RAPIDINHAS

    RAPIDINHAS

    Ugly and diminutive, Catullo da Paixão Cearense was a giant of
    Brazilian music during the first half of this century writing the lyrics for some of the
    most enduring national tunes. He became a well-known figure in the recitals that were
    popping up in all the good homes in Rio. His biographer Carlos Maul wrote: "…when
    the singer’s shadow waned in the room, the last verse escaping for his lips, there was a
    real explosion of delirium, so spontaneous, so vibrant, so loud, as if an enormous
    hurricane had burst into the surroundings."
    By Brazzil Magazine

    1974 – Tim Maia Racional

    1978 – Tim Maia Disco Club (re-released in 1995 as Sossego)

    1979 – Reencontro e Tim Maia (in English)

    1982 – Nuvens

    1983 – Descobridor dos Sete Mares

    1984 – Me Dê Motivo

    1985 – Tim Maia

    1986 – Telefone

    1987 – Somos América

    1988 – Carinhos

    1991 – Tim Maia Interpreta Clássicos da Bossa Nova

    1992 – Ao Vivo

    1993 – Tim Maia

    1997 – Tim Maia e Os Cariocas, What a Wonderful World – Oldies But Goodies, Pro Meu
    Grande Amor, Amigo do Rei 

    Politics
    Not So Fast

    Six months before the October election and with opponents still undefined, Fernando
    Henrique Cardoso’s reelection bid doesn’t seem so unsinkable anymore after the release of
    a Jornal do Brasil—Universidade Federal Fluminense poll. The poll published on
    March 21, 1997, was the first major indication of a shift against Cardoso among the
    Brazilian electorate. The JB-UFF poll found out that voters from the state of Rio—the
    second largest electorate in the country after São Paulo—in a imaginary dispute
    between the President and PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’ Party) candidate
    Luiz Inácio da Silva, better known as Lula, would split their vote equally between the
    candidates. In a runoff, Cardoso would lose the elections with 48% of the votes against
    52% from Lula. In the 1994 elections, Cardoso won in 25 of the 26 Brazilians states.

    Cardoso would also lose if his opponent were former President Itamar Franco, who
    apparently will not be able to run since the PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático
    Brasileiro—Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement), his party, has decided to
    back Cardoso. In such a scenario the split would be 51% to 49% in favor of Itamar. Cardoso
    would only win—with 58% of the votes—in a dispute against Ciro Gomes,
    ex-governor of the northeastern state of Ceará and former Finance Minister. Gomes is the
    presidential candidate from the PPS (Partido Popular Socialista—Popular Socialist
    Party). Another candidate, Dr. Enéas Carneiro from right-wing Prona (Partido da
    Reedificação da Ordem Nacional—Party of the National Order Rebuilding) is a long
    shot.

    In a five-way dispute including Itamar or in a four-way dispute without the former
    president, Lula and Cardoso would have a tie on the first round. In a scenario including
    Itamar, Cardoso’s predecessor would get 15% of the votes, while the President would get
    25% and Lula 22%, a technical tie due to the 3% margin of error. Seven percent would vote
    for Enéas, 6% for Ciro Gomes, and 20% would void or leave their ballots blank. Without
    Itamar, Cardoso would get 28% of the votes against 27% for Lula. Invalid votes would be
    24%, Enéas would get 9% and Ciro 8%. The number of people who haven’t made up their minds
    is 5%.

    Of all likely candidates Cardoso has the highest rejection index, with 38% of voters
    saying that "under no circumstance" they would vote for him. Only 15% said they
    would never vote for Lula, 14% said the same for Itamar. Even Enéas and Ciro Gomes had a
    lower rejection index, 27% and 26% respectively. Curiously enough the same survey found
    out that 65% of Rio’s voters approve of Cardoso administration against 32% who disapprove.
    The UFF poll was taken among 1,300 Rio’s voters on March 16 and 17.

    According to the poll’s coordinator, professor Alberto Carlos Almeida, from UFF’s
    Political Science Department, these results show that the government is losing the battle
    of image in the social area mainly on the unemployment front. "The opposition is
    being able to tie the unemployment situation to Fernando Henrique, although Rio has the
    lowest unemployment rate in the country."

    Losing His Cool

    In a show of how low his patience threshold is, the President could not graciously take
    the heat during a town-meeting-format TV interview with high-school students. Cardoso’s
    degree of irritation was shown at SBT (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão—Brazilian
    System of Television) TV Programa Livre (Free Program), presented by Serginho Groissman.

    Revealing an unexpected social conscience, the youngsters grilled the President on
    several subjects, including elections, unemployment, death penalty, abortion and drugs.
    The President went into an offensive mode when Leonardo Antunes, 16, accused him of giving
    evasive answers and asked the President if he considered it fair that a trash man made
    less than $200 while a bureaucrat earned more than $15,000.

    Visibly peeved, Cardoso lost his temper and scolded the student who dared object to the
    presidential reasoning: "It is too much arrogance to say that I am not answering. I
    am trying to explain things. I could say that your question is gobbledygook, that I am the
    President of the Republic and that I shouldn’t even answer that. You need to open your
    head. I’ve been here for one hour talking with the greatest satisfaction and you come and
    tell the President of the Republic that he is not answering the questions. And then you
    make a totally senseless question.

    "This is demagoguery, and we shouldn’t use demagoguery even when we are young. It
    doesn’t sit well. You are young, you make a confused question only because you are in the
    presence of the President of the Republic. Be more humble. Talk to me as an equal, not
    like someone superior talking to a subaltern. I take it, but it doesn’t sit well."

    The students screamed and hooted the President, but he was 630 miles away, in
    Brasília, while his inquisitors were in a TV auditorium in São Paulo watching him on a
    big screen. There were close to 450 middle and higher-middle-class students who weren’t
    baffled by Cardoso’s title (President of the Republic) and most of them when addressing
    the President used the familiar treatment pronoun você instead of the more
    respectful senhor.

    The only question dealing with the reelection drew jeers from the audience. The
    youngsters were more interested in discussing Brazilian social problems: the contrast
    between the too rich and the too poor, education, health, unemployment, and lack of
    opportunities.

    Despite the lingering after-taste, the Palácio do Planalto (the Brazilian White House)
    declared the experience as being positive and concluded that it had served its purpose as
    a test. And apparently without any irony Cardoso let it be known: "I adore auditorium
    programs." 

    Opposition candidate Lula used the students’ incident to criticize Cardoso for his
    slippery ways: "President Fernando Henrique is no more than a Vaseline jar", he
    told allies during a meeting of congressmen from the PC do B (Partido Comunista do
    Brasil—Communist Party of Brazil). Former President Itamar Franco has also joined
    those pelting barbs at Cardoso. He first called the President a "slippery eel",
    and a few days later said his successor was "Mr. Hyde", the mean side of Robert
    Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll.

    Obituary
    The Last
    Funny Face

    It was a sixty-year career that started in the circus and took him to radio, cinema,
    and TV, making him one of the best known and cherished comedians of Brazil. Just before
    dying from cancer at age 88 in Rio on March 22, Moacir Brandão Filho, who was a
    consummate grimace maker, talked about his pride of never being unemployed. For Brandão,
    the transition to TV starting in 1954 at TV Tupi was easy.

    The whole country used to repeat one of his most famous catchphrases: "kill the
    old man, kill" when he worked on radio. His most remembered role was that of poor
    cousin on Balança Mas Não Cai (It Shakes But it Doesn’t Fall Down) a program
    about a bunch of weird characters living on an odd building created by Max Nunes and
    Haroldo Barbosa.

    During the ’50s the show was a big hit on Rio’s now-closed Mayrink Veiga radio.
    "Cousin, you are the best," he used to tell his rich cousin interpreted by late
    Paulo Gracindo.

    Fast
    Lunacy

    With the express purpose of making life easier for Paulistanos (São Paulo
    residents) the state government has created what it called the Poupatempo (Savetime)
    program for those in need of getting an ID card. The new program working from a building
    at Praça do Carmo in downtown São Paulo, promises to hand over the ID the same
    day people apply for it, instead of having to wait for four or more weeks.

    Something very strange is happening, however. Those willing to use the new fast service
    are spending as many as ten hours in line, often staying overnight in the street in order
    to get a number that guarantees a place to have a same-day document. The Department is
    open to the public from 7 AM to 7 PM, but at 6 AM they start to distribute the numbers.

    Salesman Agnaldo Autori, 42, the first one in line recently, had arrived at the
    Department’s gate at 10 PM the night before, as it is common in the U.S. for immigrants
    trying to legalize their situation. Talking to daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo
    he said: "I was able to get the first place and with that I am helping the government
    to disrespect the population even more."

    The line has also become a place for some entrepreneurial prostitutes and homeless
    people to make some extra money. They spend the night in line and sell their places in the
    morning for those who prefer paying instead of suffering an insomniac night on the street.

    The Fear
    and
    the Fury

    More than anything else Cariocas (Rio residents) are threatened by their own
    aggressiveness. This is the conclusion of a study by the Pan-American Health Association
    in eight cities in Europe and the Americas. In Rio, the city chosen to represent Brazil,
    8% of the 1,126 respondents had been victims of mugging while 6% had been assaulted in
    traffic or in the streets after a discussion with an unknown person.

    "Contrary to the prevailing perception, the rate of robbery, theft, and the number
    of people hurt by weapons is lower than in most of other Latin-American cities," said
    Leandro Piquet Carneiro, University of São Paulo’s (USP) political scientist, in charge
    of the Brazilian side of the study, in an interview with daily newspaper O Estado de S.
    Paulo. According to him, most of the violence is not done by criminals but at home and
    by people Brazilians meet every day in the streets.

    The study also analyzed data from Santiago (Chile), Cali (Colombia), Caracas
    (Venezuela), San Salvador (El Salvador), and San Jose (Costa Rica). The cities of Madrid
    (Spain) and Houston (U.S.) were chosen for comparison.

    Brazil won first place in violence with a score of 1 followed by Cali, home of an
    infamous drug cartel with 0.8. Madrid had a rating of minus 2. On the up side the study
    revealed how optimistic Brazilians are about their future. In answering the question
    "Is the country getting better in the next few years?" Cariocas got first
    place in the optimistic scale with a 0.8 coefficient. Brazilians had the highest mark for
    political tolerance too. Rio also appeared as the city with fewer people owning firearms.
    Only 4.6% of Cariocas possess guns.

    The
    Biggest
    Yet

    In its most ambitious project to date, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is preparing
    an art expo to celebrate the 500 years of Brazil’s discovery. The exhibit has a budget of
    $15 million and plans to be a comprehensive tableau of Brazilian art starting with Indian
    objects made before the arrival of Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500.
    Called Brasil 500 Anos—Artes Visuais (Brazil 500 Years—Visual Arts) the exhibit
    will be opened May 3, 2000. It was on that date, 500 years ago, that the first mass was
    celebrated on Brazilian soil. The exhibition will also be taken to several museums in
    Brazil, Europe and the United States where it will be shown in San Francisco (California),
    Austin (Texas) and Washington, DC. 

    "This will be one of the most important expositions done by Fundação
    Bienal," said Júlio Landmann, president of the organization, in an interview with
    daily Correio Braziliense from Brasília. "For the first time the expo will
    have less renowned segments such as popular, Indian, and Afro-Brazilian art, and the
    images of the unconscious side by side with the most celebrated work like the art of the
    18th century and the figurative painting of the 19th century."

    British historian Leslie Bethell will select works by Debret, Rugendas and other
    Europeans who have portrayed Brazil. The super expo, which intends to gather 2,000 works,
    wishes to be a source of reference for anybody interested in Brazilian art. The work will
    also be available in CD-ROM, video, book and the Internet.

    Booksmarts

    From April 29 until May 10, São Paulo will be holding its 15ª Bienal Internacional do
    Livro (15th International Book Biennial). Organized by CBL (Câmara Brasileira do
    Livro—Brazilian Chamber of Book) the expo will show 150,000 books—4,000 of them
    will debut at the exhibit—and is expected to receive 1.5 million people. According to
    CBL’s president, Altair Brasil, the São Paulo book expo is the third biggest book fair in
    the world losing only to the ones held in Frankfurt (Germany) and Chicago (USA). There
    will be new books by Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto and Portuguese novelist
    José Saramago and foreign best-selling authors like Jostein Gaarder and Ghita Mehta will
    be present to autograph their books.

    The book industry is booming in Brazil with 50,000 titles being released in 1997 alone.
    In 1990 the yearly output was less than half that amount. On the other hand, the number of
    books per printing has been falling. While in 1992 general books (they exclude didactic
    works, which represent 53% of all books sold) had an average printing of 4,603 copies,
    this number had fallen to 3,221 in 1996, contributing to the high price of books in
    Brazil.

    Book Award

    There were 1,560 candidates this year to the Jabuti, the prize given in 15
    categories—three authors in each category are selected—by Câmara Brasileira do
    Livro to the best Brazilian literary works. Just to show how hard such a selection can be,
    renowned writers Moacyr Scliar (A Majestade do Xingu—The Majesty of the Xingu
    River), Frei Betto (Entre Todos os Homens—Among All Men), Deonísio da Silva (Teresa),
    Dalton Trevisan (234), Décio de Almeida Prado (Seres, Coisas, Lugares—Beings,
    Things, Places), Elisa Palatnik (Contos de Futebol—Soccer Short Stories), and Rubem
    Fonseca (Histórias de Amor), were all candidates for the trophy but didn’t make the
    final cut.

    Lealdade (Loyalty) by Márcio Souza, A Casa do Poeta Trágico (The Tragic
    Poet’s Home) by Carlos Heitor Cony, and Um Crime Delicado (A Delicate Crime) by
    Sérgio Sant’Anna won as best novels. In short story, prizes went to Raduan Nassar with Menina
    a Caminho (Girl on Her Way), Flávio Moreira da Costa with Nem Todo Canário É
    Belga (Not Every Canary is Belgian), and João Silvério Trevisan with Troços
    & Destroços (Rubbish and Wreckage).

    Other areas awarded Jabutis were administration, business and law, children’s books,
    children’s book illustration, didactic books, economy, editorial production, essay and
    biography, human sciences, journalism, natural sciences and medicine, exact sciences,
    poetry, technology and computer, and translation. The prize is important for the prestige
    it brings. The Prêmio Jabuti 98 comes with a paltry $900 check.

    Corruption
    Built
    on Sand

    Brazil’s latest national villain is called Sérgio Naya, 55. The wealthy, silver-haired
    congressman from the state of Minas Gerais, has been expelled from his party, the PPB
    (Partido Progressista Brasileiro—Brazilian Progressive Party), and his colleagues are
    considering his impeachment since the 22-story apartment building Palace II in the upscale
    neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca in Rio collapsed on February 21, killing eight people and
    throwing 120 families on the streets. Naya is the owner of Sersan (Sociedade Empresas
    Reunidas Sérgio Augusto Naya), the company responsible for the edifice’s construction.

    Since the Palace II tragedy, much fraud was found on the résumé of the middle-class
    Armenian immigrant’s son, who went to Brasília, the Brazilian capital, at the end of the
    `60s and became a construction tycoon, helped by high-ranking officials during the
    military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985. According to his own
    account—Naya loves to brag— he has a $500-million fortune. His secret? "To
    mix economy with deception," he confided to a friend, adding: "The US is the
    country of opportunities, and Brazil is the country of deception."

    Extra-generous with big-shot friends whom he flies on his private $15-million
    Challenger jet and treats to $300 Cristal Rosé champagne, he compelled his employees to
    unbend nails used in a hotel construction to reutilize them on an apartment building being
    erected in Osasco, São Paulo.

    Worried with kidnappings, he is always followed by bodyguards and often carries his own
    machine gun. Single all his life; he is frequently accompanied by beautiful women, but
    rumor has it that he never stays more than one year with any one of them so they will not
    claim any of his fortune.

    He is also a very bad payer. Only in Brasília there are more than 800 lawsuits against
    his companies. The government is his biggest creditor. He owes $48 million in a number of
    administrative actions filed against him, $14 million to Banco do Brasil and another $8
    million to the INSS, the Brazilian Social Security service.

    It took a tragedy for the inspectors to find out that Naya’s company had mixed beach
    sand with concrete in Rio. Seashells were found mixed with the concrete. They also found
    several other irregularities. Sersan used rainwater taken from puddles on the beach and
    cement that was already too old for use. Naya protests innocence and accuses his opponents
    of trying to subject him to a public lynching.

    In a videotape shown on TV Globo’s Sunday show Fantástico, Naya was heard bragging
    about forging official documents and using low-grade building materials on his building
    projects, which were later offered for sale as first-rate constructions. In the tape shot
    four years ago Naya talks to a group of councilmen from the city of Três Pontas in Minas
    Gerais. "Everything I buy is used, but it looks like new" he says, adding:
    "I signed an order for the government, I really do falsify. I gave the order to the
    Mayor, and he believed it was from the Governor."

    The outrage against Naya has almost obscured the most important issue, which is
    Brazil’s lack of rules and enforcement of an adequate building code. Critics of the status
    quo have pointed that without a serious revamping of the system, buildings will continue
    falling and people will continue dying. In the last seven years at least another six
    buildings collapsed in the country.

    In 1991, nine people died and 23 were hurt when a building toppled in Volta Redonda,
    state of Rio de Janeiro. The next year a concrete block fell over a crowd in the
    Pelourinho Square in Salvador, state of Bahia, leaving 18 people hurt and eight dead. In
    1994, a two-story building being erected in São Paulo went down killing three and hurting
    14. Then in Guaratuba, Paraná, a six-story building collapsed killing 40 people and
    hurting nine.

    The most tragic of these disasters was a totally preventable explosion occurred in 1996
    in the restaurant area of Osasco Plaza Shopping, in São Paulo. Forty two people died and
    472 were hurt. The gas ducts in that case weren’t up to code and there was no inspection
    to compel the owners to correct the problem. Last year, a 17-story building collapsed in
    São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo. There were no victims this time.

    On the political front, there are at least 44 congressmen being investigated, including
    Senator Ronaldo Cunha Lima, who shot an opponent in 1993 after his colleague criticized
    him on TV.

    For the record, Naya is building two $30 million 18-story hotel towers in Orlando,
    Florida. Construction has been delayed and stopped several times due to problems found by
    city building inspectors.

    Stripping
    for Joy

    "People take off their clothes to make children, to be more exposed to the wind,
    and to feel the sea. I took off mine to show my joy." This was timbalada-creator
    Bahiano (from Bahia) singer-composer Carlinhos Brown explaining why during Carnaval
    he did go in the buff in the streets of Salvador, capital of Bahia, on the back of a trio
    elétrico, a wired-for-sound truck. According to Brown, his rejoicing demonstration
    didn’t last more than three seconds, but that was enough time to snap pictures of his
    nudity, which was splashed in Salvador’s papers the next day. Apparently some people were
    offended, and the singer was sued accused of an obscene act. Some papers wrote that his
    nude scene was in protest against a trio-elétrico jam during Carnaval. He denied
    it and swore that he did not intend to offend anyone.

    You Say
    Fair

    Between 1991 and 1996 Brazilian exports to the U.S. have stagnated at $1.3 billion,
    while Brazil has increased its Yankee imports by 131%, raising them from $252 million to
    $588. Brazilians in fact are having so many problems to get their agricultural products to
    American shores that they are about to take their case to the World Trade Organization.

    Brazilians believe the U.S. are good at talking about fair and free trade and open
    markets as long as the market is not its own. Brazil accuses Americans of using ruses to
    keep Brazilian products away, by charging high import tariffs, imposing quotas, and
    creating extremely rigorous sanitary restrictions. Another common practice is to accuse
    Brazil of dumping.

    The Brazilian Embassy in Washington has prepared a report on the barriers imposed by
    the United Sates to Brazilian products. According to the study, 16 products are not
    welcome into the States. They include fruits, orange juice, shoes, soy oil, and sugar.

    One special bone of contention is the U.S. charge that Camargo Correa Metais (CCM)
    wants to sell its metallic silicate used in the computer and electronic industry at lower
    prices than it sells in Brazil and has imposed a 35% tariff on the product. Brazil argues
    that there is no dumping, but the negotiations are stalled while the Brazilian company has
    already lost $150 million in exports to the U.S. in the last five years. Washington has
    also imposed a tax of 8.55 cents on each liter of orange juice in order to protect
    Florida’s orange growers.

    In 1992, close to 90% of all imported orange juice in the U.S. came from Brazil. This
    had fallen, however, to 67% in 1996. The U.S. doesn’t import beef and pork from Brazil
    either alleging the presence of aphthous fever and swine fever (hog cholera) in the
    country. Brazilian poultry also don’t make the grade in the USA.

    Music
    Frigging
    Talent

    With a name like Funk Fuckers you wouldn’t expect this band to be playing gospel and
    being prude and they aren’t. The naughty attitude revealed in the band’s name continues in
    the musicians’ names—their ages vary from 20 to 23: B. Black, a.k.a. Bernardão
    Erótico (Erotic Big Bernard); Jimmy Love; Yurinando (a play with urinating); Baruco
    Cagüete (Baruco, the Snitch); Mortadelo "Bass" Gee; and Leon Experiênza.

    Created in Rio in 1993, the Funk Fuckers, according to their leader B. Black, draw
    their inspiration from Yankee bands like Run DMC, Dead Kennedys, and Beastie Boys and
    domestic rockers Titãs, Paralamas, and Kid Abelha.  They produced their two initial
    CDs, but now have been picked up by major recording company BMG. Their foul-mouthed
    lyrics, however, have kept most of their songs off the radio stations’ playlist. Thanks to
    MTV they are having some exposure nowadays. A sample lyrics from one of their most tamed
    songs, "Búlica":

    "…Quero me aprofundar na sua pessoa,
    ginecologicamente falando…
    vem cá meu bem, vamos fazer um oba-oba
    você me mostra sua coisa
    eu lhe mostro minha trosoba

    I want to get deep in yourself,
    gynecologically speaking…
    come here sweetie, let’s make whoopee
    you show me your thing
    I’ll show you my shmuck

    Woman
    The Darker
    Side of Lust

    "I’m not used yet to men’s looks. They seem to be eating me with their eyes."
    Scheila Carvalho Ladeira from É o Tchan band may feel a little uncomfortable, but she is
    enjoying every second of her new acquired status as Brazilian men’s newest object of
    desire and induction to sin. Brazil’s most coveted brunette was chosen by popular vote
    during TV Globo’s Domingão do Faustão (Faustão’s Big Sunday) show as a counterpart to
    blondeshell dancer Carla Perez.

    With Carla’s imminent departure to more innocent pastures to star on her own TV kid
    show, Scheila should reign supreme, until they find a tawny match for her, that is. As a
    É o Tchan’s dancer Scheila has the obligatory prominent buttocks (for the record, her
    hips measure 37", her breasts 33 and her waist 26, all of this framed by a 116-lb.,
    5"5′ body). Her flesh attributes are so impressive that her appearance in Playboy
    (see pic) on February provoked a run to the newsstands, and the sale of magazines zoomed
    past those sold when La Perez’ nakedness was featured.

    Scheila has been dancing professionally since she was 10. Born and raised in the
    interior of the state of Minas Gerais, she used to accompany her mother to country fairs.
    After some time looking at the shows held there, she started dancing and mimicking singers
    like Simone and Daniela Mercury while her mom sold churros. She dreamed that one
    day she would go to college and graduate in PE, but she couldn’t get the money for that.

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