Category Archives: Nada que Ver

Are You as Sick of these Stupid Junk Mails as I am?

The innumerable emails that arrive each and every day announcing that I am a winner of this lottery or that make me wonder if these idiots that make this stuff up are actually having any success?

The one that caught my eye today was from the British Columbia Lottery. So many things are wrong with this email that it made me wonder about their success rate with this.

For example:

  • The return address is britishcolumbia@setab.gob.mx which is a Mexican government website, supposedly; obviously fake
  • The explanation says that the Colombian government together with the British government put this lottery together. Obviously the originator of this email is a geographic moron
  • The address of this “lottery corporation” is in Liverpool, England
  • The signee of this letter is Sir Gordons Fletcher. We stopped using royal titles in BC some time ago and Gordons with an ‘s’ sounds weird, doesn’t it?
  • The mail states that you must contact the Royal Bank of Scotland to claim your prize. Geez, any other countries involved?
  • The email (in Scotland, ha ha) is r.b.s.onlinebnk@admin.in.th Very Scottish, no?
  • The prize (for this BC Lottery) is paid in pounds sterling!

Bloody morons. So the question remains: is there any stats on how many people actually respond to these?

Message to the 99% – Screw Universities, It Ain’t Worth It

I would be interested to hear what my 13 readers have to say about the Occupy Wall Street/I am the 99% protests. A common thread seems to be the complaint about how far in debt people are with student loans for their university education. An immediate thought comes to mind for the up and coming: forget the college or university education and learn something technical. It seems that college and university tuition is way overpriced and way overvalued. And how many people expect to get their dream job upon graduating from university with their precious and expensive piece of paper? How realistic is that anyway?

A quick look at Craigslist’s job postings for Portland, Oregon shows over 400 jobs for today, November 14th alone. That’s just Craigslist; there must be other job postings as well. But perhaps idealistic young folks (much like university grads here in Mexico) feel that many of these jobs are “beneath” them perhaps? I don’t know.

Enlighten me.

The other complaint that comes up often is the medical bills.

“I am drowning in medical bills.”

“My mother got sick and we had to remortgage the house.”

Not much to do there except demand (gasp) socialized health care; a public option. Didn’t get voted on or even included in, the health reform debate when Mr. Change brought it up. Why not? Where were all the protesters then? The health issue is something that people need to pester their representatives in the government with until it changes. Focus the protests on THAT until it happens, I say.

And as for universities? Screw them. Their degrees, certificates and fancy diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Dude! Really?

On my last visit to Vancouver, from which I have just returned only days ago, I was struck by the re-invention of the term “really” in the English language. I suspect that this is North America-wide and not just a Vancouver or Canadian thing as evidenced by a friend who visited from the nearby hamlet of Bellingham, Washington and uttered the expression in the title of this blog post over and over again.

“Really?” used to mean just that.

“I just bought a Ferrari” you would say.

“Really?” would be the incredulous or envious reply, depending on the self-esteem of the person you were conversing with.

If I were to describe the word ‘really?’ (as a question) as a wine it might be something like this: Questioning; with elements of sarcasm, disbelief and subtle undertones of disgust or pena ajena.

An example would be the following:

You are dying to get to a bathroom and simply cannot wait any longer. You stop between two cars in the parking lot to relieve yourself and your buddy, who had walked on ahead, walks back, sees what you are doing and says, with a pained look on his face “Dude. Really?”

I suppose a Spanish equivalent is being used as you read this, but I don’t know what it is. Perhaps “En serio, guey?” would be appropriate?

La Temporada at Shuswap Lake in British Columbia

Last weekend, I had the chance to get a taste of the British Columbia version of the Yucatecan ‘temporada’ (more on the temporada here) at Little Shuswap Lake in the heart of the sunny B.C. interior; that stretch of sunny, Monterrey-like mountainous stone and grassland located between the town of Kamloops and Yale.

Each summer, residents of the big cities of Vancouver and even the neighboring province of Alberta flock to the region to rental cabins along the lake, much like Merida residents who move, lock, stock and barrel, to the beaches around Progreso. The beach toys are brought along: everything from bright yellow sea-doo aquatic vehicles, motorboats and skis, kayaks and canoes and a barbecue grill worthy of Gordon Ramsey along with fridgefulls of food to eat between sessions of water-based activities on the lake. Accompanying them are a gazillion tourists from as far away as Germany and the U.K., who rent enormous motorhomes and fifth wheel campers, clogging traffic arteries and intent on ‘roughing it’ in the great outdoors and in saturated, reservations-only Provincial Park campgrounds.

The Better Half and I had the opportunity to experience the weekend version of this ‘B.C. temporada’ and I must say it was a glorious experience, probably as good as the Yucatecan beach version, if not better. For starters, the house, modestly called a cabin, had indoor plumbing and carpets throughout, something you would never find in Chelem. The lake, complete with occasional breezes and even seagulls, lacked however the salty humidity of the beach and the water, which was clear enough that you could see large strands of fresh water vegetation growing up from the bottom, was a lot cooler than the Gulf of Mexico. Swimming was possible, although at this time of the year, when the salmon make their migration up-river to spawn and then die, was an iffy proposition due to the fact that some of those salmon give up halfway across the lake and their eyeless bodies float on the surface, to be picked over by gulls, crows and even bears once they are washed ashore. Their whitened carcasses floating there make one think twice before diving in.

Flying overhead are not flamingos, but Canada geese, their honking similar to their pink relatives but distinctively Canadian; and the morning sounds that wake you up are not the shiny black x’kaues screeching out their noisy greetings, but the insane cackle of equally shiny and black loons on the water.

Afternoon burgers and beers on the deck are enjoyed in warm sunshine until 7:30, when the sun promptly retires for the night behind the surrounding mountains, the shadows emerge and temperatures plummet – from 30-plus degrees in the afternoon to a bracing 16 degrees by 9:00 PM – as the moon makes an appearance and casts a silvery glow onto the lakes surface.

Canadians are a quiet lot, especially the ones renting lakefront cabins and come nightfall, there is no nearby feria to entice youngsters with futbolitos, deep fried junk food and precariously put-together rides. Instead, there are campfires, board games and the forgotten art of conversation is enjoyed over many a glass of wine while the kids roast marshmallows and hot dogs and read. By 11 PM, everyone is fast asleep, resting up for another day on the water or a trip into town for some shopping or mini-golf.

Enjoy the photos!

A Message From the Queen to the U.S.A

Just had this sent to me on Facebook and thought it worthy of republication here. God Save the Queen.

Subject: A Message from Queen Elizabeth To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.) Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’ Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. Tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Offended Mexicans vs BBC Comedy

I received an interesting article on the BBC/Mexico scandal in my junk-infested inbox this morning from my dear Better Half, who in turn received it from a friend whose acerbic wit and online social commentary on life in Merida was often the target for xenophobic hate mail accusing her of being *gasp* a critical wach, of all things.

The Milenio article (available in Spanish here) commented on the recent scandal involving the BBC’s program Top Gear, in which the comedy troupe said stereotypical things about Mexicans which apparently, caused the Mexican ambassador to England to feel such distress that he fired off an official protest letter to the government denouncing the show and its “xenophobic” remarks.

The author at Milenio says, in a nutshell, that everyone that is ‘offended’ by the program should take a look at themselves and the discrimination, racism and lack of tolerance perpetrated every single day in this country, by Mexicans.

Also interesting is the debate below the article. I think the author makes a good point. What do you think?

Travel Warning – British Columbia, Canada

The Mexican Tourism Counter-Propaganda Council is advising travelers from this country to avoid travel to Canada and British Columbia in particular due to the increasing risk of physical harm and possible death from overly aggressive police forces in the province.

Arbitrary beatings, kicking and assault on defenseless victims by the so-called keepers of the peace have left a rather negative impression on tourists coming to this once-peaceful country. Among recent cases is that of British Columbia resident Jeremy Packer was ordered out of his truck and repeatedly punched as he tried to exit the vehicle, for no apparent reason.

And who can forget Robert Dziekanski, who, in a state of addled confusion at Vancouver airport was tasered to death by Vancouver police.

In light of this increasing incidence of violence reported (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/01/21/bc-excessive-force-police-gordon.html) along with abuse by “cowboy” police officers, the MTCPC is recommending potential travelers to this violence-torn region of Canada reevaluate all travel to that country, until the situation returns to normal and/or stability is restored.

Things to look forward to as I age (can’t wait)

While this particular blog entry has absolutely nothing to do with Life in Merida from the Neurotic Foregners POV, the aging process is, nevertheless, a universal topic among members of my social circle and one with which I becoming increasingly familiar.

I look forward to becoming technologically impaired; that decisive moment when I decide that whatever technology is ‘new’ and therefore incomprehensible to me and just dismiss it as ‘stupid’ is a moment that will inevitably come, especially given the grade of neurosis I already posess. The new ‘FaceBook’ of the future will seem to me to be an invasion of privacy and just ridiculous and I won’t be able to figure out what the hell it’s good for, if anything. I will refuse to engage in conversation with my offspring, who will attempt to convince me of the benefits of adopting the new technology, that I have nothing to fear, that it is a good way to see what the grandchildren are up to. My derision will be accompanied by much shaking of my grey-haired head and moving my right hand from an over the shoulder and near my right ear position to a below the waist position (with an open palm, facing downward). These two actions will be taken while walking away from the person I am supposedly having a conversation with.

I look forward to not comprehending the significance of the future version of the CC button on the future equivalent of emails. I will complain therefore, in my self-pitying way, that it is craaaazy that people cannot communicate with each other normally and that I don’t understand if I just sent an email to one person that all the others didn’t get the message. I will not see that adding another email address in the future equivalent of the “TO” field on an email is not really that difficult and that I don’t have to go out in the winter cold, chop down a tree, put up a satellite dish and install another computer to send several emails at once.

I also look forward to forgetting how to spell my offsprings or their significant others names. To me, it’s all the same and I won’t understand the fuss and how could that tiny triviality possibly be any indicator of the depth of my feelings for that person or the significant other in question. Why are they all so grumpy, I will ask myself.

I anticipate (and this is already happening) abhorring (is it one R or two?) social engagements where loud music and loud conversation at too-large tables result in me staring abjectly at the people across the table, with whom I am unable to communicate beyond the occasional raised eyebrow and shoulder movements resembling dejected shrugs. The volume will put me in a foul mood that only a hasty exit to a more quiet environment can remedy, thereby forfeiting my right, should I be in Merida, to the lukewarm catered meal served at midnight as a strategy to keep us old folks hostage beyond the time we would normally tolerate the assault on our nervous system.

I will cope with and accept the increasing limits that aging puts on my body, from the newly discovered impossibility of climbing on the roof to enter my home when I have forgotten the house key, to the pain in my finger joints when I try writing as a method of communication as opposed to a keyboard (which funnily enough produces no such irritation).

There are many more things I look forward to as I reach the ripe old age of a half-century, and many of those will be positive I am sure. But this morning, I felt compelled to write about some of the less-than-stellar moments that I can look forward to (and I haven’t even touched on the GI tract).

Happy 2011!

Casual Movie Critic – Cell 211

This is a Spanish movie (ie from Spain) that has been suggested as a winner for several movie categories and people are talking about it. I went to see it and was, again, among a small group of about 10 people in the Gran Plaza movie theater.

The movie itself has myriad online reviews ranging from ‘absolutely brilliant’ to ‘whatever’ and my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. Certainly it’s better than the other two movies reviewed earlier, but that is not much of a challenge, although some of the so-called twists in the plot were expected and predictable.

It was, however, enormous fun to hear the original Spanish dialogue – especially all the colorful swearing! – and often required some real concentration because they speak so fast! If you don’t speak Spanish that well, you will most assuredly get nothing from this movie; and there are no subtitles, English, Spanish or otherwise, to fall back on.

Watch the trailer here.