Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"September Affair"

Yesterday I watched the 1950 American film "September Affair" on TV. The director of the film was William Dieterle. The story goes like this:

During the time of plane engine troubles, the pianist Marina Stuart (Joan Fontaine) and the engineer David Lawrence (Joseph Cotten) go sightseeing in Naples. When they have come back to the airport, the plane just flies away, and their continued short trip leads to deeper emotions. Then they learn from a newspaper that the plane they are supposed to be on has been crashed to kill all the passengers. They decide to change their world forever. ...

The scenery of Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Capri and Florence reminded me of the group trip my wife and I joined in May 2003, and I much liked this classic, short-lived love story. (You can see some sketches and photos of our trip to Italy at my website [1, 2].)
  1. Sketches in Italy.
  2. Thirteen-Day Travel to Italy: Selected Photos.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Bush vs. Einstein

The U.S. President George W. Bush delivered the State of the Union speech on February 2, 2005. It included the following passages [1]:
Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on terror, ... During this time of war we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory.
America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.
Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across the world, often taking great risks on my orders. ... The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and every day they are making our nation more secure.
In spite of many use of the words, "freedom," "democracy" and "liberty," President Bush's speech is in contradiction to these words as well as to recent facts. The first passage cited above shows that he considers the war in Iraq was the one on terror, but it was not. Attack on Iraq was started on the wrong assumption of her having illicit weapons stockpiles.

In the second to fourth passages cited, President Bush shows his wish to expand democracies to other countries by U.S. Forces to make U.S.A. more secure and the world peaceful. However, making attack on a country without the United Nation's support is to violate international democracy, and a trial to advance freedom by war would only destroy peace for a long time.

The following words by Albert Einstein [2] sound like the prediction of President Bush's distorted policy:
General fear and anxiety create hatred and aggressiveness. The adaptation to warlike aims and activities has corrupted the mentality of man.
Einstein uttered these words in his address at the second annual dinner given by the Foreign Press Association of the United Nations, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York, November 11, 1947.

At the end of the address Einstein said, "We scientists believe that what we and our fellow-men do or fail to do within the next few years will determine the fate of our civilization." However, the goal of the comprehensive renunciation of nuclear weapons is still far, so that scientists and their fellow-men and fellow-women have much to do for this purpose.
  1. Transcript: President Bush's State of the Union Address (nytimes.com, February 3, 2005).
  2. Albert Einstein, "The Menace of Mass Destruction" in Essays in Humanism (Philosophical Library, New York, 1950).

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Serenades Played by Erhu

A young friend of mine, Yoro, is running a small company to make and sell CDs in Ebetsu, Hokkaido. Last week I ordered him a CD [1] made in China and sold by his company. It is a collection of serenades played by Zhu Changyao with an erhu by the accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Music and Dance Troop of Jiangsu Province of China. Zhu Changyao is a famous Chinese erhu virtuoso and composer. The erhu is a traditional Chinese string instrument with two strings.

The CD arrived this afternoon. It includes "English Serenade," Schumann's "Träumerei," Dvorak's "Humoresque," Schubert's "Lullaby," De Curtis's "Come Back to Sorrento," Brahms's "Lullaby," etc. Listening to those well-known pieces of music played with an erhu in calm and nostalgic tone, my heart, being hurt by dark pieces of news these days, was much soothed and warmed, though it was very cold today.
  1. "Zhu Changyao's Art of Erhu No. 4: Serenade" (Jiangsu Culture Audio and Video Publishing House, China; dealt by Booxbox).