Saturday, May 31, 2008

Luis Omar Salinas

Pioneering Chicano poet Luis Omar Salinas has died. "His talent was profound," poet Peter Everwine said. "What I have most admired in his work is his profound humility and courage, his ability to identify with the marginal, the lonely and the wounded, and to do so without self-pity or loss of hope." See his obituary in the Fresno Bee.

I Salute the Dead

In this drunken town
bitten by the whores
of Texas, I pause with
a beer to salute the dead.

Someone's in my house--
the dead child of Texas
haunts the woodwork
and the child is everywhere
tonight waiting for the dawn,
tomorrow maybe playing
in the mud.

My nephew asks if the black
children he sees on TV
are the poor, and I reply,
"We are the poor."
He cannot understand,
and I know this house
is as poor as this drunken
and I drink my beer
and hiccup into song.

- Luis Omar Salinas

Here's a link where more of his poems can be found.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Secret Pleasure

Ray Manzaruk's left-hand groove leaves me feeling stoned like nothing else...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

From One Scarface to Another

A couple of weeks ago, a kid at daycare slashed Amado with his fingernails. The cut is healing up and looks a lot better now, but I took a picture just in case. (He's also had a haircut since this picture was taken!) For Gramma Coop! Get well soon!

Postmodern Living

I don't know how it does it, but that Google satellite creates some wacky perspectives. Check out these apartment buildings, which happen to be where we live. I can assure you they don't look that bent out of shape from the ground. Not usually anyway.

Monday, May 26, 2008

It's that Two-Year-Old Smile

A lot of people remark how much Amado looks like Wendy his mom. And it's true, he's got a lot of Smith McCarroll in him. But I stumbled upon this picture today and I think the kid also has some resembalance to my dad's side.

Maybe it's just that mouth-wide-open laugh common to all happy babies, but doesn't Amado look a lot like my Aunt Diana in this picture?

The date at the bottom says "April 23, 1944," which was my aunt's second birthday. That's her on the left, my dad on the right, with their father Benjamin Gallegos, who I never knew.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Looks like love, sounds like love, must be...

A bootleg cellphone pic of Tim Butler and Michelle Balcers' fantastically wild marriage celebration last night at a Sourean Street art studio. Above the newlyweds perform a tribute to Meischa the Hot Dog with sons Ben (electric guitar) and Caleb (keys). Congratulations you guys! You are really beautiful. (And thank you kind Heryka for making it possible for us to attend this party by spending the night with Amado!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Do You Know the Way...?

I wouldn't mind being finding myself here at this moment...


Though it probably wouldn't have added much excitement to the movie, it still feels like a lost opportunity to reconsider the myth of Che Guevara:

There is a lot, however, that the audience will not learn from this big movie, which has some big problems as well as major virtues. In between the two periods covered in “Che,” Guevara was an important player in the Castro government, but his brutal role in turning a revolutionary movement into a dictatorship goes virtually unmentioned. This, along with Benicio Del Toro’s soulful and charismatic performance, allows Mr. Soderbergh to preserve the romantic notion of Guevara as a martyr and an iconic figure, an idealistic champion of the poor and oppressed. By now, though, this image seems at best na├»ve and incomplete, at worst sentimental and dishonest. More to the point, perhaps, it is not very interesting.

From "Soderbergh and Che, Provocateurs"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Viva California!

Although the reaffirmation of gay marriage by California's Supreme Court gives my Mom and her partner Irene one less reason to move to Canada where we live, it's still something to be celebrated. :-) I really believe this is the direction all of Western society is eventually headed legally, if only because equality is the bedrock of our culture. Those churches which are still debating this issue (thankfully, not the one I am part of) will have to accept this fact one way or another at some point down the road.

Go Speed Racer!

Kind of reminds me of myself back in my car racing days. (And, of course, speed runs in the family.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Strawberry Boy

I love the gasp of excitement Amado makes when we give him a Watsonville strawberry. But obviously the boy would like a little privacy while he enjoys his treat.

Friday, May 16, 2008

10 Years!

Today Wendy and I celebrate our 10-year anniversary. It doesn't feel like 10 years to me. I guess you know what they say about how time flies when you're having fun. In any case, I certainly feel like a much richer person for having married Wendy. (And I'm not talking about money!) Thank you Wendy for being the sweet one! I love you.

Above: Us, May 16, 1998, Malcolm X Park, Washington D.C. (check out my braid, ese!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Que Pasa?

Perhaps a country shouldn't be judged by its Internet comments, but I have to say lately I've noticed a sharp increase in anti-Mexican / Chicano / Latino comments in many of the articles I've read on-line lately. This one, applauding the work of Marciano Cruz in Santa Cruz (above, who I met in my work with Barrios Unidos), is just one example. (You can access the link to the comment section here.)

I could point out several other examples where rather innocuous articles about Latinos doing good or about Latino immigration receive dozens of racist, belligerent comments from across the U.S. I've only been gone 10 years, but have I missed something? What the heck is going on down there?

Monday, May 12, 2008


I just can't believe the calamity which has struck Asia in the past weeks.

100,000 deaths in Burma is incomprehensible. This is made worse by the political crisis the Burmese continue to suffer.

And now, nearly 10,000 dead in western China.

While the T.V. news is filled with pundits going on and on about the Democratic primaries, the situation in Asia is sad beyond what words can express.

The United Church of Canada, where I work, has an emergency appeal for Burma.

My friend Nicole, who has lived and worked in Southeast Asia, also sent around this list of good organizations you can make donations to toward aid in Burma:

PACT -- seems very well equipped to provide immediate aid in the hardest hit area

Mercy Corp

Save The Children - large NGO

Now Reading...

...Guillermo Gomez-Pena's Dangerous Border Crossers.

I have to say, this guy really turns me on.

Though his progressive (even radical) politics can't be challenged, I love the way he doesn't hesitate to take on the "ethno-fundamentalists" of his own people (the Chicano movement) and challenge them in the same way he challenges those on the right. That's what art does.

Here's the site of his performance art troupe, La Pocha Nostra.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Do I Have the World's Best Mom, or What?

...see for yourself at LiarLiarPantsOnFire.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!! Thank you for giving us those border hopping genes!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Amado at Grenadier Pond

He would have gone right in the water if I had let him.

Spring Thing

It was a beautiful day yesterday and Amado and I went for our usual Sunday afternoon walk in High Park. There we happened upon some kind of flash mob neo-hippie gathering. At least that's what it appeared to be. Pretty cool. Amado loved the electronica they were playing too. He stood right in front of the speaker and did a little groove.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

27 Months!

Amado, last night after his bath. The months are flying by (sorry, we missed the actual date of "month anniversary" again) and the kid is growing like a weed. But where he's really growing is in his head -- his vocabulary is exploding and we're surprised daily with some new word he's learned.

The next thing you know he'll be describing to us with Miley Cyrus-tears how it feels to have a naked picture of oneself posted on the Internet.

Now Listening

This is some very funky stuff....

Nigeria Rock Special shines a light on the flipside to the well-documented sounds of Highlife and Afrobeat coming out of Nigeria in the 1970s - young bands caught up in the wave of Psychedelic & Progressive Rock that was sweeping Europe and the States in the late 60s and early 70s.

In the early 1970s the sound of Jimi Hendrix & bands like Santana had started to seep into the mainly soul -based sets of a handful of young bands playing western influenced pop.

Spurred on by Cream drummer Ginger Baker’s visits to Lagos and his band Airforce (featuring many Nigerian musicians), the sound of fuzzed out Rock reverberated around the Universities and nightspots of Lagos and Ibadan. The craze that followed hit the youth & student population of Nigeria hard - mixing fuzz-guitar & heavy African rhythms with elements of Led Zeppelin, Traffic & the Chambers Brothers.

Featuring tracks from cult bands like Mono Mono, Ofege, The Action 13, The Elcados and Tunji Oyelana amongst many others, this album contains 15 of the best cuts from the scene, available for the first time in 30 years.

The CD is accompanied by a 20-page booklet with rare photos, cover art and historical information on the musicians, giving an in-depth look at the scene and its influences.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Surf's Up!

I just felt like posting this beautiful picture, reminding me of home. (Mavericks, Northern California.)