Archive for January, 2007

Galsworthy street

January 31, 2007

I am officially starting to become an amateur painter! Here’s what happened – I went for a stroll in the city to find one deficitary medicine for my uncle who is living outside Belgrade. And I entered in several different pharmacies, but I couldn’t find it, so they told me to try to find one located in Galsworthy street. I am not a taxi driver, so I am quite unaware of names of the streets, but thanks to a few kind people (it was funny, I had problems in pronouncing Golsvordiyeva) I managed to get there. And then I found out that I knew that street very well. There is one famous shop that sells materials for painters, and many times I was looking there through the window. But now I remembered my wish to become painter, I took a deep breath, and entered in!

My good friend has a theory. If you want to start with something new, for example if you want to learn to play guitar, then the best thing is to buy some cheap guitar first. Then you play it for a year or so, and if you are sincere in your efforts and if you are making progress then after some period you sell it, and buy guitar that is very good and more expensive. I have no opinion on this theory, so I decided to listen to my friend, although he is 10 years younger than me (younger people know sometimes to be very smart), so I decided to buy something which is cheap – and I decided to ask for tempera which is used in school. -Actually, I don’t need it for school- I explained -I am starting to paint-

They were very kind with me, showed me few different ones, so I bought 10 middle size temperas and two cheaper brushes. I guess it would be enough for a start. They told me that I have to try many times, and that I will make many mistakes while I am learning, but that most important thing is never to give up! And I will not, I was too excited to try to enter the painting world. As soon as I got back home I started to draw a Santa which was there on a magazine. I painted his clothes with red colour and I mixed colours for the skin, and belt of course is black.

I can tell you, it looks nice for the first try. It is just that I was not careful enough, so first I put water in one bowl that was broken, so there was water all around, and later I found out that part of my sleeve is painted in red uh huh.

But I started to paint! And that is what matters! :)

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the north wind and the sun

January 30, 2007

The North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness.

“We shall have a contest,” said the Sun.

Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat.

“As a test of strength,” said the Sun, “Let us see which of us can take the coat off of that man.”

“It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat,” bragged the Wind.

The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew down the road, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.

Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. Sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat.

The sun grew slowly brighter and brighter.

Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot.

“How did you do that?” said the Wind.

“It was easy,” said the Sun, “I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way.”

taken from www.storyarts.com

I adore shopping!

January 29, 2007

Who says that I object shopping? In fact I like shopping, I only don’t like it in periods when I don’t have money. In fact even then I like it, but I like it infinitely more when I can buy something too. Well, when I see Britney with her friends on MTV going to shopping, I just close my eyes and think that I went also to buy new running shoes (actually I bought silver-black Reebok leather ones few weeks ago, the wisest thing to do is to get running shoes when it is winter discount!)

It is just that shops in Belgrade don’t have always what I want…

So I can only dream how beautiful would it be that I enter in shop one day and say

-Good day, my beloved friends!-
-Good day, mister Dejan, what do you wish to buy today?-
-I just want to greet you with a smile, and to buy few things by the way-
-You are always very welcome, just say!-
-Oh well, I need 300 gr of happiness, half a kilo of pure joy, hmmm, what is that there on discount? aha, inner peace, well, that’s good – give me 2 kilos of that…How about selfless love, hmm, okay, give one litre of that. Do I need to mix it with water, or I can drink it like that?
-No, you can drink it like that. But if you want to mix it with water we have concentrated one too!-
-Okay, give me that concentrated one, and what is that over there…forgiveness, give me that too, and two bars of bliss and delight. What, box of pleasures, no, I don’t need it, I have already bought pure joy, and if it won’t be enough I will drop by this evening to buy half a kilo more. And please wrap it all up well, I don’t want to lose anything of it-
-No problem, here I will wrap it in special paper of humility that can contain it all-
-Thank you, how much money do I owe you for that?-
-Come on, why do you ask, we know that you are close friend of the shop owner. So everything is free for you!-
-Ok, thanks very much. I just thought it would be polite to ask :) Good-bye dear friends!
-Good-bye mr. Dejan, and please come again!-

But perhaps this is not mere dream. Perhaps the name of this shop is created Universe. And what is the way to become very good friend with the Owner? Nice topic to think about…

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Albert Einstein

One thing is sure, if such shop exists you do not say ‘Give me’ no, it is not proper. Proper word is ‘Take me’ (make me Your friend, never to part)

Enjoy your shopping!

beautiful snowy evening

January 29, 2007

Skadarlija
My sister and I went one fine day to buy a painting that is about Belgrade. Her good friend was getting married, and my sister wanted to buy a painting which will remind her friend of their student days (her friend is not living in Belgrade now). So we strolled thoroughout the galleries in the city, and when we almost saw everything, we found one nice painting and agreed to buy it for the present. But then I looked at the painting below that one, it was also oil on canvas – and I liked it so much. I spent I don’t know how much time persuading myself not to buy this one, we had to give money also for the other one. But I did not persuade myself. I went back home to the other part of city where I live, to take more money because we did not bring enough (who would have thought of buying two paintings at the same time), and I came back, I remember I was very tired, but I was happy when I bought it.

Painting shows Skadarlija, that is bohemian quarters of Belgrade, favourite place for artists, cobblestone promenade the same as it looked like hundred years ago. What is Montmartre for Paris, that is Skadarlija for Belgrade. If you plan to visit Belgrade, plan to visit Skadarlija too – spending evening there with your friends, listening to the music that used to be played in old days in the city (starogradska muzika) is unforgettable experience.

Saint Sava – All schools’ Slava!

January 27, 2007

Hram Svetog Save
Today beautiful snowflakes clothed Belgrade in white clothes, giving him outwardly the inward beauty of his name (Beli grad, or Beograd – means the white city). Celebration clothes are not there without reason – today all schools and universities celebrate St. Sava’s Slava. Slava is serbian custom of celebrating patron saint, and St. Sava is patron saint of all educational institutions in Serbia.

Let us see who is that man whom we celebrate today. He is the source of unceasing inspiration to me. Why is that? Because he is my hero of renunciation in order to reach one’s own higher Ideal. He was born in royal family as a serbian Prince, in place called Ras then in medieval Serbia, in 1169 AD. His name was Rastko Nemanjić, and his father was a powerful King, Stefan Nemanja (actually he was Grand Župan but I am using the title King not to confuse the readers here, it is the same thing). Now you can easily imagine the difference between prince and ordinary people – he had wealth, and one day he was supposed to inherit power from his father and to rule the country (from his 15th year he was ruling actually over one bigger area in order to learn art of ruling state afterwards).

But when he was 16, three monks from Mount Athos (Holy Mountain on the Chalkidiki peninsula) visited serbian court. He talked with them and decided to flee away from the court to Athos and to become monk. To renounce all that awaited him and accept the life of obedience, celibacy and poverty. Why on the earth he did that? Why would anyone renounce such wealth, such wordly pleasures at the court – and there are wise men who say that in terms of passion money and beautiful women are next to nothing compared to political power. And our Rastko renounced future ruling of the country. He was very bright, he was not stupid (read his biography to see how diplomatically he was skilled later in life). My personal opinion is that he must have felt something that is far more fulfilling than all that what awaited him. Imagine for a moment that you are a prince and that someone tells you – renounce all that and I shall show you greater treasures? Would you renounce? I would not. Only someone who FEELS that ideal in heart can do such a thing. It is divine nostalgia.

What happened when King found out that his youngest son fled to Greece. When he found out that his beloved son went to monastery he was so desperate sent an ultimatum to Greece that he will occupy the country unless they bring him his son back. Serbia then was very powerful and this threat made statesmen tremble with fear, but Rastko told soldiers that they take rest that night and tomorrow he will go with them back to Serbia. However, during the night while soldiers were sleeping, Rastko became monk, and took the name Sava. He wrote letter to father to console him, and to persuade him not to send the army. It is interesting that later in life both King and Queen renounced world and became monks. Sava, and his father Stefan Nemanja (later St. Simeon) renewed Chilandar. Sava also became first serbian Archibishop 1219, and so he established the Independence of Archbishopic of the Serbian Church.

Can you remember anyone else who was prince and renounced all to search for higher Ideal. Of course, I am speaking of great prince Siddhartha Gautama, who in his 29th year left everything, his wife and little son too, in order to find way to cessation of suffering. After 6 years he became the Buddha and came back to his wife and son (whom he accepted as his disciples) but he never became wordly King, as St. Sava also never became wordly King. It is unknown to me that anyone else in history was in royal family and renounced all in order to become ascetic or monk (if you know someone however, please leave the comment). Therefore St. Sava and the Buddha will always be my heroes, to remind me that inner seeking in heart knows no outer compromise. We are speaking so much in our day-to-day life about sincerity, but when we read about lives of St. Sava and the Buddha we can see and feel what sincerity to one’s own heart ideals really is. Although compromise can be good in outer life, in the inner life it can never, never, never be good.

Ottoman Turks burned holy relics of St. Sava in Belgrade, Vračar Plateau, 1595, but they couldn’t destroy heaven glory of the saint. On that very place now is situated enormous St. Sava Cathedral (just golden-plated cross on top of it is 12 meters high, so I heard), which has 49 bells of all sizes (and music tones) that can play melody when ringing. Tone D1 is dedicated to great serbian Prime Minister Dr. Zoran Djindjić who was assassinated in 2003.

Few years ago I went to listen to one classical concert that happened to be on this day. So, before they started the concert, musicians sang and played the Hymn of Saint Sava. During the years of communist rule in Yugoslavia St. Sava was not praised, at least not publicly. But now spontanously all people in concert hall stood up when they heard beautiful notes of this hymn. And I am not ashamed to admit here that in that moment it was impossible to hold back tears in my eyes.

Da se srpska sva srca
S tobom ujedine,
Sunce mira, ljubavi
Da nam svima sine;

That serbian all hearts
Unite with you
Sun of peace, love
To shine on all of us;

who is alive, and who is not?

January 25, 2007

As I mentioned in previous post, my little niece came to visit us last week with her grandma who is my aunt.

She is 8 years old, and very sweet child. Unlike me, she adores to dance and is very good at it. I always say that she is new Brittney Spears. So, my aunt is a bit of overeager choleric personality. Most importantly she believes that her way is the only way, but at the same time she has a very, very kind heart.

You know sometimes there is such difference between mind and heart. I believe it is so even in my own humble presence here in this world – I really feel bored when I am living inside my limited mind. But if I manage to intoxicate the mind with the simplicity and peace that I sometimes spontaneously feel deep inside the heart – heh, that is another matter.

Now, my aunt is teaching my little niece this and that, and helping her with school. She teaches her everything, except to think with her own head. Love that grandmothers have towards grandchildren is always great, and my aunt is a bit overeager to teach child what is right and what is wrong, that she fails to see that we have to teach child the value of freedom first. Freedom is something about which we have to sing always and always, through our poems, music, paintings and art in general, and our philosophy and way of thinking. Remember Mel Gibson at the end of movie Braveheart. -Say mercy William- -Freedo0o0o0om!-

I even had a chance to experience how it is like when bombs are falling down all around, my beautiful Belgrade was bombed in 1999 by NATO (without prior permission of UN Security Council, the only international body who can give legitimacy to such action. Iraq was attacked also without such permission). Believe me, if there is no war we should be grateful. From 1991 to 1999 there were 4 wars in different parts of former Yugoslavia. More than 250 000 people were killed, and now what happens – all former Yu republics, now independent states want to go to integrate in EU. But that could be done with big Yugoslavia without war before. Why stupid people want disintegration first, and afterwards again integration? Wars are led because of lack of vision. Look at the history of Europe, remember Hundred years’ war? And now those countries are living united in EU. God bless the uniting aspect of European Union!

Hand in hand with physical freedom goes freedom of thinking. Look what kind of thinking freedom Albert Einstein had! Really I do not understand how could he be so smart when he was only 25 years old. What happens when you are travelling in speed of light and at the same time a mirror is travelling parallel with you. What would you see
when you look in the mirror? Gee, I would never even dare to think to ask myself such question! How could I even formulate something like that?

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.

Albert Einstein

To my understanding the best thing you can do to teach children the value of freedom is to cut jokes and to laugh. Why? Kids already have more freedom in their hearts than we adults have. Nothing should be assumed too serious, especially not the school. I was joking so much that my little cousin told me one day that it would be very good for me to work in the circus. What a compliment she gave me! I was so happy to hear that.

My father’s and my aunt’s father, my grandfather who died before I was born. He was transported to Paris during the WWI and he lived there 9 years. When he came back to Serbia he married, got children, and one day he desired to teach them French language. But my grandmother did not allow him to “spoil” her children. That is why I my father does not speak French, and why I do not know today that beautiful language of diplomacy and love. And it could have been different.

So, my aunt wanted to show us all what my little niece knows. So she asked her to explain what is the difference between living beings, and things that are not alive. That is the kind of things they teach kids in second grade of primary school.

-Great!- responded I -that question is still unclear to me. Even great Nikola Tesla mentioned that some people believe how pearls on necklace are living beings, and that they become more beautiful in time as woman wears them.

-What the heck are you rambling about?!- interrupted me my aunt, -what is there to be unclear, living beings are those who breathe, is it right so Sarah?

-But what then with anaerobic bacteria?- exclaimed I somewhat jubilantly, which gave my doctor sister a good laugh. Sarah laughed too, though she had no idea what I was talking about.

No need to mention, aunt went with Sarah to another room. To save her from the wrong spoiling ideas of her crazy-pseudo-scientific cousin. Uh huh.

toys dilemma – what to buy?

January 24, 2007

I remember good ole times when I was a kid. My only ambition was to become garbage collector when I grew up. Truck which came from time to time in front of our building took up the container with garbage using its mighty hydraulic system, and threw the garbage into itself, and then put the empty container back on the ground.

It was clear to me as soon as I saw it. I want to have toy like that. But was it likely to find it then in socialist Yugoslavia? I don’t think so. Nevertheless I started to imagine how I will have big plastic truck, and few plastic containers, and in them little plastic garbage, like yogurt packs, and how I will play with it all day long. Oh well.

What to buy to kids today? What kind of toys?

Someone once said that it is good thing that you buy pencils in so many different colours as you can afford to buy. Why is that? Because by drawing with many different colours child learns that this world is world of diversity – and learns how to be tolerant. How to see beauty in the fact that there are other religions beside yours, that there are other races, other nations, other skin colours, and other cultures and customs, and all of them are wonderful in their own way. We need unity and not uniformity. One cannot be tolerant, if he does not learn to enjoy in divesity. Simple as that.

My little niece visited me last week, and she told me that Bratz dolls are millon time better than Barbie. But parents think the opposite. Even some people rant on TV that such dolls send wrong messages like that physical appearance is most important in life. But I think it does not follow. Bratz dolls with their big heads, big eyes and big lips simply are too cute, like from cartoons, they just bring kids joy. Then Lego bricks are cool, but one has to be careful that children do not swallow them accidentally. You can find freeware LEGO Digital Designer to download here. It is very interesting. I downloaded it and installed it. It is very creative thing, especially for us adults.

A lot of time passed since I was a child. I don’t know – what kind of toy to buy for kids today? What is your opinion? What are most popular toys there in your country? I don’t have kids, but my friends do, and there are birthdays always – what to buy to make children happy, and simultaneously to help developing their creativity. Any suggestions?

Oh, yes, last year while I was strolling in the city, I noticed one nice plastic garbage truck toy in the window of one shop. Complete, with containers. I couldn’t resist and entered in.

-Excuse me, Sir, umm, I just wanted to ask….do you sell a lot of these garbage trucks?-

-Oh yes, that is main attraction, best selling these days- replied he

I walked back home with broad smile on my face. Even as a kid I was innovator hahaha. But others will get the money. Ugh. Nevertheless realization remained – that even jobs which to adults seem low, as garbage collection, give kids joy. Children do not have social prejudices, and we adults should learn that from them.

Nastassja Kinski and the Academy Awards

January 24, 2007

So we heard the nominations for 79th Academy Awards. If you haven’t heard it in news you can check the list of the nominees.

Do you trust the taste which was displayed so far in giving the Oscars?

Let us begin with the Oscar for the best picture. Here you have the list of all the winners for best picture since 1928. I have to say that two of mine all favourite movies actually won this prestigious award. They are Braveheart (1995) and Forrest Gump (1994). I am sure that Shawshank Redemption (1994) would also won this award if it wasn’t nominated same year as Forrest. Those three are super excellent movies.

Also Schindler list (1993) and A Beautiful Mind (2001) are very touching movies, based on the true stories.

I cannot understand why Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) got Oscars for the best picture, at all! But tastes are different. De gustibus est non disputandum.

Why I am mentioning Nastassja Kinski in this post? First off, today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, Nastassja! Much, much joy & peace!

Secondly, I really do hope she will get Oscar in the future. I really cannot understand that she was never even nominated, and that some other actresses, whose names I will not mention here, won Oscars. You can find here the list of all actresses and all actors who won title for Best Actor/Actress.

In Wikipedia I was surprised to read,

During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s Nastassja Kinski was widely regarded as an international sex symbol.

This is not well said. It is true that in that period she made tremendous influence and had many fans, but when you say that an actress is regarded as sex symbol that is degrading. At least in her case it is degrading – she is such a great actress. Perhaps shopping oriented pop trash culture needs such bombastic titles as “sex symbol”, but let us remind ourselves that acting is an art and not production. And Nastassja is in acting what great poets are in poetry. I do not see that actresses have such sublime influence now as she used to have in 1980-ties, except for perhaps Monica Bellucci that has the capacity (did great job in Malena, but majority of people that I asked is even unaware of the hidden message in movie Malena [in sentence “Buona fortuna, signora Malèna” at the end, without that message one cannot understand true genius of Giuseppe Tornatore the director of this movie]).

Art is not a democracy so that everyone should vote. As in Athens masses decided the destiny of Socrates, so today’s masses decide destiny of art. There is so little poetry in this consumer society. Where are movies like Hair now? Where are the ideals? I don’t care about mentalizations about what art is and what is not – I want to feel like I felt after watching Hair, or Braveheart, or Shawshank Redemption. What R.W.Emerson and his Boston Transcendentalists did in America in XIX century, and Robin Williams in movie “Dead Poets Society”, we need now in movie realm. We need depths that are more than just psychological or intellectual. We need that more than special effects and make-up. Movies should be means to inspire us to seek for higher heights, and not mainly recordings of meaningless violence in this world. We need multimedial dreamers, modern visionaries who will understand creative and inspirational capacity of the medium such as film is.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

What do you think? Who is your favourite for winning Oscar this year?

comment moderation

January 23, 2007

Now there are so many new things that I will have to learn about blogging in WordPress.

When I wrote and send last few comments, I noticed message that my comment is waiting for moderation. What’s that??? So, I had to browse a bit on the subject on codex.wordpress.org, and here it is what they say

WordPress runs a number of tests on each new comment before posting it to your blog. If a comment fails one of these tests, it is not displayed immediately on the site but is placed in a queue for moderation, the process of manual approval or deletion by the blog’s administrator.

Oh, I never liked tests in school. Uh huh. Now what kind of tests are they speaking about.

The first option is to hold comments for moderation if they contain an unusually large number of hyperlinks. Most normal comments contain at most one or two links while spam comments often have a large number. Look at your own comments and set this to a value that makes sense for your audience.

Ah, there it is! So, this is the solution for my problem. I usually have manner to put hyperlinks in comments, like I do in posts, to make it easier for people who read them. They can just click on comment and go on the page I am refering to, instead of copying and pasting the link in the browser.

If you go to Options –> Discussion –> Comment Moderation you will read this

Comment Moderation

Hold a comment in the queue if it contains 2 or more links. (A common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks.)

I erased the above 2 and wrote 10 instead. So, now everyone is free to comment on my blog with many hyperlinks if he wishes so. There is no need to treat someone as a spammer just because he provided you hyperlinks. And what if one day when your blog grows big enough and perhaps attract many spammers – well you can always erase that 10 and write again 2.

And what, dear reader of this post, if someone commented on your blog with more than 2 hyperlinks, and now that comment is not published but waits in queue for moderation, and you are totally unaware of that?

Well, you can be aware of that if you do the following. Click on

Comments –> Awaiting Moderation(0)

If there is zero inside the brackets, that means there are no comments waiting for moderation. But if there are some, you can allow them to be published.

Complete text about comment moderation you can find here.

history – name for “once upon a time” future

January 22, 2007

When I was a little kid, I acted a bit strangely because I enjoyed to count numbers one, two, three and so on…everywhere, in home and outside. I remember that I managed to count till ten thousand about when turned six years old. And my father told me to write down numbers in one hardcover A4 notebook, in each new line – next number, and so I wrote about two thousand and something there. Here my father got interesting idea – he figgured that each line can represent one year in history starting from 1 AD until beyond 2000. So he explained to me that we will write down when some great scientist or artist or composer – some great person was born and when he died. And of course, we will write down if some important event happened. I liked the idea, and we started to do it. Perhaps it was my first seeing face to face with the fact that human life is transitory inside eternity, that there is time when one is born, and that there is time when one dies. I was drawing sign of little cross beside year in which someone died.

Later when I grew up enough to have history in school, to be very frank now, I was not interested in history at all. I just learned it to get good grade. And I always had best grade, I was learning like a parrot – and therefore now I know so little, I forgot it all. Is it important to learn history? What do you think? Let me hear some pros and cons in your comments.

First off, my opinion is that it is important to learn history of art. Can we allow ourselves the luxury of not knowing what was before and what after – Baroque or Rennaissance. It is our fellow humans who created that art – by learning that we will widen our horizons in certain way – we will get finer resolution of our perception. We are inheriting what generations before us created, in certain way, but we should not be attached to it – we should create now art of our time, as they created art of that time. It is very important to elaborate now on this a bit more.

So, I don’t wish to have rules from past how to create art now – save and except one – that art which I create has fulness. How can I know that? I can feel that. I am unable to judge others precisely, but myself – it is completely different story. For anything I created I know how much it fulfils me – I feel it to the slightest degree. If someone creates something because he just wants to have something new – I cannot see eye to eye with such person. Art has to be our most intimate dream. We have to give ourselves completely, and to feel that we have done so. Many times unfortunately, so called artists, are just offering confusion from their minds. No art for me – without the heart!

Frankly speaking, I am not well acquainted with history of art, no authority for it. I want to convey another message with this text – that I am ready and willing to learn. I will start there what I love most – Claude Monet’s Soleil levant (1873) and the Impressionists, and Claude Debyssy’s music, of course :)

As for general history, it is broader subject, and I will elaborate on it more in some of my next posts. And one more thing. I will start again to do what my father suggested. But this time I will write one year for one page in new book, and I will do it for the period since 1800 until now. Including music, visual art and science.