Spring has sprung in India. Check out the colorful Holi Festival, which marks the end of winter and beginning of spring.
Toy Story and The Walking Dead are pretty much the same thing. Seriously.
The French are drinking less wine, which means the economy is really bad, the world is ending or both. Actually, it’s just because the current generation sucks.
Recent figures merely confirm what has been observed for years, that the number of regular drinkers of wine in France is in freefall. In 1980 more than half of adults were consuming wine on a near-daily basis. Today that figure has fallen to 17%. Meanwhile, the proportion of French people who never drink wine at all has doubled to 38%…People in their 60s and 70s grew up with wine on the table at every meal. For them, wine remains an essential part of their patrimoine, or cultural heritage. The middle generation – now in their 40s and 50s – sees wine as a more occasional indulgence. They compensate for declining consumption by spending more money. They like to think they drink less but better.
Members of the third generation – the internet generation – do not even start taking an interest in wine until their mid-to-late 20s. For them, wine is a product like any other, and they need persuading that it is worth their money.
The media hasn’t been covering Lebanon, but the ongoing horror in Syria has finally started to make Lebanon crumble. The one established Arab democracy is in jeopardy, with the resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister last week.
Twitter has been one of the few outlets for free speech in many oppressed countries and has, until now, been good at resisting pressure to censor content. Sadly, they caved to Vladimir Putin recently.
The Moscow Times reported last week that — according to the Kremlin itself — for the past several weeks Twitter has been blocking Russian access to any tweets designated by the Kremlin as “extremist.” Twitter has also deleted at least one user account at the Kremlin’s request. On its applicable agency website (known by its acronym Roskomnadzor), the Kremlin praises Twitter’s management team for its “constructive position” in reconfiguring its website in a manner “acceptable to Russian side.”
If you buy this t-shirt I will come to your house and punch you in the mouth.
Picasso’s Le Reve just sold for $155 million, the highest price ever paid by a U.S. collector for a work of art.
Steven A. Cohen, whose SAC Capital just settled two insider-trading lawsuits with the government for $616 million, bought himself the belated gift after first agreeing to but it for $139milllion in 2006 from Vegas mogul Steve Wynn…But Wynn – former owner of the Bellagio and Mirage hotels in Vegas – put his elbow through the 1932 painting while he was showing it off to friends the day after the sale was agreed and caused a six-inch tear in it. The hotelier agreed at the time to release Cohen – who is worth around $9.3billion – from the sale and repair it. Now he has sold it to Cohen for $16 million more than the pre-damaged price. The painting – meaning The Dream – has since been restored to its original state.
Prokofiev was a brilliant composer, but not such a great husband. His foolish trust in the Soviet Union and an affair with another woman certainly didn’t help the marriage, which ended in Prokofiev abandoning the mother of his children to the Gulag…
Prokofiev had been churning out patriotic music during the war, and in peacetime returned to Moscow an even greater Soviet hero than when he left. Understandably, Lina refused to grant him a divorce – at least not until she and the boys were safely in the west. The stalemate between them ended in 1948 in spectacular fashion: Prokofiev suddenly fell from favour and the majority of his work was banned. As a non-person he was at the mercy of Soviet bureaucracy, which, for no discernible reason, decided that his marriage was invalid. This left Sergei free to marry Mira and deprived Lina of her last shred of protection. A few weeks after the wedding, NKVD agents arrested Lina on the charge of espionage. Her unceasing attempts to cultivate high-level contacts in western embassies – in the hope of getting an exit visa – had caused her name to get on the wrong list. After enduring 13 months of torture and interrogation, Lina was given a 15-minute trial and sentenced to 20 years in a forced labour camp.
Fantastically awesome and little-known facts about the Game of Thrones cast. (3 more days!)