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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Organic Milk

My mom flipped through a newspaper ad while talking about who knows what. She looked at the milk section and says, "Ah, esta es la leche que compro Cesar."

So, of course I look. Cesar is my little brother. He's a hippie (like most of the readers here - I would imagine). He moved to the East Coast when he graduated high school. My cousin bought him a baseball cap that said "Brown Pride" with a little cholo on it - because he was going to "Brown University." I digress. Now the kids in law school and he's still a hippie.

I guess he bought some organic milk when he won't home and I laughed. My mom asked me what organic milk was. The best way I could figure out how to explain it was to tell her that it was like milk from the rancho. Is that right? Basically, I told her, the don't screw w/ the cows.

Then she told me how when she was growing up, the neighbor kid Silvano, would run up to the cows, grab a tit, and squirt milk into his mouth. That was his breakfast. I said, yup, I think that's organic milk.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fideo for Lunch

I asked my mom about fideo and she said my grandmother used to make that for them when she was a kid in rural, rancho, Mexico. This is back in the 40's.

I had fideo for lunch and then I read this.


One thing about staying in McAllen to help my brother out is that I get to do little things like go to the bank. This morning I drove to the bank to deposit some money. There were about 10 people in front of me and the line was moving slower than the traffic on the McAllen-Reynosa International Bridge coming in during Semana Santa. I waited not-so-patiently and watched as people talked to the pretty bank tellers. I noticed that part of the problem was that about 75% of the people in front of me were not customers.

"Tiene cuenta con nosotros," pretty bank teller would ask. "No," woman carrying child, man with big bigote, or older man with slacks and cell phone on hip would answer. "Es que tengo que cambiar un cheque."

The pretty bank teller would then advise the customers that they would need a second form of identification, "tarjeta de credito, passaporte, driver's license, credit card." I thought maybe tarjeta de credito and driver's license meant two different things - or maybe the pretty teller just wanted to give multiple options.

I stood behind the man wearing gray slacks, a colorful shirt, and black SAS shoes. The entire bank soon found out that the woman standing behind me recognized this catrin.

"Oiga, se acuerda de mi," the woman excitedly asked. "Si, claro que si," the catrin answered. The woman soon revealed that this man had been her English teacher. He was no longer teaching English and she said she was still looking for a good teacher who could teach her the language. They asked how each other's family was and again the woman asked "pero, si se acuerda de mi." The man replied, "pero claro," but I could clearly see that he didn't know who the hell she was. He was being polite as is customary. I think the woman would have felt like caca if he had said, no, because by this time everyone had already been metiches and was listening in on their conversation.

The pretty tellers asked another client, "tiene cuenta," they replied, "no." The clients were soon advised it would cost them five bones to cash their check. "Esta bien."

Man, five bucks. I'd be pissed. I complained when they wanted to charge me four dollars for a money order when I was applying for law school. The dude ended up giving them to me for free.

I thought to myself, why the hell don't these people have a bank account? Where do they keep their money? Then I realized it wasn't until about 10 years ago when my folks got a legit account. I didn't get a bank account until I went to college and needed some place to store my fat financial aid check. So, I came up with the following reasons:

1. They don't trust banks
2. They don't have enough money to put in the bank
3. They don't have the proper identification
4. They just don't know what banks can do for them
5. They don't trust banks

I finally made it up to the front for my pinchesio deposit and I didn't even get one of the pretty tellers. I got some dude. Nice, but a dude. He didn't even ask me if I had a bank account. I just gave him the cash, the slips, and was out in two minutes.

I exited the parking lot into the street and a dude in a red truck and cowboy hat zoomed up to my rear. He was making all sorts of hand gestures, so I moved over to the right lane to let him by. We came to a stop at the light and I rolled down my window and smiled. He was upset. I laughed. That was my morning.

It's HOT!

I'm still in McAllen and it's 94 freakin' degrees outside. Damn, it's burning up. Whew. Ok, not back to recreating a post I wrote yesterday, but Blogger killed!

Just Chatting

I'm sitting in my brother's small office in McAllen and it's getting packed. Complete strangers sat quietly for about five minutes. Six minutes later - they're ALL chatting it up. Laser Surgery, the cola at the bridge, a work permit, el doctor "chinito."

Ok, one dude just walked in. I'm sure he'll join in the conversation in about 3 minutes.

Friday, March 25, 2005


I passed San Antonio south on I-35 on my way to the Valley and there was no doubt in my mind that Easter was near. I drove by vendors parked on the side of the streets with homemade signs letting everyone know they were selling "Cascarones" - Easter Eggs. Red, blue, yellow, blue and yellow, orange, purple, etc...

It reminded me of Easters as a kid. We'd go to church then go to the park. Every year, we would try to eat as many eggs as we could, so that when Easter came around we could have about 20 dozen cascarones. My mom would carefully break the top of the eggs when she was about to cook them. Then, we'd put them away till the week before easter when we would color them and fill them with confetti. Sometimes we would fill the cascarons with harina or every now and then someone would get crazy and stick a raw egg in there. I like to tell people that we used to eat: papas con huevo, chorizo con huevo, frijoles con huevo, jamon con huevo, y huevo a huevo!

I was talking to my friend a couple of days ago. She's from McAllen, but currently lives in Ohio. I asked her if they were going to make the cascarones and she told me people up there didn't do that. I said, WHAT?! I didn't know that. She also told me that kids don't crack the eggs over each other's head. Again, I didn't know that.

We always had the kid that would get too excited and start cracking eggs with the pointy part of the cascaron over the old ladies' heads! Oh man, after that it was on. Some of those suckers hurt. It was fun. No cascarones this year - but it was fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Music At The Office

I'm sitting at my brother's office in McAllen, where my pops serves as the office manager, and a guy that grew up in the same neighborhood where I did just brought in a couple of CD's. This guy's dad, is a song writer. The man's name is Alfredo Garcia and he wrote Al Pie De La Tumba. Ricardo, his son, just brought in La Contestacion De Al Pie De La Tumba, sung his cousin, Oscar Garcia.

The guys all lived in El Campito. That's where we know them from. Alfredo Sr., was great friends with my grandfather. His wife Ermila was my grandmother's best friend. So, right now, we're sitting at my brother's office, listening to this song. It's so powerful.

Al Pie De La Tumba is one of my favorite's song, even before I knew that this man had written it. I was playing it one day and my dad told me, "sabes quien escribio esa cancion? Era Alfredito Garcia."

Me fui al cementerio
a soltar el llanto
A ver si llorando
te puedo olvidar
Ahora comprendo
que es imposible
Por que ya ni muerta
te dejo de amar

Al pie de la tumba
mirando el cielo
Quisiera escuchar tu voz
quisiera abrazarte
Quisiera besarte
pero es imposible
Tu ya estas con dios

Dormido te sueno
despierto te miro
Muy dentro de mi alma
siempre viverás
No puedo olvidarte
yo quiero seguirte
Que me lleven lejos
adonde tu estas

Al pie de la tumba
mirando el cielo
Quisiera escuchar tu voz
quisiera abrazarte
Quisiera besarte
pero es imposible
Tu ya estas con dios

Wow. There's so much history here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Even If Your Friends Aren't

I've been talking a lot to a friend lately. He and I have chingos in common, but we also have plenty of differences. We're both from the Valley and we both went to UT. We were both raised in a similar fashion. Now, we both send money to our parents, but he's at a different level. I send money home to my folks to help them pay for my mom's health insurance. He sends money home to pay for his mom's house - which they're about to have to sell off.

We've had several discussions about this because I think he wants to talk about it. I know he feels that I can relate to him.

In college I was living the life! I had more money than I've ever had before. Mind you, they were loans and I worked, but what the hell. People would always complain about how little money they had and I would just listen in amazement. I had a decent apartment, could buy new shoes if I needed to, send some of my financial aid money home (just randomly), and almost had my own room! What could I complain about? At home I didn't get a bed until I was 13. Anyway, my point is that I sent money home even then.

My friend is in a totally different ballgame though. He's basically the sole income provider for his mother. They live over 300 miles away from each other. It sucks because he has to worry about that and then paying his own bills. They're going to lose the house because he can't keep making all of the payments.

What kind of sucks (and doesn't) is that nobody really knows about this. Nobody knows that he helps his mom or that I send my parents money. Why? Because most of the people we associate with (although raza) have never had to do this.

I'll bet you none of my gringo friends know. Are they bad people? Hell no.
Those dudes would do just about anything for me (as long as it doesn't interfere w/ their plans)!

So, even if our friends aren't worrying about things, we are. I've always been very impressed with this dude, because he's a freakin' hard worker. Our recent conversations have revolved around having the drive to do things. He definitely does has the drive. He'll do well.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Cholo Word of the Day - Jambar

Yup, I know, it's been a very long time. Jambar, which I'm not even sure is correctly spelled, is pronounced: Hambar.



Meaning According To DT:

Used in a sentence:
"Oye Ladislao, el Santos se jambo la t.v. de la store en la mall."

"Yo se Polo. Creia que tambien si iba a jambar la satelite."

Translation according to DT:
"Excuse me, Ladislao, Santos mistakenly appropriated the t.v. from the store at the mall."

"I know, Leopoldo. I thought he might also decided to appropriate the satellite system."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oh What A Night

I met up with some of my most fantastic lady friends this evening. We were going to make a night of the big SXSW showcase we were to attend. After dodging traffic I showed up at their apartment to start the night. I forgot my stupid cell phone in the truck and missed chingos of calls. Damn, why the hell is the cell phone so damn important?

I couldn't miss this show. My friends from Maneja Beto were playing, then Plastilina Mosh, then Andrea Echeverri. Wow, what a night! I later realized my friend called me to tell me I didn't have to shell out the $20, because I was on the list as a band member. Oh well.

So, instead of waiting in line to get in, we decided to grab some drinks at a bar before the show. One of my friends is a lesbian. She's really cool and I made fun of her because she had a lay with those funky colors on her car. We started talking about gay clubs for some reason. She is currently living in San Antonio and happened to mention that she goes to gay clubs. I said, "What?!" She told me there were a lot of gay clubs there - even more than in Austin, a city known for being tolerant to homosexuals. Her theory is that in Austin, people feel free to hang out in public anywhere, becuase its more accepted. So, they don't have to go to only "gay" places. In San Antonio, my friend said, it's very hard, so they all go to clubs. It kind of made sense.

Anyway, the night was great. I hung out with some great friends and even danced a bit with a new dance partner. It was fun.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I find it interesting that some of my brother's clients refer to him as Doctor (in spanish). They are mainly from Honduras and El Salvador. The Mexicans usually simply call him el abogado or licensiado. What's in a title and does it matter how we refer to someone?

I bring this up because I usually am pretty proper when it comes to people with certain titles - (e)specifically academics and politicians. I think it's because as a child I always admired people in these positions.

I am good friends with several professors and a couple of politicos in state/federal office. We talk as if we were camaradas hanging out at the corner, but whenever I refer to them or address them, I always use their titles: Representative (so and so), Dr. (so and so). To tell you the truth, it kind of irks me when people don't use their titles. I figure they did SOMETHING to get there. I reckon' I respect the position or the office.

For instance, although I don't relieve like President Bush, I would always call him Presidnet Bush. In college, even if a professor will ask us to call him/her by their first name, I would still call them Dr. or Professor (if they weren't doctors yet).

Again, I'm not sure why I do this, but when I heard people calling my brother that, I immediately thought of how I refer to people.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Es Una Kite

My friend from ahora vamos a contar and I went to the store to buy kites for her 1st graders. She needed 20. She asked me how to say kite in Spanish and I said WILA (maybe spelled Huila). Apparently not too many people use that word for kite! Do you?

I thought it was funny because I couldn't think of another word for kite. She later emailed me the following:

argentina y guatemala: barrilete
bolivia y chile: volantín
brasil y paraguay: pandorga
colombia, cuba, ecuador, panamá, perú y uruguay: cometa
el salvador y nicaragua: piscucha
hondura: papelote
méxico: papalote (viene del nahuatl que quiere decir mariposa)
puerto rico: chiringa
república dominicana: chichigua
venezuela: papagayo
españa: cometa

I also told her that in the Valley, WILA, was often used to describe a loose woman. Like in Esa Vieja Wila. I guess it's used for a guy too: Ese Pelado Anda de WILO(sorry kids). We've also used WILA to say, "Me voy ir a volar la WILA," which can mean I'm OUTTA here.

I reckon' this is a tribute to my Cholo Word of the Day (RIP).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Lunch at Aranda's

I've been to Aranda's two times in the last 4 days. It's a small restaurant that serves typical Mexican plates, many type of delicious tortas, and of course tortillas. I asked the man behind the register if it was a franchise, because I've seen chingos of these, and he told me there are a bunch, but they are all family owned. In Houston primarily, Austin, and Dallas.

Aranda's is also a fantastic place to talk. On both occassions I visted with friends for a very long time. We talked about immigration, education, the war, and other things. I told my friend about a young Mexican American girl at my brother's office. They have a tax business next door and I walked in to get some water. I saw the 19 year old girl fighting to stay awake as she did her homework. It was College Math. I don't know what that means, but she told me she was doing "patterns and stuff." I didn't ask more questions about that because I would have had to fake a heart attack if she would have asked me for help.

I asked her where she was going to school: ACC (Austin Community College). I asked her what she was studying: I want to be a para-legal or on t.v.

(notice the use of the word "really" in the following conversation)
Me: Really, I used to to be a t.v. reporter.
Her: really? Wow.
Me: Not really. Lots of work. Lots of dumb people. Little pay.
Her: Oh. It's like journalism right?
Me: Yea, hey, why don't you become a lawyer, like this guy (I point in the direction of my brother's office).
Her: No, I can't. That's too hard. You have to have brains.
Me: Well, you just have to apply yourself. You have to study.
Her: It's like being a doctor. It's so much school.
Me: Not really, but you do have to study. You should do it.
Her: (smile, wishing I would get the hell out of there)
Me: ok, good luck.
Her: Adios.

I felt helpless, because although this conversation didn't reveal it as much as I would want to, she doesn't realize she CAN go to law school or do whatever the hell she wants to do. She CAN pay for school and she CAN get a 4 year degree.

She's not going to believe she can because some pelado tells her. She already thinks I'm a privilidged kid, because she sees my walking around the office and because my brother is a lawyer. I don't really feel it's appropriate for me to sit down with every person and tell them that I was probably in the same or worse situation than them when I was a kid (but I had good parents).

I told my friend I didn't know how to encourage these kids (and people in general) how to go to college. Do I have to fill out an application for them and show them school plans? Financial aid forms? I can't. I won't. I just can't. I'm trying to do that for some close friends and it's draining. What do we do?

How do I tell her that an associate's degree is good, but that she should get her college degree. I just don't know.

Then we started talking about immigrants and Mexican Americans. My friend and I are pretty liberal, but we realized we kept ragging on Chicanos. We no longer come up with excuses as to why raza is sitting around at 1pm drinking beer in front of their houses instead of working. Granted this is a very small portion, but back in the day, she and I would have probably made excuses for them. We would have said something like: "they're a product of their environment. they went to shitty schools, they can't get good jobs, let them be. we should be helping them, not criticizing them."

No more. We figure if immigrants, who speak no English, have no history here, have no rights and often no family, can get jobs and work hard, why can't the rest of the raza. Now, it's not fair. I'm singling out Chicanos, but maybe that's because it hits close to home. Man, if we all worked as hard as immigrants do - wow, chingado. She went on to tell me that "I never watch this show," but the other day I saw Newlyweds (w/ Jessica Simpson). The husand apparently hired landscapers to do some work. They were Americans (I think mostly white and black). It seems that after 4 hours Nick, the husband, was pissed off because the crew hadn't done caca. The MTV show kept showing cut-a-ways of them smoking and screwing around. The next day the dude hired a crew with a "spanish surname" and when the guys showed up, they were all raza. My friend says you could tell they were recent immigrants. She said that the show made it a point to illustrate how happy Nick was with their job. They showed them working en chingas and not stopping for breaks or complaining about the heat. The job was excellent. Wow, interesting point to make on MTV.

Anyway, those are just a couple of the we talked about at Arandas.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

YCT Backs Down

It looks like YCT didn't conduct the immigrant after all. Here a story.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Seeking Blessings for Mexican Born Soldiers Iraq

The Austin American Statesman has this storyabout people praying for the soldiers. Many of these men and women join the military in an effort to get their citizenship.

The Important Things

I don't know what happened at UT today, regarding Texas Independance Day, but I do know that I just came back from eating a fantabulous Barbacoa plate at La Michoacana, located a block away from my brother's office. My meal was less than 4 bones and I'm stuffed. I shouldn't eat like that.

I noticed that next to the kithcen there was an empty crib, but I could tell a kid had recently been in there. I wonder if someone who works at the joint takes their kid with them. Maybe I'll find out next time.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

YCT at it Again

I wonder if this is true. It's an email circulating around UT. YCT already had a similar event.

The YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas) have organized an "Immigrant
for this Wednesday, March 2nd on the West Mall on campus-- they have
reserved the space from 11:00am-1:00pm.

They recently organized a similar event at the University of North
. This time around they plan to wear color-coded anti-immigrant shirts
and "hunt for immigrants" who will be YCT-ers dressed in brown for
Latina/os,yellow for Asians, etc. and offer rewards.

A counter-demonstration is planned by a multi-ethnic coalition of
student organizations in response at the same time. Folks are asking for a huge
turnout, and that people wear black shirts and white bandanas if
possible, and bring signs and chants-- some folks will be linking hands in silent
>protest, others will be vocal and hold signs and pass out flyers
outlining a progressive position on immigration.

March 2nd is Texas Independence Day. MEChA and YCT have had some interesting "debates" on this day. It should be interesting. I remember one year I was leaving campus at about 5pm and had parked near a fraternity house. The kids were outside dress as Mexicans and Texas Rangers. The "Mexicans" were running away drinking tequila and getting shot down. It was pretty disgusting.

MEChA usually tries to present the other side of the story to Texas Independence day. It's interesting, because the other side of the story, is taught by a couple of professors in the Mexican American Studies department, but the administration never seems to want to acknowledge any other side of the story.

A lot of the men fighting at the Alamo were crooks.