jueves, 13 de junio de 2013


I'm going north this weekend!
It's going to be nice to skip the Spanish inferno of a sun, isn't it?
Perchance I am going to pop a post into the blog every now and then... from Sweden, that is!!
I have decided to warn you that I am not going to return home until September.

sábado, 8 de junio de 2013


Another grade: 88 points out of 100 in German! Das ist wunderschön!
Only two grades to go: Catalan and Spanish.
Besides, I've already got the Pride and Prejudice comic... How I love Lieutenant Wickham!

viernes, 7 de junio de 2013


That's right! I bought Les Miserables on DVD last Friday. A great film, with an all-star cast, that tells a story with everything in it.
The review can be read on this very blog, in May, with the title "LESS MISERABLE SUMMER".
In case you don't get the title, it's a subtle reference to the Thenardiers' leitmotif song.


A parody more true to the original, aside from a summary told in rap. The cast is really good-looking, the costumes are rather realistic, and the storytelling is fast-paced (THIS IS THE WHOLE STORY! SPOILERS BEWARE!)...
 Note that Madame Thenardier is dark-haired and played by a drag queen, like the panto dames of English fairytale theatre!

jueves, 6 de junio de 2013


The great freethinkers of the Enlightenment all lived up to their statements of questioning authority and being themselves. Nearly all of them had got at last one quirk. Voltaire was both imprisoned and exiled from France, but that didn't hinder him from drinking his daily fifty cups of coffee. Another caffeine addict was Voltaire's patron, Frederick the Great, who preferred it boiled on champagne instead of water. But when it comes to quirks, it's London-born utilitarian Jeremy Bentham who takes the cake:
This slightly eccentric sacred monster has actually done a lot for our present-day quality of life: he defended the rights of women, children, foreigners, animals, and other outsiders come hell or highwater. Jeremy Bentham was also a wordsmith equal to Shakespeare and Carroll (as watchers of this clip will discover), and his doctrines have influenced John Stuart Mill (and, via Mill, the author of this blog). The utilitarian golden rule "to act not to hurt oneself or others, or at least to act to hurt as few people as possible", has become one of my personal creeds, aside from the basis of the law in the present-day Western world.


In this corner, Charles the former child worker, author of lengthy realistic feuilletons heavy-laden with social criticism. He kept billions of readers in check, subscribing to newspapers to find out Little Nell's fate!
In this corner, Charles the shy and nerdy Cheshire cat (he's from Cheshire, not kidding!), internationally celebrated for his song parodies and nonsense fairy tales. The reverend's son with a raving sense of humour.
Now who's the greatest Anglophone wordsmith of the Victorian era?


In this corner, a brilliant young General from Corsica, formerly known as "Lieutenant Puss in Boots", who has earned a reputation as a brilliant strategist. No surprise that he is an ace chess player (perhaps he soon will attempt the overthrow of France?):
In this corner, an Austrian mechanical doll with the skill of a flesh-and-blood chessmaster. After having toppled kings and kaisers for about a decade, he will perhaps meet his match this time:
Let's see who will stand defeated, shall we?


He had got a few tricks up his sleeve...

I recommend this writer's excellent unfinished epic Don Juan!
Read it here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21700/21700-h/21700-h.htm

miércoles, 5 de junio de 2013

SHAVE and a HAIR-cut... TWO BITS!

SHAVE and a HAIR-cut... TWO BITS!
In Sweden, this tune is very popular. Its Swedish lyrics:

martes, 4 de junio de 2013


"Should I get to Sweden in time?", is the question that I ask myself over and over.
For the Catalan test was a fortnight ago, and yet I haven't received the score.
However, the Documentation, IT, English, and Linguistics grades are hitherto known to me.
Three grades to go: Castilian, Catalan, and German.


  1. Did you fall for the last post? 
  2. Have you tried to contact the titular "Underworld's website"? 
  3. Do you like the mythical character of Persephone/Proserpina (she's one of my favourites, though I didn't invite her, or Enjolras, to the "dinner for thirteen"!)?


"When thou unto the other side art come,
A palace shalt thou see of fiery gold,
And by the door thereof shalt thou behold
An ugly triple monster, that shall yell 
For thine undoing; now behold him well,
And into each mouth of him cast a cake,
And no more heed of thee then shall he take,
And thou mayst pass into a glorious hall
Where many a wonder hangs upon the wall;
But far more wonderful than anything
The fair slim consort of the gloomy King,
Arrayed all royally shalt thou behold,
Who sitting on a carven throne of gold,
Whene’er thou enterest shall rise up to thee,
And bid thee welcome there most lovingly,
And pray thee on a royal bed to sit,
And share her feast; yet eat thou not of it,
But sitting on the ground eat bread alone,
Then do thy message kneeling by her throne…
   And there in that grey country, like a flame
Before her eyes rose up the house of gold,
And at the gate she met the beast threefold,
Who ran to meet her open-mouthed, but she
Unto his jaws the cakes cast cunningly,
But trembling much; then on the ground he lay
Lolling his Leads, and let her go her way;
And so she came into the mighty hall,
And saw those wonders hanging on the wall,
That all with pomegranates was covered o’er
In memory of the meal on this sad shore,
Whereby fair Enna was bewept in vain,
And this became a kingdom and a chain.

But on a throne, the Queen of all the dead
She saw therein with gold-embraced head,
In royal raiment, beautiful and pale;
Then with slim hands her face did Psyche veil
In worship of her, who said, "Welcome here,
O messenger of Venus! thou art dear
To me thyself indeed, for of thy grace
And loveliness we know e’en in this place;
Rest thee then, fair one, on this royal bed
And with some dainty food shalt thou be fed;
Ho, ye who wait, bring in the tables now!"
Therewith were brought things glorious of show
On cloths and tables royally beseen,
By damsels each one fairer than a queen.
The very latchets of whose shoes were worth
The royal crown of any queen on earth;
But when upon them Psyche looked, she saw
That all these dainty matters without flaw
Were strange of shape and of strange-blended hues,
So every cup and plate did she refuse
Those lovely hands brought to her, and she said,
"O Queen, to me amidst my awe and dread
These things are nought, my message is not done,
So let me rest upon this cold grey stone,
And while my eyes no higher than thy feet
Are lifted, eat the food that mortals eat."

  Therewith upon the floor she sat her down
And from the folded bosom of her gown
Drew forth her bread and ate, while with cold eyes
Regarding her ’twixt anger and surprise,
The queen sat silent for awhile, then spoke,
"Why art thou here, wisest of living folk?
Depart in haste, lest thou shouldst come to be
Thyself a helpless thing and shadowy!
Give me the casket then, thou need’st not say
Wherefore thou thus hast passed the awful way;
Bide there, and for thy mistress shalt thou have
The charm that beauty from all change can save."
   Then Psyche rose, and from her trembling hand
Gave her the casket, and awhile did stand
Alone within the hall, that changing light
From burning streams, and shadowy waves of night
Made strange and dread, till to her, standing there,
The world began to seem no longer fair,
Life no more to be hoped for, but that place
The peaceful goal of all the hurrying race,
The house she must return to on some day.
   Then sighing scarcely could she turn away
When with the casket came the queen once more,
And said, "Haste now to leave this shadowy shore
Before thou changest; even now I see
Thine eyes are growing strange, thou look’st on me
E’en as the linnet looks upon the snake.
Behold, thy wisely-guarded treasure take,
And let thy breath of life no longer move
The shadows with the memories of past love."

   But Psyche at that name, with quickened heart
Turned eagerly, and hastened to depart
Bearing that burden, hoping for the day;

Visit the Underworld. A dark, gray country of plains and swamps. But a golden royal palace in excellent Late Mannerist style and a beautiful Queen Consort, elected Miss Underworld 1992 times in a row.
Visitors can get to the Underworld anytime they like, from anywhere they are… through suicide.
For more information, contact us at visittheunderworld.styx.

lunes, 3 de junio de 2013


In the 1990s, I grew up with beautifully drawn animated series that always taught moral, scientific, and/or cultural lessons while providing thrilling plots:
Who said that learning about Austro-Hungarian relations...
...or the history of science should be dull?
Nowadays, the crisis appears to have spread into the world of animated series. Aesthetic and educational goodness are out, kitsch is in. Series such as Phineas and Ferb or SpongeBob, featuring poorly drawn characters, nonsensical premises, and no educational content have replaced the lovely animated objets d'art of my childhood.
Does Ph&F make any sense at all?
Stock characters, a pet platypus/secret agent...
I wonder why such an absurd character and such an absurd cartoon
have become internationally celebrated.
Anyway, there's hope as long as YouTube doesn't shut down. Some people have had the brilliant ideas of posting 1990s animated series on the Net, creating fanworks and keeping the memories of such remarkable shows alive for a long time!