Opinion, by Michael Royseter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon, never having finished a year as a regular contributor to any publication, has decided that no matter what news comes in over the transom before Monday December 27th, it won’t be important enough to write about. Rather, he’s going to do a review of his 2010 columns and then list who had a great year and who did not.
I. Politicians. Lula had the greatest year of his life. Obama had the worst. Dilma had the greatest year of her life, Serra one of the worst. Tiririca had the greatest year of his life, Jader Barbalho had the worst.
2. Miners. The Chilean 33 had the greatest day of their lives. The New Zealand 29 had the worst.
3. Sports. Brazil won the right to host both a World Cup and the Olympics. The US lost out on both attempts. Spain won the World Cup in South Africa, Brazil flamed out. Vuvuzela sales had a very good year; the inner ears of most spectators had a very bad year. Fluminense had a very good year, winning the national championship; other Carioca clubs had bad years.
4. Deep Water Drilling. BP, the US and the Gulf of Mexico had a very bad year; Petrobras has (so far) had a very good year. The other 24 Brazilian states had a very good year with a vote on egalitarian royalty payments. Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo will have had a very bad year, unless Lula rides to the rescue.
5. James Cameron. His Avatar Guy persona had a very good year making film; however, his Ambiente Guy persona had a very bad year and the Belo Monte Dam will be built.
6. Wars on Drugs. The Rio favelas have had their best year in over 25, with pacification; most Mexican towns along the US border have had their worst ever.
7. Real and Potential Wars. The US government says it had a great year in Afghanistan; the Taliban know better. The Brazilians and Turks said they had a great deal with Iran; the USA and the other Big Dogs said they didn’t. Brazil said it had a great deal with Honduras; the USA said it didn’t.
8. Amnesty. The 1979 Brazilian Amnesty Law had a great year when the Federal Supreme Court declared it constitutional; that turned into a bad year when, this month, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights declared it incompatible with Brazil’s international treaties.
9. Sean Leonard. Sean has had a very good year with his father David in New Jersey. Sean’s grandmother here in Rio has had a very bad year.
10. Urban Planning. Rio de Janeiro has had a pretty good year—a new metrô connection between Lines 1 and 2; new cycle paths, new bus lines, new low speed limits, enforcement of the no littering law, a car-less day. If it could only rid itself of the camelôs and the bicheiros, it’d be just like NYC.
The Rio Times had a very good year, and so did The Curmudgeon. May next year be even better for both.
Michael Royster, aka THE CURMUDGEON first saw Rio forty-plus years ago, moved here thirty-plus years ago, still loves it, notwithstanding being a charter member of the most persecuted minority in (North) America today, the WASPs (google it!)(get over it!)