26 dezembro 2003

The Rings

Dangerous topicality in The Lord of the Rings: a vindication and veneration of empire, so says a bunch of philosophers in the openDemocracy website.
Again, baddies and racial issues by The Guardian. To top it all, is Howard Shore's music Wagnerian, and therefore everything imperialistic? From the New Yorker

Web Site Picks Year's Most Deeply Embedded Word
(and a touch of Spain ;-)
A U.S. Web site specializing in language named what it called the top word, phrase and name of the year on Thursday, picking them all from the war in Iraq.

Embedded, as in the reporters assigned to accompany military units during the war, beat out «blog» and «SARS» as the top word of 2003, Web site yourDictionary.com said.

«Embedded was the best word to distill the events of an extraordinary year into eight simple letters,» declared Paul JJ Payack, president of YourDictionary.com.

Previous top words include 2000's «chad» (from the hanging squares of paper on Florida presidential ballots), 2001's «Ground Zero» (the site where the World Trade Center collapsed) and 2002's «misunderestimate» (a presidential slip of the tongue that became frequent comedy fodder).

«Shock-and-awe,» the phrase the U.S. military used to describe the type of campaign it would wage in Iraq, topped other Iraq-related terms like «rush to war,» «weapons of mass destruction» and «spider-hole» as the top phrase of 2003.

The name most on people's lips during the year was Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader recently captured in a hole in the ground.

He beat out «Ahh-nold» (as in newly-elected California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger) and «W.» (as in President Bush).

The site's lists, created by taking nominations from users around the world and then having them judged by «professional wordsmiths,» take some liberties with Bush.

One of 2003's leading words is «Bushisms,» to describe the president's oft-satirized verbal style. The site published a list of the president's top-five mispronunciations, including «new-cue-ler» (for nuclear) and «Anzar» (for Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar).

As for 2004, Payack said there was already an early contender. «Mad cow» was on the list a few years ago, because of what was happening in the U.K. «Mad cow» could be big next year.»

24 dezembro 2003

Lisboa em Fevereiro próximo:

Desde tempos ancestrais que o taiko tem sido um símbolo de comunidade – servindo de elo entre os povos e os céus. Nesta digressão vamos continuar a trazer o som do taiko aos ouvidos do mundo – com a capacidade ímpar de transcender as barreiras de línguas e hábitos – não nos deixando esquecer que somos membros duma comunidade mais vasta: o mundo.
Na tournée «Uma Digressão pelo Mundo» já deram mais de 2.200 espectáculos.

Soundbites from America (translated, I know, but not by me):
«Os 14 músicos criaram ondas de som que pareciam transformar o próprio Carnegie Hall numa cavidade de ressonância coberta com pele de animal».
New York Times

«Não há dúvida que se a perfeição em música existe, o Kodo é o que mais se aproxima dessa perfeição».
Boston Globe

Quinta da Regaleira

22 dezembro 2003

Here's a book I'd love to read, and maybe i'll be able to attempt it in Galego! :-)

O escritor galego Bernardino Graña venceu a segunda edição do Prémio Eixo-Atlântico/"La Voz de Galicia"/PÚBLICO de Narrativa Galega e Portuguesa, no valor de 18 mil euros, com o romance "Protoevanxeo do Neto de Herodes", uma obra que, segundo a declaração do júri, anunciada ontem, "propõe uma leitura inesperada de acontecimentos narrados na Bíblia", designadamente os que respeitam ao nascimento de Cristo.

19 dezembro 2003

Simon Blackburn in defence of Lust (despite of the Bush administration and the Holy See) ;-P

In many lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, lust is replaced by luxuria or luxury. This is not an innocent mistake, but reflects the urge to inject something morally obnoxious into the definition. If we associate lust with excess and surfeit, then its case is already lost. But it is a cheap victory: excessive desire is bad because it is excessive, not because it is desire.

Coffee, a bibliography

Mind da caption - Starbucks (boo) and Peet's (hooray) - Why didn't we go to Peet's in Saratoga? Darn!

American crave for coffee after the Boston Tea Party :-)
No more shall my teapot so generous be
In filling the cups with this pernicious tea
For I’ll fill it with water and drink out the same
Before I’ll lose LIBERTY that dearest name.

18 dezembro 2003

Out of curiosity, this is from the OED but notice the oh-so-American idea of churning verbs/nouns/adjectives (strikeout at will) outta each and every word, in round-tabler, for one. Jeezzz...

Round Table, n.
Also round table, Table Round.
1. a. The table, celebrated in mediæval legend, round which Arthur and his chosen knights were supposed to have sat, and which was made round so that there might be no pre-eminence or rivalry.
The earliest mention of the table is that in Wace's Roman de Brut (1155). From at least the 15th century (see quot. 1485) the name has been given to a large circular table preserved at Winchester, bearing the names of Arthur and his most famous knights.
b. In Knight (etc.) of the Round Table.
c. The body of knights of this order.
d. A meeting or assembly of Arthur's knights and nobles. Obs.
e. attrib., as Round Table cycle, hero, knight, legend, etc.
2. An imitation of Arthur's Round Table as an institution; an assembly of knights for the purpose of holding a tournament and festival, esp. that instituted by King Edward III in 1345.
The statements in Dugdale, Warton, etc., in regard to the tournament held by Mortimer at Kenilworth in 1279 are based on misunderstandings of the older authorities (see Wykes in Ann. Monast. (Rolls) IV. 281-2 and Rishanger Chron. 94).
b. (See quot.) Obs.
The quotation is a direct translation from Walsingham Historia Brevis (1574) 154.
3. A name applied locally to various natural or artificial antiquities, freq. reputed to have associations with King Arthur.
4. (Freq. with lower-case initials.) Used generally (alone or as attrib. phrase) to denote a number of persons seated round a circular table, or imagined as forming a gathering of this kind; spec. an assembly of people for a conference or discussions at which all participants are accorded equal status (in this sense freq. attrib.). Also transf., a collection of opinions or remarks on a particular subject.
5. A formal association whose members meet regularly for discussion, spec. an organization (or a branch of it) founded in 1927, in which professional people between the ages of 18 and 40 hold discussions, debates, and similar activities, and undertake community service and the promotion of international understanding. Also allusively as adj., designating the qualities or characteristics associated with the Round Table or its members.
Hence round-table v., to take part in a round-table conference; round-tabler.
The use in quot. 1923 is with allusion to the periodical The Round Table (see quot. 1910 under sense 4 above).

16 dezembro 2003

And now for something completely different (or is it?):
(from Dictionary.com)

Original; prototypical: ur-feminist; ur-language.

[From German ur-, original. See Ursprache:

A language that is the recorded or hypothetical ancestor of another language or group of languages. Also called Ursprache.

This website and project, called Urville is the creation of a young man suffering from the Syndrome of Asperger, passionate about urban landscaping. He claims he called it Urville due to an historical figure and thus it has nothing to do with the idea of an Ur-city, a prototypical, archetypal, city - this was my idea, and yes, I'm showing off, but the credit should go to him. Kudos!
The Arts & Weekend section of the Financial Times contains an article about the IQ testing as practiced by Mensa, inasmuch as it seems to be dumbing down. Just in case, here's Mensa Workout for one's brain. Haven't tried yet - spookeyyyy :-)

14 dezembro 2003

PowerPoint Makes You Dumb

The New York Times confirms what we've suspected all along: PowerPoint makes you dumb. In a new essay, information theorist Edward Tufte outlines why PowerPoint 'forces people to mutilate data beyond comprehension.' The Columbia Accident Investigation Board at NASA agrees, noting that the slides produced by engineers to report on the wing damage were so confusing that 'a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation.'

This really made my sunday. What can I say, I'm an easy man to content...

12 dezembro 2003

In Defense of Vegetal Memory (Culture) - Umberto Eco

Em Portugal temos actualmente o escândalo das farmacêuticas e o aliciamento dos médicos, na pessoa dos delegados de propaganda médica (para mim, o facto de se chamar «propaganda» nunca augurou nada de bom.
In the United Kingdom, and according to The Observer, it gets more sophisticated: they hire a figure called ghostwriter (already present in famous people's so-called autobiographies) to pen serious articles later signed by prestigious medical staff.

A pinch of history of Astrology with a smidgeon of Astronomy? :-D So Ptolemy, Kepler and such were soothsayers on the side.

Again from The New Yorker (therefore reliable ?), written by some Steve Martin (no idea as to whether...), here's an interview to the author of this masterpiece :-)

First book ever written from a German perspective about the famous truce held over Christmas 1914, during WWI, to play soccer :-)
Bless The Guardian for letting me show off to a very brilliant and interested person in these matters.

Not that we didn't thought about it: The New Yorker posts a lengthy article about Finnegans Wake being co-written by Joyce's daughter (dunno whether there's an explanation pertaining to age).

11 dezembro 2003

New Woody Allen movie, here's a website in Spanish :-D Todo lo Demás

The Way of the Samurai in an extensive article on National Geographic Magazine. The Portuguese one translated it :-), howzabout the Spanish one? Interesting info, the more so coz it mentions the upcoming Cruiser vehicle merely once. Man I'm good! Ok, when I'm bad I'm better: meet Mr. Grin

08 dezembro 2003

A map of Springfield in case you were curious

05 dezembro 2003

How many forum members does it takes to change a light bulb?

1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed
14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs
1 to move it to the Lighting section
2 to argue then move it to the Electricals section
7 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs
5 to flame the spell checkers
3 to correct spelling/grammar flames
6 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ... another 6 to condemn those 6 as stupid
2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp"
15 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct
19 to post that this forum is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb forum
11 to defend the posting to this forum saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this forum
36 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty
7 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs
4 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's
3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group
13 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too"
5 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy
4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"
13 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs"
1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again.

04 dezembro 2003

Bloody Hell! Being fully aware of the contrast between these two posts, and by no means meaning to spoil people's mornings :-), here's a piece of news about Hitler's Second Book. Yep, the f***** did think he had it in him to write and sweep us off our feet (come to think of it, the f***** did that with his voice (alone) - Saruman, anyone?)
I'm afraid I just had to steal this from Janela Indiscreta. It really made my morning

Scene: A large posh office. Two clients, well-dressed city gents, sit facing a large table at which stands Mr. Tid, the account manager of the architectural firm. (original cast: Mr Tid, Graham Chapman; Mr Wiggin, John Cleese; City Gent One, Michael Palin; Client 2:, Terry Jones; Mr Wymer, Eric Idle)
Mr. Tid: Well, gentlemen, we have two architectural designs for this new residential block of yours and I thought it best if the architects themselves explained the particular advantages of their designs.
There is a knock at the door.
Mr. Tid: Ah! That's probably the first architect now. Come in.
Mr. Wiggin enters.
Mr. Wiggin: Good morning, gentlemen.
Clients: Good morning.
Mr. Wiggin: This is a 12-story block combining classical neo-Georgian features with the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive here and are carried along the corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into these...
Client 1: Excuse me.
Mr. Wiggin: Yes?
Client 1: Did you say 'knives'?
Mr. Wiggin: Rotating knives, yes.
Client 2: Do I take it that you are proposing to slaughter our tenants?
Mr. Wiggin: ...Does that not fit in with your plans?
Client 1: Not really. We asked for a simple block of flats.
Mr. Wiggin: Oh. I hadn't fully divined your attitude towards the tenants. You see I mainly design slaughter houses.
Clients: Ah.
Mr. Wiggin: Pity.
Clients: Yes.
Mr. Wiggin: (indicating points of the model) Mind you, this is a real beaut. None of your blood caked on the walls and flesh flying out of the windows incommoding the passers-by with this one. (confidentially) My life has been leading up to this.
Client 2: Yes, and well done, but we wanted an apartment block.
Mr. Wiggin: May I ask you to reconsider.
Clients: Well...
Mr. Wiggin: You wouldn't regret this. Think of the tourist trade.
Client 1: I'm sorry. We want a block of flats, not an abattoir.
Mr. Wiggin: ...I see. Well, of course, this is just the sort of blinkered philistine pig-ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your loathsome spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker's cuss for the struggling artist. You excrement, you whining hypocritical toadies with your colour TV sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic secret handshakes. You wouldn't let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well I wouldn't become a Freemason now if you went down on your lousy stinking knees and begged me.
Client 2: We're sorry you feel that way, but we did want a block of flats, nice though the abattoir is.
Mr. Wiggin: Oh sod the abattoir, that's not important. (He dashes forward and kneels in front of them.) But if any of you could put in a word for me I'd love to be a mason. Masonry opens doors. I'd be very quiet, I was a bit on edge just now but if I were a mason I'd sit at the back and not get in anyone's way.
Client 1: (politely) Thank you.
Mr. Wiggin: ...I've got a second-hand apron.
Client 2: Thank you. (Mr. Wiggin hurries to the door but stops...)
Mr. Wiggin: I nearly got in at Hendon.
Client 1: Thank you.
Mr. Wiggin exits. Mr Tid rises.
Mr. Tid: I'm sorry about that. Now the second architect is Mr. Wymer of Wymer and Dibble. (Mr. Wymer enters, carrying his model with great care. He places it on the table.)
Mr. Wymer: Good morning gentlemen. This is a scale model of the block, 28 stories high, with 280 apartments. It has three main lifts and two service lifts. Access would be from Dibbingley Road. (The model falls over. Mr Wymer quickly places it upright again.) The structure is built on a central pillar system with... (The model falls over again. Mr Wymer tries to make it stand up, but it won't, so he has to hold it upright.) ...with cantilevered floors in pre-stressed steel and concrete. The dividing walls on each floor section are fixed by recessed magnalium-flanged grooves. (The bottom ten floors of the model give way and it partly collapses.) By avoiding wood and timber derivatives and all other inflammables we have almost totally removed the risk of.... (The model is smoking. The odd flame can be seen. Wymer looks at the city gents.) Frankly, I think the central pillar may need strengthening.
Client 2: Is that going to put the cost up?
Mr. Wymer: I'm afraid so.
Client 2: I don't know we need to worry too much about strengthening that. After all, these are not meant to be luxury flats.
Client 1: Absolutely. If we make sure the tenants are of light build and relatively sedentary and if the weather's on our side, I think we have a winner here.
Mr. Wymer: Thank you. (The model explodes.)
Client 2: I quite agree.
Mr. Wymer: Well, thank you both very much. (They all shake hands, giving the secret Mason's handshake.) Cut to Mr. Wiggin watching at the window.
Mr. Wiggin: (turning to camera) It opens doors, I'm telling you.

02 dezembro 2003

Paul Auster on the NYTimes
Plain-English translations

From the same website:

High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process.

Children need good schools if they are to learn properly.
The Foot in Mouth award

The 2003 winner is United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for comments in a press briefing.

'Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.'

Previous winners:

1998: Cardiff MP Rhodri Morgan. In an interview with BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman he was asked if he would like to be the labour leader of the new Welsh Assembly. Rhodri replied 'Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?'. After a long puzzled pause Jeremy asked Rhodri if that was Welsh for yes!

Peter Jackson hints at the The Hobbit
New Line Cinema is currently in talks to purchase the rights to the film adaptation of The Hobbit. There are apparently some difficulties with getting the go ahead from Tolkien's son Christopher, who is executor of the estate. When asked if New Line has approached him about the project, Jackson said he has not ruled it out, but not until after King Kong is done.

27 novembro 2003

One generation’s
luxury will be the next’s necessity: buttons, window glass, socks, rugs, door handles, lace, cranberries...
Eco on Paper vs Electronic Memory

26 novembro 2003

The Elegant Universe series is available online for everyone to enjoy ...........
ROTK premiere survival guide:
For those of you planning on seeing the third LOTR movie at the theater her are some survival tips.

1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait... where the hell is Harry Potter?"
2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" - After the movie, say "Lucas could have done it better."
3. At some point during the movie, stand up and shout: "I must go! Middle Earth needs me!" and run and try to jump into the screen. After bouncing off, return quietly to your seat.
4. Play a drinking game where you have to take a sip every time someone says: "The Ring."
5. Point and laugh whenever someone dies.
6. Ask the nearest ring-nut if he thinks Gandalf went to Hogwarts
7. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mr. Anderson."
8. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way...!"
9. At the end, complain that Gollum was offensive to Ethiopians
10. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.
11. When Shelob appears, pinch the guy in front of you on the back of the neck.
12. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep" Monty Python style.
13. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"
14. Ask people around you who they think is the next "Terminator" sent from the Middle Earth of the future to assassinate Frodo Baggins
15. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!"
16. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get kicked out of the theatre.
17. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"
18. Talk loudly about how you heard that there is a single frame of a nude Elf hidden somewhere in the movie.
19. Start an Orc sing-a-long.
20. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.

It's here... The First ROTK Review...


Gaffes: Fellowship of the Nitpickers
A Web site traces Peter Jackson’s every step... and misstep

25 novembro 2003

Sigur Rós

On Translation

If you have a good time with a book, praise the author; if you have a good time with a paragraph, praise the translator (as well).
This is a rule of thumb devised by Michael Hoffmann to perceive translation work, about Umberto Eco's new book, Mouse or Rat - Translation as Negotiation (yes, yet again :-)

24 novembro 2003

Didn't know D.H. Lawrence dabbed at painting too :P

In June 1929 a squad of embarrassed policemen raided the Warren gallery in London, and seized 13 paintings by DH Lawrence. They were spared from being burned on condition that they were never exhibited in Britain again.

The paintings were exported - "to corrupt some other poor buggers" as Lawrence remarked - but a set of replicas was on view yesterday at the Pan bookshop in London.

And I thought Germany had some reaaaally bad town names. It seems that Austria is indeed home to a town called 'Fucking' (48' 03"N 13' 51"E). Here are a few photos of the reportedly hard-to-keep sign:

(The "Bitte — nicht so schnell!" is German for "Please — not so fast!" is the icing on the cake)
El hombre de la Quinta del sordo

Robert Hughes's account of Goya's life and art on the NYTimes

The Second Coming of Philip K. Dick

The inside-out story of how
a hyper-paranoid, pulp-fiction hack conquered the movie world 20 years after his death.

21 novembro 2003

Late-breaking news:
incidentally - no, really - the Lord of the Gold Ring seems to be foundering in a sea of commercialism, so the Boston Globe says. Tss tss.

Inspired by, for sure, and there are more writers in this sort of series, Eça de Queirós, Júlio Dinis, Shakespeare, Balzac, etc.
Ehehey, Martin Amis on porn:

From the man the New York Times calls the best American writer England has ever produced comes a brilliant and unsettling novel of sex, royalty, and violence.
The Strange World Of Thomas Harris: Inside The Mind Of The Creator Of Hannibal Lecter, by David Sexton - surprising lineage, including Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire, the whole vicious lot!

The Search For Roots: A Personal Anthology by Primo Levi.
The literature that shaped this Auschwitz survivor and chemistry professor, published for the first time in English.
The below mentioned essay on Deleuze mentions both Jaschinski and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritú. Boy, they're good :-))))

This is exactly who my cat thinks she is when prowling around in my garden, lurking behind the bushes :-) Photograph by Britta Jaschinski.

What is more, here's a short essay on what Georges Deleuze wrote, Art is continually haunted by the animal.

Portugal and Spain in 360º

20 novembro 2003

Some pointers here one of those doomsday times...
In the ghetto

New studies by Gunnar S Paulsson and Michal Grynberg show the fate of the Jews
in Warsaw during the second world war is ripe for reappraisal

19 novembro 2003

Posiblemente la mejor fotografia del dia:

Cómo quisiera poder vivir sin aire
cómo quisiera poder vivir sin agua
Me encantaría quererte un poco menos
cómo quisiera poder vivir sin ti

Pero no puedo
siento que muero
me estoy ahogando
sin tu amor

Cómo quisiera poder vivir sin aire
cómo quisiera calmar mi aflicción
Cómo quisiera poder vivir sin agua
me encantaría robar tu corazón

Cómo pudiera un pez nadar sin agua
cómo pudiera una ave volar sin alas
Cómo pudiera la flor crecer sin tierra
cómo quisiera poder vivir sin ti

Pero no puedo
siento que muero
me estoy ahogando
sin tu amor

Cómo quisiera lanzarte al olvido
cómo quisiera guardarte en un cajón
Cómo quisiera borrarte de un soplido
me encantaría matar esta canción

My beloved Valencia

18 novembro 2003

My eyessssssssssss, My eyessssssssssss

Why, oh Why, in the name of the Lord. I fear just to link
it: Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates star in a Matrix spoof
(caveats=they do star, no CG here my eyessss, my eyesssssssssss)

17 novembro 2003

Sooooooooooooo sad. This guy performs a pseudo-poll on the IRC to check young people knowledge on music. While some
are way too Spanish, some of the answers are awesome:

>conoces "We are the champions?"
fffffff> me suena mucho
fffffff> es una cancion?
>Es la canción q ponen cuando un equipo de futbol gana un trofeo
fffffff> joder claro q la conozco
fffffff> eso lo conocen hasta las piedras
> ¿Sabes de quien es?
fffffff> De la UEFA

Nota: :’(

>¿Sabes kien era bob marley?
>sabias q era primo del che guevara?
>hicieron un disco q se llamaba 'led zeppelin IV'
>deberias escucharlo
topillo>gracias por el consejo
topillo>pero ahora no kiero hablar d musica
>d q kieres hablar?
topillo>q llevas puesto??

Nota: La desesperación por el sexo debe quemar las neuronas
Power to Wrinkles: we can find intensely beautiful wrinkles everywhere, from faces to fruit to the fabric in Renaissance paintings :-)
Where are you? it's the usual question when communicating over a cellphone. Here's Metropolis magazine on the subject.
Winner of the Anima Mundi Web award in the Internet Animation Contest: O Boot it's from Brazil, loaded with slang but still very funny :-)
Old Wives Tales?

Ummm, let's see (masturbation and blindness are not there, damn it)

14 novembro 2003