STANDING ON the upstairs terraza today at roundabouts 5:30 in the afternoon, I see four kites flying high.
It’s the same situation every year about this time, but it seems accelerated this year, the kite phenomenon. Do youngsters — or anybody for that matter — fly kites in the United States nowadays? Or does everyone have his face stuck in an iPod? Are kites sold in five-and-dimes? Do five-and-dimes exist? We have a Woolworths in the state capital, but they’ve vanished from the United States, I hear.
I’ve seen lots of kites — both aloft and downed — hereabouts, but not one was store-bought. They are made by kids who tie and glue sticks together, and then they connect a thin plastic sheet, often cut from trash bags. The tails are pieces of trash-bag strips tied together. You gotta have a tail.
I find all this interesting, and for a few years I collected and saved the deceased kites that fell onto the Hacienda or into the yard. But the collection got too large and unwieldy, so I trashed them. The kites of Mexican kids have a high mortality rate because of the string they use. Regular sewing thread, which breaks on a whim.
Last week we were having lunch in the dining room when I looked out the big window and saw a young boy straddling the wall that surrounds our property. He was nervously retrieving a kite that had crashed into the grass. He completed his mission without actually jumping into our yard.
It’s good to see kids with imagination, inventiveness and skill.
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(Note 1: I found the photo online. It appears to be a Mexican child, but the kite is bigger and a bit better made than those found in my area. It might even be store-bought. Click on it for a closer look.)
(Note 2: The Woolworths link takes you to a photo of the old New Orleans store. I remember it well, and I shopped there now and again in the 1970s.)
THE VOTER ID hubbub is heating up again due to the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.
This may be about the most boneheaded conflict imaginable. The worn-out phrase “no-brainer” would be hard pressed to find a more comfortable home. Who can logically argue that demonstrating that you are a legal citizen should not be a requirement for voting? Answer: The Democratic Party.
Or, as I prefer to dub it, the NDP, the New Democratic Party, due to its radical departure from classic liberal values.
Why? Because many who favor the NDP notion of the perpetual Christmas stocking are poor, uneducated, in the country illegally, and so on. That the illegals cannot prove citizenship is obvious. That the poor and uneducated cannot is because, usually, they cannot get up the gumption to get an official ID.
And the NDP hasn’t enough carpools to round them up like cattle nationwide so they can get that ID.
Here’s how it works in Mexico, a land where the poor and uneducated are not in short supply: You go to an office of the election agency under your own steam with your birth certificate and proof of residence. You get photographed and issued a voter ID on the spot. It is not complicated. Most people do it.
It also doubles as a national ID for other purposes. I have one. It’s quite handy. Is there even one other nation aside from the United States where you can vote without proving citizenship? I doubt it.
Effectively proving you are a citizen would make mail-in voting difficult or impossible. So be it. It would make my absentee voting from south of the Rio Bravo impossible, but it’s a hit I’m willing to take. You cannot vote by mail in Mexico. On election day, we head to a nearby polling place. It’s as it should be.
That no proof of citizenship is required to vote in many parts of the United States is another tragic indication of the ongoing unraveling of a once-great nation. Another is the deliberate lack of border control.
Let us salute the NDP.
SITTING ON THE web chair Friday next to the glass-top table on the yard patio and under the big brown umbrella, I look over yonder, admiring this photo scene I’ve seen a gazillion times and that people who’ve visited here with any regularity have seen 563 times. No matter. I love it, and I’m a sharing sort of fellow.
At noon, the sky was mostly clear. It had not rained the past few days. Could the Mexican monsoon be over? Let us pray so, which is what I considered doing as I sat with my Kindle reading H.L. Mencken’s Newspaper Days, one of a recently issued Days trilogy. The other two books are Happy Days and Heathen Days.
I’ve never read a book by Mencken before, just the occasional quote. Here is one that I, of course, concur with:
“Whenever A annoys or injures B on the pretense of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.”
But that was yesterday. It broke my heart when late in the afternoon, the skies over the mountains blackened (no racial ill will intended), but it held off. No rain. And here this morning, Saturday, it is overcast but still dry.
However, there was a tropical storm out in the sea, and that could dump an arm of the Mexican monsoon on us today. Perhaps those black clouds last night were related. Looks marginally clear right now.
I think the Goddess controls the overall atmosphere and perhaps contracts out tropical storms to some other spirit. I hope she keeps the storm spirit under her thumb today. She can be stern when needed.
Speaking of the Goddess and the related Christian God, have you been following the hubbub in Houston where the lesbian mayor wishes to have final say over sermons in churches? She doesn’t want anybody disagreeing with gay marriage or, I suspect, anything related to the collectivist playbook.
They brook no disagreement. The First Amendment pains them.
The backlash has been fierce, and it appears she’s tucking her tail between sections of her ample hindquarters and heading behind the nearest Texas duck blind.
Are there any lesbian conservatives? There are conservative gay guys, but is there even one lesbian conservative? Probably the only person to come close would be Camille Paglia, but it’s dang difficult to pigeonhole her. She’s conservative only in some areas, depending on her mood when she wakes each morning.
Let’s hope it does not rain today, and the kids in the barrio can fly their homemade kites. I’ve seen quite a few this week. At the moment, one is hanging high and stranded in a tree across the street. It’s visible through the window over the monitor. Another crash-landed two days ago in our back patio. I would have liked to reunite it with its master, but no telling where he might be.
The local kids paste these things together and launch them with a line of sewing thread. It’s always sewing thread, which breaks very easily, of course, when it’s half-a-mile long.
If the rain stays at bay another day, we’ll see more kites flying. It’s not advisable to fly a kite in the rain because you might have a Benjamin Franklin moment, and that could get ugly.
GUTS THE DOG was stolen from outside my sister-in-law’s business a few days ago. This did not surprise me since he’s a cute and valuable pooch. After his extensive bath and haircut, it became obvious that he is a pure-bred fellow with a pedigree.
But two days after the robbery, he came wandering home with a string around his neck, which he obviously broke to flee his captors. So all is well, but I imagine his return will be temporary because he is still allowed to sit outside unsupervised. It’s like putting a 1,000-peso bill on the sidewalk.
Guts’ return reminded me of my mini-parrot named Tube Steak who likewise returned home after a few days on the lam. Tube Steak had not been stolen. He simply escaped because a cat entered the apartment through an open window, upended Tube Steak’s cage, and the bird hightailed it out that same window.
Tube Steak was quicker than the cat.
This adventure took place years ago between one of my many marriages — I forget which — and I was living solo in the French Quarter of New Orleans in a tiny studio apartment, a section of what is known as Slave Quarters. Please forgive me for the word slave because I know so many of you find it dreadfully offensive.
I promise not to utter it again in this post.
That (word omitted) apartment consisted of one small room, a tiny bathroom and a minuscule kitchen. It was in that kitchen that I left the window open one day while I was toiling at The Times-Picayune — or maybe it was the earlier and now-defunct States-Item. I forget which. The mind wanders.
I came home that afternoon, found the cage upended and the window open, and put 2 and 2 together. There were no feathers on the floor, so I figured Tube Steak had escaped instead of being devoured. Distraught, I put the cage in the closet and figured I was short one pretty bird.
Less than a week later, on my day off, I was sprawled — with a highball — on the bed, which sat just inside the open door with romantic New Orleans jalousies. It was late afternoon.
Past the door was a small balcony overlooking a lush, enclosed courtyard I shared with neighbors. Perhaps there were some leftover oyster shells out there. I occasionally bought burlap bags of oysters, which I cracked open and ate raw with my friends and Dixie beer.
Tube Steak came walking through the door. Not flying, mind you, but strolling with that attitude of his. Imagine my surprise. I jumped up, pulled the cage from the closet and returned my pal to his proper place.
And that’s all I recall. It’s been a long time. I vaguely remember giving Tube Steak away as a gift to a girlfriend later on, but don’t hold me to that. But I’ll never forget Tube Steak’s return and his jaunty entrance through the open doors with romantic New Orleans jalousies, in from the courtyard. It was a happy homecoming.
Just like the return of Guts from a Mexican cobblestone street.
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WALKING AROUND the downtown plaza on a lovely, cool, October afternoon today, I noticed these windows across the street and their Day of the Dead banners.
Yes, the Day of the Dead approaches. It’s when we celebrate dead people, most of whom hereabouts are found in cemeteries, just like where you live.
This will be my 15th Day of the Dead, or Los Muertos as the natives call it, and it’s changed quite a bit in that time, mostly for the better. Every year a tianguis, which is a street market, comes to the downtown plaza. My first year, in 2000, it was poorly organized, butt ugly, and included lots of five-and-dime junk. That’s changed.
Now it’s nicely organized, covered by a uniform tent all around, and most of the junk is gone. Artisans from all over our state — and beyond — come to sell stuff, and lots of that stuff is creative and beautiful.
The primary draw, of course, is not the tianguis but the eerie, candlelit night in the cemeteries, which can be quite moving and incredible if there aren’t too many tourists underfoot. Best to choose your cemetery with care.
Our town is one of Mexico’s primary tourist destinations for Los Muertos. With luck, it will be a raging success this year because the merchants need that. We’ve had a bad rep for years, due to the dumb U.S. media* bludgeoning us on a regular basis because of “narco violence,” most of which does not affect tourists in the slightest.
But it’s hit tourism hard.
Narco violence, such as it ever was, has pretty much vanished. The touchiest times occurred about five years ago hereabouts, and a year or two ago there were problems in remote, rural areas of the state, but that’s blown over too. You’re safer here than in most of the United States today. Believe it.
But our reputation lives on, sadly. And the U.S. media continue to misrepresent and harm us.
Yes, most of the dead are in the cemeteries, and you will not be among them. Not horizontally, at least.
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* The U.S. State Department is no better with its warnings issued by clueless officials who’ve obviously never set foot in our tranquil, picturesque area.
THE DOG NAMED Guts got himself a haircut, a bath and a tartan cloak. Following this transformation, it was revealed that Guts is a schnauzer. Who knew?
We first mentioned Guts here a few days ago, including a photo. Guts’ life has changed a lot in the past few days. First off, my sister-in-law decided to keep him, which delighted my nephew immensely, and how not? Who wouldn’t want to keep a dog who’s a gentleman, a scholar, a football player and — now — a metrosexual?
First, a local fellow who trains and grooms dogs was called, and Guts was carted off for an afternoon in what might be considered a dog spa. He came back transformed, a new man. Alas, his bath apparently took place with frigid water, and Guts came down with a cold the next day.
But it only lasted two days. Guts is sturdy. And it resulted in his receiving a tartan cloak because Gus was not accustomed to being bald on so much of his body. He was a hairy, street mutt.
I have learned more of Guts’ story: Over two years ago, a relative of an employee in my sister-in-law’s business received Guts as a gift. The gift was unwanted, so the recipient gave Guts to the employee. But it turned out that the employee’s young son is allergic to dogs.
So Guts was put out on the street in front of their house. He was still fed and watered out there, but he was not allowed into the house. Guts lived pretty much alone on the street for two years, though fed.
Somehow Guts ended up visiting my sister-in-law’s business downtown last week. He got along so well with everyone, the employee said: Keep Guts. And they did.
I’m no dog person, but Guts is incredibly amiable. Even my child bride, who refuses even to pick up a dog because it gives her the willies, is partial to Guts. Guts has winning ways.
And now he has a new home, a haircut, a bath, a tartan cloak for warmth, and soon he’ll be getting his shots. He also has a doghouse cut from a big cardboard box. It’s just inside the business, next to the human bathroom.
Good for Guts.
ONE OF OUR favorite local artists, a man named Cordero, often sells his work Sundays in the main plaza downtown. We bought this piece yesterday, and I like it very much, the style, the colors, the theme.
It’s a woman indigenous to this area with the clothes they wear. Note the pleated skirt, a dead giveaway of her people.
She’s holding a collection of clay figures, the type often seen in these parts. The themes are wonderful, from demons to devils to old men sitting atop wagons or school buses.
The piece is leaning against a painted table in our living room, so you get an idea of its considerable size.
The woman is painted on wood. Cordero doesn’t seem too interested in canvas. Sometimes he paints watercolors, and the style is quite different. We have one of his watercolors, a local street scene, on paper hanging in the bedroom. That’s it to the left.
We’ll be dropping off the work at the top at a frame shop this afternoon. Getting things framed here costs a tiny fraction of what frame shops charge above the Rio Bravo.
It’s just one of millions of reasons why living in Mexico is superior to living in the United States these days, but let’s not rub that in right now.
We have two other works of Cordero, both painted on wood, in the Hacienda. One is a beautifully exotic rendition of a pink datura flower and its leaves. The other is a green jungle scene with two stone masks, the face of one is Cordero himself.
In Mexico, you don’t have to be a millionaire to buy original artwork. Being a cheapskate, I like that.
A YOUNG WOMAN named Lena Dunham, who may be the silliest person in the collectivist neighborhood these days — and that’s saying a lot — is crying rape almost a decade after the event.
Lena has written a memoir, you see, in spite of being just 28 years old. Lena endlessly self-promotes and suffers delusions of importance, and now she’s a rape victim. The perpetrator was a Republican! … she says. He also was mustachioed, Lena reveals. A mustachioed Republican. What could be more repellent?
This likely is the first time ever than a rapist’s political leanings have entered the story told by an alleged victim. But since little is more important to a collectivist than politics, pants up or down, the revelation is understandable.
I found Lena’s story on my favorite news website, Breitbart. If you click on that link you can read some repugnant details that Lena’s memoir reveals, details I will not mention due to this being a G-rated website. Well, most of the time. These details have to do with fingers and peeing in parking lots. I do have standards.
Lena reveals that during this sex act she was drunk and high on Xanax and cocaine. Not only that, she was talking dirty to him “in an attempt to convince herself that she was giving consent.” Sure, that was it. I think she was talking dirty to him because she was stoned out of her mind and wanted to talk dirty.
Collectivists are fans of potty talk even on the nicest of days.
When Lena regained her wits the following day — you know, after the cocaine, Xanax and tequila had worn off — she did not consider herself as having been raped, she says. It was only when her roommate interpreted it as rape that she decided she had been raped, maybe.
She apparently brushed it off until years later when she was shooting the breeze with co-writers for some television show she apparently appears on. Her co-writers labeled it rape then too, not Lena.
But here in her memoirs, she includes the juicy incident. Makes herself a rape victim!
Which brings us to the point of this post: First off, I don’t think Lena was raped, but let’s assume she was for the sake of argument. “Without her consent,” which is not convincing in light of her revelation that she was dealing him some dirty talk during the encounter. Do me, big boy! Likely far more colorful. Imagine.
It has long been feminist gospel that women can never, ever, in any way whatsoever, share the blame for being raped. This is nonsense. Each case is different. Sometimes they do not. Sometimes they do.
Let’s take a common example, one related to Lena’s yarn. If a freshman coed goes to a frat party, chugs booze till she’s cross-eyed and can’t stand up, and some guy slips off her knickers, the coed shares the blame.
If you disagree, then you will also disagree with these analogies:
1. Someone parks his Mercedes in a bad neighborhood and leaves the door unlocked and the keys in the ignition. The car is stolen. Auto theft is illegal, but the Mercedes owner is partly to blame.
2. A foolish teenager accepts a dare to run across a busy freeway on a dark night. He is hit by a drunk driver and hospitalized. Though drunk driving is illegal, the teenager shares the blame for being hit.
Coeds who get drunk at frat parties share the blame for unpleasant consequences.
Lena Dunhams who imbibe booze, cocaine and Xanax also share the blame.
Especially when they talk dirty during the “crime.”
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(Note1: A couple of years ago I addressed this topic. Two or three readers hit the ceiling, saying they had been raped or someone they knew had been and that it was dreadful and in no way their fault. I do not dispute that in the slightest. Some rape victims, likely most, are not to blame. But some are, partially. In this instance, Lena shared the blame big-time. This is just more limelight for her. It got her on Howard Stern.)
(Note 2: Lena’s grandparents must be so proud of her and her memoirs.)