Sunday, July 31

Peter Pan

I don't know why this is one of the Disney's production that I liked the most when I was a child. I still have some scenes on my mind and can recall the enchantment of being carried away by a fantasy world. It was pure and simple magic and it is good that sometimes it can be experienced again when reading a book, watching a movie, going to an exhibition, watching dolphins or any other of these things that make us dream and remember that we are different but changeless. 

Saturday, July 30

The teacher dog

"Did you understand? I can repeat it all over again if you have any doubt."*
This is what one of my favourites teachers used to say from time to time.
Hi Thomas! You also: "porte des lunettes et je les irais revoir. A bientôt."
Third of the "Dogs with human professions series".

Thursday, July 28

Somalia's Famine: Saudi Arabia, Western Intelligence and Oil

I just read Somalia:The Real Causes of Famine by Michel Chossudovsky and I had to share it because it is too hard to see that all that is at the mainstream media are not the entire truth and that people means nothing to governments and the elite that rule the world. I was puzzled because we know that Somalia has been facing famine for decades and I was not understanding why now it got worse. The drought explanation was not enough for me. Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine by Michel Chossudovsky

"For the last twenty years, Somalia has been entangled in a "civil war" amidst the destruction of both its rural and urban economies.
The country is now facing widespread famine. According to reports, tens of thousands of people have died from malnutrition in the last few months. The lives of several million people are threatened.

The mainstream media casually attributes the famine to a severe drought without examining the broader causes.
An atmosphere of "lawlessness, gang warfare and anarchy" is also upheld as one of the major causes behind the famine.
But who is behind the lawlessness and armed gangs?

Somalia is categorized as a "failed state", a country without a government.
But how did it become a "failed state"? There is ample evidence of foreign intervention as well as covert support of armed militia groups. Triggering "failed states" is an integral part of US foreign policy. It is part of a military-intelligence agenda.

According to the UN, a situation of famine prevails in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle, areas in part controlled by Al Shahab, a jihadist militia group affiliated to Al Qaeda.
Both the UN and the Obama administration had accused Al Shahab of imposing "a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009". What the reports do not mention, however, is that Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) ("Movement of Striving Youth") is funded by Saudi Arabia and supported covertly by Western intelligence agencies. (emphasis mine)

The backing of Islamic militia by Western intelligence agencies is part of a broader historical pattern of covert support to Al Qaeda affiliated and jihadist organizations in a number of countries, including, more recently, Libya and Syria.

The broader question is: What outside forces triggered the destruction of the Somali State in the early 1990s?
Somalia remained self-sufficient in food until the late 1970s despite recurrent droughts. As of the early 1980s, its national economy was destabilized and food agriculture was destroyed.

The process of economic dislocation preceded the onset of the civil war in 1991. Economic and social chaos resulting from IMF "economic medicine"* had set the stage for the launching of a US sponsored "civil war".
An entire country with a rich history of commerce and economic development, was transformed into a territory. (emphasis mine)
In a bitter irony, this open territory encompasses significant oil wealth. Four US oil giants had already positioned themselves prior to the onset of the Somali civil war in 1991:
Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside. (emphasis mine)
According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia's pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. ...
Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as "absurd" and "nonsense" allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush [Senior], a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake. (emphasis mine)
But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia's most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for peace. (emphasis Mine)
Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government's role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.( The Oil Factor in Somalia : Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. - Los Angeles Times 1993)
Somalia had been a colony of Italy and Britain. In 1969, a post-colonial government was formed under president Mohamed Siad Barre; major social programs in health and education were implemented, rural and urban infrastructure was developed in the course of the 1970s, significant social progress including a mass literacy program was achieved.

The early 1980s marks a major turning point. The IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) was imposed on sub-Saharan Africa. The recurrent famines of the 1980s and 1990s are in large part the consequence of IMF-World Bank "economic medicine".
In Somalia, ten years of IMF economic medicine laid the foundations for the country's transition towards economic dislocation and social chaos. By the late 1980s, following recurrent "austerity measures" imposed by the Washington consensus, wages in the public sector had collapsed to three dollars a month.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages. It am tired and exhausted of reading mainstream media. The same article is written by many authors in different newspapers or read at the TV channels and it is always very superficial. * The 1992's article "Famine in Somalia: I'is not a natural disaster, It's murder" also helps understanding the whole problem in Somalia and in some countries in Africa. About the IMF: "African countries were forced to call in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to seek a way out of their problems. However the 'solutions' of the I.M.F. have been to impose draconian and brutal cutbacks in health and education, and the abolition of food subsidies. This is a capitalist solution to a problem caused by capitalism in the first place. Famine, desperate poverty and the complete absence of health and education services are the result for millions of Africans." Update: August, 8
I just came across with a great explanation by Dr Edo McGowan, Medical Geo-hydrology at a comment he left here.
"This in turn affected what was believed in and reinforced within the halls of Washington, it often had nothing to do with reality in the field, but it fitted the needs to keep Americans focused on non-issues. What we are now seeing in Somalia is, in part, the result of failed interventions and environmental degradation. That degradation, however, stems from processes entirely beyond the control of the impacted Somali people. Thus, these people are environmental refugees in their own lands. How could this all have happened?
The average person in the U.S. is probably an innocent-ignorant when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. Some, if not much of what is going on in Somalia can be traced back to our foreign policy and the interactions brought on during the Cold War, but much predates that period and goes back to U.S. foreign policy during the early parts of the 20th Century as colonial powers who lost in WW1 were required to give up those lands and boundaries were redrawn and then impacts of WW2 and development for resources following WW2."
I will publish this comment but for the moment read it where it was posted. or this article Dr Edo McGowan wrote in 2007:
"Since Somalia is geologically similar, there is also the chance it may have oil. Would a potential Islamic government, the one that had, six months ago defeated the U.S. backed alliance of Somali warlords and the one now being driven out by combined Ethiopian/Somali troops be likely to sell its production for dollars or euros, and then to whom---perhaps China?
The entire thing (our foreign policy) is driven by the fiction that the world monetary system is based on a strong dollar---the dollar is not strong. It has not been on any kind of real foundation for a very long time. That myth of strength, must, however be perpetuated, at what ever cost and whom ever is collaterally damaged so I can continue enjoy driving my SUV.

Sandra Bullock in "The Proposal" and Mary Steenburgen in "Tender is the night"

I watched this movie yesterday and if I remember correctly she replies... "Hence..." in a sarcastic way. Now I will have to see it again just to check it and if it is not this way I'll start thinking that I create scenes that doesn't exist. It will be quite strange. Anyway...
Sandra Bullock's strongest skill is the way she is so natural when performing and I believe she has that in common with Julia Roberts. 
Mary Steenburgen plays Ryan Reynolds mother and I love her. The first time I saw her was at the 1985's miniseries "Tender is the night" based on Scott Fitzgerald novel. Although it received awards and the outstanding performance by Mary as Nicole BBC never showed it again. I don't understand why BBC hide great productions.
images via Izismile.

Tuesday, July 26

The Constant Gardener: clinical trials and pills that kill

This is the book that inspired Fernando Meirelles to adapt it to the movie of the same title. It is about the search for the reason of the death of a woman whose husband, a British diplomat, think was because she knew too much about the clinical trial of a medicine. In reality clinical trials are being carried out in countries where it is easier and cheaper using people at hospitals as guinea-pigs without informing them or paying a very little amount of money. What the pharmaceutical is doing to medicine is criminal and sometimes when someone that has been searching the truth explains some facts to those that are not aware how a tiny pill can be harmful it is usual, and understandable, that they do not believe. Medicine, and especially doctors, take care of our health, don't they? No. Unfortunately no. As John le Carré wrote in the afterwards of his book:
"Nobody in this story, and no outfit or corporation, thank God, is based upon an actual person or outfit in the real world. But I can tell you this; as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard." (emphasis mine)
In 2005 the British Parliament finished "The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry" a review that explains numerous problems and crimes done by the pharmaceutical industry with the aid of politicians, shareholders, regulatory agencies, how ironic the MHRA, the British FDA, and even physicians. Some excerpts:
"In order for a drug to be licensed it has to show that it is more effective than a placebo, usually in two controlled trials. However, according to Prof Healy, companies can run 10 or more trials in carefully selected samples using instruments designed to pick up any effect and, even if the results show that the drug failed to beat placebo in the majority of trials, the drug may still be licensed. The trials producing negative results are commonly identified as failed trials rather than drug failures."
"Clinical trials can provide very important data about drugs but they do not always provide the clear information on drug safety and therapeutic effectiveness that is needed. It is claimed that many clinical trials are designed to fit desired outcomes or, worse, primarily for marketing purposes, rather than the advance of health care or scientific understanding." Dr Richard Nicholson, editor of the Bulletin of Medical Ethics, told us. "A clinical trial was proposed to my ethics committee some years ago of Vioxx versus naproxen and we wondered to ourselves why on earth Merck want to compare this with naproxen. They did not give us the details initially and then when we asked and asked, we finally found out that they had already carried out major trials against the two major anti-inflammatory drugs…and found absolutely no advantage of their drug. They were hoping that by comparing it to naproxen, which had just five per cent of the market, they would be able to show an advantage."
"A strong pound sterling makes matters worse for overseas companies. For those reasons, companies are increasingly placing their Phase II and III trials outside the UK, in low cost areas such as Eastern Europe, Russia and India. 16"
Dangerous medicines are still being prescribed because of greed and a corrupted tradition;

"The industry which has produced these drugs has understandably been described as “world class and a jewel in the crown of the UK economy”. It is the third most profitable economic activity after tourism and finance. While the United States is the industry’s largest market and is the site of most drug research and development, the UK industry, nevertheless, has a remarkably impressive record. It is a centre of world class science, accounting for 10% of global pharmaceutical R&D* expenditure. It has been estimated to fund 65% of all health-related R&D in the UK."
Everything is known by lawmakers and regulatory agencies. Why do they keep prescribing drugs that have incapacitating side effects and even kill? There is a great book published in 1983 "Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry" by John Braithwaite:
Click to enlarge and see some of the laboratories listed.
Excerpt from the preface: "This book is an industry case study of corporate crime. It attempts to describe the wide variety of types of corporate crime which occur within one industry. When I tought a course on corporate crime at the University of California, Irvine, in 1979 I found that students had an amorphous understanding of the subject as an incomprehensible evil perpetrated by the powerful. Part of the purpose of this book is to fill this gap by describing many examples of corporate crime, examples which show the depth and seriousness of the crime problem in the pharmaceutical industry." The book, published in 1983, is costing U$ 613,00 at Amazon and was not reprinted. Do you have any idea why? Anyway... There is a .pdf version that can be downloaded here.
Yes, you understood correctly: they do not care about our health and medicines that can be considered poison since the benefits overweight the risks are being prescribed, even for those that do not need them, to make money.
There is the fourth phase of clinical trials:
"Drug companies may conduct their own Phase IV studies, comparing the efficacy of their drugs to others, but there is no mandatory requirement for the industry to investigate the long-term effects of their medicines in the community."
It is also at "The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry review and we know that if someone reports any side effect like, let's say, death of a family member they do not care. There is much more if you read it. I like to quote it because it shows how hypocrite the whole scheme is: I know, you know, they know... but we want the money.

Monday, July 25

Sunday, July 24

Balloons and the mind of the beholder

Balloons at the sky is an image that is known all over the world as a celebration of a happy occasion and at the moment someone looks at the sky and find them out it will be a brief moment of joy.
In June, 18 2010 balloons released into the sky by a kindergarten sparked a security alert when the country's military mistook the formation for parachuting North Koreans.
The left picture by Photolibrary was published at The Telegraph telling the story. (read it here)
Sometimes we mistake some images, for the good or for the evil, according to our mood and thoughts. I hope today you see a lot of good images. What a better day for balloons than Sundays?

Saturday, July 23

Amy Winehouse at the 27 Club: R.I.P. Amy

I just got the news Amy but I do not want to read anything because speculations and moralist judgments will be everywhere.
You are 27 and it is the age that great musicians and singers like you, especially those who were revolutionaries, died: Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, the Forever 27 Club.
Amy Winehouse, 14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011, lived in high speed! A toast for her and may her rest in peace.

Update: July, 30
There are people coming to this post and I hope that what the media is doing to Amy claiming this and that is not being taken into consideration.
Leave Amy alone, please! Respect!
The best tribute to Amy was done by Russel Brand. He was a friend of hers and someone who really understood her problem and, most of all, loved her.
Go here and read it.

Rembrandt: A Young Girl Leaning on a Window-still

Two reproductions of A Young Girl Leaning on a Window-still, 1645, so that you can see how different they are as I stressed on the post below.

Roger de Piles anecdote about Rembrandt

Right: Girl at an Open Half-Door, 1645
Left: A Young Girl Leaning on a Window-still, 1645

The art critic and art dealer Roger de Piles wrote this anecdote in his book "L'Abrégé de la vie des peintres" (The Art of Painting and the Lives of the Painters, 1699):

“Rembrandt diverted himself one day by making a portrait of his servant in order to exhibit it at his window and deceive the eyes of the pedestrians. He succeeded because the deception was only noticed a few days later. It was not beautiful drawing, nor a noble expression which produced this effect. One does not look for these qualities in his work. While in Holland I was curious to see the portrait. I found it painted well and with great strength. I bought it and still exhibit it in an important position in my cabinet”

Poor Rembrandt.
These reproductions are terrible but it is getting harder an harder to find a good reproduction of some paintings because now when we search there are many sites that sell posters and painted in oil reproductions that change the colors of the original to match coughs I believe. In some of them they show how your acquisition will be at a living room. As you can see these two paintings are from the same year but the colors are totally different. I will publish two versions of the same painting again to make visible how we cannot rely on reproductions.

Friday, July 22

Two Calder's sculptures missing since 1984 in Rio de Janeiro

As today Calder would have celebrated his 113th birthday I cannot help remembering that Rio de Janeiro's city hall took these two works by Calder from the park where they were for restoration but in November, 1985 they disappeared.
Nobody knows what happened and they are missing till today 26 years later.
It was a scandal and many people have manifested in newspapers wrote letters and petitions to the mayor and even the police has a record of the occurrence but they are still missing.
The right one, Stable, 1941, was a donation by Calder during the acquisition of the mobile "Rio", 1951, by Rio de Janeiro government.
Another work by the Brazilian sculptor Sérgio Camargo was broken last Mars and it is still there as if nothing had happened.
They were really amazing and I have a very good recollection being at the park and stopping to interact with one of the sculptures that were there.
This is a shame.
Happy birthday Alexander Calder but be careful to whom you donate your work.

Thursday, July 21

On the Decay of the Art of Lying by Mark Twain

"No fact is more firmly established than that lying is a necessity of our circumstances, -- the deduction that it is then a Virtue goes without saying. No virtue can reach its highest usefulness without careful and diligent cultivation, -- therefore, it goes without saying, that this one ought to be taught in the public schools -- at the fireside -- even in the newspapers. What chance has the ignorant, uncultivated liar against the educated expert? What chance have I against Mr. Per ---- against a lawyer? Judicious lying is what the world needs. I sometimes think it were even better and safer not to lie at all than to lie injudiciously. An awkward, unscientific lie is often as ineffectual as the truth. Now let us see what the philosophers say. Note that venerable proverb: Children and fools always speak the truth. The deduction is plain--adults and wise persons never speak it."

Excerpt: of "On the Decay of the Art of Lying" by Mark Twain. Whole text here.

Wednesday, July 20

The hypnotic dancers

"You do something to me
something that simply mystifies me. 
Tell me, what would it be
you have to power to hypnotize me?"

Tuesday, July 19

Murdoch's NoW WhistleBlower Sean Hoare murdered?

If you are searching for explanation or a detailed article about Sean Hoare's death you will not find it anywhere. However due to the strange circumstances surrounding this case some people think that he might have been murdered. Some people have no doubts. Of course that every discussion about Sean being murdered will be seen as conspiracy theory but this thought is in the hearts and minds of many and when people have the feeling they are being lied searching for what has happened is normal and if those who should make justice instead of investigating destroy evidences and keep silent what can those who are suspicious do? The strange allegation: "unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious" came in a very bad time. Murdered or not the most striking about it all is that the possibility of a British journalist being murdered is in people's mind. It should be out of the question such a conspiracy theory if English people trusted their politicians but English people think that it is possible that Sean Hoares was murdered because he knew too much about many people. We know the dangerous connections between journalists and politicians in some countries. What answers did British people had till now? Apologies? And... they did not know about the phone-hacking? They didn't know about phone-hacking? They didn't know? Crimes were committed and calling it a scandal is a wrong label. These is what is in the minds of some people who are commenting at Youtube: Ain't it delicious? The murderers own the media, so they'll be in charge of telling the braindead public what the "official" cause of this man's death was. And it will all be forgotten as soon as they switch to the next story. USRefugee 1 hour ago NOT SUSPICIOUS??? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?!?!?! the man at the centre of the biggest media/government scandal for the past 30 years mysteriously dies the day before Murdoch takes the witness stand. This shit goes all the way to the top, and by that i dont mean News Corp, by that i mean the police and the government. The big boys at the top are covering their arses. If the real truth came out, this country's government would collapse. ruideng111 1 hour ago 4 This is too much of a coincidence. I don't care if he did have a drug problem, to even rule out the possibility that he could have been killed would be completely delusional. InvisibleDiary 4 hours ago @Edwardjsa isnt it always a farce when parliament holds hearings? If it was serious, they would investigate seriously and convict these assholes, but parliament is on the take as is the police and the whole bunch of criminals running the world. These hearings have only helped these devils... wish the man with the foam had connected so we wouldnt have to look at the ugly rupert face kammolition 5 hours ago Poor bastard ; murdered because he was to reveal too much BIGGER stuff ; they do it like on the movie Michael Clayton ; bump you off with an injection between the toes to make it look like natural causes - they have the medical knowhow ; they can cover it up to look like suicide if they have enough power and money. Many are ABOVE the law TheKenfig 5 hours ago more here. I took from Youtube because it is an immediate reaction after watching the video and people are expressing their feelings. It is outrageous that in UK people suspects that those who are representing them are capable of killing a journalist. This hypotheses should not be raised at all. We are talking about United Kingdom.

News of the world: Murdochs in Parliament and death of hacking whistleblower Sean Hoare

I'm watching Mr. Murdoch father, "This is the most humble day of my life.", and son answering the MPs and came to write some remarks but came across with the Sean Hoares death last Monday. Anita Singh did a good article at The Telegraph:
Phone hacking: Profile of Sean Hoare, the News of the World journalist and whistleblower
by Anita Singh
"Mr Hoare was the whistleblower who first linked Andy Coulson to the phone-hacking scandal.
The ex-News of the World showbusiness reporter readily admitted that he had been involved in phone hacking.
In an interview with the New York Times, published in September last year, he claimed that Coulson had "actively encouraged" him to intercept mobile phone messages at the News of the World, where his celebrity targets included David and Victoria Beckham.
Later that month, he spoke to BBC Radio 4's PM programme and went into further detail, alleging that Coulson had lied to Parliament when he denied knowledge of phone hacking.
"There's an expression: 'the culture of dark arts'. You were given a remit - just get the story, that's the most important thing," Hoare said.
"I've stood by Andy and been requested to tap phones, to hack into them and so on. He was well aware that the practice exists. To deny it is a lie. It's simply a lie.
"It was always done in the language of, 'Why don't you practise some of your dark arts on this', which was a metaphor for saying, 'Go and hack into a phone'.
"Such was the culture of intimidation and bullying that you would do it because you had to produce results. And, you know, to stand up in front of a Commons committee and say, 'I was unaware of this under my watch' was wrong."
Hoare claimed that hacking was "endemic" in the newspaper industry and said he was speaking out because he felt it unfair that royal correspondent Clive Goodman had been painted as a rogue reporter acting alone. However, Hoare also harboured a bitterness towards Coulson, a man he once regarded as a friend.
Coulson was in charge of The Sun's Bizarre column when Hoare, a former trainee on the Watford Observer, joined as a showbusiness reporter. Hoare moved to the Sunday People - where his boss was Neil Wallis - before moving to the News of the World in 2001, where Coulson had become deputy editor.
But in 2005, Coulson sacked him. Hoare's immersion in the showbiz life had led him to become dependent on drink and drugs. "I was paid to go out and take drugs with rock stars - take drugs with them, take pills with them, take cocaine with them. It was so competitive. You are going to go beyond the call of duty. You are going to do things that no sane man would do," he told The Guardian.
Fleet Street contemporaries remember him as an increasingly shambolic figure who loved the tabloid game even as the pressures took their toll. One recalled him turning up to cover the wedding of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills in Ireland in 2002 with a wallet filled with cocaine.
"If you could imagine the stereotypical image of News of the World hack, it would be him," said one former colleague. "He was overweight and a heavy boozer. He was always propping up the bar, often before lunch. He was old school. But he loved the game and never recovered from losing his job."
Another colleague remembered him fondly as a journalist who was kind and generous to those around him. "He was a genuinely nice bloke who would help you no matter who you were, and always looked out for the junior reporters on the paper," said a former Sun reporter.
"But the drink and the drugs took their toll and he was deteriorating before our eyes. It was really sad to see."
His health deteriorated - he told Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist, that his liver was in such a bad way that a doctor marvelled at the fact he was still alive. Davies said after his death was announced that Hoare had shown courage in going public.
Hoare spent time in rehab in an attempt to conquer his addictions. He did not take payment for his interviews about the phone hacking scandal and expressed hopes that tabloid journalism would be cleaned up as a result of his whistleblowing.
Earlier this month, The New York Times carried fresh allegations from Hoare about 'pinging', a way of pinpointing an individual's location via their mobile phone signal. He claimed that Greg Miskiw, a former News of the World executive, had been engaged in the practice.
Police said that Hoare's death at his home in Watford was "unexplained, but not thought to be suspicious". That did not stop conspiracy theorists flooding the web with claims that he had become the latest victim of the 'dark arts'."
Now we have everything a huge scandal requires and I believe that it will end the same way: doubts, conspiracy theories, suspicions and some resignations. I will keep watching the Murdochs at Parliament and count how many more "NO"s Mr. Murdoch father will say and can't hardly wait to watch Rebekah Brooks. These are the news of the world!

Monday, July 18

Two paintings by Caravaggio

Right: Judith beheading Holoferne, 1599.
Left: The conversion of Mary Magdalene, 1598.
I love Caravaggio but I never read too much about his life that was very difficult because of his temper.
At this site you can find good reproductions and his biography. I took this excerpt because it is important to understand his work:
"Caravaggio's three paintings for the Contarelli Chapel not only caused a sensation in Rome but also marked a radical change in his artistic preoccupation. Henceforth he would devote himself almost entirely to the painting of traditional religious themes, to which, however, he gave a whole new iconography and interpretation. He often chose subjects that are susceptible to a dramatic, violent, or macabre emphasis, and he proceeded to divest them of their idealized associations, taking his models from the streets. Caravaggio may have used a lantern hung to one side in his shuttered studio while painting from his models. The result in his paintings is a harsh, raking light that strikes across the composition, illuminating parts of it while plunging the rest into deep shadow. This dramatic illumination heightens the emotional tension, focuses the details, and isolates the figures, which are usually placed in the foreground of the picture in a deliberately casual grouping. This insistence on clarity and concentration, together with the firm and vigorous drawing of the figures, links Caravaggio's mature Roman works with the classical tradition of Italian painting during the Renaissance."
Caravaggio painted on the canvas without and previous drawing.

Sunday, July 17

Rebekah Brooks was arrested: then what?

I'm following the Murdoch scandal but did not publish anything here but now Rebekak Brooks was arrested. According to the British Metropolitan police:
"At approximately 12.00 hrs a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting together with officers from Operation Elveden. She is currently in custody. She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1 (1) [of the] Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906."
I still feel that nothing that is being reported has any relation to the truth.

Saturday, July 16

A brief flying

I found this picture at and found it amazing. I wonder how does it feel during these seconds while the body is apart from the bike and is almost flying.

Friday, July 15

Threatened snow leopards found in Afghanistan

By Denis D. Gray - Associated Press
"A healthy population of snow leopards, elusive big cats threatened across the mountain ranges of Central Asia, has been found in one of the few peaceful areas of Afghanistan, a wildlife group said.
Camera traps documented the secretive, usually solitary animals at 16 locations across the Wakhan Corridor, a long panhandle in northeastern Afghanistan free from the insurgency that plagues most of the country, the World Conservation Society said in a statement seen Friday.
Listed as globally threatened, only some 4,500 to 7,500 snow leopards exist, scattered across a dozen nations in the high mountain ranges of Central Asia. The cats are poached for their pelts and killed by shepherds guarding their flocks upon which the leopards sometimes prey.
The sleek, fuzzy-tailed leopards are also captured for the pet trade, while an increasing demand for their penises and bones in China, where some believe they enhance sexual performance, has also led to their decimation. (emphasis mine)
"This is a wonderful discovery. It shows that there is real hope for snow leopards in Afghanistan. Now our goal is to ensure that these magnificent animals have a secure future as part of Afghanistan's natural heritage," Peter Zahler, the World Conservation Society's deputy Asia director, said in the statement. (emphasis mine)
The New York-based group has been working in the Wakhan Corridor, which borders China, Pakistan and Tajikistan, since 2006 on protecting wildlife including the Marco Polo sheep and the ibex. George Schaller, a wildlife biologist with the society, has proposed creating a reserve in the region. (emphais mine)
The statement, released Wednesday, did not estimate the number of leopards in the corridor, but said they remained threatened. (emphasis mine)
The society, which works with the U.S. government's aid arm, USAID, is providing conservation education in every Wakhan school, has trained 59 rangers to monitor wildlife, constructed predator-proof livestock corrals and started an insurance scheme to compensate shepherds for livestock taken by predators, according to the statement."
Something is telling me that these leopards will not stay for too long in Afghanistan.

Thursday, July 14

July, 14 French National Day

I just realized that today is July, 14. Since 1880 this date is celebrated in France remembering the storming of the Bastille prison that started the French revolution.
I lived in France but the France I knew doesn't exist anymore. I hope that the revolutions that are taking place today in some countries spread and people can have a better life because it is not being easy. No, it's not being easy. Time for a change. The picture is the Eiffel tower seen from below. I remember looking up exactly at this point.
Picture: Attribution: Rick Marin at en.wikipedia

David Hockney, Homage to Van Gogh and wisps

Left: Homage to Van Gogh, 1988.
Right: Moving wisps. 1995.
It is a party of colors. The right is at a private collection and I feel very sad that such a great painting, that makes our eyes move to one texture to another, is not available to the public.
In the left Hockney homages Van Gogh by recreating the artist famous chair "Chair and Pipe" done in 1888 a century ago. I will do a post about how this chair became part of Van Gogh's iconography.
I created a label for David Hockney because he has been coming here many times.

Wednesday, July 13

Botticelli's Madonna of the Pomegranate and Gregorian Chants

Gregorian Chants by Anonymous
This is a detail of Botticelli's Madonna of the Pomegranate, 1487. I added the Gregorian Chants because it helps quieting my mind and I wanted to share it with you. About the Madonna:

"Botticelli painted many images that include the Virgin, the Child and the angels. In this image, Mary is sitting holding the Holy Child with a heavenly light shining directly on her. Botticelli painted an oversized Mary to symbolize how her arms can support Christ. There is no visible architecture; the angels and Mary themselves become the supportive structure symbolizing that God can handle anything. 
 The elements of this image contain many symbolic items. Each figure wears a sad expression as if their mind is somewhere else thinking of Christ’s death. The seed of the pomegranate the infant is holding signifies that Christ will receive resurrection through rebirth just as the seed will cause the birth of a new plant. The angel in front is holding lilies and roses which are both symbols of the Virgin. That same angel is wearing sashes with the words AVE GRAZIA PLENA which mean “Hail [Mary] full of grace.”" (emphasis mine)
Gregorian Chants: here
Text about the painting: here.

Tuesday, July 12

Confession in WWW times

Copyright: Stan Eales. You can send E-greeting cards with cartoons at They have numerous great pieces. I just sent one to... no, no, no... I fear the priest.
As the priest is myopic I can confess that I sent one for my greatest enemy.

Monday, July 11

Image of the devil on the hair of the Queen: Pareidolia

Last month I published about pareidolia, when an illusory image is perceived, and the example was the Canadian dollar bill that was taken out of the market because people saw the devil at the Queen's hair. This picture shows in red what is seen.

Lemmings mass suicide is a Disney creation

I love Disney but, as many, I am feeling a fool after knowing that what is shown in this 1958 Oscar winning award documentary, "White Wilderness," is FAKE. Everything is edited and lemmings DO NOT commit mass suicide. The film was done in Bow River, Canada, and not in the Arctic ocean as the narrator says. Useless documentary showing lies wins Oscar. That sounds familiar! This is a harmless lie, but it is a lie. The problem is that everyday there are lots of stories at the news that are also edited in a way that we believe it is the truth. The myth inspired a game and is in the hearts and minds of many people. The only white truth about lemmings is that they turn white in winter, a very known tact animals have to avoid becoming a prey: camouflage.

Sunday, July 10

The Four Dogs

Eleventh of The Four Dog series! Bonus: this time there are four dogs at the picture. 
Notice how each of them show it's character. The first one, right to left, wants attention,  the second is asking himself why he is different from his brothers, the third looks tired and... the last one is saying: 
"can't hardly wait to mess all your house up."
I want the black one!
Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 9

Van Gogh's La Pietà after Eugene Delacroix

Right: La Pietà by Eugene Delacroix, 1850.
Left: Van Gogh's La Pietà after Delacroix, 1889.
While Van Gogh was at the hospital in Saint-Rémy he kept painting and he had a lithograph of Delacroix's painting that he used as model.
Van Gogh seldom used biblical themes thou he wanted to be a pastor during his youth following his father.
“I am not indifferent, and pious thoughts often console me in my suffering.” he wrote to Theo, his brother.
This is how he describes Delacroix's Pietà:
"The Delacroix is a "Pietà" that is to say the dead Christ with the Mater Dolorosa. The exhausted corpse lies on the ground in the entrance of a cave, the hands held before it on the left side, and the woman is behind it. It is in the evening after a thunderstorm, and that forlorn figure in blue clothes - the loose clothes are agitated by the wind - is sharply outlined against a sky in which violet clouds with golden edges are floating. She too stretches out her empty arms before her in a large gesture of despair, and one sees the good sturdy hands of a working woman. The shape of the figure with its streaming clothes is nearly as broad as it is high. And the face of the dead man is in the shadow - but the pale head of the woman stands out clearly against a cloud - a contrast which causes those two heads to seem like one somber-hued flower and one pale flower, arranged in such a way as mutually to intensify the effect."
Looking at the two paintings side by side is amazing.

The most insanely obvious signs

I found the site and got these two of their "most insanely obvious signs" because they are at the same time funny and the photos are beautiful.
I decided to publish only one picture because they have to be in a certain scale in order to be seen properly. I'll publish the other in another post.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7

Delacroix's Women of Algier

"The Women of Algiers in their apartment", done in 1834, is another of the most 
famous of Delacroix's painting.
The right photography (Reuters) depicts the painting in an exhibition and a woman looking 
at the version Picasso did.
Picasso did versions, reinterpretations of 
other artists like Velazquez's Las Meninas, and works of Monet and El Greco. I will publish them.