Commentary on political happenings and social conditions

Happy International Women’s Day! So why is a male politician talking?

It’s International Women’s Day! Hooray! We don’t celebrate it much in the United States but every Latin-American country I’ve visited takes it really seriously. Good for them! So here I am in a school presentation about how marvelous women are, and I can’t help but think to myself: Why, but WHY, is the airtime today, of […]

Lula Was Here

The town’s been talking about it–rightfully so–all week ever since the loudspeaker-car drove around town announcing it on Monday. “Lula’s coming!” For those of you not immersed in Brazilian politics, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva–better known as “Lula” because Brazilians love their nicknames–was President of Brazil for two terms, from 2003 to 2011, and many […]

Bank Blowout

A little escapism in these difficult times isn’t all bad, and so last week I was devouring a copy of  Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Escapism is all well and good, unless you live in a third-world country. And Parable of the Sower is an excellent novel; I recommend it highly—UNLESS, that is, you […]

Train Wreck

What was that in that dark corner? Chipped paint? Or was it… My daughter had been running all over this stadium with that diaper.. She had been playing in that corner. Was it…? It couldn’t be. I stood there by the door, barefoot, with no paper towels at hand (Sketchy Bathroom had been out of them by 11p.m.), armed only with the diaper wipes in my bag, I contemplated looking closer at what that might have been… just in case. I contemplated getting down on my knees and cleaning that floor, walking all the way across that hall with handfuls of poopy diaper wipes to brave that bathroom… And I turned my head and walked out the door.

‘Merrica, Can We Talk?

[Scene – A car in a mall parking lot, in a Red State somewhere.] California: Middle America, honey, can we talk? I know I said I needed a new dress for the Inaugural Ball, and the help of my best gals to pick it out, but that was a lie. Your wedding is just a […]

This is What Corruption Looks Like

This week, in the middle of the night, while all the press was looking towards Colombia, and the nation mourned the loss of a whole team of talented, young men, Brazil’s politicians gutted an anti-corruption bill. The President declared three days of national mourning and the Congress took advantage of it. They went into overdrive […]

Broken Hallelujah: on losing Leonard Cohen and the Elections

Two painful losses in one week Goddamn you, world. You just gotta kick a gal when she’s down. Leonard Cohen died this week, one of my favorite poets. This loss coming on the heels of Trump winning the election in the USA, and the Republicans taking both the House and Senate. Seriously, life just isn’t fair sometimes. […]

12 Things About Brazil the Guidebooks Never Tell You

Waiting in line is over-rated. Brazilians don’t really do lines. Unless otherwise directed, they tend to form a large, organic crowd and all push forward to the front. Why is this important? Banks, grocery stores, bus stations, they’ll probably have lines that people respect. But if you’re trying to get through a market or a concert […]

Elevator Talk

They were all waiting for the elevator: a businessman, a young man and his stylish wife. Three in a row, all staring at their cell phones.  The young man sighed and reached out to impatiently tap the “Up” button again. The tall, thin Steve Buschemi look-alike in the business suit looked up. “It’s on strike,” […]