Is It Raining Yet?

St. Paddy Is Fine But
to Parade Is Optional

New Yorkers don’t usually complain about their city. They may not like what it’s becoming, but to speak evil of tourists, or say, The Bronx, may be grounds for a punch. Just don’t get them started about malls. Or the MTA. Tell no soul, but in certain quarters, parades belong to this list too.
Sorry, St. Paddy, and all those who helped build New York, but a lot of locals simply detest parades. And religious processions. Ticker-tape parades and dignitary visits too. Apart from marches, if there’s a crowd in one part of the town, I’ll be quick to run to the other side.
In the case of St. Patrick’s Day, for instance, such dislike has nothing to do with some moralistic aversion of public drunkenness, or all those incoherent ‘bros,’ or the retrograde core that fought, tooth and nail but lost, thank goodness, to prevent LGBT people from joining in, gladly.
The same about all the St. Pat’s related parades, the Eastern, the Tartan, and I’m sorry, but let’s include those ethnic and country-themed displays of people wearing funny hats, and yes, Thanksgiving too. There’s just no way I’ll withstand the elements and waste my day gawking at strangers.
If it sounds sullen, by all means, don’t let me stop you from going out there and do it like the Greeks and Romans; I’m just staying behind. And as I do when the United Nations is having one of those world leader summits, I’ll be at that cafe the other side of the park, bidding my time.

I’m probably one of those sorry sods who don’t see the point. Or maybe they evoke the frightening sound of military boots hitting the pavement, troops carrying heavy artillery, marching in unison, stupid displays of menacing power. Being from Latin America, I’ve learned to fear what comes next.
I can understand, and even join, a good Puerto Rican party in one of the boroughs, or a festive roda de samba and capoeira, full of happy Brazilians. Invite me for Margaritas at your backyards, on Cinco de Mayo, and I’ll show up with some friends too. Maybe I just can’t stand crowds.
We all have done it, at least once, usually dragged by some out-of-town relative. Yes, I’ve frozen my behind, behind a four-deep (more)
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Five Fine Stamps

Postal Service Pays Homage
to Latin American Music Titans

To label as “Latin” the music made by Latin American artists is nothing short than an empty generalization. But as the U.S. Postal Service stamp collection of five such legends shows, it’s clear that the endurance of their work went way beyond the limitations of the label and turned irrelevant even the Spanish and Portuguese languages through which they mostly Continue reading