The American Society Rio Community Notebook: Version 34

The American Society Rio Community Notebook

Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of America’s most prominent Founding Fathers, he contributed to the drafting of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution; a true Renaissance man,

he was a printer, satirist, political theorist and writer of light extemporanea, most notably Poor Richard’s Almanack; 1st U.S. Postmaster General; U.S. Minister to France and Sweden; he organized the first public lending library in America; a scientist, he founded the American Philosophical Society and is noted for his research and theories about electricity, oceanography, and more; inventor of, inter alia, the Franklin stove, bifocals, and the lightning rod, none of which he ever patented, believing they were gifts to be shared with society; a member of the US Chess Hall of Fame and (shall we say) quite the ladies’ man.


Thanksgiving is TOMORROW and due to a few cancellations, some spots have opened up for youto join us at the American Society Rio’s annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Copacabana. It will kick off at 6:30 pm with cocktails served on the hotel’s delightful roof garden overlooking the world’s most beautiful beach. Dinner at 8:00 pm. He will also present the Society’s prestigious Ralph Greenberg Award, which since 1974 has annually honored an outstanding resident American who has contributed his or her time and effort, unselfishly, for the good of the American and/or Brazilian communities. Named in memory of a past Society president, this year’s award includes a gift of appreciation, donated by Ledoux Jewelry.

The sumptuous feast in the hotel’s banquet facilities will feature all things symbolic of and yummy about America’s favorite holiday, including stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as pies of pumpkin, pecan, and apple. There’ll also be roast fresh ham (“pernil”) and, naturally, turkey, carved to your personal preference. Adult, paid-up Society members pay R$115 per person; non-members, R$165; ages 5-15 pay R$55; children under 5 are free. The price includes soft drinks, beer and caipirinhas from the opening reception through dessert and coffee. If you’d like to attend, please send an e-mail, right now, to We’ll immediately confirm your reservation and let you know how to make payment.


Here’s a shout out to all our female readers: It’s time to kick back, take another break and raise a glass at American Society Rio’s next “Ladies’ Night Out”. The second gathering of this first-Thursday-of-each-month event is coming ‘round on Thursday, December 2nd, just a week from tomorrow. Pleasant conversation and an evening of relaxation starts at 8:00 pm at Gula Gula, Av. Henrique Dumont, 57 in Ipanema. Valet parking is available. Your leading lady is Kathleen Coogan, who has reserved the covered open-air bar area in the rear of the restaurant. The first bottle of bubbly is on the house. Your only requirement is to lack the “Y” chromosome and, presuming you do, please hot foot it to Ipanema and have some fun with all the other ladies there!


We’re really supposed to call it a “flying disk“, but we think it’s silly to call the only sport invented in America in the 20th Century by any other name than the one by which it’s most commonly known. And that’s how it will be on Leme Beach, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, on Sunday, December 5th, when there will be an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament and Picnic. If you’re game to give it whirl yourself (it’s all in the wrist action, you know), please email sarah-catchpole@hotmail.comwith 1) the name(s) of the player(s) who will participate, 2) a team name (if you’re coming with a ready-made group), and 3) contact details. If you’d like to play, but don’t have a team, please indicate this in your note (and they’ll find a team for you to join). Indicate, too, if you are bringing children and their ages (the tournament is for adults, but organizers will try to arrange play for the kiddies, as well). The fee for players is R$5. BYO picnic (food & drinks) or try the kiosks. Practices are held every Tuesday evening, starting at 7:30 pm. And if you’ve forgotten the rules, or be too old to have learnt ‘em like ya oughta, you can check them out here.


On the morning of Thursday, December 2nd, more than twenty early birds (and nary a turkey among them) will fly on over to the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) to participate in a full tour of that fascinating facility, including the recently inaugurated “borboletário“ with 84 square meters of enclosed space where butterflies are free. Timing, transportation, costs and other details will soon be sent to all those who signed up. If you didn’t reserve in time for make this trip, organizer Vanica Royster tells us you shouldn’t miss out on our next museum visit, which will be on Tuesday, January 18th, to the Museu Histórico Nacional and Paço Imperial in downtown Rio. Jump to the top of that guest list by sending an email right away to


At the Thanksgiving Day Dinner, raffle tickets will be on offer for a drawing to be held at next month’s Holiday Egg Nog Party, to be held on Saturday, December 11th (winners need not be present to win). Big prizes, so far, include: 1) a round-trip ticket to the continental US from American Society Rio Platinum SponsorAmerican Airlines, as well as getaways at either 2) the fun-filled Club Med in Rio das Pedras (4 nights) or 3) the stunning Cachoeira Inn in Armação dos Búzios. Not enough to pique your interest? How about 4) an amethyst necklace and 5) a stylish woman’s watch, both from Society Gold sponsorAmsterdam Sauer, not forgetting 6) a magnificent stone bird from Ledoux Jewelry in Copacabana or, from Brasilazy, 7) one large and 8) one small beanbag pouffe, plus a fancy tote bag.

Raffles are R$10 each, 6 for $50, 10 for R$80, and 13 for R$100. ALL the money we collect from raffle ticket sales, as well as the money we have taken in this year during our Speakers Series events and happy hours will be distributed to our 2010 designated charities: Instituto Central do Povo, Casa Maternal Mello Mattos and Centro Comunitário da Rocinha. All are extremely worthy causes, which are grateful for your support of their educational and social projects. This week, we’d like to concentrate on one where there will soon be another party…


We’re having a Christmas party and you are cordially invited! Organized by American Society Rio Board of Governors member, Nancy McCulloch, it will take place on Friday, December 10th, starting at noon,at the Casa Maternal Mello Mattos, located at Rua Faro, 80 in Jardim Botânico. The Casa was founded, in 1924, as a not-for-profit, philanthropic institution by Dr. José Candido de Albuquerque Mello Mattos. Over 80 years ago, Dr. José wrote the first Brazilian Code for the Assistance and Protection of Children and Adolescents, and served as the country’s first Juvenile Court Judge. The Casa relies upon volunteer teachers and private donations to help pay for basic food and medicine for the kids in its care, as well as the expenses for upkeep of the institution’s educational and recreational facilities. They’ve specifically asked the Society to help with summer uniforms for younger kids, and for basic foodstuffs such as milk, sugar, oil and margarine.

The party – part of our charitable activities around the community – will be for the Casa’s 120 kids, ages 2 to 10. As a gift to the children and a means to teach them about a beloved Christmas tradition, Cindy Garvin is donating hand-made Christmas stockings. Also on hand will be tasty holiday cookies and other, donated seasonal treats. Nancy is looking for a couple more cookie bakers to lend a hand, so if you’d be good enough to pitch in, you’ll make a whole lot of deserving little ones incredibly happy. If you can help, please email her at Liquid refreshments are being donated by American Society Rio Platinum Sponsor Coca-Cola. Please come and join us! The joy on the kids’ faces will be a fantastic way for all of us to get into the true Christmas spirit.


Perhaps you knew that Ben Franklin was not an eagles fan, but instead proposed the turkey as the National Bird of the fledgling nation he helped to birth. There’s plenty more to know about turkeys. Gobble up the facts by clicking here.

And although you might have heard the old Plymouth Rock story about the first Thanksgiving, there’s solid evidence that it wasn’t America’s first Thanksgiving after all. Regardless, the holiday we have come to know, as described earlier in this Community Notebook, is mostly an idealization created and actively promoted by Sarah Hale, during her years as the first female editor of an American periodical, the Ladies’ Magazine, and for quite a time thereafter as she tried to convince successive U.S. presidents to establish Thanksgiving as an official, national holiday. Her letter to Abraham Lincoln finally did the trick and in 1863 he did just that, believing it would represent a day of unity for a nation then torn apart by the Civil War. (By the way, Hale also wrote the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had A Little Lamb“.)


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