A Week in the Life of Gustavo

"Seems to think that if he fails to write, la migra will find him."--OC Weekly More merriment available at ronmaydon@yahoo.com

sábado, janeiro 31, 2004

One of the more interesting compliments I've ever received happened tonight at a Vietnamese open-mic night.

After introducing myself to one of the organizers, she thanked me for the article I did on the F.O.B art show I did over a year ago. Her painting is the one featured in the article and just wonderful. She then declared me her favorite writer for the Rag and added, "You're the only one who doesn't sound like a character from the O.C."

I said nothing.

sexta-feira, janeiro 30, 2004

The arepas in Santa Ana are rather small, but boy are they tasty!

More info to come...

quarta-feira, janeiro 28, 2004

All Work and No Play...

Today, I was introduced as a "angry, brilliant, hilarious, bitter, sarcastic, passionate" writer. Half of those are correct--but which ones?

The work is maddening--but all for a good cause. And whoever left that previous post--at least Communists get rid of their enemies by working them to death rather than shoving them off a helicopter in the Pacific. But I'm not a commie--I'm a dork.

Am going to see Vaquero soon. That will be a blast. Shall write afterwards...
All right, lovers/haters of me: you have a comments section to blast me towards the sixth level. Go loco or I will delete it within the week.

Speaking of mandates, Pinochet Apologist says I do just that and I allow no room for discussion. Kind of like your namesake, no?
This is it for the night. My pockets hurt.
That neither American Splendor or Spellbound received any Oscar nominations show how much of a sham the Oscars are.
The first Tweety cartoons had him in pink and torturing the canine versions of Abbot and Costello. The cartoons were hilarious, more so than I thought they could ever be.
Jack Paar was once fired for saying "W.C" on the air. They still say W.C. in Tijuana.
As I try this out, I shall use random thoughts of mine over the days as guinea pigs. First one:

Jason Kidd is a spoiled asshole.
Let's see if this flame-thrower works...

terça-feira, janeiro 27, 2004

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

Such eventful days!

Friday

Went to dine at Le Diplomate European Bistro with the Fabulous G Sisters and Uno (a gal who is so named because she dominates said card game). Food was great but much too expensive--$150 for a buffet? Ridiculous

Saturday

Attended a show at the Centro. Not as many people showed up as there should've been, but the evening was enjoyable. Kicked myself in the head once again for the reticence that destroys me. Also attended the birthday party of a cousin of mine. At the party, an old neighbor of mine made fun of my Spanish for some bizarre reason. I can't even remember what word she claimed I mispronounced, but my mother soon came to my side and nearly everyone else at the table. The former neighbor shut up. Stupid wab.

Sunday

Another event at the Centro, this time a screening of The Revolution will not be Televised. More people showed up than I expected--around 55, to be exact. Great film, great discussion, great turnout. And afterwards, more reading.

Monday

Ate dinner at Ferdussi Taste of Persia with the Chapman Couple and Pinochet Apologist--Nameless Genderless Friend begged off, and the Kahlo Commie had familial emergencies to attend. The male half of Chapman Couple made the observation that he's never seen such a combination of arrogance and self-deprecation in anyone like the one I supposedly possess. Pinochet Apologist soon chimed in with the infamous Gustavian Arrogance Theory--for the ignorant, the theorum essentially states that I unconsciously assert my superiority over others at all time.

Now, I don't think I'm superior to anyone. Yet Chapman Couple kept bringing up points that reveal a sense of assuredness that can be construed as arrogance--such as my dismissal of graduate school as too easy. But is it my fault if that is how I truly felt? It was also determined that I'm sublimating my libido through the sheer amount of articles I write every week. I agreed
An update soon. In the meanwhile, Clint Eastwood is overrated, although I respect his agreement with Warner Bros.

sábado, janeiro 24, 2004

Didn't I Blow your Mind This Time?...

This story is funny.

Got home on Thursday from a meeting somewhere. Earlier in the day, I was enraged at something that shall remain mysterious. I was so angry that when I got home, I felt a vile substance in the back of my throat and started gasping for air. You know the cliche "choking on your own bile" in anger. Yep, that's exactly what happened to me. There's a reason why one of my many nicknames is Demon Gus.

In other slurs...

Here's a snide remark from Petty Burger after reading my blog....

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to one of my Mexican friends, Gustavo. This is in response to this post:

Hey Gustavo! You don't need to join the Board of the Centro Cultural de Mexico! I gotta place that's perfect for the expression of Mexican culture! It's called Mexico!

You are in America now Gustavo, time to assimilate! Now go get an apple pie at McDonald's and sing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for me, wouldya?


First off, Petty--I ain't Mexican. I'm a dork.

(quick aside: when I recently went out with my friend to L'Hirondelle, she reminded me that when I was younger, I also eschewed nationality. If people asked me if I was Mexican, I'd quote Socrates by replying "I'm neither a citizen of Athens or of Greece; I'm a citizen of the world." And my Mexican friends would harrass me. I didn't give a damn. Of course, now my race is genus dorkus malorkus)

Secondly--I'm damn right assimilated. I speak English (the ultimate multicultural language) and Spanish (a language that combines elements of Gaelic, Arabic, Latin, and whatever the hell Iberians spoke). I eat Thai food while driving my Japanese car with my Salvadoran friend and blasting Cambodian psychadelic rock. We're going to visit another friend, a Filipino married to a "white" woman--they're both volunteering for a Republican aspirant for higher office whose parents fled Saigon about 25 years ago. This is America, all right--and it always has been.

Ah, but before I excoriate Petty too hard, here comes some praise from another post:

Speaking of American Patrol and Gustavo Arellano, I noticed this morning that the bespectacled cultural tonto has been linked to by Glenn Spencer today, his arch enemy. Two people could not be more at complete opposite ends of the political spectrum, and yet they meet somewhere over this great article:

HE EXCERPTS ARTICLE HERE--YOU READ THE DAMN ARTICLE

It's the largest source of income for the country, even more than Pemex revenues. I too want to see a violent, bloody revolution in Mexico. It's been almost a hundred years, and they are long overdue. Her government is so corrupt, that nothing will change as long as the mordida greases the wheels of government, and her former corrupt presidents live in asylum in Ireland, never being brought to justice. Indeed, a country so rife with corruption, yet also so openly hostile to US interests over the long course of history, will not change anytime in the near future, sadly enough.

Congratulations to Gustavo. You know you have hit the big time when American Patrol and NPR link to you in the same week.


Thanks for the commendation, Petty. See? My contrasting views do somehow reconcile themselves. I can liken it to a dialectic, but then I'd just further the flames.

And this has just made me happier. I'm posting the entire article in its entirety because it deserves it. Article from Wired.com:

When the American Family Association posted an online poll last month asking its constituents their position on gay marriage, it thought it was engaging in a straightforward exercise.

The conservative organization supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, and it planned to forward to Congress the results of the poll, which it expected would support its position, as evidence of Americans' opposition to gay marriage.

But the AFA never counted on the power of the Internet. And once the URL to the poll escaped its intended audience, everything went haywire. As of Jan. 19, 60 percent of respondents -- more than 508,000 voters -- said, "I favor legalization of homosexual marriage." With an additional 7.89 percent -- or 66,732 voters -- replying, "I favor a 'civil union' with the full benefits of marriage except for the name," the AFA's chosen position, "I oppose legalization of homosexual marriage and 'civil unions,'" was being defeated by a 2-1 ratio.

"We're very concerned that the traditional state of marriage is under threat in our country by homosexual activists," said AFA representative Buddy Smith. "It just so happens that homosexual activist groups around the country got a hold of the poll -- it was forwarded to them -- and they decided to have a little fun, and turn their organizations around the country (onto) the poll to try to cause it to represent something other than what we wanted it to. And so far, they succeeded with that."

Of course, no such poll can be said to represent an accurate picture of popular opinion. But, clearly, the AFA had hoped Congress would take the numbers it planned to produce as exactly that kind of evidence.

Now, Smith says, his organization has had to abandon its goal of taking the poll to Capitol Hill.

"We made the decision early on not to do that," Smith admitted, "because of how, as I say, the homosexual activists around the country have done their number on it."

So what happened?

Against the wishes of the AFA and its members, the poll leaked to the outside. And soon, people like Gabe Anderson began posting it to blogs, social-networking sites such as Friendster and sundry e-mail lists. When Anderson posted it to his blog on Dec. 18, 2003, the anti-gay-marriage position was leading, with 51.45 percent of respondents opposing gay marriage or civil unions.

But with his posting, in which he alerted his readers to the poll, Anderson -- and many like him -- began to unleash the democratic power that the Internet promises, and which organizations like the AFA must have forgotten: the ability to bring people together to fight for, or against, a cause.

"I definitely think that if an organization like the AFA wants to conduct a poll like this, they open up themselves to more than they expected," said Anderson. "I think it's a great example that the Internet can effect change and have an influence if there is a cause."

Surely, by now, with the rise of organizations like MoveOn.org and Internet-fueled political campaigns like Howard Dean's, such results should surprise no one.

But the AFA seems to have been caught by surprise, and is now trying to gain new currency from the outcome.

"Hopefully the results of the poll will be a wake-up call," said Smith, "to realize the need for us to get more focused and organized and to do what we need to do."

But in the meantime, the AFA and organizations like it will have to get used to the idea that if they want to use the Internet as a tool, they had better understand how it works.

"I think it's pretty cool," said Anderson. "It's empowering that the Internet can have this kind of effect. As an individual, your first reaction is, 'I don't know if I can make a difference.' This is a good example of helping people who are historically apathetic (to say), 'Maybe my vote will matter, too.'"


This reminds me of the effort a couple of years ago by Friends of the Show to make Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf the most beautiful person in the world on People's inane list. Thanks to the anarchic spirit of the Internet, this was able to happen. And that's what my America is about--the power to upend for moral good--and great Thai.

quinta-feira, janeiro 22, 2004

I could rant against the world right now, and I will. Not here, though: this'll all happen in the solitary confine of my room.
Like the Fourth of July...

Conversation yesterday...

She: Could you believe that Howard Dean? I mean, come on! What was he on? He just shot himself in the foot!

Me: Or don't you think that it's the media who has just aimed a Gatling gun at his feet and fired off their rounds over and over?

She: (Dismissive shrug) No.

The she in question is head of the Westminster schools. Gotta love the people in charge of our kids. I must admit, however, that I LOVE the various remixes floating around on the Internet with Dean's yowl. YEEEAAAAAAAAAARGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Or something like that.

quarta-feira, janeiro 21, 2004

He Lost the Use of His Pants...

Attended a five-hour city council meeting in Placentia yesterday. Read the entirety of the New York Times (this is the second time this week I've used the word "entirety"--where's my thesaurus?) while taking down wicked notes. More to come...

In the meanwhile, have to go to another meeting today--this time, in Little Saigon. A visit to Lee's Sandwiches is a must. Tomorrow, get to meet with Downer Downey, then attend a meeting at the Centro Cultural de Mexico--I'm now on the board! We'll see what happens...

terça-feira, janeiro 20, 2004

Beer Barrel Polka...

Had my first full glass of beer in my life yesterday at the Gypsy Den in SanTana. It shall also be my last--blecch. But the evening itself was wonderful--a lunch at El Curtido turned into five hours of Venezuela, religion and food. It shall happen again, God willing.

Will post more after I eat at Cha Thai. Work at the Rag's new location in SanTana is wonderful.

domingo, janeiro 18, 2004

Di Porque...

My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday today. I've always wondered how well Mexicans hold up as they age older while whites are senile almost upon reaching their 70th year. Although my grandmother has lived nine decades, she acts like someone in her 70s--her memory is impeccable, her eyesight well, although her legs are now giving her problems and she says nothing sits well in her stomach. Then again, it is hard to believe the final comment, as my grandmother is too proud of a woman to admit that anything is to her liking.

Some of the family was there. And let's leave it at that.

sábado, janeiro 17, 2004

Nothing was Delivered...

Actually went out tonight to an event at (I've decided to be more discreet in what I describe as to add some interest and protect the identities of those who piss me off. Of course, being that said people read this blog, only they will know. The rest of you have to find out on your own).

In fact, I think I should stop writing about what actually happens in my life, being that I've gotten in trouble twice too many times already with this infernal blog. Instead, I think I'm going to devote this to ambiguities, Rotten.com postings...wait a minute, we're already there!

All I can say about tonight's events is that everyone LOVES to criticize me, especially those who profess to like me the most. And that's incredibly sad. Thank God I'm jaded beyond belief or I'd really be sad right now rather than the current anhedonia I'm suffering.
Auld Lang Syne Redux...

Know how people say a new year is the time to start anew and move on? Well, in the space of the last two days, I have been presented with such an opportunity, as the two options I pined for throughout 2003 have now closed.

You know what I'm talking about. And I am existential once more!

Here's some Rotten.com history to liven up your day...

Jan 17 1961

President Eisenhower warns us of the evils of the "military industrial complex". Did we listen carefully enough?

By far, one of the most chilling observations in American history--done on television, no less. This is General Ike, the man who led the Allied Forces during WWII, telling his country to beware his former employer. And the question posed by the Rotten.com people is correct--why don't more people heed his warning? Oh, right: because all the companies that fall under the military-industrial complex category--Boeing, Northrup, etc.--gave its workers a middle-class life. Ah, America!

sexta-feira, janeiro 16, 2004

For Whom the Bells Toll...

And so the ultimatum was answered...negatory. Too bloody bad.

quarta-feira, janeiro 14, 2004

Humongous entry Friday.
Deadline is tomorrow. In the meanwhile, more Rotten.com history!

Jan 14 1601
Authorities of the Catholic Church burn a large percentage of the Hebrew books in Rome. Monks targeted the books because they felt they portrayed Jesus in a blasphemous manner. It would have been healthier to burn the monks.

Jan 14 1998
Jewish extremists Avigdor Eskin and Haim Pakovich are charged in a plot to catapult a pig's head containing the Koran into Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque, in order to spark tensions between Jews and Arabs. It is the latest in a series of pig and pighead incidents by Jewish agitants.

terça-feira, janeiro 13, 2004

Random Rotten.com Rememberences...

Jan 11 1892
After sampling the services of many adolescent women in the tropics, the fifty year old painter Paul Gauguin marries Tehura, an awfully cute 13 year old Tahitian girl.

Jan 11 1964
The US Surgeon General warns against smoking for the first time. It's amazing how many dumbshits need to be told that inhaling smoke is harmful.

Jan 12 1914
Industrialist Henry Ford offers the incredible sum of a $5 per day wage for unskilled labor (previously $2.34), but only to married white Christian men willing to subject themselves to surveillance and random home inspections by the company's Sociology Department.

Jan 12 1966
Premiere on television of the homoerotic comedy "Batman".

And here's the Paris Hilton entry on Rotten.com. Thank God they reviewed the surest sign of our impending doom. Here are some excerpts. WARNING: The following may be hilariously graphic.

What do you get the socialite hotel chain heiress who has everything? How about a big, stupid cock in her pudgy little butterface? The Paris Hilton sex tape of 2003 was little more than your standard three-pronged fuck 'n' suck: missionary, doggy-style and a blowjob. The entire feature weighs in at a scant two minutes and fifty-sex seconds, operating in near dismal conformity with Lars von Trier's Dogma treatise on moment-by-moment filmmaking. The handheld camera is unmistakably "on location," there is no superficial action or geographical alienation, all sound effects are produced in real-time collaboration with the images, and the primary director disavowed any immediate accreditation.

OK, enough. Read it on your own.

segunda-feira, janeiro 12, 2004

E Preciso Estar Aqui...

You didn't hear me on NPR today, right? Click here for the bloody link.

And if that doesn't work, click here for the show capsule.

Isn't my voice so sonorous? Too bad the words don't match up to the sound.

I am not in a pleasant mood as of late. Ultimatums, people getting angry at me, second choices--ha! I'm a maroon. But I'm not a letter-of-recommendation writing machine, for chrissake: work under me, then we can talk. But if we're just friends, how could that possibly be objective? Oh, wait: I should just forsake ethics.

Another friend ticked. Hey, join the club.

domingo, janeiro 11, 2004

I overestimate others and underestimate myself. How's that for a life?

sábado, janeiro 10, 2004

Float On...

From Ryan Gattis...

Ah, reading the food article has reminded what I like so much aboot your writing...you are always squeezing yourself in there and making it aboot more than just the piece. I like that. Surely though, a Marie Antoinette joke about headlessness could've been had? Eating cake? No? I know, I know, don't call you Shirley. And honestly, don't knock the (lack of) 'eloquence'. Normal people like that "creamy" stuff. Believe it or not, your rhapsodizing can seem a bit bloated. You I dig it, I'm just sayin'.

Diocese Report: shit! That tagline on that image is crass, brova! I love it. But all the same, a philandering child-loving priest is got to be detail-obsessed enough not to send Timmy home with his drawers on backward. Um, one would think.

My response...

As always, thanks for the kudos. Honestly, I never thought about the Marie Antoinette joke, perhaps because I considered the restaurant more Belgian than French. Perhaps a joke on the underachieving Red Devils would've been more apt? As for bloated rhapsodies...hey, all the wish-they-were-great writers must constantly ride on their high horse, no?

And for all you people who aren't condemned to my Shameless Self-Promotion list for eternity, this is what I've been up to...

L'Hirondelle, a Belgian/French San Juan Capistrano eatery review.

In the course of the review, I discuss Walloon/Flemish antagonisms, my rotten luck with women, and Bambi!

Niko's Restaurant in Fullerton

The Norm-iest diner outside of Norm's.

Some skewed abuse numbers via the Orange County Catholic Church

Further condemning myself to purgatory. Remember: that's worse than hell in the Catholic universe.

My father hates illegal immigrants--never mind that he himself was one.

I'm going to read that one for NPR come Monday on the show Day to Day. Wanna hear me? Tune in to KPCC-FM 89.3 at 9am or KCRW-FM 89.9 at noon. I'll be close to leading each broadcast!

sexta-feira, janeiro 09, 2004

Another Saturday Night, and I Ain't Got Nobody...

To stave off the blues, I purchased a rugby game from EA Sports last night. Vastly entertaining, although the graphics are terrible and there are one too many glitches. Fun times, though.

I've just realized I need to get a life. Consider it a futile endeavor!

quinta-feira, janeiro 08, 2004

Same Old Joke Since 1962...

handsome devil
You're "Cemetary Gates" ! You're smarter
than other people, with their trite
romanticized ideas about things. You have a
wicked sense of satire.

I would pick "The Boy with the Thorn in his Side" to best describe me. And the lyrics!

The boy with the thorn in his side
Behind the hatred there lies
A murderous desire for love
How can they look into my eyes
And still they don't believe me ?
How can they hear me say those words
Still they don't believe me ?
And if they don't believe me now
Will they ever believe me ?
And if they don't believe me now
Will they ever, they ever, believe me ?
Oh ...

The boy with the thorn in his side
Behind the hatred there lies
A plundering desire for love
How can they see the Love in our eyes
And still they don't believe us ?
And after all this time
They don't want to believe us
And if they don't believe us now
Will they ever believe us ?
And when you want to Live
How do you start ?
Where do you go ?
Who do you need to know ?
My pockets hurt.
Meera Yaar Dildar...

From a friend down in Mexico...

Aquí estoy in beautiful Oaxaca City, finally checking my e-mail after weeks of being stuck in my pueblo sin una p***** computadora, they're working on it, según. Anyways, I haven't gotten a chance to read your articles from the last few weeks, pero I'll get there.

I was reading your list for the top albums del 2003, creo que en unos sí estoy de acuerdo, pero en otros como que no. Lo de Julieta, es cierto lo que escribiste, también Jumbo.Their last album didn't impress me as much, most of the songs sounded the same, had the same rythm, como que no me latió. But, Café Tacvba didn't make your list, ¿qué onda? Maybe you didn't have the access to this album, pero Zoé's album "Rocanlover" is in my list.

Also, I found out Vaquero is going to be in JCF, que envidia, I hope I get to see them perform some time this year, in México.

My response...

I like Café Tacuba's CD a lot...I just felt that, in comparison to other releases this year, it just didn't match up to them. I know that it's blasphemy comparing Natalia Lafourcade to Café Tacuba...but I really liked her album!

I've heard so much about Zoé, but I never heard the album--therefore, that emission. And yes, I can't wait for Vaquero to play at JC Fandango!

FYI: Vaquero was the band formerly known as Zurdok, one of the best damn bands to grace rockero-dom in the past decade. No one bought their album, however. And how did they sound? The excerpt:

Instead of incorporating Latin American rhythms, Zurdok’s music constantly mixes the best aspects of history’s finest rock bands during their greatest periods—the lush harmonies of the Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds, the dramatic tympanis of the Beatles’ "Every Little Thing" and the electronic weirdness of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The last time you heard this type of music, you were dreaming about Thom Yorke and John Lennon fathering a child together. The lyrics are just as grand—postmodern, philosophical musings about self-discovery and the ultimate subjectivity and randomness of existence.

I don't exaggerate on this one. They were that bloody good.

And now, some Daily Rotten history...


Jan 8 1998

Unabomber suspect Ted Kaczynski attempts to hang himself in his jail cell with his underwear. Let's hope for his mother's sake that the underwear he chose was clean.

quarta-feira, janeiro 07, 2004

I had a long blurb, but it never published. Damn blog, but par for the year's course.
Previous entry erased, so here's the summation:

Roger Kahn. Pete Rose. CAPS! Los Angeles Times. Ryne Sandburg. General disgust. Bed.
For it's One, Two, Three Strikes: You're Out!

I was never much of a Pete Rose fan--I dug his passion and his car-crash collision against Ray Fosse. But I never considered him an excellent player, hits record notwithstanding. And now his extremely belated admission that he betted on sports only proves that the man is a shameless self-promoter but without any of the humorous tact other similar hacks like Howard Stern or myself might have.

It seems not many people have any love left for Rose. Check out this story by Roger Kahn, the esteemed baseball scribe who ghost-wrote Rose's autobiography.

Key quote--and really, this sums up everything:

Hall of Fame? Not only no, HELL, no! I want Rose out of Cooperstown, and I don't even want him managing my grandson's Little League team. I am no plump idealist, like Giamatti, but I still like my sporting leaders admirable. Orel Hershiser comes to mind.

I am not going to read the new Pete Rose book. I am too busy working on my backhand. But I'll be first in line at Barnes & Noble for something else. The new confessional O.J. Simpson memoir.


I've never seen caps used in an LA Times article before.

In other baseball news, Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor made it to the Hall of Fame. Good for them. But again, no Ryne Sandburg. Growing up, Ryne Sandburg was my favorite baseball player along with Rickey Henderson and Nolan Ryan. I'm not sure what the bias against Sandburg is--after all, all he did was retire with the highest number of home runs hit by a second baseman and won a bevy of Gold Gloves. Could it be the curse of the Cubs?
**
Will post some letters tomorrow. In the meanwhile, damned sleep--the only place I find solace.

segunda-feira, janeiro 05, 2004

I'm So Tired...

Clint Eastwood is overrated, although I do like his relationship with Warner Bros.

I'm not actually tired--I'm incredibly bored, though. Such is what happens when you're too involved in one aspect of your life while the other suffers magnificently.

domingo, janeiro 04, 2004

Desde Laredo a San Antonio...

And so the holiday festivities are over. Thank God. Now back to the tredge and horror that is reality.

My capacity to imagine is withering away--actually, no. My capacity to dream is--and that's worse. Or maybe it's all the food I've eaten this weekend that's doing the thinking and the talking for me.

Enough! A new year is coming, with new opportunities and all that nice claptrap people say in order to motivate themselves. My resolution: survive.

If you are disturbed by the above passage, please don't be. I'm just annoyed that tonight's Simpsons episode made no bloody sense whatsover. Great line, though: the Tot Offensive. Think any Vietnam vets were offended tonight?

sábado, janeiro 03, 2004

Selected highlights from Rotten.com's entry on PETA...

Mar 1999 PETA launches their "Jesus was a Vegetarian" campaign, in which they claim that Jesus was a member of the Essenes, who followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices. Scripture doesn't agree with this, Jesus having eaten Fish and other meats on several occasions.

13 Mar 2000 PETA launches their "Got Beer?" campaign in which they encourage college students to drink beer instead of milk. Citing Beer's lack of fat, cholesterol and hormones, PETA claims that a glass of beer is more healthy than a glass of milk. The campaign is timed to coincide with St. Patrick's Day celebrations being held later in the week, and PETA claims they will have ads in campus newspapers with their new slogan. Among the other items associated with the promotion are bottle openers with the slogan "Drink Responsibly. Don't Drink Milk." A firestorm of controversy immediately erupts, including a condemnation from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) who call the campaign irresponsible.

17 Mar 2000 PETA declares an quick end to their "Got Beer?" campaign citing complains from MADD and other groups. They promise to send MADD a $500 donation and a link from their milksucks.com website.

Apr 2001 Rebuffed by Timothy McVeigh's warden, PETA writes a letter directly to the Oklahoma City Bomber, asking him to switch away from meat, and in fact asking him to not just go vegetarian, but go vegan. McVeigh writes a return letter, making several salient points and statements: "Truth is, I understand your cause - I've seen slaughter houses myself - but I still believe in reasonable taking and eating of game (as an outdoorsman and hunter)... I cannot sustain a prolonged intellectual debate on the subject as my time is short, but I'd suggest hitting Ted Kaczynski up for his opinions on the subject." Also: "Where do you draw the line and what standard is used to define that line? Those that are in it for the health benefits accept poultry and fish as edible. Where do those opposed to suffering stand? (Ever see a fish struggling out of water?) What about grubs/worms/etc.? And finally, plants are alive too," he continued. "They react to stimuli (including pain); have circulation systems, etc. So how about them?"

11 Jun 2001 Timothy McVeigh chooses as his last meal two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream. (Not Vegan since it contained dairy, but Vegetarian, technically.) In an interview with the Financial Times that appears two days later, PETA Coordinator Bruce Friedrich says "Mr. McVeigh's decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world's greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, all of whom advocated vegetarianism as an extension of humanitarianism." (This is an exact duplicate of a statement in a letter sent to McVeigh's warden asking his remaining meals be made Vegetarian.)
Absolutely amazing what one finds out over dinner. And when you don't have someone over for dinner--you find out nothing. And therefore, love loses.
Tu Votas por Mi?

From fellow music hackMatt Cibula...

And you better keep your blog too, GA...I read it every day, even when I have no flippin' idea what you are talking about, which is most of the time, because I don't know any of the people you are talking about or their situations.

'Tis true. Too much of this blog is devoted to bloody ingrates, and since I'm so adamant in giving the nearest and dearest in my life ridiculously reflective pseudonyms rather than detail their exact relationship to me, this infernal blog sometimes read like the diary of a escaped 13-year-old mental patient who dreams a bit too much--how about the male version of the protagonists in Heavenly Creatures?

To placate all of y'all who don't know what the 'ell I speak about, I give you a WEB EXCLUSIVE: my top 10 Latin alternative albums of 2003, with a bit of explanation and links to my own articles on them! Hey, I must shamelessly self-promote at all times.

Caveat lector: I'm limiting meself to Latin alternative because this is the only music style I review--well, that and Long Beach alt-country. Most music of today, both in English and Spanish, is vile. "Rock is back" merely confirms my fears that people are worthless. Outkast and Radiohead are great; Sleepy Jackson is a fop who wishes Oscar Wilde could savage him (excuse the derogatory comment!). Now without further ado...

1. El Gran Silencio, Super Riddim Internacional, Vol. 1

This album shows the power of Latin alternative and why, when done best, can be the world's most brilliant genre. Whereas most Latin alternative bands--et tu, Cafe Tacuba?--have forsaken their heritage for the easy sounds of America, El Gran Silencio is stubbornly rooted in the dirtiest music forms the Western Hemisphere offers--cumbia/vallenato/ragamuffin with inane raps and bravura that comes only by being real-life chuntaros. Most overlooked song of the year: "Venadito Callejero", the most danceable political cry since the Internacionale. The Re of the new millennium.

The review:

"As if to fulfill these criticisms, El Gran Silencio have gone brilliantly native for this first chapter of a planned two-part effort (número dos comes out in the fall). Using a raga/rap/ranchera scaffold as a base, the quintet proceeds to unleash almost every accordion-based riff known to Gabbanelli—vallenato, conjunto norteño, cumbia and squeezebox sounds from the Colombian plains Carlos Vives doesn’t even know exist—to cheesily complement the overwrought love songs, booties-in-the-air brags and smash-society lyrics that make the band as exhilarating an act as rock en español has ever produced."

2. Vicentico, Vicentico

This is also the hardest-to-find album of the year, and is finally, officially showing up in non-import bins. The album actually came out in 2002, only in Spain. My review on it comes out next week--read it. In the meanwhile, read my blurb on his appearance in Los Angeles:

"Cigarette smoke belched from his mouth, a scraggly beard adorned his face, and his mane appeared as if it had never known the discipline of a comb. But Vicentico allayed any reservations once his crooning commenced. Backed by a nine-member orchestra that out-Cadillac’d the original Cadillacs for musicianship, he opened with “Se Despierta la Ciudad,” a lividly dark number tumbling with Afro-Argentine rhythms that detailed the unrest of his native land. Vicentico’s trademark raspy prayer carried his outstanding solo material, which gravitates away from his former band’s frenzy toward a stately amalgamation of lovely bossa nova, thunderous batucada and a general lounge sensibility."

3. Cabas, Contacto

Another album I've yet to review, only because it came out in the last parts of December. And thus, I withhold any comments. All I can say is that my words on him from Nov. 2002 now seem ridiculous:

"But the drums! Cabas’ backup band employed three different percussionists—a regular drummer, a congero and someone going Tito Puente on the timbales—that might have saved the concert. This pounding trio, though, couldn’t mask the Colombian clown’s nonexistent stage presence, and his stage-strutting and happy-clapping looked ridiculous."

My take, 2004: Cabas is a man you should listen to fast.

4. Bersuit Vergarabat, De la Cabeza...

Wrote about them earlier this week, even excerpted them. Here's a different excerpt:

"Adoring but angry fans hum each chord, sing all the lyrics, and cheer every time Cordera dedicates a song to the hijo de puta ex-President Carlos Menem or urges them to remember the valiant mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. De la Cabeza includes only one new track (the rest are culled from the badass albums Liberntinaje and Hijos del Culo), but it’s the powerful ballad "El Pacto," an inspiring love song that also doubles as commentary on the psychological and musical resiliency of the Argentine nation in the face of endless chaos."

I love how the Rag allows me to ridicule Latin American leaders with the worst insults imaginable.

5. Yerba Buena, President Alien

Afro-Nuyorican funk at its sweatiest. Voted by the Rag's main music editor as having the best concert in OC this year, a point I don't dispute. Most bittersweet song of the year in "Wassamatter Baby?", a song I'm unfortunately relating to nowadays. Also, best damn shot of the year--Panavision is back! Now the review:

"Combining Caribbean cadences with hip-hop reflections and African beats that would’ve made Fela Kuti proud, President Alien is a relentless recording that evolves frenetically as each song progresses. Sardonic flutes hump brave mambo horns that ride never-stopping percussions pounding to an orgasmic conclusion on virtually every track—and then it starts again. The results are dirty and sweaty, glamorous tropical traditions gritted for New York’s urban wonderland."

6. Control Machete, Uno, Dos: Bandera

Rap for me died with Tupac--and even then, rap for me was over after the original N.W.A. dissolved--but this group showed me that bragadoccio in rap isn't necessarily cliched, especially when you're rapping about issues that matter. This is another Latin alternative group that doesn't disavow their roots, even though in Control Machete's case, it's excusably easy to.

"Previous obsessions of the Monterrey, Mexico, Latin rap avatars persist—the dueling rapid-fire growls of Toy Hernández and Pato Chapa, smoggy beats unafraid of using traditional Latin American instruments like marimbas, congas and tubas to ominous effect, and songs unapologetic in attacking what ails Mexican society. But now there are fiesta-worthy jams not bogged down by political gravitas—just raise your hands along the Bootsy-funky party-starter "Bien, Bien" and its smirking mariachi horns fading in and out of spleen-disintegrating drum beats."

7. Natalia Lafourcade, Natalia Lafourcade

The first two songs on this album are terrible, and these were the only two songs of hers I knew for a good couple of months. Then I actually bothered to spin the disc, and she irrecovably changed my opinion of her--about the best pop you'll ever encounter. I now kick myself for having missed out on her show at the El Rey. Another one to watch out for.

"But Lafourcade is no fabricated foreign ingénue angling to cash in on America’s obsession with sultry untalented teens—this chick can belt. After two opening pieces of pop putridity, Lafourcade moves on to reveal soothing little wonders of dance pulses and Brazilian strums—the album you should’ve played during the summer, but instead will now spin to melt the coming overcast gloom."

8. Plastilina Mosh, Hola Chicuelos

Owners of the most hilarious musical video of 2003 also, for "Peligroso Pop." Absolute morons--and I mean it in the most loving of sense. Also their show at the Conga Room was the last time I ever went out with Argentina--after that, I pulled out my surface-to-air missile and promptly pointed it to the bridge. Idiot.

"Any semblance of lyrics consist of excerpts stolen from the Amoeba Records bargain bin—chanting prepubescent girls, apoplectic radio announcers, even an entire final-descent speech by an airplane pilot on "Houston"—and what few words Rosso and Jonáz mutter are languid declarations, such as "Let’s give a rest to your underwear" on the romantic-in-a-porno-kind-of-way "Magic Fever."

9. Molotov, Dance and Dense Denso

Another great rap album. A bit overrated, in my opinion. But...can't deny the power of "Frijolero", the shrapnel we needed to boom out that no other American band dared think. Wusses.

"The bizarre "I'm the One" — imagine a Huggy Boy dedication transported to D.F.'s colonias — counters its message of Sartrean individualism with a too-lush female background singer; urban unrest has never sounded so saccharine. On "No Me Da Mi Navidad (Punketón)," the wry electronic plea that the government fund punk bands morphs into a condemnation of a country that abandons dissident children to their own wits. "Tell me, what are you going to do with street kids?" Fuentes asks the Mexican nation. "Let them die," replies his country's discombobulated voice."

10. El Otro Yo, Colmena

The most unknown great act out there. All cuties, but possessors of a spirit that could only be forged in a country as fucked up as Argentina. Look at the picture in my review: doesn't the girl look like a drugged-up Olsen gal?

"A bit more accessible than their 2000 electro-nuts must-own Abrecaminos, Colmena thankfully still finds the quartet—drummer Raimundo Fajardo, keyboardist Ezequiel Araujo, and dueling siblings Humberto and María Aldana on guitar and bass, respectively—combining paper-shredder six-string chops, drum pounds that mimic the pots banged by protestors on Argentina’s chaotic streets (which they excerpt on "Calles"), and haphazard synthesizer swoons into rock at its face-punching best."

**

Notably missing from this list--Julieta Venegas (the most disappointing release by any artist in years--it wasn't bad, but girl needs to be hearbroken in order for her to reach her usual strata), Gustavo Cerati (good album, but not too memorable), Quetzal (they would be No. 11), Jarabe de Palo (me the idiot never actually bought the CD in order to review it--another remnant of Argentina. How I miss her easy smile...but not the insult of the ages), Jumbo (ha!) and Cafe Tacuba (great album, but when you match Cuatro Caminos up with their previous efforts, it's terrible)!

Any questions. Email me above. Not a bad list considering I wrote it off the top of my head and interrupted by a viewing of the Simpsons, eh?

In other news, today was a bad day. In fact, this past week has been terrible. And so, I write.

sexta-feira, janeiro 02, 2004

I've posted this before, but here it is again from Rotten.com's entry on Marlon Brando

Sep 2001 In a bizarre performance, Marlon Brando appears in sunglasses in a leather recliner onstage at Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary Celebration in Madison Square Garden: "In any event while you're... wondering who that old fat fart is sitting there... I wanted you to realize that in that minute there were hundreds if not thousands of children hacked to death with a machete, beaten to death by their parents, got typhus and died of a disease." Brando examines his watch for a bit. "Hundreds of children have been hacked to death in the minute I've looked at my watch. Hundreds more were beaten. Don't chat! Think about what I'm saying. It could be you." Then the booing commences with great fervor.
I'm so glad UCLA lost and USC won.

Here's a UCLA quote before their humiliating defeat to Fresno St. tha appeared in the Reg...:

"It would be a very bad thing," senior linebacker Brandon Chillar said. "That's the only way you can say it. When you're UCLA, playing Fresno State, you don't want to lose to littler schools and stuff like that. You want to prove you're a bigger program for a reason."

Said defensive end Dave Ball: "What would it be like? I don't know. Oh, man. I don't know. It just would be not very good at all, you know what I mean?"

And safety Nnamdi Ohaeri: "We need to uphold that (UCLA) name."

And the eating of crow from the report after their loss...

"It was," [UCLA quarterback Drew] Olson said, "one of the worst losses I've ever been a part of."

In the meanwhile, I've become a closet USC fan. Read my pick this week for the Rag...

I’m a proud UCLA alumni (M.A., ’01) and a longtime Notre Dame fan—in fact, at the beginning of every college football season, I still dust off the hideously faded Fighting Irish jacket I purchased about 12 years ago, back when my eighth-grade imagination still dreamt of winning the Heisman Trophy with my duck-spiral-throwing arm. So why in the name of Knute Rockne am I urging everyone to light a votive candle for the USC Trojans when they face the Michigan Wolverines this New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl?

Wake up and smell Traveler. Even my Pavlovian reflex to detest anything cardinal and gold could not deny the beauty of the Trojans’ football 11 this season, a team that, thanks to an offense that never scored less than 43 points in its past seven games, finished on top of the Associated Press’ poll. And all antitrust fans should recite their rosaries to ensure a USC victory, since a win would make the current Bowl Championship Series (BSC) crockery that prohibits a true national playoff from occurring disappear faster than a Bruins offensive series.

On a civic-pride note, every county resident should cheer on the 22 local boys that contribute mightily to the Trojans squad, from ghostly tailback Hershel Dennis (Long Beach Poly) to throwback linebacker Matt Grootegoed (Mater Dei, who unfortunately will not play due to a nagging high ankle sprain) to Grootegoed’s prep quarterback Matt Leinart. The southpaw sophomore led the Monarchs to the CIF Division I-A title in 1999 and could very well guide another gridiron group to glory if he triumphs this Thursday.

I'm NOT a front-runner. Even when UCLA was riding a five-game win streak, I despised them. And I viewed every wrenching ND lost on the telly. But UCLA football is despicable--any program is that fraudulently used handicapped parking permits for its prima donna players.

Enough ranting. Time to start tempering myself. But why?

quinta-feira, janeiro 01, 2004

Always nice to be used as a reference point in trying to promote a band. In this case, the organizors used my review of Bersuit Vergarabat, both my band overview and CD review of De la Cabeza... Just one question: what the bloody 'ell are they doing performing in Raleigh?!

Another thing about Bersuit--the Los Angeles Times mentioned in their year-end soccer recap that one player for an English squad claimed sickness so that he could miss his game. Later on in the night, though, according to the Times account, he was caught rocking to the "heavy metal band Bersuit."

I'm not mentioning this to poke fun at the lack of Latin alternative knowledge of the Times writer but rather to point out how friggin' nuts Bersuit is. When I last saw them at a packed JC Fandango, half of the crowd was shaking their bodies against each other with skimpy clothes while the others moshed with the best of them. At the end, about 50 people were on top of the JC Fandango stage, giving lead singer Gustavo Cordero quite a scare. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. May they visit our region again.