Saturday, July 29, 2006


Twenty-six days after the Mexican elections things just get a little stranger by the day. The ostensible loser, PRD candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO for short) has spent the last few weeks whipping supporters into a frenzy in México City's national Zócalo, his base since he was a favored mayor there. These marches have only barely walked the line between demonstration and riot. During this time, his messages to the people have consistently berated election committee officials for alleged fraud, even though these same officials had blessed the transference of many other government seats to the PRD, now the majority party. He has also called for a complete recount of the 41.8 million ballots cast on July 2nd, certain that this will reveal that ostensible winner Felipe Calderón's 244,000 vote lead is incorrect. AMLO is bolstering his fraud allegations with quote, evidence, unquote that ballots were stuffed and votes were bought, provided, of course, to television news vectors. Yesterday I read an article that indicated that the contenders were about to enter into a dialogue, but I also learned that AMLO had declared himself the quote, real, unquote president of México, and that he was petitioning to file criminal charges against the country's top election officials. AMLO says he will not support any outcome that does not include a recount, although the seven-member judiciary of the Federal Election Tribunal (TRIFE) will end up deciding the election--probably without recount--by September 6th. And about me? I did not feel so hot today. I was going to make dinner, but I just stood there and looked at all of the ingredients and could not get myself to do it. So I went back to bed and we got Subway, and read, and watched Scrubs until after midnight. [Cavin]

Friday, July 28, 2006


We ate Italian again tonight. While we were sitting in a classically quaint hole-in-the-wall kitchenette-type restaurant with that Formica-and-linoleum touch, I realized that when I move home it will probably be Mexitailian food that I will miss most. They make a chili de arbol sauce that is just wonderful. Also, tonight's place--I didn't get the name, but there was a Picasso harlequin on the sign, oddly--had the best damn cappuccino that I have had in Monterrey. We seemed to be the only real customers in the place. Family of the owners seemed to occupy two of the other four tables. One of the reasons for this might be that we were eating so early: arriving at five till eight, we had to wait on the street until the place opened. Wandering down the block we found a dark little corridor of market where the last several days' worth of rain still pooled, but most of the stalls were closed up behind steel garage-type shutters. We were trying to do business between the cracks of México's social hours, I guess; stuck in the borders between day and night. Dinner conversation did not touch on the news much, but it is worth noting that over the last weeks there have been several instances of connected execution-style killings reported to be narco violence trickling down the highway from the borderland war. The Governor of Nuevo Leon has asked to install army checkpoints on the interstate highway. Several days ago, about fifteen armed men opened fire on a car containing five people, killing one. The purported target of that attack lost an alleged relation to two gunmen outside a Monterrey carwash yesterday morning. The mood here is still fairly unconcerned: this is pretty much only happening among the narcos. Allegedly. [Cavin]

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Dinner with Olga at Don Pascuale's tonight. You should be able to tell by that half-Spanish, half-English possessive noun that the menu was in Spanish sentences and Italian words. So was the food, but it was also really good. I had the Penne Putanesca, which might mean something dirty in all three languages. When we are together with Olga, we always talk about the news. Last dinner, over sashimi at an Asian fusion place called Kampai, she told us about this, but since it had not been written yet, I could not mention it until now. This is a pretty big deal, and I am certain that your local paper ran this article today. Also in the news: Arnold ran into trouble yesterday on the campaign trail, discovering some of his gubernatorial constituents were looking for the asinine republican immigration bigot they hired:
"This one woman came up to me and said, 'Stop the invasion.' It was that kind of dialogue, and not, 'Hey, is there something we can do about immigration?' And I think that's going into a dangerous area." [said Mr. Schwarzenegger, courtesy the AP]
Apparently, this is backlash from his backing-off on a bill denying undocumented migrants necessary government services. Arnold came right out and admitted he was "wrong" about his previous anti-immigrant stance after actually working with area children. Schwarzenegger reportedly smiled through yesterday's heckling interrogation, reminding people that while we was still a republican, and an actor, he was also an immigrant. Then Schwarzenegger called to say he was putting off his high profile, trade-strengthening mission to Monterrey until after he is (maybe) reelected. Mexico will either get a lame duck or a mandate, fate is spinning its wheels. If you can't stand the caliente get out of the cocina, right, governor? [Cavin]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Something that has been on our minds lately is: where we are gong to live in six months? Sunshine's employer manages to find housing for most of its employees abroad, but when the same employees are shipped back to the US for valuable and mandatory between-posts training, we are typically left to look after ourselves. So thousands of Sunshine's coworkers find themselves intermittently consulting the want ads looking for strategically timed and placed DC housing, priced within the parameters of the per diem. Since long before I had the chance to ask this myself, employees have posed the question "why doesn't the department just have housing in DC, too?" People usually ask that when they are suffering the pain of trying to find a sublet while a hemisphere away. This situation does not afford any: tapping the walls, testing the water pressure, checking out the view, or sniffing the neighborhood. Imagine that. Sunshine and I are facing the fact that we will have to rent a place for eleven month without the slightest idea what the place is really like, or what kind of area lies around it. Luckily, I learned today that Sunshine's forward-thinking employers have come up with a plan: why don't they just have housing in DC, too? They are going to try to keep local temporary-stay apartments, glorified hotel rooms, fully furnished for us when we are posted there. I wish I'd thought of that. Naturally, this program is in its trial, so we might not get on the waiting list (in which case we will line up for some dive from Craig’s List). But it is also possible, given the length of our stay and when we will be arriving, that we will be able to live in one of these places. [Cavin]

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


For weeks we've had next to nothing in the pantry. We even ran out of black pepper, for god's sake. These things, combined with busyness, laziness, social priority, and beckoning Deadwood disks resulted in our eating out (or take out) almost every day since the Election. Yesterday necessitated a pre-party trip to the store for things like ice cream cones, Magic Shell ™, and a loaf-like mango cheesecake. Incidentally, we also bought damn near every other thing that we saw there. So today these things combined: Sunshine's second trip to the dentist, guilt, and a fully-stocked refrigerator. Today’s result: all I’ve done is make fresh basil and oregano ravioli and burn the crap out of a pot of lentil-shaped cinders. So, a quick perusal of the news: I need to take back my earlier snark about the cancellation of the Guelaguetza festival owing to the month-long teacher's union takeover of Oaxaca. Starting as a protest occupation to demand a wage increase and then escalating into a militant call to oust Oaxacan Governor Ulises Ruiz, the situation has further degenerated in the weeks since federal troops used tear gas to temporarily retake downtown. According to the AP, protesters at union checkpoints are stopping cars on inbound streets amid rampant destruction of property; it seems very much like this cultural festival was included as a target:
"We have seen the festival of our people become a circus that is just for whites and gringos and Europeans," said Rosendo Ramirez, 51, a spokesman for the Oaxaca People's Assembly, which was formed to coordinate the protests. [AP]
Fair enough. But currently no police willing to chance this continuing fracas, and seventy-five percent of the city’s tourism, the significant source of local income, has been lost to one of México's poorest regions during the resulting anarchy. [Cavin]

Monday, July 24, 2006


"Can I call 'em or what? Miss Japan has won the title of..." or at least that is how this post should have started. In reality the clown from Puerto Rico, wearing a lame lamé coil the rich color of a French fry, took Trump's international peacock crown tonight. I will not be linking to a picture because the whole thing is such a scam. The inauspicious panel was made up of two Puerto Ricans, several highly-qualified reality show contestants, and Tom fucking Green. This clever herd managed to muck up at every stage: we all gasped when Miss Venezuela did not even make the top twenty (don't be surprised if the Venezuelan press blames an anti-Chavez US government fix like they did last time). We hooted in derision when the beautiful Miss Ethiopia did not make it into the top ten. Then we just stared in disbelief as Miss México, favored to win, was not counted among the five finalists. By this point, the only real beauty contestant on stage was Miss Japan. The rest were pretty bottom barrel: one Miss in a pink prom dress, one in phlegm green decoupage, and one I cannot even remember only forty minutes later. Miss Japan was great, multi-lingual, a fan of the Nouvelle Vague, and she carried a sword (though the best national costume was probably Trinidad and Tobago, wearing, well, paint). Yeah, I know four of my five readers didn’t watch this, but I spent a fair amount of time watching Sunshine get all excited about it, and had a good party at the Zix' house, and then--until the last damn minute--I thought I had won, picked the right horse, gained the respect and notoriety that comes with winning a basement drinking game. So Alas. [Cavin]

Sunday, July 23, 2006


In honor of tomorrow's popular intergalactic aesthetic talent event, the Miss Universe Pageant, here are the rules of the eponymous drinking game, a time-tested ritual. First, it is necessary for each player to choose a contestant from the outset (it is routine to either pick a woman representing a favored country or to just shout out "her!" during the national dress parade, the first televised event). This Miss will be your chess piece as the game advances, her performance dictates your scoring. It is important to have a contestant in play; you might need to pick another one if your first choice fails to make it into subsequent rounds. I would very much like to choose Miss Japan, whose costume is the traditional "Samurai Stripper Robot." Sunshine always takes Miss Venezuela, who will be dressed as "Spiegel Matador." After choosing, you begin playing the game. You must drink when any of the following happens: 1) your contestant stumbles or in some way messes up verbally, facially, or physically--or really any moment everyone begins to pick on her by yelling "drink!" at you. 2) Whenever any contestant or announcer mentions god, the children, or the great number of beautiful women on stage. You have to especially drink if the announcer gets flirty about it. 3) Whenever any contestant wears something mind-bogglingly ugly, wears feathers on her dress or in her hair, or accidentally gets naked. 4) Whenever the announcers change clothes. 5) When another player's contestant wins a round, advancing into some level of the finals; and when yours does not (and then you choose a new contestant). Lastly, you have to drink when everyone yells "drink;" or when, throughout the game, new criteria are enacted and displayed. This will air Sunday night on planet Earth. Good Luck. [Cavin]