Friday, July 31, 2009

Just Fanning the Flames of Banker Hatred

Capitalism, sure. Why not?
Unbridled capitalism? In the best of cases, we are taken for suckers; and in the worst, people lose their jobs, their homes, their health insurance, their savings and these motherfuckers continue to roam the Earth unscathed.
It's not right.
And if you want to get your outrage on, read this. The government in cahoots with Goldman Sachs. Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner, just helping their pals from their powerful perch in the government, and screw everybody else, and by that I mean everybody. The entire world.
The best part it's all those hillbillies who get creamed by the bankers, all those foreclosed people in the red states, that are afraid of liberals.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's get outta there! NOW!

Colonel Reese, an American adviser in Iraq, is saying in no uncertain terms, (blunt is how the Times puts it) that it is time to say Adios amigous! and leave Iraq.
Hey, not a moment too soon! What took you so long?
His memo makes for great reading, even though it has the tone of a superior being who has finally ran out of patience with the pesky, stubborn natives. That is, the tone of a colonialist from the 19th century.
In a nutshell: we can't change their ways and we are not welcome anymore, plus they're bleeding us to death.
He says, let's declare victory and call it a day. I have a problem with the victory part, because it don't look like no victory to me, but just call it what you please, and let's vamoose.
Why do Americans insist that other people are going to abandon their culture and their entrenched ways and embrace, digest, and ape a totally different culture in a matter of months? Is this the height of naiveté or arrogance, or both? We can't even change our own culture HERE.
The US invades and occupies a country under false pretenses. This country is ruled by a truly evil bastard whose only way to keep the ethnic chaos in check is through a reign of utter terror. This is a deeply abused and traumatized country, but Americans think that they will "liberate" it and all of a sudden the grateful Iraqis, who would not know democracy or freedom if it bit them in the ass, have not known it and will not know it for the next thousand years, are going to all start acting like Thomas Jefferson. Instead, they start a massive bloodbath against themselves and the occupying forces.
We cannot invade a country over false pretenses, because of sheer greed and then pretend we were there to save it. And who should be held accountable for this criminal mess? To the gallows!

To clean up the mess we are leaving behind would probably require at least 50 years and too much money to count, neither of which we can afford. As many commenters say, let's bring the troops back and use the gazillions we are wasting over there for better things at home; i.e, single payer healthcare.

I quote Mr. Byron Jones from Pennsylvania:
...we spend trillions of dollars for stupid "regime changes" aka Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. without so much as flinching. Saving lives and providing affordable medical care for our own citizens, well, that is something entirely different. Can anyone explain the logic? In other words, you can use my tax dollars to kill someone I don't know, but God forbid that you use my tax dollars to help my neighbor obtain affordable health insurance!
Bring the troops home NOW.

Siesta Time!

The NYT has an article on napping today.

There was an implication of guilt to be felt for taking naps, even as science and common sense dictate that napping is super good for you.
Americans seriously need to chill out with their freaking work ethic. Live a little.

Now, naps are super good for YOU. For me, they are wonderful, but I am forbidden by friends and loved ones to overly indulge in them. This is what happens: If it's a power nap, my foul mood will be mercifully short. But if it's one of those naps of which you have trouble waking up, I become a monster. You know the feeling: you try to wake up and your body feels like poured concrete and you just can't open your eyes. The foul mood that follows renders me borderline sociopathic.
When my foul mood finally lifts (takes from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the length of the nap), I feel delightfully alert and refreshed. And then I can't go to sleep at night. While everybody is dead tired, I wanna go dancing. Hence the prohibition against me napping.
(I do it anyway).

When I used to work full time, I used to come back from lunch and I would start dozing off so bad (particularly after sushi), that I would cover my forehead with a hand, look down and pretend to be absorbed in fascinating reading material. Sometimes I would turn the chair around with my back to the door, and take a tiny little nap. Instead of pool tables, advertising agencies should have napping pods.

Now that I work from home, when I get this drowsy feeling, I just hit the sack for (hopefully) half an hour. I find that it helps me concentrate much better. But my nearest and dearest don't endorse it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And no, it's not refreshing if you can't speak English while in office, or while running away from it.

I've had it with the people who think that inarticulateness in politics is charming and refreshing.
Go read a fucking book!
And I am always amazed that the people who champion this ignoramus are the same people who get all bent out of shape when immigrants don't speak the King's English. For crying out loud. At least they are immigrants. They already speak one language. And they are not the governor of anything.
Having said this, the edited version of Palin's resignation speech is very much fun and a good grammar lesson to boot.
Thanks to Ethan for posting in FB!

P.S.: And yes, the "liberal" media laughs at you, because you are laughable. You fully deserve the excoriation.


Bill Kristol is a Putz

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill Kristol
www.thedailyshow.com
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When even a Republican who can purportedly edit a magazine insists on aligning himself with the fringe, that means truly that all of the Republican party now officially belongs in a sideshow. They are as vulgar and as disturbing as a freakshow, but with all due respect to actual freaks, unfortunately not as innocuous. Their appetite for self-destruction is matched by their appetite for the destruction of the social and moral fabric of this country.
Kristol insists, against all evidence (the latest being the inscrutable farewell "poem" to Alaska), that Sarah Palin is just great. That she is fit for office. Both of them should be institutionalized and the key thrown away.



He insists, if I remember this correctly, because he is one of the people who convinced her to run with McCain. If people could be sued for dangerous irresponsibility, we'd be calling a class action suit against him. But he laughs it off. He thinks it's provocative. Probably he will soon be shilling one book or another. It's the height of cynicism and of condescension. He should stop pretending he is an intellectual and be Rush Limbaugh's sidekick. That's where he actually belongs.
So I don't know why it astounds people when Kristol spews incongruous views on healthcare on The Daily Show, views almost even more stupid than his unfathomable support for Palin. Like saying that the American people do not deserve the same level of healthcare than our soldiers get from the VA, which apparently is the best public health service in the country. (Which led him to admit that the government is indeed capable of furnishing us taxpayers with excellent healthcare).
Or like saying that the VA healthcare is expensive and then quickly correcting himself, because what could be more evil and more callous than counting beans when it comes to the health of the veterans? But counting beans on the health over the rest of the country is fine. We have been deemed undeserving and need to be punished for it by none other than insurance companies.
The man is entitled to his opinion on healthcare, which apparently to these people is like shopping for underwear. But I think his support for Sarah Palin is more dangerous.
In the end, if there is a silver lining, is that they keep running themselves into the ground.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This explains it better

Hendrik Hertzberg in The New Yorker on the real reasons why we will never get anything done in this country in the way of real reform.
I feel like tearing my hair out.

Annals of Sportsmanship

Contador and Armstrong: both are losers.
How unsportsmanlike, stupid and ungracious.

Fear is your best friend

Great article in the Times about intuition and how it can save lives in battle.
One would have thought it obvious, but now that they are mapping the brain they can see how this works physically.
I'm reproducing parts of the comment posted by one Tom Colton, an ex-soldier. I don't know if it's true, but it is quite compelling:

Lots of infantry platoons have a guy who can sense an ambush. The keys to knowing if you should rely on him are: Success. Does he keep you alive on a regular basis? And adjustment. Is he squared away, or a neurotic? If the latter, then his senses may be more often than not, skewed...
And something else was noted frequently in Vietnam by those who conducted combat actuarial studies:
In a firefight, Jocks are the first ones usually killed, because they never learned about fear during sports.
Thugs and Gangstas get killed next, because they have an inflated idea of their prowess.
Then the Bullies buy the farm while trying for the first time to move beyond their real cowardice.
And finally: In Combat-The four eyed pencil necked geeks rule, because they work as a team, follow orders, feel responsible for and protective of the other guys in their rifle squad and and most importantly-they paid attention during training. They advance thru their fear, surmount real terror and commit great acts of selfless heroism.
And they almost never get a medal.
This country is full of dopey lookin' old guys who once confronted stark terror in extreme danger and carried out great acts of valor and sacrifice against armed enemies engaged with them in a combat zone. Most of these guys are never honored at the time and their families will most likely never know. Instead, we worship phoney war heroes like Bob Kerrey, John Kerry and John McCain who milk their hero status for power, wealth, trophy wives and adulation.
I was never a hero, but I saw regular guys do things that no Bruce Lee, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, Steven Segal, nor Arnold Schwarzenegger, or any other phoney Hollywood hero would ever do. Hunches about danger and escaping from it is baloney. Hunches about danger and fighting thru it to complete your mission are what really counts..."I am the Infantry... Queen of Battle...Follow ME!
As I think Mr. Colton is saying, we are the only country on Earth with an inflated and deeply distorted sense of heroism, which among other things is responsible for bullshit like saying "Mission Accomplished" at the beginning of an endless, tragic war. If we were more respectful of fear, perhaps we would not be in this predicament right now. Too much fear can of course be cowardly and paralyzing, but lack of fear is arrogance and hubris.

We Are So Backwards

...when it comes to healthcare reform. It is immensely frustrating and really sad.
This is the country of idiotic selfishness.
Already, the group of six (senators who are going to decide our fates) has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker.
DO THEY HAVE THE VOTES TO BREAK A DEAL? WHY EXACTLY DO WE NEED THEIR APPROVAL? AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE BLUE DOGS. TRAITORS. ASSHOLES.

Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives. THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY.

They have also dismissed the House Democratic plan to pay for the bill’s roughly $1 trillion, 10-year cost partly with an income surtax on high earners.

The three Republicans have insisted that any new taxes come from within the health care arena. As one option, Democrats have proposed taxing high-end insurance plans with values exceeding $25,000.

The Senate group also seems prepared to drop a requirement, included in other versions of the legislation, that employers offer coverage to their workers.
In other words, it's not real reform and it's not true reform and it's not universal coverage.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Guacamole Recipe


I'm doing this for the edification of mankind and because of popular demand. Also to set a couple of things straight about guacamole, which in this country has withstood enough abuse.
I don't have a molcajete (a mortar made of volcanic stone), and probably neither do you. I smash the stuff with a fork.

• a small onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 or 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeds taken out and deveined (this makes them milder), coarsely chopped. To deseed and devein, cut the chile lengthwise and take the seeds out with the tip of the knife. The vein is the white skin that holds the seeds. Take that out with a knife. Discard the stem. Remember not to rub your eyes after handling chiles with your bare hands. It will sting like a mother.
• about a cup of fresh cilantro
You may want to reserve some finely chopped onion for crunch and cilantro for decoration.
• a small tomato
• 5 ripe black/Mexican avocados (buy them at least 4 days in advance if they are hard as rocks).
• salt

In a blender, put the onion, the cilantro, the chile, a little water and salt and grind it into a slightly coarse paste.

Core and take the seeds out of the tomato and chop finely. Set aside.

Guacamole needs to be prepared right before serving. So right before you intend to serve it, put the onion, cilantro and chili paste in a serving bowl. Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the meat into the bowl, adding the avocado pits into the bowl. Mash with a fork and fold and mix well. Add some extra chopped onion and cilantro, if you want and the chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Add salt to taste (fleur de sel is a very nice touch). Leave the pits in. This helps postpone the avocados turning black.

No limes, no oil, no garlic and if you don't want me ordering a fatwa on you, NO CUMIN.

Eat immediately with tortilla chips. Guacamole is also fabulous as a spread for sandwiches, on top of tacos, quesadillas, or as a side dish to some nice carne asada or roast chicken.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goldman Sachs Memo

For a minute there, I thought it was for reals.
After all, these people are capable of anything.

A Harpe un a Shande

As I said: pious, personal relationships with God are not a guarantee of human decency.
That is true of all religions.
What are rabbis doing, of all people, laundering corruption money for a fee in Jersey?
WTF?
Many "pious" people use religion as a con. The aura of sanctity makes it easier for them to be immoral, because most people still believe that religion is an immediate and reliable indicator of virtue.
It is not.
It's like suicide bombers that dress like pregnant women. Nobody would suspect a pregnant woman of carrying a bomb. Same goes for these bozos. They reason that nobody would suspect a rabbi from laundering money.
Well, I would and I do. Just as I suspect televangelists from conning people and stealing money in the name of the Lord.

One can be moral and decent and upstanding without religion.
The more people realize this fact, the better.

Today, I heard a fascinating interview with Sacha Baron Cohen on NPR (thanks Joshua!) about how he does what he does. He was saying that in that remarkable scene in Borat at a fundamentalist church where they were trying to save him, they were crowding him and shaking his arms to make it look like he was in trance and instructing him to speak in tongues.

Religious con artists know that "there's a sucker born every minute".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unintended Consequences of Having a Black President:

All the nutjobs come out of the woodwork; in hysterics to boot.
The good faith, the reacquisition of stature in the world, the idea that the United States is a less racist country than others, and sort of a flashlight unto the nations; our wonderful Obamanian romance with fantasy was to be short lived.
Because now some sore losers are deeply afraid that our country is not a right wing nutjobland. I guess when changes like these happen, the extremists hunker down and become even more so. These people never learn anything.
They just can't stand it. Ignorant, stupid, God-fearing crackers.
As Roland Martin, a CNN commentator said, the people who claim Barack Obama is not American are exactly like Holocaust deniers. Exactly as insane, as nefarious, as sinister, as repulsive and as dangerous. Martin tries to condescend to them by making fun of them. But they are not funny. They are disgusting. And they should be thoroughly repudiated.
Obama has no reason to be showing anybody his birth certificate. This is offensive and outrageous.
It stands to reason that if he had been born somewhere else, like the Governator, he would not have been able to run for President, because he could not have won. Period.

HBO showed a documentary yesterday about a school in a town in Mississippi that in 2008 was still planning to have a segregated prom night. The school was integrated. The kids, 70% black and 30% white, went to school together every day. But they had a black prom and a white prom. Morgan Freeman, who was born there and lives in Mississippi, promised to pay for the prom if the kids agreed to integrate it. It turns out that most of the kids were okay with that. It was the white parents who resisted. Now, when you hear that, you imagine 75 year-old KKKers lynching negroes. But if you do the math, these parents are only in their late thirties, early forties tops, perhaps they're even younger than that. That is, like me, they were children at the time of the Civil Rights movement. There is no reason on earth why they should still hold attitudes prevalent from Slavery. It is appalling.
Most of the kids react to racism as if it was something deeply embarrassing to them, but that's where they live and that's the way it goes. It's actually pretty sad. A white kid is afraid to show his face on TV, his parents are so racist. A white girl cannot get a job in town because she is friends with a black guy and because she is not going to the white prom. On the other hand, a black honor student is convinced she was cheated out of being a valedictorian because she is black. It never ends.
But never fear. God is never far from these kinds of hellholes. In this town everybody prays for everything at all times. Even though this is a public school, there are prayers at the prom.
Newsflash: invoking God is no guarantee of human decency, people (in my view, it's usually quite the contrary).

Then comes the arrest of Henry Louis Gates.
So it seems that our starry eyed, media induced "postracial society" was to be short lived.
Not surprisingly, because it is not true.
We've come a long way and yet we are still too far behind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eating Disorders and their Discontents

The New York Times' food critic, Frank Bruni, is publishing a memoir about his childhood bulimia. The book is excerpted in last Sunday's magazine. I enjoy reading Mr. Bruni's restaurant reviews. I enjoy knowing that there are people out there who, like me, love food. I'm sorry to hear that what he does for a living is related to an eating disorder. It's kind of a killjoy.
At least he parlayed it into an enjoyable occupation. I doubt that many bulimics end up being restaurant critics or chefs de cuisine. Some commenters (one commenter actually) wondered if this was not T.M.I. But in this country, unless Dick Cheney has something to do with it, there is no such thing as too much information. Everybody else is happy to share their most intimate miseries with the world. It's not Mr. Bruni's fault. America is a culture of the confessional. The public laps it up.
We have literary memoirs, we have books such as this one, and we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to people making asses of themselves on TV. For a country that can seem so callous in so many ways, (I'm not paying taxes, fuck the immigrants, screw you and your communist healthcare plan) Americans are surprisingly mawkish and empathetic when it comes to the individual tale of woe. Whoever spills the beans (I was an addict, a shoplifter, an anorexic, an alcoholic, a compulsive shopper, a fugitive from a chain gang, etc) is considered some sort of brave creature just for doing so.
Bruni's article was interesting, but the comments section was fascinating. Apparently, everybody in this country has, had or will have an eating disorder or issues with food. All kinds of reasons are bandied about, from lack of self-esteem to genes, to bad parenting.
But the truth is, food is complicated.
Contrary to what some Americans think and what some energy bar companies would have you believe, food is not fuel. Food is comfort, culture, and civilization. If food was fuel, nobody would have an eating disorder. Cars don’t have eating disorders. Food is love, or its withholding. Food is emotional. Food is pleasure. But in this puritanical country it is viewed as something sinful and suspicious. It is also disrespected and degenerated into garbage (see Food, Inc.).

I have always thought that parents who berate their kids for being chubby and who instill premature fat obsessions in their kids are much more noxious than parents who show their children love by feeding them, even if it means placing too much emotional weight on what's for lunch (see: my mother).
When I was about 15, I was a day camp counselor and I will never forget a 7 year-old girl who was mortified about wearing a bathing suit. She was the only kid who had issues at meal time. She was a miserable kid, unable to enjoy herself at all, because her mother had been feeding her this nonsense that she was fat. She sounded like a 40 year old kvetch. It was unnatural for a child her age to be so obsessed with her body image. She was a little chubby, that’s all.
I was the opposite of Mr. Bruni, who was a prodigious eater as a child. I hated food. I had a mother and a grandmother who would have been happy to force feed me like a goose about to donate its liver to foie gras. They literally ran after me with plates and spoonfuls of food. And the more they tried to shove food on me, the more I resisted. I was a horrid, finicky, nasty eater. If my mom could see me now...
I only started really enjoying food as an adult, and I gained considerable weight. I have never been fat, buy I have been overweight.
Would I like to lose 10 to 15 pounds? You bet. Am I willing to deprive myself from the pleasure of eating? Not really. I try to stay away from desserts and fatty foods but I eat like a truck driver, and I need to feel satisfied. Nothing puts me in a worse mood than having a bad meal. So I'm thinking, if I am not willing to make the sacrifice, shut my trap and eat salad, I might as well start loving myself the way I am. Because what is untenable is to live, like so many of the people commenting on the Bruni story, eternally hating your body, and by extension, yourself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To.

Walter Cronkite.
A real reporter, journalist and the best anchorman ever.
Just a reminder of how low we have fallen these days.

July 20, 1969

I remember it happened in the middle of the day. I remember all of a sudden the focus of attention was centered on the black and white TV we had in our apartment in Avenida Amsterdam in Colonia Condesa, Mexico City, Planet Earth. I remember my Mom being especially agitated, in a good way, and moved by the talent of the Americans, who could nail such a feat with precision and grace. We all sat down to watch TV in the middle of the day. The morning? 1 pm?
Who were we all? My mom, probably my baby sister Vili, who was 9 months old and seemed to have come from the moon herself (a sunny, ever smiling moonchild), probably our dear muchacha Lupe (the maid), maybe my tía Dora? My dad, either not going to work that day or coming home early to watch with us? I don't remember. I don't think my dad was overly impressed with the event. That is, I'm sure he was impressed but perhaps not convinced by its significance. I may be wrong, but this is my hunch.
My memory from 40 years ago is that we sat on the couch in front of the TV as if it was a talismanic object and there were black and white men talking to us in eloquent tones and then I think we saw astronauts bouncing and putting the American flag on the moon, which, strangely, did not sway in the breeze like flags tend to do. What I remember best is my mother, emotional, trying to convey to me, a 6 year old child, that this remarkable event needed to be pondered and admired and as a moment to remember in history, that I should not really expect this to happen on a daily basis from now on. But who knew? Who knew what could happen now that men could walk on the moon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Rain on Your Parade Day

I know it's Friday and we all want to have fun, but today is a perfect day for outrage, brought to you by Goldman Sachs, and Geithner and Co. We are, as Paul Krugman says, being played for suckers by these people. Even evil capitalists are appalled! Bring the guillotine back, I say.

Obama is a Wimp: Cheney to the Gallows

He is not a wimp, as Cheney claims, because he is "soft" on terror. He is a wimp and a hypocrite and a disillusionment to those who voted him into office because he is soft on Cheney (and on real health care reform and on banks and their perks, but let's leave it at that).
Prosecute those responsible for breaking the law during the Bush Administration to the fullest extent of the law. Send these motherfuckers where they belong: behind bars.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm a Wise Latina, So What?

I understand her reasons (she wants to nail the thing), but I was disappointed in Sonia Sotomayor for saying that "A wise Latina" was the wrong choice of words. She is a wise Latina. What is wrong with this statement? She is a wise Latina in a milieu where there are not that many Latinos, wise or otherwise. Lay the fuck off!
In order to pass a Supreme Court confirmation, you basically need to pretend that you are not really who you are. You will not get confirmed if you are anything but white Wonder bread.
Justice Roberts pretended to be toothless and polite and now Sonia needs to pretend she is a white Republican chick from Omaha, for crying out loud.
Honestly, the hypocrisy and absurdity and stupidity of the political process in this country is getting to me (what took me so long, right?). Looking at the bunch of mostly white bozos questioning her it occurs to me we need a change of leadership in this country. We need younger, fresher, more colorful faces, more genders, too. It's not enough to have a black president. We need to change the peeps in Congress. Aren't you tired of seeing Orrin Hatch? How long has that guy been there? His botox is scary.
I just hope that the minute Sonia hits that bench, she lets it rip.

Prima Ballerina Enchilada


Darlings! Your ever expanding yours truly (in terms of both readership and girth) has joined something miraculous called the New York City Ballet Workout at her gym and she is en route (if she doesn't collapse of exhaustion or hurt any knees in the process) to become a regular Sylphide.
After one of these tough little classes, I'm hopeful I may finally lose the tamale shaped waist and become long, elegant and beautiful, like Anna Pavlova.
Seriously, this thing is genius, because it gives you a very complete workout to classical music with ballet technique although you don't really need to have done ballet class before. They also make you do abs, which when I try on my own it's mostly no more than 20 reps and I call it a month.
Just so you know, in my youth I did take ballet and modern dance, and jazz and whatnot. Today I am as limber as a concrete wall. However, between the music and the dance combinations, which are actual ballet coreographies, and all that port de bras, I feel, as María would say, pretty.
I am convinced this class is great because I sweat like a fish (this is in homage to Mr. Ex-Enchilada's dear Uncle Harry, who once said that someone smoked like a fish (?)).
We all engage in the fantasy that we are long and tall and beautiful, plus trying to learn the steps is a great mental workout as well.

Applause. Roses fall from the sky. Take a bow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boycott the Banks As Best You Can

It ain't easy, but someone's got to do it. The banking and credit industry is going to fight tooth and nail Obama's proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. They are already resorting to ugly tactics with innocent people like me. I get my latest credit card account from TD Bank Visa and I am charged $39 for a late fee (I was late for one day) and $7.80 of unspecified finance charges apparently related to me making a purchase with the stupid card. This beside their 3% charges on foreign purchases. So basically I'm paying these legalized criminals around $65 just because it suits them. I called them and threatened to cancel the card. Supposedly,they waived the late fee and the finance charge to keep me as a customer. I'll believe that when I see it in the next statement.
But this is what I'm going to do. I may cancel the card altogether once I have a zero balance or I will never use it again. Let them spend money sending me shit and let me keep a zero balance on it forever.
These people decided to upgrade everybody into a"Platinum" card that supposedly gives you rewards, although it is not clear what those are or from whom. In the meantime, if you bother to read the fine print, a sort of Brothers Karamazov in very, very small type and very, very intrincate legalese, you realize that they charge usurious charges for absolutely everything, from late fees, to interest rates, to charges they pull liberally out of their wazoo.
I have never paid interest on my Visa card. I only have it in case my Amex is not accepted somewhere.
Well, now I'm going to use it even less. Learned my lesson. From now on, when traveling abroad, I will use my ATM card to change money and try to use the AMEX for everything and pay cash for everything else. Fuck 'em.

This is war.

No Fiery Latinas, Thank You!

If you want to be confirmed to the Supreme Court apparently it is best not to be a Latina spitfire, like the bunch of white Republican old geezers insist that Sonia Sotomayor is, as if having passion, humor and smarts are a bad thing for a Supreme Court judge. So we love us the Latino fire in the dancing and in the food, but not so much in the Supreme Court? Why not?
Her steadiness was evident during questioning by Mr. Graham, who remarked Monday that she would be confirmed unless she suffered “a meltdown".
Can you imagine someone saying this to a man? As a woman, I'm mortally offended by these remarks.
Will the gringos ever tire from the same old, worn out stereotypes about Latinos (and women)?
Let her pass this stupid confirmation, and like Chief Justice Roberts and the rest of them really show what she's made of once she gets inside. This court urgently needs a tough, no nonsense, passionate mami from the Bronx.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Department of Jerks

Great, well deserved hatchet piece on racist, criminal sheriff and celebrity and publicity whore, Joe Arpaio in The New Yorker this week. This man is a narcissist, a psychopath and a liar in uniform. If he were on the other side, he'd be a gangster.
Arizonians love him because he targets and humiliates illegal immigrants instead of fighting crime. His abuses are costing these bozos millions of dollars in lawsuits. Serves them right.
My Mexican friends, try not to cross over via Maricopa county. There is plenty of border to choose from. Avoid this asshole like the plague. He is the plague.
President Obama should tell his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, to get over her croniness to Arpaio and investigate him for civil rights abuses.

Last week another interesting profile of Angelo Mozillo and his coworkers at Countrywide. In short: a bunch of jerks with huge egos running the show.

Anyone tired of Type A Assholes running rampant, say I.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Go Sonia

Go Sonia, Go Sonia, Go Sonia!
Go Sonia's mom too.

Carbonara Blues

I have a recipe for authentic spaghetti Carbonara which has no cream. Just the raw eggs. But every time I make it, the egg and cheese mixture comes out too thick. It calls for three eggs and almost a cup of pecorino romano and parmiggiano reggiano cheeses. I think it may be too much cheese. Any ideas?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Street Obstacles

To all those nice people from Children's International, Greenpeace, ACLU, free salon haircuts. etc:
Stop blocking the sidewalk.
You are very annoying.
You should be banned.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

PMSy Aphorisms of the Day

• Goodness is overrated.
• There is no such thing as innocent people.
• The world is a putrid, pustulent cesspool.
• Idealism is a waste of time.

Have a nice day! :)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fame and Fortune are Bad for You

At this point, and to judge by the turf wars provoked in facebook by the commemoration of Michael Jackson's death, it is safe to say that the world can be divided into two camps and a distant third: Those who think Michael is a pervert, a creep and a criminal who didn't serve time because of his celebrity and his millions; and those who think he is the closest thing to the Messiah.
In the third camp are those of us who look at the entire spectacle in bewilderment and annoyance.
Nowhere in the world is the tradition of Celebrity Fuck Up more bizarre than in America. People here indeed have the possibility to hail from poverty and obscurity and catapult into humongous stardom (Elvis, MJ). But then, the dissolution of their dream once they reach the pinnacle of fame is usually grotesque, bizarre and terribly sad.
Before Michael dethroned him, Elvis was king. But Elvis came from another era. He was much more humble, much less affected by delusions of grandeur. Yet it seems that at the end of his life he was very unhappy, fat (favorite treat: a full loaf of unsliced white bread, stuffed with peanut butter and jelly and then deep fried), and addled by booze and by drugs. A bloated version of his younger self, playing the crowds in Vegas.
By the way, I saw ELVIS. I was like 10 years old. He would throw his sweaty, makeup stained handkerchiefs to hysterical women in the audience who would throw their underwear at him. He was wearing the white, sequined, flared bottom jumpsuit and he was definitely chubby. The way he sang "Fever" remains in my memory to this day. I suddenly understood why all the flying bras and panties. I think I got a fever from listening to him singing that song.
Why are the spoils of fame and fortune so bitter for some people?
In the case of Michael Jackson, the story is complicated by race and child abuse, and perhaps closeted homosexuality and self-hatred and by the fact that he made more money than God.
Compared to Neverland, Graceland is a bungalow. Just think about it: Graceland -- there is something of hope and faith and humility in the name. Neverland -- at best it's escapist fantasy, at worse it's self-destructive nihilism. It's not fit for an adult man either way.
But the worst part is the public's reaction. The adoring public is part of the reason why these people lose their marbles in the first place. Their every move is scrutinized, people treat them like gods.
They die and everybody decides to become cheesy and maudlin and shed crocodile tears.
This is when everybody all of a sudden forgets that Nixon was a prick and a crook, and that Lady Diana was a pathological narcissist and world class manipulator, and that they used to call him Jacko because he engaged in inappropriate behavior with minors. That he hated his black looks so much he bleached himself and changed his face and his hair and made sure he had white children (I find this almost as offensive as his warped sexuality, but everybody right now is totally looking the other way).
There is no doubt he was a great artist. But he was never the second coming of Christ.
Get a hold of yourselves and your easy tears, people. I cannot bear the spectacle. Why are the masses not equally outraged and passionately motivated to speak out against the war, or torture or the fact that we are all being bamboozled by insurance companies and banks?
Because everybody in this country would rather live in Neverland.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Poisoned Midget Wrestlers: Normal, for Mexico


The always enlightening blog of Mr. Ex-Enchilada breaking Mexican news.

Gotta Be Starting Something

Without the permission of my friend Conchita, I am reposting an interesting exchange we had in facebook about the public memorial for Michael Jackson.

My status update: "What, no hysterical public memorials for Robert McNamara?"

Conchita:
Always so wry. Still, don't think it's hysterical to show this emotion. Whether it is Diana, Celia, Kennedy, MLK, or someone who did touch a lot of people. Personally, I believe most are honest in their expression of true admiration and sorrow. I'm just sayin'...
Me:
I respect emotion: I hate sentimentality.
Conchita:
sooooo subjective anyway. i thought most were pretty restrained, actually.
Me:
What I find most appalling, Conchi, apart from Brooke Shields' intervention, is the lopsidedness of the priorities. I like some of MJ's music as much as the next guy, but from there to making him into some kind of world savior seems to me at the very least to be in bad taste. He was a great entertainer. And a seriously disturbed individual. He was no Martin Luther King. Period.
If we could get that same kind of public enthusiasm to bring the soldiers home from Iraq, I wouldn't be so wry about it.
The one moment where I felt the deepest sense of loss, was when they showed him as a child singing "Who's loving you". Smokey said it: he had to have "know" to sing that song like that at that age. And that is truly sad.
In short, am not a monster. ;-)

(But do not get me started on Lady Diana).

McNamara: A timely death

The best this man could do is die right now. Actually, it would have come in handy if he died right when Dick Cheney and his team first foisted the weapons of mass destruction lie upon the American people. His death is hopefully serving to revisit with more urgency why are we still in Iraq and why we are not prosecuting that band of bastards for war crimes, incompetence, torture, lying, etc.
I am very disappointed that Obama refuses to go after them. I don't think the small potatoes who actually did the torturing should be punished first. It's the big fish who need to stand trial.
McNamara's belated contrition sheds interesting light on his successors. We all know we are never going to get that kind of soulsearching from Cheney or Rummy or any of those cowards. Dick Cheney is not going to expiate his guilt by trying to alleviate poverty like McNamara did for years at The World Bank. McNamara was perhaps an evil man, but he had more moral stature than the repugnant Cheney.
The war in Vietnam was ultimately rejected by American public opinion because in those days you could turn your TV on at 6 pm and see daily horrific footage of the savagery and the absurdity of it all right at home. The media was not in total cahoots with the government and there was a sense of deep outrage. That is totally missing today. Every single American citizen should be demanding to end this stupid Iraq war and to bring the troops back home NOW. The parties responsible for lying to the American people and starting a war under false pretext should be tried in a court of law.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I just cancelled Netflix

And I feel like tearing my garments and sitting shiva, for I was an evangelist, and still am, of the Church of Netflix. I love it to pieces. It's the best thing that ever happened to me, to video rentals, to DVD's.
However, the math was not working out for me any more. I had movies that sat unseen in my home for months, making them very expensive.
The truth is that I am a champion of watching movies on the big screen whenever possible. I also happen to live between walking distance of three art houses plus I'm very close to at least 10 other movie theaters. As much as I love Netflix, it didn't make sense to continue our relationship.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

New Tia Clara Part II

It's official: Tía Clara has been dethroned by New Tía Clara.
Talking about why I didn't like Public Enemies:

Me:
It lacks the pizazz of Bonnie & Clyde, an incredibly violent movie that kind of wrote the book on the American love affair with violence.
New Tía Clara:
Bonnie & Clyde is not so violent. She steals the police car and all, but that's about it.
Me:
Bonnie & Clyde created a new standard of glorified, operatic violence. And at least you could tell that Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway got a kick out of it.
New Tía Clara:
Isn't Bonnie & Clyde that movie where the little old woman falls in love with the young man?
Me (after gasping in sheer amazement):
That's Harold & Maude.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Be a patriot: scorn Sarah Palin.

It is the patriotic duty of every American citizen to heap unlimited amounts of scorn and vitriol on the topic of Sarah Palin's resignation and her future political hopes. The mere fact of her political existence is already surreal, pathetic and ridiculous, as is the entire Republican party, which is having a decadence as grotesque and revolting as Nero's Rome. However, it is our duty to remind her in no uncertain terms that she and her party demean and diminish the great civic achievement of our last Presidential election. In this historical moment, the citizens singlehandedly delivered this country from the clutches of indecency, and saved and helped restore the last shred of dignity of our political system.
Nobody knows why she is doing what she is doing. She is either having a meltdown or planning to run for president. Let us pray it's the former and not the latter, because she is unfit for public life. I think we should all be tired of the grotesque humiliations we endured for eight years and should countenance no more from the likes of her.
One thing is clear: She recently signed a lucrative contract to "write" a book.
The sheer absurdity of it all.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mexican Inefficiency Spreads to the Swine Flu

Apparently the Swine Flu is inefficient in attacking its hosts.
I guess it started in Mexico for a reason.
I know it's in bad taste, but I could not resist.

Land O Crooks

As you know, my dear readers, I come from a country that wrote the book on corruption. Every country on Earth is corrupt, but Mexicans are one of the most ingenious people when it comes to making sure corruption works as well as possible. We can be proud of that.
However, as I near almost 20 years living in the United States, I have had an epiphany recently. This country had always represented to me a place where corruption did not thrive easily. There is rule of law. There are safeguards. There is a strong civic culture, a reputation for decency and fairness, supposedly. But the more time I spend here, and the worse the economy gets, I realize that this is a land of crooks and hypocrites and snake oil salesmen and robber barons with a "your money or your life" mentality. It's a place where PT Barnum's dictum about suckers being born every minute seems to apply to the entire citizenship.
This here is the biggest, most entrenched and institutionalized instance of greasing the palm in the known universe. I say this as an American citizen, because it dawns on me that the entire system of government really functions by corruption. Our vote doesn't really count. As long as companies and lobbyists give money to our elected officials, nothing fundamental is ever going to change. There will be no satisfactory comprehensive universal health care, no matter what Obama says (who probably got oodles from big pharma and insurers). There may not be real transportation reform, there will be no real regulation of the banking system, etc, etc.
I'm sure you are all aware that government here does not work for us, the taxpayers. It works for the corporations. That's why we're all screwed.
For the life of me I don't understand why this entire country is not up in arms and storming the barricades over our lack of a health care system.
Maybe when the shit hits the fan and the fat cows start getting way too lean (or in our pathetically particular case, even fatter because healthy food is too expensive), people are going to get their asses off their couches, turn the idiot box off and scream bloody murder.
Just don't hold your breath.

No wonder they're bankrupt

According to The New Yorker, the state of "Califonia now spends about two and a half times as much per prison inmate as it does per student in the University of California system".
What a dump.

More Literary Fun

I got this on Facebook. It's purportedly by Oscar Wilde:

"Just be yourself. Everybody else is taken".

He was the best.

Edith Wharton Accused of Being Too Smart

And rightly so. A social newspaper reported on her breakup with her first fiancee:

"The only reason for the breaking of the engagement.. is an alleged preponderance of intellectuality on the part of the intended bride."

Probably the best accusation ever.

The High Line



After what seemed an endless wait, the High Line Park is open on the West side of Manhattan and it is lovely. More than an actual park (no dogs, no bikes, no skates, no booze), it's an example of a great urban public space. It elegantly balances the original elements, like those amazing railings, with a very cool streamlined design.


But what it does really well is to make you notice the landscape of our magnificent city, which in this area still looks industrial and a bit forlorn, which makes it very cool. As any great architecture, it feels like it totally belongs in its context and more, it makes you reevaluate and admire the surroundings, particularly the cool buildings that have sprung up in Chelsea recently. After years of architectural drought (worse, an epidemic of uglyass, boring buildings) we now have a Frank Gehry and a Jean Nouvel across the street from each other, speaking to one another, and a couple other buildings that are fresh and interesting, not just eyesores like the ones Donald Trump likes or regulations permit. We have new, fun buildings to add to our heritage as a marvel of human buildings and that makes me very happy. It also makes me very happy that everyone I saw walking the High Line seemed as happy as me. Smiles of pleasure all around.
I think it's great that dogs, skates, bikes, etc, are not allowed. A nice little civilized bar however would not be out of order. But we still seem to be living in the times of the Mayflower as far as these things are concerned. The High Line has these cool wood chaise longues (some of them doubles!) for basking in the sun.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

On Pina Bausch

Well, it's good to know that there are some luminaries of the intelligentsia that get expressions of collective mourning as passionate as those intended for poor Michael or Farrah.
Facebook is ablaze with grief over Pina Bausch. In her case, I must say, I'm incapable of feeling anything because I have seen limited amounts of her work and it's cool but I just don't care. Let's say Expressionistic German modern dance is not my cup of tea. I was utterly annoyed at Almodovar for sticking one interminable piece of hers in the middle of Hable con Ella. It was like cinematic namedropping: P.R.E.T.E.N.T.I.O.U.S.
I respect all of those who are shedding tears over her demise. Some of them are my best friends! Seriously, many of them are people whose tastes I respect. I guess there is no arguing with taste.
But Bausch seems to be one of those cultural icons that one is supposed to admire, like Tarkovsky or Meredith Monk or Robert Wilson (or most of BAM's programming), or if you will excuse and forgive me, Godard: artists with difficult reputations and insufferable works, yet that furnish you with instant cultural cred. It's a bit like eating broccoli or eggplant or tofu, not altogether palatable but supposedly very good for you.
So call me a Philistine.

Letter to the Mayor

It's starting again, my letter writing season, my raving ranting season...
This is the text of a letter I sent to Mayor Bloomberg and to the commissioner of the Department of Sanitation of our gross, filthy city:

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I recently spent a month in Europe, visiting several cities: Málaga, Barcelona, Paris, Dijon, Amsterdam, Cannes. Whether big capitals or smaller towns, they all struck me by their cleanliness. None of them had mountains of garbage bags obstructing the sidewalks and communities of rats scuttling back and forth among the garbage. All of them have municipal garbage collection. All of them have garbage disposal containers to deposit garbage bags out of plain sight.
Why doesn't NY have municipal garbage collection? Why is this left to private companies? I love NYC's grit as much as anyone, but the garbage blight in this town is intolerable.
It is appalling that New York City is the greatest city in the world and we look and smell like a sewer.
I hope you plan to address this issue if you get reelected. Respectfully,