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RAPIDINHAS

Ugly and diminutive, Catullo da Paixão Cearense was a giant of
Brazilian music during the first half of this century writing the lyrics for some of the
most enduring national tunes. He became a well-known figure in the recitals that were
popping up in all the good homes in Rio. His biographer Carlos Maul wrote: "…when
the singer’s shadow waned in the room, the last verse escaping for his lips, there was a
real explosion of delirium, so spontaneous, so vibrant, so loud, as if an enormous
hurricane had burst into the surroundings."
By Brazzil Magazine

1974 – Tim Maia Racional

1978 – Tim Maia Disco Club (re-released in 1995 as Sossego)

1979 – Reencontro e Tim Maia (in English)

1982 – Nuvens

1983 – Descobridor dos Sete Mares

1984 – Me Dê Motivo

1985 – Tim Maia

1986 – Telefone

1987 – Somos América

1988 – Carinhos

1991 – Tim Maia Interpreta Clássicos da Bossa Nova

1992 – Ao Vivo

1993 – Tim Maia

1997 – Tim Maia e Os Cariocas, What a Wonderful World – Oldies But Goodies, Pro Meu
Grande Amor, Amigo do Rei 

Politics
Not So Fast

Six months before the October election and with opponents still undefined, Fernando
Henrique Cardoso’s reelection bid doesn’t seem so unsinkable anymore after the release of
a Jornal do Brasil—Universidade Federal Fluminense poll. The poll published on
March 21, 1997, was the first major indication of a shift against Cardoso among the
Brazilian electorate. The JB-UFF poll found out that voters from the state of Rio—the
second largest electorate in the country after São Paulo—in a imaginary dispute
between the President and PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’ Party) candidate
Luiz Inácio da Silva, better known as Lula, would split their vote equally between the
candidates. In a runoff, Cardoso would lose the elections with 48% of the votes against
52% from Lula. In the 1994 elections, Cardoso won in 25 of the 26 Brazilians states.

Cardoso would also lose if his opponent were former President Itamar Franco, who
apparently will not be able to run since the PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático
Brasileiro—Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement), his party, has decided to
back Cardoso. In such a scenario the split would be 51% to 49% in favor of Itamar. Cardoso
would only win—with 58% of the votes—in a dispute against Ciro Gomes,
ex-governor of the northeastern state of Ceará and former Finance Minister. Gomes is the
presidential candidate from the PPS (Partido Popular Socialista—Popular Socialist
Party). Another candidate, Dr. Enéas Carneiro from right-wing Prona (Partido da
Reedificação da Ordem Nacional—Party of the National Order Rebuilding) is a long
shot.

In a five-way dispute including Itamar or in a four-way dispute without the former
president, Lula and Cardoso would have a tie on the first round. In a scenario including
Itamar, Cardoso’s predecessor would get 15% of the votes, while the President would get
25% and Lula 22%, a technical tie due to the 3% margin of error. Seven percent would vote
for Enéas, 6% for Ciro Gomes, and 20% would void or leave their ballots blank. Without
Itamar, Cardoso would get 28% of the votes against 27% for Lula. Invalid votes would be
24%, Enéas would get 9% and Ciro 8%. The number of people who haven’t made up their minds
is 5%.

Of all likely candidates Cardoso has the highest rejection index, with 38% of voters
saying that "under no circumstance" they would vote for him. Only 15% said they
would never vote for Lula, 14% said the same for Itamar. Even Enéas and Ciro Gomes had a
lower rejection index, 27% and 26% respectively. Curiously enough the same survey found
out that 65% of Rio’s voters approve of Cardoso administration against 32% who disapprove.
The UFF poll was taken among 1,300 Rio’s voters on March 16 and 17.

According to the poll’s coordinator, professor Alberto Carlos Almeida, from UFF’s
Political Science Department, these results show that the government is losing the battle
of image in the social area mainly on the unemployment front. "The opposition is
being able to tie the unemployment situation to Fernando Henrique, although Rio has the
lowest unemployment rate in the country."

Losing His Cool

In a show of how low his patience threshold is, the President could not graciously take
the heat during a town-meeting-format TV interview with high-school students. Cardoso’s
degree of irritation was shown at SBT (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão—Brazilian
System of Television) TV Programa Livre (Free Program), presented by Serginho Groissman.

Revealing an unexpected social conscience, the youngsters grilled the President on
several subjects, including elections, unemployment, death penalty, abortion and drugs.
The President went into an offensive mode when Leonardo Antunes, 16, accused him of giving
evasive answers and asked the President if he considered it fair that a trash man made
less than $200 while a bureaucrat earned more than $15,000.

Visibly peeved, Cardoso lost his temper and scolded the student who dared object to the
presidential reasoning: "It is too much arrogance to say that I am not answering. I
am trying to explain things. I could say that your question is gobbledygook, that I am the
President of the Republic and that I shouldn’t even answer that. You need to open your
head. I’ve been here for one hour talking with the greatest satisfaction and you come and
tell the President of the Republic that he is not answering the questions. And then you
make a totally senseless question.

"This is demagoguery, and we shouldn’t use demagoguery even when we are young. It
doesn’t sit well. You are young, you make a confused question only because you are in the
presence of the President of the Republic. Be more humble. Talk to me as an equal, not
like someone superior talking to a subaltern. I take it, but it doesn’t sit well."

The students screamed and hooted the President, but he was 630 miles away, in
Brasília, while his inquisitors were in a TV auditorium in São Paulo watching him on a
big screen. There were close to 450 middle and higher-middle-class students who weren’t
baffled by Cardoso’s title (President of the Republic) and most of them when addressing
the President used the familiar treatment pronoun você instead of the more
respectful senhor.

The only question dealing with the reelection drew jeers from the audience. The
youngsters were more interested in discussing Brazilian social problems: the contrast
between the too rich and the too poor, education, health, unemployment, and lack of
opportunities.

Despite the lingering after-taste, the Palácio do Planalto (the Brazilian White House)
declared the experience as being positive and concluded that it had served its purpose as
a test. And apparently without any irony Cardoso let it be known: "I adore auditorium
programs." 

Opposition candidate Lula used the students’ incident to criticize Cardoso for his
slippery ways: "President Fernando Henrique is no more than a Vaseline jar", he
told allies during a meeting of congressmen from the PC do B (Partido Comunista do
Brasil—Communist Party of Brazil). Former President Itamar Franco has also joined
those pelting barbs at Cardoso. He first called the President a "slippery eel",
and a few days later said his successor was "Mr. Hyde", the mean side of Robert
Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll.

Obituary
The Last
Funny Face

It was a sixty-year career that started in the circus and took him to radio, cinema,
and TV, making him one of the best known and cherished comedians of Brazil. Just before
dying from cancer at age 88 in Rio on March 22, Moacir Brandão Filho, who was a
consummate grimace maker, talked about his pride of never being unemployed. For Brandão,
the transition to TV starting in 1954 at TV Tupi was easy.

The whole country used to repeat one of his most famous catchphrases: "kill the
old man, kill" when he worked on radio. His most remembered role was that of poor
cousin on Balança Mas Não Cai (It Shakes But it Doesn’t Fall Down) a program
about a bunch of weird characters living on an odd building created by Max Nunes and
Haroldo Barbosa.

During the ’50s the show was a big hit on Rio’s now-closed Mayrink Veiga radio.
"Cousin, you are the best," he used to tell his rich cousin interpreted by late
Paulo Gracindo.

Fast
Lunacy

With the express purpose of making life easier for Paulistanos (São Paulo
residents) the state government has created what it called the Poupatempo (Savetime)
program for those in need of getting an ID card. The new program working from a building
at Praça do Carmo in downtown São Paulo, promises to hand over the ID the same
day people apply for it, instead of having to wait for four or more weeks.

Something very strange is happening, however. Those willing to use the new fast service
are spending as many as ten hours in line, often staying overnight in the street in order
to get a number that guarantees a place to have a same-day document. The Department is
open to the public from 7 AM to 7 PM, but at 6 AM they start to distribute the numbers.

Salesman Agnaldo Autori, 42, the first one in line recently, had arrived at the
Department’s gate at 10 PM the night before, as it is common in the U.S. for immigrants
trying to legalize their situation. Talking to daily newspaper Folha de São Paulo
he said: "I was able to get the first place and with that I am helping the government
to disrespect the population even more."

The line has also become a place for some entrepreneurial prostitutes and homeless
people to make some extra money. They spend the night in line and sell their places in the
morning for those who prefer paying instead of suffering an insomniac night on the street.

The Fear
and
the Fury

More than anything else Cariocas (Rio residents) are threatened by their own
aggressiveness. This is the conclusion of a study by the Pan-American Health Association
in eight cities in Europe and the Americas. In Rio, the city chosen to represent Brazil,
8% of the 1,126 respondents had been victims of mugging while 6% had been assaulted in
traffic or in the streets after a discussion with an unknown person.

"Contrary to the prevailing perception, the rate of robbery, theft, and the number
of people hurt by weapons is lower than in most of other Latin-American cities," said
Leandro Piquet Carneiro, University of São Paulo’s (USP) political scientist, in charge
of the Brazilian side of the study, in an interview with daily newspaper O Estado de S.
Paulo. According to him, most of the violence is not done by criminals but at home and
by people Brazilians meet every day in the streets.

The study also analyzed data from Santiago (Chile), Cali (Colombia), Caracas
(Venezuela), San Salvador (El Salvador), and San Jose (Costa Rica). The cities of Madrid
(Spain) and Houston (U.S.) were chosen for comparison.

Brazil won first place in violence with a score of 1 followed by Cali, home of an
infamous drug cartel with 0.8. Madrid had a rating of minus 2. On the up side the study
revealed how optimistic Brazilians are about their future. In answering the question
"Is the country getting better in the next few years?" Cariocas got first
place in the optimistic scale with a 0.8 coefficient. Brazilians had the highest mark for
political tolerance too. Rio also appeared as the city with fewer people owning firearms.
Only 4.6% of Cariocas possess guns.

The
Biggest
Yet

In its most ambitious project to date, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is preparing
an art expo to celebrate the 500 years of Brazil’s discovery. The exhibit has a budget of
$15 million and plans to be a comprehensive tableau of Brazilian art starting with Indian
objects made before the arrival of Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500.
Called Brasil 500 Anos—Artes Visuais (Brazil 500 Years—Visual Arts) the exhibit
will be opened May 3, 2000. It was on that date, 500 years ago, that the first mass was
celebrated on Brazilian soil. The exhibition will also be taken to several museums in
Brazil, Europe and the United States where it will be shown in San Francisco (California),
Austin (Texas) and Washington, DC. 

"This will be one of the most important expositions done by Fundação
Bienal," said Júlio Landmann, president of the organization, in an interview with
daily Correio Braziliense from Brasília. "For the first time the expo will
have less renowned segments such as popular, Indian, and Afro-Brazilian art, and the
images of the unconscious side by side with the most celebrated work like the art of the
18th century and the figurative painting of the 19th century."

British historian Leslie Bethell will select works by Debret, Rugendas and other
Europeans who have portrayed Brazil. The super expo, which intends to gather 2,000 works,
wishes to be a source of reference for anybody interested in Brazilian art. The work will
also be available in CD-ROM, video, book and the Internet.

Booksmarts

From April 29 until May 10, São Paulo will be holding its 15ª Bienal Internacional do
Livro (15th International Book Biennial). Organized by CBL (Câmara Brasileira do
Livro—Brazilian Chamber of Book) the expo will show 150,000 books—4,000 of them
will debut at the exhibit—and is expected to receive 1.5 million people. According to
CBL’s president, Altair Brasil, the São Paulo book expo is the third biggest book fair in
the world losing only to the ones held in Frankfurt (Germany) and Chicago (USA). There
will be new books by Brazilian poet João Cabral de Melo Neto and Portuguese novelist
José Saramago and foreign best-selling authors like Jostein Gaarder and Ghita Mehta will
be present to autograph their books.

The book industry is booming in Brazil with 50,000 titles being released in 1997 alone.
In 1990 the yearly output was less than half that amount. On the other hand, the number of
books per printing has been falling. While in 1992 general books (they exclude didactic
works, which represent 53% of all books sold) had an average printing of 4,603 copies,
this number had fallen to 3,221 in 1996, contributing to the high price of books in
Brazil.

Book Award

There were 1,560 candidates this year to the Jabuti, the prize given in 15
categories—three authors in each category are selected—by Câmara Brasileira do
Livro to the best Brazilian literary works. Just to show how hard such a selection can be,
renowned writers Moacyr Scliar (A Majestade do Xingu—The Majesty of the Xingu
River), Frei Betto (Entre Todos os Homens—Among All Men), Deonísio da Silva (Teresa),
Dalton Trevisan (234), Décio de Almeida Prado (Seres, Coisas, Lugares—Beings,
Things, Places), Elisa Palatnik (Contos de Futebol—Soccer Short Stories), and Rubem
Fonseca (Histórias de Amor), were all candidates for the trophy but didn’t make the
final cut.

Lealdade (Loyalty) by Márcio Souza, A Casa do Poeta Trágico (The Tragic
Poet’s Home) by Carlos Heitor Cony, and Um Crime Delicado (A Delicate Crime) by
Sérgio Sant’Anna won as best novels. In short story, prizes went to Raduan Nassar with Menina
a Caminho (Girl on Her Way), Flávio Moreira da Costa with Nem Todo Canário É
Belga (Not Every Canary is Belgian), and João Silvério Trevisan with Troços
& Destroços (Rubbish and Wreckage).

Other areas awarded Jabutis were administration, business and law, children’s books,
children’s book illustration, didactic books, economy, editorial production, essay and
biography, human sciences, journalism, natural sciences and medicine, exact sciences,
poetry, technology and computer, and translation. The prize is important for the prestige
it brings. The Prêmio Jabuti 98 comes with a paltry $900 check.

Corruption
Built
on Sand

Brazil’s latest national villain is called Sérgio Naya, 55. The wealthy, silver-haired
congressman from the state of Minas Gerais, has been expelled from his party, the PPB
(Partido Progressista Brasileiro—Brazilian Progressive Party), and his colleagues are
considering his impeachment since the 22-story apartment building Palace II in the upscale
neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca in Rio collapsed on February 21, killing eight people and
throwing 120 families on the streets. Naya is the owner of Sersan (Sociedade Empresas
Reunidas Sérgio Augusto Naya), the company responsible for the edifice’s construction.

Since the Palace II tragedy, much fraud was found on the résumé of the middle-class
Armenian immigrant’s son, who went to Brasília, the Brazilian capital, at the end of the
`60s and became a construction tycoon, helped by high-ranking officials during the
military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985. According to his own
account—Naya loves to brag— he has a $500-million fortune. His secret? "To
mix economy with deception," he confided to a friend, adding: "The US is the
country of opportunities, and Brazil is the country of deception."

Extra-generous with big-shot friends whom he flies on his private $15-million
Challenger jet and treats to $300 Cristal Rosé champagne, he compelled his employees to
unbend nails used in a hotel construction to reutilize them on an apartment building being
erected in Osasco, São Paulo.

Worried with kidnappings, he is always followed by bodyguards and often carries his own
machine gun. Single all his life; he is frequently accompanied by beautiful women, but
rumor has it that he never stays more than one year with any one of them so they will not
claim any of his fortune.

He is also a very bad payer. Only in Brasília there are more than 800 lawsuits against
his companies. The government is his biggest creditor. He owes $48 million in a number of
administrative actions filed against him, $14 million to Banco do Brasil and another $8
million to the INSS, the Brazilian Social Security service.

It took a tragedy for the inspectors to find out that Naya’s company had mixed beach
sand with concrete in Rio. Seashells were found mixed with the concrete. They also found
several other irregularities. Sersan used rainwater taken from puddles on the beach and
cement that was already too old for use. Naya protests innocence and accuses his opponents
of trying to subject him to a public lynching.

In a videotape shown on TV Globo’s Sunday show Fantástico, Naya was heard bragging
about forging official documents and using low-grade building materials on his building
projects, which were later offered for sale as first-rate constructions. In the tape shot
four years ago Naya talks to a group of councilmen from the city of Três Pontas in Minas
Gerais. "Everything I buy is used, but it looks like new" he says, adding:
"I signed an order for the government, I really do falsify. I gave the order to the
Mayor, and he believed it was from the Governor."

The outrage against Naya has almost obscured the most important issue, which is
Brazil’s lack of rules and enforcement of an adequate building code. Critics of the status
quo have pointed that without a serious revamping of the system, buildings will continue
falling and people will continue dying. In the last seven years at least another six
buildings collapsed in the country.

In 1991, nine people died and 23 were hurt when a building toppled in Volta Redonda,
state of Rio de Janeiro. The next year a concrete block fell over a crowd in the
Pelourinho Square in Salvador, state of Bahia, leaving 18 people hurt and eight dead. In
1994, a two-story building being erected in São Paulo went down killing three and hurting
14. Then in Guaratuba, Paraná, a six-story building collapsed killing 40 people and
hurting nine.

The most tragic of these disasters was a totally preventable explosion occurred in 1996
in the restaurant area of Osasco Plaza Shopping, in São Paulo. Forty two people died and
472 were hurt. The gas ducts in that case weren’t up to code and there was no inspection
to compel the owners to correct the problem. Last year, a 17-story building collapsed in
São José do Rio Preto, in the interior of São Paulo. There were no victims this time.

On the political front, there are at least 44 congressmen being investigated, including
Senator Ronaldo Cunha Lima, who shot an opponent in 1993 after his colleague criticized
him on TV.

For the record, Naya is building two $30 million 18-story hotel towers in Orlando,
Florida. Construction has been delayed and stopped several times due to problems found by
city building inspectors.

Stripping
for Joy

"People take off their clothes to make children, to be more exposed to the wind,
and to feel the sea. I took off mine to show my joy." This was timbalada-creator
Bahiano (from Bahia) singer-composer Carlinhos Brown explaining why during Carnaval
he did go in the buff in the streets of Salvador, capital of Bahia, on the back of a trio
elétrico, a wired-for-sound truck. According to Brown, his rejoicing demonstration
didn’t last more than three seconds, but that was enough time to snap pictures of his
nudity, which was splashed in Salvador’s papers the next day. Apparently some people were
offended, and the singer was sued accused of an obscene act. Some papers wrote that his
nude scene was in protest against a trio-elétrico jam during Carnaval. He denied
it and swore that he did not intend to offend anyone.

You Say
Fair

Between 1991 and 1996 Brazilian exports to the U.S. have stagnated at $1.3 billion,
while Brazil has increased its Yankee imports by 131%, raising them from $252 million to
$588. Brazilians in fact are having so many problems to get their agricultural products to
American shores that they are about to take their case to the World Trade Organization.

Brazilians believe the U.S. are good at talking about fair and free trade and open
markets as long as the market is not its own. Brazil accuses Americans of using ruses to
keep Brazilian products away, by charging high import tariffs, imposing quotas, and
creating extremely rigorous sanitary restrictions. Another common practice is to accuse
Brazil of dumping.

The Brazilian Embassy in Washington has prepared a report on the barriers imposed by
the United Sates to Brazilian products. According to the study, 16 products are not
welcome into the States. They include fruits, orange juice, shoes, soy oil, and sugar.

One special bone of contention is the U.S. charge that Camargo Correa Metais (CCM)
wants to sell its metallic silicate used in the computer and electronic industry at lower
prices than it sells in Brazil and has imposed a 35% tariff on the product. Brazil argues
that there is no dumping, but the negotiations are stalled while the Brazilian company has
already lost $150 million in exports to the U.S. in the last five years. Washington has
also imposed a tax of 8.55 cents on each liter of orange juice in order to protect
Florida’s orange growers.

In 1992, close to 90% of all imported orange juice in the U.S. came from Brazil. This
had fallen, however, to 67% in 1996. The U.S. doesn’t import beef and pork from Brazil
either alleging the presence of aphthous fever and swine fever (hog cholera) in the
country. Brazilian poultry also don’t make the grade in the USA.

Music
Frigging
Talent

With a name like Funk Fuckers you wouldn’t expect this band to be playing gospel and
being prude and they aren’t. The naughty attitude revealed in the band’s name continues in
the musicians’ names—their ages vary from 20 to 23: B. Black, a.k.a. Bernardão
Erótico (Erotic Big Bernard); Jimmy Love; Yurinando (a play with urinating); Baruco
Cagüete (Baruco, the Snitch); Mortadelo "Bass" Gee; and Leon Experiênza.

Created in Rio in 1993, the Funk Fuckers, according to their leader B. Black, draw
their inspiration from Yankee bands like Run DMC, Dead Kennedys, and Beastie Boys and
domestic rockers Titãs, Paralamas, and Kid Abelha.  They produced their two initial
CDs, but now have been picked up by major recording company BMG. Their foul-mouthed
lyrics, however, have kept most of their songs off the radio stations’ playlist. Thanks to
MTV they are having some exposure nowadays. A sample lyrics from one of their most tamed
songs, "Búlica":

"…Quero me aprofundar na sua pessoa,
ginecologicamente falando…
vem cá meu bem, vamos fazer um oba-oba
você me mostra sua coisa
eu lhe mostro minha trosoba

I want to get deep in yourself,
gynecologically speaking…
come here sweetie, let’s make whoopee
you show me your thing
I’ll show you my shmuck

Woman
The Darker
Side of Lust

"I’m not used yet to men’s looks. They seem to be eating me with their eyes."
Scheila Carvalho Ladeira from É o Tchan band may feel a little uncomfortable, but she is
enjoying every second of her new acquired status as Brazilian men’s newest object of
desire and induction to sin. Brazil’s most coveted brunette was chosen by popular vote
during TV Globo’s Domingão do Faustão (Faustão’s Big Sunday) show as a counterpart to
blondeshell dancer Carla Perez.

With Carla’s imminent departure to more innocent pastures to star on her own TV kid
show, Scheila should reign supreme, until they find a tawny match for her, that is. As a
É o Tchan’s dancer Scheila has the obligatory prominent buttocks (for the record, her
hips measure 37", her breasts 33 and her waist 26, all of this framed by a 116-lb.,
5"5′ body). Her flesh attributes are so impressive that her appearance in Playboy
(see pic) on February provoked a run to the newsstands, and the sale of magazines zoomed
past those sold when La Perez’ nakedness was featured.

Scheila has been dancing professionally since she was 10. Born and raised in the
interior of the state of Minas Gerais, she used to accompany her mother to country fairs.
After some time looking at the shows held there, she started dancing and mimicking singers
like Simone and Daniela Mercury while her mom sold churros. She dreamed that one
day she would go to college and graduate in PE, but she couldn’t get the money for that.

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