marți, 22 decembrie 2015

Our tiny Christmas

The elf is a free style amigurumi inspired from this original designed by the very talented Ilaria.

marți, 15 decembrie 2015

The History of the Middle East, Documentary


British troops by the pyramids sometime between the two great wars.


The Berlin Wall, BBC Documentary

Mioriță de protest



Protest cu cântec și joc.

Pe-un picior de plai,
 Pe-o gură de rai,
 Iată vin în cale,
 Se cobor la vale,
 Trei turme de miei,
 cu trei ciobănei,
 Dar fără căței.
 Că la București,
 Niște oameni grei,
 Mări, se vorbiră,
 Ei se sfătuiră,
 Pe l-apus de soare,
 Câinii să-i omoare.
 Dar cea mioriță,
 Cu lâna plăviță
 De trei zile-ncoace
 Gura nu-i mai tace
 Iarba nu-i mai place.
 - Mioriță laie,
 Laie bucălaie,
 De trei zile-ncoace
 Gura nu-ți mai tace!
 Ori iarba nu-ți place,
 Ori ești bolnăvioară,
 Drăguță mioară?
- Drăguțule bace,
 Dă-ți oile-ncoace,
 La negru zăvoi,
 Că în dricul iernii,
 Nu-i iarbă de noi.
 Că parlamentarii
 și cu toți șmenarii
 Cu permis de armă
 Vor să te doboare,
 Ies la vânătoare,
 Câinii să-i omoare,
 Cei mai bărbătești,
 și cei mai frățești.


sâmbătă, 5 decembrie 2015

Amigurumi: Hedgehogs braving Storm Desmond



























The hedgehogs are based on a pattern from one of the Zoomigurumi books that I received from my husband for my birthday back in July. Pointless to say that since then the tiny creatures have completely taken over our living room, my evenings and weekends, and are showing up whenever a present is needed regardless of the age and disposition of the recipient. It is only a matter of time until they take over the blog as well, and all those documentaries you have been recently enjoying are entirely their doing because they keep me entertained and intellectually engaged while I toil on their behalf.

marți, 24 noiembrie 2015

Să se găsească (i)responsabilii

Zile fierbinți după tragedia Colectiv.

24 Noiembrie După noiembrie vine decembrie. De 26 de ani sperăm că în sfârșit acesta e anul în care statul român e destul de matur și de detașat de tragicomedia revoluției române încât să poată prezenta o analiză transparentă a acelor evenimente și a principalilor actori.

12 Noiembrie "Proști, da' mulți" servesc pe tavă de la "Proști, da' mafioți".

11 Noiembrie Nominalizarea lui Dacian a fost inevitabilă cu jumătate de oră înainte să-și anunțe VVP demisia. PSD a aflat care este numele candidatului abia în timpul primelor consultări cu președintele.



9 Noiembrie Pentru noul prim ministru se pregătește un chestionar cu trei variante de răspuns: Dacian Cioloș, Lucian Croitoru și Bogdan Oltean. Domnul Oltean e pe listă doar ca să se demonstreze că și PNL are un VVP al lor. Cu ocazia asta aflăm și că poți fi vice-guvernator la BNR fără studii economice.

6 Noiembrie  La vremuri noi strategii noi. Nu mai sunt la modă golanii ca în 90 sau hipsterii ca în 2013, anul acesta se poartă haosul și confuzia. Mesajul e același: șezi blând pe canapea, închide gura și lasă profesioniștii să lucreze pentru interesul național.

Haosul nu e chiar așa de haotic.



 












5 Noiembrie În timpul primelor declarații oficiale despre tragedie, degețelele de pe umărul stâng al lui Arafat fac scenă liberă pentru actorul principal. În același mod, diverși interesați își albesc încheieturile ca să urnească miile de oameni de pe stradă. PSD ar prefera să se întoarcă cu toții disciplinați acasă la antene dar nu înainte să slăbească un pic poziția lui Iohannis, PNL ar prefera alegeri anticipate, noile partide ar prefera un an în plus de pregătiri.















4 Noiembrie VVP a găsit momentul cel mai avantajos pentru retragere. Pleacă nedumerit că oamenii pot fi așa de iraționali după o guvernare atât de performantă.

Mai nou la români curățenia generală se face în noiembrie.













via Cristian Vasile



3 Noiembrie  Iohannis decorează eroi, Ponta sacrifică un pion, Piedone construiește un monument, Oprea încearcă să dosească o victimă de care e direct responsabil după o tragedie unde vina e distribuită.

"Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong - these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history."

Winston Spencer Churchill, May 2, 1935















 
2 Noiembrie  Vânătoarea de vrăjitoare e doar o diversiune ieftină. Chiar și ritualurile satanice trebuie să se desfășoare în spații comerciale cu respectarea normelor de siguranță.

luni, 16 noiembrie 2015

The story of Ireland, BBC documentary



The Great Famine of 1845-1850

"As the crisis developed, attitudes in London became less sympathetic. There is more exasperation and in certain quarters, actually hostility and frustration, and a sense that the Irish are not grateful, that they must do more to help themselves. By June 1846 there was a new Whig government lead by Lord John Russell. The Whigs believed in the prevailing doctrine of laissez faire minimal state intervention. Saving the starving was not the governments job, but that of local landlords and of charities. And so, as the crisis deepened, government support for public works was removed. Some landlords were generous and were bankrupted by the cost of relief, others had no inclination to help and evicted the starving. Priests were heavily involved in helping the people. In Clare, one reported how half of his one thousand parishioners were dead. Scores were thrown beside the nearest ditch, he wrote, and left to the mercy of dogs which had nothing to feed on. Food prices soared, far beyond the wages of those still employed on public works and government soup kitchens were closed after being opened for just six months. Famine diseases like typhoid cholera swapped through the population."

"There has been famine, revolution, and civil war. But in an age of uncertainty we can surely draw strength from the memory of what has been overcome. The story of Ireland has always been a narrative of change, unpredictable and dynamic. The past is no longer a melancholic burden or a reason to hate. We're never entirely free of the claims of history, but neither are we its prisoners. Ireland today is an island of possibility, an open island."

vineri, 13 noiembrie 2015

miercuri, 28 octombrie 2015

Battalion on the Great Pyramid























"The Australian 11th (Western Australia) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force is posing on the Great Pyramid of Giza on 10 January 1915, prior to the landing at Gallipoli."

marți, 27 octombrie 2015

miercuri, 21 octombrie 2015

Jurnal electoral (Epilog)

Zile fierbinți după alegerile prezidențiale din noiembrie 2014.

9 Februarie Rolul Elenei Udrea și al Monicăi Macovei în timpul alegerilor a fost să împartă electoratul de dreapta pentru a se asigura că Iohannis nu intră in turul doi.

5 Februarie Marii intangibili de moment sunt Vasile Blaga (implicat în dosarul EADS), Ion Iliescu (CEDO obligă statul român să găsească vinovații pentru mineriade; pus sub acuzare pentru infracțiune contra umanității în octombrie 2015), Traian Băsescu (sechestru pe 257 de hectare din moșia de la Nana), Ioan Niculae (finanţator al campaniei lui Geoană din 2009, condamnat la doi ani şi şase luni de închisoare în aprilie 2015) și Ovidiu Tender (condamnat la 11 ani și 4 luni în decembrie 2014).

Dosarul EADS dă măsura încrederii pe care o putem avea nu numai în recent găsita conștiință a justiției, serviciilor și clasei politice românești dar și a instituțiilor similare la nivel de UE.

1 Februarie  După dezvăluirile fostei prime blonde a țării, diviziunea serviciilor secrete din timpul alegerilor devine mai clară. De o parte susținătorii lui Ponta  împreună cu George Maior și de cealaltă parte susținătorii lui Iohannis împreună cu Florin Coldea. Actualul atac la Florin Coldea poate fi explicat printr-o răzbunare pentru rolul lui în demisia lui George Maior și în consecință pentru retragerea sprijinului fostului președinte și a apropiaților lui. Interviul hotnews edifică mai mult prin întrebările care au rămas nepuse: la ordinul cui a făcut Florin Coldea acele plăți și de ce nu a fost informat președintele.

Încolțit, VVP mai are de jucat cartea Roșia Montană, ceea ce explică revenirea în primă linie a prietenului Șova și noul val de investitori al lui Gabriel.



Puterea politică e balon de săpun fără sprijinul grupurilor de interese economice.

30 Ianuarie Șova este repus în drepturi. După numai două luni, decizia partidului este contradictorie dar la fel de unanimă.

28 Ianuarie George Maior demisioneaza de la șefia SRI, VVP a mai pierdut un aliat.

23 Ianuarie Gabriel căuta soluții amicabile prin amenințarea cu tribunalul.

16 Ianuarie Cătălin Ivan e noua speranță a PCR-FSN-FDSN-PDSR-PSD.  În mod evident noul trend este înspre șefi de partid care pot trece cu brio proba costumelor de baie.

12 Ianuarie Primul consens transpartinic obținut de președinte este legat de creșterea bugetului armatei pe fondul atacurilor din Paris. Până acum lecția "Je suis Charlie" este că trebuie să intrăm în cursa înarmării, nu că trebuie să consolidăm presa și televiziunea românească deocamdată complet aservite.

Între timp acțiunile lui Gabriel se apropie din nou de nivelul de dinainte de aflarea rezultatului din ziua alegerilor. 

9 Decembrie Noul președinte va depune jurământul în ziua în care se împlinesc 25 de ani de când am tremurat de teama unui bătrânel rârâit care era și mai speriat decât noi. Cu frenezia din culise nu avem înregistrări.
 
28 Noiembrie Singurul care plânge după Șova este Gabriel.

27 Noiembrie După întoarcerea dintr-o binemeritată vacanță, VVP îl înlătură pe mult prea ambițiosul Geoană și pe doi dintre susținătorii lui. Votul a fost aproape unanim, în tradiție comunistă. Au făcut excepție, din motive încă neelucidate, doar președintele de onoare și europarlamentarul Cătălin Ivan.  VVP, Dragnea și Ghiță au pus oficial bazele noului triumvirat.

Președintele ales a înregistrat o primă reușită cu respingerea legii amnistiei și grațierii, în ciuda încercărilor de resuscitare. Restul mandatului nu va fi la fel de simplu pentru că și numai recrutarea consilierilor este o provocare. Ceas nemțesc făcut din piese românești.

vineri, 16 octombrie 2015

The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin


"The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish."

marți, 13 octombrie 2015

vineri, 9 octombrie 2015

What is real, Mr. Robot



"Look at this. Look at it. A world built on fantasies. Synthetic emotions in the form of pills. Psychological warfare in the form of advertising. Mind-altering chemicals in the form of food. Brainwashing seminars in the form of media. Controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven't lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs, while we toss the remnants in the ever expanding dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses, trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers, jumping up and down on our digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen. You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullshit."

vineri, 2 octombrie 2015

vineri, 18 septembrie 2015

Cu bocceluța în spinare


Dragă țărișoara,

 Nu mai fi așa de încuiată și ușor de speriat, tu care ai găsit întotdeauna o haină, o bucată de pâine și una de slănină pentru sinistrații repetatelor inundații din Moldova și pentru copiii slabi și desculți ai romilor. Nu uita că înainte să fii prizoniera propriilor tale granițe, ruptă atât de est cât și de vest ca să fii sluga visului comunist și interesului PCR-ist, ai fost o poartă pentru nenumărate familii în căutare de un loc primitor care să poată deveni acasă. Ti-au lăsat fiecare bucățele din graiul lor, din cântec și din dans, din port, din meșteșug și câteodată și câte un tezaur. Nu uita că și acum îți plângi fii sași, șvabi, și evrei pierduți care îți poartă dorul de departe peste generații. Inainte să ai vise urâte despre Islam nu uita că ai zeci de mii de tătari care trăiesc atât de liniștit încât aproape uiți de ei câteodată.

E o catastrofă mult mai mare dacă după toate astea ai ajuns țara care dă șuturi la genunchi în loc de paturi și un blid de mâncare.

Dragă BOR, mai amâna un pic cupolele poleite cu aur, lasă bucuria asta pentru raiul ceresc și ocupă-te de cei care îți bat la ușă flămânzi și în căutare de un loc unde să pună capul pentru o noapte. Cu mult înainte să pierzi Constantinopolul ai avut și tu o mamă și un prunc care au avut nevoie de un grajd pentru o noapte.

Chiar dacă îți par așa de străini și sirienii mănâncă sarmale.

Cu drag,
Jorjet

marți, 4 august 2015

Running, No Doubt

How the hell does anyone cheat on Gwen Stefani?

luni, 3 august 2015

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (VII)

"From the perils which he had escaped, Arvandus imbibed confidence rather than wisdom; and such was the various, though uniform, imprudence of his behavior, that his prosperity must appear much more surprising than his downfall."

"The lives of the primitive monks were consumed in penance and solitude; undisturbed by the various occupations which fill the time, and exercise the faculties, of reasonable, active, and social beings. Whenever they were permitted to step beyond the precincts of the monastery, two jealous companions were the mutual guards and spies of each other's actions; and, after their return, they were condemned to forget, or, at least, to suppress, whatever they had seen or heard in the world. Strangers, who professed the orthodox faith, were hospitably entertained in a separate apartment; but their dangerous conversation was restricted to some chosen elders of approved discretion and fidelity. Except in their presence, the monastic slave might not receive the visits of his friends or kindred; and it was deemed highly meritorious, if he afflicted a tender sister, or an aged parent, by the obstinate refusal of a word or look. The monks themselves passed their lives, without personal attachments, among a crowd which had been formed by accident, and was detained, in the same prison, by force or prejudice. Recluse fanatics have few ideas or sentiments to communicate: a special license of the abbot regulated the time and duration of their familiar visits; and, at their silent meals, they were enveloped in their cowls, inaccessible, and almost invisible, to each other. Study is the resource of solitude: but education had not prepared and qualified for any liberal studies the mechanics and peasants who filled the monastic communities. They might work: but the vanity of spiritual perfection was tempted to disdain the exercise of manual labor; and the industry must be faint and languid, which is not excited by the sense of personal interest."

"The Gothic kings and bishops at length discovered, that injuries will produce hatred, and that hatred will find the opportunity of revenge."

"His memory was capacious and retentive; his wit easy and social; his imagination sublime; his judgment clear, rapid, and decisive. He possessed the courage both of thought and action; and, although his designs might gradually expand with his success, the first idea which he entertained of his divine mission bears the stamp of an original
and superior genius. The son of Abdallah was educated in the bosom of the noblest race, in the use of the purest dialect of Arabia; and the fluency of his speech was corrected and enhanced by the practice of discreet and seasonable silence.
"

"Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius; and the uniformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist."

"It is not surprising that superstition should act most powerfully on the fears of her votaries, since the human fancy can paint with more energy the misery than the bliss of a future life. With the two simple elements of darkness and fire, we create a sensation of pain, which may be aggravated to an infinite degree by the idea of endless duration. But the same idea operates with an opposite effect on the continuity of pleasure; and too much of our present enjoyments is obtained from the relief, or the comparison, of evil. "

duminică, 2 august 2015

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (VI)

"The effects of personal valour are so inconsiderable, except in poetry or romance, that victory, even among the Barbarians, must depend on the degree of skill with witch the passions of the multitude are combined and guided for the service of a single man."

"The freedman of Onegesius exposed, in true and lively colours, the vices of a declining empire of which he had so long been the victim; the cruel absurdity of the Roman princes, unable to protect their subjects against the public enemy, unwilling to trust them with arms for their own defence; the intolerable weight of taxes, rendered still more oppressive by the intricate or arbitrary modes of collection; the obscurity of numerous and contradictory laws; the tedious and expensive forms of judicial proceedings; the partial administration of justice; and the universal corruption which increased the influence of the rich and aggravated the misfortunes of the poor. A sentiment of patriotic sympathy was at length revived in the breast of the fortunate exile, and he lamented with a flood of tears the guilt or weakness of those magistrates who had perverted the wisest and most salutary institutions."

"He could patiently endure the want of food or of sleep; and his mind and body were alike capable of the most laborious efforts. He possessed the genuine courage that can despise not only dangers but injuries; and it was impossible either to corrupt, or deceive, or intimidate the firm integrity of his soul."

"But the emperor of the West, the feeble and dissolute Valentinian, who had reached his thirty-fifth year without attaining the age of reason or courage, abused this apparent security to undermine the foundations of his own throne by the murder of the patrician Aetius. From the instinct of a base and jealous mind, he hated the man who was universally celebrated as the terror of the barbarians and the support of the republic; and his new favourite, the eunuch Heraclius, awakened the emperor from the supine lethargy which might be disguised during the life of Placidia by the excuse of filial piety. The fame of Aetius, his wealth and dignity, the numerous and martial train of barbarian followers, his powerful dependents who filled the civil offices of the state, and the hopes of his son Gaudentius, who was already contracted to Eudoxia, the emperor's daughter, had raised him above the rank of a subject. The ambitious designs, of which he was secretly accused, excited the fears as well as the resentment of Valentinian. Aetius himself, supported by the consciousness of his merit, his services, and perhaps his innocence, seems to have maintained a haughty and indiscreet behaviour. The patrician offended his sovereign by an hostile declaration; he aggravated the offence by compelling him to ratify with a solemn oath a treaty of reconciliation and alliance; he proclaimed his suspicions, he neglected his safety; and from a vain confidence that the enemy whom he despised was incapable even of a manly crime, he rashly ventured his person in the palace of Rome. Whilst he urged, perhaps with intemperate vehemence, the marriage of his son, Valentinian, drawing his sword - the first sword he had ever drawn - plunged it in the breast of a general who had saved his empire: his courtiers and eunuchs ambitiously struggled to imitate their master; and Aetius, pierced with an hundred wounds, fell dead in the royal presence. Boethius, the Praetorian praefect, was killed at the same moment; and before the event could be divulged, the principal friends of the patrician were summoned to the palace and separately murdered. The horrid deed, palliated by the specious names of justice and necessity, was immediately communicated by the emperor to his soldiers, his subjects, and his allies. The nations who were strangers or enemies to Aetius generously deplored the unworthy fate of a hero; the barbarians who had been attached to his service dissembled their grief and resentment; and the public contempt which had been so long entertained for Valentinian was at once converted into deep and universal abhorrence. Such sentiments seldom pervade the walls of a palace; yet the emperor was confounded by the honest reply of a Roman whose approbation he had not disdained to solicit. 'I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know that you have acted like a man who cuts off his right hand with his left.' "

"As early as the time of Cicero and Varro it was the opinion of the Roman augurs that the twelve vultures which Romulus had seen, represented the twelve centuries assigned for the fatal period of his city. This prophecy, disregarded perhaps in the season of health and prosperity, inspired the people with gloomy apprehensions when the twelfth century, clouded with disgrace and misfortune, was almost elapsed; and even posterity must acknowledge with some surprise that the arbitrary interpretation of an accidental or fabulous circumstance has been seriously verified in the downfall of the Western empire. But its fall was announced by a clearer omen than the flight of vultures: the Roman government appeared every day less formidable to its enemies, more odious and oppressive to its subjects. The taxes were multiplied with the public distress; economy was neglected in proportion as it became necessary; and the injustice of the rich shifted the unequal burden from themselves to the people, whom they defrauded of the indulgences that might sometimes have alleviated their misery. The severe inquisition, which confiscated their goods and tortured their persons, compelled the subjects of Valentinian to prefer the more simple tyranny of the barbarians, to fly to the woods and mountains, or to embrace the vile and abject condition of mercenary servants. They abjured and abhorred the name of Roman citizens, which had formerly excited the ambition of mankind. The Armorican provinces of Gaul and the greatest part of Spain were thrown into a state of disorderly independence by the confederations of the Bagaudae, and the Imperial ministers pursued with proscriptive laws and ineffectual arms the rebels whom they had made. If all the barbarian conquerors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have restored the empire of the West: and if Rome still survived, she survived the loss of freedom, of virtue, and of honour."

Irish summer

At the Sunday mass the priest says "Let's all thank the Lord for the lovely mild winter we are having".

sâmbătă, 25 iulie 2015

Mata Hari's conviction

Exactly 98 years ago on my birthday, Margaretha was convicted to death for spying in the first world war.

miercuri, 1 iulie 2015

A premeditated crisis, à la Grecque
















Photo from the Big Picture.

10 July 2015 Alexis Tsipras, with the full on drama of a man on the death row:
"No supposed reforms addressed the notorious triangle of corruption that was set up in our country many years ago, prior to the crisis, between the political establishment, the oligarchs and the banks. No reforms have improved the operation and efficiency of the State, which has learned to operate to serve special interests rather than the common good."
"Today, we come with a strong mandate from the Greek people and with a firm determination to not clash with Europe, but to clash with the vested interests in our country, and with the established rationales and attitudes that plunged Greece into crisis, and are putting a drag on the Eurozone, as well."

Europe, it serves no purpose to beat a dead horse.


8 July 2015 Greek style yoghurt, produced in Germany.


 










7 July 2015 France is leaning towards Greece, UK is out of the game. Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Austria, and Sweden are expected to join the German narrative.

The ripples reach all the way to China, with stocks loosing 25% of their value since mid June.

6 July 2015 Two parallel narratives are constructed in Greece and EU, the borders are already thickening.

Yanis Varoufakis steps down as a first concession to the creditors. The mastermind of the new Greek hope leaves the front stage.

5 July 2015 More than 60% of the greeks said OXI. Somewhere the big P pops open a champagne.

2 July 2015 Robert Kaplan on the geopolitics of the Greek crisis and why they can be more important than the economics.

Comments from the Indiegogo campaign:
"Enfin un geste symbolique et politique, un peu naïf et dérisoire mais c’est un bon pied de nez à la non-action-politique de nos dirigeants européens…!"
"With kind consideration from Romania. This campaign is a slap to all those oligarchs (the 1%) that know only to keep everything to themselves (and ruin countries like Greece) and a thumb up for true people that can show compassion and solidarity. Go humanity and go Greece!"

1 July 2015 Greece defaults on an IMF payment of $1.8bn out of a total of $40bn, the ordeal is only at the beginning. In the meantime, Indiegogo is closing on the first million mark. Somebody should bring the ice buckets on this one.



What does the Crimean status referendum of 2014 have in common with the Greek bailout referendum? They are both a mockery of democratic processes, where a few scared people are used in a dispute much larger than themselves.

If not more than this, the Indiegogo campaign gives us the scale of this massive debt in human terms. At the moment a town about the size of Galway (students out of town for the summer break) put in 17 euros each for the Greek bailout fund. We're not even close to 0.1% of this year's payment to IMF.

30 June 2015 Sell! Sell! Sell! Cried the wolves from Asia to Australia.

The Facebook feed goes on such a frenzy, unprecedented since the initial public offering of Facebook.

Crowd-funding to the rescue... and the servers are down.

















29 June 2015 Greek banks close and fix a limit on cash withdrawals.

The EU president makes his call to arms. The biggest loosers of this deal are ship owners, corrupt officials, the energy industry, the public administration, and the military. But scaring pensioners is more effective in a public vote.

26 June 2015 Alexis Tsipras puts an abrupt halt to debt negotiations by calling a referendum that might as well just have a "no" for an answer. A wise politician only calls a referendum when they can be certain of the answer.

14 April 2015 The Greek public debt is at 180% of GDP, up from 164% in 2012, 146% in 2010, and 109% in 2008. More about a predictable crisis here.

marți, 30 iunie 2015

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (V)

"In every age, the absence of genuine inspiration is supplied by the strong illusions of enthusiasm, and the mimic arts of imposture. If, in the time of Julian, these arts had been practised only by the pagan priests, for the support of an expiring cause, some indulgence might perhaps be allowed to the interest and habits of the sacerdotal character. But it may appear a subject of surprise and scandal, that the philosophers themselves should have contributed to abuse the superstitious credulity of mankind, and that the Grecian mysteries should have been supported by the magic or theurgy of the modern Platonists. They arrogantly pretended to control the order of nature, to explore the secrets of futurity, to command the service of the inferior daemons, to enjoy the view and conversation of the superior gods, and by disengaging the soul from her material bands, to reunite that immortal particle with the Infinite and Divine Spirit."

"The neighbourhood of the capital of Persia was adorned with three stately palaces, laboriously enriched with every production that could gratify the luxury and pride of an Eastern monarch. The pleasant situation of the gardens along the banks of the Tigris was improved, according to the Persian taste, by the symmetry of flowers, fountains, and shady walks: and spacious parks were enclosed for the reception of the bears, lions, and wild boars, which were maintained at a considerable expense for the pleasure of the royal chase. The park-walls were broke down, the savage game was abandoned to the darts of the soldiers, and the palaces of Sapor were reduced to ashes, by the command of the Roman emperor. Julian, on this occasion, showed himself ignorant, or careless, of the laws of civility, which the prudence and refinement of polished ages have established between hostile princes. Yet these wanton ravages need not excite in our breasts any vehement emotions of pity or resentment. A simple, naked statue, finished by the hand of a Grecian artist, is of more genuine value, than all these rude and costly monuments of Barbaric labour: and if we are more deeply affected by the ruin of a palace than by the conflagration of a cottage, our humanity must have formed a very erroneous estimate of the miseries of human life."

"While Julian struggled with the almost insuperable difficulties of his situation, the silent hours of the night were still devoted to study and contemplation. Whenever he closed his eyes in short and interrupted slumbers, his mind was agitated with painful anxiety; nor can it be thought surprising, that the Genius of the empire should once more appear before him, covering with a funeral veil his head, and his horn of abundance, and slowly retiring from the Imperial tent. The monarch started from his couch, and stepping forth to refresh his wearied spirits with the coolness of the midnight air, he beheld a fiery meteor, which shot athwart the sky, and suddenly vanished. Julian was convinced that he had seen the menacing countenance of the god of war; the council which he summoned, of Tuscan Haruspices, unanimously pronounced that he should abstain from action; but on this occasion, necessity and reason were more prevalent than superstition; and the trumpets sounded at the break of day."

"Friends and fellow-soldiers, the seasonable period of my departure is now arrived, and I discharge, with the cheerfulness of a ready debtor, the demands of nature. I have learned from philosophy, how much the soul is more excellent than the body; and that the separation of the nobler substance should be the subject of joy, rather than of affliction. I have learned from religion, that an early death has often been the reward of piety;  and I accept, as a favor of the gods, the mortal stroke that secures me from the danger of disgracing a character, which has hitherto been supported by virtue and fortitude. I die without remorse, as I have lived without guilt. I am pleased to reflect on the innocence of my private life; and I can affirm with confidence, that the supreme authority, that emanation of the Divine Power, has been preserved in my hands pure and immaculate. Detesting the corrupt and destructive maxims of despotism, I have considered the happiness of the people as the end of government. Submitting my actions to the laws of prudence, of justice, and of moderation, I have trusted the event to the care of Providence. Peace was the object of my counsels, as long as peace was consistent with the public welfare; but when the imperious voice of my country summoned me to arms, I exposed my person to the dangers of war, with the clear foreknowledge (which I had acquired from the art of divination) that I was destined to fall by the sword. I now offer my tribute of gratitude to the Eternal Being, who has not suffered me to perish by the cruelty of a tyrant, by the secret dagger of conspiracy, or by the slow tortures of lingering disease. He has given me, in the midst of an honorable career, a splendid and glorious departure from this world; and I hold it equally absurd, equally base, to solicit, or to decline, the stroke of fate."

"It was an ancient custom in the funerals, as well as in the triumphs, of the Romans, that the voice of praise should be corrected by that of satire and ridicule; and that, in the midst of the splendid pageants, which displayed the glory of the living or of the dead, their imperfections should not be concealed from the eyes of the world."

Fever to the form, Nick Mulvey

luni, 15 iunie 2015

Starea națiunii

19 Iunie O consecință pozitivă a valului de arestări este că acum România este obligată de CEDO să îmbunătățească condițiile din penintenciare. Pe același principiu ar trebui ca măcar o parte din clasă politică să treacă din nou prin școala primară, să trăiască din ajutorul de șomaj sau din pensia minima, să locuiască la sat, să fie medici stagiari sau învățători și să fie internați într-un spital. Sigur ar reclama condiții inumane și degradante.

15 Iunie Biblioteca Batthyáneum și Ioan Rus sunt cele două subiecte folosite ca materiale de diversiune pentru zidul făcut de parlament in jurul lui VVP.

25 Aprilie  Năstase mărturisește că Uniunea Europeană nu mai e tot ceea ce a crezut că o să fie când ne-a negociat aderarea. Întâmplător tot el are și răspunsul, o apropiere de BRIC, presupunem că mai ales de R și C din motive pur istorice. Chiar și acronimul ar fi foarte atractiv, BRRIC.

25 Martie Șova are nouă vieți și nu din cauza mersului la grupul de rugăciune. Asta e pentru a servi prostimii explicații alternative pentru acest miracol.

21 Februarie Chevron renunță la exploatările de gaz de șist din România.

20 Februarie Între timp, dincolo de Dunăre lucrurile par trase la indigo.

19 Februarie Vizualizare a bugetului de stat pe 2013.  

Bugetul anual al SRI este 224 milioane euro, în creștere din 2012. În comparație, bugetul anual al DGSI din Franța este de 41 de milioane euro. De cinci ori mai mare pentru o populație de trei ori mai mică. 

10 Februarie Campanii politice mult prea scumpe, servicii secrete supradimensionate, presă și televiziune națională falimentare, procurori timorați, oameni de afaceri cu etică de bișnițar, polițiști atât de bine inflitrați între infractori încât nu mai știu nici ei diferența. Strâns legați între ei prin relații de rudenie și prin gustul pentru bani, cât mai mulți și cât mai nemeritați.

sâmbătă, 13 iunie 2015

Casă de piatră, Jodi & Kiel

Card after Millie Marrota's Animal Kingdom.

marți, 9 iunie 2015

Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski

This movie made a long flight a little more enjoyable.

joi, 4 iunie 2015

Taxonomy of the European Male, Kent Monkman

On display at the Denver Art Museum, more here and on the artist's homepage.





miercuri, 20 mai 2015

Telenovelas

Pastimes from two decades ago.

Amor gitano 1999, by Carlos Enrique Iglesias


Leonela 1997, Muriendo De Amor by Juan Gabriel

Te sigo amando 1996, by Juan Gabriel

marți, 19 mai 2015

sâmbătă, 25 aprilie 2015

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (IV)

"Although the progress of civilisation has undoubtedly contributed to assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it seems to have been less favourable to the virtue of chastity, whose most dangerous enemy is the softness of the mind. The refinements of life corrupt while they polish the intercourse of the sexes. The gross appetite of love becomes most dangerous, when it is elevated, or rather, indeed, disguised, by sentimental passion. The elegance of dress, of motion, and of manners, gives a lustre to beauty, and inflames the senses through the imagination. Luxurious entertainments, midnight dances, and licentious spectacles present at once temptation and opportunity to female frailty. From such dangers the unpolished wives of the barbarians were secured by poverty, solitude and the painful cares of a domestic life."

"Sculpture, and, above all, painting, propose to themselves the imitation not only of the forms of nature, but of the characters and passions of the human soul. In those sublime arts, the dexterity of the hand is of little avail, unless it is animated by fancy and guided by the most correct taste and observation."

"The decline of ancient prejudice exposed a very numerous portion of human kind to the danger of a painful and comfortless situation. A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude, that if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision. Their love of the marvellous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoured the establishment of Polytheism. So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition. Some deities of a more recent and fashionable cast might soon have occupied the deserted temples of Jupiter and Apollo, if, in the decisive moment, the wisdom of Providence had not interposed a genuine revelation, fitted to inspire the most rational esteem and conviction, whilst, at the same time, it was adorned with all that could attract the curiosity, the wonder, and the veneration of the people. In their actual disposition, as many were almost disengaged from their artificial prejudices, but equally susceptible and desirous of a devout attachment; an object much less deserving would have been sufficient to fill the vacant place in their hearts, and to gratify the uncertain eagerness of their passions. Those who are inclined to pursue this reflection, instead of viewing with astonishment the rapid progress of Christianity, will perhaps be surprised that its success was not still more rapid and still more universal."

"The bishop, or some distinguished presbyter, to whom he cautiously delegated the powers of preaching, harangued, without the danger of interruption or reply, a submissive multitude, whose minds had been prepared and subdued by the awful ceremonies of religion. Such was the strict subordination of the Catholic church, that the same concerted sounds might issue at once from a hundred pulpits of Italy or Egypt, if they were tuned by the master hand of the Roman or Alexandrian primate. The design of this institution was laudable, but the fruits were not always salutary. The preachers recommended the practice of the social duties; but they exalted the perfection of monastic virtue, which is painful to the individual, and useless to mankind. Their charitable exhortations betrayed a secret wish that the clergy might be permitted to manage the wealth of the faithful, for the benefit of the poor. The most sublime representations of the attributes and laws of the Deity were sullied by an idle mixture of metaphysical subtleties, puerile rites, and fictitious miracles: and they expatiated, with the most fervent zeal, on the religious merit of hating the adversaries, and obeying the ministers of the church. When the public peace was distracted by heresy and schism, the sacred orators sounded the trumpet of discord, and, perhaps, of sedition. The understandings of their congregations were perplexed by mystery, their passions were inflamed by invectives; and they rushed from the Christian temples of Antioch or Alexandria, prepared either to suffer or to inflict martyrdom."


Beautiful tango, Hindi Zahra

Rich, Russian and Living in London

sâmbătă, 11 aprilie 2015

vineri, 10 aprilie 2015

Te Quiero, Stromae



 "Ça d'viendra juste une fois de plus répétitif."

vineri, 3 aprilie 2015

Twin Peaks, Season 1, Episode 3


















"Cooper looks at the beautiful woman, who is still staring at him and smiles enigmatically. She slowly puts a finger to the side of her nose and then slowly lowers her hand, almost pointing at him as it drops. As The Man from Another Place rubs his hands, a shadow of a bird passes in the background behind the red drapes."

Elena Udrea, această Laura Palmer a politicii românești.

joi, 19 martie 2015

Mariza in concert

Hokusai Katsushika


















“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing'.”

duminică, 15 martie 2015

The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers, Andrew Solomon

"Despite every advancement, language remains the defining nexus of our humanity; it is where our knowledge and hope lie. It is the precondition of human tenderness, mightier than the sword but also infinitely more subtle and ultimately more urgent. Remember that writing things down makes them real; that it is nearly impossible to hate anyone whose story you know; and, most of all, that even in our post-postmodern era, writing has a moral purpose. With twenty-six shapes arranged in varying patterns, we can tell every story known to mankind, and make up all the new ones—indeed, we can do so in most of the world’s known tongues. If you can give language to experiences previously starved for it, you can make the world a better place."

Full article here.

sâmbătă, 14 martie 2015

Le Misanthrope, Molière

"My hate is general, I detest all men;
Some because they are wicked and do evil,
Others because they tolerate the wicked,
Refusing them the active vigorous scorn
Which vice should stimulate in virtuous minds."

sâmbătă, 7 martie 2015

Stalin's daughter, Nicholas Thompson

 “I feel sad, that again—as long ago in my native cruel Russia, I have to force myself to silence, force myself to false behavior, to hide my true thoughts, and to bend my head down before the fist of false authority. All that is too damn sad. But I shall survive.”

 Read the full article here.

vineri, 27 februarie 2015

marți, 24 februarie 2015

sâmbătă, 21 februarie 2015

News from EEU

21 February Anti-maidan gathering in Moscow with coordinated flags and papaha hats. Lumber sexuals are put to shame.














The common currency of the EEU will be a revival of the silver altyn, first minted by Peter the Great.

3 February The first emblem of the one month old Eurasion Union, a fight between two Nike logos over a map.


sâmbătă, 17 ianuarie 2015

miercuri, 14 ianuarie 2015

marți, 13 ianuarie 2015

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz




"Secrecy serves those who are already in power."

 "We are standing in the middle of a time when great injustice is not touched. Architects of the financial meltdown have dinner with the president regularly. In the middle of that time, the idea that this was what the government had to prosecute - it seems absurd, if it weren't tragic."