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

jueves, 31 de julio de 2008

when the lady with her dragon refuse to be wooed by the troubadour

29th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
July 30th

1818 Emily Bronte, England, novelist (Wuthering Heights) died single and spitting out her lungs from tuberculosis, one of the greatest writers of the English language1863 Henry Ford Dearborn Township, Michigan, auto maker (Ford), a bigot, anti.Semite, lousy right wing capitalist and a prude, Hitler gave him a medal for his hatred against Jews
Deaths which occurred on July 30:
1914 Jean Jaurès leading socialist, assassinated in Paris.It is a capital sin to defend the working class
1839 Slave rebels, take over slaver Amistad, which belonged to the hypocritical Spaniards
July 31st
1911 Macchu Piccu discovered
1777 Marquis de Lafayette, 19, made major-general of Continental Army
Deaths which occurred on July 31:
1556 St Ignatius of Loyola founder of Society of Jesus, dies in Rome , tremendous bigot with pains on his kness1811 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Mexican hero priest, executed by Spanish, who always have said to be so Catholic but have always been very unchristian in their actions
1944 Antoine de Saint Exupèry, French aviator and author of The Little Prince,disappears at age 44 off the coast of Marseille


It can be very ironical that in order to evoke those times of ladies in castles and troubadors trying to win them over-although the dame might already be a married woman with kids-I should quote a song by the American pop duo The Carpenters. “I knkow I need to be in love, I know I`ve wasted too much time, I know I ask perfection in a quite imperfect worls, and I`m fool enough to think that`s what I`ll find.” Of course you remember the song, faithful muse and reader, and by now you may be wondering whatever happened to me in order to broach this subject with you. Could ithave been more fit to cite Guillaume DÀquitaine, or Chretien de Troyes…? Back in the Middle Ages the troubadours went and came around singing,little more than circus jugglers in the backward social status of the epoch, fell in love with the lady of the manor and tried to woo her at a distance. Few were the cases when the damsel-not always in distress and maybe harbouring a fire dragon inside her nature-would leave bed and board in safety with the husband who had been chosen for her since before her birth and went off with the love smitten bard. It was unfashionable to be in love with your own consort, love matches almost never existed except among the very poor who had nothing to lose.
It was a very hard life back then, and these minnsingers and troubadours rarely got a kiss,let alone something else,from the woman they so sang in their verses and song. It would help if the troubadour came from a rich family with titles, lke in the case of the Duke of Aquitaine, Guillaume,France`s foremost troubadour, or of the fat Thibaut de Champagne, who wanted to woo the queen Blanche herself, one of the nastiest women in history. It was a guarantee for seeing his madrigals published the fact that Jean Aleixandre of Normandie was his own king Henri II`s favourite minion. The lady love and the troubadour almost never got very far,because even though in courtly love it was chic to be in love with anyone that wasn`t your own spouse, the consequences for women, as usual, have been always the same:eviction from the manor, getting disinherited, losing custody over kids, being stripped completely of the few rights she may have had. Men got off scot-free,as usual, after they got themselves paramours. The loving troubadour would at the most get a sleeves from his lady, wear her colors although he could barely afford new clothes, and maybe a remote tumble in the dung infested hay.
So where does this land us when we compare with our courtships, now in times of internet? I apologize again to my favourite writer, Colombian Nobel Award winner Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez, whose book Love In Times of Cholera was torn to pieces by the garbage manufacturing machine from Hollywood. If you haven`t read it yet, try to do so because you re missing a great novel. In the book, after the heroine has a disastrous fling with Florentino Ariza, realizes that being wooed through telegrams is not her thing and marries stable, debonair Dr.Juvenal Urbino. If she had had a PC connected to Internet, what kind of offers would she have gotten? Love in times of messengers and skype and webcams.
It is funny how crazy things can get. At a seminar for history teachers that I organized, I realized when we were discussing how to make the most of internet resources for research, that many people had had a few jolts themselves. For some of them opening the messenger to chat was the worse thing that ever touched their lives. For another, a history teacher from the southern region, chatting landed him his American wife, so it was a good experience. Chatting sometimes, I was told, can work like publicity for a product or just the same as when I, being the head musical programmer of 18 radios that were state-owned in Nicaragua during the turbulent decade of the 80s, created a superhit song just by repeating it so many times on the air that people had no more choice than to start humming it even while they peed.
“I have no necessity of catching a guy who looks more or less like 10 men per block in any Nicaraguan city just because he insists I have bedroom eyes, “chimed in a feminine voice. The fact that he is an exotic product already following the American dream which will turn soon into a nightmare as it usually does doesn`t mean the lady will leave her fortress-the modern equivalent of a medieval castle- just to follow this strange troubadour who promised progeny and endless submission to his appetites on the first chat. Completely d`accord with the woman, for whom an American visa is not precisely the panacea it should be for others. Here she is being bullied into accepting a product she has no need for, like trying to sell a Whirlpool freezer to a Lapp in the northernmost tip of Finland!
What about the unwelcome interruption when writing your works, if you have the messenger open, of someone walking uninvited, invading your privacy, uncalled for, howling like Whitney Houston in her theme song from The Bodyguard,”And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu”
Barging in like a bull in a crystal shop, tearing apart the fabric of your everyday life, a stepping rhinoceros pounding on the cobweb of your thoughts!And then threatening you because he “knows you are there” or sending dumb animations when you want to get down to business or your boss will fire you on the spot? Simple, close the messenger someone said. But if you are expecting response from someone which is working with you against time, trying to meet a deadline, how do you make a filter?

I am not saying that all chat must end up like a version of Looking for Mr.Goodchat, and may the author of Looking for Mr.Goodbar,Judith Rossner,also forgive the
paraphrasing. I personally have found real, honest, authentic friends through the internet, people who don`t promise to send you the presidential plane to land you naked in a cage at the foot of the Giza pyramid, guys who are interested in your mind, in your writings, who want knowledge and not a belly dance performed by you in stark nakedness in front of your webcam so they can satisfy their carnal pleasure without having to buy porn. How many promises that you get through the ether of internet become real..?The percentage is so low it doesn`t even deserve statistical attention. But I am thankful for the handful of people whom I have met that way and whose respect, solidarity and good will I still enjoy.Finding a soulmate can happen this way,dearest reader, and you best of all know that this is true. You may dream of meeting and someday it shall be if kismet allows you. I even found the most beautiful of models for my artistic graphic designs in Dubai, a young and warm young man with his head well nailed to his shoulders and his feet on the ground. But for each true gem you find along the complex lines of internet you find bucketfuls of weirdos and creeps who only want to use you for their macabre purposes.
Which brings me to the following question:is there an unwritten code of behaviour and manners to be made about relationships on the web? Some kind of etiquette to follow to overcome the sudden doorslam on the nose from your chatmate when you start asking questions that may land him or her on the wet towel, something to refrain nuts from calling you strange names, or some kind of bar to halt abuse. Is it against some unwritten rules to shade the text you are getting and paste it on a word document and then use it as the raw material for a short story?Is it an infidence? Who sets the rules if any rules are to be set?
And what about grammarians who are so shell-shocked at seeing the barbaric monstrosities committed against languages used on the Internet, particularly English with the new vocab slangs such a lol, luv ya and other aberrations that are not even sexual to be enjoyed. My perfect teacher James Martin would have a double heart attack if he read some chats. There are so many pseudoromantic skunks in the Pepe le Pooh style lost in the turbulent woods of internet. It unbelievable how many idiotic freaks on a leash are allowed to be near a keyboard., but on the other hand I have news of some extraordinary courtships in the best style of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett , both wonderful English poets, that have been conducted and fulfilled through messengers and email. But the imp of my sense of humour questions: but how many failures can you have? Is the lady of the manor always ready to leave everything behind at her castle to go and live in a seedy concrete hut with a guy who ends up recriminating her, over the years, for having done exactly what she did out of love, or delusion ,for him? How many kilos of disappointment could you swallow per day?
Life teaches you all sorts of lessons, heart of my heart- and one of them is the one of survival. Rebukes and lies and disappearances-less interesting than the one who denied the world more works from Antoine de Saint Exupèry after he never came back from his last flight- may hurt for a while, but they are not stones to break your bones.
Reality always brings you back from the murky clouds of irreality, or virtual reality to avoid insulting some people who deem internet to be the new deity. Feet anchored on the ground avoids having you swept away and grabbed by the neck by an invisible hand that may come out the monitor. Virtual flowers, like those given in a real bouquet, also wilt. Even the most frenzied mutual masturbation session cam to cam loses its élan if it ever had any, and sorry if I hurt your feelings or taste by being so brash, but as you know I will never change and that is what usually keeps you coming for more from me because you know I will never bullshit you..
I cannot fuck pictures, said a gentleman once while he chatted. He pointed out to a very solid reality about love in times of internet. He couldn`t have been more exact, dearest reader, and that is why I should give him credit in here, whatever kismet or karma decides to make of whatever we do. Love was dangerous in times of cholera,as Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez said when he ends his novel with the elderly couple of Florentino Ariza and Fermina daza navigating endlessly on a river boat. It is even more dangerous now in times of internet where the same medium can be the unbridled cholera to tear our lives apart.

miércoles, 30 de julio de 2008

Women warriors

28th entry to the Colonel's Scrapbook\
July 29th
1030 King Olav Haraldsson of Norway, dies in battle of Stiklestad .At least this king did earn his crown somehow.1164 King Olaf of Norway, dies. Did he have to wait ion line to enter heaven or hell? 1890 Vincent Van Gogh dies in Auvers, France , after shooting himself with a gun and having left a piece of his ear years ago to a slut
1900 Umberto I Italian king assassinated by anarchist Gaetano Bresci, poor guy,he never really governed and got sent out of the world just for not wearing his crown properly
1762 Rafaela Herrera y Sotomayor defends the Castle of the Inmaculate Conception agains the English pirates, her father has just died and she commands the garrison in the name of the King of Spain
1925 Mikis Theodorakis Chios Greece, composer (Raven), when I met him in Paris I was so elated
1883 Benito Mussolini [Il Duce], Fascist Italian dictator (1922-43), hated baths, had syphyllis and adored his mistress Clara Petacci, with whom he was shot and hung at Piazale Loretto. So end all dictators!
1905 Clara Bow silent screen actress (It, Saturday Night Kid),back then those Hollywood stars still had real glamour 1905 Dag Hammarskj"ld 2nd UN Secretary-General (1953-61) (Nobel 1961)destined to die in a plane crash, many people refuse to admit he was gay

Homeland, or patrie, is feminine in wise old French language. It is adequate. Although history has praised and sung the heroic deeds of men as patriots, since it has been written by males of the species, the patriotic actions of women have always been ignored. Homeland, patrie,is the land that saw you born. Your earth mother. I had the peerless privilege of being born in Nicaragua. I am not exportable, except in writing and in smiling. I love my country with a passion and devotion that is about the only kind of religion I have taken seriously.
It is curious that on a July 29th,1762, a Spanish woman of 19 years of age defended our country, although she was the bastard of a Spanish soldier and a mulatto child whore from Cartagena,Colombia:Rafaela Herrera. Her dad Josè Herrera y Sotomayor, had been yanked out of Colombia to serve at a small garrison on the San Juan River in the province of Nicaragua,and I say province because it wasn`t until 1821 that we became independent from Spain, after the Spaniards had been swindling our gold for a good period of time. The problem with Rafaela was that her dad had just died when the English pirates came marauding into the San Juan River with the prospect of sacking the port city of Granada. She had never been a military, much less in an era when women went barefoot, pregnant and smiling in an orgasm of submission. She wasn`t defending Nicaragua, mind you. Although she was brown and a bastard, two things frowned upon by the Spaniards, she felt Spanish and when she threw the sheets on fire to float on rafts along the river in order to scare off the pirates, she was defending the realm of Spain. Never Nicaragua, which only existed as a province to sack, loot,enslave and produce money for the whites in Spain. Afterwards, she was very resentful because the king of Spain pointedly ignored her, reminded her that as a bastard she had no claim on anything,simply sent a cold thank-you letter, and didn`t give her more than a miserly pension in her old age, when she was already the widow of Pablo Mora, the mother of several retarded kids and raising pigs for a living.Pigs which she called verracos-the Colombian name for swine- and never chanchos like we say here in Nicaragua. She never became Nicaraguan, which is why I laugh at historians who try to make her a national heroine. Yes ,whatever country she fought for, once in her life, not as a military woman but a damsel in distress, she had guts.
Nevertheless, when some people say that my love for the San Juan River is so excessive and obsessive that I could easily become a second Rafaela Herrera defending it, I resent the comparison. I am 300 per cent Nicaraguan, a trained sniper, legitimate daughter of a couple who adored each other legally, and I am not fighting for any king but our queenly sovereignty.
Women have always had more guts than men for war. The old Celts saw women march into battle and fight better than men. Just remember Queen Boadicea when her husband died and her daughters were raped by the Romans, she got everyone in arms and almost defeated the Roma legions. Rather than be raped and shown as a trophy by the Romans, she and her mare swallowed poison. It is said that when dead, she looked like a redheaded fallen angel. When I went to London I took several pictures of her monument. At least the British didn`t forget her or convert her into a man with a wig.
History teems with women who had more guts than men, specially in Africa. Candace was the stunning empress of Ethiopia when blond Macedonian Alexander the Great had the wise decision of not going into Ethiopia, where she was dressed only in feathers, astride her favourite female war elephant, waiting with her spear ready to finish him off if he dared come along. Wisest thing little Alex ever did, run from such a formidable warrior. How to forget Nandi, the beautiful mother of Zulu-nation unifier king Shaka?
Or his legendary grandmother Mtombazi who being 7 months pregnant went into the battlefield and defeated her enemies? Not to say his common law wife Pampata, a colonel in his army, who led the female regiments into battle and cared for his three Abyssinian colonels, cats Khalampopo, Kazhilimpopo and Limpopo?It was Pampata who buried him after he had been stabbed to death by his half brother.
But my absolute favourite is queen Nzingha of Ndongo and Matamba(now present-day Angola), who not only was a great patriot, military commander and elephant trainer, but also someone who fought to rid her people of the impeding threat of getting exported for slavery. Too bad she died in exile, after so many years of battles and hardships and having to negotiate with the Dutch to keep out the Portuguese. Another brave warrior queen was Amina, also African, considered to be better than any man at weapons and strategies. She built the best fortifications and defended her reign as only she could. Those are the women who serve as role models for all those patriots with skirts or military women commanders of today.
I could never leave out colonel Manuela Saenz, Simòn Bolìvar`s passionate Equatorian lover who on one occasion even saved him from being assassinated. Wild, well read, sexy and agile, she adored the Libertador so much that she sacrificed her reputation and life to him, being his shadow and confidante and one of the most clever militaries in history. Too bad she ended translating love letters for American whalers back in her hometown, and thus she was interviewed by the American writer Hermann Melville(the author of Billy Budd and Moby Dick). Towards her old age, she fell and had an accident that left her in a wheelchair, dying from the plague shortly afterwards. I still question her taste. Bing a skimpy, Bolìvar could have never given her kids, and he still had the nerve to feel superior to her. Typically male, poor idiot.
Women have always loved their homeland passionately for on real reason:we give birth.
That natural superiority simply allows us to love the homeland-la patrie-as one would love a baby one has brought into the world. Nobody can peel the birth pangs of self-determination, the pains of independence as well as us women, perhaps because we are always trying to shake off the dictatorship and foreign invasion of our males. Even in the moment of love, we are said to be conquered, although we may secretly remain uncolonized all our life. My San Juan River provides the water in which I forge the uniform of my sovereignty every time I come to him. He is the perfect lover a patriotic woman should ever need, the one who doesn`t lie about hours, or evoke others smack in your face to see if you cringe with vibrating possessive jealousy, or tell you he adores you but suddenly disappears into a black cloud never to be seen or heard from again.
Sovereignty is the shield we women wear for the sake of our own peace of mind, knowing this is our land although we may be stripped of clothes, children, status, maiden name or whatever, and it is a fully requited love. The only one we may ever savor in our lifetime.

martes, 29 de julio de 2008

the unbelief of beliefs

27 entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
July 27th
1768 Charlotte Corday , the naïve and pretty Norman assassin of Jean-Paul Marat 1801 George Biddle Airyy 7th Astronomer Royal, always with his head in the sky1824 Alexandre Dumas fils France, playwright/novelist (Camille),great rake
1867 Enrique Granados Lèrida ,Spain, composer (Maria del Carmen, Playera)this elegant pianist was bound to die with his wife when the Germans torpedoed the ship Lusitania during WWI
1877 Ern” (Ernst von) Dohnnyi Hungary, composer (Msg to Posterity)great among greats
1980 Shah Mohammed Reza Pahavala of Iran, dies in Cairo at 60, after having been kicked out of Iran along with his stiff wife and his kids

1501 Nicholas Copernicus formally installed as canon of Frauenberg Cathedral 1586 Sir Walter Raleigh brings 1st tobacco to England from Virginia, starting thus the nicotine invasion of Europe.Yuck

July 28th
1922 Jacques Piccard Switzerland, undersea explorer (bathyscaph Trieste)What did he find down there that he never told us about?
1929 Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis 1st lady of USA through her marriage to rakish John F.Kennedy, then soiled herself by marrying a Greek gold-plated gnome Ari Onassis (1961-63)
Deaths which occurred on July 28:
1540 Thomas Cromwell King Henry VIII's chief minister, executed for having told his king that the lady to become Henry`s fourth wife Anne of Cleves was sexy when it was a big fat lie1655 Cyrano de Bergerac French dramatist/novelist, dies in Paris,and his nose didn`t go in another coffin,please
1750 Johann Sebastian Bach German composer who worte the music that most exasperates me due to its mathematical precision (Art of the Fugue), dies at 65 completely blind 1794 Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary/avocat who deemed himself icorruptible (1781), guillotined by his own.Died a virgin. 1794 Robespierre & 22 other terrorists executed to thunderous cheers by their ex correligionaries.Lesson to be learned.


1586 Sir Thomas Harriot introduces potatoes to Europe, the best thing he ever did 1588 Spanish Armada sails to overthrow England's Queen Elizabeth I, unknowing that they will be olympically defeated by this grand dame`s navy.So cometh the pride afore the fall, said Shakespeare.


It all started in a very simple way. Tell me of a teacher who wouldn`t do anything short of murder or arson to get their language students to speak, scream ,debate or write in the language they are learning. The lesson for today was animals-the question if they had a soul
So we got sidetracked so awfully we landed as-first head up into beliefs, reincarnation and all sort of stuff my boss would probably not deem fit for a classroom. It was when I realized that beliefs are the twilight zone in our heads and lives that can bring us together or rip us apart mercilessly.
IN first place we have to talk about the soul, something meaningless for a Marxist. Where in the body lies the soul? Did pianist Enrique Granados`soul also drown,at least leaving us drenched in his lovely Playera? When you die, some say you lose a few grams of weight. Logically,when you die you piss and shit,sorry for the sordid details.I explain the weight loss as due to what you expel. O angelbreath there for me,please. Religious people say the soul just got out in a hurry. Why doesn`t the soul appear in any x ray we may be taking of our bodies?Supposedly god gave us a soul from the moment he made Adam out of clay, giving it with “life`s breath”. One of my student believes in the Bible letter by letter, so he is shocked when I tell him that since the first guy was Adam and god gave him life`s breath, ever since men have been foul players because god had fetid breath. And the reason why women are still imperfect-although much less than males-is because god was lazy and took a bad raw material-a man`s rib- to confection us out of it. Then another of my students says that god`s worst mistake was to make man on the sixth day, having made the animals one day before, so the animals are our older brothers and sisters but as siblings they don`t get much respect from us because we hurt them,eat them and even used them against their own will for scientific experiments. Which brought us to remember that Thomas Aquinas, the great philsopher, said,”Beware humankind, now you are the strongest but on Judgement Day who will judge you will be the animals.” This makes many look at each other in dismay, and probably remember how many fried chickens he has eaten or how many cockroaches she has stepped on in her life. Last but not least I question aloud why if god was going to enjoy the seventh day as a break and never work again for the ages, why didn`t he act smarter and workl on the seventh day to better fashion the world and then he could have napped and snored all he wished to forever and ever.
The funny thing comes up when we remember the dinosaus without having to go into Jurassic Park details. If dinosaurs came first and then mankind, and man was fashioned in the image of god, then who the hell made the dinosaurs...until someone gets frightened and says that god could be a dinosaur disguised as a human, and the dinosaur in him is reflected in the monsters we all carry inside althopugh he was mean enough to eliminate the dinosaurs because he wanted no evidence of his real portrait and of all the meanness he carries within him.
Handling people`s beliefs is a tough job, my ever present muse. You might as well be appalled while reading this, your dark hair standing on end as if I had passed a direct current through you. How the hell did she become such a galloping heretic, you may ask. Not even heretic,which is worse. A nihilist?I don`t know. Sometimes labels shoo us away from meanings. When we got away from the religious topic because many were starting to roll their hands into fists and hell could break loose(once 2 years ago it did, my ninth-level English students were debating about religion versus scientific beliefs and my star student in that group,Mario Leonel,wanted to smack a chair as a hat on someone who had all the looks of a religious bigot), we went into reincarnation and that is where ypou stepped in wearing your full colors. I swallowed Gibraltar so I wouldn`t mention your case and the strange feeling I have of having met you long time ago in the whirwind of time. I categorically said it was a pile of codswallop and the cases of dèja vu, premonitions and presages started pouring in. How could I talk about the strange ESP that like a an umbilical cord made of gossamer ties me to you? How to explain in plain grammatical English words that we might b so many miles away but like an antenna, your skin captures every move I make? Why do we ask the same questions and expect such similar things? No,ladies and gentleman, rather be caught by a troop of marauding macaques than having to admit this stuff of reincarnation has been giving me everyday trouble.I cannot go back on my word!
The master planner, the hard pragmatist who believes in her uniform because she is wearing it, who trusts that her San Juan River exists just because she loves it and can dip into it...believing in reincarnation because it may have been true for her? No way,my dear!
Rather dead in public than reincarnated in private, but still I look beyond my epaulets with the stars now more in my eyes than on my shoulders, and I feel tempted to say like Tweety when he sees Sylvester,”I believe I saw it.It`s true,it`s true!” That is what you get from too much Cartoon Network and Boomerang, the same channels I warned my kid not to overwatch if she wanted to keep her 100 gold plated average in school.
I have to admit the 2 hours of my lesson went so fast. An atom in the huge mass of time. Everyone yowled,yelled,laughed and got shocked in English. That was the goal, it was achieved. But who would give me an A or an F for my case? I am still unsolved.I have no explanation for the sense that I have lived before being the humble,overweight war vet I am now. My cats know it but refuse to say anything, because they already know who they were on their own and expect me to do the same, understand with wisdom what I was and what I can be with or without you. Life is a lesson, and flesh is one of the exercises it must carry out. We lived and we died,and probably came back again. Even old Thomas Cromwell who lost his head over someone else`s botched ladylove. The rest of us still navigate through the ocean of circumstances, and continue until we find the lighthouse emitting a beam from the eyes of someone we probably knew better than another place,another time, in the huge and endless ocean of history.

sábado, 26 de julio de 2008

When Wrath makes us into a tossed salad

26th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapboook

On the 25 of July,
1593 France's Protestant King Henri IV converts to Roman Catholic.which was okay one way or the other because in reality he was an atheist 1670 Jews are expelled from Vienna Austria, boy hasn`t everyone given us the kick in the ass? Only to beg later that we come back!
1799 French-Egyptian forces under Napoleon I beat Turks at Battle of Abukir, but anyways there were a few who still would think that Bonaparte was bon-a-rien
1822 Gen Agust¡n de Iturbide crowned Agust¡n I, 1st emperor of Mexico. Mexicans must have been missing Moctezuma II so much to accept this fellow as an emperor
1943 Benito Mussolini dismissed as premier of Italy during WW II, what a blow to his syphyllitic ego
1944 1st jet fighter used in combat (Messerschmitt 262) and ever since we have been flying into pieces
Costa Rica : Annexation of Guanacaste province Day,when the Costa Ricans snatched away OUR province of Guanacaste from Nicaragua, now they want MY San Juan River

26th of July were born
1856 George Bernard Shaw Dublin Ire, dramatist (Pygmalion-Nobel 1925) , he had a sharper tongue than mine when he opened his mouth1874 Serge Koussevitzky Vishny-Volotchok, Russia conductor (Boston Symp) ,good thing he married a rich lady,so he wouldn`t be a starving musician1875 Dr Carl Gustav Jung Switzerland, founded analytic psychology, oh did he mess our minds so well
1908 Salvador Allende Gossens Chile's last elected president (1970-73)
Committed suicide inside the Casa de la MOneda when he saw no way out, sorry folks, but that is the sad end to this kind of political fairy tale, now his niece is abusing his name to get herself success
1952 Eva "Evita" Peron Argentina's 1st lady, dies in Buenos Aires at 33, of uterine cancer. Never able to have a child, she was the workingmen`s mom and a clever stateswoman
1775 Benjamin Franklin becomes 1st Postmaster General of what will be USA.Wonder how he would have controlled emails?
1603 James VI of Scotland was crowned King James I of England. He then 'authorized' an English translation of the Scriptures, first published in 1611 and known since as the' King James Version' of the Bible. That was done when he wasn`t busy with his minions.


Just to think that in the nineteenth century the Costa Ricans had the temerity to snatch away the whole province of Guanacaste from our Nicaraguan territory makes me see purple and red. Anger, rage, wrath. You are pissed off, wrathful, cross. Annoyed, irked, vexed, with a bee or seven of them in your bonnet. Adrenaline courses through your bloodstream, your heart plays tango to mazurka beat, sweat flows out. Kill. That is the only thing you have left on your mind. You slam doors on people`s faces, shut the messenger in anger leaving the other wondering what went wrong, although later you will apologize that there was a disconnection ,whatever. Most of the crimes in the world are committed while shaking with the lascivious and bile filled bag of hatred is being ripped apart inside our bodies. We smash, growl, drink and blame on someone else the humiliating hangover you may get, roll around, tear at our hair, piss or shit in our pants. What a mess!
Most cherished of readers, we should fear our own wrath more than we could be afraid of any monster created by Mary Shelley on a stormy night, when she was just nineteen, still no legally carrying the last name Shelley. Frankenstein is nothing compared to the monster we harbour in our bodies and when this monster is unleashed, beware whoever is near. We all harbour one of these, or several, monsters. He feeds on jealousy, abuse, greed, and is the one to answer for all our tantrums of which we may repent in the future.
How do we take back those angry words that haunt us even beyond the grave? How do we unkill the animal of innocence whose skeleton we shattered against the wall of rage? How do we put back into the tube all that tubepaste that shouldn`t have been squeezed out. We spray people like skunks protecting our poor wounded heart, whether the slight we have on hand is imaginary or real.
We fear rejection, so we build a coat of mail around our feelings, fearing the arrows of a nonrequited crush. It is so easy to be on the defensive, supposing you are not taken into account, feeling alienated from everyone. You carry a stick on your shoulder, which is right above the heart you used to wear on your sleeve. WE snap at people because they have the duty to tolerate everything,we are so arrogantly indispensable until we realize the other person is not a punching bag and we are not beautiful Muhammad Ali, and one day yu find yourself alone in the middle of an emotional nowhere and find yourself going to hell on your own two feet. There is nothing as bitterness as the hangover of remorse that the awful liquor of anger leaves behind. I may be quoted for this by future generations, who hopefully won`t be as violent as we are. But I have a reason for saying that.
Let me tenderly draw back that tendril of your long hair that hangs over your left ear, and I will curl against you neck to whisper you a little secret, because it is something I have kept for myself. When my mom died in the plane crash in 1989 in Honduras, she had been angry at me still. The night before I had screeched at her on the phone,telling her I would not go and see her and my dad off because they were travelling against my will. I was a married woman already, with a ten-month old baby. My parents were going along with my uncle Jean to Miami,where they planned to set up my mother`s catering business before the totalitarian government of Daniel Ortega would finish swindling all their property under the name of confiscation. Even though I understood that they had to seek for a place where to invest their last cents, I had been dreaming all through the week about death, seeing them walk through a murky red lake with fire on their backs. I had told them about the kind of nightmares I had been having, reminded them that I had already dreamt people dead and then they had died, like in the case of my assassinated grandmother or my dearestteacher Salvador Cardenal.
My mom had told me her husband was her own, and she was taking him with her because she owned him(my dad was her perpetual love slave) and that even though I was Jewish I shouldn`t be playing at being Nostradamus with them, and even spat at me to look after my own philandering husband and to try to get him in bed so he could make the male child she wanted as a grandson. That ignited me. That was when I yelled at her to go to hell although she was already there being a domineering demon, and I vowed to stay at home and not see them off. Those were the words she last heard from my mouth. Bo use tearing my tongue out now, no use crying and wondering what would have happened if she had heeded my advice. On Saturday October 21st,1989 my parents and my uncle Jean took that fatidic SAHSA flight and never returned. My mom had been fuming when she climbed on the plane, as their driver the faithful don Alberto,would tell me after their death. Where did all my anger know when I was told the plane had crashed against the slope of Cerro el Hule near the Honduranian airport at Tegucigalpa? All my wishes to keep them safe, alive,hale and next to me, had failed. Now there was the wrath that my parents, who hd never done anything nasty to anyone, were dead, and the only two survivors from the crash were a filthy capitalist and his wayward wife. That is when I started believing that god had poor taste and that he was a lousy capitalist like those who had survived. The rage is still with me,and sometimes I wonder if this last chance I gave the deity to show me how powerful it could be was his deletion from my books.
My dad suffered from temper tantrums until tragedy cured him once and for all. In 1957 he caught his eldest daughter having morning sickness and questioned her. Fazed at the girl`s answer that she was pregnant and knew not which of her 7 lovers had knocked her up, he flew into a rage. He blamed his first wife, Susan, for never doing anything about the girl and sent both of them packing to stay for a few days over at a relative`s farm while his indignation and fury died down. Both of them were scared and taking one of the family cars, they rushed head first into the back of a gas cistern in Granada. The explosion was so big it set several neighboring houses on fire and there was nothing left of the two women and the baby one of them carried. My father was flabbergasted and would forver blame himself for the demise of his first wife, eldest daughter and first grandchild. His rage had taken him to nowhere but to tragedy and tears. One year after their death, he married my mom, who ended up being his second consort. As Henri IV of France, the king who converted 6 times in his life and swivelled between Catholicism and being a Huguenot, used to say,” Rage is the coach that leads you to shame and tears,and if you are lucky,to the cemetery.” He was bound to be killed by a monk in a rage, Ravaillac, on May 14th,1610, paying that way for having signed the truly enlightened Edict of Nantes which his own grandson Louis XIVth would revoke so many years later to appease his prudish morganatic wife Madame Maintenon`s outbursts of rage.
I will never forget that cloudy afternoon when I was studying for an algebra test which promised to be a serial killer. My mom was in the kitchen,as usual since she was a chef, and I was struggling with two things in my bed: my ocelot Charles de Gaulle who was trying to much off all my Hershey kisses(he was a chocoholic like me, like mother like son) and those disgusting binomials. She started calling me and I refused to answer. Finally she yelled so I shouted back at her what the hell she wanted that she was only bugging. 3 seconds later she came up to my room with a tray of petit fours, Venus`nipples, King`s Bacon rolls and meringue nests she had been making just for me.She had liquid eyes but didn`t cry in front of me. She just put them on the dressing table and said,”Eat them before your Charles gobbles them up, little bitch.” Then she exited and went to lock herself into her room. I know she went in to cry. She was anot a particularly sentimental mother, no kissing nor hugging nor any kind of cuddling tat mothers usually do to their kids. She simply had to time for that, and was a pragmatic woman who said love was having a full fridge, ironed clothes,school fee paid on time and no stupid smooches. So knowing that such a hard, practical woman was able to cry but never in front of anyone else really floored me. Now,after nineteen years since she died, I wouldn`t mind if she appeared for 5 second to me,even with her alligator belt with which she would hit me across my arse when I was naughty. Shit, it would be an honor if she came back only to hit me, and being hit by her again would feel like heaven`s delights all served to me at the sme time. Where did that bitchiness, sudden irritation, momentary burst of the bubble of anger, take me? To writing these lines with remorse while I still struggle to get the tears back into my hazel eyes if which she was so proud. Nothing heals old wounds like these, I tell you while I know you too are getting a big lump in your throat, a lump as big as the Taj Mahal.
Rages,oh my! How they hurt afterwards. Imagine it in our times, love in times of internet and again I beg,Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez,pardon me for paraphrasing your best novel Love In Times of Cholera which was just torn apart in a movie made by the Hollywood garbage machine. Look at what can happen during a chat. Wrath attacks,adrelanine levels rise and since it is okay to mistreat women al most nowhere, the gentleman turned now into a ranting cad gets a bee in the bonnet he isn`t wearing. The cam was closed instantly, but not before a glimpse of something like liquid tears was going slowly down the face of the person he said he loved so much. Does love have to hurt? No anesthesia when you are being inoculated? The tips of Cupid`s arrows no longer have any xylocaine, like modern penicillin shots? When the fury dissolves slowly, the emotional welt comes up. There, trapped, is blood from the heart`s innermost core. Uneasiness, anguish, remorse, repentance. Too late. It is always too late when we realize what kind of damage has been done. Love curls like a hurt koala inside the mind`s pouch.You vow to yourself you will never be vulnerable again, although at this moment you are so frail and small it is embarrassing.
Anger takes us nowhere but to the core of the hell we may be living in. It is a pouch filled with the coins of tears and the diamonds of longing. Don`t forget the bile,too,it is there. That is what turns our emotions into a Molotov cocktail, or a bomb inside the truck as we slam into the embassy of someone else`s feelings and dignity. We die in the process of tearing at someone else`s heart ,laying it bare and open and gaping like in the amazing scene from Francis Ford Coppola`s movie Mary Shelley`s Frankenstein, when an outraged monster tears the heart out of Victor Frankenstein`s adored new bride.Next time you feel like Napoleon marching into Vienna ready to subdue and humiliate the Habsburgs, or like Richard the Lionhearted during the Third Crusade wading through Maronite children`s blood, think about it, Stop, saying things you may regret is the best passport into hatred`s ugly realm. The person who receives your harangue may forgive you. But you will never forgive yourself and that is the most tragic part of the deal.

jueves, 24 de julio de 2008

25 the entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

1783 Simòn Bolivar freed 6 Latin American republics from Spanish rule in South America, but once offered the sovereignty of Central America on a silver tray to the Spaniards.He was sterile, made his lover Colonel Manuela Saènz miserable with his temper tantrums and when he died spewing out hi lungs he said it had not been worth it because these countries cannot be governed.Boy, was he right! 1802 Alexandre Dumas sr. France, author (3 Musketeers)I love his books as much as his recipes, excellent cook and very sensuous man
1842 Ambrose Bierce Ohio, writer (Nuggets & Dust), who used to tell us to keep eyes wide open before you marry and half closed after you wed
1880 Ernest Bloch Geneva, Switzerland, composer (MacBeth) Jewish excellence made music1895 Robert Graves England, poet/historical novelist (I, Claudius), what a pen he had! 1898 Amelia Earhartfirst woman pilot to fly as only she could, disappeared into the wild blue yonder
1900 Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald pampered little snit of a lawyer`s brat, aborted her own child, henpecked Scott and was a royal nuisance to have around, was 1st wife of F Scott

Deaths which occurred on July 24:
1862 Martin Van Buren 8th president of the United States, dies in Kinderhook NY, wonder if he entered hell speaking Dutch and carrying a harp
1704 Great Britain takes Gibraltar from Spain, like snatching candy from a toddler
1847 Brigham Young & his Mormon followers arrive at Salt Lake City, UT, ready to have the license for lechery by establishing the Great American Harem

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso Simply with a guitar

Being a solid Marxist in the grand meaning of the word, I refuse to believe in reincarnation. But it took the touch of my hand over the guitar that belonged to the national hero Cabrerita, who was the singing lark of the National Defending Army of the Sovereignty led by Augusto C.Sandino…and my skin began to crawl happily. I cannot bear to let it go. Trusted to me as a relic of national patrimony, I selfishly want it for myself. My logic says it is for my people to enjoy it, seeing it on display. But I want to remember the musician I once was, and play it myself although I know I am no Narciso Yepes, and never was anything like him ever. But why can a guitar make me feel so happy and confused at the same time?
I have always been very outspoken against sentimental clatfart. My stomach is not built for those pyramids of sugar, Sphynxes of honey and Eiffel Towers of caramel. Forget that I read Suleyman the Magnificent, or Guillaume D`Aquitaine, or my own beloved Rubèn Darìo. I have also read The Prince by Miachiavelli, and put into practice some of his advice. But I also read Saint Exupèry`s Little Prince and cried behind the door afterwards. I was about 8 years old.
Whoever I was before getting into my mom`s belly as her daughter, I was elsewhere and I was someone else. That is my recurrent fantasy, but belief may be there or not. Dearest reader, who knows my foibles as he learned a Western alphabet too, I was here long ago. I refuse to believe in the original deluge, although I love James Weldon Johnson `s The Creation so much that I included it in one of my short stories, Aymè. I`m lonely, I`ll make myself a world. If you really get down to thinking about the subject, where did god get the raw material for so many souls if we have one apiece? Couldn`t he or she have done some recycling? Or some inserts? Look, I am trying to find an explanation of why I have this déjà vu feeling every time I see you, knowing we could have met in another life as human and his owner cat, as husband and wife, or as mother and child? Were you then Babar the Tiger, sitting down to write his Baburnama, so that now I can be writing these chronicles ever since that day we said hello? Better still, are you in some way writing through me? Silently Korkut, one of the best musicians that Turkey gave the world, notwithstanding that he was Sultan Selim I `s older brother, comes barefoot to my side and sits with a lute-like instrument in his hands. He is right here to my right hand, and though I don`t see his small beard, he`s there.He is a sandalwood presence in my computer room. He slowly tunes up and whispers a few funny secrets into my ear, musicians sharing tips.
I have to confess I do miss sometimes my piano keyboard, or my mother`s guitar. I was much better at the keyboard than at the guitar, I even got to play Liszt and Chopin. I miss having my Manx cat Xingo jump on the keys of the Wurlitzer piano I had. I listen to the music I have composed and a little rivulet of nostalgia runs down my broken spine. But Edgar Allan Poe`s Raven says to me nevermore.
This computer keyboard has also been good to me, my cherished reader, and I have no intention of leaving it for something that won`t give me satisfaction. With writing,I made myself a name. In writing I am no longer the blue freak on the red bike, I am the purple lion.And I question myself if my feistiness came from a stray hair given to me by Queen Nzhinga of Ndongo and Matamba, or if my love for philosophy may have been inherited from Marcus Aurelius the philosopher emperor of Rome. Was I there as a seedling of the future when my ancestress Inez Pirez de Castro got exhumed to be crowned post mortem by her eternally infatuated spouse Peter the Severe? Did I smell the fire devouring his hair when my ancestor Diriangèn did himself in to avoid the Spaniards capturing him alive?
The answers will forever evade the certainty of my existence. It only took a guitar to wake me up from my artistic slumber. I have an angel faced monster walking down the path of my vertebrae up into my brain. The music is there. It just takes my hand to raise the imaginary baton of the ages, to make the world play all its instruments for us. But never forget it: the essential perfection of Joaquìn Rodrigo`s Concerto de Aranjuez, like all these words in this entry, began with a single guitar.

miércoles, 23 de julio de 2008

the magic of mirth

24th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Birthdates which occurred on July 22:
1478 Philip I (the Handsome) 1st Habsburg king of Spain (1506) , more than Handsome he was the useless, the Philanderer, the man to drive Juan to madness,a cad, a parasite1822 Gregor Mendel monk/geneticist, discoverer of the laws of heredity although he never knew what a son from his loins would look like
1898 Stephen Vincent Benet US, writer (The Devil & Daniel Webster) Did he ever see the devil through a small hole?19-- Braulio ,singer, Canary Islands, guitarist (Lo Bello y lo Prohibido)I interviewed him in 1991 when he came to Nicaragua and could never wangle his age out of him

24th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Deaths which occurred on July 22:
1461 Charles VII king of France (1422-61), dies at 58,prize bastard in the true sense of the word, what did the illiterate peasant see in him in order to have him crowned
1967 Carl Sandburg poet (Abraham Lincoln: The Prarie Years), dies at 89. he left us wondering about Honest Abe and bearded gorgeous Joshua who had the power to speed the blood flow in his veins


1298 English defeat Scots at Battle of Falkirk, but that would only goad William Wallace on, as he said,”If we walk towards the sun the shadows will be left behind.”

Born on July 23
1892 Haile Selassie emperor of Ethiopia (1930-74), Negus Negust
1885 Ulysses S Grant 18th US pres, dies in Mount McGregor, NY, at 63.Did he have any liver left after all that drinking?
1798 Napoleon captures Alexandria, Egypt. Couldn`t this Corsican dwarf just stay put?

The macabre imp of my sense of humour

Sickness or remedy? Panacea or silliness…end result I am laughing again. I got doors shut over my Pikachu profile, I talked to the hand, confirmed that every queen has her knaves and they spill hot coffee or tea over her new gown, I fell into a huge pool of mud, and I am still laughing. The shining blue knight in his armor almost fell off a horse of his unbridled proposals, landed at my feet and I confirmed that every conversation which is about wooing sounds so damned ridiculous that your jaw could fall off. A wounded lion, who hurt himself on some barbed wire of the internet, arrives at my booted feet to cry tears of gold. I laugh. Told you so, I want to say to him but hold my tongue because I don`t know if I shall speak to him in Spanish or Italian. Tell you the truth, my Jungle boot itches to give him a sound kick in the ass but I hold back because disappointments can happen to all of us.
I can`t help it. I was born with an insolent sense of humour. Even at my parents`funeral, I had a few laughs remembering some of their blunders. I`m sorry, for those delicate of heart and stiff at manners. Laughter has been my constant lover since I was born, the only faithful one who has never called me by another name, or left me standing in the rain or talking to a misty cyberhand.
Somehow I will choose to believe in reincarnation only because I want to be Democritus of Abdera, the Greek philosopher and scientist who laughed constantly while stating that the atom was indivisible. He lived to a hale old age by laughing at, with and about everyone.
Wise guy. Mirth comes up bubbling through my broken spine, tickles the live frogs in my imaginary garden, brushes the lion figment of my cat imagination`s purple mane, plays soccer with the bullet behind my knee, kisses my broken yet reconstructed wrists and tells my broken left ankle that it`s okay, because it was worth it after all, the pain, the expensive plexiglass cast, the momentary indifference and even any kind of recriminations that would arise. I remember I was there, at the hospital, my ankle throbbing with pain and I couldn`t stop laughing at the sheer irony at how my ankle had gotten into such a fix. It had to happen to me? Did it have to be the nasty Napoleon Bonaparte who had to capture Alexandria, and then order a camel to be taken to France with him? Why me, anyone would say.
You find laughter anywhere, perhaps because it must be an ingredient that mother nature puts into the marrow of our bones or behind the testes or somewhere under your big toe. To prove what I say, shadow of absence, just step into any ordinary chat on the internet,and look at the quantity of codswallop you will be getting. Offers that sound too tempting to be true, Taj Mahals at 25 cents per acre, a life of careless bliss building castles with moonclouds, eternal promises and shows, display of very ethereal affection, even fashion shows to promise you a paradise come true. Knock it off, pigs might fly!
Come on! At the end there is no Svendsen playing the Romanza only from you from a distant blue fjord in Norway, and if you end up believing all those soppy vows you hear maybe you will jump out of your shoes and smack out of the reverie when you open the webcam and find youself a rowdy ape wearing a thick goldchain and nothing else. What do you do in that case?What would French etiquette demand? Laugh,darling. Have no choice,until your stomach hurts and you can find the label for another certified cuckoo more in love with his nether parts while they still work than with any real person he may have the temerity to woo. You can say to yourself, mamacita, si està retefeo de paquete, he came that way so mirror-breaking and still has the nerve to do what he is doing. Unless it was a free ad for the local zoo. No harm meant to the creatures. Really ,must have a highly resistant camera.
Part of my laughter comes from the fact that I believe in nothing. As I once told a suitor, look at Saint Thomas putting his hand into Jesus`torn side. That is me. So when people load their cannon with a respectable amount of bullshit, I am already up for fun. Whatever comes out is just to decide what dimension my peals of laughter will be.There is never the question whether I will laugh or not. I remember the great Richelieu said once that if we gave him anything in writing, he would find in those words enough reasons to send a guy to jail or to the gallows. In my case, in any words said to me I can find a reason for the bublle to go out my throat, into my mouth and out as an initial smile.Anything else can come of it.
A crazy guy, once trying to be sexy and overbold, asked me to show on cam my two mammary glands(which by the way I almost don`t have, and blessed be because the more you have the more you will lose to gravity),I was tempted to ask that if I decided to obey his lewd suggestion, I really could offer no more than two because as a superior mammal I didn`t have as many as my beloved cat Khurrem did. And how to hold back your trembling chin when the someone who is trying to convince you that you re the love of his llife looks exactly like the original alien of Steven Spielberg`s endearing ET? How hard is it not to laugh when a sex-starved lunatic offers to let you see something and you want to answer, okay sir, if you have any of that still left over for display although I suspect you may have worn it off from overexposure?Cases,cases. Worse still, when the suitor who offers you the moon on a platter of arugula and Beluga caviar sheepishly has to admit that er, um,ooops he ,um,had,er,forgotten,mmm, to tell you he came along in a set with two wives, a mortgage and six kids? Splat and pop goes the weasel!Whichleaves me wondering if there is any code of etiquette being written yet about how to conduct internet courtships? Whatis okay or not proper?Can you just accept a wham bam thank you ma`am or how prudent is it to get smoochy on your first session?Due to the fact that farting is a natural part of humanity and cannot be transmitted by internet, is it permissible to do it while chatting? Can you quietly do it before the beyboard while you promise something eternal, like the filthy politicjans do?
Laughter has served as a bond to construct relationships that soothe my soul, if I dare to say I have one. I will never let that warm and soft spot I have in my heart for a former betrothed to me, because he made me laugh so hard my belly almost burst. On the day of my birthday party, he was stupid enough to go out with his married secretary, who had a cellulitic ass bigger than all Gibraltar and Mount Ararat. When coming back from their improvised love nest, riding his motorcycle through alternate roads because they didn`t want to be caught, suddenly the light from the motorcycle went off. The man lost control and hit one of my uncle Jean`s prize mares. The angry animal just managed to give him a sound kick, and sent him, the motorcycle and the fatso concubine flying into a thorny hedge. They were lucky enough to be taken to Lenin Fonseca hospital, where the snoopy reporter from the yellow journal El Nuevo Diario picked up the tidbit with relish and blew it up into headlines. There was where my dearie had been while I gobbled birthday cake with my friends. No wonder he didn`t show up. Never mind, the following morning I just read the paper, said nothing and almost choked on my breakfast from so much laughter. I laughed even harder when he waited, one month later, at the step of the altar for a bride who never came, and realized it had been a masterful revenge while I fled from Managua so he couldn`t ever find me. Years later, we smoked the pipe of peace, came to terms he promised he would never marry and I gave him the wedding dress-handmade lace and seed pearls-so he could sell it off when he finally went in a wetback fashion to the United States.It was like giving him a dowry, but the worst part came when he asked me if he could wear it once before he sold it off. That is when I was so glad I hadn`t married him that I almost began to cry in sheer relief.
Laughter helped me out of a wheelchair nd out of the dangerous fringes of diabetes. Works better than glibenclamide or metformin, although my doctor may cringe when I say this.
Laughter has spooned honey into my mouth while my life dripped bile all around me. Laughter is the protecting coat of mail over my crusader`s body, and the balm when the knee of my circumstances gets scraped by life`s thorns. It is the silk kerchief to dry the tears of hopelessness, pain or nausea. Laughter is that bitter pill to stop the diarrhea of my anxiety when things get rough, and the stabilizer of my everyday routine. John F. Kennedy used to say that a day without sex was like a day with no sunshine. Sorry, sir, but a day in which you don`t laugh you certainly can call it a wasted day.Life being so brief, that is the least laughable thing that can happen to you ,trust my word.

lunes, 21 de julio de 2008

Games we play

24 entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Born on the 21st of July
1804 Victor Schoelcher Guadeloupe, abolished French slavery but not racism Could his ghost come back to free me from the slavery of following my own adrenaline?
1816 Paul Julius Baron von Reuter founded Reuters news service, one of the most prestigious
1899 Ernest Hemmingway Oak Park, for whom the bell tolled., specially for his sexism, reputation as wife-beater and one of the most most boisterous war correspondents during WWII.How he won on a Nobel in 1954 many of us still wonder, and among his drinking follies once he wanted to walk drunkenly into a working turbine. Handsome diabetic and homophobe, I can forgive him because he loved cats as much as I do.
1920 Isaac Stern Kremenetz, Russia, violinist , one of the greatest virtuosos, Jewish,of course

1588 English fleet that had been assembled by gutsy and redheaded Elizabeth I betas the shit out of the Spanish armada just because stupid bigoted Philip II of Spain had said in his religious folly,”God will provide.”Apparently his god was looking the other way.Philip`s unbathable men were too busy barfing due to the rotten water stored in barrels that as a result of too much haste had not been allowed to age.
1831 Belgium gains independence from Netherland, Leopold I made king, and he sought to justify it by trying to gobble up Africa too.
1898 Spain cedes Guam to USA, although ceding is hardly the Word when you are getting arm twisted behind your back. That was just one more territory wolfed down by the ever hungry gringos.


Get a guy or girl in a girdle as a child and he will never be fat as an adult, right? Wrong.
So I didn`t play as a child. Like my own compatriot, bard Rubèn Darìo, I learned to read and write at age 3. Ever since I have never stopped reading and writing. My dark red Abyssinian with Angora cat Torta and I would curl up in a chair, listening to Verdi, Mena Vivaldi,Mozart, Dvoràk and Tchaikovsky, she to sleep, I to read. No time to play. The first actress of Nicaragua,doña Pilar Aguirre, used to come to my grandmother`s house for tea twice a week, and she worried herself sick over the fact that she never saw me playing. Playing for me, at an early age, was a surefire signal that you were inferior. Afraid of being labelled as an ordinary kid, I never played. I was always reading, or helping my mom in the kitchen learning the secrets of the exact amount of olive oil in a homemade mayonnaise, or the crisp touch to give fried chicken before it gets a dry sandy feeling. Play ?You bet I never did. Not that I was, of all readers the closest to the heart that can still long to be an iceberg. I want you to understand this because now, as an adult 48 years old, I feel the urgent need to play. We all play, you do too. Too diplomatic to admit it. I am not a diplomat. If I ever were ambassador I would get my darling homeland in endless wars.
Well getting back to playing, I never played with dolls. Maybe an electric train would capture my attention, or a new truck or a small rifle. I played with boys`toys, as traditionalists say.
I remember my mom assumed that two Barbie dolls per Christmas season were good. She tried to follow the Christian ritual of celebrating Christmas, for her own havoc because she had all the cooking to do, and my father would consent to all this idiocy although he was Jewish-born perhaps because he enjoyed the stuffed hen and all delicacies the season brought with it. So my mom would give me dolls which I loathed, because they were a symbol of what women should be for men(receptacles of pleasure)- The dolls accumulated untouched at the bottom of my closet, left severely alone in the unopened boxes. Until one day for Christmas they got exhumed from the graveyard of oblivion and they were headed straight into the hands of 70 little girls from low income homes during a Christmas campaign, and they finally found who would play with them and love them. Of all my toys, I only fell in love with the stuffed toys. My Bengal tiger whom I named Rabindranath after India`s most famous bard, the Tramp from Disney`s dog saga The lady and the Tramp, Tiger baby brought to me from Spain along with the Andalusian guitar with which I learned to play. I was so gifted, in the sense that I had so many toys to play with, and I didn`t really do it.
Perhaps I lived in my own strange world. For my fourth birthday I had the smallpox, and the least I wanted to do was play with all those kids that had been invited to my grand party. I felt so strange, looking at the enormous cake my mom had prepared, a full copy of Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror`s gardens in Istambul. She had even gotten me a copy of a scimitar so I could cut the birthday cake, which I, in annoyance cut violently sprinkling everyone in the process. No humour for play. Who were all those smiling faces at that birthday party? I was too busy feeling sick, with my faithful cat sleeping next to me in my sickbed.
Lack of play in my childhood has made me eager to play now that I am an adult. In 1986, when the army reserve battalions of engineering machines were building the Olof Palme Convention Center In Managua on weekends, I would ask the crane operator to wing me on the demolition ball at a certain altitude.I know you will say it was dangerous,but nothing ever happened. I learned to love playing chess with my dad. That game would turn out to be very helpful for me. Now I play chess with my life and sometimes this queen ends up feeling like a pawn for a few moments. Imagine a colonel in her uniform,going up the mast of a ship, while the breeze at San Juan del Sur waves at her hair,she loses the cap and almost, her balance. I still need to play sometimes, because I would rather laugh than cry, because my own adrenaline demands that I do it. I played sometimes while recovering in the long and painful hours of rehabilitation, trying to learn how to walk again at the therapy center at he military hospital. A smile learned to play with me while I felt the excruciating pain of trying to act Jesus to my dead Lazarus limbs, shouting to them Lazarus rise and go!
Truth to tell, I was alone in that process and I recovered the joy of playing-perhaps because my instinct of mere survival so demanded it. I need to play now, I do it with my cats, I need to be a sloth hitting the branches of her tree softly.
This same book in which I write a daily entry came to be through a process of playing with words. By now it has become a self-motivated monster, losing its original axis because sometimes muses tend to play with others and they don`t care if the flirting goes on for writers and not commonfolk. I play chess with my verbs, poke around the ribs of anglicisms, I trap the flying football before it breaks the nose of my syntaxis. I am free as the cub of the purple lion that I am. In the middle of my skepticism, of my reaffirmed pragmatism, of this holy innocence that comes from not believing in anything at all as poet Antonio Machado said, I romp and jump and turn the somersaults that my broken column really can no longer stand. I climb into the treetops of my imagination,shake free the medlars and grapefruits and tangerines of my exhuberant garden of similes, I am at the top of a navy ship`s mast,while the sailors ask themselves whatever got into my head, if this is a symptom of premenopuase, or have I gone beserk? I feel strange talking about playing when my physical body doesn`t agree with a game session, my menstrual cramps demand I go to bed, my salty sweat asks that I get to rest. But I continue to romp and play like kittens with a ball of yarn, because prose is the ball of yarn I can handle.
Tell you this, I continue playing knowing that you might not understand me. Why not, you also play.
But playing can also be scary. Playing with others, in the dark attic where the coat hangers still await me on a stormy afternoon and the wind blowing the curtains of my traumas. Playing can also hurt you, like when accidentally, while playing , I broke my best friend`s nose. People, hearts are not soccer balls. No Ronaldhino goals please, as I once asked a bearded gentleman who suddenly lost his perspective. Don’t yell me down, I`m not your punching bag. Never forgot that from the Animal Planet, sung in country-style twang. I still repeat it in the dark shadows of this twilight where we can meet and pretend the world will go away and let us do crazy things. One day the bubble can burst. Pop goes the weasel. Does the weasel cry? That is what they never tell you. Today my pet student, the one who reads my mind and tells me why sunflowers re fat, reminded me that you cannot lend your heart, the skin of your senses to coat a basketball, or the body`s pump so it can be kicked by someone who thinks he is Maradona or the last frozen Cocacola in the desert. When playing and bantering turn into a knife brawl the only way is out.
It depends what you play with in order to get what you wanted as a score.
Look at Hemingway, he played with cats but also with guns nd booze and ended up doing himself in, leaving a house full of cats in Florida.
I now want to play with the possibility of disbelief. I want to play all proposals, weigh them against one another, and perhaps decide that I didn`t need them in first place.
Sometimes I know I need no ambiguity. I have taken the steering wheel of my IFA military truck knowing this time I won`t go over a cliff to break the wrists of my writing. This time there will be no fractures because I am not going to allow them. This time I am in command, free to play if when I want, not dictated by anyone`s whims or moods. I am out.The field is mine. Today I will even best Zinedine Zidane when he goaled in 1998.
Because now the ball has been handed to me in my hand by you and all those who can believe themselves to be referees of anyone`s life while they laugh or amaze themselves. Now I shall play, win or lose, but set my own rules. Because sooner or later, there will be points to be scored while I have miles before I go to sleep, as Robert Frost once said.

domingo, 20 de julio de 2008

Of Diaries and Internet

23rd entry for the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Born July 20th
1519 Innocent IX 230th Roman Catholic pope (1591) , those names proclaiming innocence scare the living daylights out of me1785 Mahmud II Ottoman sultan, Westernizer, reformer, even changed the way he dressed to start modernizing the Ottoman Empire

1919 Sir Edmund Hillary one of 1st 2 men to scale Mt Everest, the other was the Nepalese Sherpa tensing Norgay, Edmund became sir because he was white but the other guy barely got a thank you
1947 Carlos Santana Mexico, musician (Santana-Black Magic Woman)one of the greatest guitarists of popular music

1951 Abdullah Ibn Hussein Jordan's King assassinated in Jerusalem, he was good King Hussein`s dad
1881 Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, surrenders to federal troops, s big mistake because this great warrior, poet, dancer and leader would be killed with a shot through his head by a lowly white police who accused him of trying to support a rebellion.

I am an astronaut and I write to you from the Moon

Always had an inkling she was nuts,and now I confirm it,you may be saying as you read these lines. Anne Frank,Jewess also, used to write to her imaginary Kitty. My Kitty is not even imaginary ,dearest reader, as you well know. Maybe my Kitty wants to remain imaginary, a lion figment of my cat imagination, no involvement, as it says in the back part of urban buses KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, talk to the hand, lady. No way I will carry your bag of problems on my poor shoulder. What would have happened if Anne Frank, or Peter Ilitch Tchaikosvky,great Russian composer who put all his frustrations into his diary, would have lived in the age of Internet? Would Kitty have been an astronaut and told her she was writing to her from the moon? Love and diaries in times of Internet, oh dearest Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez, my favourite author, Love in Times of Cholera paraphrased. Forgive thy humble admirer that she knows not at times know what she doth do!!
What can you find when you plunge into the somewhat murky, shark-infested or angel-inhabited waters of turbulent internet? I learned to chat last year.I know that sounds like I am a dinosaur. The same person who now is trying to forbid me to chat taught it tome: my consort of 20 years standing. One day, on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, my blood glucose almost at 30, loaded with assignments, I ran into kismet,karma,destiny,who knows what the hell to call it. Sorry, I owe you any romantic or lurid details,Carlos Santana who was born a day like today for our great delight, was not playing his Moonflower which I so love. A sudden spark onscreen. My students continued in the English computer lab with its slow connection, age-old equipment and I was there finding something by accident. This unknown soldier responded to the call of combat,because if life is struggle, love is a battlefield and people end up falling into booby-traps of all colors and shapes.
Some are tempting,wearing glasses or not, scholarly or not, passionate or cold,you name them. And they can say so many things you like to hear, you play your fantasies out on one side to get a slap on the other, people doing the most incredible things to you mind and adrenaline, and you are the prey and the preyed upon, the godand the pilgrim, the user and the used, the abuser and the abused. By one of those coincidences I had taken down a number, but the messenger addresses got lost in a cleanup I had. I was frantic. I went to the sources of information and found myself lost in a Mare Nostrum of faces, hopes, disappointments and ids. Why the anguish? Nobody becomes anxious so fast, or does one?
I searched for Beethoven`s lost penny without composing a rondo for piano, the needle in the haystack of pining, the poet for the muse he wasn`t even aware he had-the driver for his license. Annie Lennox of the Eurhythmics, yes maàm,you were right.Sweet dreams are made of this, who am I to disagree,travel the world and sven seas,everybody is looking for something. You search and you find.Sometimes a frog happens to land in your lap and you make believe it is a prince and when you kiss it, in goes his long tongue into your mouth thinking you have insects in your dreams.Or then there is a jerk that as soon as you open his webcam he is like w hite orangutan,climbing on top of the desk in risk of having a fracture so you can see what nature gave him, howling like a wolf combined with Whitney Houston singing the theme of the Bodyguard, and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu,and you wonder, why the hell does this creature say he will love me forever when even I myself don`t on a daily basis? Has he tasted my sauce béarnaise, or seen my in my gala uniform, or had a talk with my favourite cat? Has he seen me after a full day`s work?
Is he a rabid communist like me? Is he saying he admires Tito of Yugoslavia just to have me online? On the other hand can you find a bantering, easy, jovial person on the other side, someone who will relax you after the general barke d at you, your dog shat on your shoes and your daughter called you the Old Witch from the Babayaga? Or you find an almost balding bad photocopy of Stalin yelling gibberish at you to strip, do this and so forth but now and don’t dare to disobey because he owns you in body, soul and sweat and whatever else comes out of you! Promises promises promises! How many are made per second every day on internet? Is the chat the breadbasket of loaves never fed nor baked? Would that great Turkish reformer, Sultan Mahmud II, have agreed upon this? Would Sherpa Tenzing Norgay,who also puffed his way up to the Everest along with white Newzealander Edmund Hillary, have been allowed a laptop to communicate the world in good English please that he was transmittinga chat from Mount Everest and that he could predict that his mate was going to become a peer of the real for his deed?
How many disappointmnts can you get under your chin every day?It really is the perfect relationship-You can disappear any time,leaving the other part wondering where did the magic go, or was there any? How much codswallop can you swallow in a single session? For how long can you spoonfeed someone with cloud syrup just to enjoy the sadistic checkmate of letting that person fall on her ass in front of your eyes? Or like my friend who said that theyuckiest thing on earth was amenstruating woman, forgetting that the first meal he ate as an embryo was his own mom`s menstruation that failed to come down?That is the equivalent of what happened to the peerless Tatanka Iyotanka, more known as chief Sitting Bull. ending with a bullet through his head after he danced the Ghost Dance for a good time with Buffalo Bills`Wild West show. Okay, the monkey has danced. Now in best Vietnamese style get a saw or axe, cut his skull because I will have dinner with his sugared brains.
NO. I have the right to keep my integrity,cam or no cam,mike or no mike.That is why I write this and later blog it for all English speakers because I know that zillions of people who have ever touched a computer keyboard know what I am talking about. Nothing can replace the feel of a writing hand, warm skin or a personal smile. Luckily you can`t get pregnant online. Some people do meet after long months of virtual relations. And marry or rue the day they saw a fashion model on cam but in reality the lady looks like John F.Kennedy`s corpse. Most just shut off the messenger and laugh or cry at the same time. But we go on. We learn.We have teachers like you, who give us lessons that were never taught at Sorbonne IV or UNAN Managua or Harvard. Not even at West Point where you are supposed to learn how to enter combat without shaking. We get coats of mail to ride as a shining knight on the foaming steed of our everyday shattered expectancies, ballerina shoes to dance and twirl over the sharp shards of slights, unholy moments talking to a hand, or disconnections ruining our best moments. We go on. One day we get it all together and the muse may be there at the beginning, or stay forever with us painted on the inner side of our eyelids when we dream. But diaries, chronicles or novels have a way of sprouting their own feet and walking away from the throne that can suddenly metamorphose into a wheelchair. The push that got the writer out of inertia is enough and we follow Newton`s law about staying in motion. Then we only smile shyly, maybe through a diamond tear that is necessary for effect,and we meekly say thank you, thanks for reminding me that Archimedes once said, give me a little point for support as an axis, and I shall get the world in motion. I just did, now may Newton`s laws keep it moving alone.

sábado, 19 de julio de 2008


22d entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
18th 1811 William Makepeace Thackeray Irish Victorian novelist (Vanity Fair, Barry Lyndon)I learned to write with this guy although I regret what Stanley Kubrick did to him

1374 Francesco Petrarch Italian poet, dies at 69, and his poor favourite cat was embalmed and mummified to accompany him
It doesn`t pay well to be anyone`s favourite, too much harassment, please let me breathe. Don`t smother me!

64 Great Fire of Rome begins (Nero didn't fiddle nor play lute, he was eating grapes)
1936 Spanish Civil War begins, Gen Francisco Franco led uprising for the eternal damage of the already warped Spain

Born on the 19th July
1834 Edgar Degas France, impressionist painter (Bouquet, all those dumb looking ballerinas)
1814 Samuel Colt inventor (colt revolver)Thank you, Sammy, Thank you always thank you

1553 15-year-old Lady Jane Grey deposed as England's Queen after 9 days, she had no business usurping someone `s throne but she learned the lesson the hard way
1848 1st women's rights convention (Seneca Falls, NY)and although this existed, men still think we are their sexual slaves
1979 The people of Nicaragua overthrow the government of Anatasio Somoza Debayle, who has fled two days earlier.But the FSLN assumes power for the headache of everyone.

Supposedly there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, which is one of the most delicious fictions I have ever heard about. After toiling all day as a housewife that I am, I ask myself what is the meaning of this anniversary that some people are celebrating in my country, while many are also deploring it. In 1979, banners with red and black circulated all over, two days earlier Somoza had fled our country promising us that he would be entirely missed by us after he left. What was the pot of gold at he end of the revolutionary rainbow, which had gruesome colors of magenta and blood red at its extremes? I was just out of my teens when my world was turned upside down. It was really the people, not a single political party, who decided they wanted a change. So they got one. How happy are you after a change? Depends what you wanted, what you expected. And nothing else. Every time we look for someone or something, the possibilities are endless but we end up getting something which we didn`t have before. Every seeker is a finder, said wise king Asoka, one of the best rulers India ever had.
Where are we, you ask me while an ironic shadow marches through your pupils as my most devoted reader, after 29 years? Do I have to give you a quote by the Italian Alessandro Manzoni, who predicts the sad future of all revolutions through the liquids of our body?Were our illiterates taught how to read or write,or were they spoon-fed amateur politics through elementary books? Were our women lifted out of prostitution, or could there be someone who says women are liberated but they became slaves of their sexual destiny? Did so many years of war distribute poverty for all except for those who said there would be no poverty anymore? Mahatma Gandhi used to say that you can get an idea what a civilization is about by noticing the way they treat their elders and animals. We have miserably failed, then, because our elders that get a retirement pension make us weep when we se the long lines waiting for them to be reluctantly given their piddling allowance. Of the way we treat our animals in general I must better not speak or I will continue crying for hours.
The problem with revolutions is that they are made by people but not for the people in general. People fail to keep their word, even when it was written on paper. Anyways, paper also burns. What happened to so much song and enthusiasm?The problem is that honeymoons seldom last, and one day the princess(the people) wake up to discover that she was bedding a frog(the politicians who led the movement) and they realize it was just another fairy tale, only this one will not have a happy ending. So much disillusion spilling over the remains of the hangover. After coition, feet must return to their place and get walking, said the Japanese unifier Oda Nobunaga is his writings. He knew so well what he was talking about, as if he could predict his own violent end in a flaming temple, being assassinated while he prayed. Did praying help, I even ask myself.
Has praying ever helped? After being blatantly atheists for so many years during the eighties, the same people who persecuted the church now are so devoutly Catholic. The selfsame inept dictator-whose wife is much smarter than he is but as ugly as he shows himself-now claims that god has guided all his performances in life. I f god does exist, can he or she be so warped and wicked so as to guide anyone like this pathetic pale photocopy of Fidel Castro? Some dictators have been great. Even Stalin managed to industrialize ther then Soviet Union, even though he sent the rest of the people-even workers-to the death purges. How could I ever forget the lovely blond Ataturk, who was called by kismet in 1919 to pick up the sharp pieces of what was left of the Ottoman Empire to forge and meld what we know now as Turkey? What about the inmensely beautiful and talented Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, who maybe shouldn`t have put all those ethnias to live together by force, but whose womanizing and star status can be forgiven due to the stability that he gave to what we now remember as Yugoslavia? How to discard from history the fabulous and robust Jomo Kenyatta, so sexy in his lion skin, the man who went from witch to leader and forge Kenya? We have had great dictators, and great monsters. Sadly, in Nicaragua our present president is in neither of these categories. He is simply an ugly, decrepit and henpecked husband who has failed to even know where his balls once used to live.
Where should I save the shadow of the bullet that entered my left knee in 1984 while on mission in Jalapa? Should I weep over spilled milk? Do I cry for my sad, interrupted and broken column, split hi half while in La Penca? Do I have any right to demand anything, even when you know that if you are a patriot, you do whatever you do out of love, not seeking a reward, recognition, medals or applause? Love, when freely given and freely returned, leaves no scars. Just the wrinkles of wisdom, the first crow `s feet around my hazel eyes ,and they show up when I laugh because I never cry. Never does a war veteran spill tears over yesterday `s blood. As D.H. Lawrence says, a bird will first freeze on a branch in the middle of a blizzard than felt self compassion for itself. That could be the real story behind me. I look at my bi colored hair-a whim of nature and heredity-and the first gray hairs mingle with the auburn that lights up the rest of my black hair. I wold never hide those pale hairs. They are the medals that nature and experience have gloriously but discreetly awarded me. My country has never been red and black for me, or any color that might have been chosen by a political party, but perennially green and loved. Blue and white has always been my flag, and as such it is to be respected and worshipped. Parties, as well as politicians. come and go and may promise any kind of bullshit never to be believed, and of course, never to be fulfilled. Just like a randy, horny knave making absurd promises to the wench he wants to bed, the politician will connive, plot, deceive, promise and do just about anything in order to get the voters` attention, yet at the moment he or she achieves the goal they wanted, they fail to recognize those who were dumb enough to place their trust in him or her. Once the girl is in trouble, the false gallant will most certainly flee, not caring what will become of the person who was as stupid as to believe in him.
Do I sound heartless, too pragmatic or dreamless? Do I have to wear a political color on my sleeve as I would wear my heart, use as my own the colors of any cheap banner that can be used as a dishtowel or something to wipe your ass with after you are done, to prove how much in love I am with this homeland who saw me born? Patriotism is clear, transparent, like a baby`s tear. And as clean and honest. When John F.Kennedy said that you must not ask what your country may do for you but what you can do for your country, he was giving a good guideline for statesmen or stateswomen. But those words can never be understood by mere politicians, peroxide-hair whores who now dress up as benefactresses of the people when we all know that not even the gods can change the past, as wise Greek Agathon said so long ago.
Celebrations? No. I did something better by staying at home and not playing clown by going down to a square to cheer for someone who should have been sent to a firing squad or sat upon an electric chair long ago. I cooked for my family, cleaned up my PC, had my cats fed and watered as well as our two lovely dogs, and wrote this entry to let you know, dearest of readers, that patriotism is not a fashion to be worn on a specific day to show off. Love for our country must be in our own bones, blood and deeds. Otherwise, don`t even bother to celebrate anyting in life.

jueves, 17 de julio de 2008

the definition of power

July 16th and 17th, 21st entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Born on a day like today

1723 Sir Joshua Reynolds England, portrait painter (Simplicity),considered done of the best
1872 Roald Amundsen Norway, explorer, discovered South Pole and before that, he discovered another man`s wife who found him too irresistible
Deaths which occurred on July 16:
1918 Nicholas II Russian tsar, his tsarina & their 5 kids executed by orders of Lenin, even the spaniel Jimmy perished there The ironic part is that these people are now saints of the Russian Orthodox Church!

1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa; end of Moslem power in Spain .The Spaniards drank the milk of knowledge and killed the cow. As usual, Spaniards…1439 Kissing is banned in England ,one of the most ridiculous laws1548 La Paz, Bolivia is founded, but no peace is there now
1927 Augusto Calderòn Sandino begins 5«-year war against US occupation of Nicaragua

17 of July

1979 Anastasio Somoza Debayle, last of the Somoza dynasty and dictator of Nicaragua, flees in his jet and leaves drunkard Urcuyo Maleaños sitting on a case of whisky to rule over the country torn by civil war. Before leaving he muttered,”Someday you guy will beg me to return, but it shall be too late.”
1505 Twenty-one-year-old future church reformer, Martin Luther entered the Augustinian monastic order, at Erfurt, Germany. He would live to rue that day when many years later he put up his 95 theses on a church door.


The helicopter Vercingetorix 325 shakes and churns in the middle of the storm. We are almost on top of the Mining Triangle, where the gold mines of Siuna , Rosita and Bonanza lay covered with a thin shawl of mist, like a poetic trio of women gliding into the green jungle. Curled up like a fat Angora cat, only wearing camouflage, I peck at my laptop while I eat like a squirrel. Or a pelican, because he is funny and imagine carrying your own fridge on you. I never get airsick. My strong and sturdy body, like that of my aboriginal ancestors, only knows health. My diabetes is only a minor flaw on the smooth skin of my health. I have fenced with death so many times and I am still here. Up here in the clouds, even when the storm is like an angry ocelot clawing at us, I feel safe.And powerful. But I have to postpone a definition of power, because one of the military advisors gets airsick. Violently.
He and his partners, from an eastern country, were appalled from the first moment of having to deal with a female colonel.For them a woman`s place is in the house, barefoot, pregnant, aproned and preferably nothing underneath the apron. And they have been commenting so many things about me in Italian, believing I might speak their own native language, so they have decided to play it safe. They don`t know that I speak Italian. They have speculated on everything I do, from their sexist point of view. And protocol demands I stay quiet. But when we approach the storm and it hisses,buffets,shakes and scares us, does this guy have to toss his cookies? All anger is forgotten. Right now the mother in me takes over, with all her power. After everything is over, he will just stare at me without saying anything. After the mission is over,after we have gaped at the beauty of the tropical jungle,seen the delta of the Coco River at Cape Gracias a Dios and a doctor has checked the guy who got sick, I take them back and when I say goodbye I do so in perfect Italian, to their amazement. My father would have said,”Kitten, that is power. Le pouvoir.”
Power, such a fantastic word. People lust for it,crave it like a diabetic wants sweets, like a film star desires eternal youth, like a beggar wants a bag full of coins. It was none other than my dad who taught me the value of power,perhaps because he knew how to wield it.
When he became the general manager of a cement and block factory,the first thing he did was tear down the door to his office. He told his surprised assistant, Elizabeth, that any worker was welcome to come,have a cup of coffee with him and then,when he left the office that worker would sure have a satisfactory solution for his problem from him. Contrary to most administrators, he promoted the creation of a union, it was his idea to make the workingman`s sports league and he opened a special kind of supermarket where the 3 thousand workers of the factory could buy their staples at wholesale price. He contacted union leaders from the FO, Frente Obrero,Workingman`s Front. Then he participated in the sports league by playing catcher in his factory`s baseball team. He was a real baseball lover, a fan of the Boer team. Then he asked me,already a teenager, to serve as coach for the basketball, track and field and weight-lifting teams.
It was no surprise that when my dad died in a plane crash, all his workers came to grieve at his funeral. The love they expressed for him was so tangible you could almost touch it. Even after he died, he still had power,that magical word that politicians so crave.
My father often said that if power wasn`t used to favour the needy, it was not power but raw and ruthless control over people. He genuinely worried for his working people and when the military draft was imposed in Nicaragua, he began to see the danger of it. He had highly qualified labor force, people who had been trained for years and could not be easily substituted. With the first guys between ages 16 and 22 to be drafted, panic gripped my dad, for in less than two weeks he lost 7 of his best young workers. Every time the recruitment orders arrived, he would get nearly sick with worry.
One night while my mother was out on a business trip to El Salvador, we were dining together with our driver-gardener-messenger,old don Alberto,at the round table in the kitchen. We had just started eating our dessert when he looked at me and said,”Kitten?”
I knew that when he called me kitten and not lion as usual,he was going to ask for something. He mentioned the case of a mixer bowl operator who had been caught by the draft. He had tried to unhook the worker, but the officer in charge of recruitment had asked for money as graft. Once my dad had been willing tio pay the sum, the officer changed his mind and asked for another quantity,this time something like a king`s ransom.
So he spoke to me of a bright idea.There were many construction companies and building outlets in Managua. Most of these people were highly skilled, some would be taken into active service for two years if they were between 16 and 24. The ones over 25 were to be drafted into the army reserve and would get sent to the dangerous zones too. Wouldn`t it be better to put them all together in some brigade or battalion, mobilize them with their gadgets and trucks and everything, and put them to work at social works, like building of bridges? I realized that my dad and my gardener were speaking to me in a different tone.
There was reverence, a different kind of respect. My dad had realized that due to the position I now held I had power in my hands and it was wise to court me so I could use that power in benefit of the people. I told him to write the idea down and promised to present it to the top brass.
Shortly after this dinner table talk, the 3 battallions of engineering machines were born.Since the 6 enterprises were all located in Managua, the new units were put under the Special Region of Defense for Managua,and three sturdy officers were sought to fill in the boots of the battalion commanders. I had the task to oversee them and report their work to the top brass. Of course, howls were heard by the top recruiting officer who had asked my dad for an elephantine bribe. Now I had to meet the workers from different companies like the Ministry of Construction, Cementera Canal(the mother company of Mayco.S.A. where my dad was the manager), the Housing Ministry, Andres Cstro Building Company and Sovipe Engineers. I was already familiarized with each and every one of the workers from my dad`s factory,which made things easier. At first the elder engineers and architects had a laugh at me, since I was in my twenties. First they were ordered to build the convention center that would have the name of the Swedish statesman Olof Palme. They would work on weekends only. They came with their tractors,machines,shovel, the demolishing ball on which I loved to ride like a clinging cat when the guy with the crane was willing to swing me around. As soon as the workers from the factory and its mother company were given the slip to go to military service, I caught them and placed them in a battalion. Many valuable technicians, engineers, architects and other construction workers were saved from uselessly dying in the battlefield. I found several friends whom I still remember with special fondness, like Julio Miranda from Sovipe Engineers. Once, when the first battalion cook`s mom died, I cooked for them and it was an honor to do so. Watching all those sweaty, hard working males wolf down the food I prepared gav me an inkling of what a delight it would be to have my own children. Well, I only had one,years later, but that was a tasteof power I never forgot. Power to the people,for the people,in benefit of the people. I wanted to follow Lincoln and Kossuth and other patriots who really knew how to usepower for something good.
That was the power that a stiff weakling like Tsar Nicholas II never knew how to wield, and it cost him dearly because his wife cuckolded him with the bearded pseudomonk who even predicted the fall of the dynasty if he was killed. Not even the poor Cocker Spaniel pet was saved, and out of the slaughter of the reigning family of Rusia sprang the tenuous myth of Anastasia`survival as Anna Anderson. At least they,after death, had thepower to give us circus and subtle entertainment.
Did our own Augusto Calderon Sandino,illegitimate son of a planter and a streetwalker,ever have real power? He began his struggle against US invasion after he had flirted with the idea of a military intervention by gringos when he was younger. He had enough power to get assassinated by Anastasio Somoza Garcìa, the pompous fatso of whom wheelchair-ridden FDR said,”He is a son of a bitch but he is OUR son of a bitch.”
Power, most beloved of readers, power like the one that makes a heart jump in someone`s chest, or thepower to build a nation out os craps of dignity and threads of patriotism.Yes,sir. Power. I will always opt for power, not because it is an aphrodisiac too, but because it is what the people need in order to step firmly into the future.