Mostly Music
sábado, novembro 30

Travels with family

I am back in the frozen North after a jaunt to visit family over the Thanksgiving break. Wednesday night I went by Amtrak from Trenton to Washington DC, and then by Metro to my cousin Rob Veeder's place in Alexandria Virginia. The train was wildly oversold, even though all the seats were supposed to be reserved (sound Brazilian?), so I sat on the floor from Trenton to Baltimore.
I had good company including a nice artist from NYC (named Gehrig, 2 meters tall, tends bar - I can't seem to find his website). Once I had a seat at Baltimore I had a wonderful chat with Karen Yager, an art conservator from New York who travels around the world lecturing on Jewish religion and culture.

Karen Yager

The train was forty-five minutes late, and then I went to argue with the Amtrak personnel, because the conductor had told us floor folk that we would get a full refund. No....it turned out that
I will get half of my fare applied as a discount to my next travel with Amtrak (too bad Laura wasn't there to "reason" with the staff....
I had a nice visit with my cousin Rob and his lovely wife Leslie at their fabulous townhouse in Alexandria (Laura would love it...and Cora would enjoy the two cats).
On Thanksgiving morning we drove to Williamsburg VA (about three hours) and went by ferry

across the James River to the Surry House, where we had real old-fashioned southern food for Thanksgiving dinner (crab cakes, Smithfield ham, corn pudding, fried apples etc. etc.) . After returning to our lodgings for the night I fell sound asleep and didn't rise until morning, since the previous night my sleep had been accompanied by a clock which rang the nautical hours, loudly and regularly....
Yesterday we had a wonderful day (Mom, Dad, brother Will, sister-in-law Charlotte, and nephew Gideon (age five) visiting Colonial Williamsburg...too much to describe...at least for now. Towards the end of the day we visited a site which had reconstructed slave quarters, and also an archaeological site of Martin's Hundred, a settlement where almost all the English were massacred by the local natives who were having breakfast with them (which is why there is no town there now....) Not one of the stories that is generally told at this time of here. At least they didn't eat them, just scalped them and left them to die.....

Brother Will
Today we drove back across the entrance to Chespeake Bay, where the road goes from Norfolk to the Delmarva Peninsula across an amazingly long combination of bridges and tunnels....

sexta-feira, novembro 29
Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
Oscar Wilde

quarta-feira, novembro 27


Today when I got to Uni-Rio I was greeted by bad news. José Maria Neves, my professor, my advisor, my friend, had died this morning. He was not sixty yet. It is hard to believe both facts: that he is dead, and that he was so young. Not because he seemed older, quite the contrary. He was a handsome man, always well-dressed, with a straight back, a brisk walk and a wonderful mellow voice. But he accomplished so much, he was so wise and so secure of his own worth, that to me he seemed older. I was his student in Uni-Rio, more than twenty years ago. We frequently had classes over a glass of beer, in the Bar da Praia, right next to the university (our class was quite small). And even in that informal setting, he managed to teach us a lot, and communicate his passion for music, at the same time keeping us at a certain distance. I felt he was my friend, and yet I knew nothing of his personal life (not a very Brazilian thing...). He never had a harsh word for me, and he always managed to be fair but encouraging. A charming lecturer and a brilliant conversationalist, he was a pleasure to talk to, and he made us all proud. Our emeritus professor would be an asset to any first world university!
It is weird to speak of him in the past tense. I will miss him a lot.
terça-feira, novembro 26
MY DAY (or: Is it soft or do you want more?)

5:00 wake up and try to wake Manoela up
Go back to sleep
5:40 wake up and try to wake Manoela up
Try to go back to sleep
6:30 Finally manage to wake Ma up
Try to go back to sleep
7:00 Go kiss the girls good-bye
Try to go back to sleep
8:00 Antonia wakes me up: dentist's time!
But she has it wrong. She is one hour too early
Try to go back to sleep
9:00 Wake up! Dentist! Have breakfast, get dressed.
When I am ready, the dentist calls: would I mind postponing my appointment for one hour?
I decide to take the discman (thanks, Tom!), so I can listen to the CD I have to review for Fanfare. After the second track the batteries die on me.
At the dentist's office; she is late. I have to wait for 40 ms. Can't even read the magazines, as I forgot my reading glasses.
Finally in the dentist's chair. It hurts.
I get out of there late, since I have a student at 1:00.
Take a cab, to try to get home on time. The air conditioner on the car is broken, the driver lies to me about it.
Big traffic jam. Hot as hell. No air conditioning. Can't call and warn my student that I'll be late, because I forgot the cell phone at home.
Get home, student is there already. No time to eat. And I am starving!
Stress: the girls don't want to go to English class, I make them go. They leave mad at me. As soon as they are out, the sky falls on Rio. Rain. Cats and dogs. The girls are wearing sandals. I worry.
The doorman calls. Some problem with the elevator, it is not working.
The girls arrive soaking wet and have to go up 6 flights of stairs.
Ju forgot to return the video tape she rented yesterday.
My computer eats the text I am working on.
The 3 phones ring at the same time.
My credit card bill arrives.
I lose my phone book.
Júlia tells me she spent R$ 100 on the weekend she was alone.
My contact lenses are hurting my eyes.
My nose is clogged up.
I write about it on the blog, but my post disappears forever. God won't even let me to complain.
I WANT TO SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spell Checker Poem

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-Sauce unknown

sábado, novembro 23

For Laura

"Shopping has a lot in common with sex," Thomas Hine observes near the beginning of this wide-ranging exploration of the history and psychology of one of the most commonplace and important activities of modern Life. "Just about everybody does it. Some people brag about how well they do it. Some keep it a secret. Most people worry, at Least a little, about whether they do it right. And both provide ample opportunities to make foolish choices."

read about it at Amazon

You know it's bad when...

an American thanks you, and instead of saying "you're welcome", you say "nothing."

Banho de loja - Store bath

most women I know want to change SOMETHING about the way their mate dresses. Because whether her guy is gorgeous or standard-issue, a woman knows that he'd look a whole lot better if she could hijack his credit card and drag him to Macy's.
read the rest here.

Uma coisa que aprendi da Laura....hoje tou usando uma camisa Borelli, calças jeans Via Veneto, tenis Nike (feitos no Brasil), todas compradas nas expedições com as mulheres Rónai ao Rio Sul e ao Botafogo Praia Shopping.
quinta-feira, novembro 21

Tom disse que eu ia corrigir o português dele. mas não sei, estou achando engraçadinho. (Com exceção do "Saite", muito feio! Tom, Site is site....). Talvez apenas acrescentar os acentos.
What do you guys think? Should I correct the mistakes or not?

Libri na rede - Libri on the web

Encontrei um saite interessante de libri italiani, o Internet Bookshop Italia. Pelos livros alemães, franceses, ingleses tem os saites nacionais de Amazon, mas ainda não tem Amazones brasileiros, italianos etc e tal. O Internet Bookshop Italia tambem tem videos e DVDs. É deprimente ver quanto domina a cultura internacional nosso pop-culture americano. Olha só o numero dei piu venduti in Italia que sao dos EU...

I found an interesting site for Italian books, the Internet Bookshop Italia. For German, French and English books I can go to the various national Amazon branches, but as yet Amazon doesn't have sites for Brazil, Italy etc.etc. The Internet Bookshop Italia also has videos and DVDs for sale. It is depressing to see the extent to which our American pop-culture dominates international culture. Just take a look at how many of the piu venduti in Italia are from the US....


Stefano Benni

No meu emprego na biblioteca da College of New Jersey estou responsavel agora pelos idiomas modernos do curriculum - espanhol, frances, italiano, e esperamos, portugues (quando cheguei nao houve aulas de portugues, e nao tem agora, mas no futuro, quem sabe?). Vi nas estantes dois livros de um escritor italiano interessante, Stefano Benni. So um livro dele, de vinte anos atras, apareceu em ingles (a Terra). Claro que ele tem agora varios sites no web - official, de fan. Tem livros dele em portugues?

As part of my work at the library of the College of New Jersey I am responsible for modern languages - Spanish, French, Italian, and let us hope, Portuguese (there were no Portuguese classes when I arrived, there are none now, but who knows what the future may hold?) Down in the stacks I noted two books by an interesting Italian writer whose books I have enjoyed - Stefano Benni. Just one of his books has appeared in English. By now of course he has a number of websites, an official one, and an unofficial one. Are there books of his which have been translated into Portuguese?
quarta-feira, novembro 20

Nova política linguística - New language policy

Caros amigos,
de agora em diante vamos ter um blog bilíngue. Laura vai corrigir meus erros de portugues. Espero que com a passagem de tempo esses erros vão ficar cada vez mais infrequente.

Dear friends,
from now on this will be a bilingual blog. Laura will correct my errors in Portuguese. I hope with time these will become less frequent.

All the Italian literature you could possibly want...

is in the Biblioteca della Letteratura Italiana, beautifully delivered in PDF files. The texts are drawn from a 10-CD ROM set that runs on both M$ and Macs, and is priced at only about 150 Euros. For that you get 342 works by 205 authors from the thirteenth century till today. What a deal!!!
segunda-feira, novembro 18
And I thought I was absent-minded

O.J. No Longer ’100 Percent Sure’ He is Innocent

Calls Johnnie Cochran’s recent statements ‘thought provoking’
Oct. 16 — Days after former O. J. Simpson defense attorney Johnnie Cochran said on MSNBC that he is “about 90 percent” certain that his client was innocent, Mr. Simpson today said that his attorney had planted “fresh seeds of doubt” in his own mind.
“FOR YEARS, I’VE BEEN pretty sure that I did not murder my wife,” Simpson said today at a golf course in Boca Raton, Fla., where he was taking a rare break from searching for the real killers of his wife. “But if Johnnie’s not 100 percent sure, I’m like, hey, maybe I better take another look at this.”
Simpson added that it would be “crazy” not to be swayed by Cochran’s new statements, which he called “thought provoking.”
“Look, you’re talking about a guy, Johnnie Cochran, who is a pretty smart guy,” Simpson said. “If he said maybe I did it, then maybe I did it.”

Cochran’s doubts about Simpson’s innocence may help resolve one lingering mystery for the former Heisman Trophy winner: why it has been so difficult for him to find his wife’s real killers, whom he pledged to hunt down after his acquittal in 1995.
The former NFL star said that, in light of the new revelations, he may slow down his search, which he said has occupied almost every waking moment of his life for the past seven years.
“If it turns out that I’m actually the one who did it, then looking for the real killers would be a big old waste of time,” Simpson said.

Newsweek © 2002
mANOELA HAS A NEW BLOG: http://sonhando-acordada.weblogger.terra.com.br/
domingo, novembro 17


It has been raining almost continuously since 7 AM yesterday, the temperature at the moment is about 6 degrees Celsius, the barometric pressure is dropping, and it's already time for sunset. I took my son and his friend to the State Museum in the dreary capital of this dreary state and half the galleries were closed, including almost all that would appeal to a ten-year old boy. He did find a nice wooden kit to assemble a space shuttle.
But a ray of Brazilian sun popped through the clouds: Serginho called.

sábado, novembro 16

Germaine Greer

on superfluous men here.
sexta-feira, novembro 15


is the name of the group in Wilmington, Delaware with which I have been playing baroque flute for about the last seven years. The group is Tracy Richardson, harpsichord, Kim Reighley, flute, and Doug McNames, 'cello; we recorded a nice disc of Telemann quartets for Lyrichord - you may even have heard it. Tracy's husband is Mark Hagerty, who wrote a wonderful duo for Laura and me, which we premiered last April in Rio. I just heard from Tracy that we will be written about in Early Music America magazine, with photo and everything.

Tracy and Mark will be in Rio next April, where she will play a few concerts, and he will present his music.


A good dictionary

I have discovered the very useful English-Portuguese (and
Portuguese-English) dictionary here .

The best part is there are more examples of usage than I think
I have ever since in a paper dictionary, and you can use the find
to get to just the one you need. The English is UK English...
and of course the Portuguese is from Portugal...but nonetheless
I think it is a great product. And the website is VERY fast.

quinta-feira, novembro 14

Four Jewish brothers left home for college, became doctors and prospered.

Some years later, chatting after a Chanukah dinner, they discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly mother.

The first said, "I had a big house built for Mama."

The second said, "I had a hundred thousand dollar theater built in the house."

The third said, "I had my Mercedes dealer deliver her an SL600 with a chauffeur."

The fourth said, "Listen to this. You know how Mama loves reading the Torah and you know she can't see very well. I sent her a parrot that can recite the entire Torah. It took twenty rabbis 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it."

Soon thereafter, Mom sent out her Thank You notes.

She wrote: "Milton, the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks so much."

"Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home, I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes...and the driver is a Nazi. A
million thanks."

"Menachim, you give me a theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people, but all my friends are dead, I've lost my hearing and I'm nearly blind. Thanks anyway."

"Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. Such a delicious chicken."



I have been enjoying the DVD of the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring (Pedro, how are you doing with the Book?). I have enjoyed the additions, but in some places the whispers of evil seem to be more distinct than I remember them from the theater. They were more menacing when less intelligible.
I am gaining a renewed appreciation for the marvelous score, which recalls so much the wonderful music of Tolkien's contemporary and fellow genius, Ralph Vaughan Williams. Perhaps in Brazil his music is not so well-known. Take the opportunity to get to hear some. I particularly admire the Third Symphony, though indeed the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth are marvelous as well. And don't miss The Lark Ascending. No chamber music for flute from him, alas.

It's hard work...

trying to write good and idiomatic Portuguese. My latest project is translating my article on Il Divino Serginho into Portuguese in the hopes that it can be published in Brazil and bring Sergio's music to a broader audience. Now I have even more respect for the brilliant capabilities of Laurinha in mastering the Anglo-Saxon tongue.

quarta-feira, novembro 13

mark your calendars

Jen Bowen and I will be performing as "Conversation Galante" at Bruton Paris Church in Williamsburg, Virginia on Feb 1. Program: Boismortier, Blavet and Couperin. It's a very nice colonial era church and has
a "built-in" audience with all the tourists who come to Williamsburg (a historical site with "re-enactors" dressed in period garb.) I am sure that these particular pieces were never heard there in the 18th century.
Jen is a fabulous player with lots of chops and great skills in realizing continuo. She finally got her harpsichord delivered this past weekend after an interminable wait. A very nice instrument with quite a loud sound for its size.
segunda-feira, novembro 11


When I move to Rio I am changing my name to Astrogildo...that's Astro for short.

Work, work, work....

This week I am at work seven days in a row. Then I get next Sunday off, and then another six...am I crazy? No, I just needed to accrue some comp time so that I can have some to use in December. And what is worse today and yesterday I am on the late shift.
This is a problem because I am fundamentally a morning person, and so I work hard all morning (this morning it was two books of Anderson etudes for the flute), and then I have to work until 9 or 10 at night. Oog.
The weather here is very peculiar, very warm, raining all day, so warm that the heat is off at home, and it's quite warm in the library (I am wearing the t-shirt of the III Festival Internacional de Flautistas). This weather comes after weeks (weeks!) of unseasonably cold weather.
I heard today that my article on Serginho will come out in January. Now I am hoping to find someplace to publish it in Portuguese in Brazil.

sábado, novembro 9

Matando saudades

Today I walked to the station and took the train to Newark. Newark was once a "big city", and is still
the largest city in New Jersey. It never recovered from the rioting of the city's African-American population in 1967, which meant that any middle-class people who could left. The downtown has the remnants of a once-busy commercial life, but it is deserted on the weekend. I walked through downtown to the Newark Museum (built in 1925), which had an interesting exhibit on the ball-playing of Mesoamerican societies in
what is now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Very nicely done, with a beautiful catalog. The museum includes the former residence of the Ballantine brewing family (Laura would love this), and it has a fine collection of American art, with two excellent pieces by Joseph Stella.
After 2 1/2 hours I walked back through downtown to BrazilTown, which is on the other side of the train
station. On the street you hear nothing but Portuguese spoken. I bought a collection of Bossa Nova with notes by Ruy Castro (2 CDs) and the O Sambista (Chico Buarque) - total, $25 (not bad). Then I had a rodizio de carne at a restaurant (a different than the ones I had sampled there before). Meat not so good
as it might have been, but better buffet. And i ended with a cafezinho and mousse de maracuja (and they asked whether I wanted one, Laura). If only I could live there...a real city (not like Trenton)....it would be a long commute to work, though.
quarta-feira, novembro 6

A prank

translated from the portuguese of LF Verissimo (without permission).

It all began as a prank. He called an acquaintance and said, “I know everything.”
After a silence, the acquaintance said, “How did you find out?”
“It doesn’t matter. I know everything.”
“Do me a favor. Don’t spread it around.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“I’m begging you.”
“OK. But watch out, eh?”

He discovered that he had power over people.
“I know everything.”
“Wh, what?”
“I know everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“But that’s impossible. How did you find out?”
People’s reactions varied. Some people asked, “Does anyone else know?” Others became aggressive.
“Fine, you know. So what?”
“I just wanted you to know that I know.”
“If you tell anyone, I’ll…”
“It’s up to you.”
“What do you mean?”
“If you walk the straight and narrow, nobody will hear about it.”

Once, he seemed to have found someone with nothing to hide.
“I know everything.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know.”
“I don’t know. What do you know?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know.”
“But I really don’t know.”
“Quit it.”
“You don’t know anything.”
“You mean there’s something to know, just that I don’t know what?”
“There isn’t anything.”
“Watch out, because I could spread it around…”
“Go right ahead, because you would be lying.”
“How do you know what I am going to spread around?”
“Whatever it is would be a lie.”
“Fine. I am going to spread it around.”
But a little later the phone rang.
“What are you going to spread around?”
“You know.”

He came to be feared and respected. Every so often someone would come up to him and whisper, “did you tell anyone?”
“Not yet.”
“Whew. Thanks.”

As time went on, he got a reputation. He could be trusted. One day a friend came to him with a job offer. The salary was huge.
“Why me?” he wanted to know.
“It’s a very responsible position”, said his friend. “I recommended you.”
“Because you are discreet.”

He climbed the ladder. It was said that he knew everything about everybody, but never opened his mouth. As well as being well-informed, he was a gentleman. Until one day, the phone rang. A mysterious voice said “I know everything.”
“Wh, what?”
“I know everything.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I’m talking about.”

He decided to disappear. He left town. His friends were mystified by his sudden disappearance. They investigated. What could he be up to? Finally his corpse was found on a distant beach. According to the neighbors, one night his house had been surrounded. People went into the house. There was shouting. What they heard most was his voice, shouting “it was just a joke! It was just a joke!”
In the morning they discovered that he had been murdered. The crime was never resolved. But the people who knew him had no doubts about the motive.
He knew too much.

terça-feira, novembro 5
Triste è viver na solidão
na dor cruel de uma paixão
triste è saber que ninguem pode viver de ilusão
que nunca vai ser nunca vai dar
o sonhador tem que acordar
Tua beleza è um avião
demais prum pobre coração
que para pra te ver passar
so pra me maltratar
triste è viver na solidão

sábado, novembro 2
Back from DC. Arrived home to find the temp in my quarto was 10 degrees Celsius....(I had turned down
the heat before I went away yesterday noon.)
Just went to read Reporter Mosca, and found a link to Google Fight.
I entered Laura Ronai vs. Cora Ronai. Laura wins, 485 hits to 466.


This weekend I am visiting friends in Bethesda, Maryland, home of the National Institutes of Health, where Helene Fischer Rosenberg works. Last night Helene, her friend Donna and I listened to Helene's husband Paul play with his new band, Armand Ntep and the Afro-Jazz Explosion, at the "Tavern" at American University, which is not far from here in the Federal District. Strangely enough, though the entertainment went until eleven, the Tavern stopped serving food (a few unappetizing slices of pizza) and beer (wildly overpriced drafts at $3.50) at about 8:30 on a Friday night. Not a happening campus. Armand Ntep is a Cameroonian immigrant with dreadlocks and a great voice, and lots of stage presence. With someone to help him develop his talents, he could be big. He sings in two voices at the moment - one high, that sounds like an African vocalist (think of Papa Wemba or another Congolese pop singer - that sort of almost nasal timbre), and one low, that could be rich if it had more focus and resonance. The band also has a great conga player and a talented guitarist. Paul does most of the arrangements and the band has a wide range of repertoire, going from "All of me" to African tunes written by Armand and the guitarist. The sound last night (I mean just the technical parts) was poor - the undergrads who were running it were totally clueless. And there was a tiny audience (not surprising, if there was no beer to be had).

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