Sunday, October 26, 2014

Un Pozole del Burro Hall

* While we were out of the country (with an air-tight alibi, and the credit card receipts to prove it), one of our neighbors in this quiet little peaceful paradise, Hector Beltran Leyva, of the famous Beltran Leyva Beltran Leyvas, was arrested on charges of being Hector Beltran Leyva.  He had been living openly here in our completely non-corrupt little state, much like Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. 

Beltran Leyva, who went by the gangster nickname "El H" - which sounds goofy until you realize H's are silent in Spanish, which makes it the most gangsta nickname ever - was famous for dick moves like sending goons to the funeral of a soldier killed in an operation that nailed his brother, and having them basically execute the entire fucking family right there in the funeral home.  So it's not surprising to learn that one of the last things he did as a free man was invite a local security guard from his tony neighborhood watch association over to his house in Juriquilla for a little chat.  It seems that a day earlier, someone had rather unwisely broken into the manse and made of with about 3 million pesos, which is the kind of cash most legitimate businessmen keep lying around their houses here. Predictably, the chat ended with the security guard's badly-beaten, bullet-riddled body turning up on the side of the highway to San Luis Potosí.

What wasn't predictable was that the cops would actually investigate and solve the crime, and raid the house in Juriquilla.  A few hours later, HBL was arrested over lunch in San Miguel de Allende.

What is either absolutely mind-blowing or completely predictable, depending on how long you've been in Mexico, is that the raid on the house and HBL's arrest later that day, were unrelated to each other.  Querétaro's attorney general, Arsenio Durán Becerra, says it was a "coincidence," and that they didn't know the house they raided was Beltran Leyva's. During his interrogation, HBL surprised the officers by asking if his arrest had anything to do with guard's murder. Presumably the cops just stared blankly at each other.

Incidentally, the NY Times reports that HBL was nabbed while "dining in a fine restaurant." The Times's living allowance for foreign correspondents must be pretty shitty, since here's the restaurant:



* Here's a bit of travelogue from the Pathé Archives.  It will tell you almost nothing about Mexico in 1963, but just about everything you'd ever want to know about Britain in the mid-20th Century. 



(Also, the outtakes are kind of fascinating.  Who knew that literally every shot in a newsreel was faked?)

* So another thing that happened while we were in El Norte is that Querétaro had a gay wedding.  To understand how amazing this is, recall that just three short years ago, when a state committee was debating the issue, the public comments were 12 in favor, 51,627 against. (That's not a typo.) Our award for Best Official Reaction to the crisis goes to the head of the State Supreme Court, Carlos Septién Olivares, who fears that gay marriages - of which, we remind you, there has been exactly one in the history of the state - could lead to a court system being overburdened by gay divorces. No, really.

* We reported a while ago on Arkansas State University, Jonesboro's plan to extend the "Harvard of the Ozarks's" reach south of the border with a campus in Querétaro - ASU-Q (pronounced A-SUCK). Not surprisingly, because the project is taking in place in the Aerospace Capital of Mexico, there are problems - specifically a lack of water and electricity.

The opening of the Arkansas State University campus in Queretaro, Mexico has been delayed due to insufficient infrastructure including water and electricity. The original opening date was projected to be in 2015, but the new opening date has been pushed back to 2016.

Lynita Cooksey, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and research, said the site for the construction of the new campus is located in an undeveloped part of the city that is projected for major growth.

Actually, as we pointed out eight months ago, the new campus is located out in the middle of nowhere, about 50km from anything that could even remotely be considered "part of the city." We'll keep you posted on the lack of progress over the next couple of years.

* Sorry, ladies, but Burro Hall executive photo editor Franci...Oh! is taken!  He announced his engagement with a suitably bizarre photo of the happy couple frolicking in the waves from here to eternity.



* If you ever wondered what the cover of Abbey Road would have looked like if the Beatles were from Querétaro, wonder no longer...



* Since Miley Cyrus was practically pursued by Interpol after being spanked onstage with a Mexican flag (okay, it was in Mexico.  On Independence Day.  Still.), we assume Justin Beiber will be similarly ostracized for his Mexican flag boxers.

* With the whole country riveted on the 43 missing students from Iguala, we thought it would be worth mentioning that there are about 200 people missing here in Mexico's safest, most secure state.

*And finally, here's your new NB Mexico 2014, Miss Aguascalientes, whose actual given name appears to be Wendolly.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Mex In the City XXXV - Washington DC Edition

Statue of Benito Juárez outside the Watergate complex

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oh, Hi

So this is a conversation we had on another site on the interwebs this morning:



And the we realized we hadn't posted anything on this blog since... shit, we'd have to ask the interns. But a while.  The truth is, it's become something of an albatross - not in a bad way, really.  More like, well, we're not actually sure what an albatross is, and if you gave us one we wouldn't quite know what to do with it.  That's sort of where we are with Burro Hall at the moment.  We started it back when we were coming down to Mexico for a year or two to open the Latin America bureau, and it seemed like an easy and efficient way of keeping in touch with friends and family back in El Norte.

Eight years, five presidents (Bush, Fox, Calderón, Obama, Peña Nieto) and 3,267 posts later, we're still here.  But the world is different.  We spend at least half our year in El Norte, working for The Man, and the other half at Burro Hall HQ, also working for The Man.  (In other words, unlike 2006, we actually have a full-time job now.) And then some meddling kids went and invented social media, which, despite our initial resistance, we've grown quite fond of, and active on.  How many sources of Burro Hall wit and wisdom can the media-consuming public be expected to follow? (Smartphones, which didn't exist back when we broke ground on the Burro Hall offices, still don't have a very good version of Blogger.)

And then there's the fact that, in Mexico, things don't change all that much.  They do, of course, but those sort of grand cultural, societal and political shifts have never been our primary area of coverage.  (See the links at right for dozens of sites for which they are.) That leaves just the weird goofball  gringo-in-Mexcio shit, which turns out to be constant, but also repetitive.  Like, at this very moment, there are about 1000 concheros in loincloths and feathered headdresses dancing and drumming outside our office windows, and we're not even looking up. Sure, we could take a bunch of photos and give you a report, but it's the same fiesta we covered in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012.   Coming up next: our eighth grito de independcia! (Which we also won't write up, because, seriously, we're gonna do better than this?)

And so that's how it happens that, despite being in Mexico much of the time and online about 18 hours a day, we managed to forget to feed the blog for seven weeks.  Now here it is, all brown and crunchy, like an unwatered fern.  We're not trying to kill it, of course.  It's just that life has changed enough in the last eight years that we don't need the fern quite as much as we used to.  (This is a terrible analogy, we know; we're a bit rusty.)  But we still greatly appreciate your patience and loyalty, and will endeavor to reward it more diligently.

Oh, so the thing that prompted that Facebook question in the first place was this photo of a local  department store offering what we think is the most Mexican Halloween Costume Ever:  The Sexy Murder Scene...



C'mon! That was worth the wait, wasn't it??

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Walk-On Part In the Propaganda War

We were out a couple of mornings ago taking our once-athletic asses out for their twice weekly jog, when we came across hizzoner, Gov. Calzada, striding boldly up the andador, crisply attired in a dark suit and open collar, and with a retinue of aides circling around him filming him - heroically from a low angle.



This is of course not an uncommon sight in this town. Rather, what caught our eye were the two other aides operating the octocopter-mounted GoPro.



Turns out to be a propaganda video in advance of hizzoner's upcoming informe - his State of the State Address.  With just one year to go til he's out of a job, and clearly harboring national ambitions, this address will take on Kim Jong-Il-style grandeur and pomp.  So we're proud to say that this 30-propaganda video, introducing the world to the Querétaro of the Future (summed up in one word: leadership!) features a cameo by our executive editor...

"LIDERAZGO!"

(Amusingly, while he was standing around waiting for the drone to fly, hizzoner spotted us lurking off to the side and, sensing - like the governor of Sinaloa before him - that we were men of power and influence, walked over and extended his hand.  We pretended to be tourists who didn't know who he was, and he asked us about our jogging routine before moving back to his mark.  We can report that he's a nice enough guy, but about as relaxed as Richard Nixon.  He'll make a great president.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

There She Is...

...your Miss Querétaro 2014 - Karen Saldaña Sandoval, 19, believed to be our first anorexic NBQ. We don't know much about her yet, but she's just two victories away from having to sleep with Donal Trump.


The Hundred Hillbilly Hangout

[Updated below.] You may have heard that that batshit crazy nativist movement, faced with the specter of tens of thousands of terrified Central American refugee children having taken the Statue of Liberty at her word, has declared a Two-Day Hate for this weekend.



And of course, because the illegal immigrant invasion-loving liberal media won't tell you the truth, the organizers are asking patriot-Americans to send in pictures and video of their massive, coast-to-coast, America-saving protests, so that the overwhelming support for returning refugee children home to be murdered will be appropriately documented, messages will be sent to the feckless America-haters in Washington, and freedom will reign (for people lucky enough to have been born within America's borders).

So howzit goin'?

Viera, FL - 5 people

Corinth, TX - 12 people

Richmond, VA - 13 people

Birmingham, AL - 7 people

West Palm Beach, FL - 7 people, plus news truck

Anaheim, CA - 16 people


Kansas City - 1 person

Phoenix, AZ - 7 people

Grand Island, NE - 10 people


Lansing, MI - approx. 18 people


Columbus, OH - 3 people


Oklahoma City - 8 people


Chardon, OH - 35 people, 1 small dog


Temple. TX - 5 people


Oak Creek, WI - "at least 9"


Dallas - 16 people

So there you have it. It's still early, and the numbers may go up a bit, but over the past two days at least 170 true patriots (and one small dog) in this nation of 320 million had the courage to stand up to starving children and tell them to fuck off.

ARE YOU LISTENING, OBUMMER??!!!1!



    Update: Lest anyone think we're cherry-picking, the organizers have posted these pix and plenty more here.  They're well worth your time. Based on their more-thorough reporting, we're revising our numbers upward: we're confident that at least 350 people - that's more than 0.0001% of the US population! - took part in the Two-Day Hate.

    It's also amazing to us [Ed note: Ha! No, it's not.] how much of the invective is directed at Mexico, even though the vast majority of these refugee kids are coming from countries like Honduras and El Salvador - which happen not to be Mexico.  Protesting outside the Mexican consulate is a little like invading Iraq after 9/11.  Which we imagine these clowns supported as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Today in Calzada Fangirling

Plaza de Armas, the ongoing piece of performance art masquerading as our local newspaper, turned four years old this week. PdeA has always been less about journalism than about fangirling the local priistas, especially the governor. So we were not at all surprised to see the paper's society section listing the Most Notable Events of the Past Four Years - 11 of the 16 involving the governor, his wife or their kids somehow (including #13: "Plaza de Armas Celebrates 3rd Anniversary"). Tiger Beat was never this slavish.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Estimados Niños de Haití..."

We love these new bus stop ads for the Mexican Postal Service showing the Mexican mailman delivering a shipment of "Mexico 2014 World Cup Champions" t-shirts to needy children in the third world. Our hearts grew three sizes that day.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Burro Hall Book Club: July

Our old pal Lou Dobbs has been typing recently!

As you might expect, Mexicans don’t come across well. They are, for the most part, drug dealers and corrupt businessmen. A company that outsources jobs south is also depicted in an unflattering light: A portion of its Mexican-assembled computers are stuffed with cocaine before arriving in the United States.

A macho aura pervades the novel. The women are desirable, with “ample breasts” and “flowing blond hair”; one has a “spectacular body swaying like a ship on rough seas.” There are hosannas to firearms: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent reflects on the pleasure of a “heavy metal pistol in his right hand.” The protagonist is an F.B.I. agent who played lacrosse at Harvard and can single-handedly beat up three thugs of Mexican extraction. Demoted after killing suspected border crossers on Mexican soil, he goes on to unravel a conspiracy that implicates high-level officials on both sides of the Rio Grande.

The true hero of the book, however, is a “straight-up and sincere” television host who is his “network’s most popular commentator,” generous enough to hold a goodbye party for a departing producer, tough enough to stare down an unscrupulous American executive. And his prescriptions for illegal immigration and terrorism are so cogent that even Mexican cartel heads grudgingly respect him.


She's not the only one swaying like a ship on rough seas. Be still, our literary hearts!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Feliz Cuatro de Julio

Years ago, Mexico started emulating the eating habits of America - The Greatest Nation On Earth™ - and today that've proudly supplanted us as the World's Fattest Country™!  Literally one out of every two Mexicans is now diabetic!  Let's face it, when it comes to being America, no one does it better than Mexico.

So this is exciting news:

Activists Struggle to Loosen Gun Laws in Mexico

What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Treasure of the Puta Madre

We're not really all that interested in the big sportsball tournament going on in the Amazon right now - it's basically foosball played with real people, which makes it just a more athletic version of human chess.  Still it's hard not to love the Mexican team, and above all its coach, Miguel Herrera, seen here on the sidelines of a Club America game last year:



If this guy were any more of a national treasure, the Spanish would have looted him.

So by virtue of having defeated sportsball powerhouses Cameroon and Croatia (like we said, we don't really get this sport), El Tri advances to the next round, where they'll face Holland on Sunday.  We're wagering heavy on the muchachos.  Mexico has a history of clutch victories over the Dutch.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Lady of Perpetual Pulchritude

This is our favorite story of the day, not least of all because it lets us dress up this blog with some serious pay de queso. This is a screen grab of the Facebook page of one Jorge Manuel Guevara Corona, a man who knows what he likes.  "Mmmmmm mamacita" he drools!


Awesomely, Padre Jorge is the parish priest at Immaculate Conception Church in Pastor Ortiz, Michoacán.

Or he was, until a couple of days ago.

Más mamacita aqui.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

And You May Ask Yourselves, Well, How Did We Get Here?

Due to some horrible clerical error, we find ourselves in a soccer-loving country during the quadrennial worldwide soccer-loving thing that happens from time to time.  Mexico is playing Brazil in a few minutes which means that, for once, you can hear a pin drop in this town.  Yesterday was pretty quiet too, though the silence was occasionally broken by rabid cheering every time Ghana almost scored against the US.

We wish our Mexican neighbors luck today.  And since we're constantly being reminded that, unlike those dumb gringos, Mexicans never, ever, ever forget their own history, we're sure there's no need to post this, but we will anyway:



Suerte, amigos. 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Live Almost-Nude Girls!

It's yet another Burro Hall EXCLUSIVE!!, kids - the first bikini pictures of Miss Querétaro 2014! We're not sure which one she is.  We don't know any of their names, in fact (except Lupita Jones there in the middle, who's old enough to have been Miss Mexico before any of them were born). This is the latest batch of ten gladiatrixes chosen in by some obscure and we're sure not at all corrupt system to battle each other to the death for the Miss Querétaro crown later this summer.

l-r: 6, 3, 8, 2, 5, 11, Lupita Jones, 4, 10, 7, 1, 9


We've numbered them from 1 to 11. Place your bets in comments.

Update: In case you hadn't seen Lupita's winning turn as Ms Universe 1991 (we hadn't), someone edited the hours long broadcast down to just the Lupita highlights.  She has a lot to say about happiness and free trade.  Amazingly, her earrings were awarded third runner-up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mex In The City XXXIV

Trash collection, Faneuil St., Brighton, MA


Mayan Sweets sound like the worst sweets in the world, by the way.