Category: Retro

Tuesday Tag

Tuesday this week is the ‘Monday’ of the week because we had a holiday yesterday for St George. Brazilians just love their holidays, so I get sucked up with the flow.

Long weekends are good, but they are so tiring. Saturday, I chose to do nothing. I never get to finish doing it in one day, so I always finish what I started on Sunday. Doing nothing can be quite exhausting, especially if you do it three days in a row.


Upon waking this morning at 6am, I discovered that I had been ‘tagged’ by a recent bloggy friend.

You can find the culprit ah, tagger behind this link; ExpertofNone I must say that I love her choice of template and have it on my ‘test blog’, but it is marred by the fact that you (at least I) can’t see the post tags, pity.

Having participated in many of these ‘taggy’ things in the past, I found this one quite different.

I note that there is a serious flaw in this tag, there’s a rule missing, I’ve added it to 2…


Tag – you’re it!’ – The rules:

1.You must post these rules. [done]
2.Answer the question the “tagger” listed for you in their post. Post the link of the culprit (you don’t get away that easy).[done]
3.And create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer. [done… nearly]
4.Choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post. [done… almost]
5.Let each blogger know that you have tagged them. [to do]

The question I was requested to answer is: Who is your favorite author of all time?

Now that I have my second coffee, I can do stupid things faster.


My favourite author. Now that’s difficult, for there are many who would fall into that category. I would firstly have to mention W.E Johns; he wrote ‘Biggles’ books. Biggles was sort of like a human Snoopy WWI flying ace; and was my introduction to reading at age nine; I exhausted the school library content and began to buy and collect the books. Without a doubt, it was my introduction to a lifetime of books and reading. Next I would have to mention Eric von Daniken of Chariots of the Gods fame because he opened my mind to thinking for myself at age twelve and not following the flock like a sheep. Bram Stoker must be mentioned, because it was his book Dracula that opened the road to research as I followed the route from Romania to England, pinpointing where I believed the Castle Dracula to be,  and learned about things like lycanthropy; thirteen year olds don’t usually learn such things. It was at this age that I subscribed to Science Journal, a monthly magazine for scientists. I used to pick it up from the bookshop along with my Donald Duck and war comics each month (see, I was a little normal). I wasn’t at all interested in school, school was a place to eat lunch and learn boring stuff, I was well on the way to self education. My disinterest in school was evident that I became a ‘high school dropout’ as Americans would put it; but I was the only kid in our class that could answer the question “What does L.A.S.E.R. mean?” when asked by the science teacher in first year general science. Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein are significant among a host of science fiction writers, because they showed me the future; as did George Orwell in Animal Farm and 1984, the latter we are watching live in the USA today. Et al.

I cannot pin down a favourite author, I can only say those who were most influential in my upbringing and responsible for casting the mould that I am today.

That was the easy bit. Now… for those I have tagged and therefore, “dragged” into making serious confessions:

:: 1 – Reduce Footprints: If you could go back in time, what would you change to make a difference to a ‘greener’ world today?

:: 2 – Rowing Through Life: As a traveled person, where would you live outside New York and still feel fulfilled?

:: 3 – Tinkerbelle: Why is living just outside London which is a blessing and a curse?

:: 4 – It’s Not Easy to be Green: Explain this statement of yours; I want to save it [the world] from humans.

:: 5 – Sarcastic Cooking: Why did you stop being a vegetarian?

Told you I couldn’t count to 11… besides, I ran out of coffee!

Now…don’t shoot the messenger…remember, I was tagged too!!!

I seriously need more coffee!

I love ‘old’

But then I am old.

I love old things, the old ways, the old everything. Well, almost everything, I still like newer girls in bikinis, but their attitudes today are crap.

Look at the eggbeater in this kitchen drawer…

My mother had one of those for thirty years or more, it worked and worked and never broke, although I must admit I don’t know of its final resting place; but thirty years.

You buy one of these new fangled plastic pieces of shit today; you’ll never get thirty years out it. You’d be lucky in some cases to get thirty minutes. Old things are good things.

Last night, I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I stewed some fruit. Last week at the supermarket, I saw some plums, they were just sitting there, beckoning to me. They ere the dark type, cool to the touch as I bagged them. I got a half dozen, they weren’t cheap, but I have resolved that I must eat more fruit.

The other night I turned two into juice in the blender.

But last night, I cut the remaining four into quarters and filled a saucepan with water so that it covered half the fruit, a couple of dessert-spoons of sugar and boiled them.

I had them with fresh thick white liquid, you know that stuff in the box, it’s supposed to be cream, but it’s not like the ‘old cream’ we used to get. See old is good. I sat on the sofa and had one plate and I just couldn’t resist getting the second, it was supposed to be for tonight. So yummy, temptation truly is the devil.

But my point is that many people today don’t do these little things that make life. They buy canned fruit at the supermarket, totally unnecessary and wasteful… and expensive. I had a litre of juice and dessert for two and the plums cost me R$3 (about USD1.80) whereas if I had bought a can of plums, I would have paid R$5 just for enough plums for the dessert. People don’t know how to economise today.

One of my stepkids said to me the other weekend. “I love coming to visit you because you do stuff.” I replied that I ‘do stuff’ because I was taught to ‘do stuff’, parents today don’t teach their kids to ‘do stuff’ anymore.

Yes… old is good.


A bit of retro

Nat King Cole’s version was the closest English version to the original sound in Portuguese. None of the others, Frank Sinatra’s included came close, and this is not a song for a female voice; so the choices of an English version were limited.

And in the original Portuguese…

Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim reunite to play their old song, The Girl From Ipanema (A Garota de Ipanema) years later


No, not for the damned rooster… Saw my neighbour last night in the botequim (local bar) and joked with him about the rooster finding its way across his grill (yesterday’s post), he assured me not; a fact that I was assured of this morning albeit at a more reasonable hour. Apparently, it doesn’t like the rain, so I pray for rainy mornings and no cock-a-doodle-doos.

Yesterday afternoon my student (who is on holiday for two weeks) met me in the botequim to correct his homework, he brought along his guitar. I knew that he played one, determined through questions in class, but had no idea how well.

During the course of demonstrating his skills, he played O Trem das 7 horas (The Seven O’clock Train). Now this just happens to be one of my favourite pieces of Brazilian music. Originally performed by Raúl Seixas, Zê Ramalho’s version is better, at least imho. So I get to bore you with it

Nostalgic, because it is about the passing of an era. The arrival of the last steam train from the country. Here are the lyrics. Yes, I know, Portuguese, but I have added a translation to each line)

The album cover

Ói, ói o trem, vem surgindo de trás das montanhas azuis, olha o trem (Hey, hey the train, surging from behind the Blue Mountains)
Ói, ói o trem, vem trazendo de longe as cinzas do velho éon (Hey, hey the train, comes bringing from far the ashes of the past)

Ói, já é vem, fumegando, apitando, chamando os que sabem do trem (Hey, it’s here, smoking, whistling, calling those who know the train)
Ói, é o trem, não precisa passagem nem mesmo bagagem no trem (Hey, it’s the train, you don’t need tickets nor baggage on the train)

Quem vai chorar, quem vai sorrir? (Who cries, who smiles)
Quem vai ficar, quem vai partir? (Who stays, who goes)
Pois o trem está chegando, tá chegando na estação (Because the train is arriving, it’s arriving at the station)
É o trem das sete horas, é o último do sertão, do sertão (It’s the seven o’clock train, the last one from the back country)

That’s the gist of it.

Pure nostalgia, especially for those of us who remember the glory of steam and the sadness of its passing.

Milk, yuck!

Half Pint Cream Bottle

When I was a kid millions of years ago (1950s) we used to get a cream bottle of milk 300ml or a half pint) every day. It was okay in the winter, but in the summer it was yucky and tepid, vomitingly tepid; some kids did actually chunder. Do you understand the concept of a chain reaction?

The milk was delivered to the school during the pre-dawn milk round, kids started school at 9am which meant the milk had like more than four hours without refrigeration because we used to get it about 10am playtime (recess).

The scheme was instigated in 1937 and ended in 1967.

I read today on BBC News: “The government (British) has pledged to continue to provide free milk to all under-fives in the UK despite ordering a review of the scheme.”

The Brits still have it.

The milk we used to get was full cream milk, you had to shake the bottle to mix the layer of cream, yes, you could see it. Thick rich yellow cream on the top of the milk.

Cream Separator

But today’s processing removes a lot of the butterfat. The modern stuff (whole milk) boasts only 3% Fat; like they are doing you a favour. Milk with 3% Fat is not whole milk. Whole milk should contain 3.5% – 5.3% butterfat.

I remember milking time, most of the milk went in the milk churn, some of the milk went into the separator to recover the cream, what was left was skim milk and skim milk went to the pigs, it was pig food (it still does, but the fat rich ones who need to lose weight).

Once milk has been through the separator it only has about 0.05% butterfat left, making it next to useless, except for the pigs. If you didn’t have pigs it went down the drain.

But today the industry has ‘Low Fat’ milk, etc; with varying degrees of butterfat and the corporations sell it at the same price as whole milk. They are ripping you off wholesale. Because they get the profit from the cream or butter, and they double their profit by selling pig food to people.

This has long been a beef for me. One because I hate the taste (or lack of it) in low fat milk; and, two, I object to be being taken for a fool.

The milk we used to get was pasteurised, that is it was heated to 68 degrees to kill the bacteria and cooled again.  Today the milk is homogenised which means the butterfat is broken down to remain evenly mixed with the milk.

Milk today is not milk

The milk we get today in plastic bottles and cartons is not milk, be it organic or not, it is a white tasteless liquid that defies the definition of milk.

It is so far removed from being milk that users of the product description ‘milk’ should be prosecuted for making a false claim. But, of course, we know that will never happen.

Three years ago I lived in a semi-rural area and used to send the kids up to the ‘corale‘ (milking shed) each day to get a 2lt (3+ pints) bottle of milk straight from the cow. It was wonderful, it was like being transported back to my childhood; it made coffee all the more wicked for drinking. And, you’ve (younger generation) have never had cornflakes that tasted so yummy.

In the US (and, I suspect, in many other parts of the world) it is illegal for the farmers to sell their milk directly to the public. Not because it’s ‘unhealthy’, but because you’ll realise that you are being cheated and stop buying their product in favour of the real McCoy.

But, nobody cares. Nobody bleats about the fact that you’re being lied to and ripped off. You all just accept what the corporations dish out to you. This is why I support Occupy Wall Street, because it’s all about the little things that are being forced on us as well as the major financial crunches.

It all makes me wonder why the Brits want to keep the tradition of school milk.


Do you remeber the link between these two items?


Then you’re old, just like me.

There are some simple pleasures that the younger generations will never know.

Hours of frustratingly twirling cassette tapes because it was faster than the rewind on tape decks.

Looks like I have got over the hump. Last night I discovered the ability to post images, etc had returned. I don’t know whether this is a WP problem or bandwidth, but it is frustrating nevertheless.

I have made a few posts this morning. I was too tired last night despite the jubilation (I actually said “Whoopie!” under my breath) when I discovered the image problem had been resolved. I didn’t even read my horror stories before bed. That’s why I am late posting today, I’ve been reading (and writing) about the current political crap around the world. Made a big noise about Palestine’s bid for a seat in the UN, but you can read that on Shit Happens, if you wish. I am not going to get all political on this blog.

This week is a lazy week. Started out okay, but then yesterday (Monday, oh how I love Mondays) my students informed me of training days that they had been lumbered with, and unfortunately the factory considers English lessons play second fiddle. So I am left fiddling. I have only one lesson today, tomorrow and Thursday, which means I should be able to blog a lot.

Speaking of training… I have discovered one of the mysteries of life. Yes, the internet is a wonderful source of information. The training of mothers-in-law… it begins at an early age.

Training mothers-in-law

As you can see, girls take to it with a certain relish. It would be enough to make Harry Potter cringe. But I guess we can only blame J.K. Rowling, she never allowed girls on the Quidditch teams, so they are out for revenge.

So the next time you see a cute girl, just think, some day she will be a mother-in-law and out to torment someone like yourself.

Girls, I am not being sexist here. you can do the same. Next time some flaxen haired boy smiles sweetly at you, remember he’ll probably grow up to be a slob that deserves a mother-in-law.

It’s these little philosophies that make the world go round.

I’m off to make more coffee and blog along.


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