Karel Čapek is remembered today for his popularization of the word “robot,” actually first used by his brother Josef in his short story “Opilec” (1917) and used by Karel in R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots, which was first produced in Prague in January, 1921. The word is from the Czech robota, meaning compulsory service or work. Popularizing this word, however, was certainly not Čapek’s most notable professional achievement. A deeply philosophical man, professionally trained as a philosopher, Čapek was the first Czech writer to attract a broad international audience for his works, particularly for his expressionist drama, which has been translated into many languages and has been performed all over the world.
A versatile intellectual, Čapek, during his years on the staff of Lidové noviny, the most influential Czech newspaper, demonstrated by the excellence of his writing that journalism can be an art. He wrote on a broad range of subjects, from Persian rugs to gardening to drama and art. Čapek was also an incisive political thinker who wrote stirring political essays, but his political sentiments achieve a more universal expression in his plays and novels, particularly in such plays as R.U.R., The Insect Play, and Power and Glory and in the novels of his trilogy comprising Hordubal, Meteor, and An Ordinary Life. His novel most familiar to English-speaking audiences is The War with the Newts, which builds directly on much of the social criticism found in R.U.R. and in The Insect Play and which presents one of the earliest direct literary attacks on Hitler. His trilogy has attracted considerable interest for its manner of dealing with the infinite diversity of the human personality.
Born in Beaumont on Feb. 23, 1944, John Dawson Winter III grew up comfortably middle class, the son of a cotton broker-turned-building contractor.
He took music lessons and sang in the church choir. At 10 or 11, he was transfixed by what he heard on a black radio station that was a favorite of the family’s maid.
“It was real raw,” he recalled, “completely different than the music my parents and grandparents listened to. I started listenin’ to blues on KJET because I liked what I heard in the kitchen.”
Doing a ukulele act, Johnny and Edgar won a local contest that qualified them to audition in New York for “Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour.” The judges were unimpressed.
As he got older, Winter played clubs around his hometown. After two years at Lamar State College, he quit, heading for Chicago to sing the blues. Within a few months, he was back in Texas, performing at bars and recording on small labels.
Still an unknown, he drew the attention of Rolling Stone, which featured him in a 1968 story on the Texas music scene: “Imagine a 130-pound cross-eyed albino bluesman with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest blues guitar you have ever heard.”
This book pretty much sums up the current cutting edge approach to presentations – honesty, passion and preparation. External appearance doesn’t matter so much as authenticity.
There are also tips on how to organize a presentation. For example, define an enemy or problem and show the audience how your idea overcomes the problem. Also create an a-ha moment that the audience can take home with them mentally.
Along the way, the book also discusses the correct use of slide images and text behind you and the correct use of props. Lots more in this one – check it out.
Nadine Gordimer, the South African writer whose literary ambitions led her into the heart of apartheid to create a body of fiction that brought her a Nobel Prize in 1991, died on Sunday in Johannesburg. She was 90.
Her family announced her death in a statement.
Ms. Gordimer did not originally choose apartheid as her subject as a young writer, she said, but she found it impossible to dig deeply into South African life without striking repression. And once the Afrikaner nationalists came to power in 1948, the scaffolds of the apartheid system began to rise around her and could not be ignored.
“I am not a political person by nature,” Ms. Gordimer said years later. “I don’t suppose, if I had lived elsewhere, my writing would have reflected politics much, if at all.”
But whether by accident of geography or literary searching, she found her themes in the injustices and cruelties of her country’s policies of racial division, and she left no quarter of South African society unexplored, from the hot, crowded cinder-block neighborhoods and tiny shebeens of the black townships to the poolside barbecues, hunting parties and sundowner cocktails of the white society.
How can I just read all the articles in a specific issue of my favorite journal, magazine or newspaper? (‘cos normally you gotta do keywords and can’t see, like, the May 2011 issue of Bicycling Magazine)
Daniel Keyes, best known for the classic short story and book Flowers For Algernon has died. All Daniel Keyes books here. It’s sci-fi, young adult, and just plain shows the power of writing to play with ideas.
Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old bakery worker with an intellectual disability who is chosen for an experimental operation to increase his intelligence. A white mouse named Algernon had undergone the procedure and had become intelligent enough to solve mazes much faster than Charlie.