Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Thursday: Did Black Friday ‘Jump the Shark’ by Not Caring About Thanksgiving?

Black Friday is no more
Editor’s note: this may contain offensive language to some. – BJ

Black Friday has officially jumped the shark. For those of you who might not be familiar with the phrase, it’s the moment when something that was once popular attempts to maintain or regain that popularity with a grand, attention-getting stunt that ends up failing miserably. It comes from 70s television hit Happy Days. In the show’s waning days, there was an episode where Fonzie, the main character of the show and icon of everything cool back then, jumps over a shark, while on water skis and wearing his leather jacket with a pair of swim trunks.

The show, having hit its creative peak, continued to offer storylines that were more grandiose than previous ones. It was that episode where most of the adults who were still watching Happy Days realized it had become a joke. The show went on for a few more years, but it was never the same. Now it’s Black Friday’s turn...

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Published on Baltimore Fishbowl

Life with Mom: My Hero, My Heroin Addict

Published November 16, 2011
by Fernando Quijano
It’s odd having been raised by a mother who remembered being at Woodstock, but who didn't remember where her six-week-old son was that weekend. However, odd barely begins to explain my childhood and my mother.

Miriam Esther Figueroa, my mother, left home when she was 15. The story Mom told me...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paradise Regained: How I Killed Bin Laden

 It's just a feeling, a sense that something isn't... right. I'm strolling through El Yunque, the rainforest high in the mountains of northeastern Puerto Rico when it registers—an imbalance. Maybe eddies in the time space continuum. It's hard to explain. I'll try.

I come here to see the sky being born, to watch the clouds peel off the mountaintops and drift towards the sea. I come to listen to the higuaca birds croak and the coqui frogs chirp. In short, I come to be with God. It's not hard to feel a flaw on God's throne.

I'll admit that my first instinct's to avoid it. After all, I'm here to be cleansed, not to detail God's chair. But it's like ignoring trash because someone else left it behind—it's bad form. So I'm compelled to follow the disturbance to it's source.

The source is just some old jibaro, the Puerto Rican hillbillies who roam the mountains living off the land. I greet him graciously, and he offers me a cordial welcome and a box of mangoes, for five dollars. He's a dirty, old man, tall & gangly, wearing burlap clothes as tattered as his long beard and his wide sombrero. He's carrying a lot of weight, not the mangoes, but the gravity of thousands of dead souls.

"Viejo, you seem tired," I say, "¿Have you been to the fountain?" He bows his head a bit, shakes it slowly. "¡Bueno! Vamonos."
I lead him to the top of Las Minas, the waterfall the locals hike miles to for its waters' curative properties. We wade in. He's more cautious than I am, taking long but hesitant strides. "¿Lo sientes?" I ask, "You can feel it, can't you?"

I turn back to see his eyes widening wildly. "Si, but the current, la curriente—" His English is bad, his Spanish is worse, but he's right. I stop in the middle of the river and watch as he drifts closer to the edge.

"¿Ques pasa, viejo?" I shout at him, "¿Too much power?"

He's coming at me now, or at least he's trying to. He leaps out of the water towards me, but only ends up closer to Las Minas. "¡Help me!" He cries, finally, "I'm very rich. ¡I'll make you rich!"

"Look around you, viejo. I'm as rich as they come."

Poder! ¡I can make you very powerful!" He has to shout now in order to be heard.

"And yet you're the one being pulled towards the fall." I laugh. He drifts.

"¡¿Do you know who I am?!" He's shouting at the top of his lungs, but it sounds like a whisper. I can't quite make out the rest, muffled as it is by the fury of the water as it cascades off the cliff. It doesn't matter.

All that matters is that he didn't belong in paradise, especially not selling mangoes. All that matters is that the energy of El Yunque is slowly being restored as the dark, old man anchored by the weight of thousands of murdered souls is being washed out to the sea. I can now continue on my pilgrimage comfortably. I can now go watch clouds being born, in peace.