Sunday, October 31, 2010

What surfing paradise is Waldoniel visiting?

Hint: it is not Hawaii….. Not even Point Reyes though the water is almost as cold.
Hint 2: still in France
And no, I do not surf, and even less at that temperature! Though in summer it is warmer than Long Island beaches.

PS: by the way, you can observe that in vacation one can combine perfectly nature, good food and history----

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Extortion in Venezuela

[UPDATED] A thoughtful reader, without any respect for my well deserved break, but remembering that I was victim of an extortion in Puerto Cabello a couple of months ago, sent me this little piece of news where in the US the Venezuelan public "servant", a certain Rafael Ramos de la Rosa in charge of Unovalores was trying to get out of their owners 2 million dollars so as to write them a favorable report that would free them of major responsibility, allow them to keep their business alive, and avoid jail.  That is, either you give me 2 million dollars or you go to jail and lose your business, regardless or how guilty you may be, or not.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where in France is Waldoniel?

So, you got it easy last time.  Now, time to go tot he city thing.  Hint: it is not the same city as in the protest picture of two days ago.  Double reward: guess the city AND the place and get a bistro lunch date with me next time we are together in that city.

Again, I do not know what the f... is going in with blogger but It persists in turning side ways a perfectly edited picture.  Sorry.

The US mid term election

During my ongoing break I must confess that for once I have left Venezuela very far, even though I am constantly harassed by people that want to know what is going on and how long will Chavez keep spreading misery. Still, in now two weeks I have opened the pages of Tal Cual and El Universal only once, and visited my colleague's blogs barely more often. Let's call it a detox program based on wine and cheese among other things.

Still, I follow the news from elsewhere (I opened El Universal to read about Brazil, by the way, not Venezuela). One of the items I read was how the Democrats are bout to lose the House in Congress, while they are struggling to retain the Senate. Now some of you do not like my take on US politics, as limited as they are, and as Liberal as I may be. However last January I wrote the following:

I do not see how Democrats can lose the Senate but I can see Nancy out of a job.

Well, it seems that I was quite on cue almost a year back, no?  The amazing thing here is not that I was already pondering that possibility, the amazing thing is that 10 months went by and the Democrats have been absolutely unable to dig themselves out of the hole that was already dug last January when they lost Kennedy's seat.  But before you Obama haters rejoice I should remind you that Clinton went on to lose his first midterm, House AND Senate, and still went on for 6 more years at the White House.  And furthermore, for those who equate irresponsibly Obama and Chavez, may this serve of a lesson that the US system still works well and that such comparisons are silly and, well,  inappropriate.

OK, now back to hitting bottles while I cover from the flack.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

The mystery city where Waldoniel was

OK, busy and little Internet, but back nevertheless.  The trick today is to guess what city in Austria I was.  But to make it more interesting you can only win if you can say why you think that city is the city you claim to be.  Two ways to reach that conclusion: either you name the building or you guess where it was featured.  That is, two possible first prizes here though naming the building sorts of gives you the real first prize.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Día de la resistencia indígena / de la hispanidad

Sería una excelente terapia para muchos venezolanos venir a pasar el 12 de octubre en Madrid, curando un poco ese síndrome de “resistencia indígena “que perturba el sueño y las fantasías de los chavistas, o permitiendo a los escuálidos sentir un poco mas de orgullo por nuestra cultura, pero un orgullo digamos algo más positivo.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Where is Waldoniel?

Wonder bread
Since my latest culinary entry drew such recriminations, I am sending you this truly wonder bread from my next stop, at an open air market stall, freezing my buns.  See, I do have simple tastes, big, coarse, tasty dark bread...

 The picture is sideways.  I edited it right but somehow it seems that blogger is acting up again and refuses to put it up straight.  Also after you guess the country I can make it this a double entry by putting a picture form the city to guess.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile's glory

Even though I am in a great place to visit on a free day, I am in the room watching the rescue of the Chilean miners.  Unfortunately I have access to only the cheesiness of CNN, but well, too bad...

Where is Waldo?

Let's go for our first try.  Even though I consider it to be dead easy I will give you a hint.  Although this is not one of the great cuisines of the world too heavy, too greasy on occasion, it might be the best at combining natural and basic flavors in a ruthlessly simple matches.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

When ridicule and tyranny meet

Two little gems from Chavez, in case some of you still manage to have doubts about what creep we are facing. Two little things that taken together give you the real measure of the guy.

Travel announcement

I am late in my 26-S election result analysis and many other stuff because, well, I have been preparing for an unusually long trip out of the country.  But I will have long airport waits, long flights, long stopovers with I hope reasonable Internet access, etc...  Thus until November expect irregular posting, but long and boring ones probably.  Plus the ever so popular feature  "where is Daniel?".  This time there should be at least 4 installments of the guessing game, that is, if weather allows for decent pictures.  So keep checking but maybe only a couple of times a week.  And of course if you put a comment and it does not show up 48 hours later that might not mean I erased it, that probably will mean that I am passed out somewhere from too many epicurean excesses (I am facing three distinct cuisines, oy vey!).

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yo no me registraré con el ejercito

Presidente de la República, Hugo Chavez Frias
Ministro de la Defensa, el de turno

Por la presente tengo a bien informarles que yo no voy a registrarme en el ejercito como ustedes lo estan exigiendo en la ley, a mi juicio inconstitucional, de nombre “Ley de Conscripción y Alistamiento Militar”.  Para empezar no vengan con el cuento de que yo no se de constituciones porque ustedes se la pasan violándola, como se vio claramente por la falta de respuesta del señor presidente a Andreina Flores el lunes 27 de septiembre.  Yo aquí apelo al artículo 350.  ¡Ojo!  Apelo a dicho artículo a título personal, que los otros que no quieran firmar esgriman sus razones.

Permitanme explicar mis razones.

Mario Vargas Llosa gets the Nobel, at long last!

A Swedish academy, long specialized in awarding obscure writers, on occasion gets it right even if late.  Mario Vargas Llosa should have gotten the literature prize at least a decade ago, but I suppose better late than never.  As such he joins Garcia Marquez, my own favorite even if his political views are distasteful to say the least.  On this respect Vargas Llosa has embraced modernity and democracy which in a way might have delayed his award since the Swedish academy has a tendency to favor more engaged writers though the engagement of Vargas Llosa leaves no doubt.

I have come late to Vargas Llosa.  Years ago I tried to read Pantaleon y las Visitadoras and dropped it after 20 pages.  However I read most of his articles and assays in papers for his unapologetic defense of democracy, individual responsibility and material and moral progress for all, no excuses, no silly political correctness.  No wonder he has become one of the greatest international enemies of the Chavez regime who stands unapologetically for mediocrity and living at the expense of others.

I had to wait for my dengue moment last December to read La Fiesta del Chivo.  Constantly tired I could not read it fast even though it was griping.  It was better that way because the speed made me realize how much I had missed.  Truly, if you have not read this book about the description on how absolute power corrupts absolutely, do not wait any more: it is now Nobel certified.  And it will bring home many aspects of the Chavez nature, by the way.

But I am tickled pink also because finally the Nobel recognizes Latin American literature as the best one of the second half of the XX century.  I mean it.  I will give a very honorable second place to US literature for that period, but from 1960 until La Fiesta del Chivo, too many world masterpieces are this side of the border (France has stopped counting long ago and the other have on occasion a good shine here and there but no language can beat the production of the Spanish language since 1960).  It is just too bad that the Nobel has lasted so long to fess up, and we will always wonder why Borges did not get it.  Spain is quite proud by the way and El Pais gives you 10 essential links to Vargas Llosa.  Of course they are, Vargas Llosa adopted the double nationality 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, back at Agroisleña headquarters....

The scene today.  My business partner goes to a couple of ministry errands for some registration permits:

b.p. "Is so and so here today for me to pick up this and that?"

concierge. " we are not receiving anyone today and tomorrow"

b.p. "huh?  any reason?"

concierge, who knows b.p. from previous visits "they were all given special embroidered red shirts today to go to Cagua at Agroisleña headquarters"

b.p. "Why?  They have nothing to do with that!"

concierge. "to make bulk so people think that the government has plenty of qualified people to take over Agroisleña".

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Career prospects for juvenile delinquents

Weil catches perfectly what the regime has become when it seizes without ANY excuse Agroisleña, combining it with the plague of juvenile delinquency that the regime has also caused.
And when I grow up I want to be an expropriator

Agroisleña is even bigger than what you thought

Since last Sunday people have been looking closely at Agroisleña that in a fit Chavez has decided to confiscate.  confiscate is the word because by now the practice of the regime is to pay part only, when it pays anything at all.   I need to update what I already wrote yesterday because the editorial of Veneconomia today shows that the Agroisleña take over could actually wreck the banking system of Venezuela.  Even though Miguel already posted this editorial a couple of hours ago I thin that people interested in Venezuelan economics cannot miss it.  At the end, some additional comments of my own.

Destructive Spiral

Monday, October 04, 2010

Agroisleña is seized in Venezuela: the first real Communist measure of Chavez

With the announced take over of Agroisleña by the state, Hugo Chavez has made his first real communist "economic" move.  You might wince at this but bear with me a little bit longer.

The first thing to note is that all previous economic measures that the regime had taken were punctual, taking great care to pretend that private property was respected up to a point and pretending that expropriations were necessary, were designed for the betterment of the economic apparatus and, well, the owners would be duly compensated.  For example the attacks so far against the Polar group are to relieve it from some of its assets so housing can be built there.  Farms are taken over, we are told, because they were either too big or unproductive.  That the facts matched the tales was made in part irrelevant because, well, next door farm was left alone as if nothing.  Even PDVSA which is advertised as being "nationalized in 2003" by Chavez followers was not since it belonged to the state for already three decades and the only thing that happened there was a change in management to make plundering easier.

Political earthquake in Brazil? Lula fails to elect Dilma on the first round

UPDATED. In a tiny little bit of a Colombia syndrome, Dilma Roussef, Lula's handpicked successor will have to fight it out for a second round vote in a few weeks.  In fact, with 70% of the votes counted there is the real possibility that she will reach barely 45%, thus making it possible for Serra to beat her in the second round, though by no more than a point or two even if the surprising Marina Silva scored much better than expected as the third runner.