Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘seduction tales’ Category

Robert Reilly book: a review of Oscar Wilde

Posted on October 24, 2008 and review written on Oct. 1st, 2007.

This novel is about the productive period in the life of Oscar Wilde and I decided to review it for the pleasure of quoting Wilde’s witty pronouncements and to point to the fact that homosexuality was common in 19th century England, and wildly permeating society.

But when such cases reached trial, the culprits were severely punished to uphold the puritanical culture of England

Reilly said: “The many biographers have given the facts, but they left out the feelings.” (The context?)

I might as well start with a few witty sayings, believing that Wilde didn’t attach much philosophical truths or moral positions in them; he just liked arts and to write poetry even in prose and liked youth regardless of class standing as long as they were beautiful, carefree as long as they were not sensible.

At 29, Wilde was slender and handsome in his coat of emerald velvet, trousers tight, rich brown Russian leather boots, and pink cheeks.

He was married for two years and had a son Cyril.  

He was visiting Frances Richards, a handsome artist and she was painting the portrait of the forlorn young, blond, and beautiful Somerset.  “How was the country?” said Somerset plaintively.  Wilde replied: “Full of strange colored things.  Flowers, I believe they’re called”.

Frances had known Oscar for 5 years when he was callow, brash, and a bit crude. 

Frances said to Oscar: “You must be about thirty?”  Oscar replied: “I have scarce 28 summers.  I look older because I spent the entire morning removing a comma from a sentence”. Somerset said: “And how did you spend the afternoon?” Oscar said: “Putting it back”

Just then a cloud passed from before the sun and lemon light danced down over them.  Oscar whispered: “The moment! It is our duty to grasp at life, to seek out startling experience, to ever be on the lookout for a new, a truly new sensation”

The Irish Wilde acquired the essentially English voice with a purer strain. Oscar lighted a cigarette imported from Egypt and said: “It is only when I am deeply in debt that I can afford them (these cigarettes )” Turning to Somerset he said: “I suspect you must commit a great many sins.  It is the only way one ever keeps an air of innocence”

Robert Ross, a slender adolescent of seventeen and visiting from Canada, was peeking behind a door at Oscar.  “Frances, you are providing shelter for a ghost” said Oscar. 

Robert Ross has read all of Oscar works, even the first edition of “Vera”.  Oscar said: “With my works it is not first editions that are rare, but second ones

Oscar was a great connoisseur of North America.  Somerset said to Oscar: “Did you really tell the reporters in New York that the Atlantic was a disappointment?”  Oscar retorted: “I never intended to ruin the reputation of this poor ocean.  It seems no one will receive it anymore.  The nearest I got to Canada was Buffalo.  There was some intolerable noisy body of water nearby.” 

Ross said: “You saw Niagara!”  Oscar said: “American bride is brought there on her honeymoon.  Niagara is her first but not the keenest disappointment.  Niagara would be wonderful if the water didn’t fall”

Oscar told Frances: “Shall I ever conquer that harsh and golden city?  I have produced nothing in over a year except Cyril (his son).  I have done nothing since my marriage. Perhaps I am too happy to work”

He went on: “Between them, Shakespeare and Balzac, they have said everything worth saying. I am a little closer to my lifelong ambition to be the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought

Oscar went on looking at the picture of Somerset: “Youth, what a precious thing.  I would do anything to retain my youth.  The Greek gods, being jealous of Somerset’s beauty, bestowed on him that fatal combination: a tongue that works too readily and a mind that works not at all.  His portrait will remain ever silent but forever young.”  Frances was telling Oscar: “I never know when you’re being serious.” And Oscar to say: “When I’m joking, of course.”

Ross followed Oscar in the park because he wanted to speak to him very badly.  Wilde told Ross: “Not only do you bribe Frances to spy on me but now you are trailing me through London like an avenging angel.  You are relentless Mr. Ross. You are incorrigible.  You are unscrupulous. I think we are going to be great friends.”  They talked about Frances and Wilde said: “Before Frances can become a true artist, she is going to have to learn the subtle, tortuous art of being shallow.”

Ross told Oscar that he intended to write to him a letter of admiration because he considers his poems masterpieces. Oscar replied: “I never answer letters. I know of bright prospects who came to London and wound up wrecks in a month, simply from answering letters.”  Oscar gave Ross a ride in a Gurney cab since omnibuses should be reserved for the rich because they can endure discomfort.

The fog fell on London and Wilde said: “Fog transforms our shabby city into a composition by Claude Monet.  Without fog and smoke London would be recognized as the most dreadful spectacle by man.  The whole art of living is to ignore ugliness and heighten beauty.” 

Ross asked Oscar: “What is the wages of the exquisite sins of yours?” and Wilde to answer: “The only sin is boredom. We must be on the lookout for new temptations”

When the coach arrived at Ross place he asked Oscar to come in for a minute which he did and then Ross kissed him on the mouth in the dark.  Oscar was taken aback and refused Ross advancement and Ross said: “You said you were looking for new temptations. I never felt hated before”

Oscar felt pity for Robert’s pain and said: “We will forget this little incident.  There is lunch at the Café Royal any day you wish. My wife will understand my lateness and that is so much worse”.

Wilde would take Robert Ross on night tours to sections in London where policemen walked in pairs, past workhouses and coffee stalls, German beer shops, down dank alleys where every third house was a tavern with a name like the Black Cat or the Red Rat, filed with drunken men and women dancing round and round.  They drank strange concoctions and watched popular shows.  Once, Ross experienced tomfoolery in his Cambridge school and his colleagues made him commit the unpardonable sin.

Oscar took Ross to Paris to appease his anxiety and they met Sarah Bernhardt.  Sara had a black real jaguar (the mammal) in her palace and she was napping in a coffin.  Oscar adored Sara and when he reached the coffin he whispered: “Awake! For Morning in the Bowl of Night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight”. 

Sara had a collection of portraits of her, painted by various artists, and Oscar brought her Marguerites, the flower that Sara loved best but didn’t include in her garden. Sara said: “I lost the person most important to me in the entire world.  I lost myself and I am dead, Oscar”

Wilde suggested that she find a new mask and fall in love.  Sara replied: “I am never out of love. Yet no one has loved me in return.  They just adore me.  In all my romances, there is always the sense of a curtain rising and falling. It is the same with you Oscar, you crave an audience”.

Oscar and his wife Constance visited a palm reader who predicted that Oscar will become famous and that he will also take an office job.  Shortly after, Oscar was offered the editorship of the “Lady’s World” and agreed on condition that the name of the magazine be changed to “Woman’s World” and his daily habits changed to a routine tempo, waking up late and coming home late.

Constance thought that a regular job would transform Wilde and drive out of his head some of his excessive ideas about Art and Beauty. 

Ross suggested a crime story where the palm reader predicted to a Gentleman that he would commit a murder.  In order to live a normal life, the Gentleman decided to kill the palm reader and get over with his anxiety.  Wilde story “Arthur Savile’s crime” was accepted by the “Court and Society Review”.

Constance shunned the many receptions and invitations that Wilde attended because he needed an audience all the time.  She stayed home and liked to design clothes and joined a religious sect that did charity in Africa. 

After Constance gave birth to Vyvyan, Oscar seemed utterly happy and he arranged to have a separate room in the attic to work at night. Oscar had “his genius to keep him company”.

Then, one lady member introduced Constance to another sect that dabbled into occultism; she started to believe that magic is not vague, foolish mumbo jumbo but scientific and precise; that the body is only the house of the soul and it has to yield up its debt to the future.

MacGregor was the leader of the Golden Dawn sect.  Constance visited MacGregor at his office and told him: “I want to be able to love my husband”.  MacGregor replied: “That is simple enough.  If you want to love him then love him! He cannot stop you”.  Constance said: “He won’t let me”.   Macgregor replied: “I’m afraid what you really want is for him to love you. You want to control him; every Adept struggles with the temptation of coveting power over what one loves. In this order we do not work ‘magic’ to elevate the initiates beyond the petty considerations of everyday life”

Then he told her in order to be initiated she will have to keep the secrets of the order and to swear total chastity.  Constance said: “I don’t think all your initiates are chaste”.  MacGregor guessed who Constance was referring to and said: “Miss Farr (a very beautiful girl) is a special case. Lovemaking for her is a form of self-mortification”.

Constance divulged to Oscar that chastity is required in the order and that if he has a tiny misgiving then she would not join the order. Wilde told her: “I dare not stand in your way.  I want you to fulfill yourself, my love.  A little chastity will be good for both of us“.

Constance was given tasks to do at home; she had to learn the Hebrew alphabet, the symbols of the Zodiac, the Tarot trumps, preparing a special corner in her house and setting on it salt in a dish, a triangle of black cardboard, a saucer of incense, and a rose, made a wand painting, one tip black and the other white.  Constance was assigned experiments trying to make a handkerchief rise, hypnotize her cat, and walk out of her body.

Wilde asked her to tell him all about what she is doing just to put this knowledge to the service of art.  He said: “A little hocus-pocus may help me with the novel I am trying to write”. The secret information were transformed and included in Wilde’s famous novel “Dorian Gray”.

Oscar and Ross were lovers for a long time until Oscar got a strong hit with his novel “Dorian Gray”. The story is about a picture portrait that disintegrate while Dorian remains young forever. Oscar had now many young followers or apostles but he is in love with a rich young guy of twenty one Lord Alfred Douglas, known as Bosie.  Bosie preferred not to have physical intercourses with Wilde in order to preserve their love which made Oscar to be constantly thinking of Bosie. 

When his play “The fan of lady Windermere” became a success, Oscar invited Bosie for a special preview just for him and Bosie insisted on having physical intercourse, though Oscar preferred not to.

Oscar invited both Ross and Bosie to attend a rehearsal of his French play “Salome” played by Sarah Bernhard in London. He told Ross: “Can you imagine what would happen if the English were to understand Salome in French?” 

Afterward, Bosie told Wilde that his male servant made forceful advances and is blackmailing him.  The lawyer of Wilde, George Lewis, told Bosie to pay up the 100 pounds that the blackmailer asked because no matter what the outcome in court, his name would be tainted forever and Wilde gave the lawyer the money to pay Bosie’s blackmailer.

A journalist from the Express asked Wilde: “It seems that your plays are about trivial people of the upper class people who are leading trivial lives.  Have you no interest in the drama of everyday existence?”  Wilde replied: “Everyday existence says very little to me. For example, if a journalist were to be run over that would not be of any dramatic significance.  Now, I am relying on you to misrepresent me

Oscar was utterly in love with Bosie even though he learned that Bosie was a rotten apple long before they met, even when Bosie slept with every young man that he liked, even when Bosie got him in endless trouble with blackmailers to retrieve the love letters he wrote to Bosie, even when Bosie relied on Oscar for his luxurious lifestyle, and even when Bosie’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, went relentlessly after Oscar and sent him his card where he wrote: “Posing as a Sodomite”

Wilde sued the Marquess for libel and Oscar’s friends advised him to drop the case, go abroad and write a letter to the Times to that effect.  Wilde knew this was the wiser venue to drop the case, especially when he realized that the Marquess had built a substantial file that could damage the reputation of Wilde as a seducer of male youths.

However, Wilde let the case take its course thinking loudly:

“There is something about the whole thing so perfect.  So beautifully crafted-like a superb play. Only, who is doing the crafting? Your father Bosie is but a character in the drama.  As I am.  As you are.  No, it is a work fashioned by a master artist.  Don’t you feel the hand of gods at work? Think of all they have granted me: A delightful, amusing life.  Money.  Success in my work.  Two adorable children.  My wife Connie and you.  The gods have given me so many triumphs.  Are they going to take it al back?”

The case went to trial and Oscar tried his humor and wit and wearing a carnation.  Soon, after a couple of cross examinations Wilde decided on the suggestion of his lawyer to drop the case.  The attorney general prosecuted Wilde and locked him for a month in jail awaiting trial on several charges of indecent behavior with youth half his age. 

Oscar was allowed only one visitor per day and saw only Bosie when he showed up. The jury could not reach a decision and Wilde was set free pending a second trial. 

No hotels permitted Wilde to set foot in and all his belongings were sold on auction to cover the cost of the trials; he ended up living with his mother who had moved to a smaller apartment.

Several people urged Oscar to flee to France but his mother refused and insisted that he take a stand as an Irish

The second trial handed Oscar two years prison with hard labor; Bosie fled to Italy and never sent him a letter to prison. Wilde was to receive only two letters per month and the rest were to be accumulated until he is liberated; he selected Ross’ letters because he gave details on his family.

The first few months were nasty and Oscar was feeling excessively reduced as a human being until he was ordered to work on the garden and allowed to write and read.  

His mother died in her sleep and Constance came to announce the news, though Wilde had just dreamt of his mother in black.  Constance moved to Switzerland with the children. Oscar emerged slim, in good health, and athletic.

Ross meets Oscar at Berneval, a sea town near Dieppe in France. Oscar is living on allowances sent to him by his wife Constance and he writes to Constance to move to Switzerland but her replies are not warm. 

Bosie writes to Wilde and wants to see him again.  Finally, Oscar succumbs and rejoins Bosie in Rouen and from there to Naples in Italy. They are living on the allowance of Bosie’s mother. 

Wilde is writing a ballad titled “Ballade of Reading Gaol”, the prison where he spent his term, and is assured to be published.  Bosie resents Oscar because he is not capable of producing poems that are publishable and Bosie leaves to London. 

Oscar moves to Paris and roam the streets; Constance allowances arrive on time but they are not sufficient to sustain Wilde’s luxurious tastes for good food in expensive restaurants and Champaign.

Constance dies under a back operation after she was paralyzed. 

Wilde visits his wife’s tomb in Genoa and her stone reads Constance Mary Lloyd and Oscar weeps harsh thick tears because she had not yet begun to live, had never a chance to learn what life was and she had been cheated. By life and by him! 

Oscar visit Sara Bernhardt in Nice and they lament growing old, ruined clowns “the audience raising them high and then casting them down. The actors are the glory and the shame of the average individuals”

Bosie inherited 15,000 pounds from his father and moved to Paris.  Oscar was going through the miseries of being penniless and asked Bosie that his family owe him a debt of honor because Lady Queensberry had promised to cover the expenses of the trials; the money you inherited is mine.  Bosie got furious and left the restaurant.

Oscar was seeing a young Irish Catholic priest in Paris for conversion.

While he was dying he told Ross “When the trumpets blast in the judgment day I will turn to you and say: “Robbie dearest, let’s pretend we do not hear””

Wilde died a Catholic in a poor hotel room surrounded by Ross and the priest.

Oscar Wilde was barely over 50. The book never mentioned what Oscar said before he died: “Either the curtain opens or I shall leave!”

A few other Wilde quips:

Lady Effingham was quite altered by her husband’s death.  She looked twenty years younger.  In fact her hair has turned quite gold from grief.”

“In married life, three’s company, two’s a crowd.”

“I like to carry my diary when I travel; one should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Ignorance is like an exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.”

“Novels that end happily invariably leave one feeling depressed.”

“If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.”

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”

“The realization of oneself is the prime aim of life; realizing this aim through pleasure is finer than to do so through pain.”

Swimming with Rachel

Note: Re-edit  of “Rachel of Bethesda: Introspection. Written in 2002 and posted in March 18, 2009

Addendum # 10 of my autobiography 

Rachel’s Sixth Sense (Nov. 2002)

I used to swim at a Navy complex in Bethesda, Montgomery County, from 1993 to 1998.

I patronized this affordable facility at least three times a week, mostly around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

She was a beauty by any standard. I think she was a cadet in the Navy, following swimming training and evaluation.

I wanted to get to know her, but could not talk to her during her busy swimming schedule.

I wrote her a song and kept a copy with me for the next time I see her.

Here is the song: 

Beautiful girls sense me.  They know for sure,

Exactly, what I’m up to.

They sense me in a split-second and get busy.

She swims with energy, non-stop.

She swims fine, back strokes, crawl, in laps.

I do all that too, leisurely.

She swims constantly and does not breathe.

  I have strong senses too:

She is not taking a break.  Not Today.

I decide for a note, dropped on her towel.

It should say: “I think you are beautiful”.

Everything I see in you is beautiful”.

I feel more at ease and then, hope takes the extra step.

She must take a short break, any second now.

My brain is boiling and I am editing.

My sentence should be reduced to the bare essentials.

“I think you are beautiful, everything I see in you is beautiful” is too long:

No time for her to hear me out.

Just “Beautiful!” will not do: I know that by now.

“You are beautiful!” is about right.

I am swimming leisurely.  There is no movement around me.

There is no towel.  She vanished.

Hang it all.  I’ll write about that swim.

The next time I saw her in the swimming pool I made sure that she saw me drop a piece of paper on her towel.  And I left.

A week later, I asked her: “What’s your name?”  She simply said: “It’s Rachel and I’m dating”.

That was all that was said between us.  Not even a thank you or an allusion to the note.

History repeats its cycle. All I can ever get is the first name.

Rachel’s girl friends in the swimming team started to notice me intently, every time I was there, swimming, and swimming.

A personal poem is a big deal, no matter how you denigrate it publicly.

Barbara made me walk on air

Note: Re-edit of “I Should Have Told Barbara (Jan. 2003)”

The day before my trip to Los Angeles in the summer of 1976, Sue, the girlfriend of a dear friend of mine studying at the same university, asked me to get in touch with her sister Barbara.

I were in the USA since June of 1975, my first trip ever outside my country.

The International Office at the University arranged a group trip for one week to California, for some of us new international students. We were to meet families in this exchange program.

I did not care meeting any American families for the time being, but I needed to get away in my first summer and wanted to see California.

The International student advisor knew about my origin. The program matched me with an old Jewish couple in Pasadena without warning me. I do consider Israel as our existential enemy and anyone who support Israel financially could never be a friend of mine. I did assume this family supported Israel.

The family had a fourteen-year old boy, or maybe he was their grandchild.

I was Not that curious: They looked pretty old to me. The husband was very helpful and friendly, but his wife gave me the impression that she agreed reluctantly to join the program.

A student from Nigeria was assigned to the same family. The house was large with a garden.  The interior looked old, traditional, gloomy, dark and smelling like it was never aerated and reeking of old people.

The same evening they asked the Nigerian student a few questions, but I was spared this torture, may be because I didn’t look that forthcoming. Or that they figured out I’ll be very sensitive to whatever pertinent questions they might ask.

It is a crime to surprise youth among old people. Youth has to be forewarned, to be prepared on what to expect from elder people. Youth has to be reminded that elderly can be wonderful and much active, That older people are great people, still very much living humans And who could be funny, charming and could be very functional…

We had a general gathering the first day with all the host families and various students. Then we were given the daily program of places to see and I barely paid attention to the program.

We were to see Disneyland the next day for free. I declined the invitation: Disneyland is for kids.

I remember that I had another chance to visit Disney for free, two years later. And I again declined. Disney was still just for kids.

Many years later, I discovered that everybody liked to see Disney, including kids. I never saw Disney in California, but the smaller version in Orlando with my nephews. My little nephews and nieces, five in total then, loved Disney.

Not as much as I did enjoy it that day.

My host drove me for an hour to the meeting place with Barbara, living in West Hollywood. He drove two hours to pick me up, three hours later.

Youth: ruthless, mindless, uncompromising, and unappreciative.

I still can visualize Barbra after thirty years, coming toward me, in white shirt, long brown skirt reaching below her knees, almost touching her long brown cowboy boots.

Her boots must have added a couple inches to her stature. She is shorter than me in an afterthought. But the vision is always of a tall and grand lady.

She appeared taller than me but my pride increased correspondingly, by her side.

Her then long blonde-brown hair was raised over her beautiful head. She looked glamour incarnate.

She hugged me and made me feel I was a dear friend, of long time, whom she missed.

She spoke with effusion and earnestness.

She wanted to know all that is to know, instantly,

About how her sister is doing, what about her sister’s boyfriend who was my friend, About their relationship, about Oklahoma her home State…

About everything, but nothing about me, or how I feel or felt that moment.

I was glad that I was not the object of the conversation then, but not so glad now.

We walked together so close, and I was walking on air.

I felt that I must look the most envied guy, a most glamorous guy in the whole wide world.

I asked permission from my host family to move at Barbara’s, for the duration of the program, and they agreed.

Next morning was warm and sunny and I walked to Beverly Hills to see her in the fashion store she managed. I did walk on stars’ hands and the walk was Not that long.

She received me like a VIP and was happy at my surprised visit. And I toured Downtown Beverly Hills: Pretty empty of clients, boring, clean, expensive for no reasons… I cannot recall if I waited for Barbara to finish work or that I returned by myself.

I wanted to be with Barbara every second of my trip in California.

A couple of years later, I accepted to attend a conference in Los Angeles hoping to see Barbara again.

It was an important political conference but my heart was not in it.

My friends drove me through Beverly Hills, where the rich and glamorous live, but I was not impressed.

Finally, giving up, they gave me a lift from Anaheim to West Hollywood.

I called up Barbara and I invited myself to stay overnight at her apartment.

She had many friends. She was attached at the moment to a fashionable young man, working in fashion and with fashion, but they had problems.

She appeared depressed and disappointed and not in the mood for me. Her TV was on 24 hours.

I slept and woke up with the TV on.

Six years later, during my second extended trip to the USA, I had another opportunity to visit with Baraba

Sue was leaving to Little Rock with her boyfriend had she told me that Barbara was married and living in Oklahoma City and she gave me her phone number.

I met Barbara on Thanksgiving and she did not look the Barbara of my vision.

Her skin looked darker, her face emaciated, down to earth, resigned and decked in simple blue jeans and an old black sweater.

She was married to a full-blooded American Indian, herself a half-blooded lady.

A soft spoken husband, a polite artist who toured the USA exhibiting his paintings.

She stayed at home designing jewellery and managing her man’s business.

I accepted her invitation for a Thanksgiving lunch.

I went down to Oklahoma City for an important and specific purpose of mine: I was determined to tell Barbara my secret.

I went down with my steady girlfriend at the time. I had to because I had no cars: actually, I spent most of my University education on a bicycle.

Barbara’s eyes had an ironic shine looking at my oriental (Filipina) short friend.

She asked my friend all kinds of questions about our relationship,

How we met and what are our plans.

Barbara said to me: “You know, someone needs news about your friend”.

She meant that her sister needed to know the whereabouts of her ex-husband.

I had lost track of the whereabouts of my friend too and could not be of much help.

Barbara was entitled to know the truth, that the first time she walked with me, she made me feel that I was the most glamorous guy in town.

But I did not tell Barbara the truth.

I don’t recall that I talked during my two hours stay at Thanksgiving.

Maybe it did not feel right at that moment, but I should have persevered on my initial decision:

This truth is hers no matter what.

She could be eighty, but age does not erase the feeling, that to my young eyes, she was the most glamorous woman I set my eyes on.

She could be a hundred, but age does not change the fact,

That Barbara made me once walk on air.

Maybe if I had told Barbara, I wouldn’t have written this story.

Procedures: What was it for Beauty in the 30’s?
‘Freezing’ freckles off with carbon dioxide was a popular treatment in the thirties.
Patients’ eyes were covered with airtight plugs, their nostrils were filled in for protection, and they had to breathe through a tube.

A chorus of large blow-driers attends to a customer in the 1920s

A permanent hair procedure (presumably hair waving) being performed in Germany in 1929.

This device from 1930, invented by Max Factor, helps correct the application of make-up.

This terrifying mask from the 1940s could be plugged in to heat the face and head in an attempt to stimulate circulation and make the skin look fresh.

‘Slenderising salons’ in the forties devised all sorts of weight-loss treatments, one of which was massage chairs like these, which massaged clients’ legs with metal rollers

A 1940s beauty treatment at Helena Rubinstein’s salon

Before the invention of sun-screen in the mid 1940s, bathers wore garments like this Freckleproof Cape to protect themselves from the sun. The cape also features built-in sunglasses.

Pre-war women would spend hours with their hair bundled up into creepy heating machines like these to achieve a fashionable curled look

A fruit mask from the 1930s

This ‘Glamour Bonnet’ from the forties promised to give users a rosy complexion by lowering atmospheric pressure around their head to simulate alpine conditions

This Thirties suction machine consisted of tiny glass nozzles, a rubber hose and a vacuum pump. It promised smooth, spot-free skin

These two 1920s women are getting rid of wrinkles and imperfections by wearing rubber “beauty masks”

The ‘Hangover Heaven’ face pack, also invented by Max Factor, featured plastic cubes that could be filled with water and frozen.
The mask was popular with party-going Hollywood stars in the forties
Brad Pitt about his wife:
My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and children.
She lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds. She got very skinny and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman.
She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the mornings and got tired very quickly during the day.
Our relationship was on the verge of a break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself.
She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon… But then I decided to act.
After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on earth. She is the idol of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her. …
I began to shower her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised and pleased her every minute. I gave her a lot of gifts and lived just for her.
I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends.
You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became better. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and loved me even more than ever.
I had no clue that she CAN love that much.
And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man.
If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.
Brad Pitt  See More
Brad Pitt about his wife:</p><br /><br />
<p>My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and children. She lost 30 pounds and weighted about 90 pounds. She got very skinny and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs. She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the mornings and got tired very quickly during the day. Our relationship was on the verge of a break up. Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role. I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon… But then I decided to act. After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on earth. She is the idol of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her. I began to shower her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised and pleased her every minute. I gave her a lot of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends. You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became better. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much.</p><br /><br />
<p>And then I realized one thing: the woman is the reflection of her man.</p><br /><br />
<p>If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.</p><br /><br />
<p>Brad Pitt

“My eternal regret. I’m so sorry Ramis”

We were a bunch of close friends in my first year university at a university in Beirut. The guys slightly outnumbered the girls, and we were of various confessions, different Christian sects, Moslem sects, and even a Jewish guy.

I was the youngest and the age difference spanned 18 to 23 years. A few of us were well-off, had their own homes, a car, a girlfriend… many of us were barely affording tuitions, but we managed to meet and eat outside, and stayed together till midnight.

The civil war had started shyly in 1975, but people learned quickly not to venture out of their premises or to linger outside at night.

Murad was two years older than me and somehow he was tacitly imposed as our guiding rod: He was the only child, lived with his mother in a vast ancient home in the mountain overlooking Beirut, he had a car and a girlfriend Tania. He had lost his father (died at the age of 44 from heart attack) when he was 7 years and his mother chaperoned him to be the master of the house. His mother reigned as the regent to a designated monarch, sort of allowing Murad to give his opinions and decisions on daily matters.

I was under the impression that if his mother Aida had a single daughter, she would have treated her daughter as her slave. Murad would never tell his mother of the inevitable problems among the friends: She would consider the friend as an enemy for antagonizing Murad.

Samiramis was my classmate and she was the tallest among the girls, beautiful and svelte.

At one of our countless parties, I couldn’t stop ogling her and I was in a chatting mood from nervousness.

Around midnight, “Sami the beautiful” asked: “Who will accompany me home?” As a child I screamed: “I will”, no matter what she actually wanted, and I was ready to fulfill Ramis wishes.

I didn’t own a car and after 5 minutes walk I felt ashamed: “Ramis must have expected someone with a car to give her a lift, and here I am walking her all the way to her building, in dark streets filled with large holes…” It was too late to return and ask someone else to give Sami a lift: If I were in Paris, walking for 5 minutes would be very natural and normally expected, but not in Lebanon.

As we arrived at a large crevice in the street, I held Ramis hand to circumvent this obstacle and keep her hand afterwards. Ramis subtly eased her hand out of my soft grasp, and felt ashamed for taking this initiative: My gentlemanly education at home was a huge barrier in “taking advantages” of someone relying on me to care for… And thus, I failed to kiss her goodnight: It was not proper since she expressed not to be in the mood of being intimate with me, tonight…

A week later, Semiramis showed up holding hands with another one of our common friends. I was helplessly looking at the joined hands and surmised that this guy was bold enough to hold her in his arm and show her closer attention and affection.

We met again as a group, but walking Ramis home was not to take place again. The irony was that I had purchased a beige beetle car, and Ramis was not to ride in  it with me.

It was the regret of a lifetime: I blew a fantastic occasion to get intimate with Semiramis and starting a love story…

Twenty years later, I returned hurriedly from Paris and boarded the first flight to Beirut: Tania, now  the wife of Murad had call me and said: “Murad is dying and he wants to see you…”

For the last 20 years, I never returned to Lebanon and I was at odd with Murad for militarily participating in the civil war. My initial attitude was to refuse this invitation: “What are we to talk about? There are no grounds to apologize and forgive committed atrocities…”

My girlfriend pressured me to leave immediately because it is not permitted not to satisfy the wishes of a dying close friend…

I was in a hotel waiting for the morning to shine when Tania awoke me from a deep sleep. Tania thought that I was still in France and said: “It is not necessary to show up. Murad could not wait for you. He is dead”

I told Tania that I am in Beirut and she softened her voice, but repeated “he could not wait any longer. Anyway, I send a car to bring you here. You won’t be able to locate our new home

I was terribly uneasy: I didn’t want to meet any of our common friends and the mother of Murad Aida. I didn’t see Aida: She must have died before her son. I lingered another 10 minutes among the mourners, and the house was already packed with “strangers”.

In my hotel room, I began gathering the letters that I received in the last 20 years. During all that time I couldn’t bring myself to think and write about Lebanon and my recollections. I had focused my attention on the Roman period and published a few historical stories. When I am prompted to speak about Lebanon, I find myself a mute, but ask me anything on the Roman history and I am a chattering box, talking nonstop for hours.

The next day, the nephew of Tania called and asked me to say a word at the burying ceremony. He encouraged me by listing the people who will say something. I adamantly refused on the lame excuse that my students are waiting for me to give them the exam… It was a blatant lie: I don’t teach in this semester.

Tania called and wanted me to say a word. I declined. Tania said: “You may return to your new country...”

Tania’s confrontation decided me to stay longer in Lebanon, but I will not attend the ceremony.

I decided to fake that I returned to France and called Semiramis. Ramis had visited me a couple of time in France and she was running a hotel in a mountain resort.

Ramis welcomed me and allocated the best room she had. I had informed her of my plan to remain incognito in Lebanon, and that I was seeking isolation…

Ramis had prepared two dozen of small dishes, the mezzeh and a bottle of Champaign. I was not in any chatting mood that evening and she didn’t insist.

I started writing for hours and couldn’t find sleep: My brain and emotions were running full speed, trying to recollected my life before the civil war started.

The next evening, Ramis coaxed me to get up and had something to eat. I reluctantly obeyed and joined her at the table in the balcony of the hotel.

Ramis asked me if I remember the night I walked her home, and I told her that this is one event I could not forget.

After I told her what I recall from that night, Ramis said: “I cannot remember the many details of your story. I do not recall pulling out my hands from yours. What I know is that after walking for 5 minutes and wondered why you parked so far, and then I came to the realization that I’ll be accompanied on foot. You talks were very interesting and I was hoping that you’ll kiss me goodnight as we reach the corner of by building. It never happened and felt that we are just good friends…”

I said: “Not kissing you that night is one of my harshest regrets. And I am so sorry.”

At midnight, Ramis dismissed the waiter and we finished the Champaign, and Semiramis said:

“What of a walk in this clear and warm night?”

I said: “I’ll never miss this second opportunity in the world”

Note: One of the stories in the French book “The disoriented” by Amin Maaluf, translated into Arabic “Al Ta2ihoun”

Satisfying Sex is reserved for the “perverted” imaginative minds

Satisfying Sex for both partners is Not within the reach of adolescents and below the mid-age people, with rare exceptions.

Both partners cannot simultaneously enjoy full-blown sexual intercourse if they fail to recollect how they behaved during the puberty stage with respect the opposite sex.

It requires powerful imagination to remember how we behaved in puberty, and the gut to admit that what we did was the proper conduct to go about wooing the opposite sex…

The steady patience to find ways to delicately touch a finger, obstructing the body parts so that they come in contact, as by hazard…

No one was fool in puberty, and the game was admitted and encouraged as the right thing to do… to persist, to develop the imaginative power for sending the proper signal, the proper message of our attraction, of our passion… to devote time, and energy, and patience to just feel the body, the only reality that mattered…

In puberty, more often than not, we dared not look the partner face to face: We prefered to dwell on our imaginative mind, the way we wanted the partner to think of us, to get confused of mixed signals…

In puberty, we were not interested in direct questions and direct answers of the kinds “Do you love me“, “How do you feel about me”, “what do you like about me”… Those mentalistic formulas were not a priority

All these questions and answers are reserved to phases when we shovel our imagination under the carpet, and we start lying to ourselves for believing in the sorts of “Affirm yourself“, “Seek direct confirmation”, “Show confidence in yourself“, “Tell her how you feel”, “Do not give up and keep harassing your partner until you get a satisfactory reply”….

Mid-age people learn to prosecute satisfying sex, not from consciously emulation of the puberty period, but by procuration of  accumulated experience that somehow imitate how we behaved in puberty… recapturing the patience and invested time and energy to woo the other partner… slowly and delicately touching, and getting interested in every portion of the body, every piece of flesh representing the entire body in sensation…

Current movies and sitcom try to fool us that this generation of adolescent is far more mature than the previous one: This is pure fiction.

Mature screenwriters and directors are faking to reminisce on how as adolescent they wanted to behave, Not how awkwardly they behaved, as the law of nature dictates, growing up…

Sure the new generation is far more exposed than other generations in all matter of knowledge and reality of life through the endless streams of music audio-visual internet communication means, but this does not automatically translate in actual field of behavior with the other sex…

If adolescents could write

If adolescents dare to write, in any style, in their own slang, their own words…

They’ll inevitably bridge the gap with mature fiction novels, of authors doing their hardest, to recall how it was to feel, empathyze, share with mankind suffering, pain, and struggle to keep humanity healthy and sane… Trying their hardest and barely remembering, skin deep…

This post is supposed to be a draft, pending your stories, replies and comments…

“The boardwalk’s rough planks, a nod to maritime authenticity, present a design flaw perhaps foreseeable in this city: Women with Louis Vuitton handbags are forever extracting their spike heels from the cracks.”

Charlize Theron’s feet would have a rough time in Beirut

Habib (see note 2) criticized this article and wrote:

“That’s correct my beautiful people, you might want to leave those Louboutins at home.  One air-kissing lipstick lady cooed in a mix of Beirut Italiano: “Finito la mishkala!” (The problems are over!)

To whom the headline “Resurgent Beirut Offers Haven Amid Turmoil…” apply to?

Does it address the hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Kurdish, Sudanese and other refugees that scrape together a meager existence against the xenophobic threats of locals in this tiny fear-soaked, lawless strip of Mediterranean coast?

Or is it the majority of Lebanon’s 4 million population that spends half their lives without proper electricity and no adequate potable water because the Sate is too corrupt to provide it?

Does this “eddy of peace” as the Times writer calls it, provide refuge to young college grads who flee this country in droves (50% of them) because they know they cannot be protected against the gangsters that brazenly roam the streets in black tinted windows?

Does it shelter the hard-working young professionals who have no choice but to remain and cannot afford a home in Beirut because their clan did not rob a bank or buy one?

Does Lebanon appeal to aspiring local journalists when there is no rule of law, no functioning judicial system and where assassinations are the norm?

The Times writer reminds us that “Lebanon’s leaders scramble to keep the political peace.”

Missing in this shallow missive is the fact that over $100 billion dollars is sitting in secret deposits managed by the country’s banking dynasties to help those leaders “cope” with the rough job they have, and have had for generations.

Other dictators must be envious of the Lebanese elite.

Who wants to spoil the couch comfort food of the Saturday Times with real problems and real people? This article is not about locals. Why should it be? It’s written for tortured Western minds for whom “Lebanon’s image remains frozen in old snapshots: sectarian massacres, hostages tied to radiators…”

What a shame that: “Many Westerners do not realize that Lebanon is still safe, and fun.”

Perhaps what Beirut really needs is more signs like this:


credit: Dizzy Dee

“Surely a small measure could help bring us closer to “Lebanon’s latest effort to recapture the prewar 1960s — when Brigitte Bardot was a regular and Beirut was a fashionable port of call.”

Or was that whole “Paris of the Middle East” narrative, so effortlessly recast, just a product of a long tradition of American editors sending reporters parachuting into ‘exotic’ places they know little about?” End of Habib quote

Note 1: I am reading an exciting French book “A Taxi for Benghazi” by Marie-Lys Lubrano,  and the author was in Egypt as Mubarak was ousted from power as a free-lance photographer, and she had a mind of going to Yemen where the action is.

Libya had just started the insurrection, and Marie-Lys had no idea that Libya was on the border with Egypt, and she thought Tripoli was the Lebanese norther port city, and she could not recall the name Qadhafi who erected his tent in 2007 in Paris before meeting with President Sarkozy….

And these young foreign photographers and correspondents rush to cover dangerous events, not knowing that the country is in a state of war…

Note 2: http://www.beirutreport.com/2012/04/new-york-times-struggles-with-beirut.html


Success brand names tell mythic archetypical stories?

Brian Collins, chief creative officer at Collins, said in an interview with Debbie Millman: “A great brand name must embody mythic archetype stories, stories that remind us of eternal truths to navigate through our lives, archetypes like “KING”, “MAGICIAN”, WARRIOR”…that need not that much explanation to project the picture and the message.

For example, the Apple with a bite taken out symbolizes the seductive-rebel Eve who tempted Adam to cross over to conscious thinking, like Apple ad of a woman throwing a sledgehammer at the screen showing Big Brother…

For example, yesterday I watched a bunch of kids playing a game of pick-up basketball, and the next day you have Nikes displaying its orange banner with the “swoosh symbol” spanning around the court.  Nike is the goddess of victory, and there is no doubt in my mind that the kids felt the meaning of that symbol and the participants are playing with more vigor, as if they are called upon to unfold their power for winning and achieving…”

We don’t experience the world through information, but through stories.  That’s why brands are meant to create belief systems.  Brand designers construct frameworks so we may better understand the world…

Designers should be “problem makers” because they are great with pattern-recognition skills and should seek companies with problems not explicitly known to them.  Designers are not necessarily brought in as “problem solvers”, but to observe the various latent problems within the community of the corporation…

Great brands continue to emotionally resonate from the grand parents to the children to the grand children, like with Disney. 

Brian Collins stretched the envelope a little too thin when he claimed that great brands, like Coca Cola help connect people around the world. How? A kid from Afghanistan drinking a Coca Cola can or bottle would connect with an US kid…I am wondering: How many kids in the US have the background knowledge that the successive US administrations landed over 100,000 Us troops to fight in Afghanistan, that the US drones are killing more civilians and kids than Taliban “fighters”?…Maybe it is the Afghani kid who is connecting and saying: “Are the kids in the US aware of what’s going on in Afghanistan…?”

Peter Drucker wrote: “Securities analysts believe that companies make money. Companies make shoes.” Does anyone believe that financial multinationals make shoes, or produce anything? All they are good at is shitting all over the place!

Collins says: “People are looking for more than the product: They want to know the company’s relationship to the local economy…” That would be fine for local companies, I think.  How many international corporations are laying a framework of letting local communities adhere to their message, if a plausible message is credible.

Note: Post inspired from a chapter in “Brand thinking and other noble pursuits” by Debbie Millman

Future wireless data can be transmitted through light-bulbs? Privacy is nil and over?


Do you know that when we use smartphones or tablet PCs to surf the internet, check emails, share pictures, engage in social networking, or store information in a cloud, we make use of wireless communications technology?

Traditionally, all the information we move around with these devices is transmitted using radio frequency spectrum. The more data we generate, the more radio frequency spectrum we need.

I think I read somewhere that this technology was used by the French in WWI to guide their rickety planes, made in wood, and dropping bombs by hand, miles away from targets?  Or maybe it was not strictly wireless?

Are you set to believe Harald Haas, University of Edinburgh, promising that future wireless data will be transmitted through lightbulbs?

Harald Haas said:

“It is forecast that by the year 2015, we will transmit 6 exabytes — six billion, billion bytes — every month through wireless networks. This is a ten-fold increase on the amount of data we send now. (I think that the US money press generate far more dollars than the new communication technology generate in “exabytes”?)

In order to meet this increased demand, we need either 10 times more radio frequency spectrum for commercial wireless networks, or we have to make the existing radio frequency spectrum 10 times more efficient.

The first option  is impossible — most of the available radio frequency spectrum is already used.

The second option is difficult to achieve, as existing wireless technology is very sophisticated, and it has been shown that further improvements are often offset by unmanageable complexity.

Therefore, we are heading to a saturation point in terms of how efficiently we can use the radio frequency spectrum. The only way out of this is to find new ways to transmit data wirelessly.

Fortunately, the electromagnetic spectrum not only incorporates the radio frequency spectrum, but also includes the visible light spectrum, the best known transmitter of which is the sun.

In the past, we used incandescent light bulbs in our homes and offices. This technology is more than 100-years-old and is hugely inefficient. In the past decade, there have been massive developments in the use of light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Since LEDs are far more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, they are at the heart of the latest generation of lights.

In fact, research by my team at the University of Edinburgh has shown that, if all the world’s incandescent light bulbs were replaced by LED, the energy saved would be equivalent to that produced by more than 100 nuclear power stations.  (Another reason why nuclear energy protagonists hate LED types “visual energy?)

However, this is not the only advantage of LEDs.

These lights are semiconductor devices similar to transistors, which are commonly found in devices such as TVs, laptops or smartphones. Like transistors, LEDs can be switched on and off very quickly.

We have harnessed this feature to develop novel techniques that enable ordinary LED light bulbs to wirelessly transmit data at speeds many times faster than WiFi routers. We have named the new technology Li-Fi (light fidelity) which we now commercialize via the university spin-out company VLC Ltd.

In our lab, under ambient light conditions, we are able to achieve data speeds of 130 megabits per second. If all light bulbs were able to do this, it would create a simple, energy-efficient solution to the lack of available radio frequency spectrum for future wireless broadband communication.

The new Li-Fi technology utilizes existing infrastructures, and as a result, the installation costs are minimal, let alone the reduced cost of the technology as it does not require an antenna.

There are other advantages to this technology:

1. Light does not penetrate walls, and so internet signals cannot be intercepted outside the room in which they are transmitted, which enhances security.

2. Light also travels through water, and so short-range underwater communication is possible. For instance, divers could share pictures, or remotely operated vehicles could exchange information.

3. Light is inherently safe and can be used in places where radio frequency communication is often deemed problematic, such as in aircraft cabins or hospitals.

So visible light communication not only has the potential to solve the problem of lack of spectrum space, but can also enable novel applications.  In the not-too-distant future, a day in the life of an average person, whom we’ll call Sally, could look like this:

1. When Sally switches on the light in the morning, she gets the latest news flashed on her smart phone. From the breakfast table she sends a few emails through the table light. (Thus, if Sally is not in the mood of listening or seeing anything, Sally has to strictly rely on candlelight?)

2. Sally gets into her car and drives to work. On the way, a cat crosses the street and she has to brake hard. Her LED backlights tell the car behind to slow down even before the driver has a chance to brake, and an accident is avoided. (Isn’t that technology already embedded in modern cars?)

3. Sally stops in front of a traffic light that operates using LEDs. While showing red, the traffic light is able to send a signal to switch off the engine in Sally’s car, reducing CO2 emissions. The traffic light also communicates with the navigator inside the car, and helps Sally avoid a traffic jam ahead. (If Sally has a problem with her ignition, how can she “forbid” the traffic light not to interfere?)

4. In the office, Sally’s fast internet access is provided through the LED ceiling lights. She has internet access in all meeting rooms, but no-one on the street outside can intercept the signals.( Not even the special Federal communication forces?)

5. After work, Sally decides to go to an art gallery down-town. The LED spotlights in the gallery illuminate the pictures and provide information about her and her boyfriend. (Is that safe? Any invasion of privacy?)

6. Sally leaves the art gallery and, on the way downtown, she passes some shops. LED lights in the shop windows broadcast offers. She buys a pair of shoes on sale. (Encouraging and enhancing consumerism behavior?)

7. The restaurant is in a large shopping mall. Sally’s navigation system guides her there. Inside the mall, LED ceiling lights take over the task of guiding her to the restaurant. (Back to eating? Always guiding back to restaurants?)

8. Once inside the restaurant, LED table lights beam the menu card onto Sally’s smart-phone. She enjoys her meal and leaves a recommendation on the restaurant’s home page, using the connection from the same table light.

9. By the time Sally leaves the restaurant it is dark (and short on savings?). She is in a good mood after her date. On the way back to her car, she leaves a little message at a street light, which acts as a local message board, saying “Sally loves Tom”  (Might as just design the local message board in the shape of a tree and the message looks as carved in something tangible and in Sally handwriting…)

Don’t you feel that technology tends to be pervasive and insinuating too ugly into our rights for privacy?

I wish people who get excited about advances in technology take the time to reflect on the consequences, and insert a few paragraphs on the seriousness of negative consequences, and ways to restrict the inflicting of ravages to the common people…

Adding a few sections on the potential negative consequences (the ethical dimension…) should be mandated, as we expect research papers to clarify the interpretation of the data and results on the design and application of the research…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

September 2021
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Blog Stats

  • 1,479,610 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 812 other followers

%d bloggers like this: