Goodbye Vuvuzela, Hello Caxirola

Image source: SecultBA

Image source: SecultBA

If the sound of buzzing vuvuzelas drove you to distraction, (or up the wall), during South Africa’s World Cup, then the sound of Brazil’s caxirola may be a welcome change.

The hand-held instrument made of recycled plastic which sounds a bit like a rainstick, is based on the caxixi, a woven instrument filled with dried beans that can be found in various regions including Brazil. The caxirola can be played in a number of ways as demonstrated by its Brazilian inventor, musician, Carlinhos Brown. Chécalo!

Unfortunately this story doesn’t end with a “happily ever after” just yet. The caxirola is not being embraced as perhaps Brazil and FIFA had hoped. Just last week, hundreds of the caxirolas which were given out at a game, were chucked onto the pitch. (Now that I think about it, they are a great size, shape and weight to be tossed a considerable distance… they even kind of resemble grenades.)

Still others complain that the sound of the caxirola simply isn’t characteristic of a traditional Brazilian football game – that it’s being forced on them when they much rather prefer the usual chants.

What do you think? Is this better than the vuvuzelas or should we just enjoy the game sans musical instruments?

Read more about the caxirola on CNN.com.

10 Vídeos Inspiradores

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

inspiration2

Ya saben que me encanta buscar vídeos interesantes y divertidos en YouTube, pero aquí hay unos vídeos que encontré recientemente que me inspiran y quiero compartir los con ustedes. Hay algo para todos. Disfruten!

You guys already know that I love finding interesting and amusing videos on YouTube, but here are some videos I found recently that inspire me and that I want to share with you. There’s something for everyone. Enjoy!

#1. Este video se llama “Neymar humillado por peruano” pero no creo que fue humillado Neymar. Es sólo diversión amigable, y “el peruano” es muy talentoso.

This video is called “Neymar humiliated by a Peruvian” but I don’t think he was humiliated. It’s all in good fun, and “the Peruvian” is very talented.

#2. “A Shop in El Salvador Feb. 2013″ – Qué lindo el sonido de estas flautas, tocadas por un tendero en El Salvador.

How beautiful the sound of these flutes, played by a shopkeeper in El Salvador.

#3. “El tortillero de San Marcos, El Salvador” – Me encanta esta video de un tortillero en El Salvador. (¡Sí! Un hombre que puede hacer tortillas – su historia es muy interesante.)

I love this video of a male tortilla maker in El Salvador. (Yes! A man who can make tortillas – his story is really interesting.)

#4. “The Two Sides of Playa El Tunco, El Salvador” – Este video muestra los dos lados de la Playa El Tunco – la vida de turistas que disfrutan de la playa y la vida de la gente humilde que vive allá.

This video shows the two sides of Playa El Tunco – the lives of tourists who enjoy the beach and the the lives of the humble people who live there.

#5. “Calle 13 – La Vuelta al Mundo” – Super linda canción, linda letra, lindo vídeo y lindo el mensaje. Me encanta Calle 13.

Super nice song, nice lyrics, nice video, nice message. I love Calle 13.

#6. “Niña de 6 años cocinando – Ana Victoria” – Me encanta que puede cocinar este niñita y que está practicando su español con su mami. (Gracias a Trisha Ruth por compartir el vídeo conmigo.)

I love that this little girl can cook and is practicing her Spanish with her mother. (Thanks to Trisha Ruth for sharing this video with me.)

#7. “Lazaro Arbos Auditions – American Idol Season 12″ – Este muchacho se llama Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro es un inmigrante Cubano y a pesar de que tiene un tartamudeo, no afecta su capacidad de cantar en American Idol.

This young man is named Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro is a Cuban immigrant and despite having a stutter, it does not affect his ability to sing on American Idol.

#8. “Corto Niños Vallenatos” – ¡Talentosos esos niños que tocan música en Colombia!

These kids who play music in Colombia are so talented!

#9. “El Cajero de la felicidad” – A veces las empresas grandes pueden tener un gran impacto en una forma significativa.

Sometimes big companies can make a big impact in a meaningful way.

#10. “Cumpleaños de una habitante de la calle en el centro de Bogotá” – La señora vive en la calle, pero no importa – es su cumpleaños y un joven insiste que lo celebre.

The woman lives on the street, but it doesn’t matter – it’s her birthday and a young man insists that she celebrates.

¿Cuál vídeo te gusto más? Por qué? … Which video did you like most? Why?

I invited Bob

I’m on the sofa watching TV with the family; Carlos has been changing the channels between a Manchester United game, bullfighting and a Jackie Chan movie translated to Spanish, (La Leyenda del Maestro Borrachón.) Somewhere in between all that I caught a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial en español which was so hilarious that I had to drop in here and share it.

Kudos to the people who came up with this commercial – Me encanta!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or paid post and I do not necessarily endorse KFC – I just like this commercial.

Keep Calm & Respetense Uno al Otro

If you’re a fútbol fan, chances are you know a big game is on tonight. El Salvador vs. Mexico. (The U.S. vs. Guatemala also!)

If you’re Salvadoran or Mexican, you know that games between the two tend to stir up some animosity. Even though a lot of people tell me I’m naive to think I can make a difference, each time Mexico and El Salvador play each other, I tend to make a public appeal that the teams, as well as the fans, respect each other and the game. Carlos has told me before that I’m wasting my time and that the two will always be bitter rivals. There’s no problem with a little rivalry, but I still think we can be respectful rivals.

If I keep even one Salvadoran from throwing things at Chicharito, or encourage even one fan of El Tri to rethink and ultimately decide not to make an ignorant comment about Salvadorans, then I’ll be happy.

Here are two graphics I made which I encourage you to share around social media. Help me spread the word. Keep Calm and Respect Each Other. Mantengan la Calma y Respetense Uno al Otro.

Click for larger version.

Click for larger version.

While I was creating these graphics, I stumbled upon a photo of President Obama holding a blue T-shirt. I couldn’t help but do a little photoshopping.

Looks like Pres. Obama is a reluctant fan of La Selecta. I think his facial expression reflects what a lot of us are feeling about tonight’s game. We’ll put on the azul, but maybe we’re not feeling all that hopeful.

Either way, buena suerte to both teams. Win or lose, I hope they give us a good game.

Ai Se Eu Te Pego – In Spanish!

I can’t remember when exactly I first heard and fell in love with Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Teló – Was it a year ago? Two years ago?

For those not familiar, here is the original song – I love this video because it has the Spanish subtitles of the lyrics in Portuguese and also because those Spanish lyrics were written by a Spaniard who used the verb “coger” – A perfectly normal word in Spain meaning “to catch” or “to grab” – but to Latin American ears, (or gringa ears that are used to Latin American Spanish), the word means “to fuck” and it’s either offensive or hilarious. (I’m in the hilarious camp.)

While I can’t remember when I discovered the song, I can remember the way I discovered it, which was through watching videos of celebratory dances after fútbol goals. A lot of Brazilian soccer players like to do the Ai Se Eu Te Pego dance when they score a goal. Neymar seems to be an especially big fan – so much so that he’s brought the dance into the locker room as a way to annoy/entertain his teammates.

However, Ronaldo and Marcelo like to dance, too.

Muchachos, if you don’t enjoy watching Neymar and Ronaldo doing that provocative little dance as much as I do, my apologies. Feel free to go over to Pitbull’s remix of the song, a video which features women in bikinis. (It’s Pitbull. Would you expect anything less?)

Anyway, yesterday at work, one of Carlos’s Mexican coworkers started singing Ai Se Eu Te Pego, but he had changed the words to Spanish:

Hermosa, hermosa usted a mi me mata
Ay si te veo, ay ay si te veo eh
Hermosa, hermosa usted a mi me mata
Ay si te beso, ay ay si te beso eh

Of course I thought this was hilarious and started to type up a Facebook status to share, and then I asked myself, “Wait a minute… maybe there’s really a Spanish remix and he was just singing it?”

The song’s popularity would certainly have resulted in a Spanish version, by now, right? Come on, if there is a Spanish version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller out there, and a Spanish Duranguense version of Justin Bieber’s Baby, surely there must be a Spanish version of the wildly popular Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Teló! … Well gente, the internet did not let me down. Here it is, Ai Se Eu Te Pego, versión español. This one is called, Ay si te beso by Argentinian musician, “Feice.” Chécalo!

Not crazy about that one? Here’s one by a guy who simply goes by the name Roberto:

Another one in Spanish by DJotta y Fenix:

This Spanish version by Rico Alexis actually uses the phrasing “Ay, si te cojo, mami” – the guy is Chilean but living in Spain – so did he mean it the Spanish way or the Chilean way? You decide.

Please refrain from throwing tortas at Chicharito

I didn’t think I’d be making a public service announcement today regarding the El Salvador vs. Mexico game, but a conversation with a friend this morning made me realize there are some issues that should be discussed, and if this helps change the behavior of even one person, pues, vale la pena.

Okay, guanacos, you know I love you all con todo mi corazón, right? You know I’m cheering for La Selecta in tonight’s game against Mexico, even though I also cheer for El Tri when they don’t play El Salvador. I’m aware that you guys have issues with each other and that Mexico can be equally disrespectful when El Salvador plays on their turf, (yes, I remember las abejas en la porteria), but where does it end, hermanos?

If Salvadorans are disrespectful to the Mexican team and Mexicans are disrespectful to the Salvadoran team, the cycle will continue to repeat itself. Look, I know it’s difficult. I have two sisters and when we’d get into a slap fight, we would keep slapping each other back and forth – always wanting to be the one to get the last slap in. Usually at some point I would slap my sister and run off until she forgot to slap me back later… (“Haha! Got you last!”) – But this situation is a little different. Someone has to have the maturity and self-discipline to let the other have the last slap.

Didn’t your abuela tell you, “Ojo por ojo y el mundo quedará ciego”? … Wait.. maybe that was Gandhi that said that. Gandhi would have made a good abuela. Anyway… Okay, your Nana probably told you, “Eh! Vos! Pórtate bien, cipote!… Qué bicho más malcriado, hijueputa…” – That’s not as inspirational, but good enough.

Last night Salvadorans stayed up all night making noise outside the Hotel Real Intercontinental in San Salvador where El Tri is staying. The intention was to disrupt the Mexican team’s sleep – but can I tell you something? I stayed at that hotel last summer and I can almost guarantee that the Mexican team didn’t hear a peep. The windows are really thick and I couldn’t hear anything down on the street below when we were there. Besides, even if it was loud enough to be heard, the Mexican team is already hip to this trick. Don’t you think that by now they’ve invested in some nice noise cancelling headphones? El Tri probably slept very comfortably, meanwhile, the Salvadorans down on the street missed a whole night’s sleep. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

If these kinds of “pep rallies” were all that went on, then I would say está bien, it’s harmless, but things can get a lot more disrespectful and even violent. Apparently someone threw a torta at Chicharito. It sounds funny but come on, let’s talk about this seriously for a moment. Gente decente no se hace eso. First of all, Chicharito is a person with feelings. This was just incredibly rude. Second, this stupid act by one person reflects badly on all Salvadorans. Third, this happened when El Tri got off the bus in front of the Real Intercontinental. I have walked down that street, (Boulevard de Los Heroes) and I can promise you that there were at least three hungry people begging within a half block of that torta hitting the pavement. As my suegra would say, “Qué pecado” … Shame on you for wasting food like that.

This is a beautiful game. Use your passion to support your team in a positive way – not on negativity. Whose with me?

Chicharito image source: Ed Schipul

Arriba con la Selección Salvadoreña!

On Friday, while watching the game (El Salvador vs. Costa Rica), the Salvadoran soccer team’s anthem came on during a commercial break. Our 10 year old son jumped up and started dancing; we all started laughing because this cipote has moves and I have no idea where he gets them from. He can dance to almost any kind of music, and he dances really well. (My Suegra used to say that he gets it from her side of the family but I’ve seen Suegra and her family dance – they aren’t any better than my family!)

Anyway, with the México vs. El Salvador game coming up on Tuesday June 12th, (9 pm ET on Telemundo), I asked my son if he’d be willing to give a repeat performance in front of the camera. He didn’t want to at first but a piece of chocolate, 50 cents, and my explanation that he would help pep everyone up for the game, convinced him.

Arriba con la Selección!

Los Muchachos de Koh Panyee

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is in italics!

¿Qué te inspira? Este video me ha inspirado esta semana. Un grupo de muchachos forman un equipo de fútbol, pero hay un problema … Ellos viven en una isla del sur de Tailandia que se llama Koh Panyee y no hay cancha ni espacio para practicar. ¿Qué hicieron? Se dieron por vencidos? … No! Ellos construyeron un campo en el agua. Chécalo.

What inspires you? This video inspired me this week. A group of young boys form a football team, but there’s a problem … They live on an island of southern Thailand called Koh Panyee, and there’s no field nor space to practice. What did they do? Give up? … No! They built a soccer pitch on the water. Check it out.

U.S. vs. Brazil: Holding hands with Rômulo & Chatting with Donovan

As most of you know, my 10 year old attended a McDonald’s Soccer Clinic and was selected to be an escort for the U.S. and Brazilian teams at their game last night.

The day was a little crazy and I was overwhelmed by details – I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I checked and double checked that we had everything we needed – tickets, the uniform, money for the Metro, etc. Even when I was sure we had everything, I worried that we would arrive late, (we ended up arriving super early as a result), or that my son would spill something on his shirt, (he didn’t.)

Finally we were able to turn him over to the organizers from McDonald’s for a couple hours. The McDonald’s people were really awesome with the kids and I relaxed knowing that whatever happened now was out of my hands.

I think most of the kids were nervous – also, it was really hot, but they’re all so adorable.

After we dropped off our boy, we went to our seats and waited for the big moment. We knew we would be sitting in the upper level of the stadium but I wasn’t prepared for how high up it would be. Climbing the stairs to our seats felt like climbing Chichen Itza and I was very close to having an anxiety attack. It took a few minutes and some deep breathing but I calmed enough to appreciate our beautiful view.

So high up that a bird flew past my face.

The players came out to warm up and the escort kids were instructed to sit along the sidelines. Little did I know at that time that my son had actually had a chance to talk to his favorite U.S. players minutes before in the entrance hallway from the locker rooms to the field. He says he told Landon Donovan, “I’ve seen you on TV. You’re one of my favorite players.” Donovan reportedly smiled and said, “Thank you.” My son also said “Hi” to Tim “El Pato” Howard who responded in kind.

Once the players were finished warming up and the field was readied, the music began and the players returned with their escorts. My son got paired up with a Brazilian player, (Rômulo, #8.)

My sister texted me a few minutes after the anthems played and told me she saw our son on TV – She even took a photo.

Once the game began, Carlos went to retrieve him and we enjoyed the rest of the game together as a family. (This was our older son’s first time attending a soccer game in a stadium so he was just as excited as our younger son.)

Despite the US Team playing really well, ultimately the terrible reffing wasn’t in their favor. While I’m complaining a little, let me just say that the new uniforms make our guys look like Where’s Waldo.

In happier news, we were part of history. The crowd that attended the US vs. Brazil game at FedEx Field on May 30th, 2012 broke records – the stadium was definitely packed.

We ended up leaving the game a little early to avoid being crushed. Thankfully we made it to the Metro moments before a train arrived and we pulled out just as the station was starting to fill up with people. Within minutes our younger son had fallen asleep, the long day finally taking its toll.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. We were invited by McDonald’s to the soccer clinic and given tickets to the game. No compensation was received in exchange for this post and as always all opinions are my own.

Fun for Niños at McDonald’s Fútbol Clinic

Yesterday we were invited to take part in a soccer clinic organized by McDonald’s which took place at Soccerdome in Landover, Maryland. At the soccer clinic, the kids were given a free uniform and tickets for the US vs. Brazil game later this evening at FedEx field. Chévere, right?

El Zol 107.9 FM was there playing music and getting the kids hyped up and they also introduced special guest, Ronald McDonald, the clown. This freaked me out and I made sure to keep my distance, (es nada personal against Ronald – all payasos make me uncomfortable)- however the niños seemed to have fun with him.

At some point, Carlos and I, as well as our 10 year old, were interviewed by Telemundo. I have no idea when and where they’ll use the videos, if they choose to use them. I say “if they choose to use them” because the questions were in Spanish, por supuesto, and I’m sure el chiquito and I made more than a couple grammatical mistakes, besides just being very self-conscious in front of the camera. Carlos was more comfortable than us but even he got a little nervous. Anyway, it was further confirmation that I’m a writer for a reason.

As for the actual clinic – it was a lot of fun. For several hours the kids played fútbol and other games, did drills and were instructed on how to improve their technique by friendly coaches. McDonald’s is often the target of criticism from health advocates and while I don’t disagree with a lot of common discussion on the topic, I think that when a company does something good, that should be recognized. McDonald’s does a lot of good things, the most well-known being Ronald McDonald House Charities – but these sports clinics are also really great healthy initiatives that should be praised. It was fantastic to see all the kids running around getting exercise and I noted that McDonald’s provided the kids with 100% juice rather than soda.

The best part of the event was that 22 of the children were chosen as escorts to walk players of the National US Soccer Team onto the field and stand with them during the anthems at tonight’s game – My 10 year old is going to be one of those kids and I’m sure this will be an experience he’ll never forget.

Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. We were invited by McDonald’s to the soccer clinic and given tickets to the game. No compensation was received in exchange for this post and as always all opinions are my own.