Yahoo and whale slaughter

In its September/October issue of Allanimals the Humane Society of the United States reports that Yahoo Japan advertises thousands of ivory products and hundreds of other products derived from dolphins and whales. I am quoting directly from their article. Yahoo Inc. could stop this but the response has been disappointing. Their deaf ear is resounding. We are urged to send a letter, sign a petition, spread the word about Yahoo Japan.

And there’s this fact: whale and dolphin meat is unhealthy, containing mercury 16 times above the Japanese allowable limit for consumption.

Now, the enlightened ones: Google, eBay, Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and Gorton’s have ordered their Japanese subsidiaries to stop selling and advertising whale meat.

The earth’s natural resources rest in the hands of individuals and their representative organizations. I feel so strongly about the methodical destruction of our animals I wish I could be a one-woman army to protect them. I care. I care so much.


The video interview

Well, the video interview is up everywhere, even places I didn’t know existed. The Snake Woman of Ipanema is good and outed now. While living in Rio I fretted over my inability to research, not just for Snake Woman, but other stories I had in mind. The only English-language resource available was the IBEU (Istituto Brasil-Estados Unidos) and the offerings there were quite useless for my purposes. If it hadn’t been for a private library operated by Faith Motley, a British lady, I would have had nothing at all to read.

In the interview, which was edited to 16 minutes from a 40-minute session, I commented rather explicitly about the company people who came down from Idaho. Renato tore his hair at the blind aspect of their personalities in the setting that was so foreign to them. And in turn, their Brazilian and Paraguayan counterparts regarded Them as aliens who persisted in blundering about with a sort of righteousness and superiority. One department head who had had something to do with Hoover Dam showed a film of it at every opportunity, at meetings, at inter-government conferences, and would have played it at cocktail parties had Renato not dissuaded him from doing it. As a result, he became known as “Micky Mouse” in those circles. Another man took extended naps in his office. One man’s wife, on arriving in the country, called it “Argentina.” 

I suppose the interviewer was right in editing out those comments, but I am, here, making an end-run around that.

Here is the link to the interview:


Sailing to Italy

This being an anniversary of sorts, my thoughts turn to our voyage from China to Italy. Our vessel of transport was a cargo ship, the Sebastiano Caboto of Italy’s Lloyd Triestino Lines. My parents, sister Maria and I lived on it for 33 days in virtual suspension from the reality of relocating to a new country. For a few minutes at a time the adults were able to detach themselves from worry about that prospect, while I at 18 was yet an incomplete grownup and fell wholehearted into the community of other young people aboard ship. My resumé included one date with a boy and practically nothing in the way of parties and dancing, much less preparation for working for a living. The communist occupation of Shanghai had thrown into chaos any normal progression I might have had. Maria was 11 years older and knew what was what. She was to act as head of family in our settlement in Italy.

Our first stop was at Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. We three went ashore with a group while my father, who was deathly ill, stayed aboard ship. I recall a pleasant sunny day, fair sands and palm trees, and a tour of a temple. Everyone was obliged to enter shoeless but what confused me was the high relief sculpting on the stone wall alongside the entryway: the 12 apostles! Yet I understood this was not a Christian church, so why the apostles? I have no memory at all of the interior, or I would now be able to figure something out.

And something else, much to my sister’s amusement. The tour guide, a Ceylonese man, asked me to marry him. My surprised answer was “But my ship is leaving tonight!”

Brazilian customs, the airport kind

A jeweler I know was about to travel to Brazil, and I was reminded of something important to tell him, something that happened to another jeweler, my brother-in-law, Franco. Actually, this warning could apply to anyone stopping over who decided to check valuables with customs on arrival rather than take them into town.

Franco was returning from a buying trip in Milano and stopped over in Rio de Janeiro before continuing to Paraguay, where he and his family had settled after leaving Italy. He checked his locked valise with customs. The valise contained $80,000 worth of merchandise. He returned to the airport next day, produced his receipt and passport, and retrieved the valise from customs.

On boarding his flight he realized the weight of the bag did not feel right. He then unlocked it — and found it filled with stones. The flight was taking off and he could not disembark.

Did he return later and file a complaint? Call the police? Fight the customs authorities? Find recourse through the government? Forget it. He was up against a wall of resistance and layers of bureaucracy, and he surrendered rather than fight.

It took him years to recover from that loss. He had not yet paid the manufacturers for the merchandise, expecting to do so routinely after sale of the goods. The consignment agreement is normal between established jewelers and manufacturers.

Franco’s experience is unimaginable, yet it happened.

A Rare Passion

A Rare Passion, an e-book, is now up on, with a cover I absolutely admire. I can gaze at those horses forever.

“Rare” has Linden Bradley back in her beloved Brazil, where she spent her childhood. Her mission to save thousands of wildlife displaced by a hydro dam going on stream, owes its action to the real flooding of the Itaipu hydroelectric dam. Renato’s own mission in Brazil was to help build it, and I was there with him as he traveled between various field offices and worked long hours and many weekends.

It was up to me to find something to do myself, so I went to work in the headmaster’s office at the American School of Rio de Janeiro. Then I joined the Little Theater, producing a play and singing in recitals. Along with these activities I sold jewelry at home that Renato’s brother brought from Italy. I did, indeed, find things to do.

“A Rare Passion” was fun to write. There are all the outdoors, wildlife, lavish Carnaval spectacles and — oh yes — romance.

The rising oceans

Anyone who has been to Venice in recent decades must be wondering how that city is going to cope with three feet more of water in times to come. As it was, in 2001, my friends and I found ourselves walking on high wooden walkways, which had to be put in place along the shopping streets in the afternoon. I was curious if the shops were also flooded but could not ascertain whether that was so. It must be so much worse now, and I think of the impact on businesses and livelihoods.

The huge cathedral on Piazza San Marco has a subterranean chapel and sepulchers. I wonder about That. The piazza itself was pretty soggy as we sought to sit at a cafe outside for refreshments.

And then there is Hawaii, and other islands and waterfront properties. I read that Larry Ellison, the Oracle CEO, purchased for an immense sum a long strip of beachfront in Southern California. I thought, since he has been so clever at running Oracle, that he was an intelligent man??

I also read that the Republicans in Congress have once again scoffed at scientific reports of climate change as panic mongerings. Granted those most vehement in this stance represent states with the all the coal-fueled plants and heaven forbid they should go against their constituents in that matter. So, where do we go from here, ladies and gentlemen?