and WOWs
-texting sheep and sweet-tooth bears

Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas,  Sunday, August 12 from 10:00 p.m. to midnight (CST) at www.chicagogreekradio.com.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The euroTemptations of Angela Merkel as the Economist sees them.

For all you know, Angela Merkel is even now contemplating how to break up the euro. Surely Germany’s long-suffering chancellor must be tempted, given the endless euro-bickering over rescues that later turn out to be inadequate. How she must tire of fighting her country’s corner, only to be branded weak by critics at home. How she must resent sacrificing German wealth, only to be portrayed as a Nazi in some of the very countries she is trying to rescue.

- The Economist      http://www.economist.com/node/21560269

Monday, August 6, 2012

First Ever for Cyprus

Cyprus has won its first ever Olympic medal after Pavlos Kontides took silver in the London Games in the single-handed Laser sailing class.

Πρώτο ιστορικό μετάλλιο για την Κύπρο σε Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες στο άθλημα της ιστιοπλοϊας. Ο Παύλος Κοντίδης κατέκτησε στο Λονδίνο το ασημένιο μετάλλιο στην κατηγορία Laser.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The August 5th podcast now available for download

The August 5th podcast now available for download:
Ta Yp’Opsin (Consider These) weekly podcast with Greek Chicago journalists Elena Spilioti and George Zorbas. Discussion, interviews and great music.

This week:

The shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin
Troika and Greece
U.S, elections prediction models
Syria crisis and al Qaeda revival
“Honor” killings
Review of the 2012 London Olympics,
Health report
A Utah town for sale, California bankrupt cities
An amorous bull in Arkansas and teddy bears scandal in Belarus!

Τα Υπ’ Οψιν, εβδομαδιαίο podcast με την Ελενα Σπηλιώτη  και το Γιώργο Ζορμπά. Σχόλια στην επικαιρότητα, συζήτηση εφ’όλης της ύλης και πολλή, πολλή μουσική!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


The Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, Japan. The remnants of a building destroyed by the world's first atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945, is lighted up. Hiroshima commemorates the 67th anniversary of the bombing with attendance of Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of President Harry Truman, who ordered the bombing. (Photo: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA).

Second Bronze Medal for Greece

Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou won the second bronze medal for Greece in the women's rowing lightweight double sculls on Saturday at the London Olympic Games.

Δεύτερο μετάλλιο της ελληνικής αποστολής στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες στο Λονδίνο,  χάλκινο, από την Αλεξανδρα Τσιάβου και την Χριστίνα Γιαζιτζίδου. Το πρώτο χάλκινο κατέκτησε ο Ηλίας Ηλιάδη στο τζούντο. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ANNAN RESIGNS: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/02/world/meast/syria-annan-resign/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Diplomatic save-face to change policy on Syria? Unavoidable recognition of one more international organizations gaffe? Or, is the new Syrian government ready yet ? See also comment on sovereignty below.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Μπράβο στον Ηλία Ηλιάδη για το χάλκινο μετάλλιο στα 90κ στο τζούντο. Δεν είναι λίγο, ειδικά με τις δυσκολίες που αντιμετωπίζει ο αθλητισμός στην Ελλάδα λόγω κρίσης.

Κι ας είναι και χάλκινο...

Πρώτο μετάλλιο για την Ελλάδα, χάλκινο από τον Ηλία Ηλιάδη στην κστηγορία -90kg του τζούντο, στους Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του Λονδίνου!

Iliadis wins first medal for Greece

First medal for Greece in the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 1st. Ilias Iliadis landed bronze in judo's -90 kg category.
The Greek judoka, 2004 Olympic gold medalist and Greece's flagbearer in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, dedicated his medal to his son, Iraklis.

Gore Vidal in Quotes

Celebrated author, satirist and political commentator Gore Vidal has died, aged 86. He was famed for his biting political critiques and his acerbic take on American society. Here are some of his best quotes.

Gore Vidal... on US politicians
"The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country - and we haven't seen them since."

On the US electorate
"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half."

On his campaign to become a US Senator in 1982
"I'm part of the furniture. I've been on TV for over 30 years. And look what TV did for Ronald Reagan. It's all a bit chilling."

On Ronald Reagan
"He is not clear about the difference between Medici and Gucci. He knows Nancy wears one of them"

On the press
"A writer must always tell the truth, unless he is a journalist."

On art and politics
"There is something about a bureaucrat that does not like a poem."

On secrets
"When anyone says to me, 'Can you keep a secret?' I say, 'Why should I, if you can't?'"

On punishment
"I'm all for bringing back the birch, but only between consenting adults."

On style
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn."

On looks
"A narcissist is someone better looking than you are."

On adolescence
"Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults."

On jealousy
"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."

On sexuality
"There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices."

On procreation
"Never have children, only grandchildren."

On his arch-rival, writer Norman Mailer
"You know, he used the word 'existential' all the time, to the end of his life, and never even learned what it meant. I heard Iris Murdoch once at dinner explain to Norman what existential meant, philosophically. He was stunned."

On Truman Capote
"A Republican housewife from Kansas with all the prejudices."

On F Scott Fitzgerald
"I like best what he leaves out of The Great Gatsby. A unique book. Incidentally, I think screenwriting taught him a lot. But who cares what he wrote? It is his life that matters. Books will be written about him long after his own work has vanished - again and again we shall be told of the literary harvest god who was devoured at summer's end in the Hollywoods."

On ageing
"At a certain age, you have to live near good medical care — if, that is, you're going to continue. You always have the option of not continuing, which, I fear, is sometimes nobler."

On the secret to a happy life
"Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television."

On the human condition
"There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise."


Celebrated Author Gore Vidal Dies at 86

Gore Vidal, the author, playwright, politician and commentator whose vast and sharpened range of published works and public remarks were stamped by his immodest wit and unconventional wisdom, died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia at age 86 in Los Angeles.
He was widely admired as an independent thinker about literature, culture, politics and, as he liked to call it, "the birds and the bees." He picked apart politicians, living and dead; mocked religion and prudery; opposed wars from Vietnam to Iraq and insulted his peers like no other.
Vidal also bewildered his fans by saying the Bush administration likely had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks; that the U.S. would eventually be subservient to China, "The Yellow Man's Burden." Saul Bellow stated that "a dune of salt has grown up to season the preposterous things Gore says.
His works included hundreds of essays, the best-selling novels "Lincoln" and "Myra Breckenridge" and the Tony-nominated play "The Best Man," a melodrama about a presidential convention revived on Broadway in 2012. Vidal appeared cold and cynical on the surface, dispassionately predicting the fall of democracy, the American empire's decline or the destruction of the environment. But he bore a melancholy regard for lost worlds, for reason and the primacy of the written word, for "the ancient American sense that whatever is wrong with human society can be put right by human action."
Vidal had an old-fashioned belief in honor, but a modern will to live as he pleased. He wrote in the memoir "Palimpsest" that he had more than 1,000 "sexual encounters," nothing special, he added, compared to the pursuits of such peers as John F. Kennedy and Tennessee Williams. Vidal was fond of drink and alleged that he had sampled every major drug, once. He never married and for decades shared a scenic villa in Ravello, Italy, with companion Howard Austen.

Ta Yp' Opsin  (source: AP)