30 abril 2004





The story of Ohhh - For men it is quick, easy and essential for reproduction. For women, it is slow, difficult and purely for pleasure. Yet despite such differences, it brings the sexes together and is the basis of the monogamy that distinguishes us from other animals.




Not to be confused (or is it) with Histoire d'O (illustrated version depicted here):
'A rare thing, a pornographic book well written and without a trace of obscenity' - Graham Greene;
'Here all kinds of terrors await us, but like a baby taking its mother's milk all pains are assuaged. Touched by the magic of love, everything is transformed. Story of O is a deeply moral homily' - J.G. Ballard





There go my stats:

Economic Left/Right: -5.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.51

I'm more leftish and libertarian than the Dalai Lama...
I'm in no man's land...

Why are there NO WOMEN here?
What about Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Cori Aquino, our recent vicepresident...
The Political Compass
What does it mean and the example of an International Political Compass, for starters:






There's abundant evidence for the need of it. The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left' , established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?

here are my results:

Economic Left/Right: -4.62
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44
(no actual chart to post :-( I'm in the lower left corner of the square which makes me a Libertarian Leftist (jeez...) in fact, I'm Gandhi (jeeeeeez...)


Take the (serious, no nonsense) test and be prepared for a lot of information that I meselfa am always lacking, being no party animal whatsoever in this respect :-|

And here's the Website featured entertainment piece (serious as it is):

The Composers' Political Compass:

(Woody Allen quipped that every time he heard Wagner, he was overcome with the urge to invade Poland. The positions of most others are less clear in their work, although we can hear the difference between the assertive nationalism of Wagner and the gentle folk nationalism of Dvorák or Grieg. In the case of opera, of course, there are more clues. Mozart's, for example, dealt with class war (The Marriage of Figaro) and the liberal values of the Enlightenment. Biographies often provide helpful political information as well. Some composers, like Bartók, were known to have championed the underdog and sometimes clashed with the authorities as a result. Others, like Stravinsky, Mascagni and Puccini, enthusiastically embraced fascism. Still others, like Smetana and Tchaikovsky, were tolerant individualists who kept their distance from mass movements. Because of the relative paucity of information, our composers' political chart is largely for amusement. People like Schubert, Bach, Debussy and Donizetti, who don't seem to have left any hints of their politics, have been left out altogether.)


[obrigada ao Miguel :-D

Stephen Downes Guide to Fallacies, available in Portuguese in Crítica, revista de Filosofia e Ensino, translated and adapted by Júlio Sameiro.

Here's the Portuguese Index:

Falácias da Dispersão (manobras de diversão)

Falso dilema (falsa dicotomia)
Apelo à ignorância
Derrapagem (bola de neve ou declive ardiloso)
Pergunta complexa

Apelo a Motivos (em vez de razões)

Apelo à força
Apelo à piedade
Apelo a consequências
Apelo a preconceitos
Apelo ao povo

Fugir ao Assunto (falhar o alvo)

Ataques pessoais
Apelo à autoridade
Autoridade anónima
Estilo sem substância

Falácias Indutivas

Generalização precipitada
Amostra não representativa
Falsa analogia
Indução preguiçosa
Omissão de dados

Falácias com regras gerais

Falácia do acidente
Falácia inversa do acidente

Falácias causais

Post hoc
Efeito conjunto
Insignificância
Tomar o efeito pela causa
Causa complexa

Falhar o alvo

Petição de princípio
Conclusão irrelevante
Espantalho

Falácias da ambiguidade

Equívoco
Anfibologia
Ênfase

Erros categoriais

Falácia da composição
Falácia da divisão

Non sequitur

Falácia da afirmação da consequente
Falácia da negação da antecedente
Falácia da inconsistência

Falácias da explicação

Inventar factos
Distorcer factos
Irrefutabilidade
Âmbito limitado
Pouca profundidade

Erros de Definição

Definição demasiado lata
Definição demasiado restrita
Definição pouco clara
Definição circular
Definição contraditória

Operadores proposicionais
Proposição
Tabela de verdade

Bibliografia
Copyright

About Copyright, in the wise words of the author, "Permission is granted to use, abuse and reproduce this document in any way you wish provided (a) you don't claim copyright over it, (b) you don't charge anyone for using it, and (c) you indicate its original authorship."

[obrigada à Marta :-D

The world is blowing up
The world is caving in
The world has lost her way again
But you are here with me
But you are here with me
Makes it ok

I hear you still talk to me
As if you're sitting in that dusty chair
Makes the hours easier to bare
I know despite the years alone
I'll always listen to you sing your sweet song
And if it's all the same to you

I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven overflow and fill hell
Love you oh so well

And it's cold and darkness falls
It's as if you're in the next room so alive
I could swear I hear you singing to me

I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven overflow and fill hell
Love you oh so well

The world is blowing up
The world is caving in
The world has lost her way again
But you are here with me
But you are here with me
Makes it ok
Oh girl you are singing to me still
I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven overflow and fill hell
Love you oh so well
I cannot but think that I was also brought up in a religious school:



"Almodóvar es el único director español contemporáneo con una mirada exclusiva y nueva, el único que no sólo ha hecho una serie de películas, sino que ha creado un mundo propio poblado de obsesiones y personajes complejos, diablos y humanos, oscuros y amantes.

La mala educación es una historia sobre el pasado, de cómo nos configura y nos construye y de cómo nos alcanza por mucho que querramos correr. Y aunque la trama es brillante en su construcción y hay estampas que quedarán en el recuerdo, no queda sino cierta desazón ante las pasiones extremas que dividieron las vidas."

hideaway


noun [C] INFORMAL
a place where someone goes when they want to relax away from other people
A perfect hideaway:



29 abril 2004

SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

El Gobierno rebajará el IVA de los discos del 16% al 4% y el de los libros a un "simbólico" 1%


Here's the link to the whole gallery....
Tres enlaces sobre libros y autores:

Arturo Pérez-Reverte ya está escribiendo su próxima novela que tiene el éxito garantizado. Porque, aprovechando que en 2005 será el centenario de ‘El Quijote’, Reverte está preparando una novela sobre el Ingenioso Hidalgo.


El premio Nobel José Saramago presentó este martes en el Teatro Alcázar su último libro ‘Ensayo sobre la lucidez’, del que destacó "la importancia del individuo, la fuerza que tenemos cada uno, expresada en la novela en forma de voto en blanco que cuestiona el sistema democrático".

Neruda, sobre Madrid, antes de la Guerra Civil: Neruda residió dos intensos años, del 34 al 36, en Madrid. En sus versos aparece la Casa de Las Flores de Hilarión Eslava, las tertulias literarias, la bohemia de la época, Alberti (‘¿Te acuerdas Rafael?’), García Lorca (‘¿Te acuerdas Federico?’), Miguel Hernández y otros tantos miembros de la Generación del 27: “Madrid es la ciudad antídoto para mi hastío”-diría Neruda

28 abril 2004



Poets Die Young

What is it about poets? Even in the pantheon of troubled artists, poets tend to be perceived as singularly despairing and subject to bad ends. Sylvia Plath turned on the gas and stuck her head in an oven when she was 30. Hart Crane leaped from the deck of a ship at 32. Paul Laurence Dunbar succumbed to tuberculosis at 33. As if that weren't bad enough, now one of the largest studies of its kind shows that poets tend to die younger than other types of writers.

The study of 1,987 dead writers was conducted by James C. Kaufman, director of the Learning Research Institute at California State University, San Bernardino. Mr. Kaufman, a psychologist, tallied the average ages at death for prominent male and female novelists, poets, playwrights and nonfiction writers who were American (with some Canadians and Mexicans), Chinese, Turkish and Eastern European.

Overall, poets lived an average of 62.2 years, compared with nonfiction writers, who lived the longest at 67.9 years. Playwrights lived an average of 63.4 years; novelists, 66 years. The differences between poetry and prose were pronounced among Americans, where poets lived an average of 66.2 years, and nonfiction writers lived an average of 72.7 years.

"The image of the writer as a doomed and sometimes tragic figure, bound to die young, can be backed up by research," Mr. Kaufman wrote in his study, "The Cost of the Muse: Poets Die Young," published in the journal Death Studies in November 2003.

Mr. Kaufman culled his information on the writers from biographies and literary encyclopedias, going as far back as the year 390 for Eastern European writers. Most of the Americans were from the 19th and 20th centuries. Mr. Kaufman, who writes on the side, said he wanted to learn what makes poets different from other writers. More financial pressure? Less societal acclaim? More stress?

He also wondered if those differences were independent of culture.

"It's a whole confluence of reasons," he said in an interview. "If you ruminate more, you're more likely to be depressed, and poets ruminate. Poets peak young. They write alone."

Based on his analysis of studies of creativity and death rates, Mr. Kaufman argues that the earlier death rate among poets is probably due to the very nature of the poetic endeavor. Researchers have found that being in a subjective, emotive field is associated with mental instability, he writes. Compared with fiction and nonfiction, poetry is often more introspective and expressive. This has led him to conclude that poets' higher death rates are probably related to their higher rates of mental illness.

As the title of the journal Death Studies indicates, a large body of research is devoted to death rates among different professions as well as to links between creativity and mental instability. A towering figure in this field is Arnold M. Ludwig, a retired professor of psychiatry at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. In his 1995 book "The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy" (Guilford Press), Dr. Ludwig looked at more than 1,000 prominent people in eight creative-arts professions and 10 other professions. He concluded that psychiatric disturbances were much more common among the artists. Dr. Ludwig found that roughly 20 percent of eminent poets had committed suicide, compared with a suicide rate of 4 percent for all the professions he examined. The suicide rate in the general United States population is around 1 percent, he said.

"It is a complex topic that has been pondered since the fifth century B.C.," Dr. Ludwig said in an interview.

"Kaufman's findings pretty much support some of the findings I came up with," he said. In his study, for instance, poets had an average life span of 59.6 years, compared with 73.5 years for social scientists. Nonfiction writers clocked in at 70.6 years, with musical entertainers trailing at 57.2 years.

Other studies have compared writers in general with other professions, including those that are arts-related, and none of that research has held good news for scribes, Mr. Kaufman said.

"Kaufman's study updates the research, and it's one of the largest samples I've ever seen," said Dean Keith Simonton, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. He said that Mr. Kaufman's look at gender differences in writers' life spans was intriguing because, among poets, it suggested a smaller gap in average age of death between men and women than is found in the general population. The point being that female poets are especially more likely to have shorter lives.

In 1975 Mr. Simonton published a study of 420 major writers showing that poets died on average six years earlier than other creative writers, and that the difference held across history (ancient versus modern times) and civilizations (East versus West).

"It's hard to find something that poets are not higher on pathology — alcoholism, suicide, drug abuse, depression," Mr. Simonton said. "It could be that people are using poetry as a form of self-therapy for their problems and the pathologies bring the age of mortality down." He also theorized that it was just more of a struggle overall to be a poet than to be something else, which could lead to problems like depression and drinking.

Not everyone is impressed with Mr. Kaufman's findings. Maxine Kumin, 79 and the former poet laureate of New Hampshire, said, "The suicide rate among poets is not nearly as high as it is among dentists." As for her own ripe old age, she said, "Well, I'm not depressed. I am relatively solitary. I was in my 30's when I started to write, so I don't think I peaked early."

"There is a lugubrious fascination, an erotic fascination, with the early death of poets," Ms. Kumin continued. "I guess I don't fit the mold."

Franz Wright, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry this month, has fought manic depression, alcoholism and drug addiction. He prepared a statement in reaction to Mr. Kaufman's study. "I've given this matter a good deal of thought," he said.

"Since in the U.S., the worse you write the better your chances of survival, it stands to reason that poets would be the youngest to die," he said, reading his statement. "Perhaps they're more delicious and succulent than other writers."

He paused, then, not reading, went on:

"I know lots of poets who've had normal, productive lives. It's a little insulting. Poets do suffer. Writers do suffer. Our culture does not value poetry, and it drives poets crazy. But you take your chances."

That analysis jibes with that of Michael Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and public health at University College, London, who argues that higher social status is linked to better health and a longer life.

Christian Wiman, a poet, believes that to survive, poets must situate themselves outside the culture, a process that takes a toll. (Mr. Wiman is also the editor of Poetry, one of the most important poetry journals in the United States. It is published by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation, which has been much talked about recently because of a $100 million gift it received from Ruth Lilly, the pharmaceutical heiress.)

"I think there is a greater psychological urgency to poetry than those other forms," said Mr. Wiman, who is 37. "If you're a prose writer, there's always something to work on. If you're a poet, the will is much less involved. You're faced with an awful lot of dead time you can't fill with other things."

Poets are probably lonelier, Mr. Kaufman said. Playwrights and nonfiction writers have more social work lives.

Perhaps, too, poets are especially infected by the suspicion that people in the arts tend to be a bit mad, Mr. Kaufman said. W. B. Yeats, whom Mr. Kaufman quotes in his study, said the Gaelic muse gives inspiration to those she persecutes and "the Gaelic poets die young." Aristotle asked in the fourth century B.C., "Why is it that all men who are outstanding in philosophy, poetry or the arts are melancholic?"

Despite his research, Mr. Kaufman wrote that he does not think aspiring poets should worry. "The fact that a Sylvia Plath or Anne Sexton may die young does not necessarily mean an Introduction to Poetry class should carry a warning that poems may be hazardous to one's health."

If not a warning, then perhaps a sense of the reality of the poetic life, some would argue. "Being a published poet is more dangerous than being a deep-sea diver," said James W. Pennebaker, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and an expert on the topic. "But it's possible that if they weren't doing poetry they may have killed themselves off earlier."



Remembering the movie Gattaca due to The Case against Perfection:




Amazing movie, written and directed by The Truman Show screenwriter, one to hold on dearly to on dvd. For those who've seen it and/or to whet appetites :-), just check IMDb's trivia on it (for starters: The name "Gattaca" is composed entirely of the letters used to label the nucleotide bases of DNA. The four nucleotode bases of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine.


NOW, The Case againt Perfection aims to show what's wrong with designer athletes, designer children, designer common people - pardon the oxymoron - who're taller and have better memory than they would on their own. Eugenics? Yes:

«The science-fiction movie Gattaca depicts a future in which parents routinely screen embryos for sex, height, immunity to disease, and even IQ. There is something troubling about the Gattaca scenario, but it is not easy to identify what exactly is wrong with screening embryos to choose the sex of our children.»
(...)
«In a social world that prizes mastery and control, parenthood is a school for humility. That we care deeply about our children and yet cannot choose the kind we want teaches parents to be open to the unbidden. Such openness is a disposition worth affirming, not only within families but in the wider world as well. It invites us to abide the unexpected, to live with dissonance, to rein in the impulse to control. A Gattaca -like world in which parents became accustomed to specifying the sex and genetic traits of their children would be a world inhospitable to the unbidden, a gated community writ large. The awareness that our talents and abilities are not wholly our own doing restrains our tendency toward hubris.»




Oliver Stone and the movie on Fidel Castro: interview to Slate mag (and remarkably scarce information in IMDb); some reviews on MRQE


Portugal, treinta años de claveles


Cuando llegué a Lisboa ya estaban los claveles en las bocas de los fusiles. «Avril em Portugal»... decía la vieja canción. Una florista de la plaza del Rossio se había encargado de poetizar de esta manera el golpe de Estado de Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho y sus compañeros del MFA contra una dictadura de más de cuarenta años.

Fue, la de los claveles, una revolución incruenta. Un viejo poeta comunista sucumbió a mi lado en el aeropuerto de Portela. Infarto. No pudo recuperarse de la emoción, de ver después de tantos años, a Alvaro Cunhal, secretario general del partido. Fueron días de claveles y exaltación revolucionaria. Al pasar Valencia de Alcántara, ya en el lado portugués de la frontera, me encontré con que el vigilante echaba la siesta. Lo desperté con suavidad y me abrió la barrera con una sonrisa. «Este es el único país del mundo, pensé, en el que un aduanero echa la siesta la tarde de la revolución». La radio transmitía himnos marciales y anunciaba la formación de una Junta de Salvación Militar presidida por el general Antonio de Spinola. Pero no fue él quien urdió el golpe de los jóvenes capitanes. Autor de un libro crítico (Portugal y el futuro) con la deriva de la dictadura (de Salazar a Caetano) y con las guerras de África, en las que el militar del monóculo había tomado parte, fue elegido para dar la cara y serenar a Europa y Estados Unidos.

Cuando preguntamos a Spinola el 26 de abril, quién era el cerebro del pronunciamiento, miró en torno pero no vio a quien buscaba. Era Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, mozambiqueño, que desde el cuartel de Pontinha movió las unidades, junto a Salgueiro Maia y otros camaradas de armas. Todos ellos estaban hartos de la aventura africana, decidió acabar con el régimen nacido en 1926 con el general Carmona y su ministro de Hacienda, Oliveira Salazar. Nada más llegar a Castrello Branco, al transmitir la primera crónica, me encontré con que en el estanco los clientes parecían más preocupados por rellenar las quinielas españolas que por los acontecimientos de Lisboa. «¿Qué pondría usted en el Atlético de Madrid-Español!» me preguntó un campesino.

En la Academia de Caballería de Santarem, un joven oficial me contó cómo había nacido el golpe. El clarinazo a través de una canción de José Afonso, 'Grandola vila morena', la marcha de los blindados hacia Lisboa, la ocupación de los puntos estratégicos, el ultimátum al presidente Thomas y al primer ministro Caetano... Pusieron en libertad a los presos políticos, cercaron el cuartel de la policía política...Volvieron las libertades civiles y los partidos políticos. Cada portugués era un partido.

Las primeras elecciones se celebraron en 1976 y las ganó el socialista Mario Soares. Se concedió la independencia a las colonias, Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Angola, Timor Oriental. La última, Macao, volvió a China en 1999.En 1986 Portugal entró en la Comunidad Económica Europea. La situación se había serenado después de las turbulencias postrevolucionarias, incluido una especie de intento de golpe de Spinola para frenar a los militares izquierdistas. Todos los fines de semana íbamos a Lisboa para asistir a algún cuartelazo. El general Eanes, luego presidente, puso remedio a las intentonas. Otelo, el héroe secreto el 25 de abril, dio con sus huesos en la cárcel, acusado de conspiración contra el Estado. La revolución, como Saturno, devoraba a sus hijos.

Algunos claveles se han marchitado. La gran nación lusa se ha modernizado en gran parte gracias a los fondos de cohesión europeos. Ya no es, al menos no sólo, la de las tres efes, fútbol, fátima y fado. En Portugal gobierna hoy el centro derecha con Durao Barroso. Una serie de escándalos de corrupción, de pederastia, una lista de calamidades, pavorosos incendios, por ejemplo, han sacudido a Lusitania estos últimos tiempos...

Respuesta inspirada


- Perdona, ¿tienes fuego?
- Ahora mismo no, pero si me sigues mirando así, no tardaré mucho.








Welcome... to the Tim Burton Collective,
the most comprehensive and popular website
dedicated to the filmmaker Tim Burton.


Oysters, anyone?



This beauty has the unattractive name of AM 0644-741.

27 abril 2004

26 abril 2004




Art: Have the museums in Britain taken the idea of different-but-equal a bit too far? (funny, in Portuguese we dropped any adversative and we say "todos diferentes, todos iguais")

Counsel: My next witness will explain that if m'ludship will allow. I call the late Arthur Aldridge.
Clerk of the Court: The late Arthur Aidridge.
Judge: The late Arthur Aldridge?
Counsel: Yes m'lud.

(A coffin is brought into the court and laid across the witness box.)

Judge: Mr Bartlett, do you think there is any relevance in questioning the deceased?
Counsel: I beg your pardon m'lud.
Judge: Well, I mean, your witness is dead.
Counsel: Yes, m'lud. Er, ,well, er, virtually, m'lud.
Judge: He's not completely dead?
Counsel: No he's not completely dead m'lud. No. But he's not at all well.
Judge: But if he's not dead, what's he doing in a coffin?
Counsel: Oh, it's purely a precaution m'lud - if I may continue? Mr Aldridge, you were a... you are a stockbroker of xo Savundra Close, Wimbledon. (from the coffin comes a bang) Mr Aldridge...
Judge: What was that knock?
Counsel: It means 'yes' m'lud. One knock for 'yes', and two knocks for 'no'. If I may continue? Mr Aldridge, would it be fair to say that you are not at all well? (from the coffin comes a bang) In fact Mr Aldridge, not to put too fine a point on it, would you be prepared to say that you are, as it were, what is generally known as, in a manner of speaking, 'dead'? (silence, counsel listens;) Mr Aldridge I put it to you that you are dead. (silence) Ah ha!

Judge: Where is all this leading us?
Counsel: That will become apparent in one moment m'lud. (walking over to coffin) Mr Aldridge are you considering the question or are you just dead? (silence) I think I'd better take a look m'lud. (he opens the coffin and looks inside) No further questions m'lud.
Judge: What do you mean, no further questions? You can't just dump a dead body in my court and say 'no further questions'. I demand an explanation.
Counsel: There are no easy answers in this case m'lud.



Viscera and the American taste :-P
Minimal Porn website; La esencia del porno a través de colores planos, bucles y figuras geométricas...
Must Read:
Think Internet's popular, access-to-all and for-all nature fosters democracy? Think again: Dictatorship.com




Laughter and The Irresponsible Self





Abril



CUATRO BALADAS AMARILLAS











I
En lo alto de aquel monte
un arbolito verde.
Pastor que vas,
pastor que vienes.
Olivares soñolientos
bajan al llano caliente.
Pastor que vas,
pastor que vienes.
Ni ovejas blancas ni perro
ni cayado ni amor tienes.
Pastor que vas.
Como una sombra de oro,
en el trigal te disuelves.
Pastor que vienes.

II
La tierra estaba
amarilla.
Orillo, orillo,
pastorcillo.
Ni luna blanca
ni estrella lucían.
Orillo, orillo,
pastorcillo.
Vendimiadora morena
corta el llanto de la viña.
Orillo, orillo,
pastorcillo.

III
Dos bueyes rojos
en el campo de oro.
Los bueyes tienen ritmo
de campanas antiguas
y ojos de pájaro.
Son para las mañanas
de niebla, y sin embargo
horadan la naranja
del aire, en el verano.
Viejos desde que nacen
no tienen amo
y recuerdan las alas
de sus costados.
Los bueyes
siempre van suspirando
por los campos de Ruth
en busca del vado,
del eterno vado,
borrachos de luceros
a rumiarse sus llantos.
Dos bueyes rojos
en el campo de oro.

IV
Sobre el cielo
de las margaritas ando.
Yo imagino esta tarde
que soy santo.
Me pusieron la luna
en las manos.
Yo la puse otra vez
en los espacios
y el Señor me premió
con la rosa y el halo.
Sobre el cielo
de las margaritas ando.
Y ahora voy
por este campo
a librar a las niñas
de galanes malos
y dar monedas de oro
a todos los muchachos.
Sobre el cielo
de las margaritas ando.

I stole (I admit it, mis disculpas, Claudia, but else do we Spaniards do, right?) this from another blog:





On the April 25th 1974 a revolution took place in Portugal; a 40 something year old dictatorship was overthrown. Here is why it's called the Red Carnation Revolution.


I think everyone can imagine (if not experienced) the atrocities and the general repression of a dictatorship in every section of society. Here's some trivia on the dictatorship and how it prevented the people to access information and culture; as usual, I prefer to talk about things that make me laugh (even if bitterly):


- The Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci), A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick) and many other movies were not shown in Portugal because of censorship; here's my favourite argument against a movie (sarcasm here, of course):

Oh! What a Lovely War by Richard Attenborough (a musical!) - "We do not approve this movie because it's a cruel story against war."


- The secret police would invade people's homes and apprehend subversive books (and often the owner); the problem was that, in a country with a minimal alphabetization rate, was hard to find capable employees:

One police agent once apprehended a book by Racine saying "Racine, Estaline, Lenine, it's everything the same!"


- When the soviets launched the world's first artificial satellite Sputnik in 1957, the newspapers published an interview with a patriotic astronomer that said that it was all a lie;


- Coca-cola was forbidden; the dictator Salazar wrote to the company's representative: "Portugal is a rural, paternalistic acountry and - praise the Lord- underdeveloped, an expression that I find more flattering than pejorative. I tremble at the thought of your big trucks driving at all speed through the streets of our old cities, accelerating, as they drive by, the rhythm of our centuries old habits.";


- in 1961, 10 people arrested by the secret police for political reasons escape from prison using the bullet-proof car that belonged to Salazar;




On a sidenote(or Harry Potter trivia :-)), J.K.Rowling spent some years in Portugal, teaching english and that's why the founder of the Slytherin at Hogwart's is called Salazar (the bad guy!!).

23 abril 2004

have you checked My Cat Annie lately?

I may be able to speak the languages of men
and even of angels,
but if I do not have love,
it will sound like noisy brass.
If I have the gift of speaking God's Word
and if I understand all secrets,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I know all things and if I have the gift of faith
so I can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give everything I have to feed poor people
and if I give my body to be burned,
but do not have love, it will not help me.

Love does not give up.
Love is kind.
Love is not jealous.
Love does not put itself up as being important.
Love has no pride.
Love does not do the wrong thing.
Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry.
Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone.
Love is not happy with sin.
Love is happy with the truth.
Love takes everything that comes without giving up.
Love believes all things.
Love hopes for all things.
Love keeps on in all things.



El MundoLibro tira la casa por la ventana. En un día como hoy, en el que los amantes de la literatura tienen una agenda cultural bien apretada, proponemos un trato que no dejará indiferente a ninguno de nuestros
internautas: '100 libros por 10 palabras'

22 abril 2004

Yo quiero un libro d' El Quijote!!!!!
Finding of the week, absolutely must-read:
Joseph Epstein on the Brain, a book review.
Excerpts:

«I was recently asked what it takes to become a writer. Three things, I answered: first, one must cultivate incompetence at almost every other form of profitable work. This must be accompanied, second, by a haughty contempt for all the forms of work that one has established one cannot do. To these two must be joined, third, the nuttiness to believe that other people can be made to care about your opinions and views and be charmed by the way you state them. Incompetence, contempt, lunacy -- once you have these in place, you are set to go.»

«Much of what is known about the brain has been acquired through the study and correction of injuries: strokes, aphasias, tumors, and various sad jigeroos. Everyone has encountered such dirty tricks at work. I had a dentist who, after a stroke, lost his powers of recalling proper names or of following the simplest narratives. He killed himself. An acquaintance who suffers bipolar disease, considering shock therapy, was told that its exact effects could not be predicted; it was, the neurologist in charge added, like "restarting one’s computer," which, as we all know, sometimes works wonders and sometimes is no help at all.»

«Certainly we have plenty of psychologically wounded writers: Dostoevsky, Melville, Baudelaire, Conrad. Then there are the drunks: Joyce, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and countless others. And let us not forget the dear drug addicts: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas DeQuincey, William S. Burroughs, and the entire charmless Beat generation.»

«Alas, these experiences are a good deal less than convincing, and for one simple reason: the person telling us about them is less than a first-class writer. She belongs, rather, to the category of the cheerful amateur. "Reading the New York Times Book Review every week," Dr. Flaherty notes, "was a major part of my literary education"-- a statement akin to claiming that one has learned how to fly by reading Superman comics. As a writer, not only does Dr. Flaherty use language in a loose and often dopey way, not only does she split infinitives with the easy exuberance of young Abe Lincoln splitting logs, but she provides no striking phrases or arresting metaphors, she over-dramatizes her own experience, lapses into cuteness and unconscious self-gratulation, and everywhere betrays many other marks of the amateur scribbler.»

«The choice of writing as a living and a way of life is more complex than is likely to show up in a neurologist’s PET scan. Nor, unlike in other artistic fields -- music, the visual arts -- does literary talent make such a life any easier by appearing early. "No Mozarts in literature," more than a well-known saying, is a fact. There are not too many Joseph Conrads, either, and Conrad published his first book when he was thirty-eight.»

«If one cannot learn one’s craft through formal schooling, if one is highly unlikely to earn a good living at it, and if the writer’s vocation tends to bring out the less pleasant side of one’s nature, why would anyone want to risk it? (H. L. Mencken had no tolerance for the little Iliad of woes I have just compiled. When writers complained to him about the arduousness of their lot, he used to propose that they go try a week on an assembly line.)»

«Where do the words come from? The same mysterious place, I suspect, where notes of music go. They precede ideas, and are inseparable from them. For myself, I bow my head, touch wood, and utter a small prayer that the flow of them never cease.»

And Now For Something Completely Different:
Graças à |a|barriga|de|um|arquitecto| (hiperligação neste blogue), a página Urbanismo-Portugal tem patente a exposição - agora interactiva e futuramente executável - intitulada «30 anos de caos urbanístico».
Happy EARTH Day :-)))))




Denis Hayes, Reclaiming the Vision of the First Earth Day, was national coordinator of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. He headed the first International Earth Day in 1990. He is chairman of Earth Day Network. An environmental attorney, he is president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental philanthropy based in Seattle

Encontrada a Prova Mais Antiga da Amizade Entre Gatos e Humanos

A primeira domesticação de gatos selvagens é geralmente associada à civilização egípcia, mas a relação especial entre homens e gatos pode ser bem mais antiga. Cientistas do Museu Nacional de História Natural de Paris descobriram o esqueleto de um gato enterrado junto aos restos mortais de um humano, ambos com cerca de 9500 anos, na ilha mediterrânica de Chipre.

Já durante os anos 80 fora descoberta, enterrada, uma mandíbula de gato nesta ilha. Não se conhecendo espécies nativas na zona, a descoberta significava que este animal tinha sido introduzido pelo homem, mas não provava que este tivesse sido domesticado. De facto, durante o Neolítico várias espécies selvagens foram introduzidas pela mão do homem em muitas outras ilhas. A raposa, por exemplo, foi introduzida em Chipre neste período.

Mas o esqueleto de um gato enterrado a uns escassos 40 centímetros de um humano mostra, pelo contrário, que uma relação próxima entre eles se terá desenvolvido há cerca de 9500 anos, no sítio de Shilourokambos, uma aldeia do Neolítico habitada desde o final do nono e até ao oitavo milénio antes de Cristo. "A primeira descoberta de ossos de gato em Chipre mostrou que os seres humanos trouxeram gatos do continente para as ilhas, mas não conseguíamos decidir se estes gatos eram selvagens ou domesticados", explica Jean-Denis Vigne, responsável pelo estudo, citado num comunicado de imprensa da revista "Science". "Com esta descoberta podemos dizer que estes gatos estavam ligados aos humanos."

O túmulo continha várias ferramentas, pedras polidas e jóias, que se acredita serem oferendas, e um buraco muito próximo, escavado na terra, guardava 24 conchas do mar. Jean-Denis Vigne encontra nesta disposição ritual um sinal de intimidade entre o animal e o homem: "A associação deste túmulo com as conchas marítimas e a sepultura do gato reforça a ideia de um enterro especial, indicando uma forte relação entre gatos e seres humanos."

O estado relativamente intacto do esqueleto do gato e a observação dos sedimentos em volta indicam que o buraco onde este estava enterrado foi escavado. Os investigadores pensam que se o gato não tivesse sido enterrado de forma intencional, os ossos estariam dispersos e desarticulados. Para além disso, a análise microscópica não permitiu desvendar a causa da morte - não foram encontrados cortes nem queimaduras - mas deixou claro que o felino não foi desmembrado ou esquartejado antes do enterro.

Outros restos de animais já haviam sido encontrados em túmulos colectivos, mas eram apenas ossos isolados e nunca esqueletos completos. O enterro de um gato completo, dizem os investigadores, sem quaisquer sinais de esquartejamento, recorda-nos os túmulos humanos e enfatiza a ideia do animal como indivíduo. E o facto de estarem enterrados lado a lado pode também implicar uma forte associação entre os dois indivíduos, um gato e um humano.

Ambos os esqueletos estavam posicionados simetricamente, com a cabeça na direcção de Oeste.

"Não estou completamente convencido que a orientação comum dos esqueletos faz sentido. No entanto, se fizer, penso que a grande proximidade entre os dois na morte deve ser interpretada como prova adicional de uma forte relação em vida", diz Jean-Denis Vigne.

Os cientistas analisaram o esqueleto e definiram que o felino devia ter à volta de oito meses de idade. O crânio apesar de muito danificado, estava suficientemente bem preservado para, pela forma e pelo tamanho, deixar adivinhar a espécie: um "Felis silvestris", de tamanho significativamente maior do que os actuais gatos caseiros.

[in Público]


NaDa™ 0.9 was a system software extension for the Macintosh, but the new improved NaDa™ 0.5 is just a document of 1 byte for all Operating Systems. You don't have to restart your computer for installation. We hope to release NaDa™ 0.0 by the end of the year.
ahhhhhhh, the unbearable lightness of ......

DO check the user comments!!
[obrigada Paulinha :-)
La Casa del Libro regalará 50.000 tomos de ‘El Quijote’ durante el Día del libro (Sant Jordi aqui)

21 abril 2004

A very very funny way to retaliate against the ever-present office prankster

Heavy hung the canopy of blue
shade my eyes and I can see you
white is the light that shines trough the dress that you wore
She lay in the shadow of a wave
hazy were the visions overplayed
sunlight in her eyes, but moonshine made her cry every time
Green is the colour of her kind
quickness of the eye deceives the mind
envy is the bond between the hopeful and the damned
Janela reports that the Kronos Quartet will be perfoming in Lisbon (sigh...)
at the Culturgest...

20 abril 2004



"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in winter."

T.S.Eliot, The Wasteland
Giving Up Passwords For Chocolate: The BBC is reporting that, according to a recent survey, more than 70% of people would willingly give up their computer password in exchange for as little as a bar of chocolate. Over a third of the people surveyed even gave out their password without having to be bribed, and most indicated that they were fed up with having to use passwords.
The Fog of War: please check 1945

Grabado japonés, 1850
What about this smallest of portable scanners?

it's a pen!




Wanna arm-wrestle with your cellphone? :-)
No more dead batteries here in Gizmos
(Currently only available for Nokia mobile telephones - what else is new?)


After the fitball, the chill-out cocoon :-D

I Want One of Those

Accused at one time or another of sodomy, atheism, felonious assault,
coining, espionage, defection to Rome and subversion:
Christopher Marlowe's new biography is out now

19 abril 2004

ATAHUALLPA: Explain love.
DE NIZZA: It is not known in your kingdom. At home we can say to our ladies: "I love you", or to our native earth. It means we rejoice in their lives. But a man cannot say this to the woman he must marry at twenty-five; or to the strip of land allotted to him at birth which he must till till he dies. Love must be free, or else it alters away. Command it to your court: it will send a deputy. Let God order it to fill our hearts, it becomes useless to him. It is stronger than iron: yet in a fist of force it melts. It is a coin that sparkles in the hand; yet in the pocket it turns to rust. Love is the only door from the prison of ourselves. It is the eagerness of God to enter that prison, to take on pain, and imagine lust, so that the torn soldier, or the spent lecher, can call out in his defeat: "You know this too, so help me from it".


The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Peter Schaffer, 1964
From the Voyager Avec collection (featuring the likes of D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Joseph Roth, and Marcel Proust), by La Quinzaine Littéraire, publishing house of the Louis Vuitton Group, comes this interesting author who wrote about travelling to and being in Portugal:

Le Vagabond Sédentaire

From a review in Diário de Notícias:

«(...) Larbaud tem todo o interesse para o leitor português. Quanto mais não seja porque é um autor que passou por cá em 1926 e escreveu algumas pérolas demasiado curiosas para nos entendermos como povo, sob o ângulo da perspectiva do olhar estrangeiro.

Larbaud era um jovem sem preocupações financeiras e que podia viajar sem travões a não ser o da saúde e do medo da mãe. Para vir até Portugal, pediu uma carta de recomendação ao escritor Paul Morand - a justificação para a autorização maternal - e instalou-se num hotel da Avenida de Libertade por uns dias. Dado a alguma privacidade, logo alugou um pequeno apartamento e partiu à descoberta da capital até poder afirmar que «as recordações da minha chegada parecem-me tão distantes». Explorou a Baixa, foi de eléctrico até Belem, Algés e Dafundo, ao Jardim Zoológico ver o elefante que tocava um sino a troco de uma moeda, a Cintra, Queluz e Cascaes, assistiu ao golpe revolucionário de 2 de Fevereiro, observou os costumes e fascinou-se com as jovens portuguesas... Culto como era, nos seis meses que permaneceu lançou-se no a aprendizado do português e até leu "A Capital" de Eça, lançado postumamente durante a estada.»
Wish You Were Here

Cotton candy and a rotten mouth
You know you're so fucked up
You know I couldn't help but have it for you

And everybody knows the way I walk
And knows the way I talk
And knows the way I feel about you
It's all a bunch of shit
And there's nothing to do around here
It's totally fucked up
I'm totally fucked up
Wish you were here

And streets that only turn to boulevards
And houses with back yards
and it's raining like hell on the cars
And everybody knows the way I walk
And knows the way I talk
Knows the way I feel about you
It's all a bunch of shit
And there's nothing to do around here
It's totally fucked
I'm totally fucked
Wish you were here

And if I could have my way
We'd take some drugs
And we'd smile
We'd smile
We'd smile
But not tonight, my dear
Wish you were here
Wish you were here
Wish you were here
Wish you were here

-- Ryan Adams, Rock,n,Roll, 2003
Samarago's book is out today in Spain (in time for Sant Jordi or the Book Day in the rest of Spain)
Never too much to recall our fellow Americans :-P

15 abril 2004

A él

Era la edad lisonjera
en que es un sueño la vida;
era la aurora hechicera
de mi juventud florida,
en su sonrisa primera.

Cuando sin rumbo vagaba
por el campo silenciosa,
y en escuchar me gozaba
la tórtola que entonaba
su querella lastimosa.

Melancólico fulgor
blanca luna repartía,
y el aura leve mecía
con soplo murmurador
la tierna flor que se abría.

¡Y yo gozaba! El rocío,
nocturno llanto del cielo,
el bosque espeso y umbrío,
la dulce quietud del suelo,
el manso correr del río.

Y de la luna el albor,
y el agua que murmuraba,
acariciando la flor,
y el pájaro que cantaba...
¡Todo me hablaba de amor!

Y trémula, palpitante,
en mi delírio extasiada,
mire una visión brillante
como el Aire, perfumada,
como las nubes, flotante.

Ante mí resplandecia,
como un astro brillador,
y mi loca fantasia
al fantasma seductor
tributaba idolatría.

Escuchar pensé su acento
en el canto de las aves;
eran las auras su aliento
cargadas de aromas suaves
y su estancia el firmamento.

¿Qué ser extraño era aquél?
¿Era un angél o era un hombre?
¿Era Dios o era Luzbel...?
¿Mi visión no tiene nombre?
¡Ah!, nombre tiene... ¡Era él!

Gertrudis Goméz de Avellaneda
(1814-1873)

14 abril 2004

O grupo Gaumont, um dos mais importantes exibidores de cinema em França, retirou os trailers de «La Mala Educación», de Pedro Almodóvar, das 50 salas que administra.
Segundo explicou o diário «Libération», o boicote ao filme, cuja estreia está prevista para o dia 12 de Maio, acontece na sequência de pressões exercidas por um grupo católico ortodoxo. Trata-se de «um filme abominável contra a Igreja Católica e a favor da homossexualidade, declarou o grupo religioso nos folhetos que distribuiu à porta dos cinemas. Em causa estão imagens de abusos sexuais praticados por padres dos colégios franquistas sobre os adolescentes. A Gaumont justificou a medida dizendo que pretende evitar «uma polémica inútil» e que o mais importante é «a serenidade dos espectadores».
O novo filme do cineasta espanhol - cuja estreia, em França, coincidirá com a abertura da 57ª. edição do Festival de Cinema de Cannes - narra a história de Ignacio e Enrique, dois jovens que descobrem o amor, o cinema e o medo num colégio religioso, no início da década de 60, em Espanha. Gael García Bernal é o protagonista do filme, assumindo o papel de um travesti que enfrentou a educação de uma instituição religiosa.
Em Portugal o filme estreia a 20 de Maio.
Evil

It seems all too familiar: on a fall morning in a major city, civilization is disrupted. In less than a half-hour, buildings are destroyed, thousands are killed, the sky turns dark with dust. Philosophers and religious leaders invoke the concept of evil. Some blame the sinful behavior of the citizenry and cite divine retribution; others believe that civil society will soon restore itself.
But this is Lisbon, not New York; Nov. 1, not Sept. 11; 1755, not 2001; and the event is not a terrorist attack but an earthquake followed by raging fires and tidal floods. The philosopher Susan Neiman compares these events in her new book, "Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy" (Princeton University Press), and the contrasts are more telling than the similarities. Ms. Neiman, a Kantian scholar and director of the Einstein Forum, an interdisciplinary research institution in Potsdam, Germany, treats the Lisbon earthquake as a turning point in European intellectual history. It redefined the way evil was thought about — something, she suggests, that is not likely to happen as a result of 9/11.
But the subject of evil is now becoming the focus of unusual attention. New books are out about fundamentalism and evil, like "When Religion Becomes Evil," by Charles Kimball (Harper San Francisco), and about the psychology of evil, as in "Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing," by James Waller (Oxford University Press). In "Radical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation" (Polity Press), Richard J. Bernstein, a philosopher at the New School University, begins by quoting Hannah Arendt, who declared in 1945, "The problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe."
But Arendt's prediction was right for only a short time. Despite all the horrors of the 20th century, including the Gulag, the Cambodian killing fields and the "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, the "problem of evil" began to seem somewhat quaint. Mr. Bernstein writes, "It is almost as if the language of evil has been dropped from contemporary moral and ethical discourse."
In fact, when the word evil was used by President Bush to describe the terrorist attacks, it was partly because it was an anachronistic term, premodern in its force. He seemed deliberately to seek an antique religious aura, asserting the existence of moral absolutes in an era that doubted them.
Ms. Neiman is too subtle a reader of Kant to believe that evil is that simple, but it is also, she argues, so important that much of Western philosophy is an attempt to comprehend it. We apply the concept, after all, when we cannot make sense of a horrific event. Evil is not just an ethical violation; it is an "epistemological" violation, she writes; it disrupts and challenges our interpretations of the world.
In the premodern era, Ms. Neiman explains, evil referred as much to natural catastrophes as to willful acts. One of the tasks of philosophy and religion was to interpret such cataclysms. So suffering became a result of original sin. A catastrophe was divine punishment. Then, in the 17th century, Leibniz invented the term theodicy to describe his defense of a God accused of creating an evil world; the word later came to mean an attempt to account for evil itself. Leibniz argued that we really live in the best of all possible worlds. Bad things seem to happen to good people because we lack God's omniscience.
But in Ms. Neiman's account, the earthquake in Lisbon disrupted all that. The world was becoming more scientifically intelligible, and a modern economy was developing. So when disaster struck, the old theodicy was inadequate. The earthquake caused philosophical trauma. Kant wrote about it. Voltaire and Rousseau argued over it. Gradually, Ms. Neiman says, the idea of a catastrophe being a "natural evil" disappeared; its divorce from the notion of "moral evil" became "part of the meaning of modernity."
Explaining moral evil in a world of autonomous actors while still maintaining faith in Providence was no easy task, and Ms. Neiman eloquently outlines the attempts. In the 18th century, Rousseau "replaced theology with history," she argues, by suggesting that evil and suffering were the results not of original sin but of error and misguided civilization. Later, Hegel turned history into theodicy by explaining all suffering and evil as unavoidable elements of an evolutionary process. Marx responded with an economic theodicy — an account of societies and their evils — complete with prescriptions for healing suffering. Freud turned inward, tracing evil and suffering to thwarted infantile desires and to civilization's inevitable discontents.
These varied theodicies tried to account for evil, to make it comprehensible, at times even to dismiss it. Ms. Neiman seems to suggest that by the first part of the 20th century, "moral evil," like "natural evil" before it, had come to seem almost a banal idea, little more than another element of the natural world or a reflection of psychology or economics.
But then came yet another trauma, one that was as disruptive to the 20th century as Lisbon was to the 18th: Auschwitz. Only this time, Ms. Neiman argues, it undermined the very possibility of constructing a theodicy. "The problem of evil began by trying to penetrate God's intentions," she writes. "Now it appears we cannot make sense of our own."
More than 50 years later, where are we? Oddly, when Ms. Neiman comes to the events of 9/11, she seems ill at ease. She says that they leave a "sense of conceptual helplessness." In her discussion, two notions of evil seem to confront each other: the post-Auschwitz and the pre-Lisbon. This is a small part of the book, but it may be more important than Ms. Neiman realizes.
She argues that the attacks did not reflect new forms of evil; in fact they were "old fashioned" in their elemental power. They harked back to the Lisbon earthquake, seeming like a "natural evil" in their swift horror. "Crude forms of theodicy" even developed as a result, including at least one assertion that the attacks were the consequences of American sin.
Yet despite her recognition of pre-Lisbon evil, she is astonishingly condescending to those who immediately called the acts evil; she ascribes to those unnamed figures a "simple and demonic" view of evil, one encouraged by watching "old westerns."
On the other side, she describes those with supposedly more sophisticated views, influenced "less by Hollywood than by Chile and Vietnam and Auschwitz and Cambodia."
"We have learned," she writes (for she includes herself), to see evil in the acts of governments and to see "starvation furthered by corporate interests." In other words, more sophisticated people have learned to discover evils that they feel have been perpetrated by the West.
Yet she is palpably uncomfortable with the responses of this second group, for their post-Auschwitz view of Western evil has led them to a "paralyzed moral reaction" to Sept. 11, as if they couldn't condemn one evil because they believed in another, as if by calling the attacks evil, they would be lending support to "those with fewer scruples." This view of the attacks, she writes, "appeared to relativize them" and "risked a first step toward making them justifiable." She insists that the attacks be forthrightly described as evil — which wouldn't preclude condemning other evils as well.
In much of this analysis, she has accurately described an intellectual debate that continues. But her condescension toward those who first condemned the acts as evil and her denigration of their scruples don't seem to fit with her conclusion: that these people were actually correct. She remains uneasy in her convictions and in the company she must keep.
But the opposing view, with its mentions of Vietnam and "corporate interests" can spur unease in other ways. These evils — if evils they are — are not instantly perceived but are judged evil according to particular interpretations and political theories. But aren't these theories also theodicies, some with their own "simple and demonic" views of evil? Suffering is explained by material forces latent in economics and power politics. Even 9/11 is treated as a consequence of more fundamental evils: those created by imperialism and Western power.
There is, then, good reason for Ms. Neiman's discomfort, for in many ways the experience of Sept. 11 does resemble Lisbon. It seems to challenge regnant theodicies. Simply applying the label evil leaves the event without a modern context; it does not show how that evil is to be understood. But the supposedly more sophisticated post-Auschwitz view is also a problem. The terrorists' motivations and beliefs may not be easily reduced to familiar notions of "root causes."
So both the pre-Lisbon and the post-Auschwitz view of evil seem unstable. Interpretations are in dispute. This is an almost classic response to the experience of evil; and in its wake, new theodicies may one day start to replace the old.


"I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up."

Read Walden for free in here or the whole (ugly) TXT
format here.
What's the colour of joy? Hotpink!
Pink Floyd reeditam «The Final Cut»
«The Final Cut», álbum editado pelos Pink Floyd em 1983, foi reeditado em Portugal com uma faixa-extra, letras dos temas e arte gráfica original desenhada por Roger Waters.
Foi reeditado em Portugal o último álbum gravado por Roger Waters nos Pink Floyd. Intitulado "The Final Cut", o disco, editado em 1983, chega agora aos escaparates com algumas novidades, como uma faixa-extra, letras das canções e arte gráfica original da autoria de Roger Waters.
"When The Tigers Broke Free", editada como single do álbum, é agora recuperada para esta reedição.
Produzido por Roger Waters, James Guthrie e Michael Kamen, o álbum, que tem como subtítulo «a requiem for the post war dream» contém um total de 13 faixas e é sobretudo visto como um trabalho a solo de Roger Waters, com participação discreta dos outros membros da banda.
Inspirado na guerra das Malvinas, «The Final Cut» constitui uma crítica às lideranças mundiais da época, protagonizadas por Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher e Brejnev.
"One Of The Few", "The Hero's Return", "Gunner's Dream", "Not Now John" e "Two Suns In The Sunset" são apenas alguns dos temas que compõem o alinhamento deste disco já à venda nas lojas portuguesas.

13 abril 2004

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue, isn'it, ay? Beautiful plumage!
Mr. Praline: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

The dead parrot sketch, Monty Python
Let us prepare. Sylvia's about to be here


Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
Literary bar jokes
Charles Dickens: Please, sir, I'd like a martini.
Bartender: Sure thing. Olive or twist?

James Joyce: I'll take a Guinness.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here yesterday.
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: And he asked for a martini and I said, "Olive or twist?"
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: You see, it's funny because he wrote a book called "Oliver Twist."
James Joyce: What a shitty joke.

Ernest Hemingway: Gin.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here two days ago.
Ernest Hemingway: Joyce already told me that story. Fuck off.

Franz Kafka: I'd like a mineral water.
Bartender: Olive or twist?
Franz Kafka: I can't digest solid food.

Mark Twain: Give me a brandy.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens came in the other day and ordered a martini.
Mark Twain: Did he take an olive or twist? Ha ha ha!
Bartender: (tearful) You did that on purpose, didn't you?

Virginia Woolf: I'll take your second-best cognac and unadulterated experience.
Bartender: We don't have that. This is a bar.
Virginia Woolf: Patriarchy! (drowns)

12 abril 2004


Of course there's a website: I didn't know he looked like a flamenco singer (at least in this pic, no pun intended :p)
I found some Saki in Spanish (God forgive me)


El cuentista

Era una tarde calurosa y el vagón del tren también estaba caliente; la siguiente parada, Tamplecombe, estaba casi a una hora de distancia. Los ocupantes del vagón eran una niña pequeña, otra niña aún más pequeña y un niño también pequeño. Una tía, que pertenecía a los niños, ocupaba un asiento de la esquina; el otro asiento de la esquina, del lado opuesto, estaba ocupado por un hombre soltero que era un extraño ante aquella fiesta, pero las niñas pequeñas y el niño pequeño ocupaban, enfáticamente, el compartimiento. Tanto la tía como los niños conversaban de manera limitada pero persistente, recordando las atenciones de una mosca que se niega a ser rechazada. La mayoría de los comentarios de la tía empezaban por «No», y casi todos los de los niños por «¿Por qué?». El hombre soltero no decía nada en voz alta.

-No, Cyril, no -exclamó la tía cuando el niño empezó a golpear los cojines del asiento, provocando una nube de polvo con cada golpe-. Ven a mirar por la ventanilla -añadió.

El niño se desplazó hacia la ventilla con desgana.

-¿Por qué sacan a esas ovejas fuera de ese campo? -preguntó.

-Supongo que las llevan a otro campo en el que hay más hierba -respondió la tía débilmente.

-Pero en ese campo hay montones de hierba -protestó el niño-; no hay otra cosa que no sea hierba. Tía, en ese campo hay montones de hierba.

-Quizá la hierba de otro campo es mejor -sugirió la tía neciamente.

-Por qué es mejor? -fue la inevitable y rápida pregunta.

-¡Oh, mira esas vacas! -exclamó la tía.

Casi todos los campos por los que pasaba la línea de tren tenían vacas o toros, pero ella lo dijo como si estuviera llamando la atención ante una novedad.

-¿Por qué es mejor la hierba del otro campo? -persistió Cyril.

El ceño fruncido del soltero se iba acentuando hasta estar ceñudo. La tía decidió, mentalmente, que era un hombre duro y hostil. Ella era incapaz por completo de tomar una decisión satisfactoria sobre la hierba del otro campo.

La niña más pequeña creó una forma de distracción al empezar a recitar «De camino hacia Mandalay». Sólo sabía la primera línea, pero utilizó al máximo su limitado conocimiento. Repetía la línea una y otra vez con una voz soñadora, pero decidida y muy audible; al soltero le pareció como si alguien hubiera hecho una apuesta con ella a que no era capaz de repetir la línea en voz alta dos mil veces seguidas y sin detenerse. Quienquiera que fuera que hubiera hecho la apuesta, probablemente la perdería.

-Acérquense aquí y escuchen mi historia -dijo la tía cuando el soltero la había mirado dos veces a ella y una al timbre de alarma.

Los niños se desplazaron apáticamente hacia el final del compartimiento donde estaba la tía. Evidentemente, su reputación como contadora de historias no ocupaba una alta posición, según la estimación de los niños.

Con voz baja y confidencial, interrumpida a intervalos frecuentes por preguntas malhumoradas y en voz alta de los oyentes, comenzó una historia poco animada y con una deplorable carencia de interés sobre una niña que era buena, que se hacía amiga de todos a causa de su bondad y que, al final, fue salvada de un toro enloquecido por numerosos rescatadores que admiraban su carácter moral.

-¿No la habrían salvado si no hubiera sido buena? -preguntó la mayor de las niñas.

Esa era exactamente la pregunta que había querido hacer el soltero.

-Bueno, sí -admitió la tía sin convicción-. Pero no creo que la hubieran socorrido muy deprisa si ella no les hubiera gustado mucho.

-Es la historia más tonta que he oído nunca -dijo la mayor de las niñas con una inmensa convicción.

-Después de la segunda parte no he escuchado, era demasiado tonta -dijo Cyril.

La niña más pequeña no hizo ningún comentario, pero hacía rato que había vuelto a comenzar a murmurar la repetición de su verso favorito.

-No parece que tenga éxito como contadora de historias -dijo de repente el soltero desde su esquina.

La tía se ofendió como defensa instantánea ante aquel ataque inesperado.

-Es muy difícil contar historias que los niños puedan entender y apreciar -dijo fríamente.

-No estoy de acuerdo con usted -dijo el soltero.

-Quizá le gustaría a usted explicarles una historia -contestó la tía.

-Cuéntenos un cuento -pidió la mayor de las niñas.

-Érase una vez -comenzó el soltero- una niña pequeña llamada Berta que era extremadamente buena.

El interés suscitado en los niños momentáneamente comenzó a vacilar en seguida; todas las historias se parecían terriblemente, no importaba quién las explicara.

-Hacía todo lo que le mandaban, siempre decía la verdad, mantenía la ropa limpia, comía budín de leche como si fuera tarta de mermelada, aprendía sus lecciones perfectamente y tenía buenos modales.

-¿Era bonita? -preguntó la mayor de las niñas.

-No tanto como cualquiera de ustedes -respondió el soltero-, pero era terriblemente buena.

Se produjo una ola de reacción en favor de la historia; la palabra terrible unida a bondad fue una novedad que la favorecía. Parecía introducir un círculo de verdad que faltaba en los cuentos sobre la vida infantil que narraba la tía.

-Era tan buena -continuó el soltero- que ganó varias medallas por su bondad, que siempre llevaba puestas en su vestido. Tenía una medalla por obediencia, otra por puntualidad y una tercera por buen comportamiento. Eran medallas grandes de metal y chocaban las unas con las otras cuando caminaba. Ningún otro niño de la ciudad en la que vivía tenía esas tres medallas, así que todos sabían que debía de ser una niña extraordinariamente buena.

-Terriblemente buena -citó Cyril.

-Todos hablaban de su bondad y el príncipe de aquel país se enteró de aquello y dijo que, ya que era tan buena, debería tener permiso para pasear, una vez a la semana, por su parque, que estaba justo afuera de la ciudad. Era un parque muy bonito y nunca se había permitido la entrada a niños, por eso fue un gran honor para Berta tener permiso para poder entrar.

-¿Había alguna oveja en el parque? -preguntó Cyril.

-No -dijo el soltero-, no había ovejas.

-¿Por qué no había ovejas? -llegó la inevitable pregunta que surgió de la respuesta anterior.

La tía se permitió una sonrisa que casi podría haber sido descrita como una mueca.

-En el parque no había ovejas -dijo el soltero- porque, una vez, la madre del príncipe tuvo un sueño en el que su hijo era asesinado tanto por una oveja como por un reloj de pared que le caía encima. Por esa razón, el príncipe no tenía ovejas en el parque ni relojes de pared en su palacio.

La tía contuvo un grito de admiración.

-¿El príncipe fue asesinado por una oveja o por un reloj? -preguntó Cyril.

-Todavía está vivo, así que no podemos decir si el sueño se hará realidad -dijo el soltero despreocupadamente-. De todos modos, aunque no había ovejas en el parque, sí había muchos cerditos corriendo por todas partes.

-¿De qué color eran?

-Negros con la cara blanca, blancos con manchas negras, totalmente negros, grises con manchas blancas y algunos eran totalmente blancos.

El contador de historias se detuvo para que los niños crearan en su imaginación una idea completa de los tesoros del parque; después prosiguió:

-Berta sintió mucho que no hubiera flores en el parque. Había prometido a sus tías, con lágrimas en los ojos, que no arrancaría ninguna de las flores del príncipe y tenía intención de mantener su promesa por lo que, naturalmente, se sintió tonta al ver que no había flores para coger.

-¿Por qué no había flores?

-Porque los cerdos se las habían comido todas -contestó el soltero rápidamente-. Los jardineros le habían dicho al príncipe que no podía tener cerdos y flores, así que decidió tener cerdos y no tener flores.

Hubo un murmullo de aprobación por la excelente decisión del príncipe; mucha gente habría decidido lo contrario.

-En el parque había muchas otras cosas deliciosas. Había estanques con peces dorados, azules y verdes, y árboles con hermosos loros que decían cosas inteligentes sin previo aviso, y colibríes que cantaban todas las melodías populares del día. Berta caminó arriba y abajo, disfrutando inmensamente, y pensó: «Si no fuera tan extraordinariamente buena no me habrían permitido venir a este maravilloso parque y disfrutar de todo lo que hay en él para ver», y sus tres medallas chocaban unas contra las otras al caminar y la ayudaban a recordar lo buenísima que era realmente. Justo en aquel momento, iba merodeando por allí un enorme lobo para ver si podía atrapar algún cerdito gordo para su cena.

-¿De qué color era? -preguntaron los niños, con un inmediato aumento de interés.

-Era completamente del color del barro, con una lengua negra y unos ojos de un gris pálido que brillaban con inexplicable ferocidad. Lo primero que vio en el parque fue a Berta; su delantal estaba tan inmaculadamente blanco y limpio que podía ser visto desde una gran distancia. Berta vio al lobo, vio que se dirigía hacia ella y empezó a desear que nunca le hubieran permitido entrar en el parque. Corrió todo lo que pudo y el lobo la siguió dando enormes saltos y brincos. Ella consiguió llegar a unos matorrales de mirto y se escondió en uno de los arbustos más espesos. El lobo se acercó olfateando entre las ramas, su negra lengua le colgaba de la boca y sus ojos gris pálido brillaban de rabia. Berta estaba terriblemente asustada y pensó: «Si no hubiera sido tan extraordinariamente buena ahora estaría segura en la ciudad». Sin embargo, el olor del mirto era tan fuerte que el lobo no pudo olfatear dónde estaba escondida Berta, y los arbustos eran tan espesos que podría haber estado buscándola entre ellos durante mucho rato, sin verla, así que pensó que era mejor salir de allí y cazar un cerdito. Berta temblaba tanto al tener al lobo merodeando y olfateando tan cerca de ella que la medalla de obediencia chocaba contra las de buena conducta y puntualidad. El lobo acababa de irse cuando oyó el sonido que producían las medallas y se detuvo para escuchar; volvieron a sonar en un arbusto que estaba cerca de él. Se lanzó dentro de él, con los ojos gris pálido brillando de ferocidad y triunfo, sacó a Berta de allí y la devoró hasta el último bocado. Todo lo que quedó de ella fueron sus zapatos, algunos pedazos de ropa y las tres medallas de la bondad.

-¿Mató a alguno de los cerditos?

-No, todos escaparon.

-La historia empezó mal -dijo la más pequeña de las niñas-, pero ha tenido un final bonito.

-Es la historia más bonita que he escuchado nunca -dijo la mayor de las niñas, muy decidida.

-Es la única historia bonita que he oído nunca -dijo Cyril.

La tía expresó su desacuerdo.

-¡Una historia de lo menos apropiada para explicar a niños pequeños! Ha socavado el efecto de años de cuidadosa enseñanza.

-De todos modos -dijo el soltero cogiendo sus pertenencias y dispuesto a abandonar el tren-, los he mantenido tranquilos durante diez minutos, mucho más de lo que usted pudo.

«¡Infeliz! -se dijo mientras bajaba al andén de la estación de Templecombe-. ¡Durante los próximos seis meses esos niños la asaltarán en público pidiéndole una historia impropia!»
Continuidad de los parques - Julio Cortázar



Había empezado a leer la novela unos días antes. La abandonó por negocios urgentes, volvió a abrirla cuando regresaba en tren a la finca; se dejaba interesar lentamente por la trama, por el dibujo de los personajes. Esa tarde, después de escribir una carta a su apoderado y discutir con el mayordomo una cuestión de aparcerías, volvió al libro en la tranquilidad del estudio que miraba hacia el parque de los robles. Arrellanado en su sillón favorito, de espaldas a la puerta que lo hubiera molestado como una irritante posibilidad de intrusiones, dejó que su mano izquierda acariciara una y otra vez el terciopelo verde y se puso a leer los últimos capítulos. Su memoria retenía sin esfuerzo los nombres y las imágenes de los protagonistas; la ilusión novelesca lo ganó casi en seguida. Gozaba del placer casi perverso de irse desgajando línea a línea de lo que lo rodeaba, y sentir a la vez que su cabeza descansaba cómodamente en el terciopelo del alto respaldo, que los cigarrillos seguían al alcance de la mano, que más allá de los ventanales danzaba el aire del atardecer bajo los robles. Palabra a palabra, absorbido por la sórdida disyuntiva de los héroes, dejándose ir hacia las imágenes que se concertaban y adquirían color y movimiento, fue testigo del último encuentro en la cabaña del monte. Primero entraba la mujer, recelosa; ahora llegaba el amante, lastimada la cara por el chicotazo de una rama. Admirablemente restallaba ella la sangre con sus besos, pero él rechazaba las caricias, no había venido para repetir las ceremonias de una pasión secreta, protegida por un mundo de hojas secas y senderos furtivos. El puñal se entibiaba contra su pecho, y debajo latía la libertad agazapada. Un diálogo anhelante corría por las páginas como un arroyo de serpientes, y se sentía que todo estaba decidido desde siempre. Hasta esas caricias que enredaban el cuerpo del amante como queriendo retenerlo y disuadirlo, dibujaban abominablemente la figura de otro cuerpo que era necesario destruir. Nada había sido olvidado: coartadas, azares, posibles errores. A partir de esa hora cada instante tenía su empleo minuciosamente atribuido. El doble repaso despiadado se interrumpía apenas para que una mano acariciara una mejilla. Empezaba a anochecer.

Sin mirarse ya, atados rígidamente a la tarea que los esperaba, se separaron en la puerta de la cabaña. Ella debía seguir por la senda que iba al norte. Desde la senda opuesta él se volvió un instante para verla correr con el pelo suelto. Corrió a su vez, parapetándose en los árboles y los setos, hasta distinguir en la bruma malva del crepúsculo la alameda que llevaba a la casa. Los perros no debían ladrar, y no ladraron. El mayordomo no estaría a esa hora, y no estaba. Subió los tres peldaños del porche y entró. Desde la sangre galopando en sus oídos le llegaban las palabras de la mujer: primero una sala azul, después una galería, una escalera alfombrada. En lo alto, dos puertas. Nadie en la primera habitación, nadie en la segunda. La puerta del salón, y entonces el puñal en la mano, la luz de los ventanales, el alto respaldo de un sillón de terciopelo verde, la cabeza del hombre en el sillón leyendo una novela.


Saki
,
"Esmé"


Tradução de José Lima



- Todas as histórias de caça são iguais
- disse Clovis. - E todas as histórias de corridas
de cavalos também são iguais, e todas as…


- A minha história de caça não se parece
em nada com qualquer outra que tenha ouvido - disse a Baronesa.
- Passou-se já há bastante tempo, tinha eu vinte
e três anos. Nessa altura não estava separada
do meu marido; está a ver, nenhum de nós se
podia dar ao luxo de pagar ao outro uma pensão. Digam
o que disserem os provérbios, são mais os lares
que a pobreza mantém unidos do que aqueles que destrói.
Mas caçávamos sempre com matilhas diferentes.
Nada disto tem a ver com a história.


- Ainda não chegámos ao ponto da concentração.
Suponho que houve uma concentração dos caçadores
- disse Clovis.

- Claro que houve uma concentração - disse a
Baronesa. - Estava lá toda a gente do costume, e em
particular Constance Broddle. Constance é uma daquelas
raparigaças de boas cores que combinam às mil
maravilhas com um cenário de Outono ou com as decorações
de Natal na igreja. "Pressinto que está para acontecer
alguma coisa horrível", disse-me ela, "Estou
pálida?"


Estava tão pálida como uma beterraba que tivesse
recebido más notícias de repente.

"Está mais bonita do que o normal", disse
eu, "mas isso para si é tão fácil."
Antes de ela ter atingido o exacto alcance do comentário,
já começara a função; os cães
tinham descoberto uma raposa escondida no meio de umas giestas.


- Eu já sabia - disse Clovis. - Em todas as histórias
de caça à raposa que ouvi havia sempre uma raposa
e moitas de giesta.

- Constance e eu tínhamos belas montadas - continuou
a Baronesa serenamente - e não tivemos dificuldade
em nos mantermos na primeira leva, embora fosse uma corrida
bastante puxada. Mas lá para o fim devemos ter seguido
um caminho um pouco independente, porque nos perdemos dos
cães, e vimo-nos a andar à toa aos tropeções
a milhas de qualquer sítio. Era uma coisa exasperante,
e a minha boa disposição começava a ceder
aos poucos, quando ao abrir caminho por uma sebe complacente
deparámos com o alegre espectáculo dos cães
em grande berraria num valado mais abaixo.


"Lá vão eles - gritou Constance, e acrescentou
num sobressalto: - Mas que diabo de caça será
aquela?"

Não era, de certeza, nenhuma raposa deste mundo. Tinha
o dobro do tamanho, tinha uma cabeça curta e feia,
e um pescoço grosso enorme.

"É uma hiena - gritei. - Deve ter fugido do Parque
de Lord Pabham."


Nesse momento o bicho perseguido virou-se e enfrentou os perseguidores,
e os cães (eram só uns seis pares) ficaram em
semicírculo e com um ar aparvalhado. Era evidente que
se tinham separado do resto da matilha na pista daquele cheiro
estranho, e não estavam muito certos de como lidar
com a presa agora que a tinham apanhado.

A hiena saudou a nossa chegada com inequívoco alívio
e manifestações de amizade. Provavelmente estava
habituada a uma invariável amabilidade por parte dos
humanos, ao passo que a primeira experiência com cães
lhe deixara uma má impressão. Os cães
pareciam mais embaraçados do que nunca enquanto a presa
exibia a sua súbita intimidade connosco, e o ténue
ressoar de uma trompa ao longe foi tomado como o desejado
sinal para uma partida discreta. Constance, eu e a hiena ficámos
sós no crepúsculo que descia.


"Que vamos fazer?", perguntou Constance.

"Não há como você para fazer perguntas",
disse eu.

"Bem, não podemos ficar aqui a noite toda com
uma hiena", replicou ela.


"Não sei qual é a sua ideia de conforto,"
disse eu, "mas não tenciono passar aqui a noite
toda, mesmo sem uma hiena. Pode não ser um lar feliz,
o meu, mas pelo menos tem água quente e fria, e serviço
doméstico, e outras comodidades que não encontraríamos
aqui. O melhor que temos a fazer é seguir para aquele
renque de árvores à direita; tenho a impressão
de que a estrada de Crowley fica logo a seguir."


Trotámos devagar seguindo o trilho apagado de uma carroça,
com o bicho seguindo alegremente atrás de nós.

"Que raio havemos de fazer com a hiena", veio a
pergunta inevitável.

"Que é que se costuma fazer com as hienas?",
perguntei mal-humorada.


"Nunca tive nada a ver com nenhuma até agora",
disse Constance.

"Bem, eu também não. Se ao menos soubéssemos
de que sexo é podíamos pôr-lhe um nome.
Talvez lhe pudéssemos chamar Esmé. Dá
para as duas hipóteses.


Ainda havia luz suficiente para distinguirmos as coisas à
beira do caminho, e a nossa atenção entorpecida
teve um sobressalto de alerta quando deparámos com
um miúdo cigano seminu que andava a apanhar amoras
numas moitas rasteiras. A súbita aparição
de duas amazonas e uma hiena puseram-no em fuga aos berros,
mas seja como for dificilmente poderíamos obter qualquer
informação geográfica útil de
tal fonte; mas havia uma probabilidade de virmos a encontrar
um acampamento de ciganos pelo caminho. Esperançadas,
seguimos caminho, mas sem que nada acontecesse por mais quilómetro
e meio uma milha ou coisa assim.

"Pergunto-me o que andaria uma criança a fazer
ali", disse Constance passados instantes.


"A apanhar amoras. Obviamente."

"Não me agradou o modo como berrava", continuou
Constance, "parece que ainda tenho o choro dele nos ouvidos."

Não trocei das fantasias mórbidas de Constance;
para dizer a verdade, a mesma sensação de ser
perseguida por um persistente gemido aflito, tinha-se insinuado
nos meus nervos já exaustos. A precisar de companhia,
chamei por Esmé, que tinha ficado algures para trás.
Com uns quantos saltos enérgicos pôs-se a par
de nós, e depois desapareceu à nossa frente.


O acompanhamento de gemidos estava explicado. O ciganito ia
firmemente, e imagino que dolorosamente, aferrado pelas presas
da hiena.

"Santo nome de Deus!" gritou Constance, "que
raio havemos de fazer? Que vamos fazer?"

Estou perfeitamente convencida de que no Juízo Final
Constance há-de fazer mais perguntas do que qualquer
dos Serafins jurados.

"Não podemos fazer nada?", insistia ela lacrimejante,
enquanto Esmé trotava ligeira à frente dos nossos
cavalos cansados.


Pelo meu lado fazia tudo o que me ocorria no momento. Vociferava,
ralhava, adulava, em inglês, francês e em linguagem
de couteiro; fazia gestos inúteis no ar com a minha
chibata esfiapada; atirei ao animal a caixa das sanduíches;
realmente, não sei que mais poderia ter feito. E lá
continuámos a arrastar-nos no crepúsculo que
se adensava, com a silhueta desengonçada arrastando-se
à nossa frente, e a toada de uma música lúgubre
pairando nos ouvidos. Subitamente Esmé mergulhou numas
moitas espessas ao lado do caminho, onde não a podíamos
seguir; o gemido cresceu para um guincho e depois calou-se
completamente. Passo sempre depressa esta parte da história,
porque realmente é bastante horrível. Quando
o bicho se juntou de novo a nós, depois de uma ausência
de alguns minutos, havia nele um ar de compreensão
resignada, como se soubesse que tinha feito uma coisa que
desaprovávamos, mas que sentia como perfeitamente justificável.


"Como pode permitir que essa fera esfaimada trote a seu
lado?", perguntou Constance. Parecia-se mais do que nunca
com uma beterraba albina.

"Em primeiro lugar, não posso impedi-lo",
disse eu. "E em segundo lugar, pode ser muitas coisas,
mas esfaimada duvido que seja neste momento."

Constance estremeceu. "Acha que o pobrezinho sofreu muito?",
veio mais uma das perguntas desnecessárias dela.

"Tudo indica que sim", disse eu. "Por outro
lado, é certo que pode ter estado a chorar por pura
birra. As crianças às vezes são assim."


Era quase noite cerrada quando de repente emergimos em plena
estrada. O clarão de uns faróis e o chiar de
um motor passaram por nós simultaneamente a uma proximidade
inquietante. Um baque e o som agudo de um guincho seguiram-se
um segundo depois. O carro parou, e quando dirigi a montada
para o local deparei com um homem novo curvado sobre uma massa
escura imóvel estendida na berma.

"Matou a minha Esmé", exclamei azeda.

"Lamento imenso", disse o jovem. "Sou criador
de cães, e compreendo como se deve sentir. Farei o
que puder para a compensar."


"Faz favor de a enterrar imediatamente", disse eu.
Acho que tenho o direito de lhe pedir isso."

"Traz a pá, William", ordenou ao chauffeur.
Via-se que funerais improvisados nas bermas das estradas eram
contingências que estavam previstas.

Levou algum tempo a cavar uma campa suficientemente grande.
"Sim senhor, um sujeito respeitável", disse
o cavalheiro, ao mesmo tempo que o cadáver era rolado
para a vala. "Dá a impressão que devia
ser um animal de bastante valor."


"Ficou em segundo lugar, em Birmingham, na categoria
de cachorros o ano passado", disse eu com desembaraço.

Constance fungou ruidosamente.

"Não chore, querida", disse eu numa voz entrecortada.
"Foi tudo rapidíssimo. Não deve ter sofrido
muito."

"Por favor", disse o jovem num tom sentido, "tem
de me deixar fazer alguma coisa como forma de a compensar."


Recusei delicadamente, mas como ele insistia acabei por lhe
dar a minha morada.

Naturalmente, não dissemos palavra sobre os episódios
do princípio da noite. Lord Pabham nunca anunciou o
desaparecimento da sua hiena; há um ano ou dois um
animal estritamente frutívoro saíra do parque
dele e vira-se obrigado a pagar indemnizações
em onze casos de acidentes com ovelhas e praticamente repovoara
as capoeiras dos vizinhos; por isso, uma hiena à solta
era capaz de equivaler a qualquer coisa à escala de
um subsídio do Governo. Os ciganos mostraram-se igualmente
discretos quanto ao desaparecimento do filhote; não
me parece que nos grandes acampamentos eles saibam, mais filho
menos filho, quantos têm ao certo.


A Baronesa fez uma pausa com ar pensativo, e depois continuou:

Mas a aventura teve uma sequela. Recebi pelo correio um pequeno
alfinete de diamantes amoroso, com o nome de Esmé gravado
num raminho de alecrim. Por acaso, também, perdi a
amizade de Constance Broddle. Está a ver, quando vendi
o alfinete recusei-me com toda a razão a dar-lhe qualquer
parte do lucro. Fiz notar que a parte Esmé do caso
tinha sido inventada por mim, e que a parte hiena pertencia
a Lord Pabham, se realmente a hiena era a dele, coisa de que,
evidentemente, não tenho nenhuma prova.