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Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Have Just Watched Shirin

My friends, I have just watched Kiarostami's Shirin. It's one of my most amazing evenings as a movie watcher. I thought I knew a lot about Kiarostami. I knew nothing! Shirin makes everything clear. The most daring movie I saw, ever.

I will come back to it, soon. It's late, and I have to put order in my thoughts. And, after watching it, you have the fear to talk about it, you fear a sacrilege. You need some time, to pass the moment of the miracle. Some time, to wait till it becomes a memory. Then you can talk, it's your memory.

It's maybe strange (is it?): the only thing I am able to say now, a rhyme I have put on this blog yesterday, in Italian, from a poem by Vincenzo Cardarelli:

brucia la vita e fa volare il tempo

(love burns life and makes time fly)

(I'm in the Mood for Kiarostami)

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The 150-Year War

(illustration by Lou Beach)

Two military men who marked so decisively the history of the Civil War, Gen. Sherman about Gen. Grant: He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk. If you are not impressed by this quote, here's another one, also from the years of the Civil War, a Pennsylvania muster roll: Sgt. Frank Mayne; deserted Aug. 24, 1862; subsequently killed in battle in another regiment, and discovered to be a woman; real name, Frances Day.

Rebel Choctaws and Union Kickapoos, Confederate Rabbis and Arab camel drivers, Corps d’Afrique, Creole Rebels, Slavonian Rifles and European Brigade: three days at Gettysburg killed and wounded more Americans than nine years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have. It was big, and it was awful. The Civil War marked the coming of American nation to self-awareness. The coming to terms with itself. It was necessary. It was awful.

Tony Horwitz was born in 1958, when the last Union drummer boy had only just died and plastic blue-and-gray soldiers were popular toys. You should read his essay from today's NY Times.


It's Morning in India

Thomas L. FriedmanTom Friedman has an excellent op-ed in today's NY Times. Next week, President Obama will come to India in a long visit. It is time for reflection, about the future of Europe (see the student manifestations in France against economic realities), of China, of India, of America. About the choice to make, about the strategy to follow. About the future of the whole world, which is becoming, as Tom Friedman keeps on teaching us, increasingly flat: what happens in America (or in France) has effects all over the world, as it is intertwined with what happens in China, in Brazil, in India, in Malaysia. Fighting on the streets to keep the 35 hours week is suicidal, because in India the business is built on 35 hours per day. Gaining the votes in America by fighting stem cell research is suicidal, because China has made the genetic industry a strategic priority.

Here is the op-ed of Tom Friedman:

Zoon Politikon)


Port of Otsu

Port Otsu, by Lake Biwa. I captured a map of the place, to give you some localization.

Yoko was there and made one of her wonderful videos, one of her little gems of beauty and serenity. I watched it several times and my memories went back to that amazing place on the Potomac, the waterfront in Alexandria, in Northern Virginia, where I was so many times. I was coming sometimes by metro, I was getting down at King Street, I was taking a funny bus, or I was just walking down to the waterfront. And some other times I was taking the three hours trail from Roslyn, on the border of Potomac. I talked a lot here on the blog about my visits to Alexandria.

And it was not only Alexandria. I remember my walks to Lake Frank and Lake Needwood, in Rockville, in Maryland. I put something also on the blog.

And where I live now there is also a wonderful lake. Take a look here:

(The Thousand faces of HANAFUBUKI)


From Kyoto, Yoko Wishes Us Happy Halloween

Kyoto is an ancient city where Yoko lives, and she remakes it young, by her joyous, wonderful, spirit. Yoko is Yoko Shibata, it means she is sometimes HANAFUBUKI, sometimes, more casual, Yokomaririn.

In Lexington my two granddaughters (Bianca and Daria) will go tonight in their neighborhood, dressed like little princesses (which they are) and will try to scary people there with trick or treat: and their scared neighbors will give them candies, for sure. And I think Grace, the little friend of my little Daria, will be with them.

Here in Bucharest my new grandsons (Bogdan and Rares) will go with us to the mall where it will be a funny festival of little princes and princesses, of little wizards and little witches, and everyone will trick or treat.

Thanks for your greetings, Yoko, and Happy Halloween to you, too.

(The Thousand faces of HANAFUBUKI)


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vincenzo Cardarelli: Passato (I Ricordi)

Deborah came again with great rhymes on our forum of words and palabras: this time is Vincenzo Cardarelli and his Passato:

I ricordi, queste ombre troppo lunghe
del nostro breve corpo,
questo strascico di morte
che noi lasciamo vivendo
i lugubri e durevoli ricordi,
eccoli già apparire:
melanconici e muti
fantasmi agitati da un vento funebre.
E tu non sei più che un ricordo.
Sei trapassata nella mia memoria.
Ora sì, posso dire che
che m'appartieni
e qualche cosa fra di noi è accaduto
Tutto finì, così rapito!
Precipitoso e lieve
il tempo ci raggiunse.
Di fuggevoli istanti ordì una storia
ben chiusa e triste.
Dovevamo saperlo che l'amore
brucia la vita e fa volare il tempo.

aceste umbre prea lungi pentru scurtul nostru trup
aceasta trena de moarte pe care noi o lasam traind
lugubrele si durabilele amintiri
iata-le aparand
melancolice si mute fantome agitate de un vant funebru

si tu nu mai esti decat o amintire
acum, da, pot spune ca-mi apartii
si ca-ntre noi s-a intamplat ceva
in chip irevocabil

totul se sfarsi atat de grabnic
precipitat si usor
timpul ne-ajunse

din fugare clipe
el urzi o poveste prea inchisa si trista

ar fi trebuit sa stim
ca iubirea arde viata
si da zbor vremii

(Una Vita Tra I Libri)


The House of Your Weirdest Dreams

House with Private Mall at Corona del Mar, CA
(McMonigle Group / Coldwell Banker Previews International)

If you are wealthy enough you can have the house of your weirdest dreams, with your own private mall, with your own private theater with box office and all the stuff, or with your own car museum, or with a nice Blossom Dairy Café, well, the sky is the limit (or the hell, depending on the perspective). If you are wealthy enough.

Movies on Demand: Have Them Big!
(McMonigle Group / Coldwell Banker Previews International)

Owning your Blossom Dairy Café
(McMonigle Group / Coldwell Banker Previews International)

House with Private Car Museum in Charleston, WV
(McMonigle Group / Coldwell Banker Previews International)

Retro In-House Eatery
(Beacham & Co)


Weimar in Jerusalem

I got this morning a message from Lilly Rivlin: she has forwarded an article by Uri Avnery. The tone is passionate and I think some heavy words should be used with much more caution. You can say that everybody knows soccer (or baseball, for that matter) and has the Mid East solution. Only Uri Avnery is not just everybody.

I think the article deserves to be read and reflected upon. Here is the link: Weimar in Jerusalem.

(Lilly Rivlin)


Is Right America Right?

In a few days there will be elections that will set up the new configuration of Congress. Will the right get what it hopes? Will the left keep the pace? Will it loose big?

Will it be the change radical? Will it be moderate?

And how will America change if the change is radical? Here is a movie (Right America Feeling Wronged - Some Voices From the Campaign Trail) that shows the mentality of a large part of the so-called Right America. The movie was released in 2009: Alexandra Pelossi (the daughter of Nancy) followed the company of Senator McCain, and filmed a documentary. Of course, the fact that Alexandra is the daughter of Nancy can make us presume some bias (to say the least). On the other hand, the movie seems very balanced and objective, which is the merit of director Alexandra Pelosi, who appears to be very professional. But we all know that a true professional can perfectly say with a balanced voice what she or he has to say.

Some reviewers objected that not all Republicans are the way the guys from the movie are. Which is true: those in the movie are activists, people who are very ardent partisans, with a very partisan way of thinking everything.

Anyway, watch this movie and then ask yourselves: how will be the change?

Right America: Part 1/5
(video by Nathanielc2)

Right America: Part 2/5
(video by Nathanielc2)

Right America: Part 3/5
(video by Nathanielc2)

Right America: Part 4/5
(video by Nathanielc2)

Right America: Part 5/5
(video by Nathanielc2)

(Zoon Politikon)


Friday, October 29, 2010


I had an absurd quarrel with a friend, an endless change of absurd messages on the net, and the only good thing now is to watch a video masterfully telling us an absurd story. My quarrel was just absurd, this video is absurd and funny. Hopefully my friend will also watch this video, to have some fun.

(The videos of blwolf)


Vlog of Mattie: Contemplating A Brief Encounter

(video by Mat)

Mattie has been absent from youTube for six months and the prodigious son comes back with a gem of elegance and subtlety, a beautiful video of five minutes that speaks volumes about his love for the world of movies.

The title calls in mind, of course, the great classic from 1945, that Brief Encounter, a point of reference in any history of cinematography: woman meets man; gradually they fall in love; but she is not free. This calls in mind, of course, another point of reference, 2000, In the Mood for Love. And other great movies.

The story told by Mattie is also of a brief encounter. Once a boy met a girl and a sparkle was in the air for a minute. From her? From him? From both? They never met after. Had it really been, that encounter? Or was it only his ardent desire to recreate, in spirit, the Brief Encounter?

(Vlog of Mattie)


Modern Puppetry with Thousand and One Nights

Peter Garofalo is a performing artist, also a musician, playing qute a few instruments: keyboards, percussion, guitar, bass, harmonicas. He lives in Northampton, UK.

Mr. Garofalo is also leading a puppet theater: he paints and draw all the stuff in the theater and operates the puppets, giving life to old Arabian and Persian tales, with a funny modern twist.

(Iranian Film and Poetry)


Jürgen Habermas: Leadership and Leitkultur

Leitkultur is trying to replace in the German society of today the integrationist visions based on multiculturalism. Leitkultur means that the state should demand from immigrants more than learning the language and accepting the laws. Leitkultur means that immigrants are supposed to adopt the values of the majority and accept its customs. Leitkultur is built upon the racist arrogance toward non-European cultures.

You should read an essay by Jürgen Habermas. It was published in today's NY Times.


(Zoon Politikon)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Book of Kings is Thousand Years Old

Sām returns with his son Zāl, Iran, Tabriz, ca. 1520s

In 1010 Ferdowsi was finishing his شاهنامه (Šāhnāmeh). He had started to work on it in 977. Thirty-three years.


When Ferdowsi finished the book, he went to the Imperial court to present it to the monarch of the time, who was not impressed: the jealousy and intrigues of the court poets were as vivid as they always have been.

Ferdowsi was discouraged, while remaining confident in his value, and the ending verses of Šāhnāmeh call in mind the Horatian Exegi Monumentum:

I've reached the end of this great history
And all the land will talk of me:
I shall not die, these seeds I've sown will save
My name and reputation from the grave,
And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim
When I have gone, my praises and my fame

Zāl is sighted by a caravan. attributed to Abdul Aziz, Safavid period, ca. 1525, opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Some time around 1020 Ferdowsi died at 85, in poverty, embittered by the royal neglect. His Šāhnāmeh continued its life, in manuscripts and illustrations, in apocryphal stories about the book and about his author.

And folk tales from all those countries surrounding Iran originated from the stories told by Šāhnāmeh: Persian tales, Pashtu, Kurd, Armenian, Georgian...

Since the start of the XIXth century scholarly editions began. An edition prepared in India in 1829 was based on the comparison of 17 manuscripts, then followed an edition prepared in France, more accurate, as it was based on the comparison of 30 manuscripts. Only all these manuscripts were from the XVth century, much younger than the original. Much later, by 1970, the so called Moscow Edition, in nine volumes, became to be considered the standard: it was relying on manuscripts from 1276 and 1333.

Following the discovery in Florence of a manuscript dated 1217 a new critical edition was started in 1990 and completed in 2008: the Khaleghi-Motlagh edition.


We know it as The Book of Kings, because šāh is a Persian name with the meaning of King, or Emperor. We know it also as The Great Book, because the same word, šāh, means, if we take it as an adjective, Great. It is a monument of the Persian identity, and today's readers in Iran can understand the text without need of scholarly glosses: the Persian language remained the same as it was thousand years ago, and that miracle is due to the greatness of Šāhnāmeh.

Monument of Ferdowsi in Tehran

What is the Book of Kings? A poetical chronicle of Persia, from mythic times down to the Islamic conquest. Ferdowsi was a Muslim, while his book put the greatness of the Pre-Islamic past in opposition to the present. That is because Šāhnāmeh has a deeper meaning. Among all tyrants time is the most absolute and nothing can escape from its destruction. Past cannot be lived again, but it shaped your identity for ever: your memories, your language, your values. The identity, shaped along centuries by your ancestors, can be as resilient as time is, regardless of any radical changes brought by history.

Late-16th-century illustration of a scene of the Šāhnāmeh, showing King Solomon

At the Freer and Sackler Galeries in DC an exhibition these days is devoted to Šāhnāmeh and its thousand years of life. Most images in this post are of exhibits from there.

one of the oldest handwritten Šāhnāmehs is kept at Ferdowsi Library in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Ferdowsi [figure on the far left] encounters the Court poets of Gbazna, ca. 1532 (jacket art from a painting by Āqā Mīrak)

(Iranian Film and Poetry)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Secret Confessions of a Maniac of Rhymes

I found some great rhymes (along with pieces of poetic prose) on Facebook (Le segrete confessioni di due, uhm, non mi viene l'aggettivo). All authors are Italians but one, a Spaniard.

I tried a Romanian version. Here is what I got:

Come allodola ondosa
Nel viento lieto sui giovani prati

Precum ciocarlia unduitoare
Prin vantul incantat peste pajisti tinere


- Salvatore Quasimodo -

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra trafitto da un raggio di sole: ed è subito

Oarecine, solitar pe inima pamantului strabatut de o raza de soare: si
deodata, inserarea


- Carlos Ruiz Zafón -

Le coincidenze sono le cicatrici del destino.

Coincidentele sunt cicatrice ale sortii


- L'approdo, Primo Levi -

Felice l'uomo che ha raggiunto il porto,
che lascia dietro di sé mari e tempeste,
i cui sogni sono morti o mai nati,
e siede a bere all'osteria di Brema,
presso al camino, ed ha buona pace.
Felice l'uomo come una fiamma spenta,
felice l'uomo come sabbia d'estuario,
che ha deposto il carico
e si è tersa la fronte, e riposa al margine del cammino.

Fericit barbatul care a regasit portul,
care a lasat in urma lui mari si furtuni,
ale carui vise sunt moarte sau nu s-au nascut
si care se aseaza sa bea in carciuma din Brema,
aproape de soba, si care este in pacea lui.
Fericit barbatul care este ca o flacara stinsa,
fericit barbatul care este ca nisipul estuarului,
care si-a depus desagii,
si sta cu fruntea senina, asezat la margine de drum.

(A Life in Books)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Country That Invented the D-Word

The D-word comes from Davutoğlu, which means that Turkey stepped out. So it goes. You cannot remain forever the frontier country without being allowed to come downtown. Roger Cohen in NY Times:

Davutogluism is a mouthful. It’s not going to make Fox News any time soon. But if I could escort Sarah Palin, Tea Partiers and a few bigoted anti-Muslim Europeans to a single country illustrating how the world has changed, it would be the home of the D-word, Turkey.

Ahmet Davutoğlu, who birthed a foreign policy doctrine and has been Turkey’s foreign minister since May 2009, has irked a lot of Americans. He’s seen as the man behind Turkey’s turning East, as Iran’s friend, as Israel’s foe, as a fickle NATO ally wary of a proposed new missile shield, and as the wily architect of Turkey’s new darling status with Arab states. The Obama administration has said it is disappointed in Turkey’s no vote on Iran sanctions last June; Congress is not pleased, holding up an ambassadorial appointment and huffing over arms sales.

Nostalgia is running high in Washington for the pliant Turkey of Cold War days. Davutoğlu is having none of it. We don’t want to be a frontier country like in the Cold War, he told me. We don’t want problems with any neighbor — and that, of course, would include Iran.

Zero problems with neighbors lay at the core of Davutoglu’s influential book Strategic Depth, published in 2001. Annual trade with Russia has since soared to $40 billion. Syrian-Turkish relations have never been better. Turkey’s commercial sway over northern Iraq is overwhelming. It has signed a free trade agreement with Jordan. And now Turkey says it aims — United Nations sanctions notwithstanding — to triple trade with Iran over the next five years.

All this makes the anemic West edgy: The policy has produced 7 percent growth this year. There’s also something deeper at work: The idea of economic interdependence as a basis for regional peace and stability sounds awfully familiar. Wasn’t that the genius of the European Union idea?

Which prompts another question: Can it only work for Westerners? I don’t think so. And, having shortsightedly kept Turkey out of the European Union, the West is scarcely qualified to complain. As British Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkey’s strongest European supporter, said recently, it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent.

Wrong indeed, and stupid, but that’s where Turkey is, with at least a foot outside the Western tent, and increasingly proud of what it has achieved in a transformed world. Nations have increasing options. They don’t depend as much on the United States. Congress can rail about that and it won’t change a thing. Turkish foreign policy, Davutoğlu said, is based on a realistic, rational analysis of the strategic picture. Yep.

So it gets prickly over U.S. guidance. When I asked Davutoğlu about the visit last week of Stuart Levey, a senior Treasury department official, to Ankara to talk about Iran sanctions, he bristled: We don’t need any advice, he told me. We are a responsible country of the U.N. system and a member of the U.N. Security Council. We voted no. That is our decision. We have no need to be told by anyone, we will implement the U.N. Security Council resolution. But as for unilateral resolutions — American or European — we will look at our own national interest. Is it wrong to have strong economic relations with neighbors?

I think Turkey’s immediate recognition of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following his violent electoral putsch of June 2009 was the low point of Davutogluism. But I also think Turkey has Iran policy about right. Isolation comforts the hard-liners. Sanctions won’t turn Iran. A Turkish-Brazilian swap deal for Iran’s low-enriched uranium, reached last May, was a means “to open the way for diplomatic negotiations.”

Davutoğlu was adamant: Of course we were coordinating with the Americans at every stage. Nobody from Washington can say Turkey acted on its own. Our purpose was to ease the tension and to contain the Iranian nuclear program.

Turkey can be the West’s conduit to the Muslim world if Washington can bury its pique. The new Turkey won’t abandon NATO or its American alliance: If NATO wants to talk to the Taliban, or the West to Iran, it can help.

But when Turkish-Israeli relations implode, rumblings on Capitol Hill get furious. That Turkey’s Iran diplomacy coincided with Israel’s killing of eight Turkish and one U.S. citizen on a Turkish-led Gaza-bound flotilla was a fluke. Still, it has left bitter feelings.

Turkey expects solidarity from the United States because its citizens were killed in international waters, Davutoğlu said. This is an issue of national pride. He added, referring to Israel, Yes, we expect an apology because we think friends can apologize to one another.

Far from U.S. solidarity, Turkey got U.S. hostility. One congressman wrote to President Obama demanding that he condemn Turkey’s reaction to the incident. That last sentence cries out for an exclamation mark. It reflects the Turkey-equals-Iran-lover-and-Israel-hater surge in Congress.

That’s the kind of cheap jingoistic nonsense that boxes in Obama’s Mideast policy and condemns it to tired failure. It’s time for Davutogluism to roll off more American tongues.

(Zoon Politikon)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Paris, je t'aime! Faubourg Saint Denis

For my Spanish speaking friends, I looked for a copy with Spanish subtitles of this vignette. A segment from Paris je t'aime.

It is created by Tom Tykwer. His good friend Natalie Portman plays a young actress, capricious, sweet, full of life, totally unpredictable. She falls for a young blind man (Melchior Beslon) who happened to pass by her small apartment one sunny morning. And their love flourished, consumed in rapid successive events like small gems of love, each one wiped away by the next, their love witnessed by the narrow streets of Faubourg Saint Denis, by the funny bistros from there, the pool, the small cinema theater, the apartment, small and cozy; their love caressed by that special light of the Parisian sky.

And sometimes he feels she decided to leave him, and he builds a delicate bunch of memories in his mind, a bunch of small rapid stories of love, their love that has been and it's over, a small bunch of little gems, rapid flashes, intertwined with his thoughts for what should it be with his life from now on, alone on the streets, alone in the small bistros, alone at the theater, alone for ever, each moment a small remembrance of what he lost.

And a sudden phone call resets the happiness. He just misinterpreted her words, she loves him and he is such a nice foul!

(Cinéma Français)


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Enjoying Aurora at Reykjavik

With only six hours daylight during winter, Reykjavik is the paradise of night clubs (just wondering if my friend Dan knows it).


Gallery Place, Chinatown

The monster is scaring us with his shadow. Bill the Biketripper is the courageous hunter who shot the monster and then generously offered us this image. Thank you Bill!

(Here is another one, the same gate, the opposite corner, thanks Bill, you are the man!)

(Washington, District of Columbia)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thorbjørn Jagland: Why We Gave Liu Xiaobo a Nobel

I will give you here the text of a statement made by Thorbjørn Jagland, who is the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The statement was published in NY Times:

The Chinese authorities’ condemnation of the Nobel committee’s selection of Liu Xiaobo, the jailed political activist, as the winner of the 2010 Peace Prize inadvertently illustrates why human rights are worth defending.

The authorities assert that no one has the right to interfere in China’s internal affairs. But they are wrong: international human rights law and standards are above the nation-state, and the world community has a duty to ensure they are respected.

The modern state system evolved from the idea of national sovereignty established by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. At the time, sovereignty was assumed to be embodied in an autocratic ruler.

But ideas about sovereignty have changed over time. The American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen replaced the control of the autocrat with the sovereignty of the people as the source of national power and legitimacy.

The idea of sovereignty changed again during the last century, as the world moved from nationalism to internationalism. The United Nations, founded in the wake of two disastrous world wars, committed member states to resolve disputes by peaceful means and defined the fundamental rights of all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The nation-state, the declaration said, would no longer have ultimate, unlimited power.

Today, universal human rights provide a check on arbitrary majorities around the world, whether they are democracies or not. A majority in a parliament cannot decide to harm the rights of a minority, nor vote for laws that undermine human rights. And even though China is not a constitutional democracy, it is a member of the United Nations, and it has amended its Constitution to comply with the Declaration of Human Rights.

However, Mr. Liu’s imprisonment is clear proof that China’s criminal law is not in line with its Constitution. He was convicted of spreading rumors or slander or any other means to subvert the state power or overthrow the socialist system. But in a world community based on universal human rights, it is not a government’s task to stamp out opinions and rumors. Governments are obliged to ensure the right to free expression — even if the speaker advocates a different social system.

These are rights that the Nobel committee has long upheld by honoring those who struggle to protect them with the Peace Prize, including Andrei Sakharov for his struggle against human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his fight for civil rights in the United States.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government has harshly criticized the award, claiming that the Nobel committee unlawfully interfered with its internal affairs and humiliated it in the eyes of the international public. On the contrary, China should be proud that it has become powerful enough to be the subject of debate and criticism.

Interestingly, the Chinese government is not the only one to criticize the Nobel committee. Some people have said that giving the prize to Mr. Liu may actually worsen conditions for human-rights advocates in China.

But this argument is illogical: it leads to the conclusion that we best promote human rights by keeping quiet. If we keep quiet about China, who will be the next country to claim its right to silence and non-interference? This approach would put us on a path toward undermining the Universal Declaration and the basic tenets of human rights. We must not and cannot keep quiet. No country has a right to ignore its international obligations.

China has every reason to be proud of what it has achieved in the last 20 years. We want to see that progress continue, and that is why we awarded the Peace Prize to Mr. Liu. If China is to advance in harmony with other countries and become a key partner in upholding the values of the world community, it must first grant freedom of expression to all its citizens.

It is a tragedy that a man is being imprisoned for 11 years merely because he expressed his opinion. If we are to move toward the fraternity of nations of which Alfred Nobel spoke, then universal human rights must be our touchstone.

Zoon Politikon)

Three Faiths: Books and Manuscripts at the NY Public Library

18th-century Ethiopian illustration of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark

Jews, Christians, Muslims, with a long history of conflicts, share a common ancestry, Abraham, and share the same fundamental Abrahamic values. An exhibition of books and manuscripts belonging to all three faiths was organized at the New York Public Library. You'll find there the Gutenberg Bible, its King James translation from 1611, the first Koran published in English in 1649. There are there great treasures: a 13th century Pentateuch from Jerusalem, a Bible found in a British monastery that was sacked by the Vikings in 917, a printing of the Gospels in the African language Grebo, from the 19th century, 16th-century Turkish and Persian manuscripts in which Muhammad is pictured with other prophets, his face a blank white space in obeisance to the prohibition against his portrait.

Muhammad Leading the Other Prophets from a 16th-century Turkish manuscript

There is an article in today's NY Times about this exhibition.


House along the Severn River

front view

This house is along the Severn River, just above Round Bay. The architect Robert W. Shutler (from Arlington, Virginia) designed the house in a mix of American Craftsman and New England shingle styles. Said he, a kind of Craftsman look, some sense of the nautical - nothing literal, with a flavor of a New England shingle.

another exterior view

What resulted was a very cozy, comfy and casual place to be in love with.

interior view

Read more at W. Post (the images are also captured from there)...

fieldstone chimney anchoring the house

living room

appliances are concealed behind fir cabinet doors, which gives the kitchen the air of a dining room

there are four floors, joined by stairs and elevator

(Washington, District of Columbia)

It's Time for Wagner - Walkürenritt

The Ride of the Valkyries - layers upon layers of orchestral work in preparation of revealing the mountain peak where four Valkyrie sisters of Brünnhilde (Brynhildr in the old Norse tongue) came to carry the fallen heroes to Walhalla. It's Wagner. Enjoy!

(It's Time for Wagner)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The O.G. from D.C.

I found this image in DCist: it was shot in Adams Morgan by cSuspect (that's it). The man in the photo is The O.G. from D.C. You'll ask me who The O.G. is. What I know for sure is that while you couldn't vouch for his gangster cred, there should be no question as to his originality.

(Adams Morgan)

Today Keynes Is Ignored in Europe

Anti-Government Demonstration in London
(photo: Andrew Testa for NY Times)

John Maynard Keynes considered deficit spending to be crucial in times of recession. His view is ignored today by European governments (even in his native land, Britain). The solution found from London to Paris to Athens to Bucharest is totally the opposite of deficit spending: it is to cut spendings. And all over Europe the street is protesting against the measures taken by governments.

Read this article in NY Times...

Zoon Politikon)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fast Growing Cities

Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, is the fastest growing city in US. Some others fast growing cities are located near Dallas (Denton), Fort Worth (McKinney), Austin (Round Rock), some others in Florida, Arizona, California, Tennessee. All of them are around hundred - two hundred thousand inhabitants, each one has something very modern to be pride with, corporate or academic. Something funny about Round Rock, it's the conservative suburb of Austin, the city that is definitely progressive in the conservative Texas.

If you ask me, I would probably choose McKinney to live in, and Peoria, to spend vacations. McKinney is near Fort Worth and I like that mix of cowboy traditions and classy style. I love Texas. I was twice there, I love it. And Peoria is a dream, like all Arizona. A friend of mine was there and he used to say, you feel there as the only wish to have would be a horse to ride with a good pair of boots and spurs. Well, that friend of mine lives now in Vancouver, and he enjoys the beaches there, and the cable ways. I haven't seen him for a while. Vlad, if you read this post, send me please a sign.


Archbishop of Washington Becomes Cardinal

The Roman-Catholic Archbishop of Washington, DC, Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, was elevated to the dignity of Cardinal, together with other 23 high prelates from all over the world (MSNBC).

I remember a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Wuerl at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It was the only time I could make it to the Basilica, though I passed by many times, as I was running in weekends the metro on Red Line, to or from Silver Spring.

(Church in America)

(Washington, District of Columbia)

Why Pyramids?

She asked, Why pyramids?
He said, Think of them as an immense invitation.

These great rhymes came from Deborah.