HP shows the way

Two lessons from Mark Hurd’s ouster:

1. It’s never a good idea to primp up your expense claims. Especially if you’re dinning out with your escort/mistress.

2. If you’re planning to hire a marketing consultant, with whom you’ll have to interact on a regular basis, just make sure she hasn’t acted in movies called ‘Intimate Obsession’, ‘Body of Influence 2’ and ‘Sheer Passion’.

Ode to a turd

John Updike, my favourite author, wrote about adultery, sex and suburban angst with a whole new perspective. He also wrote a remarkable poem about human excrement.

The Beautiful Bowel Movement

Though most of them aren’t much to write about—
mere squibs and nubs, like half-smoked pale cigars,
the tint and stink recalling Tuesday’s meal,
the texture loose and soon dissolved—this one,
struck off in solitude one afternoon
(that prairie stretch before the late light fails)
with no distinct sensation, sweet or pained,
of special inspiration or release,
was yet a masterpiece: a flawless coil,
unbroken, in the bowl, as if a potter
who worked in this most frail, least grateful clay
had set himself to shape a topaz vase.
O spiral perfection, not seashell nor
stardust, how can I keep you? With this poem.

Self-description?

A passage in J. M. Coetzee’s ‘Youth’
He has to sit down and write, that is the only way. But he cannot begin writing until the moment is right, and no matter how scrupulously he prepares himself, wiping the table clean, positioning the lamp, ruling a margin down the side of the blank page, sitting with his eyes shut, emptying his mind in readiness – in spite of all this, the words will not come to him. Or rather many words will come, but not the right words, the sentence he will recognize at once, from its weight, from its poise and balance, as the destined one.
He hates these confrontations with the blank page, hates them to the extent of beginning to avoid them. He cannot bear the weight of despair that descends at the end of each fruitless session, the realization that again he has failed. He is well aware that his failure as a writer and his failure as a lover are so closely parallel that they might as well be the same thing. Unless he wills himself to act, nothing will happen, in love or in art. But he does not trust the will. Just as he cannot will himself to write but must wait for the aid of some force from outside, a force that used to be called Muse, so he cannot simply will himself to approach a woman without some intimation that she is his destiny.