From the Annals of Racism – In 1840, the Congress of the Republic of Texas determined that the presence of any more free black citizens in the Republic was utterly intolerable. As such, the Congress passed the racist Law of February 5. These legislators (which included many of the founding fathers of the Republic) were apparently concerned that the presence of any more than the very few free blacks in the Republic would somehow affect the status of slavery. And after all, the protection of slavery had been a major motivating force for the revolution as slavery was outlawed in Mexico in 1829 by its partially black President Vicente Guerrero. The law declared that all free blacks who had entered Texas after the Texas Declaration of Independence must leave the Republic within two years or be declared slaves for the rest of their lives. Free blacks already in the Republic before Texas independence would continue to have all the rights of their white neighbors – which in practice they did not.
Roma – a film by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron has been touted as the year’s best or certainly in the Top 10 lists of 2018 by many film critics. The movie captures a perhaps year long view of an upper-middle class family living in Colonia Roma a very nice neighborhood in Mexico City. The film is autobiographical and is based on Cuaron’s remembrance of the turbulent years during his teens in which his father left the family. But the film focuses primarily on Cleo – one of the family maids and her interaction with Cuaron’s screen family and her own personal struggle. Cuaron communicated extensively with the real life “Cleo” in writing the script. Cuaron’s deep love for “Cleo” is unquestionable after seeing this movie.
Shot in black and white, the movie takes place in 1970-71 and recreates some of the social and political conflicts of the day. The movie starts very slowly and builds up to a climatic scene in which Cleo and the family’s grandmother are caught up in the Corpus Christi Massacre – a shameful event in modern Mexican history. The CCM took place on June 10, 1971. With the support and complicity of the Mexican government (led by Pres. Luis Echeverria) and possibly the CIA, para-military right-wing gangs unleashed an assault on student protesters as they attempted to march to the Zocalo. The Halcones (Hawks) first attacked the protesters with poles which proved to be ineffective. Then out came the guns. As many as 120 students (the youngest being 14) were killed. Some were killed at a hospital where they were seeking treatment after being tracked down and executed by the Halcones.
Roma is a major production (literally with a cast of thousands it would seem) and beautifully captures what life was like on both sides of the street in Mexico City in the early 70’s. But it is the amazing interaction between Cleo and the family that is the focus of the movie. As far as Red sees things it comes down to the complications and contradictions inherent in human relationships – especially a relationship in which you allow someone into your family on a daily level such that your children fall in love with that person and you completely depend on them emotionally and otherwise to make your family life work – but you still can order them to clean up the dog shit in the garage.
Love, death and shit are among the inevitable basics of life. Cuaron deals with all of them here. This is an homage to a woman who essentially raised him and it is beautifully done. It isn’t a great movie from an entertainment standpoint. Red measures great movies by whether you would want to watch them again and he doubts that he would ever watch this one again. It moves too deliberately for most viewers. It’s a serious movie lover’s movie and worth the effort.
Red’s pre-tournament favorites Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Argentina seem to be headed in different directions.
Spain and Portugal are likely moving on with 4 points each and playing Morocco and Iran respectively in the third game of group play. But neither side has impressed so far. Red calls Spain and Portugal mediocre in action to date. Each side needs a three goal outburst against the lesser competition. Red views Portugal as more likely to come up with a big game.
Any time you beat the reigning world champion, things are looking up. Mexico is certainly looking that way and a win over Sweden (make that S. Korea) tomorrow (not a given by any means) would all but assure an entry into the Round of 16 for El Tri and add to the swagger that comes with beating Deutschland. Look for more fireworks from Mexico’s powerful frontline and rising star Hirving Lozano and more solid keeping from Memo Ochoa.
And alas, Los Albicelestes are wondering where the bus came from that has run them over and drug them a kilometer down the road in this WC. A total ass-whomping by Croatia has put Argentina in a serious bind. There is a narrow path to the knock-out rounds but Messi and Co. no longer control their own fate. SB Nation has the scoop on Argentina’s chances.
Iceland ties or loses to Nigeria tomorrow.
Croatia then needs to beat or tie Iceland.
Argentina needs to beat Nigeria.
All three of those things happening will allow Argentina to advance.
If Iceland beats Nigeria tomorrow, there is still an outside chance that Argentina could sneak in, but for that to happen it would rely on them beating Nigeria and then Iceland losing to Croatia, and then it would come down to a tiebreaker, since both teams would be on four points.
Goal difference would decide it at that point, and if goal difference is the same, then it will go to yellow cards, of which Argentina has more than a few. If none of the above happens, Argentina is eliminated.
This looks like the end for Argentina as a serious world power for at least a couple of years. Maybe they come back in Copa America next year – but maybe not.
Other teams to watch (besides the obvious favorites to move on) include – Croatia, Senegal, Japan and Denmark. Meanwhile, Red is sort of wishing he had gotten on the Uruguay bandwagon – but he just doesn’t like Suarez or Cavani (the Robbins of South America).
Red is back from a short trip to Mexico City. Here are a few observations:
- Every hostess in Mexico City must wear her hair pulled back.
- The streets and highways in Mexico City are in better condition than the roads in most Texas cities. Sad.
- Roads are frequently closed/barricaded for mysterious reasons.
- You must find a trendy restaurant – (e.g. Sonora Prime Grill) arrive at 2:30 on a weekday and sit back and watch the show for a couple of hours.
- If you are looking for lunch before 1:00 pm – forget it. However, a late breakfast is available everywhere.
- The Ballet Folklorico de Mexico is a must see and great bargain for the price.
- You will be surprised by something – Red arrived in time for the massive Colores de Primevera market set up in huge tents on the Zocalo – flowers, plants, herbs, food (especially chocolate and mole), therapy, clothes, pottery, trinkets, etc. When he was leaving they were setting up the massive TV screens for the World Cup on the Zocalo.
- There are always massive amounts of police in the city center. They appeared poised to quell any disturbances. There do not appear to be any disturbances.
- Retail is king in Mexico City. There are shops on every block that isn’t fully occupied by a church or a government office.
- There are a number of great museums that are must-sees such as the Archelogical Museum in Chapultepec, the Castillo de Chapultepec, the Museum of Modern Art, etc. But you should find some of the less well-known museums. Red found an exhibition at the former Palace of Iturbide now the “Palacio de Cultura Banamex” featuring equestrian works from the Americas – paintings, etchings, photographs, sculptures, saddles, spurs, bridles, folk art, etc. – a truly fabulous exhibit for the horse lover.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, 340 Texians under the command of Col. James Fannin were executed by firing squad at La Bahia in Goliad. As rebels and “perfidious foreigners” according to Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, El Presidente had decreed that all those in arms against the Mexican government were to be treated as traitors. Most of the rebels executed had been trying to escape the determined onslaught of Mexican forces under Gen. Jose de Urrea. However, in fleeing the Texians were surrounded on open ground without adequate supplies largely because of Fannin’s incompetence as a military leader. After the two-day Battle of Coleto, the men voted to surrender thinking they would be exiled to the U.S. Other prisoners had been captured in minor skirmishes with Urrea’s forces. After capture, Urrea, who had previously executed other prisoners he considered to be mercenaries, pleaded for clemency – but Santa Anna ordered the mass execution when Urrea was away from Goliad. The “Goliad Massacre” was carried out by Lt. Colonel José Nicolás de la Portilla – whose enthusiasm for the deadly work has been debated by historians. On Palm Sunday, Portilla had between 425 and 445 Texians marched out of the Mission in three columns on the Bexar Road, San Patricio Road, and the Victoria Road, between two rows of Mexican soldiers. The Texians were shot point blank, survivors were were hunted down and killed by gunfire, bayonet, or lance. About 30 men escaped by feigning death and another 20 or so were granted clemency to act as doctors, workers and interpreters. Another 75 men were marched to Matamoros for imprisonment. Remember Goliad – along with Remember the Alamo – became the rallying cry for the remaining Texian Army.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, Col. James W. Fannin raised a flag over the mission at La Bahia in Goliad with the words “Liberty or Death”. Fannin, now generally regarded as an inept commander who had lost the confidence of his men, was prophetic in his announcement. Unfortunately for Fannin and his men it would by “Death.” In fairness to Fannin, he was facing Mexican General Jose de Urrea – by far the best of the Mexican commanders. If Urrea had been in command during the revolution, it is very likely to have been easily suppressed. Urrea’s forces were never defeated in battle during the war and remained ready to fight after the Battle of San Jacinto. Fannin was originally ordered by Sam Houston to relieve the Alamo and then later ordered to retreat to Victoria. He delayed in his retreat and during that action he was cornered on open ground with limited supplies and forced to surrender. Held back at Goliad, Fannin and his men were massacred on the orders of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Urrea strongly objected to executing prisoners of war, but the order was carried out by subordinates. Fannin was among the last to be shot.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. Following a meeting on March 1 at Washington-on-the-Brazos of delegates from the seventeen Mexican municipalities of Texas and the settlement of Pecan Point, George C. Childress and a committee of five were tasked with preparing a resolution calling for independence. In the early morning hours of March 2, the convention voted unanimously to accept the resolution prepared by the committee. Fifty-eight members of the delegation signed the document announcing to the world that Texas had declared itself to be the independent Republic of Texas. Less than two months later after the Battle of San Jacinto, actual independence was secured. The Republic would last only about 10 years until Texas was annexed by the United States.