Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Message On My Mediums

Having a great time in São Paulo, didn't even mind that yesterday's trip to the sugar mill was cancelled due to inclement weather... Last night I hung out with Eduardo, who I met in Paris 12 years back when we were semi-finalists in the French Film Contest. He and his friends took me out to a lovely restaurant in Bela Vista, the Little Italy of São Paulo.

My theme of the day: Two years back, while hiking National Parks of the Rockies, I picked up some sweet, clever T-shirts. But I should have bought large, not medium - they do fit, but they should be looser for exercising or relaxing. Since you shan't see me in them, let me share them digitally..

From Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a high mountain ridge without foothills that really sticks up. French explorers thought so, I guess, since 'Grand Teton' means 'Big Breast'...

Next door to Teton, the geothermal wierdness and wildlife of Yellowstone, home to nearly 3/4 of the Earth's geothermal features (geysers, mudpots, hot springs, etc).

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Sweetness, Now and Then

Today again we rise before dawn to fly an hour and visit a sugar mill in the interior of São Paulo State, the epicenter of this country's sugar and ethanol boom. Brazil is the world's largest sugar exporter and its lowest-cost sugar producer. Below, harvesting the cane now (via harvest machine) and in Brazil's colonial period (via slavery). Colonial production was based up north - most of today's sugar cane harvesting takes place in São Paulo State, created after 1889, when Brazil abolished slavery, the very last country to do so.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Slaughterhouse Gear

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Dead Cow Walking

Today we're getting up at 5am to fly 600 miles to visit a slaughterhouse in Mato Grosso do Sul. It is, indeed, a job requirement. You'll hear more about this, alas, when I'm back in New York. Here are cows in their final minutes...

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Faraway Nearby

Still in São Paulo - Just two block from our local office (and my conference) is the city's wonderful art musuem on stilts, rampant modernism! Here's an aerial view:

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

City That Goes On Forever

I should be arriving in São Paulo around 10:40am local time having left Buenos Aires three hours earlier. By now I'm immersed in this conference 24/7, on scant sleep. Most of today and tomorrow will be spent here, on Avenida Paulista, the Park Avenue of Brazil and location of our headquarters and conference center:


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Monday, June 25, 2007

Big Mouth of Buenos Aires

My conference begins today!!!

"La Boca," literally "The Mouth (of the river, I guess)" is the most colorful place in Buenos Aires and a personal favorite, despite its poverty and the smell of its somewhat polluted, stagnant riverfront.
Tenements in one area are painted in bright, childlike colors, like a giant crumbling playhouse. Andres spent his teen years in this neighborhood's less colorful inland zone...

A Bench on La Boca's historic Caminito, or "Little Walk," the street the launched a thousand tangos and named one of the jewels of the tango oeuvre...

Laundry hangs.. If Buenos Aires had Prince Spaghetti Day, Antonio's mother would call from these windows... Once a month, on the 28th, the locals eat 'gnocchi' - this is because they are paid on the first of the month, and are low on cash toward the end. Gnocchi can provide a hearty meal with just potatoes, flour, an egg, tomatoes, and elbow grease...

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's a bit cold here and I spent 6 hours working in my hotel room today on a project. Still, it was nice to have a couple of meals with Andres and some good conversations. Also, we saw the Argentine production of "I Am My Own Wife," which was as riveting here as it was in New York.

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Siempre en Domingo

or, "Always on Sunday," an all-day TV variety show broadcast to most of Latin American and its US diaspora. Always on Sunday, when in Buenos Aires on business, I get to relax with Andres and visit my old haunts. (I lived here briefly in 1988-89).

Luna Park, their Madison Square Garden-equivalent, scene of many memorable concerts and spectacles...

Buenos Aires has taken 'safe sex' to heart, providing its iconic obelisk with a condom for protection (against alien life forms in heat?)

The World's Widest Avenue, 9 de Julio, at night, which, during the last week of June, in the winter darkness, is quite long...

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chilly in Argentina

Just arrived in Buenos Aires, in the dark relative cold (45F) of winter, where my ABN Latin America High-Yield Conference will begin on Monday. Looking forward to seeing Andres. Here's an unusual aerial view of iconic Plaza de Mayo, epicenter of government and the scene of many memorable protests and rallies during Argentina's 195 years as an independent nation.

The Casa Rosada, or 'Pink House', is where the President works - but does not live. This is the view sitting in the middle of the Plaza staring straight ahead..

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Friday, June 22, 2007

106: First Stop, Argentine Way

Headed out tonight for Argentina and Brazil, to host an investor conference, visit some client's factories, and catch up with friends. My flight leaves at 10pm, hope to sleep well on the 10-hour flight.
If all goes well, this will be my 106th foreign trip! It will also be..

My 22nd trip to Brazil (only Mexico surpasses this, visited 24 times)
My 18th trip to Argentina (still the country where I've spent the most total days)

My 35th trip to South America
My 59th trip to Latin America

and... my 68th business trip...

Here's Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo, a major upscale flea market..

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sun Is Out!
2007's Longest, Sunniest Day Is Here!

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The Four Little Sisters

That's what Latin America called Louisa May Alcott's classic novel 'Little Women,' about four Civil-War-era sisters coming of age in New England. Three movie versions were made, the first and most classic in 1933 (cast pictured left), by George Cukor. I saw it on Netflix last weekend, and thought it was sweet if a little sappy and episodic. Its strong and independent female characters were very progressive, and it's fitting that this film shot Katherine Hepburn to stardom (or at least critical success). Oddly, the film has also been called the original 'chick flick," a term I've always found annoying as it implies that (straight) men have scant interest in love stories. I guess that depends which straight man and which love story, as all are certainly not alike..

BBG takes the IND...

“I wouldn’t be surprised by anybody leaving the Republican Party today” - Hillary Clinton

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tantalizingly Close and Barely Noticed

New York's State Assembly yesterday approved a bill legalizing gay marriage by 85-65! ....and Governor Spitzer is committed to signing it when both houses have voted it.

The sole remaining obstacle is the State Senate, which the Republicans control by a razor-thin 2 seats... Not likely this year, with the legislature shutting down in two days..

But the ball is rolling, and the momentum is with us both in terms of public acceptance, victories in other states, and Republican's sinking fortunes in the Notheast and elsewhere.

I believe gay marriage will be a reality in New York state by 2009.

As I've oft stated before, the real challenge is finding the right guy with whom to walk down that aisle....

I want to see you all dance at my wedding. And I promise you, the music will be great...

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It's the second longest day of the year!!!!

Here in New York, sunset at 8:30pm and dusk at 9:03pm. Dawn was at 4:51am, and the sun rose at 5:24pm. That's nearly 17 hours of daytime and 18 hours of clear, visible light, about as good as NY gets, sun-wise.. Don't let this pass you by, my nearby friends... Even if it is kind of cloudy today (ah, Murphy)....

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Two Hemispheres of Sunil

Friday night I dined on empanadas, friendship, and clever photography, if I may say so...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Consummate Proffessionalism

Knowing when to double letters is one of the finer points of English. It often eludes me, so what chance has a poor struggling martial arts academy, I ask you...

I put my money where my motto is - "smell the flowers while you can" - I bought some lovely vases and each Saturday I visit the florists to bring home some sweet-smelling color and beauty...

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Song Is A Job, A Language, A Life

On Sunday, Christi and I saw the delightful and universally acclaimed movie "Once." Challenging to describe, but I'll attempt it in one (run-on) sentence. Set all over Dublin, this unassuming 'musical' tracks the 3-day relationship of an Irish guitarist and Czech flower-selling pianist, in a realistic style since they are musicians and songs occur naturally as they rehearse, street-perform, and record. Compact, at 85 minutes, it's a rare gem - Czech it out sometime soon.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Birth State Rocks!
Can My Home State Be Far Behind?

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

To Be Young, Gifted, and Brave..

..to paraphrase Nina Simone... I'm very fond of the smart, quirky, defiant, and vulnerable gay singer-songwriter Jay Brannan, pictured here.

Jay landed on my radar screen though his brave appearance in 'Shortbus', the highly stylized film by John Cameron Mitchell that is not at all porn but includes a lot of graphic sex. I thought it took enormous guts for Jay to bare himself and risk prejudice, labeling, and prurient interest, with all the ways that could affect him personally and professionally.

He certainly puts it right out there emotionally in his songwriting and in the homemade videos in which he sings his work, which I encourage you to view at his website, www.jaybrannan.com.

He once put a 15-second video on his MySpace page of a tear falling from his eye..

We've actually interchanged a few e-mail words - I encouraged him to take a Dead Sea mud bath when he's in Israel a week for their gay pride, performing in Tel Aviv...

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Three Degrees of Inspiration...

My random office photos - look out below!

My Cubicle, My Self - My window on the world is a desk globe...

Wall St T-Shirt Humor...

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