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Diet

 SPEAKING OF BAD DIETS... 

Today I read this on my FACEBOOK horoscope...

Your Daily Horoscope: February 26, 2010

Virgo Aug. 23 - Sept 22 (Wrong Sign?)
Today might be the day that you are done with your current diet program, Virgo. It's entirely possible that you've reached a plateau that is hard to get beyond, so you've decided to look at options in order to improve your results. It could also be about discovering that you're allergic to something, and that eliminating it from your diet works a miracle in your life. Your advantage lies in looking at the possibilities, and hearing the advice you might not want to hear, in order to find the thing that works best for you.
I highlighted the point that caught my attention. "You are done with your current diet program"? WHAT "current diet program"?! I have NO "current diet program", unless you count the T-Diet I have endeavored on (Tortas, Tamales, Tacos, Tripitas, Tequila) and I would add the Fatties... but even in Spanish, they do not start with "T" (Gorditas).
I know, "you should take better care of yourself; pandas aren't supposed to be eating crap like that! You're supposed to be eating bamboo!" But, people, this panda is tired of being on a life-long diet. I think that dieting is one of the constants in my life. I was on a diet when I was five, six, seven, eight... then when I was 14, 15, 16, 17... and then again when I was in my twenties... by the time I was 28 I decided that I was done with diets and that I was going to live happy. 
Yes, I cheated in many of my diets, but we all do it... particularly when you're a kid and you are hooked on gansitos...I mean, they're so creamy and filled with strawberry jam and all chocolaty and things... mmmm
I was always envious of my sister's weigh. She was -- and still is -- very beautiful. And when I was a kid, I always felt like my mom would love my sister more because she was thinner. Of course, that only made me want to be thinner just to "gain" my mother's love -- hence, I was very envious at my sister because no matter how hard I tried, I was not as thin as she was... and when I was thin, it was merely because of all the chemicals I allowed in my system. Now that I've grown older (inevitably) and wiser (I hope) I know that love is not provided by how thin, or how fat, or how tall or short a person is. Real love, that is; this kind of love has to be provided by who you are, not how you look like because looks fade away, soul and personality don't. Too bad that not many think this way.
So, after a lifetime of dieting, of taking meds to reduce appetite, poking my body with chemicals to make it loose weigh, gym time in excess and all that stuff that led me with nothing more than an inactive thyroids and back problems, I can say that my "current diet plan" is to eat when I'm hungry, and eat what I want. Screw carbs, screw atkins, and screw everyone who is trying to make you feel bad because you like chocolate, ice cream, and cheese! 
Viva La Happiness!!! 

 

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Wednesday's Meeting...

Today was the monthly meeting with the student body and the Head Dean. As usual, the teacher had to be there because, well, just because. And, as usual, they handed out the diplomas for the best scores in the module/semester. But unlike other times, this time the meeting had a healthy dose of what to do in case a group of armed men come to school.

Apparently, some teachers here have been threatened by anonymous phone calls and some even have already left town. Since we're basically in the middle of nowhere, and the police and the Mexican Army take their own sweet time to show up whenever the panic button is pushed (WHENEVER they DO show, I should say...) the head dean implemented a safety alarm which makes the same noise as the school bell from our neighbors, the elementary school next door. Now, we don't know if the kids are out for lunch and the kids won't know if the school is in danger. I guess we'll figure it out along the way.

What I still don't get is how in the world did the authorities get the nerve to tell us that the best thing we have going for us is the numbers of people that might come out once the bell rings. Here's the scenario: the bell rings, everyone out of the classroom, into the main patio, out the door... and according to Proteccion Civil (the people in charge of the citizen's protection) this will scare away the people who want to hurt us, because they will see a lot of people coming at them.

O.o  Excuse me?

I think I speak for most people in that audience when I tell you that this idea is as clever as any Bugs Bunny cartoon I've seen. All we need now is ACME supplies and we're good to go!!

Unbelievable!

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I'm a Cheater

My name is Yuvia... and I have been cheating on my stories.

I don't know how it has happened. One day I was writing fluent letters and paragraphs and the next moment I am cheating on my stories with television junk, sleep, radio and Dr. Pepper. I am not proud of that, nor I want to find an excuse for it. It just as it is. I am a cheater.

My stories and characters have all the right to be mad at me. I have treated them with so little respect over the past few months, that I don't even recognize that labor's fruit. And it wasn't as if it was planned or anything like that -- it was more of a "ok, it's just one time, it's not like they'll notice..." But they do. After months and months of writing nothing but small dialogues they have noticed and now they are not talking to  me anymore.

Some may call it a bad case of writer's block, but I know better. The fact that my stories have found out that I have been grotesquely cheated on them with Reality TV only makes it worse! I take them to the same room and promise that I will continue to write them during commercials but I know that during commercials I will be too busy going to the bathroom or changing the channel to notice the blinking light of the computer or the hungry tip of the pen.

I do not know how I allowed it to get this far, to the point in which I no longer can relate to anything I have been writing. All I know is that admitting when you've done something wrong is the first step to recovery. And now, that I have publicly admitted to my cheating, I publicly ask for forgiveness to my stories. I cannot say that I will not do it again, because I know myself far too well to make such promises. But I do want to make commitment to at least give them an hour of my time... and continue with the craft that I so do adore. Creating new worlds, meeting new people... and enjoying the freedom that is writing.

Thank you

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Nothing worse than an unmotivated teacher

Today is Monday and there is nothing worse in this world than to come to school and teach a class when you have no desire to do so. Today was one of those days. I suddenly remembered my old mentors, particularly Federico Perez Casio, when he would show up in the mornings and announced that he wasn't in the mood to teach a class.

How much we dreaded those words coming out of his mouth! The class was then boring, tedious, and given the chance, he would go into a dictation rampage that would leave us with our hands sore. Now, as I look back at my class this morning, I think to myself, "my god! I am one of those teachers now!" I did not want to give a class -- somehow the class fairy has slipped away from my spirits today and thus enforced the "I will write grammar exercises on the board for you to copy" rule. It was boring. Even for me it was boring. Might as well just let them sleep while we were at it.

I hope tomorrow it comes with better intentions...




FALLING ASLEEP IN CLASS
by Kenn Nesbitt

I fell asleep in class today,
as I was awfully bored.
I laid my head upon my desk
and closed my eyes and snored.
I woke to find a piece of paper
sticking to my face.
I’d slobbered on my textbooks,
and my hair was a disgrace.
My clothes were badly rumpled,
and my eyes were glazed and red.
My binder left a three-ring
indentation in my head.
I slept through class, and probably
I would have slept some more,
except my students woke me
as they headed out the door.

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The Pleasures of Writing

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Writer's Craft: From Idea to Page in 4 Simple Steps

From Idea to Page in 4 Simple Steps
February 16, 2010
by  N.M. Kelby
 
Here are 4 steps to help you build the framework of your story.

Nothing is more exciting than the promise of a story in your head, but in order to get it on the page you need to figure out exactly what you need to do to make it work. You need to realistically outline and throw out what bogs the readers down. You need to set up a game plan to hook your readers and keep them reading. Here are some simple steps to help you build the frame that you hang your story on.

STEP 1. ALWAYS BEGIN WITH YOUR PROTAGONIST. The readers need to discover who the hero is and why they should root for him. Introduce your protagonist, either directly or indirectly, within the first 300 words.

STEP 2. ESTABLISH TIME AND PLACE. Your readers should know exactly where they are. If they are wondering, they lose focus and may stop reading. They have to trust that you are in control of the story. Nobody likes to be left alone in the dark.

STEP 3. ANNOUNCE THE STAKES. Great prose will go a long way—about 2,500 words, more or less. After that, even the most literary readers want to know why they’re reading. Just a simple sentence can do the trick. At the end of the first section of The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien writes of the letters that Jimmy Cross received from a girl back home named Martha. He mentions that they’re signed “Love, Martha,” but acknowledges that using the word “love” is a custom and not anything more. At the end of this section, O’Brien writes, “Slowly, a bit distracted, he would get up and move among his men, checking the perimeter, then at full dark he would return to his hole and watch the night and wonder if Martha was a virgin.”

Right there, the author lets us know what’s really on the mind—and at the heart of the story—of this young man who is so very far away from home.

STEP 4. ORGANIZE. Once you have your story structured around the beginning you’ve set in place, look at all the bits of writing you’ve done and all the notes you’ve taken and ask yourself one simple question: “Where the heck was I going with this?” If you don’t know, or if where you’re going now doesn’t match where you were going when you set out, focus on better defining those areas before you go any further.


This article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Writer's Digest.

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Writer's Craft: Pep Talk from Neil Gaiman

Pep Talk from Neil Gaiman

Posted by: Chris Baty on 11/18/2007

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It's a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn't build it it won't be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That's the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it's the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you'll be on the downward slide, and it's not impossible that soon you'll be at the end. Good luck...

Neil Gaiman

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There is no Rockband in Heaven...

Today, me and my friends went out to eat 6-bucks fatties, and it wasn't until an hour or two later, on our way downtown to buy some yarn, that the conversation turned into the day.

It's Ash Wednesday. Translation: we shouldn't have gone to eat fatties. Why? Because we looooove them fatties with pork. Asadito and pork. Yeah! We had them and enjoyed every SINGLE bite out of them. One of my friends (S, the one who acts like our spiritual conscience once and a while -- and we luuuuv her for it) was gasping at the realization of the day. "It's Ash Wednesday!"
"Yes," I said. "And you're going to hell."

The subsequent question was the "WHY?" Because of the pork, of course. We are going to hell because of the pork... but me and Mr God -- we already knew that we were going to hell in the first place, me for being a pagan and him for being a red-communist atheist, right? So, we're telling her how she is going to go there, eating fatties while festering on the pot next to ours.

She wasn't all that thrilled. She wanted to go to heaven, she said. Then, the conversation turned into "heaven is boring." All the cool people are in hell. Lennon is in hell, Harrison is in hell... Hendrix is in hell... and-and all the gays you've ever love? They're in hell too!Probably the only main-stream artist who has died and is NOT in hell is Michael Jackson because then you would have to send all those pedophilia priests to hell too or else it just wouldn't be fair. So MJ is in heaven... "because he likes children".

She then stated, "but I want to be where God is. And God is in Heaven!". At to which I pointed out: "well, technically, God is EVERYWHERE -- so, God's in hell too!!" and even if this IS a good point, she still wasn't convinced of the stature of hell. It was still too enticing to see herself jumping around from cloud to cloud, flapping her pretty little angelic wings. Then, I said. "There is no Rockband in Heaven."

 True. Rockband is the Devil's tool. It makes your spirit and  brain sell itself to satan's music (basically). So, there is no Rockband in heaven... hell, there's no BEATLES Rockband in heaven because Lennon is in hell. Maybe you'll get a christian Rockband, but then again, one cannot sing "Foreplay", or "Carry on my Wayward Son," or "You Oughtta Know," or "Paranoid," in that version of the game.

There is no rockband nor vodka. There is no sensation of feeling ALIVE because there is no fear. There is no VH1, not Junk TV and no porn. There is no sense of self-encouragement and no self-esteem (because you don't need it). There are no six-bucks fatties. There is no place for questioning faith nor no place to ever doubt the word of the Lord as something that CAN (and has) failed. There is no expectations because you already know that bliss is around you and you do not need to find it, there for there is no meaning to existence. There is no sense in being the best at something, and there is no need to feel anything. All you feel is love. And all you ever are is happy. And with light all around you, how can your soul shine if there is no darkness?

There is no rockband in heaven, my darlings. And for that, there is no ash in my head today.

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There is no Rockband in Heaven...

Today, me and my friends went out to eat 6-bucks fatties, and it wasn't until an hour or two later, on our way downtown to buy some yarn, that the conversation turned into the day.

It's Ash Wednesday. Translation: we shouldn't have gone to eat fatties. Why? Because we looooove them fatties with pork. Asadito and pork. Yeah! We had them and enjoyed every SINGLE bite out of them. One of my friends (S, the one who acts like our spiritual conscience once and a while -- and we luuuuv her for it) was gasping at the realization of the day. "It's Ash Wednesday!"
"Yes," I said. "And you're going to hell."

The subsequent question was the "WHY?" Because of the pork, of course. We are going to hell because of the pork... but me and Mr God -- we already knew that we were going to hell in the first place, me for being a pagan and him for being a red-communist atheist, right? So, we're telling her how she is going to go there, eating fatties while festering on the pot next to ours.

She wasn't all that thrilled. She wanted to go to heaven, she said. Then, the conversation turned into "heaven is boring." All the cool people are in hell. Lennon is in hell, Harrison is in hell... Hendrix is in hell... and-and all the gays you've ever love? They're in hell too!Probably the only main-stream artist who has died and is NOT in hell is Michael Jackson because then you would have to send all those pedophilia priests to hell too or else it just wouldn't be fair. So MJ is in heaven... "because he likes children".

She then stated, "but I want to be where God is. And God is in Heaven!". At to which I pointed out: "well, technically, God is EVERYWHERE -- so, God's in hell too!!" and even if this IS a good point, she still wasn't convinced of the stature of hell. It was still too enticing to see herself jumping around from cloud to cloud, flapping her pretty little angelic wings. Then, I said. "There is no Rockband in Heaven."

 True. Rockband is the Devil's tool. It makes your spirit and  brain sell itself to satan's music (basically). So, there is no Rockband in heaven... hell, there's no BEATLES Rockband in heaven because Lennon is in hell. Maybe you'll get a christian Rockband, but then again, one cannot sing "Foreplay", or "Carry on my Wayward Son," or "You Oughtta Know," or "Paranoid," in that version of the game.

There is no rockband nor vodka. There is no sensation of feeling ALIVE because there is no fear. There is no VH1, not Junk TV and no porn. There is no sense of self-encouragement and no self-esteem (because you don't need it). There are no six-bucks fatties. There is no place for questioning faith nor no place to ever doubt the word of the Lord as something that CAN (and has) failed. There is no expectations because you already know that bliss is around you and you do not need to find it, there for there is no meaning to existence. There is no sense in being the best at something, and there is no need to feel anything. All you feel is love. And all you ever are is happy. And with light all around you, how can your soul shine if there is no darkness?

There is no rockband in heaven, my darlings. And for that, there is no ash in my head today.

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It's FAT TUESDAY!!!!

It's Fat Tuesday!!

I love saying that because it's actually the ONLY day you can call FAT! LOL!

Mardi Gras is one of those celebrations in which I would love to go one day. I know, I know, it's all about the party... but I think that we all need something to get distracted from the madness that surrounds us. 

What is Mardi Gras?

According to MardiGras.com:

"The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medival Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today -- with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands -- are traced to New Orleans.

"Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras." He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.

"In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile) ... similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boeuf Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed alone on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.

"New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans.. but not in parade form. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil established elegant society balls -- the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

"The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.

"By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras. Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.

"In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."

"1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival -- Rex -- to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold; the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.
In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which is still is.

"Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, we call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth!"."


So -- What is Fat Tuesday??

Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, the festival New Orleans, Louisiana, is famous for. "Gras" is French for fat and "Mardi" is French for Tuesday. 

The annual festivities start on January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when the three kings are supposed to have visited the Christ Child, and build to a climax on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which always occurs on the day before Ash Wednesday. The parties and parades will continue until Lent begins at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday.

Mardi Gras is a legal holiday in New Orleans. It is scheduled to occur 46 days before Easter. Since the actual date Easter occurs on changes yearly, Mardi Gras can happen on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9.

For two centuries it has been an annual event in New Orleans, except during the two World Wars.

Now... for the cheap thingies...

The Rich History of Mardi Gras Cheap Trinkets 
by Johm Roach
for National Geographic News
February 20, 2004
(nationalgeographic.com)


It's Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season of feasting and celebration. On Ash Wednesday Christian revelers sober up for the pre-Easter fasting and the penitential season of Lent.

Louisiana's Mardi Gras is marked by several lavish parades thrown by Carnival organizations known as krewes. But instead of politely watching the floats go by, spectators belt out the time-honored plea of "throw me something, mister" as they jostle for one of the trinkets tossed by masked men and women on the passing floats. 

Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no need for a special strategy—such as exposing one's usually clothed body parts—to get the attention of the masked riders. 

"There is so much thrown that there is no way you are not going to go home with a bag full of goodies," said Arthur Hardy, a New Orleans television personality and publisher of Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide.

The goodies, or "throws," consist of necklaces of plastic beads, coins called doubloons and stamped with krewes' logos and parade themes, and an array of plastic cups, toys, Frisbees, and figurines.

"Beads always have been and continue to be the most popular items," said Fred Berger, owner of Mardi Gras Imports in Slidell, Louisiana.

Berger is one of the several merchants competing in what has become the multimillion-dollar industry of Mardi Gras throws. On average, individual krewe members spend U.S. $800 on the trinkets. "Some people won't bat an eye at spending $2,000 or $2,500," Berger said.
Throw History

According to Hardy, who is considered New Orleans's unofficial Mardi Gras expert, the tradition of throws dates back to the 1920s. The parades themselves date all the way back to the 1830s.

The parades run throughout Carnival season, which begins on January 6, the Twelfth Night of Christmas, and culminate on Mardi Gras. Each parade is put on by a krewe, and according to Hardy, the Rex krewe began the tradition of throws by tossing out inexpensive necklaces of glass beads.

The beads were an instant hit and were soon adopted by all the parading krewes, of which there are about 60 today. Hardy also credits Rex for first adopting and throwing out doubloons. The plastic coins were the 1960 invention of the late artist H. Alvin Sharpe.

The glass beads of the early throws were imported from Czechoslovakia and Japan. Today the plastic throws are manufactured mostly in China. Krewes, working through a merchant such as Berger, must get their orders and special design requests submitted by September in order to receive their shipment in time for Carnival.

"My belief is Mardi Gras throws are the most shopped merchandise on Earth," Berger said. In the late 1980s Berger would buy a case of beads for U.S. $70 and turn around and sell it for $90. Today, given increasing competition, that same case sells to customers for $21 or less, he said.

One of the few throws not made in China is coconuts hand-painted by members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, a prominent krewe of New Orleans's black community. The coconuts are considered the most prized throws by many Mardi Gras aficionados. But owing to liability issues, they are handed out in bags rather than tossed.
French Quarter

Starting in the late 1970s, drunken Mardi Gras revelers converging in New Orleans's historic and notoriously raucous French Quarter district began the much publicized bartering of beads for glimpses of a women's bare breasts.
According to Hardy, the practice started several years after parades were banned, for safety reasons, from the quarter's narrow streets. This new tradition, he says, has nothing to do with Mardi Gras.

"If you want to see these types of behaviors, you have to seek them out in the French Quarter, where there are no parades," Hardy said. "It's always young co-eds who get drunk. They would never do this back home, but they feel they have the license to do it here."

Nevertheless, Berger says he does brisk business in fancy necklaces that have bartering power linked to "the trend of women exposing body parts to get a pair of beads." After all, it's the end of Carnival, which loosely translated from Latin, means "farewell to flesh."


 

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It's FAT TUESDAY!!!!

It's Fat Tuesday!!

I love saying that because it's actually the ONLY day you can call FAT! LOL!

Mardi Gras is one of those celebrations in which I would love to go one day. I know, I know, it's all about the party... but I think that we all need something to get distracted from the madness that surrounds us. 

What is Mardi Gras?

According to MardiGras.com:

"The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medival Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today -- with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands -- are traced to New Orleans.

"Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras." He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.

"In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile) ... similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boeuf Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed alone on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.

"New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans.. but not in parade form. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil established elegant society balls -- the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

"The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.

"By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras. Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.

"In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."

"1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival -- Rex -- to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold; the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.
In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which is still is.

"Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, we call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth!"."


So -- What is Fat Tuesday??

Fat Tuesday is Mardi Gras, the festival New Orleans, Louisiana, is famous for. "Gras" is French for fat and "Mardi" is French for Tuesday. 

The annual festivities start on January 6, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, when the three kings are supposed to have visited the Christ Child, and build to a climax on Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which always occurs on the day before Ash Wednesday. The parties and parades will continue until Lent begins at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday.

Mardi Gras is a legal holiday in New Orleans. It is scheduled to occur 46 days before Easter. Since the actual date Easter occurs on changes yearly, Mardi Gras can happen on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9.

For two centuries it has been an annual event in New Orleans, except during the two World Wars.

Now... for the cheap thingies...

The Rich History of Mardi Gras Cheap Trinkets 
by Johm Roach
for National Geographic News
February 20, 2004
(nationalgeographic.com)


It's Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season of feasting and celebration. On Ash Wednesday Christian revelers sober up for the pre-Easter fasting and the penitential season of Lent.

Louisiana's Mardi Gras is marked by several lavish parades thrown by Carnival organizations known as krewes. But instead of politely watching the floats go by, spectators belt out the time-honored plea of "throw me something, mister" as they jostle for one of the trinkets tossed by masked men and women on the passing floats. 

Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no need for a special strategy—such as exposing one's usually clothed body parts—to get the attention of the masked riders. 

"There is so much thrown that there is no way you are not going to go home with a bag full of goodies," said Arthur Hardy, a New Orleans television personality and publisher of Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide.

The goodies, or "throws," consist of necklaces of plastic beads, coins called doubloons and stamped with krewes' logos and parade themes, and an array of plastic cups, toys, Frisbees, and figurines.

"Beads always have been and continue to be the most popular items," said Fred Berger, owner of Mardi Gras Imports in Slidell, Louisiana.

Berger is one of the several merchants competing in what has become the multimillion-dollar industry of Mardi Gras throws. On average, individual krewe members spend U.S. $800 on the trinkets. "Some people won't bat an eye at spending $2,000 or $2,500," Berger said.
Throw History

According to Hardy, who is considered New Orleans's unofficial Mardi Gras expert, the tradition of throws dates back to the 1920s. The parades themselves date all the way back to the 1830s.

The parades run throughout Carnival season, which begins on January 6, the Twelfth Night of Christmas, and culminate on Mardi Gras. Each parade is put on by a krewe, and according to Hardy, the Rex krewe began the tradition of throws by tossing out inexpensive necklaces of glass beads.

The beads were an instant hit and were soon adopted by all the parading krewes, of which there are about 60 today. Hardy also credits Rex for first adopting and throwing out doubloons. The plastic coins were the 1960 invention of the late artist H. Alvin Sharpe.

The glass beads of the early throws were imported from Czechoslovakia and Japan. Today the plastic throws are manufactured mostly in China. Krewes, working through a merchant such as Berger, must get their orders and special design requests submitted by September in order to receive their shipment in time for Carnival.

"My belief is Mardi Gras throws are the most shopped merchandise on Earth," Berger said. In the late 1980s Berger would buy a case of beads for U.S. $70 and turn around and sell it for $90. Today, given increasing competition, that same case sells to customers for $21 or less, he said.

One of the few throws not made in China is coconuts hand-painted by members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, a prominent krewe of New Orleans's black community. The coconuts are considered the most prized throws by many Mardi Gras aficionados. But owing to liability issues, they are handed out in bags rather than tossed.
French Quarter

Starting in the late 1970s, drunken Mardi Gras revelers converging in New Orleans's historic and notoriously raucous French Quarter district began the much publicized bartering of beads for glimpses of a women's bare breasts.
According to Hardy, the practice started several years after parades were banned, for safety reasons, from the quarter's narrow streets. This new tradition, he says, has nothing to do with Mardi Gras.

"If you want to see these types of behaviors, you have to seek them out in the French Quarter, where there are no parades," Hardy said. "It's always young co-eds who get drunk. They would never do this back home, but they feel they have the license to do it here."

Nevertheless, Berger says he does brisk business in fancy necklaces that have bartering power linked to "the trend of women exposing body parts to get a pair of beads." After all, it's the end of Carnival, which loosely translated from Latin, means "farewell to flesh."


 

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A Dreamer's Realm (Part 1)

A Dreamer's Realm
Chapter 1

Hope

"Sanity may be madness but the maddest of all is to see life as it is and not as it should be."
- Don Quixote

There is no other place as exciting to be at after midnight than this one, where the neon lights make the streets alive and the old vampires cannot tell if it’s still daylight outside. People move around with their shinny cell phones over their ears and their rusted souls beneath the Armani and Prada suits and dresses. High heels are heard through the wet surface of the upper world, a world when everything seems to be in a daze – half dreaming, half sleeping.

It is well after the devil’s hour when the slim figure of the twenty-five year old man jumps over the bench that’s lit by the dim lights of the street corner, and hunches down like a bird that stalks a prey. He dresses in black and wears a worn-out leather jacket, trying to muster balance - writing in a little, leather covered book while smoking a cigarette. There is an old phone booth at that corner that seems to have been abandoned by the phone company a long time ago, much like the rest of the city’s streets seem to have been forgotten by the rest of the world. The sounds of the shopping cart being dragged across the street by an old bum seem to be getting closer, and the young man turns around to see him walking behind him.

“Good morning,” the homeless says, waving his gloved hand in a very polite manner. The young man gives him a nod and returns to his book. “Is it that time of the year again?” he asks. The young man doesn’t turn to see him, he just simply replies with a soft “yes”, without losing a beat on whatever he is writing. The man walks by, patting him on the shoulder. “I oughta figure that - I rarely get to see you outside on a full moon. Say hi for me if he asks.”

“I will,” the young man replies half pretending to be smiling, half still concentrating on his book. He hears the man and his shopping cart roll away. He is certain the man is headed to the shelter just a couple of blocks away, and he resists the urge to follow him and make sure he gets there okay because he knows that the old phone will be ringing any minute now.

He throws away the last of the cigarette just as the phone rings. He lets it ring a couple of more moments before standing up and entering the phone booth, picking up the line as the door closes behind him. There is a little bit of static, yet he has come accustomed to it over the years. He draws a smile on his face as soon as he hears the all-too well-known “Hello?” from the male voice on the other end, in a language he knows only a few speak it in that angel town.

If anyone asks, his name is Connor Hayden. He owns and works at the bar known as The Lighthouse, just a few blocks from the old town district. His driver’s license says he was born somewhere in the south part of the States, that he’s an organ donor, and that he needs to wear glasses when driving. The twisted part of it is that he’s never owned a car nor he cared for one at any point in his life. And if we make a list of his “outside features”, we can say that he never takes a day off, never gets sick, and is always there when the bar is opening and when the bar is closing, mainly because he owns the building where the bar is at and has his own. He usually keeps the details of his private life as they are – private. Sticks to business and treats his staff fairly well; they all agree that they feel strangely safe even though the work environment isn’t always a peaceful one and the neighborhood is not all that glamorous either. None of them have ever thought about quitting, maybe because the pay is good, or maybe because humans tend to stop looking for something better when “better” seems to be present at all times. Not even the staff can tell why.

Connor is very well known in the underworld. Most of his long-time customers know him by the nickname of “Hard Rock”. He doesn’t like it and scolds whoever calls him that with a dirty look that usually does the trick, only for the offence to be repeated once or twice before the offender gets the “real message” and never does it again. The origins of the nickname are probably because he plays in a Rock band named “The League” and the stage is usually the Lighthouse’s. But sometimes they like to participate in the local band’s talent shows, in which they are frequent winners. It’s a talent, some may say – a wasted talent since they mostly play songs from more popular, more famous bands (yet most people can swear on their mother’s grave that they play them ten times better than the original artists). They don’t seem to mind, however, and are quite contempt with the crowd they can draw whenever their name happens to appear at some local radio station or the little warn down marquee sign on top of the Lighthouse’s entrance.

He’s got a sister – her name is Samantha. He visits her every day at the hospital because Samantha has been comatose for the last five or six years. All they know is that it happened because of a car accident, but no one can remember why or how it happened… and he had never talked about her before it happened. It was like, one day he was an only child and the next day he had a sister whom he never had talked about, nor did he ever introduced her – to anyone. “The next thing you know, he’ll have a mother, and a father, and a dog, and a cat, and the obnoxious cousin who married his sister and lives in a bunker somewhere in Somalia!” Sarah, the head waitress said once. She is the oldest member of the staff at the Lighthouse and she says that she got hired the moment she walked into the bar. “It’s the skill,” she says. “I’ve gots TWO of them…”

Back to Connor and his sister, Samantha. As I’ve said, he visits every day and knows the nurses by name and birthday after all this time. He stops by the nurse’s station to talk to the ones who are there, asks about the ones he doesn’t see, talks to Sam’s doctors, and then he spends the rest of the visiting hours with his sister, mostly talking to her about his day. Sometimes he sings to her and it’s like the entire floor comes to life. He sometimes even sings at the children’s ward. The kids like it when he sings.

If you ask around, most doctors would say that even though she’s not on life support, Connor does not like the idea of taking her home with him because by now he’s too used to living alone. Very few would realize that the main reason he keeps showing up at the hospital is because the idea of having someone close to him gives Connor something that he thought was long gone before Samantha appeared in his life. The second part of that something is the phone call he gets every year, around September, on the old phone booth he is at right now. He doesn’t want to admit it, but that phone call fills the empty space he feels inside his soul ever since he moved into town (about ten years ago, maybe more than that). The call from home – the voice that keeps him up-to-date on everything and everyone he left behind; his best friend since he was a child and the only true link he has of his past. The “something” that the voices on the other line and the visits to Samantha have brought to Connor’s life is resumed in one simple yet so complex word:
Hope.


"Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired."

- Erik H. Erikson

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The Post-Valentine's Day Thang (dadang dadong dong)

Valentine's Day has gone and this panda for one is THANKFUL that piece of crappy day is ovah. I mean, bad enough that you're all lonely, with no mate, no TV show to hang you over, and no popcorn in the oven, but to have a stupid calendar actually poke you in the face and go "ha-ha, you pathetic LOSER!" with a picture of two cupid chunky heads just looking at you with biddy eyes and flappy wings... well, that's just WRONG, in the most devious ways.
What's so special about Valentine's Day anyway? So you get candy. So what? You can get candy anytime of the year. You get a bear hugging a heart. So? I saw a bear hugging a heart once, that wasn't a pretty picture to see, the heart being all bloody and shit I'll tell you that... You get a ring, or jewlerry. Honey, if that man of yours is getting you jewlery and/or taking you out to dinner/movies, he WANTS SOME, and if you're not putting on, he'll go two ways: he'll politely smile and say it's okay while thinking "oh that BIATCH!" OR he will tell you "hey baby, it's fine..." and then go out and have some skanky pole dancer give him the Shakira dance on his lap. Either way, you have to put. Now, if you don't put because of the red tide came, then you'll just have to put AFTER.

Love DOES stink sometimes. And I don't mean like "Oh, love sucks, I don't EVER want to be in love", it just that even though I am well aware that V day is just another campaign add for all those companies that sell candy and cards. But then again, when you don't get these things, it kind of makes you think that no one loves you or that you're so insignificant that no one even bothers to send you a silly "hello there!" on your iphone or email. That's why I am proposing the Anti-Valentine's Day DAY. It's a day when you don't give a rat's ass about people. Wanna get laid? Just ask for it. Want to tell off your boss or co-workers? Hey, today is the day! Wanna tell your girl/boy what you really think of their stupid cat? Go for it! You'll have one day and one day only to say all those things you've been wanting to say but don't get the chance to. Cards and candy commemorating the ocassion will be selling at Walmart like pancakes. And if you don't have a partner/friends. No problem! You can just tell people on the street without getting the "are you mental?" look from strangers.

All this comes from a very disturbed mind, mind you. I know that there are a lot of hopeless romantics out there (shame on you!) who still believe that V day is a day of love and friendship. Let me get it clear in your head, people: you do not need a calendar to remind yourself to tell that someone that you care about them! You have to tell those people that you love them and care for them EVERY DAY, with your actions, words, and the eventual tiny present like gum, or a pretty sea shell. The point here is that if you're waiting for V day to express yourself, dude, you have more problems than me.







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The Post-Valentine's Day Thang (dadang dadong dong)

Valentine's Day has gone and this panda for one is THANKFUL that piece of crappy day is ovah. I mean, bad enough that you're all lonely, with no mate, no TV show to hang you over, and no popcorn in the oven, but to have a stupid calendar actually poke you in the face and go "ha-ha, you pathetic LOSER!" with a picture of two cupid chunky heads just looking at you with biddy eyes and flappy wings... well, that's just WRONG, in the most devious ways.
What's so special about Valentine's Day anyway? So you get candy. So what? You can get candy anytime of the year. You get a bear hugging a heart. So? I saw a bear hugging a heart once, that wasn't a pretty picture to see, the heart being all bloody and shit I'll tell you that... You get a ring, or jewlerry. Honey, if that man of yours is getting you jewlery and/or taking you out to dinner/movies, he WANTS SOME, and if you're not putting on, he'll go two ways: he'll politely smile and say it's okay while thinking "oh that BIATCH!" OR he will tell you "hey baby, it's fine..." and then go out and have some skanky pole dancer give him the Shakira dance on his lap. Either way, you have to put. Now, if you don't put because of the red tide came, then you'll just have to put AFTER.

Love DOES stink sometimes. And I don't mean like "Oh, love sucks, I don't EVER want to be in love", it just that even though I am well aware that V day is just another campaign add for all those companies that sell candy and cards. But then again, when you don't get these things, it kind of makes you think that no one loves you or that you're so insignificant that no one even bothers to send you a silly "hello there!" on your iphone or email. That's why I am proposing the Anti-Valentine's Day DAY. It's a day when you don't give a rat's ass about people. Wanna get laid? Just ask for it. Want to tell off your boss or co-workers? Hey, today is the day! Wanna tell your girl/boy what you really think of their stupid cat? Go for it! You'll have one day and one day only to say all those things you've been wanting to say but don't get the chance to. Cards and candy commemorating the ocassion will be selling at Walmart like pancakes. And if you don't have a partner/friends. No problem! You can just tell people on the street without getting the "are you mental?" look from strangers.

All this comes from a very disturbed mind, mind you. I know that there are a lot of hopeless romantics out there (shame on you!) who still believe that V day is a day of love and friendship. Let me get it clear in your head, people: you do not need a calendar to remind yourself to tell that someone that you care about them! You have to tell those people that you love them and care for them EVERY DAY, with your actions, words, and the eventual tiny present like gum, or a pretty sea shell. The point here is that if you're waiting for V day to express yourself, dude, you have more problems than me.







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Protesta en Ciudad Juárez durante la visita de Calderón.



Protesta en Ciudad Juárez durante la visita de Calderón.

* “Todos somos Juárez, el dolor de esta ciudad es el dolor de todo México”.

Begoña Urquidi | Ciudad Juárez
Actualizado jueves 11/02/2010 19:20 horas


El presidente Felipe Calderón presentó en Cuidad Juárez un nuevo plan social con el que se pretende combatir la violencia del narcotráfico con medidas que favorezcan la creación de empleo y mejoras en los servicios de salud y educación.

“El dolor de Juárez es el dolor de todo México; Todos somos Juárez”, dijo el mandatario mexicano durante el anuncio de una nueva estrategia integral que incluye un paquete de acciones sociales que ayuden a reconstruir el tejido social fuertemente dañado por la situación de violencia que se vive en este municipio fronterizo.

Calderón presentó un nuevo plan de seguridad pública en el que todos los poderes deben trabajar de la mano teniendo en cuenta a los propios juarenses. “Juárez es nuestro problema, una herida que aún no hemos podido cerrar y que presenta el mayor desafío actual para México”, señaló.

El escenario que recibió al presidente Calderón, era el de una “ciudad devastada”, según el Diario de Juárez, que expuso la crudeza que se vive en esta cuidad donde los asesinatos, desapariciones, extorsiones y secuestros han provocado el éxodo de los ricos hacia El Paso (EEUU) y la descomposición social entre los pobres, hasta hacer de Ciudad Juárez una de las ciudades más peligrosas del mundo.

La nueva estrategia “mantendrá la presencia del Ejército en todas las zonas rurales del estado, con el fin de identificar focos rojos y problemas que no han podido ser resueltos hasta el momento”, expuso

“Vamos a reconstruir esta ciudad y no sólo en obras públicas, sino en el sentido social, de integración, de valores y de eficacia policial”, apunto el mandatario en referencia a la nueva estrategia integral en la que se llevaran a cabo una serie de acciones sociales encaminadas a sacar de la pobreza a este municipio de dos millones de habitantes.

Las madres de las víctimas

Durante su visita, el presidente mexicano se reunió con organizaciones civiles y sociales, con autoridades de Chihuahua y durante dos horas mantuvo un encuentro con las madres de las víctimas a las que pidió disculpas. “Me apena como presidente de México ver lo que está pasando en Juárez, y espero que estas muertes sean el sacrificio que nos haga cambiar”, apuntó.

Madres que transmitieron su preocupación ante el clima de violencia que cada vez más afecta a la población civil. “Eran muchachos ejemplares, deportistas, estudiantes y buenos hijos como quisiéramos que fueran los hijos de todos”, comentaron las madres.

Un encuentro que también tuvo momentos tensos cuando un grupo de seis madres se puso de pie y le dio la espalda. También hubo algunas protestas en las calles de la cuidad contra la visita del mandatario y su mala gestión en los últimos años.

Una de las madres interrumpió el discurso del gobernador de Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza, y se acercó a la mesa del presidente para decirle que no era bienvenido a Cuidad Juárez.

El resto de mujeres también alzaron su voz y protestaron por la muerte de sus hijos y por la impunidad que existe en la ciudad. La mujer le preguntó a Calderón "¿Qué harías si hubiera muerto alguno de sus hijos?. Yo buscaría a los culpables hasta el final pero como no tengo los recursos para hacerlo... Ustedes sí los tienen y no hacen nada para que se haga justicia, grito".

Calderón anunció un nuevo sentido a esta estrategia que hasta ahora sólo ha contado con militares y policías como brazo ejecutor pero a la que Calderón pretende darle un giro social. En esta dirección, el mandatario mexicano presentó un paquete de medidas para favorecer la creación de empleo y que incluyen la mejora en los servicios de salud y educación.

El ‘Plan de Intervención Juárez’ presentado "se aleja de la represión como estrategia para incidir en la prevención haciendo hincapié en el tratamiento de adicciones en la creación de empleo y en levantar nuevas escuelas y hospitales de la mano de las organizaciones civiles y sociales de Ciudad Juárez”, señaló Calderón.

Con una inyección de dinero sin precedentes, estimada en más de 3 mil millones de pesos (232 millones de dólares), la nueva estrategia para Ciudad Juárez, instalará una mesa de trabajo permanente en la que participarán autoridades de los tres niveles de gobierno (Gobierno, estado de Chihuahua y ayuntamiento), coordinados por el ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Tras el asesinato la semana pasada a sangre fría de 16 jóvenes durante una fiesta la opinión pública mexicana demandó una mayor implicación del Gobierno central.

La más violenta

La presencia del presidente en esta ciudad, que tan sólo ha visitado en un par de ocasiones a pesar de ser una de las más conflictivas del país, intenta tomar las riendas de un problema que los mexicanos siguen de refilón pero que amenaza con hacer desaparecer el Estado en una de las ciudades que antes de la crisis económica proporcionaba el 5% del PIB del país gracias a las grandes fábricas de confección de textiles y aparatos electrónicos con destinto a Estado Unidos.

Hasta el momento Calderón ha hecho de la lucha contra el narcotráfico una de las principales banderas de su gestión. Su primera decisión nada más llegar a los Pinos (residencia oficial), fue sacar más de 30.000 soldados a las calles en algunos de los Estados 'calientes' del país. En Ciudad Juárez siguen desplegados 8.000 militares y policías que tampoco han logrado frenar un rosario de muertes que ha llegado a contabilizar 65 cadáveres en un solo día.

“Uno se acostumbra a la violencia, se vive con eso”, afirma un taxista de la ciudad que reconoce que muchas noches sale en el taxi armado porque le han atacado varias veces en los últimos meses. "La gente está cansada y no está de acuerdo con la política del Gobierno y la presencia de tanto federal que sólo le para a uno para sacarle unos pesos para el refresco pero jamás se han dado cuenta de que ando armado", apunta.

Este malestar que se siente en la cuidad y que se manifiesta en una de las pintadas que ayer aparecieron en una pared del centro pidiendo la renuncia de Calderón “por asesino y traidor a la patria”.

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Protesta en Ciudad Juárez durante la visita de Calderón.



Protesta en Ciudad Juárez durante la visita de Calderón.

* “Todos somos Juárez, el dolor de esta ciudad es el dolor de todo México”.

Begoña Urquidi | Ciudad Juárez
Actualizado jueves 11/02/2010 19:20 horas


El presidente Felipe Calderón presentó en Cuidad Juárez un nuevo plan social con el que se pretende combatir la violencia del narcotráfico con medidas que favorezcan la creación de empleo y mejoras en los servicios de salud y educación.

“El dolor de Juárez es el dolor de todo México; Todos somos Juárez”, dijo el mandatario mexicano durante el anuncio de una nueva estrategia integral que incluye un paquete de acciones sociales que ayuden a reconstruir el tejido social fuertemente dañado por la situación de violencia que se vive en este municipio fronterizo.

Calderón presentó un nuevo plan de seguridad pública en el que todos los poderes deben trabajar de la mano teniendo en cuenta a los propios juarenses. “Juárez es nuestro problema, una herida que aún no hemos podido cerrar y que presenta el mayor desafío actual para México”, señaló.

El escenario que recibió al presidente Calderón, era el de una “ciudad devastada”, según el Diario de Juárez, que expuso la crudeza que se vive en esta cuidad donde los asesinatos, desapariciones, extorsiones y secuestros han provocado el éxodo de los ricos hacia El Paso (EEUU) y la descomposición social entre los pobres, hasta hacer de Ciudad Juárez una de las ciudades más peligrosas del mundo.

La nueva estrategia “mantendrá la presencia del Ejército en todas las zonas rurales del estado, con el fin de identificar focos rojos y problemas que no han podido ser resueltos hasta el momento”, expuso

“Vamos a reconstruir esta ciudad y no sólo en obras públicas, sino en el sentido social, de integración, de valores y de eficacia policial”, apunto el mandatario en referencia a la nueva estrategia integral en la que se llevaran a cabo una serie de acciones sociales encaminadas a sacar de la pobreza a este municipio de dos millones de habitantes.

Las madres de las víctimas

Durante su visita, el presidente mexicano se reunió con organizaciones civiles y sociales, con autoridades de Chihuahua y durante dos horas mantuvo un encuentro con las madres de las víctimas a las que pidió disculpas. “Me apena como presidente de México ver lo que está pasando en Juárez, y espero que estas muertes sean el sacrificio que nos haga cambiar”, apuntó.

Madres que transmitieron su preocupación ante el clima de violencia que cada vez más afecta a la población civil. “Eran muchachos ejemplares, deportistas, estudiantes y buenos hijos como quisiéramos que fueran los hijos de todos”, comentaron las madres.

Un encuentro que también tuvo momentos tensos cuando un grupo de seis madres se puso de pie y le dio la espalda. También hubo algunas protestas en las calles de la cuidad contra la visita del mandatario y su mala gestión en los últimos años.

Una de las madres interrumpió el discurso del gobernador de Chihuahua, José Reyes Baeza, y se acercó a la mesa del presidente para decirle que no era bienvenido a Cuidad Juárez.

El resto de mujeres también alzaron su voz y protestaron por la muerte de sus hijos y por la impunidad que existe en la ciudad. La mujer le preguntó a Calderón "¿Qué harías si hubiera muerto alguno de sus hijos?. Yo buscaría a los culpables hasta el final pero como no tengo los recursos para hacerlo... Ustedes sí los tienen y no hacen nada para que se haga justicia, grito".

Calderón anunció un nuevo sentido a esta estrategia que hasta ahora sólo ha contado con militares y policías como brazo ejecutor pero a la que Calderón pretende darle un giro social. En esta dirección, el mandatario mexicano presentó un paquete de medidas para favorecer la creación de empleo y que incluyen la mejora en los servicios de salud y educación.

El ‘Plan de Intervención Juárez’ presentado "se aleja de la represión como estrategia para incidir en la prevención haciendo hincapié en el tratamiento de adicciones en la creación de empleo y en levantar nuevas escuelas y hospitales de la mano de las organizaciones civiles y sociales de Ciudad Juárez”, señaló Calderón.

Con una inyección de dinero sin precedentes, estimada en más de 3 mil millones de pesos (232 millones de dólares), la nueva estrategia para Ciudad Juárez, instalará una mesa de trabajo permanente en la que participarán autoridades de los tres niveles de gobierno (Gobierno, estado de Chihuahua y ayuntamiento), coordinados por el ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Tras el asesinato la semana pasada a sangre fría de 16 jóvenes durante una fiesta la opinión pública mexicana demandó una mayor implicación del Gobierno central.

La más violenta

La presencia del presidente en esta ciudad, que tan sólo ha visitado en un par de ocasiones a pesar de ser una de las más conflictivas del país, intenta tomar las riendas de un problema que los mexicanos siguen de refilón pero que amenaza con hacer desaparecer el Estado en una de las ciudades que antes de la crisis económica proporcionaba el 5% del PIB del país gracias a las grandes fábricas de confección de textiles y aparatos electrónicos con destinto a Estado Unidos.

Hasta el momento Calderón ha hecho de la lucha contra el narcotráfico una de las principales banderas de su gestión. Su primera decisión nada más llegar a los Pinos (residencia oficial), fue sacar más de 30.000 soldados a las calles en algunos de los Estados 'calientes' del país. En Ciudad Juárez siguen desplegados 8.000 militares y policías que tampoco han logrado frenar un rosario de muertes que ha llegado a contabilizar 65 cadáveres en un solo día.

“Uno se acostumbra a la violencia, se vive con eso”, afirma un taxista de la ciudad que reconoce que muchas noches sale en el taxi armado porque le han atacado varias veces en los últimos meses. "La gente está cansada y no está de acuerdo con la política del Gobierno y la presencia de tanto federal que sólo le para a uno para sacarle unos pesos para el refresco pero jamás se han dado cuenta de que ando armado", apunta.

Este malestar que se siente en la cuidad y que se manifiesta en una de las pintadas que ayer aparecieron en una pared del centro pidiendo la renuncia de Calderón “por asesino y traidor a la patria”.

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