Monday, December 31, 2007

¡Con Tinta in New York!

Con Tinta is a coalition of Chican@ and Latino@ cultural activist poets and writers who believe in affirming a positive and pro-active presence in American literature. Con Tinta's mission is to create awareness through the cultivation of emerging talent, through the promotion and presentation of artistic expression, and through the collective voice of support to its members, communities, and allies.

The following is an open letter from the writer and Con Tinta board member, Richard Yañez, which I want to share with La Bloga’s readers:

Friends of Con Tinta:

On behalf of my fellow Advisory Circle members, I send you warm greetings at the close of another year. We hope it has been a fruitful one and that your work—on & off the page—is thriving. As we achieved on two previous occasions, Con Tinta is hosting a celebration at the upcoming AWP conference in New York City, which is scheduled for January 30 - February 2, 2008.

Con Tinta’s annual event will feature an award presentation, poetry readings, and a buffet/cash bar. Mojitos' Bar/Restaurant (227 East 116 Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) will host our event on Thursday, January 31st from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

This year’s recipients of the Con Tinta award will be Sandra María Esteves and Tato Laviera. These two unheralded heroes of the northeast are being recognized for their years of work and history of publication. Their contributions to Latino literature are numerous and have left their mark on our community. They reflect our mission of affirming a pro-active presence in American literature. Our previous recipients were Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, raúlrsalinas, and Judith Ortiz Cofer.

We are also excited about the evening’s program including a reading hosted by Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase. Rich Villar is our ally in NYC who is coordinating with local artists and helping spread the word about the evening’s line-up.

At this time, Con Tinta is soliciting donations from organizations and individuals to help offset costs ($1500.00) for this event. In return, we will be sure to publicly thank all donors and supporters during the course of the evening’s events and also in the event’s program. I am the Con Tinta member collecting funds and all donations can be sent to me at the address at the top. Checks should be made out to "Richard Yañez."

Please consider yourself and your guest(s) invited to our Con Tinta celebration. If you have any questions, please contact me at / 915-831-2630.

We look forward to having you share this special evening with us.


Richard Yañez

◙ From many sources, we’ve learned the sad news that Alexander “Sandy” Taylor, co-founder of Curbstone Press, died at age 76 on December 21, 2007. As noted on the press's home page, Curbstone Press is “non-profit publishing house dedicated to literature that reflects a commitment to social change, with some emphasis on writing from Latin America and Latino communities in the United States.” Many of La Bloga’s favorite writers have had their books published by Curbstone. A very moving tribute to Sandy appears on Luis Rodríguez’s blog. After recounting Sandy’s accomplishments including publishing Luis’s work, Luis notes:

“So I will say with all candor--I would not be here as writer, lecturer and editor if it were not for Sandy Taylor. Such debt can never, ever be repaid. Yet Sandy lives on in the people he's touched, cajoled, rallied for, and celebrated. He lives on in his own poetry and translations. He lives on in the wondrous but economically unstable small publishing world that he helped create--where the best of this country still values what matters, and against all odds and economic advise continue to make books that will out live all of us.”

Francisco Aragón also offers his thoughts on the passing of Sandy. And as Richard Yañez put it in an e-mail to friends and colleagues: “In Memory for a warrior of words!”

Rigoberto González reviews Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s new novel, Calligraphy of the Witch (St. Martin’s Press). Of the protagonist, he notes, in part:

“Concepción Benavídez is an unfortunate soul who makes a lengthy journey from the convents of Mexico to the shores of New England. A trained scribe and a devoutly Catholic mestiza who mumbles her prayers in Latin, she's too strange for a ship's crew and too unruly for the captain, who kidnaps her…. As a symbol of displacement and survival, Concepción Benavídez is an extraordinary character. As a book about the troubled present as represented by the anxiety of the past, Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Calligraphy of the Witch is truly exceptional.”

◙ Speaking of Rigoberto González, he dropped an e-mail to his friends that his recent focus has been on his column at the Poetry Foundation. He'll be blogging for another two months, and then back to a regular reviewing schedule at the El Paso Times. He also shared wonderful news: Rigo officially accepted a position, Associate Professor with tenure, at Rutgers University in Newark. He will begin his appointment in September. ¡Bravo, Rigo!

◙ I have a little (and I do mean little) story in a new anthology, You Have Time for This : Contemporary American Short-Short Stories (Ooligan Press), edited by Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka. I’m in some wonderful company…the anthology includes flash fiction by Aimee Bender, Steve Almond, and many others.

◙ Many fine authors ended up on best-of-the-year book lists. Over at The New York Daily News (Latino), Latino/a writers chose their favorite books of 2007. For example, Luis Alberto Urrea picked The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue by Manuel Muñoz, calling him "[a]n extraordinary writer with immense promise." Francisco Goldman's picks were The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcón. Read all the picks here.

Newsweek included The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on its top ten list for 2007 stating: "A quantum leap beyond the short stories that made Díaz’s reputation a decade ago. And one hell of a ride.”

And Helena María Viramontes ended up on Michael Silverblatt’s 2007 favorites for her novel, Their Dogs Came With Them (Simon & Schuster). If you haven’t heard Silverblatt’s author interviews yet, they’re available online including his chat with Viramontes (Silverblatt also lists Steve Erickson's brilliant novel, Zeroville (Europa Editions), as one of his favorites; I reviewed Erickson's exquisitely strange and powerful novel in yesterday's El Paso Times). If you know of any other Chicano/a or Latino/a writers who have ended up on best of 2007 lists, or if you want to mention some of your favorites, please post a comment and a link, if available.

Michele Martinez’s suspense novel, Cover-up : A Novel of Suspense (HarperCollins), is now in paperback. Check it out!

◙ The El Paso Times reports on El Paso native Raymundo "Ray" Eli Rojas’s return to his hometown after completing his degree from the University of Kansas Law School but “he wasn't looking for a cushy corporate law job or a comfortable civil-service lawyer position.” Rojas said: “All my life, I wanted to help people. And I needed to find the best way to do that.” So, Rojas is the new executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. "I wanted to be an advocate for immigrants and poor people,” says Rojas. The EPT notes that the center “assists refugees with asylum petitions and other legal matters to protect the human rights of unaccompanied immigrant children and assist battered women and children.” Of course, as the EPT reports, “[o]ne of the things [Rojas] is best known for is his Pluma Fronteriza literary newsletter, which began as a print publication and grew into an online production.” Way to go Ray!

◙ All done. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro! --Daniel Olivas

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Guest: Ann Hagman Cardinal. The New Year’s Lamppost.

Tildes to everyone, one and all. When you wish someone happy new year in Spanish you gotta have that tilde, que no? Que si! Feliz ano nuevo, if you've had plastic surgery. Otherwise, it's feliz Año Nuevo! (Windows: numlock on. Hold down the ALT key and type 0241. Mac: Hold down your Option key, press letter n, then letter n again.) La Bloga welcomes our friend Ann Hagman Cardinal to her third guest column. Looking forward to much more from Ann in dos cientos ocho. A ver.

The New Year’s Lamppost

I’ll never forget my mother’s response when I told her my friends and I wanted to go to Times Square for the big New Year’s Eve celebration: “Okay, my mother told me not to go, and I went anyway, now I’m going to tell you not to go but you’re going to go anyway. Just take this small bit of advice from your mother: grab a lamppost.”

“Uh…okay, Mom.”

I admit I was baffled by this conversation but was so pleased that she was going to let me go, I didn’t question it.

There were six of us in our group, all around sixteen years old, and as we rode uptown on the subway we were excitedly chattering like monkeys. We had spent the last few New Year’s Eves watching the festivities on the television screen and it seemed like such an incredible party the fourteen-inch screen could barely contain it. It was hard to believe we were finally going to be in the middle of it. After emerging from the Times Square station, we edged our way through the crowd on Broadway, situating ourselves less than a block from the glowing ball that was suspended high above the teeming streets. The air seemed electrically charged with the excitement, the scent of steamed hot dogs, firecrackers, sweat and alcohol hung about the crowd in a haze. We felt as if this was a right of passage; we had finally graduated from the kids’ table and were celebrating with the adults.

Almost as soon as we chose our spot, the shoving began. There was a gang of young men, half of whom were starting fights to distract the onlookers while the others snatched purses and wallets. Our lower stature allowed us to discern what was going on earlier than most, and we quickly put our valuables inside our jackets and kept our eyes open. Suddenly I found myself picked up off the street, the crowd lifting me and dragging me along. I saw the heads of my friends as they too got carried off in different directions and my throat tightened with panic. It was like drowning in a sea of people and I knew I could so easily fall beneath the wave and get crushed. Just as my asthmatic lungs began to wheeze in my panic, I was carried by a lamppost. I reached out and grabbed it with both arms, stepping up on the base and lifting myself above the crowd. I was in control again and could see what was going on around me. I noticed an ebb in the flow of people in a certain direction and made a dash through and out of the crowd. Each of my friends eventually made it out too, and as we stood there, our hands on our knees trying to catch our breath, tears pouring down our cheeks, we looked up and saw that the ball had already dropped, the din of the crowd deafening our words of consolation.

We had missed it all.

Suddenly the festivities took on an ominous air, every face that went by seemed menacing, every shout a threat. We went straight home, accompanying each other on the train (there are no cabs to be had in NYC on New Year’s Eve) and that night as I lay in bed, I pledged to celebrate future New Year’s in a more tranquil fashion.

I have since heard talked to people who had wonderful experiences in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It is certainly true that it was a different place then—now it seems to be like a concrete-floored yuppie mall—but it is not an event I care to experience again in this lifetime. This may seem a somewhat dark column for such a festive time of year, but what I really want to share with you is the gift that the experience gave me, what I learned. I have thought a lot about my mother’s advice since that last night of 1979, and find myself seeking that lamppost whenever I feel unwillingly carried along and out of control. There are certainly times when being lifted off the ground and surrendering are good choices and in fact encourage our growth, but many times they are unwelcome guests. My lampposts have come in different forms throughout my adult life—my family, friends, writing,—and I am grateful for the support they offer each and every time. It is my hope for the coming year, La Bloga readers, that you find your own lampposts when they are needed, and with them you are able to get a better vantage point, see your options, and choose the ones best for you. But if you are entertaining any thoughts of going to Times Square on New Year’s Eve, please email me first.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dig A Hole, Fill It Up -- Or Write Haiku

Manuel Ramos

Throw out the old, ring in the new. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is acutely aware of the ebb and flow of time as 2007 slips away. Time for reflection, for re-organizing, for making new plans and scrapping old projects. Donate those sweaters not worn in years; go through the piles of books in the corners and make hard decisions about the ones that will never be read; scratch out a list of things to do in 2008, places to see, people to visit. Then the important stuff: where am I and how did I get here?

Maybe it’s not just that the new year approaches. Maybe these thoughts occupy me because of the music I’ve been playing. Or maybe I play this music because it is the end of the year?

This Time by Los Lobos:
Why do the days
Go by so fast

If only time

Was built to last.

Precious Time by Van Morrison from his Back on Top CD:
Precious time is slipping away
But you’re only king for a day
It doesn’t matter to which god you pray
Precious time is slipping away.

Bob Dylan got in the act, of course (Not Dark Yet):
Shadows are falling and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

And there's no way I'm going to chance Puño de Tierra.

It’s all about time, lack of time, time will tell, time is on my side, time after time -- time out.

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí

I hung my 2008 Chicano Art Calendar (Amber Lotus Publishing) and it looks great. The artists include Santiago Pérez and his magnificent First Aztec on the Moon, a piece that impressed me years ago when I viewed his work at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque; Malaquías Montoya’s powerful Trabajo y así transformo el mundo; Our Lady of Guadaliberty by Nephtalí De Léon; and several other amazing Chicano and Chicana artists. But, the real reason this calendar was on my wish list is because Carlos Frésquez is featured. His dynamic A Westside Wedding stands in for June, naturally. Carlos is an old friend and this painting evokes deep emotions in anyone familiar with the lore and mythology of Denver’s Westside, and for those who don’t know the stories, Carlos’s work is still very cool.

So, how about some nostalgic end of year or New Year celebration haiku? La Bloga would love to see your efforts. Here’s one to get you started; I know you can do better.

I stare at the clock
Round face ignores the question
Tick tock says it all.

Have a great 2008.

As always,


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Some thoughts at the end of the year

As 2008 rolls around, I wanted to share that I feel incredibly blessed. This week's post is just my attempt to give at least partial thanks for what I've been given.

, to have joined the ranks of La Bloga and be able to share my brickbats and bouquets alongside Daniel, Michael, Manuel, René
, Rudy and Gina has been a honor. You've all been kind to a fault, supportive, funny, (especially YOU, Rudy!) and insightful.

To make a small contribution to our discourse about literatura, cultura y
más required me to dig deep in the best possible way. La Bloga has given me the chance to interview writers like Martín Espada, Demetria Martínez, Luis Rodríguez , Margo Tamez, Tara Betts, Rich Villar, conversations that make me want to be a better writer.

, with sands shifting in my personal life this year, I've been given an object lesson as to the real nature of friendship. For all the shoulders I've cried upon, ears I've bent, dinners I've been treated to, late night phone calls accepted, opinions shared, and unconditional love and my gratitude to: Jay and June, Rose, Toniann, Deirdra, Ramone.

Three, for my hermana, my cohort, my heart, my partner in crime, Ann Hagman Cardinal. To be able to have you in my life as family is one of the rare times the words fail me. But what I do have words for is the incredible joy I feel in being part of your writer's journey.

, for the gift of finding Jewish roots, my ancestry in full, hidden treasure now in the light.

Five, for proof that magic is still possible, even when you least expect it.

Other notes:

Gente, indulge me with posting the photo above. (Sometimes a girl's just gotta....)

I've completed a poetry manuscript, Raw Silk Suture, and I'm lighting the candles that there will be more good news about that in 2008!

There's also been a redesign of my website:
The incredibly lovely design is courtesy of Jay Fox --
and Lin,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Magazine Submissions

Stories for Children Magazine

Stories for Children Magazine is currently in need of the following:

NONFICTION articles for ages 3-6 (no more than 400 words)
NONFICTION articles for ages 7-9 (400 to 800 words)

POETRY - see new Guidelines

We're in particular need for FEBRUARY and MARCH 2008 issues. Please read the Submission Guidelines page before submitting.

SFC is not a themed magazine but if you need a kickstart, check out our Monthly Idea Calendar. We're always short on crafts, recipes, games and puzzles so if you have any tucked away, send them in.

SFC welcomes new writers. This would be a great time for you to submit.


Wendy Dickson
Assistant Submissions Editor
Stories for Children

Iguana Magazine

We are always looking for material in español to publish – fiction, non-fiction, interviews, recipes, poems, photographs, comics, puzzles and more.

Please contact us about submissions at:

[Writer's Guidelines] [Illustrator's Guidelines] [Photographer's Guidelines]


General Guidelines

* We do not accept translations. All submissions must be originally written in Spanish.

* We do not pay persons under the age of fifteen for contributions.

* We hold first time rights and do not consider material previously published.

* We accept queries.

* All materials are paid upon publication.

* All materials can be submitted electronically via email.

* Articles may be edited for length, grammar, and punctuation.

* We publish 6 issues a year. However, all proposals are considered.


* We accept realistic fiction, stories, fantasy, humorous tales, legends, science fiction, fables, myths, mysteries, fairy and folk tales.

* Stories should be 800 words or less.

* Payment is US$0.05 per printed word.


* This section includes biographies / interviews with Latino personalities that have influenced the lives of Latinos in America, art, history, animals, nature, technology, science, geography, and stories about children from other cultures and countries.

* Articles should be 800 words or less.

* References, bibliography, and / or sources of information must be included with submissions.

* Payment is US$0.05 per printed word.

Arts & Crafts

* Article should include clear directions with no more than five steps.

* The project should require common households and inexpensive materials.

* A sample of the finished project should be included with the material.

* The payment is US$25.00 per project.


* It can be serious or humorous.

* It should be no longer than 15 lines.

* Payment is US$15.00 per poem.


* Recipes, puzzles, games, word search, brain teasers, math and word activities.

* Payment will be determined per submission.


* Illustrations, cartoons, comics, drawings, cover illustrations.

* All art work must be submitted digitally, at a minimum of 300dpi at full size, via tif.

* Payment will be determined per submission.


* Photos of children and animals.

* Payment will be determined per submission.

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones is an award-winning, international, non-profit magazine, now in the 14th year! We celebrate ecological and cultural diversity, facilitates a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences. Young readers of Skipping Stones, ages 8 to 16, hail from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We try our best to make their reading of Skipping Stones an active experience, relevant to issues confronting them locally and globally.

Youth respond to the world through Skipping Stones Magazine...

Skipping Stones readers hail from north, south, east, and west. From villages to inner cities, youth have something to say, about their culture, school, religion, environment, neighborhood... and Skipping Stones provides a forum for sharing it. Any way you choose to express your dreams and opinions, Skipping Stones provides a place for writers and artists of all ages and backgrounds to communicate creatively and openly.

Writings (essays, stories, letters to the editor, riddles and proverbs, etc.) should be typed or neatly handwritten and limited to 750 words and poems to 30 lines. We encourage writings in all languages with an English translation, if possible. And, we love illustrations! Please send originals of your drawings, paintings, or photos. Include your name, age, and address along with your submission.

Ideas for Submissions:

* Cultural or Regional Celebrations: First-hand descriptions (with photos or illustrations)
* Writings accompanied by children's artwork
* Bilingual submissions or writings introducing (using words/phrases from) other languages
* Folktales, hospitality customs, recipes, music, folk art and architecture from around the world
* Living Abroad and Immigration: Your memorable experiences
* Cross-Cultural Communications: Ways we express ourselves through language, proverbs, tales, songs, body language, symbols, etc.
* International Humor: Jokes, funny stories, riddles, games, cross-cultural mix-ups, etc.
* Photo Essays on a country or region
* Families and Community: Getting along, unique gatherings or projects, intergenerational experiences, multilingual families
* Creative Problem Solving and Peace-Making
* Cooperative Games, Quizzes, Riddles, Puzzles
* Life as a Minority: Challenges and successes
* Living with and Understanding Disabilities
* Unforgettable Moments: Times of transformation or revelation.
* Inspirations or Role Models in your life
* Right Livelihood: Earning a living while helping the world.
* Technology: Its impacts on the planet.
* Sustainable Living: Our Mission, Purpose and Challenges. How can we care for the Earth and all its inhabitants?
* Nature: Unique ecology, resource conservation, endangered species, fighting pollution
* Taking Action: Reports of or suggestions for children's involvement in community, ecology or social justice; actions to improve the world
* Raising Caring Kids: What tools do we use? Improving self-awareness and self-esteem; encouraging creativity, non-violence and tolerance; being a role model
* Parent/Teacher Guide: Lesson plans, ideas, activities, experiences and suggestions.
* Any other multicultural, social, international or nature awareness theme that you wish to write about!

You can send us your submissions by snail mail or via E-mail with Word attachments).

Please to:

Managing Editor
Skipping Stones
P.O. BOX 3939
Eugene OR 97403-0939 USA

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 1

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the día de mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
The homage of a bare tree.

"Esa, it's almost midnight. We're opening presents already. You gotta come out o' the kitchen."
"What'd your friends from work give you?"
"They pitched in and got me that ... quesadilla thing."
"What--they couldn't find a comál? Well, at least you got a white elephant for next year. Did they like the subscriptions to Chola Chichis?"
"Nah, they already subscribe. They said they'd pass it along. Speaking of white elephants, your mom wants to clean up Rinó--, I mean the Krismas tree--and needs that vacuum she gave you."
"She's just checkin' I didn't garage-sale it. Quick! Get it out of the attic and scratch off the fifty-cent tag. Come back when you're done."
* * *
"Ho, ho, ho, Esa!"
"Oh! I thought it was Santa come early. You sound just like him."
"Ho, ho, ... holy shit, what happened in here?"
"The pinche fridge went out, as if we didn't have enough bills. I'm trying to save the food, find a place outside for the frozen, clean the mess up."
"But it's Krismas! Forget it. I say we just eat--everything."
"Including my mom's chile?"
"I'll serve it to Pepe and Real Butch."
"I got a better idea. This Krismas, you work the kitchen, and I'll serve. I keep checking on you and let you know what's happening."
"But I wouldn't know what to do!"
"You watch the girls at that preppie tequila place and the chichi bar, right?"
"A little."
"As little as my nalgas. Do like them, just with more clothes on."
"Okay, I guess I could handle it."
"See you after midnight."
* * *
"Oh good, Esa--you're back. What was that crashing sound? Did Santa come?"
"No, your boracho Tío knocked over Rinócero."
"Already? Tell him to get the cuña'os' older kids to stand it up."
"Bueno ... Oh, it's okay. Real Butch put it up."
"I told you she was."
"Guess what? I got one thing I really wanted this year, besides mis uñas done. Pepito took a shower!"
"I knew there was something different 'bout that boy. I thought it was the cologne you loaned him."
"That wasn't cologne. I gave him the stuff you cover up dog pee with."
"But we don't have a dog."
"Not so loud! ... No amá, we don't have a cat, either. ... My mom says she thinks there's some animal hiding in Rinócero."
"Tell her it's probably just some rata chata."
"I gotta go; sounds like mom's vacuum's plugged up."
"So what, it doesn't suck?"
* * *
"Ese, you'll be glad to hear it wasn't un ratón, just una ardilla. And your kids finally showed up."
"My kids?"
"Yeah, you remember: the little pork butts?"
"Oh, them. How they look?"
"Daughter's fine, but your son brought one of those magazine cholas as his date. He claims she even cooks."
"How's she dressed?"
"Don't worry, she must have the day off. But we have another problem. Your daughter says somebody was naughty and already opened our presents."
"How could she tell?"
"From the lousy taping job and the beer stink. See? You shoulda let me do it."
Ring! Ring!
"I'll get it. ... Hello? … It's your mom. She wants to know if the photo's really of you. She says it makes you look real short."
"Tell her that's the way Chicanos mostly come. It's her fault for marrying my dad. If she wanted tall, she shoulda picked a gringo."
"… She says it was abuela's idea, 'cause your dad drove that chido Chevy."
"It was a Ford, and it always needed a valve job."
"I'll check on you later."
"But, Amor--"
* * *
"What was that music a while ago?"
"The doorbell."
"Nice. We should play it more often."
"Not likely; for that our gente would have to get out of their cars."
"Quién fue?"
"Old man Ramirez came to tell us the roof lights got loose and said to give you a big dedazo. So here."
"You don't have to be tan, tan ... demonstrative."
"You been reading different magazines?"
"Yeah, Playboy. And, who was honkin' so much?"
"The priest. I served him some fideo. He wants to know if he can give your seat away."
"Tell him Allah said I can go next Easter…. He say anything else?"
"Yeah, he lied and said the tree was painted real nice."
"Speaking of mentirosos, I haven't seen any of the cuña'os' older kids."
"They're out back in the work shed, smoking mota."
"Well, at least they'll have an appetite for all this food. Oh, and who's making those awful sounds?"
"Everybody! They're singing the 12 Days of Krismas."
"After this year, I think we should make up some new lyrics for it."
"There you go again, always thinkin'... Now, hurry up, or you'll miss everything."
* * *
"Híjole, that was some Krismas party, Ese!"
"So I heard. You'll be glad to hear your lottery numbers didn't come up."
"You got any other pieces of good news?"
"Uno más: here's your special present, de mí."
"Lousy tape job. Who opened it?"
"I did. Forgot who it was for."
"Oh, Cariño, just what I always wanted--for the past four years! I didn't know they still made 'em."
"I 'membered, Esa; I was thinkin'.
"You always are, Cariño. Maybe your unlucky dry spell is over."
"After everybody's asleep, wanna go lie under Rinócero and make some stars?"
"No, the pipes came loose, and we'd just get rust all over us. But we could thank our lucky stars: nobody got into chingasos today, there was plenty of comida, and we got to spend some quality time with our familia."
"Seguro que sí, Cariña. You know, I think it was even . . . a Merry Krismas!"
* * *
ALL TOGETHER NOW, from the top:

On the doce días de mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
12 numbers numbing ...
11 peppers pepping ...
10 Fords a-beepin ...
9 chicas prancing ...
8 shades a-looming ...
7 bods a-lying ...
6 misas' crying ...
5 bronzen things ...
4 thawing stars ...
3 grinchy friends ...
2 mortal loves ...
And the homage of a bare tree.
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Since this is an ongoing work of love, more than a work of art, the author would appreciate overall comments about its progress. How close to, or far from, capturing the spirit of a Chicano Christmas do you think it is?

In any event, I'd like to add to my fellow Bloguistas' Christmas felicitaciones. May your holidays be as benignly eventful as Esa and Ese's.

Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 24, 2007


As I venture out to the busy streets of Los Angeles, I sense the angst and urgency of those who have not finished buying gifts for their family and friends. So, here is one last book list that might make your life easier. Each title is followed by a short description from the publisher. Stay safe, enjoy the season, and remember: ¡Lea un libro!

My Nature Is Hunger: New and Selected Poems 1989-2004 (Curbstone Press) by Luis J. Rodríguez. “My Nature is Hunger is the first poetry collection in five years by this major award-winning Latino author. It includes selections from his previous books, Poems Across the Pavement, The Concrete River, and Trochemoche, and 26 new poems that reflect his increasingly global view, his hard-won spirituality, and his movement toward reconciliation with his family and his past.”

Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes: Struggle for Justice in the Amazon (University Of Texas Press) by Gomercind Rodrigues. “A close associate of Chico Mendes, Gomercindo Rodrigues witnessed the struggle between Brazil's rubber tappers and local ranchers--a struggle that led to the murder of Mendes. Rodrigues's memoir of his years with Mendes has never before been translated into English from the Portuguese. Now, Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes makes this important work available to new audiences, capturing the events and trends that shaped the lives of both men and the fragile system of public security and justice within which they lived and worked.”

Liquid Mexico: Festive Spirits, Tequila Culture, and the Infamous Worm (Bilingual Review Press) by Becky Youman and Bryan Estep. “Liquid Mexico delves into the locales, festivities, and history related to Mexico's most famous libations. Each of the chapters focuses on a specific beverage as well as the region of the country most closely associated with that particular drink as seen through the eyes of a U.S. couple. The authors describe a wealth of interesting characters as they travel the country to unearth the traditions and unique culture associated with each drink and its corresponding location.”

Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture & Chicana/o Sexualities (Palgrave Macmillan) edited by Alicia Gaspar De Alba. “In Chicano/a popular culture, nothing signifies the working class, highly-layered, textured, and metaphoric sensibility known as ‘rasquache aesthetic’ more than black velvet art. The essays in this volume examine that aesthetic by looking at icons, heroes, cultural myths, popular rituals, and border issues as they are expressed in a variety of ways. The contributors dialectically engage methods of popular cultural studies with discourses of gender, sexuality, identity politics, representation, and cultural production. In addition to a hagiography of ‘locas santas,’ the book includes studies of the sexual politics of early Chicana activists in the Chicano youth movement, the representation of Latina bodies in popular magazines, the stereotypical renderings of recipe books and calendar art, the ritual performance of Mexican femaleness in the quinceañera, and mediums through which Chicano masculinity is measured.”

A Simple Plan (Chronicle Books) by Gary Soto. “National Book Award finalist Gary Soto returns to his favorite themes of place, childhood, and kinship with the down-and-out in his sparkling and satisfying new collection of poems. The title poem concerns a young man's attempt to rid himself of the family dog by leading it so far from home that it becomes lost for good a metaphor for the poet's attempt to rid himself of the pulls of childhood.”

The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing (University Of Arizona Press) by Kathleen Alcalá. “Loosely linked by an exploration of the many meanings of ‘family,’ these essays move in a broad arc from the stories and experiences of those close to her to those whom she wonders about, like Andrea Yates, a mother who drowned her children. In the process of digging and sifting, she is frequently surprised by what she unearths. Her family, she discovers, were Jewish refugees from the Spanish Inquisition who took on the trappings of Catholicism in order to survive. Although the essays are in many ways personal, they are also universal.”

Atomik Aztex (City Lights Books) by Sesshu Foster. “A fantastical gonzo Aztlán mythology, where modern Aztecs and immigrant ghosts uncover blood sacrifice in Los Angeles. In the alternate universe of this glitteringly surreal first novel, the Aztecs rule, having conquered the European invaders. Aztek warriors armed with automatic weapons and totemic powers, with the help of their Russian allies, are colonizing Europe. Human sacrifice is basic to economic growth.”

Memory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America (University of Texas Press) edited by Marjorie Agosin. “This anthology gathers fifteen essays by historians, creative writers, artists, literary scholars, anthropologists, and social scientists who collectively tell the story of Jewish life in Latin America. Some of the pieces are personal tales of exile and survival; some explore Jewish humor and its role in amalgamating histories of past and present; and others look at serious episodes of political persecution and military dictatorship. As a whole, these challenging essays ask what Jewish identity is in Latin America and how it changes throughout history. They leave us to ponder the tantalizing question: Does being Jewish in the Americas speak to a transitory history or a more permanent one?”

Hecho En Tejas : An Anthology of Texas-Mexican Literature (University of New Mexico Press) edited by Dagoberto Gilb. “In assembling this canonic reader, Dagoberto Gilb has created more than an anthology. Read cover to cover, Hecho en Tejas is not only a literary showcase, but also a cultural and historical narrative both for those familiar with Texas Mexicans and for outsiders. Hecho en Tejas is a mosaic portrait of the community, the land and its history, its people's sorrows and joys, anger and humor and pride, what has been assimilated and what will not be.”

Antonio's Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio (Children’s Book Press) by Rigoberto González and illustrated by Cecilia Concepción Álavarez. “Antonio loves words, because words have the power to express feelings like love, pride, or hurt. Mother's Day is coming soon, and Antonio searches for the words to express his love for his mother and her partner, Leslie. But he's not sure what to do when his classmates make fun of Leslie, an artist, who towers over everyone and wears paint-splattered overalls. As Mother's Day approaches, Antonio must choose whether -- or how -- to express his connection to both of the special women in his life. Rigoberto González's bilingual story resonates with all children who have been faced with speaking up for themselves or for the people they love. Cecilia Concepción Álvarez's paintings bring the tale to life in tender, richly hued detail.”

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 2

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 2nd día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
2 mortal loves ...

"The presents are all wrapped, tamales are done, frijoles are cookin', we made enough dulces y pan to make chingos of dentistas very rich, and everything else is on its way. Cabrón! I think we're ready."
"Where is everybody?"
"All the cuña'os are down the street throwing snowballs at the burros."
"Qué bueno! You know, the peace sign came out pretty suave. We even got compliments from los vecinos."
"Yeah, that was a good idea, better than your alien elves one."
"How many Krismases will this be?"
"Counting this one, two thousand seven."
"No, that we been together, Esa."
"I don't know, I don't remember."
"That's my line."
"Okay, it's been a lot of Krismases."
" 'Member the one when the kids were little?"
"They were always little, 'til they got big. Which one you mean?"
"When they figured out there was no Santa."
"There isn't?"
"I used to call them 'my little pork butts'. 'Member the year the boy learned to read, saw it on a grocery sign and read it to the girl. They went bien locos!"
"Yeah, that was cute. After that Krismas, they always wanted to help make tamales and open presents early."
"How come they didn't help this year?"
"They moved out, remember? But they'll be here later tonight."
"Oh, yeah, ... moved out."
"I want to open your present while everybody's gone."
"Nah, you gotta wait. Santa's list, 'member?"
"But you peeked at yours!"
"Moi? What makes you think that?"
"The mugre job you did taping it up again."
"But I couldn't wait, mi amor!"
"Neither can I. What's say we check 'em out, rewrap 'em, and act surprised when we open 'em up later?"
"Doesn't that count as naughty? Won't Santa get p-o'd?"
"After all my time en la cocina, I deserve naughty, and I don't know no vato Santa. Quick--I'll get the tape."
"I'll get some cervezas and wait for you ... maybe."

(To be completed Christmas Day.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 3

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 3rd día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
3 grinchy friends ...

"Where we gonna get gifts this late? You shoulda told me earlier you drew names at work. "
"I forgot. I need something for 3 of 'em. "
"Three white elephants. Why do they call 'em that, anyway?"
"Can't 'member. Elephant? 'Cause you don't really need one?"
"We could use an elephant--to eat up Rinócero's plastic needles that're droppin' like moscas."
"I wish you wouldn't call ..."
"What'd these so-called friends give you last year?"
"Let's see: a cheap Aztec church key, a plastic mono, a used utility knife."
"No tamale openers, huh?"
"Not unless you count the knife."
"What'd you give them?"
"Nothing; I forgot. Actually, I was sick the year before so we gotta make up for three."
"Chingaus! And what's this mierda about WE? ... Could one of them use a big Krismas tree?"
"Not time for joking. What about that cosa your mom gave you you said sucked?"
"It was a miniature vacuum; it was supposed to suck."
"Oh. ... Let's see--three presents, three ... wise men. Got any gold, frankin--?"
"No time for jokes.
"Three, three ... three dozen tamales!"
"They're your friends, not mine."
"Well then, three subscriptions to ..."
"Chichi magazines--great, the perfect Krismas gift! So they think they're the muy macho types?"
"One's more macho than the others. She's Real Butch."
"Una lesbiana?"
"No, that's just her nickname: Real Butch."
"I don't know. I forgot."
"Well, anyway, I guess that would take care of your elephants, qué no?"
"Actually, no. I forgot the ..."

(Continued on Day 2.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 4

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 4th día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
4 thawing stars ...

"Hand me the staple gun, Esa. And don't drop it again, or it's you who goes down the ladder this time."
"Why didn't we do this when it was warm?"
"We had to go shopping, remember?--12 times."
"I still think it's late to be putting up lights. Especially on the roof, in this wind."
"Think of it as your contribution to neighborhood Krismas spirit."
"But los vecinos never like your Krismas lights messages. Remember four years ago? 'Bush vale ver_ _!' didn't earn you a lot o' gifts."
"It's the thought that counts."
"Some advance thought would have counted more this year, like when it was warm. What're we spelling this time? Will we have to sell the house and move?"
"You're gonna love it."
"That what you said five years ago. 'Remember the Alamo, fondly' got us death threats."
"So sometimes I'm not so good."
"Yeah, that's what the priest says."
"Good we got the torch 'cause some pinche lights got loose and froze to the shingles. It would look like we're throwing a finger 'stead of givin' the peace sign."
"A peace sign? You going soft in the coco or something."
"Maybe, but only 'cause of when you vetoed my 'Estoy de luto porque ganó el bruto!' "
"Until lately, not everyone mourned El Bushy winning. Besides, we woulda had to buy un montón de lights."
"Anyway, this year I decided to go easy on 'em."
"But válgame los dioses, a peace sign? You almost sound like Santa."
"Ho, ho, hope you don't think it's gonna last."
"Nope--just 'til Tuesday."

(Continued on Day 3.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Friday, December 21, 2007

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 5

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 5th día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,
5 bronzen things ...

"Now here's something we could really use."
"We're looking for gifts for other people."
"But check it, Esa, it's to make quesadillas."
"We've already got one. It's called a comál."
"But this is high-tech, and it looks suave."
"Where do you put the masa in? Which end's for the cheese?"
"I don't know. I guess you gotta read the instructions."
"What'll they think of next--a tamale opener?"
"I mighta seen one of those in my magazine."
"I didn't think naked cholas could cook. Wouldn't their chichis gigantes get in the way, catch on fire?"
"Nah, silicone don't burn. ... Aw, forget this--this thing costs chingos. What else we gotta get, anyway?"
"Something for your mamá, your Tío Fred and my--"
"I already got mom a big, framed photo of me."
"So she'll remember who's the stranger who's calling?"
"So I forget sometimes."
"Maybe that quesadilla thing comes with a memory attachment?"
"I forgot to look."
"What about your Tío Fred?"
"I got him a subscription--"
"Let me guess--to a car magazine with naked cholas who cook quesadillas?"
"You peeked. Who's last on the list?"
"Mi 'amá. But she's so old, she's always hard to shop for."
"What about a shiny--?"
"High-tech cosa that makes quesadillas!"
"Okay, shopping's done."

(Continued on Day 4.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ulises Silva: Breaking Ground in Speculative Fiction

Ulises Silva is an emerging Latino author whose fusion of academia, mainstream influences, and vivid storytelling present a fresh entry and perspective into the genre of speculative fiction.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Silva’s dissertation work focused on science fiction and its retelling of American colonialism, including the westward expansion and its war against Native America. In particular, Silva studied the ways in which mainstream science fiction re-imagined American history by inverting historical roles and political ideals—retelling the story of exploration and expansion as an inherently benevolent venture.

As a fan and student of science/speculative fiction and its ability to re-imagine historical and contemporary realities, Silva was influenced by the literary works of H.G. Wells, Orson Scott Card, and Philip K. Dick. Authors of color, including Sandra Cisneros, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lucha Corpi, and Américo Paredes, have influenced Silva’s multicultural narrative approach.

Cinematic influences, such as George A. Romero’s Living Dead films, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, which extrapolate the struggle of the human psyche under extreme and cataclysmic ordeals, played an equally large part in Silva’s writing. He is fascinated by what he calls the “psychology of apocalypse,” specifically the roles, actions, and decisions of characters in apocalyptic, end-of-the world scenarios. Indeed, the central question posited by his new novel, Solstice—“What would you do if you knew the world would end next week?”—looks to engage readers with the possibilities of such a scenario.

Taken together, Silva’s academic, literary, and cinematic influences produce a brand of fiction that tells gripping stories from historically marginalized points of view. (In Solstice, for example, the main protagonist is a Mexican-Japanese woman.) Silva delves deep into the fractured psyches of his beleaguered characters to uncover broader questions of race, gender, and the conceptualization of recorded history.

Silva is a first-generation Mexican-American who grew up in New York City, spent five years in Buffalo, NY, and has since moved to Michigan. He is currently working on his next novel, a comedic satire about Hollywood’s portrayal of Latino/as.

Gente, take a look at at a description of this novel and you'll be hooked.

Words are murder.

Scribes have a gift. Whatever they write comes true. Misfortune. Theft. Even murder. Editors—covert specialists operating beyond the law—watch over them. Among the Editors, Io is the best, and the most ruthless. But on her way to her next assignment, something happens. Her phone rings—along with every other phone on the planet.

What would you do if you knew the world would end next week?

A single phone call to the world’s population asks this question. The same message appears on walls, TV screens, even flesh. Confusion erupt into chaos. Violence spreads like wildfire. Io discovers a Scribe named Nadie sent the message. But the message is only the beginning.

The final winter solstice.

In two weeks, on the day of the winter solstice, Nadie promises a final judgment. Battling a world spiraling into mass hysteria and her own dark past, Io must race to stop Nadie. But as the world is engulfed in a series of supernatural catastrophes, Io uncovers a shocking possibility: Is Nadie writing humanity’s extermination? And is Nadie linked to her past?


Some personal notes on Solstice:

First, on general principal I was excited to hear about this entry in the world of speculative fiction/sci-fi. I believe strongly that 'Chicano fiction' is what ever genre we choose, and I applaud Silva for pushing the envelope a little further. Secondly, as a writer myself, I was intrigued by the idea of warring 'Scribes vs. 'Editors.' It's a clever spin and a birthing of a universe equal to Dick's replicants and humans in Blade Runner, or Marv Wolfman's day walkers and vampires in Blade.

Silva creates a vibrant underground for his heroine, Io, and her adversary, Nadie. Like the core of Chicano history, Silva's scribes and editors emerge from a turbulent mix, in this case, both Mexican and Japanese. They duel in in a shadowy, dangerous, hybridized world, without room from hesitation or error. While Dick's influence is clear, Silva's terrain is a unique one, his style noirish, his female characters strong and tender, ruthless and unstoppable. And then there's the choice of the name Nadie. Brilliant, right up there with Matrix' Neo. There are definitely more tales to emerge from this first offering, more compelling struggles between dark words and the edits that hold chaos at bay.


Tragical Mirth Publishing is an independent publisher headquartered in Troy, Michigan. Their vision is to promote the fictional work of new authors, especially authors of Latino/a and Asian descent, into the literary marketplace. With one novel slated for publication this year and two more in 2008, they plan to nurture the budding careers of new authors alongside our own company growth.

Tragical Mirth Publishing was founded on the belief that there is always a market for ethnic fiction. With more and more publishing houses focusing on the marketability of new fiction—oftentimes sacrificing literary quality for commercial appeal—too many aspiring authors of color are being shut out. Tragical Mirth Publishing hopes to provide a new generation of authors a real voice in the literary marketplace.

Customer Service
To Order Solstice directly:

Media and Review Kits Available
To request a kit, review samples, schedule interviews, or for additional information:

ISBN: 978-0-9794513-0-0

Lisa Alvarado

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 6

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 6th día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,

6 misas' crying ...

"Vas conmigo a la misa?"
"You know I hate goin' to church. It's always so somber."
"It wouldn't kill ya to go the rest of these days. You only went once this year. Real Catholics are supposed to go more.".
"Nah, I'm thinking of converting, like maybe to Muslim, or Druid."
"Por qué?"
"Because maybe they let you have more no-shows than the Church."
"Bobo, that's not how you're supposed to decide."
"What--I'm supposed to decide rationally?"
"Course not. It's a matter of faith."
"But I got no faith."
"That's why you need to go, Ese--to find some."
"But, I do have a different kind o' faith."
"Like what?"
"I got faith that ... that ..."
"See what I mean?"
"I got faith that this is gonna be a great Krismas!"
"We got bills coming out the yin-yang, I got pressured into making 12 dozen tamales, your sobrino Pepito's stinkin' up the curtains and Rinócero's shedding like a Persian-gone-leper. Tell me what's so great."
"I wish you wouldn't call him that."
"Rinócero, Rinócero, Rinócero."
"No, I meant my sobrino. His name's Pepe."
"Pepito, Pepe--una rosa by any other name would smell as Pepito. So what about mass?"
"I'm thinkin'."
"Tell you what I'm thinkin'. I'm thinking you'd better go pray Pepito and Rinócero don't wind up out in the alley."
"So, what time's that mass start?"
"It starts right after you sweep up after Rinócero."
"I wish you wouldn't--."

(Continued on Day 5.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Many Tamales 2007

If you love the book, you will enjoy the play. Angelinos and visitors, don't miss the opportunity to watch this incredible play.

Children's Bilingual Reading With René Colato Laínez
at Aztlan Books Y Mas

But if you are in Las Vegas or plan to go this weekend please come and join me at Aztlan Books and Mas on Saturday December 22nd at 2 p.m.

1014 E Charleston Blvd
Suite 102
Las Vegas, NV 89104

for more information visit

Doce días de mis Krismas - Day 7

the Spanglich version
Posted each day beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black)

On the 7th día 'til mis Krismas
My true love gave to me,

7 bods a-lying ...

"You didn't tell me your cuña'os were coming over for Krismas."

"I forgot."
"You forgot seven extra mouths to feed? I gotta make an extra pot of everything just for them!"
"Ah, but everything you make is so sabroso, mi amante."
"What we'll need is loaves and fishes, sabroso or not. And they're probably gonna wanna stay over the week, too. Where we gonna put 'em? Oh, I know. There's probably enuf room in Rinócero, your new Krismas tree."
"I thought you liked the tree?"
"I'll put up with Rinócero, but do I like it? Yo creo que no."
"Do you have to call it that?"
"Rinócero, Rinócero, Rinócero."
"That's not even the proper term for rhinoceros."
"I guess I'm not feeling very proper…. So, where are they gonna sleep?"
"How 'bout my new workshed?"
"The one that doesn't have any lights or heat? What're they gonna use at night, the chimenea?"
"That's not a bad idea. ... On second thought, chale, it wouldn't work. They'd just come in smellin' like a campfire."
"That'd be an improvement for your sobrino Pepito, the reborn hippie."
"He's just going thru a stage."
"Es cierto--the stage of a ripe 21."
"I never complain about your cuña'os."
"That's 'cause they bathe."
"There's an idea! Why don't we have them put 'em up?"
"Cuña'os with the cuña'os? Huh... Cariño, now you're using your cabeza."
"Exactly why you married me, que no, Esa?"

(Continued on Day 6.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Exultation: Mehta Comes Home

Michael Sedano

Popular wisdom, such as that derived from literature, seems always if not to get stuff wrong, to have it only approximately right. These thoughts were running through my head Sunday, December 16, as I took my seat at Disney Hall.

It was one of those days that serve as a constant reminder of what it means to be Zubin Mehta. What it means to be a great conductor.

Mehta came home to the L.A. Philharmonic to an absochingaolutely enchanted house. The orchestra obviously welcomed him with wide open arms. Played with the intensity and discipline of the 1970s, when fresh out of the Army I moved to Los Angeles to find Mehta conducting the Phil with Toscanini type control. When Mehta left for Manhattan in 78, Carlo Maria Giulini brought a different perspective. We’d gained as much as we’d lost with Giulini at the helm, but still, Mehta had left big footprints.

Esa Pekka Salonen, today’s director, is a puzzle. He conducts a beat ahead of the band. His arms—sometimes with the stick, sometimes not-- will be swinging wildly in anticipation of the next phrase while the orchestra is still playing a quiet passage, and vice versa. And he uses the safety rail on the podium. Mehta stands there feet firmly planted, he knows where he's at.

Mehta conducts on the beat in complete synchrony with what’s happening in the risers and on the page. Mas, Mehta’s seating chart places the Basses far right rather than alongside and above the Violins, giving both a more distinct presence. It helped that the orchestra was huge on Sunday, over a hundred musicians in contrast to Salonen’s 80 or so hands on a typical afternoon. Eight French Horns give a mighty sound! Salonen typically hires three or five.

Exultation is the only word for what transpired on that stage. It wasn’t that the audience had to take Mehta back. It was more, dang, bro, you’ve been away too long! But you haven’t lost a step. OK, he’s a lot older and more . . . substantial.

Los Angeles audiences invariably give standing ovations even for modest achievement. But the riot that greeted Mehta’s curtain calls had such wild spontaneity I guessed that gente had risen from the dead to attend this concert. I found it totally delightful that when Mehta walked out for his second call the horns gave forth a graceful fanfare that took Mehta by surprise. He was halfway to the podium when the Tuba sounded a single note then was joined in rich full chorus by the whole Brass section. Mehta stopped in mid stride, beamed up at them, then finished the walk.

I regret the prohibition of photography in the hall. This was truly an historic event that deserves to be memorialized beyond words and fading memories.

The Phil sells iPod/.mp3 recordings. I'm not a fan of Webern's unusual 6 Pieces for Large Orchestra, nor Richard Strauss--I'd have loved a night of Beethoven and Mahler's Hammer of God-- don't have to be, to want to order the concert to enjoy it all over again and again, to remember the day Mehta finally came home again. "Zubin?" Someone will ask me. "Alive!" will be all I'll answer.


And ahora en seguida vamos a ver que pasa con day eight of los 12 days of Xrismas. Adelante, RudyG! And remember, La Bloga enjoys guest columnists--check out Sunday's interesting contribution, Full Scale Parenting from Ann Hagman Cardinal. If you've a word or so to share, click here, or leave us a comment. See you next week. Wonder what I'm gonna get for Christmas? Come tell everybody if you saw mommy kissing you-know-who.

Doce Días de Mis Krismas - Day 8

the Spanglich version
Posted each day, beginning Dec. 15th

(Esa's voice in red; Ese's voice in black.)

On the 8th día 'til mis Krismas My true love gave to me, 8 shades a-looming ...
"Hijo de su--. Qué es eso?
"Es mi Krismas tree."
"A tree is something in a forest. That's un monstruo off a graffiti wall. Where'd you get it?"
"It was a blue-light special. 10 foot for only 19.99. And I got there just in time. La vieja Ramirez was looking at it."
"Baboso, they saw you coming. And why's it all painted like that?"
"You know those leftover cans o' paint we had out back? I sprayed it--with all of 'em."
"No shit."
"I think it looks suave."
"You thought a pink house would look suave. Now they call us the locos en la casa jota."
"They're just jealous."
"How'd you get it in here, anyway?"
"It came in pieces."
"Then why don't you take it out in pieces? But, use the back door."
"I don't think I can, Esa. I tried unhooking it, but the pipes are all stuck. Too much rust, I guess."
"That ain't all that's rusted. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking it would make our living room muy Krismasy."
"Krismasy, chismasy.... I don't know… maybe it's not that bad."
"See? It grows on you."
"Just so it don't grow nada más."
"You wanna help me decorate it?"
"I'm 5 foot, remember? It'd take two of me to reach the top."
"Nah, it's pretty strong. I think if you get in the middle there and climb up, I could hand you the stuff."
"Always thinking, huh, Cariño?"
"That's why you married me, qué no?
"No, it was your Ford. I thought I'd look bien chula cruisin' in it."
"And you do, Esa, you always do."

(Continued on Day 7.)
© Rudy Ch. Garcia