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z D I R EC T O R Y z PUBLISHER

Richard Tingen

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Alejandro Grattan-DomĂ­nguez Tel: (01376) 765 3676, 765 2877 Fax: (01376) 765 3528 Associate Publisher David Tingen Graphic Design Roberto C. Rojas Diana Parra Morales

Index...

FEATURE ARTICLES

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COVER STORY

%DUEDUD +LOGW VWLOO YLYLGO\ UHPHPEHUV WKH ÂżUVW WLPH VKH VDZ DV D FKLOG D SHUIRUPDQFH RI Amahl and the Night VisitorsDFODVVLFVWRU\VHWRQWKHQLJKW&KULVWZDVERUQ

Special Events Editor Sandy Olson

Contributing Editor Mark Sconce Theater Critic Michael Warren Book Review Panel Margaret Van Every Margaret Porter Clare Gearhart

Art Critic Rob Mohr Sales Manager Bruce Fraser 2ႈFH6HFUHWDU\ Rocio Madrigal ADVERTISING OFFICE Av. Hidalgo # 223, Chapala Mon. thru Fri. 9am - 5pm Sat. 9am - 1pm Tel. 01 (376) 765 2877, 765 3676 Fax 01 (376) 765 3528

46 LAKESIDE LIVING

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Robert James Taylor remembers one of the most famous pairings in all of history when Annie Sullivan came into the sightless and soundless life of Helen Keller.

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Editor’s Page

26 POETRY

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Child of Month

Susa Silvermarie’s Ajijic Medley is an epic poem about a little Mexican town that many thousands of our readers now call home.

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Uncommon Sense

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Welcome to Mexico

28 PHILANTHROPHY

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Focus on Art

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Lakeside Living

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Front Row Center

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ProÀling TeSehua

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Internet Mailbox

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Bridge by Lake

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MagniÀcent Mexico

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LCS Newsletter

Sandy Olson’s article is called “Hammers and HeURHV´ZKLFKSUHWW\ZHOOVXPVXSRQHRIWKHÂżQHVWRUganizations here at Lakeside.

34 PROFILE Mark Sconce interviews Dr. Morris Schwarzblat, the Director General of Science and Technology for the State of Jalisco, who touches on such fascinating subjects as the future of robots in the workforce. 60 BOOK REVIEW Prof. Michael Hogan (Lincoln and Mexico) reviews the newly revised and enlarged Kindle version of Alejandro Grattan’s Breaking EvenDQRYHOÂżUVWSXEOLVKHGLQ and sold in the United States, Canada and several other English-speaking countries.

Send all correspondence, subscriptions or advertising to: El Ojo del Lago http://www.chapala.com ojodellago@prodigy.net.mx Ave. Hidalgo 223 (or Apartado 279), 45900 Chapala, Jalisco Tels.: (376) 765 3676, Fax 765 3528 PRINTING: El Debate El Ojo del Lago aparece los primeros cinco dĂ­as de cada mes. (Distributed over WKHÂżUVWÂżYHGD\VRIHDFKPRQWK) &HUWLÂżFDGRGH/LFLWXGGH7tWXOR &HUWLÂżFDGRGH/LFLWXGGH&RQWHQLGR Reserva al TĂ­tulo de Derechos de Autor 04-2011-103110024300-102 Control 14301. Permisos otorgados por la SecretarĂ­a de GobernaciĂłn (EXP. 1/432 “88â€?/5651 de 2 de junio de 1993) y SEP (Reserva 171.94 control 14301) del 15 de enero de 1994. DistribuciĂłn: Hidalgo 223 Chapala, Jalisco, MĂŠxico. All contents are fully protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without the written consent of El Ojo del Lago. Opinions expressed E\ WKH DXWKRUV GR QRW QHFHVVDULO\ UHĂ€HFW WKH views of the Publisher or the Editor, nor are we responsible for the claims made by our advertisers. We welcome letters, which should include name, address and telephone number.

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12 INSPIRATION

Associate Editor Victoria Schmidt

Roving Correspondent Dr. Lorin Swinehart

COVER STORY

VOLUME 34 NUMBER 4

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

COLUMNS THIS MONTH


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COLUMNIST

Editor’s Page

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he earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. The world and all those who live in it. Psalm 24:1 The Christmas season is an appropriate time to reach out and care for the creatures who share our world, including those considered man’s best friend, without whom our lives would be sadly diminished.

DOG FIGHTING—A Continuing Blot on Our Conscience My sister, the author Linda Steele was taking a break from her writing recently to ride her bike through the bucolic Texas hill country, when she observed a large brown dog lurking forlornly by the roadside, a stray more than likely dumped by his human family. Linda attempted to befriend the sorrowful canine, but he was wary of the outreached hand of an unfamiliar human. A few days later, there he was again, standing alone along the same stretch of road, emaciated from lack of food. Then, for several days, he did not appear. My sister and my niece Trudy petitioned St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals, for his intervention, and, sure enough, the next day, there was the dog again. It took a major effort to coax him to them, but he finally agreed to accept human companionship. Back at the house, he gobbled down dog food, continually looking over his shoulder to assure himself that this group of humans would not abandon him like the last ones. Taken to the vet for his shots and flea treatment, he was dubbed Frank, after St. Francis. Given that my sister’s family already has two dogs, every effort has been expended in an attempt to locate Frank’s original human family, in the off chance that he may have strayed off, that someone somewhere

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might be missing him. The local veterinarian cautioned them not to advertise Frank over the internet because dog fighters find innocent prey in such a manner, nonaggressive dogs that are then turned loose for trained pit bulls to maul to death for practice. Setting out to confront the dark side of the human story requires great emotional and spiritual grit, and yet, one dare not do otherwise. So it is with the evil practice of dog fighting. Public awareness was brought to bear on the issue in 2007, when NFL quarterback Michael Vick, one of the world’s highest paid athletes, was arrested for his involvement with dog fighting, his subsequent conviction earning him a 21 month stay in prison. He and three others had been operating Bad Newz Kennels, where 50 pit bulls were being trained to fight, part of a high stakes gambling ring, where stakes of up to $26,000 were common and where atrocities were the order of the day. Bad Newz Kennels was a chamber of horrors. Vick and his partners in crime routinely and without compassion executed those dogs found to be poor “performers”. Some were hanged. Vick’s cohort Purnell Peace killed one losing dog by soaking it in water and electrocuting it. Others were drowned. One was slammed to the ground until it died of either a broken neck or a broken back. A pit bull named Georgia was found to have had all 42 teeth pried out, so that she could not bite a male dog during forced breeding. Non-combatant dogs, strays and other unwanted canines, dogs like Frank, were placed with trained pit bulls, to be maimed and killed. When he was arrested and charged, several of Vick’s teammates responded cretin-like that they didn’t know what all the excitement was about, that the dogs were his private property and that he could do as he pleased with them. That many


professional athletes, pampered by a corrupt system since childhood, are ethically challenged comes as no surprise. Not all are Shaquille O’Neal’s or Joe DiMaggio’s. However, the Atlanta NAACP disgraced itself as badly by coming to Vick’s defense and urging “compassion for” him. Vick’s crimes were excusable on the basis of his ethnicity, it seems, much as Heinrich Himmler might have argued that his offenses were forgivable because he was German. Perhaps even more damning was the standing ovation that greeted Vick when he returned to professional football as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. One might argue that the crowd believed that he had paid for his offenses and should begin anew, but somehow one suspects that such benevolence had little or nothing to do with the fans’ response, but, rather that a frivolous and meaningless game took precedence in their consciousness over and above all considerations of justice or compassion. Psychopathic serial killers often begin their careers by torturing and killing wildlife and pets, then moving on to their fellow humans. Perhaps it is the same with societies, leaving one to ponder over what other forms of “bread and circuses” the fans in Philadelphia might feel compelled to cheer for. Even President Obama urged that Vick be given a second chance. It appears that in the minds of too many, the ability to toss a football excuses everything. And yet, Mr. Vick appears to have turned his life around, fostering numerous charitable causes in the years since and speaking out in opposition to dog fighting on behalf of the Humane Society. Dog fighting did not end when Jack London penned his two classics White Fang and The Call of the Wild. Even though it is illegal in all 50 states in the US, it takes place regularly in all of them, a vicious blood sport fueled by human greed, cruelty and the insecurity of inadequate men who perceive dogs as extensions of themselves. Spectators are eager accomplices, given that their admission fees and wagers create the market for such cruelties. Many become involved hoping to win big from betting. Most are simply sadists. Dog fighting is associated with other felonious activities; gang activities, money laundering, illegal firearms, drug trafficking. Matt Bershadker, president of the ASPCA, defines dog fighting as cruelty for profit. On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law HR 2642, the

Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, legislation that a repentant Michael Vick lobbied on behalf of, strengthening previous legislation, enabling law enforcement to arrest and charge not only those who stage dog fights but spectators as well. Recognizing that exposing children to dogfights desensitizes them to cruelty, the law sets severe penalties for those convicted of subjecting minors to such barbarities. Still, the horror continues. The ASPCA estimates that there are tens of thousands of dog fighters in the US alone and hundreds of thousands of their canine victims. Filthy lucre feeds the offense, as always. In one raid, $550,000 was seized. Between $20,000 and $30,000 may change hands in the course of a single fight. Fighting dogs are treated cruelly from day one. Many are tethered with short, heavy chains, exposed to the elements, fed anabolic steroids in order to enhance muscle mass and foster aggressiveness, tails and ears often severed by means of cruel methods so that their rivals will have less to grasp onto. Fights may last for minutes or for hours. Many die of their injuries later. Last December, in my own state of North Carolina, despite federal prohibitions making dog fighting punishable by years in prison, the ASPCA raided a fighting operation involving 156 dogs. The dogs were rescued, ten of the perpetrators were arrested and seven charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act. As I pen these lines in the safety and comfort of my home, thousands of dogs are being neglected, abused and trained to fight for the entertainment of howling spectators. One wishes to banish such images from one’s awareness, but to pretend blindness and deafness in the face of human cruelty is to acquiesce in it, to become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. It falls upon all of us to become the voice of those who have no voice. As for Frank, he has developed into a happy, boisterous dog. He has befriended the local deer population and speeds along the fence line, playing his doggish game of tag with them. He loves to play “tug the rope” and has developed a fondness for cherry tomatoes from my niece’s garden. If only all dogs could find their way to such a blissful life. Dr. Lorin Swinehart

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Amahl And The Night Visitors %\%DUEDUD+LOGW

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hen I was eight my parents took me and my two sisters to see a live performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, performed at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. I was deeply moved by the music that told the story of Amahl, a poor crippled shepherd boy, and his mother who are visited by the three kings on their way to find the Christ child, following the direction of a star. Realizing how much I loved this opera, Daddy traveled the twenty miles back to Hartford the next week to purchase a recording of the original performance done in 1951 for NBC tele-

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vision which had commissioned the hour long opera. The record came with a booklet with photos of the production and the libretto. I insisted on listening to the recording many times until I had memorized all the words and could sing every note. I was so captivated and enthralled by Amahl and the Night Visitors that I convinced my teacher to let our 3rd grade class walk a short distance to our house in the cold to listen to our recording of the opera. As a little girl, I could identify with Amahl, the boy who didn’t want to stop playing his flute and come inside at bedtime. His mother gets angry when he doesn´t obey, telling her son if he

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

were not crippled she would spank him. She later accuses him of lying when he tells her that there are three kings at their door. Before the kings arrival Amahl´s mother sings to her young son, “unless we go begging, how shall we live through tomorrow.” Amahl responds to cheer his mother with optimism by singing, “Don’t cry, Mother dear, don’t worry for me. If we must go begging, a good beggar I’ll be.” After they go to sleep, hungry, on beds of straw in a cold house, there is a knock at the door. Three times Amahl goes to the door and reports to his mother, who thinks he is imagining there are three kings at the door. She goes to the door and is amazed to find Amahl was telling the truth. She invites them in and then sends Amahl to go and invite the other shepherds and ask them to bring whatever they have in their houses for she has nothing to offer the kings. When she sees what the three kings have brought, Amahl´s mother sings: “Oh, these beautiful things, and all that gold!” One king responds: “These are the gifts to the child.” She responds, “The child! Which child? Perhaps I know him. What does he look like?” The king replies, “Have you seen a child the color of wheat, the color of dawn? His eyes are

mild, His hands are those of a King, as King He was born.” Imagining it could be her child they seek, she sings, “Yes I know a child the color of wheat, the color of dawn. His eyes are mild, his hands are those of a King, as King he was born. But no one will bring him incense or gold, though sick and poor and hungry and cold. He’s my child, my son my darling my own.” When everyone has fallen asleep, Amahl´s mother contemplates stealing some of the gold. She sings, “All that gold! All that gold! I wonder if rich people know what to do with their gold! Do they know how a child could be fed? Do rich people know? Do they know that a house can be kept warm all day with burning logs? Oh, what I could do for my child with that gold! Why should it all go to a child they don’t even know?” Hearing these words as a child, long before I was even aware of how much extreme poverty there is in this world and how economic injustices so unfairly jeopardize the lives of so many children, I was profoundly moved by Amahl´s mother asking if rich people have any idea how the poor struggle to survive. I must have wondered why rich people don´t care and share more. Those questions are still with me today. For me, the important meaning and relevancy of Jesus Christ´s birth is


conveyed when one of the kings sings, “Oh, woman, you may keep the gold. The Child we seek doesn’t need our gold. On love alone he will build His Kingdom. His pierced hand will hold no scepter. His haloed head will wear no crown. His might will not be built on your toil. He will bring us new life and the keys to His city belong to the poor.” When suddenly Amahl finds he is no longer crippled and can walk, the kings declare the miracle is a sign from God. With assurances that they will take good care of Amahl and bring him safely home, his mother allows him to go with the kings to give thanks to the child and to take him his crutch as a gift. I shall always be grateful to my parents for giving me the experience of seeing and hearing Amahl and the Night Visitors. I listen to a recording of Amahl at least once every Christmas season. The story and the words sung by Amahl and his mother always move me to tears. This amazing work of art has had and will continue to have more meaning for me than any other I have experienced. I hope my grand children will someday get to know and appreciate Amahl. Barbara Hildt

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Does Anyone Else Have This Blot On Paradise? %\-LP'LFNLQVRQ MLP#IGDZHEFRP

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am sitting in my edge of paradise, overlooking the tranquility and peace below and the sweeping vista of Lake Chapala, a rapture that has somehow escaped me all of my life until we arrived here five years ago. The grandeur all around is breathtaking, and infinitely calming. “Get the hell out of my life, you f--!” screams my beloved’s Kindle, shattering my rapture. “Can you turn that thing off?” I ask. “It’s comedy,” she protests. “Well, I don’t find it funny.” She knows me better than to persist, but the foul language spews forth from the Kindle.

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“I’m trying, but I can’t turn it off,” she says. “I rebooted, but it came back.” Eventually, she was able to curb it, and peace descended again in my daily evening reverie. But it had been broken, and I was irretrievably aggrieved. How dare they? I groused, inwardly – “they” being the modern comedic culture where artists can’t make a living unless they flaunt the coarseness and vulgarity of the modern, mediacultivated culture. I remembered my own family Thanksgiving dinner table years ago, at which our son suddenly flared during a protest I’d made in the conversa-

tion: “Mom, ‘f---’ is a perfectly respectable word these days!” Something any boy would say to his mother any time, obviously. Suddenly I realized we were too old. The world had passed us by. We and our lifelong conditioning were on the way out – so much so that we had lost our moralistic connection to the status quo. Why had we not kept up and plugged-in? Why, even, were we living at Lakeside, a place where our family was afraid to visit us, even when we paid the airfare? Then it dawned on me. We had unwittingly become trapped in a time warp. We had left a place where the crassness of modern life, not to mention its climatic assaults on our decrepit contentment had alienated us, and where we had found a refuge in which the comforting Mexican world and climate were more like the world we grew up in than what the modern USA had evolved into being. Not that the terrible U.S. mediaamplified drug wars in Mexico are irrelevant. They just don’t affect us at Lakeside. Why don’t our families believe us? It’s because we’re old and irrelevant. Does anyone else have this problem?


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ANNIE SULLIVAN—The Miracle e Worker %\5REHUW-DPHV7D\ORU

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nnie Sullivan was born on April 14, 1866, in Feedings Hills, MA to Thomas and Alice Sullivan, impoverished immigrants from County Limerick, Ireland. At age five she contracted trachoma, an eye disease that impaired her vision. Her mother died when she was eight years old, and two years later, her father abandoned her and her younger brother. They were consequently sent to an almshouse in Tewksbury, an overcrowded home for the destitute; her young brother died several months later. One day, a state official visited the school, and Annie, restrained by her elders so far, was strong minded enough (a trait she would own all her life) to approach him saying “Sir, I want to go to school.” Later she received permission to enrol in the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston: she was 14 years old when she commenced her studies. Annie was a bright pupil, progressed rapidly, and though her eyesight was

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poor, she later received treatments that improved her vision. During her time at Perkins she befriended Laura Bridgman, the first deaf and blind person to graduate there; she taught Annie the manual alphabet, and the usage of fingers to ‘write’ letters on the palm of a hand. In June 1886, Annie Sullivan graduated at age 20 and was named the Valedictorian of her class.

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March 1887: Tuscumbia, Alabama Helen Keller, now aged six was one of five privileged children, whose parents came from distinguished backgrounds. When she was 18 months old Helen fell ill, (likely scarlet fever) which rendered her both blind and deaf. She could have been institutionalized save that her mother sensed that her child showed intelligence underneath that overwhelming disability that was bestowed on her, and later, through family connections, she received advice from Alexander Graham Bell: she would contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind. A visit followed soon after, and the school’s Director, Michael Anagnos, suggested a qualified personal teacher for Helen’s development. That day Annie Sullivan met Helen Keller. It would become one of the greatest friendships in the annals of American history. In March 1887, Annie arrived at the Keller’s house in Tuscumbia: the task ahead of her would be formidable. Helen Keller, who, for over four years had lived in a world devoid of sound or light in dark isolation, had become an unruly and spoilt child who would tyrannize the household with her uncontrollable tantrums. Perhaps this was because an intelligent mind was being stifled by the loss of her two most im-

portant senses. Annie’s challenge was to gain the child’s confidence, and find the right balance between discipline and love, without crushing the child’s spirit: the discipline would come first. Secluded from the main house, Annie would work with her recalcitrant pupil attempting to find a way for Helen to communicate with the outside world. The technique Annie used, which Laura Bridgeman had taught her, was to ‘spell’ words in the palm of Helen’s hand while touching the associated objects with the other hand. After many weeks of continued attempts to break the barrier- it happened. History has well documented through books and movies the famous scene whereby Helen feels the water flow over her hand from the water pump, while Annie spells the word W-A-T-E-R in her other hand. Helen stood transfixed, the day of enlightenment had come; the connection was finally made. ‘WATER” was the first word she learned. That day Helen learnt 30 words— her appetite for learning words was insatiable: the words came quickly‘mama’ ‘papa’ and then came ‘teacher,’ the word Helen would call Annie from thereon after. That night Helen kissed her teacher: they were now inseparable. Helen said of that day “She opened the door to my soul.” Annie would be


her teacher, interpreter and friend for the next 49 years. Mark Twain, one of the many famous friends of Helen’s wrote to her calling Annie “Your other half, for it took the pair of you to make a complete and perfect whole.” Helen Keller herself graduated at Radcliffe with a Bachelor of Arts degree; she learned to read Braille in five different languages, wrote her life story and became the champion of the deaf and blind throughout the world. Annie Sullivan, now totally blind herself, died in October 1936, aged 70. At her funeral Bishop Freeman said the following: “The touch of her hand did

more than illuminate the pathway of a clouded mind, it literally emancipated a soul.” Helen Keller lectured all over the world and was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She died in 1968, aged 88. Her body was cremated and her ashes were placed alongside those of her beloved Annie, (“teacher”) in the chapel at the Washington National Cathedral. Robert James Taylor

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COLUMNIST

CHILD

of the month

%\1LFROH6HUJHQW &OLQLF'LUHFWRU3URJUDPD3UR1LxRV,QFDSDFLWDGRV

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rick Daniel H.R. Erick was born in January 2001 and joined our Chapala Clinic in October 2015. He had been diagnosed with renal insufficiency and was on dialysis for a few years when he first came to the clinic. He was on a kidney transplant list and his mother was his donor. He kept on dialysis and the surgery was done in October 2017. Both he and his mother did well, though they had to stay in a home in Guadalajara where they lived in a sterile environment for three months following the surgery before they could move back home.

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In July he was admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of peritoneal tuberculosis. He is now back home and will have to follow a treatment from 2 to 6 months. The family is very supportive and we wish that he will regain his health after this fallback. We have reimbursed the family a total of 73,239 pesos for transportation to and from Guadalajara, tests and medication. Thank you once again for this opportunity to introduce one of our children. We see families at 3 locations: Jocotepec, Ajijic and Chapala. Should you be interested to attend a clinic please contact Barb Corol (766-5452) for Jocotepec or myself (766-4375) for Ajijic and Chapala. Please visit our website at: www. programaninos.com


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COLUMNIST

UUNCOMMON NCOM MM MON CCOMMON OM MM MON SSENSE ENSE %\%LOO)UD\HU ELOOIUD\HU#JPDLOFRP Adios, Amigos!

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his will mark my final installment of “Uncommon Common Sense.” For exactly ten years, it has been a labor of love. I have enjoyed having the privilege of putting my thoughts down every month and receiving thoughtful feedback from readers through letters to the editor, email, and chance meetings on the street. %LOO)UD\HU It all started in January 2008, when the Ojo editor Alejandro Grattan agreed to publish my series of three articles on critical thinking. He subsequently offered me the opportunity to continue writing on the same general theme as a monthly column. I wasn’t at all certain that I could think of anything interesting to write every month, but I agreed, not exactly sure where I was going. In 2012, we decided to return to Maine permanently and became snowbirds in Ajijic. This past year, due to family health problems, we were unable to return to Mexico. We have a good life in our beautiful State of Maine, but our lives have changed. I believe my monthly project has reached a natural end. Although I enjoy thinking about ideas to put into the column, I sometimes find myself covering familiar ground, as you might have noticed. If there has been an overriding theme to my column, it has probably been my desire to find common ground, through rational discourse. We are facing treacherous

times and sharp divisions. Despite our differences, most of us want the same things. Disagreement is fed not by sincere conversation and debate but by shrill voices on both sides. The residents at Lakeside are a diverse group. You come from many backgrounds and professions. Our expat community is enriched every day by your passion and engagement. I have always enjoyed our interaction and conversation, even when we disagree. I often joked to Fred Harland, with whom I helped host weekly TED talks during the winter season, that leading group discussions here is a snap. All I had to do is ask, “Well, what do you think?” to prompt a thoughtful hour-long discussion. I’d like to thank Alex for providing me with this opportunity over the past decade. The list of people to whom I am indebted is too long to include here, but you know who you are: the many talented Lake Chapala writers, our kindly Mexican neighbors, members of my Unitarian fellowship, fellow snowbirds who loyally attend the TED lectures, my fellow teachers at the biblioteca, and those with whom I’ve had only fleeting acquaintance. My only regret is that I did not meet you earlier... I am glad to have come across you Even as the sun sets over the western shore For you are a beacon to light my way As I head into my dusk. Where I feel unsure, you step deliberately Where I am new, you show me your scars. You are not like those I do not want to become Who die slowly every day. You live in the sun and bask in the heat. How did you get to this twilight today? What were you like at noon? I can only guess. Were you always walking in front? Were you like me? What have you lost in the dark afternoon? Would that I could walk with you For just one day in the sun To look into your face To see what you feared And see what you loved When the sun cast no shadows On your fresh life. I am glad to have Seen you smile and heard your voice In the evening light. May we all remember to think clearly and love deeply. Ed. Note: On behalf of both myself and the Tingen Family, I’d like to publically thank Bill for his many dozens of thought-provoking articles which have graced our pages over these past ten years. His “uncommon common sense” and generosity of spirit have long-since made him one of our most admired columnists. He and his delightful wife, Pixie, will be greatly missed, but rather than bid them a final farewell, we’ll use the more hopeful Mexican phrase, Hasta La Vista—Until we see each other again.

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hey are at their favorite Italian Restaurant and Frankie smiles as he watches Millie twirling pasta around her fork. They have been a couple for six years and today he is going to propose. “Whaddaya say, doll, wanna get married?” Millie sighs. “Frankie, you’re great lookin’ and all but ya got no couth.” “Cout? What’s this couth crap? Ya want some I’ll buy ya a truck load.” Millie’s blond curls bounce as she shakes her head. “Ya dummy. It’s “couth, ya pronounce the ‘th’. It’s class. Rich people are born with it but we gotta learn it. See how I hold out my pinky when I drink? That’s class.” “Huh! And I thought ya had a stiff finga.” “I’ll give ya stiff finga! Get some couth then ask me again.” She grabs her fake rabbit fur jacket and stomps off. Frankie sat and pondered his situation. Suddenly he jumps up, threw some bills on the table, runs out, grabs a cab and heads to “Big Patsy” Nuzzo’s office. Big Patsy is about five feet four inches and weighs around 200. He’s wearing a navy blue pin stripe Armani suit, a pale blue shirt with

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French cuffs and gold cuff links the size of ice cubes. Frankie notices that his uncle has given up his pin up girl ties for ones with red and blue stripes. “Hey Frankie! How are you? How’s your Ma?” “Good, Unc, good. Listen, I need help. My girl won’t marry me ‘til I get some couth. You got plenty of it, so can ya help me get some?” Patsy throws back his head and laughs. “So you need some class? I know just the guy. Come on.” Patsy takes Frankie to “Patricio’s,” an upscale men’s store that Patsy owns. As they enter the shop a tall handsome man appears from the back. He’s well dressed, and his hair is perfectly styled. Frankie guesses he is some years older than himself but in better shape. “Patricio, nice to see you. We have some beautiful new cashmere jackets. Interested?” “Not today Andrew, I have a job for you. This is my godson Frankie and he wants to learn your high society ways. Have your assistant run the shop for awhile so you can teach him like you did me.” Andrew eyes Frankie skeptically, noting the collar turned up on his polo shirt, his jeans and jelled hair. “Hmm. “Let’s start with your wardrobe Francis, then we’ll go see my

hair stylist.” When Frankie is suitably dressed and coifed, Andrew gives him their agenda. He introduces Frankie to the best restaurants, operas, plays, and museums. He teaches him proper table manners and arranges for elocution lessons. They become inseparable. Occasionally, Andrew sends Frankie off with his niece Cecelia to practice his manners. Cecelia is beautiful. Frankie loves everything about her; the way she talks, the way she dresses, her graceful walk, her wonderful fragrance. They shop together in both expensive and funky stores, dine in small bistros and go to clubs that Andrew would not have approved of. They even go to a Jets game, drink beer and eat hot dogs. ‘This couth stuff is okay,’ thinks Frankie. Finally Andrew deems Francis ready so he arranges to meet Millicent at Anthony’s for lunch. The maître de escorts her to his table. Francis stands and takes her hand. Millie can’t believe her eyes. Frankie is attired in a navy blue Versace cashmere blazer, beige linen trousers and caramel brown Berluti loafers. “Frankie! Oh my God! Ya look like a movie stah!” The waiter serves the champagne Frankie had ordered earlier, and Frankie says, “Millicent, may I order for us?” For once Millie is speechless but nods her agreement. After a sumptuous lunch, Millie kisses Francis on the cheek and squeels, “Yes, Frankie! I’ll marry you!” Frankie hangs his head. Finally he looks up at her. “Millicent, this is very hard for me to say, but I can’t marry you. While I was learning about couth I fell in love with someone else who introduced me to a whole different world. I’m really sorry, Millicent. I hope you can forgive me.” Millie stares at him in stunned silence. Finally she stands, glares at Frankie, and said, “Ya big phony, take your new life and shove it.” Frankie gets up, kisses Millie on the cheek and walks out. The following week, Francis and Andrew move in together and Francis is now managing “Patricio’s.” And Millie? Millie is enrolled in the Mr. Andrew’s School of Culture where she is getting some couth. Margie Keane


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It’s only hypothetical, but how would you survive An avalanche scenario: Buried while alive? The only food you could have brought was your own food for thought; Starvation of the mind, it seems, means all you have forgot! In such a situation, aren’t you likely to regret All the petty, insubstantial, simple-minded things you’ve met? That includes the grade B movies, airport thrillers, and the rest: All the sitcoms, television ads, and tawdry tabloid press. From an under-snow perspective, as you’re lying there supine, Won’t this flimsy fare mean famine for your deconstructing mind? And as your thoughts and fears revolve around your desperate plight, Don’t you wish those thoughts were lucent in an ever darkening night? Thoughts about your loved ones, yes, and memories of home, But what will you encounter when your mind begins to roam? Soliloquies from Shakespeare? A little fugue from Bach? Recollect them, Pilgrim, as you listen to your clock. Your memory is your friend for life, now that you’re lying prone. You’ll need the Psalms and Bible quotes now that you’re all alone. I personally have memorized the verses of a friend, While the poetry of Pushkin will preserve me till the end. Keep browsing intellectually; don’t starve that grayish cell; Live burial is but one of many forms of living hell. Feed your head each day, my friend, not just from nine to five; You’ll never know nor e’er regret the comfort you’ll derive.

—Mark Sconce—

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COLUMNIST

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Different Ways

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itting in yet another waiting room at yet another hospital, I await the completion of another medical procedure on my husband. I brought music that I couldn’t listen to, and a book, which I couldn’t read. Instead I stared at one of the hospital cleaning staff. I looked at the meticulous way in which she went about her work. First she swept the floor, and we all raised our feet as she cleaned the floor under our chairs. She noticed that one man had mud stuck on his tennis shoes, and she got a smaller brush, and brushed the mud from his shoes, and then used her larger broom to clean that up. Of course the dust and dirt went into the tandem device to the broom—the dust collector. I examined her cleaning cart. It contained wet floor signs-bilingual; bolsas (bags,) generic cleaning fluid in a generic spray bottle, rags, bucket, mop, cleaning gloves, and a large center container for basura (garbage), all more efficiently organized than my cleaning center at home. My eyes glazed over as I remembered another hospital in another country, with a more modern cleaning cart. More modern cleaning tools and chemicals than the one here in Mexico, but the floors were just as clean. Further down the hallway in the hospital of my memory, there was a man standing over a machine with dual brushes swiveling so fast

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it seemed it was everything he could do to hold onto that machine. Yet the mop and bucket method here resulted in the same thing—sparkling floors. I looked at the clock on the wall: time seemed as if it weren’t advancing at all. But the woman had reached the mop-wringing portion of her task. I saw the familiar twist, squeeze, and twist method. I wondered how many times a day she repeated this movement. Her arms must be strong, I thought. I tried to remember the mops we used at home. As a child, I was my mother’s mop. On my hands and knees, with water bucket and a scrub brush. My home as an adult had squeegee sponge mops or Swifter’s. When we moved to Mexico, I was not familiar with working with household help. I saw the cleaning tools she used, and of course, I went straight out and bought what I thought was a “better” system. Something that was easier to wring the dirty water from the mop. I had absolutely no Spanish in which to explain how this newer devise worked, and she was quite tolerant of my attempt to explain how to use it. She smiled and said “Gracias” … and never used it again. Well, not as it was made, she did tear out the device in the bucket that would wring out the mop. She liked that the bucket was on wheels and was easier to maneuver, I suppose. I was completely confused. Why would she not want to use this newer, better product? Yet as the years have gone by, I’ve heard other expats share similar experiences. I came to respect that the people here in Mexico have their own ways of doing things. They are proud of their ways. It seems almost as if they honor their predecessors by maintaining their ways. Watching the hospital worker meticulously go through her ritual, I thought of the things she was thinking about while she worked. I hope they were happier thoughts than those I had for my mother and the scrub brush! Again, I glanced at the clock. Victoria Schmidt


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Mental Ecology %\%ODQFD6DOD]DU

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n health matters as in all areas of our lives, it is important to recognize that confidence plays a very important role; to have better results, it is essential to fully believe that the best is possible. To have faith is to trust that the best can happen despite the odds. To fear is to believe that the worst can happen because there is a prognosis that ensures it. Could physicians make more responsible diagnoses without causing fear in their patients; or is it necessary to be frank so as not to create “false expectations”? Expectations are possible realities only if they are injected with sufficient confidence. To which of the two ideas are we giving power in our minds? Any situation in our life can grow if we believe it is possible; it does not matter if it is for better or worse. If we believe it, we are giving it power. Personally I prefer to believe that there is an energy much more powerful than mine that is in charge of my health, my affairs, emotions, thoughts, relationships and finances. “And Jesus said unto them, I tell you the truth, if you have faith even as small as a mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible.” Matthew 17-20 Health is our responsibility and happiness is a personal commitment. There is no disease that does not have a solution. Just as there is a cause of a disease, in the same way, there

is an antidote for eliminating it. In a very high percentage of cases, the causes of diseases have their origin in an erroneous mental program that emotionally affects the patient whose immune system is weakened by their fears, sadness and anger. As a result the physical body lets you know that the only way to heal is to recognize the belief that initiated the discomfort so as to be able to heal from within, as all wounds heal from the inside out. Inner strength, emotional intelligence and mind-body interactions are the oldest and most effective tools for maintaining the wise optimism generated by inner peace that naturally radiates physical, mental, emotional, relationship and financial health. Love is the source of universal energy and the basis of all relationships, including of course my relationship with myself because from there comes the need to be in harmony with everything. The universal energy is the provider par excellence of all good, so nothing outside of me can disturb me. If my mind is kept in constant communication with the source of life, health will be an irrevocable privilege and happiness the consequence of the constant practice of mental ecology and emotional intelligence. We are all one and we are united for a single reason: helping each other to recognize their purpose of life, that which stimulates the senses and keeps us active, automatically generating the bliss of knowing that it is enough to make the decision to be happy to be able to do so in spite of all foreseeable diagnoses, circumstances or adverse people. Adversity is an opportunity to learn to overcome daily challenges and practice confidence in life because everything that happens is how it is because it cannot be otherwise; so if we do our best the final result can only be the best possible because life is generous in the same measure that we are generous with others. Powerful beliefs can create disease or wellness. Blanca Salazar

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I live in a place where the mountains are emerald the lake is alive. and the winds, oh the winds all have names! II. RAIN She pays her call in the dark and crawls under the covers with me. Holding nothing back, she pours her power down for hours.

I. WIND I live in a place where the mountains are emerald I live in a place where the lake is alive. I live in a place where the winds, oh the winds all have names! From the east comes the dear Mexicano. Kissing my cheeks from the west is the sweet Abajeño. And blowing from the south is the sultry Sureño. When it wafts from the south and the east, it’s called the Guaracheño, while the one that blows from the south and the west is named the Colimote.

Rain in the night, a monsoon on my roof, her heartbeat full-strength, steadfast. Her drumming opens my ears, opens a portal to a place that makes me wake, and smile, wide with late-learned grace. When Her drumbeat recedes, it’s a delicate dance of retreat that lingers like a lover’s fingers… I blow a kiss of gratitude, as Her presence vanishes. And then the silence reverberates with her absent music. III. RHYTHM From the beach on Sundays the rhythms of Mexican families come right through my window. Families, as if in their kitchens: laughing voices, radio rancheras, the scent of roasted chicken. I hear the children at their games as if we shared a living room— And don’t we? Live in the same, one worldhouse? IV. TRUST I live in a village that opens me I live in a village that invites me I live in a village that embraces me I live in a village that grows my trust. V. MOTHERVOICE On the shore of Lake Chapala I feel again the floating, and the streaming into me of those consoling sounds, the mother voice, the only one that travels not through air but through the fluids. Lullabyed by lapping I am, once more, inside, rocked by the whoosh of my mother’s blood, bathed in the rhythm of her beating heart. On the shore of Lake Chapala, again I hear the melody of speech without the consonants— a muffled flow of vowel song, in the swishing, amniotic sea.

©Susa Silvermarie 2017 26

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ne day in 2007 Richard Bansbach was checking out the bulletin board at the Lake Chapala Society and found this note: “Wanted—guys with woodworking or handyman experience.” Move forward to 2017 and we find that ten years of heroic effort on the part of many volunteers has manifested from that initial invitation into a Richard Bansbach state of the art carpentry shop in Riberas del Pilar. Here’s how it happened: The original note proved to be an invitation to help children at the orphanage at Mission San Pablo, located in an old eventos building in Cedros, halfway to the airport. One day six guys packed up two cars with a very small variety of tools and started going to the orphanage on Saturday mornings. This all went on for about a year, with a total of 12 or so rotating volunteers. The kids who were not developmentally disabled made cubbies for their meager belongings and then progressed to bird houses. Later the group got a connection with boys ages 8-13 at another orphanage, Hope House in Ixtlahuacan. Eventually Hope House funded and initiated its own program and at that time LCS offered a free space for classes and lockers for the wood working

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equipment in return for any carpentry repairs needed around the buildings. The new program was off and running. A minimum of ten kids came to LCS every Saturday and produced bird houses, paper towel holders, tool boxes and napkin holders. That success grew the program out of LCS and into a building on Ocampo. Rotary International provided bigger and better tools. By 2011 through the successful efforts of these volunteers and many donations, two program levels were created and Lalo Robledo, the first fulltime Mexican carpenter was hired as the maestro. The following year Eloy Gonzalez, a bilingual woodworker highly skilled in Spanish colonial furniture design and execution, joined the volunteer teaching staff. He and Lalo developed the first formal curriculum, which moved beyond the birdhouse level to making furniture and home furnishings. The goal of Have Hammer is not to produce professional carpenters. Richard Bansbach says, “Where I am with it is not to say we’re creating carpenters. We’re teaching these kids something they can take with them when they get married, and maybe have a house of their own.” Classes are free. Also, there’s an informal scholarship program of sorts. If the staff hears of a boy who is at risk of dropping out of school, or has a sibling who needs something, Have Hammer will step in to help out, in some cases offering full scholarships. Back to the history: about four years ago Have Hammer moved to a

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shop on Hidalgo and last year moved again to its current location at 231B Hidalgo, next to its partner Todo Bueno Resale Shop. They didn’t have far to go. They didn’t need moving trucks. They just carted things across the street when there was no traffic. The new shop is well equipped with generous donations from Rotary International, the latest being a very important recent acquisition, a central vacuum system valued at $1000 US. Michel Ouimet, Have Hammers president, joined the group five years ago. This retired Professor of French Literature says that “Cindy Thompson, the secretary/treasurer, brought the organization out of financial straits and set up macro managing 0LFKHO2XLPHW techniques. Now Michele makes sure Have Hammers is always financially on the right track.” To get on a firm financial footing, HHWT partnered with St. Andrews Anglican Church and dedicated part of the new building to Todo Bueno, staffed by volunteers from both organizations. Wayne Renz, in his role as fundraising chairman, got the Tuesday afternoon Bingo Lago started. Wayne is tireless in his efforts to promote the bingo games, where proceeds go to help pay the maestro’s salary, maintenance and supplies at the shop. Here’s a plug for Bingo Lago: :D\QH5HQ] winners get points

toward gifts of their selection: prizes ranging from 100 point potholders to a 600 point day trip with Charter Club Tours to a beautiful handmade box made by an advanced student for 800 points. Wayne has also instituted a monthly tasting and sale of local products. Bingo Lago meets at Maria Isabel Restaurant by the lake on Tuesdays. Registration starts at 1 pm and the games begin at 1:30. Elo Gonzalez is Vice President of Have Hammers and is still volunteering at 231B Hidalgo, working and teaching alongside Maestro Lalo Robledo. He teaches the advanced classes on MWF afternoons. Lalo Robledo, the maestro, will build beautiful furniture to or-

/DOR5REOHGRDQG(OR\*RQ]DOH] der, on his own time in the mornings. Wayne Renz says, “Goals of this group are to give kids a chance not only to learn simple crafts but to develop life skills such as working together, respecting each others’ space, learning patience and to focus and appreciation of the time it takes to create.” Not to mention the relationships the volunteers build with the young people of the community. I came away from these interviews struck by what nobody directly talked about: the dedication and love these heroic volunteers have for the young people they serve. It’s not just about the carpentry, for sure.

Sandy Olson


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Things that Happen When You Teach ESL %\0DUJDUHW$QQ3RUWHU

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nd in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – Paul McCartney Volunteer teachers at the LCS-Wilkes Center ‘English as a Second Language’ program know that Sir Paul’s lyrics are true: When you teach ESL to Mexican students, ages 15 years and up, you’ll feel as if you are getting more out of it than you’re able to give. Yet by year’s end, you will more fully understand the nature of the exchange that has taken place – one full of laughter and bravery, with English giving no quarters, yet you all somehow moved forward together. Rooted in Greek and Latin, English has morphed through time into its own language, yet it re-

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mains the body-snatcher of articulation, claiming words like ‘patio’ and ‘guerrilla’ from Spanish, ‘ballet’ and ‘entrepreneur’ from French, ‘diesel and ‘kindergarten’ from German, ‘tsunami’ and ‘karaoke’ from Japanese, and even words like the humble ‘moped’ from Swedish. The rules of English will seem clear, but just as an ESL student and her teacher think they’ve learned one thoroughly, they’ll start running into the exceptions to the rules, and these things breed like tlacu-

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

aches, the mother-exception carrying the little buggers in her pouch. Hoo boy, then here come the homonyms: Example, bear, meaning to withstand, carry, or force an infant out of one’s uterus; bear, meaning a large furry animal, or any male over 250 lbs. with Scottish ancestry. It’s difficult to explain to ESL students why we have such a lazy language – one word, spelled the same, different meanings – as compared to Spanish, which is so distinct; if Mexicans need a new word for something, they make one up, present it in a song, and everyone practices using it in a sentence while dancing. No hay problema. And don’t get me started on homophones, prepositions, transitive verbs, et. al. (I just looked that up: et. al. = et alia, meaning ‘and others.’ But why do we use that? Why? Can anyone tell me?) Seriously, though, let me be frank, not to worry, whatever segue (a word borrowed from Italian) floats your boat: I taught ESL at the Wilkes Center successfully for three years and I can proclaim that ESL can be taught by those of us who have never read, How To Teach English: Snob’s Edition. All you need is to like watching people grow, adventures into the unknown, and feeling appreciated. Because, you see, when you teach ESL at the Wilkes Center, three things inevitably happen: You realize that many of the students are aware that you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you’re faking it, albeit comically so. They’ll sit there, staring at you with sparkling eyes, smiling, until one of them offers to help you explain the concept to the group because they studied it just last week. No matter how often you read classroom rule #2 to the students – “English only spoken in this class!”

–the students will speak Spanish at every opportunity as they figure things out alongside each other. If you’ll employ your own rudimentary understanding of Spanish, you will discover that their way of learning through bilingual comparison can improve the quality of your English instruction to them; it is easier to teach them English if you understand how to unwind it from the rhythms of Spanish. You will also learn more Spanish than you thought you ever could. Spanish is the “heart” language of your students, the first words they heard from their mother’s mouth and embedded by the culture; English is their “head” language, and might be only one of many languages they will learn in the course of their lifetime. When you teach English alongside your Mexican students, discovering the joys and frustrations of it together, you will come to know that your Mexican students allow their hearts to guide what their heads do. Not only is a teacher lucky in this regard, but she will learn to appreciate her own “heart” language and culture, too. The good news is that the LCSWilkes ESL Program uses a textbook called “Side-by-Side” and it comes with a teacher’s guide with step-by-step lesson plans and concept-reinforcement ideas that are creative and fun. The Internet is loaded with ESL tools and games, too. So if you want to enjoy teaching ESL to Mexican students – where the apprehension of English happens without much apprehension(… sigh) –contact director Inez Dyer at inezme@gmail.com. Margaret Ann Porter


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Focus on Art %\5RE0RKU

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enaissance Art - Christ was Born on Christmas Day “O how can I with my gross tongue that cleaveth to the dust. Tell of the Four-fold Man in starry numbers fitly order’d.” —William Blake Today’s commercial face of Christmas has lost sight of the myth of a virgin birth in Bethlehem. Yet the ancient story of Jesus’ birth and acclamation as king of the Jews by three oriental Magi remains accessible through great works of Renaissance art. paintings, which in the 15th century served as non-formal education, confirmation of the artist’s understandings and beliefs, and aesthetically pleasing places of worship which chronicled the history of Christianity. But under this formal surface lies a complex story of liminality and ritual. To follow Christ requires a ritualistic liminal passage from materialistic, egoeccentric life into one of compassionate care of others. Francis of Assisi was exemplary - he, like Jesus, focused on a simple, caring life. Christian rituals, in which art played a key role, were developed to enable women and men to access the Christian life chosen by Francis. Many Christians have experienced ritual’s trans-formative power through communion, baptism, burial, and the rituals of Christmas. The process of liminal transformation is clearly portrayed in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, where readers experience the passage of Scrooge from greed to compassion. These fundamental precepts confirm,

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for example, why support of would-beking Trump is incompatible with following the mythic Jesus. Renaissance artists, who were themselves Christian, understood their works were a crucial part in believer’s passage into new life with Jesus—a reality which is important in analyzing and understanding their art. Three Artists, Giotto (1270 – 1337) - early Renaissance, Masaccio (1401 – 1428) - mid-Renaissance, and Andrea Mantegna (1431 – 1506) - mature Renaissance, sought to create an enduring sacred presence that would support Christian life. Cimabue, a Florentine painter, encountered Giotto (1270 - 1337), as a boy drawing lifelike images of his sheep,

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and made him his apprentice. With Cimabue, Giotto studied classical art and the craft of painting, which led to his use of linear perspective in the creation of lifelike compositions that included the viewer as an observer. His painting of the Adoration of the Magi has the feel of a theater set. The stable is a prop, with no evidence of use by sheep. Strangely the shepherds are missing. Perhaps he himself represented their presence. Yet, his remarkable use of classical form, halos, intense light, stark color, flowing clothing, and evocative detail, creates a compelling spiritual presence, that even today enables worshipers to participate in the Jesus myth. (photo 1) Masaccio’s (1401 1428) Adoration of the Magi, maintained the essential spiritual message, as he brought to light the wealth and creative verve of the Renaissance. All the actors in the painting are portraits of Renaissance people. The clothing, saddles and bridles, animals and landscape represent 1400’s Italy. Historic Bethlehem is absent. The figures in black are the patron and his son. Masaccio’s remarkable work portrays all the players and animals in motion, while his use of chiaroscuro gives the figures weight, which, when combined with his realistic handling of the horses, cattle, servants and surrounding hills, creates a living drama. One in

which Masaccio conveys his own understanding of Jesus by having the oldest Magi kneel and place his crown before the child, while a servant removes the crown of the second Magi, and the youngest approaches with reverence. (photo 2) Andrea Mantegna’s (1431 - 1506) Adoration, is packed with emotion. The space is tight. The holy family and Magi are huddled together. The feel of communion emanates. Colors are soft and well integrated. Each character is a portrait of a living person. An older Magi is kneeling, while behind a young Magi’s look of awe fills the space. Baby Jesus looks down at the gifts of Myrrh, Frank-

incense, and Gold, and with a slight gesture blesses the Magi. The tension between the wealth of the Magi and the poverty of the holy family is significant, and points to Christ’s call for compassion, and love as components of a meaningful life. (photo 3) Each of these works reveals the beauty possible in the rebirth of naturalism, imbued with the unquestioning faith present during the Renaissance. The unity of Myth and Art, and humanity’s love of Christmas are eternally present. Rob Mohr


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Troubling Implications %\0DUN6FRQFH

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et’s step back a moment and look at the long view. Our existence on planet earth is but a moment in geological time. Yet in that short period, we have accomplished many things in the three principal fields of human activity—physical, mental, social. In the process, we have lately realized that our fate may be determined by the unintended consequences of our accomplishments, so much so that we nearly all agree that the danger to mankind is man himself. He is his own worst enemy. As Pogo keeps reminding us, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” You needn’t be a Nostradamus to see some of the problems ahead. The tools, techniques and weapons we develop can be the instruments of our elimination, unless we justify the name “sapiens” as in Homo sapiens. Fortunately, we have a gentleman in our midst who has given these matters long and serious thought. It is this writer’s privilege to introduce Dr. Morris Schwarzblat to

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'U0RUULV6FKZDU]EODW a wider audience. You may know him as the Director General of Science and Technology Development for the State of Jalisco. You may also know him as a resident of Lakeside where he and his photogenic wife, Ilsa Picazo, can relax. Both are published authors and public lecturers, both were born and raised in Mexico City but met and married in Cuernavaca. A doctor of nuclear physics from the University of Arizona/Tucson, Dr.

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Schwarzblat was invited to head up a new secretariat of science and technology nearly five years ago. Back then, the mission of the new office included travel to developed countries like Germany and Canada to glean new ideas that could then be implemented in Mexico. Nowadays, however, Mexican scientists are fully engaged in joint projects with European countries, India and China, projects that focus on medicine (vaccinations), agriculture and energy. For those who missed his Open Circle presentation last June, here are a few salient points he made in praise of modern technology but in cautionary language. The biggest cause of job loss in the U.S is technology. A 2013 Oxford University study estimates that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be replaced by robots and automated technology within twenty years. Indeed, even today, a Mercedes Benz is 98% robot-built, soon to be 100%. Large retail department stores are laying off thousands due to automation and internet purchases. Even accountants can be replaced by faster more accurate machines that don’t want time off for a sick child. Dr. Schwarzblat brings these and other looming challenges to their logical conclusions, e.g., If dramatic technological advances can replace more and more human labor, resulting in more workers being let off, where will the consumer demand come from to buy all the potential new products and services? The world is only just beginning to feel the impact of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace, warns Dr. Schwarzblat. Automation and Artificial Intelligence will affect every level of business from corporate suites to menial mailrooms. Bar-code reading is the least of it. Let’s review: Artificial or machine intelligence is intelligence exhibited by any device that perceives its environment and acts to maximize its chances of success at some goal like learning or problem solving. But what happens when the device(s) communicate with each other or go it alone. When Hal takes over the ship in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” we feel the chill when he quietly declares, “I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave.” And what dystopian future would be complete without relentless robots advancing on civilization like so many zombies. We may even one day have a live-in robot to do all the odd jobs and chores we disdain. Robots can now construct a house in one day! Robotic automation will cut costs, drive efficiency and improve quality. Consider this exchange: “I don’t want to lose my job to an illegal immigrant who can’t speak English.” Robot says, “You won’t!” The current political promise to revive

the coal industry is a dream, says Dr. Schwarzblat, and ignores the fact that robots can extract eleven times more coal per hour than a single miner. There are other concerns, more exotic you might say. Journalist Jenny Keene asks, “Should we ban sex robots while we have the chance?” Your guess is as good as mine… Dr. Schwarzblat also wants us to consider precision medicine. A medical revolution is underway that began with the Genome Project back in 1990 aimed at mapping a complete DNA sequence of the human genome. Identifying all of the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes in the human genome has important implications for medicine and biotechnology. New understandings about specific diseases, new techniques for treatment, gene therapy and molecular medicine precisely designed with only one patient in mind—You. But the risks for abuse are grave, warns Dr. Schwarzblat, including the temptation to try to engineer some sort of genetically perfect race, Aryan or otherwise. And what of extending life dramatically? When would you retire--age 125? Not so wild a dream! The question remains: We know what we can do, but should we do it? Ethical, legal and social concerns abound. Debate in the public square is tumultuous. Legislatures, courts and bureaucracies are notoriously behind the curve. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remark that “The Universe is made up of protons, neurons, electrons and morons,” drew a pained smile from Dr. Morris Schwarzblat. Locally, Dr. Schwarzblat and his ministry are demonstrating one of the miracles of automation through a program called Jalisco without Hunger (Jalisco sin Hambre). The problem is staggering. At least one million 300 thousand people in Jalisco go hungry every day while tons of food are wasted every day. They live in food poverty. Jalisco without Hunger aims to optimize through automation the activity of the food banks through a system that improves the collection, conservation and distribution of food in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara and elsewhere in the state. Food banks now rescue seven percent of the food that is wasted. Each percentage point reaches 13 thousand people. “If we can save ten percent more of the food that is wasted in Jalisco, we will be able to support each of the families in food poverty. Automation will help us do it. Food for thought,” concluded Dr. Morris Schwarzblat. Mark Sconce


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knew moving g to a unforeign counntry would involve adjustmentss – some are expect-ed and some lesss d so. My wife and n I have only been o here a short time so much of daily life is a new adventure. de ed it Yesterday I decided was time for a haircut cutt – my m first in Mexico. I ventured out to a local “salon” and waited my turn. Once I got washed and seated, the stylist looked over my hair and casually asked if I wanted my ears waxed. Say what? I’ve never heard of this (or imagined it). Now I’ve heard about women getting waxed and some body builders doing it, but ears on an old married guy? I’m not convinced. Honestly, I’ve never looked at guys ears so don’t have a frame of reference as to how ears should get groomed. I’ve always known that as men age our ear hair – as well as our eyebrows – grow and often look a bit disheveled, needing the occasional hack. It never crossed my mind to pay attention to ear hair past the occasional mowing when things get too unruly. Having ears as smooth as a baby’s butt never made it to my priority list. I considered that maybe this is a routine part of male grooming in Mexico. Being new to Mexico and not wanting to look like I didn’t know what

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

I was doing, I let my get the best ccuriosity u of me. I’ve never had anything waxed so I an decided to give it a d ttry. The stylist came aaround with a big glob of brown stuff g on o her finger and jammed it in my ear, j ssquishing it around. Carrying on a conversaCar C tion like nothing was abnormal, she chatted a while with her finger jammed in my ear, then mid-sentence, without warning, RIPPPP! My head jerked violently. WTF? She starts working on my earlobe and any other nook or cranny she can access – squish, RIP, squish, RIP, squish, RIP. My ear burned. I wasn’t crying yet. I took a few deep breaths. I gritted my teeth and acted nonchalant. Being this far in I decided to let the other ear be abused and just deal with it. Is this what makes Mexican men seem so macho? I took a slow deep breath and faked a smile as she repeated the process on the other side. I know women get waxed regularly so I had to act cool even while I was cringing inside. When in Mexico you try and adapt to the culture. The culture is macho and male and I like to think of myself as possessing some of those stronger masculine traits; however, I do have limits – like when she offered to wax my nostrils. Ain’t no friggin’ way!


Saw you in the Ojo 37


'$<6) )25* *,5/6/ /$.(& &+$3$/$ (YHU\* *LUO( (YHU\ZKHUH3 3HULR RG %\0DUJDUHW3RUWHU

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ou are a girl. One day, your hypothalamus tells your pituitary gland that it’s time to mature, so the pituitary signals your ovaries to release chemicals which create a blood-and-mucus lining in your uterus and an egg to travel toward it. If the egg is fertilized, it will grow into a baby. If not, the same brain-gland communication causes you to start your menstrual period, and every 28 days for the next 40-plus years you will experience the same miraculous and cumbersome event … one that you may not understand at all. Hana Figueroa-Urias, Community Ambassador of Health for Days for

38

Girls Lake Chapala, says, “I teach the girls in our program that menstruation is a super-power! It’s what makes you special!” So you become a believer and want to hear more. Days for Girls Lake Chapala is Lakeside’s newest charity and the first Mexico “team” of the international DFG organization. It came to life only a year ago to address the needs of maturing girls and women in communities around Lake Chapala, many who live in deep poverty. FigueroaUrias and volunteers have customized a five-session program for use in the region – the first three sessions are reserved for girls and women; in the last two, interested boys are invited, where they adopt healthy sexual attitudes and become role models in the village. So, you are a maturing girl and you don’t understand the physical processes that occur during menstruation because your mother and grandmother didn’t understand it, either. You are poor and you’re embarrassed because you don’t have the necessary things when your period arrives – no pads, soap, no panties, and in the family every extra centavo goes for food. You live in a village where there’s taboo about menstruation, too, so you are encouraged to hide yourself away until it’s over … so

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

you miss school and eventually quit because you lost days and fell behind. Days for Girls Lake Chapala is fighting to give those days back to maturing girls. In each village, Figueroa-Urias creates circles in which girls and women explore the concepts of self-respect; are taught the science of what happens in their bodies; positive management of the moods and hygiene of menstruation; saying “no” and protecting themselves from STD’s; maintaining healthy relationships with males; the cycles of violence; and how to mentor younger girls in the community. “I’ve been through my own hardships,” Figueroa-Urias says, “and my life was saved by a circle of supportive women. Now I look into the eyes of these girls and relate to their pain and confusion. They want to learn about themselves, who they are, and what maturity is bringing. It is a big moment when they can openly talk about their menstruation and realize that it’s powerful and not shameful.” She says everything flows from that and, in fact, the DFG program is called “Fluye.” Figueroa-Urias relates a story about a grandmother who approached her after one session. “She said to me, ‘If I had known about what happens during ovulation, then things might have been different for me.’ But I told her she can help change the culture for the girls. That is what we do, get the whole community involved.” At the first gathering, the maturing girls are presented menstrual kits containing two panty shields, eight washable pads, and two pairs of panties inside a brightly- colored cotton carry bag. These are handmade by a team of volunteer seamstresses who are trained by Beverly Letourneau. The girls learn how to hygienically manage the items in the kits – they are extremely popular and so far over 1,000 have been gifted to girls and women who attended the

program. Darlene MacLeod and Jan Quarton are the principal organizers of Days for Girls Lake Chapala. In one short year, Figueroa-Urias has led dozens of workshops and the scope of the program is now better known – simply put, there is a great need for more volunteers and additional funding. “We appreciate all help, hands-on or funds,” says Quarton. “And we are seeking leadership contributors who can make significant donations. It’s a chance to really make a difference in the lives of maturing girls here at lakeside.” All women agree with the research that indicates when a woman understands her body, its reproduction and sexuality, she tends to make better choices for herself and her family. “It really is that simple,” says MacLeod. Figueroa-Urias says, “Menstruation is about women’s health, and it comes with its own gifts to celebrate. Yet most importantly, it is a human rights issue because if women miss school and work, they get left behind. This is my work now, and I love it!” With the life-affirming success that the Days for Girls Lake Chapala team is already having, it is easy to see why. Days for Girls Lake Chapala is dedicated to creating a freer, dignified and educated world through providing lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education. If you Margaret would like to donate or Porter get involved with sewing in other volunteer capacities, contact: Darlene MacLeod - volunteers darmacleod@gmail.com Jan Quarton - contributions Jan.Quarton@gmail.com


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Not That Kind Of Buzzed %\.HOO\+D\HV5DLWW

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OUSESITTING IN MEXICO provides all kinds of opportunities to increase my vocabulary. A recent palabra du jour, for example, was: avispa. Meaning “wasp” – and not the non-Jewish type – the word buzzed into my vocabulary when I saw several of the furry flyers building a huge, unpermitted wasp-condo complex, maybe even a multiplex with underground parking and an open-air amphitheater, on the ceiling of my beloved “happy hour” patio where I housesit. The swarm was three or four wasps deep with several dozen/hundred/thousand condo-dwelling wannabes (“wanna bees,” get it?) milling around. Not sure how to handle this hive, I emailed a guy who used to broker

40

stocks, herd sheep, and keep bees who now wrangles writers. He suggested I call the fire department because with everything built in adobe, the firefighters get bored and will de-bee for free. No one at the bombero station spoke English, so I blurted over

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

the phone, “Tengo un problema con avispas,” hissing the last word as if I were talking about underworld spies or drug kingpins. The fireman promised to be out shortly (I think, this was all in Spanish over the telephone), which then lent itself to the great existential question: What does one wear to a de-wasping? I expected hoses and hatchets, but it was all very simple: The hooded, gloved, cloaked bombero sprayed water and soap all over the layers of wasps, causing mass carnage and consternation. He used dishwashing soap; you know, the kind Madge used to soak fingernails in? He then scooped gobs of soggy wasps into a Wal-Mart plastic bag and went on his way, promising to return the next day to show any renegade wasps who’s their daddy. At another house-sitting gig, I increased my vocabulary even further. Here’s what the week looked like: Sunday: Padded barefoot, carrying my shoes, to the downstairs bedroom and made an almost intimate acquaintance with a very black scorpion on the bright white floor. Beat to death with shoe. May have dented the ceramic tiles in my enthusiasm. Vowed to watch every step I take. Learned alacran. Tuesday: Learned serpiente de cascabel. “Cascabel” is a word I actually know from my first grade rendition of “Jingle Bells”: Cascabel, cascabel, musica de amor… So, it never occurred to me that such a benign, jolly word would cause the four rescue dogs I was watching to raise such a ruckus out in the yard. When I went to investigate, I could hear the snake’s rattle all the way across the yard (though I didn’t know what it was, since I’d never before heard an angry serpiente de cascabel). It was a ¡muy grande serpiente! I didn’t know what to do, so I started throwing things at the snake – anything I could find– golf balls, an empty Coke can – hoping it would slither off. Instead, it reared its head, daring me to come closer. Finally, I remembered there was a meat cleaver in the kitchen. Looking like a version of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I heaved the cleaver and missed the snake by a mile. It sneered. I did have the garden hose coiled at my feet, but the snake was strikingly close to the spigot. It stuck out its tongue at me. So, another S.O.S. call to los guaposbomberos. I stuck the dogs inside and waited on the road for the firemen. Five uniformed guys in their twenties and one young woman who looked like a girlfriend tag-along arrived carrying baseball bats, a long metal pole, gardening gloves and one blackened fire jacket. By the time they set up camp, the snake had adiosed. The

young firefighters spent half an hour literally beating the bushes to flush out the snake. Defeated, they told me to call them when it returns. Returns? Wednesday: One of the dogs killed a squirrel and made a big show of it in the backyard. (Don’t squirrels carry bubonic plague?) Unable to deal with the lifeless beady eyes, I covered the corpse with a bucket, guiltily leaving it for the gardener to deal with. Learned ardilla. Ardilla muerta. Thursday/Friday: After a delightful afternoon sharing wine with a friend and a relaxing evening watching a favorite movie, I headed downstairs to go to bed. In the bathroom, I started to brush my teeth when I saw – and I swear I am not exaggerating – a threeinch scorpion crawling in the sink! Luckily, I prefer my dangerous and gross predators in the sink because I don’t have to resort to mano-a-mano combat. I flipped up the spigot and started scooping water over the scorpion. Its milky white tail reared, but it didn’t flush. Finally, I created a personal Niagara Falls that doomed it down the drain. I triumphantly spat toothpaste in its wake. Relaxed once more, I continued brushing my teeth, keeping the spigot running full-force, just to be sure. Then, like from a Japanese horror film, I saw first one, then more, scorpion elbows emerge from the drain, hoisting the reincarnated arachnid back into my sink. Now I freaked. The hand soap wouldn’t squirt fast enough; I grabbed a bottle of shampoo and doused it, praying it would die a well-coifed death. So just why do I housesit in Mexico? Well, it’s not just the critters that crawl; time does, too. I spent a lovely day recently with a dear friend, whom I met at noon to do “something.” When I arrived at her place, she offered to make us sandwiches for lunch and announced she was making chicken enchiladas for dinner. Nine hours later, belly and heart more than full, I headed home. When was the last time I spent nine hours with a friend just hanging out and chatting? There’s a lot to be said for savoring. Learned muy contenta. (Ed. Note: After nearly a decade of full-time housesitting, Kelly HayesRaitt has just published How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the House Sit Diva (from which this essay is excerpted), available on Amazon and her web site www.BecomeAHousesitter. com.) Kelly HayesRaitt


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THE DAY THE FBI KNOCKED (A True Story)

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was enjoying a quiet day at work in Arlington, Virginia, when my boss called me from his office in another building. “Bev, come over to my office right away!” No explanation or details were given. When I arrived at the Security Desk of the Police Department (where my boss’s office was located) the receptionist said, “Hey, two FBI guys are asking for you!” My heart jumped and started pounding. Me? Why? I hurried upstairs and found two strange men sitting in my boss’ office, looking very serious and somewhat threatening. “They want to question you, Bev,” my boss said. We were immediately escorted to a private interview room in the Vice Control Section of the Police Dept. – my boss was its Chief, (Captain) and I was an accountant for a grant program administered through this agency. The two FBI agents showed me their badges and began to question me. “What do you know about Nasser A.? Where did you get information about him and his activities?” I told them that Nasser was engaged to my niece, Susan, and her family had been suspicious of him for many years. “But,” I said, “I cannot reveal the name of the person who gave me some information about

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

him as it was given in confidence.” They pursued their questioning and ended with, ”if you don’t tell us who he is we will get a subpoena, and it won’t be fun.” My hands and voice were shaking, my stomach felt like a rock, nerves and fear caused me to make the decision, and to assume I had no choice, to reveal the name of my friend, an ex CIA operative (so I was told) who was currently working for another Federal agency. I don’t think he ever forgave me for caving in, and I now believe the subpoena threat was just that, a blind threat. The back story of this episode was that my sister had been very concerned about her daughter’s relationship with Nasser, a Palestinian, now a US citizen, whose job seemed ambiguous, and who traveled often, to the Middle East to see family in Jordan, and also for business reasons to Egypt and Morocco. Over the years they had been together, engaged, and then not. Susan even visited Jordan with Nasser, but during those two weeks he never introduced her to his Mother! Many things made Susan’s mother and father and aunt very concerned and suspicious. My sister had often expressed her fears and finally said to me “I wish we could get some damning informa-


tion about him so that Susan, maybe, would be willing to leave him.” I told her of my friend who had “contacts.” Hopefully, she asked me to please ask him to do a little “spy work” for her. The result was most disturbing. I was told the Israeli Massad had a file on him, he traveled on two passports, US and Jordanian. The CIA had info on him and suspected the restaurant he recently opened was used for money laundering. Nasser also had a safe in their home, which Susan had no access to, and his travels were often sudden and unusual. The family chose to have Susan’s father tell her the bad news and suggest she end the relationship. It did not work. She was outraged and unwilling to believe there was anything suspicious or possibly illegal or conspiratorial about her beloved Nasser. As a result, she immediately contacted the FBI, (probably at the urging of Nasser himself ), went to their offices in Washington DC and told them that all the accusations about Nasser were false. “He was an honest and patriotic citizen,” she stated. She also told them that I, her aunt, had provided her mother and father with this horrible, untrue information about her partner of many years. She was very angry, in fact enraged, and as a result would not speak to me for well over a year. I guess she did not realize that her mother had asked me for help on the matter. I never saw the FBI agents again, but know they contacted my ex CIA friend who also was angry and never spoke to me again, -- at least not for several months. Were the suspicions warranted? I think so, but have no proof. Soon after this episode a handsome Navy officer actively pursued Susan. They were working on a project together and had many reasons to be in regular contact. Within a few months, she was dating him and a few months later accepted his proposal of marriage. I sincerely think that she was able to open her heart and mind to this intelligent, honest, caring family man because I had planted a seed of doubt about Nasser in her subconscious. In fact, Nasser revealed his true character by making many threats of violence against her and her fiancée before the wedding and on that day. Fortunately nothing untoward happened then or subsequently. I suffered through many months of estrangement from my niece, but I believe I did the right thing. True love had won and continues to this day.

Saw you in the Ojo 43


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d. Note) In response to last month’s Editorial “Lincoln and Depres-

sion”) I feel compelled to stand up for Mary Lincoln, being from Illinois. This is my opinion from the little I know about her. The first and most obvious thing, to me, is to forgive her for anything that concerned her after the night in Ford’s theatre, when she was sitting next to her husband, Abraham, and he was shot in the head. She ended up in an insane asylum and eventually died, cloistered, in her sisters Springfield home. Was there no joy in the Lincoln’s marriage? They had a loving relationship. There are many letters between them, talking about how much they missed each other, while Abraham was often away from home on business. She sacrificed terribly, when he was working 24/7 during the war. They were crushed by the death of two young sons, the joy of their life. There was happiness and love in the Lincoln marriage. Was Mary a compulsive shopper? She was a women, ok? Only kidding. It is true that it was a problem and Abraham was upset about it. Mary grew up in a wealthy family. She was educated and had a few rich boyfriends. Abraham Lincoln was never rich. I think his finances were tight most of his life; poor kid, shopkeeper, struggling lawyer, politician. Mary was a rich girl with no money. Was Mary a busy-body? I think she may have been the great woman behind the great man. As a young lady, Mary was involved in the social

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

circles of wealth and politics, and she loved it. As a young lawyer and aspiring politician, Abraham was on the fringe of that social circle. I think Mary saw something in Abraham that made her believe that he could succeed and that she would be the one to help steer him through that thorny path; and she did, all the way to the White house. A lot of the criticism of Mary came from disgruntled Washington “swamp” creatures. Was Mary an ‘”airhead’”? Mary Lincoln was highly-educated, known to be very intelligent, intellectual and sophisticated. She was a good hostesses and partner. She could discuss and was interested in politics, the arts, science, history, geography and you name it. She was the first to hear Abraham’s great speeches and was probably a collaborator. The Lincoln home and neighborhood in Springfield Illinois is frozen in time. You can tour the home and many others are open to go in and roam around. The Lincoln Museum is very interesting and you can tour the old Capital building preserved from the 1850’s and see where Lincoln sat and gave many famous speeches when he was an Illinois Representative. Richwallace5@aol.com Editor’s Response: I’ll concede one important point: It was through Mary Todd Lincoln that Benito Juarez’s young and totally inexperienced emissary, Macias, was able to convince the president that America’s best interest lay in helping to defeat the French invasion of Mexico. This extremely vital moment in the history of both countries was recently brilliantly set forth in Prof. Michael Hogan’s book and play, Lincoln and Mexico.


Saw you in the Ojo 45


Option Mexico %\$OLFH+DWKDZD\

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uring economic downturns, companies consolidate, merge, downsize and lay off excess workers. Some of the recently unemployed will find other jobs, some will choose early retirement. But where? A milder climate would be nice. How about Mexico or Central America? But what would they do all day? To answer that question, they look at recently published books by writers who have already moved south of the border. One book they will find useful is A House Far South, In Mexico, by Elaine Dandh. When the author and her husband retired from a Massachusetts academic community a few years ago, the life they found in a Mexican village was very different from the New England home they had so recently left. They rented a sprawling colonial hacienda house surrounded by Mexican neighbors who had lived in the area for generations. This amusing memoir of gringo cultural adjustment will give other North Americans the benefit of their experience. Of their move, she writes: “One gray day in October, in Worchester, Massachusetts, my husband and I were on our way to work. Ken would drop me off at the junior college where I labored to stave off illiteracy among the young. Then he would drive two miles farther to the huge insurance company where he did something complicated

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

with numbers...” Stalled in rush hour traffic, they watched a flock of Canada geese flying south. Suddenly, the Dandhs wanted to follow those sensible birds that were abandoning ice and snow and gray, windy winters. Why stay in dead end jobs in the north? Why not bask in Mexico’s warmth? Colleagues and relatives registered doubts and disapproval, but Elaine and Ken cleared the clutter from their lives and moved to Mexico in December.     The book takes the form of a journal, with incidents occurring from month to month through the twelve chapters that, while somewhat disjointed, give a sense of changing seasons and community activities throughout the year. Finding suitable help for housework and gardening is revealing. Instead of the one gardener they expected, Jose and Maria’s whole family arrived with their tools and their boom box. Their wonderful maid was hauled off to jail on suspicion she had murdered her missing husband. She had said he was in el Norte, but his body was found in a well.      Fluency in Spanish helped Elaine develop relationships with her help and her neighbors. Many North Americans tend to cluster in retirement enclaves where only English is spoken. The Dandhs found their place in a village where few foreigners live, and have enjoyed Mexican parties and weddings, shopping at street markets, even participating in their first Christmas posada. Dressed for their parts as Balthazar and Mary Magdalene, they arrived at the posada site promptly at the appointed time.  A House Far South is a well-written book full of wit and wisdom about modern Mexico and the Guadalajara area where many retirees have settled. Elaine Dandh is a perceptive observer who writes with a light touch. The narrative moves along at a pleasant pace with just enough detail to give the reader some idea of current life in Mexico. (The book can be purchased on amazon.com)


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“THE ‘S’ WORD” %\7RP1XVVEDXP

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e was cool, the kind of street-smart cool that warned people, “Don’t mess with me!” His walk was a strut. His posture exhibited confidence. His brown eyes were observant, alert, yet seductive, and although they had been hardened by life, in their depths, were hints of vulnerability. He, like many of the regulars lingering at Ajijic’s plaza, had jet black hair, but his had a unique white streak above his forehead. He stood at the head of the shrublined path that crosses the plaza, passes the kiosko, and opens facing Black and White Coffee. He scanned the unsuspecting crowd, the strollers, the coffee drinkers, and diners, seeking out his next mark. But before he determined who that would be, an amigo rushed up to him. He was shorter, slighter in build, perhaps older only because of his grayish white hair. He appeared, agitated, more high-strung, and upset. “What up, Cesar?” the black haired one asked without looking at his companion, his cool attitude implying he either was unaware of or didn’t care about his friend’s distressed state. He continued studying his surroundings, assessing the possibilities, and who he could exploit next. “Frida was here earlier, Chuy. But like she always does, she avoided me again. I know what I did hurt her, but she won’t even let me try to fix it. And you know how hot I think she is. Whenever I see her all I can think about is how we…” “She doesn’t want to have anything to do with you,” Chuy interrupted, “not after you…Oh, there’s that lady. In the restaurant. She’s always an easy mark. I’ll talk to you later.” Chuy ambled toward, maintaining his cool as he swaggered up the two steps onto the restaurant’s patio and glided between the tables and chairs. He reached the small table along the wall and looked at the woman with his seductive, flirtatious eyes. “There’s my breakfast buddy,” she said. “I haven’t seen you in days. I did

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

tell you I was going to the beach? Right?” She smiled an invitation. “So sit.” Chuy sat. After a moment of smiles, the woman leaned down and began petting Chuy’s back. Then she rubbed the top of his head. He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and tilted his head as if he had a question. “Yes, of course, I have something for you,” she said. She cut two small pieces of sausage from her daily patty and fed Chuy the first one. “Was that good?” she asked as she gave the second to her breakfast partner. The woman then ate several pieces of the sausage, while Chuy pleaded for more. She pinched the last of her hash browns between her fingers and fed them to Chuy. He smiled. The woman finished her scrambled eggs and looked down at the dog. “You want more?” Chuy’s tail danced. His eyes brightened. “OK,” she said. “Here’s one more. But it’s the last piece of sausage.” After Chuy scarfed it down, the woman tilted her plate to show Chuy it was empty. “All gone.” Nevertheless, Chuy stayed table side, gazing at the woman. I love her, he thought. Is that possible? I’ve never loved a two-leg before. “Were you feeding that street dog?” a man from the next table asked. Chuy, startled and angered by the male twolegs’ tone, turned and growled at the man. “Yes. I always do.” “Well, you shouldn’t. If people keep feeding them, they’ll keep begging and ruining our meals.” “He wasn’t ruining my meal,” the woman defended. “He’s adorable, the sweetest dog. Besides, they’re hungry. They’re four-legged homeless humans who are hungry.” The man grunted, turned away from the woman, disgusted by her actions and confounded by her compassion. The woman leaned toward Chuy and petted him again. “Sorry, buddy, all gone.” Chuy nuzzled the woman’s leg with


his head as if to say “thank you” and dashed away, returning to Cesar’s side. “Bastard!” he growled. “Who?” “That male two-leg sitting by my lady. He used the ‘S’ word.” “He didn’t,” Cesar gasped. “Yep. He called me a street dog.” “Oh, I hate that, Chuy. Don’t they know how insulting and demeaning that is?” Cesar asked. “Don’t they get it? We’re not street dogs. We’re dogs. And we’re a gang so he better be careful.” “Yeah, a gang. Viva Los Caninos del Diablo!” Cesar stepped closer to Black and White Coffee and its umbrella covered tables and equipales. “See that cute little curly-haired slave sitting on that male two-legs’ lap? We gotta figure out how to chew apart that long strap the two-leg has attached to her neck, Chuy. We gotta free her.” “Well, we can try, Cesar. But it ain’t never worked before. If the two-leg doesn’t yell ‘Go away!’ at us and point toward the green pee places in the middle of the plaza, the slave either ignores us or looks at us like we are mutts.” “And if the slave is a male, Chuy, they growl at us like we are a threat when all we want to do is free them and get them to join Los Caninos del Diablo.” Cesar panted. “I don’t understand why the slaves seem to like the slave owners like they do. I would just hate being tied up like that. I need to run free and go wild when I want to.” “Damn right. I think being a slave like that would be horrible, maybe worse than being in one of those square wire boxes in a dog jail,” Chuy said with anger. He studied how the strap not only was attached to another smaller one on the slave’s neck, but also went around the slave owner’s paw. “But you know what I hate more than those long straps?” “No. What?” “A lot of the female two-legs smell like flowers. Don’t they realize that some of us four-legs might have allergies or be scent-sensitive? But sometimes they smell real nice, like my lady. She smells like clean water and happy air. You ever notice how some of them smell like flowers, Cesar?” “Oh, hell yes. Sometimes it makes me sneeze. But the male two-legs are worse. They all smell like the peecolored drinks in the cantinas or sex. Don’t they know how to lick themselves clean?” The two friends gagged in disgust. “OK, Chuy. Let’s save that cute little slave.” But just as Cesar gave the goahead, Chuy’s lady stepped out of the restaurant and turned toward the corner. “Wait, Cesar,” he ordered. “I gotta see where my lady is going.” He had

a hopeful suspicion and ran to watch where she went. I was right, Chuy thought with excitement. The carniceria! “I’ll be back in a minute, Cesar,” Chuy called. But Cesar did not hear him. He was mesmerized by the slave on the two-legs’ lap. She is so cute, he thought, I’d love to…but first I got to free her from that long cow-smelling neck strap and that terrible slave owner. He casually meandered closer to the table. But the slave owner growled at Cesar and, intimidated, Cesar ran and hid among the green pee places near the kiosko. Chuy, meanwhile, reached the carniceria and its wall that opens and looked in. His lady had her back to him and was talking to a male two-leg. A moment later the male handed the lady three white bundles and she put them in her big straw carry thing. Then she handed the male some papers, just like she did when she finished eating at El Jardin. What is that stuff? Chuy thought. Do they trade food? It doesn’t smell like anyone would want to eat it. He laughed. Two-legs do some of the strangest things. The woman turned around and headed to the wall that opens. She stepped out of the carniceria with her big carry thing full of tempting smells. “Well, looks who’s here,” she said with surprise as she saw Chuy. “Oh, I bet you can smell all the meats I bought.” The lady bent down and petted Chuy on his head and back. Then she tickled him under his chin. Chuy wagged his tail. The woman stood, took a few steps up the sidewalk, stopped, and turned back. “Would you like some of this meat? Well, then come with me. It’s OK. You can come with me to my house.” She paused and scanned the dog more closely than she ever had before. Am I really thinking this? she thought. “Am I crazy? Well, OK, if you are going to become my dog, I think I’ll name you Barkley.” Your dog? Chuy thought. Not your slave? You mean when we are with twolegs, we aren’t slaves? The woman began walking. Chuy followed. But why would you name me Barkley? he thought. Have you ever heard of a two-leg named Speakly? The woman stopped and looked at Chuy. “No. Not Barkley,” the woman said. “You don’t look like a Barkley. With your black hair and that white tuft right over your forehead, you look like my Spanish teacher Chuy. I’m calling you Chuy.” Tom Nussbaum

Saw you in the Ojo 49


Sandy Olson

Phone: 331-283-8529 Email: sandyzihua@hotmail.com

NO, THEREâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NO NUDITY The Lakeside Little Theatreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest production is Calender Girls. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s directed by Candace Luciano. Performances are December 8-17, at 7:30 pm and 3 pm. The first Saturday and both Sundays are matinees.

Rear: Chris Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Ecluse, Georgette Richmond, Greg Clarke, Diana Rowland, Susan Quiriconi, Ed Tasca, Wendy Petersen, Peter Luciano Seated on sofa: Lupita Campbell, Debra Bowers, Collette Clavadetscher, Jean Llewellyn 6HDWHGRQĂ&#x20AC;RRU3DPHOD-RKQVRQ/RUL*UDQW The play is based on the true story of eleven Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Institute members in Britain who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukemia Research Fund. (And no, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not going to see any nudity).  Tickets are 250 pesos and are available at LLTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Box Office, 10 to noon every Wednesday and Thursday, also one hour before curtain. Email: tickets@lakesidelittletheatre.com or call (376) 766 0954.   HOME FOR CHRISTMAS? Do you miss the good old days around Christmas time? Check out the Lake Chapala Choraleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s December concert, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be Home for Christmas.â&#x20AC;? The Chorale is gifting our community with three free one-hour concerts (donations accepted) and a special dinner concert with carols singalong. The three concerts are showing on December 8 at the Ajijic Plaza Cultural Center from 5 to 6 pm, December 15 at the Little Chapel by the Lake on the carretera from 5 to 6 pm, and December16 at the Presbyterian Church two blocks south of Orma in Riberas del Plar. The dinner show/singalong is on December 22 at La Bodega de Ajijic from 6 to 8 pm. Advance tickets (which include both the dinner and the show) are 250 pesos at Diane Pearl Colecciones and 300 pesos at the door, if available. You can get nformation at LakeChapalaChorale@gmail.com. STUFF YOURSELF AND SAVE A LIFE The Lakeside Assistance Group is holding the fourth annual Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, December 9 at the Tobolandia Water Park near the intersection of the carretera and the libramiento. Breakfast will be served from 9 am to noon and will include all the pancakes you can eat, sausages, coffee and juice. This truck (see photo) was a gift from Firefighters without Borders in Vancouver. BC  It was Chapalaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s responsibility to pay for the transportation and insurance. LAG coordinated

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the transfer. The primary objective of The LAG is to provide firefighting and rescue equipment to the firemen and first responders in the state of Jalisco. Tickets can be purchased from their volunteers at the Tuesday market or in front of Paz Liquor next to Super Lake on Friday mornings. Tickets can also be purchased from any LAG member or by calling John Kelly at 376-1061609, Karl Dyer at 376-766-0365 or Perry King at 376-763-5126. ART, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND STORIES The Lake Chapala Painting Guild is planning a cultural event at Cafe La133 (Independencia #133) in San Antonio Tlayacapan for Saturday December 9 from 4 to 6 pm. In addition to watercolors, oils, acrylics and prints, there will be classical music by the daughters of one of the members, Yaeli and Paz Nunez, poetry and stories by members of the Ajijic Writers Group, canapes and libation. Free.  All are welcome. OPEN CIRCLE Sunday morning finds many Lakeside residents at the Lake Chapala Society and Open Circe, a forum on a variety of stimulating topics. A social hour with coffee and snacks at 10 am is followed by an interesting lecture and discussion at 10:30. December 10 San Juan Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chorus and Orchestra The San Juan Cosala Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Orchestra and Chorus will entertain us with their heart-warming annual concert. They now have almost 100 enthusiastic participants and the chorus has performed in Teatro Degollado, El Auditorio Ajijic, El Centro Cultural de Ajiic, as well as in other places. They will perform for us a mixture of Mexican folk and seasonal music, plus two songs by one of the oldest members of the choir. Founded in 2014, this childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s orchestra and chorus is part of a music education program that uses music as a means of social improvement for at-risk children in a marginalized community. In addition to musical training, the program encourages individual â&#x20AC;&#x153;Descending Staircaseâ&#x20AC;? social responsibility, high values, and good citizenby Lois Schroft ship. In only a few short years it has demonstrated its effectiveness in raising school achievement levels, lowering school drop-out rates and drug

use, and reducing teen pregnancies. December 17 How to Achieve the Best Health You Can at Any Age   Presented by Dra. Carla Cueva Dra. Carla will talk about the most common health issues she has observed in serving the local retirement community, and how each of us can achieve the best health of which we are capable, given whatever problems we have arrived with and our willingness to commit to healthful lifestyle practices.   Dra. Carla Cueva Flores, a General Practitioner, has been a Lakeside resident for the last nine years. Raised in Guadalajara, she studied Medicine at the University of Michoacan and earned her Masters Degree in Mexico City in Genetic Diseases. December 24 Seasonal Readings  Presented by Michael Warren Actor Michael Warren has become a staple at Open Circle during the Christmas season. After some research, Michael has discovered a Sherlock Holmes mystery set during the holiday season, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,â&#x20AC;? which features

continued on page 52

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017


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a Christmas goose. Michael is a poet and playwright and has published his collected poems under the title “A Particular Blue.” He is also a contributor to Romancing the Muse (2017), an anthology of The Not Yet Dead Poets Society. Michael has appeared onstage in nine plays at the Lakeside Little Theatre. For the last several years, he has been writing the theater reviews for El Ojo del Lago under the title “Front Row Center.”  December 31 Silver Linings—How to Find Your Pony Presented by David Pisarra Failures in life, whether in business or relationships, are as certain as the sun rising, but what we do with them—whether we hold on to the pain or learn from it—therein lies the silver lining (or not). All experiences have two sides. It is up to us to choose the side that serves our growth rather than our pain. David Pisarra is a professional member of the National Speakers Association. He seeks to inspire, educate and entertain audiences with a unique brand of humility, vulnerability and humor. He is an author of five books on a range of topics, the most recent of which is “The Empowered Entrepreneur—A Field Guide for Failure,” which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. January 7 The Dance of Life Presented by Susan Weeks Nothing remains static in the universe or in nature—and there is a rhythm to everything.  All too often we hold on to the notion that nothing can change in our lives while the evidence, the reality, points in an entirely different direction. With humor and compassion, Susan Weeks leads us away from the fear of change or loss by opening the door to possibilities and a new way of thinking.   A Licensed Unity Teacher, Susan moved to the Lake Chapala area 18 months ago after having served as the Spiritual Leader of Unity on Cape Cod. A WOMAN WITH A MISSION Last month the Little Chapel by the Lake held an event that was both a fundraiser for the village of San Juan Tecomatlan and a testimonial to the long-term and tireless efforts of church member Wendy Johnson. She and her late husband Tom began supporting the village over 20 years ago. She has a “go to” couple, Anita and Rafael, who were born and raised in the village. Wendy visits the village frequently and they keep her apprised of current needs. This poor lakeside village, seven minutes east of Chapala, is the official mission of the Little Chapel. Wendy says, “The focus is on food.” Once a month 25 of the neediest villagers receive a bag of food. The needs of the community are bottomless. The church also works to provide not only food but clothing, medicines, Wendy Johnson bus fares, walkers and anything else that can be useful. To help support the village, and the good works of the Little Chapel by the Lake, email the church at TLChapala@outlook.com. CHECK OUT THE ART Three artists, Daniel Palma, Nedina d’Nada and Maropa, are featured in a show at the Gecko Gallery. The reception starts at 5 pm on December 14, at Ocampo 61, Ajijic. Don’t miss it. VIVA LA MUSICA AND THE DEGOLLADO THEATER  This is exciting news for ballet aficionados, a Viva bus trip to the  Degollado Theater on December 14. Showing is The Nutcracker. The conductor Jesus Medina, Ballet de Jalisco: The director is Dariusz Blajer. This is an annual sell-out. The bus departs at 6 pm. There is no dinner stop. The cost is 700 pesos (800 pesos for non-members).  All theater seats are premium orchestra seats. Tickets are available at the LCS ticket booth Thursdays and Fridays 10 to noon, or call Rosemary Keeling at 766-1801.   GOOD NEWS FOR MUSIC LOVERS We’ve been waiting for this, a new website: centroculturalgg.com for current events at the Old Train Station in Chapala. On this site you will also find a link to Live @ Lakeside, where every week Francis Dryden. Canadian transplant and professional drummer, puts an amazing amount of energy into compiling a very detailed list of popular music and other events at Lakeside.  Check it out. DOWN WITH HEARTQUAKES Francis Dryden The poster reads “Heartquake” victims but we’re pretty

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

sure this exhibition and Christmas auction is a benefit for earthquake victims. It will run December 21-23. For information, contact 376.766.1553 or 333.167.3323. Also, email: maropa@gmail.com. NAKED STAGE The next production from Naked Stage is Love, Loss and What I Wore. It’s directed by Rosann Balbontin. The play, written by Nora and Delia Ephron, of”Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “You’ve Got Mail,” is a fast-paced scrapbook of stories about unfortunate prom dresses, the traumatic lighting in fitting rooms, high heels, short skirts and the existential state of having nothing to wear. Then there are the mothers who disapprove, the men who disappear, and the sisters who’ve got your back. The show runs December 29, 30 and 31 at 4 pm. The Box Office and bar open at 3 pm. The donation is 100 pesos. Reservations are recommended. For more information and reservations, email nakedstagereservations@ gmail.com. For those who use Facebook, look for The Naked Stage for breaking news and updates.  The Naked Stage is at Hidalgo 261 on the carretera in Riberas del Pilar, across from the Catholic Church. Parking is available in the parking lot of the Baptist Church. The cast left to right. Back row: MORE ART! Phyllis Silverman, Maryanne GibThe Lake Chapala Painting Guild will have its expo and reception on the first floor of bard, Roseann Wilshere. Front Cultural Center Ajijic on the evening of Satur- row:Anne Drake, Susan Quiriconi day, January 6, from 4 to 6 pm. Members of the Guild will be participating with new watercolors, pastels, oils and acrylics (or mixed media). On the second floor will be paintings by Jesus Lopez Vega. ONE NIGHT ONLY Mac Morison returns Wednesday, January 10 with his sixth annual benefit concert. This year’s show is called “I Wish You Love” and includes an all star cast highlighting Judy Hendrick, Cindy Paul, Kristine Moily and featuring Mike “Scatman” Fortier The performance will be at “The Cave,” #159 Carretera, next door to Fenix Real Estate. Tickets go on sale December 1 at Diane Pearl Colecciones, Mia’s Boutique and Jose Melendrez Tienda on the Ajijic Plaza. This year’s show benefits the Lakeside Little Theatre to help with much needed technical upgrades Mac Morison and renovations. For more information call Barbara at 766.2489. Performances are Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinees at 3:00 pm.  Tickets (250 pesos) for the upcoming shows can be purchased two weeks prior and the week of the show at the LLT box office Wednesday and Thursday from 10am until noon, and one hour before curtain.  GOLF CLASSIC A RESOUNDING SUCCESS Last month on a sunny morning golfers were all smiles as they set off to raise another record amount of funds for Cruz Roja, Chapala Delegation. All the funds raised will be used to purchase expensive new trauma equipment, to further improve the service Cruz Roja is able to give to the community. The organizing committee wants to give heartfelt thanks to all the participants and hopes to see the golfers again next year for the 15th Annual Golf Classic.

Winner of the Putting Contest, Susanna Malis


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Bad Vision For New Generations? ? %\'U5LJREHUWR5LRV

I

n my profession I am faced daily with a wide range of diseases of the eye that are mostly from a genetic load, or the accumulation of oxidation produced by ageing, our food and habits of life. In recent years we have asked ourselves in the scientific community what factors are we, as a society, promoting that could be increasing the diseases of our population? This is one of those occasions that I want to share with you. At the recent Euroretina Congress in Barcelona a study was pre-

54

sented called “Myopia a Global Epidemic?” For some years now, data on the increase of visual disturbances in Asian countries, particularly in China, have been presented. As this work has gathered more and more information the data has become stronger and should help to guide our behavior as we develop our children. Myopia is an alteration of the eye in which the image projected towards the retina is integrated behind it, resulting in poor distant vision, and the need for lenses to correct this visual defect.

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

As a society, we are accustomed to the use of lenses and regard it as normal in some proportion of the population. But in some parts of the world, 80% of the population is using lenses and, as the tip of a spear, this proportion could spread to other regions. China is probably not happy to be at the head of this experience. What is going on? The answer is that we do not know exactly, but we have a very good idea. The first thing we must understand is how our world has changed too much and too fast, and has not allowed for a sufficient adaptation of our bodies to these changes. It seems that exposing children at very young ages (under 8 years old) to intensive systems of study, sedentary habits and use of electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers leads to excessive use of the visual system to objects at close range, with the ensuing development of myopia and the need for lenses. In past years some authors had called sporadic cases “heavy readers” referring to some children who at an early age spent many hours reading books and apparently developed more myopia than those with minor reading habits. The problem and the reason for talking about it is that this disease (Myopia) is being generated by intensive education systems, shifting a large proportion of the population towards myopia. The educational systems in some countries have increased school hours with intensive study programs leading to a pandemic of visual impairments not previously seen, in order to achieve much higher school goals through the accumulation of knowledge, to obtain scholarships and economic support, and eventually better job performance that results in a higher quality of life. In the end, it is very likely society is moving away from

its ultimate goal, and the quality of life as a society is actually diminishing. Another reason for this change is the decrease in outdoor activities among modern children. In outdoor games and sports we use our distant vision much more, stimulating our eyes to focus on objects in the distance. If we are exclusively in an environment where the focus is on near vision, we do not experience the counter-balancing stimulation of distant vision, thus generating myopia. The problem does not end there. Some might think that we have alternatives such as lenses and laser surgery that are highly effective in the correction of this disease. However, 2-4% of these patients present a pathological myopia with more than 4 diopters, eyes of larger size that would generate a condition called myopic maculopathy or retinal detachment among other conditions, with devastating results for the patients’ vision. The amazing and marvelous capacity we have for modifying our environment and life system has been demonstrated throughout history, but often without responsibility for “collateral damage” and with a very short-term perspective. At the same time, we are capable of making the necessary changes to continue to improve while minimizing or avoiding negative consequences, and achieve the ultimate goal that we chase after, the welfare and happiness of society and its harmony with the world. Examples like the diseases that our modern lifestyle generate, are a good way to realize what happens and initiate the fundamental changes to avoid more damages. In our case as western countries where the damage in this particular situation is still minor, we can learn from the experience of others and take preventive action.


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Life As Dodgeball My strategy in life was â&#x20AC;&#x153;low key.â&#x20AC;? Stay on the back line and Let the brave ones be up front so they could Ride motorcycles, climb cliffs, and walk across ropes pulled tight. The front line made their fully-expected early exits. Head-on crashes, falls from high cliffs, and trips over ropes pulled not-so-tight. As the rest of us remained on lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back line, Playing it safe all the time. Those up front who dodged the falls and such Eventually moved slowly toward the back, more in touch With the truth that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;care to dareâ&#x20AC;? group Were really a â&#x20AC;&#x153;choose to loseâ&#x20AC;? faction. Only epitaphs rewarding their action. Now it seems the gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gone on too long. My legs are wobbly and the rest of the back lineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the same. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re regretting our wisdom, our considered approach. Maybe our gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been way too tame? I look toward the sideline and see Those who excited early, the daring ones Now huddled together, watching us intently, Smirking and sneering at our long, weak-kneed folly. Knowing that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s we cautious â&#x20AC;&#x153;winnersâ&#x20AC;? who have lost, really.

â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Jim Ramboâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;

MID-MONTH BONUS! 'HQQLV&UXPSÂśVWRXFKLQJVWRU\DERXW KLVÂżUVWWULSWR$MLMLFLQLQWKHFRPSDQ\RIKLVZLGRZHGPRWKHUDQGVHYHUDO VLEOLQJV1RQHFRXOGVSHDNDQ\6SDQLVK EXW WKDW GLG QRW ERWKHU KLV UHVRXUFHIXO DQGLQWUHSLGPRWKHUA Trek to Ajijic can EHIRXQGDWKWWSFKDSDODFRPHORMRLQGH[SKSPLGPRQWKDUWLFOHV(DFKPLG PRQWK ZH Rá&#x201A;&#x2021;HU VXSHUE DUWLFOHV WKDW ZKLOHDELWWRRORQJIRURXUSULQWYHUVLRQ DUHSHUIHFWIRURXUGLJLWDOIRUPDW&KHFNLWRXW

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017


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I CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM MY STATEROOM %\&DURO/%RZPDQ

Part II—A Russian Tea Party

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ather than touring more buildings, twelve ship passengers opted to visit a Russian family’s home for tea. Means of transportation, the Metro! Using a city’s subway system always makes me feel ‘like one of the locals.’ We met our ‘minder’ early upon exit from immigration. While she waited for the other guests, my husband, eager to bend the rules, begged her to let us stroll down to our coveted Church of Assumption, unaccompanied! Young, neatly groomed and speaking flawless English, she eyed us cautiously then gave the go ahead. “Well, okay, but promise to return in exactly 20 minutes so that we can proceed to the Metro.” Like two little kids who had been

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allowed to stay up past bedtime, we skipped down the promenade toward the church. Seeing it up close and feeling the raised relief, my husband shouted, “We’re doing a forbidden thing.” He was ecstatic. The Metro station displayed vestiges of the Soviet Era with plaques of hammer and sickle. Two sets of almost vertical escalators took us into the bowels of St. Petersburg. Graffiti-free walls, marble statues and art graced the interior. We rode a vintage line with well-maintained cars packed with riders. I loved mingling with the people. They seemed no different than us: Struggling to get to work, to feed their families, to live their lives in peace. Within 30 minutes, we stood in front of a modest apartment build-

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

ing where Natasha and Boris lived in a third-floor flat. I realized that years ago Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon characters had these same names. The stairs seemed drab and dark, but a potted geranium in the window at level two gave the space life. Waiting to welcome us on the landing, Natasha held a squirming bull dog in her arms, while her young 4-year old daughter Marsha, peeked from behind her mother’s skirt. Marsha said in English. “We’ve been waiting for you. Come in.” Ushered into a cozy but crowded room, we took places at clothed tables set with unmatched antique tea cups and hand-painted porcelain dessert plates. Home-made marmalade and stacks of freshly griddled Russian blintzes graced each table. I gave Marsha a woven pouch filled with caramels, both made in Mexico where I live. Eyes wide, she put the purse strap over her head and danced back and forth, stroking her unique gift. “She’s never had a bag or candy from Mexico before,” said Natasha. I asked about the family’s ability to speak English. “From pre-school on, English instruction is mandated,” Natasha said with pride. The five-room flat provides housing for Natasha’s entire nuclear family. Each member or couple is assigned one room of the apartment. We happened to be having tea in a space which doubled as the bedroom of Marsha’s grandmother. “During the Communist era, five different families occupied this one flat,” said Boris. “We are fortunate to now have it for our family alone.” Both described the normal ups and downs of Russian life. Weekly activities swirl around Natasha’s job at an international hotel, Boris’ career at the local shipyard and the 10-year old son’s obsession with playing soccer. They struggle with mounting costs of everyday goods

and high taxes. I asked if they thought the United States and Russia would ever be allies rather than adversaries. Boris suggested that there are two schools of thought on this subject−‘perhaps and never.’ Their main concern is the family’s wellbeing, they only watch the news once a month, and they rarely discuss politics. Natasha described the family’s sanctuary from every day issues- their weekend retreats at their dacha. “It doesn’t have indoor plumbing or any amenities except electricity. We must bring everything that we need when we go, but it has given our family a connection with nature and a place to grow vegetables. We love it.” I thought back to my first glimpse of Russia days ago. They commented on one state policy they find hard to accept. In the winter, which comes swiftly around early October, the government controls the heat to these residential apartment buildings. There must be three consecutive days when the outside temperature falls below 8° C (46.4° F) before any warm steam flows. “We wear a lot of coats,” said Natasha. We affectionately embraced our new Russian ‘friends’ at departure time. Ascending from the depths of the subway station, we emerged onto a bustling St. Petersburg Square. Larisa, our ‘guide’ saw the eagerness on her charges’ faces. “Go, explore, feel the excitement of the street, take a picture with the statue of Dostoyevsky. Meet me here on the corner in 30 minutes,” she said. I rushed over to hug her. —The End— Carol L. Bowman


For Those New To Lakeside %\$Q2OG$QRQ\PRXV*URXFK

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have lived in a small town on Lake Chapala for over 15 years. It has been one of the best est things to ever happen n to me. I cannot imagine ever living anywhere else. Iff you are new to the area or considering a move to Lake Chapala please take note: This is not a Mexican an theme park. This is an entirely ly different country with laws that the citizens have allowed to o pass through their various legislative bodies. As you are a guest you must honor these laws and the rules of the he bureaucracy too. Like America and Canada some of the laws and rules of Mexico do not make sense. Don’t go around round breaking Mexican laws and if you do, don’t complain about the treatment you receive. Mexican law enforcement is serious business and not always rational. Mexican bureaucracies are as impenetrable as a coast jungle. Mexican people are polite, reserved and sometimes stoical. When you are also polite and reserved when interacting with them they might become your loyal friend. If you ask your Mexican friends what they think of foreigners who move to Lake Chapala they will tell you they are grateful for them but they find them to be aggressive, rude, rushed, and often false. If you move here don’t be those things. Be polite, reserved and sometimes stoical and practice loyalty and mutual respect with the natives. The cobblestone streets are here to stay. With the exception of some north-south thoroughfares that might be replaced with paving rock, cobblestones are an affordable way to have roads and be able to repair the ancient sewer & water infrastructure that lies beneath: Move a few rocks, dig down to the problem, and put the rocks back, no jack-hammer and then expensive concrete or macadam for the village to pay. Some of us like the looks of the old cobblestones. So if you can’t walk on cobblestones and have no other way of getting around the villages maybe it’s best not to move here. The sidewalks will always be un-

even, ffull of potholes, or no not there. This is because of the rains, beca heavy use and the fact heav that some sidewalks cannot be constructcann ed d due to property lilines. So if you are bothered that the b ssidewalks are not lilike those found in tthe average American gated comic munity then don’t m move here. m There will always be beggars w and Ajiin Chapala C jic. This is because jic tthese two towns are well-known among the poor villages around the lake for having lots of foreigners with money to spare. Look at it this way: There are no taxes at the supermarkets and all other taxes that foreigners pay are shamefully low so do plan to give to whatever beggar you see fit. A rule of thumb is: Always give to musicians. If the beggar has something to sell buy it and if you don’t need it give it away. Or if the beggar at least dresses up and gives you a blessing how about a coin. You don’t need to give to everyone so a firm but polite “No” will suffice for those. If you don’t like beggars hanging around you then don’t move here. Everyone who comes from lands above the 28th parallel is too loud. So turn it down when you are in a crowd. While you may think Mexicans are loud the fact is that two Americans talking can be louder than a half-dozen Mexicans with their babies. And, finally … Mexicans tend to celebrate everything with a fever. While Mexican individuals are not loud their music, fireworks, sporting events, marching bands, and mariachis in Jalisco are loud. Over time your brain will eventually accommodate the noise. Your pets will be alright. Stay calm and patient is the key. But if you can’t tolerate this noise then don’t move here. It will never change. We who have been here a long time are hoping it does not.

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5HYLVHGDQG(QODUJHG.LQGOH9HUVLRQ

%\$OHMDQGUR*UDWWDQ'RPLQJXH] An Egret Book 5HYLHZHG%\ 3URI0LFKDHO+RJDQ

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hose readers who have experienced the richness of Chicano culture and life in Alejandro Grattan’s The Dark Side of the Dream already know the power of this author in painting complex and believable characters. In that novel, set against the backdrop of World War II, we saw the compelling struggle of a people finding their own identity in a world shattered by the forces of alienation and dispersion. Masterfully narrated and brilliantly conceived, the book marked the ascent of a new and significant voice in Mexican-American literature. Breaking Even is set in the 1950’s when the eighteen-year-old protagonist, Val, abandons the security of his West Texas town, a loving mother, a kind stepfather, and a girlfriend, to go in search of his natural father whom Val thought had died years earlier. Val

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has a couple of things going for him. He’s a halfback on his high school football team, and his girlfriend is the daughter of the richest man in town. Nevertheless, as the son of a Mexican

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

mother and an absent Anglo father, he rates rather low on the social scale in his small community. Then, on his birthday, he comes into an inheritance left by his father that gives him the opportunity to both marry his sweetheart and go to college. Soon thereafter, however, he learns that his father did not die, but rather deserted him and his Mexican mother. Val decides to use his legacy to go on a quest to find his father, despite active discouragement from his mother. Thus begins an odyssey, which like that of Huck Finn down the Mississippi River, is one of self-discovery, rollicking action, and graphic scenes of violence which kept this reader engrossed. For what Val discovers as he finds his father—a compulsive gambler who is travelling with a female consort—is a man who at times resembles the foolishly romantic Tom Sawyer, and at other times the nefarious Duke. Always a dreamer and often a rogue, Val’s father, Frank Cooper, is charming, articulate, courageous and feckless. His efforts to put together a stake to get into the poker game of a lifetime continuously puts his own life at risk as well as that of his companions. Occasionally brilliant, warmhearted and outgoing, Frank Cooper always has his eye on the main chance.

For Val, these qualities at first seem to explain why Val’s mother still dreams of him and hopes he might someday return to her. To Val, Cooper is the man who generously left her with enough money to buy the roadside diner that has provided her and Val with livelihood for the past eighteen years. Like Pip in Great Expectations, Val is deceived at first by appearances. He compares Cooper with his blearyeyed, dyspeptic stepfather, Floyd, who works as a cook in the diner. It is obvious to Val who is the better man, and no surprise that his mother has carried a torch for Cooper all the years. As time goes by, however, Frank Cooper proves incorrigible, risking everything in a series of dangerous scams to buy his way into the poker game. To hold Val in place, Cooper promises that if he hits it big, he’ll walk away from gambling and buy a small ranch where he and Val can come to know each other as father and son. The highlights of the novel are the gambling scenes, the clever scams Cooper devises to raise money, and the intensely visual fight scenes. It is here that Grattan’s gifts as a former screenwriter and film director come into play. This is a fast-paced, actionpacked, highly-readable novel. Moreover, by carefully developing the character of Val—who discovers in the unfolding of the story the flaws of his father and those of society—Grattan raises his novel from mere storytelling to genuine literary achievement. In the process he has written a comingof-age novel which by its universality of theme and clarity of vision brings the book comfortably within the ranks of the best of this genre. *Prof. Michael Hogan is the author of Lincoln and Mexico: A History of Courage, Intrigue and Unlikely Friendships. Prof. Michael Hogan


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D

ear Editor: Where but in Mexico can one experience such color, beauty and joy when celebrating Death. Forget doom and gloom, the color black and mournful wailing. Intrigued by the prolific use of marigolds for the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, I decided to do a bit of research. I found out that “the flower is steeped in pre-Columbian religion” and now signifies “a blend of Aztec and Catholic feast days.” It is “the flower of choice because the scent is considered easily recognized by the spirit world. It is said to lure the dead, who will follow paths of

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petals from grave to house to back again,” and who are enticed by “the pungent scent and day-glo colors, to feed on favorite foods.” “Its orange and yellow hues, symbolizing sun rays are laid to light paths, cover crosses and decorate ofrendas or home alters.” Strolling along the Calle Parroquia on the south side of the Ajijic plaza, now closed to traffic, I marveled at the huge tapetes, carpets decorated with brilliantly dyed sawdust, sprinkled in elaborate patterns, reminiscent of Indian sand paintings.  Often using marigold petals to augment the colored saw-dust, there were abstract designs, ones

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

of fish, katrinas and intricately ornamented skulls. They stretched across the cobbles, these lovely pieces of art, here today and gone tomorrow, as ephemeral and short-lived as are our lives. We joined the rows of Mexican and non-Mexicans seated in front of the main church and, while waiting for the late-to-start entertainment, watched the made-up and superbly costumed Katrina brides and their grooms strolling by. The atmosphere was joyful. Seated beside us was Jose, in full make-up, who spoke excellent English. He told us he’d studied for a year at LCS and then on his own and that he had a large family spread all over the world. On our right were two Mexican women who had specifically come from Guadalajara to experience The Day of the Dead festivities for the first time. One, recently back from having lived for years in the United States, let my husband struggle with his elementary Spanish, before she put him at ease with her perfect English. On a temporary raised platform, the two bilingual emcees introduced the performers and between numbers gave us some history of the Dia de los Muertos, making a point, in case you hadn’t already got it, that

this was not a day of sorrowing. Young, local folklorico dancers were followed by a children’s choir, a quartet of A Capella singers from CREM Ajijic Music School and finally, the outstanding Ballet Folklorico from San Juan Cosala. One dance after another featured beautiful costumes and props, interesting choreography and superb ensemble performance. Then came the moment we were all waiting for: the lighting of the candles beneath the hundreds of clay skulls on the east wall of the school. Local artist, Efren Gonzales and his team of helpers had been working tirelessly up to the last minute, to complete the wall on which every inch is covered with plaques, each with an identical skull, and each bearing the name of someone’s beloved deceased. Below each plaque was a small receptacle with a candle. Efren invited the audience to go to the wall to light a few candles. We took time to read some of the names. Ladders had been left ready and soon the young and agile were clammering to light the uppermost candles, or relight them if the wind blew them out. Then there was a hush as the streetlights were switched off and we watched in awe, the wall of skulls, lit by hundreds and hundreds of flickering candles. Maestro Gonzales, looking weary, sat in front of his creation, like a sort of god, who had accomplished what he’d set out to do and was pleased with the final result. The indefatigable San Juan Cosala dancers, ended the evening with more exuberant pieces, and probably would have danced all night, if the audience, many of whom had to go to work the next day, hadn’t begun to drift off, with sleeping youngsters draped over their shoulders. I was reminded for the umpteenth time that I am privileged to live in this amazing village. Sincerely, Gabrielle Blair


RAMBLINGS FROM THE RANCH 3HWHU-+XUVW $XWKRU3RHW $GRSWHHWR%UDQGLDQGVLVWHU.DKXOD IURPµ7KH5DQFK¶ Dog Tail The Ranch is a place like others we see, rescuing dogs from humanity. The trust a dog gives is honest and true, something as people we find difficult to do. We protect the dogs within our care, but all too many slip by in despair. For those at the kennels their hopes run high, just waiting the time for you to walk by. These dogs that are waiting will always stay true, greeting you fondly for just being you. I commend the rescue centers, the people that volunteer and the many caring people willing to adopt. In all the years I have owned dogs my choice has always been to adopt from rescue kennels and I cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t give them first choice when looking for a trusting companion. Many of these dogs have gone through experiences we cannot imagine and all by the hands of those they trusted. For some it takes longer to trust again but with care, patience and understanding the rewards to both can be overwhelmingly positive. In my professional years of working with horses, dogs were always included in my daily routine. Working with both gave me greater understanding to their motivation and acceptance of human expectations. When it comes to our domestic ani-

mals I am surprised they haven’t all joined the ‘Animal Farm group’. The less said here the better! This Christmas please consider giving a donation to The Ranch: www.adoptaranchdog@outlook. com or 331.270.4447 for more information on giving, volunteering and adoptions. Follow us on Facebook: Lakeside Spay and Neuter Ranch and Adoptions. Have a great Christmas with your four legged companions. Animals Forever.

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I jumped in surprise, then crouched down to see a rather large ant looking straight up at me. He spoke once again in a soft, squeaky way, “Please do not squash me – at least not today.” “You see,” he explained, “I am running quite late, for I meant to report to the queen ant by eight.” The ant shook his head and wiped his wee brow. “I’ve a long way to go and it’s nearly eight now!” “Oh my,” I declared as I crouched down real low. “Where is this queen ant and how far must you go?” The ant glanced around then turned back to me. He pointed and said, “I must get to that tree.”

I almost stepped on an ant today as it scurried about in its whimsical way.

“Then I turn left by the smooth, grassy spot – or do I turn right? Oh, dear, I forgot!”

I was sitting outside on the stoop by the door, when an ant started crossing the patio floor.

With that, he plopped down right next to my shoe, And hopelessly sighed, “Oh, what shall I do?”

Keenly, I watched from my comfortable seat as that brave little ant marched right up to my feet.

All at once, an idea popped into my head. “We’ll find the queen ant together,” I said.

He paused, then circled, then scrambled ahead as I lifted my foot up to smash that ant dead.

“Together?” he squeaked, still feeling some grief. I nodded, while placing beside him a leaf.

What happened next, I tell you it’s true, That ant simply stopped right under my shoe.

“Climb aboard,” I announced. “I’m your captain, you see. As we search for the queen our first stop is the tree.”

Before I could squash it, I heard a voice say, “Don’t step on me, please; I’ll get out of your way!”

“Then we’ll move on to the smooth, grassy spot. From there—that’s the part of the trip you forgot.” I carried the leaf while the ant sat on top, to each part of the yard, when the ant shouted, “STOP!” “It’s here!” he exclaimed, pointing down to the ground, where hundreds of ants were clustered around. This anthill was surely the biggest I’ve seen. “So, this is the place you report to the queen?” “Right here,” he replied, as he stepped off the leaf. “Thank goodness we’ve found it—whew, what a relief!” He thanked me and sighed, “I hope I’m not late.” “You’re not, I declared, “It’s one minute to eight!” As the ant dashed away I smiled and said, “I’m sure glad I chose not to smash that ant dead!” —THE END—

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his well-crafted play is about the loving and sometimes stormy relationship between “Sarah Goodwin” who is a war-zone photographer, and “James Dodd” who is a writer specializing in conflict and disaster areas. When the play opens, Sarah is on crutches and her face is scarred by shrapnel. She has been sent home in James’ care after several weeks in hospital having been almost killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. James fusses over her, and we understand that he is tormented by guilt because he left her alone in Iraq after he had a nervous breakdown over there, and he still suffers from PTSD. The scars of war are not all visible. Later we meet “Richard Ehrlich” who is a photo editor in New York, and a very good friend to Sarah and James. In tow he brings his new and very young girl-friend “Mandy Bloom” who is sort of sweet and sort of ditsy. The actors are all amazingly good in their various roles. I can pay no higher compliment than to say that I was so engrossed in the play that I totally forgot that these were actors and we were in a theater. Much credit must go to first-time director David Goldman who brought out the best in four first-time actors on the LLT stage. Carolyn Cothran was strong and determined as Sarah, while Greg Custer brought out the emotional frailty of James. During the play we begin to see what attracts them to

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each other, and also what drives them apart. Sarah is hooked on the adrenaline of the blood and guts of war, and is dedicated to showing it to the world. Greg admires her, but he also needs to find some peace in a normal family life. Ultimately these contradictions end their marriage in a touching final scene. Richard is twenty years older than Mandy, and Don Beaudreault expresses his amused embarrassment and also his love for her. She brings him happiness. And Johanna Labadie is excellent as young Mandy. I particularly appreciated the scene in which she questions the morality of taking photos of strangers dying, and doing nothing to help them. What kind of person are you, if all you are is a camera? Donald Margulies has given us a powerful play that doesn’t pretend to answer such questions; instead it focuses on two people who are struggling to make meaning of their lives. The dialogue is natural – this is the way that people talk. At the opening of the play, there were scenes of Iraq on a back-projector screen. Initially they were happy scenes of normal life, at home or in the marketplace. Gradually the scenes deteriorated as war came to the area, and at the end we saw destruction, violence and death. These scenes were extremely effective – congratulations to David Goldman and to J.E. Jack for producing the video. Win McIntosh was as always an efficient Stage Manager, and Beryl Dorscht was her Assistant. Thanks to all who worked backstage to make this play such a success. It was a very good play, well written, well directed and very well acted. Next up is Calendar Girls which should be fun – it opens on December 8. Michael Warren


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his year has been such a learning curve year for the Tepehua Community Center. After crashing into all our programs like Mariachis in a china shop, we served the people. We have learned there is a distinct difference between doing the job and doing the job well. The small infractions that were found against the Tepehua Team by officialdom all made sense. We are glad they came. Literally “raising the roof at Tepehua”, workers are keeping to schedule. There will be a boveda (brick) ceiling on one side (photo) that will house the gymnasium and other activities. The dental side will have a flat brick/ plastered ceiling as requested by the Health Department. We have had dentists visit the center with regard to ‘working’ as volunteers in the coming year, which is why this writer has always believed in the “build it and they will come” theory.  That happened with the Medical clinic; we built it and Doctors came to lend a hand. Starting off 2018 with a clean slate, and much wiser than when we started, it promises to be a very good year.  The people in the Health Department couldn’t have been more helpful, and this writer was very impressed with their courtesy. Tepehua visits to La Barca, Government Health base for Jalisco, for further instruction, is still in our fu-

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ture but very much appreciated. Our Medical Side is becoming more sophisticated. Our resident Doctor is new, young with an abundance of idealism. Dr. Carlos Rodriguez, our resident Doctor, who has been with us since we opened, unfortunately had a stroke in Nicaragua, his home country, so 2018 will see a change of management on that side too. Change is good, especially when it passes into young enthusiastic, idealistic hands, who remember the reason they dreamed of being a Doctor. The Tepehua Team wish Dr. Carlos a speedy recovery. We miss his compassion and the way he cared for the people. He came to Mexico twenty plus years ago, escaping Civil War in his own country, where he was a field doctor. He never stopped caring for the people. Opening the Gymnasium next year is an exciting program. So much therapy happens in exercise rooms, it becomes a place of intimacy and challenge. Knowledge is shared unconsciously, and bonds are formed.  The word ‘gymnasium’ is Latin for the Greek word ‘gymnastic school’, which in turn was derived from ‘gymnos’ meaning ‘naked’. The Greeks trained naked as a compliment to the Gods, usually oiling their bodies, and training outside in arenas. Gymnastics for the Greeks was part of Education and Medicine. Men of letters also attended and held disputations concerning politics. Helping a woman gain independence through knowledge and become who she was meant to be is like watching a flower slowly open it´s bud.   The amazement of a child who learns something new...and it is all because of the people who care. Strangers reaching out to strangers. The Tepehua Team would like to thank all the volunteers and the donors and sponsors for the incredible change you have brought to a little part of the world, our world in Mexico. A better world because you were in it. Enjoy 2018 in good health, enjoy a peace you deserve for doing your part.


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cience says that singing is good for the body as well as the spirit. That’s easy for me to believe these days. Last year, I finally gave in to the nagging voice in my head, quietly mumbling over and over, “Start a choir, start a choir, a choir, are you listening? So start one!” In June of 2016, I started the Lake Chapala Chorale, and this December is our one-year debut anniversary. We have completed three seasons already, and each has been more successful, culminating last October with “Singing on a Star,” a Broadway revue that sold out all four performances. To celebrate, like hobbits, we’re giving the Lakeside community a wonderful concert full of nostalgia and Christmas cheer this December. No matter what your personal beliefs are, this program will warm your heart and reconnect you with your innocence, your family memories, and your love of all things that sparkle or come wrapped in paper, ribbon-bedecked. Working with the Chorale has been a delight for me. I’m learning all the time, and my health has improved dramatically too. I have more energy than I ever had and people say I look ten years younger. The fact is, my life, which I thought was over when my husband died, is now a dream come true. For the members of the LCC, the experience has also provided innumerable benefits, both physical and

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otherwise. Singing for two hours is real work, and the results over a surprisingly short period of time are impressive. You work your mind as you oxygenate it, improving the memory and brain chemistry. You work your whole body and open up the energy channels, improving your overall physical wellbeing. And you sing – hopefully as one voice – with other like-minded people who love music. You make friends that last and bring joy to those who hear you. What a nice thing to do with your precious time! Together, the chorale has created countless unforgettable moments. During both our rehearsals and concerts, we have all witnessed acts of heroism and courage, dedication and altruistic good will. There’s just something about a bunch of people singing together. You breathe in as one, you breathe out as one. You tune up and tune in to each other. You constantly strive for unity, and often, you actually find it. Who knew it was right there all along, in your own breath and longing to make Cindy Paul music?


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ails can tell part of the story of how your cat or dog is feeling. But a dog’s tail and cat’s tail tell quite different tales in their own unique language. A cat’s upright tail and tail quiver are often signs of a friendly greeting. If your cat does the little tail quiver when he sees you, that means he is happy and content. Cats will often wrap their tails around the leg or arm of an owner to show affection. A feline that holds its tail low, extended rigidly, and flicks it back and forth, indicates displeasure, frustration or heightened emotion. And when kitty starts thumping the ground with her tail, she’s ready to attack.The low flick can also be indicative of an upset cat that is ready to pounce. Different from the tail flick, the swish usually means your cat is about to pounce on your hand, normally a more playful manner and mood. If your cat is gazing out the window intently, accompanied by a slight twitch in the end of the tail is indicating her interest or concentration on something. If perceived it is in danger, the cat will make a fluffed-up tail with fur standing straight off the body. A bristled tail held upright or straight behind the cat indicates aggression. But the bottlebrush tail held in an inverted U shows fear or defensiveness. Tucking the tail between the legs signals ultimate fear. That doesn’t mean your kitty won’t resort to using claws and teeth though, if she feels cornered. You’ll usually also hear lots of hissing, growling, and other vocalizations, and the terrified cat may crouch low to the floor with ears slicked back. Or she may turn onto her back — not in submission, but to get all four claw-filled paws ready for defense. Cats don’t do submission. Get to know your cat through her tail and body language. The “language” of dog tail wagging can be complex, and the tail doesn’t “speak” in isolation from

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the other components of body language. The tail is only part of the communications. Wags can have different meanings depending on the situation and context, along with other body signals that a dog is showing. You should view a wagging tail as a sign of being mentally aroused within its environment and willingness to interact, but not a signal of a particular mood or state. This tail action does not indicate how he will react to whatever is going on, being friendly or otherwise. The following are simplified examples of tail positions and their meanings. Tail stiffness: Generally, a loose, flowing wag is good, but a stiff wag can communicate tension or hostility. Tail Speed: A fast wag is generally good, but a slow wag usually signals that a dog will not be friendly. A big tail wag: where the butt is moving and the tail is making wide sweeping motions, generally indicates a friendly dog that is ready for a friendly interaction with a person or other dog. Dog tail wags and their meanings can also differ from dog to dog. Dog tail wagging is a pretty universal behavior. What isn’t universal is the temperament between and within breeds. One individual dog may wag his tail a little lower or a little higher or a little faster than another individual. It is important for owners to get to know their dog’s body language. Although it is fun to try to guess what our dogs are feeling with their tail language, it is absolutely essential to look at your dog’s over-all body language to truly decipher what he may be feeling. The tail does not tell it all. Jackie Kellum


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ake Chapala Writers Conference I am excited about the 2018 Writers Conference because we have several excellent presenters who will share their personal stories about writing and publication. Every one of us has a story to tell, if not a book of memoirs. No matter if you grew up an only child or one of seven you have a unique perspective of the same family events and the 2018 Lake Chapala Writers Conference will help you find that “voice” to tell your personal story. It would be unwise and unfair of me to say we have a keynote speaker as each of the presenters will share their unique story about writing and publication. Jennifer Wilson has been writing for more than 20 years for magazines like Esquire, National Geographic Traveler, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents as well as for newspapers and two published books. Her memoir, Running Away to Home, a memoir about returning with her young family to live in the Croatian mountain village of her ancestors, won the 2012 Best Nonfiction Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Jennifer is also a writing instructor so come prepared to learn and be inspired. Jennifer will talk about Writing True Stories, true things and dramatizing the past. She will also cover the pitfalls of genealogy. She promises to talk about things that bring memories, your childhood home, your college dorm, the backseat of someone´s car, the good and the bad. She will share her knowledge about the importance of building characters in both fiction and nonfiction works. Roberta Rich is a multinational bestselling author whose three historical novels are set in exotic Venice and Constantinople. Roberta will share her knowledge about writing for setting, dialogue, character and voice. Even a memoir and an article must include these elements otherwise the writing is flat and uninteresting. From Roberta we will learn how to create dialogue, all stories move through dialogue no

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matter what type of story or memoir, people speak. Roberta says, “Narrative drive is the X ingredient all editors are looking for.” Besides sharing her own writing expertise Roberta offers to critique a portion of attendees’ manuscript. Samantha Waltz sold her first story when she was eleven and she has been writing ever since. She was an editor for Madamoiselle, and has over sixty stories in different anthologies. Samantha has won too many awards to list here. She will share what she has learned about what stories get a publisher´s attention, and how to make your essay or story come alive and be published. Literary agent Beverly Slopen will talk about what an agent can do for you and your book. On the Internet you might want to look up Beverly Slopen and discover which authors her Canadian agency represents. She will be actively seeking new clients at the Lake Chapala Writers Conference. The conference offers attendees an opportunity to pitch your book to Beverly Slopen. Once your book is published you will want to sell it to more than family and friends and Pat Chase will talk about Marketing Memories. Pat had her introduction to computers in a Toronto law firm and has continued her exploration since then. She has taught computer classes with the Vancouver School Board and today she designs websites and social media for her online business. The dates for the 2018 Lake Chapala Writers Conference are, March 7th, 8th and 9th. The location will be the Hotel Danza del Sol, Ajijic The cost is $2,000 pesos for registration before March, 2018 – registration includes lunch both full days and the opportunity to meet privately with Beverly Slopen. There is an additional fee for those who wish to have Roberta Rich critique a portion of your manuscript. Registration forms are available at Diane Pearls.


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THE OJO INTERNET MAILBOX (Wherein we Sublish some comments about our Srevious issues)

The Drug Fix That Is Permanent Virginia Rose Very nicely written. Drugs are a big problem now not only in the USA, but all over. Sad to see our young people resort to this and hope they come to their senses and get help before it is too late. How Chastity Belts Are Saving America HAHA Of course they don’t need to put on chastity belts ha ha ha ha ha ha, or do they? Welcome to Mexico! - October 2017 The Who Thank you for your heartfelt appreciation regarding Mexico and its people. I first learned about the Chapala area while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta in June 2001. A retired New York couple, who resided in the Ajijic area then, told us about the area’s beauty.

Since then, my wife and I have researched and contemplated retiring in Mexico with the Chapala area being top on our list. My wife is originally from Villa De Santiago, Nuevo Leon (near Monterrey Mexico) and came to the US at 21 years of age, so she is familiar with the Mexican culture/living. I grew up and still reside in the Houston, Texas area. I’ve visited Mexico many times but living there will definitely be a new experience. Currently, I can only ponder about retirement because it won’t happen until 2030, when I’m 59 1/2. Since 2001, from time to time, I’ve searched all things Chapala/Ajijic/Guadalajara; just envisioning. So thank you for contributing and conveying a positive light to my future dreams. Sincerely, Julio Cesar My Father’s Walking Stick Dorothy Williams Thank you for sharing your story

Carol. I think our fathers were much alike - they had a lot to do with each other, over the years, of working with the RM council. Our birth placement was much the same as well ... I was pretty much an “oops” as well. My mom was 33 when I was born ..., that was OLD in those days!!!! You are several years younger than me / but do remember you playing hockey... I think my brother Fred was your coach. Keep on writing - you do it well. Hugs. Work Week Gabrielle Blair What a fun poem. Quite delightful and original and such a novel way of clearing out unwanted stuff to make room for more. The Drug Fix That Is Permanent Benjamin M. Gaul It has often been said that all evil requires to thrive, is for good people to sit back and do nothing. This article brings that concept home, while also pointing out that evil can be found in any family. Thank you for writing this, Christy. A stern but loving reminder that there are people in our lives whose lives we can save, if only we will put forth the effort. Art Excellent article. In our society, others around us are hurting and we don’t realize it. I think it comes partially from the breakdown in our social/ moral/spiritual fabric. We are not as close as we once were. We don’t engage ourselves in the lives of others. Not sure what the solution is, only that pharmaceuticals are not the answer, only a band aid, and a very dangerous one at that. We need to be more aware and sensitive to the suffering around us. But it’s not always easy. People have become very good at masking their true feelings, maybe for fear of appearing weak instead of asking for help. House-sitting Diva Christy Wiseman Can’t wait until November 16th

when this interesting topic is addressed in what will no doubt be fascinating detail by someone who has had extensive adventures in house-sitting. Kelly has the flexibility, intelligence and engaging personality to make this book a welcome read for anyone interested in learning the ins and outs of successful house-sitting. The Theft Of History Alexander Maidan Stealing and appropriating the culture and history of indigenous peoples is a typical characteristic of all modern colonial-settler states, but usually accomplished once the indigenous people in question have been eliminated, dispossessed, or otherwise seemingly defeated therefore making it safe to do so. The chief focused eraser of Middle East history is, of course, Israel. Their special interest in archaeological cleansing is the fact that their claim to Palestine is not merely tenuous, but utterly fraudulent. Bip Attends A Dinner Party Gabrielle Blair How well you have brought to life this great mime artist, a performer of no words, but who in real life was a delightful human being of many other talents, not least of which was a sense of humor. I saw him perform many times in South Africa, but never knew anything about the man off-stage. My own training in mime was in Toronto with a German teacher from the Mary Wigman Company in Berlin. Til Thiele had herself trained with Etienne Decroux, one of Marceau’s Paris teachers who had also trained the consummate mime artist Jean-Louis Barrault. I Can See Russia From My Stateroom Gabrielle Blair You have captured the magic that is St. Petersburg and it is such a delight to read an appreciation of Russia after the endless bad press this great country has been receiving, with the return of the Cold War mentality. Your description of the church also gives a thumbnail sketch of how the Orthodox Church, the monks and the believers suffered during the Bolshevik period and for decades afterwards, at a time when so many magnificent religious edifices were trashed and that have now been restored to their original splendor. Willow, Weep Not For Me Mary Jadwisiak I am so glad you were able to absorb the healing my humble home could offer.

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xperienced players usually have a good idea of how they are doing as a duplicate session nears its conclusion. This knowledge can guide them in whether to take aggressive action in the remaining hands if they believe they are lagging behind in the standings or to play more conservatively if they sense they are doing well. The North-South pair in this month’s hand felt they needed some good results when they bid the small slam at the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club in Riberas. With East-West silent throughout, South opened proceedings in third seat with 1 spade and North responded 2 clubs, the *Two-Way Reverse Drury Convention, which in their system showed precisely 3 spades and an invitational raise. This encouraged South to investigate slam so he bid 4 no trump, Roman Keycard Blackwood and North’s response showed 2 keycards without the spade queen, so South signed off in 6 spades. Note that South could have cue-bid a new suit sending a message to his partner that he had extra values and was going to contract for game at least, but that might have conveyed too much information to the opponents. West led the club king and South

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took time out to count his losers. On the surface it looked like he had one heart loser, no spade or club losers, and if he could bring the diamond suit home for no losers the slam would make. Declarer began by winning the opening lead with North’s ace and, since he may have needed to ruff a heart if the ace were offside, he now led that suit at trick 2. East could see no reason to duck this so he won the ace and returned a club which South ruffed in hand. Declarer now drew trumps in 3 rounds ending in the dummy and noticed with interest that West discarded a low diamond on the third spade. It seemed to South that he needed to find East with 2 or 3 diamonds including the queen so he started on that suit by cashing dummy’s ace, intending to finesse the queen on the next round if it had not appeared. To his surprise, East dropped her majesty under the ace and now it was simple to run the suit and claim his contract making. Have you noticed the error made by West in dropping a low diamond on the third round of trumps? Presumably that player wanted to keep two suits with honors in them but was not familiar with the maxim: “keep parity with the dummy.” This means that when you have a choice of suits to discard, do not pitch from a suit that has the same number of cards as one in dummy and has the potential of producing a trick for your side. It would have been perfectly safe to let a club go as South was known to be void in that suit. Notice that even if declarer had started this suit by playing a low card from the dummy and capturing the queen, West’s holding was such that South would have to lose one more trick and with it the contract Questions or comments: email: masKen Masson son.ken@gmail.com


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uring these past five months a lot happened at Anita’s Animals. This shelter has closed its doors now, the 12 remaining dogs were relocated to a great place called Proyecto Frida A.C., and a lady also German and also called Anita, has taken the 35 remaining cats into her private care. Anita herself is in Germany getting treatment for her hip condition. All our good wishes will help her to get better soon. Being Anita’s daughter, eventually the responsibility for the animals was left to me. Closing the shelter was in the end the best decision and many kind people helped to make this possible, but now I feel very indebted… I owe all these noble persons a big, big THANK YOU!! Only telling them does not feel satisfying enough to me, so by writing this I try to very selfishly free myself from this debt I feel. An enormous THANK YOU again to Dr. Hector Ladron de Guevara and to Dr. Hugo Saavedra at Ladron de Guevara Animal Hospital in Riberas del Pilar. In an unforgettable deed of solidarity Dr. Hector offered the animals of Anita’s his support when most needed. He and Dr. Hugo donated 8 spayings, 2 neuterings, 20 vaccinations, 13 de-wormings, 12 flea treatments, health certificates for each dog, and their priceless time and effort, which made it possible to successfully and quickly relocate the dogs to Proyecto Frida. I also want to enormously thank Proyecto Frida for their great disposition to take the 12 dogs of Anita’s in the first place!! They have already found new permanent homes for five of these dogs. Our dear friend Doris has been the most amazing intuitive overall support and advisor. Forever THANK YOU! Can’t thank Anita M. enough for taking the 35 cats into her enormous kind heart! I also owe my father and my half siblings an immense thank you for their support and hands-on help at the shelter during the final

period. Thank you also to Toni, Janice, Linda, and the volunteers of the Transition Team. Even though in the end our collaboration plan did not work out, I do thank them enormously for their efforts and energies. I would also like to express my profound thank you to all the people that supported Anita and the animals throughout her almost 20-year mission. Some I remember: Lila Kawananakoa, Jackie Kellum, Jackie Becknell, Marilu, Dr. Pepe Magana, etc. And, last but not least, THANK YOU to Anita herself!! She has been and is an exceptional mother and role model to me and to so many other people, showing us what we are capable of achieving when we find our passion in life. Even though it was not possible for me to continue with the shelter, my mother has passed her love for the animals on to me and her granddaughter. As I just come to realize in this very instant, this what I have written here serves not only the purpose of saying THANK YOU to everyone ever involved, but also to close this cycle with the dignity that Anita deserves for all the tremendous amounts of work and love she has dedicated to the animals for so many years of her life at Lakeside. Gracias!

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he summer of 2017 has been a particularly challenging time. There have been an unusual number of major natural disasters around the world, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. There are many who deny the interrelationship of humans and climate, and there will undoubtedly be even greater disasters as long as necessary infrastructure improvements are ignored and as long as harmful human habits are ignored. Wars continue to flourish with no sign of greater understanding or reconciliation. Millions of people are now displaced in the world, and loss of lives through war continues to build sorrow and animosity. The war machine has also sadly become tightly interwoven into the overall economy and corporate

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profits of some countries. While significant effort has been dedicated to fighting disease, even health care and pharmaceutical companies have become obscene sources of profit. And one wonders if some of the recommended cures are worse than the diseases. Meanwhile many individuals experience bankruptcy and despair while elusive cures continue to exist. There appears to be a trend in the world among some countries toward nationalism and blind faith patriotism that recognize freedom and justice for some and not for others. Unfortunately corruption and prejudice within governments exacerbates many problems, and there is need for more politicians and leaders who are genuinely committed to service and improved conditions

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

for everyone. Some will suggest that private for-profit enterprises are the solution, but these can often be more corrupt and mercenary. Honest and fair public services need a lot of work, but can be a way to improve opportunities for everyone. Religion is sometimes used as a tool to justify divisive actions, which sadly can be devoid of a true humanitarian agenda. Even closing of doors to people desperately in need is sometimes defended. There can also be great zeal about whose religion is the right religion. More wars in the history of the world have been caused under the banner of religion. Religion has the power to make some people better human beings and some people worse human beings. And some people find the way to be better human beings without religion. Groups of people and countries are sometimes “judged” harshly without directly knowing them or attempting to understand them. These people and countries become regarded as “others,” and efforts are sometimes pursued to make their lives more complicated, difficult, and dismissive. And sometimes there is talk of total annihilation. Employers sometimes show no loyalty or respect to employees because of various biases and higher regard for

budgets/profits. This can have devastating consequences to workers who have been loyal and who trusted that they were working in a fair and caring system. The rights and respectful treatment of workers remains an issue in many countries, particularly profit-driven systems that deny people liveable wages and critical social services. There is sometimes a misunderstanding of status or hierarchy of life. All of life, including animals and the environment, is important. Status and hierarchy are only constructed by those who aspire to power and control. Some indigenous people have a wisdom about the world that has been forgotten by modern civilization. KOYAANISQATSI is a Hopi word for “life out of balance.” The only way to create balance is to clearly and critically distinguish between what creates well-being and what creates disharmony. Well-being is about balance between individual freedom and the “good of society.” To over-compensate in either direction creates discord. The world is at a critical turning point where people either move beyond tribes, political affiliations, and countries for a higher and more collaborative purpose or everything will inevitably go tumbling down. There is also an important ongoing need to stand up for people who have been regretfully marginalized, so that they are also fairly represented. Whether people recognize it or not, all of life is interdependent. It appears there is a majority of people who want to create better communities and a better world. The key to success will always be to not give into “dark sides,” but rather to collectively move forward passionately with deep levels of honesty, trust, wisdom, and compassion. The work can be hard and sometimes may feel endless, but it is worth it. All of life depends Mark Boyer on it.


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uval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has written a bestseller titled Sapiens, a widely celebrated work of non-fiction championed by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Barack Obama, and translated into 40 languages. In it the historian predicts a future for humanity in which we have created networked artificial intelligence with a far greater capacity for reason than our own. Local novelist R.M. Krakoff just published a novel titled Robot Dreams, depicting that future world in a more accessible form than Harari’s 800-page tome. Krakoff sets the stage by telling us that “as governments fell and society transformed in the last century, science continued to march toward ever more sophisticated AI… From the beginning of technology’s fervor over AI development, there have been few governmental regulations…. Robotic inventions became a Wild West scientific adventure where machine automation seemed to supplant space exploration.” He describes a society in which robotics, intended to make human lives easier, healthier, happier, longer and kinder became more self-aware and ambitious and are no longer content just to serve. Inhabiting this brave new world of 2101 is an interesting cast of characters including Andre, the likeable android protagonist, and Barbara Manning, a human mercenary and killing “machine” who Andre hires to track down his kidnapped human owner, Clem Wellman, and the carbon –based villains who are holding him prisoner. Krakoff’s greatest strength is his visual imagination. The book would make an excellent adventure film with confrontational scenes occurring in various exotic locations. The plot keeps Andre on the move and includes conflict and tension. The dialogue is lively, the characters speak as we would expect them to: “I’m toast, Andre. Don’t waste the effort. Just do me two favors. Kill this sonofabitch and when you get the time, call Alexander Joseph and tell him that I loved him…” (Wounded hit woman Barbara.) Like its predecessor, Dream Hackers, this novel has philosophical depth. It poses the question: What does it mean to be human in 2101? Andre is

a machine, built and programmed by humans, but he is evolving and slowly acquiring emotions, like anxiety over his future. He worries about being disassembled into his component mechanical parts. In other words, he fears annihilation. Andre behaves a whole lot better than many of the carbon-based characters in the novel, displaying loyalty, courage, and determination. At one point he asks himself, ‘”Am I really alive?” He has outgrown his original programming and now has self-awareness. Krakoff has crafted a fast moving futuristic adventure story, which makes the reader stop and think, but it does have a couple of weaknesses. In his desire to create a future world the reader can readily inhabit, the author lapses into lecturing us through Andre, especially in the early chapters. And then, there’s his use of the present tense throughout. In Chapter 2, for example, he writes: “I increase my pace,” and “I call out to him” and “I kneel next to Brenda” and “I turn” and “I search”. I found this annoying and wished he had used the more familiar past tense, which seems like nit- picking until you’ve spent an hour with it. In Robot Dreams, human readers disinclined to tackle Harari’s 800 page Sapiens get the opportunity (in just 342 pages) to explore a future society where artificial intelligence has taken our jobs and stolen our sense of purpose. Today, we believe we master machines, but in the future they may master us. It’s worth thinking and reading about. Harriet Hart

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Posadas, Pastorelas y Pi Piñat P Piñ Piñatas iñ ñata ñatas atas ata attas ass

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ou can always count on the fun-lovfun--loving Mexicans to get the mostt outt of any fiesta, whether sacred orr pro proofane, but they outdo themselves in makmak ing the winter holiday season stretch h all the way to February. Though many of their customs originate in their own past, and others have been borrowed from Europe and the Far East or, most recently, from their North American neighbors, they have a way of making each element uniquely their own. Parties and posadas, parades and pageants, pastorelas, piñatas and poinsettias all play important roles in the festivities. December 3rd sees the holidays off to a solemn start with the fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe which culminates nine days later on her special day, December 12th. Ever since she appeared to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531 and left her image indelibly imprinted on his mantle, this Virgin has been the patrona of all Mexico. The natives’ immediate acceptance was partially due to her dusky skin, so like their own and so unlike the milk-faced dolls imported from Spain. But what made her peculiarly their own was her appearance in a place sacred to their old religion near the time of the winter solstice, plus the fact that she is surrounded by golden rays that identified her as an emissary of the sun god, the most important deity in the pre-Colombian pantheon. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nacimiento, or tableau of the holy birth, in 1223. The idea caught on throughout the Christian world and Mexican converts adopted it with enthusiasm as being closely akin to some of their own rituals. There are, however, some slight differences from the original as, for instance, in having Satan lurking somewhere about the scene hoping to trap the unwary. In Mexico they

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

go up in early December and stay around long after Christmas. Visitors are usually impressed by the detailed completeness of such scenes; especially those featuring full-sized figures and live animals, but puzzled by the absence of several important characters. When it is explained that the baby Jesus will not be born until Christmas day and the Three Kings are still traveling and cannot arrive before Twelfth Night, they often go home wondering why they have always done it wrong in Podunk. Another omnipresent feature of Christmas in Mexico is the poinsettia or La Flor de la Nochebuena (Flower of the Holy Night) which was also sacred in pre-Columbian times. They called it Cuetlaxochitl (leather petals) and considered it sacred to warriors who died in battle and who, as hummingbirds and butterflies, would return to earth to sip its nectar. Throughout history priests have been canny enough to incorporate at least some elements of the religious beliefs of a conquered people in their rites to make them more palatable. The Egyptians did it; the Greeks did it; the Aztecs did it; and the Catholics were certainly past masters of the art. When they noted that their future converts were accustomed to commemorating the winter solstice with parades, dances and morality plays in honor of the sun god, they immediately instituted a similar celebration with a Christian theme and the Posadas were born. Every evening, from December 16th through the 24th, the streets of even the smallest village are crowded with the faithful following Mary and Joseph in their search for shelter. Sometimes only images are carried. More often it is a young girl seated on a burro led by a boy in Arab robes who head the procession. Special songs are sung at each “inn” begging refuge which, time after time, is refused until finally an innkeeper welcomes them. Then the party begins. There is always a piñata for the children, a fragile clay jar covered with crepe paper in fanciful designs and filled with fruits, nuts, candies and small toys. One after another, blindfolded stick wielders swing wildly until one finally succeeds in breaking the jar, and there is a mad scramble for the goodies that rain down. This custom originated in China, but Christianity added its own meanings. Although they now come in every form imaginable, from airplanes to zebras, the traditional piñata was spherical with seven conical protrusions trailing paper streamers which represented the Seven Deadly Sins. Its destruction symbolizes the defeat of Satan himself and the treats are the rewards of that moral victory. Traditional foods like tamales, buñuelos and ponche are enjoyed before the party makes its way to the church for mass. There they might watch a pastorela performed on the church steps. Here again we find echoes of the past. The ancients often reenacted important historical episodes as part of their religious rites and the missionaries adapted this to Biblical events, in this case the birth of Christ. Whatever the schedule, each evening builds up in intensity and fun until it reaches a crescendo on Christmas Eve. Except for a special mass, Christmas day is usually devoted to recovering from the final party. Traditionally, it is not even a day for exchanging gifts, though that, too, is changing. On December 28th, the festivities start up again with the Day of the Innocents. Why this terrible day, when Herod ordered all newborn babies slaughtered, should be celebrated by hoaxes and practical jokes is a mystery. Most of the high


jinks are aimed at persuading the unwary to lend some article which, by tradition, need never be returned. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are purely secular and mostly modern except for some overtones of celebration of the sun god’s moving north again after the solstice. January 6th, however, is a very important day. This is El Dia de los Tres Reyes, when the Three Kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, finally reached Bethlehem bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh. It is the Magi, not Santa Claus, who bring gifts for the children in all SpanishAmerican countries. Special foods are served, including an egg cake resembling a giant bagel bright with dried fruits and sparkling with sugar. A tiny ceramic figure of the Christ Child is baked inside. The lucky, or unlucky, person who finds it in his portion is obligated to host the final party of the season on February 20th. He is also responsible for providing the christening dress for the infant Jesus. El Dia de la Candelaria, also known as the Day of Purification, is when, the obligatory forty days after his birth, Mary and Joseph take their new babe to the Temple to be blessed The winter Holidays are finally over... but watch out for Easter!

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dam Applebaum’s hair was gone except for a few intermittent tufts. Already sparse on top in high school, his nickname had been Applebald. He had been a lonely kid, a friendless teenager and now was a miserable adult. His strict parents had wanted him to become a doctor but blood made him swoon and not in a good way. Passionate about little, he, at least, liked computers and worked as an I.T. specialist for an insurance company. Staring in the mirror, he removed his spectacles, grabbed the can of shaving foam and squeezed the lever with flourish. It was unfortunate that he had not checked the direction of the nozzle since the foam dispensed all over his shoulders and neck. “Dammit,” he yelled. Bast, his cat, yawned. As a direct de-

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scendant from the divine felines of the Nile Valley she held herself in the highest regard above her hapless owner and the hideous pit bull he had recently adopted from the local pound. On cue, a burly mutt came running into the bathroom and fixated the man with a beseeching gape. To rile him and to show him who was the chosen one, the cat jumped up and rubbed her body against Adam. When she sat down she did a slow swish with her pointy, long tail while scrutinizing the canine’s relaxed ears, the tell-tale sign, beside the

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

tail position, of a dogs’ mood. “You are stupid AND ugly,” she tittered and performed a stellar spine arch while splaying her paws. After seating herself, she recommenced whooshing her tail. “Well,” she drawled, “I’m the only one who snuggles up to him at night. You have to stay out because you snore.” Adam was busy scooping up the lather and slapping it onto his head. After he grabbed the razor, he wiped the feline off the counter with his elbow. When she landed on top of the pit-bull she cuffed him behind his ears. “Ouch,” Odin howled. “Move,” the queen hissed and slid off. Sitting beside each other, he looked up with admiration and she was mesmerized by the droplets of water dripping into the sink. The graceful Abyssinian with her warm deep reddish-brown fur, slender body, long legs and almond shaped green eyes; unlike the sable pit bull whose stubby, muscular body signalled brute strength. His startling blue eyes were set wide apart on his flat skull and his long, red, beefy tongue lolled back and forth while dripping saliva all over the scuzzy tiles. “Listen dude,” Adam said while sliding the blade over his head. “Explain to me why you sit in front of my bedroom door all night and stare? Are you upset because your sister is allowed on the bed and you’re not?” Instant retching sounds were coming from the cat’s throat. “Yech! Sister?” she tittered, heaving. “I was made into a sacred animal by priests in Egypt, an object for deification. I am Bast, goddess of cats.” After giving the dog a withering stare, she coughed up a hairball and kicked it toward him. Odin sniffed it and looked bewildered. His glossy coat reflected the glare of the lone light bulb above the mirror as he turned his big head in her direction while his doleful eyes echoed his confusion at her hostility. “My best friend is a Maine Coon silver tabby,” he growled. “I don’t know what happened to her.” He whimpered. Adam stopped shaving and looked at him in the mirror. The canine hung his head and sighed. Adam’s cell played ‘she drives me crazy’ and admiring his new gleaming skull with a few pieces of toilet paper stuck onto some bleeding nicks, he answered. “Mom,” he said, “I was just dialing your number”.

“You never call,” his mother said on speaker. The pup slumped over on his side and placed his front leg over his ear in an attempt to minimize Mrs. Applebaum’s shrill voice while the cat commenced licking her paw and wiping around her ear. “Rhoda’s daughter got a divorce. I could put in a good word.” The mail slot rattled and Odin ran to the door to bark at the falling envelope while the feline followed him. “Gee, and they named you after the ruler of Valhalla?” she chirped. “Can’t you at least try and be more god-like?” “Just letting Adam know that he’s got mail.” he woofed and lifted his right eyebrow. “That was my job at my last house.” Bast scoffed at that and sashayed down the corridor. “Ma, I can find my own dates,” he said. “Isn’t the daughter a size twentyfour and bald?” “She’s a good cook. I hear she’s good

in bed. You could make me a bubby.” Adam almost sliced off the top of his auricle. The animals had returned and retaken their positions on the floor. “Say hi to your grandma,” Adam said with a chuckle and held up the phone. Nobody reacted, including his mother, who, in a rare moment stayed silent. “The cat is not happy that I brought the dog back from the pound,” he said and accompanied by his entourage he walked over to his shabby sofa with the tattered mismatched pillows. A dreadful gray piece of furniture that had been in his parent’s basement for as long as he could remember. It was lumpy to sit on and the mildew scent added nothing to its appeal. He placed the mobile on the messy table top. “She didn’t cover her poop in the box for days. A clear sign of aggression,” Adam informed his mother. “I’ll never know why you want filthy animals in your house,” his Mom said. “You’ll end up with fleas.” Her son picked up the dirty glass


from the table and sniffed. After determining that some tequila remained, he gulped the liquid down. On his hands and knees, while searching for the bottle underneath the sofa, he was delighted to discover that it was half full. Contemplating if he should go back to the fridge and get some ice cubes, he opted to dispense with formality and topped-up his tumbler. Bast stood up and turning around she lifted her tail to stick her butt into Odin’s face. “Hey,” he woofed, somewhat startled, “you like me now?” “Odin hasn’t slept since I got him from the pound three weeks ago. He sits straight up and watches my bedroom door all night. During the day, if he lies down, he keeps one eye open.” “Oy,” his mother said, “Goldie told me about a pit bull that ate his owners during the night. Or was it a werewolf, I can’t remember.” Adam took a swig, swirled the booze and rolled his eyes. “Right Ma,” he said. He got up and walked to the kitchen with his two housemates brushing against his legs, following him. All the ice was stuck together in the Ziploc bag he kept in the freezer and he dropped it on the floor to step on it. Instead of separating the cubes, the bag burst, dis-

charging the pieces over the floor. After he picked-up a couple and dropped them into his glass he eyed the remainder, shrugged, and left them to become drinking puddles for his pets. “I’ve gotta go, Ma, I’ll call you tomorrow,” he said and hung up before his mother could object. “How about some pizza?” he asked his companions and took the dog’s wag and the cat’s purr as consent. All three of them were standing at the door when the delivery guy arrived. He scrutinized the pit bull, who stood back as if he did not like the open hallway door. “He won’t bite,” Adam said when he saw the man’s expression while busy looking for change. “Is that dog from the shelter on Waterloo Street?” he asked. “Yeah,” Adam acknowledged, still rummaging through the pockets of his sweatpants and coming up with lint after he had pulled them inside out. “Does he sit in front of your bedroom door all night, staring, and never sleeps?” Adam stopped and looked up. “Yeah. How do you know?” Odin’s tail had risen and Bast, who was an avid animal TV show enthusiast, ascertained that the angle was slightly to the right, which meant he was not

going to attack. She was tempted to scratch his butt to see if he’d maul the pizza guy and liven things up a little, but decided against it. “My cousin adopted him but returned him after a few nights. Freaked him out.” He ogled the dog standing at the back of Adam, who reached down to massage behind Odin’s ears. Jealous, the cat reconsidered her idea. “Anyways,” the man said, “after he found out the reason, he was sorry that he returned him. Turns out that after six years, his original owner drugged him to sleep and brought him to the shel-

ter at midnight. When he woke up the next day, he had no idea what had happened to his people. It seems like he’s afraid that a new family would get rid of him too, so he stays awake and watches. Adam’s rule of no dogs in the bedroom was cancelled that night and even Bast deigned to have Odin share the bed. Truth be told, she rather enjoyed curling up underneath his broad chin. Hildegard Hintz

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The Ojo Crossword

ACROSS 1 Float 5 Heroic actions 10 Grave 14 Like a wing 15 Not Suitable 16 Dunking cookies 17 Radiation measurer 19 Breeze 20 Be 21 Softly 23 Generous 26 Sagas 28 Licensed practical nurse 31 Killed in action 32 Aromas 33 Estimated time of arrival 34 Expression of something rising (2 wds.) 37 Writing 39 Surgical garment 40 Mrs. John Doe 42 Canned chili brand 45 Loafed 49 Ewe´s mate 50 Long loose overcoat 53 Gall 54 Caesar´s three 55 Full of swamp grass 56 Treat unjustly 58 Flower 60 South by east 61 Liability 63 Apple state 69 Island

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

70 Dismay 71 Middle East dweller 72 Flow out slowly 73 Bread leavener 74 Greek stringed instrument DOWN &RQĂ&#x20AC;LFW 2 Wing 3 Passing trend 4 Ordeal 5 Be mad 6 East northeast 7 Furthest back 8 Men´s jewelry 9 Demanding 10 Small city 11 Bird ballplayers 12 Males 13 Physique 8QUHÂżQHGPHWDO 22 Acquiesce 23 Precedes an alias 24 Cc 25 Buddy 26 Economics abrv. 27 High-school club 29 School group 30 Negative 32 Plant 35 Chicken creation )UXLWĂ&#x20AC;DYRUHGGDLU\SURGXFW 38 Behold 40 Little boy´s name 41 Atmosphere 42 __Lanka 43 Thai 44 Good-natured 45 Limited (abbr.) 46 Rio de Janeiro 47 Gray sea eagle 48 10 grams (abbr. for dekagram) 51 Allowance 52 Mexican cloak 56 Compass point 57 Kingly 59 Tier 60 River dirt 3UHÂż[1RW 62 Vane direction 64 Resort 65 Owns 66 Strive 67 Canoe propeller 68 Compass point


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e’ve all heard the term “Writers’ Block” and most of us know that it means we o are “stuck” and need to get our creative juicess y flowing. But how exactly do we do that? g I discovered something go about myself a few years ago that surprised me. I knew that I worked well under the pressure of a deadline, as I was a paralegal in my “former life” and lived by the clock, statutes of limitation and the like. There was always urgency in just about every project I worked on, so no time for procrastination or delay. But when I sat down to write for pleasure after I retired, I found myself staring at a blank computer screen. What to do? I had signed up to read at my Writers’ Group and had nothing to contribute. I wrestled with the problem for several days, trying to come up with an outline or at least an idea for a story, but, alas, nothing. It wasn’t until the night before the meeting that I had an “ah ha moment.” I realized that having the pressure of a “deadline” somehow jump-started my brain and it was only then that the stories came pouring out. I also found that I needed quiet solitude in order to write. Even if my husband was in the same room, silently reading, I could not seem to get over my “writers’ block.” Some people need stimulation, such as music, or being outdoors, to inspire them. It is different for each writer, but it is important to figure out what works best for you and not fight against it. Some of my writer friends talk about their “muse” or what inspires them. For me it is not just one thing. Some times I am feeling nostalgic, and write about a childhood memory or an experience I had in the past. Other times I gaze out at beautiful Lake Chapala and am inspired by its beauty or by nature herself; the azure blue sky or a flower in bloom. Often my little dog will be my “muse” and

remind me what unconditional love feels like. And sometimes a story will come into my mind completely o out of nowhere. A few ttimes as I was drifting o off to sleep or when I w was just waking up, a g great idea (or at least I tth thought it was great at the time) would come into my head and I would even write a few paragraphs in my mind. Unfortunately, when I actually woke up I could not remember the story, and sometimes could not even remember the subject! A good friend suggested I put a pad and pencil on my bedside table, so I could write down a word or two to jog my memory when I got up the next morning. I put off doing this for quite a while, until I realized for the umpteenth time that I had lost yet another idea for a story. Now I have that pad and pencil right at my fingertips, as I don’t want to lose yet another story idea. I recently attended a terrific class at LCS given by Rachel McMillen. One of the many tips she gave us was to make an outline and create a story arc. She suggested we really “get to know” our characters, live in their heads, figure out how they would respond to any situation and crises. When I am writing I try to do just that, so that the characters are real and believable. I want to write so that the reader feels they know the characters and care about them. Often putting myself “inside their head” helps me get past my “writers’ block.” Each of us has a wealth of experience and stories to tell, be they true life experiences, or a fictional world we create in our minds. The trick is letting those stories out of our heads and putting them down on paper. That is why it is important to find out what works for you, so you can get past your “writers’ block” and share your stories with the world. Kathy Koches

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Over 60 years of “People Helping People”

The

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News

www.lakechapalasociety.com

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LCS Comprehensive Survey Results In November, LCS sent the 2017 Comprehensive Membership Survey to current and past members. The total number ofresponses was 1,056. The response rate, which exceeded our expectations, gives us confidence that the results are “statistically significant”. Below are some interesting results. Why did you originally join LCS? Very Important Important To Support LCS Expatriate Activities 53% 32% Access LCS Services & Activities 45% 38% To Meet New Friends 44% 32% Support Mexican Community Outreach 36% 27% Access to Library 37% 26% Access to DVD Library 15% 26% Listing in Annual Directory 13% 21% Access to Membership Discounts 5% 18% Why are you currently a member of LCS? To Support LCS Expatriate Activities 53% 32% Access LCS Services & Activities 53% 35% Integrate into Expat Community 38% 32% Support Mexican Community Outreach 38% 35% Access to Library 34% 26% Access to DVD Library 11% 27% Listing in Annual Directory 13% 24% Access to Membership Discounts 7% 21% Comparing these responses indicates an 8% positive increase in Support for Outreach to the Mexican Community from current members. The popularity of the library remains strong losing only 3% for current members, however, the importance of the DVD Library continues to wane. The importance of discounts appears to have increased. One of LCS’s strategic goals is to increase integration with the Mexican community. Indicate how strongly you agree. Strongly Agree Agree Increase Programs Designed for Mexicans 35% 38% Integrating Wilkes into the Main Campus 21% 30% There is a strong desire to increase programs for the Mexican community. As for integration of the programs offered at the Wilkes Center to the main campus, 30% said indicated they neither agree nor disagree, indicating that we need to explain more clearly the benefits of integrating these programs. Overall, members believe LCS is moving in the right direction. In December a second survey, relating to LCS programs, will be sent to you via email. An in-depth analysis will compare this survey to our last survey completed in 2012. The Board of Directors appreciates your participation in this important effort. Ben White, President, Lake Chapala Society

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

The Lake Chapala Society Holiday Fair returns in time to show beautiful handcrafts, art work, jewelry, clothing and other wonderful gift items on the LCS campus Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2. More than 40 artisans and our own young artists will be featured as well as a performance by Crem. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available, too. Entry fee is $20 pesos; children under twelve enter free.

NEW Techie Classes coming in January LCS members only Jan. 4 iPhone Basics 10-11:30 Jan. 12 Using Google Photos 12-2 Jan. 18 iPhone Intermediate Use 10-11:30 Jan. 26 Introduction to Facebook 12-2 Tech Help Issues - Thursdays 12-2 More info and sign up email: lcs.tech.training@gmail.com


Introduction to Spanish

From the Ashes of the LCS Singles

This casual class for the beginner that covers the Spanish alphabet, simple vocabulary and phrases useful about town, and information about Lakeside and Mexican culture.  There are two sessions In December. Starting the first Tuesday of the month and continuing for three weeks, starting Tuesday, December 5. Class A will be held 12 to 1:30 p.m. on the Gazebo; Class B - 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Sala. Learning materials are provided. Tuition is $175 pesos. Sign up at the LCS office or on the LCS website. This is a members-only program. You must be a member of LCS, and your membership must be current for the duration of the program.

The mission of the new LCS Social Club is to bring people together to explore the community in a fun way and provide a venue for new connections. The motivation to change our purpose is due to our concept that we should be open to all. Singles and couples of any persuasion want to find new connections. The new LCS Social Club will be able to offer a diversified itinerary of events, both broad and narrow in scope of purpose/audience, better serving our unique community. Upcoming events: Aquarium Dip (Guadalajara) Lucha Libre (Mexican professional wrestling)

January 10 January 20

Prueba México: Two New Offerings Buying and Brewing Great Coffee at Lake Chapala Instructor: Kevin Knox. Course fee: $120 pesos. Dates and times: Dec 13, 10 a.m. 12 p.m. Course Location: South Campus. Minimum/maximum students required: 14/30 (must be at least 15 years old). No refunds. Enroll from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Service Office by December 9. Learn about Mexico’s coffee growing regions and get an overview of the best coffees available in our area. Kevin will also discuss the best home brewing methods and offer tips on improving the quality of your daily cup, based on our high altitude, local water and limited brewing and grinding equipment. There will be plenty of time for questions! Knox, a 28-year veteran of the specialty coffee industry, is the author of the highly-regarded book Coffee Basics. He was in charge of coffee quality and education at Starbucks during its early explosive growth years, and was senior vice president and coffee buyer at Allegro Coffee, the leading organic and sustainable coffee roaster acquired by Whole Foods in 1997.

Prehispanic Nutrition

Bus Trips December All trips leave from the sculpture in La Floresta. All trips cost $350 member/$450 non-member.

Thursday, December 7 Andares Mall Find upscale shopping and fine dining here. Departs at 10 a.m.  Monday, December 18 Galerias Mall/Costco Major retailers include Best Buy, Sears, Costco, Sam’s and Super Walmart. Restaurants Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang and more. Bus departs promptly at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday December 27 Tonala and Tlaquepaque Tonala for home decor and handicrafts. In Tlaquepaque find upscale retailers and fine dining in an historic architecturally significant, pedestrian-only zone. Bus departs promptly at 9 a.m.  Please note: your membership must be current to qualify for the member’s discounts.

Instructors: Ricardo Navarro “Yohualoceloth” and César Matta. Course Fee: $820 pesos. Course dates and times: December 04, 06, 09, 11, 14, 16 and 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Course Location: South Campus. Minimum/maximum students required: 15/24 (must be at least 15 years old.) No refunds. In ancient Mexico, people could talk to nature, understand the stars, and live in harmony with the natural world. Their roots in their natural environment were reflected in their way of eating foods of high nutritional value and an almost perfect energy balance. They had few foods and five of them were the main diet that fed the people of Mexico for many generations. We will learn how a simple diet can be enough to find a physical, mental and spiritual balance. Learn about the five foods, their nutritional value, how to prepare them, and how to mix them to your advantage for optimal health. Enroll from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LCS Service Office by December 1. You must be a member of LCS and your membership must be current for the duration of the program.

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December Activities *Open to the Public ** US Citizens (S) Sign in (C) Member card Health Insurance * IMSS & Immigration Services Mon+Tues 10-1 Lakeside Insurance Broker Tues+Thur 11-2 San Javier Hospital last Fri 10-12 Health and Legal Services * Becerra & Galindo Services Thurs +Sat Dec 9+23 10:30-12:30 Blood Pressure Mon+Fri 10-12 Hearing Aid Services (S) Mon+2nd and 4th Sat 11-4 Ministerio Publico Wed Dec 13+20 10-2 Optometrist Claravision (S) Thur 9-3 Skin Cancer Screening (S) 2nd + 4th Wed 10-12 US Consulate** Wed Dec 6 10: 30 Sign up 10 Lessons(C) Chair Yoga Fri 2-3 Children’s Art Sat 10-12* Children’s Chess Club Sat 12-1 Children’s English Class Sat 9:30-10:30 Clases de Bordado Artistico Mon 3-6, Wed & Fri 4-6 Exercise Mon+Wed+Fri 9-10 Exploring Spanish Wed 12-1:30 Sat 11-12:30 Fitness Thru Yoga Mon 2-3:30 Intermediate Hatha Yoga Tues+Thur 2-3:30 Introduction to Lakeside (S) Thurs 9-1 Introduction To Spanish (S) Tues 2-3:30 cost Line Dancing Tues+Thurs 10-11:15 PEP Series (S) cost Check office for details 11:30-1:30 Photography Club 1st Mon 12-2 Scottish Country Dancing Thurs 11:30-1:30 Stretch and Balance Exercise Tues+Thurs 8:45--9:45 Tai Ch Chih Fri 10-12 Warren Hardy Spanish Classes (S) Mon-Sat check office Write-to-Prompt Writers’ Group Thurs 10-12 Zumba Gold Wed 10-11 Libraries Audio Thur 10-12 Book & Video Mon-Sat 10-2 Library of Congress Books*/ Talking Books Thurs 10-12 Wilkes Mon-Fri 9:30-7, Sat 9:30-1* Members Only Social Activities (C) All Things Tech Fri 10-11:30 Bocce Ball Tues 2-3 Bridge 4 Fun Tue+Thurs 1-5 Conversaciones en Español Mon 10-12 Creatively Mindful Art Wed 11-12:30 Discussion Group A Wed 11-1:30 Discussion Group B Wed 11-1:30 Everyday Mindfulness Mon 10 -12 Film Aficionados Thurs 2-4:30 Games Group Mon 1-4 Needle Pushers Tues 10-12 Neill James Lectures Tues 2-4 Next Chapter Book Group 2nd Thurs 1-3:30 Scrabble Mon+Fri 11:30-1:30 Spanish/English Conversation Sat 11-12:30 TED Talk Learning Seminars Tues 12-1:15 Tournament Scrabble Tues 12-1:50 Service and Support Groups * Al-Anon (in Spanish) Mon 6-7:30,Wed 5:30-7:30 Information Desk Mon-Sat 10-2 Lake Chapala Painting Guild 2nd Fri 1:30-3:30 Lakeside AA Mon +Thurs 4:30-5:30 Open Circle Sun 10-11:30 Smart Recovery Mon 2:30-4 Toastmasters Mon 7-8:30 p.m. Ticket Sales: Monday-Friday 10-12 a.m.*

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Video Library Additions December Okay, tiz the season to be jolly, so, we are gonna jolly it up. These are jolly movies. Hope you enjoy them. As mentioned in previous newsletters, we haven’t had much luck finding new good movies. Any suggestions? And, as evidenced by the first one listed, they were “born yesterday”. If you enjoyed these movies years ago, here they are again. Born Yesterday #7757 Judy Holliday won the Best Actress award for this one. William Holden did not win anything. He was just the well groomed good ol’ boy he played so convincingly. Broderick Crawford was his usual self. Beaches #7758 Bette Midler was nominated for Funniest Actress in a Leading Role. Didn’t know there was such a category. Great movie about great friends. Reading the reviews today reminded me about how much I enjoyed it almost 30 years ago. Murder By Death #7759 Five famous detective characters are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery. Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, David Niven, Maggie Smith, Elsa Lancaster, Nancy Walker, Truman Capote, et al. The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain #7760 “This film is a gentle, affectionate portrait of a village in Wales, its people and its mountain. Within the village, there are long-standing feuds and traditions. Then, two Englishmen arrive with a job to do and history is made.” One of the many favorable user reviews posted on the internet movie data base. Down and Out in Beverly Hills #7749 Bette Midler nominated, again, for Funniest actress. A rich but troubled family find their lives altered by the arrival of a vagrant who tries to drown himself in their pool. Richard Dreyfuss and Nick Nolte Forgetting Sarah Marshall #7750 Peter is a composer and a likable sad sack who’s devastated when his girlfriend of five years, Sarah Marshall, the star of a cheesy CSI-style crime show, dumps him. Ho hum – actually I was surprised and found it entertaining. Pretty Woman #7754 Don’t have to hype this one. Just wanted you to know that it’s available. Joyous holidays from us to you and a happy, healthy, and worthwhile New Year.

Neill James Winter Series Needs Lecturers! This popular series of lectures returns for the 2017-2018 winter season. Eighteen lectures will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the LCS Sala between December 5, 2017 and April 17, 2018.   If you, or someone you know is interested in giving a lecture, please forward information on proposed lectures to Rick Rhoda at rrhoda730@gmail.com with the name of the lecturer, lecture topic and preferred date. Open dates are: January 2 and 30; March 6, 13, 20, 27; and April 3, 10, 17.


TED Talks Learning Seminars

Thursday Film Aficionados

Tuesdays In the Sala 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. Members only. Bring your card. December 5 Can We Break Bad Habits by Being More Curious About Them? - Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction -- from smoking to overeating to all those other things we do even though we know they’re bad for us. Learn more about the mechanism of habit development and discover a simple but profound tactic that might help you beat your next urge to smoke, snack or check a text while driving. December 12 Machine Intelligence Makes Human Morals More Important - Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci argues machine intelligence is here, and we’re already using it to make subjective decisions. But the complex way AI grows and improves makes it difficult to understand and even harder to control. In this cautionary talk, Tufekci explains how intelligent machines can fail in ways that don’t fit human error patterns -- and in ways we won’t expect or be prepared for. “We cannot outsource our responsibilities to machines,” she says. “We must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics.” December 19 How the US Government Spies on People Who Protest - Including You. - Jennifer Granick What’s stopping the American government from recording your phone calls, reading your emails and monitoring your location? Very little, says surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. The government collects all kinds of information about you easily, cheaply and without a warrant -- and if you’ve ever participated in a protest or attended a gun show, you’re likely a person of interest. Learn more about your rights.

Open to LCS members only. Bring your card. All films shown in the Sala from 2-4 p.m. No food. No pets.

Costco returns Thursday, December 7 to register new members, renew existing memberships, and offer news on sales and special offers. (Date may change.)

Interested in Volunteering? Check out the LCS website to fill out the required form: lakechapalasociety.com/weebly/volunteer.php. Put your life skills to work here at LCS. We’re always looking for volunteers who can add their expertise to the programs we offer our members and the Lakeside community at large.

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December 7 Hear My Song 1992 Ireland An Irish romantic fantasy loosely based on the actual life of famed (and infamous) tenor, Josef Locke, who fled England to avoid arrest. A charming, quirky movie that gets better with age. (105 minutes) December 14 The Big Sick 2017 USA Based on a real-life courtship, this movie tells the story of a Pakistan-born aspiring comedian who connects with a grad student. What they thought would be a one night stand blossoms into a lot more. You’ll laugh and cry watching this one. (118 minutes) December 21 Columbus 2017 USA When a famous Korean architect falls ill during a speaking tour in the USA, his son finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana. There is Academy Award potential for this film, my favorite so far this year. (98 minutes) December 28 Brigsby Bear 2017 USA An earnest and original approach to modern pop culture and the creative urge. It is funny, heartwarming and much more than it appears to be. (93 minutes)

Personal Enrichment Program Series 2018.1 LCS’ popular Personal Enrichment Program returns with courses taught by knowledgeable professionals, including Rachel McMillen, Francisco Nava, Paul Basset, Kassandra King, and Anna Cassilly. New PEP courses are in response to our members’ requests for more programs both entertaining and informative. Courses are easy to choose from and consist of two to eight class sessions. Prices are very affordable, and class sizes are small. Included are History of Tourism in Mexico, and The Grand Sweep of Mexican History, (Daniel Grippo, PhD), Prospects Beyond Man, (Daniel Bassett), and Rementia Approaches for Caregivers-the Alzheimer Connection, (Kassandra King). A waiting list will be created if member interest exceeds the maximum enrollment. All courses will be held in the South Campus Boardroom. You must notify the LCS Service Office at least five days before the course begins if you must cancel. There are no refunds. Check the website for details. This is a members-only program and your membership must be current for the duration of the program.

Follow us on Facebook. Keep up on all things LCS. Like us at www.facebook.com/lakechapalasociety.

THE LAKE CHAPALA SOCIETY, A.C. 16 de Septiembre #16-A, Ajijic, Jalisco LCS Main Office: (376) 766-1140 Office, information and other services - Monday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Grounds open until 5:00 p.m. LCS BOARD OF DIRECTORS President - Ben White (2018); Vice-President - George Radford (2019); Treasurer - Michael Searles (2019); Secretary - Carole Wolff (2018); Directors: Dee Dee Camhi (2019); Nicolas Hanson (2019); Cate Howell (2018); Philip Newbold (2018); Philip Rylett (2018); Roberto Serrano (2019) Janis Sirany (2019) Immediate Past President: Howard Feldstein. * Executive Director - Terry Vidal

The LCS Newsletter is published monthly. Deadline for submissions is the 17th of the month preceding publication. Submit all news items to lcsnewsletter2016@gmail.com Note: The editorial staff reserves the right to edit all submissions according to time, space availability and editorial decision.

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El Ojo del Lago / December 2017


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- TEPETATE THAI RESTAURANT Tel: 766-2020 3DJ - THE HOT DOG SHOP Tel: 766-3807, Cell: 33-3662-9990 3DJ 7+(3($&2&.*$5'(1 Tel: 766-1381  3DJ 75,3¶6%85*(5  3DJ 721<¶65(67$85$17&$03(675( Tel: 331-433-6112 3DJ - WABBA Tel: 33-1816-0028 3DJ - YVES Tel: 766-3565 3DJ

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SAW YOU IN THE OJO

The Ojo Crossword

Saw you in the Ojo 95


CARS

FOR SALE: Two bench seats from 1995 Ford Areostar. Pick up in Chapala. Price: $2,500 for both OBO. Call 376-765-6348. WANTED: Older Mexican plated vehicle in good condition. Automatic, air cond. Price: $70,000.00 pesos. Kevin 331-826-1641. FOR SALE: Electric Golf Cart-Club Car, new batteries, new main control box & cylinoid. Price: $2,000 USD. For more information please call: Gordon 763-5314. FOR SALE: Chevrolet Meriva 2006. Mexico State plated, standard transmission, last service made autocheck. Just one owner. $60,000 pesos. Email: looezedna80@gmail.com. FOR SALE: Mercedes Benz C320 2005, mexican plate, white with black leather interior, below 100,000 km. Recently serviced at Mercedes dealer, everything up to date, like QHZFRQGLWLRQ$VNLQJ86RUEHVWRá&#x201A;&#x2021;HU Call me on cell number: 331-545-8333 FOR SALE: Acura MDX 2011, Imported new by Guad Acura Agency from Canada. 24,800 km or 14,880 miles. Volcanic gray with black interior. SH-AWD, sunroof, electric memory seats and side mirrors, electric rear hatch, separate climate driver and passenger. $17,900 usd. 765-3668. hxc954@gmail.com. WANTED: Pickup Truck for Have Hammers Carpentry school in Riberas needed to pick up wood in Guadalajara. Can pay some money, but prefer donation can give 501c3 receipt for US tax deduction wish list, prefer later model 10 year old or less. Wayne 766-1860 or stop have hammers shop. FOR SALE: Mercedes 2008, 500 ML,

all wheel drive, 108,000kms, Mexican plates, asking $390,000p. or $22,000 U.S. Please HPDLOVHDFOLá&#x201A;&#x2021;UDQFK#\DKRRFD FOR SALE: 2004 Audi A6 Quattro w/only 55,000 miles. Going permanent, so must sell to someone going north of the border. Best car Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever owned. 3-litre, 6-cyl. engine, leather, sunroof, permanent all-wheel drive, C/D, A/C. Always garaged. Price: $87,500 Pesos/$5000 U.S. Call:766-2754 or railsplitter58@gmail.com. FOR SALE: 2007 8 passenger van. 95,000 Km. Very good condition. 3.5 litre engine. Camel color. $155,000 pesos. Call: 765-2290.

COMPUTERS

FOR SALE: Used Toshiba Laptop. 2007, x86 Intel processor, 1596 Mhz, 1 gig RAM, 60 Gig hard drive. XP SP2. Very powerful for an XP machine. $1500. Battery no longer works, but everything else is perfect. Mike: 765-4156. FOR SALE: Used MSI Laptop with 15.5â&#x20AC;? screen. This is an AMD Dual Core CPU, with 3 Gigs RAM, and a 256 Gig hard drive. Model MSI A5000. nVidia GeForce 8200M video. 15.5â&#x20AC;? screen at 1366 x 768 . 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI outputs. 1.3 MP webcam. 4-in-1 card reader. It has a brand new installation of Windows 7 Ultimate, Service Pack 1. Complete with /LEUH 2á&#x201A;&#x2C6;FH 06 2á&#x201A;&#x2C6;FH FORQH  3ULFH S Mike: 765-4156. WANTED: I want to buy a iphone. Email: mike7129@prodigy.net.mx. FOR SALE: One RGB input and one DVDI input. Monitor comes with RGB connector and power cable. Asking $550 MXN. Contact: scrubs1946@msn.com or call (376) 765-

5085. FOR SALE: Lexar 633x & Samsung EVO Plus (not EVO) 64GB high speed microSD/Tf cards. 2 very lightly used Samsung EVO Plus 64GB UHS1 U3 microSd cards in original packaging. Manufactured June 2017. Work with 4K video cameras. Fit phones, tablets, most cameras. $24/ea USD or peso equivalent. MX 331547-3129 US (845) 580-6945. FOR SALE: 1 TB backup drive, Epson Mini Photo Printer, Almost New Over Ear HeadSKRQHV 6HOÂżH7ULSRG 6' &DUG WR /LJKWQLQJ Adapter for iPhone and iPad. Email: cynthiatheappletutor@gmail.com. WANTED: Need to clean up and soup up (more RAM please sir) our 2012 MacBook Pro. Please recommend a Lakeside person RU ÂżUP WKDW KDV GHOLYHUHG TXDOLW\ 0DF VHUvices to you. Conversely please mention any whose services were less than stellar. Email: richardliptrot1@gmail.com. FOR SALE: RAM. ADATA 4GB DDR4 SODIMM 2133 512x8, Retail, AD4S2133W4G15R *used* (500MXN) HMT42GR7BFR4C-RDT8 Hynix 16GB PC3-14900 DDR3-1866MHz ECC Registered CL13 240-Pin DIMM Dual Rank Memory Module. Email: BradyHuddleston@ Hotmail.com. FOR SALE: Avic View-i Dual Lens Dash Cam for Car. A handy device that starts recording from the moment the engine starts. When a sudden impact occurs, the camera records up to 15 seconds before and after the shock. The package includes the device, a MicroSD Card, cigar jack power cable, user manual, IR lighting, mount and double-sided tape, and front (outside) and rear (inside) view cameras. Price: $900mxn. scrubbers1958@gmail.com or 331960-5885

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

FOR SALE: Physician recommended medical compression socks. Provide relief from tired aching legs. Improves circulation. Great for travelling. Paid $195 Canadian per pair. Price: $1000 pesos per pair 766-4032. FOR SALE: BLU phone. Bought this in the States. COST NEW $220 will accept 2000pesos has case and charger in full working order with SIM and unlocked. Call: 376-766-4456. Cell 331-324- 5205 Ask for Susanne. FOR SALE: We have numerous sets of golf balls, makes like Titleist, SFT, Power Distance and many more. All boxed and ready for use. PLEASE CALL SUZI or DAVID: 376-766-4456, Cell 331- 824 5205 or E-mail ssnnkenn7@aol. com. FOR SALE: Standard-sized toilet. Beigeish LAMOSA brand. Paid $2,500p in expectation of replacing our toilet, but got a repair instead. Call Cecilia. 331-422-0364. Price: $2,000p. FOR SALE: Sony WEGA Trinitron 29 inch TV model KV-29FS120. While itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pretty old it has had limited use in our casita and still has a good picture. Asking price $1,500 pesos. Four inputs on the TV are component (5 cables), 2-composite (3 cables), composite with S-video. Email: 411@shrall.com. FOR SALE: Old Fashion Desk - Wood. Price: $2,000 pesos. Call: 765-2407 or 331720-6656. FOR SALE: 2 Mexian Albums 45 R.P.M Records. Album of 22 Songs of Amalia Mendoza 45 R.P.M Records. Olso 7 songs of Amalia mendoza, 4 Alfredo Jimenez, 1 Pancho Avitia, 1 Luis Martinez Serano, 1 Emiliano Gonzalez, 1 Maria Ester Aguirre. Price: $500 pesos each album.Please Call: Vi 765-2407 5 to 10 pm. FOR SALE: I have an android TV box for sale. Kodi is installed as well as other apps for you to get all the programs you want to see. From networks, news, sports, movies, TV series from all networks to TV from around the globe. $3,000 pesos installed, explained and support afterwards.Email:

96

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017

spexmex@yahoo.ca. WANTED: Looking for a table 42 to 60 inches long with 4 to 6 chairs all in good condition. Email: anneworthi@hotmail.com. FOR SALE: Dining Table, Vintage caoba (mahogany) dining table. L 165cm x W 91cm x H 76cm. $3,300 pesos. Pick up in Villa Nova. Email: rkorting@hotmail.com. FOR SALE: We have a lightly used Sony Bravia 32 in tv with external speakers. Model KDL-32FA400. We are asking 3200 pesos. You pick it up. Call: 766-0095. WANTED: Does anyone have a pool cover or pool cover material that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want anymore? Used items are welcome. (376)7664389. FOR SALE: Used 3 Ellitica Precor EFX546 (Heavy Duty) $ 11,500 pesos each one. 2 Treadmill life Fitness 9100hr $12,000 pesos. each 0ne. (Heavy duty). 1 Treadmill Life Fitness 9500hr $14,500 pesos (Heavy Duty). Email: chuster_ac@hotmail.com. Cel: 333-598-5058. Marco. WANTED: Shaw receiver with recording feature. Email: wolfsburg4wd@gmail.com. FOR SALE: Over 900 karaoke CDs 715 discs are songs in English and 198 discs are songs in Spanish. Each CD/disc contains 1520 songs. Complete with aluminium case which has extending handle and wheels. All in excellent condition. Price: $5,500 pesos. Call: (376) 766-4389. FOR SALE: Italica 180cc Cuatrimoto (Quad). I paid, on sale, $34,000 pesos for it. I will sell for $24,000 pesos with all original paperwork. Email: jon.b.pace@gmail.com. FOR SALE: Shaw 630 PVR receiver complete with remote and power cord. Free and clear to be activated. Price: $4500 pesos. Call: 766-4032. FOR SALE: Shaw 600 HD receiver complete with remote and power cord. Free and clear to be activated. Price: $2500 pesos. Call: 766-4032. WANTED: I would like to purchase an Schwinn Airdyne Bike or Assualt Air Bike or another brand equal in quality. Email: ShalomBeWell@ gmail.com. WANTED: /RRNLQJ D WRZ KLWFK WR ÂżW P\ 2008 HONDA CRV, Also might be interested in renting yours for a trip to the states. Call: 333461-5442. WANTED: I am looking to buy a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tallâ&#x20AC;? ladies Beach Cruiser Bicycle. 28â&#x20AC;? or taller. If anyone has one for sale please message me. Email: cindybeer97@gmail.com. FOR SALE: 32â&#x20AC;? LG TV. Email: camillenparadise@hotmail.com. FOR SALE: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m selling 2 electric oscillating heaters for room with a nice design. Each one $2000 pesos. If, you buy the both the price is negotiable. Email: Ă&#x20AC;RULQDSXUDYLGD#JPDLOFRP. FOR SALE: Desk, $2000 MX. 18 1/2 in deep, 37 cm. 54 3/4 in long. 139 cm. 31 3/4 in high. 80 cm, In Chapala. Call: 765-5121. FOR SALE: Ornate iron scrolled large chaise w/new cushion. Price: $2kpesos Please respond via pm with phone to view. Email: imburnen@outlook.com. WANTED: The residents of an independent living home are wanting to buy a table tennis table in good condition, Must be for outdoor use. Please PM me if you might have one for sale. Email: sunnyvogler@yahoo.com. FOR SALE: Selling 2013 Mabe fridge/ Freezer. Inside dimensions - 22â&#x20AC;&#x2122; wide, 58â&#x20AC;? high, 16â&#x20AC;? deep. Outside dimensions - 27â&#x20AC;? wide, 26â&#x20AC;? deep, 68â&#x20AC;? high. We are located in the Chapala area. $3500 pesos. Call 376-765-2598. Ask for Craig. WANTED: I really would like the risk board game, if anyone has it or knows where to get it i would love to know. Email: rex2023beatle@ gmail.com. WANTED: Wanted Ladies Golf Clubs,


graphite shafts, Cobra would be great, but PM me if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a set available. PM or msg at 376-766-4231. FOR SALE:'Lá&#x201A;&#x2021;HUHQW3LHFHVRI*\P(TXLSment, Price: $33.000 pesos. Email: novakmiguel@gmail.com for more info. FOR SALE: Wireless headphones, paid $279 usd these are only $2000p. Antique loveseat, paid $700 usd yours for only $4000p. Email: julieywayne@yahoo.com WANTED: I am looking to buy a small portable generator in the 1,000 to 2,000 watt range. Must be lightweight and easy to start. Email: Lawandrew29@outlook.com. WANTED: An used electric kiln working or not! I might consider a gas kiln as well. If itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s working, I need to see it work, open boxes to expose possible wiring problems, continuously glowing elements etc ... if I am going to pay for it. Free non-working kilns are desirable also. Email: 831bob@gmail.com. FOR SALE: Storage chest/bar + more. The long chest 71â&#x20AC;?wx32â&#x20AC;?h. $2kpesos. $425 each or $700 for the pair. Send me a note with your number and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll call all who respond. Email: imburnen@outlook.com. FOR SALE: Small collection of board games. All in good shape. Outburst(2), Auction America, MindTrap, Trivial Pursuit, Year in Review (1992), Fact or Crap. $100mxn. Email: scrubbers1958@gmail.com or 331-960-5885. FOR SALE: The complete set of Simpsonsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; DVDs from Season I - VI (in the photo, Season VI is that funny shaped yellow box in the top right corner). Included in this package are 8 additional original DVDs and the Sookie

Stackhouse series (True Blood) plus the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Princess Sultanaâ&#x20AC;? trilogy. All of this for just $550mxn. Email: scrubbers1958@gmail.com or 331-9605885. FOR SALE: Adjustable bath and shower bench. Weight capacity to 250lbs/113k. The bench can also double as a tray if you like to relax (in a plastic container). $175mxn. Please e-mail scrubbers1958@gmail.com or call 331960-5885. FOR SALE: Garden furniture. Square table and four chairs, excellent condition. cushions included. Price: $7,500 pesos. Email: adriar@ prodigy.net.mx. WANTED: ISO a used babyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s playpen or deep cot (car bed?). Email: miller.jennifer171@ gmail.com. FOR SALE: Bookcases. One 44 wide 78 tall one 54 wide 95 tall, that is inches, $7,000 pesos each, Can be seen at El Gallo Gallery. 30 Guadalupe Victoria, Ajijic Centro, 11 to 3 Monday to Friday or contact me here Email: kgosh365@hotmail.com. FOR SALE: James Coleman Art, Title: Midnight Blue, 24â&#x20AC;? x 39â&#x20AC;? $3500p. Email: julieywayne@yahoo.com. FOR SALE: Two matching decorative planters made in San Juan Evangelista by Emilio Barrera. $300 pesos each or both for $500 pesos. Each planter measures 13 inches across by 10 inches high. nolajoe@yahoo.com FOR SALE: Cargo Carrier. 30 â&#x20AC;&#x153; x 66â&#x20AC;? x 12â&#x20AC;? Cargo Carrier adapts to most roof racks. Available for U.S. $320.00 used twice. Email: burtoftnorth@hotmail.com. FOR SALE: Large lantern style heater-

Paid $2.4K, sell $2k, Queen size blue/cream quilt+ 1 sham $400pesos, Send a pm with contact info please. Email: imburnen@outlook.com. FOR SALE: 2 still-in-the-package reSODFHPHQW ZDWHU ÂżOWHUV IRU .LWFKHQ $LG :KLUOpool, Jann-Air, Maytag or Amana by One Purify. Price: $265mxn. Call: 331-960-5885 (cell) or scrubbers1958@gmail.com. FOR SALE: Rustico Secretary. Specialty painted. Price: $2,900 peso. Call: 333-9665657. FOR SALE: LIme Promequipment tread-

mill , like new, used only a month, paid $900US, asking $500. Like new Schwinn Airdine stationary bike, $175 US. Like new stepper, $40 US. mdmayland@yahoo.com. Ph. 387-661-0472. WANTED: Small Chest Freezer for home use. Email: rnclucas1@earthlink.net. WANTED: In search of used items in excellent condition for a local young paramedic in training: Stethoscope, digital blood pressure FXá&#x201A;&#x2021;DQGJOXFRPHWHU3OHDVHJHWLQWRXFKLI\RX have any of these items for sale. Email: deborahmarch@gmail.com.

Saw you in the Ojo 97


98

El Ojo del Lago / December 2017


Ojo del Lago - December 2017  

Ajijic and Chapala magazine devoted to news, interviews, history, culture and art.

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