Monday, July 30, 2007

Guess who's back?

I got home yesterday to a soggy, water trodden NYC. I will post some pictures later, I feel so much better and I have such a cool tan!

I have to put you guys on to this song that's all the rage down south:

Aye, bay bay LOL!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Literanista Hits the Road!

Hasta la vista, amigos! I'm taking a much needed R&R trip down south to Virgina Beach, ATL and then staying at Savannah's lovely Tybee Island. I was thinking of reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt while there. I'll be sure to post lots of Flickr pics... See you in a week, stay literary!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sometimes Americans are Culturally Illiterate

I don't mean to generalize, of course I don't mean everyone but consider this a warning against narrow views, generalisms and stereotypes.

I am Puerto Rican and I can't tell you how many times someone has told me they love Mexican food on discovering my ethnicity. I find this very peculiar since most people are aware of the huge differences in those countries in regards to national dishes and food customs, I mean at least I thought they were aware.

You see this kind of perplexing oversimplication with American Chinese or Mexican food that makes us (Americans) look ignorant to outsiders. What we know as Mexican or Chinese food here in the states is not authentic to what people in those countries eat.

Here's a great article I just found: Is It Real, Or Is It Tex-Mex?

And, please next time someone tells you they're Spanish curb the temptation to tell them you love Taco Bell -- it just makes you look like an idiot.


Pic via:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Book News: Latinization

Latinization: How Latino Culture is Transforming the Cristina Benitez

Benitez's book illuminates Latino-influenced factors that impact everything from this population's purchasing habits to new product development and Internet usage.

Spanglish Mini-Glossary


Not all terms below are in Spanglish. Some belong to regional variants, slang, etc. Since not all Spanglish words are always written, many appear as they are pronounced.

aiscrim - Ice cream. Helado
bipear - To call on a beeper/to beep. Llamar al bíper
bariman - Worker in a body shop
bregar* - Puerto Rican variant of Spanish: to work / Bregar, trabajar, laborar
bróder - Brother, "my man." Hermano, socio, asere, pana, guey, cuate, carnal, etc.
carpetero - Carpet layer, installer. Alfombrista, que instala/pone alfombras
cortao - Well cut, muscular, with muscle definition. Musculoso, definido
do patios - To cut grass in yards. Euphemistically called "landscaping." Trabajo de jardinería, de poda, de limpieza de patios/jardines/hierba/zacate
díler - Car dealer. Persona que vende vehículos en un concesionario
dropear - To drop (lines, a letter). Hacer, escribir (unas líneas)
efiche - Efficiency apartment. Tiny studio. Miniapartamento con todo junto: el baño, la cocina, el cuarto de dormir, el closet, todo en un solo salón
estato - Status. Estatus
faxear - To fax. Enviar facsímiles - o enviar por fax
ganga - Gang. Banda, grupo
grande - Big (from exercise). Ponerse/estar fornido, con volumen, por el ejercicio
gruero - From grúa (hoisting crane) in Spanish. It is also used to refer to the person that operates a - tow truck, the type used to pick up broken cars or vehicles that have been involved in an accident
hielo (el) - The US North, especially those states where it gets very cold
janguear - Hang out; be with. Andar con, hacer/pasar tiempo con
jompear, yompear - To jump start a vehicle (with jump cables) usually from another car, with cables de jompear
landear - To land, to obtain. Conseguir, obtener
mecharse - Cubanism that means to study hard (Burn the midnight oil). Estudiar con ahínco, quemarse las pestañas estudiando
mejunje/menjunje/merjunje (**) - Melting pot; mixture, mélange. Ajiaco, mezcolanza, mezcla
meter papeles - To fill out papers, applications, documents (usually used by Central America Spanish speakers)
migra - Immigration (offices, agents, etc.).
moverse - To move from a place to another, to travel. Transportarse, mudarse
pana - Derivation of partner: pal, friend, brother, homey. Also used outside the US
pincha /pinchar - Term used by Cubans for job, work, place of employment. El empleo, el trabajo, el lugar de trabajo (also curralo/curralar)/ to work
pompa - Gas station (from pump). Gasolinera, estación de gasolina
pompero - Gas station attendant. Empleado de la gasolinera
quitear - To quit. To stop doing something. Dejar, cesar de hacer algo
rep - Representative, associate, employee. Empleado, representante
rufero - Roofer. Person that lays or fixes roofs. Techero. Reparador de techos. (Note: In Cuban slang it also means bus driver or guagüero from rufa=guagua, Cuban terms for bus)
Sauesera (Sagüesera) - Miami Southwest, where Little Havana was. In the 90's it was called Little Viet Nam and Cubans were not a majority there any more
suave (cogerlo ~) - Take (it) easy, relax. Tomar algo con calma. Relajarse.
tormoto - Perhaps from tow motor; forklift. Used by Cubans for montacargas
tranporteichon - From transportation, meaning an old car to go to work, to "move"
troquero/tróquer - Trucker. Camionero. Chofer de camión
uerkaut - Workout and to work out. El ejercicio/entrenamiento físico. Hacer ejercicios físicos
vestirse de oso - To dress like a bear. To wear (heavy) coats. Ponerse abrigo y ropa gruesa
yoni - From Johnie: American, usually Anglo. Americana/o (used by Cubans)
yunkero - Worker at a junk yard. Sometimes applied to those that pick up old cars to dump or sell as scrap. Trabajador de un deshuesadero o rastro
yarda - Yard, garden, lawn. Patio, jardín, césped

(*) Bregar no es, como algunos erróneamente creen, un arcaismo en español. Es un verbo con todas las de la ley, utilizado mucho por los puertorriqueños y que aparece aún registrado en el más reciente diccionario de la Academia Española.

from Spanglish: To Ser or Not to Be? That is la cuestión!
(**) Mejunje, with its three spelling variants, is a word of classic Arabic origin, permeated by Hispanic Arabic. It is interesting to notice that in Latin America its meaning is broader than the one included in the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española (2001, Tomo II: 1480)

Free subscription to Gourmet, Home and Garden or Domino magazine

Speaking of reading...
Last question on the offer for a free sub zero starter kit gives an option for a subscription to one of the following magazines: Gourmet, Home & Garden or Domino

A sad article on the death of reading in America

Facts from the article:

- More than half the adults in this country won't pick up a novel this year, according to the National Endowment for the Arts. Not one.

- And the rate of decline has almost tripled in the past decade.

- Data from the NEA point to a dramatic and accelerating decline in the number of young people reading fiction. Despite their enthusiasm for books in grade school, by high school, most kids are not reading for pleasure at all.

Tragic, if you ask me!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tues. Morning Wake Up Call

I’ve never been good at tests, I’ve always been able to get by exceedingly well. That’s not to say I’m not smart or didn’t do my work but I’ve just never had to go that extra mile. In school I could show up, breeze in and easily score an A on a test I didn’t even know was scheduled. The only tests I ever did poorly on were math tests, and my teachers always passed me anyway, because “I was a nice girl.” Even though this bothered my burgeoning principles I accepted it because I needed to pass math, and I refused to cheat.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the benefits of being a pretty young woman, people always have time to help you, people offer to carry your bags and ease your load, cabs always stop for you and wait until you make it inside the vestibule of your building. I’ve noticed that if you speak softly, people make more of an effort to hear what you say as opposed to blabbing everything out.

I write this today because of a conversation I had yesterday with my coworker, who unfortunately couldn’t catch a cab and he correlated it to being black and male. We discussed the prevalence of stereotypes and racism, and it made me think of my own experiences. Since I have a lighter complexion even for someone from a Sicilian/Puerto Rican background, my battles have often been against being exoticised, especially in hot tamale sort of way. I too have dealt with some racism strangely it almost always been while down South or way after people have ‘discovered’ my Spanishness.

Minority women have a double burden to deal with albeit I think men have it worse. Minority women tend to be seen as hard workers, mules of the world if you will and by the same token as sexual objects, i.e., African Hottentot (African Queen: The Real Life of the Hottentot Venus), Carmen, … Minority men are feared and emasculated, called irresponsible, lazy and unworthy.

I may be oversimplifying things, and please do note that I’m speaking theoretically about Society, I don’t believe everyone feels or thinks or practices these things. I do, however believe that these concepts do infiltrate at least some of our thinking and practices.

I highly recommend the book Ain't I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism by Prof. Bell Hooks. In it she discusses how the effects of the peculiar institution called slavery, has infantilized black men, emasculated them while elevating the women to sexual workhorse status and what she discusses in this book applies to all colonialized people, dark skinned or not.

I wonder what are we doing as individuals on a daily basis to conquer or dismiss these stereotypes? My coworker asked me, “what can we do?” I responded “We can alter the way we look and judge individuals, we can see X as a person, not a label, we can stop perpetuating these beliefs, we can go back to the places we came from and let the young kids know that there are so many avenues available to them, even if they can’t see them right now and lastly, and I think most critically we live our lives as role models. I may not have children yet, but the things I do, I do consciously, leaving a trail so that others especially young Latinas can know that if I did it so can you. I’ve cleared a path for you, you may not follow in my exact footprints, but you may follow my same path, freedom awaits on the other side.

I leave you with a poem by one of my Hunter College peers:

exotic by suheir hammad

don't wanna be your exotic
some delicate fragile colorful bird
imprisoned caged
in a land foreign to the stretch of her wings
don't wanna be your exotic
women everywhere are just like me
some taller darker nicer than me
but like me but just the same
women everywhere carry my nose on their faces
my name on their spirits
don't wanna
don't seduce yourself with
my otherness my hair
wasn't put on top of my head to entice
you into some mysterious black voodoo
the beat of my lashes against each other
ain't some dark desert beat
it's just a blink
get over it
don't wanna be your exotic
your lovin of my beauty ain't more than
funky fornication plain pink perversion
in fact nasty necrophilia
cause my beauty is dead to you
I am dead to you
not your
harem girl geisha doll banana picker
pom pom girl pum pum shorts coffee maker
town whore belly dancer private dancer
la malinche venus hottentot laundry girl
your immaculate vessel emasculating princess
don't wanna be
your erotic
not your exotic

Monday, July 16, 2007

Do you know a groundbreaking Latina? Nominate her!

Nominations are now being accepted
for the 2007 "Groundbreaking Latina in Leadership" award,
sponsored by Volvo Cars of North America.

Previous Groundbreaking Latina award recipients include:

- CNN’s Soledad O’Brien
- Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano
- Latin Grammy nominated singer JD Natasha
- Filmmaker Mercedes Jimenez Ramirez
- Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin
- Executive Producer Barbara Martinez Jitner
- AFL-CIO leader Linda Chavez Thompson
- Artist Brandy Healy
- School board president Pearl Quinones
- Community leader Haydee Morales

Tagged by the Writing Bug

Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra
Although Kelly Parra's debut young adult novel, "Graffiti Girl," has received rave reviews, only a handful of people appreciate what the author has achieved.
With a shy smile, the North Salinas resident admits her former high school classmates, teachers and casual friends won't recognize the fact that "Kelly Parra" is someone they know.

Parra's agent suggested she adopt a pen name for her novel about Latino youth, since her married name, Kelly Callihan, suggested an outsider's view of the culture.

The 30-year-old Latina considered using her maiden name, Narciso, but again her agent intervened. Both women then agreed on adopting the young woman's mother's family name, since it would be easier to spell and remember. Thus, Kelly Callihan became Kelly Parra on the book cover.

Parra said she will continue to use the pseudonym for her youth adult novels but will rethink the situation if she returns to adult fiction.

The mother of two sold a romance novel to a major publisher before she wrote "Graffiti Girl." Unfortunately, before the book was due to be published, the imprint was discontinued. Although she was compensated, Parra did not have the satisfaction of seeing her novel in bookstores.

Read the rest here:

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Book Alert: My Columbian War

My Colombian War: A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind

by Silvana Paternostro

Book Description

Growing up in the coastal city of Barranquilla, Colombia, Silvana Paternostro indulged in the typical concerns of a privileged young girl: friendships and parties, school and family. But soon it became apparent that life in Colombia would not go on as usual. Strange planes appeared overhead, the harbingers of the marijuana drug trade that would explode into cocaine wars over the next decade, and soon after, a disputed election would lead to demonstrations and kidnappings targeting the affluent landed eliteincluding Paternostros family.

A revolution was brewing, and the social inequalities reflected in her life would boil over into the most violent, most protracted, and most misunderstood civil war of our time. In My Colombian War, Paternostro journeys back to the place where her family and her closest friends still live, weaving authentic experience into a history of this ongoing conflict. Through interviews she allows us to witness the treacherous war zone that Colombia has become, projected on the daily lives of its citizens. Paternostros book is a stunning, comprehensive narrative of Colombias past and present.

About the Author

Silvana Paternostro is a Colombian-born journalist. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, and Time, among other publications, and she is the author of In the Land of God and Man, a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. In 1999 she was selected by Time/CNN as one of the fifty Latin American leaders for the millenium. A senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, Paternostro live in New York City.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Signing & Reception for Antonio Muñoz Molina

Please join us for a reading with Antonio Muñoz Molina

author of: In Her Absence

Thursday, July 19th at 7:00 PM at Labyrinth Books-New York.

A reception will follow.

The marriage of civil servant Mario, a slave to routine, and his wife Blanca, a member of the artistic set, is thrown into uncertainty with the arrival of Lluís, a "villainous multimedia artist." With the conventional love triangle firmly in place, Antonio Muñoz Molina turns convention on its head and draws closed the curtain of reality.

A unique love story surrounded by mystery and steeped in magical realism, In Her Absence raises questions that may never be answered. Written in a voice both eerie and beautifully acute, Molina paints a portrait of marriage and love that searches for identity and examines desire. The subtle, almost quiet prose lulls the reader into thinking that an answer is waiting around each tautly crafted corner, but is instead met with yet another unsolved mystery.We are honored to host an evening with Antonio Muñoz Molina, one of Spain's most important living writers, and hope that you will be able to join us in celebration of In Her Absence.


The Labyrinth Staff

Labyrinth Books

536 West 112th Street

New York, NY 10025
Phone: 212.865.1588

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Have Mentally Left the Building Today

There was a very unexpected death in my family yesterday, a suicide.

It has left me dumbfounded and while we weren't close - I'm no less devastated by the act.

We were the same age, in fact we went to nursery school together. It pains me to think of the despair and desolation required to commit such a final, tragic act.

Forgive if you find I'm not really here and just going through the motions...I'm a bit shellshocked.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

NY Vets Tell Thirteen Your War Tale

The War, Ken Burns’ epic new seven-part documentary, premiers September 23 on Thirteen/WNET New York. The War explores the history and horror of the Second World War from the personal perspective of ordinary men and women who served or lived through it on the home front. Millions of New York-area families joined the war effort -- fighting overseas, treating the wounded, or working in factories and shipyards.

To recognize this commitment, Thirteen has launched War Stories, an online history album to collect, and share, personal stories about World War II from viewers like you.We’re inviting you to videotape an interview, with yourself, a parent, grandparent or friend -- whatever they remember about living through the war. Upload your video interview online or mail it to us and we will feature your story on War Stories. Will you add to this online video archive of New York history?

Visit War Stories online to submit your story about living through World War II.

We are working to post stories from hundreds of people who have already shared stories about living through the war, at home and abroad. Stories are somber, funny, and angry - but all are moving and personal.


Borders Puts Books on your Cell

Borders is to become the world's first bookseller to distribute content to mobile phones. The retailer will send sample chapters to customers' phones free of charge before books are released and a the book can then be purchased in-store for a discount of up to 20% using a barcode.

Via: marketingweek


Forget the Transformers, Meet the Borinqueneers

The experience of Latinos in the U.S. Army has rarely been portrayed in film. Now comes The Borinqueneers (pronounced Boh-rin-keh-neers), the never-before-told story of the 65th Puerto Rican Regiment, the only all-Hispanic unit in the history of the U.S. Army. Narrated by Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Pretty Woman), this compelling 78-minute documentary relies on interviews with the regiment's veterans and rare archival footage to trace the unique experience of the 65th, culminating in the Korean War and the dramatic events that would threaten its very existence. The world premiere screening will take place on July 13th at the Newark Museum in Newark, NJ, with other screenings scheduled in various other cities. PBS stations nationwide will begin broadcasting a one-hour version of the program in August (check local listings).

Named after "Borinquen," the word given to Puerto Rico by its original inhabitants, the Taino Indians, the Borinqueneers formed a tight-knit unit bound by a common language and a strong cultural identity. First-time director and producer Noemí Figueroa Soulet spent eight years researching the story and locating veterans of the regiment, some of whom have since passed away. Through their voices, the documentary explores the unique history of the 65th Regiment and illustrates many of the issues surrounding the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico and the broader Latino experience. "Puerto Ricans occupy a very special place in the history of the U.S. Army," says Figueroa Soulet. "As a former colony and now a commonwealth, we don't have the right to vote in U.S. elections, and yet we serve in the military and we can be drafted."

via: ereleases

Monday, July 09, 2007

Don't Go Away!

Brazil, Peru & Mexico Made the Wonders of the World List

Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer (statue), , Peru’s Machu Picchu, and Mexico’s Chichen-Itza are now among the new 7 Wonders of the World! Sweet.

See the whole list here:

2007 New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF)

Via: LATINA Style E-Newsletter

The 8th annual New York International Film Festival will take place this summer on July 24- 29, 2007 in New York City. The festival features over 80 domestic and international films, documentaries, and shorts. NYILFF will open with Trade, a film about international human trafficking, and conclude five days later with El Cantante, a film exploring the life of legendary salsa star Hector Lavoe. With events such as “Cinema Under the Stars”, “Dominican Night,” and “NYILFF Family Day” the festival aims to target a wide variety of audiences.

For more information go to:

Friday, July 06, 2007

Honoring Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) would have been 100 years old today.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There's Someone Richer than Bill Gates...

and he is Mexican!


Carlos Slim Helú

Net worth: $67.8 billionCompany: Telmex, América Móvil, Grupo Carso
What? Telecommunications are IT. The fact that Carlos Slim may not be as known worldwide as some other people on this list doesn’t mean he doesn’t pack 67.8 billion dollars. Add Rupert Murdoch’s wealth to that of Bill Gates and they still barely overtake Carlos, and that says a lot. If you wonder how he got here so fast, it’s due to his company América Móvil’s stock jumping a whopping 27% in the second quarter of 2007.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Do These Words Have in Common?

  • Brooklynite
  • sleeper cell
  • glitch
  • high-maintenance
  • low-maintenance
  • prime directive
  • Islamofascism
  • scratch and sniff
  • focus group
  • prissy
  • primal scream
  • that’s not my problem
  • comeback kid
  • Hollywood ending

Via: The Oxford English Dictionary Adds 2,700 Entries

Monday, July 02, 2007

Amazon Summer Reading Book Blowout Sale

Children's Books

Non Fiction

Lifestyle Books

Adult Fiction

Summer's coming, and so are some terrific deals on books. For a limited time, find titles like and Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals 2 and The Godfather's Revenge up to 80% off.

If you have prime, to make this SUPER HOT, combine with the 4 for 3 book deal. You buy four books that are 80% off and get the lowest priced item out of the four for FREE.

It shows up when you check out. Best to order just the four books per order each time. It has to be part of the 4 for 3 list (shows up on the item page) and the 80% blowout list for the best deal.

Book Sale

Free SUPER SAVER SHIPPING with $25.00 or more in purchases or free 2 DAY shipping with PRIME.

Via: Slickdeals

Well, at least my heart is still in it...

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