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Portugal sucks at PR

The Wine Label LIARS (Maybe)…. Of Bullfighting.

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When I was growing up I loved hearing this story from my mother:

A Portuguese Matador stabs his bully bull bull

Heck, yeah! Savage-free fighting. That's with a capital 'S."

There was once a bullfighter who came over the border from Spain to show off his illustrious matador skills in Lisbon.  This was in the 50’s, but my mom was not present because, well, her family was apparently far too snobby to regularly attend bullfights.  We’re funky like that.  Or they were broke from seeing all the Westerns that she would eventually force me to watch unwillingly 30 years later on Sunday afternoons.  I am not sure.  I leave it up to you for your own Salzar-era Choose-Your-Own-Adventure.

So anyway, though no Savages were present (yes, that’s our family name, deal with its Irishness….) this renown bullfighter mounted his horse, and fought valiantly his worthy opponent, a Luso (meaty meaty) bull.  Mmmmm.  Except.  Um…. The bull was supposed to become the meaty meaty treaty AFTER the fight was over.  Out of the sight of the public.  This is what Portugal considers “Kissing  up to the PETA folks.”

Being Spanish, our guest bullfighter freaking killed the damned bull right there in the ring before God and everybody.  Amor de deus!

So he got arrested.  His defense was (and this is where my mom would begin a sweet girlish giggle that would let you know that the story was coming to a close only to end AWESOMELY!!! So imagine that sound RIGHT NOW!!) ummm… sorry to recap, his defense was that he forgot he was in Portugal and killed the bull out of habit.

But the mo-fo was on a horse.  Matadors do not hoof it in Spain, unless they are using their own matador shoes.  Honest.  You think he would notice that there was a giant animal creaking and crawing and pulsating between his legs.  Most people notice that.

Maybe he was just getting too popular as a matador.  Yes, that means the nasty thing I’m implying.  Go ahead and call my Portuguese Teacher and my mom and report me for lewd insinuations between man and horse.  And hookers and bananas and blow.  I am just that ordinaria.  Like I had my finger in my nose and was cleaning the salon.  You.  Bet.

My mother would then go off on a tangent about how difficult it is (and therefore BETTER and requiring SUPERIOR SKILL) to control both a horse and a bull in the ring, over the thin, anemic, airheaded skill of just being on the dusty stadium floor with a cape.  Yay Portugal.  Boo Spain.  Even though Miss Savage has only ever been to one bullfight (in the 70’s) and ONLY because her cousin gave her the inside scoop that the President was going to be there that night, and so it would be an especially exquisite pagan bloodletting event, she is poised to make such a delicate judgement.  And I have only heard about it, so —so am I!

Our wayward Spaniard sat in jail till the Portuguese officials had the decency not to completely shag his career, freeing him.  Despite his brush with the law, he went back to waving capes, probably cursing Portugal forever on the way out, and swearing he’d never sit in a jail for killing a bull 15 minutes early, ever, ever again.

Well, today, I notice as I round out my bottle of Portuguese wine  this abomination:

Bottle of Portuguese wine with a SPANISH bullfighter!

Um.... Hold the phone! Who did the graphics here?

The other abomination is the dust on my antique mirror.  Screw off, dust haters.  I’ve had a hard week.  There’s more about the mirror here.

Clearly, it’s Portuguese wine.  It was made in Portugal.  Really.  It says so on the back!!!  Nevermind that I never heard of the city.  I haven’t heard of EVERYTHING!

And um… can’t you see that “velho” has an “h?”  Clearly NOT SPANISH!!??!!

Um… so where’s the matador’s um.. .HORSE?  Did my mother make that story up?   Am I going to call her and admit I’m questioning her integrity over a wine bottle label?   Do I admit I didn’t buy it out of luso-loyalty, but because it was one full liter rather than 750 mL, or will that cause her to suggest I attend meetings?

Seriously, here’s a closer look:

a portuguese wine label with a spanish bullfighter!

Ummm..Where's your HORSE???

That could be the dude in Ferdinand the Bull.  The fricking SPANISH bull.  There is no way that bratty flower-smelling bull was Portuguese.  He didn’t miss or long for anything and was happy smelling the flowers.  Puhleeeze.  No saudades?  He might as well be one of those happy California cows from the cheese commercials.

I looked on the web (which is always reliable, right?), and I was quite disappointed to actually see that Portuguese matadors weren’t ALWAYS on a horse.  But the majority were.  And of those who weren’t horsemounted, they were coupled with captions that clearly lumped Portugal and its bullfighting tradition in as an afterthought.  Thanks, folks!  Other than that, there were the kamikaze guys in knickerbockers who jump on the bull’s horns- my favorite part, always!

Why didn’t they put those guys on the bottle?  Come on, man belly-to-bull-forehead contact takes real balls. Those guys are much cooler than any party dance you can do with a cape (unless you’re Nosferatu) and at least if they had graced my wine bottle, I would never have felt the need to complain on a Saturday night about a sport that I have only seen on RTP.  And that kind of balls would sell the hell out of wine in a fair and luso-aware world.  In our world, however, the real one, people see that and say “I bet that wine was made by Ferdinand’s owner!!  Cool!!”

I love my mom’s story anyway.

You should hear my mom’s story about the lawsuit over the chamber pot with the Lady of Fatima emblazoned on the front.  It’s a real high point of Southern European Catholic lore.  You don’t think I’m serious?

Sweden Ate My Portuguese Radio

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So today I’m in my car, as usual.  I swear, I moved up to the Bay Area thinking I was going to spend a lot of time reading on BART (the metro that doesn’t do hardly what a metro needs to do) and instead, I end up listening to NPR in my Toyota.  Exactly.  Like. In.  Southern.  California.  Except there is more street driving and less time on the freeway. I firmly believe street driving is more stressful.

So anyway I’m in my car, and miraculously, I get the Portuguese station from San Jose.  “WOW!!! I never get it this far West/North!!” I think, while squirming with joy in my seat.

So for about five minutes, I drive down the street, happily listening, careful not to mow down some overly aggressive Bay Area bikers.  I mean, I can’t get back at the ones who ran my friend, her dog, and me  off the sidewalk just 45 minutes before, can I?  Can I???  What if I just go for scares and get lucky and find the exact same three bikers, who weren’t wearing helmets and had a VERY GENEROUS  bike lane not two feet away???

While I’m trying to avoid manslaughter charges, I listen to a nearly intelligible story about nurses.  I’m pretty proud of myself.  Usually, when I listen, I pretty much only understand that it’s going to be so-and-so’s funeral, and that he or she had about four million grandchildren, give or take ten or twenty.    No, this time, I could nearly tell you what they were talking about.   My grandmother is beaming from Heaven.

Eh.  Not for long…..  I turn off the street  into 7-11 because I am thirsty and I have somewhere to be in 15 minutes, so I can’t go home and properly guzzle water.

Apparently the signal is blocked by the thick layer dirt on the stucco of the 7-11 itself.  I think some kids last week tried to dig to China in it.  No joke.   As I turn the corner, I hear the Nice Portuguese Public Health Lady fight mercilessly with a really hopelessly crappy nineties tune.

Guess who won by the time I parked?

I, I saw the sign.  And it opened up my eyes.  I saw the sign.  No one (listen to me when I tell you this!!  I mean it) is going to drag you into the light.  Where you belong.  Oh, where do you belong?

When the spell lifted,  Portuguese time was over and Vietnamese time had begun.   Within the two minutes I spent in the store, I lost the ability to ever know what happened to those nurses.

What the….. I blame Sweden!!

Ok, I’m A Donkey.

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I just wrote this scathing dress-down of Tim Pawlenty and his infamous quote from the recent Republican debates in New Hampshire.   I said he was catering to the lowest common denominator, who sees international politics like a tank game.  Or  something like that.  How dare he!

Then, five minutes after posting, I see THIS.  I only care about the first three or so seconds.

What.  The.  Hey.  I threw in a twenty and two weekends to elect this guy; that’s not cool!  But alas, it’s heavily edited.  I doubt Obama really specifically ran out and said “The good news?  We’re not Portugal.”    What was the original statement?

Well, you can fight the notion that Portugal isn’t important.  But you can’t deny it’s in a financial crisis.    I’m not sure, however,  that to the uninformed ear, Portugal sounds any less like the Black Hole of Calcutta.  And that doesn’t help any more than Pawlenty.

I wonder what the Greeks are saying.

Tim Pawlenty Now Can’t Use John Philip Sousa Tunes in His Campaign Without Irony

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There is nothing like a Portuguese-American who is chafing inside upon hearing  Portugal being defamed by snickering hordes laughing at its small stature.  Judge my ancestral homeland by its size, do you?    And every time you poke the bear of the Portuguese community, at least for those who are chafing, it is no joke.   It’s a personal shot heard ’round the world.  Remember THE FINLAND VIDEO?

I found link to this  floating around in my PL Facebook feed.   It’s a response to a remark  by  2012 presidential challenger, Tim Pawlenty, by the head of the National Organization of Portuguese Americans (NOPA), a non-profit that serves the political well-being of the Portuguese community in the United States.

Sorry I missed this in June, but I was hopped up on  painkillers and watching Vingança after having surgery. Anyway, Pawlenty said this little juicy morsel the New Hampshire Republican debates:

“This president is a declinist. He views America as one of equals around the world.

We’re not the same as Portugal; we’re not the same as Argentina”

If you don’t believe me, watch it!  You can do the whole 14 minutes of glory, or just speed to :43 and listen to Tim stammer and then say the above quote.  Woo hoo!

No, you’re right, Tim, Portugal is not the same as America.  But I found this out at eight years old when I went to Portugal, and realized that black and white tiled patterns in the sidewalks were cool.  And that my cousin Suzette’s Gomes de Sá beats Ronald Mc Donald any day of the week.  I realized it the first day I was in Portugal with my grandfather, and we went to the first cafe outside our apartment building, and he bought me a bica and a pastel de nata and told me how he this was part of his ritual every day after work.

You realized this when some aide handed you a paper of talking points to vomit.

Every Portuguese  defensive PR statement falls back on Portugal’s history.   But I’m not going to beg anyone to realize what Portugal or Portuguese-Americans are worth; NOPA’s open letter did that quite nicely.   No, I am talking about common decency and not propagating the prejudice that “foreign” means “less worthy.”   It certainly means “less power” sometimes.  But Pawlenty didn’t bother to qualify that, because frankly, the people to whom he is appealing really do not care and are wont to look at world politics as some sort of sick Super Bowl with tanks.

America is also not the same as a herd of wildebeests because it’s not destined to be eaten by a cheetah, or sticky ghostly ectoplasm residue (bear with me while I’m silly) because it isn’t a dead individual.   But that didn’t need to be pointed out, either, since it’s not anyone’s business to throw wildebeests or ghosts into a psychically harmful statement where the subtext is obviously “These entities are inferior.  Everybody laugh at what they are at the core: less legitimate and less worthy than you.  GO!”

And you know, you KNOW that he and his little test marketing committees tried to find the least offensive countries with an “inferior” reputation.  He’s not throwing around Ireland, who also has the same damn fiscal crisis as Portugal, because he would no longer be able to sit on a float at St. Patrick’s Day parades during his campaign.  But he’s figuring bolo de leites aren’t generally televised in the US, so why the hell not use Portugal?

In the end, the question is this: do you have to use Portugal to make a grossly inflammatory comment?   Whatever party you’re in, whatever you believe about our current President, do you have to use the country where my mother was born and whose culture has informed most of my life choices and really means something to my heart and soul to prove that my President is Sir Wussypants?   Can’t you slam Obama without using anybody’s country?

I’m deadly curious to know to what the Argentinians think.

Inside Poke.

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Poster of HP's Patronus rewritten if JK Rowling was really Portuguese.

Sausage: The non-magical patronus! It has to be better for a dementor attack than mere chocolate. Did the books tell you that? No. Come on, JK, you lived in Portugal. Throw us a bone from your billion dollar Scottish castle!

 SEE UP CLOSE BY CLICKING HERE BUT DON’T FORGET TO COME BACK AND READ THE STUFF BELOW!!! 

And how poorer are you who do not understand.  And I mean this both the luso-ignorant and those who don’t read Harry Potter.  I mean, if you’ve never choked on the stench of the neighbors curing the intestines for sausage, you, my friend, have not lived.  And HP speaks for itself.   I love my Harry Potter, but with a half-billion in box office sales, he can afford someone poking fun at him.

Sorry for the terrible graphic.  It wouldn’t let me steal the BIG graphic off Facebook.   But you can see more with the lovely link under the poster.

It’s from The Portuguese Kids, of course, everybody’s favorite Portuguese East Coast comedy troupe.  Oh, when will they yet again come to Cali?  They were in San Jose two days after I had surgery… so that wasn’t going to happen.  It would have been tragic to see a show and not have been physically able to laugh.  They hail from Fall River, Massachusetts, which apparently is teeming with lusophones who never have to go prodigal like Yours Truly here.  They do incredibly funny imitations of their immigrant parents as they were raising children and working in this odd landscape of America.  “What better way to celebrate the Portuguese Culture than to laugh and remember your childhood?”  they ask in their bio.  And yes, what better way?

When I read that, however, a chill comes over me thinking of my mission of  breaking past the guns, germs, and steel about why nobody outside the community understands who we are… No Bombs.  No Fast food.  No Crime families.

Here’s my downer for the day:  this humor is still an inside joke.   It’s Portuguese comedy for other Portuguese people, mostly people who had immigrant parents.   It’s barely even for the immigrants themselves!!

I’m certainly not saying that these guys are not brilliant and can’t go far with their talent.  “The Back to the Festa” YouTube clip had me in stitches.  I just wish we could somehow tweak this and make it for a wider audience.  It would sell us better than anything else I’ve seen to those in America who, when you say you’re eating Portuguese food, make jokes about consuming cork.   They will no longer HAVE to joke, due to the  brand new, clear picture in their head of creamy, lovely cod and potatoes.

This stuff should be just funny anyway; the immigrant-first generation child conflict is centuries old and is always the same, even with the quirk of each culture who dips its collective toe in the American pond.  Come on, out there.  If this was a bunch of Italians doing the same thing, you would laugh.  You wouldn’t be any more or less clued in.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was accepted by an American audience.   But damn it, those Greeks got the fast food down.  So the bastards had SOME name recognition.

Just enjoy and support the Portuguese Kids.  They’re hilarious.  And they are going to be part of the Guns, Germs and Steel of our eventual recognition and takeover of American pop culture.  Okay, really, just recognition.   Without anyone bombing anywhere or being to blame for the obesity crisis.

This poster also reminds me of something that’s been bugging me for a while.  Everybody write a nasty letter  to J.K. Rowling (or don’t since I know personally I’d end up apologizing in it and telling her how much I loved her books) for her making the only reference to Portugal in the entire eight book series was the evil founder of Slytherin House, pureblood aficionado, and eventual ancestor of Voldemort, Salazar Slytherin.  Really?  It goes over 90% of the readers’ heads but for those who it doesn’t, was I just revving myself up this morn for thinking about political oppression?  For the stories my mom would tell of her having to shove towels under the door jamb if her parents were talking about politics so the PIDE wouldn’t hear?   I’m not saying you can’t use Salazar’s name, I’m just saying geez.  You lived there for years.  You had a child there.  And you couldn’t throw in any other more…. positive references?  Why couldn’t Harry find one of the horcruxes with help from the Cock of Barcelos or something?

I guess we should just take what we can get.  She could hardly name it “Hitler” house. Too obvious.   Just go with Hitler’s fascist colleague, I guess.

I leave you with a treat.   The images aren’t stellar, but the line “we can hear you on the other side of the store!!” should ring a few bells for more Euro types than just Luso-types!

And no SPELL CHECK, I did not mean BARCELONA two paragraphs up!!  Ah, the trouble I’ve seen….

Air Fair.

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“Did you know that you can visit PORTUGAL today without having to pay for the air fare? ” asks the “About” statement of Luso Mercado of San Leandro.

This is not a post about Luso Mercado, though they certainly deserve one. It is a whiny post about how I have to fly 6000 miles to see my family, who somehow aren’t for sale on the shelves at Luso Mercado.  They’re glad, I can only assume. But my wallet is not.

Three years ago, a good friend of mine got married and I went to the wedding in Scotland. I paid the most I’ve ever paid in my life for transatlantic service – $1100 for London-SFO.

This year, the cheapest I’ve found is $100 more.

Never mind going to Portugal.

Ah, Grandpa!

A friend of my mother’s who is a travel agent says she’s seen her middle class customers vaporize, and while her bread and butter is now super-wealthy jokers who think nothing of paying $13,000 a person for a week’s vacation.  This friend is completely disgusted.   So is my mom.  So am I.

My parents were teachers, but I went to Europe three times before I ever hit college.  Admittedly, the first time was as a freebie because my mom, a French teacher,  took the French club to Paris, and she was given a bonus ticket for a family member.  But still.  It wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t a total fantasy either.  My dad went several times as a Boy Scout and a college student, and finally as a Fullbright Scholar.  His parents were not Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags, either.  But they could afford some travel.  In college, I could pocket some of my earnings from filing medical records during the year, clear off a credit card, and mess around like a low-profile champ for a few in London, no trouble.  Even in the mid 2000’s, I went to London for $200, TWICE.

The internet means the world is smaller, but if we can’t afford to fly, it’s less warm-blooded.  More cheap phone calls and fewer hugs, more screen time and less face time.

a platypus.

No one's Luso-experience should be a platypus. Sorta warm blooded, laying eggs, sporting' a bill. Nah. it should be a big fuzzy bunny.

It means something to put the foot on the dock where my ancestors sailed to lands unknown.  To walk the steps my mother walked when she went to high school every day.   Incidentally, that’s what the banner photo behind the “PL” title of this blog is; it’s a cropped picture of the field in front of her high school, commemorating the day  that we walked across those fields.  She taught me how to see how many boyfriends I’d have in my life by throwing grass seeds at my sweater.  I’m still waiting for the last few seeds to pan out, I guess!

It means something to walk the streets of my grandfather’s Lisbon, to drink bicas in the last place he and I had them together.   To touch the black and white sidewalk stones.  To keep your touchstone somewhere near your grandfather’s haunts.  God, I don’t want my touchstone to be In-N-Out Burger.  Or the strip malls of my youth.  It’s home, but 7-11 isn’t where my soul soars.

Maybe I’m too sentimental.  My bones won’t break if I never shop in the Chiado again.  My heart won’t stop if I never again stroll the beaches of Cascais.

But damned if it’s going to be the choice of the oil companies, airlines, and my lack of a 13,000 dollar cruise ticket!

But it’s not so bad.  Someone my mother knows is flying their mother’s body back to Portugal.  THAT affair costs $11,000.  And she isn’t even going to remember it.  Isn’t that why we don’t travel with babies?

I’d bury her in America and take the cruise.  But that’s the limits of my sentimentality.  Bad, bad A!

My Teacher Is In Paris. And I Find It Time to Make A Confession.

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So there was no class for me last week because I had to go to a seminar.  It was required.  That’s all I’m going to say about that on this blog, because, yes, it is a happy blog.

So I wrote the Lovely Deolinda, and she says SHE’S NOT HAVING CLASS THIS WEEK BECAUSE SHE’S IN PARIS.

Paris.

Paris.

PPPPPAAAAARRRRISSS!

Oh England, you are an evil mistress! Kind of like Final Cut Pro!

I’m sure she is there on a mission of great Lusophone importance, for the woman is a walking tornado of Lusophone advocacy.  However, my reaction….not so Lusophilic.

My reaction was “WHO MOVED MY CREPES????”

I, after a fifteen year separation, miss France.  I didn’t explore Paris as much as I would have liked, either, when I was an exchange student in Toulouse.  Sure, I have a certain affection for Toulouse that will never be denied, but PARIS, oh PARIS!

I would not mind a night spent reading at Sherpa right about now either….

If you have no clue what that means, you just had to be there.  Your Gauloise burning in one hand, fork dipping into your Nutella crepe with the other…..  As your heart bursts with the recognition of a kindred medieval soul as you read Charles D’Orleans.   He was the Moz of his time.  

And this brings me to my confession:  I cheat on Portugal, the motherland, on a regular basis.  It’s like I tell my mother I’m not hungry, and then go eat at my neighbor’s house who is serving twinkies and poprocks.    It’s like signing up for millitary duty and being discharged for not showing up for duty because of an X-Box addiction.    It’s part of being a second generation American, but it’s still…. sad.  

There are those Americans who by no reason of genetics, birth, or faith, just end up obsessed with certain cultures?  I’m the proud daughter of one of those Americans.  My dad should not be the guru of French thought.  He should not be getting rave reviews from French writers about his analysis of Candide; he’s a beach rat from LA, with the suspicious moles to prove it.  But that kid was on the beach reading ten cent editions of Plato, so you could see where that was going pretty early.  But still, he has two children with French names (though I would argue that MINE is more of a pain in the ass than the other, owing to punctuation…. and the fact that he ‘forgot’ to spell my brother’s name the foreign way at the hospital because he was ‘so sick’ at the time) and lives in a virtual palace of French and Spanish art knockoffs, surrounded by books in, you guessed it, Portuguese.  For now.  Because he’s teaching a class.  And I’m sure he told his students how the French invented the world.  He’s a bit like Checkov on Star Trek in that way….

But Dad cheats on nothing.  He is no less American for reading a French book.  America is a bit like vanilla ice cream;  you decide the toppings.

But I was born with a flavor, a second culture, a second language, and what did I do?  I poured on the French and British sauce like it was nobody’s business.

I have not been to Portugal in 15 years.   Family has passed away.  Children have been born.  Portuguese has faded.  BUT:

I have been to the Glastonbury Festival in Glastonbury, England, FOUR TIMES since I last saw Lisbon.

How come she has to be from GREECE?

I have held jobs in the UK for weeks at a time over the summer of 1997.  Jobs in Portugal: Zero! Though I did try to tell kids’ parents that they were “malcriados” when I was a teacher.  That counts!!!!

I did not attend my godfather’s ordination as bishop in Lisbon in 1998.    I think I was worried I’d blow my PHOTOSHOP final.  Honestly.  Who knew as a visual arts professional I’d be taking PHOTOSHOP CLASSES FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!

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I have flown to England to watch Suede break up and play their last show.

Suede recently (#@#%!@) reformed.  WTF?  IF I HAD MORE STEADY EMPLOYMENT, I would have followed the herd down to Coachella and caught them if it meant wrestling tickets from the sick and weak in those lines….

If Portugal has glam bands that fit into the birth of Britpop , it’s news to me.

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I have been to a wedding in Scotland of a close English friend.  I have no idea if anyone has gotten married in Portugal.  I think not, but I could just be out of the loop.

I have spent hours on the phone with said friend.  But have not spoken to one person in Portugal in God only knows how long.  Geez, though.. It’s scary when you’re guilty and the only word in your head is the word “socks.”

I spent the week after staring at comedy shows in Edinburgh, trying to forget how horrific my teaching career was…

I did not visit my family in Portugal – because I was lazy and wanted to watch comedy shows.  Since then, TWO of my favorite people there passed away.  Somehow, the fact that I saw a comedy show skewering the Harry Potter series does not make up for that.

I further spent four days in London after Edinburgh, mostly to go to the Borderline, an indie club, one of the few decent ones left.  This was soooo much more important than Portugal; dancing to music I already own with fat 40 year old Englishmen.  

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it.  And Portugal has been there for 800 years, and how long will I be Britpopping?  Not. Much.  Longer.  
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Instead of studying abroad in Portugal, I studied in France.  Granted the program in Portugal was kind of do-it-yourself, and I was too wussy to navigate it.

Plus the UC wanted you to do two years of Spanish and then go to a Portuguese university cold turkey.  This is an unbelievably stupid idea, especially if you’re not a foreign language major.  So it’s not my fault.   But I still kick ass at French verbs compared to Portuguese verbs….

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Damon albarn

Damon stole my culture!! DAMN!

I once flew to London just because I was pissed off at my life in the States. It was extremely passive-aggressive and immature.  In fact, his one has happened more than once, especially the year that British Airways was selling $200 tickets from SFO-LON.  I was going to stay.  I chickened out and went home instead. Again,  instead of going to Portugal, where maybe a relative could have talked some sense into me, I got piss drunk at the Borderline.   

I didn’t seek solace in Portugal because well, I knew my relatives would force  (well, not FORCE, maybe CONVINCE) me to be less passive-aggressive and immature.  Not. What.  I.  Was.  Looking.  For.  

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I have spent countless hours in record stores buying Britpop Cds, photographing Britpop bands at meet-and-greets, trying to start up conversations with hot skinny English boys.  Number of times I’ve seen the movie “Fado?”  ZERO.

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I can write an essay in French about Medieval poets.  Ironically, this is made easier by my knowledge of  Portuguese and the fact that my Medieval prof kept picking the right Franco-Provençal dialects for that.  

I have written detailed analyses of Chaucer and the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight written in the  Northern Dialect.

In Portuguese, I can barely write an essay about how my cat lives in my apartment, despite his having a Portuguese name that’s easy to spell.

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I know my way around London.

I have no clue how to get around Lisbon without a family chauffeur.  I’m pretty sure I can manage the train from Estoril, though.

I can tell you my opinions on all of the Astoria youth hostels in London.

Portugal has youth hostels?  I thought they just had your tia’s back bedroom!  

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Here is a list of British bands I’ve seen that I can think of offhand:
The Charlatans (8 times) * Trash Can Sinatras (4 x, including in London) * Jesus and Mary Chain (3x) * Stereolab (4x at least) * Belle and Sebastian (5x) * Blur (5x minimum) * Camera Obscura (2x) * Stereophonics (9 times- THIS WAS AN ACCIDENT.)  * Super Furry Animals (4x) * Ladytron (3x, including once when the opening band fondled donuts) * Catatonia (2x, once just listening in a tent) * Gene (2x) * Stone Roses (Once in France!!) * Coldplay (2 times.  At festivals) * Pulp (only once -tears!!- at Glastonbury) * Delgados (2x) * Catherine Wheel * Ride * Medicine * Inspiral Carpets (2x) * My Bloody Valentine (pension show) * Suede (3x- never on American soil) * Cast * Mark Gardner (2x) * Radiohead (3x) * the Bluetones * Ash (3x) * Babybird * theaudience * Drugstore * Broadcast * Gomez (2x) * Spiritualized (2x) * Curve * Squeeze * Echo and the Bunnymen * The Levellers* The Tindersticks* Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci * Dubstar * Echobelly * Manic Street Preachers (2x) * James * Mogwai * Primal Scream (but not in its prime- DAMN!!) * Franz Ferdinand (2x) * Starsailor * Teenage Fanclub * Travis * Mansun (for five minutes) * Cornershop * the Beta Band * idlewild* Mull Historical Society * Sons and Daughters * Billy Bragg * Supergrass * Terrorvision * The Longpigs (2x) * 60 Ft Dolls * Symposium (2x) * Doves * Clinic (3x) * Rialto * Beth Orton * Space (2x) *

Portuguese Bands:

I saw a guy singing at an IDES hall when I was taking photos of dancers.

I heard a great traditional singer of folk songs at a symposium in 2001.

Both involved driving less than 45 minutes.

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I really hope this at least has made you laugh a bit; what else can you do?  I can’t visit either place at the moment…. and it’s time!  This time I’ll divide my time equally between the rest of the British Museum AND the Gulbenkian.