Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks for...Thanksgiving?

I have, for years, managed to hold my temper when I see hotels and restaurants advertising Thanksgiving lunch. Hey, we’re a tourism-based economy; it makes sense to make our guests feel welcome, right? I’m cool with that idea. But I draw the line at a store using a holiday that has nothing to do with us (hell, we don’t even get the day off) to sell tennis shoes. I’m not gonna say which store, but its name puts me in mind of desert-based hallucinations.

Okay, I thought, this store’s owner doesn’t understand what this holiday means; maybe I should explain. So here goes:

Back in 1621 in England, there were some people who couldn’t tolerate people around them having fun. The idea of folks going out late to the clubs, listening to loud minstrel music, and speeding all over town on their horses, drunk on mead and wine and whatever, was simply unacceptable. These people were called Puritans, but for better understanding you might think of them as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So one day, a bunch of these Puritan guys were sitting around drinking water and grumbling about how teenagers today dress, with all the colorful clothes and ruffs, shiny swords and such, and after they’d said their seventeenth prayers of the day, one of them had an idea. He turned around to the others and said something like “if we moveth to the New World, our lives shall be drab and dreary as God willeth and we shall never haveth fun again. We shall planteth and prayeth and foundeth a great nation where people eateth turkey in our name but once a year, and our great nation shall prosper until evil greed and a silly President and a woman named Palin shall bringeth it to its knees.”

All talked it through and unanimously agreed that this was an excellent idea; several of the men thought secretly that the Palin woman was one hot chick, which made it even better. With that they got together a bunch of people who had just come in from selling Watchtower parchments and set out to find a ship. They finally found the Mayflower (named after the trees that blossom in March/April) and hitched a ride since it was going to Virginia. Unfortunately, the captain’s GPS malfunctioned en route and they landed at Plymouth Rock instead. There they met the Wampanoag Indians who asked to be called Native Americans and made them welcome. As part of the welcome ritual, they gave the Indians beads and the Indians gave them land which they would later return to the Indians for a casino development.

Now, there’s a lot more to this history, but suffice it to say that at some point the Puritan pilgrims were so happy to be able to be as miserable as they had always wanted that they had a great feast involving turkey and Sara Lee pumpkin pie, and sat with the Indians to watch a football game afterwards –the Redskins played the Chiefs that year.

And that was how Thanksgiving began. Now folks, at no point did the Mayflower make a refueling stop in Belize, and I want to stress that our local Puritans get really grumpy when we celebrate anything. The only folks that did get thrown out of somewhere else and end up docking here were in fact deported from their port of embarkation because they knew how to dance the punta and made all the backras look really bad when they couldn’t move their hips like that. If they hadn’t arrived when they did, we wouldn’t have Watina and fish sere and a few other things the Puritans probably wouldn't like.

So in the future, can we please reserve our celebrations for holidays that are about fun people? Because I don’t know about you, but I’m not as thankful as you might think to be offered a magazine by somebody ringing my bell on a Sunday morning and wanting to talk about the bible while I’m nursing my goma –my feet are still sore from dancing too much punta.

In short, Happy…Thursday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Positiveness, Jules, Positiveness!

On 15th October, the Prime Minister summarized the Mayor’s receipt of an excess $90,000 in salary, stipend, or whateveryacallit, as a ‘miscommunication’ or ‘misunderstanding.’ If you did this in the private sector, your employer would zoom past those ‘mis’es, continue past ‘misappropriation’ and land on ‘embezzlement’ or ‘theft.’ Or, maybe he’d overlook the ‘mis’take if he thought you brought him several thousand customers in return, true? Guilt and results are inversely related, apparently. So, given that in the World of Politics, the only results that matter are how many convention votes she (ahem) commissioned, Her Lordship’s not guilty –it’s just reimbursement of expenses.

These days, the public sector is the center of our own Bizarro World, where beggars are choosers, losers win, and immorality is the new morality. Only under such rules can I believe that Mayor Z deserves this lee bonus the PM granted her. But given the number of personnel now on suspension from City Hall, she might be the only critter left minding the shop, except for the cleaning lady and a coupla Charlie Prices. Okay, let’s give her a raise! Summarizing the rest of a Mayor’s daily concerns:

Potholes? Trivial.

Garbage-strewn, dust-laden streets? Insignificant.

Overgrown rat-infested empty lots? Irrelevant!

Unpaid taxes we’re too lazy to collect? Wayne, say something! Do that whining voodoo that you do so well!

An invitation to fly halfway around the world? Come, Dalla Moya, pack your bags and carry mine, we fly Fus’ Class, yuh knoa?

Well, the lady disappeared for a bit (see Missing: One Belize City Mayor), but she’s back with a giggling vengeance (and wanting that raise) while many lesser folk are in trouble over ‘alleged fabrications’ (Mrs Perriot sure is erudite) of much smaller dalla values than $90,000 –but we finally get to say ‘misappropriation.’ Hardly seems fair, true? Here in Bizarro World, villainy is worshipped in exact proportion to the profit it returns.

Being taken for a fool is irritating, even more irritating than standing in line behind a guy who won’t stop picking his nose. Can you see it? Our politicians as belittling nosepickers? But if we, the people standing watching them dig for gold, remain polite and silent in our disgust, how can we expect them to stop?

So Jules, make sure the only colours you see are black and white –of the right or wrong kind. Whether someone is red or blue, Moya or Musa, Vega or Briceno, Fonseca or Zaldivar, it doesn’t matter. Once they injure our country, morally or fiscally, aim your cameras at them. That’s positiveness, Jules!

And Z, shrilling on about $20 million doesn’t make your $90,000 right; it just means you haven’t reached that level. Oh, and look up "red herring."  Get a mature grip on your own tattered reputation. Right now, your ego can’t fit in the whole three stories of the mansion you chose to build outside the limits of the battered city you ‘mis’represent, but your integrity couldn’t furnish a single room.

Keep gigglin’ Z, we’re watching.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Foreign Affairs Doggy-Style

Press Release
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Belmopan, Belize

12th November, 2008. Today the Government of Belize, in the interest of continued good relations between the United States government and our own, contacted the U.S. President Elect’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, to make a diplomatic offer, based on needs expressed by U.S. President Elect Barack Obama in his victory speech. The United States has often, throughout our history, been a benefactor in our time of need, and despite the incoming Obama government being a blue one, Belize is pleased to now be in a position to reciprocate.

In his victory speech of 4th November, President Elect Obama promised his daughters “you have earned the puppy that is coming with us.” He later explained to the press that his daughters have allergies and that perhaps a shelter dog could be “a mutt like [him]” and therefore perhaps not the best choice as it would likely not be hypoallergenic.

We believe, and have advised, that we can solve this problem. Therefore, we have offered the Obamas a puppy of our National Breed, colloquially known as the ‘pot-licka.’ As all Belizeans know, the pot-licka, or Belizean Shepherd as it is more properly known, is a dog that requires little or no maintenance. This breed is short-haired and therefore hypoallergenic, has minimal dietary requirements –Presidential chicken bones will do nicely— and certainly qualifies as a ‘mutt.’ The animal would also be a symbol of the new President’s biracial heritage since it will be white and brown, or black and white, or black, brown and white, or….

It is the Government of Belize’s firm belief that this dog is both more attractive and more practical than the current Peruvian offer of a Peruvian Hairless Dog, since the pot-licka can more easily be replaced if run over by the Presidential police escort while attempting to chase the Presidential limousine. Further, owning a Belizean pot-licka will allow President Obama to identify more closely with a large segment of the BelAm population, especially since many of them live in his resident state of Illinois, at least until the authorities find them.

The chosen dog will be issued official Belizean Kennel Club (BKC) papers with the show name ‘Xunantunich,’ though the First Daughters may prefer to call it by the more traditional names of Brownie, or Rusty, or 'Ey-You. Those of you who may worry about the pup's ability to travel are reassured that the remaining BAHA employees as loyal UDP supporters will issue all required certification with no problem. Should President Elect Obama accept our offer, the public is hereby advised that authorities will be rounding up all the pot-lickas in the National Pot-Licka Reserve (a.k.a. Belize City) and taking photos to allow the Obama daughters to make their choice. The public is advised to carefully observe garbage dumps and other areas where wild pot-lickas are known to gather, with a view to finding the best specimen to represent our country.

The public is thanked for its cooperation in this critical diplomatic matter.


Lou N. Wrasse
Public Relations Officer

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Emperors' New Memories -Will the Novelos Keep Their Shirts on?

This weekend’s newspapers report that BDF private Felis Sho was arrested on 31st October for stealing underwear. It seems that Sho’s crime was committed out of sympathy for Tony Novelo. Apparently, earlier that day, Sho heard about Novelo’s statement, later reported on Channel 7, that “I have lost everything...the banks have taken everything...I’m lucky I have this shirt on my back.” Sho has not yet explained why he thought ladies’ underwear would be the helpful thing, and sources nowhere close to the Novelos have suggested  that people ought not to worry, as the brothers intend to sue the shoes, pants and undies off the receiver.

Unfortunately, even if he wanted to, Tony Novelo would not be able to assist the misguided Sho, who must provide bail of $2,500 plus two sureties and appear back in court in December. Novelo has claimed that his meager salary is spoken for; that the vehicle he drives belongs to the company that employs him. Apparently even the Rolex he wears is only on loan from his employer to ‘make sure he gets to work on time.’

In barely related news, this week’s victory by Barack Obama was greeted by a great deal of cheering from many local Obama supporters. However, a few McCain supporters expressed their disappointment, suggesting that in large part the U.S. electorate was ‘ageist’ in their thinking. One supporter said “the fact that he couldn’t remember how many homes he owns doesn’t mean he’s senile, people don’t always keep track of these minor details.”

In support of her argument the young lady pointed to a copy of this week’s Reporter newspaper where Antonio Novelo couldn’t ‘recall’ if he owned 12,313 acres of land near the Mopan River in San Jose, Cayo district. ‘When Chebat asked him specifically about [the land], Novelo replied: “I will have to research that, as I cannot recall if I own that land.”’ In the Amandala, ‘Tony also claimed he could not recall owning any shares. According to him, before the receivership there were over 25 companies, including BeliTour, Novelo’s Limited, Novelo’s Bus Line, Western Transport, Northern Transport and Southern Transport, and he doesn’t know if he still has shares in any of them. Tony also couldn’t remember if he is a director of any of those companies.

Those present observed that because of his age no one claims that Novelo is senile even though he can't recall anything much. Both Tony and David, they said, are proof that bad memory can occur at any age and for reasons other than dementia and further, that Americans had judged McCain harshly and unfairly. “Although,” one guy added, “this also proves that the Novelo boys didn’t spend any significant portion of their $30 million loan on ginkgo biloba.” Maybe they should have; keeping the lies straight requires pristine powers of recall.