* A not-terribly surprising survey:
Asked to give three words that come to mind when they think about Mexico, almost half of respondents mentioned "drugs" as one of their top-of-mind associations. The resulting word cloud shown above is a stunning visualization of how deeply the drug war has seeped into the American consciousness.Frankly, we were more amazed that there were separate entries for "Drugs," "Drug," "Cartels," "Cartel," and "Drug Cartels," but none for "Drug Cartel," singular. And that a statistically significant number of people, asked to describe Mexico in one word, went with "Sombrero."
* We're always amazed by people who will start an essay by admitting "this is my fourth trip to Mexico City in the past 15 years, and I still feel like a foreigner," and then proceeding to make blanket proclamations about Mexicans' thoughts on race.
* Having spent 99% of his term ginning up a near-civil-war, outgoing presidente Felipe Calderón is devoting his last days in office to his first love, getting the United States of Mexico to drop the "United States" from its name.
* Seeing how well the Mexican economy is doing, manufacturers in the Failed State of Arizona are going, hat in hand, hoping to get a piece of the action. We, of course, would have told them to go fuck themselves, which is why we are not in charge of economic development for the state of Sonora.
* Burro Hall supports amnesty, despite (or, actually, because of) the batshit-crazy nativists' insistence that the word is Kryptonite to supporters of immigration reform.
* And we fully support the completion of a 2,000-mile long border wall, ringed by a moat filled with sharks with laser-beams on their heads, to prevent sociopathic gringos like Joe Saenz from wandering into the country after kidnapping, raping and murdering his girlfriend. (All of which we're willing to overlook, because Saenz's street alias is "Smiley Joe Peanut," so we're all like, awwwwww....)
* We were unaware that Mexico had had it's own version of the Chinese Exclusion Act, but hey, whaddaya know.
* A Wicked War - what we in Massachusetts call the Mexican-American War.
* The Economist has a chart comparing the population/homicide rates of Mexican states with countries around the world because...well, we really have no idea. Why not compare the number of banda musicians with the miles of paved highway? Anyway, Querétaro has the population of Botswana, the body count of the Bahamas, and the murder rate of the Philippines. Ergo, DRUG WAR!!!1! Or something.
* Artist Pedro Reyes makes musical instruments out of confiscated drug war weapons.
* Haitian art on display at Mexico City’s Museo de la Cancillería through March 2013, end of the world notwithstanding.
* Over the past 21 years, there have been 544 unclaimed bodies buried in Querétaro's cemeteries. 39 this year alone.
* Youth Report: 81% of 12-29-year-olds in San Juan del Río are alcoholics. 52% engage in illegal graffiti.
* Nonstop flights from QRO to LAX starting in 2013. This is the worst news our agent has gotten in a while.
* We'll say this about the denizens of the Chapala.com Webboard: they have excellent taste. Also, "webboard" is not a word.
* Accept No Substitutes: We've had a number of people write in asking if we've been contributing to some of those chatroom literary salons where the expat howler monkeys fling poo at each other. We're not sure (nor particularly interested) why they would think so, but generally we don't write anything for less than $2 a word (of which our thieving agent takes 30 cents, curse his oily hide!). Look for the "Genuine Burro Hall" watermark.
* Crypto-Jew comix.
* Vocabulary Corner: In Latin America, "Amber Alerts" are called "Alertas Alba."
* The Archbishop of Querétaro, who maybe thinks the end of the world is coming in a few weeks would like the town to open no more bars between now and the Apocalypse, notwithstanding the fact that he works for a guy who couldn't walk into a room full of water jugs without opening a wine bar.
* The Week in Cheesecake: Via Tex[t]-Mex, midcentury pinup gals from Revista Vea.
* You can download Rod Stewart's April 9, 1989 show in Querétaro here, though we're not sure why you would.
* It ain't the holidays without John Candy 'round about these parts, so here's the Big Man's life story, in Spanish: