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Thursday, December 31, 2009

When Scenes Like These Happen

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And we compare them with the relative freedoms (and comforts!) we enjoy in the Americas.

We'd better not comment on the video for our words will only get in the way. A thousand readings. Now follow the URL to YouTube: An AFP video on the famous Latin American Wedding.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcRfUQvXe9g

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lula on Screen: Brazil's President as Superhero

Lula on Screen: Brazil's President as Superhero

Our take:

While it is laudable that we should remember the feats of a man who rose from the scrubland to the heights of power and who is fêted by other heads of state, it is a bit too premature for us all to consider him a saint.

We all were very much there for him in the beginning. Even contributing financially for his campaign to gain the Planalto Palace up until we started watching in disbelief as less than kosher fare were the plats du jour in his party.

Also, most of us tend to frown on our President's penchant in siding with the wrong crowd. That said, as is the case, we believe that the masses, if granted access to the film, will tend to gloss over that and go on to elevate the guy to even higher spheres. Unavoidably.

In the article:

"The problem is that portraying Lula as a saint stretches credulity. Brazilians know and admire the man who dragged himself up through poverty to become President of the world's fifth most populous nation. But while the film ends in 1980, the years since have produced a different Lula, the intemperate leader who swears in public and rails at the press for investigating graft, and whose government was tainted by one of the most egregious corruption schemes in Brazilian history."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1950540,00.html#ixzz0bAciECTt

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good Riddance in 2009 All Ye...

I hereby choose to smash and destroy metaphorically those things I liked the least in 2009.

- Those who in my country, Brazil, have had the nerve to gather round and thank the Lord for the bonuses (bribes) they have earned through corruption and other weird political processes.

- The Uganda Be Kidding Me debacle as in to kill or not to kill people based on their sexual orientation.

- The setbacks the LGBT struggle has suffered in my country despite all the encouraging developments in other parts of Latin America.

- Custody battles for children who through no fault of their own but solely through that of their parents undergo unheard-of suffering.

- Noxious and toxic people who only think about taking advantage of others, behave parasitically and do nothing to elevate themselves in the proverbial success (spiritual) ladder.

- Noisome diseases caused by viruses and other pathogenic agents which despite breakthroughs in science are still there to make other people's lives miserable.

All ye liars, hypocrites, racists, bigots, zealots, ponzi schemers, pedophiles, corrupt creatures and birds of prey, good riddance!

Shoo! Fly away into the nothingness where you came from and let peace and understanding, love and friendship, peace of mind and good-will prevail in 2010.

The Gods only know we deserve a better turn than the blows we've been dealt this past year. So mote it be!

Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Fiery!

Fire land all right and with a reason. In a country where hearts (and minds?) beat to the tune of the Catholic Church, a special decree granted by the governor of Tierra del Fuego allowing two gay men to get married must be causing cardiac arrest.

Let’em die. Times are a-changing and it is high time the establishment came to the realization that people’s hearts matter and if they choose to lock strings with another of the same-sex, who are we to say otherwise?

Luckily, in that part of the Earth, some enlightened souls have already initiated changes. Gay marriage, said the Governor Fabiana Ríos, is "an important advance in human rights and social inclusion". Sure is.

That the couple should choose the heels of the hemisphere for the big day is very telling. “Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, tied the knot in a civil ceremony in the southern city of Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego province.” (BBC)

Little do they know that their marriage is going to have a domino effect with an upsurge of change from the Tierra del Fuego all the way up to Alaska, and help me in my geographical knowledge, even reaching the remotest of villages on top of the planet. Let us keep our fingers crossed. Brothers and sisters north of the Rio Grande need it. And by the way, we, in the pampas, too.


The video on BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8433240.stm

On Over-handed Children and Warm Coats

Still on the Sean Goldman story, we are all very glad that the nightmare is over and that the young man is back with his father in the United States.

The child, who lived in an upscale, gated-community somewhere in the south side in Rio de Janeiro, is all set to begin a new life in completely different surroundings in the suburbs of New Jersey. Quite a move, we add.

On Sunday, the boy’s stepfather went on national television in Brazil to say that the boy had pleaded with him not to be sent back to the U.S. and how the father had been negligent with visiting arrangements. We hear differently from the dad. His constant attempts to see his child were rebuffed. A war of words.

Meanwhile, the grandmother, also on national TV, says that this has been her worst Christmas ever and that she is in mourning. A bit of hyperbole is understandable under the circumstances. Now that she has been parted with her grandson, efforts are being made to retain lawyers in the U.S. to get her to see the child, if at all, and grant the boy the opportunity to see his baby sister, Chiara, who is barely two. No word from the dad yet.

Holiday season over, the American family is said to be arranging for the young child to see psychologists and perhaps hire an English language tutor so that the child can keep up with his studies in his former and now new home. All the while, we are granted a vision of the young child’s former bedroom to see his baby shoes and toys neatly arrayed against a wall. Also, how some neighbor got him a coat to keep him warm in the severe northern cold. Made for TV spectacle.

We have a feeling that the saga is not over just yet. It may be just beginning. It is just that it is the other side now that is experiencing the pain.

The kid once again right smack dab in the middle of it all. We should wish him luck.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Goldman Case - Finally, The Child Will Return Home

Top Justice Gilmar Mendes suspends preliminary injunction that kept father and son separated and orders the child be returned to the United States.

The top judge ordered the boy be handed over to this father by 9 A.M on Saturday, Brasília Time, to be reunited with his father.

The grandmother, however, in an interview to a news site says the boy was treated like a commodity and in the interest of trade relations with the United States, "he had been sold".

No word yet from the Dad as to what their Xmas will be like.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bloggers, What Do You Call

A gaudy, overly-dressed woman who tends to behave ex-tra-vagant-ly, in English?

We call her a "Perua" (Puh-roo-uh) as in the wife of the turkey, which is a "Peru".

I'm inclined to think we would find her in Hollywood - those wives...and she may be new to money. Also, I would say that her sense of style is impaired, or not. She may also be a ditzy, brittle blonde, or raceless. Her chief concerns are in her clothes and her extravant jewellery.

Thanks in advance.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Sean Goldman Controversy: Memories of Elián González

The Sean Goldman Controversy: Memories of Elián González

It is not because Brazilians like "tweaking" Americans that this elianesque debacle is dragging on. It simply is because that the boy's stepfather is very well placed in the upper echelons of Brazilian society and that the judges have no alternative but to accommodate these stalling judicial measures perpetrated by the boy's grandmother, for example.

It may very well be that the nanna wants to see her grandson "well-placed" in the self-aggrandizing society where they are inserted rather than seeing her son growing up, shall we say, in New Jersey.

The young boy is Brazilian too and they say that he should be heard. Granted. Is he not a bit too young to be able to decide over this or that?

Obviously, for a dad, the latest developments in the case are hard to swallow. We are of the opinion that the kid should return to his father and leave the country in his relatives' good graces. Then again, they have their version of the whole drama.

These people are not thinking about the boy a few years down the road. Who knows who he might end up choosing, if any of them, at all?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mr International 2009 - Fine-toning, Indeed.



This blog could have used BBC's footage for this tongue-in-cheek piece but decided against it on the very lame excuse that it was difficult to locate it on the venerable site...and, unembeddable.

Also, we have decided not to comment about the organizers and neither are we going to say a word (in edgewise) about/against the contestants. We (argh, the editorial "we") know our fellow bloggers to be very capable of reaching conclusions for themselves.

That said, we were very much thinking: screw you, if only you could lay your hands on any of those rehearsing in the video above, you would count yourself lucky. Ah, but they are not our type, except for one specific contestant from way out there who would get our vote anyway. Besides, sweetie, they are not gay, clearly!


Ah, here is the video, waiting to be watched, it is actually the "editor's pick." Were we to be the editor, we would agenda-set this one hands down.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8421514.stm

"fine-toning", indeed.

Study: TV May Perpetuate Race Bias

Study: TV May Perpetuate Race Bias

Time's story:


"...Led by Max Weisbuch, a postdoctoral student in the lab of Tufts psychology professor Nalini Ambady, researchers designed the multipart study to examine the communication of race bias on television to white college-age volunteers. Weisbuch and his team were intrigued by the fact that despite a significant reduction in overt expressions of racism in modern American society — the country has, after all, just elected its first black president — studies consistently find that many people still show biased or negative attitudes toward African-Americans, primarily through nonverbal means such as facial expressions, crossed arms and averted gazes. The psychologists wondered how such biases could persist in a society in which racism is socially unacceptable and indeed publicly denounced."


My take:

It is nothing new really for them to say that TV viewing perpetuates race bias. We all know that deep down.

In American and Brazilian television, blacks and other "minorities" tend to get sidelined in favor of the Caucasian, blue-eyed character. we tend to believe that in the United States huge steps forward have been made in the fight for equal rights and that tends to seep down, albeit, in a trickle, in their media. It is really natural for us to see a black news anchor or a black news presenter in American television. That is, when they are not doing the weather or filling in weekend spots. Not in Brazil, sadly.

Minorities, regardless of the baby steps in the U.S. have still a long way to go. There is a lot to be done and a lot of awareness to be developed even among minorities themselves. Education is the catalyst. Minorities have to overcome the victimization syndrome and set their sights higher. It is easy for us to say, though. However, if we do not attempt to at least incorporate changes in our consciousness. When will we do that?

Why do we tend to regard minorities with suspicion? Questions abound.



Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Needles Are Stuck in Your Body & You Are a Child

Swift and slow, that’s the way Brazilian Justice works.

In the former post where the case of the American child is dragging in high courts, where a child’s fate is to be decided on appeal. Yet another, where the child is the object of, unbelievably, black magic.

A young kid’s body has been found to have about 40 sewing-needles stuck into various parts of his torso in a ritual, it is thought, to simply take revenge on the child’s mother. The stepfather is the chief suspect with a little help from two other women. This happened two days ago in the state of Bahia, north of Rio de Janeiro.

Temporary imprisonment has been issued and the three are in custody.
The boy is said to be in a stable condition and is breathing without the help of respirators, fortunately.

The two-year-old kid is now to be transferred to another specialized facility where two needles too close to his heart have to be removed.

We are all watching incredulously at the gratuitous violence perpetrated against a defenseless child.

Should the Child Stay in Brazil? He will

This writer is of the opinion that the young man should be returned to his father immediately. After all, he had been brought to the country for a two-week holiday by his mother, never to return. For the mother decided to stay and then proceeded to divorce her former husband, and the boy's father, David Goldman.

The possibility that the child should be asked whether he wanted to stay or return to the United States to be with his father has been aired. That is not clear in court papers.

Sean's fate is now in the hands of the Brazilian judiciary. And that may take a long time to unravel. We learn today that after giving the father hope yesterday that the child was to be returned in 48 hours, The Supreme Court has just decided that the child is to remain in Brazil.

Most people have reacted in favor of the father. Who wouldn't? It so happens, many think, that the court has been swayed by the stepfather's influential connections. We should never admit that publicly but bloggers out there are saying just that.

Meanwhile, we feel for all those involved and especially for the young kid who has been the object of this tug-of-war between father and stepfather.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Southern Charms and Beautiful, Unspoiled Beaches

Buenos Aires in Argentina may be ranked as the second most visited city by gay people in the south of the hemisphere. Especially for those who like European charm and feel at home with the porteño friendliness and good deals.

Now, few people know that gay portenõs, I mean, buenos-aireans, choose Florianopolis in the state of Santa Catarina (SC), Brazil, for their Summer holidays. For better deals.

Those are people who have already been to Rio de Janeiro and find that the attraction of Florianopolis lies in its beautiful beaches. If the photo above is anything to go by.

Granted that in Florianopolis you will not find the well-established and organized infrastructure the pink market has grown accostumed to in Buenos Aires but one thing is for sure, the natives of Florianopolis welcome, with open arms, gay and straight alike. After all, pink money has the same worth as everyone else's.

Far from being the glitzy and neon-lighted luxury of the Argentine capital, Florianopolis stands out for being just that, low-key. Visitors will love the charm of walking, flip flops and all, through unspoiled stretches of several beaches that surround the famous island. If that is not enough, there are the continental beaches, just as inviting and enticing as the ones on the island.

Praia Mole (as in soft beach) is the place you will want to go to and, especially to the left-hand side of the beach, to Deca's Bar. This is where brothers and sisters from all over soak up the sun and enjoy one, two, or three caipirinhas. And flirt away.

Further to the left of Praia Mole,you will reach the clothing-optional Galheta beach. A must-go. Online guides do not mention the fact, of course, that seasoned and adventurous beach-goers clamber up a well-beaten track to a hill where, it is known, a lot happens...with the breeze flowing gently from the ocean. Oops!

Learn more here:

http://www.oasisfloripa.com/about-floripa.php
http://www.gaytravelbrazil.com/florianopolis/home.htm

Be in with South-American Lingo:

People born in Rio de Janeiro are Cariocas
People born in Buenos Aires are Porteños
People born in Florianópolis are Maneziños
People born in this writer's state - RS, Brazil - are Gaúchos
People born in Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, are Porto-alegrenses


video

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On People's Choices on the Blogosphere

When we undertake to write blogs we automatically assume that we are going to be followed by the world, the blog world.

Not so, untold variables come into the mix when people decide whether to follow, or not, this blog for instance.

There are as many different people out there as there are stars, as there are galaxies. In that case, we thank Heavens for diversity. Therein lies the rub. For peope tend to follow sites that resonate with their present state of mind. Present? Yes, people change.

In that blog-bag, we have people that come from extremely repressive countries and they cannot simply write on a blog freely as we do with so much freedom of speech. We can basically say anything we want if we follow rules of good sense, naturally. We will not slander or be accused of libel for we know there are consequences. Lawyers will suck us dry so we bite the bullet.

Other blogs, we have come to learn, are ephebophilic, or put simply, geared towards the admiration (or love) of young men and those are extremely popular. We hazard a guess: some of us live in repressive socio-political systems and we tend to vent by devoting our attention to phallocentric matters. Are we to blame? Surely, from the classical Greek philosophers and literature onwards.

Have you read The Odyssey? Aeneid? A veritable who’s who of the perfect male. A queen, Dido, stabs self and then throws self into the flames and out existence all for the love of an übermensch. The flesh is weak.

Others, we are sure you will agree, are just plain pornographic. Devoted to the sex act pure and simply. Again, people have different motives. We are not here to cast judgement. You always have the option of following one such blog anonymously.

And yet others, we will notice, are people writing of their emotional aches and pains and their not so glowing existence. Join the club. We were not handed a guarantee that this was going to be a bowl of cherries when we came into this world. Some take it majestically, and others fare poorly. That is where their “rambling” and “ranting” come from.

In another extreme, we have those blogs devoted to fundamentalist Christianity and anything short of Christlike is unacceptable. They fail, however, to notice that Christ Himself never said a word against what most of us take for granted. Again, if it rocks their boat, who are we to judge?

Others are so sweet in nature we feel emotional about. Those with wildlife photos. Those with plants and trees. There is beauty everywhere and some, armed with their cameras, take full advantage of it.

If you are wondering why the blogosphere is passing you by, try and think of the above and see in which group you fit in. That way, you won’t be left scratching your head and wondering at other people’s motives for choosing you – or not - or that blog you find unswallowable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Circle of Friends Award

Dear fellow bloggers,

I have gladly received the Circle of Friends Award from Stan in NH from www.understandingstan.blogspot.com and have duly passed it on to five other people.

Interestingly enough, I have not heard from them but one, Larry, from Great Lakes Guy.

I am not sure what the protocol is except that I think I will have to choose other people to award it to. In that case, it will seem as if the lovely people I have in mind are my second choice. This is an extremely tricky situation. I was wondering if you guys could let me know what to do.

Alternatively, I should perhaps just keep it to myself and say that I love the attention I get from you my most loyal readers who have been there from day one and, unwittingly, I may not have acted accordingly. Could this possibly be a case of ill-channeled devotion? Obviously, I had the finest of intentions. Surely, I am prone to mistakes. Do forgive me.

See here below my own award to those I have the honor of having as Friends.


Pink Buenos Aires?

Few realize that Buenos Aires is fast becoming our preferred holiday destination.

It has been this writer’s intention to expand further on the subject matter for his blog. However, he has not been able to extricate himself from the gay beaten track and ends up talking about, well, gay issues, in most of his posts.


Why don’t you write about the latest women’s fashion? Or, Heavens forbid, the latest political scandal in either your country or your fellow bloggers’? Will do that, sometime.

It so happens that while reading an article in one of Brazil’s leading news and current affairs magazines, Veja, this author came across a very positive story he thinks he should share with his reading public.

It is about the enticing and charming Buenos Aires in Argentina and how porteños, that’s what the natives of the Argentine capital are called, are so gay friendly that Argentina has been the first Latin American country to recognize gay common-law unions. Isn’t it great?

Just about two weeks ago, they were about to materialize the first gay marriage were it not for a last minute glitch having to do with some judge who said, wait! hold your horses, and also Church Power that said: “Gay marriage? No way!”

The very plucky mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, maybe eyeing future elections, posted a video on YouTube saying the hell he would listen to the Church and supported gay marriage instead.

What is interesting in the story was how Buenos Aires is fast becoming a gay mecca what with all of the above plus the fact that they have Tango Night just for gay couples…imagine that. And that this wealthy market niche finds in Buenos Aires all the reasons they should not go to Kampala, Uganda, par example.

Numbers

According to The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, this is where we love to spend our dough, in order of importance:
Berlin, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Barcelona, Miami, Montreal, Cape Town, New York, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney.

In Buenos Aires, 20% of foreign tourists are gay and the pink market accounts for 1.1 billion US$ in revenues in 2008, plus the fact that they have over 200 hundred “gay-friendly” businesses and one exclusively gay hotel, The Axel. Ah, The Gay Chamber of Commerce is open for business.

Anyone to tango?




"...in favor of freedom..."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rachel Maddow - The Voice of Reason

It is unconscionable that, in this day and age, people in the frailest parts of the world tend to take as gospel and, mind you, carry them to the pulpit, pseudo-scientific theories long discarded as just plain rubbish.

As we have seen in the blogosphere this past week, the case of the American author who was thrashed on air for espousing what I can only term a diabolical plot to make the lives of other human beings impossible in an already...I need a good adjective here...existence, in parts of the world most of us would think twice before setting foot on.

Richard Cohen the author of Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality and head of the International Healing Foundation (Healing!) appeared on Rachel Maddow's Show to explain his side of the story. Unsuccessfully.

Such happenings are a stark reminder that the fight for full human rights, justice for all, peace and all that comes with it, is a long way down the road. Somehow, we have to find the energy to carry on.

Luckily, to counteract the inanity, we have seen examples of Gay Rights being advanced in other parts of the world and Gay People climbing the ladder of success as mayors in American cities or having rights granted in countries in Europe we thought were lost to the cause. Great.



Have you seen this video? Sure you have.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, December 11, 2009

And The Circle of Friends Award Goes To....You Have Been Nominated

What? When? Who? Me? Stan!!! Well I never...

Dear Stan in NH,

Thank you so much for relaying the torch. As we have discussed previously, friendships are priceless and it is not always those who we think are friends who are there listening to us. Sometimes, it takes others to see others.

On being selected, I felt surprised and bit unsure but then I thought "what the heck!", if other people's lenses are cleaner than mine, so be it...

My five topics:

Life, without it I would never have had the chance to be blogging and in touch with such lovely people; Light, for illumining my path and that of others; Love, for being the the all-around balsam that pervades my life and that of others I care about; friendship, a bridge that connects me to like-minded people and finally, good-will, for catapulting me from bed every morning to face a cruel world and for being the staff that helps me carry on in my journey.

I hereby pass the hallowed Circle to the following, my Big Five:

Larry, from great lakes guy

Larry, a huge bossa nova fan, shares the songs he holds close to his heart with me. I have actually opened a folder for his songs.

J.P., from quiehands

J.P. for having the courage to be who he is despite all the hardships he finds in his immediate environment.

Raulito, from trickledownbs

For being pretty much out there duela a quien duela. I do not think he would panic should the world come to and end tomorrow.

Eternally, from eternally distracted

She, or he......for being so vocal and saying, spitting back, rather, the injustices they are heaped on.

Queen of Shiba, from Spilling the Beans being constantly abuzz with things and for having a busy mind.

All my followers are all HuMyn and deserve only the best. My best to all, and again, to Stan, for knowing (and feeling!) a great deal. He is right here, below.

/>
www.understandingstan.blogspot.com










Dear Awardees

You have to choose five people to give the Award to. Also, find five topics dear to your heart to share with your friends.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Commercial Indeed

I tend to take issue at the loose portrayals, sometimes blown out of proportion or frequently downsized to accommodate and to fit pre-conceived parameters, of gay people.

In Brazilian soaps, gay people are often portrayed as raging queens or frivolous beings interested in fashion or the latest hair style. Little is shown of the real life of those who endure in the real world of prejudice and lack of respect. Little is shown or said that gay people pay taxes, go to school, have jobs, and have families.

Watching trailers of A Single Man, by Tom Ford, I have been drawn to the same feeling yet again. What kind of individual is Mr Ford trying to portray? Is it really the lonely person grieving over the loss of his companion? Or is it another propaganda piece to sell his wares? Apart from the main character, shown in his real age, what comes to mind is that again we see what is most prevalent in the gay scene: the eternal youth.

If you haven’t been living in a cave for the last twenty years or so, you will notice that The Pink Market is associated with youth, muscles and fashion. Far from the truth. In gay life, there are all sorts of people who are as normal as your uncle from the next state and who, hello, missed out on his mortgage for lack of funds.

Granted, there are those who follow fashion and have tons of money to burn. All power to them.

However, it would behoove movie directors to reach farther into the community and take examples of life-sized people and give them an and they lived happily ever after ending.

I know you are going to say that the non-descript, run of the mill, filthy nailed, paunched with smoke-tainted teeth slob does not sell in Hollywood. I shy away from those types, too. Nonetheless, there are those who are in between who would fit the bill very nicely, thank you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When Antagonism Reigns and Evil Takes Over

When forces we can only call evil conspire to make the world the worst place for humankind, there is not very much we can do but to watch incredulously as another set of coordinated bombings rock the already war-scarred Iraq.

The money pull that comes from natural resources is so powerful that human beings, full ratiocinating creatures, lose their collective conscience and act, quite frankly, like reptilians, on impulse.

It is unconscionable, disingenuous, asinine, for lack of other terms, to see that when vested interests are at work, they will do anything to advance their agenda. No matter what.

In that besieged area of the planet, we hear and read in the news, money-power talks and all they care about is, if you kindly allow us to say so, which city has the tallest building, or the biggest source of this or that.

The lives of ordinary human beings have no value at all. A liability perhaps standing on their way. So let us detonate bombs!

Perhaps if they would invest more on education and teach those who inhabit those arid lands that the world is a big place with lots of people and that those people have their beliefs and that is perfectly all right to agree to disagree on religious terms, if only one common human message of peace and construction were prevalent amongst all peoples. Then, yes, the world would be a better place.

Instead, what we hear and see in the news are some in the establishment making use of people’s frailest emotions when they lack water, food, jobs, adequate housing to propagate what we can only term hatred. That can be seen in our side of the pond, as well.

Could this be the dark side of Capitalism? Writing this is no picnic in the park. How sad.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Xmas Trees and All That Dazzles

It is that time of the year again when Brazilian cities begin their preparations for what Christians believe is the Birth of Christ.

Thousands were on hand to witness the lighting of the trees in both Porto Alegre and Rio with hangers-on jostling to have their pictures taken at the base of the tree in Porto Alegre and, from a distance in Rio, for that tree is floating on Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.

Brazil, being a Catholic country, is immersed in the Ideology and, of course, businesses have pinched in to make this a memorable occasion.

The tree on the left is in Porto Alegre, RS, and the one below, is in Rio de Janeiro. The one at the bottom of the page is in São Paulo.


Enjoy! Ah, Merry Christmas!



















And this one, right here below, is in São Paulo - Ibirapuera Park.


The "Last Chance" Starts Today in Copenhagen - Is There a Way Out?

On the Environment and Consumerism

In a previous post, we talked about which TV set to buy whether Plasma or LCD. We would come across as apologists for gross consumerism, if we did not mention that whenever we make a decision to buy or discard appliances, we will be directly impacting the environment.

Not only are TV sets, computers, refrigerators, stoves, cell phones, light bulbs and a myriad other electrical appliances discarded in nature harmful to us all but we are running out of space to dump all our toxic wastes.

These products contain highly toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, nitrogen, chrome, cadmium amongst others. All of these are likely to leach into the soil contaminating whatever is on their way radiating into all corners of our environment.

Of course, we want our businesses to prosper and people buying because that creates jobs and the benefits are obvious. However, we have to develop a conscientious approach to buying in order not only to keep people on their jobs but we have to find ways to re-cast, re-furbish, re-assign, re-use our throwaways.

Don’t you think that is a good thing to do?


Meanwhile...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"They Couldn't Look us in the Eyes" Said the Family

When an individual is found guilty of committing a crime in a foreign country one should expect that the said individual is to be punished accordingly to the full extent of the law.

We hear in the news of the American young woman sentenced to 26 years in prison in Perugia, Italy, for the murder of her roommate under the strangest of circumstances. Those being that the defendant had a crow to pluck with the victim.

Obviously, we are saddened by the news and think that the outcome is naturally harsh. We are, of course, not privy to the details of the sentencing and we have had no access to the prosecution papers. We do not know what happened on that fateful day/night on Nov. 1, 2007, except that DNA evidence is attached to the case and European media reports on the proceedings.

All very sad and time and resources-consuming for we imagine the parents of the accused - and now charged with the killing - girl must have and have yet to spend a veritable fortune to clear what they call their daughter’s “character assassination.”

It is food for thought. The challenges parents face to bring up their children instilling in them the notion of self-respect and respect towards others and we are sure, telling them that taking another person’s life is a never-never.

It is a double-edged sword that has torn usunder the lives of two transatlantic families - and involved many others - who innocently thought they had sent their children to study abroad and yet find that their children are human and capable of the most atrocious acts. Our hearts go out to all of them.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pandora Box Two - When Sportsmen Go Bad

Hanky-panky, Fling, Extra-Curricular activity, Two-timing, Playing around.

As is the case with you-all-know-who recently caught red handed. What to say? Nothing.

Things like this happen all the time the world over and there is nothing we can do or say about it. It is none of our business.

We all know that these carefully constructed images of the Family-Man with the lovely wife is a complete sham. Quite frankly, women that fall for that should be sent to an institution.

Speaking of women of easy virtue, obviously you can always shut them up with millions of dollars and please, if you could just kindly disappear for a while and don't just look as if you are the victim for you know very well where you were getting your self into or onto. Even if you hire the best (and vocal) of attorneys to argue your case...

Some women, luckily, very much into their own and smart, take the matter into their own hands...and proceed to act as they always should, with vigor and finesse and quite frankly, give them a taste of their own medicine. I distinctly remember one such woman chopping off her significant other's willie. They say it was sewed back on and at full tilt... no pun.

But should men, sportmen, evangelists and all the others be punished for straying? I do not think so. In light of the latest scientific discoveries, for so I have seen on History Channel - The Seven Deadly Sins - Lust is in our genes. No use fighting against it.

People who think will always say that when these katrina-like bombs explode the children are the ones to suffer. Aren't they? Don't these people think? Of course not, for when the hormones take over, reason takes refuge under the first bed it encounters.

What If Everything We Thought We knew Was Wrong

AIDS – The Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – is always in vogue. Especially at this time of the year when we "celebrate" World AIDS Day on December, 1st.

In the United States, we read in the news, HIV positive travelers can now enter the country without fear of being sent back because some law they had has been repealed. Great.

Interestingly enough, AIDS, this seven-headed monster, is many things to many people. Yes, in the world there are those who strictly believe that is HIV is the main causative agent that leads to the horrible disease and there are those who say, BS, HIV is not the cause of AIDS at all.

The former is referred to as the AIDS orthodoxy and the latter as the AIDS denialists, pure and simply. As with everything in life, there are many shades of gray and the AIDS “denialist” movement is split in two: those who follow Dr Peter Duesberg at Berkeley saying that HIV is just a harmless, passenger virus and those who follow the Perth Group in Australia that says that HIV has never been proved to exist or has even been isolated, that is, according to scientific standards and all other things this humble writer is unable to explain.

When asked how they explain the existence of AIDS for there is no denying that the disease is out there and claiming lives, as we speak, denialists will say that this disease is caused by other factors other than the harmless or non-existent virus, factors such as: gay people in the 80s living in the fast lane and what with all the “chemicals” that they consumed and nutrition-poor diet prevalent in the United States taking a toll on their bodies; drug-addicts doing, well, drugs; and, trepidation, unprotected (or protected!) anal sex. The point being that semen when in contact with the rectal wall and everything will tend to cause immune dysfunction anyway. How many of our lesbian friends have AIDS?

Africa, you say? The dissidents say that the problem of basic infrastructure and malnutrition is, well, responsible for many other diseases and AIDS in the old Continent. Period. Give them food and get rid of common variety bugs and problem solved.

Obviously now AIDS is a multi-billion dollar business and there are many interests involved so far into the whole construct. Were it not for some bright minds trying to raise the alarm and, where there is smoke there is fire, it would be to everyone’s best interest that both sides of the argument get together with a common goal: eradicate the disease pronto.

While that does not happen, we are all here at their mercy and hanging on their every word. Meanwhile, this writer would appreciate if any of his buddies in the U.S. would send him a copy of The House of Numbers, just out, and causing a stir in those circles where it matters. Anyone?




Or this one, a rehash of what has already been claimed for years that HIV is NOT the cause of AIDS.


For World AIDS Day from nicole zwiren on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pandora Box One - When Politicians Go Bad

Indeed it is. For those of you who are following the news in our neck of the woods you might have come across the Anti-Prayer.

Our Financer who art on Earth, Hallowed be thy Business, Thy Money come. Thy Will be done in Public as it is in Private. Give us this day our daily bribe. And forgive us our embezzlements as we forgive those who have misappropriated before us. And lead us not into temptation of honesty, but deliver us from being caught read handed or from the truth. So mote it not be.

The Anti-Prayer has to do with the latest scandal in the capital of the country, Brasilia, where the very Governor is knee-deep in monkey-business. That is, he and a group of his followers have been videotaped receiving bribes in the form of wads of cash and stuffing them in their socks, underwear and the like…All shown on national television.

All of the above, understandably, did not go down well with the population who are now asking for the Governor of the Distrito Federal to be impeached. Calls for his impeachment are coming from at least six sources: unions, opposition parties amongst others.

What is interesting, though, is that we will never learn. Hardly a day goes by without our being jolted by a scandal: political, sexual, or of any other kind. Brazilians, as a fellow blogger - http://rasheedsworld.blogspot.com - says, “have very short memories” and we will end up forgetting that the culprits have committed crimes and we will send them back to power when the dust settles down. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Note to My Fellow Bloggers

I have received, publicly and privately, messages of support from people saying how much they enjoy reading my blog. This is really very encouraging. Being able to write a blog in a foreign language is a Dantesque task that I enjoy.

I've got to, constantly, yes, I split infinitives and I don't care, pay attention to the words I am using. Some come out naturally, some are part of my passive vocabulary.

Years reading Time and Newsweek and The Latin American Daily Post (when published) have yielded results. Not to mention the Bible, the Classics and books like The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and the Romantics all have all contributed to my being able to read and write in English.

Actually, I remember my first words in English: "what's your name? how many brothers and sisters do you have? how old are you and where are you from?" All of these taught to me by an American missionary of a church I am not linked to anymore for obvious reasons...

You can also imagine my elation when I set foot in American territory for the first time a while back. The chance I had to travel across the country and see the country first eyes. All the other subjective impressions will not be told for now.

Well, my readings and get-up-and-go enabled me to have a job as a publishing assistant that involved lots of travelling so, The U.K,The U.S, Germany, and Italy (There is more here that I am not telling you about) are places I have visited many times.

Also the choice of subject matter is something that is not easily come upon. How can I make sense both in Brazil and in the U.S?

Luckily, we all share a common Human Touch that makes us all understand and read, sometimes, between the lines.

Again, thank you so much for your support and do not forget that you, too, have Work to do. We have still to find solutions to a lot of pesky issues that plague us and a lot of living to do. And if we can help the Other with our messages. Let us all strive to keep up the good work.

Paz, Peace, Pax Profunda.