While I'm on the subject of food, I'll relate this little anecdote. We stopped into a roadside cafe on the outskirts of Tucson called Lupe's Mexican Food. I noticed that the girl behind the counter had the word "FUCK" tattooed on the side of her hand. I asked her, "what's on the other hand - YOU or OFF?" She smiled a little timidly and said "off" and sort of started to apologize, but I smiled back and said it would be really cool to be able to put your knuckles together and tell someone to fuck off with your fists and then her face lit up and we struck up a conversation. So if you're around Tucson on the 79 and Oracle, stop in and say hi to the girl with Fuck Off on her hands.
I got to spend time with my two stepdaughters who were visiting their grandmother in Tucson. We all drove down to Tubac, AZ to hear an old high school friend of mine perform a set of acoustic music. It was nice reconnecting with her and meeting her husband. Becky Reyes has a beautiful voice and her husband Scott plays a mean blues harmonica.
My stepdaughters, who spend quite a bit of time on Myspace, were cracking up about the fact that my image appears in a video for a song called "Lean Like a Chola," which is making the rounds on Myspace and Youtube. I'm not sure how I ended up in this video but some of the lyrics are a bit questionable. I think it's meant to be tongue in cheek but I might be insulted by the words if I was a real Chola. Let's just say it perpetuates some negative stereotypes. I only dressed up as a Chola for a different video I made with El Vez many years ago, I never dressed this way in real life.
Me dressed as a chola, video shoot for "En El Barrio" by El Vez.
In truth, my costume is such an exaggerated version of what a Chola is supposed to look like that I thought it would be obvious that I'm not the real thing. But Chola style can be fierce - just ask Gwen Stefani, who incorporated elements of it at one time.
Gwen Stefani, chola style.
Growing up in East LA, I got to see the real thing and Cholas can pull off a strong, beautiful warrior style like no one else.
I never had a chance to respond to the numerous comments on my blog about health care in the U.S. I am still firmly convinced that socialized medicine is the way to go. I'm sure that people can cite cases where socialized medicine has failed or provided less than optimal care but the vast majority of people who enjoy national health care would not trade it for privatized medicine like we have in the U.S. They consider health care (like education) a right, not an industry designed to create profits for drug manufacturers, insurers and their respective shareholders.
There are those who will say that America offers the best health care in the world and that people come from all over to take advantage of our state of the art facilities and top notch specialists and that is true, but the people who can afford those facilities and physicians are far from the average individual. The fact that an oil-rich Arab sheik can fly his private jet to get treatment at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills is meaningless when someone you know and love is denied access to a potentially life-saving course of treatment because his or her insurance won't cover it. The sheik doesn't need to worry about insurance because he's got endless amounts of money, but the average American citizen doesn't have access to that same quality of medical care. The irony is that even though top notch care is offered within that American's national boundaries, it is outside of his or her financial boundaries. Those boundaries are defined not by medical need nor the location of the best doctors or medical facilities, but by what an insurance company is willing to pay the providers of these services. And that is the heart of the matter. Access to quality medical care in the U.S. is restricted to those within certain financial boundaries and the vast majority of the population might as well be living in a different country.