“The book American Gods wishes it was.” --Despina Durand

Thursday, April 15, 2021

SOUTH (ALMOST TO THE BORDER)


 

Emily said, “I’ve lived in Arizona for sixty years and never been down this way,” so we headed south on Highway 85. We passed a Circle K with an ORDER AT AMAZON, PICK UP HERE thing attached to it. Then we went through an Amazon complex as we left the Metro Phoenix Area.



Soon we were on a long drive through lots of largely unspoiled desert surrounded with jagged mountains. Now and then we saw something like the Lewis Prison, warnings not to pick up hitchhikers, and the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range.

Rumor has it there are secret military bases. Will the real Area 51 please stand up?


Just the sort of thing to get you out of the urban mindstate.



In Ajo, a charming town whose major industry seems to be Mexican auto insurance, we spotted a mural with angry-looking giant rabbits. Turns out the classic schlock sci-fi flick Night of the Lepus was filmed there, and Roadrunner Inn bears a mural in its honor. They also sell donuts and espresso.


There are a lot of murals for a small town like Ajo. They must have artists, too.



Beyond the Why Not Travel Store in the town of Why, we reached Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.



It was well worth the drive. We’ll probably be going back.

 


It’s right on the border. I got a text welcoming me to Mexico and offering a deal on Mexican cell service.



After a fantastic hike, we were hungry, so we went back to Ajo and found Arriba Mexican Food. The people didn’t mind wearing masks and practiced social distancing. The tacos, beans and rice were good, too.



As we headed back north, there was roadside graffiti: FREE CHAVIZO . . . FREE MI HERO . . .



Further north, there was a Border Patrol checkpoint. They believed us when we said we were U.S. citizens.


Friday, April 9, 2021

CHICANONAUTICA UNPLUGS WITH GÓMEZ-PEÑA

 

Chicanonautica reviews Gómez-Peña Unplugged, over at La Bloga.


A new book from Guillermo Gómez-Peña:



He has an interesting take on things:



A man about la Cultura:



And master performer:


Thursday, April 1, 2021

MASKED YEAR

 

Been wearing masks for over a year now. It’ll probably be for a bit longer.



I’ve kind of gotten used to it. Accidentally rushing out with a naked face feels weird.



I’ve actually rather enjoyed it.



When it all started, I dug up bandanas that had been stuffed in a drawer since back in the days when Emily and I were janitors. This time it was different, tying ‘em over the face bandido style instead of around the forehead in the careful workingman’s manner that my grandfather taught me. Now I’m covering my mouth instead of soaking up sweat.



Since then, I’ve acquired a large array of colorful bandanas, and more conventional masks.



When you put something on your face you take on a new identity. Sometimes you feel different, other times it’s just other people are seeing you as somebody or something else. It’s a powerful magic that even works in modern, commercialized rituals.



It’s probably the real reason why the anti-mask folks object. They don’t like having to throw a monkey wrench into their fragile façades. Sketchy identities are easily warped, and sometimes the effects can be permanent.



I’ve enjoyed going from loyal worker to postmodern bandido to explorer of the stargate corridor to agent of the psychedelic bat squadron. I think it’s only made me more loco Ernesto than ever. But then I’ve always known who and what I am.



Others have undergone changes, some that they didn’t want, or aren’t even aware of. 



The world has changed. 



I think it’s a good thing.