Monthly Archives: June 2008

Museo Pedro de Osma

It would be hard to dislike Barranco and I went there to the Museo Pedro de Osma, in a lovely art nouveau mansion, to see paintings and sculpture by Fernando de Szyszlo. To get to the paintings one had to walk through a great deal of colonial art, so that when I got to the Syzszlo room I had no doubt as to why it was a good idea to study the twentieth century.

There were also poems by Salazar Bondy from the sixties, parodying Nájera and Darío, in rare editions illustrated by Szyszlo. I will find these texts again. One I liked was called “La vie en rose” and it is quoted in this interesting essay.

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In my house those who serve speak Quechua and Aymara and those who do not, speak Spanish. These people, however, are in some cases the first, and in some the second generation not to speak Quechua. The aunts, who range in age from 68 up, speak Quechua and can sing together in it, taught by their mother. Their father only spoke Spanish.

I am told that the best Quechua is spoken in lands of Arguedas – Abancay, Andahuaylas, Ayacucho. In Huamachuco more Spanish is spoken and that is why Vallejo is less mestizo and less Indian than people from other parts of the sierra.

Axé.

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Dat Whiteman

Whiteman: How long has it been since you were last here?
Professor Zero: Nine years.
WM: Do you find it has changed?
PZ: Not greatly. It is different from the early eighties when I first came, and from the mid eighties when the Shining Path activity was intense, but I noticed those changes already in 1999.
WM: You are wrong! We have made great progress since 1999! We have many more hypermarkets, big box stores, U.S. chain restaurants, and other modern franchises! Very many of these have been built. We are really advancing!

I have had this conversation several times over the past few days.

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Due to an odd set of circumstances I ended up today at a class reunion for the Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado, where Vargas Llosa’s novel La ciudad y los perros is set. This took place at the Fortress Real Felipe in Callao. The foot soldiers, all of whom had strong Native American features, were dressed in 18th century uniforms and they stood nearly immobile at their posts, niches in the fortress wall. They looked like 18th century paintings.

Then I drank a pisco sour at the Naval Club and it was all very surreal.

Axé.

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On the Status of Women

On that study of women faculty at UC Irvine, a friend at a SLAC says that the most important thing at her job is to be considered a good teacher. For that, she must be liked by other faculty, and for that, she must be traditionally feminine. For that, she cannot be research oriented.

That set of instructions, of course, if followed will mean she is not serious, and that she is not qualified as a teacher because she is not a productive researcher.

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I am most aware of the inadequacy of the way we are treated at my institution when I am at conferences and interact with people who are not being psychically beaten up at work every day.

My friend says one of the reasons she is not in as much touch with friends and colleagues elsewhere as she might be is that she is embarrassed about the way she is treated and the way she has to spend her days. It is like not wanting to go out with a bruised face.

I tend to think I should explain myself – why it is I do not get out more, for instance. My friends do not ask for these explanations and I realize that the reason I feel compelled to give them is that I have to give so many exhausting explanations of routine matters at work.

Writing these things I realize that we both have abusive workplaces and have had for many years, and that this explains a great deal more than we realize – and that this explanation would liberate our energies if we would let it.

Axé.

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El Pastoruri

Our featured site for today is Ride for Climate: Americas, about an 18 month long bicycle ride designed to raise awareness of global warming. Our rider climbs mountains too, and talks about melting glaciers near Huaraz, where I have been and may now go again. The glacier Pastoruri is almost 50% melted at this point. In 20 years most glaciers will have melted, and in 50 years there will be no snow capped peaks. That, in turn, will mean there is no water for agriculture. I would like to speak to Pastoruri in Quechua before he is gone.

Axé.

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Juneteenth

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, and we are already celebrating by listening to live blues from Club Raggs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on KQXL – 106.5 FM. Last weekend was the Donaldsonville Juneteenth Festival, rumored to be good.

Axé.

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Ebben? Ne andrò lontana…

One summer long ago we went to the beach every day. Diva played for months at the repertory cinema, and we went to see it every weekend. Here is the key scene, with the aria from Catalani’s opera:

The song is sung again and also explained in this video from the Caffè Trieste. In Italy it is sung by Leyla Gencer and Renata Tebaldi. Montserrat Caballé has sung it. Maria Callas has, as well, although her voice is too high for me. M.J. Siri sang it in rich tones on RTVE in 2006. And it has been sung by many others, including ourselves, using the aria database.

Like the character who sings the song, I have also gone far away. Unlike Catalani’s singer, however, I am glad to go. When this post appears I will have already begun my descent, past the snowy Huascarán as it glows in the darkness. I am not sure to what extent I will be writing here. I may be at my research site. Ma rivedrai, rivedrai: I will definitely be back in August.

Axé.

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Cajun Blast

This is Fathers’ Day and Cajun Blast garlic butter sauce is apparently what one needs for the perfect barbecue. You spray it, which is important. It is made in Crowley, LA, which is indigenous. I do not like Tabasco Sauce at all, at all, but I Crystal Hot Sauce and Cajun Power Garlic Sauce.

Axé.

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