Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tiago Benzinho

Just discovered this - beautiful!!!

Me and you and everyone we know:

This list plays by itself, one after the other, you can also buy the songs:

Finally, a book dedicated to me

Some of you may not like Dave Barry's humour, but you got to appreciate his honesty:

Book dedication for 'I'll Mature when I'm Dead, Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood':

"This book is dedicated to everybody who buys this book. Without you, I would have to get an actual job."


Delhi Belly

A recent Hindi song recommended by one of my young friends - racy, energetic, and has swear words most people my age would never be able to identify in a police lineup! -  the young are the same, anywhere ? :) :)

Delhi Belly - Bhaag DK Bose

Friday, May 27, 2011


"Words are coin. Words alienate. Language is no medium for desire. Desire is rapture, not exchange."

J.M. Coetzee


"........We stopped at a little monastery occupied by dervishes who danced every Friday. The arched doorway was green and had an open hand of bronze-Mohammed's sacred symbol-on the lintel. We entered the immaculate courtyard. It was paved with large white pebbles; there were flowerpots and creepers all around the edges, and in the centre a huge fruit-laden laurel.

We stopped beneath its shade to catch our breath. One of the dervishes saw us from his cell. Approaching, he greeted us by placing his hand over his breast, lips, and forehead. He was wearing a long blue robe and a tall kulah of white wool. His beard was pitch black and pointed; a silver earring hung from his right ear. He clapped his hands. A chubby barefoot boy came and brought us some stools. We sat down. The dervish chatted about the flowers we saw around us, then about the sea, which we observed sparkling between the laurel's lanceolate leaves. Finally he began to speak about dancing.

"If a man cannot dance, he cannot pray. Angels have mouths but lack the power of speech. They speak to God by dancing." 

Father, what name do you give God?", asked the abbé. 

"God does not have a name", the dervish replied. "He is too big to fit inside names. A name is a prison, God is free." 

"But in case you should want to call Him," the abbé persisted, "when there is need, what name will you use?'

The dervish bowed his head and thought. Finally he parted his lips: "Ah! - that is what I shall call Him. Not Allah, but Ah!"

Nikos Kazantzakis
'Report to Greco' (Autobiography)


"...Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgment not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still."

'Ash Wednesday'
T.S Eliot

Thursday, May 26, 2011


"How can one prevent a drop of water from ever drying up?
By throwing it back into the sea."

from the film Samsara by Pan Nalin

Pan Nalin: "...Samsara is the world; both inside the monastery and outside it. It is the story of a lama, Tashi, who leaves the monastery to become a farmer, to live a worldly life. And it is the story of Pema, his wife, who possesses the qualities of a sage, while living in the world. In short, it's all about living or leaving or both. We all, at one point or another in our lives, are tempted to change things, escape or leave everything and go somewhere.

Samsara is the story of that somewhere."

In a manner of speaking...

"...He helped Arthur to some peanuts. 'How do you feel?', he asked him.
'Like a military academy,'said Arthur, 'bits of me keep on passing out.'

Ford stared at him blankly in the darkness.
'If I asked you where the hell we were,' said Arthur weakly, 'would I regret it?'
Ford stood up. 'We're safe,' he said.
'Oh good,'said Arthur.
'We're in a small galley cabin,'said Ford, 'in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.'

'Ah,' said Arthur,'this is obviously some strange usage of the word safe that I wasn't previously aware of."

'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
Douglas Adams


There are times when you want to break the routine. And then there are times when routine is all that keeps you from coming apart.

"...For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have. One can no longer cheat-hide behind the hours spent at the office or at the plant (those hours we protest so loudly, which protect us so well from the pain of being alone).

I have always wanted to write novels in which my heroes would say:" What would I do without the office?" or again: "My wife has died, but fortunately I have all these orders to fill for tomorrow."

'Love of Life'
'Lyrical and Critical Essays'
by Albert Camus
Translated by Ellen Conroy Kennedy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Fat Full King

Coming through Slaughter’ by Michael Ondaatje. Supposedly the finest jazz novel ever written. One of those books which when you finish it you feel “I’ll never be the same again.”

The story of Buddy Bolden, Jazz legend, the first musician to play hard jazz and blues for dancing, recreated in a strange novel form, “a cinematic series of short scenes, jagged, dislocated and seemingly spontaneous, that also approximate the quality of music that stuttered or flowed out of Bolden’s cornet” (Toronto Star).

It brings to life back-street America, the black New Orleans of the early half of the last century – not pretty pictures, but vividly painted in true shades of life.

There is this one passage where he walks around as a jobless bum, but soaking in every experience, every smell, every sight, every sound, filling himself until he could not be filled anymore – all of which later on seeps into his music giving it a quality nothing else can.

"…………Then when his money finished he went down to the shore and slept. Tried to sleep anyway, listening to the others there talk - where to hustle, the weather in Gretna. He took it in and locked it. In the morning he stole some fruit and walked the roads. Went into a crowded barber shop and sat there comfortable but didn’t allow himself to be shaved walking out when it was his turn. Always listening, listening to the wet fluid speech with no order, unfinished stories, badly told jokes that he sober as a spider perfected in silence.

For two days picking up dirt the grime from the local buses he was thrown off, dirt off bannisters, the wet slime from toilets, grey rub of phones, the alley shit on his shoe when he crouched where others had crouched, tea leaves, beer stains off tables, piano sweat, trombone spit, someone’s smell off a towel, the air of the train station sticking to him, the dream of the wheel over his hand, legs beginning to twitch from the tired walking when he lay down. He collected and was filled by every noise as if luscious poison entering the ear like a lady’s tongue thickening it and blocking it until he couldn’t be entered anymore. A fat full king.”

7 May, 2005


"..A church and a fortress. A fortress in ruins. All that's meant to protect us is bound to fall apart. Bound to become contrived. Useless. And absurd.

..All that's meant to protect us is bound to isolate.

And all that's meant to isolate is bound to hurt."

from the film Calendar by the Armenian director, Atom Egoyan.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Northern Pike

All right. Try this,
Then. Every body
I know and care for,
And every body
Else is going
To die in a loneliness
I can't imagine and a pain
I don't know. We had
To go on living. We
Untangled the net, we slit
The body of this fish
Open from the hinge of the tail
To a place beneath the chin
I wish I could sing of.
I would just as soon we let
The living go on living.
An old poet whom we believe in
Said the same thing, and so
We paused among the dark cattails and prayed
For the muskrats,
For the ripples below their tails,
For the little movements that we knew the crawdads were making
under water,
For the right-hand wrist of my cousin who is a policeman.
We prayed for the game warden's blindness.
We prayed for the road home.
We ate the fish.
There must be something very beautiful in my body,
I am so happy.

James Wright

Your Catfish Friend

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."

by Richard Brautigan

I would break Into blossom...

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.

They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.

They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.

At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.

She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

by James Wright


"....You haven't met yourself as yet. But the advantage of meeting others in the meantime is that one of them might present you to yourself."

Quote from the film
Waking Life
Richard Linklater


Beyond the clever answers,
The carefully planned behaviour,
The unfaltering image of polished cool,
Is there anyone I could grow to like, respect?

If yes, maybe you could leave the polish at home
And we could meet for tea,
Some beautiful sunny evening, on the sidewalk,
Your maskless face turned towards me,
Beautiful in its vulnerability.

13 July 04

People outside time

From The Times of India, 21 May 2011:

Outdated? This Amazonian tribe has no concept of time

London: Researchers have discovered an Amazonian tribe that has no concept of time or dates.

A team from the University of Portsmouth found the tribe, known as Amondawa people, in Brazil where nobody has an age and words like “month” and “year” don’t exist. Chris Sinha, who led the research, said it’s the first time scientists had been able to prove time was not a deeply entrenched universal human concept as previously thought.

“We can now say without doubt there is at least one language and culture which does not have a concept of time as something that can be measured, counted or talked about in the abstract. This doesn’t mean that the Amondawa are ‘people outside time’, but they live in a world of events, rather than seeing events as being embedded in time,” said Sinha.

The researchers spent eight weeks with the Amondawa researching how their language conveys concepts like “next week” or “last year”. They found there were no words for such concepts, only divisions of day and night and rainy and dry seasons. They also found nobody in the community had an age.

Instead, they change their names to reflect their life-stage and position within their society. For example, a little child will give up their name to a newborn sibling and take on a new one, the researchers said.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

There is only the unattended moment...

"...For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts."

From 'The Dry Salvages' No. 3 of 'The Four Quartets'

I took that photo at a performance by Azul, a Portugese Jazz band:

Chess grandmaste​rs are not more intelligen​t

"In today's excerpt - chess grandmasters have average cognitive skills and average memories for matters outside of chess, and only show their extraordinary skills within the discipline of chess.

This suggests that expertise in chess (and most other areas) has less to do with analytical skills - the ability to project and weigh the relative merits of hundreds of options - and more to do with long-term immersion and pattern recognition - having experienced and "stored" thousands of game situations and thus having the ability to pluck an optimal answer from among those stored memories.

It also suggests that expertise may be less a result of analytical prowess and more a result of passion, love or obsession for a given subject area - enough passion to have spent the hours necessary to accumulate a robust set of experiences and memories in that area:"The classic example of how memories shape the perception of experts comes from what would seem to be the least intuitive of fields: chess. Practically since the origins of the modern game in the fifteenth century, chess has been regarded as the ultimate test of cognitive ability. In the 1920s, a group of Russian scientists set out to quantify the intellectual advantages of eight of the world's best chess players by giving them a battery of basic cognitive and perceptual tests. To their surprise, the researchers found that the grand masters didn't perform significantly better than average on any of their tests. The greatest chess players in the world didn't seem to possess a single major cognitive advantage.

Psychedeli​c trance and visionary knowledge

"...Preserved in pockets of the undeveloped world, shielded from the rapid ravages of modernization by dense jungles and mountains, it is still possible to encounter intact shamanic cultures. Among these people, plants that induce visions are the center of spiritual life and tradition. They believe that these plants are sentient beings, supernatural emissaries. They ascribe their music and medicine, their cosmology and extensive botanical knowledge to the visions given to them in psychedelic trance. For tribes in Africa, Siberia, North and South America and many other regions, rejection of visionary knowledge offered by the botanical world would be a form of insanity.

While researching this book, I visited shamans in West Africa, Mexico, and the Ecuadorean Amazon. In Gabon, a small country on the equator, I went through a Bwiti initiation, eating iboga, a psychedelic root bark that induces a trance lasting for thirty hours. Some of the Bwiti call this ceremony "breaking open the head". The bark powder temporarily releases the soul from the body, allowing the initiate into the African spiritual cosmos, where he is shown the outline of his fate."

Page 2, 'Breaking Open the Head, A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism' by Daniel Pinchbeck

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Three o'clock

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The assumption of human rationalit​y

"Who knows what I want to do? Who knows what anyone wants to do? How can you be sure about something like that? Isn't it all a question of brain chemistry, signals going back and forth, electrical energy in the cortex? How do you know whether something is really what you want to do or just some kind of nerve impulse in the brain? Some minor little activity takes place somewhere in this unimportant place in one of the brain hemispheres and suddenly I want to go to Montana or I don't want to go to Montana."

Don DeLillo, 'White Noise'

"...Ever since the ancient Greeks, these assumptions have revolved around a single theme: humans are rational. When we make decisions, we are supposed to consciously analyze the alternatives and carefully weigh the pros and cons. In other words, we are deliberate and logical creatures. This simple idea underlies the philosophy of Plato and Descartes; it forms the foundation of modern economics; it drove decades of research in cognitive science. Over time, our rationality came to define us. It was, simply put, what made us human.

There's only one problem with this assumption of human rationality: it's wrong."

Page 4, 'The Decisive Moment, How the Brain Makes Up its Mind', by Jonah Lehrer

Music: Kings of Convenience

I'd Rather Dance With You:

Kings of Convenience are an indie folk-pop duo from Bergen, Norway. Consisting of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, the musical group is known for their delicate tunes, calming voices, and intricate and subtle guitar melodies. Øye and Bøe both compose and sing the songs.

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