Mexican skier, mariachi suit, going to the Winter Olympics

30 Jan

Sí ya volví…

And this is the newsbit that prompted me to post again.

You probably heard about it on the news or social media feed. The upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi are fast approaching, and for Mexicans, they just got a whole lot more exciting.

Si señores, tenemos un paisano to root for during the games. Hubertus Von Hohenlohe is a German prince with Mexican nationality who will be competing in the skiing competition on behalf of Mexico. And more importantly, “pa que no se lo pierdan” he’ll be competing in a custom made Mariachi suit.

How’s that for genius?

Representing Meixco and Skiing in a Mariachi suit in Sotchi. Go Hohenlohe!!

Representing Mexico as our only athlete in the Sochi Games and skiing in a Mariachi suit. Go Hohenlohe!!

While he does not expect to medal, he’ll be well representing us mexicanos who truly know the meaning of “No gano, pero cómo me divierto.”

Yay Hohenlohe!!! Dale, dale, dale (try saying that out loud) and who knows, maybe we’ll get a milagrito out of Sochi. You can’t underestimate the power of the mariachi suit.

Get over to NPR to read and hear all about it. Here is the link: “Mariachi Olympic Prince takes Glamour to Sochi Ski Slopes”

Hey, if I was a German princess with double nationality in México, I’d always want to compete for México.

JFK: The anniversary we don’t forget.

21 Nov

Fifty years ago, and it still evokes sadness and haunts us a little bit.

This important anniversary of the assasination of President John F. Kennedy has sparked a renovated interest in the history of this tragic day. Fifty years seems like a long time ago, but in the timeline and scheme of things, of world history, it’s quite recent. It’s still a vivid memory for everyone who lived through it.

All week long there have been countless documentaries on TV, print articles and interviews remembering JFK. It’s like a history lesson from the USA. We are revisiting Camelot, analyzing the Kennedys, Jackie, the Civil Rights movement, the time the world came to the brink of nuclear war, and the legacy of JFK.

I wasn’t born yet in 1963, but as a kid I remember all the LIFE Magazines my grandfather kept around the house and how I was enamored of the images of Jackie Kennedy. Such grace, such class and such perfection, all her stylish outfits from over the years. They were my favorite pictures and she was “kind of” my idol. (Nevermind that I always believed she would be my suegra one day, because I was convinced I would marry JFK Jr., but I digress.)

Here are a few things to share.

This week I'm reading Time Magazine's special issue: "The Moment That Changed America" and a few letters from "Letters to Jackie, Condolences from a Grieving Nation" by Ellen Fitzpatrick.

This week I’m reading Time Magazine’s special issue: “The Moment That Changed America” and a few letters from “Letters to Jackie, Condolences from a Grieving Nation” by Ellen Fitzpatrick.

A couple of years ago, a book called “Letters to Jackie” was featured in the New York Times. It’s a book of letters of condolences to the First Lady, from people all over the world, compiled by Ellen Fitzpatrick. Needless to say, some of the letters are so eloquent and simple, that they make you quite emotional. (Here is the link to the article in the NYT). I got a copy of it last year and read a few letter this week. It is unimaginable to understand the grief and confusion people felt at the time. “Y así se puso el día triste cuando se murió,” se acuerda mi abuela. “Lo quería mucho toda la gente.” (She’s been watching and remembering too.)

CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite TV show) devoted an entire 90 minutes to JFK last week. It’s been their highest rated episode in the last few years! Here are 2 videos from this show. In one of them Jackie even speaks Spanish:

PBS also has a wonderful two-part documentary on JFK that is not to be missed. It’s a couple of hours long but it is simply amazing, with all the early footage and archives they include. I had never seen as much of young JFK’s life in video, and for the first time I understood the power of his charisma and allure.

He was a charming man on camera, a great study on the effects of his wit and grace. Even after all the flaws we know about him today, he was definitely a unique human being, truly something else. This is a documentary not to be missed and is part of the American Experience series.  Click on the link here: JFK

From the American Experience series, "JFK."

From the American Experience series, “JFK.”

Bravo Mario Molina, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013

21 Nov

The Presidential Medal of Freedom was handed out today to 16 exceptional Americans, civilians that have made important contributions to this country. It is the highest civil honor anyone can receive in the US. I’m always impressed by this ceremony and the range of all the people who receive this recognition.

As I watched the evening news recap, where they kept focusing on the 2 most famous recipients of the group, la Oprah Winfrey and Mr. William Jefferson Clinton, aka the best president in my humilde opinión, I noticed that in the back row right behind President Obama was a familiar face. Why yes! It was Mario Molina, who also received this award today.

President Obama awards Mario Molina the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013.

President Obama awards Mario Molina the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2013.

This amazing scientist and chemist happens to have won a Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry (1995) and is the person who alerted everybody in the world that the ozone layer was going to be kaput if we didn’t do something about the environment asap. But also important to note, Mr. Molina was born in Mexico (México, DF, 1943 to be exact) and he came to the US in 1968 to continue his graduate studies in chemical engineering at Berkeley. ¡Es de los nuestros!

He studied how chlorofluorocarbons are depleting the ozone layer (I guess we need to read more about it.) He continues to study how the environment is affected by all the messed up things que los seres humanos do to this planet of ours. President Obama said, “Today, inspired by his example, we’re working to leave our planet safer and cleaner for future generations.”

So I’m very proud. Even though he didn’t get air time on TV como Oprah, it was nice to see him get this recognition and see him among the group.

Muchas Felicidades, Mr. Molina. Qué honor tan grandeY muchas gracias for all the important work you do.

(The group also included musician Arturo Sandoval, the fearless Gloria Steinem, the talented Loretta Lynn, the first female astronaut Sally Ride (+) and the editor Ben Bradley, among others. A most admirable group of individuals.)

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 11.53.28 PM

It’s Taco Tuesday. Now, some Psychobiology

29 Oct

Tacos are near and dear to my heart, therefore I’ve declared today is Taco Tuesday. Vamos a ver que tacos me invento for lunch.

Speaking of Tacos, Aaron Byrd and Michael Moss and the geniuses over at the New York Times have made a wonderful video infographic on the subject of Doritos Tacos at Taco Bell: “What’s In It: Doritos Locos Tacos.”

Now these are NOT tacos that I would recommend by any means. I have yet to taste them but after watching the video I don’t think I will. However, the process by which they were created and the effect they have on people is truly fascinating. 

In a nutshell, Doritos Locos Tacos are, according to the authors, a “marriage made in processed food heaven.” As they explain, the tacos are “engineered to target taste buds using the most powerful features known to manufacturers.” Basically they’re made up of a bunch of processed junk and fat, designed to make you want more. “Real power lies in what food scientist call Psychobiology: the study of how the brain reacts to stimuli.” 100 million Doritos Tacos sold in 10 weeks prove they’ve found a formula that works, and a market of “pretend taco” addicts.

In the video, I loved the simplicity of the graphics, the animation and the explanation- even though I wouldn’t be inclined to try these “tacos”. No siree Bob, not for me.

Para mi, the best tacos in the universe, en el mundo mundial, are located in one place and one place only: Mexicali, Baja California, México. That’s it! And if you want impressive numbers, I’m sure all the taqueros on the street and the finer, established taco joints will tell you they’ve sold Zillions and Zillions of tacos in their lifetime, no scientific or manufactured ingredients needed.

Just give me dos de asada, una cuata y “échale todo”.  That’s true Psychobiology for me. 

Here’s the link to the video from The New York Times. It’s worth a few minutes of your time and will definitely get you thinking.

What’s in It: Doritos Tacos Locos by Aaron Byrd and Michael Moss, New York Times, October 1, 2013.

Click on the image to take you to the video from the NY Times.

Click on the link above to take you to the video from the NY Times.

New word of the day: Psychobiology.

New word of the day: Psychobiology. (Clip from the NY Times)

In praise of San Judas Tadeo- patron saint of hopeless cases

28 Oct

San Judas Tadeo celebrates a feast day today, October 28th.

There is a select bunch of us, quite a large group around the world, devotees of this particular saint of the Catholic faith, for whom this is a very important day.

St. Jude Thaddeus is the patron saint of hopeless cases, casos díficiles y desesperados. I know that sounds a little extreme, but when you need something to hold on to, his prayer is quite useful. I especially like his prayer because it always brings a sense of peace, even though you may be going through a tough time. Está muy bonita la oración, like my abuelita says.

On occasion, I go to Saint Victor’s Church in West Hollywood, where they pray a novena to St. Jude every Monday night, and where he has a nice following. I’ve added the prayer they have close to the altar, in the images below.

By the way, did you know that the organization Saint Jude and Saint Jude Research Hospital, which helps kids with cancer, was founded by Danny Thomas? Back when he was starting out in the 1940’s, then a struggling actor, Danny Thomas (Marlo Thomas’ father) was a devout Catholic who used to pray to the saint asking to get a big break in showbiz. He almost gave up on trying to make it in the entertainment business, but made a promise to Saint Jude that if he ever made it big, he would repay him in a way where people would always remember Saint Jude. Mr. Thomas prayed, “help me find a way in life, and I will build you a shrine.” Long story short, he finally did make it big in showbiz, and as he promised, he founded the organization which helps so many families today. “Be thankful for the healthy kids in your life…” as they say in their advertisement. (Little bit of trivia there, my friends.)

So if you’re ever going through a problem or tribulation, or if you just plain need a miracle, don’t hesitate in asking St. Jude Thaddeus to intercede for you and remember to keep the faith. Faith is a wonderful thing.

Here is the prayer to St. Jude from Saint Victor's Catholic Church in West Hollywood.

Here is the prayer to St. Jude from Saint Victor’s Catholic Church in West Hollywood. (Photo via iPhone)

Lit a little candle today.

Lit a little candle today.

Mi San Judas Tadeo de cabecera, siempre en mi casa. (Photo del iPhone)

Mi San Judas Tadeo de cabecera, siempre en mi casa. (Photo del iPhone)

Todas las mañanas me tomo mi cafecito con San Judas Tadeo.

Todas las mañanas me tomo mi cafecito con San Judas Tadeo.

Loving the Early Beatles Photos @Leica Store

19 Oct

Long live The Beatles!

Who doesn’t love The Beatles? They are ageless, timeless, wonderful, beautiful, and after all these years (50+) they are still lo máximo.

Beatlemania took off in 1963 in the US, and it has never really left us. By the way, Sir Paul just released a new album this week, titled NEW, and he sounds really, really happy. You need to hear it.

I stumbled upon an amazing photo exhibit at the recently inaugurated Leica Camera Store in West Hollywood, and had a chance to admire an exhibit by Astrid Kirchherr. She was only 22 when she started following around and photographing The Beatles, before they became famous. Most of her images were shot with a Leica, which she borrowed from a friend. The story is amazing. Here’s an excerpt from the exhibit notes:

At age 22 Astrid Kirchherr, a fashion and art school graduate, accompanied her bohemian friends to the Kaiserkeller Club in Hamburg, Germany, to hear some new rock and roll played by a young group of musicians from Liverpool, England. Kirchherr was overwhelmed by what she saw and what she heard.

“It was like a merry go round in my head. They looked absolutely astonishing…My whole life changed in a couple of minutes. All I wanted was to be with them and to know them.”- Astrid Kirchherr.

The images were on sale, so you could definitely own a piece of Beatles history if you’re in the market for some cool artwork.

By the way, who is your favorite Beatle? I think for me it’s John…maybe Paul, sometimes George, but Ringo is the coolest.

Here are a few pictures from the exhibit, which I’m sorry to say is ending on Sunday Oct. 20. But if you’re in LA, the Leica store is a beautiful place, with an almost museum like quality and a fantastic gallery on the second floor. It’s definitely worth a visit.

The Leica Store in West Hollywood opened recently and is a must visit for photographers.

The Leica Store in West Hollywood opened recently and is a must visit for photographers.

Exhibit wall on the first floor.

Exhibit wall on the first floor.

A girl and her (borrowed) Leica, Astrid Kirchherr when she began taking pictures of The Beatles in the early 1960's.

A girl and her (borrowed) Leica, Astrid Kirchherr when she began taking pictures of The Beatles in the early 1960’s.

Collection of photos on view and for sale.

Collection of photos on view and for sale.

Another angle of the exhibit.

Another angle of the exhibit.

A very young John Lennon.

A very young John Lennon.

John and Ringo on the train.

John and Ringo on the train.

George Harrison, "the quiet" Beatle.

George Harrison, “the quiet” Beatle.

Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney.

Those eyes. Paul McCartney.

Those eyes. Paul McCartney.

A pensive John Lennon.

A pensive John Lennon.

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr

Early, early Beatle years. John and Paul (insert from larger pic.)

Early, early Beatle years. John and Paul (insert from larger pic.)

The original Beatles, before they were the Fab Four.

The original Beatles, before they were the Fab Four.

Fell in live with this M camera from Leica. It'll set me back about 13K bucks. But it's on my wish list, on my vision board and desktop screensaver. I DECLARE I will own this Leica in my lifetime. He dicho.

The amazing staff at Leica lets you play with the cameras. I fell in love with this M camera model. It’ll set me back about 13K bucks. But it’s already on my wish list, on my vision board and desktop screensaver. I DECLARE I will own this Leica in my lifetime. He dicho.

Día de los Muertos is almost here

9 Oct

Lest you forget, Día de los Muertos (November 2) is coming up in a few weeks and it’s great to see how people are getting just as excited about it as Halloween. It’s a trend we’ve been noticing here in LA for the last few years.

El otro día as I was walking down the halls of South Coast Plaza, one of the nicest malls in Southern California with a very selective crowd in a very upscale zip code, I was surprised to find a window display lleno de Dia de los Muertos decorations. Very cool!

Paper Source is the store that had these decorations and they had a few options for your altar de muertos and for your disfraz, in case you’re thinking of dressing up as a Calaca.

I had also posted something about this last year and in 2011, if you’re looking for more ideas.

Paper "calaveras" on the window display at Paper Source in South Coast Plaza.

Paper “calaveras” on the window display at Paper Source in South Coast Plaza.

Right as you enter the store, here is the display with Dia de los Muertos decor.

The display with Dia de los Muertos decor is right by the entrance to the store.

En caso de que no tengas quien te pinte, these face stencils seem like a good alternative to the face painting.

En caso de que no tengas quien te pinte, these face stencils seem like a good alternative to the face painting.

Unos vasitos de calacas para tu altar.

Unos vasitos de calacas para tu altar.

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