Thursday, January 26, 2012

Privilege: Books & the Invisible Backpack

This video brought here from talks about how privilege affects people’s experience of literature or other media in many ways.

And, if you never come across the article by Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack, you should read it NOW.

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Are Your Words

Created with this cool interactive tool launched by The American Heritage® Dictionary as a marketing campaign for the  landmark Fifth Edition. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

East Harlem's Own: Hector "Macho" Camacho TV Debut

Son of East Harlem, Puerto Rican retired professional boxer, Héctor "Macho" Camacho is getting his own show business news segment on the popular Univision show "El Gordo y La Flaca, a TMZ-like entertainment program"

The 10-time world boxing champion who beat Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran will deliver his version of "Macho News." It won't be the first time, he's been on the network either, he participated in the Spanish version of dancing with the stars, ¡Mira Quien Baila!

 To read more about Latinos in boxing, check out ESPN's 12 Latino Fighters to Watch in 2012.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lit Links & Scoops

How to talk to your mixed race friend, family member, or stranger.

At a time when many magazines and newspapers are struggling to stay in print, Cosmo has decided to give Latina Magazine a run for its money by launching an English Latina version.

I have a girl/foodie crush on professional chef and cookbook author Marcela Valladolid, host of the new Food Network show Mexican Made Easy.

@NPR Talks To @GoyaFoods on its 75th anniversary catering to the Hispanic community and bodegas nationwide. Did you know the company started out as a single store in Manhattan?

The ethnic palate finally gets it due - goes mainstream (but of course will be advertised and labeled as "exotic" and "spicy."

Global food for thought: only 10 companies are responsible for more than 40% of the global retail market, four companies control 75-90% of global grain trade, seven companies control virtually all fertiliser supply, five companies have more than two-thirds of the world's agro-chemical market, and only three companies control nearly half of the proprietary seeds market.

Back to basics: With the freezing weather and New Year's Resolutions abounding, these recipes to make your own (bbq sauce, jam & jellies, peanut butter, pasta, pesto and more) foods from scratch not only allow you more control over the calories, sugar content and chemicals you put in your body but tackle one of these on a leisurely Sunday and you'll be feeling like a true ama de casa in no time.

Why you should care about SOPA - This is how it begins: The Spanish government recently launched a set of anti-piracy laws opposed to by “bloggers, journalists and tech professionals” while Internet users in Belarus will soon face stiff fines if they access foreign-based websites not using the country’s .by domain name.

Is the publishing world focusing on too much on right-leaning stories? Big Hollywood seems to think so. There is a certain delicious sort of irony to this if true. Combine the dumbing down of America with the zeal and power of the big six houses (headquartered in left-leaning New York City & helm by intellectuals and creatives) catering to the mass cult of Fox News to produce watered-down mainstream bestsellers while we all cry foul about the craziness of the state of the nation and broken educational system.

*Apologies for all the food-related links. Yes, I'm on a diet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Things I Learned from Walter Mercado

Yesterday, I read the news of Walter Mercado's hospitalization due to complications of pneumonia and it inspired this post and homage to this strangely legendary but underrated figure for his lifetime commitment to improving the lives of others through spiritual enlightenment and celebrating the richness of our art, narratives,   music, dancing, traditional mysticism and culture.

For those of you not familiar with Walter Mercado, he has been a pop culture phenomena and household name for many Hispanics who watched his astrology show for over 25 years. While we often jest about his parapsychology/metaphysical gobbledygook and gaudy glam, some thing needs to be said about his contributions and success. How many other Puerto Rican TV personalities have had a 2.5 decade run on an American television network that spawned newspaper columns, books, albums and more?

Here's what Walter taught me:

Storytelling 101 - Drama and Flair Captivate an Audience: With his dramatic monologues, his outrageous over the top costumes, capes, and gigantic jewelry worthy of Liberace, and his heavily made-up face and hair, Walter never failed in mesmerizing generations and entire households of Hispanic viewers, thereby becoming a timeless cultural icon. As a writer, storyteller, communicator, marketer this is crucial skill.

Gender and Age are of Little Importance (and none of your business): No one would ever believe this Puerto Rican astrologer was born in Ponce in 1932 because he hasn't aged a single bit over the years - no seriously, with every decade this man only looks younger! Now that may be due to the artistry of a skilled surgeon but Walter has always made it work with his fierce style and dedication to looking good. While his sexuality has remained dubious in spite of his denial of being gay, his asexualness hasn't marred his phenomenal success among traditionally conservative Latinos here and abroad.  

Find Your Center and the Universe Will Lead You to Your Destiny: Walter, who now calls himself Shanti Ananda due to a legal issue over the "Walter Mercado" brand copyright, was the original Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. He first became a mystic after travelling to India when he suffered the loss of a girlfriend in the 1960's. He ended every show by wishing his viewers "mucho, mucho amor" bringing them closer to the divine.

We are Surrounded with Beauty and It Begins Within: Walter always surrounded himself with beautiful scenery and settings and you could see from decades of watching his show that he valued it and relished it as a Thing of Joy. He always wished his viewers passion and love in their lives. His discourses were never about God and more about spiritual happiness, inspiration and guidance.

A Painter Has Only One Language: In addition to an assault of color and flamboyancy,Walter delivered his spellbinding flowery rhetoric with eloquence, passion and power that never failed to make Mami hush everyone up because her horoscope was next, a skill resulting from his past on stage as an actor. He often sang and danced and even his customary movements like the wide sweep of his cape hearkened of masterful craft and artistry. The whole world is a stage, there are no boundaries and anything can be your canvas.

Inside every artist is a overwhelming desire to share their passion, craft and inspire others, Walter has made it his mission in life and for that we thank you, Walter!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Future Forecast: The Book as an Fetishized Object & Obsolete eReaders

Books as a Thing

According to Ann Mack's, director of trendspotting for JWT, New Normal forecast, which includes the top trends from JWT's annual report gathered from "interviews with experts and influencers across sectors including technology, luxury, social responsibility and academia," we will see the Objectifying of Objects become a Thing in 2012. "

As objects get replaced by digital/virtual counterparts, people are fetishizing the physical and the tactile," she observes, just like we have seen with the re-emergence of vinyl especially at shops like Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters that generally serve a younger generation demographic, who view records as both novel, cool and meriting homage. For book lovers and collectors, this sort of veneration has always been normal but for doomsayers who have heralded the extinction of physical books this might be a counterweight to their argument.

For the publishing industry, this trend holds a sweet upside: Lavish treatments usually reserved for cookbooks, art and coffee table books can now be extended to other genres to entice younger consumers to own their favorite book(s) in a new kitschy way.

That Kindle/Nook You got for the Holidays Will be Obsolete Pretty Soon

Ebooks, transmedia and other forms of consumable digital media aren't going anywhere but gadgets that don't follow the convergent trajectory of technology will. Matt Alexander shares and validates my perspective here in his post: The E-Reader, as we know it, is doomed.

Technology is moving so swiftly that singular function devices such as cameras, watches, organizers, walkmans, even pens, were left in the dust years ago (Hello, Palm PDA) and 2012, also foretells a huge shift in the payments sector that sees the death knell of credit cards, cash and well, even wallets. It seems that the trend is only intensifying toward a portable device that does everything and fits every need because technology is converging and improving all sectors of life as we know it.
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