Good morning. After more than six months of methodical, relentless, and, yes exhausting too, editing we approved the final Galley Proofs VIII that will enable our publisher, Outskirts Press, to publish our book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague in both physical and digital formats soon. Here is a screenshot of how the final product will look like when located on the book shelf or computer.
Below you can see a screenshot of the great front cover designed by our dear daughter Noël Marie.
To hopefully tickle your curiosity we include a screenshot of the text in the back cover. Interested?
Thank you very much for all the expressions of support that we have received in the past months. We hope that you will find its reading informative, challenging and exciting at the same time.
Querido(a)s lectore(a)s y querido(a)s blogero(a)s:
Buenos días. Hoy 7 de Agosto celebramos el Día de San Cayetano, santo patrono del pan y del trabajo para millones de creyentes, sobretodo en el Río de La Plata. En Italia, el mismos santo es conocido con el nombre de San Gaetano, y cumple un rol similar para el pueblo. Muchas gracias.
Above you can see two pictures of the upper frame of the desk we are using right now to write. The image of San Cayetano, and its symbolic linkage with the wheat used to make bread, hangs above. Moreover, we have an academic association with the real person who later became a saint, as he studied Theology in the Università di Padova where we did some of the studies for our Doctorate.
Who was the first person that introduced us to him? Our dear Mother Gladys took us many times to attend mass in his dedicated church in the Buceo neighborhood of Montevideo. Gracias Mamita!
Good morning and Happy Sunday to you all. Today we awoke with a desperately grey cast sky in South Florida and it has been raining intermittently, which put is in a surprising melancholic mood. As we are shifting through old pictures to compose a comprehensive family album, we came across this picture taken in the Parque Camet of Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1998. My wife and I had hired a pony trainer to make our children Noël Marie and Gian Luca experience their first equine ride.
We close our eyes and see the excited apprehension of our son (he was two years old at the time) as he was trying to hold firm to the reins, as the trainer instructed him to do; in the meantime, our daughter (she was nine years then) cheekilysmiles with the full confidence of a born amazon. For the parents, our children are and will always be “our babies'”, no matter how hard they poke fun at us.
Thank you God Almighty for giving us the privilege of having these two kids and enjoy their company.
If it’s raining too in your corner of the world, feel free to let go of our usual defensiveness to allow your spirit to be invaded by these sweet-sour memories that define us as caring human beings.
Life is worth living. Every minute of it. Do not ever forget it. May God Almighty bless you all.
Good morning and Happy Sunday. Toady we celebrate Independence day in the United States ofAmerica, our national holiday. For all those of us who had immigrated at a very young age to work, study and have a family here, this is a day of recognition for all the numerous blessings we have received. Of course, it is not a perfect society and still has many social and economic disparities. However, it is still a country of laws, which enable us to dream about equal opportunities for all. The image of our American-born children, Noël Marie and Gian Luca, represents all that is good here.
Our daughter was visiting San Francisco, and sent us this selfie taken at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Our son is posing at the entrance of our Miami apartment. See the film posters adorning the walls?
This is what we treasure about this country: the chance to bequeath them plenty of opportunities and civic freedom . We believe it should be renamed as the Unique United States of America.
Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day to all those that had the privilege of having children, With the duly respect for those that have chosen not to engage in that path, we believe that our children are God’s greatest gift to us. Nothing compares to the sheer joy and exhilaration of being a father.
Here you can see us cozying up to Gian Luca, our son, in a recent selfie taken at our desk.
And here you can see us close to our daughter Noël Marie, our daughter. Gracias hijitos queridos.
We have to especially thank their fabulous mother María Tomasa for making this miracle happen.
Can we ask for more happiness than being always, always, very close to our children. Fuggetaboutit!
We would like to thank our father Mario Laplume Salguero for giving us our precious life and for mentoring us in our intellectual endeavors. In this picture he is holding our daughter Noël Marie atop the Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo, with the magnificent Palacio Salvo in the background.
—“Numa,I will always bet on you…You can’t lose—you’re the sheriff’s horse in this race.”
Thus spoke our late mentor and friend Professor Dr. Heraldo Tavella (using that most affectionate soubriquet he used with yours truly) when I met him in December 1982 to accept the plane ticket to the USA that he had bought for me. He loaned me those critical funds, which were readily paid back some time later, and enabled me to start my longstanding medical career in this country; I duly acknowledged his noble gesture in the preface of my upcoming book. Gracias Gran Heraldo!
What he was referring to is an ancient saying from the countryside of Uruguay and Argentina where there have always been occasional illegal horse racing and betting that has been tolerated by the authorities, especially if they have an interest in it. In those little agribusiness towns, the figure of the “comisario” (local police chief) towers high above all the rest as he/she has a big influence in all local affairs. Most of them are gifted horse riders, a needed skill in the vast expanses of these countries.
Our dearest uncle José Luis—recently deceased due to the Coronavirus pandemic—had a coffee and tea business in La Paz. Montevideo, and he regularly visited his loyal clients in the countryside to deliver his goods in local groceries and markets. In many of those trips, we gladly accompanied him, an always exciting adventure. When we visited a little town in the department of San José, we found such a race.
There was an impromptu racetrack in the outskirts with plenty of public and several riders. Right before a race, we parked our van and strode briskly to the assembly.
—“Find out if the sheriff owns one of those horses and bet all our money on it.”
I raced to the makeshift betting booth and quickly asked what my uncle had told me. The clerk pointed at an old wrinkled and flea-infested mare that could hardly stand.
Shocked, I went back to my uncle and detailed the sorry physical state of that horse.
—“It does not matter…Do as I say—put all our money in that mare’s legs. Go!”
Obfuscated and grumbling, I skedaddled back to the booth and plonked all our monies.
The bell rang. In the first dash, all the colts raced forth and the mare was left behind. The race entailed there round turns at the track; I steadfastly refused to watch it. Until the very last leg when I turned around and I saw an unbelievable spectacle. All of a sudden, the hectic race seemed to turn into a ralenti mode where all the jockeys slowed their frantic ride to the finish line, looking like a slow-motion film sequence.
At the same time, a most unexpected player slowly but steadily gained on all of them. The mare, running on the far end of the track, finally crossed the finish line. Wow!
Flush with freshly earned cash, I went back to my uncle and hugged him tenderly. Never again did I question his knowledge of human nature. Gracias Tío querido!
In a previous article about Pride, we praised the value of keeping a modest profile in our lives. However, on reviewing the latest (and hopefully also the final) Galley Proofs of our upcoming book EmotionalFrustration- the hushed plague, we cannot help feeling a little bit like that old mare, a proudly-winning Caballo de Comisario.
We will not fail our expectant lady-readers. Our book is getting better by the day, hour, minute.
Happy Birthday. Today we celebrate your 24th birthday, remembering that glorious day in June 1997 when , together with your mother María Tomasa and your sister Noël Marie, we were waiting for your arrival in the Obstetrics department of Saint John’s Hospital in New York City. When we saw you, we were marveled by that little ball of grease, water and affection topped with a big bonnet.
Thank you very much for coming to this world and making our lives more fuller and entertaining.
Thank you God Almighty for granting us the privilege of having children, the very best part of Life.
This year we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gustave Flaubert, one of the greatest French novelists of the Nineteenth Century; together with Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Honoré de Balzac and Emile Zola, he revolutionized the basic tenets of French literature and theatre. Born on December 21, 1821 in Rouen, he passed away on May 8th 1880 in Paris; during his relatively brief lifetime, he changed our perspective on Love, Romance and Sentimental Frustrations.
His family was part of the petite bourgeoisie catholique of the administrative capital of Normandy; his father was the chirurgien-en-chef of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital of the city and the family resided many years in a small apartment in the institution’s premises. Full of exalted romanticism in his early youth, he was a rebellious student that was even expelled temporarily form his high school; after successfully completing his baccalauréat exam in 1840, his family rewarded him with a trip to the Pyrénées and Corse. During the summer of 1836 he met Élise Schlesinger (ten years older than him) who will be the Love of His Life, in spite of being physically separated, except for brief periods.
Dispensed by the lottery from the military draft, he started, without much conviction, to study Law in Paris in 1841; he led a very bohemian life, befriending many literary luminaries like Victor Hugo. In 1844 he gives up his studies and relocates to the village of Croisset, on the banks of the River Seine, a few kilometers from Rouen, in a villa bought by his father; there he starts writing in earnest and drafts the first version of l’Éducation Sentimentale and several articles. In the beginning of 1846, both his father and his younger sister Caroline passed away, which devastated him sentimentally.
His father bequeathed him a small fortune and he could dedicate himself fully to a writing career. In that year he met the poet Louise Colet with whom he had a passionate relationship for 10 years. Accompanied by his friend Louis-Hyacinthe Bouilhet he travels to Paris to assist to the 1848revolution; he made very important political contacts, which would prove to be crucial for his career. Between the years 1849 and 1852, he travels extensively in Orient with his friend Maxime du Camp.
Encouraged by his friends, he started creating the draft of Madame Bovary on September 19, 1851. After 56 months of a heavy commitment, he finished the novel in 1856 and it was published as an installment in the Revue de Paris; after meeting the publisher Michel Levy in 1857, the book makes its debut to much acclaim by the Parisian intelligentsia, especially due to its unwavering realism. Before this novel, all the romantic productions depicted a sugary coated version of loving relations. The heroines duly suffered for their all too perfect beaus but in the end there was a happy reunion. Flaubert paints those human relationships with bold, passionate strokes of unmitigated honesty. The book shocked the public and alarmed the authorities who threatened to put him on trial. However, his political connections spared him of that hassle, unlike his friend Charles Baudelaire who was convicted for a similar affront to the prevailing bourgeois sense of decorum.
Was the novel Madame Bovary an imaginary creation of Flaubert, as he had always firmly claimed? Many literary critics contested his assertion by exposing the tragic story of Delphine Delamare. She was the young wife of an officier de santé who committed suicide by ingesting arsenic, after being drowned by bad debts and the treachery of her two lovers; it was big news in Flaubert’s Normandy.
“Women are meant to be loved, not understood.” Oscar Wilde
We have a problem with a woman. A particular one. And it is getting worse.
Ever since we started our medical practice almost forty years ago, she has showed up every day—rain or shine—to share her multiple woes with us. She sits down across our desk, looks at us straight in the eye and says the very same words: “I am emotionally frustrated.” What is her name? Bovary. Emma. Emma Bovary.
When we read Madame Bovary [i] as a student in the Alliance Française[ii] of Montevideo, we were mesmerized by the story of a beautiful and ardent wife of a country medical practitioner that could not find any solace in her grey existence. At the time we could not fathom how she could be so ungrateful to her partner.
However, the ensuing studies and practice as a medical doctor gave us the necessary insight to grasp—if still not fully agree with—the cause of her angst. Physicians watch births, deaths, and almost anything in between them. Including the big and small, yet none the less painful, incidents of women’s humiliations.
We had left our copy of the novel in a box full of books in Montevideo but somehow, Emma sprung out of it to pursue us all the way to Miami to disturb us. Ever since her 1856 debut as a series in La Revue de Paris[iii], this mischievously meek petite bourgeoise has been deftly manipulating ingénue men like us.[iv]
Even in a hyper-connected age, she still cannot get her message through. The plethora of mixed messages in the social media platforms has increased her confusion as her connections seem to be more tone-deaf than ever to her plight. As the tragic trifecta of memory, love and the passage of time relentlessly gnaws at her soul, she has been stubbornly nagging us to record her thoughts verbatim[v]. The Spanish language differentiates between the noble role of escritor—an artist inspired by a mission—and the mundane one of escribiente—an obscure agent that copies other people’s writings or takes dictation.[vi] Haggling with the most miserly of muses and fighting the meanest of demons, we turned into Emma’s escribiente.
[i] Gustave Flaubert, “Madame Bovary”, Frères Michel Levy, Paris, 1857.
[ii] Name of the private institute based in Paris, France, that teaches the French language in many branches worldwide.
[iii] After five years of writing more than 4500 pages, Gustave Flaubert, aged 35 years, published the 500 pages of “Madame Bovary” in the magazine directed by Maxime Du Camp, his companion in the trip to the Far East. There were six parts appearing on the first and fifteenth day of the months of October, November, and December 1856. He wrote to a friend that; ‘you will know that I am presently being printed, I lose my virginity of non-published man in eight days as of Thursday, October 1st…I will for three consecutive months fill most of the pages of La Revue de Paris.” Our translation.
Information was obtained from Yvan Leclerc, “Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, pré-originale dans la Revue de Paris «, Recueil des Commémorations Nationales 2006.
[iv] In the January 8, 2019, program “L’heure Bleu” of Radio France Inter, Laura Adler, the presenter, interviewed Vanessa Springora, author of the bestseller “Le Consentement”. The subject of Madame Bovary and her frustrations came up for discussion. I believe it was Vanessa that suggested that Emma Bovary “devrait avoir pris la plume pour écrire” (she should have picked up the feather to write) Well, false modesty apart, let us inform these ladies that it is never too late for Emma to at least voice her ideas, especially when she can recruit a submissive agent to take dictation like yours truly. Playing with the meaning of our last name, we dare to say: “je suis peut être Laplume qui manquait dans la vie de Madame Bovary” ( I am perhaps the Laplume that was missing in Madame Bovary’s life)
[v] Term in the Latin language that means: “in exactly the same words.”
[vi] Diccionario de la Lengua Española, Tomo 1, Real Academia Española, 2001, Espasa Calpe.
Good morning. We would like to wish all our fellow Italian citizens a Happy Day of the Republic. Today, June the 2th, we are celebrating that day of 1946 when the Italian people voted in a massive referendum for a new republic and discard the fascist-leaning monarchy to the dustbin of History. Moreover, for the first time all the Italian women were elegible to vote in a national election. Bravo!!!
These pictures show the Frecce Tricolori, the aerial aerobatics squadron of the Italian Air Force.
Even with its up and owns, the republic still functions well and is massively supported by the nation. We are grateful to our dearest grandfather Morizio Garbarino and our grandmother Yolanda Musciello for the precious civic legacy that we have inherited through the jus sanguinis principle for their descendants.
Good morning. This Memorial Day week-end is much, much more than an occasion to dust-off the grill and engage in our very first barbecue experience of the summer. It is a time of of remembrance. Today we officially remember the U.S. servicemen and servicewomen that fought and died for us. If we can enjoy the freedom and opportunities of the greatest nation in the history of Mankind (like my dear father Mario used to tell us) it is because they have duly protected us from many threats.
When we were a teenager, we won a scholarship from Youth for Understanding to study six months in a Michigan high school, which was scheduled to start in January 1972. When we were heading back home in the boardwalk from the RamirezBeach of Montevideo one December 1971 evening (remember that it is the Summer season in the Southern Hemisphere) with our mother Gladys and our brother Gustavo, she abruptly stopped in her tracks, smiled at us and very excitedly said:
-“Mirá Marito, están bajando la bandera en la embajada.” (Look, they’re lowering the flag in the embassy)
-“Muy pronto vas a estar ahí…Qué emocionante” (You will soon be there…What a great emotion)
We looked to the right and we could clearly see an impeccably dressed Marine lowering the flag. The three of us stood there in awe at the simple, yet meaningful show, of the Marine Corps’ pageantry. That image was seared in our retinas, constituting the first experience from the country we would eventually adopt as ours. Our parents were always proud and supportive of our choice.
Note. This picture of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima was taken from Wikimedia Images.