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Argentina Bans Sex Ads in Newspapers

July 5th, 2011 | 09:04 PM

Bad news for all the hookers and pimps out there.

President Cristina Kirchner signed a decree banning the publication of sex ads in local newspapers.

Kirchner said the decree will help end discrimination against women who are “humiliated” through sexual exploitation and objectification.

Prostitution is legal in Argentina and Kirchner indicated she wouldn’t do anything to change this, saying she won’t penalize women for exercising the world’s oldest profession. Click here for a post I did back in 2007 about the legality of prostitution in Buenos Aires.

“Let it be clear: We’re never going to condemn any woman because most of the time they don’t choose the life that they’re living,” she said in a speech Tuesday.

But Kirchner indicated the decree offers another added benefit, at least from her point of view. Newspapers, she said, make a lot of profit by selling sex ads to prostitutes.

By banning the ads, Kirchner has taken away another source of income from the ever-despised coup-mongering, opposition media like Grupo Clarin.

Of course, banning the publication of sex ads may do little to prevent the kinky skin-friction business from thriving. Countless local websites offer Amazon.com-like opportunities (warning: this is a graphic, XXX link) for prostitutes to reach their clientele.

Some local whorehouses even use Google Maps to woo Johns into their pleasure palaces.

The ban on newspaper ads seems so old-school when today’s pleasure pushers are so Web 2.0.

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1st Annual Buenos Aires Chili Cookoff

July 2nd, 2011 | 08:07 AM

Get ready for a “Historic Moment in Buenos Aires Spicy Food. Everyone is invited to celebrate Fourth of July Weekend with that quintessentially United States dish, CHILI.”

That’s right boys and girls, Buenos Aires will see its first ever annual chili cookoff this Sunday in Palermo. Want to chow down on some delicious chili, cornbread or cookies for as little as five pesos? Or how about just hang out with great people and down a few beers?

There will be “more than 10 cooks, teams and chefs” competing for the first best-chili prize ever awarded in the history of South America. Ok, that’s probably not true. I just made it up. But this probably is the first big chili event of it its kind in Argentina. So check it out.

As of this posting, 320 people had registered for the event on Facebook.

Where: GENO Beer Bar, Guatemala 5499, Capital Federal
When: Sunday, July 3, 1-5pm

To learn more, click here.

*Special thanks to Yanqui Mike for letting me rip off his Chili banner. I didn’t even ask him for permission! Check out Mike’s site for “mini biographies” of some of the chefs who will be competing.

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One Argentine’s Genius Civic Poop Gesture

June 24th, 2011 | 06:36 AM

The battle against Argentina’s poop-filled streets is ugly and ongoing.

It’s also a metaphor for the society’s inability to clean up other kinds of criminal and political trash.

But I was absolutely delighted – even inspired – the other night when I came across this genius gesture of civic responsibility.

Tired of constantly cleaning up the poop on his front lawn, my neighbor came up with a brilliant solution. He decided to help his thoughtless neighbors help themselves – to a bag, that is.

The idea is simple: offer people free bags to clean up after their dogs. Thoughtless people need a hand once in a while.

People who let their dogs crap on your lawn aren’t always beasts or malevolent souls. Sometimes they’re just lazy and inconsiderate.

It’s precisely these people that my neighbor had in mind when he decided to offer free plastic bags to those who might otherwise not clean up after their dogs.

Has my neighbor’s thoughtful gesture worked? I don’t know. I haven’t been able to ask him about it yet. (I’ll update this post once I’ve heard from him.)

Argentina has many exceptionally wonderful attributes. And, like all places, it also has some downsides. For me, one of the very worst of these is cynicism.

Cynicism corrodes the culture and prevents people from standing up to corruption, injustice, abuse of power and even smaller civic transgressions.

When people become accustomed to injustice, they too often lose all hope that they can combat it.

When confronted with the evils of life, too often people begin to feign offense but then quickly retreat and do nothing, saying, “Son todos corruptos. Es un país de mierda. Somos así.”

This kind of fatalistic thinking is pervasive. It’s also depressing, counterproductive and entirely unnecessary.

But with this tiny gesture, my neighbor has fought back. He’s creatively acted to make his little part of the world a better place. In effect, he’s said to the world, “Hey, things don’t have to be this way. We can do better.”

It’s a minor move, a simple, hopeful act. But it’s also a powerful one.

And who knows, maybe at the end of the day it will actually make a difference.

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Argentina’s New Wine Promotion Video

June 14th, 2011 | 08:01 AM

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You can follow Wines of Argentina on Twitter here: @winesofarg and at their website here.

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Argentina Approves Nationwide Smoking Ban

June 1st, 2011 | 11:16 PM

Argentina’s Congress on Wednesday moved the country to the forefront of the global fight against cancer by passing a nationwide ban on smoking in indoor public places.

In a rare display of national unity, members of the Lower House of Congress voted almost unanimously to approve the ban, which received the support of virtually all political parties.

Health officials estimate that cigarette-related cancer kills around 40,000 Argentines annually.

Pro party Deputy Paula Bertol, one of the law’s most vocal proponents, said the law’s goal is to reduce smoking and prevent people from taking up the hideous habit in the first place.

The law bans smoking in indoor work spaces, schools, hospitals, museums, clubs and public transportation systems. It also places strict limits on the sale, advertising and promotion of cigarettes in these and other places while forcing tobacco companies to put warning labels on cigarette packages.

The law does allow people to continue smoking on their own private balconies and patios, etc.

“Today is a day to celebrate,” Bertol said in a statement. “After more than 20 years of working on this matter, Congress has finally passed the law that will save lives. Tobaco kills and our objective is to protect those who freely choose not to smoke.”

Bertol said that more than half of the people who smoke will end up dying from a disease related to their consumption of cigarettes. On average, she said, smokers live at least 10 years less than non-smokers.

Argentina has come a long way in recent years. The City of Buenos Aires first banned smoking in 2006. That’s a far cry from the mid 1990s when some Argentines still smoked openly in movie theaters.

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Most Argentine Teens Lack Home Internet Access

May 27th, 2011 | 04:02 PM

About two-thirds of Argentine adolescents lack Internet access in their homes, according to a study published Friday.

The news may come as a bit of a surprise to some given Argentina’s pervasive online presence.

But sometimes perceptions don’t accurately reflect reality and that may be the case here. So how do Argentina’s number compare with those in other countries? Consider this:

“In developing countries 72.4% of households have a TV, only 22.5% have a computer and only 15.8% have Internet access (compared to 98%, 71% and 65.6% respectively in developed countries),” according to this International Telecommunications Union report.

The Argentine Catholic University study also indicates that almost 60% of Argentine kids lack access to books at home while another 54% have no home computer. Presumably, this helps explain the success and proliferation of cybercafes in Argentina.

“The deficit in the access to these resources increases as the socioeconomic class of the adolescents declines,” the study said.

On the upside, the study said most kids (67%) have access to family support when it comes time to do their homework at home.

Meanwhile, some 38% of Argentine kids were enrolled in school programs at the age of three last year. That percentage rises to 78% for four-year olds and 95% for children over the age of five (this is obligatory by law).

For more facts and tidbits about Argentina’s educational system, you can download the complete report here.

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Crime in Argentina Unchanged from Year Ago

May 10th, 2011 | 08:13 PM

Torcuarto Di Tella University’s latest crime “victimization rate” survey indicates that overall criminal activity in Argentina was unchanged in April from the same month a year ago.

The victimization rate refers to the percentage of households which reported that at least one person in that home has been the victim of crime within the past year. This could be any kind of crime, reported or not to the police.

According to the latest survey, which was published Tuesday and polled 1,206 households, 33.2% of the homes said at least one member of the household had been the victim of crime.

That rate is unchanged from a year earlier but up from 29.6% the previous month.

Violent crime accounted for about 60% of the crimes experienced by household members. That is to say, for every 100 homes surveyed, 22 reported experiencing violent crime.

This figure was up from the previous month (March), when it totaled 18. It was also up a tad from a year ago, when it was 21.

Di Tella’s study surveys households in 40 urban centers around the country. The survey was conducted from April 1-12.

The safest place to be in Argentina, according to the survey, is in scarcely populated towns of less than 10,000 people. The victimization rates in these towns is about 21%.

Cities with more than 500,000 residents appear to have the most crime per household, with a victimization rate of about 35%.

In general, the safest place in Argentina is the interior provinces while the most dangerous is Buenos Aires province.

Opinion polls have shown that crime is the top concern among Argentines, surpassing inflation and worries about the economy.

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Photo Post: The ‘Mr. Cock’ Photo Shop

May 2nd, 2011 | 07:30 AM

We’ve all seen our fair share of poorly chosen English words or expressions, but this one takes the cake.

I saw this while walking around Olivos on Sunday. Mr. Cock appears to be a photography studio that specializes in taking “babies and kids” portraits. It may also sell kids clothing. I couldn’t tell for sure because the store was closed.

Whatever the case, the name of the business doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?

All of this reminded me of the “McPussy” windshield wiper post we did back in 2009. Or how about them “Barfy” burgers! Anyone tried those?

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Video Flashback: Menem Proposes Building Spaceship

April 22nd, 2011 | 02:52 PM

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It was 1996 and anything, in then-president Carlos Menem’s mind at least, seemed possible, including the idea of building a spaceship that could fly from Argentina to Japan in 1.5 hours. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Menem had conquered inflation and now he was ready to conquer outer space. Too bad it was never built. Sometimes it takes me more than 1.5 hours just to get from the microcentro to Ezeiza.

Oh well. “Aim high or dont’ aim at all,” my grandma used to say. Actually, that’s not true. She never said that. But Carlos Menem really did say this:

“Within a short period of time, we are going to call for bids to build a system of space flights that, through a platform which might be built in the province of Córdoba, those space ships will leave the atmosphere, will return to the stratosphere, and from there will choose where they want to go, so that within an hour and a half we will be able to go from Argentina to Japan, Korea or any part of the world.”

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Photo Post: Argentina’s Hidden Gems

April 10th, 2011 | 08:57 PM

One of the great joys of living in an older, pedestrian-friendly city like Buenos Aires is the unexpected discovery of hidden gems.

I chanced upon one of these Sunday night while walking my little pug, Buki, around my neighborhood just north of the city. Technically speaking, I don’t even live in Buenos Aires. I live near the border between the neighborhoods of Olivos and La Lucila.

Just as in San Telmo or parts of Recoleta, some parts of these neighborhoods are defined by beautifully cobbled, tree-lined streets. It’s a delightful area to explore by foot.

While walking with Buki I came across this older movie theater, Cine York, which was showing Woody Allen’s latest movie, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

The place looked incredibly cozy, quiet and romantic. I felt fortunate, happy to be out and about and happy to have such a lovely placed so close to my home.

The classy, inviting nature of this little theater couldn’t contrast more with the loud, plastic, cookie-cutter nature of modern shopping centers that have come to dominate the urban landscape of huge swaths of the U.S.

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Podcast Offers Entertaining Insight into Argentina

February 7th, 2011 | 07:10 PM

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Looking for a fun, entertaining and insightful look at Argentina and its cultural quirks?

Look no further. BA Cast has arrived.

Expat Daniel Karlin (Portland, Oregon) and Buenos Aires native Fernando Farías (Monserrat) have teamed up to provide you with a weekly podcast looking at everything from lunfardo to tax evasion and the “laws of mate.”

The shows, available online or via iTunes, are professionally-produced, intelligent, witty and even educational.

I asked Dan and Fernando a few questions for The Argentine Post. (more…)

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Back to Sex School in Buenos Aires

January 17th, 2011 | 06:48 AM

By Laura Mannering

Classes on bedroom technique for women are booming in Argentina’s capital

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in a respectable residential neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. People are walking their dogs, loading up shopping bags at bakeries and greengrocers, enjoying a porteño breakfast of coffee, orange juice and croissants at one of the many outdoor cafés. But close by, in the living room of a small top-floor apartment, a group of local women gather to spend a few hours away from the weekend routine.

Their host, Paola, buzzes about offering cold drinks and answering the doorbell, which rings every couple of minutes with new arrivals. There are 21 women, aged between 20 and 50, crammed onto sofas, perched on the arms of chairs or settled into what space they can find on the floor. They are well-groomed and polite, making small-talk while waiting for their class to begin. The black leather massage bed in the corner of the neat plain room is the only reminder of where we are – the headquarters of Argentina’s first sex school. Women come here for practical lessons on how to improve their bedroom repertoire, and this morning is the popular erotic-massage class.

PK Escuela de Sexo was started by Paola Kullock, the sister of a well-known Argentine actress. A professional masseur, Paola has now become high-profile sexpert – she has published a book, frequently appears on TV and radio, and fronts her own raunchy theatre show.

The school started as a small-scale project six years ago, after Paola had searched for a striptease lesson for herself without success. The first class she gave was a sex toys workshop, which eight women attended. Now, she offers a huge range of classes, from erotic technique, to role-play and striptease, with lessons delivered by Paola and her assistants. The classes cater to groups or individuals and most are exclusively for women, though there are also a few separate courses for men.

For a country in which contraception was only legalized in 1985 and where abortion remains illegal, the sex school is pushing new boundaries. (more…)

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