New Russian Chronicles
"Check against delivery" said the midwife.

oct
30

In his writings, Confucius considers that a Perfect Gentleman (y por cierto, adoro que esto se traduzca como “hidalgo” en castellano), is someone who has mastered the six chinese classical arts: archery, rituals, music, horse-riding, calligraphy and mathematics. Actually confucian thought set those arts more than the other way round, but let’s avoid (fascinating) derails.

Why those six in particular? What made them special? let’s take a look

Rituals: This one is kinda tricky, since I should give an explanation of the different interpretations of the confucian rites and so and so, but let’s try an incomplete explanation. You know how, as a little kid, you have to learn how to greet people propely, ask for things politely and be respectful of your elders? Well, those are the Confucian rituals. Essentially the Confucian rituals mean exercising that invisible “muscle” which is our capacity to be part of society.

Music: The only art that goes straight to the senses. But it also requires discipline and practice, sensitivity, and some abstract thought (scales are haaaaaaaaaard maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan).

Calligraphy: I guess writing properly meant you were educated and could communicate in writing effectively, back in the day. Just like today!

Horse riding: It’s tough physical exercise and requires skill, bravery and being phisically fit, ‘aight?

Archery: although Confucius didn’t want his followers to practice martial arts (or war) he adviced to practice archery. Archery is a mind sport, in case you didn’t know. It requires a lot of concentration, more than any physical skills.

Maths: Well, maths, man. Whatever you might think of your math teacher at school, maths are useful and if you don’t know maths, you are more easily scammed. Back in the day, I assume, it was important to measure fields and stuff like that.

Do you see what I am seeing? I see a very diverse set of skills, some of them have to do with physical fitness and dexterity, other are abstract intellectual pursuits. Some are solitary pursuits, some  are social, or inherently social. The rites for one.

[TANGENT] By the way, did you know there is a movie about Confucius? Fuck me, the Chinese are more advanced. Like, have you ever seen a movie about a philosopher? I think there’s merit to the idea. Like for instance we could take Candide and make a satyric rom-com out of it. We could take Thomas Aquinas and make religious movies about the dude. Kant would be a 4h long Finnish experimental film. Russell would be a war movie with lots of emotional moments where the enemy soldiers fraternize. Oh, and any Ayn Rand book would make for good sequels to “Dumb and dumber”. But anyway what do I know about philosophy?[/TANGENT]

Anyway, what I meant to point out is that what Confucius wants is for you to learn many different skills, to be as much a widely cultivated person as you can.

Let’s quote another great man, one who looked like a mobster, wrote like a genius, fucked like a mofo and respected his wife like a real man:

Robert A. Heinlein

Whom you might now as the author of one of my favorite books, the author, too, of the biggest translation problem I found in my life (and the only one I still haven’t managed to solve), and, in his early years, a spouter of anarcho-capitalist ideas. But hey.

What does he have to add to this series of reflections?

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

That’s what kinda of in the same direction that Confucius was trying to lead us. Methinks.

But maybe the six classical Chinese arts are a bit obsolete, aren’t day ? Ok, so what could we include, if we were advising the young today? Of course, the western young, because a skill is useful or not depending on circumstances. The best programmer in the world wouldn’t be able to turn, overnight, into a subsistance farmer. ‘Aight? But surely more knowledge would make him or her more capable of adapting, right? On that respect, there are some studies suggesting that college educated people are more productive at their jobs even if they are not working at a position they studied for….. just saying…

Ok so:

Math: This one’s still important, but I’d advice, say, knowing about compound interest as more relevant than knowing about geometry. You know, banks loand and stuff.

Any martial art or sport: Man, you need to be fit. And thrown a punch if need be. You can’t tell me it isn’t useful.

Music: Yeah this one hasn’t changed either.

Driving: As an analogy for cart riding, yeah, but not just that. Driving is a very complete exercise. First you need to develop control of the car, simple dexterity with it. Then learn rules. Then learn how to cooperate, adapt to traffic, by observing the behaviour of others. Yeah, I know it’s pretty useful.

Coding: Ok, I’m losing you now, am I not? “Dude we don’t want to program a computer that’s fucking boring and nerdy”. Still, I think it’s an amazing intellectual exercise. The computer can’t deduce, can’t “get” what you mean, can’t guess. It can only do what you tell it to. So you must learn the language, yes, but you must also clarify your own ideas to be able to get them through (just like interpreting!). It requires logical thinking and stuff. It’s awesome. Do it. Also, Steve Jobs in his lost interview (that you can watch here…. honesty, if you plan on seeing the movie, ditch the fucking Steve Jobs movie and watch the interview) adviced everyone to learn coding. And I think he was right.

Rituals: As important as ever…. but I’d go a step further and have everyone learn in a lot of details the different types of government and how do they work, and read “Man and People” By Ortega y Gasset, and Russels and….  simply because I think the world would be a better place if everyone took a strategic, wide look at why society is organized the way it is and not another. (Obviously I also want a pony).

And probably more things. Could I get your ideas? If I do I’ll attribute them.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed my little reflections here.

oct
27

This is a picture of The Beast, the car of the president of the United States of America. It’s the best armored car in the world.

If you look at the plate number, you’ll see that it’s an old model from the Clinton administration. The picture is recent.

———————–

Voici une photo de La Bête, la voiture du président des États Unis. La voiture blindé la meilleure du monde.

Si tu prêtes attention à la plaque d’immatriculation tu verras que c’est un vieux model de l’era Clinton, même si la photo est moderne.

———————–

Una foto de La Bestia, el coche del presidente de los EEUU. El mejor coche blindado del mundo.

Si te fijas en la matrícula verás que se trata de un modelo viejo, de la presidencia Clinton. La foto es contemporanea.

 

* Post created with Wintermute markov generated blog post services.

oct
25

Lately I’ve been noticing visual puns in films.

Lately I’ve seen the Lone Ranger. I will talk about it. But this image struck me.

the-lone-ranger-thats-a-nice-landscape-shot

From timsfilmreviews. Read his take on the film here.

Anyway, you see that image? The indian knocks the cowboy out, and he wakes up on top of a scaffolding on top of a mountain. That gives him a wider perspective on the world than he use to have. It’s an experience for him.

So… would you say this guy is high?

I mean, yeah, it sounds lame when you put it on paper like this, but there you have it. And then this guy from The Croods.

In the movie, this guys holds his pants with his monkey. And he is always playing with his monkey, the sick bastard. You know what I mean. Terrible puns and blah blah.

I don’t know man, I just keep seeing them in films.

Had anyone else realized? Seriously. I need to know. TELL ME; TELL ME, HAD YOU REALIZED THIS???? AM I ALONE OUT THERE?!?! PLEASE SOMEONE ANSWER!!!!.

…..

nyway have some music about puns. It’s pretty cool.

When you read this, I will be on my way to Budzhluzha. Pronounce that quickly and repeatedly.

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The lone ranger:

Nice mindless action movie to have a good time if it weren’t for all the subtext. The evil railroad people with an engine called Constituion that steal the land from indians, and the outlaws that defend justice. It’s like, a theme or something.

Letter to America:

Man I have so much to say about this movie.

There are many things to like about that film (when you get beyond the sloooooooooooooooooooooooow pace).

I like learning about the deeper part of bulgaria, and I guess that, in a way, that’s one of the things the author is trying to do, to show people that the old bulgaria is still around.

Then I really liked the way things are presented. The trip of one of the friends outside Bulgaria is compared constantly throughout the movie with the trip inside bulgaria of the other friend. For instance, lots of scenes show, side by side, the videos of the guy in america and the guy in Bulgaria going through mountains and rough terrain. To me the implication is clear: His trip of self discovery was outside, and exactly as difficult, tiring and disconcerting as your trip of discovery inside. The mountains the protagonist walks through are literal and figurative at the same time.

Then there’s quite a bit of moments where the protagonist, an artist himself… I don’t know how could i explain, but being a creative person myself, and knowing where I get my inspiration, many moments throughout the movie where the protagonist gets inspiration, those are moments I would have totally gotten inspiration from. Random encounters with strangers, now that’s one source of inspiration if there ever was one.

And finally there is THE song that they keep searching throughout the movie. It’s a song about the sadness of not having children.

So yeah…… many of the topics (travelling and living in different places, self discovery, the creative impulse) are close to my heart.

Did I make any sense?

Ghostbusters:

Two things. 1. The real protagonist of this movie is the city of New York. 2. The film takes an interesting color if you think that, at the beginning of the movie, Bill Murray plays the part of the total sceptic, and is forced, against his will, to believe in ghosts. But that’s why we love him, because he adapts.

oct
24

Lone Ranger: Subtext

Letter to America: Deep.

Ghostbusters: New York

Saying that a movie is deep is a fucking compliment. It’s a slow movie but if you find a good translation of it you are in for a fascinating indie movie.

Este tio y su prima la del pueblo van a daros emociones muy fuertes y enseñaros Bulgaria.  In English.


(Or rather, this dude and her aunt from up the village will show will make you feel things in the film and show you Bulgaria.) <<<—- Albacete accent is not something google translate can deal with.

oct
16

Related music – click to hear

Recently I went to see the Escher exhibition in Rome, at Chiostro del Bramante. Go there if you can, it’s a lovely place. And the cafe upstairs has many reserved, discreet niches where you can get down to all kinds of nasty business, mostly undisturbed. Well, that’s what a friend told me.

Escher is very amazing, and has many more things than I ever realized, but one of the self-potraits really hit me. It made me weak in the knees.

Let me explain.

I think that one defining characteristic of human existence is that we are trapped inside our heads. We (whatever “we” are), we are inside our heads, and receive all stimulae indirectly, through our senses. Senses that have this tendency to lie to us. We can’t really trust them. But that’s a tangent. An interesting one but a tangent. (and also, deciding that because senses lie to us al that is worthwhile is pure intellect is silly. You won’t pick up a lot of chicks/dudes that way).

Anyhow, if we accept that we are trapped inside our heads, that we will never, ever be able to enter into true contact with other people because there is that unsurmountable barrier, the skin, if we accept that we will never manage to explain the full extent of what we are… we get to art.

Do you want to know more? Click here. I promise you will find it fascinating.

EDIT: FUUUUUUUCK FUCK FUCK There’s a second part!! And it’s even more mindblowing. HERE.

That’s how I see art, any kind of art. One of it’s primary functions is, precisely, to let the artist express himself, express about himself, in ways that words simply could not reach. Poetry is more than words for that reason, and a painting is more than an image.

Let’s not forget that we are so utterly trapped inside our heads that everything becomes more about us than about external stimulae. It’s like projection in psychology. Because every single stimulae is filtered through our experience, and our reaction is filtered through our experience and our experience is filtered through our experience, what we get from art, from books, from films, from conversations with friends…. are much more about what we are, than about what those things are, “objectively”.

And then a work of art is all about the author, it is a distilled spoonfull of what the author has inside. Given to you so you might know the author a little better. And also, so that the author can get those things (usually burning, unnamed and difficult things) out of his chest/head.

I know there’s a taoist quote exactly about this but I can’t recall it and find it.

With all that big wall 0′ text, you may now look at this painting you already know. And try to see it as I saw it the other day.

 

This is a work of art…. about art itself.

The author, filling the center of the painting, and most of the substantial part of it. Watching the author, and his/her circumstances around him/her

The spectator, suddenly thrown in the position of the artist. Seeing through the eyes of the artist.

Am I making any sense today?
———————————————–

The croods. ooooooooooooooh the Crudes! Now I get the title.

The croods is a funny cartoon, and you can also read it a a metaphore for adolescence. The girl wants to try new and better things, the dad is bent on being conservative and NOT trying new things. So it goes into a tangent about technology and embracing it, but it’s also about boys and how the dad is protective of his children.  I mean, cool and all.

Two comments:

- Although one could understand it as waxing on the value of adapting to the environment, the film could also be understood to wax about how technology will save us, and that is something I am sceptic about. But I will write about that later, since I was at the Maker Fair of Rome, recently.

- This film has made me realize that films, but specially cartoons, have very, VERY rich world of visual puns that I’d like to talk about at some point. One of them is in the very post about The Croods. You probably got it.

oct
11

The Croods: Metaphorical.

This guy

(From Cinemum.com)

Plays with his monkey.

————————————————————————————–

oct
07

Ok so….. typical silly thing on FB, what ten books have marked you more profoundly? Here was my answer in case anyone is interested. Ie. No one.

1. El Cuentacuentos // The storyteller  - Salvat ediciones//Cavendish Publishing

I mean…. the very best investment my parents ever did. Probably. I must have spent days, DAYS sitting quietly listening to these. I can do that even now and i’m more than 32 yo. Seriously, every time I have to entertain kids (usually before I roast them) I tell them these stories.

2. “Stranger in the strange land” – Robert A. Heinlein

Much to the chagrin of its author, the book that started the hippy movement. So yeah I’m a dirty hippy I guess.

3.  “Confucius – The secular as sacred” – Herbert Fingarette

Short and to the point. Want to understand what Confucius was about, and why society works the way it works? Read this.

4. “Red Mars(Marte Rojo)” – Kim Stanley Robinson

Don’t do like me and read this when you are a kid. You run the risk of it forming your political thought and stuff.

5. “Tao Te Ching” – Lao Tze

Not that I believe in this one so strongly, but it was my introduction to more abstract philosophical thought.

6. “Hagakure” – Yamamoto Tsunemoto

See above, although in this case it was more an introduction to different cultures, a way of thought that was unknown to me and…. well, even abandoning this book was a useful exercise in thought. And many things from this book remain with me to this day. Specially a form of stoicism.
There is something to be learnt from a rainstorm…

7. “The Handbook of the Warrior of Light (El manual del guerrero de la luz) – Paulo Cohelo

:) Many people hate Cohelo. He’s shallow and sickly sweet sometimes, but come on. He’s a good man. There should be more like him.

8. The biography of Albert Speer // Biografía de Albert Speer

I read this way too young, and probably a number of things were lost to me. But I found it fascinating. My first (and almost only) biography.

9. Staten Island – Arthur Nersesian

This is a novel allright but…… let’s say I know this novel inside and out. We used to have a working relationship.

10. The Dragonlance Series // Serie Dragonlance – Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman

In retrospect it is not that good…. but these novels got me reading in the first place, so hey.

So yeah. Know you know a bit more about that unstoppable whirlwind I carry around over my shoulders at all times.

 

And purely for decoration, the fair city of Sofia, Bulgaria.
995865_10151930151656826_446120637_n

 

 

 

 

 
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Plazo para morir is an average western, but it’s interesting that it’s about a village under the oppressive thumb of a bank. A Bank of all things. And the hero and his pal end up shooting all the banksters in town. Contemporary references anybody?

Intacto is really one of my favorite movies, because of what it imagines about luck being something you can steal and transfer. You should watch it. Ok, might not be the best movie ever in terms of entertainement, but as you know from reading my silly blog , I really like movies that imagine new things. And this movie does. Also, first Spanish movie ever where some scenes are recorded using a drone camera. Back in 2001, when no one had really heard the word “drone”.

oct
03

Ok so I watched two movies recently, one of them an old friend, the other a new film, both cool.

Plazo para morir: Political

Intacto: Original

So yeah, those are two really, really cool films that I watched. Pero no se si las vais a poder ver, al menos la primera, porque no se si estará doblada en inglés.

The second one, though, has English subtitles and it’s pretty cool. Watch it.

De cinebso.com

Aunque no lo parezca esa pistola está cargada, funciona, el tio va a apretar el gatillo en esa misma posición, sin que el abuelete se mueva, y no va a herir al del pelo blanco. Curioso ¿eh?

Curiously enough the gun is loaded, the gun works, the guy is going to press the trigger in exactly that position, the old man is not going to move out of the way……. and still, the old man is not going to get hurt.

oct
02

Just click here and you’ll understand.

I am taking long to write. But you know, inspiration, creativity, is a fickle thing. But that is not bad. What’s bad is that society today tells us that we have to produce as much as possible, compete as much as possible, raise as much as possible in any hierarchy, earn as much money as possible…. all of that is bullshit. It’s a bunch of lies.

I mean, why should I explain to you something that Bill Patterson has explained better than could even dream to express? Read that frigging comic I posted. Just click on it to get the full version.
All this to say that anyone who is afflicted of the creative impulse suffers (like everyone else) this relentless but subtle pressure to do more, more and more, because otherwise what are you worth? This is just the horrible, capitalistic, neoliberal society in which we live. It’s BS. Reject it. Create when and if you feel like. Just as I do.

And don’t yield to the pressure to conform, and compete, and be the most ruthless shark in the tank. It’s a losing battle, since society influences us much more than we care to admit, and the kind of society that we live in will end up making mosters of all of us.

But do resist. We can’t stop the world, we can’t stop society being shit and getting worse. But there is honor in just holding off another day, and not becoming party to the war amongst the poor, which is what the masters of the world would have.

Listen to Bill. He’s cool.

In the end I just ranted and didn’t mention movies. Oh well. Tomorrow.

——————–

Ya se que tardo en postear. Pero la inspiración, sabeis, es una amante muy voluble. Lo cual no es malo. Lo malo es que la sociedad hoy en dia nos dice que hay que producir lo mas posible, competir a muerte, ascender todo lo que uno pueda, ganar toda la pasta que podamos…  y es todo mentira. Es una sarta de mentiras.

Pero ¿por qué os voy a explicar algo que Bill Patterson, el autor de Calvin y Hobbes, explicó mejor de lo que yo nunca podría explicar?  Mirate la tira comica anda. Pincha y te sale la versión completa.

Todo esto para decir que los que sufrimos del impulso creativo sufrimos (como todos, claro) esta presión sutil y aplastante para trabajar mas, mas y mas, porque sino ¿qué vales? He ahí la horrible sociedad capitalista y neoliberal en la que vivimos. Es una gilipollez. Di que no. Crea cuando, como y si te parece.

Y si puedes, no cedas a la presión de competir, de conformarte, de ser el tiburón mas salvaje de todos. Claro, es una batalla perdida, porque la sociedad nos influye mucho mas de lo que nos gustaría admitir. El tipo de sociedad moderna acabará haciendo de todos nosotros monstruos.

Pero resiste. No podemos pararlo, no podemos evitar que la sociedad sea una mierda y empeore. Pero hay cierto honor en aguantar un día mas sin meternos en la guerra entre los pobres, que es lo que los dueños del mundo querrían.

Escucha al amigo Bill, que mola.

Vaya, a final me he puesto a rajar y no he hablado de pelis. Menuda.
Bueno, mañana. Yavash, Yavash.

Drawing from zenpenzils.com

sep
18

Os lo estabais esperando ¿eh?

Un periodista catalán ha escrito una pequeña crónica del dia del voto, hoy 18 de septiembre, en internet.

Se llama “He visto cosas que vosotros no creeríais“, porque debe ser un frikazo de la hostia. Aqui teneis el artículo en español.

No lo pienso traducir todo, pero algunos extractos merecen la pena. Y claro, cualquiera que esté leyendo esto se dará cuenta que lo escribo en español porque me encanta discutir, la controversia, el debate encendido……. y sobretodo banear gente…..

“He visto voluntarios del si y el no tomar café juntos y desearse suerte. [...] He visto voluntarios del si ir a hacer campaña en los barrios favorables al no y viceversa. [...] Pero no he oido a nadie llamando nazi a nadie. [... ]Y en ningún caso he visto camiones militares o policiales disparando agua contra nadie”

En fin…… vamos a por la polémica: ¿Podemos meter ya a Inglaterra y Escocia en la lista de países mas civilizados que la piel de toro? No porque les den la independencia a los escoceses necesariamente, sino porque con este simple gesto de permitir votar han demostrado que son un país mucho mas avanzado y sobretodo demócrata que otros.

Y nada, decir también que, del tenor de las campañas a favor y en contra, diría que en la pérfida albión no se permiten los insultos, descalificaciones y mentiras constantes que la televisión española se permite hacia Cataluña…. y que en contraste con los medios catalanes, que no insultan pero si desprecian y mienten* la campaña a favor del si no se permitió ataques.

Hala ya lo he dicho. Quitarme del FB o hacer lo que os apetezca.

* Hay una diferencia cualitativa muy grande en cuanto a las burradas que se permiten decir en los medios catalanes. No hay un equivalente catalán de Federico Jimenez Losnazissantos, ni existe interlobotomíaeconomia, ni van diciendo que al sur de Gerona te matan a patadas si hablas catalán.

Ultimas noticias:

Se diría que Escocia ha votado no. Pero eso no quita que yo pueda poner mi canción preferica escocesa cuando me sale del pijo.

To any Scot reading: Dudes, if you secede to then join the EU and then not have your own currency, just that you know, you are idiots and you need someone (even Cameron) to govern you. If you want to know why, read this. And mi article on economics too.

Amigos catalufos: Os aviso que si os salis de la españa cañí para luego iros a la UE, sinceramente, os mereceis que os gobierne Rajoy. Digo.

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