quinta-feira, 12 de fevereiro de 2009

Darwin antes Lincoln. Ovos antes que?

Como hoje, 12 de Fevereiro, é o dia 1 º do ano (2ª em anos bissextos) no calendário gregoriano, foi do meu pensamento para um aniversário, triste morte minha mãe no ano passado, eu foi rolante através de algumas das pessoas que se nascidos nesse dia ou coisas que aconteceu no passado, neste dia, não realmente ia através de qualquer lista de outras mortes.
  • Lady Jane Grey, formalmente Joana de Inglaterra (1537 — 12 de Fevereiro de 1554), uma grande sobrinha de Henrique VIII de Inglaterra, reinou como sem coroado, regnant Rainha do Reino de Inglaterra para nove dias em Julho de 1553.
  • 1817 - Argentine/Chilean patriotic army, after crossing the Andes, defeat Spanish troops on the battle of Chacabuco.
  • Aniversário em 1809 do ex-Presidente Abraham Lincoln é declarado um dia feriado nacional nos Estados Unidos da América em 1892.
  • 1912 Imperador Xuantong da dinastia Qing Manchu, o último imperador da China, abdicaste e 1912 de República da China adote o calendário gregoriano.
  • 1809 Charles Darwin, naturalista inglês (d. 1882) e fundadoro pai da teoria seleção natural.
  • Franco Zeffirelli (nascido Gianfranco Corsi em 12 de Fevereiro de 1923), é uma diretora de cinema italiano. Ele também é um diretor de Ópera, desenhar e produtor do opera, teatro, cinema e televisão.
  • George Heriot (1563-12 Fevereiro 1624) foi um escocês ourives e filantrópico.
Ele é principalmente lembrado hoje como fundador da escola da George Heriot , uma grande escola de privado em Edimburgo; seu nome foi também dada a Universidade Heriot-Watt, bem como várias ruas (e um barzinho) na mesma cidade. A último, pelo menos, é nomeado para seu apelido contemporâneo, Tillintadar Geordie; este foi popularização novamente pela utilização de no romance de histórico do Sir Walter Scott de Fortunas de Nigel.

  • Aleksei Semyonovich Shein (Алексей Семенович Шеин em russo) (1662 - 12 de Fevereiro de 1700), russo comandante e estadista, o primeiro Generalissimus russo, Boiardo, neto de Mikhail Shein.
  • Dia Livre nacional para Marry é um feriado de Estados Unidos de não-oficial realizado anualmente em 12 de Fevereiro para promover a mesma de casamento de sexo. O feriado foi fundado em 1999 por lambda jurídicos, uma empresa de direito de defesa de direitos gay baseada de Washington, D.C.
  • Bem interesse para escoceses, amanhã a 13 de Fevereiro como 1692 - massacre de Glencoe: Macdonalds sobre 78 em Glen CoE, Escócia são mortas no início da manhã para não prontamente comprometendo allegiance para o novo rei, William de laranja.

quarta-feira, 11 de fevereiro de 2009

lazy writing - when sorry is the last word

By Matt Frei
BBC News, Washington

Alex Rodriguez is interviewed by ESPN, 9 Feb
Baseball star Alex Rodriguez said sorry over steroid use from 2001 to 2003

This is really lazy of me but I have just read this article and am impressed by its clarity and precise insight. I too have little belief in the words of politicians or sports personalities, there is too much money at stake for both to be honest.

I cannot remember so many people from so many different backgrounds apologising for so much in such a concentrated period of time.

Here's the updated list: a row of Scottish bankers in a drab committee room of the UK House of Commons, in which the sultry air was filled with recrimination and apology in equal measure.

Then the spectacle of the formerly invincible Masters of the Margin, shuffling from Wall Street to the nation's capitol on their pilgrimage of penance.

If they hold scented oranges under their rumpled noses it is because they are being subjected to the ultimate hair-shirt: travel by commercial aircraft or, worse still, train. "Bash the Banker" week will end leaving all of us non-bankers feeling a bit better but just as poor and petrified.

In these miserable times, we normally turn to sport for some up-lift. But today, all we get are downcast eyes.

In this case the eyes are a watery blue-ish green, the opaque colour of a mill pond, the perfect hue for a heart-felt apology. They belong, of course, to Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, the Yankees star - one of the highest-earning baseball players of all time, who has entered the Hall of Shame.

Just as the Bush era was defined by the notion that sorry was for wimps, the new era is defined by a manly gusto for apologia

He joins the long line of colleagues who scored history-making home runs with a little help from the pharmaceutical industry.

Then there was Carol Thatcher, daughter of the former British prime minister, who barely apologised for using a racial slur that - apart from being insensitive - also dated her more than she would have wanted. She had to go from the BBC One Show.

The master of ceremonies at BBC motoring show Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, went into apology overdrive for calling Prime Minister Gordon Brown something un-prime-ministerial. He survived - although he apologised only for the physical slurs, not for calling the prime minister stupid.

The Pope apologised - sort of - for rehabilitating a British bishop who declared on camera and from the pulpit that the Nazis' gas chambers were a big lie. Former Senator Tom Daschle apologised - of course - for not having paid all his taxes.


But the prize for the apologiser-in-chief goes to the man who, so far, actually seems to have rather little to apologise for. Perhaps he has just been totting up his apologies savings account for a rainy day.

Barack Obama, 10 Feb
Mr Obama has apologised for mistakes over some of his nominees for office

President Barack Obama, that master of verbal dexterity and living thesaurus, set the tone last week by going on five networks to apologise in seven different ways for the misdemeanours of his apologetic cabinet appointees and their fiscal befuddlement. He even stooped to the colloquial: "I screwed up."

Just as the Bush era was defined by the notion that sorry was for wimps, the new era is defined by a manly gusto for apologia. The bow has replaced the shrug. Smirks are so yesterday. Humble pie is the new sushi.

But, forgive me, as with all fads, things are beginning to get out of hand. We need to establish some ground rules. Otherwise, there will be a dreadful backlog of unprocessed apologies.

An apology needs to be delivered verbally, without hesitation, with full eye contact and clear enunciation.

Secondly, the word needs to be embedded in a full sentence that explains what is being apologised for. For example: "In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the prime minister's personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise."

Thirdly, bankers should be required to add self-incriminating adverbs like "humbly", "sincerely" or "wholeheartedly" to their apologies.

They might also give some of the bonuses back or spend time doing community service. They could volunteer to apologise on behalf of others, roaming New York's Upper East Side in "apologia gangs".

Cancer of insincerity

We should measure public apologies with an apology-meter that works a bit like a lie detector. And why not have a game show called "It's your apology!" or - on cable television - "Say Sorry or Else!"

Pope Benedict at the Vatican, 4 Feb
The Pope has admitted a mistake in rehabilitating a controversial bishop

The possibilities are endless. And the risks are all too apparent: apology inflation, the cancer of insincerity.

We could be issuing apologies as easily as banks issued, well, sub-prime mortgages or credit cards. Then we would have to put all the bad apologies into a toxic fund. Let's not even go there.

But help is on the way from Italy. Knowing that apologies would become all the rage and the unmasking of sin a global sport, the Holy See has been quietly reintroducing the practice of indulgences.

In the words of the New York Times, they are "a sort of amnesty from punishment in the afterlife".

Bishops have been told that they can start reissuing indulgences to the swelling army of sinners, who can earn them by good deeds or charitable contributions.

Sadly, welcome relief is diluted by complexity.

The rules of indulgences are about as complicated as America's securitised mortgages: there are plenary indulgences - which eliminate all your time in purgatory, until the next sin is committed - and partial indulgences, which wipe out only some days, weeks and months in purgatory according to a fiendishly complicated calculation.

At least you can no longer buy an indulgence over the counter. That was outlawed in 1567.

In any case the Roman Catholic Church is on to something. The market in apologies is booming. Indulgences are a way to wipe the slate clean and get the economy moving again.

So, where better to end today than by saying simply, unmistakably, to everyone who I have ever offended: sorry.

Matt Frei is the presenter of BBC World News America which airs every weekday on BBC News, BBC World News and BBC America (for viewers outside the UK only).

terça-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2009

Quick time in a short note

It is now almost one year since Mom died, the 12th February, I was thinking how fast this last year as passed and hard to think where the time has gone to, there ware three months of almost doing nothing after my eye operation and two months when Graca was here. Even the time she was here seems to have been like a few weeks and not months.
My mother often said that the problem with age is that time accelerates and yet you slow down, the complete opposite of youth.
My mother died with one main request to myself and brothers, she wished us to keep in touch and in that way kep the memories of the family alive and fresh.
I know that in the past I was always so busy that I could not remember the work that I had done in the previous week, always concentrating on the work in progress and what I had to do the following day or week. Running to stay still and yet achieving mountains, I always found time to fit in another small job; it is true when they say that if you want a job done quickly it is best to ask a busy person as they know how to cut time and do not think about the time that it might take but how to make the time for the work.
I have less plans for this year so who knows what it will bring or has planned for me or you. At the moment I am hoping to get my new spectacles, or rather the old ones with new lens, since the company, Varilux, have accepted they made the first lens incorrectly and are remaking them now. I have now started a health plan so that if anything happens I can get hospital treatment, a worry here in Brazil and more so these last few weeks, with the TV showing several people having died after surgery in Brazil. I am going to return to Edinburgh for my eventual cataract operation as I do not have any confidence in a surgeon here to do any work on my eyes, a delicate part of the body that needs great care and experience. Another thing that I have just started is a blog for my work, a CV and what I hope will be a restart for my previous work, for it is clear to me that I need to get back to having the work contacts and the social contact that work brings, it is a double bonus and in many ways relaxing as I do not now have to work a 15 hour day to survive.
My new blog can be reached if you go to my designs on wood blog and get the link there.
Here is wishing all my readers a good year and good health.

segunda-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2009

Day and a Night

Ariel view of Jauá, there are two ways in and two out of Jauá, the confusions are at the point of entry in the middle of the photograph and my house is off the photograph on the right hand side. Since rediscovering the pleasures of new love, the problems of bad vision due to the change in my eyesight after the operation to the right eye, the constant need to go back and forth to Salvador to organise different things in this life of mine (and the false friendships that exist in Jauá). I have very much kept away from any social encounters in Jauá preferring instead to spend the time on my own or with my noiva, who has now returned to Ouro Preto to continue her course. The lady (Mrs M), who is meant to be helping me with the renting of my house, brought to my house, yesterday, several more couples and their family to view to rent for Carnaval, as it would appear that the original family from Senhor de Bonfim, have reneged on their promise to rent the house for February and Carnaval ( without paying deposit and leaving their options open till the last minute, or in fact, after the last minute). When I chatted to M----- during her visit, I mentioned the fact that the previous family, who stayed for only 16 days, had used more electricity than families who had stayed one month, she replied that we could chat more about this if I visited her house the following day. This is something that I have refrained from because of the ill manners of her family and friends. When I did go the following day I got more of the same dialogue that is my reason for not having them as friends (always still referring to me as the Gringo and making out that I have relationships with every woman in Jauá)Their habit of starting to drink beer from very early in the day, makes for their comments to be loaded with stupidity and banelity, not a place to talk business. During the conversations that took place whilst I was there, I mentioned that there had evidently been a TV local news bulletin concerning a fight between several woman in the centre of Jauá a few days earlier( in fact whilst there was a small concert with a pop group and in front of the police box. This was confirmed by every one and elaborated with the fact that one of these ladies had opened up a tin can in order to use it as a knife in the fight. my comment was that it appeared that the women in Jauá where by far more dangerous than the men, to which M's husband replied that this was certainly the case and that one of their house helpers( empregada), who is quite a slight build and feminine sort, had on one occasion, recently, in a bar in Jauá, taken unkindly to a mans comments about her, he was seated at the time, so she picked up a drinking glass, broke it on the table and inserted it into the neck of the man. This lady is with others similar, still working in his house and serving food to us at the table. The lead on from this story was that on the Monday of the 2nd February, 2009, the day of Yemanja( see other posting to know more) at about 10.00 in the morning, there had evidently been about 100 hundred of the locals (a lynching party) in their garden. It seems that early in the morning a man from Camacari, had decided to help himself to various treasures in at least 10 houses near to the house of M and R. How ever, being armed with just one plastic sack and a small knife, and needing to scale the walls and the roof tops of each of the houses he entered, along others that spanned the distance between each of them, he had exchanged goods at each house in order to gain the best sack full. He was doing this in broad day light ( here it is very bright sunlight from after six in the morning till six at night ) and wearing only bright blue shorts. He had been seen by several people in their houses and leaving other folks houses by the bathroom windows at roof top level, so behind him he had created one confusion and alarm. There seems to have been a possy created to catch him and after he had raided one of the houses that M had just( that morning) rented, he became the attention of M's street.

Here he was spotted entering another of M's friends houses and the call was sent out for her husband to go there with his friends. This they did and on spotting the robber, hiding behind a turned over table-tennis table, called to the robber and asked what he was doing in the grounds of their friends house. To which the robber replied, that he was being chased by a group of people who had mistaken him for a robber, but he protested that he had not stolen anything. This was slightly unfortunate for him since he had been cut as he climbed over the roof tops and also had received a cut from one of his chasers who had managed to get close enough at one point to slash his back with a large knife, also his plastic bag had received a tear. Mr R called to his friends to get a pistol and they would shoot the robber there and then, this alarmed him so much that he took flight and cleared the 2.5 metre wall and ran over the next three roof tops, misguidingly entering the garden and house of Mr R were he quickly discharged his bag of evidence before one of the lynch mob, a burly man, caught him and the rest of the mob crowded around him. It would appear that Mr R decided to intervene at this point to stop what was about to be a killing in his garden.

The first group had already put several fists into the face and body of the man from Camacari and R had asked the others to stop from a more severe beating, it would seem that they wished to take him to the beach and offer him to the Goddess of the sea,Yemanja on her day.
The police arrive at the point that Mr R had even put a noose of wire around the neck of the robber and by this time evidently about 100 people had arrived to participate in the party of confusion. My house is thankfully at the opposite end of Jauá and well away from the super markets, beach bars and town centre where most folks gather and where most drinking takes place.

For me the biggest crime in Jauá is what the prefeito ( mayor of Camacari) has done with the beach, after bad storms three years ago, the sea wall started, continues, to collapse so he has dumped a vast quantity of large black boulders along a large stretch of the beach( it is impossible to get to the beach easily as there are now no steps or ramps and the stones are the size of about three foot balls each.
It is well known that Camacari has one of the largest budgets that is available to a mayor for work and infrastructure but every one of them that comes into office does nothing to help the community long term. This part of the coast was once very beautiful and the beaches regarded as some of the best in Brazil, still each mayor as allowed the beaches to become soiled and the sea walls to collapse without any attempt to rebuild the sea defences and make these small towns on the coast something of a real tourist destination for the whole world and not just the local Brazilians who come for a barbecue and a booze at the weekends, not really interested in the marine life or the natural beauty of the beach.
A short distance up the coast are several eco-resorts but they are thankfully owned by foreigners and therefore saved from this sort of destruction. I have written a letter to the mayors office and am going to print off these photos to accompany the letter but doubt that I will get any response.