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.
"The make him into something he wasn't." Today, on the 200th anniversary of his birth, a national holiday, Mexico both honors and reconsiders Benito Juarez (Wikipedia: Eng/Span): "Mexico's Lincoln," the nation's first indigenous president, who served two terms in the 1860s and 1870s. The capital city's airport, a border city of 1.1M, universities, and streets and monuments in just about every town are named after Juarez, widely considered a national hero. Politicians left and right invoke his name, especially this year as Mexico prepares to elect a new president in July. For many in the Latin American left, he's a regional icon in the vein of Simon Bolivar and Ernesto "Che" Guevara; Havana unveiled a bust (Span) of him last year. He's held up as a defender of the poor and the indigenous and an opponent to free trade. Today, however, some historians say he was neither. For those who read Spanish, a leading Mexican (right-of-center) newspaper, El Universal, also touches on the topic in "Juarez, a controversial icon."
Want the real "Real Thing", plenty of people know to look for the yellow cap and stock up on some passover Coke. But unsanctioned by the corporation, Mexican Coke is now showing up in the USA, in the old fashioned glass bottles.
Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
US Border Patrol attempts to build a wall between Mexico and the US. Coyotes are not worried Mexico is already coming up with plans around it and the Americans are already coming up with a way to not pay for it.
Tzintzuntzan was the capital city of the Purépecha Empire (also known as Tarascan). Culturally (scroll to middle of page) isolated from the rest of precolumbian Mexico, the origins of the Purépecha is still unknown. Their language is one that is not even provisionally linked with any other language and is still spoken by about 200,000 natives around Michoacan. The Purépechas were the only state to become an empire in the Western Mexico cultures.
Mañana November 2nd is the “Day of the Dead” Linked here two years ago; and adding a link for Spanish speakers. Perhaps most famously known through the Skull of Catrina by the late great José Guadalupe Posada. Some Quotes for the day. And finally why not participate if in San Francisco.
lacitedesmortes - documentary on women murdered in ciudad juarez -- lacitedesmontes.net is not in English, but through its flash presentation and navigation, it should explain enough about the brutality of the unfortunate events that took place in Ciudad Juarez. Since 1993, almost 400 women and girls have been murdered and more than 70 remain missing in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico. While the region's law enforcement as well as state's attorney general were either incompetent or corrupt, more than a dozen women's rights groups were created to solve the murder as well as to stop the violence in the region. Thanks to international organizations such as Amnesty, UNIFEM, and IACHR, the number of violent murder on women in the region has degreased for a while, however, the battle still continues. More resources here.
The Cabinet National Library. A charming piece of dry, conceptual humor. A little banal, perhaps. There is also a hidden agenda.
An Image Bank For Everyday Revolutionary Life - The Siqueiros Photographic Archive is a collection of photographic images collected by Mexican mural artist David Áfaro Siqueiros..."The archive traces Siqueiros's visual research prior to painting on canvas or on the wall, and also documents his use of photography during the production of the works themselves." [via]
First there was Santo and the Blue Demon, now a new star is born in the the world of Mexican wrestling. His name? El Serpento!
"New Mexico, Cleaner than Regular Mexico" This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has crossed the line of good taste. Two years ago, [Urban Outfitters] stopped selling a game called "Ghettopoly" after protests by black civil rights leaders. Last year, it halted sales of a T-shirt that read "Everyone Loves A Jewish Girl," surrounded by dollar signs, after the Anti-Defamation League objected. As could be expected, not everone finds this stuff funny.
Strange Curiosity The island seems to be Mexico's largest. Shows up on Google satellite but not on the map. Google Earth yields a few placenames, leading to finding the true name of the island: "Isla Tiburon" presently an ecological reserve with the nickname "Shark Island". Aside from surrounding shark tours and an occasional visit by kayak, it seems this place is lonely and untouched.
Embracing Illegals: Companies are getting hooked on the buying power of 11 million undocumented immigrants - The Underground Labor Force Is Rising To The Surface [pdf]
Postage stamps with a side of race baiting. The Mexican postal service released a series of five stamps today featuring a 1940's era cartoon of a fat lipped jug eared negro child, known for his hapless adventures, and his Aunt Jemima (classic edition, not modern sassy Jemima) mother.
Mexican Pictures and many others as well. The photos of Raul Gutierrez (more inside).
Frida Kahlo has a show opening at the Tate Modern in Britain. The Mexican artist was married to famous muralist Diego Rivera. Frida learned how to paint after suffering a horrible accident and attended her first and only opening in Mexico in her bed after years of pain. Pain and suffering are common themes in her work, which is widely known and largely focused on self-portraiture.
Aparicioñes. Somewhere along the back roads of small towns dotting the Louisiana and Mississippi and Mexico landscape is Jack Spencer, a self-taught photographer, searching for beauty. More inside.
Mountain Voices. 'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
Poguetry: "The Parting Glass: An Annotated Pogues Lyrics Page".
George Washington University's National Security Archive carries a collection of declassified US documents and articles on Saddam Hussein; Mexico, Cuba and other Latin American countries; Nixon's meeting with Elvis; the CIA and Nazi war criminals; etc.
Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded: "A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists." Others are not so sure... Coincidence, or engineering? Did the designers of El Castillo pyramid cannily build in a sound effect that mimics the warble of the sacred quetzal bird? Listen for yourself, with the .wav file (first set is the real bird, the second is the pyramid) featured in this Acoustical Society of America page. I prefer to think it's deliberate; after all, it's possible that early man was experimenting with cave acoustics to to create sound-enhanced rock art (there are sound samples for this included here - unfortunately a Geocities site). Also of interest, the BBC programme "Acoustic Shadows" (requires RealPlayer - *heavy sigh*).
Mexico publishes Migrant/Illegal Immigrant Guide A new comic-book-style guide for migrants produced by the Mexican government is designed to help immigrants cross the border illegally into the United States. (NPR) This is proving a little controversial. Deaths are common on the crossing.
This is a small homage to hundreds of performers who covered themselves with sombreros to become Slavic Mexicans. (via memepool)
"Writing a whodunit may sound like an odd thing to do when you are running an insurgency"... Nevertheless, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, the mysterious, offbeat leader of the Zapatistas, and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, a Mexican crime novelist, are coauthoring a mystery novel live--alternating chapters each week--in the pages of the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada. So far, they have finished chapters one, two and three (pdf) of Muertos Incomodos, (The Awkward Dead). Is there a precedent for this experiment? I love this sort of thing but, unfortunately, my Spanish is insufficient. Any Spanish speakers care to review?
7,000 Years of Religious Ritual Is Traced in Mexico Archaeologists have traced the development of religion in one location over a 7,000-year period, reporting that as an early society changed from foraging to settlement to the formation of an archaic state, religion also evolved to match the changing social structure. This archaeological record, because of its length and completeness, sheds an unusually clear light on the origins of religion, a universal human behavior but one whose evolutionary and social roots are still not well understood.
GOP looking to repeal food labeling law. Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
Guidelines for Low-Impact Tourism Along the Coast of Quintana Roo "Conserving the natural landscape and enhancing the scenic beauty of tourism development contributes to the high quality of coastal habitat, one of the area’s principal attractions." Warning: PDF format!