Monday, November 29, 2010

Goodbye, Leslie Neilsen

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen passed away yesterday. He will be missed. One of my favorite comedians of all time, Leslie headlined some of the best comedy of the 80's and early 90's. The Naked Gun series and Airplane! are some of the finest examples of slapstick comedy.

Heroism in American movies always lives a whisker away from self-parody, and Leslie Nielsen was blessed with the skill and the opportunity to play in the cracks between the two. Would the actor, who died Sunday at 84, have been as mindblowingly funny in 1980's "Airplane!" if his Dr. Rumack had camped it up and played for laughs? Of course not: The genius of the performance is that it's the exact same one Nielsen had given eight years earlier as the ship's captain in "The Poseidon Adventure" -- same stoic deadpan, same wooden professionalism, same earnest cluelessness. The only differences were the surrounding madness and the star's knack for timing,

Unifying Spanish Writing

The directors of 22 Spanish language academies from around the Spanish-speaking world have met in Guadalajara, Mexico to discuss changes to the language with some points on writing.

Precisó que se determinó eliminar los acentos en las palabras “solo”, “este”, “ese” y “aquel”, porque no existe una diferencia fonética, por ejemplo, entre el adverbio “solo” y el adjetivo “solo”, y consideró que la diferencia de significado puede definirse perfectamente en el contexto del texto.

“Pero si en algún país, alguien dice, a mí me gusta, yo necesito acentuar estas palabras, ¡pues hágalo, no hay problema!”, dijo Moreno de Alba, quien insistió en que la ortografía razonada de la lengua española —cuya publicación estará disponible en México y España en diciembre— es la propuesta que los académicos de la lengua hacen para unificar el uso del español en los países hispanohablantes, y no un tratado de prohibiciones.

Removing the need for a few accent marks here and there will save me some trouble when writing.

The directors have come to the idea that the language needs a bit of modernization and some type of standard between countries, but was careful to indicate that countries should be free to choose their forms to maintain unique traditions.

Now, if someone can help me find the enye on my US standard keyboard, I'd be feliz.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mexican Food - A World Heritage

The U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization has placed 'Mexican food/cooking' on a list of important intangible cultural heritage bringing a recognition and protection to the culinary art in the country I call home. Of course, this is something every ex-pat living in Mexico simply takes for granted as one of the top reasons to live in Mexico.

Yahoo News on the story.

MEXICO CITY – The quesadilla had more zip Wednesday and the taco tasted just a bit sweeter as Mexico celebrated its food being put on the United Nations list of intangible cultural heritage, alongside the lofty art of eating in France.

The U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized everything from the growing of corn, beans and chilies to Mexican dishes prepared with grinding stones and mortars as an ancient process worth safeguarding in the face of encroaching global influences.

"Collectives of female cooks and other practitioners devoted to raising crops and traditional cuisine ... express community identity, reinforce social bonds, and build stronger local, regional and national identities," said the committee of 24 countries that determines the list.

The group, meeting in Kenya this week, announced additions to the list Tuesday that also included flamenco in Spain and carpet-weaving in Azerbaijan.

UNESCO, known for designating world heritage sites such as Peru's Machu Picchu and India's Taj Mahal, also lists traditions such as performing arts or social practices as activities worth preserving.

"I heard about the UNESCO thing this morning on the TV, and I was drooling all morning," Martin Tellez Romero, 45, said as his snack of beef-and-cheese quesadillas sizzled on the griddle of a sidewalk stand. "I couldn't even wait until lunchtime."

I was captured by Mexican food long is easily the number reason I live here and not in Canada (with the much better climate being a close second). Every time I make a trip home, I can think of only one thing...the good food I'm missing. It's difficult for friends and family back home to understand since first-world Canada offers just about every dish one can imagine, but it is never quite right. Far from right, actually.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deported - From Mexico?

Here's an interesting story of American deported from Mexico back to the US. "Crash" is not exactly your average American business traveler or tourist, but here is his story of being deported from Mexico back to the US, which is surprisingly similar to the stories of many, many thousands of Mexicans experiencing the same fate each year.

From the New York Times.

TIJUANA — The two men could barely communicate. One was a Mexican laborer, the other an American wanderer, neither with any pesos in his pockets. But they bonded, having just gone through similar ordeals.

“The migra got me,” lamented the downcast Mexican, using slang for the United States Border Patrol.

“I know what you mean,” said the American, sitting on a bench near Tijuana’s seedy Avenida Revolución, strumming his guitar in the hopes someone might toss him some change. “I was deported, too.”

The United States government formally deported or otherwise returned more than a million foreigners — most of them Mexicans — according to immigration data. That figure has risen steadily over the years. But much to the surprise of many Americans, there is a trickle of deportees that flows north from Mexico to the United States as well.

Between January and September, the National Migration Institute, Mexico’s immigration service, deported 350 Americans, some of them lawbreakers who had finished prison sentences in the country, but others merely travelers who were found to be without proper paperwork.

More at the story link above...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mystery Missile Launch

Weird story on the wire right now about the launch of a ballistic missile off the coast of Los Angeles. No one seems to know where the missile came from. A story to watch today. North Korea? China? Secret US missile launch?


More at the Globe and Mail.

The Pentagon says it's trying to figure out whether a missile was launched off the coast of southern California and who might have launched it.

Officials with the navy, air force, Defence Department and North American Aerospace Defence Command say they are looking into a video posted on the website of Southern California television station KFMB.

The video appears to show a rocket or some other object shooting up into the sky and leaving a large contrail over the Pacific Ocean.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said Tuesday that officials can't confirm that there was a launch and if there was, by whom. He says officials are talking to civilian and defence authorities who control and monitor air space.

Friday, November 5, 2010

They Gave It Away?!!

If you won 10.9 million CDN dollars in a lottery, what would you do?

Travel the world? Buy a fancy car, or several of them? Retire?

How about just giving it all, or most of it to charity?

From the BBC...

A Canadian couple who won $10.9m (£6.7m) in lottery winnings in July say they have given away $10.2m of the prize to groups in their community.

Allen and Violet Large said they were plain country folks who needed no more than "what we've got".

The two said they had donated about 98% of the cash after helping their family.

The elderly pair gave the money to churches, fire departments, cemeteries, the Red Cross and hospitals, where Ms Large has undergone cancer treatment.

"We haven't bought one thing. That's because there is nothing that we need," Mr Large, 75, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Large, a retired welder from Canada's Nova Scotia province, added that he and his wife were quite content with their 147-year-old home and everything else they already owned.

"You can't buy happiness," he said.

Noble. I'm not so sure I'd have it in me to do the same...