Monday, December 24, 2012

December in Laredo



December in Laredo 
by Miguel Inclan Jr.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” says Andy Williams in his Christmas song that cannot be absent from every holiday playlist. If you say this to a Laredo business owner, they will nod in agreement in an instant. However, if you say it to a local commuter, you are bound to see a big frown form on his or her face. Yes, I’m talking about the month that is both anxiously awaited and absolutely dreaded by the people of Laredo.
One of the first things that comes to the mind of Laredoans when either the word “December” or “Christmas” are mentioned is the increased traffic that we see on our streets. Every day of this month, tens of thousands of shoppers from nearly every state in Mexico drive to Laredo and take advantage of the retail opportunities that Laredo has to offer. Those people, although some stubborn locals will not admit it, are the backbone of Laredo. They put up with hours of waiting in line at the bridges to cross into Laredo and spend thousands of dollars in our stores, restaurants and hotels. As a former Bridge Officer Collector for the City of Laredo, I can attest to that. The revenue that the Laredo Bridge System collects is one of the strongest and most accurate indicators of the economy of this City and the shoppers have a great influence in said revenue.

Paisanos clogging up traffic in Laredo
Now, it is also when tens of thousands of Paisanos, Mexican immigrants who live in the US, make that trip from cites all across America into IH35 and descend upon Laredo as they cross through the Gateway to Mexico to visit their families in their hometowns. The vehicles that paisanos drive are often full of luggage and other items and tow either a trailer or another vehicle. When these vehicles cross, the Mexican Customs have to check everything to make sure no contraband is brought in and that the vehicles have the required documents and permits necessary to be imported into Mexico. Sometimes, this process takes several hours, even days, and as such the epic traffic jams at IH35 and Santa Maria are created in the last weekend before Christmas. Laredo Police has implemented a special detail at the access to Bridges I and II to help traffic flow smoothly. Mexico also has the Paisano Program which includes a special rest stop on IH35 to help Paisanos on their trip.

Whether through Facebook, Twitter, or in person, I see or hear literally a dozen complaints per day about the traffic. I honestly believe that these are necessary sacrifices that we must make in order to keep those people from traveling to other cities like McAllen (the city which I consider Laredo’s biggest threat) or San Antonio in the case of Mexican shoppers or El Paso, Eagle Pass or McAllen in the case of paisanos. After seeing my cousin drive, I came to the realization that Mexican drivers sometimes do not understand the traffic signs, especially the yield sign at the exit ramps on IH35. Since adding signs in the Spanish language would be a very controversial process, I suggest that we offer some sort of manual to the drivers at the time they are at U.S. Customs in the Bridges. The Texas Driver’s Handbook issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety would be a great option. 

Instead of complaining, what Laredoans must do is help and serve the paisanos and shoppers in any way possible. Each and every one of us is an ambassador of this City, and the actions that we take should be done with the intention of establishing a positive image of Laredo. Use side streets, avoid traveling to certain parts of town during the traffic jams and always observe all safety signs and advisories. 

This Holiday season, spend as much time as possible with your family and cherish those moments, as there are people who for some reason cannot do the same. Also, don’t drink and drive, remember that someone is waiting for you at home. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

La Carcel de Laredo


  One of the good things about Youtube is that users can upload full movies for others to enjoy. That is a sweet thing, although many movies get taken down due to copyright infringement, yada yada yada.

 One such movie, that will probably not get taken down by its lawful owners, is called "La Carcel de Laredo". I'd honestly never heard of this title, but it was referred to me by an online contact.

After doing some basic research, I was able to conclude that it was filmed in Durango with several scenes supposedly done in our sister city, Nuevo Laredo. However, I was unable to spot any scenes to verify that, so I will have to accept IMDB's word for it.

I tried my best to sit through the movie, but after 30 minutes of complete overacting, ludicrous plot, and atrocious set-design with awful costumes, I had to skip to the good parts. But the good parts never arrived.

As a fan of the golden age of Mexican cinema, I can only imagine the grave turning being done by the Fernando Solers of the after-world.

"La Carcel de Laredo" has a Tigres-del-norte-corrido-song-title sound to it, but from the lousy 30 minutes I saw of this movie, I heard not such sounds.

Bummer.

I was even expecting to have Valentin Trujillo, Mario Almada or a nude Lina Santos scene to come and save the day. But, no, it was not to be.

I only watched the movie because of its title, and I was hoping to see some cool scenes of Nuevo Laredo circa the mid 80s, but like everything else in Los Dos Laredos, it just disappointed.


New southside eateries


 Whenever I see a new eatery open up in the south-side, I tend to run out and give the place a try. In this part of town, its mostly locally-owned restaurants and fast-food joints that set-up shop. We will gladly take them, too.

 Recently, I saw that two old favorites, Guely's and Pino Burger, were either opening up a new location or moving to a better spot on Loop 20, close to the Century City neighborhood.

Pino-Burger in the south side


I remember the Guely's location on SanBer really well. I always thought that they had great, greasy menudo.

As for Pino Burger, I can't speak too well of their "north side" location on Del Mar, but their Nuevo Laredo version was my second home back in the mid 90s. I must have single-handedly kept them in business back in 1997. Of course, those were the days when a regular person could venture out into Nuevo Laredo for some dining and wining.



Nonetheless, its good to see two new choices opening up in my part of town.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Laredo Hot Box Session

Every now and then I like to surf through local Youtube videos in search for the next big local viral hit. While I doubt that this video has that quality, it somehow manages to resonate a "BorderTown Laredo"-say nope to dope-pass on grass morality tale to it.

 In fact, it was while searching for clips of our famed reality TV show, Bordertown Laredo, that I spotted this gem, made by what looks like Cheech and Chongs' fan club for the under 17 crowd. Apparently, this type of video, known as "hot-boxing" seems to be fairly popular among this particular demographic.

 To each their own. Enjoy the video.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vote for the Worst HEB in Laredo

It never fails that each time I need to run to the grocery store and pick up a few items, our local big-box store, HEB, is always jam-packed with so many people that I have to pop an Excedrin before I dare to venture into that food-filled jungle. It is truly impossible to just go in and out of an HEB. There are always so many customers and so few opened lanes, that each time I shop there, I always promise myself it will be the very last time I go walk through those doors.

"Stampede on aisle 3"
But in Laredo, HEB is pretty much the only grocery in town.

I have no other options. HEB is the only grocery store in this city. With no competitors, HEB can just gouge our eyes and we have to take it up the can because we have no alternatives. There is no Tom Thumb, Fiesta, Kroger's, Minyard's, or any of the countless other national, big-box grocery chains.

What are my options? Super S Foods and Narvaez. Please! Narvaez should not even count because they have closed down several of their locations. As for Super S, well, unless you are paying with the state-assisted Lonestar Card, a hard-working person has no business even wondering unto their parking lot to score pirated DVD's, much less shop for food.

By the way, I know what you're thinking. What about Wal-mart? They don't count for they aren't a true grocery store. Unfortunately, HEB is the only game in town. As has been pointed out before by many others, they have an unhealthy local monopoly on the grocery store industry and I think it's time we all pushed our HEB-carts in unison, make some noise and clamor for at least a Fiesta!

HEB Bumper Carts
While some local competition will be a thorn on the side of HEB, it will be a godsend to the denizens of this county.

This is not Laredo circa 1989. We are definitely ready for a new regional food chain.

Every HEB is always crowded. It does not matter the day or the time, there is always 10,000 people at any given moment. Some HEB's are worse than others (I'm looking at you HEB Zapata Hwy.) Others are mostly filled with families buying 2,000 lbs. of Cheetos and 100 gallons of Pepsi and all on their Lonestar Card.

But what do you think Laredo? What is the worst HEB to shop in Laredo? Which local HEB is the most crowded, loudest, chook-filled with Lonestar Card, buying- in our city?

(HEB Downtown, HEB Guadalupe, HEB San Dario, HEB Del Mar, HEB Saunders, HEB Zapata Hwy,  HEB McPherson aka Gucci-b, HEB Plus)

Monday, September 10, 2012

La Hechicera

"Para terminar esta bronca ya voy a travesar valles y fronteras,
 como un alguecil, ire tras de it, voy a comenzar por Laredo, Tejas".

 Back in the day, my cousins always played this song everytime we got together or every time we went to a Quincenera or boda. Now thinking back to those days, I often wonder where time has gone and why I no longer attend as many weddings as I did in 1990.

 Do people not get married as often? Have weddings gone passe? Why can't I go to a nice boda at Roli's and dance the night away as if it was 1989?

Oh, sorry for the reminiscing. It's just the Monday evening blues.


Baseball and Elena

     "How can you watch baseball on TV? It's so freaking boring," Elena muttered as she sat on the sofa beside me. It was a Wednesday night and I had invited her over to my apartment for some TV and tacos. Her long dark hair flowed freely over the shoulder as she reached across the coffee table  toward the remote control.
 
     " What are you doing?" I asked as she was about to flip the channel.

     "I'm going to look for the football. Pre-season started." Her response irritated me.

     "Pre-season?" I quipped getting annoyed at her changing the channel during the 7th inning of the Ranger's game.

    "Calm down, Gabito. I'll put it back in a minute," Elena smirked, noticing I was becoming visibly upset. If it wasn't for her 36c's, I would have gladly found a reason to show her the door.

     "You're the only boyfriend I've ever had that prefers baseball over football," she continued as she splashed open a cold can of Pepsi. At this, I couldn't help but roll me eyes. I was beginning to regret inviting her over to my place during such a crucial game with a divisional foe.
   
     After witnessing my obvious discomfort, Elena finally changed the channel back to the Ranger's game. "There, you happy now?" she groaned.  We sat quietly on the sofa watching the baseball game for a few minutes, but she quickly began to grow fidgety and impatient.

   Elena finally suggested, "How bout we watch wrestling instead?"

     "Wrestling? Really, Elena? What is this, 1989?" I asked incredulously.

  She bursts out with laughter, no doubt recalling some Ultimate Warrior wrestling bit from back in the day. At this point, I can see that this relationship is going to have its bumps along the road.

    Then, she looked at me with a serious face and uttered, "All you have to do is learn to watch football and wrestling and we can get along just fine."

     I took the remote control from the coffee table and flipped the channel to the wrestling program.

    "There," I told her, "we can get along just fine."

     "She finally smiled at and placed her head on my shoulder. On TV, grown men acted like fools, bodily slammed each other, and yelled fabricated dialogue.

     "The things I do for a fine pair of 36c's" I thought to myself. Maybe wrestling isn't so bad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lalo's Sportsman Club "El Pozo"

How come I'd never seen this place before?
Sometimes I find myself driving aimlessly around town and I come across a building that I had never seen before. Days ago, I was navigating down Lane St., north of the old Mercy Hospital, and I spotted this business that bills itself as Lalo's Sportsclub. According to their sign, they have been around since 1944, although I had never paid any attention to it in all the years I had been driving in the general area. I'm sure this is a fine establishment but from the looks of it it has seen better times during the days of World War II.

With a name like "El Pozo", how can I pass that up?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lupe Ontiveros RIP

There was a time when Lupe Ontiveros was in every film I ever watched, from the "El Norte", to "The Goonies" to "Born in East LA" along with a string of other important films. I could go on and say how important she was as a Hispanic on TV, but I'm sure other will do a much better job of that. For now, Lupe Ontiveros, may she rest in peace. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blockbuster Video Closing

     It finally happened. The last true video store in Laredo is shuttering its doors. Blockbuster, long ago closing down stores nationwide, is now going to be completely gone from our city. Back in 1998, there were about 4 Blockbuster chain stores along with a slew of locally owned mom and pop shops. Now,thanks to RedBox, Netflix, the internet and a barrage of cable channels, video stores are a thing of the past.

The last place to rent a movie is closing down

I long for the days when I could stroll into a video store and peruse their selection, walking endlessly down their aisles, trying to decide upon a wise movie selection (usually some over-the-top b-movie horror flick). 

The sign that brought tears to my eyes

Now, with the last Blockbuster closing, all we have left are those silly RedBox kiosks and VideoMatic on McPherson. I must be the only person left that still misses the old video stores. Everyone else seems to be going RedBox crazy, but that is not the way God intended man to rent a movie.

Unnatural way to rent a movie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lemurs Tshirt

So I went to the Lemurs game earlier tonight and I was finally able to witness the home team come out victorious. Attendance was rather low which is probably due to the Lemurs' losing ways. However,  one of the benefits of having a sparse crowd was that I was finally able to nab some of the freebies that are thrown out into the stands.  Take a peek at the awesome t-shirt I got.

  
Nice shirt! Go Lemurs. The front of the t-shirt is nice enuff.
  
WTFB! Too bad the back is spoiled by a BadNewsBears moment

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Friday Freebies: Cowboys Coke Bottle

Fresh and freaky Friday freebies is finally here and I'm certain that many of you out there could not wait for this day to arrive. Luckily for you, the big day is finally here.

 I had promised many of you, that follow me on Twitter, some free items that I had planned on giving away. You see, I have boxes full of things / memorabilia that I no longer need, and some of those items I plan to give away on here during "Friday Freebies" to anyone that wishes to participate.

First item up for a giveaway is a vintage Dallas Cowboys, 1984, 25 year anniversary Coca-Cola Bottle, unopened and a nice collectible. I bought this bottle as a kid, way back in 1985 at a garage sale. It would really be a nice addition to any of Uncle Jerry's followers.


Friday Freebie (Episode 1)

To participate in Friday Freebies you must do one of the following:

1) Email me and state your reason why you should be the one to win this cool bottle. Email me at gbfilms@ymail.com

2) Follow me on Twitter and tell us why you should win.

3) Follow us on our Facebook page and give us your reason to why you should be the winner.

That is all. If you already follow us on either of those, just give us your reason. A winner will be chosen at random and they will be notified that they are the winner. You can use the buttons on the top right hand corner of our blog to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. One winner will be chosen. Thanks for your interest in our silly giveaway and look for other items soon.  :)

Contest ends on July 25, 2012
Good Luck!

DeLaredo

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friday Freebies

I'm trying to clean out my closet and rid myself of things I no longer want. I'm sure some of you out there would enjoy free items. First up is some Dallas Cowboys memorabilia that I'm giving away. Pictures and details coming up by mid-week. Stay fresh Laredo.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

San antonio

The hand is currently in san antonio. Free stuff fridays will be in when I return. Sorry for the inconvenience.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

El Mejor Pan

Who needs actual parking spaces anyway?


Don't mind the glare, pic taking incognito
Donuts were surprisingly good

These must be the colors of heaven and paradise

Everyone knows that when it comes to bakeries, I am partial to Quickies. However, every now and then, the 'pan dulce' from El Mejor Pan draws my interest and my weak-minded hands drive me over to Lafayette, down by the west side, for some warm-right-out-of the oven goodness.

Aesthetically this might not be the most pleasing place, but their bread sure does come through, and the drive to the opposite side of town is well worth it.

One thing about this business is that it has no real parking space to it. One just pulls up to the front of the store and runs down to make fast purchases, like something from Nvo. Laredo, but I'm guessing that this adds charm and local flavor. And that is always, lo Mejor.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lafayette Bride

Every picture I've ever taken of the West Side, always includes a stray dog in the background. #callejeros

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dos Indios en una Cantina

     One of my favorite Mexican beers has always been Indio. Unfortunately, I had never been able to get it stateside, that is until now. Apparently, it now has a US distributor it can easily be found at local dives. I recently enjoyed a cold one, several days ago, with a buddy of mine. At times, a cold brewsky after a long day of work is just what is needed to face the upcoming week. Cheers everyone and have a good week.

Alfonso Valdez Ain't Shit

  



 Several years, I wrote a short story, loosely based, on a autobiographical event that occurred to me years ago. I had completely forgotten about ever having written this silly story, until last week when I came across it as I was cleaning out my hard drive. It made me chuckle to remember the stupid things we do as kids. Feel free to read the story hear, titled, "Alfonso Valdez Ain't Shit." Just make sure your British Knights are laced up and ready to go.
  Alfonso Valdez aint Shit

J. O. TV service.

Catastrophe hit my apartment last week. My television, that I just bought about two years ago, decided to take an early trip to heaven. Disconcerted, I tried calling the manufacturer in the vain hope of having the warranty cover the tv, but alas Dynex did a dance number on me.

I tried taking my tv to a local repairman, to see if he could resurrect the set but it turned out to be too expensive and not worth the repair. Needless to say, my tv did not make a Lazurus like return. So now I'm in the market for a new tv especially one that goes with my 1986 magnavox VCR.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Late look at the #Lemurs

I know I am late with these photos so take it easy on me. I had intended to upload a few shots of the opening night of the Lemurs game, but with all the excitement and the cracker jacks overload, I accidentally erased the pics from my phone. Luckily, I had already done a quick back-up on my laptop so I was able to rescue several pictures that I thought were lost forever. *Tears

 The Lemurs seem to be having a rough start, but it's a long season. I have to say that I liked the stadium itself, in all its unfinished glory. We do hope to see you out at the game before the end of summer, especially on dollar beer night!

Neat screen in centerfield

Sexy dancers

Pancho posing for pictures

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lemurs

Convincing reasons to attend Lemurs' game tonite. Photos and reactions after the game.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pizza in Laredo circa 1980

    It seems that all the good times in Laredo have passed us by. Judging from an old phone book, circa 1980, that I came upon, I guess all the cool pizza places in Laredo no longer exist. Locally owned, mom-pop places have given way to stale and predictable pizza from national chains such as Pizza Hut, Dominos, Cici's and others of their ilk.

However, this was not always the case. Back in 1980, Laredenses could choose from a variety of different pizzerias, both local and national chains. Unfortunately, I have no idea how any of these tasted or whether they were around for a long time. At least the ads in the phonebook look pretty neat and enticing. Take a look at some of the pizza choices we had 30 years ago.

Rustic Cedar atmosphere? How quaint..
1) Pizzazz Pizza actually looks pretty fun. Wine, beer, "rustic cedar atmosphere". Heck it even rhymes! How awesome and how so 1980. This place seems to have been located on Clark St, somewhere in the Heights area of town. Anyone out there remember this place? I sure as heck don't. It's a shame though. It seems like it was a fun place. They even had "Chicago style pizza". Now that kicks Pizzazz..


2) Another pizza choice we had in 1980 was a place called Shakey's. By the looks of it, this was a pizza chain that had games, movies as well as the "world's greatest pizza". Pretty bold statement, I know. I've never heard of this place either, for it seems to have been long gone by 1989 (that's as far back as I remember). Watch a video of a TV commercial here.

3) Sal's Pizza of course is a local landmark that according to a buddy of mine, had some pretty neat bands play live there back in the day. Is Sal's still open? Not sure if it is, but I think I'll call the number on the phonebook Ad (727-4600), just to see who answers. I feel like having a pizza anyway. I hope they deliver...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pino Burger

     Some of the best burritos I've ever eaten were some fajita burritos that I would get over at Pino Burger in Nvo. Laredo back in the mid 90s'. They were so good, my buddies and I would venture all the way out there specifically to enjoy them good tacos. Unfortunately, when the violence and mayhem hit the Nuevo Laredo streets, I was forced to stop going out to one of my favorite eateries. So imagine how happy I was to hear that Pino Burger, (like many others, El Popo, El Padrino, Carboncitos) had made the jump over the charco from our sister city.

  
 Although I loved their burritos and tacos, I had to admit that their burgers were delicious as well. I have yet to eat at their Laredo, TX branch, located on Del Mar Ave, but it is definitely on my list of things to do. Especially because the good folks over at DrinkLaredo seemed to have given the restaurant their much coveted seal of approval. I hope to go Pino Burger sometime this week, if nothing else than to relive the 90s in my taste buds.

Lemurs

 
Since I cancelled DirectTV last week,  I will no longer be able to watch my beloved Texas Rangers on television. Because of that, I am looking forward to the start of the Lemurs baseball season in order to entertain myself during the long summer nights.  According to their website, the season begins in 1 month and 3 weeks from today. I have my glove ready to go for the opening day. Can we just play ball now?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Depeche Mode

 With my 4 year anniversary quickly approaching, I was seeking a good band to play at my Sunday night carne asada celebration. That is when I saw this clip on Youtube of a father and his two kids playing one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs. I'm not sure where they are from but I sure wish I could hire them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Wraith (1986)

Every now and then, Netflix instant streaming actually surprises me with a decent title.  One such surprise was The Wraith, a movie that my brother and I would watch religiously back in 1986-7. The movie would play on CineMax (or HBO I can't recall) and we would catch it on those weekends when the channel offered a free preview or there was some extreme screw up at the billing department.