Day Dreams

A Brain, A Brain and A Kookie person. It used to mean something. Now its out of controle +) Our only hope is Blue

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yours Truly

Just for once, the picture of a guy and not a girl. I ran away from my exams to write two posts:
Dream No8 &
Exam Escapade

I hope you like them and until friday. Posted by Hello

Dream no8: My sister's Dream

For the first time this is a dream someone else saw. My sister is at this reception where a prince is going to read his poetry. He is a prince and a poet you see. So she sits with the audience and everyone is really looking fancy and cool and its really a place you would like to be, beautiful things all around.

At the end my sister goes to thank the prince or ask for his autograph, I can't remember what she told me, so he says hello and then there is this other older prince that comes along and they are speaking together all three of them.

Then the older prince appears with a two-year-old baby (I can't remember if it was a boy or a girl) . Actually its his grand son/daughter and he tells my sister that he really needs her to keep his grandchild. So my sister has to keep the grandchild of this prince.

My sister trys to make contact with the baby and to her happiness ans surprise he/she speaks perfectly well, just like a grown up.

Its really fun how my sister is called Maria and she dreams of a child speaking in the cradle. Does hat remind you of another Maria. (I am sorry sis for this remark)

Now she brings the baby to me, so that he might meet his "uncle" and he (maybe she) really likes me alot and is going uncle Steliano this uncle Steliano that...Then my mother came and woke her up. So the dream really has no ending bu its really sister's imagination is really very different and original and just great. This girl rules.

P.S. Now the symphony -see last post- is at the Aude a la Joie..the emmmm....Song of Joy...the forth movement. THis is probably the most famous melody in the world.

Exam Escapade

Two days gone and three left. I am still alive. I want to thank all those who came by during my abscence and especially my friends who wished me luck for my exams..thank you Olivia, Piano, Nurhan, Rami, Dina, Ayman and Lasto Adri and free soul.

But why didn't anyone say if they wanted to marry me :)

Right now I am listening to Beethoven's 9th symphony, the opening, or overture I don't remember what it is called in English, is nearly over. A copy of Hamlet is on my bed as well as many math books. I think if anyone sees me now they might really suspect I am an interesting guy. Not all that shines is gold.

When Alexander the great arrived in Babylone everyone wanted him to stop. The preists said he had completed his mission in conquering the lands of his father Zeus-Amon: Amon's teretory is Greece, Egypte, Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia. Alexander continued much further because he was very charmed by the persian king Darius. It was only so that he might contemplate his enemy's long black eyes in batlle and wonder at their secret.

As I wrote this, the opening (or overture I really don't know) was reaching its peak, such power and majesty in the music. It is said - Berlioz the French classical composer tells this story - that when the 9th symphony was played in Paris an old soldier from Napoleon's army - a grenadier - stood up at the end of the opening shouting The Emperor it is the Emperor...when I say its a powerful opening..

Another fun thing about this symphony is that it has a sung part. The lyrics are about brotherhood between all humans. Beethoven chose to vary this sung theme in ways that belong to different cultures. Actually one of the variations is a Turkish march, a familiar oriental rythme. This was considered a major scandal in Beethoven's time.

In Spain there is aTV show when a girl can ask a guy to marry her. The trick is they do it in such an embarassing way the guy can not say no. You see the girl wears a bride's dress, she comes with the camera, the guy who presents the show and a whole crowd of people and surprises her boyfriend who had no idea she was going to do it live on TV. Is it possible to say No on TV and in front of so many people without being taken for a heartless loser by the whole TV wathching nation...basically there is no saying no, poor guy.

Hamlet keeps wishing he would die but never has the courage to kill himself. He never has the courage to kill Claudius, what a whimp really.

Ladies and gentlemen, In three days my exams are over. I will go to Lille for the week-end and then start a placement at a research lab in Image Processing, stuff like in the movies, ain't that cool...well actually I would have preferred some more summer vacations, but ok.

Well...See you in three days when we will be back to our regular programm and until then remember to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and to brush your teeth before you go to sleep.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Will You Marry Me?

Posted by Hello
I have exams now. I will not post for a week. I will be back
next friday. Here is a picture until then. Thanks to all and wish
me luck.

Life of Khayyam3

As I said great political changes were coming. THe Seljoukides, under Sultan Alp Arslan and prime minister Nizam el Molk (who was OMar's friend at school) were going to attack Samarcand.

Actually they are very near winning, but Alp Arslan dies accidentally and the campaign is stopped. Although he is an enemy Alp is the brother of Nasser Khan's CHinese wife, so a delegation from the city of Samarcande -which if Alp had lived would have been attacked- goes to pay its tributes. Khayyam is in the delegation.

They are received by Nizam who tells Khayyam to come to Isphahan in one year exatly.

This is what he does and on his way he meets his other schoolmate Hassam Sabah, who says he wants to go to Nizam's court. THey go along together and Nizam actually proposes an important post to Khayyam. But Omar wants to stay away from politics and refuses. He suggests Hassan instead and this is done.

To his great surprise, Omar discovers that Jihan lives in Isphahan now as an important person in the court. And this time he marries her.

Now Hassan loses his post after Nizam intrigues against him. And he is banished. He goes to Egypte and will come back as the leeader of the order of Assasins, the most fearsome secret order in history..but this is next time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Family Picture

Since I am not posting today, here is a picture. Again, I don't know them. I guess she is their mother and its just a family picture. The girl seems bored though..

This is a poster from an exhibition for old pictures, all I know.Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Slaying a Dragon(edited)

Posted by Hello
As piano said (thank you piano), this is Saint George.
He is a holly figure in all three monotheistic religions.

Lasto adri here is the story:

Saint George, was a tribune in the roman army of emperor Dioclean. He protestes against the persecution of christians and was executed. He is also mentioned in the Quran (thank you piano again) as al khodr.

He became the saint protector of England when King Richard Lionheart placed the army under his protection.

Here is Saint George's legend, as told in the Legenda Aurea, the golden legends:

There was a city called cibeline in Lybia. In this city there was a lake where a dragon lived. If the people didn't feed it a sheep and a girl everyday, it would bring plague upon the city.

The girl was chosen by lottery and one day the lottery fell on the king's daughter. THe people of the city would not accept that the princess be changes by anyone else. SHe was dressed as a bride and sent to the lake.

Saint george heard of this and went to the lake side. The princess told him to go away as there is no hope but he stayed and when the dragon appeared he charged it and wounded it with his lance.

Then he called on the princess to throw her gurdle to him and he put it around the dragon's neck. Then the princess could lead the dragon like a dog and they brought it back to the city.

Dream no7

American Dream:

I am in Michigan, in the middle of a blizzard. I am wearing my green puma football outfin I really used to like about 4 years ago. Anyway, I am in shorts and its snowing so hard.. I walk and walk and the wind has something personal against me, its just biting me like a shark.

There is no one else in the street, but still I feel so opressed and this makes me fear some presence that wants to hurt me.

Out of an ally a green toyota corolla comes blazing in my direction, its clear the driver wants to hit me. The car barely touches me and stops. I am not hurt and I look inside the car and find no one.

I hope in and, feeling very cold, I close the windows. As soon as I do that the AC goes on even worse than the blizzard outside. For a moment I am like fuck it, I want to wake up, but then I move back to the back seat, where it is warm and cosy and continue my sleep.

Universal Language (Edited)

I am really experimenting with this post. So please be honest, if its boring and uncomprehensible, tell me. If you wish to know more about modes, and I don't write about them again. There is a link at the end.

According to my program. Here is a comparison between european and arabic music. I really like to study and compare different kinds of music, especially the way they are composed and the styles they represent.

This is an addition: A very famous difference is that Arabic music has quart de tones. On a piano you have notes (white keys), sharps and flats (black keys). Quart de tones are the notes between the black and white keys, they don't exist on a piano. They can be played on string and wind instruments, and of course electronic synthesizers.

In all musical traditions, music is played on a number of different modes. A mode is just a set of notes related to each other by some rules.

For european music these are the ionian, dorian, phrygian etc modes. They are actually given by there first note, all the others are at given "jumps" from it. There are about 12 modes (very approximatively).

Why are there so many modes? They correspond to various instruments and to various ways of tuning an instrument. This influences the kind of mood the sound gets you into. Mode is related to mood, you see.

With the birth of classical music, these modes were more and more unified in a major and minor. Also the concept of Harmony emerged, it allows for the use of many instruments at the same time and thus for orchestral performances, which can involve many instruments playing complex melody together.

In eastern music the opposite choice was made. Instead of getting rid of all the modes to allow for orchestras. A multitude of modes was cultivated, surely more than fifty and maybe more than 100. This makes it hard for different instruments to play together, although this can be done. On the other hand it allows for music to represent so many different moods and states of mind, to be much more expressive and lyrical.

Relation between the european and arabic modes:

The major and minor modes are actually part of the eastern modes, or maqams, they are known as nahawand and ajam.

Flamenco and tango music are played on a scale that is also included among the arabic modes, called kurd.

All this makes mixing classical-like compositions and flamenco or tango-like compositions into eastern music rahter easy and interesting.


The arabic modes are more complicated in there construction. As I had said, the european modes are given by their first note. This makes them very simple and beautiful. On the other hand the arabic ones have to be classified acording to there first three, four or five notes.

This complexity is very interesting for songs. Take a family of modes that share the same beginning. Some of theme are high pitched and give this dramatic mood, other are low pitched and give this kind of sad mood, maybe ohers are in between and good for a fast melody.

So a song is always made this way: Take a family, start on the lower mode. Good for introduction. There will be a dramatic climax and this is where you will be using the higher one and for the end go back to something in between, conclusion. This is the arch shaped compostion of arabic songs.

Check out this link for and exhaistive list and examples.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Picture(edited)

Sh'es not a celebrity. Just the girl in a photograph from 1955.

Hello its me the next day:

Now I know her name is Stasia. Posted by Hello

Two Quatrains

طوى الصبحُ راية جيشِ الظلام
فقم يا خليلي و هات المدام
و فكَ لنا نرجسَ المقلتين
فإنا لسوف نطيل المنام

ترجمة أحمد رامي

ربّي قولي من المعصومُ من إثمٍ و عيبِ
ربّي كيفَ سطاع أن يحيى مرؤ ٌ من غيرِ ذنبِ
أنا عبدٌ أصنعُ السوءَ فتجزيني بسوءٍ
فإذن ما الفرقُ ما بيني و بينكَ ربّي

ترجمة عبد الحق فاضل
Don't forget to continue the story below. I will translate these two to english in comments. Sorry for the mistakes in arabic.
To read them all in the most famous English translation, by Edward Fitzgerald, go to

Life of Khayyam2.

Samarcande, where Omar has just arrived, is one of the most important cities on the silk road. It is a very rich one and the dynasty of the Black Khans that governs it is in fearce competition with the Seldjoukide empire where his school friend Nizam (mentioned in part1) is prime minister.

The protector of Omar is the supreme judge of the dynasty, who gives his a house and itroduction to the court of Nasser Shah, the king. Three important events take place in this city:

In the court of Nasser Shah he refuses to pay false tribute to the king and- to the surprise of all- the king admires him immensely for this. He even seats him next to him. Omar starts to come more often to the court and there he meats a woman poet, Jihan -Jihan means "the world" in persian. She quickly becomes his mistress.

One day, maybe he had drunk with him a lot, Nasser Shas proposes to fulfill Omars craziest wish. Omar asks to build an observatory. Nasser just says presto -well he doesn't, he doesn't speak italian- and they build a huge one. This allows Omar to calculate the length of the solar year with great exactness, Nasa number exactness, and his following step is to invent the persian calendar -still used todayin Iran - where months correspond to zodiac signs, and the year starts with the spring.

Finally his protector asks him to write a book on maths. For this he gives him a beautiful empty book where he can write. Omar hides it and starts the quatrains in it. He actually also writes a great book on algebra but I mentioned this in an earlier post.

So why did Khayyam start the quatrains: Quatrains were a very common way of expression i his time. They were not considered poetry but rather a second rank rhyme in slang. So the quatrains were simply his memoires, his blog if you will, whenever he really felt something strongly he wrote a quatrain about it and since it eould have been a shame for a great scholar like himself to publish quatrains he hid them. Especially that there content was very subversive for that time:Wine, atheism, homosexuality...

Now Omar is separated from Jihan because she is always travelling with the courte. But they will meet again, after some great political changes take place..but this is tomorrow.

To be continued:

Next time:

War between Black Khans and Seldjoukides.

Khayyam travels to Isphahan where he will meet Jihan.

He will also meet NIzam el Molk and Hassan Sabah from school

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Life of Khayyam1.

Omar Khayyam was born in Nichapour in Persia, on the 18th of may 1084. In his time people never knew the exact date of their birth. But since he was an astronomer, he asked his mother about the stars on the day of his birth and calculated the date.

He studied in Nichapour at first. This period was one of the most important in his life. At school he had two colleagues:Hassan Sabah and Nizam el Molk.

Hassan Saba7 was going to become the founder of the order of Assasins. The most fearsome terrorist organization of all times. The word Assasins comes from Hashich: The followers of Hassan used drugs to gain courage in order to execute their crazy missions. It is also related to the word 2asayeen:The principle ones.

Nizam el Molk is the most important politician in the middle ages. He was the organizer and diplomat who made the seldjoukide empire the biggest empire in the middle ages, ruling the region between china and the medeterranean sea. His famous book Siasat Namah is the eastern equivalent of Macchiavelli's Prince. The only difference is Macchiavelli waas frustrated by his failures on politics and his book was the fruit of his frustration. Siasat Namah is the fruit of th experience of an empire builder.

Omar at the age of 16 had learned all there is to learn from greek and islamic resources. He knew many greek philosophy books, Aristotalese, Ptolemey, Archemedis..., by heart. And so he moves to the important city of Samarcand, capital of the dynasty of black khans, where king Nasser Shah ruled.

To be continued......

In the next episodes:

*Writting his books
*The Quatrains
*Meeting Hassan again
*Meeting Nizam Again
*The Order of Assasins created

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Is she pretty? You can give a grade from 1 to 10. Posted by Hello

Coming Soon

After I finish the program given in "Our Program" I will be posting about the following subjects:

*The French Revolution
**Religeous Art:Is it art?..examples from Islamic and Christian art.
****I changed my mind, I am not going to do this anymore
*****Surrealism and psychoanalysis and relativity and soufism
******More dreams
*******A new Reader's Digest Section.

PI.ES. I try to model my plans on your interests. IF you ldon't like some of this stuff tell me and it will have less priority - comes later - if you like something then I will try to post it sooner.

Sleep Tight

Narjes II, The Return

Call me Steliano. A few days ago - I do not know presicely how many - having little or no time to write and nothing particular to interest me outside, I decided I would post a Dali painting and see the response of the world.

If you have read Moby-Dick, I hope you liked the adaptaion of the first three lines of the book.

It appears that by an amazing coincidence, Bessy - whome I didn't know at all before- had posted a Dali! everyone got into this great artistic ctriticism congress. The comments we left under the picture are extremely interesting. I recommend them++++ read them everyone.

I found it pretty amazing that without knowing, we were posting paintings by Dali. How many people in the world posted a Dali that same day?

Now to follow up on this, here are the thought the comments gave me:

Symbolism in the picture:

There are two instances of Narcissus in the painting. A before and after kind of thing. As Bessy noted, Dali always worked on the notion of time, here time is unfolded: Different moments are painted in succession, like a timeline.

They are both turning there back to a chessboard: Well, I would say Chess is representative of conscious thinking. In the narcissistic state the unconscious is much more free.

Compare the Before and After: (After in to the right by the way, with a narcissus flower on his head) This is a great work on anatomy. The human figure of "before" is constructed from its main pieces attached together bya human skeleton. An Abstraction of the general form of male anatomy.

In the "after" figure is the same one as the before. Only the different pieces: head, body, arms...are not attached in any way. (a bit like a snow man)..its quite interesting because its an abstraction of the abstraction: First take a human form and take out all the details, this leaves a skeleton or a "model" human like the one to the left. Then Reduce the model to its parts, you get Narcissus, Narjes.

I think this is a very strong statement about Narcissism. Maybe for it. Narcissism here is looking at oneself in an abstract way. Just the way it did for Narjes, this brings you closer to the secrets within you.

Ok, what I find really funny: Its finally like a commercial for narcissism: THis is your guy before he became a narcissist, there he is after, and he is doing much better.

Finally: Dali should be written with an accent on the i. Pronounces Dali with a very short a and a long i. . Und das ist alle.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dream no6

"Home is where the heart is" (a really smart-ass person..really)

I am riding behind this greek style military leader in the desert. In the dream he is noone, I like to think its Alexander the great. He turns around and gives me a peach, its smell is that of fond memories. But, since we are in the desert and I am really hungry, I want to eat it.

As soon as I tried to eat it, it started getting bigger. And the more I tried the bigger it got, until it finally became of huge proportions and took over the desert scene. A door appeared in it.

I don't why, but I entered. Inside was this eastern style city. A long souk where the colours of the whole world came together under the brazen look of the merchants. I let my legs lead me, the walk was very enjoyable and after a very long time I came to this theatre where a short chubby singer was giving an amazing performance of some mowashah (for the non initiated: arabo-andalusian form of rythmic singing)...the song was transceding, but I soom realised that fat fuck was eating my peach..I ran onto the stage and as soon as I got there he disappeared, and when I turned around I didn't see the audience but the medeterranean sea and I was not on a stage but on a rocky cliff over the sea, with a beautiful fig tree behind me.

The end.

My Birthday party Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my 22 birthday. I spent the whole afternoon (4 hours) designing microwave devices. Needless to say I activated my own anti-thinking devices: I was looking out the window all the time. Well, at least its over now.

The picture is how the party I am having looks like and on this link you can listen to what she sang for the occasion.

I feel really special that its my birthday, but I also think I have done so little in life. I mean by all global standards I am an unsignificant person. Except to the people close to me, of course. I am not a movie star nor a great writter nor have I one a nobel prize...

But hey, being surrounded by people you love is the best gift life can give you. I don't need a nobel prize. (although a 1000000$ would definitely be cool)

Now you can sing....Happy birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Mr. President
Happy Birthday to you....

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Our Programm

Tune in to read the following subjects:

tomorrow: My birthday. How I see my life+Dream no6

21st: Follow up on Narjes and on Surrealism

22nd: Life of Omar Khayyam - the low personal details - and resources for his poetry

23rd: A roundup of blog I like most

24th: Probably something about music. Maybe on how song music is written like Maqamat
n stuff like that

Same bat-time same bat-channel
will the dynamic duo escape
Usama bin Laden's plan?
P.S. when its late, I write very silly things. Bonne Nuit a toutes et a tous. Kalinihta, tesba7o 3ala 7.eir, good night, y buenas noches

Narjes Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Game of Life

Every Second in our life brings with it a question, in fact a choice. Even the simplest objects we interact with can contain endless possibilites. We are, in part, the ones who decide all these things.

Wake up this morning, why did I wear my old glasses and not my new ones? Why did I choose my white T-shirt and not my blue one? Why did I say hello to this person and not to that one?.....

Moreover, these questions we are faced with, in every moment of our life, are of a very binary nature. You either choose on thing or the other. There is no inventing new choices, no buts. The world was made this way.

Thinking of this, my sister and I invented a game a few years ago. In this game we ask each other questions that are completely senseless, we give too choices for the answer. The other player must decide very quickly and does not have the right to argue or doesn't wait.

The questions are: If you could be one of too people who would you be. A philosophy for this particular question is that our choices determine who we are.

If you were Lorel or Hardy, who would you be?

31)Ghandi or Napoleon
30)Alexander the great or Hannibal
29)Ghandi or Khaled ebn el Waleed
28)Shakespear or Oscar Wilde
27)Souma or Abdelwahab
26)Mohammad or Jesus
25)Stalin or Lenin
24)Marx or Engels
23)Marx or Stalin
22)Hitler or Neron
21)Socrates or George W. Bush
20)Maryline Monroe or M7ammad 3abdo
19)Maryline Monroe or Bill Gates
18)Laila 3elwi or Yosra
17)George bush Senior or Junior
16)Ronaldo or Van Basten
15)Newton or Einstein
13)Newton or Picasso
12)Newton or you
11)Picasso or Dali
10)A back-street-boy or an N-Sync
9)A tree or a mountain
8)A mountain or a Cloud
7)Me or My sister
6)Ibn Sina or Naguib Mahfooz
5)A7mad Shay5i or A7mad Rami
4)Snoopy or 3amr 7.aled
3)Newton or David Beckham
2)Eminem or Celine Dion
1)David Beckham or Adonis
0)Mother Teresa or Maryline Monroe

Your life is yours. do with it what you like.

P.S. I could have chosen to number the questions from top to bottom.

If you liked this, I would suggest you searched the net for Alfred Whitehead, and for his god.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Khayyam The Mathematician

Its always classy to start with a quote:

"Ah, but my computations people say,
Have squared the year to human compass,eh?
If so, by striking from the calendar,
Unborn tomorrow and dead yesterday"

If you don't like maths read the dream. I am so sorry. I mean some of my best friends hate maths, so I am a traitor.

for a less romantic source read
or "A History of Mathematics" by Boyer and Merzbach.

Omar Khayyam's personaity was more inclined to reading and astronomical observation than writting. This is one of the reasons why so little of his work remains. Still, the few books he wrote- and that survived the burning of the Baghdad library by the Mongols- reveal a mathematical intuition that was far ahead of his 11th century.

One of his protectors asked him to write a book on algebra. This book was the first known treatment of third order equations. Khayyam proposed numerical solution to all 3rd order equations to be found by intersecting conic sections and straight lines.

This treatment lead him to his great contributions in Analysis.

Indeed, he then understood the weakness of the geometric greek theory of real numbers. He constructed an algebraib theory and struggled with the notions of irrational numbers..which was only to be studied 6 or 7 centuries later.

Moreover, he came very close to using the notion of coordinates, that was going to initiate Analytical geometry about 6 centuries later.

Finally, and like many great mathematicians of his time. He tried to prove Euclide's 5th postulate. He started to suppose it was not verified and study sebsequent geomtries. This lead him to studying noneucledian geometry. This is a topic that well came back to attention near the end of the 19th century.

He also conceived the persian calendar, in which the months correspond to zodiac huh?

Dream no5

"Life Goes On.." (some smart-ass person)

I am at the window of my room, in my parents' house. An invisible force is pushing me out, it's making me want to jump but also making me afraid...a second is enough. I am in the air.

I star falling but I am not frightened. I get lighter and lighter, and though I continue to fall I fall very slowly - like a parachute- and I am virtually flying..

I overfly the city near sunset..its very calm and no one pays attention to me. I fly closer to the harbour and am going to land on a ship.

Light as I was in the air, I become so heavy when my feet touch the ship, and it breakes in half under my weight. From the crack emerges a big rock, a motor boat is cruising by it, the people on the harbour are dressed in seventies style, mauve is the coulor of the day and I am standing on the rock.

I feel that this can last for a long time, so why not wait. I just sit there and watch calmly as people go by..

Monday, May 16, 2005

Coming Soon

I am very busy right now. My exams and my student's exams and presentations in English on Hamlet and in Spanish about this movie and a placement in a lab which I should prepare. So I want to commit myself to publishing some stuff....Ok maybe I've been busier but still.

:] Dreams 5 and 6

:] More on comparing arabic and european music..a bit more technical on maqams and musical forms but no boring lectures I promise

:] Omar Khayyam: His contribution to mathematics. His life. And books about his life.

:] MMMhhh (one of my favourite expressions)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The "Foreign" Om Kolthoum

Om Kolthoom is the Arabic voice of the century. Maybe the world voice of the century. But who is the western singer equivalent to Om Kolthoom.

Many people say Ella Fitzgerald, or Edith Piaff. Well neither of them is a classical singer, in the sense that their songs can not be considered as advances or explorations or studies of western music. Also, neither of them could acceptably be called irreplacable or historic. They were both great but they did not change the face of western music.

The only western singer who is of comparable importance to Om Kolthoom is Maria Callas, known as La Divina: The Divine.

Maria Callas is Maria Calogeropolous from greece. She is the daughter of a greek immigrant to Manhattan, who changed his name to Callas. Her mother separated from her father when she was still a child and went back to Greece with her children.

This was pretty lucky, because there Maria studied music and singing and became the voice of the century.

Maria Callas is an Opera Singer. Often she sings Soprano roles, but her voice is very wide and she has very rich and beautiful low pitches. In addition to her very technical performances and the amazing artistic ability of her voice, Callas is known for her great exressive abilities. On stage, her voice can convey very surprising emotions.

Is she like Om Kolthoom?

Yes and no. Yes because she changes the face of opera. Being an unprecedented and very innovative singer and a real star. No because Opera existed before Callas and if she were not to be born, Opera was going to continue. No one ever sang and no one will ever sing like Om Kolthoom.

More to come on comparing european and arabic classical music....

La Divina Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005


لو كلُّ ما أحببتُ في الدنيا تلاشى
لم يبقَ منهُ غيرُ تذكارٍ و جرح
لو أنّ قلبي فارقهُ الأمل المرجّى
لم يبقَ لي إلا موسيقى النّاي توحي
لطربت للنّاي الحزين ووقّعت
أنّاتَه ضرباتُ قلبي، لحن بوحي
ذكرى حبيبي بلسمٌ يشفي جراحي كلّها
قيثارتي تستحلفُ الأزهارَ إكراماً لذكرى الحّب

Message from Above

In greek mythology, love is born from the marriage of wealth and poverty. This marriage came as an accident as the god of wealth was drunk when he married the godess of poverty. And so love was born an unwanted child among the gods.

But because he was beautiful, Aphrodite, godess of beauty, pleaded with the gods to give him an important role. The gods then decided to make him their messenger to humans.

So when the gods have a message to send to you they send love to tell you this message, love translates the language of gods to humans.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Quatrain

..........The moving finger writes, and having writ
..................moves on, nor all your piety nor wit
.......................shall lure it back to cancel half a line
................................nor all your tears wash out a word of it

Omar Khayyam, transalted by Fitzgerald.

More Khayyam poetry at

Reader's Digest

Summer holidays are near. If you have a laptop you can watch movies in your bed, if you don't you have to read. I tried to suggest some funny books I have read lately. Well the first one is not realy comical but the second and the third are sure laughs:

"Remember Palmyra": Author Miriam Antaki says she wanted to write a book about a great arabic woman. She felt that arabic girls are becoming less ambitious, and having a smaller role in society.

This novel is about Queen Zanoubia, who ruled the oasis kingdome of Palmyra (Tadmor) after the death of her husband king Odenat, who was some 30 years older than her. With the help of one of her generals, whome she also falls in love with, she builds an empire from Egypte to Turkey and defies both the Persian and Roman Empires. She is finally defeated by Emperor Hadrean and imprisoned in Rome.

Myrian Antaki was born in Damsacus, and lives in Aleppo. She writes in French and This is her 4th novel.

"The Persian Letters": This book, by 18th century French philosopher Montesquieu, is a classic of French litterature. It tells the story of a Persian prince, who, out of pure curiosity, decides to discover the west.

He goes on to live in Paris for a long time, and writes many letters to his friends back in Iran, where describes French society near the end of the rule of Louis XIV. These letters are an open minded and comically turned critique of the extravagant french society of that period. They describe a country where "The king can choose an 18 year old prime minister and an 80 year old lover".

Through his Persian hero, montesquieu criticizes the extravagance and decadence of his society. In addition to its historical value, this book wil make you laugh like you haven't in a long time and will take you through the passionate intrigues of many improbable love stories.

"The Voice Of Egypte": Virginia Danielson, an american musicologist, examines the Om Kolthoom phenomena. How her music and performances evolved over her 50 year long career, how her public image was built, and what role she played in the history of Egypte.

The most original aspects of the book are its very widely documented account of the 20s and 30s in egypte, many excerpts from news papers introduce the very pompous and detailed style of the press at that time. reading these parts is a sure laugh and a great experience of immersion into these unknown decades.

Also very ineresting is the study of Musical forms developped by Om Kolthoom. The book explains, using many examples of musical notes from her songs, exactly how the songs were built and what made the differences between her different composers. This part is a bit harder, you have to know how to read music to understand it, but its not the end of the world in you don't..just skip.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dream no4

"W Daret el 2ayam" (a7mad shafi5 kamal)

Me and my sister are walking by a river. It is a very fresh and calm night and the dark cool water seems to take away all sadness with its calm current, playing with the low leaves of poplar trees.

A boat harmoniously drifts with the current, we get on and ask the sailor to take us to the concert _ I don't remember whose it was _ but on our way in the boat we were to have the greatest concert of our lives. For at the end of the boat appeared none but the Star of The East Om Kolthoom, dressed in scintillating white.

Anyway - no not anyway, it was could actually hear her in the dream - we get off the boat and head towards the concert. There are many people there, but all of a sudden gunshots are heard and people are very scared and start to run away...we run too, almost becuase everyone is running.

I carry my sister on my back and run until we enter a very dense jungle, like in Mowgly or something, and there we are safe.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Chinese Song

Today I asked a chinese girl to sing something in chinese. She sang a song for kids. When I asked her to translate it, the result was amazing, bizzare...well there is no adjective. The song goes:

Since when does the moon exist
Look into your cup and ask the sky

We all beleive there is a white palace up there
but no one has ever seen it.

I know..this is soO strange. But she REALLY said something like this..almost word for word.

Dream no3

"The malady of love is shyness" (Naguib Mahfooz)

I woke up to write this one, so definitely spelling mistakes! (2:15 a.m)

In this dream I go to sleep and dream. In my dream inside the dream I am walking down the road outside my place by a beautiful sunny day. The Alpes mountains are of a shining green. A girl with brass coloured hair is in the street.

Things then get hazy but the next thing I know I am talking to the girl and we are laughing together. Then the dream inside my dream ends as I wake up and go to school.

We finish the first class and go out on the terrace - there is one at my school - and who do I meet there? The girl from the dream.

Well, we notice each other, smile, I walk up to her and...Freeze. I can think of nothing to say. She walks away, I turn around and run down the stairs.

Normally there are some 20 steps, but they get longer and longer and it feels they are infinite and go down endlessly, but then the sea shines near the last step. A white whale appears out of the water, opens its mouth and I jump in and in a magestic swimm the whale takes me to the magical underwater world.

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Fareed's Interview

I am not really a man of my word, but on the internet everything is different. I made a promise and I must keep it. The promise was to publish this interview with Fareed el Atrash, famous Syrian Singer, composer and virtuoso Lute player, of the mid 20th century.

Fareed was playing, for this Lebanese journalist who is a close friend of his, a composition he had made for Om Kolthoom, but which she completely ignored, he said.

Fareed: Do you know why Om Kolthoom didn't sing my music, because I am not Egyptian.

Journalist: I really doubt that, I think she would care for the quality of the music more than the origin of the composer.

Fareed: Do you mean my music is not beautiful?

Journalist: No, it is the best, but apparently it is not to her particular taste.

Fareed: Good music is good, wether it is for Kawkab el Shar5 or for the dancer Kawakeb.

(good one)

Journalist: but how do you know that was really the reason.

Fareed: Well, her leading violinist told me, and plus it was my feeling all along. And why do you think she never sang for a non-Egyptian.

Journalist: That's natural. No composer in the east is like Abdelwahab or El Sonbati.

Fareed: What did you think of Inta Omri?

Journalist: It might be his greatest. I think its the song of the 20th century.

Fareed: Everyone knows how much you like him, you are biased.

Journalist: Beleive me Fareed I love you as much as him, this is the truth.

Fareed: But Abdelwahab is a theif, most of his music is borrowed from western music. Didn't you read the article of Mohammad el Tab3i about this.

Journalist: This time I will reveal a secret you don't know. Abdelwahab is the one who asked El tab3i to say this about him. He wanted to show his culture. But don't you find his songs that are not borrowed very beautiful?

Fareed: Of course, but they are not better than mine. He said himself that he would have given me anything for my introduction to "ana welli ba7ebo".

Journalist: I admit this. But with all my respect to you, you are not the equal of Abdelwahab in his music.

Fareed: This is senseless, you are obsessed with abdelwahab.

Journalist: I am not obsessed, I am admirative, what do you think, Fareed, of "Cleopatra" or
"Al karnak"

Fareed: What do you think about"sa2alni el leil" or "7ikayet gharami"..

Journalist: They are truly great and I would love to hear "Sa2alni el leil" from you

So then Fareed took his lute and started singing with his beautiful and unique feelings "Sa2alni el leil bi teshar leih" until dawn.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I wrote the poem below to my very best friend in the whole world.

I know there are one or two grammar mistakes but it is really hard for me to use arabic please be tolerant with them.

In the last verse its al mona and not al mon but as I said its so hard to post arabic characters with my OS.

Well tell me what you think..poetry lovers.

صديقة العمر

أهدي إليك نشيدي حاملاً شوقي
صديقة العمر ،لا أُهديه لسواك

لم يستحق الرِّضا و الامتنان وفٍ
كما استحقَّ امتناني وجهكِ الزّاكي

صافي الوِداد لكِ ،في القلب أعرفهُ
مذ قد عرفتُ أخوتنا و حسناكِ

عهدَ الأخوّة صنتِ ،فالفؤاد لكِ
يدينُ بالحبِّ دوماً ، ليس ينساكِ

حلو الخصالِ جمعتِ ،شدَّ ما نظرت
عيونُ فكري ولم تحصي مزاياكِ

و في العيونِ حَسُنتِ ،فالعيون رنت
إليكِ ثمَّ انثنت تزدانُ بسناكِ

إنَّ الكلام قليلٌ أن يحيط بما اح..
..توت ضلوعي من شوقٍ للقياكِ

أنّى ذهبت تظلُّ الرّوح تحرسكِ
وكيفما سرتِ تبقى العين ترعاكِ

يا جارةَ القلب ،أسلمكِ الوفاءُ قيا..
..د اندفاع طموحاتي و أهداكِ

فأصبح الأملُ المرجوّ أن تجدي
آمالك والمن ،رؤياكِ لمناكِ

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Return Of Art

This is the second post in "The Return Of.." series, after "The Return Of Beauty". The next one will be "The Return Of Love".

The Return of Art:

Technological evolution occured in such a way that most computers are sequential. They can only do one thing at a time. They, however, give the illusion of being parallel, that is, able to do more than one thing at once. They acheive this illusion by switching very quickly between the different things they have to do.

Biological evolution occured in such a way that our brains are parallel. They perform more than one task at the same time. For instance, they process vision, hearing, and regulate heart beat at once. But our consciousness gives the illusion that they are sequential. We can only consciously concentrate on one thing at a time.

So our brain is the complete opposite of the computer.

When the brain is exposed to genuine art, the sequential illusion created by consciousness is broken. We start to integrate the different tasks of our brain. Example:

Imagine you are in a room, twenty people are speaking at the same time - fighting - all saying diferent things. That would not be very comfortable. In fact, most people would find it really annoying.

Why? Well, we only want to take in one thing at a time, since we only want to treat things sequentially.

In Mozart's opera, "The Wedding of Figaro" there is a scene where twenty singers are on stage. Every one singing a totally different song. Different words, different music, etc. But this scene is found to be really beautiful and its music very nice by most people who listen to it.

Why? Real art breakes the sequential illusion. It allows us to be aware of more than one aspect of our brain at once. So we have no problem listening to twenty people at the same time.

This is the best example really, but you can think of cubist painting too, where the painters draw more than one painting on top of each other...etc.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


This week I accidentally overheard many conversations other people were having, in the street, at school or in the tramway. They were all pretty unexpected.

I)The first one is a student I teach in a course on Language Theory. I arrived ahead of time and she was talking to this other guy, itellectual look, glasses and scarf...

girl: I didn't understand anything of the movie

guy: me neither...some stuff I didn't hear...the difference between tragedy and drama


guy: In tragedy the characters know they are going to end in a sad way and they do nothing to stop it

girl: Is it Kate Winslet in the movie, I didn't recognize her

guy: In drama, we don't know the end in advance

girl: ...I couldn't hear what she said....there are other Romeo and Juliette movies.

guy: people now don't understand tragic characters, but 2000 years ago people were ready to die for justice or truth..or (he hesitates, but adds triumphantly) for the love of a woman

At this point of the conversation I interfered, it was time to start class.

II) In the tramway, a thirtyish woman to a teenage boy

woman: she is really shy, even with her sister she....

boy: I know she never says hello to me

woman: Her sister is much more social than her, you know I told her you're young, go out with boys have fun, you'll never be young again

boy: ....I don't remember what he said....

III) In front of a fancy, yet casual, italian restaurant. Three thirtyish men, the executive look, suites and handbags, speaking management:

one: We don't bother...hire three programmers, give them the same job, keep the onw who does it first and fire the other two

two: Selection all the way, its like this from school. I agree

three: so what are we doing tonight

two: I have work tomorrow

These, dear readers are three samples of modern life. Enjoy yours...