Thursday, December 22, 2005
That's right suckers! Starting tonight, we're on vacation for nine days! Woo-hoo! We're taking the laptop, so expect the occasional family-and-friend oriented post.
Speaking of friends, something funny happened last week. A co-worker buddy and I were talking in my office, and he mentioned his tattoos.
Wait, hold on. OK, first of all, everyone in my department has an office, mostly because our area is essentially one long hallway and they don't want anyone sitting in the middle of the walkway. Also, every office has one large window facing the hall and a door that's basically a big window with a wooden frame and a knob. Cool. Back to our story.
So I tell E, "Oh, I didn't know you had any tattoos. What are they?"
He begins to describe them - it's mostly a take on Egyptian iconograpy - but he was having trouble describing one of them.
He looks down the hall out my window and says, "Shit, let me just show you," and lifts his shirt up to his neck so I can see the tat on his chest.
And my supervisor walks by.
She comes in saying, "What are you guys doing?" She was laughing, but at the same time you could tell she thought she was walking in on some cowboy movie. We laughed and told her what was going on. We all laughed and she left.
We both agreed it would be a good idea if he didn't show me the tattoo on his leg.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
In those days, Dad told me, he was regularly chastised for his accent by teachers, and teased by kids. If he actually spoke Spanish in school, he'd be beaten. As far as the school was concerned, speaking Spanish was a violation that ranked up there with fighting and vandalism in terms of deserving corporal punishment. At the very least, Dad said, he'd have to go to the head of the class, where the teacher would rap his knuckles red with a ruler if his tongue slipped.
Keep in mind that this was in Albuquerque, which already had a fair-sized Hispanic population. Of course, they were just called Mexicans then, and the concept of "English-only" wasn't controversial. Add in my dad's dark skin and traditionally Spanish-sounding name, and growing up in the 50s had a profound effect on him.
Dad never lost the pride he had in his culture, and I think a lot of that had to do with the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s. He was finally told that it was not only OK to be Mexican-American, but it was something to be proud of as well. Dad passed this on to me.
Still, I never heard Dad talk with an accent because he went to broadcasting school, where he worked hard to overturn and smooth and bury it under a tarmac of the flat, Midwestern ideal. My name is a shortened, more Americanized version of his. At his insistence, English became my first language and, unfortunately, my Spanish is still embarrasingly weak.
As I was growing up, I regularly heard Spanish spoken all around me, not only at home, but also at school, church, everywhere. Spanish was taught in schools, not punished. "Hispanic" became a category on the forms we filled out at the beginning of every year.
Still, maybe I'm naive to be surprised that the sort of discrimination my dad had to endure still snakes through our communities. I'm certainly not surprised by my feelings of sadness, and disgust.
In Kansas City, which has a large and growing Hispanic population, 16-year-old Zach Rubio was suspended for speaking Spanish in the hallway at school. Someone asked him, in Spanish, for a dollar. Rubio, not even thinking twice about it, answered back in Spanish. A teacher heard and sent him to the principal, who sent him home for 1 1/2 days.
The point is, he shouldn't have to think twice about it. Language is not, and should not be, against the law. Anybody should be able to say what they want, in whatever language they care to use. Unfortunately, that's not what is being taught at this school.
Luckily, sometimes the people who come to this country as immigrants learn the principles native citizens often take for granted, or worse, ignore or distort. Rubio's father had this to say:
(Lorenzo) Rubio, a U.S. citizen, credits U.S. immigration law for his decision to fight his son's suspension.
"You can't just walk in and become a citizen," he said. "They make you take this government test. I studied for that test, and I learned that in America, they can't punish you unless you violate a written policy."
Rubio said he remembered that lesson on Nov. 28, when he received a call from Endeavor Alternative saying his son had been suspended.
"So I went to the principal and said, 'My son, he's not suspended for fighting, right? He's not suspended for disrespecting anyone. He's suspended for speaking Spanish in the hall?' So I asked her to show me the written policy about that. But they didn't have" one.Rubio then called the superintendent of the Turner Unified School District, which operates the school. The district immediately rescinded Zach's suspension, local media reported.
Thankfully, at least, the days of quietly walking to the head of the class to accept our punishment seem to be over.
After a November of spring- and summer-like weather (seriously, it was 80-something on Thanksgiving), the temperatures finally dropped, and dropped haaard. Yesterday it just kept getting colder and colder, and then a fine drizzle started misting the entire area. Pretty soon, people around the office started wondering out loud whether or not we’d have to go to work the next day.
See, in Austin we don’t really get snow, we get ice. And the last time we had an ice storm – a couple of years ago – the entire city essentially shut down. City shut-down equals paid day off from work. Lopez! and I stepped out into the biting cold after work with frozen fingers crossed.
Then the stupid weather men burst our balloon, reporting that yes it was cold, and yes there was a drizzle, and sure, it was even going to freeze, but it would warm up fairly quickly so don’t get your shorts in a bunch. Even when the local channels started running a crawl announcing late school openings, we went to bed figuring we’d at most get a reprieve of a couple of hours.
In the morning we called the office to check if there was a company message. And there was – the office would be opening at 10 a.m. Damn! Me and Lopez! slept a little later, then started getting ready for work.
And then, while I was taking a shower, Lopez! busted in and started doing a victory dance and singing, “Snow day! Snow day!” Oh, hell yeah! Her boss had called to tell her that they decided to close the office all together; a few minutes later, my boss called to tell me the same thing.
So we’ve spent the day in our pajamas, eating, watching DVDs and checking out the traffic accidents on the local news. It’s still kind of up in the air whether or not the shut-down will be extended to tomorrow. Hell, I’d be happy with a half-day.
Snow day! Snow day!
Every Tuesday night, I help with the comic book pull at the shop I used to work at, filling files for subscribers and helping put the “new wall” together for the next day. You might have noticed the phrase “used to work at.” I haven’t worked there in about a year, but I still go almost every Tuesday because I love being in a comic book shop.
I’m going to start GMing a “Call of Cthulhu” RPG sometime in January. I’ve never GM’d before, but I’m ridiculously excited about it. I’m not going to spell any of those acronyms because I feel dorky enough just typing that out.
See this? It’s a mini I painted for the other RPG I’m already playing, this one based in a Lord of the Rings/Conan setting. I play a dwarf. You heard me – a dwarf. And I’ve got a kick-ass ax that does all kinds of crazy damage. This is the first mini I’ve even painted, and I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m also geeky enough that I’m going to subject people to multiple pictures of it. Nyaah!
There’s probably a ton of other examples of rampant nerdiness, but I’m starting to depress myself. Good thing I’ve got that “Jonah Hex” collection to cheer me up.
Close up! And a look at my dwarf from behind;yes, I posed him with an orc. Shut up.
Bertinelli Divorcing Rocker Eddie Van Halen
AP - Valerie Bertinelli and her rock star husband, Eddie Van Halen, are divorcing after 24 years of marriage, Bertinelli's publicist confirmed Tuesday.
And 30-something fanboys across America briefly think they’ve got a shot.
Coke to launch coffee-infused Coke Blak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co., the world's No. 1 soft drink company, on Wednesday said it will launch a coffee-infused soft drink called Coca-Cola Blak in various markets around the world in 2006.
A Coke spokesperson said Coca-Cola Blak will be a mid-calorie drink, similar to Coca-Cola C2, which was launched in April 2004 and contains half the sugar, calories and carbohydrates of regular colas. The formula for the new beverage is expected to vary based on local tastes.
Oh boy! Now I won’t have to mix my soda and coffee at home anymore! I’m not sure which offends me more; the idea of this unholy union, or the way they spell “blak.” Would it affect the pronunciation if I start spelling it “cok?”
Gold Injections Treat Lion's Arthritis
ROME - Veterinarians at Rome's zoo treated an elderly lion for arthritis by inserting some 50 gold pellets into the animal's muscles, officials said Wednesday.
The Asian lion, named Bellamy, had difficulty walking until the procedure two weeks ago in which 24-karat gold pellets were inserted into his spinal muscles near the joints, said the zoo's chief veterinarian, Klaus Gunther Friedrich.
He said the gold helps to relieve muscle contraction around painful areas. Friedrich said he did not believe the small amount of gold used was worth much.
Lion King thinks bling’s the thing – zing!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I bet it could have even made "Rocky V" suck a little less. Just a little. Hell, there might not have even been a "Rocky V;" Drago would have probably kicked Rocky's ass back in "IV." Those Russkies are crazy about their chess, y'know. Rocky was chasing chickens, for Christ's sake.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Sorry, it still catches me off guard. Anyway, for some reason I'm a little behind the curve when it comes to deaths in the news, but I think this one still deserves some more attention.
I mean, look at that. That is one ugly dog.
This little mutant named Sam was the three-time winner of the Ugliest Dog in the World contest, and with good reason. Everytime I think about Sam I think, "OK, I've seen this cosmic joke before; I know what to expect. I'm ready."
And I never am. This dog's hideousness is always a surprise, and not a "Happy-birthday-here's-your-cake" surprise, but a "Boo!-I'm-gonna-eat-your-spleen" surprise. This dog is, at best, disconcerting. And I loved that little scab just for the sheer balls it took to even exist, not to mention being downright hostile to most people (apparently, he had a thing about anyone touching his feet).
Sadly, Sam died Nov. 18 after 15 years of inflicting himself on the unsuspecting. Go check out his site, and take a look at the blog while you're at it; if you can read the Nov. 25 entry without tearing up at least a little, you're a cold-hearted bastard and I both salute you and scorn you.
So long, Sam - you looked like hell, and you were a hell of a dog.
Monday, November 28, 2005
And guess what? Most conservatives don't really want it to change. Cheap labor that you can keep off the books? A dream come true. Want to abuse their rights as workers and then maybe not pay them at all if you don't feel like it? That's where immigration laws come in handy, because that's a mighty big stick to wield over someone's head. It's especially true when that someone most likely has a family desperately depending on that so-called wage he or she is earning by doing work the average American wouldn't lower themselves to do for three times as much.
Another point is what made Bush so popular is biting him in the ass now. After ramping up people's fear of terrorists slithering across the border, does he seriously expect those same jingoists to suddenly say giving illegal immigrants legal worker status is a good idea?
I think embracing the idea of immigration and regulating it in a way that makes sense, instead of just chasing people through the brush, makes sense. I think doing it now is essentially putting on a show that's doomed to close before the curtain even goes up.
You can almost smell the desperation coming from the White House, grasping at anything they can push through and point to as a victory for an administration lamed by an albatross of a war and implosions within its party. And I'll make a bet right now - the administration is no-way-in-hell going to mention that stupid Border Wall plan and are going to dance around it like Gregory Hines if anyone else brings it up.
Well, at least something funny is coming out of it.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
At least, that used to be true, but lately Lopez! has been slowing things down with a combination of social conciousness (which has been steadily knocking various restaurants off the "approved" list) and conciousness of just how bad my eating habits can be sometimes. I respect the first, and appreciate the second. But c'mon, sometimes a guy's gotta have a corn dog and a bowl of Cap'n Crunch or he'll go nuts.
The last three months have been the longest I've gone without feeding whatever monkey-of-the-moment has hopped on my back, and Lopez! actually has nothing to do with it. If anything, I think she's beginning to feel sorry for me.
I cannot find a Zero bar anywhere in Austin.
I know there's got to be someplace in the city that sells them. There's gotta be. Seriously, they're great. El Paso must've spoiled me for Zero accessibility (chew on that), because I could literally go into almost any store there and pick up a Zero. Austin? Nada. Not even a hint. Just clerks who look at me like I'm high when I ask if they carry it.
Here's what makes a Zero come together; caramel, peanut and almond nougat, all covered in white fudge. God, I feel like a junkie just thinking of it.
And I didn't even know it was fudge. I mean, somewhere in my head I must've known because it's right there on the wrapper, but for some reason I always thought it was white chocolate. Oh, silly man. Of course it's not white chocolate. Only white fudge could leave that thin layer on the roof of your mouth that stays with you, lovingly, for half a day.
Something else I didn't know - and never really thought about, to be honest - was the name. Apparently, Zeros have been around since the 1920s, when the Gimmick Ruled the Earth. Zero's gimmick was refrigeration. The idea was that, to properly enjoy the candy bar, it had to be cold ... as in, zero degrees. Get it? Huh? Get it?
I wish I could get it, but I haven't found a Zero anywhere in town. And I've looked. Anytime I've been anywhere with a candy aisle, I've looked. And nothing. Supposedly, they're available in "most" Walgreens, but that's a dirty lie. A friend claims he found a 7-11 that sells them, and I'll be checking it out as soon as I can make my way over there.
For his sake, he better hope I find a Zero when I get there. Three months is a looong time.
Oh, sweet mama. Some of these album covers are beyond bad. And it's not even so much the cover itself as the name of the album.
But this one's just creepy. Doesn't it look like they just hacked a sinner to death? I mean, look at that dude - that's not the first time he's picked up an ax.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
So it's official: I'm a dork.
Mr. Pastel and I drove to San Antonio Friday to go see the movie "Al Otro Lado," which was featured as part of the Guadalupe Arts Center's Cinefestival. The only problem was that it was this "Al Otro Lado" and not the one I thought. DUH! The trip was not a waste, though. The documentary was totally kick-ass and we enjoyed it greatly. It deals with immigration, drug trafficking and music. It is absolutely thought-provoking and sweet.* We also had a chance to meet the filmaker, Natalia Aldama. She was there with another filmaker** to answer questions from the audience.
On Saturday we went to check out the exhibit "Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes." A move I was about to regret as soon as we entered. The reason: Onionheads! They were everywhere! Mr. Pastel calmed me down by telling me that if anybody was going to attend a pope exhibit it had to be little old Mexican ladies taking their sweet time looking and reading, and looking again, and reading again. Hey! What about little MIDDLE-AGED Mexican ladies, who want to take their sweet time looking and reading?! The exhibit was very interesting, although it's totally biased and free of controversy.
And it is also long. I didn't know how long it was until I started feeling lightheaded from hunger. Luckily for me, I had gotten a not-so-thorough security person who was checking for cameras and cell phones, but not for food. I was in the middle of the "other worlds" segment of the exhibit when I decided to go for it and fish some M&Ms out of my purse. I was keeping an eye on who I thought was the security person and another lady who was trying to do the same thing I was doing (although I think she was eating crackers). I ate two. No problem. But when I grabbed a couple more and pushed it by sharing a couple with Mr. Pastel, I got caught. Pastel gave me this panicky look as if telling me: ABORT! ABORT! Pastelito, whose common sense is much greater than mine, promptly decided to cover for me by pulling a kleenex out of his pocket pretending I had handed it to him. It actually worked, although I still got the evil eye. I, in return, gave the evil eye to the lady with the crackers. }:(
My favorite part of the exibit was Pope John Paul II's technicolor dream coat and hat (I know it's not called a hat, but I already forgot the word) he used to usher in the 2000 Jubilee in 1999. The cape is out of this galaxy. I think this is what popes from the future will be wearing once we take the party over to the moon. This, and the tiara Napoleon gave some other pope. This gold tiara is totally covered in precious stones our little emperor had previously stolen from the Vatican, including this giagantor of an emerald. Oh, and either Napoleon was an ass or the pope was a pinhead because apparently the tiara did not fit. (I think we all know the answer to that).
So even though I was starving, there was no more time to waste in San Antonio, since we had to make it to the Holiday Market in Austin to advance our Christmas shopping. Traffic was brutal, but we actually made it. And it was a good thing, not only because of the shopping, but because we got a chance to see our cool friends from Shanti Bua. And not only are they doing great, but they are also PREGNANT!
Six months already (which luckily for her only look like three). I did notice something was afoot when I first saw her, but I've learned my lesson. Even if the lady is eight-and-a-half months pregnant and about to explode, I keep my mouth shut. She knew we were full of shit when we acted all surprised when she told us, but hey, we know better. I used a very scientific method to confirm the sex of the baby: If the belly looks pointy like a watermelon it is a boy, if it looks like a lifesaver, than it is a girl. She once again knew I was full of shit, but I guessed right. Watermelon belly=boy. Right on! They are now on their way to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving, but they promised to keep us posted about the baby. We are expecting a very cool name for this baby since he's coming from such cool people. But, hey, no pressure.
After shopping we went down to Hill's Cafe for dinner, where Mr. Pastel had the best chicken-fried steak he's ever had in Austin (his words, not mine), and I fell in love with fried pickles (Really? Really!) But what did you expect from the home of the sizzler?
The weekend of fun ended with a lazy Sunday, even though we wanted to go to the East Austin Studio Tour and to catch "In Cold Blood" at the Paramount. But I guess there is such a thing as too much fun. Next weekend: Harry Potter, a short trip to Houston and TURKEY! (the bird, not the country. And not necessarily in that order).
*The movie will be part of the 2006 POV lineup on PBS, so make sure to catch it.
** Aldama is on the right, next to Venus Soberanes, director of "The Moon's Pyramid."
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I'm a little late with this, but hey, he's a little late too.
C'mon, it's just a joke.
Anyway, I'd have to hand over my geek membership card (laminated!) if I didn't mention the passing of William Hootkins, a character actor probably best remembered as "Red Six" - also known as "the fat guy who blows up attacking the Death Star" - in the original "Star Wars." I didn't know this, but the character's name was Jek Porkins, which is unfortunate.
I also didn't know that Hootkins popped up in a bunch of movies from the nerd's must-see list. In addition to Red Six, he also played Munson (Zarkov's lab assistant) in "Flash Gordon," Major Eaton in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (he's one of the government guys telling Indy about the Ark in the beginning of the movie), and the slimey bad-cop Eckhardt in "Batman." If he'd somehow managed to get himself in one of the "Lord of the Rings" movies, we'd be building his monument right now.
In honor of Hootkins, who died of pancreatic cancer Oct. 23, 2005, , here are some quotes from his most memorable roles. Oh, and apparently he was big in England, too.
Red Six: I got a problem here.
Red Six: I can hold it.
Biggs: Pull up!
Red Six: No, I'm all right... ahhh!
[Porkin's fighter explodes in a ball of fire]
[Munson refuses to go aboard Zarkov's space ship]
Doctor Hans Zarkov: I swear, Munson, I'll shoot!
Munson: Get shot or go up in that thing? What's the difference?
Doctor Hans Zarkov: This way, you'll be giving your life to save the Earth! Haven't you any spirit at all?
[looking at an old picture of the Ark]
Colonel Musgrove: Now, what's that supposed to be coming out of there?
Indiana: Lightning. Fire. The power of God or something.
Major Eaton: I'm beginning to understand Hitler's interest in this.
Knox: You know what they say? They say he can't be killed. They say he drinks blood. They say...
Eckhardt: And I say... you're full of shit, Knox. Oh, uh, you can quote me on that.
Now, I hate the fact that Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania is considered a hawkish Democrat and voted in favor of the war in Iraq. But I love the fact that he has the guts to look at it now and say, we made a mistake and we’ve got to fix it. Now. Today Murtha, who choked on tears while he made his statement, called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and plans to introduce a resolution that would force the President to do that if it passes the House and Senate.
Of course, since the Emperor’s neo-con clothes began fraying at the edges recently, the Republicans were put in the unfamiliar position of being expected to explain themselves. But now they've started to regain their footing and are going on the offensive (in more ways than one). The beat is familiar, and the conservatives are dancing to it like it’s their chance on No-Soul Train.
Vice President Dick Cheney jumped into the fray Wednesday by assailing Democrats who contend the Bush administration manipulated intelligence on Iraq, calling their criticism “one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."
But this is the good part: Normally, the Democrats would curl into the fetal position and limply swat back at their bullies, but this time Murtha has had enough of their guff.
Murtha, a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam, angrily shot back at Cheney: "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done." Referring to Bush, Murtha added: "I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them."
Oh, hell yeah! Now we just have to hope the rest of the Democrats don’t squander what momentum they have, follow Murtha’s example and start calling it like it is. I mean, where the hell is Howard Dean? Unleash that beautiful mad dog and say, “You wanna get nuts?!? Let’s get nuts!!!”
THE POLICE - "Synchronicity II"
Another suburban family morning.
Grandmother screaming at the wall.
We have to shout above the din of our Rice Crispies
We can't hear anything at all.
Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration,
But we know all her suicides are fake.
Daddy only stares into the distance
There's only so much more that he can take.
Many miles away something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake.
Another industrial ugly morning
The factory belches filth into the sky.
He walks unhindered through the picket lines today,
He doesn't think to wonder why.
The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street,
But all he ever thinks to do is watch.
And every single meeting with his so-called superior
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch.
Many miles away something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish lake.
Another working day has ended.
Only the rush hour hell to face.
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes.
Contestants in a suicidal race.
Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance,
He knows that something somewhere has to break.
He sees the family home now looming in the headlights,
the pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.
Many miles away there's a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake...............
Oh, Woodward! Say it isn't so. Not you too!
Woodward Apologizes to Post For Silence on Role in Leak Case
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Bob Woodward apologized to The Washington Post yesterday for failing to reveal for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of who disclosed her identity mushroomed into a national scandal.
Woodward, an assistant managing editor and best-selling author, said he told Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. that he held back the information because he was worried about being subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel leading the investigation.
"I apologized because I should have told him about this much sooner," Woodward, who testified in the CIA leak investigation Monday, said in an interview. "I explained in detail that I was trying to protect my sources. That's job number one in a case like this. . . .
"I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed."
-What is sad about this whole ordeal is that this administration managed to trick every single Washington reporter. There are rules about anonymous sources for a reason. One is to help protect your source of any possible retaliation to be able to warn the public. But these rules are also to protect yourself as a journalist from being played. And, unfortunately, I think even the good ones were played.
It is a sad day for journalism, let me tell you. Don't think I'm overreacting. Even his famous partner is trying to justify his actions. And If you want to get even more depressed, go to the Huffington Post.
Sorry, Bob, this hurts me more than it hurts you.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Last week Pastelito and I went to the Art from the Streets annual show and sale at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless and we managed to score this beautiful painting* by artist Howard Cook.
The show gives an opportunity to homeless artists to sell the work they've created throughout the year. This is how the organization describes the program:
AFTS is a volunteer-run program that provides a safe and encouraging environment where the positive spirit and creativity of homeless people is nurtured through artistic expression.
Man, this is the reason I love Austin. By organizing events like this they manage to make art available to all and help others at the same time. And like one of the volunteers said, some of the artists are just amazingly talented (Pat Bailey and Dennis Williams come to mind). And of course, Cook. We were totally fascinated by his art. This dude is so prolific! His acrylics are mostly abstracts, and he has this series of male faces that is so cool and haunting.
Although this was a one-time thing, one of the volunteers told us we can try and contact the artist directly.
* Sorry about the glare
Friday, November 11, 2005
It's still a work in progress, but it's shaping up rather nicely.
Activities this weekend include a Risk marathon,* and a trip to the Museum of Art.
There will be lots, lots more to come. In fact, I'm trying to squeeze in some time next week for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." But there is just so much fun little Lopez! can have.
OK. Time for chicken wings.
* not just any Risk game, mind you, but LOTR Risk!
"I remember a time not long ago when the Devil Horns were reserved for only the most righteous of person, deed, or riff," Grand Elder Lemmy Kilmister said. "To see someone throwing the horns to his mate at the launderette because the clothes dryer came to a full stop just as he finished reading his copy of Circus... It breaks my heart."
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Anyway, it's not like that special kind of Tyson-crazy is anything new, but somewhere along the way he turned into a combination of Godzilla and Frankenstein's Monster and has been terrorizing the countryside while we weren't looking. I knew about the rape and the ear, but Jesus Christ, Mike, tone it down buddy.
The former champion has been in trouble in and out of the ring for much of his adult life. Tyson has served time for rape, bitten Evander Holyfield's ear, tried to break another fighter's arm and threatened to eat the children of former champion Lennox Lewis.
Um ... what?
A Romanian prisoner is suing God for failing to save him from the Devil.
The inmate, named as Pavel M in media reports, accused God of "cheating, abuse and traffic of influence".
His complaint reads: "I, the undersigned Pavel M, currently jailed at Timisoara Penitentiary serving a 20 years sentence for murder, request legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people's interest, taking bribe and traffic of influence."
-We might have a big-ass class action suit if we play our cards right.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
How else do you describe the overwhelming support of a ban on gay marriage, which about 75 percent of Texas voters approved as an amendment to the state constitution yesterday? The passage of Proposition 2, stating that a legally recognized marriage is only between one man and one woman, made Texas the 19th state in the union to add a definition of marriage to its constitution.
Think about this. We as a people have told a segment of our population that their personal relationships, which for all intents and purposes is exactly like anyone else’s personal relationship, is invalid. It doesn’t count. It’s somehow less. It may be a crude comparison, but it brings to mind the Jim Crow laws of an earlier generation. It used to be easy to look back toward that time and think, “How far we’ve come; thank God we’re smarter now.”
Well, we’re not. Thanks to narrow-minded ignorance and willful fundamentalism, we continue to take steps backward, to times of hateful intolerance. We are not a progressive country. We’re not a fair country. More and more we become an example of stunted thought and twisted values, instead of an example of an ideal that no one can even believe in anymore. Today, the American Way is the wrong way. It’s too easy to believe McCarthyism, lynchings and back-alley abortions are just around the corner.
Sadly, voters have confirmed everything people think when they think of Texans; backward and ignorant conservatives who still wish it was 1950 so they could thump their Bibles and shoot their guns without some hippy ruining it for them. Don’t fool yourselves, Texans – you’re bigots.
And don’t believe it when you hear the amendment wasn’t about religion. Neo-cons have been reaching out to church leaders and religious groups to mobilize them into voting blocs with an agenda to inject the church into government.
While following the results with about 100 fellow Proposition 2 supporters at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin, the amendment’s author, Rep. Warren Chisum of Pampa, said in the Austin-American Statesman, “That's overwhelming. We could have gone home and sat down and still won.”
And there was also this: “Kelly Shackelford, president of the Plano-based Free Enterprise Foundation, steered the pro-amendment Texans For Marriage, tapping conservative evangelical pastors, including minority ministers.”
In the same story, there was this about the governor: “Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election next year, issued no comment, though he's been an amendment backer, signing a copy of the proposal at a Fort Worth church in June, speaking privately to supportive ministers and recording an election-eve telephone message sent to 1 million households calling Tuesday a ‘last chance to save marriage’ in the state.”
This is maybe the most aggravating idea surrounding the whole issue. What exactly are we saving marriage from? I’ve been married 10 years, and in that entire time there has not once been a homosexual couple that has influenced, affected or had any kind of impact on our relationship. How could it? What does anyone lose by allowing a gay couple to have the same benefits of marriage as a heterosexual couple? In spite of the bleats and barks of the right-wing agenda, there is no moral issue there. There is no valid reason to deny any person what is the right of any other citizen. To do otherwise is to promote hate and discrimination.
Or put it another way: What is there to gain by denying gay marriage? Is it a step toward making homosexuality just go away? Does it mean you can stop living in fear of being jumped and raped by some fag? Will it make it more likely you won’t catch “gay?”
Yes, it does sound ridiculous.
The only comfort is that my home district of Travis County was one of the few, if not only, communities to vote against Proposition 2, opposing it by a margin of 60 percent. Shamefully, my former home of El Paso County voted in favor of the amendment by 68 percent, according to the El Paso Times. It would be nice to say this was a surprise, but between the heavily traditional Hispanic and Catholic community, combined with the insulated mentality pervading the city, it’s not. Speaking as a Hispanic and a former El Pasoan, cultural machismo, matter-of-fact religious dogma and isolation has not helped El Paso.
This quote from the Times sums up the majority’s thinking there: “Westsider Armando Reyes said his religious views guided his vote for Proposition 2. ‘I don’t like gay marriage because of God’s teachings,’ he said. ‘Marriage should be with a man and a woman.’”
It’s heartbreaking to realize that, in spite of an optimism that people will intelligently and thoughtfully consider an issue, more often than not they won’t. At least, not in Texas.
This has got to be the WORST idea EVER!
Upside Down and Canopy Trees
The Upside down Christmas Tree is a terrific way to allow your larger ornaments to hang freely. For a really special way of displaying ornaments, check out the Upside Down Ceiling Tree. If you are constrained by space, the Upside Down Wall Tree keeps the spirit of Christmas up and out of the way. Lastly, the pre lit half Christmas tree is a neat space saver to create Christmas in apartments and dorm rooms.
Serenity now! X[
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
OK, peoples. Time to girly up this site. Looking at other people's blogs recently has left me a little bit self-conscious about my lack of femininity. So yesterday I made an effort to really concentrate on girly stuff. I had pretty much forgotten about it until Mr. Pastel and I were coming back from the longest trip to the post office EVER (don't ask), when "Evenflow," by Pearl Jam starts playing on the radio. (Tehe!) Oh Eddie, I have no idea what you're saying, but if I were 15 I would totally put your photo up on my wall (that's girly, right?).
Also, I deliberately stayed up past my bedtime last night just to watch Mr. Barack Obama on the Daily Show. Of course, I also wanted to hear his opinion about the war in Iraq. But that's got to be girly, also.
Friday, November 04, 2005
According to the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, Bush is slipping in pretty much every important aspect in the eyes of the country. Even his "fight ag'nst terra'" is raising more doubt than warm fuzzies.
People don't believe him. People don't trust him. And it's about time people started thinking instead of swallowing whatever sound bite is put in front of them.
New Custard Could Cause Worldwide Flandemic
November 2, 2005
ATLANTA—A recently discovered strain of custard could cause a worldwide flandemic, Centers For Dessert Control warned Monday. "We are warning people who come into contact with milk, egg yolks, sugar, and whole vanilla beans that they are at risk of concocting this custard," CDC director Paul Liddleston said. "All reports indicate that it is extremely non-resistible." Liddleston said the government's present reserve of dried tapioca is "useless" in combating a flandemic, and until a more effective vaccine is created, "the proof will be in the putting of containment teams in high-risk areas."
I'm not going to link to you, either. Oh, hell no. I don't want to give you that much attention. I don't even want to write this, dammit, but if I don't my head will explode.
Thanks to you, my brain is filled with your strangled warble and the image of some evil record exec fusing Alanis Morissette, the corpse of grunge and some unspeakable horror together after watching "Addicted to Love" one too many times (a metric pantsload of eyeliner doesn't make you a bad-ass, no matter what you tell yourself).
I blame you, 4 Non Blondes. Don't even ask for what. Just know that it's your fault. You and that goddamn Lilith Fair.
But I do like this picture. It looks like someone in the audience is popping the head Non Blonde right in the kisser.
Man, I feel so much better now!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
This song is stuck in my head. I guess it's better than "Margaritaville."
Everyday I Write the Book
Don't tell me you don't know what love is
When you're old enough to know better
When you find strange hands in your sweater
When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote
I'm a man with a mission on two or three editions.
And I'm giving you a longing look
everyday I write the book.
Chapter One: We didn't really get along.
Chapter Two: I think I fell in love with you.
You said you'd stand by me in the middle of Chapter Three
But you were up to your old tricks in Chapters Four
Five and Six.
And I'm giving you a longing look . ..
The way you walk
the way you talk and try to kiss me
And laugh in four or five paragraphs.
All your compliments and your cutting remarks
Are captured here in my quotation marks.
And I'm giving you a longing look . . .
Everyday I write the book.
Don't tell me you don't know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter.
With my pen and my electric typewriter
Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal
I'd still own the film rights and be working on the sequel.
And I'm giving you a longing look . . .
everyday I write the book.
everyday I write the book. . . .
Lots of Día de los Muertos stuff, people. So this is how we're going to organize this: First, some background info, just in case you need to brush up on your tradition or you're just not hip enough.
Then, find out how this beautiful tradition is slowly dying. Hehe. Get it? Dying. ... um, yeah, sorry.
And last but not least, calaveras for everyone about everyone. Enjoy.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Now, it would be easy to be cynical. It'd be easy to say, "Oh, Bush and his buddies are just trying to distract from the Libby indictment, and how Rove and maybe even Cheney might be in hot water because of the whole 'pouting-and-outing' thing they did with Valerie Plame. And the trouble with Frist. And DeLay. Hmm."
OK, let's be cynical. Because I think it's a little strange that, in the middle of all the crap surrounding his Administration and all his trusted sidekicks, Bush has pulled $7 billion out of nowhere to protect us from a flu pandemic. Which is great, except that I don't think he'd even care if he wasn't trying to use something shiny to pull everyone away from all the issues dragging down his poll standings.
Bush Outlines $7.1B Flu-Fighting Strategy
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
President Bush outlined a $7.1 billion strategy Tuesday to prepare for the danger of a pandemic influenza outbreak, saying he wanted to stockpile enough vaccine to protect 20 million Americans against the current strain of bird flu as a first wave of protection.
In other words, Bush made a splashy announcement designed to play to people's feelings of unease and panic, which makes for a handy distraction while making it look like he's actually doing something. Double-trouble!
The president also said the United States must approve liability protection for the makers of lifesaving vaccines. He said the number of American vaccine manufacturers has plummeted because the industry has been hit with a flood of lawsuits.
Bush said no one knows when or where a deadly strain of flu will strike but "at some point we are likely to face another pandemic."
Sneaky! I'm just glad the reporter actually had the sense to get that in - because, remember, Bush has been trying to help out his pals in the pharmaceutical biz for a while now, and what better way than to freak people out to the point that they say, "Yes, please, just save us!!" Hell, just change "flu" and "pandemic" to "terrorism" and "terrorist attack" in that last quote and it starts to sound a little familiar, doesn't it?
He also said the United States was increasing stockpiles of antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu and Relenza. Such drugs cannot prevent people from catching the flu, but they can reduce the severity of the illness when taken within 48 hours of getting sick, he said.
Which is good news for ... Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, c'mon down! According to news reports, Rumsfeld owns stock in Gillead Sciences, Inc., which invented Tamiflu and continues to get annual royalties. Apparently, thanks to increased sales of the drug he already stands to make about a million bucks off his stock. He's recused himself from any decision-making about the drug, but really, so what? It seems the most important decision has already been made. The only decision left is whether he should build a Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck-style vault to go swimmin' in. Dang, isn't there some way we can get Halliburton a piece of this pie?
Don't get me wrong. Health officials have been warning officials for some time that we're due for a devestating pandemic, and it only makes sense to be prepared. What I have a problem with is the timing; remember, officials were warned about a monster hurricane season, too.
Inspired by "La Boheme," Rent follows the lives of a group of friends living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Each struggling to pay the rent, fulfill their vocation, and put their lives on a firm foundation, searching for love and purpose. The play centers around Roger and Mimi, both HIV-positive and afraid of love and life. Rent deals with such issues as AIDS, the value of choice and experimentation, death and loss, communal life, and friendship.
And while we're at it here are the latest movie reviews:
• Serenity: 5 R2D2s out of 5 (yeah, that's right)
• Wallace & Gromit — The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: 5 wedges of cheese out of 5 (but you already knew that)
• Good Night and Good Luck: 3 Pulitzers out of 5 (really? really)
P.S. Feliz Dia de Muertos
Monday, October 31, 2005
Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu
Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing.
By Nelson D. Schwartz, Fortune senior writer
NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.
Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.
The forms don't reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Every year at Halloween, my dad would sit me and my sister on the couch and put on this record, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories for Young People.”
I loved that hissing, popping LP. And I loved that my dad would turn out all the lights and close the curtains and point at the door saying, “Do you see it? Do you see it?” when Hitchcock starts talking about ghosts slithering through keyholes. This was all before we went trick-or-treating, so we’d be good and creeped out before we even knocked on the first front door.
I can’t believe I forgot I had this until this morning. My father-in-law, who has a sweet stereo set-up, burned this for me a couple of years ago, and I listened to it on Halloween, with the lights out and the curtains closed.
It's funny how things work. Listening to that record probably led me to the various print collections and anthologies with Hitchcock's stamp on it, which eventually led to all the movies and an ongoing love of crime and horror fiction.
I'd like to think that when I listen to the album this year, maybe that's dad slithering in for a visit.
Monday, October 24, 2005
L!: Oh, gyros! OK.
She swears up and down that she doesn't do it on purpose.
I have my suspicions ...
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Even though I'm pissed about the direction my country has taken the last few years (that would be down, by the way), I'm pretty happy about the news that Chewbacca has become a citizen of these United States, and actually lives somewhere in Central Texas, no less.
Chewie has always been one of my favorite "Star Wars" characters. How could he not be? Look at that mug - the only one that comes close to being as cool is Lando, and even then he has to fall back on a 40 every now and then.
Think about every great scene in any "Star Wars" movie (I said great, so the last three are out of the running) and there's one of two characters in it; Darth Vader or ... wait for it ...
You know what I want? A Chewie movie. Maybe something from his early smuggling days with Han, something that would lend itself to interstellar chase scenes, gunfights and a wookiee conking people's heads together Three Stooges-style. I get geeky goosebumps just thinking about it.
I mean, seriously, how cool would that be? That's right - this cool:
Monday, October 17, 2005
So, needless to say, when Mr. Pastel and I recently switched our little old Sentra for a new little Echo, I felt my day to brag had come. Hehe, 33-39 motherfuckers! Yippie-kai-yay! Obnoxiousness took over me. I was bringing this up during conversations, even if they didn't have anything to do with it. My boss: "Lopez!, this book needs to be back in time for the conference." To which I would anwswer, "Yes, I know. Hey, did you know our little Echo does 33-39?" Anyway, I know now that rolling your eyes is a sign of uncontrollable envy.
So, this 33-39 mpg dream of a life in a $2.89-gallon world was pretty cool, right? Right. Until Mr. Pastel and I were forced to eat the dust of a zippy little number in green that cut in front of us when we were on our way to see the Dragon bunch. No, it was not the traffic-assholeness that got us, it was the license plate on this Toyota Prius; 70-fucking-MPG (well, without the fucking). Yes, it was the green machine, in more ways than one. I thought to myself about our little Echo: "This obsolete piece of crap is making me look like a hillbilly."
Mr. Pastel, the voice of reason, calmed me down and in a very rational and adult way made me see the benefits of owning a car, that although not as efficient as that beautiful machine, was still perfect for us. His talk made me come to my senses. That and this AP story. Hehe =}
Saturday, October 15, 2005
For the last couple of months I have been kind of obssesed with Los Rabanes' music and for the most part everything Caribbean sounding that you could think of (Los Pericos, Orishas and whatnot). All within the Rock en Español category, of course (Hey! I'm still civilized).* So, on my last visit to El Paso, my brother asks me if I'm into Reggaeton. Well, yes, I said, I like Los Rabanes. Well, it was as if he had asked "Are you into heavy rock?" and I had said, "Yes, I like Creed" (This by the way, just happened to us at a party. And no, it wasn't us answering). So unbeknownst to me, and while you were sleeping, my brother was named the friggin' rule master of Reggaeton. These are his rules.
You are Reggaeton only if:
• You are from Puerto Rico
Rabanes are from Panama.
• Your video is played on Mun2
I watched about 14 staight hours of that friggin' channel and not one single Rabanes. I however learned all the lyrics to "La Camisa Negra" by Juanes (oh, and finally saw the video for "Me Convierto en Marciano" by Molotov.)
• You can do the bump 'n grind to your music
Well, no, but you can do the Macarena to "Otra Noche Mas"
• He has to fucking know who you are
Which means only Daddy Yankee and Don Omar are Reggaeton. =)
update: I totally found Orishas' "A Lo Cubano" at Half Price Books. I rock!
Friday, October 14, 2005
Anyone who follows the news regularly knows Helen Thomas, even if you don't recognize the name. She's the little old lady who's been giving presidents hell since Lincoln decided to grow half a beard. She's consistently been a watchdog (remember what that means, journalists?) and a human b.s.-detector, not to mention a patron saint to anyone who's ever worked in a newsroom.
With that in mind, I'm pretty sure Scott McClellan is a pawn of Satan.
Well, hold on - that might be unfair to Satan. But in a recent news conference, Thomas had the audacity to insist that the White House press secretary actually answer a question; namely, what does "total victory in Iraq" mean? What a bitch! Didn't she learn anything when the Administration had her banished to the back of the White House press room, where she could then be consistently ignored?
So what does the little devil behind the podium do? Basically, he accuses her of opposing the so-called "War on Terror." Thereby implying she supports terrorism.
Somebody go dig McCarthy up - he'd get a kick out of this.
I've been pretty disgusted with the media for a while now, but it makes me feel better to know that Thomas is still out there swinging. Even after McClellan's jab she kept on him, pushing her questions out there and pinning down his discreprencies. And I'm also glad to see she's not alone - Terry Moran deserves props for having Thomas' back.
Did I just totally date myself by using "props?"
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press
LONDON - Blond. James Blond.
Daniel Craig, a 37-year-old, sandy-haired Englishman was introduced Friday as the new James Bond, ending months of speculation.
His selection was revealed as he was whisked down the Thames River aboard a military Rigid Raider boat to a news conference.
Craig replaces Pierce Brosnan in the role of the suave spy in "Casino Royale," due in theaters next year.
-I like the choice. He has a certain Steve McQueen-ness about him (without the cancer 8[ )
Thursday, October 13, 2005
LONDON (Reuters) - If you don't understand soccer's offside rule, don't ask a man -- find a woman.
British women are top of the table when it comes to knowledge about the game, relegating their menfolk to second spot, according to a survey released Wednesday.
Research found that 59 percent of women could correctly identify the offside law -- one of the game's hardest to comprehend -- as opposed to just 55 percent of men.
Also 65 percent of women correctly used the title assistant referee, while 40 percent of men wrongly referred to the official as a "linesman."
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Mr. Pastel and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary. Yay for us! Not only was it a weekend full o' fun, but we also had perfect fall weather. The weekend included a trip to First Thursday, a romantic dinner (featuring the Messy Sundae), a train ride (more on that later) and a Spanish movie.*
* El Crimen Perfecto: 4 paella bowls out of 5.