I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others.
Currently, Jorge is a second year doctoral student in the History Department at the University of California, San Diego and hold a Masters Degree in History from Cal State Northridge.
In a conference Jorge spoke at back in 2008, Jorge lecture was entitled, "Yo Vivo Así, It's My Reality: How Rock En Español Started a Conversation Between U.S. Latino Youth and Their Latin American Counterparts” Jorge had this to say;
In the 1990s American rock music thrived in the suburbs under the alternative label, offering songs that dealt with teenage angst. At the same time, rock en español arrived in the Barrios of California and was appropriated by the Latino youth to create a sheltering space that shielded them from a hostile social climate created by anti-immigrant political initiatives such as Propositions 187, 209 and 227. With lyrics that directly denounced social injustices, Rock en español gained popularity and for the first time, generated close contacts among the "close others"; second and third generation young Latinos began a continuing conversation with immigrant Latino youths that came of age listening to this music in their home countries. This conversation created a new Latino youth subculture that considered Spanglish cool and fostered fads and trends derived from music, films, fashion, art and language that emanated from both American cities as well as Latin American metropolises.
After a few days of the collection being on sale, with some of the better international vinyl long gone in the selves of various record collectors, the Chavela Vargas records were still in the bins. I saw it as a sign. I had to get them. The day I bought them I had my radio show. I didn’t get to play the records on air, but I played one of the records as I was preparing for the show. Instantly as soon I dropped the needle on the recent purchase, I was glad I went back and bought the Chavela Vargas LPs.
As you read the various obituaries about Chavela Vargas, you will read the same facts. That she was a great interpreter of Mexico’s ranchera music. That she was contemporaries of many Mexican legends, including Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Augustin Lara, Diego Rivera and of course, Frida Kahlo, who she was rumored to have an affair with. That she was overtly gay but not out. She often dressed in men’s clothing and her sexuality was a secret that everyone seem to know. When she finally came out in 2000, it was an afterthought. She lived rough for a while, which only added to the pain in her voice. She recorded over 80 albums, dropped out during the mid-seventies only to have resurgence in the 1990’s, thanks to being included in a few Pedro Almodovar films as well as the movie, Frida. Recently, Spanish singer Concha Buika teamed up with Chucho Valdez to make a tribute album to Chavela called, El Ultimo Trago, in which Buika credits Vargas for teaching her how to "make a monument out of loneliness."
So I recently went on a much-needed vacation to Cabo San Lucas with a motley assortment of friends. Cabo San Lucas was chosen because it was a friend's birthday, a friend whose father owns a bar, Happy Ending Cantina.
To be completely forthcoming, Cabo San Lucas has never been high on my list of desired vacation destinations, placing somewhere between Gilbert, Arizona and Hutchinson, Kansas. Admittedly, my ignorance on the subject of Cabo San Lucas was vast... I only knew that Sammy "The Red Rocker" Hagar (Montrose, Van Hagar and now, Chickenfoot) owns a bar there... and that it's frequently referred to simply as "Cabo" by people who I'm guessing neither know what "cabo" means or that there are many other "Cabos."
However, despite my well of cynicism, reservations and the somewhat awkward circumstances, I can honestly say that I had a great vacation. My opinions of Cabo San Lucas might come off as sarcastic and snide but I honestly don't mean in any way to insult or discourage the tourist for whom Cabo San Lucas might be Heaven on Earth. I am merely not the typical "Caboholic." I've also little interest in visiting Acapulco, Cancún or taking a Disney cruise. On the other hand, if you, dear reader, are in the position -- or know anyone who can -- get me a free vacation to Mexico I'm very, very interested in visiting and blogging about Oaxaca, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Guadalajara, Mexico City or Monterrey. I'm pretty sure I'll love any of them.
I love Western music. Not "Western music" as in "music rooted in European traditions," but rather the "Western" of "Country & Western." Cowboy Music. In many ways, Country and Western is an odd pairing. The two genres seem to be at complete odds. Sure, the performers evince a similar sartorial sensibility, but the subject matter of Western music is about hard-working buckeroos following honor and dogies out under the wide open sky.
Country, which I love too, is quite the opposite. Country celebrates the sedentary life - working and dying in the same small town, farm, or trailer court in which you were born -- and to hell with ethical codes of conduct; get drunk, cheat on your wife, and show up for your crappy job hungover.
Musically speaking, they're only distant cousins - no more closely related than Bluegrass and Jazz, House and Rap, Rock 'n' Roll and the Blues -- but of those examples, only Country & Western get so invariably lumped together as a single genre that people usually omit the "Western" altogether.