The Diary Of John
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy? - Gandhi
Saturday, September 25, 2004

Prince Harry..

You know it must be nice to be royalty in the UK. If you fail to get into a uni you can just get daddy to get you into somewhere else for rich people, like good old Harry doing an officers training course at Sandhurst military academy. I wonder how much of this came from the old boys network? Still i guess we would all do the same if we were him and needed to get to the money quick lol. Nice though to see his documentary on AIDS in Africa is going to be shown and hopefully will raise the plight of the people there even more. Maybe they will expose the total failure of the churches there, especially the Catholic church is helping to try to keep AIDS from spreading. Luckily for us Brits, the UK hasnt been a religious country for over 100yrs otherwise they would all be standing by twiddling their thumbs as we got wiped out too :-( Sad but true, i`m afraid.

Yesterday was spent mounting a new antenna on the roof, man it was fucking hot. I couldnt only stay out there for a little time and even now i am still a little pink from getting cooked just a bit. Now i have around 6-8 channels to watch, not that i watch lots of tv but just for odd times when theres nothing to do and Roberta isnt with me. Still they have some stuff in English on tv, Sienfeld and Will & Grace, i like to watch them with my students if one of them remembers to video it. Its good practice for them, listening and i try to hide the legends sometimes so they cant always just read in portugues. Maybe later on i`ll get a big dish, they told me i can get lots of free channels but really i want the dish so i can shove it around to another sat instead. I`ll have to check this out and see what we can pick up from here. It`ll depend how good a view my dish gets of the sky but with two meters i hopefully should be able to get something.

Wow. my students are already here, i`m impressed hahaha! I`d better go i guess and get ready to give class..
posted at 11:25 AM by john |  

Friday, September 24, 2004


Have you noticed recently how we have had a spate of films with past terrible acting? Take a look at the Olsen twins last offering, man my students do better in their drama classes hahaha. Now i see that they have got Giselle Bundchen (An air head skinny model from Brasil) starring in a film called 'Taxi' about a group of super models robbing banks. You can imagine what its going to be like right? Lots of shots of people who look like they need to have a good meal with bimbo acting and stuff. Of course it will do well here in Brasil just because shes in it, personally i think shes a waste of space, not that it matters here, they would just see the film to see her. Thank god we have actors Like johnny Depp or Christian Bale who set the standards at the moment. I watched Depp's Secret Window yesterday, its excellent and well worth watching. Depp was a way of making all the characters he plays interesting, even if they are a little crazy like Crane in The legend of sleepy hollow lol. As for me, i wont be seeing Bundchen or Taxi, why pay R$15 to fall asleep when i can do it at home for free hehehe..

posted at 7:41 AM by john |  

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sad Catholics..

BBC drops pogoing Pope series

BBC television said on Thursday it had scrapped plans to broadcast an animated series that depicts the Pope on a pogo stick in a fictional Vatican after complaints from outraged Catholics.

"Despite all of the creative energy that has gone into this project and the best efforts of everyone involved, the comic impact of the delivered series does not outweigh the potential offence it will cause," BBC 3 Controller Stuart Murphy said.

A controversy over the show erupted earlier this year after excerpts of the programme, "Popetown," appeared on the Internet, prompting Catholic groups complained to the BBC, the UK's publicly funded broadcaster, and parishes circulated petitions against the programme.

The BBC said it was exploring ways to recoup some of the 2 million pounds the 10-part series cost.

The series, which features the voices of American comedienne Ruby Wax and model Jerry Hall, pokes fun at office politics using the Vatican as the firm, the Pope as the boss and the tribulations of a central character called Father Nicholas.

In one scene, the pontiff bounces around on a pogo stick.

"I knew when we developed the series that there was risk involved but unfortunately, once we saw the finished series, it became clear that the programme fell on the wrong side of that line," Murphy said.

Alan Marke, managing director of Channel X -- the independent production company commissioned to make the programme -- said in a statement he was disappointed, but sympathised with the decision the BBC faced.

They must be joking, we have cartoons about almost anything and they complain about this? Funny how they have plenty to say about a cartoon but they all keep their mouths tightly closed when they get asked about all the tens of thousands of people including children who have died from their policies regarding AIDS in places like South Africa. A firm is just about right for the Roman Catholic religion, its a business, here in Brasil a huge business that lives from taking money from dirt poor peasants in exchange for telling them that their sins are forgiven. I think the Pope must be so sad at the attitudes of the people in his church (business). After all he is on his last legs and the Vatican people are just loving the freedom to do what they want with no strong leader to control them. Shame, Shame on them all, I wonder how some of these people can sleep at night with a clear conscience? After all being responsible for deaths of millions from HIV & AIDS and they choose to complain about a poxy cartoon. Still Dogma showed how it really is for these guys, remember Buddy Christ anyone? business is good in the Vatican, you're death and misery means everything to us, well so long as your giving us money first that is!

posted at 5:02 PM by john |  

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Beckhams to sue News of the World

England football captain David Beckham and his pop star wife Victoria are to sue the News of the World over a story claiming their marriage was in trouble, their lawyers said.

The lawyers said the article "Posh and Becks on Rocks" was untrue and "caused considerable distress to both the couple and the family."

In a statement, the lawyers said the newspaper had not taken up an opportunity to apologize for the story.

The News of the World has not commented on the announcement.

"David and Victoria Beckham today initiated legal proceedings against the News of the World in relation to an article published on Sunday 12 September 2004.

"The News of the World was given the opportunity to provide an apology but have chosen not to respond to the couple's request," said their lawyers in a statement.

Beckham revealed in August that Victoria was pregnant with their third child and also that she and their two sons Brooklyn and Romeo had finally made the move from England to live with him in the Spanish capital.

Beckham moved from Manchester United to Madrid in July 2003 while his family remained in England which allegedly caused friction between the two of them.

The marriage hit a rocky patch earlier this year after reports the football star had an affair with his former personal assistant, Rebecca Loos, who went on to sell her story to the media.

Man these people make me wanna puke, they are nothing but money-grabbers who will use everything they can in order to try to get even more cash. They even exploit their own children by charging people to take pics etc, i wonder if they have copyrights tattooed on their arses. It wouldnt be so bad if they were actually good looking or something. She looks like she needs a good meal and him, well what can we say thats good about him? Not alot actually. I hope that this newspaper countersues them and The Beckhams lose everything. Mind you i'm not surprised about Beckham moving to Spain, if i was married to a monster like her i would run away too!!

posted at 5:12 PM by john |  


While waiting for the bus at the Brasilia bus station the other day i was accosted by loads of small children selling stickers for R$1 each. It was actually really sad as i never carry alot of money with me because foreigners are targets here to be robbed (people think we are all secret millionaries or something) and could only give to a couple of them :-( You have to get used to ignoring them though, in the UK its common for people there to put money in every collection box we see no matter what its for but here in Brasil the amount of people begging on the streets is huge and i cant put money in everyones hands. It always makes me feel sad especially when its kids but theres not alot i can do about it. Most of them are there just to get money to eat something because their parents only earn a few reais a week or the parents spend their money on drugs or drink etc. It makes me mad that come election time all of the fucking politicians promise everything to these poor people to get their votes and then do nothing once they are in the job with their big fat salaries saying that the president didnt give them enough money or some other bullshit story or they just take the money and use it for something else, remember the bridge for the few rich people to use so they didnt spend so much money on gas? These kids are born to fail, no help and a life of crime or prostitution with the prospect of dying at a very young age or of an illness with a little name. Its a pity that people here dont remember that these children are going to grow up into the angry young teenagers we see robbing and killing everyone because there is no other way for them to go. Brasil calls them Invisible, people no one see because they are so used to ignoring them. I came across this story, check it out and you'll see what i mean..

Brazilian Street Children Born to Die

Sandro do Nascimento, 21, black, broke and high on dope, never stood a chance, even before he stepped off the bus he had hijacked in Rio de Janeiro to negotiate with police. Despite a daily diet of violence, even Brazilian (news - web sites) television viewers were shocked on June 12, 2000, when they saw Nascimento's pregnant hostage, 20-year-old art teacher Geisa Goncalves, shot to death in a bungled rescue attempt by police. Sandro then suffocated in the back of a police car as he was rushed to a hospital after the hostage drama that riveted the country for hours on live television.

Two-and-a-half years later, the blood-chilling drama re-emerged in a courtroom case and in cinema halls in Brazil's main cities. On Wednesday, three military policemen accused of killing the hostage-taker were acquitted by a public jury in a Rio de Janeiro court after a trial lasting less than a day. Defense lawyers showed extracts from a documentary film of the bus hijacking to prove that Sandro was drugged, violent and provoked his own death by struggling violently and forcing the policemen to restrain him.

"As he wouldn't give up, it was he who suffocated himself," said lawyer Clovis Sahione, adding, "Society must choose between bandits and heroes." But for film director Jose Padilha, 35, whose documentary "Onibus 174" is being screened in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil's two largest and most violent cities, the tragedy highlights government and police failures.

In a world map of violence, Brazil has the second highest murder rate after war-torn Colombia with 27 deaths per 100,000 people -- with more than 50 per 100,000 in Rio and Sao Paulo. Nearly two million Brazilians died violently between 1980-2001, according to the government statistics institute IBGE. That is 8-1/2 times the number of Americans and Vietnamese killed during the Vietnam war. Poverty breeds violence from an early age as poor children flee urban slums and struggle to survive on the streets of Rio and other big city centers.

"The state doesn't know how to handle street children and that makes them violent," said Padilha. The film lasting just over two hours was cut from 27 hours of TV footage -- longer than the trial itself -- and tries to show that Sandro was human and explain what made him violent. "It shows the facts ... it doesn't say who is right or wrong ... it left me feeling partly responsible," said Cristina dos Santos, a 30-year-old musician who saw the film in Rio. The grim reality is difficult to digest.

"Kids are thrown into jails where they rub shoulders with killers and drugs dealers. They are treated violently and become violent and the state can't handle them," said Padilha, whose film was voted by the public as best documentary in the recent Rio International Film Festival. Sandro took to the streets at the age of 6, shortly after his mother was knifed to death in the bar she ran. His father had been murdered earlier. Sandro drifted into drugs and prison, his short life remorselessly spiraling toward its dramatic climax. Police say Goncalves died from Sandro's bullets, but the film leaves it open as to who fired the deadly shot. An elite police trooper missed when he tried to gun down Sandro at point-blank range and many argue he could have shot the hostage.

Social worker Yvonne Bezerra de Mello, who knew Sandro well, is sure he was not dangerous. "Sandro was never going to kill anyone," said De Mello, who has been looking after street kids for two decades. "But he had robbed someone and had to be punished for that." After robbing someone that day, Sandro jumped on the bus to try to escape but it was stopped and encircled by police and the media in the smart Botanical Gardens neighborhood of south Rio.

De Mello befriended Sandro after Rio's 1993 infamous Candelaria massacre. Sandro was one of the survivors when plain clothes policemen opened fire on 72 children outside one of Rio's landmark churches, killing eight of them as part of a drive to "clean up" the city. "Every day there are violent robberies. No one would have noticed if it had happened in a poor area," De Mello said. Padilha said that the siege became a media circus. "A bus is a big box surrounded by glass ... like a goldfish bowl," he said, adding that TV cameramen swarmed all round it. Exasperated, Sandro shouted through the bus window, "This isn't a movie, it's for real." Sandro, who had been an "invisible" -- one of hordes of street children who hustle for money and whom motorists pretend not to see as they wait at traffic lights in Brazil -- was finally in the media spotlight.

During the siege Sandro stuck a gun in a woman's mouth and forced another to write in lipstick "He has a pact with the devil," on a bus window and then pretended to shoot her. The terrified woman, Janaina Lopes Neves, a 26-year-old administrator, said she thought she was going to die. "Sandro was very agitated and out of control. but I forgive him now as he had had a miserable life," she told Reuters.

Academics were dismayed by the court's decision. "It's another demonstration of police impunity," said Julita Lengruber, Director of the Center for Security Studies at Rio de Janeiro's Candido Mendes University. But film director Padilha pointed out that the public tried to lynch Sandro at the end of the bus hijacking. "Either way he didn't stand a chance."

I wonder how many of those kids in the bus station will turn out like this? In some cities like Rio or Sao Paulo, there are stories about the police being ordered to basically kill the street kids to try to cut down on all of the crime but to be honest all this will do is feed the fires already burning inside each and every one of these homeless children, their anger growing and growing until finally something snaps and they explode in a fit of violence and death. Its sad and can only get worse until Brasilians decide that they have to do something positive about it, not with a gun or prison but actually using the power they have, the power to vote and get some people in power who wanna do something about this tragedy, who wanna help these kids have a real chance at a life they now only dream of..
posted at 8:17 AM by john |  

Busy weekend..

The weekend was really busy, i had loads of things to do. Only Sunday i did nothing apart from sleep at Robertas farm lol. Saturday at CCAA they were trying to organize some sort of cultural event but i dont know if i will attend it. If it finishes late in the evening i wont bother as going home from there late at night is more or less asking to be robbed or worse. Plus there will be many teachers there so they wont miss me if i dont go, We talked about doing the same thing in the other CCAA's but here will be difficult as the students dont usually take part in these kinds of things. Thhe last party i remember at this school only around 11 students came out of around 140 or so. I'd like to see though just for fun so if Roberta wants to go we might go if they change the time to an earlier one.

I borrowed a couple of really interesting books from Luciana, one of the teachers here and got them photocopied to use with my groups. One of them is just about discussions etc but the other one lists many games and activities to do in class, a lot of them are just short things that last five minutes or so, warmers and coolers etc. Each book costs more or less R$80 but i copied both for R$15 hahaha! Anytime there is a book here that has any language other than portugues inside it, the cost of the book doubles or triples etc. There is always the usual excuse about having to pay lots of taxes to import them etc but i was told they only pay just a little and they exagerate the rest. After all when the book costs $3.99 in the UK and R$50 here you can see the sort of profits these stores are making right? Total ripoff, its no wonder everyone here gets books copied at photocopy stores.

I got some good ideas for activities from them, i saw some really nice ideas for getting the students to write poems and stuff. I'll try them out over the next few weeks and see how the guys like them. It'll be interesting to see what sort of poems they come up with :-)

Oh they made coffee, time to get some bread and stuff here as im a little hungry now i can smell it lol


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