Wednesday, 29 November 2017

War Crimes

Who is a war criminal?  And who is not?

A man accused of being a war criminal commits suicide in front of his judge.

Others, those making war on a daily basis against defenseless countries, in one case against a poor country where a cholera epidemic is raging, are not accused, travel wherever they like and receive the red carpet treatment.

Who is a war criminal?  And who is not?

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

This link is a must if you live in EU

Guten Morgen.

Their anti-democratic behavior is beyond the pale.

It's time to abandon fake news, massaged news and unreported news.

It's time to see beyond the smoke and mirrors of the glass palaces.

It's time to discover a trustworthy source.

It is in the sidebar - click on EU observer.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Paradiso .

Come si arriva a Paradiso, per favore?
How do I get to Paradise, please?
Wie komme ich nach Paradies, bitte?

Quanto dista fino a Paradiso?
How far is it to Paradise?
Wie weit ist es nach Paradies?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

First build your nest

1. Consult blueprints.

2. Choose suitable site. In this case, a broad leaved fruit tree.  Select position on west side of tree in hollow of high boughs, keeping a weather eye on the large black & white cat who patrols the area seeking whom he may devour.

Nest retrieved intact during pruning 22nd November undamaged -
survived storm with 136 km  gusts and other inclement weather

 3. Collect and place suitable materials in hollow in following order:
  (i) moss to line the concealment hollow
  (ii) mud for placing on top of moss to provide firm secure base
  (iii) plastic bag for placing on top of mud for insulation, waterproofing and warmth
  (iv) grass, straw, small twigs and moss for walls
  (v) continue building until walls of nest are of suitable thickness.

Nest inverted - showing details of construction 

Bird's eye view of interior 

Cross section showing materials - L at bottom - R at top

Not one fluffy feather.

Did they build more than one nest before making the final choice of abode?

Did the cat LOOK UP at the tree?

Or the jay look down  . . .

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Boulevard Calendar

This morning I bought my 2018 calendar from one of the homeless on  the streets of the city. 

The seller, who must have a badge conspicuously displayed to show he is not a member of the so-called beggar mafia, is allowed to keep 50% of the calendar's price. The same rule applies regarding the fortnightly Augustine newspapers. 

There are many bogus beggars who mysteriously materialize at this time of goodwill. 

I like to think that a homeless person rescued the dog on the cover (or vice-versa). 

The dog in the poem in the post below might need a new home in the near future.  

It's more ethical to buy a calendar from a friendly Augustine salesperson, than from an uninterested assistant filing her nails in a brand name outlet selling cheerful seasonal products churned out in faraway sweatshops, is it not?   

Santa's elves get little reward. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Christmas Past and Present in Cafe Espresso

A cameo gift to give
would be a dog

for Christmas . . .

      The speakers in the corners
with plaintive strains

       'I sit and watch as tears go by . . '

cut in on present
coffee thoughts

Christmas in the selfies 
-  and the poetry

in the simple songs

I listen to
the table

next to me

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Augmented Reality

The town

is up-gearing for Christmas

-  born in the stars we shall die on earth

   consumers reloaded

with special offers

and seasonal devotions -

augmented with amalgams

of self-worth reality

rushing stupid

from the office parties

into the closed museum bars -

tuesday is someone's day of rest

engineered by god

and the world  -

- a temporary exchange of ways -

as for those poets

when they went on too long

they merely licked their quills

and              made them           longer

long as Pinocchio's nose

and   longer

maybe long as a Joycean pub crawl

or a museum guide's

preamble -

O my god they are following me

and my dedication to verisimilitude -

I'm  standing  with my pencil

poised  before a very small Rubens

- a man who is an expert in the art of overwhelming -

it's hardly a seminal work -

         I think I'll slip the leash

and find the quite room

where the works

I like best

are hiding away

from from the madding

Rubens crowd -

   Jan Massys'  Merry Company 

   Reymerswale's  Money Changers 

   Hoogstraten's  Old Man at the Window

to name but three  -

before I fly
         to the Seven Stars  

to cut my goulash of beef 

with a spoon.

Merry Company - Jan Massys

Money Changers - Marinus Van Reymerswale

Old Man at the Window - Samuel Van Hoogstraten

Italy out!

   Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei  

Italia 0 - 0 Svezia

Azzurri fuori dal coppa mondiale di calcio 2018

Friday, 10 November 2017

Fighting for King and Country.

Tomorrow, 11th November 2017, exactly 99 years will have elapsed since the official end of the so-called Great War, a war in which the British people, including both my grandfathers found themselves literally in no man's land in the bloody carnage known as the Battle of the Somme.

There were many other battles equally horrifying or worse, and men of many nations perished. These men were known simply as cannon fodder.

A cynic might say that the Great War was so-called as a tribute to the 'great' profits made by the military industrial financial complex - 'the war racket' as Major General Smedley Butler terms it.

The fact is that the Great War never really ended. Today the locations and the euphemisms are different.

Not to worry. The money is rolling in.

Lest we forget.

Apropos my cartoon:

Iraq was a fiasco. Mission Accomplished was a joke. But out of it all there did come eventually a glimmer of sanity. It was Obama's last act, his release of Chelsea Manning.

Now, where to next?

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Raven

When autumn fogs
and industrial smogs

Cloak the graves
and the graveyard walls

When the leaves 
are fallen and the world is grey 

The raven's call 
doth winter hail

Monday, 6 November 2017

Learning to read Roald Dahl in Italian

Personggi italini is bilingual and contains 18 biographies ranging from Poppea to Anna Magnani

So far, I've worked my way through the first six chapters - just finished Amerigo Vespucci and about to start on Lucrezia Borgia. 

When I get stuck, which is often the case at this early stage, I glance at the German pages and although they are not literal translations they invariably point me in the right direction. 

And so it is that I work my way through an Italian book.

Attenti alle streghe!

My copy of Roald Dahl's Le streghe is beyond my compass at the moment. It is not a bilingual edition. 

But one fine day, before the daffodils reappear, I will certainly manage to read it. 

And on that day I will be so much the wiser and so much the wickeder.

Formula 86  e la metamorfosi! will be mine. 


You have been warned!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Mini-Poem* Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves 

by the wayside 

and kicked around 

*Today's inspiration source: 'Magnon's Meanderings'. 

Bonjour Cro!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Russian Pavilion and Others at the Venice Biennale

The Russians always put on a good show. No question about it. Don't go in without your camera.

Leaving Russia I made my way to the US where I spent maybe 10 minutes.

As I was exiting the US Pavilion it was almost midday. I was suddenly approached by an eager young man who said he was a guide and would be available at 12 o'clock to take visitors around the exhibition and explain things.

To tell the truth I hadn't been able to find anything in the US Pavilion worth photographing. Perhaps I should have accepted the young man's offer. I might have had better luck.

Here's the exterior of the US Pavilion. As you can see it wasn't exactly busy here. But the sunlight and the fallen leaves of autumn made a fine scene. Hence the photo.

I remember one time they had a damaged iron girder said to be from one of the 9/11 Twin Towers as an exhibit. It was on the ground where the brown leaves are lying in today's photograph.

A nearby pavilion lured me in. I was caught by the huge peace symbol at the front door! Hungary is ever popular with Biennale visitors.

The rainbow made from coloured glass was a hit. I had to wait patiently for the right photo.

A collection of hundreds of small paintings (approx. 3" x 4") by hundreds of Canadian artists pleased me greatly. They were displayed in a couple of small rooms off Campo San Stefano. I leave you with two of my favourites: