Published September 27, 2010
Due to popular demand (yeah, it’s that good), I am posting a recipe for a Moroccan-inspired fish stew that is WELL tasty. And so easy!
You will love me forever. Miranda does.
500g White Fish
1 tin Chickpeas (drained)
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
1 Large onion, sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon (or more) of hot chilli sauce
2 vegetable stock cubes
salt to taste
Handful of chopped parsley
Juice of half a lemon
Sweat the onions in a bit of oil or water. Once they are soft, add the cinnamon, turmeric and cumin to the pan and make a paste. Then add the tomatoes and the chickpeas and the stock cubes and the water and the chilli sauce, bring to the boil. Once the broth is boiling, add the fish and cover. Once the fish is cooked, remove from heat, add parsley and lemon juice. Et voila!
I normally serve it with rice, which I pre-fry with some garlic, and if you want to make it EVEN nicer you can throw some cardamom pods in too.
This morning’s BBC Breakfast News brought to light a charitable project currently active in the US whereby drug addicts are being offered cash incentives of as much as US$ 300,00 to undergo long term contraception or sterilisation.
I can barely think of anything more controversial. The word ‘eugenics’ has cropped up several times during this debate. On one hand, the defenders of the project present horror stories of children badly neglected, abused or abandoned by their addicted parents; on the other, the opposition argues that addiction does not necessarily equate to bad parenting and that with support many addicts can raise families successfully.
I can see both sides of the dispute. While an eugenics programme is a mistake (‘Lest we forget’), many people are incapable of meeting their children’s basic needs; and other people, damaged though they may be themselves, remain remarkably caring parents. There will always be a dichotomy in this respect. The one point of view I noticed was absent from the BBC Breakfast News’ coverage is the element of choice.
To force somebody to undergo sterilising treatment against their will is nothing short of committing grievous bodily harm. But I find it courageous and humane to offer vulnerable people birth control when they might find themselves in situations where they are too high to think about contraception. It is necessary to look at the matter head on, without hypocrisy. Even sober people mess up on birth control. I feel certain that the majority of addicts who have participated in the programme so far did not actually want to have children depending on them whilst they are incapable of bringing them up adequately. Let’s also not forget that the US does not boast of a National Health Service, and undergoing some of the procedures outlined would be costly to people who would rather spend their money elsewhere. The cash offered is an incentive to those who would not get round to it otherwise. Another point in question is that sterilisation is not generally irreversible; there are many long term contraceptives(such as the coil or subcutaneous implants) that last for years yet are easily removable. Even vasectomies and tubal ligations can be reverted. In short, if any of the subjects decided that they were ready to start a family it would not be out of their reach.
I look upon this matter not only through the prism of drug addiction. In Brazil I grew up with the hypocrisy of the Catholic State. The poorest families conceive again and again, to their despair, because sterilisation and long term contraception is out of their reach. To make children is very easy, and there are too many people who feel it is out of their control to stop. I feel projects such as this give people a choice, as well as prevent more children from being born to people who do not and cannot want them.
Published December 21, 2009
Poetry , Uncategorized
mente insana sincronia
letra redonda cicla
amarga acida cica
tia vizinha mae namorada
corre com a mao no chinelo,
prepara a palmada.
Mas e doce o seu perfume
doce como a laranja e a hortela
e a jabuticaba.
nessa sinuca tem assombracao.
O jacare vai fugir se voce pisar no feijao.
Refuja-se nesse quarto
ar condicionado, natureza,
corrente na senzala, colchao no chao.
Rosbife assado com linguica,
Linda linda mulher
mae sem barriga
Fada, Tiete, Sereia
Cachoeira, Quaresmeira, Ipe
O que sera ja e.
In Memoriam Maria Carmem de Alencar Araripe, 2009.
Published October 26, 2009
Poetry , Uncategorized
I read a translation of the above at my father’s funeral the other day. It’s a poem that came to my attention completely randomly, and I thought it said some very meaningful things about life and death. It was found in Gaucin, Spain, and as far as I am aware it is completely anonymous.
I’ve translated it as best as I could.
“Death is nothing. It is merely as if one went to sleep in the adjacent room.
I go on being me, and you go on being you, and we go on being the same to one another.
Follow me calling as you once did, and follow me speaking as you did before.
Go on smiling as if I were still here. Think of me, pray for me and ensure my name is always spoken in a natural manner, without shadows surrounding it.
Death is a natural process and I still go on in your heart, even when you do not see me, I will always be by your side.
Life goes on and all is well.”
Published October 26, 2009
Removes all eloquence.
Has no known cure.
Has no known use.
Just hurts, helplessly, pathetically.
Returns like a punch when you least expect it to.
When lulled into a false sense of security, the memory of the awful truth seeps through like sharp poison.
Like rotten, rabid sharp teeth.
Isolates you in your own despair.
The emptiness hurts like hunger but you still can’t swallow.
Dead and reduced to nothing but ash.
It cannot be because it is implausible, unthinkable, unbelievable.
You were sitting just opposite me at the dinner table.
And now I will never see you again.
It can’t be true but it is.
Published June 5, 2009
Don’t you just love television?
Such a broad medium. Can capitalise on anything! Death, in particular, for the subject of this conversation, is quite striking.
Suddenly, Kill Bill 1 & 2 is gracing my screen.
I *feign outrage*.
Truth is, I rather like it.
All these years of action heroism being the domain of Arnie; Beefy; What’s-His-Face-O’Farrell; Ludicrously-Named-Vin Diesel. I bet all these men have hands as soft as 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, but it just seems right that they get these really ridiculously OTT action roles, where they massacre millions, and we never even stop to consider how outlandish it is because they are strong, hard men.
So, despite the obvious cash cow mooing in the fields of my televisual incarceration tonight, I rather enjoy seeing those same outlandish roles applied to women. Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, I SALUTE YOU. You are HARD AS!
The suspension of disbelief necessary to make female roles such as this believable requires a bit of art; but we are so used to Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis playing characters way outside the scope of their reality that we don’t even question it as being fantasy! So tonight, mysterious death in Bangkok or not, I’m indulging in a hardcore motherfucker woman fantasy of my own.
Published April 22, 2009
Roughly 36 hours left until I make my way to Rio. I’ve been in such disbelief that I haven’t even given my itinerary much thought, other than making sure I visit the Vila Mimosa(which is a slightly scary prospect). In fact, all I’ve been doing is wasting my energy thinking pointless, annoying drivel about the girth of my hips and how there is nowhere to hide when you’re wearing two minuscule swatches of lycra. Why oh why do we do it to ourselves?!
Anyway, I came across an old video from 1953 of the previous incarnation of the Vila Mimosa, before it was moved to its current location. I would recommend watching it to anyone interested in the subject, and even those who might admire this vintage recording’s eery, unsettling quality on a cinematographic level. The current Vila is still eery and unsettling, yet in a way the cinematographer did not capture in this video. You can watch it here.