A Test

Please rank the following:

  • Nopalitos
  • Waitresses that call you “Hun”
  • Sopwith Camel (the plane, not the band)
  • The XYZ Affair
  • New Balance shoes

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

An Arizona Tale

My mom can come back later and correct me on the details, but well over a century ago, there was a fellow named Esteban Rivera who lived out in Cochise County. He was my grandfather’s godfather, and family referred to him as “Tata Rivera.” Those of you that grew up Hispanic know that that basically made him part of the family.

Rivera was born in Sonora in an era when Mexico still had the institution of debt peonage. This meant that he and his family were living as near slaves.

When he was very young, the hacendado Esteban’s family worked for was putting together a shipment of supplies to a business partner in Arizona. An uncle looked at this as an opportunity to get Esteban out of bondage and hid him in the wagon that was heading north. He made it up, and ended up working at a Chinese restaurant in Tombstone.

Funny thing, Arizona welcomed him.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Is there an effective date on that?

I’ve been watching the Donald Sterling nonsense for the last week or so. What offends me most is his comment that people like him “make the league” and he’s doing his players a favor by, you know, paying them and stuff. It’s talk that you would have heard from a 19th century robber baron. Given who makes up the bulk of his players, the term “plantation mentality” comes to mind. It’s pretty disgusting.

Okay, that doesn’t exactly put me out on a limb. Hey, that’s some progress right there.

The excuse I’ve heard on a couple of occasions for Sterling’s reptilian behavior is, “hey, the man is eighty.” Really? So, if you are a certain age, this is okay? I even heard this put forward by W. Kamau Bell of all people.

Could we stop with this one? We just celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. That means that Sterling has lived most of his life in a post-Civil Rights movement age. The comments of Cliven Bundy were made by a man who has lived his entire adult life after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

“Age” and “growing up in a different America” ceased being an excuse long ago. Quit laughing off the racism of that weird uncle. He’s young enough to know better.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Trying to figure this one out

I occasionally tune in to Shooter Jennings’s show on Sirius XM. He often touts upcoming releases from his label, Black Country Records. Over the last few weeks, he’s been talking up an upcoming album of previously unreleased material from a session that he and his father did together back in 1996.

Much of that ended up getting used later on the album Waylon Forever, posthumously released in 2008. Still, Shooter insists that his father was interested in taking things in another direction: industrial. He’s taken a bit of grief from purists who’d rather not hear Waylon singing over Skinny Puppy sounding tracks and have their doubts about whether this is what he would have wanted.

If that’s the case, I don’t know why Shooter would do it. If he wanted to misuse his father’s legacy, wouldn’t he do something a bit more commercial? I realize that he has never exactly been mainstream, but it would be strange for him to go this far out. I haven’t detected any previous “industrial” direction in Shooter’s music.

I stumbled over a couple of tracks for the project, called Fenixon, on Jennings’s show last night. I wasn’t sure what I tuned into. I heard a noisy scratchy industrial track, then Waylon’s voice came in. I figured out that it was the debut of the album at that point.

I’ll wait to hear the whole album before I put this down to “Sounds like a fun idea but…” category that I reserve for Lou Reed’s collaboration with Metallica or that album Hank III did with the auctioneers.

A promotional video, featuring a song called “I Found the Body,” was released a couple of weeks ago:

Yep, it sounds industrial. Given when the work on it started, it was no big surprise that it sounds a little like Nine Inch Nails and the Prodigy.

The album was released on white vinyl on Saturday. A full release on other formats is due on Wednesday.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Best Spam Comment This Week

From “reader” schmierlappen:

The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won’t fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I genuinely thought you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you can fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

Why Hank 3 calls it “Trashville”

The folks at Sirius XM have been trying to get me to listen to The Highway channel by telling me all about this new sensation named Chase Rice. What they don’t seem to understand is, if I wanted to listen to The Highway I wouldn’t have Outlaw Country as one of my presets. Get it folks?

Anyway, they are selling this guy Rice as one of the co-writers on Florida Georgia Line’s song “Cruise.”

By the way, shouldn’t Florida Georgia Line have a hyphen? I guess I’m just too much of a city boy to get it.

What struck me is not that they are crediting Rice with writing one of the most stereotypical recent examples of the vacuous and growing “Bro Country” genre as if it is some sort of creative accomplishment, but that he was a co-writer. That’s right. Nashville is so creatively bankrupt these days that it takes a team (in this case, five people) to come up with hackneyed, dull Bro Country nothingness.

Waylon, when you coming back?

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

It Just Gives Me the Vapors!

I caught wind of the news about Michael Sam on the internet yesterday (thanks to a retweet from Gay4Soccer). Interesting that the reaction we haven’t heard is that somehow a gay player would be a poor moral example for the children in America’s Game.

(Heaven forbid that the sport of football, with its beefy men in tight pants grabbing at each other, become a homoerotic spectacle!)

No, we won’t hear any “what about the children?” moral arguments. I think after years of stories of date rapes, violent outbursts, drug use and cover ups of possibly debilitating health risks, no one thinks that the NFL is a credible arbiter of what is good family values.

These guys that don’t want Sam to play know that we won’t buy that kind of argument these days. No, the folks around football are worried that Michael Sam will be a “distraction.” Précis: “We’re not bigots, but we are worried that other people might be.”

Somehow, being accused of sexual assault is not a “distraction.” Ben Roethlisberger is still a member in good standing of the Pittsburgh Steelers despite twice having been accused of rape. I haven’t yet read questions about what will happen to Jameis Winston’s draft possibilities despite his recent brush with sexual assault allegations.

Heck, Plaxico Burress’s off-field stupidity kept him away from training, but he got to keep his $1 million signing bonus and still has a career.

The locker room will tolerate an awful lot, it seems. Judging from Deion Sanders’s reaction, the players may be a bit more open to the guy than the anonymous NFL and team officials so bravely quoted in the press. Sanders, by the way, played a big chunk of his career for the Cowboys, a team that has arguably the most socially conservative fan base of any pro team in the nation.

The thing to remember about NFL players is that they are young. The oldest of them are Gen Xers who grew up with Will and Grace and Ellen on TV, the vast majority are even younger and have more liberal attitudes about homosexuality than their older peers. 70% of people under the age of 29 support gay marriage, for example. My intuition tells me that a typical football player is a bit more conservative than other people his age, but I can’t imagine that he’d be that out of sync with his generation.

The “we’re worried about the locker room” reaction says more about older generation attitudes that still hold than the reality among the players.

Somehow, Sam’s college teammates had no trouble accepting him. I guess they are more mature than the aging sports writers and NFL honchos who claim to be worried for him.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Drinking

I don’t drink. Even though there are people around me who give me grief for it, I rarely get grief from bartenders.

So, I miss out on mixed drinks. For the most part, I go to a bar and there is little outside of the Coke/7-Up/diet soda axis available to me. Several places have started offering ginger beer. I know that this is done so they can make Moscow Mules and Dark and Stormies, but I still like that it is available.

I usually make a habit of taking a ginger beer with a few limes. Two of the places I frequent, Playground and Hotel Congress, have Goslings Ginger Beer and the bartenders there know this is my drink. Tap and Bottle has several varieties, including Bundaberg. A friend was playing at World of Beer and I thought I’d ask on a lark if they had ginger beer. The bartender said, “We only have one kind.” She went to grab one and it was Cock ‘n’ Bull, my favorite brand.

“It doesn’t have any alcohol,” she noted.

Well, yeah.

Anyhow, I read somewhere that to be a true gentleman I need to have a drink I mix for myself. Being a teetotaler, gin and soda or similar concoction would be out. I decided to modify a non-alcoholic classic: the Shirley Temple.

The Shirley Temple is ginger ale and grenadine. By the way, there is an alcoholic version called a Shirley Temple Black, which is alcoholic ginger beer (hard to find) and rum. This would also be Dark and Stormy with higher alcohol content.

Anyway, the formula is basic: your base drink plus simple syrup and a garnish. Where can one go wrong? I decided whatever I do has to be a bit more, you know, southwestern.

14 - 1
First, some ice in a glass. I chose an Avengers Toon Tumbler. I’m pretty sure that Wonder Woman, X-Men or Space Ghost would also work without ruining the flavor. Add some ice.

14 - 2
I used Cock ‘n’ Bull Ginger Beer, which now comes in cans too. If the flavor of Cock ‘n’ Bull is too heavy, Gosling’s would make a good choice. I’d recommend against Reed’s (which is a “ginger brew”) as a mixer. I didn’t use the whole bottle, but you can always dump the rest in after you’ve had a few sips.

14 - 3

Okay, here’s the weird part. Instead on grenadine, I used We B’Jammin Farms prickly pear syrup. We B’Jammin products are available online, at local farmer’s markets and a few stores around town. They also make a mesquite syrup that I’ll have to try.People always say use a “splash” of grenadine. I’d recommend a tiny splash since this stuff is very sweet. Also, it is thick and sinks to the bottom of the glass almost immediately. Stir it up to get it mixed right and it will end up an odd dark magenta color.

14 - 4

To be classy, you gotta put in bitters. Caitlin recommended that I use Peychaud’s Aromatic Bitters one night when we were playing around with mixes for both ginger beer and club soda. Unfortunately, Rum Runner only had it in the larger bottles, but I understand that this stuff lasts forever. Just a wee bit will do.

14 - 5

So there you go. I guess a lime would be appropriate here, but I didn’t have any. I don’t have a name for this yet.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Best Spam Comment This Week

SpamI got a Spam comment over at my soccer blog, and the guy seems to be making some untoward assumptions about my personal life:

Later apply a coating of the cooked mixture on herpes blisters. You could have had one sexual partner and contracted this STD. A foul, more accurately fishy, odour associated with a yellowish, grayish or greenish colour in vaginal discharge should be a mandatory reason for paying a visit to a doctor immediately so that diagnosis and treatment can be started as soon as possible.

The comment included a link to a YouTube video about recognizing herpes symptoms. Um…thanks?

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Apostolic Exhortation

Evangelii_Gaudium-255x390I was successfully out-geeked on Catholicism yesterday when I had to be corrected about Pope Francis’s letter, Evangelii Gaudium. It was not, I was told, an encyclical but an apostolic exhortation. My understanding, at least as gleaned in the last 24 hours, is that exhortations are not doctrinal but a call to the church community.

As such, it is written in relatively plain language, even using the term “sourpuss,” and last I checked, it has not yet been issued in Latin. This means we all have to wait a while to find out the Latin word for “sourpuss.”

Oddly enough, the uncomplicated vernacular turns off a few. This from Father Z’s Blog:

Half the time, when I review his daily sermons, I have a hard time figuring out what on earth he is talking about. I am finding that in this document too, but I still have a lot more to read.

The Holy Father has talked a lot about the troubles of regular folks out in the world. If that confuses a churchman like Fr. Z, perhaps a little more of that engagement with what Francis calls “the street” is needed?

Most of the commentary from the liberal side of politics has been about Francis’s critique of capitalism and of materialism in general. Conservatives have pointed out that this is not a new thing (although a part of church teaching that they’ve set aside. We are all cafeteria Catholics, aren’t we?). They are right: both John Paul and Benedict would often say the same sorts of things. It would be hard to find an example of either of them being as stark as Francis does on several occasions, like this:

Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?

The conservative-leaning National Catholic Register chooses save their commentary for the sections on evangelization and reaffirmation of church positions on women’s ordination and abortion. In some ways, this goes to show that there is room for people of all political persuasions to learn from church teachings. I also think, though, that setting aside the economic message misses what Francis was getting at: that engaging the day to day economic issues that people face is an important part of evangelization and that economic justice is part of respect for human life.

My favorite part has nothing to do with economic justice despite the media’s fixation on it. Here is paragraph 47:

The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself “the door”: baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.

There’s been too much talk the past few decades about a smaller, purer church, and too many church leaders who want to use the Eucharist as a political weapon. My hope is that this letter ends that.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.