Spicaresque:

A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

UPON TH E KNOWLEDGE ONE IS GOING TO RECEIVE A MASCULINE CHILD

One must Xerox in black powder toner
all the names of the bullies that loved
pummeling sordid molestation totems
in the savage saw grass of their
middle school parking lot.

One must flagellate in India ink
the names of those that have died before their time
victims of a rock to the forehead from a slip in the canal
motoqueros with strawberry-plated ligaments, road-rashed eyelids,
those who were given speed metal traps by their parents
when they turned mere driving age.

One must put those names in a hat,
but not just any hat. It has to be one of the hats
that hung from your wall when your realized anthems
cost a push pin, or that passions lanyard
a coil which makes latter days tolerable.

Once the names are collected,
once the scriptures of the signatures in the names are strata
then you can begin to split the Adam, so that your liege crews nations
of those heart-bent on deriving the mystical integers
of an equation which has more than one inequality sign.

One grapples with the consequences of anonymity
only when sired by the inconsequential. One's parents
before him a despised autumn of solemn hard work, lexicon
of perspiration in your grammar per hour. In many ways,

the arrival of a masculine child is a meteor which brings
with it the only antidote from a nova of murderous cerulean.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NEW M.I.A. VIDEO

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

AMERICAN MILITARY STRATEGY


I just read a great article on how PowerPoint is making military administrators stupid. The article was written by Elisabeth Bumiller and it appeared in the NY Times on April 26, 2010 and is titled, We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint.

If you have never read, I suggest you do. Click here.

ARTE PUBLICO HISPANIC HISTORICAL COLLECTION DATABASE BY EBSCO


I don't usually do this but would like to take the time to big up a new database that EBSCO is coming out with. It's called the, Arte P├║blico Hispanic Historical Collection. The database draws most of its content from the "Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project”, a massive national project to " preserve and disseminate Hispanic culture of the United States in its written form since colonial times until 1960."

Recently, I helped a college student write a paper on Malcolm X. I probably should not have done this but I logged in to the BCC databases and signed her in to one of the various African American databases it has. They have African American History Online and African American Studies Center, both voluminous resources for biographies, illustrated maps, photographs, and other materials. The best thing about my interaction with this student was that I made them realize that the specialized databases are the best places to consult because all the superfluous material has already been seperated.

The Arte Publico/EBSCO database has "60,000 historical articles, Hundreds of political and religious pamphlets and broadsides, Complete texts of over 1,100 historical books of Hispanic literature, political commentary and culture." Ok, so maybe seeing as I have never used this actual database I should be a little more judicious. But, all I am saying is that if you are a college student and doing some research on Latinos, Hispanics, Ibera-folk, then this database might be a great place to start.

If you would like to read more about it yourself, the url for the database is, http://www.ebscohost.com/thisTopic.php?marketID=1&topicID=1288 and is linked here for your convenience. (here)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SR1070 PASSES IN ARIZONA

So we have all heard the unfortunate news surrounding this piece of legislation, and have been let down by the fact that is passed successfully in the AZ State Senate. Luckily, the state's are allowed to enact laws that are unique to that state, as long as they don't infringe on the rights of the federal government. I think this is good, because if enough people say they want something in one state, then they should have the right to impose that whim on the populace of a state and its inhabitants if they so choose.

I don't understand it from a legal point of view, but is this state law overriding the federal powers granted by the right to not have to submit to illegal searches and seizures? But that is not what is key in this dilemma. What scares people is that SB 1070 will legalize racial profiling. Because AZ is a state that borders Mexico then what an "illegal" looks like is very similar to what a "legal" resident of Arizona of Mexican ancestry looks like. I don't think it is very difficult to see what all the fuss is about.

Maybe the state senators and Governor Brewer are thinking that action must be action, because immigrant laborers are taking jobs from 'mericans in Arizona that want to work but can't find work. But, interesting enough, I was watching the Colbert Report yesterday and Steven Colbert makes some interesting points which aren't really reported when the media reports on this issue.

For example, Colbert reports that rates of illegal immigrants have been in decline for several years, and not just because of the sheriff in Maricopa county. There has been a steady decline in the presence of illegal immigrants for some time now in Arizona specifically because illegal immigrants are present in an area when there is low-skilled and menial labor present. The fact is that in Arizona the rates of illegal immigration have been steadily declining, but SB 1070 makes you believe that it is legislation that is targeting a particular lawlessness.

The only thing that SB 1070 targets is the synaptic receptors of the people who live in Arizona and think their state is being overrun by immigrants (which is a false perception, given the declining rates of illegal immigrants and thus work for them). Could it also be that these measures are being enacted as punishment for the loss of capital and money (according to Colbert the figure was in the millions) that are not collected and used as part of Arizona's state revenue.

The one thing not sufficiently explained by the media and not really known by most Americans is that most people working in this area that are from Mexico have seasonal work passes that grant them the ability to work legally within the U.S. Are there many illegals that don't have seasonal passes. Sure, the estimate by the Pew organization put the number of illegals between 11 and 12 million.

Even if the number is 12 million (the # of illegals in the U.S.), these 12 million make up 3.87% of the population (or 12 million divided by 310 million). This means that there illegals account for way less than 4% of the total population of the U.S.

Can we say that we are truly being overrun? Can we truly say that SB 1070 is going to curb the amount of illegals in Arizona? What are we really talking about when we talk about Americans who want to work but get their jobs taken away by illegals?

Monday, April 19, 2010

"ODAS A FUTBOLISTAS/ODES TO FOOTBALLERS" IS FINALLY HERE!



Dear Readers,

The illustrated poetry collection, Odas a Futbolistas/Odes to Footballers, by Yago S. Cura and Abel Folgar and illustrated by Chaz Folgar is now available through Hinchas de Poesia Press for $11 through MagCloud. (http://ycura.magcloud.com/)

MagCloud accepts debit, credit, and PayPal. Please help support Yago S. Cura, Abel Folgar, Chaz Folgar, and Hinchas de Poesia Press by buying a copy of Odas a Futbolistas/Odes to Footballers.


Odas a Futbolistas/Odes to Footballers
is a collection of 27 odes written by Yago S. Cura and Abel Folgar over the span of three months in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup.

Odas a Futbolistas/Odes to Footballers
contains three illustrations by Chaz Folgar, editor of Goif! comix and one photograph by Martha Duran-Contreras.

Please support Yago, Abel, Chaz, and Martha by purchasing a copy of Odas through MagCloud.

Fanx!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CONT'D: "THE PREDICTIONEER'S GAME" BY BRUCE BUENO DE MESQUITA

I have to return The Predictioneer's Game (2009) tomorrow or I am going to incur some fines, but I did want to talk about it a little again. My friend, Alfi, and I were talking this book up last Sunday and today a little. He was a Master's candidate at some fancy policy school in London and we play futbol. We were especially drawn to Bueno de Mesquita's take on fixing the Middle East problem, which by the way was prompted meeting an Israeli sociologist through a coffee and cookie meeting of the Hoover Fellows at Standford.

On page 106 of his book, The Predictioneer's Game, he writes, "My idea is that the Israeli and Palestinian governments will distribute a portion of their tax revenue generated from tourism (and only from tourism) to each other"...Why not, for example, promote peace by setting up joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures, or allowing freer movement between regions, or some other scheme?...Tourism has a feature that can be exploited to improve the prospects of peace. You see, tourism and the tax revenue generated from it are highly sensitive to violence." My man Bruce, analyzes revenue from tourism and sees that (obviously) tourism suffers the most during periods of Intifada. He continues, "If the Palestinians crack down on the sources of terrorism or other forms of attack against Israel, then the decreased violence will almost surely be followed by a significant increase in tourism" (112).

Bruce makes a great many valid points and his spiel is top notch, but easy to follow. I mean in many ways he is just saying that he has a system for prediction that is based on game theory and people's innate desire to do what best suits them or as Bruce puts it, "people do what they believe is in their best interest" (3). All the inequality in the world, really, is just a very select few people holding on to power by paying off a limited amount of people. And it seems that a country can progress in that fashion for a long, long time. I suspect that is what is happening in southeast Asia now as Thailand unravels. But he has something for those people as well.

"Death tolls from cataclysmic natural events are vastly higher in countries run by dictators than in democracies. Democratic governments prepare for disasters, regulate construction to increase the chances of surviving events like earthquakes, and stockpile food, clothing, and shelter for disaster victims. Why? Because governments elected by people are largely accountable to the people" (143). You get the idea that Bruce relishes being right with his predictions, and yet he does not shy away from showing you his mistakes, miscalibrations, misdeeds, and macabre number crunching, and that is why one believes his mathematical augury: because he has a prediction rate that's better than CIA analysts, but is also not afraid to show you how he has been wrong.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"COMPOUND MEMORANDUM" BY JAMES FOLEY, ILLUSTRATED BY CHAZ FOLGAR, & PUBLISHED BY HINCHAS DE POESIA PRESS


So it finally came out. "Compound Memorandum," the short story written by James Foley and illustrated by Chaz Folgar and published by Hinchas de Poesia Press is only $10 through MagCloud. http://ycura.magcloud.com/

MagCloud accepts debit, credit, and PayPal. Please help support James Foley and Hinchas de Poesia Press by buying a copy of "Compound Memorandum".

"Compound..." tells the story of a reporter working as an administrative salaryman for a non-profit organization in Baghdad who crosses paths with an svelte, Iraqi office enchantress.

This is an official story of compound life and bureacratic drudgery in Baghdad, as told by one American as his country's military forces strive to rebuild and reconstitute Iraq.

Please support Jim and I and Chaz by purchasing a copy of "Compound Memorandum" through MagCloud.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"THE PREDICTIONEER'S GAME" BY BRUCE BUENO DE MESQUITA



I saw this guy on the Daily Show, hyping his book and what he had to say really floored me specifically because he was quantifying things which were qualitative, or as I saw it, giving numerical value to menus of choice. I thought it might be an interesting way to lead one's life, weighing the good and the bad methodically. This guy has been doing it for the State Department and ginormous corporations for eons. Bruce is the Julius Silver Professor of Politics at NYU and senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. So, let's just say that he is neither impressed with credentials or in the mood to flatter. I believe you could say that he operates on one priniciple: people act out of brazen self interest. And he writes, if you can map out or count the permutation of choices that that person has then you can pretty much predict what that person is going to do. By now you are saying what Bruce would like you to say, "Sure, people can fill in numbers to the questions, but it's just guesswork. Ask two experts the same question and you'll get two different answers. Guess what--that's not true" (54). Well, what do you mean Bruce? Well, "the CIA has checked out the risk that different experts give greatly different answers leading to greatly different predictions. They found little variation in the predictive results from the sort of modeling I do, even when the people asked had dramatically different access to information. Academic experts, for instance, generally do not not know the classified information that intelligence analysts have access to. Yet both groups tend to provide data so similar, wherever it's from..." (54)Try that one on for size...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

READING DAVID GOLDBLATT'S, "BALL IS ROUND: A GLOBAL HISTORY OF SOCCER" (2008)



Starting in on this behemoth, it seems best to flit through the pages first like a window shopper or shoplifter. I read through parts of the Intro and went straight to chapter 1 which was comprehensive and Levianthanesque. I mean, Goldblatt starts at the beginning of the beginning with the history of soccer, "Certainly, the China created and ruled by the Han dynasty (206 BCE-221 CE) widely played a game called cuju, simply translated as kick-ball...the Chinese invented a lot of things first...It seems most likely that cuju, although played in the era of the Warring States (3rd and 4th Century BCE) was first formalized as an organized sport under the Han." (5)

But it was "Mesoamerica alone [that] had balls that bounced, because it alone had rubber. Today rubber can be found all over the tropics but prior to the conquest it was indigenousto the forest of Mesoamerica" (Goldblatt 10). Therefore, I guess the critical thing to ask when asking who were the first people or group of people to play soccer you have to ask youself, what type of ball did they play with? Because unless the ball had some rubber in it like all balons or futbols have today then "Archaelogical fragments suggest that ball manufacture had begun as early as 1500 BCE, but it was around 1200 BCE that the expanding Olmec Empire, with its emergent cities, public architecture and hierarchical religious and political institutions, provided the context in which the rubber ball and the insatiable desire to play with it could be framed by settled rules to create a contested team game" (Goldblatt 11).

Therefore, who was the first is just another way of asking, the first with what type of ball, balon, futbol, soccerball, etc.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

COVER FOR ODAS A FUTBOLISTAS BY HINCHAS DE POESIA PRESS, 2010



(click to enlarge)

On Saturday the 3rd I uploaded our second iteration on MagCloud. It was a collection of all the soccer poems Abel Folgar and I have been writing in preparation of the 2010 World Cup. The cover was illustrated by Chaz Folgar, the cartoonist behind Goif! comix. Chaz has been making covers for Abel and I for a while now and I think his designs are sound and highly nuanced. If you were to ask me to further explain that last comment I am not sure I could. I might just tell you to look at his work and judge for yourselves....