Small Memories of Brasília. And My Father.

Someone told me that the pain should be a bit easier now, but it doesn’t work quite like that. I grant you, the despair and the commotion are gone, but it hurts even more than it did before. It seems like the pain increases with time, it doesn’t diminish as we hoped. The absence is stronger, bigger, more damaging. It is almost as if it is too much, so powerful, as powerful as my father.

Travelling to Brasilia. Congress decided to pay tribute to my father. I avoided thinking about it for as long as I could. Brasilia to me was mined territory, but I surrendered… the plane took off and I was in it.

Time CaloiDigitalizar0029I lived the majority of my life in Brasilia, where I arrived at the age of 4. I spent my teen years in the hallways of Congress, around my father. I came up with excuses to do school work at the House of Representatives, research at the Library of Congress, use the typewriter in my father’s office, try out his fellow congresswoman Cristina Tavares’ brand new Mac…

As a child, during the military years, I remember going to the Congress Club on Sundays and to the Press Club on Saturdays. On Sundays, we had barbecues with southerners like representatives Jorge Uequed and Amaury Muller and on Saturdays, Chico Pinto and Lysaneas Maciel played volley-ball with journalists such as Carlos Chagas and Flamarion Mosri. Perhaps they felt that on the weekends they could get away from the darkness that surrounded us all? Darkness that took Lysaneas to the cold days of exile in Switzerland and that arrested Chico for criticizing chilean dictator Pinochet. Chico was single at the time and spent a lot of time in our home. I was around 10 and adored him. When he was arrested my father had to take me to see him and bring him some chocolate ice cream. Or else.

1 Piada

In 84, right after our defeat in the direct vote for president amendment, I was at the Press Room at the House of Representatives when someone first called me by the not-so-cute name of “little consensus”. In a time when the consensus theory wasn’t big yet, I saw through the windows of the Press Room the troops surrounding Congress and ran to my father’s side. I believe that was the first time I was truly afraid. The other time was when Lysaneas – he really thought it was funny – called my house and told me he was the federal police terrifying me!

My first real job was with my father at the Ministry of Justice, my desk was next to his private office. I was so proud of this job I worked for free for months at end. I interrupted my English course at the University to live that year by his side. The year before, during the presidential campaign, it was already a year of discovery for me. He never knew, but I skipped a lot of classes just to listen to him talking on the phone and follow the designing of that fantastic work of political engineering that was Tancredo’s election for President of Brazil. The first President after the military, the first democratic President. I spent hours and hours just listening to him, mostly in code. And I LOVED when I managed to understand who he was talking to and what about. He never spoke openly, not even decades after the end of the dictatorship. And he pretended to be mad at me when I told him who he was talking to. He complained, but he loved it. It was something we shared.

Small memories, big memories, memories. This book we are writing is endless. The memories are permanent and more alive each day. In Brasilia, Recife, Caruaru or Paris. My father lives inside us, we take him with us and he will never leave us.

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Men, Women and Children…

pops sorriso

Men, Women and Children. Congressmen, secretaries, doctors, nurses, senators, teachers and presidents. He always saw beyond the title, he always looked for the human being inside each one of us. His Contact List had Eduardo, the Governor, and Eduardo the street vendor, and he answered calls from both with no distinction whatsoever. I believe this was one of his strongest qualities.

I was wondering what could I add to all that was said about my father, after so many great speeches by so many great men. And above all, in this House that he loved so profoundly. Congress was his home away from home. The respect he felt for this institution was part of his being.

Always go beyond. That was another of his traits. He saw solutions instead of problems and possibilities instead of obstacles.

Men, Women and Children. That was how, with his powerful voice, my father started all his rallies’ speeches. And the people on the floor listening always followed him, usually with a smile on their faces. How many times I found myself on the floor, touched by the people’s reaction to his words. And how many times I found myself at his side on the stage, touched by his reaction to the emotions emanating from the crowd.

Men, Women and Children. My father did not go through life unnoticed. His political history proves that. Personally, he was above all someone that unifies. His close family was enormous and since childhood we became used to sharing him. The wife, three daughters, five grandchildren, brothers and sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, nephews, nieces and cousins. And he reigned. His friends were his brothers. His brothers were his friends. A hug, a phone call, an unexpected visit, a smile. And he left his mark whenever and wherever he went. And thus his memory will remain forever alive, his remembrances forever strong.


*I hope this makes some sense in English, it is very difficult to translate something so personal.

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Internet Usage Breakdown


Internet Usage Worldwide

Browse more infographics.

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Archivarius has the answer!

I actually wrote this post for my translation blog at, but thought it would be relevant for anyone who works with a lot of information and needs to retrieve it fast… recipes for example. Here it is:

Translators keep every bit of information that we think maybe, just maybe, we will need sometime in the future. This moment invariably comes, but then… where is it? Inside the incredibly complicated folder structure we concocted to make it impossible to find anything? Or you, like me, have given up on that and simply save everything in a “Reference” folder and hope will find the file when needed?

arch geral

Well then, Archivarius is the answer to our problems! After creating a simple folder structure (not that it is necessary, but it will placate our conscience for not doing it!) all you need to do is ask this little gem of a software and it WILL tell you. It indexes the content of each and everyone of the files, even image files, and will return with a list of extracts, making it painless to identify immediately if that information is what we need.

The search queries are easy to setup and are explained in plain language, such as:

arch query builder

But don’t take my word for it – try!! You will not regret it! And there is a plus: no learning curve. It is simple and straightforward. You will learn how to use it right away.

arch simplicity

Nesse exemplo, eu fiz uma busca por “sergio altenkirch”. Archivarius retornou com arquivos de imagens e texto.



PS… and no, I’m not getting anything from the people at Likasoft! Alegre

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Let’s not forget

Those who forget their history are at risk of repeating it… Holocaust Memorial Day


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Tolstoy by tube

lendoToday I followed a link a dear friend sent me. It was a small article written by her journalist daughter, Maria Julia. Sopa de Letras talks of being in a hurry and of good books. Things that don’t go together. She also talks about how she misses reading slowly, enjoying every word. And what Maria Julia did with Mme Bovary, I did with Anna Karenina, in the hammock at my aunt’s house in Caruaru at age 11. Carefully chosen in the midst of a huge classics collection, the name caught my eye. The collection, beautiful, was red and gold, hardcover of course. And from Caruaru, in the countryside of Northeastern Brazil, I travelled to Russia. Tolstoy’s Russia. And that trip led me away to far away lands.

Maria Júlia says something else that rings so true. I don’t read like that anymore, enjoying every paragraph, absorbing every word. I don’t enjoy every step Cousin Basílio took to go up the stairs. Our daily rhythm took that away from us. But now that I travelled back in time, and felt it again, in Tolstoy’s magnificent pages and so many others that live in my memories, I want that feeling again. I will start by again reading Anna Karenina. Anna Karenina that I read again and again, in Portuguese, in English, hardcover and paperback, in my aunt’s hammock and in London’s tube. Now I will read it again, but slowly this time, as good books deserve.

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The sky above

do alto

Today there’s time only for a photo, but check how beautiful this photo Sergio took of my son!

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Chocolate at the Grandmother’s

Even chocolate tastes better at the Grandmother’s… take a look at what my mom did for her grandchildren: a chocolate egg filled with brigadeiro (a chocolate dessert/mousse/ganache typical of Brazil).


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It is time to take the snobbery out of theatre


I have always felt like this.., but Stephen Fry wrote about it so I won’t. Alegre Here’s what he has to say:

Showgirl Fry

By Stephen Fry
April 3rd, 2011

After a gap of twenty years I have rediscovered my love of stage musicals.

I owe a lot to the form. It was the almost unbelievably fortunate circumstance of being asked while still in my 20s to update the book of Me and My Girl that gave me financial independence. “Book”, incidentally, is the jargon term for the written bits of a show that aren’t music or lyrics: the story and dialogue, in other words.

There are plenty who seem to feel that musicals are a low art form, something for the ignorant masses not to be uttered in the same breath as legitimate theatre, opera or ballet. Nor indeed, the same people would have us believe, are songs from the shows comparable in quality, authenticity or artistry to rock and roll, jazz, blues, hip hop and other popular modes. The songbooks of Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, Kern and early Richard Rodgers might be excluded from this anathema because their connection to staged musical comedy is all but forgotten and their songs can be accorded the status of swing and jazz standards.

Many still wrinkle their noses when they consider how much of the West End is given over to cheap, tinselly shows whose appeal is chiefly to either the matronly less-educated end of the coach-party theatregoing populace or to hysterically camp aficionados for whom Sondheim and Fosse are immortals and Judy and Liza and Barbra divinities.

Well, I won’t say I ever reacted against musicals quite so strongly as that, but I must confess that I have spent a large part of my life thinking that perhaps they just weren’t my kind of thing. Ingratitude, given how much Me and My Girl did for me, but – as I say – all that has changed.

Over the past few months I have been enchanted by Legally Blonde and Avenue Q, as well as by smaller shows like Departure Lounge and Ordinary Days. The other week I attended a cabaret of songs written by the brilliant young Scottish composer/lyricist Michael Bruce, whose Portrait of a Princess has been such a YouTube hit lately and the week before last I found myself simply blown away by Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre, a brilliant adaptation of Alan Bennett’s multi-BAFTA winning 1984 film A Private Function.Building on the best of Bennett but with the addition of dazzling lyrics by Anthony Drewe and fabulously hummable tunes from George Stiles, Betty Blue Eyes delivers as deliciously happy an evening as anyone could dream of. Continuing the tradition of great theatre directors collaborating on modern British musicals,BBE is directed by Sir Richard Eyre, who should be knighted all over again for best-ever-use-of-a-pig on stage. That radiant Betty is certainly worth the ticket price alone, but if you add Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith, Adrian Scarborough, David Bamber, Anne Emery… well.


So excited have I become by my new found enthusiasm for musicals that I’m even hosting an evening on Sunday 10th April at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly called “The Great British Musical”, a celebration of past, present and future shows. Some of the very finest of our country’s performers will be there, from Alfie Boe to Julie Atherton. You will be happy to know that I have agreed not to sing a note or dance a step. The evening is in aid of Perfect Pitch whose whose raison d’être is the encouragement, fostering, development and production of new British musicals. Tickets may or may not be available by following this link.

So what is it about musicals that has recently lit my fire, floated my boat and wowsered my trousers? We imagine that musicals are all about escape, fantasy, romance and comedy. Well, it would be absurd to deny that they don’t deliver those much needed and highly prized rewards and that this surely would be reason enough to thank them. But for me as much as anything an evening at the musical theatre is a celebration of talent. It simply astonishes me, indeed often moves me to tears, how many men and women we have in this country who devote themselves body and soul to our entertainment. Eight times a week for months on end there are boys and girls out there doing things that I could never do. They earn a living wage, but really not much more. Only the known stars (often television stars lately translated to the stage) earn big money. The choreographers, musical directors, dance captains, musicians, company managers, administrators, directors and producers are devoted and dedicated practitioners of an art that matters. I love opera with a huge passion, but sometimes my soul yearns more for that easy transition from natural speech to song, that contemporaneity, the wit, the pizazz and the glamorous hoopla that only a great musical can provide. I know that teachers, nurses, soldiers, bus-drivers and millions of others also throw themselves into their work with skill and devotion and that the singling out of a profession that many will think of as quite self-regarding enough already might annoy, but there we are.

Gay people supposedly love musicals more than others because they offer a glittering and colourful Emerald City that contrasts with the grim black and white reality of gay life. Well, that was once true, of course it was, but now it is no more true of a gay experience than of a straight one. We are all as likely to want to leap over the rainbow and follow the yellow brick road as each other.

I think it is time to take the snobbery out of theatre. I am convinced that as I write the West End is in a wonderful, an almost unprecendently wonderful, condition. The balance of important new plays, classic revivals and high quality musical shows old and new is just about perfect at the moment, but it would be less of a world class theatre district, less of a significant cultural phenomenon were it not for the health and vitality of the stage musical. With figures like Michael Bruce and Stiles and Drewe writing from within the tradition and geniuses like Tim Minchin breathing new life from outside it, I can only be confident about the future. If you haven’t recently, then – wherever you live – try and find time to “take in a show” as they used to say – I know it isn’t cheap, but I think you’ll find it worth every penny.

— this post was copied under the terms of the creative commons and according to Stephen Fry’s own website’s terms of use.

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For life

Today is Valentine’s day in Brazil and it reminded me of the song that played when I entered on my wedding.

That’s for you, marido! :-)

From the recording Elis & Tom, 1974, Los Angeles

Composição : A.C. Jobim/V.Moraes

Just a note…
Ok.. I am a translator, but definetely no poet!!
I translated the meaning but in no way it represents the beauty of Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes’ lyrics.

Oh! meu bem-amado
Oh! my beloved
Quero fazer-te um juramento, uma canção
I want to make you a pledge, a song
Eu prometo, por toda a minha vida
I promise, for my whole life
Ser somente tua e amar-te como nunca
To be only yours and love you as nobody
Ninguém jamais amou
ever loved you
Oh! meu bem amado, estrela pura aparecida
Oh! my beloved, a pure shiny star
Eu te amo e te proclamo
I love you and I proclaime
O meu amor, o meu amor
My love, my love
Maior que tudo quanto existe
Larger than anything that exists
Oh! meu amor
Oh! My love

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