Friday, May 29, 2009

Cat Condos on the Mediterranean

On the way to dinner we met a colony of feral cats who live among the rocks abutting the beach. True heirs of Darwin, their patchy colors mime those of the rocks, so many of them blend in with the landscape.

It’s rather strange to see cats in such proximity to a large mass of water, but these live in these condos with a sea view (better than the commnuities of rats living in garbage bags on the streets of NY). Cats being cats, their gaze is transfixing. I think they gaze at us because they are hungry. But their eyes are still mysterious.

Talking about garbage, Málaga is kept spotlessly clean. There are armies of street cleaners and it shows.
I don’t mind a clean city at all.

Malagueña Salerosa

Darlings! Greetings from Málaga, Spain, where yours truly is attending an international wedding between French and Spanish subjects, and generally having a beautiful time in this mediterranean port city with lots of joie de vivre, a la española.

Yesterday we had a soupy paella overlooking a garden. At night we went to one of the little restaurants at the beach in Pedregalejo (about an hour walk from the center, by the sea) and had a fish and seafood feast for a very reasonable price. Fresh tiny clams, other spectacular clams called conchas finas, an amazing fresh grilled dorade, a perfect simple salad with lettuce, tomato and onion, and perfect glasses of beer, the way you can only get in Spain. I declared myself officially happy.

Today, a perfect breakfast of fresh orange juice and a pitufo catalán, which, is not a catalan Smurf, but a small baguette, like a Mexican bolillo with Serrano ham, olive oil and tomato. YUM.
Turrón ice cream at Casa Mira. Qué cosa más buena.
The weather is superb, sunny yet not hot. The wedding is tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No More Cars in Times Square

Splendid idea. I say follow it with no more cars in Manhattan.

The Bronx Bomber

Sounds like Supreme Court Nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor is going to bring some much needed fun to the august court.

1. She from the Bronx. New York is in the house. Represent! She ain't gonna take no bullshit from the rightist bullies on the bench.
2. She's the first Hispanic Supreme Court Judge ever. Neat.
3. She's a woman and apparently a feisty judge. Fun!!!!!

To wit:

Judge Sotomayor has said her ethnicity and gender are important factors in serving on the bench, a point that could generate debate. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” she said in a 2002 lecture.


She also once said at a conference that a “court of appeals is where policy is made,” a statement that has drawn criticism from conservatives who saw it as a sign of judicial activism. Judge Sotomayor seemed to understand at the time that she was making a controversial statement, adding that, “I know this is on tape, and I should never say that, because we don’t make law.”

Conservatives quickly pointed to such statements after word of her selection on Tuesday. “Judge Sotomayor is a liberal activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important than the law as written,” said Wendy E. Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, an activist group. “She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.”


White House officials concluded that such statements, while perhaps providing fodder for opponents, would not be problematic enough to hinder her confirmation. Some officials have said in recent days that they relish the prospect of Republicans standing up against a Hispanic woman with her life story, because it would only damage the G.O.P. with a key voting bloc.
Bring her on!

Monday, May 25, 2009

On a clear day you can see forever

I'll pay $199 not to have to take off my shoes in the security lines at the airport. I absolutely loathe the shoe routine. There is this thing called Clear that for $199 a year promises to breeze you through security. I say the absence of aggravation is worth it. But they don't say if you still have to open your laptop and take off your shoes. And also, only at selected terminals at certain hours, which starts sounding like bullshit. Like for instance, 4 am to 7 pm at Terminal 3 in JFK. This means that if you are taking a red eye to Europe after 7 pm, you are not eligible. And then, supposedly you fill out the megillah of your life and then you go to a center to have your iris and fingerprints scanned and two weeks later they send you your card IN THE MAIL, how safe is that, where a regular Osama Bin Laden can nab it and use it.
Still, the dream of more pleasant air travel is powerful.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

God of Carnage

It was better than I expected. Lots of fun, but not much else.
The set is gorgeous. The actors are all fine, but they seemed generic. Perhaps is because of the way the characters are written, more as stereotypes than as individuals. (Cf. the characters in the Norman Conquests, who are complicated people, not symbols thereof).
They are supposed to be 2 New York couples but they seemed unrelated to this city. My favorite was Hope Davis. She rocks. She is funny and real. Gandolfini is his usual adorable gruff bear, very natural but not very surprising. And Marcia Gay Harden and Jeff Daniels are fine but why do I feel they belong in Wisconsin?
Imagine Alec Baldwin in Daniels' part. That would be so much more fun. He would tear it apart. Or Marisa Tomei in Harden's part. Much more Brooklyn, much more pizazz. I also felt that the characters should be younger than these actors. Early 40s, more at stake and more to lose in the bargain.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Random Thoughts

I feel blessed and overjoyed that I don't follow American Idol and I don't care. The same goes for any reality show.
Satan (that is you, Cheney): shut the fuck up already.
I'm seriously considering canceling Netflix. Each movie is costing me like $60 each. Much as I love it, I'm not using it anymore.
It's finally beautiful out.
I have become a master procrastinator.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recent Faves from The New Yorker

As I really am at a loss on what to tell you, darlings, here are two links to recent pieces in The New Yorker that I liked.
The first one is one of the only truly funny comic pieces in the humor section Shouts and Murmurs, which is usually insufferable. This litte gem is by Noah Baumbach (whose movies are usually insufferable) and it is about a bee on blow.
And this one blew my mind. It's not totally available yet on the net, but it's on last week's issue.

Welcome to Venice...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

L.A. Confidential

Even fun has business hours.

The land of the free, allright.

That's where I'll be.

"You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave..."

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Appoint Me!

Now that Judge Souter is retiring, it's time for me to campaign. I've always wanted to be a Supreme Court Judge. Judge Judy, yes, why not? People are saying Obama should appoint a woman, or a gay person or a handicapped person, or whoever you feel at this minute is at some sort of disadvantage or could be the poster person for whatever politically correct mishegoss you desire.
This is what I think, and I posted this comment in the New York Times:

Obama needs to appoint the absolute best person for the job, who will counteract the reactionary conservatives in the court and who is smart, young and in perfect health, so they can be there for the long haul. I certainly hope that he will take into account the prospects’ qualifications, and their judicial philosophy, rather than just make a politically correct gesture. This is what makes liberals ridiculous.

Except for the perfect health part, which as a good Jew I'm never certain of, I think I qualify.
Aren't people tired of political correctness? I'm sure there are plenty of female candidates that are totally qualified for the job. But they should not be considered because they are women, but because they are qualified. If there is a gay person who would be the most brilliant justice ever, then that person should be considered, because of their brilliance and nothing else.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In Celebration of Cinco de Mayo...

...I propose Mexico annex the US. We're already halfway there anyway.

And let's toast the Supreme Court's ruling on identity theft as it pertains immigrants who use false social security numbers:

Stephen H. Legomsky, a professor of immigration law at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, said Monday’s decision would have a major impact on the strategy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making it more difficult for the agency to press criminal charges against immigrants with no other offenses but working illegally.

“In the ordinary immigration case, this will no longer be a weapon,” Professor Legomsky said.

The Obama administration has said that it will shift the focus of immigration enforcement to employers who intentionally hire unauthorized immigrants in order to pay lower wages or otherwise lower costs. But last week the administration said agents would continue to detain illegal immigrants found in raids.
Obama, you can't have your tamale and eat it too.
And I don't say happy Cinco de Mayo because I object to this festival. Nobody in Mexico gives too much of a fuck about it. Here it's just an excuse for inexcusable behavior due to overconsumption of margaritas. Our national holiday par excellence is September 15 -- Mexican Independence Day.

Let's become a welfare state!

Here is some seriously soothing common sense from Russell Shorto, an American writer currently living the high welfare lifestyle in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, hell will freeze over and pigs will fly before Americans consent to even think that a different social system is necessary in this country. I pine for the day when Americans will abandon their anti-tax witch-hunt and embrace a society that looks after itself. I'm not holding my breath. And it's not socialism. It's social democracy.
I have yet to see the actual benefits of my taxes, other than the boon to incompetent bankers and bad C.E.O.s. We have crumbling infrastructure. New York City looks like a garbage dump. Just take a look at the subway.
I want to know what my taxes are funding. Wars in the Middle East? Corrupt and inefficient companies? Where is a good health system, a good educational system, working public transportation, respect for personal leisure, a respectable pension plan, where is a sense of concern for making everybody's life better? Shouldn't a better life be the American way of life?
Instead, the bottom falls out and people are in freefall. There is no guarantee, no safety net and depraved indifference to the communal wellbeing.
We are deeply misguided to think that we have the best standard of living. It is a fallacy that we are the standard bearers in this department. People in most industrialized countries have much better quality of life than us. In fact, America lags behind pretty much everybody else's social progress. Americans pester themselves and others with too much work that yields no safety in the end. Few things upset me more than people who do not respect our free time. Or people who think it's heroic to be working at all times, on weekends, vacations, etc. This is pointless and noxious. You will have worked your ass off, and come reckoning day, you will be fired and it won't make the slightest difference, except your life will have been worse for it. This idealization of individualism is not's all that is cracked up to be, as we all are finally finding out in these trying times.
Conservatives who advocate for tax cuts and scream socialism at the mere mention of universal coverage should be hanged by their nuts.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Real Reason Why Mexicans got the Swine Flu

According to a study, it's because they are far more sociable than gringos.
Actually, I'm totally making this up.
Mexicans are far more sociable than gringos, but that's not why they got the flu. Although it may be why it spread there so fast. No one in Mexico is ever alone.
There is a Mexican candy called muégano, which is a ball of fried dough pillows glued with molasses. It is delicious, but good luck dislodging it from your teeth.
Well, the word Muégano is also used to describe the Mexican custom of always going everywhere with the entire family, as in familia muégano. Where there can be 17 people, there will. One lonely soul arrives at the airport and 35 relatives come to greet him. Mexico simply is not a place that understands aloneness. I once had the temerity to eat lunch by myself on a Sunday at my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Polanco (Adonis) and everybody looked at me like I was a martian, or an orphan, or an orphaned martian. The food was yummy, but it was the worst lunch of my life.
Here in New York, it's almost the opposite. You can go everywhere and do anything by yourself and nobody bats an eye. Bars, restaurants, movies, anything. In Mexico it's like you are a pathetic object of pity or you are an alien, perhaps insane (particularly if you are a female). One feels very alone, when everybody else is surrounded by 17 people or more at all times.
But because we are more sociable, we do have a very strong social network. When I look at the homeless here in the US, I always wonder where is their family?
I always complain about Mexican mueganismo, but I wouldn't really want it to be like here.
Thanks to Karie, for sending this my way.

Do You Have Swine Flu?

If you must know immediately, click here.
To protect yourself in the workplace, here is a suggestion via the EnchilaBrother in Law.
And for further community service, your Fearless Enchilada here, reporting on the latest conspiracy theories:

1. It came from Aruba. This, according to a woman commenting in the NYT with hysterical capital letters. Do with this highly sensitive information what you will.
2. Donald Rumsfeld owns lots of Tamiflu stock and he wants to make more money. Wouldn't put it past him.
3. It's a plot (probably by Dick Cheney) to overthrow Obama, the first Black president and a Democrat. Obama went to Mexico recently, saw a guy who dropped dead the next day. Things that make you go hmmm....
4. It's a plot to close the border with Mexico and dump all the illegals back in there.
5. It's the gringos who are to blame for their porkpacking operations in the state of Veracruz.
6. It's a plot against carnitas. (This is my theory).

Very Proud of My Ex

In the New York Times, the great Mr. Ex-Enchilada on what's it really like in the streets of Mexico City right now.