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    June 04, 2008

    The Greatest Guee-tar Player in the Universe

    It was a girl, just a regular girl. She didn't study, she didn't work, she played the guee-tar. She played it in the wee hours, f* the neighbors or her parents need to be social animals in the building. No, she had never thought about that possibility. It was her guee-tar, her life, her seventeen years of life as a bloodsucking child of the new millennium. Her non-chalant 'tude made her popular among the other blood-sucking members of the petit bourgeousie in her sheltered 'hood. Her pink hairdo and purple nails made her a symbol of the protest against nothingness, so popular in these days.
    She was no punk. She lived in a nice upper middle class apartment. She had a cushy bedroom, a nice guee-tar she never put in a dime for. It was all for show. Good show, in this sense.

    One night, as she was coming back from a performance in a rougher 'hood, a group of real punks bumped into her. Our heroine knew not what to do. She tried to run, she froze. She tried to curse, she went speechless. She tried to hit any of them with her good guee-tar hand, she couldn't.They showed her a thing or two about being a true punk. She enjoyed it and now does it for fun for joy for love of the gig. Click for the link, please.

    May 29, 2008

    Strange Night in the Rio Rain

    I can't recall how it all started. I know it was in the days we were mostly single or divorced or whatever else. My little circle of old time friends consisted of engineers, except for a poet and translator and I, a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Like most Cariocas we went into and out of trends. The trend at the time was very refined cachaça, sugarcane alcohol. Out of the blue we had become connoisseurs, seeking the next best cachaça.
    So it happened that one night we got a call about a primo one. That was the good news. The bad news was the cachaça was with friends at the other side of town. Rubinho decided he'd go pick it up. I tagged along for the car ride.
    We got to our destination, small talk exchanged, we decided to leave. On our way back, the silence in the car was nearly surreal. Rubinho wasn't one of too many words, I knew that. I am chatty but knew not what to say. Pretty soon we'd have to cross Praça da Bandeira, an area with negative altitude. The rain was pouring now. We were crossing a lake, really.

    Rubinho breaks the silence with a thought that he must have been mulling in his head for quite a while. He turns to me, quite assertive, and states,

    --You know, I've never had an American butthole in my whole life.

    I froze. Rubinho, despite the --inho, was about 6' 4". Easy. His *** couldn't be the type Greek or Roman sculptures show in gardens. I didn't think so. Rather, I didn't want to think about it at all. My mother had always told me about how horrible their thing was when they wanted us. I found a way out. Quickly, I pointed out to him,

    -- Rubinho, watch out for the hole in the road! --

    That should be better than my hole, I was sure.

    You know how drunks are. He averted his attention from my hole to the one in the road. Before we knew it, we were crossing the tunnel to the south side of Rio. Before we could realize it, we were at my door. I pretended nothing had happened and asked him in. By then, the booze, the excitement, the fatigue had gotten to him. I kissed him on both cheeks and he left.
    At home, I undressed, prepared myself a Bloody Mary, put Lou Reed to play, lit a cigarette. Slowly, I felt sleepy, put out the cigarette and got mentally ready for the morning, when students might ask me for the words of the song I was listening to. I'd be ready.

    THAT cactus....

    April 28, 2008

    Never Hum a Tune in a Taxicar in Rio

    In my carefree early to mid-eighties, at the height of the so-called "dark" fashion in Rio de Janeiro, when I listened to Joy Division, New Order,
    Killing Joke, The Alarm and in especial The Smiths, the big time American to make it in my Sony Walkman® was Bruce Springsteen.  I fell in love with his double LP and a friend gave me a cassette of the album. Oh, there was the early Jonathan Ritchman and there was Laurie Anderson, and the
    Talking Heads . My friend in NYC gave me tapes of these.

    I like to sing or hum songs albeit my voice gets out of tune at the third note, says Gabriel. Nicolas, my husband, can recognize what I sing, though.

    (background info)I was a heavy smoker; I got away with smoking in class while I was teaching. My outfits was overalls, a T-shirt, my SonyWalkman®, my backpack, an acquired tem of practical fashion I picked up in NYC, and my Adidas shoes, royal blue with orange stripes. At night I used to hang out at a gay bar which served a delish tomato soup and drink Bloody Mary, Cochrane's. No wonder nobody ever made a pass at me ;P))Tinabotanicalgarden

    Rio de Janeiro is subject to unexpected tropical rain. This night was no different. A heavy rain fell, everybody was gone in a flash. I walked to the corner of an already deserted Botafogo neighborhood to hail a cab. To my surprise, a cab stops. The guy looked ug-leeee, scar-eee, but what the heck. A cab is a cab is a cab.

    I hopped in a VW Beetle without a front seat, the cabbie asked me my destination, I gave it to him. There I am humming a song in Portuguese whose lyrics go,

    "Stay with me tonight, you won't regret it, the wind outside is whipping cold, here warmth you will have."  (Where did I get this song from?)

    He goes in the opposite direction. Well, I thought, a little dazed by the vodka, maybe he wants to try another route. When we are in the street of the cemetery São João Batista, he stops the car. A conversation ensues. He demands,

    "Suck my c***."
    "????? No, I won't"
    "Suck my c***."

    This went on, the pouring rain outside getting no thinner. The dialog was as repetitive as those routines in "Waiting for Godot."  Suddenly, he inquires, in a total off-topic,

    "Can I take a piss?"
    "As long as it's not in the car..."

    My remark was nonchalant. I just sat there in the warmth of the car. He returns, says as he grabs one of my thighs wrapped under a semi-sheer white pantyhose,

    "I always liked chunky white girls like you."

    (Gee, thanks for the chunky. Good for me to be wearing a long sweatshirt that was supposedly a dress.) 
    He adds,

    "I got a Saturday Night Special in the glove compartment."

    He opens it and shows me the cheap metal gun.

    "Where are you going now?"

    I request,


    The SOB charges me full fare, and I let him keep the change.

    Morning after it was English classes starting at seven. A double glass of cold coffee and cold milk, another cab, another day in the Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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    November 27, 2007

    We're Coming to Take You Away

    Once there was a people who thought their ways were democratic. They cast their votes for leader of their land every four years and for the helpers every two years. They were industrious, creatively, and orderly. The only problem they had was superstition.
    Heck, they thought women brought bad luck. They locked theirs up in their dwellings. Likewise, people of color were also bearers of bad luck. They tried without success to kick back across the Big River those who spoke a foreign language even if these folks had had babies in the democratic land.
    As for the darker ones, well, those were out of control. There was no way they could be hanged on trees, there was no way they could be forced to pick cotton, there was no way they would not talk too much.
    The time for the election of a new leader of the land was approaching. The people who thought they were democratic shrugged and winced. They had three choices: A woman, a brown man, and a black man. OMG! What now? Any of them would be a choice to ruin the land, cast bad luck all over the place.
    They listened to the three, skeptically. The woman promised to fix what was broken and, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it," she added energetically. She had heard this before but couldn't put her finger on where. She was a paradox: a blode who sounded smart and aligned with the land's modus operandi. But a woman? Just in case, many in the land placed a broom behind their kitchen door. That was for her in case she visited; she could fly away.
    The brown man said as little as possible. He nodded his head supporting the blonde. He claimed experience and -- horror!--tried to make a speech in the language once spoken in the southwest in the land. Dangerous man. What to do?
    The black man was terrifying. First, he was not that black. Second, there were rumors he had taken magic potions when living abroad. It was said he would include the people in his decisions, even if his decisions for the book were not many.

    Then, one day, a millionaire from the southwest came along. He sounded just right. He claimed taxes were for the birds, except to kick out the foreign born and their children or to protect the unborn. Conservative congregations and the young, who can't read between the lines, supported this man enthusiastically.

    When the election for leader of the land came, the man from the southwest won hands down. Alas! He was against taxation but not a word had been said about appropriation. All the riches of the land became his. He didn't believe in a State, so they were his, under his supervision.

    And that is how King George was replaced by John Paul - Bingo!

    November 14, 2007

    A Birthday Lunch

    Today I went out. A doctor's appointment. A drop in blood sugar, a rush to a nearby restaurant. I was glad I called for reservations. The place was packed. Loonatic_tunnelIt's not too big: two rooms. In the front one, I could  feel a faint breeze.  What a hot day, today.  Beautiful  clear sky, view of fucsia and pink  bouganvilleas, palm trees; view and breeze are better than a back room in which the mirrors echo the conversation.

    Young employees from the nearby light industry chat. A table with nerds, if I ever saw so many. Maybe from Yahoo? Another with chatty young women, dressed i
    n EMpTv glam. Of course, it is also nearby.  I explain to my friend Santa Monica wasn't always glitzy. In fact, it was a town sought by older citizens to retire in, a town filled with people who worked in WW II efforts, whose little cottages by our airport have become monster mansions, a lot of them.

    There is one table by the window. There are two women sitting next to it.  We sit, relieved we'll be near the window. The breeze! Soon it is visible they are daughter and mother. Mother was celebrating her 92nd. birthday.  Soon we were engaging in conversation. Mother likes to talk and so do I. There's always something to learn from casual conversations; try them.

    They happily ate their fish entrées. Thinking of my excessive weight, I ordered a seared ahi tuna salad.  "To drink," asks the waitress, eager for a wine list sell. "To drink, nothing better than the excellent natural water of Santa Monica, please."  I can't drink alcohol and why spend two-fifty on a coke? Eight on an Evian?  The waitress is unhappy; tough shitsky. Neither my friend and I, nor Mother and daughter will order much more than the main dish. Restaurants make money on drinks and dessert and coffee drinks.  Those can equal the price of the entrée.

    I sincerely wish I could understand Mother. The din in the room and her articulation just don't allow me to get much out of her conversation. She's all there; I tell her she must have swept a lot of men off their feet. Her blue eyes glimmer. A trip abroad. A friend. I realize this woman saw the Ford Model T crusing around. She was alive in the days of Lindbergh. My mother pops in my mind. I ask the B'day girl who she preferred, Errol Flynn or Robert Taylor. I knew it! Robert Taylor. She likes Clark Gable. I tell her he didn't like Vivian Leigh(Gone with the Wind.) He ate food with lots of onions before the kiss-kissy scenes. Just a bit of Hollywood lore. She laughs.

    The meal is coming to an end. A Flan dessert comes to the table with a small candle on it. Each wrinkle in Mother's face tightened as she opened a big smile and announced proudly, "Ninety-two! I'm ninety-two!"  We all sing Happy Birthday. I wish I had the guts to sing Las Mañanitas. More techies from the clean-air business await outside. The daughter had her own stories and I had mine. Nothing can compare to the exhilarating feelings of meeting someone who witnessed history and is happy to talk about it.

    Sincerely blessed I felt. The sun was too hot. A quick taxi; a friendly ride. Back to my work desk, I see the glimmer of those blue eyes, filled with life, at ninety-two.  Eyes can be windows to the world. I saw a world in hers.
       ***        ***       ***     ***     ***    ***     ***    ***    ***    ***    ***     ***    ***   ***
    Las mañanitas con Pedro Infante. Click for the lyrics.

    October 06, 2007

    Salam President Hillary Clinton - Part two

    This story started somewhere below this post. It's a farce.
    President of the Republic of Hillarmonica has established a world republic.  Bill takes her to the diner, a video shows it all go dark. Puff, into thin air.

    As President Hillary wakes up from that Donnie Darko moment, she sees Bill.  Bill Maher?  Bill Maher playing Osama? Caetano Veloso?

    President Hillary Clinton pursed her lips in the best fashion possible.  Who had pinched her wide derrière just like Bill, her Hillarmonia  Embassador to the Galaxies?

    A husky voice, disembodied, whispered in her ear.  "I did, depending on what the definition of who pinched is."  She could hear the munching of fast food along with this dumbwit admission of mis-responsibility.  From pursing her lips, she developed a beet red complexion like her husbands. Ruddy. Noes! She wouldn't be misunderestimated.  Barbra was singing in her ears,"memories...of the way we were," "don't stop".  Good ole days.

    Deep breath, sisters; womin. Bill's ethereal southern drawl  spoke invisibly but audibly, "We must always veer to the center.  Don't pick fights with those who buy ink by the barrel."  He continued, "I am practicing for Los Angeles' NHM Haunted Museum.  I'm going to play Lord Valdemort.  Okay?"

    President Hillary Clinton finally beamed. "As long as you bring our grandchild."  Her Bill sighed. He'd been to "Grandfather's Day" already.
    "Remember, I'll sing this song for you." A saxophone echoed in the Elliptical Hall.  Towards minus infinite?  Only Wizard Nerrrrd Marcus Nunes could tell.

    "I know the answer and have always known it." The other southerner voice echoed in the hall. "I don't have e-mail even when I invented the Internet and the lock box."

    Chicagoan Methodist President Hillary sighed. Al Gore. His home state loss was due to his disembodiment in Tennessee. "Lock your lockbox, Al!"

    Who'd be next?

    October 03, 2007

    This Way, President Hillary Clinton

    President Hillary Clinton was exhausted.  The elections in 2012 had given her that look of purple sagging bags under the eyes Bill had that day when - Hush!  How could she be thinking of that day in 199* still?  She had juggled a difficult path of pseudo liberal pseudo centrist pseudo - shoot! Don't!  Secret agents swarmed into the Elyptical Office.
    "Go away!" Her shrill voice hadn't changed even sharing inhaling sessions with Good Ole Partner, Bill.

    "Darn good job," she patted herself on the right shoulder for goodluck. He was a lefty.  She had a vision. he still made people swoon to his husky southern voice; still talking about watermelons in Arkansas. Humpft!

    Power and money.  It had worked.  Even villified by her own kindred spirits, womin, she had rebuilt the US Empire.  We were now the United States of World Hillarmonia.  One world under the tenets of the Founding Fathers and some good Acts for
    check$$ & balan$$.  President Hillary knew how to gamble. The republic was filthy rich, pornographically wealthy to the point manned missions to space were no longer pipe dreams. Sshhuddup already.

    The government had approved of endless runs for president.  If her arthritis was bad, her greedy claws could still grab what was due to the Eagle.  Palestinians and Jews had decided to follow Neva Shalom and a scroll  cleverly authenticated by all main religions had certified the need for inbreeding among the brethen of David and Ishmael.
    In the middle east all females chose an Arabic name and a Jewish one.  They settled for Mirian (Mary) like the southerners settle for Lee as a middle name.  There was peace and the White Sox had won.

    President Hillary swayed her wide hips dreaming "Don't Stop."  A knock on the door announced Bill himself.

    " I made us reservations at the diner."  At the sound of "dine," Bill pinched her, said fine and off they went.

    (End of Part One. Later.)

    August 21, 2007

    Bored and Self-Assured --

    In 1977, in Rio, I lost a lot of weight naturally.  Running from the soldiers or the police, tear gas, horror stories of torture made me paranoid.

    I think in the photo below, my spoof of infomercials for the old and /or lonely, I was tired from climbing a 2,400 ft. mountain, scorning model posing, on purpose showing my rib cage. I weighed 99-105 lbs. Never barfed or stopped eating heartily.  I am a foodie for real.  All this wind , piss and excitement about celebs makes me sick.

    The thing was to impress people with my smarts. This odious practice has never changed in my personality make-up.  There was too much personal attack in NYC and Rio. Spic and Gringa.  So I was snooty and I am am am, Dr. Seuss wouldn't say that this way.   

    I despised the school that  graduated elementary school teachers and became one.  I was a nothing compared to all my beautiful friends.  The USA has been good to me. I suffer a different type of pain. Purposeful ignorance and a different form of racism. I'm happier here.
    I would say I was only self-assured, not bored, in this photo.  I'd just turned thirty. September 2, 1982.  NYC Labor Day Parade, West Indies Day Parade, lots of quinquillarie to buy at stands whose vendors played with their strong hair, with colors, with beads, all the stuff you've see in docus..  It was a quite manic phase in my life.  Teaching 70 hrs. a week, bar hopping just to talk to people.
    Check out, your Tina Oiticica Harris at the Botanical Garden, supermanic, in Queens, at age 30.©Photo by BPS, ©writing by Anarchic _Universe, 2007.


    Please play what I am at age 55: A Little Dinosaur ;-)

    June 03, 2007

    Yuna Gets a Tag

    The life of an EFL teacher wasn't easy, even with hand-picked students.  Yuna sighed at the thought of one student.  He was a bright and successful shrink, strictly Freudian, he said.  No medications were needed to heal a patient.  Talk therapy was enough.  Yuna knew better than to put her two cents in a conversation about the guy's own field of expertise.

    However, he was more stubborn than a mule. Or "têtu comme une vache normande."

    Tina2a2 Yuna thinks of next step.

    " In addition, he couldn't hear phonetic differences or try them.  Maybe that was a professional deformity.  Shrinks have to listen to all this crapola from disgruntled patients; they don't listen to details.  They get the gist of it.

    So, Dr. Bearden couldn't pronounce or replicate the different minimal pairs, such as sheet and sh*t, or feet and fit.  It was pointless to go over exercises.  It was exasperating to explain how the long [ee] is tense and the other is relaxed, like surferspeak.  He would agree, praise her, and cap it with, "I have no problem understanding English from the UK; it's Americans who pronounce everything garbled up.

    Yuna would blush in anger; most Brazilians used this excuse --Americans mispronounce their own language.  Gee_wheez_Louise.  That was the toughest class in the week.  A powerful man can be dangerous, especially when he is intelligent and is failing.  She didn't think he wanted to learn English. He didn't like it.  Emotional factors play a strong role in language acquisition.  She smiled at her high level theoretical thinking.

    One day, after switching back and forth from English book to drills of minimal pairs, to small talk, Dr. Bearden blurts out,

    "Your problem is you are a phallic woman."  He had a Cheshire cat grin on his face.

    "I beg your pardon, Charles?" Yuna was crimson red now.

    "You eez a phalic woman."  And he lit his pipe, satisfied at himself.

    "Could you explain what that is, Charles?" If only she carried a purse instead of a backpack.

    "The counterpart of a phallic woman is the castrated man.  Freud explains it. Should we go back to the book now?"

    They went back to the book. One of her favorite plays of all times.

    "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" by Edward Albee. [ALL-bee] Martha is the phallic woman; George is the castrated man.

    Now she understood a number of things. A phallic woman. Maybe that was more worthy teaching than minimal pairs could be.  Time would tell.

    One in a series of Yuna stories. Comments and trackback closed. E-mail welcome. Include your URL for publication, please.

    May 25, 2007

    Yuna Works Hard to Make a Living

    Yuna put in about seventy hours a week in English teaching. The US-Brazil Assn. was more of a place she could get benefits. The pay was peanuts. Before her shifts there and after she was done, she'd teach anywhere her integrity would remain untouched. Classes at Bobo Network, serving directors and technician, a hop to the hotels; tedious repeat-after-me routines her boss, who had never taught in his life, wanted her to follow. She tried to make those classes lively for the waiters and chambermaids, iliterate in their own language.

    Then there were the tailored one-on-one classes for topexecs at her tiny flat. The last one was a business major pain-in-the-arse guy, Roberto. He was nosy, he was rude, he was bossy. He had decided he must learn "Streetcar Named Desire." Yuna had the play in writing and the tapes. The classes dragged on to the scene unspoken, when Blanche DuBois is alone with Stanley Kowalski while her sister, Stella, is delivering Stanley and Stela's first baby. In this scene Stanley jumps on Blanche, they fight, the lights flicker.

    Roberto interrupts her, "Translate. Go on. Translate."

    Yuna is a stickler. She gestures, she explains the metaphor of the light, instability. He gets closer to her. He puts his index finger on the page; insists he doesn't understand. Actually, he had never noticed before how upright and perfect her "chichis" were. He gets closer. Actually, she is not bad at all.

    Yuna is nervous. The emotional bad breath of a recent divorce had left her sexless. He made her feel shaky. She insisted on Stanley Kowalski. She asked him to think of a young Marlon Brando. Animal magnetism. Sex.

    Roberto insists he didn't understand. Yuna loses her cool and yells, "Rape. He rapes Blanche!."

    Roberto has his hands inside her dress. He asks,

    "Like this?"

    She says, "NO. Stop. Don't. Stop. Stop. Don't." Her breathing is fast. She says,"Don't stop, don't stop, don't ..."


    One in a series of Yuna stories.