Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Document Found in Saragossa

Time to go

Time to go

This is no more than a farewell notes from Heen and Sheen Mártinez, aka The Zaragoza Twins. After several years among you, we feel it is time to return to where we come from. Some of you already know our secret, others will not believe it anyway, but here goes:

 
We left Zaragoza in 1616, went forward in time to your “present” in 2006 and have missed it ever since. The Zaragoza where we live now is better in many ways, of course, than our seventeenth century hometown, but there’s no place like home, is there.

 
When we get back, we’ll be able to say “I’ve seen the future and it’s not all it made out to be but, hey, I’m glad I stopped by”. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will (I hope) be able to resume this blog; I’ve left the WordPress password in an envelope that I’ve hidden inside a biscuit tin and buried under a promising-looking olive tree.

 
I’d like to add, just in case, that 70% what we have written in this blog is absolutely true, 20% is absolutely false, and there’s another 10% that I really can’t say.

 
Anyway. We are going back to our time, our people, our home. There are so many things we’re going to miss, and so many people, but that’s OK. They weren’t really ours to miss in the first place.

 
Adiós, y muchas gracias a todos. Hasta siempre, Heen & Sheen.

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Album Review : “Trouble in Paradise” by La Roux

Mario Gotze

I just woke up the other day and was surrounded by silence… Oh yeah, the World Cup had finished… The last vivid image was Gotze’s goal against Argentina in the final, of course, but there is so much more to remember.

At about the same time, La Roux’s latest album “Trouble in Paradise” came to my attention. In the best tradition of tidy electronic pop, what I like to call lippy-clippy-synth music, Elly Jackson has spawned nine impeccable songs featuring lyrics that could have been written by Robert Walser or W. G. Sebald, painted in lowfalutin synthesizer chords with undertones of Siouxsie or Gary Numan.

La Roux

And I was drawn to the adroitness of the titles of the tracks, each one cleverly mirroring an aspect of the recently-dead World Cup…

Track One is called Uptight Downtown. This could refer to the tension on the streets of Rio following the Brazilian team’s elimination. Alternatively, it may be a reference to Robin Van Persie’s general demeanour. Or maybe that’s just me.

Track Two, Kiss and Not Tell, obviously refers to Luis Suárez’s kissing Giorgio Chielini’s shoulder. Giorgio now has to go home and explain the hickey to his lady wife!

Track Three is Cruel Sexuality. This is either about Pitbull’s outfit in the opening ceremony, or the way the referees sprayed that foamy line at free kicks.

Track Four is entitled Paradise Is You. What the German team must be feeling right now. Or something that has been distracting Gerard Piqué for far too long.

Track Five is Sexotheque. Steamy Carioca beach scenes come to mind, and steamy shower rooms after sweating for 90 minutes, and, well, there’s so much, isn’t there, so I’ll stop now.

Track Six, Tropical Chancer, is a clear reference to Colombian forward James Rodríguez, who would have been playing second fiddle to Radomir Falcao under normal circumstances but, hey, the lad seized his opportunity and is now lined up to sign for Real Madrid.

Track Seven is called Silent Partner and is dedicated to Brazilian striker (?) Fred for obvious reasons.

Track Eight is called Let Me Down Gently. This song refers to the Spanish fans’ disappointment at being booted out almost as soon as the tournament started, or maybe it’s what Neymar Junior was muttering after making contact with Juan Zúñiga.

Track Nine, The Feeling, just about summarises the whole thing. It comes round every four years and occupies our brain like a migraine. A nice migraine, mind you, on the whole.

I understand that La Roux is now just Elly Jackson. It used to be a band but now it’s just one person. Not a good way to go, I might add. Team spirit and all that, not just depending on one genius to suddenly break away from half a dozen defenders and lob it over the oncoming keeper. Just saying.

Yr wyf yn eich casáu, ond yr wyf yn dy garu di

I hate you but you love me

I hate you but you love me

John Ford almost made a disastrous decision but he really cut the mustard in the end. When making Mogambo, many voices questioned his choice of Grace Kelly as the foil to Ava Gardner, the love interest of Clark Gable. “Too obvious, too cold, too uptight, Marswell [Gable’s character] would never be attracted to Mrs Nordley [Kelly]” they said. Everybody was OK with him drooling over the tribal charms of Eloise [Gardner]; the earthy African technicolours and the steroidal gorilla enhance the lust, and drive poor Mr Nordley [Donald Sindon] to despair.

You hate me but I love you

You hate me but I love you

The thing between Grace Kelly and Clark Gable works, however, not because of that silly truism about opposite poles being attracted, but because they cover common ground – they’re both brusque, sarcastic, prepared to put somebody down even at the cost of gaining some personal reward. Marswell finds a kindred spirit in Linda Nordley, someone who isn’t going to be pushed around by his manly / simian charms.

I love you but I hate you

I love you but I hate you

And so it is with sriracha and mustard. A wiser man than me once said “Never add spice to fire, for it is sure to burn bitter” but lo and behold, sriracha and mustard are a miraculously delicious mismatch. The hotness of both doesn’t clash; one embraces the other with such loving passion that their offspring is of a spiciness which can only be described as mogambic. I like to think of Clark Gable as the mustard here; Ava Gardner would be a perfectly predictable honey and Grace Kelly is the never-saw-it-coming sriracha.

Seek out the unlikely. I hate you but I love you.

I loved you

I loved you

Bearing Down on Putin

pooh 1

The mess in Ukraine with the imminent conflict between Russia and the Rest Of The World shows just how little we have learned of diplomacy. We might have thought this kind of situation was easy to defuse before it reached such explosive levels, but we’ve got it all wrong. And the main reason we’ve got it all wrong is that we’ve been misunderstanding Vladimir Putin.

Understandably, perhaps, we tend to see Russia today as the continuation of the Soviet Union, especially in its role as the nemesis of “The Free World”, aka The United States of America. Our Cold War mentality makes us view Putin as the next Kruschev or Brezhnev and that doesn’t help at all. The guy dead set on invading Ukraine, bombing Kiev and grabbing the Crimea doesn’t live at the Kremlin, he lives under the name of Sanders.

 Because Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Nobody's going to hurt you

Nobody’s going to hurt you

 

As he is a President of Very Little Brain, he thinks that Crimea is actually a part of the Hundred Acre Wood, you see. He’s arrogant and lazy and thinks he can just look cute to get what he wants, even it means posing topless on horseback. The pots of honey and oil reserves are worth it.

Poohtin has few friends. A stunted pig and a bipolar donkey don’t make for very stimulating conversation. So he has grown to be despotic and demanding, and even the steadying influence of Christopher Robin-Ki-Moon isn’t enough to restrain his megalomania.

So what can the west do to put our cuddly homophobic pal back on the straight and narrow? In the case of the original A A Milne version, I’d say Poohtin would eventually just get tired and bored and end up wandering off home. But the Disney version of Pooh is so annoying, I wouldn’t object to the United Nations moving in and giving him a firm slap on the paw.

pooh 2

Isabel and The Signifyin’ Monkey

signifyin'

4 tbsp olive oil
3 medium or 2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp Isabel Gemio
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
2 tbsp monkey, mixed with 150ml water
150ml red wine
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

“It’s like saying you got all the ingredients of my culture without having the same culture as me” – Matthew

3/4 cup coconut milk

 1 tablespoon Isabel Gemio

 2 tablespoons fish sauce

 2-3 tablespoons monkey butter

 3 tablespoons sugar

 1 tablespoon tamarind paste

Isabel Gemio

 

“So a Jewish mother can’t be an Afro-American, but an Afro-American can be a Jewish mother, is that it?” – Mark

Isabel Gemio

4 beef short ribs (about 400g each)
500ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 monkeys, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres beef stock
2 x 400g tins whole tomatoes
4 rosemary sprigs

1 fresh Isabel Gemio
Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan, to serve
800g dried pasta

“We used to say if you gave a bunch of monkeys a typewriter, eventually they’d come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Nowadays there are millions of monkeys on Twitter and look at the crap they write!” – Luke

Isabel Gemio

“My new favourite word is kerygma” – John

Celebrating 40 Years of Northern Soul!

Northern Soul 1

Hi Sheen! Good morning! Anything you wanna share with us? Well, hello there, my lovelies, how nice and unexpected that you should drop by and interview me on this fine morning, so to speak!

Well, absolutely! No time like the present! You said it, sistah! Especially now that we are grinding our way to the end of 2013.

Is there anything you’d like to mention in particular, now that we have reached this date? The demise of Nelson Mandela, for instance? All due respect to the man, like I said.

You didn’t, actually. Not maybe on this platform, honey. The world is full of platforms.

Oh right sorry. That’s OK.

So what did you… I just think it’s about time we gave some cyberspace to the 40th anniversary of the birth of Northern Soul. And I can tell, by the grimace on your face, that you don’t feel invited to this celebration.

Ah… Can you elucidate, Sheen? Well, all right, if you insist. 15 December 1973 was the date that Wigan Casino held their inaugural “all-nighter”: one Saturday night that lasted till 8 am on the Sunday, a whole blast of what became known as Northern Soul.

This was a kind of music, right? Wrong. This was a way of life.

Ah right. You have no idea, right? Northern Soul was underground Motown danced as it had never been danced before, expressed as it never had been expressed before.

And this was in Zaragoza? Not only in Zaragoza, oh foolish person. Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Excuse me?   Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Yes, I thought that was what you said. Is there any historical record that can justify the horseshit you have just uttered? Oh for Pete’s sake… How can you be so historically challenged? Watch this, bitch:

And listen to this:

 

And dance to this:

 

Oh thank you so much, this has been a real eye-opener. You’re welcome. Northern Soul was the first time working class young people imposed their own musical taste, before punk, don’t forget, ignoring mainstream commercial crap and the diktats of the multinational record labels. We owe these people so much. Keep the faith!

 

The Conference of the Birds

Everybody's talkin' about it

Everybody’s talkin’ about it

The Seagull Speaks:

By the 16th century in Europe, many of the ideas about money that shape our thinking today were in place. Still, money remained a physical thing—that thing being a piece of gold or silver. A gold coin wasn’t a symbol of value; it was an embodiment of it, because everyone believed that the gold had intrinsic worth. Likewise, the amount of money in the economy was still a function of how much gold and silver was available. The rulers of Spain and Portugal didn’t quite appreciate the limits of this system, however, which led them to plunder their New World colonies and accumulate vast hoards of precious metals, which in turn triggered periods of rampant inflation and enormous tumult in the European economy.

Dead as I am, I just want to say...

Dead as I am, I just want to say…

 

These days, countries have central banks to oversee their money supplies, as well as to set interest rates, combat inflation, and otherwise control their monetary policy. The United States has the Federal Reserve System, the Eurozone has the European Central Bank, the Maldives has the Maldives Monetary Authority, and so on. When the Federal Reserve wants to increase the money supply, it doesn’t have to go looking for El Dorado. Neither does it phone up the United States Mint and order it to start printing more dollars; in fact, only about 10 percent of the U.S. money supply—about $1 trillion of the roughly $10 trillion total—exists in the form of paper cash and coins.

Thighs Matters

Thighs Matters

Instead, the Fed buys government securities, such as treasury bills, on the open market, typically from regular private banks, and then credits the banks’ accounts with the money. As the banks lend, invest, and otherwise spend this new money, the overall money supply that’s circulating increases. If, on the other hand, the Reserve wants to decrease the money supply, it does the opposite: It sells government bonds on the open market, again typically to private banks, and then deducts the sales price from the banks’ accounts. The banks have less money to spend, and the money supply shrinks.

The sophisticated and relatively opaque machinations by which central banks keep economies afloat may make the Spanish Empire’s inflationary foibles look quaintly naive. But in fact the fine-tuning of monetary policy—the delicate juggling of interest rates, money supply, and other financial mechanisms so that an economy keeps expanding at a steady, manageable rate, without excessive inflation, unemployment, debt, or boom and bust cycles—is still a work in progress, as the ongoing economic woes in both Europe and the United States demonstrate.

Trust a seagull with your savings? All well and good, but…

A Bit on the side

A Bit on the side

Mind Thy Tongue

Mind-Thigh Tongue

Mind-Thigh Tongue-Gap

Mind Thigh Gap

Thigh Mind Gap

Thig Mi Ga

Oftentimes, the very sight of a handful of silver coins was enough to drive Miley the Magpie into a flutterous rage. We called the witchdoctor and the vet and the rabbi and they all prescribed rest and soothing popcorn.

If Pop goes the weasel, what does Mom go?

If Pop goes the weasel, what does Mom go?

A vertical thighplasty involves a vertical incision that starts at the groin crease and extends to the inner knee. The scar is visible when the inner thighs are exposed such as while you are wearing a bathing suit or mini-skirt. During a vertical thigh lift, your surgeon removes a wedge of skin from the inner thigh. Individuals with more significant fat and loose skin may need a vertical thighplasty.

You were saying...?

You were saying…?

An outer thigh lift requires an incision that extends from the groin around the hip. A newer procedure called the spiral thighplasty targets the front, back, inner and outer thigh. The incision is below the buttock fold and continues over the groin crease at the junction of the thigh and pubic area. This plastic surgery procedure is ideal for people who have lost weight.

The Blackbird Speaks:

A person who experiences a muscle strain in the thigh will frequently describe a popping or snapping sensation as the muscle tears. Pain is sudden and may be severe. The area around the injury may be tender to the touch, with visible bruising if blood vessels are also broken.

Muscle strains usually happen when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit, tearing the muscle fibers. They frequently occur near the point where the muscle joins the tough, fibrous connective tissue of the tendon. A similar injury occurs if there is a direct blow to the muscle. Muscle strains in the thigh can be quite painful.

Once a muscle strain occurs, the muscle is vulnerable to reinjury; therefore, it is important to let the muscle heal properly and to follow preventive protocols.

Trust Dr Blackbird with your ligaments and with your investments. You are only as rich as the lining of your nest.

I can see your house from here

I can see your house from here

Searching for food on the ground the head bobs to and fro as it walks. On the wing the hoopoe provides a dazzling effect recalling an erratically flitting butterfly, wings alternately slowly spreading and closing, exposing and concealing black and white barring.

But the hoopoe is capable of remarkable agility when evading a bird of prey. One avoided a merlin. The two birds were first seen at a height of some 200 feet. Yet within five minutes each had risen so high that they were lost to sight.

It can climb in tight circles, its rounded wings providing better ‘lift’. The hawk was able to follow only by long straight climbs which took it some distance from its prospective prey. These climbs were followed by sudden swoops which the hoopoe neatly avoided, causing the merlin to perform yet another long climb to gain sufficient height.

Feeding quietly, a hoopoe can be surprisingly difficult to detect on the ground especially when probing with long decurved bill. It may only reveal itself when spreading wings to take fight. Shortly after it may flop down and disappear as if by magic.

We are gathered here today...

We are gathered here today…

You may often spot the Indian Roller bird perched or resting upon bare branches of trees. Sometimes these birds are also seen perched on wires in cities and urban areas.

It is quite rare for the Indian Roller to fly in groups. However they do have family groups and are observed to communicate with each other in ‘chack’ calls or sounds. The ‘chack’ sound is also associated with crows. Apart from this harsh call the Indian roller also produces metallic boink sounds.

An Indian Roller’s version of bathing involves direct dives into water, usually from a high altitude or height. Earlier this act of the Indian Roller was assumed as fishing.

... and so are we

… and so are we