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Friday, June 30, 2006

Masters of Deception: Sandro Del Prete

I will go for a short vacation - tomorrow I will take the train for Boston. So I will cross the Chesapeake Bay, I will pass by the panorama of Philadelphia, then by the skyline of Manhattan, the train will run then very close to the Atlantic shore, at my right there will be the sand of the beach, at my left the gardens and the cottages of New England, and after eight hours I will be at Boston, at my son's family. My granddaughters are waiting.

I leave you in a good company, Sandro Del Prete. Enjoy and feel you are at home.


Sandro Del Prete, Das Geheimnis zwischen den Blaettern
Mie lucrarea aceasta a lui Sandro Del Prete imi place cel mai mult, Taina frunzelor purtate de vant - imi aminteste de picturile Georgiei O'Keeffe - dar acolo telul e cautarea esentei prin abstractizare (ganditi-va la seria Jack in the Pulpit) - aici telul e deslusirea a ceea ce nu vedem din cauza evidentei, a tainei ascunse in frunzele purtate de vant - si deodata avem sinteza, a evidentei si a tainei, inlantuite intr-o dialectica delicata.

Sandro Del Prete, The Garden Fence Iar Gardul de gradina imi aminteste de Rob Gonsalves, aici secretul este dubla perspectiva, truc folosit deseori de Del Prete.


Sandro Del Prete, Mesage d'amour des dauphins
Copiii vor vedea intotdeauna delfinii, oamenilor maturi le va fi greu sa desluseasca taina ascunsa de evidenta cuplului - pentru copii insa evidenta vor fi delfinii - iar cuplul va fi taina de neinteles - iar cand o vor descoperi mai tarziu, nu vor mai vedea niciodata joaca nevinovata a delfinilor.


Sandro Del Prete, Cosmic Wheels
Rotile Cosmice ma duc cu gandul la Escher, dar toti sunt de parere ca intre Del Prete si Escher asemanarile se opresc destul de repede.

Si in continuare alte cateva opere ale elvetianului Sandro Del Prete.

Sandro Del Prete, Gesture of a Ballerina

Sandro Del Prete, La vie en rose

Sandro Del Prete, The Railway Bridge

Sandro Del Prete, Leonardo Da Vinci

Sandro Del Prete, Folded Chess Set

Sandro Del Prete, Saint George - The Dragon Slayer

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Venite, Exultemus Domino

Psalter
Psalmul 94/95 - catolicii sunt indemnati sa isi inceapa ziua recitandu-l. M-a impresionat versetul Si imparat mare, peste toti zeii, mi s-a parut o expresie a religiei lui Yahweh privita ca o religie nationala, in competitie cu religiile celorlate popoare - voi aveti zeii vostri, Yahweh este al nostru (si numai al nostru) si ii invinge pe ai vostri. Iisus si Mahomed aveau sa deschida fiecare drumul spre biserica universala - si Dumnezeul unic al Universului. Vad ca in Artscroll Tehillim lui gods ii este preferat heavenly powers, ceea ce imi sugereaza mai curand o ierarhie aflata uneori in conflict. M-a impresionat apoi trecerea lina de la cuvantul psalmistului la Cuvantul Domnului, O de ati asculta astazi Glasul Lui: Sa nu va impietriti inimile. Si m-a impresionat tensiunea diferentei dintre indemnul psalmistului (Veniti sa cantam cu veselie Domnului) si amaraciunea replicii divine - Dumnezeu este si dragoste si dreptate. Iubitor si sever.

Massa si Meriba - in imaginatia celui care poate citi Psalmii in original cuvintele acestea sugereaza multe ... si pustiu, si izvor de apa miraculoasa rasarit in mijlocul pustiului, si slabiciuni omenesti - tentatia facilului, ingratitudine, superficialitate ... Moise pledand pentru poporul sau, negociind cu Dumnezeu, pentru ca slabiciunile omenesti sunt numai slabiciuni ...

Imi amintesc comentariul facut de una din traducatoarele Psalmilor in editia Breviarului catolic din anii 80 - ea a incercat sa pastreze cuvintele Massa si Meriba, pentru efectul lor emotional. Versiunea ei a fost Ca la Meriba, In zilele de la Massa in pustie - vad ca este aceeasi solutie poetica si in Artscroll Tehillim. De comparat cu celelalte doua versiuni.

Versiunea romaneasca moderna am scris-o din amintire. In mod sigur cateva versete sunt un pic altfel.

Si am adaugat versiunea mitropolitului Dosofteiu, Psaltirea in versuri, unul din marile monumente ale istoriei limbii romane.

O come, let us sing unto the LORD:
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the deep places of the earth:
the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it:
and his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down:
let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

For he is our God;
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

To day if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your heart,
as in the provocation,
and as in the day of temptation
in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me,
proved me, and saw my work.

Forty years long
was I grieved with this generation,
and said,
It is a people that do err in their heart,
and they have not known my ways:
Unto whom I sware in my wrath
that they should not enter into my rest.
(King James Bible)

Come! - let us sing to HASHEM,
let us call out to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us greet Him with thanksgiving,
with praiseful songs let us call out to Him.

For a great God is HASHEM,
and a great King above all heavenly powers.
For in His power are the hidden mysteries of earth,
and the mountain summits are His.

For His is the Sea and He perfected it,
and the dry land - His hands fashioned it.

Come! - let us prostrate ourselves and bow,
let us kneel before God, our Maker.
For He is our God
and we can be the flock He pastures
and the sheep in His charge

even today, if we but heed His call!
Do not harden your heart as at Meribah,
as on the day of Massah in the Wilderness;
when Your ancestors tried Me;
they tested Me,
though they had seen my deed.

For forty years I was angry with the generation;
then I said, 'An errant-hearted people are they,
and they know not My ways.
Therefore I have sworn in My wrath
that they shall not enter My land of contentment
(Artscroll Tehillim)

Veniti sa cantam cu veselie Domnului
Sa ne bucuram in fata stancii mantuirii noastre
Sa-I aducem multumiri
Si in cantari de psalmi sa-L preamarim.

Caci mare Dumnezeu este Domnul
Si Imparat mare, peste toti zeii
In mana Lui sunt adancurile pamantului
Si inaltimile muntilor sunt ale Sale.

A Lui este marea, caci El a facut-o
Si mainile Lui au plasmuit uscatul.

Veniti sa ne inchinam, sa ne plecam
Si sa ingenunchem
Inaintea Domnului, Creatorul nostru,
Caci El este Dumnezeul nostru,
Iar noi suntem poporul Lui,
Turma pe care mana Lui o calauzeste.

O, de ati asculta astazi Glasul Lui,
Sa nu va impietriti inimile,

Asa cum au facut parintii vostri
La Meriba,
In zilele de la Massa in pustie,

Cand m-au ispitit,
M-au pus la incercare,
Desi cunosteau lucrarile Mele.

Patruzeci de ani mi-a fost sila
De neamul acesta,
Mi-am zis,
Acest popor nu a cunoscut caile Mele,
Atunci am jurat intru manie,
Nu vor intra in odihna Mea.
(Cartea Psalmilor)


Venitz cu totz depreuna
Sa ne facem voaie buna,
Sa ne bucuram cu Domnul
Si sa-i strigam cu tot omul,
Ca ni-i Domn si mantuinta,
Si sa-l rugam cu credinta.
Sa-i tampinam svanta fatza
Cu ruga si cu dulceatza,
Si cu psalomi de cantare
Sa-i strigam cu glasuri mare.

Ca mare Domn este Domnul
Si-mparat preste tot omul,
Si din hotarale toate
I sa-nchina tari si gloate.
Ca-i este lumea pre mana,
Cu pamant şi cu ce-i plina,
Si muntzai cu dealuri nalte
Supt cuvantu-i sunt plecate.

Si marea cu nalte valuri
A lui este-n toate laturi.
Si-i de mana lui lucrata
Toata laturea uscata.

Venit sa-i cadem cu jele,
Sa ne ierte de gresele.
Naintea lui sa ne strangem
Si-ngenuncheatz sa ne plangem,
Ca el cu svanta sa mana
Ne-au facutu-ne din tina.
Si svintzia-sa ni-i Domnul,
Ca-i súntem a lui tot omul,
Si de turma oi iubite,
De mana lui socotite.

Pentr-aceea voi, tot omul,
De vetz auzi pre Domnul
Graindu-va cu blandetze,
Sa lasatz inemi sametze
Si sa nu statz cu manie,
Cum atz facut în pustie.
Cand mi-atz facutu-mi ispita
Sa mi-aflatz hirea cea svântă,
Cu parintzii ce va fece,
Ispitind la izvor rece.
Ispitira si vazura,
Si-n credinta nu statura.

Patruzaci de ai in sala
Le-am aratat a mea mila,
Pan-am urat acea ruda,
De i-am lasat sa-mble-n truda,
Dupa inema samatza,
Ratacind fara povatza.
Ca ei nu vrura sa marga
In calea mea, sa-ntaleaga.
Pentr-aceea m-dedi cuvantul
Si-m voi tzanea giuramantul :
„Tara mea sa nu o vaza,
Deaca nu vrura sa creaza"

(Dosofteiu)

(Icon and Orthodoxy)

Saint-Exupery

Le Petit Prince






The birthday of Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Reading together with Lossky - St. Simeon the New Theologian

Preobrazhenie Gospodne, Icon from XVth Century, Novgorod I took this hymn of St. Simeon the New Theologian from The Vision of God, by Vladimir Lossky - and this icon of the Transfiguration, from the XVth century, speaks with such power to us, because it speaks in our contemporary language, it uses the syntax of our modern art.

I have often seen the light, sometimes it has appeared to me within myself, when my soul possessed peace and silence, sometimes it has appeared only at a distance, and at times it was even hidden completely. Then I experienced great affliction, believing that I would never see it again. But from the moment when I began to shed tears, when I bore witness to a complete detachment from everything and to an absolute humility and obedience, the Light appeared once again, like the sun which dissipates the thickness of the clouds and reveals itself little by little, bringing joy. Therefore thou, Unspeakable, Invisible, Untouchable One, moving all things, revealing thyself and hiding thyself at every hour, thou hast disappeared and appeared before me day and night. Slowly thou hast dispelled the darkness which was in me, thou hast dissipated the cloud which covered me, thou hast opened my spiritual hearing, thou hast purified the pupil of the eye of my spirit. Finally having formed me according to thy will, thou hast revealed thyself to my shining soul, becoming invisible to me once more. And suddenly thou didst appear as another sun, O ineffable divine condescension.
I give thanks to thee for this that thou, the divine Being above all beings, hast deigned to make thyself one spirit with me, without confusion, without alteration.
I give thee thanks for having revealed thyself to me as the day without end, as the sun that never sets, O thou, who hast no place to hide thyself; for thou hast never hidden thyself from sight, never thou despised any one, but rather it is we who have hidden ourselves, unwilling to approach Thee.


(Icon and Orthodoxy)

(Sufi)

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Ms. Clinton learns Kazachok and closes the Triangle

Kossacks playing their traditional instruments
(excerpt from the Pocket Dictionary of the Kossacks, under development)

How can one close a triangle by learning Kazachok? Here's the story:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was keeping herself off the Kossaks. Someone told her that such an attitude was a no-no, so she decided there was high time for a change in her life. How to proceed? For a quick start, she considered learning to dance the Kazachok. Well, to learn Kazachok one needs a Kossack teacher, so Ms. Clinton decided to hire Peter Daou on this purpose. You know, the Peter Daou with the Daou Salon.

Mr. Daou started the first lesson by explaining to her what was the matter with the triangle. A triangle has three sides, in our case the traditional mass-media, the Democratic establishment and the blogosphere. These three sides are to be connected, so a triangle needs also three connections – one was Mr Daou himself, the second was another fine Kossack,
Jesse Berney – well, Ms. Clinton was expected to close the triangle. Here you go.

You don't believe me, do you? If you don't, go to the Fix.

Well, well, well, and what will be next? There are only three possibilities, that's what Howard Kurtz believes (Bloggars on the payroll):

1. Ms. Clinton will adjust her life and will become a Kossackian
2. Ms. Daou will adjust his life and will become Ms. Clinton's apologist
3. The new couple will have a very short life

Meanwhile Ms. Clinton triangulated again! In the issue of burning flags amendment she stayed in the middle, looked what was happening at the right and then triangulated at the left - at least that's what WaPo says.

Either/Or for the Episcopal Church - Mexican Prospects Up in Heavens

Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Today's NYT: Either/Or for the Episcopal Church, Mexican Prospects Up in Heavens, Maureen Dowd, T.L. Friedman

Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed yesterday a plan that could force the US Episcopal Church to give up either the gay bishops and same-sex unions or the full membership in the Anglican Communion. The plan suggests to ask each of the Episcopal provinces (the geographical divisions of the Church) to make the choice. This way some provinces would keep full status as constituent churches, while others would become churches in association.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the primum inter pares within the Anglican Communion. He does not have the authority to dictate his decisions (as the Pope does in the Catholic Church) - however this plan is the most solid official step yet in a long march toward schism.

So, either gay bishops only in the closet, or out of the Communion. Out of the closet and in the Communion do not work together. The Archbishop's proposal was greeted with satisfaction by conservative leaders in the US Episcopal Church, while liberal leaders expressed critical views. What would you expect?

(Church in America)

Okay, that's with the Church. Now, going to world politics, Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the front-runner in Mexico's presidential race. Is Mr. Lopez Obrador kind of Hugo Chavez? No, he does not have the military stamp of El Comandante. Then, is he kind of Evo Morales? No, he does not have the indigenist roots of the Bolivian president. Then, is he kind of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva? No, he's not a born compromiser to know the value of 10 percent. Then what? Well, Mr. Lopez Obrador has much higher prospects - his model seems to be located in no other place that in Heavens. Here's the story.

Also in today's NYT the op-eds of Maureen Dowd (who claims to not have any Sympahy for the Devil) and Thomas L. Friedman (speaking about environmental issues in Latin America).

And it's the birthday of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Be well, Duke of Kent, and keep in touch.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Proust chez Ritz

Ritz Les années suivantes, je reçus tant d’invitations à dîner au Ritz que je fus grandement récompensé de cette soirée qui, en réalité, ne m’avait donné aucune peine. Bientôt, des enchantements d’une tout autre nature me furent offerts par la fréquentation régulière de ce lieu : lorsque j’arrivais place Vendôme, sur la brève distance qui séparait la voiture de l’Hôtel, trois pavés incurvés formaient comme une petite vasque triangulaire où mon pied glissait, légèrement désaxé ; mais c’est sans nulle appréhension que j’abordais ce sol inégal : chaque fois, au contraire, un léger frémissement annonciateur de bonheur s’emparait de moi, sans que j’en devinasse la cause, croyant toujours la saisir dans la perspective d’un dîner succulent, studieux, amical ou mondain, ou celle de l’agrément que j’aurais à causer avec Olivier, avec le directeur, M. Ellès, ou avec tel des employés avec qui j’étais devenu familier ; je cheminais, et c’était une joie sans cesse renouvelée, un signe avant-coureur de mes « bonheurs-du-Ritz », que de retrouver, inattendu, discret, impitoyable, prometteur et caché, ce petit passage où la frêle voix du souvenir, ravie, transportée, aérienne, s’écriait au plus profond de moi : « Venise ! ».

Marcel Proust

Paris as seen by the morning sun of three or four and twenty and Paris in the twilight of the superfluous decade cannot be expected to look exactly alike. I well remember my first breakfast at a Parisian cafe in the spring of 1833. It was in the Place de la Bourse, on a beautiful sunshiny morning. The coffee was nectar, the flute was ambrosia, the brioche was more than good enough for the Olympians. Such an experience could not repeat itself fifty years later.

Oliver Wendell Homes, Our Hundred Days in Europe

(Marcel Proust)

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Stuart Davis, Blue Cafe and Corner Cafe

Stuart Davis, Blue Cafe, 1928, Phillips Collection, Washington, DCStuart Davis, Corner Cafe, Phillips Collection, Washington DC






I had the feeling that this was the best place in the world for an artist to live and work ... The prevalence of the sidewalk cafe was an important factor. It gave easy access to one's friends and gave extra pleasure to long walks through various parts of the city ... There was a seeming timelessness about the place that was conducive to the kind of contemplation essential to art.

Stuart Davis, Autobiography


Everyone heard about the Washington National Gallery of Art. Few know about the Phillips Collection. It's a much smaller gallery, close to DuPont Circle. Each artist is represented by few works, each one is a masterpiece. Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Stuart Davis, Oskar Kokoschka ... A Picasso from the blue period (The Blue Room), a splendid Pattern of Leaves by Georgia O'Keeffe, a Hopper (an image near Penn Station in New York), a Sloan (the Staten Island ferryboat), an amazing Rothko room, then Renoir, Cezanne, Degas ... A Repentant St. Peter by El Greco, in another room a Repentant St. Peter by Goya ... An exhibition just started, Klee in America, with works gathered from other American museums and collections.

DuPont Circle - with the coffee house, with the Kramer Books, with the Phillips Collection - with the entire bohemian atmosphere around the huge fountain and then on the Connecticut Avenue - you feel a kind of Parisian esprit there.


(Phillips Collection)

Jean Beraud, Dinner at Les Ambassadeurs

Jean Beraud, Dinner at Les Ambassadeurs
Does black coffee make you drunk do you think? I felt quite enviree ... and could have sat three years, smoking and sipping and thinking and watching the flakes of snow. And then you know the strange silence that falls upon your heart - the same silence that comes one minute before the curtain rises. I felt that and knew that I should write here.
(Katherine Mansfield in a letter to John Middleton Murry, March 19, 1915)

M. de Maupassant recevait de temps à autre, à sa table, rue de Montchanin, une jolie femme. Au cours d'un de ces repas, grisé, enlevé par la vue de cette belle personne ou encore par ses pensées, je ne sais, il lui dit : « Je crois que vous posez, Madame ». - »Je m'en doute bien un peu, Monsieur, c'est pourquoi je fais mon possible pour rester dans mon état naturel, afin qu'on ne puisse dire que je le fais à la pose ». -Merci, Madame, répondit l'auteur. Et un flot de paroles aimables suivit. La dame pria M. de Maupassant d'avoir l'amabilité de lui soumettre où il voulait en venir. L'écrivain déroula, alors, son échevau et lui dit : « Voici, Madame, mes intentions sont de vous faire comtesse par un second mariage ; de plus votre mari sera député. Vous aurez, aussi, un ami - intime - si vous voulez, grand et artiste de talent. Je crois qu'il fera votre portrait. Vous aurez un salon où les bibelots anciens et modernes se disputeront la place, votre loge à l'Opéra, et un équipage de chevaux noirs, tout garni d'argent avec des laquais poudrés pour vous rendre à l'avenue des Acacias ». L'auteur s'arrêta. « C'est tout, demanda la dame ?

Monday, June 26, 2006

K Street Confidential - about net neutrality

Jefrey H. Birnbaum Jefrey H. Birnbaum is the K Street Confidential columnist for the Washington Post - every other Monday he writes about the intersection between government and business. Today he analyzes the pros and cons of the net neutrality to discover that it's no neutral ground in this Internet battle.

Net neutrality, which is shorthand for network neutrality, is one of two possible answers to the following legislative question: Should cable and telephone companies be allowed to charge add-on fees to others for access to their networks? Under a net-neutral system, the answer would be "no." If net neutrality were to lose, the answer would be "yes." Well, the answer of Mr. Birnbaum is "it doesn't matter".


Andre Kertesz, The Fork

Andre Kertesz, The Fork
Were I to take only one image of Andre Kertesz with me, this would be.


Minimalism at its best



El a intins spre mine o frunza ca o mana cu degete.
Eu am intins spre el o mana ca o frunza cu dinti.
(Nichita Stanescu, Necuvintele)

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Man Ray, Tears

Man Ray, Tears Man Ray - Larmes -

- Asculta, tu, bine, iubito,
Nu plange si nu-ti fie teama -
(Bacovia)

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Felicia Antip: America and Central Europe

The Economist Central and Eastern European countries are very commited in their relations with the US. Here is an article from The Economist that makes the point:

It was to America that the captive nations of central and eastern Europe once looked for succour. And when they gained freedom, it was America that pushed to make them safe, by bringing them in to NATO. Those memories are still strong.

George Bush's visit to Hungary this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the failed anti-Soviet uprising there, would have met similar warmth in any of the eight ex-communist members of the European Union. In parts of Old Europe, by contrast, the welcome would have been cool or outright hostile.

Most of Europe's new democracies still believe that, in a tight spot, only America can guarantee their security. That is particularly true for those edgy about Russia: Poland and the Baltic states. They were thrilled to hear Mr Bush's vice-president, Dick Cheney, denounce Russia's energy imperialism in Vilnius last month.

But it is not just Russia. Hungary, for example, keeps an uneasy eye on next-door Serbia, home to an unhappy Hungarian minority. If extremists took power in Serbia, says George Schaflin, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament, only America could protect Hungary.

The post-communist countries are useful American allies. They supported the war in Iraq both diplomatically, and with troops on the ground. The numbers, Poland aside, may look small. But for the countries involved, they are large. Addressing Congress earlier this month, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia's president, said that her country's contribution to operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the western Balkans was proportionately one of the largest in the world.

America tends to underestimate the political cost of this. One post-communist minister recalls trying vainly to convince his American counterparts that staying in Iraq was rather unpopular at home. American military aid to the new democracies has been stingy. And the cost and hassle of America's visa policies grate harshly. Estonians don't understand why their sons are dying in Iraq for democracy and freedom, and yet their families can't get visas for the United States, says Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a former foreign minister.

So far, only Slovenia's 1.9m people have visa-free travel to America. Poland and the Czech Republic have lobbied hard; so did Mrs Vike-Freiberga on her recent trip. But there is little sign of change. In most post-communist countries, each visa application costs a non-refundable $100 a week's wages. In Romania, even the appointment costs $11, for seven minutes of telephone time.

That makes it hard for pro-American politicians to thrive. Mikulas Dzurinda, the outgoing Slovak prime minister, was an ardent Atlanticist. He was well-received during visits to Washington, but brought little home to show for it. The victors in last weekend's elections were anti-American leftist and nationalist parties.
Who's my friend?


Such wobbles barely trouble American policy-makers. East European governments of all stripes usually end up trying to get on well with America. The Hungarian government that welcomed Mr Bush is a coalition of ex-communists and liberals, but it has been a solid ally in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Poland, under the presidency of ex-communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, helped America, notably in places such as Ukraine. The country's current conservative rulers, though explicitly pro-American, are shackled by their incompetence in foreign policy.

Atlanticism is a harder and riskier sell than it used to be. The public increasingly thinks Iraq was bungled. Many politicians would like to say to America: If you want us to be your allies in places such as Iraq, then do things better, says Kadri Liik, a Tallinn-based foreign-policy analyst. Polish opinion has swung sharply against a clumsily presented new American anti-missile radar base.

The furore over rendition has been damaging too. Although all the governments concerned in Poland and elsewhere deny that they have provided secret bases for torturing, or transporting, terrorists, solid suspicions remain.

The hope now is that America will open large bases of a more conventional kind, with the attendant jobs and contracts. In April America leased three bases in Bulgaria, which are expected to bring several thousand troops to build logistics for larger forces heading east and south.

In Romania, the port of Constanta has been used for NATO exercises and is likely to become an American base by year-end. President Traian Basescu has energetically pushed the idea of using his country to open the Black Sea region to American and European influence.

So long as the European Union's own foreign policy looks muddled and weak, the ex-captive nations are likely to look mostly to America for security. And loyal friends in useful places are welcome, even if they are small, weak and tiresomely keen on actually visiting their big ally.

Edelina Stoian: Rajastan

Bishnoi Woman in Luni Region

Infasurate in Sari de culoare rosie si portocalie, cu broderii complicate, un capat al tesaturii fine incingindu-le mijlocul, celalalt aruncat peste umar, doua femei, purtind ulcioare de lut in crestetul capului, s-au oprit in forfota unui bazar aglomerat pentru a schimba citeva vorbe. Alaturi, in fata unei dughene, s-au strins citiva barbati cu turbane de culoare rosu aprins si galben.

Scena surprinsa de aparatul de fotografiat poate fi vazuta la o expozitie din München cu fotografii ale Aureliei Leicand, expozitie intitulata Asa am vazut eu India.

Culorile aprinse atrag privirea vizitatorului chiar de la intrarea in expozitie, in deplin contrast cu monotonia peisajului de pustiu. Ne aflam in partea de nord-vest a Indiei, in Rajastan, Tara Rajahilor, domnitorii Indiei antice si feudale. Arhitectura religioasa este prezenta aproape in toate fotografiile cu temple apartinind celor doua religii ale Rajastanului: hinduismul cu sistemul de casta si jainismul care predica inviolabilitatea tuturor fiintelor. Exista, insa, si o altfel de arhitectura, dupa cum explica Aurelia Leicand:

Mergi pe strazi neasfaltate si deodata iti iese in cale un palat, parca tisnit din pamint. Uneori, cind in apropiere se afla un lac, ai senzatia ca iti apare Fata Morgana. Deosebit de interesante si orginale sint casele cu fatadele pictate. Locuitorii lor sint urmasii negutatorilor imbogatiti de-a lungul secolelor pe rutele caravanelor, intre Extremul Orient si tarile din bazinul mediteranean. Cum, insa, celor de azi nu le merge atit de bine ca stramosilor lor, multe astfel de case, restaurate, sint puse la dispozitia turistilor ca sursa suplimentara de venit.

Citeva fotografii prezinta capitala Rajastanului, Jaipur, Orasul Trandafiriu, construit in secolul 18 dupa modelul unei vechi table de sah hinduse. Pe strada principala, strabatuta atunci de un maiestuos apeduct si incadrata de fintini arteziene, circula acum in arsita si praf motorete si ricse, pe trotuare se inghesuie oameni, vaci, ciini, capre. Pe balconul unei case a iesit la plimbare... o vacă. Nu e clar cum a ajuns si ce cauta acolo - intrebari pe care trecatorii nu par sa si le puna... pe fetele zimbitoare ale celor care isi indreapta privirile spre balconul cu vaca nu se citeste mirarea sau surpriza. Dupa alte citeva fotografii cu scene de pe strazile Orasului Trandafiriu ajungem la o nunta. Aurelia Leicand isi aminteste:

Intr-o gradina uriasa se aud muzica si palavrageala, se comenteaza de zor despre mire si mireasa. Cei doi stau alaturi pe un podium ridicat in mijlocul nuntasilor: femeile in superbe Sari, separate de barbatii strinsi in grupuri multicolore. Mireasa poarta o vaporoasa rochie rosie (culoarea fericirii si a norocului), mirele cu turban de aceeasi culoare. In Rajastan casatoriile sint decise de familii, tinerii casatoriti se intilnesc prima oara in ziua nuntii pentru ca, spune intelepciunea locala, dragostea vine dupa casatorie.

Parasim nunta, ajungem la fotografia urmatoare, un peisaj albastru, vazut de sus, de pe colina. In vale - puzderie de case. Sint casele albastre ale brahmanilor. Dupa cum imi spune Aurelia Leicand,
localnicii sint convinsi de puterea albastrului de a tine la distanta siciitoarele insecte.

Rajastan, Tara Rajahilor, tara a contrastelor. O mama isi spala copilul in plina strada, un batrin care arata ca un personaj biblic isi asteapta clientii in fata unei dughene de fiare vechi, un taxi transporta elevii la scoala - e o bicicleta pe care s-au catarat ca intr-un complicat exercitiu de echilibristica vreo sapte copii cu traistutele-ghiozdan in spinare... si peste tot, vacile molcome, indiferente la agitatia din jur. Nu departe, pe o mica insula, se afla unul din cele mai luxoase hoteluri din lume, The Lake Palace, unde o ceasca de cafea costa la fel de luxoasa suma de 100 de Euro! Pret pe care, bineinteles, nici unul din localnici nu si l-ar putea permite, ceea ce, insa, nu are darul sa le strice buna dispozitie. In toate fotografiile te privesc oameni zimbitori, prietenosi, copii salutind incintati obiectivul aparatului de fotografiat in dogoarea soarelui care se joaca de-a v-ati ascunselea cu nori rosiatici... culoarea fericirii si a norocului.

Expozitia e foarte interesanta. Mi-au placut si titlurile fotografiilor, alese cu mult umor. Sint prinse momente semnificative pentru viata in regiunea respectiva, nu numai elemente ilustrative de carte postala cu palate, cladiri etc., ci si aspecte din viata oamenilor, cu obiceiurile lor.

... imi spune o vizitatoare a expoziţiei...

[nascuta in Romania, Aurelia Leicand a studiat la Bucuresti anglistica, italiana si istoria artei si traieste la München din 1964. In ultimii ani si-a descoperit un nou acasa, un acasa fotografic in sud-estul Asiei, Tailanda, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodgia, dar mai ales in India].


Edelina Stoian

(Edelina Stoian)

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Man Ray - Violon d'Ingres

Man Ray, Le Violon d'Ingres
Kiki of Montparnasse was a famous performer and Man Ray felt in love with her. For six years Kiki was for him lover, muse and model. He often used the outline of her body to represent other objects - as a mark of his artistic tendencies towards minimalism and abstraction.

During World War II, Man Ray was forced to leave Paris and to return to the United States. He came back to Montparnasse later, and lived there up to his end. His tomb is in the cemetery of Montparnasse - I passed by when I was in Paris, in 1999. His epitaph reads: Unconcerned, but not indifferent.

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Andre Kertesz, Elizabeth and I

Andre Kertesz, Elisabeth and I
So there it stood, squeezed between the city and the sea, narrow and humble, with its eight long marble-topped tables standing on heavy iron legs beneath the mirrors that ran the length of two walls. The leather of the banquettes was split with use and age, and here and there the coils of springs and snuffing had broken through. But still this place seemed extraordinarily luxurious to us.

Kay Boyle and Robert McAlmon, Being Geniuses together

Few independent coffee houses remained in Washington - no more than a couple. All the others belong now to the big chains. I passed today near one of those independent cafes, and it was closed for ever - out of business: the Sirius, near the metro station of Van Ness - UDC.

I was on my way towards the Politics & Prose bookstore, on the Connecticut Avenue. There are only three independent bookstores in DC - all the others belong to Barnes & Noble, Borders, or other chains. Politics & Prose is the largest independent bookstore in the city (and it hosts one of the few independent coffee houses, too: a very bohemian place).

I was looking for the book of Andrei Cherny, The Next Deal - but even they were not having it. I found instead a Polish author, a journalist - I took his book and opened it - and I was not able to stop reading. The title, The Soccer War, is misleading - actually it describes the journalist's experiences in Africa of the sixties, in Congo, in Ghana, etc. - and it's a fabulous book, believe me. It is reportage, diary, memories, imagination, all combined. The period was extremely complex for African countries - and nobody would be able to understand all that happened there, the causes, the mechanisms and so on. There is no political agenda in the book; the author is first of all very honest to his readers. He tells us only what he sees, nothing more. This guy, Kapuscinki is kind of Hemingway and Marquez gathered together under the same skin.

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Andre Kertesz, Flowers to Elizabeth

Andre Kertesz, Flowers to Elisabeth
From all images witnessing the love of Andre Kertesz for his wife, Elizabeth, I had to make a choice, one of them in front of all others. And I made this choice.

Because Love is kind, and envieth not, and vaunteth not itself, and is not puffed up (1 Corinthians)


(Sufi)

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Kingpin

Ostap Kindritchuk playing the bandura
(excerpt from the Pocket Dictionary of the Kossacks, under development)

There is an old saying that there is always an Ataman behind Kossacks. There is another saying that Kossacks with Atamans and Keyboards with Kingpins. So, Kossacks' Ataman or Keyboard Kingpin, it's just a matter of perspective.

If you have a look in a dictionary, you can see what's the matter about and then you can try combinations, An Ataman standing in the middle of a triangular arrangement of bowling Kossaks, what about that? Or take this one, an Ataman connecting the two Kossacks of a knuckle joint, why not? Funny perhaps, only one should keep in mind that to an Ataman respect must be paid.

David Brooks has a story (not particularly respectful, I'm afraid). It goes like this:

They say that the great leaders are gone and politics has become the realm of the small-minded. But in the land of the Lilliputians, the Keyboard Kingpin must be accorded full respect.
The Keyboard Kingpin, a k a Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, sits at his computer, fires up his Web site,
Daily Kos, and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way. And in this way the Kingpin has made himself a mighty force in his own mind, and every knee shall bow.
The Kingpin's first enemy was the Democratic Party establishment, and it pleased him to see Howard Dean take it on. When the Dean campaign hired the Kingpin and his co-author and onetime business partner Jerome Armstrong as paid campaign consultants, this was an appropriate sign of respect, and the Kingpin did lay his hand of blog approval upon the Dean campaign (while disclosing the connection).
When Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senate candidate in Ohio, hired Armstrong last year to help with his campaign, this was also a sign of respect. The Kingpin had instructed his Kossack cultists to support Brown's Democratic primary rival, Paul Hackett. But the Kingpin switched sides and backed Brown over his former anointee.
The Kingpin often directs his wrath at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. But the centrist Democrat Mark Warner has also hired Armstrong as a consultant, and the Kingpin has graciously exempted Warner from the seventh circle of Kos hell. Warner is frequently celebrated on Daily Kos as something akin to the second coming of F.D.R.
And so it is in the realm of the Kingpin. Those who offer respect get respected.
But lo, there are doubters. Chris Suellentrop, who writes
the Opinionator column on TimesSelect, posted an item on June 16 noting the strange correlation between Armstrong contracts and Kos endorsements. He further reported that the S.E.C. has filed court documents alleging that in 2000 Armstrong touted a dubious software stock on a Web site in exchange for secret payments. Armstrong was accused of building Internet buzz to make money for himself.
The Keyboard Kingpin was displeased by this publicity.
But the Sachem of the Blogosphere restrained his mighty wrath and responded with the cleverness for which he is so justly self-adored. In a private letter to hundreds of his fellow progressive bloggers, the Kingpin declared he would "go on the offensive" in a "couple of months," but in the meantime, a code of omertà was in order. "It would make my life easier if we can confine the story," he wrote. "If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let's starve it of oxygen."
But alas! There was a Judas on the listserve, who leaked the Kingpin's missive to Jason Zengerle, who promptly posted
a report on The New Republic Web site.
The Kingpin waxed Cheneyesque on the evils of leaking, and this time the squeaking fury of the Kossacks could be heard (to those capable of discerning high frequencies) far and wide. The Kingpin excommunicated The New Republic from the community of the saved. "If you still hold a subscription to that magazine, it really is time to call it quits. If you see it in a magazine rack, you might as well move it behind the National Review," he wrote on Daily Kos.
"The New Republic betrayed, once again, that it seeks to destroy the new people-powered movement for the sake of its Lieberman-worshiping neocon owners," the Kingpin charged. And so the magazine of Walter Lippmann was expunged from the community of the righteous, and its writers cast into the shadow of oblivion.
The Kingpin is not surprised by such betrayals. Sounding like Tom DeLay — who is his moral doppelgänger — Kos says that those who crash the gates and take on the establishment are bound to be attacked.
But the truth is that the new boss is little different from the old boss — only smaller. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats bow and scrape. He has managed to spread the gospel of Kossism far and wide, which is not really about ideas and philosophy. "I'm just all about winning," he has said.
And so the Kingpin has his relationships and his understandings and his networks and his compromises. In just a few short years he has achieved a level of self-importance it took those in the pre-blog political class decades to acquire.
He has challenged his enemy and become it.

Edelina Stoian - Florian

Caffe Florian Stai in loja si urmaresti spectacolul: un tinar cinta la chitara, lipit de el picoteste un catel cu basmaluta rosie la git, doi arlechini mimeaza o veche farsa populara, o batrina in valuri negre ghiceste in cafea, alaturi face tumbe un pitic bondoc in salvari din catifea visinie, o tinara curtezana isi face vint cu un evantai din pene de strut, i se vad doar ochii aruncind priviri cochete spre vecinul ei cu barba ca de tilhar, o flasneta cinta 'O, sole mio!' facind concurenta gondolierilor in tricouri cu dungi albe/rosii si palarii de paie, un turist da disperat din miini incercind sa alunge porumbeii care i s-au catarat - ciorchine pe umeri, scena este imortalizata de nelipsitul aparat de fotografiat cu burduf: 'Zimbiti,va rog!', apare si Regina - maiestuoasa, planturoasa, bluza de matase alba, stravezie, fusta neagra, lunga, cu volane, coronita de flori pe cap, de git are agatata o tavita cu ilustrate: Venetia in zori, in amurg, vara, iarna, pe soare si pe ploaie ...

Scena spectacolului este Piata San Marco, loja este locul unde, in 1721, Carlo Goldoni, copil inca, intra pentru prima oara, iar Casanova venea in cautare de companie feminina pentru ca, pe vremea aceea, era singura cafenea din Venetia unde erau admise si femeile. Plasata sub arcadele Procuratie Nuove, in piata San Marco, a devenit unul din simbolurile orasului lagunelor. Inaugurata la 29 decembrie 1720 de Floriano Francesconi, sub numele de Venezia Trionfante a devenit in scurt timp cea mai faimoasa cafenea venetiana, cafeneaua FLORIAN. Ilustra clientela degusta cafele si vinuri alese aduse din Orient, Malaezia, Cipru sau Grecia, despartita doar prin geamurile fumurii ale cafenelei de istoria care se petrecea la numai citiva pasi distanta: inflorirea Serenissimei Republici Venetia urmata de prabusirea sa, comploturile celor care puneau la cale inlaturarea guvernarii franceze si apoi a celei austriece sau revolutia din 1848 pe timpul careia ranitii erau tratati chiar in incaperile cafenelei in care se inghesuiau nobili venetieni, ambasadori, negustori, aventurieri, artisti,dar si oameni de rind, din popor. FLORIAN era locul unde venetienii si strainii in trecere prin oras se adunau pentru a vorbi despre tot si toate: de la politica pina la birfe locale si ultimele noutati din lumea modei.

Nu e de mirare ca publicistul Gaspare Gozzi a decis ca FLORIAN sa fie locul unde putea fi citit ziarul sau, Gazzetta Veneta, una din primele publicatii din Italia. Printre cititori se numarau personalitati ca Parini, Nicolo Tommaseo si Daniele Manin care, intre o cafea si o felie de tort si-au proclamat ideile de libertate si independenta, sau Lordul Byron, Dickens, Goethe, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Rousseau, Rubinstein, Stravinsky si Modigliani, pentru a-i numi doar pe citiva dintre clientii nelipsiti la FLORIAN. Acolo, la mesele cafenelei s-a nascut ideea organizarii in onoarea Regelui Umberto si a Reginei Margherita a unei expozitii bienale de arta, actuala Bienala de la Venetia, urmasa primei Expozitii Internationale de Arta din1895.

Cafeneaua FLORIAN a ramas deschisa si in timp de razboi, continuind sa ofere refugiu celor care doreau sa-si intilneasca prietenii, sa afle stiri de pe front, sa-si uite pentru o ora-doua teama, grijile, nesiguranta. De aproape 300 de ani FLORIAN pastreaza cu incapatinare vechile traditii tinind, insa, pasul cu tot ce e nou in cultura si arta, cu viata cotidiana a Venetiei. In perioada aprilie-octombrie,in fiecare an, FLORIAN ofera zilnic tot ce e mai bun in muzica: dela partituri simfonice clasice pina la arii din opere si operete, muzica-pop sau jazz. Si in orice zi a anului, daca faceti un popas la faimoasa cafenea venetiana, sa nu va mirati ca stati alaturi, la masa, cu staruri de cinema, pictori sau scriitori faimosi, magnati ai presei, oameni politici sau ... un gondolier in pauza de prinz caruia porumbeii din San Marco ii ciugulesc firimiturile aduse de o pala de vint pe palaria de paie.

Edelina Stoian

(Edelina Stoian)

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Edelina Stoian - Bellaria

Bellaria, So lange wir leben Bellaria - So lange wir leben

La Viena timpul sta in loc intr-un cinematograf cu totul iesit din comun. In sala cinematografului Bellaria, in fiecare zi a anului, timp de doua ore, incepind de la ora 4 dupa-amiaza fix, prezentul incremeneste. Cind se stinge lumina in sala cu scaune din plush visiniu, roase de timp, si candelabre din alte vremuri, pentru spectatorii cu virsta medie de 80 de ani incepe calatoria in trecut cu filme vechi, din anii 50 si 60, neatinse de tehnica digitala, filme care ii intorc in anii tineretii, ramasi in urma pentru totdeauna.

Fiecare dintre spectatori isi are locul sau, acelasi de fiecare data; pentru cei mai multi dintre ei Bellaria este locul in care macar pentru doua ore isi uita singuratatea, e locul in care isi ravad vechi prieteni, pe ecran sau pe scaunul de alaturi, e locul fara de care n-ar mai putea trai, spune Douglas Wolfsperger, regizorul filmului documentar Bellaria, un portret al batrinetii, schitat cu discretie si sensibilitate.

La prima vedere, bizarii spectatori vienezi par a fi un grup de locatari excentrici ai unui azil de batrini. Protagonistii aparent amuzantului spectacol cotidian de la Bellaria sint, insa, niste batrinei inofensivi, imbracati cu ce au mai bun pentru marele eveniment zilnic: de la palarioare rosii cu voaleta neagra si manusi trei-sferturi asortate, pina la cindva elegante mantouri de blana, acum roase de molii si de trecerea anilor, camasi din pinza alba cu gulerele intepenite in balene, pantofi de lac si bastoane cu miner din fildes ingalbenit... Multe din batrinele doamne poarta peste riduri un strat gros de fard á la vechiul Hollywood.

Sharmul batrinilor vienezi devine evident atunci cind camera de filmat ii insoteste pe unii dintre ei in intimitatea locuintelor. Traiesc in trecut, eu nu mai am nici un viitor! marturiseste una dintre spectatoare, la ea acasa. S-a asezat pe o canapea verde, isi odihneste picioarele pe un scaunel galben. E ordine si liniste. Pe peretele din spatele canapelei - citeva ceasuri cu cuc sparg tacerea camerei cu cite un Cu-Cu! la fiecare sfert de ora - aici timpul nu sta pe loc.

O alta spectatoare devenita protagonista a documentarului deschide pentru camera de filmat un dulap plin cu conserve, rafturi-rafturi cu conserve. Sint proviziile ei pentru o luna intreaga, cu grija aranjate dupa continut: mazare cu cirnati pe raftul de sus, fasole cu carne dedesubt, inca un raft cu supe de cartofi, altul cu ceaiuri si biscuiti. Nu se hraneste cu altceva, nu cumpara nimic in plus, ca sa-i ajunga banii pentru biletele zilnice la Bellaria. Vaduva, pomeneste de casatoria ei nefericita pe care a putut-o suporta ani la rind doar pentru ca evada din cind in cind la Bellaria - acum se poate duce, in sfirsit, in fiecare zi.

Acasa la un batrin de 85 de ani. Sotia, dragostea tineretii lui, a murit si l-a lasat singur. Se consoleaza cu fotografii vechi ale actorilor de film pe care le-a asezat pe noptiera, de partea patului unde dormea iubita lui de-o viata.

In secventa urmatoare asistam la ora de pedichiura. Protagonista - o batrina cocheta, imbracata in rochie inflorata de matase, mulata pe carnea ofilita, nu se jeneaza sa-si arate bataturile, unghiile invinetite si degetele deformate de artrita. Strident fardata, zimbeste, chicoteste, pozeaza, cocheteaza cu camera de filmat, isi joaca rolul preferat, rolul Divei la care a tinjit de atitea ori in sala intunecata a cinematografului. Acolo unde ea si ceilalti spectatori isi consuma portia zilnica de fericire si vise. Unde se bucura si rid, se intristeaza si pling, trec de la o stare la alta cu usurinta copiilor impreuna cu batrinele staruri de cinema, vesnic tinere.

Momentele comice si sharmul vienez nu lipsesc din filmul documentar al regizorului Douglas Wolfsperger si nici din viata protagonistilor sai. Unul din spectatorii de la Bellaria, 87 de ani, povesteste amuzat, bucurindu-se ca un copil care a primit o jucarie noua, ca sub piatra de mormint a mamei lui s-a aciuat de citva timp un soricel pe care il viziteaza ca sa-i tina de urit. O doamnă de 91 de ani chicoteste ca o fetiscana fisticita si marturiseste ca s-a indragostit de vecinul ei de palier, un tinerel de 82 de ani. Isi face curaj, se apropie schiopatind de camera de filmat si schiteaza un sarut timid pentru noua ei iubire, aducindu-i aminte: Nu uita, ne vedem miine la Bellaria!

Edelina Stoian

(Edelina Stoian)

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Man Ray - Kiki

Man Ray, Kiki
Come, meet me in some dead cafe --
A puff of cognac or a sip of smoke
Will grant a more prolific light,
Say there is nothing to revoke.

Lawrence Durrell, AVIGNON


DuPont Circle - the finest Washingtonian cafe-bar is in this place, between Connecticut Avenue and 19th Street. I think it is the only cafe in DC with a Parisian physiognomy. I was there today, I ordered a cup of black coffee and I took place at a table on the terrace. Usually I am reading the newspapers while sipping the coffee - today I was only watching the street scenery. A statue used to be in the center of the Circle, representing the admiral DuPont, a hero of the Civil War. The statue was moved in the 20s or 30s to Wilmington, in Delaware, as the admiral was born in that city. They put instead a huge fountain, and so DuPont is the only Washingtonian Circle not having a statue.

I was there looking for a book, The Next Deal, written by a very young political thinker, Andrei Cherny. There is a shift of generations in America, and it comes with a shift of paradigms. The political field will look soon very different.

Only finding this book proved to be impossible in all DC. I had tried in several bookstores and now I wanted to ask in the Kramer Books, situated on the Connecticut Avenue, following the cafe.

I finished my coffee and I was about to leave the place, to go to the Kramer Books. In that moment I saw Le Vieux Monsieur. A very old gentleman, definitely beyond his eighties. It was a very hot day, so everybody was very lightly dressed. Le Vieux Monsieur was wearing a thick black suit, a black tie, and a heavy black hat.

In any other place I would have said Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes, but here was a corner of Paris, and the old gentleman was simply this, Le Vieux Monsieur.

He was sitting at a table and was reading some newspapers - I was wandering whether these were not Parisian papers, even some old papers, no more in print, L'Aurore or even Le Temps, the ancestor of today's Monde (À la recherche du Temps perdu, on trouve le Monde où l'on s'ennuie). Because the only Washingtonian place where one can meet such a Parisian looking Vieux Monsieur is precisely this cafe, near Dupont Circle.

I didn't find the book at Kramer, either.


(Dupont Circle)

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Psalm XXVIII/XXIX

Psalter
The voice of God may be terrible, but it is creative. It is the source of life. If God were to keep silent, then a man's fate would be worse than death itself. (Erik Routley)






The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the GOD of Glory thundereth; the LORD upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the ceders; yea, the LORD breaketh the ceders of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in His Temple doth every one speak of His Glory.
(King James Bible)

The voice of HASHEM is upon the waters, the God of Glory thunders, HASHEM is upon vast waters.
The voice of HASHEM comes in power! The voice of HASHEM comes in majesty!
The voice of HASHEM breaks the cedars, HASHEM shatters the cedars of Lebanon!
He makes them prance about like a calf; Lebanon and Siryon like young re'eimim.
The voice of HASHEM cleaves with shafts of fire.
The voice of HASHEM convulses the wilderness; HASHEM convulses the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of HASHEM frightens the hinds, and strips the forests bare; while in His Temple all will proclaim, Glory!
(Artscroll Tehillim)


Glasul Domnului peste ape; Dumnezeul Slavei a tunat; Domnul peste ape multe.
Glasul Domnului intru tarie, glasul Domnului intru mare cuviinta;
Glasul Domnului sfarama cedrii si va zdrobi Domnul cedrii Libanului;
El face sa sara Libanul ca un vitel; iar Ermonul ca un pui de gazela.
Glasul Domnului, cel ce varsa para focului.
Glasul Domnului cutremura pustiul si va cutremura Domnul pustiul Cadesului.
Glasul Domnului dezleaga pantecele cerboaicelor, glasul Domnului despoaie cedrii si in Templul Sau fiecare striga: Slava!
(Cartea Psalmilor)

Piratul

Primisem in dar cu cateva zile mai inainte o carte pe care mi-o doream de mult, Insula Misterioasa. O deschisesem in aceeasi seara, si m-a izbit imaginea care se afla pe una din primele pagini. Cyrus Smith, inginerul de cai ferate care era ofiter in armata nordistilor. Fusese ranit intr-una din lupte, iar acum era prizonier in orasul Richmond si cauta un mijloc de a evada. Inca nu stiam de el, putea fi foarte bine ceea ce era in realitate, ofiter si inginer de cai ferate in acelasi timp, putea fi insa ofiter de artilerie, sau ofiter de marina, capitanul vreunei fregate, putea fi la fel de bine capitanul unei corabii de pirati. Era inalt, slabanog, avea o privire un pic aspra, mai curand insa neinfricata. Nu era tanar, si se vedea ca era obisnuit sa comande pentru ca avea pe umeri multi ani in care se calise. Purta favoriti lungi, pentru ca era un om de moda mai veche. Inspira un pic de teama, dar si multa incredere. Si toate acestea se puteau rezuma intr-un singur cuvant - fascina. Erou de-al lui Jules Verne.
Si asa s-a intamplat ca l-am intalnit peste cateva zile pe strada. Eram cu mama pe undeva pe Calea Victoriei, chiar in fata Palatului Telefoanelor, in dreptul pasajului Victoria. Inalt, slabanog, cu favoriti mari, un om de moda veche. L-am vazut si am exclamat imediat, esti Piratul. A zambit, un zambet special, de om trecut prin multe, aveam sa ma obisnuiesc mai tarziu cu zambetul lui. Mi-a zis, da, eu sunt piratul.
Si asa a ramas o gramada de vreme, Piratul, pana cand am inceput sa ii zic Taticule.
Ca si eroul lui Jules Verne era si el inginer constructor si fusese ofiter. Facuse tot razboiul si construise poduri peste care treceau trenuri cu soldati si cu tancuri. Era nascut in 1901, dupa ce terminase liceul, la Gheorghe Lazar, intrase la scoala de ofiteri. Devenise inginer in arma geniului. Fusese ofiter la Cernauti si apoi multi ani la Galati, razboiul l-a gasit capitan. Avea o fata, Laurentia, a murit la bombardamentul din 4 aprilie 1944, avea 18 ani. A venit de pe front sa isi inmormanteze fata - sora mea mai mare, pe care am cunoscut-o doar din fotografii - s-a intors pe front si a facut mai departe tot razboiul. Pe frontul de est a ajuns pana la Odesa. Pe frontul de vest a ajuns pana la Bratislava. Iar noaptea de inviere in 1945 a facut-o la biserica romaneasca din Viena - Bratislava era foarte aproape.
S-a intors de pe front cu gradul de maior. Cu prima lui sotie, mama Laurentiei, nu a mai putut sa se inteleaga si s-au despartit. iar in 1947 a fost scos din cadrul activ al armatei, Romania trebuia sa isi reduca efectivele militare, iar ofiterii vechi nu erau bine priviti. Legea prevedea ca la trecerea in rezerva sa fie avansat in grad. Asa ca a devenit locotenent colonel. Fusese inginer militar, de acum inainte avea sa fie inginer civil. Lumea ii spunea domnule colonel, sau domnule inginer.
A fost repartizat sa lucreze ca inginer constructor pe undeva pe valea Prahovei, la Sinaia sau Busteni. A continuat o perioada de vreme sa poarte uniforma militara, asa era obisnuit si ii venea greu sa se adapteze la viata civila. Dupa cateva luni Regele Mihai a fost silit sa abdice - si-a zmuls atunci epoletii de pe tunica. Am vazut mult mai tarziu o fotografie a lui din perioada aceea si am inteles cat de greu le-a fost unor oameni ca el sa "mestece" in sufletele lor ce se intampla. Lumea lor se prabusea, o noua lume care le era foarte straina venea peste ei - lovea cu duritate in sistemul lor de valori, arunca peste bord totul, si demnitatea lui de ofiter in armata regala romana, si pe Rege, si tot.
Dar de atunci trecusera multi ani, era de acum integrat in viata civila, isi avea rostul lui, lucra ca inginer constructor in Bucuresti. Locuia intr-o camera pe strada Bozianu, pastrase acolo pianina pe care o cumparase in tinerete pentru fetita lui, Laurentia.
Piratul - incetul cu incetul m-am obisnuit cu el. Peste cativa ani s-a casatorit cu mama. Si inainte de casatorie a facut un gest pe care foarte putini barbati ar fi in stare sa il faca. S-a dus la Sfatul Popular si a declarat ca el este tatal meu adevarat. Cel care fusese tatal meu ramasese in Franta, avea apoi sa plece in America si avea sa isi poarte in suflet toata viata vina de a nu fi facut ce trebuia sa faca un tata cu fiul lui. Iar eu eram la Bucuresti, in certificatul de nastere la rubrica tata aparea o linie - de acum incolo el, colonelul Nicolae Radulescu, avea sa fie tatal meu - de atunci nu i-am mai zis Piratule, ci Taticule, asa a ramas pana ce a murit. Nici mama nu a stiut ca el s-a dus sa declare ca este tatal meu adevarat.
Anii au trecut, relatiile dintre noi au fost uneori dificile, pentru ca eram foarte diferiti. El era un om energic, foarte priceput in gospodarie, si care avea valorile lui de militar in sange. Si desigur de moda veche.
Dar niciodata nu a facut un gest brutal fata de mine. Si crescand, mi-am dat seama tot mai mult ca in spatele piratului neinfricat se afla un om foarte delicat si foarte timid. Si foarte bun. I-am cunoscut pe doi din cei pe care ii comandase pe front. Si mi-au spus cat de bun era de fapt. Era un om adevarat.
Si peste ani m-am casatorit si in casa a venit Andrei, baiatul meu, si nepotul lui. Si am vazut atunci ce inseamna dragostea dintre un bunic si un nepot.
Varul meu, Dorin (a murit si el acum un an, era cu vreo patru ani mai tanar decat mine) mi-a spus odata, cand l-am vazut prima oara pe Unchiul Nicu mi s-a parut ca seamana cu Abraham Lincoln. Asa este, la fel de inalt si de slabanog, cu aceeasi favoriti, cu acelasi zambet special - poate ca si Lincoln avusese acelasi gen de umor - sigur ca Tatal meu nu a purtat pe umerii lui soarta Americii in Razboiul Civil - dar poate era si el din aceeasi plamada, ca Lincoln, ca Cyrus Smith, eroul lui Jules Verne, plamada de barbati adevarati, si-a facut si el datoria fata de tara lui, si apoi fata de mine, si apoi fata de baiatul meu si de nepotul lui.


(Bucureşti)

About Chloe, Soccer and Slovakia

Michael Godard, Money Laundering
I looked a little bit into today's papers. Actually I receive each morning NY Times and Washington Post on my eMail. Later in the day, in a coffee shop usually, I read the printed papers and I can tell you there is a difference, to have the real pages in front of your eyes. But now I'm still in front of my laptop, so I can see what I've got in my eMail.

Let's see. Maureen Dowd has an op-ed in NYT. We need Chloe! she says, it's actually about Michael Chertoff, the US secretary for Homeland Security, he is today's target for Ms. Dowd. There was an event hosted by the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in DC, and Mr. Chertoff met there with some fictional counterterrorism experts from Fox TV Series "24" - the producers, the writer and three actors. This offered Ms. Dowd the opportunity to make some comments, on the homeland security set, Mr. Chertoff, flanked by the actors who play the beautiful technogeek Chloe and President Logan, seemed a little fuzzy ... Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction or Does It Matter?

As the US Soccer team walked off the field of the World Cup, people here in the States start to have patriotic remorse mixed with selfish relief. No more soccer games to watch: free at last! Well, US is probably the only country which is different regarding soccer. Here is what John Tierney says in today's NYT.

As for the Washington Post (WaPo), they analyze the way things go in Slovakia, a country having one of the fastest growth rates in Europe; foreign investors have flooded in, unemployment has dipped, and the capital, Bratislava, is hopping. Given that, one may wonder why Mikulas Dzurinda steward of Slovakia's revival, was soundly beaten in the last elections by his leading leftist critic, Robert Fico (who has pledged to soak newly rich businessmen and corporations and roll back key reforms).

Lumea repovestita de Edelina


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Talking with Iran

David Ignatius Iran has to take a decision whether it wants to be a nation or a cause, says Henry Kissinger, the man who prepared the opening to China in the early 70s. David Ignatius, op-ed columnist at Washington Post asked Dr. Kissinger about his opinion regarding the best way to deal with Iran. The answer was a conditional. If Iran wants to be a nation, then US should seek the common strategic interests and stress them in the negotiations. If Iran goes on in pursuing a cause, then nothing much can be done. What to do in the second alternative? Should US pursue a military solution? Many would consider any other solution better. However, warned Sen. John McCain, there is something worse than the military solution, a nuclear Iran.

Any solution should consider the Russian and Chinese reactions. The world was very close to a nuclear war during the missile crisis in Cuba. Wisdom prevailed at that moment. But we should not forget that in 1914 there was another moment of this kind - and wisdom did not prevail - the First World War followed and something was irremediably destroyed in the Western civilization.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Întâlniri neaşteptate cu Români

Tricolorul

Edelina Stoian - ORIENT EXPRESS

ORIENT EXPRESS
Champagne Kiss S-a tras cu gloante asupra lui, a fost tinta unor atentate cu bombe, a ramas impotmolit in zapada, a leganat in mers faimoase povesti de dragoste, a fost decorul de lux al intrigilor si al escapadelor amoroase, a fost sursa de inspiratie pentru autori de romane palpitante si povestiri romantice, a plimbat de-a lungul si de-a latul Europei capete incoronate, celebritati, frumuseti ale unei lumi apuse. Faimosul tren Orient Express a devenit si a ramas o legenda care continua sa fascineze, sa mentina viu dorul de duca pe alte meleaguri, o legenda la fel de colorata si agitata ca viata ilustrelor sale personaje.

Vagoanele i-au fost intotdeauna numerotate. Numerele nu spuneau nimic la prima vedere, dar ascundeau intrigi, drame, intilniri, despartiri, destine. Vagonul cu numarul 3309, de pilda, a facut parte din garnitura de tren impotmolita in zapada timp de zece zile, la circa 100 de kilometri de Constantinopol. Pasagerii au putut supravietui numai pentru ca le-au venit in ajutor satenii turci din apropiere. Dupa numai doi ani, în 1931, acelasi vagon 3309 a scapat ca prin minune de la distrugere totala, la putin timp dupa ce parasise gara din Budapesta - un nationalist ungur a plasat in vagonul ghinionist o bomba care a explodat cind Orient Express trecea pe un pod. Dar nu tocmai ghinionist pentru ca vagonul cu pricina s-a ales cu doar citeva zgirieturi, in timp ce locomotiva si alte noua vagoane s-au prabusit in prapastie. 20 de pasageri au murit pe loc, alti 120 au fost raniti.

In vagonul de dormit cu numarul 3425, Regele Carol primea in audienta sau se retragea cu amanta. In 1940, trenul Orient Express, incarcat cu bijuterii si avutiile monarhului care parasea Romania, a fost tinta focurilor de arma in timp ce gonea pe teritoriul Iugoslaviei, in drum spre Elvetia.

Citeva din vagoanele Orient-Express-ului au fost folosite in cel de al doilea razboi mondial, atit de armata lui Hitler, cit si ca mijloc de transport pentru fortele americane. Tot in timpul razboiului, dar in cu totul alt scop si cu mult succes a circulat in Franta vagonul cu numarul 3544, pe care un intreprinzator impiegat local l-a transformat in bordel pe roti. Vagonul-bordel s-a reabilitat ulterior redevenind vagon serios cind a fost adoptat de Caile Ferate Regale din Olanda...

Istoria trenurilor de lux a inceput in 1864, cind britanicul George Mortimer Pullman a construit trenul cu cea mai moderna tehnologie a vremii. In 1881 Pullman Limited Express facea naveta Londra-Brighton-Londra, fiind primul tren iluminat electric. Nu dupa mult timp, trenurile Pullman circulau pe ruta Londra-Paris. Pe continent, inginerul belgian Georges Nagelmackers, cel care a lansat cu mare succes vagoanele-restaurant, si-a vazut in sfirsit visul implinit: la 4 octombrie 1883, primul Orient Express a plecat de la Paris la Bucuresti, via Strassbourg, Viena si Budapesta. Era legendarului Orient Express a atins apogeul în anii 1920-1930, cind pe lista pasagerilor figurau nume de regi, printi, contese, curtezane, aventurieri si personaje pitoresti ale vietii de lux din inalta societate. Dupa cel de al doilea razboi mondial, insa, steaua Orient Express-ului a apus si, in cele din urma, in 1977, a fost scos din circulatie.Legendele nu se lasa, insa, atit de usor spulberate. Citiva ani si 16 milioane de dolari mai tirziu, vechile vagoane au fost restaurate, modernizate si - la 25 mai 1982, Pasarea Phoenix si-a celebrat renasterea cu o calatorie de la Londra la Venetia. Orient Express, distins si romantic, continua sa-si plimbe pasagerii nu numai in Europa, ci si in Extremul Orient si in Sudul Pacificului.

Edelina Stoian

(Edelina Stoian)

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Edelina Stoian - Iluzie pe roti



Totul a inceput - cum altfel? - cu o calatorie. O calatorie cu trenul in Statele Unite. Pasagerul, un inginer belgian pe nume Georges Nagelmackers, s-a intors in 1881 in Europa ferm hotarit sa nu se mai lipseasca niciodata de luxul unui vagon-restaurant. Primele vagoane-restaurant de pe continentul european au fost construite de inginerul belgian; la inceputul secolului 20 circulau peste o mie de astfel de vagoane, cu listele de bucate inca scrise de mina.

In timpul primului razboi mondial a luat fiinta si s-a extins cu rapiditate MITROPA, firma de vagoane-restaurant si de dormit despre care insusi Majestatea Sa, Imparatul Wilhelm al Doilea a exclamat resemnat: 'E clar, roaba nu mai poate fi oprita!'

Numele MITROPA (din germanul Mitteleuropa=Europa Centrala) a ramas neschimbat de-a lungul generatiilor, dar vremurile s-au schimbat.

La inceput, in vagoanele-restaurant doamne elegante si domni curtenitori ciocneau cupe de sampanie, astazi se serveste bere (numai in trenurile germane se consuma in fiecare an aproape 3 mii de hectolitri de bere). Nici mincarea nu mai este ce-a fost odata. Dar, fiecare schimbare cu dezavantajele si avantajele ei. Unde mai poti gasi, de pilda, supa de ananas cu ardei iute daca nu in vagonul-restaurant? (nu ca asta ar fi neaparat un mare avantaj). Trenurile nu mai circula, insa, astazi, cu viteza de la inceputul secolului, distantele se micsoreaza inghitite in mare viteza de bolizii ultra-moderni care vor sa concureze la sol cu aparatele de zbor asa ca, din lipsa de timp, specialitatile proaspat gatite sint inlocuite din ce in ce mai mult cu mincaruri congelate si reincalzite si nu e de mirare ca numarul pasagerilor care zabovesc in vagonul-restaurant se micsoreaza pe masura ce dispare si iluzia pe roti a unei frinturi din viata de lux.

Dar nu e vorba numai de mincare, vagonul-restaurant a insemnat intotdeauna mult mai mult decit atit. A fost mai presus de toate o idee indrazneata, ideea de a opri în loc timpul si spatiul, pentru ca oamenii sa se poata intilni si apropia, sa poata comunica; a fost ideea materializarii unei iluzii chiar cu riscul ca iluzia sa se spulbere la urmatoarea destinatie sau la primul semnal de alarma.

Viteza atrofiaza simtul distantei, un loc inchis micsoreaza spatiul, creaza si incurajeaza intimitatea. Pentru cei mai multi calatori tocmai foamea de intimitate si comunicare este ceea ce ii atrage in vagonul-restaurant, nu neaparat mincarea, chiar daca multora le place sa creada ca dragostea trece prin stomac.

Decizia a fost luata. In Germania nu va mai exista niciun vagon-restaurant, mincarea reincalzta in tavile sterile va fi servita ca in avioane pasagerilor inghesuiti pe scaune. Calatorii vor trebui sa suporte apropierea si firimiturile vecinilor… Dar poate ca in felul acesta va aparea un nou gen de apropiere, o apropiere pe care nu mai trebuie s-o cauti in vagonul-restaurant, ci una nesperata, care s-a nimerit a fi linga tine in mod cu totul intimplator. Un lucru e sigur: iluzia pe roti nu va disparea odata cu vagonul-restaurant...

Edelina Stoian

(Edelina Stoian)

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Întâlniri neașteptate cu Români: Brâncuși

Brancusi, Cap de femeie, carbune pe grafit, Washington National Gallery of Art
Când vorbim de ecoul artei românești în lume ne gândim toţi la Brâncuși, la Enescu, la Ionescu - și părerile noastre sunt foarte împărţite. Arta lui Brâncuși este românească? Sau personalitatea sa este atât de covârșitoare încât refuză orice condiţionare? Oare a vorbi de dimensiunea lui etnică ar însemna să îl minimalizăm?

La Philadelphia se află una din colecţiile cele mai mari de sculpturi ale lui Brâncuși. Sala are o arhitectură care sugerează stilul brâncovenesc. Arhitectura sălii mi s-a părut un răspuns dat de americani - da, Brâncuși este român, vine din aceeași cultură care a înflorit în dimensiunea brâncovenească.

Chiar așa, decât să ne întrebăm dacă Brâncuși este în primul rând român, poate că ar trebui să căutăm ce anume a preluat el din Hobiţa. Cu ceva a plecat de acolo, ceva din Hobiţa s-a păstrat în desaga lui, din când în când și-a desfăcut desaga și s-a uitat înăuntru, și s-a hrănit.

Cu ani în urmă trecusem prin Târgu Jiu și văzusem ansamblul vestit în toată lumea.

Văzusem apoi un bust foarte cuminte făcut de Brâncuși la început de secol - în Muzeul de Artă din Craiova.

Visam să îi văd operele din marile muzee.

Am fost în 1999 vreme de o săptămână la Paris, Centrul Pompidou era închis.

Peste un an am avut norocul să văd capodoperele lui Brâncuși două zile la rând. Eram la New York, am fost la MoMA, Muzeul de Artă Modernă, și am văzut acolo Brâncuși "la greu". Iar a doua zi, am intrat în Galeria Guggenheim, unde se afla o expoziţie cu sculpturile lui Brâncuși aduse de la Paris.

Câteva sculpturi ale lui se află și la Washington, la Galeria Naţională de Artă. Colecţia de la Philadelphia este însă mai bogată.

Ei bine, de Brâncuși aveam să dau și în alt fel, neașteptat. O expoziţie retrospectivă Isamu Noguchi, văzută mai întâi la Galeria Whitney din New York, și apoi la Washington, la Muzeul Hirshhorn. Un sculptor născut în America, tatăl lui era japonez, mama îi era americancă, nu știusem nimic despre el, întâlnirea cu arta lui a fost pentru mine o binecuvântare. Noguchi este unul din cei mai profunzi sculptori ai secolului XX. I-a absorbit ca un burete pe americani, pe chinezi, pe japonezi, pe francezi, și din acest amalgam a ieșit o artă profund originală, a lui.

Galaxy Calligraphy - aliens have descended. They have left their landscape and monument. Noguchi a găsit esenta Galaxiei - este o hieroglifă, pe care el a caligrafiat-o în piatră. Este urma lăsată de cine știe ce vizitatori din alte planete, de pe alţi sori. În peisajul nostru, ei au lăsat o urmă, peisajul lor. Şi o mică umflătură, este monumentul lor. Urma lor în peisajul nostru, aceasta este hieroglifa pe care și-a închipuit-o Noguchi. Hieroglifa Galaxiei.

Şi grădinile lui japoneze ... Câţiva bolovani de râu, înconjuraţi de un perete de piatră, parcă tot universul este tras în spaţiul acela minuscul, și plin de o forţă tainică.

Noguchi a fost vreme de vreo doi ani asistentul lui Brâncuși. Şi de la el a învăţat toate secretele dăltuirii pietrei și lemnului. Şi a învăţat geometria brâncușiană.

Şi îl descopeream pe Brâncuși fermecat în expoziţia lui Noguchi. Țăranul lemnar din Hobiţa, căușurile de lemn și de piatră, lingurile acelea fabuloase ale Olteniei - le descopeream în arta japonezului - erau ele, dar erau altfel. Noguchi îl înţelesese pe Brâncuși. Îl asimilase. Şi îl făcuse al lui. Nu mai era Brâncuși. Era Noguchi. Era reinventat. Porţile noastre de lemn erau acolo, spiritul lor era în Brâncuși, de la el trecuse la Noguchi.

Şi într-un loc din Galeria Whitney aveam să descopăr o Coloană a Infinitului, regândită de Noguchi.

Aveam să îl redescopăr pe Brâncuși mai târziu, în busturile lui Modigliani.

Brâncuși e român?

Brâncuși e Brâncuși, putea fi orice și era tot Brâncuși, dar datorită lui, Noguchi și Modigliani sunt un pic și români.



(Întâlniri neașteptate cu Români)

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