Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

No hat yet...

Its almost 3 days from my birthday, and I haven´t made it to get my hat yet. Though, I must say folks here have been more than helpful. The problem has been that there has been a lot of things to do.

For some reason my cell phone chip doesn´t work, and of course I need to go to São Paulo to fix it, and my camera has developed some sort of glaucoma. M and Tata have been helpful in getting our new bankcard working from our joint account at Bradesco. And of course we must paky dominoe and I like to walk. So, we will search for the hat in a day or two, not to worry.

I am not complaining, in fact I am having a great time. We went to Festa de São João last nite (and won big!) and tonite, and won nothing, which is ok, as all they had was cakes… and gawd knows, no one in this motley crew needs any cakes. But at any rate, it is a good place, a lovely town, with great people, I love how M & I run into friends and former students, and teachers from when I was hanging out at the school 10 years ago!... We have no such memory in Sacramento.

Tomorrow night we are invited to a get together where everyone must recite a poem and talk about it… they all think it is “muito chic” to have me recite on in English (thank gawd again!). Mine is my favorite Rumi:

BEWILDERMENT / Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

There are many guises for intelligence.
one part of you is gliding in a high
while your more ordinary notions
take little steps and peck at the

Conventional knowledge is death to
our souls,
and it is not really ours.

It is laid on. Yet we keep saying
that we find “rest” in these “beliefs.”

We must become ignorant of what we
have been taught
and instead be bewildered.

Run from what is profitable
and comfortable.

If you drink those liqueurs,
you will spill the springwater of your
real life.

Distrust anyone who praises you.
Give your investments money, and the interest
on the capital, to those who are
actually destitute.

Forget safety. Live where you fear
to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

I have tried prudent planning
long enough.
From now on, I'll be mad.
(translated by Coleman Barks) in Cosmo DooGood's Urban Almanac 2006, p. 168.

it could be my Favorite Emily Dickenson:

He ate and drank the precious Words —
Spirit grew robust —
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust —
He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book —
What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings —

At any rate, I have all day tomorrow to think about it, and enjoy how nice everyone is here…

A few photos, the last one is of my favorite door... the house was bought, and is apparently being restored... it looks great! The first one is of the new prefeitura (city hall) in a restored match factory... it also looks great!

looking for Miss Brasil

Last night I called my friend Regina. We are going to meet for dinner on the 2nd. I didn´t realize that it was 12:20 am and when I called. I woke her up.
Now, as is my custom, I asked her “quero falar com Miss Brasil” (Iwant to talk with Miss Brasil). She hung up.
I called again.
She hung up.
After the 3rd try she asked me who I was, and when I told her it was me, she was laughing, she thought I was an English journalist who keeps calling here about Filipão, the soccer coach in Europe. Regina is rather famous her, as she is the sports psychologist for soccer players. I met her my very first visit to Brasil, and she was most helpful with Spencer, then 9 years old. She is a dear friend, and we always have a good time together.

I have never been confused for being, English.
I say, old chap, well played!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Festa Junina

Its winter here and that means festa ... so off we went tonight to M´s old school that was having a really great festa junina... a lot of different barracas (stands) with food and drink and a fun one that raffles crazy stuff, called a barraca maluca (crazy stand)... with a total of 14 reais between the both of us we won:
  • a 6 pack of water (called h2oh... haga dois oh)
  • spomges and a bottle of dish soap
  • a big boawl with a bottle of shampoo
  • a box of gum
  • and a surpize box (with three screw drivers inside)

we ran into all sorts of teacher friends from when I was there doing research in 1998 in M´s classrooms... it was great fun! it is so nice to walk aroudn and hug old friends and talk... even when it is butt freezing cold!

we came home and played dominoes with the family afterwards...

my camera is not well, but I may just post pics anyway... if you do not mind a ufo in the right corner... vamos ver...


Made it!

Made it home to Amparo by midnight... a grueling trip, five hour wait in LAX, five hour (red-eye) to Miami six hour wait in Miami (probably the worst airport in the USA, no LAX is... but I digress) and 8 hours to Brasil... sunset over Manaus / Amazon which is in full flood... so beautiful... slept until 10 am... eeek!

My camera is on the fritz... so off we are to downtown to find a way to fix it, get my travel stuff, and change money. More later!

Rich Nations Copy Venezuela's Anti - Gang Music Schools

From The New York Times [Reuters], Monday, June 23, 2008. See .Abstract appeared on the SmartBrief listserve, Wednesday, June 25,2008.
Rich Nations Copy Venezuela's Anti - Gang Music Schools
By REUTERSCARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's youth orchestras and choirs havehelped thousands of children resist thug life in some of SouthAmerica's most violent slums, and now wealthy countries are lining upto emulate the system.Last year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic named Venezuelan conductorand the classical music world's brightest star Gustavo Dudamel, 27,as its next director, shining a spotlight on the remarkable networkof music schools in which he was trained.About 300,000 Venezuelan children, many from deprived city barrios,others from distant Amazon towns, now choose violins and trombonesover guns and drugs, proving Mozart and Berlioz can be as fresh asrap beats even to 21st century youths.
"This is seen as the cutting edge project of classical music,"Dudamel said. "To give children a future mixed with the sensitivitythat music offers is unique."Dudamel, who grew up in a provincial city and started playing theviolin at 10, joined the music school system a few years later tolearn to conduct and at 18 he was already the national youthorchestra's music director.Governments from Los Angeles to Scotland may not much like PresidentHugo Chavez's brand of Cuba-inspired socialism but they will soon tryto replicate Venezuela's achievements on their own streets.The music center in the Carapita neighborhood of Caracas is a primeexample of the Venezuelan program at work in a city where each weekdozens die in gunfights between rival gangs.
music classes are taught in a crowded community center amid amaze of narrow alleys and precariously built red block houses. About200 children gather for four hours of music and choral practice sixdays a week in what Venezuelans simply call "The System.""The orchestra is my family, nothing has ever grabbed me like thisbefore," said Francisco Henriques, 14, practicing trombone on theroof of his hillside home, accompanied by his cat, Trumpet. "Music iseverything I have ever wished for."As well as instilling discipline and self-esteem, the orchestrasinsist the children and teenagers attend regular school, and teacherssay the system markedly reduces truancy in slums with some of thehighest murder rates in the world."We are giving the children goals," said Carapita director ReinaldoJusto. "We don't know if they will be great musicians or not, butwhat is important is that we are saving them from dead time, which inplaces like this can be hugely damaging."WHITE GLOVESThis idea of battling delinquency with a generation of highlycultured musicians has a growing number of adherents in countriesmore used to treating classical music as the reserve of a well-to-doelite.Britain pledged on Friday to give poor children instruments and teachclassical music in a group environment in a scheme that is inspiredby Venezuela, led by world-renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber andbacked by $600,000 in state financing.Scotland last year began a similar pilot project and Los Angelesplans its first such youth orchestra for October.It wasn't always this way. When economist and musician Jose AntonioAbreu began the system in 1975 he was met with skepticism from theestablishment, wary of his preference for group-teaching overtraditional one-on-one classes."In the beginning it was somewhat criticized because it broke withtraditional music-teaching schemes. It wasn't taken very seriously,said Eduardo Mendez, who organizes the music centers from offices ina tall, battered concrete building.But the system expanded from just one school to 181 today, extendingfrom violent corners of Caracas to a chilly Andean villages and ariver-port at the edge of the Amazon jungle.There are now orchestras being formed in Venezuela's almost lawlessprisons and a choir made up of mute children who wear white gloves tosing in sign language.
government's yearly budget for the music program is $35 million,excluding the cost of thousands of instruments imported from Chinaand Europe every year and given to the musicians.
The System is still growing.Chavez, whose government widely promotes state-financed sports andcultural achievements, is launching a major new music project to beled by the orchestra foundation and hopes to involve a millionchildren within five years.************************************

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Supt Dave O’Donnell @ the STEM Conference @ CSU-LB

5 hours of fun...

Waiting in LAX... waiting for the plane to Miami, along with another extended delay until the flight home... not to matter, Milton and Tata called me to tell me that some guy named João is picking me up at the airport, its all so deliciously sinister...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another trip South to Brasil

I am writing this from SMF (Sacramento International Airport) as I am listening to U2 on my new IPOD… overnighting at a STEM conference at CSU-LB, then tomorrow night, I am off to Brasil!

Milton says it is cold and rainy, there… ahhh. After all this oprresive heat and smoke from the 4o plus fires sparked from the lightening the other night… it should be good.

I packed my cerolas (long underwear). I can't wait to be wit the family, here the masses will shout in horror:

"Daniel está fazendo sanduiche de abacate!"

Next posting: Amparo, São Paulo, Brasil!

A great loss...

Reporters Say Networks Block War Reports

Brian Stelter, of The New York Times, reports: "Getting a story on the evening news isn't easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network. 'Generally what I say is, "I'm holding the armor-piercing R.P.G.,"' she said last week in an appearance on 'The Daily Show,' referring to the initials for rocket-propelled grenade. '"It's aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don't put my story on the air, I'm going to pull the trigger."' Ms. Logan let a sly just-kidding smile sneak through as she spoke, but her point was serious. Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How many zeros in a billion? edited version

How many zeros in a billion?
This is too true to be funny. The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.
A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it's releases.

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes,

no see the National Priorities Project

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