No Country for Old Peyoteros

Those were the days, my friend, and at least for this one, they came to an end. But the dreams lived on.

Did you know that there are only three people in the entire Los Estados Unidos who can legally sell peyote? And the crop’s drying up. But there’s still a supply up and around Real de Catorce.


Why McCain Will Win

He’s a regular John, that’s why.

Estadounidense voters like their president to have a regular all-American sounding first and last name, names which signify stability and the mainstream. Names like Ronald, John, James, matched with a surname which at least sounds all-American, not too ethnic, and easy to pronounce make a difference. Candidates with names like Ron Paul and Ralph Nader (even if his parents were Lebanese) just don’t stray from the fold.

Women’s names come under even greater scrutiny. Nothing ending in an i, ie, or y. Nothing too sexy or frivolous or cute. And nothing too exotic. Take a name like Martha or Ruth or Abigail. Those names are old-fashioned, but they signal a take-charge, dependable kind of girl, one who kept to her books and might not even have made homecoming queen.

Hillary, your mother should’ve named you Gertrude. Now, we all know how you transformed yourself from Hillary Rodham to Hillary Clinton when Bill lost that gubernatorial race on account of having a feminist wife who just appeared too big for her britches back in Arkansas. It’s too late for you to re-christen yourself now as H. Diane Clinton, which sounds more electable.

It’s not just a gender thing this time around. Barack should’ve stayed with Barry. First, middle and last names which are too ethnic just don’t cut it in the heartland. Poor Mike Huckabee’s family name just sounds too hillbilly, too Huckleberry Finn to be taken seriously.

Mexicans are just as concerned about the names of their would-be presidents. Andres just sounds too French, and we all know what those French did to our country.

Even at the state level, a bad choice of name can hurt. Plenty of Mexican mothers name their sons Jesus, but it didn’t do Jesus Reyna much good. Sure, if he’d been named Guillermo or Leonardo, he wouldn’t have had that great campaign slogan which the archbishop declared naughty — Jesus is Coming. Do you realize that there’s never been a Mexican president — or a governor of Michoacán — whose first name was Jesus? 

But then there’s never been a David at the helm of either Mexico or Los Estados Unidos.

Hillary, Your Slip is Showing

Is Clinton’s staff retarded or just worn out and ready to quit? Making a big deal out of an old photo of Barack Obama gussied up in traditional African dress, taken when he was in Africa on some kind of official business is just plain silly, stooping the level of the PAN presidential candidate’s intentional mispronunciation of opponent Francisco Labastida’s last name as “La Vestida” (the dress) and suggesting he was a sissy back in the spring of 2000.

Hillary, get a clue. It’s not just your politics. It’s not just your husband. We just don’t like you. By the way, you really need to upgrade your look. Those pantsuits are really ugly. And as for that killer bee yellow blazer, can you say “Lime green polyester leisure suit?”


Putting Pemex in Private Hands

Pemex Will Felipe Calderon’s legacy be known for privatizing Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly? At first blush that might appear as heretical as the Pope giving his blessing to priests who marry outside of the faith.  But it could happen, and the times may be just as right for privatization as they were for expropriation back in 1938.

As every schoolchild in Mexico knows, the hallmark of President Lázaro Cárdenas was expropriation of foreign oil companies. There’s even a holiday, albeit not one of those federal holidays where everyone takes a day off from work, celebrating the expropriation. Now, in a curious twist, writes Hector Tobar in La Plaza, rumors float that Lázaro Cárdenas’ grandson, Lázaro Cárdenas Batel, the ex-governor of Michoacán, could be just the guy to head the new Pemex. That could be daring and “too insane to be believed,” some might say, but possibly politically astute move. The idea definitely has its appeal.

The more times change, the more they don’t.


A Smoke-free Mexico? Not in Your Lifetime

In the decade past, cigarette prices in Mexico have doubled, restaurants and public buildings have banned smoking, and anti-smoking campaigns rage on. But are Mexicans actually smoking less?

You may find few lighting up among the buena gente, but the poor, and we’ve got a lot of them in this country, still smoke on. And we have that certain resistance to matters of order and control that make even the fresas light up.

Read on.

Now, if the government subsidized Nicorette and its generic kin, instead of whatever else, including free condoms, that it’s handing out, there might be a solution.


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Objects of Desire

In accordance with our mandate, we must present to you the obligatory monthly post about sex, law, New York and Mexico. Kindly discontinue reading if you’re a card-carrying member of the Landover Baptist Church or belong to a monastic order.

Up until last week, anyone in the State of Texas who sold, advertised, gave, or lent an obscene sexual device to anyone else for a purpose other than a bona fide medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative or law enforcement purpose faced up to two years in the slammer. In its infinite wisdom, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit gave the green light to ordinary citizens who wished to sell, advertise, give or lend obscene sexual devices for use in prurient pursuits. The lawsuit was brought by vendors of sex devices, but this ruling now opens the door for anyone to advertise used dildos freely on Craigslist, give them to friends as Christmas presents, and lend a friendly artificial vagina to a neighbor in need – all without requiring a sworn affidavit that the obscene device would not be put to a prohibited use. For a real analysis, see The Volokh Conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which must have money to spare, ramped up free distribution of designer condoms and lubricant at no charge to bars, restaurants, community service organizations, and STD clinics. Are you running out? Order more online, at no cost, here.

Now, let’s move on to Morelia. The road to the airport is lined with sex shops, night clubs, and moteles de paso, all doing a thriving business whenever I pass by around 4:30 a.m. en route to someplace else. There’s even a shop in a respectable part of town. But what if you just don’t have the time or the guts to actually step into a brick-and-mortar store? Sex Shop Mexico delivers and has been online since 1997. And where is it located? Right in Morelia. Now, this enterprise delivers only within Mexico, but its website thoughtfully suggests its affiliated companies in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Spain.

What is this world coming to?

Great Danes in Mexico

Mexican President Felipe Calderon wants to work out a trade deal with Denmark. 

This won’t be a first in Mexico-Denmark relations. The first documented contact by Denmark with this country took place almost five hundred years ago when Franciscan Friar Jacobo Daciano, son of the Danish King Hans and Queen Christine landed in Michoacán to spread the word in the Meseta Purepecha.  Not all of the Christian brothers were native Spanish speakers.

But the Danes didn’t ignore Mexico after that, sending on Baron Henrik Eggers during the French Intervention and Frans Blom to study indigenous culture in Chiapas.