Playing With Fire

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(by Lawrence O’Donnell) (2017) Our favourite book on the incredible 1968 Presidential election remains the superb and impartial work by visiting British journalists, An American Melodrama. But this work by leftie Lawrence is a terrific read, once you learn to shut-out the partisan noise swirling about every chapter.  There’s nothing new here except the charge of treason by Nixon over the Anna Chennault affair, which O’Donnell mines from a book by the almost equally, but less noisily, partial John A. Farrell. [For his Book Richard Nixon: The Life, Farrell has read Haldeman’s notes of conversations with Tricky Dick and implies…

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Taming Toxic People (by David Gillespie)

Psycho!
(Image by Suma Iyer)

Psycho! (Image by Suma Iyer)

(The science of identifying & dealing with psychopaths at work & at home) (2017) David Gillespie is neither a dietician, nor a psychiatrist.  And yet he warns us against sugar* and against psychopaths, the latter being the slightly less dangerous of the two, it seems. Gillespie points out that the term “psychopath”  is not defined in DSM, (the book of psychiatric diagnoses), “Antisocial Personality Disorder”  being the closest thing to it, a term which makes one think of Banksy, rather than Ivan Milat.  But Gillespie likes the word ‘psychopath’ – it’s colourful and it’s useful shorthand for “Someone Like Ted Bundy or Idi Amin But Not Necessarily a Murderer”. A psychopath, Gillespie says,…

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Russian Futurism

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(by Vladimir Markov) (1969) Markov quotes Nikolai Lossky: “Ideas are not thoughts, they are a special kind of reality.”  Isms we can sneer at, at least as soon as their individual shells are rent and the flesh within wastes. Futurism was an avant-garde conceit borne from impressionism, via the blind alley of ‘Ego-Futurism,’ and turned to something even vaguer by Marinetti, who came like a royal progress to Moscow and made something of a fool of himself. The ‘manifesto’ was nothing of the sort, really – a hatred of all things old, a desire for all things new, it represented stunning narrow-mindedness…

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Embroidered Garden Flowers by Kazuo Aoki

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Roost Books (to be published in January 2018). In the twenty-first century, while the traditional embroidery styles sashiko (“little stabs”) and nihon shishu (ornate symbolic stitchery), have continued to enchant and engross stitchers, there has also developed a less-stylised kind of Japanese decorative stitching. This popular kind of embellishment is more varied than the darning-style stitching of sashiko and less painstaking than the fine satin-stitch of nihon shishu. One category of modern Japanese embroidery often features ‘kawaii’ figures in stem and outline stitch – animals, people, household implements – and is popularly used on children’s clothing. Another school focuses on the botanical – landscapes, plants,…

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The Lawyer in the Freezer (Part II)

August 25, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | AUSTRALIANIA, CRIME, Non-Fiction |
Szach

Unley Town Hall, 24 August 2017 We have written previously on this strange case: see our earlier piece here. The Varnished Culture had a representative at this lecture by Tom Mann, re-visiting his book on the Stevenson / Szach case.           There’s not not too much new in Mann’s thesis: the forensic evidence as to time of death is wobbly – the distance travelled by Szach to Coober Pedy overnight is inconsistent with his presence about the time of the killing – the execution-style and surfeit of possible suspects – the dodgy identification evidence – the…

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