Saturday, December 15, 2007

Plinian, by Meredith Bragg



When the stones rained down
And smoke rose above the clouds
Dodging debris
My uncle put his fleet to sea
And as he waived and turned away
Set his sails across the bay
Who could ever guess
My dear Tacitus
The gods were so enraged

And the lightning arced
And dust turned the daylight dark
And the helmsmen cried
Wondered if they'd survive
But through the thickening smoke
They found the harbor choked
Still he urged them on
While he stayed calm
And the ash fell like snow

And the mountain growled
Tearing the buildings down
And for two dark days
Fires lit the Naples Bay
And when it came for them to leave
There was no escape by sea
And his body fell as the vapor swelled
They say he died as if asleep

A lonely ridge
A couple focus in
Their lenses train
On smoke, and fire, and flame
And in unison they rise
As the plume reached greater heights
While around the bend a grey cloud descends
That will be their demise

And with blindingly speed
They are both killed instantly
And the island roars
Boiling the ocean floor
Though their bodies disappear
Mingle with the earth and air
They will echo on through the work they've done
Projected through the years


((This a pop song! Americana! New Weird America! Naturalismo! Call it whatever! The fact is: american pop folk becomes PHD! Their Myspace page))

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Virgin Tactics


Not only Virgin is using Flickr photos released under the CC-BY-2.0 licence for commercial aims. I've just received a letter from Emma Williams, managing editor of Schmap Guides, informing the inclusion of one of my photos (actually, the photo was shot by Teca, a friend of mine) in the newly released fourth edition of Schmap Berlin Guide. I'm not complaining. Just observing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Shackleton Reenactment


Ouch, my dad was cruising aboard that ship last year... Nah. The ship was the Skorpios.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Youthful Form of Plasticity


Somehow the wires got crossed
Communication's lost
Can't even get you on the telephone
Just got to shout about it
I'm losing you
I'm losing you
("I'm Losing You", John Lennon)
Not anymore, John. Not anymore...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Social Distortion Extended


There is a sardonic expression here in Brazil that makes negative presumptions about a book or a film: I did not read (or watch) and I did not like it. This is exactly my position concerning the new local cultural frenzy, Tropa de Elite, a flick that literally have entailed new "national heroes" embodied by Blackwateresque militias (although they are not private). It only have been increasing the Schismogenesis, inspiring fascist pigs and worsting desperado actions, as police officers spraying pepper gas in the eyes of people complaining about some robbers (Hey, I'm captain Nascimento! Go bother another one!). Sheeesh!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Life Imitates Art


Oh! Doesn't it recall those peevishness Al Jaffee usually did for MAD magazine?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Toy


Finally, I've found a new toy to dive into. Mr. Pynchon has made a favor to write a book as good as the previous ones, a book with a scent of The Hardy Boys, The Rover Boys and Punch, or the London Charivari. Yet, the book has a blog.
UPDATE (11/2): Way better than the (honorable, but not constantly updated) blog, is Thomas Pynchon Wiki: Against the Day.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

DIY Chopter


The Nigerian home-made helicopter was extensively boingboinged and slashdoted, but very few know about Mr. Tran Quoc Hai, a 44 year old mechanic of Tay Nienh province, in Vietnam, who in 2004 has created a similar beast to help evacuate people in emergency situations and farming usages. This story turned into a 15 min documentary (and a 3 channel video projection installation) named The Farmers and the Helicopters, directed by Dinh Q. Lê who, in his youth, witnessed the AH-1 Cobras burn entire peasant villages.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Factoring the 300


History repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce. But sometimes, the tragedy is recursive, as so the farce. Take for instance the history of Treinta y Tres, a kind of Uruguayan Thermopylae remake. Its past is backed on the history of the thirty and three privates who, commanded by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, insurrected against the ruling coalition that was in charge of Provincia Oriental (today Uruguay). Not that there was a farce in the historical narrative, be it counted by the ones who triumph or not, but the controversy is about the number of men who really were there in the Latin fight.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Princess of Benin


Xeni Jardin, cyber-starlet, is in West Africa. Some readers have made some appropriate traveling suggestions.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Munster from Minnesota


This service really creeps me the hell out! I don't know exactly what drove me to write THAT name and THAT last name...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Young Landis


Dr Arnie Baker, a friend of Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, has the proof that the French anti-doping lab may have "mislabelled" the champion urine sample. I've seen this flicker! What was the name? Abby Normal. You gave me a brain that's abnormal!?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Six Burgesses of Calais


The blog BibliOdyssey, one which awakes in me a sense of wonder, has compiled The Comic History of England. One of the engravings particularly calls a certain passage:

The Siege of Calais, or rather the blockade (for it was shut up both by land and sea), was the most memorable, as it withstood the efforts of Edward the Third a whole year, and was not terminated at last but by famine and extreme misery; the gallantry of Eustace de St. Pierre*, who first offered himself a victim for his fellow-citizens, has ranked his name with heroes.

* Eustace de St. Pierre (1287 - 1371), leader of the six burghers of Calais who, bareheaded and barefoot, with hopes around their necks, presented themselves to Edward III of England as hostages for the safety of Calais; they were pardoned at the instance of Queen Philippa.

From The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hyper High-Tech

Walter Isaacson is optimistic about the "print" technology, in Edge's World's Question Center. And he is not veering towards a metaphor. Future electric energy outages will be more usual as no wasting water programs. So, books and moleskines should be the new trend in advanced technology. Everybody should stop the machines, sit onto a comfortable chair and, at a reach distance of natural light source, read post-post modern literature, as The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (past-post-post, I admit) or the best sci-fi book ever written: Codex Seraphinianus.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Digression


What kind of motivation forces someone to spend hours looking for a supposedly Utrillo’s reproduction which has been shown in a scene of The Last Man on Earth (1964)? I was grasped by the remembrance feeling when I saw it at the first time behind Vicent Price… But the closest the free association of ideas could get was an Eglise de Pont-Saint-Martin: There is the spike, but not the two stories alley.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Nightmare City

Paul Theroux: In India a few months ago, as I was leaving my hotel in Chennai, I noticed a hotel employee shadowing me. He warned me that the sidewalks were so packed with people I would be swallowed up and stifled. He was right. And I was unable to cross the main street in Bangalore, a leafy city of under a million people in 1973 and now a hectically improvised sprawl of seven million. Mumbai’s population of nearly 20 million rivals that of São Paulo, Brazil, and Lagos, Nigeria — nightmare cities. (in The New York Times)