‘The dacha’s a good place…’ (Aleksei Mashevsky)

October 1, 2014

The dacha’s a good place for the end of the world,
With the radio signal weak and no sign of mail
Only in the mornings a magpie hops on the roof
Bringing us maybe fresh news on its tail.

Perhaps all the markets have collapsed at once
Martians have attacked Earth in battle array…
You read a book and walk with a bowl
Gathering the ripe cucumbers on your way.

A butterfly circles above a yellow iris
Sea-buckthorn clings at the boundary fence
What is it that still remains in this life
For a mortal to do, if he has any sense?

The threads we hang from are so delicate
And so is the vault of the heavens so blue
It’s just that for a time we stood to one side
But it will affect us, and any minute too.

Хорошо конец света встречать на даче:
Нет сети, а радио — не везде.
Лишь сорока утром по крыше скачет
И приносит новости на хвосте.

Может быть, обвалились все рынки разом,
Марсиан напала на Землю рать…
Ты читаешь книгу и ходишь с тазом
Огурцы созревшие собирать.

Бабочка над ирисом желтым вьется,
Облепиха лепится у межи.
В сущности, что смертному остается
В этой жизни делать еще, скажи?

Нити, на которых висим, так тонки,
Хрупок даже синий небесный свод.
Просто мы стояли пока в сторонке,
Но и нас коснется, и нас вот-вот.

Midsummer night’s dream (Aleksandr Kushner)

October 1, 2014

As for many others, in June
The FIFA World Cup won my esteem.
Is that not why, full of tyrannical power
I had such an improbable dream?

Say, what kind? But I don’t know myself,
Can such a dream suggest a valid plea?
That I’m playing football with Akhmatova
I pass to her, and she passes to me.

We’ll overcome Petrov and Ivanov!
A foolish dream, for I already knew
We were better than them at accurate style
They were hurrying, they wouldn’t get through.

She was asking: who are they?
I wanted to speak, but my tongue stayed inert.
Her expensive beads sparkled around
Bt her cloak clashed with the football shirt.

A happy dream, but how much sadness it had!
Beside the football pitch, dachas in a wood
And whether we won or whether we lost–
I won’t lie: I had a dream, now it’s gone for good.

СОН В ЛЕТНЮЮ НОЧЬ
Чемпионатом мира по футболу
Я был, как все, в июне увлечен.
Не потому ли, полный произвола,
Невероятный мне приснился сон?

Сказать, какой? Но я и сам не знаю,
Удобно ли в таком признаться сне?
Что я в футбол с Ахматовой играю,
Пасую ей, она пасует мне.

Мы победим Петрова с Ивановым!
Дурацкий сон, ведь я предупреждал.
Мы лучше их владеем точным словом:
Они спешат, не выйти им в финал.

Она спросила: Кто они такие?
Хотел сказать, но тут же позабыл.
На ней мерцали бусы дорогие,
А плащ к футболке плохо подходил.

Веселый сон, но сколько в нем печали!
С футбольным полем рядом — дачный лес.
А выиграли мы иль проиграли —
Не буду врать: сон был и вдруг исчез.

‘In a wordless blinding haze…’ (Viktor Kulle)

September 29, 2014

In a wordless blinding haze
stood with predecessors in a row
I have the prospect of lying in a grave
and collecting dust on the shelves.

The world of the future is populated.
The letters are germinating.
Progress is only weak in one thing–
pain hurts and tears are salt.

And with what such novelty
shall I amaze my native coombe?
What is left behind your back
overtakes you like aboomerang.

In it the blocks of ice preserve
a land that is melting a little bit.
And all the rest is the same as ever:
pain hurts and tears are salt.

В бессловесной слепящей мгле,
встав с предшественниками в ряд,
предстоит мне лежать в земле
и на полках пыль собирать.

Мир грядущего населен.
Прорастают все письмена.
Лишь в одном прогресс не силен —
боль болит и слеза солона.

И какой такой новизной
изумить родной буерак?
Остающееся за спиной
настигает как бумеранг.

В нем хранима глыбами льда
чуть подтаявшая страна.
А все прочее — как всегда:
боль болит и слеза солона.

‘As a bird makes from twigs…’ (Viktor Kulle)

September 28, 2014

As a bird makes from twigs
Its temporary home, to its misfortune,
so the soul is grown over with words.
And flesh is turned into Spirit.

I will go out into the street. Go out
only so as not to be on my own.
Still youngish in appearance,
I have already looked into darkness.

Anybody, do you hear, anybody
has their immortality predestined:
for some, it is like a cartridge in a clip,
for others like a seed in ploughed land

and for others still, sand under one’s foot,
the teeming of the dumb beasts.
Are you frightened, my soul? Never mind.
More frightening is the simple thought

of interstellar freedom with its coldness
that may be calculated for now
where there will be–once more–
no nature, no time, no language.

Виктор Куллэ

Виктор Куллэ

Как птица из веток свивает
свой временный дом на беду —
душа прирастает словами.
И плоть претворяется в Дух.

Я выйду на улицу. Выйду,
чтоб только не быть одному.
Ещё моложавый по виду.
Уже заглянувший во тьму.

Любому, ты слышишь, любому
бессмертие предрешено:
одним как патроном в обойму,
другим — словно в пашню зерно,

а третьим — песком под стопою,
кишением тварей немых.
Страшишься, душа? Бог с тобою.
Страшнее нехитрая мысль

про холод межзвбездной свободы,
вполне исчислимый пока,
где снова не станет природы,
и времени, и языка.

Books on Operational Research: A Practical List

September 27, 2014

orbooks

 

The list below is drawn from various sources and organised according to categories that seem to be useful in practice.  The items in bold are ones I feel able to endorse, having used them myself. I think Tools for thinking, Mike Pidd would be a good place to start as an overview of modern practitioners’ OR, and you can an earlier edition for £2-81 on Amazon. The Pleasures of Counting T. W. Körner is an excellent book for background/inspiration, but may be difficult to get hold of cheaply.

General/methodology/approach

The Pleasures of Counting T. W. Körner

The Art of Problem Solving: Accompanied by Ackoff’s Fables Russell L. Ackoff

Tools for thinking, Mike Pidd is a good introduction to modern practitioners’ OR

Books from Geoff Royston

Modelling

Systems Modelling: Theory and Practice Michael Pidd

Sterman J (2000) Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex

World, McGraw-Hill [from Strathclyde outline]

M. Pidd (1992) Computer Simulation for Management Science, 3rd edition, Wiley.

Spreadsheets

From Strathclyde outline:

Walkenbach J and Pieterse JK (2007) Excel 2007 VBA Programming For Dummies, ISBN:978-0-470-04674-6

Stephan L, Berenson K (2002) Statistics for Managers: Using Microsoft Excel, Prentice Hall

Databases

No idea!

Forecasting

Makridakis, S., Wheelwright, S., and Hyndman (1998) Forecasting: Methods and

Applications (Third Edition), John Wiley. [from Strathclyde outline]

Project Management

Colleague recommendations:

Project Management Pocketbook

Escalation in Decision-making: Tragedy of Taurus Helga Drummond

Consultancy

Colleague recommendations:

Who Moved My Cheese?

S Johnson

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

S R Covey

Organizational Behaviour: An Introductory Text D Buchanan and A Huczynski

Understanding Organizations

C Handy

Statistics

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information Edward R. Tufte

Problem Solving: A Statistician’s Guide (Chapman & Hall Statistics Text… (edition 1988) by Christopher Chatfield

Draper NR and Smith H (1998) Applied Regression Analysis, Wiley Interscience. [believed to be the standard reference; from Strathclyde outline]

Multivariate Data Analysis

by Joseph F. Hair, William Black, Rolph E. Anderson, Ronald L. Tatham

Sampling Techniques (Probability & Mathematical Statistics) (original 1977; edition 1977) by William G. Cochran

Introduction to Categorical Data Analysis (Wiley Series in Probability & Statistics: Probability Section) by Alan Agresti

Queuing theory

No idea!

Soft methods

Rational Analysis for a Problematic World: Problem Structuring Methods for Complexity, Uncertainty and Conflict Jonathan Rosenhead

Data mining

Credit Scoring and Its Applications (Monographs on Mathematical Modeling & Computation) Lyn C. Thomas

Decision analysis/decision trees

From Strathclyde outline:

R.L. Keeney, H. Raiffa: Decisions with multiple objectives-preferences and value tradeoffs, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 1993.

Valerie Belton, Theodor J. Stewart, Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: An Integrated Approach Springer, 2002.

Optimisation/LP etc

[??]

Software

The Little SAS Book: A Primer Lora D. Delwiche

‘What other life do you need….’ (Elena Pogorelaya)

September 24, 2014

What other life do you need?
Here is this night, here is this silence,
Here is this hour in the hospital close
Where you walk quietly and quickly
Spreading out on the radiators
Many times darned children’s clothes.

Your eyes see dreams for thre moment
The lads are green from lack of sleep
Your back is straight, no cause to mind
That, having attacked the crabmeat, once more
A handicapped youth peers round the corner
At your waist and your behind.

Какая жизнь тебе еще нужна?
Вот эта ночь, вот эта тишина,
Вот этот час в больничном околотке,
Где ты идешь бесшумней и быстрей
Развешивать по спинам батарей
Заштопанные детские колготки.

Твои глаза — покуда видят сны
Мальцы — от недосыпу зелены,
Спина пряма, и нечего стыдиться,
Что, навалясь на крабы, вновь глядит
Из-за угла подросток-инвалид
На талию твою и ягодицы.

‘Love does not pass…’ (Elena Pogorelaya)

September 22, 2014

Love does not pass, but the pain does, all right
And making a fuss about it would just show pride.
And the tears running along cheeks at night–
They’re nonsense. You’re by my side.
You’re by my side, and your temple is pressed
Into the pillow, the moles on your back could be
An astronomical star chart, possessed
For a short temporary while  only by me.

Елена Погорелая

Елена Погорелая

Любовь не проходит: проходит боль,
Носиться с которой — спесь.
А слезы, бегущие ночью вдоль
Щеки, — это вздор. Ты здесь.
Ты здесь, ты к подушке виском приник,
И родинки на спине —
Как звездная карта, на краткий миг
Раскрытая только мне…

The Woman in the Moon, Rose Bankside 21 September

September 21, 2014

****

Nature (picture from event's FB page)

Nature (picture from event’s FB page)

Before this play, my knowledge of author John Lyly as derived from some forgotten Eng Lit handbook was confined to him writing something called Euphues and it being very boring.  But I was curious anyway.

Sol/Apollo prologues to the effect that what we are about to see is the poet’s dream, about a woman in the moon.  Then we are in mythical times (on earth, not the moon–it took me some time to work that out).  Nature has created lots of nice things, including four shepherds.  They feel the need for a woman so that they can perpetuate their species.  So Nature kindly creates Pandora, who is lovely in every respect.

But then the planets, annoyed at having been overlooked, turn up and decide to exert their influence on her in turn.  So for instance Mars makes her martial and she fights very convincingly with the four swains when she is under his influence.  And the thing goes along in this way–Pandora is (as it were, in this prelapsarian time) betrothed to Stesias but his compeers Melos, Learchus and Iphicles would also like to get to know the only woman in the universe.  This intrigue tangles itself up anew each time Pandora’s character is influenced a different way.

That sounds as though it could be Lyly pedantically demonstrating his classical learning and proving some theorem along the lines of ‘Every Man In His Humour’, and there were indeed times at the beginning when I looked at my watch not infrequently.  It also sounds as though it might be an extended audition piece for Bella Heesom, the actress playing Pandora, but she was very very very very good, so we didn’t care.  All of the performances were more securely-delineated than is often this case, pointing to the fact that this show had been aired before in various guises (at Glastonbury and as a reading at the Globe).

There were quite a few entirely genuine laughs from the audience as well as some real poetry in Pandora’s little mad scene.  The production was both economical and attractive, and made good use of the space behind the Rose’s playing area.

At the end, the swains have grown tired of Pandora, and she can decide which of the planets’ spheres she wants to be transported to.  She chooses Cynthia/Luna/the Moon as being fickle, foolish, fanciful, slothful and generally female.  (Of course, we sense some contradiction here since the main characters are Fortune and Pandora, both female, and Pandora gets a very high proportion of the lines–and the female characters would have been played by boys…)

Apart from the programmes having run out so that I don’t know who was who, my only reservation would be that I don’t really think this is a piece of ‘legitimate’ theatre as presented here–it could usefully have had more and better music, dancing and singing, and I think it’s really something in the nature of a masque or a musical comedy.

But enough!–This blog urges you to go and see the show–it’s lovely!

 

The pastor of profit (Anton Nechaev)

September 20, 2014

People come, people go, but their faces are coins
One is a kopeck, another is a cherished euro.
I am selling lingerie and ensembles.
In myself I’m quite calm, but I stammer even so.

A rich lady comes, in a coat of her husband’s hide.
She points with her little finger–put those ones by.
I say: Madam, perhaps you need an admirer?
But earn myself nothing by way of reply.

Time does not pass quickly, neither does it dawdle,
the accounting period is ended, the reports have all been done.
I’m buying a dacha, some furniture, a flat
and going on leave to roast my legs in the sun.

My firm’s building doesn’t rise very high,
but it’s more horizontal, like a painting of war.
I smile–the flashbulbs explode,
I’m teaching my flock the payer once more:

oh my animate, deranged, gigantic gain
so cherished, so valuable, so aureate
my life so ornamented, generous, unbounded…
Welcome to you, eternally smiling fate!

Антон Нечаев

Антон Нечаев

Пастор прибытка

Люди приходят, люди уходят, но лица у них – монеты.
Кто-то копейка, а кто закадычный евро.
Я продаю бюстгальтеры, туалеты.
Сам по себе спокоен, но заикаюсь нервно.

Дама приходит богатая, в шубе из шкуры мужа.
Кажет мизинцем – это, это, еще вот это.
Я говорю: мадам, вам ухажер не нужен?
Не зарабатываю ответа.

Время идет не быстро, но и не слишком медлит,
кончен отчетный год, подметены итоги.
я покупаю дачу, квартиру, мебель
и уезжаю в отпуск жарить на солнце ноги.

Здание возвышается фирмы моей не слишком,
а в ширину оно, как панорама битвы.
Я улыбаюсь – цокают фотовспышки,
я обучаю паству свою молитве:

прибыль моя живая, бешеная, большая,
вещь моя дорогая, ценная, золотая,
жизнь моя расписная, щедрая, бесконечная…
Здравствуй, удача вечная!

Price of Money, The Albany 18 September

September 18, 2014

***

This devised show about…err…money contained the following elements:

i) scenes from ‘Plutus’ by Aristophanes;

ii)  Belarusian folk songs;

iii)  stories improvised by cast members;

iv)  musical numbers not being Belarusian folk songs:

v)  human rights abuse in Belarus;

vi)  testimony from Stéphane Hessel.

Of these, Aristophanes certainly came off best (you can’t beat a pro!), followed by the folk songs.  Certainly whoever was playing the Old Woman (as above) gave an excellent performance, though I’m not sure why Poverty was well-dressed, well-made-up, well-coiffed and generally rather attractive.  At the beginning, a lot of lines (in subtitled Russian) were shouted staccato so that I couldn’t make them out, while later on there was a chorus (in English) that seemed to be about ‘the gap’, but I couldn’t make that out either.  If you want to hear what’s going on it’s best to sit at the sides, while taking sensible precautions to avoid audience participation.

Apart from the devised show format and the weakness of much of the material, I had problems with the underlying premise.  It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but that was then and this is now.  Take Belarus, for instance.  Minsk is prominent at present as the site of negotiations between Russia and what is left of Ukraine.  Now, annexing parts of Ukraine is not going to make Russia rich–in the best case it will impoverish the country not too badly, and in the worst case it will turn it into a colony of China.  Money is not the issue.

I didn’t see any sign of the promised contribution from Ben Jonson’s The Staple Of News.

But it was all right if you like that kind of thing…

 


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