ElectionsVoting for municipal elections, nationwide, is over for today. It generated a major ecological disaster: political pamphlets covering sidewalks and streets. Gives another meaning to the phrase “dirty politics.”

• Attendance at church wasn’t as bad as expected, neither at SJCampos nor at Taubaté. Jorge was at the latter, so I didn’t have to do everything myself. I taught Bible school, directed the Lord’s supper and offering, as well as offered opening and closing prayers. Jorge preached and led singing.

• Usually, we have lunch at one of the malls on Sunday with Jorge and family. The food court usually doesn’t start filling up until around 1 or 1:30. Today it was mostly full by 12:30 when we arrived. Many got out early to do their voting, which meant they were up and about earlier. So lunch must have been earlier for them as well.

• Voting in Brazil is obligatory, by law. If you don’t vote, you have to “justify” your failure to fulfill your civic duty, and possibly pay a fine. A news source said that the city of São Paulo has over 8 million voters, 2.1 million of which have not finished grade school. The implication is they’re ignorant and don’t know how to vote, I guess. I know people with college educations who don’t seem to have much idea either. Continue reading

Some painter’s idea of a painting, mine of random directions

When I started blogging back in 2002, almost 10 years ago, I called my first weblog “Random Variables.” The adjective was an obvious play on my name, and the title served as a tip-off that no single theme would dominate. I like the title to this day, although math is not my field.

I saw a mention of Thomas Sowell’s occasional “Random Thoughts” for his weekly column (excellent, by the way) and was reminded of mine. Not that the two have much in common, with Sowell’s incisive, powerful content. Me, just buzzing along. Continue reading

saci-perereI’ve kept up with my 90-day Old Testament readings. Barely, but I’ve done each reading on the day of. Haven’t always had a chance to blog them, but I warned you I probably wouldn’t.

• A bit of Brazilian folklore? Saci-pererê is a mythical one-legged, magical character who pulls pranks. Methinks I need him just now to blame him for a few items. Not quite the same as “the devil made me do it,” so it ought to be all right, don’t you think? Continue reading

peanutsI sent a smart-aleck tweet on Charlie Brown earlier, so I checked Wikipedia’s entry on the cartoon character for good measure. Found this:

“Umberto Eco has pointed out that the fact that Charlie Brown is invariably referred to by his full name follows a convention found in epic poetry giving Charlie Brown a sense of universal identification.”

When my mom referred to me by my full name I was in for an epic lamentation in a place of universal application.

• Beginning to question more and more the need for my personal blog. I could do the devotionals on FMag or TFR or GoSpeak or … Even a lot of my Journey entries are on TFR now. So is my identity now BNc/TFR/FMag etc.? Continue reading

From the state of Paraiba, in the northeast, missionary Joseph McKinney writes today on the government approval of homosexual marriage and how that complicates life in Brazil.

Yes, homo-affective relationships – that is how same sex couples are being described in the new Brazilian law that gives their relationships legitimacy. The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court has determined that marriage goes beyond just a man and woman, giving homosexuals the legal rights to marital status: inheritance, pensions, child custody, health insurance benefits, the ability to open joint bank accounts, etc.
According to the president of the Transvestites Association of Paraiba, Fernanda Bevenutty, this was a victory for Brazilian homosexuals, but most will continue in anonymity for fear of the social reaction. The census counted 800 same sex couples in Paraiba, but Bevenutty said that in reality there are a lot more.
The next step the GLBT (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transvestites) movement will push is the controversial PLN 122 law, that purposes to add sexual discrimination to the law that punishes racial discrimination, making any type of opposition to this lifestyle a crime. That could mean that a homosexual could sue a church if banished for his or her practices, or a elementary school if rejected as a kindergarten teacher. Preachers could be jailed for repeating what the Bible says about homosexuality. So things could get interesting here in Brazil…

Read the rest of his article here. The people generally don’t support this, but like many politicians and activist judges, when in office they do what they want to.

• This email came in just this morning. “Randal, a book has been donated to the Overton Memorial Library in your honor by Friends of Overton Memorial Library. The book will be available for viewing, and you will be specially recognized, at Honors Evening on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. Please join us in the McMeans Family Reading Area within the Overton Memorial Library 3625 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama.” I felt honored on receiving the news. I have an idea of who might have put my name in the pot, but I guess that’s supposed to remain anonymous. Anybody willing to stand in for me on Honors Evening?

• On FMag today, my editorial, “The Christian Offering and the Ordinances of God,” centers on 1 Cor. 16:1 to consider the importance of God’s commandments and how they contribute to unity. I used today’s Portuguese meditation and developed that further for the article.

• We pray for the victims’ families in Joplin, Mo. So far, 89 lives lost amid tremendous destruction. I have a second cousin who was living there last I recall, but I saw her online this morning. Apparently, their “old house” was destroyed. Update: She and her family have moved back to Arkansas.

• The Christian Chronicle’s story about the “Restoration Movement college spared” in Joplin, headlines the non-event of the Christian Church’s Ozark Christian College not being hit by the tornado, with an interview by the college president. It gave the number of instrumental churches and a cappella churches. Since it talked about the Restoration Movement churches, why didn’t it include the Disciples of Christ in Joplin? There’s at least one. Why the discrimination? Does the Chronicle consider itself in fellowship with the Christian Church, but not the Disciples? Evidently, the Chronicle is reporting news of the former group with no apologies. Perhaps it should consider changing the plug on the website: “Official news blog of the international newspaper for Churches of Christ.”

• Speaking of media, catch these articles: first, from BNc, a TV station found a person’s objection to a Bible verse on a church sign newsworthy; then, my take on why the May 21 prophecy of the world’s end was hyped by the mainstream media.

• Saturday we had 20 people here at the house for study and fellowship. I mentioned that earlier on The Fellowship Room. See the fuller description of the moment there, along with a link of pictures. I also mentioned a bit of our day yesterday as well.


I just ate the almost perfect pão de queijo, cheese bread with the cheese all mixed up in the bread — and this at the local padaria. It was hot, must have just come out of the oven, with just the right texture of gooiness inside, outer crust cooked to the right point.

Mine wasn’t the dinky little ones, but the fist-sized bread, all the better. Not the kind that squeeks on your teeth (maybe a sign of the cheese?), but the wonderful chewiness of a just-right texture.

The coffee was fresh and hot as well, so it made a great combination. Better would have been a cappuchino, but the bread maxes out my lactose limit for the next couple of days.

For a minute, I thought I was back in Belo Horizonte. The padeiro (bread=makerj) has to be from Minas Gerais.

And people ask me if I ever think of moving to the States!


Here’s what the bread looks like that I consume sometimes at mid-morning break. The small rolls are made fresh throughout the day. Then throw that baby on a flat grill with some butter, and you got some serious matter for your taste buds.

Swirl some of the pingado (coffee and milk) in your mouth along with that, and it’s hard to beat.

Cost of the two: R$2,50, or about a buck and a half in American coin. Usually, I go with the smaller coffee, the cafezinho, with no milk (lactose intolerant), for R$1,90, but there are days, like today, with a cooling slow rain, when more is needed.

The guy who made the best cappuchino quit his job, and the girls who work there make it too watery. So I’ve quit drinking those.

Well, that’s more than you ever wanted to know about my mid-morning break. On to weightier things … Continue reading

On the way back from lunch, I misstepped on an uneven sidewalk (that’s a redundancy in Brazil) and took a spill headlong. My right knee took the worst of it, with bruises and bloody scrapes. My blessing was that my beautiful face suffered no abrasions, stopping within a hairs breadth of the concrete. I also have bruised palms and chest. I’ll be sore for a few days, but that should be the worst of it.

Mike H., Mr BBQ himself, will say it was all punishment for going to the vegetarian restaurant.

On my way to lunch (I was on foot today), I ran into … The Missus and The Maiden. They’d bought fruits and vegetables at the open-air market (feira livre) next to Santos Dumont Park, always on Tuesdays, and were carrying their purchases to the car. How neat is that? Continue reading