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

sexta-feira, abril 29, 2005

NORWAY NEWS

My colleague at the Weekly, Nick Schou, is of Norwegian descent, and always loves to share with me stories of his ancestral homeland. Some nutsoid stuff happens over there in the land of fjords and tetherball--we call it the Florida of Europe (it's no coincidence that both are massive penninsulas)

EXAMPLE UNO

Edvard Munch's masterpiece, The Scream, feared burned

Schou wrote about his family's connnection to The Scream last summer. Sad, sad case.

EJEMPLO TWO

Norway courts convict woman of raping man

Yes, it's possible. So why is it weird? Dunno--tell the folks over at Daily Rotten why they listed this story.

NOW #3

The legacy of Agent Orange

Geez--why didn't the Orange County Register mention this poor child in their remembrance of the fall of Saigon?

quinta-feira, abril 28, 2005

THIS IS HOW THEY DO IT ABOUT THE OC, PARTE DOIS

Today, it's the New York Times turn to parachute in to our sordid county, talk to some of the locals, and leave. This time, it's about the notorious 91 Freeway.

What separates a great story from a hack job is context. In the midst of shilling the idea of private tollways to solve the country's hideous gridlock, reporter Timothy Egan only offers this bit of history:

But there are some cautionary stories, based on California's experience. The 91 Express was initially run by a private consortium, which agreed to operate it with a provision that the state could not add other competing lanes of traffic. This brought a lot of anger, worsened traffic and led to a regional government buyout of the lanes, which then threw out the clause about competing lanes. The buyout cost $207 million.

Another toll road in this region, the 73 in Orange County, is facing a potential default on its bonds because it is not meeting traffic or revenue projections. Commuters say they shun it because it does not save much time compared with nearby free roads.

"This brought a lot of anger." That's a insightful commentary. Advice to all future parachute reporters who visit Orange County: read the OC Weekly. We covered the fiasco that is private toll roads a long time ago. Another Gray Lady reporter was smart enough to contact us last summer for his parachute piece. Result: a trek about town by our fantabulous Commie Girl. And a good article.

quarta-feira, abril 27, 2005

THE CULINARY PLEASURES OF ORANGE COUNTY, CANTO I

I once took the son of a peer to Tortas Ahogadas in beautiful downtown SanTana. The guy thought he could finish the torta ahogada, minimally decorated with onions and salsa, with just a couple of bites. When I brought him back to Weekly world headquarters, the poor gabacho's face was flushed. He couldn't talk. His shirt was damp. To this day--like today--whenever I bring in a torta ahogada to work, I tell my peer "Look! The food that nearly killed your son!" My peer doesn't smile.

Appeared on Al Rantel's show last night--another hoot. He tried to corner me on my college MEChA membership, a topic I discussed many moons ago. Read it.

I've been meaning to post this for a while, and finally, here it is:

Mesa, AZ police want monkey to join SWAT Team

After moon-landing conspiracy stories, articles about animals out of their environment are my favorite. Elephants invading a village. Drunken boars attacking cars. Monkeys taking over temples. And now the Mesa PD wants a simian on its force.

I know someone from Mesa. She and her mom agree a monkey would be an improvement over the clows currently patrolling Orange County in the Desert.

terça-feira, abril 26, 2005

PRAISE FROM THE GAWKER EMPIRE ITSELF

Some kind words from the folks over at Gridskipper, the latest tentacle of the Gawker empire. Regarding a dispatch they did on lucha libre in Southern California:

Los Angeles’ Lucha VaVoom hosts frequent matches at various local venues which include a retroed-out, fifties-style burlesque show and color commentary by Spongebob Squarepants voice Tom Kenny. Unfortunately, they are currently on the road in Chicago until June. For the real deal, we turn to nearby Anaheim and OC Weekly’s mad genius Gustavo Arellano, who knows of what he speaks of:

“Orange County’s only lucha libre venue also happens to be what the true lucha libre experience is about (Lucha VaVoom, for all its acrobatics, still has too much of the look!-we’re-hipsters-acting-Mexican! feel). Every Sunday at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace (really, just a glorified swap meet), lucha libre reigns.”

Wrestlers at the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace include the racist gringo American Rebel, transvestite Roma Salavaje and Maldad Satánica (Satanic Damnation). Who in their right mind would rather waste their time seeing the Dodgers or the Lakers instead?

Very kind words from the Gawker people, considering they hate our parent paper's guts.

THE RADIO LIFE, PART DOS

Hear me today at seven in the evening, insha Allah, on the Al Rantel Show on KABC-AM 790. We're supposed to talk about this little billboard that has the anti-Mexican crowd bloviating like usual. And we're also going to play Ask a Mexican! which is always a howl. More postings later--my computer is apparently about to crash.

domingo, abril 24, 2005

THIS IS HOW THEY DO IT ABOUT THE O.C.

Once again, another big-city paper parachutes into our sordid burg and gets Orange County all wrong.

Oh, it wasn't too far off from the truth--Orange County is indeed a playground for the nouveau-rich, the fund-trust hipsters, the plain folks who don't bat an eye spending hundreds on a pair of bloody jeans. But only in two parts of Scott Duke Harris' cover story for the Los Angeles Times' this Sunday did the hint of the real Orange County emerge: the coloreds who keep the Newport Coast homes clean and the culos of gabacho babies nice and ringworm-free.

HINT#1: Plenty of Orange County residents, of course, go about their lives, working to better their lot without succumbing to envy, greed or other pitfalls of consumerism. In Santa Ana, for example, Latinos who help prop up the good life account for more than 75% of the population. A few miles west in Westminster, Little Saigon is the hub of the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam, and includes my wife's family.

HINT#2: Consider the lucky Fuentes family. Before moving into a three-bedroom Santa Ana bungalow built by Habitat for Humanity, Mario, Iris and their five daughters shared a home with relatives. Fourteen people and one bathroom.

Harris, a Santa Ana native, short-sells his hometown. Not only is Santa Ana 75% Latino, it's also the country's youngest, most-Latino, most-Spanish-speaking, most-crowded and toughest-to-live-in city. Yet that's always a factoid that national reporters love to ignore or...nah, they just ignore it. They also ignore its seething white working class, the likes of which make Orange County Nuremberg Central in the white-supremacist music scene. They ignore the endemic political corruption that makes the good life not only possible, but desirable. They ignore the Middle Eastern merchants in Little Arabia, the Korean enclave off Garden Grove Boulevard, anything and anyone not living in the 949 area code.

Only one national entity does not ignore the real OC--the FOX television show, Arrested Development, one of the funniest sitcoms of any year (Buster Bluth's visit to Santa Ana in the episode "Amigos" remains a masterpiece of trenchant, subdued social commentary). And that program probably faces a visit with the chopping block. Once again, the lords of Orange County can smile--their fantasy world prevails.

sábado, abril 23, 2005

ESO ES LO QUE HAY

Last night was the birthday of Javier Castellanos, owner of perhaps the most important Latin music nightclub since the Cocacabana, JC Fandango. Over the years, I've gotten close to Castellanos and his crew, primarily because of their easy-going personalities but also because of their vision. The various Spanish-language music groups JC Fandango has hosted on its tiny stage belies its strip mall existence and is an easy well for any journalist in need of a story. Which raises the question...why does the Orange County Register pretend JC Fandango doesn't exist? Los Amigos Invisibles rolled into town a couple of Thursdays ago, but no coverage--not even a review. In fact, I can tell you how many times the Register has reviewed a show at JC Fandango in the past two years--none. Eh, I guess Register Latin entertainment reporter Justino Aguila is too busy writing stories about multi-colored poodles to give a damn about real bloody news.

sexta-feira, abril 22, 2005

KAMA, KAMA, KAMA KAMA SUTRA

Yesterday's appearance on AirTalk with Larry Mantle went well, if a bit bizarre at the end. That would've been when, after offering witty remarks about the inevitability of development in Orange County's wild lands, I promptly zoned out. Chris Reed, the op/ed columns editor for the Orange County Register, promptly offered a spirited defense of the virtues of development, which really didn't differ from his print edition. When Larry offered me a retort, I was left speechless--I hadn't paid attention to a single thing Chris had said because a Weekling was distracting me. I think I covered myself well--y si no, pues nimodo. Listen to the segment and enjoy. And if you didn't listen, tune in to KPCC-FM 89.3 in two Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. to hear me, Chris, and Jean Pasco of the Los Angeles Times pontificate on Orange County issues. OK, only Chris and I pontificate--Jean is the sole rational voice of the bunch. And Larry, for that matter.

In the evening was the Weekly's fashion show/party at Sutra Lounge (which once scored a review in USA Today, I just found out--big bloody deal) in honor of our fantabulous fashion issue. Spent the evening arguing about the ephermeal nature of culture with a fellow Weekling while ladies of all bust and shoe size sauntered past us. We continued talking, lovable nerds that we are. I'd also like to say I think I was maybe one of two people in a party of hundreds that paid attention to the telly, where the Angels came back to beat those delightfully un-PC Cleveland Indians.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

"I always liked Chief Knockahoma better."


--Said while the broder who uttered it was knocking down some sort of beer.

quarta-feira, abril 20, 2005

THE RADIO LIFE

Late in the afternoon, I received a phone call from the producers of the Al Rantel Show. Wanted to know if I would speak about Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona's recent announcement that he wants some of his deputies to play the "arrest the illegal immigrant" game. I agreed.

Turned out they were much more fascinated by Ask a Mexican! So we played that game for most of the hour (aired on KABC-AM 790). Don't have a link to the archive, but let's just say it was a lovely old time. And tomorrow: AirTalk with Larry Mantle.

terça-feira, abril 19, 2005

(RE)FOUNDING STATEMENT

Bom dia o noite,

First, a bit of history. I started this blog just after 9/11, before I was a journalist and still in grad school. I stopped it last year, content with its slow devolution to little more than Today in Rotten History postings.
But as blogging exploded in the national conscience, one thing kept bugging me: the blogosphere blows. If its denizens aren't bloviating about the MSM (mainstream media, for ustedes non-bloggers) or perceived leftist or conservative conspiracies, then they're whining about some hussy or himbo that broke their heart (see my posts from 2001-last year for that aspect!). Or practitioners link up to bloggers that link to each other and post the same comments on the same stories, creating the most dementedly repetitive faux reality since Groundhog Day.

The blogosphere needs diversity--and I'm not even talking about diversity in the ethnic sense (although the only Latino blogs I know that post regularly are La Bloga and Latino Pundit--and I won't read the latter until he nixes his pretentious and misspelled "born out of underreprentation" cut-line). The blogosphere needs randomness: soccer fascism mixed with theological debates and a good dose of multiple Simpsons references with a Mongolian death worm story thrown in for reflection. It needs trenchant food commentary with shameless self-promotion. It needs a sense of provinciality (that's why my favorite blogs remain LA Observed and OC Blog) but also an awareness of political history. It needs dick jokes--but you won't find that here; I specialize in Mexican-Spanish cursing.

Frankly, the blogosphere needs more Weeklings. And so, I blog anew. It won't be a personal blog, although I won't remove my previous postings to your right because evil Google ensures they will live on forever so why bother denying the past? Nor will I break stories--you can read that part of my brain in the OC Weekly. But I will comment about my beloved Orange County. I will comment on whatever the hell I want to comment on. And more asbestos and more asbestos and more asbestos.

And a special note to all Orange County-based bloggers: I started blogging before all of you--except for Pablo, and he abandoned us for Zion. So pay respect to your elders, cabrones, and do listen often to your web-grandfather's rambles, will ya? Ca mun!
THE LATEST NPR SPIEL

In which I praise Andrea Echeverri's self-titled ode to motherhood.

For those of you in the know: Andrea canta pero chingona, más o menos como en los días de “Florecita Rockera,” pero con maternidad y amor. For the rest of you, read my article on her original band, Aterciopelados (the first real interview I ever did in my journalistic life--my, how the issues fly!)
RATZINGER: THE FALSE PROPHET OF REVELATIONS? OR ANOTHER JESUIT PLOT?

Regarding the election of Joseph Ratzinger to the papal throne as Benedict XVI. Not my thoughts but rather the prophecies of St. Malachy.

Of course, there's a disclaimer in this story:

The prevailing view today is that they are elaborate forgeries, probably perpretrated by a school of Jesuits in the 1600s. This is based on the clear relation of the mottos to the various popes until that period, and the need to find oblique references (such as the motto of the Pope's home diocese) to make the particular motto fit the particular pope. The inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies.

It's always the Jesuits, isn't it? First, the Spanish crown kicks them out of the Americas for loving the natives too much (at least according to the Robert DeNiro-starring The Mission, which also contains one of the more haunting closing shots in cinema). Then Pope John Paul II castrates their authority in Latin America, culminating in the massacre of six Jesuits in El Salvador one tragic night. And now they're behind the prophecies of St. Malachy?

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was a Basque. Now you know why the Church hates the Jesuits.

segunda-feira, abril 18, 2005

THE LITTLEST REBEL

At least you can't accuse the Klu Klux Klan of ageism.

domingo, abril 17, 2005

ADDENDUM TO GOAL!--"Ajax to Auschwitz"

How could I forget Ajax in Amsterdam, the team everyone calls the Jews?!

The original story by the Grey Lady is no longer available online, but read this excellent Boston Globe essay on soccer sociology for background.

Saw the great free kick yesterday that earned Real Salt Lake City a victory in its home debut? Of course not. Ugly American.

sábado, abril 16, 2005

Insha Allah, this problem fixes itself. Damn technological illiteracy!
Let's see if this trick fixes the problems to this infernal blog...
GOAL! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! And so forth.

I suspect you don't give a damn about soccer. Don't like the low scores, the endless mid-field turnovers, the incessant chants of fans. But how about racism? Or fascism? Some of its last sporting adherents roam the soccer pitch.

Consider the following three stories:

STORY #1: DO THE MONKEY

(from the Los Angeles Times): A Racial Wrangle in Brazil Rouses Crowds Far Beyond Soccer Field

If you can't access the link because of the Times' blasted password policy, visit Bug-Me-Not and find the keys you need. Did it? You thief, you. For those good, honest folks, the summary of the story is that an Argentine soccer player was arrested in Brazil after referring to a Brazilian opponent with a racial slur. The Times--moral guardians that they are--never reveal what the epithet was, although the following graphs allude to the lingo:

Racial insults are against the law in Brazil and Argentina, though the latter is known as one of the least ethnically tolerant places in Latin America. Argentina's sports community was up in arms over the arrest. The country has a minuscule black population and racial attitudes here often seem a throwback to an earlier time. When Argentina played Nigeria in the 1996 Olympic gold medal match in Atlanta, a front-page headline in the Buenos Aires sports tabloid Ole declared: "The Monkeys Are Coming."

Typical liberal hyperbole? Let's just say when I hung out with the local Argentines during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, "monkey" was a compliment.

STORY #2: DO THE MASH

Ustedes probably heard or saw Inter Milan fans throw flares on the field during a game. An excerpt from the International Herald Tribune piece:

As objects began to fly onto the field from the Curva Nord, the Inter fans in the more expensive seats on either side of the ground began to vote with their feet and head for the exits. They stopped when the desultory rain of plastic bottles and oranges was replaced by a more systematic bombardment with far more spectacular and dangerous ammunition - a sudden, and remarkably accurate, fusillade of identical red flares or fireworks. Reuters counted more than 30. All of them landed in the Milan penalty area, covering it with a roiling sea of gray smoke and red flames. One of the flares hit Dida on the shoulder. He fell writhing to the ground. Merk halted play. The Milan players gathered out of range in the center of the field. The Inter players pleaded with their fans.

There was break of 20 minutes. In that time, firefighters cleared the flaming objects with practiced skill. Much of the stadium, except the upper decks of Curva Nord and the Curva Sud, filled with celebrating AC Milan fans, emptied. Dida was treated and replaced by Christian Abbiati. But even the Inter fans who had stayed wanted to see no more. As soon as Merk blew his whistle to re-start play, flares flew down again. At almost exactly the time the match was scheduled to end, the German referee abandoned it with 73 minutes played.

And Oakland Raiders fans think they're tough.

STORY #3: DO THE JERK

Probably my favorite sports story this year--soccer player--scratch that, soccer star--Paolo Di Canio gets fined for celebrating a goal with a fascist salute.

From the BBC:

Lazio striker Paolo Di Canio has been fined 10,000 euros (£7,000) for the fascist-style salute he made in the derby win over Roma in January. The Italian Football League also handed Lazio a fine of the same amount. Ex-West Ham United star Di Canio, 36, had claimed that the gesture was a misrepresentation by the cameraman. But the League disciplinary commission ruled on Thursday that the gesture had "immediately and unequivocally recalled a precise political ideology".

Don't know how to post pictures here yet--used to!--so click on the link. I promise you the best jutting political salute since this one.
So now toothpaste causes cancer.

Is there anything pure and non-carcinogenic anymore? Hell, some even say milk causes cancer after other say it prevents it.

Ranchers and vegetarians--the new Hatfields and McCoys.

sexta-feira, abril 15, 2005

Quote of the day:

"Suffice to say, I now have a pathological hatred of clowns."

From an article on the Mongolian death worm