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    June 11, 2008

    ¡ El viiiiiicio !

    When I think of the so many things I did in my life out  of ignorance and reckless behavior, I don't blush but stll feel bad. The worst, coming up to this number one as years have gone by was smoking tobacco.  First, because it damaged my health. Second, it exposed others to health damages.
    I started smoking like most youngsters do. A casual cigarette while going over chem notes with a student I admired who smoked Benson and Hedges, an imported brand. Is it coincidence I wheeze at the recollection? In 1969 we could smoke at school , a bizarre concept, I know.
    My father was a heavy smoker, and so was my Russian-American grandma. I had hated cigarettes until I began  to like them and then not to be able to live without them. For I wouldn't go to bed without smoking a last one. i wouldn't go to  bed knowing I had run out of them. I couldn't engage in serious thinking without lighting one. Actually, without wanting to defend tobacco use, I must tell you cigarettes do enhance thinking skills, which might be why people with mental illnesses light up or students cramming light up.
    Mark Twain lived a long life trying to quit. I finally quit on February 22, 2006, after many times having quit. February 22 was my grandma's birthday. The thought of having to carry oxygen with me finally sank in. I am at a point iwhere  I can't go out and be exposed to smoke and pollutants. Whn that happens I get a dry cough. No, I don't know what it means.
    When I was a teacher of English as a foreign language in Brazil, I smoked in class. And I did it at USC, too. Until very recently I didn't believe in second-hand smoking damage. (Every time I use italics in a sentence I remember Poe's emphasis when telling his madman stories.)
    I follow with a lot of interest Nora Volkow's research on neurotransmitters and addiction. She hopes to find a cure for addiction based on their behavior. I do, too. Addiction is a malady. Let's hope the USA government changes its policies regarding addiction from punishment to treatment. That would be a nice thought to entertain while puffing on a cig. Did I say that? Ooops!
    The title of this post is a remembrance of sorts of the secretary of the last school I worked at, in which the secretary would kinda sing, "el viiicio!" every time I passed by her to go outside to smoke.

    mmeorabilia straight out of the fifties. !El viiiicio!

    April 10, 2008

    The Twitter Bug

    Well, my friends, I have been bitten by the Twitter bug. Not in a 24/7 way; there are house chores to administer, the garden, my son and husband, e-mail subscriptions, and that's the way the ball bounces for someone older with lots of responsibilities.

    When I started teaching at LAUSD I finally learned to leave procrastination and tardiness behind. My principal was an old skool Japanese, Dr. Morita. She'd stand by the sign-in cards and show her loathing for tardy teachers. Even considering she was very small, her loathing darted from her eyes straight like a dagger into one's heart. So I learned to be punctual.  It was hard to commute from Central Los Angeles, a Salvadoran neighborhood where I lived, near Koreatown, to San Pedro and Adams, a couple of blocks from the L.A. river.

    So, in learning how not to procrastinate, I learned to measure my time more efficiently. However, tardiness runs in the family. My father took his time to go out, my mother took double time to arrive anywhere, and my son seems to cultivate the rush of last-minute deals.

    How did you like today's links? How about the one about UCLA's finding on cancer and marijuana?  Now, I didn't add the one on the passing of Bob Marley's mother's death. What am I supposed to add? Let's light up in your honor? I don't think so. I shot the sheriff but I didn't shoot no deputy?  You all must know the meaning of the previous sentence -- I got rid of the top guy but there are many others that remain. Um-hum.

    What I am learning in Twitter is the art of being concise. Coming from a verbose country like Brazil, it'll take a while. Twitter is kewl; I am getting to "know" more people in the English-speaking community, which is so important for Anarchic_Universe.

    Hey, "I Shot the Sheriff"; how about that?

    November 22, 2007

    There Are Thanks to Be Given

    I get fed up with newsppaper articles whose total first page text is deceiving. That is the case of today's L.A. Times article about the girl who was bullied anonymously on the Internet. She had some insecurity issues and hanged herself while the family were preparing dinner.  The perpetrators of this hideous deed seem to have been the mother of a neighboring friend, the friend and an employee of friend's mom's business.
    Towards the end of the article the L.A. Times shows an opinion of a jurist concerning a federal law punishing those who anonymously harass and inflict personal injury to others on the Net. So there is a law. I'd be very surprised if there weren't one.

    I know I am totally behind in my blogging duties after hunting down the impersonators of Cretinismos, a photolog Fotolog.com hosted and orkut.com  let be without even noticing the profile of the divulger of the harassment, impersonation and breach of copyright photos was a duck without a valid profile sitting in
    Blogueiros do Orkut board.  Yesterday I paid a short visit to this board on orkut to realize I was being scolded by the probable responsible for Cretinismos and by the owner of the board for leaving the owner a "weird message" someone else told the owner about.  I wrote the owner an e-mail. I have e-mail on my blogs. If a person doesn't want to own a board, don't do it.  But please, don't add to the drama already.  The likely responsible for this deed, along with his pals, frightened me away from Blogger in August last year. I didn't have to sue. We called his Daddy and the 22-yr.-old prankster had to pull every line off his own board about me.  This year his Mommy called me to complain about her firstborn.

    A fellow blogger said these anonymous creatures crawling the Internet aren't worth the spit of a mosquito. I can hear my friend, as serious as a Franciscan monk or a German philosopher. Caetano Veloso says German is the natural language of philosophy.

    I am glad I am not a fifteen-year-old chubby girl lured into a trap to be led to believe she had an Internet boyfriend who shunned her and humiliated her collectively with other MySpace people. The boyfriend was this friend's mother, so it's reported.  Although Brazilian bloggers in the orkut board thought it was funny to see "me" interviewing "them", I believe I stiil own the right to my speech and image in my country, where all Internet companies involved are.  The prankster jumped into the discussion to say I had to learn I would never be able to sue anyone in Brazil. But who was talking of suing if all I did before for him to  behave was to call his parents?

    I had to take a break from VH1 Classics all day today with Bob Dylan. I had to post this for all to know there is a federal law to protect you from cyber-space bullying if you are ever a victim of this cowardly deed.  I just had to do this, after I read the Los Angeles Times misleading front page of the  article about the teen girl bullied to death.

    The Anonymous Bullies of the Internet ought to be punished like evil creatures that they are, without a way out, trapped in a corner.

    Back to Dylan on VH1. Happy Thanksgiving to all. I give thanks for my family being well and for having a few great friends; they know who they are.

    L.A.Times permanent link, click. Pass it on.  With you Bob Dylan and Johnnie Cash.  Enjoy.

    October 13, 2007

    Irony Lost: I Love L.A.

    I Love L.A. is a song written by the talented Randy Newman, who holds a record also-ran for the Academy Awards till he got an Oscar © for "Monsters,Inc."  One of his uncles, Alfred Newman, the composing music streak is with the Newmans, wrote "Conquest" -- one of the two well-known University of Southern California marching band staples, also a song of film soundtrack. Given USC's latest tournaments we should call Conquest how The West  Was Lost.  That quarterback from U of T was unforgettably hungry for the title; two years or three ago was it?

    The irony lost is read between the lines of the mordacity of Randy Newman's lyrics, in which he is criticizing our plethora of villages, Greater Los Angeles. Wikipedia says he feels ambivalent about Los Angeles. I guess we all love the sunny days when we can cruise by to the sound of the Beach Boys.  We cultivate our bermudas and slightly pampered manners, uncouth ignorant wannabes nouveau riche Los Angelinos that we are. Or plain obese immigrants ignorant of each other.

    Nic and I have been on a project of identification of the revitalization of downtown and south central.  Our first  homes were on and off USC campus, an area quite similar to the ghetto shown in "White Men Can't Jump."  The 1992 Rodney King riots created empty lots on Vermont past USC. Ours are long boulevards and avenues.  During the latest riots the media announced repeatedly there were no police on the street.  There was a party for Chief Gates.  Rodney King -- Can't we get along? -- lent his name to the riots of spring 1992.

    Continue reading "Irony Lost: I Love L.A." »

    October 12, 2007

    Don't You Know the Answer? In the Lockbox

    I received a NY Times and a Washington Post Alert simultaneously.  Al Gore and the United Nations pertinent committee share a Nobel Peace Price.

    I confess I didn't read the news in either paper other than the Alerts.  Now I guess I understand the surge of searches for Al's e-mail or phone number here -- why here?

    I am very happy for Al Gore. Don't forget to visit your home state this time.

    On another political note, I am willing to bet Hillary wouldn't mind having Bill RIchardson as a vice-president.  Both came up talking about the high costs of college.  They have plans. Bill Richardson was criticized for speaking in Spanish the other day. I guess that covers the question of one bilingual blog Freaky Deaky proposed.

    And that's all for now, folks.  Big day ahead in this mini-vacation.  Día de la Raza for all Spanish-speaking dwellers in the USA, Columbus Day for the rest.

    Typed on my Mac,

    --Tina Oiticica Harris

    September 25, 2007

    Loki - Arnaldo Baptista and Moisés Santana


    August 25, 2007

    Bill Maher -- The Jam

    What a fool I was to suggest we watch Bill Maher's show last night. I guess we do get out of touch when going on vacation.  Hello, dear?  Iraqis aren't promoting ethnic cleasing unless you are a believer who thinks Xiites are in the direct line of a descendant of the Prophet, or you are a Sunni who believes it is your lineage that merits the name of leaders of Muslims for the same reason: ancestry related to the Prophet.
    Bill Maher, the best word is fraticide. Both Xiites and Sunni Muslims are the same people.  I just wonder why this wonderfully left-wing program of Bill Maher's didn't mention genocide -- extermination en masse of (a) people(s).  For oil.  Or is the TV show really left-wing?  Let's stretch, guys and dolls do our calisthenics at the sound of an under-appreciated band: The Jam.  First post of a series.  Good day! That's Entertainment. The Jam.  First, The Start, a beautiful, dynamic look at these guys in their best 80s garb. 

    August 23, 2007

    Coffee, Blogging, BP or Lake Michigan

    Coffee is highly addictive. Without coffee I'll get a headache and fatigue.

    Marcus from A Grande Abobora sent a link to our network --
    Tomorrowski, sorry. It's on stuff bloggers love to bull about. Without coffee how could I know it from Shinola ® ?
    It's about links, okay?

    BP or Lake Michigan is a serious cause I must embrace. BP, or Shell in my youth, is throwing people outside of their homes, dumping chemicals in the largest drinking water supply for ...

    B12Solipsism takes it further.

    Check A Grande Abobora for a travelogue of the Cinema Festival in Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul. Gramado was a very hip place to go to, but the Redeemer junta squelched my groove. They shut down the gas stations when I was still in Santa Catarina. I had to start back to work on a Monday. RS is a state whose Portuguese is very melodic, sibillant [s] , macho, borders Uruguay and Argentina. never been either. High literacy & light people rate. Bloggers galore.

    Let's give peace and people a chance? John Lennon shouts out.

    August 17, 2007

    (5.5)+ (27.5) + 22 = Perfect Half & Half

    Today I celebrate a life spent half in the USA and half in Brazil. Starting tomorrow I will have been here in the USA longer than I was in Brazil.
    I was born at the Cornell U. hospital in Manhattan. A nicer way to say Metropolitan Hospital. At that time, 1952, the Bronx was beautiful. The most beautiful tree in the world was Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree.

    We moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1957, just when I could see ice skates within my reach. I marvelled at the Sugar Loaf; a hill! There was a lit placard with moving news at the bottom of the Sugar Loaf. Botafogo, my first neighborhood in Rio, was getting crowded with those who sought a better life away from the north side, closer to the ocean. Next to my building was one so packed, it'd explode if the tenants flushed their toilets at the same time. I played with a Spaniard, José-?, whose mother was of ill reputation. In those days unmarried women, especially beautiful ones would be whores even if never having exchanged French kisses. Brazilians were L7 (square.)

    I had scabs from hives: allergies to cotton oil, lard, I was teased for my Green-go accent. I immersed myself in books. Don't laugh -- I sobbed watching Pollyanna. Stars and Stripes etched in my mind.
    On the other side of my building was an American-English Lycée. I saw a marching band once all my life in Rio. Sears Roebuck opened its doors with fanfarre next to the school, giving away hoopla-hoos. There were magicians and artisans blowing glass. It was the marvelous US way of doing business. Amigo, ¡muy amigo!

    When I grew up I could never decide on a profession. I wished to study here. In 1984, my mentor, Bob Maple, helped me choose a school. USC's linguistics department was stellar back then. This date, August 16, 2007, marks my 22 years back in my country of birth. It is here I vote. Brazilian society caters to a collective self; we are individualistic here. I like that.

    So, 5.5 years in NYC + 22 years in Greater Los Angeles = 27.5

    In Rio I spent another 27.5 years; 1957 to 1985. I'm 55. (some math steps skipped.)

    Brazil is where friends and I watched the sun rise on Ipanema or Leblon. Where I worked for ten years and collected my pension fund so I had money for a ticket. Where all my books were till 2005, when they were shipped here. My poetry. Friends, Jurassic friends and relatives. Mommy and Daddy, sister.
    Ipanema, anoitece

    My Rio de Janeiro seems to be gone, except for rare glimpses of smiles or jokes, Brasileiros love jokes. Sometimes I wonder why go back? Ipanema. Remembrance of things past.
    "Paris and Rio are the most beautiful cities in the world," Mommy said this all the time.
    Even if mockingly, I love L.A. My house, my son, my husband, the opportunities to be; even if weird, be somebody. A tiny fish in a big bowl as opposed to a big fish in a small bowl.

    If I could, I would bring Ipanema closer to us so I could visit. This is a longing without regrets. I love the USA, my country, my fellow country people who seek change. We'll make it.

    Tonight, I celebrate America, with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
    Good morning, America! Saudades, Rio de Janeiro.

    August 09, 2007

    Lithium and Kurt Cobain Life In L.A. Part 2

    In November 1991 I was politically correct. I stayed home and breastfed.  We had a bin for the cotton diapers we sent out to wash weekly.

    Relatives hated the breastfeeding bit.  Those diapers stunk.  One afternoon, I watched "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  Kurt Cobain wearing my 1968 fashion, short sleeve-T over long sleeve shirt. Stripes.

    Cheerleaders.  Brunnettes. No blondes.  Black outfit adorned with the A+circle emblem. In Red.  The scarlet letter cheerleaders.

    The video shows a guitar player mumbling the lyrics he wrote to a hypnotic beat. The crowd gets crazier progressively turning into what would be "the mosh pit."

    I didn't understand the lyrics. One day, in 1992 , I saw the Lithium single. With the lyrics.  Lithium was my medication.  How could he know the perspective of those with a mood disorder?

    I chose to see a doctor.  Kurt chose to self-medicate shooting heroin. His death at age 27 was devastating. 1994. 
    Then 2004;  It was Green Day's political stand that shook me out of a self-involved navel trip.  American Idiot was a wake-up call. A rock opera about the ghetto punks and our screw-you system.

    While Kurt Cobain wrote little gems that together reflect his psyche, GreenDay wrote  American Idiot, which reflects our USA angst. We, the connected, we the rockers. Kurt Cobain wrote about death. For ten years I joined the cult to death, which still is alluring so many young people. Bush again, the images of 9/11, "The brighter side is suicide." Wrong.

    American Idiot is about life.

    What happened beteen 1994 and 2004?  I'll tell you.See ya!

    © Anarchic Universe, 2007