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Book Review: KICKBACK, written and drawn by David Lloyd

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Jun 19, 2009 in Comics, Polysyllabic Spree
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I grew up in the tradition of nice Arthur Conan Doyle stories and the Sherlock Holmes mythos.

I had fun with Arsène Lupin and the Countess of Cagliostro and Raffles and Rocambole.

But, now that I think of it, I am not really a big fan of most of the crime comics I’ve read… until recently. The usual crime story opening, stuff like: “The night’s as hot as hell. It’s a lousy room in a lousy part of a lousy town – I’m staring at a goddess. She’s telling me she wants me. I’m not going to waste one more minute wondering how I’ve gotten this luckymight bore me, unless the artwork is virtuoso enough. I enjoyed Frank Miller’s SIN CITY (one of the most widely known noir comcis), for example, but some of those speech balloons, being read aloud, just sound somewhat silly. The stories are entertaining, true,  but we cannot find much depth there. Graphical virtuosity and entertainment, but not many content layers.

And probably that is one of the reasons why crime comics are considered “inferior” to crime prose novels.

However, there is one notable exception: KICKBACK, written and drawn by David Lloyd, creator of V for Vendetta!

The first words of that Graphic Novel are unlike the usual beginning of a crime comic. No lousy rooms, no lousy parts of a lousy town, just a talk about a dream, from an unseen narrator: “Okay. I will tell you about it. I’m in a dark warehouse… at least., that’s what it feels like… there’s ironwork — spears of metal — all around me… I’m on a catwalk that’s too narrow to turn around on, so I start to make my way along it in the direction I’m facing… ahead of me, it seems to grow narrower… I can’t see to the end of it… then, as I move along it, I see someone coming towards me… I try to make out who it is, but there’s a kind of mist…“. I thought it was a great way to begin a crime novel. With the description of a dream that is also an essential part of the story in many ways.

First, because this dream is like a metaphor of what the protagonist is going through. Joe Canelli feels he is going in one direction, but would that be the correct one? The pathway in his dream offers no other choices. After all, the protagonist of KICKBACK is a corrupt policeman – because everyone else in that town with a position of authority seems to be corrupt… but to say that KICKBACK is a story about a corrupt cop in a corrupt city would be an understatement, because the story is much more complex and interesting than that. This dream is just a small segment of one of the several layers of meaning and complexity that form the narrative of this very entertaning work.

In the beginning of this review, I said that I was not a big fan of crime comics, because many times, they feel hollow and clichéd (even when virtuously drawn) – but KICKBACK is different, it is not only a crime comic, it is a intrincate story, about guilt, about dreams, about progres

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s, about corruption. And that is curious, because in a way, the content has some parallells with V FOR VENDETTA – mostly when we talk about corruption, even if we are talking about a different kind of corruption.

There is much more going on in KICKBACK and I do not want to talk too much about some of those layers, to avoid spoiling part of the relevant content of the book. However, it is a great story that offers us lots of food for thought: about listening to our conscience, about the value of old people’s wisdom, about the moral value of doing what everyone else does – and much more, all wrapped up in a nice mystery with lots of action drawn in the magnificently detailed and deep style David Lloyd had already shown us in previous works like V FOR VENDETTA, but with digital improvements this time. And they make quite a difference in the storytelling: from the rain to speed blurs, the nice classical touch of Lloyd’s artwork just blends naturally with some of the digital touches.

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So, to conclude this small review, the world of KICKBACK feels like a believable place, where not everything (or everyone) is just black and white and each character feels like a real, complex person. This is not your usual crime comic. This is a crime comic that a thinking man will enjoy, as rich and deep and entertaining and complex as any prose novel. I’ve always been a fan of David Lloyd, and this work, drawn and written by him is a worthy addition to the collection of anyone – comic collector, demanding reader or crime novels aficionado. An Unmissable Book, without a doubt!

I recommend…
$12.95
The Crime Comic for the Thinking Man!
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Huxley was Right (2) : Love and Knowledge

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Jun 14, 2009 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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Novamente Huxley. Acho que vou dedicar o resto dos posts do mês de Abril a Huxley: ontem foram as línguas mortas e o BRAVE NEW WORLD [Admirável Mundo Novo], hoje é amor e conhecimento. No meio das minhas notas sobre Huxley, encontrei a seguinte citação dele (desconheço a fonte), que coloquei no twitter, porque se aplica não só a todos aqueles que amam, mas todos aqueles que de uma forma ou outra procuram o conhecimento:

Huxley about love and knowledge

A tradução seria algo como “Apenas podemos amar aquilo que conhecemos, e não podemos conhecer completamente aquilo que não amamos. O amor é uma forma de conhecimento…” E isto não é válido apenas no domínio do conhecimento, mas também em relação a quem amamos.

E para todos nós que nos preocupamos com os saberes e a transmissão do conhecimento, esta citação devia estar gravada em pedra nas nossas memórias. Embora eu seja apenas um formador (em part-time), só o domínio do assunto proveniente do amor pelo tema que estamos a expor permitirá sermos claros e eficientes ao tentar transmitir os saberes. No fundo, o Martín Descalzo tinha razão: “aquele que aborrece quando fala, é porque não sente o que diz”.

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Again I go back to Huxley as inspiration. I think I should dedicate the remainding of April posts to Huxley: yesterday was his reference to dead languages and his BRAVE NEW WORLD, today is about love and knowledge. Amist my paperwork and annotations about Huxley, I found the following quote (source unknown) that I decided to tweet about, because is relevant not only to those who love, but to those who seek knowledge:

Huxley about love and knowledge

And that is not only valid in the domain of knowledge, but also regarding those we love.

So, to all of us who worry about knowledge and teaching, this quote should be chiseled into our memories. Even if I am just a part-time adult educator, only a good grasp of what we teach, coming from the love of the subject we are explaining will allow us to be clear and efficient when trying to share our knowledge. Good old Martín Descalzo was right: “he who bores when he talks is because he doesn’t feel what he says”.

E para todos nós que nos preocupamos com os saberes e a transmissão do conhecimento, esta citação devia estar gravada em pedra nas nossas memórias. Embora eu seja apenas um formador (em part-time), só o domínio do assunto proveniente do amor pelo tema que estamos a expor permitirá sermos claros e eficientes ao tentar transmitir os saberes. No fundo, o Martín Descalzo tinha razão: “aquele que aborrece quando fala, é porque não sente o que diz”.

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Huxley was Right (1) : Dead Languages

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Apr 28, 2009 in Polysyllabic Spree

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Eu ia escrever mais um post hoje sobre a Gripe Suína e o cartaz britânico que dizia “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” e como devemos estar calmos e continuar apesar da histeria – e para isso estava à procura de uma citação do Huxley (recentemente, ando a revisitar o BRAVE NEW WORLD [Admirável Mundo Novo] e a aperceber-me de muitos e interessantes paralelos com o nosso mundo contemporâneo.

Estava a folhear o livro quando reparei que tinha sublinhado as seguintes linhas:

Fez-se um silêncio. Depois, pigarreando para aclarar a voz, o Director começou:

- Era uma vez, quando Nosso Ford era ainda deste mundo, um rapazinho chamado Reuben Rabinovitch. Reuben era filho de pais de língua polaca. – O Director interrompeu-se.

- Sabem o que é o polaco, calculo.

-Uma língua morta.

- Como o francês e o alemão – acrescentou outro estudante, exibindo zelosamente a sua sabedoria.

“Pelas partes pudicas das onze mil virgens!”, pensei, Huxley tem razão. E inconscientemente, eu próprio estou a ajudar a concretizar a sua profecia!

Afinal de contas, os posts mais recentes deste Blogue tem sido em inglês – quando a minha língua mãe é o Português. Por que? Porque desta forma os meus devaneios podiam ser lidos por uma audiência mais vasta… mas isso é também um contributo a espetar mais um prego no caixão da língua Portuguesa.

Foi por isso que decidi escrever novamente os posts neste blogue nas duas línguas, Português e Inglês. Apenas para tentar evitar que a caminhada em direcção a um futuro segundo Huxley seja assim tão inevitável.

Mas ele tem razão, apesar de tudo. E nós vamos a caminho desse futuro, alegremente.

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I was going to write today’s post about Swine Flu and Keeping Calm and Carrying on, and I was looking for an excerpt from Huxley (recently, I’ve been browsing “BRAVE NEW WORLD” and finding lots of interesting parallells to our contemporary world.

I was browsing the book and noticed that I had previously underlined the following lines:

There was a silence; then, clearing his throat, “Once upon a time,” the Director began, “while our Ford was still on earth, there was a little boy called Reuben Rabinovitch. Reuben was the child of Polish-speaking parents.”

The Director interrupted himself. “You know what Polish is, I suppose?”

“A dead language.”

“Like French and German,” added another student, officiously showing off his learning.

“By the pudenda of the eleven thousand virgins!”, I thought, Huxley is right. And unconsciously we are helping him to be right!

After all, the last posts on this blog have been in English – when my mother language is Portuguese. Why? Because that way my rants can be read by a wider audience… but that also contributes as an additional nail to the coffin of the Portuguese language.

That’s why I decided to write again the posts in this blog in both languages, Portuguese and English. Just to try to avoid the gleeful walk towards a Huxleyan future.

But he is right, nonetheless. And we are going towards it, merrily.

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Swine Flu (1): Primal Fears and Jack London

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Apr 26, 2009 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

When I was younger (probably 11 or 12 years old), I was terrified of many many things. Due to my reading habits, there were several “larger-than-life” threats that seemed to hang over our heads like Damocles’ sword. Not the usual scary things that kids usually fear.

One of the stories that terrified the shit out of me when I was a lad, was “The Scarlet Plague”, a short story written by Jack London (that can be read for free in the Gutenberg Project).

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That short story terrified my 12-year-old brain in a way few things did. It begins in 2072, when James Howard Smith, a professor – one of the few survivors of the “Scarlet Plague” tells his grandsons (a group of savages) how civilization was in 2013, when the plague (pandemic?) hit our civilization:

“‘The fleeting systems lapse like foam,’” he mumbled what was evidently a quotation. “That’s it—foam, and fleeting. All man’s toil upon the planet was just so much foam. He domesticated the serviceable animals, destroyed the hostile ones, and cleared the land of its wild vegetation. And then he passed, and the flood of primordial life rolled back again, sweeping his handiwork away—”

So, many years later, every time I read the atrocities we were doing to the environment, I remembered Jack London’s story and a cold shiver went through my spine. We were screwing Mother Earth all over, and she could attack back with some uncontrollable disease… That scared me more than the creatures under the bed or aliens or monsters or ghosts that my friends said they were afraid of. What were those compared to the Scarlet Plague?

Obviously, when I was a child, I was a nerdy avid reader, so I read so many things that these primal fears suddenly vanished and were replaced by new stuff: like the “King of Terror” arriving from the skies in 1999 (thanks to Nostradamus’ Prophecies), or the possibility of an asteroid hitting earth (when I read how Dinosaurs died), or the appearance of extraterrestrial beings with superior technology (because of Wells’ War of the Worlds) and even Nuclear Holocaust (when I read a “Health Encyclopedia” my parents had at home, that being printed in the height of the cold war, included lots of information about preparing for Nuclear Catastrophe – and I was already thinking which place in my garden would be best to dig the Nuclear Shelter and how could I convince my parents to pay for that). Yes, my imagination used to be full of scary stuff most of the time, so full that Jack London’s scarlet plague went often to the back of my memory, only to be occasionally remembered:

“The world was full of people. The census of 2010 gave eight billions for the whole world—(…). Mankind knew a great deal more about getting food. And the more food there was, the more people there were. In the year 1800, there were one hundred and seventy millions in Europe alone. One hundred years later—(…), at 1900, there were five hundred millions in Europe—(…). This shows how easy was the getting of food, and how men increased. And in the year 2000 there were fifteen hundred millions in Europe. And it was the same all over the rest of the world. (…) yes, eight billion people were alive on the earth when the Scarlet Death began. “

Occasionally, when I read about the world population, I grab London’s book to compare his fictional data with the real stuff. In the year 2000, the population of Europe was 728 million or something, not the scary fifteen hundred millions Jack London wrote about in his fictional story. Whew. His estimates are still exaggerated right now, considering that probably right now world’s population must be some 6,7 billion or something. But every time I read about the world’s population, I would go back to London’s short story, and wonder what would happen if civilization ended and suddenly some strange disease stroke. After all, there could be an incubation period with no symptoms and we would never know:

“Yes, that’s where I was. A man did not notice at first when only a few of these germs got into his body. But each germ broke in half and became two germs, and they kept doing this very rapidly so that in a short time there were many millions of them in the body. Then the man was sick. He had a disease, and the disease was named after the kind of a germ that was in him. It might be measles, it might be influenza, it might be yellow fever; it might be any of thousands and thousands of kinds of diseases.”

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“Now this is the strange thing about these germs. There were always new ones coming to live in men’s bodies. Long and long and long ago, when there were only a few men in the world, there were few diseases. But as men increased and lived closely together in great cities and civilizations, new diseases arose, new kinds of germs entered their bodies. Thus were countless millions and billions of human beings killed. And the more thickly men packed together, the more terrible were the new diseases that came to be. Long before my time, in the middle ages, there was the Black Plague that swept across Europe. It swept across Europe many times. There was tuberculosis, that entered into men wherever they were thickly packed. A hundred years before my time there was the bubonic plague. And in Africa was the sleeping sickness. The bacteriologists fought all these sicknesses and destroyed them, just as you boys fight the wolves away from your goats, or squash the mosquitoes that light on you. The bacteriologists—”

“In spite of all these diseases, and of all the new ones that continued to arise, there were more and more men in the world. This was because it was easy to get food. The easier it was to get food, the more men there were; the more men there were, the more thickly were they packed together on the earth; and the more thickly they were packed, the more new kinds of germs became diseases. There were warnings. Soldervetzsky, as early as 1929, told the bacteriologists that they had no guaranty against some new disease, a thousand times more deadly than any they knew, arising and killing by the hundreds of millions and even by the billion. You see, the micro-organic world remained a mystery to the end. They knew there was such a world, and that from time to time armies of new germs emerged from it to kill men. “

And every time I reread the story, more scared I was, after all, this story told about one of our primal fears: we could already have some fatal disease and not even know about it. After all, some strange new disease sounded more plausible than octopus-like aliens with tripods. With Star Wars and Star Trek and all the alien-related entertainment, aliens seemed less and less scary… Until I saw Ridley Scott’s ALIEN on TV and I was reminded of how terrifying aliens could be.

Now, with news about the H1N1 virus started to invade our TVs and computers, my old primal fear about a scarlet-plague-like thing resurfaced. And for a short while, during this morning, I was monitoring every news website I could: CNN online, CNN via Twitter, Reuters, Yahoo News, the CDC website, and Twitter – reading stuff with the #swineflu hashtag. Suddenly, there was information everywhere, including a very useful map indicating the spread of the disease! and a What’s new page in the CDC website with last minute information. Oy. While reading all that stuff all over, all the bits of information that were popping, I thought again about “The Scarlet Plague” and the story that Professor James Howard Smith was telling to his savage grandsons:

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“We talked through the air in those days, thousands and thousands of miles. And the word came of a strange disease that had broken out in New York. There were seventeen millions of people living then in that noblest city of America. Nobody thought anything about the news. It was only a small thing. There had been only a few deaths. It seemed, though, that they had died very quickly, and that one of the first signs of the disease was the turning red of the face and all the body. Within twenty-four hours came the report of the first case in Chicago. And on the same day, it was made public that London, the greatest city in the world, next to Chicago, had been secretly fighting the plague for two weeks and censoring the news despatches—that is, not permitting the word to go forth to the rest of the world that London had the plague.”

But this overload of information is scary – suddenly the media seemed to be more and more alarming, showing us lots of mexicans with surgical masks (but then, TV news want us to STAY TUNED, so it is natural that it tries to capture our attention with powerful images and video footage), and stuff like twitter seemed to be spreading rumors and theories and alarming unverified information (adding to all my old fears and paranoia) – so, I stopped reading everything and following everything. It was too much, unverified and scary. I decided to focus on some useful resources (like the Mashable HOW-TO: Track swine flu online) where they said that “there’s likely to be much concern on social networking sites about public health incidents, it’s important to keep things in proportion, and go direct to the sources of news rather than spreading panic”. Good point. After all, it is very easy to be scared following Twitter updates, as it was perfectly explained here.

So, during the day, my childhood fears about the Scarlet Plague surfaced for a short while – and excess of information only worsened those. But there are differences between excess of information and useful information and it is really easy to forget that notion when we live in a peek-a-boo world, as Neil Postman said.

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We live in a peek-a-boo world

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Apr 17, 2009 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

Neil Postman said “we live in a peek-a-boo world, where now this event, now that, pops into view for a moment, then vanishes again. It is a world without much coherence or sense; a world that does not ask us, indeed, does not permit us to do anything; a world that is, like the child’s game of peek-a-boo, entirely self-contained. But like peek-a-boo, it is also endlessly entertaining.” (Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985)

It almost looks like he was talking about Twitter, back in 1985!!!

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(image source: ProBlogger’s excellent article about growing your Twitter presence)

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Andy Warhol ”Giant” Size! YAY!

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Apr 7, 2009 in Polysyllabic Spree
I’ve always been just fascinated by Andy Warhol, not so much by his “creations” – but mostly by the “Andy Warhol” persona that he created. So, out of curiosity (due to the sheer size and weight of the book, I pre-ordered a copy of the ANDY WARHOL GIANT SIZE book by PHAIDON. And it really is a giant-sized book!
Today I am too tired to start reading it (and I am still in a BRAVE NEW WORLD mood) so I just browsed through it and the amount of photos, newspaper clippings, documents and information is amazing! It was a pleasant surprise.
I hope to have some time during the Easter to start reading it. Here’s some information about the book (from the PHAIDON website):
Andy Warhol ''Giant'' Size
Normal price: €95.00

Andy Warhol ”Giant” Size

Comprehensive visual biography of Andy Warhol, one of art’s greatest personalities.

Conceived and edited by Phaidon Editors, with an introduction by Dave Hickey
  • A spectacular visual biography of the life and career of one of the most colourful and innovative artists of the 20th century
  • A rare, behind-the-scenes look at the New York art scene of the 1950s to the 1980s
  • Includes nearly 2,000 images and documents, many previously unpublished
  • Introduction by renegade art critic Dave Hickey, who has his own cult following and additional texts by Bruno Bischofberger, Ronnie Cutrone, David Dalton, Kenneth Goldsmith, Ivan Karp and Peggy Phelan
  • A must-have for Warhol fans and any pop culture enthusiast
And that’s all for today. I am feeling too tired and started my day early with a Bodycombat session at 7:30 AM, so I am going to bed.
Good Night.

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Festa de Natal da Biblioteca Municipal de Machico

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Dec 7, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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Como fui divulgando no blogue ao longo do ano, estive a dar palestras/formações/workshops sobre Banda Desenhada. Todos os lugares onde estive foram especiais, e o acolhimento foi inigualável – mas há um que ficou acarinhado de forma especial no meu coração: foi o workshop na Biblioteca de Machico.

Foi um espaço que eu ainda não tinha visitado e que me encantou logo desde o primeiro momento. Não só tem umas condições incríveis, mas também uma equipa maravilhosa, que me acarinhou desde o primeiro instante.

Assim, quis partilhar convosco o folheto que a Dra. Isabel Sá e a Equipa da Biblioteca e a Câmara Municipal de Machico enviaram, para que possam conhecer o programa desta festa, para que os interessados possam estar presentes (se possível) nesta magnífica festa de Natal. Um evento cultural de um espaço que está a apresentar-se cada vez mais dinâmico e interessante.

Porque eu sou a favor da descentralização dos eventos culturais: nem tudo tem que acontecer sempre no Funchal e porque há espaços magníficos com condições excelentes para vivermos a cultura (como é o caso da Biblioteca de Machico)

Aqui segue então o folheto com o convite :

Olá, boa tarde,

Vimos, por este meio, convidar famílias,

   ilustres curiosos,

viajantes solitários,

   amantes do convívio, das letras e dos livros,

mas também do teatro e das “histórias à lareira”,

   mexeri… ai!, perdão!, “machiqueiros”,

   etc,

a celebrar connosco – as meninas da Biblioteca –, e com os nossos convidados – crianças e idosos de Água de Pena e ainda jovens especiais de Machico – a festa de Natal que estamos a preparar para vós, celebrando os valores que nos devem nortear no quotidiano, mas também o gosto e o valor pelos livros, pela informação e o saber.

Contamos convosco!

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Rainer Maria Rilke, about Sex

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 8, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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pope-paul-vi-2Still waiting for the scanner. And apparently it will take a couple of weeks to arrive, but that’s a story for another day.
Right now, I will continue to quote Rilke. Over and over again, I go back to his letters. And always find them too intense to be merely described. Rilke deserves to be quoted. And today, is about SEX!
Why are we not set in the midst of what is most mysteriously ours? How we have to creep round about it and get into it in the end, like burglars and thieves, we get into our own beautiful sex, in which we lose our way and knock ourselves and stumble and finally rush out of it again, like men caught transgressing, into the twilight of Christianity. Why, if guilt or sin had to be invented because of the inner tension of the spirit, why did they not attach it to some other part of our body, why did they let it fall on that part, waiting till it dissolved in our pure source and poisoned and muddied it? Why have they made our sex homeless, instead of making it the place for the festival of our competency? (…) it does not help either to put the will to propagation within the sphere of grace – my sex is not directed only toward posterity, it is the secret of my own life – and it is only, it seems, because it may not occupy the central place there, that so many people have thrust it to the edge, and thereby lost their balance. What good is it all? The terrible untruthfulness and uncertainty of our age has its roots in the refusal to acknowledge the happines of sex, in this peculiarly mistaken guilt, which constantly increases, separating us from the rest of nature (…)

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Rainer Maria Rilke, about Love:

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 7, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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Quotes of previously read stuff continues, while the new scanner doesn’t arrive. Today, Rainer Maria Rilke, writing about Love:

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason, young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.

But learning time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is – solitude, intensified and deepened lonenss for him who loves. Love is at first not anything that maens merging, giving over, and uniting with another (for what a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate -?); It is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake; it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things. Only in this sense, as the task of working at themselves (“to hearken and to hammer day and night”), might young people use the love that is given them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must save and gather for a long, long time still), is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.”

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Continuo com as citações de coisas que li previamente, enquanto o novo scanner não chega. Hoje, é a vez de Rainer Maria Rilke, que escreve sobre o Amor:

Amar também é bom: porque o amor é difícil. O amor entre dois seres humanos: esta é provavelmente a mais difícil de todas as nossas tarefas, a maior e última prova, o trabalho para o qual todos os outros trabalhos são apenas preparação. Por esta razão os jovens, que são ainda inexperientes em tudo, não podem conhecer o amor: têm que aprende-lo. Com todo o seu ser, com todas as suas forças, concentradas no seu solitário, tímido, palpitante coração, eles devem aprender a amar.

Mas o tempo de aprendizagem é sempre um processo longo de clausura. Assim, para quem ama, durante muito tempo e pela vida fora, o amor é solidão, isolamento por aquele que ama, intensificado e profundo. O amor não é no início aquilo que se chama dar-se, unir-se a outra pessoa (pois que sentido teria a união de algo não esclarecido, inacabado, ainda subordinado-?); é um chamamento para que o indivíduo amadureça, para que se torne algo em si mesmo, para que se torne mundo para si e pelo outro; é uma grande exigência que lhe é pedida, algo que o escolhe e o chama para coisas vastas. Apenas neste sentido, tal como na tarefa de trabalhar em si mesmos (“escutar e martelar dia e noite”) os jovens deviam usar o amor que lhes é dado. A fusão com o outro, a entrega de si, toda a espécie de comunhão não é ainda para eles (que deverão durante muito tempo reunir e guardar), é algo de acabado para o qual talvez a vida humana ainda não seja suficiente.”

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Sardines

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 5, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants

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I’ve not been showing new drawings recently because there is a problem with my scanner. Or an incompatibility between my scanner and my new Mac. You choose.While I don’t get a new scanner, you will have to enjoy (or endure) my witty remarks about stuff I’ve read.
Today we were eating sardines, and I remembered something I read (I don’t really remember where, it was just drifting in my brain) about a medicine manual from the 1700s written by Fonseca Henriques, personal physician of King João V of Portugal.url
Why the sardines reminded me of the medicine manual? Because the book had an eerie reference to the fish. Or the head of the fish, actually.So, while the Mafra Convent was being built, and King João V suffered of constipation (apparently) – this illustrious physician was writing on this medical manual relevant information about the importance, advantages and disadvantages of sardines. Right after the nutritional part, he says that the head of the sardine, used as a suppositorius (suppository) was very effective in getting rid of excrements in cases of constipation.
I don’t even want to think how Fonseca Henriques tested that treatment. Or how often King João suffered of constipation.
I prefer to think about the 1700s as a time of powdered wigs and baroque music. And then, in the 1800s came the leeches and the mercury as medical treatments.
No wonder Herbert George Wells said:
The world is undergoing immense changes. Never before have the conditions of life changed so swiftly and enormously as they have changed for mankind in the last fifty years. We have been carried along – with no means of measuring the increasing swiftness in the succession of events. We are only now beginning to realize the force and strength of the storm of change that has come upon us.
And now that we look back, he was ABSOLUTELY right.

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Recentemente, não ando a apresentar novos desenhos porque há um problema com o meu scanner. Ou uma incompatibilidade entre o meu scanner e o meu novo Mac. O leitor que escolha. Enquanto eu não arranjo um novo scanner, vão ter que saborear (ou suportar) os meus comentários espirituosos acerca das coisas que ocasionalmente leio.
Hoje estávamos a comer sardinhas, e me lembrei de algo que tinha lido. Não me lembro exactamente onde, devia ser algo que tinha a flutuar na minha mente) acerca de um manual de medicina de 1700s escrito por Fonseca Henriques, médico pessoal do Rei João V de Portugal.url

Mas porque as sardinhas fizeram que eu me lembrasse de um manual de medicina? Porque o referido livro tinha uma estranha referência a este peixe. Ou melhor, à cabeça do peixe. Assim, enquanto o Convento de Mafra estava a ser construído, e o Rei D. João V sofria de prisão de ventre (aparentemente) – este ilustre médico escrevia no seu manual de medicina informações relevantes sobre a importância, vantagens e desvantagens das sardinhas. Logo depois de falar da parte nutritiva do peixinho, ele diz que a cabeça da sardinha, usada como suppositorius (supositório) era muito eficiente para ajudar o processo de defecação em casos de prisão de ventre.
Eu não quero nem pensar como é que o Fonseca Henriques testou este tratamento. Ou com quanta frequência o Rei D. João sofreu de prisão de ventre.
Prefiro pensar nos 1700s como uma época de perucas empoadas e música barroca. Claro que depois, nos 1800s vieram as sanguessugas e o mercúrio como tratamentos médicos.

Realmente, não me estranha que Herbert George Wells tivesse dito que:
“O mundo está a atravessar mudanças imensas. Nunca antes as condições de vida mudaram tão rapidamente como mudaram para a humanidade nos últimos cinquenta anos. Nós fomos carregados – sem forma de medir a rapidez da sucesão de eventos. Só agora começamos a tomar consciência da força da tempestade de mudança que se abateu sobre nós.
E agora que olhamos para trás, ele estava ABSOLUTAMENTE certo.

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