Cape Cod 2009

September 9, 2009

IMG_0009

On a bright sunny day with temperatures in the mid 70’s, we rambled through the trails surrounding a delta-like Long Pond, after which came the much larger adjoining Mashpee and Wakeby Ponds, first in the morning sun, before lunch, and then in the cooler afternoon from 3 o’clock. On the shores, we saw men and women with their pets at water-play.

The clearing views, unforgettable in the midst of the surrounding forests, were bathed by sun light. They blended verdant patterns rivaling those of timid Gothic structures made by man’s effort to imitate nature. Emerald moss-covered roots stepped up into translucent tunnels where we were led by random colonnades buttressing airy canopies. Freshly aromatic air filled to the exhilaration of the errant heart through gullies and groves; in peace with the rhythm of my accompanying soul.

Advertisements

Repúblico Franceschi.

March 22, 2018

Venezuelans of all races, genders and tendencies rise up against the tyranny of all those would-be reformers with double discourse, the battle of egos between power mongers, the duplicity of mercenary politicians flailing for our attention.

Let us begin with Alberto Franceschi-Gonzalez, who has never met the requirements of an academic doctorate, nor has he even tentatively been nominated in any field of study at any university; without known academic advisor; he knows not what it means to be dedicated to the demanding task that requires an exhaustive research or development for a doctoral thesis; he has not proven the capacity to wield debates to demonstrate a subtle breakdown of all aspects in a high-caliber issue: the hermeneutics of any subject, whether in the humanities or in any other field of research. Having made an appearance in a few higher-education courses at the Sorbonne University does not render him an academician who qualifies for a doctorate. Just as having made an appearance during the seventies in the Spanish resistance movement, against the military dictator, General Franco, does not hoist him as an expert in political science. In Wikipedia, Franceschi is purported to be instrumental in the success of the overthrow of the Soviet Union before Perestroika—not thanks to Gorbachev. And as if his vainglories of professionalism were not sufficient, Franceschi emulates with pride the exiguous theories of the aristocratic ideologist, Alberto García-Trevijano, whom he refers to as his guru and man of greater wisdom in Spain, a dissident activist of 94 years of age, who when speaking foams at the mouth from uncontrollable rage.

In his exaggerated exposition Franceschi justifies himself with a so called traditionalist “Catholic-Conservative-morality”: His vision of what institutional marriage should be, like a bulwark against a supposed sense of immorality, he claims that his concept of morality is confronted by a covert operation of moral destruction in a Hollywood conspiracy to inculcate mass homosexuality as a mere objective. His phraseology is clearly the product of a reactionary mentality along the lines of Vatican’s authoritarianism; which, ironically, anoints itself in a conclave of pedophiles who hate themselves in secret.

Franceschi’s hyperboles do not stop when he justifies them as a dark and incomprehensible panorama formed by an omniscient machinery for the control of human behavior-and one does not need to wonder far to realize he is referring to the entertainment industry led by non-Christians. And, of course, it would be extremely difficult for an ordinary man, immersed in prejudice and superficial chatter, to arrive at a coherent analysis.

This kinds of diatribe is so serious, because in a single stroke it discredits Franceschi’s support in favor of so called collective freedoms erected by Garcia-Trevijano’s MCRC movement, and renders false the meaning of the Republic, which in a better sense would refer to the understanding of human diversity, as well as the diversity of gender, which are an inescapable part of nature in all its complexity. It is even more serious when in the search for a better world than the human being has known for millennia, instead of affirming the discovery of the human being in all its complexities, tribal division and marginalization are to be emphasized by such would-be-reformers as indeed the human race has lived tormented by them since its millenary origins, i.e; reformers in favor of so called traditional values.

In any case, his apoplectic inconsistencies and typical gibberish in the use of language go hand in hand with calling himself a doctor, which confabulates an authority that Franceschi does not have— very much in spite of a general practice by lawyers and other disciplines of knowledge in Humanities among Hispanic and Latino countries. This practice gives them the prestigious but fictitious cache of someone capable: an unscrupulous practice, through hubristic and narcissistic followers, who are always ready to present an incomplete analysis, insincere, mediocre as well as distasteful. His own sentimentality entices him to feel worthy of venerability, of all acolytes, but the reality is always more complex and uncertain than he claims, less clear than a biography on Wikipedia contributed by his most adept followers. His temperamental mannerism and gesticulation manifests a rage of apoplexy connoting weak and imaginary opposition, a vulnerability that compromises his already inefficient discourse. I do my mission to undress him to balance some 300,000 people blindly follow him, flattering him as if he were the only reformer that would save Venezuela from the Castroist tyranny.

In his incipient stage as an animator of politics, Alberto Franceschi González boasts of being a Republican, or Repúblico as he calls his EVTV program. With the indelible image of the well-known portrait of General Francisco De Miranda imprisoned in La Carraca (once betrayed by Simón Bolívar) Franceschi speaks of the historical roots of partisan corruption in Venezuela without exposing that the tyrannical dictatorship of Venezuela constituted by thugs is directed by the totalitarian president of Cuba, Raúl Castro, and that Nicolás Maduro only acts as his straw man pro consular representative. In fact, Venezuela became a dependency of Cuba, occupied by Cuba, since the election of the leadership of Hugo Chávez came to fruition, resulting from sixty years of Castroist interference through guerrillas, to later become parties affiliated to the mainstream of the Venezuelan Congress. It can be said that Venezuela was prepared to reach this critical moment in its neocolonialist history, through ever corrupt leaders and the political immaturity of its nation in its five republics and variable constitutions. What more can be expected from past generations inclined to the distraction of “how much is there for that?”, a traditional corruption; that Franceschi is now proposing to erase through the renewal of Christianity. Franceschi’s incoherent arguments and harangues are also part of a distraction analogous to Savonarola’s zelotism during the Florentine inquisition years of the seventeenth century. It is one thing to condemn the Narco-Castro dictatorship in Venezuela and another thing to become a condemner of human diversity under the mantle of protecting the Family—perhaps not far from a mafia understanding of family values, where he wants to be portrayed as the future Godfather of Venezuela . It is one thing to be a Catholic Christian and another to pose as a veiled anti-Semite. Human history has given us enough examples of this kind of reformers who end up being worse than what they had wanted to reform. Let us remember the final outcome from a Hitler or, as aforementioned, Girolamo Savonarola and let us face the possibility that Franceschi could certainly fall into the same excesses.

With half truths, the complex Venezuelan conflict can not be resolved. Venezuela will be free when the hideous legacy of the Castros disappears: propagated ideologically through mercenary agents in the countries of the Americas. That is the real threat that challenges us all, for which action is required, with less chatter by entertainers and less telenovela histrionics. The reasons for this in themselves are not enough, the analysis is not ever sufficient either, and the predictions are rather the fulfillment of the mistakes of the past. One thing that we can agree would be that without a multilateral intervention and a consensus among all the countries of the Americas, the security of the continent would continue to be jeopardized by the legacy of the Castros.

The real solution is in the hands of any prosecutor or court of the western countries, who with their own legal will and power over the pact of the Palermo Convention can seize and arrest any member of the agency that acts to commit a crime instead of governing. That would be the legal framework to eliminate the Venezuelan narco-State in association with PDVSA, which is a bridge for organized crime to facilitate drug trafficking, money laundering and to fund terrorist movements in the Middle East: this affects all countries of the Americas, and Europe. Likewise the Palermo agreement could be applied to the case of organized crime in Cuba and Russia. Undoubtedly, the consensus among all the countries of the Americas would be beneficial, although not necessary, to achieve the security of the continent. Only the desicion of a court in a country where there is the rule of law and separation of powers is required. For example, the United States Department of Justice (Attorney General Jeff Sessions) could apply The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to PDVSA as an illicit organization without the consensus of any magistrate of any other country or any president whatsoever: totally independent of President Donald Trump.

The adoption, as a sycophant, of the extremism of the Trumpian agenda, far from giving Franceschi an ideology equal to that of wanting to be a Republican, reinforces the extremism of his hyperbolic contrasts, like that of a potential tyrant, thirsty for opportunism, who even hints with deference toward the corrupt Neo-Czarist Putin, by imitating him in his duplicities.

Recently, Franceschi has come to call me on Twitter a monumental faggot, when told that his agenda was to make homosexuality his scapegoat on a par with the Russian witch hunt of Vladimir Putin. What a great compliment would I have replied before being blocked from Twitter and from Periscope. I give myself the task of examining my own actions in full rejoice without hiding in subterfuges, unlike Franceschi, who seems to have identity issues by hiding between vainglories.

Like Chávez, who provoked hatred between classes in the name of a fictitious egalitarianism, and equal to the Castroist legacy represented by Maduro today, Franceschi’s ideology is divisive, invested as he is in preaching a categorical rejection of gender diversity; just as in the Middle Ages it would have been to deny that the earth was round and not the center of the universe. After two long millennia of Western persecution, thanks to an orthodox catholic church, the LGBTQ community in the scientific light has been able to achieve its validation through a better understanding of the diversity of genres—“Q” standing for Queer in a narrative devoid of sexuality and traditions about identity. In the last sixty years a historic expansion of humanity and family has come underway with same-sex marriages legalized around the world’s secular democratic societies, a conception much more advanced than the limited vision of the medieval family, based on a heterosexual binomial that was based on procreation and religion, as well as material and physical properties. Instead of seeing the positive about the expansion of human love, Franceschi chooses to ignore and antagonize significant scientific advances, placing himself demonstrably against more than 10% of the entire human population, while promoting the slogan of collective freedoms: calling himself a venerable republic among republicans.

There are many Venezuelan voices, anonymous cells of active resistance, with better preparation than Franceschi, those who really carry the transforming labor to push Venezuela out of the womb of darkness, those who do not waste their time in entertainment industry for a cybernetic audience. For as many merits he claims, Farnceschi remains foreign to the reforms that will take place in our country.

Venezuelans! Worse than electoral fraud is the corrupting partisanship of the opposition. Worse than the tyranny of the Castros, “Chavismo”, “Madurismo” and “Diosdadismo” is the pusillanimity and cowardliness of a people that continues to believe in the magic realism of leadership, or to believe in sacred voting rights while immersed in the impunity of a corrupt State. Worse than tyranny itself is the mind of the subjugated people, who still believes in an electoral exit. Worse still is the mind of the one who thinks that prayers would give solace. It is the mandate of a frog swimming in a pot over fire, getting used to a gradual departure from life.

Ignoring the Venezuelan tyranny through electoral abstention is a positive tactic, but it takes a great deal more action to overcome a totalitarian State, to rip the viper’s head. We must reject it in all instances, to fly in our own defense as if running from a voracious lion. We must reject registering for new ID cards that are the mark of the devil, as marking cattle. On the one hand, the “identity cards” intend to distribute benefits for members of the autocratic party of the PSUV, as represented by the puppet tyrant of Raul Castro: Nicolás Maduro. It is another instrument to advance the slavery of the Venezuelan population, sequestered by Chavismo and the Castros, analogous to Hitler’s concentration camp system, thus guaranteeing the ostracism and genocide of a dissident majority. The poor class that sells its soul for crumbs to survive is prey to the ignominy of a system of partisan state thugs engaged in stealing the common goods of the nation in the name of a fictitious revolution. Nothing less would satisfy the Castro agenda than to eliminate by attrition 23 million Venezuelans, to be able to dispose of the riches of Venezuelan territory among a minority: the great dream of the greedy Fidel.

It is necessary not to watch the official television network of the nation, nor to listen to reactionary reformers equal to Franceschi. We must not support any of the official media; not buy any of the newspapers of the day, which spread the propaganda of the Narco-State. We must make demonstrations against all the banks in the country that co-op the tyranny and its exchange system. We must abstain in mass from paying utilities and taxes. We must protest against courts and legislative bodies. We must provoke an administrative blockade that affects the governability of the tyranny. May they also be kidnapped. We must leave our cars blocking the streets. We must sacrifice public and private transport as roadblocks so that there is no mobilization or work access anywhere; that all roads in the country may become inaccessible to military and paramilitary transport. In other words, we must carry out a general civic strike that suffocates the country’s kidnappers on their own feet, without even having access to airplanes or helicopters; that all the luxury restaurants and shopping centers, where the elites and chavistas gravitate, are shut down to abort them from showing off their ostentatious dollarizing power; so that they nay be forced to flee away from the fury of the civil popular mass whom they have overwhelmed by two decades of treacherous indignities, with the theft of nation’s treasury and common goods; so that they may have to pray for the people’s forgiveness and compassion; so that they may have to swim back to Cuba or run to Colombia to recap their mercenary works in their own land; so that they may suffer the same tortures and infirmities they enforced unto us; so that they may be seized by the international DEA for drug trafficking and destroying human dignity in all corners of the world. Let Chavismo and the Black Wasps from Cuba die hanged on public scaffolding at the hands of all their victims.

The courage of youth is what turns retrograde thinking into the fertile ground for revolutions. Old cynical individuals, jaded and decrepit, foaming platitudes about expertise, may appear to think regression and stagnation of traditions are forces of authority; but there is no need to fret anymore, because soon they’ll be forgotten, and if at all remembered, it would be only by the stain of complacency and indolence of petty minds futilely resisting the wave of enlightenment

March 12th, 2018

Ricardo F Morin

“Not Guilty Verdict”: Regarding criminal gangs in New York City’s West Harlem; social decomposition; ineffective education and lack of Human Resources; understaffed police surveillance and laxe investigation, …

October 7, 2017

October fifth 2017, after three weeks of endurance, my service as a juror in a murder trial in Manhattan State Court was concluded with a not guilty verdict due to a reasonable doubt—over flimsy evidence, and a protracted seven years of detectives’ investigation. Although, the defense lawyer was hardly up to par, the burden of proof fell solely upon the district attorney, who could not manage to prove the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. It was a hard wrenching experience for every one involved.

The medical examiner showed us photographically a detailed compilation before and after the autopsy to establish evidence of a 22 revolver’s 1/2” projectile’s passing through the body, which was the only ballistic analysis in terms of direction and cause of death. We had to observe stoically, with the maximum emotional modesty possible but not everyone succeeded.

The defense claimed the fifth amendment in order to not being open to examination or cross examination; there was no gun recovered, no DNA, no proven motive, a poorly visible video of the event, a stale case to boot, with a lot of hear-say interwoven throughout among two unreliable key eyewitnesses, 18 depositions and various estipulaciones in lieu of new witnesses.

Despite the tragedy, we, the jury, remained at peace with the decision, which could only be just and intelligent, devoid of bias or emotion. We chose to absolve a 17-year-old who was being accused of having killed a 14-year-old in Sept 2010 with a “community” gun. We concluded that it was a case of misidentification, not due to perjury by the witnesses but by a murky or nebulous set of events. Although, we believed there was collective collusion and complicity by the two West Harlem communities (West 140th and 141st Streets between 7th and 8th Avenues), who incited the tragedy; our doubt about the identity of the killer was greater than the evidence provided. Still we were not 100% sure of it, but had to be guided by the degree of doubt, which was greater than our certainty.

It took us 2 days and a half of deliberations and analysis to arrive at the verdict unanimously. We went from an even split of 50/50% to an unified, 100% understanding of the facts. When we announced the not-guilty-on-all-counts-verdict, in a sad and somber moment for both the family of the accused and the mother of the murdered child, as well as ourselves, it was very difficult for all involved to contain tears. After admonishing the court room to be quiet, the eminent and fair-minded judge Robert Stolz commended our carefully conscientious performance as jurors, stating the great relevance of our participation.

As we left the deliberation room, heading to a private elevator, which descended at the opposite end of the court at street level, we were cordoned off by a half-dozen police officers, while the acquitted’s family—kept aside—shouted their thanks amid inconsolable cries. From there on, except for me, the remaining eleven members of the jury went to a neighboring bar to relieve the great blow that we had felt. I waved goodbye to everyone between hugs, handshakes and kisses, wishing them well and congratulating them for their exemplary work!

Pondering how special was our experience, it may not have been possible for any one single individual to own such vision, the required compassion and the clarity to arrive at a consensus over something as tragic—arriving at the decision after two minutes of silent introspection and a single instance of total awareness in all of our minds at once; it was only conceivable by the group itself and no one in particular. So, I wonder if we were so unique a group; if any one other group could have arrived at the same conclusions, preventing either a wrong conviction or even a possible derailment of the case.

Criminal activity as a chosen life style (exemplified by young crews or gangs) among certain neighborhoods in New York City may be distinctly different from other communities in other states or abroad; but the underlying pattern of behavior seems to be commonplace among marginal communities: Lack of self love, undervalued self-esteem—due to lack of positive roles and lack of developmental opportunities— are perhaps the most insidious and corrosive causes. Moral suppression, self sabotage and low self esteem are indeed intertwined due to lack of guidance. The level of education is impaired by a hostile environment of reactive survival where children grow aspiring to achieve power in their relationships through means of oppression, verbal attack and physical domestic assault. So it is not surprising that they should die prematurely. Guns and knives turn to be of common usage in these communities, whose children’s resort to petty larceny until they become victims or seasoned murderers. It is no surprising under such harrowing circumstances that there may be such an encumbered path to preserve one’s human dignity. I believe being poor as being rich imports no virtue in of itself. However, if one focuses on the resources offered by the city of Manhattan to those communities struggling to survive, we must ask what we, as a collective society, are doing to remedy it: not being equally reactive while indifferent to such a plight. If we understand that those conditions nurture the worst in us, by cultivating psychopaths from an early age; what are we doing to reverse those conditions? What are we offering as non complementary conditions as well as solutions to the overarching social problem: where we all exist literally and equally vulnerable to violence? And yet still, are we not all responsible?

On Learning and Perception

June 30, 2014
Canaima National Park, Angel Falls

Canaima National Park, Angel Falls

 

Only a mind that has not been committed, a mind that does not belong to anything, which is not limited in any way, would be a mind that could learn. There are things in life that can not be pretended: I think this is the case when an ideology is taken, one pretends all the time that one is not selfish, and pretends not to be violent, while in heart and mind one is full of contempt, when determining the parameters of any contrast.

 

 

In today’s world where there are so many problems, we are likely to lose our moral compass, and lose the quality of our perception: the quality of audition and the quality of sensitivity. If we are angry, and yet we are able to suppress anger, or be able to control ourselves, to not let anger rise again, our minds could still be insensitive as ever. One can get rid of hatred, but if the mind and heart were still petty they will create further antagonism. Therefore there will be no end to conflict.

 

Awareness brings its own illumination. But one must manifest it. It is necessary to initiate it, just as if one were catching the tail of a comet, which should be felt deeply before proceeding. The discovery of ourselves is so endless and requires constant research, a perception which is whole, a consciousness in which there is no selection whatsoever . The distance to the stars would be far less than the distance to ourselves. This journey is really a door that opens to the individual in his relationship with the world.

 

April 2, 2014

A Venezuelan Mayhem

June 28, 2014

The web page of May 10, 2010, here below, presents implicit evidence that Simón Bolívar was executed at 47 years of age by order of U.S. President Andrew Jackson before Bolívar could initiate a blockade of the dissolution of Gran Colombia at the end of 1830, which had been led by the opportunistic and  dishonorable henchman: the much-vaunted ‘centaur of the plains’ José Antonio Páez.

http://www.tercerainformacion.es/spip.php?article15039

Each of the Presidents of the Venezuelan Republic, in particular the military, from José Antonio Páez to the late Hugo Chavez, as well as the current Cuban straw man, Nicolas Maduro, all became instrumental in a process of misinformation in detriment of freedom. Likewise, we have an overabundance of historians who indulge in babbling nonsense, making it very difficult for us to understand the facts. While they are having fun with sentimentalities aimed at enlarging their misguided personal interests, the people become divested of their common goods. To echo the last words of a stunned Francisco Miranda as he addressed Simón Bolívar, while the latter defrauded him and accused him of treason, and consequently destined him to his death, imprisoned in “la Carraca” under the Spanish yoke:

“Mayhem!. These people (the military) are not able to do anything else, but a mayhem”

The lack of seriousness then as now prevails in this small Venice, plucked from the Great Colombia. With such ease, abutments are lost from warlord to warlord in the passage of time; we are still without a productive direction, as ever heading into an uncertain future. What good would so many constitutional changes and five republics be worth, whilst we do not take seriously ourselves as individuals.

The very proclamation before Bolivar dying in Santa Marta in December 1830 brings us his consciousness without an acceptance of his own faults, included his narcissistic messianic complex:

“Colombians:
You have witnessed my efforts to establish freedom where tyranny prevailed before. I have worked with disinterest, even leaving my fortune and my peace. I abandoned the leadership when I became convinced that my humility inspired distrust. My enemies abused your credulity and trampled what is most sacred to me, my reputation and my love of freedom. I have been a victim of my persecutors, which led me to the doors of the tomb. I forgive them.
When I disappear from among you, my love tells me I should do the manifestation of my last wishes. I aspire to no other glory than the consolidation of Colombia. You must all work for the inestimable good of the Union: the people by obeying the present government to free itself from anarchy; ministers of the sanctuary by directing their prayers to heaven; and the military by using his sword to defend social guarantees.
Colombians! My last wishes are for the happiness of the country. If my death contributes to cease parties and consolidate the Union, I shall go down to the grave peacefully. “

But our reality is another. Simón Bolívar’s self-complacency was perceived only by himself in solitude, and did not help to consolidate any union: without a solid base to erect it, only the ambition of a desire. This established the path to the personality cult. Its legacy is representative of the social guarantees repressed by the violation of its rulers. Anarchy prevails because politicians are only interested in adulation and how to ravish common goods. Political ideology is only a tool to deafen the intelligence of its people. And as before and now, fanaticism and autocracy reign in our land.

“Mayhem!. These people are not able to do anything else, but a mayhem”

A New York Celebration

May 12, 2014

A New York Celebration

In the random course of events of our social lives, I wonder what is the import from or to our personal identities. Perhaps we are influenced by each other: I think that it may be not so much by the significance of our individual thoughts but by the quality of our rapport. However, I cannot help being either swept away or struck down by the randomness of it all.

R.F.M.-12/05/14

After the Marriage Defense Act was ruled unconstitutional in June 2013, our friends John and Ted proceeded to celebrate their wedding in a small private ceremony shortly thereafter at their Washington-DC’s residence. They had been living together for over 16 years, almost as long as David and I have been together. It was such a sudden decision, that John and Ted had not being able to include their closest friends and relatives from New York City and elsewhere; so they prepared a special dinner celebration to commemorate their wedding at the Lotos Club, located at 5 East 66th Street in New York City. John, who is a published author and Ted, who is a musicologist, have been members of the Lotos Club for some time.

The Lotos Club, one of the oldest literary clubs in the United States, was founded on March 15, 1870, by a group of young writers, journalists and critics. The Club was named, “tongue in cheek,” for the dilettantism exhibited by the Lotos eaters of the Odyssey. From its inception, its mission has been to promote and develop the arts and humanities, and to that end to provide a place of assembly for the learned professions and other persons interested in their objectives, effort and work.

John and Ted’s guests included Ted’s older brother who is a financial adviser, his wife who is an accomplished English illustrator of flora and fauna, a church organist, a developer for a music foundation, two well known actors, one retired and another still active in his seventies, and an architect. Now, allow me to share the exchange of ideas that took place:

During toast and hors d’oeuvre I spoke to John about the letter I had received from President Barack Obama and I then expressed my understanding of what may be an attempt to protect strategies by the people of Venezuela, which could soon reverse the crisis. I also spoke to the actor Greg Callahan about his recent film premiere called “Default”. Then in the Georgian-styled dinning room, among the closest ones to me, I heard long drawn conversations, filled with cynical beliefs, about ineffective education and the imperative of the new generations to confront themselves with other countries by increasing their earning power. And then the questions about the next presidential elections, regarding the fact that power seems concentrated between two families: the Bushes and the Clintons. Up until this point, I listened everyone quietly until the jesuitical in me finally managed enough courage to speak with frankness, in an attempt to clarify some of the issues being discussed. On one occasion I suggested that Elizabeth Warren was a suitable opponent for the presidency, though it may be difficult for her to enter into a national arena at this time. I also suggested that eventually a Latino could arise in future horizons. I referred to someone of the stature of Senator Robert Menendez, and rejected the idea that Marco Rubio could ever be an alternative because, although he was very intelligent, he was born in Canada.  As they continued bantering about illegal immigrants, I also rebuked the idea that Hispanics were in any way foreign to the United States. I reminded everyone that Hispanics had been around a century before the English had arrived in this continent. Then the conversation shifted to illegal immigrants, in a rather self-righteous tone, when I argued that without the Mexican and Central American labor force, legal or not, this country could not function. At any rate, the conversations were filled with banalities and the content was rather conventional. Everyone was most affable, and I felt even more out of place.Before departing that evening, attention was brought to the fact that the current location of the Lotos Club was used since 1947 and that the beautiful building it occupies on East 66th Street, in a French-Cartouche Style, had been built in 1900, commissioned by a New York socialite as a wedding gift for her daughter.

RFM 05/12/14

Celestial Paradise

May 9, 2014

 

 

 

 

Ulysses comes to know it as the land of the sirens, which, during the Middle Ages, becomes a great maritime empire. It is located at the foot of giant Monte Cerreto, where the Duchy of Amalfi would come to take refuge for a time, as if in the chrysalis of ancestral muses. The tragedy of the Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, as well as the Realism of Henrik Ibsen and the Gesamtkunstwerk of a vilifying Richard Wagner would have echoed the fate of this mythic caryatid of pleasure over the Gulf of Salerno. Among the cliffs, the movements of thundering sources dance to the rhythm of the Swallowtail beyond the less venerable Crusades, cloisters or monasteries, exhaling the barbaric metamorphosis of so many tribes. Although now, from walking in the genesis of time, a restless gaze profiles the beguiling essence from “La Dolce Vita”.

 

 

Excavated from a promontory on the edge of a precipice, between the villages of Cetara and Vietri, providing anchovies in oil and colored ceramics, there is our beautifully tiled Inn called Cetus. In the cacophonous colors of the rainbow and arising from the eternal compass, its rowing regattas zigzag along the sea coast, driven up from the south to the north-west from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ligurian Sea.

 

 

In its surroundings, the river Canneto runs through the valley of the mills whispering ballads of the Renaissance to the famous paper bambagina. As if to recoil from our step, the fjords sag under a bright sky, caressed by the thin mist of cool winds. We hear the hum of the bees and the penetrating aroma of the Aetna’s sfusato; and from the limoncello one squeezes gently the intoxicating magma. The peninsular bowels spit the flavor and fragrance of its dashing fruits. So intense the Amalfi Republic sows the lava within the turquoise water and the cliffs that have walled it.

 

 

We sing the Falalella in the shadows of the twilight. And then there we float on the glow off the coast of Salerno, Sorrento, Positano and Ravello, which are washed with fresh drizzle. With the ebb and flow of life, the reddened clouds look at themselves in the mirror of calm waters, trailing the bay of Salerno. Amalfi, Comune of Salerno, is framed by the Region of Campania where the shrines of Herculaneum and Paestum were erected majestically . And from the ashes to the texture of mythological times, archaeological expeditions of Pompeii of the eighteenth century exhume, among many findings, paintings from antiquity which illustrate the Roman Cycle of Mysteries as well as the conquests by Alexander the Great.

 

 

The touch of ancient hands still reverberated in the movement of our senses. Sweet was the image in the vernal sun, which would bounce from ravine to ravine, teetering from staircase to staircase down to the ancestral jetty. We anchored near the dock from where the large galleys used to be dispatched. As they once did, we are now scattered, leaving behind the vision of a sirens’ paradise.

 

 

Ricardo Morin 04/20/14

 

Letter of Support from President Barack Obama

May 8, 2014
White House

Letter received on May 7th, 2014 via my personal e-mail address

NYC, May 7 2014

Honorable President Barack Obama:

Thank you for your kind and generous response. What is not being said in your response is that the United States has major economic commitments which impede to intervene in Venezuela, that in effect, if the United States were to remove a dictator who is illegitimate to boot, it would render all American contracts null and void, thus aggravating an already compromised American economy.

An American dependency on oil is the basis for this dilemma and its unwanted consequences. Yet a country like Venezuela who is in a state of chaos may not be able to meet either the American demands nor that of their own people. Ultimately, the American economic security as well as the stability of the region may depend on America being more assertive in some form of intervention.

Sincerely Yours,

Ricardo F Morin

Sublime Pearl of the Adriatic

April 27, 2014
 Hail to the Ducal Palace by the 'vedutista', symbol of Venice, Antonio Canaletto 1697-1768,


Hail to the Ducal Palace by the ‘vedutista’, symbol of Venice, Antonio Canaletto 1697-1768,

 

Before visiting the Republic of Venice, I took from memory that the Florentine Américo Vespucci had baptized my country as Little Venice. While Venice was built on a delta in the lagoon of Veneta at the edge of the Adriatic Sea, Venezuela was a parallel universe, on Lake Maracaibo at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, where native huts rested precariously on piles driven in the mud of deep waters.Unlike Christopher Columbus’ surprise and associations between Venice and Venezuela, to my mind Venice had already been extremely romanticized and idealized before I actually saw her. I knew her through pictorial illustrations, unique paintings by Giovanni Antonio Canaletto and Francesco Guardi, through the majestic engravings of Antiquity by Giovanni Piranesi and the fantastic panoramic views of the English painter William Turner. In sum, I knew her through so many artistic and poetic accolades from the echo of Thomas Mann, Nietzsche, Goethe; as Venice had been exalted by Poe as Eliseo of the oceans; by Dickens as Queen of the seas; by Herzen as madness product of genius; by Mann as half snare, half fable; as the reverie of a mirage in a lagoon, an otherworldly fantasy, the improbable city of the dramatist Carlo Goldoni, through the eyes of her beloved ones, by those who watched through the passage of centuries with such ardor, despite all the environmental challenges of our times. I now see Venice holds its charm precisely in its own fragility. Venice is so undoubtedly incomparable. Just consider the testimony of its great monuments, ancient bridges and canals, 400 and 180 respectively, invested by the magic of great perseverance and talent, which makes it logically to have been able to access the deservedly noble title of La Serenissima.

As a painter , my great interest was to see at close range, and with a magnifying view, the soft sweet colors of oil paintings by Antonio Vivarini , Pisanello , Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Jacopo Basano , Tiziano Vecelli, Palma il Vecchio, Jacopo il Furioso Tintoretto, Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veronese, and Giambattista Tiepolo–just to mention a few of the great among painters of Venice. There is nothing equal to the handling of paint, to the manipulation and alchemy of colors by the classic Venetian school, in its bittersweet characteristic spectrum that deepens the atmosphere and so generously suffusing human form as no other school has been able to. Its elegance and richness are intangible: one’s enjoyment is also unmatched. Everything in Venice speaks with a passionate and unique ancestral character. Similarly, so does its palatial architecture with a combination of various styles: the Byzantine , Muslim , Gothic, Palladian.  The latter  is denominated by the surname of the world famous Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (a Renaissance polyglot, translator of the canons of Greek and Roman antiquity) who disseminated this style throughout Europe: a legacy extended into the Neoclassical times of the 19th and 20th century.  And then, there is the exuberant style of the baroque as represented by Baldassare Longhena. Among so many things to talk about in such a short time, between such an abundance of exultation, there is still no way to do justice to Venice.Because of the physical limitations of my mother, we went to Venice for only three days; a visit that was supposed to be light. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Amadeus , within walking distance of the train station Santa Lucia from which we planned to continue on our way to Rome. The Hotel’s privileged location in the center of Venice, made it unique:  close to the Grand Canal, and a short walk to the major attractions of the Jewish Quarter, the Venice Casino, the Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco. The autumn season had fewer tourists, and many young people still enjoyed the outdoors, its many bridges, or socializing in large squares. On one occasion, we had a snack at the elegant Café Florian (open since the eighteenth century in the Piazza San Marco). Here, we were accompanied by the beautiful sound of an outdoors symphony orchestra. It was also the most expensive snack we had ever had, yet it was worth it, a truly unforgettable experience. Then we walked through the streets and labyrinthine alleyways to admire the intimate spaces and lush façades. We also had time to go by ‘vaporetto’ to the Venice Biennial: The 48th International Art Exhibition (1999) in the Giardini di Castello, located at the eastern part of the city, with a capacity of 88 pavilions, including the Pavilion of Venezuela. At the end, before our departure from Rome to Venezuela, while we waited, my mother asked for me to stand next to her; we faced a mirrored wall, and she said: this way we will always remember each other.Ricardo Morin 04/14/14

In Defense of Poetry:

April 27, 2014

Dante (detail), Domenico di Michelino, Florence 1465

Dante (detail), Domenico di Michelino, Florence 1465

Can our thoughts ever express absolute truths, or are they always just an approximation to reality?

 

In his dialogues of The Republic (circa 380 BCE), Plato (428-348 BCE) defined the value of didactic literature, especially the theological and rhetoric values, while, at the same time, citing that “there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry” (Republic, Book V, 607b5–6).

By the very use of metaphors, Plato’s Socratic-dialectic purported that poetry could only be a camouflage1; which suppressed the truth of our reality; therefore, poetry was incapable of conveying divine truths. This interpretation extended to the European Greco-Roman traditions and persisted dichotomous in contrast with the development of Medieval-religious literature of the West—paradoxically despite the dominant embeddedness of religious symbolism. It was from the thirteenth and fourteen centuries that the great Italian thinkers Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) and Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) initiated a humanizing conception of the world.  They identified themselves with a synthesis of Platonic philosophy by which metaphors in poetry were by now affirmed in positive terms.  Although they were always moved by the legacy from antiquity; they were also interested in developing new literary trends that could tear away from tradition. This epoch became known as the Renaissance2: The beginning of the era of modern literature through the metaphysical exaltation of poetry.

In De vulgari eloquentia (circa 1302), Dante Alighieri prepared an analysis of all styles and linguistic registers; but ultimately, he came close only to addressing the tragic or sublime style.  This work focused on the work of the Sicilian School and on the theme of love by the Stilnoviste.  Dante recognizes that poetry could also convey divine truth, that is, that besides being pleasant, the allegorical expression of human passions could be useful–speaking in didactic terms.

Francesco Petrarca also in La Carta X, 4 de Le Familiari (1349) addressed the question of allegory as an interpretative key to the poetry of the Middle Ages; for it established the use of allegory as the main similarity between the theological and poetic styles.  In this regard, in his view, the origin of poetry was found in a special use of language to appeal to the divine.

Then, alongside a biographical attention paid to the poet Dante, Giovanni Boccaccio also established a rigorous defense of poetry. As he put himself in an interpretative tradition of sacred as well as secular texts, he pursued in them a second level of significance.

In his plea for poetry, Boccaccio acknowledged the service it provided by exalting its powers. His treatise in Latin entitled Genealogiae deorum gentilium libri–completed in 1360, and edited until his death in 1374–, was a kind of handbook for poets and readers of poetry, relevant for transmitting classical mythology from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.  His singular defense of poetry was based on different principles; its universality, its antiquity, the respect that it had always aroused among the powerful, its divine origin away from earthly matters, etc . . ., were synthesized in the idea that poetry attracted three essential aspects: truth, beauty and fictionalization. Moreover, the discipline, study and work of the poet which provided indispensable conditions for literary creativity did not hinder a divine origin, or the revelation of that which was sublime. Boccaccio attempted thus to show that when interpreting allegorically secular texts, these were capable to reflect a moral as well as religious truth.

R.F.M. – New York City, April 27, 2014


1 Note: The term "camouflage"--the masking of nature--,which is used in The Republic, Books II, III and X by Plato (circa 380 BCE), differs from the term "mimesis" of the Greek mimēsis--in a laudable sense of imitation--which is not use until 1550.

2 Wikipedia: 'The Renaissance' is a French word coined by French historian Jules Michelet and disseminated by the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt in the 19th century. This name has been used historically in contrast to 'the Dark Ages', the term coined by Petrarca to refer to what we now call 'the Middle Ages.'

« Maria Teresa Tortolero-Rivero »

January 21, 2014
Different stages of her life

Different stages of her life

Not long ago, I shared with you the genealogy of my paternal ancestors, originating in the Canary Islands, which for six generations, dated as far back to the early eighteenth century. Unfortunately, I have not developed as complete a genealogical study on the ascendency of my maternal ancestors, but I wanted to share with you all that I’ve learned through biographical memories of my mother

Very little is known about my maternal great-grandparents, Elogio Tortolero and Paula Ojeda, except their being owners of a large estate in the south of the State of Carabobo Venezuela circa the nineteenth century. His descendants, my grandparents, Rafael Tortolero (born in 1893) and Marcolina Rivero (born in 1898), inherited extensive lands which they worked as cane growers and coffee farmers in the mountains, known as the “Fundo (buttocks) of Jorge” [taken after the name of my great-great-grand father]. The lands are officially known as “Banco Largo,” near the village of Bejuma in a beautiful region of Venezuela. Since colonial times, it was known that my mother’s family was of Sephardi Spanish origin, from the Toledo region.

Maria Teresa, as my mother had been baptized, was born near Bejuma in 1927 at a large house, which she used to describe as having seven bedrooms. Since she was a child, she wrote poems inspired by her surroundings as well as the love she received from her parents. At age 11 she lost her mother owing to eclampsia from a failed sixth pregnancy at age 39, and the following year, she lost her father from pneumonia at age 46.  As a result, between 1938-46, she attended boarding school at the Colegio de Lourdes in Valencia as ordained by her spiritual guide, “in locus parentis”, Father Francisco Martínez. At age eighteen, she completed her education as a school hygienist and secretarial accountant. The following year she contracted civil marriage to a Russian dissident, and though the marriage was consummated, her husband had unaccountably disappeared with all of her savings. As time went by, she sought out consultation from a lawyer, who eventually proposed marriage to her and became my father. They met while he was a labor union representative for the same Central Tacarigua Sugar Company near lake Valencia where my mother had started working at age 20.

My mother married my father at age 24, and after eight pregnancies, only five children survived, of whom I am the second. For eight years, between the ages of 49 to 57, she was involved in a hard-fought divorce with my father. Having been married to a lawyer for 27 years, she returned to her studies and became a lawyer at age 64 in 1991, specializing in child welfare.

In 1998 my mother stopped working as an attorney and dedicated herself to her grandchildren. In her late 60’s and early 70’s she made a concerted effort to build a corpus of her poetry. In 1999, she and I had a chance to travel in Europe for a month when she was seventy-two. The following year, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, although, in 2004, she was still well enough to enjoy meeting for the first time my partner David here in New York. She was really impressed by him and my mother-in-law Eva Lowenberger. Later in 2011, my mother dies of related advanced stages of the Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 84 years. Ever since I could remember, in addition to writing poetry, my mother delved in metaphysics and various esoteric subjects, which I believed had preserved her enthusiasm for life. She told me that she had begun to read Jiddu Krishnamurti in her twenties, and I remembered that she used to speak of him with great admiration since I was a teenager. She loved all the arts, and she liked that we were interested in them. Her encouragement led me to become an artist since early childhood. Five years before her death, she wrote:

“Wings In Flight”

Keep up the pace of your escape

in step with your fate

Your way is far and wide

and if at the first try you slide

O birdie so wounded

raise your eyes towards heaven

fear not any longer your destiny

for fleeing is a coward’s way

when it’s love that’s divine.


%d bloggers like this: