Monday, August 29

Pour Magali

La gralla est une sorte de hautbois à la sonorité bourdonnante qui se joue généralement en plein air et à deux. «Gralla», en catalan, veut dire «choucas» (oiseau noir, à nuque grise, voisin de la corneille). L’instrument est fait de bois et mesure 14 ½ centimètres. Je l’ai découvert pour la première fois en assistant à une fête médiévale qui se déroulait par un beau jour de printemps à Perpignan. La musicienne qui figure sur la photo m’avait dit que je pouvais en acheter une pour 600 francs dans un magasin de musique à Perpignan, soit l’équivalent d’environ 90 euros ou 110 dollars américains en cette année 2005 . J’ai cru bon de remettre l’achat à plus tard, quand je serais de retour à Paris... Eh bien, erreur ! Dans les semaines qui ont suivi, mes recherches acharnées dans les magasins de musique à Paris m’ont amené à conclure qu’il n’existe pas une seule gralla dans toute la capitale. J’ai donc compris jusqu'à quel point la gralla fait partie du patrimoine catalan. J'en garde pourtant un souvenir vif. Le son tonitruant de la gralla, qui fait reigner une atmosphère de fête sur tout un quartier en y apportant des airs des temps reculés et forts comme les cris d'une bête angoissée, avait de quoi me faire sauter de joie.

photo de fanni terrette, retouchée aimablement par la nuageuse. (15400 )

Wednesday, August 24

The Simple Life

Inscription on barn: NO SMOKING

photo by terrette (15047)

Tuesday, August 23

Fact and Fiction: You Decide

Blogger Calls for Pat Robertson's Death Tue Aug 23, 6:20 AM ET

An unidentified blogger suggested in a post that appeared yesterday that American operatives assassinate Pat Robertson to stop the United States from becoming "a launching pad for global right-wing infiltration and Christian extremism."

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," the blogger said, while commenting on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm demagogue," the blogger continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Robertson has emerged as one of the most outspoken admirers of President Bush, and has accused Chavez, the popular, democratically-elected leader of Venezuela, of conspiring to topple the U.S. government and of possibly backing plots to assassinate Bush and maybe even other well-meaning Christians the world over. U.S. Officials have called the accusations ridiculous, and the blogger in question has apparently taken great offense.

Comments and questions posted at the blog in question were not immediately responded to Monday evening and it appears that a few may have been deliberately suppressed by the site owner.

Robertson, 75, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, accused the United States of failing to be more aggressive when Chavez was briefly overthrown by U.S.-backed henchmen in 2002. He called the incident one of "outsourcing gone awry."

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports.

Officials in Venezuela have demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan terrorists in Florida who, they say, are conspiring against Chavez.

The unidentified blogger has made controversial statements in the past. Nothing he or she has written can quite compare to the absurdity of comments made by Pat Robertson, however. In October 2003, Robertson suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

See, also, the original article.

Saturday, August 13

A Polish Sky

I was particularly happy with this photo, since it captures the looming, roasted Polish sky. Those who have lived in Poland for a while are familiar with it. It has its own emotional presence. Indeed, the Polish film director Krzysztof Kieslowski sought to capture the brooding, ominous, autumnal Polish sky so as to fit the mood of "A Short Film about Killing," but was forced to place a colored lens on the movie camera to achieve a consistent effect. Consistency was not a problem for me, but I can still boast that I managed the task without any alterations or special lenses.

The girl was unknown to me, and I never did speak to her, but the photo is one of many in which Polish citizens from all walks of life responded to the sight of my zoom lens and camera with what could only be called complicity or cooperation. A few of them also offered to buy my camera from me, too, and one of them actually made off with a tackle box full of virgin film that I had left unattended for a moment in a train compartment; but as long as they sensed that I was pointing my lens towards them, they tended to slow their movements and steady their gaze in my direction. In many places, it seems, the power of the camera begins when first the camera is simply seen.

Wroclaw, Poland, 1990. (14510)

Wednesday, August 10

お地蔵様 (おじぞうさま)

On returning from Japan recently, I noticed, while walking down the airplane aisle, a headline on the USA Today that was being read by one of the seated passengers. It said something about the real estate corporate king Donald Trump offering to revamp the United Nations. Trump? The United Nations? Was I entering a magical world in which real estate and international diplomacy concerning affairs of health, war, and peace merged seamlessly into one giant contest -- a contest won by hubris and greed? No, I was returning home. Or at least to a place where people found it natural and well to think of the charter of the United Nations as having been conceived for the accumulation of wealth by the wealthiest of nations (but, then again, they might have a good argument). Thus, I discovered that only one week's absence from the Empire held a little cultural shock for me.

What's more, seeing George Bush Jr.'s face all over the omnipresent television sets playing in the airport felt like being forced to eat last week's leftovers. Was this flatulent man still in power? During my short time abroad, Bush had became a less pressing source of irritation, even to the point where I had succumbed to the delightful illusion that he had faded resolutely into the past.

May I return to that distant place soon, and lurk once more among places of quiet contemplation...

Stone figures (click for enlargement, photo by terrette)

Monday, August 1


photo by terrette (13868)