Scenes from the Gulf
After Hurricane Katrina, Grand Isle, La., an island with a population of about 1,500 people, was in ruins. But fishermen there say the BP oil spill is much worse. “Katrina in New Orleans is nothing compared to what this is,” Harry Cheramie says. “This here is totally different. ... How do we help each other? What do we do?"
Mission not accomplished
There's a U.S. Air Force Base in the middle of Seoul, South Korea. If the myths of the American expatriate community are to be believed, they've got a Taco Bell in there. After three or four months of nothing but gim, bap and gimbap, I’ve witnessed otherwise-reasonable American civilians so thirsty for Fire Sauce they start to plan insurrections and armed raids. While I was in Seoul, my craving for Enchiritos never reached such a fever pitch, but I finally understood that urge to overthrow the government this morning when I went to ride my bike out by Kirtland Air Force Base.
Odds & Ends
Dateline: Switzerland—A motorist has been slapped with the largest speeding ticket in his country’s history after being clocked going two-and-a-half times the posted speed limit. The 37-year-old man was driving a $200,000 Mercedes SLS when he was pulled over by traffic police. The driver apparently evaded a number of stationary radar detectors located along the A12 highway between Bern and Lausanne because he was going too fast. The stationary detectors are only capable of clocking speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph). Eventually, he was snapped by a speed camera hitting 300 km/h (186 mph). “We have no record of anyone being caught traveling faster in the country,” a police spokesperson was quoted as saying in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. The driver was traveling so fast, in fact, that it took him more than half a mile to come to a stop when police tried to pull him over. He told officers his speedometer was faulty. Speeding fines in Switzerland are calculated by taking into consideration both the severity of the infraction and the income of the motorist. As a result, the unnamed speed demon will be forking over $1 million in fines.
I write to express my disagreement and disappointment with Estevan Rael-Gálvez of the National Hispanic Cultural Center regarding comments he made in Joseph Baca's interview with him [Feature, “The Accidental Historian,” Aug. 19-25]. Specifically, I am astounded (although not surprised) to know that someone in Rael-Gálvez's position, as director of a center supposedly dedicated to preserving Hispanic culture, would say that the Spanish heritage of New Mexico is "fantasy" and "somewhat of a fabrication." If this is actually what Rael-Gálvez believes then I can only say that this guy should be fired because he is doing the Hispano people of New Mexico a great disservice of trying to suppress our history. Any historian knows that New Mexico was settled by the Spanish beginning in 1598 and that the Hispanos of today are the descendants of those Spanish families. This is not only historical fact but the Spanish culture is alive and well in New Mexico today, in the Hispano people of our state, our communities, our traditions, our values, language, customs, in our state of mind and cultural consciousness.