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Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Mythological Love Affairs Between Gods

And boys.

Many are mystified (this humble writer in the ranks) as to why the love bestowed on young boys by older men is so much on the pages of our newspapers and magazines today (and stuff of blogs, too!).

From men of the cloth to vast sections of society, we learn, many "fall" (ouch!) for this ancient, mistily ancient practice. 

It started in Greece! None other than Zeus himself upon seeing this blond beauty tending a flock of sheep, either turned himself into or sent an eagle (juicy details of the story are irreparably lost...) to Earth and swept Ganymede (Ganny, for us) on to Mount Olympus.

Ovid (20 March 43 BC - AD17/18 AD) writes in The Metamorphoses in a translation by Horace Gregory:

 "One day the very king of all the gods
Took fire when he looked at Ganymede,
Then, O, he wished himself less masculine -
Yet he became a flashing, warlike eagle
who swooped upon the boy with one swift blow
And clipped him, wing and claw, to Mount Olympus
(Pictured here - Looks unDivine, if you ask me) 
where to much to Juno's obvious distaste(of course!), 
The trojan boy serves drinks to Father Jove." (serves drinks????)

Mount OlympusImage via Wikipedia
It is little surprise then, and hello!, it is in the classics, registered for posterity, that the thing is as old as the hills. Ah, we will not see an end to it anytime soon. 

Who's going to be the next to fall for a young shepperd boy?

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Violence in Rio de Janeiro - Part IV

Corcovado, Rio de JaneiroImage by svenwerk via Flickr

Oy vey!

The woes of our beloved city. Will there ever be and end?

A flat no! i am not writing about the latest wave of violence in Rio de Janeiro. i am up to here. What good will it bring?  i will only be adding to the surplus of newsreports on bullets ricochetting off sidewalks and people ducking for cover.

i know it is a daunting task. It is like swimming against the current.The more they do to stem the tide the more water comes under the bridge, spilling onto the streets and causing a flood of images we would be better off not seeing.

Now, how can i relate the image above to reality? i could find things to say but i won't.

Take your pick below.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On Talking Shop

Cuchulainn carries Ferdiad across the riverImage via Wikipedia

Just a little bit of an elliptical text mentioning the news about, erm, those mines again; flooded in one corner and gassed in the other... The same old story... No happy ending and mistresses...

This is straight out of the movies: some woman in the old continent wanting to off her (hunky and studly?) son-in-law, for the gods know why, (an affair?) bla bla and hiring hitmen who doctored photos and fooled her and she not buying it....  She dabbled in witchery and everything... Oh, the Media... Media matters!

Speaking of swords and all, there's the sabre-rattling in the Korean Peninsula.... Are they going to bomb one another to smithereens?

Cú Chulainn must be turning in his grave... Or maybe not... Don't pluck all your shamrocks yet.

See Mamma Penny on Sex and Health over at Sizzling Hot: was Mamma Penny right? Okay now to sheathe your sword in "exceptional circumstances," that is, if there is no mending you.... Rave reviews these remarks got from the highest authorities at the WHO...

Thanks a lot, Maurizzio Magellan. Are you a psychic?

Finnegans Wake and the circularity of things...
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On When Authors are Edited

Portrait of Mary ShelleyImage via Wikipedia
From NPR

It's nice to know where a semicolon is supposed to go, but it's nothing to swell your chest over. The artistry is in being able to write sentences that require one.

True. In the realm of artistry, where Creativity comes from, there is no such thing as rules of grammar and punctuation. Words and Images just ARE. 

As to literature, it is obvious and patently clear that the writing skills of a particular author be they a man or woman, or some other gender in-between, eloquently does not matter.

In the story above we see scholars trying to shed light on a no-no subject; could women from modest backgrounds and not too involved in the world of Academia have written such lovely and unforgettable masterpieces such as (Frankestein, or) Pride and Prejudice? Was there a man breathing down the necks of and dictating to, (or worse!) weren't the novels dictated to the paragons of English literature? And worse twice over, weren't the magnificent authors merely copying texts?

We all know that when we read a novel, a thousand possibilities leap out the pages and we read a great deal into them: be it repressed homosexuality or a thousand other paranoic possibilities. The background of such novels, clearly, was one of repressed sexuality and smothered creativity plus things we cannot possibly find terms for. Life was black and white and thinking out of the box was anathema. If ever those authors found ingenious ways of putting their message across albeit in code... It is all to their credit.

The Western Cannon will never find room for such dissidence. Now, if there REALLY is something that may be lurking behind our beloved novels and that may not have seen the light of day yet as far as originality of such works is concerned, we see that in our post-post-modern society where splitting atoms is a daily occurrence, surely we should get to the very bottom of the matter when/where appropriate.  However, clearly, it woud require cojones. Big ones.

Do you want to explore some more? 

Go here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Something Funnily Serious About Hypertension

Everyone knows what to do when the going gets tough and the signs of hypertension that have been poking their ugly heads for a while, well, come to a head.

In Brazil, of course, maybe not everyone is in the know about the ravages of an uncared-for life and people usually take their relative health for granted and will only look for help when it is too late. After all, hypertension is the bane of most middle-agers' life. The young suffer as well.

With that in mind our Health Minister, Miguel Temporão, resorted to a very peculiar way of drawing attention to the fact. Upon urging his fellow Brazilians to eat healthily, exersize frequently and be aware of the dangers lurking in the dark, erm, blood, he mentioned that people should also engage in, well, sex. Yes, sex. Lots of it.

Brazilians, bemused by the suggestion, jumped at the idea with a certain amount of gusto, we would like to think, and others not so, quite. Why? For the very obvious reason that if you are to engage in such an activity, you need someone to help you along with it, right?

That's is what one lady said, when interviewed, that as soon as she found the partner in question, she would be going to be right "on top of it." 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Food for Thought

Recently, on Facebook, I've read a friend's post saying she was going to immerse herself in chips, ice-cream and TV series, signalling perhaps it was her only option. I commented back saying that "a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips". Do you agree?

What is it that makes people resort to comfort food to cope with their frustrations? Would you agree that water and silence would do the trick? Or do you think that this is none of our business and people should do as they damn please?

Wouldn't it be better for you to get out there and move around? Move in the sense of doing something with your body and making your blood circulate and, thereby. occasioning in yourself a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration? How should people deal with their hang-ups and little demons?

Our informant commented back saying she had thought of better ways to spend her afternoons... Well, THAT is dynamic, too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On When the Rich Build Their Homes in Protected Areas

Their homes get blasted and razed to the ground. This is what happened in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro.

After a judicial battle (ten years!), and this is the state against the owner, a 1600 square meter mansion built in an environmental protection area in the Atlantic Rain Forest in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, was razed to the ground earlier today.

The State Environmental Bureau used 40 pounds of dynamite to demolish the building. The owner of the property, who is a Korean national, was fined and charged with environmental crimes.

Authorities say he had been notified several times prior to the demolition about the illegality of the construction and told to replant the deforested area. The state government financed the blast and the owner is to reimburse the state.

Authorities hope people will now think twice before building homes in protected areas. There is no end date for the crackdown on environmental crimes.

Kudos to the state of Rio de Janeiro.

The Video

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Women in Power and in Politics

You know what this is
Draft a little text on women in power. Women at the helm. Estrogenic power. Women with bulge (here, quoting a fellow blogger). Add a bit of info on this, that and the other. All factual, of course.

In the Americas, top the text with: Elizabeth Christine Leopoldine Augusta Michaela Gabriella Raphaella Gonzaga, Empress Isabel of Brazil, way back; and then on to Isabel Perón in Argentina, glazed and buried; Michelle Bachelet in Chile, alive and kicking at the UN;  Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, recently widowed; and Dilma Roussef,  president-elect, very much ecstatic, in Brazil. All of them in South America.

Angela Merkel, wielding a lot of power in Germany, Europe. Margaret Thatcher, stubbornly alive, in the UK. 

Indira Gandh in India, Golda Meier in Israel, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, the three of them now gone to meet with their Maker. Ellen Jonhson Sirleaf, vivíssima in Liberia, Africa.

Julia Gillard, currently, and Helen Clark, pastly, down under.

In the States, up in this Hemisphere: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin (yes, she is VERY powerful, you've got no idea....); Madeleine Albright and Condoleeza Rice? These lend their female power to the ocean of testosterone in Washington. Will they ever have a woman president? 

Ah, way, way back, in Egypt, there was Cleopatra. In Brittania: fearless Boudicca all the way up to virginissima Elizabeth Tudor and her golden age; later, Queen Victoria, covered ankles and everything; and, finally, Queen Elizabeth, mother-in-law to Princess Diana. 

Who's missing?

Friday, November 5, 2010

On When Films Misinform

Praia de Carneiros in Pernambuco - Northeastern Br
See whether we can come up with a rebuttal for chewed and digested data shown in an American film, "Turistas" (same title in the original), directed by John Sotckwell and produced by Fox films.

The flick shows clichés intensified by terror such as doctored caipirinhas, rogue native-Brazilians doubling as thugs for organ traffickers...

Also, the absurdity of having to read that the bad guys (Brazilians!) speak Spanish! There's more bull: The Amazon is next to Rio de Janeiro! Is this dis-information or what?

Outraged, Brazilian authorities are keeping an eye on viewers' reactions. That could throw a spanner in all the good work people are trying to do to clean up the image of this country abroad. Our Tourism Board have their work cut out for them. 

We are doing our bit helping to dispel every myth. Don't believe a word you hear.

Ah, our buses are ultra-super modern and equipped with LCD TVs and GPSed. Catch that flight.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Does Porto Alegre Have a Book Fair?

Visitors at the Book Fair - A crowd drawer
Also on Digital Journal

Gay Pride Parades, beautiful parks, beautiful people, all the amenities found in the best capitals all over and a book fair to boot?

Yes, Porto Alegre has a book fair. An annual event held every year towards the end of October, beginning of November.

It is one of the oldest in the country. This after one porto-alegrean visited one such fair in Rio de Janeiro and inspired, he came up with a similar event in Porto Alegre. That was in 1955.

What they wanted was to make books available to the masses and since they would not come to the books why not take the books to the them? That is what they did back then.

Paixão Côrtes - Honoree 2010. 
Alfândega (Customs) Square was a busy corner in Porto Alegre in the 50s and 400 thousand people inhabited the Merry Port. So, on November 16th, 1955, the first Porto Alegre Book Fair was set in motion with 14 wooden stalls around a monument to an important general. From then on, as you can imagine, the fair idea caught on and goes on until today.

With all the success, at the occasion of the eleventh book fair, the tradition of adopting one Honoree – a Guest of Honor, so to speak – who would represent the whole idea of the fair, began. And to him homage is paid every year.

The Honoree, more often than not a writer or an important personality connected to books or to academia, is always busy granting interviews and making clear his vision of the world.

This year’s fair will be held from October 29th to November 15th , 2010. Been swayed? Catch that flight and visit the fair.

The Roper (O Laçador) - Wikipedia

An agronomist, folklorist, composer, radio man and researcher of the Brazilian culture, Paixão Côrtes was born in Santana do Livramento, RS,  in 1927.  

A gaucho culture icon, The Roper Monument, Porto Alegre's chief symbol, was modelled after him in 1958.

Photos: Book Fair Organizers

Porto Alegre in English on YouTube

On Women Presidents and the Electorate

Dilma Rousseff in Porto Alegre. photo: Roberto Stuckert Filho
Digital Journal

"Brazilians went to bed last night, Sunday October 31st, knowing that they had voted for the country's first woman president."

So we did, yes. 56 million of us hit the electronic voting machine to usher in a new era.

 Actually, it was about 8 PM when we found out we had a winner. The town was all party for those on that side of the isle and people had a sense of elation.

On the other, erm, the opposition bowed out of the race gracefully with its chief exponent saying he was only just beginning on the path to a new country. He was saying that the defeat was no defeat at all. Check it to experience. 

Great leaders always think positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel even when faced with apparent adversity. That is commendable.

Photo: Wikipedia - Voting Machine
This writer is entirely apolitical and thinks little of the whole affair. 

Perhaps, he should find jubilation in the fact that a paradigm has been shifted and that now there is a woman calling the shots in high places. However, his cynicism dictates that he should stand on his guard, sit and wait to see what is coming up ahead.

Gool luck, fellow Brazilians with your new choice.