Archive for May, 2009

My Friend Sonny

Posted in Social on May 31, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

ISonnyCommunityf you were to ask my friend Sonny to think outside the box his response would be “What Box?” To say that Sonny is creative would be like saying Donald Trump needs a haircut. Sonny developed his religion of creativity at the temple of Walt Disney. A quick study and faithful disciple Sonny soon excelled in all things art. While Disney’s passion was animation the gospel he preached was imagination. Imagination was Sonny’s salvation. Long before John Lennon wrote the lyrics to his signature song Imagine the seeds of creativity had taken root in Sonny’s mind inspired by imagination and fueled by a spirit of fun. Consequently this is what drives Sonny’s perpetual creativity machine:  Imagination, inspiration and fun. This trinity of Sonny’s creativity led him to become a disc jockey, actor, impressionist, artist, comedian, writer, serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker, website designer, master of ceremonies, story teller, community benefactor. But there is more to Sonny’s creativity then mere entertainment. While most artists use their pain as a motive to create Sonny depends on an entirely opposite, less used motivation tool. Joy. Sonny loves people. In everything he does he does to bring joy to people. I have known Sonny personally for over twenty years and I know he has used his SonnyCommunitychildrencreativity and celebrity to bring joy to the less fortune without any expectation of return. Except maybe for the joy he receives in giving.

 I was driving down IH 10 one day and saw Sonny standing on top of a billboard 100 feet in the air! He vowed to stay up there until a semi truck was filled with groceries for tornado victims in other state.  These core values that Sonny embraces did not come from Disney or a government sponsored program they were learned at home from his mom, dad, aunts and uncles who stood on the shoulders of the family members that came before them.

 This blog is dedicated to showing how the Hispanic culture has contributed to the greatness of Texas. Thousand upon thousands of obscure Hispanic families teach their children these values every single unsung day. SonnyKidsThrough the medium of  tradition flows the character of Texas. And it is the character from her people that makes her Great.

 Happy Birthday Sonny and thank you for contributing to the Legacy of the Greatness of Texas.

 Vaya con Dios mi amigo.

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My Friend Alex

Posted in Social on May 19, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

Alex

My Friend Alex is a doctor. Not the open your mouth and say aah kind. But the open your mind so you can say aah kind. He’s got more degrees than a thermometer. A bachelors, 2 Masters and now a doctor. This guy is a amazing. By all rights he should have been a statistic. Born in Laredo Texas, product of a broken home, terrible student, angry young man.  Reminds me of that Elvis song “In the Ghetto”. ..he’ll grow up to be an angry young man some day…and his hunger burns..” Know what turned his life around? A book. Yeah one book. Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth”. Then an Air Force guy reached down and gave him a helping hand. This air force guy introduced him to another man named Jesus not the Hispanic name of Jesse but the What Would He do fame. If that black kid in Chicago had met Jesus Elvis would have had one less hit on his hands. This one event made my buddy an avid reader. Turned his grades around graduated from High School and packed up all his belongings from a life time of collecting put the all in a pillow case and moved to Austin. Became a student at the University of Texas met Earl Campbell got a Bachelors, then a Master. All the while he carried his Bible everywhere. The making of a movie right? It gets better he marries a Martha Stewart (pre Jail Martha) Then they have 1.2.3.4.5 ! Kids ! Then like the Beverly Hillbillies they pack up and move to Dallas Texas to go to Seminary. Not just any seminary one  of the toughest in the Nation if not the World. Gets another Masters degree there. Now he is ready to go to work. He comes down to San Antonio and gets hired at a Bible college. Only one small problem. He has a wife 5 kids no house and they said “oh, yeah and we don’t have any money to pay you”. Does this stop the Laredo kid? Nope. He calls some buddies up says “hey I can help in this Bible college but they don’t have money will you support me?” He raised all the money he was going to need in a matter of weeks. Call Steven Spielberg because there is still lots to go. In addition to being a Professor he starts up a church in his spare time between teaching, the wife and did I mention he has 5 Kids? Lets see lets take an inventory Pupil, Parent, Partner, Professor, Pastor, President. President? Oh I did I mention he started a non profit organization to help people learn? Hispanic Bible Institute. 

Alex and Julie

 The Beatles said “…the love you take is equal to the love you make..” Alex loves Jesus, his wife and his 5 Daughters. This guy would put Barry White to shame he is a Love factory. How do I know? I’ve had the good fortune to know him and the greater honor to have been loved by him. My friend Alex and his life is why I chose to write this blog. Texas is Great because of her Hispanic culture. Alex is a one in a million guy but his story is repeating over and over again between the Rio Grande and the Red River. The moral of the story is “It doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is how you finish.
  (Hermano, no te digo vaya con Dios porque Dios ya vive en tu corazón eternamente)
 ¡feliz cumpleaños!

The Flamingos

Posted in Social on May 14, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

Deep in the southern part of the northern hemisphere lives a family named after a bird. Like the flamboyant bird the family is riddled with color. Mother is dark skinned with a Caucasian background and Dad is white with a Hispanic ancestry. The 3 children are typically American fluently bilingual in both English and text messaging sharing blond hair, hazel eyes and red blooded sibling rivalry. 

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Mom is the Chief operating Officer of the family. She is responsible for planning the meals, picnics and family reunions. She cooks, cleans, mends, washes and drives. She manages the calendar with ninja precision. PTA meetings, Teacher conferences, doctor, dentist and hair appointments scheduled like a project from NASA. If it absolutely, positively must get done mom gets the charge. After palates, low fat yogurt and a brisk walk through the neighborhood she settles down for her personal bible study. But first she prays. She prays for her husband. Her children. Their friends. Her family back home. Her Country and all the people that have lost hope. And at the end of the day she looks into her husbands eyes and asks “How was your day, honey?” Regardless of his answer she smiles and tells him “I love you.” 

If mom is Country, Dad is a little Rock ‘n Roll. The radio alarm blares out the nostalgic sixties music. Elvis, The Beatles and Otis Redding. The preachers of a rebellious religion. Heart pumping, hips shaking Dad’s ready to shave misquoting all the lyrics he grew up with. He notices one radical gray hair growing wildly in his left nostril. Slowly his mind starts wondering back to his youth. Just how many decades have I lived?” He asks himself looking around making sure no one heard him. Born in the 50’s, grew up in the 60’s, the King died in the 70’s, Reagan saved us in the 80’s, the children were born in the 90’s and then there was Y2K and 911. My God! How can I still be living ! Slowly moving into the shower he notices a lot more scalp than hair these days another reminder he is on the back side of forty and going down hill quicker than he climbed up. Dad is the family alarm clock. Up the stairs the 114 year old dog looks down and says “oh hell, How am I going to make it down those stairs and why is this guy in his underwear coming up here? Jake ! Sadie ! Wake up! The fire truck is almost here! Jake jumps right out of bed and starts getting ready. Sandman Sadie is practically comatose. Sadie you have to get up and get ready for school. Why? So you can go to college. Why? So you can get a good job. Why? So you can support your parents. Why? So we can continue to make your life miserable NOW Get OUT of BED!!! Just 5 more minutes. You just had 8 hours! ! Whats five minutes going to do?. That’s how much time I need to wake up. 

 Number one Daughter was born during the Reagan years. Conservative, Smart and Funny. Qualities only outdistanced by her Charm. Just like the Gipper. Addicted to Starbucks little miss prissy maintains a 3.0 average carrying 20 hours. Like the light shining from the moon is a reflection of the suns rays so too is her immense beauty a reflection of her mothers’ magnificence and grace. Her Dad gets to enjoy the view of her life coiled around her little finger. At 19 Boys are a factor just as there is a reason for penicillin. But at 19 God is also a factor. Whatever her human relationships bring her; she will always be taken care of and comforted by Him. In addition to her two native languages mentioned above she has a immense passion for signing. Way back when she was still ‘daddy’s little girl’ she acquired an infatuation for Sign language. To Sign is to live. In-depth Communication without words. Embracing without arms. Connecting without formalities. Like a little chick peaking its beak out of the shell, Number one Daughter is slowly gaining confidence from who she is instead of what she does. Intelligent and compassionate encompassed by her goodness she begins her journey into adulthood armed by her love from her parents and self-assured in her security in God. 

Then there’s the football player. A 13 year old Hummer on Cleats 1st born son drinks milk as though the government just announced that cows have become extinct. A gold medal contender for the future Olympic event of mercilessly teasing his younger sister Jacob Anthony Garza has mastered the art of concealing his mischievousness behind a devilish grin. The official family banker and electronic genius “Jake” masterfully assembles all incoming furniture, stereo gear, camping and exercise equipment. A photographic memory for Bible verses this student of honors classes skillfully balances his academic schedule with his extensive social calendar. The family abode is overrun with his neighborhood groupies. “Dad, can I have a sleep over” is heard as often as his constant refrain of “I’m Hungry”. Bike, Playstation, TV, Guitar, MP3 Player, Computer and Cell Phone all purchased from his earnings through his neighborhood lawn mowing enterprise. But his capacity to earn money is only surpassed by his tender hearted generosity. Whether it be Katrina Hurricane victims, younger children or stray cats this 1st year teenager stands tall in the sanctuary of humility.

 If King Kong had a Minnie me it would have to be the last child of the Flamingo Family. Sara Noelle named after a character in the Bible and the time of year she was born, this early Christmas present roared into life. Fear to this seven year old little piece of dynamite is only found in a dictionary yet to be discovered. Weighing in at 40lbs she has been known to make her Big Brother groan for mercy. Thin, acrobatic strong willed and sassy “Sadie” as she is known to her local subjects, commands the playground as a general in desert storm. If number one daughter was captured by solitude, Sadie was destined to be the apex of attention. Magnetism, Charisma, Photogenic, whatever the label, she is a solar system in a universe of mere mortals. Playful, energetic and brazenly curios, third child loves life, corn dogs and anything that contains sugar. This may be the reason why when she goes to sleep she is so delightfully sweet.

 So there you have it. Dad, Mom, Number one Daughter, the football player and Sadie, birds of a feather. This flock living in the Alamo City is interdependent. Each and everyone as independent as eagles yet dependent on each other for love and support. The Flamingos are as diverse as America.  One family under God with Liberty and Thankfulness for all.

My Friend Zeke

Posted in Social on May 13, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

My friend Zeke is the classic Texas-American-Mexican. If the police were to ask me for any Identifying marks for my friend I’d have to 1st tell them about his Grin. Zeke has a constant grin that screams “I know you’re full of BS but I like you anyway”. His grin has a way of revealing who he is inside. The 2nd identifying mark I’d have to tell them is his absolute love he has for his family. Zeke loves his family. I don’t know how long ago he passed the 30 year  mark in his marriage but in all those years I have never heard him complain about his wife other than to mention her fiscal prudence when he wanted to buy a fishing boat.

Zeke

Ever notice how people will tell you how impartial they are about their children then spend the rest of the afternoon bragging about their favorite child? That’s not Zeke. Zeke doesn’t just love his kids he cherishes them. He holds each of them in the bosom of his heart like a miner transporting Nitro-Glycerin, delicate, gentle and loving. I once saw a sign on the front of a church that said “God doesn’t love all of us he loves each of us. That’s my friend Zeke.

The 3rd identifying mark I would give the police would be his loyalty. Regardless of circumstance Zeke is the one constant in the storm of instability. Whether you were stabbed in the back or you shot yourself in the foot Zeke has that uncanny ability to raise his eyes above the event and quietly avail himself in anyway he can. In a world where the so called “good” people are more than willing to give you the shirt off someone else’s back Zeke stands up along side of you extends a hand and says “here take mine.”

Zeke is one strand in a thread of fiber that weaves throughout the fabric of Texas. Quiet people doing loud things in a silent meaningful way.

Cinco de Mayo is NOT the 5th Tablespoon of Mayonaise

Posted in Social on May 5, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

“So Mr. Burns what is your dog’s name?” The old man kept fixing his coffee and said “Cinco”. “That’s a strange name for an Irish Setter. Why did you call him Cinco?” “Well,” came the reply “it was the 4th or 5th dog I’ve had”.

 Cinco De Mayo. A big deal to a lot of folks but ask most people and they could not tell you the difference between Cinco De Mayo and the 16th of September. I personally think it’s because it’s hotter in Mexico than here in the United States and since we have Memorial day and Labor day they wanted two holidays also. Only they spread theirs farther apart since their summers are much hotter. In celebration of Cinco De Mayo I have enclosed a video of my favorite Mexican singers. Its okay to say favorite even if she is the only right? Well let me know how you like it. By the way just in case you were wondering Cinco De Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence day. That comes after our Labor day. Well  I hope you enjoy

Hyph-a-Nation splits a Nation.

Posted in Social with tags on May 4, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

Never been a big fan of Hyphans. I’m certainly not looking  forward to the Hyphan on my tombstone 19??-20??Hyphans seperate things they don’t join them. Hyphans are minus signs not positive signs. NativeMinusAmerican, AfricanMinusAmerican, MexicanMinusAmerican. What’s that about? I’m an American. I believe in God, Country and Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys. Of course I’m a Texan 1st. So like Hillary – Rodam – Clinton  – – – I guess I’m a Texan-American-Mexican.
Just who invented that seperator? I’d like to know what the guy was thinking. The only dash I like was a disc jockey on the Beverly Hillbilies named Dash Rip Rock. I liked that Dash. There has been an article on the Internet ever since the Internet was  in Bill Gates womb. It’s called the  Dash. Here it is. Enjoy.
Oh and lets think about subtracting  the Minus sign from the dividing line  and put American first in our lives.

The Dash Poem

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

The REAL Woman behind Texas

Posted in Business, Politics, Religion with tags , , , on May 3, 2009 by Johnny Gringo

When a foreigner (Californian, New Yorker, European, Liberal, etc) finds out that you are from Texas there is a universal reaction: A smile coupled with a tilted head of curiosity. The smile is produced out of an appreciation for the attitude of friendliness and the curiosity is born from a desire to understand why. The burning question is: What makes Texas unique? What is at the core of her attraction?  When you think of Texas you think Oil Wells, Longhorn Cattle and Willie Nelson. But if the old adage that ‘behind every great man there is a good woman’ then Texas’ woman is its Hispanic culture. You can’t spell Texas without the three characters that are derived from the Latin word Mexican.

 My name is Johnny Gringo this is my story. The purpose of this blog is not to challenge the Mexican-American Stereotype but to elevate it to a level of surround sound. My perspective comes from being a student of reverse discrimination from both sides of the Brown and White border of racism. I was born 3 blocks from the Alamo right in the Heart of South Texas. My Hispanic brethren distrusted me because of my Paris Hilton skin while my honky peeps thought I was defective because of my Jalapeño blood. This did not make me bitter it made me better. Better prepared to discover the unspoken mentality of each team. 

I invite you to join me as I comment on past, present, future events and the people at the center of the action.

 Proceed with caution. If you are racially sensitive or looking for political correctness. This blog is diffidently NOT  for you. 

If you are sick and tired of the Spin, Talking points and lying or you have no clue as to what the stimulus package is supposed to do this blog’s for you.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of my mother. The names have been NOT been changed in order to convict the guilty. 

Ready? VAMANOS ! (Translation: Let’s Go!)