Poema: Rio

asturias | Educadora y Cuidadora de Perros
(foto del dominio público)


Como las aguas de un río,
corro y me transformo
en la burla más potente,
impertinente y
clandestina
y de ti me
río

Mi risa es agradable y asesina,
tranquila y bien medida,
medicinal como tu
preferida bebida
y secreta como
el viento
y de ti
me
río

Desde los picos más altos,
los picos de Europa,
tan asturiano,
por las calles
de Valencia
me voy
y me
río

Y ¿Quién sois vosotros que me causáis tanta gracia?
No os confundáis mi querida vanguardia,
no sois ni sabios, ni héroes ni mártires,
sois más bien vil payasos, traidores,
cobardes, que confundís los
colores con luces del cielo
mientras tanto yo alegre
me río de vuestros
anhelos.

C.2021, Francisco Bravo Cabrera, 12 de septiembre de 2021, Ilica, Turquía

Sundays Oldies (from the world of rock music): “If You Leave Me Now” Chicago

Rock Band Chicago's Best Songs of the '80s
(Chicago in the 1980’s. Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

I was a big fan of Chicago in the 70’s, loved their jazzy powerful sound and especially the guitar mastery of Terry Kath (1946-1978) who played some of the best solos I’ve ever heard and was un-rivalled even by greats such as Hendrix, Page or Clapton. Then the band changed its musical course. They dropped the power horns and guitar and added string arrangements and lots of synthesizers. I dropped out. But then, much later on, I went to a Chicago concert in Miami and saw them perform these songs, like the one I am featuring here today, and again began to regain appreciation and admiration for the band. I must say that Peter Cetera’s voice is iconic in the pop-rock world, for sure and the sound of Chicago, both in the 70’s, 80’s and beyond is classic in the genre.

Just some facts. This song “If You Leave Me Now”, is from the album Chicago X released in 1976, and was written by Peter Cetera. It was released as a single on July 31 1976. I know, it predates the 80’s but it did set the tone for many songs to come from that great American group.

Here is the official video of the song:

And yes, they are still around. Here are some recent and memory photos of the lads:

Old Days: The Band Chicago Returns to Ravinia, Properly Matured | Newcity  Music
(Photo property of NewCityMusic)
Concert preview: Five decades of Chicago | Duluth News Tribune
(Photo property of Duluth News Tribune)
The Band Chicago ~ IN THE GROOVE with Cindy Annis | The Valley Patriot
(Photo published in The Valley Patriot)

Cheers…

Dear Diary, Sunday Edition Edition #3

(Marine carpenters in Ilica, Turkey, photo property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia, All Rights Reserved)

I can see that the boat in the picture is not going to sail very far in its present conditions…but I am sure it will serve the fisherman who owns it well once it has been repaired. We all need a tune-up every once in a while. Nature repairs itself continuously and so must our man-made “nature”, which are our cities, our communities, our politics, our life in general…

This week I was not very much into finding news, listening to current events or anything but having a great time with my good friends from Valencia who came to visit us here in Turkey. But I was quite aware of the XXth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 11 September (9-11). I wrote a special diary entry yesterday giving my thoughts and my questions concerning those horrific attacks. And yesterday I did watch the BBC’s coverage of the ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where I heard a most interesting and well spoken speech by former US President George W. Bush. I’ll tell you that I was happy to see Bush there, and in New York Obama, Clinton and Biden, and incredibly happy not to see Trump. What Trump said is too brainless to repeat…

Although I lived in the US during his presidency, I was never a fan, but as an ex-president I have become one. Yesterday he said some words that should become the loudest voice of wisdom for these times, especially, but not exclusively for the United States. Specifically, this is a brief, but for me the most significant, part of his speech:

“In the weeks and months following the 9/11 attacks, I was proud to lead an amazing, resilient, united people. When it comes to the unity of America, those days seem distant from our own. A malign force seems at work in our common life that turns every disagreement into an argument, and every argument into a clash of cultures. So much of our politics has become a naked appeal to anger, fear, and resentment. That leaves us worried about our nation and our future together.”

On another note, in Spain the cost of our electricity reached another all-time high, putting kilowatt hours over 150 Euros per hour. President of the Government Pedro Sanchez (Socialist Party) has said only that we will end up paying no more than what we paid in 2018. How that is going to happen, we’ve no idea because he hasn’t fully explained it. What we all know is that the government has done nothing to resolve this situation. We pay the highest price for electricity in all of Europe. I ask why? We are now paying four times more than last year for our electricity. Great achievement for the socialist-communist government!

September 11 is also the “Diada” in Catalunya and there were again protests and clashes in the streets of Barcelona amidst shouts of “Indepnedence!” And believe me, if the government of the state continues to treat us like this there will be many more shouting “INDEPENDENCE!” all over the Iberian peninsula…

In Greek cities like Salonika, people have again taken to the streets to fight the government’s efforts to vaccinate the population. Incredible! Stupidity has overtaken our communities and has raised it’s voice against reason, science and the only thing that can save all of us from this COVID virus. And I wonder if all of these anti-vaccers are well trained and experienced microbiologists or biochemists to know that what they are saying is truth. But they are not! They are just simple people being led and being controlled by ill-meaning fools that, with their conspiracy theories, are spreading lies and fear. The proliferation of this stupid position of placing one’s self against the vaccine, is thanks to social media. I am sure that if there was no social media everyone would have gotten their vaccine and we all would be a lot safer….

One more important thing, our Penelope Cruz has won BEST ACTRESS at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in Pedro Almodovar’s latest film “Madres paralelas”. A well earned recognition for one of our most beloved actresses as well as one of our most important directors.

With nothing more, I leave you with my wishes for a great week filled with love, peace, prosperity and blessings from God always. Let us always try to eliminate the negative things and focus on the positive. Let us not travel on a boat on dry-dock, let us sail on good ships and on tranquil seas…

Cheers…

Dear Diary: Special Saturday Edition, 9/11 Twenty Years After…

Entrada para el Museo y monumento conmemorativo del 11-S de Nueva York  Museo en el Bajo Manhattan | 2021 | Viator
(This is the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. My wife and I visited the museum and the memorial a few years ago and I must say it is a very emotional visit which I recommend to all. Photo property of Viator)

I have decided to make this special diary edition on Saturday because today we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I am sure we have all thought back as to what we were doing on that morning back in 2001. We, and I include myself because I was living in the US at the time, remember the anger, the frustration and the surge in patriotism. I remember trying to find a flag for my car and they were sold out everywhere. Every car you saw was flying American flags from their windows. The idea of unity, the lament for the victims, the incredulity because no one thought this could have been possible, and even the conspiracy theories, all form part of this event that shaped the world we live in today.

The aftermath of 9/11 were two wars. One of them just ended thanks to the efforts of US President Joe Biden. Although he has been criticised by some, he said it quite clear that he was not going to continue with a never ending war (in Afghanistan) or a never ending withdrawal of the military. Ten years ago the main perpetrator of the attacks was adjudicated correctly by Special Forces of the US military as they invaded his hideout in Pakistan. Now twenty years after we wonder as to what is going to happen as Afghanistan is once again in the hands of the Taliban, as it was back in 2001 and they were the ones who harboured Bin Laden when the attacks occurred…

I hope that one day we will know the whole and complete truth as to what really happened on that day. I hope we will one day have an explanation as to how those four air-planes, commercial jets, were able to turn around and cause such horrific damage. I hope someday someone will explain how inexperienced terrorists turned “pilots”, who had barely practised with success on small Cessna single engine planes, were able to kill military trained commercial pilots, overpower the entire flight crew and then “fly” sophisticated and complicated jets and with incredible accuracy hit their targets. I wish someone will one day explain why, if the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, the then US President George Bush decided to attacked Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. I would like to know how the press knew, minutes after the attack that Osama Bin Laden was responsible. I would expect that one day we will be told, truthfully, why the military was not guarding the skies of New York or above the Pentagon in Washington D.C.. I think we all wish we had reasonable answers to these and the many other questions that the survivors, the family of the victims and all of us are wondering…

Yet we all feel the effects of that day. We, especially in the US because in Europe we had known terrorism, discovered that we were vulnerable to terrorist attacks on our soil. We discovered that our security systems and protocols were weak and ineffective. We realised that the enemy was an ideology, difficult to combat as we do not really know who is the enemy. We also realised that we were discriminating against the wrong people. The enemy was not Islam, but those who pervert that religion and turn it into a battle cry. And finally I think we should realise that these terrorists are simply vulgar murderers, common criminals intent solely on perpetrating their perverted world of hatred and violence. And hopefully we should understand that our world is dangerous but that we can survive, we can create, we can grow and learn the right lessons, especially that good is not equal to bad and that good people are not equal to bad people and that there is, most certainly, evil in this world.

It has been twenty years, I hope that one day the survivors, their families as well as the families of those who were murdered on that day, find some peace.

Pictures of 9/11: New York City skyline - before & after - Boston.com
(Manhattan skyline as it would have been on the night of 10 SEP 2001. Photo taken from public domain)
Did You Know? A Quick Guide to the Board of Standards & Appeals - Capalino
(Manhattan skyline now. Photo taken from public domain)

Art History: El Greco and his vision of the Christ in his art…

(By far one of my favourite artists of all time and one from whom I have learned a lot, especially about abstract art as you see so much abstract art in the background of most of his compositions. Also he was an expressionist and a surrealist much before these schools of art came into being. The fact that El Greco knew so much about religious art is because he started his career painting icons, which are religious images used in the Greek Orthodox Church as well as other Orthodox denominations. He was a painter ahead of his time and painted as he wished without sticking too much to the norms of the day, that is why you might see a painting of the Crucifixion and the background in the city of Toledo…I hope you enjoy this and if you did, please hit that like button and let me know what your opinion is of this great artist)

Cheers

Valencia Celebrates Les Falles 2021

Así fue la cremà de las Fallas de Mislata 2018 - Informa t Mislata
(Photo by Mislata Informa’t)

This is our major country-wide (País Valencià) yearly festival. It begins with the mascleta on the first of March at 1400 hours at the plaça de l’ajuntament (the main plaza where City Hall is located) and then is repeated daily until the 19th of March. The Mascleta is an event where hundreds of firecrackers are exploded creating a spectacle of noise, smoke and colour. Beginning on 01 March, the city of València (as well as other cities in our autonomous community) begins to fill up with food trucks selling mostly churros y chocolate (according to the Oxford Dictionary, churros are a sweet Spanish snack consisting of a strip of fried dough dusted with sugar or cinnamon), as well as other food and drinks.

Then on the 15th of March, the actual festival of Les Falles begins with La plantá (which means that the ninots have been completely finished and are ready to be viewed in their totality). Then on the night before the 19th of March, which is St. Joseph’s Day, is the Nit del foc where fireworks displays are made. Then on the night of St. Joseph, usually after 2200 hours, is the Cremà, or the burning of the falles. It is something worth seeing. All throughout the city, these huge ninots (the sculptures) are burned, of course supervised by the fire brigade, and then it is over. Around midnight people begin to make their way home and all you hear are the remnants of firecrackers and other noise makers that can last until the morning.

Last year was the only year that Les Falles was cancelled, of course due to the pandemic. This year they were suspended until September. So this year the plantá was celebrated on the first of September, the Nit del foc was last night and tonight (05 SEP 2021) is the cremà, which will begin at 2000 hours with the burning of the children’s ninots and then the other ones will begin at 2200 hours. València is still under a curfew beginning at 0100 hours, so everything had to be done earlier so people could comply with the curfew regulations.

One of the most important features of Les Falles is the falleres:

Conoce a los indumentaristas de las falleras mayores y cortes 2020 -  Levante-EMV
(photo courtesy of Levante)

And here are some of the ninots of 2021 from around the city of València:

And here is the cremà from 2019:

Cheers…

Diary: Sunday Edition #2

(The Aegean Coastline, today at 0930 hours. Photo property of FBC, Omnia Caelum Studios Valencia, All Rights Reserved)

Well, so here we are entering September 2021! My God it seems like it is flying by! And not only this year but since the 14th of March 2020, time is flying, and maybe it should because it has been time spent going through a pandemic like none of us has ever seen and it is about time that it ended. Of course for that people have to do something many are not accustomed to doing, sharing. Yes, sharing and thinking of others. And I am referring to those who still, at this stage of the pandemic, that refuse to get their jabs. If you don’t believe in the vaccine, do it for your fellow man. We can only hope to defeat this virus if we are all vaccinated so that way there can be no hosts, therefore no further spread. But no, people are selfish and self-centred to the point of risking their health or life. This has to end, and this attitude has to stop. I have never been in favour of forcing anyone to do anything against their will, but this is not something to be left up to the decision of idiots. The ruling minds have to act and have to mandate that all get this vaccine so we can finally get rid of Coronavirus. The idea of individual rights is great but your rights extend only to the tip of your nose.

And…our Spanish National Futbol Team has lost to Sweden in the group phase of the World Cup qualifiers. Incredible! A hell of a match, but… Now Spain has to be sure to win all remaining matches and hope that Sweden at least ends up in a draw in one of theirs, otherwise we are out of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Again we saw devastating rainfall this week. Spain, and precisely my area, Valencia, got hit hard in Castellon. In Tarragona, just to the north of Comunitat Valenciana, cars were washed into the Mediterranean. Then in Toledo, then in Murcia, in Madrid… These devastating storms have been hitting all areas of the world since the summer began. First in Germany, Holland and Belgium, then in Turkey, then in Siberia, the United States… And in the US this past week Hurricane Ida claimed the life of 54 people in Louisiana, New York and New Jersey. I saw images of torrents of water flooding the subway in Queens, incredible!

Finally, and this is a subject I am quite sick and tired of, Afghanistan is now fully in the hands of the Taliban. Well, the US, Spain, UK, Germany et al are “out of there!” No more western intervention in the affairs, the new affairs, of the new Islamic emirate ruled by Talibans. I want to see if the women that so arduously defend women rights here in Spain raise their voices against the atrocities that the Talibans have in the past committed against women and that they will again. Just making women wear burkas and not allowing them out of the house unless accompanied by a male guardian should be enough to give cause for international outrage. But no, the media seems to be bending over backwards to try to make these Talibans look like the new improved version. Remember the new version of Coke? Wasn’t that a huge failure? Well, think of this as the same thing. But Joe Biden was right. The US needed to get out of that war as it was never handled well since the beginning.

And so I sit and wonder what will tomorrow bring, but then I chase that thought away. It is a beautiful day and one should live in the moment and for the moment as tomorrow will bring its own agenda…

Cheers for joining me and may you all have a lovely week.