Thursday, June 30, 2005

A caveat and a lagniappe

On the off-chance that one or two come here seeking the translations of the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona - I will, always, post them as I complete them. However, given the length, the importance and the variety of voices contained within, they will generally be completed the day following their release. For example, Part 2, which was released today, will be completed and posted tomorrow.

And just a note about voice. The Comandancia has never been but one voice, even when they "speak" with one. You will see this, if you listen.

A gift if you are in dire need of a serious dose of wide-ranging wit, intelligence, amusement, wisdom, words and such. Arts & Letters Daily. I use it as my homepage.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona

The entire Declaration, Parts 1 through 3, can now be found, holding pride of place, in the Library.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A little fun

Just a quickie.

As a gift for any of our friends in the States who may, inadvertently or without choice, have the telly on this evening during El Presidente's speech. And who may be rather reckless of spirit...

A very silly parlour game that might be quite appropriate for this evening. Do check it out:

The State of the Union Drinking Game.

Sources and the fire this time

A quick note on the translations, news sources, vacation plans and such.

If you missed it below, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN will be issuing a Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona - in several parts - over the next few days. I will do the translating, as I do, as quickly as I can and post them here immediately. For those of you who have been with us for a while, you understand the import. For those who are newly engaged...trust me. And, if you have any questions...ask.

You also may wish to scroll down to my first longish post for sites of interest. CIZ is now back up, though they are referring to the Frente for EZLN communiques. As for newspapers and agencies, there isn't too much good out there in English. El Universal, a Mexican daily, has an English version, but also a very unsavory bias. The advantage is that they keep up with breaking news, and the sources are often wire services.

Much better, and a must read, is the Guardian. They have been covering events the last week, and I should imagine they'll continue to do so.

There are excellent papers in Spain, Italy, France and Mexico, of course, that will be doing a damn fine job.

In Mexico, it's La Jornada, always.

In Italy we have La Repubblica and Il Manifesto.

In Spain, Rebelion is a marvelous source for news, opinion and articles from everywhere.

And tomorrow, time permitting, I'll try to post a few options for revolutionary tourism [and to think they tried to use that as an aspersion]. Just in case you don't have your summer plans quite firmed up yet.

There. And now we can do our needlework, carouse, read Ovid, work, tend our gardens, download Coldplay, pull out our crucibles and prepare for the alchemy to come.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cluedo and bittersweet

I've been meaning to make a comment about the comments. I find it incredibly cheering to see such an abundance of good and engaging words. And I'm especially appreciative since one apparently has to start one's own blog in order to post a comment. Muchísimas, compas, como siempre.

Now to chocolate. I would never dream of wasting anyone's time by waxing poetic about the stuff itself. My only issue of concern has always been where to get it. It's quite simple if one is fortunate enough to reside in France or Spain - you can just pop around the corner to your local bakery or patissiere. But in Ireland and the States, it's much more problematic. So, as a gesture of goodwill, I'm providing two purveyors. In Europe - and they are also shipping to the States now - we have the most holy of holies, Debauve & Gallais. 72/85 and even, shudder, 99% cacao. Obscenely expensive, of course, but one can always lust.

Also, in the States, is Guittard. Not great, only slightly better than Ghirardelli, but there it is.

Now, snuggling in here, ...board games. Nothing, in my lifetime, has ever come close to rivaling ouija boards and Cluedo, or Clue as they call it in the States.

Except Diplomacy, which is apparently still being produced, but that's much more than a game. I would recommend it most highly to anyone with a desire to actually...be effective and/or victorious in almost any arena. I can think of a handful of boys, in particular, who would do well to play. After all, not everything can be learned from DOA manuals or one's homies.

Then again, I like to win.

But back to bittersweet and Cluedo. Miss Scarlet may be a transparent tart, Professor Plum a pompous ass...but all the more satisfying, then, to find them out. There are nights - and not a few - that can be borne just by remembering that Conservatories and Libraries do, in fact, exist...

As for ouija boards, I think they serve to remind us of our innocence.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The joy of gossip & the fear of labyrinths

We are being urged to avoid "idle speculation" concerning the latest communiques and simply await the words to come.

"Esperar", as someone who has reason to be breathless just noted breathlessly in La Jornada.

But I have seen no prohibitions against gossip, idle or otherwise. Thus the reference in the above line. There are just a handful of persons in this universe who would understand this tidbit, and I'm quite certain they won't be reading me...thus I assume I can get away with it.

And a bit more, perhaps, but first I'll divert with some very idle chatter about labyrinths.

We are supposed to love labyrinths, I know. They are thought to be evocative, intellectually nuanced, challenging, fraught with Deeper Meaning. And I do love Borges of course. In fact, I love him so much that I even once managed to take sherry with him.

But beyond Borges there's little good to be found. Ariadne, of course, ended up with that swine Theseus after she helped him find his way out of one. Now, granted, she ended up with Dionysos - the most fanciable male creature ever created - but, nonetheless, minotaurs, thankless heroes and abandonment do not sound like fun.

Then there is the "Maze." My compatriots will know of it and will know how "well" it served its horrid purpose.

Beyond that, what? Parlour games, of the laddish sort. Paint-by-numbers paradigms for giddy graduate students struggling with their thesis.

But much more to the point is that they make no sense whatsoever in a garden. And gardens are meant to be beautiful and to be cultivated seriously and endlessly and passionately. They look strange and threatening from level ground. Dark, high, sternly sculpted yews, casting nothing but shadow.

Shadow and fear. That must be it. The possibility that really is what it is. The nightmare of there being no way out, not a riddle to be solved but an endless, pointless maze of undergrowth or neatly shorn hedge, passeig that circle back into each other. No way out, no reason to be there.

Therefore, on to something that is quite the opposite. Deeply human, actually resonant, thoroughly un-intellectual and very much fun. Yes, gossip.

The A List is not only superb and huge, it's alphabetized for god's sake. Thus, if you're craving something unsavory, or interesting, about someone in particular, it couldn't be easier. And, on the off-chance that you're male, or from the Western hemisphere, or feeling guilty for whatever reason, this lovely academic site, Mobile Gossip, will lend you the courage you need to soldier on.

As for real-time dish of the sort I mentioned far above...

Tomorrow, whenever it comes, perhaps we can discuss board games, chocolate and tedious caricature.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Means of escape

Despite the news of the day [and the news is in the post below], I did promise an evening of detection and escape. Escape is a lovely thing, and absolute escape never corrupts, at least if it is...temporary.

Novels of detection conjur finite worlds and beg us to enter through positing a question, a riddle, a dilemma to be solved. Perfect, always.

I tend to prefer the classic English "country house" genre written by very smart women or anything by Collins or Doyle. I am so very easy.

Dorothy Sayers is beyond perfection. Deconstructing Dante by day, concocting Lord Peter Wimsey by night, sigh...such a Lord and such a lady.

Not to neglect Margery Allingham or, god knows, Mary Roberts Rinehart -she of the florid, 30's book jackets and pencil-sketched floor plans [if I were Empress, every book ever written would have a floor plan and a List of Characters].

There is much about the most dear Manuel Vázquez Montalbán's [who, as we know, is still with us] books which I find a tad off-putting. Most particularly his obligatory [one per novel] sex scenes. They are all the same and profoundly unconvincing. But he walks the streets I know and love, and he is passionate about his food and his loyalty. I should like to run into him someday in La Boquería, where we could exchange recipes and gossip.

In a perfect world, or parlour, I might be knitting whilst being read to [it would have to be Sherlock Holmes, and the accent would have to be public school]. The very best free patterns for very femme sweaters can be found here. I thank them constantly.

In an imperfect world, one might be stiching up corsets while watching Mystery Theatre or fashioning masks while listening to Puccini or Coolio. I adore Coolio, who [as Bono once said about himself] has not a cool bone in his body.

But if one wished to be literal, daring and less demure, there are very real places...unknown, unexplored, untrod.

And, if its 2 AM, I can recommend a certain similar haunt not that far from La Boquería. Everyone requires a place like this. Where you must ring a buzzer on an unmarked door, be led up a set of winding, ill-lit stairs and be allowed to drink with the owner until he tires of you. Most especially if it's in the Plaza Real and next to your favorite cafe and most-loved club. But, if you venture there prior to 2 in the morning, you must be a "member", pay a cover charge and swear allegiance to all the Holmesian paraphernalia. The Pipa Club. The owner can be a bit of an ass, but the jazz groups often stay late and the drinks are eminently cheap.

Tomorrow we can contemplate the internal consulta and, perhaps, why I despise labyrinths.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

EZLN: A letter of explanation...or, perhaps, farewell

This is a lengthy, embracing and emotive communique, an interesting preamble to the Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona.

It's in the Library now, and well worth a second peek.

A new letter

Yes - a letter, not a communique - and a lovely one at that. Not a farewell note...except for some. I will have it up as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A quiet evening in

Never fear, I will continue doing, and posting, the translations - but back to the original intent of this place.

A world - or a parlour - where civility can coexist with rebellion, poetry with subversion. And yes, seduction with revolt...

I would first suggest a visit to Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. Just to get things off to the proper start.

Then, if it's poetry we're after, and god knows I am tonight, Ovid would be a delight. No one has ever mastered and murmured the arts and strategems of love - in all its guises - quite so well. And it's a fairly easy transition from the rumblings of the last few days to Ovid's lines. But there is a genius of difference between Sun Tsu and the Art of Love...

Apollinaire would be welcome for those who may be fancied difficult but who are, in fact, the soul of simplicity.

Pedro Salinas for when the dark falls and love is both there and here.

And Rimbaud, most certainly, for drunken boats and broken promises.

Ruben Dario for any princesas feeling a tad triste.

Time, perhaps, for those still standing, for a visit to the Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade. Fine, fine fellows they are.

There is so very much more.

Tomorrow a bit of needlework and codebreaking with Wilkie Collins and Vázquez Montalbán.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Comandancia and Survival

This communique is a bit of a postscript to the previous one.

You will find it in the Library.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Red Alert

This is the startling communique that was issued declaring a Red Alert throughout zapatista territories.

It can now be found in the Library.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hacks, whores and the deeply personal

A new communique arrived early this afternoon. I don't think I'll have time to translate it, but I can certainly give you the Cliffs notes.

It's an exegesis on the current political landscape in Mexico, most especially in the run-up to next year's federal elections. [On a deeply personal and self-serving level, I do not much enjoy Mexican national elections. I was living in Dublin during the last one, sharing the same county as that expatriated swine Carlos Salinas. I came to assume that his goons are given carte blanche there. Not a surprise, of course, but also not pleasant at all.]

But back to The (Impossible) Geometry (?) of Power in Mexico by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

The PAN sucks. The PRI sucks even more. The PRD sucks beyond all measure. But Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the devil's own spawn. And, as for our PS, the Good Government Juntas are no longer having any truck whatsoever with the state government. For a number of reasons, but the one that leaps off the page is that said state government employees are squandering the state budget on ladies of the night. My goodness. How much can the courtesans possibly be charging? Ah well, enough, apparently, to no longer be considered los de abajo. But reassuring, somehow, to learn that there is no glass ceiling for whoring in Chiapas.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Myth-making and sex

Boys like cosmology - creation myths that start with thunder, chaos, vast panoramas. Canvases that wrap around the studio. Or the globe. And then they people them with gods that lust for archetype, always quite certain that their own little selves will first be invisible, then annointed with the glory they've spewed, the smoke and mirrors they've concocted.
Unfortunately it very rarely works. Homer, perhaps, had it right, but nowadays it's very difficult to hide behind the special effects.
Girls, on the other hand, tend to start with domestic detail. The sharp heat of fire on the stove or in the hearth. The icy shudder of terror when it wanes in hearth or heart. Or the careful calculus of a suitor's estate [Jane Austen, always]. Emotion are registered, rooms are given measure. By revealing all, by baring themselves to ridicule and bullets, they become invisible. And - if they are lucky and good - the myth, the archetype, the story, is all that remains.
Which means, among other things, that I would much rather polish the silver than watch that excruciatingly dreadful "epic sweep" of a Western folly that Spielberg has on the airwaves right now. It serves just to creep me out with visions of how else the poor boy is managing his midlife issues.
There is a point here, and I have no problem whatsoever with gratuitous gossip, but that will come later.
I am suggesting the need for more anima - and less animus - projecting for the "left."
Perfume instead of smoke, kohl-rimmed eyes in lieu of mirrors.

Undressing and some housework

There seems to be little protocol for unmasking, not much in the way of guidelines for archetype shifting...
Nonetheless it's obvious to me that one requisite step is the sorting of the translations. Or, at the very least, pointing in their direction. Unfortunately the task has become increasingly difficult. Many of the most faithful sites are down, others are wan and neglected.
The best collection had been gallantly and relentlessly maintained by the Irish-Mexico Group, but their server has recently been handed subpoenas by the FBI, and now it would appear that they are sans tierra.
One can always start with the EZLN site, but it's a bit sporadic, and very few of the latest translations have been posted.
The Frente - the Zapatista Front of National Liberation - page has been evolving at a most dynamic and relentless pace, rich with content and strewn with diversions. Again, though, the posting of the translations is often sporadic, but they are doing better than the rest.
Even CIZ - the Zapatista Information Centre - is down right now, but I imagine not for long.
There are many other pages of interest, of course, some much better than others, but at the moment I'm most concerned with finding a home for the words in English.
Later I shall move on to such entertaining topics as the dreariness of caricature; seduction and revolt; civility and literature. Moving, always, between parlour and boudoir.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


irlandesa, more or less Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 11, 2005