Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scandal: Princess Dumps Her Load!

Princess, our Chihuahua just gave birth to five pups. One was stillborn but four are alive and kickin'. She is close to ten years old, too old for this kind of stuff, but a couple of months ago we found her stuck to a neighbor's Chichuahua, shamelessly on a street corner for everybody to see!
"They're stuck! They're stuck together! Princess is stuck with another dog!!" The neighbors and kids shouted as we answered our door bell. All the kids and worried parents began running down the street.
"How do they get unstuck?" My neighbor's little daughter asked. How does one explain this to children? Do you have a birds-bees-n-pets talk with kids? "Oh, just leave them alone, they'll get unstuck in a few minutes", I said with authority, remembering how when I was a kid in the Barrio, the people would turn their hoses on the poor dogs! We left them and sure enough, about 20 minutes later, Princess came back home, her head hung in shame.
My son, Fernando acted as mid-wife (mid-husband?), along with my wife, and helped deliver them. He helped pull a couple of them out, cut some umbilical cords, and cleaned the pups. This is about her third litter and the first time any of her pups survived.
Chihuahuas, for sale cheap. Anybody?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Postman, Send Me a Note?

My good writing buddy, Dad #167 asks in a recent post on his blog, Why Do I Blog? Ironically, I have been asking the very same thing. I guess it is mostly some offshoot of self exhibitionism or a lonely hearts club of sorts. It's a perfect way to waste my time.
The other day I went out to my mail mailbox and found it empty! Not even a bill or a mailer! I felt so unimportant. Doesn't anybody write real letters anymore? Does anyone even know how to write one? Does anyone remember when people actually used to write letters? I have written many to friends over the years. Not a one lately. Why bother? E-mails fill the void.
It's an odd feeling to blog. It's like reading poetry to an empty room. An exercise in self. Me to me. In a Tom Waits song "Better Off Without a Wife" he muses "spend a lotta' time with myself. We get along so well..."
I had hoped for comments: "Just love your stuff" "Made my day", "Heavy", "Insightful", "Crap" "A waste of my time!" "Keep writing dude". Anything!
I get a bite once in a while but the fish escapes into the abyss.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Father's Day: Huichol Indian Style

Lot's of talk today about the non-existent role of fathers in rearing their children and sociologists and social scientists abound with theories about why. It seems men are good at getting women pregnant, but not so hot about fathering them.
Following is something I read so long ago I don't even recall where about a Huichol indian ritual (a group native to the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Western-Central region of Mexico), performed at childbirth. I simply loved telling it to my students in discussions pertaining to family roles and culture.
It seems that when a wife began to feel labor pains, the husband would climb onto a wooden rafter in the house, sit with his legs dangling over the side, carefully tie a tight loop around his testicles with a long, thin cord, and toss the ends down to her on the floor below.
The woman would then grasp an end of the cord in each hand, and with every labor pain, YANK on it!! (Umph! Umph! Umph!) We can only hope she had a quick delivery.
The ritual was said to make better fathers since it gave the men a chance to share the pains and joys of childbirth with his wife.
Maybe if Americans were to incorporate this ritual into their lives, they might have less unwanted kids, or less deadbeat fathers, quien sabe?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mexican Heritage Center Rides Again!

Been busy helping to put together a Mexican Heritage Center in Stockton. The group was founded about a dozen years ago and roughly consists of 25+ Mexican slash Mexican-American slash Chicano slash Latino slash Hispanic artists (we call ourselves Artistas Del Valle) and various other supporters. Most of us have been exhibiting together throughout the San Joaquin Valley for over 25 years.
For about six years we had a space in a dilapidated downtown Stockton building, with no heating or air (we shivered in winter and sweated in summer), donated by a philanthropic businessman, whose front entrance was often frequented by druggies, and homeless who urinated and sometimes defecated on our front door. Paraphernalia was often swept away. But it was free as long as we paid the utilities! All of us are volunteers.
But our love for art and culture drove us to put together a vibrant center which displayed some of the best art and artists from the Central Valley. Our exhibits compared with any from Sacramento or the Bay Area (San Francisco). In this period we also hosted many cultural events, speakers, symposiums, live music, Mexican folklore dance groups and poetry readings to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Indpendence Day, Day of The Dead etc. and our events were well attended by the community, even the few non-Hispanics who braved stepping outside of their safe environs to broaden their view of the world.
Well, we lost our home when the owner decided to remodel the space and rent it for some real money and being poor starving artists we were on the street again.
Despite this, we were determined to keep our name in the public, continuing to exhibit at various venues like local Community Colleges, other galleries, the libraries and our local Haggin Museum.
In these tough economic times, we are again venturing forth to open a new center. Our first exhibit opens on May 1 and we are hoping it will mark a new beginning for us. The space is clean, recently painted, with nice, clean carpets, plenty of wall space, a room for an office, and another for educational events, and workshops. Best of all, the bathrooms are spotless and the Men's Room has a real urinal! All we need is the money to keep it open. Not much, huh?
Though the core of this group consists mostly of Senior Citizens, we are excited as kids with the possibilities of our new location. We can only hope that the handful young supporters will be inspired to carry on the banner after we are gone. What unites us is the belief that culture is a gift which needs to be nourished and preserved. Like a plant that needs sunshine and water.
Wish us well, but send us your money.

Friday, March 6, 2009

America on Life Support?

Help, I am behind in my car payments.

My house is in foreclosure; it's worth less than its mortgage.

I have heart problems and no insurance.

I'm filing for bankruptcy.

I am pregnant with quadruplets.

My checks have bounced.

I'm getting laid off.

IRS is knockin' at my door.

My company is downsizing.

My bank has filed for Chapter Eleven.

My job is being outsourced overeas.

Credit cards are maxxed out.

I'm being phished and scammed.

My insurance company has just been bailed out.

My wife is leaving me.

My Chihuahua is pregnant again!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Say, What Time Is It Amigo?

Watched a documentary on Time last night. Must admit I have given the topic some thought over the years, especially now that I'm getting to be an Old Fart. They talked about the Maya and their obsession with counting time, and all kinds of scientific theories, some I could barely grasp, like Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
There is one thing I figured out all by myself. Have you ever noticed that it is always now no matter what time it is? Check it out. Yesterday it was now. Today it is now and tomorrow it will be now.
Of course, the Big Bang theory was discussed and how many scientists and astronomers argue that time began with the mammoth explosion of matter 8.7 billion years ago, and that by measuring the speed at which celestial bodies are moving away from a center we can measure time. Problem is that something had to cause the exposion and it must have taken time to set up all the right conditions for the blast, right?
I remember giving to my sons tidbits of my vast scientific knowledge about time and space, when we went camping, as we lay on our backs high on a rock face in the Sierras, gazing into the cosmos. "Those stars are so far away that there is no human number big enough to measure the distance they are from Earth, so their distance is measured in Light Years, the time it takes for light to travel in one year at 186,000 miles a second! Now, how many seconds are there in one year?" I rhetorically asked. I would pause, while I waited for a gasp from them. "The closest star is about 3 Light Years away, and some stars are a million Light Years away from us, so far that they could have burned out 10,000 years ago, and we are still seeing their light!"
One interesting theory compared time to traveling in a car. The present, the past, and the future all pre-exist as we drive along. The tree you just passed is now in the past, but continues to exist, the house you are now passing is in the present, and the rock up ahead on the road is in the future, but all will continue to exist at the same time! Somehow, this reminded of the old "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?" question.
Time has also been dissected into its smallest components, zilimeters of a second, with the advent of high-speed cameras that can disassemble every drop of a water exploding from a balloon popped with a pin.
All I know for sure is that when there are 3.5 seconds left in a basketball game, and the score is 99-98, it can be a hell of a long time before the game ends!
I think the time has come to end all this fuss about time. Jesus said it best when he was asked "Who are you? Are you Abraham?" and he declared: "Before Abraham was, I am!"