Showing posts from 2013

12 grapes

If you wish to give a very traditional end to 2013 with a Spanish touch, you have to eat twelve grapes at twelve o'clock at night.

It is said that in 1909 there was a surplus of grapes in Alicante (Spain) and someone came up with the idea of  eating a grape for each stroke of the bell at twelve at night. Certainly, that was an excellent idea to encourage people to eat grapes and, little by little, what started as a local tradition ended up in a national tradition, and a must to most Spaniards.

If you wish to try, there are three very simple steps to follow:

- Switch on any Spanish channel at 1200 pm. If you do not have a TV but you have a computer at hand, get connected here: canal via Internet. - Prepare twelve grapes. - You must eat a grape for each stroke of the the bell.

That's it! Some say that if you do so, 2014 will be an excellent year full of health, money and love for you :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014

I wish you in tenths of different languages a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014! 

Español - Felices Pascuas y Feliz Año Nuevo
English - Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
Polish - Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku
Afrikaans - Geseende Kerfees en 'n gelukkige nuwe jaar
Amharic - Melkam Yelidet Beaal
Arabic - I'D Miilad Said ous Sana Saida

Armenian - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri - Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Bahasa Malaysia - Selamat Hari Natal
Basque - Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bengali - Shuvo Baro Din - Shuvo Nabo Barsho
Bohemian - Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian - Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton - Nedeleg laouen na bloav ezh mat
Bulgarian - Vasel Koleda; Tchesti nova godina!
Catalan - Bon nadal i feliç any nou!
Cantonese - Seng Dan Fai Lok, Sang Nian Fai Lok
Choctaw - Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito
Cornish - Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Corsican - Pace e salute
Crazanian - Rot Yikji Dol La Roo 
Cree - Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Creek - Af…

The poetical works of John Milton

A few weeks ago I went to Aberdeen to visit a friend. Apart from having a beer in good company, we love spending time in second-hand bookstores, and although we could not find many, we saw one pretty close to the city center.
What a surprise when I saw a book in blue cover entitled: "The Poetical Works of John Milton". I opened it and on the first page I read: "From Lily, Christmas 1908". While I was thumbing through Paradise Lost,   I noticed that there were beautiful pictures signed by A.A.Dixon 1903 all over it.
Price: 2 pounds.
There are books that are priceless.


369 years ago, Areopagitica was published in 23 November 1644, at the height of the English Civil War. When John Milton wrote in his political tract that “[a] good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life” (Milton 27), he would have never imagined that his words would welcome visitors to the New York Public Library in the 21st century.
Today, John Milton is still remembered not only because “his literary art places him in the small circle of great epic writers” (Abrams 649), the arch important among them being of course his famous Paradise Lost, but also for his entire prose work. In fact, he was a very prolific author who wrote about education, logic, religion, politics, divorce and many other subjects. However, there is something special in Milton´s short tract. First of all, Areopagitica shows very clearly that Milton’s arguments are often contradictory, which makes his ideas even more appealing and provoking. Seco…

The Piccadilly Circus murderer. End of the story.

Colette produced the piece of paper out of her pocket and unfolded it. It was the same document the chief inspector had left in the banker’s house. The very same document that Frank the Knife had found at the crime scene and dropped when he got in the wardrobe.
GREAT BANK 6 Piccadilly Circus
SW1Y 4ND 19th November 1930 Please pay to : Mr. Mortimer Brown the amount of15.000 pounds---------------------
Signed ﭺﭮﭩﭴﮜﮢﮠﻁ Clem Smith GENERAL DIRECTOR

The chief inspector turned pale. The sense of frustration and inarticulateness was agony to him. He himself filled up his glass with more than a dash of sherry and downed it at once.
Turpin´s eyes glistened in his rounded face and directing his voice to the two policemen who were still holding their weapons in their hands, he said:
“Gentlemen, arrest the chief inspector for the murder of the banker. Monsieur Brown, you murdered the banker.”
A cold long silence filled up the entire room. The two policemen looked at each other not knowing what to …

The Piccadilly Circus murderer. Part 3

The inspector blinked his eyes, feeling a sudden impulse to attack him before he was attacked by Frank. However, the inspector stood up, opened the window and waved at two of the policemen who were waiting for him outside. They came into the hotel room with their weapons in their hands ready to use them but Turpin said:
“Please, there is no need to shoot anybody.”
In that moment, Frank regained consciousness feeling groggy and weak but managed to make his way to the window in an attempt to jump and escape from the chief inspector. When he realized that if he jumped out of the window he would certainly die, he looked back. Turpin, putting on an expression of reflexion, took a thin and long French cigarette out of a silver cigarette box case and lit it. Then he said:
“Please, sit down all of you. I mean, all of you except you two”, he added while pointing at the two policemen who had just arrived.
Frank sat, then the chief inspector. Colette looked proud of her husband. She lik…

The Piccadilly Circus murderer. Part 2

Frank was still inside the wardrobe without making a noise. His heart was beating up so fast that he could even hear the pumping of it. He tried to calm down by breathing slow and deep but it did not help much. He knew that the slightest noise would give him away and the chief inspector would put him behind bars. He closed his eyes and cleaned the sweat of his forehead with one of Colette’s polo necks that were hanging down inside the wardrobe.
Colette unrolled the paper and read it. Her exhilaration turned into despair after reading its content. This time, it was Colette who needed a sherry.
“Mon amour, would you serve me a sherry, please?”, asked Colette while she was pushing the piece of paper carefully into her pinkish dressing gown pocket.
“But you barely drink alcohol,” said Turpin while frowning his forehead.
“Well, here you are mon amour,” said Turpin. Colette sat down in the sofa, sipped the sherry and rolled her glass between her hands.
While the chief inspe…

The Piccadilly Circus murderer. Part I

I have written a short story that you may like. 

She lay propped up by pillows as her husband burst into the room to soothe his sore throat with a sherry. The window was half-open and he could easily hear the paperboy reading aloud the newspaper headline: “Dead banker in Piccadilly Circus. Puzzled police call detective Clemont Turpin”.
After gulping down his sherry, he stared at his wife and said:
“Mon amour, how is it possible they know faster than me?”
And Colette replied:
“That is because since Hercule Poirot got retired, the British chief inspector depends on you to solve his most complicated cases.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the hotel door. The knock was so soft that Clemont did not hear it and after a little while, a noise like a bang was heard. Clemont was approaching the door when he noticed that a man in his thirties was actually entering their hotel room. In panic, Clemont fetched the blue vase from the small brownish table near the door and broke it in the head of…

The feminine touch

The first time I went to my friend's place was about two months ago. His flat was rather disorganized, and I had the feeling that some more pieces of furniture were needed all over the place, but I did not know exactly where. There were no curtains, the painting was flaking off and there were no traces of decoration at all. The flat was not dirty, but there was a neutral smell that did not tell me much about my host.

Yesterday I went back to his place, what a difference!
The moment he invited me in I noticed the scent of a woman, just like in Al Pacino's famous film. The flat had a different light, the painting was on its place, there was manual decoration in the kitchen's window, there was an additional piece of furniture in the kitchen and there was a lovely and positive message written in the walls of the kitchen: in one wall I could read what life is not about. In the another, what life is about.

World No Tobacco Day

Today is the World No Tobacco Day. If you smoke, today is the perfect day to quit. Ifyou do not smoke, todayisan excellent day toencouragesomeone you lovetostop smoking.Smoking is not good. The statistics are clearabout itand most ofthe people who dieof cancer is because of thenegative effects ofsmoking. 

Some sources indicate that the "harmful effects of smoking depend onthe chemicals containedinthe leaf. Mainlythere are four:

1. Nicotine: the main component. Itproducesdependence.

2. Carbon Monoxide: It's a gas thatcomes fromthe incomplete combustion ofthe strandofsmoking andanycombustionproduct, starting with the fumesofinternal combustionvehicles, whether gasoline ordiesel.

3. Irritating gases: Gasesthat affectthe respiratory system.

4. Carcinogen: There have been detectedseveralpotential carcinogenssuch as benzopyrene, which are formed during the combustion ofcigarette paper."

Very often, people who smokedo not realizetheharmit causes inthosewho do not smoke. If you smokeb…

My friend Marcin needs your help

Like last year, I am writing to you to ask you for help. My friend Marcin is having a very hard time. For the past years he has been fighting with all his strenth against a brain cancer that is leaving him very weak. This is what he wrote to me in one of his latest e-mails,

Hi Dario!
Sorry to have taken time to get back to you. It is only now that I start to feel decent after the last chemo.
It's been over 2 years now and regretfully I am still fighting. In the meantime I've had a couple of metastasis to the right eye orbit and surroundings and in January this year I had 6 new tumors located in the head and brain area. Went through Gamma Knife radiosurgery here in Warsaw, which we had to pay for ourselves since NFZ does not refund this procedure,at least not yet. Lots of hassle and uncertainty at that time, but I hope it will pay off. Additionally we decided on an alternative DCA treatment supervised by a Clinic in Canada. I have been qualified for the treatment and am alre…

My new book

I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book. Its title is:
Muses and Graces, Serpents and Sirens, Virgins wise and pure... John Milton's other women
It has taken me several years to complete it, and it is the result of countless hours of reading John Milton´s prose texts and his poems.
John Milton (1608-1674) is one of those authors who do not leave anybody impassive. Anyone who has read any of his poems or prose tracts is likely to either love or hate Milton, but very rarely do his readers remain indifferent to his words. His writings have provoked strong and even contradictory feelings in men, in women, and in entire governments.

The book elaborates in detail on the importance of Milton’s feminine characters in both, his poems and his prose. His approach to the feminine gender in his work is very much defined by the historic moment he lived in and by the religious influence of the Puritan movement he belonged to, with the Bible as his keystone. His approa…


I´d like to be positive, but the more I watch the news on TV the more I realize that this year is not going to be an easy one. Unemployment seems to be one of the most important problems that we are going to face this year no matter where we live in. If there is unemployment, there is no money and people cannot pay their rents, credits or mortgages. If we cannot pay our debts, we will lose our belongings. If we lose our belongings, we have a problem, a big one, because noone will help us. Banks will keep it all and we will end up with nothing. Banks will not be able to resell all those flats, cars, premises and will lose plenty of money. Consequently, crisis will end up in a megacrisis with no way out. 
Solution: switch off the TV.