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What I Watched Last Night

Get on a hotel bus with a dozen or so Mexicans on a Saturday afternoon and you never know where you'll end up. Especially when you don't understand a lick of Spanish.

I was channel surfing when I came across a big Sin Rodeo graphic on Galavision, a Spanish-speaking channel on my satellite menu whose logo is apparently on loan from the Green Bay Packers. I'm a fan of sin, and I don't mind a good rodeo now and then during the monster truck pull off-season, so Galavision had my attention for the next hour.

The host of the program was a chipper young woman who works as Gloria Estefan's somewhat-less-hot sister. She used the first quarter of the show in the back of a hotel bus interviewing roughly a dozen Mexican fellows who appeared to be in their mid-30s with the same hair stylist and buying habits at The Sunglass Hut. What made these guys special enough for their own bus ride, I wondered. Were they on their way to find sin? To to the rodeo? My gringo curiosity needed satisfaction.

But first, Galavision felt I should see several music videos by a group called Banda Astilleros, a horn and clarinet band with more members than Earth, Wind & Fire could ever imagine. Given the rather insane decibel output of its music, which I can only characterize as polka music for the Hispanic, Banda Astilleros appears to specialize in producing music for the deaf.

Being a gringo, I had no idea what was going on in the band's songs, but they seem to have a lot to do with spouses screwing around, passing out drunk, and incredibly hot women in fishnets and Daisy Dukes lap dancing The Invisible Man or wandering the streets aimlessly getting their hair blown around by the wind. Yet I didn't need to understand the tunes to see that the band is serious about its wardrobe. Dressed in matching uniforms (which change in each video), these fellows look bitchin' even when they're performing ankle-deep in a creek.

As the program continued, it dawned on me that the dudes on the bus were - surprise! - Banda Astilleros. I didn't realize this at first because none of their clothes matched. Disappointingly enough, the bus trip was to find neither sin nor rodeo, but rather a public plaza somewhere outside a major landmark with a giant flag of Mexico flapping about in the background and a really creepy-looking mime with an unsettling resemblance to Michael Jackson dressed as a scarecrow. I don't know what the landmark was, but it reminded me of what Our Lady of Guadalupe Church might look like if the parish had Banda Astilleros' wardrobe budget when it built the place. The yackfest continued until - surprise! - the band pulled out its new CD.

There were also interesting, informative things to see during the commercial breaks:

* Public service advertising is alive and well on Galavision, which seems to be the one place on Earth where the United States Marine Corps is considered socially redeeming enough to qualify for a PSA. UNICEF was also represented with a commercial that informs us that when they're not busy starving, children of the Third World enjoy kicking around the same ball made entirely of rags held together by a giant rubber band.

* Just when you thought Jose Feliciano might be dead, you discover he's alive and well with a brand new CD.

* You're fat, you're a fashion plate in a screaming red shirt, a pair of Sans-A-Belts, and some ankle boots, and your life isn't complete without four or five babes sitting in your lap drinking champagne. Don't worry - Seduxion cologne is available to make it happen for players just like you.

* I've now seen what qualifies as the most disturbing thing I've seen in my entire life: A commercial for a children's CD entitled Kids' Flow. It seems to be much like the Kidz Bop CDs familiar to most of us white, middle-class suburban gringos. Except this one is made by a small group of 8-year-old gangstas. If you have any conscience whatsoever, nothing will make your skin crawl like seeing a little one fanning a fistful of cash out a back seat window or getting out of a sports car followed by a 'ho or two.

Aired not just once, but three times within a half-hour. Obviously, the ad agency was asleep at the switch, since it forgot one of them getting capped in a drive-by.

* * *

It was Ferris Bueller's day off. Again. This time on VH1's Movies That Rock. I can't think of any other movie on cable passed around and beaten to death more times than a Bangkok hooker than this one.

Notable performance by the red Ferrari.

* * *

This past weekend was wild card playoff time. I was sitting at Harry's Bar in Thornton when I, along with the rest of Dallas Cowboys-Hating Nation, saw the now-legendary self-humiliation of Cowboys quarterback Tony "Dropsy" Romo.

Sunday night, I caught the last half of the Eagles-Giants game at Franco's, arguably the nicest of the watering holes along the Kennedy Avenue alcohol corridor between the Hessville and Highland borders in Indiana. If you happen wander in on weekends, keep an eye out for the amazing redhead with the perfect amount of junk in the trunk. The Eagles won, which means we'll get to watch Seattle most likely hand the Bears their ass on a plate next Sunday.

For more expert television watching, see the What I Watched Last Night files.



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Posted on January 8, 2007


MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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