Celebrating our kids’ fabulous film awards

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Yesterday our family celebrated with a delicious barbecue the fabulous awards received by our two kids. We had a great time together sharing those delicious meat cuts, sausages, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers that you see in the image. However, my daughter criticized me at the table for my melodramatic writings when I was overwhelmed by the news of the Wolfson awards. Women are so cruel sometimes.

Ha! When she took the first bite to that perfectly grilled skirt steak (well done outside but tender and juicy inside) she was the one that started to cry of happiness. That is one of the “dirty tricks” I have laboriously learned about women in general: to appease them go to the kitchen and prepare a delicious dish or take them to the theater to watch ballet.

Thank you very much for all the kind e-mail messages that you have sent us lately. We are almost done with the manuscript of “Emotional frustration-the hushed plague.” Please continue to send us your great suggestions as we will seriously consider them.

Au revoir!

Congratulations to the film’s cast and crew

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

We would like to warmly congratulate the cast and crew of “Lonely is the night” for their outstanding work of so many months that has resulted in such a prestigious award.

In this picture taken at the time when we were finishing the editing work, Miles posed with a T-shirt that I had gotten in  a Medical Cannabis Conference in Fort Lauderdale.

On the right lower corner you can see the mattress and bed cover lying on the floor that served as my sleeping quarters during the filming process; as the servants of yore, I had to rest close to the kitchen because I had to spring into action whenever hunger struck.

We are proud of this achievement that we obtained with long studies and hard work.

Bravo!

Merci beaucoup, Antoine Doinel

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. You are looking at a picture taken today of some of the countless posters that adorn the apartment that we are sharing with our son Gian Luca. When he moved in, my son plastered all the walls, except for the sleeping and hygiene quarters (verboten) This poster of “Les Quatre Cent Coups” takes pride of place because it not only is one of our favorite movies but the epic story of Antoine Doinel, its main character, inspired the script and the photography of his award-winning film “Lonely is the night.”

In his 1959 directorial debut, French film-maker Francois Truffaut won the Cannes Palme D’Or with his story of a misunderstood youngster from Paris that runs away from his family to discover the world. I saw the film with my father Mario in La Plata when I was studying Medicine; we both liked it very much but never mentioned it to Gian Luca. A few years ago, I found him watching this movie, lounging comfortably in a sofa.

-“Hey, I love this film,” I said to him. “Why are you watching it?’

-“Because the scenes in his school gives me an idea of how tough it must have been for you to go through the French educational system, Daddy, ” he shot back.

Welling up, I said: “yes, it was cruel like that. When the teacher showed up in the early morning and ordered us to take out pen and paper because there was a dictation, we all shivered like leaves in the middle of the wintertime.” We hugged each other intensely.

Two years ago my son chose Miles, one of his classmates at Miami Beach Senior High School, to star in his film; we knew that he was having a checkered situation at home. Once the filming had started, my son asked me if Miles could bunk with us for some time. I enthusiastically agreed and we gladly shared our apartment in Miami Beach. For the following weeks, we had one of the most extraordinary moments of our bonding. Giani, Miles and the rest of the crew filmed inside that apartment and went out on location, sometimes at incredibly odd hours to have the street set for themselves.

My humble task was, besides supporting my son financially and spiritually, to provide food and beverages for the whole crew, sometimes even happily cooking for them. We got little rest but we enjoyed together their discussion about script, scenes, locations. I believe I got magically hooked on the idea of participating in movie-making right there.

Miles is a gifted yet rebellious guy who just needed some space to develop his potential and we were willing to extend a helping hand to him in times of need. In the end he rightfully made all of us proud.

Antoine Doinel had also to get away from a stultifying situation to discover the world. In the last scene, Truffaut showed his feet finally touching the sea in a Normandy beach. It is a vivid metaphor for his long, convoluted journey into freedom and adulthood.

Gian Luca’s film opens with the sad image of a young black man sitting on a shop window’ s ledge and bowing his head, the image of lonely despair in the midst of the worldly indifference. Like Antoine before him, he will go through a spiritual redemption and in the end, he will come through as a man. The heading before the first scene says:

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god” Aristotle

Bravo!

Congratulations to our two award-winning film-makers

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Oh dear! I am choking with raw emotion. I, who prides himself in knowing something about it. When one of these events hits you in the face, you are always overwhelmed. That means that we are humans after all. Let me take a pause to cry a little bit more.

The day before yesterday my daughter Noel Marie and my son Gian Luca were notified that they had both received the prestigious “Wolfson Cinemaslan Works in Progress Award” that recognizes the six most promising young film-makers of South Florida.The awards ceremony is sponsored by the Wolfson family, the Knight Foundation, Miami Dade College, the New York Film Institute , the Miami Film festival, American Airlines and many more organisations that I cannot remember now. This is tough…I am crying.

We just came back from the ceremony in the Tower Theatre of Miami where last year’s nominees were given a diploma and their films were shown to an eager audience. My two children will have their work screened next year, after some necessary editing. This picture shows us in the company of Matthew Wohl, the event’s director (on my right side) and Will McCurdy, the traffic cop (on my left side, crouching). Thank you very much, from the deepest recesses of my spirit, for this incredible joy you are giving us.

We would like to have a special remembrance for my mother Gladys and my father Mario who are certainly watching from Heaven the triumph of their grandchildren.

We will post an edited video of the ceremony with the corresponding information later. This kind of artistic events make us proud to live in South Florida. Let’s have more of it.

Merde!

Our valiant emissary to the Dark Side

In May 2008 my family and I proudly attended my graduation with a Doctoral degree in Health Policy and Management from Columbia University in a beautiful ceremony held at the main New York campus. One of the guests of honor was a short black man in his sixties with a goatee that exuded the patrician flair of a privileged upbringing and had an halo of unquestioned authority. He was Kofi Annan, the first black elected as General Secretary of the United Nations for two consecutive five years-term starting in 1997 and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2001.

Africa’s foremost diplomat presided over the transformation of our world from a socio-political stage for the Cold War to its Globalization and the rise of Fundamentalism. He was recruited form the civil corps of the UN bureaucracy, after many years of service. He was a tireless diplomat that sought to find compromise between warring enemies in order to spare the civilian population from the consequences of famine, sickness and destitution. He had the guts to meet some of the most despicable tyrants and engage them in a much needed dialogue; he was severely criticized for sharing a cigar with Saddam Hussein in his quest to avoid war.

He renovated the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations by giving them much more resources and training of the personnel in the vagaries of non-conventional warfare. Sadly his biggest failures were the genocides of Rwanda and Bosnia, which were really the inevitable outcome of naively putting “soft Europeans” to confront the hardened warriors. If the defenseless refugees of Srebrenica would have been defended from the rogue Serbs by a platoon of American Marines or an elite battalion of the Indian Army, the story might have been different; at the very least they would have stood their ground and fought fiercely for the safe heaven.

He was born on April 8, 1938, in an aristocratic family of the city of Kumasi in what was then called the Gold Coast, which would later become the country of Ghana; he had a degree in Economics from Ghana and later also studied at Macalester College in Geneva and at the Sloan School of Management in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His first United Nations appointment was in the World Health Organization of Geneva in 1962 and he worked the rest of his life in different organizations of the institution. In 1990 UN secretary general Boutros Ghali appointed him first as his deputy and then as head of the peacekeeping operations. With the blessing of the suspicious American delegation to the UN, he was finally appointed as it secretary general on January 1, 1997.

After leaving the UN, he continued working for world peace from his position of head of the “Kofi Annan Foundation” based in Geneva, Switzerland. He had just returned from a trip to Zimbabwe last week when he fell ill and passed away on August 18th, 2018 in a Bern hospital.

He had the courage and determination to seek peace, even with the flimsiest of chances.

He had the stamina and patience to deal with the most abject members of Humankind.

He worked until his death to promote world peace, a necessary legacy for a sound future for our children.

Thank you very much Kofi for your priceless public service in the UN.

May God Almighty receive you in his Grace as a dedicated son of Africa.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

The visionary of Trinidad

I remembered that moment as if it had happened yesterday. It was a late Sunday evening in the first week of March 1966. The next day my brother and I were supposed to go back to school after the summer recess. But instead of the joy to return to a familiar place with  my buddies since kindergarten, I was starting in a strange school. I was sad. Very.

In 1965 my mother and her two children left our centrally located apartment to settle momentarily in our grandmother’s spacious home in Colon to take some needed refuge. My father had been arbitrarily  jailed by a judge for some unpaid personal loans; there was no bankruptcy legislation in Uruguay at the time, which exposed the debtors and their families to great financial strain and emotional suffering. Even though he was assigned to a detention center in the Police headquarters where he shared his short stay with educated and friendly inmates, it was still an imprisonment. Our dear mother Gladys had a nervous breakdown and Yolanda, her mother, offered to take care of us all.

Instead of slumping in an emotional void, we decided to take the challenge in earnest. Yolanda, all wrapped up in a woolen poncho, accompanied us early at dawn in those freezing mornings to wait for the bus 411 in a deserted stop. We boarded it for 45 minutes trip to the “Lycée Francais.” When the noon break came, we boarded the bus again to have lunch in Colon (as we could not afford the mess hall every day) and then go back to our school to be on time for the 2 PM bell. At 5 PM we left the school for our return trip home. We arrived at dusk to have a café-au-lait and do our homework load; around 8 PM we had dinner and went to bed promptly afterwards. No TV or radio.

In spite (or perhaps because) of this humongous sacrifice, I got a perfect score in my fifth grade of Primary School to rank first in my class and winning a much-needed full scholarship for sixth grade. Alas, our joy was short-lived. One day my father came back home and told us that the school director stripped me of my scholarship to give it to a politician’s son. We were so astounded and hurt that its memory still sears our minds.

My father quickly prepared a forceful letter to Mr. Chambord, the cultural attaché of the French Embassy at the time. He summoned my father to his office; he told him that they would give me the scholarship back, on the condition that he had to withdraw his letter of protest. “Absolutely not. Our dignity forbids it,” he rebuked him. Then my father filled the application to attend sixth grade in the “Escuela Jose Pedro Varela”, a public school just a  short distance form the French school. When he told me I agreed in silence. My dislike of the French (not the French culture) and politicians started right there.

When my mother and brother were fast asleep, I jumped out of bed and went to the kitchen to chat with my father. He embraced me warmly and patted my head. “Don’t worry…You’re a tiger…You’ll do well, wherever you go,” he said with a forceful tone.    We stayed together in silence in the darkness, forging a stronger father-child bond.

Mario Laplume Salguero was born on August 14, 1933 in Trinidad, Province of Flores, Uruguay and passed away on July 22, 2012 in Montevideo, Uruguay; he married Gladys Garbarino in 1953 and had two sons by that marriage: my brother Gustavo and myself. In 1967 he divorced her and married Isabel Mardaras with whom they had a son: Marcel. When he was a teenager he entered as a mail room clerk in the Swift meat processing plant located in “El Cerro”, across Montevideo bay. He was molded for life by the daily contact with those Post-World War II Americans that had a strong work ethic and a commitment to quality standards in the workplace. He could not go to High School due to his work schedule, but he attended English, French and German language classes after work. He started to read an collect a magnificent array of books that the has given aa a legacy to his three sons. One of my earliest memories of childhood is to watch him in awe as he meticulously took a book out of the shelf to pass a hand held-feather-duster on its cover and then open it parsimoniously to peruse a few pages. If he noticed me, he would ask me to sit down by. He taught me all the basics about World Literature, including all the classics in French and English.

He was a lifelong Socialist and union organizer in the bankers’ union (he worked in a private bank after the Swift company closed and pulled out of Uruguay); if he hadn’t had that financial mishap, he would have joined the armed insurrection against the military government. When I became a political militant, he understood my choice and, aware of the physical risks, he backed my decision. When the military government closed the Medical School and the police started to round up the die-hard militants, he convinced me to travel to Argentina to continue my studies in La Plata, sparing me a certain demise. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here writing this article today.

He always wanted to study Medicine as he considered that it was one of the noblest professions of humankind; he supported me emotionally and financially during my medical studies and he was very proud when I graduated from Medical School in 1981. He got one of his cherished dreams. He instilled in us the virtue of honesty and the value of a given promise to become a good man. Even though I questioned several of his progressive convictions as I grew older, he never lost his calm demeanor in discussing politics and economy; he never relinquished his core beliefs. From today’s perspective, I now fully agree that a life without a generous mission is not worth living.

Imbued by the strong work ethic of the Americans he had met in the Swift plant, he always admired the United States of America and he studied its politics and history in earnest; he became an expert in the Civil War, enjoying all the books, magazines and material I regularly brought him home. He enjoyed meticulously reading every section of the Sunday edition of “The New York Times.” He did not have to set a foot in this country to know how the system worked and did not too. He continually admonished us: “the USA is a land of chiaro-oscuri…But the brightness prevails. It will last 500 more years.”

As I am jotting down these lines on my laptop, my son Gian Luca, a born buff of everything cinematic, is watching a 1986 cult film called “My brother’s wedding” by Charles Burnett. Have you ever heard of it? I doubt it. Me neither. How does he know it exist? He inherited a gift… I still remember that in a small closet right next to the toilet in Montevideo, there was a tall pile of a French film magazine called “Les cahiers du cinema”; I always picked one to start reading it. Next to it there was another pile of the “Boxing” magazine, which hooked me to that “politically incorrect” sport for life.

When I told my father that Noel Marie, his first grandchild, was not pursuing a legal career, as we initially hoped, in order to become a video producer, he paused for a long second and then said: “Mmm…That little one will do whatever she wants in life.”

He was absolutely right. He is the family’s unique visionary that showed us the way.

Gracias Papa!

 

 

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Occasionally in life (very occasionally I must add) you meet someone with whom you have a strong spiritual communion, which does not mean you agree on every issue. It means that you are emotionally attuned to what the other person has to say or feels plus you eventually develop such a strong mind bonding that you can transmit by telepathy. Usually that person is the “significant other” that you marry and share your life with. But a few of us get so lucky that we find an additional partner without even a single touch.

For several months I have such in quasi-constant communication with such a person. Harbans Khajuria, a fellow blogger from New Delhi, has dazzled us with his clear, straight yet comprehensive discussions of the major spiritual challenges of modern times. He is a well versed intellectual that has worked in the Indian Civil service and now is in the private sphere; as I rightfully guessed by enjoying his writings, he comes from a long tradition of Brahmin teachers of Hindu culture, the only ancient civilization that has come almost unscathed by the ravages of war and conquest to our times.  He dubbed me “Dr. Sahib” , a sign of respect for the learned in India, and I corresponded by calling him “Il Chiaro”, a moniker of a statesman from the powerful Medici family of Florence.

Thank you my dearest “Il Chiaro” for nominating my humble blog for this great award. Please allow me to shamelessly copy out the requirements from your own page.

(https://harbansinnerthoughts.com/2018/07/01/the-mystery-bloggers-award/)

HERE ARE THE RULES:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
    List the rules.
    Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
    Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
    Tell your readers three things about yourself.
    You have to nominate 10-20 people.
    Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
    Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
    Share a link to your best post

Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

Okoto Enigma ( https://www.okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/ )

My LINK: (https://drmolaplume.com/)

What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

It’s an award for inspiring bloggers with wonderful posts. Their blog possesses magnetism which not only captivates; it also add to the knowledge. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve the recognition that they get. This award is also for bloggers who get inner satisfaction when fellow bloggers comment on those posts. -Okoto Enigma (https://www.okotoenigmasblog.com/my-greatest-creation-yet/

I -Three things about myself

Why did I start my web page and blog?

Initially I started writing articles in order to raise my profile as a marketing tool to start promoting my first book, “Madame D.C.- Three voyages”, published in the Kindle Direct store. In order to organize my work better in a sustained long-term endeavor I decided to chose three major areas of interest: Emotional Frustration, Wellness and Health Care Justice; moreover they constituted the necessary scaffolding to study and write about issues that I will eventually tackle in separate books. The Emotional Frustration series has been enormously successful and has elicited plenty of interesting, challenging commentaries from the educated, concerned feminine public, for which I have decided to start writing my second book called “Emotional Frustration-the Hushed Plague.”  Once you start communicating with readers and bloggers, your mind necessarily opens up to new perspectives and sources of inspiration with their questioning and contributions. Thank you for supporting my writings and grabbing my hand in the journey through the barren desert of the stultifying “modern culture” in order to demand more substance. As many of my readers, I refuse to meekly accept the banality, vulgarity and stupidity of the contents poured over the majority of mass media as a pestilent and sickening sludge. We deserve better. Much better. And we must fight for the mental sanity of our children.

After almost 40 years of uninterrupted medical practice I believe I have the necessary expertise and experience to discuss many pressing Medical and Public Health issues. I believe that the direct communication with readers is a healthy bypass to surmount the mendacious messages of many commercial interests that do not put the patients first. Moreover the daily interaction with so many people from all walks of life has sharpened my sensitivity to their daily difficulties to access equitable and affordable Health Care.

In order to properly address the multi-faceted ailments of our patients, physicians have to learn basic tenets of Sociology, Economics, Psychology, Literature and even Theatre. As the great Spanish physician Gregorio Maranon sagely said in the nineteenth century:

“El que solo de Medicina sabe, ni de Medicina sabe.”

(Whomever only knows about Medicine, not even Medicine knows)

What is the most important asset of a meaningful, attractive blog?

Federico Garcia Lorca, the tragically prolific Andalusian writer assassinated during the Spanish Civil war, was a firm believer in the concept of “duende”, a rising soulfulness that exudes a spontaneous, profound and earthy emotional vitality. Before plunging into literature, Garcia Lorca tried to compose music, preparing arrangements for piano and voice for the Andalusian folk songs and even performing with Manuel de Falla. He conserved his “good ear” for music, which certainly helped to inspire many writings. Some experts have said that in order to write well, you must first try to pay attention to the “inner music” humming in your mind in order to efficiently translate it in words.

Every morning I sit down early in the morning at my desk, in front of my computer, after finishing my basic toilet, prepping my loyal companion since my medical student days- the “mate amargo” and praying to God Almighty for several minutes with special thanks to my grandparents, parents and children. Then I gently lay my hands on the keyboard. A tender muse caresses my face, whispers softly in my left ear and frees the “duende.”  Slowly, stealthily troves of childhood, adolescence and adulthood memories show up; they inundate my mind and offer me the necessary life-saver to stay readily afloat. Many of the characters in my novel and the protagonists in my blogs have been partially modeled on them. One blogger recently asked me if the examples in “Emotional Frustration” are real patients I have seen in my medical office. Well…Yes. And no. A few are real, some others are composites of several individuals. And some are pure fiction. What do you want me to say? I’m a novelist. A liar by birth and craft. Specially to women.

Women. In our modern times, the major battleground for socio-economic causes is not the factory or the street but the bodies of our dear women and the LGBT community. Following the instructions of the greatest intellectual mentor I ever had, my father Mario (who was a proud heterosexual) I read authors like Gracia Lorca, Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams in my adolescence, sitting by the great library he had collected in our Montevideo apartment. He told me that the homosexual writers were the best appraisers of the suffering of women trapped by the retrograde social conventions. I duly followed his advice and I struggled with those authors. But I got a good head-start.

“Gracias Papa por el ejemplo de honestidad intelectual luminoso que nos transmitiste.”

(Thank you Dad for the brilliant example of intellectual honesty that you gave us)

Why is it so critical for bloggers to contribute to initiatives like this award?

Save for a few exceptions, the majority of writers start producing interesting work after living at least thirty or forty years in order to accumulate experience and knowledge. The tragic trifecta constituted by the inexorable passing of time, lost loves that broke our hearts and their painful remembrances in our present is the great motor of Literature. The closer we are to our inevitable demise as a physical entity in this valley of tears, the better and more focused writers we often become. We crave to transcend our mortality.

Garcia Lorca knew that the proximity of Death prods us to produce writings in earnest. In a conference he gave to a rapturous audience in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said: “the ‘duende’ does not come at all unless he sees that death is possible. The ‘duende’ must know beforehand that he can serenade death’s house…The ‘duende’ wounds. In the healing of that wound, which never closes lie the strange, invented qualities of a man’s work..The ‘duende’ loves the rim of the wound.”

In the Middle Ages ( my favorite period of History) the population of Europe was sharply divided in multiple ethnic and cultural communities that shared two civic features:

1 – Strong religious beliefs and clear understanding of our societal commitments.

2 – Aggregation in professional-artisanal groups with a shared identity called “guilds.”

Our ancestors knew that individuals had little traction in a long-term fight to achieve respected social status and fend off powerful interests, including the Royalty and Church. They united in ever bigger local groups that had a common work-related feature and a civic mission in their communities; eventually they fostered the emergence of the educated, entrepreneurial and dynamic middle classes that extended worldwide. We believe that bloggers must give up the dangerous delusion that they can stay solely on their own, if they want to bring long-lasting contributions to their places of residence.

G.K. Chesterton was the first blogger in the Anglo-Saxon world, for which we dedicated him a respectful blog as an admirer of his numerous articles with simple common sense. Given that he wrote profusely, without much revision, on several seemingly unrelated topics in journals and magazines, he was initially dismissed as a “not so serious writer.” Just like many mandarins of the establishment summarily dismiss us bloggers nowadays. We must support all the noble web initiatives like this “Mystery Blogger Award.” Let’s join forces at the city, county, state, country levels to forge a common identity and fiat; we will surely encounter a lot of resistance and even some ill-gotten discrimination. But our right for unfettered access for our unique voices in the social media and our firm determination to pass it on to our descendants demand some sacrifice. C’est parti!

For the love of my children, Noel Marie and Gian Luca.

“Once you love somebody, the world becomes your foe.” 

Giles Keith Chesterton

II – My nominees are:

  1. Harbans – https://harbansinnerthoughts.com/
  2. Bojana – https://bloggingwithbojana.com/
  3. Brandewulf – https://brandewijnwords.com/
  4. Paola – https://vitadamuseo.wordpress.com/
  5. Antionette – http://ablakeenterprises.com/
  6. Da-Al – https://happinessbetweentails.com/
  7. Geo – https://justreadingmybooks.wordpress.com/
  8. Anita – https://maltanita.com/
  9. Willeke – https://irelandms.com
  10. Nor – https://noorshrfawi.wordpress.com/

III – My questions to my nominees are:

  1. What is the main mission of your blog?
  2. What is the main attraction of your blog?
  3. What is the main limitation of your blog?
  4. What do you like best in mine?
  5. What do you dislike the most in mine?

IV – My favorite blog is the following:

Sorry. I can’t possibly chose because I like each and every one of them. Why? Because my blood, my sweat is enmeshed in each and every word I have written in my page. Please take your pick by perusing with a gourmand’s eye my list of contents. Bon apetit!

 

Thank you very much for your kindness and patience in reading this rather long article.