The Crisis, The Fox and The Wardrobe

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When I was a wealthy broker I dressed dapper, mode-de-jour

Then some greedy Yankee bastbankers ended all my haute couture.

First a margin call at Barclay’s, next old Lehmann biting dust

Even blue-chips like Armani saw share values slump and bust.

From the penthouse to the poorhouse was a fall that left me bruised

My creditors fought for my Porsche Continue reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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This book is a refreshing departure from more regular coming-of-age stories both in style and approach. Stephen Chobsky takes a literary risk in requiring his readers to follow the narrative in epistolary mode – the central protagonist communicating entirely through his letters to an unnamed confidante. The risk pays off once the reader gets the cadence and language of the first-person writer and from there the voice becomes very natural for both the character and the story.

Clues like Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and the popular practice of boys making music ‘mix-tapes’ for girlfriends, put the action in the early nineties. The wallflower is Charlie, a mid-teen schoolboy without friends until he ventures to approach fellow students Samantha and her gay stepbrother Patrick. Continue reading

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Rand’s mind was conditioned in pre-revolutionary Russia and honed in the USA. Having been witness to the bloody birth of Communism, then migrating to the most capitalistic country on Earth, it is no great leap to understand how her mind works; in a nutshell – Socialist bad, Capitalist good. She built an empirical philosophy based on this (which even enjoyed some popular support for a time) but the obvious flaw to her idealistic cause was its undemocratic core (it favours Meritocracy). Even in plutocratic America such radical thought finds little long-lasting purchase. With the dilution of Communism that has taken place worldwide since the book was published in 1957 her dogma could be considered simplistic, idealistic and impractical. That said, Rand does successfully draw attention to some of the flaws that persist in liberal and socialistic thinking and her arguments towards the acceptance of personal responsibility, self-sufficiency and a high work ethic, are commonly accepted and adopted today.

The setting is a dystopian USA where an undefined event has caused changes that result in a communist-style government. Orwellian pigs govern from Washington and citizens are brainwashed to become almost drone-like. Continue reading

A history lesson

Greece was occupied by the Axis powers until 1945. Some 300,000 Greek civilians perished during the Nazi occupation of Athens alone. The entire populations (or in some cases, the male population only) of scores of towns and villages were executed and those towns razed to the ground. One million Greek children, women and men lived homeless. An estimated 70,000 Greek Jews were transported to the Nazi motherland.

Golden Dawn supportersToday, May 8, 2012, 21 members of the National Socialist Party (Nazi, or Neo-Nazi) were voted into national parliament by Greek citizens. Their leader insisted that members of the press stand as he entered his first news conference where he announced the swastika as their official emblem and Continue reading