Monday, 29 November 2010

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah or The Case of the Curious Calm

     There is certainly not any great celebration.   There is almost no mention of anything.   Those of us who were surprized by the  intensity of the disorders during the past few months, and even those who always assume the worst about Mexicans and Mexico....all are surprized....

   It reminds one of the Allan Sherman song back in the 1950's...."Hello muddah, hello faddah" which describes an upper-middle and/or upper class Jewish child's lament at being exiled to up-state New York for a portion of the Summer.   If you wish, you can click on to this link  if you  might have forgotten or perhaps never knew of this iconic American comedy song.
     If for some strange reason you went ahead and clicked onto this little ditty you know it reveals the lament of a kid from Brooklyn Heights trying to "rough it" at a luxury Summer camp somewhere up the Hudson.     You heard the part about "Wait a minute, it's stopped are playing, boys are sailing",  and then he asks his parents to disregard the negativism previously expressed in the "required first letter back home"....An Episcopal Bishop at Camp Capers (Diocese of West Texas) gave me a "gold star" when were discussing this song....When asked if anyone could come up with any different twist to the lessons presented by this boy's lamentations.....unwillingness to adapt, unappreciativeness towards his parents' concern and expense, the overstating of how a person suffers in a plush church camp in a beautiful setting, etc.......I raised my hand and offered a bit of a different answer, "He was also lazy, because he decided to change the meaning and intent of the entire letter with a quick sign-off, instead of simply writing a brief...'Having a wonderful time, wish you were here, miss you all!' on a fresh piece of stationary".    Bishop Dicus laughed (to my relief), and declared "All last Summer and during these first sessions this Summer, no one has given us that observation!   Excellent...very perceptive!"
     These are things people do not forget... so we must be careful what we say to the young people with minds full of mush.   I beamed for the rest of my very pleasant episode in the West Central Texas Hill Country.

     But that is where we are right now in a way...."Wait a second....It's stopped hailing.....".     It is probably best not to be-labour the point, things might change to-morrow, and it will still take at least another two years to put the "organized delinquincy" matter back at  least into the lesser shadows.    But for right is rather much like the clearing of the skies around Bastogne at Christmas in 1944....when the skies were filling with hundreds of C-47's dropping parachutes with  ammunition, food, mail, replacement parts and the certain news that Patton was coming over the horizon.      Our Patton is in place in Tamaulipas, some 17,000 strong at this time.....and all good men rejoice.

     Your humble servant will be going up to Central Texas to do some baby-sitting while our granddaughters' parents go up to the Unholy Land ....oddly enough....on business.   They will be in Washington D.C. for a couple or three days....and the other Grandparents are going to be out of town as we have been tapped to go back into the parenting market.   I have promised not to tell the granddaughters...."DO WHAT I SAY OR I'LL RIP YOUR ARM OFF AND BEAT YOU TO DEATH WITH IT" I did with my own two children.   My daughter thinks that such things are little too much for two and five year old girls.     My daughter gave me a 7,211 page compendium, single spaced, of the things that I cannot do that I normally do, that are generally found to be offensive or disgusting by polite and civilized members of  society.     I have to memorize all of it before my arrival at their home in a week or so.....and recite it verbatim before a Notary Public  before she turns her children over to us.
      Actually, it is true that her other grandfather and her greatgrandfathers are better men than I.   This following inclusion was sent to me by my daughter....after my granddaughter had sent a thank-you note to her great-grandfather for Veterans' Day.   It is an expression of gratitude of an old hero to his great-granddaughter and I think represents the best of what is America.

         Dear Gabriella;
Once upon a time your Gramps was an American Aviator who flew a very large Airplane called a "Flying Fortress".
We flew over far away countries and because we did this the people of these countries were soon able to live much happier and safer lives.
Every American soldier who ever helped America help these people all over the world are called "Veterans". That is why we celebrate Veterans Day. . .To Remember and Thank those Veterans and to think a little bit how they helped those people all over the world.
This is why I am writing this letter to you, Gabriella. . .for calling your Gramps to thank him for being a Veteran. It's a very special feeling for me to know that My loved ones understand what we did so many many years ago.
Please thank your Father and Mother for helping you make one of the most cherished phone calls of my life.     All of our Love Gabriella,
Your Very Proud Gramps

'Nuff Said!
El Gringo Viejo

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

DELL Delivered Early

The bad news is that I am rather much the old tom-cat who does not particularly care to adapt to changes.   The good news is that my new DELL computer arrived a week early, so you all will have to put up with my pontifications sooner rather than later.
More Later!!
El Gringo Viejo

Monday, 22 November 2010

Positive Developments

     We have just learned that the entrance of approximately 4,000 heavy infantry and direct support personnel into what is referred to as the "Frontera Chica" (small border) was fully accomplished about four or five days ago.   Supposedly this detachment is going to stay in the area of Falcon Dam, Mier, Miquel Aleman, and Camargo indefinitely.     This deployment had been scheduled for an earlier time but was interrupted by the peculiar incident concerning a couple who had gone jet-skiing near a remote part of Falcon Lake on the Mexican side.   Once that situation was resolved as best could be, the Army and Naval Infantry proceeded with what is essentially a re-establishment of civil order in Mier.
     Mier is an important place for various reasons.   It is, along with Camargo, something of the Grandmother city of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.   It was the second city established on the Rio by Jose de Escandon and many of the "old families" who are Latin in the Lower Rio Grande Valley trace their ancestry to Reynosa, Camargo, and Mier and/or the various land-grants associated with those cities.    They derived   land grants and awards from the King of Spain which were titled at that time....during the mid-point of the 1700's.     It was and will be again a charming city with much colonial architecture of French and well as Anglo-Irish... influence.   I could drone on about literally hundreds of historical and personal matters which concern this "Magic City" but that will be for a later time.
     About 40% of the community had finally left over the last few weeks due to drug gang and illegal alien (essentially slave traders) transporters.  Factions with invented names and titles, normally from places far from Mier,  warred over the city, gradually turning the place into what would have been a Pyrrhic victory for anyone.     Yesterday, however, after a series of engagements between gang members and the Mexican military, about half of those who had felt it necessary to leave, came back with their pickups loaded with family effects.   Newly shot film showed little restaurants opening back up, repairs being made to houses, the Army towing (or dragging) shot-up gang vehicles to a temporary "auto morgue" on the east side of town.   There were also scenes of people painting and plastering homes and businesses.
     Interviews with the Mieren~os all ended with essentially the same refrain, that being " ......the Army needs to stay here until all the gangs are dead".    It is hoped that there are the resources to maintain this presence and to prosecute this terrible but necessary matter to its ultimate victory.
     For many, many years the American Embassy and the American and world press has gone out of its way to report negatively about Mexico.   To be sure, at times, it had been and is an easy task.   I return, however, to the old admonition in courts which practice the rule of English Common Law.   The bailiff comes before the witness and asks..."In the affair of  His Majesty's Court in the case of the charge of fraude against Mr. Harold J. Pickering, do you, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, swear that the evidence you are about to give in this matter is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth;  So help you God?"
     It is in this that the press fails.   They take elements of the truth and reject other elements, thereby magnifying the moat in another's eye, while ignoring the beam in their own.    Begging the pardon of sensitive readers, it is the same mentality of people who receive a "tingle running up and down the leg"  when they hear the words "hope" and "change" without begging the definition of said words.....especially as such words are defined by the speaker.

    I am in a bit of a good mood....Mier was, is, and shall be an important little place.    We are still in the library....the Mission library has about 100 DELL computers for access by citizens and is clean....fairly quiet...and generally pleasant.   We are only about two blocks away, so my suffering without having my own DELL at home could be worse.     Highly placed authorities have assured us that our new DELL computer will be arriving during the latter days of this month.

Thank you all for putting up with my whining, moaning, and pontificating.
More Later,
El Gringo Viejo


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Still in Dry-dock

       Submissions must necessarily be short, due to the fact that I am using a library computer....which is actually quite good....but nowhere near the facility of my old computer.   My old one was lighting fast and actually read my mind at times.   But this is adequate for the purpose.    The new one should be here in a week or so.

     I am informed that the work of slathering the cane ceiling with linseed oil is proceeding to completion and that other projects are being done by Alvaro during my delay up here.   We should be returning to the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra Madre in the next few days....and then heading back up to Central Texas in mid-December to visit the children, grandchildren, and that happy gang of folks up there.
     There is now a place in the Santa Engracia area where I can easily send and receive email, make submissions to the blog, and take reservations.   A twice weekly visit is what we are programming into the old, between-the-ears my submissions will not be so long absent during my stays in Mexico.
     And yes, Virginia, we have wi-fi, etc. all around us....but my place, the Quinta Tesoro de la Sierra in a "black hole" of perhaps as little as 300 yards in diameter where the signal does not reach....and the ''copper connection" stops about 3/4's of a mile from our place.    So near, but yet so far.
More Later!
El Gringo Viejo

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Trouble in Paradise

For those who might be trying to communicate with The Old Gringo, my home computer died a couple of days ago.   We have another one coming in from DELL, but it will not be here until late November.   One feels a bit isolated.   But is is as is is, as William Jefferson Blythe would say.   If you all will wait on me, I shall labour to have everything back up and running as quickly as possible.
Thanks for you attention
El Gringo Viego

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A couple of temporary postings for your information

These previous two postings will be temporary, probably taken down tomorrow.   They are here so that you all will know that I am not delusional about our personal situation in Mexico.   The thing is, (1) They are the same to not much better here at home on the Texas side, and (2) When O'Reilly and others of my right-wing brothers say that "the Mexicans are doing absolutely nothing about this problem" they are wrong.   This is a Colombia situation....the Colombians won their war, they have probably won their peace.   The forces of order in Mexico are winning the war and in three years, these affairs will be a sad but noble episode that the world will regard as one of Mexico's finest hours, albeit one of great cost.   It is safe to say that 90% of all Mexicans recognize there is no way out of this mess except to fight it .   To yield means to become slaves to savages.   That same 90% laments the deaths of innocents, of  military personnel, of children in the way or related to families involved in this Satanic trade, of honest to somewhat honest police and elected/appointed civilian officials.    But that same 90% has come to detest throuroughly the idea of lamenting the loss of 98% of the casualties who are composed primarily of those within the business killing each other.
       This is a simple geo-political reality.   The world's 10th biggest economic power, adjacent to the world's 1st largest economic power, in turn adjacent to the world's 11th largest economic power cannot allow this rot to continue.   It will putrify our children, grandchildren, and all generations beyond.    It will turn all of North America into a kind of marxist Sicilian floating dictatorship controlled by the whims and caprice of the sons of Satan.    The stand being made by some 300,000 Army and Navy personnel at all levels in Mexico is a well-performing ally against this force. 

An Encounter

The early part of the matter here is a confrontation between two different cartel groups in a residential area adjacent to the center of the town of Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas.   The firing is inefficient on both sides.   It continues for several minutes, until you will notice towards the end of the film the entry of Mexican Naval Infantry.   They take on both sides with effective fire, including a recoilless rifle, which is very devastating to motor vehicles and which can also fire a projectile which carries a small impact-explosive charge.   You will notice that upon arrival of the Naval Infantry, members of the opposition units either flee like rabbits or ......they didn't.     Later in the day, many of those who took flight were encountered near Reynosa where, once again, they were dealt with very severely. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Salute

Successful operation by 1,000 light infantry in Poza Rica, Vera Cruz.    It should be pointed out that when the soldiers conclude their operations in a given locale the people there normally exhort, beg, beseech, and whatever else to try to keep the military presence in their community.    This particular action was extended because certain prisoners were turned over to civilian prosecutors for "interrogation" and the Army stayed behind to guarantee security during the "questioning process".   The overall action was directed at "organized criminal elements"  who were collecting shake-down money from long-distance truck drivers and local bus-drivers....They were not so tough when encountering the Army.   Score:  criminal elements - 6 dead, 8 wounded, 12 detained and arrested   Army:  0 dead, 1 slightly wounded.    

Friday, 12 November 2010

Some Recommended Reading

    In that your humble writer is an arrogant cuss, it is difficult for him to take recommendations about what to do, what to eat, what to read, etc.    Also, as a card-carrying, right-wing retrograde, he tends to disregard anything found between the pages of the Texas Monthly magazine, notwithstanding the fact that it is a fine and glossy magazine that generally tries not to be too overly offensive while positioning itself in the ranks of the snobbish pinko elite intellectual class of Texas liberals. 
     One always has the lurking shadow of realization about anything good they might say about "us"  is only because "they" happen to be trapped in this next-door-to-the-Beverly-Hillbillies (Texas)  place, and "they'' might hads't well make the best of it.
      That must give credit to the obvious.   It is a fine publication, makes money, guides a reader to good facts, and generally serves its calling well.   My Compadre, who can be found by scrolling down a ways on this blog, sitting around with friends and family on his patio....recommended an article in Texas Monthly's November, 2010 issue which deals with immigration from many, many points of view.   Most of the points of view are flawed, some are salient, all are given voice.
     My Compadre (the father-in-law of my daughter) and I share a  frightening number of agreements on a frightening number of issues.    We both read WSJ, watch FOX-News, and other such predictable things.   We both have lived and/or worked in Mexico for a major part of our lives.   We both have lived and/or worked in Texas either for a long, long time or since birth.  
       While I might be forced to admit, if required under oath, that I occasionally might read a few lines in the New York Times, he knows that my only contact with the Texas Monthly is reading a couple of articles every few years in Seaton Hospital in Austin where my daughter goes to meet the stork frequently....So, it was with a bit of trepidation that he urged my attention towards this particular issue and its treatment of matters concerning immigration.
         The series of articles-within-the-article are worth a full review and consideration.    My positions are irrevocable in certain parameters.
       For instance  (but not limited to):    There is no "right" to enter this country, or any other, without adhering to the rules of entry as established by the country being entered.   Religious leaders, pinko community organisers & activists, dumboes, bleeding hearts, and especially those communist, Soros-types who want to flood the United States with people whom they themselves think are not qualified or capable of ''Americanizing",  for the purpose of destroying America by loading up the producers with an avalanche of consumers.....  they can take a leap...

       But....all things considered....this article should be read and contemplated by all Texans.   It is depressing in a way...some of the right-brain way of thinking some folks have...but there are a lot of people out there who have a right-side of the brain.   We just have to work though that birth-defect.   My Compadre served me well in calling my attention to this article.  He and I probably have the same or very similar opinions of the article and its elements.   My time was well-spent with it and I recommend that you all find yourselves a copy of the November 2010 Texas Monthly and soak up "The Truth About Immigration" segment.

More later, and thanks for your time, comments, and patience.
The Old Gringo

Monday, 8 November 2010


    Yesterday when driving back up from our little hideaway there were more than the usual number of military checkpoints along the highways.   It was,  quite frankly, a bit comforting.    But little things impress a person during times when a body is on a continuous slow adrenaline drip.     At a point about mid-way between our place and the border, there is a major, permanent military checkpoint.   It is always manned and it is involved with northbound traffic.
      It was good to note that this particular day there was no long line....with a hundred trucks and busses in the right lane and 150 autos in the left lane slowly edging up to be examined or not, depending on the luck of the draw or upon other, more military, reasons. it was straight to the sergeant at the receiving box.   He directed me immediately to inspection and I complied, as usual.
      Two things occurred that might be missed perhaps, at other times.   For one, I had been passed just before arrival at this checkpoint by a convoy of heavy infantry, well-armed, well-outfitted, excellent equipment order, excellent discipline and appearance.    They passed me, but had entered the normal inspection at this stop.   A lieutenant had come over to the next-to-last pick-up and saluted briskly to the officer on the right door position.
      Looking closer, there were two teams checking paperwork, vehicle ID numbers, and scanning cyber-dogtags of the soldiers with hand held computer devices.   Each team was made up of a sergeant and two PFC types.  Each vehicle was scanned, each soldier in the convoy.....quickly, coldly, and courteously.  
       The lieutenant had stepped back from the pick-up of his interest.   The officer inside, I think he was a Lt. Col. type, got down from the pick-up, handed the lieutenant a batch of forms on a clipboard and then took off his cyber-dogtags while the lieutenant's helper scanned the documents and the colonel's tags.    The lieutenant signed his rubric to some of the papers, then did a walk-around along the 8 vehicle convoy, once again checking the serial numbers on the doors and other points.
      Upon returning, the lieutenant saluted the Lt. Col., who returned the salute.   Then, oddly, they stood briefly with the left hand on the right  shoulder each of the man in front....then backed off, crossed themselves, and saluted and then went about their business.     Officers and non-coms mounted up, the Lt. Col. barked something, the convoy pulled off to the north.  It dawned on me then  that this particular heavy infantry unit was "Going into harm's way". 
      [As an aside, I encountered this group an hour and a half later on the highway south of Reynosa where they were waiting on anyone who might be trying to escape from Army offensive actions taking place at that very moment in Matamoros to the east.   It is probable that later in the day they went into Reynosa and were involved in another successful encounter against "members of organized criminal activity" who actually were fleeing in disorder from Matamoros.]

     Anyway.....back to the first checkpoint.... I was awaiting the finishing touches of my old car's inspection, and it was apparent that the non-com had dallied for a bit long at the foot well of the left-rear,  passenger seat.   He asked me about "to what I dedicated myself" to which I replied that we had a little bed and breakfast place near Victoria.   I told him about the bird and butterfly attractions and the natural backdrops, and he seemed impressed.  It dawned on me that for almost a minute and a half he had been going through  an agenda/calendar where I keep my rain records and other climate data of note.    Each page has a very nice picture of some form of wildlife found in the State of Tamaulipas and he seemed to enjoy the calendar book immensely.   I would have offered it to him but for the fact that it has my weather records from the three tropical involvements and from a particularly cold Winter episode this year.
     I gave him one of our business cards and expressed my appreciation for his service.   Perhaps on my next pass through he will be there and we can give him another agenda or maybe one for the new year with the same kind of excellent photographic work. 

Once again, there will be more later, and your attention and time are most certainly appreciated.
El Gringo Viejo   

Friday, 5 November 2010

Desde Estacion de Santa Engracia

    Selene Diaz Castro.....dueƱa de la Chat de la Estacion de Santa Engracia

     This is a big deal!  There is finally a way to communicate via the blog from our home area.   The owner just established this service and has..of all things...five computers.....all very advanced....especially for I can receive messages, reservations, and so forth only about 5 miles from your home away from home.
More later!
The Old Gringo