A minha Lista de blogues

quinta-feira, 30 de janeiro de 2014

Rui Machete in Washington

During his first official visit to the United States, Rui Machete, the Portuguese Foreign Minister joined the American Secretary of State, John Kerry, in reaffirming the enduring friendship between our two countries.

Read their remarks before the meeting and watch the video.

John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry (Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões Ferreira) was born in Mozambique in 1938. Her parents were Portuguese. She married John Heinz III (the heir of The Heinz company) who died in a plane crash in 1991.They were both republicans.

In 1995 she married again with the former democratic senator John Kerry.

I heard Mrs. Kerry speak Portuguese fluently in Massachusetts in 2002 during O´Brien’s electoral campaign for the position of governor (at the time, the republican candidate, Mitt Romney, won the elections).

Two years later, Teresa Kerry also participated in her husband’s campaign for the Presidency of the United States (again a republican won the election: George W. Bush). Curiously, whenever the occasion for her to speak in Portuguese arises, such as in areas where the Portuguese community is large, she helps her husband and talks to locals. Unfortunately, though, she never, herself, assumes to be Portuguese and, perhaps, has some sort of prejudice against her origins. It’s a pity…

With that in mind, I was rather surprised when her husband said he was familiar with Portuguese at home, whilst the Portuguese Foreign Minister visited Washington...

Lisbon: A cool city

Photo: All you need is Portugal- Facebook

7 reasons Lisbon could be Europe's coolest city
By Fiona Dunlop, for CNN
January 26, 2014 

Pope Francis in Rolling Stone

Read The times they are a-changin’ at the Vatican in the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

segunda-feira, 27 de janeiro de 2014

Remembrance for Holocaust victims

January 27 is a day of remembrance for Holocaust victims in several countries.

Dachau shower room, April 1945


domingo, 26 de janeiro de 2014

Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910), who wrote under the pen name Mark Twain, was born in Missouri, in 1835.

At the age of four he moved with his family to Hannibal, a town on the Mississippi river much like the towns in his two most famous novels: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was also a slave state. His father owned one slave and his uncle owned several. In fact‚ it was on his uncle’s farm that Clemens spent many boyhood summers playing in the slave quarters‚ listening to the slave spirituals that he would enjoy throughout his life.

The Great Race on the Mississippi. From New Orleans to St. Louis

When Clemens was twelve his father died and he left school to work as a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper. His job was to arrange the type for each of the newspaper’s stories‚ allowing him to read the news of the world while completing his work.

While still in his early twenties, Clemens gave up his printing career in order to become a riverboat pilot, but with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 all traffic along the river came to an end‚ as did his pilot career. However he learned a great deal from his life on the river, mainly his pen name Mark Twain, which was a cry used on steamboats to indicate the depth of water-“mark twain” means that is safe to navigate.

In search of a new career‚ Clemens headed west. After failing as a silver prospector‚ he began writing for a Nevada newspaper and signed many articles, stories and novels, which gave him an almost unthinkable celebrity. 

His books were sold door-to door and he became wealthy enough to build a large house in Hartford, Connecticut for himself and his family.

Even though Clemens enjoyed financial success during his Hartford years‚ he continually made bad investments ‚ which eventually brought him to bankruptcy. In an effort to pay his debts‚ the family moved to Europe in 1891. When his publishing company failed in 1894‚ he was forced to set out on a worldwide lecture tour to earn money. In 1896‚ when his daughter Susy died from meningitis at the age of 24 while on a visit to the Hartford home, the Clemenses felt unable to return to the place of her death‚ and never returned to Hartford to live.


quinta-feira, 23 de janeiro de 2014

Museu Coleção Berardo

Joana Vasconcelos. Néctar, 2006. Museu Coleção Berardo

The Museum Coleção Berardo in Belém, Lisbon was elected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best free museums in Europe.

Fotografia: Maria Teresa Relva

quarta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2014

The clymene dolphin

Clymene dolphins. NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center

The clymene dolphin is a hybrid of two other species. All three species live in the Atlantic Ocean. This is the first known instance of hybridization among marine mammals leading to a new species, a phenomenon that is more commonly seen in plants, fish and birds. 

Ana R. Amaral, a researcher at the University of Lisbon and the American Museum of Natural History is the leading author of the study. Dr. Amaral said it was not clear exactly when in history the hybridization occurred - Scientist know that spinner and striped dolphins originated between one and three million years ago, so it was sometime after that.


domingo, 19 de janeiro de 2014

Carlos Eirão: Teacher, Painter and Etcher

Carlos Eirão- Facebook photo

Carlos was born in 1961 in Penalonga, district of Vila Real, Trás-os Montes. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon where he got his masters degree in Theory of Art with a thesis about the Portuguese painter Nadir Afonso (1920-2013). He also studied etching in Lisbon. His paintings depict a wide range of interests and are a combination of mixed techniques on paper or canvas. 
Carlos received some awards in Estoril (1995) ; Amadora (1998); and Moita (2007). His works were presented in many exhibitions both individual and collective.
Carlos is a colleague of mine. We both teach at Agrupamento de Escolas do Restelo. It was a pleasure for me to interview him for our school digital paper, @contece, in 2012. Quite recently, he has sent an article  about Nadir Afonso, who has passed away.

For Christmas I got this etching I had admired in a previous exhition.

sábado, 18 de janeiro de 2014

Google Art Project

Museu do Caramulo

O Museu do Caramulo entrou este ano na galeria do Google Art Project, com 83 obras exemplificativas da sua colecção. O primeiro museu português a aderir ao GAP foi o Museu Colecção Berardo, a que se seguiram a Fundação Dionísio Pinheiro e Alice Cardoso Pinheiro, de Águeda e depois o palácio nacional de Sintra e o palácio nacional de Queluz.

Hail in Lisbon

If hail in Lisbon  caused so much trouble yesterday...

What would you say to this?

A typical winter day in Massachusetts?

Coastal Portugal hiking

Moorish Castle in Sintra

Are you making plans for your holidays? If you need some inspiration for travel adventures, CNN suggests Portugal:

September: Coastal Portugal hiking
While Portugal is well known for its port wine tourism, many travelers are just starting to realize how much more Portugal's rugged Atlantic coast offers the adventurer. A new REI Adventures trip from Lisbon to the Algarve hits villages, beaches and castles, ending up on the windswept, far-western Sagres promontory, on the edge of the Old World. Enjoy the food and drink in lovely cafes and plazas as you rest each night.

sexta-feira, 17 de janeiro de 2014

Maria João Pires- Grammy Nominee

The Portuguese pianist, Maria João Pires, is for a second time a Grammy nominee (BEST CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL SOLO: Schubert- Piano Sonatas D. 845 & D. 96). It is a prestigious music award that will be held on January 26 in Los Angeles.

Good Luck! (we forgive you)

Maria João Pires and the wrong concerto 

The following video is quite extraordinary. Maria João Pires is ready to play a Mozart piano concerto with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw conducted by Riccardo Chailly, only to hear the orchestra begin playing another Mozart concerto. Can you imagine her horror? Watch the film to find out what happened. 

segunda-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2014

Congratulations, Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo wins Fifa Ballon d'Or

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Fifa Ballon d'Or for the second time.

You´re simply THE BEST!

quarta-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2014

10-year-old girl refused to carry out a suicide attack

A ten-year- old Afghan girl named Spozhmai told police that her brother, who she said is a local Taliban commander called Zahir, had sent her on a suicide mission. He wrapped her in an explosives-packed vest and tried to convince her that the police- the target of the attack- would die but she would remain alive.  However she refused to blow herself up at a checkpoint in Helmand province.

While she was being forced to cross a river at night with her brother, she said the water was too cold and she wouldn´t do it. He took her home and her father bit her. She had to run away from home in the middle of the night. Early in the morning she surrendered herself to the police. 

Spozmai showed an incredible courage to frustrate her family terror plans.

Now, it seems President Hamid Karzai asked the interior ministry officials to reunite Spozhmai with her family after getting assurances of local leaders about her safety. 

What will happen to this courageous Afghan girl…? She should be attending school and playing with other children, preparing herself for a better life. 

At the moment I´m reading “I am Malala” the book of the Pakistan girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. 

I hope the generation of these girls will have the possibility to choose their own destiny  in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

segunda-feira, 6 de janeiro de 2014

Vinte e dois anos depois...

Hiko Nagahama. Ponte Vecchio.

Foi com muito prazer que regressei a Florença. Cidade onde  luz, cores, ruas estreitas e monumentos parecem transportar-nos para os tempos dos artistas e humanistas do Renascimento, que marcaram para sempre a história da Europa. 

Fiquei também fascinada pela criatividade e variedade das pequenas lojas comerciais, sempre com algo de diferente, ora inovador ora irónico.

Será muito difícil encontrar uma cidade da dimensão de Florença, cujo núcleo histórico se visita bem a pé, com um património artístico tão rico e fascinante.

Ao longo das margens do Arno, através das ruas estreitas ou nas praças amplas e senhoriais, o visitante passeia sem sentir a distância do entrelaçar das ruas.

No entanto, como madeirense, não gostei da passagem do ano. Foi muito desorganizada. Uma tão bela cidade merecia fogo de artifício realçando a sua beleza monumental e não lançamento anárquico de petardos e foguetes, prejudicando a orquestra, que tocava alguns belos e alegres temas musicais.

Também gostei de viajar nos comboios de alta-velocidade que fazem o trajeto entre Forença e Roma, de forma mais confortável, que há vinte e dois anos atrás.

Arrivederci Firenze.


domingo, 5 de janeiro de 2014


Basílica superior

No cimo de uma montanha dos Apeninos, no centro da região italiana da Úmbria, situa-se a pequena cidade de Assis. 

Mantém a sua traça medieval e das muralhas contempla-se uma magnifica paisagem.

Gravura antiga da Basília de Assis (1837)

Contudo a principal beleza da cidade é a sobreposição das duas basílicas erguidas em memória de S. Francisco de Assis, no interior das quais se pode apreciar frescos de alguns dos maiores pintores italianos dos séculos XIII e XIV, como Cimbabue e Giotto.

Presépio em Assis. Natal 2013

Durante a minha recente visita tive o grande prazer de assistir ali a um concerto. Tanto o maestro como o tenor, de voz magnifica, eram monges franciscanos. Impossível ficar indiferente ao ouvir Adeste FidestesNoël e outros cânticos natalícios acompanhados por coro e orquestra, rodeada por obras de arte tão belas como aquelas reproduzidas nos tetos e paredes da Basílica.

Cimbabue. S. Francisco de Assis.
Basílica inferior

Naquele ambiente, a comemoraçao do natal ganha ainda mais relevo. Encontram-se ali talvez as primeiras representações do presépio, cujo criador foi precisamente S. Francisco de Assis, há cerca de setecentos anos.

Giotto. A natividade. Basílica Inferior.

Giotto. A natividade. Basílica superior.


Piero della Francesca in Arezzo

The Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo is home to one of the Renaissance masterpieces painted presumably between 1433 and 1466 by Piero della Francesca.

The cycle of frescoes divided into three registers narrates the Legend of the True Cross: Adam on his deathbed sends his son, Seth, to the Archangel Michael who gives him some seeds from the tree of Original Sin that are to be placed in Adam's mouth at the moment of his death- a healthy tree would grow, which would be used for making Christ's Cross. Centuries later, Solomon, the King of Israel had the tree cut down. However, nothing could be made of it and so it was thrown to the river in order to make a bridge. Later, when the Queen of Sheba visited the king she revealed her premonition that the wood would be used for the crucification of Christ.

 (in this scene we can admire a self-portrait of Piero della Francesca).

Solomon orders the bridge to be removed and for the wood to be buried. However, it was later found and used as the instrument for the Passion.

Three centuries after, just before a battle against Maxentius, Constantine allegedly dreamt that he would be victorious in battle in the name of the Cross (in this fresco, Piero della Francesca painted a night scene, very uncommon at the time, which would be later imitated by other artists).

Afterwards, his mother Helena travelled to Jerusalem in order to recover the miraculous wood and build the Basilica of the Holy Cross. Then, according to legend, to distinguish the Cross of Christ from those of the crucified thieves, the body of a dead youth was used. When it touched the True Cross he miraculously came back to life.

In 615 AD, the Persian king Chosroes stole the Cross and placed it next to his own throne. The Eastern Emperor Heraclius faced him in battle and carried the Cross back to Jerusalem in great humility following Christ's example.

The battle scene

According to Vasari's (1511-1574) "The Lives of the Artists", Piero studied mathematics. Although by the age of 15 he was becoming a painter, he never abandoned his studies, writing on geometry and perspective.

My colleague F. Silva, who teaches Maths, tod me how Arezzo was well worth a visit and I thank him for it.

In the Cathedral of Arezzo we can also admire Magdalene by Piero della Francesca and other Renaissance works by famous artists like La Robia and Vasari.

 Arezzo, January 2, 2014

fare il portoghese

Esta expressão idiomática italiana, conforme dicionários italianos, data do século XVIII. 

Resulta da organização de um espetáculo promovido pela embaixada de Portugal em Roma: os cidadãos portugueses não necessitavam de pagar entrada.

A noticia correu e muitas pessoas procuraram aproveitar a ocasião para ver um espetáculo grátis, pelo que tentaram passar por portugueses. A partir daí e até aos nossos dias vulgarizou-se aquela expressão fare il portoghese com um sentido jocoso e pejorativo. Os portugueses nao têm culpa nenhuma, mas a expressão, de facto, nao é nada abonatória, porque significa ser-se aldrabão ou caloteiro.

Durante muito tempo julguei que a origem da expressão fosse mais remota, do século XVI, quando o Rei de Portugal D. Manuel I enviou uma magnifica embaixada de tesouros e animais exóticos ao Papa Leão X. Este, reconhecido, teria ordenado que todos os portugueses membros dessa embaixada não pagassem despesa alguma, enquanto estivessem em Roma. Claro, nessa altura como mais tarde, no século XVIII, muitos oportunistas diziam-se portugueses para não pagarem as contas.

Rafaello. Retrato de Leão X com dois cardeais. Cerca de 1518
Florença. Uffizi