Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Dear Mexican: Many Mexicans die in the Sonoran Desert in the Tucson border sector as they try to get to el otro lado. This is because your buddies at la migra in the L.A. sector have pushed them over this way.

Instead of sneaking in with small groups, why don’t Mexicans just mass at the border at a chosen spot in an urban location, and come on in! Can’t catch them all. Migra will just send them back if they get caught; then they can try again without risking no water, a three-day hike through hell, and lunch with the coyotes and vultures—with Mexicans as the main course. If they change the entry spot every crossing, and organize it right, the Reonquista could happen by next month! Then again, Mexicans organizing anything without comida, cerveza, tequila and música would be impossible. Migra would smell the tacos, hear the música and figure out the entry point.

I know Mexicans have a dark, black humor streak in them, but seriously: People are dying over here. What do you think should be done? If Mexicans were an endangered species, the U.S. would build sanctuaries for them and force them to breed!

No More Border Deaths

Dear Gabacha: Border deaths will only end with open borders—and mass attacks won’t lead to that. The problem with such scrums is that it gets gabachos freaked out and wanting to build walls. Migration by drips and dribbles, on la otra hand, has led to the current mexcellente situation of Reconquista.

By the way, since when has anyone had to force a Mexican to have sex?

Dear Mexican: Soy un gabacho from way up north in the 530 area code. I was wondering if there was a cultural difference between Tapatío hot sauce and Cholula, other than the tremendous sombrero on top of the mustachioed dude on the Tapatío bottle, and the very sexy Cholula chica in her not-too-revealing peasant garb. (I think they should transform her into more of a Mexican St. Pauli Girl.) Is the restaurant or roach coach that serves one salsa over another more authentic? Personally, I prefer the taste of Tapatío, but really dig the wooden cap on the Cholula. Your thoughts?

Yakkin’ It in Yuba City

Dear Gabacho: The Mexican enjoys both brands but prefers Tapatío, if only for its story: It was created in 1971 in Maywood, Calif., by Mexican immigrant José-Luís Saavedra, who saw a need for a hot sauce in an era when Pace Picante ruled. (The full story, of course, is in my Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America—and I promise this will be the only plug for it for at least a month.) Cholula comes from Jalisco and is also good, but I’ve found that gabachos seem to prefer it over Mexicans because they somehow think it’s more “authentic.” Real paisas, meanwhile, prefer Valentina, because it has a more vinegary flavor.

But the best hot sauce on Earth? Poblano Hot Sauce out of Tucson, celebrating its 89th birthday this year. Now that the pendeja Jan Brewer is no longer governor of the Copper State, get thee down there; buy some cases; and spike the coffee of those politicians waging total war against ethnic studies—then put it on your quesadillas. Versatile, it is!

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Dear Mexican: I’m in college, and I’m taking a class called Latina Pop Culture. I thought it would be educational and informative about the rich Latino/a culture, and I was eager to learn. But the moment I entered the class, it was evident that I, as a white girl, would have to be on the defensive.

All we’ve discussed is how my “Anglo” culture has oppressed Latina women and stereotyped them as curvy and tempestuous, and how media whitewashes them. There are many Latina girls in the class, and they all say something different; the white girls seem terrified and continue to be apologetic for no good reason. These Latina girls hate that they’re stereotyped as sexy, and they and the professor keep telling us “Anglos” everything we’re doing wrong in portraying Latinas in the media.

OK. I see what’s wrong. So what’s right? What is the real Latina? I would assume they’re as different and unique individually as anyone else, but as a collective whole, how do they want to be portrayed? I’m getting mixed signals. Several of the Latina girls have denounced Shakira and Jennifer Lopez as sellouts, claiming they dyed their hair to look more white. But the girls who said this all have their hair dyed with blond streaks. Another girl said Salma Hayek was a sellout because she’s played stereotyped roles and is over-sexualized. The girl who said this dresses in tight clothes every day.

I don’t understand. I thought those women were icons. Furthermore, how can they feel oppressed in a state whose population is predominately Hispanic? Mexicans aren’t going to be a minority much longer, and I wasn’t taught to discriminate, so who’s oppressing who? And what, oh diós mío, WHAT is a real Latina?

Gringa in Mañanaland

Dear Gabacha: A real Latina hates—gabachas first, then each other, and finally themselves. But that’s what Chicano Studies is for: to decolonize the mind so the only hate left is for self-victimizing gabachas like yourself.

Throughout most of my life, I called the state of Wisconsin my home. It was a plethora of cows and German people, and just as cold as everyone throughout the rest of the country would expect.

However, in my later years, I chose to move to an apartment in Milwaukee on Lincoln Avenue and 29th Street. Within this area, I found I was one of the few white people in the neighborhood, as the location was full of Mexicans and others from the Latin American community. This was mainly down Lincoln and a few other streets. The thought is that most Mexican people prefer the warmer climates, yet I can remember my old neighborhood with Mexican people flourishing. I pride myself in knowing that each person has a choice to use free will, so I’m sure most just preferred cooler weather.

Is there something I’m missing in all this? Is there another deeper meaning behind all this?

Schlitz’in It Up

Dear Gabacho: How did you not know Mexicans were in Milwaukee? There was already a barrio there by the 1920s, on the South Side. And while the population got decimated by the repatriation movement of the Great Depression, milwauqueños have had enough of a presence ever since then that the Brewers not only once wore jerseys deeming themselves Los Cervezeros, but a chorizo is a permanent participant in their legendary Sausage Race.

Now THAT’S Reconquista!

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Dear Mexican: How did the patron saint of Mexico get a name derived from Arabic?

El Moro Judio

Dear Jewish Moor: You’re referring to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the brown-skinned apparition of the Virgin Mary, who tradition says appeared before the Aztec peasant Juan Diego in December 1531 just outside of modern-day Mexico City.

As you correctly noted, Guadalupe’s etymological roots spring from Arabic: The name is a mishmash of the Arabic word for valley (wadi) and the Latin lupus (wolf) and was what the Moors called a river in the Extremadura region of Spain. Hernán Cortés and his merry band of murderous Extremadurans venerated a Black Madonna found near their hometown river, so it’s no stretch to theorize that any Holy Mother appearing before a bunch of Mexicans on the conquistador’s watch would assume the nombre of Guadalupe.

But another school of thought favored by many Mexican and Chicano scholars argues that Guadalupe got Her name thanks to Spanish stupidity. They maintain that Spanish clerics misunderstood Juan Diego when he told them la virgen called Herself Tlecuauhtlapcupeuh (“She who comes flying from the region of light and music and intones a song, like the eagle of fire” in Nahuatl) and Coatlaxopeuh (“I crushed the serpent with my foot”). The two terms are rough homonyms of Guadalupe, goes the tale, so the Spaniards assumed Juan Diego meant their goddess and renamed his brown virgin Guadalupe. The problem with this revisionist theory, however, is that it has no basis in historical fact. The German theologian Richard Nebel pointed out in his 1992 study, Holy Mary Tonantzin Virgin of Guadalupe: Religious Continuity and Transformation in Mexico: “Until today, no one has found any document from the 16th century in which one can verify the Nahuatl phonetic origins of the word that the Spaniards supposedly thought resembled ‘Guadalupe.’”

Besides, the idea of an Islamic-derived Guadalupe is better: Imagine how freaked out gabachos will get when they discover that the Empress of the Americas is part Muslim!

I’m a Mexican güero: light-skinned, green-eyed and blond/brown-haired. I experience more racism from my own people than gabachos.

Why is there so much hate toward Mexican güeros by my darker-skinned raza? Do I remind the pinches indios too much of their Spanish conquerors? Are they just jealous that their horny rucas and sisters keep putting the moves on me? All of the above?

Güero and Loving It!

Dear Wab: The only thing Mexicans alternately love and hate more than los Estados Unidos are güero (light-skinned) Mexicans. Blame the Aztecs: When the light-skinned, bearded Spaniards showed up in Mexico in 1519, Moctezuma and amigos thought the conquistadors were manifestations of Quetzalcoatl, a light-skinned, bearded deity that oral tradition promised would return to save mankind in 1519—the very year the Spaniards showed up. The Spaniards quickly put that myth to waste by destroying the Aztec empire, but that initial reverence for güeros seared itself in the Mexican psyche. Light skin became synonymous with power, wealth and destruction. Dark skin meant indio: loser, poor, estúpido enough to believe that marauders were gods. Not even the efforts of Mexican intellectuals during the 1920s to popularize the idea of Mexicans as la raza cósmica (the cosmic race, made up of black, Indian and white blood) could destroy the stranglehold guerismo has on Mexico. That’s why you see light-skinned Mexicans on television, in the presidential palaces and in corporate offices.

Being a Mexican güero takes you only so far, though, Güero and Loving It: You’re still Mexican, after all.

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Dear Mexican: The other day, my Italian boyfriend and I were sitting in a cafe in Santa Monica. He asked me an interesting question: “If you had the choice to be any nationality in the world, which one would you choose?” Being the proud Latina I am, I said, “Mexican.” Then he said, “Why? What have Mexicans done that is so great?” The only comeback I could think of was Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Please help me come up with more reasons why I should be proud to be a Mexican.

Smitten With Salami

Dear Wabette: Since it’s the holidays, and the Mexican is in a giving spirit gracias to all the tamales de rajas con queso in his panza and the bacanora in his bloodstream, I will be kind contigo.

While you say you’re proud of being Latina, you also say you have little clue why you should feel this way, so it’s obvious you’re a pocha (an assimilated Mexican, for those of ustedes who aren’t regular readers—man, am I a charitable chingón this season!). Look at my column from last week to catch up on books that’ll make you proud of being a mexicana, then go hang out with undocumented students, whose courage and drive will shut up that Italian pendejo forever.

Finally, salami folds easily under pressure, while chorizo stays firm in a torta or a taco—just sayin’.

What is the deal with the old guy in the bumblebee suit? They make fun of him on The Simpsons, and I laugh, but I do not know why. Some version of Bumblebee Guy, usually some old fella cracking jokes, is always buzzing into a show. Please enlighten.

Muchacho Blanco Estúpido

Dear Stupid Gabacho Boy: The name of the character was El Chapulín Colorado—The Red Grasshopper. He was played by Roberto Gómez Bolaños, the legendary Mexican comic who went by the nickname Chespirito (“Little Shakespeare”) and died last month. Don’t you already have my book, where I explain all this? Oh, wait: Christmas charity. … If you can prove to me you sent me this question (which no doubt has lingered in the ¡Ask a Mexican! stacks all these years), I’ll send you an autographed copy of my book.

This is why you should read my columna every week, gentle readers—you never know when I might be borracho enough to start giving out stuff … like a sneak preview of FOX’s new animated show, Bordertown! Details to come …

HAPPY 2015!

So ends another year of this pinche columna, and I want to thank ustedes for another year of questions, rants, love and hate. Your humble Mexican is going to man the rancho by himself the rest of the year so all of his newspaper compadres y comadres can spend the holidays on vacation, so ustedes will read a Best Of edition next week, with a new level of DESMADRE for the first week of the año Nuevo. Gracias, don’t drink and drive.

All the Mexican wants for Christmas from ustedes is for you to follow all of my social media accounts below. Oh, and read my column both online and in the print edition of whatever newspaper is near your casa—don’t let alt-media go the way of Cuauhtémoc, cabrones.

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Gentle cabrones: Behold, it’s my annual Mexican Christmas guide, where I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad instead of yet another tamale to unwrap.

Lowriting: Shots, Rides and Stories From the Chicano Soul: A stunning collection of lowrider photos by Los Angeles-based librarian/photographer Art Meza, combined with essays and poems about Chicano car culture. (Yours truly has a piece about my 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible—pinche thing has more power than a B-17 Flying Fortress.) Publisher Santino Rivera also has another awesome anthology—¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature, published in response to the attack on ethnic studies in Arizona and beyond. Order them at, and Rivera just might throw in a sticker that pays homage to the Sex Pistols and reads: “Never Mind the Hispanics Here Come the Xicanos!” HELL YA!

A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States: The latest collaboration between essayist Ilan Stavans and legendary cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz, this book is like a graphic-novel version of A People’s History of the United States, but far funnier. And don’t forget to buy all of Lalo’s books, as they remain evergreen gifts.

Speaking of Evergreens: Any of the works of Sam Quinones, Daniel Hernandez, Carey McWilliams, Jody Agius Vallejo and William Nericcio—each, in their own ways, magnificent storytellers of the Mexican experience.

Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest: A Self-Portrait of a People and New Mexican Folk Music/Cancionero del Folklor Nuevomexicano: Treasures of a People/El Tesoro del Pueblo: Yes, these titles by the always impressive University of New Mexico Press are pricey. But anyone who’s a student of New Mexico or a lover of Latino music must own these tomes, which examine the unique musical traditions of the Land of Enchantment, featuring corridos that date back centuries. The latter comes with a CD, as well—you remember those, right?

Latina/os and World War II: Mobility, Agency, and Ideology: The other great university press for Chican@ thought is the University of Texas Press, and this press’ best effort this year was this anthology regarding the Mexican-American experience in the Good War. Yes, Ken Burns: Latinos fought in the conflict.

The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California: Released late last year by the University of Minnesota Press, this fluid ethnography reveals the Reconquista for all its nefariousness: Mexis are moving to the suburbs and joining the middle class. RUN!

Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Gardens: University of Southern California sociology professor Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo did a pioneering study of Latina domestic workers in 2001, so it made sense that her follow-up in the genre would focus on jardineros. Featuring her usual trenchant analysis and a Studs Terkel ear for letting subjects tell their life story on their own terms.

¡Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America: Because DUH!

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Dear Mexican: I’m a third-year university student, a liberal studies and Spanish major. My family, extended and immediate, always like the chisme. During a family carne asada, we were all talking when one of my tías asked me what I was doing with my life—she and the rest of my aunts seemed like they genuinely wanted to know. But when I told them that I only needed one more year to graduate, it seemed as if I had said something wrong. They stared at me, said nothing, and completely ignored what I said. One of my aunts did a small gesture to acknowledge what I said, but other than that, they continued their talk about the novella they saw the previous night.

My family is extremely close, and we really want the best for each other, so I was taken aback when this happened. No one in our family has ever attended a four-year university or obtained any kind of degree. Might this be the reason they reacted the way they did? Or should I be worried that this is a bigger issue?

A Sanchez but not a Sancho

Dear Wab: Don’t bother with pleasing tías—you’re never going to be as good as their mijo, even if mijo is a narco or just did a stint in Corcoran. Or maybe they realize that a liberal studies degree is like the last corn tortilla in the packet—basically useless.

I headed over to San Antonio with some friends of mine to run the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon. I suggested that we put “Remember the Alamo” on our running shirts. One of my Mexican friends said that would be fine with her since “We won.” I always thought we lost at the Alamo. Please help me educate my friend.

A Confused Gringo in Houston

Dear Gabacho: Let’s educate your amiga, shall we? Amiga: There was a time when America viewed the Battle of the Alamo as a pre-photography Sept. 11, a terrorist attack on Americans by a swarthy enemy that the United States had to subsequently crush. Those who died were immortalized for generations to come for their sacrifice, and their memory became a rallying cry whenever our soldiers had to call on resolve and courage in the heat of battle. And it was a great way for Hollywood to show how evil Mexicans were by filming hordes of brown-faced Filipinos descending on Davy Crockett as he desperately swung his rifle to death.

Isn’t that crazy? Isn’t it loco that we lionized gabachos who wanted to secede from Mexico so that they could keep slaves and appropriate our cuisine? Isn’t it nuts that it took Chicano yaktivists to call the Alamo what it was: the first volley in America’s Manifest Destiny campaign that would go on to take over half of Mexico and decimate the Plains Indians?

And, amiga: Tell your gabacho Houstonian friend it’s not just leftists who are playing the revisionism game: Even the Alamo tours nowadays desperately try to stress the multicultural roots of Texian independence, highlighting the few Tejanos who died at the scene or fought for Texas against Mexico. Too late: The memory of the Alamo always stood for white supremacy, and finding a few frijoles in the pot won’t change that one bit.

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Dear Mexican: I teach writing at a local community college. My students are writing their final essays on a local problem; I have one student who has decided to write about illegal immigration (specifically, Mexican immigration).

We were discussing, as a class, each student’s project, and a student made a comment that I wish I had reacted to differently. He said that he encounters a number of Mexicans who can’t speak English fluently, and since speaking English must make it easier to gain legal citizenship/entry, he assumes that all (or most) of the Spanish-speaking Mexicans must be illegals. My response was to skip over the racism and move on to another student.

What should I have said?

Troubled Teacher

Dear Gabacha: Grow some ovaries, mujer! It’s your job as a profe to call out your students on their reliance on Wikipedia, their horrendous grammar, and especially any racist assumptions they may have. Of course, you also want to be constructive, so this is what you should do: Call out the student on their assumptions in front of the class, saying that while it’s OK to have opinions (seriously, Aztlanista professors: Don’t excoriate a conservative student just because they’re conservative. Conservatives are people, too), it’s not OK to make blind assumptions—that’s not the scholastic way. I’d have him explicitly state why he thinks any Spanish-dominant Mexican is a mojado, and ask for proof in the form of stats and him procuring someone. Then I’d ask him to explain why foreign languages have been a part of the United States since its founding, and why immigrant enclaves never fully disappear.

Make it a teachable moment—that is your job, after all. And if he can’t do any of the above, call him a pinche pendejo baboso on Facebook so all your fellow profes can laugh—it is a teachable moment, after all.

I came here as a mocoso from Michoacán. As a child in the motherland, I was raised to believe in los reyes magos. When I came to the U.S., I started to hear about a fat man in red suit, called Santa Claus. Why do you think many Mexicans here forget about The Three Wise Men and adapt to Satan’s Claws?

Navidad en el Barrio

Dear Christmas in the Barrio: It’s not just Los Reyes Magos Mexicans that forget about. Other Christmas traditions that historically didn’t make it across the Chevy crossing la frontera include real posadas (instead of doing nine days of re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging and going from house to house, many Mexicans up here celebrate one day); Misa de Gallo (Midnight Mass on Christmas); a nacimiento (nativity scene) that takes up the entire living room; the Dec. 28 celebration of Los Santos Inocentes, which commemorates all the kiddies King Herod had killed; and your aforementioned Reyes Magos feast day, which gabachos call Epiphany.

But that’s not surprising: Actual Mexican culture in the U.S. is always watered down because of assimilation, a tale as old as the myth of Quetzalcoatl. That said, the Reconquista has brought up many Mexican celebrations in the past generation, like Día de los Muertos, Día de los Niños and the baking of rosca de reyes (our version of the King Cake served during Mardi Gras) during Christmas. Gabachos: Save this column so when your half-Mexican grandkids read this 40 years from now, you’ll have proof that Mexicans once actually did gabacho things.

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Dear Mexican: I was reading the comments (BIG MISTAKE) on an article I recently read regarding St. Charles, Mo., adopting an Arizona-style immigration law. I was shocked at the amount of people who support this law, and my question to you is: Why can’t people see the bad implications of that law? What are we, World War II Germany, where we need to show our papers?

I’m outraged that in this day and age, there are so many folks racist against Mexicans. I’ve made people very angry by standing against the immigration law and the racial profiling of Mexicans. How is it that people can stand against racially profiling black Americans, and fully support the profiling of Mexicans? And they refuse to believe they are racists. HELP ME—please give me a good point of debate for these people who honestly believe that show-me-your-paper laws are lawful. I’ve tried to make them understand that STATE POLICE do not have the legal right to be IMMIGRATION POLICE. That argument does not work. They say that I MUST be an illegal immigrant or I am harboring one, because I don’t agree with the Arizona law/racial profiling.

Necesito Ayuda en St. Louis

Dear I Need Help in St. Louis: Some points to start. Until gabachos start forcing all Mexicans to wear sombreros to more easily identify them, it’s insulting to compare any anti-Mexican laws to what Jews had to endure in Nazi Germany. Simply put: Deportation isn’t genocide, no matter how much some yaktivists claim. Also, people who are opposed to the racial profiling of one ethnicity tend to be opposed to the racial profiling of EVERYONE, mostly because racial profiling is a bola de mierda.

Finally, tell those Know Nothings that the Constitution makes distinctions between state and federal powers, and only the feds have authority over immigration. Sure, some local jurisdictions have tried to play migra, or openly collaborate with migra—but courts time and time again have struck down such laws because of the Constitution.

Do these Know Nothings REALLY want to expand federal powers? They always cry no, but they’re more than happy if it means harassing Mexicans. So once you get them to admit that, just make the note that they’re no better than Obama—and watch them writhe like the culeros they are for comparing them to a negrito.

I’ve been dating a Mexican man for a year now and am madly in love, claro. His excuse for everything is, “I’m Mexican”—which, as you know, means that he works harder than anyone else, has bigger balls than any other male on the planet, and is so virile that he can impregnate a woman just by blowing on her.

What I don’t understand is that he rarely uses my name; I’ve noticed that seems to be a Mexican thing. I love being called chiquita bonita, but as far as I know, all of his friends are named vato, puto or güey. What gives? Also, he has started calling me cabrona, but he’s using it in a nice way—and I’m confused.

Please help this loving gabachita to understand her hombre.

Mamacita Chiquita Bonita

Dear Gabacha: Mexican men not calling each other by their given name is a working-class trait, like the Southern “son,” African-American “man” and the bro “bro.” The only Mexican twist we give nicknames is calling people El (Insert Nickname)—El Barbie, El Gordo, El Chiquidracula, El Kennedy, etc. But that’s another question—and I’m out of space for this semana!

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Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans and gabachos resemble each other so much? Both are very conservative about sex, marriage and family. Both are very Christian, either Catholic or Protestant. Both keep similar attitudes toward immigrants. Both are very patriotic or nationalistic. Both deal with the same social issues like high rates of sexual and domestic abuse, homosexuality and alcoholism. In both countries, there’s strong feminism as a reaction against decades of machismo and discrimination toward women. There’s a striking similarity between Texan cowboys and rancheros.

Since Mexicans and gabachos look so different in the American society, how can this be possible?

The Guatemalan

Dear Chapín: Your Yucateco Mayan cousins have a saying: “In Lak’ech,” which translates into Spanish as “Tú eres mi otro yo,” which you can Beatle-ize into “I am you and you are me”—look it up!

The Mayas knew that opposites not only attract; they’re frequently dos sides of the same coin—ying and yang, cabrón! You compared gabachos and Mexicans pero good; scholars have also given the same treatment to the Aztecs and Spanish conquistadors—both religious empires that played tribes off each other to make it easier to beat them, that liked to kill and enslave their enemies, that practiced cannibalism, and that practiced syncretism at all times. (The Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe was famously a replacement for the Aztec goddesses Tonantzín and Coatlicue, but the original Spanish Virgin of Guadalupe herself was a so-called Black Madonna, the term used for a Marian apparition that just so happened to pop up in areas with pagan significance.)

Even you pinche chapines have a duality with us Mexis … or not, because we’re a trillion times better than ustedes. Point is, gabachos and Mexis will get along much better once we both accept that we’re both part of the Estados Jodidos.

As for you calling homosexuality a “social issue”: Social DEEZ NUTZ.

Why the fuck do Mexicans LOVE to warm up their cars every morning? Cars only need to be warmed up if they have carburetors, and carburetors haven’t been part of cars since the 1980s!

Think of it this way: While idling, your car is getting zero miles per gallon. Don’t let the engine run at idle for any longer than necessary. After starting the car in the morning, begin driving right away; don’t let it sit and warm up for several minutes. An engine actually warms up faster while driving. With most gasoline engines, it’s more efficient to turn off the engine rather than idle for 30 seconds or longer. Think about going into a fast-food restaurant rather than waiting in a long line for the drive-through window.

Fuel-Injection Phil

Dear Gabacho: The only cars that matter are cars with carburetors—fuel injection is for fresas.

Think of it this way: Mexicans learn to drive from their dads. Their dads learned how to drive during the 1970s and before, when carburetors were king. Mexican dads don’t evolve outside of accepting Asian and gabacha daughters-in-law, and tolerating the gay members in their families instead of assaulting them like in decades past. It follows, then, that Mexicans even in the present day will turn on the car and let it warm up for a couple of minutes, damn the fuel economy. Traditions for us last long after they’re useful—for chrissakes, we still put bull stickers on our trucks!

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Dear Mexican: I’m interested in a job that says it is a plus to have an understanding of Latin, Spanish and Mexican music. I found out names of musical styles such as Tejano, norteño, mariachi, banda, cumbia, merengue, flamenco and so on.

I’m wondering if there is a way to form a “good ear” for the different styles of music, and, if I’m asked, a way to learn how to explain the different styles of music on a structural basis—and know something about the artists in the different genres. I know they have introduction books and CD programs for classical and jazz, but was wondering if there was a similar one for Latin music—or some similar learning method. Can ya help a gabacho out here?

Also: Will this kind of knowledge give me an “in” with the Latin ladies, or does that just come with salsa-dancing?

Gabacho Who Seeketh Knowledge

Dear Gabacho: True story: An amigo of mine once texted me that he was going to a Romeo Santos concert and wanted to know who he was. I immediately texted back that he was going to chichis heaven: There would probably be 14,999 shrieking women—all of them 10s—to see the bachata superstar, and he’d be the only straight male. He replied that he wished he knew that information beforehand, because he had taken a date to the concert: “A 10,” he wrote, “but I’m surrounded by 12s!”

For the last time, men: Women in general love to dance, but it’s a requirement to love music if you want to bed a mexicana. You need to learn the slow groove of a cumbia, the flips of salsa, the hip-shaking beauty of meringue. You’ll need to know a proper waltz or polka to be able to dance to norteño and banda sinaloense—and all of it will lead to choni-melting abilities.

I’m not going to direct you, Seeketh Knowledge, to any books or CDs to learn Latin music’s many grooves, but rather urge you to become a quinceañera crasher—cute second cousins for días!


This week marks the 10-year anniversary of this infernal columna—10 pinche years already! The Mexican is not much for retrospectives—that’s a gabacho thing—but I do want to take a moment to offer thanks to a couple of cabrones: former OC Weekly editor Will Swaim, for giving me the idea for the column; Vice Media chingón Daniel Hernández, for writing the Los Angeles Times profile that changed my life; Scribner, for printing ¡Ask a Mexican! in best-selling book form; mi chula esposa, for all her support and pickling my peppers (and that is not a metaphor); Tom Leykis, for hosting a call-in-version of ¡Ask a Mexican! all these years (subscribe to his podcast at; all the haters, whose vile words remind me why I started writing this in the primera place; my friends and familia, for the obvious reasons; and the Albuquerque Alibi, for being the first newspaper besides my home periódico to have the huevos to run the column. Lastly but not leastly: ustedes gentle readers, whose eternal curiosity about Mexicans makes this weekly rant an eternally rollicking bit of DESMADRE. To the next decade or 50!

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Published in Ask a Mexican