Missed connections

If you know new commenter India and want to contact her, you can, um, leave a comment. Maybe that will connect you two.

Im india From East Side Primera Flats. Stuck over here in Las Vergas. Im tring to get ahold of some of my people. I just got out of prison, i did a two year rip for some bull shit and lost track of everone. orale pues i hope i here from someone, anyone.

Ceiling of Union Station east lobby

Reminds me of a time I was in Union Station last summer, enjoying some air-conditioning before re-entering the hot sun of Los Angeles. I was looking for a Metro timetable when a man, probably no older than 35, in a white shirt, blue jeans, and dark bushy mustache, asked me, “Hey, you know what bus I got to take to El Monte?”

“Naw, man, don’t know.”

“Thanks, ese. I just got out la pinta [SEM: Twin Towers?] and my homies me están esperando en El Monte. You sure you don’t know which bus I got to take to El Monte?”

I looked at his right wrist and sure enough, he had one of those plastic bracelets I’ve only seen on recently released convicts and hospital patients.

“No, no sé. I think you should ask someone over by the counter. I have some change you could use for a phone call on the pay phone. Here, take it.”

“Thanks, ese. Nos vemos.”

Off he bounced away, looking around the building and enjoying the sun filtering in through the roof, with a cholo bounce in his step (you know what I’m talking about), while I stood there, holding a timetable, astounded someone so calmly told me they had just been released from la pinta.

Resurrection of the “Resurrection of the Green Planet” Mural

“No tienen valor” are the words that an older gentleman muttered to Ernesto de la Loza as he was working on restoring his mural on Cesar Chavez Ave. and Breed. For the last few months, idiots tagged up the mural pretty bad and Loza was called up by the store to come and fix it up. I was on my way home from school and I saw him painting.

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One less check out stand at Walmart.

A temporary Walmart employee was trampled too death in New York by customers eager to get into more of a hole for the new year. I guess Walmart literally is evil.

I just got back from the Really Really Free Market (easily accessed by the Red Line/Purple Line and Metro Lines 720, 20, 200, 51/26) and was greeted by pleasant people exchanging clothes, bicycles parts, cds, book and various accessories for your humble abode. It’s going on until 5pm and the Really Really Free Market promises to not kill you, injure you or empty your bank account.


Sidenote while Walmart in the big city is a big deal among progressives the places where Walmart truly does the most damage is in rural America. They go in undercut everyone and everyone else closes shop and Walmart literally is the only game in town and people end up completely dependent on this horrible company that doesn’t pay a livable wage.

Browne Molyneux

Mexican Sanksgeeveeng


For these kids, he was an older man with a sombrero who bought them dinner. To their parents, he was Leo Carrillo, famed vaudevillian and actor of the era.

Nom nom nom. Delicious food, you must eat it. If you have the money, of course. And you fit the “desired” clientele.

This picture is not about that. It’s about a community helping its members.

It was La Golondrina restaurant. The year was 1937.

Photo taken from the UCLA Library Digital Collections.

Picto Menus

I was in Echo Park recently and in need of a quick meal, so the decision to give Happy Tom’s a try was made. I figured its just one of those regular fast food burger joints but they had a weird all-picture menu which was difficult to decipher: what’s in that tortilla? Can you make that a veggie burger? Ah screw this, I’ll just go to Rodeo Grill down the street even though I had scratched that place off my list forever. They make a decent King Taco style red salsa but they charge Huarachito prices for McMexican fare. (And the Huevos Rancheros are mediocre at best, pa’ que sepas.) And lo and behold (as you can see above) they’ve also gone and updated their menu to stretch along an entire wall, with a picture gallery of plates and some tiny text labels that I’m just now noticing. I really doubt the literacy rate in Echo Park has plummeted to levels that require customers have pictures at which to point, or have I missed some tragic news?  I like pictures too but this is just confusing and backwards.

We ended up heading to an average Mexican restaurant in Highland Park with easy to read menus. The food was okay.

Tree falling in the hood

If a tree falls in the hood, does it make a sound ? Hell yeah it does. My friend “Yesca” sent me this picture of the tree that fell over night in Boyle Heights. She said that the tree fell at 3 a.m. and seven fire trucks, along with paramedics and cops, showed up at the scene to help the family in the house. Turns out that two woman had to be pulled out from the wreckage. When my friend told me what happened I realized that the family is going to have to find somewhere to stay because the damage looks extensive. Not only that but I’m sure it’s ruined their plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Here’s a link to video from one of the local media stations.

LA has capitalism abandoned you? Really Really Free Market Nov 28. 1-5pm



Don’t let not having money bring you down. All you need is love AND you can still have a Happy Holidays with stuff, maybe not new stuff, but free stuff (continues click more…)
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Don Tosti and Eastside Vernacular


Don Tosti on “Latin Eyes” a San Francisco news show, 2002.
Video courtesy of the excellent Proyecto Pachuco collecting oral histories of Pachuco culture for a future book and documentary.

Even before Julio’s excellent post on the value of urban language, I’d been thinking about the ephemeral variations of Los Angeles accents. When I was growing up, the typical (or stereotypical) Eastside Chicano accent was similar to the dialog you’d find in a Cheech and Chong movie. The words themselves are a mixture of Caló (derived from Gitano Caló and indigenous words), English, archaic Spanish and dashes of African-American vernacular. The accenting comes from Northern Mexico and their version of Spanish with it’s high and low, somewhat sing song tonal variations – regularly sounding as if a question is always being asked.

Don Tosti is a good example of this early way of speaking Chicano Caló. Born In El Paso, Texas and then moving to the Eastside when he was fifteen, he brought this unique argot with him. At Roosevelt High School I’m sure he found numerous others from El Paso who were also conversing in this cool, “Pachuco” slang. This patois has lived on in the Eastside until now, although the accents and the vernacular are quickly changing. Maybe it’s due to increased immigration from the central and southern parts of Mexico and from Central America. Or it could be the ever present influence of the global media and their official representations of urban lifestyles. It’s important though to capture this language before it’s gone, a project I’m currently working on.

I’m grateful to Don Tosti for recording his delightful dialect in-between the verses of his songs. It’s obvious that his Pachuco culture was integral to his music. The excellent documentary above explains more.

Many members of my family and many of my neighbors still speak a version of Chicano Caló. Even many of the college educated folks will slip back into it after awhile. One of my favorite speakers is Shorty, a 94 year old Chicano who is now living in South San Gabriel. You can listen to him speak in this clip.

La Crisis, For Reals


Unemployment during Great Depression
Unemployment during Great Depression

Unemployment is at 8.3 % in California. That’s pretty insane. And that doesn’t include people who have stopped looking for work or are underemployed (working parttime for peanuts) or business owners who are going under.

Can you hear the screams.

I can.

Now the counties that are especially hurting: 24% unemployment in Imperial County. In Yuba County it is at 12% and there are lots of places already at 10% and/or creeping towards 10%.

California isn’t the only place hurting. Michigan (Detroit auto industry) 9.3% and Rhode Island is also at 9.3%. Continue reading