Bored Out of His Mind, Staten Island Entrepreneur Discovers Frida Kahlo

Claiming to have “captured” the essence and spirit of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Naturals Skin Care this week launched a line of Frida-themed skin care products, “aptly” labeled Pasión por la Vida (Passion for life.. ha!)
The whole thing is the creation of Antonio Sciortino, a Venezuela-born entrepreneur who, apparently, got so bored in Staten Island that he decided to launch the Omega-3-based line of creams and lotions.

As Frida herself would say (in the world according to Julie Taymor): Wonderful Enchiladas, Diego!

Domino’s New Pizza is Really a Quesadilla in Disguise

It’s amazing what you can learn from reading the newspapers online. Take the Houston Chronicle, which this week did a sort of “food review” on the new Crispy Melt Pizza from Domino’s Pizza. In it, Houston Chronicle writer Ken Hoffman presents readers the following, puzzling question:

Is the Crispy Melt Pizza really a pizza? Or is it merely a cleverly disguised Mexican quesadilla with some pizza trappings?

After tasting the 340-calories-per-slice creation, Hoffman safely establishes that though the Crispy Melt is shaped like a pizza and has some tomato sauce floating in there, “its taste, texture and grab-ability of a Mexican quesadilla.”

Go figure.

What to do With Malnourished Kids? Give ’em Coffee!

Just when I thought I had seen it all…. It turns out that a Houston-based company called Voyava has teamed with a Mexican cooperative to fortify coffee with folic acid and other stuff to give to the children of Chiapas, the country’s poorest state. ¿The idea? to give them nutrients that otherwise they won’t get ’cause they’re too damn poor to eat anything else.

Thankfully, some Mexican officials are hesitating about the plan, saying they don’t believe elementary school kids should be drinking coffee (duh!), fortified or otherwise. (This despite the fact that a 3-year-old this week told the Associated Press “I do like coffee!”)

Besides, I’m not sure I trust these people: Voyava Republic founder Michael Sweeney is an electrochemist, and he is credited with developing a technique to fortify coffee with iron and folic acid. Can they at least put some milk in the damn thing?

Photo: Sylvia Romo

No License for You!

As you must know by now, Eliot Spitzer has given up on his plan to grant a driver’s license to anyone who can show a passport.

In an interview today with the New York Times, the governor says the plan -that was expected to apply to about 150,000 undocumented workers- faced so much controversy and opposition that it would have been impossible to move forward.

I think that sucks, because as my friend said recently, the idea was simply brilliant! “Imagine that! every time we get caught and deported, we would be able to drive ourselves back to Mexico!”

Photo: Reuters

Latinas are not Only Hot; They’re Also Smart

Finally! Science confirms what we Latinos have known for centuries: Curvy women are not only hot, but smarter, wittier and give birth to very intelligent children.

At least that seems to be the conclusion of a series of tests done by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Santa Barbara among 16,000 women and girls and published this week in the science journals

The study found that women with large hips and small waists are more intelligent than those with either “apple-shaped” or linear bodies.

With that, Latinas of the world, Rejoice!

Canadians Get Real Bored in Mexico

Extra! Extra! After a long, harrowing process, the town of Chapala (in Jalisco) will not become the twin city of Edmonton, Canada. The news, which broke today, came as a blow to Canadian citizen Peter Kertesz, who since retiring to Chapala a year ago had been campaigning to get his new home town twinned with Alberta’s capital.

Councilor Ron Hayter of Edmonton yesterday concluded Chapala (pop. 19,000) “is a much smaller community than we are,” thus “the focus of the twinning relationship hasn’t been well established.”

Poor Mr. Kertesz. I wonder what will occupy his time now.

Have a wonderful, fun-filled weekend (even if you’re not in Chapala).

Photo: Jupiter Images

A Culture Clash in Scotland? I don’t Think So!

Question: What does a 36-year-old Mexican waiter do in the streets of Edinburgh during his spare time?

Answer: Fondle women … of course!

According to the BBC, Marco Lozano, a Mexican waiter at the local “Pancho Villa” eaterie, confessed to having grabbed the buttocks of “up to 12” women as they walked the streets of Edinburgh, simply because –as he told the police– he considers European women to be more beautiful than those in his native Mexico.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about this creep’s female preferences, but he had the guts to try to get out of the mess by playing the “culture-clash” card:

“That’s what we do in Mexico. It was a cultural difference.”

I don’t think so Mr. Lozano!

(He will spend one year in jail in case you’re wondering)

Peru, Venezuela… They’re All the Same to Dick

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With TV writers still out on the picket lines, comedy show producers have only to turn to the real world to come up with some hilarious stuff to entertain us. Take Dick Cheney’s latest comments over the weekend, when asked about Hugo Chávez’ influence on the Americas: (Taken from a White House transcript)

“He’s a — obviously an individual with his own agenda, and he spends a great deal of his time worrying about us and criticizing the United States. My own personal view is that he does not represent the future of Latin America, and the people of Peru I think deserve better in their leadership.”

I tell you. I don’t know about Cheney’s agenda, but he might want to squeeze a few geography and politics quick lessons here and there.

As for Chávez, he mocked Cheney saying it shows the United States is governed by a “bunch of ignorant fools.”

Ay dios!

Learning Spanish is Oh-So Easy!

Almost two years after I first found Unforgettable Languages, a company that pitches the “linkword” method to learning languages, I stopped by this morning to check in with them and realized the company is not only still around, but has added some new features and languages to its roster.

The method, say its creators, is simple; and it applies to any language you can imagine. Just see below:

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….more

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and more…

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And just in case Spanish is not your cup of tea, you might want to check out other options.

The Russian for JUICE is SOK
Imagine drinking JUICE out of a SOCK

Spanish -not Mexican- Spoken in Spain

Filmax, the Spanish producer and distributor of films, is tangled up in some bizarre fight with Mexican film maker Rigoberto Castañeda. As it turns out, Filmax is determined to dubb Mr. Castañeda’s latest film, Km 31 into Spanish… problem is, the film IS in Spanish (Mexican Spanish, that is).

The Mexican film maker this week told El País that the argument behind Filmax’ insistence in translating the film into Spain’s Spanish (from Mexican Spanish) has to do with offering a more culturally-relevant movie to Spain’s audiences… (mmm, aren’t we all speaking the same language?)

As Jon Stewart said recently a propos of Univision’s “Spanish-language” presidential debate: “mmm ¿en dónde está mi cabeza?”

Who Says God Is ‘Out’?

If you thought you knew everything about soccer and about Argentinian’s passion for the sport and their own God (i.e. Diego Maradona), think again.

This summer, la Iglesia Maradoniana (the Maradona Church) counts 40,000 loyal followers. Their religion is simple: Nuestra religión es el fútbol y como toda religión ha de tener un Dios. (Our religion is soccer, and as such it has to have a God.) …So guess who this God is?

Unfortunately, the church’s Web site has not been translated -yet- into English; but for those of you lucky enough to understand the language of God, I leave you with Diego’s own Our Father:

Diego nuestro que estás en la tierra,
santificada sea tu zurda,
Venga a nosotros tu magia,
háganse tus goles recordar,
así en la tierra como en el cielo.
Danos hoy una alegría en este día,
y perdona aquellos periodistas
así como nosotros perdonamos
a la mafia napolitana.
No nos dejes manchar la pelota
y líbranos de Havelange…

Diego

Sightings at AHAA’s 23rd Annual Conference in NYC

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Death was the subject around this year’s AHAA’s conference, which kicked off Wednesday night with a scary opening reception at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Times Square. Under the provocative title “Is Hispanic Advertising Dead?” more than 500 ad and media executives were in town to discuss a little bit of everything; from the eternal debate of English vs. Spanish to the death of the 30-second commercial.

This blogger has been busy not only mingling and partying but also doing some not-so-serious reporting; and though I still haven’t found anybody in a compromising or shady situation (we still have tonight’s Awards Show) here are some highlights:

–Edoardo Chavarín, the brilliantly funny founder of NaCo, delivered an engaging keynote address to formally open the conference Thursday morning. Chavarín spoke to a mostly bilingual, bicultural audience about what moves him and where he gets inspiration for his hilarious T-shirts designs. Despite the audience’s best laughs, I’m still not sure everybody understood the references to Amado Carrillo or grasped the real meaning of Chimengüenchón, Chido One and Pipiris Nais. In any case, the conference co-chairman, Aldo Quevedo, smartly pointed out that Mr. Chavarín’s humor is not easily palatable for Politically-correct America.

–Tom McGarrity, the former Univision co-president of network sales, attended the Telemundo-sponsored luncheon on Thursday. Out of his traditionally impeccable suits, he was casually dressed when I spotted chatting with Steve Mandala. Both execs laughed at my suggestion / recommendation that Mr. McGarrity should replace Mr. Mandala as the sales chief of Telemundo. (Not a bad idea when you think about it).

–Despite my rantings about Spanish-language television, Telemundo served me lunch, just like everybody else! (Thank you!)

–Univision scored big points with this blogger for a fun-filled evening at Madam Tussauds Museum House of Wax, where I had a fantastic time in the company of Larry King, Jlo and Woody Allen. (All of them seemed to be very engaged in my conversation, as none uttered a word back at me.)

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–English is not coming to your Univision screens any time soon. The network’s CEO, Joe Uva, made it clear Friday morning that the company “is 110% committed to Spanish-language.”

–From the always smart Isaac Mizrahi (not the designer, but the Brazil-born multicultural director from Sprint: “Hispanic advertising is not dead. What is dead is the low hanging fruit and the easy dollar [to be made from this market].”

–The conference is still on, closing tonight with the 9th annual Advertising Age Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards and Gala. So stay tuned!