Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vandalism there or here

Today in Brazilians news it has become fashionable to say that vandalism is stealing public money, vandalism is leaving people to die in the under-supplied and under-staffed hospitals, that vandalism is leaving public school buildings to fall apart and without minimal conditions to educate children for lack of funds.

Alright. It is all vandalism. I believe wholeheartedly that this indeed is vandalism.

But when that is used as an excuse for the people to make vandlism in the streets, burn and destroy private property, throw stones at cops, graffite city walls ... then we have a problem. One typ of vandalism can not be an excuse for the other. This is the place where u live. If th building is public it was done with your money. If it's private property, it was made ​​with the sweat of someone else.

Shouting words of order, cursing bad politics, displaying posters, and even (those who have money t afford the fruit) throwing tomatoes at politicians (except if they are coming to talk to you) is absolutely valid - freedom of speech and the right of a citizen to express his displeasure with the mess is backing up any of these actions.

But to damage and destroy? What are we? Irrational animals? Like mistreated dogs who only know how to act with hatred because of mistreatment? This is something for brutes - not for us, civilized humans.

To engage in street vandalism for me is to get down to their level.

To use the excuse that the people can not take anymore is just an excuse - it explains it, but it does not justify it. Nothing justifies violence.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

That's called being a girl - and why de we need guys?

That was the noise of the book cart I was pulling down from the school attic yesterday - going down the first step.

"Are you ok up there?" That was a guy's voice coming from downstairs.

"Me? I'm fine. Just pulling the cart down the stairs."

BANG! Went the cart again. Second step down.

The guy that talked to me came to see what on earth was making that much noise.

"I'm just pulling it down. It's just really loud. I'm almost done."

I wasn't almost done. I had to bring the thing down two flights of stairs. I just wanted him not to think I was dying and leave me alone to do my job. I needed the cart to clean up my classroom for the summer.

"Well, let me help," he said.

So he lifted the cart - LISTEN TO THAT - as if it were as light as a feather and brought it down the two flights of stairs in less than 10 seconds!

"oh! ... that easy, eh! ... well, thank you very much. You really didn't have to bother."

Then you wonder why God created man. To carry heavy stuff down the stairs, of course! Duh! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why not come to the World Cup?

I have asked people not to come to the World Cup in Brazil. Why? Me? Boycotting the World Cup in my own country? Unthinkable.

Growing up, I have always been a soccer fan. Like many Brazilians, this was one of two things that made me proud of my country. The one other thing - my hero Ayrton Senna. Everything else was pitifully chaotic:
- Inflation
- poverty
- corruption ...
- and that feeling that we were lesser beings bc were Brazilians ... except of course when the national team was playing. Then we were giants.

My family talked about Pelé and a time when he won us three World Cups. But every Cup of my life had been a failure played with crappy soccer.

Till 1994.

 I lost my hero on May 1 in a fatal crash in Italy's Imola. A day I will never forget. Just like you will never forget where you were on 9/11/01. No words will ever describe the pain of losing the one person that made me feel like I had any value for being born where I was born.
Then 2 months later Brazil brought home the World Cup. It seemed only fair - that in a year of such a great loss, we fought so fiercely and brought home the World.

So why today do I stand against the World Cup in Brazil?    Maybe this quote from John Adams will help explain that:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)
Priorities - I have always set them in my personal life. Before the movie money, came the credit card bill and the savings for that trip I wanted to take. Even the money I earned as a teenager (renting my novel to classmates) was administered like this. So shouldn't I feel the same about my country? Before being champions on soccer, I want my people leading a minimally decent life. I think the rest of the country is beginning to wake up as well...

Some argue that it is too late to boycott the Cup, that the money has already been invested, that there is no way to recoup those loses. I say, fine, let's take the loss. Right now what matters is that we are sending a message - we are not to be quiet anymore, Don't feed us your nasty bread and circus.

We should give up on soccer as our national pride for now, so that our grandchildren can have a safe and just country to enjoy their soccer games. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Could it be?

In the past several days my home country has been experiencing a number of protests. The mainstream media has been giving it a skewed spin, showing the handful of troublemakers who destroy public property, and makes it seem that it is about the R$0.20 increase in the public transportation ticket.
It is not a violent movement for the most part. And it is not just about R$0.20.

A lot has been said on YouTube by people who are much more eloquent than I am. I am posting their videos below.

But i just wanted to write a couple of words about what is going on in my mind.

Twenty cents was but a last straw. The people are tired, angry and frustrated with so much neglect, excesses and irresponsibility, done daily by politicians, that jeopardize our future and that of our children.
The preparation for the World Cup (that TV has been faithfully transmittingmas if it were everything cared about, like if we were a bunch of mindless animals) has been a tasteless joke with the public money; while public services are left to rot, and the populace, as a Chico Anysio character used to say, "let them fudge themselves".
When I was in high school, I heard a sentence that I could never forget (spoken by a TV character in the mainstream media, what do you know?): "The people are just like the cattle - neither one is aware of how strong they are."
Could it be that the people are becoming aware?

I don't know what will happen from now. I don't know if all the protests will really be the beginning of something, or if they will all be remembered as this one time that the people went to the streets and then kept on living their poor sad lives.
I don't know. But I  have never seen so much mobilization, even back when I was a little girl and the teenagers went out to the streets to cry for impeachment. That was a bunch of nothing.
But this? This could be the start of something new, like the American revolution was. Could it be?

But it can't stop with street demonstrations. It has to continue with something else. With education (self-education works too, ,so that we don't depend on the precarious public school system), with the way we vote, with the way we live our daily lives (honesty in the little things, guys?), with the way we deal with the rotten bread and circus they feed us everyday.

Maybe something could happen.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rain, rain ... and no spanking!!!!!

When we grow up we learn to dislike rain. But then we come across a photograph like this:

Then we remember what rain is all about. Absolute and irresponsible fun, not caring a bit for the fact that we WILL get home and get a spanking on our wet butt! And the threat that if we get a cold, we'll get ANOTHER spanking!

That picture made me do the craziest thing yesterday. I just parked the car in the farthest parking slot from the store and walked from the car to the store in the rain. 

All the time I was thinking:

"No Spanking when I get home. And if I do get sick, no spanking either. Heck! I'm in heaven!"


The weekend before last Dean and I used our rental voucher to go get a car and spend the day in the New Hampshire.are of Keene.

In Keene, we found a Scottish Import store that made Dean curious. What could be coming from Scotland other than kilts? Well, we soon found out that not much more. Kilts and other wardrobe products made in the different tartans (that what the patterns are called).

There we met the store owner, a certain, Mr.McGrath, who is a 76-year-old vegetarian, and a firm believer that all the good things we use in the world today are to be thanked to a Scottsman, Graham Bell, Alexander Flemming ... and I think, the first radio or something to do with electricity, whoever invented it wrote his thanks to a Scottsman (whose name I don't recall) for having given him the master plans.

When I mentioned I was a fan of Paul McCartney and would like to see if his clan could be traced back to Scotland, he got us a family name book, found that McCartney was related to the McKintosh can and charged, "That is why he loves Scotland so much he even wrote a most beautiful song about it."

He then proceeded to tell us stories of his youth and how he and his young wife ended up in America forty-something years ago. His stories were most amusing. Stories from a time when young people actually lived life and didn't waste it on facebook. 

This man, at age 16, left home in Edinburgh with a gang of friends, took the ferry over to Ireland, pedaled the whole perimeter of the Irish island, and took the ferry back home. That's nuts! Now that's a story to tell your grandchildren!

What is my generation going to tell our grandchildren? "I posted some cool pics on facebook."

Our future looks sad right now.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Soft hard candy

So when I was a kid, in Brazil, there was this hard candy called Soft.
Soft? Yeah. It was everything but soft. It was hard candy, for goodness sake.
Soft had the shape of a lifesaver candy, but a bit thicker, and covered with a sugary layer.
I, for one, loved Soft. Which child didn't? It was yummy! Especially the red one! Who didn't like the red one?

And, who, in their sane state of mind,  didn't love to arrive at an office or an aunt's house only to find a little crystal bowl filled with Soft?

In this case, you'd greedily take one - no, two! Nah, get three! - eagerly unwrap one of them, put it in your mouth and suck on it. You'd suck on it until it turned into a supper skinny blade-like shape that you would then break down and swallow. ...
Unless of course, way before you could suck it to blade-like thinness, the thing slipped past your tongue and got stuck on your throat.
In this case, my friend, despair would fill your soul.
To my personal knowledge, that thing never killed anyone. But for a few seconds (which felt like eternity), you really thought you had been scheduled an early appointment with death. Until the thing slowly slid down your throat.
And you could feel it all the way down.
And you'd swear to never touch that candy from hell again... Until you found the magic crystal bowl filled with Soft at someone else's home.

Monday, June 03, 2013

US history

US history summer class online. Big mistake. There is so much reading, so little time, and I am ADD, so can you imagine how many times I have to re-read it. Can I have a 48-hour day this summer? I WANT MY MOMMY!!!!!!