The big cat

THIS BIG CAT will live on our driveway, starting next year.

The feline is a stone mosaic that we bought yesterday from a new business just up the highway. They have lots of great designs. We chose this cat which cost the peso equivalent of about 100 American dollars. It easily would have cost $1,000 above the Rio Bravo, I think.

Living in Mexico is financially prudent.

The artwork — the mosaic — is just the big circle. The other stuff is supporting material until it is laid to rest in the driveway incline you see in the photo below. I made a circle there so you’ll know just where and have an idea of the size, though I think the cat’s actually larger.

The Hacienda serves a dual purpose. One, it’s a roof over our heads. Two, it’s an art gallery, and this will be a grand addition to the ever-growing exhibition.

Why next year? Springtime is our usual season for major work because it’s not raining. From June through October it rains here every day, which is dicey for outdoor construction. We’ve already done this year’s work, plus it looks like the summer rains are getting a very early start.

This particular area, the driveway up from the street, has long been a problem. It has grass and weeds growing through cracks in cement and stone. It’s how it was when we bought the property in 2002. We will have the entire area removed, the cat installed, and the rest will be smooth concrete.

There is one problem to be dealt with. During the construction we won’t be able to enter or leave by car, so we will park the Honda in the downtown Casita’s garage at night and leave it on the street here during the day. The construction should take two-three days, and then another two days minimum for drying. During the drying phase, after the workmen have left, we’ll likely visit San Miguel de Allende, about 140 miles away, to see how the high-falootin’, artsy, rich Gringos live.

But this will happen next year. Until then, the mosaic cat will sit upright in my child bride’s pastry workshop, leaning against a far wall as an objet d’art. That’s her in the top photo, barefoot in her pajamas and a red jacket due to the morning nip.

Kitchens, Commies, etc.

kitchen

WHEN THE pastry workshop was completed in February, we thought all was done, but it decidedly was not. There was the matter of the stove.

We had purchased what seemed to be a serviceable stove made by Whirlpool, but it was anything but serviceable. The oven would not hold a constant temperature. Finally, after numerous visits by Whirlpool “technicians,” a woeful misnomer in this case, the store where we bought it — Coppel — took it back and refunded most of the money.

Bizarrely, we learned the oven has no thermostat. How can an oven have no thermostat? Apparently, this is becoming more common, which explains the new models that have no temps on the dial, just temperature ranges, or they simply say 1, 2, 3, 4.

An oven with no thermostat is like a car with no steering wheel.

So off we went to Liverpool in the state capital, spent almost three times the cash, and two weeks later we had a lovely appliance called i/o Mabe, which is the high-end line of the popular Mabe brand. It has many bells and whistles, and my wife is happy.

The i/o Mabe has a thermostat.

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New website

I have combined and edited the three-part series from some days back called Newspaper Days, made it one website, and added it to the Bookmark list in the right-side column. FYI.

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Election approaches

On June 7, we Mexicans go to the polls, the midterms. One of the many sweet aspects to being a Mexican citizen is that I can vote, canceling out the time and trouble at least one Mexican leftist takes to mark his ballot. This is swell. I wish I could cancel out even more than one.

There are 10 official political parties in Mexico, which is both good and bad. The bad is that we risk becoming like Italy. The good is that it’s fun to have options.

I read the official websites of most of them, skipping only the Workers Party because you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know where a party stands when its emblem is a yellow star in a Red circle and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) because I am already familiar with it. The oligarchic PRI ran Mexico for about 70 years, stifling opposition.

pan-logoI am a PAN man, the National Action Party. This is the long-time conservative party, and I only deviate from it (to the PRI) in special cases. I voted for PRI’s presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, three years ago because the PAN candidate stood no chance, and I did not want the leftist PRD candidate to win.

Our political parties contain some odd birds. The Encuentro Social are evangelicals. The Humanistas are, of course, Humanists. Perhaps the strangest of all is the Green Party, which is actually an arm of the PRI. The international Green movement excommunicated our Greens some years back because our Greens supported the death penalty for kidnappers.

Our Greens have backtracked on that, now advocating life prison terms for kidnappers instead of execution. I prefer execution. Color me old Mexican Green in this detail.

The Greens will promise absolutely anything. Free schooling. Free medicine. If it sounds good, they promise it. It’s outrageous. They have chutzpah.

A relatively new party is the Morena, the brown people’s party. Morena means brown-skinned in Mexico. It is the invention of the perpetual loser, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO. He is a demagogue who has bounced about in different parties, and now has formed a new one, a blatant racial call since 90 percent of Mexicans are brown

May he continue his losing streak.

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Drawing Mohammed

Let us now turn to the Mohammed cartoon contest, which I supported. It was appalling to see so many talking heads, even on the right, including my man Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, going wishy-washy on Pamela Gellar’s courageous contest in Garland, Texas.

David Frum, writing in The Atlantic magazine said this:

mohammed“When vigilantes try to enforce the tenets of a faith by violence, then it becomes a civic obligation to stand up to them.” 

And Charles C.W. Cooke, writing in the National Review:

“There can be only two possible outcomes to this fight: Either Americans will eventually learn that they should not provoke radical Muslims, and thus that self-censorship is the order of the day, or radical Muslims will learn not to be provoked. Whether they have intended to or not, those who have proposed that Pamela Geller and her ilk should voluntarily refrain from provoking Islam’s discontents have run the risk of tacitly endorsing the former outcome.”

Let us continue to provoke them. And shooting them dead when appropriate.

The old hospital

hospital

HEADING BACK to the Honda this afternoon, I passed this place, Hospital San Juan as it’s usually known, but I see here that it’s dubbed the Hospital General Dr. Gabriel Garcia A.C.

Open 24 hours.

I’ll stick with Hospital San Juan. It’s connected somehow — physically at least — to the Templo de San Juan de Dios, and it’s where Jean Kinnison died about a decade ago of a heart attack. She and her husband Al lived just over a block away, so it was the logical place to take her that day when she was feeling very poorly, so poorly she died shortly after arriving at the Hospital San Juan.

It’s a very basic hospital. If you’ve got some major issue, better head elsewhere, but if you’re in a rush and nearby, just go there for starters. We’ve done that a couple of times, but not in many years. You can get a consultation at the emergency room for about two bucks. And these are real doctors who work part-time here while also practicing in more prestigious places.

Enlarge the photo and you get a clearer view of the offerings. Not just the emergency room, but dental care, blood transfusions, surgery, X-rays, whatnot. Just about anything. I took Steve Cotton there years back when he had some issue with a blood-pressure prescription.

The building in which sits the hospital and the connected church is about 500 years old, but they keep it tidy even if the beds look like something from the Spanish Civil War. No matter. I would recommend this place in a pinch. However, if you have time for a drive, and don’t mind paying more than two bucks, go down to the state capital where you’ll find this alternative.

If you’re being discharged from the Hospital San Juan, or if you’re visiting a patient, be aware that as you walk out the front door, you can turn right half a block where you’ll find incredible sugar donuts in a pastry shop. The sugar donuts are not available on weekends, just weekdays.

You’re not likely to find such treats near one of those fancy-pants medical centers.

No sweat

downtown

LIFE INCLUDES worries large and small. With luck, just the small. And with astounding good fortune, even if it lasts only a brief spell, no worries whatsoever. I am in that sweet spot.

So here I sit on a beautiful, large plaza in the middle of Mexico, high in the mountains in cool mid-May, nary a care in the world. An espresso rests on the table while I watch the beautiful women pass, at times glancing at my Kindle, where I am reading, now and then, a good book.

I had small worries earlier this year, constructing the pastry workshop, renovations to the downtown Casita, piddling other things, the stuff of life. But at the moment … nothing.

Peace.

Across the cobblestone street, where the plaza rests, are towering trees and three grand fountains where youngsters sit on ledges to flirt and snap photos of themselves, the ubiquitous selfies.

Small speakers sit low and mostly unseen all around the plaza, releasing music. If you’ve ever wondered how life would seem with a musical backdrop — like in the movies — come sit here on a stone bench or walk the broad sidewalk, and you’ll understand.

A parade passes, or what passes for a parade hereabouts. Usually, it’s a small, out-of-tune band, lots of women and girls in indigenous dress carrying clay pots to indicate their support role in life, and they sashay this way and that down the street. There are men on horseback. Today’s parade includes an old, wooden, two-wheeled cart pulled by a pair of oxen. The cart holds a statue of the Virgin.

They curve right at the next corner and continue toward the smaller plaza, their sounds diminishing. All parades here are pretty much alike — frequent, colorful and out of tune.

I look down at my Kindle and miss a beautiful woman walking by.

Elly Maye speaks

MY BOY Bill O’Reilly predicted recently, while a guest on a late-night talk show, that Hillary would be the Democratic presidential nominee next year “unless she’s in jail.”

The jail remark was a humorous add-on, so he was actually saying Hillary will be the nominee, and he’s probably correct. Hillary, of course, is an aging Democratic Party dinosaur hanger-on whose actual accomplishments in public life are almost entirely nonexistent.

Even her fans can’t name anything of substance. She is Bill Clinton’s wife, and that’s about it.

In contrast to the dinosaur Hillary is this cute gal in the video, whom I like very much.

Tricky Dick’s truth

A FEW MONTHS ago I read my first political memoir. It was Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War by Robert M. Gates. Having never read a political memoir, I don’t recall why I started with Gates.

But I found it so interesting, I decided to plow on. Next up was In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney. Then came Donald Rumsfeld’s Known and Unknown Deluxe: A Memoir. After Rumsfeld I was totally out of control, so I read Decision Points by George W. Bush.

Bush’s book is less a traditional memoir than the others. He took a different tack, focusing a bit on his life but primarily on several important decisions he made as president, and elaborating on them.

Bush’s book is my favorite so far. It raised my opinion of him considerably. Of course, memoirs invariably paint a positive portrait of its author, but even with that as a given, I still came away thinking highly of Dubya, as I often have called him, which now shames me.

I left the United States when Bill Clinton was president, so I observed Bush’s years in office from afar, but that’s not difficult in these high-tech times. I’m ashamed to say that I long embraced the left-wing (I am a fully recovered Democrat) notion that George W. was something of a dimwit, a lightweight, and that Cheney was the de facto president.

Simply was not so.

Gates seems like a good guy. Cheney and Rumsfeld have reputations as right-wing hard-asses, but knowing far more of their lives makes them more human, especially Cheney even if he is truly a right-wing hard-ass, something I do not hold against him these days, having become one myself.

After Bush, I had considered reading RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon but at 1,400 pages I decided no and opted instead to read Nixon’s Leaders: Profiles and Reminiscences of Men Who Have Shaped the Modern World. I’m just getting into that, and Nixon’s telling me about Winston Churchill.

Churchill was a writer of histories. I tried one of his histories recently and found it turgid.

Possibly next in the memoir list will be Condoleezza Rice’s No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington. The free Kindle sample sits in the sample file, one of the great aspects of the Kindle.

You may be thinking: What is it that inspired this post’s headline? Tricky Dick’s truth.  It was this quote I found in his chapter on Winston Churchill:

“The difference between politics before and after Watergate is striking … Today the chances of receiving much approval or esteem for accomplishments in public life are slim. The risks of glaring invasions of privacy are much greater, and the kinds of sacrifices and disclosures required for entering politics … have simply become prohibitive for many. This is bound to affect detrimentally both the quality and the number of men and women who are willing to present themselves for public office.”

nixonI have taken this position before, most recently in Newspaper days: Houston. I was quite surprised to see Tricky Dick parroting me. The quality of people in public life has fallen. This is true of both Democrats and Republicans,* and my former occupation — the news media — is responsible for that to a huge degree.

A nation reflects its leaders and the leaders are mediocre. The future looks very dicey.

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Bonus material: You likely noticed that all the memoirs mentioned are written by conservatives. Not to worry. A few days ago, occasional Moon reader and commenter Kim G. of Boston gifted me via Kindle with John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience. It is on my list, and I may actually read it, but I’m unsure when. It’s like gifting the Bible to the Devil. The Amazon book description reveals that Dean says conservatives are authoritarian and present a danger to democracy. We are evil people.

But I am sure that Barry Obama would agree with that.

Dean was one of the principals who tried to cover up the Watergate situation for Nixon. He admitted in court to forwarding hush money and confessed to obstruction-of-justice charges. He had earlier asked Nixon for immunity to the obstruction charges. Nixon refused, and Dean was fired. With this background it would be a bit hard to take his book knocking conservatives very seriously.

Smells of revenge.

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* Far truer of Democrats than Republicans, of course.

Free speech or not?

ALTHOUGH ISIS initially claimed the two attackers at the Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, were their guys, it turned out not to be the case. They were just a couple of independent Mohammedan zealots.

That, however, in no way changes the truth of what Bill Whittle is saying, bless his heart.

The orchid run

patio

A HUGE LIMB fell from an old, towering ash tree on the downtown plaza yesterday, luckily crushing no one passing on the sidewalk far below.

But the limb crashed to the sidewalk with a heavy load of orchids, and people swarmed rapidly, many with plastic bags, to take advantage of the freebie from Mother Nature.

By the time I walked by, not long after the fall, the limb had been picked clean, and workmen with saws were reducing it to manageable pieces for hauling away. The limb was really large.

I contented myself with the thought that I already had orchids living in the peach tree in my yard.

Another upper cut

girl

IF THIS WERE not perilously threatening to national security, we could all burst out in howling laughter. We could even fall on the floor and roll around in a total giggle fit.

To what am I referring? The politically correct, feminist nonsense of wanting to put the ladies into hardcore military combat units that even most men can’t do.

Recently, I shared with you the news that 100 percent of applicants had flunked out of the Marine Corps Infantry Officer Course. Every single one of the women was overwhelmed.

Today we learn that 100 percent of applicants washed out of the Army Ranger School in the first phase. That’s right. They never even made it to first base.

How much longer will it be before the famously and necessarily tough training in those two services is watered down to shove some ladies through to justify the collectivist and feminist delusion that women and men are cut from the same camouflage cloth? It won’t be much longer, I predict.

Police and fire departments have already done it. Shame on them.

The Russians and Chinese are not doing this. Certainly not the Mohammedans.

Let us weep, yet again, for a once great nation. And marvel at the silliness in which it swims.

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(Chuckle-laden Army photo by Pfc. Antonio Lewis via The Washington Times.)