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Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Sacrificial Lambs and a Rethink in our Sexual Practices

George Washington Bridge, spanning the Hudson ...Image via Wikipedia

A Rutgers University freshman who had his privacy violated after two classmates allegedly filmed him during a "sexual encounter" and posted it on the Internet committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, authorities said.

Our Take:

Despicable and underhanded. What business is it of anyone to tape scenes of people having sex to post them on the Internet? A reprehensible act that should be discouraged in the strongest terms. To merely satisfy viewers voyeuristic inclinations and to shed light on the culture of repressed societies where sex is taboo, more likely. Sex is life, not death!
Granted that this is one *isolated incident in an ocean of possibilities and that we are making a mountain out of a molehill. However, there is a banquet of food for thought.
Obviously, the parties involved in this horrible act have not only brought disgrace to bear on themselves and untold heartache and pain for the family of the young freshman, they have also completely derailed ongoing efforts of many to bring awareness and consciousness-raising about LGBT issues in and outside college campuses.
Activists have their work cut out for them.  Are we ever going to learn?

*!!!! This is NOT one isolated incident. We stand corrected. See below:

Learn more:

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When Transgender Makes it Into Politics

Gloria Cristal at the Gay Pride, Oct 2009
All for the good of  humankind, we say. 

Because that is exactly what is happening in our state: Gloria Cristal,  a long-standing member of the LGBT community in Porto Alegre, is now standing for "office". 

She wants to be voted in as a state representative, and one carrying the burden (or grace) of making LGBT rights known and attended to in the corridors of power. 

Surprising though it is, for Gloria is a member of a party known for not being very committed to the LGBT agenda, the prospects are good. People are slowly wising up and coming to the realization that if you want to get things done, you must work towards it.

Besides Gloria, others are planning to carry the LGBT banner into the Legislative Assembly next Sunday, October 3rd, in our general elections. Let us all wish them luck. The world deserves it. 

Glory be!

Update: Oct 4th, 2010 - One day after the Elections>

Gloria Cristal got 4.535 votes. Already a beginning. Celebrations!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On Why Black Church Culture Rejects Homosexuality

Like many black Christians, David grew up in a theologically conservative church culture that views the Bible as the authoritative word of God. This supplied David with a healthy dose of guilt and regret for succumbing to same-sex cravings, eventually leading to his despondent spiritual state. CNN

Chillingly true and mystifying for the very Bible they like quoting from was used to justify their translocation from Africa to the Americas in shackles and the effects of which are very much enduring.

Something must have happened down through the centuries to effect this tremendous shift in paradigm. And if this serves as a valid argument, Black folks in the Americas do have a long row to hoe when it comes to Human Rights.

From the U.S.A. downwards through the isthmus of Panama and into South America, life for Afro-descendants is no bowl of cherries and statistics are really bleak. Blacks rank last in everything. In this writer's country, inclusive.

Luckily, though, in our neck of the woods, Blacks have retained elements of their original cultures and along with *sincretism have managed to carve a niche all of their (our!) own, religiouswise.

It is high time the Black Church, as shown in the CNN article, grew out of their narrowly literal interpretation of the Scriptures and pursued a more inclusive doctrine  and, ipsis verbis, promoted the acceptance of all its members regardless of their sexual orientation.

This is an issue worth exploring. Go here for more. Plus, if you must be a member of a church, here is another take:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On the Bonanza Series and Master Adam Cartwright

Fanciful creations..........

Create a story for the Bonanza (12 Sept 1959 - 16 Jan 1973) Western series set in Nevada, U.S.A. sometime in the 19th Century.

Mario Magellan y Silva from the northeast of Brazil, only son and heir to sugar cane money, is sent first to a boarding school in England and when back in Brazil with his acquired tastes, Dad sends him to the U.S to his friend Ben Cartwright's ranch to man up for the tasks ahead in their huge property in Brazil.
Once there, it falls to Adam Cartwright to teach the inexperienced, mixed-race and olive-skinned Mario, the hard facts of ranch life. It all goes very well (and bound to get hotter than the midday sun...) up until one day when Mario notices Adam "admiring" him from afar, kind of behind the bushes, when bathing in a fresh water lake not far from the ranch. Increase tension in the ensuing scenes. Build a crescendo that will lead to:
Action to happen when the two of them set out on a hunting trip to shoot wild cats. Evidence Mario's fearful personality when hearing animal howlings and bolting upright from his rug and dashing to Adam's side (and arms...).
Details of the horses, saddles and blankets, rugs, the fallen tree log, the crackling fire and graphic details of the whole affair. 
Attention not to fall into clichés and commonplace practices. Craft text elegantly for a global audience. Research English language usage (slang and idioms) for the period.

End story according to the aesthetics of the time, following Judeo-Christian sensibilities. Be Smart!

Go to for part 2 and 3.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

On How to Fight Pesky Blood-Sucking Insects


Speaking of Summits...

We have learnt that there is one taking place in Moscow (see one previous entry on this blog) on how to exploit the untapped natural riches in the Arctic without your (their!) having to resort to territorial disputes and what not. Knock on wood, we shudder at the thought.

And there is another! A Bedbug Summit in Chicago in the great U.S.A....

If i were to be ciceroning sightseers from Mars, i would be hardpressed to tell them that this is the nature of the news floating in our airwaves and virtual outlets.

Allegorical, maybe. We live in a world where all sorts of modern vampires abound: lethal viruses that rob you of your vitality; rogue bacteria that render you powerless and skeletal; banks and their scorching interest rates (when you owe them!) render you homeless; and this one, an old enemy, a denizen of temperate regions that infests especially beds and feeds on human blood - Cimex lectularius - or the oh so immunized, and commonplace, bedbug that is infernalizing lives in the north of the Hemisphere.

One would have thought that the pesky insects now savvy to the deadliest chemicals, would take a hint and fade into obscurity. But no! Says the article that "the bugs hop blithely from continent to continent on clothing, carry-ons, backpacks and purses."

Are you going to squash them into oblivion?  Plop, plop!  It makes us want to be twice as careful when travelling and three times quicker on the uptake when deciding where we lay our priceless LV's, Kenneth Coles, Coaches and the like.

How to Fight a Scourge: Scenes from the Bedbug Summit

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Veuve Clicquot, Switzerland and Private Jets

"Engaging in a sexual relationship is a healthy component of developing your spiritual life."

I agree in the strongest terms. However, I do not go about and tell people that A is wrong, that B is sinful and the C will take you to hell. I am consistent in my beliefs and philosophical prerrogatives.

I am not here to judge or to cast the finger of censorship on anyone but I feel I should weigh in and perhaps advertise globally how unfair I think this whole thing is.

I am talking about this story breaking in the States about a man of the cloth engaging in, shall we say, sexual activity with boys in disadvantage. Should he come clean and pick up the pieces of his shattered reputation?

Most deplorable. The victims are always and invariably young boys/men. Set me thinking why these men will always pick on YOUNG BOYS.

Here I am with all my mojo, going in overdrive, and I never get picked. What do they have against the 30 (or 40!) somethings ?  I so would love to travel by private jet and ski down an exclusive slope in Switzerland or Argentina. I would love to sip Veuve Clicquot in Baccarat crystals while lounging in a chalet with a fire and a Persian rug to delight my senses.

Why? Why? Why? Disgusted, furious and sidelined.


On Arctic Diplomacy, Ain't That a Cold Rush?

An international meeting to try to prevent the Arctic becoming the next battleground over mineral wealth has begun in Moscow. BBC

A cold rush, indeed. We are all joining our hands on hearing the news that the few with a stake worth a cube of ice in the Arctic are meeting in Moscow, today, on how to best approach the depredation of the last frontier. 

Also, one might add with a bit of trepidation, on how to exploit the untapped territory without resorting to gut-ripping wars (plus the collateral damage) and what not. Deities forbid!

We have been everywhere with our greedy machineworks, have we not? Now we are going miles to the north better. We want to reach the very last chakra on the planet. Who to blame? Nobody but ourselves. 

Naïvely, if the rewards (and profits!) of this bountiful source of mineral wealth were to be shared by the world community, with new jobs being created and novel ways of extracting the untold riches from the Earth as a logical consequence and sustainable development to become reality, we would all say: Go fo it! Unfreeze the Arctic assets! However...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Rise And The Setting Of The Tudor Sun

I know it's boring. However, people who like English Literature, and who have made it the object of their studies, discuss the lives of British kings all the time. Here is my contribution.

In all of its Royal history, England has had many monarchs, all of whom contributed more or less significantly to its development and greatness. When one engages in the study of the life and times of the many personalities who have worn the crown, there is one king who, in my view, deserves the spotlight: in modern terms, he was a womanizer; he married three Catherines; two Anns and one Jane, not exactly in that order; he had a multi-millionaire father who pinched and scraped and replenished the royal coffers; he aspired to cut a figure in the world but spurned the drudgery of the work and when it came to the real business of it all, he was glad to “leave it to expert, but subordinate management” as T.S. Bindoff puts it in his Tudor England.

Who is this young, virile, handsome figure who coveted honor and glory? Henry VIII, son of Henry VII, a Tudor whose ascent to the throne was not without buckets of blood being shed for the Wars of the Roses, a thirty-year contest between the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster - the two branches of the Plantagenet line – for the possession of the realm, paving the way for a century of changes.

Throughout our readings, we are led to think that Henry VIII was a pragmatic man who, in backroom dealings, made himself the head of the English Church and appropriated for himself and his henchmen church property and its various assets on English soil. This fact, nonetheless, was not without precedent. It is known that someone had tried to do that before: Had one Martin Luther on October 31, 1517 not nailed his 95 Theses on a door at Wittenberg in what is now Germany against the sale of indulgences and therefore bringing about an unprecedented change in Christendom? Henry accomplished just that with the English Reformation – the chain of events in the 1500’s when the Church of England broke away from Rome.

King Henry VIII, historians say, had a double purpose: first, to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and wed his mistress, Anne Boleyn, in the hope that she would give him a son, a feat not yet reached by Catherine, which was not the case, however. It must have been a huge blow to learn that Anne Boleyn had failed to do just that and gave him a daughter, instead – Elizabeth – who would later redefine the world as it was known until then. Second, Henry VIII fully intended to make his own, we learn, what the Church owned in England. What happened next is known to everyone: Henry had his second wife executed on suspicion that she had been unfaithful and had committed incest. It was the end of Anne Boleyn. She was beheaded.

It would be simplistic in one paragraph to enumerate the circumstances that led Henry to break with the Catholic Church. Was he following a natural tendency or a sign of the times or was he just trying to cater to his own immediate necessities? More of a political than a theological dispute? For it is known that that Protestantism was a movement brought about by many factors, chief among those: the decline of feudalism, the rise of nationalism; the invention of the printing press and the increased circulation of the Bible and the propagation of knowledge in academic settings and in the upper echelons of society. The debate rages on among historians.

On to another marriage, Henry VIII weds another heiress, Jane Seymour, who would present him with a son, Edward VI, who was to have an untimely death at age sixteen. At this point, one would think that this is the Divine Hand at work – not to Henry however, who would marry three times more and in order of chronology: Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr – all of them childless.

At his death in January 28th 1547, Henry VIII had completely revolutionized the Church of England, had inherited an overflowing treasury from his father and bequeathed an empty one to his son (and daughter). The question where had all the money gone is apt: war, beside which “all other items of expenditure, his household – wives, ex-wives, mistresses, new palaces, trips to the continent among others, are of insignificant account” to quote more Bindoff. And still, “if only his wars weren’t wars of ambition and self-worth, there stood a chance that he might have profited from them”.

However dramatic and idiossyncratic Henry VIII’s existence may have been, English history would not be history and we get the feeling that his reign would get lost in the mists of time – for good or evil, his legacy made England what it is today. And if Henry VII was the rising, Elizabeth I the setting, Henry VIII was the midday sun.

Works cited:

Bishop, Morris. 1968. The Middle Ages. New York. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Bindoff, T.SA. 1963. Tudor England. Baltimore. Penquin Books.
And you guessed it right: Wikipedia

Saturday, September 18, 2010

On False Reality Makers

Memo to self:

Write a text on how reality is manipulated in our present culture of public relations where image is more important than the truth.

Suggest new avenues for change and catechize readers on how to be more self and surrounding-aware.

A daunting task, no doubt, as carefully crafted material is available on the airwaves with the sole aim of hypodermizing sensations to bring about apathy.

Also, bear in mind that many out there do not wish to be awakened. Craft text accordingly for ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Language and the Multiplication Table

Poking my nose in it...

Here's what you do: As was the example with the Wise Latina, read the classics in the cannon of western literature. You may want to sample the Brontës, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Bram Stoker, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Walt Whitman and many others. Also, do please remove the "likes" and "you knows", "alrights" and "to for too's" from your vernacular. That should help, in my humble opinion.

Response on Facebook for a repost from the New York Times.

Dear Writer,

We believe it's rather too simplistic of you to suggest such a syllabus, usually pursued at college level at the best universities where English is either taught or used as medium of instruction.

You have to be aware that the problem of low standards in language skills in this nation is very complicated and has many tentacles. Ours being a country of immigrants and widespread inequality, it is very much obvious to all and sundry that a few will have access to the best education and the vast majority will be left to fend for themselves as regards the above-mentioned problems (actually, in the link below).

You cannot possibly demand to equalize your own linguistic skills with those which the wider world seems to think is acceptable for optimum communication. They may very well have set their sights on the level next to the ground.

We suggest in the strongest possible terms that you undertake a research - sociological, and perhaps demographic - to better situate your commentary. While we applaud your own efforts to express yourself with magestical aplomb, we still think we have a long road ahead concerning our language and mathematical skills.

Also, while sitting prettily in your own Ivory Tower, with access to a vast library, bear in mind that for some, outdoor undertakings have much more flair that the moldy pages of the collector's items you treasure.

As we say (tongue in cheek): "Go get a life!"

Signed: Joe and Jane Smith, formerly known as Doe.

The Link:

The New York Times

Here for more tongue-in-cheek commentary on the English language.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Unconventional Kisses Go Viral

Theirs was a kiss that stunned a conservative town. When a moment of passion for two men was published on a newspaper front page it provoked fierce debate in one of South Africa's oldest communities.

In a single photograph Bjorn Czepan and Mark Dean Brown became unwitting symbols for tolerance and gay rights at the predominantly Afrikaner, rugby-playing Stellenbosch University.

Our comment:

It is time Stellenbosch shifted paradigms. It was not the kiss, it was the genuine affection in the portrait and untold other mysteries of the human soul the had those people furious.

Usually, we know, people tend to attack and remonstrate things they do not understand. It is much safer that way. Also, the very photo will evince in segments of, and not exclusively,  the hetero-normative community a feeling of awe and disbelief.

Paradoxically, we do not believe in the slightest that the sports-oriented population of Stellenbosch, descendants that they are from a country in the vanguard when it comes to gay rights, are prejudiced towards displays of affection. Also, we hesitate in considering that African men (surely enough we have countries in this beloved continent...) were put off by the image. Gay marriage, if we are not mistaken, is legal in South Africa. Is not the colony keeping pace with the metropolis?

We also want to sprinkle this virtual page with one more comment regarding the nature of sports. Rugby, Football, Soccer, and Wrestling contests, are all displays of (veiled) eroticism. 

You may not agree with the above, surely. That is within your scope.

Sadly though, the tragedy that has befallen the couple has touched us to the core. A moment of silence is due.

Photo Credit: Vanessa Smeets

*Explore further in this link

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the Burning of Sacred Books.

Questioner: Lovely view you have got from up here, Your Sapience. Shining white towers...

His Sapience: Thank you. Feel free to come and visit me whenever you want.

Q.: Thank you. Your Sapience, surely you've heard of the latest media frenzy brought about by a lunatic in a corner of the U.S.A. hellbent on burning a book sacred to billions around the world. What's your take?

HS.: Pathetic, unconscionable and provocative. If the burning of sacred books or effigies were of any utility, the world would be a better a place.

Q. Again, there must be someone behind the individual in question,  pulling the strings....some sort of contentious force or antagonistic energy not yet content to see the world fare without bloodshed and heartache?

HS.: Sure there is. We all know the world is run by those who don't care about collateral damage and the destruction of civilization once it is patently clear they stand to profit from the rebuilding of ravaged areas.

Q.: That is horrible and heartbreaking, Your Sapience. What can humankind do to shift this retrograde mentality and be catapulted to higher levels of consciousness and understanding?

HS.: Unfortunately, only a lucky few have access to infomation. I mean, information that is profitable and that is relayed straight to higher levels of consciousness. The world as it stands, or rather, as it spins around the Sun, has quite a ways to go before its inhabitants wake up and smell the coffee, if you will pardon the expression.

Q.: I completely understand, Your Sapience. Is humankind being diverted from the Right Path and falling down a precipice?

HS.: Once we understand that we are all physically, spiritually and nowadays, virtually connected, humankind will be immediately directed to a new path of evolution. We have to understand that a hoe and sword are both lethal. It is up to us to learn how to use them.

Q.: Thanks for your time, Your Sapience...By the way, are those doves or ravens you see flying over the hills yonder?

HS.: Not quite sure. Wait! Those are fallen angels. 

Moral: There's more to it than meets the eye...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Independence Day, 188 Years of Freedom

Brazil Flag

188 years of freedom, all right.

Continental and vast.
A melting pot, unequal at best but our hearts belong to you.

You could have been better, and yet you are what you are.

Brasil, we love you and we salute you.
Here's for a bright future and a swallowable present.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On Politician's Newly Found Lexicomania

From Dictionary.Com/TheHotWord

Sarah Palin says “refudiate” and creates a word controversy. What’s the big problem with refudiate?

While it is true i am no authority when it comes to language, it is widely agreed that language is a living thing, it is organic and liable/apt to change due to people's usage.

Inwardly, i refudiate the verb "refudiate" because it comes from this abnormally doubtful source. Nonetheless, i will consider incorporating it in my lexicon and will use it sparingly for humoristic purposes.

Granted that *malapropisms happen all the time and sometimes people have no control over what they are saying for a number of reasons. You may be tired and numbed by stress and therefore unable to concatenate your sentences appropriately.

Or more cynically, this may be some sort of ill-starred attempt (by whom?) to foul up the very airwaves we use to draw our daily news and information. Plus, we all know that the Mass Media will resort to this underhanded and perhaps underrated m.o, or peculiar ways of doing things, merely to uptick their ratings and sell their papers.

We all know that notoriety sells papers and advertising (and your indelible mark in fame's hallowed halls). You are all up to here with contemporary examples...

Interestingly, you may wish to learn, the Establishment resorts to semantics to advance their agenda. Go here for a previous entry on language and follow the link to an article on Common Dreams  on the very subject.

Question: Do you feel you are being manipulated by words?

an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, esp. by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.
an instance of this, as in “Lead the way and we'll precede.”

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On the Eternal Rio de Janeiro: Fun, Sea and Cruising

Sunny Ipanema Posto 9. Photo Mauro Paim 
From Globo.Com

A year after being voted the best gay destination in the world, Rio de Janeiro is back on the runway for the title of "sexiest destination."  

Rio will be rubbing shoulders with  Barcelona (Spain) Tel Aviv (Israel) and American cities Key West (Florida), Las Vegas (Nevada) and Palm Springs (California). Paris was voted  the sexiest in 2009.

Voting is free on the internet and is organized by in partnership with Logo, a channel dedicated to the LGBT community, the same people behind the city as the best gay destination in 2009.

In the contest for best gay destination in the world, Rio has outperformed competitors Barcelona, Buenos Aires, London, Montreal and Sydney.

Our comment:

Excellent. Kudos to the organizers for enhancing the appeal of this beautiful city. This writer is one to travel to Rio frequently and enjoy its ever present manifestations of warmth and gay-friendliness and bodies tanned to a crisp. With a caveat, however. And freaking hell! It pains me to say so...

I know most of you want to engage in all sorts of activities and enjoy yourselves to the max with a no-strings-attached mentality plus several glasses of caipirinhas which will render you ineffective common-sensewise.

We have heard reports of people having their drinks adulterated by heartless creatures who have one sole aim: to subtract you of your hard-earned (I sincerely hope) cash. How's that for a date rape?

Do grace the beaches and bars of Rio with your presence but by no means lose sight of your consciousness and awareness of your surroundings. Down to the smallest details...

Enjoy Rio. Never forget to ask for the plastic bag to dispose of the coconut shells, beer cans, chicken thighs and cigarette butts (strange...).