a blog with cultural bulimia.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I can relate to that.

"It's like being in a Third World country" - Harrowing tales of loss emerge in Katrina's wake - Aug 31, 2005

I can only imagine the pain, through the horrible images that arrive through the internet. In the meantime, President Bush...

The Constant Gardener

In 'The Constant Gardener,' Fernando Meirelles's excellent adaptation of John le Carré's novel, Mr. Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a British diplomat whose surname hardly suggests strength or decisiveness. [New York Times]
Fernando Meirelles is the director of 'City of God', amazing brazilian movie, elected by Time Magazine as one the 100 best movies of all time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The discussion on tipping.

 "Thomas Keller is one of the world’s most respected chefs, a best-selling cookbook author, and the owner of four successful high-end restaurants. Until a few weeks ago, he seemed a model of entrepreneurial rigor. Then news broke that Keller had decided to abolish tipping at his New York restaurant Per Se, starting this month, and replace it with the kind of fixed service charge that’s common in Europe. Now some people are calling him un-American for scrapping a system in which waiters are rewarded on the basis of their individual performance." [The New Yorker]

"So why tip? When people are asked, they usually say that they tip to reward good service. Yet how much people tip is determined mainly by how much their meal cost, and the cost of a meal at a given restaurant is usually only tenuously connected to the work required to serve it. (It’s just as easy to open a hundred-dollar bottle of wine as it is to open a thirty-dollar bottle.) In an extensive survey of tipping studies, Michael Lynn, a professor at Cornell, found only a weak correlation between the quality of service that people report receiving and the tips they give. On average, exceptional service raised tips by about 1.5 per cent, which, Lynn argues, is too small for waiters to notice. And countries where there’s no tipping—like Australia and Japan—don’t have worse service than the United States."

Scandalous Brazil.

"Not much has been going right for the U.S. in Latin America. (...) One bright spot has been Brazil's economically viable center-left government led by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. But through the summer, a spreading corruption scandal has threatened the country's financial stability, and that is bad news for him and U.S. interests in the region. (...)

The U.S. has been doing what it can to mitigate Lula's problems. Treasury Secretary John Snow's applause for the Lula government's economic policies on a recent visit to Brazil may have been modestly helpful. The U.S. could show its willingness to back a special IMF program to avoid a run on the currency or a sudden stop in investment.

Yet even with the best intentions, there is only so much the U.S. can do, however important Brazil's fortunes are to American interests. The Workers' Party scandal is essentially a domestic problem, and it must be solved not by outsiders but by the country's own leaders."
[Los Angeles Times]

Monday, August 29, 2005

the architectural romance of New York

 Sixth Avenue From 22nd Street
"This view looking north up Sixth Avenue focuses on the faded bricks and cornices of these 19th-century shop buildings, once part of the elegant Ladies Mile. The ground levels have all been substantially altered by the current variety of commercial venues, leaving the original integrity of the architecture visible only on the upper stories." [New York Times]

The Work of Frederick Brosen
"His chosen subject over 30 years of work is the architectural romance of New York.

Like so many romances, Mr. Brosen's with the city passes in the blink of an eye. His is the viewpoint of the passer-by, the solitary walker. He paints the fleeting moment of a side street glimpsed from the curb or crosswalk. In a larger sense, he paints the fleeting moment of changing neighborhoods glimpsed from the dissolving vantage of the past. (...)

What counts here is the sense of frozen time, time stopped and captured, or time observed midflight: a rare commodity in bustling New York."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Oh, no!

Curbed: "Pour One Out for Chelsea's Big Cup".

Big Cup, Chelsea, 9am
Pride 2004: Big Cup
Big Cup, Chelsea, 4pm

Thursday, August 25, 2005

 "Granny busts drug dealers": "A Brazilian woman aged 80 has helped police catch several suspected members of a gang that she filmed selling drugs outside her Rio de Janeiro apartment."

Painter in Town: In this article, from 1930, the New Yorker describes Matisse's visit to New York City: "Mostly, Matisse had a very grand time out of his visit, eating chicken and drinking cocktails, a pleasant relief from his home-life in Nice, where his wife makes him eat only vegetables, no drinks."

KitchenBeard points us to an online text of the short story Brokeback Mountain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 Brazil Bribery Scandal Inches Closer to Lula: "Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could lose to Sao Paulo Mayor Jose Serra in next year's election as a corruption scandal drains his support, a poll released on Tuesday showed."

When it comes to body hair, some people like, some don't!" I do!

"Ten Things Created in the Last Ten Years I Could Do Without: #2. DVD navigation - How can we invent a game like Dance Dance Revolution, fix the Hubble telescope and fit 10,000 songs on a machine the size of a cigarette box... and still I can't get anything to work from the "menu" of any DVD? You can't fast-forward DVDs like VCRs used to; more often than not, you end up skipping to the end of the goddamn movie. Also, they don't allow you to skip the FBI warning - what is this, Communist Kamchatka?"

Sunday, August 21, 2005


 Bebel Gilberto is in Belo Horizonte tonight and its going to be a great concert, I know.


"You know, it's time now to learn Portuguese
It's time now to learn what I know
And what I don't know
And what I don't know
And what I don't know

I know, with me everything is fine
It's time now to make up your mind"

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Gabriel at the farm in Itamogi.

The 2,000 mark.

"As we approach the 2,000 mark of coffins coming home that we're not allowed to see, it doesn't even look like a war. It looks like a lot of kids being blown to smithereens by an invisible enemy." [Maureen Dowd]

The tyranny of reading.

"So Victoria Beckham has never read a book in her life.(...)

If you love reading, which I happen to, life without books is unthinkable; that's very true. Not having several on the go all at once would seem very odd; a long train journey would be absolutely unbearable. One of the scariest prospects about joining the Big Brother household would be the grim desert of weeks on end with nothing to read.

But if you don't love reading, and particularly if you positively dislike it, why should you feel in the least bit bothered if you don't polish off a serious novel a week?" [Guardian Unlimited]

Friday, August 19, 2005

Brazilian Fashion Statement.

They mean PLASTIC surgery...

José, where to?

The disillusionment keeps growing among brazilians because of daily findings of the comissions in charge of investigating the corruption scandals here. Recently, a senator, not having anything else to add, got up in Congress and read the poem from which the name of this blog comes from. Disillusionment. The predominant feeling among brazilian citizens.
"Perhaps if you shouted,
perhaps if you moaned,
Perhaps if you played
a viennese waltz,
perhaps if you slept,
if you tired,
if you died...
But you don't die,
You hold on, José!

Alone over there in the darkness
like a wild beast,
without theogony,
without a naked wall
in which to lay,
without a black horse
that gallops into escape,
you walk, José!
José, where to?"

Translation by Berkeley Crossroads.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Those who know me well are familiar with my golden rule 'don't waste your time with anyone under, say, 35..." It's a generalization and I HATE generalizations. Unlike some friends, I'm proud of getting older - I think I reached my best after I turned 40. And I have nothing against the youth, per se. It's just the generation gap(s), I believe could create a problem in a relationship.

But rules were made to be broken. And I hope to be proven wrong.

London killers.

"So now it seems pretty clear. The person wearing a bulky jacket and jumping the turnstile at Stockwell tube station wasn't Jean Charles de Menezes, it was almost certainly one of the police officers chasing him. De Menezes was simply a guy going to a job, wearing a denim jacket, walking at a normal pace, and even picking up a free copy of Metro newspaper.

Should the people who shot de Menezes be tried for murder?" [MemeFirst]

Gaza Reality Check

"It cannot be easy to be escorted out of one's home by soldiers. And there is plenty of reason to worry about how the new Gaza will be governed. But it's past time - 38 years past, to be exact - to give the Palestinians there a chance at a better life." [New York Times]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

 I share his pain: "And so now I have the opportunity of embarking on one of the most humiliating experiences in which one chooses to engage: the job hunt. I would perhaps get more fulfillment out of it if I were into S&M, another activity in which people willingly welcome pain. I, however, prefer my ego oversized and my demeanour conceited. This is how you start your job search. By the end, you're usually a jiggling little lump of blood and flesh that will do anything for a little bit of money." [Bonhomme Soleil]

World Domination: "Starbucks Corp., the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain, may open its first outlet in Brazil as early as this year, an official at Brazil's Agriculture Ministry said." [Bloomberg]

"This is a rather clever idea: A library in Malmö is letting you "borrow" a person for 45-minute conversations. Among the group of nine people available for "checking out" are an imam, an animal rights activist, a lesbian, a journalist, a Muslim woman and a gypsy. The idea is to give lenders an opportunity to face up to prejudices they might have." [MemeFirst]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

DJ Earworm's new 'mash-up' "Don't Cha (Wish Your Cyborg Could Dance Like Me) via towleroad.

I had already read this blog about the weather but had no idea that Jeff was my friend Jeff. I sort of envy him for having such an specific interest. Really cool.


 I was in Itamogi over the weekend, it was Fathers Day in Brazil.

As always, I had low expectations -- I love it there and they love me there but in a sort of laid back, country farm, hick-in-a-good-way. So my expectations are always low and they were VERY low this time.

That's usually when it hits you.

And it did hit me like a car crash: I met the cutest gatinho and I had a blast. More to come, I hope.

Note: 'Gatinho' is a little cat in portuguese. It can also mean a cutie, when used to describe a person.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Junior Vasquez is playing this Saturday in Rio, Le Boy's 13th anniversary.

And then there are the sheep and pigs.

When I was in New York last, Mr. RT treated me to a great afternoon at the New Museum of Contemporary Art (eventough I was showing the first signs of the pneumonia that brought me down, literally, back to Brazil).

We saw, among other things, an weird (aren't they all?) installation that has been in my mind a lot recently.
 Refraction, the most recent video installation by Dutch artist Aernout Mik, is an enigmatic, occasionally cryptic portrait of the social body as it responds to a disaster. Some of the participants are actively engaged in controlling the scene, others are passive spectators, while still others are conspicuously absent - the supposed victims of this bus crash. And then there are the sheep and pigs.
This is exactly how I see my country right now.

We are all in shock, watching the huge disaster that is the politics here. A brazilian senator was asked recently if things would get better. He answered if things got better, they would still be really bad. Well, they got worse yesterday.
A partir desse momento, a possibilidade de Lula não conseguir encerrar seu mandato, seja pelo impeachment, seja pela renúncia, tornou-se mais do que uma especulação, mas uma possibilidade. [Folha de São Paulo]
"From this moment on, the possibility that Lula won't be able to finish his term, by impeachment or resignation, became more than just speculation, it is a possibility."

And then there are the sheep and pigs.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

fet•ish To Sell A Picasso: "A 1958 crayon drawing attributed to Pablo Picasso is up for sale — at Price: $129,999.99."

Kansas Board Backs Limits on Evolution.

From the New York Times.

"So that’s what’s the matter with Kansas. I have a policy proposal: Anyone who doesn't believe in evolution shouldn't enjoy the benefits of evolution. No eyes, no walking upright, no opposable thumbs. It's back to the primordial ooze for members of the Kansas Board of Education." [Dan Savage, guest blogger at AndrewSullivan]

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Two Darrins by Isabel Samaras via Pop Culture Junkies.

A conservative group in Virginia said Tuesday it was withdrawing its support for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' confirmation because of his work helping overturn a Colorado referendum on gays. [The Huffington Post]

Towleroad on 'Eighteenth and Eighth'.

Mixed Messages in Chelsea.

Police search of backpack yields explosive bestseller. [The Onion via K]

Get used to it.

"A lot of people who don’t like gay people—those who don’t approve, or think Jesus hates us more than he hates, say, adulterers or people who support the death penalty (I expect Jesus, if he exists, has a real issue with supporters of the death penalty)—say they’re just sick of hearing about it/us. They just wish we’d shut up and go away. Well, that’s not going to happen. We’re not going to go away, and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever shut up. But want to know how we could cut the number of headlines and AP stories and blog entries written about gays and lesbians by at least 90%? Let us have our rights. There will be a lot less debate after we're fully enfranchised citizens, I promise you. Until that time comes—and it will come—there’s going to be a lot to say about gay stuff, unfortunately."
Dan Savage, guest-blogging at Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Two Years.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Thiago Augusto is the newest member of the Augusto's family, brother of Bruno Augusto.

Compromise is the foundation.

"Being single used to mean I wasn't good enough or thin enough or whatever enough. These days I'm single in part because I am no longer willing to put up with what I used to in order to prop up one collapsing relationship after another. And therein, I suppose, lies the rub. Compromise, I tell my 14-year-old son, is the foundation of any successful relationship. You have to be willing to overlook some things.

But I've overlooked enough things: cheating, obesity, addiction, unemployment and possibly covert homosexuality. And I am no longer willing to compromise in what I want from whom I desire. Also, I'm at an age at which I'm set enough in my own ways that the reality of having to fit someone else's quirks and needs into my own space seems a rather tall order." [Modern Love]

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Griffin on Poseurs.

I can't even understand Madonna anymore. Her accent is much thicker than yours, and I think she's actually a member of the royal family at this point she's so British. She's definitely not American anymore. You know, the way Justin Timberlake is black now? That's how British Madonna is... [via towleroad]
I hear Bravo's Kathy Griffin: My life on the D-List is great. It will probably never make its way down here to Brazil. The little things that make me long to be back...


In a message from Mr. DF:

"Word is "the site at 18th and 8th is going to be a 6 story building (see rendering above) with Valley National Bank on the ground floor and 4 full-floor luxury condos above it. The building is being developed by Blumenfeld Development Group, deisgned by Kutnicki Bernstein Architects and marketed by Rob Gross at Douglas Elliman."

It's a shame. I know we can't live off memories but I have some great ones from the old 18th & 8th.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Casinha. Solution?

 Tired of the visual polution caused by the homeless, a charity foundation in São Paulo created little wooden houses that fit one small person in and that come with a mattress and a blanket. Yes, they look like dog houses. Does it mean the homeless have been upgraded from nothing to pets? [It's All Lies]

The 'casinhas' were given out last Sunday and on Tuesday the city took them away. [Folha de São Paulo]

It's a tough situation. I find them degrading but the homeless that had received them were upset when they lost them. Out of a context, they sound horrible. But the context - the brazilian street reality - is much worse.

Meanwhile, the homeless...
What did she do to get 3 extra weeks???

As If Cheap and Easy Weren’t Reasons Enough.

Elevator hack: hit "door close" and your floor at the same time and it takes you right to that floor, express-style. [ via kottke]

Money Back.

Sony pays $1.5m over fake critic: "A judge has finalised a settlement in which film studio Sony will pay $1.5m to film fans after using a fake critic to praise its movies."

"I haven't seen any of (the) movies, but I do think I'm owed something for having been forced to watch Catwoman on a flight once." [Pop Culture Junkies]

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gabi's creativity.

Photos taken by my niece Gabi, 5, using my cellphone. I know, I'm becoming an annoying uncle...

Latest Bush.

"Bush On Intelligent Design: 'Teach It In Schools'..."

"Bush On Rove: He Has My 'Complete Confidence'..."

"President Bush, the owner of the Texas Rangers when Palmeiro played for that team, told reporters Monday that he believes him."

Please, Let It Be a McDonald's!

"'Anyone know what's going on on the corner of 18th St. and 8th Ave? I've heard everything from a McDonald's to a bank. The site of construction is where the restaurant 18th on 8th used to be.'" [Curbed]

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

NY Subway Ad.

In your face, Senate!

"Mr. Bush had been unable to get Mr. Bolton's nomination confirmed by the Senate, so he waited until Congress left town and used his constitutional power to make recess appointments. This is a perfectly legal tactic, though one that has seldom been used to fill this kind of position. A recess appointment is particularly dicey for a major diplomatic post, where a good nominee should carry an aura of personal gravitas and legitimacy.

The problem here from the beginning has been that Mr. Bush clearly has little respect for either the United Nations or international diplomacy in general." [New York Times]

Republican Senator Pat Roberts: "A Recess Appointment 'Would Weaken Not Only Mr. Bolton But Also The United States'..." [Washington Post]

Monday, August 01, 2005


"Men who are good looking are never good in bed because they never had to be."

Sex in the City Quotes by Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. (How can he remember in such detail?)