Saturday, December 10, 2005

From a review of The Hall of a Thousand Columns by Tim Mackintosh-Smith: "Few writers have the talent to pull off a notable trilogy in any genre. In travel writing, only Patrick Leigh Fermor springs to mind, and he is still at work on the third volume about a walk he made across Europe in the 1930s."

In 2003, I wrote:

"Speaking of amazing lives of English travel writers, when is Patrick Leigh Fermor going to come out with his third installment of his account of hoofing it from Holland to Istanbul prior to World War II? That guy had better hurry up. He's approaching 80..."

This only comes up because I recently met Bader Ben Hirsi, a young British director who just made the first film ever to come out of Yemen, A New Day in Old Sana'a, which I saw just a few days ago when in had its international premiere at the Cairo Film Festival.

What I really want to get my hands on is Ben Hirsi's first firm, called The English Sheikh and the Yemeni Gentlemen, in which the director is guided through his ancestral homeland by Tim Mackintosh-Smith the eccentric Oxford-educated travel writer who now lives in Yemen, dresses like a local and chews qat all day. He's the English sheikhl; Ben Hirsi, born and raised in London to ex-royal Yemeni exiles, is obviously the Yemeni gentleman.
Talking Narnia to Your Neighbors: How C.S. Lewis's fairy tales can impact your friends for Christ.

Of course there are probably a few things wrong with this article, but one of them really stands out.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Carrier pigeons?: "Al Agawany also raises many types of carrier pigeons. These can sell for several hundred pounds -- a good business investment, he adds, chuckling, because many of them fly back to him from their new homes. "
Who knew the world had so many golden triangles.
I was playing chess with my friend Jeff online. We were nearing the endgame and thinking about calling it a draw. Our game came to a sudden halt when we discovered the site we're using doesn't allow more than 15 moves in one day.

So we decided to continue blind, just by exchanging moves via instant message and keeping track of the board in our heads. It was very exciting, a bit like the finale of The Silence of the Lambs, except neither of us had night-vision goggles.

Finally, Jeff wrote the following:

Let's call it a draw, I can see how you will get that pawn
then what, I don't know, more slaughter
of pawns, and for what

I read over the conversation later and I was struck by this triplet's resemblence to something by, say, Matthew Arnold.