Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Favorite Commercial 2008

I hate to say it, but it is this magnificent spot for Coca-Cola. The one where the Thanksgiving balloons fight for a bottle of Coke above the streets of New York. The one where the surprise loser wins.
It is so gorgeously made, so full of interesting details, so well done, I love it.

Japanese Guy Leaves Mexico City Airport

After living there for like 3 months.
You know, you could do worse than make Benito Juarez International Airport your home.
At least food is not bad. You can eat tacos al pastor or al carbón, or sopita de pasta, tortas Hipocampo and other Mexican goodies. You can buy overpriced Mexican Japanese peanuts! If you get bored, you can take the free monorail to the other terminal back and forth. Pretty neat.
If you happen to be staying at the new terminal, you could have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the fabulous Tortas Don Polo, the legendary tortas of my high school years, now with a miraculous outpost at the new, very cosmopolitan food court (they're right next to a sushi place and a horrible American fast food place). With Don Polo in the airport, I'm seriously considering moving there myself.
Imagine if some of the poorest inhabitants of Mexico City decided to make use of the unusual hospitality of the airport and camped there for months. I doubt they'd be given such a patient welcome.
But this is why I love Mexico. They let the guy live in the airport for months. They could not find a reason to send him somewhere else. If somebody tried to pull that stunt here -- they'd be sent to Guantanamo.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bring the Cannoli

"Become an entrepeneur... one who deals in anything and does business even with nothing... To be the center of every action, the center of power. To use everything as a means and themselves as the ends.
Whoever says that it's amoral, that life can't exist without ethics, that the economy has limits and must obey certain rules, is merely someone who has never been in command, who's been defeated by the market. Ethics are the limit of the loser, the protection of the defeated, the moral justification for those who haven't managed to gamble everything and win it all."

Are we talking about Wall Street, predatory lending banks, about government bailouts of incompetent crooks?

This quote is by Roberto Saviano in his book Gomorrah, about the Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Pinter Pause

I was perusing Gawker, which reported on the death of Harold Pinter (he and Eartha Kitt, jointly having martinis in Heaven, how cool is that?). Some of the commenters were saying he was a terrible playwright.
But this is what happens for reading the stuff lazy, petty, clueless idiots write in the internet.
In any case, for a very necessary and healthy dose of Pinteresque disturbance, I can recommend The Servant, the brutal film by Joseph Losey and written by Pinter.
Or The Homecoming, or Betrayal, or the two beautiful screenplays he wrote for the movies The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Go-Between.
I was happy when he won the Nobel Prize. He may have had obnoxious political views, but he is certainly not the only talented artist to espouse uncomfortable or shrill political views (and he at least was on the right side of the argument, sort of).
We cheered him when he won the Nobel Prize and we cheer him on today.

A Few Thoughts for the Holidays

A word of warning: If you are in a Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer kind of mood, you may not want to read the following.

The world reeks.
Make no mistake about it.
You may send yourself into a shopping induced oblivion of consumption, but do not for a moment forget we live in a world of gross injustice, where the powerful mock us every day. The more we bleed, the more they get away with it and the more they laugh at us. Because we let them.
Bush and Cheney are not only still at large, but still making deals and making sure they screw us till their last day in office and beyond.
That someone like Bernie Madoff exists should be proof enough of the lower reaches man is capable of. That man should be left to rot in jail til the end of days. Forget the ponzi scheme; he has singlehandedly brought Jews back to the middle ages by feeding the antisemitic hunger latent in so many. Just for that they should freaking feed him to Al Qaeda.
Our adored Obama looks like he's turning out to be a ravenous, hypocritical creep just like the rest of them, which brings no end of disappointment to me.
The banks won't say how they are spending the billions that have been handed to them in a silver platter. They hoard the money while people lose their jobs, businesses close, people lose their homes.
We live in a land of con men. And hypocrites.
We deserve everything that's coming to us because we allow it to happen. Gullible, contented people.
So merry fucking Christmas.

Just an Old Fashioned Girl

I grew up listening to Eartha Kitt sing Ces't Si Bon, Old Fashioned Girl (I loved that song) and fun songs in incomprehensible languages. I loved her voice, I loved that she sang in all the languages in the world, and I thought she came from an exotic planet of unabashed sexiness and fun.
I never saw her perform cabaret here in NY, though it crossed my mind many times. But I think I wanted to keep the memory of her young leopard-covered self as I saw it in the LP cover, and the youth of her inimitable voice intact.
They don't make them like her anymore.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And the Best Actor Is...


The most touching, generous portrayals of decent people by two notorious real life assholes:
• Sean Penn in Milk
• Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler
A dead tie. Penn's win would be a nice political zets.
Rourke's shameless, vulgar campaigning may end up hurting his chances, but boy does he deserve it.
• Josh Brolin as W.
• Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road. I thought he was much better than Kate Winslet.
• I haven't seen Richard Jenkins in The Visitor but I'm sure he rules. He deserves a prize for everything he's ever done.
• Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon


• Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky. A miraculous performance and my absolute favorite.
• Kirsten Scott Thomas in I've Loved You So Long (in French, but she rocked)
• La Tía Meryl (that's Meryl Streep to you) in Doubt.
• Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Crazed and Funny.

Supporting mix:

• Eddie Marsan in Happy Go Lucky.
• The always perfect Dylan Baker in Revolutionary Road
• James Franco in Milk
• Josh Brolin in Milk.
• Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder for sheer chutzpah.
• Zoe Kazan in Revolutionary Road. A star making turn.
• Amy Adams in Doubt. This girl always rocks.
• Tilda Swinton in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I'm so swamped with work I have been neglecting you. I am in fact, sitting in an office on a gray Saturday afternoon, waiting for work stuff to print out and so sending you a line or two to beg you not to abandon this blog, because it has not abandoned you.
Who can look the gift horse of work in the mouth in this dreadful economy?
I, who have an adversarial, love-hate relationship with work (I think it's highly overrated and here in America for some reason they confuse it with morality), I'm taking as much work as I can and I'm grateful for it.
Having said this, I hear rumblings at one of my workplaces about working over the holiday break. Avowed atheist that I am, I cannot feign an offensive attack on my faith., but I think this workaholic American mishegoss needs to stop somewhere (and the Xmas break is a good place to start).
In Mexico some people say that work is so bad that they pay you to do it. Here, work is some sort of misguided godliness that I can't understand.
I'm trying to meet both halfway.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

National Wholesale Liquidators RIP

In one word:

or actually:


I saw a sign on the corner of Houston and Broadway saying that the National Wholesale Liquidators are actually having a liquidation sale. "Everything Must Go!"
I think it's not the usual ploy 'cause I went in there recently and the place seemed forlorn of merchandise.
Not that I went there so much. Everything they sold in there was slightly suspect, mainly because it could not be possible to be so cheap and still be legitimate. However, I bought some cherished home appliances there. Everything always cost $19, no matter what it was.
• My first Dustbuster. I still miss it. Later versions were all duds.
• Several crappy toasters that either didn't toast or they burned everything to cinders.
• $19 blenders
• Suspicious Teflon cookware.
• Most recently, a $19 space heater because believe it or not, like a character out of Dickens, my heating at home doesn't always work.
I never bought food there. The expiration date was always ancient history. I was afraid that the beauty products were excavated from Cleopatra's tomb.
But for shit for the home, it was fabulous. It was a fantastically depressing place, except when you looked at the price tags and amazement would creep into your face.
One would think that with our depression a place like NWL would stand to make a killing, since now all Americans can afford has to cost $19 tops. But it has been encroached by higher end retailers and I bet the rent is astronomical.

I'm sad to see it go.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Greetings from Houston, TX

I like this meatpacking district better than the one in N.Y.

Not to be confused with Houston St (Howston, as we call it in NY).
I was checking Houston around yesterday, going to visit my Mexican homies.
Here are some examples of merchandise you can get at a convenience store in the Galena Park hood:

They are not called convenience stores for nothing. You can get your bag of Cheetos (or Sabritones in this case), your religious effigies, and your poor man's Viagra, all in one trip.

This is Texas.

I don't think you can find this drink even in Mexico:

Cueritos: pickled pork skins.

It's good to be in town under the auspices of a Mexican who knows his way around for culinary reasons.
For lunch he took us to Pappasitos, which he quickly caveated with: "It's Tex-Mex but it's good Tex-Mex". Indeed it was, particularly a concoction called Chili con Queso, which is like good melted Cheez Whiz with a nice poblano kick. Addictive stuff, believe it or not.
For dinner we went to Hugo's in the cute Montrose district. For years, the best Mexican restaurant in the US in my view was Rick Bayless' Topolobampo in Chicago. I'm afraid last night it was finally dethroned by Hugo's. It was so good, I'm seriously considering moving to Houston, which if you know me, it amounts to insanity. It was that good.
Did you know that if you order a shot of tequila, a shot glass of sangrita and a shot glass of lime juice, this is called a Bandera (the Mexican flag)? I didn't but I had two of those. My patriotic duty, of course.
The food in Hugo's is authentic and fabulously executed.
We had sopecitos (here spelled sopesitos, which drives me nuts) of chicharron with salsa verde, rabbit tinga and duck in mole poblano. You have no idea.
Then I had the cabrito, which came wrapped in banana leaf and was tender and succulent and came with excelent, smoky nopal salad and refried black beans and an habanero sauce (on the side) that was so good I didn't mind how hot it was (very).
For dessert I ordered a trio of ice cream of which a flavor called cinammon-coffee was incredible. The Mexican Vanilla and the Cajeta were fine too.
Hugo's made me so extremely happy.

This being Texas, I notice that in my humongous hotel room there is no trace of the "ecological" concerns many hotels have about sheets and towels. Here they don't believe in global warming so you can use as many towels as you like and leave the lights and a/c on all day if you so desire.

Goodbye to all that

This tab for an evening at the Pink Elephant last September just fell into my hands. I have secret friends in very high places. Alas, I was not invited to this bacchanal. :(

Behold an artifact of historical curiosity. Scrutinize it with the sagacity of an anthropologist.
After all, who knows when New York will see something like this ever again.

Most importantly: $6 for a Red Bull? The nerve. And who, for crying out loud, was drinking Heinekens?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mexican Japanese Peanuts vs Shocking Nazi Photos

Who will win this fight to the death of most searched subjects in this humble blog?
So far the Mexican Japanese Peanuts have been the undisputed champions. But this week there is a clamoring for the Nazis, who can always be counted to bring in the crowds. MJP: fight back!

Monday, December 01, 2008

On the other hand...

...there is a very sad, interesting article in the same issue about a Mexican family living in Sunset Park and the plight of illegal aliens in this hypocritical country.
You know where I stand on the issue: if you don't want them here, send each and every single one of them out, build a freaking wall to keep them out, but you better not need their services and their cheap, relentless labor.
I am getting tired of the smug hypocrisy of this country. Everywhere you look it's all lip service and hot air and sheer duplicity. Health coverage, immigration, the economic catastrophe, I wonder how Americans can keep the charade up. Freedom, democracy, change, hope -- these words are cheap and getting cheaper by the second, like the stock market.
This is fast becoming a mean spirited country, full of whiny selfish people who can't understand the simple concept of paying taxes so we can all have better lives.
As I'm fond of saying, I only became a Marxist when I moved to the US.

New York Magazine made my day

New York Magazine announces in its latest issue that Gael Greene is not going to write her insufferable food reviews there ever again. I could not be happier.
There is something about her sentences that makes me want to tear my hair out.