Celebrate Your Pride By Taking a Look and Listen to Music from a Couple of New Artists from Down South, Like Way Down South (America)

It’s June.  That’s Pride Month.  Not to mention the U.S. Supreme Court is merely days away from making a momentous decision on same-sex marriage.  Here in Houston LGBT Pride activities are in full swing, culminating with the daytime festival and evening (into night) parade this Saturday, June 27th.  For the first time, these two events will be held in downtown Houston instead of the Montrose area, where the first Houston Gay Pride Parade took place in 1979.  (Find all the details about Houston Pride here.)

To celebrate LGBT pride here on the blog, I decided to introduce a couple of talented artists who have no fear of showing their true selves in their videos.  I found out about these two young Latin American performers thanks to remezcla.com and since my first listen to one video each, their tunes have been stuck in my head.  They are from neighboring South American countries.  Namuel, from Chile, has just put out this catchy single “Babycakes,” and the accompanying video can only be described as “cute and sweet.”  The video here from Jaloo, out of Brazil, also with an LGBT theme, goes with his “Bai Bai.”  This is a cover from a very popular song of a couple of years ago.  I’ll keep you guessing and not spoil it so you’ll listen.  I don’t understand much Portuguese, so I can’t say if the lyrics are the same, but the music in what I’d say is brega-style (I’m just learning about this genre of music, but I might compare it in a way to reggaeton. No matter the style, this tune keeps playing in my head much more than the original, which I really like.

Check out more great work from Namuel and Jaloo on YouTube and SoundCloud, where you’ll find a lot more by these terrific artists.

Happy Pride, y’all!

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Nathan Adrian Beats Out Cesar Cielo for Gold in the Pan Pacific Swim Championships


Two one hundredths of a second isn’t a lot of time, but it was enough for Nathan Adrian of the U.S. to beat out Brazil’s fast guy, Cesar Cielo, in the 50M Freestyle at the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships that finished up over the weekend in Irvine, California.

Adrian also won the gold in the 100M Freestyle which you can watch on the Vidbox on the right sidebar.

Soccer–Football–Or Whatever–It Needs More Points and More Commercial Breaks (Stand In Line To Complain, Chumps)

The Brits kicked this game around the world when they had the “empire where the sun never sets”, but I’ve tried my best and still can’t see much in soccer, the sport others demand we call “football” and get pissed off when we won’t.

And now it’s World Cup time again, and millions of people in countries with GNPs that can ill afford more non-productive work days (How many have they already taken off for the innumerable saints’ days?) are spending days on end not going to work or attending school so that they can watch 22 guys chase a white ball back and forth across the field for 90 minutes in hopes of  catching someone–anyone–getting it into the goal.

Those that love it–not native-born here I assure you–have told me, “Oh, you don’t understand the techniques, the finesse.”  But I’ve tried.  And soccer goes into the same category with a marathon race and golf, that just are plain deadly to watch.  Except, at least, with a marathon and golf, you know in the end there’s going to be a winner.  But in soccer–yes, soccer, damn it–the game could end in a tie, or draw, as they like to call it.  I mean isn’t that what sports are all about?  Having a winner.  And a loser.  Or losers.  After all, if there’s no winner or loser, it isn’t really a sport; it’s just exercising.

But with this game, these guys can do their ball-chasing for the required 90 minutes and–time extra, and there could still be a tie.

Look what happened this past Saturday in the much touted game between the USA and England (Why is the country Great Britain, but Scotland, and maybe Wales, or even Northern Ireland, for all I know, could have a team in the World Cup?) .  The game ended in a 1-1 tie, but the Englanders went away with their tails between their legs boo-hooing because they hadn’t won and the Red, White, and Blue took to field proudly crowing,”Well, at least, we didn’t lose.”  To top it off, the English goalkeeper caught all kinds of hell for losing the game, while the American goalkeeper was lauded as the best player on the field.  But the game ended in a tie.  Go figure.

During that same 90 minutes, I went to run errands–shopped for groceries, picked up my laundry, and mailed off some bills.  Accomplished some things.  When I got back home, though, the score hadn’t changed much. (Come on guys.  Make more points, increase the size of the net or something.)

And the World Cup is just as predictable as the Miss Universe Pageant, which is just as boring and worthless in my books.  With that beauty competition, you know that every other year, Miss Venezuela is going to get the crown, and with the World Cup, it’s going to be either Germany or Brazil, unless Italy can squeeze one out.

Oh, well, maybe all the shirts and other paraphernalia sold will help those other countries’ GNPs, unless, of course, all that stuff is made in China.

Ahmadinejad and Chavez: A Love Feast of Dictators, and Don’t Forget the Hezbollah Appetizers

"Meet me behind the hotel at 11 o'clock, and we'll see what other conniving we can do."

"Meet me behind the hotel at 11 o'clock, and we'll see what other conniving we can do."

Knowing a second language has a lot of benefits, and for far too long, most Americans have stuck their heads in the sand and thought because they know English, they have an advantage and don’t have to learn another language.  However, being fluent in two or more languages opens up so much more of the world.

Personally, I read a number of foreign language sites every day; some are news sites and some focus on some topic or interest that I have.

Usually at night time, I check abc.es, an online news site from Spain.  That way I can see what is happening in the world, usually before sites like cnn.com or msnbc.com pick it up.  Reading the news out of another country also gives a different perspective and often there is news that isn’t even highlighted by the U.S. media.

Such was the case in an article I read last night: Arranca la gira de Lieberman para frenar la expansión de Irán en América Latina, which tells about Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s 10-day visit to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia.  (Read a similar AP article in English.)

What I didn’t realize before reading the article, but have since corroborated through other sources is how much influence Iran and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which Iran backs, have in Latin America.  Apparently, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have become BFFs and anyone who has been paying attention knows that both of these guys have found ways to manipulate the systems of their countries in order to stay in power. Hezbollah, for its part, because of connections with Lebanese immigrants to countries like Venezuela, seems to have gotten involved in that old Latin American standby–kidnapping; and not unlike other rebel/narco-terrorist groups (i. e. FARC in Colombia), uses the ransom money extorted from victims’ families as a way of supporting itself.  (Check out this in-depth article for more details.)

Chavez and Ahmadinejad negotiated a number of deals, and it’s not difficult for those who keep up with current events to see what is going on.  Chavez already has his emulators in office in several of the Latin American countries, the latest being Zelaya from Honduras.  And although there are those who are decrying the coup that pushed him out of the country as being un-democratic, what Zelaya was doing was trying to circumvent his own country’s constitution in order to allow himself to stay in office longer, nothing different than what Chavez did a few years back.  These guys don’t really want democracy built upon a long-standing constitution; they want to create their own “democracy”, which in effect validates their dictatorship. 

As for Ahmadinejad, anyone who is not aware of the corruption in the last election in Iran is walking around with blinders on, but what goes for democracy in Iran is only pretense anyway; there is no democracy when a malevolent theocracy is in place.

As citizens of this world, we need to remain informed, as having as much information as we can is a big part of maintaining our freedom and a way to make decisions about who we support or don’t support as leaders in our own countries.  And with the Internet, we also have the ability to access many sources besides our daily print newspaper.  Of course, we must also be able to judge the veracity of these sources and extricate the biases inherent in them.

Lest you think I have some kind of slant here based on religion or otherwise, let me say, “I don’t”.  From my own personal viewpoint, I see that these guys are bad guys, bad guys who want to have power and control over millions of peoples’ lives.  And, yes, the U.S. government doesn’t like these guys either, but in reality, they are not so different from Pinochet or Marcos, whom the Reagan and Thatcher governments supported only 20-some years ago.

A dictator is a dictator is a dictator and they are like noxious weeds in the gardens of this planet.