Thursday, September 28, 2006


I have not seen the Borat movie, but nonetheless I will opine about it. I think Borat would like that.
It is unfortunate that Sacha Baron Cohen chose the name for Borat's country of an existing country which is having a zirotsky because Borat is making fun of it.
Apparently, it is not the most democratic of places, like so many of the other former Soviet states. They should lighten up. I bet that all the publicity may even increase tourism to Kazhakstan. Capital: ?
Perhaps he should have called it Kreplachistan (this lovely name comes from one of the Austin Powers movies) or something made up. But he didn't. I understand their concern. If somebody did the same thing about Mexico, it would hurt my little heart, as it does when I see others making stupid fun of it (not witty fun of it, which would be cool).
However, in defense of Borat, the point is not that he represents Kazakhstan, but that he represents a brand of stupid, boorish person that is ubiquitous pretty much everywhere. Ignorant, mysogynistc, homophobic and antisemitic: there are people like that all over the world. The humor comes from the fact that people like Borat seem to think it is normal in this day and age to behave as if you live in the stone age, and hate women, gays and Jews. His innocence about modern civility is hilarious.
I welcome Borat because he shows these people (not the Khazakhs, but the Borats of the world) for the troglodytes they are. If only they were as sweetnatured as him.

Oh, but I do*

From an outraged editorial in the NYT about the anti-terrorism measures by Bush:
There is not enough time to fix these bills, especially since the few Republicans who call themselves moderates have been whipped into line, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it.

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened*. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

*Well I do. We all have to blame them for being such disgraceful losers. If we don't blame them, they are never going to get it. They need to find some cojones somewhere. Geez!
I keep getting phone calls from Hillary and letters from Bill and Gore and Kerry and this sorry bunch asking me for money. "Do not let the Republicans do this or that". How about you, sorry bastards, you stop the Republicans from passing horrid laws. That's what we pay you for. That's why we voted for you in the first place.
I am not giving these people one red cent because they disgust me. They deserve to lose the election. I am so angry at them I feel like voting for John McCain just to spite them.
They are afraid that people are going to think they are soft on terrorists if they fight against terrible un-American, un-democratic laws. That's what happened with Hillary and her support for the Iraq war. She disappointed us all. She may very well become the President of the United States one day and it will be for sheer political cunning, but not an ounce of principle. Perhaps I am naive and I expect my representatives to represent my views, not to bend down and take it in the ass like they've been doing for almost eight years.
They are already in the dumps, so what have they got to lose? Could it be possibly worse than it already is? I doubt it. So why not use the opportunity of Bush's unpopularity, the disastrous war, Katrina, Global Warming, every fucking thing they do that's wrong and attack it. Attack it like there is no tomorrow. Am I wrong in thinking that many people may respond to some measure of political bravery of common sense and principle? Instead we get whining, whimpering cowards.
Maybe they should stop being afraid for one moment and just act with their consciences. Maybe the American people would notice.
And I am supposed to vote for them? Why? They suck and I hate their spineless guts.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Don't mess with their Opera!

The furor in Germany over the Deutsche Oper cancelling of a staging of Mozart's Idomeneo because it includes the beheading of several religious icons (Buddha, JC, and Mohammad) has been widely reported. The reason for the cancellation: the Muslims are going to be offended and don't come crying to the German polizei when they bomb the ass off your theater.
The Germans are throwing a fit. How dare anybody touch their kultur and their hard-earned freedom of expression? Remember, these people are traumatized by having been Nazis in the past, so this kind of self-censorship must be a huger deal to them than it would be to others equally burdened with modernistic, farshtunkene interpretations of the classics.
Now, they have every right to be outraged. If you don't like somebody else's depiction of your religion you can protest within the realm of the law. You cannot burn, bomb or kill people because you have been offended. If we all behaved with such volatile touchiness, we wouldn't last another week.

The other day I had a very unfortunate argument that went like this:
There are Muslims in Spain who have destroyed statues of Saint Santiago de Compostela, in the city that bears his name, because 600 years ago he persecuted Muslims. Be it far from me to defend a Catholic saint, who was probably not nice to the Jews either, but I think this is outrageous. If they don't like Spain and its historical heroes, they can live in a place where they like the heroes. I see no justification for destroying statuary. So my beloved friend tells me: it's as if there was a statue of Hitler somewhere. Meaning, how would you react?
This is such an grossly stupid argument I feel it is below me to even repeat it here and I wish she had thought before uttering it so as to save herself the shame of it.
First of all, pretty much everybody is in agreement that Hitler does not deserve statues. There are no public Hitler statues that I know of anywhere. Coming soon to Tehran, perhaps, but not yet. Still, even if there was a statue of Hitler somewhere, I doubt that Jews living in a country that had one, would destroy it. They would kvetch about it, send a community letter signed by all the rabbis and the big cheeses and they would kvetch about it some more and send obnoxious chain letters in the internet until someone got tired and took it away. Or they would emigrate. Period.
If Jews were to go about destroying every monument to the people who killed them and burned them and hurt them, there would not be a Catholic church standing, let alone many other public buildings in many different countries. Instead, we kvetch. Or we move away.
I am sick and tired of spurious comparisons and this tolerance of the intolerant.
Probably that stupid opera is soporific and pretentious and insufferable, but if someone does not like it, they they don't have to see it. They can see it and hate it or they can civilly complain about it. Its intent is obviously not to offend Muslims expressly, but to criticize all religions (which by the way is why Jews are so smart, we don't believe in idols that can be beheaded).
What we cannot allow is for the social contract of tolerance in which our peaceful, civilized, day to day existence is predicated on to be eroded by irrational maniacs who are bent on turning our society into a barbaric place, and the Pope into a wimp. And we have to stop being all nice about it and all politically correct about it.
The point is either they accept to live among a plurality of opinions, or they can live where there is only one opinion and it is strictly enforced. There is Afghanistan and there is Iran and Saudi Arabia and many places with this qualification. Nazi Germany used to be such a place, and look what happened.
There are a lot of things that offend me and I don't go threatening to destroy them. Don't get me started.

Well that explains it

Too much testosterone kills brain cells.
While estrogen seems to be neuroprotective.
I've suspected it all along. Maybe Bush suffers from too much testosterone. He behaves like a macho cowboy without a brain, so check his testosterone levels. Hell, check the testosterone levels of all the neocon hawks that have sold him the bill of goods we are all going to pay so dearly for. They need estrogen injections, presto.

Too much testosterone can kill brain cells, researchers said on Tuesday in a finding that may help explain why steroid abuse can cause behavior changes like aggressiveness and suicidal tendencies.

Testosterone is key to the development, differentiation and growth of cells and is produced by both men and women, although men produce about 20 times more of the hormone.


It can also be abused, and recent scandals have involved athletes who use the hormone, or steroids that turn into testosterone in the body, for an unfair advantage.

Ehrlich's team tried the same thing with the "female" hormone estrogen, just to be fair.

"We were surprised, but it actually looks like estrogen is neuroprotective. If anything, there is less cell death in the presence of estrogen," she said.


"Next time a muscle-bound guy in a sports car cuts you off on the highway, don't get mad -- just take a deep breath and realize that it might not be his fault," Ehrlich said in a statement.

This explains soooo much.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Yesterday I attended a screening of the One Show winners of 2005. My favorite ads: the Nike Chariots of Fire spot and the British Honda spot with the choir making the sounds of the car. Gorgeous.
There was a category of World humor and American humor, and sad to say, at least in this One Show list, the chosen American spots were mostly awful. The World humor spots were smart and clever and sophisticated. The American spots were smarmy, mean spirited, stupid, and utterly devoid of either wit or charm (Sunburst is the worst offender, followed very closely by the Miller Lite audition spots) Not funny. At all. (except for the caveman FedEx spot, which I adore).
There is a style that is inexplicably in vogue these days here in the US which I think has long ago overstayed it's welcome, and which wants to be deadpan and ironic but which is nothing else but ignorant smarminess. The Starburst clients can come back to me and tell me that they are selling tons of candy to teenage morons, and I still don't care, because these commercials encourage imbecility, instead of giving someone something fun to wrap their two neurons around.

Nah... Really?

Stop the presses! Alert the media! Plotz, everybody!

A U.S. "intelligence" report announces that US involvement in Iraq is "a cause celebre for extremists". Nah... Who'd have thunk?

The war in Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better, federal intelligence analysts conclude in a report at odds with President Bush's portrayal of a world growing safer.

In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush's orders, the nation's most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.

It's not like this isn't what all the people who are against this stupid, misbegotten, useless, horrid war have been saying and knowing and pointing out and writing books about and screaming like Cassandras in the wilderness since the "mission" was "accomplished". Apparently, Bush needs an "intelligence" report to get the point.
And still he continues to defend the indefensible and to blame Clinton for everything.
Why, I ask again, is he still in power? We should all be up in arms and charging the White House. All we do is kvetch and lament and rant and rave. This frustration is exhausting me. I can't keep up with the cynicism of this Administration.

Rice Pudding

I think it's just rich for Condi Rice to accuse Clinton now of not doing enough to get Bin Laden. Really! Why bring that up just before the elections? What about "we're going to smoke em out of their holes"? What about "mission accomplished"? How can you blame someone else for your own disasters? It is shameful and cowardly.
I have tried to give Condi the benefit of the doubt, but she is a spineless bitch. At least Colin Powell had some amount of principle and he made his inconformity known to his bosses. She is just a toady.
I hope the American people can tell this for what it is: a transparent scheme to discredit the Democrats and Clinton, who is their most formidable opponent in the coming elections and who is doing a good job of agitating for the Dems.
I haven't seen his defense on TV, but I was at the gym looking at him with no volume, and he seemed really pissed. This kind of anger is what the Democrats need. Put some passionate outrage into the proceedings already. We are fed up.

Monday, September 25, 2006

First Freedom First, my Friends

I am doing my duty as a concerned American and member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, to inform you, my dear readers, that as you read this, this country is inching perilously close towards theocracy with each passing day. And we aren't doing anything about it.

• You have been already mortified with international embarrassment about school boards in Kansas and other medieval states, such as Pennsylvania trying to enforce creationist school curriculums.
• You have witnessed the government's absolutely shameless intervention in the case of that poor woman in a coma, whatshername.
• You have seen that even NASA is not safe from Bush's evangelical fervor and that the scientific progress of this country is in terrible danger.
• You may know that the Bush Administration withdraws funds to NGO's trying to curb the spread of AIDS if they endorse the use of condoms. They, and their retarded abstinence bullshit, are responsible for thousands of infections that could be prevented.
• You have seen that the Religious Right will stop at nothing to ensure we're safely back in the Stone Age, together with our friends from the Taliban and the pesky Islamists and every other extreme religious zealot, and that includes those unbelievably stupid ultraorthodox Jews who met with Mahmoud the other day. I can safely say I hate them as much or more than I hate him.

I'm pretty sure that your idea of the United States of America does not include the word theocracy in it. So please sign a petition that will presumably be shared with our lazyass representatives in Congress and whoever else is responsible for our fates, and express your inconformity with these alarming developments.
Sign the petition and pass it along to your nearest and dearest.
I usually don't believe in this petition kind of stuff, and I will not ordinarily use my blog to shill these things but these people need to be stopped and I'll do whatever helps and so should you.
By the way, the brochure I got from the good folks at AU mentioned that this petition is an initiative from AU and the Interfaith Alliance (that is, everybody else who is not a right wing Christian nutjob), backed by some important anonymous donors. These donors should be known publicly. They should be proud to lend their names to this endeavor. Just like Richard Branson comes out with a huge check for Global Warming, and Warren Buffett gives his billions to the Gates Foundation, I wish somebody of that caliber would lend their names to this fight. I swear (to God?) that if I was a gazillionaire I would happily contribute my gazillionaire profile for this cause.
People are always afraid to mess with religion. This to me is as stupid as being superstitious. Nobody should be afraid of the people who abuse religion. Those people should be repudiated openly. A bolt of lightning is not going to hit you if you dare to say what's right.

Oh, Grow Up!

Yesterday my wildly successful Sunday evening movie club was inaugurated for the third consecutive year with an outing to see Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep. I had a feeling it's a good omen to start out this year with a crappy movie and I was not disappointed. It sucks.
Now, I normally absolutely detest whimsy. Amelie, for instance, made me want to gag. (Compared to this one Amelie is like Proust). I knew this movie was going to be whimsical, but it had two things going for it: my compatriot Gael Garcia Bernal and the fact that Gondry has done well before. Some of his videos are truly fantastic, I really liked his Dave Chappelle: Block Party and I was well impressed with The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which he directed and which was written by Charlie Kaufman. And therein lies the rub. Because Mr. Gondry is not a writer, and as a writer, he is not even remotely close to Mr. Kaufman, although he'd like to be.
The Science of Sleep is a self-indulgent, sloppy movie about a guy, played by Gael (as he is known by his legions of female fans) who is an incurable dreamer and whose dreams he confuses with reality. The premise is interesting enough. But the character, instead of learning something about himself, or overcoming his problem, just becomes more childish and obnoxious as the film plods along.
I sort of felt sorry for the actors. Gael tried his best to infuse his non-role with charm. He was quite funny sometimes, his body language very comically precise, and surprisingly good at deadpan, although his character became tiresome very soon into the proceedings. Charlotte Gainsbourg, whose appeal as an actress I fail to understand, had even less to play against.
I have very little patience with the conceit of men who refuse to grow up. Men who behave like children are not interesting to me. Dramatically, it is far more interesting to see a character grow or change or respond to a challenge by adapting, than someone who doesn't learn anything about himself at all. By the end of this movie, the poor guy comes across like a real schmuck, she comes across like a long-suffering fool and you want your money back.
There are playful, mischievous writers and directors, like Charlie Kaufman or like the Coen Brothers, or even Spielberg, who are not monumentally self-obsessed and who craft their characters and their stories with great care. The Science of Sleep is sloppy and boring and hard to swallow.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I confess:

I like Adrien Brody.
What's more, I like Ben Affleck too. Okay? So sue me.

I read the reviews for Hollywoodland and they were mostly unkind to Mr. Brody. Some were kind to Mr. Affleck and some were not. All were kind to Diane Lane, and rightly so. No one mentioned the best one of them all, Bob Hoskins, in a marvel of a character turn as a ruthless studio manager.
Bob Hoskins, my dear readers, is the man.
Well I saw the movie and, while I can see what exasperated the critics, I beg to differ.
Mr. Ex-Enchilada says that Adrien Brody looks like one of those sad clowns in velvet paintings.
I find him very attractive, like the Ermenegildo Zegna folks do. Some critics said he was miscast for his role of a sleazy private detective in this film. I thought he acquitted himself quite nicely and it wasn't his fault if the movie plodded itself out of steam. He plays a slightly amoral gumshoe (is that the word?) who loves as much of the spotlight as he can get, or whatever specks of remaining spotlight he can dust up from under the lives of the truly glamorous.
Brody may not be hard jawed, and there seems to be an empathy in his face (the sad clown factor) that works against the very concept of inmorality, but he is intensely present in each scene, and he brings a New York chutzpah to his role that I found credible.
The movie is a dark fable about George Reeves and his wrong kind of fame. Reeves was mainly known to the world for briefly playing Superman on TV with those ridiculously huge briefs. In a nutshell, he got a part in From Here to Eternity with Burt Lancaster and they cut it out of the film because the preview audiences recognized him as Superman. I'd have killed myself too.
I remember watching Superman on TV in Mexico and even when I was five, those briefs seemed way too big. (Settle down: I'm not that ancient; they broadcast old shows there). Even when I was five, I could see that Mr. Reeves had no personality whatsoever. He seemed like a big nerd in tights. Which is why I think they are doing him a considerable favor by casting Ben Affleck in the role. If Reeves had had half the easy charm of Ben Affleck, he would have been a Ben Affleck.
I like Ben Affleck. There is something winning and likeable about him. He is a very natural actor. He doesn't sweat it. He seems to be having fun. As Reeves, he is very good with the selfdeprecation and the charm but I found him lacking in the desperation department. He seems to be a perfectly content young man, and I'd have loved to see more shades of darkness in the character. He lacks a bit of gravitas.
Now, Brody is playing the great bullfighter Manolete in a film with Penelope Cruz. He plays Manolete mainly because he looks exactly like him. But he's been training to do the moves in Spain. Read the article, highlighted above.
That'll show 'em. Because if not, it'll be like a sad clown dressed like a toreador on a velvet painting.

The sad law of unintended consequences

Well, Hugo Chavez, you did it! You finally united the Great American Nation, one and all, in defending George Bush. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed horrified outrage at your comments and you can be credited for making Bush look good, which I doubt was your intention, and which his camp has been trying to do, quite unsuccessfully, since he took office. So Mazel Tov, Hugo, we have you to thank for that. I'm sure Noam Chomsky is also deeply grateful for the plug. You have made a new bestseller. I'm not a fan of Chomsky, but if you can get people in this country to read a book that is not self-help, good for you.
What amazes me is that everybody took you SO seriously. I think that the gringos don't understand what in Spanish we call your "picardía", your sense of mischief. Now, I think you are an unfortunate bufoon, and it doesn't help your cause to be such a cut up, but I have to say, in all honesty, and without irony, that you crack me up.
Like when you had that spat with Mexican president Fox (I think you accused him of being Bush's lapdog) and you, wearing a huge sombrero, sang three ranchera songs, of those filled with rancor, backed by a full blown mariachi band: priceless. Or when you sing songs a capella or feed yogurt to your buddy Fidel... You are a true original and at least you bring some fun to the party.
Sadly, I was just in your country and could see that you pay far more attention to your expensive foreign high jinks than you do to the folks at home. There you are, building roads in Argentina, while the roads in Venezuela would be laughable if they weren't so dangerous. Believe me, the good people of the Bronx and Harlem need your heating oil less than the poor of Venezuela need food and jobs.
The left can't get a break as long as megalomaniac payasos like you and AMLO and Fidel are camping it up, but at least of all of them you are truly the most charming.
Pity that the folks here don't get your sense of humor.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lose the Girl

Yesterday night I went with some friends to Tonic, on Norfolk St, to see Elysian Fields in concert. The music is a mix of chill out, Portishead, Mazzy Star, something out of David Lynch, etc. The best I can say for it was that is was atmospheric, good for listening to on a dark, rainy day. Yet the songs were all very similar and I don't think their catalogue bears an entire show. They sang for about an hour and I kept looking at my watch. That's not a good sign when listening to live music. The performance didn't help. I had to avoid looking at the female lead singer because she was so pretentious and obnoxious she made me want to gag. The rest of the band kind of followed her solipsistic nonsense. She has a husky voice that she milks with some extra reverb in the mike, but every song she sings sounds exactly the same. What is the point of having words in a song if one can't understand them? The great American vocalists, and there are many, are storytellers, and they engage the audience with emotion and narrative. This punk had neither. Her emotion was fake. Her gesturing, bogus. Some friends thought she was high, but nobody high could be so calculatedly fake. Some performers, like Sid Vicious, engage the audience with provocation. Others do it with charm and emotional openess. This girl was mumbling to herself and there is nothing more alienating, at least to me, than a performer that doesn't give a crap about my being there. Plus, she wore a ridiculous red and black slip that looked like it came from the sale bin at Joyce Leslie.
So my advice to the otherwise decent band is, lose the girl. She sucks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What an Asshole

So the Council for Foreign Relations invited Mahmoud to some kind of Q&A session:

“He is a master of counterpunch, deception, circumlocution,’’ Mr. Scowcroft said, shaking his head.
In other words: a liar and a cheat and a horror. He apparently spent 40 minutes arguing against the existence of the Holocaust.

“I think we should allow more impartial studies to be done on this,” he said after hearing an account of an 81-year-old member, the insurance mogul Maurice R. Greenberg, who saw the Dachau concentration camp as Germany fell.
Why, he asked, should the Palestinians be asked to “pay for an event they had nothing to do with’’ in World War II, saying that they had nothing to do with the systematic killing of Jews — if those killings, he added, had happened at all.
So, in his supremely arrogant and reductive wishful thinking, if somebody can prove there was no Holocaust, then there is no reason for Israel to exist. He is a man of hate.

Now, unfortunately, I've had this same argument with friends of mine, who do not deny the Holocaust at all, but ask the same dangerously naive question: why are the innocent Palestinians paying for the creation of Israel? So to answer both them and Mahmoud and the many who entertain this myopic question:

Even if I wasn't there at the end of the war, I can imagine that the reports and pictures that emerged from the camps were evidence enough at the time to convince the world that Jews needed a place where they could be safe from destruction. If we look at Rwanda or the Sudan or any of the hellholes where there is political evil on Earth today, we fail to recognize our own current myopia and our own indifference. And perhaps in hindsight we will think: why didn't we do something about it? So put yourself in the shoes of the world as the Americans and the Soviets liberated the camps in 1945. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, at least not in "modern" times. It must have been impossible to be indifferent, (plus what was Europe going to do with all those refugees it never liked in the first place?) so the world agreed to give Israel its State in the ancestral soil from where the millenary culture of the Jews sprang, not in Hawaii or some forlorn island in the Pacific, where it would have been less problematic.
The fate of the Palestinians was decided then by a combination of complicated historical circumstances, not only by sheer Jewish cunning and malevolence. It was decided by Britain, who was imperially minding the store at the time, Europe, the US and the Arab governments, (who have never done anything for the Palestinians, except keep them marginalized and impoverished to bolster their own case against Israel). Israel's terrible historical mistakes, such as the endless occupation, (brought about by a war provoked by its neighbors), is also to blame.

“In World War II about 60 million people were killed,’’ he (Mahmoud) said at one point, when pressed again on his refusal to accept that the Holocaust happened. “Two million were military. Why is such prominence given to a small portion of those 60 million?’’

Well, because one expects soldiers to die in wars, and, unfortunately, civilians as well, but one does not expect a lunatic to come up with a random plan to wipe an entire people from the face of earth, and then put it successfully in motion with the help of most of his countrymen and the gleeful participation of many others who were invaded by him (Poles, Ukranians, etc). That's why. It's as if Bush decided today to kill all the Iranians. Perhaps then Mahmoud would give this case the special consideration it deserves.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Australopithecus afarensis

NEW YORK - Scientists have found a remarkably complete skeleton of a 3-year-old female from the ape-man species represented by "Lucy." The remains found in Africa are 3.3 million years old, making this the oldest known skeleton of such a youthful human ancestor.
Say hello to beautiful baby girl Selam ,named so because in Ethiopian it means "peace". Just like Salaam and Shalom, so close etymologically and yet so, so far. (Sigh)
In any case, my fellow Americans (particularly those of you in Kansas), this should be further proof that no, the universe is not 5000 years old, and the world was not created in seven days and we did not spring forth from the dust like the fully formed humans we are today.
My own otherwise very intelligent Mom used to have issues with Darwin. "I do not come from no monkeys", she argued and it was better to leave it at that.
However, I'm very proud to come from Salem and Lucy, his or her greatgreatgreatgreatgreat-you-get-the-idea-grandchild, since Lucy appeared on Earth a full 100,000 years after Salem did. I think they are awesome and we should be proud to come from them. What's not to like about monkeys?

Now, my favorite book of the Bible is Genesis. The way I see it, it is the most beautiful metaphorical synthesis of the beginning of the universe and the origins of earth and man. I happen to believe that whoever wrote it, got it scientifically right. The description of the very beginning being:

"without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light, and there was light".

That to me is the Big Bang. Why not? And so every day the Bible says something happens, the sky separating from the seas, etc, is not actually a day but millions of years and I happen to think that it is quite interesting that the writer or writers of Genesis had the right order of creation in mind, starting with a void, and then having the conditions, the water and then the earth from which, as we all know from biology class (except for those in Kansas), we all emerged.

So instead of reading the Bible literally, which makes you look like a dunce and will turn your children back into monkeys, why not read it as a poetic approximation, instinctively right, to what scientists know today? And you can still believe in a God if you want. The Bible does not exclude what the scientists are saying. In my view, it kind of confirms it.

Welcome, Selam!

Welcome to the Parade of Fools

Or as it is more commonly known, the U.N. General Assembly. First, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks around the streets of our town as if he wasn't the menace to civilization that he is. This is why I love America: in some other place closer in spirit to his regime he probably wouldn't be allowed to see the light of day. Plus, I hate his ecru suits and I hate his facial hair. He needs some serious grooming.
Then Bush shows up, also walking about scot free, while he should be at the very least impeached for a variety of sins: Iraq and Katrina being the worst of them but by no means the only ones.
But leave it to clown extraordinaire Hugo Chavez to steal the show with his impassioned calling of Bush "the devil". Where else on Earth but on Planet Hugo Chavez do you get a statesman who manages to cram sulphur (as in, it still smells of sulphur in here because the devil - Bush - was here yesterday), the sign of the cross and Noam Chomsky in one hugely entertaining speech? Not to mention a reference, misguided but still, to Alfred Hitchcock:
"As the spokesman of imperialism, (Bush) came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.' "Which goes to show how little Chavez knows about Hitchcock. It sounds like he's thinking more along the lines of a Michael Bay kind of spectacle.
He also said the U.S. government was the "first enemy" of its people.
"Their freedoms are restricted through the Patriot Act. They are sent to die in Iraq for no reason. The people of the United States are being deceived," he said.

This, I am in complete agreement with. Who could argue with this?

Chavez told reporters he, too, would like to explore nuclear energy. OY VEY.

He ended the news conference by saying, "I have a meeting with the axis of evil somewhere around here, so I have to go."

Someone invite him to headline at Caroline's. He is a hoot.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Show of Hands

The Little Enchiladita reports from Mexico City that while AMLO anointed himself "legitimate" president through a show of hands at the Zócalo (just like in kindergarten), she was stuck for two hours in her car with her two small children and was unable to reach her destination because of a mass rally somewhere.
She reports the city is in chaos (more?), the passions are inflamed, people are fed up and getting radicalized.
Her friends report that they ventured towards downtown Mexico City, now that the tent city has folded, and apparently the stench of human piss and shit that the tent city left in Avenida Reforma seeped through the closed car windows and made them gag.
Little Enchiladita reports that Cuahutémoc Cardenas got a terrible whistling down in absentia at a PRD rally because he dared contradict AMLO's destructive, insane tactics.
Also, that AMLO's "advisors", corrupt, old-guard politicos like Porfirio Muñoz Ledo and Manuel Camacho Solís, have been run out of fancy restaurants and hotels by outraged patrons. Camacho, apparently feeling the strain from defending the poor so strenuously, booked himself a massage at the J.W. Marriott spa only to be turned away by hostile patrons. I don't know if this is legitimate rumor or urban legend, but I like it. As I've said before, the poor can be excused for buying all this bullshit. I can only imagine their disappointment when they learn that they are being taken for a fantasy ride. It is amazing to me that they fail to recognize in the patronizing, paternalistic, contemptuous attitude of AMLO and his followers, the same kind of populist discourse with which the PRI abused them for 70 years.
But wealthy members of the "intelligentsia" who wine and dine in the most expensive places, who keep their savings safely tucked away in foreign banks, who send their children to private schools and live behind gated compounds with hosts of servants, burgeois lefties whose socialism is and has always been the most asinine, pathetic, unrealistic mental masturbation, people like snot-brained Elena Poniatowska, those people are unforgiveable. Again, it is okay to vote for the PRD if you believe Mexico's injustices need to be redressed. It is unforgiveable to lose yourself to this kind of manipulated frenzy, to abandon all common sense and a true wish for plausible change.
I hate the PAN (rightwing nutjobs) and I hate the PRI (corrupt vermin) and I hate the PRD (spawn of the corrupt vermin). None of them has the slightest idea of what a democracy really is. What we see today in Mexico is a democracy in its infancy, kind of the terrible twos stage, immature, confused, and misguided.
Maybe this is the price we have to pay for it, so brace for it, my dear Mexicans, 'cause coming of age is going to take a long, long time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Do not offend the religious...

...or they may come and get you (that goes for you as well, Pope).
I feel so very much like opining on the Pope's misadventures with Islam and his idiotic quotes of obscure medieval scholars that I secretly concur with, but I'm afraid some zealot is going to come and get me. Religions have always been historically oversensitive to criticism, perhaps because they are naturally predisposed not to tolerate any.
Let me clarify. What the medieval genius said about Islam you could pretty much say about any religion and you would be right. At this juncture, it seems to me that religion is doing far more harm than good to humanity. Apparently, it's been hijacked on all sides by hordes of imbeciles (of every creed). Religion already gave us some things that come in handy (the beginning of civilization, holidays) and it is time for us to chuck the stuff that is not helping. The intolerance, the war against intelligence and reason, the regressiveness, the coercion. It looks like they are now pining for the end of civilization. I don't see why we have to put up with that.
Marx was being polite when he said it was the opium of the masses. I wish. The masses would be happily stoned and leave the rest of us to pursue our happiness in peace. Religion seems to be the crack cocaine of the masses, making them ornery, volatile and dangerous, and unfathomably stupid. Stupid like there is no tomorrow (and at the rate they are going, there will be no tomorrow soon).
So I don't know about you, but I just about had it with the freaking religious nutjobs of any denomination. I've had it with the Pope and his pedantically clueless remarks and even worse with his apology. If he wants to pick a fight with the increasingly touchy Muslims, if he wants to show them who is who when it comes to self-appointed messengers of God on Earth, he should be ready to stand his ground. His excuse sounded to me like the "I didn't inhale" of the theocratic world.
The Islamists are angry at the West's offenses against their religion? Really? No shit! How about I am angry at them about 9/11 and Madrid, and London, and Amman and the war on toiletries and their endless threats against my way of life?
These people are succeeding in making us frightened little cowards, and that seems to include the leader of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church. They are succeeding in making us afraid with their enforced tantrums. They have obviously not gotten the memo about live and let live. I am sick of them and their infantile rages. I am worried that the forces of moderation are too moderate to stand up to them. And I think it's time we fight for what we believe in with less fear.
Now please give me a wig and a new nose and put me in the witness protection program.

Too Thin

I hate models. I hate women with long, beautiful, toned legs without a speck of cellulite. I hate runway models who look like they just came from a spa treatment in the Sudan. That's why I applauded the Spanish government's decision to enforce a minimum body mass index rule on the runways. It is certainly way too much government interference, but anything that annoys models and the people who exploit them is fine by me. Of course, the reaction here in the US was of the kind of outrage usually relegated to the mistreatment of cute furry creatures. The head of a modeling agency was saying on CNN that it was discrimination against people who were naturally thin. Puhleeze! That is if by naturally thin you count people whose diet consists exclusively of cocaine, cigarettes and diuretics.
By the way, models who were almost 6 feet tall and 121 pounds were passing the test. My well-stuffed enchilada body is 5'4 and 131 lbs (on a good day). (Why am I telling you this?) I'm a size 6 (sometimes 4, at those stores that have discreetly enlarged their sizes because Americans are now the size of bulldozers). 6 feet at 121 pounds sounds skeletal to me.
Still, if I could narrow myself to 125 lbs I would look thin and glamorous and feel like a supermodel. But those 6 pounds I'd love to lose, 3 measly kilos, I am unable to shed and that is because I steadfastly refuse to deprive myself from the pleasure of eating.
The country is fatter than ever, while the models have not gained one ounce, and may be skinnier than ever. Another fine example of American schizophrenia. Celebrities like ghoulish Nicole Ritchie are disgustingly skeletal and the fashion magazines, which I think I hate even more than porn, only pay lip service to fighting the eating disorders they create.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Well, I went to the Mexico-US Chamber of Commerce party and as I should have expected, it was a stiff affair. Nobody told me I had to bedeck myself in finery, so I wore civilian clothing, only to find everybody wearing suits and cocktail or evening wear, some of it quite fugly (oh, how I wished the girls from Go Fug Yourself were there).
There was a Mariachi band playing the usual standards but the crowd was so stiff they weren't paying attention. Not even endless quantities of excellent Don Julio tequila (who is doing an amazing marketing campaign, they are everywhere) were enough to rouse the crowd from its stiffness.
I think it is a remarkable achievement to throw a party with these three elements: mariachis, tequila and Mexican food and succeed in making it boring.

To be fair, I left at 10 pm, long before people got really plastered, or so I hope. The high point of the evening, besides seeing my dear friends Jorge and Marlene, was the food. Pretty much every serious Mexican restaurant in NY was represented and it was yummy. There was goat stew, and cochinita and chiles en nogada and quesadillitas de huitlacoche and ceviches and I ate a lot. I remembered the days not long ago when you could not find a decent Mexican meal in NY. Not anymore.

Chiles en Nogada...

Octopus ceviche (I think)...

Quesadillitas de Queso Oaxaca... mmm.

There is a kind of Mexican (the well to do, investment banker kind, or the fortunate bureaucrat type), who wears a bottle of gel in their slicked back hair (for the women it's mountains of spray and oodles of makeup) and looks like (my mother used to say) they are smelling farts. So there was a lot of that at this party. Jorge Castañeda arrived, acting as if he really wanted to be recognized, or as we say in Mexican, dándose su taco, giving himself his taco (airs) which worked because he was, as far as I could tell, the only somebody there. I introduced myself to star architect Enrique Norten and told him I love his buildings. Is that a great pickup line or what?
I had a great time with my friends and then I went to my other party, which was in a small, lovely apartment overlooking Tompkins Sq Park, with more lovely friends.
I didn't make it to the third one. And this is what I found when I got home. A bicycle hanging from a lamppost.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Independence Day, Mexico!

Your best gift is that AMLO's campaign is practically dead and that people are disenchanted with his mishegoss.

Now even Mr. López Obrador’s aides acknowledge that he is losing some support among middle-class liberals and influential leftist politicians and intellectuals, as Mexicans seem prepared to move on from the election dispute, even if Mr. López Obrador is not.

The founder of his party, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, for instance, published a letter on Thursday accusing Mr. López Obrador and his inner circle of being intolerant of dissent.

“It worries me profoundly, the intolerance and demonization, the dogmatic attitude that prevails around Andrés Manuel for those of us who do not accept unconditionally his proposals and who question his points of view and decisions,” he wrote.

And Carlos Fuentes, the giant of Mexican letters, also assailed Mr. López Obrador this week for continuing to insist there was widespread fraud in the election, while he never challenged the elections of his party’s members to the Legislature.

That Mexican well to do leftists have always been rather pathetic in their romanticism (hectoring everyone about the poor while they have three maids and three cars and three bank accounts abroad) is not news to anybody. But even they had to back down from what seemed, not only autocratic, but downright moronic. I started thinking AMLO was shrewd, but he is one of those "shrewd" people who are actually quite stupid. The way he squandered the good will of many and their hopes for change only show how utterly incapable he is of being nothing but a ridiculous pest.
Cardenas' criticism carries enormous symbolic weight. He is a man who actually won an election that was stolen right from under him, his father is one of the true heroes of Mexican history. If he has chosen to speak up, (a little too late to my taste, but at least he did), it should be enormously damaging to AMLO's already weakened credibility. Only the freaking retarded, or the realistically challenged can still be rooting for this man.

Democrats suck

Three Republicans are fighting Bush in Congress with apparently more zeal than their spineless, cowardly Democrat counterparts. I am a registered Democrat and the Democrats make me sick. That only 8 of 28 Democrats have the guts to stand against a Bush law in Congress about the treatment of our enemies, makes me want to vomit. People like me, who are Democrats because we really don't have any other choice, need to start demanding some cojones from our representatives. I hold them in the lowest contempt. Am I supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton? Tell me why the hell. With her war record, I'm supposed to cheer for her?
Democrats have so far remained on the sidelines, sidestepping Republican efforts to draw them into a fight over Mr. Bush’s leadership on national security heading toward the midterm election. Democrats are rapt spectators, however, shielded by the stern opposition to the president being expressed by three Republicans with impeccable credentials on military matters: Senators John McCain of Arizona, John W. Warner of Virginia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The three were joined on Thursday by Colin L. Powell, formerly the secretary of state and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in challenging the administration’s approach.

Democrats say that no matter how bipartisan the opposition to the administration’s tribunal plan, they expect that Republicans will try to blame Democrats for any delay. They note that House Republicans have taken to referring to bipartisan Senate legislation on immigration, a measure most House Republicans abhor, as the Reid-Kennedy bill, named for the Democrats Harry Reid of Nevada and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, despite the substantial participation of Mr. McCain.

“At the end of the day, they will forget John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner and say it is all about the Democrats holding up President Bush’s plan to make American safer,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

But Mr. Durbin said, “We are not going to take it sitting down.”

This is all politics and nothing else. People are tired of this shit. People know what's right and what's wrong, but Democrats don't know their ass from their elbow. Have some fucking principle, you stupid assholes. Stand for what you think is right, not for what you think may hurt you. You make me sick.

Party Season

By God, Summer is gone and everybody crams their parties into one day. What's a girl to do?
Today, I have been invited to a party for Mexican Independence Day, sponsored by the Mexican Chamber of Commerce. Promises to be a hoot (Yeah, right. I'm going for the tequila and to see old friends who had the graciousness to invite me). Then there is a farewell party for a dear friend that is going back to Paris, and then some other shindig. I'm hitting all of them. so help me God.
I've decided life is too short not to burn brightly. I'm just back from a party where I had like five beers and too many cigarettes. Why not?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Nanny Diaries

• The flight back from LA, I'm sitting in the middle row with a baby chair in the middle seat and a lovely, bright Salvadoran nanny on the far seat. The baby is being breastfed by his mother in either business or first class. When he is done, he comes back to coach spends the rest of the time with the nanny, who patently adores him and keeps him entertained. He loves her back as if she was his very own mother. They kiss and cuddle and coo. He is a good, social baby who smiles and wants to play.
At first I think, that's rich. Paying for 2 extra seats on coach so that you don't have to deal with your own baby. The nanny tells me she's been with him since his birth, 5 months ago. Two women adore him. Two women mother him. He will either be the spoiledest brat on Earth when he grows up, or the happiest, best adjusted kid ever. I think about the feelings of the nanny, who has to relinquish him at any given moment, takeoff and landing, for instance. My first impulse is to hate the selfish mother. But then I think, this is what queens and princesses used to do. This is how it has always been (for the rich). They understand that having a kid is an extremely demanding undertaking, akin to any other form of effort that requires assistance from other people. Why not? This way the mother can relax on first, not bother her fellow privileged passengers with a fussy baby, and every one travels in style.
If women were told how hard it is to be mothers, perhaps they would all demand to have this kind of help.

Have you missed me?

Well, I'm back, whether you missed me or not. I was away supervising the filming of a commercial, an endeavor which, while lots of fun, takes up all of my meager concentration, thus preventing me from writing here in a timely fashion. Suffice it to say I had a ball. I worked with a team of people of such incredibly good vibes and professionalism, that everything seemed as if it had been sprinkled with magic dust. It was delightful.
However, I know many of my three fans don't read me to hear me gush about lovely things, but to kvetch, so here goes:

• If you think food in NY is overpriced, you have to go to LA. LA is the capital of chutzpah. You can have very good meals, but you are being charged a glamour or rather a tackiness surcharge. $22 for a plate of perfectly mundane ravioli is a bit de trop, if you ask me. And the cheapest wines in wine lists are over 60 bucks a bottle. Why? Because you are in Hollywood, that's why.
My beautiful director, hailing all the way from Buenos Aires, was a bit shocked that the people lounging at the pool of the Bel Age were of a rather vulgar deportment. I guess he imagined swanky, elegant people wearing Edith Head bathing suits, and all he could find was tacky Russians with bad tans. I had to explain to him that Hollywood is the epicenter of vulgarity, and once you learn to accept it, it can be slightly fascinating, in a mildly grossed out kind of way.

• We had dinner with the production house and the client at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian. The dinner was quite good and fun. We had a wonderful waiter who was extremely helpful with the wines and the ordering. I bet the production house spent a pretty penny at that meal for about 10 people. Then we want to moose on over to the Skybar for a nightcap and we are not allowed on the premises. Despite the fact that we are already there and somebody just dropped a bundle there for the evening and this being Monday night, the place is a ghosttown. It is explained to us that the restaurant and the bar are not associated. We are made to exit the hotel and then are supposed to grovel at the guy guarding the door, who promptly asks if we are on the list. Rande Gerber asshole, you can kiss my ass.
We went to the Bar Marmont instead.

• I'm proud to say that I was away for a week and did not turn on the TV all week except once, when I caught Bill Maher on HBO. I refused to watch the coverage of 9/11 and I already knew that the evil, despicable, unforgivable Bush administration will continue its shameless use of this event in a most nefarious manner. I don't see why after five years this still surprises people.

• As the plane is about to land at JFK, I think two inches from the ground, the pilot suddenly hits the gas and lifts up again. Excuse me? WTF? The passengers start fidgeting in the cabin. Somebody has seen a fire in the airport. It takes the captain a few good minutes to inform us that there was an error in the traffic handling, that there is no mechanical problem and that we will try to land again shortly. He handles it with cool magnificence and makes a very good turnaround and second landing. I think that the almost touchdown and lift up must have been a tad hair-raising for him. I feel like bursting into applause and rushing into the cabin to cover him with hugs and kisses, and expect my fellow passengers to do the same, but curiously, nobody claps. It is a very subdued, silent landing. (Had we been in one of those flights with lots of Third World people it would be another story).

• I love LA, but I hate the parking.

Monday, September 11, 2006

in bad taste

Today in the paper edition of the New York Times: countless ads by big fashion brands, which think they are being very tasteful by putting the words "in memoriam", "in remembrance" and whatever variations thereof, like: In Memoriam, Gucci.
I think this is in terrible taste. What do Gucci or Prada or any of those people have to do with 9/11?
It is obvious that it is another way to advertise the brand. Unless you think they are truly mourning five years later. And fashion could shut the fuck up for one miserable day a year, no? Is that too much to ask?

yerba mate

The director I'm working with, Lisandro Grane, a talented, delightful guy from Argentina, has introduced me to the very stimulating effects of Yerba Mate, the South American infusion. He claims it calms him down. I have to tell you, for me it was like having two shots of espresso. And those who know me, know me and 2 shots of expresso is rather extreme, since I'm a naturally hyper kind of girl. Yerba Mate is very bitter, and you are supposed to share it by sipping from a metal straw. It has all the ritualistic qualities of a hard drug, except that it is totally legal, and even beneficial to the heart. The fact that it's legal and good for you should not discourage you from trying it. Rather, its druglike paraphernalia is what is fun about it. You can pretend you had 3 lines of coke and no harm done.
I bet I won't sleep all night, though.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Planet Hollywood

What could be sadder than a bunch of would be actors, dressed like pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean, complete with a Johnny Depp look-alike, having a fast food dinner at the mall at Hollywood and Highland? This is sadder:

Despite the new mall whose decoration takes its cues from Intolerance by D.W. Grifitth, including gynormous white adobe elephants, Hollywood Blvd, is still kind of grungy. The grunge is not dissappearing as fast as some people would like it to. There is a street performer who does Houdini style tricks, but who looks like a real hobo. There is a guy who wears a halloween mask and a fake machete dripping blood, who just leans against a corner. There are women posing for pictures dressed up as The Little Maiden and Catwoman.

Planet Gehry

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I Love LA

I swear, this is the only city in the US, outside of NY, where I would live, despite some obviously freakish people that give me the sweats. But I find the place beautiful and user-friendly. Non-challenging in a lifestyle kind of way, if you discount plastic surgery and liposuction. What's not to like about a town that has a drycleaners that works seven days a week and has one hour service with no additional charge? You tell me.
Still, tonight we had dinner at a place called Mirabelle on Sunset Blvd. The food was surprisingly good considering that the clientele was the tackiest bunch of people I've ever seen, bar none.
I saw the two most outrageous rugs to ever grace two bald pates. One of them looked like darth vader's helmet made with plush toy material. Why?
There were lots of tacky Russians and an anorexic, miserable looking Russian call girl, who chain smoked and drank margaritas with a straw. After at least three of those she relaxed and started bobbing her head. That was the extent of her good time.

From my room service menu at the hotel: (please note the prices).
The menu goes on to explain that the doggie diet is particularly good for pooches that suffer from jet lag. I still like this town much more than I should.

And who could live without dancing fountains?

Friday, September 08, 2006

We've been warned!

And it's a good thing. I don't actually like Brad Pitt, but I like the fact that he is bringing attention to the problem. Now, if he feels so important that he thinks the world is going to stand still because he's threatening to never marry if others can't, that's a different story. For millions of teenyboppers everywhere it will be great news. For the assholes who don't want gay marriage to happen it will just confirm their worst suspicions, that Hollywood is like Sodom.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Greetings from LA

I broadcast from Planet Los Angeles, a place I am extremely fond of because of its quirky eccentricities.
The weather could not be more magnificent. Very hot and sultry during the day, what I call Earthquake Weather, and slightly breezy at night, which makes Angelenos go for the heating lamps as if they were in Oslo. What do they know from cold, these blessed creatures, now that the first photo of Suri emerges, wearing a most inauspicious rug on her innocent head, and looking like her very abducted Stepfordian mom. Such are the wanderings of the mind one is subject to in LaLa Land.

As you approach the surface of planet LA:

That's the Grand Canyon to you. If you sit on the right side of the plane, you get to enjoy a most fantastic view. Take the earliest plane possible and you will see it at sunrise. Almost worth the price of the ticket and the offensive, penny pinching service for a 6 hour flight.

Then a yellow dusting of toxic smog covers her like the finest gauze.

First outstanding sighting: a spiritual haven. It's good to be in the realm of the high minded.


...With a View.

And what's more, at the Bel Age Hotel, which despite ostensible renovations looks exactly the same or worse than in 1994, when I was here last, my next door neighbor is none other than A-list celebrity Peter Bogdanovich, who wearing an ascot, saw me walking out of my room and made what can only be described as a fart face, or the face of someone who is exhausted with having to put up with less renowned members of the species. I actually liked him right until that moment, for his film scholarship plus he is a wonderful teller of anecdotes about Orson Welles. I'm ready to forgive the fart face because of attenuating circumstances.
I am also told, with not inconsiderable enthusiasm, that none other than former C.H.I.P.S. "Patrulla Motorizada" member Erik Estrada is also lodging here.
Take a moment to savor the glamorousness and panache of the whole enterprise, if you please.

After an endless drive to the City of Industry, we capped a working day at that landing strip for aliens otherwise known as the Standard Hotel on Sunset. As you can tell, no aliens were harmed in the reporting of this event.

What, no muslims?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

His Name is Danger

I'm not talking about the guy who got zapped by a mantaray.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dangerous man. Not only because of the nukes, and the Holocaust denial, and the obsession with destroying Israel and the financing of terrorist groups which spread fear and death everywhere (including, it turns out today, even Denmark). He now wants to purge the Iranian universities of its secular, moderate and liberal professors. When stuff like that starts happening, it's very, very bad. He reminds me of other dangerous criminals like Stalin and Hitler.

More AMLO news

The Miami Herald seems to be the only paper reporting the news of Mexico I want to hear: that AMLO's campaign is losing steam, that many people who supported him now shun him, that is marginalizing himself. The Times and the BBC, just talk about the court's decision, but not about the shifts in public opinion. So I hope the Herald is right. AMLO is now talking of creating a parallel government and of disrupting the traditional Independence Day celebrations. It's like a pest that won't go away.
But it just goes to show how rationally challenged he is, that instead of continuing his political career through legitimate means, such as preparing to win the next presidential campaign, he's just on an absurd crusade to create instability and chaos. The Miami Herald reports that were the elections held today, Calderon, his opponent, would win by 24 percentage points, as opposed to the less than 1 point that made him president-elect. AMLO's hubris is enormous, but what worries me is that it is throwing the baby with the bathwater. That he is incapable of sustaining a political campaign is his problem, it shouldn't be the burden of the entire country.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sunday in the Parks with Yo

Yesterday morning, the West Village.

McCarren Pool. Williamsburg. 6 pm. Everything I hate about the place was concentrated here. The music, by the time we arrived, was beyond awful, it was downright hostile. I say bring back the pool for swimming. Now that the rich are moving in, perhaps they will.

Drink the Kool-Aid, dudes, why dontcha?

A dodgeball tournament. Also, people doing hula hoops, some quite proficiently.
But why does everything seem contrived with the hipsters?

McCarren Pool...

Labor Day in Central Park.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

New Pasteur... my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. It's on Baxter St. It is cheap and yummy AND you can always count on hearing terrible music piped in. For many years they played a muzak version of Carlos Santana's greatest hits, Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, etc. Then they changed to the same thing but with Madonna and Whitney Houston. Then had a period, which unfortunately continues to this day, of sugary Asian pop ballads. But what they have now is also a very sweet, older gentleman waiter who sings along to the sugary pop, during the course of your entire meal. He knows the lyrics, he hums, he whistles, he sings to himself with enough gusto that everyone can hear him. There are always aural surprises at New Pasteur.


A friend of mine had a review copy of the Spike Lee film about Katrina, When the Levees Broke. So we watched the 4 hours plus yesterday straight.
After watching this film, if you don't think the President of the US should be impeached, you either have no brains or no heart. Or neither. I really think the war in Iraq is nothing compared to his handling of the biggest "natural" disaster in US history.
This documentary should be required viewing at schools and everywhere, so that people can see a side of America they think doesn't exist.
Lee's film is thoughtful and intelligent and composed, and wisely he just allows the outrage and emotion to build up without interference or hectoring.
And so much is shocking...
For instance, after 9/11 it was mindboggling to me how quickly they cleaned the place up. They had crews working around the clock to clear the debris. Only a few months later the place was a gaping hole of nothingness, with not so much as a speck of debris around.
Obviously the damage of Katrina covered many more square miles than that of 9/11, but in NOLA nobody rushed to clean up nothing, except perhaps the French Quarter. Bodies were still trapped in homes and in the streets 6 months after the storm. There are many reasons why, but this is the biggest: because NOLA is poor and black. Because the Lower Ninth Ward is useless to money, as opposed to Wall Street, which is where money comes from.
One of the amazing things one learns in watching this film is that Louisiana has huge reserves of natural gas and oil. It, as somebody says in the film, could be as rich as Dubai, except that all the revenues from offshore drilling go to the federal government, and not to the state. So, when you factor this in, wouldn't you think that the government should be helping with Katrina with those monies, that the oil companies who extract their profits from those waters should be pitchinng in?
Also, there is the debate whether governor Blanco didn't ask the feds for help in time. And so it all boils down to the snail pace of bureaucracy in times of crisis. But the feds knew what was coming, and they knew what had hit and did they have to wait to be asked? Could they not do as the US Coast Guard and adapt their response to the crisis situation?
So a lot went wrong with Katrina, and there are many to blame, but in the end, the point Spike Lee makes very powerfully, beginning with the title of the film, which is not called Katrina, is that the destruction and humiliation of the people of NOLA were not caused by an "act of God" but by human penny pinching and disinterest in the inhabitants of that city. The Levees broke because they were inadequate and flimsy and the government had known that for years. The suffering people went through was largely manmade. Because most of the people are black. And that is the bottom line.
The film has several major themes and they are woven very effectively into the narratives of the people.
One is the federal callousness and complete lack of concern for the residents of New Orleans, the other is the unique culture of the place, which is irreplaceable and in huge danger of dying.
Another theme of extreme importance is what happened to the people who were evacuated. Lee spends a good portion of the film reminding the rest of us that the tragedy did not stop once the people were taken out of the state. The way the evacuation was handled, in complete insensitivity to keeping families together, treating people like cattle, not even telling them where they were going, is shocking. Reverend Sharpton being appalled at the media calling the displaced people "refugees" as if they did not belong to the country, as if they were not American citizens, is enlightening.
So is the fact that soldiers with guns arrived almost instantly to the Superdome, but food and water did not.
Had this happened to mostly white people I can assure you, the story would be very different. Nobody would dare tear apart a single little white family, nobody would dare put people in the Superdome or Convention Center to withstand those conditions for more than two hours. The stupid, inexcusable, criminally moronic president that we have would not have just flown around in circles in a plane. And would a president's mother say "these people are better off" had they been white? Nope.

The Lower Ninth Ward was already a forgotten place before the hurricane, and by the looks of it, there are forces at work to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, I propose We, The People demand Bush's resignation.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Dog Yammerer

That's me. I have some advice for Cesar Milian, The Dog Whisperer. Get rid of the dogs and their owners. Problem solved.
I can't tell you how much I do not give a shit about the psychological problems of dogs and their owners. I've seen Cesar's program like for five minutes, and this is my impression:
He is a closet sadist.
He likes to demean the humans and the dogs (the humans deserve it but that's another story).
He reminds me of how some people in Mexico treat animals -- badly. They take out their passive aggression on animals. And feel superior because they can order a poor languageless creature around.
That is why I am a firm believer that people should leave animals alone.
Yesterday I went by that pet store on 6th Ave and 13th, where they put these immensely adorable puppy orphans in the window. Even my acrid heart melts when I see them. Even I feel I should run into the store and rescue one from its horrible fate. They look depressed and abandoned. It is criminal, in my view, to treat animals like that. People think hitting them or screaming at them or neglecting them is abuse. I think abuse is for humans to think animals are there for them to lord over.
It is cruel.

Blah blah blah

Yesterday around midnight I was finally able to catch some news about the political chaos now happening in Mexico City, because all you heard about was hurricane John and the American tourists who were riding out the storm in Cabo San Lucas. Like that was more important.
Well, I saw a panel of deputies from the 3 main parties, PAN, PRD and PRI have a civilized and utterly pointless discussion on TV. I had forgotten how well spoken my Mexican political fellow citizens are. I was mesmerized by the liberal use of highfalutin polysyllabic words and rhetorical flourishes. I'm not joking. Frankly, living and working here in the Hispanic mercadito, one forgets how Spanish should actually be spoken, even if it is by a bunch of shameless politicos. It was like listening to Cervantes bullshiting around. It made me realize that the Spanish spoken in the States is drastically impoverished.
Now, what I found interesting was that the bottom line, which everybody was trying to skirt except for the PAN reps, was WTF is going to happen once the Electoral Tribunal gives its final, final dictum. I was under the impression they had already done so, but this being Mexico, apparently they have to do it once more, with gusto. The PRD deputies had no answer for that. One of them, a fellow called Navarrete, was extremely skilled in the art of spin, he was very impressive, a regular Karl Rovito, and the other one was a clown, one of those like AMLO who are more plainspoken and thus are liked by people with limited vocabularies. But when confronted with an answer for AMLO's shenanigans, they basically looked like they had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It was evident that they have still not found a way to spin themselves out of that one and worse, that they don't know what to do about it. The Panista guys were right to demand an answer. Santiago Creel, though smart, comes across as really pompous. It's not a good sign when even the Priistas are less wooden than him. The other PAN guy, Larios, was actually better, because he kept bringing reality back to the table, while the rest were basically jerking off in front of the Mexican people, something they know how to do quite well. The PRI guys, were as always, almost hilariously shameless. One, Manlio Fabio Whatever, was utterly full of shit. The other one, Gamboa Patron, was slightly wilier but it is clear that the PRI is having a ball, watching the other 2 bozos go at each other's throats and pretending that life was so much better when they were in power.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Flipping the Tortilla

The idiot PRD congressmen who did not allow President Fox to deliver his State of the Union address tonight, deserve to be sent to the corner and to wear a dunce cap from here to eternity.

"It's completely militarized around here. It is completely illegal, unconstitutional," Democratic Revolution congressman Cuauhtemoc Sandoval (HAD THE UNMITIGATED GALL OF TELLING) The Associated Press. "Vicente Fox started out as a president, and is finishing up as a dictator."
Number one, he is not finishing up as a dictator, you sorry ass putz. He is leaving in December. Has no intention of staying. And how legal and constitutional it is for AMLO to ignore the ruling about the election results by a legitimate court, and to have thousands of people blocking the streets of the city because of his spurious whim, because of his inexcusable tantrum? Is that legal and constitutional? Is it legal and constitutional to manipulate peoples' hopes by lying? By ignoring the fact that nobody else saw any irregularities, and that most everybody agrees that the elections were clean? More than 240 thousand people voted for the other guy. A narrow margin, but a margin. You lost. Period.

"Vicente Fox is a traitor to democracy, and even worse, he's leaving the country having turned it into a powder keg," said Edgardo Cantu of the Labor Party, part of Lopez Obrador's coalition.
Excuse me? Who turned the country into a powder keg? Have these people no shame?
I think so far the Fox government has shown admirable restraint in dealing with the lawless, irresponsible defiance of AMLO. So don't start flipping the tortilla and blaming Fox for overreacting.
The PRD has painted itself into a corner and is deliberately provoking a forceful outcome, regardless of what AMLO says, pretending he's not looking for violence (he is praying for it, believe me). They can't now start screaming and yapping when they see riot police because they've been asking for it since day one of this disaster.
President Fox, whether we like him or not, is the first President in over 70 years of Mexican history to have been elected cleanly. As far as I know, he did not rob the country blind like many of his predecessors. Other disgraceful Mexican presidents never had to put up with the shit he's putting up with because they were all from the same party that controlled everything. He deserves to be allowed to deliver his final address to the nation. He will do so on TV anyway, and what the PRD assholes may have achieved is that now everybody who wasn't going to tune in, is going to, if only because of curiosity.
Mexicans rarely give a shit about the State of the Union, because for years it was all pointless demagoguery and because they have been cynical about government for ages. This is precisely one of the reasons why they are so unprepared for democracy, and they confuse this ridiculous acting up with democracy, because in a land where nobody trusts anybody, everybody can always claim to have been ripped off and someone will believe them. In Mexico you assume you are getting ripped off the minute you are born. This is the game AMLO has played, he has played on the cynicism and the mistrust of the people, which is deep and rampant. He is the lowest vermin for doing so and the PRD's conduct is shameful and grotesque and despicable.
I just hope that most Mexicans retain some speck of common sense and civility and understand that these outbursts have absolutely nothing to do with true democracy, and everything to do with the same paternalistic, dishonest, patronizing shit that has plagued Mexican politics forever.

It's over

So apparently the Summer is over. Where did it go? Why so fast? It's Labor day weekend already.
Is everybody else in a slightly rotten mood over this? Can the people who go to the Hamptons do us all a favor and stay there?
The cloudiness we've been having for a week now doesn't help. Sun, come out already. You'll be gone for months in Winter. Be nice.
The good news is, come Fall there will be better movies and a lot of music to be heard and new plays to be seen, everything costing an arm and a leg, but this is NY and what's the point of living here if you don't go to those things.
Still, it's Labor Day weekend already. Ouuuuch.

But this is what really makes me sick

Dishonest, lazy, unprofessional people who take credit for other's people talent and hard work.
That makes me sick.
People who think they are smarter than everybody else and employ all their energies in lying, and avoiding work and making others pick up the slack for them but then have the gynormous nerve to pretend "it's their baby", that makes me sick.
People who have no pride in their own work, but bullshit their way around as if they had swallowed that horn they toot incessantly on their own behalf, that makes me sick.
People who are not only mediocre and grossly untalented, have no will for learning or improving, yet at the same time are the proud owners of unbridled arrogance. That makes me sick.
People who think they can fool everybody all the time, I have news for you. Nobody's fooled.

All lies, all the time

A quick scan of the paper today:

The Chinese are trying to blot Chairman Mao out of history, just like he tried to do to others . It's a tall order, if you ask me, to diminish the contributions of this man to despotic, criminal totalitarianism, forced marches, massive starvation, the persecution of anybody with a brain, and fashion, but as they are communists themselves, they are following in his footsteps and doing him one better. They are disgusting.

The tobacco companies have been increasing the dosage of nicotine in cigarettes without telling anyone about it. I used to like smoking, and I bum a cigarette here and there, and I never really got into the satanization of Phillip Morris, but this is really already way too much. Nobody should buy any more cigarettes from these people. I am convinced that in other countries that have far less regulation than the US, tobacco companies put far more additives and nicotine in cigarettes. I noticed that in Mexico, Marlboros burn much faster and taste very different and that gives me further heebie jeebies. It's a good reason to quit smoking. You know you are dealing with poison but it's not nice that they are giving you more poison than you think without you knowing it. Not nice.

Rumsfeld has the gall to call Bush opponents something like Hitler appeasers. Well I think he's this close (.) to being a nazi himself, so there. Aren't you people tired of being lied to all the time by this bunch of most unsavory people? Bush, Cheney, Rummy. Don't they make your tummies turn?

That asshole Blackwell in Ohio is doing his darnedest to destroy ballots from the last election, ballots which show major irregularities on how that sorry contest was won, most probably dirtily, by Bush. Which gives me heartburn every time I think about the stupid electoral college and useless states like Florida and Ohio holding the entire country hostage. Look at Mexico, where one vote is all it takes...

Speaking of Mexico, there is fear today, Mexican State of the Union day. There is fear that there will be violence from AMLO's supporters. I'd love to know what's going on. Are Mexico City's streets eerily quiet today? I bet. There is no drinking before or on this day, which just today may be a good thing. Although at this point it is patently clear that outrageously irrational behavior in Mexico is an ocurrence not exclusively related to alcohol.
Mexican Independence Day (9/15) also promises to be, as a friend says "dense". Somebody tell AMLO to piss off already.