SOUTH OF THE BORDER

                                  

"Once upon a time a young man of American Background thought he had discovered the Great Secret, the Skeleton Key to the Cosmos...the answer to 'What Makes It All Go?'"...*


Leon Trotsky, proponent of Permanent Revolution, born of Jewish parents in the Ukraine, 1879, third member of the 1917 revolutionary triumvirate, came second to Stalin in the power struggle after the death of Lenin, was exiled and subsequently deported. He eventually settled in Mexico, supported by his friends the artists Diego Riviera and Frida Kahlo, and founded the Fourth International. He survived one assasination attempt but after he quarrelled with Riviera he was killed by a Stalinist agent, Roman Mercador, who had stalked him for two years. Mercador stabbed him in the head with an icepick, in his home in Cocayan, a suburb of Mexico City.


The icepick is definitely a meme.

Live Sand Dollar



Ken Kesey, Oregon farm boy and champion wrestler, disciple of the Beat machismo gurus Kerouac and Cassady (Neal Cassady subsequently joined Kesey's Merry Pranksters on the bus called Furthur),and somewhat ironically identified by Tom Wolfe (Electric Kool Aid Acid Test) with previous messianic figures of world religion, fled to Mexico around the time the US government made LSD illegal (1965). Not so much a Utopian dreamer as a voracious hedonist, he should perhaps be remembered as one of the great unsung heroes of the American dream.
*quote is from Kesey's Garage Sale (1967) where the Mexican adventure is hermetically related



The Island of the Blue Dolphins, by  Scott O'Dell, Newbery Award Winner,  is based on the true story of a young  Chumash woman who lived alone for eighteen years on one of the Channel Islands, seventy five miles south of Los Angeles. She died of dysentry at the Santa Barbara Mission six weeks after being rescued. Her exquisite clothes and artefacts were lost in the San Fransisco earthquake 1906.
Woman Spirit, Julia White http://www.powersource.com/gallery/womansp/chumash.html

btb, the account of the Devil Fish (Manta Ray) in this book made me want to get to those islands, and was the first seed of an Ann Halam story called Dr Franklin's Island...

"Little Boy", dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945, was the first nuclear weapon and the first and last to utilize uranium as a source of explosive energy."Fat Man", dropped on the Japanese City of Nagasaki on August 9th 1945 was the second plutonium bomb. The first was the "gadget" detonated at the Trinity site, on July 16th 1945. Interestingly, a "Fat Boy" atomic device has come into being as an internet artefact, (check it out). There never was one in reality. There is, however, a Fat Boy Harley Davidson motorbike, a classic black and silver

beast...

Info from the Manhattan Project Heritage Association Association

MORE MEXICAN ASSOCIATIONS

Arenita Azul: Lila continues her mother's native american beliefs and traditions,with her second recording, YUTU TATA, TREE OF LIFE. Downs´ debut on Narada World, is inspired by the mythological account in the 16th century Codex Vindobonesis telling of the first Mixtec people being born from trees. TREE OF LIFE evokes the images from the ancient precolumbian manuscripts drawn by her ancestors. The arrangements are acoustic, respecting the natural sounds of clay and wooden instuments, that were used in the mesoamerican past, and continue to be used in the rural mountains of mexico today

Arenita azul, de 'onde salió...
qué quiere ser mi maí?
soy mariposa


"In the last half of the twentieth century many people in MesoAmerica turned to Protestantism as a new religion…"

James Dow argues persuasively that the Evangelical Protestant Sects (Seventh Day Adventists, Pentecostals, etc) have an appeal over and above the well-recognised affinity between new neligions and poverty, or the attraction of heterodox empowerment especially for the disenfranchised males in poor and marginalised communities. The rites and beliefs of the Evangelicals have much in common with the traditional native religious practices (trances, speaking in tongues, rapture...) long devalued by the modern Catholic church.

 

See:http://www.oakland.edu/~dow/personal/papers/hsaints/Dow1.020627.pdf
Protestantism in MesoAmerica: The Old Within The New,
James Dow


The US Common Loon (the true cry of the wilderness) is the Great Northern Diver; in Britain a rare and treasured visitor. It couldn't possibly be mistaken for a Marbled Goodwit, which is this:

Images courtesy of The National Wildlife Federation.