Thursday, June 25, 2009

HIstory in the making, or not... Cuarta Urna



These are tumultuous times for politics in Honduras. We are currently toying with the idea of re-writing the constitution. MZ is trying to re-write some articles that aren't supposed to be re-written. In other words; it is illegal to re-write these sacred articles, they're the foundation for the constitution. The referendum voting is scheduled to take place on June 28th, 2009. Since it's been deemed illegal by Congress, the military and police have refused to participate in the referendum that will determine whether the Cuarta Urna, or forth ballot box (the first three ballot boxes are for Presidential, Congress, and Municipal elections), will be present in this November's elections. Now we have a stand off between the President vrs. Congress and the military. Can you say Coup d'etat? With the absence of the Honduran military and police, Mel and Chavez have decided to bring in the Venezuelan military to "keep order". He is attempting to make these changes so he can stay in office for another term and continue his alliance with Chavez, the Venezuelan president, and the other ALBA (Alternativa Bolivariana para Los Pueblos de Nuestra America or Bolivian Alternative for the Americas or whatever it's called now) nations; Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and the new members as of June 24th, Ecuador, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Grenadine, Antigua and Barbuda. Some of these leaders have already succeeded in changing their constitutions and extend their term in office. I'm excited about the potentially historic changes in Honduras, but I'm also concerned for the well being of Hondurans. If a Coup does occur, the majority of citizens would suffer due to a shortage of food, stoppage of transportation, lack of medical attention and supplies. I'm also concerned about the state of the nation after the takeover. Who would be in charge? What will their interests be? Should I launch a campaign?


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Latarian Milton - THANK YOU INTERNET

Latarian Milton is a little boy, kinda, that needs more attention from his parents and grandmother. He also likes doing hoodrat things with his friends and throwing his friends under the bus for joining in the hoodrat activities.This little dude took his grandma's vehicle for a joyride and wrecked it, along with other people's cars. Worst of all, this is only the first report WPBF 25 has done on him.


Half Time Shows

I had to write a separate blog about this because I was so annoyed. I was in the office working late during a Honduras - El Salvador match and decided to take a break during half time to watch the highlights. It didn't work out as expected, I'm in Honduras. Instead of showing the replay of the only goal scored they sit at a round table and eat fast food from a company sponsoring the game broadcast! Incredible! I sat there for the entire half time show and ABSOLUTELY NO REPLAYS! They just grubbed on Bojangles (Bou-yan-gles) the whole way through. WHAT!?!?! Who came up with this? Before that half time show I didn't even mind working late as I was expecting to at least watch the highlights during halftime.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my favorite T.V. show, which is actually a half time show: TNT at the half with Ernie Johnson, Kenny "The Jet" Smith, and the recently returned Charles Barkeley. I love this show! These guys are knowledgable and entertaining! You have a real journalist in Ernie Johnson, a former NBA player and great analyst in Kenny "The Jet" and Charles Barkeley... Is there anything that needs to be said about Mr. "I am NOT a role model". They always bring on great guests like Magic Johnson, Chris webber and other players that are not in action due to injuries or playoff elimination. Every year I look forward to the "Gone Fishing" segments after a team gets eliminated from the Playoffs. In this segment, they photoshop pictures of the star players and coach of the eliminated team and a local celibrity over the bodies (usually out of shape) of other people while fishing. They are hilarous! They also do the photoshop thing to each other all the time, just you tube Charles Barkeley and "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" so you can see what I'm talking about.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Soccer


Soccer, or Futbol, as it's more commonly known around the world, wasn't one of my favorite sports prior to my arrival in "The Motherland." I've become a huge fan since. The national team A.K.A. Seleccion Nacional, A.K.A. La Sele, is about the only thing that unites Hondurans. In the days leading up to a game you begin to see all the Honduran flags outside houses, inside against windows (to prevent theft), on vehicles, especially on cabs, even on carriages! People post up on corners selling shirts, hats, flags, all counterfeit of course. Everyone gets hyped for the games, it's contagious. A few choice songs are also blasted through speakers from stores, vehicles and yes, even carriages. Oh, and I can't forget about the minivans with huge mounted speakers used to advertise for businesses; they roll around blasting the team songs ALL DAY! Some of the preferred songs are: "Volveremos" and "La Potra" by Polache, and "Adelante Seleccion" I don't know who wrote or performs the last one. If we win, everyone is overwhelmed with happiness. If we lose, everyone says they expected defeat.
video video
The video on the top is the crowd withstanding rain at the game. The bottom shows a mass of people jumping all at once. The horn is compliments of yours truly... I do that for days before a game as well, needless to say, everyone around me hates it. Both videos are from the Mexico - Honduras match in San Pedro Sula.

I don't know too much about the national league, but whatever unity La Sele created is dismantled by the national league. The "barras" (think of the student section at a college basketball of football game) are comparable to street gangs. These dudes turn violent at the sight of the opposing teams colors. You often hear reports of people being killed or brutally beaten by the opposing mob. It's ridiculous! The soccer in the national league is poorly played and puts me to sleep quick. Sponsoring the inbound passes in the national league is the best way to get your company's name permanently engraved into the minds of viewers because the ball is out of bounds for forty five of the ninety minutes played. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but all you hear is "Este saque de mano es traido a ustedes por Bac Bamer" or "Thomas entregua el saque de mano Aguazul" You'll probably hear a company name mentioned twice as much as the player of the match.

I wish people would pay the same attention to the politics in Honduras. Maybe that way we can actually have political debates between presidential candidates. It would only be a matter of time before corporations begin sponsoring that too! Just imagine: "This rebuttal is brought to you by Coca Cola. Coca Cola, the best response to thirst"

I guess I'm not really a soccer fan, just a fan of La Sele.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swimming

I'm learning to swim. Is that funny? I feel like it is, and so do many others... If you don't, just take a look at this picture.







Returning Catracho Report image










My goal is to dive by the end of the year, obviously, I have to swim before I can accomplish that. I think you have to be able to swim 200 meters (what's that in yards?) and tread water (float in place) for 15 minutes as part of your Open Water certification. I'm not comfortable in the water so it's really difficult to learn. Snorkeling has helped tremendously, but that was a big obstacle for me to overcome. Breathing while my face was submerged was difficult at first, it's more of a mental thing I guess. The first few times I snorkeled I had to wear a life jacket, and withstand ridicule, even from kids. I've gone out snorkeling a few times without a floatation device, but I still don't think it classifies as swimming. The water is so salty here that staying afloat requires very little effort. All you have to do is keep yourself from freaking out so your muscles don't get all tense. You can seriously fall asleep while floating in the ocean here.

I've also been jumping off piers to force myself to swim back out. That works!

BBall in Honduras



Returning Catracho Report images






"¿Hay una cancha de baloncesto aqui?" That was one of the first questions I asked when I arrived in El Porvenir. I had to explain myself a few times, it turns out basketball or baloncesto, is more frequently called "basquet," and some people aren't even familiar with the sport. After correcting me [cough, cough], they would let me know that there are some courts around. After being misdirected and getting lost I discovered that there are a few, but they rarely have rims and are exclusively used for "futbolito." I eventually found a gym in San Pedro Sula; a forty five minute bus ride away. I don't recall exactly how I came upon "El Joyo", but I'm almost certain that someone on Honduras_Living let me know about it. Maybe it was off the FIBA site, I forgot. However I found it, I got the number to the San Pedro Sula league director. The league was in "off-season" mode so I practiced with his team, a team in the feminine league to be more precise. These girls can hoop though. It seriously took weeks before I could play ball for more than 20 minutes because of the heat, but more so the humidity. The humidity in SPS is intolerable! After becoming more familiar with the local players and gym schedule, I joined a team and began practicing for the upcoming season. I was going to play with INMUDE, was. I was the only player on my team to show for the first game of the season (and a few practicJustify Fulle sessions). I arrived an hour early so I could shoot around and maybe meet some other players. I shot around, and shot around, until I realized that they weren't coming. By this time the clock was counting down from 10 minutes until I had to face defeat by forfeit. I spent a few of those minutes trying to talk the opposing team into a 5 on 1 game, they declined. The worse thing about being the only one shooting around on my half of the court is due to my per game scheme; I try to look like I don't play at all so I can catch people off guard when the game begins. They wouldn't even play a pick up game, probably because I was shooting around like Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character in Along Came Polly. Shouting like him while I brick also "Money!" "Let it rain!" The horn went off and I walked off the court with the head down, disgust on my face, jersey off and dragging behind me. Worst of all, everyone standing around was sure to think I was an idiot after that shooting display. Luckily, another group of guys was willing to play 3 on 3 and I had the opportunity to redeem myself. Needles to say, no one was trying to guard me because of my terrible shooting exhibition. I took advantage and wowed a few folks and even pulled out the around the back elbow pass. (Note to reader: you may have to look that up here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTVhQAbAYmI) Before I left I was asked if I would be interested in switching teams and I accepted the offer. That made me feel like a highly sought after free agent, of course, that wasn't really the case.

From the following week forward, I began playing with the Halcones.... from Puerto Cortes. Puerto Cortes is far from San Pedro Sula so our team didn't practice; we just showed up an played. We only one two games that whole season and one W came from a forfeit. We ended the season as the second worst team, the team I was to play with previously took the last place honors, whew! Me switching teams at the beginning of the season sparked a rivalry between Inmude and Halcones, that created a great atmosphere for the game we played against them. They were actually the only team we won against. The league was very competitive, up at the top of the rankings anyway. I wasn't the best player on my team, but I was the "X factor". I shut down every stellar player on opposing teams, even a few centers and forwards. The only problem was that no one else on my team would play defense. I sometimes had to guard multiple players at once. The opposition hated me, especially because I led the league in charges taken. They didn't have a stat column for that, but I'm sure I would have led the league if they tracked it. I have a good video of that too! The ref wasn't wearing his glasses so he missed the first call, he made it up on the following play. Some dude even called me Vlade Divac! As a Sacramento Kings fan, I took pride in that. The picture right before tip off is when I begin the trash talking; I remember telling that guy that he was going to suffer if he didn't eat a complete breakfast that morning. I also mentioned he was too small to match up against me. That's my favorite line to big fellas "you're too small dude. How does your coach expect you to guard me?" I haven't developed much of a Spanish basketball vocabulary since nothing translates directly. For instance; suicides are "parillas." Let's run some "grills." when I first heard that I looked around and asked if we were barbecuing. Fortunately my all-time favorite line does translate well: "Tu defensa es ofensiva" or "You're defense is offensive!" It takes people a minute before they catch onto that one. When I say it during games, opponents usually have a look on their face like they're trying to decipher the hieroglyfics.

I've only played once since relocating to Roatan, the court was actually being used for futbolito so I had to wait until they were done to shoot around. I heard about a court, or rim, somewhere in West End, but I haven't found it yet.
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