Out on a Mexican Immersion Tour


Hi everybody! Time has come for this blogger to take a well-deserved vacation… in Mexico, of course! where else?

So starting today (Dec. 27) and until way past the Reyes Magos festivities (and if the migra doesn’t get difficult) I will be somehow out of touch, hopefully getting a taste of good ol’ Mexico.

See? after so many years living on this side of the border, you start thinking that Taco Bell, chips & salsa, chimichangas and margaritas are the real thing; thus, I must embark on a real immersion tour of my home country –for the sake of this blog and its faithful followers.

However, my mom tells me my country has been taken over by the likes of Starbucks, McDonald’s and even Taco Bells (Ay Dios!), so I’m not sure how this immersion will go. In any event, I promise to keep you posted. Keep in mind, though, that very weird things can happen down there: I might end up taking part in a narco wedding with Chespirito and the Chilindrina; attacked by the Chupacabras, sun-burned at some beach in Iztacalco or even breaking a leg at the Zócalo’s now infamous ice-skating rink.

None of this means, of course, that you have to stop visiting my blog. In fact, I’ve been posting stuff for almost a year now, enough for you to get acquainted with Latino media and pop culture.

Otherwise, just leave me a comment and tell me what you’d like the Reyes Magos to bring you back from down there. A gardener, maybe? or a cook?

One Tamal, Two Tamales: Setting the Record Straight

chicken-tamales1A tamal (from Nahuatl tamalli, plural tamales)

As a Mexican immigrant in this country, I truly appreciate the efforts of the so-called “general population” to embrace the so-called Latino culture (chips and salsa, burritos, chimichangas, tortillas, tequila, etc.) But a story this morning on The Daily Breeze (yep) reminded me of something that has bothered me ever since I arrived here: Americans insist in calling the singular of tamales a ‘tamale,’ when we all know it is really a tamal.

In the story, aptly titled Tamale is a Hot Choice for Yule, a customer at a local tamal factory declares: “I love them, and I’ve never had a decent tamale in Arkansas.”

OK, that is nice, but just for the record: next time you want to talk about one and not several, keep in mind it’s one tamal, two tamales, three tamales, etc.

Hispanics Don’t Know Anything About Winter

I just love it when marketers use real “Hispanic insights” to sell us stuff, any kind of stuff, including eye-care products during the winter months.

Take Transitions Optical Inc., which today put out the following press release to inform us about its new winter campaign encouraging us, irresponsible, sun-loving, winter-ignorant Hispanics to avoid exposing ourselves too much to the sun (no matter it’s 28 degrees out there.)


Oh well, in the best of holiday spirits, I’d like to encourage you people not to stare directly into the sun (wait for the summer to do that!) Instead try to keep your eyes -and mind- focused on the beer bottles, the bacalao and the romeritos.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Virgin Mary Picks Univision for Latest Apparition

A Greenville, Wisconsin family is living proof that miracles do happen when you watch Univision.

The local ABC affiliate in Green Bay is reporting that the Timayo family was happily watching El Show the Cristina on Monday night when, at around 9:30 p.m something odd happened to their TV set:

“We was watching the program and just the TV froze, and it started appearing some images there, the Virgin Mary and another Virgin of Guadalupe and others,” Victor Timayo told WBAY-TV. (I wonder how Telemundo could ever beat that.)

The Timayos, who live in a mobile home, get their TV signal delivered by Dish TV, but their neighbors were not that lucky, for they were stuck with the perpetual image of Santa Cristina Saralegui in one of her highly-rated weekly apparitions.

Wanted: 1,000 Suckers to Pay $2,500 for a Bottle of Tequila

And speaking of alcoholic beverages and gringos who love to exploit everything that remotely sounds Mexican or Latino, a Texas entrepreneur has launched Dos Lunas Grand Reserve, a 10-year-old tequila that sells for “only” $2,500 a bottle.

But don’t get too excited. According to Mexican news agency Notimex, El Paso-based Dos Lunas will produce only 1,000 bottles of the Grand Reserve special edition, which makes us figure there must be about 1,000 suckers in the Texas area who will actually pay for it.

Founder Richard C. Poe II, who is also a car dealer (mmmm), has said his goal was “to create the smoothest, most refined tequila in the world.” (And in rip off some 1,000 Texans in the process, may I add.)

Do you Want a Beer With your ‘Narcocorrido’?


We have narco-corridos so why not narcocerveza?

My people (and by this I mean, Mexican people) have launched a new brand of beer called Malverde, after the famous saint patron of, well, drug-dealers. Malverde was actually appropriated by drug dealers, but it’s kind of a Robin Hood-type of hero from the North of Mexico.

The beer, which will only be sold in Culiacán and Guadalajara (for now) is produced by a local company, Minerva, which by the way has also launched The Simpsons-themed Duff beer.

My mom is from Sinaloa, so I’ve asked her to go hunting for some Malverde beer so I can soon report back on its taste.

Stay tuned, and ¡salud!

Photo is property of Reforma newspaper

It’s Déja Vu With a Republican Twist

Watching the so-called “Spanish-language” Republican forum last night on Univision was like déja vu all over again.

The format (in which candidates were asked questions in Spanish, which then were translated into English and then back into Spanish) was hard enough to follow; but on top of that, bilingual viewers like myself were were additionally confused by the simultaneous translation and the Spanish-language closed captions.

Just as happened during the September Democratic forum, yesterday’s debate turned out to be another arroz con mango, with interpreters making up words and phrases, such as compulsorio, Hispánicos, Estados Unidos de Norteamérica or oficina ovalada.

In addition, I still don’t know if some of the grammatical horrors displayed by the closed captions were a result of a really tired typist or the candidates’ plain ignorance on foreign affairs. At some point, when Giuliani was answering a question about how to handle Mr. Hugo Chávez, the closed captions showed the following hilarious sentence: “Yo trataría a Chávez de la misma forma en que lo trató el Príncipe Carlos.” (I would handle Chávez the way Prince Charles handled him) … Did Mr. Giuliani mean the King of Spain (not Prince Charles)? was it the translator or merely the closed caption?

That we might never know. What is sure though, judging from the English-language transcript is that the King of Spain was downgraded to Prince by Mr. John McCain:

“First of all, could I again congratulate the people of Venezuela for rejecting this dictator’s attempt to become a president for life? And I also would like to echo the words of Prince Juan Carlos, “Por qué no te callas?”

Ay, ay, ay!

How Do Pork Chops Exactly Offend Hispanics?

According to recent press reports, Philadelphia’s IronPigs’ baseball league has been forced to change the name of its mascot, PorkChop, simply because a group of Hispanics in the area claimed the moniker was offensive, outrageous, preposterous and ultimately unacceptable.

The team’s mascot is a large, furry pig, so I really thought PorkChop was an accurate (if not original) name. The creature is now called Ferrous. Whatever.

I still don’t quite understand how Pork Chop is offensive. To Muslims, maybe… but Hispanics?  Can somebody help?

Surrealist Mexico Part II: Ice-Skating on the Zócalo


First it was the Urban Beach, now the Mayor of Mexico City is treating my paisanos to a true novelty: the world’s largest ice-rink has opened its doors right in the middle of the damn Zócalo!

And it’s no joke. The rink was inaugurated this weekend with a fiesta of laser beams accompanied by a group of professional Mexican ice skaters (where the hell did they come from?)…

It is all part of the Mayor’s plan to keep my people entertained in a Pan y Circo-type of fashion, if you know what I mean. I have put the Zócalo megapista in my list of must-see sites for my upcoming Christmas vacation in Mexico.

¡A patinar se ha dicho!

Foto: Grupo Reforma