Bringing joy to every (personal) Conflict… since 1975!

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on May 17, 2010 in Art

Today I received this –


– pretty prophetic, considering the Conflicts that arose and were finished today!

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Huxley Was Right (3): Newspaper clipping

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Jul 20, 2009 in Rants


Do Diário de Notícias de hoje, uma citação do Provedor do Ouvinte: “Vivemos muito na sociedade do prazer, do passatempo. As pessoas consomem mais o fait-divers e o banal que as diverte”


Podia estar a falar da sociedade apresentada por Huxley no seu ADMIRÁVEL MUNDO NOVO, mas infelizmente, está a falar da nossa sociedade contemporânea. Huxley escreveu o avisoe em 1931, nós não lhe prestamos atenção…


From our local Newspaper, a quote that says “We live in a society of pleasure, of pastime. People consume the fait-divers and the banality that entertain them


He could be talking about the society that Huxley presented in his BRAVE NEW WORLD, but unfortunately, he was talking about our contemporary society. Huxley wrote the warning in 1931, we didn’t pay attention…

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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


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


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.


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…
The Crime Comic for the Thinking Man!
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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!!!


(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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Madelyne Pryor!!

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Dec 21, 2008 in Comics, Rants


Madelyne Pryor was one of my favourite X-Men supporting characters.

Now she is back (yet again!)


My fanboy heart rejoices!


The Serpent is Here! YAY!

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Rainer Maria Rilke, about Sex

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


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


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.


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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Brave new World vs 1984 according to Neil Postman

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Sep 4, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants


Today I am feeling too tired to blog about anything… so, I am going to quote.

And the quote comes from the foreword of Neil Postman‘s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death“:

“Neil Postman contrasts the world of George Orwell’s 1984 and [Aldous Huxley's] Brave New World: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we

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would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us” (Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1986, foreword).”

Quoted from the Perichoresis Blog

And now I wonder if we are not just getting dangerously close to Huxley’s fears… Or maybe I am just feeling pessimistic today.

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Back to Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture

Posted by Roberto Macedo Alves on Aug 30, 2008 in Polysyllabic Spree, Rants


Sometimes I enter a meditative state, and go to reread books I’ve already read, and are underlined, scribbled and dog-eared.

This time, the book revisited was (again) Douglas Coupland’s “Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture”

GenerationXAnd even if the book is pretty plotless, the characters are interesting and sort of likeable, despite the apparent vacuity of them.

Suddenly, in this book, Elvissa (one of the characters) asks to Tobias (the yuppie) something that left me thinking:

“When you die and get buried and get to be floating wherever you go, what is going to be your best memory from Earth?”

Tobias, doesn’t understand, and Elvissa elaborates:

“What is the moment that for you defines what is to be alive in this planet? what do you want to take with you from here?”

Yet, the yuppie doesn’t understand. Elvissa continues:

“I want to hear about a tiny moment of your life that proves that you are really alive”

And that is really an AMAZING question.

I thought about that, and curiously, I couldn’t find a definite answer. There are several wonderful moments that I can consider my best memory from Earth. All of them too private to be shared here. But it was an amazing question, nonetheless.

And you, what is the moment that for you defines what is to be alive on this planet?

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