Archive | February, 2013

Inocente

27 Feb

This documentary just won an Academy Award for best short documentary on Sunday. Its about a homeless teenager named Inocente who was previously a victim of physical abuse and how she is struggling to overcome her everyday struggles through art. Its only about 30 minutes long, but very powerful in many ways. Watch it!

http://www.mtv.com/videos/inocente/1702321/playlist.jhtml

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Wheaties

19 Feb

I bought myself 2 boxes of Wheaties a few months ago. I tend to buy my cereal in mass amounts: about 10 at a time so I’m not constantly making trips to the store for my con fleis. I’m getting to the end of my 10 boxes and the last 2 are boxes of Wheaties, the cereal famous for putting star athletes on the cover. The claim is that if you eat Wheaties you are eating something healthy that will help you become a stronger athlete. My box had the human amphibian of Micheal Phelps. As I was munching on my Wheates, I decided to look at the nutritional information. 12% of daily fiber… not bad considering most cereals have about 7%. Then I look at the ingredients: #1 ingredient Whole Grain Wheat #2 ingredient sugar…. SUGAR!! Wow… Then below the ingredients list is a “warning” in bold letter: May contain BHT to preserve freshness.

 

After googling BHT, this is what I found. Butylated hydroxytoluene is a preservative to prevent food spoilage.  It is used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products, electrical transformer oil, and embalming fluid. Yummy. It may contribute to cancer. Sexy. Some people may have a hard time metabolizing BHT. So you can’t poop it out?! BHT is linked to hyperactivity in children. Because I need more ADHD kids in my classroom. It may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Ohh but its also being used as a possible cure for AIDS! Yuck.

I’m just going to go to Mother’s and Trader Joe’s for my con fleis now. No more BHT laced breakfast for me. Guacatela!

Pocho.com

16 Feb

Love this website! Its managed by Lalo Alcaraz and specializes in parody, satire and actual Latino related news. The videos and stories are sometimes hit or miss, but all are worth watching.

Take the story of “Free-jolito,” the story of a pinto bean who illegally crosses into the US, becomes a citizen, turns into a border patrol agent and then gets deported. Satire at its best.

 

Then there’s the Pocho best things to write on a Valentine’s Day card:

8. I’m gonna make you sweat like Marco Rubio.

7. When I said you look like Beyonce, I meant that in a good way.

6. My love for you is from five to ten years with the possibility of early parole.

5. You may be undocumented, but I think you’re DREAMy.

4. If you love something, set it free.  If it comes back, get a restraining order.

3. The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  The quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her taco.

2. Este amor apasionado…

And the numero uno Pocho Valentine’s Day sentiment is…

You can cross my border any time!

 

And then the “most intense Taekwondo fight ever” with a banda remix. Enjoy!

Quetzal Wins the Grammy!

11 Feb

F- YEAH!!

Finally a Grammy and award that goes to the most deserving group in the category! Quetzal’s “Imaginaries” is officially a Grammy winning CD! What an accomplishment for the local LA community. To think that Quetzal has never sold its soul or given into the mainstream or even indie or rock or ANY scene is just beautiful.

This quote comes from a 2003 interview :

“I was once speaking with an older man who said he loved us, but thought we weren’t that Mexican anymore,” says González rather sadly. Then she perks up. “That’s our concept—being evasive of stagnation. People try to fit you in a box. All the talk of not being Mexican enough is flattering because it shows that we’ve grown. When something is born, like a plant, you don’t look at it and say it’s not the same as it grows.”

“You can’t base a career out of making money,” says González. “It’s important, of course, and we’re still in the middle of figuring out how to balance our vision with that reality. But our culture reduces artists to a dollar bill, and that’s not fair. The reality is, we were making ourselves unhappy trying to please others on the tour.

“We don’t get much publicity from labels and radio—not because our music is too difficult; it’s our adamant refusal to lick the floor and dance like monkeys for millions,” Flores smiles. “If we wanted to, we can totally do that. But we’re not going to knock on any doors, because we don’t believe in that. We’re going to build our own doors, and let everybody in.”

Quetzal posted this picture of themselves today. It is by far the most dressed up I have seen them. Congrats to them!!!

 

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12 Scary Things In Your Food

10 Feb

“Beaver anal gland juice?” Neta? wow….

 

From http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/12-scariest-things-your-food

 

I always tell my daughters they can make a difference in the world, even at their tender ages of 10 and 7. To them, I probably sound like the teacher from Peanuts—they’re more interested in soccer and American Girl right now—but I hope the lesson eventually sinks in.

My latest example of a kid heroics for them: 15-year-old Sarah Kavanagh from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who gathered more than 200,000 signatures in her online petition asking Gatorade to remove a controversial flame-retardant chemical. Last week, Gatorade announced that they would be removing the ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), within the next couple of months. That’s great news—especially for me personally, because I love the stuff! Actually, so do my daughters.

While Gatorade spokeswoman Molly Carter said the decision wasn’t in response to Sarah’s petition, the teen is claiming victory. Either way, we all win.

Truth is, chemicals that are used as weed killer, flame retardant, and sunscreen are startlingly common in your supermarket. But you won’t find “carcinogens,” “paint chemicals,” or “beaver anal gland juice” on the back panel. They’ll be hidden under names like “Butylated HydroxyAnisole” or “natural flavoring.” Break through the science experiment to find out what you’re really eating.

Here are the 11 scariest ingredients in your food:

diet sodaAcesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K)

WHAT IT IS: A calorie-free artificial sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is often used with other artificial sweeteners to mask a bitter aftertaste.
FOUND IN:
 More than 5,000 food products worldwide, including diet soft drinks and no-sugar-added ice cream. Click here to discover The Strange Reason Diet Soda Makes You Fat.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Although the FDA has approved it for use in most foods, many health and industry insiders claim that the decision was based on flawed tests. Animal studies have linked the chemical to lung and breast tumors and thyroid problems.

artificial sweetener packageAspartame

WHAT IT IS: A near-zero-calorie artificial sweetener made by combining two amino acids with methanol. Most commonly used in diet soda, aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar.
FOUND IN:
 More than 6,000 grocery items including diet sodas, yogurts, and the table-top sweeteners NutraSweet and Equal. (Did you know that most flavored yogurt is a step above ice cream? Find out the 25 New Healthy Foods That Aren’t.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Over the past 30 years, the FDA has received thousands of consumer complaints due mostly to neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and, in rare cases, epileptic seizures. Many studies have shown aspartame to be completely harmless, while others indicate that the additive might be responsible for a range of cancers.

STRANGE BUT TRUE: If beating asthma with sweet potatoes sounds too good to be true, wait till you read these 14 crazy-sounding (but completely true) health tips!

Icing bowlTitanium Dioxide

WHAT IT IS: A component of the metallic element titanium commonly used in paints and sunscreens. The food industry adds it to hundreds of products to make overly processed items appear whiter.
FOUND IN:
 Processed salad dressing, coffee creamers, and icing.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Titanium is a mined substance that’s sometimes contaminated with toxic lead. Plus, most white dressings (like creamy ranch) aren’t great for you anyway. Both your health and your waistline will fare better if you go with an olive oil- or vinegar-based salad topper instead.  

soilGlyphosphate

WHAT IT IS: The active ingredient in the popular week killer Roundup. It’s used on corn and soy crops genetically engineered to withstand a heavy dousing of the chemical.
FOUND IN: Most nonorganic packaged foods containing corn- and soy-derived ingredients. Because it’s a systemic herbicide, it’s taken up by the plant—meaning you eat it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Glyphosphate exposure is linked to obesity, learning disabilities, and infertility.

BONUS TIP: For simple steps to live a longer and healthier life, check out Dr. Oz’s 25 Greatest Health Tips Ever.

cerealButylated HydroxyAnisole (BHA)

WHAT IT IS: A petroleum-derived antioxidant used to preserve fats and oils.
FOUND IN:
 Beer, crackers, cereals, butter, and foods with added fats.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Studies have shown BHA to cause cancer in the forestomachs of rats, mice, and hamsters. The Department of Health and Human Services classifies the preservative as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”

frozen dinnerInteresterified Fat

WHAT IT IS: A semi-soft fat created by chemically blending fully hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated oils. It was developed in response to the public demand for an alternative to trans fats.
FOUND IN:
 Pastries, pies, margarine, frozen dinners, and canned soups.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 Testing on these fats has not been extensive, but the early evidence doesn’t look promising. A study by Malaysian researchers showed a 4-week diet of 12 percent interesterified fats increased the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, this study showed an increase in blood glucose levels and a decrease in insulin response.

cupcakeRed #3 (Erythrosine) and Red #40 (Allura Red)

WHAT THEY ARE: Food dyes that are orange-red and cherry red, respectively. Red #40 is the most widely used food dye in America.
FOUND IN: 
Fruit cocktail, candy, chocolate cake, cereal, beverages, pastries, maraschino cherries, and fruit snacks. (Confused by now about what you can eat? We scoured the supermarket for the 125 Best Packaged Foods in America.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 The FDA has proposed a ban on Red #3 in the past, but so far the agency has been unsuccessful in implementing it. After the dye was inextricably linked to thyroid tumors in rat studies, the FDA managed to have the liquid form of the dye removed from external drugs and cosmetics.

cookiesYellow #5 (Tartrazine) and Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)

WHAT THEY ARE: The second and third most common food colorings, respectively.
FOUND IN: Cereal, pudding, bread mix, beverages, chips, cookies, and condiments.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Several studies have linked both dyes to learning and concentration disorders in children, and there are piles of animal studies demonstrating potential risks such as kidney and intestinal tumors. One study found that mice fed high doses of sunset yellow had trouble swimming straight and righting themselves in water. The FDA does not view these as serious risks to humans.

beaverCastoreum

WHAT IT IS: Beaver anal gland juice. Really. Beavers combine it with their urine to mark their territory.
FOUND IN:
 Vanilla or raspberry flavoring in processed foods, labeled only as “natural flavoring.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
 It’s beaver anal gland juice.

You won’t believe what else you’ve been putting in your body. Click here to find out the 14 Foods You Should Never Eat.

Potzoldencano

9 Feb

“I work for two things: food

and FOOD”

When someone who stands by this quote tells you that a certain dish is the best they have ever had…. thats quite a strong claim. Yelp agreed so I decided to give out this pozole blanco a try. While googling Potzoldencano I ran into an OC Weekly article also saying that the pork mixto white pozole was the best dish on the menu. I ordered just that and got 4 tostadas, tons of chopped white onion, lettuce (not cabbage), the little yellow lemons, salsa and radishes. Yeah.

The pork was so tender and soft, the clear stew was steaming hot, but not too hot. But what made this dish was the HOMINY!!! Massive pieces of hominy full of flavor in every spoon. And this soup didn’t taste like it was full of fat either. After you throw everything in your bowl, its quite simply a piece of food porn. Can’t you just hear the orgasm coming out of you after dunking your face in the bowl? I even went Asian and slurped the end of the soup part. The best part: a small bowl filled me up, but didn’t leave me with a nasty full taste.

Screw you, pho! Potzoldencano is 3 minutes away from my house instead of the 20 minute drive into Little Saigon for pho. Guess where I’ll be on the next cold day?

http://www.yelp.com/biz/potzoldencano-santa-ana-2

 

Update: Its 11pm and I’m still thinking about this pozole. Mom, please hurry and make your bad ass red pozole so I can compare the two.

Female Voices

2 Feb

I did the post on “man voices” why not one on female voices? Disclaimer: The Mexican regional category includes the very talented best of the best mariachi voices of all time.

Pop

Daniela Romo – De Mi Enamorate

I looooove this woman’s voice! Its deep, emotional and gutsy yet still emotional. Her vocal hold on 0:50 is just wow. Of course, this song was written by Juan Gabriel

Yuri- Detras de Mi Ventana

Yuri’s voice is still a gold standard even after 30 plus years in the music business. I always enjoyed listening to the odd off tempo beats and weird guitar parts in her songs. This song has such a great climax to show the desperation in Yuri’s voice. Her song topics were always about giving voice to the opressed women in society.

Selena- Amor Prohibido

The woman could sing any type of genre: pop, mariachi, cumbia, tejano, bolero, rap, rock. Listen to her mini rap at the beginning of this song. To this day, nobody is as versatile as Selena.

Shakira- No

Written by Gustavo Cerati (see “man voices” post). This song strips Shakira down to the basic essence of her voice. The unique falsetto and powerful emotional voice is best displayed in this song.

Laura Pausini- Volvere Junto a Ti

She has such a unique way of stopping yet flowing her voice as she is singing. Her voice is very smooth, bright, and clear. Her modesty is also a huge plus.

Regional Mexicana

Lola Beltran- Paloma Negra

She needs little introduction. The Queen of Ranchera Singers. Classically trained opera singer who traveled singing in the mariachi style worldwide. That is all

Lucha Villa- La Caponera

Man or woman singing? Definitely a woman and is easily #2 in the best female ranchera singers of all time.

Aida Cuevas- El Pastor

The only current female ranchera still singing and living the life of a true ranchera singer. Unlike some singers who couldn’t sing falsetto’s, Aida is definitely the exception as seen in this video.

Beatriz Adriana- Popurri Ranchero

Try watching this video without laughing or smiling. Cocaine or natural energy? The poor mariachi group accompaning her has a hard time keeping up with her insanely fast energy. Either way shes got a spunky personality and a great voice.

Rocio Durcal- Costumbres

An honorary Mexican, but born Spaniard, Rocio Durcal has taken the heart of millions of people with her sentimental voice and amazing interpretations of Juan Gabriel’s best compositions. This song is a masterpiece with its use of mariachi and orchestra.

Azucena del Campo AKA Suzie Salazar- Como Yo Nadie Ta Ha Amado

Viva Santa Ana! I went to HS with Suzie and her talent is superb. Its too bad she didn’t record a mariachi or pop CD because she would have made it much bigger than the banda CD she recorded. Some people say she vibrato’s her voice too much for the nasaly thin banda style. I agree. But the woman can definitely sing!

Suzie is also known for her stint with the first Latino version of American Idol, “Objetivo Fama” which looked for Spanish speaking vocal talen in the US. Suzie was highly favorited and then robbed, ROBBED I SAY, of the first place title by the producers (they constantly used footage to make fun of her weight and then played a pity story on the winning contestant). After the show, Suzie recorded a song with Ezequiel Peña and Paquita la del Barrio, but settled down to help her family. Come back to the music industry, Suzie!

and

Laura from Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles- Si Quieres

My favorite mariachi group of all time. I was able to have these girls play at my sister’s wedding and play this song. Absolutely stunning cover of another Juan Gabriel song by Laura Peña.

World/Tropical

Mercedes Sosa – Solo Le Pido a Dios

An inspiration as a poet, activist and political refugee, Sosa is Shakira’s biggest influence in early song writing and obviosly in her voice.

Margarita La Diosa de La Cumbia- Capullo y Sorullo

A strong all around voice that brought a new timbre to the sex and double entendre filled genre known as cumbia.

Celia Cruz- Guantanamera

Unique voice, unique personality, a highly public political figure… Celia Cruz is an icon and is greatly missed.

Latin Alternative

Martha Gonzalez from Quetzal- Cruz de Olvido

Everyone that sees Martha in concert becomes a cult follower of her voice. Shes mesmorizing with her thick raspy powerful voice filled with a perfect touch of mariachi and soul. Its not necessary to see Martha in concert in order to see and feel the emotion. Although this video is acapella, there are other videos that show her work with her band, Quetzal.

Julieta Venegas- Algo Esta Cambiando

More a songwriter than singer, JV is full of talent to create her own style and transform a whimpy thin raspy slighly out of tune voice, into gold records…. You know I was going to include her!

Lo Blondo from Hello Seahorse- Bestia

I don’t really like all of the band’s songs, but this girl can sing! Its operatic, rich, smooth and full of potential if she would only get another band!

Natalia Lafourcade – Cancion Mixteca and O Pato

At first, I didn’t think much about this girl’s voice. Yes, she can write some amazing songs, but her voice, nah! Then when she officially went solo again, she came out of the voice closet with stunning renditions of mariachi, bossa nova, and her own songs. I really admire this woman’s ability to use her voice in many many genres AND be a world class composer.

and

Andrea Echeverri- Rompecabezas

Nobody will ever be able to replicate this voice. Its deep, raspy then goes into falsetto and thin textures all at once. She is the unofficial Queen of Latin Alternative that made it ok to be a woman in the male dominated scene. Her evolution from punk rocker to goth to motherhood to hippie to quite simply a beautiful woman also resonates with many of her followers. Listen carefully and you can also hear Ruby Castellano’s biggest influence here.

Maria Fernanda from El Otro Yo- Locomotora

The other nympho of the Aldana siblings, Maria Fernanda doesn’t dissapoint to her nympho reputation with Locomotora. She doesn’t have the greatest voice, but she uses it well. She balances out her nympho brother’s grungy Kurt Cobain like vocals with melodic backup vocals. Once a while she will also sing her own songs like this one.

La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia – Klezmer

Ahh La Marisoul! How to describe her voice… Its powerful, jazzy, mariachi, soulful, Gloria Trevi-like, and very thick. Her on stage persona is also beautiful. She reminds me of a kid that simply wants to dance to a song, but doesn’t know how to dance and she doesn’t care. She just wants to have fun.  And her physical appearance? Chubby Dubby with home made outfits. Love it.

Ximena Sariñana – Reforma

Ximena initially sounds like a Natalia Lafourcade imitation (minus the superb song writing skills), but with a thicker more throaty voice. Ximena has a jazz influence with a bit of Aretha’s attitude thrown in. She’s depressing in the Etta James sense. Emotional yet gutsy.