sábado, 31 de enero de 2009

To break the news, or not

My child hopes and believes in anything he is told. He even trusts that there is no relevant unknown, for if there was his parents must have already mentioned it. He is capable of a confusing naivety so burdening that forces me to choose between letting him keep the wisdom of the heart or training him a more informed judge of events...a suspecting mind!
How could I explain that some things exist only in as much as he believes but most are just the way they are? That among many other sad stories his friends from Spain may no longer feel the loss he still does, and his trip to visit them might be cancelled for that very reason at the core of tens of obstacles and excuses?
I am unable so far to find the way.

jueves, 29 de enero de 2009

The easiest cake I´ve prepared, and liked.


This is a recipe even I can remember! My friend suggested me to mix:

1. 18-25 finely chopped dates (I made it with 30, all the package. What is anybody supposed to do with 5 left over pieces?)
2. 1 cup of flour (I only had spelt and used it in the same quantity)
3. 3/4 cup of sugar (No need for that much -Reduced to 1/2, replaced it with brown sugar-)
4. Vanilla extract (a bit)
5. A cup of milk (soaked the dates on a cup of half and half for a couple of hours)
6. 3/4 cup of vegetable oil (for softness I added only half a cup plus 100 g. of melted butter)
7. 1 tsp of baking soda (Baking powder would work just fine, but the cake might harden faster. I knew it was not going to last so long as to even cool down),

Pour the mixture into a buttered pan or a silicon cake mould and bake it in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for about 40 minutes.

You will be bound to make it again and again (My friend did not warn me on that!).
Chopped walnuts can be also added, and for serving it whipped cream or any custard sauce would turn this simple cake into a luscious dessert.

miércoles, 28 de enero de 2009

Hoy es un dia cualquiera.

" A ti, que desearias morirte en este instante, una cancion de amor..." Me gusto esa frase y la copie aqui para la concurrencia. La oi en MIA SARAH, pelicula espanola de Gustavo Ron, 2006. Siempre me han encantado las dedicatorias por que son muy dificiles de hacer y por lo mismo adquieren un contenido muy preciso-precioso. Las despedidas exigen la misma sinceridad pero en la dedicatoria esta el "dar" y en la despedida el "quitar" o retroceder, no se en que terminos explicarlo. Una despedida puede tener el significado definitivo del desapego...siempre me ha pasado que soy incapaz de comprometerme asi, definitivamente. He sentido que lo mejor es no decir nada. Irse y ya esta, sin que sea para tanto, sin aspavientos, para que encontrarse de nuevo no requiera protocolos aunque el rito de lo dramatico emocione tanto...
Anoche vimos Kill Bill 2 otra vez. Tarantino en puro, sin la originalidad de Pulp Fiction, ni tan buena musica. Por ver "Love, Honour and Obey" con Jude Law, "When will I be loved," con Neve Campbell "After Sex," y "Tape" con Uma Thurman entre muchas otras, menos conocidas/comerciales.

Lo que me espera desde el proximo lunes, por increible que parezca, en la universidad. Una clase llena de indolentes, mas que irreverentes, estudiantes. Irremediable.
La caricatura es reconocible, o no? Es una foto de una copia de Groening.

lunes, 26 de enero de 2009

Why so few people want to travel to Colombia?

We watched a documentary by the NZ TV on The Travel Channel; Intrepid Journeys, where a woman (I wont sponsor her struggle for popularity outside NZ)was reporting on her unusual and "unsettling" trip to Colombia. Much to my surprise, the camera showed very little more than her complaining self (too tired, too sleepy, too cold, too hot, too scared, too hungry, rather unaccustomed, etc.) and few mountains and water ways that could have been filmed in Borneo, Papua, Congo or Brazil just as well. Not a single time she showed a positive attitude about any of her experiences (Unlike most reporting travellers who politely refer to any of their destinations as a wonderful place regardless of any objective consideration), naturally forgetting to mention that those couple of weeks in that tropical context did not show more than 1% if too much, of what a country consists of in terms of geography, demographics, or culture -what really matters for viewers of channels of this sort. This woman had nothing to say about our unbelievably optimistic people, Colombian first class food, the country fabulous architectural worth, its music, biodiversity or else. She was barely impressed by the tallest palm trees in the world at the Cocora Valle. In short, we could simply not believe what we were listening to, her lack of insight, the misinformation that derived from her account of events. I can imagine though that people got to know her very well, she made sure of it. This is as much as the world knows of my country. No wonder why tourism is so rare.
Colombia has the marvels that every other country claims as their own, and it is so far unspoiled by massive tourist herds. Maybe that is why it is worth exploring.

Emil loves Colombian music...the modern approach:

viernes, 23 de enero de 2009

La coleccion ideal

Trajes tradicionales del mundo.

Ojala pudiera tener uno de cada uno y tambien donde exponerlo. La herencia cultural de cada pais tiene un valor permanente y una razon de ser cuando se aplica a lo que parece simplemente folclorico como un vestido de chapolera (Colombia). Alrededor del mundo estas manifestaciones son motivo de orgullo, los trajes tipicos son aceptados en el protocolo diplomatico para las recepciones de mas alto nivel, por ejemplo para las que tienen lugar en casas reales.
Por que entonces tan poco aprecio por lo tradicional y tal obsesion por lo que este de moda? Por que se discute-critica la eleccion de disenador que hizo Mrs. Obama, globalmente?
Asi comienza lo que algunos consideran noticia: "Michelle Obama, la ya Primera Dama de Estados Unidos de América, satisfizo las expectativas creadas en torno a la vestimenta que luciría en la primera jornada de los actos..." Y se extiende sin contenido intelectual alguno en lo que constituye un tratado complejo sobre un vestido que podria ser descrito en dos palabras: notablemente elegante. La publicacion, procedente de Republica Dominicana, segun "confiesan" sus editores, contiene pura filosofia de etiqueta de acondicionador para cabellos resecos y sin brillo: como quien dice, basura. Yo quise comentar (es una publicacion digital), pero el URL especificamente me reprime con el siguiente aviso: "debe estar LOGUEADO para poder escribir comentarios" y como no tengo idea de como adquirir el susodicho estado de logueamiento, signifique lo que signfique, no voy a poder opinar en ese medio.
Michelle es muy elegante, y en todo caso que se vista como quiera, en los tiempos de reestructuracion economica globar y crisis financiera este tipo de temas no tienen ninguna importancia.

Aqui en orden:
Estonia (Muhu), Corea, Japon, Samis, Bolivia, Colombia/Panama, Tuaregs (Mali), Tuaregs (Marruecos), Argentina (Gauchos).

jueves, 22 de enero de 2009

A thought spilled out of my mind. Because I am nobody I can say. The irony of not holding political power is that actually, I might.

After reading an article from the International Affairs Journal of this month by Zbigniew Brzezinski, that Jaan sugested (probably to prepare me for the upcomming evening chat, a typical topic to talk about after long protests from my part on the decadent role of unavoidable dialogs involving ONLY grocery shopping, school and training rides, snow shoveling, pros and contras of being a cat owner, considerations upon procuring instead a turtle or low mainteinance fish, taking the garbage out, preparing Joonas for bed and the such), I came up with an opinion. It is not wrapped up and will remain incomplete for a while, but I though to share it before I forget the importance of it in the midst of other pressing matters (today is Emil´s 13th birthday!). The weekend will arrive and the house will be full. Here we are. I am happy to realize that I can take very well power inequality. In international relations that is!
Who Am I to evaluate this article? A reader. Entitled enough.
Dear Jaan:
It was not bad nor impressive or progressive. It seems rather shallow but persuasive to the uninitiated. Thank you kllk for sharing it. I hope you continue sending me good readings. Sometimes for the lectures they can be good material. The recovery of the legitimacy of the American leadership will be extremely difficult and in my opinion would only result from a long withdrawing attitude. They should cut drastically the interventionism and concentrate in their own internal affairs, an inwards turn which is much needed, meanwhile preparing a comeback with austerity and serious commitment to participate exclusively in international arrangements where every party involved would also act and take responsibility. The world must feel their absence and claim for it. They will surely be missed. A very assertive "mission" by a very assertive foreign minister can be counterproductive to their needs at the moment. The author mentions that USA is used to take decisions unilaterally suggesting on top that it imposes the consequences onto the European countries. I disagree with the underlying-subliminal maybe condescending premise. USA, just like any other country decides unilaterally on the basis of its own interests, whatever they might be, but certainly very few can carry them out financially and politically. It is because Europe does not want to take any responsibility that USA has been able to impose its policies and actions as well as its influence (desired, respected, wished, frowned upon or else) around the world. As a consequence, only the US has paid a price for it leaving European countries unsoiled. I wonder... France, Germany, Spain and even the UK have deceptively clean their hands on any matter that could concern failed international policy. Europe is helplessly ungrateful to the country that has hosted all its refuges, fueled its economy, purchased its touristic products and maintained the world economy running much longer than the duration of this crisis. Not ever Europe after decolonizing has even pretended it cares to disrupt international events does not matter how close or how appalling they might be (wars, human right abuses). Europe is preoccupied with petty matters such as imposing fines to bikers without helmet, unfastened drivers and possibly devising more regulations to prevent workers from actually working so they do not suffer work related injuries. European design is fashionable and still booming. Europeans pay six times the reasonable price for a banana and still miss to understand why Africans or Latinos cannot catch up with "THE" standards of civilized nations. Europeans are no longer more educated and knowledgeable than Americans are. See the result of my modest evaluation in Estonia. People are deprived from the joy of being responsible, everybody can get higher education regardless of their merits. In fact it is such a right that it has derogated the right to self improvement. Any bad performance is awarded a passing grade. The purpose of educational institutions is to issue diplomas, and provide work to the staff no learning, teaching or knowledge transmission involved. Europeans now hypocritically patronize third world radicals, autocrats and totalitarian governments all the same while overlooking all sorts of nonsense. No explanation to this state of affairs is eloquent to me and I am puzzled about the massive protests not against the EU but against the US. To keep complaining about the damage that the US has inflicted to the world seems simpleminded and yet easier than to engage in projects that would actually mean anything to the human kind. I think of it in a reductionist way, I admit it. I try to imagine states as people where the USA is the mighty leader and the other players have their own role. If you think from that perspective, it is pathetic to understand the attitude of Europe. Just a shame. USA deserves less resistance and merits more support. Supporting that country we help our selves. Help the helper. We want no different rules in the international game of power. USA should retreat, contract, rebuilt its power and have the dignity restored to return in a better moral standing after a while. What would happen to the rest of us? Dunnotknow! Why should I know? Probably antiamericans can propose a good formula where "Transparent" Russia or "generous" China would take a join lead with "altruistic" Iran or better yet with "detached" venezuela?" to bring economy and power sharing back on track. If there is a world surviving that revolting notion, though.

I have been thinking this for years and years! With or without Bush this would have been the case. Where does he reside now by the way?