Friday, December 23, 2011

A Visit from St. Nicholas

by Clement Clarke Moore
St Nicholas by Thomas Nast

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads,

And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap —
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blitzen;
"To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
"Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish'd with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack:
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laugh'd, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the stockings; then turn'd with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Adoration of Shepherds by Bronzino

"Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world. This census - the first - took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David's town called Bethlehem, since he was of David's House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space. 

In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours. 

Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.' So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told." (Luke 2, 1-20) 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wonderful beginning - Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
(Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Distacco del Vitreo

Ieri stavo seduta al computer quando ho visto una grossa zanzarra volando tra il monitore e io. Ma solamente la vedevo con il mio occhio sinistro. Dopo mi sono reso conto che era un problema interno. Ho avuto un distacco del vitreo. Il dottore mi ha detto che vedrò questo insetto, che veramente sembra un ragno, per un mese, un anno - chi lo sa? Il rimedio è la pazienza e la forza di gravità.

Quindi, mio figlio ed io abbiamo trovato un nome per lui. La chiameremo Carlotta Gasparoni. Carlotta perché è Charlotte in italiano, singolo ragno amichevole. E Gasparoni perché è il nome della nostra famiglia. Anche se Carlotta balla nel vitreo, vedo tutto. Lei è veramente simpatica!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where happiness is

 “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” (Bernard Shaw)

 It's so easy to misunderstand where real happiness is.  Health, passion, wealth, good looks are all important, but not enough to fill one's heart.  So many have it and are not fully pleased! Love, after all, it's the only path to happiness. A desire to do good, in the name of God.  And "Where there is no love, put love and you will find love." (St. John Of the Cross) This recipe works, many have proved.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dr. Benjamin Carson writes on Parenting

There Is No Job More Important Than Parenting

Ben Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at the White House
"My belief began when I was just a kid. I dreamed of becoming a doctor.
My mother was a domestic. Through her work, she observed that successful people spent a lot more time reading than they did watching television. She announced that my brother and I could only watch two to three pre-selected TV programs during the week. With our free time, we had to read two books each from the Detroit Public Library and submit to her written book reports. She would mark them up with check marks and highlights. Years later we realized her marks were a ruse. My mother was illiterate; she had only received a third-grade education.
Although we had no money, between the covers of those books, I could go anywhere, do anything and be anybody.
When I entered high school I was an A-student, but not for long. I wanted the fancy clothes. I wanted to hang out with the guys. I went from being an A-student to a B-student to a C-student, but I didn't care. I was getting the high fives and the low fives and the pats on the back. I was cool.
One night my mother came home from working her multiple jobs and I complained about not having enough Italian knit shirts. She said, "Okay, I'll give you all the money I make this week scrubbing floors and cleaning bathrooms, and you can buy the family food and pay the bills. With everything left over, you can have all the Italian knit shirts you want."
I was very pleased with that arrangement but once I got through allocating money, there was nothing left. I realized my mother was a financial genius to be able to keep a roof over our heads and any kind of food on the table, much less buy clothes.
I also realized that immediate gratification wasn't going to get me anywhere. Success required intellectual preparation.
I went back to my studies and became an A-student again, and eventually I fulfilled my dream and I became a doctor.
Over the years my mother's steadfast faith in God has inspired me, particularly when I had to perform extremely difficult surgical procedures or when I found myself faced with my own medical scare.
A few years ago I discovered I had a very aggressive form of prostate cancer; I was told it might have spread to my spine. My mother was steadfast in her faith in God. She never worried. She said that God was not through with me yet; there was no way that this was going to be a major problem. The abnormality in my spine turned out to be benign; I was able to have surgery and am cured.
My story is really my mother's story — a woman with little formal education or worldly goods who used her position as a parent to change the lives of many people around the globe. There is no job more important than parenting. This I believe."   NPR

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jesus Christ and Dostoievsky

While in prison, in Siberia, Dostoievsky wrote a letter to his friend, Mrs. N. D. Fonvizin (1854):

 "I believe that there is nothing lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic, more rational, more manly and more perfect than the Savior;... If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not the truth." (Community Middlebury)

That's exactly the way I feel.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just kidding...

When a male can't stand it anymore!

A photographer will die of old age waiting to get another shot like this one.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Prayer

The Virgin in Prayer
The National Gallery

Take from us, O God, all pride and vanity, all boasting and forwardness, and give us the true courage that shows itself by gentleness; the true wisdom that shows itself by simplicity; and the true power that shows itself by modesty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

Friday, April 29, 2011

William and Catherine Wedding

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”  
(Catherine of Siena) 

Those were the first words of the Bishop of  London's sermon. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bernard Bouts

The Waves of Santa Catarina
by Bernard Bouts

Bernard Bouts (1909-1986) was a french painter who came to Brasil in 1961.  In 1970 he sold his boat and bought a house in Cosme Velho, Rio de Janeiro, where he worked and lived with his wife Denise and son.  I was lucky enough to know these wonderful and generous couple.  In the 70's, Bernard lent me his audiovisual presentation to show at the university for an Art History class.  We were all dazzled by the beauty of his paintings.  I could never afford to buy one of his works, but, nowadays, whenever my father asks me to go to the bank, I have the pleasure of gazing at one of Bouts' golden paintings. It's my moment of beauty.  I wish his family would put more of his work on the web.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

AliceTaupo Bungy

Brave Alice! She jumps to the water with great confidence and joy. Alice liked so much she jumped again from Harbour Bridge.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ian Suttie and The Origins of Love and Hate

Ian Dishart Suttie
(1898-1935) wrote the book ‘The Origins of Love and Hate’, which was first published in 1935; a few days after his death. He was born in Glasgow and was the third of four children. His father was a general practitioner and Ian Suttie and both of his brothers and his sister became doctors as well. He qualified from Glasgow University in 1914. After a year he went into psychiatry. Although his work has been out of print in England for some years, it is still relevant today. It has been often cited and makes a contribution towards understanding the more difficult aspects of family relationships and friendships. (...)

Although Ian Suttie was working within the tradition set by Freud, there were a lot of concepts of Freud’s theory he disagreed with. First of all, Suttie saw sociability, the craving for companionship, the need to love and be loved, to exchange and to participate, to be as primary as sexuality itself. (...) Ian Suttie explained anxiety and neurotic maladjustment as a reaction on the failure of finding a response for this sociability; when primary social love and tenderness fails to find the response it seeks, the arisen frustration will produce a kind of separation anxiety This view is more clearly illustrated by a piece of writing of Suttie himself: ‘Instead of an armament of instincts, latent or otherwise, the child is born with a simple attachment-to-mother who is the sole source of food and protection… the need for a mother is primarily presented to the child mind as a need for company and as a discomfort in isolation’. (...)

In Suttie’s view, the beginning of the relationship between mother and child is a happy and symbiotic one as well. This happy symbiotic relationship between mother and baby can be disrupted by for example a second baby or the mother returning to work. This makes the infant feel irritable, insecure and anxious. This would be the start of the feeling of ambivalence: feelings of love and hate towards the mother. The child attempts to remove the cause of the anxiety and hate to restore the relationship. This retransforming is necessary, because hate of a loved object (ambivalence) is intolerable. (Wikipedia)

The Land of Might-Have-Been - Novello/Marsh

The Land of might-have-been, such a beautiful music, sung by Jeremy Northam, disappeared from Deezer! But we still can find it at YouTube. &...