Saturday, July 25, 2009

You were right and I was wrong

In a donkeyish manner (with all respect for that species), I once argued with M that El Niňo was a storm in the Pacific a year or so ago. I should have given credit to his knowledge in the realm of natural science. I should have listened to him when he tried to explain that El Niňo was the phenomenon behind that particular storm and a fundamental facet of earth’s global precipitation pattern and atmospheric oscillation. The fishermen of South America’s Pacific coast coined the term when now and then around Christmas they would get large quantities of tropical fish in their net. It is an anomalous warming of surface water, change of predominant wind direction, linked to changes in pressure at sea level (the Southern Oscillation). It became the talk of all when meteorologists reported the links between El Niňo and weather anomalies on other places of the globe. These links are known as teleconnections, a coin termed by the Swedish meteorologist Anders Ångström. Contemporary researchers assert that global warming intensifies the El Niňo events, hence generating more weather anomalies – and extreme weather – elsewhere. Just note the headlines of droughts, floods and storms. “Earth is angry” M said.
Bulgakov and astrology

Russia is a dream and fate is in the stars. Bulgakov brought the devil to Moscow in Master and Margarita, and a thread throughout his novels is just that destiny is in the stars. The devil in disguise as the mystery man Woland announces to the poor Soviet writer Berlioz that he will be beheaded because; “Mercury in the second house, moon passed… accident…” The episode is Russian literary history; Annushka spills sunflower oil over a tram crossing. Berlioz slips, falls and is beheaded by the wheel of the tram. The determinism is coined by Woland’s phrase “Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil”.

In Bulgakov’s other classic, the White Guard, a winter battle between white and red forces in the Ukraine is accompanied by the pulsating radiance of Mars, whom we know from Roman mythology as the god of war.
Russia I love you, eventhough you can be so cruel

We saw the soldiers chanting a patriotic one-liner at the change of crew at a North-Chechen check point in the movie "Blokpost". “Where there are Russians – that is Russia.” I saw the hesitant faces of young men singing along, with poorly concealed doubt to the cause they fought for. You had tears in your eyes. What did you see? – I would give a million dollars for your thoughts that moment.

Green hills, snowcapped mountains on the horizon, but nobody there to eat the mulberries.

A swallow’s flight away under grapevines covered with light blue pesticide Kostya lights up a Prima cigarette with the nostalgic and nationalistic but ad-free paper Zaftra (tomorrow) in front of him. “You know the world is run by jews…” he says. The United States runs the world and sionists run the US, he continues, only interrupted by a cough.

It is Saturday so we drink “Baltika” beer and take turns in the wood stove sauna down at the dike below the corn, the potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, apples, raspberries and much more. I really enjoy the country life. Not quiet though; dogs bark, roosters call, cats fight and children play. The old sovkhoz village now lives off men working for the energy sector in Siberia. They manage quite well. The less fortunate spend their time in the relaxed state of home-made vodka. That they can afford.

Kostya explains that in the old days everybody had jobs, lived well, there was virtually no crime and all was fine. “But you lived under a dictatorship” I replied. “Well what do we have now? Bandit capitalism, people are dying because they cannot afford their medicine. I tell you it is genocide.” Then we return to the speal about the American-sionist conspiracy which brought down the Soviet Union.

When he merits Stalin his statesmanship I of course comment the twenty million dead we know about. “When you chop wood you get some splinters” he answers.

Tollik comes by for his usual Saturday visit. He tells me he saw a documentary recently about the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia 1968. He had seen it with his own eyes back then as a Red Army tank crewman. The film’s critical and questioning approach had affected him. “It made me sick”, he said. To myself I thought it adds to the credit of Russian society that such a documentary was aired and people were coming to terms with the past.
Alla bara luras
De enda som inte luras är de lurade

Friday, July 24, 2009

Strings of beads bind people together
When cut off beautiful pearls fall into the abyss
An argument
Shakes the pretty little beads who should one day become part of the network by throwing out
A string of beads
And hope it catches on
To their love
Evil is the being
Equipped with scissors
Ready to cut the strings between others
Both lies and truths may shake the beads or even cut the thread
Honored is the builder, the lover
Who asks for nothing in return
But only reinforces other strings of beads
The only string of beads which lasts forever
Is the string of all strings