Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Monday, January 31, 2005

More Latino Soldiers Die

Every soldier death in Iraq is significant, but Latinos are coming back in caskets at an alarming rate. A couple of these Latinos, of course, have ties to the Rio Grande Valley.

I'm not sure where we can find the numbers, but I know I've read that per capita, the Valle has had the largest number of soldiers killed in the war.

Capture The Illegal Immigrant Game

The Young Conservatives of Texas are at it again. They made the news last week after setting up a booth with a Capture the Illegal Immigrant Game on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton. That's about 1 hour North of Dallas.

The YCT is so proud of this event that they've even posted pictures on their website.

These guys are good. They were all over the place when I was in undergrad at University of Texas at Austin. They always seemed to say outrageous things and get media attention. That's the way it works.

These are the same kids who stood by UT Law Prof. Lino Graglia when he said Blacks and Chicanos come from a culture where failure is not looked upon with disgrace.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

En La Casa De Mi Primo

Oh how I wish I had a camera. My cousin Pepe had a dinner for his father last Saturday in San Juan. Mi tio turned 70 something. I decided to go since I was in town. My parents and I showed up at about 5pm y la carne ya estaba a todo fuego. I walked towards that backyard where the pachanga was happening y como es costumbre, le salude a todos. De abrazo a los hombres y de beso a las mujeres. I didn't know 90% of them, but I knew they were either part of my family or my cousins family.

The women were all sitting around a table chit-chatting while the men stood near the music and the keg. The older men, like my father and my uncle sat around in the middle of the yard telling stories. This is the way it happens. This is nothing new to me, but I just found it funny that now I seem like more of an alien to these men whom I was supposed to be talking to. A couple of them were my cousins (primos segundos) who I didn't know.

They were all drinking beer, wearing jeans, boots, a cowboy hat and some kind of jewlery. I had none. I was wearing my baggy khaki pants, a guayabera, addidas shoes, and a funky old man brit hat. I tried jumping in the conversation, but I knew they weren't interested. So, I listened. It was very civil, no rude comments, nada de groserias. They talked about a trip to Vegas and New Orleans, then made fun of a cousin from Monterrey who was late. They said he had to stop in El Centro (downtown) to do some shopping before he made it to the party. Inherintly, a sexist joke, but funny nonetheless.

Maybe I didn't fit in because I didn't know them that well - but it felt weird. That's the way it is though. I do talk to my gorrudo cousins whom I know. This was just different.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sin Chamba

Many of you may have noticed that I've been doing quite a bit of traveling across this great state of Texas. In fact, I just got back from McAllen a couple of hours ago. I'm in Austin now. Last Thursday I served as my lawyer brother's chauffer and drove him from Austin, to Sinton, to Mathis, to Karnes, to San Antonio, back to Austin. These are all cities in Tortilla Sandwich's neck of the woods. Then, I decided I hadn't done enough driving so I split to McAllen that night.

The reason I'm able to drive around is because I don't have a job. I stopped working in Dallas in late December and have been on the move since. People ask me if I'm looking for a job or if I'm worried and I say, "huh?" Man, I've only been in the real workforce for 5 years and I already need a break - I'm taking it right now. I reckon' I'm in transition. I'm going to help my brother set up an office here in Austin and see what happens next. I don't really have a plan.

So there, if you're wondering why I'm doing all this driving, it's cause I don't have a gig. I don't have much money saved up..enough to make a couple months of motorcycle and insurance payments (the essentials of course). My roommate in Dallas was generous enough to cover all of the bills and rent. I am running low on cash - so I'm pretty grateful for that. Ask me if I'm worried now, "uh, not really."

The great thing about my life, at this point, is that there are a lot of people willing to help me out. I don't want to freeload and I don't think I am, but it's nice to know that sometimes you really don't have to worry about much.

I am still doing a bit of contract work for my old company and also helping my brother with some preliminary stuff, so it's not like I sit on my ass all day - but I'm not getting paid. Bueno, I'll keep you all posted on this situation.

Enchilada Taco

My mom made enchiladas a couple of days ago. Today, I saw my dad put his enchilada inside a flour tortilla. Yup, he made a taco out of an enchilada, which is already a tortilla. Go figure.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

La Iglesia Response

I received some comments and emails about my Poor South post. Perfecto, those are some of the reasons why I blog. La carnalita from Loteria Chicana asks "what would the church have to do with people not being financially responsible?" My comment was more about the Cathollic Church sometimes encouraging complacency. Here is my response:

I am a Catholic. I don't call myself a non-practicing or practicing Catholic. I don't call myself a good or bad Catholic. I just am a Catholic. I don't agree with about 1/2 of the things that Catholic church believes in, but I'm still a Catholic.

My comment about the Catholic church teaching complacency stems from the fact that in the Catholic church we're taught to obey, kneel, (sometimes) fear, and bow. We're taught not to question the priests. We're sometimes taught to be docile and subservient. Often, I think this is the reason Mexicanos have been so quick to accept patrones and opression. I may be wrong about believing all of these things but these observations come from being a Catholic for 27 years.

Now, I think the Catholic has also be great from Mexican people. We should simply look towards Revolutionaries like Father Miguel Hidalgo and other well knows spiritual leaders. They encouraged peasants to rise up and fight for equality (although it has not been achieved). The church has often been kind to its congregations. We must not forget that believing in God, the Virgen, and the Saints has kept many of us strong in times of trial.

I guess, that's all I was trying to say with that one comment.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Cornelio Reyna Tribute

NorteƱo legend Cornelio Reyna's friends get together every year to pay tribute to the man the paved the way for so many. I'm not exactly sure how many years ago he died, but people loved him. He was part of "Los Relampagos" with Ramon Ayala. My dad tells me that at the time they were playing very different music than anyone else. Yesterday, thousands of fans and peers came together for an all day celebration near a Cantina where these men used to play. They do this every year.

Apparently it's a huge thing. I've heard Cornelio Reyna's music and I like it - so even if I don't know to much about them, I thought I'd mention it.

Money Management

My previous post was more about money management and financial planning than being lazy.

I by no means think Raza, those who work doing just about anything, are lazy. I by no means think I am lazy (well - sometimes). I'm glad people are commenting.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Poor South

Maybe it's just me, but it seems the further South I get, the less money people have. Ok, wait, that's nothing new. I've known this all my life. That's the way it is and probably will be for a long time, but lately it's just slapped me in the face. I'm comparing apples to apples, not apples to manzanas. The sad part isn't necessarily that people have less money (i still don't have any money), but the fact that many people are complacent.

The folks I'm comparing are my college friends. My argument is full of holes, but just listen, por favor. I have friends in Dallas, none of them Mexicanos, who have pretty decent jobs, own a business, are in graduate school, or do something else. Even the unemployed fools seem to be doing ok. My one unemployed friend still goes out, buys things, plays on the computer (he's in debt, but he will be able to get out of it).

In El Valle my friends are struggling. I have a married couple friend in debt up to their necks - they both have college degrees and good jobs (not sure if they will be able to get out of debt). I have a lawyer friend who is doing ok. I have some other friends who have good jobs, but can't seem to scrape together enough money for a vacation. Chingado, I don't have a job right now and I've been traveling across the state like a madman.

Is it that down in the Valle - where I am right now, we don't know how to save? Maybe, we don't know how to manage our money? Maybe we value time and family much more than we do money and material possessions, but can't there be a balance?

I dunno. I was talking to my brother - the pelado who's got his law office and he was telling me that he hates to say it, but he thinks the raza in the valley is just getting lazy. He makes this comment, to which I said, "you're crazy" and "that's not a fair statement" because of his experiences working on immigration matters.

He says, in Austin, the Mexicanos show up with their paperwork, their money, a job, and other information needed to move forward on their case. In McAllen he says, nombre, the raza says it's too expensive, they don't want to work, and half the time they don't have any of the paper work needed. Again - we're not comparing Apples to Manzanas. We're comparing Mexicanos to Mexicanos. I dunno - maybe it's our culture down here that breeds complacency. Maybe it's the church. Maybe it's the water or the budlight. Quien Sabe. Maybe it's just me.

I love it down here, but we definitely need changes. Something needs to happen. Ok - I'll probably be in Austin again tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cholo Word Of The Day - Relajo

Relajo can mean several different things. It can be used as part of a phrase or stand alone.

Relajo, Es un Relajo, Que Relajo

Meaning According To DT:
screw up, he's a screw up (also he doesn't really care, takes it easy), what a drag

Used in a sentence:
"Chano, el Tomy es bien relajo, le vale maiz que no tiene job."

"Si Borrado, eso es cierto. Por eso lo mandaron a volar la wila (sp?)."

Translation according to DT:
"Feliciano, Tomas is kind of a screw up, it doesn't really bother him that he doesn't have a job."

"Yes Hazel eyes, that's true. That's why they kicked him out of his house."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Catching Up

I love blogging. I just caught up on reading all the blogs I read. For all of you typepad kids, I tried commenting, pero naranjas - it wasn't working. I'm off to eat more Menudo.

Fixing A Plate

One of my high school friends made a comment after observing a very normal (in my eyes) gesture between couples at our high school reunion. I'm not exactly sure which of my friends made the comment - either the independant, intelligent, confident L.A. chica (she's reading this) or the Ohio State graduate student professora.

We had food at most of our reunion events (of course, raza always eating w/o regard for the diabetes or high cholesterol that runs in our people) - fajitas, tortillas, frijoles, menudo, and of course lots of cerveza. The comment was made after observing that more than one wife, fiance, or girlfriend, got up to serve their significant other a plate of food. The women got up, fixed their husbands a plate, gave it to them, then went back and served themselves a plate.

One of my friends thinks the gesture is an act of submissiviness and indicates that the woman is playing the role of servant. She says most Mexican men aren't there emotionally for their Women, so this gesture isn't deserved. I quickly pointed out that the same men who had their plates served, earlier in the day, took it upon themselves to start the fire at the bbq, cook the meat, and clean up, while their wives chatted away. I pointed out that I think those are just gestures and roles men and women sometimes play, especially Mexicanos. I don't think it's wrong - in fact, I think it's nice to see.

I don't think we have to stop being gentlemen or ladies in order to avoid being sexists. Anyway, I love arguing with my friend, so it's fun to see the way to see the way she thinks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Taking Note

Thanks everyone for the comments. I enjoy reading them and take all suggestions into consideration. I also appreciate the emails. If you regularly read my blog and I haven't commented on your blog - that probably means that I don't know about it. Send me and email or let me know where I can find you. I read as many blogs as I can.

My Travels:

Yup, it's chingos of driving. From Dallas to Mcallen it's probably about 500 miles. Dallas is North Texas, McAllen is South Texas, Austin is Central Texas.

I'll talk more about what I've seen and my impressions in a separate entry at a later date.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Traveling The State

My schedule the last couple of weeks:

Dec. 20 - Dallas
Dec. 21 - Austin
Dec. 22 - Jan. 1 - McAllen
Jan. 1 - Austin
Jan. 2 - Dallas
Jan. 3 - Austin
Jan. 5 - McAllen
Jan. 7 -9 - San Antonio
Jan. 9 - McAllen
Jan. 10 - Austin

I think I leave for Dallas on Wednesday, but not sure yet. Yikes!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Los Reyes Magos

Today is el Dia De Los Reyes Magos. My mom and younger brother went out and bought a Rosca. None of us got the rosca. You can read all about the traditions by clicking on the links.

Many folks don't open "Christmas" gifts until the 6 of January. Not us, but some do. Read about it if you like.

Se Saco La Dag

I've used Se Saco La Daga as a Cholo Word Of the Day before. I'm in McAllen right now and I just got my hair cut. Me trasquilaron, pero the girls that were cutting my hair were really nice. We started talking about the Vicente Fernandez concert, and one of them said "Se Saco La Dag." I started laughing and the other girl says, "You're in el Valle dude." I said, "why yes I am." I love it.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Los Paisanos

My trip to the Valley was fantastic. I couldn't stop eating. My trip down there started well when I stopped at a gas station to fix the tarp I had placed over my mattress. I was moving a lot of my stuff to Austin. I was almost done fixing the tarp when a paisano walked over and asked if I needed help. I guess he saw me struggling. He was in a van, loaded up with bikes, toys, clothes, and a lot more, with about 8 other men. I found out they were all headed to Guanajuato.

You've seen them in you've traveled during the holidays on any major highway heading south. Paisanos are the folks who work in the States (usually Mexicans) and head back to Mexico for the holidays. Many of them have papers and many of them do not. It's much harder for a Paisano without papers to get back into the states, so they tend to travel less.

I don't know the numbers for how much money these folks send to Mexico (we've seen them before), or how many Paisanos head back, but it's chingos.

I think about Paisanos because when I was a reporter and President Vicente Fox had recently been elected he promised to help put an end to the corruption and violence against paisanos. Back in the day - this was the perfect time for Mexican officials to rip off their fellow countrymen. The fuzz knew the people heading back had money with them - so they would extort. I talked to many Paisanos and they always told me they were more afraid of the Mexican cops than the several thousands miles of travel. I think things are better now, at least I hope they are. I haven't heard of overwhelming complaints -- maybe because we're not listening any more or may because everything is better. Who knows.

My mom - probably wouldn't be considered a Paisana. She's lived in Texas for a long ass time, but she's on her way to visit my buelita in El Refugio. The reason - to drop off the "Ensure" milk she buys over here. It's good for old folks and in Mexico it costs chingos.