Yesterday afternoon we returned from our trip to Brasil.  We spent seven full days in Rio de Janeiro and enjoyed nearly every minute.  The dollar is so strong right now, compared to the Brasillian Real, that almost everything produced in Brasil (food, drink, services, etc.) was really cheap.  As such, we could live very well and yet not outside our means. Sarah and I were also engaged to be married while we were in Rio.  We have not chosen a date or location yet, but discussions towards that end are on-going. Bush's damn war (as someone we know always labels it) started while we were still in Brasil.  Fortunately, we were too busy to be forced to expend much energy avoiding coverage of the whole senseless affair.  Now that we're back home we'll expend a bit more energy avoiding the war, but fortunately we don't have cable or satellite television.  Watching the damn war on television is like rubber-necking at a particulary gruesome accident.  I'm sure that the Pentagon is controlling the release of footage by reporters and that by the time the viewing public sees footage most days, the action has already come and gone and all that's left is the clean-up and damage assessment. [Dopey, jingoistic, provincial thinking was a feature of American life when the news was still carried by horseback.](http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/03/18/DD34710.

DTL)