The horrid president

GOOD LORD! Just hear the endless racism, misogyny, jingoism, bigotry and religious intolerance that spews from this orange-coifed guy’s mouth! It just turns my tummy.

And that wife! Can she even speak English?

And the dreadful things he’s done in his first six months! Here’s a list, but brace yourself. Awful, awful, awful.

The election of 2020 can’t come too soon. We’ll be able to install the Pocahontas princess in the Oval Office, and everything will be peachy again, just like with Obama.

* * * *

(Note: I’m posting the list as a public service because I doubt you’ll see it on Huffpost. I cannot imagine why.)

The great escape

Steve McQueen made a “Great Escape” over a border. Me too!

WHEN I LEFT America in January 2000, I thought I was merely moving to another country to start a new adventure.

While that was true, what I did not realize at the time was that I, just like Steve McQueen in the photo above, was making my own Great Escape. But I wasn’t escaping from the Nazis. I was escaping from the United States.

When I hightailed it, things were fairly normal above the Rio Bravo. Bill Clinton was president. The economy was running well, and people were getting along pretty good.

There was no Black Lives Matter. There were no Antifa thugs running riot in the streets. There were no geriatric socialist presidential candidates. Conservative speakers were not tarred and feathered on university campuses.

There were no Safe Spaces, and public restrooms were either “Gentlemen” or “Ladies” or sometimes “Setters” and “Pointers.” Humor had not been banned.

Still standing were the World Trade Center in New York, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. And nobody outside Illinois had heard of Barack Hussein Obama.

Farther afield, there were no Mohammedan mobs being invited into European nations, nor to the United States either. Gays were not suing Mom & Pop bakeries over wedding cakes.

You got your porno on DVDs through the mail. It took some cash and effort. Nowadays it requires neither.

There was no Twitter, Facebook or iPhones.

Television dramas and sit-coms were not expected to kowtow to thought police. I read recently that the wildly popular sit-com Friends could not be made today, and it’s true.

The cast was all white. They poked fun at ethnic groups. The show’s crimes against PC were relentless, but nobody cared back then. We just laughed and laughed.

Seinfeld too would be verboten.

But the laughter has faded away. You must avoid saying certain true things, or you run a real risk of losing your job and/or friends and your social standing.

Everything went to the devil after I moved south. I’ve witnessed it exclusively via the internet, not in person.

Man, oh, man, I got out of there in the nick of time.

PC TV

(Warning: the following post is not advisable for Mennonites, evangelical Christians or 8-year-old children.)

AFTER A HARD day of work, we customarily spend evenings quietly at home sprawled in recliners before the Samsung Smart TV, eating salads and watching something on Netflix.

We are often appalled at what we see.

It is no secret that American universities have become indoctrination centers for raging leftists, that movies coming out of Hollywood relentlessly push political correctness, but television is another matter because any 8-year-old can turn it on and stand slack-jawed before the screen.

What he sees is a combination of lies and deviancies.

* * * *

First, the lies!

Most current series give the impression that many, if not the majority, of romantic relationships and marriages are interracial. This, of course, is arrant nonsense.

Most couples, the world over, are the same race. The exceptions are a minuscule minority. This fact, however, conflicts with the left’s idolizing of diversity and multiculturalism.

So a large percentage of television dramas is a form of reeducation camp that any 8-year-old child can flip on at will while mama’s in the kitchen washing  the dishes.

We just started the second season of Secrets and Lies, a pretty good ABC series starring the normally scenery-chewing Juliette Lewis as a deadpan police detective.

The story line revolves around a rich family where the father is white and his adult kids are black. In the first show, mother is mentioned but not seen just yet. She’ll have to be black for this family to even be genetically feasible.

This is not rare. The script gymnastics the television industry puts itself through to “diversify” families is laughable. Multiracial and multicultural families on television far exceed their numbers in the real world. It is inaccurate and silly.

It is political.

* * * *

Now, the deviancy!

According to the television industry, homosexuals are everywhere. Every family either has gay members or knows numerous gay couples. Yeah, sure.

Modern Family is a great example. A gay couple belongs to the family, a gay couple who’ve adopted an Asian child (hitting the multicultural drum). There’s also an Old White Man married to a young, hot Latina.* Modern Family pours it on.

It’s another ABC show.

Not even the president of the United States is immune. In the series House of Cards the president occasionally gets it on with a guy. It’s a good series, but does the president really have to be a switch-hitter? An unnecessary script element.

Blatant indoctrination, Ho Chi Minh-style.

What percentage of humanity is actually gay? Hard to say. A Washington Post story cites a poll that indicates it’s about 1.6 percent. Gallup, on the other hand, tells you it’s about 3.8 percent. I’ve never seen a number higher than that.

Taking these figures as two extremes, that means the number of people who are neither gay nor lesbian range between 98.4 percent to 96.2 percent. Dang near everyone.

This is, in political terms, a landslide for straights, something you’d never know from watching television dramas where gays are as common as the lovable aunt and the cute pooch.

And they’re always kissing. They kiss far more than the straight couples. Kiss, kiss, kiss!

Not surprisingly, most Americans now think homosexuals are considerably more numerous than they are.

This is propaganda in action.

Gallup reports too that the U.S. public believes gays make up almost a quarter of the population! The television industry/reeducation camps are stunningly effective.

Again, this is all political.

Let us continue with the gay theme. First, I chose the word deviancy over perversion intentionally. Perversion is a value judgment. Deviancy simply means outside the norm.

One may or may not consider homosexuality a perversion. However, its being outside the norm is indisputable.

I don’t give a hoot if someone is gay. And I do not believe it’s a choice any more than my being straight is a choice.

We are what we are.

Back to the television industry. It is not content to simply insist that gays are everywhere. Increasingly, it wants to show us precisely what gays do in the privacy of their homes.

It’s way overboard.

* * * *

Barebacking and strap-ons!

Just recently we were watching a fun series called Penny Dreadful starring, among others, the stunning and yummy Eva Green.

Then one evening, there it was, anal, homosexual sex in a graphic manner that once was reserved for sticky-floored movie houses frequented by men in brown overcoats.

It was totally gratuitous, deviant sex that, once again, is available to any 8-year-old who turns on the television.

Are the people who make this out of their minds? No, they simply want you to get on board with this diversity thing.

It is political.

Let us move on now. A couple of weeks ago, we began a new series, but never got further than the first show. We were stopped dead in our proverbial tracks by lesbian love!

Two lovely lesbians going at it (one black, one white!) with vigor on the bed. They finish and the topmost disconnects and tosses an oily, strap-on penis to the floor. Ker-plop!

Camera lingers on firm, rubber penis.

This isn’t pay-for-view. It’s regular, commercial television.

I don’t care if people do this stuff. Power to them. But do it at home. If you want to film, do so and sell it to adults. Bring back the dingy theaters. Don’t make it available to 8-year-olds.

But, it’s political, and you know which side is doing it.

It ain’t my side. We have standards.

* * * *

* This sounds sort of familiar. Not sure why,

Kitchen window

I SEE THIS a lot. It’s where I wash dishes, and I’m the chief washer here. I clean those dishes lickety-split. When she washes them, it can take half the day, or so it seems.

If you don’t let food dry on dishes, washing them is no biggie, which is why dishwashers are silly. I know many disagree, so you don’t need to tell me that unless you can’t help yourself.

Yes, this is the window over the kitchen sink. It has many elements, as you can see.  The most notable is the stained glass, which I did with my own hands.

Ten or 12 years ago, we took a months-long course at a trade school in a town called Santa Clara del Cobre about 10 miles farther up the mountainside.

It was during the rainy season, and we’d get out of class after dark and drive home through forests amid downpours on a winding, rural road with no centerline. It could get hairy.

But we had our stained glass. We made lots of it.

My child bride — she was even younger then — got so hyped up about making stained glass that we ended up buying most all of the gear one needs to do that. It’s been sitting in a box atop shelves in the closet for over a decade now.

Other glass beauties, better than this one, hang in the windows of the living room. But this is the one that gets the most notice, by me at least, while I’m washing dishes, quickly.

The cursed grass

Friday, before Saturday’s grass cutting by Abel the Deadpan Yardman.

IF IT’S NOT raining, I might sit around noon on a web chair by the glass-top table, shaded by the big, brown umbrella, feet atop another chair, for no better reason than pleasure.

I did that on Friday past.

I usually bring my Kindle and camera too in case a hummingbird sits a spell atop a nearby bloom. I’ve been hunting a shot, but when the hummers spot the camera, they zip away. When I don’t have the camera, they’ll come stare in my face.

The top shot was taken Friday when the yard needed a mow. The bottom two shots were taken yesterday after a mow.

I’ve had people ask me, “What’s up with the lawn? It doesn’t look like Mexico.” Well, the grass was mostly here when we bought the double lot. There’s wasn’t much else, but there was plenty of grass, an endless, freaking headache.

I’ve been telling myself for years that I’m uprooting all of it, or most of it, and laying down concrete and rock, but I never do it. Two reasons: the cost and the (temporary) mess.

But I feel steel in my spine. I’m more determined. Alas, the rainy season started last month, so the work cannot begin till November at the earliest, giving me months to change my mind.

But I’m not going to change my mind!

I’ve even worked out a plan. Do it gradually.

When the rains end, we’ll do most of the section in the photo at the very bottom, empedrado* only up to the Jesus Patio. Beyond the Jesus Patio — that’s the Jesus Patio where you see chairs and a table — a larger and far more elegant patio will be dreamed up to eliminate all of the grass in that area. Next year.

The yard is too large to be included in one photo. From the upstairs terraza, I can see more of it but not all, even from up there. It’s absurdly big. There is no backyard because the house is built against a corner of the double lot.

If I had been smarter, I would have built our house on half the space, facing the main drag, and another, a rental, facing the back street. There are two entries. But I was not smart.

I was a dumb Gringo in over his head.

But at least, gradually, I am now determined to resolve this grass curse.** Pray the steel stays in my spine till November.

I want to sit on the (much enlarged) Jesus Patio, which will need a new name, and gaze upon stone and cement, less grass.

Like the Reverend King: I have a dream.

This large semicircle is the only grass I want to keep. About a third of it all.
This is the first grass that will go. It continues way off to the left.

* A surface of concrete and stone, very common in Mexico. The sidewalk is empedrado.

** A curse due to its lunatic growth during the five-month rainy season. You can never turn your back. You surely cannot travel anywhere more than a week.

(Note: Another grass section is to the right of the middle photo. It’s sizable but the smallest of the three sections. It’s where sit the monster bougainvillea and the towering nopal tree. It will be filled with stone and cement too, but not this year. The bougainvillea and nopal will stay in place.

Mexican Bond

THE BODY sprawled by the pool on the first page of Ian Fleming’s novel From Russia With Love sported, among other things, a Gerard-Perregaux wristwatch.

He may have seemed dead, but he traveled in style. Fleming called the Gerard-Perregaux a “badge of the rich man’s club.” I also wear that badge in spite of not being rich.

Mine.

I found the watch in 1998 in an antique store in the Heights neighborhood of Houston.

The watch was inoperative, frozen, and I knew nothing of the brand. It was a time two years before I became Mexico’s Bond.

The watch was priced cheaply because it did not work. I forget how much I paid, but I immediately left it in a repair shop where it was resurrected for about $100.

Gerard-Perregaux, founded in 1791, is a Swiss maker of very high-end watches that sell new for thousands of dollars. They are every bit as good as Rolex though they make fewer watches and don’t crow about it so much.

I bought the watch for one reason. It was motion-activated. Battery-run watches screech to a halt on my wrist in a matter of hours. You may have heard of this odd phenomenon.

It is no myth.

I can only wear motion-activated watches or the old style you actually wind up. Try and find that these days. So, it’s motion-activated, or no watch at all for me.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, it was easy to find motion-activated watches, but they gradually vanished until the late 1990s when it was almost impossible to locate one. These days, they have become popular again, considered “eco” or “green.”

I wore my Gerard-Perregaux for about five years, totally unaware of its snazzy rep, till it stopped dead again in Mexico. I took it to a humble repair shop, and the guy got it running — for about a week. I tossed it into a drawer and bought a Citizen.

Sometime during the decade it sat in the drawer, I learned what it was that I had, but I did nothing about it. But six months ago I fished it out and took it to the repair desk at the Liverpool department store in the state capital.

A month later and with my wallet over 3,000 pesos lighter, I picked it up, and it’s been running like a watch ever since. I pray this will continue for the rest of my days. I rather like being Mexico’s Bond, or at least resembling him in one small way.

Seems about right to me.

King’s clothing

THIS TIME OF year hereabouts everyone goes nuts for flor de calabaza,  pumpkin flower, or maybe it’s squash in English. Don’t know, don’t care. Irrelevant.

The interesting thing is that the locals go nuts about it. They eat it in every possible form. They crow about it on restaurant menus. The fact that it’s seasonable just boosts the allure.

As you can see, it’s a very pretty flower. That’s my child bride holding a bouquet she bought in the neighborhood plaza this morning while we were doing our exercise walk. She paid 10 pesos, which is about fifty cents U.S.

When flor de calabaza is included in a recipe for whatever and cooked, it loses its beauty entirely, but that does not reduce its popularity one bit.

Today I’m going to reveal something that may get me run out of Mexico. I may have my citizenship revoked. I may receive death threats. Only the Goddess knows, but here goes:

Flor de calabaza has no taste whatsoever. None.

The king is parading in the streets buck naked, and everyone is oooing and ahhing at his raiment. And not only that, as I mention above, when it’s cooked it loses its loveliness.

So what is going on here?

Flor de calabaza is a beautiful flower. And it’s edible. This means its beauty must also make it tasty.

‘Fraid not. So flor de calabaza is merely an idea, a notion, a myth of sorts. I often say Mexican life is like Alice’s Wonderland, and this is a lovely — but tasteless — example.

Don’t tell anyone I wrote this. Por favor.

* * * *

(Note: My child bride admitted a couple of years ago — the first actual Mexican to do so — that flor de calabaza is tasteless. So why did she buy it? To include it in her pastries for the weekly sidewalk sale. Myth sells, amigos.)

The drop-ins

Here we are! What’s on the stove? Where’s the tequila? Let’s dance!

LIVING IN Mexico can be a challenge. Don’t let anybody fool you with that “it’s magical” hooey.

The pluses outweigh the minuses, of course, but some of those minuses can be maddening, especially to me.

Way up the list is what I call the “Mexican yes,” or as I often say it to my child bride, “el sí mexicano.”

She does not dispute the point.

This refers to the custom of responding positively to pretty much everything. Are you coming tomorrow to fix the faucet? Yes!  Are you coming to lunch tomorrow? Yes! It’s always yes, and it never has any connection to reality whatsoever.

Maybe you’ll come. Maybe you won’t. No telling.

The only exception to this occurs when the positive response is not yes, but no. Are you going to drive my car that I’m loaning you 200 kph over potholes? No!

But, like all Mexicans, I have become accustomed to the “Mexican yes,” knowing that it’s meaningless.

By the way, the “Mexican yes” is just one example of a broader problem, which is rampant lying. This habit stems from trying to make other people feel good on one hand, and avoiding embarrassment to yourself on the other hand.

Mexicans get embarrassed a lot.

Most of the lying falls into the “little white lie” category, the fib. It’s no big thing really, but it becomes a bigger thing due to its being spectacularly widespread.

What all this means is that you often cannot depend on what people say. I am convinced this is a major factor in our not running a First-World economy, which relies on trust.

There is little trust between the Rio Bravo and the Guatemalan border. Probably not south of the Guatemalan border either, but I have never been there, so I don’t know.

I suspect this is not a Mexican thing, but a Latino thing.

But it’s not lying or lack of trust that inspires me today. It’s another Mexican habit that drives me nuts.

It’s the drop-in.

If relatives want to visit, they just do so with no warning whatsoever, and it can happen at any hour of the day or night. And they rarely do so individually or in couples.

Think groups. I call them mobs.

Do they phone first to let you know they’re on their way? Do they wait for an invite? Do they think for a nanosecond that you may be busy with someone or something else? Do they attempt not to come right at a meal time? No.

My wife says this is just part of the culture, and nobody thinks anything of it, including the recipients of the drop-in. Relatives are always welcome. Always!

I very much doubt this. I think the recipients of the drop-in often are faking it to avoid that widespread embarrassment.

We usually end our days the same way. I make a big salad for the two of us. We’re in our PJs, and we sit in our recliners upstairs, eat and watch a movie on Netflix. This rarely varies, and I do not want to hear the doorbell. It will be ignored.

We had been eating our salads for about 45 seconds last Saturday night when my child bride’s phone rang. Here we come! it was said in Spanish, the five relatives driving down from Querétaro.

They were five minutes away. They knew when they left Querétaro hours earlier that they were coming here. They surely knew the day before, but did they let us know? Of course not.

It would have ruined the drop-in!

The five of them sat in our living room for over an hour, shooting the breeze while our salads wilted upstairs. Then they got up and headed downtown at 9 p.m. to “drop in” on other relatives who had no clue they were coming either.

Actually, we got off lucky because they did not decide to spend the night on our floor. The other relatives won that prize.

The drop-in.

Living in Mexico can be a challenge.

Life is change

SOME ASPECTS of life I like to change. In other aspects, I am rooted deep into the soil, loathing change. But, like a woman, I do enjoy rearranging the furniture at times.

Not actual furniture. In that I am deep into the soil. Leave the dang furniture where it is, so I won’t trip at night.

But the internet furniture is very susceptible to change at the Hacienda. Here are some changes I’ve made over the last couple of months, just for the sake of conversation.

I’m not much of a conversationalist in person, but I like to chat with my internet amigos, most of whom remain mute.

* * * *

First furniture:  I changed browsers. After years of using Google Chrome, I switched to Opera, a Norwegian company. Years back, I tried Opera for a few months, but was not entirely satisfied, so I embraced Google Chrome.

A couple of months ago, I decided to give Opera another look, and I’ve been using it since. I like it. In Belarus, it’s the No. 1 browser. In the rest of the world … not so much.

Anytime you can dump anything Google, you should. I also shun Google Search, and I rarely say I’m Googling something. I prefer to say online search. My search program is the oddly named DuckDuckGo. Its claim to fame is that, unlike Google, it does not track you. But I don’t give a flip if I get tracked.

Tracking is to fine-tune ads directed at you, but since I use an ad-blocker, I almost never see ads anyway.

* * * *

Second furniture:  I changed my email provider. The last time I did this was two years ago. I described the process in The Email Safari. I switched to Fastmail, a paid and good service that’s run by a bunch of Australians. Only $20 a year.

But the $20 plan offers just 1 GB of storage. I wanted more, so I was faced with two options. Buy a slightly pricier plan, or go elsewhere. I choose Option #2.

One of the services I tested two years ago was Zoho, a company that’s officially Californian but is mostly Indian. The gripes I had about Zoho two years ago have been resolved.

Zoho does all kind of stuff, 90 percent of which does not apply to me, but its email service is free up to 5 GB, five times what I’m getting from Fastmail for $20 a year.

I’ve used it for about month now. When I complete a year with no headaches I’ll let Fastmail go.

I still have my Gmail address, and I always will. Like my U.S. citizenship,  it’s something you don’t surrender. Both Fastmail and Zoho allow me to send virtually all email with my Gmail return address even I’m using Zoho or Fastmail.

* * * *

Third furniture:  I’m a big fan of password managers. Sure, the browser (at least Chrome and Opera do it) will save your passwords, but I just don’t trust the browsers  for that. It’s not their primary focus.

Over the years I’ve tried most of the major password managers, and I’ve found all of them buggy. The best so far is Dashlane, which is what I was using until I switched to the Opera browser and found Bitwarden by chance.

It was on Opera’s extension list.

I’d never heard of Bitwarden. It’s a relatively new company, and doesn’t try to do too much. It does not save your passport number, your driver’s license number, your bank acount numbers or the address of your crazy Aunt Mildred.

Bitwarden saves passwords, period, and it’s quick in coughing them up when you need them. It also generates safe passwords. I’m bewitched by Bitwarden.

Sometimes you have to shuffle the furniture around. The internet is fun, ¿no? I think so.

* * * *

(My internet life does not apply to a smartphone, tablet, laptop, none of that stuff. I’m strictly an H-P desktop man.)

Fact, Fiction and Opinion Stirred in an Odd Pot

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