2015年4月30日 星期四

蔡崇信(Joseph Tsai):家族財富基金 ;馬雲(2),:神話;"扬子江里的鳄鱼"The Unlikely Ascent of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s Founder

   



蔡崇信擬創建數十億美元家族財富基金


知情人士稱,阿里巴巴執行副主席蔡崇信(Joseph Tsai)將組建一個掌管數十億美元資金的家族理財辦公室,以打理這家中國電子商務巨頭250億美元IPO給他創造的財富。

其中一位知情人士稱,蔡崇信以及該公司其他一些元老人物正在香港籌建該辦公室,預計將在今夏開始運轉。根據阿里巴巴的招股說明書,蔡崇信控制著阿里巴巴約65億美元股權。隨著阿里巴巴股票的公開上市以及股票禁售期的結束,蔡崇信等高管正尋求將其財富多元化。

這個新辦公室的成立標志著那些利用中國互聯網熱潮賺得盆滿砵滿的中國新一代商業富豪開始跨入全球投資領域。像阿里巴巴創始人、亞洲首富之一馬雲(Jack Ma)以及智能手機制造商小米(Xiaomi Inc.)創始人雷軍等企業家都在就如何理財帶來新思路,他們的常見做法是投資朋友辦的科技公司,支持一批年輕的投資經理人。亞洲上一代億萬富豪通常是將財富投到房地產市場或礦業,重視對其他房地產公司的投資,或成立全球私募股權基金。

該人士稱,該家族辦公室將由對沖基金Citadel LLC香港辦事處董事總經理Oliver Weisberg和香港對沖基金Blue Pool Capital Ltd.(蔡崇信對該公司也有投資)創立合伙人Alexander West共同打理。 

Citadel發言人Katie Spring稱,Weisberg將於6月底離開效力近10年的Citadel祝願他發展順利。Citadel管理的資產規模達260億美元。


該人士稱,該家族辦公室效仿了一些著名的美國捐贈基金項目的模式,比如蔡崇信就讀過的耶魯大學(Yale University)的捐贈基金項目,並以長期投資為主。耶魯大學捐贈基金在投資新資產和年輕管理人方面一直走在前列,其中包括向規模180億美元的高瓴資本(Hillhouse Capital)提供了初始資本。

上述知情人士稱,馬雲未來可能參與投資。馬雲也一直是雲峰基金(Yunfeng Capital)出資人。雲峰基金是一家專注於中國交易的私募股權投資公司,而這些交易有時是與阿里巴巴聯合投資的。

阿里巴巴高管創建家族辦公室的舉動仿效了Facebook Inc.的紮克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)等企業家。紮克伯格是總部位於舊金山的多家族辦公室Iconiq Capital的出資人之一,該公司為紮克伯格和Facebook首席營運長桑德伯格(Sheryl Sandberg)管理帳戶。

據阿里巴巴的招股書顯示,該公司進行IPO後,蔡崇信所持阿里巴巴的股份佔到3.2%他通過在IPO交易中出售股份籌得了大約3億美元,鑒於他所持股份的禁售期已結束且其獲得的期權生效,蔡崇信未來還能夠出售更多股票。未來出售股票或許意味著資金將流入這家新的家族辦公室。

《華爾街日報》記者 Mia Lamar / Rick Carew

 


馬 雲背後的神秘男人:身份太敏感員工不敢談蔡崇信 他是「常在法律事務所」的第二代,相信許多人都會有印象;因為蔡崇信的父親蔡中曾、祖父蔡六乘,就是以國際法律事務見長的「常在法律事務所」創辦人,早期 在臺灣律師界,「常在法律事務所」與「理律法律事務所」可說是臺灣獨佔鰲頭的兩大律師樓,而蔡崇信,從小就在這個充滿法學素養的世家長大。
蔡崇信在耶魯大學完成學業後,便在海外工作,1996年,與台南幫大老、也是南紡創辦人 自立晚報創辦人吳三連的孫女吳明華結婚,由於蔡先生的政商人脈廣闊,他還是乖乖回台,在晶華酒店辦了一場世紀婚禮。這些你們當不會不知道吧!
近日中國阿里巴巴集團在美國申請首次公開募股(IPO),許多海外的中國...
epochtimes.com.tw

阿里巴巴:互联网巨头的成功背后

中国互联网商业巨头阿里巴巴即将在纽约上市,其融资规模可能创造世界纪录。但德语媒体却发出了这样的质疑:这个中国企业真的能够发出国际性的声音吗?
(德国之声中文网)《法兰克福汇报》周一(5月12日)发表文章称,虽然由雅虎公司和日本软银控股的阿里巴巴本来就带有国际化色彩,但这次纽约 上市无疑会让阿里巴巴的国际化更进一步。
"许多国际品牌都有'理念剩余价值',而这经常并不是完全来源于产品使用,却往往与一名充满魅力的创业者的传奇故事联系在一起。最典型的例子就是苹果及其 首脑人物乔布斯所散发出的创造性魅力。而中国品牌目前很少能在世界上扎根于人们意识之中的理由之一便是,缺乏这种理念剩余价值:除了很简单的市场推销手段 之外,他们并没有什么超出产品和服务功能之外的东西。 "
但是《法兰克福汇报》作者指出, 阿里巴巴及其创始人马云并不缺少这种魅力。文章提到,马云在给24000名"阿里人"的一封信中提到,要坚信"普通人也能作出不普通的成就"。
Screenshot von der Internetseite von Alibaba Group 阿里巴巴的服务对象之一是希望扩展海外业务的中国中小企业(资料图片)
"要不是这确实是马云自己的信条的话,人们可能会以为这只是一个听过就算的人生说教。这位曾经的英语教师在1999年凭借在线服务平台阿里巴巴首先将中国 小企业与庞大的国际市场联系在一起。而网上商场淘宝则把中国消费者-同时也是潜在的卖家,聚到了一起。在中国人口规模的乘数效应下,许多小企业迅速发展, 恰恰在互联网使用迅速普及的时代里形成了庞大的规模。"
文章作者进一步指出,阿里巴巴和马云不但利用了这一成功机会,从某种程度而言更是自己创造了成功所必要的条件。"在这个企业刚刚起步的时候,这个国家根本 还没有为互联网大规模消费做好准备,充满阴谋诡计的中国市场缺乏基本的诚信。马云建立了一个信用体系,可以通过执照和帐户来对商业伙伴进行审核。尤其他创 立了一家,支付宝,在购买时首先向这个机构进行支付,只有客户收到货品并感到满意时,卖家才能收到货款。"
作者评论称,尽管马云一再宣扬"不需要有钱老爸,也能获得成功"的奋斗故事。但是在中国特殊的环境之下,类似承诺的效力是有限的。"这个股份公司暂时还无 法向世界发出特殊的信息……人们在互联网商城淘宝可以找到所有那些中国社会的热门东西:战斗机器人、以分钟计价出售时间的女孩子(性服务并不包括其中)、 带着'屌丝'或'富二代'字样的T恤衫。这也反映出了这个市场虽然已经与国际证券世界完全整合,但却依然保留着其所特有的不平衡和自我矛盾之处。"
前副总裁拍记录片
无独有偶,《南德意志报》也在近期发表了一篇有关阿里巴巴的文章,主角却是已经离开该公司的一位美国人。
"44岁的波特·埃利斯曼(Porter Erisman)本可以身居高位。他原本有可能成为中国互联网企业阿里巴巴的高层之一,该公司在华尔街的市值可能超过Ebay和亚马逊。他本可以成为企业 老总马云的亲信,许多人都认为马云是像乔布斯那样具有远见的智者。但是,现在的埃利斯曼却只是在慕尼黑科技大学的课堂里打趣说'我离开公司时,正是经理们 第一次坐得起商务舱的时候'。 "
Jack Ma Gründer von Alibaba 中国互联网先锋人物—马云(资料图片)

埃利斯曼2008年离开阿里巴巴,此前他在那里效力八年,担任负责国际营销的副总裁,陪伴阿里巴巴从草创阶段直到业界巨头。这位政治学家表示,自己在大学 毕业后前往中国,希望对世界的另一半有所认识。2000年,他加入了阿里巴巴。首先,他和马云共同度过了IT产业泡沫危机。2006年,阿里巴巴下属的淘 宝将Ebay挤出中国市场。淘宝大获成功之时,埃利斯曼决定离开。
埃利斯曼起初打算写一本书,但最后却成为了导演。他的获奖作品-记录片"扬子江里的鳄鱼"讲述了阿里巴巴崛起的故事。
《南德意志报》的文章写道:"大学生都很喜欢有关这个强悍的互联网先锋人物的故事。一位听众在创业公司Paymill举办的活动上问埃利斯曼,他在阿里巴 巴的那段时间里学到了些什么。他的答案是:'我不会小看那些拿着简陋名片的人。'他不愿意把自己的电影看成是广告宣传。他与前雇主已经没有联系。但他也不 是完全中立:'如果这部电影会损害阿里巴巴,我就不会拍了。'不过他曾经的同事似乎还挺喜欢这部作品。埃利斯曼说,马云邀请他在淘宝十年庆典上展映这部电 影。但是,他几乎已经把自己的阿里巴巴股票都卖掉了,只是出于纪念才留了几股而已。"

摘编:石涛
责编:文木
[摘编自其它媒体,不代表德国之声观点]
  • The Unlikely Ascent of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s Founder
  • After Huge Alibaba Payday, a Test for Yahoo Executives
     

    細數阿里巴巴上市的一眾贏家

    雅虎創始人楊致遠(Jerry Yang,左)與阿里巴巴創始人馬雲(Jack Ma)。
    China Newsphoto, via Reuters
    雅虎創始人楊致遠(Jerry Yang,左)與阿里巴巴創始人馬雲(Jack Ma)。

    在阿里巴巴本周二提交的首次空開募股申請文件中,一些人生贏家的名字浮現出來。他們當初願中國初創公司碰碰運意在這家氣,如今則將斬獲豐碩回報。阿里巴巴由馬雲創辦,當年並不起眼,現在則已成長為電子商務巨頭。
    阿里巴巴的股票上市交易時,曾經當過英語老師的馬雲的地位將會躍升到堪與硅谷巨頭比肩的高度。本周二提交的招股書顯示,馬雲持有該公司8.9%的股份,而他來自台灣的副手蔡崇信(Joseph Tsai)持有3.6%。

    還有其他少數幸運者可能會在一夜之間變成富翁,其中包括阿 里巴巴的少數高管。雖然這份招股書並未包括股東的完整列表,也沒有透露這些高管持有多少股份,或是他們所持股份的價值,但出現在股東名單中的五人擁有阿里 巴巴不到1%的股份。他們分別是首席執行官陸兆禧,首席營運官張勇,首席財務官武衛,首席技術官王堅,以及總法律顧問石義德(Timothy A. Steinert)。自2013年馬雲不再擔任首席執行官後,陸兆禧接任至今。
    阿里巴巴最大、也是最早的投資者是日本電信公司軟銀 (SoftBank)。本周二的招股書顯示,它作為該公司最大的單一股東,擁有34.4%的股份。知情人士稱,軟銀和華爾街投行高盛(Goldman Sachs)在阿里巴巴發展的早期就投資了這家公司,而當時很少有銀行和投資者願意冒險這樣做。高盛並不在股東名單的前列。雅虎則擁有阿里巴巴22.6% 的股份,將在IPO時出售9%。
    將近十年後,阿里巴巴在中國變得越來越受歡迎,其他投資者 開始把它看成是押注中國互聯網的方式,而該公司的價值也出現飆升。2009年,美國私募企業泛大西洋資本集團(General Atlantic)投資該公司時,對它的估值大約是100億美元(約合620億元人民幣),其投資金額未作披露。2011年年底,該公司的估值升至約 320億美元;2012年年底突破400億美元,當時阿里巴巴進行了幾輪融資,以幫助公司發展壯大。該公司的股票上市交易時,其估值可能達到2000億美 元。
    近年來,阿里巴巴的很多投資者都開始把這家公司看成是一些最為成功的硅谷公司的中國版本。「我們喜歡的是圍繞着消費活動建立起來的生態系統,」一位不願具名的投資者說。
    「就像是亞馬遜(Amazon)、eBay加谷歌(Google)的混合體,」這名投資者還說。
    牽頭進行這幾輪融資或者近年來買入大量股份的投資者包括: 中國的主權財富基金中投公司、私募企業銀湖(Silver Lake)、俄羅斯投資公司DST全球(DST Global),以及新加坡主權財富基金淡馬錫(Temasek)和新加坡政府投資公司(GIC)。中國最大的集團公司之一中信集團和中國私募企業博裕投 資也進行了早期投資。這些投資者均未列入周二提交的申請文件中。
    一小群對沖基金也很可能會從這樁IPO中大撈一筆。從朱利安·羅伯遜(Julian Robertson)旗下的老虎基金(Tiger Management)衍生出來的「虎仔」對沖基金中,有一些在近年裡直接或是通過二級市場交易間接買入了阿里巴巴的股份。
    這中間包括:由羅伯遜的前高級副手克里斯·沙姆韋 (Chris Shumway)創辦的沙姆韋資本(Shumway Capital)、由同樣師出羅伯遜的蔡斯·科爾曼(Chase Coleman)創辦的投資公司老虎環球(Tiger Global)、由曾供職於沙姆韋手下的保羅·赫德森(Paul Hudson)創建的對沖基金林溪資本合伙人公司(Glade Brook Capital Partners),以及O·安德烈亞斯·哈爾沃森(O. Andreas Halvorsen)創立的維京環球(Viking Global)。
    沙姆韋和林溪的男性發言人表示不予置評,而維京環球和老虎環球的女性發言人也表示不予置評。
    還有一些投資人不會見諸報道,但也將在這樁IPO中發一點小財。
    阿里巴巴最早的一批員工,創業的那幾年在馬雲的公寓里埋頭苦幹,其中許多人只是高中畢業。他們或許也手握股份。
    翻譯:土土、黃錚
     
     

Lee Miller在希特勒浴缸召"領袖" (Führer!)之魂1945.4.30

70 years ago today: photographer Lee Miller in Hitler's bathtub. It is a voodoo gesture, the sort her Surrealist friends would approve of, an all-American blend of sass, violence and sex. Nuts to you, Führer! I am naked in your bath with my Jewish lover, we are taking your picture’s picture, we are stealing your life-force. The date is April 30th, 1945. In a bunker under Berlin, Hitler places a gun to his head.http://econ.st/1GIcsJA

2015年4月29日 星期三

Tomas Tranströmer (Swedish Nobel laureate) dies aged 83

【2015,0429 ,昨天瑞典舉行托馬斯・特朗斯特羅默的葬禮。】
可惜悅然留在臺北不能返瑞出席葬禮。謹以一張悅然跟托馬斯一九八三年在悅然、寧祖的家裡合照懷念這超過五十年的友誼。 當時悅然翻譯《狂暴的廣場》英文版,托馬斯到悅然家裡簽約商量出版事宜。
錄一首托馬斯自選在2011,12,07,瑞典學院朗讀會的選詩
【孤獨】,馬悅然翻譯,陳文芬中文朗讀
I
二月的一天晚上 我在這裡 接近死亡。
汽車在冰上 斜滑
到路的對面。 從對面來的汽車‒
它們的前燈‒靠近了。
我的名字 我的女兒 我的工作
掙脫了束縛 默默地留在
越來越遠的後頭。 我是無名的,
像一個在校園上 被敵人圍繞的 男孩。
從對面來的汽車 有巨大的前燈。
它們照射在我身上
當我在蛋清一樣粘的透明的恐懼裡,
緊握著駕駛盤。
秒鐘加長了‒ 甚至容納你的身體‒
長得像醫院大樓一樣高大。
你幾乎可以停一下,
在你被壓碎前一片刻
出一口氣。
忽然 輪胎抓牢路面: 一粒幫助的沙子
或者一陣奇妙的風 叫汽車掙脫了束縛,
輕快地爬過道路。
一個突出來的電線桿 啪的一聲 折斷了,
在黑暗裡 飛走了。
等到靜止。我繫著安全帶 坐着那兒,
看見有人 在飛雪裡 走過來,
想看我怎了。
II
我在臨省凍冰的田野上
走了很久。
一個人都不見了。
在地球其他地區
永久的擁擠中
有人出生,生活,死亡。
總是給人看到的,
總是生活在一群眼睛中
一定會產出一種特殊的表情。
塗上泥巴的臉。
喃喃的聲音起伏
當他們彼此分攤
天空,影子,沙粒。
我必須孤獨
早晨十分鐘
晚上十分鐘。
沒有規劃。
大家在大家的面前排隊。
很多。
一個。


《特朗斯特羅默詩選》《特朗斯特羅姆詩歌全集》 《記憶看見我》.../我必須孤獨 Thomas Tra...





Photo

Tomas Transtromer with his wife, Monica, after winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011.CreditJonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011 for a body of work known for shrewd metaphors couched in deceptively spare language, crystalline descriptions of natural beauty and explorations of the mysteries of identity and creativity, died on Thursday in Stockholm. He was 83.
The Swedish publisher Albert Bonniers announced the death without giving a cause. In 1990, at age 59, Mr. Transtromer had a stroke that severely curtailed his ability to speak; he also lost the use of his right arm.
With a pared-down style and brusque, forthright diction, Mr. Transtromer (pronounced TRAWN-stroh-mur) wrote in accessible language, though often in the service of ideas that were diaphanous and not easy to parse; he could be precisely observant one moment and veer toward surrealism the next.
“The typical Transtromer poem is an exercise in sophisticated simplicity, in which relatively spare language acquires remarkable depth, and every word seems measured to the millimeter,” the poet David Orr wrote in an essay in The New York Times in 2011.
He was a hugely popular figure in his home country — one American critic referred to him as Sweden’s Robert Frost — whose more than 15 books over nearly six decades were translated into 60 languages. And though he was not especially well known among American readers, he was widely admired by English-speaking poets, including his friends Robert Bly, who translated many of his poems, and Seamus Heaney,himself a Nobel laureate in 1995.
“I was utterly delighted when I heard Tomas Transtromer had won the Nobel Prize,” Mr. Heaney, who died in 2013, said in 2011. “Everybody was hoping for that. For years.”
Many of Mr. Transtromer’s themes and interests, including music (he was an accomplished pianist) and the beauty and inspiration of the outdoors, were evident in his first book, “17 Poems,” published in 1954. The succinct poem “Ostinato” (translated by Robin Fulton) — the title is a musical term referring to a repeated phrase or rhythmic figure — observes nature in both meaning and form:
Under the buzzard’s circling point of stillness
ocean rolls resoundingly on in daylight,
blindly chews its bridle of weed and snorts up
foam over beaches.
Earth is veiled in darkness where bats can sense their
way. The buzzard stops and becomes a star now.
ocean rolls resoundingly on and snorts up
foam over beaches.
For many years, Mr. Transtromer, a trained psychologist, worked in state institutions with juvenile offenders, parole violators and the disabled, and many critics noted that he frequently deployed his inventive and striking metaphors to examine the depths of the human mind.
He often began his poems with descriptions of mundane settings and acts, but he was also interested in dreams and the other uncontrollable wanderings of thought. In “Preludes” (translation by May Swenson) he wrote:
Two truths approach each other
One comes from within,
one comes from without — and where they meet you have the chance
to catch a look at yourself.
His poems often had transcendental moments that led some critics to consider him a religious poet or a mystic. In “Further In,” from the 1973 volume “Paths,” the quotidian and the unfathomable collide, in both the body of the poet and in the world. Translated by Robin Fulton, the poem reads in its entirety:
On the main road into the city
when the sun is low.
The traffic thickens, crawls.
It is a sluggish dragon glittering.
I am one of the dragon’s scales.
Suddenly the red sun is
right in the middle of the windshield
streaming in.
I am transparent
and writing becomes visible
inside me
words in invisible ink
that appear
when the paper is held to the fire!
I know I must get far away
straight through the city and then
further until it is time to go out
and walk far into the forest.
Walk in the footprints of the badger.
It gets dark, difficult to see.
In there on the moss lie stones.
One of the stones is precious.
It can change everything
it can make the darkness shine.
It is a switch for the whole country.
Everything depends on it.
Look at it, touch it ...
Tomas Gosta Transtromer was born in Stockholm on April 15, 1931. His father was a journalist. His parents divorced when he was young, and he was reared mostly by his mother, a teacher. He studied literature, history, religion and psychology at Stockholm University, graduating in 1956. His survivors include his wife of more than 50 years, the former Monica Bladh, and two daughters.
Mr. Transtromer’s poetry production slowed after his stroke, but he took refuge in music, playing the piano with just his left hand. As a testament to his prominence in Sweden, several composers there wrote pieces for the left hand specifically for him.
He was also an amateur entomologist. The Swedish National Museumpresented an exhibition of his childhood insect collection, and a Swedish scientist who discovered a new species of beetle named it for him.
Mr. Transtromer was considered a candidate for the Nobel for a decade or more. Each year, on the day the prizes were to be announced, Swedish journalists, anticipating his selection, gathered in the stairwell of his Stockholm apartment building, about a mile from the Swedish Academy, which administers the prizes.
He was the seventh native Swede to win the Nobel for literature — Nelly Sachs, a German Jew who moved to Sweden during World War II, won in 1966 — and he was the only winner in nearly 20 years to be known mainly as a poet. (The last was Wislawa Szymborska in 1996.) His selection was not without controversy. Some critics complained of home-nation favoritism and said that Philip Roth and other fiction writers were more deserving.
Mr. Transtromer’s work was also at the center of a dispute between translators: Robin Fulton, whose work with Mr. Transtromer included the 2013 collection “The Great Enigma,” and Robin Robertson, a Scottish poet who translated a 2006 Transtromer volume, “The Deleted World.”
Mr. Robertson, who does not speak Swedish, referred to his work as “versions” of Mr. Transtromer’s poems and suggested that it was more important to get the spirit and tone of a poem right than every last idiom. The book set off a debate about the nature of translation. Mr. Fulton objected to what he called “the strange current fashion whereby a ‘translation’ is liable to be praised in inverse proportion to the ‘translator’s’ knowledge of the original language.”
Mr. Transtromer’s other works in English translation include the collection “The Half-Finished Heaven,” translated by Mr. Bly; “Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer”; and a memoir, “Memories Look at Me,” translated by Mr. Fulton.
“Through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality,” the Swedish Academy said in awarding him the Nobel.

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Tomas Transtroemer, Swedish poet and Nobel winner, dies at 83

27 March 2015
From the sectionEntertainment & Arts
Transtroemer was also a trained psychologist

Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer, who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature, has died at the age of 83.

His publisher, Bonniers, said the writer died in Stockholm on Thursday after a short illness.

A trained psychologist, Transtroemer suffered a stroke in 1990 that affected his ability to talk.

His poems - described by Publishers Weekly as "mystical, versatile and sad" - have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Transtroemer was tipped as a potential Nobel prize winner for many years before he became the 108th recipient of the prestigious award in 2011.

The Royal Swedish Academy named him the recipient "because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality".

He was the first Swede to receive the prize since authors Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson shared it in 1974.
Memorial service

Born in April 1931 in Stockholm, Transtroemer graduated in psychology in 1956 and later worked in an institution for juvenile offenders.

His first collection of poetry, Seventeen Poems, was published when he was 23.

In 1966 he received the Bellman prize for Swedish poetry, one of many accolades he received over his long career.

In 2003 one of his poems was read at the memorial service of Anna Lindh, Sweden's murdered foreign minister.

Transtroemer is survived by his wife Monika and their two daughters, Emma and Paula.



Swedish Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer dies aged 83

Poet and psychologist who ‘transformed the everyday into astonishment’




Tomas Tranströmer.
 Swedish poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Tomas Tranströmer. Photograph: Maja Suslin/AP

The Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who won the Nobel prize for literature in 2011, died in Stockholm on Thursday at the age of 83. He had lost the power of speech after a stroke in 1990, but continued to write poetry, and to play the piano with his left hand.
For most of his life, he worked part-time as an industrial psychologist and the rest of the time as a poet.
His sparse output was highly praised from the moment his first collection, 17 Poems, appeared in 1954 and he was acknowledged as Sweden’s greatest living poet long before he won the Nobel. He was translated into more than 60 languages.




He wrote in exceptionally pure, cold Swedish without frills. His descriptions of nature were as sparse and alive as a Japanese painting. In fact, in later life, he attempted to write haiku in Swedish. Peter Englund, the secretary of the Swedish Academy, said: “One of the secrets of his success around the world is that he’s writing about everyday stuff. The economy of words that you can see in his poems is manifested in the economy of his output; you can get the core of his work in a pocket book of 220 pages. You can get through it in an evening.”
Björn Wiman, writing in the Stockholm paper Dagens Nyheter, praised him for his capacity to transform the everyday into astonishment. “His poem C Major is almost unique in the history of literature, since it both describes and summons up pure delight.”
The Guardian praised him when he won the prize as “unobtrusively unforgettable”, a writer “whose style is so simple as to make most words seem vain and superfluous. In translation, some of the slippery hard simplicities of his lyricism can melt like ice. But enough remains to show a poet who transforms the ordinary in apparently ordinary language. The world he sees is sometimes bleak or terrible, but it is always also full of promise no less real for being inexpressible: ‘The only thing I want to say glints out of reach, like silver in a pawnbroker’s’.”




Despite his work as a psychiatrist, Tranströmer’s writings about the mind never bore any hint of medicalisation. Within the hard classical forms there was an unquenchable romantic flame. He was alive to movement, and to change. A cabbage white butterfly might in his poetry become “a fluttering corner of truth itself”.
“Every abstract picture of the world is as impossible as a blueprint of a storm”, he also wrote. Perhaps that is why his work seemed to heighten reality so much. The longer time goes on, the further it gets from eternity. Only the moment approaches timelessness.
Per Wästberg, another member of the Swedish Academy, and a childhood friend of the poet’s, wrote in Svenska Dagbladet that “his poems open doors, give you vertigo, and at the same time offer a still calm: this is how things are and you can’t put them otherwise”.
Tranströmer was a socialist, a humanist and an atheist, and he managed to make life seem much more delicious: “Don’t be ashamed because you’re human,” he wrote once. “Be proud! Inside you, vaults behind vaults open endlessly. You will never be finished, and that’s as it should be.”





Poem of the week: Six Winters by Tomas Tranströmer
This brief sequence of poems is a vivid illustration of the Nobel prizewinner's singular gifts


Carol Rumens

Monday 23 January 2012 10.44 GMT

omas Tranströmer, the 80-year-old Swedish poet deservedly honoured last October with the Nobel prize for literature, is the author of this week's poem-sequence, Six Winters, translated by Robin Fulton. It comes from his 1989 collection, För Levande och Döda (For Living and Dead) and is included in a highly recommended New Collected Poems, published recently in an expanded edition by Bloodaxe Books.
These six short imagist poems are rather like extended haiku, a form in which the poet has always excelled. They may centre on a single image, or use surreal combinations of imagery, as does the first, with its haunting triad of black hotel, sleeping child and dice. In this poem, even the proportions of the objects seem altered. The dice, having eyes, are larger and more menacing than real dice, for all that "wide-eyed", in English, has connotations of innocence. Perhaps these dice are being rolled by a vast, unseen, malevolent hand? The atmosphere is that of the child's nightmare, transposed into the winter night beyond the hotel's walls. Terse syntax heightens the strangeness, with the colon in the middle line acting as a kind of portal, similar in dramatic effect to the haiku's traditional "cutting word".
In the second poem, we're deep in the Kingdom of Winter. The concept of an "elite of the dead" is ironical and appalling. It prefigures the subsequent reference to wartime. That this is an elite of conquerors is reinforced by the entrance of the armoured wind. The dead may be reduced to emblems of grim and silent stone, but the wind from icy Svalbard "shakes" in its armour, suggesting not fear or even cold, but vigorous movement, the brandishing of noisy weapons, fresh savagery.
There's a more anecdotal tone to the next poem. "Neighbour and harpoon" are kept separate, but the imagination adds them up to the cartoonish figure of a harpoon-wielding neighbour. Perhaps the child had a half-delirious notion of the icicle as a whale, and the neighbour as a local Ahab. The poet sets these images squarely before us, not trying to make sense of them. They are simple there, elements of "unexplained memory".
The image of icicle as animal is pursued further in the next tercet. Here again we get a haunting juxtaposition – the architectural "upside-down Gothic" and the weird cow whose udders are made of icicles and resemble glass.
The fifth takes us farther beyond the window-frame. Trains are usually comforting sights, belonging to the pleasures of childhood. This one has become a wild beast, though a heraldic one, holding "the journey in its claws". As in the first terect, we sense that events have been set uncontrollably in motion. The shape of the child's unlived life is already decided by forces that cannot be checked or altered.

An obvious reading of the sixth poem, nevertheless, would suggest a post-childhood, post-war setting, that of adolescence and first love, or even maturity and marriage. The "snow-haze" and "moonlight" are romantic images, contrasting with the earlier surreal nightmare and Gothic humour. But a characteristic flick of the wrist produces the unexpected jellyfish. "Jellyfish moonlight" packs two nouns together: although "moonlight" is a noun that may do duty as a modifier, the substantive adds more force to the image. Having seen large white jellyfish stranded on the sands at Portmeirion last summer, I find the metaphor of hazy, mis-shapen moonlight a brilliantly accurate one.Of course, there is no obligation to imagine we are still in the child's world at this point. The six winters are not necessarily consecutive. They may have been picked at random from the poet's memory: some may have simply been assembled with no autobiographical intent. They could also be read as the entire life-story, moving swiftly on at the rate of one winter per decade. They might be the omniscient narrator's different views of a single winter. It's up to the reader to decide the chronology, if it exists.
The menace of future journeys has now been left behind, and, for the first time, there is the collective pronoun, "our", providing reassurance. The isolating dread has diminished in the pleasure of a new and shared perspective. What lies ahead is only an avenue, a slender element in the journey, but a promising one. The word "bewitched" might have been ominous, but instead it seems to imply a benign and beautiful enchantment effected by snow, moonlight and companionship.
Dreams and the transitions between different levels of consciousness are suggested by the poet's very name. They are Tranströmer's territory. He worked as a psychologist for many years, and his poems seem to me to be extraordinarily honest elucidations of the "secret ministry" of the mind. From the fascinating childhood memoirs included in the Bloodaxe collection, one might guess that Tranströmer, like a number of poets, could suffer from Asperger's (see, particularly, "Museums"). How impressive it is that he has never compromised on his singular perceptions, and that the resulting poetry is so luminous, and has yielded so much meaning to his readers.

1Six Winters
In the black hotel a child is asleep.
And outside: the winter night
where the wide-eyed dice roll.
2
An élite of the dead became stone
in Katarina Churchyard
where the wind shakes in its armour from Svalbard.
3
One wartime winter when I lay sick
a huge icicle grew outside the window.
Neighbour and harpoon, unexplained memory.
4
Ice hangs down from the roof edge.
Icicles: the upside-down Gothic.
Abstract cattle, udders of glass.
5
On a side-track, an empty railway-carriage.
Still. Heraldic.
With the journeys in its claws.
6
Tonight snow-haze, moonlight. The moonlight jellyfish itself
is floating before us. Our smiles
on the way home. Bewitched avenue.

Michelle Obama :a state dinner dress is a symbol; Extolls Free Speech In Beijing Talk, Muppets



Like the inaugural gown, a state dinner dress is a symbol.
She donned a Tadashi Shoji gown to represent New York’s creativity and...
WASHINGTONPOST.COM

In Beijing Talk, Michelle Obama Extols Free Speech
The first lady told an audience of mainly students that unfettered expression, particularly on the Internet and in the news media, form the basis for a strong society.
Happy 50th birthday Michelle Obama!

From state occasions to casual chic, she is always turned out spotlessly. Wardrobe Decoder takes a look at Michelle Obama's style history to find out why she is fashion's first lady.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140117-fashions-first-lady



Michelle Obama’s vibrant life in Washington, now without bangs. From frequenting the restaurants of the moment to focusing on her role as a mentor to minority children from poor backgrounds like her own.



The Muppets fired back this past week at a Fox Business host for suggesting in December that their new movie was brainwashing kids with a radically green agenda





Muppets Mock Fox News for Indoctrination Fears

Two months later, Kermit and Piggy look to have the last laugh.


Michelle Obama is joined by Kermit the Frog, from The Muppets Movie, as she reads a story during the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Michelle Obama is joined by Kermit the Frog, from The Muppets Movie, as she reads a story during the 2011 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
UPDATE: Better late than never, we suppose.
The Muppets fired back this past week at a Fox Business host for suggesting in December that their new movie was brainwashing kids with a radically green agenda.
"It's a funny thing, they were concerned about us having some prejudice against oil companies and I can tell you, that's categorically not true," Kermit the Frog said at a London press conference following the film's U.K. premiere, video of which is now making its way around the Internet (and is embedded below). "And besides, if we had a problem with oil companies why would we have spent the whole film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce?"
Miss Piggy offered a more critical take: "It’s almost as laughable as accusing Fox News of, you know, being news."
The response from the puppets (or more specifically their puppeteers) comes nearly two months after Fox Business' Eric Bolling offered his less-than-flattering take on The Muppets, comments that speedily went viral given the attention-grabbing Web headlines that quickly followed.
At the time, James Bobin, the film's director, brushed aside the criticism. "Cable news is 24 hours long so you have to fill it up with something," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "No, the Muppets are not communist. And the character of Tex Richman is not an allegory for capitalism in any way. The character is called Tex Richman."
Here's the video:
Monday, Dec. 5: The Muppets are a bunch of tree-hugging commies who are trying to brainwash Americans children to hate big business.
At least that’s the case according to Fox Business’ Eric Bolling, who has some corners of the Web abuzz this week after he offered a rather critical take of the Muppets’ new movie. The Follow the Money host brought the issue up last week during a segment on his show, during which he interviewed the conservative Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor. The like-minded pair took turns pointing out what they say was the movie’s, in specific, and Hollywood’s, in general, overtly partisan take on the world.
Bolling's and Gainor's issues with The Muppets stems from the fact that its plot centers on the heroes' bid to prevent an evil oil tycoon—with the less-than-nuanced name of Tex Richman—from tearing down the Muppets’ beloved theater to drill for oil.
That narrative decision, according to Gainor, was the latest example of a Hollywood production unfairly making the oil industry the villain. After name-dropping such films as Syriana and Cars 2, he offered this take on the benefits of carbon-based fuels that he says the movie industry avoids: "None of [the movies] remind people what oil means for most people, which is fuel to light a hospital or heat your home or maybe fuel an ambulance to get you to a hospital if you need that. They don’t want to tell that story."
There’s plenty more from where that came from in the video clip (which Fox News watchdog Media Matters has here), including an attempt to tie what Bolling and Gainor see as Hollywood’s anti-corporate message to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement. (Most of the pull-quotes came from Gainor but, as you'll see in the video, Bolling clearly led the way with his questions and his own comments.)
"This is what they're teaching our kids." Gainor said. "You wonder why we've got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking all around the country. They've been indoctrinated, literally, for years by this kind of stuff. Whether it was Captain Planet or Nickelodeon's Big Green Help or The Day After Tomorrow, the Al Gore-influenced movie, all of that is what they're teaching, is that corporations are bad, the oil industry is bad, and ultimately what they're telling kids is what they told you in the movie The Matrix, that mankind is a virus on poor, old Mother Earth."
The Washington Post points out one of the problems with the specific argument against the The Muppets: "Environmentalism wasn’t mentioned in the movie. The Muppets save their theater because it’s a landmark and their historical home—not because they’re trying to hinder the oil industry’s progress, or save the planet."

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