“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein

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Yesterday night I finished Heinlein’s famous sci-fi work, “Stranger in a Strange Land”. That’s a classic of the genre, and I can well understand why: solid story, powerful themes, and well balanced angle positioned right between a visionary approach and a more down-to-earth critique to modern society.

To be honest though, the reading of the book took me too many weeks. The plot was not enough catchy at times, and some parts of the story did not absorbed me that much. Still, I enjoyed the kind of hippy twist that the book took in the second half, reminding how much the author was a unconventional 60s liberal, right? Sci-fi was so funny back then.

So, I hope to check more things from this author, to give a more definite opinion.  

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Il Capodanno Cinese di Alberto Vertighel – Parte I

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“Another year is over…” cantava il buon vecchio Lennon. Eh già, un altro anno che se ne va, e stavolta dalla prospettiva Cinese. Noi siamo freschi freschi di 2014, ma questa settimana sono i nostri amici cinesini ad entrare in un nuovo anno lunare. E questa è la volta dell’anno del CAVALLO, a seguito di una discreta annata del Coniglio. 

Come descrivere il Capodanno cinese in pillole? Grossomodo: ritorno di massa nelle campagne, botti, lanterne rosse, dumpling e… CIBO, CIBO…

Come trascorrerà Alberto questa settimana di festa? Per oggi si è limitato a un giro in moto nei dintorni, avvistando in serata un barbone che sgarfava nei rifiuti in cerca di cibo, mentre il resto della popolazione locale si preparava a sontuosi banchetti. 

Per cena, pasto essenziale a base di Tangyuan, dumpling dolci ripieni di sesamo. Stasera Shanghai è quanto mai tranquilla, un’ atmosfera anomala: negozi chiusi, ma le strade messe a ferro e fuoco dai botti di capodanno.

Ah, chicca linguistica: la fase più in voga di questi giorni è proprio ‘ma shang you qian’, cioè l’augurio ‘i soldi arrivano subito’. Che ha un doppio senso: sul cavallo ci sono soldi. Questo spiega l’invasione di pupazzetti a forma di cavallo, con delle banconote attaccate in groppa!  

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Twilight records – “Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen, 1982

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I always got a special fascination with gloomy, poorly recorded and worn out albums, especially those put out by big rock’n roll stars in cryptic moments of their career.

In 1982, Bruce Springsteen, “the Boss” of American rock, was at the apex of his career.

“Born to Run”, published with the E-Street band in 1975, projected him to solid stardom, followed by other smashing successes until the acclaim of “The River” (1980).

When everyone’s eyes were on Springsteen’s next move, the boss basically locked himself in his room and recorded a demo of plain acoustic songs on a cassette tape recorder.

 

After attempts on re-recording this act with a louder rock formula through a rock band, the record label gave up, and decided to publish Bruce’s original bedroom demos.  

 

Nebraska is one of the coldest and less populated states of the American States.

Accordingly, the record sound is grave, hypnotic and monotonous. A reflection of Springsteen 1982’s own introspections possibly, and a signpost for the political tones given by the characters that populate this disturbing record.  

 

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Awesome Asian Movies – “Love Exposure” di Sono Sion (2008)

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In tema di cinema asiatico, vorrei consigliare “Love Exposure”, che dopo anni di ricerche ho avuto occasione di trovare qui a Shanghai! Il film e’ una monumentale maratona di 4 ore, puro cinema surreale contemporaneo giapponese >.< Mai noioso e non-sense, ma godibilissimo: vale la pena procurarselo.
Il film affronta temi come il fanatismo religioso & la crisi dei valori della societa' del Sol Levante, ma con uno swing quasi felliniano 😮

Ovviamente consiglio la visione in due round: 2 ore + 2 ore. Assolutamente da non perdere.

First post: “Vertigine”, the Blog of Alberto Vertighel. From Shanghai~

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Dear all, this first post in English is a short declaration of intents, to present the contents that will be shared through this blog. I plan to manage this page with both Italian and English contents, to make sure friends and followers from all over the world can appreciate the little stories and sparks that hopefully will be hosted here.

About our title: “Vertigine” is an Italian word, meaning simply vertigo: a sensation of dizziness caused by a disorder of the sense of balance.

Having clarified on this.. I guess this blog will focus on Alberto Vertighel’s interests and activities, including the following:

-Books, stories, reading & writing (From science-fiction to beyond)
-Our new project, Nuova Sproll: a collective of young writers in Naples and Shanghai
-Movies, music, the arts, food, communication
-China, Shanghai & the Far East
-World travelling
-Quirky facts and news, and everything worth sharing

Keep you posted! And do not hesitate to contact me in private too.

Ciao

A.V.

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