My DD214

Veterans should be a thing of the past.

My obsession with Musico de Argentina.

Yes its true. I love Tango music. I think it is absolutely enthralling. Though I can barely walk, much less dance to something as wonderful as Tango, I love the music regardless.

I have been on a quest to find a Minneapolis band that captures what I feel when I listen to Astor Piazzola standards.

My search is over.

The Mandragora Tango Orchestra is a Minneapolis-based band of talented individuals that give me that motion sickness I feel when listening to my favorite Tango. They write thier own songs, cover standards and even cover a Nirvana song…absolutely amazing!

I highly recommend checking them out. They have a bunch of thier music available on thier website for free listening. There’s also a CD available on CDBaby.Com.

I can’t stress enough how great they are!

27 September, 2006 12:24 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | 1 Comment

I had mentioned…

…that Carlos Mencia is my personal savior and I view him to be a real American Hero.

I’ve embedded the following clip from his Live in San Jose, CA DVD special that I found on YouTube.Com. It’s amazing. Hilarious. Not for the easily offended. He is an immigrant who really gets it.

18 September, 2006 4:19 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | Leave a comment

Empathy Good – Generalizations Bad

It has been brought to my attention that there is an employee at my restaraunt that is:

  1. An illegal immigrant from Mexico.
  2. Over 60 years of age.
  3. Has two full-time jobs.
  4. A former employee of 25 years for General Electric.

Yesterday at my job I was working in the carry-out window. The carry-out window can be very boring if there’s not alot of people who want to pay our prices but don’t want sit inside the restaraunt – so I usually do homework when I’m there.

Well, yesterday, one of our bussers (we’ll call him Juan) came to the window to say hi and see what I was up to. He saw my Physics book and gave me some praise for being in school. I told him that I was studying to be and Electrical Engineer and his eyes lit up and he started telling me about his job as an engineer with General Electric some years ago. It was a real eye-opening conversation. I mean, I’ve always had respect for them, but to learn that he was and engineer who helped design and build washing and drying machines astounded me! How could it be that a skilled worker like Juan illegally immigrated to this country? I thought that there was high demand in Mexico for skilled laborers.

I guess the demand for unskilled laborers in this country is greater.

I titled this entry “Empathy Good – Generalization Bad” because I think these are the two intellectual tools that get misused most often when dealing with Latin-American immigrants. Most often I think American who, by and large, are NOT bilingual, tend to generalize when dealing with Mexican immigrants. We all know the generalizations – they work for peanuts, or they are involved in crime, or they don’t speak english, or they’re stupid. This is dangerous, ignorant and, largely, untrue.

Its dangerous because these people are here to stay. We need to treat our neighbors like neighbors. These people contribute to our society and yet we classify them as a nuisance or as unwanted invaders. I think we have had enough problems in this country between races/ethnicities/nationalities. I think the Age of Intolerance needs to cease.

Its ignorant because not all of them are illiterate, criminals, monolingual, lazy…I think that half of the problem is not that Latin-Americans are unwilling to learn English, and its not that Americans are unwilling to learn Spanish, its because no one has the time! Who’s got time to learn another language? I, personally, have wanted to learn every language I’ve come into contact with – especially Spanish. But I can barely find time to file my fingernails, much less take another class and read about verb conjugation. The same can be said for many immigrants. The one promise we can make with eachother is that we will teach thier children and they will send thier children to school. Polish immigrants from the early 1900’s didn’t learn to speak english fluently within their lifetimes, it was their children who mastered the language. It will be the same with our Latin-American neighbors.

The communication gap is freaky. When you see a Mexican immigrant walking along a sidewalk, you’d probably love you ask him some questions about his situation or thoughts on family, religion, politics, etc. The amazing part is that he probably would love to ask you about those same things. When we can’t communicate with eachother, we should resist our first reaction to resent, hate, discriminate, fear…

Remember what Master Yoda says “Fear leads to hate, and hate leads to the Dark Side”.

18 September, 2006 12:11 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | 1 Comment

It’s time to fess up…

Alright Jason, how many of these, per day, are from you. Now fess up. Come on…


13 September, 2006 3:00 PM Posted by | Just a thought.. | 1 Comment

American Culture Vs Mexican Culture – Immigration

My last post discussed how I feel about Immigration and that I want to really focus my writing on the, so-called, “problems” concerning Immigration. My friend Jason has been the only one to post to the discussion so far and I want to elaborate more on my thoughts about the notion of an inherent “American culture” that he has made reference to on a few occasions.

The idea of American culture seems to be a loose term that is thrown around, well…loosely. It seems to me that there is a paradigm of American culture being an established phenomenon – an entity that has proven itself to be a force to on its own. To me, this is very dangerous and irresponsible.

The United States of America is two and a quarter centuries old. This is barely enough time for bacteria to create culture, much less humans. Culture is defined, loosely, by some anthropoligists as “the way of life for an entire society.” (the Wikipedia article is quite comprehensive) Culture includes such things as a society’s food, music, individual appearances, art, language and many more cultural indicators. The important thing that, I think, needs to be realized about the U.S. of A. is that all of the cultural indicators in our society are actually not ours. Every part of our culture is an adaptation on imported cultural indicators. This means that, inherently, American culture borrows from all the people that came here and is the sum of all imported cultures within.

This is why I disagree with the notion that Mexican Immigrants, legal or illegal, are “enforcing thier culture on Americans”. If anything they are adding to it; enriching it; making it better, more valuable – summing up to be greater than it would be without them.

Most Mexican Immigrants are illegal. I am not disputing this. What I do dispute, however, is that they are here unwanted and unneeded. Throughout history humans have proven that when there is an excess of a certain resource, consumption will increase as a result. When we find alot of crude oil, we increase our gasoline consumption; when we increase our burnable Watts per day, we leave our lights on longer or use the air conditioning. Well, over the past 15 years or so, there has been an excess in cheap labor. As a result, American Capitolism has increased its consumption on it and there are industries that, without those Mexican laborers, would fold and turn into ghost industries. Infrastructure with no subjects to take advantage of it. A toolbox without a mechanic. A kitchen without a cook. A kingdom with no king. That, in and of itself, is the antithesis of American Capitolism.

I say we need Mexican Immigrants. I think that instead of criminalizing them like we have Marijuana (we can all see how successful that War has been), we should be accepting them into our society with open arms. Lay out a pathway to citizenship. Let them pay into the system that they benefit from. Imagine if we had sent the Irish and the Chinese back to thier country of origin: the gold ruch would still be happening and we would still have railroad systems trying to connect the two coasts! With Mexican Immigrants we have the capacity to grow beyond our wildest dreams. They can help us just as we can help them.

Aside from the obvious benefits of embracing the Mexican Diaspora of the turn of this last century, there are other considerations as well. Such as the idea that only hard working, ethically driven Mexicans make the jump (pardon the pun) to American civilization. Mexicans who dream of a better life for thier children. Mexicans who want to become educated. Mexicans who want to learn the language, pay thier taxes and contribute to this wonderful society come to this country. The ones that don’t want to come stay in Mexico. That means that (I must thank Carlos Mencia for this idea) the United states has all the best Mexicans! The best Englishmen left the Brittain for America. The best Italians, Germans, Swedes, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Polish, Russians, Irish, if I’ve missed anyone I apologize. And as far as Africans go (once again thank you Carlos) we got the best ones. Since thier cousins sold them into slavery (which is pretty messed up and I wouldn’t want to go back to a place like that either) they have had nothing but problems. Eastern Europe hasn’t been able to win a war since we left! The point is that everyone should watch the Carlos Mencia Live DVD and realize that he makes an excellent point – only people with vision and imagination realize that this is the best country in the world. So they come here to join and reap the rewards. We work harder and produce more than any country in the history of time because we will take anyone. If we stop now we will doom ourselves.

I will end this article with a short story of a Illegal Mexican immigrant that I know. For our purposes we will call him Juan.

Juan is about 65 years old. He has two jobs. He doesn’t have any degrees and he is an unskilled laborer. He has two different jobs at two different restaraunts. Today I learned that, on average, he works a 72 hour work week. All manual labor. He bought a house four years ago in one of the most desirable parts of South Minneapolis. His house has gone up in value at a steady rate of more than 4% per year.

I don’t know about you, but to me, he doesn’t sound like someone who is lazy, worthless or incompetent. To me he just sounds too busy to enroll in ESL classes. He’s too busy WORKING and PAYING PROPERTY TAXES! Which is something that many natural born American Citizens can’t seem to get motivated enough to do.

5 September, 2006 8:07 PM Posted by | LEGALIZE IT!!!, Music reviews, Pat Robertson Watch, We don't need no educations | 29 Comments