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The TPR Stream - June 2013


A Visit to Papa: Hemingway's Reading List for a Young Writer By Ernest Hemingway


It was the Great Depression. 1934. The kid had just graduated from University of Minnesota. The degree cost 5 dollars. He didn’t pay for it. Instead he hopped the rails to Key West in search of a writer. The writer he was searching for was Ernest Hemingway.


A View from the Rising Vltava By Shaan Joshi


It was around 5pm on Sunday under an increasingly heavy rain that I surveyed the swollen Vltava. The rain was one that wet the clothes in mere moments and normally commanded a person to find shelter as soon as possible lest one is content walking in the puddle of their own shoes. In spite of this – or because of it – a crowd of people gathered at the rising Vltava.


Back in the U.S.S.R.: Soviet Era Anti-Alcohol Posters By The Editors

It's hard to believe there was a time in human history when governments would try to ban booze. GMOs. Fracking. Tar sands oil. A complete takeover of representative governments by economic interests. Even Justin Bieber. All fine. They’re just a few things detrimental to human health that have been allowed to exist largely unabated. Booze on the other hand gets a bad rap. A rap that coincidentally makes from some good art. The following are just a sample of the many fine and interesting anti-alcohol posters from the Soviet Union.


The Fish Camp Dogs and the Necessity of Forgiveness By Douglas Arvidson


There are three of them and they’re an ugly bunch—mangy, currish, and tough; short-legged tropical mongrels banded together in a pack guarding a fish camp. They snap and snarl as we pass by on our morning walk along the grass-covered road that skirts the reef. But my dog Arlo, tall, leggy, and fast, shows no fear. He rushes in among them, dodging and leaping and answering snarl with snarl, fang with fang. Still, all the vicious fury seems to signify nothing; there is no damage done and when I raise my voice to call them off, they skulk away, tails down and wagging.



Because It's 5 O'clock Somewhere: George R.R. Martin Loves that You Hate the Red Wedding By The Editors


An event occurred on Sunday that caused such a depression that it threatened to ruin marriages, impale careers and  at least in one person exacerbated an already increasing addiction to huffing computer duster. No, this wasn’t the world’s atmosphere passing the point of no return with greenhouse gases. Nor was it the reaction to the NSA spaying scandal that we warned you about last month. It wasn’t even the use of chemical weapons in Syria. It was Game of Thrones. More specifically the Red Wedding. Or as one internet commentator said, “the reason your nerdy friends were depressed thirteen years ago.” If you haven’t read the books or seen Sunday’s show don’t click on this. Get off your computer, go stare at a wall, and contemplate horrible things.


On the Weather By Jerome K. Jerome


With all the crazy weather in and around Prague, what better time to revisit Jerome K. Jerome's classic essay On the Weather.


Private Parts: From 1984 to 2013 By The Editors


Following news of widespread US mining of phone and internet records, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have skyrocketed. The connections are obvious. Orwell’s tale of a surveilled dystopia with its telescreens and Newspeak draw easy parallels with superfluous government monitoring and shadowy programs with acronyms like PRISM. But in a world where people tweet from breakfast to bowel movement how much can we really complain about intrusion into a private life that we increasingly live in public spheres?


Oh the Dutch: A Survey of Book Mountain By Anne Brechin


Oh the Dutch. The lovely, amazing, crazy, tulip-growing, bicycle-riding, cannabis-smoking Dutch. With their perfect command of English and their entirely gay police force (that might not actually be true, but in my defence my childhood TV was entirely saturated with sketches like this). What other nation is perfectly placed to quietly and unobtrusively create a library consisting of an enormous pyramid of books? You can imagine them doing it on a lazy Sunday afternoon, leaving the canals to the tourists for a few hours while they construct a ziggurat of literature, just to amuse themselves.


The Vindication of Oscar Wilde By Vishwas Gaitonde


I frequently work out on a treadmill. I like to walk on it rather than jog, but I vary the speed and the incline. Sweat beads on my forehead and trickles down my face and the back of my neck, but at the end it makes for good, invigorating exercise. But I can never finish a treadmill session without thinking of Oscar Wilde’s workout; Wilde was on the treadmill every day for punishment, not exercise. And punishment it was, a severe one, for Wilde had led a life of ease and pleasure, liberally laden with creature comforts.


How the World Is Getting Better: 200 Countries. 200 Years. 4 Minutes. By The Editors


Income inequality across and within countries. Mortality rates. Colonization. Emerging economies. Extreme poverty. For all the doom and gloom  it's getting better. Watch the entire world and its economic past and future explained in beautifully illustrated statistic detail by the inimitable Hans Rosling to see how.


I Love You...Whenever...Forever: A Father Writes His Son By Mutulu Shakur


On the night of June 16th, 1996, a man named Mutulu Shakur sat down in a jail cell at a federal penitentiary to write a letter. It was Father’s Day and he just received news that his son, Tupac Shakur, had been shot in Las Vegas. It was a gunshot wound that would prove fatal. The elder Shakur wrote to his son. He wrote to the strength of the human spirit and the limits of grief. Tupac Shakur would have been 42 years-old yesterday.


The Books at Guantanamo Are Better than Buzzfeed By The Editors


Life’s full of its daily obstacles whether it’s work, relationships, family or just the struggles of being. These are the battles of attrition that we face each day. Some of us do it with a smile or a coffee. Others with narcotics and women’s lingerie. We at TPR prefer a drink to accompany that 5 o’clock whistle. That’s what Cary Grant used to do anyways, and that man was a trained acrobat who was able to successfully escape four marriages. It is our reaction to these daily challenges that eventually define a life. Within these daily battles we often lose time for things we once enjoyed (and still do). It leads to people saying things like, “I never have time to read. Well, anything that isn’t Buzzfeed anyways.” Well, we have a solution dear reader. Visit lovely Guantanamo Bay. You’ll have plenty of time to read. The best part? The prison library.


George Carlin's 15 Laws to Live By By George Carlin


Some people’s rules are dictated by their failures. Others by religion. George Carlin’s rules are dictated, well, by George Carlin. Culled from Brain Droppings—one of Carlin’s many classic comedy albums—and provided for your perusal are 15 rules to live by. After all, as the man said himself: “I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.”


Paranoia: Chemtrails Give You Brain Fever By Scott Archer Jones


To meet one of the Illuminati is unlikely, because they either don't exist or you can't afford to hang out in their restaurants and hotels. To meet one of the Chemtrail Hawkers is also unlikely, because they don't come out of their rooms except to carry away dead pizza boxes. Consider their unavailability a good thing. Of all the conspiracy theorists in the world, the Chemtrail Hawkers have the worst hygiene. Not only do they exude paranoia sweat, but they emit a fine spray of saliva, atomized out into the room, that coalesces into little clouds of humidity obstructing clear vision.


Because It's 5 O'clock Somewhere: How to Create James Bond By The Editors


Start with mommy issues. Move into a beleaguering alcoholism. Evolve an ability to evade bullets as if they've developed an allergy. Throw in a couple olives and a tan, and you've got yourselves James Bond. That and steal the name from a series of ornithological books. In order to know how to create Bond, you must know something of the man who created him. Watch Sir Ian Fleming himself explain how to create one of the most memorable characters from the twentieth century. (Insert shaken not stirred segue here).


A New Kind of Character: Tony Soprano and the Death of James Gandolfini By Andrew Umstead


Some words on the passing of Gandolfini and his greatest creation, including a look at some classic Tony Soprano moments. Also, ducks. 


A Lion Roars in Africa By Shaan Joshi


As Nelson Mandela lays in critical condition, editor Shaan Joshi examines a legacy filled with both violence and peace. 


John Steinbeck's Advice to a Young Writer By John Steinbeck


In a letter addressed directly to you, dear reader, Steinbeck offers important words on how to get started. Grab a sheet of paper and take some cues from a master.


Used to It: Thoughts of a Lebanese Expat By Petra Antevasin


On the eve of a return to the chaotic land that birthed her, TPR contributor Petra Antevasin explores national identity and just what it means to return to a home that feels anything but welcoming. Catholic or Muslim. Hijab or no hijab. Violence or no violence. This is Petra Antevasin's Used to It: Thoughts of a Lebanese Expat.



Because It's 5 O'clock Somewhere: The Animated Foster Wallace By Anne Brechin


Blank on Blank, a multimedia nonprofit which curates interviews, is currently running a joint series with PBS Digital Studios to enliven old or lost interviews with new animation. Luckily for us, they chose to give David Foster Wallace’s 1996 interview with Leonard Lopate to animator Patrick Smith. The result is beautiful animations which seem a very fitting tribute to an awesome writer and thinker.

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