Monday, October 31, 2005

Ya salió el peine

So if you are a little bit paranoid like I am, you're probably wondering what exactly is the government trying to do with all the scary news about the flu and how we're all going to die from it. Well, the answer, my friends is just plain old greed. No big conspiracy. Nope. Just good ol' fashioned greed:

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

Boogie man

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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005


Lopez! and I have some goofy conversations sometimes - I really need to start writing this stuff down. Here's a snippet of us talking about lunch with a friend later in the week:

Lopez!: Neros?

Nel: Gyros.

L!: Eros?

N: Gyros!

L!: Heroes?


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

Things to do — El Chuco

What is this Rasquache Art Festival you talk about?

Check it out. Let me know.

All aboard the pain train!

Well, not quite. But almost.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Secret identity revealed

Yes, I am Dear Betty, Relationship Expert.

What A Wookiee!

U-S-A! U-S-A!

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

A Brazilian miles per gallon

Never being able to brag about numbers, I have felt left out of conversations all my life. Peoples always showing off around me; "I can bench press this much," "My SAT scores were genius level," "I learned to read when I was 4." My only answer to the numbers game has been, "I once ate about 8 green peaches, and it made me so sick to my stomach that, almost 20 years later, I cannot even smell them velvety bastards." Watercooler crowd not impressed.

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

The rules of Reggaeton

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

Oh No You Di'nt

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?"

Welcome to the layer cake

Daniel Craig Unveiled As New James Bond

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

I'll tell you when it's offside

Women know more than men about soccer?
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

10 years of rock 'n' roll!

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.

Full price is for suckers

That's why this weekend I'll be heading to Cheapo and buy myself some half-priced tunes.

On the list:


I'll also look for Babasonicos and Monterosa, but I don't think I'll find them. We'll see.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The funny thing is that I actually bought the entire Benguiat family. I had the Frisky, mind you, but not the medium. I'm lame.

Halloweenie? No, but it looks cool.