Haven’t you killed any Armenian yet, you loser?

Another terrible and unfortunately authentic story of unspeakable cruelty from Western Armenia during the Genocide:

“A small boy has witnessed the bloody massacre of his family and his entire village. Becoming an orphan, he is “adopted” by a Turkish family to work for them as their slave.

One day another Turkish from their neighborhood comes and wants to buy this boy. The reason why he wants him is that this man has a son that has been bullied by other kids from around for the fact that he hasn’t killed any Armenian yet, while others already have. Therefore, the father then wants to buy one Armenian for him so he could kill him with ease.

Luckily in this case, the Armenian boy can accidentally hear this conversation and manages to escape.”

After hearing of a story like this one and of many other stories you simply speechlessly doubt what it means to be a human. It’s just beyond all my understanding.

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The story of Shakhmara, the snake queen

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Let me share with you a Turkish fairytale that I heard from the locals at the lake Van. This region used to be Western Armenia but now it is in Eastern Turkey or, actually, in Kurdistan. The story is absolutely shocking to me since it breaks all my paradigm of the principles of the fairytales, the principles of story-telling for kids. The story yields a strange, corrupted lesson far from the morale I used to listen in any of the Czech fairytales when I was a kid.

Have in mind that by reading or listening to old stories, legends and fairytales of any nation you learn how the nation thinks, you get closer to the cultural roots and stereotypes hiding deeper in subconscious. This is not a made up story similar to the one of the “Lochness-like” monster living in the Van lake, created to entertain tourists very recently. This is an old story of Shakhmara, the snake queen. It seems to be a quite popular story, since the symbol of Shakhmara is common in many souvenir shops in the area.

“A small, little bit silly, poor boy plays with his friends around a deep well in the garden. The other kids make fun of him and his naivety and tell him that there is a great golden treasure deep in the well and trick him to climb down to get it.

The boy descents down to the very bottom of the well. It’s narrow, wet, dark, slippery, not only he does not see any treasure, he can’t get back up to the surface. He is desperate and in panic. Suddenly he accidentally pushes a brick in the well wall and a secret hidden door opens. A passage to a shining and hissing room reveals in front of him.

He enters a chamber full of snakes and golden treasure and luxury. At the end of the chamber there he sees Shakhmara, the snake queen, a half woman, half snake being. The queen commands her snake servants to bring the boy in. She feeds him and takes care of him very nicely, they become friends.

One day, the boy feels that he misses his parents a lot and asks the queen if he could go to see them. The snake queen agrees but under one condition, he must not tell anyone about what he has seen in the well. He promises not to tell anyone and she set him free. The snakes help the boy to reach the Earth surface, he meets his parents again and everyone is happy.

After some time, the Turkish Sultan gets seriously sick and his doctor tells him that only drinking blood of a snake queen can cure him. However, nobody knows where to find the snake queen. The boy, now already a young man, forgets about his promise and mentions that the snake queen lives in the well in his parents garden. The Sultan sends soldiers there, they find the snake queen and kill her. Then the Sultan drinks her blood and thanks to this he really recovers to full health. As a grateful reward the Sultan designates the boy to become a great Vezir.”

I have never seen such bizarre story in any fairytale. The boy betrayed the snake queen that saved his life and gave him trust and freedom and as a reward to his bad deeds he’s got promoted to become a Vezir. All cruelty and decadence just for the long life of the mighty Sultan. If nothing else, it’s interesting.

Mini-Review of the Movie “Beyond” (2018): Thumb up! (60%)

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The movie reminded me District 9 that I liked a lot, it has a similar style of a series of short scientific (and believable but still fictional) documentary shots and interviews that build the story.

One day a white hole/void/swirling black hole appears just next to the Earth with a probable planet in its core. NASA selects two cyborgs for a one way trip to say hello to whatever is there and to inspect the void from inside. Along with funny scenes of soldiers shooting with rifles at black holes (rather an E.T. blobs) the movie goes on in logical-ish steps.

The most of the duration of the movie I was sure I’d give it a thumb clearly up and was looking forward to seeing an original conclusion, the eco-propaganda fairy tale-at the end trembled my intention significantly. As said by one of the film characters: “There is no physical or scientific explanation for what happened” in the end of the movie. 70% + 50% for the silly (beyond the expectation) end = 60%.

Mini Review of the movie “The First Man” (2018): Thumb up (60%)

Well, it’s a linearly paced historical movie, Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) looks like a version of Bruce Willis with his anti-emotional, good psychopath face mask (both at work and in a space ship or with his family). However, he still shows some emotions through tiny holes in the mask.

There are many things happening in the Apollo project but after all nothing really much happened (in the movie) deeply enough to focus for longer and to get you engaged. Irritating, always trembling camera not only during emergency situations in a cockpit… speaking of the space modules, they definitely were trembling wheezing metal coffins (from today’s tech perspective garage-built).

The scenes on the Moon itself were original and definitely beyond the standard Hollywood style. So maybe, thumb up! But I’m not blown away. 60%.

Mini Review of the movie “The House That Jack built” (2018) by Lars von Trier: Thumb up! (80%)

A very weird movie about a psychopath serial killer who describes 5 of his “incidents” while descending on his way to hell.

Sometimes even a grotesque (the killer suffers from OCD) extreme and explicit violence (people were leaving the cinema) including hunting children with a rifle and cutting off woman’s breasts. Distasteful murders come as a result of a longish dialog (it’s like the Tarantino’s style?).

Among other questions the movie asks what is and what is not art. The psychopath tries, thanks the god unsuccessfully, to justify the unjustifiable evil by calling it art. The film is all full of metaphors that force you to think deeper because it’s clear that the director does not mean it just for fun or to shock you. It also serves as an autobiography of Trier’s attempts to “build a house”.

Starring Matt Dillon is unbelievable, the best performance of his life!

It’s a movie you don’t like to watch but that makes you think about many things.

PS: I have a feeling that the name of the movie refers to something in UK, or USA, maybe an old programme, or show? Could anyone explain me?

How to Keep Running (Playing Audio) Video in Background in iOS 12.1

There are many less or more complicated and less or more reliable workarounds on-line. Here is mine which is super simple that works well in iOS 12.1:

  1. Start a video in Safari browser. Do not resize the video to full screen, just play the video embedded in a web page.
  2. While playing just switch to another Tab (or create a new Tab). The video will be still playing in the non active Tab.
  3. Now you can switch to another app, the main device screen, or turn the display off. The video will be still playing.

This works with page embedded videos as well as videos on the YouTube page. Very handy for interviews, music videos etc. Unless you start playing a different audio source the audio of the video will keep on.

Why the documentary Seven Stars above Nagorno Karabach is not accessible in the Czech TV archive?

In the old times there lived a noble family in Arcakh and they had a beautiful son. A wise doctor advised to the family that they should let the young nobleman to train in hunting in forests.

He ran to a forest and found two Arcakh girls taking water from a spring. He asked a girl to give him water. She filled a glass, passed it to the other girl and the other girl poured it out on the ground. The nobleman asked again, she took water one more time, gave it to the other girl and she again poured it out on the ground. The nobleman got angry and asked again. This time she gave it to him.

“Why did you not do it at first?” “Because you were too sweat and you could die if you drank so cold water so burning sweat,” said the beautiful girl. The nobleman liked the answer and liked the girl, too, and asked her if she would marry him. She asked him what he knew to do. “I am a young tsar I don’t need to know anything, I have my servants for everything.” The girl answered: “Today a king, tomorrow nobody, when you learn something useful come back and I will decide.”

I vaguely/loosely translated this excerpt from the subtitles to a Czech TV documentary Seven stars above Nagorno Karabach. The documentary itself is unfortunately not accessible to watch from the Czech TV archive. It’s sadly paradoxical, I do pay the annual fees to Czech TV because I have a TV set home in Praha, but I can’t watch it online.