Thursday, 3 June 2010

lecția despre cub. addendum

Se ia o bucată de piatră,
se cioplește cu o daltă de sânge,
se lustruiește cu ochiul lui Homer,
se răzuiește cu raze,
până când cubul iese perfect.
După aceea se sărută de nenumărate ori cubul
cu gura ta, cu gura altora
și mai ales cu gura infantei.
După aceea se ia un ciocan
și brusc se fărâmă un colț de-al cubului.
Toți, dar absolut toți zice-vor:
- Ce cub perfect ar fi fost acesta
de n-ar fi avut un colț sfărâmat!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Apoi se vor îmbulzi toți
și vor fărâma toate colțurile cubului,
și-l vor colora în galben, în roz, în mov,
în verde-vomă, în maro-negru de căcat,
si în toate culorile curcubeului
și dincolo de el.
După aceea se va săruta din nou cubul
cu gura lor, a tuturor
și mai ales cu gura bălosului.
Unii, dar numai cei mai perspicace zice-vor:
- Ce cub urât este acesta
de n-ar fi iubit de toată lumea!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dar eu
desenez pe nisip un cerc
după care îl tai în două,
cu același băț de alun îl tai în două.
După aceea cad în genunchi,
după aceea cad în brânci.
După aceea izbesc cu fruntea nisipul
și îi cer iertare creatorului.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Catch the Pigeon!

In the Asylum for Cartoon Heroes, an old Dick Dastardly sits on a wooden chair against a side wall. Two lamps in the corners of the wall shine away, leaving him in a dim obscurity. The other heroes try to avoid him, finding other things to do, gathering in bunches and doing what is generically termed as "old people stuff". Dastardly is not mad, nor has he ever caused any trouble. He will answer you if you talk to him, but he is regarded as just too grumpy to be around. All will tell you that there is something on his mind, something that they just don't want to find out what it is.

There are exceptions, like our little anonymous villain that nobody can remember seeing in an actual cartoon and, thus, ignore him as well. We'll just call him Squirt. He is new to the asylum, just three weeks, and hasn't quite gotten in with the crowd. Dick Dastardly has been his idol ever since he began his career, so you can imagine his excitement when seeing him here. However, he hasn't had the guts to approach him until the ignorance of his fellow heroes had left him kind of lonely.

Dastardly didn't even notice Squirt when he first talked to him. Staring somewhere far into the room, he only moved his eyes from side to side, as though he had heard an unknown sound from somewhere. Squirt called out louder: "Excuse me, Mister Dastardly!" The veteran turned his head slowly and lowered it to where he had heard the sound. "Hmmmm?" he muttered, with an expression that, if you had known him well, you would instantly recognise as showing that he was very surprised.

"Hello, Mr. Dick Dastardly... sorry to bother you... I only wanted to...." He was interrupted by a cough. "Oh... sorry... it seems you don't want to be bothered right now."

"No, do go one, hehehe... I was just so surprised that someone would come up to me. It took me unprepared. Heheheeheheee."

Recognising Dastardly's characteristic laugh, Squirt felt more confident. "I'm a really big fan of yours and...."

"And you want my autograph. Very well."

"No, no. I just wanted to ask you a few things. It is an honour for me to talk with you."

"Aha, I see. But... who are you?"

"Oh, it doesn't matter. You've probably never heard of me."

"Very well then. What is it you wanted to talk about? Iheeheehee."

"Hahaha", Squirt laughed heartily. "That laugh may have toned down with the age, but it sure still does have that devilish ring to it." A short pause ensued as he waited for a reaction which never came. "Please tell me. You were in the races at first. But when it was going so well for you, you disappeared. What happened?"

"I won."

"....Oh....", Squirt acknowledged with a dumb look on his face for not thinking of the obvious short answer.

"Yes, I finally won. And after that it all felt so pointless. What was the meaning to cheating any more when I had proven it works? The thrill of racing was gone. There is nowhere to go from first place. I had reached the top, and the only way to go next is out. If you don't want to go back down that is, eeeheeeheeeheee."

"You are right! So then you joined the Vulture Squadron."

"Precisely. The best team I ever had and the best job, too. I could do it for days on end. And I did."

"Until you retired that is."

"Yes, yes, until I retired and came here. I have done other miscellaneous things during that period, but those were just hobbies of mine. See this medal?" He pointed to the shiny metal on his chest. "That is what symbolises my life's accomplishments and shows that I did not live with nothing to show for it." Indeed, despite being a veteran, the old man did not look run-down at all, except for the obvious wrinkles and grey moustache. The spotlessly kept uniform and the brightly polished medal, and, of course, the hearty laugh, gave the appearance of a man in almost all his powers.

"Speaking of medals... where's Muttley?"

Dastardly's eyes opened up, grew big and stared down the hall. He quickly recovered form the surprise of hearing that name after so long. "He... he..." his voice stuttered. "He died." If his eyes hadn't been dried by the sands of time, you could probably see a salty tear run down that crusty cheek. Then he continued, looking straight at a random spot on the floor. "Of old age. Dogs don't live as much as us. We buried him along with his medals. How he loved those medals! Hehehehe. He was a lovely mutt!"

"Uhm..." Realising his mistake and not wanting to stir deeper into the memories, Squirt changed the subject. "But did you ever catch that Pigeon?"

Dastardly's eyes switched to him, looking sharply through him. They blinked fast three times, then a pause, and another blink. "Er, no." he answered, with no show of emotion whatsoever.

"No?!" Squirt jumped intrigued.

"No. You can't. It's impossible."

"But... The achievements, the medal... I thought you...."

"You can't catch the Pigeon!" Dastardly pronounced categorically. "It flies high above in the sky. It has wings. It blends in with everything around it. It is part of the sky and it is the sky, in all its entirety. You can't catch the sky. Therefore you can't catch the Pigeon."

Squirt was starting to feel like he should have left his courage at home this morning and that he should have just tried to blend in with the rest of the crowd. The captain was obviously cuckoo.

"The Pigeon has wings, while we have to build these blasted machines. We can never get them right. However good we build them we can never achieve the perfection of the wings. It's like I always told Klunk: I hope this dumb invention is better than your last dumb invention. I think he finally got it."

Squirt was totally lost and had absolutely no idea what to say next. If only he could just turn around and be gone.

The window on the right wall, as Dastardly was looking, opened up and a bright light shone in. Seven trumpets blew and a splendid white bird flew in. Its feathers were impeccable, the wings sparkled as they fluttered in mid-air, delivering a delightful sound to Dastardly's ears. The flapping almost slowed down time to a halt, capturing each moment in a frame, before the Pigeon flew out the opposing window, carrying away its forever unknown message.

Dick Dastardly leaned back, exclaiming just one word: "Beautiful!", before closing his eyes and his mouth into a smile.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Fițe pascale

For none but the brave
Shall rise up from the grave
To see the Valkyries fly

Hymn of the Immortal Warriors

Am observat că e la modă să respingi sărbătorile de Paști, mai ales tradiționalul salut "Cristos a înviat!", după cum se plânge o nevastă.

Recunosc, și eu aveam o repulsie când trebuia să răspund la salut. Dar cum mie nu-mi place să fiu la modă, mi-am ridicat un semn de întrebare și am căzut pe gânduri. Repulsia mea, de fapt, nu era la mesajul în sine, ci la tot ce se învârte în jurul lui și care a făcut ca între "Cristos a înviat!" și "Trăiască nea Nicu!" să nu prea existe diferență.

Dar nu înțeleg de ce atâta scârbă față de una din cele mai tari sărbători ale anului. Așa de tare că eu o sărbătoresc de două ori, ha! Mărog, mai puțin în anii precum cel curent. După tradiție am fost la masă la taică-miu. Și în timp ce mâncam la TV au băgat scene cu Amza Pellea. Erau despre Anul Nou și ne întrebam de ce nu bagă și ei ceva de Paști. Apoi îi pică fisa lui taică-miu: "Pe atunci nu se sărbătoreau Paștele sau Crăciunul". Logic. Dar eu, mirat, întreb "Și ce făceați?". "Păi ce facem și acum, numai că nu era la TV". Adică mâncat bun și bine, vopsit și ciocnit ouă, adunat cu cei dragi la povești. Groaznic! Și dacă te simți cultural sau vrei să vezi ce face lumea bună, poți să mergi și la Înviere, să asculți muzică frumoasă, niște povețe și să dai târcoale bisericii cu lumânarea aprinsă. Și apoi la disco, normal! Mie mi se pare prea mult timp pierdut pentru prea puțin, așa că o dată mi-a fost de ajuns. Dar ideea e că a sărbători învierea lui Isus Cristos e aproape la fel de tare ca a sărbători nașterea lui Darth Vader (de fapt, tot o înviere e și asta). Dar na, probabil că Isus e mai popular. O fi de la barbă.

Una peste alta, Isus e tare. În caz că nu era evident, mai zic o dată. Isus e chiar extraordinar! A înviat! Ce poate fi mai tare de atât? A murit și s-a întors să le dea o palmă tuturor fraierilor. Probabil că de aici vine îngâmfarea asta. În loc să admirăm ce a reușit tipul ăsta, invidia ne macină, cum o macină și pe Mîță. Teribil de amuzant, dar probabil că mesajul dorit de autor era altul. Isus râde bine mersi și se înalță la cer, iar pe noi smiorcăielile ne înfig în țărână unde ne e locul.

Finalul e previzibil și nu poate fi decât o dedicație pentru toți dușmanii care crapă de ciudă că sunt muritori:

Cristos a înviat!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Up: Movie of the Year

There's no doubt about it in my mind. Up is the best movie of 2009. No hippie blue cats, nor soldiers in Iraq, nor some Illiterate Basterds, not even a fat whining black bitch, and unfortunately not even the clueless Prawns can beat the 78 year-old man on the adventure of his life.

This is not just a movie, not just a work of art, it's an ode to all art created by man. It brings together the beauty of many different works such as the Wizard of Oz (the house gets caught in a storm and then almost magically appears in the fabled land), Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World, Odyssey, Jules Vernes' books (obviously), Carmen, C. M. Coolidge, Dexter (as in Dexter's Laboratory you psychopathic serial-killer lovers! - see the episode where he makes a dog talk) and so on.

"Up" has everything! Adventure, action, battle scenes, a deep secret unknown to the common world, symbolism, witty humour, SQUIRREL!!!, tension, chase scenes, tough decisions (like in Matrix - the living being or your quest), a great story that actually makes sense, cool, lovable and smart characters, profound meanings and it's about The Meaning of Life.

When something happens in this movie, it doesn't just happen. It captures you and you move along with it. The opening part is a polished diamond in movie making. It's 15 minutes that not only narrate the whole life of a man and a woman, but sprinkle it with auditory and visual delight. The scene with old Carl waking up and coming to his porch, with Carmen playing in the background - it alone could be considered a masterpiece! If you are so stubborn as to not watch the movie, at least look at these first 15 minutes. If you watched it and were too blind to notice the brilliance, then watch it again.

The whole soundtrack is excellent. Nothing cheesy, besides that Carmen bit, it's basically the same frenchy "beginning of the cinema era" tune, but it works great with the movie's balloony narrative. There are bits here and there that you will notice, because they actually convey something to the atmosphere and are not just bolted to the movie because you need to have some music.

What I found interesting about the secondary characters is that they aren't typical. Usually in such animations, they are doofuses, that only cause havoc and somehow in the end their clumsiness saves the day. Not here. They are actually smart and do useful things. Sure, they are clumsy and say or do stupid stuff, but the creators of the movie took special care to give them another dimension as well.

The fat Asian kid, while annoying (as any child can be to an old man) actually helps a few times - he can apply a bandage, can see the storm ahead, and can even come up with such profound introspective thoughts as "I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most". Dug is probably the dumbest, but not that dumb at all if you pay attention. And he is terribly funny and lovable. SQUIRREL!!!! And finally, they gave Kevin a deeper role, of a mother lost from her children, which gives her a meaning in this whole picture, and is not just a pain in the ass, that one side wants to get rid of, while the other puts all his effort in catching it.

And now, the amazingness again. They basically took great action scenes from iconic action movies and transplanted them into the humorous world of cartoons, while keeping the tremendous joy of adventure from the originals. Does the scene where they flee from Muntz's dogs, swinging from a rope between the stone pillars look familiar? That's Indiana Jones and the Nazis. Then they took Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and turned it into a grandpa battle of epic proportions of comedy. I can't think of a single person who won't laugh when they see this scene. And what about that canine X fighter squadron, with squishy bones for gun triggers? That's pure comedic brilliance!

Finally, I'd like two end with some amazing shots from the movie, which I think alone should be regarded as masterpieces. (yes, I know, I'm repeating myself)

Compare these two:

And then these two:

I'm beginning to like this:

(If you don't what the second one is, it's from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

Ok, last one:


Ah, yes. One more thing. Catchphrases. "I see you"? Who the hell is the marketing genius who thought that one up? I'm laughing right now. Probably there wasn't enough budget because of all the state-of-the-art IMAX filming and they just jotted that one down. "Cross your heart". Now there's something all of us can relate to!

I could really dissect each and every frame of this movie, but I'm aware that I can't give the movie enough credit. Not barely! It's really that stunning, inspiring, relaxing, funny and profound!

But in the end it's just:

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
Houses in clouds....

Friday, 5 February 2010

Man in the Box

I am the Man in the Box.

I live there. The Box is my home. I grew up there. I have explored it far and wide and I now know every nook and cranny of it. I have observed its perfect angles and admired the beauty of how the lines blend into another. I have made certain deductions and I am now 100% sure that the Box is either situated on a hard surface and attracted by a massive object, or that it is moving linearly with constant acceleration, with me inside it, pinning me to one of its sides, which I call the floor.

That was a long time ago. By the end of my teens I was sure I knew all there is to know about the Box. But time and time again, it would surprise me. In fact, the surprises were so regular that their appearance wouldn't surprise me any more. I have refined theories and changed my tastes and philosophical beliefs quite a number of times.

But that all came to an end at some point. No more surprises. That is, until the really big and, dare I say it, last one. You see, attached to the sides of the Box were 11 letters. I discovered them from back when I was a kid. There was a 'D' on the floor, an 'S' on the near end and an 'E' quite close to it.

I was a youngster when I made a remarkable discovery! I had already found the 'I' and the 'G', but not others. I was bored, so I started scratching around one of the letters. Often it is the case that such destructive behaviour is what leads to advancements in knowledge. By proceeding to tear apart the very fabric, I had witnessed a very interesting property: the letter would detach from the side of the Box!

(Actually, I later thought hard about it and questioned myself whether they had this property before that day or did they somehow get it over time. I found it miraculous that I did not discover it sooner. But finally I came to the conclusion that it was irrelevant.)

I was so excited! I quickly gathered all letters I knew of and the enthusiasm pushed me to find 'N' and 'C'. The other's were harder to find. There was the 'H' that was stuck up on the ceiling. I had known about it right after the first 3 that I found, but I couldn't reach it. Was I ever so happy when I finally grew tall enough to grab it. Then there was the case of the 'O' which, would you believe it, I found in my back pocket! Now that was quite a shocker!

There was a gap between the last letter and the one before that. The fact is, I had already found the 'R', but only far later did I act upon analyzing the letters in depth and made another stupendous discovery. It is after a lot of experience and countless surprises that you come to a point where you realize there are some certain patterns all around you. That is when I turned rigorous and started studying my surroundings systematically, especially the letters. It even now amazes me that such regularity lead me to find something that was quite irregular. There is regularity in irregularity, and irregulars among the regulars. That is my current belief. The letter 'R' was in fact two 'R's stuck back to back! I checked the other letters, but 'R' was the only one with this unique property. For what purpose were there two 'R' letters I had no clue.

Soon afterwards, irregularity struck me again, but at a higher level. On opposite sides of the Box, at exactly the same coordinates from the corner (I measured this once), there were two dots. I had not thought about this before, but they could be detached the same as the letters. Incredible! Different kinds of objects, but with the same property! What beauty!

So there I was, with a bunch of letters and two dots. I scoured the edges, I travelled the Box far and wide, studied, analyzed, observed, admired, but nothing more. Nothing surprising happened again. Until now, that is. I was jumbling the letters around, when it happened. Somehow I think I put the dots in the right place. Again, I am amazed that I had not put them in that same position in one of the numerous occasions when I played with the figures before. But then again what strikes me is that I was just moving them subconsciously around. It must have been some pattern that my brain had seen and told my arms to place the figures in that way. It almost seems like something else was in control.

I had no fears, for I had no enemies. There were a spider and two cockroaches. I was frightened by them when I was a kid, even though they did nothing to me, and I would stay away from them. But after I grew up, I wasn't the bit affected by their presence.

Now, however, it is the worst feeling of my life. It rushed through my whole body at great speed. My heart started pounding hard, ready to burst out of my chest. My body followed by shaking vigorously. Not even the End would give me that kind of feeling. In fact, I am quite sure of it, it feels like there wouldn't be any End.

The ceiling of the Box split, a bright blinding light burst inside and the top gave way.

I was the Man in the Box....