Betting on the Bridge

Jesus del Monte denizen Raymundo Young de la Vega says he’s not a betting man, but he’s asking others to place their bets on how the rest of Morelia will reach Paseo Morelia, destined to be one of Latin America’s latest megamalls.

Last year’s idea of burrowing a tunnel to connect the rest of the city with La Nueva Morelia just didn’t seem to fly. But there’s always more than one way to scramble up the mountain, and betting is now open on whether a Megapuente will be the answer. The green tendrils shown at Young’s blog post is Campestre Morelia, our town’s first golf course.

It all makes me think of the Three Billy Goats Gruff: was the tunnel notion just a red herring?

It’s Too Early to Hide the Matzo

Matzo The only time of year that I really spend much time thinking about matzo is Passover. This year, my annual spring trip to Chicago came earlier than the usual official opening date for spring, and Passover got itself scheduled later than usual this year, which meant that the window of opportunity to even think about buying any kind of matzo passed me over.

But it’s just as well. Manischewitz put its production of my beloved white grape matzo on hiatus. Who cares about the Tam Tam shortage of 2008? I’m bereft and verklempt over not having white grape matzo, a variety so rare than many Jews aren’t even aware that it exists. And yes, I know that the white grape matzo isn’t even kosher for Passover except for the sick and the old. It’s the thought that counts in my book.

Oh, well. There are never any matzo to be found in Morelia anyway. We’ll have to settle for Passover tortillas. This is a household, after all, where Gumby on a Latke appeared during Chanukkah back around 5758, the year before the famed dinner where I completely forgot to light the candles.

And nope, I’m not going to cry for my poor brethren in Argentina who’ll have no brisket on their tables this year.


Fat City Mexico

David Simmonds over at Mexico Premiere points his fingers in both directions, blaming both the U.S. and Mexico for bad food habits now that Mexico’s been named the first runner-up in the international fat folks competition.

Unquestionably, obesity is at crisis proportions in this country, but the blame goes far beyond Coke and McDonald’s. This is a country where Coca-Cola Light, as Diet Coke is known in these parts, sells for more than the old-fashioned sugar-laden version. McDonald’s isn’t exactly affordable for the rank-and-file. The traditional foods of the popular class are laden with carbohydrates and grease and short on protein, because those ingredients are cheap and filling. Tamales, gorditas, chicharrones, and fried tacos are cholesterol bombs, but they’re also a means of making a little bit go a long way. Even the sopa secas are culprits, intended to fill the belly with something cheap and easy before venturing on to the plato principal. Aguas frescas may sound healthy, but they’re full of sugar. The national gelatina fetish delivers nothing more than Jellofied sugar water. This is a country where the primary role of lettuce is to serve as a garnish. The most determined South Beacher or Atkinsite will find locating something to eat in a popular neighborhood a daunting proposition.

Poor folks are fat in Mexico for the same reason they are in Los Estados Unidos, but the incursion of Estadounidense-style comida charatarra shouldn’t bear the full brunt of the blame here. It’s a matter of campesino eating habits in urban cultures. And money.


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Richardson = Judas; Clinton = McCarthy; HRC = AMLO?

James Carville compared Bill Richardson to Judas. An Obama aide compared Bill Clinton to Joe McCarthy.

Will Hillary, like failed Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, insist that she’s the Legitimate President of Los Esados Unidos for the next four years?

The Heathen of Santa Maria

Shortly after noon today, I considered going to Centro to buy myself a Judas, not wanting to risk the good ones all being sold out by tomorrow. But then while I was debating over whether to drive or take a taxi, I talked myself out of the proposition, deciding to rent a couple of movies and grill a steak instead. If it’s really a life-size Judas I want, then I should spring for something custom-made instead of street-quality.

The one day of the year that you can count on peace and quiet in Santa Maria de Guido is Good Friday. The buses and combis don’t run, no one’s gunning an engine, the leaves in the trees don’t rumble, no music rings through the air, and even the dogs don’t bark. There is no sense in wasting that moment of stillness by leaving the house.

I did have to leave the house for the videos and a pack of the elements of vice and destruction. There was no one in the street until I turned the corner and saw two young boys sharing a can of beer on the sidewalk. They quickly tried to hide the beer, but they know me well enough to know that I don’t care. On the next block, a neighbor works underneath his car.

Like everything else in my hamlet, every business was closed, even the video store. But you can always count on Don Chucho being open. His abarrote, manned by his two daughters, never closes, not even in the late hours of Christmas Eve. Jesus Villa, who can only write his name with a great deal of effort, is an astute businessman. His prices beat Walmart’s any day of the week, and he has nothing to fear from Walmart’s ventures into the abarrote business. Beer sales were brisk this afternoon, but I never have to wait at this store, because the clerk always hands over a pack of Marlboro Lights without saying a word. Sometimes it’s almost embarrassing that I never have to stand in line there.

Mauricio and Angelica find me in the street, and they invite me over to eat.

“Thanks, but I’m going to grill a steak today,” I tell them. It’s a religious thing.

“Well, you are going to the Procession of Silence tonight, no?”

I lie and tell them I will. They know perfectly well that I’m lying, so it really makes no difference.

Now the Procession of Silence has passed, obviously making no noise as it swept past my street. Goodman the Nearly Perfect Doberman didn’t notice.

I can no longer stand the silence. I put on some Charly Garcia. No one will complain.

Maybe I’ll walk to Centro tomorrow to see the local version of Burning Man.

Old Lawyers Really Like Us

In his Winter 2008 Making Technology Work for You column in Experience magazine, published by the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division, California lawyer Jeff Allen (who also is editor-in-chief of GP|Solo Technology & Practice Guide and Technology eReport) has some good things to say about Staring at Strangers. Including SAS among the interesting blogs he recommends to readers, he writes:

Staring at Strangers. A blog written by two, often politically incorrect, attorneys who comment on whatever strikes their fancy.

It’s too bad that Experience magazine isn’t accessible to anyone online. The Senior Lawyers keep those issues locked up to those who aren’t members of the club. Heck, I’m not even a member of their club.

One More Roadblock for Mexican Truckers

Estadounidense bureaucrats have ants in their pants once again over the matter of allowing Mexican truckers to traverse the highways and byways of Los Estados Unidos. First, there was the fret and worry over how safe those trucks might be. Would Mexican truckers be able to live up to the code of professional Estadounidense truckers? Now, they’re in a dither about how well Mexican truckers will be able to speak and understand the English language.

Mexico Trucker, a English-language blog devoted to Mexican trucking issues, takes on the matter of the mother tongue.

Thousands of Mexicans drive to Los Estados Unidos every year, and thousands to Estadounidenses drive to Mexico every year. None of them are required to prove proficiency in a language other than their own. There are states in Los Estados Unidos which will administer driver’s license exams in languages other than English, and even the Internal Revenue Service distributes tax forms in Spanish.

It’s time for Los Estados Unidos to get real about the situation. The kind of truck which might make the daily milk run from Pichataro to Patzcuaro isn’t going to be the one making the long-distance run, nor will the driver be some kind of idiot. Over-the-road truck drivers are an intelligent bunch, many of them more savvy than your average lawyer. They bear a lot more responsibility than many college-educated fools, too. Let’s give ’em some credit without demanding proof that they can distinguish an adverb from a gerund.