Monthly Archives: September 2009

Char-LES

During orientation, we had a sort-of crash course in Spanish – they taught us how to hail a cab, order coffee, etc. At the start of the class, one of the instructors called the roll.

When he got to me, he pronounced my name – Charles – as any Spanish speaker would. Char – LES (as opposed to CHAR – uls).

It stuck and it might just be my favorite nickname. I’ve even got the head administrator calling me CharLES. I’m bringing it back to the States.

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Rhythm

berlin

Spinning at Berlin.

Big cities that I’ve been to all have their own energy. When you walk/bike around on the streets, you get a sense of the energy each city exudes; each is different.

I can’t figure out if Buenos Aires has the kind of groove that New York has. The pace feels too slow – time is like putty here, stretching and compressing as necessary, which isn’t particularly conducive to rhythm.

I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. There’s something really great about not ever knowing what time it is. (Also, being able to show up 30 minutes is nice).

What’s weird is that the scene here is very much about dancing – either at boliches (dance clubs) or milongas (tango dances). I could probably talk here about how tango’s syncopation and frequent cuts align it well to a culture without a rhythm, but I would just be bullshitting. There’s still a lot of ritmo in tango.

Strange disconnect, that’s all. I kinda like it, though.

In other musical news, I DJed at a bar this Thursday – hip-hop, disco, funk, and house for about an hour and a quarter. It was a great time. The bar was packed and (I’m not kidding) more than half the kids in my program came out and kicked it. Got a little sloppy, but what good dance party doesn’t?

Also, I’ve been spending the last two hours listening to new disco and funk downloads instead of doing my large stack of homework. And now I’m blogging. And now the US Open women’s singles final is on. Ah, well. I’ve decided homework is uniquely American, like our wacked healthcare system, so I don’t have to deal with it here.

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My Thoughts On Obama’s Speech

My NYULocal colleague Ned wrote the post about this for the site, so here are my thoughts:

It was a good speech. Perhaps a very good speech. This was certainly the best I’ve seen Obama in a long time – forceful, clear, and working the angles he needed to in order to wrestle the narrative back into the White House’s hands. He threw out some red meat for liberal Democrats, directly calling Republicans out on their lies and bringing up the Iraq War and “tax cuts for the wealthy.” He played to his “bipartisanship” strengths and may have made it much easier to point at the GOP as obstructionist, not populist. Yet, he offered concessions to the right as well – tort reform, an “open door” policy, and flexibility on the public option (Olympia Snowe looked happy). He also positioned himself as centrist by throwing Wyden-Bennett and single-payer under the bus – bad policy, but good politics.

There was no major policy shift – his plan largely tracks what’s already in the works. But he offered a plan. And he delivered the key policy points with much more clarity and with less professorial wonkery. I thought his Ted Kennedy segment at the end was very strong.

Will this change much? Maybe not public opinion, but I think the media narrative will swing pro-reform after the long, anti-reform August.

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Neglect

I’ve been fairly absent from the blog this week because I’ve been spilling my mind out on NYU Local about health care. I wrote well over 3,500 words for 4 posts this week.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been busy, but I’ll be back. I have some great upcoming posts about money, food, shopping, Ultimate, and my new housemate!

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Deep Thought

It’s a good thing my homestay Mother serves me fruits and vegetables at dinner, because otherwise I would only eat empanadas and choripan.

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Elsewhere

NYU Local launched today (huzzah!). You can now read my political/economic thoughts over there.

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(Holy) Roller Coasters

jesusOk, ok, ok. I know what I’m doing next weekend. I just found out that on the outskirts of Buenos Aires there is a super fantastic theme park calling my name.

Tierra Santa is the world’s first (only?) religious theme park, dedicated to the splendor and power of Jesus Christ. One man testified after his trip, “I connected with God in a different way.”

Attractions include a smattering of shows and live performances and, get this, an “unavoidable half-hourly resurrection of an 18 meter Christ accompanied by recorded Latin choir singing.” You can also enjoy the scenery, speckled with “plaster donkeys and oxen,” on your way to the world’s largest manger.

You know how they say studying abroad can be life-changing? My trip to Tierra Santa could be a defining moment.

Alas, there don’t seem to be any actual rides at Tierra Santa. Wait, wait, sorry, there’s one. And the only one that matters, really. The spiritual ride.

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