Saturday, July 30, 2016

WTF Rio? - Four Wheels Bad, Two Wheels Better - But Very Hazardous

(Caution: Graphic Content Below)

So... Traffic in Rio sucks.

Tons of motorcyclists and scooters practice lane splitting and filtering and oddly enough, no one cuts them off or actively tries to kill them for moving faster through the traffic.
(Which is what the legislators try to tell us here in the US.
If you drive down the dividing line between two lanes of traffic, someone will merge into you or intentionally cut you off because it's not fair! Blood in the Streets!")
It works here for the Cariocas- bikers (and scooter..ers) slip through the traffic quickly.

As I sit in traffic, I really wish I could use a bike here...
Thursday we went from the Olympic Park in Barra to Copacabana...
It took nearly 2 hours- for a 42km trip...
Back home that's about a 20 minute trip.
35 tops if it's on surface roads.
I would love to ride a motorcycle here to cut down on travel time.
After a little research on Bike Life in Rio, I've changed my tune.
The scary thing for me is the major inherent danger of riding a bike- Decapitation.


This is a cop bike at the airport- see the antenna looking thing on the handlebars?
It's not for the AM/FM receiver.

During the winter, it's kite season.
And there are two fun pastimes for kids- Kite fighting - like in the book 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini - and when the wind is right, dive bombing motorcyclists as they ride by the favelas.

So most bikes are outfitted with a kite string catcher...

The kite fighting is actually more dangerous to motorcyclists-

Every year there are about 500 motorcyclist injured by kite strings.
Two kites engage in battle, one's string is cut and the kite falls, the string trailing behind it, often lying across a heavily-traveled highway.
So- the motorcyclist travels along and catches a kite string across the neck or face.
Ant to make it worse, it's not just regular string- that would be bad enough- they amp it up here in Rio.
The old practice of coating your string with glue and ground glass (referred to as Cerol) has been outlawed...
but there is new product called 'linha Chilena' containing aluminum oxide and quartz power- and it's a shitload stronger than Cerol...

So this is why you need that antenna on the front of your bike:


I'll just stay in the car... Forget the bike.

As Chef said "Never get out of the boat."...


Friday, July 29, 2016

WTF Rio? - Waterboarding the Russian

No Water Shortage an Media Favela #3

St.Ass got out early last night (Wed Night).
He's been staying very late - anywhere from 10pm to 1 am sometimes...
(Lots to do, little time to do it.)

Burning the candle at both ends was taking its toll on him so he and The Apostle headed out at about 9:30, anticipating a good night's sleep.
A nice serenade from the howler monkeys and the giant jungle insects that are drawn to the lights in the favela we are living in will lull him to sleep - a gentle trip into the arms of Morpheus...

However- up until now, there had been no one in the room on the floor above St.Ass., but that changed on Wednesday.
St.Ass had just gotten to bed when a relentless "Splat...Splat...Splat...Splat...Splat." rang through his room...
The AC from upstairs was dripping down huge heavy drops on to the top of HIS AC enclosure making a massive racket.
On top of that, the water was seeping into St.Ass's room...

So instead of a nice night's sleep he was up most of the night undergoing the dreaded Russian Water Torture-
Splat...Splat....Splat...Splat.... deep into the night.

About 1am the Mad Russian could take no more.
Heaven save the poor village maintenance staff from the anger of a sleep-deprived Russian.
About 8 of them showed up in the middle of the night to survey the damage and to try to figure out how to fix the problem.
(You, clever Constant Reader, know how to fix this- a small piece of host to direct the condensate out and away from the building... But this is Rio. This is a puzzler to them, and it takes the brain-power of the entire staff to figure out exactly what's going on, and even more imported intelligence to come up with a solution.)

St. Ass comes in at about 10 this morning fuming, and tells us the tale.
"Pictures- Let me send zem to you!" says he.

Here's the situation... We know a little something water, gravity and seepage...

And here is the end result...
And by the way- the water dripping down past that 220volt power circuit?
Might want to make make sure you don't step into the pooling water on your floor- you might be in for a shocking experience.

Really- this is want the combined brainwork of 8 people (approx IQ of 75, maybe 80 total) comes up with?
"We'll put a towel on it."?

"We'll put one on the floor too. That should fix everything.

As your humble correspondent was scribing this little missive, I got a note from The Apostle.
He's also quartered at Media Favela #3.
And guess what? He has the same problem tonight...
He's using a plastic plate to dampen the dripping, but it's a short term solution. A light breeze will send that thing down to the pavement below.

TBG - Drip...drip...drip...drip....

WTF Rio? - US Athlete writes: Dear Olympic Media- Please Change The Narrative

US Olympic Athlete asks media to lighten up, Francis.

Megan Kalmoe- US Olympic Rowing Team-

(Pic by Megan Kalmoe via ESPN)
I will be traveling to Rio as part of one of the most talented and decorated women’s rowing squads in history.  I am incredibly excited for this trip, and this opportunity.  I have worked for ten years to get to this point and will continue to work as hard as I can over the next few weeks to make the most of this very special and unique opportunity.
But all you want to do is talk about shit in the water.
My request to everyone who is fixated on shit in the water:
Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us.

She really makes an excellent point- The media really just wants the Bleeding Edge headlines.
I will grant you that during the Olympics there are so many athlete stories and profiles that you get sick of them, but seriously- right now it is all "ZOMG-Shit in the water! OMG Favela killings!! Corruption! OMG - Unfinished Athlete Village!" ad infinitum.

Megan makes an excellent point... It would be nice if they could dial it back and talk about the positives.
But they don't.
And they won't.
And it's frustrating for the people who have dedicated so much of their lives to their sports on behalf of our country.

Another money quote:
Think of it this way: every time you sensationalize the poor water quality, or try to get athletes to react to Zika, or chastise the Brazilian people for allowing their government to collapse, you’re not just insulting the Brazilian people. You’re also insulting us, your American athletes.  Every time someone asks an athlete who is not a sociologist, epidemiologist, ecologist, microbiologist, or entomologist their position on water quality or some other crappy negative topic, they’re telling us:
“I care more about your non-expert opinion on these issues than I do on your performance in Rio.”  But –But–
There is no but.
You’re not being helpful, and it’s not coming from a good place.
Olympic athletes are experts on one thing, and one thing only: our performance.  And you damn well know it.  Every time you ask us to shift our focus from our specialty during the one time in a four-year cycle that we get the opportunity to share our expertise with the world, it’s an unnecessary distraction that we as competitors do not need and should not have to deal with from people who are supposed to be on our side.
Every time you steer the conversation away from the athletes and competition and on to things that are outside of our control, you’re suggesting to us: “I think you should probably waste some of your energy worrying about this, don’t you?”
That’s not helping anyone to be faster or perform better in Rio, so why would you do it?  It seems a little mean-spirited and like you don’t care if we do well.  Or that you somehow think that we should not enjoy our trip to the Olympics...

Really- you should go read the whole thing.
She eloquently makes many excellent points.

Also check out the profile ESPN did on her.
It's not easy to be an Olympian...Here.

TBG - Live from the IBC.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

WTF Rio? - Sunday Evening Edition

 The Interns that work for a certain major broadcast rightsholder in Rio, supposedly to get 'experience' and 'business connection' for their future endeavors, are always a hoot.
For a good number of them it is their first out-of-USA experience, and often their first relatively unsupervised work experience.
They are funny though- they tend to flock together when left to their own devices- especially early and late in the day... At the commissary, for instance.

I was sitting one table over from a large gaggle of Interns who were have a grand time this afternoon... Basically, it came down to the fact that if you pair almost nationality and almost any noun, it could be the name of a (deviant) sexual act.
The Interns were coming up with some winners like Colombian Earmuffs, the Angola Keyboard, and the dreaded Peruvian Salad Fork...

Give it a try yourself-
To help you out, I'll give you a start... Pick one from column A, and one from column B.

Column A                         Column B

Coffee Cup
Extension Cord
Cell Phone
Fountain Pen
Christmas Tree
Punch bowl
Tape Dispenser
Bath Towel
Vacuum Cleaner
Dish Strainer

For instance-
"Hey, I gave my old lady the Greek wheelbarrow earlier tonight...
Boy, she's gonna be pissed when she wakes up."


 TBG - - [Exit, pursued by a Swathmore Womyns studies student]

WTF Rio? - Sunday 7/24

NBC will be having two Victoria's Secret models as part of their late night coverage.
I guess they are trying to balance Ryan Seacrest...?

Story here: Brazilian supermodels and actresses Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima will join NBC Olympics coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro

Now, to avoid charges of exploitation and sexism, I chose these pictures of the girls carefully...

Alessandra Ambrosio                                                Adriana Lima

I feel certain that anyone who needs further scientific study of these talented sports broadcasters know how to exercise their Google-fu for more information and pictures.

Hey, I saw 'Poltergeist'... I'm outta here.

Olympics media village built on 'sacred' mass grave of African slaves
Guess who's living in Barra Media Village #3  Media Favela #3 
Desecrated Graveyard #3?
This guy! And St. Ass, and a bunch of the Usual Suspects...
Anyone know what's the best caliber for irritados fantasmas de escravos?
And where are Scooby and the Gang when you need them?

Seriously- the church they talk about in the article?

This is the view from my balcony.
I will not be exploring up the hillside after dark...

And finally- a Life Pro Tip
Always Arrive Early
I'm one of those people who's philosophy is:
"If you're early, you're on time; If you're on-time, you're late; If you're late, you're fired.

So- I usually try to make an early arrival at the IBC or wherever. Gives me room for uncontrollable delays, a no-stress passage through Mag & Bag... Only took me 5 minutes to pass through the security check this AM.
St. Ass however...

Guess who came in on a later shuttle from Ghost Favela #3?
And now look at Mag & Bag... Heh.
It's been over 40 minutes since he sent me this pic...
He's going to be an angry Russki when he gets here. Heh.

TBG - - [Exit - Pursued by a howler monkey]

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Fearmongering For Rio - Gizmodo Amps Up "ZOMG Olympics R Gonna Die!"

So, a Gizmodo writer (Sophie Kleeman) posts a bunch of "very recently" taken pics (all photos by AP) as representative of the entire city of Rio...
Her story HERE.

Now, I spent 6 hours in various locations around Rio yesterday- in Maracanã Norte, Centro, Copacabana, Ipanema, and down in Barra de Tijuca and lots of small roads and highways in between. I saw shitloads of bad drivers, but the only guns I saw were (probably) full-auto carbines being held at ready by the policia, the federal policia, and other uniformed security personnel. And man, I saw a lot of them.

Now, the pics from the article- My first impression is that the people in the pics have some awesome trigger discipline. Better than most of the folks at my home range, and probably most of the cops in the US. But that's just a first impression.

The other takeaway is that the author seems to think this activity/culture is endemic of Rio.
As I have said before many times- if you show me a horrific picture taken in (name of Olympic Host City), I'll bet you dollars to donuts that I can find similar vignettes in any large US city.

Don't believe the hype, y'all...
Remember 'If it bleeds, it leads' and the Media will do everything they can to get your clicks.
Take it all with a grain of salt.


Bus Bus, No Bus

The first official Olympic Miracle has occurred...

The bus ride from Barra Media Village #3 Media Favela #3 only too 14 minutes this morning.
Yesterday it took 40 minutes, and Thursday it took 45 minutes.
(The miracle is that I was up and out the door before 7:00 AM. The ease of travel is easily explainable as most Cariocas spent all Friday night rollerskating, drinking hooch caipirinhas and throwing up. Only Americanos loucos heading to Barra de Tijuca are up and about at the unGodly hour of 7:00 on a Saturday morning.

TBG - - [Exit- Pursued by a hungry capybara]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Helpful Hints for Rio from The Czar

After I fired off a cry for help, The Czar (may his toenails never fester) comes through with a timely and accurate assist:

Dear Uncle Jay,
You’re right that the key word for traveling to Brazil is “don’t.” Of course, that makes it sound like you shouldn’t travel there at all; in reality, (1) you shouldn’t travel to South America at all and (2) the word don’t really applies to everything related to Brazil.

This actually is Rio. This may not be one of the Olympic sports, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see this at some venues.
Brazil is basically all the cut-throat lunacy of a Mexican pirate town plunked helpfully in the center of a sweltering jungle, featuring a river filled with creatures that have teeth the size of your aunt and the predilection to eat something her size with them. 
Another feature of Brazil is the fact you can drive about ten minutes in any direction (in theory, as there aren’t nearly enough roads) and find yourself in a stone-age culture equipped with blowguns and cell phones. They will not hesitate to use both. No, the Czar doesn’t mean “either,” he means “both”: they’ll gleefully put a dart in your neck while talking to their agent.
Brazilians, on the other hand, are great for parties. The Czar strongly recommends befriending a Brazilian if you like to eat, drink, roller skate, dance, and basically repeat this every hour until four or five in the morning. These people do not quit.
It has been decades since the Czar went to Rio, though, so let’s see what we remember. Your high school Spanish will be just as useful to you here as when you went to Cozumel, by which we mean totally useless. Brazilians, as you already know, speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Portuguese is an interesting language that’s half-Spanish and half-arrogance. It has a lot of shushing noises, which is linguistically interesting: since Brazilians spend about two-thirds of their day inebriated, they simply modified the spelling of their language to reflect drunken slurs.
Helpful phrases:
“These are not my drugs, therefore you can keep them.” — Não minhas drogas; portanto, você pode mantê-los.
“Waiter, my seafood is threatening me.” — Garçom, meu frutos do mar me ameaça.
“What can I drink that won’t kill me?” — O que eu posso beber que não vai me matar?
“If I drink this caipirinha, will I still have two kidneys in the morning?” — Se eu beber esta caipirinha, vai ainda tenho dois rins na parte da manhã?
“Get me on the next flight home.” — Quero que o próximo vôo do avião casa.
“No, I’m Canadian.” — Não, sou canadense
Don’t worry about pronouncing the Portuguese correctly: just read it loud and in a drunk voice. They won’t understand you, but that’s because they’re too hammered themselves. “Vamos roller skating,” they’ll say in sympathy. 
The Czar is also familiar with Brazilian cooking, being something of a grill-master himself. The Brazilian method of cooking is quite simple: subject thick cuts of meat—python?—to extremely high heat until the food is charred black on the outside and bloody raw in the middle. If you look carefully, you might find some medium-well fibers of meat between the two, but these will be utterly soaked in salt.
The heat is unbearable in Rio, but clothing is totally optional. Actually, the bigger and hairier you are, the less you want to wear. The Czar guesses for a mostly shaved Sasquatch guy your size, Jay, you should wear an eyepatch in place of a thong. Surprisingly, that won’t be the most surprising thing you’ll see someone wear.
Everyone talks about the gigantic statue of Jesus up on the hilltop, but what they don’t tell you is that, over the last 50 years or so, the statue has totally turned itself around so it looks away. It would be a Vatican-sized miracle, but no one admits it because it reflects nothing but shame on the city. Hey, if you had to gaze down on that mess, you’d at least squint.
Anywhere you go, look for the nearest exit and use it.
Fortunately, you’ll be traveling there with fiber optic cables, which is good because you can use them to strangle the hotel clerk when he arrives in the middle of the night to perform his customary turn down service and leave something minty on your pillow. Don’t worry about the body: murder is not only sanctioned there but positively encouraged. If the authorities ask, simply say what all Brazilians say and claim you thought he was a poor person. You’re off the hook, and you can just leave the body where it is. There will be no air-conditioning in your room anyway, and within moments his corpse will be swollen with bottle fly maggots, so dumping it won’t matter.
For the last 50 years or so, the Czar has become increasingly convinced that the Olympics are just a huge joke that we’re not getting…so the organizers are choosing even dumber locations each time. “Let’s pick a disease-infested pithole that’s corrupt, filthy hot, and has no transportation or clean lodging.” “How about Rio? Chicago said no.”
I do plan on going to the beach at least once...
Let's see if I can find that eyepatch/thong he's suggesting... To Amazon!
(How appropriate!)

Wow. That would look frightening trying to hold in all my dangly bits...

Here's something even MORE better! A steampunk eyepatch/monocle!
This might be the ticket- but...
If that thing isn't the size of a one-quart oilcan, I'll probably be causing a ruckus on the beach at Copacabana...

Stronger, Higher, Faster - forsooth!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Life Pro Tips Needed...

Back in 2014 I sent a missive to The Czar over at Castle G, looking for guidance prior to my trip to the Sochi Olympics and got excellent advice which proved invaluable, and in one case, kept me from being shipped off to a gulag...
I saw the coquettish batting of fake eyelashes by a waitress in Rosa Khutor as a 'come hither'; Instead it was actually an advanced case of pink eye and a rather sizable stye causing the eyelid flutter.

I realized my mistake after cornering her in the space between the restaurant's outhouse and the offal pile by the river. Moments later I was having a close encounter with a 10" butcher's blade wielded by her boss/uncle accompanied by 2 members of the FSE.
Needless to say, I racked my brain for a plausible explanation when the advice for The Czar come ringing through- I shouted “გთხოვთ, არ მომეცი მწერები!!" Out of the corner of my eye I caught the flash of in incoming nightstick and everything went dark (or rather darker).
I woke up face-down in a landfill just south of Estosadok, bound in several yards of burlap and bailing wire, and a sign reading "სიკვდილი ამერიკული ღორის ძაღლები".

Since things worked out so well in Sochi I thought I would tempt fate and seek guidance again, this time invoking The Czar to assist me with suggestions for Rio de Janerio.

My petition:
O Most Dread and Awful Czar, Lord of the Flies, Keeper of the Pile, Master of the Steppes, Bringer of Kinetic Military Action, Torturer-in-Chief, Slayer of the Yaw and the Goiter, and Protector of the Holy Cities of Moscow, Chicago and parts of Louisville...

Once again I find myself in need of Pro Life Tips from Your Czarness…
As per usual I have been assigned to work in a place that the mere mention of evokes fear and palpitations in the hearts of travel professionals and dollar signs in the eyes of Personal Executive Protection agents.
Yep- you guessed it. I’m heading to Rio.
Your guidance regarding my sojourn in Sochi was invaluable; Your tip regarding quality horsemeat was spot-on, and I did use გვამი მდინარეში ერთხელ,” very often, given the construction contractors that received bids and money for projects that were either unfinished (tons of them) or didn’t even exist (arguably even a larger quantity).

Your knowledge was so useful I would once again visit the well of your vast wisdom and know-how and draw upon your knowledge of all things dangerous and deadly.

Word around the campfire is to stay away from: 
Beaches at night
Bars bearing any signage 1) in English, or 2) with the words “Nós Matar Turistas” (“We love tourists” I think...)
Downtown Rio
Northern Rio
Southern Rio
Western Rio
(There is no Eastern Rio. Word has it that is was sold to Uruguay and carted away in a truck years ago.)
Also avoid:
Local cops
City cops
Federal cops
Highway cops
Subway/Metro cops
Anyone with a uniform
Anyone without a uniform
Girls that look like boys
Boys that look like girls
Anyone with a pulse
Anyone without a pulse

And finally-
Don’t eat/drink:
Dairy products
Name brand liquor
Off brand liquor
Homemade liquor
Water (bottled, tap, bay, beach, bath/shower, ocean and rainfall)
Coke and other ‘soft’ drinks

And the biggest no-no-
Favelas – Don’t even look at the damned favelas.
As a matter of fact, according to the keeper of my leash, visiting a favela, no matter how well armed and capable I am, or the size of my personal protection detail is a violation that will get me a spot on the next plane out. (That’s my escape plan, by the way.)

Help me, Obi Wan Czarnobi
You’re my only hope.

Uncle Jay


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturday - Running Thoughts, Continued

In the ol' RSS feed today:

From the Washington Post-

'The FBI has found no evidence so far that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded more than 53 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, chose the popular establishment because of its gay clientele, U.S law enforcement officials said.'

I don't have a whole lot of confidence about anything the FBI says any more.
They couldn't find enough evidence to recommend charges for Hillary Clinton...
I have a feeling they couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the sole.


A certain broadcast news conglomerate should really stop using Obama's gushing praise of Hillary as a centerpiece...

"“There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton, ever. And that’s the truth.”
-Obama, at NC speech endorsing Clinton.

Anyone with two brain cells to rub together should see this for the sack of horseshit that it is.
Not even Obama could possibly believe it, narcissist that he is...


In a January 2008 debate, Senator Obama accused Clinton of being “willing to say anything to get elected.”
He repeated the charge in a radio ad that same month, in which he attacked Clinton as “what’s wrong with politics” and claimed she “will say anything to get elected."

Maybe that is what he's talking about?
That that is what a Democrat thinks makes the best possible candidate?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Hmmm - Running Thoughts for Today

Gosh... in about 2 weeks France was going to drop their "Elevated Alert" status.
Guess they might need to rethink that and exactly what Elevated means...
(Hint:don't ask DHS/TSA)


Civil unrest in the US &
BLM and their ilk...

Hard to believe we are in this state 8 years after electing Obama - the self-proclaimed healer of racial unrest.
How is this possible?


No doubt Obama will find it difficult to find the motive behind the attack in Nice...
What could it possibly be?


On that thought...
If only we could find a prevailing element connecting attacks in Nice, Orlando,  San Bernardino,  Batacan in Paris, Brussels airport, Istanbul airport etcetera ad nauseum.
What could it possibly be?

I keep hearing the terrorist attack in Nice being referred to as a "truck attack", as if the truck was the culprit, not unlike any of the AR-platform weapons are responsible for any and all gun violence...

I guess:
Terrorist attack in America = "gun violence because assault rifle!"

Terrorist attack in France = "truck attack"


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Obama Prevarications

After listening to Obama preach at me during the Dallas memorial, and tonight's rehash of his bullshit, I went woolgathering a bit...

I'm kind of looking forward to Obama going full-on "War on Guns!"

Look what that did for access to every possible recreational chemical when the War on (some) Drugs started.

It's going to be interesting...


Monday, July 04, 2016

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

Yeah- I'm gonna call Bullshit on that old saying...

Someone used it in conversation a few days ago and I had to take exception...
There may be instances where it may be somewhat accurate, but on the whole, things that hurt you badly but don't kill you generally fuck you up for long periods of time and leave you debilitated for a longer time...

Things like:

  • Diabetes
  • Getting hit by a truck while crossing a busy road and having your spine crushed and a skull fracture.
  • Contracting chronic Lyme disease.
  • Asthma 

I know a guy down in Australia who contracted Ross River Virus from a mosquito bite during a camping trip in Queensland several years ago and now he needs to be pushed around in a wheel-chair, moaning the whole time about his joints and inadequate ramp access to public buildings and mass transit issues.

TBG - - [Exit- pursued by a LPGA golfer]