As far as hurricanes go, Earl wasn’t a great hurricane. Certainly, it wasn’t the worst, hardly the worst of the seven hurricanes of 2016.
But it was our hurricane.
Most hurricanes that year sounded like the cool kids in high school — Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle, Fiona. And then, “Oh, look. It’s Earl. Quick, spread out so he doesn’t come sit at our table.”
Earl might have started as an under-achiever but he was the first full fledged hurricane to reach the western Caribbean in four years. Earl plodded slowly through Belize and the lower Yucatan, making a mess for sure but after a dip in the Gulf of Mexico, he turned into a mean and wet bastard of a tropical storm that killed at least 45 people in Mexico from mudslides.
Sometimes you just have to get out there and walk. Anywhere will do. Just walk.
Most mornings, that’s me walking Moppit, struggling for control over the master/pet dynamic with a willful and intelligent opponent.
I want to go left, she wants to go right. We both freeze in our tracks and engage in a game of blink, staring into each other’s eyes with fiercely competitive stares. It is Moppit who decides when she’s had enough of this walking nonsense and communicates her desire by sitting firmly on her tush. It is Moppit who sets the pace, decides what needs to be sniffed or peed upon. For my every step forward, she executes a complex zigzag pattern worthy of her genetic heritage.
She is a sniffer, a searcher, a chaser, a marker of vast territory.
Of all the words to describe this peculiar existence we are in today, I have the most trouble with “quarantine.” I simply can not recall this word when describing how we are living these days.
It is blocked from my memory. Unlike the actual quarantine which we live minute by minute in our homes.
Ah well, I’m not here to summarize 2020 — nor analyze. I can offer no grand insights, survival tip, recipes, bromides, earned wisdom, nor life lessons. It happened. It ran over us and didn’t even honk the horn or stomp on the brakes. There were no skid marks. We just took the full brunt of its force.
And here we are. Hello, 2021. Show us what you’ve got.
The authors reach some conclusions that are bound to hurt dedicated, hard-working crime-beat reporters and their editors:
“This should be the year where we finally abolish the crime beat. Study after study shows how the media’s overemphasis on crime makes people feel less safe than they really are and negatively shapes public policy around the criminal–legal system. And study after study shows that it’s racist and inhumane.”
It is government that built the highways and bridges, managed the airwaves, created law enforcement to keep the peace, raised military to protect the nation, educated the workers and business people, created order out of chaos, kept the air and water clean — without which the selfish bastards who cling to their cash and say “Nobody tells me what to do with MY hard-earned money!” would not have any cash.
Newsbreak: Without government, you would not have “hard-earned cash” because business and labor can not function without government support — just as government can not function without the support of the people.
I’d like you to meet Wally, full name Wallace George Hawkins. He was born on Saturday at 6:54 p.m. in Kaiser Hospital, San Diego, weighing in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
Mother, Larisa, and father, Ryan, are as over the moon — as we are!
Wally and parents were home by Sunday evening and Wally got to meet his big brother, Augie.
Ryan is my second-oldest son, born between Brendan and Christopher. Wally joins three grandsons — Brody (Brendan and Cami), Tallac (Chris and Katie), and of course big brother, Augie (pictured above).
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As one of eight brothers and one sister, to me the production of sons and grandsons seems a foregone conclusion although some of my brothers and their wives, somehow, have brought daughters into this world.
There is nothing like a new-born baby to remind you of how unique, amazing and beautiful is every child. This has to be my all-time favorite miracle available on this planet.
Rose Alcantara and I are so filled with joy.
Rose right away suggested sending flowers and naturally found just the right bouquet on Amazon. I think they are arriving today (Tuesday). Say what you will, this is an amazing world.
I bought a second gift for the family — a non-contact, infrared, instant-read thermometer — bundled with 50 disposable face masks. Just seems like a gift for these days, especially with the inevitable number of visitors they will likely get.
Now comes the tricky part: how to schedule a visit to meet Wally in person in this wild and crazy Covid world. I’m looking forward to crossing at Tijuana and isolating for two weeks in San Diego before Wally and I get to hang out.
It makes sense, too, once “certified” COVID-free, to drive to Northern California to visit with Brody and Tallac and their parents while already in the States.
Not the family reunion we were all talking about at the beginning of the year but this is love and joy and family in the new reality.
On March 27 I began logging my day’s activities into my now-useless appointment calendar. For the time being, there would be no luncheon dates, no concerts, no coffee meetups, no flights to visit grandchildren, no weddings, no visit to Mexico City with friends.
But how was I filling my days? They seemed to be drifting — without recollection of where I’d been, what I’d accomplished, where I was headed — from one gray fog-bound sea to the next.
“Naps,” seemed to be the only achievement that I recalled with any clarity. That, and pointlessly angry and condescending posts on Facebook. I had to be doing more than clicking “Like,” “Angry, “and “Love” buttons, right? Oh, and “HaHa.” Continue reading →
That moment when you realize the offbeat lead to a blog post that you have been struggling with since Thanksgiving isn’t really the lead to a blog post, but an offbeat poem that celebrates the particular insanity that grips us between Halloween and Boxer Day.
I say this, fully cognizant of the fact that I am not a poet.
San Miguel torch singer María Sánchez gave a stunning concert under the trees near Parque Juarez on Saturday, backed by the talent-rich Usual Suspects including Julián Arcos, Rubén Olivera, and Victor Monterrubio.
She is a wonderful singer for whom, my wife says, I carry a big crush. “He moans when she sings,” she tells friends.
Maybe so, on both accounts.
María Sánchez with her beautiful new granddaughter, Olivia, after her performance.
Her singing does something to me. I can’t deny it. But I am mature enough to separate the singer from the song, from the real person beneath it all. I think. I mean, I was wondering “What on earth is María Sánchez doing singing outside, and at 1 p.m.?” So my imagination does slip in through the backdoor when she sings.
In my mind, she is a torch meant to burn only in the night when the heart and soul are at their darkest and most lonely. Obviously, I do have fantasies about María Sánchez.
Rather than spoil her concert by trying to describe it, below is the story that wrote itself as I sat in the bright sunlight, listening to her sing. Any relationship to people living or dead is strictly coincidental. Blame it on mescal:Continue reading →