Friday, October 28, 2011

That Spanish Empire really got around...

Popped by my local Asian grocery store and cruised the snack aisle, as I am wont to do.

I've noticed a lot more snacks from the Philippines becoming available in the past couple of years, but today I was surprised to make an unexpected, global connection.

Yes, that sure does look like Spanish writing on these crackers! I think that's Arabic at the top, too.
These are very, very similar to a snack I've enjoyed, called Cuban crackers. I've also heard that this type of cracker is known as "hard tack" and has been used as food for sailors for hundreds of years. How can this be? What in the world might Cuba, The Philippines and the USA have in common!? To understand, let's go back to the 1890s.

Spain still has a king and empire, but they aren't doing well. It's just not like the good old days of the 1700's for poor Espana, and there's this young, upstart country calling itself "The United States" who's been eyeing their colonies, both near and far.

Then a big boat called "The USS Maine" blows up in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. It turns out it was orchestrated by someone from the US that wanted to go to war with Spain, but that doesn't get talked about for another hundred years.

Meanwhile, back in the 1890s, anti-Spain catchphrases are propagated and the American people agree to "liberating" Cuba from the evil grasp of Spanish control. Hmm...blowing something up to gain public support for a war...because we want to "liberate" those people...wait why does this sound familiar? Nah! That couldn't possibly happen in this day and age!

The war was over quickly; it was Colonel Teddy Roosevelt's fun Spring and Summer vacation that year of 1898. America now is in possession of Cuba, Puerto Rico and....The Philippines and Guam?! Yep, we stripped Spain of its colonies, even way over there in the Pacific.

And that, my friends, is how Cuban crackers came to be made in The Philippines and sold in the USA. This whole Global Marketplace thingy isn't new.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mexican Loteria Game...

There's a fun game, sort of like Bingo, that you can buy at just about any Mexican grocery store. It's called Loteria. In Mexico, they play this game in parlors, where an announcer pulls a card and recites the corresponding riddles (thanks Wikipedia!) below:

1 El gallo (The Rooster)
El que le cantó a San Pedro no le volverá a cantar.
2 El diablito (The Little Devil)
Pórtate bien cuatito, si no te lleva el coloradito.
3 La dama (The Lady)
Puliendo el paso, por toda la calle real.
4 El catrín (The Gentlemen)
Don Ferruco en la alameda, su bastón quería tirar.
5 El paraguas (The Umbrella)
Para el sol y para el agua.
6 La sirena (The Mermaid)
Con los cantos de sirena, no te vayas a marear.
7 La escalera (The Ladder)
Súbeme paso a pasito, no quieras pegar brinquitos.
8 La botella (The Bottle)
La herramienta del borracho.
9 El barril (The Barrel)
Tanto bebió el albañil, que quedó como barril.
10 El árbol (The Tree)
El que a buen árbol se arrima, buena sombra le cobija.
11 El melón (The Melon)
Me lo das o me lo quitas.
12 El valiente (The Brave One)
Por qué le corres cobarde, trayendo tan buen puñal.
13 El gorrito (The Bonnet)
Ponle su gorrito al nene, no se nos vaya a resfriar.
14 La muerte (The Death)
La muerte tilica y flaca.
15 La pera (The Pear)
El que espera, desespera.
16 La bandera (The Flag)
Verde blanco y colorado, la bandera del soldado.
17 El bandolón (The Mandolin)
Tocando su bandolón, está el mariachi Simón.
18 El violoncello (The Cello)
Creciendo se fue hasta el cielo, y como no fue violín, tuvo que ser violoncello.
19 La garza (The Heron)
Al otro lado del río tengo mi banco de arena, donde se sienta mi chata pico de garza morena.
20 El pájaro (The Bird)
Tu me traes a puros brincos, como pájaro en la rama.
21 La mano (The Hand)
La mano de un criminal.
22 La bota (The Boot)
Una bota igual que la otra.
23 La luna (The Moon)
El farol de los enamorados.
24 El cotorro (The Parrot)
Cotorro cotorro saca la pata, y empiézame a platicar.
25 El borracho (The Drunk)
¡Ah, qué borracho tan necio, ya no lo puedo aguantar!
26 El negrito (The Little Black Man)
El que se comió el azúcar.
27 El corazón (The Heart)
No me extrañes corazón, que regreso en el camión.
28 La sandía (The Watermelon)
La barriga que Juan tenía, era empacho de sandía.
29 El tambor (The Drum)
No te arruges, cuero viejo, que te quiero pa'tambor.
30 El camarón (The Shrimp)
Camarón durmiente, se lo lleva la corriente.
31 Las jaras (The Arrows)
Las jaras del indio Adán, donde pegan, dan.
32 El músico (The Musician)
El músico trompas de hule, ya no me quiere tocar.
33 La araña (The Spider)
Atarántamela a palos, no me la dejes llegar.
34 El soldado (The Soldier)
Uno, dos y tres, el soldado p'al cuartel.
35 La estrella (The Star)
La guía de los marineros.
36 El cazo (The Ladle)
El caso que te hago es poco.
37 El mundo (The World)
Este mundo es una bola, y nosotros un bolón.
38 El Apache (The Apache)
¡Ah, Chihuahua! Cuánto apache con pantalón y huarache.
39 El nopal (The Cactus)
Al nopal lo van a ver, nomás cuando tiene tunas.
40 El alacrán (The Scorpion)
El que con la cola pica, le dan una paliza.
41 La rosa (The Rose)
Rosita, Rosaura, ven que te quiero ahora.
42 La calavera (The skull)
Al pasar por el panteón, me encontre un calaverón.
43 La campana (The Bell)
Tú con la campana y yo con tu hermana.
44 El cantarito (The Water Pitcher)
Tanto va el cántaro al agua, que se quiebra y te moja las enaguas.
45 El venado (The Deer)
Saltando va buscando, pero no ve nada.
46 El Sol (The Sun)
La cobija de los pobres.
47 La corona (The Crown)
El sombrero de los reyes.
48 La chalupa (The Canoe)
Rema que rema Lupita, sentada en su chalupita.
49 El pino (The Pine)
Fresco y oloroso, en todo tiempo hermoso.
50 El pescado (The Fish)
El que por la boca muere, aunque mudo fuere.
51 La palma (The Palm)
Palmero, sube a la palma y bájame un coco real.
52 La maceta (The Flowerpot)
El que nace pa'maceta, no sale del corredor.
53 El arpa (The Harp)
Arpa vieja de mi suegra, ya no sirves pa'tocar.
54 La rana (The Frog)
Al ver a la verde rana, qué brinco pegó tu hermana.

Toys From Around the World...

I've collected toys my whole life, even while supposedly playing with them, as a fastidious little kid.

At one time I was the country's leading collector / hoarder of Takara Jenny and Licca chan dolls from Japan.

I think I had around 600 of these dolls, but I never actually counted them, though.

The collection got out of control and eventually took over the apartment.

Then I added a Hello Kitty addiction to the existing problem.

All the while, still playing video games, also from Japan.

Then I moved, and put all this crap into storage.

How did one little kitty gather up so much junk?!

In the Summer of 2010, I decided to stop the madness and empty out the storage unit. I miraculously found one buyer for the Jenny dolls. She's the Jenny Queen now.

I didn't get rid of everything, though. I guess you could say I am a recovering hoarder. I still collect stuff, but nothing like before! I expect a relapse at any time ;P

See the awesome quilt I "found" in there?

Sock monkeys!

Below are hollowed out coconut shells, made into little purses. Most of them have "Hawaii" painted on their foreheads.

I only have three  bookcases of stuff now, which is cutting way back, according to my standards.

I love these dolls from Mexico, below.

Below are some Japanese kokeshi dolls from an art exhibit. I have a few of these, too.

The figurine sets below are from China. They're all only about 2 inches tall. They were a gift from a guy that looks quite a bit like George Lucas.

They really are cute!

This is the dharuma that I gave an eye to when I passed the National Interpreter Certification test in 2008. he sits on my desk, at work.



In 2009 I learned everything I could about India. I gravitated first to the fashion, of course.

I own this blue silk saree, woven with images from The Mahabharata. Below you can see Draupadi and her five demi-god husbands, the Pandavas. The smaller image, at the bottom, is husband #1 Arjuna, aiming at a mechanical fish on the ceiling by looking down at its reflection in a pool of water.

This is how Arjuna proved himself to Draupadi at her swayamvara, an event where a princess got to choose which man she wanted as her husband. When Arjuna presented Draupadi to his mother, he wanted to surprise her and simply said, "Mother! I've brought you a great treasure!" to which Kunti automatically replied, as she had for many years to her five sons, "Share it with your brothers!"

Arjuna, as are all good sons, is bound to follow the words of his mother, and Draupadi ended up with five husbands. It turns out that Draupadi had this in her karma, because she had once wished for a husband that was everything a man could possibly be, which is impossible for one man to accomplish. The story goes that Draupadi would stay one year with each brother, bearing him a child during that time.

Another silk saree in my collection. Am I ever going to wear these things!?

The saree below is also silk, but not quite as fancy as the two above.

The saree below is the most fancy example that I own. It comes from Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, which is in the south of India. 

Below are Kshatriya (warrior class) ladies from Rajasthan, India, which is in the north. Their arm bracelets are called "choodla" and I have a set, too! I want to hang out with them!

Below is a bangle stall, somewhere in India. Looks like fun!

Below is a Durga Mudra dancer.

The doll below is making the ASL sign for "interpreter".

Lord Krishna comforts his disciple Radha, below.

Along with learning about the fashion of India, I learned a bit about her men. Below is the world's most famous actor, Sharukh Khan.

I'd hit it, but he's been married for a million years, already ;P

John Abraham, below, is yet to be married. Hmm...

 A cute cartoon Sardar-ji on a moto-scooter.


African Beaded Jewelry...

This past summer I made a bunch of beaded necklaces and earrings. I was inspired by the bright colors and designs used by the people of the Masai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania.

 I still haven't quite figured out how to make those big beaded collars, though! Isn't this one lovely? This is called an "engarewa".