Today is Cinco de Mayo. This day is to Mexican-Americans what St. Patrick's Day is to Irish-Americans and Octoberfest is to German-Americans: A day set aside to honor national pride by gargling alcohol. Some celebrate by:
1. Drinking enough hooch to embalm a beluga whale.
2. Singing off key.
3. Calling the combination of tents, kegs and fistfights a "festival."
Others wrongly assume Cinco de Mayo honors the day when Mexico became independent and moved out of Spain's house. That is as wrong as the belief that flinging empty Corona bottles at mariachis will make them play better. In eighteen-whatever, a band of Frenchmen armed with baguettes headed to Mexico City intent on forcing Mexicans to worship Brigitte Bardot. A Pro-Salma Hayek militia defeated the French because everyone defeats the French and it was Mexico's turn.
In other news:
• A group of Republicans crossed party lines to back Democrat Ron Barber, saying he is the bipartisan problem solver needed in Congressional District 8. Republican supporters of Jesse Kelly responded that Jesse is the partisan problem-creator needed in Congressional District 8.
• Soon Barber, Kelly and Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis will meet for a one-hour debate. Kelly is expected to distance himself from Kelly, and the Green candidate hopes to waste everybody's time. Just before the debate, a Green Party rally will be held in a mop closet at the food co-op. Early voting begins May 17, unless you are a fetus in Arizona. Then it's two weeks earlier.
• The city is reminding downtown merchants who are upset about the streetcar construction that it could be worse. We could be in a recession and we're not. So stop whining. We're in a depression. Summer's coming and it's time to hibernate anyway. And the sun will come out tomorrow. Come to think of it, the sun comes out 365 days a year. It's downtown. Were you expecting something different?
• Dolores Huerta will receive the President's Medal of Freedom award. The 82-year-old civil-rights advocate co-founded the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez and has devoted her life to social and economic justice.
Six years ago her visit to Tucson High School roused controversy when she said, "Republicans hate Latinos." As I remember it, Jonathan Paton said, "That's not true. I'm a Republican. I don't hate Latinos. I hate Latinas. Specifically, one named Dolores."
Fox News announced that Paton will receive the Freedom From Speech Award for "his amazing ability to milk this issue for all it was worth back in 2006 - all the way to windy public hearings, attempts to stifle free expression in schools and right-wing national media appearances. He used Dolores like a farmworker uses a short-handled hoe to break new ground in feigned indignation and he never broke a sweat."
• I've been a Type 2 diabetic for over a decade. I stay healthy by running from angry readers. After three miles, the older ones give up or are distracted by an all-you-can-eat buffet. To stay healthy, diabetics have to reject the food America peddles. It's all about cutting back on carbs. What are carbs? Carbs are anything that tastes delicious. Cut back on that. If it tastes bland or dull, eat that. And less of it. No texture? All the better. The diabetic's ideal dinner plate looks like the bottom of a hamster cage.
My friends say if it has a label on it or if it's white don't eat it. That's why I don't eat baby powder. To keep it simple I only eat rocks, twigs and leaves - no oleander leaves, thank you. And I only drink rainwater that I find in potholes.
Reading labels is a good formula for eating right if you are a tiny vole. Find the words "serving size" on the top of the ingredients label. Next to that will be an amount that only electron microscopes can detect. Eat that amount. If you aren't reading ingredients labels your friends will eventually be reading your obituary and sending flowers to the forklift driver who carried you out. And that's your fate, American fast-food grazer and sofa homesteader, if you don't pay heed to the ghosts of buffets yet to come.
See you at Cinco de Mayo. I'll be weeping into my O'Doul's and nibbling on corn tortilla crumbs.
Email Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: firstname.lastname@example.org