Four Climes

I know what you’re thinking. Of all the topics under the sun to write about, how did he land on something as pedestrian as the weather? Believe me, I’m asking myself the same question.

As unsatisfactory as it may seem, the answer is simple: it’s been on my mind.

On three separate occasions in a little over a week, Dallas awoke covered in snow and/or sleet (hereinafter “sneet”). Before this year’s trifecta, I can’t remember it sneeting three times in Dallas in my entire life.  And by my entire life I mean the following periods of time: 1995 – 1997, 2002 – 2006, and 2009 – present. This is nothing compared to the wintry weather in places like Boston (more on that later), but it was enough to throw the region into panic mode and almost derail the Jerry Bowl.

I maintain that this recent weather spell was either due to (a) God’s displeasure with the Cowboys for having such a horrible season and not making the Super Bowl, or (b) God’s displeasure with Jerry Jones for charging people $200 to watch the game on TVs outside of the stadium. I’ve been a Cowboys fan for a long time – yes, even when Troy Hambrick was the starting running back – and even I think that’s seriously F’ed up. But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, I’ve lived in all sorts of weather. From the desert heat of El Paso and Cairo to the arctic bitchslap of Boston to the sheer perfection of Southern California, I’ve seen it all. Along the way, I realized something about mexarabs: we’re built for the heat, not the cold.

Just like Sanka from Cool Runnings. Except less black.

Notice I said built for, not prefer. Mexarab or not, it’s hard for anyone to argue with 73 degrees year-round. But we’re not all that lucky.

My people have been racing camels across the Sahara, sneaking across the Sonoran, and fixing white peoples’ broken roof shingles in the dead of summer for ages. No sweat. Actually, a lot of sweat. But you know what I mean.

We (there’s a little BIRGing for all you psych majors) invented the siesta – a scheme whereby people ditch their ordinary responsibilities (read: work) during the hottest part of the day only to cut loose at night. And by cutting loose I mean getting their hair did at 3 am. I’m not even kidding.

We invented Dry Fit clothing centuries before Phil Knight was even born. Ever heard of a dishdasha? It’s that white dress-like garment Arab dudes wear in the summer. That’s right, dress-like.

Go ahead, call me a sissy. At the end of the day I’ll be the sissy with the dry banana hammock.

We even cornered the market for heat resistant headwear with the turban and sombrero, which protect from heat stroke and sun blindness. Just ask Bear Grylls. After he’s done drinking his own piss.

Sure these innovations will shepherd you through the sweltering heat, but they don’t stand up so well against the cold.

A turban or sombrero will save your life if you’re lost in the desert (or the roof of some whitey’s mansion), but what will they do for you when you’ve been waiting for the T for 20 minutes on Comm Ave in January? Not a damn thing.

But then again, not even scarf bandit will save you in those circumstances.

Maybe that’s why I hated Boston. I wasn’t built for it.

Stuff Mexarabs Like #2

This is a true story.

The other day I was in the car with a friend.

We were on our way to spend the evening with some of his other (also white) friends. I didn’t particularly want to go, so I was coming up with random excuses to get out of it. Predictably, he tired of this. Less predictably, he accused me of something I’ve never been accused of before. And I’ve been accused of a lot of things.

He said: You just don’t like white people. To which I replied: I like Lauren (my wife, who’s white). To which he responded: She doesn’t count. To which I didn’t surreply.

It’s a word. Look it up.

My silence wasn’t an admission that he was right. In fact, I knew he was wrong. Or at least half wrong (which would make us both half right - equal). How? Because there are few things in this world that mexarabs like more than white women.

Like moths to a flame, mexarabs wade into this country in droves for a shot at the American dream. Forget white picket fences. I’m talking about white picket … chicks.

It’s not just their blond hair, blue eyes, or milky white skin either. That’s just the beginning.

White chicks can readily provide something that all mexarabs desire. A clean house, pressed shirt, or hot meal? Don’t be silly, we’re talking about white chicks here, not senoritas or sabaya. I’m referring to a green card, the all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to party in the USA with Miley and Billy Ray.

The mexarab’s task is simple: find a white chick, sweet talk her into marrying him (or slip her some tacky, albeit expensive, gold jewelry under the table), and memorize some Newlywed Game-style trivia about her so the INS doesn’t get too suspicious. Then he’s in like a dirty kamis (or camisa, if you prefer).

Not only do white chicks give mexarabs a solid in, they also bestow some street cred to go with it.

Here’s a perfect example. If I show up to an office party by myself, people are just as likely to hand me their empty hors d’oeuvres plates or give me their drink orders as they are to recognize me from work. If I show up with Lauren, people will still hand me their empties and give me their orders. But they’ll be much nicer about it.

Boom. Instant street cred.

And while the glass ceiling is significantly higher for white chicks than it is for mexarabs, it’s still there. Sure a white chick can get a mexarab past the bouncers and into the club, but even she isn’t allowed in the VIP area. Just ask Andy Gray.

This mutual ceilingedness (that’s not a word; don’t bother looking it up) fosters a sense of camaraderie and comfort with white chicks and unites the two groups against a common enemy - white dudes.

So while Hunter and Gatherer are in the VIP room smoking cigars and talking about the bond market, Jesus and Mohammad are hanging out by the bar putting out the vibe and hoping to convince some lovely white women (Mohammad will have his work cut out for him as he’s allowed four) to marry them.

That way, they’ll still be mowing lawns or pumping gas for a living, but at least they’ll get some damn respect while doing it.

God Willing

It’s not often that you can say that white people have it rough.

Sure their skin ages at the speed of light, they have no rhythm, they burn in the sun, and they have no souls. But, on the whole, being white seems pretty dang great. As Chris Rock so eloquently put it, there is a white one-legged busboy in here right now who wouldn’t trade places with my black ass; and I’m rich.

One thing I don’t envy about the whites is their lack of options for responding to a question, request, or invitation. They have yes and they have no. And if they’re feeling adventurous, they might even throw out a maybe.

But one thing that’s virtually missing from the white vernacular is the almighty “God willing.”

Ok, the phrase obviously exists. I just used it after all. It exists, however, in the same way that traffic laws exist in Egypt or contraceptives exist in Mexico. It’s there, but it might as well not be.

Big mistake.

For Mexicans and Arabs, responding to something with con el favor de Dios or insha’Allah is second nature. I don’t think I’ve ever asked my mom or dad a single question where one of those phrases was not the answer.

Oye madre, can I go to Tinseltown with my friends tonight? Con el favor de Dios, mijo. If God, in his infinite wisdom, deems it wise for you to go watch Semi-Pro with Sherm and Meils, then I’ll let you go.

Yaba, can I borrow the car to go the mall with Ham, Basil, and Ak? Insha’Allah, habibi. If Allah, the merciful and compassionate, who has nothing better to do with his time than contemplate whether you can borrow the car to go to the Parks Mall with your cousins, smiles upon your request, I’ll lend you the Infiniti.

I hated that shit.

It was so ambiguous and subjective. How was I supposed to know whether God willed me to go to the movies or the mall? For that matter, how were they supposed to know?

Curiously, God never willed my request if my mom needed my help around the house or my dad had somewhere else to be. But if I was getting on their nerves and they wanted some personal space, all of a sudden God changed his omniscient mind. What a coincidence.

One day it dawned on me that I, too, could harness the power of the con el favor de Allah (my shorthand for con el favor de Dios and insha’Allah). My life has never been the same.

Hey Mo, can you help me move out of my apartment? Take me to the airport? Grab dinner? Dance at my wedding? Work this weekend? Fix my printer?

Con el favor de Allah.

Huh?

Sure, I can do those things. Unless God wills otherwise (read: unless something better comes up or I just don’t feel like it anymore).

I still haven’t figured out how to use this on my parents. I guess they have a more refined sense of God’s will. But it works great on everyone else.

Especially white people.

Stuff Mexarabs Like #1

Christian Lander started a blog called Stuff White People Like. It turned into a book (POOF!) of the same name.

This is like that, but mexarabier. Which leads me to …

1. Mexarab Beer

My dad always used to tell me that death and taxes are the only two certainties in life. Well, I can do him one (or two) better. Fact: all Mexicans are drunks and all Arabs are prudes.

That leaves mexarabs between a bock and a flogged face.

Get it? No?

Well, a bock - like Shiner Bock - is a type of beer. A flogging (or lashing, if you prefer) is the Quranic punishment for consuming alcohol. The phrase “between a rock and a hard place” implies that someone is in a tough spot. So, I was basically implying that mexarabs are caught between beer and 80 lashes - a tough spot indeed.   

Relax, everyone. They don’t really lash you in the face. They’re not that bad. I just needed something that rhymed with place.

The solution to this predicament? Mexarab beer, of course. This cross-cultural concoction consists of a shot of tequila poured into a pint of O’Doul’s non-alcholoic beer. Picture an Irish Car Bomb, but with different ingredients. By the way, Irish Car Bombs are my friend Gabe’s favorite drink. So be sure to buy him one (or five) if you ever see him out. Especially if he’s recently had a paleta. Hilarity will undoubtedly ensue.

Anyway, mexarab beer satisfies the mexarab’s many competing desires. 

For the mex, it’s beer AND tequila. Even though the beer is non-alcoholic (BOO!), it still tastes, smells, and looks enough like the real thing to fool all the other Mexicans walking around … life. I was going to list specific occasions (like baptisms, quinceaneras, funerals, footie matches, and Tuesdays) on which Mexicans walk around with beer, but that would have taken way too long.

Mexarab beer is good for fooling other people, too. Like women. With mexarab beer in hand, you don’t have to walk around the club sipping on pineapple juice and telling ladies that you can’t drink because you’re on antibiotics, but that you’re not contagious in case they want to make out. I might be speaking from experience on that one.

And don’t forget the splash of tequila for effect. Everyone knows that tequila (along with corn tortillas and Medicaid) is the life-blood that has sustained the Mexicans as a people since the times of Miguel Hidalgo. Even the Greeks.

In case you can’t tell, the little barrel strapped to the burro (that means donkey) in this picture, which was taken in Greece, says “tequila.” 

For the arab, it’s (mostly) non-alcoholic beer, which makes it (mostly) halal and above (water) board. So when Abdul and Osama walk up to you at the airport lounge with their beards and one-way tickets you can say “Salaam, brothers. What, this? It’s O’Doul’s, non-alcoholic beer. I’m drinking it to blend in with these kuffar and keep them off my (overpoweringly nauseating) scent. Enjoy your flight. Me? No, Cobra Commander put me on a different flight. A completely different flight.”

People Are Always Asking Me If I Know Mohammad Alturk (Part II)

You can find Part I of this story here.
 
This is how I met Marla Singer.
 
I decided to go to SMU because I wanted to be a Coxman (the Cox School of Business, that is) and because I thought I could play soccer there. It also didn’t hurt that Playboy ranked SMU as having some of the most attractive girls on the planet the year I was applying.
 
I’m not sure if this is still the case, but back then SMU offered an optional retreat/ indoctrination weekend for incoming students called Mustang Corral. Since I didn’t know anyone else going to SMU (because 95% of people who graduate high school in El Paso go on to lead fulfilling careers as shift managers at Walmart), I thought it would be a good idea to sign up.
 
My goal for Mustang Corral was to branch out and meet new people. I failed. At a school full of rich whiteys, my initial circle of friends consisted of a bunch of ethnics - there was a black guy, a Korean dude from El Paso, and a Mexican hippie (more on them later). Oh, and one pretty white girl.

As soon as the buses pulled up to River Bend Blue (my retreat location), everyone was divided into small groups for activities or discussion or whatever. I don’t remember many things about my group. But I will never forget the first thing I saw when I walked up to meet them. Two words: Rodeo Girl. 

One of the girls in the group was wearing a bright red graphic tee emblazoned with the words “Rodeo Girl” in Western-themed font. I was perplexed. Was she serious? Was she poking fun at stereotypical Texans? Was she poking fun at bad graphic tees? So many questions.

After further investigation, it turned out that Rodeo Girl was indeed serious. However, it also turned out that she was a beautiful blue-eyed, blond girl named Lauren, so her fashion faux pas was quickly forgiven. Six years later I would end up marrying her.



I should note that Lauren disputes the fact that this was the first time we met. She thinks we met months earlier at an admitted students weekend. We might have. In my defense, I’d never met so many white people before in my life and it was hard to tell them apart.

Anyway, for some odd reason Lauren liked me as much as I liked her and, as soon as I mustered up the balls to ask her out, our relationship really took off. Great, right? Wrong. Well, sort of.

By this point, I’d spent years perfecting my Mo/Mohammad system. As long as I knew which area code I was in, I knew who to be. But now I was in a different area code all together. Damn you, 214. And on top of that I was falling for an Irish Protestant with her own set of issues, preferences, hopes, dreams, etc.

Suffice it to say that I needed to go back to the drawing board.

I’m really ok.  Trust me.  Everything is going to be fine.  You met me at a very strange time in my life.

For a while, I tried to fit Lauren into my system. In Arlington she was my friend; in El Paso she was my girlfriend. In Arlington she bellydanced; in El Paso she salsaed. In Arlington she wore hijab; in El Paso she wore blue eye shadow. She was a trooper. She did everything I asked and more. But it was exhausting. And she didn’t deserve it.

I slowly (and painfully) realized that my system was fatally flawed. It was a stop-gap at best, a way to put off dealing with my real issues for another day, or week, or month. What I really needed was to stop being who other people wanted me to be (or who I thought other people wanted me to be) and stop trying to make everyone happy. Because trying to make Lauren happy was hard enough on its own.

That was a joke, Lauren.

After years of tweaking and perfecting my system, I ended up scrapping the whole thing. And I’m glad I did. Now I don’t have to keep track of where I am or who I’m with to know who I’m supposed to be. I don’t have to be mex one day and arab the next because being mexarab all the time is much easier.

Except for the facial hair. That still sucks.


People Are Always Asking Me If I Know Mohammad Alturk (Part I)

Fight Club is one my all-time favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, let me know so I can defriend you on Facebook. While I do that, here’s a quick summary:

Jack is an everyday guy. Jack can’t sleep. Jack meets Marla. Jack hates Marla. Jack meets Tyler. Tyler is not an everyday guy. Jack’s condo explodes. Jack punches Tyler. Jack moves in with Tyler. Jack and Tyler start a fight club. Tyler has sex with Marla. A lot of sex. Jack and Tyler make soap. The fight club grows. The fight club gets out of control. Jack loves Marla. Jack is Tyler.

Why do I like it so much? Because it’s about mischief and mayhem. Because it splices single frames of pornography into family films. Because it gave me some of the best one-liners in my arsenal. And because it’s a mirror image of my life, circa 1996 to 2004.

Fight Club gave us Jack and Tyler. I give you Mo and Mohammad.

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.



Mo lived in El Paso. He was predominantly Mexican (with some Arab mixed in for … explosiveness) and spoke mostly Spanish. His favorite food was either tostadas or mole enchiladas made with Dona Maria mole from the glass jar that his grandma then made him wash out and use as a drinking cup. He hated the first day of school because his teachers inevitably struggled with his name, drawing even more attention to it than it would have already received.

Like all good Mexicans, he was Catholic. He prayed the rosary, went to church on Sundays, and cheated on Confirmation quizzes. But only the pop quizzes, hot shot.

While all of his friends were out on Good Friday, Mo stayed in. Mostly because his mom wouldn’t let him go out, but also because it was a somber day meant for contemplation. He loved opening presents on Christmas. But only after acknowledging that Jesus was the reason for the season.

Let me tell you a little about Tyler Durden.



Mohammad lived in Arlington. He was predominantly Arab (with some Mexican mixed in for … laziness) and spoke mostly Arabic. His favorite food was either ma’looba or kabsa with almonds, not pine nuts. He hated playing soccer with his dad’s friends because they would inevitably spend more time arguing and smoking than actually playing.

Like all good Arabs, he was Muslim. He prayed five times a day, went to mosque on Fridays, and cheated off his cousin on Quran recitation quizzes. Pretty much all of them.

While all of his friends were stuffing their fat faces, Mohammad fasted for Ramadan. Mostly because his dad padlocked the refrigerator and pantry, but also to identify with the struggles of the poor and hungry. He loved going to Show Biz (later Chuck E. Cheese) for Eid. But only after collecting money from his aunts and uncles.

This was my vacation.

Most people are lucky enough to be born into a religion. I was born into two, which meant that I had to choose the fate of my eternal soul. Not to mention implicitly condemn the eternal soul of one of my parents. No biggie. Especially at 12.

Not with my nifty little system!

With my system, I could be mex one day and arab the next. Pray to Dios on Sunday and Allah on Friday. Rock out to Mana one day and Tamer Hosni the next. Watch Super Campeones one day and Captain Majed the next. Have no beard one day and a full beard the next. Actually, that kind of sucks. The point is, my Mo/Mohammad thing was great.

Then I went to college and met Lauren. And she ruined everything.

To be continued…

The Sope Nazi

First things first. I know what you’re thinking and no, it’s not a typo.

Every 26th of December - yes, only two days after a huge Christmas Eve dinner and mere hours after an entire day of Christmas gorging - my Mexican side of the family gets together to make sopes. All 50 of them by my wife’s account. Family members that is, not sopes.

What the hell are sopes?

Bite-sized towers of pure awesomeness, that’s what. Picture half a gordita (not the Taco Bell variety) fried to golden perfection, topped with ground beef, lettuce, onions, and Parmesan cheese, and drowned in spicy chile sauce.

Because the average person can inhale 5 to 10 of these little guys, making sopes is quite the undertaking. That’s why we only make them once a year. And every time we do, it goes something like this:

First, my grandma (the eldest and wisest woman in the family) mixes Maseca, espouda, and water to make the dough that will eventually become the sope itself. By the way, I’m not trying to isolate any non-Spanish speakers by throwing around fancy Spanish terms. I just have no idea what these ingredients are called in English or if they even exist outside your neighborhood bodega. After mixing everything together, she then pinches off a piece of the dough, pats it into a nice round pancake, and slaps it onto a griddle.

The griddle is manned (or wommaned) by my mother, the eldest lady-in-waiting. After ensuring that the dough pancake is cooked on both sides, she removes it from the griddle and slices it in half.

At this point, my younger aunt (the youngest daughter) takes the two halves and distributes them to an assembly line of unskilled laborers, i.e. men and children. While they’re still piping hot, these grunts sacrifice their fleshy fingertip skin to fashion a raised outer edge on each sope. The more skilled of the unskilled laborers (read: me) also create a small interior border, which, to be honest, serves no practical purpose, but looks way cool.

All the while, my older aunt (the middle daughter) toils over her all-important chile sauce. It has to be spicy enough to stand out against the sopes, but not too spicy to give everyone diarrhea. Toilet paper isn’t cheap after all.

Once the sopes have cooled, they take a quick dunk in the oil before the onslaught of hungry Mexicans rush the kitchen to claim their rightful stake. This part is not for the faint at heart.

Even though we always end up with bagfuls of leftovers, this intricate salsa (the dance, not the condiment) presses on until everyone’s backs, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers are singed and throbbing. I guarantee that if you were to dig in my mom’s freezer right now, you would find a Ziploc bag full of freezer-burned sopes from 2001. Why make so many then?

Maybe it’s because we subconsciously know that the harder we work to make them, the better they’ll taste. Maybe we want to dispel the myth that Mexicans are lazy (even though we’re furthering the stereotype that Mexican women belong in the kitchen). Or maybe it’s because my mom relishes cracking the whip in her role as The Sope Nazi. “If you don’t work, no sopes for you!

A (Mexarab) Christmas Story

I’ve never actually seen A Christmas Story, but I can guarantee that my Christmas story is completely different.

My story unfolds against a backdrop of sex, lies, and videotape. Not really. Except for the lies. Actually, there was probably videotape, too. But no sex. At least not for me.

My first ever Christmas memory involves me and my dad (who, if you will recall, is Muslim) unwrapping a gift from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. It must have been 1986 or 1987 because what I found after busting through the wrapping paper was a Nintendo Entertainment System complete with the Super Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt combo game. I played that thing everyday. Sometimes my mom and I would play Mario together. Instead of just pushing the buttons, she would physically move the controller - right for walking, further right for running, and up for jumping - to navigate Mario over Goombas, down pipes, and through castles. It was mostly funny, but also a little annoying.

Interestingly enough, my second Christmas memory is also Nintendo-related. Super Nintendo to be exact. This is also the first (and last) time I recall writing a letter to Santa.

Since I had already mastered the regular Nintendo, I was itching to get my hands on a Super Nintendo. In fact, it was all I asked for from Santa. Every day in the weeks leading up to Christmas I would ask my mom if I was being good. Like the Pharisees, I walked around blowing a trumpet to proclaim all my good deeds.  

I guess my dad got tired of it.

One day when my mom wasn’t around, he called me into their room. He opened the closet and pointed to a stack of towels on the top shelf. Here’s a loose translation of what transpired next: “Habibi, I know your mom had you write a letter to Santa Claus. I’m not saying she’s a liar, but I am saying that Santa is not real. He’s a fiction that Christian parents tell their kids to trick them into being good. Since you’re not a Christian kid, I want you to know the truth.”  

With that, he moved the towels and uncovered the very Super Nintendo that I had asked for from Santa. To make matters worse, he told me that Jesus was actually born during Ramadan.

Just kidding, but that would have been funny. Probably not then, but definitely now.

I was completely devastated. Because my notion of Santa had just been shattered? Maybe. But it would take me years to realize I was pissed about that. More importantly, Christmas was still weeks away and I had to live with the knowledge that my brand new 16-bit Super Nintendo, the answer to all of my dreams, was right there in the closet and that I couldn’t play with it.

I don’t know how, but I made it to Christmas. Barely. And I feigned surprise so well that I don’t think my mom ever found out.

Taking Food From the People

As I’ve previously mentioned, I love food.  I love all kinds of it, but Mexican is especially near and dear to my heart.

Not only am I from El Paso, a pueblo with exactly three non-Mexican families, I grew up eating my grandma’s food three meals a day.  So while I’m no professional, I certainly know my shit. 

With that in mind, I recently attended my company’s holiday (formerly Christmas) party at Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano in Uptown.  

Our private party menu included most of Javier’s house specials.  I had the Red Snapper Mojo de Ajo and my wife had the Filete Cantinflas.

The food was disappointingly average.  Not bad, but certainly not good either.  Especially considering the price.  If I’m going to pay (luckily I wasn’t on this occasion) $30 a pop for an entree, average isn’t going to cut it, amigo.  

My snapper was cooked well and had a good garlic flavor, but I was underwhelmed with the sides and the presentation.  Chopped carrots and asparagus?  I didn’t order off of the Atkins section of the menu for a reason.  Give me some white rice with my fish.  Side note: one of my biggest pet peeves is Mexican orange rice served with seafood; it’s perfectly fine with everything else, just not seafood.

The fillet, which comes stuffed with cheese and butter, may or may not have contained any actual meat.  It tasted like a block of warm cheese covered in spicy tomato salsa.  That may be your thing; it isn’t mine.  If you’re anything like me, you should take your money to any half-decent steakhouse for a better piece of meat.    

I understand that eating out is about more than just the food.  The ambiance at Javier’s is elegant, inviting, and, like Stevesie’s red hat, charmingly contrived.  The cigar lounge is a nice touch, conjuring up fond Madmenian images.  

With respect to authenticity, Javier’s raza ratio is considerably below average.  In my opinion, the true measure of an ethnic food restaurant is the percentage of patrons of that ethnicity eating there. 

Example:

  • Olive Garden - 5% Italians, not very good
  • G’Vanni’s - 75% Italians, pretty dang good

Sure the cooks and waitstaff at Javier’s were Mexican, but the guests?  Mexican’ts.  On my visit, the dining room was full of Adam Bankses.  Why?  Because no self-respecting (read: cheap) Mexican is going to pay $30 for cheese, sauce, and meat essence.  Even if it was prepared by Juan Diego himself.

That was a Mexican joke, not a Catholic joke.

In sum, Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano has (1) average food, (2) charming ambiance, and (3) no Mexicans who aren’t on the payroll.

If you’re in the mood for a nice dinner and aren’t overly concerned about authenticity, Javier’s isn’t a bad option. 

If you prefer authentic food, my advice would be to post up at your nearest hole-in-the-wall Mexican (not Tex-Mex) place and break bread with the people.  The food will be better and you’ll end up saving yourself some serious pesos.

Unless you get robbed by some eses.  

Hi, my name is Mo. I’m a mexarab.

Hi, my name is Mo.  Actually, my name is Mohammad Majdi Alturk.  I’m a mexarab.

My dad’s name is Majdi Saleh Alturk and his dad’s name is Saleh Alturk.  I’m sure my grandpa has a middle name, I just don’t know it.  As you can hopefully tell, Arab kids take their dad’s name as their middle name.  That explains the Majdi part.  My dad is a devout Muslim.  That should explain the Mohammad part.

The mex half of mexarab comes from my mom, Ana Patricia Navarro.  Legend has it that she wanted to name me Jesus after both her dad and risen Lord, but my dad wasn’t having it.  Maybe if she’d pushed harder she could have gotten Jesus as my middle name.  I could have been Mohammad Jesus Alturk.  I don’t know how I, the Vatican, or the Grand Imam (I just made that up because I couldn’t think of another centralized Islamic governing body) would have felt about that.  JP II would have been down; he was cool like that.

But enough about names.

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a long time.  That and getting a sweet tat.  One out of two isn’t bad.

I hate to box myself in, but I’m going to anyway.  These are some things that I enjoy and will probably write about:

1.  Footie - I’m making a concerted effort to refer to the game I love as footie.  It’s a compromise.  The term soccer is too isolationist (read: American) for our globalized world.  But on the other hand, I don’t want to sound like a doucher by calling it football.  Plus, that could get really confusing.  And not in an amusing way either.  Just an annoying one.

2.  Food - I love food.  All kinds of it.  And I’m usually pretty good about chronicling new experiences.

3.  Movies - One of my favorite ways to mess with people (and annoy my wife) is to insert random yet poignant movie quotes into normal, everyday conversations.

4.  Far off lands - If I could have Anthony Bourdain’s job, I’d be a very happy person.  But I’d settle for being a contestant on the Amazing Race.

5.  Mexarab issues - As the only mexarab I know, I consider myself an expert on things such as hummus with jalapenos, pita chips and guac, and Shakira.

So, please make yourself at home while I put on a chicken.  It should be a fun ride.