a blog with cultural bulimia.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year.

To whom it may concern: I came down to my father's farm for Christmas last week and never left. My cellphone does not work here and I can only reach the internet via a 13K bps connection - irritatingly slow so I rather stay unplugged.

Sorry if I worried you.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas lights, Belo Horizonte.

Rhetorical question.

Why is it that every year I decide to abstain from the comsumerism of Christmas until guilt overtakes and I go and do all this last minute shopping and end up spending way more money than I can afford, buying meaningless gifts so I feel that people will feel that I care?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My pride & my prejudice.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good blog must be in want of a comment." Updated by Mr. NS.


New Year's Resolutions 1.

remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. similarilly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song youre listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day. busblog on 'how to blog'
The weather has finally changed. It's sunny and hot but I shouldn't talk about it. I have added comments but I am afraid they will not come. I know I've said I was against them. And I'm still not convinced otherwise. But I felt the need to change something. Baby steps, kitchenbeard said. Does that count? I think he was responding to my feeling down: "Take the time you need, but create the future you want." Changes. Wants. Steps. It's amazing but you can't escape the idea of renewal that comes with the end of the year. I'm thinking that I need to put down my resolutions here. I'm thinking that I need to come up with them first. And that's what I'm thinking right now.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Now for the things that really, really matter...

"Paris Hilton spends U$100K in 2 hours of shopping" was one of the headlines in today's Folha de São Paulo's web version. 'Folha' is one of the most prestigious newspapers in Brazil. The fact that such absurd was considered news -- in Brazil -- makes me really sad about the sorry state of the mainstream media.

[the same news elsewhere]

The idea of the War on Christmas.

 "The War on Christmas is a little like Santa Claus, in that it (a) comes to us from the sky, beamed down by the satellites of cable news, and (b) does not, in the boringly empirical sense, exist. What does exist is the idea of the War on Christmas, which, though forever new, is a venerable tradition, older even than strip malls and plastic mistletoe." The New Yorker "Just as Christmas itself evolved as a way to synthesize a variety of winter festivals, so the War on Christmas fantasy is a way of grouping together a variety of enemies, where they can all be rhetorically machine-gunned at once."

Celebrity executions.

"How can we kill unjustly without proof that it will ever save a life? I should shorten that sentence. 'How can we kill unjustly?' Or, even better -- 'How can we kill?'" Celebrity Executions: From Jesus to Tookie

Monday, December 19, 2005

Trying to make me feel better?

"We spoke of you at the Eagle last night...."

A friend wrote me after reading my previous downer of a post. I'm such a cry-baby, I'm boring myself.

Celebrations and reasons to be happy.

Francis & João got married.

 They are two of the people I have become very good friends with since my return to BH. João is my cousin but when I used to live here he was just an annoyance - too young for me to waste my time with. He has now turn into one of the finest man I know (and a heart surgeon nonetheless). It also helps I have really clicked with Francis, the owner of the fashion label Caos. We hang out a lot - any excuse to open a bottle of wine...

It makes me happy that I am sharing this moment with them. And it makes it more justifiable for me to be here.

It has been 9 months now and It hasn't been easy. On one hand things are happening that should make me happier: a car, an apartment, guys that seem interested. On the other hand, there is a lack of goals. I try but I can't see very far. And I'm tired of being so unexcited.

It has been very hard for me to let go of NY, you must know how much I love it. And I can't say that Belo Horizonte make it easier to bear it. Just learning to relax and loose the immediacy we are so used to in NY is a trial. My health has improved but I'm not - and don't think I will ever be - ready to run a marathon. And that should be enough, right?

But it's not.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Acoustical torture.

"Holiday shopping music. Love it or hate it, at this time of year you just can't escape it.

But does playing holiday music help boost sales? Are there some mixes of songs that work better than others? Can a store play "Little Drummer Boy" one too many times?
Holiday Muzak Not Played in Stores
Having to listen to piped-in music at any time of year, he said, leaves a feeling of powerlessness. "It's rather like having your neighbor's dog barking," he said.

The only thing worse, perhaps, is when the holiday music actually consists of dogs barking." New York Times

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

'Brokeback Mountain' Week at Boondocks. "Keep clicking through the week's strips. Mickey isn't the only straight guy uncomfortable with gay men expressing love." Via Andrew Sullivan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"Pope denounces materialism from balcony of marble, gold-domed building in midst of jewel-encrusted religious icons while wearing giant gold cross" []

CLOSE TO YOU. Whenever I'm down, Wing brings me up: let her help you too! She has a new cd: "Wing Sings AC/DC".

 FEAR OF BEING AVERAGE. On trying to find the average New Yorker, "one could conclude that (he) has a hard time believing that he’s not exceptional."

ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS stream acoustic sessions at arjanwrites.

MY FAVORITE thing about the new Harry Potter movie: Viktor Krum.

COKE'S NEW SLOGAN: Welcome to the Coke side of life. "It's catchy, sort of. But don't fall for it, kids. Because, sure, the Coke side of life is a lot of fun at first. But then the sun's up, it's 8 a.m., you're still huddled around your friend's coffee table, you've drained every last can and 2-liter bottle, and you realize there's no choice but to head home, where you know won't be able to go to sleep - or maintain an erection - for hours. And - take our word for it - that's when you hate the Coke side of life."

Interestingly enough, from this week's Brandweek: Big Ban On Campus For Coke Products. "Coke has flatly (sic) denied that it bears responsibility for troubles at the Colombian plant."

Monday, December 12, 2005

That beautiful horizon.

Belo Horizonte turns 108 today.

I was born here and here is where I grew up except that I spent most of my adult life in New York. I've been back for 9 months now. While BH is reassurance it doesn't feel home yet (or again?). But I love the city.

In all my years in NY, what I missed the most were the mountains that constrain the city, bot physically and culturally. It's somehow comforting to know where the limits are, like in antique cities where they used to build a wall for protection. It is also confining.

Right now, I feel both comforted and confined.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Climate disaster.

 "The Amazon River basin, the world's largest rain forest, is grappling with a devastating drought that in some areas is the worst since record keeping began a century ago." New York Times

[Image by Greenpeace: "Major rivers that normally carry large vessels are now reduced to mere puddles."]

Saturday, December 10, 2005

On shopping, addiction & blaming dopamine.

 Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical used to carry messages between brain cells.
"Much of the joy of holiday shopping can be traced to the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. The brains of people with Parkinson's disease, for instance, contain almost no dopamine. Dopamine also plays a role in drug use and other addictive behaviors. Dopamine is associated with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and it's released when we experience something new, exciting or challenging. And for many people, shopping is all those things."
Why shopping makes you feel so good, Tara Parker-Pope, The Wall Street Journal
"No one knows what causes addictive behaviors, like shopping, alcoholism, drug abuse, and gambling," says Ruth Engs, EdD, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University. "Some of the new evidence suggests that some people, maybe 10%-15%, may have a genetic predisposition to an addictive behavior, coupled with an environment in which the particular behavior is triggered, but no one really knows why."

While the origin of addictions remains uncertain, why addicts continue their destructive behaviors is better understood.

"Individuals will get some kind of high from an addictive behavior like shopping," says Engs. "Meaning that endorphins and dopamine, naturally occurring opiate receptor sites in the brain, get switched on, and the person feels good, and if it feels good they are more likely to do it -- it's reinforced." Shopping Spree, or Addiction?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Friday Music: É isso aí.

 Seu Jorge & Ana Carolina sing a brazilian version of one of my favorite songs, Damien Rice's 'The Blowers Daughter'.

Listen to it here.

Lyrics by Ana Carolina

"É isso aí.
Há quem acredite em milagres
Há quem cometa maldades
Há quem não saiba dizer a verdade

É isso aí.
Um vendedor de flores
Ensinar seus filhos a escolher seus amores

Eu não sei parar de te olhar"
Coincidentally, another brazilian artist, Zélia Duncan, have also made her own version of the song, 'Então Me Diz' sung by Simone. Zélia's version will probably be a huge hit because it's in the soundtrack of the latest prime-time soap opera but I think it's inferior to Ana Carolina's because it is too faithfull to the source of inspiration - thus, much less 'original'.

And it has nothing to do with the fact I think everything Seu Jorge touches turns into cool.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

 I REMEMBER WHEN Jeff was just an innocent boy... Via Thought Not

MR. DF, VIA EMAIL on the hypothetic demise of NY fashion world last sunday: "well... he is wrong ... since i was home in bed with bronchitis.... i would have carried on the biz..."

IT'S A HOLIDAY HERE TODAY. "Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Roman Catholic doctrine regarding the conception of Mary. Don't you dare fucking confuse it with the Incarnation or the Virgin Birth of Jesus! I will fucking cut you!" We, Like Sheep

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, the original short story that inspired the movie, written by Annie Proulx, as it appeared in The New Yorker issue of Oct, 13th 1997.

BIAS TOWARDS GAY MAN? "At a cocktail party at Chelsea Piers on Sunday night, an annual Toys for Tots charity drive that draws a crowd of mostly gay men, the designer Peter Som wryly observed that there were so many designers, retail executives and publicists present that if the pier collapsed, 'there would be no fashion industry tomorrow." New York Times

JUST IN TIME FOR XMAS, Amanda Lepore releases her (more) synthetic likeness.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Saudade is a black and white movie that my heart longs to watch in technicolor."

"A saudade é um filme sem cor que meu coração quer ver colorido."
from the song Brigitte Bardot by Zeca Baleiro

You might think I'm exaggerating...

...but it has been raining EVERY DAY for over a month now.

 RED CROSS IS LOSING THE CROSS: "Approval of the so-called 'red crystal' by the signatory states moved a step closer last week when the Israeli and Palestinian emergency services signed a groundbreaking cooperation agreement."

NOW YOU SEE IT: "Thumbnails of images that look like porn but aren't really porn". Via kottke.

JOE is compiling the "Gay Men's 100 All Time Favorite Movie Quotes". My favorite: "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" (All About Eve)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sopa de Letras.

ANDREW SULLIVAN on The Vatican's New Stereotype. "What the new Pope has done is conflate a sin with an identity. He has created a class of human beings who, regardless of what they do, are too psychologically and thereby morally 'disordered' to become priests."

NO PITY FROM ME: "As if it wasn’t hard enough being a smoker - what with the yellow teeth, bad skin, decrepit lungs and prospect of an early death - it now appears that puffers’ career chances might be set to plunge, writes Héléne Mulholland. The World Health Organisation lent the anti-smoking movement added impetus this week when it became the largest international employer to ban the hiring of smokers in an effort to promote its public health campaign against tobacco use." Guardian Unlimited: News Blog

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: "This slow and stoic movie, hailed as a gay Western, feels neither gay nor especially Western: it is a study of love under siege. As Ennis says, “If you can’t fix it, Jack, you gotta stand it.”" The New Yorker

ELIZABETH VARGAS: "Lying homophobe gets ABC news anchorship" Queer Day

Monday, December 05, 2005

Igrejinha da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte.

Stop ruining Christmas
or I'll beat you with a baby Jesus!

NO CHRISTMAS FOR YOU for being so neurotic!
Religious conservatives have a cause this holiday season: the commercialization of Christmas. They're for it. The American Family Association is leading a boycott of Target for not using the words 'Merry Christmas' in its advertising. (Target denies it has an anti-Merry-Christmas policy.) The Catholic League boycotted Wal-Mart in part over the way its Web site treated searches for 'Christmas.' Bill O'Reilly, the Fox anchor who last year started a 'Christmas Under Siege' campaign, has a chart on his Web site of stores that use the phrase 'Happy Holidays,' along with a poll that asks, 'Will you shop at stores that do not say 'Merry Christmas'?'

This campaign - which is being hyped on Fox and conservative talk radio - is an odd one." New York Times
"The perspective-free purists who object to department stores saying 'Merry Christmas' are about as likable as the fish-in-a-barrel-with-an-AK-47 bloviators like Bill O'Reilly. I just wish both groups would find a very small, sound-proof room somewhere, shut the door tight and yell at each other for a while." Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Of No Importance.

 After devouring 'Sense & Sensibility' and still not overdosed on british aristocracy, I'm now reading some of Oscar Wilde's plays. Delectable, delightful, delicious... Some excerpts from "A Woman of No Importance":

LADY S: Every one I know says you are very, very wicked.

LORD I: It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.

LADY H: I don't know how he made his money, originally.

K: I fancy in American dry goods.

LADY H: What are American dry goods?

LORD I: American novels.

LADY H: How very singular! ...

All Americans do dress well. They get their clothes in Paris.

We in the House of Lords are never in touch with public opinion. That makes us a civilised body.

One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wrestlers by Lifeboy

MY IDOL: SEU JORGE, 'The Life Aquatic' Studio Sessions - he interprets his versions of Bowie' songs that were in the soundtrack plus the ones that did not make the cut.

X-CUT: "Controversial plans to create the Internet domain .xxx purely for pornography have been dropped" Times Online

MY XMAS LIST: NYT's The 10 Best Books of 2005.

Just in case.

Grandaughter of Italians, Dona Marisa, Brazil's first lady, requested and obtained Italian citizenship, which is also extensive to her sons. "É só uma oportunidade, no caso de se precisar". 'Just in case' is her justification.

In case of what? What do they know that we do not?

Friday, December 02, 2005

 THANK GOD FOR iTUNES which enables me to watch LOST here in Brazil. This week's episode was great! "America Online: Michael was fascinated with the hatch's computers, and for good reason. Just as Eko and Locke were learning not to use them for communications, the main hatch computer was reaching out to Michael. "This is Michael Who is this?" he typed. The answer came back: "Dad?"

GAY MARRIAGE legalized in South Africa.

NO VEIL & GOWN: George Michael's gay wedding next year.

FLICKR: The Homoerotic Pool: "you can never be sure how people are going to tag certain photos and, hence, what's going to turn up" [Fleshbot]

The Last Act.

"The Brazilian president Lula da Silva's former righthand man has been banned from politics for 10 years after becoming embroiled in a political scandal that has gripped the country for most of the year. José Dirceu, who was Brazil's chief of staff until June, is accused of masterminding the cash-for-votes scandal described by some as the biggest crisis in Brazilian political history."

image/joke by Kibe Loco!