Nacho Libre

CTA bus in Chicago, Illinois.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to see Nacho Libre with my sons. This movie was filmed entirely in Mexico with all-Mexican cast, with exception of Jack Black. Perhaps I should translate his name to Juanito Moreno.

The movie is set in Mexico, but all the characters speak English with a Mexican accent. I guess that was the director’s way of letting the audience know that the movie was set in Mexico. The accents weren’t very convincing, particularly because the scenery was actually Mexican.

Did this movie offend you? Some characters speak Spanish and there are no English subtitles! Whatever happened to English only? Where is the public outcry? Well, there was none. I wasn’t the least bit offended. In fact, I was happy that Mexico could be represented in American cinema without any controversy.

This was such a fun movie to watch. I laughed so hard at some scenes and then wondered why I wasn’t offended. I noticed that the other people in the theater who were laughing were also of Mexican descent. The movie brought back some memories of Mexico. The movie accurately portrays Mexico as I remember it when I visited my family there as a boy. The movie represents Mexico in its stark reality without any social critique, as does Robert Rodriguez’s El Mariachi.

Loteria 2.0

Some Loteria cards.

Lotería is a fun game to play just as it is, but Lotería needs to be updated to Lotería 2.0.

I’ve played lotería in both Mexico and the U.S. We need some new cards that reflect the influence of both Mexican and American culture to the game. There is nothing wrong with the cards now in use, but how about adding some new ones? I recommend: El Vato, La Gabacha, El Mariachi, La Abuelita, El Pachuco, La Malinche, El Macho, La Llorona, La Mamacita, El Maricón, La Jamona, El Cholo, and El Güero.

And then when you fill up your card, you have to shout, “¡Lotería 2.0!” That should liven things up a little. Do you have any other suggestions for other cards?

Impressing others

My proudest victory!

Avoid those who judge you by their own limitations.

I have learned this the hard way. Everyone judges us. And everyone expects us to please them. If he or she can’t do something, he or she assumes that I can’t do it either.

When I was younger, I never attempted to do things that people around me thought I couldn’t do. And why did they think I couldn’t do these things in the first place? Because they couldn’t do them. Either they tried and failed, or, worse yet, they never even bothered trying because it seemed impossible to accomplish for them.

So when I was ten, my parents and friends told me I couldn’t play the guitar. That was because none of them could play the guitar! My mother actually bought me a guitar for my tenth birthday, after much begging on my part. I was determined to prove everyone wrong! Unfortunately, I succumbed to all the negative criticism and gave up trying to play the guitar. I let everyone else judge me by their own limitations! Just because they couldn’t play the guitar, that automatically meant that I couldn’t play the guitar.

Most people demand that you please them in some shape, way, or form. As I got older, I learned to block out all this negative criticism to evaluate for myself what exactly were my own abilities. By the way, I still can’t play the guitar to this day. But I’ve learned that people who are impressed by shiny objects are not worth impressing at all.

I am a Mexican!

The Finish Line

What do you call someone of Hispanic descent? I am truly confused about what to call myself. I have heard a lot of terms, good and bad, to describe Spanish speakers or people from Spanish-speaking countries, for example, Latino, Hispanic, Latin-American, Mexican-American, and on the negative side, beaner, spik, and wetback.

But what should I call myself? What term should I use to describe myself? None of the terms seem adequate. Latino, Hispanic, and Latin-American are too all-encompassing and include a lot of Spanish-speaking nations, but they don’t describe any of my individual characteristics. And let’s not forget that I have been born and raised in the United States of America as an American citizen.

When I think back to my childhood, I used to tell everyone, “I’m Mexican.” When I was a student at the Lithuanian Catholic grade school Holy Cross, the nuns would ask me what nationality I was and I would answer, “I’m Mexican.” Sometimes when visitors came to class, the nuns would tell the visitor, “This is David. He’s a nice Mexican boy.” Now that I look back, that seems to be the best term to use today in our politically correct times.

Let me explain. If I say that I am a Mexican-American, that seems redundant. I was born in the USA to parents who emigrated from Mexico and I speak fluent English. My parents were born in Mexico and were citizens of Mexico. My mother eventually became a naturalized U.S. citizen. If you asked my parents what they were, they would reply, “Somos mexicanos” in Spanish. So when I say, “I’m Mexican” in English, without a Mexican accent–okay, perhaps a bit of a south side accent–, I imply that I am an American citizen of Mexican descent. If I were a Mexican national living in the USA, living and working here, legally or otherwise, I would say, “Soy mexicano,” perhaps even because I couldn’t speak English.

So I say to you, “I am a Mexican,” in English, without a Mexican accent, but with a south side Chicago accent. Do you hear me? I am a MEXICAN!

My Chicago neighborhoods

West 110th Street, Beverly, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is the greatest city on earth! It’s a microcosm of the world. Many of world’s languages are spoken in Chicago. My greatest regret in life is that I wasn’t born in Chicago. Unfortunately, I was born in a place far, far away, called Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Where my parents led, I followed. To be honest, I wasn’t in on the pre-natal decision-making process. I was conceived in Mexico, but I was born in the U.S.

I have lived in several neighborhoods in Chicago. My grandparents came to Chicago in the 1950s and lived in Pilsen. So, naturally, when my parents moved to Pilsen, so did I. We also lived in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. When my parents divorced, my mother, my brothers, my sister, and I moved to the Marquette Park area. My father moved back to his father’s house in Pilsen. I bought my first house in Bridgeport and lived there until I started my own family and moved to Ashburn on the southwest side. When I divorced, I bought my present house in Beverly. Some people have told me that I live in a black neighborhood, but that’s not true at all. This is one of the few Chicago neighborhoods that is truly integrated! This is the best neighborhood in which I have ever lived.

We are the city with big shoulders. Boy are my arms tired!