October 2007


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“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”
–Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

“Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.”
–Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603), in Francis Bacon, Apophthegms, 1625

Anger…ahhhhh…hrrrrr…I am angry today. Angry at someone, but specifically mad at myself. Angry because I believe that one makes choices and one is ultimately responsible for the consequences. This belief is truly honorable but at the same time it leaves you with only one person to blame, and that is yourself.

I live in a free country, and I ultimately make my own choices. Why sometimes do I get into situations that later I might regret? I do not know. I think to a degree everyone does that. Sometimes I cannot see the future, only the today, and maybe that is why I do it.

The problem with anger is that it does not let you think rationally. It clouds the reality of the situation. It truly makes you react and not think. I have been accused of over thinking but when I am mad I don’t think. I just react. In this tunnel of self discovery that I have been riding for the past few months I have been striving to become a better person. This once I will not let my anger take over. I am breathing. Counting to 10. And meditating on possible solutions to my problem. Hopefully, at the end I grow some more and I learn a thing or two in the process. For now, it’s hard. I just want to scream in rage. But I know better now…than that…

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“The principle of life is that life responds by corresponding; your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.”

–Raymond Charles Barker

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I am currently obsessed with this song by Timbaland of his new album Shock Value. Below you will find the lyrics…

Apologize

I’m holding on your rope,
Got me ten feet off the ground
And I’m hearing what you say but I just can’t make a sound
You tell me that you need me
Then you go and cut me down, but wait
You tell me that you’re sorry
Didn’t think I’d turn around, and say…

that it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late I’d take another chance, take a fall
Take a shot for you
And I need you like a heart needs a beat
But it’s nothing new – yeah

I loved you with the fire red-
Now it’s turning blue, and you say…
“Sorry” like the angel heaven let me think was you
But I’m afraid…

It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late whoaa ohhh…

It’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late
I said it’s too late to apologize, yeah-
I said it’s too late to apologize, yeah-
I’m holding on your rope, got me ten feet… off the ground…

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Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong

Singapore Airlines flew the first commercial A380 flight today. If you take five minutes today and go to any news site, you see an article about it. I am not sure if it is a coincidence or just one of those funny occurrences of life but this past week I have been thinking a lot about my dad. My dad was a pilot his whole life. So pretty much from the time I was conceived I have been in and out of planes. I just think that if he could have flown on the A380 he would have loved it.

My dad died 2 years 8 months and 28 days ago. So many things happened at that time that I didn’t get to grieve properly. So this past year I have been able to start my grieving process. My relationship with him was unique in many ways. He was 51 years older than I was, so as you can imagine there were a few generational gaps we had to cope with. And there were many times that him and I did not see eye to eye. But beyond all of the arguments and my rebel teenage years, he taught me so much. He taught me about life and passion, and about goals. About how to be a better person everyday. About how one can make a difference, even if it is a small difference. About how to enjoy life. About cars and planes and how fun they could be. About speed and just recklessness and how they are acceptable from time to time. He forced me to have my first glass of wine when I was 4 years old. He also forced me to have my first scotch when I was 6 years old. He wanted me to grow up knowing, he did not want to deprive me of anything. So many times I did not understand his reactions or his actions, but now that I am getting a little wiser and older I have begun to understand.

He taught me about Jazz. Hmmmm…he introduced me to the Duke, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Guillespie among others. For hours all we would hear in my house will be Jazz. He taught me to appreciate and to love complicated melodies that will fill your soul. I remember I would sometimes get some of his CDs and play them and then he would join me. We would listen to Duke for hours. He will just listen and appreciate while I danced my way away. I wish I could take him to a concert now. I wish I could show him how much I appreciate his teachings.

I once read an article about Gwyneth Paltrow and she mentioned how important it was to go to Paris for the very first time with the one man who would always love you the most. Your father. I am happy that my dad took me to the city of love for the first time. It was such a special trip and Paris will never be the same without him there.

I just miss him. Today is rainy here in Rhode Island. The sky is overcast. And as I look outside my window, I know he is out there watching over me. Papi te extraño de verdad que si…I wish you were here still for me…

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I know I haven’t posted anything in a few days, but I have been a little busy…I am brainstorming…so hopefully that counts for something…

In the meantime I would leave you with this…

“Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
–Voltaire (1694 – 1778)

Lately I have been having a lot of questions…so by Voltaire’s standards I’m doing pretty well…which makes me feel a little bit better…in addition…

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
–Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

So…what are your questions???

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Hoy empieza la gira de Soda Stereo en Buenos Aires…

que envidia papa…a todos los lectores que quieran escribir sus anecdotas con Soda…dejeme saber…

a Soda…te quiero…y te voy a ver en Los Angeles!!!

Today I spotted this article in the New York Times about a language that comes from one of the Coastal Regions in Colombia. What I love about my country is that it is extremely diverse in terms of topology, climates, colors, food and even languages…so below I included the article…enjoy!!!!

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A dance troupe performed at an annual drum festival in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. The villagers speak what is thought to be the only Spanish-based Creole language in Latin America.

San Basilio de Palenque Journal
A Language, Not Quite Spanish, With African Echoes

SAN BASILIO DE PALENQUE, Colombia — The residents of this village, founded centuries ago by runaway slaves in the jungle of northern Colombia, eke out their survival from plots of manioc. Pigs wander through dirt roads. The occasional soldier on patrol peeks into houses made of straw, mud and cow dung.

On the surface it resembles any other impoverished Colombian village. But when adults here speak with one another, their language draws inspiration from as far away as the Congo River Basin in Africa. This peculiar speech has astonished linguists since they began studying it several decades ago.

The language is known up and down Colombia’s Caribbean coast as Palenquero and here simply as “lengua” — tongue. Theories about its origins vary, but one thing is certain: it survived for centuries in this small community, which is now struggling to keep it from perishing.

Today, fewer than half of the community’s 3,000 residents actively speak Palenquero, though many children and young adults can understand it and pronounce some phrases.

“Palenge a senda tielan ngombe ri nduse i betuaya,” Sebastián Salgado, 37, a teacher at the public school here, said before a classroom of teenage students on a recent Tuesday morning. (The sentence roughly translates as, “Palenque is the land of cattle, sweets and basic staples.”)

Palenquero is thought to be the only Spanish-based Creole language in Latin America. But its grammar is so different that Spanish speakers can understand almost nothing of it. Its closest relative may be Papiamento, spoken on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao, which draws largely from Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch, linguists say. It is spoken only in this village and a handful of neighborhoods in cities where workers have migrated.

The survival of Palenquero points to the extraordinary resilience of San Basilio de Palenque, part of whose very name — Palenque — is the Spanish word for a fortified village of runaway slaves. Different from dozens of other palenques that were vanquished, this community has successfully fended off threats to its existence to this day.
Colonial references to its origins are scarce, but historians say that San Basilio de Palenque was probably settled sometime after revolts led by Benkos Biohó, a 17th-century African resistance leader who organized guerrilla attacks on the nearby port of Cartagena with fighters armed with stolen blunderbusses.

And while English-, French- and Dutch-based Creole languages are found in the Caribbean, the survival of one in the interior of Colombia has led some scholars to theorize that Palenquero may be the last remnant of a Spanish-based lingua franca once used widely by slaves throughout Latin America.

Palenquero was strongly influenced by the Kikongo language of Congo and Angola, and by Portuguese, the language of traders who brought African slaves to Cartagena in the 17th century. Kikongo-derived words like ngombe (cattle) and ngubá (peanut) remain in use here today.

Advocates for keeping Palenquero alive face an uphill struggle. The isolation that once shielded the language from the outside world has come to an end. Once three days by mule to the coast, the journey to Cartagena now takes two hours by bus on a bumpy dirt road.

Electricity arrived in the 1970s as a government gift in recognition of Antonio Cervantes, better known as Kid Pambelé, a Colombian world boxing titleholder who was born here. With electricity came radio and television. The schoolhouse, named in honor of Biohó, has an Internet connection now.

But Palenqueros, as the community’s residents call themselves, say the biggest threat to their language’s survival comes from direct contact with outsiders. Many here have had to venture to nearby banana plantations or cities for work, and then found themselves ostracized because of the way they spoke.

“We were subject to scorn because of our tongue,” said Concepción Hernández Navarro, 72, who survives by farming yams, peanuts and corn.
Only two of Ms. Hernández’s eight children live here; five are in Cartagena and one moved as far away as Caracas, drawn by Venezuela’s oil boom. “We have always been poor here,” she said in an interview in front of her modest house, “but our poverty has grown worse.”

If there is one blessing to this impoverishment, it may be that Colombia’s long internal war has largely been fought over spoils in other places, allowing teachers here to toil uninterrupted at reviving Palenquero since classes were introduced in the late 1980s.

Undaunted by the prospect of Palenquero’s disappearing after centuries of use, Rutsely Simarra Obeso, a linguist who was born here and lives in Cartagena, is compiling a lexicon. Others are assembling a dictionary of Palenquero to be used in the school.

The defenders of Palenquero view their struggle as a continuation of other battles. “Our ancestors survived capture in Africa, the passage by ship to Cartagena and were strong enough to escape and live on their own for centuries,” said Mr. Salgado, the schoolteacher.

“We are the strongest of the strongest,” he continued. “No matter what happens, our language will live on within us.”

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