The Corsican that shook the World

“Je gagne mes batailles avec les rêves de mes soldats”

(I win my battles with the dreams of my soldiers)

Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoleone di Buonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica on August 15th, 1769, a mere ten years after the island passed from being a Genovese possession to a department in the French nation; he passed away in the British island of Saint Helen on May 5th 1821. Last May 5th marked the 200th Anniversary of his death, which has been discreetly celebrated by the French Republic. Hs military campaigns all over Europe caused thousands of human casualties and economic devastation, which makes him a very controversial figure in these times of political correctness and historic revision.

Note – This image was taken from Wikimedia Images. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jacques-Louis_David_-_The_Coronation_of_Napoleon_(1805-1807).jpg

Above we included the reproduction of the great tableau of Jean Louis David showing the coronation of Napoléon and his wife Joséphine in the Cathédral of Notre Dame in Paris on December 2, 1804. He famously took his wife’s crown out of the hands of the Catholic bishop and placed it himself. That was the ultimate gesture of the Ritali (despective term used in France for the citizens of Italian origin) that had dared to storm his way into the core of the highly centralized French state.

Aside from his outstanding military victories, Napoléon and his group of advisers prodded great transformations in several regions of the planet, which brutally modernized many societies. In France it established firmly the equality of rights of all the citizens in the Napoleonic Code; it laid the foundations of its administratively efficient division into departments, away from feudalism. In Italy it broke the grip of the Catholic Church and the regional warlords in the communal affairs;  for the first time Italians had the concept of a Unified Nation when he established a Kingdom in the North (headed by him) and a Kingdom in the South (headed by his brother) In Germany it spawned the military coalition of the previously ferociously independent länders and city-states (with the exception of Baviera) into a large army that, together with the British,  would finally defeat with him. However, after he had departed, the European societies changed their economic and social tenet.

The invasion and takeover of the Bourbon Kingdom of Spain  with the establishment of a puppet regime headed by his brother José, sparked the revolutionary movements in South America, Initially the criollos (natives) and Spanish citizens living in Argentina and Uruguay mobilized and hastily formed provisional governments that considered the deposed Fernando VII as their legitimate ruler. However, after “tasting” the fruits of local rule, when the Bourbon king was re-instated in Madrid, those provisional governments refused to dissolve and disappear, sparking fierce wars of liberation.

With dear our father Mario, we enjoyed reading and discussing Napoléon’s military campaigns, including his last stand at Waterloo; displaying a battle map of a book we had gifted him, our father neatly showed us how the unknown obstacle of a little ditch foiled the rescue charge of La Garde Impériale. If that elite regiment would have reached his commanding position, he would have won the battle.

Do not be surprised that people of French heritage like us still admire the Great Corsican so much. In a recent survey that asked French commoners what was the historical figure they would like to personally meet and talk to, they responded like this:

First place: Napoléon Bonaparte

Second place: Charles de Gaulle

Third place: Louis XIV

As you already know by reading our article, we had the fortune of meeting Général de Gaulle as a child. Perhaps, in one of the still unexplored corners of our wide world, we might meet Napoléon?

Pour quoi pas?

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Celebrating International Workers’ Day

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We wish all our fabulous working relatives and friends a great May 1st, their day. Today we especially remember those that every day toil in countless working places to make our modern societies work smoothly for all of us citizens. Without them, we would not survive a minute.

Note. This reproduction of Ford Madox Bown’s Work (1863) was taken from Wikimedia Images. The original painting is located in the Birmingham Art Gallery, United Kingdom.

By Ford Madox Brown – 1QG5Dp3Ti29BxA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29657515

After these terrible months, we should appreciate the sacrifice and efforts of millions of workers worldwide that defied the dangers of this still ongoing pandemic to keep us well fed and clothed. In our upcoming book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague, we argued that society owes much more than a mere recognition to all of them, but rather increased wages and social benefits. We hereby enclose an excerpt of our book for you to read. Please let us know your valued opinion.

‘This zoonotic disease, which passed between animals and humans, was propitiated by a global trade of wildlife, agricultural intensification, deforestation, and urbanization that are bringing human communities in a much closer contact with wild animals’ habitats. These critical issues must be urgently addressed by all nations in international forums with real powers to regulate and enforce.

Another major upheaval is the change of the socio-economic coordinates of most societies regarding the labor opportunities that will be offered by employers. The purely physical labor will continue to keep downsizing in the Information Age, especially for positions that can be staffed by people working from their homes. The remuneration of the heroes that are now buttressing communities—physicians, nurses, care assistants, laboratory clerks, fire and police forces, operators of basic services, truck and delivery drivers, re-stockers of warehouse supplies, etc.—must be promptly, justly increased to reflect their real value for our mere survival.

Is a financier fiddling with numbers more valued than your local butcher?   

As we are writing these lines, we are hearing the generalized hand clapping of the Parisians, exactly at their 8 PM time through the transmission of Radio France Inter [i] in honor of the medical and nursing personnel of their hospitals.

In a positive twist, the citizenry has stopped to subserviently follow the so-called “celebrities” of entertainment and sports that had polluted all public spaces. Who is the object of their dreams? The scientists that are working to bring a safe and effective vaccine against the Coronavirus. The blessed saviors of Mankind.

In the aftermath of this pandemic, the world all around us will feel “weird.” Many of the familiar physical and spiritual assumptions that anchored our daily demeanor in our societies will either be transformed or gone forever from Reality. Tom Frieden, a former director of the CDC [ii] said: “A new world is here. Hand sanitizers at building entrances, touch-free doors and elevators, health care that results in fewer infections of patients and staff, and similar measures are here to stay. Travel bans and quarantine of travelers will most likely continue until there is a vaccine, Vulnerable people may need to shelter in place even after others have re-entered our new world.” [iii]

Whatever the magnitude of the challenges ahead, we have the firm certitude that our dear women will be at our side. Let us appreciate their precious devotion by enthusiastically giving them their due respect.

As President François Macron said in an address to the French nation:

“On doit se réinventer, moi le premier” [iv]

References

[i] https://franceinter.fr/direct/

[ii] Acronym of the “Centers for Diseases Control.”

[iii] Tom Frieden, “I used to Run the C.D.C. Here’s What It Can Do to Slow This Pandemic”, opinion, The New York Times, April 12, 2020. https://nytimes.com/2020/04/12/opinion/cdc_coronavirus.html

[iv] Can be translated as: “we have to re-invent ourselves, starting with me.” Our translation.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Welcome to our Podcast

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. After a few days of tinkering with the necessary set-up, we just published our first podcast at anchor.fm/dr-mario-o-laplume. You are cordially invited to hear it at your total leisure. The greatest advantage is that you can listen to it, whenever you want, wherever you want. Practical.

Our dear son Gian Luca (pictured above in a Parisian street) has been designing a podcast with his friend Brennan and he suggested that we should try our hand at creating one. Pour quoi pas?

As a trial, we converted our previous article Happy Easter into a podcast, to see how things turned out. We also prepared a completely new episode but we are still struggling with the Spotify set-up. We want to put some nice romantic music at the beginning so you can relax and start dreaming. Please remember that the signature line of this web page is: Physician – Writer – Planter of Dreams.

This is just a small first step to get the process going; we promise to regularly upload new episodes. Slowly we will improve our techniques, including how to talk more slowly and pronounce correctly. Isn’t it funny that in this age of digital communications, we might be losing the gift of our voices? It is time to re-connect with our sounds, with our physical presences, with our Basic Human values.

Merde!

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Joyeuses Pâques

Chers lecteurs/lectrices, chers blogueurs/ blogueses:

Bon jour et Joyeuses Pâques pour vous tous/toutes. Aujourd’hi nous sommes heureux parce que Gésu , qui avait mort pour nos pêchés, est de nouveau vivant, après le miracle de la Resurrection. Nous jouissons ce fait avec presque le même enthousiasme qu’ont eu Marie Madelaine et tout ses copines quand elle sont arrivées à la cave ou était entérrée Notre seigneur et l’entrée etait libre. Gésu n’était plus là car il était rentré de nouveau avec nous, pour nous sauver du néant et du desespoir.

Danns ce moment nous nous souvenons de ce cher moment il y a seulement trois ans quand nous sommes allés avec nos enfants, Noël Marie et Gian Luca, à la messe de Pâques de Saint Patrick’s Church au Miami Beach, Floride, USA. Il faut rêver que la prochaine année nous pourrons y aller.

Joyeuses Pâques por vous tous/toutes et votre familles.

Qu’est ce-que vous en pensez? Dîtes-nous.

Ne me laissez pas seul.

Felices Pascuas

Queridos lectores/lectoras y colegas blogeros:

Buenas tardes y Felices Pascuas a todos nuestros lectores en Castellano, alli donde se encuentren. Vamos a pasar esta festividad solos en nuestra humilde y espartana celda monástica, rezando por la salvación del Mundo después de esta terrible pandemia y esperando la Resurrección de Jesucristo.

Para paliar nuestra soledad, la siempre amable Señora María de Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen se ha apiadado de nuestro sufrir y nos ha enviado estas dos magníficas bandejas de comida de primera.

Es una bandeja con arroz basmati y lentejas de base, con babaganoush, humus, rabanitos, falafel y medallones de cordero grillados, rociado con una salasita tahini y coroandos con queso feta.

Gracias a la generosidad de María y de toda la gente linda de su restorán, hoy tendremos un festín.

Muchísimas gracias y que Dios Todopoderosito bendiga a los miembros de Zuuk y sus familias.

Felices Pascuas para todos Ustedes!

Que les parece? Por favor dígannos.

No me dejen solo.

A pious well balanced dinner for Good Friday

Tonight we are having a very pious and well balanced meal, within the solemnity of Good Friday, the most painful day for all practicing Christians. Little food, no meat of any kind and plenty of beer.

Following the millennial monastic traditions, we pray in silence while we drink in a communal way.

We remember how the Son of God died for our sins, crucified by the Romans in the Golgotha hill. May he accomplish again the Miracle of Resurrection next Sunday for the joy of all of us, Christians.

Amen!

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Celebrating Five Years of Blogging

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. On March 16, 2016, we decided to create a medical and literary web page for professional reasons. We are celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of our dear web page, a major milestone after so much sustained efforts; we would like to thank our daughter Noël Marie and our son Gian Luca, indefatigable collaborators and fans. This platform is critically important for the publication of our new book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague.

When we decided to post articles in the English language (lately we started blogging in French and Spanish too) we are humbly following the pioneering, courageous steps of the first blogger in Shakespeare’s language: G.K. Chesterton. In his staid Victorian times, the British intelligentsia haughtily dismissed his prolific writing as second class writing, or worse. What they did not know at the time was that his agile, frequent and occasionally spotty writing in the mass circulation London newspapers would be the forerunner of our present plethora of similar endeavors in so many multiple platforms. He is the true mentor and “unofficial Patron Saint” of us, bloggers.

We would like to share with you what were the motives that sparked our decision to design this web page and our commitment to continue blogging in earnest. We transcribe a segment of our book’s Acknowledgement. Voilà!

“If they don’t want to give you something,

Get out in the street to make big trouble.

You’ll always get something out of it.” [i]

In our list of needed acknowledgments this quote should take pride of place. It was casually uttered by our dear friend Oscar Pérez, a street-smart lawyer from General Pirán in Buenos Aires State, Argentina, that used to be a member of the Peronist Party. For its almost 70 years of existence that populist political party—composed of an heterogenous array of factions ranging from the extreme right to the left one—has had the signature feature of engaging in all kind of mass protests.

When, after several years of assiduous daily toiling at our desk, we finally crafted a novel in 2016, we were flummoxed by the reluctance of literary agents and/or agencies—in spite of receiving some nice accolades for our writing skills—to represent us in order to secure its final publication. After the initial shock, we took a most bold step: we put the novel in a “holding area” as a Kindle book [ii] and decided to create a medical and literary web page at https://drmolaplume.com

Spontaneously following primal instincts, we designed a few original series. One of them titled Emotional Frustration was perfidiously scheduled to go up at an early 7 AM EST slot on Saturdays, a time when we presumed some overworked and under-appreciated homemakers would get up to fix a solo cup of a hot brew and drink it quietly in the kitchen while her house coasts placidly in sleep mode. We took a guess that all these devoted women would be reflecting about their lives and what was missing in them. Usually just a good ear to listen. (Is that too much?)

Hardly did we fathom at the time that it would turn into such a success, receiving the commentaries (in the page and in its associated e-mail address) of emotionally frustrated ladies from all over the planet, even as far away as Asia. These loyal readers even suggested the topics that we should cover. Somehow our accumulated experience of forty years as a medical practitioner and consultant furnished myriad anecdotes about critical issues that women have to contend with in our societies, especially disdain and discrimination for their real capabilities.”

References

[i] The words in the Castilian language were the following: “si no te quieren dar algo, tenés que salir a la calle a armar kilombo, siempre algo vas a sacar.”

[ii] Mario O. Laplume, “Madame D.C., Book I :Three voyages”, https://amazon.com/Madame-D-C-Book-Three-voyages-ebook/dp/B01M715X63/

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day to honor the heavenly creatures that give us life, nurture us, love us and guide us with their great wisdom. What better example than our daughter Noël Marie?

Thank you God Almighty for granting us (her mother and myself) the privilege of such a blessed child.

However, wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of honoring our women just this day of the year, we do it every day of our lives? We include below an excerpt of our upcoming book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague  where we emphatically make this point. We should come out of this terrible pandemic with the firm determination to do right with the ones that have shouldered the heaviest burden in these trying times of cruel Social Distancing. Women.

“If we want them not to be distracted by their disgusting social stereotypes, then we must fight on for a total reconsideration of our civic interactions.

If we want them not to be distracted by the gender inequality in benefits, then we must demand a just compensation inside and outside their homes.

If we want them not to be distracted by the disgusting lack of childcare, then we must mobilize for a much better re-distribution of social wealth.

If we want them not to be distracted by the appalling legacies of racism, then we must override the toxic environmental primes and use better cues.

If we want them not to be distracted by the brutalizing family obligations, then we must pick up more slack at home with child rearing and hygiene,

If we want them not to be distracted when we are ready for ardent love, then we must sit down with them to discuss any aspect of our bonding.

If we want them not to be distracted by the foolishness of our tantrums, then we must shoulder our fairer load at home and outside with a smile.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Nouvel Souffle

Après la tempête, je veux être le nouvel souffle.”

(After the storm, I want to be the new breath)

Legend of a poster shown in Sentinelle, a Netflix Original film

Tonight we decided to prepare a simple dinner: tagliarini with a dollop of olive oil, butter and parmesan cheese. Being a little blasé from all those fancy sauces preparations and photographic montages to present our pasta creations, we decided to go back to the incomparably sweet and tender memories of our Mother Gladys’ cooking.

This is exactly how she prepared the pasta in a simple yet nutritious way to rightly feed her husband and children.

Muchas gracias Mamita querida!

Watching the publicity of a supposedly new “travel and cooking program about Italy”, we could not help chuckle. The presenter, an American of Italian roots that kept his distance from the untidiness of the kitchen, watched as deli owners and chefs presented him with a sample, which triggered his farcical gestures and exclamations. A fallacy.

We have relatives and friends in the Italian Peninsula that own, or used to own, gastronomical enterprises that are now almost bankrupt, trying to survive with less traffic, the changing pandemic regulations and little financial relief. This kind of silly fantasy about a long gone pre-pandemic world, designed by the perpetually-behind-the-curve gurus of Madison Avenue, is pure falsehood. Once the pandemic restrictions are over, many of these establishments will be gone and , what is much worse, the general public will be more suspicious of sitting down in tight indoor spaces and will have less disposable income, especially if they have kids. Those that emerge out of the seclusion will be changed.

The Post-Pandemic world is right upon us and it calls for a more simple and practical lifestyle for educated people. We will continue to patronize the local restaurants maybe once or twice a week with take-out and delivery, besides sitting down a Saturday night or a Sunday lunch with the family or a “significant other.” We will resume our travel expeditions but there will be less visits to overpriced restos and more cooking in our Air BNB accommodations. Moreover, there will be slightly less emphasis on what’s inside your plate and more consideration for your partner.

We will push a new breath of kindness, sweetness and, pour quoi pas, some old-fashioned romanticism in our lives.

We must assume the drastic changes that the 2020 pandemic brought upon us and then build a new, better world.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Awaiting our book’s publication with a soup

“Entre la sopa y el amor, la primera es la mejor.” Old Castilian proverb

(Between the soup and love, the first one is the better one)

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. These are certainly nail-biting times, from the the social, civic  and personal levels. We are eagerly awaiting the submission of the final galley proofs of our book, Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague, by the proficient, kind and patient representatives of Outskirts Press. Once we review the book draft, which has undergone countless reviews already, we will immediately approve it for publication, hopefully occurring momentarily. Merde!

As we were rigorously instructed in the matriarchate that raised us  (you will need to read our book for details) we always prepare a good soup for the seminal moments of tough challenges in our lives to give us needed strength.

We wholeheartedly encourage you to follow our steps, for your physical and psychological well-being. Avanti!  As soon as we publish the book, you will be able to hit the hyperlink buy my book and conveniently purchase it online.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.