Saturday, 31 January 2009

Ronald Rosen thinks that gold blasts off in 2009-10

Ronald Rosen, a longtime proponent of Gann's method of analysing markets thinks that we have reached Stage 3 of the gold market. Given the increasing sense of crisis in the world's major economies I fully agree with him. The link is worth reading while playing the 1812 Overture. What a wonderful piece of celebratory music that is! (The link for this is within Rosen's interesting article)

John Milton's "On His Blindness"

This poem from Section 2 of the "Edxecel Anthology" will be one of the focus poems this coming week. This is richly expressive rendition of Milton's great sonnet - and one worth posting.

Friday, 30 January 2009

A radio interview on the life and art of D.H. Lawrence

D.H. Lawrence: The Middle Years. Internet Talk Radio provides a rebroadcast of the American public radio program, Dialogue, in which George Seay interviews Mark Kinkead-Weekes on the art of D.H. Lawrence.

One of the autobiographical poems on the Edxecel's syllabus for the theme of home is "End of Another Home Holiday". Lawrence's first person narrator reveals his tortured soul as the poem's central tension on his feelings of guilt for leaving his aging, possibly dying mother and returning to Croydon, probably to his new love Louie Burrows. 

The poem's form, free verse, expands and contracts as Lawrence's emotions and feelings of reproach are experienced. The rhythm of the poem also "lingers" over particularly painful "feelings" as Lawrence stays up all night exploring, sometimes in a creatively distracting manner, his conscience.

For students who would like to enhance their knowledge of D.H. Lawrence this interview on his life is well worth listening to.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Obama's possible actions in the next 100 days!

Obama and his team have been reading Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope". The first hundred days of Obama's presidency will be crucial for the success or failure of his team's plans to save the USA and the rest of the world. FDR carried through an amazing number of changes after his inaugeration in 1932. These included shutting down the banking system for four days to sort out the banks; he also put an embargo on gold and silver in the following weeks. FDR created several regulating agencies and acts over the hundred days that still exist today. However, some, such as the Glass-Steagal Act was dismantled after pressure from the banks late in the Clinton presidency. What a terrible mistake that was! Some of FDR's actions were made in error, others were great successes. Overall, he was a man of action and subsequent presidents who also tried to imitate the whirlwind of activity in FDR's first hundred days never quite measured up. But then the economic troubles facing US economy and those of the world were not as great as the ones Obama faces. Personally, I wish him well.

Three early predictions:
1. Obama will do something dramatic with the banks - either acting like FDR and ordering an extended "bank holiday" in which some banks do not re-open because they are just too toxic or nationalise the whole banking system; if there was true justice he would order some of the bankers whose greed got us all into this mess on trial for criminal behaviour for treasonous actions against the state. BTW the same should happen in the UK and around the world.

3. Quantative easing - the printing of money causes inflation to rise signifantly to inflate away debts. (They will manage this in stages in an attempt to stop runaway inflation. Whether he and his team succeeds in the latter may determine the rest of this presidency.

3. A great investment splurge, probably as much as a trillion dollars,  is expected over the next few weeks.  This will fund a huge public spending program on roads, bridges, medicare and schools, etc. and other essential infrastructure in the US. Similar public works spending can be expected around the world.

Within a year to 18 months:

1. The dollar devalues by up to 40%

2. Gold rises to above $1650 to "balance the books". Some kind of gold certificate scheme will underpin the dollar, if the currency still exists in this name.

If any of the above happens it will change the economic landscape for decades. If not, capitalism will have run its course and a new economic hegemony such as socialism or fascism will gain traction throughout the world. Let's hope that it is not the last of these options!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Captain Corelli's Mandolin - understanding key words in exam questions

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for writing an exam answer is simply understanding the question and its key words!
These words have featured in exam questions on Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and other Unit 4 novels over the last few years. Write brief definitions for these words. It is better that YOU do this rather than me – as you will remember YOUR definitions if you do. (It’s all about active learning!)






Fragmentation/fragmented narrative

Different points of view



Comedy and tragedy (find definitions from Aristotle for a deeper understanding. Wikipedia will be good enough, too.)

Treatment of social issues


Post modern nature of the text (This needs to be defined, otherwise you will be using it as a cliché) Post modernism



Monday, 19 January 2009

Mark Steel's "Lectures" on Geoffrey Chaucer No.1

I don't agree that reading Chaucer in the original language is that off-putting - but I take Mark's point. I like his fun approach to Chaucer and if it gets people interested - so be it!

Lord Kaufman accuses the Israeli state and its leaders of behaving like nazis!

LORD GERALD KAUFMAN on the Gaza crisis. Sometimes, just sometimes, the best criticism of Israeli actions comes from prominent members of the Jewish community. Here, Lord Kaufman has never been as eloquent as he was the other day in Parliament denouncing the nazi actions and self-justifications of the Israeli state.

Monday, 5 January 2009

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.