Of Land and Hope

September 30th, 2002 § Comments Off on Of Land and Hope § permalink

Reading the news in my aggregator today, I found an article about the Landless Workers Movement, a Brazilian movement that aims to wrest idle land from landowners. As a Brazilian, I regularly follow the news about the MST, as it’s called in Portuguese, given its expressive participation in Brazil’s current political landscape.

The article attracted my attention because it represented a non-Brazilian point of view about the movement. Contrary to most of the propaganda I usually see, the article gave a good account of the issues involved, and if it was too favorable to MST, it also showed a different side of the movement.

Although I disagree with the way the MST works to accomplish its goals (sometimes it seems they think the ends justify the means), I must credit them with being one of the few active bodies working to create a better Brazil and provide dignity for countless Brazilians — a fact that the article stresses. I particularly liked the movement’s awareness about the need to create conscious citizens: people who understand their responsibilities to the society. Of course, there are some people inside the movement that see it as a way to achieve their own goals and will use any means to that. Unfortunately, in recent times, much of the MST activities have shown the hand of such kind of people, but I sincerely hope the movement as a body can live up to the beliefs expressed in the article.

To sum up my impressions, the article made me think and re-evaluate my views about the MST, and while I still have reservations about some of their beliefs and practices, I can now understand better what they say and do.

Gravity’s Rainbow

September 30th, 2002 § Comments Off on Gravity’s Rainbow § permalink

I’m currently reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Written in 1973, it is considered one of the most brilliant post-war books — a reputation which affirms itself in each page I’ve read so far. Pynchon’s use of language is masterful — long and evocative sentences charged with meaning that feels like poetry instead of the prose they are. It’s fascinating the way he weaves the narrative, keeping its pace and presenting a rich imagery that draws the reader into the story’s universe. In the first pages, I kept wondering if his verbal contortions would add up to something, but as I’m progressing through the book I’m starting to see the patterns and meanings under the surface. I’m eager to see where they will lead to.

CSS Lists

September 30th, 2002 § Comments Off on CSS Lists § permalink

A List Apart presents an interesting article on CSS lists. The article demonstrates the use of CSS to spice up lists on a website (like transforming simple lists in navigation controls).

Optical Illusion

September 30th, 2002 § Comments Off on Optical Illusion § permalink

A cool optical illusion. It is one of the most interesting I’ve seen. I only believed it when I compared the RGB values of the pixels in an image editor.

A Samba for Sherlock

September 29th, 2002 § Comments Off on A Samba for Sherlock § permalink

Finished reading A Samba for Sherlock by Jô Soares last Friday. The book presents a humorous account of a “previously” unknown case involving the most famous consulting detective of all times: Sherlock Holmes. In the book, Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. Watson are called by D. Pedro II, the Brazilian Emperor, to find the thief of a priceless Stradivarius owned by his lover. At the same time, a inventive and sanguinary killer terrorizes the population and the city’s Police Department asks Holmes’ help to find him.

Although this is the first Soares novel, he shows his talent in the way he deftly reimagines the 1886 Brazilian society, and, if he abuses humoristic clichés, he also surprises and entertains with his narrative style and well-crafted jokes.

I liked the book, but hardcore Holmes’ fans may be offended by the direction the story takes and the way Jô Soares reconstructs Holmes and Watson. As a big Holmes’ fan I’d rather weigh the story on its own merits and understand what Jô Soares intended with it.

The book was made into a movie, but I didn’t see it yet.

Hello, world!

September 28th, 2002 § Comments Off on Hello, world! § permalink

I finally got the website configured with the helpful assistance of the folks at my ISP. Installing MovableType was an easy step as I had some prior practice in my Linux box. Finally I have my weblog up and running. It’s almost 4AM and I need to get some sleep.

Where am I?

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