A baby’s funeral

church

AS WE ENTERED the old church, I looked at the baby on the floor by the door, and my wife noticed the other one in the small casket up by the altar. We sat down, and listened to the recitation given by a woman seated somewhere among the crowd.

We had not intended to crash a baby’s funeral. We were just on a Sunday afternoon stroll around the neighborhood plaza. We saw the church open and heard things coming through that big door.

The baby the young woman is holding in the photo was on the floor, smiling at me. The young woman was seated by the door. The toddler was nearby. The dog was inside too. We entered and sat a few moments. Then we left and sat on a plaza bench across the street.

Normally, when someone dies in the neighborhood, the church bell gongs for hours. We had heard nothing for this baby’s funeral, and I’m thinking the child died before it was Baptized, meaning all bets are off. Perhaps to Hell with it or simply Purgatory. Doesn’t seem right.

Offhand, I don’t know how Catholics handle this, but I hope the baby’s getting a less-raw deal. There was no priest in sight. It appeared that the neighborhood was winging it for the child.

Hoping for the best.

The blueprints

casa

HERE IS THE “blueprint” for the construction of the Hacienda. It was drawn by me back in 2002. I’m no architect, obviously.

It’s on standard graph paper. It’s the ground floor. For some reason, I did not save the plan for the second floor, but I do have one for the window designs, which I did, and another for the electrical schematic.

I used to be an electrician. Did you know that?

The only changes to the downstairs plan are that the stairwell to the left of the sala (living room) could not go directly up. It had to hang a right up top and continue, a question of physics, and we extended the recamara (bedroom) about a yard farther to the right to make it roomier.

The second floor is one huge space, a fireplace, a walk-in closet and a bathroom with shower stall. The upstairs terraza covers the downstairs bedroom, closet, hall and bathroom, the same fat L-shape.

The second floor extends from the stairwell all the way to the right. The downstairs terraza and the kitchen/dining room (cocina/comedor) have no second floor above.

The “patio de servicio” at the top left is open to sun and rain. That’s where you’ll find the propane tank, the washing machine and the clothesline. At the very top left you’ll see a bathroom. It only has a toilet, and it was there when we bought the property, a brick outhouse. We just left it in place. It’s now a storeroom with a never-used johnny.

The living room is slightly sunken, my wife’s idea. There is one step up to the dining room/kitchen and a step up to the pasillo (hallway) at the right. Both of these have a stone archway above, which is snazzy.

The design below is the downstairs terraza, side view, drawn by my wife who used to be a civil engineer. Did you know that?

Click on either drawing for a closer look.

Before the three albañiles (bricklayers but far more) and the helper began work in August of 2002, we got a permit from City Hall, and that was the end of that. No one ever came to check the work. Construction lasted nine months and cost just under $100,000.

We moved here in May of 2003.

The photo at the very bottom was taken around 2006, I’m guessing. You would be looking at the top diagram from the right. See that baby palm at the bottom left? It’s now about 18- to 20-feet tall.

The only drawback to being our own architects is that the living room could use more light. The windows facing the downstairs terraza are huge, but the downstairs terraza is wide and roofed, so little light enters through those windows. An architect would have seen that coming.

No matter. It’s why Edison invented light bulbs.

And, as always, tons of photos can be found here.

terraza

casa

Hillary hilarity

hillTHAT HILLARY stands a better-than-fair shot of being the Democrat nominee is amazing.

The Democrats are the party of permanent victims, illegal aliens, open borders, lawlessness, dole recipients both able-bodied and not, fat-cat union retirees, that huge segment of blacks who don’t know they’re being hustled, movie stars, deviants, chaos, the emotionally unstable* and, perhaps most of all, distracted voters who haven’t realized it’s not their Daddy’s Democrat Party anymore.**

Hillary and her hound dawg hubby, however, are .0001-Percenters who own four mansions. Her actual accomplishments — positive ones — are virtually nonexistent. Even her supporters can cite little.

As pundit Charles Krauthammer has pointed out, the only concrete thing she has to offer is Hillary-ness. She differs from two other popular Democrats — Barry and Bernie — in that those two guys are sincere — grievously mistaken, but sincere.

Hillary simply wants to be president! Apart from that, she has little to say, which is why she dodges reporters, simply waiting for the coronation she knows she richly (pun intended) deserves.

Hillary has trust issues. Let’s have fun with that. Here’s a list that’s floating around cyberspace. I hope it will brighten your day.

It’s titled “17 Things I Trust More than Hillary Clinton.”

1. Mexican tap water.

2. O.J. Simpson showing me his knife collection.

3. A fart when I have diarrhea.

4. Taking pills offered by Bill Cosby.

5. Michael Jackson’s doctor.

6. An Obama nuclear deal with Iran.

7. A Palestinian on a motorcycle.

8. Gas station sushi.

9. A Jimmy Carter economic plan.

10. Brian Williams news reports.

11. Prayers for peace from Al Sharpton.

12. Playing Russian Roulette with a semi-auto pistol.

13. Emails from Nigerian princes.

14. A condom made in China.

15. A prostate exam from Captain Hook.

16. Bill Clinton at a Girl Scout convention.

and my personal favorite:

17. The Heimlich Maneuver from Barney Frank.

The original list included 20, but I culled three as unworthy.

Have a great day.

* * * *

* Bruce/Caitlin Jenner, a Republican, is an exception.

** You likely are in this category. You are culpable but reformable.

(Bonus material: Hillary dishes out $600 for a haircut.)

Sparrow on the edge

bird

SIX WEEKS AGO we returned from a two-night visit to San Miguel de Allende, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of here.

During our stay in that artsy Gringo town that rests prettily in the desert we drove a short distance north to Dolores Hidalgo and paid about 30 bucks for this spectacular birdbath.

On returning to the Hacienda, I set up the birdbath in the same spot where another bath, totally brown and drab but hugely popular, had sat for a decade. The birds ignored the psychedelic bath.

This went on for a couple of weeks. They would perch nearby, on one of the web chairs or up on the pumpkin wall, looking at their new bath, but they would not take the plunge.

But finally they came to their little birdy senses. However, it still isn’t as popular as the old, boring birdbath was. I haven’t seen any birds on its colorful rim save house sparrows, but that could be because it’s not springtime when the birdy array is wider.

Particularly noteworthy in their absence are the grackles, and I do not miss them. They stood in the middle of the old bath and splashed most of the water out with their big, fowl wings, like little, angry chickens.

May they never return.

I shot this photo with my new camera. Contrast it to the photo taken six weeks back with my far older camera. The new camera is clearly superior, but I’ve been thinking of selling it.

It does not fit in my pocket. It’s too big. I offered the camera on two Yahoo forums that focus on my area. No bites. No matter. The day after I offered it, I had already started to waffle on the issue.

It does take great photos.

I’m in love

WERE I NOT already gleefully married, were I not old enough to be her grandfather, were I not living in a foreign land, I would immediately run to this young woman and ask for her hand in Holy Matrimony.

Tomi Lahren is not only strikingly lovely, but she is incredibly smart and sharp. Yes, I am in love, totally smitten.

I feel the vapors coming on.

Music and bread

torture

PACHELBEL’S CANON played as we ate bagels and Philly cheese lite this morning. The dining room window to the terraza was open to enjoy the 58-degree air in almost-August under blue skies at 8 a.m.

I took the photo with my new camera yesterday. It’s a 16th-century church on the outskirts of town, little visited and usually locked. I have read that Spaniards tortured an influential Indian chief in there. Racist Latinos!*

I’ve been inching through the manual of my new Canon SX520 and, as usual, sighing and rolling my eyeballs at how much technology can be crammed into a small space these days. Whereas I am in favor of high technology, my enthusiasm wanes when I have to deal with its innards personally.

The first day after the camera’s arrival discouraged me. I only wanted a far better zoom, and simpler cameras with great zooms are available. I began to wonder why I had not purchased one of those simpler options.

I woke up for a spell in the middle of Thursday night, thinking: I’m gonna sell that thing and buy something easier.  I have pulled similar stunts.

About three years ago, I bought a Samsung Smartphone. I sold it at a significant loss within the week. Didn’t care for it. My main objection was the ringtone, which was too pissant for my tastes. Didn’t ring long enough. Yeah, I know. You can add others. Learned that later.

I returned to my previous, ancient, Nokia phone. You would laugh at it. It does two things only. It makes calls. It sends messages. Period. It does have powerful ringtones that would startle the dead.

Back to the camera. So I woke up yesterday and continued reading the Canon manual (online) while fiddling with the camera. I began to like stuff more and more. It’s pretty incredible, things it does. I stood on the upstairs terraza and took a closeup of the chimney on a house down the street, crystal clear. No wobble at all. How’s that possible?

I also removed the neck strap, which was a colossal annoyance. I went back to Amazon, the U.S. version this time, and ordered a perfect wrist strap and a beefier memory card. They are en route, no import tax due, I’m told.

Looks like I’ll keep the camera. I took it downtown yesterday afternoon for my daily coffee siesta at a sidewalk table facing the beautiful plaza with towering trees. I snapped a few shots, but nothing notable. Then I got in the Honda and drove home, passing the small church above.

* * * *

We finished the bagels and Philly cheese lite. I watered the plants on the downstairs terraza. It’s a lovely day. I wonder what kind of day it was when the Spaniards tortured the Indian chief in the church.

Maybe there are still blood stains on the stone floor. Maybe that’s why the church is usually locked. Catholic shame.

* * * *

* Don’t they know that #indianlivesmatter?

Amazon punto com

Amazon-logoCAPITALIST BEHEMOTH Amazon.com opened its Mexican operation just a few weeks ago, and I have received my first order, a camera and two avocado holders.

I am very happy about Amazon coming to Mexico. It’s about time. They went to China first: Amazon 点,圆点 com. Damnable.

The Amazon Mexico website looks like the Gringo version except for being written in Spanish and having prices in pesos, which is how it should be.

My primary interest in Amazon is for my Kindle. I’ve purchased books from the Gringo Amazon for years, seamlessly and effortlessly.

I checked the Mexican version and pleasantly discovered over a million books available in English. It appears to be about the same pile available on the Gringo version. There is one glitch that will keep me from switching entirely to the Mexican website. No magazine subscriptions.

I salute Jeff Bezos and welcome him to Mexico, a country that improves daily. We have superhighways, snazzy shopping malls, low taxes, a growing economy, liberty, and our citizens are not at one another’s throats screaming racism, homophobia, sexism, till our burros wander home.

We do not care a hoot about being multicultural or diverse.

Quite the contrary.

And we carry voter ID cards, laminated with our mugshots because we don’t want anybody to vote who’s not a genuine Mexican.

And now we have Amazon. We’ve totally arrived.

* * * *

(Related matter: My lovely new photo site, Eyes of the Moon, has changed format and grown, and I haven’t even figured out the new camera yet.)

(Unrelated matter: Please go here and lend a hand. I did. It will improve your karma. It all got started because she was trying to rescue a hummingbird.)

Barry & Bill

TODAY’S TOPIC is two guys who are totally different.

Barry Hussein Obama of the Oval Office and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. In most areas, I oppose the former and support the latter. But there are exceptions, which is why I am not a textbook conservative.

barryLet’s look first at Cuba. Barry is tearing down the wall between America and Cuba. Yes, Barry blinked first, and that’s a good thing because the shunning of Cuba has gone on far too long.

It can be argued that the Castro regime would have collapsed by now were it not for the U.S. embargo, which endured so long due to the Cuban expats in Florida, a state with lots of heft in the Electoral College.

True, Barry got little from the Castros in return for blinking, but no matter. Someone had to blink. I salute Barry for that. As have almost all the former dictatorships in Latin America, Cuba will liberalize, but in a positive way.

First, the Castro boys have to die, and that won’t be a long time coming.

Barry just did another good thing. He is freeing 46 imprisoned felons, most incarcerated for drug crimes, some for life, because they were nonviolent offenders. Most, I’m assuming, are black, which is why, of course, Barry is taking the action. It’s a race thing for him. Be assured.

The War on Drugs, started in the Nixon Administration, is a total failure, creating far more problems than it solves, and that’s assuming it solves any problems whatsoever, which I doubt. Any 12-year-old who wants drugs can get them easily today on the streets of America.

Outlawing anything that people really want  will invariably create a crime wave and violence. It happened during the Prohibition of the 1920s — the War on Booze, a perfect analogy to the War on Drugs.

You cannot outlaw sex, chocolate, cigarettes, booze or drugs, and only a nation with a Puritanical streak would even attempt it. It is dumb.

Try to restrict it to adults, tax it brutally, whatever, but if you attempt to eliminate it, you will come to utter grief.

billSo hurrah to Barry for liberating some drug dealers, especially those with life sentences. O’Reilly thinks this is a bad idea.

He supports the War on Drugs. He cites reasons that could equally apply to another War on Booze. There is not a single thing you can say against drug addicts that you can not equally state against alcoholics.

Wrecked families, careers, violence, crime, rest equally in the grip of alcoholism as they do in the embrace of drug addiction. Both are grave problems, but most people drink responsibly and — and you may not believe this — many, probably most, people use drugs responsibly.

So Barry has freed some non-violent drug dealers who should not have been imprisoned in the first place, certainly not for life, and he’s cracked the wall between the United States and Communist Cuba, proving he’s not a complete, brain-dead doofus.

And I don’t know how O’Reilly feels about the opening to Cuba.

He is almost certainly against it. An error.

The cameraman

I’M INTERESTED in taking better photos. I’ll need a new camera. My current ride is a Kodak Easyshare, inexpensive, but it works fine.

Except for one thing: It only zooms to 3X, which doesn’t get you very far, literally. It does have 16 megapixels, which means the photos are pretty sharp, but the zoom’s gotta go a lot farther.

I’ve asked some good photographers I know for camera recommendations. The Gold Standard is Billie Mercer, but that was like asking Donald Trump for a restaurant recommendation: First, take the Learjet to Paris … have the limo waiting on the tarmac.  Billie is way past my pay grade.

I’d have to rob a bank.

I ran into the same problem with Kim G. and Steve Cotton, good photographers both. But wealthy guys with sterling gear.

1406627638-md-canonpowershotsx520hs4
The Canon

I’m just a poor, humble Mexican.

A recommendation more in my fiscal comfort zone, a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200, came from Angeline, but I opted for a Canon Powershot SX520, which is similar.

A slightly pricier version, the SX60 HS, had been recommended by Jack Brock who is, by the way, one of the world’s premier wood sculptors.

Then came the issue of getting the camera into my hands. I looked around my mountaintop to no avail. I imagine I could have found it down the slope in the state capital, but this is 2015, so I looked online.

First, I went to Mercado Libre (Free Market), a longtime website that connects Mexican buyers and retailers. I found the Canon readily available and was on the verge of buying it when I thought of Amazon, which just weeks ago opened its Mexican operation.

I love Amazon, capitalism at its finest. I found the camera for just a few pesos more, free delivery, and ordered it. They promised it by Friday.

One of the reasons I decided to get a better camera is a new photo website, Eyes of the Moon, I’ve opened on Tumblr.

At the moment, I’ve added a few of my older photos, but when the new camera arrives, expect more. They will all be black and white, which captures a certain elegance, plus it reflects my grim personality.

Maybe I’ll become a papparazzi. I’m so ancient, with white hair and glasses, perhaps nobody will punch me out.

* * * *

(Note: Also on Tumblr, you’ll find my other recent addition, Satellite Moon, progressing nicely. It’s a politics-free zone, all sweetness and light.)