Down the Magic Dirt Road

MAGIC DIRT: the idea that geographical location will automatically transform the behavior of an individual or group of people.

This concept comes to us from Theodore Beale who writes under the name of  Vox Day. I’m reading a book of his that’s titled SJWs Always Double Down: Anticipating the Thought Police.

SJW stands for Social Justice Warrior, those ham-fisted, left-wing fanatics who enforce Political Correctness in the timorous world of white people.

But SJWs are not the focus today. Magic Dirt is. I happened upon this phrase and concept of Beale’s this week and, coincidentally, as if by magic, I had been thinking about something very similar lately.

Beale was born in Boston and now, apparently, lives in northern Italy upon his Magic Dirt. I was born in Atlanta and now, totally, live in the high mountains of Middle Mexico upon my Magic Dirt. We apparently both noticed the phenomenon, but he’s the one who stuck a name on it, not me.

Both Beale and I moved from American dirt to Latino dirt. I think that’s important. I believe that one who moves from American dirt to, say, Canadian or Australian dirt would likely not notice a great difference in dirt quality, its odor, consistency and color.

But does one change markedly on moving to another nation? I think it depends. I have, but I’m not sure to what extent, but it’s noticeable to me.

Let’s focus on moving to Mexico. There are no adjoining nations on earth that are so different, so if you really want a change, just fly over the Rio Bravo. I have long described Mexican life as akin to living in Alice’s Wonderland.

Cats with big smiles and no bodies that live in trees.

I’m sure the degree of change, the effect of the Magic Dirt, depends on how you live here and how often you go back where you came from. It also depends on if you know the language. It depends on the people you hang out with. If you marry into a Mexican family, that’s about as tight as a foreigner can get.

You’ve slipped through a barely open door. If you’re not in the Mexican family, you’re an eternal outsider, an intruder. You do get the smiles.

A Mexican’s face is a mask, and so is his smile.

— Octavio Paz.

If one heads back over the northern border regularly. If you are married to another foreigner. If you do not speak Spanish. These and other elements will affect the effect of the Magic Dirt upon your mind, heart and soul.

How do you know the Magic Dirt is below your fingernails?

One good indication is that the wackiness — often sheer lunacy — of Mexican life ceases to annoy you, or at least to a far lesser degree.

If you wake up due to the 6 a.m. explosions on the nearby plaza but go directly and easily back to sleep, that’s Magic Dirt. If people explain an issue by citing something totally illogical, and you nod or shrug, that’s Magic Dirt.

Walking daily over Magic Dirt can be unsettling, or it can start to feel normal. It depends on the individual, one supposes. And time.

When men were men*

How Travis McGee tools around.

YOU CAN HAVE Sam Spade. Give me Spenser and Travis McGee any day of the year.

A retired guy has time on his hands. I spend lots of that time reading. Sometimes it’s important stuff. Oftentimes it’s just fun. Currently, I’m having lots of fun.

I recently purchased the first three books in Robert B. Parker‘s Spenser series. I may have read them decades ago. I don’t remember, which is good because they’re fresh again.


The first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript, is not Parker at his best. He’s clearly getting his sea legs. The second, God Save the Child, introduces Spenser’s permanent love interest, the psychologist and high school guidance counselor Susan Silverman who’s a babe.

The third, Mortal Stakes, well, I’ve not started it yet. The three novels rest inside my Kindle, God’s sweet gift to guys who live in countries where English is not common.

Right up there, and likely surpassing Parker’s talent, is John D. MacDonald, the creator of the private eye Travis McGee.

While Spenser has no first name and lives in Boston, Travis McGee is a south Florida gumshoe who lives in Fort Lauderdale. This reflects Parker’s Boston home and MacDonald’s fondness for Florida where he resided for years.

Write about what you know.

Spenser has an office and an apartment. McGee has no office, but he does have a houseboat named The Busted Flush. Both drink a lot. While Spenser has one girlfriend, the aforementioned Susan Silverman, McGee is a player.

And he drives a Rolls Royce pickup truck. His 52-foot houseboat is docked at Slip F-18, Bahia Mar Marina.

He’s for real, you know.

Both have sidekicks. Spenser’s is a fancy-dressing black dude named Hawk who is a semi-criminal. McGee’s is a pudgy economist named G. Ludweg Myer who has his own houseboat, appropriately dubbed the John Maynard Keynes.

John D.

Both Parker and MacDonald come from another world, especially MacDonald who was born in 1916, one year after my father. Parker was born in 1932, 16 years later. Both are now dead.

Both Spenser and McGee would have loathed modern times with unisex restrooms, gay marriages, alleged “white privilege,” a Weepy Barry in the White House with his leftist minions trying to disarm citizens …

… fabricated genders, “rape culture,” comfort zones, trigger warnings, demonization of policemen, girls in the Marine Corps infantry, all of that wussy nonsense.

The two sleuths were what was once called men’s men, which is out of style these days. Probably both would have packed up and moved to Mexico. They would have been happy here.

McGee could have motored to Veracruz on The Busted Flush, but he would have needed to abandon the Rolls pickup in Lauderdale. That would have been a freaking shame.

* * * *

* And women were glad of it.

Moon sets on 2015

New ImageWORDPRESS SENDS stats every December.

The Unseen Moon welcomed 75,000 visitors in 2015. The busiest day was January 15 when I posted Just plain nuts. It looked at the goofiness of the United States, a favored theme here.

I get into politics now and then, and cultural issues too.

My top commenters were Kim G, a gay Bostonian, and Robert Gill, a straight Arizonan. Kim tilts to the left, and Robert leans to the right. I like that. The ballyhooed diversity.

The most-visited post, as it is every year, was Havana sex, etc. This has been the case since it was first posted after our anniversary trip to Cuba in 2012. This happens due to Google searches, of course. You naughty people.

By the way, Havana sex, etc. was the second of two posts about our Cuba adventure. I have since joined and deposited them on their own website, Cuba: a communist hellhole.

For those of you who think it’s a good idea for government to set things right and make people “equal,” I recommend a visit to the collectivist heaven in the Caribbean.

The top referring website was Mexpatriate — in the key of Steve. A tip of the sombrero to Steve Cotton. Gracias.

Other data reveal that most readers are not in Mexico but in the United States. I knew that already, and it’s why I discourage comments in Spanish.

Next month will mark the start of my 12th year doing this, first on the defunct Zapata Tales and, since 2011, on The Moon.

Being a former newspaper editor, it lets me keep my hand in the word-and-opinion game.

I appreciate everyone who passes by here, especially those who leave feedback, which most people do not. This is normal on blogs everywhere, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I hope 2016 is a great year for all of you. Thank you for paying attention to an old coot who ended up atop a mountain in the middle of Mexico with time on his hands.

I never planned this. It just sorta happened.


The Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. has issued a Travel Warning for its citizens in the United States.

Due to growing violence, particularly the terrorist attack in Boston, all nonessential travel to the State of Massachusetts is deemed inadvisable.

Today’s Travel Warning follows those issued earlier regarding travel to Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Oakland and many other metropolitan areas where civil order is disintegrating due to America’s embrace of multiculturalism, non-judgmentalism and moral relativism.

While millions of Mexicans safely visit the United States every year for tourism, study, lawn care and picking peanuts, travelers should remain vigilant and refrain from bringing attention to themselves by speaking Spanish.

Stay tuned for additional advisories.

Better yet, paisanos, just come home where you’re safe.