a blog with cultural bulimia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Off to Rio.

Officially, Carnaval starts Saturday and it lasts 4 days.

In reality, since the beggining of the year, the tendency is to postpone any major decisions until 'after the carnaval'.

So why fight it?

I'm off to Rio for one week. I doubt I'll be posting anything until I come back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sometimes, in Brazil, things end in Rock too.

I don't care for Rolling Stones or U2. They both performed in Brazil these last few days and only here the concerts would get first page coverage in all major newspapers. I think it's sad: a sign of Brazil's subjugation to cultural imperialism.

Stones free beach concert had one of the biggest crowds ever: 1.2M people (Rod Stewart's Copacabana concert, however, drew a crowd of 3.5 million in 1994). Philipinas has a great account (with pictures) of what was like to be among the regular people watching the show (there was a VIP section with about 5.000 - a lot of VIP's for a poor country). It sounds horrible. And E agora, José??, like myself, tried to watch it on TV but gave up: it was really boring.

U2's concert brought in 70.000 paid fans to a stadium in São Paulo yesterday (there is another concert tonight) and I wish they would stick to the music: Bono, earlier in the day, helped give President Lula a popularity boost by meeting him for some photo-op. Is he aware of the political situation in Brazil right now?

Cartoon: President Lula, hitchhiking on the popularity of the RS: "Does anyone know 'Satisfaction' by heart?"

Monday, February 20, 2006

In Brazil, everything ends in Samba.

Carnaval starts this week and if you are in Brazil and do not surrender to it, they think there must be a problem with you: either in your head or in your feet.

Listen to BossaCucaNova re-invent the 'Samba from my land'.
Samba da minha terra
(Dorival Caymmi)

Quem não gosta de samba
Bom sujeito não é
É ruim da cabeça
Ou doente do pé

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Looking at you(rself).

"The self-portrait has become a kind of folk art for the digital age." NYTimes

Art historians say that the popularity of the self-portrait is unprecedented in the century-long history of the snapshot. "I think it is probably a new genre of photography," said Guy Stricherz, the author of "Americans in Kodachrome, 1945-65" (Twin Palms, 2002).

In the era of the blog, when many deem the most trivial and personal information fit for public consumption, the self-reference of the new portraiture feels natural. "In a funny way I don't see this as photography anymore," said Fred Ritchin, an associate professor in the photography and imaging department at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. "It's communication. It's all an extension of cellphones, texting and e-mailing."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Laws of attraction.

We find that unattractive individuals commit more crime in comparison to average-looking ones, and very attractive individuals commit less crime in comparison to those who are average-looking," claim Naci Mocan of the University of Colorado and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University.

(They) aren't sure why criminals tend to be ugly. Other studies have shown that unattractive men and women are less likely to be hired, and that they earn less money, than the better-looking. Such inferior circumstances may steer some to crime, Mocan and Tekin suggest. They also report that more attractive students have better grades and more polished social skills, which means they graduate with a greater chance of staying out of trouble."

"The ugly face of crime" via Kottke
But who decides what 'beautiful' is?

It's a shallow world the one we live in. I'm part of that world, no denying it (see previous post). And then, there is the power of the media, bombarding images of unattainable ideals, creating fake desires in people's mind.

It's a constant battle trying to get over preconceived notions of beauty or why they matter: will it be the ultimate sign of maturity?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ideology: I need one to live.

Listen to Ideologia by Cazuza here.
All my pleasures are now life-threatening.
My sex and drugs have no rock 'n' roll.
I'll pay the shrink's bill
so I'll never again have to face who I am.
Cuz the kid who was going to change the world
now watch it all from a distance.

All my heroes have od'd
And my enemies now hold the power.

Ideology: I need one to live.
Lyrics (Portuguese).

Thursday, February 16, 2006


1/2 lime quartered
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 shot of cachaça (I prefer vodka)
1/2 Cup of ice cubes with water

Place the lime and sugar in the bottom of a glass.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon, crush and mash
the limes.
Pour the liqueur and ice. Stir well.


Identity crisis.

It has been almost one year since I moved back to Brazil and I still feel very divided: I speak Portuguese daily but I dream in English.

I look at my blog and I see I care more about American than Brazilian culture. I'm not inspired to post right now.

I made a little change in layout: I'll be adding blogs in Portuguese to my blogroll. I might write in Portuguese more often.

The poem bellow is not in English, as you can see.

I feel divided.


 Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Aquele girassol no jardim público de Palmyra.
Ias de auto para Juiz de Fora; a gasolina acabara;
havia um salão de barbeiro; um fotógrafo; uma igreja; um menino parado;
havia também (entre vários) um girassol. A moça passou.
Entre os seios e o girassol tua vontade ficou interdita.

Vontade garota de voar; de amar, de ser feliz, de viajar, de casar, de ter filhos;
Vontade de tirar a retrato com aquela moça, de praticar libidinagens, de ser infeliz e rezar;
Muitas vontades; a moça nem desconfiou...
Entrou pela porta da igreja, saiu pela porta dos sonhos.

O girassol, estúpido, continuou a funcionar.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Engrish: Tupperware.

Via Kibe Loco!

'ALWAYS ON TARGET' Maureen Dowd: "As the story of the weekend's bizarre hunting accident is wrenched out of the White House, the picture isn't pretty: With American soldiers dying in Iraq, Five-Deferment Dick 'I Had Other Priorities in the 60's Than Military Service' Cheney gets his macho kicks gunning down little birds and the occasional old man while W. rides his bike, blissfully oblivious to any collateral damage. Shouldn't these guys work on weekends until we figure out how to fix Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare and gas prices?"

"MORE PHOTOGRAPHS have been leaked of Iraqi citizens tortured by US soldiers at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad."

NEWS that will change the world: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes 'not splitting'.


How did a single act become a medium for so many messages?

"When parents kiss their children it means one thing, but when they kiss each other it means something entirely different. People will greet a total stranger with a kiss on the cheek, and then use an identical gesture to express their most intimate feelings to a lover. The mob kingpin gives the kiss of death, Catholics give the "kiss of peace," Jews kiss the Torah, nervous flyers kiss the ground, and the enraged sometimes demand that a kiss be applied to their hindquarters. Judas kissed Jesus, Madonna kissed Britney, a gambler kisses the dice for luck. Someone once even kissed a car for 54 hours straight."

What makes blogging so fresh.

"I hope bloggers don't get too entranced with traffic and ad revenues, although they are addictive in a way. It should still be fun - and a blog with a hundred readers can be just as effective in what it does as one with a million. If your goal is chasing readers and revenue, rather than just venting to whomever, you risk losing what makes blogging so fresh. Perhaps, alas, we already have." Andrew Sullivan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day.

St. Valentine's Day falls on February 14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain cultures let each other know about their love, commonly by sending Valentine's cards, which are often anonymous.
Brazilian is not one of those certain cultures (for commercial reasons - it clashed with Carnaval - Valentine's is celebrated here on June 12th) and yes, this is a holiday designed to sell stuff and, double yes, your affection should be professed every day not just today. On top of it all, Eric (Mrs. Manners) reminds us: "Good manners dictate that one should not brag about one's good fortune" and I won't brag about mine. For now.

What do you do when the vice president shoots someone?

"That was the question the White House grappled uncertainly with on Monday, after Dick Cheney made history as the second vice president to fire a gun at someone -- though accidentally in this case -- while in office."

New York Times

Purple Heart.


'There you go, a Purple Heart.'

'Thanks, Dick. Now we both have one.'

'Yeah, but yours is on the outside.'"

Bill Maher

Monday, February 13, 2006


Gabi turns 6.

"Not tonight, Magdalene. I'm beat."

 On the right, my contribution to offensive cartoons, because I can. (The cartoon is funnier in portuguese: JC is saying he is 'nailed' -- pregado -- which means 'dead tired'.)

Ooops! Sorry. Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter. Cheney can't be trusted with a shot gun, and he is second in line with his hand on the nuclear trigger. My friend Boozhy nailed it: "According to Cheney, he couldn't see the Texas Millionaire's bright orange vest due to the red that veiled his vision."

Favorite Grammy moment: Mary J. Blige performing "One". Thanks to Mr. Roz.

The New Yorker on Shakers' aesthetics: "How did they begin to make beautiful things, and why did those things take the form they did?"

Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ex-Gay Cowboys.

"And if anyone reading this believes that gay men can actually become ex-gay men, I have just one question for you: Would you want your daughter to marry one?

Evangelical Christians seem sincere in their desire to help build healthy, lasting marriages. Well, if that's their goal, encouraging gay men to enter into straight marriages is a peculiar strategy. Every straight marriage that includes a gay husband is one Web-browser-history check away from an ugly divorce."

Dan Savage for the New York Times

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Weekly Grocery Lists for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Summer, 1963.

WEEK 1: Beans Bacon Coffee Whiskey

WEEK 2: Beans Ham Coffee Whiskey

WEEK 3: Beans Bacon Coffee Whiskey K-Y

WEEK 4: Beans Pancetta Coffee (espresso grind) Whiskey 2 tubes K-Y

WEEK 5: Fresh Fava beans Jasmine rice Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced Medallions of veal Porcini mushrooms 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream 1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long 5-6 bottles good Chardonnay 1 large bottle Astro-glide

WEEK 6: Yukon Gold potatoes Heavy whipping cream Asparagus (very thin) Eggs Lemons Gruyere cheese (well aged) Walnuts Arugula Butter Olive oil Balsamic vinegar 6 yards white silk organdy 6 yards pale ivory taffeta Case of Chardonnay Large tin Crisco

Yet, another 'Brokeback' joke, albeit a funny one, via Mr. NS.


I complained a little too soon. Yesterday I went to see 'Brokeback' for the second time. With Roger.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Praça da Assembléia, Belo Horizonte.

Sexy Tuesday.

Caleb is H.O.T.: "If you like your men big, built, and hairy then, boy, do I have the guy for you!"

Public service.

"Did you know that you can do a testicular self-exam during sex? Your partner(s) will think that you are just touching yourself, when, in fact, you are performing important preventative health care. Try it! I did."
We, Like Sheep

Market economy.

Brazil to distribute 25 mln condoms for Carnival: "It's that time of year when we boost distribution because of the increase in demand," an official from the Health Ministry's anti-AIDS program said.

Carnival kicks off across the nation on February 25, heralding several days of parades, parties, revelry and, for some people, sexual abandon. The Rio de Janeiro carnival is the best known worldwide but every big city has its own celebrations."

Monday, February 06, 2006


Pic from KEY, a brand new brazilian fashion magazine.

The secret.

'Brokeback' or 'The secret of...' finally opened this past weekend in Belo Horizonte and I'm happy to report that the same scenario from all over the world repeated itself here. Sold out session, etc.

I'm disappointed. Not with the movie, no. It was sooo soulful...

I'm disappointed because, in my mind, I was going to meet a (the?) boyfriend at the theatre. Well, I didn't.

Time Tunnel.

 I was reading an article in the NYT about the release of the only season of the series 'Time ("These guys didn't remember the Alamo, they relived it.") Tunnel' on DVD. One season only?
The series ran for only one season, making it the least successful of four fantastically implausible (but fondly remembered) shows created and produced between 1964 and 1970 by Irwin Allen. 'Lost in Space' is now available on DVD; Volume I of 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' is due out later this month; 'Land of the Giants' replays only in memory.
30 episodes only. It feels, to me, that I grew up watching TT every single day of my childhood. In fact, those 4 shows (Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants) plus 'Get Smart', form the basis of my early days of cultural manipulation by U.S. televison.

There is no way to calculate the harm they caused on a little brazilian brain but they surely helped me with the socialization process once I moved to the U.S. Americans I met were always surprised that we grew up watching the same shows and that we shared the same nostalgia.

Motherly love.

"I hope they find the person who threw this goddamned girl in the water. I do not want this child."

The mother of the 2 month-old girl found in a garbage bag in a lake in Belo Horizonte.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Talk About Renting a Hole in the Wall.

 From the category 'things that make me question whether I should move back to NY' comes this article from the New York Times:
Into the six-ring circus that is the housing market in New York City -- where a house can sell for $40 million, an apartment can rent for $25,000 a month and extended families sleep in shifts in single rooms -- came the airborne mattress, at least briefly.
Click on the pic to enlarge it.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mineirão, Belo Horizonte.

Soccer stadium in Belo Horizonte. Photo by danyjoncew.

THAT one thing I hate the most: generalizations: "the process of moving from the specific to the general is both necessary and perilous." No, really, it's a GREAT article from The New Yorker on pros and cons of 'profiling'. "Behind each generalization is a choice of what factors to leave in and what factors to leave out, and those choices can prove surprisingly complicated".

NEWS that will change the world: Lindsay Lohan injured in teacup accident.

YAHOO'S most emailed photo of the day, yesterday.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Blue Skies.

I'm the person who doesn't know everything.

NORA EPHRON ON THE SOTU: "I repeat, it cannot be watched. So you drift off again, and soon you find yourself noticing at all the things you look for on the Golden Globes"

100 BEST FIRST LINES FROM NOVELS: a list. #2 is my favorite. Mr. NS doesn't see what's so great about #1 and neither do I. Via kottke.

BROKE MAC MOUNTAIN: great spoof via towleroad, if you are a mac person.