Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
This is how it's done. An hour of artists working on trains all over Spain, climbing fences and trolling along tunnels to get to work.
See the video: Reality Show 2
See some more 'burners' at wallspankers.com
A nice treat: Banksy
+ Freely downloadable dance music mixes:
House, trance, techno, hard dance, drum 'n' bass - Dancemuzic.com
Andy Gregory plays progressive trance. His site has dozens of uplifting mix sessions free to download - check out the 'Vocal Sessions' - AndyG
Good house/trance mixes - Peter Worth
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Noun - ser - noun
ser agrees in number with a following plural noun.
El problema son las estudiantes.Source: Using Spanish, Cambridge University Press.
El ejemplo más frecuente citado son los numerosos y múltiples avances tecnológicos.
La revolución eran simplemente unos festivos fuegos artificiales daneses.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Culture in Cuba.
From the age of 14, young instructors learn how to teach music, dance, drama and the visual arts. They then go out to primary and secondary schools across the country to teach the pupils there.
This video gives enticing glimpses of Cuban life, and there's lots of spoken Spanish with English subtitles.
Select Windows Media or Real Player version of video here:
Performing arts in Cuba
Sunday, February 25, 2007
José María García, periodista.
García speaks clearly and is easy to understand - good listening for us learners.
Entrevista de Jesús Quintero a José María García
(You have to wait a few seconds while an advertisement clears.)
Sunday, November 05, 2006
An hour of beautiful music and delightful video. Kaori Muraji plays pieces by Rodrigo, Manuel de Falla, Sainz de la Maza, and Moreno Torroba.
The programme:Hear and see on Google Video: Contrastes.
Concierto de Aranjuez (con Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid)
Homenaje a Debussy
Invocación y Danza ('Homenaje a Manuel de Falla')
Campana del Alba
En Los Trigales
Danza del Molinero
Sunday, October 29, 2006
El 65% de los pacientes tratados con cannabis mejoran su calidad de vida.
On 20 October the Health Committee of Catalonia presented results of a clinical study with the cannabis extract Sativex in patients with different chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain as well as appetite and weight loss. 65 per cent of the 123 participants experienced an improvement of quality of life and a decrease of pain. The other 35 per cent discontinued the treatment due to side effects, mainly dizziness, dry mouth and fatigue.See the full write up in Spanish on cadenaser.com.
It was a pilot study that started in January 2006 in six hospitals in the region of Barcelona. According to the press release of the Health Committee the study demonstrated that cannabis could be an alternative for "patients with severe chronic diseases of different causes that would not well respond to standard medications and would be associated with a decrease of quality of life."
Source: IACM Bulletin.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Here's a lovely film showing Venezuela through the eyes of a North American oil company employee in 1956 -
Creole Assignment: Venezuela.
Comment by johnvillegasi: "Este extraordinario video de Creole Petroleoum Corporation nos hace reflexionar muchas cosas. Entre ellas, que hasta 1955 Venezuela había tenido gobernantes que querían lo mejor para ella. Prueba de lo anterior es que entre los años 40 y 1980, Venezuela ocupó el 3er lugar en ingreso per capita en el mundo, siguiendo solo a Suiza y EEUU. Permaneció durante esos años como la nación que tuvo mayor crecimiento sostenido a nivel mundial. El producto del petróleo se invertía en infraestructura e industria."
How are your propaganda spotting talents?
Which, do you think, of the following two documentaries conveys the truth?
This video shows the 1992 coup and counter coup in Venezuela -
The Revolution will not be Televised.
Comment by Marcos (a Venezuelan citizen): "The footage is very good, 'surprisingly good' if you know what i mean. On the other hand, this 'documentary' shows some truth, but also some lies and a lot of manipulation. Why? Because it focuses only in both extremes leaving aside all the people, A LOT OF PLEOPLE, who is in between and dislikes the opposition and Chavez's goverment, why the producers didn't do some research on this? To finish, for those who don't speak spanish, the 'documentary' is conveniently translated to make look better Chavez's side."That video spawned this one debunking it -
X-Ray of a Lie.
Comment by curandero62: "Me parece una excelente respuesta para contrarestar a la desinformacion que sufren en el extranjero, por lo menos a puesto a dudar a muchos sobre la veracidad de la informacion que les llega a traves de los medios afectos al regimen de Chavez. Chavez inteligentemente se ha puesto como la victima ante los medios extranjeros, y eso le rindio dividendos dentro de la izquierda, sobre todo europea, que anda como pollo sin cabeza, buscado desesperadamente un lider romantico tipo Fidel en sus primeros años!"You have to make up your own mind where the truth lies.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
'Giant Girl Doll'
Also 'Loose Change'
If you haven't already seen it, you should watch 'Loose Change'. Though the video is criticised, it is nonetheless considered to raise questions that urgently demand serious scrutiny - with big implications for us all.
With subtitles in:
Friday, September 08, 2006
'Percusienfa' de Erik Mongrain.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Podcasts in Spanish.
"BBC Estudio 834 es un espacio de encuentro y conversación.
Un espacio para entrevistas, charlas informales con personalidades del mundo hispano que han destacado en la política, deportes, cultura y entretenimiento.
En el corazón del servicio latinoamericano de la BBC, el 834 es el estudio en el que técnicos y productores hemos transmitido por años nuestra programación al mundo de habla hispana."
There's a wealth of Spanish podcasts on topical, bizarre and humorous subjects at la Aradio.
If you like your Spanish listening spiced there's some to warm your ears at Sex Podcast.
There's an interesting podcast idea at the albimist - a serial story in Spanish, English and German (parallel audio?). I'm not sure about the accents.
Ben and Marina produce regular podcasts in Spanish at Notes from Spain - with transcripts available.
Choose your own subject of interest at Directorio de podcasts en español y podcasting en castellano. And at the smart new directory: pod sonoro.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Roland from Poland.
'Roland from Poland - Asylum Seeker'. Rightly described as 'innovative breakbeat tunes' - from Tim Taylor.
The critics say:
"A triumph of DIY ethics" The Wire
"One of the most impressive albums of the year." Venue
Free to download at laundry-room (visit 'The Sink'): well worthwhile.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Song of the Withered Orange-tree.
Canción del Naranjo Seco
Córtame la sombra.
Líbrame del suplicio
de verme sin toronjas.
¿Por qué nací entre espejos?
El día me da vueltas.
Y la noche me copia
en todas sus estrellas.
Quiero vivir sin verme.
Y hormigas y vilanos,
soñaré que son mis
hojas y mis pájaros.
Córtame la sombra.
Líbrame del suplicio
de verme sin toronjas.
J L Gili's translation:
Cut my shadow.
Deliver me from the torture
of beholding myself fruitless.
Why was I born surrounded by mirrors?
The day turns round me.
And the night reproduces me
in each of her stars.
I want to live without seeing myself.
And I shall dream
that ants and hawks
are my leaves and birds.
Cut my shadow.
Deliver me from the torture
of beholding myself fruitless.
Some sources show this poem with a dedication: 'A Carmen Morales'.
I haven't been able to find anything about her and Lorca. I imagine she is Carmen Morales the actress (in films:Una nueva primavera (1940), Las uvas de la ira (1940)- The Grapes of Wrath - and Los amantes de la noche (1949)), but there's nothing out there about her, except the names of her films and some photos.
We have a new Carmen Morales, actress, now (School Killer, Hotel Danubio): the daughter of Rocío Dúrcal and Antonio Morales (aka Junior). Their story in Spanish.
Here's a suberb Lorca resource: Poesía de Federico García Lorca.
Image: Orange-tree mosaic © 1998 Lindsay Violet Mary Farrell.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Diarios de Viaje.
This is a series of diaries, hand-written and illustrated by Joaquin Gonzalez Dorao, a Spanish graphic designer and illustrator, from his journeys to several countries. Beautiful pieces.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Embarazar was first recorded in Spanish in 1460. The root of the word is in the meaning to bar, block, impede, hinder. I couldn't think how that connects with being pregnant. What is impeded? - the womb. Or, more likely, it could derive from sex being barred during pregnancy in those days. The Church proclaimed: 'Sex is forbidden when a woman is menstruating, pregnant, nursing, during lent,...' So, when pregnant, she was 'barred'.
If the above derivation is correct, then the Spanish usage of the word is understandable. English adopted the word via the French embarrasser. It was not used to mean 'feeling ashamed or awkward' until the 1800s, and this meaning likely developed from the feelings (some would say, particularly English feelings) associated with being impeded or held back.
A Spanish word trail:
1. v.tr. Impedir, estorbar, retardar algo - block, hold back
2. v.tr. Dejar encinta a una mujer - make pregnant
adj. Dicho de una mujer - preñada, pregnant
adj. Dicho de una mujer, o de una hembra de cualquier especie que ha concebido y tiene el feto o la criatura en el vientre (baby in the belly).
1. v.tr. to conceive, to understand
2. v.intr. to become pregnant, conceive (mujer)
The danger of mistaking embarazada for embarrassed makes it a 'false friend' (not a false cognate; they are cognates = they share the same root).
For those so tempted, you should know:
When an obscene meaning is produced in making a pun on a false friend, it is called cacemphaton (κακεμφάτον), Greek for 'bad-looking'. The prime pun on embarrass/embarazar seems to be this (Google returned 825 of these):
When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."
Yet, be cautious still, for embarazoso means exactly the same as 'embarrassing'.
Image: Font of Life © 2006 S Carlos
Thursday, April 06, 2006
El final de la diversidad cultural.
It's bilingual throughout with powerful writing, strong design and fantastic pictures. In this issue dedicated to Travel, for instance, there's a piece on the effects of travel on cultural diversity:
"See the world while it lasts. Technology is infectious. Every time an antenna is raised in a remote village, another local culture becomes extinct. No society is equipped to withstand the onslaught. Every satellite launched, every cable laid, and the death of every elder, hastens the end of cultural diversity. If you are 25, it will disappear during your lifetime. Forget about stopping it; you can't. Instead savor every chance you get to absorb a passing world, to experience as much as you can before it fades into a big version of anyplace."(If you're thinking that gives you plenty of time -
"Hay que ver el mundo antes de que desaparezca del mapa. La tecnología es contagiosa. Cada nueva antena que se levanta en una aldea remota significa el final de una cultura. Ninguna sociedad tiene los medios para defenderse. Cada vez que se pone en órbita un satélite, cada vez que se entierra un cable de televisíon, cada vez que muere un anciano, se acerca el final de la diversidad cultural. Si hoy tienes 25 años desaparecerá antes de que te mueras. Ni si te ocurra tratar de impedirlo: es imposible. Lo mejor es aprovechar todas las posibilidades que se presenten de saborear el mundo que se desvanece, ver y aprender todo lo que puedas antes de que el mundo se convierta en un lugar donde todos y todo se parece."
the issue quoted was published in 1995.)
COLORS magazine spread showing used Coke cans from America, Poland, Zimbabwe, Australia, Japan, Finland, Nepal.
So they recommend:
"Go now. Go for the people, not for the weather. Go to learn. Pass along to your friends and later, your kids, the things you learned, wherever you went. Use the technology you have to record what you find. Take pictures, tape music and stories, make videos. And leave nothing behind. When you go back home, take things away in your head, not in your suitcase.
If you want a souvenir, bring back a used can of Coke."
"Viaja, pero que sea la gente, y no el clima del lugar, el objetivo de tu viaje. Viaja y aprende. Así podrás enseñar a tus amigos y, después, a tus hijos todo lo que has aprendido en tus viajes. Aprovecha la tecnología para grabar cuanto encuentres. Saca fotos, graba música e historias y graba videos. No dejes nada olvidado: a volver a tu país, llévatelo todo en la cabeza, no en la maleta.
Si quieres un souvenir, llévate una lata vacía de Coca Cola."
"Thanks to IBM machines, social classes are going to disappear, and the whole universe will be cuckolded."
From Alain Bosquet's Conversations with Dali (1969).
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Is it after the first kiss?
Many of us have difficulties. Here are some comments from the wordreference forum.
"I translate romantic novels from English into Spanish and it is very tricky to find the moment when the boss and the secretary or the doctor and the nurse switch from usted to tú. Is it after the first kiss? Is it before?" (Mary Solari)In much of Latin America it's different again: 'ustedes' is used even with family members; 'vosotros' is seldom used. And in some parts, 'vos' replaces 'tú', and 'tú' is used with people merely known.
Consequently, South Americans worry about their reception in Spain:
"I never learned 'vosotros' and mis amigos madrileños laugh at me when I speak to them in 'Uds' ... I wonder, if I ever move to Spain, will I have to learn it? Will I pick it up naturally? Will people forgive me and know I learned my Spanish on this side of the Atlantic?"(Lisa)Mary Solari replies:
"Don't worry, Lisa, I had never used vosotros in my life and have adopted it very easily since living in Spain."Maeron:
"I asked some Spanish friends about this, and they said it doesn't sound so strange to them that we call them Uds. because they are acquainted with it from watching Latin American telenovelas."
No hay nada malo
As we no longer use 'ye' in English, we often have to explain when we mean a plural 'you', not a singular. Ambiguities can also arise in Spanish with the forms of 'you':
El director general de un banco se preocupa por un joven director estrella, quien después de un período de trabajar a la par de él, sin parar nunca a almorzar, empieza a ausentarse al mediodía.
Así que llama al detective privado del banco y le dice: "Siga a López un día entero, no vaya a ser que ande en algo extraño."
El detective cumple con el cometido, regresa e informa:
"López sale normalmente al mediodía, toma su auto, va a su casa a almorzar, luego le hace el amor a su mujer, se fuma uno de sus excelentes cigarrillos y vuelve a trabajar."
"¡Ah, bueno!, ¡menos mal!, no hay nada malo en todo eso."
"Puedo tutearlo, señor?" pregunta el detective.
"Sí, como no", responde sorprendido el director general.
"Repito: López sale normalmente al mediodía, toma tu auto, va a tu casa a almorzar, luego le hace el amor a tu mujer, se fuma uno de tus excelentes cigarrillos y vuelve a trabajar."
'Usted' derives from 'vuestra merced' (literally your mercy), meaning your grace, your honour, your worship, or your highness (though a king is addressed 'su alteza'); and is voiced in the third person. 'Vuestra merced' was first used in colonial times and has evolved down through many forms to 'vusted', then 'usted'; abbreviated 'Vd.' or 'Ud.' (Some say the evolution has continued, through 'usté', to 'u'té'!)
Which to use
More from the wordreference forum:
"Usted nowadays is just a polite form that you use to talk to someone you do not know, to someone who is much older than you, to talk to someone showing respect. If you want to go one step farther, you can ask 'puedo tutearlo?', and if the person agrees, you can start using 'tú'."Alternatively, you can ask them to 'tú' you: "Tutéame, por favor."
Or you can heed the old Yorkshire advice to follow the person you're talking with: "Thee thou them as thou's thee, and not afore."
For a full explanation in Spanish of the use of the forms 'tú' and 'usted' see this page on Protocolo y Etiqueta, where there's lots of valuable advice on correct behaviour in Spain.
There's a 'Notes from Spain' podcast on the subject of tu and usted.
Joke from extrasensorial.com.
More info (in English): Formal and informal 'you'.
tutear, to address as 'tú' (regular '-ar' verb)
Main image: La Confianza ('Confidence') by Francisco de Goya.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Amor y deseo.
Is it love you feel, or is it desire?
Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset explores the difference:
"Desiring something is, without doubt, a move toward possession of that something ('possession' meaning that in some way or other the object should enter our orbit and become part of us). For this reason, desire automatically dies when it is fulfilled; it ends with satisfaction. Love, on the other hand, is eternally unsatisfied.In Spanish:
Desire has a passive character; when I desire something, what I actually desire is that the object come to me. Being the center of gravity, I await things to fall down before me. Love, as we shall see, is the exact reverse of desire, for love is all activity. Instead of the object coming to me, it is I who go to the object and become part of it. In the act of love, the person goes out of himself. Love is perhaps the supreme activity which nature affords anyone for going out of himself [/herself] toward something else. It does not gravitate toward me, but I toward it."
"Desear algo es, en definitiva, tendencia a la posesión de ese algo; donde posesión significa, de una u otra manera, que el objeto entre en nuestra órbita y venga como a formar parte de nosotros. Por esta razón, el deseo muere automáticamente cuando se logra; fenece al satisfacerse. El amor, en cambio, es un eterno satisfecho.
El deseo tiene un carácter pasivo, y en rigor lo que deseo al desear es que el objeto venga a mí. Soy centro de gravitación, donde espero que las cosas vengan a caer. Viceversa: en el amor todo es actividad, según veremos. Y en lugar de consistir en que el objeto venga a mí, soy yo quien va al objeto y estoy en él. En el acto amoroso, la persona sale fuera de sí: es tal vez el máximo ensayo que la Naturaleza hace para que cada cual salga de sí mismo hacia otra cosa. No ella hacia mí, sino yo gravito hacia ella."
If it is love you feel, then you'd best be prepared. These are the words of the Lebanese Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet:
"When love beckons to you follow him,In Spanish:
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses
your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart."
"Cuando el amor os llame, seguidlo.
Aunque su camino sea duro y penoso.
Y entregaos a sus alas que envuelven.
Aunque la espada escondida entre ellas os hiera.
Y creed en él cuando os hable.
Aunque su voz aplaste vuestros sueños,
como hace el viento del norte,
el viento que arrasa los jardines.
Porque, así como el amor os da gloria, así os crucifica.
Así como os da abundancia, así os poda.
Así como se remonta a lo más alto
y acaricia vuestras ramas más débiles,
que se estremecen bajo el sol.
Así caerá hasta vuestras raíces
y las sacudirá en un abrazo con la tierra.
Como a gavillas de trigo él os une a vosotros mismos.
Os desgarra para desnudaros.
Os cierne, para libraros de los pliegues que cubren vuestra figura.
Os pulveriza hasta volveros blancos.
Os amasa, para que lo dócil y lo flexible renazca de vuestra dureza.
Y os destina luego a su fuegro sagrado,
para que podáis ser sagrado pan en la sagrada fiesta de Dios.
Todo esto hará el amor en vosotros para acercaros al conocimiento de vuestro corazón y convertiros, por ese conocimiento, en fragmento del corazón de la Vida."
If you're avoiding love, you'd best beware:
"But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,In Spanish:
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears."
"Pero si vuestro miedo os hace buscar solamente la paz y el placer de amor,
Entonces sería mejor que cubrierais vuestra desnudez y os alejarais de sus umbrales,
Hacia un mundo sin primavera donde reiréis, pero no con toda vuestra risa, y lloraréis, pero no con todas vuestras lágrimas."
Estudios Sobre el Amor by José Ortega y Gasset, translated into English by Toby Talbot.
El Profeta, The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, translated into Spanish by Halet Soleiman Bahadur.
Available to read online:
Image: from Le Jeu de Colin-Maillard ('Blind-man's buff') by Francisco de Goya.
Friday, February 24, 2006
His lollipop was first named Gol (goal), because of its spherical shape; later changed to Chups. To promote the lolly, a song was created for the radio, with the chorus line: 'Chupa chupa chupa un Chups' (Suck suck suck a Chups); but kids who'd heard the song asked for 'chupa Chups' in the shops, so the name was changed.
In 1969, wanting a new logo, Enric Bernat went to Figueras to see Salvador Dalí. In less than an hour, Dalí had designed the daisy-flower Chupa-Chups logo which the lollies have worn ever since.
chupar to suck
aspirar to suck in/up
lisonjear to suck up to someone
una chupa a short jacket
lamer to lick
Here's a brilliant Dalí site, in English, Spanish, Catalan and French.
Added February 25th:
Whilst checking my pings (if that's what it's called) I came across this E-pop post about Chupa-Chups with similar info, in Spanish.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
'You must look until it hurts.'
Spain is disturbing. And you can't just visit it like a museum, paying your entrance fee. It needs more than that: love and the deep respect which creates an inevitable bond. Spain demands of its visitor certain virtues, and the first of these, to my mind, is the courage to see. You must look until it hurts."
from Spain, by Dominique Aubier and Manuel Tuñon de Lara;
translated by Neline C Clegg; Studio Vista, 1960.
Photo © 2006 S Carlos
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Multi-layered Madrid techno.
If you're into hard house, acid, techno, drum & bass and such like, then here's a brilliant link - you'll thank me for this: masses of long dj mixes free to download at bangingtunes.com.
This is a half-hour mix of Madrid techno, described as 'dark, consistent, constant mixing of pounding, eerie white labels with live sampling and fx.'
Here's a great 'twisting psy trance mix' - it's had me cleaned out now four times round.
Mixes: Madrid techno: The Well: Meatgarden by Moogz
twisting psy trance: Rough Around the Edges by Just Dave
Image © 2006 S Carlos
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
'Aranj-U-ez' from Atocha.
In Atocha Station, wanting to go to Aranjuez, I enquired at the desk. Being confused about pronounciation of 'g's and 'j's followed by 'u's and 'e's (or 'i's) and use of the sound 'ch' (as in Scottish 'loch' or German 'Bach'), I pronounced the town name: Aran-'ch'-eth.
The lady behind the desk, correcting me, very clearly (though politely) enunciated: Arran-'ch'-WH-ayth.
If you're not sure, here's the Castilian rules on 'g's and 'j's:
g before e or i = 'ch', as in 'loch' (gente - people)
g before a or o = 'g', as in 'go' (garaje - garage)
gu before e or i = 'g', as in 'go' (guerra - war)
gu before a or o = 'goo', as in 'guano' (guante - glove)
gü before e or i = 'goo', as in 'guano' (vergüenza - shame)
j before any vowel = 'ch', as in 'loch' (Jerez, Maja)
ju before any vowel = 'wh', as in 'when', strongly aspirated (jueves - Thursday. And Aranjuez)
Picture shows the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.
Photo © 2006 S Carlos
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Not wishing to plaster my gorgeous self over the web, risk becoming a viral image, or be identified as this person writing (due to extreme shyness and fear of avengers and evangelists), I found what I thought would suit me for a persona in this engraving of a dashing mustachioed man. I especially liked the tattoo on his chest, which reads: 'FORGET ME NOT'.
However, I've now discovered that he's not anonymous. He's Mr Frank Burgh: he and his wife were famous for their tattoos.
Here they are in The Picture Magazine of June 1893:
(Click image to enlarge)
The text reads:
MR. FRANK BURGH - MRS. FRANK BURGH(I think I liked her hair better in the tattoo.)
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Burgh are Americans, and have been showing the public how tattooing has been brought to a fine art. The tattooing is done in the ordinary way, and the tints are also beautifully assorted - the finish being perfect. The chest of Mr. Frank Burgh shows a pattern of beautifully designed flowers, among which reclines the figure of Mrs. Burgh. The lady's shoulders are adorned with representations of well-known Biblical incidents.
Sadly, it seems that we did forget: a search on Google for - "frank burgh" tattoo - returns absolutely nothing. Well, he's here now.
According to Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, not only do we desire immortality, but the immortality of our friends and family, of our homes and nations, and of all aspects of life.
(El Sentimiento Trágico de la Vida)
Added Februrary 9th:
I was so pleased for Frank, look:
But there's a somewhat dull ending to this story of the creation of immortality for a man who did not wish to be forgotten. The Picture Magazine of 1893 got his name wrong; there's a Frank and Emma deBurgh listed at the Tattoo Archive. (And Emma's had her hair cut yet again!)
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Some great Spanish listening.
Tres Majas y más.
We've all seen a million of these: in every souvenir shop on every road in every resort, and in every airport too. The lady with the fan on the red and black wrapper has possibly become the archetypal Spanish señorita. And it really is a great souvenir. Wash your hands with it, and whenever you bring your hand near your face you smell the rose and jasmine fragrance; that fresh, clean smell that reminds you of Spain.
Myrurgia, the company that makes Maja (check out their amazing website), was founded in Barcelona in 1916 by a Catalan sculptor, Esteban Monegal Prat.
"En 1916, el escultor catalán Esteban Monegal Prat fundó Myrurgia en el corazón de Barcelona. Desde sus inquietudes artísticas, supo dotar a su empresa de una personalidad, de una dimensión creativa y de una filosofía de innovación constante que ha perdurado, tanto en la concepción de sus nuevos productos como en el diseño de sus planes de expansión."Other famous Majas
From a business press release, the Story of Myrurgia.
La Maja Desnuda
The Naked Maja, painted by Francisco de Goya between 1797 and 1800, is said to be the first depiction of pubic hair in Western art*.
La Maja Vestida (The Clothed Maja)
Goya also painted the same woman identically posed, but clothed. It's not known who she is.
In 1815, Goya was summoned by the Spanish Inquisition about the 'obscene' La Maja Desnuda, and consequently stripped of his position as the Spanish court painter.
From the story of La Maja Desnuda.
Hairdo from Spain
Here's a lovely piece by Ysabel de la Rosa, an American lady living in Madrid getting herself a Spanish hairdo in Barcelona, and being complimented: "Qué maja" (how charming).
Meanings of Maja
Real Academia Española definition of 'maja':
"Dicho de una persona: Que en su porte, acciones y vestidos afecta un poco de libertad y guapeza, más propia de la gente ordinaria."
Maja, or Maia, was the name of the Roman goddess of spring, the wife of Vulcan. The month of May is named for her. In Greek and Roman mythology she was the eldest of the Pleiades, the group of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, who were the daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Her son by Zeus was Hermes.
"You shall not be called Thumbelina any more," said the tiny king. "You shall be called Maia."
from Little Tiny or Thumbelina, Hans Christian Andersen.
Maya, 'illusion' in Hinduism, prevents us from knowing ourselves. She preoccupies us with mind games.
But, perhaps the most apposite definition of 'maja' here is that given by Wikipedia.
A majo or maja was a member of the nineteenth-century Madrid artistic scene, who distinguished themselves by their pure, gracious use of the Castilian language and their elaborate outfits.
The term later became a more general word meaning 'pretty' or 'nice looking' (synonymous with bonito). More recently, 'majo/a' is used as a synonym of simpático to refer to someone who is 'nice' or has a pleasant personality; with the diminutive 'majete' and the superlative 'majísimo'.
* I don't believe this. It'll probably come down to 'what is Art?'. Surely someone, somewhere in several thousand years or more must have picked up a burnt stick and depicted his thoughts.
Added March 24th:
Dos Majos y una Moza
Dos Majos y una Moza by Lorenzo Tiepolo (una moza: young girl, lass)
Thursday, December 22, 2005
It opens in a small window that's always on top; and it gives you, at hand, all the accented letters in Albanian, Catalán, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, as well as some useful symbols and fractions (€ ƒ ‰ £ § ® ¶ ‹ › † ™ ¢ ¥ © ¼ ½ ¾ & ¡¿!?).
Sunday, December 18, 2005
CSS drop cap.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
The power of punctuation.
It's a very good read, and pretty much definitive on punctuation; the purpose of which, according to a Thomas McCormack, is 'to tango the reader into the pauses, inflexions, continuities and connections' of the spoken word.
I thought this an interesting point:
In translating the Bible from the Hebrew, which had no punctuation, arguments arise over how some passages, like this (Luke, xxiii, 43), should be interpreted:
Protestant interpretation of passage:A couple of other amusements:
"Verily, I say unto thee, This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise."
Catholic interpretation of passage:
"Verily I say unto thee this day. Thou shalt be with me in Paradise."
"What is this thing called, love?"
"He shot himself as a child." (...shot, himself, as...)
Monday, December 12, 2005
Some of the comments:
"cet artiste est épatant !!!!" ('top hole')
"awesome I really got down with my badself with this one."
"héhéhé pas mal!!!"
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Spanish-style cards are 'Latin-suited': with suits named coins (oros), cups (copas), swords (espadas), and batons (bastos). These are the original suits, the suits found on the divinatory Tarot deck, and the suits found in the oldest surviving European decks.
The suits depict the most important classes in medieval times: merchants (coins), clergy (cups), nobility (swords) and peasants (clubs). Coins equal diamonds; cups, hearts; swords, spades; and batons, clubs.
They're normally sold as a 48-card pack, with numerals 1 to 9, and court cards labelled 10, 11 and 12; though many games use only 40 cards, omitting the 8 and 9. You can buy 52-card packs, though (+ jokers, see below).
Spanish-style cards are also used in many parts of Italy, northern Africa, parts of the west coast of France and in Latin America.
Some expressions which originate from card playing:
Cantar las cuarenta - to give someone a piece of one's mind
Barajar varias posibilidades - to toy with various possibilities
Tener un as en la manga - to have an ace up one's sleeve
Ser un as - to be an ace
Jose's Page on Games with the Spanish Pack (in English).
Heraclio Fournier's page of games, each as pdf (in Spanish).
Serena's Guide to Divination and Fortune Telling with Spanish Playing Cards (in English).
In software: 65 classical Spanish solitaires with the 'beautifully designed, award-winning, artistic' Fournier cards. (in English. Download free 21-day demo. $12.95 to buy.)
Some card tricks (in English).
A History of Playing Cards (in English).
The origins of the Tarot (in Spanish).
Something else to do with a few packs of cards.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Here's a link to the text in English (though this is not Gili's translation).
The poet Ted Hughes first discovered Lorca's works in Gili's 'admirable anthology'. He considered Lorca's 'Theory and Function of the Duende' the 'unsurpassed articulation of the possibilities of Theatre'. (Hughes' version of Blood Wedding, which premiered in London in 1996, is described as one of the most intense dramatisations of the work by Lorca in any language.)
I first came across Lorca, too, in this Penguin edition, and noticed Gili's translation of 'nardos', a word Lorca uses a lot ('the ubiquitous nardo'). Gili translates 'nardos' as 'tuberoses', and it seemed a reasonable word to find in a surrealist's poem, given the tuberous shapes in some of Dali's paintings.
Some of Lorca's 'nardos':
From Malagueña:From Gili's translation, I had an image of Lorca's 'tuberose' as something tuberous; even, in the context of his 'sea-shore' and 'bathes her body', something like a 'loofa'. I perceived it as like the shapes in this letter M; and later (with different graphics software) as these trumpet-shaped plant-like forms:
Y hay un olor a sal
y a sangre de hembra
en nardos febriles
de la marina.
translated by Gili: And there is a smell of salt and woman's blood in the feverish tuberoses of the sea-shore.
La noche canta desnuda
sobre los puentos de marzo.
Lolita lava su cuerpo
con agua salobre y nardos.
by Gili: The night sings above the bridges of March. Lolita bathes her body with salt water and tuberoses.
From La Aurora:
La aurora de Nueva York gime
por las inmensas escaleras
buscando entre las aristas
nardos de angustia dibujada.
by Gili: New York's daybreak moans along the immense stairways, seeking between ledges tuberoses of delineated anguish.
'Tuberose' is, in fact, the given common name for Polyanthes tuberosa. This is what English-speaking horticulturists call it.
Chambers Dictionary gives 'tuberose' as meaning 'tuberous'; but goes on to say, "often, by false association with tube and rose, a Mexican amaryllid (Polyanthes tuberosa) grown for its fragrant creamy-white flowers, propagated by tubers" (?)
Larousse Diccionario Moderno gives 'nardo' as 'nard, spikenard'; though this is defined as Nardostachys jatamans, not Polyanthes tuberosa. The Weekly Wire notes a translation of 'Poet in New York' in which nardo is translated as "spikenard".
Collins Paperback Spanish Dictionary gives 'nardo' as 'lily'.
Real Academia Española Dictionary gives 'nardo' as 'Planta de la familia de las Liliáceas'.
From Las Flores en La Poesía Española: "Lorca emplea nardos, claveles y rosas para simbolizar la blancura y el contraste con la sangre." (Lorca uses 'nardos', carnations and roses to symbolize whiteness in contrast with blood.)
In the language of flowers, popular in Victorian Times, 'Tuberose' appears, signifying 'dangerous pleasures'.
As the 'nardo' is a member of the lily family, perhaps, to English ears at any rate, a translation of 'nardos' as 'lilies', would have better conveyed Lorca's meaning.
Liz Henry, a literary translator, discusses 'nardo' on her blog. She considers its use in poetry in a context of a sexy, morbid, funereal splendor and perhaps of a heavy overpowering incense. She offers 'scented lily', 'costly balm', 'myrrh' and 'fragrant valerian' as possibilities.
I couldn't get a picture of an actual tuberose without paying $79.95, so here's a link to that beautiful picture. (Some of the keywords attached to this image are: fragrant flower, polyanthus lily, mexican flower.)
There are some lovely comments made about the plant, including: 'It is a unique flower - possibly the one which is used in every sphere of the Indian - Hindu life'; 'The Flowers of this plant blossom in the night and should you happen to pass by this plant in the night you will be engulfed by its sweet smell'; 'I have never smelled anything so romantic or captivating';
'The Tuberose (polianthes tuberosa), is a flower that is both mythical and magical, its nectar said by some to have special powers and its scent magical to all who experience it'.
At the time of the Spanish conquest, Polianthes tuberosa was already entirely domesticated by the indigenous civilizations of Mexico who used the essential oil of the plant to flavor chocolate. (mmm!)
About the plant: in Spanish, in English.
Good sites on Lorca: in Spanish, in English.
A pdf on the difficulties of translating Lorca.
More on Ted Hughes.
In Argentina nardos are eaten - and, from the recipe, do seem to be something tuberous!
Una risa inglesa.
A flea and a fly in a flue
were imprisoned so what could they do?
Said the flea "let us fly"
said the fly" let us flee"
so they flew through a flaw in the flue.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Less pain in Spain.
GW Pharmaceuticals has reached agreement with the Health Department of The Regional Government of Catalonia to supply the herbal extract. The programme will be coordinated by the Catalan Institute of Pharmacology with six Catalan hospitals participating.
Sativex, a cannabis extract which is sprayed under the tongue, is to be supplied to 600 patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and a number of other conditions under a compassionate access programme. The programme will include an evaluation of safety and tolerability and an assessment of impact on quality of life.
Notable point: A Judge in Germany criticising criminal prosecution of severely ill persons who use cannabis, said: "Why don't we allow a man with such a heavy burden some good days".
(Source: International Association for Cannabis as Medicine)
Image: El Quitasol by Francisco de Goya y Luciente.
About Goya: in English, in Spanish.