Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mi Casita

Finally figured out why I got a great deal on the Graham St. Casita. It turns out the previous owner had made a killing on it so he was happy to move quickly on my low-ball bid. He got it foreclosed from a dude that put $80K into renovations. Bottom line: I can sell it now and would very likely not lose a nickel beyond the time, stress, and energy I put into buying it.

House Front 1 House Front 2 House Front 3 House Front 4 House Front 5 House Side House Deck 1 House Deck 2 House Deck 3 House Kitchen 1 House Kitchen 2 House Kitchen 3 DSCN0836 Living and Dining Study DSCN0840 DSCN0842 DSCN0844 DSCN0845


On Profit-padding bank stabilization

“Profit-padding regulation” was coined by Rosenbluth and Schaap (IO, 2003). I’ve just built on this to say “profit-padding bank stabilization,” which I think is more descriptive of what we are talking about. This, by the way, is the card President Obama has chosen to play in the U.S. in the wake of the current crisis.

The idea is that you buy up banks’ bad assets and you drop rates close to zero. Big banks raise their fees and gauge consumers (and students), they make big profits. Now, in theory, this provides big banks incentives to not do stupid things (i.e. take on excessive risks), since they are making big profits in order to get healthy again. However, it seems that banks are doing stupid things and demonstrating lots of hubris, egging on the likes of Senators Warren, Caldwell and McCain to introduce tougher regulation to reduce their risky behavior (bankers are thumbing their noses, btw).

Why might they be doing this, hubris and stupidity aside? [It has been famously pointed out in what has become a cliche for political scientists that stupidity is never an interesting analytic category] One possibility, which should be sending chills up our spines, is that banks are “gambling for resurrection” because  banks are still in rotten shape, essentially bankrupt or barely profitable, and are being kept afloat by a combination of accounting magic, regulatory forbearance, easy money, and the fact that there is something of a modest recovery underway. Think of the gambler who has lost all his cash and has moved on to the credit card to try to make up what he has lost.

On John Brown via @Shelby_Foote_Q

From Shelby Foote’s, The Civil War: A Narrative

[John Brown’s] army counted eighteen men, including five Negroes; “One man and God can overturn the universe,” he said…

Seated on his coffin while he rode in a wagon to the gallows, [John Brown] looked out at the hazy Blue Ridge Mountains…

This is a beautiful country,” he said. “I never had the pleasure of really seeing it before.”…

After the hanging the jailor unfolded a slip of paper John Brown had left behind, a prophesy: “I John Brown am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land; will never be purged away; but with blood.”…

John Brown’s soul went marching; a symbol of good or evil, depending on the viewer.

Puns in Shakespeare: “Thou globe of sinful Continents!”

In Henry IV (2) Hal and Poins, in disguise, bust Falstaff in the Tavern, drinking and cavorting with Doll Tearsheet. I love Shakespeare for many reasons, but no one has or ever will pun so well in English.  I’ve always loved how Hal greets Falstaff in this scene and very taken in particular with “what a life dost though lead!”, ribbing Falstaff for being a lecherous drunk gormandizer. (Below #A)  “Globe of sinful continents” always struck me as funny straight up. It finally struck me that it is actually a double pun, particularly when we think of the two definitions of “continence.” (Below #B). The first pun is ironic, of course, with Doll Tearsheet (Below #3) on his lap. The second definition, though, implies that Hal is also calling Falstaff a fat sack of shit. Funny stuff.



Why, thou globe of sinful continents! what a life
dost thou lead!

Def. 1 self-restraintespecially : a refraining from sexual intercourse
Def. 2: the ability to retain a bodily discharge voluntarily <fecal continence>


Look, whether the withered elder hath not his poll
clawed like a parrot.


Is it not strange that desire should so many years
outlive performance?

Racism in Boyle Heights & East Los Angeles in the late 1970s & early 1980s

My memory of  East Los Angeles elementary and middle school is that children then – particularly boys – were racist and homophobic. We were, alas, equal opportunity racists and homophobes. We were just as bad towards each other (“TJ”, “frijolero,” and “wetback”) and, generally, towards anyone who was different, including the physically challenged.

%d bloggers like this: