Opinion, By Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Iraq and Afghanistan will prove that, post U.S. aggression, they are failed states, ruled by bloodthirsty tribal leaders. Central Africa will continue to disintegrate, the Arab Spring will become hot-blooded summer and the northern Sahara states will continue their decline into tribal feudal estates, a la Afghanistan, with no central government.

The Curmudgeon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The Curmudgeon, also known as Michael Royster.

Bloodletting will be vast and generalized throughout that part of the world where humans first arose and became civilized.

No one in Rio will give a tinker’s dam about any of the above, for after all, it has nothing to do with us, does it? We live in paradise, where football (soccer), coffee and samba are king, queen and jack, and the ace is … whatever you want it to be!

Carnival only arrives in March, giving us all more time on the beach before having to start working this year. Unidos da Vila Isabel, last year’s popular winner, will not be able to resist the onslaught of Beija Flor, which will return to the top of the list.

From April 12 to 23, no one in Brazil will work, for it is Holy Week followed by Easter and Tiradentes and then St. George’s Day.

In June and July come the World Cup, which means no one in Brazil will be allowed to work or study for an entire month because some young men kicking a ball (and occasionally each other’s shins) is deemed “sport” and sport is “culture” and we should all be more cultured.

There will be protests in Rio and throughout Brazil, because most people will come to realize the ruinously expensive side of the World Cup, and will resent that FIFA, arguably the most corrupt private organization on earth, receives the lion’s share of taxpayer money. Mammoth white elephant stadiums in backwaters such as Manaus and Corumbá and Natal will remain empty husks for years, eventually decaying into Coliseum-like structures to be visited by historians and archeologists.

The worst thing about the World Cup is that Brazil is not going to win. In fact, Brazil may well not get out of the first elimination round, where it’s likely to face either Spain or the Netherlands. This means that Maracanã Stadium will not even see the Brazilian team. The Curmudgeon’s pick for a winner is based upon a political portmanteau—Belindia.

Belindia was used a couple of decades ago to describe Brazil’s bifurcated economies — one urban and developed like Belgium, the other rural and underdeveloped like India. So, the best underdog pick to win the World Cup 2014 is Belgium. That’s a “zebra” as Brazilians like to call upsets.

In October, wafting upon us insidiously-like noxious air from fetid swamps, will come the pious bleating of the crooked politicians, all claiming, mendaciously, to represent the people. No one believes this by now, of course, but because Brazilians are bound by law to go to the polls and vote, they will go and vote and Brazil will have a new President.

And his name … will be called … Wonderful! Marvelous! Lula!

Happy New Year from the Curmudgeon, who is an incorrigible optimist except when writing about the future, for as his guru Zardoz hath spoken: “I have seen the future, and it doesn’t work.”

Michael Royster, aka THE CURMUDGEON first saw Rio forty-plus years ago, fetched up on these shores exactly 36 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!)


  1. The Curmudgeon has recently, serendipitously, learned that “Belindia” was a construct by Edmar Lisboa Bacha, one of Brazil’s most deservedly famous economists, couched as a “fable” for a scholarly essay in 1974, where he showed that the military government’s economic policies were leading to a small Belgium (the rich) and a large India (the poor). 20 years later, he was one of the fathers of the Plano Real, which finally brought economic stability and real growth to Brazil. In his fable, the currency was the “rupia-real” so he even predicted the name of the “real”. In 1992 or so, the Curmudgeon also predicted (in print, mind you) that the next Brazilian currency, after they lopped off another 3 zeros, would be called the “real” but he hadn’t even read the fable.


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