Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ass Kissers and Boot Lickers: Saving White Charisma for 2016

Blame it on you, blame it on me
Now let's erase the wound that's in our history
Pain in my heart won't let me be
Take it from me but don't you take away my liberty
Father of coal, mother of pearl
Never too black to blush to pick up a white girl
The color of you, the color of me
You can't judge a man by looking at the marquee

- Garland Jeffreys, Hail, Hail Rock 'n Roll, from the album, Don't Call Me Buckwheat

You will be attacked for coming on. And we know you know that.
- Alex Jones, December 2, 2015 
Parting comment to Donald Trump (

Journalism and history are usually mutually exclusive beings left better to themselves. They don't mix well. The pursuit of one closes the door on the other. But when there's mud on the floor, a big hole in the roof and the rain pouring down, it's a lot easier to drag history and its temperamental cousin out of the building to the back porch for a spanking, a good rinse and some time to dry when the sun comes out. Then they can both lie in peace with one another.

We have a great big new hole in the roof, 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Goodbye Fortress America, Forward (Force) We Go

The curators of the nation’s foreign policy haven’t yet learned to manage their affairs as efficiently as (telephone sex talkers) Lori or Evita, but certainly they think of their wars and stratagems as works of conceptual art….The Reagan administration apparently wishes to make an avant-garde statement  about America’s place and stature in the world. To what end. Or at what cost, nobody can say. Our geopoliticians don’t know what the United States stands to win in the event of a war with Iran, Iraq or any enemy as yet unannounced, but clearly the excitements of the moment demand something impressive in “a chain of development that may eventually find some form.”  -   Lewis H. Lapham, Harper’s, 1987

“We’re going to make our military so big, so strong and so great, so powerful that we’re never going to have to use it. We’re going to have a president who is respected by Putin, respected by Iran.”   -   Donald Trump, 2015

"The past is not dead; it's not even past".

-  William Faulkner, novelist (1897 - 1962) 

"It's déjà vu all over again."
-   Yogi Berra

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beside the Normal Regular Dirt

Beside the normal regular dirt, they’re preparing to do a few hundred thousand dollars of dirty laundry down the road in a couple hours. The beer tents are going up and the track’s still being cleaned and leveled from the rains we had for two days. The horses need it nice when they race down the straightaway. Seventy five to three hundred meters, straight all-out Mexican racing: It is cleansing to the soul, even though it’s a dirty business.

I could just sit it out and listen to the Cumbia and Norteño music on my porch, but why, when I can see my friends and watch it all for a few bucks.

The presidents and the law may change in Mexico every now and then, but one thing doesn’t: horse races. The only change I don’t like is the beer. They sell that godawful Bud Lite – not even Mexican! – and not my old favorite, Tecate rojo. That American diet beer not only has so many chemicals it gives me a headache every time, it tastes like puppy piss. And the boys at the gate don’t like you bringing in your truck with any other brand, so it looks like I’ll be going over completely sober, or maybe a little stilted after a couple Tecates. It’s walking distance. I could practically stumble over there, but northern rural Mexico is no Cancun; it’s a conservative place and I like it that way as well as respect it. Maybe the drunks will be in the salon, on the road, or in the milpas later on tonight, but I won’t, nor will most others in their right mind.

But Mexico is not completely in its right mind all the time, or possibly ever. Next to the family gatherings at the cemeteries on the Day of the Dead, horse races are the best way to have some good clean fun for all ages. Of course there are a lot of strict Catholic women here who would disagree, along with a friend, a recently converted Mexican English teacher who is now an insufferable evangelist. Can you imagine a Mexican evangelist who lives down the street from a sicario? Well, imagine.

As for the dirty laundry, you can probably guess what all that is about. No law, too many bad roads, and not enough Americans who aren’t afraid of their shadow, here. But I love it anyway.

‘Gotta go sit on the porch for a ratito. It’s Tecate time, and they just cranked up the music. If I get lucky, a couple friends will stop by for a beer before we amble over. It’s time to crank up my Spanish and cleanse my world. Adios for now.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Christmas at Nick's, Iraq, 2010

Nick came from Lebanon, but he’s American, my age. He used to own a restaurant across from the fallen Twin Towers. He told me he called it the Cedars of Lebanon. Nick was my best friend in Iraq, and for him alone, I was sad to leave the war. He would watch Lebanese television for Christmas cheer and tune in to the ceremonies in Arabic. In the midst of radical Islam here was a man whose culture had completely eluded me.

Nick’s family had to leave their home in Lebanon and he wanted to eventually return to reclaim it from Hesbollah, which had overran his little village in an earlier fight with Israel. I had known, from a safe distance, that from time to time the rage between the cultures again will turn violent, but this was the first time I had met someone who was directly affected by it all.

Christmas 2010 was near, and Nick was already thinking about what to cook. Of course, as any soldier or wartime contractor knows, you never really cook in Iraq. The Indians did, and they served you at the DFAC (mess hall). That’s where you ate, unless you wanted to heat up that innocuous noodle soup in little plastic tubs. You could eat so much fried chicken there you could come back weighing 300 pounds.

The local Iraqis who came to work on Delta loved Nick. At least the Christian ones. When I arrived I was put into their area of CHUs – or contractor housing units – a defacto segregated section just a short walk from all the others with whom I was to work, but culturally speaking, it could have been eight thousand miles away. Because of housing shortage, my CHU was to be a temporary location before moving to the "regular" housing units, because that is where they put the "foreigners". I call them that because most of them, while American, were there because of their Arabic language abilities. The Army regarded them as a necessary evil and they gave them the accommodations to suit their commanders’ prejudices. The sand bags that surrounded the concrete bomb and rocket bomb shelters in our section were so worn that the sand was falling out of the broken bags. It was one of the first sections put there, and it showed. I loved staying there, before I had to move to an “appropriate” section where everyone spoke just English.

Nick asked me what I wanted for Christmas dinner. He had decided on everything else besides the main dish, and he announced he was leaving that to me. Outside his CHU stood a small homemade steel grill next to the small, carefully tended herb garden he had cultivated for months in a small wooden slatted frame. I had to say something. I felt like half the world was waiting a response, or at least the dining ghosts of the Twin Towers, all of Lebanon, and most important, a Manhattan chef.

“Nick, whatever you think I will like, I know I will!"

“Well that’s solved then. Souvlaki, Lebanese style”, Nick replied. I could already smell it, and dinner was still three days away. He had read my mind about my preferred course, of course.

Speaking of smell, I had completely lost my sense of smell and taste just a couple weeks before. I was in a quandary. Nick had just invited me to one of the most important meals I would surely ever eat, and I was unable to taste it. I googled my situation and was comforted to know that sometimes taste buds would reappear and "reactivate" on occasion, but it was a known indicator of the possibility of an early onset of Alzheimers. So I resigned myself to take the good with the bad, and the bad was really bad because my father died of that awful disease.

However, Nick's souvlaki was much more important to me than whether I had found out how I might die. I was already in a war zone. I was determined to taste Nick’s food, no matter how many times I ate at the DFAC or ran to the shelters while the sirens blared, “incoming, incoming”. If my sensory loss was triggered by some form of PTSD in real time, I was absolutely determined to beat it this Christmas. 

And, on Christmas Day, for a very brief few minutes, I did. The lamb was stupendous. My sinuses suddenly opened wide and told my taste buds and brain what an extraordinary Arabic culinary delight I was having on my most special Christmas ever. The spices Nick had just picked, the potatoes he made with them – they soothed my body and slaked my thirst for taste for that brief moment. Then, too shortly after, my head closed up again, not to return to sensory consciousness until a week after I returned, seven months later at Indiana’s Camp Atterbury.

A Great Spirit

Amid the din of sound, someone whispered that Forward Operating Base (FOB) Delta (Al Kut, Iraq) was on a communications blackout. I was told this quickly because I was important. I had the clearance to know that before most of the soldiers did. But being civilian, new to this war, I remained a lost tourist.

A young soldier was just killed by a sniper a few hours earlier on a mission from the place I was just arriving. It was twilight, almost dark. Another Chinook landed just behind us a minute or two behind ours. They were ready for his body, but I didn't have a clue. The Chinook set down right next to us just as the giant ramp was lowered from our bird. We all filed out.

An honor guard had assembled near the other bird on the eerie, dark tarmac. The soldiers had not yet come to attention; had they been, perhaps the lost tourist might have noticed in the hazy and gas-fumed desert night. I arrived just on time, to a place at the edge of eternal darkness, the darkness of quiet despair. As history has it, not one other American serviceman was killed in Iraq that month, December, 2010. But that day, that night, the war penetrated the wire inside which I landed. Giant Goosebumps in armor, I was.

Private First Class David Dustin Finch was 24. He married just before he deployed, and he was very well liked there, I found out. I’m still not sure if a child was in his future, but one of his friends told me that he thought his wife was pregnant. I thought about that a lot, and I went to his memorial service a few days later. The sprawling DFAC (mess hall) was jammed with soldiers and civilians alike. The service was somber, graceful and true, and I tried as hard as I knew how to pray for David, and his wife, and myself too. 

I had finally arrived in my new home, Iraq. I sometimes  think of David still, though I never knew him. If there really are heroes and Great Spirits, surely David must be among them. RIP, David.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

La Cubana Verdadera

It was in Miami, 1961. Maria Elena Prio, was beyond beautiful to me. Her family had been exiled not once, but three times from Cuba, twice by Batista, in 1952 and then again in 1956, and, after they returned again, Castro booted them out for good in 1959. They finally settled in Miami Beach. 

I was too young, too naive, to understand she came fleeing from anyone. I couldn't think about anything else other than her for a too-short 1950-60s adolescent eternity. She was my world. An inveterate vinyl collector even then, I brought my very first LP album to her birthday party. The Ventures played, and as I dropped the needle on the platter on her back veranda, the world stopped as we danced to Walk, Don’t Run. For me, that was an anthem to the future.

Miami is another country now, only you don’t need a passport to get in. I found out only this year that Maria’s father had taken his own life years ago, according to reports. That news was very hard to take, even after all these years. I finally mustered the courage and talked to her a few months ago. It was very good for my spirit. Maria took law to be her life's work.

Maria’s dad was the last elected president in modern Cuban history. I didn't know all that in 1961. We were in puppy love; at least I knew I was. Maria didn't know what the future would bring any more than I. We were far too young; what else need be said? Batista pushed the Prio family out of Cuba and later the Castro came in to push them out again. That part we all know about. The rest, as they say, is history. People get lost in it. But as often happens, and for some it takes decades, reality sets in, and only the love endures.

Star-Mangled Manner

Strobe (noun)

1. A strobe light.

2. A stroboscope.
3. A spot of higher than normal intensity in the sweep of an indicator, as on a radar screen, used as a reference mark for determining distance. 
- American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.


To give the appearance of arrested or slow motion by using intermittent illumination
- Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged

Not many people have ridden atop an elevator cab in full speed descent, but like clockwork, millions pour out of elevator high rise doors to the lobby at rush hour to the taxicabs and limousines outside and the subways below.

Few have dug a half mile tunnel (or a fifty foot well) by hand, but there are millions who travel the subways with daily precision. They ride sitting or standing with a grasp, one hand to the bar-hold, the other to a cellphone beamed to the window - inured to the ride but never injured from it - allowing a few feet from the stationary metaphors in motion on the other side of the glass. The windows dull the strobe-like view of the tunnel walls, as old bricks, metal signs and protruding spikes speed by in arrested staccato beat. To the eye, if it doesn't blink, the existential delusions speed alongside beyond the glass in a ceaseless, rapid and dull intensity. People inside are as still as a still shot while the earth races alongside, mangled in motion. No one really notices. The train’s natural manner might beget waves of emotion, but, oh say, can you see them?

Ding, Ding. Two for down. Doors will open. You wait. Doors close. “Next floor, Lobby.” Finally. You can almost feel it. The bodies within the cab issue a collective exhale, then inhale as the doors open. Out we go.

These elevator and tunnel life arrhythmias are silent to the eye and mind, drummed into the body with the irregular strobing pace of movement, the stops and starts, of “next floor - 46”, “next stop - Broadway”. They are the vertical and horizontal movements of the masses at building floors and at streets and in levels below. Vertically and horizontally coordinated, it’s a daily crucifix of human motion.

Vice President Joe Biden likes to reminisce when his life is temporarily out of recovery from any one of his over-sized portion of family disasters. In 2008 he returned to Union Station to bid farewell to the Amtrak redcaps, a farewell to 30 years riding. He had always gone home that way. During the farewell, he stopped to see the ticket agents, the shoeshine man, and of course, the conductors. They all knew him.
Libby Copeland, the Washington Post reporter who covered the event, reports, “He throws parties for retiring conductors, and once had a crewman serenaded by bagpipes. For Biden's first day back at work following two operations for brain aneurysms in 1988, he took the train, naturally. ‘The engineer saluted him with a longer-than-usual toot of the train's whistle,’ UPI reported at the time.” The event made perfect sense. No ride was better for the soul.

Fifteen years earlier, and for five years, (1962-1967), from ages 15-19, I took that train from my Washington DC home to school in Delaware. As if it were yesterday, I recall one particular conductor who always seemed to be there, almost as if he was on shift only for a single student boarding in Middletown. His voice was that of an announcer, megaphone in volume, and it bellowed with a booming melodious bass which signaled the approach of Baltimore, the first stop out of Washington’s Union Station. The endless, dilapidated row houses rolled by, noting the proximity of the upcoming station. The bellow seemed to come directly from the houses through the windows, “Peanuts, popcorn, Cracker Jack, and Baaaay-Bee RUTH!” 

Sold! Out came the money. How could any teenager resist such a call for candy? By the time the products had been consumed, the train was arriving in Wilmington, my stop.

Upon approach and in sight of the station, the booming bass reappeared, resounding down the aisle: “Wilmington, Wilmington, Wilmington - home to DuPonts, and kin.” The Star Spangled Banner always waved its welcome. I’d bet it was still waving for Joe on his last trip. At least, one would hope.

That was not so long ago, but oh, how it’s now so far away.

Living by the Wayside

Paul Wells was the son of a slave, and he lived in Markham, Virginia. Paul was 80 when I first met him; and 5 years later he and I were neighbors. I lived in a shack down the hill, and he lived in a bigger one a football field up the steep hill. Paul was born in 1894, and his father made the development plans for nearby Delaplane and Paris, home to iconic weatherman Willard Scott. 

Paul’s home was bequeathed to his family during Reconstruction, and he loved to tell anyone who listened he was part Apache, and had they known THAT, “I’d have never gotten the darn place”. That’s the toughest word I ever heard him cussing. 

On the bare walls of his unpainted drafty clapboard house hung a framed certificate of appreciation from the owner of Marshall Hardware, noting his regular on-time payments for half a century. Paul’s 19th century clapboard house still stands today, the oak boards now split and popping out nails, naked of paint, and falling in on itself. Paul is buried a few miles away, not far from the Episcopal church in Hume.

“He sure is a handsome young man. Looks like he’s pretty rich too. I’ll bet he has a house out here. We have a lot of city people from up north out here now.” I had just marched up a recent copy of the New York Times and hauled it up the snowbound hill to his house. There it was: a picture of a young Donald Trump.

“Paul, he might be rich, he might be happy, but he’s still a damn developer. I hate developers,” I said. “That’s why I’m here. I got away from that crap.”

“You shouldn't hate anybody, George. Especially because you two are the same.”

“Why the heck do you say that?

“You both sell things.” 

He had me there. I had a short but highly successful run in the real estate hustle before abandoning the work in suburban Washington. My sales manager, delighted with the mountain of money rolling in from my work, gave me the highest compliment he could muster for an inexperienced 25 year old agent. “George, you could sell the president a pubic hair.” The compliment had a reverse effect; it convinced me to quit that work, and leave that world. I bid a permanent adios to The World of The Donald, and moved to Markham.

Probably taking a cue from his uncanny ability to read a face, Paul interrupted my Trump anxiety.

“George, take me to Front Royal for some Kentucky Fried Chicken,” disposing of both Trump and my anxiety at the same second. “And can we pick up a pint of Kessler’s on the way back?"

Friday, October 23, 2015

El Chapo: The Other Side of the Equation

In a recent pronouncement about Mexico, Donald Trump rattled a new cage, right at our doorstep on the Arizona-Sonora border. As a candidate for the highest office in the land, Trump pulled out his six-gun in one hand and his boxing gloves in the other, and offered up a New York high rise version of “plata o plomo”. This orange hair gringo challenged Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a brand new, recently escaped tunnel artist and up-to-date Twittering Mexican version of Columbia’s Don Pablo Escobar; he’s known in English as “Shorty” by American latinos who prefer it. Guzman’s people, his “operatives”, in military parlance, inhabit the neighborhoods on both sides of the border. He is the new reality, and much like Donald Trump, El Chapo brings his own show  .  The stage is being set and reset with every passing day, and the tunnel escape stories circulate as fast as the Trump piñatas. Important as The Donald is for the silent majority north of the border, impassable walls, Republicans and 99 percent of American politics and politicians don’t mean shit down here. Yet sometimes that one remaining percent can rarely catch a 99 percent attention span, especially when it comes from Trump. All should know by now: Donald doesn’t make a reservation at the restaurant. He has the whole place bought when he wants to make insults, and no one who likes to eat there should feel excluded from the invited group. He serves all fares for all appetites, and he doesn’t care if you show or not. He leaves an empty seat for you. You just might be the meal.

Guzman got the message. As noted, Trump came from the one percent, and at dinner with the press he mentions the man from Sinaloa, saying he would “kick his ass” if he became President.  Mr. Trump has supposedly reached ten billion, so if you’re living on the other side of the equation and received an invitation, perhaps arriving in the truly beautiful city of Culican, Sinaloa, as you are approaching your first billion or so, having escaped twice because you know how to  build a half mile tunnel and get all obstacles out of your way, well, how would you respond? Probably like Guzman did. He rose out of the ground and tweeted to the false prophet and high rise Jesus, his new rival. El Chapo like The Donald, likes to use Twitter, and he sent the message promising to make him “eat his words”. The death threat was not implied; it was pretty much explicit in a second 160 byte delivery. Who would have ever imagined Twitter being the new courier of communications between a bandit and a maybe-to-be president? 
It would not be too hard to imagine what kind of Secret Service briefing followed somewhere up in one of the Trump towers after that pronouncement. They probably swept the room first. Thankfully, no one living escapes that event when the black suits arrive.

Characteristically, high level public political gangster-like challenges are grist for the news mill up north. But unlike the Mexican press, which draws different do-not-cross lines, American news executives like to keep reporters healthy.  There are enough American newsmen – and women - missing in the Mideast already. 

But this time, in Mexico, where violence and threats are so common they are rarely printed or shown or even known, the Trump-Guzman firefight swept in through Sonora like a fire in the wind, spreading emotional dust devils through the ejidos and pueblos throughout the desert with the velocity of and intensity of a cruise missile. Figuratively speaking (though I would not be surprised if it really occurred), the Trump piñatas were now being hit by gunfire, not kids sticks, then burned. You really have to hand it to Donald. First he laid waste to the entire presidential lineup, sparing only one socialist escapee for now, then he aims and hits all Mexican immigrants (save a few “good ones” now and then), and all to get the ubiquitous following of millions just south of the border. Twitter Like or Don’t Like, thumbs up or down, THE Donald Trump hits all his targets, and perhaps too well, as it is likely he may now be considering limiting the breath of any possible unnecessary future damage he may inflict. If so, he has made a wise decision. 

Regarding the Mexican thing, with some effort, even exerted by a multi-billionaire, they can be understood, and once understood, all the strangeness disappears. It’s truly amazing but, as they say, by the grace of God, Mexicans don’t go out of their way to make gringos suffer the way so many Americans have done as they clap in unison for government officials who quite properly take their official orders seriously, ignoring the noise, the protests, all to deport them pronto, when all most of them really need is a job. Oh, for the pain of living in that glass house and having to see all those “illegals” down the street. But that aside, it should be old news to the whiners that the George W Bush housing bubble burst years ago, in 2008-09, and with came the beginnings of remigration and the end to the extended and illegal stays of millions of Mexicans who were building them. Over these years, most returned south, leaving the illegal crossings north for less troublesome people like drug smugglers and cartel assassins. Not as many are crossing though, so perhaps Washington can take solace in that. The rest of the "always illegal", they still stay in the shadows.

So the firefight is on hold for now, and except for some humor by Mad Magazine, which posted a poster of  a boxing match between the two (“El Chapo vs El Crappo”), not much more has been said of the high level verbal altercation. The missile hit, and people scattered, but the blast fizzled. More to the point, people went back to daily life.

On occasion, it might surprise people in high rise environments that the rest of the world remains still living. For the part of the 99 percent that remain here, it is still all about the forever-Mexican family structures and of course, speculation about what kind of life “El Chapo” Guzman Loera will bring to the border state. With a sigh, an ex-comisario told me recently, “there’s no law now”. ” 

“So do you think it’s better or worse?” I asked. “It’s better now. I like the soldiers, but they polluted the air.” 

The plazas are now secure, and the “plaza” is not a Mexican town square; it’s an agreement, an errant traffic stop, a point of entry or departure, a "piso",  a point of unwritten law – any or all of the above.

President Pena Nieto is running the republic, and Calderons’ soldiers and their regular Sonoran street stops and battles already seem a distant memory. The soldiers have all but disappeared, along with the interior customs stops (aduanas), all of which have boarded their doors and put up the CERRADO sign. The Bush boom and bubble has long since burst in Arizona, and the exodus began then and continues. It’s a remigration from “el otro lado”, (the common Mexican reference to that distant land north, “the other side”). The movement back south is right out of the Wizard’s imagination: they exit old E. Pluribus Unum with a quick pack up of the pickup and with the turn of the key, a self-cross and firm tap on the accelerator, they start the just-click-your-heels voyage on wheels from Mi Apartamento, OZ, USA, to Mi Pueblo, Kansas, Mexico. This new repast is bound to stay on our plate for a while. Goodbye Estados Unidos, bienvenidos, Mexico. You can almost hear Walter Kronkite in the background, signing off. “And that’s the way it is, folks”.

More people are coming back every day, but less every day. The remigration has almost run its course. Some pueblos have doubled and even nearly tripled population in these years. It is the same throughout all the Sierra Madres. The rural life is still quiet and simple. Sometimes it’s more dangerous than it ever was during Calderon’s time. Soldiers and hit men were in constant battle throughout the republic for the entire six years of Calderon’s presidency.  Despite that, the new Pena Nieto formula has generally taken hold, even if not universally well received. With PRI back in power, people hope, maybe things will settle a little. An occasional local bumper sticker sometimes drives around Agua Prieta, a border town of Douglas, Arizona, which says “Enrique Pena Nieto is NOT my President”, but other than that, there is little public display of consternation with the new political and physical reality since the 2012 elections. 

We have gone back to the future, and like the Delorean return to a parking lot, it’s a recurring event . This massive remigration is leaving only irony in its wake up north: if things keep going this way, many millions from Boston to Sacramento may begin their exit without any politician ever having to deliver on grandiose promises to build the wall. Nothing like a poor, weird economy coupled with willful ignorance and finely veiled racism to help working people head for the exits. This time, the Mexicans are headed back south, whether they’ve been gone for a few days or a decade. 

Even so, Trump and Guzman have one thing in common. They like peace better than discord, and they both hate complexity. Neither is above shooting up the place when things don’t go their way. 

But that is where they part ways. Like his Columbian predecessor, El Chapo speaks with far less intensity than he listens, but when he does, he’s Trump without the bravado. Unless Trump says he wants to kick his butt. That kind of quip, of course, coming from someone with a mop that looks woven from some orange horse hairs from the ejido, gets even a normally quiet billionaire escapee hot under the collar. But generally, the biggest cartel leaders are not given to shouting or histrionics. They let the politicians do that, because that is what they do best.

Sunday is a busy day down here in the local pueblo, and that’s really the only day you can find anyone around town. Almost everyone works (around Sonora, now) the rest of the time. One recent Sunday recently came sandwiched between the American Labor Day celebration and the Mexican Day of Independence. That’s manna for a Mexican family. To the working class, that kind of calendar makes a great “puente”, or grand bridge, not too far but long enough, which when stretched, means a whole week off work for American Latino families lucky enough to escape Arizona to see their families here.

That Sunday I sat with my friend Ramon Angel, across from his business on the two-lane federal highway at the “salida” of town, its southern “point of departure” to Moctezuma. In front of us sits a speed bump that is big enough to warn all traffic to brake or risk breakdown, but everyone clogging the road that day knew it was there. Ramon and I talked like sentries while the traffic slowed and mostly smiled and occasionally frowned, usually waving and sometimes hollering something good as they passed. Some came circling back on our watch, maybe to take a second look at the gringo in shorts. I knew more people than I care to admit, and Ramon knew a lot more. Even with all the traffic, noise, conversation and trash there’s no doubt I feel at home.

There is admittedly a precarious balance. A few months ago, on a quiet weekday, a few sicarios - hit men - grabbed a couple people a few yards from where we sat, and they disappeared. Perhaps they lived, perhaps not. Everyone around knows. It never made the news out of Hermosillo, a three-hour drive from these mountains. News comes by satellite, eventually, but in Mexico neighbors actually know each other and talk a lot. News travels fast in pueblos, the way it used to up north in small towns, a century ago. You don’t have to wait or wonder whether some reporter will show up. It won’t be on Facebook. But you will hear about it, most likely sooner than later. It’s nice that way. Computer knowledge not required.

Up in Tucson, you could walk the dog down the street and still not know someone recently got murdered on the street corner near the huge mesquite where Rover stops to relieve his bladder. The television truck cams came loaded with the closest crime reporter. Maybe a helicopter passed to film the scene. And some police spokesperson was interviewed and made an important comment with a phone number to call. But you missed the News at 6 that night, and the Arizona Star never got read that day either. So that might be the end of it, and no one gets caught, but that’s the way things work up north. Unless it’s big news, like when Rep. Gabby Giffords got shot and the world gets to know in a few minutes (as I did from Armed Forces Television while waiting to embark a helicopter in Iraq at the time), we usually forget it happened, even if we didn’t miss the news.

Not here in Sonora. Everyone who breathes finds out. And yet, it usually doesn’t make the news. Unless there is an inescapably major crime such as the one involving 45 students who quite possibly were incinerated down south at a military post, there is little to no coverage, no report, and very little law. There are still the federales, but they are now left to fend for themselves, and with Calderon’s exit, all the “Mordidas, No” (No Bribes) signs have come down at the border aduana stations. So the inevitable result is that the underpaid police force has to find ways to get extra money on their own. The last sight of customs is at the border, and the interior stops are closed, but no one does much speeding anymore; that is a sure stop if the vehicle is more than a few years old. But there are now only rare stops for military inspections; during Calderon’s tenancy of the presidency, the wait could be an hour or more. That’s the silver lining for the new law, the new way. Laws have changed, and people adjust. It’s like the DeLorean landing back to the future parking lot. At first you have to get accustomed to how it was, then was no more, and now is again. For those living here, it’s already sunk in. We’re Back To The Future.

An Arizona friend and Vietnam Vet used to live near here, about 35 miles due south, on a path flown by many veritable and noisy crows. It’s 120 miles by car. He lived in El Novillo, a gringo fishing community on a reservoir - designed by Hitler’s engineers - where the biggest bass in the world was once caught but skinned and filleted before the Mexican netters found out that a famous rich bass fisherman with a TV show in the US had offered a standing offer of a million dollars for such a capture. 

My friend doesn't mince words with anyone. That came from Vietnam where they left him for dead in an outpost in Cambodia while Nixon announced to the world there were no US troops there. He was directed back to safety by the son of a Montagnard chief who had befriended him earlier in his tour. That Vietnamese native tribal son saved his life, and he has never forgotten.

“George, you know, they gotta have some kinda rule down there; if the criminals do it better, fine by me." That summary finds an unexpected echo in the thinking of the vast majority of ejiditarios, businessmen, teachers, farmers and other Mexicans, as well as the relatively few gringos still living here.

So without law here anymore, many ask, what did we used to have? Most answer their own question. It was Calderon’s war, all of it.  But in the six Calderon years, the remote pueblos up north were never actually home to the hit men; they would drive into border towns in droves in Hummers and homemade tanks to their missions, in and hopefully out, like soldiers on a kill, just like they did in 2006, just a few weeks after Calderon took office.

In that battle, many were killed, but 25 of the sicarios who survived the firefight at a mountaintop ranch near Arizpe fled over the mountains from Calderon’s helicopters and rappelling soldiers. Everyone locked their doors for a week; no child was to be found in the street. The hit men were all eventually captured, many still clad in their Iraqi style desert uniforms. Most were looking for a cell phone recharge card at a TelCel store. Ammunition is not available at every street corner. When we saw them in the news, they looked more like a bruised lot of young toughs than trained killers. A lot of my Mexican friends got a good laugh from that, but they had already forgotten that these people had executed five cops in Cananea, blasting their faces beyond recognition. Cananea, nearby the border, is the sister city of Sierra Vista, home to Fort Huachuca, the intelligence hub of the Defense Department. It’s quite a balancing act, loving this country, this distant land, Mexico. But it’s always easy, nevertheless. It defies explanation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

You're on TV! Don Pablo, El Chapo, The Donald

Never a doubt in 1974: Drugs were on the rise; so were high rises. And Don Pablo knew his world, as did The Donald.  But all the time the third actor was opaque, waiting in the wings. Somewhere between the illegal Columbian marijuana fields and behind the towering building glass of New York City, the young upstart took his seat at every meeting, every table, every cocaine tent. The television tube had become a common bond, redacted from view but yet wholly visible by virtue of a corporate wand, and especially so if you had color coming from the tube. In that great undefined space between Medellin, Columbia and New York City, New York, United States, pretty much all of the rest of the masses of livelihoods of western humanity were residing outside the matrix. Finally, unknowingly, they accepted the fact slow learners might be the dream audience for all future shock. Surely it was to come.

Two thousand four hundred miles south of New York City in Medellin, Columbia – about the same distance from New York City where Santana and The Eagles were playing out west, Pablo Escobar was gazing out beyond the mountains of his native Medellin. The world looked like his pretty nickel, and that seemed too easy for the narco-genius who had studied the new traffic and the traffickers, too. On the scale of future business, marijuana was just too heavy, and the return was far too light. The answer, he found, was cocaine. And with it came a whole new class of criminals. He learned about it all with the same fervor that young missionaries study the Bible. And as expected, and so reads the story, his mother loved him so much, so unconditionally. That helped a lot in Catholic Columbia. And at first, so did the "gracias" of many people he favored in Medellin and beyond. In the early days, bandito Don Pablo Escobar gave a lot away, without compunction, almost like his northern counterpart, developer The Donald Trump.

Standing by the door from the back of his fancy 1976 Cadillac limo which sported the NY plate “DJT”, the young Donald Trump – photographed for the New York Times - was definitely on the move. He was learning the game, and armed with the gospel three-line rectitudes from Norman Vincent Peales’ Power of Positive Thinking, he knew it wouldn't take long to be the master at it. Whatever that meant for him or for New York City, he was determined the future would happen his way. He knew building, and buildings. His father had taught him that. Everyone, sometimes, needs somebody.

Like the young Escobar, young Trump loved to throw his money around, as he still does. The finest form of corporate largesse rule the Trump tower suites, as donations to politicians like Bill and Hilary Clinton and the family “foundation” would roll in for decades – this one ostensibly in exchange for a wedding invitation.  And yet, in the 1970s, just for banking some cash from either, what lesser developer or politician might have thought it best to measure out exactly what might be extracted for the gifts?

Neither an astute politician nor criminal had to dream much beyond the latest project – a new building, a new drug route, because the new world of instant communications had not yet reared its head. Most politics was still truly local, and the internet was still just an emergency BBS board for ham operators. Who could really make sense of Nixon’s historic resignation, when it created such mass political confusion even as everyone seemed to be simultaneously exhaling and exalting his exit? Most of the political class was mired in the aftermath of Watergate, and not much was made sense from the rest, whether counted from the ranks of Nixon’s silent majority or among Spiro Agnew’s “radic-libs”. Even the boomer musicians had to argue Watergate in song. Neil Young belted out Southern Man and Lynyrd Skynyrd bellowed a harmonious, impious and irresistible chorus of Sweet Home Alabama. Most of the illicit generation, now referred to as "the boomers", (the one which of course followed "the greatest generation") acknowledged they were both pretty damn good songs when accompanied by a joint and a beer.

Back south in Columbia, Pablo Escobar was hard at work, unknowingly pushing himself into history books. He was just that big. By the latter days of his life, saints had already been begotten in holy ceremony in street side capillas and home altars for the recompense of his efforts. Verily, he was a narco who had to have others bury - literally dig and dump - tons of cash to keep it from the government. In a predictable conclusion, Don Pablo could not devise a tunnel or an army of pigeon carriers to take it with him, and his “vida loca” and his place in history books closed abruptly with a forgettable footnote about his violent death.

In a way, as I now look at it from a point southwest of New York erudition and argument, like mountain-dwelling criminals who dream big and never earn more than a lead bullet before any silver shows forth, these high rise developers who start with big visions rarely see their dreams last for long. Most developers forget their dreams hold expiration dates usually made real by courtroom visits, and they die a graceful slow death, but The Donald, the “The Great Exception”, the one who, by a certain belief system, may have inadvertently given a second true face to the current mythology dubbed “American Exceptionalism”, lived on. He lived not only through the 1970s and 1980s; he thrived well beyond it and continues to push himself forward with tweets from his office suite - this time perhaps with a reach far beyond a building (remember, they sometimes fall), right into venerable and sturdy rooms, ones weathered against time, the ones containing the history of American presidential politics. As a multi-billionaire, and even just as one of us, what more could Donald J. Trump ask for?

Even now, it isn't necessary to breathe in the Trump persona to understand what many still regard as just another over-played bit-part courier of historical footnotes. The real interest for now, if only for now, is in the unscripted, off-screen reality show he drags along to the camera and interview - the one I've been waiting for since Jack Kennedy died. In 1962, to ravenous eyes focused on a strange-looking black and white cathode ray tube of not much bigger than an iPad, the “Camelot” President was larger than life.

Also incubated in television’s developing years, Kennedy was a natural born user of it, and the symbiotic growth came concurrent with instructions that few needed to learn (aside from pesky antenna adjustments). But the potency of the tube was not lost on television executives who furiously set to define a new and important psychic numerology behind the new glass curtain of OZ: TV can control the politicians and make money at the same time.

Who would have known it would take over fifty years for the public to figure that out? After all, writer and ex-ad hawker, Jerry Manders had tried to advance a case to scrap television altogether in his 1973 book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, but his comprehensive work missed the elusive targets he intended. The masses of Americans, and by perfectly reasonable extension, humanity itself, were tube-bound. Who would want to think about turning it off when it had just come on? Come on.

The table was set for public consumption for the next half century, and the victuals were served like medicine to the masses. Until 2015. In spite of the nearly biblical proportion of change in the world of communications - perhaps even as fast as a rocket might divert off a set course from an expected trajectory – the control by some Master at OZ-making, that Hollywood airport controller who fell asleep at the switch, allowed the missile to veer off course, again. The event, if we might call it that, has, as if it had a conscious of its own, unwittingly graced Donald with the public with a fond thank you.

So even in spite of the dominatrix in the television debate sets, The Donald has loosened the chains and managed to make the rest of the politicians look like six-inch puppets at the county fair. They look like they’re dancing in the ruins of the American Realm as they debate on the always-on news channels. Trump is jerking the puppet strings at the same time he’s stuffing the Citizens United decision right up the place where the sun will not shine – sitting just above the stool where the puppets scurry-jump to scoop up their campaign cash.

So, 2015, it should be told, has been a bellwether year for Trump, Don Pablo and his contemporary Mexican boxing partner, Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, but above all, for television and the fourth estate. The biggest challenge for all the aforementioned, minus Pablo of course, remains dead ahead - but not yet to be seen - as it were.

The one-way, no-clicks allowed television industry has already survived a half century of challenges from two-way radio and the internet, so the future may be bright. If new actors of the old cathode ray can play a way to remake the county fair puppets into real life characters once again after the months of Trump destruction, well, politicians and even drug dealers will once again appear a little more like the rest of humanity, with useful ideas of greatness and misfortune and the like.

Perhaps the puppets in pixels will all be mixed, manipulated and melded together for the betterment of all humanity. Who knows? One thing's certain: it's the not so distant challenge which beckons the television executives. They are furiously scratching at the walls right now. It will not be an easy invention, but once done, it will not be the kind you can rush down to the Patent Office.

To be continued.....

Strong as Gravity: Christmas Is Coming

It's mid-October, 2015, and week ago a promise was made here not to mention religion - for at least another week. Well, week's up, and Christmas is coming, at least at a card store in Texas. In the back, behind the showroom and below the two-story shelving racks, crates of cute cards and pallets of other pleasant stuff of placid wisdoms and useful activity are arriving by the truckload. Above the unopened boxes filling the floor, the manager is balancing herself on the top shelf at second-story level, leaning over without the slightest hint of fear, arms open, waiting to have one of the part-time clerks pitch up the first of the lightest boxes from the cardboard bazaar below.

Iraq kicked into consciousness, once again. The manager's balancing act was clearly an improper yet admirable civilian effort to secure the floor from becoming the likeness of a wartime TOC (Tactical Operations Center) being primed in its infancy for operational support of an important upcoming strategic mission.

More to the point though, the image was disturbing because in a former lifetime I had once worn the hat of a proud union elevator constructor for 10 years. Gravity I know well. The subject is embedded in the physical psyche of anyone who in the course of a day's work might have the duty to walk an H-beam at 80 feet, chain-fall wrapped tightly over his shoulder, and lanyard securely attached to his waist, the target being an attachment point 12 feet down the beam, where ladder then meets worker who promptly ascends to the final destination 8 feet above, where it is wrestled off the shoulder and attached to the overhead. The whole of it, of course, is made possible by the human conveyance thus described.

It is in the recollection of such memories that I am fond to recall similar times when, more than once, my sturdy Catholic coworkers, who also worked often at elevated levels, and who, when challenged to go forth with similar daily missions, would observe a quick moment of silence accompanied by the total absence of body movement other than to self-cross properly before embarking. The rest was considered not much more than the mundane activity of a day in the life of an elevator constructor; of this, but not so much of Christmas, I speak with great affirmation as a SME (subject matter expert).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mister Lewis is an Essayist

Lewis H. Lapham is an essayist's icon. He is also a writer's nightmare, at least for some of us. In absentia, he'll turn you into a better writer, whether you think you can be, or not. And even more painful is the notion he can make a writer write essays. Essays? That's work. Oh for heaven's sake, be kinder that that.

He did and is just that to me. After reading Mr. Lewis, as I like to call him here at the ranchito, for a mere month or so, I'm addicted. The first piece I laid eyes on was "Imperial Masquerade", a book of essays which is, to be precise, extraordinary. He writes of the 1980s, arguably a decade bringing more mass confusion than had ever befallen the American public. He has it "down" - deciphered, demystified, and declassified, all in a compilation of essays about his victims whom he effortlessly pulls on to his delightfully large collection of skewers. No one living escapes, and if they're already dead, well, they're still meant to suffer. In a way, the entire book might be re-dedicated to his former and uncanny prescience, recently certified in his new article in Harper's, Bombast Bursting In Air, skewering the entire band of puppets and one billionaire, minus one socialist, running in the 2016 election, so far.  

Lewis is not only an incredible writer in every respect, and an essayist of immeasurable proportion, but arguably the best author of his generation still living in the United States. I'm still in a sort of wonderful, daily, continuing shock, even after only a month discovering him. Words have failed me until now. And it's still adoration time.

In absentia, Mr. Lewis has unwittingly seated me square in front my very own defining door to the structure of writing, the one I have searched for and circled around all my life. I never identified the opening, nor really examined the content, but he went up to it, dusted off the sign, and even knocked on it for me.

Now, at 67, I'm impatiently writing like an intern all day, with a break or two, especially in the early afternoon when age briefly catches my attention, and I hope there is surely more to come than a blog. But if this is it, that's OK too. I've been the jack of all trades, but that's not so interesting to me now. The last time I really did much real writing (other than 20 years of technical writing) was in 1995 after boarding up a small and lively Midwest weekly I started almost three years earlier in Mishawaka, Indiana. I liked the work, but it was a financial black hole. My newspaper and I were both subject to the Rule of Decline and Death, an economic tenet specified for all small newspapers that didn't have a hundred-year history. In other words, for rags and dummies like myself.

While Mr. Lewis' work has consumed my thoughts and nearly all my reading, above all it's finally forced my writing hand back to work, and this time I believe, in full concert with a brain. (The pen in hand, of course, has now doubled to ten pecking fingers).

You should know, by no surprise, Mr. Lewis has never heard of me. I'm actually glad of that, because I want to get the adoration out of my system as soon as possible. As a writer, I've never been one of the elected, nor one who ever submitted. The process is far too gruesome to even imagine, and even as I head out to the burn barrel (yes, it's allowed here, thankfully) with my How-to-Write and where-to-send-it and what-to-do-to-get-it-published books, I still care whether I've said anything at all after it's read. So against the wind I will be throwing my pixelated paper airplanes, scribblings, essay-like I hope, on to this little blog I started just a few days ago. 

My decision. I hope I don't regret it. If you come back and give me hell, it will be much appreciated, and if you say something nice, then I will probably try to be as nice as The Donald says he can be, especially when he is in his throw-around-the-money mode. I wish I could, but I don't have money to throw around to get readers. What is read will have to do.

In the meantime, the question is if you are not a member or associate of the Lapham-skewered group, and if you decide to read or even if you have read "Mister Lewis", how can you, provided you are a human, not love this man?


In the introduction to the 2014 winter issue of his quarterly magazine, Lapham's Quarterly, Lewis provides a personal account of his first Sunday in the autumn of 1948 at (Hotchkiss) boarding school in Connecticut, a few years after he accompanied his grandfather, Roger, mayor of San Francisco, to speeches he gave during WWII. Roger's father and my maternal great-grandfather Henry George Lapham were first cousins and friends, so I have heard. In an excerpt lifted and pasted below from the full essay, Lewis notes he had never set foot in Connecticut before entering Hotchkiss. Brings a story (an essay?) to mind, but that is for another day.

I never thought it would happen, this writing I am doing. If I died tomorrow, I can say, right now, I finally woke up before my time came. 

Muchas gracias.

"Arriba Mr. Lewis!"
The Solid Nonpareil
by Lewis H. Lapham

Well, humor is the great thing, the saving thing, after all.
—Mark Twain


This issue of the Quarterly relies on sources predominantly British or American, many of them drawn from within the frame of the last two centuries, because I can hear what isn't being said. Usually, not always. Even in one’s own day and age it’s never a simple matter to catch the drift in the wind or judge the lay of the land. Lenny Bruce (Los Angeles, page 153) remarks on the collapse of his off-color nightclub act in front of a milk-white audience in Milwaukee—“They don’t laugh, they don’t heckle, they just stare at me in disbelief ”—and I’m reminded of my own first encounter, at the age of thirteen,with a silence casting me into an outer darkness in a galaxy far, far away.

In the autumn of 1948 on my first Sunday at a Connecticut boarding school, the headmaster (a pious and confiding man, as grave as he was good) welcomed the returning and newly arriving students with an edifying sermon. Protestant but nondenominational,the chapel had been built to the design of an early-eighteenth-century New England spiritual simplicity—white wood, unstained glass, straight-backed pews set in two sternly disciplined rows before an unobtrusive pulpit. The students were arranged alphabetically by class, seniors to the fore, preps, myself among them, fitted into the choir loft above the doors at the rear. My family 
having moved east from California only a few weeks prior to my being sent off to school, I’d never before seen a Connecticut landscape. 

More to the point, I’d only twice been inside a church, for an uncle’s wedding and a police chief ’s funeral.The latter ceremony I’d attended with my grandfather during his tenure as mayor of San Francisco during the Second World War, one of the many occasions on which, between the ages of seven and eleven, I listened to him deliver an uplifting political speech. Out of the loop within the walls of the chapel, I assumed that the headmaster’s sermon was a canvassing for votes, whether for or from God I didn't know, but either way a call to arms, and as I had been taught to do when an admiral or a parks commissioner completed his remarks, I stood to attention with the tribute of firm and supportive applause.

The appalled silence in the chapel was as cold as a winter in Milwaukee. The entire school turned to stare in disbelief, the headmaster nearly missed his step down from the pulpit, the boys to my left and right edged away, as if from a long-dead rat. Never mind that my intention was civil, my response meant to show respect. During the next four years at school, I never gained admission to the company of the elect. I’d blotted my copybook, been marked as an offensive humorist from the wrong side of the Hudson River. 

In the troubled sea of the world’s ambition, men rise by gravity, sink by levity, and on my first Sunday in Connecticut I had placed myself too far below the salt to indulge the hope of an ascent to the high-minded end of the table—not to be trusted with the singing of the school song, or with the laughing at people who didn't belong to beach clubs on Long Island. The sense of being off the team accompanied me to Yale College (I never saw the Harvard game) and shaped my perspective as a young newspaper reporter in the 1950s. A potentially free agent, not under contract to go along with the program—able to find fault with an official press release, put an awkward question to a department-store mogul—I was looked upon with suspicion by the wisdoms in office. The attitude I took for granted on the part of real-estate kingpins and ladies enshrined in boxes at the opera,but I didn't recognize it as one adjustable to any and all occasions until the winter night in 1958 when the San Francisco chapter of Mensa International (a society composed of persons blessed with IQ test scores above the ninety-eighth percentile) staged a symposium meant to plumb to its utmost depths (intellectual, psychological, and physiological) the mystery of human gender.

Wine and cheese to be served, everybody to remove his or her clothes before being admitted to the discussion. Dispatched by the San Francisco Examiner to report on the event, I didn't make it past the coat racks on which the seekers of the naked truth draped their fig leaves. But even with the embodiments of genius, Mensa wasn't taking any chances. Confronted with a display of for the most part unlovely and decomposing flesh, the doorkeepers distributed identifying wrist bracelets, blue silk for boys, pink velvet for girls, one of each for gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. What was wonderful was the utter seriousness of the proceeding. Nobody laughed or risked the semblance of a smile; the company of the elect looked with proud disdain upon the fully clothed reporters standing around in unpolished shoes. 

Lewis H Lapham, Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2014, in introduction to the issue, "Comedy"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

El Moro de Cumpas

Let's file this one under another heading, Horses and Music, but down here it should be at least a subset of Religion, mixed of course, with Tecate. 


El Moro de Cumpas is one of the most famous songs of all time in the entire Mexican republic, and somehow I was so, so lucky to spend almost three years in Moctezuma in the same university office (Universidad de la Sierra, or, as everybody says, "la UNI") as the daughter of Pedro Frisby, the owner of the famous horse. I sure learned a lot from her. We taught English, and she still does. 

Antonio Aguilar, who sings, is regarded here as the Roy Rogers of Mexico, and rightfully so. Give it a watch/listen.

El Moro was supposed to be destined for the Kentucky Derby. He was that good, but the straight all-out borderline race depicted in the video was actually begun a few feet south of the open border on March 17, 1957.  Fences and walls were practically unheard of and no one cared who might slip up, down, or across the Arizona-Sonora border. Horses were much more important than drugs, (and really still are) and no one had very much money (as most don't still), so why should work and a wall be more important than a horse race? 

If some of the the women were really dressed as depicted, in black, like Italians back then, well, indeed, time has changed some things. Yet little has changed much. Just the Muro - the border wall, and the ever present "migras" (Border Patrol) and federales (PRD)

Yes, El Moro de Cumpas used to race on the very same ground where we Americans built El Muro - the Wall. Funny how one letter can mean so much, and indicate such irony.

I live on the ejido, and there is a new horse track near my house. I do love it! 

Iris DeMent's church

I'm trying to figure out how to divide this blog into sections, but that will surely have to come later. In any case, how is it if I start with religion?

Since I have always loved music more than myself, I will put this song up, and guarantee that is the my first and last word on the subject - at least for this week.

 Iris always floats my boat when she's not kicking my head!

The lyrics are below. Here's the link to the song.
Everybody's wonderin' what and where
They all came from
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go
When the whole thing's done
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me
I think I'll just let the mystery be

Some say once gone you're gone forever
And some say you're gonna come back
Some say you rest in the arms of the Savior
If in sinful ways you lack
Some say that they're comin' back in a garden
Bunch of carrots and little sweet peas
I think I'll just let the mystery be

Everybody's wonderin' what and where
They all came from
Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go
When the whole thing's done
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me
I think I'll just let the mystery be

Some say they're goin' to a place called Glory
And I ain't saying it ain't a fact
But I've heard that I'm on the road to Purgatory
And I don't like the sound of that
I believe in love and I live my life accordingly
But I choose to let the mystery be

Everybody is wondering what and where
They all came from
Everybody is worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go
When the whole thing's done
But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me
I think I'll just let the mystery be
I think I'll just let the mystery be

----Iris Luella DeMent, Infamous Angel

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Here we go

It's coming soon...

In the meantime, check out the local institution of higher learning in nearby Moctezuma.

A friend dropped by yesterday for some chili rellenos.