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Go for it, Joseph…

Pope Benedict XVI, the germanic Joseph Alois Ratzinger, deserves my congratulations![1]

Pope Ratzinger
The old, senile and retrograde hierarchy of a Church insisting on missing the point, can once in a while surprise us, though. Ratzinger is an example of that. Although the Vatican’s constitution, putrefied by richness and vices (still smelling to Middle Ages), foresees possibility of any pope may resign, the truth is that nobody from Catholic Church peacefully accepts a pope’s resignation. Let’s say that Church (the Catholic, of course) always have seen with divine pride the body and soul degradation, year after year, of the poor elder man occupying such high ranked position. Let’s also say that they would have always see with some contempt and a pinch of sacrilegious sentiment the decision of that old man if, one day, he would possibly have the lucidity of recognizing how far his body and soul were from walking side by side with him and, being like so, he’d better quit and give younger people a chance.

Ratzinger has surprised everything and everybody. What kind of humans’ leader can a man be if the only way to accomplish his job is to have every of his muscles connected to an invisible wire, exactly like was happening with John Paul II in his last days of his papal existence?

Congratulations, Joseph! I am with you, dude…

  1. Read here my first post about Ratzinger.


… of Portugal, of course!

This is what I am: I love eating and drinking, good company and I am Portuguese. Altogether, my last wanderings through out this tiny country where I was born took me to the very north of this Lusitanian world. Specifically, Peneda-Gerês National Park is where I usually go to get delighted with a superb Portuguese dish called “Cozido à Portuguesa”[1]. I must confess I also get delighted with local landscapes which usually bring me to Celtic wanderings, despite the little influence of Celtics on our country. Let’s say that I get always back a couple of years when I visited Scotland[2] which I enjoyed very much.

The film here below[3], gives you an idea of what I am talking about. If on one hand I recommend you a place where to eat Cozido à Portuguesa

on the other I leave you two links for two places where you might sleep but, notice well, I never slept there before:

There’s also a couple of things you should know before you pack to visit Montalegre. First, I love those places in winter! It’s when pork and beef are much more tasty and when you can have a heavy meal without sweating. Second, you might find snow there but if you don’t, no wonder because the global warming has got its influence. Third, the weather in these lands is not good for wine production but not far, in Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro Province, they have very good red wine, Portuguese quality. Fourth, I suggest you take a walk through “Pitões das Júnias” only after your “Cozido à Portuguesa”, your red wine and your “aguardente”. Not before! You’ll then see that you won’t feel the icy cold cracking your bones while walking…

May the gods be with you…

Promotional video “Highlands Of Portugal”
Villages of Montalegre.
Video clip created/edited by Zé Barbosa with original front photo from our gallery.
  1. Have a look at our Portuguese Recipes here and look in the list for the name “Portuguese Stew”.
  2. Actually, in Edinburgh, a fantastic town.
  3. For the first time in this blog, we are experimenting the JW Player with a video file with extension (compression) mp4. It’s our intention to try here a video with better quality for widescreen/fullscreen show. The bad news are: you may need some patient attitude after you click the video panel to start it up… If you are not able to watch the video, leave us a word please.

Solo le Pido a Dios

Reason to place here Mercedes Sosa? None! Should I have one?

Mercedes was born in 1935 and died in 2009. Seventy four years is time good enough to go through this meaningless life, to what everyone of us desperately tries to attach some meaning. No need to give life a meaning, don’t worry. Don’t let yourself getting like a scrambled egg just because you have never find a meaning for your life. Just bear in mind that you’re one of those billions of human animals who have never found in life a special, sophisticated or not, reason to live over this huge ball, incredibly rotating at a speed of nearly one thousand six hundred kilometers per hour (~1600Km/h).

Reason to place here Mercedes Sosa? Should I have one? I woke up this morning and I just decided to place here the song about what I have contradictory feelings. “I only ask God” is something I don’t do for years! Since that very moment when I had a look around and He was not there. But the lyrics of this song make me remind Syria, Egypt, Congo, Mali, and, and, and,… Our poorness! Of spirit…

I love this song anyway. Simple. Straight. Powerful.

May the gods be with Mercedes and all those she sang…

En Español

Solo le pido a Dios
Que el dolor no me sea indiferente
Que la reseca muerte no me encuentre
Vacio y solo sin haber echo lo suficiente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que lo injusto no me sea indiferente
Que no me abofeteen la otra mejia
Despues que una garra me arane esta frente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que la guerra no me sea indiferente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que el engano no me sea indiferente
Si un traidor puede mas que unos quantos
Que esos quantos no lo olviden facilmente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que el futuro no me sea indiferente
Deshauciado esta el que tiene que marchar
A vivir una cultura diferente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que la guerra no me sea indiferente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente

Solo le pido a Dios
Que la guerra no me sea indiferente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente
Es un monstro grande y pisa fuerte
Toda la pobre inocencia de la gente

In English

All I ask of God
That pain does not leave me indifferent,
And that parched death will not find me
Alone and empty not having done sufficient.

All I ask of God
That I not be indifferent to injustice
That they won’t slap my other cheek,
After their talon has scraped away my luck.

All I ask of God
That I not be indifferent to war,
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.

All I ask of God
That I am be indifferent to deceit,
If a traitor can do more than the masses,
Then let not the masses forget him easily.

All I ask of God
That I not be indifferent to war,
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.

All I ask of God
That I not be indifferent to war,
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.

All I ask of God
That I not be indifferent to war,
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.
It’s a big monster which crushes
All the poor innocence of the people.

by Mercedes Sosa (original from León Gieco)
Solo le Pido a Dios, in “Mercedes Sosa, 30 Años”, © 1994
Translation to English by Unknown.
Video clip with original front photo from our gallery.

The Bad Luck Year?

There we are, a new year. Just another year for some, a year of great success for other and of great pain for the rest.

I must confess that I am currently a happy owner of very low expectations regarding this just arrived year. That is not because we’ll spend three hundred sixty five days writing the bad luck number (13)[1] but because nothing in my life has changed lately in a substantial way. Therefore, my goal for 2013 is (again) “eating soup without making noise”…

I am aging. I am getting aged. I am older. I am getting old. Damn it, I am getting old! Isn’t this sad? Yes, it is. This “réveillon”[2] stuff is already something very boring for me. Annoying, I should say. Why? Because some events in my life (due to my age, I know) are very much an unpleasant and graceless “déjà vu” thing. Solution? Not known yet. That is why it is recommendable I keep, meanwhile, eating soup without making noise. What about you?

May the gods be with everyone of us in the next twelve months…

  1. No, I don’t believe in bad luck numbers, black cats or many other manifestations of superstition.
  2. In France, Brazil, Portugal (Portuguese speaking countries) and some other French-speaking places, a réveillon is a long dinner, and possibly a party, held on the evenings preceding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The name of this dinner is based on the word réveil (meaning “waking”), because participation involves staying awake until midnight and beyond. In Portuguese-speaking countries, it is also a designation for the party preceding the New Year’s Day. In the United States, the réveillon tradition is still observed in New Orleans due to the city’s strong French heritage, with a number of the city’s restaurants offering special réveillon menus on Christmas Eve. — in Wikipedia

Into The Wild -part 2

Societies may be classified in western, eastern, northern and southern ones. Right? Maybe not. Societies may be classified in rich and poor ones. Right? Maybe not. Societies may be classified in white, yellow, black and brown. Right? Maybe not. Societies may be classified as capitalist, candidate to capitalist or non-capitalist? Right? Maybe not…

Right after a short visit of Angela Merkel to Portugal, Portuguese population is very disappointed because that very same visit was so that much fast that there was no time for those idiotic popular manifestations of certain sectors of that very same population still thinking that Germans should be kind of European Red Cross instead of what they really are: Germans! European societies may be classified in pro-Germans and against-Germans. Right? Right.

The reasons for this economical disaster in Europe, the European Union, are very well known. Are they? In Portugal, solution for increasing poverty seems to be emigration. Right, emigration. Anything new? Nope! History repeats itself. Déjà vu! In capitalist societies people want more than they need and they get more than what they can pay. If they can’t proceed that way they just go away, to other places where they can. In Portugal, emigration is the way.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, your thoughts begin to bleed. Who’s next?

In English

It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
And you think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all, you won’t be free

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me

When you want more than you have, you think you need
And when you think more than you want,
your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
Cause when you have more than you think,
you need more space

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
Hope you’re not lonely without me

There’s those thinking more or less, less is more
But if less is more, how you keepin score?
Means for every point you make your level drops
Kinda like you’re startin’ from the top
And you can’t do that

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, have mercy on me
I hope you’re not angry if I disagree
Society, you’re crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me

Em Português

Para mim é um mistério
Nós termos uma ganância com a qual concordámos
Achas que precisas de querer mais do que o que precisas
Até que tenhas tudo, nunca serás livre

Sociedade, és uma raça louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim

Quando queres mais do que o que tens, pensas que precisas
E quando pensas mais do que o que queres,
os teus pensamentos começam a sangrar
Eu acho que preciso de encontrar um lugar maior
Porque quando tens mais do que o que pensas,
precisas de mais espaço

Sociedade, és uma raça louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim
Sociedade, realmente louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim

Há os que pensam mais ou menos, que menos é mais
Mas se menos é mais, como consegues manter a contagem?
Significa que para cada ponto que marcas o teu nível desce
Assim uma coisa tipo começar por cima
Mas não dá para fazer isso

Sociedade, és uma raça louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim
Sociedade, realmente louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim
Sociedade, tem piedade de mim
Eu espero que não te zangues se eu discordar
Sociedade, és realmente louca
Espero que não te sintas solitária sem mim

by Eddie Vedder
Society, in Into the Wild (film), © 2007
Free translation to Portuguese by Zé Barbosa.
Video clip edited by Zé Barbosa[1].
  1. Original photo from our gallery showing a huge net in Matosinhos, Portugal.

The Lady Of Shalott

“The Lady Of Shalott”[1] is a poem[2] written by Alfred Tennyson used as base for the song with the same name, adapted by Loreena McKennitt. This is a very melodic song to what both Loreena’s voice and the fantasy associated to lovely Camelot’s stories print a very heavenly mood. Who, in early times of life, never saw movies about King Arthur, Round Table Knights, Sir Lancelot and so on?

Loreena McKennitt, (born February 17, 1957) Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist, owns a delightful voice which already made me fly around so many times. Moving herself in the area of World music (including Celtic music), Loreena can be better known in her website, which you can visit clicking here. Well, this time I challenged myself to translate from English to Portuguese a poem written in English with old time’s contours. Not easy! First, the original song lasts about twelve minutes, Loreena spends almost that time singing and the poem is long. Second, nobody will be surprised if I say I first made the translation using Google translator, then I made my own arrangements and finally I had to run an appropriated research to get into the spirit of a lady closed in a medieval castle. All this while listening tons of times the music and reading the lyrics in order to be sure I understood all the second, third and absent meanings. Quite interesting! It was kind of a recreational way of keeping my English sucking…

There are many ladies of Shalott in the world. Women have a quite incomprehensible way of bearing themselves to love stories with unhappy ends. Stories that when not tragic at least they are dramatic. One day I said to a girl over thirty that I had given up on understanding women. She said, with a nice smile and for my relative surprise, “don’t worry, we are not able to understand ourselves as well”. So true! As a matter of fact I don’t recall to have met any woman making any slight effort to understand herself. I guess women don’t waste much time with self inner incursions more than the time they need to retouch their make-up. This doesn’t mean, at all, that they are not intelligent beings but they instead drive their brain’s sharpness (when it exists) to other prioritized issues. And here is the knot: female priorities are as confused as their purses!

Women do love laughing and they do it quite a lot. Making a woman laughing is half way to grab her special attention. It sounds quite stupid when they say “I prefer men who make me laugh” but that’s the truth, pretty nude and pretty raw. So, men always try to make women around them laughing, even if for that they turn to be very silly or ridiculous. Funny thing! We, men, are loved (or just liked) when we are ridiculous! We also are preferred if we talk nice and sweet, even if not truly. We increase our quotation in women’s stock market if we treat them Sir Lancelot like. The wondering part is, how come a being who is able to laugh that much and is much delighted by nice bold knights tales is also easily driven to knotty situations like the ones we know women are living in? Laugh and drama. Fantasy and tragedy. Love and hate. What a combination…

Ladies living under the protection of towered Camelots are more than many. Women very often trade freedom for security. Yes, it happens quite a lot. Even in far gone civilized countries where women are self-proclaimed strong and determined, like Germany or USA, many are the cases of women trapped in the same castle they took as their shield. Women very often are unable to get rid of the walls they take as their protection when they finally find they’re living in the wrong castle. And I am not talking only about “castles” referring to men… If on one hand unhappiness may happen because those women may have finally realized that their Sir Lancelot is no longer a loyal and reliable knight, on the other, it may also happen because they were not able to keep their Sir Lancelot delighted with his Lady Of Shalott.

After this lecture about woman’s psychology, topic about what I know very little but love to talk a lot, let me invite you now to listen to the song itself and let you freely go into the land of kings, knights and ladies, while appreciating both Loreena’s sweet voice and the performance of the good music players performing with her.

May the gods be with the ladies weaving their complex webs behind their castle walls…

In English

On either side of the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road run by
To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies flow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle embowers
The Lady of Shalott.

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly
Down to tower’d Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “’tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott.”

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay,
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady Of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady Of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
he flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra Lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott

And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn’d to towered Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.”

Em Português

Em cada margem do rio se encontram
Longos campos de cevada e de centeio,
Que cobrem a planície e encontram o céu;
E pelo campo a estrada corre
Até à Camelot de muitas torres;
E para cima e para baixo as pessoas vão,
Contemplando onde os lírios ondulam
Ao redor de uma ilha lá embaixo,
A Ilha de Shalott.

Salgueiros embranquecem, álamos tremem,
Leves brisas e calafrios ao anoitecer
Sobre a onda que desliza eternamente
Pela ilha do rio
Navegando até Camelot.
Quatro paredes cinzentas e quatro torres cinzentas,
Com vista para um espaço de flores,
E a silenciosa ilha cobre de folhagem
A Dama de Shalott.

Somente ceifeiros, ceifando cedo,
Por entre a cevada por desfolhar
Ouve uma cantiga que ecoa alegremente
Vindo do sinuoso rio claramente
Em direcção à Camelot das torres;
E ao luar o ceifeiro cansado,
Formando molhos e empilhando-os,
Ouvindo, sussurra “esta é a fada,
A Dama de Shalott.”

Lá está ela tecendo noite e dia
Uma teia mágica com cores alegres,
Ela ouviu um sussurro dizendo,
Uma maldição cairá sobre ela se continuar
A olhar para Camelot.
Ela não sabe o que maldição possa ser,
E assim ela tece continuamente,
E sem outros cuidados tendo ela,
A Dama de Shalott.

E movendo-se através de um espelho claro
Que pende diante dela todo o ano,
Sombras do mundo aparecem.
Lá ela vê a estrada se aproximar
Sinuosamente até Camelot;
E às vezes através do espelho azul
Os cavaleiros vêm cavalgando dois a dois.
Ela não tem nenhum cavaleiro leal e verdadeiro,
A Dama de Shalott.

Mas com seu bordado ela ainda se deleita
Para tecer as visões do espelho mágico,
Frequentemente pelas noites silenciosas
Um funeral, com plumas, luzes
E música, foi até Camelot;
Ou quando a lua pairava sobre si,
Dois jovens amantes acabavam de chegar para casar.
“Estou um pouco farta das sombras”, disse
A Dama de Shalott.

À distância de um tiro de seta do seu beiral ,
Ele andava entre os molhos de cevada,
O sol veio deslumbrante através das folhas,
E se reflectiu nas caneleiras de bronze
Do destemido Sir Lancelot.
Um cavaleiro de cruz-vermelha eternamente ajoelhado
Perante uma dama, com seu escudo,
Que brilhava no campo amarelado,
Ao lado da remota Shalott.

Sua testa clara ao sol brilhava;
Em cascos polidos, seu cavalo de guerra troteava;
Sob o seu capacete ondulavam
Seus caracóis em cachos negros à medida que se movia,
Enquanto cavalgava até Camelot.
Da margem e do rio
ele brilhava no espelho de cristal,
“Tirra Lirra”, pelo rio abaixo
Cantava Sir Lancelot.

Ela largou o bordado, ela largou o tear,
Ela deu três passos pelo quarto,
Ela viu o lírio aquático florescer,
Ela viu o elmo e a pluma,
Ela olhou para Camelot.
Lançou o bordado que voou longe;
O espelho quebrou-se de lado a lado;
“A maldição caiu sobre mim”, gritou
A Dama de Shalott.

Na tempestuosa força do vento de leste,
Os pálidos bosques amarelados estavam minguando,
O amplo riacho em suas margens reclamando.
O baixo céu chovendo fortemente
Sobre a Camelot das torres;
Ela desceu e encontrou um barco
Sob um salgueiro partido que flutuava,
E em volta da proa, ela escreveu
A Dama de Shalott

E descendo o extenso e turvo rio
Como algum ousado vidente em transe,
Vendo toda sua própria miséria –
Com um semblante paralizado
Ela olhou para Camelot.
E ao fim do dia
Ela soltou as correntes e se deitou;
O amplo riacho levou-a para longe,
A Dama de Shalott.

Ouvido um hino, pesaroso, sagrado,
Cantado ruidosamente, cantado humildemente,
Até que seu sangue lentamente congelava,
E seus olhos completamente escureciam,
Voltada para a Camelot das torres.
Antes que com a maré ela alcançasse
A primeira casa na margem,
Cantando a sua canção ela morreu,
A Dama de Shalott.

Sob a torre e a varanda,
Do muro do jardim e da galeria,
De forma cintilante ela flutuou,
Uma fúnebre palidez por entre as casas altas,
Um silêncio sobre Camelot.
Do distante cais, eles vieram,
Cavaleiro e burguês, nobre e dama,
E em volta da proa, eles leram o nome dela,
A Dama de Shalott.

Quem é esta? E o que faz aqui?
E com o iluminado palácio nas proximidades
Morria o som da real celebração;
E eles se cruzaram por medo,
Todos os cavaleiros de Camelot;
Mas Lancelot refletiu por um pouco
Ele disse: “Ela tem um rosto lindo;
Deus, em sua misericórdia concedeu-lhe graciosidade,
À Dama de Shalott. ”

by Loreena McKennit
The Lady of Shalott, in The Visit (Loreena McKennitt album), © 1991
Free translation to Portuguese by Zé Barbosa.
Video clip edited by Zé Barbosa[3].
  1. A Dama de Shalott.
  2. Have access to the whole poem using this link
  3. Original photo from our gallery showing the castle in Vila Nova da Feira, Portugal.