So, what do they watch on Mexican television?

That’s from “María la del Barrio” and it appears to have run for one year in Mexico the 1990s. I can see why, because no one can be that intense for more than one year. And what’s with everyone NOT jumping on her and grabbing the scissors.

Of course, if you have more than an hour to kill, the series finale was really intense.

Makes you wonder if the actress who played the crazy lady later took quieter roles in her career?

What does your nation’s leader drive?

What’s interesting in the following chart is:

1) The queen of England got ripped off.

2) South American leaders drive cheaply (look at Chile and Uruguay).

3) The premise that you can determine a country’s level of corruption by the cost of a head of state’s car is really stretching it.

kVI3Ncl

Family stories from StoryCorp

StoryCorp is an audio-history project that’s been around for a decade in which people talk about their lives and the lives of others. Here are three stories of American diversity.

A working black family:

A working Hispanic family:

A working white family:

You can see these on YouTube, or order a DVD from PBS here.

 

More fun with maps

Here’s another interesting map fact that’s been my obsession for the day:

southamerica

A while back, I posted a map that showed that you could fit a bunch of countries in Africa, including the U.S., China, India and all of Europe.

So if these southern hemisphere continents are so big, how come they look so small on every map I look at?

world-map

Well, it was explained years ago on “The West Wing.”

Here’s the map that freaked C.J. out (click to enlarge):

I3zGnrY

Technically, there is no reason why this map is unacceptable. There is no up or down in space (I learned that in “Ender’s Game“). Had the first exploration maps come from the southern hemisphere, this is how they would have been drawn. The North here is pretty squished. The South has plenty of room.

It’s an interesting perspective.

The ‘Real Americas,’ all 11 of them

We always hear some politician (on the right) talk about the way things are in “The Real America.”

This map represents “The Real Americas”:

tufts which america map copy

So, according to this map, there are 11 Americas. I’ve lived in six of them. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve lived in the three real “Real Americas”: Yankeedom, New Netherland and Tidewater. That’s where the United States began, that’s where its laws originated and that’s where it expanded from. All the rest are just pretenders to the “Real America” crown.

You can read about all of these Americas in the book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,” or check out this piece in Tufts Magazine, affiliated with Tufts University, located in east Yankeedom.

 

Sen. Ted Cruz, Canadian citizen

Tea Party poster boy and right-wing Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz seems to have run into a problem as he considers a bid for the presidency.

He’s a Canadian.

Here’s his birth certificate:

Ted-Cruz-birth-certificate

Now, unlike the birthers, I can read. And I see the line that says “Name of Mother Before Marriage: Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson. Her Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.” That means that Ted Cruz is an American. Just like John McCain, who was born in Panama and ran for president as a Republican, and just like Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, who was born in Mexico and sought the presidential nomination in the 1960s as a Republican.

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

The Cuban/Canadian usurper

Oh, and Barack Obama — whose birth certificate says his mother was born in Wichita, Kansas, and who, unlike Ted Cruz, John McCain and George Romney was born in the United States (Yes, birthers. Hawaii is a state.) — is an American.

If I had the brain of a birther, I could riff on Ted Cruz’s birth certificate all day.

He was born in Canada! But his dad is from Cuba and they snuck into America through the Canadian border! Is he one of those “terror babies” Louis Gomert is always talking about?

His father is from Cuba! Did his father work with Fidel Castro? Is he a communist?

This birth certificate doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t say “Ted” anywhere. Who is this Rafael Edward Cruz? Does he speak English?

What’s a geophysical consultant? Is that some kind of “one-world-government” adviser?

But Ted Cruz is an American. If you’re born to an American woman anywhere in the world, and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born anywhere in the world and your father is an American and married to your mother (no matter her nationality), and your birth is registered with the American Embassy, you’re an American. That’s all you need. If you’re born on American soil, and your parents aren’t American, you’re an American. That’s all you need.

But Ted Cruz is Canadian, as well. If you’re born on Canadian soil, you’re a Canadian. So technically, Ted Cruz could run for the Canadian Parliament.

Isn’t the exploding head of a Tea Party birther a sight to behold?

But we won’t see it (from the Washington Post):

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday evening that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, less than 24 hours after a newspaper pointed out that the Canadian-born senator likely maintains dual citizenship.

“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”

Now I’ve seen references to “The Manchurian Candidate” as the Ted Cruz story has developed. But the difference there is that Raymond Shaw was born in America to American parents.

Oh, yeah. And Michele Bachmann is Swiss.

Finding your way around Geoguessr

geoguessrThe XKCD.com illustration at the right isn’t what I have a hard time with on Geoguessr.

I can pretty much figure out where I am within a couple of meters as long as the road signs are in Roman letter.

But I seem to spend a good percentage of my time stuck somewhere in Russia and China bombarded with signs that I can’t translate.

Here’s what I do. I land. I do a 360 degree turn. I look for clues: street address, road markers, phone numbers on trucks and buses, business signs.

Eventually, I’ll find something that’s helpful. Then, do a little Internet cross checking, pull up Google maps, figure out how close you can get to the place in the photo using the street view and mark your location on Geoguessr. I can do this almost everywhere in the world.

Except for Russia and China.

Really. I can find my way around a tiny remote island without a problem. The Marshall Islands, the Canary Islands. Anything that has streets off the African coast. Every country seems to include Roman letters in their signage. Even Japan uses various forms of spelling: characters, its own alphabet and Roman letters. It takes a while longer to figure out where you are, but eventually, you can hit the mark.

And, I guess knowing any Romance language will help. If you can read signs in French, you can figure out signs in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. But it’s not essential. I don’t know any Nordic language, but I still can mark where I am.

At least with the Greeks, the letters are close enough that you can work out in your head what the corresponding Roman letter is.

But the Russians and the Chinese rarely provide those clues. Maybe twice, when I’ve found my way to a Russian highway, I see a sign with Roman letters, and then, even when it’s an odd spelling, I’ll figure it out. But that’s rare.

Minutes before I saw the above cartoon, I was on a roll. I zipped through a town in Iowa, a Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco and not far from Stockholm, and got more than 6,000 points on each.

Then I hit Russia. Twice. Game over.

Here the link: http://geoguessr.com/. Give it a shot and see where you end up.