Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Offensive Lyin’

February 16, 2015

As noted previously, during the Year of the Goat the Grand Duke (Tai Sui) will be presiding over earthly affairs from his cosmic throne in the South-Southwest. He likes things quiet and peaceful (and who doesn’t, after all?), so mere mortals are well advised to avoid disturbing the serene harmony so prized by Tai Sui.

But even after several millennia of object lessons, stupid humans never learn. Here’s a quick look at who’s offending the Grand Duke these days, and why:

Saudi Arabia — Sectarian conflict in Yemen is merely the latest manifestation of blowback from the Cheney-Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Sunnis and Shiites have been skirmishing for centuries in Yemen, in the mountains and on the plains, but this time it’s part of the larger proxy war between Persians and the Sauds. Yemen’s location at the south-southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula means that this noisy, un-civil war is gonna offend Tai Sui in the Year of the Goat. That’s not good news for King Salman.

Sana_Yemen

 

Russia — Don’t worry about General Winter: Comrade Bear has just a few more days to wrap up his attempted conquest of Debaltseve before all that noise and clamor in the south-southwest of Eurasia disturbs the limited patience of Tai Sui.  It’s probably too late, because the Grand Duke has undoubtedly been getting an earful from his predecessor about the terrible decline of courtesy in the neighborhood. Economic sanctions will be the least of Comrade Bear’s problems if things don’t calm down in a hurry.

Kondratyevka

 

Brazil — The party’s almost over, and I’m not talking about carnival in Rio. Through no real fault of its own, Brazil is going to suffer from the uproar to its south-southwest: Cristina Kirchner‘s intriguing media circus will catch the ear of Tai Sui and the consequences won’t be pleasant for Mercosur neighbors. Paraguay may escape unscathed (for once), but Uruguay and Brazil appear to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carnival_Masks_2015

 

Mexico — First Michoacan, then Guerrero.  President Peña-Nieto may need to follow the example of Comrade Eleven in cleaning the Augean stables of Mexican government.

Guerrero_022015

 

United States? — So far things are looking pretty good in the south-southwest: Mexican wolves are making a comeback, the clang and clamor of Eagle Ford shale oil drilling rigs is decreasing in the Permian Basin, and a measles outbreak in New Mexico, Arizona and southern California may quiet some of the noisier residents of the region.  But …

Plains All American LP will build two new crude oil pipelines in far West Texas and New Mexico to move Permian Basin production to markets. The company will extend its Avalon pipeline in Loving County 32 miles into Culberson County with a 12-inch line.  Plains All American also will build a 60-mile, 16-inch State Line pipeline to connect Culberson County output to Wink, Texas, along the Texas-New Mexico state line.

Avalon pipeline? Uh oh!  Since “moving earth” and major construction projects in the Grand Duke’s south-southwest realm are surefire ways to irritate the year’s cosmic ruler, this will definitely not turn out well. It’s clear that the U.S. petroleum industry will have to learn its feng shui protocol the hard way.  Which reinsurance provider is currently holding liability policies on Plains All American LP?  Time to double-check your risk management posture!

Eagle_Ford

 

Israel — Gaza.  Really, need I say more?  Benny Netanyahu will be getting a frigid reception in Washington from everyone except the Republicans on Sheldon Adelson‘s payroll.  In his shame and frustration, he probably won’t be able to resist (once again) turning Gaza rubble into even smaller rubble.  The man suffers from a Masada Complex compounded by chronic funnel vision.  Tai Sui is already annoyed.  It definitely won’t be good for the Jews.

Gaza_beach_2015

 

There are probably many other examples around the world where upheaval in the south-southwest during 2015 could lead to retribution from the Grand Duke.  F’rinstance, what does Switzerland mean for Germany this year?  Those listed above are just a few top-of-mind candidates that any feng shui soothsayer would love to point out.  It will be interesting to see what else develops during the Year of the Goat.  Probably a good idea to stay away from SouthbySouthwest this year.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

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Sweet Sixteen

June 29, 2014

Time for a quick World Cup Round-of-Sixteen scorecard.   Lunghu made some bold(ish) predictions about the round-robin group matches before the World Cup began:  let’s see how they turned out.

  • “Group H is by no means a lock for Team Russia.  We should not underestimate the abilites of the (hot weather) Korean and Algerian teams –Lunghu thinks there’s a big surprise coming out of Group H.”

Russia’s out, Algeria’s in.  Lunghu may have overestimated the abilities of the Korean team for sentimental reasons, but it’s clear that the Algerians are big, tough, and willing to fight.  Little wonder that their grandfathers sent the French colons packing in the early 1960’s.

  • “Neither Goldman analysts nor PaddyPower bettors give enough credit or respect to the Dark Continent teams. [B]oth Ghana in Group G and Nigeria in Group F may have enough to take second in their [respective] groups.”

Ghana’s out (go USA!), Nigeria’s in.  Ivory Coast should have done better, but somehow Greece slid through.

  •  “Lunghu thinks that it’s important consider the impact of outright bribery on the outcome of World Cup games.”

You’ve seen Yuichi Nishimura in Game One. There’s probably more to come.  Stay tuned.

 

Looking forward

Who does Lunghu favor in the quarters, semis and perhaps beyond?   Let’s just say that he’s looking at a tricolor flag of gold, blue and red.  The referees may be a mountainous obstacle against Brazil, but Señor Ha-mess has shown the world what amazing performance looks like.

James_Rodriguez

Rio de Oro

June 12, 2014

Well, it’s just about official:  Brazil will win the World Cup.  Lunghu watched FIFA’s referee award Brazil a go-ahead second-half penalty kick that Le Monde graciously characterized as “very generous.”  Lunghu thinks the phrase “highly dubious” is a much better description of the call.

Brazilian striker Fred went down inside the area under minimal contact from defender Dejan Lovren. “If that was a penalty, we should be playing basketball,” said Croatia coach Niko Kovac.  “Those kinds of fouls are penalized there.”

Magic_touch

Sure, it was a foregone conclusion that Brazil would open the tournament with a victory aganst Croatia, and that anything and everything would be done to ensure that outcome, but Lunghu was hoping for a little more finesse from the referee.  He must have lost his nerve — and couldn’t risk waiting until the last ten minutes to call the phantom foul.  Too bad there’s not a (published) betting line on the referees.

Yuichi Nishimura:  does he have long-lost Nipo-Brasileiro relatives in São Paulo?  Because Lunghu has heard that …

The beginning of World War I in 1914 started a boom in Japanese migration to Brazil; between 1917 and 1940 over 164,000 Japanese came to Brazil, 75% of them going to São Paulo, where many became owners of coffee plantations. In the 1970’s Japanese Brazilians achieved great cultural and economic success. Today the largest concentrations of Japanese people in Brazil are found in the states of São Paulo and Paraná.

 

Been Here, Done Hat

March 2, 2014

Somehow, Lunghu gets the feeling that a major focus of discussion in this weekend’s NSC Ukraine crisis cell has been whether or not to openly deploy space-based laser weapons against Russia’s munitions depots and military mobilization network nodes in the Don River basin.   Naturally, the naysayers are voicing concerns that Comrade Bear would go all-out cyber –or even partially nuclear– in response.   In addition, there are undoubtedly some longer-term thinkers in our nation’s military who are loath to disclose this particular capability prematurely: better to save it for an existential threat to the heimat itself.   What does Lungu think?  Time to party like there’s no tomorrow:  it’s carnival season.

bloco-da-lama_2013

Thousands of revelers, their bikinis and shorts invisible beneath thick, head-to-toe layers of black mud and their hair frozen into mud Mohawks, danced, drank and flung mud balls as sound trucks blasted bone-jarring rhythms at the “Bloco da Lama” Carnival street party in the Brazilian town of Paraty. The “Bloco da Lama” was founded in 1986 by two local teens who became Carnival sensations after they appeared in the city’s historic downtown covered in mud following a crab hunting expedition in a nearby mangrove swamp.

Bloco_da_Lama_201x

“You don’t need to buy anything, you don’t need to spend any money, your costume is here for the taking,” said 28-year-old actress Diana Rodrigues, as she pointed to the naturally occurring mudbanks along the Jabaquara beach in Paraty. “The whole point of Carnival is to transform into someone else for a few days to do things you would never do in real life. And being covered in mud transforms you in just that way.”

Paraty_20140301

For those of you planning next year’s excursion, Paraty is located halfway between Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo on the western shore of Bahia da Ilha Grande.  Make mud, not war.   Now the bad news:  it’s not yet mud season in the United States … except in southern California.