Engagement dinner

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SUNDAY SAW us in the nearby capital city on a shopping spree. When we returned in late afternoon, and after putting the purchases away, we took a walk down to the plaza and sat on a steel bench a spell. I took this photo.

Last night we missed the presidential debate because, yet again, we were in the capital city. The purpose this time was to attend the engagement dinner of a niece.

She was already “showing,” as they say.

The event was in a rented party salon, a popular approach here when fiestas are too big for someone’s home. The salon was in a shady part of town, and we played hell finding it.

The father of the groom looked in a bad mood, and the father of the bride did not attend due to being dead.

The meal consisted of cream-and-cheese-sopped pasta and chicken parts swimming in some sort of salsa.

The music blared. The floor was old concrete, and the walls looked like they were last painted in 1944. Faded crepe paper hung limply along one wall to provide a festive air.

We stayed just two hours, drove back up the mountaintop, fixed salads for supper, and that was it for the day.

From what I read, the presidential debate was a wash.

Better social media

I HAVE A Facebook page under a fake name. I use it almost exclusively to leave comments on news sites. Many news sites only accept comments via Facebook.

I have 11 friends there. One is a dog. Three are restaurants. The rest are good people, buena gente, as we say en español.

Until this week, I also had a Twitter account. I use Facebook rarely, and I used Twitter almost never. Facebook and Twitter are egregiously left-wing. They police their memberships like the Obama IRS harasses conservatives.

Just recently a Twitter alternative came online. It embraces free speech, so I opened an account there and zapped my Twitter. The new site is called Gab.

It’s in Beta, and you must get in line to open your account, but it doesn’t take long. I put in my request, and three days later, I had it. The look is very similar to Twitter but cleaner.

And you won’t get kicked out if you’re a conservative.

There are no jackboots.

Join up and say hi. I go by Felipe Zapata there. I was directed to Gab by the Dangerous Faggot — his term, not mine — Milo Yiannopoulos.

Morning art

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SUNDAY MORNINGS my child bride slows down for a few moments. Idleness is contrary to her nature.

After bagels and Philly cheese at 8, we often take our cafecitos into the living room and plop atop the scarlet sofa.

That’s where I get an earful about her relatives. Since I have no idea what my relatives (just two alive now, above the Rio Bravo) are doing, I cannot reciprocate.

The son of a nephew here in town turned 6 yesterday. There was a fiesta with hot dogs. She went. I did not.

I noticed the far wall, which was lit by sunshine coming through the large dining room window to the left.

The camera was nearby, so I shot this photo.

The artwork we purchased some years ago from a fellow who walked into a downtown restaurant carrying it. He was the artist, and he was looking to sell. It’s a local scene.

It shows our lake, our beautiful mountains, and that’s how the indigenous women hereabouts dress.

The parrot, which is papier-mâché, was also purchased locally, but in a nearby village. The bird is large, and he keeps a vigilant eye on the living room 24/7.*

These Sunday morning sessions can vary in length. Today’s was relatively brief but — as always — nice.

* * * *

* I like to sound hip now and then. Does anyone even say hip anymore? Having to ask lowers my hip status, I guess.

Democrats anonymous

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Felipe’s first GOP ballot, ready Friday for the mailbox.

HELLO, MY name is Felipe, and I’m a recovered Democrat.

(Audience: Hi, Felipe!)

I was a Democrat for over 60 years. I’d like to blame it on my parents, especially my father who was a flaming socialist, but I think more than anything, I simply was ignorant.

I childishly believed we live in a world that can be perfected. I believed in the efficacy of collectivism, and that government basically worked in our best interests.

(Audience: Howling laughter!)

Yes, I know how silly that sounds, and I am so ashamed that it took me decades to kick the Democrat habit.

I know now that government is good only for basics like protecting our borders, forming police forces, building interstate highways, and so on.

In most areas, government does things badly.

(Audience: Right on, Felipe!)

I’m proud to tell you that this year, at the age of 72, I voted Republican for the first time.

(Audience: Wild cheering!)

I had begun to doubt the Democrat Party in 2008 after learning of Barry Obama’s 20 years of sitting in his Chicago pew listening to the rants of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, especially when Wright “damned America.”

We all know how fast the Democrat Party muzzled Jeremiah Wright. I sat out the 2008 presidential election.

By 2012, Barry Obama’s colors were blatantly obvious. I would have cast my first Republican vote that year, but the absentee ballot never made it to my mountaintop.

The ballot came this year. I checked the straight GOP ticket, and sent it Friday by registered mail.

(Audience: More wild cheering!)

Yes, I voted for Donald Trump!

(Audience: Goes berserk. Men stomp feet. Women weep.)

(Moderator: Thank you for sharing, Felipe. And now let’s all move to the rear of the hall for donuts and coffee.)*

* * * *

* The coffee and donuts turned out to be stale, but I hear it’s always that way.

Hillary loses it

HILLARY QUACKS, quacks, quacks about “so-called” right to work. Lordy, who would vote for this woman?

This shrill video is so distressing and hilarious at the same time, I felt the need to share it with you. It was made for a union group, but Hillary apparently does not know that if it’s on the internet, anybody can watch.

And most people don’t like greedy, corrupt unions anymore. They do like “right to work,” i.e. freedom.

This is the sound of a B-52 in drag doing a tailspin.

Here is a bonus video:

Big, fat raise

new-imageCAN YOU HEAR the Gringos cheering?

When I moved south in the year 2000 the peso-buck exchange rate was about 10-1.

For every buck you’d get 10 pesos. This made it easy to calculate how much you were spending in “real money.”

It stayed that way for years, spiking up to 12 on occasion and even dipping a bit below 10 now and then. Some years later, it would rise to about 15 or so, but that usually didn’t last long, a week or so, and it would fall back to the 12 range.

A couple of years ago, it started going up and up, and nowadays, depending on the bank, you can get 20 pesos for a buck.

Here’s what that means for those of us whose income comes from above the Rio Bravo: a 100 percent pay raise. Well, for those who’ve been here since 2000, that is.

While this is not good for Mexico, it is very good for those who live on dollars that sail south electronically.

And it’s very good for Gringo tourists.* If you’ve been dreaming of a Mexican vacation, phone your travel agent.

Of course, prices have increased since 2000, but they sure have not risen 100 percent, so we’re far ahead of the game.

Some people attribute this situation to Trump’s rise, but it started before that. Being stupid in these matters, I don’t know why we got this big, fat pay raise, but I like it.

And it’s easy to calculate again how much I’m spending in “real money.” Just halve the 10-1 calculation and voilá!

* * * *

* But it’s bad for Mexican tourists in the United States, just one more reason for me to stay put. Both my bank accounts are Mexican. Pesos, not bucks. Pesos are “real money” now.

The arch at night

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HEADING TO bed the other night, I turned around and saw this, and it occurred to me that I’d never taken a straight-on shot of the arch.

The camera was sitting on a table by the front door just off to the left, so I grabbed it, set it on flash, and shot this picture. I almost never use the flash, but it was necessary.

I was standing in near-total darkness.

Those two large plates hanging on either side of the arch were purchased years apart. The one on the left we bought about a decade ago during a trip to Taxco. The one on the right we bought more recently in Ajijic, Jalisco.

Ajijic, like San Miguel de Allende, is one of the most beloved spots for Gringos who want to live down here, do “art,” and not have to be bothered with learning pesky Spanish.

See those two carved-wood columns at the bases of the arch? That was my child bride’s idea. She came up with some doozies during the Hacienda construction.

About a week after moving into the house in 2003, we had a party to show it off to people we knew here. It was back before I turned into an almost complete hermit.

One of our invitees brought someone visiting from above the Rio Bravo. He was an architect, and he told me that finding someone in the United States who could build that arch would be almost impossible these days.

The old guy who built ours, Don Felipe Gonzalez, did it by hand, and it was interesting to watch the work. He was the boss of the three-man construction crew. Don Felipe turned 70 during the construction, and he’s since died.

He also chipped stone blocks out of rock piles to build the two fireplaces and, later, the Alamo Wall out in the yard. He did them by himself. Don Felipe was an artist.

When we hired him to build the Hacienda, he was 69 and just recovering from a lengthy illness of some sort. He was having trouble finding work due to his age.

Ageism, sexism, almost all the isms, thrive in Mexico.

People thought he was not up to it. He was recommended by a relative, and Don Felipe gave us an exceptionally low price for the labor. We jumped at it.

He’s long gone, but I think of his talent almost daily as I wander around here, even late at night before beddy-bye.

The best choice

STEVE COTTON pointed me to an interesting website that allows you to compare your stances to those of the presidential candidates in a very specific way.

It’s a fun process. You can take a relatively rapid version or you can opt for the extra questions available at the bottom of each category. I ate the whole banana.

trumpMy score shows that Trump and I agree 87 percent of the time. I wonder how I would have stacked up against Ted Cruz, my previous favorite.

Hillary and I are in agreement 9 percent. I’m embarrassed to learn that we agree on anything at all.

hillaryI boarded the Trump Train after Cruz pulled out. I did it initially because he was the only viable candidate still standing against Hillary.

However, The Donald has grown on me.

After taking the quiz and getting your results, there is the option of seeing how each candidate stands specifically on each of the questions. I did that with Trump, and was pleased to see his opinions and mine are incredibly in lockstep.

Trump’s polling numbers have been rising of late, and Hillary’s have been falling. This is heartening.

The Donald is a reaction to the lamentable condition of American culture. I wrote about this phenomenon back in March. We live in unfortunate, interesting times.

Señor Cotton, inexplicably, remains on the fence regarding the Hillary-Trump decision. This is strange because a more stark black-white choice would be hard to find.

Independence day

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TODAY IS Mexico’s version of the Fourth of July.

Here on the mountaintop, we start partying on the previous evening, and we continue today. I don’t participate much because I’m not party people.

I did salute the flag yesterday evening on the plaza as a police band played, and the banner was brought down for its usual overnight siesta indoors.

That makes the third time since I became a citizen in 2005 that I’ve saluted the Mexican flag. It’s not that I avoid it. I just rarely find myself at an event where it’s appropriate.

I’ll admit it feels weird. Wish it didn’t but it does.

While downtown yesterday, I took the photo while sitting on a cement bench on the plaza. And, of course, you’ll find other Fabulous Fotos by Felipe right here, amigos.

¡Viva México! Bring on the tacos and cerveza.

Fact, Fiction and Opinion Stirred in an Odd Pot

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