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Mystery of the two Marisa Montes

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

We're not sure if Tykhe, the ancient Greek goddess of luck, has selected us for special treatment, but nearly every day while surfing the Internet we encounter an inexplicable coincidence. Do other net surfers have similar experiences, or are we specially favoured?

There was the memorable occasion when within a few hours we received emails from an actress and a bishop, and another when we discovered that the oddly-named Kentucky attorney Natty Bumppo, publisher of Borf Books, has a namesake calling himself Borf in Washington DC who was sent to the slammer for painting his nickname on buildings in the national capital.

The latest example of Lady Luck's generosity occurred one day last month.

Requiring a picture of a camel to illustrate the story "Too many camels? Let's eat them!" we found an amusing animated image on one of Marisa Montes's web pages, "All about camels." . We sought permission to copy it. Marisa, a talented author of children's books, told us it was in the public domain, so our not-for-profit e-book would be at liberty to display it.

A few minutes after receiving Marisa's email, we were amazed to read on The Sydney Morning Herald's website that Marisa Monte was scheduled to sing South American songs in two concerts in the Sydney Opera House. What a coincidence!

We promptly emailed Marisa the author in California, asking her about her namesake. Were they related? She replied:

It's funny, but people do get us confused -- they go to my website looking for the Brazilian singer. No, we're not related.

My last name is Montes, hers is Monte -- no "s." She's Brazilian and I'm Puerto Rican/American. We speak Spanish and English in Puerto Rico, though I live in California, USA. She speaks Portugese.

My given name is Maria Isabel Montes -- Marisa for short. I've heard she's a very good singer. I'll have to get one of her CDs and see. Will you go to her concert? I'd love to see her --I adore samba music.

There was a famous American movie actress named Maria Montez, who died the year I was born --1951.

Marisa Montes-with-an-s wears many hats. On her attractive and colourful website, she says, "I see myself as a children's book author, artist, lawyer, legal writer and editor, humorist, motivational speaker, linguist, feminist, disabled-person's-rights and affirmative-action advocate all rolled into one. But no matter what hat I'm wearing, there's always a little kid inside me, screaming to be let out."

We congratulated Marisa on her comprehensive web page "All about camels," and sent her a copy of our story about eating them. She replied:

I'm a great fan of camels. I can't believe that after thousands of years of being abused as beasts of burden, now the poor camels are being slaughtered for food! It's as bad as selling and eating horse meat in France. I'm also not happy with killing the large, silly ostrich for meat.

I must agree with you about the other poor animals we eat. I sadly acknowledge that I'm a hypocrite. I would give anything if I could become a vegetarian. But I hate veggies and I'm highly allergic to the night shade veggies, so other than cheese and lettuce, I'd starve.

But I limit my consumption to beef (sorry, sweet cows), seafood, and poultry. I'm especially sad about eating duck because we're both duck lovers, but once in a while I give in at a restaurant and have tea-smoked or roasted duck. Fortunately, I'm also allergic to pork and I can't stand lamb, and I won't touch veal on principle.

I guess reality hits when one finds out that an animal that one has never associated with being consumed as food, an animal that has been a friend or assistant to humans for thousands of years like a horse, a camel, or a dog is being slaughtered for food.

As for the Brazilian samba singer, Marisa Monte-without-an--s, her concerts were sensational. "Any non-Brazilians living under the misapprehension that Marisa Monte is merely a star in her homeland soon collided with the truth.," wrote the Sydney Morning Herald music critic John Shand.

"She is a phenomenon. Brazilians dominated the audience for her first Australian performance, and just the dimming of the lights was enough to trigger massed shrieking...

" Monte's voice was a relaxed, sweetly melodic instrument... Monte's triumph is to have become so adored for making such good music. A rarity."

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Story first posted June 2007

Copyright 2007

Eric Shackle

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