Thursday, 5 June 2014

C1 Collateral damages

 C1 Collateral damages
     It was a hot, dull August afternoon. There was absolute silence and only the chirping of insistent cicadas broke the monotony. The sun was burning thoroughly the few leaves that had managed to survive the scorching summer.
     Oedipus and Antigona had left Thebes and were wandering on the way leading to Colonus. Suddenly, Icarus fell into the sea nearby and a man called Auden, who was ploughing near the shore, exclaimed: "Something amazing, a boy falling out the sky." Little did he realize that his judgement was being listened by a crowd of heterogeneus persons who had gathered in the scene.
     Richard Burton, an English explorer whose fluency in Greek was staggering, pointed out that the "Niké" boy originated  from a tribe in the Mountains of the Moon. However, his traveller's fantasy was immediately contradicted by Atticus Finch, an honest lawyer who came from Alabama. He claimed that it was not a boy but a mochingbird. As soon as the ornithological reference filled the air, Babette(a French lady skilled in the art of cooking) spoke up in excitement, "Oh! Mockingbirds in Sarcophage!". Then, a bossy extravagant woman warned," Don't even think about cooking that boy!". She was Good Queen Bess, who was already fed up with beheaded creatures.  C.S.Lewis, a world-renowned British professor, took then the view that had he known, the boy would have gone to Shadowlands, adding that "Such was the heat of the sun that its waxen wings melted." Unexpectedly, a stormy voice could be heard saying..."I have a dream". It caused great confusion and spread alarm and despondency in Buthan...Robert Kennedy,..

     "Be quiet please!", said the psychoanalyst. "I have had enough.". "Just relax and you'll get over the C1 syndrome in due course."

     "Please, I'd like to talk you about Mandela's fifteen lessons, Shakespeare, Dutch painters, Poetry..."

     But the therapist was so exhausted that he just kept all those hats in a box and sighted in relief.Yet, he wondered why that stressed woman was so keen on wearing such a big quantity of different colour hats. He finally left his office, convinced that some Chi-Kun lessons would be highly recommendable. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


      When I was a young girl, I used to have some “Required Reading” books along my school years. As you know these were books that students had to read in order to have a test about them. Some of them turned up to be very interesting while others became an absolute torture. These were times when teenagers were not regarded as a potential danger for the society, thus we didn’t use to visit psychologists and the merest sidelong glance was enough to make us shut up. Fortunately I loved reading and I could bear the task more happily than the great majority of my class. However we had to read some books than I cannot imagine students reading in the current context…Kafka and his neurotic Metamorphosis, some chapters of Galdos’ Episodios Nacionales and Pio Baroja’s  El árbol de la Ciencia .
     In those days García Márquez was far from being among the “divinely ordained”, so I was not as lucky as Estrella ….  It was at High School  when  I read him  for very first time and although the reading was compulsory I finished the book the same afternoon that it fell into my hands “. The thing is that I discovered “Gabo” in another way. A group of youngsters were part of an amateur theatre group called “La Caña”, and José Martin Recuerda used to come to Motril to watch our rehearsals. One day he gave us a present  and it was precisely El Otoño del Patriarca . I had never read García Márquez but it was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.
     What I liked most of his work was the simplicity to express emotions. He was true with himself, to his way of seeing reality in a clear and honest way. These magic, these apparently absurd elements were taking a natural part in a realistic environnement. At some time I learnt that it was called “magic realism”.  Gabriel García Márquez has passed away but he was such a brilliant writer that, generously, shared his experiences with us. This is an extract  from “Cien Años de Soledad” that I find particularly beautiful, full of an amazing simplicity…

     Deslumbrada por tantas y tan maravillosas invenciones, la gente de Macondo no sabía por dónde empezar a asombrarse. Se trasnochaban contemplando las pálidas bombillas eléctricas alimentadas por la planta que llevó Aureliano Triste en el segundo viaje del tren, y a cuyo obsesionante tumtum costó tiempo y trabajo acostumbrarse. Se indignaron con las imágenes vivas que el próspero comerciante don Bruno Crespi proyectaba en el teatro con taquillas de bocas de león, porque un personaje muerto y sepultado en una película, y por cuya desgracia se derramaron lágrimas de aflicción, reapareció vivo y convertido en árabe en la película siguiente. El público que pagaba dos centavos para compartir las vicisitudes de los personajes, no pudo soportar aquella burla inaudita y rompió la silletería. El alcalde, a instancias de don Bruno Crespi, explicó mediante un bando que el cine era una máquina de ilusión que no merecía los desbordamientos pasionales del público.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

English History Quizz

Screenshot descargo de TRIVIAL PURSUIT TURBO 3

     A good way of learning things is making quizzes. It is not only funny but also interesting. I have been doing some quizzes about English History and the most worrying thing that I have discovered is my total ignorance on the subject, although I have learnt many other interesting facts. History is a hard work, full of events, dates, people (too many queens and kings) and, unfortunately, wars. Needless to say that,as an academic subject, History has always been many students’ horse battle. That’s why these “trivial” games often bring us to heel when we want to win the yellow edge…History!
      Players usually dread history. They try to keep a stiff upper lip in adversity and they cunningly try to answer the wicked question muttering…”I knew that, who the hell was Philip II’s daughter’s mother’s lover?” A tough question.  Did he indeed have a daughter? And if he had, wasn’t her mother the King’s official wife? What is more, had that poor woman a lover? Admittedly, this may be an overdone example of History questions that can give us away. By the way, what were Anne Boleyn’s parents names?
*Thomas and Elizabeth
*Edward and Catherine
*Gerorge and Mary
*James and Anne

     If you are keen on History, or if you feel like refreshing your knowledge about English History, visit this site:

Thursday, 3 April 2014

stuck in the rut

     As I already told in my speech during the first term, my mother suffered from Alzheimer for many years.  By the time she died, nearly four years ago, she had been 13 long years diagnosed with this disease. Quite honestly, some of her behaviours used to be more than I could bear, partly due to my anxiety but mainly because I couldn’t understand what was happening in her brain.
     That’s why the video on Neuroplasticity really appealed to me. Alzheimer’s patients’ direct relatives usually live under Damocle’s sword. We are still waiting for a pharmaceutical cure or for a magic pill to prevent this awful process of human deterioration that your loved experienced. It is clear  that you may be able to slow down this process by leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, or even reverse it. The pill? I hope for the best. Anyway, in the meanwhile I’m trying  to put knowledge to practical use. While some factors, such as genes, are out of my control, there are others however which are highly recommended by neurologists. These are, among many others, mental stimulation, stress management, learning something new and practising memorization. All in all, don’t take the C1 as a joke, you are being  constantly training your brains. One of the activities that specialists suggest is learning a foreign language. Also teaching information to others enables to get into our memory and remain there, since we have to be able to understand it and then express it well to someone else.
     I’m curious by nature, thus when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer I started to read everything that I could find about the disease. Sometimes I saw my mother’s behaviours reflected in many examples of other patients, yet there were always others different. I’ll capture a shocking situation to illustrate this. In a middle stage of her illness my mother used to sing my daughters nursery rhymes that they couldn’t understand. Of course they couldn’t, she was singing French songs! When she was a little girl she had attended a school run by French nuns and she used to sing these rhymes. Curious, isn’t it?
     Long term memory is a function of our brain where we remember something longer than a day or two, and often for many decades. Unlike short-term memories, they are relatively permanent. Our earliest memories often go back to the age of four or five, if they were significant in some way. This function takes part of “Procedural memory”, known as non-declarative. You know how to do something, including the specific steps required to accomplish a task. For example, you just know how to ride a bike.

     This is what Norman Doidge calls “plastic paradox” Our brain is pliable, it has ruts in which we are sometimes struck.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Octavio Paz anniversary

     Octavio Paz was born 100 years ago. He is not here anymore, but his wonderful work is. I have chosen one of his poems as a modest homage. Do read it with a nice piece of music from Listz " Le mal du pays" from Années of Pélerinage

Between going and staying
the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theatre of reflections

I find myself in the middle of an eye
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Babette's feast

     I have always liked films related to cooking. Although I had seen the film some years ago, I hadn't enjoyed it so much as I have now. Why? I don't know, it may be my recent inclination to admire beautiful things. I have watched the film again, which I highly recommend, and I have also read the short story written by Isak Dinesen. The film reminds me of  "Chocolat" that I really appreciated because the scenes, the music and the way in which interactive process is working .Culinary art requires sensuality of taste. The music in Babette's feast, I can guess Mozart and Chopin, the colour that changes according to situations, and specially the art of cooking, that speaks to the senses.Wonderfully written and beautifully adapted to the big
screen. In my opinion it is a very good version of the written text, which is usually very difficult.