Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving in Both Hemispheres!

This post was going to be called "The Lamest of Ducks," but I found out yesterday that someone had used this title on in an article about President Bush. Except that I was going to talk about a couple of ducks: ours, of course, and Rio's outgoing Mayor César Maia. If our Commander in Chief has at least been spotted in Peru and other places closer to home, no one down here has seen Mr. Maia for as long as I can remember (as the city almost literally crumbles around us). I sometimes wonder if the man is no longer alive or if it's just that he doesn't have the courage to show his face anymore. In any case, the expression used to describe Mr. Bush, "of stupefying ineptitude," fits the carioca chief executive official like a glove. I couldn't have said it better. Absolutely no one will be sorry to see him go, except perhaps the people his incompetence and arrogance have benefitted. My only concern is that his successor doesn't seem like someone endowed with the kind of moral fortitude and political boldness needed to tackle this disaster area. We shall see!

Anyway, besides the fact that we'll be seeing the back of these two men before too long, I today gave thanks for my health and my Brazilian friends. Two of them were kind enough to join me for a good, hearty meal and a glass of Argentinian Malbec, this being an appropriately cold and rainy day. I remember wearing my snow boots almost every year in Boston when we lived there, so I suppose I should also rejoice that I now have lived in the tropics for a good many years.

A non-sequitur: I've been spending a lot of time researching the nineteenth-century; it all started with a DVD of "Jane Eyre" and the book about Brazilian and American history I mentioned a few days ago. I've been weaving my way through stories about fashion in the Victorian Age, the history of indoor plumbing, underground trains, social movements, scientific discoveries, industrialization in general, and immigration to the U.S. Somehow, I've ended in Sicily and the Italian Risorgimento and Garibaldi and a DVD of Visconti's "Il Gattopardo." So, I guess, I should also give thanks for the Internet and all this wonderful technology!

Well, this is what the Corcovado looks like right after a storm.


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