a blog with cultural bulimia.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

How To Lose Your Job.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Seeing White.

 "Ronaldo is the Brazilian soccer player, who happens to be the most famous athlete in the world." [counterpunch]

He is a three-time FIFA Player of the Year, plays for the Real Madrid, is known as "EL FENOMENO RONALDO" and has been, constantly since the beggining of the year, in every gossip magazine because a fairy-tale 86 days long wedding to a second class brazilian model.

In a recent interview to Folha de São Paulo he said the following when questioned if he understood the recent wave of racism in Soccer:
I think all black players suffer it. I am white and this ignorance causes me pain. The solution is to educate the people.
Well, I guess we can call it the Michael Jackson complex. Somehow in his mind he became white and his pronouncement was a disservice to the cause. Yes, people need to be educated. His father was interviewed soon after on TV and was embarassed because he had taught him to be proud of being black.

Scientists have proven that, at the genetic level, there are no major differences that can justify the existence of different races. We all belong to the human race. The color of the skin, as a classification, is something created to oppress. Therefore the word black has a negative conotation and the word white a positive one.

We have been taught to see the world in black & white.
And that in turn meant that the differences that people were constantly emphasizing for social purposes were social constructs which almost certainly didn't have any biological basis. And therefore we should stop talking about major races because to talk about major races gave the impression that there were big differences between these groups in things that mattered - I mean, skin color, after all, doesn't matter except in some vague aesthetic sense - but things that really mattered: people's characters, their intelligence, their behavior, whether they're going to compete with other people or not and so on. The evidence then became that there weren't any interesting differences in such things, and so we should stop talking about race.
[RACE - The Power of an Illusion]

Sunday, May 29, 2005

World's Biggest Gay Event.

Two million people attended today's São Paulo's Gay Pride Parade. The blog 'Made in Brazil' has some good pictures.

"This year's massive turnout made the event the largest gay pride parade in the world, twice the size of the gay pride parade in San Francisco, California."

Same number of people attended Thursday's evangelical 'March for Jesus' in the same city. Some gays went to the evangelical's march but not vice-versa. I believe gays win, then.

"The parade's main theme was the legalization of civil unions in the South American country of 182 million. Civil unions between same-sex couples are permitted only in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul." [Guardian Unlimited]

"Brazil also leads the world in murders of homosexuals" [CBC News]

Saturday, May 28, 2005


 By Black Eyed Peas.
U take me to extasy
Witout takin extasty
Its exactly like extasy
When u layin right next to me
Im sexin' u
Sexin u
U sexin me
Sexin me
Its feels so damn natural
Wut we doin so naturally
Im likin u rubbin' me
And u likin me rubbin' u
Da passions emaculate
While u lovin me lovin u
I put L-O-V-E in you i love me puttin me in you
Make love to you
Just like Sergio Mendez play piano
Listen to the song here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


"You are what you love, not what loves you."
Charlie Kaufman
"People change and forget to tell each other."
Lillian Hellman
"They aren't "love handles" if no one loves you."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 The anatomy of sarcasm: Researchers reveal how the brain handles this complex communication.
Israeli psychologists draw conclusions from how brain-damaged people comprehend sarcasm – or not.
"Wait, was that meant to be sarcastic? Or not?" MemeFirst

City of God is among the ALL-TIME 100 Movies List compiled by TIME Magazine.

The World’s First All-glass Undersea Restaurant.

Mary Kate Olsen Gets Her Own Giant.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Music One.

Great internet radio station I've been listening to, thanks to Mr. GZ.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

DMV, Belo Horizonte.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Rebel, Rebel.

You've torn your dress, your face is a mess
You can't get enough, but enough ain't the test
You've got transmission and a live wire
Got your cue lines and a handful of ludes
You wanna be there when they count up the dues
 Seu Jorge sings 'Rebel Rebel' by David Bowie in the movie "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

Listen to the song here.

"Director Wes Anderson doesn't provide much backstory for why this scruffy black Brazilian appears with his guitar. But it doesn't matter. Once you hear Seu Jorge perform Rebel Rebel in Portuguese, you'll never listen to this David Bowie song the same way again.

Seu Jorge has been a star in Brazil for several years."
BBC News

Friday, May 20, 2005

¡Que Susto!

 photo from SFGate

My friend Kitchenbeard has a contest: Make up a caption for the picture above and the one he likes the best gets some thing special...

White canvas.

At Yoga last night, the teacher was guiding us towards an "elevated state of meditation". At one point she told us to visualize a big white canvas. Check. Then we were to picture a paintbrush dipped in blue paint. Check. Now we were to paint the word PEACE into the canvas. Check. Wait! I was going through the motions of painting the word with my blue soaked paintbrush but nothing was appearing in the canvas. It was still all white. And it remained white, unspoiled.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Break me a fucking give.

I just saw Star Wars III. All has been said already.

Some day.

Sally: And I'm going to be 40!
Harry: When?
Sally: Some day!
from "When Harry Met Sally"
I have just found out that one of my relatives took out her breasts and put in silicone instead because she was afraid she would get breast cancer.

Some day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The New Yorker.

 Today's posts are all from my favorite - and in my opinion, best written - magazine, The New Yorker, issue of 2005-05-23.

The Crystal Problem.

HIGHER RISK: Crystal meth, the Internet, and dangerous choices about AIDS.

“I wish I had never heard of it, but I can’t say it wasn’t great.”

Who ordered the veal scaloppine?

Parents would certainly deny it, but Canadian researchers have made a startling assertion: parents take better care of pretty children than they do ugly ones.
—The Times
"Until I saw the article in the Times, I’d felt so utterly alone. Was I the only one? The sole parent on earth who knew the anguish, the heart-shattering despair of— All right, I’ll just say it, right out loud. I am the mother of an ugly child. She’s not deformed or handicapped or odd; she’s unattractive.

Even during my pregnancy, I’d had my suspicions. I remember peering at the ultrasound screen as my obstetrician told me, “Look, it’s a brand-new life,” and all I could say was “Fine, but why are we watching the Discovery Channel?” And then, after I gave birth, a nurse placed something on my chest and cooed, “Here’s your little miracle,” and I glanced down, bewildered, and asked, “Who ordered the veal scaloppine?”"

Star Wars III.

Excerpts from The New Yorker review:

"This film is the tale of his temptation. We already know the outcome—Anakin will indeed drop the killer-monk Jedi look and become Darth Vader, the hockey goalkeeper from hell."

"What can you say about a civilization where people zip from one solar system to the next as if they were changing their socks but where a woman fails to register for an ultrasound, and thus to realize that she is carrying twins until she is about to give birth?"

"Nobody ingests or excretes. Language remains unblue. Smoking and cursing are out of bounds, as is drunkenness, although personally I wouldn’t go near the place without a hip flask."

"The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith" seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones". True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

"The one who gets me is Yoda. May I take the opportunity to enter a brief plea in favor of his extermination? (...) Also, while we’re here, what’s with the screwy syntax? Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book. “I hope right you are.” Break me a fucking give."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In Italian, 1983.

Basquiat. Through June 5 at the Brooklyn Museum.

 Elijah Wood Is Very, Very Gay via Boozhy.

Ringedstud 100 item ideal man list. via aguysite

Public service: Heartburn in the night tied to soda in the day. - Police: Wendy's chili finger identified.

Gay Gene.

New York Times: Sniffing Out the Gay Gene: The differences in the way that gay and straight men's brains respond to pheromones does not, by itself, prove that homosexuality is innate.
Homosexuality is a puzzle for biology, not because homosexuality itself is evolutionarily maladaptive (though no more so than any other sexual act that does not result in conception), but because any genetic tendency to avoid heterosexual opportunities should have been selected out long ago. Perhaps 'gay genes' have some other compensating advantage, like enhancing fertility, when they are carried by women. Perhaps the environments that set off homosexuality today didn't exist while our genes were being selected. Or perhaps the main cause is biological yet not directly genetic, like differences in hormones or antibodies that affect the fetus while it is developing.

Just as puzzling is the existence of homophobia. Why didn't evolution shape straight men to react to their gay fellows by thinking: 'Great! More women for me!' Probably the answer lies in a cross-wiring between our senses of morality and disgust. People often confuse their own revulsion with objective sinfulness, as when they dehumanize people living in squalor or, in the other direction, engage in religious rituals of cleanliness and purification. An impulse to avoid homosexual contact may blur into an impulse to condemn homosexuality.

Bad News.

The New York Times announced yesterday that it would offer a new subscription-based service on its Web site, charging users an annual fee to read its Op-Ed and news columnists, as the newspaper seeks ways to capitalize on the site's popularity.
THE NYT WITHDRAWS FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE: "The great gift that the New York Times gives the world is free access to its articles, opinion-journalists, and stories. In September, that will no longer be the case. They are putting up a $50 toll-booth to 'the work of Op-Ed columnists and some of the best known voices from the news side of The Times and The International Herald Tribune (IHT).' They'll be charging for the privilege of reading MoDo and Krugman and Brooks. I can understand the economics of this, as newspaper circulation declines. But I wonder if, in the long run, this is a wise move on their part. By sectioning off their op-ed columnists and best writers, they are cutting them off from the life-blood of today's political debate: the free blogosphere. Inevitably, fewer people will link to them; fewer will read them; their influence will wane faster than it has already. The blog is already becoming a rival to the dated op-ed column format as a means of communicating opinion journalism. My bet is that the NYT's retrogressive move will only fasten the decline of op-ed columnists' influence."
Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Juscelino Kubitschek Building, Belo Horizonte.

Oscar Niemeyer.

I've mentioned here many times how much I admire Oscar Niemeyer. Today's NYTimes Magazine has a great article finally giving him the praise he deserves.
He is a national hero in Brazil, but elsewhere he may be the least celebrated of the major architects of the modern era. A suave pioneer of curvaceous concrete, toying with the limits of engineering while injecting sex and surrealism into Le Corbusier's famous machine for living, he designed some of the most audacious, sublimely poetic and occasionally goofy buildings of the 20th century. Probably more than anyone else, he brought lyricism and a populist sensibility to modern public architecture.
The Last of the Moderns
Slide Show

Niemeyer in Belo Horizonte.

 "...and in 1940 received a call from Juscelino Kubitschek, mayor of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Kubitschek, like Capanema, was among the enlightened politicians of the midcentury who embraced Brazilian Modernism. He asked Niemeyer to design a suburb called Pampulha. The complex Niemeyer built included an ovoid casino, a circular restaurant and a yacht club with a double-sloped roof. The centerpiece was a tiled concrete church, with a parabolic silhouette kind of like a roller coaster. Niemeyer had found his voice."
The Last of the Moderns

Friday, May 13, 2005

Theatre, Belo Horizonte.

Life in the south.

"You are currently reading a “this is what I had for breakfast” blog."

I have finally joined a gym and it feels good to work out again. At the least, it's ONE activity to look forward to: life is slow in the south and even slower if you have nothing to do -- or cannot do much, like me.

Mr. DF calls it the The Stepford Gym. As I told him, everybody that works there seems to have gone thru brain washing: they are weirdly polite. Everybody remembers my name and they all make small talk and shake hands. It seems odd - a certain level of politeness is ok, but they go far beyond that.

This gym fits perfectly into the actual reality of the country (or its goal): it's extremely high-tech (thumb scanning lets you in; computer terminals for web access), located in a mall, full of amenities (restaurant, shops, dry-cleaning, day care). It tries very hard and it comes across aseptic.

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do much but I was wrong. I've been biking 6 days a week, doing machines 3 days and yoga 2. All very light. The only problem is the yoga class. It's next door to the spinning class, the noisiest one ever. Plus, all the walls are glass and there is hot traffic outside. Combined, the two factors make it very hard to 'concentrate inside yourself'.

Baby steps. But steps forward.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Costela-de-Adão (Adam's Rib).

Cientific name: Monstera deliciosa.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Art and Sponsorship.

 Today's New York Times brings up a great discussion on the role of museums on keeping its shows intellectually free from pressure by sponsors: Art, Money and Power.

"Museums deal in two kinds of currency, after all: the quality of their collections and public trust. Squander one, and the other suffers. People visit MoMA or the Met to see great art; they will even consider art that they don't know or don't like as great because the museum says so. But this delicate cultural ecosystem depends on the public's perception that museums make independent judgments - that they're not just shilling for trustees or politicians or sponsors.

Naturally, the public wonders whose pockets are greased by what a museum shows, because there's so much money involved in art. But this question can be subordinated if the museum proves that it's acting in the public's interest, and not someone else's. (...)

Of course, this is the real world. Museums need trustees to cover the bills. They depend on galleries and collectors and sponsors and artists for help. (...) But there are degrees of compromise.

The Chanel show avoids mentioning her activities during the war, when she maintained a life in Paris as the lover of an SS officer and, according to her biographer, Janet Wallach, tried to exploit Nazi laws to wrest control of her perfume business from her Jewish partners. (...) I suspect Chanel would not have been very happy about sponsoring this show if the Met had been more forthcoming about its founder's wartime history.

Is such information irrelevant to what's on view? It depends.

The public should decide."
 The book Everything Bad Is Good for You "remind us that we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that explicit learning is the only kind of learning that matters". The New Yorker

Homovizion Magazine.

David and His 26 Roommates: David has a recurring dream. “Mi sueño nuyorquino,” he calls it."

"We homos aren't all crazed, plucked product queens. Here's a visual, animated manifesto for the anti-feminization movement." Andrew Sullivan

The ups and downs of The Ansonia, the building that made the upper west side.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Hip Hop Brazil.

Marcelo D2 is my current favorite brazilian artist. He fuses - well - traditional samba and rap and does not have the forced 'underground' posture that makes most hip hop artists so interchangeable.

Listen to "À procura da batida perfeita" (In search of the perfect beat).

Born with it.

Science Times: Gay Men Are Found to Have Different Scent of Attraction.
"Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the gay men respond in the same way as women.

The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones, as well as the biological basis of sexual preference."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Downtown Belo Horizonte.

God's will... the scariest lie/excuse/reasoning used throughout history.


 The Rede Globo de Televisão is brazilian's major TV station, the 4th in the world. It reaches 99.9% of the country and it retains 75% market-share of both prime time audience and advertisement allocations.

Globo is a window and a mirror -- at the same time a witness of our history and an agent for social change.

Its most successfull product are the soap-operas. "No other TV product in the world creates so many behaviors, fashions and expressions like our soap-opera" says Mauro Alencar an University of São Paulo Soap-Opera Doctor (no comments). They have institutionalized what they call social merchandising: "Social merchandising denotes the intentional and systematic insertion of issues of social relevance in the plot of a telenovela or any other TV show, with well-defined educational purposes. Since social merchandising started being implemented as a systematic programme, some 12 years ago, many stakeholders have been able to use Globo's ubiquity in Brazil to advance causes that otherwise might fail to achieve the targeted audience."

This has been true for many different causes like drug abuse, the mistreatment of the elderly and homossexualism. Exposure. It creates acceptance. It is their biggest triumph: to help create and discuss some of the country's social problems. It is a very flawed method but nonetheless it works.

América”, the latest hit soap opera in Brazil, has yet to lead to a boom in emigration to the United States.

"So far, during its first month on the air, the show’s star failed to obtain a U.S. visa, and then tried unsuccessfully to enter the country illegally by crossing the Mexican-U.S. border, against a dramatic backdrop of death, persecution and the treachery of the migrant smugglers known as ”coyotes”.

This newest offering from Globo has kept viewers glued to their sets for a month, avidly following the characters’ search for a modern-day El Dorado, made in the U.S.A. (The Deadly Lure of the ”Gold Curtain”)"
I have always said that there are only two good things in Mexico: Chaves and the U.S. border.
José Simão (brazilian satiric writer)
It seems too soon for the effect of its 'social merchandising' but the facts are that the number of brazilians arrested at the US-Mexican border has grown 10 times in a year and it is becoming a diplomatic problem: Mexico is contemplating requesting a visa for brazilian tourists. Our government says the reason for the raise in numbers is the already estabilished illegal immigrants in the US sponsoring friends and family, making immigration grow exponentially. Saying it is the soap-opera is "to accuse the window for the landscape".

Not that crossing the border is a new issue in Mexico. Their government has even issued a Guía del Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant), which, weirdly, sounds more like an incitation to the illegal act:
Esteemed Countryman: The purpose of this guide is to provide you with practical advice that may prove useful to you in case you have made the difficult decision to search for employment opportunities outside of your country.
So here I am, surrendering to the two most brazilian of the brazilian costumes: watching the 8pm soap-opera and dreaming of moving to the US.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Concert in the park, Belo Horizonte.

Juan at Boozhy (whom I told a couple of years ago he could pass as one of my relatives) is asking: What the hell is an electro-magnetic induction ring?

The worst sex scandal in the Catholic Church.

I saw a great movie yesterday: Downfall -- "a movie that does not fall into the trap to paint a simplistic picture of good and evil. The quintessence of Nazi-evil is exposed in all its banality: i.e. a total lack of empathy and disregard for human dignity (including their own and that of the German people)."

Ethicist: "When someone publishes, on paper or on-screen, it's fair to assume that she consents to everybody's reading her work -- fair but not entirely reliable."

Saturday, May 07, 2005

City Hall, Belo Horizonte.

Gay & homophobe. Tortured soul?

Gay sex scandal rocks Spokane
"Spokane Mayor Jim West, who championed an anti-gay agenda during his tenure as one of the most powerful Republicans in the Legislature, yesterday admitted to using the trappings of his current office to entice what he thought was a young adult man but denied allegations that he molested two young boys more than 20 years ago."
By now, we're used to finding out that many of the most ferocious homophobes on the right have gay offspring - Phyllis Schlafly, Alan Keyes, Pete Knight. Now we discover that others are actually tortured gay men themselves. I feel bad for the mayor of Spokane. I don't like the witch-hunts of these conflicted, desperate, if often malicious people.
Andrew Sullivan

New world.

Ad campaign created by Lisbon advertising firm Foote Cone & Belding for the Portuguese political magazine Grande Reportagem, positioning it as a vehicle for a profound jornalistic view about what is really important in the world today. It turns flags of various countries into infographics by adding a legend: the idea was to give new meaning to the colors and symbols based on actual facts gathered from Amnesty International and UN - Get to know the world you live in. For instance:

 United States
Red: In favor of the war in Iraq
White: Against the war in Iraq
Blue: Don't know where Iraq is

Green: Live with less than U$10 a month
Yellow: Live with less than U$100 a month
Blue: Live with less than U$1,000 a month
White: Live with more than U$100.000 a month
plus the motto, order & progress, has been removed from its center

Via kottke.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Bear Goes to Paris by Witold Riedel.

New favorite: Adapt or Die: Ten Years of Remixes, Everything But The Girl.

Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte.

"Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness."
Andre Gide

Do you believe in God?

I don't know why, I felt I needed to decide. It's a question I had no ready answer for. I would like to be able to answer everything, ready to be interrogated, to escape from hesitating answers that meant nothing.

I looked at the sky, infinetly huge.

It did not take much to realize that without God I would never come close to understand where the universe starts and ends, where it came from, where it was going. I took a deep breath and declared to myself:

- I believe.

It was a starting point and I was only a child back then.

Good Americans.

"The state of America's political discourse is such that the president has felt it necessary to declare that unbelievers can be good Americans. In last week's prime-time news conference, he said: 'If you choose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship.'" The Christian Complex.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


In Rio, at the beach, there are these stands where you rent chair & umbrellas, you get served beer & caipirinhas & coconut water, and that are referencials so friends can find you. And believe me, you need it. It gets so crowded that you can easily loose your group if you leave for a dip in the ocean.

My friends and I have been going to Marquinho's for years. His stand is right in the middle of Ipanema's gay section. He knows us by name. We saw his little boy, Leo, grow up. He always saves chairs for our group during busy times - we never get to the beach before 3pm during Carnaval.

So, he was very upset to learn what had happened to me, healthwise. And told me he had to ask my permission for one thing: could he include me in his prayers from now on?