“We send something whenever we have a little extra, at least enough so he can eat." Remittances, the small money transfers a previous FPP called "the most important antipoverty program in the world", are now flowing the opposite direction. Yes, poor families in southern Mexico are having scramble to find money to send north to their out of work relatives in the US.
Mexico’s Año Horrible: Global Crisis Stings Economy. "Until last September, the global economic slump was expected to take a fairly limited toll on the Mexican economy." [more inside]
The Maskatorium: hundreds of masks collected from around the world over the past 20 years.
José Hernández was a migrant worker when he first started to dream about becoming an astronaut. He is the first astronaut to Twitter in Spanish from space on shuttle mission STS-128. NASA wasn't happy about the controversy he caused when he advocated for the legalization of undocumented immigrants. He is not the first Hispanic-American to fly on the space shuttle. Hernández is a national hero in Mexico and has been invited to dine with President Calderon.
225° F (105° C) heat index. Easily impaled on 55-ton jagged crystals that are 36 feet long ... made out of drywall (kinda). "Most cameras with moving parts and tape mechanisms simply will not work."
Just as quietly as when they first voted on this, the Mexican government has decriminalized the possession of drugs for personal use. Associated Press's take. The official decree. Despite the understated release of the information, this is a sea change in Mexican policy and could very well be the beginning of a change in U.S. policy as well.
Everyday Miracles: Medical Imagery in Ex-Votos "The expression of our relationship with illness is wonderfully illustrated in the ex-voto, a devotional painting giving thanks to a saint or deity for a miraculous healing or a blessing. The faithful have always used prayer to invoke the aid of saints as a means to heal the sick and end one's suffering. These devotional paintings are an individual's expression of thanks for the intercession of the divine in a crisis, a snapshot in time of illness and healing. They offer a rare opportunity to view health, healing, and illness through the hearts and minds of the ordinary person." Anatomy::Italian Tradition::Mexican Tradition::Early Medical Guides::Gallery (click for larger) More Mexican antique ex-votos HERE [ some favorites]
The Mexican legislature has voted quietly to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and other drugs.
Border Stories is a series of short documentaries about life on the US-Mexican border, none longer than 6 minutes. The subjects are: drug addicts on the border (warning: graphic images), electronic music group Nortec Collective, hospital costs of fence jumpers, lonesome Minuteman, Mexican emigrant safety patrolman, ranchowners whose land is an immigration throughway, US-raised 18 year-old sent back to Mexico, virtual vigilantes, two old men provide water in the desert, dangers of journalism in Ciudad Juarez, graveyard of US tires in Mexico, drug ballads, hardened border policy hurts cross-border community, another cross-border community fears closing of footbridge, working illegally in Laredo, mayors of the two Laredos, migrants' safe house, hand-pulled ferry, dentistry in Nuevo Progreso, Brownsville high school teacher protests border fence, golf course with the border on three sides & fishermen on the mouth of the Rio Bravo. Border Stories also has a blog about immigration issues.
Movie posters carry the movie in one still image. But they're also a great overview of trends, both artistic and popular. Modern major film posters are common enough, and if you're looking for some discussion of modern posters, Movie Poster Addict might be your scene. But dig deeper and you come across quality versions of foreign films, such as Mexican posters (deep link to a section of Pulp Morgue) or hand painted posters from Russia, India and Pakistan, even the US. MeFi's own flapjax at midnite shared a collection of recent finds from the 1960s and '70s on in this Flickr set. [flapjax at midnite's collection via mefi projects] Some-what pre-vious-ly on Me-ta-Filter. And not from MetaFilter, but from our favorite list site: 20 baffling foreign movie posters.
The Axis of Upheaval: A special report on the coming age of instability.
"Ransom kidnapping is a rare crime in America. Most cops go their entire careers without handling one. These days, most kidnappings involve a husband taking a child from an estranged wife. That's how things were in Phoenix until a few years ago." via 2blowhards.com
"Authored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), the Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008, pdf) outlines a strategic framework and forecasts possible threats and opportunities that will challenge the future joint force." One portion picked out by the media: Mexico and Pakistan are the two countries most likely to undergo "sudden collapse". [more inside]
Alebrijes, first created by Pedro Linares, are brightly-colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures. [more inside]
While most of the world was watching* Obama win, people in Mexico (specially in Mexico City) were busy watching news that a plane had just crashed near one of the busiest intersections of the City, killing all its passengers and wounding at least 40 others in the street and nearby office buildings. The plane, a Lear jet, had eight people on board, among them Juan Camilo Mouriño, Secretary of the Interior [link in Spanish] and at least two other high ranking officials in the mexican federal government. [more inside]
Crystal Palace. "Cavers in Mexico confront extreme conditions and find extraordinary beauty." (Previously.)
Mayan Ruins Filter: Possible Portal to the Underworld found in Mexico. Included in the underwater tunnels (video) are two underground temples and human bones - possibly the remains of human sacrifices. [more inside]
Mexican Aerophones are wind musical instruments or artifacts that can generate sounds or noise with air jets and one or several resonator chambers of globular, tubular and other shapes. Roberto Velasquez, a mechanical engineer, has recreated some of these aerophones. Example sounds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (.wav files)
After the president of Mexico introduced his bill, legislators stormed and barricaded the podium in the House; Senators began fasting in protest. The occupation continues after 2 weeks, with opponents camping out and padlocking the doors of Congress, aiming to run out the clock until adjournment on April 30th. Mexico's top electoral body ordered a TV ad (comparing opposition leader Lopez Obrador to Hitler) off the air. Here in the U.S., little notice: the WSJ calls this "heated debate." [more inside]
The Serenader. Roberto’s long moon-shadow stretches absurdly across the walls of the house as he plucks prettily at his guitar while his drunk client swaggers like a cat... Like many men in San Cristóbal, Roberto holds two jobs. At night he plays and sings the love songs that men use to woo women; in the day he teaches guitar to young men who may someday be his competition. Of the two jobs, serenading is far more lucrative.
"Moralistic, prejudiced, racist, misogynist, manipulative, sexist, daring, exciting, critical, sarcastic and passionate - these are just a few adjectives that commonly describe Mexico's most widely-read publication: the historieta." [more inside]
The Mexican kitchen's Islamic connection :"When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Although Mexico and India were on opposite sides of the globe, the brown, spicy, aromatic curries that he was offered in India sparked memories of Mexico’s national dish, mole (pronounced MO-lay). Is mole, he wondered, “an ingenious Mexican version of curry, or is curry a Hindu adaptation of a Mexican sauce ?” How could this seeming coincidence of “gastronomic geography” be explained ?"
Architecture, Restoration, and Imaging of the Maya Cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná - a new extensive exhibition site from Reed College (with nice large images available). See: Contents. The site includes "19th and early 20th century drawings, prints, and photographs, showing the appearance of these four cities before the extensive restoration campaigns of the twentieth century [..and..] over 1000 recent photographs."
La Real Frida offers beautiful film footage of Frida Kahlo.* Beyond her own self-portraits, some of the most iconic images of Frida are portraits by her 10-year lover, photographer Nickolas Muray. [more inside]
The president of The University of Texas at Brownsville has refused to sign a right of entry request granting access to surveyors planning the U.S./Mexico border fence. This comes shortly after Cameron County landowners were forced to allow the government access to their land. Meanwhile, landowners in Hidalgo County are filing the next wave of lawsuits.
7 short stories by Roberto Bolaño Gómez Palacio, The Insufferable Gaucho, Álvaro Rousselot’s Journey, Phone Calls, Dance Card. From Nazi Literature in the Americas: Edelmira Thompson de Mendiluce, Luz Mendiluce Thompson & Ernesto Pérez Masón and The Fabulous Schiaffino Boys. If you know the fiction of Roberto Bolaño you know what you're in for. If you don't, any of these stories is a good place to start, though the first three are perhaps the most natural starting points. [more inside]
As the immigration debate rages, Anti-Latino hate crimes rose by almost 35% between 2003 and 2006. Here are a few dozen of them. To some, this trend may seem perfectly FAIR.
300,000 people are stranded due to massive flooding in Tabasco, Mexico. More from UNICEF. Video from Reuters. [more inside]
Like a windshield cowboy ... never ridden on a house says the guy from Mexico ... Vincente Fox also says Bush is "quite simply the cockiest guy I have ever met in my life". Interestingly though, around the world this story is reported differently. In India he is "petrified of horses", while Germany just says he's scared. It seems most American news just covers it as "doesn't like horses". As the real cowboys I grew up with would say "all hat, no horse".
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new rules regarding passenger pre-screening both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, this includes flights that overfly the continental US without ever touching the ground. [more inside]
The gypsum crystals in the Cave of Crystals at the Naica mine in Chihuahua, Mexico, are some of the largest and most spectacular in the world. [Last link is a .wmv]
The Lightning Field in New Mexico was one of the first earth art installations when it was installed back in the 70's. 30 years later it still stands and turns even the time you spend there into art. Here's an account by Pamela Petro of her time spent there.
Bill Gates no longer the Richest private citizen in the world. In other news, Larry Ellison still doesn't have any eyebrows.
Brent Kovar got investors and employees to believe his invention was the next big thing, but nobody's ever seen it. Mister Kovar had also been appointed in 2003 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay. Apparently, a DC-9 they co-owned (painted to resemble aircraft from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security) was busted in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine on board. First link via fark
Only four percent of Mexican households have cable TV and 19 percent of the population uses the Internet.
While the first pioneering forays into atonality and free chromaticism were starting to occur in Western European music, the talents of Latin and South America were discovering the Romantic beauty of re-interpreting the past. [much, much more inside!]
On November 25th, 2006, Valentin Elizalde was killed in the city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Elizalde, a singer of a style of song known as the narcocorrido, was warned not to step foot in Tamaulipas because of a video for his song “A mis Enemigos," which showed footage of (WaPo article) the deaths of drug traffickers from the Gulf Cartel. In December of 2006, Javier Morales Gómez was killed in Huetamo, Michoacán while talking on his cell phone. Morales Gómez was the singer for Los Implacables del Norte, another group closely associated with narcocorridos. The most famous death of a narcocorrido writer/singer has to be Chalino Sanchez, killed in 1992, and spawning several imitators known as Los Chalinillos that are still prevalent 15 years after Sanchez's death. (previously) [more inside]
Super Amigos is a new documentary about five masked wrestlers from Mexico City who fight for social justice. Featuring Fray Tormenta, the luchador/priest who was the inspiration for Nacho Libre; indefatigable community organizer Super Barrio; environmental activist Ecologista Universal; homophobia smasher Super Gay; and the matador's arch-nemesis, Super Animal. And they aren't the only ones--El Hijo de Santo is fighting for the sea turtles.
“No dogs bark” by Juan Rulfo is the story of a father carrying his son, a mortally wounded bandit, through the mountains to find a doctor. In Spanish and in English translation.
This gem got me thinking: Songs about a place. Some are more evocative of the geography, some of a tangential longing merely rooted in a place and others -- while about a place -- are really rooted more in a time. Some places immortalized in song you want to visit, others you don't , and others don't really exist at all, though we may know somewhere like it. But near or far, border to border, coast-to-coast (from the west side* to the east side and somewhere in the middle as well, there's musical pins all over the map. [links go to videos] *no direct link, second entry
Just Coffee is a vertically-integrated coffee cooperative with a mission to provide the training and resources to create a sustainable small-scale international coffee company fully owned and controlled by the coffee growers. Could they also provide a model solution for the immigration problem?
"Police in Mexico are investigating claims that rival drug gangs are using the internet as a new battle ground."
It's border-smuggling re-packaged as a tourist experience. According to the New York Times, this is "one of Mexico’s more bizarre tourist attractions: a make-believe trip illegally crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the United States." Perhaps your fully-paid border simulation will soon include being shot at...