miercuri, 28 decembrie 2016

joi, 4 august 2016

Round like an apple

The best thing about being pregnant is that you grow this endless love for your own body, this motherly care for your own swollen breasts, fingers, and feet, for your compressed stomach and lungs, for your pimple free skin that is stretched to impossible limits and itching. It seems like this new person growing inside you is trying to get out through your belly button that is now unrecognisable but so clean, without a trace of dead skin or weeks old garments fuzz. And all this love is guilt free, not shadowed by any suspicion of selfishness. This must be how my father feels after years of hard work to get us through school and to build for us a never completed home. If the house would ever be finished how could he justify to himself that he is distant, and angry for unknown reasons, and never satisfied.

When you are pregnant you get to move around like you are permanently surrounded by stage lightning, impossible not to notice, with everyone trying to guess the gestational age, or the sex of the baby, or whether this is your first child, or how much weight you gained. Suddenly your are not a threat for other women or a competition, but worthy of their sisterly care and love. Some question their childless lives, while others shower you with irrelevant advice from their own experience. Suddenly you are protected from the unrequested interest of men of all ages much better than by a wedding ring or lack of makeup and high heels. They either remember their own journey next to a woman that becomes a mother or they shrug away the pain that they will also be chained.

You receive all their offerings of food, free car rides, beach umbrellas, kind smiles, and concerned questions, and all the services of a social state that is chipping away a bit of their income every day. You find yourself surrounded not by self-centered individuals but by a community that carefully waters the growing seed of their own immortality.

Who you are is less important than whom you become.

miercuri, 20 iulie 2016

duminică, 10 iulie 2016

joi, 2 iunie 2016

On religion

All faith-based views are irrefutable because, in the end, they are unconstrained by reason and evidence - Paraphrased from this article.

"Climbing on top of a tree is not a small step towards the Moon; it is the end of the journey."

Every religion is a stupid answer for a stupid question - From a Peaky Blinders episode

"As Virgil suggests in Dante’s Inferno: ‘Speak not of them, but look, and pass them by.’ " 

duminică, 22 mai 2016

duminică, 24 aprilie 2016

The coming of the Third Reich, Richard J. Evans

"If the experience of the Third Reich teaches us anything, it is that a love of great music, great art and great literature does not provide people with any kind of moral or political immunization against violence, atrocity, or subservience and dictatorship. Indeed, many commentators on the left from 1930s onwards argued that the advanced nature of German culture and society was itself the major cause of Nazism's triumph."

"Even the most diehard reactionary might eventually have learned to tolerate the Republic if it had provided a reasonable level of economic stability, and a decent, solid income for its citizens. But from the start it was beset by economic failures of a dimension unprecedented in German history."

"Money, income, financial stability, economic order, regularity and predictability had been at the heart of bourgeois values and bourgeois existence before the war. Now all this seemed to have been swept away along with the equally solid-seeming political system of the Wilhelmine Reich."

" 'I often ask myself (...) why I write such an extensive diary. I can't leave it alone. (...) Just collect life. Always collect. Impressions, knowledge, reading, events, everything. And don't ask why or what for.' "

"Where books are burned in the end people will be burned too."

"The Nazi party was a party of protest, with not much of a positive programme, and a few practical solutions to Germany's problems. But its extremist ideology, adapted and sometimes veiled according to circumstance and the nature of the particular group of people to whom it was appealing, tapped into a sufficient number of pre-existing popular German beliefs and prejudices to make it seem to many worth supporting at the polls."

luni, 18 aprilie 2016

Vienna, BBC Documentary

Not that long ago another authoritarian ruler sought to make a country great again.

luni, 11 aprilie 2016

Catedrala mântuirii cămătarilor

Enrico Scrovegni, bancher cu stare din Padova, îl plătește pe Giotto pe la 1300 să-i picteze capela personală ca să-și spele păcatele, umblă vorba prin târg. Ani mai târziu, Michelangelo avea să găsească inspirație în scenele pline de viață și culoare, pictate cu o măiestrie nemaivăzută până atunci. România mai adaugă un monstru din beton colecției și așa extinse de mânăstiri, biserici și catedrale. Probabil am găsi nume și sume mult mai interesante pe listele de donatori decât pe multe declarații de avere.

marți, 29 martie 2016

Forever, Snakehips

Three full days in a car with the most quiet driver in the world, watching the wildest of Irish weathers, listening to radio friendly songs with (almost) two of my favorite guys in the world.

joi, 18 februarie 2016

A conversation with A. S. Byatt

I'm afraid this time I won't be able to quote all the paragraphs that I liked without being accused of copyright infringement. Instead you can hear a fragment from the book in the author's own voice, starting at the 12:00 mark.

marți, 16 februarie 2016

vineri, 5 februarie 2016

All the things that I lost

If I would have to sum up all the things that I lost because I spent the first seven years of my life behind the Iron Curtain, I would have to start with one evening when instead of the usual ten minutes of cartoons, the national television had to switch to a different program because there was a vital update on the travels of the Supreme Leader in one African country or another. It occurred to me right then that robbing a child of his ten minutes of daily allocated entertainment was  not such a noble thing to do. I asked my parents who was this Ceaușescu that he was allowed to do something so unfair. The fear in my parents voices when they told me I shouldn't ask such questions because people might hear us in our small one bedroom apartment was the first time when I realised something was badly wrong with our world. Keep your head down, be quiet, don't get out of line, don't question superior authority and you might just be lucky enough not to get in trouble today. 

It was easy to accept the cold winter mornings when my mother had to dress me up for kindergarten as quickly as she could so I wouldn't catch a cold, or the only two pairs of clothing items, one for every day and one for Sundays or for hospital, or the magical scent of the heavily restricted oranges that we could only smell on some of the more special Christmases, or the milk that my father managed to bring home by waking up at four o'clock in the morning to neatly queue our empty milk bottles ahead of our neighbors' in front of the local shop. But to accept that you can't speak freely even in your own home and that your parents are as small and easy to crush as a cockroach, that was too much to take without turning older but not wiser in a second.

But that was all small in comparison to what I would have lost if there were no cracks in our cruel glass dome. All the countries I have seen, all the books I have read, all the people I have met - too far out of reach to even dream of them. And I, a small gray obedient little ant, toiling away so that only a few could bathe in gold and see the world. Grateful that I am allowed to live for another day.

on Michael Jackson, Katt Williams

 A great mystery has been solved.

miercuri, 27 ianuarie 2016

Racine Carrée Live (Full Concert), Stromae

Găsiți diferențele (Spot the difference)

There can be only one, P. the great.

Villa of ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Villa of ex-mayor of Bucharest Adrian Videanu