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...
The Pan-American Highway: A Photo Voyage Photographer Melissa Fowler documented her journey along a stretch of the Pan-American Highway that flows through Mexico, Peru and Chile, providing detailed captions on ancient sites, local economies, rural life, and much more. Click here (wikipedia link) for more information on the Pan-American Highway and its history.
Mexican Day of the Dead, only with a twist: in Pomuch, in the Mayan area in Southeastern Mexico, Mayans celebrate their dead by digging out their remains, and cleaning them. Photos here. The regular Day of the Dead of the dead festivities have been discussed previously on MetaFilter here, here, and here. For those of you who may want to practice, this is a story en español. The link to the pictures might be NSFW.
"They say, 'get bent,' we say, 'let's fight!'" A protest at Columbia University and Minutemen (NYT link) are forced off stage.
Felipe Calderon has been declared the next President of Mexico, but the controversy has not ended as his rival, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to stay in the streets. The most intense conflict has been in Oaxaca, but this is underreported in the US media. Tie this in with a recent Mother Jones article describing the current influx of Mexicans into the United States as an exodus from a failed economy, and all of a sudden the reports coming from Mexico take on a very different meaning.
"Everything is foggy. Everything is not clear. He was alive when we got to the other side. And now I have brought him back dead. Whatever hopes we had, that's where they ended." The Summer of the Death of Hilario Guzman (BugMeNot)
Mexico City post-election protests, which began on July 30th at the instigation of López Obrador, former mayor and alleged "loser" of the July 2 federal election, now cover a 12-kilometer (7.5 - mile) stretch of Paseo de la Reforma, one of the main arteries of one of the world's largest cities. Some see it as a party, others see it as ridiculous. In any case, a crisis of legitimacy is at hand, as all eyes await the announcement, due by Sept. 6 from "Trife", the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary, which will either decide the winner, or annul the result and call for new elections. With partisans of Obrador already claiming that the results of the recent partial recount suggest systematic fraud, it's unlikely that a smooth resolution is going to come any time soon.
Sex in prehispanic times. Cuba Chronicles. The arrow of time. Brazilian homosexual culture. The sword and the cross. Very similar. Bestiarium. Mini-descriptions of the many varied exhibits. Essays in English and Spanish by the artists with their images from ZoneZero.
Federal officials in Mexico have officially dropped the investigation into the murders of hundreds of young women in Juarez since 1993. [previously]
Edward James (1907 - 1984) was a millionaire Scottish, art patron and surrealist who moved to Mexico in 1947 to grow orchids. After the orchids were destroyed by a freak snowstorm in 1962, he decided to switch to experiments in architecture. He built a monument to surrealism called Las Pozas, just outside of Xilitla. [more inside]
Mexico's election: now being recounted, but some are saying it was stolen with our help. Many countries in Latin and South America have been moving to the left lately, following in the footsteps of Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile. Argentina actually caught us messing with things during their election, too. Exit polls in Mexico (as in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004) showed a lead for the more leftist (relatively) candidate, and for those who scoff at using exit polls as evidence--in 2004, US Republican Senator Richard Lugar, in Kiev, cited the divergence of exit polls and official polls as solid evidence of “blatant fraud” in the vote count in Ukraine. As a result, the Bush Administration refused to recognize the Ukraine government’s official vote tally. So, honest election, or what?
The Mexican General Elections are held tomorrow, and the campaign has been extremely fierce and dirty. Long-time favorite center-leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, who had been running with an up to 10 percentage point lead earlier this spring, is down to a 2-3 percentage point lead in the last polls before the poll blackout started on the 23rd of June. His main opponent is Felipe Calderón, of the right-wing National Action Party, whose Vicente Fox, an ex-executive of the Coca-Cola company, is the current president. But attacks against López Obrador started several years ago, when he was the head of government in Mexico City, as right-wing interests and the upper classes saw his populist rhetoric and support from the huge lower classes as a threat to their privilege and way of life. They compare him to Castro, Chavez and Morales, while his politics may in reality be closer to those of Kirchner, Lula, Vázquez and Bachelet. López Obrador has accused Calderón of corruption and nepotism, while Calderón has declared López Obrador a danger to Mexico. Meanwhile, the US would much prefer a right-wing president in Mexico, and some track that to the right wing's willingness to privatize the national oil monopoly, and of course, most of Latin America has been turning left lately.
Nueva Orleans Before Katrina, Hispanics accounted for 3 percent of New Orleans’ population, with just 1,900 Mexicans showing up in the 2004 Census. No one knows for certain how many new ones have arrived, but estimates put the number between 10,000 and 50,000.
Mexico Poised to Allow Drugs for Personal Use -- Mexico’s Congress has approved a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use. President Vicente Fox is expected to sign the bill.
¡Ask a Mexican! is a recurring feature in the Orange County (CA) Weekly (archives) in which columnist Gustavo Arellano tackles questions from pochos and gabachos alike, about politics, cultural differences, and stereotypes. What started as a one-off joke has become one of the alt weekly's more popular columns (LA Times), complete with crude, foul-mouthed, politically incorrect ruminations on the origins of "the dirty Sanchez" and random slaps at Guatemalans. Why do Mexican men always wear cowboy hats? Because "[w]earing a sombrero here screams "POR FAVOR DEPORT ME." Why won't Mexicans tip? Actually they tip better, and "leave a little extra for a job well done—which includes how caliente the chica is."
Latin America Turning Left? From the top: Lula da Silva*, Lopez Obrador, Nestor Kirchner, Hugo Chavez*, Alvaro Uribe, Michelle Bachelet*, Ollanta Humala, Alfredo Palacio, Oscar Berger, Leonel Fernandez, Oscar Arias, Tony Saca, Tabare Vazquez, Martín Torrijos, Evo Morales* Manuel Zelaya, Nicanor Duarte, Daniel Ortega, Rene Preval*.
Maya Ruins - Nice images of Maya ruins in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, indexed to site plans. See for instance Uxmal: the Grand Pyramid, the House of the Doves, the Nunnery Quadrangle, and the Pyramid of the Magician. See also: the Meso-American Photo Archives.
"When you come up and tell people there are elephants down there they really think you've gone crazy"
Cenotes (say-NO-tays), scattered across the Yucatan peninsula, vary greatly in shape and size, but are often quite beautiful in any case. Some cenotes were apparently used for ritual human sacrifice by the Mayans, and some, say scientists, contain waterlife which may be helpful in treating cancer. However, these cenotes and their connected ecosystems may be in danger if the rapid and largely unchecked development of the Maya Riviera continues.