miércoles, diciembre 14, 2005

Balls of Steel

That transit workers union (TWU)has, collectively, balls of steel.

First of all, they threaten to strike at what seems like EVERY holiday season. A compromise between them and the MTA is usually reached at the eleventh hour, but not before the networks are getting TWU ass tattoos and terrorizing the city almost as much as the TWU themselves.

Second of all, the transit workers simply do not deserve any kind of raise except the basic cost of living. Why? In short, they suck. Why should they get the 8% raise they are wanting when the rest of us had to wait ever so patiently for that basic cost of living increase, and by the way, we got less than the increase calculated, when they already are paid fairly? I read an article yesterday in the NY Times about this train conductor or whatever who makes $47,000 a year and owns a building in Brooklyn which allows him to pay $600 rent, in addition to the revenue he gets from his tenants. So apparently, I am supposed to feel sorry enough for this man and others like him that I should stand by idly and let him and his drinking buddies walk off a job they don't do that well and inconvenience 4 million subway riders who are in the same boat as the transit workers or are even worse off during this holiday season of perpetual hope. Give me just a small break. For the past week, they have been slowing down subway service to prove their point, thereby alienating millions of people they could have had on their side if they had shut the fuck up and continued to do their version of a good job. On top of everything, I have to walk my ass to work in the freezing cold on Friday morning if the union is not satisfied with what the MTA gives them, and then walk to Penn Station on saturday morning to try and get home for Christmas. Roger Toussaint, the president of the transit workers union, is basically a publicity hog who misleads his union members into thinking a walk-out will benefit them in any way and loves to get his rich ass behind podiums with Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Randi Weingarten (the leader of the Teacher's union), talk about how he spits on Bloomberg's suing the union (at last, Bloomie does something) and then go home thinking he's doing his union a favor. Does he let his union know that they will not only lose their pay for as long as they do not work, but they also have to pay the city hefty fines for each day they are on strike? I think if they knew that they would think twice, and with all hope, Toussaint will be kicked out of there soon, by his own union.

On the other hand, I am a big supporter of the right of workers to unionize and demand fair treatment. If bosses are going to get together to plot how to disrespect and berate their workers, there need to be unions so underlings can fight back against unethical people. I wish I could do that. Being in a union is quite a cushy situation that too many people still don't have the right to be in. However, it seems to me and just about every other New Yorker other than Al Sharpton (and I don't even know if he really is one of us) that the TWU are treated very fairly already, and any further demands they make are just a power grab. The MTA, for their part, instead of doing what they think is such a charitable thing by introducing special holiday fares, for whatever reason they did that, should have set aside their surplus and given special holiday bonuses to the transit workers if for no other reason than to shut them up. So I'll concede that the MTA has been really shitty to their workers. But that's not a surprise given the the MTA is a shitty organization anyway. In conclusion, whatever the transit workers get paid now is coming out of the pockets of every single subway rider in the city who by the way also pays taxes, in case you all forgot that pesky fact. This special holiday fare crap, that I'm not even "eligible" for, by the way, is in fact just buttering us up for another increase sooner than we think. So thanks, TWU and MTA, and happy fucking holidays, greedy Scrooges.

martes, diciembre 06, 2005

NYCLU fails to save credibility of constitution

The other day, the results of the subway search case brought by the NYCLU came out. The judge on the case, whoever the asshole was, chose instead to side with the Bushies and help destroy the Constitution by declaring the searches legal.

Apparently, the City argued that the searches were necessary for the safety of all subway riders, and why should one group of people ruin safety for everyone. When the searches were first imposed as a way to check for terrorists running amok, they seemed reasonable enough. But when the cops started searching people for ALL illegal things, none of which have been found so far, by the by, that only made the searches ways to get around getting a search warrant or reading arrestees their rights which, as you all know, is the way things USED TO go around here. And until they rewrite the law to say that it's cool to trample the Constitution, which to my knowledge they haven't done yet, the searches are illegal.

The NYCLU has vowed to appeal, but you will forgive me if I have almost completely lost hope for this country, not to mention all faith in the legal system. The one hope I have left is that Bush and his bots have fucked things up so royally for the Republican party, so maybe we won't have to put up with a Repub in the White House for at least a few years to come.

Bush gives gays the finger....again

And this time he has the courts on his side, thanks to new Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. Bush's argument: universities seeking federal funding cannot turn away military recruiters at their establishments to protest the Pentagon's policy on gays in the military. Roberts' solution: schools in protest can turn away funding as well. My view: another step in the dumbing down of America.

For the life of me, I will never understand why we all need to be as dumb as Bush. I don't think he feels bad or embarassed about himself at all. Quite the contrary, unfortunately. So why does he want so much company if he isn't in misery?

martes, noviembre 22, 2005


I gather that, by now, you fine folks know exactly where I stand on red-staters and other tourists accosting my city. Friday is "Black Friday", named for the fact that many retail stores expect the day after Thanksgiving to put them in the black and whisk them away from red debt (Hmmmm...Red = debt. Iiiinteresting.). For me, it is the beginning of the acceleration of my New York nervous condition which was issued to me along with a mini box of Tide and 4 laundry quarters in the mail upon my arrival here. In the spirit of Bill Maher, my favorite Libertarian, here's a list of New Rules for the holiday tourists:

1) If you are looking up at a skyscraper, like the Chrysler Building, you can have 5 SECONDS to appreciate the beauty. After that, you must reacclimate yourselves to your surroundings, have some common courtesy and respect, and MOVE ON. Do not stare at the sky like morons! No, money and hot men/women will not fall from it and it will not suddenly make you cool.

2) For the love of Christ, stand TO THE RIGHT on the subway escalators. Keep in mind that you are invading someone else's city and mooching off of people who have to go to work to pay exorbitant taxes so Central Park stays nice for you lot. LET THEM THROUGH.

3) There is now a Bloomingdales in SoHo. Please use that one and leave the 59th Street one ALONE.

4) If you see fit to take pictures of elevator doors in a certain landmark that just happens to be WHERE PEOPLE WORK, be prepared for those people to pass right in front of your cameras on their way to their offices. Kindly keep in mind, you are disrupting THEIR day, not the other way around, so don't dare bitch at them or I'll send my Arab colleague down to the lobby to issue beheadings. Let me tell you, he has NO problem with violence.

5) A single-file line means just that. SINGLE-FILE. Do not pour out into the streets. Remember, they are not corn fields. People drive on those streets, plus, you are an eyesore to fashionable people.

6) Be decent enough to leave space on the sidewalk for people to walk by you. No, nobody thinks you're fabulous enough to stop and stare at.

7) Please be aware of the following parking rules: Absolutely no parking of people or cars ANYWHERE but Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Central Park ice skating rink, major museums in that area, SoHo and Canal Street. You may visit Ground Zero so long as you realize that it is not a tourist attraction and it is NOT YOURS. We know how you people get (please see my September 11th 2004 entry for info on what I mean here). Please understand that tourist zoning laws are necessary for the sanity of your hosts.

Happy turkey day, people!

I Don't Want to Stop Smoking, part deux

This morning as I went to get my coffee, I saw one of the Chrysler Building rent-a-cops holding a little piece of paper in front of him that looked like some sort of city ordinance or something. The people who usually congregate under the canopy in the front of the building are now, as of 8 am this morning, forced to come out from under their shelter and smoke in the rain, even though their spot was technically outside and not really subject to ordinances and the like. When I came out of the coffee shop, I saw about 5 or 6 people standing in a group right in front of the rent-a-cop staring him dead in the eye, each with a cigarette in their mouths. They looked to be staging some sort of protest, which I thought was funny and that's why I mention it. I know it wasn't the rent-a-cop's fault. It is a very unlucky job to have to be one of the people to enforce the stupid laws the mayor makes around here, as if he doesn't have bigger fish to fry, like maybe the growing rate of poverty in the city (by the way, NYC was the only city in America to have the rate INCREASE over the past year rather than decrease). Needless to say, you'll never catch me in that profession, whose reps, by the way, are known to recruit in subway stations. Really, they approached my out-of-shape self to be a cop while waiting for the N train. Can you imagine? Me, a cop? They're like those Marine recruiters in Flint, Michigan (see "Fahrenheit 9/11"). So pathetic it's funny.

And a special thanks to the delegation of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. It is because of them and the "secret meeting" they held with Mr. Annan that the conference room level of the UN building is the last place in the city where one can smoke without consequence. Now I really don't understand why the Cold War happened for so long. Russians are pretty damn cool people. They can look quite menacing, so I understand some of the confusion Old Man Reagan and his lot suffered in the eighties, but really they're very nice. Secretive and peculiarly non-chalant is all. My new boss is Russian, and he's very laid-back, as if he's doing bong-hits in his office or something, and he listens to great music. Hey, maybe we could get Bossman Kofi to establish some kitschy bar in the basement of the UN building. He'd have a hell of an opening night and would make great business. he could really leave a lasting impression on his way out if he did that.

I Don't Want to Stop Smoking

Not that I smoke like a chimney. But this judgemental, moral high horse that people get on nowadays has to stop. The following link is to an editorial by my favorite writer/cartoonist of the moment, Marjane Satrapi. She is an Iranian who now lives in Paris. Check it out. I paid to bring this link to you!


(the link doesn't work, so you can cut and paste into the address field in your browser. have a lovely day, folks!)

jueves, noviembre 10, 2005

The State of the City

The NYC mayoral election is over and done with. Given my previous advocacy of and encouragements to vote, you lot may find it surprising that I sat this one out. The preliminary polls showed that Ferrer was way too behind Bloomberg to win anyway, and there was no chance of some hidden faction coming out and voting to tip the scales (not in Queens anyway, quite possibly the most apathetic boro of the 5), so I didn't bother, and I don't regret this. Plus, I didn't want to be one of the people held responsible for letting Bloomberg back into City Hall. Best to leave the blame to the dollar chasers. However, to the credit of the rich, WASPy liberals of NYC, they went Ferrer, probably in retaliation for Bloomie bending over and taking it from the Republicans and letting a city openly hostile to Republicans host the RNC, for the love of Pete. Of course, Bloomie went on to deny New Yorkers their consitutional right to assemble peacefully in protest of this traumatic experience on their most beloved turf, Central Park. Hmmm, denying people constitutional rights....sound familiar? By the by, did anyone see Ferrer's campaign ad depicting Bloomie and Bush canoodling atop a horse, Georgy in his cowboy costume and Bloomie toting a wad of cash? A last ditch effort, but funny as hell.

According to someone on the DailyKos website, Ferrer went on the air and said something like "Manhattan is better than it was four years ago. What about the other Boros?" The KOSguy said that given that Washington Heights/Inwood and the Harlems were in Manhattan, this was a stupid question. I do not agree at all. Washington Heights/Inwood, my ex-hood (thank God) and the Harlems are undergoing gentrification the likes of which are not often seen. The rate of fancy, completely unaffordable restaurants sprouting up on Broadway between the GW Bridge and 181st Street, of all strips, is blinding, and of course in another 5-10, the barrio will be unrecognizable. The people there now will have been pushed out, which is of course tragic, but I'm not so sad for those people. Do you remember how I said some New Yorkers aren't worth my pinky? These are them. Let them go fuck up another neighborhood, I say. But I digress. Yeah, what ABOUT the other boros? Sorry to say, but we in Queens got bobkes for the past four years. I used to love Queens and looked forward to going back. Now that I am there, I have been pretty disappointed with its comparatively sorry state, save for the Thai restaurants in Woodside and Jackson Heights. Shouts to Queens' most ethnic of populations! Of course it could also be that when I first lived in Queens, it looked so good to me because I was still an idealist, fresh from Sarah Lawrence College with quite a rosy outlook. Now I'm just a jaded New Yorker nursing ever more fragile nerves and a shrinking supply of patience.

Brooklyn is doing quite well by comparison, in the sense that everyday it looks and is considered more like Manhattan. It is somewhere people go for culture, good food and shopping and homes in which to raise a family. Queens has the Sunnyside rail yards. It used to be that if you said you lived in Queens or Brooklyn, people looked at you funny, with a little pity. Now that just happens if you admit you live in Queens. But actually, let me be careful in asking that the mayor turn his beady eyes over to Queens. After all, I would like to be able to afford my apartment for the next couple of years and maybe the occasional scraps from the horrible supermarkets we have to contend with (while Brooklyn gets Farmer's Markets).

On another note which is only somewhat related, it has occurred to me that, until I save up more money, I'm really stuck here. If I have no money for the interstate move, for my new apartment (no, I am not living with daddy. Sorry, pop) and to haul the cats down there, I can't make any move. I don't earn enough money to really save anything. But more than that, my lifestyle is just not conducive to saving money, not that I'm proud of that. I spend money "like a house afire," as daddy says. I am probably the only person in the under$50K bracket that has set foot in Kittichai, an ultra-chic and ultra-expensive Thai fusion joint in SoHo, or who is a member of Equinox, a $130 a month gym. And if I am not home, you can probably find me at Bloomingdales or on the Lower East Side with Jessica trolling the boutiques. Oh well, at least all that is tempered by my penchant for White Castle and cheap ethnic food (Jefe, I miss you!!). At work, the powers that be are rumoured to be dangling money in our faces again. Well, they best dangle quickly then give it up. If I can manage to get more money out of these misers, I'm free to move about as I please. We'll see.

Bloomie notwithstanding, I still have confidence. This city will regenerate and reinvent somehow, and I expect that the essence of the City, which I can't quite articulate right now, will always exist in its original form somewhere, in some corner or alley. Conversely, there will always be something to piss me off and that reeks of times ahead: the Times online made it so now I have to pay $10 a month just so I can read my favorite columnists, Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman. As my old friend Tamara used to say, after a loud gasp: "Fuckers!"

lunes, noviembre 07, 2005

A Mea Culpa, issued in advance

This past March, I expressed the opinion that Europeans don't have such issues with race as the United States does. I can still express that opinion and it will have some truth to it. After all, and correct me if I'm wrong here, Europe didn't have laws in place barring black folks from education and voting that lasted well into the twentieth century. However, for a week now, there have been racially-charged protests in Paris. Apparently, two kids, one Tunisian and one from Mauritania, were accidentally electrocuted while hiding from police in a power station. The police of course denies having chased after them. This ignited night after night of violent protest at unemployment and perceived lack of opportunity for the community of color and the immigrant community, and one elderly white man, who was attacked by a hooded man last week and was in a coma, is the first confirmed dead as a result.

Anyway, I got a lot of crap from my parents for making the comment back in March, and it continued for months. You will remember of course my comment was in reaction to a racist, elitist article by a conservative asshole, and I couldn't help myself. However, let us keep in mind that I have not read any other article like that in any newspaper from any other country but the United States. Maybe I should just concede that Americans have more balls than most and are willing to admit they're full of shit in public.

My parents are in Argentina right now, and if they are watching the news about Paris, they will no doubt come at me and say "we told you so". So in anticipation of that moment which may or may not (if I'm lucky) come, I make the following statement:

"I apologize for having put forth an opinion that was proven wrong 7 months later. If I should ever again come up with an opinion that has even the tiniest chance of upsetting a conservative member of my family, I will keep it to myself. Now let it go."

What about George?

After reading a couple of articles from BBC Worldwide news on this past weekend's trade talks in Argentina and a rebellion by many states who are adopting their own versions/parts of the Kyoto protocol that Bush rejected, I'm convinced that George Bush must have some pheromone that disgusts people and makes them rebel against him. Either that or the polar opposite of the Midas touch. Everything he touches or even thinks about turns to the smelliest of shit.

One example of this is the plan for free trade in the Americas. According to the BBC, the FTAA was an idea coming from Latin American states. Back in good old (comparatively speaking)Clinton-era 1994, there was a similar summit in Miami, and it was the developing nations who were the most fervent lobbyers for trade reforms, with Brazil wanting to negotiate with Washington on equal terms. At that summit, a timeline was agreed upon that would have ended FTAA talks by 1 January of this year. But somewhere in the course of 11 years, the same people who supported trade reforms have all but buried whatever bastardization of them that Bush put forth at this past weekend's summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The trade reforms have degenerated into just another part of the US' imperialist agenda, as they are, apparently, no longer what developing nations had bargained for. The "anti-Yankee" protests that my mother insists have been going on for years in Argentina have actually happened this past weekend. I think the degeneration of the FTAA talks is due to a host of other things that Bush has been doing with his time that other leaders sort of let get in the way. Since one "initiative", like Iraq, can pepper everything else that comes from the same head, Bush will never be able to do right, even if he actually tries. But fair is fair, and some of the blame for the result of the most recent trade talks can be attributed to changes in leadership, meaning changes in just how far Latin America is ready to let the US go. In any event, the talks fell through for now, and Bush and his army are looking forward to the WTO talks to make up for this past weekend's lost opportunity. But the Caribbean states are pissed off at the WTO already for regulations on bananas and sugar, and are gearing up for a fight. I smell revolt.

As for Argentina, those people seem to be a little too hot-headed about Bush. They are ready to blame Bush for every single thing that has or will go wrong in their country. An example is the devaluation of the Peso. That's not Bush's fault. That's what happens when you borrow money you have no hope of ever repaying, a condition which is worsened if the lender happens to be the IMF. In a very uncharacterisitic defense of Bush, I must say, one man can't stomp all over a country alone. Argentina has been in trouble for many years, and while a large part of the blame does have to go North, a lot of blame should be shouldered by Argentina for its corrupt, theiving governments. This is where I agree with my mom: Some countries are like my father. Very quick to deflect blame to other parties. For example, if daddy made a wrong turn somewhere, he would say it was my fault because I was sitting in the passenger's seat of the car and did not correct him. But really, the fault was his for not knowing his directions and/or for being a typical male and not asking directions. Similarly, if a country takes a wrong turn, a lot of the blame has to go to the country's leader and how he or she is handling, or stealing, things. The country's leader has to think seriously about what all he has done before he considers blaming Bush for not correcting him. To be clear, I am not at all disputing that the US and their foreign policy has a lot to do with the stymieing of the development of many countries around the world. In Argentina, the US supported the military dictatorship of the '70's and '80's, and the subsequent massacres that occurred to thin out the Communist troops (mostly idealistic young people and students) who, according to the dictatorship, were ready to stage a coup at any moment. The answer was obviously (to the dictatorship) to try and kill all of them, and the same happened in Chile and Paraguay. All of it US-backed. Coincidentally, Argentina's problems started there. This is historical fact, and it is also fact, my friends, that karma is a bitch.

In other news, 9 north-eastern US states, including New York, thanks very much, are ready to sign an agreement setting legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power stations. In California, Arnie is working on legislation that will presumably cut emissions from cars by 30% within a decade. What's more, 187 mayors from cities and towns across the US have pledged to adopt Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gasses. So much for Bush and his "it'll cost Americans jobs" waa waa waa schpiel. Yeah, it may cost some jobs but I think it's better for all of us in the long run if we STAY ALIVE.

jueves, noviembre 03, 2005

Boys to Men?

Well, folks, the latest in my saga of the X: He is, uh, between housing, and has been staying at a friend's house (this friend is also his manager and once upon a time they were roommates, which is why his job situation sometimes sounds like a dream to me), and now he is staying with me. This is cool, because I have a live-in chef for the next week or two, someone to get up and get me soda or cheesy-poofs when I'm reclining on the couch, and someone to with whom to do dark deeds, although not the ones that immediately race to y'all's dirty-ass minds. Geez.

The fucking Star Wars stupid ass Episode Three Revenge of the Sith (what the fuck is a Sith any damn way and what significance would this have to my reality?) DVD came out this week, and every time the commercial comes on, which is twice every five seconds, old boy starts to panting, gasping, nudging me and pointing at the TV as if he DOESN't know I don't care. Not only this, but the man has a Playstation whichever-the-current-one-is-numbered and plays Grand Theft Auto as if it were going to self-destruct at any moment. Meanwhile, I have just bought a brand new Apple Powerbook G4 with printer and whatnot and am establishing my little home office thing, and I'm getting ready to sell my stupid Nintendo 64 with all its games on eBay because the time for that frivolity is gone. Yours truly is turning 30 in March, and I will need to act the part, seems to me, and get my assingear.

Which brings me to my theory. Boys may age as much as they have to, but they stay very boyish to a much larger extent than girls do. Girls invariably grow into women and start concerning themselves with women things (this goes for all of us except the butchest of lesbians - shouts to my senior year suitemate from college) almost immediately. In fact, a lot of us can't even wait until we're women to concern ourselves with women things. True, we do have the occasional giggle fest, but they become accompanied by martinis and shit instead of pillow-fights and hair-braiding. Although I will admit I have occasional yearnings to climb a tree and whatnot. But really, I think girls are FORCED to grow into women the minute we start to bleed every month, while boys are given the OPTION to do so, since the only notice they get is their willies getting bigger and hairier, which is a good thing of course. It almost seems like guys have a built-in ceiling to some parts of their internal development, and I'm waiting for the issue of Time magazine which will feature a story on the medical breakthrough that found some little extra flap or something in guys' brains that makes them part child for life.

I have to say it: sometimes I think men are adorable because of their occasional childlike behavior. I want to pat them on the head and smile and pinch their cheeks. But my X, sometimes I want to tie his hands together just to see him go through Playstation withdrawal. I want to know if he will foam at the mouth and start shaking and screaming and carrying on like recovering crack fiends do. Yes, I am sharing these ugly thoughts with you because, except for Sivilicious, y'all don't know me. So there!

martes, noviembre 01, 2005

Bloomberg vs. Ferrer

These are probably the toughest words I've ever had to write.

Last week, I picked up a new book called "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning", about New York City in the seventies. You know, the urban blight, the Blackout of '77, the riots and the Son of Sam killer who swore that the satanic dog made him do it. The quote is from Howard Cosell who said those words as he broadcasted game 6 (I believe) of the '77 World Series at Yankee Stadium. You could look over the tops of the Stadium and see apartment buildings burning in fires set by arsonists and slumlords trying to cut their losses and get insurance money, to the detriment of already destitute people with no place to go. There were all kinds of strikes, crime was out of hand, the subway was in horrible shape and people were advised to not use public transport or even walk the streets after a certain time of night. The City was a disaster and was threatening to get worse. Incidentally, the two mayors who presided over the City during that time were John Lindsay and Abe Beame, two Democrats, both disastrous. To be fair, both were traditional Democrats in that they championed social reforms as a way of tackling other areas, like the economy. Most everyone knows that to solve a problem, one must go to the root of it, and that's what these guys set out to do. But New York didn't work the way they thought it did, and critics, in retrospect, wonder whether Lindsay and Beame were TOO GOOD for the City. I don't disagree with that theory; quite honestly, a good lot of New Yorkers are not worth a shit. Then, like a wrinkly, balding, Jewish angel from the heavens came mayor Ed Koch in '79 to save the day, which he did, slowly but surely, and in the nineties, mayor Giuliani turned the City into a rich man's paradise and "Disney-fied" Times Square. But I digress, again. My point is that New York City LOVES Democratic presidential candidates, but they have trouble with a Democrat in City Hall. No one will ever know why that is. It will remain one of the City's many mysteries, and its the many mysteries that make this City so damn fascinating to me.

The elections are soon. Ferrer is far behind, Bloomberg is projected to win by a landslide. I hate to say it, but I think that between the two, Bloomberg will do better. Not that much better, though. Considering that Ferrer, of Puerto Rican descent, can't even rally his own people behind him even though Latinos rule the city in terms of population but are grossly underrepresented, I'm putting my money on Bloomie. Ferrer has lots of good ideas and I of course especially like the fact that he would speak for those people whose mouths have been taped shut over the past 12 years the Repubs have been in City Hall. But Ferrer has the Kerry syndrome. He is head and shoulders above Bloomberg in terms of experience and raw brainpower and a lot of people hate that, because knowledge and dignity offends those who don't have either. They resent it, and they can't look beyond that at the qualifications that Ferrer brings with him. He has tons more experience than Bloomie: he was Bronx borough president for a long time, for one thing, while Bloomberg is just a businessman with a cable channel who thinks that riding the subway will all of a sudden make him "one of us". True, with Bloomberg, I can expect more of Albany and Washington cheating the City while Bloomie acts like their lap dog, the subways will get invariably worse and worse while the fares go up and up, and everything will become more expensive while workers, like me, are denied basic cost of living increases in their pay and people are simply bought out of the City. I honestly can't think of one good thing Bloomberg can do for the City. But this I know, Bloomberg will not let the City go back to the '70's. I think I can be pretty confident that that won't happen again, and I'm going to have to vote for that (Ladies and gentlemen, there go my principles). Unfortunately, this City has been traditionally ruled by money and big business, and Bloomberg perpetuates that, which is why folks love him. When the going gets rough, Bloomie will throw his money at the problem, and around these parts, money makes problems all better. I think that Ferrer will just be a disastrous repeat of mayors Lindsay and Beame: too good for New Yorkers, but not quite good enough to fix their realities. The bottom line is that nowadays, people who are driven by a lust for cash look way down their noses at people who do not and call them head-in-the-clouds Commies or just very politely feel sorry for them. I've totally felt that myself, but as daddy says, money has way more potential to hurt than it does to help, and I'd rather be a well-adjusted person than a rich, snotty bitch.

The Search, part III

Searches of bags by New York City cops, which began on 21 July after the London Tube was bombed a second time, are being argued in a case brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union (link to NYT article posted below). The NYCLU argues that the searches are a violation of the 4th amendment, and should the NYCLU lose the case, it will be the first time (that I have heard of, at least) a judgement goes directly against the Constitution of the United States and favors, as I see it, the tactics of intimidation and fear that the federal and New York City governments are trying to pass off as necessary evils. I was willing to go along with this farce for a while, as nothing pleases me more than letting cops know they are full of it and that they are nothing but losers someone picked up off the street to become cops. This is true because only a handful of New York City cops know what the hell they are on the force to do, and this is proven time and time again, whenever we hear of some hapless cop just shooting someone and saying that he saw the suspect draw a gun that was never there to begin with.

It turns out that the subway searches, just over three months old, have not revealed anything, not a dime bag or even a pen knife. Meanwhile, kids are getting shot in Brooklyn over basketballs and such and the guns continue to flow right on up I-95, the main thoroughfare for weapons imported from the dirty South, and over the George Washington bridge, and as far a i know, nobody has been that concerned with those things. Another thing that makes the subway searches a complete waste of time is the fact that the local government and the cops have been extremely half-assed about them, as I have said before. Funny, if I gave a half-assed performance on the job, I'd get fired (that is, if I worked in a normal place, which I don't, for better or for worse). I did a half-assed job in school for a while there, and I got the shit kicked out of me by my parents and teachers. Why is a half-assed response to terrorism of all things in any way acceptable? If the fuckers in Government are going to make stupid rules and say they are for the common good, then the rules should apply to everyone, everywhere, all the time, and due action should be taken ALL the time. Not just when law enforcement feels like doing their job.

In my opinion, the City better get its shit together before they go argue against the Constitution. But what do you guys think? Will there be a judgement against the Constitutional right of every American to privacy? Or will suspicion rule the day?


martes, octubre 18, 2005

En Paz Descanse

Yesterday, I was looking at the alumni pages for my lovely high school, Washington International School. Of course a lot of memories came flooding back, and I realized that most of those people, I don't really care to see anymore. True, a lot of them are doing really well, and I'm so proud that I went to school with these people who turned out so good. But that doesn't mean I want to talk to them again. I don't hate them, although I did have a very strong distaste for some of them back then. We just never had anything in common, and besides, we were all so damned fickle and all of us felt above each other at one time or another. Pretty twisted times, but I had some very good ones as well.

I went to the page for the class two years behind me, of '96, to see what this one kid was up to, but when I got to his name, there was the word "deceased" written below it. At first, I thought it was a typo, a very cruel one. Then I believed it and hoped that his death was not a violent one and that it was due to some illness he had, which is still tragic, but for me, less tragic than something violent. I very loudly said "No way!" right in the office, and one of my colleagues heard me and asked me what was up. I told him what happened, and he said "I'm very sorry to hear that", and silly me couldn't even be gracious and say thank you for the condolences, as I was still in shock with my mouth gaping open and eyes wide. I called my friend Khi to leave word to call me back to tell me what she knew about this, as she was in this kid's class, and she told me that Eliuth, my friend although we were never close, had fallen in with a bad crowd and had gotten stabbed in Silver Spring going on two years ago.

Eliuth was your typical punk. At least that's how he looked. Totally street, and not in that good of a way, like one of those kids sitting on a milk crate in front of the bodega eating bear claws and drinking 40's all day. And I guess eventually he did become a punk who got himself invovled with the American/Salvadorean gang, La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. But he was nicer and way more human than a lot of people gave him credit for, and more so than a lot of other people WERE back then. He was a hip hop head, in the truest sense of the word, and sometimes at lunch, we could be seen nodding our heads to the new joints of the day. He introduced me to Grand Puba, as well as many others, and that was what started our friendship, which ended up being too short, as he left WIS after 9th grade, my 11th grade. Khi told me that Eliuth was a WIS "lifer", just like her, and that they had grown up together, and coincidentally enough, she had just been looking at pictures of her class when they were little. Now Khi had a hard time in school. She wasn't the most beautiful motherfucker (although she sure as hell is now) and was pretty awkward for a while, and of course the other kids didn't help. She told me that once, when she was carrying a pile of books and kept dropping them and all the other kids were laughing at her, Eliuth came out and helped her, even though he was part of another, cooler crowd, and y'all know how the division lines go. That was in 4th grade, and it showed the character and the class that he eventually took with him to the grave. Anyway, I forgot exactly how I met him, but I do remember he was really a beautiful person, and one of the only people from school I actually wanted to see again.

Eliuth, I bet the sounds up there are great, my friend, please tape some of it, will you? I'll see you when I get up there. Until then, rest in peace!

miércoles, octubre 12, 2005

Guatemalan indians refuse aid

This is the type of headline you will see most if you go to Google and search for "where to give aid to Guatemala". Of course this continuous implication that Guatemalans, and all Latinos, for that matter, are dimwitted berrinchosos enfuriates me. This is most certainly not the time for the gringo media to keep pushing false ideas and rhetoric. As for aid to the victims of the storm, there are two sites to go to to offer support, and one of those seems quite questionable to me, which is why I did not post it. By the way, the UN still hasn't gotten its shit together with regard to helping Guatemala, focusing instead on Pakistan, which of course is a worthy cause, but the attitude of my employers so far is probably the most frustrating thing I've encountered here yet. If you go to the website of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, you will find the Pakistan tragedy emblazoned on the front page, while Guatemala's tragedy lies somewhere in the back pages if it is there at all. UN staff have acces to the UN "News Centre", and I did see some updates there about aid from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF and the UN Population fund being rushed to the region, but even that highllighted El Salvador instead. I had to actually go to the Americas section and scroll down about three articles before I got to that one.

I just want to make clear in this posting that Guatemalan indians are refusing aid from the country's military because they very understandably have no confidence and/or trust in them, for it was that establishment that routinely massacred indians during the civil war, and it is the government that has for decades pushed policies that perpetually subjugate them. Honestly, would YOU readily accept assistance from the very people who traditionally have been violently opposed to your existence and that of your people?

martes, octubre 11, 2005

Columbus Day

This is a post that I should have written yesterday, but I was all bent out of shape about what all is happening in Guatemala and the sheer lack of any mention of it at the United fucking Nations. The UN is, however, giving $60,000 to El Salvador for the victims of some volcano that erupted there (as if the whole of Central America is not riddled with active volcanoes that blow smoke and erupt almost daily) and $30,000 to Costa Rica for God only knows what. Small potatoes, I know, but talk about misappropriation of funds.

Columbus Day is a disappointment. First of all, I want you all to know that I came in to work yesterday quite proudly, whereas some of my "Latino" co-workers whined about not getting the day off, and I wasn't about to school them. As Latinos, they really should recognize already that Columbus Day is a "celebration" of the decimation of a culture whose only fault was that it surpassed that of its conquerors and stood as an obstacle to their need for world domination.

I feel bad for Italians who take so much pride in the holiday and the little parade that comes with it, which of course is the bane of my existence not only for the premise but for all the traffic patterns it disrupts (I don't drive, but hell, I am a commuter and able to sympathize with the plight of my comrades). If Italians are so keen on destroying the myth that they are all Mafioso murderers, why not stop playing themselves celebrating death and destruction? Not only that, but Columbus was a traitor to Italy by going over to Spain and letting the Catholic kings get credit for his work, which was really getting hopelessly lost and then founding an empire by default. Why can't Italians instead celebrate Marco Polo or something? Marco Polo did a lot less harm, as far as I know. He just stole the noodle idea from the Chinese and brought it over to Italy and called it pasta. Everyone loves pasta, so why not celebrate that? Even though I'm on a no-carb diet, I could definetly get behind that.

lunes, octubre 10, 2005

Just a note.....

.....on one of the things wrong with Guatemalans and Guatemalan-Americans.

I went back to Guatemaltecos.com, which I consider to be a sort of an alma mater which I dropped out of for the sheer frustration that was in it. Well, two of the three reasons for my departure are still at it, fussing and fighting and dancing around the subject at hand, choosing instead to ridicule others surely to impress themselves and their audience, which is quite captive on that site as most Guatemalans are chismosos anyway and love a good dog fight. Anyway, the very same guys are the ones at it, and they are saying the very same things, about freedom of speech and other freedoms that they avail themselves of while refusing to let others do the same lest it make them look bad. I saw some discussion of serious topics going on that had just degenerated into an "I'm entitled and you're not" scenario. That is not only counterproductive to discussion, but it makes Guatemalans look like a bunch of disorganized and argumentative heathens, which of course feeds into the existing stereotype. Speaking of the stereotype, it has also come out in the news that the survivors of the floods and mudslides are fighting each other for food supplies, as they haven't had any for close to a week. I can find no problem with that since it is in human nature to try like hell to guarantee yourself and your people survival. But those of us who live the high life, comparatively speaking, have no reason to step all over each other just so we can outshine everyone else.

But what bothered me most, and I mean no offense to the gentleman who runs the site for he cannot possibly tell his forists what to discuss, nor should he, is the lack of real discussion of the flood/mudslides. There are two discussion threads on that topic. One has one response to it and the other has maybe five or six, and four of the posts are to report problems in posting. I saw much more discussion about who gets to say what when and where, and about the lastest Guatemalan singer-songwriter. Of course it's OK to discuss frivolities like the latter subject, but I'm sorry to say we have bigger fish to fry these days. That's something that always disappointed me about the Guatemaltecos.com site. Some of those people are flojos, lax. They don't have anything relevant to say.

I started the day upset at the lack of coverage in the United States of the tragedies going on as I write in my country. Now I am upset at the lack of coverage the tragedy has gotten among Guatemalans themselves.

A weekend of disasters

This past weekend has been full of rain, flooding, mudslides and other tragedies.

I'm sure everyone has heard about the huge earthquake in Pakistan. About 18,000 people are presumed dead. This has gotten a lot of coverage on CNN and other news channels, so much so that by saturday night they already had some slogan and stills attached to the coverage, which made up the better part of every hour. Poorer villages were the most affected, as always, and the headline on the BBC worldwide web page about Pakistan reads "'Whole generation'" lost in quake". I cannot imagine that type of devastation and I have been thanking God for keeping me safe for going on 30 years. I think I have talked to God more this weekend than I have in the past few months.

If you kept watching CNN for a couple of hours on end, you would have found that Guatemala also had its share of tragedy with the aftermath of hurricane Stan, which was not a particularly strong storm, but left behind many days of rain which eventually became torrential. Stan made landfall around Veracruz, Mexico, last week, but its effects have been felt as far south as El Salvador and as far west as Tapachula, Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, and Retalhuleu, one of the Guatemalan departments on the Pacific cost. Keep in mind that in this region, it is already the rainy season, and the ground is already wet with rain and humidity, making it easier for soil to break down and erode away. There is widespread flooding and mudslides and whole villages, like Panabaj and other small, Mayan towns near lake Atitlan have been completely swept away and people buried alive. Picture it, a town of 800 people just gone, to be dug up one day like pieces of ancient pottery. Houses have simply fallen into rivers, precariously built to begin with and unable to withstand the torrential rainfall, so here again, it is the poor who are suffering the most. They say the death toll is 650, but I think it is more into the low 1000's. There are places rescue workers can't even get to, and people are stuck where they are because bridges have been washed out and roads are blocked with debris or are just impassable. My family are all okay, thanks be to God, and are all tucked away in the capital, where it has not been so bad. When I was there in July, as most of you know, I took weaving classes in Santiago de Atitlan, which has been badly affected. We made some friends there at the Asociacion Cojolya weaving cooperative, mostly Tzutuhil indians, but we can't get through to any of them as the lines are out. I can only hope they are alive and well, and wonder about their houses and what this has done to their crops. This tragedy merited about a minute or two every hour on CNN International. The American version, I don't think they even touched it except on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, but the lack of coverage of anything about Latin America in the States does not surprise me. it hurts me everytime, but it does not surprise me. The US has pretty much turned its back on my country, AGAIN, offering just some blankets and that helicopter stationed in Honduras that flew in to try and rescue victims, while Colombia, which had its own mudslides in and around Medellin in the northwest of the country, killing about 25 people, has put up more aid than the richest country in the free world. I never expect the US to do much for Guatemala or any other Latin American country, but they could at least help out a bit more in times of extreme need than they're doing considering they've been gang-raping the whole region for hundreds of years. Then again, the US government can't even get their shit together in their own country. In any case, if you want to see a little more coverage of Stan in Guatemala and environs, here's a link to the BBC stories, in which they also give links to more coverage (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4324038.stm#map) and an article about Panabaj from today's NY Times, in the International section behind articles about Germany's upcoming election and the bird flu.

For its part, New York City and its metropolitan areas got a lot of rain on saturday. I know we haven't had rain in a couple of months, but damn! It seemed like God just wanted to get through all the rain backlog in one night! I went out to Brooklyn to visit Jessica and see her new place, which is across the street from the Brooklyn library and museum. It's really nice, and she could even get away with saying she lives in Park Slope so as to impress the neighborhood snobs, if she so wanted. It must be even nicer on a decent day. Anyway, in some spots, the water was ankle deep, and that's not even taking into account the huge puddles that had formed since most streets and sidewalks are painfully uneven and devoid of proper drainage. As I was walking back to the Eastern Parkway subway station, there were rivers of water coming down the steps from the park, and the stations at Nevins street and Atlantic avenue were about to flood, there was so much rain coming through the ceiling, I had to open up my umbrella! There were of course several delays on the trains which were, the authorities said, related to "switch problems" (the most used excuse for MTA apathy) and not to the rain. But at one point, I had to ask one of the workers on the platform at the Nevins street station "What are you people waiting around for? For the whole system to flood so you can throw us all out onto the street and not have to do any work?" Well, the guy went off to speak to another worker on the platform, and I was cursing my big mouth, when a train came and whisked me and other very annoyed people off to Manhattan and all ended well, eventually. I got home less than an hour later, which was surprising.

The forecast says it will rain all week, and I'll have to remember to wear my wellies and bundle up as the temperature has fallen pretty dramatically, finally. I hated the hot and humid weather and welcome the cool air, but not the rain. I hope you are all safe and warm and happy.

martes, septiembre 27, 2005


This week, my office was asked to complete an "Integrity Survey" or some such thing in which the staff member takes some sort of on-line training and then takes a little multiple choice quiz, then gets a certificate. The Big Boss has asked that all staff get this certification as part of his new "Integrity Initiative". One of the big, big issues plugged in this survey, or re-educational tool, whatever you want to call it, was that staff not share ANY information that is UN related. The timing of this is pretty funny considering what all's been going on around these parts. Damn, now I have to go over in my head what gossip I've been telling you fine folks. Let's see, there was that whole Oil for Food scandal tidbit that I shared with you. But that was splattered on all the papers, so I guess that's OK. I did say, not in so many words, that the UN is one corrupt mutha. No news there. The gossip about my co-workers: no one can possibly trace that unless they know the people in question or have already heard me curse them out, by name of course. Far be it from me to be dishonest. Maybe there was that rumor about Clinton becoming Secretary-General. Well, it was just a dream apparently because a former world leader is not eligible for that post. I guess as long as I've dispelled that myth, there's no danger for me. You will also notice, friends, that I've deleted every explicit reference to my office. To those of you who remember, please shut your mouths.

During my free time, I've Googled some old friends (I don't think that sounds too good, but y'all know what I mean). Those kids have some web presences, presenting papers and starting bands and delivering speeches and whatnot! Which makes me feel just a tad inadequate. But then I remember, it's OK that I didn't get my Master's in zoology or math. I think of the years of agony I would need to endure for this. Ha! Move over to the States and see if that Master's does you any good, guys. To me, a Master's is a pretty fucking expensive piece of paper that doesn't guarantee a God damn thing (to my friends getting Master's and, heaven forbid, PhD's, this does not apply to you, and I love you, darlings. I'm just sore for obvious reasons). As for my web presence, I have some things stashed away somewheres. There's plenty mention of this little blog, and there's a couple of articles I wrote for the UN Chronicle. The Urban Latino Magazine site doesn't have any of my articles anymore. Those people are all big for their breeches now that they have a TV show. But back to my old friends. Funny that the people who spent hour upon hour in the coveted smoking circle and partied until their brains started to ooze out of their ears had time to get themselves into Berkeley and Vassar and Stamford and whatnot. Kind of makes me proud of my alma mater. Even the alcoholics and crackheads were above average. And very well dressed, if I remember correctly.

The only thing I really regret is not following through with my guitar. There it lies in the back of my closet, taking up expensive space that I don't really have while I daydream about being able to melt some faces with those Hendrix songs I have on my iPod, like Ezy Rider or Spanish Castle Magic. I now know that I should have gone and become a virtuoso in high school. Seems to me if you don't do it then, it ain't gonna happen. Kind of like languages. You have to do it early when your brain is a sponge so it'll take. If not, you will forever suck at it.

So now I am racking my brain to see what it is that I totally kick ass in. Let's see...I know just about every Led Zeppelin and Hendrix song there is, not to mention major old school hip hop, like Grandmaster Flash and Whodini (my favorite is Five Minutes of Funk. I actually time my walk from home to the subway by that song). I'm extra good at Lunch Licks, this contest that my local classic rock station holds everyday where they play the first couple of bars of a song and you have to call in and guess. I almost always know, but do not call so as to be charitable and leave room for others. I can write pretty damn good poems and long-ass opinion pieces on sociology, Latin American politics and history and the history of World War II (just a small shout to Mr. Martin, my forever favorite history teacher. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't give a shit about any of it). I could finally get on Jeopardy! And win millions, as my lovely graduating class voted me most likely to kick ass on that show with my "random knowledge of history facts", and I feel like I owe it to my father to get going on this before he goes anywhere. After all, this was our vision throughout my childhood and teen years, and it still is. Maybe I should collaborate with Jeff Chang or someone and write a Can't Stop Won't Stop kind of book (see the link "Hip Hop Journalism". It's on that sidebar over there---->).

While these thoughts may sound quite sad and pathetic, I know that a lot of you have exactly the same thoughts. You wouldn't be human if you were doubt-free, even though I pointed it out in a rant earlier on that you shouldn't let anyone make you doubt yourself. I meant on the job, because it takes your time and energy away from doing your job and it will become a downward spiral. Anyway, some things just get in the way of how you think your life should progress. For a while there, I was doing exactly what I said I would do. I would finish high school and go to New York City to Sarah Lawrence College to learn how to write and then get published, which I did. Afterwards, I kind of took this wierd uncharted turn to see what was around. My present workplace is not at all what I had envisioned, especially being on the political affairs side of things, which sucks because now I can't run for mayor of New York City since it would be a conflict of interest with "the host country and city". It would be one hell of a conflict because the first thing I'd do as mayor is kick those diplomats to the curb and take away their parking privileges on 42nd street, and they'd have to yield to New Yorkers during the General Assembly rather than the other way around.

New York for New Yorkers! Would be my battle cry, a slogan which I've actually yelled out of cab windows stuck in traffic because of tourists swarming around Columbus Circle and Rockefeller Center during the holidays. Obviously it hasn't had its desired effect.

lunes, septiembre 12, 2005

"You'll die before they come"

Hello out there! Last week I was on, uh, vacation in Washington DC, which looks more and more appealing each time I visit when compared to the brain-freeze that is New York. Too much too soon and boy what a headache! During that time, I received a request from my sivilicious friend to weigh in on the disaster in New Orleans. Well, where do I begin?

First of all, it was reported/warned a few years ago that the levees in New Orleans could break under the force of a hurricane even weaker than Katrina, so I heard, and that they urgently needed reinforcement. However, I heard that the money allotted to do this was somehow directly or indirectly spent on a certain skirmish in the middle east. Funds were also taken away from FEMA as it was swallowed up by the Department of Homeland Security. Conversely, I read in a column in the Washington Post by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who was trying his best to be egalitarian but to no avail, that the levees were "finished work". I doubted that, and then I heard at some point on MSNBC that although work on the levees had been done, they had sunken a foot or two over the past five years thanks to the rising of the seas due to the effects of global warming, and there was no maintenance done on them after that. So you see, I'm not exactly clear on this issue, nor are journalists apparently. But let's take the point to be that the reinforcement of the levees was insufficient for whatever reason and the money earmarked for the repair and maintenance of the levees disappeared under quite mysterious circumstances.

Bush's comment that "no one could have foreseen a breach of the levees" was a bunch of crap and basically a carbon copy of Miss Condi's comment to the 9/11 commission. Not only that, but he uses the words "natural disaster" with an emphasis on the "natural" every chance he gets in reference to the storm. In other words, "so there was a storm and the levees broke and thousands of people are dead. What do you want me to do about it?" The reality is the federal government is responsible for coordinating ANY kind of action by departments and offices falling under their juridiction, and this administration's unwillingness to accept blame is basically a "Yes, I'm CEO of this company but my own failures are directly attributed to the ineptitude of my assistants" kind of rhetoric. I have not forgotten the Bush administration's promise to encourage a climate of responsibility and accountability in America. Way to set an example, by splitting hairs. Bush proposes to lead an investigation, which will no doubt vindicate him completely as he wants to lead it himself, to see "what went right and what went wrong" in this whole disaster. What's even worse is that some think Bush should be absolved of some blame because, after all, he did come home early from his vacaton and hey, at least he showed up. And why, they ask, can't anyone do anything without Bush "holding their hand?" Well, numbnuts, he's the fucking commander-in-chief, and there is no team without a captain.

A lot of people will say that some blame rests on the heads of the local Louisiana government. Of this I have no doubt, although I hesitate to believe that the mayor of a city would stand by and let his citizens literally float away or drown. Stories fly back and forth that those authorities did not request aid quickly enough, which is a laughable excuse, and did not have the resources in place to evacuate the city sooner. The latter is absolutely true. After 9/11 and an always elevated terrorist threat-o-meter/election ploy, they should have taken their own inititative and devised clearer routes for evacuation rather than keeping the "every man for himself" plan. But here again the federal government needed to issue the order for every state to proceed on this. If that's not right, then what the hell are we doing paying for a department of homeland security?

As for Kanye West's comment that Bush hates black people, OK, I'll agree with that, to a certain extent. It is hidden under Bush's disgust for the poor, and it just so happens that the poor in this country are disproportionately black. I wonder: What if the residents of downtown New Orleans happened to be the beneficiaries of Bush's tax cuts? How about affluent black folks? Would it have been easier for Bush to roll out of bed? How about if the mayor of New Orleans was white or Asian? People in Louisiana actually voted for Bush, so this is a betrayal of the highest order. I would almost understand if he told New York to drop dead, since NY is overwhelmingly democratic/liberal and the city is chock full of Bush haters. However, more than anything else, Bush's delayed reaction was a result of sheer laziness. The man has never stepped up to the plate until well after the ball has been pitched and caught. Case in point, the publicity stunt he chose to go ahead with while planes flew into the World Trade Center and three thousand people died. This president is truly amazing. He kills thousands of people without being anywhere near them. How's that for a jinx? In New York City, Washington, Pennsylvania, Iraq and now New Orleans, probably about 7 or 8 thousand people have died and Bush is to blame.

I was reading today in the NY Times (OK looking over some lady's shoulder on the 7 train) about this woman who keeps tons of dried eggs, wheat and water stocked fin case of catastrophe. She fully realized that she was going to extremes, but said that having seen the delayed reaction to Katrina, no one could afford to wait for the government. "You'll die before they come."

miércoles, agosto 17, 2005

The Search/Add. 2

I read in New York Magazine the other night that the NYPD has declared that they will arrest anyone who is found with anything illegal, whether or not it is an explosive, during their bag-searching, which was first touted as an anti-terrorism measure. A-HA! I never carry any bad things in my bags, of course I'm not that stupid, but alright then, NOW I will use my right to refuse the searches, should I ever be confronted with the prospect (knock on wood, none yet), and proceed to take the bus/walk to work. It'll take me longer, but fuck it. I knew this search shit was just a ploy (even though I was going to go along with it like a trooper) and I always make it a point to work on principle. For example, I will never vote republican on principle because they're all pigs and they forever shall be. However, it seems mysterious to me that a) the "search desk" has disappeared from my subway station after only two weeks, and b) a "search desk" is completely absent from the Grand Central subway station, a spot which has been threatened before. Logically, the city would make that the first place to put a "search desk". But ah, well, these are some way illogical and half-assed times, my friends.

The NY Magazine article went on to say that several drug dealers who provide delivery services are now charging more for their wares, because in order to avoid the searches, they are taking cabs, which are of course a lot more expensive than the subway, although the subway is no 99 cent store either. Still another coke dealer on the lower east side has made "courtesy" calls to her customers to tell them that delivery services are discontinued and they have to go to her place to get it themselves, which leaves Ms. Dealer wide open for stakeouts across the street once the NYPD find that a few too many people are coming in and out of her digs, but if she thinks stopping deliveries will help....

Damn, the times they are a-changin. Nothing is convenient anymore.

martes, agosto 09, 2005

My So-Called Life

God, I hated that show. Almost as much as I hate Claire Danes. Jared Leto I could deal with, as he is fairly cute in that homo-erotic kind of way, but the labored conversation supposedly simulating high school social situations was nothing like actual high school, maybe just in L. A. where everyone talks funny and peculiarly slow anyway. Really, we were more like AJ Langer's character, the "friend". God only knows why that show became such a hit.

My parents were up for a visit this weekend. Nowadays, when I say "parents", I actually mean my mom and stepfather, which is funny because up until recently, my stepfather and I had hardcore issues with each other. But like I said in my post Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, we are now able to see the humanity in each other and get along wonderfully 90% of the time. Anyway, they are the set of parents that can still travel, and I do feel a twinge of guilt at not acknowledging my daddy as one of them. After all, if it weren't for him, I obviously wouldn't exist, nor would I have these lovely green eyes, my muscular, Morgan legs and the trademark dry wit. It's just that the actual explanation would take a bit longer (and us Morgans are lazy by nature), and besides, daddy would be happy to know that I've finally accepted my stepfather as an equal human being. The weekend was pretty great. We watched movies, played/fought with my cats, did a spot of shopping and ate yummy things, like an Argentinean parrillada - a small grill full of meat and sausages. Num num. I was sad to see the parents go, but I will see them and daddy in a couple of weeks when I go to Washington. Which reminds me, I have to buy my plane ticket. Nevertheless, I miss my mommy something awful, and since it doesn't take long for me to get used to her loveliness in my home, I am already depressed at the thought of not seeing her when I get home. And now I will cry.....

Yesterday, I saw my X's ex on the 7 train. You know, the cow of which I spoke back in January. She of course looked me straight in the eye and then turned away, pretending not to have seen me or even to have met me. Fine by me, and boy do I wish that were so! The problem is that every time I see her, which is perhaps once or twice a month, as she both lives, works and frequents (way too often) a bar near me, as my horrible luck would have it, I start to question why in the hell I am still friends with X. I know that one should not come to a conclusion about a person based on one mistake which just happens to linger on, but my mom always says "dime con quien andas y te dire quien sos." Which basically means, you are just as great or suck just as bad as the people with whom you hang out. Then I start to wonder, Christ, what does all this X shit say about me? I'm hoping it says I'm an extremely kind and charitable person. I am aware, however, that that my continuing friendship with X might say "Mariposa is a foolish pushover." Oh, well. I'm having fun now, but let me find out something and X will be kicked to the curb. Although not tonight as he is coming over to make me vegetable lasagne, as was my request. Nice to have a semi-personal chef, especially when the customized service comes free of charge and obligation.

Work is always the same, although I'm running out of challenges to work on. This means that I am slowly being dragged back to being office-chump. Opportunities for editing and translating, the only things really that kept me here, are drying up so I am trying to be out of here. Onwards and upwards!

jueves, julio 28, 2005

The news that's not in the news

This morning, I read an article in a local Spanish-language newspaper which focuses on Latin America that the Guatemalan attorney-general is calling for the extradition from Mexico of the country's ex-criminal, er, president, to prosecute him for stealing $16 million during his tenure. You won't read that anywhere else, folks, unless you go straight to the Guatemalan newspapers. Justice being done in Latin America after years of war and violence is just not news in this country. Probably because it seems, as I said in my post "The United States has Another Bowel Movement", any move in the right direction is deemed to "destablize the region".

I was thinking last night about the state that Guatemala has been in since president Arbenz was overthrown in 1954 by the CIA. I'll concede that the U.S. can't be blamed for all Guatemala's ills. I think Spain could stand to take a little of the blame for it's part in making sure Guatemala got off on the wrong foot. Some Guatemalans themselves can take some blame too, for while many stand up for justice and truth in the face of death, many are defeatist and have just settled for things as they are, or join in the violence, or worse, are so pro-Yanqui that they unknowingly contribute to the prostitution and ruin of their patria. But the U. S. can certainly be blamed for undoing all the good that was being done in the country back then, and instead of supporting it, reverting Guatemala right back to violence and corruption, while directly or indirectly telling Guatemala's leaders that it's OK to massacre hundreds of thousands of people by sending huge amounts of aid to the country's leaders.

I saw a slogan sprayed onto a wall near my grandma's house during my recent trip, and I think I also saw it on a billboard on Roosevelt. : "La patria no se vende, se defiende." Our nation should be defended, not sold. I could say that about this country, too, since parts of the national debt, and therefore American assets, have already been sold off to China and Japan.

By the way, a really great book on Guatemalan political history is "Unfinished Conquest" by Victor Perera. A lot of political history and science books are too textbooky, but this one is wonderful because Perera also writes fiction and is a journalist. I'm on my second read.

martes, julio 26, 2005

What happened to the Brits?

When I went to London in March, I was glad to be in a city that, even though it has fallen victim to bombings before (the IRA in the seventies, for example) and despite their involvement in the war, is relatively cool (not reactionary) about terrorism as they are with most everything, have not made any changes to daily life and have not been forced to give up rights to privacy. That was then. Why are they reacting the way they are? This be my thinking: Blair could react in a more positive way for his people by getting out of Iraq. If you will remember what happened in Spain last year, you may catch on to the fact that "Coalition" forces are being targeted. Blair, take a note from the Spanish government, listen when your people tell you they want out of Iraq, and make that happen for them. That could be a really good security measure. Try it and get back to me.

In light of this, I am shocked to hear that the UK is dumbing itself down to US/Bush levels by employing a "shoot-to-kill" policy. Apparently, the Brazilian who was shot dead in the Tube the other day was already held down on the floor when they shot him in the head. Whatever happened to debilitating the victim first with a non-fatal wound to the leg, if absolutely necessary? When did that cease to be a decent policy? These cops are supposed to be protecting the public. But when the cops start to kill the public and rationalizing it by saying it's a means to an (very unattainable) end, it's natural for the rest of us who don't carry guns to get a little anxious. I can't fathom why people haven't gotten it into their heads that when you give a person too much power over others, they get insatiable and crazy. Blair need only look at his Coalition buddy to know that.

The Search - addendum

A gentleman left me a comment (thank you!) with a link to a document about how to politely refuse a search. The answer was to calmly walk out of the station where the searches are being conducted. The article also advised its readers not to run away or risk being shot dead, guilty or not, as happened in London. Don't you just love how fucking police officers in charge of protecting people would rather just shoot pretty much at will instead of doing it the old fashioned way and at least attempting to ID the person as the bad guy before shots are fired? Remember Amadou Diallo? That's why I don't trust NYC cops. Anyway, the walking away thing would be doable except for one thing: how do I get anywhere if not on the subway? This is how Bloomberg (the City) and the MTA manipulate New Yorkers. The city would pretty much stop moving altogether were it not for the subway. So when they introduce searches or fare hikes, we can't do a damn thing about it (except go to public hearings on the matter where everybody complains but the authorities screw us anyway) and must submit or else agree to not go anywhere ever.

I agree that searches may not do all that much to counter terrorism. Look at the airport security measures. They have become a big joke, the stuff of tv sitcoms, and I personally love to tell about the time that I wore flip flops on a flight to D. C. so that I would not be made to take them off at the security checkpoint. Guess what? The idiots made me take them off anyway, saying that I could have explosives taped to my feet (!!!!) That would make a great episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm". Imagine Larry David going through that at the hands of some ex-surfer suddenly hired by the TSA at LAX.

The reality is there is such a thing as terrorism and no one gets to choose where, when or how bad. I'm already used to the airport crap, and this is just the same shit. All I can do is hope that I look innocent enough that no one will fuck with me, and that one day, this will all be over and we can have our constitutional rights back.

viernes, julio 22, 2005

The Search

As you all, my lovely and ever-faithful readers, know well, I am not at all comfortable with the US policy of invasion of privacy since 9/11. New York City subway and bus riders, in a questionable move by Mayor Bloomfuckinberg, are now subject to random searches of bags and packages and whatnot. Some people say that Bloomberg took this measure because he was embarrassed that the Transit Union announced that they were never trained in counter-terrorism measures. Others give Bloomie a break and say that he did it because of the London tube and bus bombings and a big city can never be too careful. I think it's a combination. Part of me thinks that Bloomberg would never have ordered the searches if it weren't for London, because he's a lazy, foolish ass-kisser who doesn't like to be called out on his shit. The other part of me thinks that it is about fucking time this kind of thing happened, because Lord knows NYC is still pretty vulnerable. In that regard, I will submit to these random searches, somewhat unhappily, but since I know there's a need for it, so be it. What I don't like is the stories already coming out about cops with God complexes taking a person's bag and throwing its contents out on the platform. The whiny people have already yelled racism, but it's too soon to tell about that (hold it together, folks). However, I will be the first to take notice if this random search thing goes awry, since NYC cops have the worst reputations EVER, right up there with the LAPD, and I don't really trust them with so-called good deeds.

jueves, julio 21, 2005

A little note for workplace supervisors and other fools

If you want your slaves to do things exactly the way you want them done, open your mouths and tell them so. Don't wait until they've done something unknowingly wrong so you can have a go at them. Just tell them once, that's all it takes. Surely in your superior-being training, someone mentioned something about that. Be decent, fuckers.

miércoles, julio 20, 2005

The first step

Yesterday, the Vice-President of Guatemala, by order of the Inter-american Court of Human Rights, made a visit to a village in the highlands called Plan de Sanchez to apologize officially for the army's atrocities there during the early eighties . Some people say this is too little, too late, but I regard it as the first step towards forgiving and forgetting. It's really too bad that it took this long, but better late than never. It seems to me that the Berger administration is taking greater steps in this regard than any of Guatemala's other, corrupt governments.

I know this fact because I went straight to the Prensa Libre (Guatemalan newspaper) website and read it. It was also on Yahoo! news. Neither the BBC, the New York Times, nor the Washington Post even mentioned the event, and I read those front to back. How convenient to not let the world know about the positive things that happen in Latin America. But when a van full of missionaries gets attacked, it makes the front fucking page.

In other positive Guatemala news, ex-President of Guate. Alfonso Portillo, one of the most corrupt leaders in the country's history is about to land in jail, hopefully. A warrant has finally been issued for his arrest for stealing $16,000,000 by diverting the money from the finance to the defense department where he very cleanly pocketed the money. I think there's a lot more there, but something is better than nothing and like Malcolm said, by any means possible.

martes, julio 19, 2005

Tattoos, weight, and other demons

During the past couple of weeks, I've endured quite a bit of scrutiny, those "I mean well" comments, etc., regarding my tattoo(s), particularly the one of the Koi on my left shoulder. The latest was just now when, in the office, no less, a new colleague (American, of course. Not big on manners) sees the Koi peeking out from the edge of my top and feels it her duty to slide over the edge of my top, push aside the bra strap (!) and take a good look. I think this is a little more extreme than just going up to a dreadlocked hunk of man and feeling the locks without asking, but Critic and Anhedonia, I feel you.

There were some comments in Guatemala, too. My cousins saw the Koi and were way cool about it and all "Esta virgo!" which means "it's cool!". Other comments "Only gang members get tattoos! Are you in a gang now?" And my mothers comment, which made me laugh, actually, and go just a little red since she made the announcement over lunch in front of two cousins, Auntie Carmen and grandma: "Yeah, and she's got another one of a big butterfly right on her ASS!" Note: it's not really on my ass. It is right above it on the small of my back.

I'm thinking though that my mom was just sore because this time around, since there always has to be at least one of us who has to take criticism for being , um, gordita (a nicer way to say chunky as hell), she was the gordita and I was, get this y'all, skinny (comparatively speaking). Finally! And with my cousin pregnant with what is sure to be one of the cutest little beebees ever (her husband is pretty cute, ha ha), I'm not the only panzona in the family! At last! The mixture of the South Beach Diet and the Moctezuma's Revenge Diet, in which everything that goes in soon comes right back out (which was most advantageous because I got to eat tamales, tortillas, Champus, espumillas, yummy breads, turrones and cake without gaining an ounce) ensured that I was even more lithe upon my return to the States. Sadly, the latter diet is not one you can choose to keep and to continue receiving its benefits, one must consistently travel to foreign, Third World countries for more than a week at a time. I advise also that the diet is not always hearts and flowers, if you know what I mean, so be prepared.

All in all, the vacay was pretty great. I loved seeing my family and I miss them a lot. The family dramas were many and sort of painful, but time changes everything, and I hope next visit will be even better. I did get to spend a lot of time with my mommy who I love very, very much despite some issues I have with her, and yeah, I cried when she left, even though i will see her on 2 September in Washington. Oh, and I took the weaving lessons with her in Atitlan. We were doing pretty well, but couldn't get used to being at the loom (the contraption where one end is tied to a tree and the other around you, which is supposed to make it tight and easier for weaving and whatnot, but for those who don't weave as their livelihood, it's not so comfy). My mom and I quit halfway into it, but made friends and had a good time. We also went to the beach. The house we stayed in belonged to her friend, so we had to endure them and their more-than-loud friends. The friend and the husband, I like. The daughter and the rest of them, well, in Guate there is a word for them and it ain't so flattering, although they were nice enough. one of them reminded me of one of my uncles. Nonetheless, it was like being at a party where you only know two people, and they're busy making conversation. Even worse when you are perpetually regarded as the kid, better seen and not so much heard, even though this "kid" is pushing 30. The second day at the beach my other uncle came down with his son, and I felt a lot better. My unky sang karaoke, which was funny, and he got the highest score.

The strangest thing happened when I got back, though: I got this horrible lump in my stomach, you know, the one filled with fear. I was petrified of going back to work! Not only that but the "tropical" weather (hot and hair-dryer humid almost everywhere you go) seems to have returned to New York on the same flight I took. Apparently, it stopped being like that when I left and then returned when I came back to work. Well, work was OK. I was anticipating piles of papers for me to file and other shit, since no one around here seems to lift a finger but me and my friend, but she did all of that for me, perhaps because she had a feeling that the minute I came back, there would be three or four people waiting to give me my orders. She was right. People here don't say "hello", they say "I need" and "Can you do this urgently". Same old, same old. I know it was only two weeks, but I always hope that people will evolve, slowly but surely. I really do believe in miracles, and even though I get disappointed sometimes, I figure optimism is the way to go.

martes, junio 14, 2005

Zoo York

I skated for probably two months when I was 13, and it was a really cool and lucrative thing for a girl to do, especially at my school, plus, I was one of only three girls doing this at the time and place. I didn't learn much and was really just getting my bearings, as my balance was (and still is) the pits, but I very much enjoyed the boys trying to teach me ollies and kickflips, and watching the better male skaters ride around, shirtless of course. All was good until my dad finally gave in to buying me a new board at this surf/skate shop at the mall (remember, we're talking late eighties DC suburbs and this shop existed for about six months). I picked one out and was riding really nicely down the corridor of the mall (I left my dad as collateral for the shopguy letting me take the board out of the shop), miraculously swerving around the teenyboppers and the grandmas, but I'm not very steady on my feet, and I got scared and decided to stop, only the board decided otherwise, and, well, I broke my wrist and haven't been on a board since. My interest in the sport proved to be quite superficial.

My appreciation for skaters peaked again when the documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys", (directed by original Z-Boy Stacy Peralta. Also wrote the new "Lords of Dogtown" movie) came out in 2001. I knew that eventually, skating went national, but I had no idea that while the Z-boys were riding out in California in the seventies, there were the Zoo Yorkers of New York City (link to NY Magazine article: http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/sports/features/11956/index.html). I guess the NYC skating legacy was completely obliterated by the hip-hop movement, back then, a very worthy opponent, and while Cali's Z-boys went on to get pro contracts and whatnot, by the early 80's, Zoo York was already disbanding. So now all that remains of the sub-culture are a few tags and a bunch of punks in Union Square practicing basic ollies, failing miserably, and not doing much else.

As much as I love/hate NYC and want to kill Mayor Bloomberg on a daily basis, I have to say that I am often presented with new reasons to be proud of this city, and every day for about 20 minutes, I love it as if it were my own.

Now I am setting my sights on surfing. I'm practicing jumping onto the board from paddle position on a cardboard surfboard in my living room, but once my target starts to move underneath me, that'll be another thing. I've always been a water baby, and the ocean provides a much cushier place to wipeout than pavement or plywood.

Michael Jackson

I'm not going to even get into what I thought of the verdict. Let's just say that my faith in the American justice system was never strong to begin with. The OJ case came along and my faith began to dwindle pretty quickly. After the Bush fiasco, I started to question the sound minds of certain judges. As of yesterday, it is pretty much nil.

According to the AP, "Michael Jackson's Web site trumpeted his courtroom vindication Tuesday, linking it with such historic events as the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., while his lawyer vowed his client wouldn't be sharing his bed with boys anymore." Can you imagine? Come to think of it, my faith in the press has also been failing and is now nil as well. What a dumb-ass statement to make. Wacko Jacko (or website guy) indeed.

As for the promise that Jackson will stop sharing his bed with little boys (note that it's never been about little girls), gee, you think it will help? I also read in Metro (a small, morning newspaper in NYC) that Jackson says that his preference for kids is because "adults have let me down." Yeah, adults have let me down too, but there is such a thing as decorum, especially for a very widely-known pop star known for his eccentricities. Mike, you might want to pay attention to this, or else you might as well get used to the courtroom.

viernes, junio 10, 2005

The United States Has Another Bowel Movement

If you have been paying attention to what is happening in Latin America in recent months, you may get the feeling that the region is no longer that gracious when it comes to the "neo-colonialist" grip the US has historically had on them. One example is Vicente Fox's comments. While deemed racist by some knee-jerk reactionaries like Al Sharpton and some people out there in Blogger World, it is actually a sign that Latin America and its citizens are not necessarily happy with being second-class citizens in their own countries, or in this one for that matter. As you know, Latin America is home to countless indigenous groups who are involved in a long struggle for equal rights, akin to civil rights movement in this country in the '50's and '60's, which has been wrought with civil war, demonstrations and violence.

This article (http://ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=28962) is about how the US, no doubt spurred by the demonstrations by the Aymara and others in Bolivia over the exportation of natural gas, has now decided that the indigenous struggle for rights contributes to the "instability of the region" and is therefore seen as a terrorist threat. To be clear, I am not suggesting at all that the US has Latin America next on its invasion list, or at least I hope they don't. We all know that their resources are tied up in the Middle East right now securing easy access to oil and rooting out anyone who might hurt Israel, their spies in the region. Besides, they must also have their hands tied "revamping" the terror alert-o-meter because, after all, the Republicans can never be too early when it comes to manipulating the country to their side. I am saying that this time the United States has gone too far, and while I don't necessarily fear imminent invasion, I do fear that Latin America will lose any shreds of dignity and autonomy it has left, and that's not much, by the way. When I read the above article, of course my mind wandered back to the summer of 1954 in Guatemala, when the country was invaded by its own, backed by the CIA, just because the government, labelled Communist, tried to nationalize United Fruit Company (I can elaborate upon request) territories and take back what was theirs to begin with. I'm hoping that this is not what is going to happen now, although I can certainly see trouble brewing. The interesting part of the problem is, just as there were many back in 1954 who thought President Arbenz was a communist devil and therefore supported the invasion of their own country, Guatemala, there are many in Latin America who are America and/or Bush supporters and clearly ignore history and the fact that the United States is just the victimized colony that became the victimizing neo-colonial power. Sadly, these people will not realize that they've contributed to the ruin of their own countries until it is too late.

Just as the Republicans are being so quick on their feet, let me be quick as well. I implore all of you, PLEASE get these cancerous lesions out of power and vote elsewhere in the next election. Yes, all politicians are liars and can be just as dispicable, but like I always say, when you are talking political leaders and parties, everything is relative, and you just have to go with the one who won't screw you and your world as badly as the other.

miércoles, mayo 25, 2005

I called it

Last night, Al Sharpton appeared on New York 1 (a news channel in NYC) to talk about the Vicente Fox comment, which, if you will all remember, I called out in my last post. I knew it. he said that Fox called him personally last week. Apparently, he did everything but apologize. Sharpton also said that Fox's statement that he was sorry that people misconstrued his comment was not nearly enough. Fox invited him to Mexico City for a meeting, and Sharpton did not make it clear whether he went or not. Here we go again. Does he expect Fox to get on his knees and beg forgiveness for making a comment that is absolutely true?

I had a comment on my last post making the point that immigrants from Latin America, while it is true that they do jobs that others wouldn't necessarily go near, might not be sufficiently integrated into American society economically, and the fact that they keep coming doesn't help. I thought that was an excellent point, but I also think that it does nothing to disprove Fox's comment. I have also seen posts which say something about kicking Fox's "racist ass". I think those are just reactionary. I mean really, all you have to do is take a good look at the guys making your burgers at the diner, dishing out your food at Zabar's and doing your laundry when you drop it off at the laundromat, and you will easily see that Fox's comment was not at all far from the truth. I think certain people have been reduced to screaming racism whenever their ethnicity is referred to in what they think is not such a positive light. Then I have to ask what their internal issues are that they are so threatened on such a constant basis. If I had a nickel for every time my ethnicity is referred to in a less than positive light, I'd be out singing "Rich Girl" with Gwen and Eve. But no one seems to care when that happens. So I can't be all that sympathetic in this situation. I have your back, Vicente. Sea fuerte.

martes, mayo 17, 2005

Vicente Fox

Mr. Fox is the president of Mexico, in case anyone has been living underneath a rock during the past few years. Over the weekend, Fox said the following:

"There's no doubt that Mexican men and women - full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work - are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States.'' (Link to article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/15/AR2005051500622.html) Under fire, Fox has said that he will absolutely not apologize for making the comment as it is the truth, although he says he regrets any hurt feelings, and I do not blame him. Mexico has been the US's whipping post for far too long and its time that they are able to speak their minds without having to kneel before the Gringos to beg forgiveness for their disloyal behavior. The US has done nothing but take huge shits on every single Latin American country, so I think they can take some choice words fired their way. And then the gringos have the fucking nerve to ask why Latin America has become so anti-yanqui.

Given the fact that in Latin America, it is still very widely accepted to, for example, give someone a nickname according to his skin color ( even though there are black folks in Latin America, like the Garifuna in Guatemala), I can understand why Fox's comments were perhaps misunderstood. An example: the nickname given to my African American friend when he lived in Washington Heights, NYC, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood: "Moreno", which would probably be the equivalent of "blackie". Of course these guys failed to look in the mirror at their own black skin and nappy heads, because most Dominicans think they are descendent from the Spaniards only and are therefore nothing but white, which of course is a HUGE lie they tell themselves and everyone else who dares to ask them about their heritage. And I'll just stop there because I could write a book on how some Dominicans, and some Latinos for that matter, play themselves constantly, and damn, do I digress.

Anyway, I read an article in New York Magazine last night about Mexican immigrants and decided to put Fox's comment up against it (link to article: http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/features/11961/index.html). I hope not to be misunderstood when I say that I completely agree with Fox's comment, as I understood it, although I can understand how some very eager beavers took it out of context, and to be honest, I'm waiting for Sharpton to barge in and talk some shit. I don't know how it is in the rest of the country, but in NYC, when I see people scrubbing the toilets at my office, they are Latino, save for the one Filipina. When I go out for lunch to a sandwich place, the guys making the sandwiches are mostly Mexican, save for other immigrants from Colombia, Ecuador and other countries in the region. When I get on the subway late at night, its Mexicans I see, still in their greasy work clothes, coming off the night shift at the restaurant.

The above-mentioned article talks about how David, a Mexican immigrant, lives in an illegally converted, dark, damp and moldy basement of a tenement building with 26 other Mexican immigrants, all illegal. The reason why they live so humbly is because a large chunk of their money is sent back to their relatives in Mexico, some of whom can't put food on the table due to horrible economies and the constant lack of consideration and/or aid for the poor, and they are left with just enough for some basic needs. When I read that, I immediately thought of how slave traders used to stack those they kidnapped one on top of the other in the bowels of the ship, and I couldn't help but draw the very obvious parallel. Some of the people in David's, um, apartment, work at Citarella's and Fairway, fancy-schmancy food markets, although they wouldn't be able to afford food from there were it not for the handouts they get at the end of their working day. I've said before that it is nuts that I work at the UN but can't afford to live anywhere near there (although I have a decent place about half an hour away by train), and for that reason and as a Latina, I really feel for these people. Are they to be denied their human rights in this country, which supposedly champions human rights - I guess only for themselves, because they are illegal? I think the fact that they are so willing to work so hard and at pretty much anything should really cancel out the fact that they are illegal, and they should be granted certain rights, like confidential medical care without having to worry that someone is going to rat them out to La Migra, if for nothing else than their work. After all, this country was built on their backs. We, Americans, took a good chunk of this country from them back in the day, and we still have not stopped exploiting them and blaming them for the country's ills.

And as for that comment I hear all the time about "those damn immigrants" coming to take "our" jobs, I'd like to see Bush and Cheney, or any of those imperialist, unaccommodating, unreasonable assholes, come to my office and empty my trash. I want to see Bernard Kerik's ass, who can hire an illegal immigrant to care for his kids and then allies himself with the very people who want to kick her out of the country, wiping the toilet with his tongue. The unfortunate fact is that pigs will pick up and learn to fly before this, just hard justice, in my opinion, ever happens.

jueves, abril 07, 2005

Too Much, Too Many People - A Rant

This morning, I dragged my ass out of bed at 8 am so I could get to work by 9:30am. I am technically 15 minutes by subway to work, but I have to get to the station early because on the 7 line, since the inhabitants of Queens are mostly lower-income and/or immigrants, the MTA has basically told us to fuck off, and everyday the 7 has problems, just when people need to get to work. But inconvenience is the MTA's trademark, so how could I have the audacity to expect more from them? Anyway, I come into the office, and I have this little system going so the "adults" who work here and don't know what respect or the honor system are, don't start taking country files and their contents all willy-nilly. Sounds pretty stupid right? (Don't even get me started on how much of my job is just humiliating. I hate to use the phrase "it is beneath me," but fuck it, certain parts of my job are BENEATH ME, and make me wonder why my parents and I spent so much fucking money on a good college so I could come to the UN and be an administrative ASSistant. On top of everything, the official title for any administrative job at my "salary grade" is "clerk." How humiliating is that? Thank God for the people who take me seriously and give me real work requiring brain power). Well, I have to keep these fucking files under lock and key, because like I said, I work with a bunch of Satanspawn BABIES and I knew one day I'd get hell for my system from a certain person who just wants everything to be easy for him and the hell with everyone else. And this morning I got it. Way louder than my own parents have ever yelled at me, and in public, bien sur, of course. Even while my mother was whooping my ass with a belt, she never screamed so fucking loud. So, the hell with the fucking files. I'm not going to keep them locked, and the offending son of a fucking pile of shit from an Egyptian camel can do what he wants with them and then answer to the Committee when an important document goes missing. Files are not my life, and I don't give a fuck. Stupid me for caring about my work. Certainly not enough to be yelled at for my good fucking intentions. He and the other people in my office who think they can treat others like shit can stand in line and wait to kiss my big, brown ass, and then go straight to hell and fuck themselves. It's enough I have to come here in the morning just to wipe the fucking drool from these fuckers' faces.

Thanks for listening, and y'all enjoy your day.