It’s Official: Cavalli Doesn’t Follow Hispanic Media

…Otherwise, he would have kept his bocca chiusa, instead of propagating to half the world (meaning People magazine) that JLo is in fact pregnant. Doesn’t he see it? Should he read People en Español, LatinGossip or watch El Gordo y la Flaca, he would have known the Bronx diva has been trying to hide her belly for quite some time now, turning her pregnancy into the world’s worst kept secret.

¿Qué hiciste Cavalli?

Michigan Reporter Gets the Scoop on Tacos

It is not often that I read a 700-plus-word article online in its entirety. But this one from Michigan’s Bay City Times caught my attention. The subject? The never ending “gastronomic” choices found in Qdoba.

Under the headline Choices are plentiful at new Mexican grill the reporter goes on and on and on about black-bean corn salsa, fat-free picante ranch dressing and sour cream… for a total of 748 words. And it’s not even a restaurant review; it’s an actual story, with several eaters interviewed:

A Queso Burrito captured the attention of Jason Doan of Bay City during a recent lunchtime. The burrito is stuffed with steak and warm 3-Cheese Queso sauce and served with cilantro lime rice and black or pinto beans.

Doan, an employee at Dow Corning Corp. in Hemlock, drives to Qdoba (pronounced Q-dobe-a) at least 10 times a month for lunch.

Other important facts about the eaterie:

– Salsa choices range from the mild Pico De Gallo to Fiery Habanero Salsa

– Portions are big and prices are moderate, ranging from $5.09 for a vegetarian burrito to $6.59 for a steak burrito

– Quesadillas are on the menu as well

But wait! what’s even more puzzling is that there isn’t even a news hook: Qdoba (don’t even ask!) opened in July, the reporter dutifully informs us.

¡Que viva la libertad de prensa!

Latin American Politics According to ‘The Police’

If you know The Police, you know what Stewart Copeland is all about. But in a recent interview with the Chilean press he managed to piss off a lot of people, well mostly feminists and… the country’s President.

Speaking about the band’s upcoming Santiago concert, the super-ultra-cool drummer compared the country’s President Michelle Bachelet with the newly elected Argentine leader Cristina Fernández in terms of -what else?- beers.

“Look, Argentina’s new president would be good for a beer; yours, for about four,” Copeland told Wikén, a weekly entertainment magazine published by local daily El Mercurio. (This means, in case you’re wondering, how many beers it’ll take to go, hmmm, elsewhere.)

Chilean women are furious, of course, although they should get some consolation on Copeland’s take on Mrs. Clinton: “Hillary??!! she should be good after one, maybe two… bottles of tequila –on me,” he added.

Knight of Malta Seeks Spanish American Voters


Thanks to my friend Luis Clemens at La Política, I learned today that Boston-native Daniel J. Imperato is running for President in 2008.

But Mr. Imperato is not only running as an independent; he is also calling on “the Spanish American people” to join together to support him. I think Mr. Imperato should truly pitch himself as the candidate of the multicultural crowd. His credentials in this field, according to his Web site, speak for themselves.

In addition to being a presidential hopeful, Mr. Imperato:

Is a Papal Knight and a Knight of Malta

Is a knight of the Orden Bonaria and serves as the organization’s United Nations representative

Was recently ordained as a chaplain for the Latin/African American Chaplains Association and,

Is the Leading Independent Presidential Candidate on “many online sites,” including, The Next Prez, which by the way was canceled in January.

Frankly, I didn’t know Mr. Imperato before today, but he might want to take a cue from a bodega-owner in my neighborhood, José Liberato, whose shop’s slogan is simply brilliant: “Su nombre, José Liberato… Su destino, Vender Barato.”

Think about it, a combination with the presidential hopeful can result in a beautiful slogan for both, the bodega and the campaign:

“Su nombre, José Liberato… Su destino, Vender Barato… Su Candidato, Daniel Imperato!”

I’m Fine, But Thanks for Asking!


I want to thank all my concerned friends and colleagues nationwide who have written and called today asking if I’m OK.

See? I’ve been writing some stuff that pissed some people off, and then, all of a sudden, ¡Pum! Some “weird device” explodes in front of the Mexican Consulate in New York City. Mind you, I was thinking of going to renew my matrícula consular on Monday but given the situation, I might wait until the coast is clear. My friend Juan suggests I wear a wig, but I guess that’s not safe enough.

Have a wonderful weekend, and remember: If you see something… say something!

Green With Envy: I Want My Own Fragrance


As soon as I heard the Chica Dorada (aka Paulina Rubio) will be launching her own fragrance in 2008, I decided to check out the market and explore the chances of getting myself my very own eau de parfum. Alas, the idea is by no means original. Latino celebrities, it seems, have inundated the marketplace with their respective scents:

Rafa Marquez: the Mexican soccer beau this year launched ‘RM’ La Esencia del Triunfo (The Essence of Triumph)

Antonio Banderas, the Spanish actor that the gringos so want to sell us as a Mexican macho, has ‘Spirit,’ ‘Diavolo’ and ‘Mediterraneo’ (ay Dios!)

Jennifer Lopez, the non-pregnant (maybe yes) Puerto Rican, Bronx diva is pitching ‘Glow’

Gabriela Sabatini, the Argentinean tennis player you might not remember, has a complete line called, what else?, Gabriela Sabatini with sub-names such as ‘Devotion’ and ‘Temperamento’

So I guess for now I’ll pass on that idea and perhaps will come up with something more original like a mouth wash or a line of wool underwear (oops, I forgot there’s plenty of those too.)

How do you Say Coyote in Romanian?


I love the Internet simply because you can get your news from unlikely sources… such as Hot News, the Source for Romanian News.

Anyhow, it was thanks to my fellow journalists at Hot News that I learned that more and more Romanians wishing to enter the U.S. illegally are now turning to Mexican coyotes, who charge them the regular $4,000 fee to get across the border, a service exclusive for Latin American nationals.

I wonder if this means Coyotes will now begin to master the romance language to perhaps extend services to France, Portugal and Italy. ¡Viva la globalización!

Can Mexicans Please Stick to Beige?


Earlier this year, residents of Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb, voted on a proposal to ban landlords from renting apartments to illegal immigrants. And since the proposal never really got anywhere, now they want Hispanics to tone down their “tropical” mood.

In the most recent anti-immigrant brouhaha, a local resident (presumably a gringo) has asked the City Council to consider requiring permits and color approval before residents can repaint their homes.

“When you paint your house some fluorescent or garish color scheme, you negatively affect my [home] value,” Robin Bernier, told the Dallas Morning News.

Just like Bernier, those annoyed at the garish colors in some homes quickly say their concern has to do with the neighborhood value, not ethnicity. But as a local business owner smartly put it: “We know who has the bright colors […] Latin Americans.”

Quick! Get Yourself a ‘Hispanic’ Name!


I love politicians.

Now it turns out that in order for your campaign to “resonate” with your U.S. Hispanic constituency, you gotta go the “extra mile” and change your name until it sounds Latino enough.

According to the Kansas City Star, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is facing a real challenge trying to convince always-suspicious Latinos that he is, in fact, Mexican. The gist of the matter, says the newspaper, is simple: With a rise in mixed marriages, more Latino politicians could be facing the prospect of having to prove that they are Hispanic.

No wonder, the country has seen a sudden rise of name changes of late.

Some examples:

Loretta Sanchez-Brixey is now simply Loretta Sanchez

Rep. Rebecca Klein is now Rebecca Armendariz Klein

Texas Rep. Tracy Fischer now goes by the catchy name of Tracy Martínez Fischer

Richard Raymond, a Texas lawmaker, recently changed his name to Richard Peña Raymond

Etc. etc. etc… You get the picture.

So hereby -and even if I never made a point to have a gringo name- I reaffirm my own identity and from now on wish to be referred to as Laura Martínez Ruiz de Velasco de San Pedro de los Pinos y de Mixcoac (pésele a quién le pese and whether you can pronounce it or not).

So now you have been warned: if you have an ancestor with a Spanish-sounding name, or something remotely similar, this is the time to dust it off. You never know when you’re going to need it.

Juan & Maria Win Top Award in Rochester, NY


And speaking of awards for outstanding Hispanics, I am happy to report that Mr. Juan Contreras, owner of Juan & Maria’s Empanada Stop of Rochester, NY, has been named Hispanic Business Person of the Year by the local Rochester Hispanic Business Association.

In accepting the award, though, Mr. Contreras humbly turned the credit to his hard-working wife (aptly named Maria.)

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be standing here,” Mr. Contreras told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.

The couple started out selling about 10 or 20 empanadas a day at the Public Market, and have increased that to more than 800. On Memorial Day, they sold 1,025.

Mexicans Can Save Your Life… No Kidding!


(photo: G.J. McCARTHY/DMN)

I know. I know how you feel sometimes about these Mexicans taking away that gardening job you always dreamed of… But don’t despair! If you cannot get rid of us and send us packing where we came from, you might as well hire us as pet guardians.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask Dennis Baker (in the photo), a Dallas home owner whose life was spared the other day by Salvador, his Mexican pet parrot (also in the photo.) A story this week in the Dallas Morning News informs us that Salvador, Mr. Baker’s red-headed parrot says “hello” whenever he sees someone… So on Tuesday, at 2 a.m. Salvador saw something and he said something (“hello”) greeting the burglar who unfortunately ended up dead in the hands of Mr. Baker.

When police officers arrived at his home after the shooting, Mr. Baker said, Salvador began greeting them with his signature “hello.” “Sometimes he says ‘hi,’ but you can’t get him to speak on cue,” Mr. Baker said. “He has a mind of his own.”

Think you don’t need a Salvador? The Dallas police estimates there are more than 14,400 residential burglaries each year in the city. Hello!!!??

(And just in case you missed the unintended pun: Salvador means “savior” in English. How cool is that?

Misbehaving Latinos Wanted for Reality Show


Let me tell you, it’s so hard to concentrate on a regular job when so many wonderful things keep showing up on the Internet.

According to a job posting on Craigslist, a New York-based casting office, Paladino Casting, is searching for “America’s Numero Uno Telenovela Star” for VH1’s Viva Hollywood, a reality TV show coming this fall.

You can read the entire casting call here -and even apply!- but in a nutshell, you only need to be:

1. Beautiful

2. Stunningly talented

3. Misbehaving

4. Bilingual

5. Willing to do “whatever it takes” to become número uno

…and just as I was getting ready to apply, I realized I would have to agree to be put through “medical, background and psych testing.”

¡Ah, no … Así no! Maybe next time.

Those Spanish Illegal Immigrants…


Steve Lonegan, the embattled anti-immigrant New Jersey mayor accused of hiring two undocumented Guatemalan workers to do some gardening work, seems to be running out of excuses and explanations. In his latest statements to the New York Times, Mr. Lonegan (in photo) came up with the following:

“The real hypocrites are the liberals who are saying that I should have assumed that because they’re Spanish that they’re illegal. That we’re now going to socially stereotype people and assume they’re illegal.”

Wait a second: “I should have assumed that because they’re Spanish they’re illegal.”??? I am not sure of what Mr. Lonegan is talking about; and while I strongly support his point of not stereotyping people… Did he really think these guys were actually from the Iberian Peninsula?

You never know. This is the same guy who last summer asked McDonald’s to bring down a Spanish-language billboard promoting a café helado. (Does he know where the real Bogota is?… Just curious.)

¡Jesús! A ‘Hispanic’ Jesus Shows up in Texas!


Reality is definitely weirder –and more fun– than fiction.

Take the dark-skinned, black-haired Jesus that was unveiled Sunday at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. According to the local press, a “Hispanic” Jesus (yes! as Hispanic as Nash Finch’s cheese) was brought all the way from Italy (?) to replace the church’s old Caucasian-looking Jesus:

“I never thought about what Jesus looked like before this. It’s like I’m looking at myself,” said a man who helped supervised the $5 million renovation of the chapel. “My wife doesn’t even believe it has brown skin. She says, ‘Every time we’ve seen a figure of Jesus, it’s always been white.’ I told her, ‘Just wait until Sunday and you’ll see.'”

Sadly, we have not been able to witness the miracle (being holed up in New York City and all), but one question remains: How come the Hispanic Jesus had to be brought all the way from Italy? Wouldn’t it be easier to bring it directly from you-know-where? … I mean, I’m sure the fee –Coyote-included– would have been much more affordable, though I guess you don’t want to take any chances with the Minutemen.