Tras haber creado mi anterior blog cecilmundo varias personas, muchos de ellos mis alumnos, me sugirieron que creara una secciòn dentro de cecilmundo para publicar mis obras de docencia de idiomas. Dado que la cantidad de documentos de explicaciones, ejercicios y exàmenes de inglès son muy numerosos porque tengo màs de 30 años del ejercicio de la docencia, preferì estrenar blog con mis alumnos a como ellos realmente merecen. En este blog planetcecil no solo iràn mis documentos didàcticos de inglès, sino tambièn la producciòn literaria de varios alumnos que se destacan en las letras. Tambièn darè oportunidad a aquellos que tienen excelentes obras pero que no han logrado publicarlas ya que en mi paìs Nicaragua todo se mueve por la marrana polìtica, y si una no pertenece a determinado partido no verà jamàs publicado su opus. Tambièn tenemos la desgracia de contar con seudoeditores quienes al no conocer verdaderamente de literatura se convierten en mercenarios de la imprenta solo para llenarse ellos mismo de dinero y fama a costillas de los escritores. Todos aquellos que deseen participar en este blog, denlo de antemano por suyo. Aunque lleve mi nombre en un arranque de egolatrìa, yo soy sencillamente vuestra servidora.Cecilia

Las alas de la educación

Las alas de la educación
La educación es un viaje sin final.

La lección de física

La lección de física
Casi aprendida

martes, 30 de diciembre de 2008

The Firefly




85th entry to the Colonel´s Scrapbook
December 30th
Birthdates which occurred on December 30:
0039 Titus 10th Roman emperor (79-81), conqueror of Jerusalem, the darling of Rpme,the guy who finished the Colosseum and wasnt allowed to marry his Jewish Berenice
1851 Asa Griggs Candler developed Coca-Cola originally as medicine
1865 Rudyard Kipling Bombay, author (Jungle Book, Gunga Din,Kim-Nobel 1907)what a wild imagination he had 1867 Simon Guggenheim philanthropist (died aboard the Titanic)patron of the arts
1904 Dmitri B Kabalevsky St Petersburg Russia, composer (In the Fire,The Comedians)I adore him for the incredible Galop in his Suite called The comedians
deaths
1931 Tyrone Power Sr actor (Big Trial, Test of Donald Norton), dies at 62, he was Erroly Flynn´s darling
1916 Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is assassinated by gay Prince Felix Yussoupov, Russia´s greatest love machine, his penis is now in a museum in Saint Petersburg

The fly

Her original nickname, as soon as the test arrived with a positive result,was the Egg. My grandmother,still alive, said that even though I could feel the certainty it was a girl,what would happen if it turned out to be a male? So my only offspring´s first nickname was the Egg and I was finally going to lay one,like a good hen that could be repudiated, thrown into the soup of male spite if I didn´t produce the heir. After six months of anguish,waiting for my belly to yield, I was pregnant. We all marry for the wrong reasons,dearest reader.Even the illusion of love is a wrong reason because nothing is forever. Let alone that everyone throws you into the marriage ringside with your mouth protector in bad conditions, your socks poorly rolled and the mitts not correctly placed. It will be a championship fight.One of you will end up in knockout.Or both.But only us women get knocked up. Curious that I should use that expression, when the real reason why I was married was to have a child. Funny that a medic called Lombardo Martinez, more a connoisseur of the arts than a real gynecologist,told me I was irreversibly sterile after sticking his hand up my privates without any lube nor mittens nor anything. He sent me home in tears and I landed in my already crippled grandmother´s lap,who laughed so hard she pissed in her wheelchair. Nobody had been barren in the family.
Patience, she recommended, and get that husband into bed more often,she preached,but not during Holy Week or you will end up stuck like dogs she admonished me. She was a fervent Catholic, and even though she knew I had been born a Jewess and was a practical atheist,even dared to suggest we please her Jesus by marrying in the Catholic faith. Desperate to get with child, I admit I would have eaten chicken shit if that would do the trick for begetting a baby. Since church was slightly less unsavory than eating any kind of dung, a simple white cotton and satin dress was procured for me and a stylish snow shirt called guayabera for my spouse, and a revolutionary priest called Jose Arias caldera married us in his church. My spouse had undergone a makeshift naptismal ceremony in Saint Anne´s church(the favorite worship place for the narcs here) and gotten his hair wet with Yuri Gagarin´s name. The nest man and godmother were chosen by a lesbian pair of relatives and I feel that ceremony never had any validity.It was on April 9th and on April 11th, after two weeks of thermometers to measure my ovulation my baby was ordered on a rickety bed with some enthusiasm but nothing else to season it. I knew I was into the pregnancy bit finally and that it would be a girl. I started counting the days and when I finally got my positive gravindex test I finally felt complete. Fortunately I had no nausea or any other bothersome symptoms that expecting women have. I didn´t even show much at the beginning. Most women dream of having a baby for and by a certain man that drives them crazy with love,lust or whatever you wish to call it. In my case, I raved over having a baby to see how well I could breed,to show off my pedigree, to pour into one new version all my rich heritage.
The father, if we dare to be honest,is mostly a mere accessory.In the case of lust or obsession being present, a momentary and fleeting satisfaction. Supreme act of narcissism?Probably, my spouse still throws that in my face and says I am worse tham Kim Il Sung of North Korea or Khadaffy of Lybia, personality cult. But no personality cult cam exist if the person really doesn’t have outstanding characteristics, and that is what has made my Fly what she is.
I started calling her fly when she finally began to walk and would fly or run into anything in her way or out of it.
Fly was extraordinary from her bellyhood. No nausea or vomiting for her mom, no pain, only sleepiness and excessive hunger. No wonder she had to be shooed out of me at 8 months because she gained too much weight inside. I drank almost a gallon of pink grapefruit,sour orange juice and coconut drink to evict her, and I paid through the nose.
39 hours of pain but natural birth, even though it was a dry birth.She came into the world at 230 am on December 16th,1988, 92 years after the mad pseudo monk Rasputin plunged into the river in Moscow,poisoned,bleeding from the bullets that Prince Yussoupov´s cronies had gotten into him,and already missing his crown jewels of his groin. At the moment of my labor pains I called my dad, never the man who had gotten me pregnant. The hatred was too big,and no matter how many women say they don’t hate their partner at that moment I will not believe it.It was sheer,bublling and radiant loathing. Almost eleven pounds, my baby had a full crown of dark hair and came out almost purplish in shade. When the obstetrician threw her over my belly,all the air was knocked out.
25 stitches were given to close the episiotomy.To be honest,I never felt anything when I was being cut to let the Fly out. Hours later my parents tried to bribe a doctor to let them take her to replace me at their home, but somehow the medic said no. Today I am glad they were never able to take her, because if they had been able to abduct her, nine months later they would have taken her to Miami on that fateful SAHSA plane which collapsed in Honduras,the plane crash in which they died.
20 years after giving birth to my only child, pristinely legitimate, incredibly beautiful and awesomely smart, I cannot say I have been a model mother.I haven´t given her enough time due to my difficult job, but I have tried to set an example of hard work and honesty for her. The good thing is that somehow she and I can never be really rid of each other, and the bond we have is as inevitable as nationality or the heart pumping blood until we die. Mother hood for me has been the most exciting of my creative processes, and having a genius is something that never lets you rest for a second. It converts you into a shark,always swimming in life to keep yourself astride.
This entry is not meant to be an apology or a sugary literary piece. Being a mother makes me feel superior to men because I could make life and they can only participate,sorry, in the most ephemeral of ways. More tha a housefly to land on cakes, she has been the Firefly which guide the best of historian´s paces through the night forest of every day.

domingo, 28 de diciembre de 2008

GUIlty of what?


December 28th 2008 63rd entry to the Colonel´s ScrapbooK
births
1855 Juan Zorrilla de San Martin Uruguay's diplomat/poet (Tabaré) 1856 [Thomas] Woodrow Wilson Staunton VA, (28 President-D-1913-21, Nobel 1919)
1872 Pio Baroja Y Nessa San Sebastian Spain, writer (Camino de Perfección)
1895 Auguste Lumiere twin brother of Louis who opened 1st commercial cinema 1895 Louis Lumiere twin brother of Auguste who opened 1st commercial cinema

Deaths which occurred on December 28:
1446 Clemens VIII [Aegyd Muñoz] Spanish anti-pope (1423-29), dies after being one of the most pragmatic chaps
1622 François de Sales French bishop of Genèva/writer/saint, dies at 55 1694 Queen Mary II of England dies after 5 years of rule, at 32, no wonder she died so soon,her husband William III was a living torture
1937 Maurice J Ravel Swiss/French composer (Bolero), dies in Paris at 62 after the surgeon couldn´t pick out a brain tumour
1947 Victor Emmanuel III king of Italy (1900-46)/Ethiopia, dies at 78, how was he bold enough to claim ownership over Ethiopia?

Events
1836 Spain recognizes independence of México
Catholic church commemorates another anniversary of the Massacre of the Innocents when King Herod tried to find baby Jesus

TODAY´S INNOCENTS AND CULPRITS

It was kind of eerie tat last night, remembering it was the first anniversary of the magnicide against Mrs. Benazhir Bhutto, one of the women I have most admired in history, I went to sleep in a state of shock over the genocide perpetrated by Israel in Gaza. I dreamt of Benazhir inevitably, and no matter what you or anyone tell me she did when alive, I cannot get her out of my mind or evict her from my feelings. It goes beyond simple descriptions and sensations, as happens with my wave of shame that the Israeli government can kill women and kids. Those are the things precisely that sometimes make me feel red faced over having been born a Jewess. Judaism is never that, Zionism is in the bad sense of the word. But it is curious how we play on the chessboard of guilts or innocences. When we become as mean and cruel as those who hurt us, we are playing smack into their bloody hands, dearest reader. When we accuse blameless people, people who care and feel as hurt as anyone else affected by the deed itself, and we take out our frustrations and rages on them, we are being as criminal as those who killed ,raped or insulted.
A slap across one´s face hurts more when you are not to blame for anything, but it will hurt more for the conscience-if the slapper has it-later on. When a Tang dynasty vase is broken, no matter how precious it was or how well glued back together it gets, it will never be the same.
Many people assume you are guilty of something unless you go out of your way to demonstrate that you are innocent. Prejudices, ignorance and her son bigotry play a huge role in that. The more uncivilized a mind is, the largest the threshold it has for harboring hatreds and cruelties. Discrimination is based on stupidity, that is for sure. That is why the bigoted person, in a fit of irrational rage, only strikes out against the first thing that happens to fly, crawl or walk by. It is shapeless, indomitable and leaves a trail of broken shards that can shred to bit anything that walks on it. Tears are not balms to heal the scars, which may bleed for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, for small wounds, cat´s saliva works better, it is a secret I whisper here.
Wars, skirmishes, invasions. What an agitated story each country has, well, some more than others. History wouldn’t be history without them, but have you ever realized how many valuable lives all these conflicts ended? Not only human lives. How many animals perished there? They are never mentioned among missing, casualties, losses. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, ”Life, whether it is a baby or a kitten, is precious always.” Only a few of us historians pick those stories in which animals are included. It is like with religions. Have you noticed that none of them speak about the well being of animals? At most, they are mentioned in passing. Nothing else. Once in a while you find someone wonderful like Mohammed, loving his cat so much that he tore the sleeve off his robe so his cat wouldn ´t be disturbed, or Thomas Aquinas mentioning that on Judgement Day we, who believe ourselves to be stronger now, simply will be judged by the animals. Being a historian sometimes can be as disappointing as being a doctor, trying to win over a patient when death finally nabs him and takes him. No matter how many wars we count there will always be some updating needed! No eternal peace reaches us until that day when our ashes get thrown into the San Juan River we loved so much. And then, no guarantee of that anyways. Who has ever been certified to have come back from the Great Beyond to leave any testimony of what goes on over there? War casualties leave enormous holes in the texture of our lives. All those innocent victims torn to pieces in Israel, or anywhere else, will always be testimony of humanunkind´s humongous cruelty, which comes from its enormous stupidity. The slap I got from whom I thought to be my Arab friend still hurts. But his hand, and his remorse, will pain him more.








lunes, 22 de diciembre de 2008

The Quake




83rd entry to the Colonel´s Scrapboook
Birthdates which occurred on December 22:
1459 Djem Sultan son of Turkish sultan Mehmed II, poor chap,he stayed in Rome to avoid his brother Bayazid II but Pope Alexander V(Borgia)poisoned his pilaf and could never create havoc for his brother


1515 Mary of Lorraine France, pro-French Regent of Scotland, nasty mommy of Mary The Hot Queen of Sccots
1639 Jean-Baptiste Racine French dramatist (Andromaque, Phedra),loved to make people cry


1643 Rene-Robert Cavelier La Salle France, French explorer (Louisiana),named the southern part of USA after King Louis XIV but was destined to be killed by three of his own hired helpers
1819 George Eliot England, Victorian novelist (Adam Bede, Silas Marner)back then it was best for ladies to write under names with balls
Deaths which occurred on December 22:
1440 Bluebeard pirate, executed at last1603 Mehmed III sultan of Turkey (1595-1603), dies at 37, did his 16 brothers whom he killed await for him at hell´s gates?
1913 dies at age 69 emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia, negus negust,he defeated the Italians in the Battle of Adwa
Events
1894 Debussy's "Prélude à l'apres-midi d'un faune" premieres with great scandal because Nijinsky simulated masturbation onstage
1972 an awful earthquake shakes Managua, capital of Managua, somehow I survived it

THAT FATEFUL NIGHT

On December 22d,1972 hell came up to visit Managua. I was 13 years old, and it was not the first time that I came into contact with such a monstrous and Dionyssiac force of nature. A few years before, an earthquake had already hit the part of Managua called Centroamerica Colony. I had been visiting a classmate who had gotten her appendix removed, and she was so enthusiastic about having the teacher and several of her friends visit her that she got out of bed and ventured into the small living room of her house to have tea with us. Precisely on the pillow where her head had been before we came fell a huge block from the wall, something which would have certainly killed her. Our presence had saved her when she decided to get out of her bed. That had been in the sixties.
By 1972 I had grown very tall. The fact that I was into weightlifting had helped to develop my strength and stamina. Two important birthdays were in December, my sister´s on the 19th and my dad´s on the 21st. That year my mom had decided to throw a bash as there had never been one before,so she had stashed away goodies for around 200 people or more. The party was planned for the 23rd, because she and my dad would never miss the end of the year party thrown by the French Alliance in Managua. I remember that for the small dinner party she had for my dad´s birthday she had ordered me to make enormous bags of water to put to freeze for the upcoming celebrations. I had decided to disobey her and I put the bottles of soda into the freezer, planning to retrieve them before they burst. Somehow I forgot about them and 20 bottles of Coca cola exploded inside one of the fridges. I had to clean the glass and mess, almost cutting my fingers. That earned me a chastisement. I would be grounded and not allowed to go to the French Alliance party with the rest of the family. I would be left behind with my grandmother, who owned a huge house in the middle of downtown Managua. If I wished I could take my cat Torta in order to be in good company. So I did, knowing not even my dad would wheedle anything favorable for me beyond that.
It had been swelteringly hot for days before the earthquake. Our pets had been behaving strangely,particularly my Torta. A man even predicted that there could be any natural disaster. Others said they had seen like fireballs over Lake Xolotlán, the lake right next to our capital city. But many people were so busy partying and partying has been occupation number one in Nicaragua. It would prove fateful for many. My whole family paid not much attention to the heat and at 7 pm they went to the party,leaving me with my grandmother. At 8 my grandma,Torta and I had dinner along with a priest we used to call Padre Guaruso(The Drunken Father), a young Spanish priest who was assigned to the nearby Saint Anthony Basilica. We had a delicious brawl soup which made the priest sweat like a molten candle. After dessert of Three Milk Cake (called so because it contains evaporated milk, condensed milk and powdered milk among its ingredients), the priest went to the dormitory in the rear part of the church. My grandmother and I went to bed, and I was tucked in by my grandma along with my hairy cat. At 10:30 pm I was jolted out of bed by a strong tremor. The bedrooms were in the second floor, and the house had been built in the early forties. My grandma poked her head into my bedroom asking me if I was okay. She said she was a bit scared, so she asked Torta and I to join her in her enormous iron bed where she had manufactured my mom,four uncles and three aunts. We hoped everything would get normal again. Slowly the three of us dozed off.
We were violently awakened after midnight by two more quakes,this time much stronger.Ritcher 6.25. Felt on the second floor of a house, it was awful. The earth moaned like a hurt animal. Electricity went off, and debris from the walls fell all around us,making it difficult to walk. I remembered I had a small flashlight so I went to fetch it. My cat remained on the bed with my grandma. My mother´s mom had been a very grand lady who had never gone through hardships. It was difficult for her to walk on the torn bits of wall and ceiling on the floor. She demanded I bring her slippers. She said she wouldn´t walk barefoot. I knew that there was the risk that at any moment another shake could come and tear down the house. So I decided to lift her over my shoulders.She was a small chubby woman, so it wasn´t too much weight. My cat was also terrified, so she climbed on top pf my head as a Cossack hat and drove her nails into my scalp. The staircase had separated from the burnished wooden floor of the second story of the house. A huge gap almost 1 meter wide separated the staircase from the floor. So I geared myself for the jump with one person and one cat atop me. Somehow I made it even though I have always been lousy for long jump. The with the flashlight grasped between my teeth,I slowly went down the stairs. We finally crossed the huge dining room and went into the living room. Only one month ago my grandmother had changed the front door for a new one with the image of Diriangén in bas relief. It had cost her a small fortune. Now that door was stuck. We would have to tear it down to get out or the house could fall on us and bury us alive.
I decided to go to the backyard to get an iron pick in order to knock down the beautiful door. When I informed my grandma about my plans she burst into tears. Nevertheless that was the only way,so I proceeded to do what I still remember with disgust. It was the only way out. The splintered door fell away with a crunching noise and we were out on the sidewalk. All our neighbors were already out. We sat on the sidewalk in the dark, the dust making an eerie halo around us. To amuse my grandmother, I would shake Torta´s fur and tons of dust would emerge like a cloud. That finally got her laughing. By the time my parents and rest of the family finally came to see what had happened to us, we were chatting amiably and even making jokes. That is the Gueguense in us Nicaraguans, we are able to laugh in the middle of a great tragedy. It was the fact that I had been grounded that had saved my grandma´s life. If she had been alone,she would have died in the second floor unable to get down. Curiously, she had always criticized my dad for getting me involved in weightlifting because she always said it was not fit activity for “ladies of quality.” From the moment I picked her out of her bed, she never made any more disparaging comments about the sport and became my first fan. So when I started winning medals the first one to beam proudly was my grandma.
The huge town house my grandmother lived in and 7 more houses she had for rent in downtown Managua didn´t collapse, but were devoured when a huge fire came in from the San Miguel Market, 5 blocks away from the townhouse. My grandma had always refused to live with any of her married children, and now she had to move into my parents´house while she could solve her dwelling situation. For a proud lady, it was a low blow that destiny slammed into her solar plexus. A dusty kick in the ass,to be sure.
We never know how life chooses to teach us the hardest lessons, dearest reader, but life is sure one hell of a professor.
More than 50 thousand people among dead and missing.70 per cent of the downtown buildings in Managua collapsed. There was risk of epidemics due to the rotting corpses, some of which couldn´t be dug out despite the rescue teams we got from other countries. Help started to pour from everywhere, and the dictator Anastasio Somoza´s cronies stole it like crazy. Managua would never be the same. The Christmas celebration has been killed instantly. The cemeteries were full and new places where to bury the dead, sometimes in mass graves, had to be found. Whole families lay beneath the rubble. The scar on the Nicaraguan psyche would never heal, to the point that we now say “before the earthquake” or “after the earthquake” to pin time down. Of course, there had been another big earthquake in 1931, but the Quake is the one in 1972.
Ever since, I don´t fear tremors. My spouse may run out the shower only dressed in his shampoo suds without a towel, so afraid of tremors although he wasn´t in Managua when the Quake shook us.
Managua before the Quake was a small,compact,clean and safe city. Now it is a huge octopus with slums as tentacles, with a dead hole in the middle, and fear nestling among the cracks left by the fault that tore our lives apart in 1972. It is ugly,dusty and dangerous. The Quake not only gnarled the city apart, but marred the innocent bloom of the lifestyle we had, never to be naïve as the Managua before the Quake which I knew as a kid. Sometimes in my dreams, that compact Managua where I lived as a cosseted rich child comes back to greet me. It even sounds like Charlotte Bronte´s first lines of “last night I dreamt I went to Manderley.” Like my broken column, the Quake snaked along the fault it left on the city of Managua. It broke our lives into shattered glass shards through which we remember the Managua that will never be again.

domingo, 21 de diciembre de 2008

On my father´s birthday




Colonel´s entry for December 21st 2008

1117 Thomas Becket archbishop of Canterbury ,poor fellow,does being canonized by the Catholic Church erase the fact that you were hacked to ieces just because 4 courtiers wanted to brown-nose King Henry II?1537 Johan III king of Sweden (1569-92),despite having two wives he was Magnum when producing bastards with his mistress Karin HansDotter
1874 Juan Bautista Sacasa President of Nicaragua (1932-36) still not quite considered a good politician1879 Joseph Stalin [Dzoegashvili] Russian dictator; murdered 11,000,000, provoked his second wife´s suicide
Deaths which occurred on December 21:
0918 Conrad I Duke of Franconia/German King (911-918), dies after leaving his throne to King Henry the Fowler1375 Giovanni Boccaccio Italian poet (Vita di Dante, Decameron), dies after scanalizing prudes with his Decameron1429 Jacquemart de Bléharies Tournay "heretic", burned to death, when the church still battled ideas with cruelty
1945 George S Patton US general (Sicily/Normandy), dies in very suspicious car accident in Heidelberg at 60 , maybe it was the government who had no use for a hero1948 Seishiro Itagaki Japanese general/Minister of War, hanged for crimes of war…but isn’t all war itself a crime?
Events
1620 103 Mayflower pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock,shaking from a beer hangover(it was the only thing they could down on board during the trip)
1866 Cheyennes, Arapaho's, Sioux, Fetterman Massacre, as usual whites massacring Indians
1898 Scientists Pierre & Marie Curie discover radium, and both would get Nobel award but it was Marie who did the kitchen work

THE PERFECT MAN

Incredible though it may sound, he did exist. Perhaps because he was perfect he accomplished the huge task of raising me. He was born in 1920 in Rouen , Normandie, in northern France, on a day like today. It is hard to remember him without missing him, for he has been physically dead since 1989. Unlike cats or deafs or boors, he always answered when called upon. Never left you talking to the hand nor picked up messages, dearest be.The magic of his presence was always his knack of being there, at the right spot on the right day at the right time. I honestly don´t understand how I have been able to live on without him since that fateful morning when the radio announced that the TAN SAHSA plane going from Managua to Miami had crashed into Cerro del Hule in Honduras. My mother and my dad were gone in one single stroke. The inevitable had happened. But it was precisely this strength he gave me that enabled me to continue my own path through life alone, and it is the band of fireflies emanating from his teachings what guides me and makes anything or anyone else completely superfluous to me. Yes, I can have company along life, but that is an accessory. Like Coco Chanel, also French, would say, ”The dress is the basic thing. Accesories come a lowly last second.” My father dressed me with his courage and invincibility. He is still the provider of my coat of mail, the sword of the samurai who secretly lives in me although many don´t even know the Code of Bushido exists. He was the Julius Caesar who has helped me cross the Rubicon of all the vicissitudes in my life, from broken bones to silence, from indifference to injustice, or whatever may have come along. “Nothing is worth your vexation, minou” was his favorite expression, and how right he was. Now, as the luminous shadow behind every single letter I write, from articles to fiction or this self same book, the real author and muse of my Dionysiac literary fertility is my father. I am the monster my father created in a Frankenstenian effort to make something out of the ordinary. “Pumpkin head,” he would say when he saw me studying late into the night, always avid to acquire more knowledge. That strange blob of pragmatism, atheism and laughter that I am is Bernard-made. From a trip to France that he made only taking my mom, he brought back a small statue made of see-through plexiglass. His hero, Vercingétorix, more beloved in France than the dumb Joan of Arc, because that guy being a teenager almost defeated the legions led by Julius Caesar. He put it on my night table. When I entered the military, he taught me to insert a candle inside it so it was lit from within. I knew he was an atheist, and I told him that lighting a candle with a saint substitute was like a syncretism of what the papists did.” No”, he said” .I believe in Vercingetorix as I also believe in you, and while the light is on, you will return safely from the green beyond.” As soon as I would leave on mission, he would rush to light the candle inside the hero. Somehow I always came back, in one piece, although I may be shot or broken. He would never pry for details, just waited until my mom had gone into the kitchen or early to bed, and the two war veterans we were could talk, man to man as one of my friends would say. All the traumas would come out, roll around dying gracefully inside a cup of tea, and evaporate like ghosts who desert us when the dawn comes in dancing. That was something only my dad could do. I fell in love with history through him, when he would not read stupidities like Cinderella or Snow White or any fairy tale princess yarns in which girlies marry princes only to live impossibly happy ever after. How he would laugh at sweet girl stories, saying that real life began with a wedding, not ended with one. He would only mention all he went through in his experiences in World War II. Nothing was left out, not even the sordid details. Perhaps that was the root for the habit of calling things by their real name, something that so irks bosses and men who unsuccessfully try to gain a hold over my heart or my hand or my bank account which I don´t have. I became the perfect candidate for historian because I was the daughter of living history.
No wonder all men still pale like faltering bad specters next to my dad´s figure. As the Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti gargled in one of his songs,”No puede haber, desgracia semejante, donde la encontraré”.There cannot be, so disgrace be, where will I find someone like you. I have given up long time ago. There can be nobody like Bernard. He was all the great men I have admired in history all crunched together into his former weightlifting frame, and by having had him as father I am convinced that god cannot exist because if he had been created by a god, the deity would have envied him too much. Imagine Oda Nobunaga and Patton,Vivaldi and Tipoo Sultan,Lautaro and Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, Ataturk and Jose Eca Maria de Queiroz , plus a dash of Lincoln and Osceola and Benito Juarez and King Henri IV all packed into a figure with red hair, freckles and green eyes? Too much competition for any mortal male, but that was him. No wonder I even gave up the search for any shadowy imitation of him, being realistic enough to know I will never find even a pale photocopy of him anywhere.”I know I ask perfection in a quite imperfect world, and I´m fool enough to think that ´s what I´ll find!” sang Karen carpenter in one of her hits. My mother was lucky enough to find him. That could be the story of my life until I realized that the perfect man would only be my dad.
I´m aware that my dad was a real titan, having to become a lion trainer in order to raise me properly. It was the only way out, and he coined the phrase “iron grip in a silken glove.” It worked. I am the living testimony of how much this worked, Frederick II of Prussia´s doctrine melded with Guillaume D´Aquitaine´s poetry. How did I get so lucky for kismet to give him to me as father, as the author of what I am now?
I was aware how loved my dad was not only by me when he died and his body was brought back to Managua from Honduras. The workers he had so benefited at the building materials factory where he had been a general manager cried as if their own mother had died. I still find people who worked for him that get cloudy eyes when they remember him. The respect and affection he got from his people would have made him a true statesman, but he chose to do his own in his own way without ever aspiring to anything else. His example still guides many, and his funny remarks still make him a most popularly quoted wit here in Nicaragua. It is the same man who decided to homage his newly born little brother Silvio in 1930 by parading his prize winning science project(a dreadful live cockroach farm) in front of his mom while she was breastfeeding wee Silvio. Years later it would be the same man who risked everything by smuggling the nazi officer Hans out of Auschwitz as a deaf mute until they reached Rouen, a way of thanking the German for having saved his life during his imprisonment. That is my Uncle Hans Schneider.Levallois who still lives in Paris and who almost had a heart attack when he heard my parents had died in the plane crash.
Bernard. Cachimba, Venancio. Who ripped away the door from his office when he became general manager so any worker could pass directly into his bureau and talk to him without formalities. The founder of the company store with permanent discounts, the workingmen´s league, and the leftist union in his factory. The man who played catcher in his baseball team made of workers, and the fan of the Boer Team in the national baseball league, the man who cried in public when his team lost while I nearly shat in my pants from shame at what he was doing. The chap who during a grand opening speech of General Anastasio Somoza, the dictator who owned Canal Cement Company(the parent company of the factory where my dad worked), let nature have his way and farted shamelessly while everybody laughed, excusing himself by saying that when Tsarina Catherine the Great had accused her dead husband of having died from a stick fart nobody had raised an eyebrow.
I mention him and he looms humongously like the Himalayas over India, casting his cool and comforting shadow over my life. I bask in the shade of his eternal protection, knowing that he is the deity other people say I should have. He was there when I learned to walk again, and he is there, everywhere, like his favorite singer Edith Piaf sand in her hit Tu Est Partout(You are everywhere).The fact that it is what would have been his 88th birthday is only an excuse to show him off to the world as only magnificent pride and unique love can do. Public words to convey a simple idea of the god I had living in my house, for the private Bernard only I had.







These are the students who like pearls from a parure,form the crown jewels of myself as a teacher.I thought I should let them know how important they have been and will always be for me.

martes, 16 de diciembre de 2008

What Luddie wanted




81st entry to the Colonel´s Scrapbook Birthdates on December 16:
1485 Catherine of Aragon Spanish princess/1st wife of Henry VIII,involuntary mother of the Anglican church because her husband Henry VIIIth was in such a hurry to legitimize Anne boleyn´s supious belly that he had to break with Rome
1770 Ludwig van Beethoven Bonn Germany, composer (Ode to Joy, Fidelio) The most colossal of composers1775 Jane Austen England, novelist (Pride & Prejudice), few men can write beeter than this lady1775 François-Adrien Boieldieu composer,love his harp concerto but the rest of his production….ok let´s leave it there
1882 Zoltán Kodály Kecskemét Hungary, composer (Psalmus Hungaricus),great folklorologist too along with his buddy Béla Bartók
Deaths which occurred on December 16:
0714 Pippin II of Héristal, Duke/prince of France, dies, how brief was he really?
0999 Adelheid the Saint German empress of Otto I/saint, dies at about 68,mmmmm,saint and crowned head, let´s try not to go into details
events
1773 Big tea party in Boston harbor-Indians welcome (Boston Tea Party)and the tax on tea just watered off into something else
1877 Anton Bruckner's 3rd Symphony in D, premieres,big deal,because I have never liked this child molester´s noise
1884 Great Britain recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State, did the Lords and Commons also get buttered hands?
1997 President Clinton names his Labrador retriever, "Buddy", the eternal shadow of the cat Socks

DEMOCRACY IN CULTURE,THE IDEAL OF BEETHOVEN

It is sad to realize that the elite has never been cultured nor thinking properly. True, the church and nobility, now also joining into this elite the great capitalists, love to pose as patrons of the arts. It is fashionable, like a young girl who loves to preen in front of the mirror while spraying on herself the latest fragrance launched by Paris Hilton. ON a day like today came into a valley of tears a man whose ideal of the total democratization of knowledge and culture I respect so much: Ludwig van Beethoven. Okay,I wont lie to you,dearest reader. Not all German things or people are yucky. He isn´t my absolutely favorite composer because I had previously given my ear and heart to a redheaded horny priest from Venice who is Vivaldi. Nut Old Deaf-as-a-wall, as his nephew called him, was someone to be reckoned with.
The midwife who would later bring him into this world of struggles had recommended his mom to abort him, because there were nuts and people with syphyllis in his family tree and his dad was a slattern. Thank life the lady in question didn´t listen to such absurd advice, or we would have missed the honor of having the most human of composer´s music.
Curiously, in capitalism the one who consumes most of the fine things of art is usually the filthy rich capitalist who thinks paintings ought to be bought by the meter. Owning objets d´art for them is another way of bragging to others how much they own. The more you own and boast to others, the less gray matter there is inside your skull,used to say Karl Marx, who really knew what he was talking about. Inversely proportional relationship would have said to me that wonderful blond peasant from Englad,Sir Isaac Newton.
Cultural expressions are born from the people, and it should be the people who shall enjoy them. Beethoven came from a humble family, yet nobles and kings vied for his attentions. He couldn´t care less. How disappointed he felt when the dwarf Napoleon Bonaparte not only refused to help his rocky isle to become independent(that is why he is hated there, their heroine is Letitia Casta ,the sexy top model) but also, forgetting his mom Leticia had borne him on a worn sofa in the living room of their house in Ajaccio, got himself a crown atop his head to be called emperor. No wonder Beethoven erased the dedication to Napoleon and replaced it with the epitaph like phrase “ to the memory of a man who could have been. “ Beethoven refused to bow to anyone. I agree. We all should bow to him. It is the bad habit of the tycoons to try to steal the proletarian aspects of any bright mind who may leave poverty aside to produce masterpieces. We can never forget where people come from, many times for our benefit.
Years ago I worked at a garage university where the rectress, a poor woman who hid so much ignorance and folly under démodé turbans, taught the students to hate our poet Ruben Darío instead of contributing to the real popularization of his verse. Not having a single degree to her name, and lots of uppity attitudes at which her own sottish husband laughed when he was drunk off his ass, she called her Darío hating class Ruben Dario Master Lesson.For the final circus at the end of the quatrimester, she would demand her students(mostly from working class extraction) to spend loads of money on suit and tie, blazers, manicures, stockings, high heeled shoes and cufflinks for the final presentation,as if Darío had ever voluntarily dressed thus or even had the money to do so. The suit in which we see him in his portrait as diplomat was rented at great sacrifice for the occasion.Sorry,folks,Darío was an American Indian who taught Spaniards to better use their own language by founding modernism, but he wore caites(the open faced sandals from Monimbo). Darío doesn’t belong to the ignorant and cruel “so called high class” of Nicaragua, with their fake surnames of Lacayo(the servant),Chamorro(shaved head) and Cuadra(the Negroes´ work squad). Darío belongs to our working class, for he had always been exploited by the rich and filthy politicians. He, like Beethoven in music, was great with his pen and protested against the exploitation of men at the hands of other men. But now it is fashionable for those who have monopolized hunger and misery with their blood money to pose as gentle patrons of the art.
Illiterate beasts loaded with money have never been able to truly sing, write poetry or really know what a sculpture is about. Sorry, and I won´t recant about what I am saying. Time has shown us how cruel the church, nobles and even kings have been in their effort to play at the role of patrons of the arts. How many backaches curved Michelangelo in pain while he finished the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel for the sodomite Pope Julius II who was always yelling at him? Was empress Isabella of Spain, the alluring yet unfaithful consort of Charles I, always in a good mood for Tiziano, although she loved posing naked for him when her libido was up? History does teach us useful lessons, maybe sometimes we are too blind to see them and learn from them. Even though my feet are firmly anchored to the ground, a little dreaming of the day when art be destined for the self same people who created it makes life easier. Meanwhile,we will always run up against mercenaries like the blond idiot from a funeral parlor who said he was “helping me charitably” by giving me a little monetary push, and Beethoven will still be crawling, tossing and turning in his grave in Vienna.

lunes, 15 de diciembre de 2008

the battle of the shoes




80th Entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook Birthdates for December 15:
0037 Nero Claudius Augustus Germanicus 5th emperor of Rome (54-68), he was a wonderful actor and supreme clown,too bad he burned Christians and married a eunuch after he kicked to death his pregnant wife Poppea
1735 Cesare Beccaria-Bonesana Italian lawyer and philosopher, granddad of poet Alessandro Manzoni
1657 Michel-Richard Delalande Composer, he provided the garnish for Louis XIVth`s dinners, for he was the music master after JeanBaptiste Lully died after he hit his own toe with a baton and rotted awat
1832 Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel French engineer (Eiffel tower), so famous for his tower, so infamous because the French effort for the Panama Canal failed and landed him in disgrace along with toady Lesseps
1859 Ludwik L Zamenhof Russia/Poland, physician/linguist (Esperanto),did he really know what he was talking about
Deaths which occurred on December 15:
1025 Basilius II the Bulgaroctonos, Byzantine emperor (976-1025), dies Basilio II, cruel warmonger who blinded 99 out of 100 Bulgarians, the spared one would be a guide to the bblinded bleeding guys1230 Ottokar I king of Bohemia (1197-1230), dies ,he had succeded his dad Wenceslao to the throne after they had lived half their life tearing at each other`s hair1515 Alfonso de Albuquerque viceroy of Portuguese Indies, dies,after having the famous exquisite mango from Indies named after him(mango Alfonso)Author of a famous diary in which he washed himself clean from the accusations his king had made against him
1675 John Vermeer Dutch painter (Love Letter,the Girl with the Pearl Earring), dies at 43,after having his wife`s family living off him like parasites and producing several classical pictures
events
1916 French defeat Germans in WWI Battle of Verdun, it was about time1917 Moldavian Republic declares independence from Russia, as King Stefan Cel Mare would have dreamt

THE GLOBAL CLATFART(THE NEXT WAR WILL BE OVER SPITTOONS)
Splat went the shoes near George Bush jr`.s head when he had the nerve to visit Irak after all the bloodshed he had produced in that millenary culture. That he had the lack of tact going there is not to be held as surprising,because his dad went to cry over Indira Gandhi`s funeral when everyone knows the CIA has paid the sikh who finally shot her. These Bush presidents have never had any shame or dignity,so they never expect people like the Irakis, just because they are brown, to have any dignity. Feet being considered as baser than the rest of the body, the journalist who threw his shoes at the shameless criminal president simply dealt him with a worse insult than if he had thrown a tray full of shit into his ugly wrinkled face.
When I got into my evening English class tonight at the language center where I am an hourly teacher, my seventh level students had their tongue ready to laugh,gossip and criticize anything related to international affairs, which made for a very interesting session. Forgotten were their quarrels with grammar, pushed aside the hassle with preposition and they went straight ahead into a very agitated debate. Being a historian, it was a delight for me, dearest reader. I wished with all my heart that you would have been there, for you would have laughed. One of the students,about to graduate from high school, told me that history could be fascinating as long as the teacher had humour combined with knowledge ,and didn`t drone on covering with prudish lies all the subterfuges and farts the royal personages had incurred into.
Talking about Irak, we brushed over the long war of the 80s when USA had created monster Saddam Hussein in order to make the Ayatollah Khomeini`s beard go grey with worry. The truth about the internal struggle between Sunnites and Shiites cam afloat, and the way Kurds are kept from having their own nation too. We moved along the globe and another student asked why India and Pakistan were constantly snarling over Kashmir, and I explained why the “roof of the world”, so beautiful and rich in minerals, has been a headache for both countries because they were born as twins when Nehru and Gandhi achieved their independence in 1948. Muslims went to Pakistan mostly, the rest stayed in India, and the snarl has been going on even before Nehru croaked out of a heart attack in 1964. We went on to discuss the Tibet`s possible independence and how valid was it for the Dalai Lama to be pushing himself into politics when he should be worried about the souls of so many Buddhists in the world. Not that Tibet doesn`t deserve independence, mind you, along with all those giant pandas who need to be protected.
That Irak`s occupation was a question of sucking up its fuel led us to believe our next world war would be over water, but a few conflicts have been over territories like Kashmir. Look at our treaty Barcenas Esguerra, by which my Nicaragua ceded the isle of San Andrès to Colombia, who converted it into a tourist paradise. Now absurd rulers brag that they will recover this isle, which is as stupid as asking the son to be given back to the unnatural mother who gave it away as a baby once the son is rich and handsome and famous. We were dumb enough to give San Andrès to Colombia, we now deserve to cringe in rage and learn the lesson so we don`t lose the San Juan River to the smarmy Costa Ricans. Some invasions were propelled by the greed for wine, ridiculous as this may sound. If not, look at flatulent and lazy Selim the Sot, the sultan who succeded his wonderful dad Suleyman the Magnificent, who sent his troops(he stayed in bed at home) to fetch Cyprus because some good wines were produced there. The worst of this was that his imbibing in so much wine was harim according to his Islamic beliefs. This was the same sultan who stayed at home with his cats and women while he sent someone else to do the fighting against the Christian League in Lepanto on October 7th,1571, a battle which was lost by the Ottomans. The only thing Selim the Sot could boast of after his navy got the shit beaten out by the bastard of Philip II of Spain don John of Austria was that the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra got his hand so blasted off that the author of Don Qixote was nicknamed the One Handed of Lepanto.
Fights, battles, skirmishes, ambushes. Wars. Will the next global conflict be over water or over spittoons that we throw into each other`s faces? Will Nicaragua learn anything about her previous mistakes that led her to lose Guanacaste, San Andrès, the disputed territory in Honduras? Or will we let our southern neighbors easy talk us and snow us into letting our San Juan River falls into their sugary traps? But we had fun today. All of us who hate imperialism laughed our guts out over those shoes.If shoes can fly like that in Irak, maybe Obama,whether he wears a Hawaiian grass skirt or hula hoops his way out of fixes, can finally get sense into the government`s head and pull the troops away from thelatest Vietnam that the Americans created.



domingo, 14 de diciembre de 2008

beyond the scar










79th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates for December 14:
1363 John Van [Jean C] Gerson French theologist ,deemed by many top have been nuts beyond control


1503 Nostradamus [Michel de Nostre-Dam] FrenchJewish medic,chef,astrologer/prophet


1546 Tycho Brahe Knudstrup Denmark, astronomer (Golden nose) ,so beloved by kings


1553 Henri IV the Bourbon king of Navarra (Henri III)/France,the best king France ever had,a vert Gallant who adored ladies and his signing of the Edict of Nantes cost him his life



Deaths which occurred on December 14:
0872 Adrian II Italian Pope (867-72)/last married pope, dies at about 80 but not exercising his marital rights as legend has it


1077 Agnes of Poitou German empress/wife of emperor Henry III, dies, a domineering shrew if there was one,and it surprises me she was buried in Saint Peter`s Basilica1136 Harald IV "Gylle Krist", king of Norway, murdered after having his eyes poked out ,sooner or later it was bound to happen because his daddy sired too many bastards, lesson to be learned about never trusting half siblings I tell my kid


1542 James V king of Scotland (1513-42), dies at 30 after being told his wife had given birth to the future Mary Queen of Scots
1591 Juan de la Cruz [de Yepes] Spanish Carmelet/poet/saint, dies, lovely poetry,too bad he wrote for the church
1754 Mahmud I sultan of Turkey, dies at 58 , probably sick and tired of fouling himself up1760 Kacic Miosic Croatian poet (Razgovar Ugodni Naroda Slovinskoga), dies ,don’t miss reading him1788 Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach German composer, dies at 74,although not as good as his daddy,has a few great pages to his name
1788 Carlos III King of Naples/Spain (1759-88), dies at 72 ,after having told his dumb successor and son Carlos IV not be be such a blind ass and stupid cuckold


1799 George Washington 1st President USA (1789-97), dies at Mount Vernon VA, at 67,from a throat infection, doctors really helped him to die sooner
1861 Albert prince consort of England & husband of Queen Victoria, dies at 42 after he discovers their heir has been partouzing like crazy,see?Prudery does kill
1862 George Dashiell Bayard Union Brigadier-General, dies at 27,such young generals in the Civil War, did they know what they were doing? No wonder Americans are so damned afraid of having a war on their own territory so they export it to Vietnam or Iraq
1984 Vicente Aleixandre Spanish poet (Historia del corazón), dies at 86,wow. I sure loved his erotic poetry but never his looks
Events
1490 Anna of Bretagne marries by proxy Maximilian of Austria ,but this marriage was bound to never be consummated because they never got in bed, later she successively married two French onion-smelling kings but didn`t manage to keep her Bretagne independent, poor lady she died trying, love her for that


1575 Polish Parliament selects István Báthory as king of Poland,fast way for a plebeian to become king ,since then many horses in Poland are called Bathory, wonder why?
1977 Egypt & Israel representatives gather in Cairo for 1st formal peace conference, but that doesn`t mean they weren`t staring daggers at each other as Arabs and Jews still do nowadays

THE QUIRKS WHICH WE DISABLED NEVER ADMIT IN PUBLIC

Whether I like it or not, I am a disabled person. Mind you,I sport no outward deformity nor ugly scar anywhere on my body, but if you take an x ray of me, a full bodied scan, you will probably sit down to cry or ask yourself how this me still walks and laughs and has no pains. Along with the fractures, the shrapnels ,the bullets which were never pried out-out of cowardice, laziness or simple medical impossibility-come the foibles, the quirks we never confess related to our injuries. Funny, .something which never entered my body was a sense of bitterness, or self pity. Never was I one to wallow in that venomous syrup. as many do. Covered up to my nose with a sheet in bed while I had malaria in 1984 after Indira Gandhi was killed, I read a quote again that I had forgotten,and made it my motto. It was about DH Lawrence saying that a bird can freeze to death in the midst of a snowstorm but you will never see him feel self pity. Of course, Hollywood later used that quote on the cheap movie GI Jane starring a shaved but still alluring Demi Moore, which somehow made me laugh because gringos have always had so much self-pity after their War of Secession that they had made up their mind never to fight on their own territory and they rather export their war. Of course, now their generals are older, not like the youngsters who mismanaged the Civil War and thus even ended up being killed by accident by their own troops(like Stonewall Jackson,although not precisely a youngster,still acted like a stupid teenager).
The least of my accidents happened not during war but during the battle of overcoming my strange adolescence. In March of 1974, my mom was driving her cream Rebault bug with me next to the driver`s seat, and in the back seat was the quirky, unstable,greedy and quarrelsome woman who was my mom`s younger sister. Suddenly this harpy started opulling my mom`s hair over a whim and my mom drove smack into the back of a bus,by Lindavista,western end of Managua. The impact was such that a handle got into my left knee,opening my skin. Three stitches given at the Velez Paiz hospital, I was left with a small outward scar. I still hate it when someone by accident brushes my knee.I feel a jolt of electricity, which means the nerves never mended well. If you want to anger me, pose your hand over my left knee, as if you are trying to rudely seduce me. The sock in your face won`t be delayed. Involuntary reaction, sorry, dear. I have hated by brown-garbed, old dyke of an aunt since then and every time I have had the torture of having to see her, all my chagrin and anger well up inside me and spill over. It is a gut feeling of hatred you may never understand. I blame her for the subtle marring of my left knee, and although now the scar is imperceptible, the old rancor still stirs and spits out violently. I thought I was unique in my reaction.
No sir. In 1983 I was drafted into the army against my will. My boss had scrunched up hands because during the insurrectional struggle, a contact bomb was held too long. He could barely sign with his hand, and he was so painfully self-conscious of this crippled condition of his hands. When I started working I was advised to never stare at his hands, something which I obeyed 99 percent of time. But curiosity is a cat which lives inside all of us. One day he lunched at his desk and immediately fell asleep. The linen napkin was on his lap, but his poor hands were uncovered. Nobody else was in the office. I had been working with him for over a year,and things had eased a lot since the first time we met. I slowly tiptoed around him, his feet were on the desk beside the plates he had lunched from. I took off the dirty napkin and put in on his desk. There were The Hands. He was snoring ,two pearls of crystal sweat forming on top of his forehead,and two others atop his Hitleresque mustache. Slowly, ever so perceptibly, I took one of his hands softly into mine. I perused it quietly while I thought of the pain he must have felt. The year before, I had been bitten by a snake on my left foot. I held his hand tightly in mine as if I could erase any vestige of pain he had ever felt. It was at that moment that I felt I had finally accepted him as a person. I took the other hand from his lap. Almost without moving he opened one eye and a small smile formed on his mouth. He knew that I felt he was awaking, but didn`t scold me or push me away. He was enjoying my inspection. But he gave no evidence of being aware that I was inspecting him. He obviously didn`t feel threatened. I laid both hands back into his lap, and brushed his forehead with my left hand. I tiptoed out of the huge office and went to my desk. I was confused, and in awe. I started a new translation, because the one I had finished had been left by me on his desk on my way out. He awoke half an hour later to find me busily translating the other documents. He walked over to me and patted my head in a fatherly manner. I looked up at his eyes and smiled. Here it was what had been missing.
How to explain the igniting of that magical but real spark of empathy, the arrow of recognition, the embryo of tenderness? It wasn`t anything we could put a name on. From that day on, we would quietly work in silent harmony, safe in each other`s presence. Not a single word was uttered by any of us about my inspection.
Time always has a way of levelling things. In 1984,while climbing onto a helicopter during a combat mission in Jalapa, in the northern part of our country,I was shot in the left knee, the small 22 caliber bullet entering from behind. I was not aware of the entry of this projectile. My best friend was on the helicopter too as a translator, so he took off an old bandanna and wrapped it around my wounded knee as a tourniquet while we could land back in Managua and get me to the military hospital. Once there, a Cuban medic saw to my wound. I was bandaged and put under observation. It wasn`t until I was allowed to go out to the emergency reception room on a wheelchair that my blood-stained, sleepless and shaking best friend was finally sent home to bathe, change and sleep. Three days later, with a small bandage, I went back to work
I was ready to leave at 7 pm, already worn and with red eyes from so much translating, that the boss came to my desk. He told me I never slept naps, so he would never be able to catch me unaware. He asked me to take off the wound`s dressing because he wanted to see. I couldn`t stop laughing. He softly took off the bandage, lifted me long Indian skirt(I hadn`t worn pants yet again) and after he had inspected the wound, put the bandage back on with butterfly wings on his hands almost. He was satisfied I was healing well. .He told me that he had died a little when he had been told I had been shot.
Then added,”Try to never get hit again. Every time something happens to you, it will hurt more on me than on your own flesh.” He accompanied me to the gate, lending his arm for I was still limping a bit, and saw me get into my mom`s cream Renault, this time driven by our faithful driver-messenger and gardener Alberto.
Suffering, specially physical pain, has a way of bonding people as we may never suspect. The wound behind my knee was sealed with time, and is now invisible. I wear my miniskirts without any problem. But I still don`t like anyone to touch my knee. It is a sudden electrical response. The bullet would be followed by shrapnels in 1986,along my spine. A broken spine would be due for 1985,and my wrists would both have to be reconstructed in 1986 after a freak truck crash. In 2003 I landed in a wheel chair and stayed there for several months before I could walk again. It wasn`t until then that I realized how much respect we should give disabled people, dearest of readers. You really do have to walk a mile in someone else`s shoes in order to know what they really feel.

domingo, 7 de diciembre de 2008

THE SAMURAI WHO BROKE PEARL HARBOR




78th Entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on December 07:
1542 Mary Stuart Queen of Scots (1560-1587),her dad died in chagrin because she was female
1761 Madame [Marie Grosholtz] Tussaud created wax museum in which stars look better than themselves
1917 Helen Gurley Brown editor-in-chief (Cosmopolitan), extraordinary pen
Deaths which occurred on December 07:
0983 Otto II the Red German king/emperor (973-83), dies at about 28 ,wasted his time trying to crush the Saracens
1894 Ferdinand de Lesseps French engineer/diplomat/earl, dies at 89, poor toady,he was ready to ass kiss stupid empress Eugenie de Montijo but she didn’t let him go past her gloved hand during the opening of the Suez Canal that he had built, she just scatted him away when he called her “the Isabella the Catholic of Modern Times”
1917 Leon Minkus composer, dies at 91,and not in shame even though he made some of the cheapest ballet music ever tolerated by ears
0043 -BC- Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman writer, gets his head & right hand chopped off by Mark Antony's soldiers , no anesthesia used
Events on today`s calendar0185 Emperor Lo-Yang, China sees supernova (MSH15-52?),great,most rulers don`t even see their people`s needs
1741 Elisabeth Petrovna becomes tsarina of Russia,she was the vigorous daughter of Emperor Peter I the Great and one of the best known crossdressers of history
1877 Thomas A Edison demonstrates the gramophone, no dog included yet
1941 Japanese attack Pearl Harbor (a date that will live in infamy, yowls from his wheelchair FDR)under the command of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

In Nicaragua, it is the Catholic celebration of the Virgin`s Feast.

LESSONS GREAT AND SMALL

While we live we are prey for journalism. Depending what we do in life we can be prey to that huge mauling lioness which is history. She has the habit of putting everyone in his proper nook or place, pegging us with labels many times we won`t like. Firecrackers explode on the sidewalk, my bitch Athenea,who is a Pitbull and much wiser than myself, heartily and barkingly protests against all this noise pollution and being exposed to the danger of a firecracker snapping off near her sturdy ass. I understand her better than anyone could imagine,for animals don`t fall prey to the folly,the awful denigrating opium of religion although they may be the direct victims of it when a goat,a lamb or a whole calf may be offered to a god`s bloody fangs in the name of blessings. I have never been able to understand how a god can be all love and also demand the death of the creatures he or she made…Butit is precisely this folly which allows me to be free of ties, isolated, warm in my old camouflaged jacket, unhampered by anyone who believes in pheromone ghosts or anything half as ridiculous. I am again myself,no receptacle of twisted pleasure, no decoration on anyone`s page, no calendar with peeled shoulders. The simple act of writing again after so many days away from my keyboard declares my independence from anything like incense,alcohol,opium or testosterone. My cat Timurlenk heartily approves,he has me to himself tonight.Why not be happy? He paws at the image of Isoroku I have onscreen. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, with his imperceptible missing finger and a sad smile on his face while he looks at a world globe. He would be assassinated as a consequence for having too heavy balls and iron guts.
The military who lives beneath my yet unwrinkled complexion sighs.I have always admired him,even the fact that he was adopted, that he lost a finger form one hand, that he was balding when he attacked Pearl Harbor…even to the detail that at first he was reluctant to do it.You didn`t know that,right,dearest reader. Fact. I listen to KC and the Sunshine Band belting out I`m Your Boogey Man, and yes,yes, Yamamoto in the short time that he survived to his audacious attack on Pearl Harbor,was really the Boogeyman for Americans. Particularly to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who literally jumped out of his wheelchair when he got wind that PearlHarbor had been hit on that Sunday December 7th 1941 morning, he yowled like a kicked lion, infamy,infamy, something that could only be trilled by the tongue of a white man when someone slightly darker could hit and run. Of course, he had known before that attack that sooner or later something was going to go boom on he Pacific, the intelligence had already fed him enough soup, yes FDR. But he was itching to get into World War II, it wasn`t enough just helping the British RAF,he needed something stronger, any excuse to get into the conflict and he was afraid because he had just pulled USA by the hair and the skin of their teeth out of the Depression in the previous decade. So Yamamoto and his kamikazes hit and run, killing over 3 thousand people and wrecking the American Pacific fleet right on the spot and FDR finally got his way USA was officially at war after FDR got the declaration of war against the Japanese.
But I go back to Yamamoto. Somehow his figure has managed to haunt my dreams.He sits on my left shoulder-somehow he is never far away from me. Is it because as a child I read so much about the Code of Bushido followed by the genuine samurais,and he was the last great samurai in World War II? Once USA had entered the war, troops went with a vengeance after the Japanese. Several important battles were won by the gringos, and the Japanese were starting to wonder if they had poked the beehive with a stick that was too dangerously short.
To boost morale following the defeat at Guadalcanal, Yamamoto decided to make an inspection tour throughout the South Pacific. On 14 April 1943, the US naval intelligence effort, code-named "Magic”, intercepted and decrypted a message containing specific details regarding Yamamoto's tour, including arrival and departure times and locations, as well as the number and types of planes that would transport and accompany him on the journey. Yamamoto, the itinerary revealed, would be flying from Rabaul to Ballalae Airfield, on an island near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, on the morning of 18 April 1943,which by the way was to be a Good Friday for the religiously observants.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to "Get Yamamoto." He was drooling for blood.so Knox instructed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of Roosevelt's so Christian wishes. The due procedures for this in the South Pacific were carried out, then authorized a mission on the seventeenth of April to intercept Yamamoto's flight en route and down him.
The 339th Fighter Squadron of the 347th Fighter Group, 13th Air Force, was assigned the mission, since only their P-38 Lightning aircraft possessed the range to intercept and engage. Pilots were informed that they were intercepting an "important high officer", although they were not aware of who their actual target was. I guess if they had smelled who they would go after,they would have shat in their pants and roundly refused. It was the Boogeyman himself.
On the morning of April 18, despite urgings by local commanders to cancel the trip for fear of ambush, Yamamoto's planes left Rabaul as scheduled for the 315-mile trip. Shortly after, eighteen specially-fitted P-38s took off from Guadalcanal. They wave-hopped most of the 430 miles (692 km) to the rendezvous point, maintaining radio silence throughout. At 09:34 Tokyo time, the two flights met and a dogfight ensued between the P-38s and the six Zeroes escorting Yamamoto.
1st Lieutenant Rex T. Barber engaged the first of the two Japanese bombers, which turned out to be Yamamoto's plane. He sprayed the plane with gunfire until it began to spew smoke from its left engine. Barber turned away to attack the other bomber as Yamamoto's plane crashed into the jungle. Afterwards, another pilot and ace,
Captain Thomas George Lanphier, Jr., claimed he had shot down the lead bomber, which led to a decades-old controversy until a team inspected the crash site to determine direction of the bullet impacts. The official record of the engagement gave half a kill to each Lanphier and Barber, imagine how lowly these guys were that they even had to snarl like angry bitches to gain recognition over such a cowardly assassination.
One US pilot—1st Lt Raymond K. Hine —was killed in action.
The crash site and body of Admiral Yamamoto were found the next day in the jungle north of the then-coastal site of the former Australian patrol post of Buin by a Japanese search and rescue party, led by Army engineer Lieutenant Hamasuna. According to Hamasuna, Yamamoto had been thrown clear of the plane's wreckage, his white-gloved hand grasping the hilt of his katana sword, still upright in his seat under a tree. Hamasuna said Yamamoto was instantly recognizable, head dipped down as if deep in thought. A post-mortem of the body disclosed that Yamamoto had received two gunshot wounds, one to the back of his left shoulder and another to his left lower jaw that exited above his right eye. Despite the evidence, the question of whether or not the Admiral initially survived the crash has been a matter of controversy in Japan. The killing had been achieved on a Good Friday.As usual,cowards hag to bunch together to kill a guy with big nuts like Isoroku.
While other military leaders in Japan and elsewhere avoided the image of being "soft", Yamamoto continued to practice calligraphy, just like Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent of the ottoman Empire, and wrote poems, though his poems have been criticized by some as being monotonous. He and his wife, Reiko, had four children: two sons and two daughters. Yamamoto was an avid gambler, enjoying shogi,, billiards, bridge, mah jong, poker, and other games that tested his wits and sharpened his mind. He frequently made jokes about moving to Monaco and starting his own casino. He enjoyed the company of geisha, and his wife Reiko revealed to the Japanese public in 1954 that Yamamoto was closer to his favorite geisha Kawai Chiyoko than to her, which stirred some controversy. Isoroku`s marriage had no t been a happy one. After his death, his funeral procession passed by Kawai's quarters on the way to the cemetery, perhaps with hidden purpose that wasn`t so hidden to anybody who knew how much the admiral loved Kawai. Despite his fondness for other pleasures, Yamamoto was a teetotaler.
No man is perfect. and male flesh was never designed to be a sample of perfection and Isoroku was no exception. But somehow he managed to achieve greatness through his military genius and his understanding of people who were gofted for art and music. No wonder he admired his Kawai so much. When I was studying in college, I had to make translations of his love poems to her. Later on, when life forced me into contact with weapons, I came to understand him better. In an era when real samurais were scarce, he had the guts to be one. He lived as much as he could by the code of Bushido, and gave a good example while he did this. Such a great example that I have had no more remedy to confess that he has been a role model for me not only as a military but also as a person.

domingo, 30 de noviembre de 2008

Winston




77th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on November 30:
538 St Gregory of Tours chronicler/bishop,always sweating oil1466 Andrea Doria Genoese statesman/admiral, too bad his namesake ship had such a tragic end
1667 Jonathan Swift England, satirist (Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal),only he could have imagined the Lilliputians
1835 Samuel Langhorne Clemens [Mark Twain], author (Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn) ,top cat lover1863 Andres Bonifacio leader of 1896 Philippine revolt against Spain …finally someone wide awake
1874 Sir Winston Churchill (C) British PM (1940-45, 1951-55, Nobel 1953),my darling Bulldog,I care not if he knew about German torpedoes and thus Lusitania sank, I love him,I worship him
Deaths which occurred on November 30:
30 -BC- Cleopatra Egyptian queen commits suicide,the most envied woman because she was so superior to men 1016 Edmund II Ironsides, King of the Saxons (1016), dies at 27,poor guy,what if he had lived longer
1900 Oscar Wilde Irish author, dies in Paris, with a goblet of champagne in his hand

WORLD HISTORIANS DAY

I`m a historian. I feel more than a kissing cousin to god, who I am sorry to report,doesn`t exist for me. I hear my agitated spouse nattering about how wonderful it is to be a lawyer or a medic and my fleas dance around in my fur. I was born to be a historian,and I would never be anything else,dearest reader. I love ancient gossip, Herodotus is my model, Churchill my idol and my memory , to the awe of everybody including you, is photographic. Today was chosen to celebrate us freaks who according to dirty politicians should be on a leash simply because in 1874 a big rambunctious redheaded baby almost killed American doyenne Jenny Jerome while making his dèbut in this valley of tears…Winston Churchill- Born with a golden spoon in his mouth at Blenheim, Winston was destined to be a supergenius, the saviour of England during WWII(that is why I call him the British Bulldog,and I have to admit his heavy jowls in old age also help for the choice of name), adored by so many and hated by others like my daughter, who wants to barf noisily at the mere mention of his name. My dad had the enormous privilege of meeting him shortly before Operation Overlord(D-Day,the greatest amphibian military operation in history) and even puffed on the same cigar as The Churchill. Even if my father would have died upon the shores of Normndie, he would have died in peace after having met Churchill,Eisenhower and Patton. I turn green with envy. Churchill. Single malt scotch, cat hairs, Rose of Herzegovina cigars and ink: the male aroma of Churchill. I inhale and I have him near me, this man I never met for real. My role model, my inspiration., my bowl of laughter.Normally I don`t like white men, but Churchill is god. Envied by so many, because he won a Nobel Prize for Literature for his History of the English-speaking Peoples, Gabriel garcìa Màrquez snarled that he had won that award because the Swedish Academy couldn`t by any means stretch truth so much as to give him the award for Peace.
I have loved Winston since my dad mentioned him in a bedtime story when I was a little girl. I imagined him getting spanked as a young soldier in Africa, during the Boer War, when he got jailed. Writing his first articles, with his mom being his first critic and accomplice. He could never be without a pen and a cat nearby, same as I. How could I avoid falling in love with his exhuberance,his joie de vivre, his capacity to withstand even the worst things and get back on his feet? Was he really aware of the dangers of the German torpedoes when the Lusitania was coming back to Europe in 1916, with the Spanish pianist Enrique Granados and his wife aboard? Were some people right to call him a criminal who was fit to be judged for those lost lives? My daughter still bears a grudge over that, or maybe it is simple, elementary misplaced jealousy.
Winston and I also share that galloping passion for cats.He had so many of them, including the rosy Rosalie who once shat into his top hat and then he poured the excrement on his balding pate when he put the hat back on, having everybody laugh at him. Jock waited for him at the steps of the house and dined with him. Once he went into a cellar after the Germans bombarded London, and he rescued in his hat three kittens and their frightened mom. That is the Winston I love, with a big heart and a baby`s smile. The same Winston who had to be restricted by the king so he wouldn`t hop into one of the ships and go off into Normandie on D Day. Even at his age ,he was able to defend England as the best of medieval knights. No more men are built like him, Winston belongs to another epoch. I hoped to find one like him for myself and failed miserably, but my dreams cannot be censored even by a wedding band and Winston continues to be my great intellectual turn-on.
Winston gave us an example on how to get things into perspective when writing history. Through his pet student Danielle Rocher, who was my teacher in college, I ñearned that no idol misses having clay feet and noticing such a detail doesn`t make you any less a historian. When I started publishing short articles on different personalities and topics, placing them in a scarcely read pseudo-elite little newspaper, I left no head standing on shoulders, and I had to be ready to survive all the attacks from people who couldn `t understand iconoclasts and people like me, who love to call things by their own name and no euphemisms. I wonder what Winston would have done now in the age of internet. Would he have more blogs than those I have?
Winston guides my every step although I never had the great honor of having him puff his cigar in my face. Today, on Historian`s Day, I have felt his presence like a gentle cloud descending like a Jewish shawl over my shoulders. At age 49, I realize that the best choice I made in my life was to become a historian.

miércoles, 26 de noviembre de 2008

suicide




Entry 76 to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on November 25:
1845 Born in Portugal Jose Marìa Eca de Queiroz on the wrong side of the blanket(his parents weren`t yet married),author of Cousin Basil and TheCrime of Father Amaru.
1970 Kimitakè Hiraoke,more known under his pen name of Yukio Mishima,great Japanese novelist and show off, commits sepukku in public before lunch in Tokyo.He almost got a Nobel prize,was the author of Patriotism,Sea of Fertility and Confessions of a Mask
Born on November 26th
1607 John Harvard England, clergyman/scholar, major benefactor to Harvard University (library & half his estate), tried hard but Robert de Sorbonne did a better job in France
1912 Eugene Ionesco France, dramatist (Rhinoceros, The Bald Soprano),considered the father of modern theatre of the absurd
Deaths which occurred on November 26:
1883 Sojourner Truth abolitionist, women's rights advocate, dies, even Lincoln admired her so much1939 James Naismith Basketball inventor, dies, that was a shot he couldn`t avoid1970 B O Davis Sr 1st black general, dies at 93 in Chicago, it was about time a black had been in charge of troops1973 Albert DiSalvo Boston strangler, stabbed, so die those who slay

WHEN SOMEONE FLUSHES HIMSELF DOWN THE TOILET

Who do we blame when someone literally flushes himself down the toilet? Commits suicide, buys the farm with his own money. It`s funny that we are always ready to criticize, swashling around the mud of our western principles, Christian based hypocrisy, saying it was a sin against god, god who has so many crimes to his name because many people wreak havoc on his behalf. Yukio Mishima did it on November 25th,while so many housewives, including his own spouse, prepared lunch unaware of what was going to happen..I am so familiarized with suicide, people. Not because I have ever made an aim at it, nor do I think I will ever plan it for myself. Not for me, folks,no my cup of tea. My poor mom had enough trouble getting me into this world, almost dying herself in the effort, for me to waste her endeavours by doing myself in. I try to get into the slightly yellowish hue of Yukio Mishimàs alabaster skin that fit his muscles like a silken glove. I was a pre-teenager when I saw his head separated from the body, with a hachimaki around his forehead, on the cover of a famous magazine,with some blood under the head. My dad showed it to me,and my mom screamed. She said he was a barbarian showing that to the little girl. Did I ever had childhood?Was I really a kid when I saw that? Good questions I make,dearest reader,while I wonder if not seeing you would be pallid excuse for anyone to ask me to think seriously about disenboweling myself or poking my head into the gas oven my kitchen doesn`t have. Not Sylvia Plath, frustrated wife of poet ted Hughes, not Anne Sexton, either. Shit, I am not even a poet to merit the gas from my oven!
I guess I had a crush on Yukio Mishima from the first day I read his short story Patriotism. I was about 8, always precocious,always poking my nose beyond my age. I started collecting his pictures,specially those where he is working out at the gym to convert what he considered his slender body as ugly. My dad had approved my reading his works,and soon managed to get them all translated into French or English. Food for his literary genius in embryo. So what a shock when Yukio, in his last protest against the occidentalization of his beloved Japan, decided to go with some of his beloved soldiers of the Tatenokai(his private army)and take over General Mashita`s bunker just outside Tokyo to make his last grand show. Of course his gay lover and student was there, and would follow him to death. There is one illogical,insane nucleus of my inner brain that understands him. I have many things in common with him, the love of a good show, the narcissism. Hey wait, get your glasses back on and don`t glare at me like that.I haven`t said I will follow his footsteps, I am not issuing a departure ticket out of this filthy world the way he did. But I guess I know what was rolling through his head when he went there,read a speech while the soldiers booed or cheered,and then got down to his fundoshi,took out the sword and finally his lover decapitated him. November 25th. In Nicaragua, we honor that date with the absurd name of Day Against Wife Battering and violence against women. Just the name lets us know we have a sickly absurd society in which we women are abused,verbally,physically or psychologically. We get llosened teeth, passwords stolen in the name of family stability and marital fidelity, our webcams are shattered, our salaries gobbled by a man who doesn`t love the workingwoman who works hard for the money so you better treat her well as Donna Summer once sang. What would Yukio Mishima have said of the existence of such a day in a country where woman hitting is more of a national sport than gossiping, baseball, bastard-production and boxing. Would Eugene Ionesco laugh and say that when he created the theatre of the absurd he meant it only onstage and not offstage,in the small black cameras of our households?
But let`s get back to Mishima and suicidal people. Japan, where seppuku is an accepted form of leaving this world after your honor has been sullied, never got over this suicide.
Mishima left everyone shaking in his shoes. It left me so too. How often do you blame yourself when someone does himself in?Shizue,Yukio`s overabsorbent mother who was always his best accomplice, laid all the blame at the widow`s door.She never liked her daughter-in-law.Welcome to the family Yoko, I know lots about this,my lady. When my best friend Oscar Cortez did himself in Hemingway-style(bullet in the head)I blamed his wife too. That couldn`t take away the pain,the anguish,the loss. It was Yukio`s suicide again, although I never sang to Yukio or loved him as a close friend. My Oscar departed in July 1996,and still less than one year later, while I was the blazer-clad,stocking-footed flamboyant spokeswoman for the Ruben Darìo National Theatre, I chose to pull Yukio out of my closet and clean up his skeleton. That is why I wrote the short story Kim The Samurai Angel while I was so olympically unhappy as the spokeswoman of the maximum temple of culture ion Nicaragua. This story was brought upon by several consecutive nightmares, in which Yukio, wearing only his fundoshi and smiling sweetly, would walk into my kitchen to ask me for a dish of breaded shrimp I was cooking. He would eat and then ask me,please,pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease kitten,a short story for me,you said you loved me,prooooooove it. So I wrote Kim during my office hours, feeling I was ripping off my people because I was a public servant but I was using time paid from the taxes my people got bitten off to write.Crime.Fraud. But Kim was written this way, and the same day I ended it, Yukio came back to eat more imaginary shrimp and thank me. I have seen him again in my dreams, inevitably, but never with the intensity of those days in 1997. Three months later I would quit that awful fake job and feel free. Kim had been written in captivity.
As I have been aging, I feel I understand Yukio MIshimàs sense of alienation better.
The perspective is totally different ,but the comprehension is there. I have come to share many characteristics with him ,like the love I feel for photography, the sense of giving a good public face, not so the homosexuality nor the inclination for suicide. My literary production has grown more open-minded, and now I am not afraid of broaching any subject in my short stories or here in my own non fiction scrapbook. I somehow understand why Yoko was never enough for him, through a wry smile I acknowledge that. I wish I weren`t an atheist, so I could invent a heaven or hell where Yukio and my best friend Oscar discuss their suicides from a philosophical perspective. But it is just fantasy. One place you surely go to after death is the cemetery. Yukio was reduced to ashes. I want the same, so I can be thrown over my beloved San Juan River. Yukio and I also share an absurd sense of patriotism that irks you beyond measure, but I cannot extricate it like I cannot live without my almost useless pancreas.
The 49 year old matron I am now is still vexed over the blow Yukio gave me as a child when he did himself in. The responsible, dutiful housewife I was when my best friend shot himself in 1996 got herself another punch that still hurts. When someone you love decides its better to go off rather than live with a shadow of the time you can give him or her, it is time to think. I don`t mean the cheap drama of a manipulator who tries to scare you by punching a pen into his wrist ifn front of a webcam so that you feel forced to do what he wants, too much Egyptian soap opera without reaching the greatness only Om Khaltoum could sing in her songs. I mean the real emptiness, the body no longer harbouring that warmth you so loved. No dear reader, there is no pain like that. I hope you never feel it. When someone chooses to flush himself down the toilet of life, we realize something is awfully rotten in the sewages of this society,and we may carry this guilt like a weighted sack for the rest of our lives, even if we learn from the experience.


domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2008

Never as well served as by own hand




75th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook for Nov.15 and 16
Birthdates which occurred on November 15:
1397 Nicholas V pope (1447-55); ended schism, founded Vatican Library , was a very useful priest1708 William Pitt the Elder (Whig) UK PM (1756-61, 66-68) `Great Commoner' , great with or without wig1738 Sir William Herschel astronomer (discovered Uranus), you do more than get torticolis from star gazing 1815 John Banvard NYC, painted world's largest painting (3 mile canvas)thank heavens Picasso never dreamt of inflicting similar torture on us
1887 Georgia O'Keeffe Sun Prairie WI, painter (Cow's Skull), nice flowers, although they look like something else
1891 Erwin Rommel German field marshall (WW II-African campaign),poor guy,sweating so much in El Alamein on an upset stomach,and at the end Hitler ordered him to drink poison.Poorly does the devil pay to those who serve him well.
Deaths which occurred on November 15:1280 Albertus Magnus German scholar, dies at 87, after many mistakes 1630 Johann Kepler German astronomer, dies at 58, his neck still hurting
1958 Tyrone Power actor, dies of a heart attack at 44,but not in Errol Flynn`s arms!1963 Fritz Reiner conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), dies at 74, very good baton 1978 Margaret Mead anthropologist, dies in NY at 76
1984 Baby Fae who received a baboon's heart, dies at California medical center

1492 In Spain, 6 Jews & 5 Conversos are accused of using black magic, of course horny Isabella was delighted because that gave her where to draw money from to finance her Columbus`voyages1660 1st kosher butcher (Asser Levy) licensed in NewYork City then (New Amsterdam)
1889 Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, deposed; republic proclaimed,after he gave the golden rule to free the slaves
1939 Nazis begin mass murder of Warsaw Jews, first draft of what they would do later on
Birthdates which occurred on November 16:
42 -BC- Tiberius Cesar 2nd Roman emperor (14-37 AD) , he was on his seat when Jesus was sent to the cross, poor pervert1766 Rodolphe Kreutzer France, composer/virtuoso violinist (Paris Conservatory) he had his way with the bow1873 W(illiam) C(hristopher) Handy Alabama, jazz star (St Louis Blues),only he could sound like that
Deaths which occurred on November 16:
1885 Louis Riel French rebel who fought against Canada, executed at 41,poor chap didn`t live to tell1960 Clark Gable dies at 59.leaving piles of females like me crying over him
On this day...
1532 Pizarro seizes Incan emperor Atahualpa after victory at Cajamarca,locks him up,shows him how to play chess and ends up having a crush on him before having him executed1676 1st colonial prison organized, Nantucket, Massachusetts, good clink for not so good gents
1908 Arturo Tuscanini begins conducting NY's Metropolitan Opera, to everyone`s delight

SELF RELIANCE

Personne est si bien servie que par sa propre main, say the French,in a great truth as big and oily as the whole universe. Nobody is as well served as by his own hand,why do the French always manage to nab the truth,pin words on it and make it as real as nothing in the virtual world can be? Then the final shot, the coup de grace, came when James martin, wise as only a handful of Americans have ever had the luxury of being, smacked a book by Ralph Waldo Emerson into my seventh-grader hand with a Cheshire cat grin and said,”This was written for people like you.” I open the Emerson book and James wafts out of it like a welcome genie,the book being Alaeddin`s Lamp. Teachers like him we all wish to have but only a few of us are lucky enough to be chosen in order for such an honor to be bestowed upon us. I imagine him now, his silky hair almost completely white, wearing thick glasses and perhaps a cane for elegance more than for anything else, because no matter how hard he tries I get the feeling james martin can never be old. A few weeks ago, being an underestimated, underpaid teacher with a writing course destined for people who hope to fulfil their American Dream of studying in USA,unaware it can be the first episode of a truly continental nightmare, I fought against laziness, indifference, mediocrity and impunctuality to get them in front of a PC that probably belonged more in a museum of cybernetics than in a language center computer lab, and I smacked them with an Emersonian website so they could at least brush the myriad plumes of the quetzal of self-reliance. Somehow I had the impression I was blowing some gunpowder on plain vultures, but the effort was to be taken into account. At least by me. It brought me to this question: why aren`t we self-reliant? Why must we be surrounded by creeping jennies, poison ivy trying to consume our breaths, thirsty anacondas reading to suck us whole into their turmoiled stomachs? Arms promising love hold us like lianas from a tropical jungle tree, we get smothered, choked,.asphyxia blues us up. Help me, I am dying in the arms of love! Is it excuse enough?
No people. Nobody can be smothered by love, and if it smothers it isn`t love but a monster. The thing from the black lagoon, a school of rabid piranhas, a bloodsucking bat. Noooooooooo, get off me. Too many things that are nasty are executed in the sacred name of god or love, which for many is the same but not quite equal, as the Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodrìguez says in one of his songs. No, Russian legend has the hut of the Babayaga on chicken`s feet chasing all prey, but no, I can`t belong, I cannot be asphyxiated, my lungs need their air. As Rod Mckuen said,”I only own myself but all of me is mine.”
Let me tell you one little story. I have been born and have lived in a very narrow-minded little country of the Third World where religion,particularly the Catholic faith, has been an octopus over people`s opinions. It hasn`t been strong enough to wipe out squalor ,promiscuity,bastards or any other forms resulting from disorderly living or loose morals, but it suffocates enough to make people gossipy,opinionated and very hypocritical. So when my dad dropped into my lap the book titled The Crime of Father Amaru, by the great Portuguese novelist Josè Marìa Eca de Queiroz(by the way a communist,atheist and a bastard born ahead of his parents`wedding), many people said he was perverting me. The wretched love story between the handsome and young priest Amaro and the mealy-mouthed, sexually repressed Amelia has the saddest of endings, when Amelia is forced by her pseudoreligious lover into aborting the baby they so hornily made. When I finished reading the book, I could understand Amaro`s point of view. Selfish as only men can be(perhaps because they don’t give birth), Amaro forces the village girlie to be butchered by a quack and she dies as her lifeblood spills over where she so much enjoyed weeks before. But sorry, I understand Amaro. Why be saddled by something you didn`t sk for? It`s true, he could have avoided the whole thing by wearing a Trojan.But he didn`t. And the world is full of women who give all of us bad names by their beggar attitude,marry me, hold me,keep me,support me,give me.
Self reliance is a forbidden word for them, clinging vines who turn silken ribbons into iron chains. No self-respecting macho Cromagnon Australopithecus Neanderthal will ALLOW his lady to work, but when she asks for something over the budget he will howl like a shot wolf.
Recently I was observing the human circus in the internet, and an Italian chap with nice beard, blue eyes and the foulest mouth I have ever cyber met was announcing that he wanted a female(not a woman, mind you) and he was a dominator and whoever opened his webcam and legs to him had to know how to obey blindly. For him self reliance was only conjugated in the male form, and woe to the woman who ever dared challenge that absolute truth written with seminal ink from an upright male penis(hopefully upright).A true piece to be remitted to any anthropological museum, too bad he is loose on the cyber waves and doing so much damage to weak minds and pliant bodies that he should be shackled into Alcatraz(reopened for his benefit, because now it is a museum).
Self reliance has been the only way out for men and women since the world has been so called. Knowing that everything you do will be for your benefit and that of others is a dish that can only be so relished. Knowing that you own your inner space is a great feeling,specially when you realize how many people are deprived of their right to privacy in the sweetish name of love. Many husbands and wives believe they have ownership over the consort, and that kills love, if ever there was such feeling, in the name of togetherness or so called fidelity. When compliments become obligatory, and presence is required the way a drill sergeant calls his soldiers, self-reliance becomes a scratching dog trying to rid itself of all those ticks and fleas.
One of the reasons why I love cats so much is because they have their own sense of independence, never toadies or brown- nosers, never slaves to humans, never there as a doormat but as your peer. You cannot get 20 cats to pull a snow sled but the servile dog does it, poor chap with no sense of self-esteem. A dog may be kicked by you and you can get him back at your feet again. I wouldn`t recommend you do that with a cat, well not with anyone or anything.
Being self-reliant doesn`t mean you will turn your back on those who may need your help, but the fact is that by being self-reliant you can improve whatever help you may give. My associate on the historyarte website, Adolfo, often repeats that by helping the weak he never learns to be strong. I tend to agree with him, as 49 years of life in this crazy valley of tears that is the world has shown me. No use coming back for more when a door is slammed shut in your face, you have your own resources to seek for whatever you were looking for elsewhere, preferably where a bit of self-reliance and consciousness of how to interact with others exist. Nobody or nothing is indispensable in life but life itself to continue living. Usually we Nicaraguans, those of us who are self-reliant and do do homework in groups in order to be failed as a bunch, say that when a door slams shut a big garage door is waiting for you, gaping wide open, elsewhere. So no use crying over spilled milk if it was destined to land on the floor anyways.