San Cristóbal

took this one myself.

Visited the town of San Cristóbal while writing this book:

Now I read in the New York Times piece by Oscar Lopez and Andrew Jacobs that the residents don’t have enough water, and so instead are drinking Coke.

Why don’t they have enough water?

Because of the Coke factory.

Buffeted by the dual crises of the diabetes epidemic and the chronic water shortage, residents of San Cristóbal have identified what they believe is the singular culprit: the hulking Coca-Cola factory on the edge of town.

The plant has permits to extract more than 300,000 gallons of water a day as part of a decades-old deal with the federal government that critics say is overly favorable to the plant’s owners.

Bill Clinton in his post presidency used to speak of working with Coca-Cola, which has one of the world’s most effective distribution networks, to bring health care and medicine to remote places in Africa.  Thought that was kind of a cool idea, neoliberalism at its best, you know?  There was a positive story to tell there, but you gotta wonder who is really steering in the relationship of Coke and politicians.

If you want to read about San Cristóbal and San Juan Chamula and the nearby towns of Chiapas, get my book.  A special place, grateful I got to go there.

Trump: Our First Mexican President

An inflammatory clickbait headline but I have a point.

Excerpt from Trump’s presidential announcement speech, as transcribed by Time:

Did he say “they’re rapists” or “their rapists,” as in “they’re bringing crime, their rapists”?

The latter seems to me the kind of way Trump talks.  We in the media (everybody) hurt the anti-Trump cause if we do anything that could remotely be considered exaggerating.  It’s not necessary, the person who gave this speech obvi shouldn’t be President, whether he said “they’re rapists” or “their rapists.”  Why not give him any margin calls to avoid accusations of unfairness?

Whatever — the point is Trump’s candidacy was driven by fear of Mexico / Mexicans, South America and Latin America.

Concern that the Anglo-Protestant tradition of America was about to be overwhelmed or subsumed or at least weakened by a Mexico-Catholic-Hispanic tradition is as old as Anglo-Protestants and Hispanic-Catholics sharing a continent I reckon.  It’s a theme in this book, for instance.

My suggestion here is that what could be more Latin American than electing a bullying gangster/businessman who talks like this?:

Trump might build a wall, but Latin American style politics has come to us.

My Chilean buddy mentioned that when he saw Trump at the U. N., he thought, “oh he’s Chavez.”

One of the reasons why Mexico sucks is their presidents have been guys like Trump: nepotistic bully-gangsters who care about nothing but enriching themselves, their family, their idiot sons-in-law, and creating enough chaos and division that the “order” appears necessary.

Pinochet of Chile

Something I tried to get at in my book

is that Los Angeles is at least as much a part of the South American world as it is a part of the Anglo world.

It’s the northernmost city in South America, as much a part of this world:

and this world

as it is of this world

and this world

This doesn’t have to be bad, duh.  It’s part of why Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic, exciting, creative, and appealing places in the country.  (That along with trans-Pacific partnership, which Trump is also fouling up.)

Trump voters should be less worried about Latin Americans coming here, and more worried about a Latin American-style president.

Worry less about Mexicans, and more a breakdown into Mexican style corruption, disregard for rule of law, one party rule, and a generally more cruel, ugly, hopeless and depressing politics.

Worry less about Mexicans coming here, and more about the United States becoming more like Mexico.

Trump voters should be doing a lotta things different, if you ask me!

Sylvanus Morley: hot or not?

I say hot!

Also quite sexy if you can draw this:

His boyhood:

It was during his later schooling in Colorado that Morley first developed an interest in archaeology, and in particular Egyptology. However his father—a man trained in the hard sciences and who had graduated at the top of his class in civil engineering at PMC—was initially unsupportive of his ambitions. Seeing little scope for employment opportunities in archaeology, the Colonel encouraged his son to study engineering instead.

The other Sylvanus Morley I can find no picture of.  From Wiki’s The “other” Sylvanus G. Morley, Sylvanus G. One says:

However, the person with the most right to complain was my cousin Sylvanus Griswold Morley, the celebrated archaeologist. The move made us homonyms, and gave rise to endless confusion. Look in a Who’s Who in America and you will learn the facts. Look in a library catalog, and you will be lucky to learn anything but errors. Sylvanus, a most good-natured soul, never protested. He was an undergraduate at Harvard while I was in the Grad. School. I sometimes received his Univ. bills, and less often, billets doux from his lights of love. I think he has none of mine.

More about eccentric heroes drawn to Central and South America can be found in:

Lady Xoc


from wikicommons, photo by Michel Wai

The ruler, Shield Jaguar, holds a torch while his consort, Lady Xoc, pulls a rope studded with what are now believed to be obsidian shards through her tongue in order to conjure a vision serpent.

says Wiki about Lintel 24 from Yaxchilan, a site in far southern Mexico, along the Usumacinta River, the border to Guatemala.

photo by me, Helytimes

photo by me, Helytimes

Yaxchilan is not easy to get to.  You have to take a boat like this:

Photo © 2004 Jacob Russ from Wiki commons


In the river there are crocodiles, in the towers of the ruins there are bats, everywhere there are spiders.

You won’t find Lintel 24 there though.  It’s at the British Museum in London.  It was cut out and sent there by Alfred Maudslay.



What the hell was up with Lady Xoc?  She appears on another lintel, Lintel 25:



her obsidian tongue piercing rope worked, and now she’s seeing the Vision Serpent as she bleeds into a bowl.


Michel wal again

Read more about Yaxchilan, Bonampak, how we figured out how to read Mayan inscriptions, and the mysteries of what the hell Lady Xoc and her friends were up to in my book:


I believe you’ll enjoy it as much as this baby does.  Amazon or your local indie bookstore, perhaps, for instance, at Spellbinder Books, way up in Bishop, CA.


this one from google maps

There’s a lot to like about Bishop.



Cinco de Mayo


Shoutout to my Dad for reminding me not to miss Cinco De Mayo.  Every year I have to look up what it celebrates – unlikely victory over the French invaders at the Battle of Puebla.


Let’s all have a toast to the hero Zaragoza


Dead of typhoid when he was 33.  The house where he was born is now in Goliad, Texas, how about that?

Bum Philips had a ranch in Goliad.

Manet painted the end of the French (I guess you could say Austro-Bavarian) emperor Maximilian in this painting now at Boston’s MFA:


Maybe you prefer Manet’s Olympia:


or this portrait of his sister in law Berthe:


Or Gypsy with a Cigarette:

gypsy with a cigarette

There’s a pretty interesting photograph of the execution of Maximilian, maybe not for everybody but can be seen here.

Many more tales of Mexican history and heroes can be found in my upcoming book THE WONDER TRAIL (Amazon link).

Bachelor’s Mexico


Helytimes readers – hey guys – will no doubt have noticed a decline in the quantity (but not quality?) of posts here lately.  That’s because the deadline for my book keeps creeping up on the calendar.

That project’s got me pretty well busy, among other things with research.  Today, for instance, I stopped by the Central Library in downtown LA to get my hands on a copy of Hernan Cortes’ letters to the Spanish king.

While I was in the “history of Mexico” section, a colorful volume attracted my eye:



IMG_7340 (1)

Most interesting might be the handwritten edit I found inside:


Other books by Boye de Mente:

IMG_7339 (2)

From his wikipedia page:


De Mente with Ben Carlin during their crossing of the Pacific Ocean by amphibious vehicle in the late 1950s.