The paper issue

sign

THERE ARE TWO primary rules for living in Mexico. Everyone knows the first: Don’t drink tap water.

The second is less known, except in U.S. border states where we Mexicans are all over the place: Don’t deposit toilet paper into the toilet bowl. It’ll clog the pipes.

I doubt we’ll ever be able to drink tap water because bottled water is a billion-peso industry here run, to a large degree, by Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They don’t want you to be able to drink tap water, ever.

Dang capitalists! Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

When we moved into the Hacienda almost 13 years ago, we didn’t ask anybody about flushing toilet paper. We just did it, and we’ve been doing it ever since with no problem, which is kinda weird considering the backwoods neighborhood in which we live.

The Hacienda’s wastewater goes out to pipes that run under the back street, and from there it goes to a big hole in a ravine about a block away. Yeah, nearby. I remember when they dug that hole, but I haven’t been down that way in years. It was open when I last saw it, but I assume it’s been covered. Lord, I hope so.

Now we have a new situation with the pastry workshop/storefront we recently had constructed. It has its own septic tank. I had never seen inside a septic tank before. I sure had not been down into one, but I have now. See photo below. The tank was cherry at that point. Unused as a starry-eyed virgin in Victorian times.

We’ve decided that perhaps it’s best to deposit only bodily material down here. Toilet paper will degrade in time, but we’re not gonna put toilet paper in there. So I hung a cute sign that’s directly in your face if you’re sitting on the throne in the new bathroom. That’s the sign in the top photo.

In Spanish, it says “Use trash can for paper. Thanks.”

dump

sink

Just for the fun of it, here’s the sink in the new bathroom. Today a carpenter came to give us a price on installing the Formica countertops in the pastry workshop. He’ll make a Formica-topped worktable too. When that’s installed I’ll post a photo of our totally finished situation.

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(Note: A friend in Mexico City told me years ago that she always drops the paper into the toilet unless there is something specifically indicating that you should not. Truth is that much of Mexico has modernized on this issue, but old habits die hard, especially among the ill-informed.)

The tower view, 2

streetAS PROMISED yesterday, I climbed atop the kitchen/storefront lavatory and shot these photos. Above is our front street. I went for a Sam Peckinpah effect because I wanted it to look like an old Mexico movie.

Of course, Peckinpah’s actual movies were in color to accentuate the abundant blood flow.

Not much in the way of traffic out there, which is normal. This was photographed yesterday around 10 a.m. Sometimes there are men on horseback, plus the occasional burro.

In the distance, you can see trees on the right side of the street. That’s our local plaza, and it’s just 1.5 blocks away. Earth-shaking concerts are held there about eight nights a year. These events are inspired by stuff like saints, virgins and season change. We sleep with silicone earplugs on those nights.

About two years ago, a big blow, quite a storm, uprooted nine trees in the plaza, about a third of those present. It was never reported as a tornado, but I’m convinced it was.

Doing a 180, you’re facing the sex motel next door. I wouldn’t want you to miss that. You can see into the rooms, especially that first one. Those are the bed pillows. A similar direct view is available from the house’s upstairs terraza, and folks occasionally leave the curtains open, to their dismay if I show up.

The sex motel is a fun neighbor.

motel(Note: Coming up tomorrow. Nairobi lesbians!)

On being Chelsea

The U.S. military is always good for a laugh these days.

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, who used to be the traitor named Bradley Manning, has been convicted of espionage and sentenced to the Big House for 35 years even though she apparently may get out in a third of that time.

ChelseaBradley, er, I mean Chelsea, has gone girly even though she still has a pair hanging, well, you know, down there, and the military says it will not cut them off for her.

Perhaps a cell mate has a saw-shank.

I have read that before committing her atrocious espionage, she* once flew off the handle during duty hours in what is properly called a hissy fit. The military did not lower her sky-high security rating at that time.

I am ambivalent about this “woman trapped in a man’s body” thing. Being somewhat convinced of reincarnation, I think it’s possible that a previous existence might bleed over into the latest life.

Then again, one could simply view it as mental illness.

But either interpretation indicates something severely wrong, and I imagine the Army had spotted something quite quirky in Chelsea long before the nasty spying matter came to light.

I bet the Army got all squirmy about it and decided to do nothing, not wanting to commit that most heinous of crimes: insensitivity.

While espionage might get you 35 years in a federal slammer, insensitivity will get you drawn and quartered, figuratively speaking, usually.

The American media, always good for a laugh too, embraced Manning’s feminine side in a flash. She is Chelsea now, even on her Wikipedia page. Plus The New York Times, National Public Radio, Huffington Post and their ilk.

Calling her Bradley will get you labeled a bigot, probably a racist too!

Even though Chelsea still sports, you know, a pair.

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HasanMoving on with military humor, let’s turn to Nidal Hasan, the Army major and Mohammedan crackpot who killed 13 people on an Army base while yelling Hooray Allah! or something like that.

In spite of his yelling Hooray Allah! the military refused to label this jihadist terrorism. Instead, it was “workplace violence.” Even the sensitive Barry Obama refused to call that spade a spade.

Yes, Hasan simply went postal. Perhaps his mail pouch was overflowing, and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Even the White House is good for a laugh at times.

Hasan has been sentenced to death. Good.

May he enjoy his 72 imaginary virgins.

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* I am being sensitive to Chelsea/Bradley’s gender issues.

The caliph’s demise

Aasiq Ali al abizz had four wives.

They were aged 14, 15, 16 and 17. He always maintained his wife list in that order. As each aged one year, the 14-year-old slot was refilled, and the one reaching her 18th birthday was retired.

Retirement for the oldest went like this: She was stoned, chopped up into little pieces, sautéed in leftover olive oil, mixed with diced dates and mashed pomegranates and fed to ravenous pigs.

This retirement was, naturally, not revealed to the wives beforehand.

He liked surprises.

Aasiq Ali al abizz was 83 years old and not as fit as he once was, back when he had 32 wives, but even then the retirement process was the same, and so were the ages. There simply were eight wives in each age slot.

camelThe Prophet, of course, promised 72 virgins after death, but Aasiq Ali al abizz was an impatient man, so he enjoyed a new virgin every year, knowing that on his death he would have plenty more.

Aasiq Ali al abizz’s stretch of desert, that which he called his kingdom, by pure luck, abutted the Land of the Jews. On weekends he would lob SA-N-3 Goblet missiles over the border.

Aasiq Ali al abizz bought these from the Russians.

He did this for the pure joy of it, and to please the Prophet. Perhaps a few extra virgins would await him over the rainbow.

Virgin gravy.

He kept the missile fire to a minimum because it was best not to stir the Jews up excessively. They were very tough customers.

But Aasiq Ali al abizz knew Obama had his back.

All told, Aasiq Ali al abizz led a sweet life. Between the four wives and weekend missiles to the Jews, he oversaw his camel flock, his 18 oases, his tents, his rugs, the stonings of other men’s wives, and daily feasts of hurmah, tuffah, dajaj, lahem kharouf and the occasional samak.

But one day he died.

On that day he was naked atop his eldest bride on a massive rug of multicolors just 24 hours before her 18th birthday, and he was relishing the thought of her impending retirement celebration.

Suddenly, he opened his eyes on the far side. Instead of dozens of virgins and dripping honey, he saw nothing. All was black, but there was a sound.

It was the sound of desert wolves, and they were coming closer.

In the darkness, something snarled and bit deep into his leg.

It was no virgin.