We decided to name our worldwide stringer section after Graham Greene's novel "Our Man in Havana," which is a story about Jim Wormold, a British man who is the Havana representative of a vacuum cleaner company. His daughter Milly, 17, spends a lot of money, so he accepts a position working for the British secret service, yet has no idea what is wanted of him. He must send in reports, however; so he fills them with inventions and fantasies.

Yup. Sounds like us.


'The other day I was offered money... to get information.'

'What sort of information?'

'Secret information.'

'You are a lucky man, Mr. Wormold. That information is always easy to give.'


'If it is secret enough, you alone know it. All you need is a little imagination, Mr. Wormold.'

-- Graham Greene, Our Man in Havana



Our Man In Moscow

Slava Glazychev

The Chronotopics -- November 6, 1998

I hadn't been to Kiev for ten years, so my eyes were hungry to check for signs of Change. The Kreshatic (main street) walkways are covered by stones instead of bitumen, and that has stressed its domesticity, inherent even to its Stalinist decorum. The whole set of technical communications was replaced too. All of it - 1500 yards - for $34 million US dollars (compared to Moscow - next to nothing). Moscow prices at a redecorated restaurant - now named Chateau de Fleurs. Michael the Archangel on top of a modest column and a Classic Milestone with distances from Kiev to other Capital Cities engraved, stand side by side at the former October Square. A huge figure of Lenin that stood just opposite this brand new Centricity Signum disappeared, so its empty base does not close a beautiful lawn running down from the hotel that used to be named after Moscow.


Вячеслав Глазычев -- November 6 1998

Я не был в Киеве десять лет и жадно ловил знаки перемен. Тротуары Крещатика вместо асфальта выстелены бетонными плитами, что сразу подчеркнуло домашний оттенок, всегда присущий его сталинскому архитектурному убранству. Заодно переложили все коммуникации. Все вместе, на почти километре длины - за 34 миллиона долларов (по московским аппетитам - даром). В редекорированном кафе - теперь Chateau de Fleurs - московские цены. На бывшей Октябрьской площади не без забавности соседствуют Архангел Михаил, водруженный на вершине невысокой колонны, и римской модели круглая стойка, на цоколе которой помечены расстояния от Киева до всех прочих столиц мира. Огромного вождя напротив новообозначенной срединности нет, и опустевший постамент открыл за собой зеленый скат газона, что и прежде круто опадал от гостиницы, ранее именовавшейся "Москва."


Gold everywhere -- October 17, 1998

Golden leaves, I mean, so in spite of daily mishaps people just can’t take them to heart as much as they deserve. Everybody knows that time runs faster in Russia - in only ten years we’ve lived the equivalent of 25 years in other places. So now we are witnessing a new phenomenon -- every other Young Professional, a Russian version of the Yuppie, is now queuing to be registered as "unemployed."

The balloon burst, so all the accountants and consultants and advertising people and sales managers who have felt on top, have fallen hard on their muscular asses. Nothing good about that, as they are taking with them a tenfold number of hairdressers and waiters and.... It is not yet seen on the surface, but if this goes on for several months some of the brand-new offices and bars are doomed for disregard and decay - and you know that the most unlucky feature of high-tech architecture and design is the fact that they just can’t grow old with dignity.


Hot and Cool -- October 7, 1998

I’ve just returned from Krakow, Poland, where the Woodrow Wilson Alumni Association held its meeting under a nice title: "Reconciliation in Europe." So, we’ve reconciled successfully, and in the meantime I’ve had firsthand experience -- the last time I was in Poland was in memorable 1981, two months prior to Jaruzelsky’s attempt to save socialism from the Solidarity movement. I could hardly believe my eyes: our Polish brothers have changed their affections from everything chic to a blanket modesty, hard work and the accumulation of money. Shopping districts, their windows and interiors are modest. A lot of new inexpensive cars, both local Fiats and imported. Not many stupid "castles," but instead - new roofs, and new fences, and new windows in old structures.


Too Quiet -- September 21, 1998

And so, people are trying to learn new/old ways of life. It is already clear that the government is starting to print more money - to pay old debts to pensioners, teachers, medics, the military...just as much as it is already clear that the ruble will answer, and overwhelming inflation will fall upon our collective necks like an ax. Prices will climb 50% to 100% at best.

The worst of the things that are already clear is that the banks are to use the damned process to "clear" their own debts, picking our pockets as usual. This is felt immediately. Imported cigarettes (mostly produced locally, in Petersburg) are sold for twice their normal price. At least 2000 journalists have recently been thrown out into the streets in Moscow - newspapers are being closed as paper and printing costs are getting more expensive, while advertising is diminishing and the sponsors are withdrawing. The number of long trucks on the roads has dropped tenfold. Restaurants are empty.


Too Quiet (Greek version) -- September 21, 1998

Κι έτσι, οι άνθρωποι προσπαθούν να μάθουν νέους/παλιούς τρόπους επιβίωσης. Είναι ήδη φανερό ότι η Κυβέρνηση άρχισε να τυπώνει νέα χαρτονομίσματα - για να πληρώσει τα παλιά χρέη στους συνταξιούχους, τους δασκάλους, τους γιατρούς, το στρατό … όπως είναι ήδη φανερό ότι το ρούβλι θα απαντήσει και ο ολοένα αυξανόμενος πληθωρισμός θα πέσει επάνω στα λαιμούς μας σαν τσεκούρι. Οι τιμές θα ανέβουν κατά 50% με 100% στην καλύτερη περίπτωση. Το χειρότερο από όλα αυτά που είναι ήδη φανερά είναι ότι οι τράπεζες θα χρησιμοποιήσουν την καταραμένη διαδικασία για να "καθαρίσουν" τα δικά τους χρέη, σκαλίζοντας ως συνήθως τις τσέπες μας. Αυτό το καταλαβαίνουμε αμέσως. Τα εισαγόμενα τσιγάρα (που τα περισσότερα παράγονται εδώ, στην Πετρούπολη) πουλιούνται σε τιμή διπλάσια από την κανονική τους. Τουλάχιστον 2000 δημοσιογράφοι διώχτηκαν πρόσφατα στη Μόσχα - οι εφημερίδες κλείνουν, αφού το χαρτί και η εκτύπωση ακριβαίνουν όλο και περισσότερο, ενώ οι διαφημίσεις μειώνονται και οι χρηματοδότες απομακρύνονται. Ο αριθμός των νταλικών στους δρόμους έχει μειωθεί κατά δέκα φορές. Τα εστιατόρια είναι άδεια.


Liian Hiljaista (Finnish version) -- Syyskuun 21., 1998

Ja ihmiset yrittävät oppia uusia/vanhoja tapoja elää. Se on jo selvää, että valtio alkaa painaa lisää rahaa –maksaakseen vanhat velat eläkeläisille, opettajille, lääkäreille, armeijalle…ihan niinkuin on jo selvää, että rupla vastaa ja valtava inflaatio putoaa kollektiivikauloillemme kuin kirves. Hinnat nousevat 50%-100% parhaimmillaan.

Pahin niistä asioista, jotka ovat jo selviä, on se, että pankkien pitää siinä pirun prosessissa  "selvittää" omat velkansa, kaivaen meidän taskujamme, kuten tavallista. Tämä on heti nähtävissä. Maahantuodut savukkeet (enimmäkseen paikallistuotantoa, Pietarista) myydään tuplahintaan normaaliin verrattuna. Ainakin 2000 journalistia on potkaistu viime aikoina kadulle Moskovassa – sanomalehtiä lopetetaan, kun paperi- ja painatuskulut kallistuvat ja mainostaminen vähenee ja sponsorit perääntyvät. Pitkien rekkojen lukumäärä teillä on pudonnut kymmenittäin. Ravintolat ovat tyhjillään.


The Bear has gotten old -- September 11, 1998

I am extremely satisfied that my prognostics proved false. The old bear is like Akeela the Wolf from Kipling’s Jungle Book. Yeltsin succumbed to pressure from the cautious inner circle, sacrificed brutish Chernomyrdin for an armistice with the Parliament and pushed forward a silent old-timer - Primakov, a clever man. You know that from the media, we know it from the ruble/dollar relation (the dollar lost 10% again, although the prices stand still). But the world does not know that Russia was on the very verge of severe turbulence - because the federal government does not possess either authority or strength, that one needs to risk the state of emergency. Slowly but steadily we are heading to a kind of confederation as the provincial governors strive for bigger autonomy, or rather they are pushed to it by necessity.


Wheel of Fortune -- September 8, 1998

Living in Russia one gets used. Especially when one is already 58 which means getting used many times everywhere, and yet in Russia that was enough to:


Умение держать паузу -- September 8, 1998

Все же, если к несчастью нашему, Ельцин после выборов 96-го - напрочь неадекватный лидер нации, то к нашему восхищению он - действительно масштабный режиссер политтеатра. Не удивляет, что Гос.Дума в самоослеплении напрочь не в состоянии адекватно оценивать структуру психики президента, на полном серьезе обсуждая кандидатов в премьеры (не озаботившись даже узнать их мнение по этому поводу). Изумляет скорее легковерие телекомментаторов, хотя иллюзорность их профессионализма являет собой секрет разве что для них самих и вовсе наивных зрителей.


Our Man In South Korea

Ed Sloan

So Many Corn Dogs, So Little Time -- March 1998

At the beginning of October, Korean students were studying into the early hours of the morning. They were busy trying to do that last bit of 'cramming' before test time. A student's grade comes from this test. There are no grades for homework, classroom, or attitude. This test is sink or swim! And the competition is fierce! Students have private teachers in English, Korean, math, etc... To go onto the next level of education (middle school to high school, or high school to university), a student must score in the top percentile. As they move up, the competition gets tougher. The American idea of an equal education for all students doesn't apply here. A great middle school means a great high school, and this means a great university and a great job! The same can be said for good, fair, and poor schools.


So Viele Corn Dogs, So Wenig Zeit -- March 1998

Anfangs Oktober, Koreanische Studenten studierten bis in die frühen Morgenstunden. Sie waren beschäftigt, im letzten Moment noch vor der Prüfungszeit zu stucken. Die Note ‘A’ kommt von so einem Test. Es gibt keine Noten für Hausarbeit, Arbeit im Klassenzimmer oder Verhalten. Diese Prüfung bedeutet Sinken oder Schwimmen. Und die Kompetition ist hart! Studenten haben Privatstunden in Englisch, Koreanisch, Mathematik, usw... Um in die nächst höhere Schule eintreten su können (niedere Gymnasium ins höhere Gymnasium, oder Gymansium auf die Universitat) ein Student muss zu den besten Studenten zählen. Je höher die Schule, umso härter die Kompetition. Die Amerikanische Einstellung für eine ebenbürdige Schulung für alle studenten kann hier nicht angewendet wereden. Eine grossartige Mittelschule heisst ein grossartiges Gymnasium heisst eine grossartige Universitat und einen grossartigen Job. Das Gleiche kann Mann für gute, mittelmässige und schlechte Schulen sagen.


EKSAMINASYON! -- March 1998

Ang mga estudiyante sa Korea ay nagsisimula ng mag-aral kahit  madaling araw pa lamang. Sila ay naghahanda na ng mabuti para umasa.  Karamihan sa mga estudiyanted ay mayroon private na guro sa Ingles,  Koreano, Math, at sa iba pa....para makatungtong ng kolehiyo. Mahirap  ang compentensiya habang tumataas ang grado ng mga estudiyante. Sa  America, pag-natapos ka ng high-shool at kolehiyo ay makakakuha ka na ng  trabaho.  


Our Woman In Italy

Maria Lamkin

Unpredictable Italy -- January 2000

At the beginning of 1999 Roberto Benigni and his Oscar Prize called attention to and renewed the interest in Italy’s actors and movie production. His “La Vita è Bella” is an homage to those who suffered the atrocities of WWII. Roberto’s enthusiasm on finding out about the award was typically Italian – witty, contagious, unrestrainable. Thank you, Roberto.

Imprevedibile Italia -- Gennaio 2000

Agli inizi del 1999, Roberto Benigni ed il suo Premio Oscar hanno suscitato attenzione e rinnovato interesse verso gli attori e la produzione cinematografica italiani.  Il suo “La Vita è Bella” è un omaggio a quanti hanno subito le atrocità della seconda guerra mondiale.  L’entusiasmo di Roberto alla notizia del premio era tipicamente italiano: spiritoso, contagioso, irrefrenabile.  Grazie, Roberto.


Summer In Italy -- July 1999

Italy is one of the countries characterized by what Byron termed "hot sultry climate" (Don Juan). Several things come to mind for those who visit this country in summer. The first is a warning: Italy has some 55,000,000 inhabitants and you may feel that they are all on the road as you are stuck in traffic. If you plan on driving around, especially near any seaside resort areas, give yourself plenty of time. Consider, too, that in the past Italy was notorious for shutting down all activities for the month of August. As the requirements and difficulties of economy and finances have grown, this custom has lost most of its appeal. Nowadays, a good number of factories or industries close during this month, but others do not. The Italians now take turns for their summer holidays; they may take shorter vacations or even decide to subdivide their annual leave (which lasts an average of thirty days) into more than one period during the year, so as to be able, for example, to go skiing in winter. This new social phenomenon has also made life more enjoyable both for tourists and for those who remain behind in big cities. Now, as a matter of fact, you can rely on restaurants, bars, and all sorts of shops to stay open throughout this season.


Pasqua di Resurrezione: The Easter tradition in Italy

April 2000 (English version)

Easter derives from a pagan festival devoted to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of springtime and sunrise. This divinity was called Eostre, a denomination that derived from the word east (where the sun rises). Every spring northern European populations held this festival to honor the awakening of life in nature, but the date on which it was celebrated differed from place to place. With the beginning of the Christian era the rising of the sun and the rebirth of nature were associated with the resurrection of Jesus. For the early Christians Easter fell on the same date as Passover, a traditional Jewish feast. Then in 325 A.D. a council of churchmen decreed that this festivity should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after March 21. Being as it is celebrated on a Sunday that may fall anywhere between March 22 and April 25, Easter is a “movable” feast. Each year it may consequently be labeled as “high” or “low”, depending on the date on which it is due to land.


Carnevale: The Lent tradition in Italy

March 2000 (English version)

A few hypotheses exist that could explain the possible origin of this term. According to the most widely accepted one, it could derive from the medieval Latin definition carnem levare, "to remove the meat".  This word is probably connected to the Catholic prohibition to consume meat during the imminent Lent, particularly on Fridays. The medieval Latin definition of carnem laxare , "to leave the meat", is another element worthy of a particular mention. It is the root of the adjective "carnasciale", from which derives the fourteenth-century "canti carnascialeschi". This literary term connotes songs characterized by a metrical structure akin to the ballads once performed in Florence during Carnival masquerades.


Befana: The Epiphany tradition in Italy

January 2000 (English version)

As we have seen in the previous articles, Babbo Natale brings some gifts at Christmas following traditions that started in Italy soon after WWII. Ever since, however, it has been the Befana who has brought most of the other gifts (and mostly to children) on the day of Epiphany. This term comes from ancient Greek and means “manifestation (or “appearance”) of a supernatural being or of a divinity”, or “a moment of revelation”. Indeed this holiday commemorates Baby Jesus’ manifestation to the three Magi which occurred on January 6th. The term “Befana”, on the other hand, is of unknown origin and may be said to be a popular derivation (through various linguistic routes) of the term that indicates this holiday.


Capodanno: The New Years tradition in Italy

December 1999 (English version)

A festival that derives from ancestral traditions, New Year’s Day (or as the Italians say "Capodanno," meaning "head of the year") is celebrated with rites meant to propitiate one’s fate in the year that is about to start. The most widely known among such customs are the exchange of toasts, the drawing of the "sorti" or of lots (nowadays replaced by the drawing of the numbers of "Tombola"), and the study of omens (the place of which has been taken, as we all know, by the feverish consultation of astrological forecasts).


Natale: The Christmas tradition in Italy

December 1999 (English version)

In the cults and religion of ancient Rome (often centered on the emperor) the function of the festivity known as "natale" was to celebrate such major events as the foundation of a city or the birth of a personality or a divinity. Rome celebrated its own on April 21st; farther on, the "dies natalis" of the emperor became a public festivity, its pomp being comparable to the "natale" of some divinities whose date of birth was particularly meaningful. Chief among them was that of Mithra: December 25th was the date on which to celebrate at the same time its "natale" and the winter solstice. The date of birth of the Holy Child (who came to the Earth to redeem man, thus illuminating his life) was selected as to coincide with the period in which daylight hours start to lengthen, that is soon after the winter solstice.


Pasqua di Resurrezione: The Easter tradition in Italy

April 1999 (Italian version)

En la kultoj kaj religio de antikva Romo (ofte centritaj al la imperiestro) la funkcio de la festo nomita "natale" estis festi tiajn grandajn okazojn kiaj la fondiĝo de urbo aŭ la naskiĝo de eminentulo aŭ diaĵo. Sian propran fondiĝon Romo festis je la 21-a de aprilo; poste, la "dies natalis" de la imperiestro fariĝis publika festo, kun pompo komparebla al la "natale" de iuj diaĵoj kies naskiĝdato havis precipan signifon. Plej grava estis tiu de Mitrao: la 25-a de decembro estis la dato je kiu oni festis samtempe ĝian "natale" kaj la vintran solsticon. La naskiĝdaton de la Sankta Infano (kiu venis al la Tero por elaĉeti la homaron, kaj tiel ilumini la homan vivon) oni elektis tiel, ke ĝi koincidu kun la tempo je kiu taglumaj horoj eklongiĝas, tio estas nelonge post la vintra solstico.


Carnevale: The Lent tradition in Italy

February 1999 (Italian version)

Sulla possibile origine di questo termine esistono molte ipotesi. Secondo le più accreditate esso deriverebbe dal latino medievale carnem levare, "togliere la carne" dalla dieta (una definizione, questa, probabilmente collegata al divieto imposto dalla religione cattolica di consumare carne durante l'imminente quaresima, in particolare il venerdì). E' poi da ricordare che dal termine latino medievale carnem laxare, "lasciare la carne", deriva anche l'aggettivo "carnasciale", da cui il termine del quattrocento letterario "canti carnascialeschi" (connotante i canti di struttura metrica simile alla ballata eseguiti un tempo a Firenze in occasione delle mascherate di Carnevale).


Befana: The Epiphany tradition in Italy

January 1999 (Italian version)

La poetica figura della Befana risale probabilmente a leggende contadine dell'epoca precristiana. Ella viene descritta come una benefica vecchietta curva con naso adunco e mento aguzzo, che nella notte tra il 5 e il 6 gennaio, con sulle spalle un sacco colmo di regali, vola per i cieli cavalcando una scopa. Entrata poi nelle case, lascia doni e dolciumi nelle calze dei bambini buoni, e del carbone (cioè dei pezzi di zucchero di colore scuro) a quelli cattivi, i quali - si spera - impareranno in tal modo una lezione per l'anno successivo.


Capodanno: The New Years tradition in Italy

December 1998 (Italian version)

Poiché il Capodanno è frutto di tradizioni ancestrali, esso è accompagnato da cerimoniali che, intesi a propiziare il nuovo ciclo dell'esistenza umana, spesso si ricollegano anche ai destini dell'anno che sta per iniziare. Fra i più noti sono i riti augurali, l'estrazione delle "sorti"(oggi sostituita dall'estrazione dei numeri della "Tombola"), e la ricerca dei presagi (il cui posto è stato preso, come tutti sappiamo, dalla lettura febbrile e curiosa delle previsioni astrologiche). Molto diffusa è inoltre l'usanza di regalare il vischio. In parte, esso richiama alla mente antiche credenze druidiche e, poiché alle sue bacche si attribuiscono ancora oggi poteri magici, lo si dona per augurare felicità e prosperità per il nuovo anno. In tempi di contingenza economica sarebbe una buona idea regalarne di più (anche se con le riserve degli ecologisti….). Nei paesi anglosassoni, a baciarsi sotto il vischio e l'agrifoglio sono solo gli innamorati; forse sarebbe il caso di estendere le propiziazione fino al punto da scambiarsi sotto di esso alcuni baci augurali anche con quegli antipatici vicini di casa con cui discutiamo sempre alle riunioni di condominio….


Natale: The Christmas tradition in Italy

December 1998 (Italian version)

Già nella religione romana (spesso incentrata sull'imperatore), ricorrenze come la fondazione di una città oppure la nascita di una personalità o di una divinità erano celebrate come il "Natale". Roma festeggiava il suo il 21 aprile; più tardi, il "dies natalis" dell'imperatore divenne una festa pubblica, con un fasto paragonabile al giorno natale di talune divinità la cui "nascita" aveva un significato particolare. L'esempio principale in tal senso era quello di Mithra: il 25 dicembre si celebrava allo stesso tempo il suo giorno natale ed il solstizio. All'arrivo del cristianesimo, la nascita del Bambino Gesù (il quale viene per redimere l'uomo, illuminandone la vita) fu fatta coincidere appunto con i giorni in cui il sole, oltrepassato il solstizio invernale, comincia a brillare più a lungo. Ciò spiega perché a caratterizzare il Natale sono prima di tutto un'immensa gioia, una abbondanza di luce, e canti festosi. In particolare, durante i nove giorni che precedono la ricorrenza, le strade principali di molti centri si riempiono delle melodie natalizie eseguite da pastori provenienti dalle vicine zone di montagna. Essi vanno sempre in coppia: l'uno suona il piffero, l'altro la cornamusa, che è un lontano parente della zampogna scozzese.


Бефана: Празднование Крещенья в Италии

January 1999 (Russian version)

Этот поэтический персонаж пришел к нам из древних преданий. Согласно легенде, Бефана - сгорбленная старушка с крючковатым носом и выдающимся вперед подбородком, но обладающая при этом добрым сердцем. В ночь с 5 на 6 января она прилетает на метле, неся за спиной мешок, полный подарков. В домах, которые Бефана посещает, в чулочках хороших детей она оставляет подарки и сладости, а в чулочках тех, которые себя плохо вели - угольки (так называют черный жженый сахар), в надежде, что они обязательно исправятся на будущий год.



December 1998 (Russian version)

Праздник, который восходит своими истоками к древнейшим временам, Новый Год (или как его называют итальянцы «Capodanno», что означает «голова года») сопровождается обычаями, которые прежде всего нацелены на то, чтобы удача и расположение судьбы не оставляли человека в начинающемся новом цикле жизни. Наиболее широко распространенными из таких обычаев являются обмен тостами, участие в лотереях (сегодня это в основном «Томбола») и изучение различных знамений (общеизвестно, что в наши дни этот обычай принял форму изучения астрологических прогнозов).


Традиции Празднования Рождества в Италии

December 1998 (Russian version)

Культовая традиция древнего Рима (в центре которой находилась фигура императора) отводила празднику, известному как «natale» («рождение»), празднование таких важных событий как день основания города или дни рождения какого-либо героя или божества. Рим праздновал день основания 21 апреля. В последующем "dies natalis" (дни рождения) императора отмечались как общественные праздники, по торжественности сопоставимые лишь с празднованиями, устраиваемыми в честь некоторых божеств, даты рождений которых были особо значимыми. Одним из главных божеств являлся Митра, чей день рождения («натале») отмечался 25 декабря в период зимнего солнцестояния. Дата рождения Сына Божьего (явившегося на землю для спасения людей, осветив тем самым их жизни), была выбрана таким образом, что совпала с моментом начала удлинения светового дня после зимнего солнцестояния.


Pasko: The Easter tradition in Italy

Aprilo 2000 (Esperanto version)

Pasko devenas de pagana festo dediĉita al la anglosaksa diino de printempo kaj sunleviĝo. Ĉi tiu diino nomiĝis Eostre, el la vorto "east" ("oriento" - kie la suno leviĝas). Ĉiuprintempe nordeŭropaj popoloj okazigis ĉi tiun feston honore al la vekiĝo de vivo en naturo, sed la dato de la festo malsamis de loko al loko. Ekde la kristana epoko, oni ligis la sunleviĝon kaj la renaskiĝon de naturo al la Resurekto de Jesuo. Por la fruaj kristanoj Pasko okazis samdate kiel la Pasko hebrea, tradicia juda festeno. Poste, en 325 p.K. koncilio de ekleziuloj dekretis, ke Paskon oni festu je la dimanĉo post la unua plenluno post la 21-a de marto. Kiel dimanĉa festo kiu povas okazi iam ajn inter la 22-a de marto kaj la 25-a de aprilo, pasko estas "movebla" festo. Sekve, en iu jaro oni povas nomi ĝin aŭ "alta" aŭ "malalta", laŭ la okazodato



Marto 2000 (Esperanto version)

Estas kelkaj hipotezoj kiuj povus klarigi la eblan originon de ĉi tiu termino. Laŭ la plej akceptita, ĝi povus deveni de la mezepoka latinlingva frazo "carnem levare", "forpreni la viandon". Ĉi tiu diro estas verŝajne ligita al la katolika malpermeso manĝi viandon dum la tuj okazonta Karesmo, precipe je vendredoj. La mezepoka latinlingva frazo de "carnem laxare", "lasi la viandon", estas plua elemento aparte menciinda. Ĝi estas la radiko de la adjektivo "carnasciale", de kiu devenas la "canti carnascialeschi" de la dek-kvara jarcento. Ĉi tiu literatura termino indikas kantojn, kiujn karakterizas metrika strukturo similanta la baladojn iam luditajn en Florenco dum Karnavalaj maskeradoj.


Natale: Kristnaskaj tradicioj en Italio

Decembro 1999 (Esperanto version)

En la kultoj kaj religio de antikva Romo (ofte centritaj al la imperiestro) la funkcio de la festo nomita "natale" estis festi tiajn grandajn okazojn kiaj la fondiĝo de urbo aŭ la naskiĝo de eminentulo aŭ diaĵo. Sian propran fondiĝon Romo festis je la 21-a de aprilo; poste, la "dies natalis" de la imperiestro fariĝis publika festo, kun pompo komparebla al la "natale" de iuj diaĵoj kies naskiĝdato havis precipan signifon. Plej grava estis tiu de Mitrao: la 25-a de decembro estis la dato je kiu oni festis samtempe ĝian "natale" kaj la vintran solsticon. La naskiĝdaton de la Sankta Infano (kiu venis al la Tero por elaĉeti la homaron, kaj tiel ilumini la homan vivon) oni elektis tiel, ke ĝi koincidu kun la tempo je kiu taglumaj horoj eklongiĝas, tio estas nelonge post la vintra solstico.


Our Man In Rome/Il Nostro Uomo a Roma/
Nuestro Hombre En Roma/Unser Mann in Rom

Yves Jaques

Art by Fire: The Museo delle Nave Romane -- November 1999

The Museo delle Nave Romane is the emptiest museum in Italy. Its two hangar-like rooms could easily hold a pair of B-52 bombers. Though it has virtually no collection, and contains almost nothing, its emptiness has more to teach us about history than could any art-choked museum. Its echoing galleries are among the largest in Europe, and they lie fallow, offering mute testimony to the folly of empire. On a night late in WWII, retreating German soldiers burnt the museum's collection to ashes. What did this collection consist of? Two enormous Roman boats, each over seventy meters long. In the 1930's these unique artifacts were dredged from the bottom of a small crater lake, their state of preservation miraculous. But once awoken from their 1900 year slumber they were destroyed in less than ten.


St. Peter's Rock: An afternoon at the Vatican -- November 1999

My wife and I stand nervously in the line of people waiting to enter Saint Peter's. We never seem to be dressed quite right. You are Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church, and I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  So it is writ in gilt above the tomb of St. Peter, but the keys won't work unless you have your shoulders covered and your knees hidden. As we wait, I notice a group of Filipino pilgrims in shorts. They slump against a set of pillars. They look shattered, as if their belief is being sorely tested. Perhaps this was their one chance to visit the very navel of the Catholic world, and they didn't bring the right wardrobe. Ahead of us, a group of older American women get by the gatekeepers, although two of them have skirts above the knee.  A moment later, an attractive blonde is turned away, though her skirt is lower than the two women who only moments ago passed muster. I, with my ghetto-boy shorts and T-shirt make the cut. My wife pulls hard on her dress and hunches down, but she's barred entry by a scowling guard.  She's showing some knee.


La pietra di S.Pietro: Un pomeriggio nel Vaticano scritto da Yves Jaques -- novembre 1999

Io e mia moglie stiamo aspettando nervosamente in fila per poter entrare nella Basilica di S.Pietro. Sembra che non siamo mai vestiti adeguatamente. "Tu sei Pietro, e su questa pietra edificherò la mia chiesa... A te darò le chiavi del regno dei cieli..." Così è scritto sulla tomba di S.Pietro, ma sembra che le chiavi funzionino solo se hai le spalle coperte e le ginocchia nascoste. Mentre aspettiamo, mi accorgo di un gruppo di pellegrini filippini che portano degli shorts. Sono come incollati alle colonne. Hanno un'aria distrutta, come se la loro fede fosse messa a dura prova. Magari per loro è l'occasione che capita solo una volta nella vita per poter vedere l'ombelico del mondo cattolico, ma loro non hanno portato il giusto guardaroba. Davanti a noi, un gruppo di donne americane, non più giovani, passa accanto alle guardie, sebbene due di loro portino la gonna sopra il ginocchio. Un attimo più tardi, una bionda attraente è mandata via, nonostante la sua gonna sia più lunga delle due che sono passate prima. Tocca a me con i miei bermuda da periferia e maglietta. Mia moglie cerca di allungare i suoi vestiti e si aggobba, ma viene fermata da una guardia dallo sguardo torvo. Si vedono un po' le ginocchia.


La Piedra de San Pedro: Una tarde en el Vaticano -- Noviembre 1999

Mi esposa y yo esperamos nerviosos en la cola de visitantes que esperan entrar en San Pedro. Tengo la impresión que nunca conseguimos elegir la ropa adecuada. “Tú eres Pedro y sobre esta piedra edificaré mi Iglesia y Yo te daré las llaves del Reino de los Cielos”. Así está escrito en letras doradas encima de la tumba de San Pedro, pero las llaves no funcionarán a menos que cubras tus hombros y tapes tus rodillas. Mientras esperamos, reparo en un grupo de peregrinos filipinos que llevan pantalones cortos. Están tirados sobre una hilera de columnas. Parecen abrumados, como si su fe fuese objeto de una dolorosa prueba. Tal vez esta era su única posibilidad de visitar el ombligo mismo del universo católico y no trajeron la vestimenta correcta. Delante de nosotros los porteros dejan entrar a un grupo de americanas maduras, aunque dos de ellas lleven falda por encima de la rodilla. Un momento más tarde se le deniega la entrada a una rubia atractiva, a pesar de que su falda sea más larga que la de aquellas dos señoras que pasaron la inspección minutos atrás. Yo, con mis pantalones cortos de chico del gueto y mi camiseta, consigo pasar. Mi esposa estira su vestido y se encoge pero un guardia ceñudo no le deja pasar. Enseña un poco la rodilla.


Der Felsen von St. Peter: Ein Nachmittag im Vatikan -- November 1999

Meine Frau und ich stehen nervös in einer Menschenschlange und warten, den Petersdom zu betreten. Irgendwie scheinen wir nie ganz richtig angezogen zu sein. Du bist Petrus, und auf diesem Felsen will ich meine Kirche bauen, und ich werde dir die Schlüssel des Himmelreiches geben. So steht es in goldenen Lettern eingraviert über dem Grab des heiligen Petrus, aber die Schlüssel werden nicht aufschließen, außer man hat seine Schultern bedeckt und seine Knie verhüllt. Während wir warten, bemerke ich eine Gruppe von philippinischen Pilgern in kurzen Hosen. Sie drücken sich bei ein paar Säulen herum und schauen niedergeschmettert aus, als ob ihr Glaube gerade hart geprüft würde. Vielleicht war das ja ihre einzige Chance, den Nabel der katholischen Welt selbst zu besuchen, und sie haben nicht die richtige Garderobe mitgebracht. Vor uns kommt eine Gruppe älterer amerikanischer Frauen an den Torwachen vorbei, obwohl zwei von ihnen kniefreie Röcke tragen. Einen Moment später wird eine attraktive Blondine abgewiesen, obwohl ihr Rock tiefer hinunterreicht als bei den beiden Frauen, die nur ein paar Momente zuvor gemustert worden waren. Ich schaffe es mit meinen kurzen Hosen à la Ghettojunge und meinem T-Shirt. Meine Frau zerrt an ihrem Kleid und zieht es nach unten, aber sie wird von einer schimpfenden Wache zurückgehalten. Sie zeigt etwas Knie.


St. Peter's Rock: An afternoon at the Vatican (Greek version) -- November 1999

Η γυναίκα μου κι εγώ καθόμασταν νευρικά στη σειρά περιμένοντας να μπούμε στον Άγιο Πέτρο. Ποτέ δεν μοιάζουμε να είμαστε ντυμένοι όπως πρέπει. Είσαι ο Πέτρος, και επάνω σε αυτόν τον βράχο θα χτίσω την εκκλησία μου, και θα σου παραδώσω τα κλειδιά του βασιλείου των ουρανών. Αυτά είναι γραμμένα με χρυσό πάνω από τον τάφο του Αγ. Πέτρου, αλλά τα κλειδιά δεν πιάνουν εκτός και αν οι ώμοι σου είναι καλυμμένοι και τα γόνατά σου δεν φαίνονται. Καθώς περιμένουμε, παρατηρώ ένα γκρουπ προσκυνητών από τις Φιλιππίνες με σορτς. Ακουμπούν απηυδισμένοι πάνω στις κολώνες. Δείχνουν κλονισμένοι, σαν να δοκιμάζεται έντονα η πίστη τους. Ίσως αυτή να ήταν η μοναδική ευκαιρία τους να επισκεφτούν τον ομφαλό του καθολικού κόσμου, και αυτοί δεν είναι σωστά ενδεδυμένοι. Μπροστά από μας, μια ομάδα από ηλικιωμένες Αμερικανίδες περνούν από τους φύλακες της εισόδου, παρόλο που δύο από αυτές φορούν φούστα πάνω από το γόνατο. Μια στιγμή αργότερα, διώχνουν μια ελκυστική ξανθιά, παρόλο που η φούστα της είναι πιο μακριά από αυτές των δύο γυναικών που κρίθηκαν ικανές να περάσουν μόλις πριν από λίγο. Εγώ, με το σορτς και το φανελάκι μου, κάνω τη διαφορά. Η γυναίκα μου τραβάει προς τα κάτω το φόρεμά της και καμπουριάζει, αλλά της απαγορεύεται η είσοδος από ένα συνοφρυωμένο φύλακα. Φαίνεται λίγο η γάμπα. Οπισθοχωρούμε και ενωνόμαστε με την ομάδα των συντριμμένων προσκυνητών. Η γυναίκα μου βράζει κυριολεκτικά. Δεν υπάρχει τίποτε που να την εξοργίζει περισσότερο. Σαν ζωγράφος μεγαλωμένη από άθεους χίπις γονείς, βλέπει το Βατικανό σαν μια πινακοθήκη. Ο κοινωνικός ρόλος του ως το κέντρο της μεγαλύτερης θρησκείας στον κόσμο δεν σημαίνει τίποτε γι' αυτήν.


St. Peter's Rock: An afternoon at the Vatican (Romanian version) -- November 1999

Stau nervos la rând împreună cu soţia mea, aşteptând să intrăm în Catedrala Sfântul Petru. Se pare că veşnic suntem îmbrăcaţi nepotrivit. Tu eşti Petru şi pe această piatră voi zidi biserica mea şi îţi voi da ţie cheile împărăţiei cerurilor. Aşa stă scris cu litere aurite deasupra mormântului Sfântului Petru, dar cheile nu se potrivesc numai dacă umerii îti sunt acoperiţi şi genunchii ascunşi. În timp ce aşteptăm, un grup de pelerini filipinezi în pantaloni scurţi îmi atrage atenţia. Stau prăbuşiţi, rezemaţi de nişte stâlpi. Arată deznădăjduiţi, ca şi cum credinţa le e dureros încercată. A fost, poate, unica lor şansă de a vizita chiar buricul lumii catolice, iar ei nu şi-au adus garderoba cuvenită. În faţa noastră, un grup de americance vârstnice trece de portari, deşi două dintre ele au fuste deasupra genunchiului. O clipă mai târziu, o blondă atrăgătoare este expediată, cu toate că fusta îi e mai lungă decât a celorlalte două care iesiseră bine la inspecţie adineaori. Eu, cu şortul meu gen băiat de ghetou şi tricou, reuşesc să trec repede. Nevastă-mea trage din greu de rochie şi se gheboşează, dar un paznic încruntat îi barează intrarea. I se văd puţin genunchii.


Стена Св. Петра : Једно послеподне у Ватикану (Ив Жак ) -- Новембар 1999

Моја жена и ја стојимо нервозно у реду људи који чекају да уђу у цркву Светог Петра. Изгледа да се никада не обучемо прописно. Ти си Петар, и на овој стени ћу подићи своју цркву, и даћу ти кључеве царства небеског. Тако пише изнад гроба Светог Петра, али кључеви не пасују док не покријете рамена и не сакријете колена. Док чекамо, примећујем групу филипинских ходочасника у шорцевима. Ослањају се на стубове. Изгледају сломљено, као да неко жестоко искушава њихову веру. Можда је ово била њихова једина шанса да посете сам центар католичког света, а они нису понели прописну одећу. Испред нас, група старијих американки пролази крај чувара на вратима, иако две жене у групи имају сукње изнад колена. Тренутак касније, одбијају једну привлачну плавушу, иако је њезина сукња дужа него сукње оних двеју жена које су пре пар тренутака прошле тест. Ја, у свом шорцу попут дечака из гета и мајици са кратким рукавима пролазим. Моја жена натеже своју хаљину и повија се, али јој мрки чувар не даје да прође. Провирује јој колено.




Szent Péter sziklája: Egy délután a Vatikánban Írta Yves Jaques -- 1999 november


Feleségemmel együtt idegesen várakozunk a sorban, hogy beléphessünk a Szent Péter bazilikába. Úgy tűnik, az ember sohasem lehet elég jól öltözött. “Te Péter vagy és én erre a sziklára építem egyházamat... Neked adom a mennyek országa kulcsait ..” Így szól a Péter sírja feletti felirat, de ezek a kulcsok csak akkor működnek, ha a vállad és térded el van fedve. Miközben várakozunk, figyelmem egy Fülöp-szigeti zarándokcsoportra terelődik, akik sortot viselnek. Szinte rátapadnak az oszlopokra. Megviseltnek látszanak, mintha hitük kemény próbára lenne téve. Talán ez életükben az egyetlen alkalom arra, hogy a katolikus világ köldökét megláthassák, és ők nem gondoltak a megfelelő öltözékre. Előttünk idősebb amerikai nők csoportja halad el a kapuőrök előtt, annak ellenére, hogy ketten közülük térd feletti szoknyát viselnek. Egy pillanattal később egy csinos szőke nő lesz elutasítva, pedig szoknyája hosszabb, mint az előbb említett két nőé. Rajtunk a sor, én külvárosi bermudában és pólóban, míg feleségem megpróbálja lejjebb húzni a ruháját és begörbíti a hátát. Mit sem ér igyekezete, az éber őr megállítja: kilátszik egy kicsit a térde.


Tutt'a Posto: The used-car lots of Rome -- November 1999

There's one thing I came to realize.  There was virtually no difference between a used car lot in the United States, and a used car lot in Italy.  Well, there was one: in Italy, at least the salesmen wore Italian suits. But otherwise, it was the same. Every car priced double bluebook, or if not, you could sense that the car had been through some secret hell at the hands of a brutal master. By the beginning of the third week I felt I'd scoped the scene and it was time to start test driving some cars. My first choice, a plush Peugeot station wagon with leather seats and loads of options. The salesman brought out the key and tried to start it but the battery was dead.  He called a mechanic over who pulled up a jumper battery. Now the car turned over, but still wouldn't start.  Before long there were the salesman and three mechanics all busily combing over the car searching for the problem.  Finally he hit me with the most common word in Italy, 'Domani.'


Tutt'a Posto: Los centros de vehículos de ocasión de Roma --  Noviembre de 1999

Me di cuenta de algo. No existe virtualmente ninguna diferencia entre un centro de coches de segunda mano en los EE.UU. y otro en Italia. Bueno, había una, al menos en Italia los vendedores llevaban trajes italianos. Aparte de esto, se trataba de lo mismo. El precio de cada coche duplicaba al de una lista oficial y, en caso contrario, podías notar que el coche había pasado por un infierno secreto a manos de un amo brutal. Hacia el principio de la tercera semana, sentía que ya tenía el asunto dominado y que era hora de probar algún coche. Mi primera elección fue una elegante furgoneta Peugeot con asientos de cuero y un montón de extras. El vendedor sacó la llave e intentó arrancar pero la batería estaba descargada así que llamó a un mecánico, quien trajo una batería de emergencia. Entonces el motor consiguió hacer contacto pero, no obstante, seguía sin arrancar. En poco tiempo estaban el vendedor y tres mecánicos enérgicamente verificando con minuciosidad el coche intentando localizar el problema. Al final, me soltó la palabra más corriente en Italia: “Domani”.


A Mighty Fine Chestnut -- Good Friday at the Colosseum, 1999

Easter is always a time of spiritual schizophrenia for Christians, the joy of the salvation tempered by Christ’s sacrifice. But in Rome, with its mixed position as seat of the empire that killed Christ, and of the denomination that has most furthered his name this schizophrenia is compounded, for to mourn Christ’s death is to mourn in the way of the executioner. The Pope, as head of what is essentially the last fragment of the Roman empire, is symbolically both descendant and judge of the executioner. His role at this holiday is amazingly disjunctive: deliverer, mourner, pilgrim, penitent, murderer, king. He presides over Easter with elaborate and regal purpose, and yet the layers of ceremony do nothing more than highlight how delicate is this entire enterprise, this structure by which the spirit and the unknown are mitigated.


Un Castagno Bello e Potente -- Venerdi Santo al Colosseo, 1999

La Pasqua costituisce sempre un momento di schizofrenia spirituale per i cristiani, la gioia della salvezza temperata dal sacrificio di Cristo. Ma a Roma, con la posizione duale della città quale sede dell’impero che uccise Cristo e contraddistinta dalla denominazione di aver assiduamente perpetuato il suo nome, lo stato schizofrenico si fa complesso, in quanto l’addolorarsi per la morte di Cristo significa portare il lutto nel modo del carnefice. Il Papa, in qualità di capo di ciò che è essenzialmente l’ultimo frammento dell’impero romano, assurge simbolicamente sia a discendente che a giudice del boia. Il suo ruolo in questa ricorrenza è sorprendentemente disgiuntivo: liberatore, portatore di lutto, pellegrino, penitente, assassino, re. Presiede la Pasqua con uno scopo elaborato e regale eppure la stratificazione della cerimonia non fa altro che evidenziare la fragilità dell’intera configurazione, una struttura attraverso la quale lo spirito e l’ignoto sono mitigati.


Un chiste viejo muy bueno -- Viernes Santo en el Coliseo, 1999

Pascua es siempre un período de esquizofrenia espiritual para los cristianos, la alegría de la salvación matizada por el sacrificio de Jesucristo. Pero en Roma, en su posición encontrada como sede del imperio que mató a Jesucristo y de la confesión que más ha promovido su nombre, la esquizofrenia se ve agravada, ya que lamentar la muerte de Jesucristo es ponerse en la piel del verdugo. El Papa, cabeza de lo que constituye en esencia el último vestigio del Imperio Romano, es simbólicamente descendiente y juez del verdugo. Su papel en esta fiesta es sorprendentemente antagónico: salvador, doliente, peregrino, penitente, asesino y rey. Él preside la Semana Santa con resolución grandiosa y real, pero las fases del ceremonial sólo consiguen subrayar la fragilidad de todo este asunto, esta estructura donde se moderan el alma y lo desconocido.


Greetings from the Ambassadors -- March 1999

Eccoci, siamo qui seduti davanti al caminetto della nostra casa enorme; terribilmente moderna! Che strano. Ci eravamo immaginati una qualche villa antica e rustica con forse le stalle e degli stallieri, galline e pecore; tutto questo. Ma che possiamo dire, abbiamo scoperto una splendida casa a quattro piani con l’interno modellato come un grande pianoforte e naturalmente un grande piano nel salotto; una casa musicale per la nostra chiara compassione; un enorme seminterrato perfetto per uno studio, e con una vista su tutti i Castelli Romani e la pianura romana fin giù al Mediterraneo. Vi è perfino un terrazzo sul tetto dove si può prendere il sole nudi. Ebbene, siamo andati fuori di testa e abbiamo detto SI’.


Saluti dagli Ambasciatori -- Marzo 1999


Eccoci, siamo qui seduti davanti al caminetto della nostra casa enorme; terribilmente moderna! Che strano. Ci eravamo immaginati una qualche villa antica e rustica con forse le stalle e degli stallieri, galline e pecore; tutto questo. Ma che possiamo dire, abbiamo scoperto una splendida casa a quattro piani con l’interno modellato come un grande pianoforte e naturalmente un grande piano nel salotto; una casa musicale per la nostra chiara compassione; un enorme seminterrato perfetto per uno studio, e con una vista su tutti i Castelli Romani e la pianura romana fin giù al Mediterraneo. Vi è perfino un terrazzo sul tetto dove si può prendere il sole nudi. Ebbene, siamo andati fuori di testa e abbiamo detto SI’.


Our Man In Cologne/Unser Mann In Koln/Nuestro Hombre En Cologne

Thomas Greuel

Talk like a Colognian -- June 1999

Inhabitants of Cologne are quite wordy. In fact if ever you get to talk to someone from Cologne, it takes some effort to actually get them to say something. Basically, people in Cologne like to listen to themselves talking, which makes any sensible conversation impossible. A person from Cologne will just start talking about whatever comes into their minds, and they can hold up this monologue for quite some time unless you stop them, which they appreciate only because it gives them time to catch some breath.


To Live and Die In Cologne (or Store Your Dead Grandpa In The Backyard) -- June 1999

When watching American TV, it seems that the general idea about Germany is that all people here walk around in Lederhosen or obnoxious dresses, eating Sauerkraut all day, drinking large quantities of beer, beating up foreigners and being very diligent and efficient in everything they do. This is obviously true (at least in some areas). However, Germany is slightly more diverse than that. In fact the cultural diversity of a country smaller in size than the State of Texas is vast. And to talk about Germany means to talk about its regions.


Crystal Night/Kristallnacht/Reichsprogromnacht -- November 1998

It is easy to imagine that most Germans sitting in their living rooms that night felt very uneasy about the occurrences outside their windows, if only because they were afraid that the fires might catch on to their own houses. However, this uneasiness did not result in any actions against the tyranny of the Nazis. Many people realised that they had made a terrible mistake putting Hitler into power. After the humiliation of the lost World War I, the repercussions of the Versaille Treaty and the global economic crisis, a loud, proud and demanding sovereign was needed. Hitler was the perfect man for the job. He was determined and willing to get rid of the loathed democracy that had been introduced after the First World War and did never really work. Very soon Germany became aware that it had not just elected a dog that would bark and retrieve some of the dignity and respect Germany deserved in their eyes, but a mad pitbull who was not in the least interested in anything else but his insane visions.


La Noche de los cristales rotos /Kristallnacht/Reichsprogromnacht -- Noviembre 1998

Es fácil imaginar que la mayoría de los alemanes sentados en su salón esa noche se sintieron muy intranquilos por los incidentes más allá de sus ventanas, aunque sólo fuera por el miedo a que el fuego se extendiera a sus propias casas. No obstante, esta inseguridad no suscitó ninguna acción contra la tiranía nazi. Mucha gente se dio cuenta del terrible error cometido al elevar al poder a Hitler. Tras la humillación de la pérdida de la Primera Guerra Mundial, las repercusiones del Tratado de Versalles y la crisis económica global, era necesario un soberano ruidoso, orgulloso y exigente. Hitler era el hombre perfecto para el puesto. Era resuelto y estaba dispuesto a librarse de la odiosa democracia que había sido instaurada tras la Primera Guerra Mundial y que, en realidad, nunca funcionó. Muy pronto Alemania fue consciente que no sólo había elegido a un perro que ladraría y recuperaría parte de la dignidad y el respeto que a sus ojos Alemania merecía, sino a un pitbull loco que no tenía interés alguno en otra cosa que sus dementes visiones. 


The King is dead, long live the King -- October 1998

So what was so bad about current chancellor Helmut Kohl? Nothing really. However, Helmut Kohl is one of those sovereigns that receive more credit and respect abroad than within their own country. Surely we appreciate his endeavours in bringing about the European Community -- although we still haven't made up our mind whether we want it. Sure, we equally appreciate his impact on bringing the Wall down and reuniting the two parts of Germany -- although at times we might curse the costs. But regardless of that, there is something more important. In the last few years, namely after the reunification, unemployment has risen significantly. Social welfare plays a very large role with public pension schemes and free health care. All these services have become very expensive and are becoming harder and harder to finance. There has been a staleness in politics, a lack of bringing about the necessary changes. The reason for this is partly based on the structure of the two houses of parliament. Both led by the two big rivaling parties blocked each other and were afraid of compromises and maybe even successes. Thus none of the crucial decisions required to shape the nearest future were made. All this has changed with the Social Democrats now in the majority in both houses. Although the new coalition has not yet taken over, they have already proposed significant changes.


Der Konig ist tot, lang lebe der Konig -- Oktober 1998

Was war denn nun so schlimm an Helmut Kohl? Eigentlich nichts. Aber Helmut Kohl gehört zu den Staatsmännern, die im Ausland ein höheres Ansehen als im eigenen Land genießen. Natürlich schätzen wir seine Bemühungen um die europäische Union, obwohl wir uns noch nicht entschieden haben, ob wir sie auch wollen. Ebenso anerkennen wir seinen Einfluß auf die deutsche Wiedervereinigung, obwohl wir manchmal über die Kosten stöhnen. Doch nach dem Fall der Mauer ist die Arbeitslosigkeit stark angestiegen. Soziale Sicherungssysteme (wie Kranken- und Rentenversicherung) spielen eine bedeutende Rolle in Deutschland. Diese sind in der letzten Zeit sehr teuer geworden und können nur noch schwer finanziert werden. Die Politik konnte in den letzten Jahren die notwendigen Veränderungen der Systeme nicht nicht in Gang setzen. Der Grund dafür liegt zum Teil im Aufbau der beiden politischen Organe Bundestag und Bundesrat. Da sie jeweils von den beiden großen rivalisierenden Parteien geführt wurden, trat eine Pattsituation ein, bei der die Häuser sich gegenseitig blockierten, Kompromisse verhinderten und fast schon eine Angst vor dem politischen Erfolg von Erfolgen herrschte. So wurden alle notwendigen Veränderungen der näheren Zukunft blockiert. Doch mit der neuen Regierung wird sich dies ändern, denn nun haben die Sozialdemokraten die Mehrheit in beiden Parlamenten, und obwohl die neue Regierung noch nicht im Amt ist, hat sie schon bedeutende Veränderungen angekündigt.


The King is dead, long live the King (Greek version) -- October 1998

Τι έκανε όμως ο τωρινός Καγκελάριος Helmut Kohl; Τίποτα. Ωστόσο, ο Helmut Kohl είναι ένας από εκείνους τους ηγέτες που τους τιμούν και τους εκτιμούν περισσότερο στο εξωτερικό, παρά στην ίδια τους τη χώρα. Σίγουρα εκτιμούμε τις έντονες προσπάθειές του να φτιάξει την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, αν και δεν έχουμε αποφασίσει ακόμη αν το θέλουμε ή όχι. Οπωσδήποτε, εκτιμούμε το ίδιο την συνεισφορά του στην πτώση του Τοίχους και στην επανένωση των δύο Γερμανιών, αν και κατά διαστήματα καταριόμαστε τις συνέπειες. Αλλά, πέρα από όλα αυτά, υπάρχει κάτι πιο σημαντικό. Τα τελευταία χρόνια μετά την επανένωση, η ανεργία σημείωσε αξιοσημείωτη άνοδο. Η κοινωνική πρόνοια παίζει ένα σημαντικό ρόλο στα προγράμματα της περίθαλψης και της δωρεάν φροντίδας της υγείας. Όλες αυτές οι υπηρεσίες έγιναν πολύ ακριβές και γίνεται όλο και πιο δύσκολο να χρηματοδοτηθούν. Υπήρξε ένα τέλμα στην πολιτική, μια έλλειψη απαραίτητων αλλαγών. Η αιτία για αυτό βασίζεται κατά ένα μέρος στους δύο συνασπισμούς του Κοινοβουλίου. Καθοδηγούμενοι και οι δύο από τα δύο μεγάλα αντίπαλα κόμματα, μπλόκαραν το ένα το άλλο και φοβήθηκαν να κάνουν συμβιβασμούς ακόμη και να επιτύχουν. Έτσι, δεν λήφθηκε καμιά από τις καθοριστικές για το μέλλον αποφάσεις. Αυτά όλα άλλαξαν με την πλειοψηφία των Σοσιαλδημοκρατών. Παρόλο που ο νέος συνασπισμός δεν ανέλαβε ακόμη τα καθήκοντά του, πρότεινε ήδη αξιοσημείωτες αλλαγές.


Our Man In Puebla/Nuestro Hombre en Puebla

James L. Fidelholtz

When I was young, in the last Millennium... -- May 1998

This preoccupation with the end of the second millennium (of course it’s an arbitrary date, but that doesn’t change its iconicity for us) is in fact quite normal and understandable, given human nature. Note that the Mayas had a calendar even more complicated than ours in some ways, and more precise than ours is by .02 days/year. For them, the end of a long cycle of approximately 1000 years was a really big deal, and they expected cataclysms, etc., much like our trepidation at the supposed predictions of Nostradamus, etc. But the Mayans didn’t wait for the actual end of the cycle – this anticipation and fear in fact helped bring about the downfall of their civilization a little more that one millennium ago, and AROUND the time of the end of their cycle (at different archaeological sites in lower Mesoamerica, the dissolution of the civilization occurred on different dates, but always somewhere around the end of the cycle as they calculated it). Given my analysis, and taking the Mayans as a historical precedent, I feel supported and vindicated in my decision.


When I was young, in the last Millennium... (Greek version) -- May 1998

Αυτή η συνεχής ενασχόληση με το τέλος της δεύτερης χιλιετίας (οπωσδήποτε είναι μια αυθαίρετη ημερομηνία, αλλά αυτό δεν αλλάζει το τι συμβολίζει για μας) είναι στην πραγματικότητα αρκετά φυσιολογική και κατανοητή, δεδομένης της ανθρώπινης φύσης. Ας σημειωθεί ότι οι Μάγια είχαν ένα ημερολόγιο αρκετά πιο πολύπλοκο από το δικό μας και πιο ακριβές κατά .02 ημέρες/χρόνο. Για αυτούς, το τέλος ενός μεγάλου κύκλου 1000 περίπου χρόνων ήταν κάτι πραγματικά σημαντικό και περίμεναν κατακλυσμούς, κλπ, κάτι σαν τον δικό μας τρόμο μπροστά στις προφητείες του Νοστράδαμου, κλπ. Αλλά, οι Μάγια δεν περίμεναν το πραγματικό τέλος του κύκλου - αυτή η προσδοκία και ο φόβος βοήθησαν στην πραγματικότητα να επέλθει η κατάρρευση του πολιτισμού τους, κάτι περισσότερο από μια χιλιετία πριν και ΣΧΕΔΟΝ τη στιγμή του τέλους του κύκλου τους (σε διάφορους αρχαιολογικούς χώρους στην κάτω Κεντρική Αμερική, βρέθηκε ότι η διάλυση του πολιτισμού συνέβη σε διάφορες ημερομηνίες, αλλά πάντα προς το τέλος του κύκλου, όπως το υπολόγισαν). Λαμβάνοντας υπόψη την ανάλυσή μου και παίρνοντας ως ιστορικό δεδικασμένο τους Μάγια, αισθάνομαι ενισχυμένος και δικαιωμένος για την απόφασή μου.


Cuando era joven, en el milenio pasado... -- Mayo 1998

Esta preocupación con el final del segundo milenio (por supuesto, la fecha es arbitraria, pero eso no cambia su iconicidad para nosotros) de hecho es totalmente normal y entendible, dada la naturaleza humana. Date cuenta que los maya tenían un calendario aún más complicado que el nuestro en algunos sentidos, y más preciso que el nuestro, en la medida de .02 días por año. Para ellos, el fin de un ciclo largo de aproximadamente 1000 años realmente era una cosa importante y temible, y esperaban muchos cambios, cataclismos, etc., en forma muy similar a nuestra trepidación frente a las supuestas predicciones de Nostradamo, y cosas del estilo. Pero los mayas no esperaban siempre el fin real del ciclo –esta anticipación y temor de hecho ayudó en crear el fin de su civilización, hace poco más que un milenio, y APROXIMADAMENTE al fin de su ciclo (en diversos sitios arqueológicos in baja Mesoamérica la disolución de la civilización tuvo lugar en fechas distintas, pero siempre cerca del fin del ciclo como calculado por ellos). Dado el análisis mío, y tomando a los mayas como un precedente histórico, me siento apoyado y hasta vindicado en mi decisión.


Our Man In Guatemala

Brian Miguel Foley

Politics, Prices and Processions in Guatemala -- April 1999

About a mile away we found them, about 400 guys dressed in black hoods ala the KKK with revolutionary slogans on their t-shirts or images of Che Guevara, or simply black plastic garbage bags keeping the paint from soiling their clothes. They were accompanied by 3 or 4 cargo trucks which carried the oildrums full of "paint", plus a beat-up Japanese stationwagon with a big loudspeaker on the top, blasting away slogans and instructions to the mob. We witnessed the defacing of a storefront, rags and brooms being used as brushes, and spray cans being used for the graffiti details. (Unfortunately, Joe had a bit of dyslexia operating the video camera, and I have at least two or three shots of the lens cap being put on and only audio being recorded. But he did get some good footage, just not all that was available that night.)


Hola desde Quetzaltenango, Guatemala -- March 1999

The family I'm staying with is really sweet - Santiago is the father, a weaver, and works with his son Manuel making intricate, ornate blouses and tops. Felicia is the mother and laughs easily. She is quite taken by my digital video camera that puts pictures into my laptop so quickly. We'll get her some prints yet. Within a couple of weeks I'll get my new domain up and running so y'all can see the pics yourselves. I'll send an announcement when it is up and alive. At this point I'm still in image collection mode.


Our Man From China

Phil Shen

The Model Minority Myth -- September 1998

All Asian-Americans probably remember the lectures that their parents have given them about "working hard," "not causing trouble," and "being obedient." While that is great advice for family and work environments, it doesn't always apply to other situations. Unfortunately, there is a perverse interpretation of those working hard and being obedient, used by our own government to try to undermine us Asians. It's a myth many politicians have brought up, referring to Asians as the "Model Minority." We are supposed to be the top example of a good minority -- working hard, quiet, and obedient. The Model Minority Myth sounds like a complement to Asian Americans, but make no mistake, it is an inherently racist view. It suggests that Asians should work hard, but also shut up, and listen to the government at any time. In other words, Asians should be good boys and girls and never voice themselves out. Subtly implied, the Model Minority Myth puts us in the position of dogs of the ruling government, as much as the native Hong Kong populace was to the British colonists.


The Model Minority Myth (Greek version)

Όλοι οι Ασιαμερικανοί πιθανώς θυμούνται τις διαλέξεις που τους έχουν κάνει οι γονείς τους για "να δουλεύουν σκληρά", "να μην προκαλούν προβλήματα" και "να είναι υπάκουοι". Παρόλο που αυτές οι συμβουλές είναι εξαιρετικές για το περιβάλλον της οικογένειας και της εργασίας, δεν εφαρμόζονται πάντα σε άλλου είδους καταστάσεις. Δυστυχώς, υπάρχει μια διεστραμμένη παρεξήγηση αυτών που δουλεύουν σκληρά και είναι υπάκουοι, παρεξήγηση που χρησιμοποιεί και η ίδια η κυβέρνησή μας προσπαθώντας να υπονομεύσει τους Ασιάτες. Είναι ένας μύθος που πολλοί πολιτικοί έφεραν στην επιφάνεια, αναφερόμενοι στους Ασιάτες ως "Πρότυπη Μειονότητα". Υποτίθεται ότι είμαστε το κορυφαίο παράδειγμα μιας άριστης μειονότητας -- σκληρά εργαζόμενοι, ήσυχοι και υπάκουοι. Ο Μύθος της Πρότυπης Μειονότητας ακούγεται σαν φιλοφρόνηση στους Ασιαμερικανούς, αλλά μην κάνετε λάθος, είναι μια εγγενής ρατσιστική άποψη. Υπαινίσσεται ότι οι Ασιάτες πρέπει να δουλεύουν σκληρά, αλλά επίσης να το βουλώνουν και να ακούν πάντα την κυβέρνηση. Με άλλα λόγια, οι Ασιάτες θα πρέπει να είναι καλά αγόρια και κορίτσια και να μην εκφράζονται ποτέ. Όπως ανεπαίσθητα υπονοείται, ο Μύθος της Πρότυπης Μειονότητας μας βάζει στη θέση των πιστών σκυλιών της διοικούσας κυβέρνησης, ακριβώς ό,τι ήταν και ο ντόπιος πληθυσμός του Χονγκ Κονγκ για τους Βρετανούς άποικους.


Our Man In Bombay/Mumbai

Prem Panicker

India's Nuclear Gamble -- May 1998

All the king's horses and all the king's men -- or rather, all the US spy satellites and CIA operatives -- didn't have a clue. Nuclear experts in the United States of America, in fact, learnt of the May 11 detonation of three devices -- ranging from the nuclear to the thermonuclear -- in Pokharan, Rajasthan, only from the wires, and television stations. Wrong-footed, those experts have reacted with anger -- against the American intelligence network for not alerting them, against the Indian government for giving no advance notice of their intentions. Why the US of A, with its awesome intelligence gathering machinery, was completely blind-sided by India's nuclear testing will, presumably, be a matter for internal investigation in that country. Why the Indian government didn't let out so much as a cheep, before busting the bomb, however, seems rather easier to understand.


India's Nuclear Gamble (Greek version) -- May 1998

Όλα τα άλογα του βασιλιά και όλοι οι άνθρωποι του βασιλιά -- ή μάλλον, όλοι οι κατασκοπικοί Αμερικανικοί δορυφόροι και οι εν δράσει δορυφόροι της CIA -- δεν είχαν κανένα στοιχείο. Στην πραγματικότητα, οι πυρηνικοί ειδικοί στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής έμαθαν για την τριπλή έκρηξη -- από πυρηνική μέχρι θερμοπυρηνική -- στο Pokharan, του Rajasthan, μόνο από τους ραδιοφωνικούς και τηλεοπτικούς σταθμούς. Με λάθος βήματα, αυτοί οι ειδικοί αντέδρασαν οργισμένα -- τόσο απέναντι στο Αμερικανικό κατασκοπικό δίκτυο που δεν τους προειδοποίησε, όσο και απέναντι στην Ινδική κυβέρνηση που δεν ενημέρωσε εκ των προτέρων για τις προθέσεις της. Το γιατί οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής, με το φοβερό κατασκοπικό μηχανισμό συγκέντρωσης πληροφοριών, τυφλώθηκαν εντελώς από την θέληση της Ινδίας για πυρηνική δοκιμή, θα γίνει, ίσως, θέμα εσωτερικής έρευνας σε αυτή τη χώρα. Ωστόσο, το γιατί η Ινδική κυβέρνηση δεν άφησε να ακουστεί τίποτε παρά ψίθυροι, προτού ρίξει τη βόμβα, μοιάζει πολύ πιο εύκολο να το καταλάβουμε.


My Father's Son -- August 1997

That was pretty much the story of that summer vacation. One book after another would appear on that table -- in thinking about it now, I guess my father must have been keeping an eye on the bookmarks (a book lover himself, my father had taught me never to dog-ear a book) and thus knowing when I was through with each book. And that was how he taught me to read. Without an order given, a word exchanged. It was all very subtle. A Wodehouse or three later, I discovered a Perry Mason on the table. A while later, an Agatha Christie. An Enid Blyton. One day, it was a text edition of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Tales from the Mahabharat. The condensed version of The Three Musketeers. Within a year, comics bored me.


The Call Of Your Roots -- July 1997

It is a long, involved ceremony. A small slice of green coconut leaf is installed in the centre of the earthen mound to represent the object of my worship. It is first bathed in oil, water and the juice of hibiscus leaves, which I have hand-picked and squeezed in my palms to get the essence. A single string drawn from my dhoti is then wrapped around it -- an act that symbolises dressing the figure. The ceremonial lamp is then lit, and aarti (worshipping with fire) and incense offered to the figure. Then follows a sequential offering of water dripped on the image through fingers first dipped in mustard seeds, then in freshly ground turmeric paste, then in a particular type of flower prescribed for the ritual, then all three together. Next, I roll a rice ball and, with heartfelt prayers, place it before the little image on the mound. Water is ceremoniously dripped on that ball of rice, again using the three ingredients in prescribed sequence.


Prem Panicker's Calicut -- June 1997

When you land in Calicut for the first time, you are darned if you can figure out what the fuss is all about. Basically, the city is about a couple of commercial streets crammed with Ayurvaidya Shalas and customs notified shops cheek by jowl... and a mix of old and new-style residential areas surrounding them. So why do the natives swear by the place? Simply because Calicut reminds you of a duck. All calm and tranquil on the surface, but there's a lot of busy paddling going on underneath. Commercially, Calicut is the most important city in the southern state -- the clearing house for trade and finance, and hub around which the commerce of Kerala revolves. Could well be an accident of geography, given that it is situated pretty much in the middle of the state, which means that all the trade between the northern and southern parts of the state have necessarily to go via Calicut.


Nuestro Hombre en Bombay: Prem Panicker

Calicut según Prem Panicker -- Junio de 1997

Cuando usted aterriza en Calicut por primera vez, le será imposible saber de cierto porqué la cuidad es motivo de tantos comentarios. Básicamente, Calicut esta constituída por un par de calles comerciales llenas de centros de ayurveda y una miríada de diversos almacenes de importación con permisos aduaneros… todo ello rodeado de áreas residenciales que poseen una mezcla de antiguos y nuevos estilos. Por qué entonces ésta ciudad fascina tanto a sus residentes? Simplemente porque Calicut se asemeja a un pato nadando. En la superficie se desplaza serena y tranquilamente, pero por debajo existe una  intensa, incansable actividad. Comercialmente, Calicut es la ciudad más importante en el estado sureño de Kerala, una especie de cámara de compensación  para el comercio y las finanzas y el centro alrededor del que se desarrolla la actividad económica de Kerala. Es posible que ello se deba a un accidente geográfico, puesto que la ciudad se encuentra casi exactamente en el medio del estado, lo que significa que todo el flujo de mercancías entre el norte y el sur del mismo debe necesariamente pasar por Calicut.


Happily Ever After -- June 1997

On the last day of May, I attended a wedding. It was at a small, private chapel. Attended by a small, select audience. The bride was 41 and a housewife. The groom, 31, and a professional. She is from America, he is an expat Indian. A fortnight and more later, I find I still cannot get it out of my mind. Because, you see, it was no ordinary wedding. The whole thing happened up there in cyberspace. The bride and groom have not seen each other, though they have exchanged photographs. When they got married, they did not even know what each other's voices sounded like. And yet, neither of them are in any doubt whatsoever that the ceremony was, for them, totally, completely serious. And very, very real.


Happily Ever After (Greek version) -- June 1997

Την τελευταία μέρα του Μαϊου παραβρέθηκα σε ένα γάμο. Έγινε σε ένα μικρό, ιδιωτικό παρεκκλήσι. Παραβρέθηκε ένα μικρό, επιλεγμένο κοινό. Η νύφη ήταν 41 ετών και νοικοκυρά. Ο γαμπρός ήταν 31 ετών και ελεύθερος επαγγελματίας. Αυτή είναι από την Αμερική και αυτός είναι εκπατρισμένος Ινδιάνος. Περισσότερο από δεκαπέντε μέρες μετά και ακόμη δεν μπορώ να βγάλω το γάμο από το μυαλό μου. Επειδή, βλέπετε, δεν ήταν ένας συνηθισμένος γάμος. Το όλο πράγμα συνέβει εκεί στο κυβερνοδιάστημα. Η νύφη και ο γαμπρός δεν αντίκρυσαν ποτέ ο ένας τον άλλο, παρόλο που αντάλλαξαν φωτογραφίες τους. Όταν παντρεύτηκαν, δεν ήξερε ο ένας πώς ήταν η φωνή του άλλου. Και ωστόσο, κανένας από τους δύο δεν έχει οποιαδήποτε αμφιβολία ότι η τελετή ήταν, για αυτούς, εντελώς και εξ ολοκλήρου σοβαρή. Και πολύ πολύ αληθινή.


Our Woman In Jerusalem/Наша жена у Јерусалиму

Rachel Bell/Рејчел Бел

Jerusalem's Khan Theatre begins new season despite budgetary woes -- June 1999

Serious budget shortfalls face Jerusalem’s inventive Khan Theater from the past year, and funding uncertainty may continue into their upcoming season. The budget has not been a reliable animal in the Israel art scene: the Ministry of Culture and Sport has had to consistently postpone payouts of funding to theaters across the breadth of the Israel.


A New Style: The Japanese dancer Saburo Teshigawara and his dance troupe Karas -- May 1999

Israeli dance goers are eager to have seen it all, but they haven't quite yet. The Japanese dancer Saburo Teshigawara and his dance troupe Karas are coming to town, bringing their spectacularly, coldly modern dance, very Japanese and yet unlike anything else Japanese that goes by the name of dance. It is not Butoh, it is not Noh, it is not Kabuki theater, it is not even like, it is not even in the same direction, in fact there is not much point of contact. And yet, the ghost of all that is Japan invades and permeates Teshigawara's brilliantly cold dance, which will be showing at Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on May 27-31, 1999.


Palestinians killed during Israel's 50th anniversary celebration -- May 1998

Eight Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured from Israel Defense Forces' gunfire during Palestinian disturbances marking the Naqba - the 50th anniversary of the "disaster" of the founding of the State of Israel.

In towns and cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and in refugee camps, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated and rioted. At the beginning of the disturbances, the Palestinian police did not intervene, but when fierce confrontations developed between the demonstrators and IDF troops, and the fear arose that matters might get out of control, the Palestinian police began to help maintain order. The most serious incidents occurred in the Gush Katif area, in three places: Morag, Netzarim, and the Gush Katif road junction.


Палестинци гинули током прославе 50-годишњице постојања Израела

Осморо Палестинаца је погинуло а на десетине их је рањено ватром коју су отварале израелске снаге безбедности током палестинских протеста поводом Нагбе – 50-годишњице од «пропасти» и оснивања државе Израел.

У градовима на Западној обали и у појасу Газе, у избегличким камповима, на стотине хиљада Палестинаца је демонстрирало и правило изгреде. У почетку нереда палестинска полиција се није мешала, али када је дошло до оштрих сукоба између демонстраната и израелских снага безбедности, и када се појавио страх да би ситуација могла да измакне контроли, палестинска полиција је почела да заводи ред. Најозбиљнији инцидент је избио у области Гуш Катиф, на три места: Мораг, Нецарим и раскрсница Гуш Катиф.



Our Woman In Hong Kong

Lise Lingo

Get In Lane: Victoria Harbour, Shenzen & Macau -- May 1998

Picture a tropical San Francisco with New York’s energy level. Two hundred and fifty cars fill every kilometer of the roads, which only fit on the island in the first place because most of them are suspended in layers. They contour around the hills, dripping off in underpasses, overpasses, and flyovers that peel away abruptly. Road signs say "Get in lane" and that means do it now, or miss your turn. Pedestrian pathways are more tangled, a Habitrail of Minneapolis skyways gone berserk in the humidity, curling around and over and through most of the office buildings. They dump you out at the foot of twisting switchbacks, curved steps cutting straight up, or--if you’re lucky--the Mid-Levels escalators, which carry commuters under some shelter down nearly half a mile in the morning and up again in the evening.


Our Man In Tokyo

Alan Hulse

Stuffed Doggie -- March 1998

We fell into conversation on other topics. Steve had been watching a BBC documentary series on the history and current state of Japan. He was learning a lot about Japan through this series. I commented that I watched the BBC channel at the British Council, the British cultural center in Tokyo and liked it a lot. He said BBC was great. The flat he was staying in had BBC and CNN on cable TV. BBC was analytical while CNN seemed simpler. "In England, we recognize that some are educated and others are not. It is the responsibility of the educated to present material in as high a manner as is possible and expose the public to it. CNN, on the other hand, is quite different. It recognizes that there are different levels of education, but, unlike BBC, CNN aims at simplicity. Everything is comprehensible to everyone...and the result is that not much is said at all.

I agreed with him. "Simplicity," I said, "is more democratic. The United States prides itself on being a republic. And a republic prides itself on the equality of all of its citizens. Therefore, there can be no elites...even though the real elites of the country consist of the rich and old families, the rich, the PACs, and the "papered elites," people with degrees and especially graduate degrees who actually run the country."


Our Man In Paris/Il Nostro Uomo In Parigi/
Nuestro hombre en París/Наш човек у Паризу

Richard Maxwell

Brew It Yourself -- July 1998

"We came up with all sorts of ideas, two of which were related - why you couldn't get proper British beer in Paris, and why there seemed to be relatively few good bars or pubs in the city." After a bit of thought, they decided that researching the answers to these questions would make a fun and interesting basis for their project. "At the very least, going round Paris drinking in as many bars as we could find and trying to understand why some of them worked whilst others were empty, seemed more appealing than sitting in front of a computer all day, analysing industry statistics for some new widget-producing scheme."


Birra fai-da-te-- Luglio 1998 (Italian version)

"Abbiamo avuto tante idee cui due erano simili - perché non si trovava una buona birra inglese a Parigi, e perché sembrava che ci fossero cosi pochi pub o bar buoni nella città." Dopo averci pensato un po, hanno deciso che trovare le risposte a queste domande sarebbe una base divertente ed interessante per il loro progetto. "Almeno, andando a giro per Parigi bevendo in piu bar possibili, sembrava molto piu divertente che stare davanti al computer tutto il giorno scrutando statistiche industriali per l'ultimo progetto per produrre chissàcosa."


What is this thing called France? -- May 1998

The thing about the French is that they have all been taught that France is the centre of the Universe - and of course Paris is the centre of France. Neither statement is accurate, but this is an old tradition that dates back to Louis XIV, who decided that France was going to be Top Nation, which it was for most of the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period France invented such Cultural Topness as Bordeaux (wine) and Paris (courtiers, couturiers, coiffeurs), D'Artagnan (musketeers) and Voltaire (Enlightenment). Unfortunately they didn't know when to stop, and went on to invent Revolution (roulette) and Guillotines, at which point France lost its head completely and stopped being Top, or even having one. This opened the way for the School Bully (Napoleon), who started thinking he was Julius Caesar making a come-back, and threw his armies all over the place. He also decreed that everyone should now drive on the Right and put all the laws into his Code, which nobody was allowed to understand except lawyers who all went to the Bar, which was very strictly licensed. Napoleon might indeed be seen as the first attempt since Charlemagne at a European Union, and most of the Reigning Heads of the period in fact decided they would rather allow Napoleon to call himself Emperor and go on reigning. This might have worked but for one thing: Napoleon didn't have the right bootmaker, being seen everywhere in white breeches and polished black half-boots. Naturally the Duke of Wellington soon put paid to that and made him wear green rubber ones like everyone else.


 ¿Qué es esa cosa llamada Francia? -- Mayo 1998

Lo que pasa con los franceses es que se les ha enseñado que Francia es el centro del universo, y, por supuesto, París, el centro de Francia. Ninguna afirmación es correcta pero es una vieja tradición que data de los días de Luis XIV, quien decidió que Francia iba a ser una de las naciones superiores, rol que cumplió durante gran parte de los siglos XVII y XVIII.  Durante este período Francia inventó muestras de Superioridad Cultural tales como Burdeos (vino), y París (courtiers, couturiers, coiffeurs), D’Artagnan (mosqueteros) y Voltaire (Iluminación). Desgraciadamente, no supieron dónde parar, y continuaron hasta inventar la Revolución (ruleta) y la Guillotina, en cuyo momento Francia perdió la cabeza completamente, o incluso dejó de tener una y de ser superior. Esto abrió el camino al Chulo de la Escuela (Napoleón) quien empezó a creerse la reencarnación de Julio César y lanzó a sus ejércitos por doquier. También decretó que todo el mundo debía conducir por la derecha y puso todas las leyes en su Código, que no estaba permitido comprender excepto para los abogados que fueron todos al Bar[1]*, con licencia estricta para la venta de alcohol. Napoleón podría ser considerado el primer intento de alcanzar la Unión Europea desde tiempos de Carlomagno, y así gran parte de los bustos reinantes de este período decidieron que más valía permitirle que se autoproclamase Emperador y así continuar gobernando. Esto podría haber funcionado a no ser por un detalle: Napoleón no tenía el zapatero correcto, dado que se paseaba en calzones blancos y botas negras pulidas de media caña. Lógicamente, el Duque de Wellington no tardó en acabar con ello, haciéndole llevar botas de goma verdes como todos los demás.


Ричард Максвел: Шта је оно што зовемо Француском?

Једна ствар у вези са Французима је да су сви научени како је Француска центар Универзума – а наравно Париз је центар Француске. Ниједна изјава није тачна, али ово је стара традиција која сеже још до Луја 14., који је одлучио да ће Француска били нација над нацијама, што је и била већи део 17. и 18. века. Током тог периода Француска је измислила такав културни врхунац попут бордоа (вина) и Париза (посредници, кројачи, фризери), Дартањана (мускетари) и Волтера (Просветитељство). Нажалост нису знали да стану, па су наставили и измислили Револуцију (рулет) и Гиљотину, у ком је тренутку Француска изгубила главу и потпуно престала да буде врхунска, или да икада више достигне врхунац. Ово је рашчистило пут Школском Силеџији (Наполеону), који је кренуо да замишља да је Јулије Цезар који се враћа, и разбацао своје војске свуда уоколо. Такође је прописао да сада сви треба да возе на Десној страни и ставио све своје законе у Кодекс, који нико није смео да разуме сем адвоката који су одлазили у Бар, који је био врло строго лиценциран. Наполеон би у ствари могао да буде први покушај ка стварању европске Уније после Карла Великог, и већина Крунисаних Глава тог периода је у ствари одлучила како би радије дозволила Наполеону да се назива Царем него да настави да влада. Ово би можда и упалило да није било једне ствари: Наполеон није имао правог обућара, пошто су га свуда виђали у белим гаћама и сјајним полу-чизмицама. Наравно да се Војвода од Велингтона ускоро кладио на то и натерао га да носи зелене гумењаке као и сви остали.


Our Woman In Singapore

Shelly Bryant

The Lounge Singer -- May 1998

"It's me!" he exclaimed, now laughing uncontrollably. "I told you I was a lounge singer back then. Didn't you know we had to dress like that during the war? Do you want to hear a Japanese song?"

I looked at the pretty young girl as he crooned away. Now that he mentioned it, there was no denying the truth. It sent goose bumps as I reflected on what Mr. Ho must have faced during that difficult era. No wonder he'd been through two divorces since then, and was left with no family to care for him in his old age -- a curse almost unbearable to the Chinese mind. Life had been tough for the likes of Mr. Ho in those days.

I looked toward the rabbits again. There was a huge, half-eaten carrot lying between them. I remembered the first time I'd seen those rabbits at Mr. Ho's house. I had felt so sorry for their poor living conditions. I had spent so much time that day helping Mr. Ho care for the rabbits that I had felt guilty -- I wondered why it was easier to take care of animals than it was to take care of other people.


Our Woman In Prague/Наша жена у Прагу

Angeli Primlani/Ангели Примлани

Another Romany exodus looms in wake of murder -- February 1998

As the country mourned the loss of another Romany (Gypsy) to skinhead violence, Czech officials braced for a mass exodus of Romanies again -- this time to the United States. Roughly 300 people, including Czechs and Romanies, gathered in this industrial city Feb. 21 for the funeral of Helena Biharova, a 26-year-old Romany mother of four who was allegedly beaten in Vrchlabi, eastern Bohemia, by three skinheads six days earlier and thrown in the Labe (Elbe) River, where she drowned. Romany leaders say the attack has left about 200 families eager to emigrate to the United States to escape racial persecution here. "I want to go to America because there is no racism there," a young friend of the victim's family said at the funeral, as the emotional crowd cried out "death for death" and "God will kill them for what they did."


Могућ још један егзодус Рома као последица убиства

Док је земља у жалости због убиства  још једног Рома (Циганина) од стране скинхедса, чешке власти се суочавају са још једним масовним егзодусом Рома – овога пута у Сједињене Државе. Око 300 људи, укључујући Чехе и Роме, се 21 . фебруара окупило у овом индустријском граду на сахрани Хелене Бихарове, 26-тогодишње Ромкиње и мајке четворо деце, која је наводно претучена у Врхлаби, источна Бохемија, од стране тројице скинхедса шест дана раније и бачена у рeку Лабу (Елбу), где се и удавила. Вође ромске заједнице кажу да је након напада око 200 породица спремно да емигрира у Сједињене Државе како би избегло расно насиље у Чешкој. «Желим да одем у Америку јер тамо нема расизма», рекао нам је на сахрани породични пријатељ жртве, док је узбуђена маса узвикивала «смрт за смрт» и «Бог ће их убити због тога што су урадили».


Our Man In Arabia

T. E. Lawrence

27 Articles -- May 1998

"The following notes have been expressed in commandment form for greater clarity and to save words. They are, however, only my personal conclusions, arrived at gradually while I worked in the Hejaz and now put on paper as stalking horses for beginners in the Arab armies. They are meant to apply only to Bedu; townspeople or Syrians require totally different treatment. They are of course not suitable to any other person's need, or applicable unchanged in any particular situation. Handling Hejaz Arabs is an art, not a science, with exceptions and no obvious rules. At the same time we have a great chance there; the Sherif trusts us, and has given us the position (towards his Government) which the Germans wanted to win in Turkey. If we are tactful, we can at once retain his goodwill and carry out our job, but to succeed we have got to put into it all the interest and skill we possess." -- T. E. Lawrence


Our Woman In Jamaica

Denise Gray Gooden

Skywritings: Aromatherapy and alternative lifestyles highlight the Island of Light Center for Holistic Development &Vegetarian Bed and Breakfast -- June 1998

So if you ARE tired of the usual sun-soaking, reggae-dancing, souvenir-shopping holiday, you might be in the right frame of mind for the Island of Light. And anywhere that is easily found following directions like "drive up the hill then turn left before the little shop," definitely has the potential to possess that "off the beaten track" quality you are looking for. Island of Light, a vegetarian bed and breakfast located in Retreat, St. Mary, a mere fifteen-minute drive from the contrasting hustle and bustle of Ocho Rios, has that quality and much more.


Horus in Gotham: Our Woman In New York City

Livia Sian Llewellyn

alphabet city -- April 1998

walking walking the streets of my childhood in a city i've never

been in before only this time big

bird and oscar aren't here to teach me the sights and signs of this

adult new world and down

down down i go brownstone brickwood and peeling paint garbage

cans with flowers and faces

painted on the sides drunks reeling to some silent ancient music,

the muses never abandon them


The Architect of Emotion: A Tribute to Allen Ginsberg -- May 1998

One by one people took to the stage and two high pulpits, all friends and compatriots of Allen. Stephen Smith, Steven Taylor, Bob Rosenthal, Andy Clausen, Ed Sanders, Jayne Cortez and others sang, recited Allen’s and their own poems--shouting, crying, laughing and cajoling the crowd into collective remembrance of Allen as activist and advocate for peace. Pedro Pietri had everyone singing a song about the tribulations of buying and wearing cheap shoes. Anne Waldman chanted and raved her way through a poem and speech honoring Allen’s campaigning against nuclear weapons. And Danny Schechter broke the taboo, and uttered the name that had been in the backs of all our minds. Schechter gave an angry and hilarious speech about the ineptitude of the media, their attention to the Show About Nothing, while doing little more in the way of coverage for the tribute than a small blurb in the Times, which listed the date as May 15, instead of the 14th. He read a Seinfeld/Ginsberg comparison list, noting the differences between the non-realities of a show about New York, filmed in Los Angeles, and a man who spent much of his life living in and writing about this city. Seinfeld was about nothing, he said, Ginsberg was and is about everything.


L’Architetto dell’Emozione: Un Tributo ad Allen Ginsberg -- Maggio 1998

Ad uno ad uno gli ospiti si avviavano al palcoscenico e ai due alti pulpiti, tutti amici e compatrioti di Allen. Stephen Smith, Steven Taylor, Bob Rosenthal, Andy Clausen, Ed Sanders, Jayne Cortez e altri hanno cantato, recitato poesie proprie e di Allen - urlando, piangendo, ridendo e attirando la folla in un ricordo collettivo di Allen come attivista e avvocato della pace. Pedro Pietri ha fatto cantare a tutti una canzone sulle tribolazioni di doversi comperare e indossare scarpe di poco prezzo. Anne Waldman ha cantato e si è tagliata con ardore un varco con una poesia e un discorso in onore alla campagna di Allen contro le armi nucleari. E Danny Schechter ha rotto il tabù e ha mormorato il nome che era in fondo alla mente di tutti. Schechter è prorotto in un discorso pieno di rabbia e al contempo ilare sull’inettitudine dei media, la loro attenzione allo Show Del Niente, quando il Times per il tributo non aveva fatto passare che un flash di agenzia apparso con la data del 15 maggio, invece del 14. Ha letto un elenco di punti che mettevano a confronto Seinfeld/Ginsberg, notando le differenze tra le non-realtà di uno show su New York, filmate a Los Angeles, e un uomo che aveva passato gran parte della vita vivendo dentro la città, descrivendola. Seinfeld era niente, ha detto, Ginsberg era ed è tutto.


El arquitecto de la emoción: Un tributo a  Allen Ginsberg -- Mayo 1998

Una a una las personas subieron al estrado y a dos altos púlpitos, todos amigos y compatriotas de Allen. Stephen Smith, Steven Taylor, Bob Rosenthal, Andy Clausen, Ed Sanders, Jayne Cortez y otros, cantaron, recitaron poemas de Allen y de ellos mismos, gritando, llorando, riendo y persuadiendo a la multitud para que recordara colectivamente a Allen como activista y defensor de la paz. Pedro Pietri hizo que todos cantaran una canción acerca de las tribulaciones de comprar y usar zapatos baratos. Anne Waldman cantó y recitó con delirio un poema y un discurso honrando la campaña de Allen en contra de las armas nucleares. Y Danny Schechter rompió el tabú, y pronunció el nombre que había estado guardado en nuestras mentes. Schechter dio un discurso colérico e irrisorio acerca de la ineptitud de los medios, la atención que prestaron al Show de la Nada, no haciendo otra cosa para informar sobre el tributo más que un pequeño subtítulo en el Times, que inscribió la fecha como 15 de mayo en lugar de 14. Leyó una lista comparativa de Seinfeld/ Ginsberg, haciendo notar las diferencias entre las irrealidades de un show sobre Nueva York, filmado en Los Angeles, y un hombre que pasó gran parte de su vida viviendo y escribiendo sobre esta ciudad. Seinfeld no es nada, dijo, Ginsberg era y es todo.


Our Woman In Tennessee

Alison Gates

The Mystery of the Roman Sweet Potato -- January 1999

While in Rome my school celebrated Thanksgiving by giving us a feast of turkeys roasted in the ovens at the bakery across Campo Di Fiori, the Forno. The students potlucked the rest of the meal and I shortsightedly signed up for the sweet potato group - I have a very good recipe without marshmallows which I got strangely enough from Aunt Bee's Mayberry RFD cookbook written by cast members from the Andy Griffith Show. That show takes place down the road a piece, in No'th Carolina. (Yes, there really is a Mount Pilot!) Anyway, not being much of a botanist, I didn't realize until too late that the sweet potato is a very new-world vegetable. The yam, of course seemed more world-wide as tubers go, but in the end, when my roommate Saint Nancy described the item of interest to the vendor in the Campo it came out sort of as "A root from America, brown, not a potato but like a potato, and sweet, orangish inside."


Rome, Tennessee -- September 1998

We have both a 24-hour Wal-Mart and a 24-hour Super Kmart and today I discovered that there are actual drag queens living and working in Johnson City. They tend to shop in the fabric section of the Wal-Mart in the wee hours of the morning, and one of my students works there cutting fabric for the drag queens and insomniacs through the night. Most of the rest of my students are moms already -- girls have babies here, that is for sure. I have two expectant mothers in my weaving studio so I guess we will have to have a baby shower. I have forbidden them to make booties, unless they are willing to crochet over 10 dozen and make an installation piece. Neither seems too inclined.


Our Man In Tacoma/Nuestro Hombre En Tacoma

Chance Stevens

Seeking Art In Tacoma -- March 1998

In the Northwest there was much discussion last year as to Toyota's decision to name their latest truck "The Tacoma." Many people familiar with the city, and especially those neighbors to the north, in style- conscious Seattle, wondered if the folks at Toyota had really done their homework. Hadn't they heard about "The Aroma of Tacoma" (frequent foul smell which permeates the air due to pulp mills and other heavy industry) or any of the city's other numerous liabilities? Wouldn't this have some effect on the sales of this new model, with truck buyers preferring to drive around in a more masculine sounding "Sierra", "Ram", or "Tahoe"? Or sticking with the more neutral letter and numbers combinations of the "F-series" or the "S-series"? "No," Toyota announced to the region. "We've done extensive research, and the end result was that the country, in fact the world, thinks of Tacoma as "rugged". And "rugged" sells trucks. Never mind the reality.


En busca del arte en Tacoma -- March 1998

El año pasado se oyeron muchos comentarios en el noroeste sobre la decisión de Toyota de denominar "The Tacoma" a su último modelo de camioneta. Muchas personas que conocen la ciudad, y especialmente los vecinos del norte –en la tan preocupada por el estilo Seattle- se preguntaban si los de Toyota sabían lo que estaban haciendo. ¿Acaso no habían oído hablar del "Aroma de Tacoma" (un casi constante mal olor que invade el aire debido a las plantas de pulpa y a otras industrias pesadas) o de otras muchas desventajas de aquella ciudad? ¿Acaso esto no tendría algún efecto sobre las ventas del nuevo modelo, quizás los compradores prefieran pasearse en modelos con nombres más masculinos como "Sierra", "Ram" o "Tahoe"? ¿O quedarse con las combinaciones de letras y números más neutrales de las "series-F" o de las "series-S"? "No," le anunció Toyota a la región "hemos investigado exhaustivamente y el resultado es que el país, de hecho el mundo, piensa que Tacoma suena "resistente". Y la palabra "resistente", vende camionetas. La ciudad es otra historia.


Our Woman In Chicagoland

Gardenia C. Hung

Tall Ships in Chicago -- July 1998

All Aboard! People en masse made their way to the southeastern shores of Lake Michigan to gaze, wander, and climb aboard Tall Ships Chicago 1998 where maritime history comes to life. Sponsored by AT & T Wireless Services at Navy Pier, July 16-20, the Windy City is proud to host these magnificent guests anchored by the cool aquamarine waters of the lakefront.

Sea-lovers of all ages, young and old gazed in awe and wonder at the Public Dockside Viewing of the Ships, the city’s first festival of Tall Ships and the largest fleet of Tall Ships in Chicago since the early 1900’s. City skyscrapers towering high on the lakefront skyline witness the presence of these majestic vessels as they glide and skim the waves into the harbor, full sail ahead during the Parade. Bearing names like Schooner America, Anna Kristina, Madeline, U.S. Brig Niagara, STV Pathfinder, TS Playfair, H.M.S. Tecumseh, True North, Windy, USCG Acacia, USCG Mackinaw, they are reminiscent of people, places, and historical markers for times gone by.


Our Man In Raleigh/Nuestro hombre en Raleigh

Calvin Stacy Powers

The Beautiful Golden Leaf -- May 1998

Those of you who have never experienced it probably won't believe me, but even as a nonsmoker I think the smell of cured tobacco is wonderful. The smell of tobacco defines "Good Earth." You can't smell tobacco without thinking of nature and sun and plants and the miracles of chlorophyll. In downtown Durham there are still tobacco processing plants, which I believe are owned by Ligget-Myers; and certain times during the fall the entire downtown area is filled with the earthy aroma of cured tobacco. It smells great. Everyone should experience it at least once.

And while I was musing over the social implications of living in a conservative town and making my living by working on the future, I had this overpowering feeling sweep over me that the tobacco just had to be explained. It had to fit into the scheme of things. If this was a slice of Americana, the tobacco had to represent something. It's just way too big to ignore and way too beautiful to discount.


La hermosa hoja dorada -- Mayo 1998

Aquellos que no hayan tenido esa experiencia probablemente no me creerán pero aún siendo un no fumador encuentro que el olor de tabaco curado es maravilloso. Tal olor da cuerpo a la expresión: "buena tierra". Al oler el tabaco vienen a la mente imágenes como la naturaleza, el sol, las plantas y el milagro de la clorofila. Aún existen plantas procesadoras de tabaco en el corazón de Durham, creo propiedad de Ligget-Myers, y en ciertos días de otoño el aroma campestre del tabaco curado cubre todo el centro. ¡Huele a gloria!. Todo el mundo debería sentirlo al menos una vez.

Y mientras estaba meditando sobre las implicaciones sociales que conlleva vivir en una ciudad conservadora y a la vez ganar mi pan trabajando en el futuro, tuve la imperiosa necesidad de argumentar la cuestión del tabaco. De cierta forma, era una pieza del rompecabezas, ya que si era una porción de "memorabilia americana", el tabaco tenía un papel que desempeñar. Es un tema demasiado imponente para ser ignorado o demasiado hermoso para ser descartado.


Our Man In Louisiana

Larry Swindle

Mardi Gras Crab Cakes -- March 1998

King Cakes were introduced into Louisiana's Mardi Gras traditions by the Twelfth Night Revelers, a New Orleans party organization, during the 1870 celebration. A king cake with a "golden bean" baked inside was sliced and given to the ladies of the court. The lady whose slice contained the bean was crowned the queen of the festival. Most king cakes now have plastic babies, representing the Christ child baked inside. Tradition now dictates that the person receiving the slice of cake with the baby is obligated to buy the next cake for their friends. King cakes are common sights in school rooms, business offices, and homed during Louisiana's Mardi Gras season.


Our Man In Oakland

David Hahn

Boy Pig Lock-Out - Living On The Flames Of Fear -- March 1998

I recently had the distinct displeasure of locking myself out of hovel and home. I suppose the consensus of your Average Joe or Joe-ette might be that this in and of itself might not be an incident worthy of any excessive anxiety or self-mutilation. However, unfortunately, I must confess to being somewhat of an exile when it comes to the Realm of Rationality, having been so for quite some time now. My name is David Hahn, and I've been a resident of the fair City of Oakland, California for the past 6 months now. Oakland is generally regarded by residents of the Bay Area, as San Francisco's uglier, more uncouth step-sister...and the multiple incidents of domestic violence, gunfire, and constant sonata of siren-song by the local gendarmes I've experienced living here, all seem to confirm this somewhat biased perspective. The city is not without it's charm, though. For instance, there's this really cool graveyard not a 15 minute walk away from my house, and an adequate assortment of taverns and bars to blot out the pain.


Our Man In San Francisco

David Hahn

PC-itis in the Big City -- March 1998

Like a lot of people I know, I've been a long time opponent to the general concept of politically correct terminology. What in the name of Creepin' Jeezus on a Cross were these freaks thinking? Being a "person of color" myself, I find it inconceivable to understand how making up these candy-assed nonsensical names would do anything to change the basic societal stereotypes of race, gender, and sexual orientation, which our society adheres to so well, and which have been ingrained in us all since we were tikes. Hopefully, given enough time the whole trend will go the way of hula-hoops and mood rings, and we can stop focusing on labels and cut to the fucking chase already...government mandated lobotomies!



Our Man From Hawaii

David Hahn

Saffron Boy Moves To The Big City -- March 1998

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. A place that I've often heard touted as one of those wonderful Cultural Melting Pots (a phrase which never fails to raise the most disturbing mental images in me) which sprinkle this Great and Good Country of Ours. Well, don't you believe it! While it may be true that there is a wide variation of ethnicity in the Hawaiian populous, they all hate each other, and would enjoy nothing better than to feast on their neighbors' livers. Growing up under the tutelage of the choicest facilities of academia in that state, I recall such marvelously repulsive student "holidays" as "Slap-a-Jap Day" and "Kill Haole Day". Slap-a-Jap Day was held on December 7th, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, and as the name implies, on this date it somehow became culturally acceptable to go postal on the Watanabe Jr.'s of the student body. Kill Haole Day, well, that was usually on the last day of school. "Haole" is the Hawaiian word for "white" but through the years it has become somewhat of a euphemism along the same lines as "whitey" or "cracker"...and, well, I think you get the picture.


Nuestro Hombre en Hawai

Por David Hahn

Muchacho Azafrán se Muda a la Gran Ciudad

Nací y fuí creado en Honolulú, Hawai. Un lugar que he escuchado frecuentemente alabarse como uno de esos maravillosos “crisoles que amalgaman culturas”, (frase que siempre suscita en mí las imágenes mentales más molestas), que se encuentran por doquier en este “gran y  excelente  país nuestro.” Bien, no crean usted en tal descripción! Si bien es cierto que una gran variedad de grupos étnicos coexiste en Hawai, cada uno de ellos odia a los demás y a cada quien le  agradaría tener la oportunidad de arrancar los ojos a sus vecinos. Crecí bajo la tutela de una de las mas reconocidas instituciones educativas de ese estado, y recuerdo las prácticas maravillosamente repulsivas de las “festividades” escolares del mismo, particularmente el “día-para-abofetear-a-un-japonés” y el “día-para-asesinar-a-un-haloe”. El “día-para-abofetear-a-un-japonés” tenía lugar cada siete de diciembre, el aniversario del ataque contra Pearl Harbor. Como el nombre lo sugiere, de algún modo en esa fecha se había vuelto culturalmente aceptable maltratar a los estudiantes de ascendencia japonesa. El “día-para-asesinar-a-un-haloe” tomaba lugar usualmente en la última jornada de clases. “Haloe” es el término hawaiano que designa a las personas de raza blanca, pero, con el paso de los años, se ha vuelto un eufemismo similar a “blanquito” y “gringo”... y bueno, creo que ustedes se imaginan el resto.


Our Man In Prison

Lucky & Rich: Unchain Me (Letters from the hoosegow) -- March 1998

These are actual letters (four of them written in an 18-hour period, and there were many, many others over a long span of time) from an incarcerated man to what used to be his boyfriend, until the object of his affections discovered that he was a burglar and was eventually caught by the police and put in prison.

Their names have been changed to protect their identities.


Our Man From Utopia/Nuestro hombre en Utopia

Jim Rovira

Meditations on a Multicultural Utopia -- August 1998

My neighborhood grew fat with young families and their small children, and like the Star Trek utopia we witnessed on television our neighborhood was a model of racial diversity. Mexican, Vietnamese, Scottish, Irish, Chinese, Puerto Rican, African American, Filipino, and Korean families all lived on the same block, shopped at the same grocery store, met at the same PTA and Cub Scout meetings, and saw their children through the same elementary, junior high, and high schools. We got into fights and played on the same little league teams, and many of us attended the same Catholic Church. We had to work through the accents of our friend's parents and learn each other's food when we visited for dinner. Our front doors were thresholds between the outside world of Southern California suburbia and the more intimate world of our family lives, a world dominated by foreign furniture, foods, and smells. Everyone I knew was comfortably well off, and most of the people I knew from the neighborhood lived there for years. We grew up together.


Meditaciones sobre una utopia multicultural -- Agosto 1998

Mi barrio medró con familias jóvenes y sus hijos pequeños, y como la utopía de Star Trek que veíamos en televisión, nuestro barrio era un modelo de diversidad racial. Familias mejicanas, vietnamitas, escocesas, irlandesas, chinas, puertorriqueñas, afro-americanas, filipinas y coreanas vivían en la misma manzana, compraban en la misma tienda de comestibles, se reunían en las mismas reuniones de la Asociación de Padres de Alumnos y del club de scouts y llevaban a sus hijos a las mismas escuelas de primaria y de enseñanza media e instituto. Nos metíamos en peleas, jugábamos en los mismos equipos de la liguilla, y gran parte de nosotros íbamos a la misma iglesia católica. Tuvimos que acostumbrarnos a los acentos de los padres de nuestros amigos y conocer la comida de cada uno cuando nos quedábamos para cenar. Nuestras puertas principales eran los umbrales entre el mundo exterior de los suburbios de California del Sur y el mundo más intimista de nuestras vidas familiares, un mundo dominado por los muebles, las comidas y los olores extranjeros. Todos mis conocidos vivían bien, y la mayoría de la gente que conocí en el barrio vivió allí durante años. Crecimos juntos.


Our Man In Church/Nuestro hombre en la Iglesia

Sterling McKennedy

The Receiver -- March 1998

As the receptionist, I’m constantly receiving dilemmas that are out of my hands. People arrive on time for their appointments to find the priest has been called out of town unexpectedly, without having resolved his prior engagements. "But we’re supposed to be married Saturday," they complain to me. "We have plans, but we can’t do anything until we meet with the priest." I’m sorry, I tell them, but what can I do? They don’t have any suggestions but something must be done and I’m the obvious liaison. I’m the one at the office desk with the phone in front of me. The hospital calls: they’ve got a parishoner there in the ICU, she won’t make it through the night and she wants a priest. When I call over to the rectory, no priests are answering. I tell the nurse I can give her the number of another parish. "But they’re a parishoner there," says the nurse. I’m sorry, I say, I don’t know what else to do. "Alright," sighs the nurse. She doesn’t pursue what is foregone. She knows exactly what it’s like to be held responsible for matters far beyond her control.


El receptor -- March 1998

Como recepcionista, estoy constantemente recibiendo dilemas que están fuera de mi alcance. Las personas llegan puntuales a sus citas y descubren que el cura tuvo que salir de la ciudad de improviso, sin antes haber resuelto sus compromisos anteriores. “Pero se supone que nos casamos el sábado”, se quejan. “Tenemos planes pero no podemos hacer nada sin antes reunirnos con el sacerdote. “Lo lamento”, les digo, “pero… ¿qué puedo hacer yo?”. Nadie tiene ninguna sugerencia pero algo debe hacerse y yo soy el enlace obvio. Soy quien está sentado en el escritorio de la oficina con el teléfono frente a mí. Llaman del hospital: tienen allí a una feligresa en la unidad de terapia intensiva, no va a lograr pasar la noche  y quiere ver a un sacerdote. Cuando llamo a la rectoría, ningún cura contesta. Le digo a la enfermera que puedo darle el número de otra parroquia. “Pero ella pertenece a esa parroquia”, responde. “Lo siento”, digo, “no sé qué más hacer. “Está bien”, suspira la enfermera. No quiere enfrentarse a lo que viene. Sabe exactamente lo que significa que la hagan responsable por asuntos que están fuera de su control.


The Receiver (Greek version) -- March 1998

Ως θυρωρός, βρίσκομαι συνεχώς σε διλήμματα που ξεφεύγουν απ' τα χέρια μου. Ο κόσμος έρχεται στην ώρα του για τα ραντεβού του, για να ανακαλύψει ότι ο ιερέας είναι εκτός πόλης αναπάντεχα, χωρίς να έχει τακτοποιήσει προηγούμενα τις υποχρεώσεις του. "Ναι, αλλά υποτίθεται ότι θα παντρευόμασταν το Σάββατο," διαμαρτύρονται σε μένα. "Έχουμε κάνει σχέδια, αλλά δεν μπορούμε να κάνουμε τίποτα μέχρι να συναντηθούμε με τον ιερέα." Λυπάμαι, τους λέω, αλλά τι μπορώ να κάνω? Δεν έχουν τίποτα να προτείνουν, αλλά κάτι πρέπει να γίνει και εγώ είμαι ο προφανής σύνδεσμος. Είμαι αυτός που κάθεται στο γραφείο και έχει το τηλέφωνο μπροστά του. Το νοσοκομείο καλεί: έχουν μία ενορίτισσα στην εντατική, δεν θα τη βγάλει τη νύχτα και θέλει έναν ιερέα. Όταν καλώ την οικία του εφημέριου, δεν απαντά κανείς. Λέω στη νοσοκόμα να της δώσω το τηλέφωνο μιας άλλης ενορίας. "Μα είναι ενορίτισσα εδώ," λέει η νοσοκόμα. Συγγνώμη, της λέω, δεν ξέρω τι άλλο να κάνω. "Εντάξει," αναστενάζει η νοσοκόμα. Δεν ασχολείται με αυτό που έγινε. Ξέρει πολύ καλά τι είναι να σε έχουν αφήσει υπεύθυνο για πράγματα που ξεφεύγουν από τον έλεγχό σου.