September 21, 2008

On drugs' uncoolness

Like always in September, these days Berlin is celebrating the Jüdische Kulturtage. This evening I went to Idan Raichel's great gig. I've listened to Idan Raichel's Project obsessively since S gave me a copy of it 13 months ago. (Actually I would prefer to be posting about Idan, but drugs are now priority.)

I was remembering last September's concert while coming back home. There I met N, a nice and pretty girl who worked (works?) as a model.

One day she told me she was on marijuana. "Why?", I asked her. "I mean: you don't need it, you care as much as Germans care about healthy food, you don't have big stress-troubles, you are doing well in college, and marijuana harms, or at least might harm, your brain". "Well, not at all, since I'm not an addict, I just smoke a little every now and then. And it's cool". (As a flashback I remembered myself the year before calling W "unjoint-cool girl", and her amazed reply: "you're the very first guy who calls me cool because of not being on joint.) I tried to explain to her that being on drugs is more stupid than cool. Impossible. "Is the drug of the intelectuals: as a philosopher you should know it".

When I think about how "cool" (sic) Europeans or US-Americans feel because of being on joint or whatever drugs they prefer, I feel totally sick. I can't even patronize them. Because of all this "coolness" flowing from Latin America to northern societies, my country has been devastated by violence and corruption.

September 20, 2008

What a week! O Bože!

This week:

0. Hand grenades exploded in a crowded square and street in Morelia while celebrating Mexico's Independence. Eight people died and 101 people were injured. Reaction from the authorities was all but effective.

1. I learned that after some months of marriage, a befriended couple of mine split.

2. A friend had an accident playing football, and he aaaalmost gets paralyzed for the rest of his days.

3. A friend of mine came out.

Just to get distressed:
4.
Der Spiegel informs that in Sydney there are 1.61 women for every man.


September 16, 2008

Srpski!

Today I had my first Serbian language class! Jebekevu!

This is my first approximation to a Slavic language, so let's see if later it opens to me the doors to Russian (not in order to talk to Putin, but to read their literature)...

Some other guys have learned this language as well:

* Engels
* Tolstoi
* Goethe
* Tolkien
* Ronsard
* Mérimée
* J. Grimm
* Lamartine
* F. von Suppe
* Peter Handke
* Sir Walter Scott

September 15, 2008

How I read

I've noticed that my lecture habits have changed lately whilst reading newspapers, magazines and e-mails. I start reading the least interesting part (Finance) or letter (mail by someone I don't know), and peau à peau I move towards the most interesting (Feuilleton, Politics, mails of my girl or my fam).

Thomas Aquinas defines "hope" as the happiness /expectation of a good you're trying to attain. The Catholic Encyclopedia points out: "Hope, in its widest acceptation, is described as the desire of something together with the expectation of obtaining it. The Scholastics say that it is a movement of the appetite towards a future good, which though hard to attain is possible of attainment".

So I guess this is kind of a unconscious mechanism to expand the joy of what I'm about to read, instead of, impatiently, starting reading that in the first place.

Photo: Nikka Melt

September 13, 2008

Corintio, Ginebra

Cuentan que Nerón detuvo el proyecto de construir un canal en el istmo de Corintio, la parte más estrecha de la península del Peloponeso, porque los científicos de la época habrían pensado que, al dividirla, se hundiría, como se había hundido ya, por ejemplo, la Atlántida.

En realidad eso es un mito. Nerón mismo dio el primero palazo, antes de que 6,000 judíos se pusieran a excarvar. Lo que los científicos de la época habían observado era un desnivel entre los golfos de Corintio y Sarónico, una dificultad técnica entonces insalvable. (Curiosamente, los técnidos dieron a Napoleón muchos siglos más tarde el mismo dictamen cuando pidió que se investigara la posibilidad de construir un canal en Suez. Tardaron 50 años en descubrir el error.)

Esta semana, un alemán interpuso una demanda contra el CERN porque, aducía, el Colisionador de Hadrones originaría un agujero negro por donde todos seríamos succionados irremisible, irremediablemente. Otro paranoico, aún más pasional, amenazó de muerte a los responsables (sic) en caso de que los experimentos generaran el susodicho hoyo negro.

September 10, 2008

"Vocalise" (Rachmaninoff: Op. 34, #14)

Last December I decided that 2008 would be my personal "year of the music". After some months of going every week to the Philharmonic or the Opéra or some concerts, I had to quit due to Aristotle. Frau Dissertation is such a jealous girl!

Anyways... The most listened composition of the year is Vocalise, by Rachmaninoff. (It is a composition to be sung with just one vowel.) Here is a great arrangement for violin recorded in 1929, and directed by himself. "Rachmaninoff conducts his own arrangement of Vocalise for orchestra, in a recording from 1929. Rachmaninoff demonstrates the lyricism he expected from a performance of this piece, with the violins of the Philadelphia Orchestra using portamento to add expressiveness to the main line", quotes Wikipedia.



My favorite version is the one by Carlos Prieto on the cello, and a piano, allegedly arranged by Rostropovich and Heifetz. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find it on the web, and my internet skills are really limited, so I don't know either how to upload it. But here you will find it.

September 9, 2008

Stephanie or Jeanne?

Two great Frech-pop songs of the 80's which I like a lot. And now for the first time I saw the videos. Obviously I prefer Stephanie's (who looks a little bit like T, or somehow reminds me of her), but as a song still prefer Rouge et noir. Coincidentally, Ouragan was offered to Jeanne, but she wasn't interested in it, so it was given to Stephanie.

Voilà!



September 5, 2008

The trendiest gadget today

If Google Maps really changed our sight, eye, or however you want to put it, I just found out (perhaps I'm old fashioned, like when I posted this, drowned in amazement) the coolest sub-gadget: Google Maps' Street View.

Here is Audrey Hepburn, for instance:


Cool, yes. But of course! This opens a lot of questions about privacy. Still have to think about it...

September 4, 2008

¡Ya párenle!

Tres fragmentos de Aristóteles a propósito de la situación de inseguridad en México.

* De Diógenes Laercio o Sobre la impunidad:

Periandro fue el primero en tener guardaespaldas y en cambiar su poder por una tiranía. Y no dejaba que nadie viviera en la ciudad sin su voluntad, según lo dicen Éuforo y Aristóteles.
* De unos escolios al Andrómaca de Eurípides o Sobre el narcotráfico:

En las siguientes líneas, él [Eurípides] los zahiere [a los espartanos] por su devoción a las riquezas. Aristóteles igualmente relata esto en su Constitución de los espartanos, y añade los versos pronunciados por el dios: "El amor al dinero, y ninguna otra cosa, arruinará a Esparta".

* De Diógenes Laercio o Sobre el vil asesinato:

Cuenta Diógenes Laercio que Aristóteles tuvo que huir a Calcis porque o Eurimedonte o Demófilo lo acusaron de impiedad. Al parecer, la razones de la acusación fueron un himno compuesto a Hermias y un epigrama colocado en Delfos al pie de la estatua de Hermias. Dicho epigrama reza así:
Dedicado al hombre que nunca mancillara la inmaculada justicia
divina, asesinado por el Rey de los Persas arqueros,
no en sangriento combate a campo abierto con lanza
sino por medio de un traidor que supo engañarlo.

Foto: Paty Lu

September 3, 2008

Fuck Putin!

"The picture (...) raises doubts as to whether Russia even today can remotely be considered a civilized country".
David Settler


I really disagree with Putin and Russian... how should I call it: Politics? Not really, since it is more Barbarism than Politics.

The last weeks I've been concerned with the crisis in Caucasus, and Putin's carte blanche to act as he does, i.e. with impunity.

Today is the 4th anniversary of the massacre in Beslan's school. Just basic maths: In order to rescue (sic) around 1,100 hostages being taken by 32 terrorists, the overcome of Putin's operation is: at least 385 dead persons, and around 785 injured. It seems to be that around 80% of the people died because of Russian overpower (this reminds me as well of those other hostages in the Moscow teathre in 2002). The expert David Settler explains it:
The most powerful confirmation, however, came in a report released by Yuri Saveliev, a member of the federal parliamentary investigative commission and a highly regarded expert on the physics of combustion. Saveliev, a Duma deputy, was the only such expert on the commission. Saveliev concluded that the first explosion was the result of a shot from a flamethrower from a fifth story building on a street near the school at 13:03. The second explosion came after 22 seconds and was caused by a high explosive fragmentation grenade with a dynamite equivalent of 6.1 kilograms shot from another five story building on the same street. The explosions, according to Saveliev, caused a catastrophic fire and the collapse of the roof of the school gymnasium that led to the deaths of the majority of the hostages. The order to put out the fire did not come for two hours, leading to a situation in which hostages who could have been saved were burned alive.

According to Saveliev, another 106 to 110 hostages then died after terrorists moved them from the burning gym to the school’s cafeteria, which came under heavy fire from security forces using flamethrowers, rocket launchers and tanks. His analysis, in this way, supports the view of human rights activists that at least 80 per cent of the hostages were killed by indiscriminate Russian fire.

(...) The sad reality is that 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the role of the individual in Russia has not changed. He is seen as a means to an end not an end in himself.

Here is a lot of information uploaded by a brave woman who was already beaten while trying to dig out the truth.

AL put it perfect last week: "It is really hard to loose an Empire". Yes indeed. But still: Fuck Putin! I cannot put it in a not-emotional way.

September 2, 2008

Be careful: Books!

Checking Adriana's blog, I saw this image of Mladen Penev (check other nice variations, as well as other cool projects)...


...which made me think immediately of Nathan Coley's advice: Give up the good book | Pick up a good gun (2008)...

... which I saw in the most controversial art gallery Haunch of Venison.

In spring I went to their newest venue in the (of course!) Heidestraße with T, who took this cool pic. Notice that the card covering my face is a sample of Nathan Coley's Palace.

(And talking about guns, I posted some time ago two guys shooting their glasses like Warhol's Elvis.)

Tristram Shandy (1, I)

I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly consider'd how much depended upon what they were then doing;--that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;--and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost;--Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,--I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that in which the reader is likely to see me.--Believe me, good folks, this is not so inconsiderable a thing as many of you may think it;--you have all, I dare say, heard of the animal spirits, as how they are transfused from father to son, &c. &c.--and a great deal to that purpose:--Well, you may take my word, that nine parts in ten of a man's sense or his nonsense, his successes and miscarriages in this world depend upon their motions and activity, and the different tracks and trains you put them into, so that when they are once set a-going, whether right or wrong, 'tis not a half- penny matter,--away they go cluttering like hey-go mad; and by treading the same steps over and over again, they presently make a road of it, as plain and as smooth as a garden-walk, which, when they are once used to, the Devil himself sometimes shall not be able to drive them off it.
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