a galloping snippet
Monday, March 16, 2009
Victor didn’t quite know what advice would help him, so he ignored everything. He found a small town in the state of Jalisco called Cholula. His research went as far as examining buses in the Mexico City bus terminal and finding one with a hanging crucified Jesus on a CD that he found to be interesting. Little did he know that was to be the first of thousands of crucified CD’s he would see in Mexico.
Once he got off the bus, he found a small room to rent up a flight of stairs. He could easily afford the thirty-dollar rent with his grandfather’s monthly stipend, and though there was always the smell of burning tires wafting through the window, the room would suffice.
In the first day, he quickly learned a fact about Cholula that his research had overlooked. The heat. It was the hottest that Victor had ever been in his life. He didn’t think the human body could withstand such temperatures and sun like the temperature and sun in Cholula. Every corner of his body sweat and sweat hard, as if it were bleeding. They say Cholula is where the devil goes for winter holiday, but no one had told Victor this.
Victor thought about leaving, but the heat made him lazy. It was the heat that made him stay.
The small room he rented was all white. White washed walls, white tile floor and dirty white sheets. Only the flies and Victor himself added any color to the whiteness of his room, that and the dark smell of burning tires. The white kept it cooler, well it made him think it was cooler, like how mirrors make places seem bigger, the whiteness only made the intense heat of Cholula seem cooler.
They say that it was the heat of Cholula that had sweated all the sin out of Victor. He didn’t pray and he didn’t do anything especially saintly, in fact he didn’t do much of anything. All his sin had simply left him. It had been sweated out and Victor did nothing to replace it with cool fresh sin.
The little Victor did to fill his days was to collect glass, absentmindedly and with no real purpose. Glass from the street, discarded, rounded shreds of coke bottles and mason jars, but mostly beer bottles, chelas and kaguamas. He stayed away from the brown glass, he didn’t like it very much, but the green, the turquoise and the clear he would extend the effort to reach into the hot dirt of Cholula and pick it up. At first, his collection blanketed the small table in his room and then it spilled over onto the floor of his room and piled in a corner.
He grew a mustache. He walked into the dozen or so cool, neoned churches around his apartment and made a point not to pray. He watched the neighbor women from his window yell at turkeys and do the laundry. He did nothing too rigorous, because of the heat.
One night Victor slept with a woman. He wasn’t quite sure how he managed that. She was the same age as Victor, but she seemed older and better than Victor, so he called her a Woman. She amazed Victor. When she slept on her side the curve of her hip was so round and spilled so dramatically into her waist he didn’t think that women were actually made like that. And even when she slept, her long dark hair spilled across the bed. It was like mud, thought Victor, the most beautiful mud he had ever seen.
When the Woman first came over, she came on the premise that she wanted to see the glass collection that Victor spoke quietly about in the loud bar. Her limited English and her beauty had suggested to Victor that she would have nothing to do with him. But as the story goes, she would.
Victor was surprised when she sat on his bed. There wasn’t any other place to sit in the white room, but all the same it surprised him to see her sitting there in the moonlight. It was the first time Victor had ever felt cool in Cholula. It was like this Woman quietly told the sun to go home. Didn’t ask him, but just quietly allowed him to leave, “Now you can go”, she must have cooed. It was Victor’s first real night in Cholula.
The Woman stayed the entire next day twisting the bed sheet and arranging the glass. She stayed there almost every night. The Woman was making Victor human again. He began to actually do things. He began to read, go out with the Woman and her friends and listen to the Woman speak Spanish. He began to understand which sounds were verbs and nouns and he began to identify his Spanish words with actual objects and concepts, not just English words.
He found some glue and started fixing the glass shards to the walls. He quickly found a pattern in the glass on his walls and he began to expand it. He saw a wave and fish and he began to make an ocean on his walls. His room became cooler and cooler. He bought an extra sheet for them to use at night, it was getting that much cooler.
The Woman was getting more and more beautiful the more he knew her. At first, it was the curve of her hips and her tits, but now it was the line in her cheek when she smiled and the mole behind her left ear that Victor loved. When they were sweating in plastic bar chairs or walking to the market, he would want the world to stop so he could feel, kiss the lines of her smile, the bump of her mole. But he never did. Instead, he would walk a step behind to keep an eye on her. Make sure she wasn’t going to float away, sway away in some non existent Cholula breeze.
A few weeks went by and Victor noticed how much colder it was getting. In the mornings, his toes would be cold, he would have to fold his arms around his core and wear a sweater the Woman bought for him that looked like a dishrag.
The mosaic was growing bigger and bigger. It spilled up onto the ceiling and the Woman said that once he finished he should start another one outside on the stucco wall of his apartment. She led him outside and spread her arms out wide against the cool white wall. “Here,” she said. As he stood behind her, Victor breathed in a smell he had never before. It was like lemons and bread and hibiscus all together. And the Woman, like a simple lizard cooling on the wall was lemons. She was bread and she was the hibiscus. Victor, in his dishrag, stood in the Cholula sun cool and in love.
It was the next day, or maybe the day after when he finished his mosaic and a shiver ran down his spine. He was placing and gluing glass shards thinking of the Woman and how he would show her what he had finished, with her help. He could imagine her cool, brown arms in his and her smile, the little lines in her face. And then a shiver ran through him. The shiver. He never showed her the finished mosaic.
That afternoon, without really knowing why, he got on the same bus with the crucified CD and left Cholula. The road out of town was bumpy and made of dirt and with his insides already squirmy, once he got to Mexico City he vomited in a gutter. He proceeded to buy an expensive plane ticket and went back to where he came from, either Chicago or Toronto. It didn’t matter. Maybe it was even New York. There it was colder, the heat wouldn’t be able to chill him. There, they told him, the cold couldn’t make him human, and in the end, that’s what he wanted.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A Blue Whale was photographed for the first time off of Ireland's County Kerry coast. Amaetuer whale-watcher Ivan O'Kelly didn't realize the importance of his snapshot until he sent the photograph into the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG). O'Kelly, from Dublin, was on board an albacore tuna fishing vessel when he saw what he thought was a large fin whale.
"It was colossal, like an oil tanker beside you. It was intimidating," he said.
"But we didn't know at the time we were looking at a blue whale."
"It was certainly one-and-a-half times the size of our boat," he said.
"It had a speckled back, and was very fast moving, fast swimming and very muscular.
"I never realised how impressive these creatures are. It was mind-blowing. It really was a very unique experience."
Padraig Whooley, IWDG sightings co-ordinator, said blue whales have been sighted three times in the last three days. Previously there had only been one validated sighting in Irish waters in the last century, he said.
"It is one of three things," said Mr Whooley. "Either they were there all the time and no one is seeing them or their population is growing or they have had a slight shift in distribution and are moving in shore.
"This sighting will have not just Irish or EU significance - it is of global importance," he added.
As an American, I have always seen hockey as a standard of Canadian culture and so when Sarah Palin, from further north than Canada, proudly calls herself a “hockey mom” I feel a bit confused.
In the past, the American politician has called upon the noble everyday ethics of American football and baseball maybe even basketball to flesh out their image, but never hockey. And in turn hockey as a sport doesn’t want to be aligned with politics. Notice the hilarious hockey mom parody of 2004’s Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign, "Hockey Moms for Truth" and you will get a sense of this wanted detachment and then there’s Slate.com’s Bruce Reed’s writings to consider as well.
But after a few weeks under the media spotlight, the hockey world is starting to remember why we preferred our rinks dimly lit in the first place. Stu Hackel, a hockey blogger for the New York Times, wrote a long post recently on how much he resents the game being dragged into politics and used as a pawn. Several readers agreed -- and chided him for dragging politics into a hockey blog.
Over at OnFrozenBlog, pucksandbooks tried to look on the bright side: "If you love hockey, how can you not like how hockey is being celebrated (associated with perseverance and toughness) in the rhetoric of 2008's political debates?" For readers, however, pride was tempered by grave concern about what the association with politics might do to hockey's reputation.
In my experience, we hockey parents are already a little grumpy from ice times that are too late or too early. For many, the sudden attention just brings up the sore subject of how little respect the sport gets in the U.S. "You know hockey is never going to be better than the fourth major sport," one OnFrozenBlog reader lamented, recalling how ESPN's SportsCenter used to make fans suffer through golf highlights before getting around to the NHL.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
That struck her immediately. There were never any faces. It seemed that in all the pictures the faces of the victims would always be cropped out and there would just be their severed leg or stumpy bloody arm. She speculated there were no faces because they made it too personal. You would be able to see the tears running down their cheeks, the horror struck twitches and you would feel sorry for them. No, She wasn’t a sick freak like the librarian mildly and, in truth, indifferently suspected, She wanted to see the faces, more than the muscles and blood and strings of flesh, She wanted to see the faces.
Her goal for August was to find a book that didn’t show the injuries at all, just the faces of eaten men.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"About The USA
The US claims to be the greatest success story of the modern world - a nation fashioned from an incredibly disparate population who, with little in common apart from a desire to choose their own paths to wealth or heaven, rallied around the ennobling ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to forge the richest, most inventive and most powerful country on earth.
Despite polemicists who justly cite the destruction of Native American cultures, racism and imperialism at the top of a long list of wrongdoings, half the world remains in love with the idea of America. This is, after all, the country that introduced the world to the right to the pursuit of happiness, free speech, electric light, airplanes, assembly-line automobiles, the space shuttle, computers, blues, jazz, rock & roll and movies that climax at the high-school prom.
On a short trip, it can be hard work dismantling your preconceptions. So much of the country has been filmed, photographed, painted and written about that you need to peel back layers of representation to stop it from looking like a stage setting. This worldwide representation can make the country seem strangely familiar when you first encounter novelties like 24-hour shopping, bottomless cups of coffee, 'Have a nice day,' drive-thru banks, TV evangelists, cheap gasoline and newspapers tossed onto lawns. But you'd be foolish to read too much into this surface familiarity, since you only have to watch Oprah for half an hour to realize that the rituals and currents of American life are as complex, seductive and bewildering as the most alien of cultures.
Come prepared to explore the USA's unique brand of 'foreignness' rather than stay in the comfort zone of the familiar. You'll discover several of the world's most exciting cities, some truly mind-blowing landscapes, a strong sense of regionalism, a trenchant mythology, more history than the country gives itself credit for and, arguably, some of the most approachable natives in the world."
a galloping snippet