By: johnnyboy        
Ramaswamy, Theranos' Holmes, Moderna's Bancel - the key to get investment these days is to master Silicon valley-speak and get chummy with their VCs. The science is secondary at best.
          Badshah Masala launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan        


by Shrutee K/DNS
National: Badshah Masala, this Independence Day, has launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan, aiming to decrease this divide and pushes notice to how similar these two sister countries are. Badshah Masala believes that despite all the differences we may have, food transcends all boundaries and brings people from different places together. 
In this video, Manno is a traditional Indian mom whose daughter, Dimple, has just returned from US after finishing her studies. Dimple, whilst showing Manno pictures from her time in US, also shows her a picture with her Pakistani friend, Saad. Manno immediately points to Saad being a Pakistani, but is shunned by her young and liberal daughter.  
Dimple then mentions that she wants to meet Saad, an idea which Manno isn't too fond of. After much deliberation, Manno asks Dimple to invite Saad over for dinner so that she can keep an eye on him. Once Saad comes over for dinner, he amazes Manno with what he does.
This video is a testimony to how much the younger generation can influence their parents in breaking stereotypes that have prevailed in modern India. The campaign also communicates a broader message that gets us thinking as to how Indians perceive foreign nationals. It stresses on the importance of respect for an individual regardless of his or her racial background and nationality, and the importance of not judging a person based on our own preconceived notions and existing stereotypes.
Kailash Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, said,”As we are inching closer to a 70th Independence Day, there is no better time to contemplate the ties between these two countries. We are trying our best to close this divide by starting a conversation over something that no one would decline - Swaad.” 
Hemant Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, adds, “Badshah Masala has always been involved in forming connections through food. From the very beginning of this company, we have looked at food as something that can bring people from everywhere together. We are glad that we are taking this opportunity to provide another outlook to the current scenario that our country is facing.” 
Anushree Pacheriwal, Creative Head of Gemius, said, “It has been an incredible experience working for this campaign. From the very start, we were certain that this message needed to be out there, and that shaped the direction that this campaign took.”
The campaign is by Badshah Masala conceptualised by agency Gemius and creative head Anushree Pacheriwal, Story, Saurabh Pacheriwal. The production house is 50mm Media Productions and Director & DOP is Saurabh Desai and Ankit Mavchi. Gemius is co founded by Saurabh Pacheriwal, a marketing professional and Anushree Pacheriwal, a creative professional. Its clientele includes Badshah Masala, World Economic Forum, Just In Time, Baggit, TEDx events amongst others.
·       Campaign Link:  https://youtu.be/2LFIuXf1Gqo
Credits:
Client: Badshah Masala
Managing Partners: Kailash Jhaveri, Hemant Jhaveri
Agency: Gemius
Managing Director: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Creative Head: Anushree Pacheriwal
Account Management Team: Tanvi Khandelwal, Abhishek Doshi, Varsha Tanna
Story: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Production House: 50mm Media Productions
Director & DOP: Saurabh Desai & Ankit Mavchi
Production Team: Fenil Patel, Siddhant Shah, Nehal Trivedi, Jigar M, Setu U


          Sugar Free launches a web series ‘The Sweet Breakup’ a first of its kind in the food space        


by Shrutee K/DNS


Mumbai, August 2017: Sugar Free, a name synonymous with sugar substitute, is the single largest leader in India in the category. The brand always thrives on innovation as key for its growth and has introduced many variants in the category for the sweet binging yet calorie conscious Indians. As an extension to its innovation drive, the brand has unveiled a new campaign ‘The Sweet Breakup’, a one-of-a-kind 5-part web-series in the food category. The series is conceptualized and executed by Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus.
Talking about the campaign Tarun Arora, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Zydus Wellness said, “Our vision for “Sugar Free” is to make it the brand of choice for consumers seeking low / no calorie options to lead a healthier life style. Hence to address the myths attached with the usage of Sugar Free as part of one’s daily culinary needs made us conceptualize ‘The Sweet Break Up’.  This web series demonstrates in an authentic way that you can indulge into your favourite dessert guilt-free without compromising on the taste. The 5- city trail as part of the campaign only reaffirmed that any sweet recreated with Sugar Free tastes the same when made with sugar. I believe this was the first time a dessert truck was going around India and hence there was a lot of excitement amongst people wanting to know what’s cooking !”
Pooja Verma, Head - Content, Entertainment and Sports Partnerships at Maxus said, “Maxus believes that changing traditional behaviour among consumers with content, needs a compelling strategy which is driven by insights and fused with creative thought. Showcasing Sugar Free as more than just a sugar substitute via ‘The Sweet Break-Up’ campaign is a prime example of our focus. Sweets have a strong relationship with celebrations in our country. With that insight in mind, we brought our campaign together on the message that enjoying sweets while breaking up with unhealthy calories is a win-win outcome for every foodie. The creative vehicle to deliver that message is our one-of-a-kind series where Chef Kunal Kapur joins famous foodie-duo Rocky & Mayur, in recreating delicious Indian sweets with Sugar Free. Through this content solution, the brand stands to generate extensive and meaningful conversations with viewers who love their sweets.”

This campaign marks the culinary journey of Sugar Free across 5 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai, where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reconstructed 5 different speciality desserts by using Sugar Free products. The brand also had on board the famous foodie duo Rocky and Mayur whose fun banter added to the entertainment element in the web-series. The journey started from Delhi where the chef created the famous Tewari Brother’s Gulaab Jamun followed by Lucknow where Ram Asrey’s famous Malai ki Gilori was made. The truck then headed East to Kolkata where he recreated Balaram Mullick’s Sandesh and then southward to Bangalore where he made a fusion dessert using G Pulla Reddy’s Dharwad Peda and created Dharwad Peda Tiramisu. The final leg of the web series was shot in Mumbai where Chef Kapur added a spin to made Ladu Samrat’s modak and created delicious chocolate modaks. All of these were created using Sugar Free. While the brand has a strong linkage with table top consumptionand pellets as a format, the culinary consumption for powder formats is a gap that needs to be bridged. ‘The Sweet Breakup’ campaign is that step forward by Sugar Free to make consumers aware of the format, its usage and the fact that the taste of the dessert stays as good. What more? One can indulge in sweets now without having to feel guilty.
The Sweet Breakup will be unveiled on-air on youtube.com 18thAugust
About Zydus Wellness Limited: Zydus Wellness Limited is the Consumer products company from the Zydus Group. Zydus group is a pharma major with flagship organization, Cadila Healthcare Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company with significant global presence apart from India. Zydus Wellness has been a pioneer in various categories it operates in. The company focuses on emerging segments and has its DNA of innovations with “Do good benefits” at the core of its business. Zydus Wellness commands leadership in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segments. In the sugar substitute market, Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of 94% and targets health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics.
Nutralite is a market leader in the Fat Spread category and appeals to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter. It is cholesterol free, does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free. Everyuth is a pioneer in facial cleansing space in India. It enjoys leadership in the scrub and Peel off Mask segments and is amongst the top players in the overall facial cleansing category with strong “Naturals” equity Zydus Wellness Limited is listed on NSE and BSE and has manufacturing locations in Gujarat and Sikkim.
About Maxus:  Maxus is a marketing communications consultancy that helps marketers build profitable relationships between consumers and their brands. They combine the disciplines of communications planning and customer relationship marketing to deliver Relationship Media, a next generation model powered by creative media thinking and sophisticated, real-time customer data.

Their services include communications strategy, digital marketing, direct response media, social media, data analytics, media investment management, content & sports marketing, marketing ROI evaluation and CRM. Having a talent team of 2,500 people across 55 markets, they are part of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group that serves as the parent company for all of WPP’s media agencies.

          Indian girl’s finish 4th in Asian Rugby 7s        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 7: The Indian Girls’ Under-20 rugby team performed creditably well to clinch the fourth position at the Asia Rugby U-20 Girls Sevens Series which was held at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong, China on August 4 & 5, 2017. The team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and was supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India. The tournament was played on a round-robin league basis.
Playing against heavyweights, the Indian girl’s put up some impressive performances winning three of the six matches and finished among the top 4 from out of the 7 participating countries, namely China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India and hosts Hong Kong. The formidable and more experienced Chinese girls were crowned champions.
The Rugby India Girls played well but came up short against some stiff competition on the first day. They lost the opening match against Thailand (0-36) but won the second defeating Malaysia (10-0). The Indian girls suffered two more defeats, losing to China (0-32) and Hong Kong 0-39).
After a tough start to the tournament, the girls turned things around on the second day, registering two successive victories. Both matches went down to the wire but the girls handled the pressure well. First the Indian girls overcame Singapore 10-5 and later beat Uzbekistan 22-15.
We are extremely proud of the team’s performance at this tournament. It just goes to show that the future of women’s rugby in India is in safe hands.
The India team: RuchiShetty – Captain (Maharashtra), GargeeWalekar (Maharashtra), NeelamPatil (Maharashtra), RiaBisht (Delhi), Rajani Sabar (Odisha), BasantiPangi (Odisha), Manjulata Pradhan (Odisha), KabitaKasturi (Odisha), Chanda Oraon (West Bengal), Swapna Oraon (West Bengal), Suman Oraon (West Bengal), Punam Oraon (West Bengal).
The final Rankings: 1. China, 2. Thailand, 3. Hong Kong, 4. India, 5. Singapore, 6. Malaysia, 7. Uzbekistan
Performance of the Indian U20 Girls Rugby Team
Day One –4th August, 2017
Day Two- 5th August, 2017
Team
Score
vs
Score
Team

Score
vs
Score

Rugby India
0
vs
36
Thailand
Rugby India
10
vs
5
Singapore
Rugby India
10
vs
0
Malaysia
Rugby India
22
vs
15
Uzbekistan
Rugby India
0
vs
32
China

Rugby India
0
vs
39
Hong Kong

About Rugby India : Rugby India, founded in 1998, is the sole governing body for the sport of Rugby in India. Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport, Govt. of India, Rugby India is a full member of World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The body is responsible for the growth & development of the sport of Rugby across the country from the grassroots to the high performance level.
IRFU is the sole governing body of all formats of the sport of Rugby in India for all genders and ages. The formats included are as follows: Rugby Union, Fifteen-a-Side Rugby, Seven-a-Side Rugby, 10-a-Side Rugby, 12-a-Side Rugby, Touch Rugby, Non-Contact Rugby - Tag Rugby, Flag Rugby, Beach Rugby, Snow Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby, Underwater Rugby.
Rugby has been included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for all age-groups (U14, U17 & U19 boys & girls) and the National University Games for both Men & Women, under the aegis of the Associationof Indian Universities (AIU), The sport is also a part of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and played by the Paramilitary & Police Forces.
Rugby in India has a rich history and heritage and dates back to 1872. However, only over the last decade has the sport seen a major rise in following and Rugby India has been instrumental in garnering this interest across the country. There has been a significant growth and increase in participation numbers and currently, within India, over 120 Rugby Clubs are affiliated to our State and Districts Associations with competitive Rugby, for both Men & Women, being actively played across 24 States in India.


          Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)        

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)

~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri’ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.

The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.

To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtra’s best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyle”


Mr. Subhash Talekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said “We Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.”

India is the world’s largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of India’s steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.

Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.

The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you needn’t worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily – making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.

With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices.  What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.


Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.  Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC)  to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
                                                                                                             

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy.  The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the world’s palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

          SSB Retail India launches two more Specialty Malls        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Hyderabad, 4th August 2017: SSB Group is a leading structural galvanizing company which is in a retail sector mall in Hyderabad.

The SSB World Shopping Mall has come up with a two brand ‘Alpine’- the supermarket and ‘Casabene’- the furniture mall. Casabene has its branches in Kolkata, Hyderabad and is now launching 2 more new branches in Hyderabad.

The company has diversified into retailing. The 3rd retailing space at Chakripuram  is 7000 sq. ft which has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures. The 4th retailing space at North Kamalanager ECIL is 2000 sq. ft which also has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures.
The retail industry is very competitive; in order to give extra mileage SSB is having its own manufacturing facilities. They believe in delivering excellent quality products with customer satisfaction. The Chief Guest for the event will be honourable Smt. Pajjuri Pavani Manipal Reddy (Corporator) for A S Rao Nagar Division, SSB Directors - Y Sharath Babu & Ajay Kumar Singh and Chairman - Ramakanth Singh. Mr Ajay Kumar Singh & Mr Sarath Babu - Directors, of SSB believes in giving good lifestyle supplies at competitive prices.
 
The retailing product will be: Supermarket/Furniture/Home Décor/Home Accessories/Home related products

USP: Exclusively designed/Concept selling/Manufacturing Quality Products/Craftsman and Finishing/Free interior advice/Large collection under one roof

The business plan is to diversify and open 10 Branches of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furniture in the twin cities.

About SSB: SSB is a Turkey service provider, established in August 2013, SSB Structural and Galvanizing Pvt Ltd is an enterprise by two pragmatic visionaries. As an emerging sector, it is present in telecom, power, heavy and general fabrication and infrastructure. It was able to export structural material in the second year of inception. The company has a turnover of 50 crores and it will have 100 crores of turn over year.

          Swipe launches KONNECT at Rs. 4,999 Exclusively on Snapdeal        

by Shrutee K/DNS 

India, 4th August 2017: Swipe Technologies, India’s leading mobile internet technology company, is all set to unveil brand new member in its popular KONNECT Series - Swipe KONNECT Power.  The slim and sturdy smartphone sports 5” HD IPS display and boasts enormous 3000 mAh battery.  The compelling feature rich Swipe KONNECT Power is competitively priced at Rs. 4,999 only. It will be available exclusively on Snapdeal from 7th August 2017.

Swipe KONNECT Power is driven by a powerful 1.5GHz quad core processor that runs on Android 6.0 OS for lag-free multi-tasking smartphone experience. It comes with 2 GB RAM plus 16 GB internal memory, expandable up to 32 GB and OTG support enhances the storage options. The new 4G VoLTE-ready KONNECT Power features 5” HD IPS display that allows users to enjoy cleaner & sharper visuals at the highest resolution. Besides, this device has a very sleek body that makes the phone very stylish in its looks. That’s not all. For the photography enthusiast, KONNECT Power comes with 8MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera. The camera app also comes with lots of features to enhance the photography. The new phone gives an extended company to the user with its 3000 mAh battery, which is installed keeping in mind the daily lifestyle and usage patterns of young smartphone users.  Commenting on the launch of KONNECT Power, Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Swipe Technologies said: “Fulfilling aspirations of demanding Indians at affordable price is what differentiates Swipe from other smartphone players.  Our latest creation is yet another affordable device under the KONNECT series – KONNECT Power. It is designed for the aspiring youth of the country who requires long lasting battery that too with 2GB RAM yet the phone is light on pocket.”
Vishal Chadha, Sr.Vice President – Business said: “As part of our commitment to the vision of Digital India, we are keen to bring our consumers access to compelling technology products at great value. With Swipe Konnect Power, we are confident that this newest exclusive addition to our smartphone assortment will be well received by our customers”
Swipe KONNECT Power comes with a gorgeous design, and it has a smoother touch experience as well as comfortable grip. Customers will be able to enjoy a greater multimedia experience, as they can capture stunning photos and videos in virtually any lighting condition.
About Swipe Technologies:
Swipe Technologies is an innovation-centric mobility solutions company, having started its operations in July 2012. Within a short span of time, Swipe has become the leading tablet and Smartphone maker in India.   Swipe was started with an aim to bring exciting devices in the growing Indian market and today, it is the leading consumer brand with key innovations across products, pricing and customer support. Founded by technocrat Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Swipe raised $5 million in May 2014 from the Venture Capital firm Kalaari Capital. In the last three years, Swipe has won a number of accolades including the “Top 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurs of India” by The Economic Times, the “Most Innovation-driven Company in India” by World Brand Congress, and the “Most Innovative Start-up” by Franchise India, the “Best Integrated Campaign” by the World Brand and Congress& the “Best Youth Brand Tablet” by CNBC. Also, Swipe’s young founder Mr. Shripal Gandhi has been recognized as the “CNBC Young Turks” for his breakthrough strategies and innovation in the field of mobile communication technologies. For details, logon to www.justswipe.com

          U Mumba announces sale of tickets for Home Leg of Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League         
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai: Hosting their home leg at the Dome @ National Sports Club of India (NSCI), SVP stadium in Mumbai between the 25th and 31st of August 2017, U Mumba announced the start of their sale for tickets and offers on ticketing partner websites paytm.com and insider.in. The home leg will be the fifth of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League, that will extend into the last week of October.  

The VVIP tickets are priced at INR 7,000, while the VIP tickets are priced at INR 5,500. Both the VVIP and VIP tickets include refreshments and the seating surrounds the playing area.

In the General Stand, tickets for Section 2 are available at INR 1,000 and Section 3 and INR 800. U Mumba fans have a lot to cheer about with the team reducing prices of tickets in the General Stands by 25%.

With tickets now available for sale online, fans can avail attractive discounts on Season Passes, Weekend Passes and Weekday Passes.

Season Passes (for all 6 match days) and Weekday Passes (for games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) are available at a 25% discount.

The Weekend Pass (for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) are available at 10% discount.
In an offer exclusive to the student community, students aged under 21 years, are entitled to a 35% discount on Section 3 tickets. These can be purchased online and collected at the Box-Office on displaying their Student ID.
NSCI members can avail a special discount of 10% at the Box Office by displaying their membership cards.
“With 6 games, we’ll have an entire week of Kabaddi in Mumbai city and this is a real treat for our fans, especially given the exciting line-up of matches scheduled. Further, with the Ganesh Festival coinciding with our home leg, we look forward to celebrating the festival together with all our fans,” commented U Sports CEO Supratik Sen.

The Dome @ NSCI, SVP stadium will play host to the extended league for 6 days this season with U Mumba taking on the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first encounter followed by the Maharashtra Derby on the second night with their weekend ending with a match against Dabang Delhi. Post their Rest Day on Monday, U Mumba will face debutants Gujarat Fortunegiants and Haryana Steelers on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively and close their home leg with a match against the Jaipur Pink Panthers again.

All matches start at 8:00 PM and Gates Open at 6:00 PM on match days.


          Uf y recontra uf si tiene cara de lesbiana que...        
Uf y recontra uf si tiene cara de lesbiana que tal un presidente de mexico gey un gobernador gey y un presidente munincipal gey y de pilon esta que si se ve lesbiana que futuro tan brillante tenemos aqui en tepa los estudios deven de ser algo asi como esto puros LGBT los GEneracion # 5 que lio no les digo pura carne para el diablo o mejor dicho para el carnaval dela mundanidad para amor y paz y paz si como no ahhhh
          Gli infiniti possibili di Giorgio Sollazzi, musicista        
All'epoca ero molto ingenuo e molto presuntuoso e pensavo di poter scrivere “recensioni” di grandi opere musicali del passato. Le pubblicavo su un sito commerciale (che esiste ancora oggi). Quando mi venivano bene, erano “schede" molto pedantesche, contenenti le stesse informazioni che si possono trovare su una qualsiasi garzantina. Infatti, qualche anno dopo, quando Wikipedia arrivò in Italia, smisi di farmi sfruttare dal sito commerciale e trovai quella che probabilmente è la mia vera vocazione internettiana.

Ad ogni modo fu sul sito commerciale che conobbi Giorgio Sollazzi. Anche lui scriveva recensioni. Con la prima, importante differenza che lui è musicista, e quindi sa di cosa scrive, e con una seconda differenza: le sue recensioni erano avvincenti, estrose, godibilissime, anche e soprattutto quando sembrava che non avessero nulla a che fare col brano musicale che - in teoria - ne costituiva l'oggetto. Le recensioni di Giorgio non parlavano precisamente né del brano musicale “in sé”, né della sua ricezione da parte dell'ascoltatore-recensore. Si situavano, piuttosto, in qualche punto lungo la relazione fra questi due elementi, come un acrobata in equilibrio su un filo, o come uno dei fuochi di due specchi parabolici contrapposti. Non per niente “mirrors” (con la m minuscola) era il nickname che Giorgio si era scelto.

A un certo punto Giorgio uscì dal sito e cancellò il suo account. Dev'essere per questo che, cercando ora qualcuna delle meravigliose recensioni di mirrors, non ne trovo nessuna. Qualche tempo dopo si iscrisse nuovamente con un altro nickname e cominciò a pubblicare recensioni di forma più tradizionale, ma sempre molto belle, come ad esempio questa, sulla settima di Beethoven.

L'interpretazione verbale di un brano musicale è sempre un grosso azzardo. "Scrivere di musica è come ballare di architettura", diceva Frank Zappa. Le descrizioni che amo di più sono quelle di musiche inesistenti, come la sonata di Vinteuil in Proust o le composizioni immaginate da Thomas Mann nel Doktor Faustus. Proust mescolava genialmente le carte, inventandosi una sonata per violino e pianoforte che prendeva un po' dalla Sonata in re minore di César Franck, un po' da un quintetto di Saint-Saëns, senza essere né l'una né l'altro; in piena coerenza, d'altronde, con la sua estetica, dove non esistono "descrizioni" "realistiche" del "mondo esterno". Quanto a Mann, Arnold Schönberg s'inalberò quando seppe che la sua musica aveva ispirato quella del romanzo, al punto da pretendere una smentita da parte dello scrittore. E dal suo punto di vista Schönberg aveva anche ragione, in quanto Mann interpretava la dodecafonia come un fenomeno di dissoluzione morale, che era quanto di più lontano dagli intenti del severo musicista.

Ma anche divagare è un'arte, che a me non riesce: ci provo inutilmente, per poi subito ricadere nel mio solito modo di scrivere pedestre e nozionistico. Dunque, meglio rimanere on topic e parlare di Giorgio Sollazzi. Ecco: quando lo conobbi, non attraversavo quello che si dice un buon periodo. Mi ero laureato, avevo fatto il servizio civile, abitavo a casa dei miei in provincia, lontanissimo dall'università e dai miei amici di laggiù. Gli altri miei amici, quelli del liceo, erano sparsi in giro per l'Italia. Facevo pratica in uno studio legale. Ero, in sostanza, disoccupato, e mi sentivo terribilmente solo e senza prospettive. L'amicizia epistolare con Giorgio mi aiutò a tenermi in piedi. Ci scambiavamo commenti e messaggi sul sito commerciale (che fungeva anche un po' da social network), email, ma anche lettere cartacee: ricordo un plico meraviglioso che egli mi spedì con un CD che aveva masterizzato per me. Dentro c'erano un brano di Stockhausen, Il canto sospeso di Nono, un coro dal Trovatore, e non ricordo cos'altro.

A quel tempo Internet non aveva ancora stravolto la distribuzione della musica. C'era Napster, ma con le connessioni lente di allora non è che si riuscisse a scaricare granché. Per ascoltare musica bisognava ancora affidarsi alla radio, oppure ordinare il disco al negozio e aspettare che arrivasse. C'era poi una circolazione semiclandestina di audiocassette duplicate artigianalmente, che passavano di mano in mano come samizdat. Tutta una dimensione romantica, di scoperta, che si è persa dal momento in cui è bastato digitare un nome su un motore di ricerca per avere subito a disposizione l'intera produzione di qualsiasi musicista antico o contemporaneo.

Poco tempo fa ho chiesto a Giorgio se, come musicista, non si sentisse stimolato da questa odierna vasta disponibilità di musiche, e come mai ciò non lo inducesse a scrivere in una tale, enorme varietà di stili e di linguaggi: oggi un brano dodecafonico, domani uno pop, dopodomani uno free jazz, e via dicendo. Non ricordo esattamente il tenore della mia domanda - che comunque era piuttosto stupida, si capisce. Ricordo invece perfettamente la replica di Giorgio: fare come gli suggerivo io - mi ha risposto - avrebbe forse aumentato il suo tasso di libertà ma avrebbe diminuito il tasso di scelta.

In uno dei suoi romanzi, Nicola Lagioia offre alcune riflessioni molto interessanti a proposito del ritrovare sui social network i propri amici di gioventù. Queste amicizie del mondo reale divenute poi virtuali - osserva Lagioia - hanno una strana consistenza umbratile. Simile a quella degli spiriti nell'undicesimo libro dell'Odissea (o nel sesto dell'Eneide), aggiungerei io. Colpa del mezzo, evidentemente, e non dell'amicizia in sé - ma questo è un altro discorso.

Conosco Giorgio da sedici anni e non ci siamo mai incontrati di persona: solo via Internet, e qualche volta per telefono. Però non ho mai avvertito come un limite la virtualità della nostra amicizia. Forse perché nel suo caso manca il confronto con l'immagine mnemonica della persona reale, o forse per il felice paradosso che Giorgio riesce a realizzare nelle sue comunicazioni virtuali, allo stesso tempo lievi e intense.

Sto pensando che “lieve” e “intenso” potrebbero essere i due primi aggettivi che mi vengono in mente ascoltando la musica di Giorgio. Mi rendo conto che come contributo critico è parecchio inadeguato, ma ho già detto che non sono del mestiere. Giorgio ha esposto la sua poetica (o almeno, una delle sue poetiche) in uno scritto che potete trovare qui.

In questo saggio, Giorgio prende le mosse dal personaggio di Amleto (con annesso spettro del re di Danimarca?) per proporre una sua complessa concezione della composizione, come “apparizione” o “evocazione” di “potenziali”. 

Shakespeare era un altro interesse che ci univa quando scrivevamo sul sito commerciale. Giorgio ha molto riflettuto, e qualcosa ha anche scritto, sia in prosa sia in musica, sulla figura di Amleto.


Quanto a me, partendo dalla constatazione che su Internet in italiano c'era ancora poco materiale sull'argomento, mi ero messo in testa di compilare e mettere on line una "recensione" per ciascuno dei drammi del Bardo. Tanto ero sprovveduto, a quell'epoca.

Più tardi abbandonai l'insano progetto, assieme alle mie velleità di anglista, e praticamente smisi di leggere Shakespeare. Oggi amo recarmi, di quando in quando, a visitare l'abbazia cistercense di Morimondo. Questo non c'entra nulla con quanto ho detto finora. Però nell'abbazia c'è un bel coro ligneo di epoca rinascimentale.

Ogni volta che lo vedo recito mentalmente la prima quartina del Sonetto LXXIII.

La migliore traduzione italiana è quella di Ungaretti:

"Quel tempo in me vedere puoi dell'anno
Quando già niuna foglia, o rara gialla in sospeso, rimane
Ai rami che affrontando il freddo tremano,
Cori spogliati rovinati dove gli uccelli cantarono, dolci".

Di solito i commentatori sottolineano il senso di desolazione che promana da quei bare ruin'd choirs, vuoti, semidistrutti e muti. Sta di fatto che Shakespeare, mentre ce li descrive, riesce in qualche modo a farcene riascoltare il suono. Forse questa è una delle cose che il poeta vuole dirci: la memoria, aiutata dall'arte, può riuscire ad evocare la musica di un coro assente.














          Tifiamo Scaramouche!        
Tifiamo Scaramouche è una raccolta di racconti in quattro volumi che possono essere scaricati liberamente in formato PDF dal sito dei Wu Ming. Si tratta di una fan fiction derivante da L'armata dei sonnambuli, l'ultimo romanzo storico del collettivo uscito nel 2014.

A curare la raccolta è stato Simone Scaffidi L. Da un'idea di: Pietro Pace, Mauro Vanetti e Alessandro Villari (Avvocato Laser). Il progetto grafico e l'impaginazione si devono a Franco Berteni (Mr Mill) e Simone Scaffidi L. La copertina e le illustrazioni sono di Alessandro Caligaris e Francesca Sibona.

Qui di seguito, ecco il mio contributo, pubblicato nel terzo volume della raccolta. Buona lettura.


Il flauto tradito
Parigi, 1801

1.

A suo modo, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith era un uomo generoso. La sera del 20 agosto 1801, dopo la trionfale prima della sua opera I misteri d'Iside al Teatro della Repubblica, il compositore offrì la cena all'intera troupe, comparse e suggeritore compresi.
Benché relegate al tavolo meno prestigioso dell'ampia sala del ristorante, le due comparse Léo Modonnet e Emanuele Gizzio potevano udire facilmente i discorsi del tavolo principale, quello dove sedeva Lachnith assieme al manager del teatro, al librettista Étienne Morel de Chédeville e ai cantanti protagonisti. Per meglio dire, potevano udire il monologo del torrenziale musicista boemo, la cui voce sopravanzava quelle di tutti gli altri.
«Eh sì, caro Chédeville! Il buon Mozart aveva del talento, questo nessuno lo vorrà negare; ma aveva anche un'esecrabile tendenza al lambiccato, all'insolito... In una parola: troppa complicazione! Oggigiorno il pubblico non ne vuole sapere di una musica che sia troppo difficile. La gente vuole ariette semplici, presentate con garbo, che tocchino il cuore senza affaticare il cervello. Prendete il Don Giovanni: quante graziose melodie! Parola mia, credo che abbiamo fatto bene a prenderne una in prestito, per il nostro terzetto. Tuttavia, andiamo... La scena con la statua nel finale secondo... Chi può sopportare una tale rombante cacofonia? Pensate solo questo: in quattro battute, quel povero basso deve cantare tutte e dodici le note della scala cromatica. Sapete? Un mio amico italiano, galantuomo e compositore eminente, mi parlava tempo fa con orrore di un certo quartetto per archi, dove Mozart ha accumulato tante di quelle dissonanze da creare un ripugnante caos, direi quasi un giacobinismo sonoro, dove va completamente perso ogni giusto criterio di gerarchia tra le sette note... Di proposito dico sette, non dodici; giacché nessuno, a meno che il suo orecchio non sia guastato dalla musica per tastiera, crederà mai che un re diesis possa essere uguale a un mi bemolle... Anzi: un re è sempre un re, come dicono in Italia, non è vero?».
«Ma va' curcati, buffuni!» commentò Gizzio a mezza voce.
«Perciò, quando mi fu proposto di allestire per le nostre scene Il Flauto magico, la prima cosa che pensai fu: sta bene; ma, per carità, sfrondiamo! Semplifichiamo!
Smussiamo le asperità del testo! Rendiamo il tutto più comprensibile, più adatto alle orecchie del nostro pubblico. Più elegante, anche. E l'esito così radioso di questa serata ha dimostrato che avevamo avuto pienamente ragione. Prima di tutto: i nomi. Tutti quei Tamino, Papageno e Papagena del testo originale, così goffi e plebei, noi li abbiamo cambiati nei molto più raffinati Isménor, Bochoris e Mona...».
Modonnet rise.
«Non voglio parlare della parte musicale. Ho dovuto lavorare parecchio di forbici e d'ingegno per dare una veste accettabile alla barbarica partitura. Ma, per quanto riguarda il vostro lavoro, Chédeville, potete andare orgoglioso di avere addolcito il carattere di quella terribile regina della notte. Certo, l'aria del secondo atto l'abbiamo dovuta proprio espungere: a parte che è impossibile da cantare, ma quel testo “der hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen...”, “vendetta infernale sento nel mio petto”... Ahimè! Una gentile e amabile donzella come voi, signorina Maillard, avrebbe dovuto intonare tali parole? Per carità! Abbiamo già sofferto abbastanza, qualche anno fa, con quella spaventosa Medea di Cherubini. Basta, basta! I personaggi femminili, a teatro, devono rassicurare, non inquietare! Belle fanciulle, mogli e madri esemplari: questo vuole il nostro distinto pubblico. Perché la gente, la sera, vuole distrarsi dai traffici quotidiani del commercio e della Borsa, e trovare sollievo dalle cure dello Stato. Dirò di più: nell'epoca moderna la gente vuole vivere il proprio tempo come un affascinante, mutevole, infinito spettacolo. In una parola, vuole divertirsi. Il nostro compito è di farli divertire. E questa sera ci siamo riusciti; possiamo affermarlo con fierezza. Brindiamo!».

2.

Erano passate le quattro del mattino quando Modonnet e Gizzio ritornavano al foborgo Sant'Antonio. Davanti alle botteghe dei fornai c'erano già le prime code. I volti e i discorsi delle persone in fila per il pane manifestavano stanchezza, frustrazione, rabbia.
«Quattordici soldi per quattro libbre di pane! Così non si può andare avanti».
«Uno schifo, altro che!».
«Bonaparte non sta facendo un cazzo».
«Sbagli, cittadina. Bonaparte sta facendo parecchio. Solo, non per noialtri».
«Per i grandi proprietari. Per i nobili, gli speculatori, i fornitori dell'esercito e i finanzieri. Per quei merdosi, ecco per chi sta lavorando il Primo console...».
Gizzio sembrava ancora più taciturno del solito. Per tutto il cammino dal centro al foborgo, dove lui e Modonnet abitavano, disse a malapena due parole, eccettuate le strane bestemmie che ogni tanto sputava tra i denti.
«Toglimi una curiosità» gli chiese alla fine Modonnet mentre stavano per arrivare a casa. «Al tuo paese è normale invocare con tanta frequenza la ghigliottina su Gesù Cristo, sulla Madonna e su tutti i santi, come fai tu?».
Gizzio rise amaramente: «Lo facciamo di continuo. Tutti, anche i bambini e i preti. Vieni a vivere un mese dalle mie parti, e capirai».
«Non mi ricordo mai come si chiama la tua città».
«Io stesso vorrei non ricordarmene. Comunque, non è una città: è un villaggio di poche anime sperduto nell'Aspromonte. Ammesso che esista ancora. Non ho sue notizie da due anni, cioè da quando sono venuto qui a Parigi».
Era il discorso più lungo che Modonnet gli avesse mai udito fare.
«Ma no» proseguì Gizzio, come parlando fra sé. «Giudico troppo severamente i miei compaesani. In fondo, nessuno di loro si è arruolato nell'Armata cristiana e reale». Gizzio pronunciò queste ultime parole con una smorfia di disgusto.
«Ne ho sentito parlare» commentò Modonnet. «Le bande del cardinale Ruffo, non è vero? Una specie di Vandea...».
«Molto peggio. I vandeani, almeno, sapevano per cosa combattevano; i sanfedisti invece si sono solo fatti affascinare dai feudatari e dai preti. Hanno avuto quello che si meritavano. Li aspettano altri due o tre secoli di dispotismo e di miseria. E ti dico la verità: penso che anche qui, in Francia, andrà a finire allo stesso modo. Te lo concedo: finora il popolo di Parigi si è comportato bene, specialmente i tuoi compagni del foborgo Sant'Antonio. Ma quanto ancora potranno resistere? I contadini francesi non sono affatto
più intelligenti di quelli del Regno di Napoli; nelle campagne già da tempo monta la reazione. Gente che cerca solo un padrone cui obbedire; e in buona parte l'ha già trovato. E allora non chiedermi perché bestemmio, Léo: mi è rimasto solo questo, mannaia lu signuri!».
«Ho sempre apprezzato il tuo ottimismo, cittadino Gizzio!» concluse Modonnet.

3.

Uno dei vantaggi del mestiere teatrale è che permette di dormire sino a tardi; quando si ha un tetto sotto cui ripararsi, naturalmente. Léo Modonnet, per ora, l'aveva; ma quella mattina dormì lo stesso un sonno assai inquieto. Verso mezzogiorno, poco prima di svegliarsi, fece uno dei sogni più enigmatici della sua vita.
Era un sogno musicale. Modonnet udiva con una chiarezza allucinatoria una breve melodia, gentile e saltellante, in uno stile antiquato, suonata da una piccola orchestra. Poi, lo stesso tema, ma eseguito da un'orchestra molto più grande, con accenti molto più imperiosi e con una chiusa cromatica vagamente minacciosa. A questo punto appariva uno strano ometto, che si esprimeva con un forte accento tedesco. «Ogni vero artista, mein Freund, è anche uno Zauberer – un mago –, sì. Può capitargli di prevedere un futuro imprevedibile. Cosa, o chi, aveva in mente Rousseau quando, riferendosi alla Corsica, scriveva: “ho il vago presentimento che un giorno questa piccola isola stupirà l'Europa”? E quel ragazzino di dodici anni, che un giorno nel mio giardino mise in scena il suo Bastien und Bastienne – come poté presentire che un giorno la volontà generale sarebbe stata manipolata e circuita da un tiranno? Eppure, mein Freund, la storia non è mai un copione già scritto, così come una partitura non è mai immodificabile. E quando ci si accorge che la pagina è guasta, rimane sempre una soluzione: strapparla».
Modonnet si svegliò frastornato e con un forte mal di testa. Senza sapere bene perché, la prima cosa che fece fu aprire il suo baule per cercarvi un involto. Dentro c'erano una maschera nera, un mantello e un bastone dal manico lucente.
Quella notte, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith, davanti al portone di casa sua, mentre frugava un po' alticcio nelle tasche del suo soprabito per cercare la chiave, notò una scritta di colore rosso fosforescente sul muro proprio accanto alla porta:

RACHE

Prima che avesse il tempo di chiedersi cosa stava succedendo, avvertì il brivido freddo di una lama proprio sotto il mento, e udì alle sue spalle una voce altrettanto metallica e tagliente: «Cittadino musicista, vogliate cortesemente condurmi nel vostro studio».
«Come volete, amico mio» diceva Lachnith mentre saliva le scale, tallonato da Scaramouche. «Non c'è bisogno di tutta questa commedia... vi ho riconosciuto, sapete?».
«Merda» pensò Modonnet.
«Eravate con me a cena ieri sera. Ammetto che il ruolo che vi è stato assegnato nell'ultima produzione è al di sotto delle vostre capacità attoriali; ma tenete conto che si tratta di un'opera, e che Voi non sapete cantare. Ho delle conoscenze, e posso farvi ottenere una buona scrittura per la prossima stagione di prosa... però, immagino che vogliate un risarcimento più immediato, e in contanti».
Erano intanto entrati nello studio del compositore.
«Immaginate male» disse Scaramouche. «Voglio solo porre rimedio a uno dei più insensati e odiosi crimini contro il buon gusto e il buon senso che si possano citare nella storia dell'arte musicale. Voglio cancellare la macchia con cui voi avete insudiciato la memoria di un grande musicista. Voglio che mi diate la partitura originale di quello scempio chiamato I misteri d'Iside».
«Eccola». Lachnith sollevò un manoscritto dal ripiano della sua scrivania e lo consegnò a Scaramouche: «Cosa ve ne farete, adesso?».
«Non lo so ancora. La strapperò in mille pezzi e la getterò nella Senna. Oppure ne attaccherò i fogli ai muri di Parigi per denunciare la vostra cialtroneria».
Lachnith rise: «Vedo che siete un idealista. Forse non vi siete accorto che i tempi sono cambiati e che la rivoluzione è finita. Permettetemi di darvi un consiglio: perché non ve ne tornate in Italia? Laggiù c'è ancora da fare per le teste calde come voi. Già che ci siete, portate con voi quel musone del vostro amico, e ditegli che non è colpa nostra se i giacobini napoletani erano degli imbecilli... se avessero dato subito la terra ai contadini, anziché perdere tempo in chiacchiere, le cose sarebbero andate molto diversamente».
«Ce ne ricorderemo per la prossima rivoluzione» disse Scaramouche.

Nota bibliografica

Questo racconto deve molto al primo capitolo del libro di Augusto Illuminati Gli inganni di Sarastro, Einaudi, Torino 1980, che indaga – sia pure con qualche eccessivo schematismo – le relazioni fra la teoria politica di Rousseau, le scoperte di Franz Anton Mesmer, il Bastien und Bastienne – la cui prima rappresentazione si dice abbia avuto luogo nel giardino della casa di Mesmer a Vienna – e Il flauto magico di Mozart.
Hector Berlioz nelle sue Memorie critica con estrema durezza l'adattamento molto libero de Il Flauto Magico realizzato da Lachnith sotto il titolo de Les mystères d'Isis. Il testo originale delle Mémoires di Berlioz (Parigi 1865) è facilmente reperibile in Internet.
Sulle critiche rivolte a Mozart dal musicista suo contemporaneo Giuseppe Sarti si veda il saggio Sarti contro Mozart di Massimo Mila, ora in M. Mila, Mozart. Saggi 1941-1987, Einaudi, Torino 2006, pp. 332-58.
La sorprendente identità fra il tema iniziale dell'ouverture del Bastien und Bastienne e l'inizio della Terza Sinfonia di Beethoven è, secondo Hermann Abert – citato da Wolfgang Hildesheimer nella sua nota biografia mozartiana –, una pura coincidenza. Com'è noto, Beethoven intendeva intitolare la sinfonia a Napoleone Bonaparte; secondo la tradizione, il musicista strappò la dedica quando seppe che Napoleone si era fatto incoronare imperatore.
Il parallelo fra Napoleone Bonaparte e il Sarastro di Mozart/Lachnith si trova in Jean Tulard, Napoleone. Il mito del salvatore, Rusconi, Milano 1980, p. 9. Alle pp. 183-85 dello stesso libro si parla della crisi alimentare in Francia fra la primavera del 1801 e il 1802.
Le idee esposte qui da Lachnith sulla modernità come spettacolo e sulla “gente” che si vuole divertire derivano in realtà dal libro di Alessandro Baricco L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin, Feltrinelli, Milano 2009.


          La cultura delle destre        
Il libro che sto recensendo è: Gabriele Turi, La cultura delle destre. Alla ricerca dell'egemonia culturale in Italia, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 2013, pp. 175, Euro 14,00, ISBN 978-88-339-2429-8.

L'autore insegna storia contemporanea a Firenze e dirige la rivista "Passato e presente". Il libro, nonostante il titolo, non ha molto a che vedere col celebre saggio di Furio Jesi; ha un approccio decisamente meno teoretico, in compenso Ã¨ ricchissimo di dati.

Il presupposto da cui parte è molto semplice: la cosiddetta "egemonia culturale della sinistra" nell'Italia del dopoguerra è una leggenda metropolitana. In realtà l'ideologia dominante Ã¨ sempre stata di destra; Turi si spinge fino ad affermare una "centralità del fascismo nella storia culturale e civile del paese". Il berlusconismo Ã¨ l'erede e il continuatore di questa cultura.

La trattazione inizia con un ampio estratto del famigerato intervento di Luciano Violante alla Camera del 10 maggio 1996 (quello che invitava a "riflettere" sui "ragazzi" di Salò in nome dei "valori nazionali comunemente condivisi"). Turi dimostra come l'exploit di Violante sia stato preparato da decenni di "edulcoramento storiografico della dittatura di Mussolini"; tappe importanti di questa operazione di normalizzazione del fascismo, a livello massmediatico, furono due mostre sugli anni '30, una allestita a Milano nel 1982 e l'altra a Roma nel 1984 (quest'ultima con la consulenza di Renzo De Felice): "entrambe promosse da amministrazioni socialiste", ha cura di specificare Turi.

Turi menziona poi un altro "caso esemplare": la proposta, da parte dell'allora sindaco di Roma Francesco Rutelli, nel 1995, di dedicare una via a Giuseppe Bottai. L'iniziativa riscosse il plauso (fra gli altri) di Massimo Cacciari, e fu bloccata solo dalle proteste della comunità ebraica; ci si era dimenticati, fra l'altro, che Bottai era stato uno dei sostenitori più ferventi delle leggi razziali; l'immagine corrente di Bottai era infatti quella giustificazionista del "fascista critico" delineata da Giordano Bruno Guerri nella sua fortunata biografia del 1976.

Il patriottismo, la ricerca di valori nazionali, di una "memoria condivisa" e di una "pacificazione" sono il Leitmotiv che, nella ricostruzione di Turi, caratterizza la polemica anti-antifascista condotta negli anni '90 da intellettuali come Renzo De Felice, Roberto Vivarelli, Ernesto Galli Della Loggia, spesso con l'assenso e il plauso della sinistra istituzionale. Troviamo ancora il buon Francesco Rutelli in prima linea nell'operazione di riabilitazione di Giovanni Gentile, filosofo a cui il comune di Roma dedicò un convegno nel 1994 presentandolo come un patriota al di sopra delle parti e dimenticandone l'organicità al nazifascismo.

Interessante notare che, in questo frame revisionistico, chi ostacola la "pacificazione", chi alimenta la "divisività", è un potenziale terrorista. Turi cita Vivarelli, secondo il quale per colpa degli antifascisti nell'Italia del dopoguerra "si perpetuò un clima di strisciante guerra civile, che [...] produsse la tragica stagione del terrorismo".

Turi sottolinea il ruolo degli intellettuali craxiani nel diffondere in Italia durante gli anni '80 le idee del neoliberismo reaganiano e thatcheriano e nel promuovere l'anticomunismo. Questi intellettuali poi, assieme ad altri di estrazione neofascista o cattolico-reazionaria, divennero nel decennio '90 gli artefici principali dell'ideologia populista berlusconiana, la quale nell'ultimo quindicennio si è dotata di "una rete di think thank, laboratori di idee ispirati al modello statunitense, capaci di costruire e diffondere un comune sentire"; tutta una serie di riviste, fondazioni, case editrici, "poco conosciute presso l'opinione pubblica" ma efficaci come centri di "aggregazione di intellettuali e di elaborazione culturale" (e, di solito, ben finanziate dagli industriali).

Turi ricostruisce minuziosamente alcuni fra i principali momenti dell'offensiva culturale di destra: la battaglia a favore del mantenimento del crocifisso nelle aule scolastiche (una battaglia vinta dalla destra anche a causa dell'atteggiamento imbelle assunto al riguardo dal centrosinistra); la vicenda, davvero tragicomica, della censura proposta dal centrodestra sui manuali scolastici di storia, anche qui in nome della "memoria condivisa", della pacificazione, dell'imparzialità e contro la presunta "egemonia culturale" della sinistra.

Interessante il confronto, proposto da Turi, fra il modo in cui il novantesimo anniversario della fine della prima guerra mondiale è stato ricordato in Italia e in altri paesi europei. Turi mostra come nel 2008 in Gran Bretagna, in Francia, in Germania, le celebrazioni ufficiali siano state improntate alla pietà per le vittime, all'orrore per l'enormità del massacro e siano state accompagnate, a volte, da gesti ufficiali di riabilitazione dei soldati che furono condannati come disertori. Tutto il contrario in Italia, dove "la sostanza della commemorazione è rimasta affidata al tema dell'identità nazionale" e dove il ministero dell'Istruzione ha promosso una serie di conferenze nelle scuole affidate non agli storici ma agli ufficiali dell'esercito, in quella che è stata definita la "più imponente manifestazione di propaganda militare che l'Italia repubblicana abbia mai messo in piedi".

Nell'ultimo capitolo del suo libro Turi prova a tracciare una mappa del revisionismo storico su Internet, individuando "un network molto ampio di riviste e di istituzioni [...] una rete circolare in cui appaiono ripetutamente gli stessi nomi, specchio di una visione della storia che in breve tempo da antagonista è diventata governativa". Il capitolo Ã¨ un ricco dossier di nomi e di indicazioni bibliografiche, una minuziosa schedatura di cui in questa sede non posso dare un'idea.

La conclusione cui giunge Gabriele Turi è che la cultura di destra è saldamente egemone ed è destinata a sopravvivere alla fine politica di Silvio Berlusconi. Aggiungerei che l'attuale esperienza dei governi di “larghe intese” (Monti, Letta, Renzi) getta una luce retrospettiva su molte delle prese di posizione filorevisioniste, da parte di esponenti del centrosinistra, ricordate nel libro di Turi. Bisognerebbe scrivere un libro analogo a quell di Turi, dedicato alla "cultura di sinistra", nel quale si mostrerebbe come a partire da Togliatti il nazionalismo abbia infettato nei decenni la cultura politica del PCI - PDS - DS - PD fino a stravolgerla completamente. Ma questa è un'altra storia.
          Harmonices Mundi        
Ecco qui di seguito il mio contributo alla raccolta Tifiamo asteroide. Cento storie sulla fine catastrofica del governo Letta.

Dai banchi del governo, il Presidente del Consiglio leggeva il discorso di presentazione della finanziaria 2014.

L'emiciclo di Montecitorio era completamente vuoto.

Il nuovo regolamento della Camera, approvato all'unanimità pochi mesi prima, prevedeva solo riunioni in videoconferenza. Gli onorevoli seguivano e votavano da casa, via Intranet, attraverso una rete locale controllata dal Ministero dell'Interno, con notevole risparmio per l'erario.

Il centro di Roma era deserto, recintato: "zona rossa" presidiata dalle autoblindo dell'esercito e da pattuglie mobili dei corpi di polizia. Gli abitanti erano stati invitati a non uscire di casa. Comunque quasi tutti erano già sfollati nelle seconde case in località di villeggiatura, perché non si sa mai.

Dal cielo, per ora, solo il rombo degli elicotteri. In lontananza, dalla periferia della città, si udivano provenire paurosi boati e colonne di fumo nero si levavano all'orizzonte. Stava accadendo qualcosa laggiù. Difficile sapere cosa, perché le telecomunicazioni erano state temporaneamente oscurate e Internet funzionava poco e male, evidentemente per intervento della polizia postale e dei servizi. Ma eravamo riusciti ad intercettare la linea Intranet del ministero, e dalla nostra base potevamo seguire la seduta del parlamento; ammesso che la si potesse ancora chiamare così.

I passaggi principali del discorso di Letta erano commentati da tonanti applausi preregistrati. Licenziamento di metà dei dipendenti pubblici (applausi). Chiusura di un terzo delle scuole e di un terzo degli ospedali (applausi). Abolizione dello statuto dei lavoratori (applausi). Nuova legge molto più restrittiva sullo sciopero, sui sindacati, sulla stampa (applausi), innalzamento a 80 anni dell'età pensionabile (applausi), e ancora tagli, tagli, tagli... Aumento dei finanziamenti alle scuole private. Applausi. Aumento delle spese militari. Applausi.

Arrivato al passaggio sulla chiusura dei Conservatori, Letta si interruppe. C'era un sostantivo tedesco, Sphärenmusik. Cosa diavolo voleva dire? Certo, il testo del discorso era arrivato solo un'ora prima da Francoforte, e la segreteria aveva dovuto farlo tradurre in fretta e furia. "Ma caspita", pensò il Presidente del consiglio, "questo significa lavorare col culo. Anche lì bisognerà licenziare"...

Letta non riuscì a completare il pensiero, interrotto da un fatto improvviso e incomprensibile. Gli altoparlanti della Camera, al posto degli applausi finti, avevano iniziato a diffondere il Capriccio n. 24 in la minore di Niccolò Paganini.

Che stava succedendo? Mentre Letta e gli altri componenti il governo si guardavano intorno, disorientati, la musica fu sovrastata da un sibilo acutissimo, che si faceva sempre più forte.

Dopo il boato assordante, con le orecchie che fischiavano, sentivamo ancora quella musica.
Dove fino a un istante prima si trovava Enrico Letta, capo del governo di larghe intese, si apriva una spaventosa voragine. Dall'enorme cratere si levavano nubi di fumo nero.



(A) "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A) Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A') Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

(B) When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad!"

"Gocce di pioggia su rose e baffi di gattini
Bollitori di rame luminosi e caldi guanti di lana
Pacchetti di carta marrone legati con corde
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Pony color crema e croccanti struedel di mele
Campanelli e campanelli da slitta e schnitzel con tagliatelle
Le oche selvatiche che volano con la luna sulle ali
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Ragazze in abiti bianchi con sciarpe di raso blu
Fiocchi di neve che rimangono sul mio naso e sulle ciglia
Inverni bianchi d'argento che si sciolgono in primavere
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Quando il cane morde
Quando l'ape punge
Quando mi sento triste
Non ho che da ricordarmi delle mie cose preferite
E allora non mi sento così male!"

The Sound of Music è ambientato a Salisburgo, fra le due guerre. Richard Rodgers ha naturalmente cercato di tener conto della tradizione musicale austriaca: My Favorite Things, come detto, è un valzer; negli altri brani si sentono riferimenti allo jodler, al laendler, al canto gregoriano, ecc. In un numero c'è anche un singolare omaggio ad Haydn: la canzone So long, farewell è eseguita da un coro di bambini che, uno alla volta, abbandonano il proscenio, finché a cantare rimane una sola bambina, così come, nel finale della Sinfonia degli addii, tutti gli esecutori smettono uno alla volta di suonare facendo concludere la sinfonia da un solo violinista.

Come ci si potrebbe aspettare, il testo di My Favorite Things fa uso di un immaginario prettamente alpino, o comunque nordeuropeo: bollitori per il té, guanti di lana, slitte che corrono sulla neve... Se di questa canzone volessimo realizzare un video-clip animato, seguendo pedissequamente il testo, dovremmo adoperare in prevalenza le tinte chiare, e in particolare il colore bianco, la cui presenza, in corrispondenza della terza strofa (quella con le otto battute in maggiore), diventa quasi ossessiva: abiti bianchi, fiocchi di neve, inverni bianchi... (Nella versione cinematografica quest'aspetto "eurocentrico" della canzone è ancora più sottolineato dal forte accento british di Julie Andrews).

Molti si sono chiesti cosa potesse avere indotto un artista come John Coltrane, che da lì a poco sarebbe diventato un'icona della cultura afro-americana, a musicare una sua versione di questo brano, il quale inizialmente c'entrava così poco con il jazz.

Secondo Lewis Porter, è un errore "dare per scontato che Coltrane trovasse la canzone sciocca e che per questo volesse abbellirla". Al contrario, Coltrane ammirava sinceramente questa canzone e, nella sua versione, la trattò "con rispetto". Il "messaggio" della canzone, "che le cose buone ci aiutano a superare le cattive", è secondo Porter "del tutto sensato e prezioso - per nulla sciocco - è solo che utilizza esempi alla portata di un bambino, perché nel copione la canzone si rivolge a dei bambini".

Qui però l'ottimo Porter ha preso una cantonata. Nel film, è vero, Julie Andrews canta la canzone a dei bambini. Il film, però, è del 1965, quindi è posteriore all'incisione di John Coltrane, che a quell'epoca poteva conoscere solo la versione teatrale di questo musical; e, nella versione teatrale, la protagonista canta My Favorite Things in una delle scene iniziali, che si svolgono in un convento di suore, e non la canta ai bambini, bensì alla Madre Badessa del convento.

Sembra, in realtà, che Coltrane non fosse attratto tanto dal "messaggio" della canzone, quanto invece dalla sua manipolabilità sul piano strettamente musicale. Ecco come si espresse Coltrane in un'intervista: "Questo valzer è fantastico: se lo suoni lento, senti un elemento di gospel che non è per niente sgradevole; se lo suoni veloce, possiede altre innegabili qualità. E' molto interessante scoprire un terreno che si rinnova a seconda dell'impulso che gli dai".

Quindi, si direbbe che il valzer di Rodgers fosse per Coltrane quello che il valzer di Diabelli era stato per il Beethoven dell'op. 120: poco più che un pretesto, un canovaccio utile per imbastire una serie potenzialmente infinita di variazioni che poco o nulla hanno a che fare con il tema originale. E, in verità, Coltrane eseguì in concerto My Favorite Things moltissime volte (secondo Wikipedia, sono state documentate su nastro non meno di 45 esecuzioni), creandone versioni sempre più lontane dalla canzone originale, fino a renderla irriconoscibile.

La versione sull'album si compone di un'introduzione di quattro battute, suonata due volte; viene poi esposto un vamp (breve inciso ritmico, costantemente ripetuto, che è per il jazz quello che nel rock si chiama riff e nella musica barocca si chiama ostinato), cui fanno seguito un primo assolo di Coltrane, un altro assolo di McCoy Tyner al pianoforte, e un assolo finale ancora di Coltrane, per complessivi 14 minuti circa. Nel primo assolo Coltrane esegue le prime due strofe (A) in minore, poi c'è un interludio in maggiore, poi altre due strofe (A) in minore. Gli altri due assoli seguono lo stesso schema, salvo che per la parte finale dell'assolo conclusivo di Coltrane, di cui dirò fra poco.



La prima cosa che si nota all'ascolto è che Coltrane ha spostato molto lontano dall'Europa il baricentro etnico del brano. La ripetizione ossessiva, ipnotica, di un inciso ritmico in tempo dispari; la voce acuta dello strumento a fiato (un sax soprano, fino ad allora poco usato nel jazz); il clima di fissità tonale e il senso del tempo molto dilatato, sono tutti elementi che richiamano la musica orientale. (A me il brano fa venire in mente una danza sufi). Porter nota che Coltrane era appassionato di musica indiana, era un ammiratore di Ravi Shankar, ed era profondamente interessato alla musica folk e modale di tutto il mondo, nonché alle scale pentatoniche (pare che certe volte, nelle sue esercitazioni, eseguisse col sassofono determinate sequenze del Concerto per orchestra di Béla Bartók). Sempre secondo Porter, in My Favorite Things si possono anche scorgere influenze musicali provenienti dall'Africa occidentale.

La cosa per me più sorprendente è che, nella musica originale di questa canzone, Coltrane abbia sentito un "elemento gospel". Per quanto ascolto e riascolto la canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein, devo confessare che questo elemento gospel non riesco assolutamente a percepirlo. Ma è significativo che, per Coltrane, la canzone avesse qualcosa a che fare con le radici stesse della musica nera americana. Questo forse ci aiuta a far luce su un'altra singolarità della versione di Coltrane.

Abbiamo detto che la versione coltraniana di My Favorite Things è basata sulla strofa A della musica originale. Che fine ha fatto la strofa B, quella il cui testo contiene, secondo Porter, il "messaggio" della canzone e che si conclude in modo maggiore?

Alla fine del suo assolo conclusivo, Coltrane esegue anche la strofa B, senza apportare particolari variazioni alla musica. Però la esegue in mi minore, dandole, secondo Porter, "un effetto più pensoso, riflessivo".

Il testo originale della strofa B fa riferimento ad api che pungono e a cani che mordono, per delineare scherzosamente una situazione da "giornata storta", in cui le cose, chissà perché, non vanno per il verso giusto. Ma questa situazione si supera (dice la canzone) richiamando alla mente le piccole cose belle della vita. Se si fa in questo modo, l'atteggiamento cambia e ci si accorge che non si sta poi così male. La canzone si chiude così, trionfalmente, in sol maggiore.

Qui, però, è meglio fare ricorso alla bella traduzione ritmica di Antonio Amurri (quella utilizzata nella versione italiana del film), che ha colto al meglio il senso di questa strofa:



"Se son triste, infelice, e non so il perché,
io penso alle cose che amo di più
e torna il seren per me!"

Immaginiamo ora di sentire queste parole sovrapposte al mi minore del sax di John Coltrane, nelle battute finali del suo secondo assolo (a partire dal minuto 12'33''). L'effetto è di un'ironia indefinibile, profonda, pungente, tristemente consapevole. Uno speciale tipo di sarcasmo, composto e controllatissimo, ma inequivocabile.

Per me (e sottolineo: per me) in questo minuto e dodici secondi di musica c'è l'essenza stessa del jazz. Ogni volta che l'ascolto, mi commuovo.

Provo a spiegarmi meglio.

Il cantante e chitarrista Huddie W. Leadbetter (1885-1949), uno fra i musicisti più influenti della musica nera americana del secolo ventesimo, tentò una volta di definire a parole quel particolare complesso psicologico che porta il nome di blues. Possiamo leggere le sue parole come una specie di negativo fotografico della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein:

"Quando la notte sei sdraiato nel letto, e ti giri da una parte e dall'altra senza riuscire a prendere sonno, non c'è niente da fare. I blues si sono impadroniti di te... Quando ti svegli al mattino, ti siedi sulla sponda del letto, e puoi avere vicino a te padre e madre, sorella e fratello, il tuo ragazzo o la tua ragazza, ma non hai voglia di parlargli... Non ti hanno fatto niente, e tu non hai fatto niente a loro, ma che cosa importa? I blues si sono impadroniti di te".

Così commenta Arrigo Polillo nel suo classico Jazz. La vicenda e i protagonisti della musica afro-americana (Mondadori, Milano 2009, p. 43): "Avere i blues è qualcosa di diverso dall'essere triste dell'uomo bianco. E' essere afflitti da un tedio esistenziale, da una malinconia greve che non lascia spazio alle fantasticherie, vuol dire autocommiserazione, rassegnazione, vuol dire disperazione sorda, grigiore, miseria. E' una poesia fondata sulle cose di tutti i giorni, su personaggi familiari, visti in una luce realistica, con occhio disincantato. Non c'è, né ci vuol essere, nel blues, trasfigurazione lirica, che è un lusso da bianchi; non c'è dramma, perché il dramma è fatto di ombre ma anche di luci. C'è invece la consapevolezza di una tragedia in atto, che non finirà mai. Il blues singer non canta la vita, ma il non morire, parla sempre di ciò che non ha e che non avrà mai".

Ecco il senso del mi minore con cui si conclude My Favorite Things di John Coltrane. Non c'è consolazione, e non c'è neanche protesta. E' la constatazione oggettiva di una situazione fondamentalmente tragica. Il "messaggio" della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein è sovvertito. Vista in questa luce, non solo la canzone, ma la stessa cultura (musicale e non solo) cui essa fa riferimento, viene radicalmente messa in questione.
          Sull'"Elogio dei riformisti" di Roberto Saviano        
1. Affinità e divergenze fra Saviano e noi. Considero Gomorra uno fra i libri letterariamente più importanti di questi anni nonché fra i capolavori del giornalismo d'inchiesta italiano. Ammiro e rispetto Roberto Saviano, anche se a volte non sono stato d'accordo con lui su alcune delle sue prese di posizione (ad es. sulla politica dei governi israeliani, oppure sugli scontri di piazza che hanno contrassegnato l'ultima fase del governo Berlusconi).

Ho trovato molto superficiale e semplicistico l'articolo di Saviano uscito su "La Repubblica" del 28 febbraio, dedicato all'elogio del riformismo.

Prendendo spunto da un recente libro di Alessandro Orsini sulla storia della sinistra italiana, libro che contrappone Turati a Gramsci, Saviano traccia una riga sulla lavagna, mettendo da una parte i riformisti e dall'altra i comunisti. I primi sarebbero pacati, realisti, tolleranti e liberali, i secondi sarebbero fanatici, violenti, malati di dogmatismo e d'ideologia.

Scrive Saviano: "i comunisti hanno educato generazioni di militanti a definire gli avversari politici dei pericolosi nemici, ad insultarli ed irriderli. Fa un certo effetto rileggere le parole con cui un intellettuale raffinato come Gramsci definiva un avversario, non importa quale: 'La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato'. Invitava i suoi lettori a ricorrere alle parolacce e all'insulto personale contro gli avversari che si lamentavano delle offese ricevute [...]. Arrivò persino a tessere l'elogio del 'cazzotto in faccia' contro i deputati liberali. I pugni, diceva, dovevano essere un 'programma politico' e non un episodio isolato".

Viceversa, sempre secondo Saviano:

"in quegli stessi anni Filippo Turati, dimenticato pensatore e leader del partito socialista, conduceva una tenacissima battaglia per educare al rispetto degli avversari politici nel tentativo di coniugare socialismo e liberalismo".


Questa contrapposizione fra estremisti e riformisti, dice Saviano, si protrae fino ad oggi:

"Naturalmente, oggi, nel Pd erede del Pci, non c'è più traccia di quel massimalismo verboso e violento, e anche il linguaggio della Sel di Vendola è molto meno acceso. Ma c'è invece, fuori dal Parlamento, una certa sinistra che vive di dogmi. Sono i sopravvissuti di un estremismo massimalista che sostiene di avere la verità unica tra le mani", sono quei "pacifisti talmente violenti da usare la pace come strumento di aggressione per chiunque la pensi diversamente". Eccetera.

Quindi tutto lineare, nello schema di Saviano. Tutto semplice. Riformisti, buoni, in parlamento; comunisti, fuori dal parlamento, cattivi. Chiaro, no?

E però, se si va a verificare nel dettaglio gli esempi storici addotti da Saviano, ecco che le cose si complicano.

2. Cosa c'era prima degli assorbenti. Vediamo ad esempio la prima frase "incriminata". Di un suo avversario politico ("non importa quale", dice Saviano), Gramsci scrisse: "La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato".

La similitudine usata da Gramsci, al nostro orecchio di contemporanei, suona senza dubbio molto sgradevole. Intollerabilmente sessista, fra l'altro. Proviamo però a collocarla nel suo contesto. La frase è tratta da un articolo di Gramsci, allora venticinquenne, pubblicato sull'edizione torinese dell'"Avanti!" il 19 aprile 1916. In quel periodo la redazione di Torino dell'"Avanti!", di cui Gramsci era giornalista, stava conducendo una campagna di stampa sugli sprechi e sulle ruberie di cui si erano resi responsabili i promotori dell'Esposizione Universale di Torino del 1911. Come spesso succede in Italia quando si tratta di "grandi opere", anche questa era stata accompagnata da malversazioni, che Gramsci e i giornalisti dell'"Avanti!" avevano puntualmente denunciato.

Fra i bersagli di questa campagna di stampa c'era il conte Delfino Orsi, che all'epoca faceva parte della direzione della "Gazzetta del Popolo", un giornale monarchico, filogovernativo e interventista. L'articolo di Gramsci del 19 aprile 1916 è appunto una risposta ad un altro giornalista che aveva accusato l'"Avanti!" di aver attaccato Delfino Orsi non per il ruolo di quest'ultimo nello scandalo dell'Esposizione Universale, bensì invece perché Orsi era "una delle più influenti figure dell'interventismo subalpino".

Teniamo sempre presente il contesto storico. In Italia, nel 1916, lo scontro politico fra governo e opposizione era polarizzato sul problema della guerra. Era soprattutto lo scontro fra interventisti e pacifisti. Era in corso la Prima guerra mondiale, un conflitto che oggi praticamente tutti gli storici valutano come un'orrenda ecatombe, una catastrofe che segnò l'inizio del declino della civiltà europea, e che, in Italia, aprì la via al fascismo. In Italia il bilancio della guerra fu di circa 680.000 morti e quasi 500.000 invalidi permanenti. Il Partito Socialista Italiano, nel quale all'epoca militavano sia Gramsci sia Turati, era su posizioni pacifiste, e si opponeva compattamente alla guerra. A favore della guerra erano invece i nazionalisti, i liberali e il Partito Socialista Riformista Italiano, composto perlopiù da riformisti, come Bonomi e Bissolati, che erano stati espulsi dal P.S.I. già nel 1912 per il loro appoggio alla guerra di Libia.

Tale era il contesto della polemica fra l'"Avanti!" di Gramsci da una parte, e la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi dall'altra.

Quando, nell'agosto 1917, a Torino la popolazione diede vita ad una rivolta spontanea contro la guerra e contro la mancanza di pane (rivolta che fu ovviamente repressa nel sangue, con circa 50 morti e 200 feriti fra gli operai e le loro famiglie), la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi fu tra gli organi di stampa che giustificarono la repressione.

Più tardi, coerentemente, Delfino Orsi fu deputato nel Parlamento fascista, ed era ancora tale quando morì nel 1929 (mentre Gramsci era in carcere). Il gerarca Federzoni, nel suo elogio funebre pronunciato alla Camera dei Deputati l'11 dicembre 1929, disse di Orsi fra l'altro: "egli poté rinverdire i fasti patriottici della Gazzetta del Popolo, levando ancora la gloriosa bandiera del Risorgimento per le nuove battaglie dell'intervento nella grande guerra, della difesa delle aspirazioni nazionali, della rivoluzione fascista".


Delfino Orsi era appunto l'uomo che Gramsci paragonò ad uno "straccio mestruato". Un epiteto certamente poco gentile. Ma possiamo veramente dire, con Saviano, che "non importa quale" individuo egli fosse, né in quale periodo storico fosse situata la polemica fra lui e Gramsci?

Che diremmo di un giornalista il quale scrivesse, di alcuni suoi concittadini (non importa quali, direbbe Saviano), che essi sono "vigliacchi, in realtà", un "manipolo di killer", "abbrutiti e strafatti", un "branco di assassini" che "vivono come bestie"? Sono insulti pesanti e hanno ben poco di mite e di liberale. Ma se collochiamo questi epiteti nel contesto dell'articolo da cui sono tratti, scopriamo che si riferiscono ad una banda di camorristi responsabili di svariati omicidi, e che l'autore del pezzo è Roberto Saviano ("la Repubblica", 22 settembre 2008). Dobbiamo condannare il giornalista per la sua eccessiva violenza verbale? O non dobbiamo piuttosto ritenere che l'indignazione di Saviano, seppure si esprima in termini poco urbani, sia alquanto giustificata dalle circostanze?

3. La nobile arte. Vediamo, ancora, un altro passo gramsciano cui si riferisce Roberto Saviano. Si tratta dell'articolo intitolato "Elogio del cazzotto", uscito sempre sull'"Avanti!" il 12 giugno 1916. L'episodio cui si riferiva Gramsci in questo articolo era il seguente. Dei deputati socialisti, come gesto dimostrativo, avevano lanciato nell'aula di Montecitorio alcune cartoline con l'effige di parlamentari russi che erano stati deportati in Siberia a causa della loro opposizione alla guerra (c'era ancora il regime assolutista dello zar, e la Russia era alleata in guerra con le potenze della Triplice Intesa, con l'Italia, e contro la Germania e l'Impero asburgico). Un deputato interventista, Giuseppe Bevione, in quell'occasione accusò i socialisti di essere al soldo del nemico. Ne nacque un tafferuglio, durante il quale il socialista Nino Mazzoni colpì Bevione con un pugno. Questo, nello specifico, fu il "cazzotto" cui si riferisce Gramscì nel suo articolo, scrivendo fra l'altro:

"Non siamo entusiastici ammiratori del diritto del pugno; eppure quei pugni vibrati robustamente sul ceffo di Bevione ci riempiono di giubilo e di ammirazione".

Anche qui: possiamo dire che sia davvero ininfluente collocare la citazione di Gramsci nel suo contesto?

4. Vota Antonio. Veniamo ora ad un'altra delle dicotomie che Roberto Saviano delinea nel suo pezzo: quella fra opposizione parlamentare Vs. opposizione extraparlamentare. La prima riformista e "buona", la seconda estremista e "cattiva". E confrontiamo questa dicotomia con un esempio storico.

Nel giugno 1924, dopo il rapimento di Giacomo Matteotti, i parlamentari dell'opposizione antifascista decisero di disertare le aule del Parlamento, dando così luogo a quella forma di protesta extraparlamentare che passò alla storia come "secessione dell'Aventino". Fra loro c'era Filippo Turati, assieme a tutti i socialisti riformisti. C'era anche la piccola pattuglia dei deputati comunisti, che però, nel novembre 1924, verificata l'inefficacia della protesta aventiniana, decisero di rientrare in Parlamento, dove rimasero a contrastare la maggioranza fascista, praticamente da soli, per altri due anni, fino a quando il partito comunista non fu messo fuori legge. (A che tipo di pacifica dialettica parlamentare fossero avvezzi i deputati fascisti lo si può vedere consultando la voce di Wikipedia dedicata a Francesco Misiano).

Quindi, ricapitolando. Nel 1925 abbiamo il socialista riformista Turati fuori dal parlamento. In parlamento c'è una maggioranza parlamentare "estremista" fascista e una minoranza comunista (parimenti "estremista" secondo Saviano) di cui Gramsci fa parte. Comunque si voglia giudicare la situazione, si tratta di un caso in cui la realtà storica si rivela più complessa dei rigidi schematismi delineati da Saviano.

5. Conclusione. Con tutto questo discorso non voglio dire, naturalmente, che la violenza verbale nella lotta politica va sempre bene, che è sempre giustificata. Sono d'accordo con Saviano nel condannare certe forme di settarismo inutile e controproducente (di cui è un esempio il giudizio su Turati espresso da un Togliatti al peggio del suo stalinismo, citato da Saviano nel suo articolo). Né intendo affrontare discorsi astratti sul punto se sia meglio la lotta extraparlamentare o quella parlamentare.

Dico che ogni situazione fa storia a sé, che occorre giudicare caso per caso, e che generalizzazioni astratte e astoriche, come quella proposta da Saviano nell'articolo in questione, non hanno alcun significato.
          Baricco e il postmodernismo da quattro soldi        
Sul "Primo Amore" Antonio Moresco ha pubblicato una bella lettera aperta ad Alessandro Baricco, in risposta a un'intervista concessa da quest'ultimo al "Venerdì di Repubblica".

Baricco, parlando del suo ultimo romanzo, non si limita ad esporre la sua personale poetica di scrittore, ma pretende di far assurgere quest'ultima al livello di teoria generale della letteratura valida per tutti. Moresco rimprovera giustamente a Baricco l'arroganza di tale pretesa.

Baricco non è nuovo a questo genere di smargiassate, così le chiamava il mio professore di filosofia del liceo (si riferiva alle teorie pseudo-storiciste di Francis Fukuyama, ma la definizione è adatta anche a quelle di Baricco). Nel 1992 lo stesso Baricco pubblicò per l'editore Garzanti un testo teorico sulla musica moderna (oggi reperibile in edizione Feltrinelli) dove, con piglio zdanoviano, condannava tutta la musica "atonale" in quanto non adeguata ai gusti della "gente". Nel 2003, qui, pubblicai una recensione di questo libro. La ripropongo ora qui in calce, con minime variazioni. Non mi piace molto com'è scritta, però contiene un'idea che, dopo aver letto il fondamentale libro del collettivo Wu Ming sul New Italian Epic, mi è diventata più chiara: l'idea, cioè, che il "postmodernismo da quattro soldi" sia una delle forme più pervasive e insidiose in cui si presenta oggi l'ideologia dominante. Ecco la recensione.

Alessandro Baricco, L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin. Una riflessione su musica colta e modernità, Garzanti, Milano 1992, pp. 101.

Avvertenza per gli estimatori di Alessandro Baricco: la presente è una stroncatura.

1. Riassunto dei contenuti del libro

Nel primo capitolo, intitolato L'idea di musica colta, Baricco individua l'origine del concetto di musica colta nell'idealismo romantico dell'Ottocento, la cui figura principale, Beethoven, stabilisce il paradigma a cui tutti i successivi compositori, nonché gli interpreti e il pubblico, si attengono: "una musica impegnata, spirituale e difficile" (p. 19). Tale concetto è oggi, secondo Baricco, sopravvissuto a se stesso, dato che ne sono venuti meno i presupposti storici, ideologici e sociali ("qualcuno sa cosa significa spirito?", p. 20). Ma gli esecutori e i fruitori della musica colta si ostinano a riproporre questa concezione ormai superata, e a riproporre i capolavori del passato in forma mummificata e inerte, secondo un malinteso concetto di fedeltà al testo, fondamentalmente perché - sempre secondo Baricco - hanno "paura" della modernità.

Nel secondo capitolo, come alternativa alla prassi corrente, Baricco propone la "sua" idea di interpretazione. La musica "colta" del periodo classico si proponeva di organizzare il caos entro un preciso ordine formale; compito dell'interprete di oggi è, secondo Baricco, di far esplodere tale ordine per far sì che le "schegge" del materiale musicale si possano ricomporre secondo nuove geometrie provvisorie, momentanee, ogni volta diverse, secondo costellazioni di senso sempre rinnovate, piacevoli e sorprendenti.

Il terzo capitolo è dedicato alla musica atonale del Novecento. Baricco parte da un'audace constatazione: ma questa musica, dopo più di settant'anni, ancora non ha un suo pubblico! Gli ascoltatori, per quanto si sforzino, non la apprezzano e non la capiscono! Hanno torto loro? No, naturalmente: hanno invece avuto torto Schoenberg e i suoi successori (tutti quelli che hanno composto musica atonale, vale a dire i tre quarti dei compositori del Novecento da Berg a Webern fino alla scuola di Darmstadt e oltre).

Baricco spiega il perché: esistono "invalicabili limiti fisiologici" (p. 55) che impediscono all'orecchio umano di apprezzare la musica atonale. Infatti ogni brano musicale, continua Baricco, altro non è che un "meccanismo di piacere" (ibid.) basato su un gioco di previsione da parte dell'ascoltatore/risposta da parte della musica: se si cancella la logica tonale, sparisce l'orizzonte della previsione e si elimina il "piacere dell'ascolto" (p. 56).

La musica seriale è ormai superata, e anche qui Baricco non manca di dare la sua spiegazione sociologico-storica: l'atonalità di Schoenberg e seguaci nasce come espressionistico grido di orrore di fronte alla tragica realtà dei massacri e dei totalitarismi del Novecento. Ma nel secondo dopoguerra, "una volta sfumata quella follia" (p. 63) e venuti meno i conflitti ideologici e sociali che caratterizzarono la prima metà del secolo, anche tale giustificazione per l'atonalismo viene a mancare. Perciò non ci sono più motivi validi per i quali i compositori debbano ostinarsi a frustrare "le legittime aspettative del pubblico" (p. 65) continuando a proporre musica così inascoltabile, e perpetuando "lo strappo profondo e grottesco tra quella musica e la gente" (p. 66).

Occorre dunque richiamare i compositori "ai doveri della modernità" (p. 67), "ricreare una sintonia col sentire collettivo. Con una certezza: la modernità è innanzitutto uno spettacolo" (p. 73) e la gente vuole innanzitutto divertirsi, anche nelle sale da concerto: i musicisti devono dunque accettare "l'allegra realtà di un'umanità inconsapevolmente e sanamente drogata" (p. 70), di una modernità dove "la spettacolarità del reale e quella delle forme di rappresentazione si inseguono in un'escalation per la quale anche l'orribile diventa meraviglia" (ibid.).

Nell'ultimo capitolo del suo libro, Baricco propone ai compositori contemporanei due modelli da seguire: Puccini e Mahler. Secondo Baricco, questi due autori avrebbero accettato la concezione moderna di spettacolarità, senza temere di adottare un linguaggio musicale primitivo, né d'infarcire le loro opere di elementi volgari o di cattivo gusto, pur d'intercettare il bisogno di spettacolo dell'ascoltatore odierno, precorrendo così l'estetica del cinema.

2. Critica

Sui primi due capitoli non c'è molto da dire: si tratta di luoghi comuni che Baricco espone come se si trattasse di trovate sue; interpreti come Pierre Boulez (nella sua attività di direttore d'orchestra) e Maurizio Pollini adottano da sempre prassi esecutive antiformalistiche senza bisogno di attendere lezioncine da parte di Alessandro Baricco: di propriamente suo c'è solo un certo superficiale edonismo.

Circa i restanti capitoli del libro, premesso che reputo agghiacciante ognuna delle frasi o espressioni di Baricco che sopra ho citato tra virgolette (reazione molto soggettiva, lo ammetto), la prima osservazione critica da fare su questo testo è che Baricco propone un'estetica normativa, vale a dire un'estetica che pretende di prescrivere agli artisti come devono lavorare (non dovete più scrivere musica atonale, dovete farvi capire dalla "gente", ecc).

Ora, ogni estetica normativa è un'aberrazione, indipendentemente dal suo contenuto. Se poi si vuole valutare quest'ultimo, bisognerà osservare che Baricco si accosta ad Andrej Zdanov, il "teorico" sovietico del realismo socialista: anche lui pretendeva dai compositori una musica dal linguaggio semplice, tradizionale, accessibile alle grandi masse popolari. Zdanov avanzava tale pretesa in nome del superiore interesse del socialismo, Baricco in nome della "modernità" e della fine delle ideologie, ma il risultato non cambia. Baricco, nella sua irritante e dilettantesca superficialità, non sembra neanche rendersi conto del totalitarismo implicito nella pretesa che gli artisti debbano conformare la loro produzione ai gusti della "gente".

D'altra parte neppure si capisce bene quale pubblico Baricco abbia in mente: il pubblico che frequenta le sale da concerto è così esiguo che non vale neanche la pena che i musicisti si affannino per compiacerlo: e peggio per tale pubblico se non riesce ad apprezzare Anton Webern. Viceversa, il pubblico che non ha mai messo piede in un auditorium e non ascolta Schoenberg e Stockhausen, nella sua stragrande maggioranza non ascolta neppure Mahler e Puccini, ed evidentemente non per motivi ascrivibili al solo linguaggio musicale.

In ogni caso, dal fatto che la lettura di questo libro non mi ha impedito neppure per un minuto di continuare ad ascoltare il mio CD con i pezzi per pianoforte di Schoenberg, deduco che quella degli "invalicabili limiti fisiologici" è una colossale sciocchezza, con cui Baricco cerca malamente di giustificare la propria opposizione ideologica alla musica d'avanguardia.

La sua valenza ideologica è in realtà l'unico aspetto un poco interessante di questo libro. Esso, con la sua esaltazione del disimpegno, delle gioie del consumismo e della "gente" che vuole divertirsi, appare come un esempio tipico di quella versione euforico-ebetudinaria del postmoderno che ha furoreggiato nel nostro paese durante tutti gli anni '80: un'epoca nella quale a molti intellettuali non è parso vero di poter finalmente riproporre (nell'aggiornatissimo linguaggio filosofico post-strutturalista) l'antico, tradizionale qualunquismo italiano. Appare tristemente ironico che alcuni di quegli intellettuali si scaglino oggi dalle pagine dell' "Unità" o di "Repubblica" contro le impreviste (ma prevedibili) conseguenze politiche della loro stessa filosofia.

P.S. Ad un certo punto del suo testo, Baricco inserisce alcune oscure insinuazioni a proposito di presunte "coperture politiche" di cui gli artisti dell'avanguardia musicale avrebbero goduto nel nostro paese. Sorge allora la tentazione di leggere questo libro, il cui valore teorico-critico è nullo, in chiave direttamente pratica: forse Baricco si è proposto di approntare un "manifesto" per i musicisti della cosiddetta scuola neo-romantica?

Mi sono allora comprato un disco antologico di un esponente di questa corrente musicale, che ebbe anch'essa un effimero momento di notorietà nel corso degli anni '80: Marco Tutino, Operas, CD Aura Music AUR421-2, 2000, Euro 4,25. Si tratta di composizioni carine, indubbiamente orecchiabili, il cui linguaggio musicale si colloca fra le colonne sonore di Bernard Herrmann e i balletti di Aaron Copland, il tutto realizzato senza troppa fantasia e con circa trent'anni di ritardo.

Bene, ho fatto un piccolo esperimento. Un brano di questo CD di Marco Tutino l'ho fatto ascoltare ad un mio coinquilino che ascolta solo reggae ed hip-hop (e che, così facendo, qualche volta supera gli invalicabili limiti fisiologici delle mie capacità d'ascolto), e poi gli ho fatto sentire qualche minuto di Contrappunto dialettico alla mente di Luigi Nono (1968). Nessuno dei due brani gli è piaciuto, ma ha trovato di gran lunga più interessante quello di Nono.
          Una pagina che Thomas Mann non ha mai scritto        
"Gli occidentali hanno forma, ma non hanno profondità", sentenziò Deutschlin. "I russi hanno profondità, ma non hanno forma. L'una e l'altra le abbiamo soltanto noi tedeschi".

"Bella frase, Deutschlin", disse Adrian. "Dovresti ripeterla domattina durante la lezione di ginnastica: il professore ne sarà contentissimo".

Deutschlin rise nervosamente. Era sempre difficile capire se Adrian parlasse sul serio o celiasse e, nel secondo caso, se avesse o meno l'intenzione di burlarsi del suo interlocutore.

Adrian proseguì: "E cosa mi diresti di un popolo allo stesso tempo caotico e superficiale? Un popolo presso cui non esistono ruoli, né regole definite e stabili. Dove il linguaggio stesso non conosce significati precisi e sempre uguali, e dove non ci si può intendere, né si può fare affidamento sulla parola di chicchessia, né è possibile l'arte, se questa presuppone un codice di comunicazione fra gli artisti e il pubblico. Dove tutto ciò che si dice, o si fa, rimane senza conseguenze. Dove si può essere indifferentemente il peggiore dei mascalzoni o la persona più santa, senza che ciò influisca affatto sulla reputazione e sulla carriera. Dove la politica non è altro che una farsa senza fine in cui il governo finge di governare, l'opposizione finge di opporsi, e ognuno si fa gli affari suoi..."

"Leverkühn!" - lo interruppi. "E' orribile! Forse ho capito a quale popolo ti riferisci. Ma sei molto ingiusto. In nessun luogo si potrebbe vivere così. Stai descrivendo l'Inferno in terra".

"Credi, Zeitblom?" rispose Adrian lentamente. "Ma questo è ciò che pare a te, da bravo studente prussiano quale tu sei. Invece, a quanto ne so, quello che ti ho appena descritto è uno dei popoli più felici. O almeno, è il popolo che sembra il meno disposto a cambiare la propria situazione. Se li vedessi, come ridono e scherzano tutto il giorno..."

"Ah, basta così" intervenne ancora Deutschlin. "Finitela con le vostre chiacchiere cupe e confuse! Io so soltanto che il secolo ventesimo, iniziato or ora, sarà un'epoca di progresso e di pace, e che noi tedeschi saremo chiamati a guidare l'Europa verso un avvenire luminoso. Gli altri popoli dovranno solo riconoscere la nostra indubbia superiorità morale, e lo faranno certamente. In un modo o nell'altro".

Adrian non lo ascoltò nemmeno. Sdraiato sulla paglia come noialtri, sembrava assorto in una sua visione, le mani dietro la nuca e lo sguardo fisso in un punto sul soffitto del fienile. "L'inferno, hai detto? Interessante..."

Mentre rientravamo verso la città, lo presi da parte e gli posi una domanda. "Dimmi, Leverkühn" gli chiesi, "ma tu cosa vorresti fare dopo il diploma?"

"Non te l'ho mai detto, Serenus?" Per la prima volta mi aveva chiamato per nome. "Farò il musicista".

Pubblicato il 3 ottobre 2011 su Evulon.

          Pausa pranzo        
Torno a casa. Metto una pentola d'acqua sul fornello e lo accendo. Poi prendo un dischetto e lo metto nel lettore.

Beethoven, Sonata op. 106 nell'orchestrazione di Felix Weingartner. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, diretta dallo stesso Weingartner. Incisione storica, del 1930. Riversata su CD, edizione economica.

Che idea bislacca, trascrivere l'Hammerklavier per orchestra. L'opera, così, non funziona. E' incongrua, fuori posto. O forse è l'arrangiamento che non va bene: tutto in legato! Come no: siccome al piano non si può fare e con l'orchestra sì, allora mettiamo il glissando un po' dovunque...

Non importa. L'op. 106 è bellissima anche così. Beethoven è l'unico musicista che riesce a commuovere anche nelle esecuzioni più impossibili, e nelle situazioni d'ascolto più precarie.

Audiocassette in edizioni da autogrill della Quinta o della Sonata al chiaro di luna ascoltate in auto, d'estate, andando verso la spiaggia, coi finestrini aperti e quasi tutta la musica che si perde nel rumore...

C'è qualcosa di disneyano, nell'orchestrazione anni '30 di Weingartner. Quando ho visto per la prima volta Fantasia? Non ricordo, ma dovevo avere quattro o cinque anni. A Milano. I miei mi portarono al cinema, sicuramente, e qualcosa deve essersi depositato profondamente nella mia memoria. La Sesta sinfonia mi sembra di conoscerla da sempre.

Questa, però, è preistoria. La storia dei miei ascolti musicali comincia invece a metà degli anni '80. Avevo (o meglio, i miei genitori avevano) un magnetofono da tavolo a cassette, di quelli che si usavano per registrare pro-memoria e appunti vocali. Io lo usavo per sentire musica. Le cassette le avevo comprate all'uscita da scuola, prima di prendere il treno che mi avrebbe ricondotto a casa.

Il corso principale della città dove frequentavo il liceo scientifico aveva due negozi di dischi. Quello della signora Esposito era il più fornito: aveva dei meravigliosi cataloghi delle principali case discografiche. I cataloghi, però, mi mettevano in imbarazzo. Avrei voluto consultarli per ore, ma non stava bene: a un certo punto bisognava scegliere e ordinare. E poi, la cassetta arrivava dopo settimane, e a quell'epoca ero molto impaziente.

Il negozio del signor Cavo (dischi ed elettrodomestici, nomen omen) era più piccolo, ma aveva la particolarità di essere praticamente sempre aperto. Arrivavi col treno la mattina presto e trovavi già la saracinesca alzata, oppure perdevi il primo treno del ritorno, e potevi comunque rifugiarti una mezz'oretta da Cavo a contemplare lo scaffale con le cassette, senza essere disturbato (era, e per quanto ne so è ancora, un uomo di una discrezione esemplare, cosa non frequente in provincia). Potevi stare lì davanti quanto volevi prima di scegliere cosa comprare, oppure anche uscire senza aver preso niente, con un semplice grazie e arrivederci.

Ma, quando avevo diecimila lire in tasca, mi piaceva sempre entrare da Cavo per poi uscirne con una cassetta di Mozart o di Beethoven ben sistemata in mezzo ai libri - che tenevo orgogliosamente legati con una cinta elastica, per distinguermi dai miei compagni che sfoggiavano zainetti Invicta dai quali, durante l'intervallo, tiravano fuori i loro dischi di musica pop.

Intanto l'acqua bolle. Mezzo cucchiaino di sale. Apro la dispensa: pennette rigate o spaghetti? Opto per gli spaghetti: cuociono prima.

"La città dove frequentavo il liceo". Ho già scritto il nome di questa città? No. Lo scrivo adesso: Locri. Provincia di Reggio Calabria.

Da una vita, la semplice domanda "Di dove sei?" mi obbliga a fornire spiegazioni complicate e, suppongo, noiose, e anche poco convincenti. Ai tempi del liceo la risposta era semplice: di Africo. Se l'interlocutore era discreto, bastava così. Altrimenti scattava l'altra domanda: "E perché parli con l'accento milanese?" - Sai, la mia famiglia abitava a Milano, poi ci siamo trasferiti in Calabria. "Ah, allora i tuoi sono milanesi". - Niente affatto, siamo calabresi da chissà quante generazioni; ma i miei erano emigrati a Milano alla fine degli anni '60. "E come mai siete tornati qui?" - Uffa...

Da quando sto al Nord, la spiegazione è diventata ancora più involuta e implausibile. Se ci penso, mi vedo in un commissariato di polizia, seduto davanti a una lampada da tavolo puntata addosso a me, mentre l'ispettore, nascosto in una minacciosa penombra, mi inquisisce. "Ricominciamo daccapo. Di dove sei?" - Di Vigevano. "Ma non parli con l'accento di Vigevano". - No, perché sono calabrese. "Ma sul documento c'è scritto che sei nato a Milano". - Sì, perché all'epoca i miei abitavano lì. "Ah. E adesso dove abitano?" - Ad Africo. "Prima hai detto a Bianco." - Sì, anagraficamente stanno a Bianco. Sono due paesi confinanti. In realtà casa dei miei è tra Africo e Bianco, sulla statale. Ma comunque è più vicina ad Africo che a Bianco, anche se, sulla carta, è nel territorio di Bianco. Però i miei sono di Africo. "Ricominciamo daccapo..."

Intanto l'op. 106 di Beethoven, trascritta da Weingartner, è finita. Devo cambiare il CD. Ho ancora una cinquantina di minuti prima di tornare in ufficio. Cosa metto?

Scelgo velocemente, prima che la pasta scuocia: Invenzioni a due e tre voci di J. S. Bach. Glenn Gould, al pianoforte.

Butto gli spaghetti nello scolapasta. Che senso ha suonare il piano facendo finta che sia un clavicembalo? Venticinque anni che ascolto Gould e me lo chiedo.

Dicembre millenovecentoottantotto. Pomeriggio. Devo studiare per l'interrogazione di matematica. Non ne ho proprio voglia. Slego il fardello dei libri di scuola e ne estraggo il mio acquisto di oggi. Una cassetta made in U.S.A., dall'elegantissima copertina nera bordata d'oro. Bach, Inventions and Sinfonias. Glenn Gould.

Metto la cassetta nel mangianastri. Una musica astratta, trasparente, cantabile. Sembra provenire dallo spazio siderale, eppure i contorni si distinguono con precisione. Una sensazione di freddo secco, fine e pungente.

Guardai fuori. Non potevo crederci: stava nevicando. La casa dei miei è sul mare; l'Aspromonte dista solo una cinquantina di chilometri, ma qui sulla costa l'inverno è mite, la neve è un evento che capita forse una volta ogni dieci anni. Capitò quella volta. Mi alzai dalla scrivania e andai alla finestra a vedere i cristalli che scendevano lentamente.

L'inverno è mite, sulla costa ionica della Calabria. La stagione peggiore è l'autunno. A fine ottobre le piogge arrivano improvvise, massicce e violente, e possono durare per settimane. Non c'è che da chiudersi in casa e aspettare che passino.

Ho sedici anni e sto correndo attraverso la piazza principale di Locri verso la stazione. Il cielo è nero, l'aria è elettrica e tra poco scoppierà un forte temporale. Stavolta ho perso troppo tempo dalla signora Esposito, non sapevo decidermi, alla fine ho comprato la Sesta sinfonia di Beethoven e i concerti K. 488 e K. 491 nell'interpretazione di Daniel Barenboim, ma ora rischio di perdere il treno. La Sesta un po' la conosco, è quella della pubblicità. Ma il Concerto in do minore. Chissà com'è. Mozart scrive raramente in minore. Ma quando lo fa, mette i brividi. Mi precipito con il cuore in gola, mentre le bobine sbattono ritmicamente contro l'involucro di plastica nascosto fra i libri.

"Secondo le testimonianze di molta gente che ha vissuto in prima persona quei tragici giorni dell'alluvione e attraverso dei libri pubblicati da alcuni scrittori del paese, il 15 ottobre 1951 rappresenta una data indimenticabile e storica per il popolo di Africo in quanto un evento imprevisto sconvolse l’esistenza di Africo e della sua frazione, Casalnuovo. Per quattro giorni consecutivi dal 15 al 18 ottobre 1951, una bufera di vento, pioggia e nevischio si abbatté ininterrottamente sui due paesi causando frane, crolli di abitazioni e la distruzione di intere colture. La gente, spaventata, si riversò in massa in chiesa, pregando Dio e il suo Santo protettore, San Leo. La catastrofe avvenne soprattutto giorno 17 con continue frane, smottamenti di terreno, pioggia battente e violenta".

"La mattina del 18 ottobre la gente ricorda un'aria rossastra su nel cielo che metteva paura solo ad osservarla. [...] Molti furono quelli che, sorpresi dal maltempo, non fecero in tempo a mettersi in salvo, perché la piena del fiume impedì loro la via del ritorno a casa. Alla fine i due paesi contarono i danni: i morti furono sei a Casalnuovo e tre ad Africo. Gran parte del bestiame fu trascinato dal fiume, le case furono per la maggior parte distrutte e sepolte, le colture non più esistenti perché trascinate dalla pioggia."

"La lenta organizzazione della vita civile e della lotta politica fu sconvolta dall'alluvione del 1951. Una frana spazzò via il paese. I morti furono pochi, ma Africo scomparve. La storia della ricostruzione è allucinante. Per tutto un decennio gli africoti cercarono il terreno per ricomporre la loro comunità. Si iniziò una lotta tra chi voleva tornare nel vecchio territorio, dove erano restate le misere proprietà, e quelli che cercavano una sistemazione nuova. La scelta di una soluzione divise i due campi, anche la sinistra. Alla fine prevalse la tesi, sostenuta da don Stilo e dalla DC, di costruire un nuovo comune in una località distante 50 chilometri dal vecchio paese. Per lunghi anni la maggioranza degli africoti visse in un campo profughi. All'inizio del 1960 era sorta Africo Nuovo".

Un bambino di nove anni. Una bambina di due anni. Che esperienza possono aver fatto della catastrofe, e poi della loro condizione di profughi? Come l'hanno vissuta? Che tracce ha lasciato su di loro?

I miei genitori mi hanno parlato pochissimo dell'alluvione e degli eventi successivi. Hanno sempre insistito affinché studiassi, hanno incoraggiato i miei interessi per la musica, la letteratura, le scienze. Mi hanno sostenuto fino al diploma, poi fino alla laurea. Ma sugli eventi del loro paese non mi hanno mai detto molto.

Mio padre non sopporta il vento. Se è notte, e fuori c'è vento, non riesce a dormire.

"Non si è mai capito - manca una documentazione e mancano anche testimonianze orali credibili - se fu la mafia calabrese a premere per ricostruire Africo nel territorio di Bianco, senza terra, senza delimitazione territoriale e stato giuridico (com'è rimasto fino al 1980), in una località dove i contadini poveri, la grande maggioranza degli abitanti, sarebbero stati privati di quei diritti civici - il legnatico, il seminativo, il pascolo - di cui godevano nel vecchio paese. Da una montagna aspra al mare. Un caso esemplare di perdita dell'identità individuale e collettiva: gli abitanti di Africo infatti non sono più pastori né contadini, odiano il mare e non sono diventati né pescatori né marinai".

Ho diciannove anni. Preparo l'esame di maturità ascoltando la Sinfonia Italiana di Mendelssohn e la Sinfonia Incompiuta di Schubert. L'incongruità della situazione mi è divenuta insopportabile: che senso ha vivere in Calabria stando sempre chiuso in casa, parlare con un ridicolo accento settentrionale e, in generale, far finta di abitare in Mitteleuropa? A questo punto, non è meglio emigrare? Spengo il registratore e accendo la radio. Trasmettono The End dei Doors. C'è l'anniversario della morte di Jim Morrison.

Alla maturità, filosofia non è uscita. Peccato. Mi sarebbe piaciuto portare Kant. Non capisco perché tutti dicono che è un pensatore difficile: a me sembra così naturale, così ovvio. Certo: lo spazio, il tempo, sono forme della nostra mente. Ma, in sé, non esistono affatto.

Spengo lo stereo, aziono la lavastoviglie. E' ora di tornare in ufficio.

(Racconto pubblicato anche su Evulon. Nota: tutti i paragrafi tra virgolette sono tratti dal sito Internet di un mio compaesano, http://www.giuseppemorabito.it tranne l'ultimo che è tratto da Corrado Stajano, L'Italia ferita. Storie di un popolo che vorrebbe vivere secondo le regole della democrazia, Cinemazero, Pordenone 2010, pag. 96).
          Adagio in sol minore        
Roma, giugno 1984.

Una folla immensa e silenziosa riempie il centro della città. Un milione di persone, venute da tutta Italia per rendere l'ultimo saluto al segretario nazionale, abbattuto da un ictus durante un comizio. Piazza San Giovanni è troppo piccola. Le bandiere rosse sventolano nel sole, ovunque. Molti piangono.

Mentre il feretro esce dalla sede del partito, un sistema di altoparlanti inizia a diffondere una musica lamentosa, straziante.

L'Adagio di Albinoni.


Venezia, febbraio 1958.

Il freddo umido entra nelle ossa. Due uomini passeggiano lungo le Fondamenta della Misericordia, in mezzo a una fitta nebbia.

"Cusa l'è 'sta spüssa?"

Quello che ha parlato si chiama Mario e viene da Milano.

L'altro è il musicologo Andrea Mocenigo. "Quest'odore - risponde pazientemente all'amico - è l'acqua bassa. Ritirandosi, lascia scoperti i detriti sul fondo del canale. Dopo un po' ci fai l'abitudine".

"Va beh, Andrea, ma che schifo. Cià, mettiamoci al chiuso, ti offro un camparino".

Entrarono in un caffé e si sedettero. "Allora, camerata" disse Mario. "Parlami un po' delle tue ricerche".

Andrea lanciò una rapida occhiata intorno, per accertarsi che nessuno avesse sentito l'appellativo rivoltogli da Mario. Poi rispose: "Se vuoi parlare di politica, andiamo in un altro posto. Qui non è zona nostra". Gli sembrava che, da dietro il bancone, il barista li stesse già guardando male.

"Tranquillo. Niente politica. Sono venuto a Venezia solo per affari. E per rivedere qualche vecchio... amico. Lavoro per casa Ricordi, come sai. Nel tuo caso, unisco l'utile al dilettevole. Saremmo contenti di riaverti come collaboratore. Qualcuno ancora ha presente quel tuo strepitoso articolo del '40, come s'intitolava? L'arte di Verdi nell'era fascista. Poter pubblicare ancora delle robe così..."

"Altri tempi", disse Andrea.

"Altri tempi, già" concordò Mario. "Ma torneranno, torneranno, te l'assicuro... Veniamo a noi. Mi hai scritto di avere delle novità clamorose, no? E alura, tira fuori il rospo".

"No, no", Mocenigo mise le mani avanti. "Andiamoci piano. Novità grosse ancora non ne ho. Continuo a lavorare alla monografia su Vivaldi. Sarà pronta fra un anno o due. E poi c'è l'edizione delle opere di Albinoni, di cui ti ho scritto..."

"Ah, che meraviglia!" lo interruppe Mario. "Come t'invidio! Il barocco... Immergersi in quell'epoca dorata. Allora sì che regnava l'ordine: i re erano re, i nobili erano nobili, e la plebe era plebe! Ognuno al suo posto. Onore, fedeltà e disciplina! Non questa cosiddetta repubblica che c'è oggi, dove anche i figli degli operai vogliono diventare dottori. Per me un Campari e soda, tu cosa prendi?"

Era arrivata la cameriera a raccogliere le ordinazioni. Tornò poco dopo con le bevande. Mario le si rivolse ora con fare mellifluo. "Ma dica, signorina, cosa fa, lei, dopo il lavoro? Se vuole, passo a prenderla. Io sto all'Hotel Silva, ha presente? Vicino piazza San Marco. Un posto di gran lusso, sa? C'è una bellissima buvette, e si potrebbe bere insieme una flûte di champagne d'annata..."

La ragazza non rispose. Lasciò i due aperitivi sul tavolino, e si allontanò mormorando "Ma va' in mona".

"Bella gnocca, eh?" ammiccò Mario al suo amico. "Cos'è che ha detto?"

Andrea ridacchiò. "A una fanciulla / un vecchio come lei non può far nulla. Ecco cosa ti ha detto", rispose.

Mario si rabbuiò. "Lascia perdere il Mozart, quel pirlotto. Solo lui poteva farsi infinocchiare da un depravato ebreo come Da Ponte, al punto da mettere in musica versi così immorali. Se oggi non c'è più religione, è anche per colpa di gente come loro. Ma mi stavi dicendo di Albinoni. Continua".

"Ecco, mi sono immerso nella materia, come dici tu. E sai com'è, mi sono talmente immedesimato... che ho composto un pezzo. Un omaggio, un tributo, chiamalo come vuoi. Un breve adagio, per archi e organo, nello stile di Albinoni. Volevo fartelo leggere. Ecco, ce l'ho qui con me". Mocenigo si chinò, estrasse una partitura manoscritta dalla ventiquattrore e la porse a Mario.

Mario lesse con attenzione. Poi restituì la partitura ad Andrea.

"Allora?" chiese Andrea.

"Allora niente", rispose Mario. "E' bellissimo. E' un capolavoro. Lo pubblichiamo senz'altro. Però, guarda che ti sbagli. Non l'hai scritto tu, questo Adagio".

"No?" disse Andrea, stupito.

"No. Questo è un adagio inedito di Tomaso Albinoni, che faceva parte dei manoscritti del compositore, già conservati alla biblioteca di Dresda, e che tu hai fortunosamente scoperto. Come sappiamo, la biblioteca fu distrutta tredici anni fa, da un criminale bombardamento aereo angloamericano. Pochi, miseri frammenti sono scampati allo scempio, ritrovati fra le macerie. Da essi, tu hai sapientemente ricostruito questo Adagio, che ora sarà restituito alla riverente e commossa ammirazione del pubblico, quale ultima testimonianza di un'epoca di splendore ingiustamente tramontata. Spiegherai tutto nella prefazione alla partitura. Ah, tra parentesi: non preoccuparti per i diritti di copyright. Spetteranno a te, in qualità di arrangiatore. Prevedo che te ne verranno un bel po' di dané".

Andrea Mocenigo rimase senza parole. Poi balbettò: "Ma... ma sarebbe un falso bello e buono! Scusa, chi vuoi che ci creda? E quella roba, che secondo te dovrei scrivere: il 'criminale bombardamento alleato' e via dicendo! Come se la Luftwaffe, invece, sganciasse mazzi di fiori. No, mi rideranno in faccia. Non si può fare, mi spiace".

"Da che parte stai?", chiese Mario, gelido.

"Dalla tua! Ma scusami ancora, Mario. Non ti posso seguire in quello che mi proponi. Non siamo più nel 1940. C'è stata la guerra. L'occupazione tedesca, la gente se la ricorda bene, e oggi come oggi non gli puoi raccontare una storia in cui noi camerati figuriamo come le povere vittime. Senza contare che sarebbe una storia falsa, e prima o poi si verrà a sapere, e allora che figura ci faccio?"

Mario sospirò. Bevve un sorso del suo aperitivo, poi si appoggiò allo schienale. "Senti, Andrea" disse. "La nostra battaglia non comincia e non finisce oggi. Devi capire che noi lavoriamo per il lontano futuro. Hai detto bene: oggi, la gente non è bendisposta verso di noi. Per creare il Nuovo Ordine, il Reich Millenario, abbiamo dovuto procedere con estrema durezza. E, per ora, siamo stati sconfitti. Ma fra venti, trenta o quarant'anni, quando saranno scomparsi coloro che oggi ricordano certi... spiacevoli inconvenienti, allora la nostra Idea tornerà ad affascinare i popoli. Fino ad allora, si tratta di guadagnare terreno, a poco a poco, tenacemente. Partendo anche dai dettagli. E poi, il bombardamento di Dresda c'è stato per davvero, no? Cominciamo col dirlo".

"Sì, ma la storia dell'Adagio trovato fra le macerie è una balla", rispose Andrea.

Mario si spazientì. "Balla, non balla! Chi se ne frega! La verità è ciò che riesci a far passare per tale. Tu offri al pubblico una musica seducente e ben scritta, condita da una storia romantica. Vedrai che ti crederanno. Populus vult decipi, caro mio. Et decipiatur! Il popolo vuole essere ingannato. E allora, lo si inganni! E comunque" continuò Mario "se vuoi pubblicare con noi, queste sono le condizioni. E adesso usciamo, ché mi son rotto gli zebedei a stare qui".

All'uscita del locale, Mario e Andrea furono circondati da una torma di ragazzini in maschera, che improvvisarono un girotondo, e che se ne andarono solo quando Andrea, ridendo, ebbe dato loro qualche monetina. Mario, intanto, ostentava la più completa indifferenza.

"Ma tu dici che l'Adagio piacerà? Non somiglia troppo a Mascagni?", chiese Andrea.

"Ma va là! Il tuo è barocco purissimo, te lo dico io. Farà furore. Suonerà come le campane a morto, contro la robaccia negroide-bolscevica che va di moda oggi. E comunque, Mascagni era dei nostri anca lü".

Si allontanarono nella nebbia, mentre il puzzo di fogna si faceva sempre più forte.

(Pubblicato su Evulon il 21 aprile 2011. Nell'immagine: il bombardamento di Guernica del 26 aprile 1937. Fotografia tratta dalla pagina che ho linkato sopra).


          Mozart schedato da Buscaroli        
Va subito detto che il titolo del libro di Piero Buscaroli, La morte di Mozart (Rizzoli, Milano 1996, pp. 373) è fuorviante. L'oggetto della trattazione di Buscaroli non è, infatti, "la morte di Mozart", bensì gli ultimi dieci anni di vita del grande compositore. L'intento dichiarato di Buscaroli è quello di demolire tutta una serie di leggende, falsità e luoghi comuni che, secondo lui, si sarebbero accumulati intorno alla figura di Mozart ad opera dei suoi biografi otto e novecenteschi: il Mozart di Buscaroli sarebbe infine quello genuino ed autentico, finalmente restituitoci dopo due secoli di menzogne.

Mi sembra che il punto di vista di Buscaroli sia politicamente determinato e che questa componente politica sia un elemento essenziale del suo metodo. Infatti, Buscaroli è un nostalgico dell'ancien régime, né più né meno. Tutto ciò che deriva dall'Illuminismo e dalla Rivoluzione francese, per Buscaroli, è pura e semplice aberrazione. Buscaroli non accetta nulla della modernità; del feudalesimo, invece, rimpiange ogni aspetto (per esempio anche l'elevata mortalità infantile, p. 261). Questo suo punto di vista radicalmente antimoderno dovrebbe, nelle intenzioni di Buscaroli, garantirgli una completa indipendenza dalle ideologie correnti nella nostra epoca e consentirgli così di vederci più chiaro di ogni altro biografo mozartiano prima di lui.

In altre parole, il libro di Buscaroli non si basa affatto su una ricerca archivistica che abbia prodotto fonti inedite e di prima mano. Si basa, invece, sulla reinterpretazione delle fonti già note, le quali, sotto l'occhio limpido e scevro di pregiudizi di Piero Buscaroli, rivelerebbero alfine quella verità che nessuno, prima di lui, aveva veduto.

Le fonti principali di Buscaroli sono infatti: l'epistolario mozartiano; la raccolta di documenti a cura di Erich Deutsch Mozart. Die Dokumente seines Lebens, Kassel 1961; e le prime biografie mozartiane di Schlichtegroll (1793), Niemetschek (1798), Nissen (1828) e Jahn (1856-59). Sono tutti materiali ben conosciuti e ampiamente utilizzati dalla critica mozartiana. Buscaroli esprime invece il massimo disprezzo per il W. A. Mozart di Hermann Abert (1921), opera considerata fondamentale da tutti ma non da Buscaroli il quale, naturalmente, è anche in costante e aspra polemica con quasi tutta la critica mozartiana novecentesca.

Vediamo allora, più nel dettaglio, qual è il bersaglio polemico della ricostruzione buscaroliana.

Mozart, che all'età di venticinque anni lasciò il servizio dell'Arcivescovo di Salisburgo per trasferirsi a Vienna, dove cercò di mantenersi con i proventi della sua attività di pianista e compositore, è oggi celebrato come il primo grande musicista dell'epoca borghese, colui il quale, per primo, tentò di conquistarsi lo status di libero artista, riscattando così la figura del musicista dal suo ruolo di dipendente delle corti. Nelle parole del sociologo Norbert Elias (1991): "Da outsider borghese al servizio della corte, Mozart combatté fino in fondo, con incredibile coraggio, una battaglia di affrancamento dai suoi padroni e committenti aristocratici. Lo fece di propria iniziativa, per amore della propria dignità di uomo e del proprio lavoro di musicista. E perse la battaglia [...]". Secondo Elias, Mozart perse la battaglia (e la vita) in quanto i tempi non erano ancora maturi per lui: la lotta di Mozart si svolse in una nazione, l'Austria del settecento, che si trovava "in una fase dello sviluppo sociale nella quale i rapporti di potere tradizionali erano praticamente ancora intatti".

Per l'ultrareazionario Buscaroli, questa moderna visione di Mozart come artista rivoluzionario è fumo negli occhi. Con grande insistenza, Buscaroli ci propone invece un Mozart meschino, pavido e conformista, caratterizzato dalla "evidente mancanza di superiori doti intellettuali e morali" (p. 342). "Mai anelò al riscatto sociale e politico della figura dell'artista, cercava un reddito fisso, ma alto" (p. 32). "Il libero mercato dell'arte gli si spalanca, e lui continua a sperare in un impiego a corte, meglio a Vienna, dove potrebbe, tutt'al più, raddoppiare lo stipendio di ora. Uomo libero è solo a parole [...]. I suoi sogni sono quelli di un impiegato" (pp. 183-4).

Tutto il libro di Buscaroli pullula di simili osservazioni, che in verità sono reiterate tanto spesso, quanto poco sono seriamente argomentate. E non potrebbe essere diversamente, dato che, come ho detto sopra, le fonti di Buscaroli sono le stesse dei critici mozartiani che lui tanto disprezza. Se, per loro, queste fonti disegnano una determinata figura e per Buscaroli la figura esattamente opposta, ciò dipenderebbe solo dal fatto che Buscaroli è intelligente e onesto, mentre gli altri autori sono stupidi e/o in malafede.

Un esempio del metodo argomentativo di Buscaroli lo si trova nella trattazione delle dimissioni di Mozart dalla corte arcivescovile di Salisburgo nel giugno 1781. In quella circostanza, com'è noto, il segretario dell'Arcivescovo, un tale conte Arco, per tutta risposta all'insistenza con cui Mozart continuava a chiedergli di accettare la sua richiesta di dimissioni, assestò al musicista un calcio nel sedere. Questo episodio, che ha suscitato l'indignazione unanime di tutta la posterità, viene raccontato da Buscaroli con le tecniche adottate dagli avvocati difensori di chi viene processato per stupro:
A) minimizzare. "Credette di dover ridurre alla ragione il musicista ribelle con la zotica seppur benintenzionata famigliarità elargita a sguatteri e inservienti".
B) Insinuare dubbi sulla veridicità del fatto. "E se fosse tutta invenzione [...]?"
C) Sostenere che la vittima, in fondo, se l'è cercata. "E il giovane genio dal corpo minuto [...] fece tutto quanto poteva per trarlo fuori dai gangheri" (tutte le citazioni sono dalla p. 53).
Il tutto al palese scopo di tessere l'apologia di un sistema sociale, nel quale era possibile che un Mozart venisse preso a calci dallo scagnozzo di un feudatario.

A ciò aggiungiamo il fatto che, della musica di Mozart, Buscaroli parla poco o nulla: al Don Giovanni sono dedicate in tutto 3 (tre) pagine, nelle quali Buscaroli si limita a dirci che Da Ponte copiò il libretto da Giovanni Bertati; e sai che novità! Questo ci dà la misura di quanto la lettura di questo libro possa risultare tediosa e irritante.

Questo, almeno, per le prime duecentosessanta pagine. E' solo quando Buscaroli inizia a parlare degli ultimi mesi di vita di Mozart, che il suo discorso comincia a farsi un minimo interessante. A proposito della genesi del Requiem, Buscaroli propone una tesi che, pur non essendo necessariamente giusta, non è né futile né banale. Secondo Buscaroli (il quale, per una volta, avverte onestamente il lettore di non aver prove di quanto afferma: p. 324), l'incompiutezza del Requiem non sarebbe dovuta alla morte improvvisa del compositore, bensì ad una sua scelta deliberata. Infatti, Mozart fu incaricato della composizione da un nobile musicista dilettante, il conte Walsegg-Stuppach, il quale intendeva appropriarsi della stessa paternità dell'opera: il conte voleva cioè far eseguire il Requiem (dalla propria orchestra di corte) figurandone lui come autore.

Secondo Buscaroli, quando Mozart si rese conto dei termini di questo incarico (che inizialmente aveva accettato per necessità di denaro), maturò un invincibile disgusto per il lavoro che gli era stato commissionato: la sua coscienza artistica e professionale si ribellò all'idea di dover comporre un'opera che non avrebbe mai potuto rivendicare come sua. Sarebbe questo, secondo Buscaroli, il vero motivo per cui il Requiem rimase incompiuto.

Una prova a sostegno della sua ricostruzione sarebbe costituita, secondo Buscaroli (il quale considera il Requiem di Mozart un'opera minore e mal riuscita), dalla stessa scarsa qualità musicale della composizione. Mozart, cioè, sapeva di dover scrivere un'opera che sarebbe andata sotto il nome di un musicista dilettante: perciò la scrisse in modo volutamente sciatto, adoperando ad esempio un "contrappunto opaco, scontato, da manuale" (p. 325), e alla fine si rifiutò senz'altro di completarla, meditandone probabilmente la distruzione.

Buscaroli, però, sembra non rendersi conto che quanto lui scrive in queste pagine finali, a proposito del Mozart autore del Requiem, contraddice in modo stridente quanto egli stesso ha sostenuto nel corso di tutti i capitoli precedenti. Se Mozart, dal 1781 fino all'estate del 1791, era quel piccolo-borghese pusillanime e opportunista che Buscaroli si è sforzato di dipingere, come si spiega questo improvviso scatto di orgoglio e di dignità a pochi mesi dalla morte?

A me sembra, invece, che in queste pagine finali gli occhiali dell'ideologia siano in qualche modo caduti dal naso di Buscaroli, il quale, alla fine, non può a fare a meno di riconoscere a Mozart quelle qualità umane che fin qui gli aveva ostinatamente e faziosamente negato.

Per finire, ho seri dubbi sulla valutazione critica che Buscaroli riserva al Requiem. Non trascurerei il fatto che quest'opera sembra attualmente la più popolare fra quelle del suo autore. Ad esempio, se si digita Mozart nella casella di ricerca di "YouTube", il Requiem è la prima opzione che viene proposta. Senza dubbio, ciò si deve in gran parte al film Amadeus. Ma in parte, secondo me, lo si deve anche alla relativa semplicità di fruizione del Requiem che Buscaroli, a suo modo, evidenzia, pur senza comprenderne le ragioni. Non dimentichiamo che Mozart, poco prima di morire, fu testimone dell'enorme successo del suo Flauto Magico, un'opera scritta per un teatro della periferia di Vienna e destinata ad un pubblico popolare.

Forse Mozart, dopo aver volutamente sfidato il gusto dell'aristocrazia, e dopo l'amara esperienza del mancato sostegno da parte del pubblico borghese, negli ultimi mesi di vita iniziò a intravedere la possibilità di rivolgersi ad un pubblico interamente nuovo, posto al di fuori delle classi dominanti del presente e dell'immediato futuro. E cominciò a orientare la sua scrittura musicale all'obiettivo di conquistare ed educare, se necessario anche calibrando il livello di complessità compositiva, questo nuovo pubblico.

(Trovate la presente recensione anche su Evulon).
          Il terremoto di Messina del 1908        
Ripubblico qui di seguito una mia recensione (risalente a sei anni fa) al libro di Giorgio Boatti, La terra trema. Messina 28 dicembre 1908. I trenta secondi che cambiarono l'Italia, non gli italiani, Mondadori, Milano 2004, pp. 414, € 18,50.

"Ore 5.20 terremoto distrusse buona parte Messina - Giudico morti molte centinaia - case crollate sgombro macerie insufficienti mezzi locali - urgono soccorsi per sgombro vettovagliamento assistenza feriti - ogni aiuto sarà insufficiente".

E' il testo del telegramma con cui il governo italiano apprese del terremoto di Messina: inviato dal comandante di una nave militare da una stazione telegrafica calabrese alle 14.50 del 28 dicembre 1908, giunse al Ministero degli Interni alle 17.35 dello stesso giorno, cioè dodici ore dopo il disastro.
In questo telegramma la valutazione dei danni è naturalmente molto sottostimata: il terremoto, dell'undicesimo grado della scala Mercalli, distrusse quasi completamente le città di Messina e Reggio Calabria e causò, secondo le statistiche ufficiali, 77.283 morti (in altre valutazioni la cifra oscilla fra le 80.000 e le 140.000 vittime).

A volte, quando ci si sofferma a considerarla, la storia del nostro paese sembra un'ininterrotta sequela di disastri. Ogni generazione ha la sua catastrofe civile da ricordare e anzi spesso più d'una, a volte d'origine naturale e a volte umana. Il copione sembra sempre lo stesso: evento tragico; prime ricostruzioni giornalistiche, concitate e a forti tinte; interviste ai superstiti; il cordoglio della nazione; le autorità dello stato si precipitano sul luogo dell'evento; polemiche sulla tempestività dei soccorsi e sulla loro efficienza; i parenti delle vittime accusano; funerali solenni; ancora polemiche finché i riflettori dei mass-media si spengono.

Questo libro di Giorgio Boatti sul terremoto di Messina si basa in gran parte su uno studio accurato dei giornali dell'epoca. Una prima constatazione è che in essi lo schema che ci è tristemente familiare appare già operante. Il governo di Giovanni Giolitti dovette ben presto difendersi dalle accuse di non aver compiuto in modo adeguato e tempestivo l'opera di soccorso delle popolazioni colpite. In particolare, l'opinione pubblica dell'epoca fu colpita dal fatto che i primi soccorsi organizzati non vennero apprestati da parte italiana, bensì, a partire dalla mattina del 29 dicembre, dagli equipaggi di squadre navali russe e inglesi che casualmente si trovavano nei pressi al momento del terremoto (equipaggi che, secondo tutte le testimonianze, svolsero la loro opera eroicamente). I primi soccorritori italiani, dell'ottavo reggimento dei Bersaglieri, provenienti da Palermo, sbarcarono solo nel pomeriggio inoltrato dello stesso giorno.

Ma la cosa che più colpisce nella reazione all'evento da parte del governo italiano non consiste tanto nella lentezza o inefficienza dei soccorsi, per la quale si possono addurre delle circostanze attenuanti: l'Italia era allora un paese povero, sottosviluppato rispetto alle altre nazioni europee; la stessa tecnologia dell'epoca non consentiva una grande rapidità di reazione; il terremoto danneggiò molto seriamente le infrastrutture e le vie di comunicazione nelle zone colpite; infine non esisteva ancora il moderno concetto di protezione civile e lo Stato italiano non era preparato ad affrontare simili emergenze.

Ciò che realmente sorprende è che fin dall'inizio, il governo e una parte della pubblica opinione sembrarono considerare il terremoto principalmente come un problema di ordine pubblico. Fra le prime preoccupazioni si registrano, infati, il timore delle epidemie e la paura dei saccheggi.

Scrive il quotidiano "La Tribuna" del 2 gennaio 1909: per impedire un'epidemia occorre "compiere l'opera distruggitrice perpetrata dal terremoto: buttare giù quel poco che resta di queste case, buttarlo giù nel modo più energico, più rapido: a colpi di cannone. Far sgomberare i pochissimi superstiti e dalle navi bombardare queste scarnificate vestigia della città (...) non v'è altra via per impedire che il luogo dov'era Messina diventi un centro d'infezione a cui nessuno osi più avvicinarsi". (p. 118). "Il Mattino" del 6-7 gennaio rilancia la stessa idea attribuendone la paternità al Re, mentre "Il Messaggero" del 6 gennaio suggerisce di ricorrere al fuoco: "Si dia in preda alle fiamme [Messina] per purificarla, o si ricostruisca con piccole case come una cittadina giapponese" (p. 119).

E' sconcertante che fra le prime misure suggerite dopo un terremoto, vi sia quella di deportare la popolazione colpita e poi bombardare la città: sembra che nel caso di Messina non si sia arrivato a tanto solo perché, a distanza di molti giorni dalla catastrofe, si continuavano a trovare dei sopravvissuti sotto le rovine. Ma si rimane ancora più stupiti quando si apprende che uno dei motivi che suggerirono queste misure estreme, fu la necessità di preservare dai furti i valori rimasti sotto le macerie e soprattutto i caveaux delle banche.

Il regio decreto del 4 gennaio 1909 stabiliva lo stato d'assedio nei territori colpiti dal terremoto e conferiva i pieni poteri per l'emergenza al generale di corpo d'armata Francesco Mazza (annota Boatti che una diceria popolare fa discendere dal suo cognome l'etimologia della locuzione siculo-calabra "non capire una mazza"). Installatosi con il suo stato maggiore a bordo di una lussuosa nave militare al largo, e senza scendere quasi mai a terra, il generale Mazza provvide a circondare Messina di un cordone sanitario di truppe, cui diede l'ordine di sparare su chiunque dall'esterno si avvicinasse alla città senza lasciapassare. Questo per impedire che bande di saccheggiatori si riversassero sul luogo del disastro.

Ecco alcuni passi tratti dal bando emanato dal generale Mazza il 10 gennaio, riportato integralmente a p. 374 del libro di Boatti: "1 - Sono sospesi fino a nuovo ordine gli scavi delle macerie da parte di privati cittadini, sia per rintracciare cadaveri, sia per recuperare valori. (...) Le persone trovate a scavare saranno considerate come ladri e deferite al tribunale di guerra. [Questo mentre ancora i parenti delle vittime cercavano i loro cari sotto le macerie, n.d.r.] Anche le truppe, nei lavori stradali che compiono, si limiteranno esclusivamente ai lavori di assestamento evitando di eseguire scavi. (...) 3 - E' proibito l'ingresso in città a tutte le persone non munite di regolare permesso rilasciato dall'autorità politica della provincia da cui provengono..."

Il 6 gennaio l'autorità militare ordina di sospendere la distribuzione di viveri ai superstiti. Saranno distribuiti viveri a bordo delle navi, solamente ai profughi che accetteranno d'imbarcarsi per lasciare la città. L'idea, commenta Boatti, è perciò quella di "utilizzare l'arma della fame e della sete per imporre (..) la desertificazione di Messina" (p. 135). Questa cinica soluzione non viene attuata perché, come accennavo sopra, alcuni dei sepolti sotto le macerie si ostinano a farsi ritrovare vivi anche dopo giorni e giorni dal terremoto; ma altresì per le perplessità espresse da una parte della pubblica opinione e anche per le proteste degli stessi messinesi: un'assemblea autoconvocata di cittadini chiede il 19 gennaio la revoca dello stato d'assedio. Stato d'assedio che - osserva con sarcasmo il corrispondente de "Il Mattino" del 6 gennaio 1909 - sembra avere lo scopo precipuo di garantire "il sonno ai morti e la biancheria, gli oggetti e i titoli di banca ai vivi" (p. 137).

In seguito Giolitti giustificò la scelta di dare priorità al recupero dei valori, adducendo il timore di speculazioni al ribasso sulla lira (p. 146). Boatti propone un'altra spiegazione: "La difesa delle proprietà, la guardia ai caveaux delle banche, il salvataggio dei lingotti che mette in secondo piano altri interventi è una linea d'azione adottata, anzi, sbandierata, perché dal disordine - anche sociale - del terremoto emerga alfine una visione dove a prevalere è l'ordine, lo status quo, l'autorità e il prestigio dell'apparato dello Stato. (...) Salvare milioni, o lingotti, dopo tutto è meno complicato che cercare di strappare alla morte, in una gara contro il tempo, migliaia di sepolti vivi" (p.155).

A questo atteggiamento grettamente calcolatore da parte degli apparati dello Stato si contrappone lo slancio di solidarietà manifestato da più parti della società. In poche settimane si raccolgono più di ventun milioni di lire (dell'epoca) in sottoscrizioni, buona parte delle quali provenienti dall'estero. La cosa non manca anzi di creare preoccupazioni nelle alte sfere: non si rischierà di creare l'abitudine all'assistenza, al farsi mantenere dallo Stato, a quello che oggi si chiama assistenzialismo? Sua Altezza Reale il Duca d'Aosta esprime autorevolmente questo cruccio quando afferma che "è immorale mantenere un'orda di vagabondi e creare oziosi" (p. 234).

Non si trattò soltanto di solidarietà finanziaria. Volontari affluirono da tutta Italia per prestare opera di soccorso. Boatti dedica particolare attenzione alla vicenda di uno di essi, il parlamentare parmense Giuseppe Micheli, un deputato cattolico che, arrivato a Messina pochi giorni dopo il terremoto, subito mise in piedi, con la collaborazione dell'Arcivescovo, un "comitato messinese di soccorso", a carattere volontario, che si rivelò un'organizzazione semiufficiale sotto molti aspetti più efficiente di quella statale (pp. 263-68). Un'altra figura che emerge è quella dell'ex sindaco socialista di Catania Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida, che era stato protagonista pochi anni prima di una delle esperienze politico-amministrative più avanzate della Sicilia dell'epoca: da sindaco della sua città aveva promosso forme di socializzazione dei servizi pubblici (forni municipalizzati, cucine popolari), la cui esperienza risultò ora preziosa per organizzare la distribuzione dei viveri ai superstiti del terremoto (pp. 203-4).

La miseria delle regioni colpite dal terremoto impressionò molti degli osservatori e degli inviati giunti sul luogo della catastrofe. Qualcuno propose dei rimedi; ad esempio il letterato Giovanni Cena suggerì, naturalmente quale misura temporanea, quella di emigrare. "Parecchi anni di duro tirocinio all'estero (...): poi gli emigranti calabresi torneranno altri uomini e non domanderanno più nulla, fuorché il loro buon diritto di cittadini" (p. 381). (Oggi si può dire che noi calabresi abbiamo seguito il consiglio, e che gli "anni di tirocinio" sono stati effettivamente molti, anzi durano tuttora. Sarà che siamo un po' lenti ad imparare?).

Il libro di Boatti non manca di sottolineare l'imprevidenza e anche l'incoscienza generalizzata che indussero i cittadini di Messina e Reggio Calabria (le città che oggi qualcuno vorrebbe unire con un ponte lungo tre chilometri, inutile, dannoso e pericoloso) a costruire tutto, anche gli edifici pubblici, al di fuori delle più elementari regole di sicurezza. Le fotografie che corredano il volume illustrano un panorama di distruzione impressionante, ove emerge, unica costruzione intatta perché edificata con criteri antisismici, il villino di un medico messinese.

Nella sua ricognizione della pubblicistica dell'epoca, Boatti dedica due capitoli ad alcune singolari polemiche: quella (cap. XVII) fra autorità laiche e cattoliche riguardo alla sistemazione degli orfani del terremoto (il Vaticano pretendeva ovviamente che fossero tutti educati "in Cristo" nei suoi istituti), e quella concernente il destino dell'Università di Messina, di cui alcuni illustri cattedratici proposero senz'altro la chiusura, in base alla considerazione che di università ce n'erano fin troppe e che in particolare quelle meridionali erano diplomifici per giovani sfaccendati (pp. 276-7).

Boatti chiude la sua esposizione con un'osservazione suggestiva: la "meglio gioventù" dei volontari del terremoto, poco dopo, buttò via inutilmente la propria carica di idealismo e di amor patrio, la propria volontà di fare e di cambiare le cose, nelle trincee della Prima guerra mondiale. Agli ordini (aggiungo io) di quella medesima classe dirigente ignorante, ottusa, autoritaria, incapace e meschinamente arroccata nella difesa dei propri privilegi, che aveva già dato prova di sé nella gestione ufficiale dell'emergenza-terremoto e che di lì a poco "inventerà" il fascismo.

Questo testo di Giorgio Boatti fa luce su un episodio importante e poco conosciuto della nostra storia nazionale, e lo fa (a differenza della pseudo-storiografia sensazionalistica e superficiale oggi di moda) con grande scrupolosità e metodo: il volume si chiude con ben cento pagine di appendice documentaria e di note al testo. Anche solo per questo sarebbe da raccomandare. Per chi come me proviene da una delle zone disastrate, la lettura di questo libro è irrinunciabile e consente di ritrovare la radice di mali antichi.

Originariamente pubblicato il 22 febbraio 2005, qui.
          Stella rossa sull'Europa        
"Buongiorno, Anne. Buon anno".
"Buongiorno, Valentin. Buon anno anche a te. Novità?"
"Sì. Un nuovo arrivo. Sabato notte. Hai il colloquio già fissato per le undici. Trovi tutti i dettagli in agenda".
Anne Dupont, psicologa del Centro di Prima Accoglienza di Calais, entrò nel suo ufficio, accese il terminale e consultò la sua agenda elettronica.

Lunedì 5 gennaio 2011, ore 11,00. Colloquio con Monsieur Philip Brasser. Cittadino britannico. Età 38. Celibe. Operazione di salvataggio in mare, Canale della Manica, acque internazionali, 3 gennaio u.s. Condizioni fisiche buone. Non parla francese. Attribuzione provvisoria: codice blu.

Bene, pensò Anne. Un rifugiato politico. Iniziare l'anno nuovo con un codice blu era di buon auspicio. Il colloquio era di lì a due ore. Non c'erano altri impegni per la giornata. Completò con calma alcuni referti clinici iniziati la settimana precedente, fece una partita a Tetris, chattò con alcuni amici in Internet. Quando fu il momento, si aggiustò il make-up e si recò in sala colloqui.

Era una stanza non troppo ampia, arredata come un normale studio specialistico ma con qualche accorgimento per mettere gli ospiti a proprio agio: colori pastello, luci soffuse, lettino basso, comoda poltrona. Su quest'ultima, di fronte alla scrivania della dottoressa, era già seduto il signor Brasser.

"Good morning, Mr. Brasser. Prima di tutto, come sta?"
La domanda non era solo formale. L'uomo appariva molto provato. I tanti capelli bianchi, la pelle del viso magro solcata da numerose rughe, le profonde occhiaie dietro le lenti spesse, lo facevano sembrare più vecchio di dieci anni rispetto alla sua età anagrafica. Al posto degli abiti che indossava al momento del suo salvataggio, fradici e inservibili, gli avevano fornito un nuovo completo, che era tuttavia di due numeri più largo e accentuava la gracilità del suo fisico. Gli tremavano le mani.
Quegli scafisti maledetti, pensò Anne.
"Adesso sto meglio, grazie. Certo, suppongo che la notte passata all'addiaccio su quel canotto non abbia migliorato granché la mia cera. Ma ho fatto una buona dormita, qui da voi, e la vostra cucina è ottima". La sua voce era ferma, con una sfumatura d'ironia. "Solamente, non sono riuscito a procurarmi neppure una sigaretta, dottoressa..."
"Dupont. Ma può chiamarmi Anne. Temo che non ne troverà neppure in futuro. Nell'Unione non se ne producono più. Fino a qualche tempo fa, le importavamo dal suo paese".
"Oh, già, ora ricordo. Le esportazioni cessarono sei anni fa. Troppo pochi fumatori, qui da voi. Non c'era abbastanza profitto. Lo so perché all'epoca lavoravo in un'agenzia di rating".
"Lei è analista finanziario?"
Il signor Brasser rise. "No. Laureato in agraria. Da Troody's ero operatore al call center. Ogni grande compagnia ha il suo. E' la mansione che ho sempre svolto, durante tutta la mia carriera. Ho lavorato per almeno trenta società diverse, ogni volta per non più di sei mesi. Si imparano tante cose, sa?"
"Non ho dubbi. Ma veniamo al punto. Lei ha chiesto lo status di rifugiato politico. Data la sua provenienza, certamente la sua richiesta sarà accettata. Lei diventerà fra breve, a tutti gli effetti, cittadino dell'Unione delle Repubbliche Socialiste d'Europa. Già adesso, comunque, lei è libero di circolare in tutto il territorio dell'Unione, ed eventualmente anche di tornare da dove è venuto..."
"No grazie! Non ci tengo affatto".
"Dicevo per dire. In genere, qui da noi i rifugiati si integrano abbastanza in fretta. Tuttavia, non si può escludere che, all'inizio, lei si trovi un po' spaesato. Il nostro sistema sociale è molto diverso da quello da cui lei proviene. A sua richiesta, lei può fruire di adeguata assistenza psicologica e culturale, per superare eventuali difficoltà di adattamento. In questa fase iniziale, se vuole, mi consideri pure come suo referente".
"Oh. E quanto dura questa... fase iniziale?"
"Può finire anche subito, se crede. L'unico suo obbligo, se intende rimanere nell'Unione, è di iscriversi nelle liste di collocamento e nelle graduatorie per gli alloggi. Non credo che le sarà difficile trovare un lavoro e una casa. Se lei non ha esigenze particolari, penso che troverà una sistemazione accettabile nel giro di un paio di settimane. Fino ad allora, comunque, può rimanere qui, o spostarsi in una delle altre strutture di prima accoglienza nel territorio dell'Unione".
"Sembra magnifico. Dov'è la fregatura?"
"Ecco. Era proprio ciò che intendevo. Non c'è nessuna fregatura, per quanto lei sia abituato a pensare che debba per forza esserci. Non pretendo che lei mi creda. Presto se ne accorgerà da sé".

Non c'erano straordinari da fare, quel giorno. Alle tredici, Anne spense il computer, salutò i colleghi che arrivavano per il turno pomeridiano e, senza passare dalla mensa, prese l'elio-tram che, serpeggiando silenziosamente lungo la costa, la portò a casa sua in dieci minuti. Era una magnifica giornata di sole. Il mare era inusualmente calmo, in quei giorni. Una fortuna, per Brasser. Aveva evitato il triste destino di tanti boat-people che partivano clandestinamente dalla riva inglese ma non riuscivano a raggiungere i nostri mezzi di soccorso nelle acque internazionali.

Anne abitava da sola. Si preparò un leggero pranzo macrobiotico, poi un caffé d'orzo. Accese la radio; la spense. Si guardò nello specchio del soggiorno. Sorrise. Tutto sommato, si piaceva. Si chiese come sarebbe stato il suo sembiante, alla sua età, se anziché in Europa continentale fosse vissuta in quell'inferno che doveva essere Londra. I profughi le avevano raccontato storie orribili. Inquinamento, degrado. Se andava bene, orari lavorativi di dieci o dodici ore. Altrimenti, la disoccupazione, l'emarginazione e la pazzia. Oppure, per una ristretta minoranza, la ricchezza e il potere, ma a costo di rinunciare a qualsiasi barlume d'umanità. Un'altra forma di follia, in fondo.

Mercoledì 7 gennaio, ore 10,00. Secondo colloquio con Monsieur Brasser.

Quella mattina l'aspetto di Mr. Brasser era molto migliorato. Anne glielo disse.
"Grazie, Dottoressa. Lei è gentile quanto bella".
Anne Dupont ignorò il complimento.
"Se ho chiesto un nuovo colloquio" continuò Brasser, "non è per ottenere assistenza psicologica".
"Davvero? E perché, allora?"
"Ho due domande da porle".
"Le risponderò, se posso. Ma prima, permetta che le faccia io una domanda. Cosa sa, lei, dell'Unione?"
"Poco, in realtà. So che dapprima ci fu la Rivoluzione d'Ottobre, in Russia, nel 1917. Poi, tra il '18 e il '20, il capitalismo fu abbattuto in Germania, in Ungheria e in Italia. In rapida successione, tutte le colonie europee in Asia e in Africa conquistarono l'indipendenza. L'India nel 1925, la Cina nel '27, e così via. Poco dopo fu la volta dell'Algeria e del Marocco, e a quel punto la rivoluzione scoppiò anche in Francia e in Spagna. Alla fine degli anni '30, tutta l'Europa continentale era socialista.
Frattanto, il crollo di Wall Street nel 1929 aveva gettato l'America nella crisi più nera. Le elezioni presidenziali del 1940 furono vinte da Charles Lindbergh, un fanatico antisemita che instaurò negli U.S.A. una dittatura razzista, appoggiata dal grande capitale. Presto quel regime si circondò di una serie di stati-satellite che coprivano tutta l'America del Sud e del Nord.
Negli anni '80, quelle dittature iniziarono ad implodere, dapprima in America Latina e poi in Canada. Quando nel 1989 cadde il Muro di Tijuana, finalmente il capitalismo crollò negli stessi Stati Uniti. Da allora, secondo la nostra propaganda, il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna è rimasto l'ultimo baluardo del libero mercato e della civiltà, contro la barbarie socialista che ha travolto tutto il resto del globo. Questo è quanto".
"Bene - disse la dottoressa - a parte la faccenda del baluardo, il quadro storico è corretto. Non le sarà stato facile ricostruirlo..."
"No, infatti. Da noi, formalmente, la cultura è libera, e ognuno può leggere ciò che vuole. Si possono prendere in prestito, nelle poche biblioteche rimaste, anche testi di Marx o di Lenin, e persino di Fabio Volo. Non è vietato. Di fatto, però, ci sono materie che non conviene approfondire troppo. Se si viene a sapere che lei fa certe letture e che ha determinate idee (e si viene a sapere sempre), non speri di trovare lavoro tanto facilmente. Io me la sono cavata con i call center, solo perché le mie origini non sono troppo umili. Quando avevo vent'anni, i miei riuscirono persino a mandarmi all'università. Certo, oggi non potrei più frequentarla. Da allora le rette sono decuplicate."
"Ah, lei ha letto Fabio Volo? Complimenti. Da noi, molti lo considerano un autore troppo difficile".
"Sì, è molto rigoroso e denso, ma se si ha tempo da dedicargli, è un pensatore affascinante. Le consiglio la Critica del tempo unidimensionale, se non l'ha ancora letta. A me ha aperto la mente. In realtà, uno dei motivi per cui mi sono deciso ad espatriare è che anche studiare per conto proprio da noi è diventato impossibile. Troppo costoso, da quando il dizionario è stato privatizzato".
"Il dizionario?"
"Sì. Tutti i sostantivi che iniziano per vocale appartengono alla Mircosoft. Quelli che iniziano per consonante sono del gruppo Murdogh. Gli avverbi sono di Merdaset, e così via. Per leggere o per usare comunque le parole bisogna pagare il noleggio ai legittimi proprietari. Quando lei scrive una e-mail, oppure quando chatta o quando telefona, un sistema di contatori automatici calcola la cifra e l'addebita sul suo conto. Ottimo sistema, fra l'altro, per controllare i contenuti della comunicazione. Io, per esempio, ho fatto quindici giorni di carcere per uso illecito di marchio registrato, la volta che in una mia mail ho scritto che la Cocca Colla mi faceva schifo".
"Senta, Mr. Brasser. Quali sono i suoi progetti? Cosa intende fare, ora che è venuto qui da noi?"
"Primo, togliermi una curiosità che mi ha tormentato a lungo. Ed è la prima delle due domande che volevo farle, si ricorda?"
La dottoressa Dupont sbuffò. "Va bene. Spari".
"La domanda è: perché non ci avete invaso? Come avete potuto lasciarci a mollo in quella fogna?"
Anne si appoggiò sullo schienale della sedia. "Beh, alcuni partiti in seno all'Internazionale erano per dichiarare guerra. Ma infine prevalse l'idea che il socialismo non può essere imposto con i carri armati. Se ci avessero attaccato, ci saremmo difesi. Per fortuna non accadde. Oggi, poi, molti sostengono che una pluralità di sistemi sociali diversi non è necessariamente un male. In India, in Giappone e in Sud America, dove la transizione al comunismo è molto avanzata, stanno già smantellando le strutture dello Stato, per sostituirle con vari tipi di organizzazione non statuale. In Europa e in Africa ci troviamo ancora nella fase socialista, in vari stadi di sviluppo a seconda dei territori. Forse è bene che ci siano delle zone dove ancora vige il capitalismo."
"Sarà un bene per voi, che ci osservate dall'esterno come se fossimo allo zoo! Ma per noi che siamo in gabbia è un altro discorso".
"Lei ora non è più in gabbia. Comunque, mi sembra che il suo atteggiamento nei confronti del suo paese d'origine sia un po' troppo negativo, non crede?"
"Mi dica lei cosa ci vede di bello, in quel letamaio", ribatté Brasser.
"Beh, che so... Avete una scena musicale molto vivace. Un sacco di gruppi pop, rock, punk, post-punk... Wim Wenders ci ha fatto anche un film. Poi, comunque, il vostro sistema ha ancora una base di consenso popolare".
"Si riferisce a West End London Social Club, vero? Quel film mi dà la nausea! Le televisioni del regime lo replicano senza tregua. L'unico film d'autore trasmesso in prima serata, e senza interruzioni pubblicitarie."
"Ecco, ad esempio - lo interruppe la dottoressa - Perché lei parla di televisioni di regime? Da voi ci sono sei o sette canali, se non sbaglio, tutti privati e in concorrenza fra loro..."
"... e trasmettono tutti le stesse schifezze. Non si distinguono l'uno dall'altro. Anne, lei non ha capito: da noi l'economia è allo sfascio, la società è in piena decadenza, la cultura è morta e sepolta. L'unica attività che va a gonfie vele è la manipolazione del consenso per mezzo dei mass-media. Quella è l'unica industria che non conosce crisi!"
"Non volevo farla arrabbiare. Si calmi. Lei ora è al sicuro. Andrà tutto bene. Respiri profondamente, e mi faccia la seconda domanda che voleva pormi".
"Mi scusi. La domanda è questa. Lei è libera stasera? Ho letto sul giornale che in un cinema d'essai a Dunkerque proiettano L'Atalante di Jean Vigo. E' una vita che desidero vedere quel film, e mi chiedevo se... lei volesse venire con me a vederlo, ecco."


Pubblicato su Evulon in due puntate: la prima il 7 gennaio 2011 qui, e la seconda il 12 gennaio 2011, qui.
          La rivoluzione russa        
La mattina del 20 settembre 1871, il Maestro Franz Liszt si esercitava al pianoforte nello studio della sua sontuosa magione di campagna vicino Budapest, quando fu interrotto da un confuso e concitato vociare proveniente dal portone d'ingresso.

"Che succede, Pierre?" chiese mentre raggiungeva il suo maggiordomo, il quale, bloccando con il suo corpo l'accesso alla casa, stava palesemente cercando di convincere un ospite indesiderato ad andarsene.

Quando Liszt, avvicinatosi dietro le spalle del suo domestico, poté scorgere l'aspetto dell'intruso (un uomo sui sessant'anni, calvo, barbuto, che sembrava assai malmesso, ma parlava un francese forbito con marcato accento parigino), quest'ultimo troncò subito, lasciando una frase a metà, il suo litigio con Pierre e, volgendo speranzoso lo sguardo al padrone di casa, così lo apostrofò:

"Maestro Liszt! Maestro! Vi prego, degnatevi di concedere udienza ad un vostro grande ammiratore, giunto or ora dalla Francia solo per avere l'inestimabile onore di fare la Vostra conoscenza!"

"Padrone!" diceva intanto il maggiordomo, "lasciate che cacci via a calci nel sedere questo vagabondo che pretende di farsi ricevere da Voi! E' inaudito! Come se qualsiasi pitocco potesse..."

"Va bene, Pierre, lascia pure entrare Monsieur... di grazia, come vi chiamate?"

Il viso dello strano ospite si rasserenò. "Mi chiamo Eugène Pottier. Da Parigi. Poeta. Per servirvi. Sapevo che avreste... oh, grazie, mille grazie, Maestro!"

"Potete chiamarmi semplicemente Padre. Come forse saprete, non sono che un umile servitore di Santa Romana Chiesa... Ma accomodatevi nel mio studio, ve ne prego, e raccontatemi di voi..." diceva Liszt mentre accompagnava il suo ammiratore lungo il corridoio. "Venite da Parigi, avete detto?", qui il musicista scoccò uno sguardo sospettoso sul suo interlocutore. "E dove siete diretto, se posso..."

Mentre Liszt tornava a sedersi al suo pianoforte, Pottier si accomodò su un'ampia poltrona disposta in modo da fronteggiare il lato destro dello strumento. Come in una sala da concerto, pensò Pottier un po' a disagio. "Maestro, cioè scusatemi, Padre. Avete già capito. Sono un combattente della Comune. Sono in esilio, ramingo per l'Europa, da ormai quattro mesi. Ma non voglio annoiarvi con il racconto delle mie tribolazioni. Sono venuto qui, attratto dalla vostra fama di grande artista e di uomo già attento alla questione sociale, perché ho un testo, da me composto, che vorrei chiedervi di porre in musica".

Ci furono alcuni secondi di silenzio, durante i quali le palpebre di Liszt si aprirono e si chiusero spasmodicamente per una ventina di volte. "Monsieur Pottier... vi rendete conto, spero, del rischio a cui state esponendo voi stesso e me. Mi è difficile comprendere come siate potuto giungere fin qui dalla Francia. Ma, che la vostra sia stata fortuna o incoscienza, sappiate che la polizia asburgica non è affatto indulgente con quelli come voi, né con chi dà loro rifugio."

Pottier si raddrizzò sulla poltrona. "Né fortuna, né incoscienza, Monsieur Liszt. Siamo stati sconfitti, è vero. Ma abbiamo compagni ovunque, pronti a dare il loro silenzioso contributo alla Causa. E' grazie alla loro solidarietà che sono riuscito a sopravvivere e ad arrivare a voi. La musica che porto con me" - a questo punto Pottier tirò fuori da una tasca della giacca un fascicolo spiegazzato, ingiallito e sgualcito, e lo tese a Liszt - "mi induce a confidare anche nella vostra solidarietà".

Sempre più stupito, ma senza offuscare la politezza dei suoi modi da gentiluomo, il musicista prese l'opuscolo che lo strano visitatore gli porgeva. Era uno spartito a stampa che recava sopra il pentagramma il titolo Lyon e il motto: Vivre en travaillant, ou mourir en combattant. Che si potrebbe tradurre, a un dipresso: Vivere del proprio lavoro, o morire combattendo.

"Dove l'avete trovata?" chiese subito Liszt. "Questa composizione non fa più parte della raccolta delle mie opere. Non viene più ristampata da..."

"Dal 1837" lo interruppe Pottier. "Me la regalò mio padre, il giorno del mio ventunesimo compleanno. Mi spiegò che un grande musicista l'aveva composta per celebrare il ricordo della rivolta degli operai disoccupati di Lione. Mi disse: se vuoi davvero fare l'artista, prendi esempio, figlio mio, e ricordati sempre da quale parte della barricata devi stare!"

Liszt guardò fisso il suo ospite, che ricambiava lo sguardo con fermezza. Poi sospirò. "Monsieur Pottier, i tempi sono cambiati. Persino quella testa calda del mio amico Wagner se n'è reso conto, ed è passato (come direste voi) dall'altra parte della barricata. L'epoca delle rivoluzioni è finita. Per sempre. Anche voialtri, col vostro folle tentativo laggiù in Francia, lo avete dimostrato. Datemi retta: la vostra cosiddetta questione sociale non ha alcuna soluzione. Non su questa terra, almeno. La sola cosa che posso fare per voi è scrivere due righe al priore del convento francescano che si trova a una lega da qui. E' mio amico. Vi darà ricetto e ospitalità, fino al giorno in cui Dio, nella Sua infinita misericordia, illuminerà la vostra mente, come già fece con la mia. Allora anche voi comprenderete, e vi rassegnerete alla Sua volontà".

Pottier rimase in silenzio. Poi fece per rimettere in tasca l'altro foglio di carta che ne aveva tratto poco prima e che stava per consegnare al grande musicista. Ma gli tremava la mano e, senza che lui se ne accorgesse, il foglio cadde per terra. Infine disse: "Bene, Monsieur Liszt. Vi chiedo scusa per l'incomodo e per il rischio che vi ho fatto correre. Mi ero sbagliato sul vostro conto. Ora non vi importunerò ulteriormente e, col vostro permesso, riprenderò il mio viaggio."

Stava per uscire senz'altro dallo studio di Liszt, ma quest'ultimo lo richiamo: "Aspettate, Monsieur Pottier. Non fatemi il torto di rifiutare la mia ospitalità, almeno sino a domattina... Tra poco sarà servita la colazione. Frattanto, accomodatevi, e siate così gentile da attendere che abbia finito i miei esercizi. Fra l'altro, suono meglio quando ho un pubblico ad ascoltarmi. Posso chiedervi inoltre, nuovamente, qual è la meta del vostro viaggio?"

Eugène Pottier si risedette. "Credo che andrò in Russia. C'è molto lavoro da fare, laggiù".

"In Russia!?" esclamò Liszt. Stava per aggiungere: voi siete pazzo, ma si trattenne. "Voi non sapete quel che dite! Ogni giorno, ogni giorno lo Zar incarcera, spedisce in Siberia o manda sul patibolo gente come voi! Ecco, guardate" - Liszt prese in fretta dallo scrittoio una rivista - "guardate questo giornale che mi è arrivato ieri da San Pietroburgo. Sapete leggere il cirillico? Ecco l'elenco dei terroristi che sono stati impiccati il mese scorso per avere cospirato contro la monarchia: Rodion Raskolnikov, Nikolaj Stavrogin, Aleksandr Uljanov... Va avanti per un'intera pagina! E voi volete andare in Russia?"

Pottier ribatté con calma: "Terroristi, avete detto? Uhm... no, non è questa la strada. Noi vinceremo, ma seguendo un altro cammino."

"Ah, sì? E quale, se mi è concesso chiederlo?

"Non lo so. Forse la strada non c'è. Ma so che c'è da camminare".

Liszt sospirò. Guardò Pottier. Poi guardò il giornale russo. Poi guardò il suo pianoforte. Infine ci si sedette e, senza dire niente, attaccò a suonarlo.

Suonava già da un quarto d'ora, e le tortuose armonie della Sonata in si minore si dipanavano con sicurezza sotto le sue dita, come un filo di lana in un labirinto, quando Liszt sentì un suono inconfondibile provenire dalla poltrona del poeta. Liszt portò a termine l'esecuzione della Sonata, poi si alzò dal pianoforte e risistemò delicatamente il poggiatesta imbottito sotto la tempia di Pottier. Quest'ultimo smise di russare, ma non si svegliò. Poi il musicista si chinò a raccogliere il foglio di carta che era caduto dalla tasca di Pottier. Si risedé al pianoforte e lo lesse. Era scritto in versi e iniziava così:

"Debout, les damnés de la terre
Debout, les forçats de la faim!
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin.
Du passé faisons table rase.
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout!
Le monde va changer de base.
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout!"


Il poema andava avanti su questo tono per un'altra decina di strofe. Liszt lo lesse con attenzione. Poi sbuffò forte col naso, mise il foglio da parte e si rimise al piano. Attaccò a suonare una sua composizione che s'intitolava Funérailles. Si interruppe dopo poche battute. Poi, per la prima volta dopo decenni, dalla cassa armonica rintoccarono le possenti note iniziali di Lyon. Ma anche questa esecuzione fu lasciata a metà.

Liszt si prese la faccia tra le mani. Cosa gli stava succedendo?

Infine il musicista sembrò distendersi. Riprese in mano il foglio con la poesia di Pottier e lo pose sul leggìo. Iniziò ad improvvisare. Si udì una melodia piuttosto bella, allo stesso tempo vivace e solenne, in ritmo giambico. (Molto tempo dopo, qualcuno l'avrebbe descritta come una via di mezzo fra Oh, my darling Clementine e La cucaracha).

Subito iniziò a variare. Mentre un ritmo lento, profondo e pauroso rombava nella parte sinistra della tastiera, la melodia si trasformò in un canto popolare slavo che sembrava provenire dall'inizio dei tempi.
Poi il ritmo si fece più veloce, incalzante e sincopato, come di tamburi africani, mentre la melodia, stranamente deformata in semitoni, diede l'allucinante impressione di provenire non più da un pianoforte, ma da una tromba con sordina, o da qualche altro strano strumento a fiato non ancora inventato.

Poi ancora la stessa melodia, resa esile, sottile e tintinnante, si stagliò nelle zone alte della tastiera, sullo sfondo di colpi molto distanziati, come di un gong, che provenivano dalla mano sinistra. Senza soluzione di continuità, questo tintinnio si tramutò nel canto di un muezzin. Poi fu come se, prodigiosamente, tutte queste versioni della stessa identica melodia risuonassero insieme. Pottier, che nel frattempo si era svegliato, non credeva ai propri occhi. Le mani di Liszt si muovevano ad una velocità sovrumana, producendo una fittissima gragnuola di note di ogni altezza, che scemava e poi di nuovo s'intensificava, fino a scoppiare in un'onda di energia di terrificante violenza. Infine, mentre le ultime risonanze dell'esplosione ancora si dissolvevano, la melodia iniziale ritornò piano, semplice ed infantile, lenta, simile ad un carillon che suonasse una ninna-nanna.

La straordinaria esibizione di Liszt aveva intanto richiamato tutta la sua servitù, che si era raccolta ad ascoltare in un piccolo drappello dietro la porta dello studio: erano anni che non lo sentivano suonare a quel modo. Fra di loro, c'era una famigliola composta da una giovane coppia con la loro bambina di tre anni.

"Hai sentito, Sandor?" disse la moglie. "Tu dicevi che il vecchio si era ormai completamente rincitrullito..."

"Sì, Hannah, te lo confermo: il vecchio si è totalmente rimbecillito. Ma per sua fortuna, le mani ce le ha ancora buone. Vieni, Milena!" prese in braccio la sua figlioletta, "ascolta. Un giorno anche tu dovrai suonare così".

Pubblicato il 7 ottobre 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3549


          Radici        
"Sai" dico, "sono scaduti i diritti d'autore sulle opere di Freud".
E' domenica e sono le nove del mattino. Anna sa che, prima di colazione, non sono in grado di dire nulla che abbia un senso compiuto. Se è di buon umore, mi asseconda nel mio delirio. Oggi è di buon umore.
"Perché?", mi risponde. "Vuoi cominciare a tradurre Freud?"
"Magari. Purtroppo non so il tedesco. No, è per spiegare come mai mi sono alzato così presto. Ieri pomeriggio sono entrato in libreria e ho visto che la Newton Compton ha pubblicato questa edizione economica del saggio di Freud su Mosè..."
"Quello sul Mosè di Michelangelo? Ma non l'avevi già letto?"
"No, non quello sulla statua. E' una monografia proprio su Mosè il personaggio biblico. E' l'ultima grande opera di Freud, pubblicata nel 1938, un anno prima della morte. Non l'avevo ancora letta, perché l'edizione Bollati Boringhieri costa una barbarità e non mi andava di prenderla in prestito in biblioteca. Sai, i libri di Freud sono di quelli che voglio possedere. Comunque niente, ieri l'ho comprato e l'ho finito proprio poco fa. Senza zucchero, il tuo caffellatte, vero?"
"Tre cucchiaini, grazie".
"Mi prendi in giro?"
"Certo. Ma raccontami un po' questo libro, sono curiosa. E' assurdo come l'altro, quello sulla statua di Michelangelo? Quello dove Mosè, di ritorno dal Sinai, vedeva il suo popolo adorare il vitello d'oro, s'incazzava e stava per spezzare le tavole della legge, ma subito si tratteneva, e proprio in quel momento Michelangelo era lì che lo 'fotografava' con lo scalpello, e dietro un cespuglio c'era il professor Freud, col suo taccuino, che analizzava l'intera performance..."
"Dai, non essere così cattiva. Diciamo che, in quel saggio, Freud ha dato una sua interpretazione, un po' audace, di una celebre scultura rinascimentale. Comunque anche W. H. Auden, in una sua poesia, ha scritto che Freud a volte era assurdo e che ciò non diminuisce affatto la sua grandezza".
"Sarà. Intanto neppure il tuo Freud è riuscito a spiegare ad Auden la verità sull'amore".
"Tesoro! La verità sull'amore non la conosce nessuno. Tranne tu ed io, naturalmente".
"Naturalmente. Ma non mi hai ancora detto cos'ha di tanto speciale questo libro, che ti ha buttato giù dal letto poco dopo l'alba".
"E' presto detto. Hai presente Mosè, no? Il patriarca, il fondatore della religione ebraica, il profeta che guidò il suo popolo nell'esodo dall'Egitto verso la Palestina, che ricevette da Dio i dodici comandamenti, eccetera. Bene, Freud sostiene che Mosè, in realtà, non era affatto ebreo. Era egiziano".
"Ma va'?"
"Proprio così. Secondo Freud, Mosè era un nobile, o forse un alto sacerdote egiziano, seguace del dio Aton. Come ricorderai, il faraone Akhenaton aveva tentato di introdurre in Egitto il monoteismo, sostituendo al culto degli dèi la religione dell'unico dio solare Aton. Ma la sua riforma religiosa, molto avanzata per quei tempi, non ebbe fortuna. Quando Akhenaton morì, il politeismo riprese il sopravvento in Egitto. Il clero, che era stato represso ed esautorato da Akhenaton, morto il faraone, si vendicò ferocemente. Fu una reazione terribile: tutte le tracce del culto di Aton furono spazzate via. Persino il nome Aton fu cancellato dai monumenti".
"Sì, mi ricordo. Anche il faraone Tutankh-Aton, il giovane erede di Akhenaton, dovette cambiare nome, riconvertirsi alla vecchia religione e chiamarsi Tutankhamon. E forse neanche questo bastò a salvargli la vita, poverino! Probabilmente lo ammazzarono e lo chiusero nella tomba con quella bellissima maschera funebre tutta d'oro..."
"...quella che abbiamo visto cinque anni fa al museo del Cairo..."
"... durante il nostro viaggio di nozze. A proposito, fra poco è il nostro anniversario, Tato. Dove andiamo a festeggiarlo?"
"Mah, in Egitto ci siamo già stati. Ti porto a Vienna, a visitare la casa di Freud?".
"Anche a Vienna ci sono già stata".
"Ma io no. Comunque, stavo dicendo: Mosè era un fedele del dio Aton. La nuova religione gli piaceva proprio, e non si rassegnò alla restaurazione politeista. Era in contatto con questa popolazione di nomadi, che vivevano nel deserto, ai margini della società egiziana, chiamati Habiru...".
"Gli Ebrei?"
"Proprio loro. Mosè ne fece il suo popolo. Li convertì alla religione monoteista, diede loro nuove leggi, insegnò loro tutto ciò che sapeva, e li condusse con sé nell'esodo fuori dall'Egitto, verso la terra promessa."
"Ciumbia! Sembra una puntata di Voyager. Quali altre sensazionali rivelazioni ci sono, nel tuo libro? Nel senso: Mosè era egiziano, e poi? Shakespeare era siciliano? Le sinfonie di Mozart le ha scritte un veneto? Atlantide altro non era che la Sardegna? E qualcosa sul Graal? Non dirmi che non c'è niente sul Graal. Cioè, scusa, Tato, ma è una teoria un po' delirante..."
"Sshh! Se ridi così forte, svegli la bambina. Sì, hai ragione, è delirante. Proprio in ciò consiste la genialità di Freud. Lui ragionava come i suoi pazienti. Altrimenti non sarebbe mai riuscito a guarirli, no? Tramite lui, la Follia torna a parlare, dopo tre secoli di censura... E lascia perdere Voyager: non c'entra niente. Freud credeva in ciò che diceva, e non gli interessava fare audience".
"Boh. Ma li guariva, i suoi pazienti?"
"Certo che li guariva! Guarda, mi hai fatto talmente arrabbiare che mi sono mangiato tutti i pistokeddos".
"I savoiardi di Atlantide? Ma se te ne mangi un'intera confezione ogni mattina. Sei forte, Tato. Però spiegami una cosa. Allora, siamo nel 1938. Mezza Europa è sotto dittature fasciste, Hitler sta per annettersi l'Austria, lo stesso Freud deve scappare a Londra per sfuggire alla persecuzione, e in questa situazione tragica per il suo popolo, il professore non trova di meglio che pubblicare un libro dove sostiene che il fondatore dell'ebraismo non era ebreo? A me pare una mezza vigliaccata, non capisco come fai a parlarne con tutto questo entusiasmo".
"Ma caspita, Anna, è proprio questo il punto! Senti: chi ha vinto le ultime elezioni?"
"Non capisco cosa c'entra".
"Come, che c'entra? Ma lo senti, quello che dicono? 'Padroni a casa nostra. Ognuno a casa sua. Il Suolo. Il Sangue. La Razza. Le Tradizioni. Le Radici. Il Territorio. Radicarsi nel Territorio'... Dio, quanto ce la menano co' 'sta storia del territorio! Tutti a ribadire come un disco rotto che bisogna Radicarsi nel Territorio, come se non fossimo esseri umani, ma olmi, o platani, o che so io. E come se non fossero stati proprio loro a devastarlo e distruggerlo, 'sto cazzo di territorio, da quarant'anni in qua, a furia di capannoni e svincoli e tangenziali e inceneritori e ripetitori, centri commerciali e colate immonde di cemento, fabbriche aperte e poi chiuse, e sempre zero solidarietà, zero giustizia, zero cultura, zero arte e zero umanità... Talmente spaventati e abbrutiti e rimbecilliti da questo schifo che loro stessi hanno prodotto, da non saper fare altro che cercare spasmodicamente qualche capro espiatorio, cui far scontare tutta la loro bile e la loro frustrazione... E prima i meridionali, e poi i tossici, e poi gli albanesi, e ora gli islamici..."
"Adesso sei tu che rischi di svegliare la bambina".
"Sì. Scusami. Preparo un altro caffè. O preferisci un po' di spremuta d'arancia?"
"Spremuta, grazie. Quando parli di quelli là, mi sembri tuo padre".
"Che cosa brutta che hai detto..."
"Perché? Mi sta simpatico, tuo padre. Ma non mi hai ancora spiegato cosa c'entra tutto questo con Freud".
"Niente, tranne il fatto che tutta quella ripugnante retorica del Sangue e del Suolo era esattamente la stessa di cui si riempivano la bocca gli antisemiti al tempo di Freud. Sai cosa dicevano? Questo, dicevano: che ogni razza ha un proprio suolo d'origine, a cui è legata da un vincolo spirituale e mistico; che la qualità del suolo determina la qualità della razza; che gli ebrei non hanno patria, non hanno territorio e quindi non hanno dignità, sono nomadi e sbandati, vivono da parassiti degli altri popoli, eccetera eccetera."
"Beh, oggi gli ebrei ce l'hanno, il loro Stato".
"E infatti i razzisti di oggigiorno non se la prendono più tanto con gli ebrei (almeno per ora), quanto soprattutto con gli zingari e con i migranti. Ma gli argomenti sono più o meno gli stessi. Ed è contro questi argomenti che Freud mette in campo il suo Mosè. Considera questo: gli dèi che le popolazioni del Medio Oriente veneravano, a quell'epoca, erano divinità nazionali; ogni popolo aveva le sue, e queste facevano tutt'uno con il loro territorio. Erano divinità guerriere, rozze, sanguinarie, che accompagnavano ciascun popolo nella sua lotta per la supremazia sugli altri popoli."
"Ma era proprio così o lo dice Freud?"
"Non lo so. Non m'intendo di storia delle religioni. Comunque, Freud sostiene che il dio di Akhenaton e di Mosè era un dio molto diverso dagli altri dèi suoi contemporanei. Era un dio illuminista, per così dire. Anzi, quasi kantiano. Pacifista. Un dio universalista: non gli importava la nazionalità dei suoi fedeli. Non gliene fregava niente di cerimonie, riti, preghiere, statue o amuleti. Non pretendeva templi dove essere adorato, né una casta di sacerdoti per servirlo. Nemmeno prometteva alcuna vita dopo la morte. A questo dio, importava solo una cosa: che ci si comportasse bene. Che si vivesse una vita secondo ragione, verità e giustizia. Tutto qui. E' questa, secondo Freud, l'essenza del monoteismo ebraico: solo una personificazione della Ragione e della legge morale. L'aspetto etnico o nazionale o 'razziale' è così poco importante, nella concezione freudiana del monoteismo, che lo stesso fondatore dell'ebraismo non è ebreo. E allora il paradosso è che, con questo libro, l'ateo, scientista e razionalista Freud ha reso alla religione e alla cultura dei suoi padri l'omaggio più elevato che per lui fosse concepibile..."
"Bello. Ma è tutta una contraddizione. Prima non hai detto che tramite Freud la follia trova finalmente voce? Adesso te ne esci con questo panegirico della Ragione illuminista. Poi, scusa Tato, ma mi sembra tutta una diatriba tra maschi. Il dio di Freud, così ragionevole e tollerante, contro i rozzi e violenti dèi guerrieri delle mitologie pagane, va bene. Però le dee? La Grande Madre Mediterranea, per esempio, che fine ha fatto? E Iside? E poi, non capisco questa cosa dell'iconoclastia: cosa avete contro le cerimonie, i riti, e anche contro la magia, le statue e gli amuleti? Non so, sarà anche una bella cosa, questo famoso monoteismo, un grande progresso, non discuto, ma non so perché mi fa venire in mente la caccia alle streghe... Vado a svegliare la bambina, vah! Ché se no si fa tardi".
"No! Aspetta un minuto".

Pubblicato il 7 maggio 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3368
          Pacific Rim        

Working with Guillermo again was a total blast. He is truly one of a kind. I hope you enjoyed the movie as much as we enjoyed making it! his was the second project I worked at ILM where I was able to do both hard surface and organic/creature modeling.Here’s the work I did on this […]
           Canon Andrew White Extended Interview        

Read more of Kim Lawton’s February 1, 2006 interview with Canon Andrew White, president and CEO of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East. More

The post Canon Andrew White Extended Interview appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.


          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

- Leo Kolivakis, America's Corporate Pension Disaster? August 4, 2017


'In order for the Maestro to be right, US inflation expectations have to pick up in a significant way. This won't happen and to understand why, read Gary Shilling's recent comment on three things central bankers don't get about wages.'

- Leo Kolivakis, Is the Maestro Wrong on Bonds? August 2, 2017


'Very recent data confirms slumping household saving ratios in both the US and UK. This was last seen in 2007, just before the bursting debt bubble blew the global economy and financial system to smithereens. The Fed and BoE should surely hang their heads in shame having presided over yet another impending disaster. Why will politicians and the people tolerate this incompetence? Indeed they won’t.'

- Albert (Shades of 2008: UK and US Savings Rate Plunges, Debt Comes Full Circle, August 3, 2017)


'It’s no mystery why central bankers are mystified: Collectively, they are economically illiterate fools engaged in Keynesian and Monetarist group think.

..

On deck is another round of destructive asset price deflation, brought about by Central banks who cannot see the obvious.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Central Banks Puzzled as Global Inflation Hits Lowest Level Since 2009: Solving the Puzzle, August 3, 2017


'..history and logic both show that concerns over consumer price deflation are seriously misplaced.

Worse yet, in their attempts to fight routine consumer price deflation, central bankers create very destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse, setting off what they should fear – asset bubble deflations following a buildup of bank credit on inflated assets.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They? March 30, 2015


'BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the study.

It’s asset bubble deflation that is damaging. When asset bubbles burst, debt deflation results.

Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, How Twisted Minds Function, August 2, 2017


Context

'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

'..a 30-year bear market..'

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          '..the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.' (no replies)        
'In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies..'

'The clock may be ticking for petrol and diesel-powered cars, but it's vans, trucks and buses that are driving the electric vehicle revolution on the world's roads.

This week the UK government followed France in announcing it would ban the sale of such vehicles by 2040, while the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens plan to banish diesels from their city centres by 2025.

..

In Germany, for example, Deutsche Post has started building its own electric vans and will soon start selling them to other companies. Meanwhile, in the US, the city of Los Angeles plans to make its entire bus fleet emissions-free by 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that keeping global temperature rises below 2C by the end of the century will in part depend on the electrification of some 600 million vehicles worldwide.

..

Frost & Sullivan's Ananth Srinivasan says it it easier for freight fleet owners to justify investment in electric vehicles because "when they look at the cost for miles travelled over, say, two years with an electric van versus one powered by petrol or diesel", the financial benefits are obvious.'

- Chris Baraniuk, Electric trucks and vans cut pollution faster than cars, 28 July 2017

Context

Team Solid: Metal Fuels

'..to get rid of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025..' - Britain bans gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2040

'..wood burning is the single largest source of hazardous particle pollution during winter, creating even more particle pollution than vehicles and industry.'

          (To Heal) - Genesis - Driving the last spike (no replies)        
We came from the North,
and we came from the South
with picks and with spades
and a new kind of order
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?


Genesis - Driving the last spike

Leaving my family behind me
not knowing what lay ahead
waving goodbye, as I left them in tears
remembering all we'd said

I looked to the sky, I offered my prayers
I asked Him for guidance and strength
but the simple beliefs of a simple man
lay in His hands, and on my head (my head)

I gave everything that they wanted
but still they wanted more
we sweat and we toiled
good men lost their lives
I don't think they knew what for

I sold them my heart
I sold them my soul
I gave everything I had
Ah, but they couldn't break my spirit
my dignity fought back
fightback

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?

We worked in gangs for all we were worth
the young boys pulling the wagons
We were digging the tunnel, shifting the earth
It was then that it happened.

No one knew how the cracks appeared,
but as it fell they all disappeared
stone fell like rain

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
(Can) Can you breathe?

The smoke cleared, the dust it settled
No one knew how many had died
All around there were broken men
They'd said it was safe, they'd lied
you could hear the cries, you could smell our fear
but good fortune that day was mine
and it occurred to me that the heart of a good man
it seems is hard to find.

Ah, can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?

We worked, how we worked like
the devil for our pay
through the wind, through the snow,
and through the rain

Blasting, and cutting through God's country like a knife
sweat stinging my eyes, there has to be a better life

Ah but I can hear my childrens' cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
memories of those I've left behind
still ringing in my ears
Will I ever go back again?
Will I ever see her face again?
O, I'll never forget that night
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We came from the North,
and we came from the South
with picks and with spades
and a new kind of order
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Driving the last spike,
lifting and laying the track
with blistering hands,
the sun burning your back

Oh, but I can hear my childrens' cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
memories of those I've left behind
still ringing in my ears
Well I'll always remember that night,
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We followed the rail, we slept under the stars
digging in darkness, and living with danger
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
they'll never see the likes of us again.

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
(Don't) Don't you hear me?
(Don't) Don't you see?


Context

(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(In The Electric Universe) - '..Reading “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences” caused me to reconsider my views on death..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style


Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross

You just feel what you want it to be

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style (no replies)        
Those who make dreams come true get noticed

- Aldowa (A Semco Style Company)

'Leading Wisely is a podcast series by Ricardo Semler about the search for wisdom in organizations. In discussions with business leaders such as Zappos' Tony Hsieh, Basecamp's Jason Friedman and David Heinemeier Hansson and with other experts on the topic such as Frederic Laloux, he challenges assumptions and explores how we can change the way we live and work.

- Killing the dinosaur business model, 2017

'In France, almost every couple of days a company or public sector organization is entering corporate liberation. How about US? Here is one more example on how a company’s leader decided to liberate his company.

Ricardo Semler’s book served as an inspiration. Add to that a deep conviction and a lot of common sense.'

- Freedom Inc, '..corporate liberation.' June 6, 2017


Context (Leaders)

'..I believe in responsibility but not in pyramidal hierarchy .. the negative value of structure. Structure creates hierarchy, and hierarchy creates constraint..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'


'I, too, have a pet little evil, to which in more passionate moments I am apt to attribute all the others. This evil is the neglect of thinking. And when I say thinking I mean real thinking, independent thinking, hard thinking.'

- Learning How to Think (Economics - '..acts of choice.' (‘..imagination of alternatives..’))


(Open Source) - '..“open innovation.” Companies such as AstraZeneca, Lilly, GSK, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, TransCelerate, and others..'

(Haptopraxeology) - '..the senses were the windows of the soul and that reason had a divine right to feed upon fact..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


'..to rethink and to rebuild a culture where there are open channels between feeling and understanding..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

'Reinventing Organizations: ..radically more soulful, purposeful and powerful ways to structure and run .. organizations.'


(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization

          '..committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.' (no replies)        
'Leaders from the City of Portland and Multnomah County have committed to 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050.

In an announcement earlier this week, authorities said that their goal was to meet the community's electricity needs with renewables by the year 2035 and to move all remaining energy sources to renewable ones by 2050.

..

Multnomah County is the most populous county in Oregon. Its Chair, Deborah Kafoury, welcomed the news. "This is a pledge to our children's future,'' she said. "100 percent renewables means a future with cleaner air, a stable climate and more jobs and economic opportunity.''

Portland is among a number of U.S. cities looking to embrace renewables. Over the weekend Chicago's Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, announced that city buildings there were to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.'

- Anmar Frangoul, Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, April 12, 2017


Context

(Fusion Power) - LPP Focus Fusion 1; '..FF-1 results are right now far ahead..'

(Fusion Power) - '..LPP has so far has two out of the three necessary ingredients for successful breakeven..'

'..to Ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2030'


The nuclear retreat - '..the global transition to sustainable 100 percent renewable energy.' - '..in Europe by 2050.'

(To Heal) - '..the forces and forms of nature -- clouds, mountains, waves -- in cities of the future.'

(In The Electric Universe) Open Source Infrastructure, beginning of the Enterprise Nervous System (ENS)

          Vision of Humanity - Global Peace (no replies)        
'Economists on Peace aims to stimulate global discussion and shared learning on economic aspects of peace and conflict leading to appropriate action for peace, security and the world economy.'

- An Economists for Peace and Security editorial collaboration


'The need to understand what works in peacebuilding, how to measure its impact and cost-effectiveness is essential to long-term efforts to prevent violence and build peace. Yet, there is much we collectively do not know about peacebuilding, what works and doesn’t work, let alone what activities broadly define it. At a time when the international community’s resources to international development and aid are under strain due to tightened national budgets and stress from humanitarian action, the need to understand and invest in the most cost-effective ways to build long term peace is more crucial than ever.'

- Report: Measuring Peace Building Cost-Effectiveness


Context (Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Global Peace Index

The Book of Peace

Four Ways Peace Research Made an Impact in Nuevo León, Mexico


Gold, Peace, and Prosperity

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love

'..tell your boss you think the company has a love deficit.' - Hamel


(To Heal)(Reinventing Organizations) - '..news about what happening in the space of organizations going Teal.'

(In The Electric Universe) Open Source Infrastructure, beginning of the Enterprise Nervous System (ENS)

          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          (Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization (no replies)        
'I remain optimistic, but even more cautiously than before. If 2016 taught me anything, it was that we economists should stick to our jobs as "students of civilization" as the founding members of the Austrian School saw their intellectual mission.

..

..We have the tools and mentality to be 'students of civilization" as our intellectual tradition demands.'

- Peter Boettke, 2016: A Year in a Life, December 29, 2016


'This book argues that the work of the Austrian economists, including Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, has been too narrowly interpreted. Through a study of Viennese politics and culture, it demonstrates that the project they were engaged in was much broader: the study and defense of a liberal civilization. Erwin Dekker shows the importance of the civilization in their work and how they conceptualized their own responsibilities toward that civilization, which was attacked left and right during the interwar period. Dekker argues that what differentiates their position is that they thought of themselves primarily as students of that civilization rather than as social scientists, or engineers. This unique focus and approach is related to the Viennese setting of the circles, which constitute the heart of Viennese intellectual life in the interwar period.

• Corrects the one-sided view on Austrian economists which dominates the literature • Investigates how economics was transformed into a modern engineering science and what was lost in the process • Helps the reader understand how the Austrian economists regarded their role and responsibilities as scholars and citizens'

- The Viennese Students of Civilization, 2014


Context 'A judgment of value .. a man's affective response to definite conditions of the universe..' - Ludwig von Mises

'..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

(The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016


The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'

'..how socialism actually produces a superclass of elites and a form of socio-economic apartheid..'


Presentation: Phase I (2012 - 2022) - The Beginning

          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          '..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness' (no replies)        
'Every once in a while, even The Economist gets it right. In a review of an intellectual biography of Marx (Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion), published this past fall, they argue that “the myth is more impressive than the reality”. Echoing, in fact, several arguments from the book—written, surprisingly enough, by a scholar with Marxist leanings—, they point out how out of step Marx was with the theoretical developments of 19th century economics, and how dense and often nonsensical his writings were.

As refreshing as it may be, this perspective on Marx is hardly a new one. We know that throughout his work, Ludwig von Mises has exploded many of the fallacies of the Marxist school of thought, particularly those concerning the workings of a socialist system and the idea of class struggle. But Mises had, in several of his publications, also criticized the myth of Marx, pointing out inconsistencies and errors in his research, as well as criticizing his writing style.

Even if it will take a long time to dismantle the Marxist myth, I’d like to think that it will be Mises’s view of the world that will prevail.'

- Carmen Elena Dorobat, Mises on the Myth of Marx, December 26, 2016


'..Karl Marx .. the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

'COMMUNISM collapsed nearly 30 years ago, but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Marxist approaches are found in some of the most interesting history and sociology being published today. Marx’s works, including “The Communist Manifesto”, written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, may have had more impact on the modern world than many suppose. Of the manifesto’s ten principal demands, perhaps four have been met in many rich countries, including “free education for all children in public schools” and a “progressive or graduated income tax”.

..

The overriding impression from this book is that Marx’s reputation (at least in some quarters) as an unrivalled economist-philosopher is wide of the mark. Marx had planned to write “Capital” in multiple volumes. He finished the first. But when it came to writing the second, on realising that he would face insurmountable intellectual hurdles, he pleaded illness (though seemed quite able to do other sorts of research). “Karl” was in the thick of the intellectual developments of the 19th century. But the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

- The Economist, Karl Marx, False consciousness, August 25, 2016


Context (Praxeology) - '..Menger’s experience stressed subjective factors..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

(Praxeology) - 'Economics .. is about human choice and action.' - '..books by Mises, Rothbard and Hayek are already translated .. online bookstore in China..'

(Praxeology) - Savings - Economic Growth - 'We Need More Wealth, Not Necessarily More Employment' - Entrepreneurship


'..You really have to be able to think about the post-bureaucratic world..'

'..economic growth cannot be conjured into being by top-down interventionism in the form of monetary pumping and deficit spending..'

' “Monetary policy… after all, is extremely important” – is an understatement.' - Doug Noland


'..have organizations that are more and more adaptable and far more humane..'

'When Jan Patocka wrote .. the phenomenon of human conscience..' - Václav Havel

'..the phenomenon of wave after wave of economic ups and downs is ideological in character..'


Praxeology '...the primordial fact of individual human action.'

          The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..' (no replies)        
'.."What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II..'

'Deist: One thing that’s so remarkable about the Christmas Truce is this whole question of what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier or be somehow limited. Weintraub addresses this in his book. We may not have had the rise of communism, the Russian Revolution and Stalin and Lenin, we certainly would not have had Versailles. As a result, we might not have had Hitler or Nazism or maybe even FDR. I mean, it’s remarkable to think about, isn’t it?

Denson: That’s right and that’s counterfactual history at its best. Weintraub, in his last chapter, entitled "What If," points out that he thinks … and of course this is speculation, counterfactual history ... that if we had had no Russian Revolution, we wouldn’t have gotten to that point where communism took over, no Lenin, no Stalin, there would be no Treaty of Versailles, mistreated Germany, therefore Hitler would not have had his cause to rise and no Hitler and Nazism and World War II, as I have argued in the past, World War II was simply a continuation of World War I with a truce, and World War I was to see if you could remake the world to benefit the English, the British, and the Russian Czar. World War II was to see if you could keep it that way, what they’d done in World War I. So, it would have changed the whole history, in my opinion, of the twentieth century. And, we are still in the Middle East, suffering the results of the treaties that ended World War I. I mean, the treaties that created Iraq, tried to give Syria to the French, and Israel was created in the middle of an Arab world and it’s still a problem that was created by the World War I treaties. So, all of that, the whole twentieth century, I think, would have been completely different, if it could have ended, say when the troops stopped at Christmas of 1914. It’s amazing to think about that.

..

..H. Kingsley Wood, a cabinet minister, got up and made a speech and he said, he had been in the trenches, he said in the front trenches in Christmas 1914 and he said, I took part in what was well known at the time as a truce. We went over in front of the trenches and shook hands with many of our German enemies and a great number of people and I think we did something that was degrading or wrong and refused to stop, he said, the fact is, we did it. And I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves, there never would have been another shot fired. For a fortnight, the troops went on and we were on the most friendly terms and it was only the fact that we were being controlled by others that made it necessary for us to start trying to shoot one another again.

And he blamed the resumption of war on “the grip of the political system which was bad, and I and others who were there at the time, determined there and then, never to rest until we had seen whether we could change it.” And then it concludes. There are people that thrive on war, the military industrial complex and one of the results of the World War I revisionism showed that the people that do the armaments and make money off that, help cause war. There are people, bankers, that have an interest. JP Morgan had a big interest in America getting into World War I and he financed the British Army..'

- The Christmas Truce and the Future of War, December 24, 2016


Context

(Haptopraxeology) - '..We have lost three centuries as a result of ignoring our scholars!'

Christmas Truce of 1914

In The Electric Universe a Future of Peace and Love


'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians..

Economics in One Lesson

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          RENUNGKANLAH SAUDARAKU...!        
Abdul Karim Germanus, Legenda Muslim Hungaria
"Islam satu saat nanti akan memperlihatkan keajaibannya pada saat dunia mulai diliputi oleh kegelapan." (Abdul Karim Germanus) Dr. Abdul Karim Germanus (1884-1979) adalah seorang orientalis terkemuka asal Hungaria dan juga seorang akademisi yang telah mendunia. Perjalanan spiritual Abdul Karim Germanus (dulu bernama Julius Germanus) mencari Islam menyita hampir separuh perjalanan hidupnya. Dia menghabiskan sepanjang hidupnya untuk mempertahankan Islam dan bahasa Arab. Selepas melewati masa-masa sulit semasa remaja dan lepas dari belenggu tradisi, dia kemudian tertarik untuk mempelajari Islam. Germanus menggambarkan kisah keislamannya itu sebagai “bangunnya sebuah kehidupan baru.” Disebutkan, awal perkenalannya dengan Islam adalah di Turki pada saat menjadi mahasiswa di sana. Kemudian, dia pergi ke India untuk mengajar di sana, pada masa Perang Dunia I. Dan di negeri Bollywood itulah dia mengucapkan dua kalimah syahadah. Selepas bertugas di India Germanus kembali ke Hungaria dan diangkat sebagai profesor di sana. Dia sering beradu argumentasi dengan para profesor dan orientalis Hungaria, terutama tentang kebenaran Islam. Berikut kisah perjalanan hidup salah satu legenda Muslim di Hungaria ini yang diambil dari beberapa sumber. *** Awal perjalanan Germanus lahir di Budapes, ibukota Hungaria pada tahun 1884 dan dibesarkan dalam nuansa Kristen taat. Segera setelah lulus dari Universitas Budapes, dia memutuskan untuk mengambil spesialisasi bahasa Turki. Selanjutnya pada tahun 1903 dia pergi ke Istanbul. Dia diterima di Universitas Istanbul dan mengambil program studi bahasa Turki. Selama bertahun-tahun tinggal di sana akhirnya dia menjadi fasih baik dalam hal percakapan, membaca maupun menulis. Selama di Istanbul, Germanus juga belajar Al-Quran berikut terjemahan dalam bahasa Turki. Itulah perkenalan awalnya dengan Islam. Dengan kemampuannya yang tinggi dalam membaca terjemahan Al-Quran berbahasa Turki, membuatnya mudah memahami Islam langsung dari sumber aslinya. Tak hanya itu, dia juga membandingkan terjemahan dalam beberapa bahasa lainnya. Sebuah upaya yang lazim dilakukan oleh misionaris Kristen untuk mengkaji kelemahan Islam. Namun Germanus justru tertarik dengan Islam. Termotivasi dengan kebenaran agama Islam, dia memutuskan untuk melakukan penelitian yakni menelusuri apa saja yang telah ditulis oleh orang-orang Kristen tentang Islam dan membandingkannya dengan sumber aslinya yaitu Al-Quran dan Sunnah Nabi. Dia melakukan berbagai upaya. Misalnya dengan membaca terjemahan kitab-kitab hadis dalam rangka mempelajari perkataan-perkataan Nabi Muhammad SAW. “Bertengkar” dengan profesor Germanus kembali ke Hungaria dan berjumpa dengan beberapa eks profesornya di Universitas Budapes. Mereka punya reputasi hebat sebagai orientalis. Namun sering menyampaikan pemikiran-pemikiran yang menyimpang tentang Islam. Germanus berdebat dengan para profesor itu. Dia menceritakan karakter sesungguhnya dari sosok Nabi Muhammad SAW. Uraiannya didasarkan pada berbagai hadis yang dia ketahui. Setelah puas “bertengkar” dengan para profesornya, Germanus memutuskan belajar bahasa Arab lebih mendalam lagi. Germanus memang punya bakat besar di bidang bahasa. Buktinya, dalam jangka waktu singkat dia sudah mahir berbahasa Arab. Belum puas, dia juga belajar bahasa Persia. Tahun 1912, Germanus diangkat sebagai profesor bahasa Arab, Persia dan Turki di Hungarian Royal Academy di Budapes. Dia juga mengasuh mata kuliah Sejarah Islam. Selanjutnya dia memimpin Department of Oriental studies pada Budapest University of Economics. Bersyahadah di India Pada tahun 1928, setelah bekerja beberapa lama di University of Budapest, sastrawan dan penerima Nobel terkemuka asal Bangladesh (dulu masih bernama India -red) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) mengundang Germanus untuk mengajar sekaligus memimpin program Islamic Studies di Visva-Bharati University. Germanus bermukim di India selama beberapa tahun dan disana pula dia menemukan cahaya Islam. Prosesi syahadahnya berlangsung di Mesjid Agung Delhi dan dia berganti nama menjadi Abdul Karim. Universitas tempat dia bekerja tak mendiskriminasikannya gara-gara masuk Islam. Bahkan dia mendapat kelonggaran, misalnya untuk menunaikan shalat Jumat ke mesjid. Keinginan Germanus yang kuat untuk mendalami Islam dan menyelami sifat-sifat khas Muslim telah mempertemukannya dengan salah satu pujangga Islam tersohor asal Pakistan yakni Muhammad Iqbal. Rasa ingin tahu Germanus yang begitu tinggi hingga dia sering terlibat pembicaraan hingga berjam-jam lamanya. Tak hanya itu, mereka juga sering berdiskusi tentang aktifitas para orientalis dan misionaris Kristen. Germanus dan Iqbal punya pandangan berbeda tentang aktifitas misionaris Kristen. Menurut Germanus, propaganda yang disebarkan oleh para misionaris Kristen di Eropa sebagai sebuah masalah pelik yang mengkhawatirkan. Sementara Iqbal justru melihat masalah sesungguhnya ada pada orang Islam sendiri. Iqbal menyebut kesatuan Muslim yang lemah yang membuat Islam mudah diombang-ambing. Belajar bahasa Arab klasik Kecintaan Germanus pada bahasa Arab telah membawanya ke Kairo, tempat dimana dia kemudian belajar bahasa Arab klasik. Satu ketika, pada saat pertama kali menjejakkan kakinya di pelabuhan Alexandria, dia mengaku sangat terkejut dengan respon yang diberikan oleh penduduk setempat. Mereka pada tertawa mendengar bahasa Arab Germanus. Bukan apa-apa, karena dia berbicara dengan menggunakan bahasa Arab klasik atau kuno! Mereka, warga Alexandria, berbincang dengan memakai dialek setempat hingga Germanus tak mampu mencerna apa yang mereka ucapkan. Kontan dia merasa marah dan berteriak lantang, “Saya kemari untuk belajar bahasa Al-Quran dari Anda! Kenapa kalian justru menertawakan dan mengejek saya?” Selama di Mesir, Germanus menjalin hubungan erat dengan penulis terkenal negeri kuda nil itu yakni Mahmoud Timour. Mahmoud bahkan menulis tentang perjalanan Germanus mencari Islam dalam bukunya Behind the Veil (Dibalik Hijab) yang berisi kumpulan kisah-kisah pendek. Dia menyebut Germanus seorang teman yang baik, yang memiliki kecakapan bahasa Arab demikian mengagumkan. Menurut Mahmoud, Germanus memainkan peranan yang penting dalam menjaga dan melestarikan bahasa Arab klasik. Begitulah, akhirnya Germanus benar-benar mencapai tingkat kemahiran yang tinggi dalam tata bahasa Arab (baca: Al-Quran). Dia selanjutnya kembali ke kampung halaman dan menjadi profesor di Universitas Budapes bidang sejarah dan kebudayaan selama hampir 40 tahun lamanya. Dia banyak mempublikasikan hasil-hasil pemikirannya, terutama tentang kebangkitan bahasa Arab klasik di dunia Arab. Obsesinya adalah membangkitkan kembali kejayaan bahasa Arab klasik yang mati suri selama sekian lama. Impiannya, satu saat nanti semua negara-negara Arab bisa bercakap dengan format bahasa Arab yang seragam hingga akan mengikat kesatuan di antara mereka serta tumbuh kecintaan akan warisan budaya dan sejarah Arab yang begitu tinggi. Menentang sikap orientalis Sepanjang perjalanan karir akademisnya, Germanus berperang melawan orientalis di Eropa. Dalam berbagai penjelasan, dia selalu menyampaikan argumentasinya berdasarkan data dan fakta serta rasional. Begitupun dia selalu mendapat tentangan, bahkan menjurus permusuhan. Akibatnya sering berselisih pendapat dengan para orientalis lain. Bahkan dia dipecat oleh pihak universitas dengan alasan kelakuan yang tidak pantas. Sebaliknya dengan para mahasiswa bimbingannya, meskipun Germanus dicap berseberangan pemikiran dengan para orientalis, mereka tetap mendukung ide-ide yang dibawanya. Mereka menghargai pekerjaannya dan melihat buah karyanya punya pengaruh yang besar secara akademis, di Barat dan dunia Islam. Karena dukungan para mahasiswa itu pula dia masih masih bisa tetap menjadi staf pengajar di universitas. Naik Haji Di Hungaria, Germanus berusaha keras memberikan pencerahan kepada Muslim di negerinya, yang kala itu berjumlah antara 1000 hingga 2000 jiwa. Dia mendirikan sebuah organisasi guna menjembatani hubungan antara Islam dengan pemerintah. Misinya kala itu adalah membawa Islam agar diterima sebagai salah satu agama resmi di Hungaria. Tahun 1935 Germanus menunaikan rukum Islam kelima dan menjadi satu dari sedikit Muslim Eropa yang berangkat ke Mekkah pada masa itu. Tahun 1939 dia menunaikan ibadah haji untuk kali kedua. Bahkan kisah perjalanan rohaninya ke Mekkah dirangkumnya dalam sebuah buku berbahasa Hungaria yang cukup terkenal berjudul Allahu Akbar! Buku tersebut telah diterjemahkan ke dalam beberapa bahasa. Germanus menikah dengan seorang perempuan Eropa yang dulunya beragama Kristen. Setelah beberapa lama, sang istri akhirnya memeluk Islam dengan disaksikan oleh Syekh Ahmed Abdul Ghafur Attar, seorang penulis dan akademisi Islam terkenal. Publikasi Islam di Eropa Germanus aktif berdakwah melalui tulisan. Dia menulis tentang Islam di pelbagai media di Eropa. Dalam sebuah artikelnya dia pernah menulis bahwa Islam satu saat nanti akan memperlihatkan keajaibannya pada saat dunia mulai diliputi oleh kegelapan. Germanus bisa disebut sebagai jenius bahasa. Buktinya dia menulis banyak buku, diantaranya The Greek, Arabic Literature in Hungarian, Lights of the East, Uncovering the Arabian Peninsula, Between Intellectuals, The History of Arabic Literature, The History of the Arabs, Modern Movements in Islam, Studies in the Grammatical Structure of the Arabic Language, Journeys of Arabs, Pre-Islamic Poetry, Great Arabic Literature, Guidance From the Light of the Crescent (a personal memoir), An Adventure in the Desert, Arab Nationalism, Allahu Akbar, Mahmoud Timour and Modern Arabic Literature, The Great Arab Poets, dan The Rise of Arab Culture. Germanus yang meninggal pada 7 Nopember 1979 mengabdikan dirinya untuk Islam sepanjang lebih kurang 50 tahun. Begitulah, kisah sang legenda yang tak lekang oleh zaman. Dia dikenang hingga kini sebagai salah satu legenda Muslim di Hungaria. [www.hidayatullah.com]
          Gold, silver and the end of film.        
  Our previous “Inkonomics” article triggered a LOT of interesting emails from readers. Thank you for sharing your opinions. We just wish more people would comment below each post (instead of email) so not only we could benefit from different views. Perhaps a New Year’s resolution? A really intriguing comment was “the economic recession triggered […]
          Visual Serendipity Week 81. The largest flying bird.        
  The Andean Condor is the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere, and second only to the Wandering Albatross in terms of wingspan among all living flying birds.
          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          The story of some bugfixes        

KDE Project:

This is the story of how bugfixes can happen. For each bug there is a bug reporter. It doesn't really matter if it is another developer or a non-developer user, as in the end it is just a user. Or does it? Let's see.

The first bug I fixed not so long ago was a line on the chat asking "what's ctrl+shift+l supposed to do in kmail?" from Albert (tsdgeos). Sounded like user support, but turned out that the reason he asked me was that pressing this combination crashed KMail. Of course, I tried and could reproduce it. It was related to Favorite Folders and as nor the reporter, nor I had such folders configured, it was rather straightforward where the problem is. Half an hour ago the bugfix was committed, everybody is happy.

The second was more complicated. There was a long standing report from our KDE expert David Faure that resulted in losing the mail content on move. It wasn't the first time I looked at the code to find the problem, without success. We couldn't even reproduce the bug. Then suddenly a message came on IRC: he could reproduce it again and found a pattern how it happens: it happens if the source mail account (resource) is in offline mode, meaning KMail *might* not have access to the whole mails, only to the cached parts (the mail header). Having this information finding the bug was relatively easy and next day David has the patch. But he wasn't happy: now he got an ugly message box with an error that doesn't mean too much, an error that doesn't tell what is the problem and what could be the solution. So I looked up how this could be fixed. The solution wasn't straightforward, involved changing several pim related components, including adding a new DBUS method that is used to communicated between different Akonadi part, but in the end I had it...only to realize that although I get a nice error now when copying mails, I can't read my mails. Because it gives a DBUS related error. I've added a method returning a string, but from the error it said that it was expecting a string, but got a boolean. Confusing.
Looked at the code, looked again, tried different things: no go. I told to David (knowing that he is an extermly good developer), that here is the code, here is the error, I have no idea what to do.
He looked at, and all seemed fine. It was late, we both called it a night and went to sleep. Of course the problem bothered me, so next day I wanted to give it a go. Guess what, David was also online (this was Saturday), he was also interested in the problem. :) To make the story short, he found the issue: the problem was a setDelayedReply( true ); call I overlooked. That caused basically QDBus to ignore our return value, that must be sent later (and the code sent a boolean there). David did a refactoring, I found a corner case, we both tested, all was fine. After a few final touches, like making the string translatable the patch was ready for review. As David said, it was a nice teamwork.

The last one was the same day at evening: a complaint that KMail cannot move/delete folders from an IMAP inbox. Weird bug, as most of us use IMAP, so this should have been noticed before. I asked for details, I asked for different logs, to try different scenarios. The reporter followed everything I told promptly, and the surroundings of the bug started to take shape. He had an IMAP server without support for ACL (access rights). In that case we should assume everything is fully accessible. And so was everything for him, but the top-level inbox. Having that information, by reading the code I found the faulty line - a line that was weird, and unneeded. The line was introduced because of a bugfix, so I looked up the bug only to find users complained it is still not fixed. No wonder, as the fix was not doing anything about the original problem, but unfortunately created other problems. I have to admit that the API involved is easy to be used in a wrong way, but hard to fix now. For those interested (and to avoid such API), here is the problem:

// Returns the rights the user has on the collection.
Collection::Rights Collection::rights() const
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute();
if ( attr ) {
return attr->rights();
} else {
return AllRights;
}
}


// Sets the @p rights the user has on the collection.
void Collection::setRights( Rights rights )
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute( AddIfMissing );
attr->setRights( rights );
}

And the problematic commit looked like this:

Collection root;
root.setRights( Akonadi::Collection::CanCreateCollection );

You see, by default, a Collection object doesn't have any rights set. If Collection::rights() is called it will return AllRights. What happens after the above setRights() call? The Collection will have now right attributes (CanCreateCollection), so a further Collection::rights() returns that attribute. But *only* that one. Certainly not the behavior one would expect. We can debate that the plural form (setRightS) suggests that, but I still find bad API.
Back to the reporter, luckily the problem could be fixed with the developer tool called "akonadiconsole", so he was happy. Other users will get the fix in the next release.

From the three reporters two were KDE developers. One not having too much knowledge about the PIM part, the other having some knowledge, as he is the one running in the most weird PIM Issues, and we just tell to him to fix his own bugs, while the third was somebody who I never met before, so I assume he is a regular user.

What helped in all cases was communication: giving valuable information (like how to reproduce, what is your configuration, etc) and carefully following the instructions the developer makes. Especially if the developer cannot reproduce it, the only real chance to fix it is that the user acts as the eyes and hands of the developer. If I tell to my hand to type "foo", but it types "bar", nothing good will result in it, as I'd expecet that "foo" was typed and act further accordingly.
So bug reporters, please try to gather as much information from your side as possible when creating a report and always follow the requests a developer makes.

You should not draw a wrong conclusion from the above: that reporting on *development channels* on IRC helps and you should always come there with your bugs. IRC is great for instant communication. It is very bad though as you might not find the right person there when you report.
Use the bugtracker. Wait patiently for feedback (e.g. I work on KDE only from time to time and many others do the same). It is ok to ask about certain bug on IRC, but don't forget to report it. It is also ok, once the developer responds and starts to work on the bug to contact him on IRC (if you know its nick), as communication is faster on it.
Just saying something doesn't work on IRC will also not do any good, unless you are prepared to help track down the issue. And then you will suddenly become part of the team. It is not that hard to be a KDE contributor, no? :)

To answer my first question: does it matter if the reporter is a developer or a user? In certain aspect it does, I couldn't fix the bug (at least not that easy) without David. It might be slightly easier or faster to get out information from a developer. But if the communication is good, it doesn't matter too much.


          KMail - making it more usable        

KDE Project:

KMail is one of the most important applications inside KDE, I think hardly can argue anybody about it. Everybody is using email, and even if some think that a webmail solution can be just as good, most of us still do what we did 10-15 years ago: download mail to our computer/phone/tablet and carry that around.
And for that we need a mail application.
It is not news that KMail got just too big and not flexible enough in the KDE 3.x days. Somehow it was ported to KDE 4, but this was a crude port, without much improvements in its design. A new generic PIM backend was growing up meantime, and with some corporate support from KDAB, a new generation of KMail, KOrganizer and other PIM application started to take shape.
From those I can tell about KMail, as I was more involved into it. As we wanted to have a mobile, touchscreen version as well, the work of porting KMail to Akonadi was done together with breaking KMail into smaller pieces, more or less standalone libraries to reuse as much code as possible. Time, manpower and other reasons limited what we could do, so this was a part success. We created and improves some generic usage libraries (KIMAP, KMime), some internal libraries that are nice, some that are not that nice, and in the end we had something that could have been a good foundation for KMail 2 series.
I started to use KMail2 at that time, and in the beginning it was a fustrating experience. I can't count how many times I deleted and created again the accounts, the Akonadi database. But after a while I realized that I don't have to do anymore. KMail2 was still not released to the public, but got better and better. Unfortunately only slowly, as even less people worked on it, and only in their free time. It had bugs, some more annoying, some less annoying, but was usable enough to not force me to go back to KMail1.
Then the PIM community took a deep breath - just like the KDE community did with KDE 4.0 - and finally released KMail2 officially.
Funny or not, around this time I started to have problems with it. A migration of my second computer failed horribly. A cleanup of the Akonadi database and changing from the mixed maildir to maildir format was also painful. I blamed the developers a lot (including myself :) ). Then things started to move on and KMail got a new maintainer, who is very active (hi Laurent!). And we organized a developer sprint to stabilize KMail.
The sprint took place last weekend in KDAB's Berlin office and was sponsored by the company. Everybody who knows the KDAB office, knows about the famous foosball table. Do I have to said that in the weekend we played only once? Yes, people were coding intensively, Volker had to raise the priority of the "FOOD" topic often.
Issues were listed on the whiteboard. And everybody picked up what he was interested to do. Work was done on the migrator, the mixed maildir agent, the maildir resource, on the akonadi server, performance bottlenecks were identified and a new filtering resource was created, fixing the most hated KDE bug (should be closed as soon as Tobias Koenig is happy with his work).
My choice in the sprint was mostly maildir related work, I tried to make it more reliable, more standard compliant and somewhat faster than before. And the biggest win is that I fixed most issues that bothered me with KMail's maildir handling. Yes, I was selfish.
The sprint did not end in Berlin, for me it continued on the flight back home (that thanks to the weather and Lufthansa was almost a day longer than expected). And somewhat still continues as of now, although daily work reduces the time I can allocate to KDE.
I can say that I'm happy again with KMail and Akonadi starts to gets less and less in the way of me and the users. The biggest success will be when users will not know that there is a nice server helping them, called Akonadi.
For those eager to try out the changes, unfortunately most of them are in the master branch only (the upcoming KDE 4.8). We will try to port as much as possible into the KDE 4.7 bugfix releases, but as some changes required library additions, this won't be always possible.


          KDE and NVidia (updated)        

KDE Project:

The above combination was never a painless experience, still at some point in past it seemed to be better to have a NVidia card on Linux then anything else, so I continued to buy them whenever my system was upgraded. Lately although it started to make me rather bad. I have two computers, one that is a 4 core Intel CPU with 8GB of memory, the other is a Core2Duo with 3GB. The latter is a Lenovo laptop. Both have NVidia, nothing high end (Qudaro NVS something and 9300GE, both used with dual monitor setup), but they should be more than enough for desktop usage. Are they?
Well, something goes wrong there. Is that KDE, is that XOrg, is that the driver? I suspect the latter. From time to time (read: often), I ended up with 100% CPU usage for XOrg. Even though I had 3 cores doing nothing the desktop was unusable. Slow scroll, scroll mouse movements, things typed appearing with a delay, things like that. Like I'd have an XT. I tried several driver version, as I didn't always have this issues, but with newer kernel you cannot go back to (too) old drivers. I googled, and found others having similar experience, with no real solution. A suspicion is font rendering for some (non-aliased) fonts, eg. Monospace. Switching fonts sometimes seemed to make a difference, but in the end, the bug returned. Others said GTK apps under Qt cause the problem, and indeed closing Firefox sometimes helped. But it wasn't a solution. Or there was a suggestion to turn the "UseEvents" option on. This really seemed to help, but broke suspend to disk. :( Turning off the second display and turning on again seemed to help...for a while. Turning off the composite manager did not change the situation.
Finally I tried the latest driver that appeared not so long ago, 256.44. And although the CPU usage of XOrg is still visible, with pikes going up to 20-40%, I gain back the control over the desktop. Am I happy with it? Well, not....
As this was only my desktop computer. I quickly updated the driver on the laptop as well, and went on the road. Just to see 100% CPU usage there. :( Did all the tricks again, but nothing helped. Until I had the crazy idea to change my widget theme from the default Oxygen to Plastique. And hurray, the problem went away! It is not perfect, with dual monitor enabled sometimes maximizing a konsole window takes seconds, but still in general the desktop is now usable. And of course this should also make me have more uptime on battery.
Do I blame Oxygen? No, not directly. Although might make sense to investigate what causes there the NVidia driver going crazy and report to NVidia.

So in case you have similar problems, try to switch to 256.44 and if it doesn't help chose a different widget style.

Now, don't say me to use nouveau or nv. Nouveau gave me graphic artifacts and it (or KDE?) didn't remember the dual card setup. Nv failed the suspend to disk test with my machine and doesn't provide 3D acceleration needed eg. for Google Earth.

UPDATE: I upgraded my laptop to 4.5.1 (from openSUSE packages).Well, this broke composition completely, I got only black windows. I saw a new driver is available (256.53), let's try it. So far, so good, even with Oxygen. Let's see on the long run how it behaves, I didn't test it in deep.


          KDE4: is it usable for you?        

KDE Project:

I know it is not so nice to complain and bash a project when you don't contribute to it. And yes until now, I did not contributed to the KDE4 desktop as I wished. I compiled it regularly and used the libraries, but did not run the KDE4 desktop or KDE4 version of the applications except KDevelop and Quanta.
But as 4.0 is approaching, I decided that it is time to test, use, report bugs and even make fixes to it. I use KDE since a long time (~7 years), I think I always compiled from source, and for several years I compiled from CVS/Subversion regularly. I wasn't afraid to use the alpha/beta/whatever version as my daily desktop.
But with KDE4 somehow I feel lost. I tried a few days ago to start a KDE4 session. After getting through some issues that the libraries were not found unless LD_LIBRARY_PATH is modified (and knotify even with this setup has problem to find libkaudiodevicelist.so), I finally got it running. Well, it looks nice at first. So what to do there? I can start the KDE4 applications from the Run Command dialogbox. This dialog is a nice improvement over the old version, especially the autocompletion is handy.
In my version the menu was still missing, which isn't nice, but I don't care that much. What I care more is the speed, or to be exact, the lack of it. I blamed first the debug version of the libraries and the desktop, so I did a complete fresh build without debug information (a sidenote: my KDE3 is compiled WITH debug info and works fast enough). Sadly, it isn't faster. An example: right click on the desktop, and until the menu is shown, 3-4 seconds can pass. During this time Plasma and XOrg are heavily using the CPU. Moving around a window makes again ~58% CPU load (by kwin). Moving the mouse over the taskbar gives me 60% CPU usage by plasma AND 50% CPU usage by XOrg.
This slowness if everywhere on the desktop. I click somewhere and it takes some seconds until it reacts. The "natural" reaction is to click again, which makes things worse. What is the reason of this slowness, I don't know. But I am worried about it, because I have a fairy decent computer here, everything is fast except my video card: AMD Opteron 180 Dual Core (2.4Ghz), 2GB Dual Channel RAM, 7200RPM SATA HDD, Nvidia FX5500 card (with the binary drivers). The card isn't the state of the art one, but should be more than enough for desktop usage. I tried compiz with it, and it works OK. I can see the reaction lag with compiz as well (compared to the KDE3 version of kwin, which is lightning fast), but it is still quite usable.
I tried to remove kwin and use another window manager. This made at least the window operations faster, but the desktop was still slow.
That's about the speed.
Now about the usability side: I have no idea if what I tried is implemented at all or not, if there are plans to do them for the final release or not, but certainly I can say that as it is now, it is close to be unusable. There is the panel on the bottom with the taskbar and the clock. The taskbar let's say works, but I couldn't figure out what really a left/right click on an empty area of the taskbar does. It minimizes/restores the running applications, but I don't see the logic. I also don't know how to move around the taskbar on the panel. I don't know how to move the panel. It is possible to add new applets to the desktop, but I don't know how to move those applets to a panel. Moving them around on the screen is terribly slow.
There is also an Unknown Applet on my panel which "could not be created". I have no idea what it is or how it appeared there.
I also saw some bugs, like black boxes on top of windows appearing when you move a window over an applet, but this kind of issues are just simple bugs, acceptable at this stage of the development.
Unfortunately this experience can have only one outcome: I cannot use KDE4 as my daily desktop. Not even as a testing desktop.
So the solution is to test only the libraries and the applications. Luckily it is pretty easy to have a setup where you can run KDE4 applications under KDE3. Well, the first and one of the most important applications is Konqueror. I'm writing this blog from Konqueror4. Altough I feel a slowness here as well (when navigating through the menus, for example), this isn't a big issue, it is usable. I saw some rendering bugs, an ugly infinite loop when loading a certain page, but I saw similar issues with the old Konqui as well.
There is a problem with the editor area where I write the blog text (home bring to the beginning of the text, not the beginning of the line, mouse scrolling does not work) and the closing buttons on the tabs do not work, but again, in beta stage these are "normal" bugs.
For the applications the solution is to report the bugs or try to fix them. :) I will happily report them.

My conclusion: as it is now, the KDE4 desktop should not be released. Luckily we have some months left until the final release, so who knows, it might really be usable. I have more confidence in the base libraries and the applications. I think there only some polish is needed, in general they should be usable, but as I said, I didn't test many of them either. But what I started up for a quick test seemed to work.


          Lessons from a 5 year old        
Reblogged from conboykimberly: Watching HGTV with my 5 year old grandson and they are showing people who are looking for their second (vacation) home in Hawaii. Me: "I am so jealous of these people, I wish I had a second home." Grandson: " But you do have two homes already. Your first house (which my […]
          Tools: Sn1per – Automated Pentest Recon Scanner        

          Tools: Bluto - Recon, Subdomain Bruting, Zone Transfers         

          Howto: Install latest Recon-ng in Kali 2.0        

          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.


          Bella Communities: Utilizing technology & Google tools to drive "volunteer-ship"        

In 2009, Khoi Pham co-founded Bella Communities to address low-income housing issues and resident supportive services. Today, Bella Communities is harnessing the energy of thousands of community leaders, affordable housing owners, neighbors, nonprofits, resident volunteers, and professionals to offer a meaningful livelihood to their low-income housing tenants.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Bella’s signature program aims to mobilize low-income residents with an economic-opportunity modeled volunteering program. This programs enables residents to engage with other nonprofits, building civic engagement and social capital; improving career and personal skills; and earning rent credits to have financial capability and housing stability. Through this innovative “volunteer-ship” training program, they seek to help families “not just get by but also get ahead.” 

Bella Communities
What was the key to their success? We sat down with Khoi to hear exactly how they utilized technology and Google Apps for Nonprofits to achieve their goals.

Which role does technology play in Bella Communities?

Khoi: It’s critical! Technology allows us to communicate with our constituencies efficiently and cost-effectively which is vital for us. We want to empower our low-income residents with the tools needed to achieve economic development. With Google Apps for Nonprofits, we’ve built our own technology platform serving this objective. We have been able to switch from a desktop, web-based platform to a smart-phone mobile application, increasing engagement and participation from our residents using Google Forms. Most of them have skipped desktop to go mobile first!

Do you think technology has changed the way you work?

Khoi: Absolutely. It allowed us to operate in multiple states, virtually and real time! Communication, collection, and sharing data became seamless and effortless, which is fundamental to keeping pace.

Also Google Apps for Nonprofits has allowed us access to technology without heavy IT costs in order to preserve limited start-up resources and marshal them effectively. Google tools are all cloud-based and do not require us to build an internal IT infrastructure, which has enabled quick adaptability and flexibility to change. I have been amazed by the intuitiveness of the tools and how easily they integrate with one another!

Can you tell us more about your homemade program “Resident Volunteership United Program”?

Khoi: A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteers have a 27% greater chance  of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers? That is precisely why Bella Communities designed and tested an innovative supportive service program to simultaneously tackle both financial empowerment and civic engagement mobilization.  The Resident Volunteership United Program (ReV-UP) engages residents living in low-income communities to volunteer with other non-profit organizations in the immediate neighborhood to build community and economic development..

Google Apps was vital to the deployment of this program — we never would’ve been able to do it without that! It allowed us to manage workflow, and most importantly, it allowed us to gather, collect, and share data to build a case for supporting our program.

How are you measuring the success of this program?

Khoi: Using Google Forms and Google Drive, our low-income residents can easily manage their volunteer records online, as well as share and report their activities to the program managers. For the program pilot years, they contributed nearly 3,500 volunteer hours to their communities and generated earned approximately $21,000 in rent credits for their households.

Want to traverse the IT curve without the huge dollar investments? Find out how your nonprofit can better utilize technology with Google Apps for Nonprofits.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Bella Communities’ statements are made in connection with receiving free products as a participant in Google for Nonprofits, a program which provides free Google products to qualified nonprofits.


          Broadway Unlocked shares five lessons learned from hosting a livestream benefit        
Each year, one in six people in the U.S. will be victims of violent crimes. Two years ago, we became part of the effort to change that, when we began work with Broadway Unlocked. 

Two years ago, we met Jessica Ryan — a woman whose mission is rooted in two seemingly unique spheres: celebrating live theatre and helping survivors of interpersonal violence. Jessica founded the  Broadway Unlocked #giveback concert, a livestream, interactive benefit concert aimed at connecting the two communities and helping raise awareness and donations for the Crime Victims Treatment Center (CVTC). The CVTC, New York State’s largest and most comprehensive hospital-based victim assistance program, provides therapy and services to survivors of assault, abuse and violence. All treatments at CVTC are free.

In an effort to reach a larger audience and expand the nonprofit’s donor base, Broadway Unlocked collaborated with Google for Nonprofits to broadcast the show and spread the message globally in 2016. On February 22, Google for Nonprofits helped bring Broadway to YouTube for the second year in a row with one night of song and social responsibility through the concert. To bring the show beyond NYC, Google Fiber hosted a watch party at the Fiber space with local Kansas City theatre groups and community members. 

This was a Broadway show unlike any other. This was Broadway with a variety of star performers, including Kyle Dean Massey, Carolee Carmello, Ali Stroker, Natalie Weiss, and Collabro. This was Broadway hosted by Google Fiber. Streamed via Google Hangouts on Air. And fueled in part by fundraising through donation cards on YouTube. This was Broadway on the internet -- crowdfunded and broadcast for one night only.

How did Broadway Unlocked make their globally livestreamed and crowdfunded event a success? We’re turning the mic towards Broadway Unlocked to hear what they learned.

5 Lessons Learned from Hosting a Livestream Benefit

  1. Engaging the community is key: Using Hangouts on Air, we were able to pull off a cross-city sing-a-long! Check it out. The video wasn’t flawless, but we successfully transported Broadway beyond the Big Apple.

  2. Global events can help grow engagement and donor base: Putting on an event in different cities is no easy feat. But it's amazingly rewarding to bring like-minded people and groups together to support similar causes. Hangouts and livestream technology made reaching new communities easier to do in one event. And by engaging these communities, we’ve been able to grow a stronger community and ultimately, donor base.

  3. Interactive video adds another dimension of creativity: Using Hangouts allowed us to engage the audience on the other side of the screen, adding a new dimension unique from watching on a passive screen. Our creative team came up with Musical MadLibs, (our new favorite game!), which really shows how we were able to interact with the crowd through video chat.

  4. Google is a gamechanger for nonprofits: YouTube and Google Fiber enabled us to livestream the concert to theatre lovers and supporters in Kansas City and hundreds of people at home that night. This allowed us to increase the viewership of our benefit by 10X more than if we had only shown the concert to the folks at the Greene Space in NYC.

  5. Crowdfunding and donation cards can help you reach your goals: Through crowdfunding using donation cards on YouTube, One Today donations, live fundraising at the concert, and private donations, we raised more than ever before -- an astounding $50,000. This additional funding will hugely impact our ability to provide treatments for victims of domestic violence in tandem with the CVTC.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

If you are a U.S. nonprofit looking to add donation cards to your YouTube videos, learn more here.

Nonprofits aren't endorsed by YouTube or Google


          Accounts Receivable Specialist-B2B VIP Accounts - Travel Holdings        
Altamonte Springs, FL - Location: Altamonte Springs, FLDepartment: Accounting and FinanceType: Full TimeMin. Experience: Entry Level
Responsible for managing B2B accounts that require special attention due to their VIP status and the high volume of manual work they generate on reconciliation. This
          This is The Boy!        
Hello fellows in the blog-i-verse. I am filling my end of the bargain about Silas. I chose the name for a few reasons. First, I heard it and I liked it. Second, it is Latin for: Of the Woods, which Old English Sheep dogs are......kinda. Lastly, it sounds cool. The alternative was Seamus. Seamus didn't fit......thus Silas was dubbed so. Well, bed time for the girl, the dog, and the boy. Ciao bellas.

-The Boy

P.S. The Girl is great, just FYI.
          Selena Gomez Tears Up During Heartfelt Speech, Leighton Meester Covers A Rock Song, And More        
We did it! Happy Friday! Before your brain shifts into weekend mode, please enjoy these pop culture headlines. Selena Gomez delivers an emotional speech, the cast of Lost attempts to explain the complicated series in 30 seconds, and an upcoming Fox reality series tricks its competitors into thinking they could marry Prince Harry. Yikes. Those … Continue reading
          Dear Mr. Fantasy        
Earlier this week I participated in my Fantasy Football league’s second annual live draft at the Lederhosen German Pub and Restaurant in NYC’s West Village. We ate bratwurst and Black Forrest Cake, drank Spaten and Berliner Weisse and spent the better part of three hours screaming out NFL player names in the hopes of securing … Continue reading
          Coffret dvd super série tv action politique a la maison blanche lot saison 1 + 2 !        
Objet semblant avoir éé retiré de son film plastique écemment. Aucune marque usure apparente. Toutes les faces de objet sont impeccables et intactes. Consulter anonce du vendeur pour avoir plus de étails et voir la description des éfauts. Afficher la éfinition de tous les états- la page ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre ou uouvel onglet... En savoir plussur étatnFormat: nDVDnOrigine: nCinéma américainImage: n:Zone: nZone : EuropenGenre: nérie TVnEdition: nCoffretnSous-genre: nDramenAnéde sortie: nAnées 2000 et aprè n nétails de anoncenétailsnDuré55440000 minutesnPaysnETATS-UNISnPublicnTOUT PUBLICn Midiavideo - Tite Live édiavideo - Tite LivenCoffret DVD des deux premières saisons de la érie américaine LA MAISON BLANCHE n nCette excellente érie acclamépar la critique et écompensépar de nombreuses écompenses conu un immense succèoutre-atlantique. Elle se caractérise par une éalisation de grande qualité casting écors et qualité ’image particulèrement soigné et une reconstitution éaliste de ’univers de ’ai
          Vanity GREAT (As Opposed To 'Fair')        
I almost hesitate to post these because our buddy Kroninger holds the official Drawger position as 'Vice President in Charge of Posting Images at Least 50 Years Old While Simultaneously Running Down a Hallway Dangerously Holding a Pair of Extra-Sharp Scissors'. I was checking out the Vanity Fair site over the weekend and was paying special attention to the Jazz Age and Depression-Era covers. Now THESE are covers! Covarrubias, Carlu, Aladjalov, Bolin and my personal fave, Paolo Garretto. So graphic, so elegant, so able to communicate an idea visual with an economy of line, shape and effects. So pull up a mouse and check out some absolutely amazing covers by illustrators who continue to inspire, influence and still ASTOUND us well over 50 years later. Oh, and don't mind Kroninger writhing over there in the corner -- it's only a flesh wound. Vintage Vanity Fair Covers




















          Discover What the Obama Loan Modification Programs and the 31 Percent Rule Can Do For You        
Loan Modification Programs aren't something new, but many will argue the old system wasn't structured properly to work. A recent example of this is - over half of the loans modified in the US from January to March 2008 defaulted on their modified loan before the end of the year.

What Exactly is Loan Modification?

As you are well aware the economy has taken a huge downturn over the last couple of years. This has had an undesired effect for many homeowners. People find their loans are at risk and the possible threat of foreclosure. This is where lenders will offer lower monthly repayments and set terms and conditions on your home loan for a specified period of time. However, with no real structure in place, this was doomed to fail.

The Obama administration unveiled their new program on Wednesday 4th March 2009. This program planned to restructure home loans and save millions of Americans from foreclosure.

So What is the 31% Rule?

The program requires lenders to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments to no more than 38% of your gross monthly income. The government will then fund the remainder, to bring your payments down by a further 7%. This would mean that your monthly mortgage repayments would be no more than 31% of your total gross monthly income.

In order for your lender to achieve this, they would first need to lower the interest rate on your loan and possibly extend the term of your mortgage. They have the ability to lower the interest rate to 2% and extend your term up to 40 years. However, even after all these alterations, if you are still paying above 31% threshold, the lender can merely claim payments for your principle balance and will charge no interest.

For you to secure help to join one of these Programs, you will usually need to approach a Loan Modification Company. Although, many people have reported savings in excess of $500 per month on their mortgage payments, others have told horror stories of the fees that some of these companies charge.
          Are These Offers That Provide Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit All They're Cracked Up to Be?        
With the downturn in the world's economy, it appears more and more people now have a bad credit rating than ever before. You would think borrowing money would be more difficult now, but it seems this is when you become inundated with offers of Unsecured Personal Loans For Poor Credit.

Are the companies and organizations that offer these deals, what they actually appear to be, or are they trying to hide some dark secret from you. In all honesty, if you have bad credit score, or defaults/judgements registered against or even a bankruptcy, you cannot expect to be offered the same terms and conditions as when you had a clean record. However, this does not mean that unscrupulous lenders should be able to take advantage of your situation by charging excessively high interest rates.

This is when it may be more appropriate to educate yourself in the way that lenders think, prior to approaching them for a loan. A program that i have recently reviewed is My Miracle Loans. My Miracle Loans is a program that teaches it's members a number of different strategies on how to approach a lender during these trying times. They promise that as long as you thoroughly research and understand the techniques they teach you, once you put them into practice, you are 100% guaranteed a loan.

My Miracle Loans have a different approach for every situation. There is no one method to use. Depending on your personal circumstances, they can provide help for you:-

- Bad Credit

- No job or income

- Student

- Bankruptcy

- Very Low Credit Score

- Been turned down before

And not just Unsecured Personal Loans For People With Poor Credit, they can help you secure a loan or home finance for any purpose.

If you are struggling and not sure where to turn and you are looking for an Unsecured Personal Loan For Poor Credit, then please read my full review on My Miracle Loans and discover how to ease your financial troubles today.
          Debt Consolidation Loans Can Resolve Bad Credit Debt        
Replacing several high interest loans or credit cards with one consolidation loan can not only lower your monthly payments, but also save you money due to the lower interest rate on the new loan.

Look at the rates you are paying on your unsecured debts, i.e. credit cards with a rate of between about 13% and over 35%. These are obvious replacement loan candidates. Auto loans and store credit cards are other loans that should be paid off.

If you can get a second mortgage or refinance your current first mortgage, use these funds to pay off these unsecured loans. You should be able to currently save several thousand dollars in interest payments alone. I am assuming a total loan amount above the home debt to be about $20,000.

The other advantage to this plan is to reduce your monthly payments by a substantial amount. This also should allow you to gain a payment schedule that you can easily meet and even reduce quicker over time. Make sure you can pay off this new loan with extra payments with no penalty. It is a good place to put some of that extra money you have each month.

This idea also takes some solid research on your part. All banks and mortgage companies do not operate the same way. Also you want to find the best rate you can get for your debt structure.

Look to these sources for your consolidation loan: Local banks, local mortgage brokers, and the newest provider for these loans, the internet loan providers. There are many companies fighting each other to make these loans to folks like you. Take advantage of your popularity.

Sometimes, debt consolidation companies can discount the amount of the loan. The debt consolidator will buy the loan at a discount, usually when in danger of bankruptcy. The wise debtor can easily shop around for consolidators who will pass along some of the savings. Consolidation usually affects the ability of the debtor to discharge debts in bankruptcy. It’s prudent to weigh this decision rationally.

Take your future in your own hands and make this happen for your financial health. Saving money and paying off your debts faster will open your life to a freedom you have not enjoyed for a long time. A family with minimum debts has eliminated a potential family problem and replaced it with freedom. Do your self a favour and become debt free.
          The Secret Strategy Behind Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit        
Do you remember the days of Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit? Lenders were queueing up to authorize loans and credit cards for people and it didn't seem to matter how good...or bad your credit rating was!

Well times have changed. Now that the world economy is stuck in a deep and difficult financial recession, Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit seem to be a thing of the past.

This is not altogether true. There are a number of financial companies within the marketplace who are looking to help clients who are unable to borrow money elsewhere. The problem with many of these companies though, is they want to charge outrageous interest rates and levels of monthly repayment just for you to secure some credit. It's almost as though these companies are trying to hold you to ransom!

However, it now appears that many intermediary organizations are springing up to help you in your search. These companies usually charge a very small one-time fee and then allow you access to their database of lenders, as well as providing online and telephone support. They can place you with a lender who will provide Instant Approval Credit Cards For People with Bad Credit and at an affordable price.

The outcome for you is two-fold:-

1) you have finally managed to secure the credit card that you have been searching high and low for.

2) As long as you maintain your monthly repayments and pay them in full and on time, you are also repairing your credit history, thus meaning a wider range of lenders may be available to you in the future.

These companies are a god-send for you if you are struggling with your monthly bills. Sometimes you just need and want someone to listen to you - just being approved for a credit card or loan could improve your current financial situation no end and bring an end to those sleepless nights.

Do you urgently need to get Instant Approval Credit Cards For Bad Credit Now? Or perhaps you would like know how to secure Personal Unsecured Loans For Bad Credit.
          Merry Christmas        



Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It really brings out the best in people. Spending time with family and friends, great food and, of course, great drinks! I hope everyone enjoyed it and is looking forward to New Year’s celebrations!

Once again, I haven’t posted in several weeks. Things have been extremely busy since getting back from Afghanistan. As of yesterday, I am no longer on active duty with the Air Force. I am now a reservist with the 914th at Niagara Falls! That also means that today is my first day working ‘full time’ with New Buffalo Brewing.

We have done a lot in the last month, but we haven’t talked about it much. We set up a small lab in Clarence, and are currently dialing in on what we think will be our first four beers.  We are also working on a Kickstarter Campaign, which is a huge project. The support we receive from donors will make the difference between opening this spring and pushing off for several more months.

I want to talk about the lab in today’s post. It’s small, with a Brew Magic as our system, six half-barrel fermenters, and room for only one and a half barrels of finished beer. We are producing all the beer we need to have ready between now and April on this nano- of nano systems! You can imagine space will become an issue.

The plan is as follows: We are going to brew six beers between January 25th and March 10th. We aren’t publicizing the names yet, but we will have a brown ale, bitters, APA, and IPA. Our last two are still wild cards. We have two dry stout variants, a sweet stout and a porter. As much as I like the sweet stout, I think it’s on the chopping block. Many people we have talked to have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, and we want to make sure we are making something everyone can enjoy.

So where is this beer going? We have a couple of big things in the pipe. First, we want to be able to enter all our beers into the Amber Waves of Grain on March 10th.  Second, we need to have samples for the distributors and the bank to try. But I’m sure most people are interested in our the tastings…

We are planning four events to go with our Kickstarter campaign, three in Buffalo and one in Rochester. We’ll be sure to give everyone a big heads up once we have the locations nailed down. So far we have one place approved and three in the works.

So watch for an active blog again, and I will be updating the main site often over the next month or so as we get ready to announce our ‘official’ beers. Thanks for reading!

Bill

          Happy Thanksgiving!        

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Since Marie is so nice as to be cooking and we're in Colombia so I can't TV I can post!

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Google tells me one person reads this every couple of days, so  mystery person, I apologize for the lack of updates.  I’ve finished another book in the Classic Beer Style Series, this time on Porter, and by the time I get home I’ll have finished Brown Ale as well. They we’re both pretty good and a bit more fluid then the Mild Ale book. All and all pretty good. Since I’ve been following all English Beer there is allot of overlay in each one, however each adds a bit more information to the history of brewing in England, old ingredients and of course inspiration for an American Interpretation.  I might write a mini-review on them when I get back home.

I’m going to give a reason for the lack of posts, one good and one not as impressive. The not so impressive one is I have been swamped at work. With the 1st Infantry Division getting ready to deploy (along with myself) I’ve been working allot more then the past. It’s almost a second job getting ready to deploy while still doing garrison work.

Now the good reason. I’ve found a building I would like to purchase for the brewery. It’s another historic property that is in need of great deal of work. I like preservation and would be very happy to incorporate those goals into a broader vision of New Buffalo.

The name isn’t just because I’m lazy and didn’t want to think hard. Buffalo is becoming a New Buffalo. When I was younger Buffalo was seen as a no-go zone, with lots of drug issues and violence. That is changing for allot of people, and I want to be part of the effort of rebuilding the city. Physical rebuilding would be an easy way to get that connection.

At the end of the day it is about what we can afford so we’ll see if it pans outs. Thanks for reading.

          A Buffalo Church as a New Buffalo Brewery        


In Buffalo NY it’s hard to not be drawn to a church for a brewery right away. It’s like a brewing palace. Beautiful surroundings, ceiling heights that are unmatched, since it was for people to gather the utilities are surprisingly low (several feet of brick and mortar are even better than 6 inch of fiberglass, the temp stability is amazing) and Buffalo has a bunch of extra churches right now that could use a, well use. 

So what’s the problem? They came in a couple of flavors (Sadly the flavors are like skunked Bud Light, and not a Buffalo micro-brew). 

1) If the church is owned by the Papacy it cannot be used for a brewery, period dot. That takes out many of the primary candidates 

2) Most of the churches need some repairs, the first church we looked at required over 500k in stabilization and another 400-500k in conversation costs. The second needs 300k, but the conversion costs were down to about 100k. That is almost the entire budget for New Buffalo. In this same category, if there’s not a door I can get the tank thought I don’t want to bust down walls to get them installed, that’s not hard and fast just a bit of the preservationist that lingers. 

3) A brewery falls under a M1 Zoning, churches are a C1, the first city councilmen I tried to work with refused to talk to me about it for several  weeks before giving me a “I won’t actively try to stop you, but I’m not going to help you in anyway” kind of answer.  The Councilmen Franczyk, who’s district I wasn’t working in was excited about the idea. In any case not being zoned correctly is another huge risk for use to undertake, a 6 month wait would bankrupt us in our first year   

 4) There is no equity in churches so the bank will not lend us money to fix a church for the most part.  On top off that even as we pay down the merger costs of the church we can’t barrow against it later own to expand like a normal building. 

5) Preservation, on one hand it has some money we can tap into in, almost 50% of the stabilization or big repair costs could be deferred by public funds,  however you have to keep the building the way the rules call for which in the case of the first building, we would have had the largest tasting room in the world (not proven but I don’t know of any breweries with 12,000sqft of tasting space, and two levels with a stage in the middle) 

6) Transportation, I need to be able to bring in semi’s, right now were planning on a grain bin for the pale malt, and I have to be able to get that into the building, also just in the first year we’ll be moving a couple truckloads of beer a week. I have to be in a place they can get too. 

To sum it up, were still looking for a church that could hold us but it’s not our focus anymore. Unless we received a grant for $1million it looks like it’s going to be a goal to expand too.  I know the city has money like that, and that $5million went to the Staler. The city isn’t going to trust a young guy like me, my background is Intelligence and factory work, not history building refurbishing. 

This was a very long post, but I wanted to hit on it since several people have asked me about it. Chris Fetter has been a tremendous help, sending us updates when a non-Catholic church comes on the market.  We hope this will work out, but we can’t wait forever. 

This post is in response an exchange with http://www.communitybeerworks.com/, on our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-New-Buffalo-Brewing-Co/215182275168604


          First Formal Offer        
Our first formal lease offer on a building as come and gone without success. The problem we seem to be facing is that a brewery needs a rather strange space to fill. 18' clear ceilings, but only 10,000sqft of space. It’s almost a giant cube. Of all the issues I expected in setting up a brewery, finding space in Buffalo wasn't one of them.

The owners we have talked to have all been great guys, but the economics of everything makes it extremely hard to make a deal. No owner wants to take on the risk, or cost of divided up there building, and definitely not at the lease rate we can afford to offer. Seeing as it will be about 6-9 months after signing a lease we can start sell beer we just can't pay the big bucks people are looking for.

So at this point were back to looking at building something new. I really don't want to do that at all. It feels unreasonable to build a new building in a city full of old ones.  Next we’ll look into finding one the city has foreclosed on that isn't so broken I can't fix it for less.
          Sweet Cream Stout        
A bit of home brewing this weekend is in order.

Tonight I moved our sweet stout from the primary into the secondary for some aging. I don't think this one its going to make it the full 14 days before I put it under pressure, and start tossing a few back. At just 15 days is already tasting great. I'm a bit keen on milk stouts, and I want to try adding lactose to our cream ale just to see how it works out. Possibly cut back the honey so its not too sweet.

I don't know how many beer drinkers are also lactose intoleranct. I'm sure there are some posting about it out there. With the weather finally cool off, its a great time to make beer.
          Second Post        
Posting in case anyone has stumbled upon this. The website is on track, so soon this will link somewhere. Until then. Keep it classy.
          Special Report : Analysis of Russia’s Airstrikes In Syria        
Originally posted on Defencyclopedia:
In this special news report by Defencyclopedia, we bring you the second part of our analysis on Russia’s involvement in Syria. It covers the aircraft and weapons that their air force is currently using as a part of a large-scale bombing campaign. INTRODUCTION The involvement of the Russian armed forces in…
          Londra: Il Transfer Più Economico dall’Aeroporto di Stansted        
Ti passo qualche informazione su come arrivare a Londra se atterri all’aeroporto di Stansted. Questo aeroporto, sebbene si trovi abbastanza fuori mano, è uno dei più affollati perché costituisce il terminale di molte compagnie low Cost (Ryan Air su tutte). A parte qualche raro caso uso sempre il servizio di easyBus quando vado a Londra perché […]
          Cosa Dovresti Sapere Prima di Decidere se Trasferirti in Brasile        
Il flusso di Italiani che decide di cambiare vita all’estero aumenta sempre di più, e secondo me viene volutamente sottostimato. Uno dei paesi più gettonati è proprio il Brasile, appartenente al blocco delle economie emergenti (BRIC). Non ho una conoscenza diretta di India, Cina e Russia ma il Brasile lo conosco sufficientemente per sapere quali insidie […]
          Science Olympiad Captures 2nd Place at Regional Competition        
Kellenberg’s premier STEM Club, Science Olympiad, took home a second-place team victory on Staurday, February 4, 2017, at the Nassau West Regional Science Olympiad Competition. Three teams represented Kellenberg in the day-long competition. Students competed in 25 different events from anatomy, game design, dynamic planet, tower building, and more exposed these students to challenging science […]
          Review: Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake        

Hello everyone. Today is Chinese New Year Eve in Singapore. Since I do not celebrate this holiday, I have some time off to do this third installment of my Althea purchase. I my first and second post can be found here and here. Before I start on my review, I would like to wish all my Chinese readers, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I fixed my eyebrows recently at Benefit Brow Bar and the person who did my brow fill in the unevenness in my brows. I have a fairly thick and darks brows, however they are not even. So some parts of it are a little bare/bald. I have tried using eyebrow pencil and find it looking rather unnatural. Maybe because I rarely makeup and hence not really good at it. Then I tried using the colored eye brow gel from The Faceshop (review here). It is difficult to use and the color doesn't blend in with my brows.

So I was looking through Althea and wondering if they have those powder for brows (you know like the ones people use for eye shadows). Then I saw Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake selling for only SGD$5. It was so cheap that I didn't think twice before putting it into my cart! So below is a photo on how the product actually look like. It didn't come in any dancing looking box. But it doesn't really matter to me as long as the product it not damage.

First look of Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake

So you have choice of Grey Khaki Black or Grey Brown. I choose Grey Brown because I simply cannot imagine having khaki colored brows (I fit with warm colors better). The photos of the colors can be found below. I think you can tell which is the brown and which is the grey one. According to the website, the product contains real chocolate inside. I can't really verify it by taste (yucks) but the powder does really smell like chocolate, which is kinda of cute.

From left to right: Brown powder and grey powder
Below is a photo of the brush that came with the palette. I slightly swabbed the brush on the gray palette. As you can see the powder cake is not as pigmented as those eye shadow palettes. This lightness of the pigments can also be seen the following photo where I brushed some of the brow powder cake on hand. The top one is the brown powder cake and the bottom one is the grey powder cake.

The brush which comes with palette
From top to bottom: Brown powder cake and grey powder cake
I mixed both colors when I apply on my brown. I put the brown powder first and then layer it with grey powder. Don't underestimate the light pigment of the powder cake, a little powder goes a long way for your brows. Below you can see the before and after photo of my brows (I did not kid you when I said that my brows have some baldy areas)

Before applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
After applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
So what do I think about Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake? Haha from the photo above, I think it works! The best of all it is extremely easy to use. The price is also a plus point. I think loose pigments of the powder also makes the eyebrows more natural looking after application.

I give this product 5/5.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any question!

          Review: Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel        
This is my second post on my purchase from Althea. Other than the Missha Red Ginseng Sheet Mask, I also bought Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel. Eye bags and dark eye circles runs in the family. So whenever I do not have enough sleep, my eye bags and dark circles become more apparent. I have always wanted to buy a good eye cream while I was schooling but couldn't really afford because you know how expensive eye cream can be. So once I got my first paid I decide to get one. My first ever eye cream is Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel which is from Laneige Water Bank series.


Contents in Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel Box
The box comes with an instruction sheet, a glass bottle of eye gel and a spatula for ease of application. The description on the box states the Water Bank Eye Gel is 'A moisturizing eye gel that gently soothes the dry and sensitive eye area and relieves eye zone stress'. The box also states that the gel expires after 12 months after opening.



Removing the seal from the bottle
The gel/cream is slightly translucent and light. It is also really light and not sticky. When applied, it gives a slightly cooling sensation on your eye area. I am really impressed by how detailed the instruction booklet is. I always try to follow the instruction unless I am really tired.

Instruction 1

Instruction 2

So what is my verdict? I think the gel really helps to make my eyes feel less tired after spending a whole in front of the computer  at work. I could really feel the effects when I first apply it. My eyes felt less heavy the next day. However, I feel it doesn't really help to lighten my dark eye circles and it only help to my eyes become less puffy by slightly. Perhaps because my eyes isn't very puffy initially.  I tried using the cream on my mother who had really puffy eyes and it showed some visible effects! I can give inputs on its moisturizing function because my eyes' area are never dry in the first place.

I'll give this product 4/5.

          Side-talk: The Ramen Stall at 787 North Bridge Road        
Recently I heard raves about this newly halal food establisment that sells Japanese. I see pictures of their food on various social networking platform like facebook and instagram (especially instagram). Although Singapore has sizable a muslim population, it is not easy to get halal japanese food here; especially good ones. This is because japanese usually uses mirin and pork broth in their cookings. The newly halal restaurant that I am referring to is call The Ramen Stall, located at 787 North Bridge Road. When I heard that still stall sells halal ramen, I was really excited because I am avid viewer of Japanese Hour on Channelnewsasia and often see people eating ramens. I have never tasted japanese ramen simply because it is difficult to get halal ones. I even considered going to Tokyo to get taste of halal ramen there.


So yesterday I decided to give it a try after work. The place is located all the same street as Zam Zam. I was expecting a crowd since it is newly halal certified and I was right about 7.30pm and there was already a long queue. My friend and I then comtemplated whether we should go to Afterwit which was located nearby and serves Mexican food. Alas, we decided to queue up. Fortunately, we got a seat after 10 minutes becauses there was only two of us. Those who came in big groups in front of us has to wait longer.



I knew what to order straight away. I ordered their Volcano Ramen ($11). My friend to longer to decide because she is not familiar with Japanese food (unlike someone who watches Japanses Hour). She settled for Oyakodon ($9.90). We also ordered a sides, Torched Beef Sushi ($7.90).


The first dish to arrive was our Torched Beef Sushim It was soo good that I even considered on seconds. The beef was so soft and well marinated and smokey. It kinda melt in my mouth. It really went well with the wasabi and the preserved radish. Usually I dont even like to put wasabi on my sushi.


The came my volcano ramen. I selected level 1 because I not really a fan of spicy food. I like those which are savourly spicy. The broth before mixing with the chilli was quite mild. It tasted better after mixing with the chilli. The restaurant was quite generous with the toppings but I find the noodles quite little. Maybe because I like carbohydrate. I especially like the kale/seaweed, minced meat and the eggs in the soup. But I find this Volcano Ramen kinda overhyped.


My friend Oyakodon. It is like chicken mixed in batter of ingredients and then fried and placed on top of rice. It is then topped with raw egg and drizzled with soy based sauce. My friend found it nice and mind you she is a picky eater. The serving was also quite big.

There was also a 17% service charge when you dine in. I will definitely come back to try their sushis and unagi rice! 

          Travel: Our accommodation in Phuket (Thailand), BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments        

This is probably my first post related to my overseas vacation. So this will placed under the travel series. This year in June, my family and I decided to go for a 6 days 5 night trip to Phuket. Initially, I said that I did not want to go but since I am not going for any graduation trip , I decided to tag along at the last minute. Plane ticket was a little more pricey because I did not but early. We took Silkair and my ticket cost about S$400++ about a hundred more than what my other family members paid for. That was my first time in Phuket but not my first time in Thailand. I went to Bangkok few years before this trip. And I really enjoyed the trip.

We stayed at BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments. 


The van that ferried us to the hotel
When we first arrived at Phuket International Airport, we were greeted by the driver for the airport transfer. Since there were seven of us, we requested for a bigger vehicle. If not for that I would prefer being chauffeured by complimentary luxury transfers that BYD lofts provides.... Mercedes Benz CLS class

After travelling for about 2 hours, we reached BYD lofts. We were greeted by their staffs as soon as we alighted from the van. The staff actually came out from the lobby to greet us. I thought it was a nice gesture. We were also given welcome drinks and flower garlands at hotel lobby. The lobby was quite small but cosy. 


In front of BYD lofts, where out van stopped

The citrus welcome drinks and hot towels that we received at the lobby...Thought that the drinks tasted really interesting with chewy bits in it
The flower garlands that staff put around our necks



Let's talk about the room itself. BYD Lofts is located at Patong. The room that 4 of us stayed in is called 2 bedroom Penthouse. I think that is best type of room available at BYD Lofts. We were really excited to stay there and the experience did not let us down. Unlike most hotels, the pictures of rooms in their website are really true to what we received. The elevator brings us directly into the room, which was really interesting. We were greeted by a spacious living room once the door of the elevator opens. I remembered my mom was awed when she stepped into the penthouse LOL.

So the penthouse has a large living room, a balcony, a fully furnished kitchen, two bedrooms (master bedroom and a smaller room), 3 toilets (one in the living room, and a toilet in each of the rooms). There are also wifi which is password protected.

The living room equipped with TV and fully furnished. There were complimentary fruits on the tables

The balcony...good news for those who smokes

The kitchen. It has a fridge, dining tables, induction stove, coffee maker and etc. 

The master bedroom. It has a huge toilet, desk, TV, wardrobe and etc. 

One part of the master's bedroom toilet

Another part of the master's bedroom toilet

The second bedroom which fully furnished with a TV, wardrobe, a toilet and etc. 
PROS:
1) Good distance from the main shopping district e.g. Jungceylon, Bangla Road
2) Related to the first point, even though walkable distance to many amenities is not too near. Hence, really quiet.
3) There are a lot of laundry, massage and tailoring services near BYD loft
4) Spacious and lots of toilets!!!
5) Comfortable beds
6) 10 minutes walk to Patong beach
7) For those who needs halal, there are a lot of halal eateries nearby like Kusuma etc. but I did not eat there because of hygiene purposes. I will talk more about the halal restaurants that I ate at during another time

CONS:
1) Weird housekeeping time...which was frustrating at times
2) The lift in our room can be a little troublesome
3) Although the majority of the staffs were friendly, not many are fluent in English

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

I will the end the post with a weird incident that happened in Phuket. It was 2 a.m. and everyone else in the Penthouse had already fallen asleep. I was awake charging my phone and using my macbook. Then I heard a bell from the intercom. I ignored it at first but it kept on ringing. Then I check the intercom and saw a person waiting at the first floor. He looked kinda drunk. Since I have no idea who it was, I checked that the lift connected to the room was locked. I got a little scared and went to bed after that...hoping that he doesn't come up banging the door.  


          Side-Talk: Rilek 1 Korner at Punggol Settlement        
I have been lots of side talk on eateries haven't I? Here is another one.

My friend and I decided to go for cycling one. Our starting point was opposite Compass Point and our goal was the Punggol Settlement. We went through the cycling path that passes by the Punggol Waterway and Waterway Woodcress. It was a long route but the scenery was great. Luckily the weather was relatively cloudy.

Once we reached Punggol Settlement, we looked for a place to park of bikes but to no avail. I find it puzzling for such a park to not have anywhere to park the bike. We decide to bring up our bike to the second floor of Punggol Settlement where Rilek 1 Korner is located…it was pretty embarrassing haha.



We arrived as Rilek 1 Korner just as the sun was setting. The ambience was pretty nice, especially when ships passes by the place. By the way Rilek 1 Korner is the malay slang for Relax at one corner. Below are what we ordered and my opinion on each dish:


The iced milo really caught me by surprise. Honestly I did not expect much from an iced milo. I really like how they put the shaved chocolates on top of the drink. It gives a nice texture to it.

Kailan with Oyster Sauce $8
I feel that the Kailan with oyster sauce lack interns of saltiness. Hope they can improve it.

Sambal Stingray $18
The sambal stingray is really meaty, which is nice. But it lacks spiciness. It would also be nice if they could add more sauce to the stingray because we finished the sauce before we actually finished the fish.

Omelette with prawn $9
I have no complaint for the omelette. The prawns were abundant and it taste good. You can choose other meat than prawns.

We paid $40++ for 2 people, which is a little bit pricey but it was probably because we order the stingray. And I think each of the dish we ordered can feed three pax. Their ala carte menu is pretty cheap I think. I saw that it ranges from $7 to $10 if I am not wrong. Overall, I would only go there if I cycled there. I probably would order their drinks and the appetisers next time….especially their colourful mocktails!




          Review: Laniege Trouble Relief Cream         
Today I am join review another item part of the Laneige Trouble Relief series. Previously I wrote a review on Laneige Trouble Relief Spot Gel HERE, which I really recommended. This is time the review will be on Laneige Trouble Relief Cream! I am not sure about the price since it is a gift from my friend. But it should S$50 dollars.

Let's start off with pictures of the product itself

Front view of the box
Back view of the box

Here is the product. I think it is made of glass, but don't worry because I have dropped it a few times and it did break haha.

The inside

The picture above shows the consistency of the cream. It has a snow consistency. This is my first time using a cream with snow consistency. The consistency is like in between emulsion consistency and body cream.

Instruction sheet that comes with the bottle


The instructions are:
1) After applying toner, apply 1.2 cm in diameter of the cream
2) Gently smooth the cream from the center to the outer edge of your face

Initially I did not follow the instruction. I feel that the second step make some difference to the effectiveness of the cream, I am not sure of the scientific reason behind it though haha.

before
after
I usually apply once in while, when I feel that there is a impending breakout of my face. Example redness, slight itchiness, red bumps that are going to emerge as acne. I apply it after I cleansing my face. From the picture, although the cream looks kinda clumpy it is easy to spread on you face evenly. When you first apply it, it will feel very slightly heavy and oily but after it filtrates into your skin it will not be oily at all. In fact it filtrates in pretty fast. I can usually see improvement in 1-2 days time. The next morning after I applied it on my skin, my T-zone will be less red/inflamed. It also reduces the bumps on my skin and prevent acne from breaking out on my skin. These are most likely due to the anti-bacterial properties of the cream. It also has moisturising effect, but i felt that is less moisturising compared to the emulsion. But it could also because I did not apply any toner.

I will rate this product 5/5.

          Review: Nair easiwax large wax strips for legs and body        
I went to Watsons today to get wax strips for my leg because I have not been waxing for so long and I have massage appointment tomorrow. I don't want to shock the therapist with the amount of leg hair I have HAHA. I have been using Veet wax strips since I was in secondary school. It cost about S$17. Today, I realise that there is  a cheaper alternative which is Nair easiwax which cost only S$10.45! The only difference is that Veet one contains 18 strips and 4 after wipes while Nair easiwax contains 20 strips and 2 after wipes. I bought Nair easiwax this time round. Now let me show use the content of a box of Nair easiwax:

The box
20 wax strips and 2 after-wipes
Instructions
The wax can be used for legs, bikini area and underarms. I feel the important part of the instruction is warming the wax in between your palm. It helps to prevent the wax from getting stuck on your skin after you pulled it off. Putting the strip is the direction of hair growth is also more effective in removing the hair.

A pair of wax strip
I also like how the strip is transparent unlike Veet ones which are opaque paper sheets. The transparent sheet help me see if I put the strip at the right area. For first timer, using wax strips can be a little intimidating. The only advice I can give to first timers is that the pain gets lesser with time and experience.


The picture above is snapshot of a pair of wax strip after I use it. Are you shocked by the amount of hair? HAHA. I am pretty hairy for a lady. Can you see the amount of hair the wax is able to pull. In opinion, Nair easiwax is pretty effective. It pulled almost all or all hair in the area at one go. I just have a little difficulty removing hair on my knee. It did leave a little wax here and there on my leg but it is okay because we have the after-wipes.




The after wipes smells pretty good…like shampoo. It kinda help to moisturise your leg after wax and also remove excess wave. You rub the wipes gently on the area that has wax left. The wipes is more like oil than lotion, but don't worry, the oil can be easily remove with water.

I will give this product 4.5/5. I did not give it full score because I experience difficult removing the hair on my knees.

          Review: Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Mist        
Alright, today's will be about Etude House Aloe Moistfull Soothing Mist. Furthermore, it is my second buys.

Aloe moistfull soothing mist
My first bottle was a tiny 50ml bottle (which depleted very quickly after I found out my nephew played with it by spraying it on the floor *sigh*). My currently one is 120ml bottle which is less portable but at least I don't have to keep ordering it online. 

 I was actually looking for a mist to sooth and  cool down my sensitive skin that occur due to the recent haze. My skin tend to react to haze and it get very sensitive. I can see redness around my T-zone and also more bumps around my face. Furthermore, the haze cause my skin to be oily at some area and very dry at the other parts.

I also wanted a moisturizer that is portable and can be applied easily against my skin when I am outside. So I decided to look for a mist kind of moisturizer and I found about etude house soothing mist and decided to give it a try.

Before
*Sprayed*
After

I really like this product as reduce redness around my T-zone and I can feel that my skin is less dry and more smooth after a few weeks of wearing it. I also apply it before applying my BB cream before going to school. Previously, after a few hours outdoor, some parts of my face would dry up and leave some BB cream residue at the dry area which I hate so much. It looks like I did not apply my BB cream evenly and can be quite embarrassing. However after using the mist, my skin is still moist even after many hours in school.

Furthermore, it is not oily and doesn't clog my pores.

The mist do have some sort of scent though it is not that strong. The difference between the small bottle and large bottle is that the large bottle nozzle seems to be able to produce much finer mist than the small one. I am unsure of the reason. Maybe the small bottle nozzle is defective.

For those who are interested in buying it you can try searching at qoo10.

Large bottle - S$14.33
Small bootle - S$12.65

I am not sure if you can find it at Etude House Singapore. Perhaps you can give Etude House Singapore a visit and compare the price.


Rating: 5/5

          The League Podcast: May 15th        
Hear Sam , Pete and Al look forward to the second legs of the playoffs this week. Enjoy.
          Euros Punt Podcast: 1st July        
Wales take on Belgium in the second quarter final at the Euros. On this edition of the podcast we look at the game from all angels, with Dereck McGovern and Chris Mayer offering their selections for the game. Enjoy. http://serve.williamhill.com/promoRedirect?member=audiobooUK&campaign=DEFAULT&channel=will_football&zone=1478396557&lp=1478422550
          Euros Punt Podcast: 23rd June        
So the group stage is complete and we're into the second round of the Euros and with a couple of blank days, it's the perfect time to look at the Outright markets. Dave Kelner joins Mark Walton to do just that, with the pair discussing the tournament winner, top goalscorer and player of the tournament markets. Enjoy. http://serve.williamhill.com/promoRedirect?member=audiobooUK&campaign=DEFAULT&channel=will_football&zone=1478396557&lp=1478422550
          The League Podcast: League 1 & 2 Playoffs - Second Legs        
Jason Lewis and Sam Norris preview the remaining play off games in League 1 and 2. With the games between Barnsley and Walsall, Bradford and Millwall and Accrington and Wimbledon up for discussion. Enjoy.
          The League Podcast: Championship Play Offs - Second Legs        
Pete Farries joins Sam Norris to pick out the best bet in the second legs between Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday And Hull v Derby. Enjoy.
          The Punt podcast. Monday May 2nd        
Sam Norris and Lee Phelps look at the Monday night Premier League game and all four European semi final second leg matches.
          AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015        
AT&T Adds 2.1 Million Net New Customers In Second Quarter Of 2015

AT&T recently announced that it has added 2.1 million net new customers during the second quarter of this year. Interestingly, almost all of the carrier’s new additions is attributed to strong sales of tablets, and to connected cars. As a matter of fact, AT&T has added one million new additions driven by tablets and connected cars in the period spanning April to June.

It appears that there is a visible shift in the makeup of AT&T’s subscriber base, with a significant part of the new customer additions spurred by tablets and connected devices. Also, it seems that traditional subscribers -- i.e. those that use phones -- may be on the decline, at least in AT&T’s case. It is also possible that such diminished growth from traditional phone customers for AT&T is connected to the increased pressure from competitors like Sprint and T-Mobile, who are only eager to usurp AT&T’s place as the second biggest wireless carrier in the United States.

Earlier in July, T-Mobile had announced that it had added 2.1 million customers during the second quarter of this year. And just a few days ago, Verizon Wireless had revealed that it had gained over 1 million net new customers, and 1.1 million post-paid subscribers. 

As for AT&T, it had added 410,000 post-paid subscribers, however the growth entirely consisted of 600,000 tablets. In the second quarter of this year, the carrier had lost about 200,000 basic phone subscribers. Still, AT&T was able to add 331,000 prepaid customers as a result of boosting its prepaid arm Cricket Wireless. 

A new focus for AT&T is in connected cars. The carrier is signing up with the largest number of automobile manufacturers in order to bring cellular connectivity to vehicles. But perhaps the more pressing question is -- will people actually pay extra money to connect their cars to a cellular network? The potential is there, but for now, it remains to be seen. 

AT&T also managed to generate a profit in the amount of $3.04 billion, or $0.58 per share, during the second quarter of 2015. During the same period in the previous year, the carrier had a profit of $3.55 billion, or $0.68 per share. Not counting costs associated with its acquisition of two wireless carriers based in Mexico and its looming deal with DirecTV, AT&T managed $0.69 per share of adjusted earnings. Moreover, revenues increased 1.4 percent to $33 billion. As per data compiled by Yahoo, analysts predict, on average, revenue of $33.04 billion and earnings of $0.63 per share.

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          AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets        
AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets

AT&T first launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service about seven months ago, but now the carrier is expanding its reach by adding 18 new markets for its VoLTE and HD Voice offerings.

The list of new markets include District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The good news is that this is just the beginning. AT&T's target is to transition every consumer to VoLTE. That would be easier said than done for sure, considering the tons of networks that need to be set up and the hardware that needs to be deployed. But AT&T is positive about the outcome, and early signs of success are certainly visible.

As stated by John Donovan, AT&T's Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations, the carrier's VoLTE network is performing very well after some internal tests, scoring an average of more than 99 percent in terms of accessibility and retainability (how well the users stay connected).

For those not in the know, VoLTE technology lets users simultaneously make calls and browse the Internet using their smartphones with very fast 4G LTE data speeds. 

As for HD Voice, it is a type of wideband technology that allows for better call quality with minimal background noise, made possible through widening the frequency range of the audio signals.

Voice calls were previously transmitted on a rather limited frequency range (between 300 Hertz to 3.4 Hertz). But with HD Voice, that frequency range is extended from 50 Hertz to 7 KiloHertz, and sometimes even beyond, in order to achieve high definition quality in voice calls.

However, before users can enjoy HD Voice, they need to meet the requirements. Firstly, the service must be available in their geographical area (AT&T is working on it). Secondly, the person calling and the recipient of the call must both use handsets that are HD Voice capable. For AT&T customers, just about the only devices available from their carrier that meet this requirement are the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

AT&T is far from being the only major wireless carrier that offers HD Voice though. Sprint may have been the first off the blocks, offering its customers a 30-day trial run of its HD Voice service in June earlier this year. Even Verizon Wireless is working on its own HD Voice brand, and the talk is that the Big Red will utilizing the AMR-wideband standard (the industry norm) for its service.

Interestingly, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are working together in providing clear call quality in both their customers. If they can pull this off, AT&T customers will be able to call their friends and family who are on Verizon as clearly as possible, and vice versa.

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          'The Carmichael Show' Takes on Black Lives Matter in a Surprising Way        

The Carmichael Show continues to pleasantly surprise (read about the pilot here) with its second episode, "Protest." It opens with the news that there is a protest going on because an unarmed teenager was shot by police in the city.


          Comment on Episode Five: The Jank Strikes Back by Charger347        
Super short Ep. only 36 seconds long. Dont know if you care, dont blame you if you dont. Just thought you should know.
          Comment on JANK 200! by mrm1138        
I am hopelessly behind on my podcasts, so I only just got around to listening to this today. There were two things that struck me about this episode. You'll have to forgive me, though, because I'm not good at remembering the names of the casters and whose voice is whose. First, I must say that the idea of regimented interaction is precisely why I enjoy gaming. I'd always considered myself an introvert, but my wife, who is truly an introvert, has classified me as an extrovert who is just painfully shy. She can't stand to be around people for more than a couple hours and a time and needs to go home and have a lot of downtime to recharge. (She has never gotten into RPGs—as opposed to board games or card games—because the idea of spending several hours being forced to interact with people sounds like a nightmare to her.) I, on the other hand, really enjoy being around people for long periods of time. The only problem is that I have trouble keeping up a conversation unless there's something very definite to talk about, and that's where games come in. Second, when one of the casters mentioned that tabletop roleplaying gamers tend to be a progressive group of people (and that he himself was an activist for a time), I definitely agreed. I am huge into comic books, but one of the reasons I can't stand to listen to comic book podcasts is because the hosts tend to be your typical bigoted fanboys who will go into a nerd rage if a previously straight character comes out of the closet, or a white superhero is replaced by another character of a different skin color* or sex, or anything they perceive as being political correctness being forced into their comics. While the TTRPG community's record certainly isn't spotless—there were some particularly vile comments from TTRP-gamers after Gen Con delivered the press release regarding Indiana's "religious freedom" bill—I don't feel that the bigotry involved is nearly as rampant as it is in the worlds of comics and video games. *See the recent announcement of Miles Morales replacing Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe.
          Comment on Episode 198- What’s Up With Licensed Games? by avi        
Hi all, great discussion. I think setting is really important and so I'm a little surprised that licensed products aren't more successful. I'm also surprised that there isn't more commissioned fiction to support established settings and that so much of what is produced seems of pretty poor quality. Perhaps it's just not how the creative process works (ooh, topic suggestion - interview Stolze about this). Getting everyone at the table to have a shared a vision of the fiction seems important to me and surely licensed games and commissioned fiction is great way of supporting that. As you discussed, an important element is producing mechanics that encourage the feel of the fiction. I think Mouseguard is a great example of this. When I played it everyone had read at least the first trade before we played our second session and the feel of the mechanics mirrored the feel of the comics.
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- Some websites provide credits just by visiting the URL, you can mask them & submit it to hitleap in order to to sit back & earn. ( Will be covering this in later tutorials briefly)

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          â€œEl reto más importante del gobierno en los programas sociales está en la focalización y priorización”        
Economista, jefe del área de desarrollo económico y social de Macroconsult, Álvaro Monge habla en la siguiente entrevista sobre los primeros 100 días del gobierno en política social y los principales retos que tiene en este tema. También analiza lo hecho por el gobierno de Ollanta Humala en materia de inclusión social, que fue la principal bandera política de ese gobierno, y cómo ha recibido el nuevo gobierno los programas sociales.
          â€œEl principal problema que afecta a la infancia es la pobreza y la injusticia social”        
Médico de reconocida trayectoria, ex ministro de Salud y miembro del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, el doctor Uriel García analiza en la siguiente entrevista la política de salud y de combate contra la desnutrición y la anemia infantil del gobierno de Ollanta Humala que finaliza su gestión, y habla sobre los principales retos que en estos temas tendrá el nuevo gobierno de Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. También comenta sobre las razones de la muerte de decenas de niños a causa del frío.
          â€œOjalá que el próximo gobierno tome conciencia del grave problema de la anemia infantil”        
Más de un millón de niños menores de cinco con anemia en el Perú. Seis de cada diez niños con anemia en la región Loreto. Frente a esta grave situación, Inversión en la Infancia, la Asociación Salgalú para el Desarrollo y el Plan Binacional Perú – Ecuador, se han unido para lanzar una “alianza contra la anemia infantil”, a la que se han sumado reconocidos deportistas. El embajador Harold Forsyth, director ejecutivo del Plan Binacional Perú – Ecuador, habla sobre esta alianza contra la anemia infantil y sus objetivos.
          â€œSi en estos últimos diez años se hubieran usado mejor los recursos existentes ahora tendríamos anemia cero y desnutrición muy baja”        
Ex viceministro de Economía y actual miembro del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, Javier Abugattás analiza en la siguiente entrevista las políticas públicas de combate contra la anemia y la desnutrición infantil, las razones por las cuales no han tenido los resultados esperados y qué hacer para mejorar esos resultados. También revisa los presupuestos destinados para este tema y el rol de los distintos niveles de gobierno.
          "La primera infancia es extremadamente importante en la agenda del desarrollo"        
Hace unos días, el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) presentó en Lima el informe “Los primeros años: El bienestar infantil y el papel de las políticas públicas”, un estudio para América Latina y el Caribe. Norbert Schady, asesor económico principal del Sector Social del BID y uno de los autores de este estudio, analiza en esta entrevista los resultados de esta investigación y cómo está en el Perú la inversión en la primera infancia.
          â€œSi seguimos dentro del modelo económico habrá un retroceso en la cobertura y calidad de los programas sociales”        
Antropólogo e investigador principal del Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo (DESCO), Eduardo Ballón hace un balance de la política social del gobierno y sus contradicciones con el modelo económico, advierte sobre los efectos de la desaceleración económica en los programas sociales y la evolución de la pobreza, analiza las razones y responsabilidades del incremento de la anemia infantil en los últimos años, se refiere al rol de los gobiernos regionales y municipales en los programas sociales, entre otros temas.
          â€œLa primera infancia ha dejado de ser una prioridad del gobierno”        
Primer ministro durante los primeros cinco meses del gobierno de Ollanta Humala y actual miembro del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, Salomón Lerner Ghitis hace un balance de la política social del gobierno. Cuestiona lo hecho por el régimen humalista en las políticas de atención y desarrollo de la infancia y señala que los resultados sociales del gobierno no han sido lo que se esperaba. Advierte sobre el impacto negativo de la desaceleración económica en la pobreza y la desnutrición infantil.
          "No estamos preparados para la desaceleración económica y quienes salieron de la pobreza pueden volver a ella”        
El historiador, antropólogo e investigador asociado de DESCO (Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo), Carlos Monge, hace un balance de los cuatro años de gobierno del presidente Ollanta Humala en relación a reducción de la pobreza, inclusión social y los programas sociales. Monge señala que el gobierno no está preparado para la desaceleración económica producto de la caída del precio de los minerales y advierte que quienes han salido de la pobreza en los últimos años podrían volver a caer en ella.
          Reconocimiento a miembros de Inversión en la infancia por su trabajo a favor de los niños y niñas        
En el marco del 25 aniversario de la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño, UNICEF premió a trece personalidades por su trabajo a favor de la niñez. Entre quienes recibieron este reconocimiento, estuvieron cinco miembros del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia: Gastón Garatea, coordinador nacional de esta iniciativa ciudadana; Uriel García, ex ministro de Salud; Javier Abugattás, ex viceministro de Economía; y los educadores Alejandro Cussiánovich y Manuel Bello. Los cinco se pronuncian sobre este reconocimiento, la Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño y los retos para mejorar la situación de la infancia.
          â€œHay crecimiento económico pero las desigualdades se mantienen”         
En la siguiente entrevista, Laureano Del Castillo, director ejecutivo del Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales (CEPES), analiza las políticas del gobierno dirigidas al sector rural, a los pequeños productores agrarios, que constituyen la población de mayor pobreza en el país y en la que se presentan los mayores problemas de desnutrición y anemia infantil, o de falta de acceso a una educación de calidad, entre otros aspectos que afectan un adecuado desarrollo de los niños.
          â€œEs un error decir que el crecimiento económico es suficiente para reducir la pobreza y la desigualdad”         
Historiador, antropólogo e investigador asociado de DESCO (Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo), Carlos Monge analiza el modelo de desarrollo peruano y su impacto en la reducción de la pobreza y las desigualdades. Monge advierte que este modelo consagra en diversas actividades el trabajo infantil sin derechos. Señala que una reducción de la pobreza monetaria no necesariamente significa una mejora en la calidad de vida del niño.
          â€œLa reducción de las desigualdades sociales pasa por cambios estructurales en el modelo de desarrollo”        
Eduardo Bustelo, politólogo argentino, experto en administración pública y planificación social, consultor de las Naciones Unidas en política social y combate a la pobreza, ex director de política social del Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF) para América Latina, analiza en la siguiente entrevista las brechas de desigualdad y la pobreza en América Latina en un contexto de crecimiento económico. Plantea las reformas necesarias para transformar el crecimiento de la región en un desarrollo sostenible con inclusión social y opina sobre la importancia de la inversión en la infancia.
          Hey, cig moochers -- smoking makes a hangover worse        

Dec. 24, 2002 -- At the Russian Vodka Room in midtown Manhattan, bar patrons drink and smoke at the end of the last full year of legal smoking in New York City bars and restaurants.If you only smoke when you're buzzed, you might want to reconsider: Those occasional late-night puffs could intensify your hangover in the morning, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.



          Upside to castration? Eunuchs lived longer, study finds        
A study of eunuchs in Korea's royal court has found men without testicles live longer. Researchers looking at the court of the Chosun Dynasty found eunuchs lived to 70 on average, or 14 to 19 years longer than "intact" men of similar socio-economic status.
          Teen to get genital reconstruction surgery        
Teen who lost nearly all his genitalia in shotgun blast undergoing surgery.
          What America’s Top LGBT Leaders Think Obama Must Do Next        
Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States partially because of his declared support of the LGBT community. As the president moves forward into his second term, the question rises of what the LGBT … Continue reading
          Economy Candy Founder Moishe Cohen's Sweet Lower East Side Legacy        

Moishe Cohen, the man we have to thank for Economy Candy, the sugar haven on New York City’s Lower East Side, died last week at 97. Cohen opened the Rivington Street shop in 1937, when he was 19, and the store quickly made a name for itself with its cheap candy, enormous selection, and haimish atmosphere. That reputation has lasted, and Economy Candy is a regular stop for tourists and New Yorkers alike, who are all won over by the place’s old-school charm.

The store, which is now run by Moishe’s grandson, Mitchell Cohen, announced the death on its Facebook page: “It is with great sadness and fond memories that we share with the Economy Candy family that we lost Morris ‘Moishe’ Cohen, the Original Candy Man at the age of 97.” The comments below the post, many of which were written by former Economy Candy employees, are a moving testament to Moishe’s character. “The man was my boss and also like a father to us,” one comment said. “Thanks for taking care of me and making me the man I’ve became,” said another. Two employees from the 1970s fondly remembered getting to drive Cohen’s Lincoln continental for pickups and deliveries.

Continue reading "Economy Candy Founder Moishe Cohen's Sweet Lower East Side Legacy" at...


                  

'National Retail Federation: As Economy Impacts Halloween, Americans Get Creative' article ZAKA link Wikipedia article about Ovadia Yosef '15 of the most disgusting Halloween candies you can buy' article The Annotated Child: Halloween Hangover

graphic for The Annotated Child: Halloween Hangover

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http://tabletmag.com/audio/podcast_feature051906_economycandy.mp3Jerry Cohen, owner of Economy Candy, a sweet tooth wonderland on New York City’s Lower East Side, has worked there ever since he was a kid. He knows the store’s vast inventory as well as anyone – everything from the Banana French Taffy Chews to rainbow-colored Gummy Sour Worms. In anticipation of Passover, Tablet’s Blake Eskin takes a guided tour of Jerry’s holiday-appropriate selection, which includes fresh candied fruit slices and chocolate dipped macaroons.

Continue reading "" at...


          C'est pour ton bien, Cindy Costes        
Je ne sais plus trop comment cette nouvelle est arrivée dans ma PAL numérique (tellement de bouquin là-dedans que si je devais me souvenir du pourquoi pour tous...). N'empêche, elle a dut me tilter à un moment donné. Et du coup, comme j'avais envie d'une lecture rapide, c'est tombé sur elle. Puis j'aime bien la couverture

C'est pour ton bien, Cindy Costes

Editeur : Autoédition
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

 A lire si :
- Vous voulez une lecture rapide (une vingtaine de page en gros)
- Vous aimez les moments de vie

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez du long
- Vous aimez avoir un background.

Présentation de l'auteur :

Laetitia est une jeune femme d'aujourd'hui, une battante. Bien entourée par ses collègues, sa meilleure amie et sa mère....
Bien entourée ? Oui... effectivement, tous sont là pour la conseiller, la pousser à prendre les bonnes décisions que ce soit dans la vie amoureuse ou professionnelle.
Mais finalement, qui sont-ils pour juger et dire « ce qui est bon » ?
Avec une écriture mature, pleine de tendresse pour son personnage principale, Cindy Costes nous offre une tranche de vie, parfois douloureuse mais belle et lucide....

Mon avis

Imaginez-vous mère célibataire, travailleuse un peu trop acharnée, ayant à peine rompue avec son copain, lui-même dépressif. C'est ce qu'il se passe dans la vie de Laeti en ce moment. Or, si elle arrive à tout mener de front, il semble que cela ne soit pas l'avis de sa meilleure amie, Gaby et de sa mère. Les deux femmes veulent à tout prix chapeauter sa vie, l'incitant à changer de boulot par exemple. Le tout pour son propre bien. Et elle laisse faire, parce qu'elle n'a pas envie de se prendre la tête, parce que peut-être aussi que ça lui va pas trop mal comme situation. Situation qu'on est beaucoup à avoir connu, je suppose. Mais voilà, elle découvre qu'elle est enceinte. Et là, pas mal de chose vont changer pour elle. Parce que Gaby ne lui donne pas le choix. C'est pour son bien, elle travaille dur, elle n'a pas de mec, alors, elle va avorter. Point. D'ailleurs, elle lui prend même un rendez-vous pour ça. J'ai envie de dire "super la copine quand même...".

La nouvelle est courte, pas forcément sans défaut mais elle tape plutôt bien. On se reconnait pas mal en Laeti qui a somme toute une vie normale. Les amis trop envahissants, les mères qui continuent à diriger notre vie... C'est l'une des forces de la nouvelle d'ailleurs, ce personnage de "madame tout le monde" qui soudain va se rebeller. Pour elle, se sera parce qu'elle est enceinte et que non, elle n'a pas envie de suivre le choix que l'on veut faire pour elle. J'ai apprécié d'ailleurs qu'elle ne parte pas bille en tête juste pour être en rébellion. Une petite discussion avec la gynécologue sur le choix qui est intéressante bien que courte et hop, voilà notre Laetitia qui prend sa décision pour son bien à elle en son âme et conscience.

La nouvelle est agréable à lire, surtout qu'on arrive facilement à s'identifier à la jeune femme. Le style est fluide, n'en fait pas trop. On s'immerge rapidement et si la nouvelle est sans surprise, elle permet de passer un moment sympathique. Après, n'attendez rien de foufou ou de vraiment surprenant hein, ce n'est pas vraiment le but, il me semble. 



          Scumland, Absinthe Pandemos        
Vous allez finir par croire que je suis payée par Walrus pour faire des avis sur leurs livres. Et bien pas du tout, juste que quand on aime, on ne compte pas, surtout avec une OPMORSE qui m'a permis de me plonger dans les pulps qui m’intéressaient depuis un moment. Bref, depuis que j'ai découvert la maison d'édition numérique (en 2013), je n'ai jamais été déçue par mes lectures. Eux et moi, on se comprend parfaitement. Et ce n'est pas ce Scumland qui va me faire changer d'avis !

Scumland, Absinthe Pandemos

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : Pulp
Année de parution : 2015
Format : epub

A lire si :
- Vous voulez du saignant
- Vous voulez de la misandrie

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous êtes un gros macho qui ne comprend pas toujours le second degrés et qui se prend la tête pour un rien
- Vous voulez une petite histoire mêmère

Présentation de l'éditeur :

La nature est hostile en dehors des cités, mais la société se porte mieux depuis la révolution misandre : désormais, devenir un esclave castré est ce qui peut arriver de mieux à un « chamallo » (Cisgenre Hetero Male Low Life). Traqués dans les jungles qui bordent les villes, les mâles sont ramenés à leur condition de matière première et servent de cobayes à des expériences souvent sanglantes et rarement pratiquées sous anesthésie. Ainsi exploités, ils contribuent à la survie de l’espèce… et grâce à la technomagie, on n’en perd plus une goutte !
Flora et Maddy sont deux traqueuses bien décidées à aider le SCUM — l’élite des tueuses professionnelles — à mettre la main sur un chamallo errant repéré aux abords de la cité. Armées de leurs machettes et d’une bonne dose de rage, elles enfourchent leurs motos et partent en chasse dans les ruines du vieux monde.

Mon avis

Au fur et à mesure de mes lectures, je me rends compte que je porte un intérêt grandissant pour les thèmes féministes et pour les personnages féminins qui ne sont pas de potentielles "princesse à sauver par un chevalier blanc alors qu'elles auraient pu être bien plus badass que ça".  Alors lorsque je vois un livre comme Scumland, autant le dire, je me jette dessus. Rien que la quatrième de couverture me donnait l'eau à la bouche et cela s'en parler de cette magnifique couverture (comme toutes celles de la collection pulp d'ailleurs). Je le savais Scumland et moi, on était fait pour bien s'entendre. Mon côté féministe parle beaucoup et comme je l'écoute beaucoup, je n'allais pas faire une impasse sur le roman.

Scumland nous plonge dans un monde misandre. Pour les personnes dans le fond qui ne savent pas voici une définition de misandre : Qui éprouve du mépris, voire de la haine, pour le sexe masculin ; qui témoigne de ce mépris (merci Larousse). La société créée après une apocalypse (laquelle, on ne sait pas) est une société féministe et féminine qui se base pas mal sur le SCUM Manifesto de Valérie Solanas (oui, j'ai fait des recherches et on peut le trouver là). Alors du coup, vu le dit manifeste, le roman allait être bien violent, surtout pour les hommes. Et je n'avais pas tord du tout.

Parce que de la violence, il y a en et pas qu'un peu. Rien que les premières pages risquent de faire mal à ces messieurs et réjouir toutes les femmes qui ont pu ou se sentent encore opprimées. Vient ensuite une partie plus calme, où l'on découvre le traitement réservé aux chamallos (aux hommes (enfin aux cisgenre male quoi)) grâce à la technomagie mais aussi le fonctionnement de la société misandre. Une société qui a banni tous ce qui pouvait être masculin (le travail, l'argent par exemple) et qui surtout oppressé les femmes à notre époque. Alors, ça risque pour certain d'avoir l'air totalement surréaliste, malheureusement, ce n'est pas tant le cas que ça. Disons que la plupart des femmes vont parfaitement comprendre le discours de cette société et qu'un certain nombre d'autres personnes vont crier à la misandrie et se plaindre. Bref, les bons machos vont nous lâcher de belles male tears.  Après la dite partie calme, on passe à la chasse aux chamallos et au retour de la violence. Et là aussi, nous allons avoir des male tears. 

Mais la violence n'est pas le point central du roman, juste ce qui le place finalement dans la collection pulp de Walrus. On y trouve plein de chose qui font réfléchir la bébé féministe que je suis. Et c'est là que personnellement j'ai trouvé tout l'interet du bouquin. Oui, le féminisme sur lequel il s’appuie est clairement anti-hommes, mais il me semble que l'auteure joue justement sur cela pour ouvrir un peu les consciences. Du coup, on se divertit beaucoup et en plus de ça, on réfléchit aussi. 

Au final, je l'ai bien aimé ce Scumland. Les personnages sont pas forcément ultra développés mais elles sont plaisantes à suivre, l'univers m'a fait bien plaisir et ça se lit facilement (à condition par contre de connaitre deux trois trucs sur le genre, le féminisme mais franchement, suffit de traîner un peu sur twitter ou pas loin de féministes pour les comprendre et sinon y a google au pire). Un livre bien sympathique et qui donne à la femme un rôle à sa hauteur (celle de personne qui n'a pas besoin d'un mec pour déboîter grave)(je raconte pas comme ça fait du bien ce genre de personnage hein). Bref, c'est du pulp, c'est du Walrus, c'est du bon. Et je m'en vais voir si je peux pas trouver d'autres livres (roman ou nouvelles) d'Absinthe Pandemos de ce pas.

          Le démon dans l'escalier, Julien Noel        
Je continue avec l'OPMORSE (d'ailleurs, cette semaine, ce sont les romans qui sont en promos)(désolée cher porte-monnaie...) et cette fois, c'est le seul livre dont vous êtes le héros que j'ai pris durant la promo la semaine passée. Oui, il n'y en avait qu'un qui m’intéressait (chose rare quand même chez Walrus). 

Le démon dans l'escalier, Julien Noel

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : Rendez-vous au 14
Année de parution : 2017
Format : epub

A lire si : 
- Vous aimez jouer
- Vous voulez une aventure un peu barré

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous aimez le compliqué
- Vous n'aimez pas les livres dont vous êtes le héros

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

Pas simple de gagner honnêtement sa vie de sorcier lorsque l’on est inconnu et qu’on n’a aucune relation dans le milieu. Pourtant on dirait que c’est votre jour de chance : on vous propose un job. Certes, on est venu vous pêcher dans un bar miteux et ces gens ont l’air d’être dotés de pouvoirs bien supérieurs aux vôtres. Mais soyez lucide : c’est sans doute votre seule chance de percer dans ce métier et de vous faire une réputation. A priori, il s’agit juste de rendre un petit service — un mage, un esprit, une invocation, un enchantement, un démon peut-être. Dans tous les cas, pas de quoi fouetter un chat. Mais pourquoi faire appel à vous si la mission est si facile ?
Vous vous sentez à la hauteur ? Tant mieux, car c’est vous qui serez aux commandes de cette courte aventure dont vous êtes le héros. À vous de faire les bons choix pour ne pas ruiner définitivement vos espoirs de devenir un sorcier reconnu.

Mon avis

J'en avais déjà parlé sur Plongée sur R'Lyeh de Loic Richard, les livres dont vous êtes le héro sont pour moi une sorte de madeleine de Proust. J'ai passé une bonne partie de mes vacances d'été entre 8 et 15 ans à dévorer ce genre de bouquin que je piquais allègrement à mon frère. Alors, de temps en temps, j'aime bien me replonger dans l'ambiance de l'adolescence. Et chez Walrus, les livres dont vous êtes le héros sont de qualité.

Ce Démon dans l'escalier vous fait devenir un sorcier de bas étage à qui l'on confie enfin une mission qui devrait redoré son blason. Dès le début, on sent l'aventure un peu barrée, à l'image des pulps chers à la maison d'édition du morse. Parce que le dit Démon dans l'escalier est du genre particulier et que vous êtes du genre pas forcément très aidé, je dirais. L'aventure n'en est pas moins savoureuse et je me suis prise au jeu avec facilité.

L'aventure est assez courte (bien plus que celle de Plongée sur R'Lyeh) et parfaite pour les débutants. Attention toutefois à prendre deux-trois notes car le héros va se voir douter de certaines armes ou compétences au cours de l'aventure. Or si comme moi, vous ne la faites pas en une seule journée (ce qui est plus que faisable d'ailleurs), vous risquez de ne plus savoir ce que vous avez ou non. Une aventure courte mais qui possède quelques embûches bien sympathiques (je suis du genre à chercher d'abord à perdre en répondant le plus crétinement possible rien que pour rire des morts ou défaites parfois bien stupide des personnages)(d'ailleurs pas de mort ici mais un contrat qui prend fin tout simplement). Ainsi votre serviteuse n'a pas terminé cinq fois son aventure en le faisant exprès pour quatre d'entre elles. Autant dire qu'il vous faut tout de même réfléchir un minimum avant de choisir le prochain chemin.

Au final, je me suis drôlement bien amusé avec ce Démon dans l'escalier. Les personnages secondaires sont sympathiques, le héros bien looser et le démon amusant (je ne veux pas en dire plus pour ne pas spoiler). Son seul point négatif, il est peut-être un peu trop court. J'aurais bien fait quelques heures de plus avec lui.

          Proie Dunoir, Gaelle K. Kempeneers        
Second acquisition de l'OPMORSE (vous avez encore trois jours d'ailleurs pour profiter des promos sur les livres de monsieur Desienne)(si je ne les avais pas tous déjà,  mon compte en banque aurait pas apprécier...), je ne savais pas trop que penser de ce Proie Dunoir qui me faisait envie depuis un bon moment déjà (mes journées étant trop courtes, comme mon compte en banque soit dit en passant, j'ai attendu bien longtemps avant de me l'offrir)(trop même). 

Proie Dunoir, Gaelle K. Kempeneers

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : pulp
Année de parution : 2015
Format : epub

A lire si :
- Vous aimez le pulp à la sauce Walrus
- Vous voulez une héroine d'urban fantasy qui change 
- Vous voulez de l'action, de l'humour et que ça envoie du steack

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous n'aimez pas les pulps

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

My name is Dunoir. Proie Dunoir. Laissez tomber : private joke.
Qui je suis ? La nouvelle recrue du B.A.S., la banshee de service. On m’a engagée pour botter les culs des méchants qui hantent les rues de Rédemption. Sauf qu’entre les monstres mythiques, les divinités en goguette, les vampires crétins et les Puissances qui se bousculent au portillon, je ne sais plus où donner de la tête. Alors, quand en plus la Famille (la mienne, sinon ce ne serait pas drôle) s’en mêle, j’ai bien besoin de mes collègues Lucrèce et Leyhan pour y mettre un peu d’ordre. Sans oublier Jack, le loup. Mon âme-sœur, parait-il.
Je vous ai déjà parlé de mon âme ? Y a moyen d’écrire tout un roman sur le sujet. Ah ! Mais attendez… Bref, y a des jours comme ça où on se dit qu’on aurait mieux fait de se casser la jambe au saut du lit !

Mon avis

Les Pulps chez Walrus se suivent mais ne se ressemblent pas. Si l'on retrouve toujours la petite touche de l'éditeur, une certaine folie douce qui fait du bien, il faut bien avouer que les histoires vont d'un thème à l'autre sans le moindre problème. Depuis la création de la collection, j'ai lu  des filles qui font du roller derby (Roller Derby X de Michael Roch), une histoire de zombie (Zoulag de monsieur Desienne), le premier épisode d'une détective dans l'univers de Lovecraft (Premier épisode d'A gauche après l'asile de Jessie) et à présent, la première saison des aventures d'une Banshee. Et je prends toujours le même plaisir à lire cette mauvaise littérature, ce petit plaisir coupable qui me fait autant de bien que de la dark romance aux amatrices de romance érotique. Mais passons à ce Proie Dunoir, petit bijoux dans le domaine de l'urban fantasy qui envoie du lourd.

Il faut dire que Proie, l'héroïne, fait partie de ces personnages que j'adore suivre. Charmante punk de vingt quatre ans, elle n'a pas la langue dans sa poche, fait la forte devant les autres sans l'être toutefois trop et possède un sens de l'humour plus que plaisant. Autant le dire, ce n'est pas l'une de ses héroïnes trop parfaite, trop fade que voilà. Elle me rappelle un peu Marie dans Sainte Marie des Ombres ou encore Maeve Regan de Marika Gallman. Bref, un personnage "à la française", loin du stéréotype américain trop lisse. Et j'aime les personnages qui ne sont pas lisses justement. 

D'ailleurs, aucun ne l'est dans Proie Dunoir. Ils ont tous ce petit grain de folie qui les rend assez unique en leur genre malgré une approche à première vue un peu stéréotypée. Mais juste à première vue, vu que Gaelle K. Kempeneers s'amuse régulièrement à les prendre à contre emploi. Et j'adore ça. Surtout qu'elle a réussi à créer une belle osmose entre les personnages. J'ai particulièrement apprécié Lucrèce, sorcière blanche de son état, légèrement guindée, un peu "prout-prout" et qui pourtant est juste super géniale et sort parfois des vannes assez bien sentie. J'ai été par contre un peu déçue que l'on voit moins Leyhan, la sirène, qui entretient avec Proie une sorte de je t'aime, moi non plus à base de piques bien senties. Et puis, il y a Jack. Jack c'est le genre de personnage qui risquait de me prendre la tête. L'homme du groupe, fort, beau, ténébreux et lié à Proie par un lien d'âme (je n'ai pas pu m'empêcher d'y voir une sorte de "parodie" du lien entre Jacob et Renesmee dans Twilight de Meyer)(oui, il m'arrive de lire des livres un peu plus niais)(même pas honte). Or, j'ai adoré Jack, justement parce que ce qui aurait pu être bien chiant (le lien, l'amour fou, la niaiserie du truc) est complètement retourné pour en faire quelque chose de génial. 

Mais il n'y a pas que les personnages de géniaux dans ce roman. L'univers est agréable. De l'Urban Fantasy à la française qui se passe donc non loin des Rocheuses. On se trouve avec un mélange de légende européenne (la Banshee, la sirène, les cours des fées) et amérindienne (les porteurs de peau, les wendigos). Du coup, on ne s'étonne pas de retrouver Nimué (pour ceux qui ne savent pas, il s'agit de la Dame du Lac) dans les Rocheuses par exemple. Un mélange qui n'est pas pour me déplaire. Surtout que j'adore la mythologie féerique européenne. Et chose sympathique, il ne faut pas être un expert en féérie pour tout comprendre. 

Et on ajoute donc à tout cela, le style de l'autrice, percutant, plein d'humour et fort agréable à lire. Je ne raconte pas combien de fois j'ai pu sourire, rire, pousser des petits cris de fangirl ou faire la moue en lisant le roman (Chéri me prend parfois pour une folle lorsque je lis, je devrais me filmer tiens pour rire). Un style qui irait parfaitement bien pour une série. Ce qui est d'ailleurs le cas. En lisant les premiers chapitres, on se rend bien compte qu'au départ, Proie Dunoir devait être une série (qui rend très bien en roman). Aurais-je préféré que ce format-là soit choisi au final ? J'avoue que oui (mais c'est parce que j'adore réellement les séries dans ce genre, courte sans trop l'être avec des cliffhangers qui me font râler à mort et l'attende qui va avec). J'espère grandement d'ailleurs qu'on puisse avoir une saison deux. 

Et enfin, conclusion pour la Banshee Punk ? Gros mais alors gros coup de cœur pour ce roman. Je l'ai fini ce matin et j'en veux encore. Je veux (j'exige serait plus vrai, mais je ne suis qu'une simple lectrice hein) une suite. Je veux savoir ce qu'il va se passer ensuite, je veux plus de Proie et de Jack et des autres. 







          Les Chiens et les Loups, Irène Némirovsky        
Je mettais dis que cette année, j'allais découvrir la littérature slave. Et puis, les mois ont passé et rien du tout. Il était temps que je m'y mette. C'est donc avec une autrice d'origine ukrainienne exilée en France que je commence ma découverte slave.


Les Chiens et les Loups, Irène Némirovsky

Editeur : Le livre de poche
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2010
Nombre de pages :  250

A lire si :
- Vous voulez une histoire d'amour compliquée
- Vous aimez les histoires qui ne sont pas simples
- Vous voulez du sentiment d'exil

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez juste de la romance

Présentation de l'éditeur :


Témoin des bouleversements de son siècle, Irène Némirovsky, morte à Auschwitz en 1942, est l'auteur d'une oeuvre étonnante qui fait d'elle un des plus grands écrivains de l'entre-deux-guerres. À la croisée des cultures juive, française et slave, cette romancière ne cesse de surprendre par sa modernité. Comme la plupart des romans d'Irène Némirovsky, Les Chiens et les Loups (1940) n'est pas étranger au destin personnel de son auteur. Le sentiment d'un inconsolable exil (issue de la
haute bourgeoisie, Irène Némirovsky fuit Kiev et la Révolution d'Octobre avec sa famille avant de trouver refuge en France), le poids de la société et la fatalité du destin sont au centre de ce roman qui évoque l'amour insensé de deux jeunes Juifs unis par un lointain souvenir. Ada, une artiste révoltée, et Harry, un riche banquier, sont les deux facettes d'une même personne. Tragiquement attirés l'un vers l'autre, rien ne peut les réunir, si ce n'est le sentiment de leur propre perte. Bercé de mélancolie, ce bouleversant roman sur l'enfance et l'innocence perdues est un chef-d'oeuvre de la littérature, à découvrir, ou à redécouvrir.

Mon avis

La quatrième de couverture étant assez intriguante au niveau de la vie de l'autrice de ce roman, je suis allée un peu fouiller sur wikipédia pour en savoir plus. Cette femme, née en Ukraine, de confession juive, a dut fuir son pays plusieurs fois pour échapper aux pogroms (attaque ultra violente contre les juifs) puis la révolution d'Octobre. Elle se réfugiera en France avec sa famille. Malheureusement, la seconde guerre mondiale passera par là et elle mourra à Auschwitz comme bien d'autres. Les Chiens et les Loups est le dernier roman publié de son vivant. Elle fut une autrice prolifique se basant pas mal sur sa vie et sur son exil. Les Chiens et les Loups en est un bel exemple. 

Ada Sinner est une enfant juive née dans la basse ville. Orpheline de mère, elle vit avec son père et son grand-père jusqu'à l'arrivée de sa tante Rhaïssa et de ses enfants après la mort de son époux. Si son enfance se passe dans la pauvreté, elle n'en est pas moins tout à fait malheureuse. Elle accepte sa condition, se rebelle contre une tante qui n'en a rien à faire d'elle, vit comme la plupart des enfants. Jusqu'à ce qu'elle aperçoive Harry Sinner, un cousin éloigné, petit fils du Sinner de la ville haute, un parent riche. A partir de cet aperçu, la vie d'Ada va se voir modifier. Elle voue un amour fou à Harry qu'elle ne connait même pas. Mais la vie est souvent injuste et suite aux pogroms, elle part avec sa tant Rhaïssa, Lilla et Ben, ses cousins, ainsi que Madame Mimi, une française pour Paris. Commence alors l'exil pour elle, dans une ville et un pays étranger où elle n'est pas forcément bien vu. Là, elle doit commencer une nouvelle vie et pourquoi pas, un jour se rapprochait d'Harry, lui aussi venu à Paris.

Si le roman se présente comme une sorte de Roméo et Juliette à la sauce juive, il est bien plus que cela. Irène Némirovsky a surement dut se servir de sa propre expérience tant les sentiments sur l'exil sont forts. Car c'est bien de cela que le roman parle. Enfin, pas que, mais nous le verrons après. Les deux personnages principaux du roman, Ada et Harry, vivent l'exil à leur façon. Elle restant slave, sauvage par rapport aux français, lui se mêlant sans vraiment le faire. Finalement, malgré la différence de leur statut sociaux (elle pauvre, lui héritier d'un empire banquier), ils restent pareil face au déracinement. D'ailleurs, ce sont les peintures d'Ada qui le feront comprendre à Harry. Leur attachement, leur histoire d'amour semble découler plus de cet exil que de vrais sentiments amoureux. Les deux sont particulièrement semblables, deux faces d'une même personne au final. Ils ne sont pas les seuls. Ben, le fils de tante Rhaïssa et mari d'Ada, vit aussi son exil d'une autre manière. En réalité, qu'il soit en France ou en Ukraine, il vivrait de la même manière, essayant à tout prix de s'élever de sa condition. Il en va de même pour Lilla, sa sœur, qui aurait pu avoir un avenir brillant et qui finalement, tombera dans l'oubli, comme bien d'autre.

Le fait que les personnages principaux soient juifs apporte aussi beaucoup au roman. Ils ne sont pas juste étranger, ils sont juifs. Or, à l'époque de l'écriture du roman (il est publié pour la première fois en 1940), les juifs ne sont pas vraiment les gens les plus en vu. Trop riches pour certains, trop "étrangers" pour d'autre, leur population restent mystérieuses pour beaucoup. Les personnages sentent tous cela. Ils sont tous semblables entre eux avec pourtant cette différence des liens sociaux. Cela se voit beaucoup avec Ben, jaloux de Harry, qui ne cesse de répéter à Ada qu'ils sont presque comme des frères, que seule la naissance et l'éducation ont séparé, qu'ils sont comme les chiens et les loups (d'où le titre, ben oui).

On ajoute à cela une écriture simple, agréable et finalement belle, une vision de la société d'alors assez critique, encore plus concernant les juifs. D'ailleurs, d'après wikipédia, Irène Némirovsky aurait eu à une époque une réputation d'antisémiste. Réputation qui lui venait semble-t-il plus de l'envie de plaire aux français à travers ses livres qu'autres choses. Il me faut trouver une biographie de cette autrice. Elle m'intrigue autant que ses personnages et ses histoires.

Pour finir, Les chiens et les loups est un très bon livre. Il se cache sous des abords un peu "simple" de la romance pour parler de tout à fait autre chose. Je l'ai lu lentement pour en profiter (il est tout de même assez court). Il est certain que je lirais d'autres roman de madame Némirosky. 

          Les Blaireaux se cachent pour Mourir, A gauche après l'asile, Saison 1, épisode 1, Jessie        
Premier achat de l'OPMORSE (d'ailleurs, cette semaine, ce sont les livres dont vous êtes le héros qui sont en promos)(j'ai chroniqué il y a un moment Plongée sur R'Lyeh y a un moment de ça)(toute mon enfance les LDVELH), cet épisode d'une série qui se veut loufoque aura fait mon week-end.

Les Blaireaux se cachent pour Mourir, A gauche après l'asile, Saison 1, épisode 1, Jessie

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : Pulp
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

A lire si : 
- Vous voulez du déjanté
- Vous voulez une enquête
- Vous voulez une héroine qui n'a pas la langue dans sa poche

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous n'aimez pas Lovecraft
- Vous voulez du calme et de la sérénité.

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

Comment décrire l’indescriptible ? Il se passe beaucoup de choses à Arkham, ce qui n’est pas pour déplaire à Casey Bolton, détective privée de l’occulte à la tête d’une agence qui se voit confier d’étranges enquêtes. Entourée de curieux spécimens plus ou moins aptes à mener à bien les noirs desseins des Grands Anciens, la jeune femme doit démêler d’extravagantes affaires... s ans jamais perdre son style (tout le reste pourra être négocié).
À ceux qui ont toujours su qu’HPL n’était pas devenu fou pour rien, ce livre va vous donner raison : aucune chance que vous sortiez indemne de la lecture des aventures de Casey Bolton. Les éditeurs et surveillants du Walrus Institute déclinent quant à eux toute responsabilité concernant la perte de vos points de santé mentale, mais s’engagent à prodiguer les meilleurs soins à Jessie, l’auteure de cette truculente fresque haute en couleur.

Mon avis

Qu'il va être compliqué de donner mon avis sur ce premier épisode d'une série qui je l'espère va continuer. Mais on va essayer, hein. Après tout, je suis là pour ça, hein. Donc allons-y.

Prenez un peu beaucoup de Lovecraft, son univers, ses dieux emblématiques..., prenez ensuite une détective qui n'a pas réellement de chance et qui ouvre parfois un peu trop sa gueule, une étudiante trop parfaite, un footballeur américain coqueluche de son équipe qui broute méchamment le gazon, un humeur parfois douteux, de l'action, de l'occulte et vous obtiendrez "A gauche après l'asile", un bon pulp comme Walrus aime publier, comme j'aime les lire. Barré complet et tellement addictif. 

Jessie c'est inspiré du jeu de rôle "L’appel de Cthulhu" et des divers écrits de Lovecraft pour nous pondre sa série. Mais si on ne connait pas l'oeuvre de Lovecraft (ou comme moi, le jeu de rôle), ce n'est pas bien grave. Bon, on va rater deux trois références surement, mais on va quand même bien profiter de l'épisode. Ce qui est agréable. Pas besoin de connaitre par cœur la bibliographique horrifique de Lovecraft pour lire A Gauche après l'Asile. Et ça c'est bien. 

D'ailleurs, on finit rapidement par oublier le monsieur pour Casey Bolton. Casey, c'est tout une histoire. Un personnage comme je les apprécie. Forte en bouche, quelque peu barrée, la réplique facile, tout comme la critique et par qu'envers les autres (même si), la courtoisie en berne. Et elle n'a pas la seule à m'avoir plu. Son équipe est loin d'être ennuyante, entre une tueuse à gage androgyne, une étudiante blonde bien trop parfaite et son garde du corps à la poitrine imposante et j'en passe vu que pour l'instant, nous ne les avons pas tous rencontrer. Ben oui, c'est un épisode d'introduction, faut laisser quelques surprises pour les autres. D'ailleurs, si l'équipe semble déjà bien particulière, elle n'est pas seule. Les personnages secondaires sont tous aussi succulents. Mention spéciale d'ailleurs à Soeur Marie que j'espère découvrir un peu plus dans les autres épisodes (pis je veux le reste de l'équipe aussi)

On ajoute donc à des références fort sympathiques (d'ailleurs, même si l'action se déroule dans les années 1920 et quelques les références à notre culture sont trouvables)(style vampire qui clignote et scintille par exemple), des personnages déjantés, une écriture rapide et non dépourvue d'humour. Un combo gagnant avec moi et qui fait de cette série un vrai petit plaisir pour amateur de pulp walrusien.
Et en plus de ça, si jamais vous n'en avez pas eu assez, on peut retrouver tous les jours des textes d'environ 100 mots sur le blog de l'auteure qui tournent autour de la série (même si parfois l'autrice fait référénce à une saison future, me semble pas qu'il y ait de gros spoiler) : le névronomicon.

          Where the Eagle Cry, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 7, Cécile Duquenne        
J'ai fini cet ultime épisode ce matin. Et j'ai déjà averti Cécile Duquenne que c'était vraiment pas cool de me faire pleurer de bon matin. Je n'aime pas dire adieu à des univers que j'aime autant. C'est pas sa faute. 

Where the Eagle Cry, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 7, Cécile Duquenne

Editeur : Bragelonne
Collection : Snark
Année de parution : 2017
format : epub


A lire si : 
- Vous avez lu et aimé la première et la seconde saisons
- Vous voulez une série qui mélange les genres avec bonheur

A ne pas lire si :
-... (toujours pas trouvé pourquoi il ne faudrait pas les lires, les Foulards Rouges)
- Par contre, si vous n'avez pas lu les deux premières saisons, autant éviter (tout comme de lire mes avis d'ailleurs)

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Découvrez la fin de l’incroyable périple de Lara et Renaud dans la troisième et ultime saison des Foulards Rouges ! Une épopée qui vous emmène loin, très loin par-delà les étoiles, et qui mêle magie, uchronie, steampunk, mystère et amour avec brio.

Mon avis

Purée que je n'aime pas les fins. Mais vraiment pas. Les Foulards Rouges, c'est une aventure qui a débuté pour le lecteur le 19 février 2014. Déjà. Depuis, nous avons eu trois saisons qui dépotent toutes graves, des aventures, des rires, des larmes, des personnages qu'on avait vraiment envie de suivre tous les mois. Pour son autrice, ça a débuté bien plus tôt, logique, et je suppose qu'elle est un peu dans le même état que le lecteur. Triste et en même temps super heureux. Parce que là, trois heures après avoir lu la dernière partie, je suis juste triste et heureuse. 

Je ne sais pas trop comment continuer mon avis. J'ai envie de parler de ces trois ans de Foulards Rouges, de l'attente des épisodes ou des extraits que l'autrice nous donner parfois sur Twitter, de l’excitation qui ne quittait pas ma lecture, de cette impression que les Foulards Rouges faisaient presque partie de la famille. Il est rare de ressentir ça pour un "simple" bouquin, pour des personnages de papier. Pourtant ça arrive, quelque fois. Et les Foulards Rouges font parti de ces romans qui marquent. 

Mais imaginez tout de même. En février 2014, on découvrait Lara Carax, son caractère de cochon et sa vie sur Bagne. On découvrait aussi Bagne par la même occasion, planète aride où rien ne pousse. Petit à petit, au fil des épisodes, la quête de liberté de la jeune femme et de Renaud, ainsi que des autres Foulards. On les a suivi dans leur évasion, puis sur Terre et enfin de retour à Bagne. On a tremblé avec eux, on s'est posé pas mal de question, on a été soulagé parfois. Bref, trois ans à vivre des émotions avec eux, cela laisse forcément une trace.

Et nous en arrivons à la fin. Une fin que je ne voulais pas forcément tant j'étais bien avec eux. Mais une fin nécessaire. Une fin surprenante aussi dans un sens. Alors que Cécile a maltraité ses personnages durant trois saisons, elle finit par leur offrir leur liberté. Enfin. Mais cela ne se fait pas dans la douceur. Les premiers couinements de ma part sont arrivés rapidement, avec la découverte du prix à payer pour avoir gagné. Un prix dur, mais nécessaire. Après tout, nous n'allions tout de même pas avoir un Happy End merveilleux, cela ne serait pas aller avec le reste. Et puis l'autrice répond à pas mal de question que l'on a pu se poser durant les trois saisons. Et enfin, la fin, la vraie. Celle qui m'a fait venir les larmes. Je vous dirais pas, mais elle va si bien aux Foulards Rouges cette fin. Mais vraiment. 

Alors voilà. Sur des touches un peu plus gaies que les fins des deux premières saisons, nous achevons notre voyage sur Bagne. Pas de cliffhanger de la mort qui tue (qu'est-ce que j'ai pu râlé pendant trois ans avec ça), pas de grosses batailles (du moins pas au sens combat avec mort et sang, parce que finalement, c'est une bataille que nous offre cet ultime épisode). Mais une liberté trouvée et toutes les questions, les difficultés que cela implique. Une belle fin pour les Foulards Rouges donc, mais aussi une manière de ne pas fermer la porte de l'univers. Qui sait, peut-être que Cécile Duquenne reviendra à Bagne pour nous parler de cette libération ou peut-être même sur Terre.

Pour conclure, un petit mot à Cécile Duquenne. Merci. L'aventure a été géniale et j'ai été plus que ravie de la suivre. 

          Bioshock : Rapture, John Shirley        
Avant toute chose, sachez que je n'ai jamais joué à Bioshock. Du coup, je me suis aventurée dans cette lecture sans rien savoir. Juste parce que le livre fait partie du mois du Cuivre et que la couverture très art nouveau me plaisait beaucoup. Et cette lecture m'a plu et m'a donné envie de jouer au jeu. (il est sortit en 2007 et je n'ai pas la moindre idée de s'il tourne sous mac, faudra que je regarde ça de plus près).

Bioshock : Rapture, John Shirley

Editeur : Bragelonne
Collection : Le Mois du Cuivre
Année de parution : 2016
Titre en VO : Bioshock : Rapture
Année de parution en VO : 2011
Format : AZW

A lire si :
- Vous aimez les utopies qui tournent mal
- Vous n'avez pas peur de vous perdre entre personnages et les dates
- Vous voulez un huis-clos

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez de la romance
- Vous voulez du tout beau tout propre
- Vous avez du mal avec le côté un peu trop documentaire

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

C’était la fin de la seconde guerre mondiale. Le New Deal du président Roosevelt avait redéfini la politique américaine. Les impôts avaient atteint un pic sans précédent. Les bombardements de Hiroshima et Nagasaki avaient créé la peur de l’annihilation totale. La montée d’agences gouvernementales secrètes avait rendu la population méfiante. Le sentiment de liberté des États-Unis s’était étiolé… Et nombreux étaient ceux qui voulaient retrouver cette liberté. Parmi eux, un grand rêveur, un immigré qui s’était élevé des plus profonds abysses de la pauvreté pour devenir l’un des hommes les plus riches et les plus admirés au monde. Cet homme s’appelait Andrew Ryan, et il avait la conviction que les grands hommes méritaient ce qu’il y avait de mieux. Alors il se mit en quête de l’impossible, une utopie libre de tout gouvernement, de toute censure, de toute restriction morale sur la science, où ce qu’on donnait on le recevait en retour. Il a créé Rapture, la lumineuse cité sous les mers. Mais l’utopie a été frappée d’une terrible tragédie. Voici comment tout a commencé… et tout a fini.

Mon avis

Comme dit en introduction, je ne suis pas du tout au courant de l'histoire de Bioshock, le jeu. Je partais donc totalement "vierge" de toute information, me demandant un peu ce que cela allait donner. Bon, après lecture, je me suis tout de même renseignée, et il s'avère que le livre se situe donc avant le jeu.

On se retrouve en fin de seconde guerre mondiale. Les USA ont largués les bombes atomique sur le japon, les populations ont peur, sont méfiantes. C'est avec un climat de plus en plus tendu qu'il faut vivre. Or, cela, Andrew Ryan ne le veut pas. Il a un rêve, créer une cité sous la mer où aucune règle ne viendrait ternir sa vision du monde. Une utopie fantastique pour qui veut évoluer dans la vie. Ce qu'aurait du être les USA avant le New Deal de Roosevelt. Ainsi va donc naître l'héroïne du roman, la ville de Rapture, dont nous allons connaitre l'histoire à travers quelques personnages, Ryan, Bill, Sullivan, Fontaine et d'autres.

Car la ville est bel et bien l'héroïne du livre, bien plus que les personnages qui la peuplent.  Mais parlons d'eux avant de parler d'elle. Le panel couvert par l'auteur est assez hétéroclite bien que principalement masculin. Oui, j'aurais voulu que les femmes ait de plus grand rôle, mais je ne peux pas tout avoir, n'est-ce pas ? Bref, des personnages nombreux et qui ne se ressemblent pas vraiment. On retrouve Ryan, richissime entrepreneur qui va donner naissance à Rapture, en faire une utopie secrète. Bill, employé de Ryan, confident aussi qui petit à petit va se rendre compte du désastre qui s'annonce, Fontaine, le "méchant" de l'histoire, Brigid Tenenbaum, scientifique ayant travaillé avec les nazis (et certainement pour moi le personnage qui aurait mérité plus de concidération), Sullivan, chef de la sécurité... Tous vont permettre de voir Rapture sous ses divers visages, et autant dire que ce n'est pas toujours très beau.

Si la ville se présente comme une utopie parfaite au départ, il s'avère qu'elle ne va pas le rester longtemps. Le fait qu'il n'y ait pas de règles pour réguler le marché ou la science va faire perdre la tête à plus d'un. Rapidement, les plus pauvres deviennent encore plus pauvres tandis que les plus riches s'enrichissent encore plus. Là où tout le monde aurait du avoir sa chance, le fossé se creuse de plus en plus. Et forcément quand les inégalités sont là, les contestations aussi. Entre un Ryan qui ne veut surtout pas modifier sa belle utopie malgré le désastre qui arrive, un Fontaine qui profite de tout cela pour prendre la ville de force, des scientifiques à l'esprit tordu, une psy communiste, plus personne ne sait vraiment qui suivre. Et rien ne s'arrange lorsque Fontaine aider par Tenenbaum et un autre scientifique inventent les plasmisdes, des produits capable de donner des pouvoirs surhumains aux hommes.

Je dois bien dire que j'ai adoré voir la ville descendre petit à petit dans les Enfers. C'est plutôt bien fait, surtout qu'on découvre les points de vue de personnages moins importants dans l'histoire mais qui éclaire un peu mieux la dite descente. Voir la belle utopie vouait à l'échec n'est pas nouveau mais je trouve ici que c'est plutôt bien fait, bien que pour moi, il reste quelques points noirs (parce que je n'ai pas joué au jeu ?). D'ailleurs, parfois, j'aurais voulu un peu plus de mystère et moins de fait annoncer froidement. C'est quelque chose que je reproche un peu à l'auteur, pas assez de sentiment. IL est parfois trop "documentaire". Pourtant, l'histoire de la création et de la chute de Rapture aurait surement pu être conté d'une manière plus romanesque (et je ne parle pas de romance ou que sais-je d'autre, juste un peu plus de sentiments, de n'importe quel sentiment). IL n'en reste pas moins que l’enchaînement des événements, qui courent sur plusieurs années est bien foutu et qu'on suit la chute de la cité sans le moindre problème. 

Finalement, ce Rapture a été une bien bonne découverte. J'ai vraiment apprécié le livre qui se lit bien et pousse à réfléchir sur quelques petites choses, comme la morale scientifique, le monde des affaires et surtout la place de l'homme dans son environnement et ce qu'il se passe quand il se prend pour un Dieu. Bref, passionnant, instructif aussi. Tout ce que j'apprécie dans un bouquin. Sans parler de l'esthétisme très rétro-futur, art nouveau de la ville qui transparait dans la couverture mais aussi dans les descriptions de Rapture. Quel dommage qu'il me parait si court (pourtant, il est dense comme roman) et qu'il manque un peu trop de sentiment. 

          Fractures Ouvertes, Toxic, épisode 5 saison 2, Stéphane Desienne        
Cher monsieur Desienne, veuillez m'excuser d'avoir interrompu pendant trop longtemps ma lecture de cette saison deux de Toxic. Mais je voulais faire durer le plaisir. Bon, peut-être pas aussi longtemps, je l'avoue. Mais me revoilà et je compte bien lire le dernier épisode d'ici peu. 

Fractures Ouvertes, Toxic, épisode 5 saison 2, Stéphane Desienne

Editeur : Walrus
Collection : Série
Année de parution : 2016
Format : epub

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé la saison 1
- Vous voulez un joyeux mélange Zombies/alien
- Vous voulez passer un bon moment

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous avez peur d'être perdu entre les divers personnages
- Vous n'aimez pas penser que vous pouvez être de la marchandise

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

La révélation les a tous ébranlés : Joana porte l’antidote ! Le genre humain pourrait donc renaître de ses cendres en soignant les m-v. Malheureusement, Elaine et son groupe se voient à cette fin confier un nouvel objectif : s’allier avec les aliens qui paraissent être le plus de leur côté, quitte à de nouveau marcher au bord du gouffre… L’éleveur Twirl croit lui aussi s’être mis sur les bons courants, même si son intuition lui conseille de se méfier, qu’il s’agisse de ses proches ou de ses produits. Ce Larson, le chef des humains, est loin d’être le docile spécimen qu’il s’efforce d’incarner. Il manigance…

Mon avis

C'est marrant ça, j'ai laissé en plan un petit moment la série et quand je reprends, je sais parfaitement où j'en suis. C'est quand même la preuve ultime que la série est super bien foutue et surtout qu'elle reste en tête. Soit, qu'elle est géniale. Mais ça, je l'ai déjà dit plein de fois il me semble. Bon, elle mérite que je le redise, hein, surtout après ce hiatus bien involontaire de ma part. Et donc, justement, on en est où et il se passe quoi dans cet avant dernier épisode ?

Il se passe plein de chose dedans. Côté Twirl et sa ferme d'humain, on assiste à des pressions, des plans qui se mettent en route. Je déplore que cela soit si court car j'aime bien Twirl et ses problème en fait. Et en plus de cela, je trouve que le nouveau groupe d'humain sain n'est pas tellement mis en valeur. Je suppose qu'il finira par l'être un peu plus. Forcément, on se concentre plus sur ce qu'il se passe dans l'espace et plus particulièrement dans le cargo. Et là, autant dire que ça y va. Parce qu'on approche de la fin et que tout se met en place pour un final qui se déroulera en deux épisodes (enfin un mais qui a la taille de deux). Et ça envoie du lourd avant la fin donc. 

Autant le dire, on ne s'ennuie pas une seconde à la lecture de ce cinquième épisode. C'est qu'il s'en passe des choses quand même. Naakrit et Jave vont enfin arrêter de faire de la figuration. Je les aime beaucoup tous les deux et je suis ravie de voir qu'ils prennent le taureau par les cornes. Khrow fait de même vu qu'il n'a pas le choix s'il veut réussir à récupérer la marchandise. Et il fait ça comme il faut avec les gros moyens. Et pendant ce temps, pour Elaine et les autres, la survie continue. Une survie qui va peser lourd pour Joana, vu qu'à présent tout le monde sait qu'elle est l'antitode. La voilà qui devient La femme à protéger. Interdite de se mettre en danger, voire tout simplement d'aider, elle ne va pas vraiment apprécié. Une survie qui semble finalement être une préoccupation bien lointaine pour Alva qui continue sa vengeance sans se préoccuper du reste. Forcément, tout ce petit monde ne va pas tarder à se retrouver dans la même galère et j'ai plus que hâte de voir ce que cela va donner. Je pense que beaucoup risque de ne pas s'en sortir indemne. 

Ce cinquième épisode est donc génial. Il ne répond toujours pas vraiment à mes questions sur le groupe d'humain dans les griffes de Twirl mais il annonce du bien lourd pour la suite. Une suite que je vais même lire assez rapidement (ça me changera des plus de six mois entre ce cinquième épisode et son prédécesseur). Je sais parfaitement que Stéphane Desienne va réussir à me surprendre encore une fois et j'ai vraiment envie de voir comment. Surtout vu comment vient de se dérouler ce cinquième épisode !

          Quelques pas de plus, Agnès Marot        
J'avais beaucoup aimé I.R.L., sortie l'année dernière, et les thèmes qu'abordaient Agnès Marot à l'intérieur. Alors, j'avais très envie de lire ce Quelques pas de plus, surtout que son thème principal n'est que rarement traité que ce soit dans le Youg-Adult ou même en générale.

Quelques pas de plus, Agnès Marot

Editeur : Scrineo
Collection : Ados
Année de parution : 2017
nombre de pages : 329

A lire si :
- Vous voulez des personnages avec des handicaps invisibles
- Vous voulez de la représentation
- Vous voulez un chouette road-trip

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez une histoire ultra compliquée.

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Sora vient d'apprendre qu'elle doit passer le reste de sa vie à béquilles. Son quotidien se résumera désormais aux cours au lycée et aux séances de kiné. Elle pourrait s'y faire si Kay, la grande soeur qui l'a quasiment élevée, tenait le coup ; mais cette dernière, qui a toujours été la plus forte des deux, est en pleine descente aux enfers. Alors Sora décide de prendre les choses en main et d'enfiler la cape de ces superhéros qu'elle aime tant. Objectif : changer sa vie. Son meilleur atout : l'héritage navajo laissé par sa mère. Un ancien pouvoir de guérison qui pourrait les sauver, elle et sa soeur.
Le problème, c'est qu'elles ne sont pas les seules à le chercher… et que leur rival est prêt à les suivre au bout du onde pour parvenir à ses fins.

Mon avis

Comme je le disais, j'avais très envie de lire ce Quelques pas de plus, surtout en sachant qu'il traitera de handicap, plus particulièrement de handicap invisible. C'est un sujet qui est peu voire même pas du tout abordé, du moins dans les livres qui "cartonnent". On le retrouve plus souvent dans des livres plus confidentiels. Or, le sujet mérite amplement d'être traité et quoi de mieux que les ados et jeunes adultes comme cible première ? Il fait parti de la représentation dans la littérature, chose qui les touche peut-être plus que les adultes et qui surtout leur permettra dans une certaine mesure de mettre des mots sur certaines choses.

Quelques pas de plus, c'est donc l'histoire de Sora et de sa soeur Kay. Sora, adolescente d'apparence normale mais qui va devoir vivre avec des béquilles et une cheville en vrac pendant toute sa vie. Un handicap que ne ressemble pas à un handicap, quelque chose que personne ne voit et qui d'ailleurs ne semble pas vraiment être reconnu comme tel par beaucoup de monde. Un handicap avec lequel elle doit apprendre à vivre. Mais alors qu'il semble qu'elle commence petit à petit à "se faire" à la situation, sa sœur ne souffrait pas d'un mal étrange, de crise d'angoisse, et de ce qui semble être un syndrome post-traumatique. Alors, pour la sauver, elle l’amène dans un road-trip en territoire navajo, là où se trouve leur racine, là où elle pourra redevenir elle-même.

Si parfois l'histoire tombe dans le trop simple, trop évident, elle n'en reste pas moins très agréable à lire. Agnès Marot a un style des plus agréables, fluides et ses personnages sont bien foutues. On suit sans le moindre problème Sora et Kay dans leur road-trip ainsi que durant les jours le précédant. Je dois dire que les paysages du grand Canyon et de ses environs donnent envie d'y aller. Les descriptions de l'autrice sont alléchantes à souhait (et je suppose proche de la réalité et surtout de ce qu'elle a pu ressentir en les visitant avec ses béquilles)(oui parce que le handicap de Sora est aussi celui de sa créatrice, mais on va y revenir).

Mais comme je le disais, j'ai surtout apprécié les thèmes du livre. A commencer par le handicap invisible. D'abord celui de Sora. Ici, l'autrice savait de quoi elle parlait, elle en souffre elle-même. Et cela se ressent. Parce que ce que dit Sora là-dessus est réel. Parce que la bonne femme du bus qu'on a tous envie d'égorger existe vraiment. Parce que les situations ne sont pas de l'invention pure et dure. Oui, Sora est handicapée, même si ça peut passer pour une simple entorse. Or elle va vivre avec, subir la douleur, subir les humiliations. Et elle ne va pas se laisser aller. Elle est capable d'être qui elle veut être, de réussir à faire à peu près tout ce qu'elle veut, même sur une jambe. La force de la jeune femme est communicative tant elle prend cela de manière positive la plupart du temps. Il y a aussi celui de Kay. Kay souffre d'un syndrome post-traumatique (nous en découvrirons la cause vers le milieu du roman). Si elle parait normale, si tout le monde voit en elle la jeune femme ordinaire, ce n'est absolument pas le cas. Or c'est aussi un handicap. Mais là où sa sœur se bat pour vivre avec la douleur, Kay finit petit à petit par sombrer, incapable de surmonter ses crises. Elle qui jusque là semblait la plus forte des deux va devoir compter sur sa petite sœur pour s'en sortir.

On retrouve ensuite en filigrane et avec l'origine des deux demoiselles, les thèmes du métissage, des différences de culture et de la suprématie blanche. Elles sont moitié française, moitié navajo. Métisses, elles semblent n'avoir de place nulle part dans les deux cultures. Trop foncé d'un côté, trop blanche de l'autre. Si elles se sentent opprimées, pas à leur place en France, elles se comportent de la même manière que les blancs arrivées en territoire navajos. Au final, sans réellement se penser supérieure, loin de là même, elles en arrivent tout de même à donner cette impression aux amérindiens. Ce genre de situation est assez fréquente dans la vie réelle et il est bon de rappeler aux gens que cultures différentes ne veut pas dire infériorité à une autre. Et c'est plutôt bien fait par ici.

Au final, voilà un livre qui mêle fantastique, légende amérindienne, handicap invisible et différence de culture de manière presque parfaite. On ne tombe pas du tout dans la surenchère, dans le pathos et c'est fort agréable. Pour ne rien gacher, le roman est rempli de référence pop-culture, super héros, série télévisée (charmed est peut-être un peu daté pour le coup, il me semble), roman et j'en passe. Pas tout à fait un coup de coeur mais presque. En tout cas, une bonne grosse mention spéciale pour son thème principal.

          Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice        
Hier, en allant sur un autre site de travail, je suis passée devant la librairie. Et il était en vitrine, bien voyant. Hier, en rentrant chez moi, je me suis arrêtée à la librairie, et j'en ai aussi profiter pour me prendre le dernier tome des Outrepasseurs. Hier, à peine rentrée à la maison, j'ai dévoré la bande dessinée (mais pourquoi est-elle si courte ?). Bref, hier, j'ai retrouvé Séraphin, Sophie et Hans pour une nouvelle aventure.

Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice

Editeur : Rue de Sèvres
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2017
Nombre de pages : 60

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé le tome 1
- Vous aimez le steampunk et Jules Verne
- Vous voulez de beaux dessins accompagnent une bonne histoire

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous ne voulez pas de jeunes héros

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

1870. En plein dix-neuvième siècle, le sort de la Terre se joue sur Mars ! Dans cette suite de la série à succès Le Château des étoiles , récompensée par de nombreux prix, Séraphin et ses amis sont de retour sur Terre. Après avoir révélé au monde le secret du voyage spatial, ils ont trouvé refuge dans un manoir breton. Mais leur engin volant est désormais l'objet de toutes les convoitises ! Alors que le père de Séraphin est en voyage à Londres, le manoir est cerné par des brumes lourdes de menaces... Spectres, ou espions prêts à tout pour mettre la main sur le précieux engin ? Nouvelles machines, complots internationaux, têtes couronnées, expéditions au-delà de l'espace... La course à l'éther est lancée, et la paix sur Terre est désormais entre les mains de Séraphin et des Chevalier de Mars !

Mon avis

La Conquête de l'espace, premier tome de cette série , m'avait particulièrement plus, le second tout autant. Autant dire que j'avais plus que hâte de lire la suite. Alors forcément, cette couverture rouge m'a attirée. Moi qui m'étais promis de ne pas aller toutes les semaines à la librairie...  Bref, je suis faible, je le sais, et ça ne me dérange pas tant que ça. Mais que vaut-il ce nouveau tome à la belle couverture rouge ?

On retrouve Séraphin, Sophie et Hans en bretagne, quelques temps après leur retour de la Lune. Ils ont donné les plans du moteur à Ether au monde, voit le début de la conquête de l'Ether par les nations sans pouvoir rien y faire. Pendant ce temps, les scientifiques essaient de réguler tout cela, de ne pas faire de cette conquête une nouvelle guerre. Mais alors que le professeur Dulac est à Londres, il se fait enlever par les Prussiens. Prussiens qui comptent bien conquérir Mars. Une planète qui attire aussi les jeunes gens, puisque d'après les calculs de Sophie, Ludwig de Bavière doit s'y trouver.

Mais bien entendu, rien ne se passe comme prévu. Les Prussiens veulent l'éthérine ramenée de la Lune et attaque la cachette de nos héros. Débarque alors l'impératrice Sissi qui va leur permettre de s'envoler une nouvelle fois vers l'Ether, et plus précisement vers Mars avec deux missions, retrouver le père de Séraphin et le roi Ludwig.

L'histoire nous entraîne rapidement sur cette seconde partie de la conquête de l'Ether. Et il faut bien dire qu'elle est passionnante, mais vraiment. Entre une Sophie qui semble être en manque d'Ether, un Séraphin qui doute de plus en plus, un Hans toujours égal à lui-même (ce personnage mérite pourtant plus que de sembler être le bout en train du groupe), on découvre rapidement l'importance qu'à pris leur voyage dans leur vie. En plus de cela, l'Ether est devenue la chose à conquérir, que se soit scientifiquement parlant ou politiquement parlant. Tous les enjeux d'une telle découverte sont présentés, même si de manière parfois un peu simpliste (ok, il n'y a que 60 pages dans ce tome, c'est aussi un peu normal).

Et puis, comme toujours, les planches sont juste magnifiques. J'aime vraiment tout ce travail à l'aquarelle où l'on voit tout de même un peu le dessin préparatif. J'aime les nuances de couleurs dans les ciels terriens ou non d'Alex Alice. Je trouve que cela donne tout le charme de la bande dessinée. Non mais vraiment, les paysages quoi et les ciels. C'est juste beau quoi. Et ça va si bien avec cette ambiance steampunk. 

Au final, vous l'aurez compris, j'ai juste beaucoup beaucoup aimé ce troisième tome. Et je veux le quatrième maintenant (je veux beaucoup de chose maintenant en même temps, heureusement que la réalité est tout autre par rapport à mes envies, sinon, vingt quatre ne me suffiraient pas). 

          The Shadow of Death, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 6, Cécile Duquenne        
Je prends de plus en plus mon temps pour lire les épisodes des Foulards Rouges. Parce que c'est bientôt la fin et que je ne veux pas que ça finisse. Bon, sachant que je ne peux rien faire à cette fin à part la lire, et bien je fais durer.

The Shadow of Death, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 6, Cécile Duquenne

Editeur : Bragelonne
Collection : Snark
Année de parution : 2017
Format : epub

A lire si : 
- Vous avez lu et aimé la première et la seconde saisons
- Vous voulez une série qui mélange les genres avec bonheur

A ne pas lire si :
-... (toujours pas trouvé pourquoi il ne faudrait pas les lires, les Foulards Rouges)
- Par contre, si vous n'avez pas lu les deux premières saisons, autant éviter (tout comme de lire mes avis d'ailleurs)

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Retrouvez Lara et Renaud dans la dernière saison des Foulards rouges !

Mon avis

Nous voilà presque à la fin de cette saison trois et de la série tout court. Je ne veux pas que cela se finisse. Je suis prête à faire un caprice si cela servait. Bon, je sais que ça ne sert à rien, alors je ne le ferais pas. Pis j'aime pas quand ma fille en fait, alors je vais pas commencer moi (quoique...). Cet avant dernier épisode est tout simplement très éprouvant pour les nerfs de tout le monde, personnage, lecteur et même surement autrice elle-même. Autant le dire, l'étau se referme et nous voilà dans la dernière ligne droite, celle qui marquera la fin, d'un côté comme de l'autre. Une fin qui ne me semble pas si simple que cela, et qui d'après moi annonce encore quelques surprises, voire même des larmes. 

A présent, passons à la partie à spoiler de cet avis, comme à chaque fois.

/!\ SPOILER (en gros et en rouge, comme ça, vous êtes prévenus !)

Le dernier cliffhanger (cette machine inventé par les Enfers), me faisait presque dire qu'il y avait encore de l'espoir dans cette aventure. C'était sans compter sur l'autrice, qui n'a jamais épargné les personnages et les lecteurs de ces histoires. Numéro Trois s'est barrée de l'Hacienda, Lara, Nikki, Claudia, Fraan et Marine se ruent à sa poursuite, suivant des traces bien trop évidentes. Toi aussi, lecteur, tu sais ce que cela veut dire. Un piège. L'ennemie n'est pas encore morte, elle a même quelques tours dans sa manche.

La première partie est bourrée d'action, la seconde aussi et Lara est au centre de tout cela. C'est étrange d'avoir un épisode entier presque entièrement portée par la jeune femme, surtout quand on a l'habitude de les voir divisés entre elle et Renaud. Bon, de temps en temps, Claudia ou Nikki prennent les rênes de la narration, mais ça tourne toujours autours de Lara. Faut dire que Renaud est en fâcheuse posture, très fâcheuse même, dans les mains de Numéro Trois. Une nouvelle fois. Je dois avouer que le voir comme ça me serre le cœur. Pour moi, Renaud, c'est le pilier, celui qui est toujours là. En fait, le voir comme ça renverse un peu cette vision et j'apprécie finalement cela. En fait, j'apprécie quand les schémas sont bousculés et que c'est bien fait, comme ici. Cécile Duquenne ne le fait pas souffrir pour rien. Ben non, sa souffrance alimente un peu plus Lara, la pousse à faire des choses qu'elle n'aurait pas forcément fait. La pousse aussi à prendre la place qui semble lui revenir de droit. 

Lara est l'héroïne de la série. C'est elle qui la porte depuis le début. Mais elle ne le fait jamais seule, elle a besoin d'une impulsion, de quelque chose qui la fait agir et surtout qui semble la faire grandir un peu plus. Ici, c'est le sort de Renaud en premier, celui de ses amis, de sa famille, et puis des Bagnards. Elle ne fait pas tout cela par pur altruisme, elle le fait pour sauver ce qu'elle aime. C'est quelque chose que j'aime beaucoup en elle. Elle n'a rien d'une super héroïne et agis de manière très humaine. Comme dans cet épisode finalement où elle agit sous le coup de la colère, de la haine mais aussi de l'amour pour ses proches. C'est ainsi que du coup, elle se retrouve à pourchasser Numéro Trois pour enfin lui mettre une balle dans la tête et arrêter le calvaire qu'elle endure depuis son apparition dans sa vie. Et je dois dire que cette partie-là est assez éprouvante vu que Lara tombe un peu dans la folie meurtrière qu'elle m'avait semblé avoir à peu prés réussi à éloigner d'elle jusque là. J'ai parfois eu l'impression qu'elle devenait une sorte de Numéro Trois face à moi et non la Lara que je connaissais jusque là. C'est assez étrange comme impression surtout quand on connait un peu le plan de la dite Numéro Trois. J'avoue que là, j'attends avec impatience l'épisode suivant pour voir où tout cela va finir par mener Lara (je les sens les larmes aussi qui vont surement couler à la fin). Surtout après ce p***ain de cliffhanger (là, Cécile, tu as fait fort, purée, c'est quand la suite déjà ?).

Pour finir, j'ai hâte de lire la suite. Même si c'est la fin de la série. Je veux connaitre le sort de certains personnages (Marine Carax est-elle toujours vivante ? Renaud ? sans parler des autres). Vivement la fin du mois !

          Rosa Candida, Audur Ava Olafsdottir        
Voilà un petit moment que je n'ai pas lu de livre des éditions Zulma. Je n'avais plus que deux livres d'eux dans ma PAL, le choix c'est porté sur ce Rosa Candida assez intriguant. Et puis, ça faisait longtemps que je n'avais pas lu d'auteur islandais (le dernier, c'était Magnason avec LoveStar, chez Zulma aussi d'ailleurs).

Rosa Candida, Audur Ava Olafsdottir

Editeur : Zulma
Collection : Poche Z-A
Année de parution : 2010
Titre en VO :  Afleggjarinn
Année de parution en VO : 2007
Nombre de pages : 319

A lire si :
- Vous aimez les romans contemplatifs
- Vous aimez les quêtes existentielles

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous voulez de l'action
- Vous n'aimez pas quand c'est lent.

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

Le jeune Arnljótur va quitter la maison, son frère jumeau autiste, son vieux père octogénaire, et les paysages crépusculaires de laves couvertes de lichens. Sa mère a eu un accident de voiture. Mourante dans le tas de ferraille, elle a trouvé la force de téléphoner aux siens et de donner quelques tranquilles recommandations à son fils qui aura écouté sans s'en rendre compte les dernières paroles d'une mère adorée. Un lien les unissait : le jardin et la serre où elle cultivait une variété rare de Rosa candida à huit pétales. C'est là qu'Arnljótur aura aimé Anna, une amie d'un ami, un petit bout de nuit, et l'aura mise innocemment enceinte. En route pour une ancienne roseraie du continent, avec dans ses bagages deux ou trois boutures de Rosa candida, Arnljótur part sans le savoir à la rencontre d'Anna et de sa petite fille, là-bas, dans un autre éden, oublié du monde et gardé par un moine cinéphile.

Mon avis

Je ne me souviens plus de pourquoi ce livre est arrivé dans ma PAL. Peut-être pour sa quatrième de couverture, ou parce que ma libraire l'avait apprécié. Il a dormi un moment sur mes étagères avant que je ne le prenne. Et j'ai mis un petit moment à entrer dedans.

Il faut dire que le livre commence fort lentement. Des scènes de vies, des retours en arrière, de quoi comprendre un peu Arnljótur, le narrateur. Rapidement, le voilà quittant le cocon familial pour aller remettre en état l'une des plus fameuses roseraie du monde. Il quitte donc son père, son frère jumeaux, mais aussi sa fille et la mère de celle-ci. Son voyage va l'amener à reconsidérer une bonne partie de sa vie. Alors, oui, dis comme ça, cela ne donne pas forcément ultra envie, je vous l'accorde. Du moins, ça ressemble un peu à tous les autres romans du genre. Nous allons retrouver les questionnements de presque tout le monde sur la vie, la mort, l'amour, sa place dans le monde... A vrai dire, effectivement, ce roman ressemble assez à la plupart des romans de son genre. Le départ pour une nouvelle vie de son narrateur est un prétexte, tout comme les Rosa Candida qu'il trimbale avec lui, héritage de sa mère décédée le jour de la naissance de sa fille. Complètement paumé, il espère se trouver enfin, à vingt deux ans (jeune homme, saches donc que tu te chercheras toute ta vie). 

Nous voilà donc embarqué avec lui dans une première partie style road-trip assez décevante dans le fait qu'il ne se passe pas grand chose et qu'on le découvre tout de même ultra passif. Il se laisse porter par le courant, par les gens qu'il croise. Une fois son road-trip fini, le voilà qui arrive enfin dans le village où se trouve la roseraie. Et re-belotte, il se laisse porter par le courant. Heureusement, les quelques autre personnages qu'il rencontre sont un tout peu plus intéressant. J'ai beaucoup apprécié le frère Thomas, cinéaste accompli qui trouve les réponses plus facilement dans ses films que dans la bible. Ou encore Anna, que nous découvrirons dans le dernier tiers, mère de l'enfant, qui finalement ne sait plus vraiment où elle en est. Ce sont eux qui portent Arnljótur le long du livre, eux et Flora Sol, sa fille. Parce qu'il faut bien dire que la passivité de notre narrateur est omniprésente même dans son domaine favori, la botanique (où il suit les vieilles illustrations de la roseraie pour lui rendre son charme d'antan). 

Et pourtant, chose étrange vu que je n'apprécie pas des masses ce genre de personnage, j'ai aimé le livre. Parce qu'il est contemplatif, parce qu'il fait du bien aussi, il ne prend pas la tête, se pose quelques questions intelligentes (mais n'y répond pas toujours), offre une belle histoire entre un père et sa fille pas forcément voulue. A vrai dire, ça fait parfois du  bien de lire quelque chose de si ordinaire, de si semblable à ce que certains d'entre nous peuvent vivre (surtout après pas mal de temps à lire de la SFFF ou de la blanche plus violente).

Au final, Rosa Candida est un livre qui me laisse une impression étrange. Sa lenteur aurait du me déplaire et pourtant, il me semble que cela a été l'inverse. J'avoue avoir été plus enthousiaste à partir du milieu, dernier tiers du roman, au moment où Anna rejoint notre narrateur qui semble du coup à peine un peu moins passif ( à moins que cela ne soit la présence de l'enfant ?). Bref, à lire pour passer un bon moment.

          Most Popular and Iconic Home Design Styles        
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          The collapse of social security        
[+4] Question by cicerone imposter on 06/19/16 7:15 PM Replies: 7 Views: 967
Tags: Social Security, Economy, Savings, Retirement, Fear
Last Post by TomTomBinks on 06/22/16 5:32 AM
          Hey America, What's Your Retirement Plan?        
[+13] Discussion by Green Witch on 01/27/10 6:31 PM Replies: 27 Views: 2,760
Tags: Finance, Economy, Retirement, Retirement Plans
Last Post by mac11 on 01/28/10 3:41 PM
          Daniel Boone        

Daniel Boone

BOONE, Daniel, pioneer, born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 22 October, 1734 (For more on Daniel Boone's birthplace please visit his Homestead); died in Missouri, 26 Sept., 1820. Among the immigrants that landed, 10 Oct., 1717, at Philadelphia was George Boone, of Exeter, England, who came with his wife and eleven children, bought land near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and joined the society of Friends. His son, Squire Boone, married Sarah Morgan, and Daniel was their son. Squire Boone, who was a farmer, moved, about 1748, to Holman's Ford, on the Yadkin, in North Carolina.

Daniel's education was very limited; he could read and write, but beyond that all he knew related to the fields, the woods, the net, the rifle, and hunting. He was a hunter born, and loved the solitude of the forest. Strong, brave, lithe, inured to hardship and privation, he traced his steps through the pathless forest, sought out the hiding places of panther, bear, and wolf, and was the match of any Indian in the sagacity with which he detected the footsteps of the red man. About 1755 he married Rebecca Bryan and set up his own log cabin, but, displeased with the encroachments of civilization on his solitude, and incited by the glowing accounts brought by John Finley, who had penetrated into the unknown regions of Kentucky, formed a company of six kindred spirits, and, bidding adieu to his family and the comforts of home, on 1 May, 1769, set out on his perilous journey of exploration.

America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

After numerous adventures with the Indians, having become intimately acquainted with the character of the country, established an enviable reputation for sagacity and integrity on important frontier service assigned to him by Lord Dunmore in the campaign against the Indians, usually called "Lord Dunmore's War," and constructed a strong fort on the left bank of Kentucky river, which he named "Boonesborough," he determined to bring his wife and family to the new home. Some of his neighbors joined him, and he conducted the party, numbering upward of thirty, safely to "Boonesborough" without having encountered any other difficulties than such as are common to this passage. 



 Daniel Boone founded Boonesborough while he worked for Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company.


On one occasion Boone, with an armed party of thirty men, had gone for a supply of salt to a place called "Salt Licks," nearly 100 miles north of Boonesborough, and was captured, with twenty-seven of his men, by a band of more than 100 Indian warriors led by two Frenchmen. 



They carried them first to Old Chillicothe, on the Miami, and then to Detroit, where they surrendered for a ransom all their prisoners except Boone; him they took back to Old Chillicothe, where the great Blackfish, a renowned Shawanese chief, adopted him into his family under an imposing but painful ceremonial; all his hair, except a tuft three or four inches in diameter on the crown of the head, was plucked out; that tuft was allowed to grow to the length of the "warlock," dressed with feathers and ribbons; an ablution in the river was supposed to cleanse him from the taint of white blood; a coat of paint on his face, and a solemn charge from Blackfish, completed the rite. 

After a prolonged and anxious residence among them, during which he was kindly treated, he discovered their intention of marching upon Boonesborough, and resolved, at the peril of certain death in the event of recapture, to attempt his escape and save his family and friends. Chased by 450 Indians, he performed that daring feat in the forty-third year of his age, and thus simply records it: "On the 16th [of June], before sunrise, I departed in the most secret manner, and arrived at Boonesborough on the 20th, after a journey of 160 miles, during which I had but one meal." 




At the fort he learned that his wife and children, despairing of ever seeing him again, had returned, and safely reached her father's home in North Carolina. The Indians assailed the fort, but were repelled with loss, and retreated. Boone then, in the autumn of 1778, rejoined his family on the Yadkin, and returned with them to Kentucky in 1780. 

The country, though well settled, was still unsafe, and, soon after his return, Boone and his brother, Squire, were surprised by Indians; Squire was killed and scalped, and Daniel had a narrow escape. A sanguinary engagement, called the "Battle of the Blue Licks," took place in 1782, in which Boone's two sons fought at his side. One of them was killed, and the other severely wounded. Boone was full of expedients, and on one occasion extricated himself from four armed Indians by blinding them with tobacco dust. Kentucky was admitted into the union, 4 Feb., 1791, and in the survey of the state the title to Boone's land was disputed. The case was decided against him, and, stung to the quick by the wrong, he had again to seek a new home, which he established at Point Pleasant, between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha; but in 1795 he removed to Missouri, then a Spanish possession, and received not only the appointment of commandant of the Femme Osage district, but a grant of 8,000 acres. The Spanish possessions passed into the hands of Napoleon, who sold them to the United States, and, in the survey that followed, the Spanish grant of Boone's lands was pronounced invalid. An appeal to the legislature of Kentucky, and another to congress, resulted in a grant by the latter of 850 acres. Boone was then seventy-five years of age, hale and strong. The charm of the hunter's life clung to him to the last, and in his eighty-second year he went on a hunting excursion to the mouth of Kansas river. He had made his own coffin and kept it under his bed, and after his death they laid him in it to rest by the side of his wife, who had passed away seven years before. 

On 13 Sept., 1845, their remains were removed to the cemetery near Frankfort, Kentucky, a few miles from the fort of Boonesborough, by the concurrent action of the citizens of Frankfort and the legislature of Kentucky. 


Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky where Daniel and Rebecca Bryan Boone were re-interred


His son, Enoch, born in Boonesborough, Kentucky, in 1777 ; d. 8 March, 1862, was the first white male child born in Kentucky. Daniel Boone's wife, with her daughters, went to live with her husband in his palisaded fort in June, 1776, and while there gave birth to this son; but after Boone's capture, on 7 Feb., 1778, his family returned to North Carolina. -- Edited Appleton's American Biography Copyright© 2001 by Stan Klos TM




An American biographical and historical dictionary Containing an account of the lives, characters, and writings of the most eminent persons in North America from its first settlement, and a summary of the history of the several colonies and of the United States. By: W. Hyde, 1832.


BOONE, Daniel, colonel, one of the first settlers of Kentucky, was born about 1730. While he was young, his parents, who came from Bridgeworth,England removed from Pennsylvania or Virginia to the Yadkin river in North Carolina. 






He was early addicted to hunting in the woods; in the militia he attained to the rank of colonel. In 1769, in consequence of the representation of John Finley, who had penetrated into the wilderness of Kentucky, he was induced to accompany him in a journey to that country. He had four other companions, John Stuart, Joseph Holden, James Money, and William Cool, with whom he set out May 1. On the 7th of June they arrived at the Red river, a branch of the Kentucky; and here from the top of a hill they had a view of the fertile plain's, of which they were in pursuit. They encamped and remained in this place till Dec. 22, when Boone and Stuart were captured by the Indians near Kentucky river. In about a week they made their escape; but on returning to their camp, they found it plundered and deserted by their companions, who had gone back to Carolina.




Stuart was soon killed by the Indians; but Boone being joined by his brother, they remained and prosecuted the business of hunting during the winter, without further molestation. His brother going home for supplies in May 1770, he remained alone in the deep solitude of the western wilderness until his return with ammunition & horses July 27th. During this period this wild man of the woods, though greeted every night with the howlings of wolves, was delighted in his excursions with the survey of the beauties of the country and found greater pleasure in the solitude of wild nature, than he could have found amid the hum of the most elegant city. With his brother he traversed the country to Cumberland river. It was not until March 1771, that he returned to his family, resolved to conduct them to the paradise, which he had explored.


Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information



Having sold his farm, he set out with his own and 5 other families, Sept. 25,1773, and was joined in Powell's valley by 40 men. After passing over two mountains, called Powell's and Walden's, through which, as they ranged from the north east to the south west, passes were found, and approaching the Cumberland, the rear of the company was attacked by the Indians on the 10th of October, when six men were killed, among whom was the eldest son of colonel Boone. One man was also wounded, and the cattle were scattered. This disaster induced them to retreat about 40 miles to the settlement on Clinch River, where he remained with his family, until June 6,1774, when, at the request of gov. Dunmore, he conducted a number of surveyors to the falls of Ohio. On this tour of 800 miles he was absent two months. After this he was entrusted by the governor, during the campaign against the Shawanese, with the command of three forts. 



Early in 1775, at the request of a company in North Carolina, he attended a treaty with the Cherokee Indians at Wataga in order to make of them the purchase of lands on the south side of the Tennessee river. After performing this service, he was employed to mark out a road from the settlements on the Holston to the Kentucky river. While thus employed, at the distance of about 15 miles from what is now Boonesborough, the party was attacked March 20, and 23, 1775 by the Indians, who killed four and wounded five. Another man was killed in April. On the first day of this month at a salt lick, on the southern bank of the Kentucky,in what is now Boonesborough a few miles from Lexington, he began to erect a fort, consisting of a block house & several cabins, enclosed with palisades. On the 14th of June he returned to his family in order to remove them to the tort.. His wife and daughters were the first white women, who stood on the banks of the Kentucky river. Dec. 24th one man was killed and another wounded. July 14, 1776, when all the settlements were attacked, two of Colonel Calway's daughters and one of his own were taken prisoners; Boone pursued with 18 men and in two days overtook the Indians, killed two of them, and recovered the captives.






The Indians made repeated attacks upon Boonesborough; Nov. 15,1777 with 100 men, and July 4 with 200 men. On both sides several were killed and wounded; but the enemy were repulsed; as they were also July 19 from Logan's fort of 15 men, which was besieged by 200. The arrival of 25 men from Carolina and in August of 100 from Virginia gave a new aspect to affairs, and taught the savages the superiority of "the long knives," as they called the Virginians. Jan. 1, 1778 he went with 30 men to the blue licks on the Licking river to make salt for the garrison. Feb. 7, being alone, he was captured by a party of 102 Indians and 2 Frenchmen; he capitulated for his men, and they were all carried to Chillicothe on the Little Miami, whence he and 10 men were conducted to Detroit, where he arrived March 30. The governor, Hamilton, treated him with much humanity, and offered 1001, for his redemption. But the savages refused the offer from affection to their captive. Being carried back to Chillicothe in April, he was adopted as a son in an Indian family. He assumed the appearance of cheerfulness ; but his thoughts were on his wife and children. Aware of the envy of the Indians, he was careful not to exhibit his skill in shooting. In June he went to the salt springs on the Sciota. On his return to Chillicothe he ascertained, that 450 warriors were preparing to proceed against Boonesborough. He escaped June 16, and arrived at the fort June 20th, having travelled 160 miles in 4 days, with but one meal. His wife had returned to her father's. Great efforts were made to repair the fort in order to meet the expected attack. On August 1st, he went out with 19 men to surprise Point Creek town on the Sciota; meeting 30 Indians, he put them to flight and captured their baggage. At last, Aug. 8, the Indian army of 444 men, led by captain Dugnesne and 11 other Frenchmen, and their own chiefs, with British colors flying, summoned the fort to surrender. 



The next day Boone, having a garrison of only 50 men, announced his resolution to defend the fort, while a man was alive. They then proposed that 9 men should be sent out 60 yards from the fort to enter into a treaty; and when the articles were agreed upon and signed, they said it was customary on such occasions, as a token of sincere friendship, for two Indians to shake every white man by the hand. Accordingly two Indians approached each of the nine white men, and grappled with the intent of making him a prisoner; but the object being perceived, the men broke away and re-entered the fort.



An attempt was now made to undermine it; but a counter trench defeated that purpose. Atlast on the 20th the enemy raised the siege, having lost 37 men. Of Boone's men two were killed and four wounded. "We picked, up," said he, "125 pounds of bullets, besides what stuck in the logs of our fort, which certainly is a great proof of their industry." In 1779, when Boone was absent, revisiting his family in Carolina, Colonel Bowman with 160 men fought the Shawanese Indians at old Chillicothe. 



In his retreat the Indians pursued him for 30 miles, when in another engagement col. Harrod suggested the successful project of mounting a number of horses and breaking the Indian line. Of the Kentuckians 9 were killed. June 22nd,1780, about 600 Indians and Canadians under col. Bird attacked Riddle's and Martin's stations and the forks of Licking river with 6 pieces of artillery, and carried away all as captives. Gen. Clarke, commanding at the falls of Ohio, marched with his regiment and troops against Reccaway, the principal Shawanese town on a branch of the Miami, and burned the town, with the loss of 17 on each side. 


About this time Boone returned to Kentucky with his family. In Oct. 1780, soon after he was settled again at Boonesborough, he went with his brother to the Blue Licks, and as they were returning the latter was slain by a party of Indians, and he was pursued by them by the aid of a dog. By shooting him Boone escaped. The severity of the ensuing winter was attended with great distress, the enemy having destroyed most of the corn. The people subsisted chiefly on buffalo's flesh. In May 1732 the Indians having killed a man at Ashton's station, captain A. pursued with 25 men, but in an attack upon' the enemy he was killed with 12 of his men. Aug. 10 two boys were carried off from major Hay's station. Capt. Holden pursued with 17 men; but he also was defeated, with the loss of four men. In a field near Lexington an Indian shot a man and running to scalp him, was him- self shot from the fort and fell dead upon his victim. On the 15th Aug. 500 Indians attacked Briant's station, five miles from Lexington,and destroyed all the cattle; but they were repulsed on the third day, having about 30 killed, while of the garrison 4 were killed and 3 wounded. Boone, with cols. Todd and Trigg and major Harland, collected 176 men and pursued on the 18th.



They overtook the enemy the next day a mile beyond the Blue Licks, about 40 miles from Lexington, at a remarkable bend of a branch of Licking river. A battle ensued, the enemy having a line formed across from one bend to the other, but the Kentuckians were defeated with the great loss of 60 killed, among whom were cols. Todd and Trigg, and Major Harland, and Boone's second son. Many were the widows made in Lexington on that fatal day. The Indians having 4 more killed, 4 of the prisoners were given up to the young warriors to be put to death in the most barbarous manner. 

General Clarke, accompanied by Boone, immediately marched into the Indian country and desolated it, burning old Chillicothe, Peccaway, New Chillicothe, Willis town, and Chillicothe. With the loss of four men he took seven prisoners and five scalps, or killed five Indians. In October the Indians attacked Crab orchard. One of the Indians having entered a house, in which were a woman and a negro, and being thrown to the ground by the negro, the woman cut off his head. From this period to the peace with Great Britain the Indians did no harm. "Two darling sons and a brother," said Boone, "have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me 40 valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I spent, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."

From this period he resided in Kentucky and Virginia till 1798, when in consequence of an imperfect legal title to the lands, which he had settled, he found himself dispossessed of his property. In his indignation he fled from the delightful region, which he had explored, when a wilderness, and which now had a population of half a million. With his rifle he crossed the Ohio and plunged into the immense country of the Missouri In 1799 he settled on the Femme Osage river with numerous followers. In 1800 he discovered the Boone's Lick country, now a fine settlement: in the same year he visited the head waters of the Grand Osage river and spent the winter upon the head waters of the Arkansas. At the age of 80, in company with a white man and a black man, laid under strict injunctions to carry him back to his family, dead or alive, he made a hunting trip to the head waters of the Great Osage, and was successful in trapping beaver and other game.




In January 1812 he addressed a memorial to the legislature of Ky. stating that he owned not an acre of land in the region, which he first settled; that in 1794 he passed over into the Spanish province of Louisiana, under an assurance from the governor, who resided at St. Louis, that land should be given him; that accordingly 10 thousand acres were given him on the Missouri and he became Syndic or chief of the district of St. Charles; but that on the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States his claims were rejected by the commissioners of land, because he did not actually reside; and that thus at the age of 80 he was a wanderer, having no spot of his own, whereon to lay his bones.

The legislature instructed their delegates to congress to solicit a confirmation of this grant. He retained, it is believed, 2,000 In his old age he pursued his active course of life, trapping bears and hunting with his rifle. Though a magistrate and sometimes a member of the legislature of Virginia, and much engaged in agriculture; yet he preferred the solitude of the wilderness to the honors of civil office and the society of men.


He died at the house of his son, Major A. Boone, at Charette, Montgomery Company, September 26th, 1820, aged nearly 90 years. His wife died in the same place. He left sons and daughters in Missouri. In consequence of his death the legislature of Missouri voted to wear a badge of mourning for 20 days. A brother died in Mississippi Oct. 1808, aged 81. 

Col. Boone was of common stature, of amiable disposition, and honorable integrity. In his last years he might have been seen by the traveler at the door of his house, with his rifle on his knee and his faithful dog at his side, lamenting the departed vigor of his limbs, and meditating on the scenes of his past life.

Whether he also meditated on the approaching scenes of eternity and his dim eyes ever kindled up with the glorious hopes of the christian is not mentioned in the accounts of him, which have been examined. But of all objects an irreligious old man, dead as to worldly joy and dead as to celestial hope, is the most pitiable. An account of his adventures, drawn up by himself, was published in Filson's supplement to Imlay's Description of the Western Territory, 1793.— Niles Register, March 13, 1813.

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Mitzin Cuéllar García nació el 29 de noviembre de 1985, niña precoz con intereses en la lectura y los colores, siempre inventiva y traviesa demostró predilección por las imágenes a muy corta edad. En 1996 participó en la convocatoria “Vida y Obra de Carlos Pellicer”(lanzada por el museo de Tepoztlán, Morelos ) donde obtuvo el segundo lugar en la categoría de dibujo.
En 2004 tomó talleres de pintura y expresión plástica, con el pintor Eduardo Robles (Profesor de dibujo en “La Esmeralda”).

Sus raíces Jalicienses, la cercanía con el Distrito Federal y el marcado ambiente cosmopolita de Tepoztlán, Morelos, (donde vivió la mayor parte del tiempo) le proporcionaron destreza inventiva y una tendencia rebelde y original, tanto para el dibujo como para el diseño.
Del 2001 al 2003 participa en el grupo de poesía “La oveja negra” donde se ejercían tertulias literarias y lecturas de grandes escritores como Augusto Monterroso (de donde el grupo obtiene el nombre), y redacciones y poemas escritos por los integrantes, bajo la tutela de Malena.
A mediados del 2003 y hasta el año 2004 labora para López Orfebres, de manera permanente en el área de ventas y eventualmente tanto en el taller de fabricación de las joyas como en el montaje de exhibiciones y desfiles donde coordinaba los eventos y de ser necesario participaba como modelo. Aquí adquiere conocimiento sobre relaciones públicas, y en el ámbito estético se relaciona por primera vez con la pedrería y la plata, así como en el diseño de bolsas y chalinas.
En el 2004 inicia la carrera de diseño industrial, y a la par se crea un proyecto propio llamado “Aerografílicos”, también en Tepoztlán, donde se realizaban playeras de diseños propios y del artista plástico y diseñador Ian Attie Sánchez, principalmente en las técnicas de aerografía y serigrafía. El proyecto le proporciona a Mitzin conocimiento de las técnicas y experimentación de su creatividad.
En 2006, colaboró como asistente del fotógrafo Víctor Benítez, en el Estudio G130, ahí se capturan reproducciones de artistas plásticos como el célebre escultor Javier Marín y el finado Juan Soriano; y obras arquitectónicas de reconocidos creadores como Nogal y Artigas, entre otros.

A mediados del 2007 inicia la colaboración creativa en el diseño de producción para Facto Teatro en el proyecto "Panteón de Fiesta" de donde surgen distintas propuestas para la marca Mexiqueño, culminando en la línea de productos “Mictlancito”.

En 2008 , gracias al diseño del marco principal se otorga al proyecto una beca por parte de Jim Henson Foundation de N.Y. EUA, como apoyo para la producción.
La obra se estrena en “The Music Center of Los Angeles Country”.

En Marzo del 2009 la obra se presenta en el festival “Titerías de la Ciudad de México”.
En Mayo del 2009 participa en el “Festival de Títeres de Paris” y en Junio del mismo año se presentan en “La Puntual”, en Barcelona, España.

En Septiembre del 2008 culmina la carrera de Diseño Industrial.

En Febrero del 2009 comienza a participar con la fabricación de títeres para TV Educativa de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, diseñando y fabricando la mascota oficial de rectoría general y a Chiko, personajes creados para la “Coordinación de Vinculación” de la Institución.

Actualmente labora en Mexiqueño como creadora y directora general de la marca, y trabaja en colaboración con el Departamento de Métodos y Sistemas de la División de Ciencias y Artes para el Diseño, en la UAM-X, investigando, experimentando y proponiendo diseño con fibras, pigmentos y aglutinantes naturales.

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          Blog Post: Moves the RTS Genre Into Uncharted Territory, but Does it Hit the Mark?        

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There isn't much of an economic game, either. Controlling nodes gives a trickle of power to your pool, and any dead units slowly return their power cost to your bank as well. Strategic orbs can be captured to allow access to the higher tiers of spells in your deck. Most maps are designed in such a way that each player has access to a preset amount of these, meaning the units you summon are virtually the only determinant of success.

BattleForge is a combination of strange mechanics and bad design. Units are diverse, and yet none of them are terribly interesting. Missions have a ton of variety on the surface, but in practice they're variations on the same few objectives. Combat is vanilla RTS, but too messy to allow for much tactical or strategic creativity. New revenue models are a good way to try to find success in a tough PC gaming market, but even the cleverest is nowhere near as important as good gameplay.


          Forty summers ago – July 5, 1977 – grand jury began hearing testimony, piercing, slightly, the ongoing Showalter hit-run cover-up in New London, CT        


Editor’s Note: The Showalter grand jury is noteworthy in that forces for justice – Judge Joseph Dannehy, Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan and as many as 17 Connecticut State Police detectives – could only knock down some of the walls protecting New London Police, State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Asst. State’s Attorney Harold Dean, Judge Angelo Santaniello, former Mayor Harvey Mallove and others who escaped complete discovery. The cover-up continues to this day, highlighted by the suppression and disappearance of the grand jury transcripts.




The foundation for investigative reporting in this case was developed by John Peterson, who was managing editor of The Norwich Bulletin during the grand jury. The grand jury began hearing testimony on July 5, 1977
.








Special Prosecutor McGuigan became Chief State’s Attorney, then was fired after convicting appointees of the governor and many other public officials.

---
Chronology, Grand Juror Report, Follow-up Columns
Via
Law And Justice In Everyday Life, CT Law Tribune


F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

APPENDIX

THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


New London, Ct.

1973

December 24

Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

December 25

Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

1974

February 6

FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

February 7

Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

February 28

New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

April 20

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

April 23

Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

June 4

Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

June 10

Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

June 24

Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

July 2

Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

July 9

Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

July 10

Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

July 25

Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

August 6

Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

August 9

Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

August 15

Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

August 20

Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

August 28

The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

August 31

Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

November, 1974

After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

1975

January 24

A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

“We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

March 19-22

The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

- Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

- Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

- Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

- A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

July 12

The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

July 21

A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

November 8

The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

December 10

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

1976

January 6

Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

January 9

Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

February 19

In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

“The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

February 23

Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

April 2

Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

May 6

Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

August 6

State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

August 30

Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

September 1

Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

September 23

State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

November 23

Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

“I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

December 21

Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

“I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

“The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

December 24

Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

1977

January 4

Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

February 8

State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

April 18

Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

May 10

State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

May 18

State police again film and re-create death scene.

June 22

The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

June 23

More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

June 24

Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

July 5

The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

July 6

Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

July 7

Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

July 12

Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

July 13

New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

July 14

Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

July 19

The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

July 20

The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

July 21

Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

July 26

The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

July 27

The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

July 28

Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

August 30

New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

Peterson testifies for three hours.

August 31

The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

September 1

Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

September 2

Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

September 12

Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

September 18

Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

September 19

One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

September 26

Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

October 3

Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

October 11

Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

“They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

“Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

October 17

The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

October 24

The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

November 14

The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

November 21

State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

November 29

The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

December 7

The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

1978

Feb. 17 Report filed.

Feb. 22

Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.


    Find & Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial








  • more COOL JUSTICE








  •            Mandatory Reporting Law on Sexual Abuse Not So Mandatory -- Especially for Prep Schools / Abysmal Failures Noted on So-Called Background Checks        

    NEW:
    Mandatory Reporting [NOT Really] Column
    on Sexual Abuse Cases Generates Range of Comments


    Meriden Record-Journal Post 7-18-17 Follows Hearst CT [links below]
    & Cool Justice Blog 6-4-17


  • Column via Record-Journal

  • Facebook Tag Leads to Comments




  • State Reports Only 14 Arrests & Four Convictions in Past Seven Years
    Statute of Limitations Just One Year for This Misdemeanor








    By Andy Thibault
    The Cool Justice Report
    http://cooljustice.blogspot.com/
    June 4, 2017









    Editor's Note: This column may be reprinted or re-posted courtesy of The Cool Justice Report http://cooljustice.blogspot.com.

    Connecticut has been a very safe place to avoid arrest and prosecution for failing to report sexual abuse -- especially if you're a teacher or administrator at a prep school.

    That's just part of the picture.

    Suppose you lose your teaching job after being accused of rape. Just don't put that job on your resume. You'll be fine for perhaps a decade or more. It also helps to amend your full name on the resume. Supposed background checks will fail to detect resume gaps and irregularities.

    But what about that mandatory reporting law compelling teachers and administrators to report suspected abuse to the state? No problem. It hasn't been enforced with any great enthusiasm at the preps: No report, no warning for future employers or victims.

    The revelations come after a series of articles by The Boston Globe Spotlight Team and an investigation by the powerhouse law firm Covington & Burling for Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. The Globe found that abuse victims routinely suffered retaliation at private schools in New England. The schools in turn covered up the abuse. Choate, for example, failed to report abuse incidents prior to 2010.

    A spokeswoman for Connecticut courts told The Cool Justice Report there were just 14 arrests in the state for failing to report sexual abuse from January 2010 through late April 2017. During the same time, there were only four convictions, according to the data provided via the state Judicial Department. One of the convictions was of a day care operator. No additional data was available immediately.

    There is only a one-year statute of limitations for failure to report sexual abuse claims, and that crime is a misdemeanor. Connecticut Deputy Chief State's Attorney Len Boyle said in a statement there are no plans to try to change that, but he noted there is a five-year statute of limitations for a felony charge if prosecutors are able to cite willfulness or other aggravating factors. Willfulness, like intent, carries with it a significant burden of proof.

    "The one-year statute of limitations," Boyle said, "is largely consistent with the limitations periods for all crimes (i.e.: one year for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony). We have not sought to lengthen it. The more egregious cases of failure to report (willfulness, gross negligence, etc.) are felonies and provide a five year limitations period."

    Boyle's office is investigating whether anyone at Choate broke the law by failing to report suspected abuse, The Hartford Courant reported in April.

    Among the 12 teachers accused of abuse in the Choate report, one went on to become a teacher and administrator at several public schools in Connecticut. He was able to avoid detection partly by amending his name and omitting two teaching jobs at private schools -- Choate and The Gunnery, in Washington, CT -- on his resume. The resume, obtained under Connecticut's Freedom of Information law, also shows some overlap for jobs at public schools in Connecticut and New York.

    This teacher / administrator, Jaime E. Rivera, aka Jaime Rivera-Murillo, resigned as principal of Wamogo High School in Litchfield in April. Before that, he was a teacher and assistant principal at Newtown High School for about 11 years. The first teaching job listed on his resume was at Henry Abbot Technical High School in Danbury, beginning in 2001. That leaves a seven-year gap following his graduation from St. Michael's College in Vermont, where he reported earning a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language.

    The Covington & Burling report says Rivera-Murillo was fired after being accused of anally raping one student and grabbing the breast of another during a Choate field trip to Costa Rica in 1999. Rivera, a faculty leader for the trip, denied engaging in sexual misconduct but admitting drinking alcohol including beer with students and "local moonshine" with others.

    Choate did not report the alleged assaults at the time as required by law. The alleged rape victim told the Covington & Burling team that a female administrator admonished students not to discuss what happened.

    The process for vetting resumes at Connecticut public schools like Wamogo and Newtown high schools and Abbot Tech seems to be check the boxes and wave the guy through with barely a pretense of scrutiny. This abysmal failure of diligence and critical thinking should be alarming to students, parents and all taxpayers.

    "He didn't list Choate as a former employer when he applied," Christine Chinni, the lawyer for Regional District 6 which includes Wamogo, told The Boston Globe.

    District 6 Superintendent Edward Drapp, asked about the committee of 12 that reviewed Rivera-Murillo's credentials and the review process, declined to discuss his procedures for background checks. Besides the resume, which he produced after a formal FOI request, Drapp was also asked to provide documents related to that review committee. Here is Drapp's response: "Attached is a copy of Mr. Rivera's resume. This is the only document in the district's possession that meets the criteria of your FOI request. For the remainder of the school year I will be focused on the students and therefore I am not doing any additional interviews or making any other statements on this matter."

    Drapp's response sounds like the result of bad coaching from an inept lawyer. The assertion that there are no documents regarding the review committee is not credible. Are we to believe the review committee never had a meeting?

    The Globe reported in April that the sexual misconduct at Choate occurred from 1963 to 2010 and ranged from intimate kissing to groping and sexual intercourse. The Covington & Burling report cites 12 teachers. Other Globe stories cited more than 100 private schools in New England with more than 300 former students saying they faced sexual abuse or harassment.

    Just last month, The Kent School was sued and accused of failing to report a 49-year-old teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old student in the late 1980s.

    The student claims her advisor scolded her for spreading vicious rumors. Another teacher allegedly told the student she was a sinner for committing adultery. The suit claims the abuse was widely known at the school and that the student was shunned, called "obviously crazy" and blamed for the teacher's breakdown. During a church service the student attended at the school, the suit asserts, Kent staff openly prayed for the teacher's well being. The teacher subsequently got a job at a private school in Indiana.

    Kent School, founded in 1906, charges more than $60,000 annually for tuition, board and fees.

    Rev. Richardson Schell, the headmaster, said in a statement: "We do not know why [the student] has elected to pursue a lawsuit at this time."

    Schell opened the statement by saying he had reviewed the complaint: " ... I am deeply sorry for the wrongful actions of the former Kent teacher who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with this former student ... as the Headmaster of the school then, I responded immediately and to the best of my ability."

    The statement does not address the school's duty to report the alleged abuse in a timely manner.

    Notably, Schell undertook a massive letter writing campaign some years later when he was annoyed by what he called a TV sitcom's "obnoxious, objectionable content." His letter writing campaign netted responses from 17 companies and he also reached out to publications including Advertising Age and Media Week to generate publicity regarding his concerns about popular culture, The New York Times reported.

    Finally, on the national front, The Associated Press reported that a former president of Penn State and two other former university administrators were each sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a decision that enabled the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys.

    Thibault, a private investigator for the Hartford office of Integrated Security Services http://www.intesecurity.com/, is the author of a second collection of newspaper columns, “more COOL JUSTICE” http://morecooljustice.com/, credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder. His public service includes four years on a local board of education. Follow him on Twitter @cooljustice.









  • The Choate Report










  • Short version of column
    Via Hearst CT dailies


  • Danbury News Times


  • Connecticut Post


  • Norwalk Hour


  • Greenwich Time


  • Stamford Advocate







  • more COOL JUSTICE







  •           Reprise: Ongoing Cover-Up in Badaracco Homicide, Dog Killers, RFK 2nd Shooter & Many Other Matters in the Public Interest        

  • Complete list of SPJ winners


  • 'Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which you have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed on the housetops.'
    - Luke 12:3







    Finalists,
    CT SPJ Contest, 2016


  • Complete list


  • Annual dinner


  • Dinner highlight:
  • Diane Smith and Maureen Croteau to be inducted into Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame



  • Partial List of Finalists

    Courts/Crime
    Regional B




    Hartford won’t indemnify cops in killing of child’s dog; Officers’ personal assets attached; CTNewsJunkie; Andy Thibault
  • Complete article


  • Crime levels are surging in Plainfield; Norwich Bulletin; John Penney

    'Problem pockets' worry residents; Stamford Advocate; Nelson Oliveira, John Nickerson

    Lawyers have personal, professional reasons to help Community Speaks Out fight opioid crisis; The Day; Karen Florin

    Bones, tissue, teeth: Small details help investigators identify remains; The Day; Lindsay Boyle

    General Column
    Regional B




    Andy Thibault Cool Justice: Pretend investigations the norm in Badaracco homicide for 32 years; Litchfield County Times; Andy Thibault

  • Complete Article




  • Andy Thibault Cool Justice: Important questions about a homicide are ignored or deflected; Litchfield County Times;

  • Complete Article




  • Cool Justice: How judges and prosecutors circle the wagons to shaft public, protect themselves; Litchfield County Times;

  • Complete Article



  • Rabbi a man for all seasons, all people; News-Times; Brian Koonz

    Why would women vote for a misogynist? ; News-Times; Jacqueline Smith

    High noon in the wild west town of Bethel; News-Times; Jeff Gewert

    Police drug testing not a routine thing; Norwich Bulletin; Brendan Cox

    MPD secrecy standard procedure; Record-Journal; Eric Cotton

    Judge’s ruling says state must re-invent town-by-town system of schools; Record-Journal; Glenn Richter

    We’ve just made the wrong person president; Record-Journal; Glenn Richter

    Football is great, but is it worth the health risks? ; Record-Journal; Jeffery Kurz

    Coping with President Trump; Stamford Advocate; Jeff Gewert

    Biggest little fan meets Moriah; The Chronicle; Jennifer Lemanski

    The Coast Guard museum has no parking plan; The Day; David Collins

    Why was seizure-prone Sen. Maynard driving? ; The Day; David Collins

    In-Depth
    Regional B

    No place to play in western Greenwich; Greenwich Time; Emilie Munson





    Cool Justice: RFK Jr. points to forensic evidence of second gunman in his father’s assassination; Litchfield County Times; Andy Thibault

  • Complete Article




  • Year after Nina Coe’s disappearance from Middletown, family pleads for answers; Middletown Press; Cassandra Day

    Plight of low-wage workers worsens; News-Times; Rob Ryser

    Hihchey, Bilda went on $340,000 trip; Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Blessing

    Over decade, many NPU salaries jump 40%; Norwich Bulletin; Ryan Blessing

    Family devastated by loss of ‘hero’ mom killed in Meriden hit-and-run; Record-Journal; Leigh Tauss

    Pedestrians, bicyclists prohibited from accessing new trail through Wallingford condo complex; Record-Journal; Leigh Tauss

    Man who shot at Meriden mosque comes full circle as prison term approaches; Record-Journal; Mike Savino

    We were children, I wasn't the only victim; Stamford Advocate; Amanda Cuda

    Stamford's surging development demolishes old homes; Stamford Advocate; Liz Skalka

    Damning report details DCF failure in near-starvation of Groton toddler; The Day; Deborah Straszheim

    Navy gets under sailors’ skin; The Day; Julia Bergman

    Norwalk works to keep Millennials coming; The Hour; Kaitlyn Krasselt, Robert Koch







  • more COOL JUSTICE








  •           #Stalking & Critical Thinking on Law & Justice; Erin Moriarty Presents at University of St. Joseph – BOB THIESFIELD Photo Gallery        

    OK To Reprint, Repost
    w/ Credit to Bob Thiesfield, The Cool Justice Report


    USJ President Rhona Free w/ CBS '48 Hours' Correspondent Erin Moriarty

  • 38-second video recap





  • BACKGROUND



  • Warm Welcome From Crowd at the University's Crystal Room, Mercy Hall


    Moriarty Noted Connecticut's Stalking Law - Relying on Demonstration of Reckless Behavior - Is More Effective Than Those of Other States Which Require Proof of Intent by Often-Disturbed Stalkers


    Attentive Audience


    The Interactive Event Featured Dialogue w/ Students


    'NCIS' Star Pauley Perrette Shared Her Stalking Torment and Supported Others in '48 Hours' Broadcast Earlier This Year


    Before the Event, Moriarty Met w/ Students Including Erin Castaldi (left), a Veteran Who Is Studying To Be a Social Worker







  • USJ: Look for more exciting speakers in the fall



  •           #TrueCrime All Sides of the Law #moreCOOLJUSTICE Signed Copy #HolidayGift        

    In the halls of justice,
    the only justice is in the halls




  • Video: What is more COOL JUSTICE?




  • CBS880 report: Bonnie Foreshaw goes free


  • more COOL JUSTICE is a second collection of hard-hitting essays credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder.

    Novelist Chandra Prasad calls author Andy Thibault “Connecticut’s premiere journalistic warrior.”

    Wally Lamb says: “Thibault is a junkyard dog for justice who bares his teeth at pomposity and institutional unfairness and only bites the truly deserving.”

    more COOL JUSTICE includes controversial essays on topics including the Woody Allen sex assault case, the national assault on freedom of information and a 42-year-old cold case in New Orleans. A chapter entitled ‘Persons known & unknown blew up justice in Badaracco case’ examines the politics permeating the investigation and points to the judiciary’s complicity in the failure to solve the Mary Badaracco homicide in northwest Connecticut.

  • Yale’s bogus Woody Allen report, via Huffington Post


  • Thibault was honored by the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information in 2014 with the Stephen Collins Award for his “many contributions to the cause of open and accountable government and a free and vigorous press.” Thibault was one of the few reporters to cover the Boston Marathon bombing trial gavel to gavel. His reports for the NBC News Investigative Unit can be found at

  • NBC News.com
  • by entering Andy Thibault in the search box.

  • Boston Marathon trial stories


  • His first collection, Law and Justice in Everyday Life, was published in 2002, featuring an introduction by Howard Zinn and foreword by F. Lee Bailey.

    Thibault has taught at Western Connecticut State University, the University of Hartford and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. He is an investigator for Integrated Security Services of Hartford and Manhattan.

    He is expected to appear in one of a series of true crime documentaries in 2017, filmed in late 2016 by a Canadian production company. Also in 2017, he expects to implement an “Alternative Speakers Series” at a university in Connecticut.





  • Signed copy via publisher


  • Also via Amazon


  • more COOL JUSTICE website



  • Also available via your favorite local bookstore, including:


  • Hickory Stick Bookshop



  • Byrd’s Books


  •           Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

    UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           $10,000 REWARD: Missing Person / Cold Case via Integrated Security Services @GoIntegrated         



  • Integrated Facebook page


  • Integrated Twitter feed


  • Integrated website


  • FLASHBACK: Video - Widow Pressed for Answers 42 years ago


  • Brief highlights of Caporino case:

    Excerpts from

  • more COOL JUSTICE

  • Chapter 4

    *

    Did Gabe Caporino just disappear or were hidden forces at play? AT

    *

    Gabe Caporino, a 40-year-old corporate executive from Westchester, NY, never returned to his wife and two teenage daughters after a business trip in 1974. The night he disappeared, Gabe Caporino spoke with his wife and daughters, asking about a school parents' night and confirming a dinner date with friends for the weekend.

    *

    There isn’t much of a trail for Gabe Caporino, but we know a good bit of what police did and did not do in the crucial days following his disappearance on Thursday, March 7, 1974. We also know some of what his employer, the General Foods corporation, did and did not do.

    *

    Under pressure from Gabe Caporino’s wife, Grace, now a retired teacher and recognized Holocaust scholar, General Foods sent a team to New Orleans over the weekend. One of them, Bill Bevans of the personnel department, snatched Gabe Caporino’s briefcase from his hotel room. The other GF team members were security director Jack Edward Ison, who had been an FBI agent for nine years; and White Plains, NY police detective James Lynch.

    “Our chief of security Jack Ison will ... take over this investigation,” GF personnel director Frank Dorito told Grace Caporino.

    Indeed, he did.

    On Sunday, March 10, 1974, Ison and his colleagues met privately with New Orleans police, barring members of the Caporino family. This crucial meeting presaged, if it did not predestine, the shocking and abysmal refusal of the New Orleans Police Department to follow up on basic and compelling leads, including the forgery of Gabe Caporino's credit card four days after he was reported missing. This forgery was ultimately documented by the FBI crime lab. Significantly, a Sears employee who witnessed three individuals using Gabe’s credit card recanted after a visit by New Orleans police ...

    ... Officer Roma Kent, who went on to work as a federal public defender, got the clerk to change his story ...

    *

    CBS producer Barbara Gordon, on assignment in 1974, put it this way: “The New Orleans Police Department is holding hands with General Foods and there is a cover-up down here.”

    The Gabe Caporino case was the subject of a CBS documentary produced by Gordon and reported by Chris Borgen, a retired New York City narcotics detective. The program aired beginning in May 1974 on the show Eye On New York. It was rebroadcast in New York and several times throughout the country on local affiliates – but not in New Orleans.

    As the air date neared, Borgen told Grace Caporino the reporting team received threats that GF might pull advertising from CBS. Borgen recounted the phone call from a GF public relations staffer: “This documentary is not in our best interests. We have a significant advertising budget with CBS.”

    *



    New Orleans police ... reported the discovery of Gabe Caporino’s rental car in a way that could not have occurred.

    His rented car was found abandoned about 10 days later in front of a school by Spain and [N.]Ramparts streets with the keys stuck outside the vehicle in the door lock. Police officers told me a car in this location with the keys outside the vehicle might have lasted there up to an hour. Additionally, any fingerprints left in or on the car were wiped off.

    “It is certainly not the kind of place where a new car would sit for a week with the keys in the door,” said Gabe Caporino’s nephew Anthony Emma, who made two trips to New Orleans in 1974. “Certainly not the kind of place a new car would sit even locked up without being disturbed for a week ... I always found that hard to believe.”



    *

    As time went on and the Caporino family struggled to survive, General Foods appealed the awarding of benefits to the widow and children multiple times. At one of the hearings, Jack Edward Ison admitted he was the source of the smears about Gabe Caporino in law enforcement files.

    A hearing officer asked Ison: “How do you know this about Mr. Caporino?”

    “Just things you hear people say,” Ison responded. He was not pressed to elaborate.

    In a particularly disturbing incident on March 16, 1974 – the day that would have been Gabe Caporino’s 41st birthday – family, friends and neighbors gathered at the home in Yorktown Heights. Ison called Grace Caporino. She told Ison family and friends did not want her to be alone on that day. Ison paused and said: “Well, if Gabe has any heart, surely he'll call you on his birthday. Bye, I’ve got to go.”

    *

    October, 2011. NEW ORLEANS, LA – Thirty seven years ago – with several police officers crowding her – Grace Caporino briefly touched and read a number of pages in a 3-inch-high stack of reports about her missing husband. After a few minutes, they forced her to leave. Today, the New Orleans Police Department still doesn’t want to know or hear anything about the Gabe Caporino case – or the reports ... *

    The current New Orleans police superintendent, Ronal Serpas, ignored two certified letters she sent him last year ...

    The New Orleans Police Department – notorious as perhaps the most corrupt and incompetent in U.S. history – has routinely engaged in public executions of civilians. The coroner tends to call these homicides slips and falls or accidents, even when someone’s face and teeth are kicked in and various body parts have hemorrhaged. Officers have worked as cocaine dealers on the job, hired hitmen to kill civilians, stolen from car dealers and held up liquor stores in uniform. Officers have been heard on police scanners saying: “Is he dead yet? No. Kill him now. String him up by the balls.”

    A short list of recent convictions includes two officers who beat and kicked a local man to death, then covered it up. In the infamous Danzgier bridge trial, also this year, five current and former officers were found guilty of shooting six civilians – killing two of them – and covering it up. Those local citizens were walking to a grocery store.

    Civilians filming police assaulting civilians are routinely charged with inciting a riot. After police shot and killed unarmed trombone player Joe Williams, returning from a jazz funeral in 2004, officers broke up a memorial service for the popular member of the Hot 8 Brass Band. Local attorney Mary Howell told the PBS show Frontline police advised her that “merely having a video camera or camera in a situation like this where the police are interacting with the community was considered to be inciting a riot.”

    After Hurricane Kartina, the National Rifle Associaton sued New Orleans Police for stripping law-abiding citizens of their ability to defend themselves. “They just stole people’s guns and weapons,” Howell said.

    The unofficial body count from Hurriance Katrina is upwards of 1,500. “We do not have a clear understanding of how many people were shot and killed by the New Orleans Police Department,” Howell told Frontline.

    Of course, there are also many officers who keep their oath to protect and serve no matter what the risk from criminals and buffoons in the streets or among their ranks and supervisors ...

    *

    August, 2012

    ... the New Orleans Police Department actually admitted it had failed to comply with the Louisiana public records law. This happened through a series of depositions of detectives and other personnel [in a Freedom of Information lawsuit in Parish Court] ... “Nobody has gone digging through those files specifically looking for a file relative to the disappearance of Gabe Caporino, have they?” The question was posed by ... attorney, B