Always Enough Happy to Tell You Something Good, Guaranteed

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I can make my famous brown and white sugar pancakes by heart now.

I save time. And a great way to avoid leaving out key ingredients – such as baking soda – or doubling key ingredients – such as baking soda. I’ve flipped these classics – this same recipe – for years, probably since the Milwaukee Brewers (or Jewel) were any good.

I looked Saturday at the dry ingredients in the bowl, mostly white even with the brown sugar integrated, and it started the wheels turning.

Not of Hispanic America’s integration or dispersion into modern caucasian culture. I thought of how sugar – brown and white – mixes with salt, baking soda and flour, to become greater than the sum of parts. To become something delicious.

And if you were forced to choose a single grain of that to eat, you’d wish for sugar, right?

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Where We’d Take an Alien, in 6 Words

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When I was a kid, I wanted to be friends with Elliott.

6 words graphicHe’s the boy who befriended E.T. in the movie. He just seemed like the kind of kid I would like to hang out with. Looking back, I believe I probably admired his loyalty and courage in all that happened when E.T. came to town.

Every month, I collect responses for a post I call 6 Words.

If you’ve been around here a while you know Ernest Hemingway inspired this idea when he said all stories could be told in six words. I ask friends, strangers, bloggers, and strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt, in six words.

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#AtoZChallenge: F is for Foods That Bring Me Comfort

stormtrooper cookies dessert
photo credit: DocChewbacca Gluttony via photopin (license)

Some days, a dude’s gotta eat. You know what I’m saying?

FYou just can’t wait to get home, soak in a hot shower, pull on some Avengers pajama pants and eat. Not just anything. Not a fist full of Saltines or – yuck – kale chips. You need scrumptious, on a day getting your arse handed to you on the soccer pitch or you forget to wear a belt all day long.

It’s not just after a rough ride that you’d like a plate of mouth-stuffing goodness.

Hell, when the Rockies bullpen holds a lead, or I get to work in less than an hour, or I see tons of commercials with Erica Piccininni in them, or your scrappy soccer team gives the conference champs all sortsa hell and high water, well, that makes you hungry, too.

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How This Latino Thing Has Become an American Thing

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Sometimes, my Latino shows up in droves.

I felt all Brown Power after a weekend spent doing things a Latino guy should know how to do: Extracting a headlight casing from a junkyard Pontiac, and, less than 24 hours later, planting a magnolia tree. Dang, I told a friend. I feel Hispanic.

She cringed. You’re not supposed to say that! she hissed, apologetically.

We set up these months to recognize those things unique and beautiful about a culture. But the mention of them – skills proudly associated with my people, mechanically and horticulturally – is perceived by some non-minority as a slap in the face to the minority.

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Time to Take a Stand on this whole Kneel Down Thing

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Taking a stand on a gorgeous fall day in a Roanoke park.

Dear Mr. Kaepernick,

First, I’m a little late to this party, I admit. If you could see my inbox, you’d understand. I also could use a haircut. But who am I telling? This letter, though, has little to do with my hair and unanswered emails.

It has everything to do with the movement you’ve begun, by kneeling during the National Anthem before kickoff.

I happen to be a minority here in the USA. I’m the people you’re doing this for. First, I kind of appreciate that, Colin. There’s lots of hashtags out there for minorities, but generally, the ones for my people mostly have to do with #CincoDeMayo.

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Guest Post: Olympian Leo Manzano, on The American Dream

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photo credit: Swimming – 100m breaststroke via photopin (license)

Seems like there’s lot of hurdles in these upcoming Summer Games.

guest postOnly some are on the track. Headlines about doping, violence, killer mosquitoes and more steal the Olympic glare from the attraction we tune in for most: The competitors. To me, the Olympics has always been a treasure chest of stories, just waiting.

Today’s guest post comes from an Olympic athlete I’m honored to have here.

Leonel Manzano carried two nations’ flags during his victory lap in the 2012 London Games. A Mexican immigrant, Leo won the first American track and field Olympic medal since 1968. His performance came to symbolize the American dream to me.

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Photo a Day Challenge: June 18 – Pink (Plus a Monday Music Blog Hop)

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HMP

My kids have developed an aversion to pink.

It’s partially because the entire toy section seems to be divided along pink vs. camo lines. My girls bring ferocity, in a pretty way. That’s the best way to describe it. Not hair-bow pretty, but just enough eye makeup, usually painted fingernails pretty.

Yet, they come to kick some ass.

My sport Saturday: To watch a handful of 3v3 games Grace played in, while keeping my germs at a distance, as the only guy at the field with a chill and long sleeves. I downed a couple of Gatorades on the day, one of them pink, to wash down Ibuprofen.

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#AtoZChallenge: P is for Pacheco (Plus Random Thoughts on Names)

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photo credit: Geonosis Trooper via photopin (license)

My name and I made one bettor some green one Super Bowl Sunday.

PI worked at the Hilton for Super Bowl XLII, between the yet unbeaten New England Patriots and New York Giants in 2008. A boisterous man, upon check-in, clapped his meaty hands together – Gator style, although I don’t know where he matriculated – when he saw my nametag.

“I’ve been wanting to bet on the Giants all day!” he broke his happy white-boy clapping to say. “Your name is Eli? This is a sign! I’m betting on the G-men!”

Hours later, the Giants, a 12-point underdog, pulled of a classic upset.

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#AtoZChallenge: O is for Owning the Night (or at Least the Skillet)

photo credit: Week 1 PhotoChallenge2016 B&W Min 02 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Week 1 PhotoChallenge2016 B&W Min 02 via photopin (license)

A man can accomplish much in life with basic life gear.

OCover him with a ball cap from his beloved baseball team. Anoint him with a distinctive after shave. Place him behind the wheel of an automobile he’ll name, shine, neglect, restore, and trust to transport those he loves and carry him to buy corn tortillas and shin guards.

Arm him with a cast-iron skillet, and don’t be late for dinner.

Weekend cooking’s my thing. It’s easier on weekends free of soccer. Sunday night, I returned to my roots. Yes, those roots (enchiladas), but also the roots established in frontier days, when a guy’s essentials included a fast horse, a scruffy beard, a miner’s hat and a skillet.

(Harmonica optional.)

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A Late-Starting Latino Guide to Las Posadas

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photo credit: A Jar of Troopers via photopin (license)

This, we know: I’m kind of lousy at being Latino.

It’s okay. I can order food in a Mexican restaurant (unless the server asks questions.) I can blurt just enough on the soccer pitch to appear coherent. And my fluency doesn’t count in one particular room of the house:

The kitchen.

I can make my own tortillas an guacamole. Beyond the language, I also struggle with the culture. My sister and I learned to make tamales by trial and error – in the early days, mostly error.

We got it down, though.

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