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This happens in placeless places and at once, where the downpour of creation continues, and there is no sex or age, only that source in the high sky, in the rarefied air, up above where voices chase one another, from age to age, and one, only the called one, halts and answers, at the exact hour, in the timelessness of time. Centro Universitario di Studi Vittoriani ed Edoardiani. Oltre a numerosi articoli, ha pubblicato svariate monografie sulla letteratura vittoriana e sulla cultura del Novecento inglese e nordamericano.
Ha pubblicato sei raccolte di racconti. Le sue poesie sono apparse in diverse riviste letterarie italiane. John Taylor, born in , is an American writer, critic, and translator who has lived in France since Wherever this hillside just yesterday two centuries ago or more ancestry in transit you too from the hard pew the black furrow the brick building the snowy streets the skywalks from wherever to leave-taking your French words ferme pente colline champs bois etc.
Le traduzioni sono comparse sulla rivista El Ghibli - e su varie riviste online e cartacee. With the sound of the newspaper on the path, or the grey light between snows peering in, the cycle begins again, and never ends. After you have left and before my turn to go, I sit for a few minutes with a coffee in hand, the house empty, the silence a cruel reminder of what life would be like without you here, and stare at our garden where we grow fine snow.
A painting of frost on the window depicts hands reaching out to touch. Nature, too, suffers for love. Con il suono del giornale sul vialetto, o la luce grigia che sbircia tra le nevi il ciclo ricomincia, e mai finisce. Un dipinto di gelo sulla finestra ritrae mani protese a toccare. La natura pure, per amore soffre.
Amid patches of snow the ground guards, you remark the scrub oaks look like me having outlived my winters, my hair white. But you are the birch beside and a dance of trilliums will bloom to sing your praises the way angels in the bright Empyrean gather in the beauty of what is always now.
The air begins to sweat its solemn matins, and before dawn becomes humid as breath I awaken to the dark conversation, air gradually cooling around our bodies and silence is about to say something true. Fra macchie di neve il terreno sta in guardia, tu osservi che le querce nane somigliano a me sopravvissuto ai miei inverni, con la mia chioma bianca. Love finds such small spaces in the world, small gaps and crannies in ordinary time where the story of our lives longs to be told.
A footprint of your walk along the beach fills with water as the tide comes in, and in a moment it becomes a small ocean I look to see new worlds there, the islands whose names and stories are a map of our souls. In what time we have, let me discover you. She currently works in Italy as dramaturg, playwright, and translator. Stefano Vitale , born in Palermo, lives and works in Turin, Italy. Low and grey clouds escort us from afar water womb from which we were generated and to which we will return evaporating quick and silent like this dark blood that meanwhile churns in our veins and upsets our evenings.
Nel silenzio del loro respiro di creature sagge e leggere? Brivido e vertigine senza una ragione. And we forget that we are like bread impure fragrance that smells of life cough that ripples the silence stumbling rock that brings light back. On top of the imperfection stands out the profile of our calm and relaxed face, waiting for the next, hard, battle. Or perhaps in the slow invisible journey towards the light? In the silence of their wise and delicate creature breath?
Or in their perfume freed essence of the self upsetting our clotted and startled senses? The lesson of flowers lies in their being flowers, and this is enough, world that is born again in the pure insolence of life. Everything is in its place. Suddenly we are lost on the edge of the horizon we falter with sweaty hands, in the dark that bites our miserable flesh. Thrill and vertigo without a reason. His translations, mainly from Italian, Latin, and French, have appeared in his five books and in various journals, including selections from St.
As heir to a long medieval tradition of satire and fabliau that featured libidinous priests, monks, friars, and nuns, he often reworked fa- miliar bawdy plots in his Decameron and other writings but brought them to a summit of literary craftsmanship rivaled only by a small group of successors such as Chaucer and Rabelais.
This was especially true in his time, when men and women in religious life had often been placed in a monastery or convent at a young age by their parents for social or economic reasons, whether or not they seemed cut out for a rigorously devout and cloistered existence. I have here translated the first two tales involving amorous religious figures in the Decameron, those relating the sexual ad- ventures in a monastery in Lunigiana I.
Their Latinate sophistication and rational construction set the tone for reams of aureate Italian prose during the Renais- sance and far beyond, for better or worse. The reader will perhaps forgive me for using some double- entendres and sexual puns and innuendoes even when they are absent from the original text. Making explicit the reference to the gospel account, and providing an extra layer of humor via massive incongruity, provides a larger religious frame for the blasphemous quip with which Masetto ends the story.
The titles of the two stories translated below are mine; Boccac- cio leaves his stories untitled. Di che egli, sappiendo che di questo gran pena gli dovea seguire, oltre modo fu dolente: ma pur, senza del suo cruccio niente mostrare alla giovane, prestamente seco molte cose rivolse, cercando se a lui alcuna salutifera trovarne potesse.
One day around noon, while all the other monks were taking their siesta, he happened to be out walking all alone near the church, which stood in a secluded spot. As soon as he noticed her, he was so fiercely assailed by carnal desire that he approached the girl and struck up a conversa- tion.
One thing led to another until he came to an agreement with her and took her to his cell, which they managed to reach without being observed. Tiptoeing toward the door, he tried to make out the voices: Sure enough, there was a woman inside, and he was sorely tempted to be let in. On second thought, deciding to handle the matter differently, he returned to his room and waited for the monk to come out. The monk, however, even while avidly taking his fill of delight and pleasure with the girl, had entertained suspicions of his own, and so, when he thought he heard feet shuffling in the corridor, he had peered out through a tiny crack and clearly seen the abbot standing there, cocking his ear to listen.
Realizing the abbot might well have learned the girl was in his cell, the monk became very upset indeed, imagining the severe punishment to come. Yet, concealing his anxiety from the girl, he rapidly considered vari- ous plans, searching for one that could mean his salvation, and he soon hit on a crafty scheme for achieving precisely what he had in mind. Io estimo che egli sia gran senno a pigliarsi del bene quando Domenedio ne manda altrui.
It occurred to him that she might be the wife or daughter of so-and-so, in which case it would hardly do to shame her in front of all the monks. Resolving that before coming to a decision he should first find out who she was, he quietly went over to the cell, unlocked it, and went in, pulling the door shut behind him.
When the girl saw the abbot walk in, she was stunned—and so terrified and ashamed that she started crying. But as soon as the lord abbot laid eyes on her he saw how young and attractive she was. This is certainly a beautiful girl, and here she is, with nobody in the world the wiser. Who would know? In a soothing voice he began comforting her, begging her to dry her tears. One word led to another until he finally got around to revealing his desires.
And so for a long time he enjoyed himself with her. The monk, who had made believe he was going off to the woods, had actually hidden in the dormitory. As soon as he saw the abbot entering his cell alone, he was greatly relieved, surmising that his plan was working; and when he saw the abbot lock himself inside, he was absolutely convinced of it.
Emerging from his hid- ing place, he crept over to a crevice in the wall that allowed him to see and hear everything the abbot did and said. He thus had the monk called in and, scowling fiercely, reprimanded him in the strongest possible terms, finally ordering him thrown into the monastery jail. Stung by guilt, he felt ashamed of doing to the monk what he himself had also deserved, so he pardoned him and swore him to secrecy about what he had seen.
Quivi tra gli altri che lietamente il raccolsono fu un giovane lavoratore forte e robusto, e secondo uomo di villa con bella persona, il cui nome era Masetto; e domandollo dove tanto tempo stato fosse. Ed avvisandosi che fatto non gli verrebbe se a Nuto ne dicesse niente, gli disse: — Deh!
Egli sarebbe meglio star con diavoli: elle non sanno delle sette volte le sei quello che elle si vogliono elleno stesse. Not too long ago this convent was inhabited by only eight women and their abbess, all of them young, and by a silly little man who tended their lovely garden. Among the villagers who turned out to welcome him back was a strong and sturdy young worker named Masetto, who was quite handsome and well put together for a peasant.
This Masetto asked the man, whose name was Nuto, where he had been for so long. When the guy told him, Masetto asked what kind of work he had done at the convent. But those women gave me such a tiny salary that I could hardly keep myself in shoes. Besides, all of them are young and seem possessed by the devil himself—it was impossible to satisfy them, no matter what I did. Between one thing and another, I made up my mind to quit, so here I am back home.
Before I left, their steward begged me to send along a replacement if I came across somebody who could do the work. I promised him I would, but he better not hold his breath waiting for me to find or send him anyone. Smart move you made coming back. What kind of a man do you end up if you live with women? Il castaldo disse di farlo. When he got there, he went in and chanced to find the steward in the courtyard.
Gesticulating the way that mutes do, he begged him, for the love of God, to give him something to eat, indicating that he would, if need be, split logs for him. Then the steward, who had to go to the woods, took Masetto with him and made him chop firewood. Next, he led the donkey to him and made him understand with gestures that Masetto should load the wood on it and lead it back to the convent.
Since Masetto did all this perfectly, the steward had him stay a few days to attend to some chores that needed doing. And so one day the abbess noticed him and asked the steward who he was. Volentieri udirei quello che a te ne pare. Masetto signed back that he was willing to do whatever the steward wanted, and so the latter took him on, assigning him the responsibility of tending the garden and showing him what to do.
Then he went off on some other business for the convent and left him there. And the abbess, who perhaps believed his lack of speech implied the lack of a tail between his legs, cared little or nothing at all about it. One day while Masetto was resting after some exhausting work, two young nuns happened to be walking through the garden and came up close to where he lay pretending to be asleep.
What would we do then? One of us can stay in there with him while the other one keeps watch outside. With coaxing gestures she took his hand and, with Masetto grinning like an imbecile, led him inside the hut where, without requiring much encouragement, he did exactly what she had in mind.
After getting what she wanted, the nun, like a true friend, let the other one have her turn, and Masetto, still playing the fool, did their bidding. Before they left, both of the women de- manded another demonstration of how well the deaf-mute could ride. Frequently discussing it afterward, the women agreed it was certainly as sweet a pleasure as they had heard tell—even more so, in fact—and, choosing the safest times for it, they often went off to enjoy themselves with the deaf-mute.
One day, from the narrow window of her cell, another of the nuns happened to see what was going on and made two others look, too. At first they decided they had to report the nuns to the abbess, but then, changing their minds and coming to an agree- ment with the first two, they all became equal partners in Masetto Properties, LLC.
Through various incidents at various times, these five acquired three more partners. Io credeva che tu fossi mutolo. Even a tiny bit of work during the day knocked him out now, what with all his riding dur- ing the night. The breeze had wafted his smock aside, so that all his wares were on display. When the woman saw this, all alone as she was, she succumbed to the same appetite as her young nuns.
Not for anything in the world could I keep on doing this. In summary, either let me go in peace, or find some way to fix this situation. Then, since their steward had recently died, they appointed Masetto to the job but reconfigured his work schedule so efficiently that he was capable of discharging all his duties. By that time Masetto was already on the threshold of old age and looking for- ward to retiring to his hometown as a wealthy man.
When his wish became known, he had no trouble obtaining permission to leave. And so Masetto—a rich old father who never had to feed or support his children and whose cleverness had taught him how to get the most out of his youth—returned to the place from where, with an ax slung over his shoulder, he had once set out, all the time insisting that this was how Christ rewarded all those who set a pair of horns on his crown.
He has compiled three books of his own verse and is a four-time champion on Jeopardy! His translation of Prudentius will be out in from Routledge. Vittoria Colonna was an Italian noblewoman and poet of the 16th century. She befriended and honored Michelangelo with a series of sonnets , eventually devoting herself to a religious life at the death of her husband.
It burned in torment that it had to share With God, whose quenching waters rescued me. That sun illuminating earth and sky I pray may open up His shining fountains With deep draughts that will slake my thirst in time. She is the author of Io era una bella figura una volta. Viaggio nella poesia di ricerca del secondo Novecento Scritture, and has coedited four volumes, among which the recent English-language edition of I Novissimi. Poetry for the Sixties, with Luigi Ballerini Agincourt, During her writing career, she has also explored many collaborations, including the co-edited anthol- ogy Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Po- etry I live on Riverside Drive.
My face helped get me here. I was ruddy with anticipation the day I interviewed for the rooms near the park with its snow-covered maples. I was full of undisguised hope as I strolled along the river, believing I belonged there, that my people inherited this wonderland unequivocally, as if they deserved it. She ignores the piss smells on the corner, the sirens at 4 A. And tries to trust a white woman who sleeps near the trees of Riverside.
Abito in Riverside Drive. Ci sono arrivata grazie a questa faccia. Piena di malcelata speranza camminavo lungo il fiume, mi pareva di essere a casa, di averla ereditata proprio noi questa bellezza, come la meritassimo. E prova a dar fiducia a una bianca che se la dorme accanto agli alberi di Riverside.
Harlem eyes us suspiciously or with contempt beneath half-closed lids. We have friends there, hidden in the ruins like gold, who accept us. When it snows, we walk boldly anywhere, as if the snow were a protection, or a death. Harlem ci guarda con sospetto o disdegno tra ciglia semichiuse. Se nevica, ce ne andiamo sfrontate dappertutto, come se la neve fosse un riparo, o una morte. Quando il pollo crocifisso sul tagliere potrebbe essere chiunque, e non ti fermi neppure a dire grazie, pollo, per la tua vita o a rimpiangere che quelle gambette ti facciano pensare proprio a quello.
Remember the Irish soda-bread chicken and all those green veggies in heavy cream your poor mother yelled so loud about, oh, the calories! Furious cooking, the kind where hacking the pollo to bits with no names, you look up to see the windows steamed like a hothouse. Cooking everyone can smell from the street. What the fuck, they say, and hurry home to safe food, yours a rank hint of ablution and sacrifice, although no one recognizes the danger. I used to wonder about the Portuguese woman on the first floor, what that odor was that drifted up on Saturdays into my own savory kitchen.
How it permeated Sunday and Monday as well, all that lethal food left to boil on her big stove from the old country. E infatti fa un tal caldo che ti spogli e ora sei arrabbiata e tutta nuda con su solo quel grembiule da barista il cavatappi lo sai tu su per che sughero lo metteresti. He was flame-white, his flesh dust, he was tiny bones you could play with—they could be doll parts—peaceful in my hand like light. I whispered: I love your paintings.
Once I spent the winter in Manhattan with a woman whose desires were so unlike mine the air in the kitchen was sweetly skewed. She told me: Pleasure, and I bent at the refrigerator choosing the precise onion. I told her: Juice, and she stood at the stove removing lemon seeds from basmati. We were perfect as thumbs, we were starved and greedy as shorebirds, dipping down, grabbing our food, devouring it. Tattoo on my right breast, sticker on my colon, scribble of bright blue between my ovaries, hollowed now of eggs but sill handy to balance me out.
The man who lives in 4D sleeps above me every night in the same rectangle of space, one floor up, beside the door, our double beds appearing to the Gods like open-face sandwiches with two chubby figures shifting and rolling in dreams or trooping to the bathroom. Sometimes I watch Tai Chi on cable at 6 a.
Era bianco fiammante, le carni in polvere, minuscole ossa buone per giocare — quasi parti di bambola — in pace nel mio palmo come luce. Gli sussurrai: amo i tuoi quadri. Mi diceva: Piacere, e mi piegavo a scegliere proprio quella precisa cipolla dal frigorifero. Le dicevo: Succo, e in piedi ai for- nelli toglieva i semi di limone dal basmati.
Perfette come pollici, affamate e ingorde come uccelli marini, ci tuffavamo ad afferrare il cibo per divorarlo. Quello che abita al 4D dorme ogni notte su di me, nello stesso ret- tangolo di spazio, un piano sopra, accanto alla porta, i nostri letti a due piazze che appaiono agli dei come tartine con due figurette rotonde, che si muovono e girano in sogno o marciano verso il bagno.
Sundays are just right for breaking and entering, she thinks, Baying at the church bells which have begun their jubilant [clanging over consecration. This is the way she holds her own in the [world of prefab sanctuaries and compulsory homage to bible- [famed deities.
The window depicted a scene often [depicted in churches around the world: The woman at the well with [Jesus in disguise asking for water. Curious to discover the [destination of the tiny being flitting through the stained glass picture [which fell in bloody colors on the floor beside her, the little girl [practiced her new art of astral projection and left her body to explore the skies [of Chicago.
I bet his wife would be patting him right now, saying: Meat loaf? I see Him bodysurfing in the Atlantic, sharing parables of large Northshore families and small sea urchins with teenagers and sandy toddlers. Coach house in Old [Westbury?
And clouds marshal in from the South Side. And I swear the lights click on at this exact moment. Every pigeon stands still. Every Toyota. I send you my message by archangel—Honey, between us we could choke this man before the courtesy patrol arrives to collect his cart. In reality, his wife dragged him [away, and we stood shaking in the light of the all-night super [market until the archangel released Chicago and carried us home.
Mi chiedo dove si nasconda: in un prefabbricato a Wantagh? Una rimessa a [Old Wesbury? Sembra che dica egr o neee, ma si capisce lo stesso, e tu lo freddi con quello sguardo assassino, lo sguardo da te-lo-firmo-col-sangue-in-tasca-ho-un-coltello, e la moglie lo trascina via per la manica come una ragazzina tremolante.
E le nuvole scendono in marcia dal South Side. Solo le bandierine e gli striscioni del parcheggio scricchiolano nel [vento. Ti mando un messaggio via arcangelo: Amore mio, tra tutte [e due questo qua lo strozziamo prima ancora che arrivino i [commessi a ritirargli il carrello. Strontium in my breast milk, that onion- skin glint on the freshest salami. Radiation bubbles beneath the skin of five-legged calves, poor sucking orphans of cold war.
What did Nostradamus say, scary sights filled to the brim with neon, about the balding spot of the man upstairs, a whirling insomniac? Hey, radiation bubbles beneath the skin in Batavia, top quarks and a boson so wraithlike and belligerent they claim a small bang might sicken the Earth with neon.
Malata di indeterminatezza, come filtra la luce, ispessisce il sangue con il neon. Lo stronzio nel latte del mio seno, quella pellicola lucida sul salame freschissimo. Bolle di radiazioni sotto la pelle dei vitelli dalle cinque zampe, miseri orfani lattanti della guerra fredda. Come aveva detto Nostradamus, visioni paurose ricolme di neon, sulla calvizie incipiente del vicino del piano di sopra, un eterno insonne a molla?
Baba Ganouj — mistura mediterranea di ceci e nebbia. She strapped her back to a stump and every time the river washed over her she stayed alive against the ground like Fay Wray. Her heart was as red as a fontanel. Her voice hovered like a ghost above the river. There is no curve here, she said, only the fog at right angles. She blew from the kitchen in a puff of condensation. There was a tree to prop herself against, the tree she named [Euphrates, Queen of Fog.
The King of Fog—Bear Mountain. Fog thinning—Bones of a woman. She walked straight into it as she would walk into heaven, if heaven were in the palms of her hands, if her hands were big as barn doors and heaven were spelled F-O-G. The Night of the Forest Ghosts run through me and keep running—down to the river for a drink, up a hollow tree. Touched like this, I am nevertheless clothed and breathing, opaque and pounding with blood—and when the ghosts hang their slips in the black oaks I call out.
Leaves float down and cover my feet. Ghosts sit in the trees videotaping. Spiders spin lace around my breasts. Aveva un cuore rosso come una fontanella cranica. La sua voce vagava come uno spettro sul fiume. Niente curve qui, disse, solo gli angoli retti della nebbia. Re della Nebbia- Bear Mountain. Le foglie scivolano a coprirmi i piedi. Gli spettri siedono tra gli alberi, fanno riprese. I ragni mi intessono pizzi sui seni. All around us: deer shit and the dampened opinions of dead people.
We walked past the graves with rain on our faces. Grass grew in sheets down the hills and rainwater glossed the marble. Is the body unclosed as the bowl in the ocean is unclosed, or is the enclosed body unclosed in the ocean of the soul, I persisted, the bowl in the sea, the body in the sea of the soul?
They buried Hansberry on a hillside on Croton-on-Hudson beside white people and a river plunging south. We searched for her for an hour in the rain, my lover and I, wishing for slickers and luck and long lives to come. It was I who found her and shouted to my lover, who leapt to me from among the dead, her body aslosh with joy. Tutto attorno a noi: merda di daino e le opinioni tiepide dei morti.
Cam- minavamo tra le tombe, la pioggia sulla faccia. La mia amata mi disse: Gocciolina, conca-nel-mare, piccola cercatrice di tombe. Avalos fu pubblicato postumo nel Prima, quando ero bambina, a matita su piccoli, misteriosis- simi quadernetti, poi, cercando faticosamente di stare al passo con i tempi, sul suo computer, ma sempre comunque immerso in un mondo solo suo, fatto di ricordi, di musica, di libri, di odori, sen- sazioni, meditazioni, fantasie Quindi, primo rimedio alla crisi di pessimismo, ovvero reperimento di un qualche motivo a questi scritti, a che non restino cianfrusaglie da buttare: tranfusione in essi di immaginari colloqui in vesperi di maggio, con persona cara, di generazione successiva.
E dirle queste poche cose qui nel piccolo ambito di casa. Ai miei cari, quando e se vorranno leggerle. Tanto, a dirle, lo ripeto, mi diverto. Registrare noi stessi. Anthony and, farther away, the tolling of the cathedral bell, swollen and heavy, rose and fell livid in the twilight like over a medieval city depopulated by the plague. In January, however, in one of its icy and very limpid nights, an echo of footsteps lost in the alleys gave him a shiver and trepidation as for an impending peasant revolt, signaled by distant calls under the moon and certain flashes like flaming torches moving on the roofs.
Which ended precisely that very night in that inn, under very mysterious circumstances, as we shall see. And without you, with- out your fanciful reframing of the memories of the small square, very little is left to be said about it, having remained so silent in the night, with the moon now swallowed by the clouds, under a foreboding of rain, or maybe of snow, with three foolish beanpole streetlamps and the gurgling gasps of the fountain.
What was striking about it was the contrast between the be- nignly quiet atmosphere that all in all prevailed there — that inn, the small bell tower, the stone fountain in the middle, and all around honest two-storey houses, a garden wall and a few small shops — and the massive and almost truculent presence of a large building that closed off the north side in front of the inn.
Tale sua funzione di baluardo si notava particolarmente in certe mattinate di solicello invernale, dopo una notte di vento e di tempesta. Un vecchio era venuto a prendere il sole, con la sedia confidenzialmente appoggiata al muro del palazzo. Beaten as it was by the wind, it seemed like the last warrior amidst a cowardly population left to face the mountains on the horizon under their gray banners of clouds. Its role as a bulwark was particularly noticeable on certain winter mornings under a pale sun, after a night of wind and storm.
It seemed then that the big edifice would be dozing on the square, restoring itself after the battle just ended, whose signs were still evident on the walls at the back, still black with moisture, like weapons that a sleepy squire had not had time to clean. Almost a murky dream, the dripping of an eave and the creaking of a skylight brought to mind the fury of the gusts and the roar of the rain that had raged until dawn.
An old man had come to enjoy the sun, with the chair familiarly resting on the wall of the building. But then that scene was suddenly shaken by an engine that was furiously roaring, with vibrations of glass and sheet metal and clouds of bluish smoke. Del controllo sui costumi e com- portamenti dei concittadini avevan fatto una religione: con i suoi dogmi, le sue liturgie e di cui il sancta sanctorum era il loro salotto e loro due i massimi pontefici.
In the large house — three hundred and seventeen rooms, it was said, not counting the attics and the cellars — for many years there lived only two old ladies who, for their venerable age, were remembered that way forever: always minute, always hunched and dressed in black , always implacably gossipy. They had made a religion of studying the customs and behavior of the townsfolks: with its dogmas, its liturgies, whose sancta sanctorum was their living room and the two of them the greatest pontiffs.
It had been some time, however, that they had lost most of their charisma and power, since they had stopped going out and received as little as possible — the chairs, armchairs and sofas, due to the centuries- old work of woodworms, were reduced to mere images, ready to dissolve if you only looked at them — they could no longer find material for their plots and gossip, since all the people who had been the object of them had died one by one, so that even the memory of them was vanishing: therefore they, the only ones to talk about them, and with the ancient tenacity, seemed transmi- grated into a world of ghosts, having become ghosts themselves.
Towards evening their two silhouettes could be glimpsed behind the curtains, spying. And that was the only illuminated window in the enormous and taciturn building. But there had been times when the palace of Avalos was re- gurgitating with life, too much in fact, in a continuous and frenetic confusion, so frenetic and so unseemly that it overshadowed the traditions, the rank, and the name of the house itself.
And under the impetus of that frantic to-and-fro, forces and counter-forces, tensions, pressures, vortexes and contractions had developed in the very wall structure of the building so that it had become somewhat destabilized, and appeared ramshackle and twisted, and almost dilated in the effort to absorb the progressive waves of people that flowed in and out, with new rooms and wings added, verandas, lofts, elevations and jutting structures, which with subsequent stratifications had dissolved all traces of symmetry in a senseless agglomeration of staircases and stairs, accessways, ramps, connections, bridges and passageways, all under the twisting thrust of a gigantic spiral opening onto the great courtyard, towards a vertex that could be identified as a kind of attic suspended above, where a skylight would have been more reasonably expected.
In those times, right there at the top had lived a member of the family, seemingly a cadet; who, perhaps because of a wrong suf- fered, or as a protest against the scandalous turmoil on the lower floors, or for a general disgust of the world and the desire for quietness, or because he was too wise or a bit crazy, had reduced himself to living up there, in two or three small rooms, with a small shaded terrace in the middle of the roofs.
No one knew what the name of the recluse was: some said don Alvaro, some don Alonso: in short a Spanish-sounding name. It was so, thanks to these devices, developed over long years of preparation and testing Don Alfonso directing from above and the faithful secretary below taking care of the execution it was so that Don Alonso did not need anyone even to be buried.
In fact, when the time came, he placed himself in the coffin and hung his right hand on the slip-knot of a flimsy string, which sure enough immediately broke off as soon as the arm became lifeless. The limb fell on a lever and the springs clicked, the hatch opened and the coffin fell down along a very exact perpendicular line without the slightest pitch or roll, darting small and shiny among the immense walls up there that plunged towards the chasm of the courtyard and it was sucked into the concentric circles of the log- gias, verandas and balconies of the huge building.
In the meantime there came the usual noises, calls and shouts, insults and implora- tions, rattle of doors, frantic footsteps on the stairs, pawing horses in the hallways, barrels rolling on cellar ramps, hammers and saws and drills, whipcracking and neighing and rugs and carpet beaters at the windows, and the shouts and vulgar songs of servants. And in the meantime, from the first hatch that remained wide open up there, with the door still creaking and rocking in the void, when everything seemed finished, and only the wind on the side of the valley could be heard, down came a white silk handkerchief belonging to Don Alvaro, swaying softly and flitting here and there like a prissy butterfly, a token, so they said, of an ancient love.
The silence in the immense courtyard lasted a few minutes longer. Then there was the sound of a rocking horse; from another floor came the timid notes of a flute. Sulle alture calcinate di Las Navas de Tolosa in quello stesso momento le cicale strepitavano a centinaia. Nella luce accecante si distingueva appena, al riparo di certi arbusti, disteso con la schiena contro una roccia, il pastore Juan Lopez, tredicenne, a guardia del suo gregge.
Neppure un respiro di vento, di tanto in tanto un belato. Juan Lopez aveva letto libri e molte cose gli nar- rava il maestro del villaggio, di mori e cristiani, di califfi e ferrigni re di Castiglia e di Leon. Time passed, perhaps decades or perhaps centuries, and little by little, while the grand palace year after year was depopulated and shrouded by silence, the envelope suspended over the depths of the courtyard, sheathed by cobwebs, took on the appearance of a kind of woolly bulb, an outgrowth that dust and the passing of time swelled more and more, and grew and condensed until it became completely unrecognizable, absorbed into the very structures of the building, identified with it.
Behind us we could feel the heat in the deserted square; only a thin strip of blue shadows stood out along the facade of the building. Here, inside the courtyard, the darkness of the walls absorbed an ambiguous smell of subsoil from the cellars. On the calcareous heights of Las Navas de Tolosa at that time the cicadas were droning by the hundreds. In the blinding light we could barely make out, under the shelter of certain shrubs, with his back against a rock, the shepherd Juan Lopez, thirteen, guard- ing his flock.
He had been there from the early morning, in perfect solitude: no encounter, no human voice. Not even a breath of wind, from time to time a bleat. And like every other day at that hour, a guitar was heard from the shadow of a courtyard; and dreams came through the desolate plains. Juan Lopez had read books and he had learned many things from the village schoolteacher, of Moors and Christians, of Caliphs and iron Kings of Castile and Leon.
Il tono grave di questa frase fu accentuato da alcuni accordi di chitarra che provennero o dal giardino o da qualche altro luogo remoto del palazzo. Likewise, in the courtyard of the palace of Avalos I suffered the same effect of refraction produced by inanimate things: stones in particular, having lived infinitely longer than us, are like sound- ing lines that have probed the dizzying depths of time.
The serious tone of this phrase was accen- tuated by a few guitar chords that came from either the garden or some other remote place in the building. In those days of summer we members of the gang were engaged in a double search: the way to the river and the Sebaldi crime. And there was, albeit vague and confused, the feeling that the two things were related.
His research mainly focuses on the history of evolution in modern Italy, and he has co-translated with Nicoletta Pireddu a collection of writings by Scipio Sighele, entitled The Criminal Crowd and other writings on Mass Society, University of Toronto Press, Non temo i tanti nemici che ho anche fra voi. Soffersi molto per le vostre ironie. La quiete che mi deriva da tali idee mi fa riconoscere volon- tieri che io vi diedi talvolta motivo a dubitare di me.
Galli, an invincibly timid member who never took the floor, stood up and informed the assembly that when Dr. Menghi was on his deathbed, he begged Dr. Galli to read out his memoir about a new serum he had discovered. Galli blurted out. Read it! Yet I feel at ease that my words are true and based on facts that were controlled with upmost accuracy. My memoir is not meant for the public, as its content could only be understood by a small circle of scientists.
The solace I get from these thoughts makes me fain to recog- nize how I some times gave you reason to doubt me. Many years ago, with my youthful impetuousness, I declared the discovery of a serum meant to rapidly restore precocious youth to a withered organism. Though it was later proven that this youth I granted did not last long.
One of my adversaries, against whom I hold no grudge, although he wounded me with his malice, asserted that this apparent youth was nothing but a wild race to old-age. But everyone understood that I had discovered an incomparably su- perior stimulant to what was being used. In my hubris I refused to boast: for all the effort made to suspend aging, the result was not efficient enough, and here was just another stimulant with limited applications, effective only for organisms endowed with full vitality.
I bring this up because today I still adore that lovely discovery of mine, which abbreviated life but made it more intense. E mi sarebbe bastato! Lo conquistai da un animale longevo per eccellenza. I wrote about the first discovery because it is directly related to the topic of this memoir. My specific is in an entirely different category than alcohol. Alcohol slows down the replacement of matter, while mine precipitates it; alcohol hinders the functioning of the heart to the point of exhaus- tion, while my specific facilitates it so much that the entire organ- ism succumbs to it.
Take note: when the organ that is the source of life encounters no obstacles in an entirely vital organism, it defies the organism and kills it. Clementi helped me to construct this theory, which eventually buried my discovery. Actually - I openly admit - all the words are his. And this theory, or rather these words, necessarily led me to the antidote for the Menghi Alcohol. I had hoped to achieve an economy of the vital forces so that life would be immeasurably prolonged.
That would have been enough for me! Life is no longer brief, not even for you! I implore you to con- sider for a moment: if one of the inventors of those terrible, modern explosives had indeed hesitated to share this invention with our immature humanity, would you understand why? For me, this concern was exacerbated by a promise I gave to the dearest person I know while on her deathbed. After reading this memoir, you will certainly understand the importance of my discovery and studies, but also the reason for my concerns.
The specific - you must have already imagined - was a type of organotherapy. I extracted it from an animal know for its longevity par excellence. Do not think that it is a certain fresh-water fish whose life - as it has been verified in certain parks - lasts beyond three centuries. Non sanno prendere ma afferrano, non sanno lasciare ma gettano. Hanno inoltre la veglia e il sonno intensi e brevi. La mia scoperta era fatta o, meglio, il mio lavoro era terminato. Trovo fra le mie carte il bollettino su cui registrai la mia scoperta.
Porta la data del cinque Maggio. Yet again it was the Menghi Alcohol that provided me with the elements of these ascertained observations. The animals and humans who were injected with that abbreviator of life had rapid, nay violent movements.
Furthermore, they were mostly awake with only bouts of brief, intense slumber. Their day lasts twelve hours or less, rather than twenty-four. The perennial animal I speak about has a day that lasts a year I know where your thoughts are headed, but they mislead you , its move- ments are slow, secure and intentional. Even if you were to guess which animal this is, you would never discover the organ I used to extract the serum.
In our organism there is a mitigator! When I conjured up the theory for the antidote to the Menghi Alcohol, I remembered having once observed a vivisection, the consequences of which I did not immediately com- prehend. Then I performed an experiment that luminously confirmed my idea. I deprived an animal of that organ and poisoned it with morphine. I concluded: The mitigating organ is blind like all of our other organs and its function - only beneficial as long as it is surrounded by vital organs - becomes an abbreviator of life when this vitality is about to cease.
Although weakened, it halts the impulse that would have just been barely sufficient. My discovery was complete or, better yet, my work was finished. The rest had to be left to the most hidden functions of nature. If my Annina I named my serum in honor of my mother performed like thyroxin or oxytocin, which both enter the blood-stream and act on the source without needing to pass through the organ whose insufficiency they compensate for, then my moderator would prob- ably no longer relieve, but impede the effort.
Then, and only then, would there result the vital economy I sought. Among my papers, I found the report on my discovery. The date was May 5th. Il ricordo del grande dalle sessanta pulsazioni normali mi diede una speranza che mi rese addirittura malato. Le prove mi costarono molto e il mio piccolo bilancio ne fu subito dissestato.
Mia madre! Io non so se alcuno di voi abbia conosciuta mia madre. Scusate se vi parlo di mia madre, ma, come vedrete, essa ap- partiene al mio argomento. Mio padre tenne per lunghi anni a Venezia un negozio di droghe molto importante. The memory of that great man with sixty regular pulsations gave me so much hope that made even me sick. What if more than the elongation of life I had actually achieved something else, something greater yet! The experiments required a great deal from me, and my tiny budget was suddenly unbalanced.
These studies kept me from diligently dedicating myself to my practice, so my richest clients abandoned me after the failure of the Menghi Alcohol, which was presented by some of my colleagues as the rabbles of a madman. These difficulties led me to confide in my mother.
My mother! This much I know: if one of you has ever seen her, if only for a brief moment, you will never forget her. Tall, straight, very black eyes, sweet and imperious at the same time, a youthful complexion in contrast to a full head of white hair, but a pure white, like fresh snow.
Pardon me if I speak to you about my mother but, as you can see, she is crucial to my discussion. For many years my father owned an important pharmacy in Venice. At the age of thirty-five, after five years of marriage, he gave in to a wicked lifestyle. He had mistresses, he gambled and - I believe but am not certain - he succumbed to the vice of drinking.
Fortunately, my mother was immediately aware of his transfor- mation. As long as he was alive, it was a daily struggle against him, first of all because he always wanted more money, and then it was a struggle against the impatient creditors who came from all over to claim their money, and against the lenders who no longer wanted to giv him credit. Morto mio padre la bella figura si eresse di nuovo per curvarsi solo nel singhiozzo frequente. Ed essa parlava con- tinuamente del marito morto avendo dimenticato di lui i cinque o sei ultimi anni.
Essa accumulo in commercio in breve tempo una piccola fortuna apprendendo da se tutti quei complicati particolari che costituiscono la scienza commerciale. Poi oltre agli affari ebbe sempre da attendere anche alla casa. Io che la conoscevo commerciante fino al midollo, calcolatrice come un banchiere, astuta e previdente, esitante e dubbiosa ad ogni decisione che potesse implicare la diminuzione di un utile oppure una piccola perdita, fui stupito e commosso di vederla accogliere immediatamente la mia proposta.
She claimed to be the unhappiest woman up until the last day of her pitiful existence. Now that my father was dead, this beautiful woman stood erect once again, succumbing only to occasional bouts of crying. And she constantly spoke of her dead husband, forgetting his last five or six years. In a short time, she accumulated a small fortune in the market, learning all of those complicated particulars of commercial science on her own.
I do not believe it often happens that a woman, who is not of a certain culture, has such ease in understanding everything. Then, she always had to do something for the business and in the house. She granted me help with astounding readiness. I, who knew her as a business-woman down to the marrow, a calculator like a banker, astute and provident, hesitant and dubious in every deci- sion that could implicate a decrease in profits or even a small loss, I was amazed and touched when she immediately welcomed my proposal.
She quickly calculated: she could give me a monthly stipend of lire for three years, exactly the amount I required. Neither to me, nor to her was the probability of having to re- open a pharmacy seen as a severe threat.
Prima non aveva conosciuto che agita- zione e stanchezza; ora invece soffriva oltre che di agitazione e di stanchezza anche di noia. Erano molti anni che non si lavorava insieme. Questo metodo ebbe delle conseguenze non so se buone o cattive pel mio avvenire. Before she only knew agitation and fatigue, but now she suffered from boredom, in addition to agitation and fatigue.
Running a household and ordering a servant around was not enough for someone like my mother, who ran a business with two or three employees and various laborers. The household was very closely supervised and had but one defect: order was discussed too often. Whoever sold us the meat or the vegetables had to stay alert because everything that came into the house was weighed, examined, and sifted through, and mamma found a way to work in both the small casetta and the large business.
About my mother, I must still say that she was a big egoist with an egoism that only I understood. And when I was a boy, for my sake and with great effort, she tolerated someone being in our back room; however, her antipathy seeped out all too clearly, so that soon enough everyone abandoned me and I was left to enjoy the back room and afternoon snack alone.
She reserved her smiles and courteous words for clients; I knew completely different smiles and words and I felt her insincerity. When she felt inclined to advise me to sacrifice my glory and the results from my studies in favor of the others whom she did not love, I had to obey because the reasons which induced her to such a request had to be rather strong.
From the day I asked for her assistance, she requested to work with me. We had not worked together for many years. She taught me to read in her study, and I remember how she was ready to help and teach me only then to abandon me, running off to her affairs.
I think I derived from it a fever- ish yearning to put every one of my ideas into action, a yearning that can sometimes push me to premature communications, but which all at once forces me to specify synthetically my ideas while others lose time in error and illusion. I understand that the idea is immediately realized in the laboratory, but in an imprecise form. I admit a semblance between the evolved animal and the unevolved one, but I do not admit likeness.
My experiments with the Annina are enough to establish this difference. Nel primo caso si avrebbe una morte per esaurimento; nel secondo per abbru- ciamento. E avete osservato come il cervello funzioni egregiamente in individui il cui cuore abbia declinato? Non avevo oramai che da dire una parola e mamma pensava il mio pensiero. Avevo bisogno di una tale collaborazione! I only had to produce a sufficient quantity of the Annina in order to proceed with subsequent experi- ments.
The greater part of our time was dedicated to discussing and clarifying the theory. She understood easily and quickly, though I had to use the least scientific language possible to make her better understand.
Indeed, I resorted to a language which science refutes. Animal life is comparable to boiling a cauldron of water placed on a fire whose fuel is limited. This boiling can end because the fuel is entirely depleted or because the water evaporates. In the first case, one would have death by exhaustion; in the second, combus- tion. Now, it is evident that animal life is assured by an excess of heat- I mean to say that the equilibrium between the water and fire is not perfect and so the life could last longer if the boiling was diminished.
For example, it is evident that the heat released by our body is a loss. How much of this loss is necessary to protect our periphery? To be more precise: it is noted that usefully employing the force manifested and therefore lost by the heart in twenty- four hours could lift 4, kilograms one meter high.
Quite the excess! How much of this force is necessary to nourish our life and how much is lost or is harmful? The future of hygienic science lies in the solution to such a problem. Nevertheless, I know that this force is excessive and I know it, first of all, for the fact that many individuals whose manifest heat was inferior proved to be stronger than those with a fast-pulse and heat seeping from every pore. The latent force is the only force. What we perceive with our senses or measure with our instruments is the loss of force.
And have you observed how the brain functions egregiously in individuals with an abated heart? I have found lucid, nay acute, minds in people whose pulse was too weak and too slow to be measured. I gave up everything for the pleasure of making my mother feel the greatness and originality of my idea.
By then I only had to say one word and mamma could understand my thought. I needed such a collaboration! Usually when I work, I get lost in my rever- ies. I stop to contemplate the eventual consequences of my ideas, I caress them, I admire my future success and I forget the work necessary to realize them. This was not possible with my mother. She brought the systems which had greatly benefitted her in busi- ness to the laboratory. Mi arresto a contemplare le ultime conseguenze delle mie idee, le accarezzo, ne ammiro il futuro suc- cesso e oblio il lavoro necessario per realizzarle.
Essa portava seco in laboratorio i sistemi che tanto le avevano giovato negli affari. Con un decigrammo nel sangue si uccideva un cane giovine e forte in quaranta secondi. Dapprima mia madre non voleva credere si trattasse di una morte reale. La rassicurai dicendole che il caso era stato previsto.
Il siero di cui avevo a servirmi doveva essere ben altrimenti elaborato di questo. Essa rimase commossa e per lungo tempo dubbiosa. Preparai un coniglio con iniezioni seguite per varii giorni di dosi minime di Annina. Ne raccolsi il sangue che, steriliz- zato, considerai quale il siero voluto. Svegliai mia madre alla mattina per presentarle il frutto del mio lavoro.
Mia madre guardava invece la povera bestiola aspettandosi di vederla morire. A decigram in the blood killed a young, strong dog in forty seconds. At first, my mother did not want to believe the death had happened. She stroked the dog, trying to make it come back to life. The serum I wanted to use eventually had to be much more developed than this one.
She was excited and, for a long time, dubious. That pushed me to work feverishly to remove any such doubt from her as soon as possible. I prepared a rabbit for successive injec- tions of minimum doses of Annina over several days.
I drew some blood, which, when sterilized, I believed to be the right serum. I did all of this work gingerly in order to surprise my mother. Thus commenced that memorable day of June 2nd with a triumph I have never had before in my life. I woke up my mother in the morning to show her the fruits of my labor. She got dressed in a flash and followed me to the labora- tory where the rabbit soon received the first-ever injection of An- nina. The fact that it actually lived made my mother flush with ad- miration.
What was only the application of my serum to a process invented by others arose more wonder in her than my own original idea. Only from this was her lack of scientific preparation apparent. The injected rabbit exhibited various phenomena. It ceased to eat for many hours, and when it did eat, after being placed among and confronted with the other rabbits, it appeared to be less vora- cious and slower in its movements. Except when it shook, it was evidently taken by a kind of stupor.
Il mio faceva un balzo formidabile quando era minacciato la prima volta; era invece incapace di farne un se- condo se minacciato immediatamente una seconda volta. Cadeva subito nel menzionato stato di stupefazione e si lasciava afferrare trasalendo inerte. Anche arrivando a constatare in essi quel mutamento di vita consono - se- condo le mie teorie - al loro mutamento fisico, non mi sarei trovato avanzato di molto.
Solo la constatazione di un mutamento di tutta la funzione vitale - mutamento che in gran parte doveva sfuggire alla verifica mediante istrumenti - poteva giovarmi. Non ebbi esitazioni! Quante volte non vengono lesi dal suono e dalla luce? Dei sentimenti poi non parlo. It suddenly fell into the aforementioned state of stupor and allowed itself to be caught, wincing inertly. In the dining room that evening, we continued to chat about the Annina.
Where would those animal experiments lead me? Even if I managed to verify in them a change of life that was consonant with their physical change - according to my theories - I would not end up advancing a great deal.
Only observing a change of the entire vital functions - a change that largely escapes instrumental verification - could help me. I did not hesitate! That same evening I would inject the Annina into my own veins. The liveliest hope was reborn in me. There are not many examples in medicine of subjective obser- vation, but there are some and they are quite strange. The famous Napolitano doctor with nephritis was one of the first advocates of the milk cure.
From the beginning, he subjectively intuited its beneficial effect, and later he proved it by objectively verifying the decrease of albumin. Now, more than any other method, could sub- jective experimentation provide a conclusive outcome verifying an intensity of life which, in my opinion, must primarily demonstrate a decrease in the vivacity of the senses and sentiments. Because, if the Annina demonstrated the efficacy I hoped for, it would decrease what I call attrition.
Now, what is our greatest attrition that squan- ders our strength without us realizing it? Our sense of perception is sometimes not enough - I recognize this - but it mainly errs for too much sensibility. How often is it ruined by sound or light? Thus I do not speak about sentiments. The excessive joys and the excessive anxieties of the mind decimate humanity. In my head I anticipated the effect the Annina would have on me. I figured that the Annina must become the drug for intellectu- als, not for textbooks.
I have already said how I believe in the neces- sity of a manifestly strong heart for brain performance. Ne adoperai una dose molto maggiore di quella usata pel coniglio che non mi parve abbastanza anninizzato. Devo confes- sarlo: Mettendo il liquido nel tubetto mi tremava la mano e il cuore mi batteva. Ma non seppi at tendere. Presi un foglio di carta, lo posi sul tavolo da notte assieme ad una matita per fissare subito sulla carta le osservazioni fatte.
Una calma as- soluta e nel mio organismo. Mi sento agitato. Ore 10 e Ho paura di perdere i sensi. Not long after locking myself in my bedroom, I injected myself with the Annina. I used a much larger dose than what I used on the rabbit, which did not seem to be anninized enough. I must confess that while I pulled the liquid into the syringe, my hand was trembling and my heart was beating wildly.
That courageous inventor who passed 2, volts through his heart in order to prove the harmlessness of alternating current, must have had similar feel- ings. Perhaps I should have acted more prudently by postponing the experiment until the following day and noting my discovery in the meantime, because one of my colleagues would experiment later. I put a piece of paper and pencil on the bedside table so I could immediately record my observations.
There is an abso- lute clam in my organism. My pulse is eighty-four and is clear. The injection point on my arm burns. My temperature is I can count the heartbeats in my ear while resting on the pillow and I can determine that it is synchronized with the pulse.
An actual circulatory perturbation is excluded. A storm has erupted in my organism and seems to be surging. It began with a deafening noise inside my ears, so much so that it appeared to be external. At first, it was a burst, as if the air pressure outside exploded eight panes of glass in my bedroom with a single strike. And now it continues, deafening and threatening, as if something enormously intricate were approaching. Watching the gas-flame next to my bed reflect motionless in the mirror was enough for me to understand that all the noise was inside me, and not external.
I was terrified to remember the enormous dose of Annina I had injected. The ColdSpring architecture is simple. ColdSpring has a top-level class for your CFC methods, and configuration resources are stored in a "resource" section of the top-level class. The presence of Lan Message system in Outlook Connector is a very important to give more flexibility to Exchange in its management of email for example, be able to modify Outlook to show IMAP folder structure etc.
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