Sunday, January 28, 2007

Snow Flakes

Small tourist towns such as South Lake Tahoe, near where I was
fortunate enough to ski with my wife and daughters over the Chirstmas
holidays, can still sustain independent and small businesses such as
the Neighbors Bookstore.

We went there to supplement the books we had bought or borrowed from
libraries back home--one must have alternatives to skiing when snow
pack is insufficient. In the very small but
well-stocked drama section, I was yet again fortunate enough to find and
buy the single copy of Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in The Creative Interpretation of Human Motives that still stood on the half full shelves.

I found this passage particularly apt given how it started:

Science will tell you that no two snowflakes have ever been discovered to be identical. The slightest disturbance in the atmosphere, the direction of the wind, the position of the falling snowflake, will alter the pattern. Thus there is endless variety in their design.  The same law governs us all. Whether one's father is always kind, or only kind occasionally, or kind but once, or never kind, will profoundly affect one's development. And if the paternal kindness coincided with one's happiest and most contented moments, it might pass unrecognized. Every move hinges upon the peculiar circumstances of the given moment. 

There you have it -- lots of philosophy packed into a fragment from one paragraph by Egri, found on a cold snowy night in South Lake Tahoe with no laptop in sight.


For the physics of snow crystals, see here.

Box Office Hit in Iran

Cease Fire 

The Persian (Iranian) box office hit of last year was Tahmineh Milani's Cease Fire.

Auctioning Master Painters' Drawings

Souren Melikian of International Herald Tribune reviews Sotheby's and Christie's recent auction of work by master painters such as Goya, Federico Barocci, Camillo Procaccini, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Aelbert Cuyp, Hans Baldung Grien and Rembrandt: "Old Master drawings have at last fully come into their own as an independent art form. Sadly, this is happening at the very time when they are about to make a final exit from the market."

Goya's young maid sweeping a tavern sold for $1.04 million at Sotheby's.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie

Zarqa Nawaz

U.S. TV broadcasters continue to debate the desirability of Zarqa Nawaz' Little Mosque on the Prairie before showing it to their American audience.

In the meantime, you can find torrents for Little Mosque here. To load these torrents, consider Azureus which has a great Java torrent client fit for various platforms.

Last time I checked, the "swarms" for these torrents were quite large, composed of several hundreds. Most peers were complete and sharing, and download rates were very high. So, the whole thing can probably be down-loaded in less than 1 hour, perhaps in 1/2 an hour if the number of peers continue to be large.

I've included YouTube renditions of the first episode below.

Apparently, this first episode of Nawaz' little sitcom has become the most watched Canadian sitcom episode ever. The ads are mixed in. (The second and third episodes seem to have been broadcast in Canada but cannot yet be found on YouTube.)