In a 24-hour bus ride our scenery changed from a Patagonia farm of two Austrians to the Argentina capital of 13 million.

We went from calm nights reading by the wood-burning stove to rarely spending an evening in the urban apartment of my college friend Blake.  

With Blake alone, Pessa and I knew we were in for a change. In the nine years I’ve known him I’ve never seen him sit still for longer than a Vikings game. His energy is positive, almost constant and, certainly,  infectious.

It’s an energy I will try to better describe with the help of a modern art piece by Julio le Parc of Mendoza, Argentina.

Often modern art is lost on me. “Oh, it’s a blue cube,” I’m often left thinking. “How sweet.”

But le Parc’s “Seis Cercles en Contorsion” at the  Mueso de Arte Latino Americano in B.A. reminded me of Blake’s kinetic energy.   

Six tin circles were connected end to end on a 4-foot by 8-foot black-framed, white canvas. Each circle was connected to the canvas by a metal rod.

Three of the seven rods moved counter-clockwise. Four remained still. When an electricty switch was flipped on, the perfect circles would be contorted into footballs, eggs, ovals, bubbles.

Maybe le Parc is trying to show how energy is passed, I thought. Then I futily tried to pick my brain for a physics principle I barely learned in high school.

Then I thought about Blake’s energy. If he were one of the circles, he would be one between two moving cranks. His constant movement would change the state of others.

Blake’s energy has led him to across the world. He taught English classes in Mexican, French and Spanish towns. He surfed and studied in Honolulu. He’s now working on his doctorate in social sciences in B.A.

He’s interested in other cultures, not excluding the transvestite hookers in one B.A. park.

“I want to go to those places,” he said. “I’m a social scientist. That’s what I do!”

Blake, an Argentine cartoon character named Mafalda and me. We are not sure if that's her real name or if it's Miguel and he/she sits on this bench to pick up tricks...

Nice number: Worth millions of words


The number of photos Pessa posted. She worked diligently to get them online, so check them out if you haven’t already. She has already begun putting together the El Bolson album. When she posts them and other albums, we will let you know on Facebook, the Tank, etc.

Noxious Number: Inconspicuous spike


The percentage increase of Colombian exports to the U.S. in April 2009 compared to April 2010.

OK. That might not mean anything inconspicuous. That high increase could be the result of a new trade agreement between the countries. Or a sign Colombia has begun to recover from the global financial crisis — as outgoing president Alvaro Uribe claims.

But the timing is precarious. The spike came a month before the presidental primary election in Colombia, the best ally the U.S. has in the continent.

Could the export spike be tied to an effort to sway the election toward the candidate most likely to continue Uribe’s pro-U.S. policies?

After being very close in the polls, Juan Manuel Santos, Uribe’s defense minister, won in a landslide. Santos, by the way, is a Harvard-trained economist.

Colombia’s presidental general election is later this month. But this smells of U.S. imperialism.

A Gonzo illustration by …

For those who don’t know, the name Gonzo Think Tank was inspired by Dr. Gonzo, a.k.a. Hunter S. Thompson. The Good Doctor was often accompanied by the work of artist Ralph Steadman.

You can imagine my shock when I thought I saw Steadman’s work in B.A.’s finest art gallery, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

I thought, “Steadman is the same display as Picasso, Van Gogh?”

Turns out he isn’t, but Antonio Saura’s “Retrato Imaginario de Brigitte Bardot” sure fooled me. 

I wonder if Steadman or Saura would be available to do illustrations for our visit to the trannie park?



One response to “Energy

  1. I have even read some speculations that the polls in Colombia were carefully being manipulated in order to give the appearance of a close race, with Santos, aka Uribe’s third term, being an all but assured winner from the start. This is a country that Hugo Chavez, never one to mince words, called the Israel of Latin America. An apt description me thinks.

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