Saturday, February 16, 2008

Early Christmas

I wanted to write this post in December, when Christmas songs are streamed one after the other on the radio. Nevertheless, here it is.

It all began when this radio station started to play the songs of the season all day long right after Halloween. Admittedly, I didn't listen the radio for the Christmas music itself but for the John Tesh radio show. An awesome radio program that collects all sorts of tips from magazines and books to improve your everyday life in a variety of aspects. In between the pieces of intelligence for your life (as they call them) you listen some music, which is soft rock from the 80's until now. Personally, I found it very enjoyable, except in November and December; when Christmas music was played all day long.

Among these holiday season tunes, there were some interpreted by Elvis Presley, like Blue Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus. Those songs always take me back to my childhood years. That period of time when I used to play with our old audio system. I used to enjoy seeing the needle placing itself so smoothly on a vinyl record and wondering what kind of trick was needed to store sound in a plastic surface. It was fun to play a 33 1/3 revolutions per minute record at 45 or even 78 revolutions per minute, and vice versa. Another amusing activity was watching the cassettes being rewinded back and forth. These two devices are still sold in some stores. However, what I never saw again was an 8-track cartridge player! I bet that most of the people born in the 80's have never seen one! We had only one of those cartridges at home, and it was nothing else than a 70's version of 1957 Elvis' Christmas Album. Unlike a normal compact cassette, this was a mysterious gadget. You just plugged it in and it started playing. You couldn't see its internal mechanism and --- of course --- you were able to jump from one track to another. When one track was over the next started automatically, meaning that if you didn't intervene, it kept playing forever! Our family audio player looked similar to this one. I guess it was the most typical design of that time.



Those were the early years, playing with the aparato de sonido as we used to call it, which literally means "sound apparatus", listening to a guy called Elvis. Sometimes I regret that my parents sold the apparatus. It would be a nice collectible item nowadays.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Esto debe terminar

Wikipedia:

"La cultura es el conjunto de todas las formas de vida y expresiones de una sociedad determinada. Como tal incluye costumbres, prácticas, códigos, normas y reglas de la manera de ser, vestirse, religión, rituales, normas de comportamiento y sistemas de creencias".


En google videos se puede encontrar el siguiente documental:







Tiene como tema la cultura en Guatemala. Asumiendo que todo lo que se muestra en el video es real, el mensaje se transmite de una manera cruda, directa y sin escrúpulos. Es una exposición de la cultura real que tristemente poseen la mayoría de los guatemaltecos. Esa idiosincrasia que no deja que la sociedad avance, la cultura de la mediocridad, conformismo y la falta de respeto. No hablo aquí de todas las personas que fueron entrevistadas, pues es comprensible que no se tenga una respuesta inmediata a la pregunta ¿Qué es la cultura en Guatemala? Hablo mas bien de las escenas que muestran a una sociedad que ha perdido la cordura y la confianza en sí misma.



Por otra parte, es muy interesante el contraste que se muestra entre la vida artística y personal del pintor que protagoniza este documental. La buena opinión que la gente tiene de su obra es opacada por los relatos contados en primera persona. Esto seguramente sería motivo de repudio para muchas personas que consideran que la gente que logra destacar el campo artístico poseen una intachable reputación y hasta son puestos como ejemplo a seguir. Sin embargo el video muestra a un hombre, que como muchos otros, es parte y víctima de la cultura de supervivencia en donde la necesidad se satisface aprovechándose del débil.



Este es un retrato vívido de la realidad cultural de la gente pobre de Guatemala. ¿Somos pobres porque somos ignorantes o somos ignorantes porque somos pobres?