Monday, November 29, 2004

Breeders Utd.

Who ARE these people?

Oh my God, oh my God,!!! She uses the "But", how surprising. HOW???? HOW CAN SHE EVEN THINK THIS WAY???

I fully agree with
this BTW.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The All Blacks will kick ass NOW!

The All Blacks are playing France in Paris, beginning NOW!!! And the match is broadcast LIVE on TV5 - YEY, they're walking into the stadium!!! HAKA COMING!!! Thank God I speak French, I won't miss a thing!!!!!!!

I'm so fucking excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


- The HAKA was bloody fabulous!!! I'm even more excited now if possible!

- The commentator is telling us ladies to "shut your eyes now, the camera is zooming in on X's posterior!" Is he mad??? THAT's half the fun!

- Oh these bloody French and their appaling mangling of foreign words, I can't understand A SINGLE Maori name! But NZ is winning, all that matters!

- Blood's been drawn, a Frenchie is bleeding, "ta gueule!" AHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

- (I'm scaring myself a bit here)

- This is brilliant, you can hear the referree talking to them and their answers REALLY CLEARLY!

- Hell, now MINE are bleeding as well (Chris Jack, poor thing!)

- Froggie who do you think you're fooling, get up already, be a man!

- Dan Carter scored!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 12-6!

- This is bad for my lungs, BAD!

- My hearing has fine-tuned, I'm alright with the names now

- Commentator: "But the New-Zealanders are ravenous, they play like they've been starved!" "The French are suffering!"

- BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL!!! Tana Umaga (captain) resisted 2 tackles and YEY!!!!!!!! TRY! It was gorgeous to watch!!!

- 19-6!!!

- Meanwhile, dog has flown from sofa scared out of her wits w my cheering more often than I can count. And still she keeps returning.

- This truly is a gentlemen's game AND brutally honest, there is no padding whatsoever. if you bleed you get sent to the blood-bin where they either manage to stop the bleeding (stitching on the spot has been known to happen) or you are replaced by a ... blood-sub. How thoughtful. See what I mean? And you may scream at the ref but please call him "Sir" - at all times.

- Collins ROCKS!!!!!!!! WELL DONE! 24-6!!! And this is the second half already!

- These All Blacks are PURE MAGIC, "Les Français n'en peuvent absolument plus!" - YOU BET YOUR SORRY ARSE! "The All Blacks are teaching us a lesson" "They have the finesse, the technique, the power."

- 3rd NZ try!!!! This Carter is genius, I think I'm a bit in love! 33-6!

- ANOTHER TRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KELLEHER, that was bloody beautiful!!! 38-6

- Ooohhh... It's alright Carter, don't look like that.

- NOW the French have woken up it seems and "are giving it all". Pfff, a bit late isn't it. Don't bother, the All Blacks ARE the best!

- It is unbelievable how fit they are, this is their last game and they're indefatigable!

- Now that was uncalled for, how about some fairplay, Frenchie? No need to get violent is there. Take it like a man for pity's sake!

- Kelleher is down, how did that happen? What happened??? I HATE not knowing enough!

- THEY DID IT AGAIN!!! The bloke with the blondified rasta hair, yey!!!

- YEEEEEEES!!!!!!!!! Carter did it again! Game's over! THE ALL BLACKS WON!!! 45-6! What a bloody gorgeous game, GORGEOUS!

I am SO in love with this game.

TOLD you the All Blacks would kick ass!!!


Which Really, REALLY Surprised Her!

This is my dog. She is NOT like other dogs. And it’s not because she’s far more beautiful, fearful and thicker than any other dog, no.

I was organising .docs a while ago and she was lying on the sofa next to me. I suddenly realised she was very still, a very intent look about her, transfixed by the telly. I followed her gaze and bloody hell,


As the dancers twirled and leapt about, she tilted her head accordingly. When they went off stage, she kept her head tilted till they or some new ones returned. She stayed like that ALMOST 10 MINUTES! Then a cat dared to walk in and the spell was broken since no matter is more pressing than the urge to grab a very much suspecting and already protesting cat by the neck and thus induce cat to hiss claw eviscerate play.

Do you realise what this means? My dog is part of an art-appreciative ELITE. My dog shows true AESTHETIC DISCERNMENT. This should be included here you know. MY DOG LIKES BALLET! But only modern one, mind you. She's a bit of a contemporary snob, it seems.

Thursday, November 25, 2004





igure it out)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Heroes of the Sea, Noble People*

Let me tell you a horror story of burocratic proportions:

You start your professional life so you go to Social Security and the Finances in order to make sure everything is done properly. FINE. Then you get these things we call green slips maybe? (recibos verdes, can’t even think of the word) - basically you have a receipt booklet that you fill in every month to receive your sad wages even if you have a contract; this way, YOU are not given any social benefits and the company still gets your work. It’s like a plague here, bloody everywhere and messing up everything. FINE. Then you are awarded a scholarship for your PhD and you go to both the Finances and SocSec in order to find out what to do next. You are advised NOT to close activity because it won’t matter anyway, your scholarship is exempt from any deductions and since you can’t work while receiving it (another joke in itself because some are pitiful; mine was international and therefore quite alright even though Israel is so bloody expensive), no incompatibility and, as the nice man explained, “it’s always good to have the booklet bcs you never know”. FINE. Then the whole PhD sub-drama, let’s skip forward, you return to Portugal and get a loan to go to vet school and do the odd translation and proof-editing and data treatment jobs (odd because you CANNOT work full-time since it’s all you can do to keep your head afloat anyway). You need proof that you are working so you are given a working-student status at school - and THAT is a must because if I tell you I have exams in September and that I am allowed a maximum of 4 subjects that DOES NOT mean I have 4 exams, oh no. Why lend students a hand? That means that, in a worst case scenario, I have 12 (TWELVE) exams: Theory, Practice and Theoretical Practice. And we also have exams during the Easter holydays BECAUSE THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME otherwise. So I could well use the working classes' extra exam dates. FINE. So you get a statement from one of the firms and you deliver it to the proper services. Your status is very clear on the grade list and your VERY HIGH tuitions (amazing that with all they get from you they still cannot afford toilet paper or soap UNLESS the European inspectors are in town - oh but how you live when they are! So… civilised.) so all is well. FINE. You are then called to the services in JUNE and told that your matriculation will be CANCELLED because you have failed to pay tuitions, so sorry. But you did pay them. No you didn’t. Yes you did, you have the Xerox copies to prove it. Oh! Could you then bring them in the very next day otherwise you will be kicked out and THEN THERE WON’T BE ANYTHING ANYONE CAN DO? FINE. Oh (afterthought), BTW, everything IS alright with the status, you expect. Status? You mean….? No, we have no documents regarding that. WHAT??? But you were given the documents IN OCTOBER!!! You are LISTED as a working student! Nope, nope, so sorry, nothing we can do now. BUT YOU NEED THE ALTERNATIVE EXAM DATES! Well sorry and all that but now it’s too late, you should have brought it in on time. YOU DID! Sorry really, nothing we can do. FINE. So this year you go to SocSec to get a declaration for school because you are no longer exempt. Other than the waiting period it should be pretty fast. Oh dear! This is the wrong deduction form, whyever did you fill this one? This is not the one for self-employment. Well, because the VERY EXPENSIVE ACCOUNTANT YOU HIRED TO MAKE SURE ALL WAS KOSHER told you to. Oh dear, oh dear, but this is the wrong one… And why didn’t you close up all activity when you received the scholarship? Because YOUR COLLEAGUE told me not to, JUST IN CASE! Oh deary… Weeeeell, I’m afraid it’s possible that you will be made to pay the retroactive deductions… Oh something’s not quite right here, hold just a second… This is very bizarre, I’m almost as confused as you are now. You are registered as working for someone, as a member of statutary organisations (oh that’s for when you are a director of a company, for instance) AND a pensioner. I’m sorry, did you say pensioner? How could I be a pensioner at this age??? Well, you could if you had any severe disabilities - do you? No, I didn’t think so. You should sort out this mess as soon as possible, you know. FINE. So now you have to Xerox every single document since 1997 AND maybe still file your taxes retroactively since 1998 WITH A HEAVY FINE because you were given bad counsel AND you may have to a) sigh in relief because they didn’t make you pay anything because what you’ve earned is ridiculous really; b) pay the nice people around 500 Euros; c) pay the very nice people 90 Euros for EVERY MONTH from September 98 till NOW - you don’t know how much that amounts to because YOU’RE TOO AFRAID TO DO THE MATHS! So you come home ABSOLUTELY FUMING and WORRIED OUT OF YOUR MIND and thinking that that money you won TAX FREE on that TV show may just not remain tucked away for a rainy day and how the hell will this improve your insomnia is what you want to know. Then you turn on the news and wouldn’t you know it, your Porties have outdone themselves YET AGAIN!!! Apparently you will now be required to pay TOLL FEES - T.O.L.L. F.E.E.S! - if you wish to enter some cities of choice. So terribly generous of the EU to welcome their Arab brothers.

Fuckortugal, we should be called. Thank you so much, land of mine. Up your bloody yours. No really. FUCK YOU BIG.

* the first lines of our national anthem. Go
here for a really good laugh. [It’s not race, it’s people. PEOPLE! Can’t anyone translate anymore???]

I want me some hypocretin hyper-secretion

Bees do it.

Bears do it.

Even some lizards do it.

Me? I can't even manage half the sleeping patterns of a bloody dolphin [and let NO ONE start ooohing and aaahing over the Flipper crap! I could tell you stories about them - as a matter of fact I will, it's on the list]! Which is HILARIOUS when you think about it bcs that would leave me with what, 1/4 of what I actually need which BTW is 1/4 more than what I'm getting RIGHT NOW!!!

Hypocretin. The name says it all. At this rate, what with my brain cells fast undergoing inexorable annihilation, that's what I'll end up being: BELOW cretin, with the IQ of a turnip. A very pissed off turnip. Hardly a pretty sight. Excuse me while I cough up a furball will you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

2 - Is there abortion among other animals?

This is Number Two of who knows how many posts regarding what defines as as humans. Go here for the introductory post and previous one.

[NOTE: Heffalumps are VERY unwelcome. I do NOT wish to see any judgemental comments. Express your surprise, your glee, your disgust but not from a moral standpoint please. I am neither advocating nor berating abortion and its ramifications, I am simply presenting facts from animal societies and the kind of pregnancy control mechanisms they use. I know the regulars have the intelligence to see what this post is about; if you don’t, exit now or keep mum. Otherwise you'll annoy the hell out of me and I'll delete you bfr you can say "troll". Or I’ll just tell
Danny and he’ll crash your computer. HA!]

Abortion: the voluntary termination of pregnancy

We agree that the purpose of an abortion is to end a pregnancy for WHATEVER reason, right? These are some mechanisms that animals use to control pregnancies and in some cases stop them. I’m including infanticide not because it relates to abortion per se but because abortion is in a broad sense a means of population control - i.e. you are effectivelly preventing natality - and so is infanticide, both having as a consequence the absence of offspring. I'm allowed to do this sort of thing bcs this is my blog you see.


Monotremes - Egg-laying mammals (platypus and echidna). Reduced placenta. They have mammary glands but lack nipples. Cloaca (common vent for faeces and urine)
Marsupials - also have a cloaca but give birth to live young (vivipary). Reduced, inefficient placenta. Very short gestation period, give birth to poorly developed young.
Placentals - us and most mammals; viviparous, highly developed placenta that allows for exchanges between maternal and fetal circulatory systems. Longer gestation period.


copulation -> ovulation-> fertilization -> pregnancy -> birth


copulation -> females store sperm -> ovulation -> fertilization

een in hibernating bats. Copulation occurs prior to hibernation, and sperm (spermatozoon, male gamete) is retained within the female throughout the hibernation period. Ovulation and fertilization occur when the ovum (female gamete) is released from the ovary after the bats arouse in the spring. DF is an adaptation to winter dormancy (males require some time post-hibernation before they produce sperm again) and is related to food availability and other weather-related factors.

Also found in other insect-eating bats, many insects, Gould's goanna (reptile from AU),
mink (females store sperm from several males so one litter has more than one father).


copulation -> ovulation -> fertilization-> early development -> dormancy -> implants and finishes development

he fertilised egg (ovum + spermatozoon) remains dormant in the uterus for a while before implantation on the uterine wall. This allows females to give birth around the same time each year when weather conditions (including food availability etc) are optimal. It allows for mating at the ideal time (female and male in their best physical condition) and bearing the young at the ideal time (friendly temperature, food availability). The intervening period is longer than the actual pregnancy.

Found in the bear family (including pandas), Mustelids (European badger, river and sea otters, wolverines, weasels), many bats, kangaroos and wallabies, insectivorans, armadillos, Mustelids, all Pinnipeds (fur and true seals, sea lions, walruses) and two species of roe deer.

European roe deer is the only artiodactyl (even-toed hoofed mammal) to exhibit DI. After the egg is released from the ovary and fertilised by the sperm it travels to the womb where it remains floating for five months, during which the cells of the embryo divide and multiply slowly. Unlike other species with DI, the unimplanted embryo controls its own growth.


copulation -> fertilization -> implantation -> dormancy -> resumption of development

The fertilised egg implants after fertilization but the development is slow.

In bats of the G. Miniopterus ovulation, copulation and early embryonic development occur normally immediately before hibernation, but the embryo experiences developmental arrest before uterine attachment.


This variant is basically a form of delayed implantation found in marsupials. Development of the embryo is delayed as long as there is another infant suckling in the mother's pouch. When the infant leaves the pouch (or if it dies before doing so), the embryo that is in diapause starts to develop and is born soon after. This type of reproductive strategy is advantageous because it allows females to reproduce almost continuously and allows for almost immediate replacement of lost young.
(This one is giving me a bit of grief bcs I read an article to the effect that the kangaroo milk from one single female is biochemically different in different teats so as to allow both the already jumping-around Roo and the still-embryonic and very much teat-attached Joey to have the exact milk composition they need. So I'll check further and will update bcs they can't very well have it both ways.)

AH!!! FOUND IT!!! I'm a bloody good detective is what I am!

"Species which have this unusual ability normally mate again soon after the female gives birth. The tiny newly born kangaroo (less than 25 mm long) moves unaided into its mother's pouch and attaches itself to one of four teats. During the early stages of pouch life the young is permanently attached to the teat, but as it matures and begins to grow hair it also develops the ability to release and reattach itself to the teat. In the late stages of pouch life, once it has a thin covering of fur, the young one begins to explore the outside world for increasing lengths of time until eventually it is old enough to be excluded permanently from the pouch. Complete weaning may take a number of months more after the young has permanently left the pouch. If the mother gives birth during this time, the newborn young will attach itself to a different teat to that being used by the older young. It is remarkable that when this happens the mother produces two different kinds of milk for the two different-aged young." I KNEW IT, I KNEW IT!


copulation -> fertilization -> abortion of embryos prior to normal end of gestation

The Bruce effect: when female mice encounter a strange male or his scent and the male who fertilized her is no longer around she aborts or reabsorbs her litter. By aborting her developing litter she’ll be able to mate with him and produce young that will live, rather than waste resources with a litter he will kill (because he didn’t sire them)


(I’ve chosen
lions as an example because they are extensively documented but they are by no means the only ones)

“When a new male coalition takes over a pride they are often confronted by the cubs of the males they defeated. Males have no time to spare for protecting the offspring of their predecessors because their own time with a pride is limited. Females will not mate again until their cubs are at least 18 months of age; therefore, males kill all the young cubs in their new pride in order to bring the females back to reproductive readiness. Older cubs and sub-adults stand a chance, however, because they can often escape from infanticidal males. These cubs are evicted and must fend for themselves although occasionally their mothers will leave with them and remain apart from the pride until the cubs reach independence.

Female lions are also infanticidal and will kill the young cubs of rival prides; however, they never kill the cubs of other females within their own pride. This differentiates lions from predators such as wild dogs where dominant females prevent their companions from breeding. Females will often fight back when new males attempt to come and kill their cubs. In fact, defending cubs against infanticidal acts by outside males is one of the primary reasons why female lions live in groups. As the following video shows, there is strength in numbers, and groups of females can often defeat infanticidal males and successfully protect their cubs."

here for lionesses’ defence against infanticide (Have I mentioned lionesses kick ass? Never mind the tiny infanticide detail.) Go here for primate infanticide

Infanticide seems to be mostly done by males in primates. J. Goodall documented a female chimp, Passion, who, with her daughter Pom, killed and ate several babies in the group. Unlike what happens with males, these killings seemed to be only for the meat. I remember reading abt this duo in books and articles and this behaviour seems to be pathological. Although chimps love meat and will kill for it, their young seem to be safe for the most part. But there's more to chimps than meets the eye, I'll tell you abt it as I move along the list.


So yes, abortion exists in the animal kingdom as well. And even though it’s not the same thing at all, embryos will sometimes not be allowed to implant/further develop under extreme adverse conditions (for a human equivalent let’s take the pill, an extremely adverse condition because, even though it doesn’t always prevent ovulation, it will almost always prevent implantation of the fertilised egg) (Again, I get away with these comparisons bcs it’s my blog and I just want to have a bit of fun and bring to you some of the wonders of Ethology, Bio-Anthropology and Biology). I just marvel at all these mechanisms and am, as always, in awe of animals and their astonishingly different evolutionary modes (evolution in a Darwinian sense means adaptation and not progress as most people seem to think). (Are you having fun reading all this? Is it too much? Should I make it shorter? Have you had enough?)

Thank you
Ron (click on the link, it's fast and v funny!) for reminding me of something: "Strier found that, at different times, muriqui monkeys (Brachyteles arachnoides) of Brazil go out of their way to eat the leaves of Apuleia leiocarpa and Platypodium elegans, and the fruit of Enterlobium contortisiliquim (monkey's ear). The first two plants contain isoflavanoids, which are compounds similar to estrogen. Ingesting the leaves may increase estrogen levels in the body, thereby decreasing fertility. Alternatively, eating monkey's ear may increase the monkey's chances of becoming pregnant because the plant contains a precursor to progesterone (the "pregnancy hormone") called stigmasterol."

Read Wild Health, by Cindy Engels, for more on how animals self-medicate (includes getting drunk and hangover medicine). I promise you it's an absolutely worthy buy.

Monday, November 22, 2004

"Atlantic 'shark finning' ban signed"

This is brilliant news, it was about time!

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- More than 60 countries agreed Sunday to ban the killing of sharks for their fins in the Atlantic Ocean, a move that conservationists hope will increase protection of threatened species around the world.

(…)The agreement bans the practice known as shark finning in which fishermen slice off a shark's fin and throw the carcass overboard, leaving room for more fins. Shark fins are a delicacy in Asian countries and command high prices: shark fin soup sells for more than $100 in Singapore, according to WildAid, an environmental group. (…)

(…)ICCAT, which includes 63 nations, also agreed to collect more data on shark catches and identify nursery areas. (…) According to the United Nations, more than 100 million sharks are killed each year. A study last year by Dalhousie University marine scientists estimated that 90 percent of the world's large fish -- including sharks -- have disappeared since 1950.(…) "Sharks are exceptionally slow growing, and they take many decades to recover once they're depleted. They warrant extra cautious management," Fordham said.

Click here for the whole article.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

1 - Do other animals have missionary position et al, orgasms and sex toys?

This is the first in the list that I’ll tackle. Oral sex, missionary position, orgasms and sex toys have been mostly been referred to as exlusively human activities.

You think?

Welcome to the world of BONOBOS*. This will forever change the way you view great apes. I hope. Please read (or at least take a look at) Dr. Franz de Waal article first. Him you can trust absolutely, he is the Alpha Male of bonobo primatology.

Now that you have an idea of what bonobos are (chimps), go here for pictures. The text at the bottom will also give you an easy behavioural/physiological overview that is pretty mind-blowing. Right? And now we’ve covered 1/3 of the title. For the rest, please see this site’s pictures as well (take text with a grain of salt, it’s mostly true but a bit skewed. If Dr. de Waal is your Torah, this is Chick Lit.)

As for orgasms, let me just add that it isn't only bonobos. Studies of Japanese macaques have shown that they also have them and there are some curious related facts: "When the level of physical stimulation experienced by females during copulation was statistically controlled, the highest frequency of female orgasms was found among pairs formed by high-ranking males and low-ranking females and the lowest frequency among pairs formed by low-ranking males and high-ranking females." Click here for more. Rhesus monkeys and chimps are also said to experience orgasms.

But more importantly, not only do Stump-tailed macaque females have org*sms but both females and males exhibit a distinct facial expression to go with it (also during female-female encounters); females exhibit uterine contractions as well.

Here you find annotated bibliography on the subject.

Bonobos will play an important part later on in the list. Stay tuned.


Other links:


Great apes

Lower primates or prosimians

Ape vocalizations


*Bonobos are chimps and therefore NOT monkeys. The classification is as follows:

rimates: binocular vision and very flexible limbs and digits, grasping hands, most have opposable thumbs

Anthropoids: Hominids, Apes and Monkeys
Suborders: Pro-simians (lemurs - have whiskers and extended snouts) and Anthropoids (higher primates, all others - rely on vision rather than scent)

Hominids - bipeds (erect locomotion) (but bonobos will too at times) (and chimps struck by polio will adapt and walk erect - J. Goodall)

Apes (gorillas, chimps, orang-utans, gibbons, siamangs) robust, larger bodies, more upright posture, no tails, no hard rump pads, good climbers, terrestrial (oranges are arboreal), dextrous hands with opposable thumbs AND toes (we lost it), omnivorous, build sleeping nests every night, fewer offsping who mature slower, VERY complex brains

Monkeys - most have tails, skeletons closer to carnivores’, most cannot swing from branches bcs shoulder articulation doesn’t allow it, some carnivores

What makes us hum*ans uni*que?

As some of you know, I am now in vet school but I’m also an Anthropologist. My anthropology was never the cultural type, I did research in Ethology (animal behaviour).

I am preparing a post on what defines us as humans, what makes us unique as a species. For that, I will need your help. This list is partly what I’ve remembered so far from articles on the subject and some given to me by others. Please tell me more (you can email me if you’re shy). Don’t give vague suggestions, it has to be pretty specific (see below).

Because some of the things listed below require extensive explaining, I will break it into
several minor posts. Check the sidebar, I'll add a new category right at the beginning to make it easier to follow.

There’s a point to this other than I'm loving to exercise my Anthropological fingers again. And you might just be very, very surprised.

1 - Org*sms, or*l sex + miss*onary position + sex t*ys

2 - Abortion

- Homosexuality

- Language (not simply communicating)

- Insomnia (how could I've missed this one!)

- Art

- Self-recognition

- Humour/laughter

- Killing own species’ members for no apparent reason

- Culture

- Mourning the dead

- Burying the dead

- Active teaching

- Religion

- Racism

- Revenge

- Tools (makeshift and use)

- Vanity

- Greed

- Imagination

- Clothing

- Intuitive thinking

- Ritualisation

- The Means to Conceivably End All Life On This Planet (just because, there’s no out-arguing this one really)

- Awareness of impending own death

- Sense of time (past, future, memories, expectations, learning and planning)

Do you have any more?

I've been to London to look at the Queen

- Hallo, X here, how can I help you?
- Hallo, my internet connection is down. There are only two lit lights on my modem. Are you having any trouble with the server?
- No, not that I know of. Did anything happen?
- Not that I noticed, it just went dead all of a sudden.
- Could you restart your computer?
- I’ve done that already.
- Alright. Would you mind disconnecting and connecting your modem again?
- I’ve done that as well.
- You unplugged and replugged all the cables?
- Yes
- Uhm
- …
- Do you see the on/off button?
- Yes.
- Click it once very gently.
- Oh! The four lights are back on!
- Good! Your modem was on standby, now you know what your problem was.
- Yes I do. It's called CAT.
- Oh! Good grief, I know exactly what you’re talking about! Mine also rubs her face against every little thing she can reach.
- Yes, I can imagine. You should have included it in the troubleshooting booklet.
- At least next time you’ll know how to fix it immediately.
- I will won’t I. Well, thank you very much.
- You’re welcome.

Does this mean...

... that someone likes me so much they have Bloglined me??? That's fucking GORGEOUS!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

New Pro Bono Weekly (and some serious HOTNESS)

Leonard Lee, the Kiwi gone Aussie, the man who is mad enough to NOT support the All Blacks*.

How dare he!


* Scroll down till you find a link for All Black 1997 Haka - play it. Then try and tell me it DOESN'T make you want to start randomly breeding! You may tell me but I WON'T BELIEVE YOU. There was a William Lawson's commercial on the telly years ago. Huge stadium. All Blacks (I think it was them) and Scots wearing nothing but kilts [I love the Haka. I love men in kilts. Also in clogs but you don't care abt that. Sadly]. The rugby players do their Maori thing. The Haka must have scared a few brave men in its time. The Scots were unimpressed and just lifted their kilts. All of them. Simultaneously. SO HOT IT HURT! The commercial isn't shown anymore. And life, I can assure you, is bleaker. If hormonally more balanced.

Oh wait. Found it! DOWNLOADED IT! It’s a good thing I don’t know how to link .mpeg files or there’d be wanton behaviour all over the blogosphere. Life IS sweet. And very, very, VERY LEKKER!


The real McCoy

Yes, that was the real thing [follow link at your own peril]. Genetic coding gone rogue, I'm afraid. I never dreamt a tiny willie would cause such a commotion. Dahling anon, I'm sorry to hear it made you scream. I didn't find it scary or repulsive at all, just so bloody interesting! But I imagine the whole thing weighs heavily on the poor man [!]. It should be pretty easy to fix though [!!!] [I'll quit it now].

I'm nothing if not educational. Just admit it, people, stop being coy: you find it FASCINATING as well. Innit?

(Oh look here!)

(So many comments! Why, I think they like me!)

Friday, November 19, 2004

And now you're back, from outer space

Well blow me!

Do you know what time it is???

It's 8.09* in the MORNING!!!

Here we go. I am so pissed off! I need a heavy blow to the head please.

(Guess which category this post will be filed under.)

* Updated for accuracy and bcs it sounds THAT MUCH BETTER.

Passive-Aggressive is the New Black

Why do I see a WHOLE LOT OF GREYNESS ONLY when I try to open this post by clicking on the sidebar link?

Why am I unable to access the comments of said post when I scroll down?

Why doesn't anyone comment anymore?

Why CAN'T people comment bcs they keep getting the grey screens???

Why can't I view my source code or anyone else's for the matter?

Why am I getting bloggy grief again?

Why hasn't Danny fixed it yet?

Why am I boring now that I finally have time to post?

Why am I assuming I WASN'T before?

Why is my TV remote dead?

Why does my hair look such a fright?

Why can't I sleep - AGAIN?

Why are there radios linked to toilet lids?

Why can't I imagine a new colour?

Why don't I even feel like reading?

Why, have I been taken ill?

Why is Will & Grace taking such a long time to start?

Why do possum females have two uteri?

(Why, is it fun to have a forked penis?)

Why are Aussie, Kiwi, South-African and Posh accents so bloody hot?

Why does a dark Spaniard speaking Spanish make my knees go weak?

Why, while we're at it, are ALL the men in a 30 km radius SO.FUCKING.DULL?

Why don't you just shoot me now?

Why - and this one I TRULY NEED TO KNOW - is Dr. Luka NOT HERE right now? My stethoscope is oh so pretty.

I blame YOU.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Exponent of Breath*

Enviado: quinta-feira, 18 de Novembro de 2004 13:27:03
Para: lionessblog AT gmail DOT com
Assunto: Aristedes de Sousa Mendes and my family

Hi Lioness -

I was just looking at your October blog about Aristedes de Sousa Mendes. He rescued my cousin's wife's family from Europe in 1942 (!). They got on the last boat out, and landed in Antigua. Her family sent him contributions during his late years, when he was living in poverty. To honor his memory, her son gave his son (born in 2003) the middle name "Aristedes."



*LOVE is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.

Emily Dickinson (1830–86)

"Sonnets from the Portuguese"

Bloody disbelieving foreigners.

  • I’ve NEVER skinned a chicken in my life. I’ve helped pluck them though. Does that count? Very ethnic, you must scald them first and the smell is quite characteristic. We buy the gizzards already clean of stones and ready for human consumption. But I very much appreciated the vote of confidence.

  • I’m not pulling your leg at all with the gizzards. SERIOUSLY. Highly delectable.

  • Toxins, poisons, antibiotics etc may be present (residually or otherwise) even if animal was not ill, they simply build up more in some parts of the body.

  • Excelling and my cooking are not words often grouped together. I wouldn’t say I excell at it. I wouldn't say it at all. HA! *misery* Very tasty DESPITE me. And yes, gizzards and liver ARE traditional.

  • I do live in Lisbon and we do have some fine castles, one smack in the middle of the city. Makes for excellent thight workout, climbing all the way up there. Meh.

Bored now. As you were.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Jewish Gastronomic Factor 2


Parents come round to bring dog back.
I go down to meet them outside bcs they’re in a hurry.
Mother takes one swift look at me and gasps: “Dear God, how PALE you look!”

It's 21.40.


Phone rings. Mother on the line:

“Hallo sweetie, do you feel tired?”
“Hallo Mother, fine thank you and you?”
“Oh I’m serious, tell me!”
“No I do not feel tired.”
"...*heavy sigh*...”
“And are you sleeping well?”
“Yes I am. [NO, THE BIG “I” IS BACK]”
“…*heavy sigh*...”
“What have you eaten today?”


“Hallo dahling, it’s Mother. I’ve cooked a few things, nothing much of course. Gizzards. And chicken feet - home range chicken, that is. I could bring them to you when I go pick up your father. Would you like some?”

WEDNESDAY (evening)

requests the pleasure of [insert your name here]'s company, at her stylish buffet, to be held throughout the entire month. R.S.V.P. Black tie affair. Said buffet to include kale soup [caldo verde - porkless], rice, chicken soup, many green bananas, plain soy yoghurts, vanilla soy yoghurts, wild berries soy yoghurts, gizzards galore and many a chicken foot AND all the rest of the animal(s) - body parts still need to be counted but this chicken may in fact be a triumvirate. All leftovers will be donated. If you’re a Thirld World Country please fill in your application at The 20-page essay is optional.

NOTE: remember my gizzardy almost-accident? Alright. Mother’s gizzards? MINE ARE MUCH TASTIER!

kick ass.

Lioness, Queen of the Poultry Innards. *curtsey*


Gizzards and Liver Recipe

Buy some. Remove the fat. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and rosemary. Give them a stretch in the microwave. [Sorry, bad pun, “dar uma esticada no micro-ondas”] Put them in the microwave for abt, oof, 5 min? Till they’re fully cooked. While they’re cooking, heat some olive oil [EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil. Do NOT defile my Southern heritage by using something else, *shudder*], add cloves of garlic and onions, let them turn a bit brown, add cooked gizzards and liver, give them a stretch [we've discussed this], let them turn palatably crisp, ADD VINEGAR, done. If you add almost cooked rice it will taste delicious [turn somewhere else for rice recipes, if I could cook rice I’d almost NOT need a man].

Another version for the non-kosher among you (I’d guess pretty much everyone who reads me) - but wait, this one will SURELY horrify the Anglo-Saxons and maybe some others as well. You’ve been warned. So, in this version you add blood (which you can get for free here in little packs you can freeze) to the gizzards/liver and previously cooked rice, it will taste like Arroz de Cabidela. Which I vaguely remember. [*sigh*] Looks awful, tastes wonderful (but DO NOT forget the vinegar, key ingredient).

[NOTE I: blood needs to thaw before being used, otherwise - can you spell clotting?]

[NOTE II: Innards store more toxic substances than plain muscle, make sure meat is safe.]

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

LeYassu, Bungy veDomino

Fuji is a 34-year-old dolphin from an aquarium in Japan. He was taken seriously ill and the vets managed to save him but the entire fluke (tail) had to be amputated. I don’t know what his illness was and can’t seem to find any information. But something like Zygomycosis will require the amputation of the diseased part, or maybe some serious injury. Since this is a captive dolphin, I’m not sure how he could have injured himself so badly. Bitten by others? I CAN’T FIND ANY INFO!!!

A flukeless dolphin is severely impaired. Cetaceans use their flukes for swimming, hunting, communicating, caressing other dolphins. A flukeless dolphin is severely compromised for he has no quality of life and at some point, it may be necessary to consider euthanasia.

A consortium took pity and experts got together to brainstorm a prosthetics made of rubber. The new tail had now been finished and fits perfectly. Fuji can now swim normally again. Fuji can now live. And I’m just happy and homesick.

Go here to see my lab (under "International Laboratory for D. Behaviour Research"), on the left you can click on the names and see and hear my lovely ones. I think about them every day.


Yassu, Bungy, Domino - Ani kol kach mitztaeret. Ani mitga’agat aleichem.
Pashosh veShandy (you rascall) - Behatzlachah, hamudim. Behatzlacha.
Shy, Cindy, Dana, Lemon, Nana, Luna, Yampa - ma ani iacholah le’hagid? Gam aleichem.

We're EX-O-TIC

I'm perplexed.

While looking for a nice site to give you an idea abt Alfama I came across Rogov's Ramblings. And the one thing that accurately describes what I’m still thinking abt it is WTF???

Let me take you on a tour. Shall we? (Editor’s comments in red)

Site’s title: Da Gama's Erection.
[Vasco da Gama was the first to create a passage to India (1498). Why this bloke should obsess abt his penile function is beyond me. May he find whatever it is he’s looking for. Mi kol halev.]

Huddled on a small hill above the river, Alfama houses the poor of the city. [He should have tried harder. Hour poor are housed in many a place in this seriously lovely city of ours.]

As we explored the narrow back streets, we realized that we had discovered what is the twin of every North African casbah from Tangier to Tunis.
[Alright, I've been to Morocco. Again, WTF??? The twin? Get a hold of yourself.]

We made our way past tall tenements, some of them leaning at angles so great that the only thing that kept them from collapsing was the weight of an adjoining building. In a style reminiscent of a Humphrey Bogart movie, prostitutes leaned against streetlamps, twirling their handbags and eyeing every man who passed. And, even at this odd hour, street vendors lined the streets selling everything from hot buttered breads to condoms. [Yes, no one ever accused our hos of not being stylish. Though I can’t say I’ve ever seen one twirling her handbag. Cute verb though. And please put your hands together for the street vendors, they seem to ride the Sexual Education wave. ]

It was neither the prostitutes nor the bread that had brought us here. Very wise With the fall of night, Alfama resounds to the sad, intoxicating strains of fado. The word "fado" means fate [see
here, somewhere] - and these are songs that weep for lost love, flown illusions and death that has come too soon.

In each of the four places we visited that night, the lights would dim and a woman with a black shawl draped over her shoulders would take her place between two guitarists. The guitars strummed an introductory chord, the woman closed her eyes, and her voice rose in haunted tragedy. [Pretty accurate. Sometimes they rise a bit too much.] Many people think that all fadistas wear the black shawl in mourning for Maria Severa. [Famous fado weeper] Actually its because fado was born among the poor widows of Lisbon and, as you've probably noticed, poor widows always wear black shawls. [Some older women do but fado evolved from African slave music]

With so much of this potent wine, all that prevented us from falling into a drunken stupor were the luxuriant platters of food that were brought, practically non-stop, to our table. Crabs au gratin [never saw this], cooked with finely chopped leeks, lots of butter and brandy and browned under a hot grill; fried baby lamb chops with spiced snails [never saw this]; a leek pie surprisingly but marvelously seasoned with cinnamon [never saw this]; spicy fried freshwater crayfish; herbed shrimp croquettes; grilled quail; and even a roast suckling pig found their way from kitchen to stomach. It seemed as if we had entered a world where feasting could go on without end. We were delighted at the fact that no knives and forks were put on the table. To heighten one's sense of sensuality, all here was meant to be eaten with the fingers.
[Ok, although I DO often say we’re fast slipping into Morocco, WE’RE NOT THERE YET! We still use cuttlery. At home we may eat grilled chicken with our hands but no one would dream of disposing of baby lamb chops like this, and in a restaurant at that. It’s just not a cultural habit of ours. And what abt the lamb chops WITH SPICED SNAILS??? Snails are eaten here, yes, but people drink beer with it, I’ve never seen them combined with something else! Drunken stupour does seem to have happened.]

In fado, all loves are doomed, all lovers are cruel, and five hours of fado can plunge anyone into a rapture of gloom. At five in the morning, with this black sorrow still echoing in our ears, Debbie and I parted from Don Emilio and decided to make our way by foot back to our hotel. We were so immersed in our music-inspired depression that we were not certain whether making love or committing suicide would be more appropriate. [Ah well, that’s Fado for you. Who IS this Don Emilio though??? This isn’t Mexico, we’ve NEVER HAD DONs, we did have DOMs but it’s been ages!]

Even though it was Sunday morning, we came across a tiny square where dozens of women with bottles and jugs were crowded around a public well. A lone policemen had the unenviable task of permitting the milling women to advance to the faucets - each in what he judged to be her proper turn. For this he received flashing smiles from those he favored and scathing abuse and threats from those he held back. Debbie asked him why he never smiled. "Smile", he said dryly, "I'm too busy praying for my life."
[This I can well imagine, knives are still used swiftly in Alfama]

Even though the Portuguese revere da Gama's memory, many wonder whether he was a fearless sailor or simply a lucky fool. [I don’t think we spend that much time thinking abt him either way, really. We discovered half the world, owned it for a while, lost it. The end. We’re still a bit in love with the Discoveries but that’s bcs we haven’t been big ever since.]

A stone likeness of the explorer lies prone on top of his tomb and a mischievous monk cannot resist pointing out that the intrepid explorer is portrayed with an out-size erection, "probably because that and not his brain was the most active part of his body". [Oh our monks, horny little buggers; we even have the clay figures that prove it.]

We quickly located the restaurant, here to indulge in the very serious business of dining on shrimp couscous. Philippe, the owner and chef is said to have been born in Brazil, but his is the Portugese couscous par excellence. With several bottles of slightly sparkling, very dry and light Vinho Verde, (the "green wine" that is really white), the couscous went down easily. [There is NO SUCH THING as Portuguese couscous YOU GIT! With or without shrimp, with or without excellence. The wine bit is true. But do go
here to “peruse his favourite Portuguese recipe for shrimp couscous”.]

As an Anthropologist, I found it very amusing. As a Portie, oy. He visited a different city than the one I live in. But he’s a Jew, so it’s ok.

The Return of the Anti-Nerd

In my best “Eu dou mas também sei levar!” style:

[NOTA: para efeito dramático, pôr mão na anca, think “Alfama”]

[What? Well, I can’t help that can I? Oh, alright. Here: "I may lash out but I can take it as well!" For dramatic effect, place your hand on your hip while saying it, think “Ghetto”. Due to cultural differences, you may also move your head sideways. This doesn’t work for
Alfama though, which is far more a “knife in the garter” sort of place]

XHIBIT 1: Email from Dany

"More tags! Arafat is <> dead < / strike > in stable condition, knock yourself out!"

EXHIBIT 2: My reply

"Oof, i don't get it..."

EXHIBIT 3: Excerpt from Dany’s comment on my post

"PS: Did you receive my StrikeThru tags advice?"

EXHIBIT 4: Excerpt from my reply to his comment

" I did get it and replied I didn't get it."

Delayed Neural Activity: Penny just dropped. It’s NOT an Arafat joke. It’s a tag. JUST LIKE IT SAYS ON THE EMAIL!

Oh bloody hell.

I believe I DID knock myself out and the brain swelling has not gone down YET. The humiliation!!!


(It’s so obvious I’ll be addicted to this now… Thanks Dany. I hope. Just remember everyone, you saw it here first.)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Who says I'm an ungrateful cow?

You know what makes me sad?

Of all the people linking to me (yes, they ARE legion, stop laughing this instant) some link to “Lioness” - which is fine; some link to “Lioness Pride” - which is so very wrong, it’s just an URL though I like the double meaning and there’s a post somewhere re my alias; some link to “Which Surprised Her” - which is v properly done.


It’s not "Which Surprised Her”, is it? It’s "Which Surprised Her.” See the full stop there, the tiny tiny full stop? It’s a very important one.

I’m just saying.

Lioness Unplugged

On the Face has a story that had me in tears of laughter. I badly *needed it. Thank you again, Lisa. There are so many ways Arafat can be fucked over, as it turns out (no, it's not a political post at all, it's simply - well, go there and see for yourself).

Noorster has an Oprah moment here. GO NOOR! While you're at it, read this. That girl can write beauty.

Thank you DM, Beth and Noorster for writing about/linking to Samuel.

On the news + Posts to come

I was absolutely convinced we were going to have a bombing here during the Euro 2004 or the Rock in Rio festival. If you've lived in Israel, as I have, and if you've lived here, as I have, it is scarily obvious that we have the most atrocious security. It’d have been a bloody mess, no pun intended. The Madrid bombing had just happened and our then PM, since defected to the European Commission (bcs you know, being elected DOES NOT mean you have an actual responsibility to your country, not even when this very country has plunged into the most appalling economic crisis in years with heaps of help from YOU). Plus, said PM had done his best to put himself Portugal in the terror map the headlines by offering Base das Lages in the Azores for a summit re terrorism. Because we all know that Portugal is a v influential nation and no world leader would dare taking a step without consulting our government first, ESPECIALLY the Troll-that-rules-us-all (I dare say he was thrilled to be here bcs he’d never been to Latin America before. What? What do you mean Portugal is not in…? Oh. Of course. I KNEW that, I meant Spain.). The plan did not work v well, I'm afraid, I saw him on CNN effusively kissing Blair’s ass shaking hands w Blair and the moving caption said “PM Blair meets with Lybia’s President Khaddafi”. For hours. I kid you not.

[And may I just say how impressed I am when leaders from non-English speaking countries INSIST UPON discoursing IN ENGLISH so one can admire their proficiency and cute Portie accent, when every other leader from non-English speaking countries cherishes his own language and uses it? Especially in view of the existence of people we like to call “simultaneous translators”? Sing with me now - IN ENGLISH - “We are the champions, my friends”. REALLY LOUDLY if you will.]

I was very relieved that it was not so. Yet.

Today on the news: a terrorist group was captured in Porto during the Euro 2004. They had been planning an attack on our PM during an inaugural dinner at Alfândega do Porto. The group was comprised of - duh - Arabs, all from different countries. Four Arabs had false documents, seven were repatriated bcs they had no documents (so they were repatriated to...?). Some were known terrorists, listed in the German terrorist index. Our PM skipped dinner and instead spent the evening talking to German and Dutch authorities.

One of the honchos, a man called Nurdin El Fatmi (sp?), belongs to - and this will SURPRISE YOU SO! - the same network as the man responsible for the
murder of Theo Van Gogh. This network is seen as “v dangerous”, if you can imagine that, and was discovered in 2002 by the Dutch police.


Diabetic child. Mother says prayer for son’s health on The Little Shepherds’ Day, May 13.

[Oh, they are 3 kids who were herding sheep way back when and saw the Virgin Mary atop an olive tree in a town called Fátima - no, not a Muslim one - we ain’t got those no more. So a HUGE sanctuary was built and every year pilgrims walk there from all places in Portugal. Once there, you can see women keeping their promises to the Virgin going round and round the HUGE Church on their knees, bleeding from said knees, being held by volunteers so they can fulfil said promises, collapsing along the way.]

Child’s diabetes disappears. It hasn't been medically explained yet. That means Our Lady of Fátima did it. The case is being analysed by The Church (please show some respect NOW) as proof that they are Saints and should therefore be canonised. Right now, they are only Beatos (he who did good deeds or had visions of biblical figures).

Not to belittle anyone’s beliefs but, oof, this country of mine…


Oh, and that assassination attempt on Mahmoud Abbas yesterday by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? No, not an assassination attempt AT ALL, say the Palestinians. And I for one believe them. If you’ve been awake for the last few years you will realise that they were only celebrating a wedding in the mourners' tent and things got a bit out of control, as they are wont to. Oh these party boys *chuckles at youth's folly*. That they took time from perfecting the newly developed, newly christened Yasser-1 rocket to join the festivities - I find it sweet.


Posts I will be writing whenever work kindly allows me to:

- The long-ago promised translation of that interview w the Portie/Ami FBI agent
- Why I despise the Catholic Church and don’t talk to me abt the Pope
- Sex ads on the telly here and why I’m a fascizoid liberal
- New chapters of the Blog Closet [The Bloset] novel (obrigada, A.!)

- Summary of Portuguese Jewish emigration to the States newspaper article
- What makes a human a human?
- The importance of NOT being a Calimero
- What NOT to say to an infertile
- Er, the kibbutz posts. Yes.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The little boy whose penis was cut off

NOTE: For now, no more money is necessary, we have enough that we can be be comfortable. My Porties are the best, they didn't hesitate. It's only been ONE week. If any of you have donated money, thank you so much. It will still be helpful (for things like Psychiatric therapy, this child has a long road ahead bfr normalcy can be achieved - if ever). For those of you who were thinking of donating, thank you as well. You decided to trust me so you could help this child even though you've never met me, you haven't seen my eyes, the way I speak and move, all you know is what I choose to write. That was unbelievably generous of you and I am very grateful for your leap of faith. I'll never forget it. It gives me hope. Thank you also for that.


His name is Samuel. He is 10.

On October 1 2003, two men castrated him in cold blood. Please read this before I go on. PLEASE DO READ IT.

He arrived in Lisbon on Wednesday night for reconstructive surgery.

In April 2003 a delegation from the Portuguese Chapter of Amnesty International went to Mozambique on a mission dedicated to Education and Human Rights. This mission was coordinated by TN, the former President of our Chapter [since we don't need money anymore I am keeping them anon]. I know her personally. She is good through and through. In fact, she is too good. Dr. Mabota, from the Maputo-based Human Rights League (MHRL) got in touch with her and told her Samuel’s story. When she returned, she contacted Prof. Gentil Martins, a famous surgeon who has performed such surgeries before (he often separates Siamese twins). He immediately said he’d do whatever he could. (I am so proud of my Porties at times, we truly are a generous people). She then contacted Dr. Mabota with the good news, who then launched a fund raising campaign (Samuel’s family are very poor, as are the majority of the people in Mozambique).

Samuel was actually very fortunate in a way. He is the only child so far to have survived such an encounter. Many children disappear every year never to be heard from again. Organ traffic has a huge impact in Mozambique, tribal beliefs abound - and that is also why his penis was cut off, because tribal medicine is still very important and penises are highly sought after. But he, of course, has had a very horrible life since it happened. He used to live with his parents, his siter and his uncles in a remote area. After his mutilation, he was forbidden to touch plates and cutlery because he no longer had a penis. Eventually, he was kicked out of the house. He was an outcast. His father and he then left Chimoio and went to Maputo to seek medical help. The family has been separated since.

This all happened on October 1. Samuel was not able to urinate from October 2003 to April 2004. I repeat, for 6 months this child did not urinate. His urethra was gone, the whole thing was inflamed, it’s a medical wonder how he didn’t die from the shock first, and then from the infection. He was dehydrated because he did not want to feel the need to pee. Because he couldn’t, you see, only a few drops would come out. He was used to peeing standing and he no longer could so he’d lay on the ground and writhe. He also decided he was going to be a priest because that was all that was left for him to do. Once they reached the hospital the doctors could not believe he was alive. His urine production from all those months had invaded his entire body. He had foul urine edoemas UP TO HIS SHOULDERS. It was everywhere. He had many surgeries so he could urinate again - and that’s when he first felt hope, when he saw he still retained that ability. Somehow, that was a turning point in his traumatised mind.

Some television stations played his story and one man, one absolutely lovely man decided to call one station and offer his home for the child and his father for as long as they needed to be in Portugal. He then kept in touch with Dr. Mabota all these months, paying for all the phone calls himself so as not to burden the MHRL. Again, Mozambique is a very, very poor country where dramas unfold daily. All these years after the wars, there are still hundreds of people (women, men, children) who loose arms and legs, sometimes a whole set to anti-personnel mines. Of which there are still a horrendous number left. So this man, who does not wish to be named, opened his home and his heart to them.

A bank account was created for donations. It was important that the people who opened it were trustworthy and that they all lived near each other because of the signatures. I never donate money to bank accounts because I don’t know who’s behind them and how that money will be used. I don’t want to be giving someone a fancy car while the supposed recipients go on starving. But this case is very different. There will be a folder available with photocopies of all the transactions so that people can see exactly what their money is being used for. The three people that have access to it are TN, whom I’ve mentioned before (she also runs what we call “The TN Hostel” since she keeps having people from every poor country imaginable staying in her house, sometimes with dire consequences and unnecessary worry for her). She was, as I mentioned, the President of our AI Chapter for years, after
Zé Manel died. The other one is Tweedle. She has been my best friend for 20 years. She has belonged to several Amnesty Boards and the Fiscal Council. I would trust her with my life - and I’m very very picky when it comes to friendships and trust. We've called each other Tweedle since I wrote my thesis' Acknowledgements (“T., my Tweedle Dee ad eternum where I am Tweedle Dum”). But we’re just Tweedles, that’s enough. Finally, there’s Commander JA, who was a mate of Zé Manel’s in the navy (my English fails me here, “Commander” is supposed to be the Alpha Male in charge of a ship. Captain maybe? Here it's a higher rank than that). He belongs to the Old School of thought and words like Loyalty, Honesty, Decency are not just words, they’re credos to live by. Actually, this is true for all three. I trust them all. Oh, I was also First Secretary for more years than I care to remember - if that helps you trust me more. I put up my picture again so you can see who I am, and I'll email you with my real name if you want.

I am telling you all this because I am asking you to donate and help him. It doesn't have to be a big amount, every little bit helps. I realise I’m asking a lot from you. Truth be told, most of you don’t really know me. You only read me. I understand if you feel you can’t trust me enough but I am hoping some of you will because the boy needs every cent we can raise. The information for donations is at the end of this post.

He was immediately seen by Prof. Gentil Martins that very night and was hospitalised Thursday morning. His father is allowed to stay with him in his room. He is also looking forward to working while he’s here. That is reassuring because a) it shows us he has no plans for living like a parasite (and you’d be surprised); b) it’s a way for him to not be so dependant upon us (i.e., the money raised). It would help him enormously to lose the helplessness feeling that has been destroying him since his boy’s penis was cut off. He is devastated.

We went to the airport v early and waited for the press to show up. At first we were afraid they wouldn’t because here you never know. But we were hopeful because 2 of the stations had even sent reporters down to Mozambique. And they came, did they come. All stations, and a handful of newspapers. While we were waiting, a former PM and big News Mogul came out and not one journalist tried to talk to him. Very heart-warming. We also talked to them and asked them not to tape/photograph his face. All said they wouldn’t and many said they has already instructed their cameramen. T. and I had been talking abt how overwhelming it must be for the kid to step out and be engulfed by the melee of people, so we decided that we’d whisk him away while TN, his father and Dr. Mabota gave the first interview. We were small fish so no one would be interested in us anyway. And that was fine. At first when we got there we were the only ones, TN hadn’t arrived yet and we didn’t know if she was going to be on time and I told T. she’d handle the press (she has before, often, and it doesn’t faze her. Me, I have nightmares just thinking abt it. We have this running joke that she’ll run for President one day and I’ll write her speeches and do backstage work. BACKSTAGE. We were aiming for a low profile) How naïvely stupid we can be at times. Most of the time, to be honest. We did whisk Samuel down the ramp but the bloody cameras were everywhere. Of course the kid was the big attraction, they wouldn’t let him go that easily. So it was a small journey through hell. We sat him down at a table and gave him the bag with the presents but he wouldn’t even touch it. He told me to open one (I’d found a watch for him) and wouldn’t even hold it. The whole thing was too much. In retrospect it’s amazing how trusting the child is. In one shot you can see our backs flying down the ramp, him holding the Nice Man’s his right hand, my left one, and T. scooting along (she’s really tiny) holding coats and the bag of presents. (You can also see my enormous ass, that my hair badly needs a haircut and, damn, do I have a bloody long and pointy nose and a skinny face! Low profile indeed.). From then on it went downhill and all hell broke loose. My face was aflame, even my ears were burning from the inability to not expose the child and the self-exposure. In that airport there was no place to go really, it only got better once they started interviewing the father, TN and Dr. Mabota.

Let me tell you, though, the kid has spunk. He’s a fighter and a winner. He learned Portuguese while in Maputo (in 5 months only) - we were actually v worried abt that. When we reached the end of the ramp I leaned over and said “We can go look for a quieter place for you to opne your presents, there are many people here” and His Royal Highness tells me “Wait, wait!” and POSES FOR THE CAMERAS, left side, right side, smile, here we go. And us so worried about not showing his face! (moot point anyway, that night no one did, now it’s all over the place. That’s why I put the picture here, I think it will help if you see him) (actually, I think all this protagonism, if it doesn't go much beyond this, may be helpful to him egoically. He's gone from shunned and severly neglected to being the centre of attention. Of course he'd enjoy it. I'm even hoping all this attention is a little bit healing.) While we were sitting I lit a ciggie and he looked at me IN HORROR! He said “You smoke??? You’re a woman. WOMEN DO NOT SMOKE!” Problems he may have, problems he’ll go on having but they will not stem from a deffective endoculturisation process, THAT is quite clear. His social and cultural values are very clearly properly filed away, my place is obvioulsy at the cooker. (Oh but bigger and older males have tried and failed, kid. So sorry.) The dormant anthropologist in me was actually very grateful for it. Also, The Nice Man’s son was there and Samuel immediately clung to his jumper. Him being a man, you understand. It’s so sad, his father says he used to be a very happy child and was never comfortable leaving their side for long. Now he disappears for the whole day, takes long walks all alone. He told us Samuel asks him on a regular basis if all boys get their penises cut off when they reach that age. And he says "No son, only you."

But he’s here now and there’s hope. The remaining stump shows, unsurprisingly, a high level of fibrosis which means more will have to be removed. I am v worried that it may not be possible to do a full reconstruction bcs of it - and I’m not talking abt now, he still has to go through puberty and all the hormonal changes but I’m worried. Still, it’s a blessing he has been given hope before adolescence settles. THAT would have been unbearable. He’s actually threatened to eat rat poison a few times. There will be many exams before the course is clear but some kind of cutaneous tube will replace his penis and then he may need a prosthetic penis for consistency, which needs to be large enough to encompass changes due to hormonal growth. Then, of course, he needs to be able to have an erection so a special device will have to be put in too at a later date. His father is so grateful, he was talking to us and kept crying and thanking us. It made me feel so horrible. Imagine being poor and uneducated and feeling utterly helpless to help your son. Abandoned by all. I cannot begin to imagine. Samuel now smiles a lot, is very affectionate and much more communicative but this is the beginning of a long struggle. He was so exhausted on Wednesday that when he finally got home he didn't even want to eat and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. He is only ten years old. (Oh, revolving doors, litfs and the tube ARE HUGELY ENTERTAINING!)

I am so proud of my country and the Porties now. Since Wednesday evening they’ve donated a generous amount, considering the full-blown recession. It is nowhere near what may be needed but the Portuguese are really trying to help this little boy. It helps reconcile me with this country of mine I'm so at odds with most of the time. These are truly warm, giving people. Tugas, well done!

Thank you for reading this. This boy, this post, have been haunting me. Still are. It would be lovely if you could donate something, even a small amount. I will try and make it as easy as possible for you to do it. Thank you so much.


[Again, details edited bcs no longer needed]
If anyone has any ideas on how to make all this more transparent and trustworthy please let me know, this is all I could think of.

Again, it doesn’t have to be a lot. If he received enough 5$, it would be a big help already. If you'd like to write a small post linking to this one, or otherwise insert a noticeable link in your blog, that might draw more attention to his story as well. Thank you.