". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

    . . . . I haven't read the book -- it wasn't around out there where I grew up.  Whether that changed later, I have no idea.  However, considering what Out There is doing these days around women's bodies and reproduction, if it ever did show up on the library shelves after I left home, it's surely been removed by now.

I'm very curious, considering what Florida is doing around these same matters (as well as many others), including prohibiting school kids to even speak the word "menstruation" and have conversations in classrooms with each other about menstruation, will the film that comes out this coming Friday, adapted from Judy Blume's 1970 novel, be allowed to play in Florida?  Will media be allowed to write reviews of it, or even mention it?

P.S. Used copies of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret are selling for over a $1000!  This, as well as being perennially on the lists of books banned.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Chevalier - Not Recommended

     . . . Chevalier was a great disappointment for many reasons.  Its fast and loose playing with the known facts of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges's biography, and of history even -- Marie Antoinette did not give him his title, that was Louis XV -- are only the beginning.

It's such a shame that this man, who I first learned of via reading letters of (later to be President) John Adams, who was so accomplished, who did so very many important things, just starting with music composition and musicianship, was reduced to an affair with an aristo.

 He is the most accomplished Man in Europe in Riding, Shooting, Fencing, Dancing, Music. He will hit a button on the Coat or Waistcoat of the Masters. He will hit a Crown Piece in the Air with a Pistol Ball.

 Recall, that among his many achievements, he successfully led an all-black regiment in the French army -- until, Napoleon erased all Black people of achievement from their positions and out of history, particularly those of military achievement, not least, Alexandre Dumas's father. 

La légion de Saint-George

This film is the equivalent of making a film of the life of Frederick Douglass, and reducing everything he did and created to the single matter that he married a white woman.

Additionally, thereby, the filmmakers chose to navigate precariously closely those waters on which sail a mainstay of porn, the enslaved black stud and the white lady.

I am not the only person to feel this way.  For a single example our (Black, Haitian) friend who is a symphony orchestra director, composer and conductor, who has been conducting performances of the Chevalier's music in many cities, just HATES this film.  He, like el V, is particularly outraged by the cutting game between the Chevalier and Mozart that opens the film -- this is something Blues musicians only began, here, in the USA.  As per usual, movies, particularly made by Americans, cannot imagine a Black experience that isn't African American.  Moreover, it seems that the two composer/musicians were friends, not rivals, with Mozart even living in the Chevalier's house for a short time. But then, movies/tv very, very, VERY seldom know who and what musicians -- or artists generally -- are -- musicians particularly.  Really, as Joseph and Amadeus were about the same age, it is far more likely they joyed to make music together than tried to cut each other down.  Musicians really like to do that, you know?

The positive for the film is several really fine female actors with juicy roles, even though the characters' depictions are either utterly fantasy or historically wrong for the time -- or non-existent. The exception to this might be the Chevalier's mother. 

However, if only inadvertently, the above does point to the essential truth of  success in which Napoleon was tutored by those who survived both the Revolution and the Terror, into the Directorate, that in France, "Women are politics."  Alas one of the ways this point is made is the filmmakers claim that Marie Antoinette was the reason there was a French Revolution.

Friday, April 14, 2023


    . . . .  In advance of Chevalier's opening on the 21st, we've been given the passwords to private streaming next Tuesday. We had the choice of watching in a screening theater, or streaming.  Another wish come true. Ha!

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Cádiz Is Ancient


The plaza through which we walked from our Convento Hotel, to enter the truly old Cádiz.

Thus we entered streets such as this on our way to the excavations and the Atlantic.

How old is this wall, its name? There were Africans in Cádiz more than likely before the Phoenicians' first arrivals, which were at least by 800 B.C,  People were certainly living there before then, who had worthwhile products to trade, such as gold, silver, iron, tin (which the Iberian Celts perhaps were trading for with Corish Celts), wheat, horses, probably wine, as wine cultivation is so ancient throughout the Mediterranean regions.

The remains (only partially excavated) were discovered in 1980. The theatre, which was likely built during the 1st century BC and was one of the largest ever built in the Roman empire, was abandoned in the 4th century and, in the 13th century, a fortress was built on its ruins by order of King Alfonso X of Castile.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Gadir - Gades - Cádiz - Phoenician Gateway To Europe


The Oldest City, Thought By Archaeologists To Have Been Established By the Phoenicians About 800 BC.

Courtyard of the Cádiz Convent Turned Boutique Hotel.  This Is Where We Stayed. Once Admitted Inside the Very Thick, Wide Walls, It Was Soundless, and Nearly Lightless Unless Using Electric Light.  The Massive Gates and Doors Are the Only Means for Entry and Departure, and are Equally Thick.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Jerez - Horses on the Move II

      . . . . I could not wrap my mind around the fact that we walked to this place from our hotel in Jerez, that this was in the middle of the 'new' city of Jerez.

El V took some fotos that day of me taking fotos and sent them off in the real time experience smart fones allows us to do, "Because you looked so happy," and those he sent them to said the same. I was really enjoying myself. As well as being breathless seeing in real time the horses and riders executing their moves with such incredible rhythm and precision -- that nano second pause between one hoof hitting the ground as another was lifted -- I swooned.  By the way, the relationship in this part of the world between these horses, what they are bred and trained to do, is so close with the omnipresence of Flamenco.

Our friend in Jerez, who has a foundation that promotes Flamenco between Jerez and New Orleans, dances Flamenco and runs festivals -- told me there are times when some of her people are around these horses, they have fallen into the Flamenco clapping, as people do in Spain all the time, particularly the closer one gets to Sevilla and Granada. The horses, hearing the clapping, riderless as they are, begin moving with the rhythms. Flamenco, dressage, bullfighting -- they are related, as are the fans and the tipica Flamenco fringed shawl. See how the movements of the dancers, with and without shawls and fans, as well as their postures are mirrored by matadors and their capes.

I Was Particularly Struck By This Team.  Stables at the top of the Exercise - Warm Up - Practice Ring.

Stables.  One of the horses in a loose box kicked up one heck of a fuss for quite some time, kicking and kicking.  S/he would push head out the door, and then go back inside and kick some more.

Expecting To Make Points!

For No Reason This Rider, With Whom I Was Already Falling Love, Stopped to Chat With Me. So We Did, In Spanish and In English.  It's Embarrassing How Many Spanish Speak English, While We Don't Speak Spanish -- Particularly as This Is A Nation Also of Spanish Heritage.

This Rider Had Sparklies On the Front of Her Helmet; Her Horse Had Matching Sparklies On Bridle's Head And Nose Bands.

Next up will be Cádiz, the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe.

Jerez - Horses On the Move

      . . . . Here are horses, horses whose coats literally glowed and gleamed.  Depending on the color and tone of the coat, I could see my face reflected from their smooth flanks reflecting the sun.  There was a chilly wind, but otherwise the weather was likely optimal for the events.  So it became even more pronounced, how very hard the horses worked, for at the end of each performance, when they were allowed to drop their heads and necks out of the constant curve, their necks were so wet -- and with the drop out of position, their necks suddenly looked lighter and smaller.  I was so close I could see all the veining under their thin, sensitive skins.

Jerez  Royal Andalusian School of Equine Arts: Warm Up, Practice and Exercise Ring; The Yellow Building Behind is the Palatial Indoor Ring, Bar, Restaurant, Cafeteria, Bathrooms, Store. Though So Early, the Bar Was Doing Good Business.

There's another bar, restaurant, cafe outdoors by the Competition Performance Ring.  It too did fine business.

Competition Performance Judging Ring

Performance Judging Ring

Warm Up Ring, Starting To Fall In Love

Warm Up Ring -- Canine Presence Was Omnipresent

Another screen of horse fotos after this one.