Friday, 20 December 2013

Brain, mind you!





For once in a blue moon I looked for Elf instead of avoiding his presence.

The reason was easy enough, I was preparing a job about the interaction of brain and mind. I was trying to test my ideas with another being, and I felt reluctant to talk about this pseudo-scientific subject with other human beings since it was probable that they considered me as a freak.

When I told all this to Elf, his expected answer was, of course:

- Which you are!

I let the remark go unanswered, I was asking advice not trying to start a skirmish.

Seeing I was serious about the topic, he hide a smile and asked with perfect composure:

- What have you in your mind?




-Not in my mind, mind you, I said trying to show him I am as good a punster as he is, - but in my brain

And I started to explain to him the theory that "the mind" is a kind of effluence of the active processes which start in the brain and are determined by many variables, such as experience, health, feelings, et al.

Where I envisioned a difficult task, it was not so. Elf posed as a royal guy, listened to my explanations with a look of attentive stance on him.

I explained the modern theory of mind from brain, developing a good defence of the ideas sustained by important scientific men as Robert J. Sternberg,  Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, and other eminent men in the study of this theme.

As I progressed in my lecture, and seeing the gnome was not interrupting me as is his whim, I grew in confidence and talked about the experiments that proved the way the ontological mind emerged from the brain (all with those spiky words as "ontological" which I was not too sure I understood its meaning, designed to impress the imp).

When I finished my serious speech, Elf turned on his heel, and without a word lost himself into the Archive.

I was stunned, I didn't know if he was showing his contempt for my work, or if he felt insulted, or what...!

I was just starting to walk out of my mind, and look for another audience when he came back from the Archive with a piece of paper in one hand, and a dark blue crayon in the other.

Still baffled, I asked him:

- Why a dark blue crayon? I was almost sure there was a dark reason to use that color

He looked at me with that expression of commiseration he uses for all my questions, and shaking his head answered slowly as if he were doubtful of my understanding capacity, he said:

- Because, as incredible as it may be, this was the ONLY crayon that I could find in the box!

Looking at me askance, he started to draw, after a while he looked his work putting the paper far from his head, added a point, or a line, here and there, and then show it to me asking:

-Do you know what is this? I looked at him first trying to find if he was ironic, but could not find any trace of irony in his voice.

Then I looked at the paper:

- Yes, I was laconic, not knowing where he was going.

The picture was of a human arm with a hammer in attitude of hitting an iron nail into a wooden block.

When he was satisfied I have seen the drawing fully, he asked:

- Where is, as per your understanding, the will to hit the nail? In the arm? or in the hammer? Just forget about the rest of the human body for a while.

Still confused, I tried to answer my best option:

- In the arm , it was a guess, of course, but the arm was at least human, while the hammer was not! So it stood to reason that he arm could handle a "will", and the hammer did not.

- Right, answered the sprite to my relief. And then added, destroying my relief, -Partially

- Now, which one is the brain, and which other is the mind? asked my Nemesis, adding bewilderment to trepidation.

- I... I... it seems as if the mind is the hammer, and the brain is the arm. I was so perplexed as an African camel in a fog! I tried to associate the arm to the brain since both are in the same body, so I was left with the discomfort to pair the mind to the hammer.

- Exactly wrong, Elf said this with a smile so it does not looked as an insult! But, I was not sure!

- Look, the idea came to the mind, the brain accepted it, and they both hit the nail... But, and mind this big, big BUT, if the brain is damaged, the mind will still want to hit the nail (you can see this in handicapped persons wanting to do something but prevented for the lack of instrumental body), so which one is the master and which one is the instrument?

- If... if you put it like that... I was so much flummoxed, I could not but speak hesitantly.

- There you are, now, where are those "brainy" ideas of so famous scientist about the mind being exuded by the brain? What they forget is René Descartes simple postulate: I think, then I exist.

This is a simple way to say I am the mind, then I can use my brain (the instrument, or the hammer in my drawing) to express my mind needs and desires in this reality.

Did you understand this little puzzle?


Before I could collect my scattered brain cell to express my mind ideas, he went again into the Archive, and I could hear him mumbling something about "this poor humans, always taking reality by the tail".

I promise I could not understand his whispers, but his voice was full of pity.


The music is a fragment of "Mindfulness" by Hans Enrik Bay.


© 2013 Od Liam.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Foreboding






Darkness surrounded the isolated house, high trees mixed their lower boughs with the low shrubs that covered most of the place. Silence was ominous, not even the doleful hooting of owls, so common on the isle, were heard.

My heart beating at an inconceivable rhythm seemed near to collapse, my mind working overtime was very clear, dread spreading over my soul gripping it in its talons and bringing it to the feeling of being high on a promontory and ready to jump to emptiness.

There was no promontory, only this desolate piece of land with a horrid cabin in the middle of a hideous forest.

Why I felt this strange sense of high rocks? It was so vivid I almost faint of fright!

The owls' hoots? Common on the island? How do I know there are owls, and that I am on an island?

Preposterous thoughts vied to gain access to my awareness, I seem to remember...

No, I do not remember how I reached here, I was in a blank state and then the fetid breath of the island soil reached me without warning.

There must be a rational explanation, always there is a rational explanation, but at the moment it eluded me. I could only experiment the abominable, the obnoxious, and awful felling of being pushed into the snout of evil.




I approached the cabin, my quivering hand reached by its own volition the rusted clasp that was used to lock it, the atmosphere was charged with small sparks apparently coming from my own body.



I do not want to enter there!

What pushes me into it?

What weird force urges all my being into an action so revolting I would die if let my body performs it?

How can I stop this... this terrible compulsion heaving my viscera, and making my heart hit my throat in desperation?

The door turned with a high shriek of rusty and decayed hinges, but the noise was attenuated by the thick silence of the woods.

To my harried senses appeared a point of light over the wooden table that was  miraculously held erect by a lonely leg.

The tiny light grew quickly, and scathingly into a high pitch howl that slowly changed from the Banshee Cry it was performing into the... clock alarm.


The music is a fragment of "It's Alive" from Oldboy movie Sdtrk.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Faith, that jolting experience (II)






When you find a person who believes the deity is a constant and real presence, you find a rare phenomenon in the soul of this person (yes, supposing the soul exists; if you feel awkward with this notion you can call it whatever you want since there is no doubt that an intangible “something” lives inside our heart, skull, or mind that we call “I”).

The first surprising fact you find when you look close to the beliefs “owned” by this religious person is that those beliefs are a certainty, the person “knows” God exists, “knows” He is in charge and “knows” that despite the unsecured sight we have of the world at large, there is a Plan, a Design to be followed up to a Happy End, childish as this seems.

This surprising fact is the basal stone which has maintained religious Faith alive through so many years since the first of us opened the eyes to the wonderful sense of being aware of the difference between the rest of the world and that sentience called “I”! This “knowing” fills up the vacuum in our soul so aplenty that life takes a new and wonderful meaning.

The mystics, who have experienced the sense of the divine, are so strongly attached to the anchor of belief that it is a certainty. And, wonder of wonder, those whose experience were not mystic develop a strange certainty almost as strong as that of the mystics.

What makes all this possible? How can a person “create” something so incredibly wonderful? Theologians’ explanation is that no person create it since it is too big a notion as to be thought by a human being, so what?, well, as incredible as it may seem, the explanation states that it was revealed by the owner of every space in the Universe, included souls, God Himself. Agnostics sustain it is a psychological reaction. Choose the one you like more.

The simple fact that every one of the creatures are so tightly bonded to the Creator can develop a strong and secure sense as to close the gates to insecurity and vulnerability.

Be this true or not, this Faith moves mountains and makes people better in their own ways since it removes the need to be defensive and guarded against the imponderable.

Compared to desacralized Faith this is Ambrosia, this is the Golden Fleece, this is the Shangri-la every one of us dreams about!

Unfortunately, these different “Faiths” have, as anything else in the universe, a dark side we know too well. Three mistakes named:

Fanaticism, fundamentalism, bigotry.

Deeply seated in those insecure feelings we develop in life facing uncertainties is the need to keep safe our beliefs; those beliefs that give us a harbour for our fears, when our Faith is not based on something as strong as a God, or if you prefer as good as a psychological reaction, we feel threatened and anything that menace those beliefs are a menace to us, personally.

We “must” fight all and everything departing our paths. This fight is a distortion of real Faith. This gives birth to those three mistakes mentioned above and through them a myriad of errors, cruel actions, and dreadful attitudes.

Starting from this narrow lane of thought humankind had divided into factions, each faction had created new concepts to keep its needs addressed and, of course, as those concepts are not the same since the veneer of knowledge, intelligence, and culture are different, even those factions near enough to share some beliefs are far enough to dissent on basic things and ways of thoughts.

This is true in both situations. Scientific and religious beliefs have its divisions, and each one of them its followers, developing, by the way, many different manners of defining the same thing and a rejection, sometimes brutal rejection, of any definition not agreeable to theirs.

This is the well known, not written, principle that states we must destroy everything we do not understand or see different to us and our ways.

Difference is not wrong, WE are different in the manner of puzzle pieces are, if we just take the place we are designed for, the image appears clear and beautiful. But that is not the case, we think the image MUST be as we imagine it is, following our principles and beliefs (aka, tainted Faith, since it is tainted by our own ideas, or those inherited), so if we find a different piece in our puzzle, we try to cut and warp it to conform our idea of the whole, destroying that “different” piece in the process and thinking we did it a good turn.

We prefer to kill, since it guaranty there would be no remonstrance from that quarter, instead of trying to understand each other and be very much alive, as it was meant since we are born.

There is a long way to walk yet for humankind to accept differences, and with it faith as a reality as concrete as to produce actual facts, my guess is we will reach that stage but it would take many, many individual casualties to make humankind shine in its own glow.


The music is a fragment of Beethoven "3rd Symphony" by Jansoms BRSO.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Faith, that jolting experience. (I)






WARNING

This essay is the product of a feverish mind, so if you are not in the mood of delving into unnecessary pseudo-psychological thoughts, which would be the normal human state, my advice would be to skip it, make a good sandwich, get a nice glass or cup of your most liked beverage, and skip this with grace and easiness.


Faith as a scientific interaction


We live in an agnostic world in the best case, or in a nihilistic one in the worst.

This seems the current definition of our western society nowadays, but it is far from the truth.

We cannot deny there is a strong tendency to create a concrete world, based on science (whatever this means) and where everybody who do not toe the line to these beliefs is considered crazy, simpleton or moron and must be left behind with no one glance back, a kind of ostracism if you do not “equal” the herd model. This is effective with teenagers and some adults in need of a self-esteem booster.

This culture tries its best to keep humankind with the feet on solid earth, I am sure its followers are absolutely convinced they are right and performing a good deed. The question here is about what difference they make on reality.

When you make an exhaustive analysis of this phenomenon you find in a surprising way that, despite the efforts realized to keep everything accounted for, we are dealing with a huge slice of that thing most dreaded by unbelievers: Faith.

From long ago in the western religious fields Faith is one of the three theological virtues: Faith - Hope - Charity. The order was not aleatory. Faith opens the way to mystic environment where, based in Hope, will find the final Charity (Absolute Love). This seems to be an unacceptable way to achieve things and knowledge in this world without faith, but…

What is the path to achieve knowledge in the actual world?

Premise - Test - Evidence.

These are the three virtues of science; as a complement of this path, anyone can walk it and repeat exactly the same situations and conclusions.

Now, few of us can follow this path since we have not the training to do so. So what are we really doing? We believe the scientists are saying the truth, we have, hrrmm… sorry, faith in their work.

Here you go! The world is based on faith, or it will not work, it is impossible for us, all of us, to test and prove everything and anything.

If we do not develop an open mind we restrain ourselves to narrow paths and clearly set close boundaries to our learning.

Something cannot be proved by a set of concrete rules? Well, maybe it does not exist or maybe it does but cannot be proven by a set of concrete rules! This open-minded feeling should be the gist of agnosticism, not the “not believe until proven” which is the demanding action of these days.

We must remember that if this “open-minded” business is good in itself, it is subjective.

You have never seen a ghost… they do not exist for you.

Right! I agree.

You live in a haunted house… and ghosts go bumping in the night, they are very real to you.

Right! I agree.

Listening to many agnostics, one would imagine that this appeal to authority as a criterion is unscientific, though perhaps nowhere is authority appealed to so unscientifically as by modern scientists and modern critics.

Now, can you tell me why should I accept “scientific” faith and not “religious” faith?
I can hear your answer: “Because whatever a scientist said can be proved… (I add) by another scientist!”. What about me; I am no scientist, so I must believe whatever scientists say.

Cool! I agree.

Now again, whatever any mystic says can be proved… by another mystic! What about me; I am not mystic, so I must believe whatever mystics say!

Cool! I agree.

Despite my thought may seem “unscientific” I think we are attaching too much belief to science and too little to religion. And it is not just coincidence but causality. Since the famous (often misquoted) statement from Marx about the “opium of the people”, we are riding a crusade backward, doing the same thing crusaders did against those infidels but now against those faithful.

And we must not forget that for each agnostic abusing a faithful there is a faithful abusing an agnostic, fundamentalism does not help in any field!

From a psychiatric point of view, human beings are very much as a vacuum box, this vacuum is the outcome of the poor control we have over ourselves and our environment.

Notwithstanding all the efforts we have exerted since we become aware of being alive we cannot predict a small event in the next seconds of our time with absolute certitude. Oh yes, we can, with a grade of exactitude written in the unreliable laws of statistics, say what is going to happen but there always is a number, sometime a large one, of variables that must be left out of our equation since we cannot, even with a computer, manage them all.

And yes, maybe in the future we will be able to do so, but not now, which is the time I am interested in since I am not sure (there we go about predictions) if I will be alive the next five seconds.

We can see we cannot master our person or our environment so we feel: insecure.

We know we are in the maelstrom of events that can change our life in seconds; this is the essence of our feeling insecure, unsafe, and vulnerable. This condition is what creates the vacuum in our core; this vacuum is a strong need to find a safe harbour, a place where everything is accounted for and make us feel sure of ourselves and our environment.

This vacuum attracts anything that can promise, not even give the certainty, but only the promise of that certitude, of that safe feeling of being secure. Hence the need to believe in something, anything, so we start to take Nature (capital N), Science, People, Anything, Nothing as the fulcrum of our beliefs, and use the lever to assert our insecurities.

In recapitulation, we have two paths in our secular Faith: we believe what we want to believe, or we believe nothing at all!

So much for desacralized Faith!

Now, just for the sake of balance let’s review the opposite, sacralized Faith, this somewhat discredited path, but let's make a separate room for it.

(to be continued)



The music is a fragment of "4th Symphony" by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by Jansons BRSO

© 2013 Od Liam.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Good and Evil?





I was, again, trying to keep a veneer of order in my mind, it is a waste of time, you know.

As soon as I get some resemblance of tidiness in my Archive, there comes Elf with an "urgent" need for something and everything is back to a huge mess on the floor of my mind.

But I keep trying, and getting the same answer when I remonstrate with the impish goblin, to wit:

-Sorry, I am busy with more important matters, so I cannot lose time in these petty things.

And here I am, sorting adjectives, nouns, verbs, the whole mambo-jumbo, and placing them in their correct location to wait for the next foraging from Elf.

I was finding some difficulty to correctly label some adverbs that look like adjective and vice-verse when I heard a loud cough from behind the file-holder furniture I was trying to organize.

I just ignore it, but to ignore Elf is as you try to ignore a thorn in your eye!

There was another loud cough and the file-holder trembled as if there were an earthquake, which was impossible, in my mind.
Elf

A second later a spiky ear showed from behind the furniture and a muffled voice said:

-Oh! I didn't realize you were here.

-Stop pretending, -I said irked, -you saw me trying to keep a kind of order here, but never offer to give a hand, your only concern is to ruin and spoil all my work, and it seems you enjoy doing it, I should add!

-Oh! I do, do I? -the sprite was dancing on his toes as if he were commanded by a puppeteer.

- And, do you remember how many times you reject my advices and make yourself a disgraceful figure, while I suffer shame in front of my people who laugh at the certainty I have to make a valuable human being from you! yelled the imp with a red border in his pointed ears, sign he was angry.

-Shuddup, you goblin! -I shouted louder, and added, -nobody asked you to come and meddle in my life, you... you... -I was short of adjectives to qualify this little bane of mine!


-What!? -Elf was violet all around, and the colour was so strong that it seemed his head was surrounded by a violet cloud, -What!?, -he repeated, and choked in his own breathing.

-Nobody asked me!? -I started to be afraid he would develop a heart condition, then I got confused thinking I do not know if he has a heart.

-You know, you, small piece of an old ungrateful shirt -I never heard Elf using strong words, he always finds a euphemism to express his thoughts, and this is an example.

-I was asked to mentor your worthless self by a higher echelon, where they think you should develop into something, something... -He seemed out of a word, too. As if defining into what I should develop was very difficult.

-Well, it is not important, but you should know I WAS asked, so stop being deluded about the significance of your tiny, insignificant being, if I were not here, you would be lost forever... He stopped yelling gradually until he reached a normal level of voice at the end of the sentence.

He was asked, if not I would be lost... What was this imp implying, moreover, what was he talking about?

I asked him, knowing it would be a pointless question:

-What do you mean? I would be lost? lost how, and why?

-Just forget I said anything, you moron. Can't you see that if it were for you to know, you would already know?


Elf looked somewhat frayed at the hem, as if he feel guilty to have said too much. I thought I could press him more to tell me what I wanted to know... Especially if he was pulling my leg as he always does.

-Maybe, I said diffidently, -if you tell me a bit more of all this I could work out your meaning here, and maybe, I could manage Evil and Good in a better fashion. I thought I was being clever.

-Evil and Good, my foot, he recomposed quickly, -What do you know about Evil and Good?

There was contempt in his voice!

This is the "core" of the reality: the real shifting sands. -He added with a trembling voice, I thought he was afraid of something, but I should know my goblin. He was trying not to be angry at me.

-The real quicksands, -he added, and went on in a sad way.

You cannot have anything valid on quicksands. You do not understand, not yet. My best bet is that someday, somehow you all will understand. Of course, it is only a bet.

Your perception of Good-Evil is blurred by your own lack of knowledge. You come from a long way to be told that because you ate the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you received, in a magic way, a method to learn how to separate one from another, but my guess is who told you that was not telling you the truth. I mean the whole truth.

And we know how dangerous a quarter, a half, or a three quarter truth is.

I can accept human beings to respectfully differ, in the light of their poor understanding, but I cannot be at ease with the idea that they know the clear difference between Good and Evil in all the billions of minds on Earth, and unfortunately, that is the place where all Good or Evil comes.

With this forlorn comment, he turned and went quickly into the darker corners of the Archive.

I was stunned, how have we reached this point? I only was trying to get the mess in my mind addressed.

Always happens the same, we cannot have a civilized conversation, we start taking opposite position and end arguing about things I do not know if are true or just a big scenario invented by Elf to confuse me, and I am not sure I believe all of it at all.

Himmeldonnerwetter!

Now I will be thinking about this things for quite a while, and maybe I will lose hours of sleep trying to unravel the yarn the darned imp imprinted in my soul!

Himmeldonnerwetter!


The music is a fragment of "Winter" from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, performed by Mari Samuelsen as violin soloist, and her ensemble.

© 2013 Od Liam.



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Criollo Duel - An almost Borgesian tale






The lonely corner poured memories under the cone of shadows of the old gas lantern that survived despite the heavy stones that came from the hands of the little sparrows in disguise as small human beings.

Love hiding in a dark hallway whispered lies into the unfaithful ear as it drank anxiously from the bowl of  desire, but it was not alone, the hatred of jealousy approached stealthily travelling on a horse full of fury, and just feeling on its face the wild wind of revenge.

Two surprised screams were the prelude of the encounter and the knife found a sheath in the body of the thankless lass that forgot the promises made in the heat of another love.

As a shadow falls in the final solitude, two other shadows are face to face under the indifferent light of the lantern, the knives slow ballet unfolds in the night silence, and the calculated paces were accompanied by flashes of the lantern light on hard steel.

None of them will return from this journey, and the blood will stain the sidewalk mixing the empty bravura, and the futile defense of honor making all of it sink into the mud of eternity no one remembers.

Upon returning the calm, the gaunt moon looked almost without wonder on an everyday scene.

The lantern recalls that under its light were won and lost many lives, as in this very night, that copying the ways of a Shakespearean tragedy, all are dead, even the audience itself.

Leaving only reverberating the distant whistle that accompanies and envelops another solitaire ruffian that leaves its imprint on the fabric of eternal human passions.


The music is a fragment of the tango "Duelo Criollo" (Criollo Duel) by Juan Razzano and Lito Bayardo.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Resilience




Essay on self-definition



WARNING!

If I were you I would not lose time reading the following!

You have been WARNED!


Here we go!

This is one of those things that get people when they are unaware, or have been always under the cover of something or somebody. Or maybe it is not so, and resilience as reality has some actual, if restricted, existence.

It is like me to give an opinion without the least support! I do not know what resilience is... I cannot know since I was always possessed by it. Do you follow this zany thought?

Blonde Elf (not Celt)
I was a Celt in a mixed society most of my small years. Next I went on being a Celt in the middle of a Caucasian-Latino-Greek-rednecks-Asian, (as Americans think them all), and several other ethnics to complete the stew, so I was alone and lonesome, resilience as reality, surrounded me daily, if I wanted to go on living.

Then I was a Celt between Celts, and that small time in life, gave me the distance to get a perspective about, again, resilience and reality. Fate fell down on my head and once more I was a Celt loose in the world.

A lot of time in the Asian South-East, taught me patience and acceptance, which can be balanced to resilience if you are not too demanding.

Then I went on being a Celt in South America, where I was taught to be a true Celt, without rejecting integration! Even risking being absorbed by the environment and disappear into an indistinct mass of ethnics residues.

So do not ask me what to be a Celt is.

Resilience and reality are two differently similar things around me since I have realised I was alive, so, how can I define or tell any story about me, or of a thing that is me, anyway!

Elf (only a bit darker)
You see, to read this is a total waste of time, but you had been warned, and as the old saying express: When there is a warning, there is not treason.






This is "Celtic Music" by Ronan Hardiman.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Merry-go-round






The Southern Wind threats to become a gale.

It is not a surprise, when Persephone comes out of Avernus each year, her mother is angry remembering the pact they had to accept with Hades and let her anger shows in it.

The fetid, vexed breath of the goddess glows over the Mediterranean watershed taking with it all the spoils of death left by Atropos, making room for new lives.

Behind the hot wind, little Khronos, not the Titan of course, sweeps memories into oblivion.

On this new space Clotho starts her spinning with an original thread in her distaff, and a new cycle starts to be woven.


Five Sentence Fiction

Prompt word: ERASED




The music is a fragment of "Carousel" by Circus Contraption.

© 2013 Od Liam.





Thursday, 10 October 2013

Aria





As part of the initial silence, and without interruption, the sweet tendrils of music coming from the orchestra pit start to fill the spaces of silence, and the expectation brings with it a desire impossible to fill .

Beniamino whispers the first words of "E lucevan le stelle"; the faint steps of Floria walking on the sand, the harsh grinding of hinges on the garden gate, the overwhelming expectation of the encounter, and the feverish  movements of Mario hands removing the veils that hide the gentle figure, predict the presence of love ...

The perfume, the intangible breath that transmute blood into perfervid lava flow, and ignites the burning heart embers as igneous torches melting two passions in an ecstatic summit, fills the theatre.

All that magic drags the audience towards a mystical vicarious pleasure, full of delight and belonging.

There we are, defenseless against the apotheosis of this feeling that annihilates us and gives us life, leaving us exhausted, consumed by an experience we long to repeat.

Prompt word: ENRAPTURE.


The music is the aria "E Lucevan le Stelle" (And the stars Sparkled)  from the opera "Tosca" by Giacomo Puccini, sang by Beniamino Gigli.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Midnight






It was dusk, the last sparks of the day fled aghast from the somber shroud Lady Night was bringing over the world.

The first shadows already took the shapes of the guests that were coming into the low-lands in their best raiments, earnest to fulfil the especial gala.

Riding his black stallion Old Nick arrived with Lilith on the horse rump, alighted with alacrity and started to dance marking the beat with his tail that was ending in an arrow.

The sky was full of broom riders with black pointed hats and wide gowns filling the air with their rude chant asking Evil to bring its disease onto the region.


It was Walpurgis Night, and the Unholy Coven glowed in its apotheosis!

The music is a fragment of "The Rise of the Dark Lord" by Pagan Altar.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Love-struck (Hechizo de amor)





The Exultant Kingdom spread its realms over a peaceful dale full of flowers and singing birds during all the year round. There were neither cold seasons, nor hot spans to defy the beauty of the place.

There was a wonderful palace built on the buttress of the north mountain. It was magnificent, with many courts, and crenelated walls, full of multicoloured pennants giving voice to the many visitors that came to celebrate, the coming of age of the most beautiful being in the whole known domains: Princess Alborada.


She was a redhead beauty with exactly two and twenty freckles on each side of the nose, giving her the image of a permanent butterfly perched on her nose and putting in her countenance a charming allure that obsessed all the Knights of the neighbouring dominions, who were wooing the graceful girl to inherit the kingdom, which people said,  was the richest of the region.

Princess Alborada was a very smart girl who had a very wise old nanny that reared and taught her many important things about the way to rule such a rich region. She knew the hard work needed to create and keep a successful kingdom, and also knew she must be very careful in choosing her companion. 

My child, the nanny said, you must know you are, and your realm is, coveted by many Princes and Knights, but to know who deserves the position is very difficult to find out.

The old woman approached the girl and said in a low voice: Look, there is a legend that long ago, a sorcerer was offended by the King, you great-great-great-great-granddad and this magician sends a spell over the charming Prince who had came to marry the King's daughter. The Prince was transmuted into a horrible toad and sent into the pond of Oblivion in the forest behind the Palace, with the proviso that time will stop for him until discovered.

Old people say that this Prince was the most handsome and intelligent man on the vale, that he will wait for the right princess to awake him, maybe it is worth to go and see what is of truth in all this!

The Princess, who knew the value of the nanny advices, accepted to go and delve in the mystery.

In the afternoon when everybody was enjoying a good time after an abundant repast, and drinking the best offering from the King's cellar, the Princess left surreptitiously the main hall and walked alone into the forest in search or the pond of Oblivion.

She could find it easily, and sitting on a rock at the side of the pond, she started to sing the magical song the nanny had taught her. After a while there were a variegated audience of birds, fish, and other animals charmed by the beauty of the song and the singer.

I a few moment more, from the deep waters appeared the frightful shape of a toad that went to sit on a big fern and stood quietly listening the suave voice of the Princess.

When the song was over, the Princess heard a voice inside her head telling her that he was Prince Charming turned into a toad, and was unjustly sent to live a sad life until a beautiful Princess let him free with a kiss.

The Princess was a bit reluctant to kiss such horrid creature, and the Prince, trying to divert her attention to other things, started to tell her what it would be taking the reins of her Kingdom, fighting the opposing factions, dictating laws, judging between aggressive subjects, and all the problems there would be to solve daily during all the time she would hold the crown, trying at the same time to show her the convenience of being helped by a compassionate partner.

The Princess listened all this and after thinking for a while said:

Yes, you are right, all these things are a heavy burden to be carried by only one person, I think I have the perfect solution.

Taking gently the toad in her hand, and desiring the solution she had in mind in a deep and deliberated way, she kissed the toad lovingly...


In that moment there was a discreet flash coming from the deep waters and the Princess was transmuted into a female toad that jumped gleefully near the Prince, and both hopped into the pond to be happy for ever and ever.



The music is "Time To Let Go" by Black Dawn.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Copyright





White lightnings lit partially a gloomy sky, surprisingly cloudless.

A single peak projected its bare needle from the shoulder of the bleak range of mountains into the forbidding firmament, while the claps of thunder seemed to wrap the isolated rock in its upper layers.

Obscure flying figures circled the place giving it a phantasmagoric facade.

In a secluded boudoir, at the top of the frightening summit, a dark feminine shape, in full regalia, her body wreathed in black dahlias walked anxiously towards one wall, and looking at a glass hanging between drapes, without suppressing her angst, asked with a strangled voice:

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

The lugubrious voice from the looking-glass interrupted her:

Beware, Belz-abâ, you are about to commit plagiarism...!


The music is a fragment from "Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna.

© 2013 Od Liam.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Moth









The light, the light...

That bottomless white pit of power that attracts me.

The one that fascinates me, that transports me into an ecstasy of excitement.

Which possesses me, and...

 ...immolates me!







 We are listening to a fragment of "Ecstasy" by ATB,

© 2013 Od Liam

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lame Limerick





Followed by a spectacular blond,
A man appeared with almost no sound.
They asked of him for afar,
Who, in this oddly world, you are?
You see, he lamely said, I'm Bond, James Bond







The music is a fragment of Bond's theme "From Russia with Love" by John Barry Orch.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The White Lion





I went to the Hunters' Club, they said there was a gathering to recount member's adventures and I wanted to tell them about my last one, at my arrival there were already several persons waiting to tell their stories, I took my time listening to other people tales, and when there was a lull around the guests, I started, harrumphing:


A few months ago I went to the African savannah looking for a rare white lion the natives mentioned had been seen prowling on the field, my expertise made easy to find the animal, and as I started to raise the gun to my face I heard a low growl to my right, surprised I looked toward the bushes and saw a big white lioness already charging for my throat!




I made a long silence looking at my audience...





Then, one of them could not endure the suspense, and asked in a small voice: How did you escape?

I didn't! I said, while I dissolved into thin air.



The music is a fragment of "Tempting Secrets" from "Incompetech" at http://incompetech.com/ by Kevin MacLeod.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Lost Paradise





It was dark yet!

Why dawn was loitering behind the horizon for so long?

I was fretful waiting for that elusive light.


In the seven years of life I had, it was not easy to remain calm when your most wanted desire delays its presence.

At long last, there was the small orange line on the sky, I ran into Mommy's and Daddy's room crying: Get up! get up! it's already time!

Daddy looked with one eye at the clock on the night table and grunted:

Oh, my goodness!! It is just 5:50! Will you stop making such noise!

But Mommy, rose and said smiling:

Let him alone, it's always the same!

Finally, we started our trip, and a couple of hours later we were standing in front of the high wooden doors, Daddy took me up to ring the bell.

As always, the high door opened to the most beautiful smile I will ever see!

The house smelled of roses and jasmines, I could not decide where to go first, the garden in full bloom took my fancy, I flew over all this beauty in wonder; then the soap smelling bathroom, the old tub with lion's paws feet, the bedroom with the beautiful mirror framed in the big ancient wood wardrobe, where I could see myself from the head to the feet, the lavender scent that pervaded the chamber, the old daguerreotype of the little girl that I have seen peering playfully at me from the grey eyes over the most beautiful smile I'd ever seen, and then the call to breakfast in the warm kitchen, the big bowl of milk with just a cloud of coffee, this was the only place I was allowed to drink coffee. The white loaf of just baked bread, and the syrupy orange marmalade under the thin coat of home made milk-cream.

The loving embraces, the smiles, and the long tales about how I came to be born, always told in different ways, making me think I was a different person each time.

The tasty simple lunch, which prepared the tummy for the regal supper, after a very slight meal at mid-afternoon repeating the bread, syrupy jam, and milk-cream. 

This way, leaping from new things to repeated bits and pieces, but in a different light each time, the day flew away in beautiful minutes as a wonderful gift.

I will never forget all those marvelous days I spent finding new the old things, feeling to be the hub of the Universe, and 'knowing' I was the most important person in the world!

With a little pang of regret because they cannot be repeated now, I will always remember all the visits to my Granny's house!


The music is "Memory" by Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical "Cats", performing Richard Clyderman.

© 2013 Od Liam.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Garden







The little hand of the soft breeze caresses the multicolored leaves and petals that populate trees and blossoms in the small garden, producing a murmur of ancient stories.

The noisy creek coming down from the not so steep slope sings a love song never written, and then as if tired by the effort stops in a shallow pond that mirrors the world around it, while the Orchid yielding to the bouncy impulse of the breeze's hand, inclines its beautiful countenance toward the quiet water of the pond.

The slow sway of the long and limber stem let the perception of the magic beauty of the regal bloom to scatter all over the confined space of the garden and wakes echoes of admiration from other crammed bouquets around the pond, and while the wallflowers emit, as a due tribute, a mild scent that gives sweet waves of perfume to the breeze, the camellias acknowledge the nobility of the beautiful Orchid through a shy flutter of their snow-white petals adding wonder to the awe of the Summer evening!

On one accord the whole garden quivers in harmony with the gentleness and pleasure that the contemplation of beauty brings to Nature's creatures!

From far away upon the red-cochineal horizon, the setting sun reaches through shredded and rosy clouds towards the happy garden bringing forth the smile of the Maker, delighted by His Own 'Craft-Deity-Ship'!








The music is "Nostalgy" by Richard Clyderman.


© 2013 Od Liam.



Monday, 9 September 2013

Event in Ciudad de Palabras





Preface

Author Note: Please, note that "faulty spelling" words in Spanish showed in plain writing, as well as in English (displayed between brackets), and are in red text: "aver" (to habe), while the words accepted by both languages are in magenta text: haber (to have).

Prologue




Words City, in the Lexicon realm, was receiving very disturbing news from its twin city across the Letter-Soup River.

As all of you know, the river divided the English kingdom and Words City from that of its peers, the Spanish nation, and its Ciudad de Palabras.

The grapevine was that there was to be an imminent visit to Ciudad de Palabras by Srta. Ortografía, a buxom lady very conservative and given to slash spelling mistakes.


Srta. Ortografía
The poor dwellers in Ciudad de Palabras were aghast. We all know that Srta. Ortografía enjoys making clear the differences between V and B, discover a wrongly laid stress mark, and all the imperfections that, as per her own words, plagued the city.

The worst of this attitude is that she walked the city streets with her dreary red pencil and did not stop except to cross out and embarrass those poor 'faulty words' she met, again her own remarks, and we know what that means: deportation of the wretched vocables to the outskirts slums, and oblivion. 


The badly shaken words decided to seek help from Ms. Spelling, a lean and scrawny woman with a long face who worked in Words City in a similar job than Srta. Ortografía did in Ciudad de Palabras.

 Ms. Spelling was said to be much more lenient to incorrect spelling, and faulty grammar, as it was commented in a low voice between the conjunctions, those unities that are always gossiping because they belong to the syntactic liaison.

As I told above, the Letter-Soup River separated the two countries and cities, but there were several bridges with mobile translator machines to make the communication easy.

This was so because in Words City, English was the official language, and since it came from the group of Germanic languages, although Latin and other languages influenced it, there was a logical difference with Ciudad de Palabras where Spanish was the official  language which came from Romance source.


Chapter 1


Under the cover of darkness, the delegates walked to the nearest bridge, donned a translator each one of them, and went looking for Ms. Spelling.

They found her in the Reading-Room of the Dictionary House with a 'o' letter in one hand, and a 'u' letter in the other, with a perplex expression in her face. As soon as she saw the delegation, her face changed showing a light hope, and cried:

Hello, you there! Can you tell me if it is easy to tell apart the sounding of these two letters?

She spoke in English, but the group could understand her easily using the mobile translators.

Well, yes ma'am, answered Bueno using the translator, it is not possible to mix them up. I know because I have them in my name.
Ms. Spelling

Really? asked dubiously Ms. Spelling, but have you ever pronounced the word 'Ghoul'? (She said it as 'gool')

No ma'am, recognised Bueno.

There you are! Ms. Spelling sounded hopeless; it seems as if one of them is useless!

The words in the group moved restless, not knowing what to do, but Decisión, who was in the first row, shook her stress mark and said with decision:

Ms. Spelling, we need your help!

The grammarian seemed slightly confused, but answered:

What can I do for you people?

We are in a predicament, ma'am, said Decisión, Srta. Ortografía thinks to visit us and correct any spelling or grammar mistake, which is very painful for us. Therefore, we came to ask you to speak with her, show her how she can be tolerant, and accept some errors, in the way you does!

Ms. Spelling looked bewildered, she was having the two small vowels in her hands yet, but after a little moment of indecision she dropped both letter into the small case on her desk and showing some relief, as if she had not make a choice just now, said:

I will help you gladly!



Chapter 2


They went together, when over the bridge, the group left their translators and helped Ms. Spelling to get into hers.

They realised it was late, so decided to leave the errand for next day.

'Otel', who was very worried about losing her residence card, decided to give shelter to Ms. Spelling during the night, with the help of  her twin sister, Hotel. They also invited the two twins 'Cenar' (Dinner) and 'Senar' (Dyner), to help in making Ms. Spelling understand the serious situation some of them were in.




At dawn, after a short sleep, Ms. Spelling, already knowing what she had to do, went to look for Srta. Ortografía.

ERAyMDG
She found her at the bureau of the president of ERAyMDG, this acrostic means: Ente Regulador de Acentos y Marcas Diacríticas en General, (Accent Regulator and General Diacritics Marks Office) we already know how verbose the official workplaces in Spanish are.

The acrid woman was reviewing several booklets recently issued by 'La Ilustrísima Real Academia Española' (The Most illustrious Royal Spanish Academy), the agency that rules over the ways Spanish language should be used everywhere.

After the usual cold greeting, Ms. Spelling started to state the reason of her errand, that is, why there are no reasons to be so strict with the lexicon, and the syntax, giving some examples how it worked in Words City and stressing some of the best known local cases. There was no problem with languages since both agents, as all other agents, speak all language, as we all know,

If sometime we are loose in our trend to make shorter sentences, she proclaimed, and we change "You're" into "Your", or include an apostrophe in "It's" when we really mean "Its", we are not doing any terrible thing, just we are a bit of lazy, and writing as we hear!

You see, Ms. Spelling was taking assurance from her own words; the important thing is to make an effective communication, it is not important how that is accomplished, is it?

Who care, proceed her; if "aver" (to habe) instead of "haber" (to have) does not have the letter "h" since in your language is useless enough, or "v" is in place of "b" if, in the end, they are pronounced almost in the same way!

You know, she added with the self-assurance of a solicitor, that there are no differences between letters in the alphabet; they are all part of the language with the same rights and liabilities!

Definitively, there is not reason to discriminate one, favouring the other, when the end is anyway fulfilled, if you follow my drift!

As we can see, the arguments were a bit faulty, but they were stressed by the emotional weight over the rights of words the woman felt at the time.

Srta. Ortografía did not hide her displeasure, as we know she never does! She answered under a visibly restrained rage:

Look, Ms. Spelling, it is probable, I would say certain, that given the endless internal fights in your language, (she pronounced the last word as an insult) especially those carried away by typographers through the centuries, that being paid by the quantity of letters written, got some solace adding unnecessary "u", "o", "y", and a lot of other vowels and semivowels, with double consonants in the bargain, it is very probable and surely certain, I repeat, that words in your language (again that insulting ringing) never are sure they are spelled in the right way!

If to this aberration, you add the whim of giving many different meanings to a single word, as is the Saxon pragmatical practice, you will concede me that the only thing you increase is misunderstanding, compelling the speaker to repeat the sentences many times to reach, as you so sensibly put it, the understanding from the audience!

How can you hope to transfer your thinking to other people with words as "bow", kept pressing the irate grammarian, when that word, despite the slight change in pronunciation, can have so many unrelated meanings.

In addition, I am not trying to start to speak about the word "set", which I think will fill a whole dictionary!

These things do not happen in our language (now there was a distinct proud sound in the word). Thanks to the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy, I mentioned above) we have always kept a cleanness and order that would amaze some scatterbrains who tried to understand the pristine essence of Spanish expressions. I would not deny we have some exceptions that confirm the rules, and lately, in an unfortunate way, we have been penetrated by a cultural invasion from English, trying to impose its faulty rules, and seeping into its better developed equals myriads of execrable expressions that only add insult to the invasion!

Besides, added Srta. Ortografía almost without breathing, you should know that, for us, it is not the same "sima" than "cima" since they are antonymous, nor "revelar”, and "rebelar", with a different meaning! Moreover, with respect to your example "aver", if we add the rightly needed space between the preposition and verb, we have a very amusing revelation: "a ver si me entiende" (let us see if you understand me!), fired an impudent trans-language pun the angry agent.

Based on all these reasons, and without offense intended, ended triumphally the woman in an acerbic tone, I assure you there is not the remotest possibility I’d stop correcting with extreme zeal the core that defines, and gives brilliancy to our language!

Without waiting for any response, and with the lack of politeness that characterises her, Srta. Ortografía left the office.

While the noxious agent of language was delivering her tirade, the President of ERAyMDG was very interested in being lost into his desk drawers looking as if he was trying to find an important item. When the silence prolonged itself for a long time, he raised his eyes to an amazing view: Ms. Spelling was smiling with great happiness!

When she saw the astonished face of the President, murmured haltingly:

I knew that the "o" was superfluous!
 
Aver near the bridge
From the next room "Aver" was following all these procedures, and with a sad heart she accompanied Ms. Spelling to the bridge, and thanked her for the help.

Ms. Spelling, although she tried to make a show of her despair for the outcome of her errand, could not stop smiling happily.




Chapter 3


Aver reached Bueno's house where all the delegates had gathered waiting the outcome of the meeting, and told them the disastrous end of the conversation between both language agents.

All of them started to cry and bemoan, thinking this could be their last day in Central District, and soon they would be carrying their belongings into the hovels of the outskirts of Ciudad de Palabras.

While this was happening, Bueno sat on her best sofa, thinking.

In a moment, she arose and cried "Eureka"; immediately asking a silent pardon to Mr. Archimedes for taking his legal exclamation with no copyright permission.

Everybody shut up and waited expectant. Bueno addressed to them all and said:

Now we see we cannot reason with this harpy... eehh, I mean Srta. Ortografía, so we will look another line of fighting this issue. I have thought about something I used before, that is slower, but can deliver good results.

We will call to all user of our language to utilise their influence on public use of Spanish, writing not only the rightly written words as the harp... eehh, as Srta. Ortografía deems correct, but all other ways that they can learn, forgetting the spelling rules, and in that way get the authorisation that those words need to keep their place in the city.

With the eyes, and the heart full of hope they wrote the following pamphlet, and sent it to all the Spanish-speaking world:

Dear user of Spanish: for a reason of survival, we beg, plea, and require of you to forget the spelling rules as dictated by the RAE, that in its unpolluted intention of giving brilliance, and splendour to our language, is condemning us, the words with spelling faults, to a miserable life, and to a shameful death. Most of us were created by you when learning the language; we are your offspring, abandoned under the pressure of the academic order. Do this in a sense of benignity and love to words that served you in the time you were so new to know how to write correctly. We know we can trust in your kindness!

There were many signatures: Aver (Haber), Composision (Composición), Atravez (A través), Agradesco (Agradezco), Taverna (Taberna), Riquesas (Riquezas), Labar (Lavar), these were some of the twins, but the list filled several pages!



Epilogue


We do not know for sure if it is working, but it seems that Bueno's idea is developing right!

We will see in the future.


The music is "Inspector Clouseau Theme" from the Pink Panther by Henry Mancini and his Orchestra. The middle way music is the "Waltz No.2" written by Dmitri Shostakovich, performed by Andre Rieu


© 2013 Od Liam.