Irina Werning's ingeniously simple pairing of the old and the re-enacted send wayward shivers down my spinal cord. Childhood moments captured all over the world, often at sites of historical change, are recaptured decades later. Proves that shutter speed divided by decade can have pretty moving results.
New York Times bestseller The Compass of Pleasure (written by neuroscientist David Linden) explores the neurology, biology and primacy of one of the most clandestine spaces of the human anatomy - the brain. More specifically, the way in which we feel pleasure and why. After all, pleasure-seeking seems to be a vice as well as virtue in the human experience. Our desire and lust for the feel-good factor takes us on great journeys, often dark.
For Linden, it all started in Bangkok, one fragrant evening in 1989.
Bangkok, 1989. The afternoon rains have ended, leaving the early evening air briefly free of smog and allowing that distinctive Thai perfume, frangipani with a faint note of sewage, to waft over the shiny streets. I hail a tuk-tuk, a three-wheel motorcycle taxi, and hop aboard. My young driver has an entrepreneurial smile as he turns around and begins the usual interrogation of male travelers.
"So . . . you want girl?"
"I see." Long pause, eyebrows slowly raised. "You want boy!"
Longer pause. Sound of engine sputtering at idle. "You want ladyboy?"
"No," I answer, a bit more emphatically, nonplussed at the idea that I give the impression of desiring this particular commodity.
"I got cheap cigarettes . . . Johnnie Walker . . ."
Undaunted, he moves on to the next category of his wares, now with lowered voice.
"You want ganja?"
"Ya baa [methamphetamine tablets]?"
A whisper now. "Heroin?"
Voice raised back to normal. "I can take you to cockfight. You can gamble!"
Just a little bit irritated now. "So, farang, what you want?"
"Prik kee noo," I respond. "Those little 'mouse shit' peppers. I want some good, spicy dinner."
A tot of whiskey, a drunken tossle for the best spot on a balcony at the 2010 Durban July and an 18 month court case - that's the nightmarish order of events for betting agent and 'ordinary guy' Daryl Peense since an unfortunate slip of the hand. He's better known as the dude who accidently spilled his drink on President Jacob Zuma, and has virtually become a national criminal and reluctant public enemy Number One overnight. Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time. After beng escorted off the racecourse, cable-tied and wedged between two BMW X5s, 'the Zuma Drink Spiller' became not only a failed assasin, but proof of the lunacy and power-trips that govern our country and its still-divided people.
'That's my president, you white bastard', a policeman snarled at Peense during his arrest.
South Africa never fails to entertain when it comes to law and justice, propelling ordinary men into countrywide notoriety for clumsy mishaps, while billions in corrupt dealings, fraud and fuckery continue blithely on. Here's an idea for a news house in SA: The Daily Chuckle.
HBO has a quota to meet in every one-hour episode of the acclaimed fantasy series Game of Thrones. A spilling of guts, a well-lit sex scene, a bare breast here or there, and a few cuss words thrown into the dialogue - there, done.
Despite being what some might call gratuitous, explicit and downright shocking, the series has a touch of humanity aside from the macarbre. Not since Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings have I been so enthralled by a screen adaptation of a fantasy novel. Maybe it's all the girl power. First Arwen escapes the Black Riders in Fellowship, and now, for the first time in television history, mail-order bride Daenerys Targaryen eats the heart of a stallion all on her own. Fierce.
Maybe I didn't write because I've had nothing much to prove lately. Bin Laden kicked the bucket. Wall Street got raided. Malema announced his love for the whites. An anarchist swore on the radio. I did none of these.
Scarlett Johansson isn't the first high-profile celebrity to have had nude photos illegally released onto the Internet. Cell phone hacking syndicates are responsible for leaking personal photographs of at least 50 other female celebs.
Despite having shown skin in movie roles and posed for Playboy, Scarlett has never been seen fully nude onscreen, let alone in her private quarters without the help of make-up or clever camera angles. The photos aren't terribly unflattering, but the leak may have done the actress more damage than simply a little public shame. She has threatened to sue any publication that publishes the compromising photos from now onwards. Too late, Scarlett. Even you can't curb that right-click-and-save phenomenon.
American novelist and Nobel Prize Laureate, Sinclair Lewis, was invited to talk to some students about the craft of writing. Standing before the enthusiastic group of undergraduates, he asked: “How many of you here are really serious about being writers?” A sea of hands shot up. Lewis then asked, “Well, why aren't you all home writing?”
Maybe the following mysteries of life are nothing but rhetorical questions. Still, they baffle me every time.
Why ith the word 'lisp' tho hard to prounounth? That's cruel of you, English language.
Why does toast always land buttered side up?
If they know me by name at the gym, does it mean I'm getting fitter?
Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Why do women go to the restroom in pairs?
And why are people always quiet in elevators? And why do they look up at the ceiling? I guess it's because it goes up and down, and that's entertaining. And mirrors in elevators - don't get me started on those. It's like a doppelganger invasion, except awkward.