Run for the border.

Go get a taco.

Alright, The Don has kept you on the line long enough. Time for Part Two of Daniel Corry's post (Read Part One!). And, appropriately, for Brazil-Mexico. Nossa!

If you thought to yourself, “Why does he need taco shells mailed to him if he is in Brazil?” The answer to that question is: go to Taco Bell and ask Aaron or Jose to stick the sour cream gun in your least favorite orifice until you achieve enlightenment. No one eats tacos in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and probably a lot of other countries in the south of South America. Mexico is far away and is thought of as a totally foreign place to people way down here. In fact, the only way to find taco shells down here is to go the richest supermarket chain and buy OLD EL PASO taco shells for like R$16. Or you can go to a Mexican restaurant, mimicking the experience of a Chinese immigrant paying R$12 for a box of chop suey at the restaurant down my street -- expensive and bad to those who know better.

So when Mexico plays Brazil this Copa, don’t think of them as brother countries any more than you would when the US plays, say, Denmark. In fact, when I asked Silvio if he is going to watch the Copa he said ‘no’ for two reasons. 1: the team sucks right now (0-0 with Turkey; Kaka and Ronaldinho on vacation) and two (after I told him the groupings): “Brazil doesn’t have luck against Mexico. You know this? Brazil doesn’t have luck in South America tournament. Brazil have luck in world tournament.”

The same sentiment was mentioned in terms of the recently expired Copa Libertadores (Argentine Boca whooped Brazilian Gremio in the finals). In fact, the name of that last-mentioned cup, which harkens back to Simon Bolivar & Co., liberators of South America from Spain, doesn’t have anything to do with Brazilian history. So in both these cups Brazil never quite feels at home among the people they themselves call ‘latinos,’ and so don’t expect them to vanquish in that group of death.

I mean, jeez, when the pope draws a line, it means something.

Concrete Peruvian

So go and sue me then.

Peru-Venezuela should be interesting, and not merely because of the insight that Emily Parker's great WSJ interview with Peruvian author, and former presidential candidate, Mario Varga Llosa provides.

Mr. Vargas Llosa's bold ideas and expressive language may make him one of Latin America's finest writers--"Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter," "The Time of the Hero" and "Conversation in the Cathedral" are just a few of his classic works--but those same traits didn't necessarily serve him well at the polls.

Parker explains:

During the 1990 presidential campaign Mr. Varga Llosa emphasized the need for a market economy, privatization, free trade, and above all, the dissemination of private property. He didn't exactly receive a welcome reception. "It was a very different era, because to speak of private property, private enterprise, the market--it was sacrilegious," he says. "I was fairly vulnerable in that campaign," he continues, "because I didn't lie. I said exactly what we were going to do. It was a question of principle and also . . . I thought it would be impossible to do liberal, radical reforms without having the mandate to do them."

And befitting MVL's characterization of himself, he is more than forthcoming about Latin America and one of the hemisphere's most polarizing figures:

He is relatively upbeat about Latin America today: "I'm not as pessimistic as others who believe that Latin America has returned to the time of populism, leftism." The region has its problems, to be sure, one major one coming from Caracas in the form of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But according to Mr. Vargas Llosa, perhaps what is most remarkable is what Mr. Chávez has not been able to do. "We have a big problem with Chávez," Mr. Vargas Llosa admits. "He's a demagogue and a 19th century socialist. He is a destabilizing force for democracy in Latin America, but what he thought would be so easy hasn't been so easy. There has been a lot of resistance."

One of Mr. Chávez's major errors was his refusal last month to renew the license of popular Radio Caracas Television, or RCTV. "International hostility was enormous," Mr. Vargas Llosa notes. "For me, most important was that the protests in Venezuela were very strong, in particular the sectors that were once very sympathetic to him, for example the students in the Central University of Venezuela, not only the students in the private universities."

It is such infringements of free speech that highlight why in places like Latin America, reading a good novel can be much more than just a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. "I think in countries where basic problems are still unresolved, where a society remains so traumatized by deep conflicts--as in Latin America or in Third World countries in general--the novel is not only a form of entertainment, but it substitutes for something that these societies are not accustomed to seeing--information, for example," Mr. Vargas Llosa says. "If you live in a country where there is nothing comparable to free information, often literature becomes the only way to be more or less informed about what's going on."

UPDATE: For those that want to focus their anti-imperialist fury inward, check out this NYTimes piece from Sunday's Magazine, where the stones @ Machu Picchu play a significant role.

By any means I'm a eat.


Don Rodriguez is always happy to welcome the words of his irmão de outro, Daniel Corry, who is currently at work on a novel about Brazil, the moon, and the evolution of man, necessarily in that order. I once dreamt it was titled "True Love Waits".It is not, as far as I know. This is Part One of a continuing series. Stay tuned for more, and for more guest contributors. Oh, and Brazil plays Mexico tonight; should be a cracker.

You may be surprised to hear that Murphy’s Law exists in the social universe of Brazil, but you simply need to say Lei de Murf to draw a wry smile out of anyone. But Murf here has a scarier, fully Brazilian counterpart -- Lei de Gérson. I found a wiki on Gerson’s Law in Portuguese, then its brutally translated English version. (I use brute as an adverb in honor of Brutalism, and in honor of the New York Times Book Reviews mailed to me in air envelopes (also often containing soft taco shells) by my mother in which, perhaps due to the semi-recent translation issue, all works reviewed that have been translated into English need to have the following clause- The book, ________ly translated by__________).

My friend Silvio, know by the Don, told me about the Law when he was explaining how the construction company which built his house had screwed everybody in the housing unit by installing water pipes with much less than the necessary diameter, causing water shortages and necessitating the smashing of all the sidewalks and reinstallation of said pipes. Besides that, I can’t say nothing that wiki can’t, so I’ll let it do its work. You just watch out for it.

Gérson's Law | Gérson

It feel hot at night and shit.

It's the wind.

WATCH: Peru's Second Goal (2-0, Mariño)
WATCH: Peru's Third Goal (3-0, Guerrero)

So Uruguay's slick forward men tried to get their swerve on tonight against the Peruvians. Surprisingly, and rather ironically, those who rep Machu Picchu 'til they die -- well, quite simply their G was just too futuristic for the boys in light blue.
Three goals and some listless defending on the Uruguayans part is what you were left with if you donated your time to this opener. Good sign for he rest of the games though.

In the night's featured matchup, the Sulfur King of Caracas, Hugo Chavez, faced off against Evo "So High I Can Eat A Star" Morales, or rather, the national teams of their respective nations did. The game finished 2-2, which may or may not help in the host nation's push to progess to the second round for the first time ever. We shall see...

Also, it's finally dead-ass summer in NYC. The Don's exact words.

Much, much more to come...