Sports & Entertainment (but not in that order)

March 30, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Posted in School, Travel | Leave a comment
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In the Pictures

After a day spent in the clutches of heavy mining and petrochemical companies, our next day of business visits turned to somewhat lighter fare: the local market-leading purveyor of entertainment, Globo.

A modern day Brazilian equivalent to the great American media empires of img_destaque_home_vendas_offyore, Globo’s reach extends to the populace through TV, newspapers, magazines, cable, and internet. Unbelievably, the average Brazilian consumes over five hours of television a day (the only country with higher TV consumption than the US), and thus the majority of Globo’s efforts are focused here.

Their PR representative, overflowing with energy from what I believe to have been at least seven cups of Brazilian high-test, explained that Globo’s dominance was so complete, so absolute, that advertisers need not bother with viewer segmentation data before buying ad time on their network, because you have all the demographics watching all the time.

When you have a staggering 56% market share amongst all TV networks, you can say things like that with a straight face. It really is a sight to behold.

She went on to explain how the Telenovela’s were produced, really more of an entertainment factory than entertainment art, with a staff of writers, actors, and actresses kept on salary throughout the year and mixed and matched in different programs at the studio’s discretion.

The writer’s bungalows were on site, mere feet from the sets, all hearkening back to the 1950’s Hollywood studio system that brought us the mega-musicals and westerns of old. TV and movies being churned out as product rather than portrayal, waiting patiently for the Brazilian Spielberg or Scorcese to arrive and smash the entire system to bits.

We were toured throughout the sets, all well-made static images of contemporary domestic bliss. Being Americans, we, of course, instead took this opportunity to use the various props to depict acts of aggression and violence.

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Everyday Low Prices, part two

Next up was the now required, after the incredible experience of China’s equivalent, visit to Wal-Mart. A note on that: once you’ve seen the absurdity of foreign Wal-Mart, China particularly, you will, I’ve found, be overwhelmed with the desire to visit Wal-Mart whenever you visit a new country or state, just to see if they can top that.

dsc04684Brazilian Wal-Mart was, well, it was pretty much just like American Wal-Mart but with different brands. Large and sprawling, clean and calm, it felt a bit like coming home. Home to buying in bulk, paying less than things are worth, and the homogenization of brands and products. Ahhhhh. Delicous.

Full disclosure, one of the Wal-Mart grocery clerks was wearing roller skates. I admit to never having seen that in America. Leave it to Brazilians to find a way to blend athleticism and fitness into the act of stocking grocery shelves.

Gooooooooooaaaaaallllll!

We capped the night off with a visit to a local soccer game in a very, very large soccer stadium full of very, very rowdy Brazilians. By my estimation, one particular section of the crowd sang one song for fifty minutes straight.

dsc04697Soccer isn’t usually my game of choice, but it was a fun night nonetheless. I took the opportunity to explain to my fellow travelers that if they just made a few slight changes to this game, it’d be a lot more enjoyable. Start by dividing the field into ten yard increments, elongate the ball a little, put all the players in full pads and helmets, and allow them to crash into each other at high velocity and, you know what, I think they might have something here.

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Tickets heeeere!

September 18, 2008 at 11:24 am | Posted in News | 3 Comments
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I am distressed by the notion that the free market’s solution to fiscal insolvency these days seems to be “Sell ourselves to the government!”

In the past month, we’ve seen the Fed bail out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG. There are signs that the Automotive industry will be next, followed by the Airline industry. This troubles me deeply, being the free-marketeer that I am. It is all predicated on this “too big to fail” notion that, by it’s very language, implies that there exist somewhere a population of organizations that must be “insignificant enough to fail.” I would love to see that list.

Since we, as taxpayers, seem to be getting into the business of business, I posit that we should also be allowed to enjoy the benefits of business. By this I of course mean getting free tickets and swag to corporate sponsored events; let us begin this list anon:

1) We all clearly should be in possession of tickets to any and all Manchester United games. Credit to my friend Tommy for pointing this out to me.

2) Ditto goes for passes to the Breeders’ Cup. As AIG had the vision to sign this (presumably) multi-million dollar deal on the day they were collapsing, I submit to you that we all should all be allowed to actually ride the horses.

3) Can’t make it to England or California? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with free tickets to Triple-A ball clubs in almost every major market! Go Bisons!

4) I’m not necessarily interested in the history of Africans in America, but maybe you are. Call Fannie and request your free copy today.

5) I want a free meal here, as they are apparently owned by AIG.

6) Ever been interested in Squash (the sport, not the vegetable)? Folks in Western Mass are apparently very concerned about the future of their sport following the Bear Sterns collapse. Help assuage their fears by showing up to their next game and demanding free admittance.

7) I am trying very, very hard to not make a joke about the fact that Freddie Mac (the home mortgage company) is a lead sponsor for the Hoops for the Homeless charity. You know, for people without homes. Because maybe, you know, they lost them. When they stopped paying their mortgage. To Freddie Mac. Annnnnnnd now I’m making fun of homeless people.

Apologies in advance to the ladyinwaiting for making merryment amidst your misery.

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