On murder

On Sunday morning, R casually asked me what would be a good way to kill me. (I suggested a few practical and efficient ones, but she wanted outlandish Villanelle kind ideas)

Last two days she’s been watching a new serial, ‘How to get away with murder.’

If I die or disappear, you know where to look..

Notes from Viking: funerals and Abrahamic religions

In Vikings, a pre-Christian Scandinavian society is shown as burning the dead in a funeral. This is similar to how the Hindus and quite a few other cultures did it.

They even hint at how burying the dead was a sign of insulting them.

Most modern Abrahamic cultures—Christian, Muslim and Jewish—bury their dead. I’m guessing the modern, Christian Scandinavians bury their dead too. Made me wonder.

The Abrahamic religions started in the middle east in arid, often desert, land. Wood from trees must have been at a premium, so funeral by burning would’ve been expensive. Maybe that’s why they chose burial over burning.

Later, these religions spread to other areas with no paucity of wood, but the religious norm—burying not burning—went along. Even areas where there was plenty of wood, but relatively little accessible land ended up burying the dead instead of burning them.

Coming back to the Vikings, burning made sense for them. Wood was, and is, relatively plentiful in Scandinavia. Moreover, the ground would be frozen hard through long winters, making digging for a burial hard. But once Christianity came in, the new socioreligious norms quickly overturned old wisdom.

It may be the same in parts of southeast Asia where the pre-existing religions—Hinduism, Buddhism and native religions—would’ve burned their dead. Yet, after the adoption of Islam, most societies turned to burial. Despite plenty of thick tropical forests for wood, and expense of clearing land (or lack of it on islands) for burial.

Continue reading Notes from Viking: funerals and Abrahamic religions

Letting go..

There’s no trying new things without letting some things go.

There’s no new life, if there’s no death.

There’s no bandwidth to explore new books, genres, TV shows, people, if we’re not ready to abandon the ones that turn stale, or we grow out of, or finished.

Bandwidth is finite. Cognitivo capacity is finite. Time is finite.

A core constraint on growing, changing, exploring, is our reluctance to let go of some of what we have and are.

Create space by letting some mediocre stuff go. Then fill it with something new, untested, unusual. If it fits, great. If it doesn’t, chuck it and try again. Something new, untested, unusual.

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain - on life vs lazy
Anthony Bourdain – on life vs lazy

Some people leave a mark.

I have never met Anthony. I have never seen any of his TV shows. I have just read one of his books – Kitchen Confidential. I gave it 3 stars.

And yet, I’ve found him hard to forget since I finished the book. He has a way, with words, and a personality that makes him hard to forget. He should not be likeable, it’s hard to sympathise for him, he’s often an asshole, and very much proud of it. Yet, he’s also appealing, and often, surprisingly, likeable.

I guess his charm comes from embodying the hard bits of our lives – the grime, the slime, the hard knocks, the sweat, the wrong calls – and taking them on the chin (or dishing them out), casually. Like most of us do, yet refuse to accept that we do.

There were parts of his book where I wanted to punch him in the face, and ask him to shut his hole, and write something useful. There were other parts that I didn’t want to end. And then there were a few that I bookmarked for frequent return.

He seems my kind of screwed up guy. A guy I would love to know. A guy I would even love to hate to work with.

Continue reading Anthony Bourdain

Death, by decade.

Dying in your thirties or forties?
“Tragic.”

Fifties?
“Such a shame.”

Sixties?
“Too soon.”

Seventies?
“A good run.”

Eighties?
“A life well lived.”

Nineties?
“Hell of a ride.”

Axe and Wags indulging in a bit of smart, cynical, light-hearted banter, probably mixed with a hint of gallows humour, while standing at Wags’ future burial spot – Billions S03E04