Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Old Mexico

Bloomberg is reporting some surprising good news, though unfortunately for those of us that live north of the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande it affects us only indirectly. Mexico is doing rather well economically. People and institutions are backing Mexico and buying their bonds, and the Ministry of Finance says Mexico has no Sovereign Debt Stress. Well, there's a turn up for the books. Of course Mexico's bonds have improved their rating at the hands of the ratings agencies (incompetents, crooks or slaves of their corporate masters, you choose the derogatory term) and now Mexico's government debt is rated BBB rather than "unsuitable." If US Treasuries were rated BBB world finance would spin into a black hole but this is Mexico.It is safe to assume not everyone is benefitting from the new rating, but still...Mexico was always feared as a source of problems for southern US States, an exporter of desperate workers seeking money (and mythical welfare if you listen to the anti-immigrant zealots) and lately the Peak Oil crowd has expected Mexico's finances to do a toilet-whooshing disappearance with the shrinking of the Cantarell Oil Field, one of the largest in the world. Then the speculation was that illegal drug money was propping up the Mexican economy as the border states became battlegrounds for control of the access routes to the lucrative US market. Ours is the land of despair so people need their drugs to stay less unhappy... and conversely, Mexico is happy to fill our chemical needs. You can hardly blame them, the capitalist swine,for choosing to fulfill a market niche.

Yesterday Bloomberg, in analyzing comments by the teutonically named Alejandro Werner, Bloomberg found that tax increases, spending cuts and fiscal restraint have left Mexico's Government's finances in quite decent shape. One has to assume that there is some measure of truth in the deputy Finance Minister's comments, not least because PIMCO, the US mega fund manager has given Mexican bonds the green light.

These days it is difficult to take government statements at face value in light of the bullshit Goldman Sachs has pulled in Greece and Italy, and who knows where else, helping governments cover up the extent of their indebtedness, but if the Mexican story is real, and over time we shall see, then it could be a lesson learned for us in El Norte. Of course there are tons of lessons our leaders should have carried out but our dear corporations put a lock on them all. Whether or not impoverished Mexicans feel buoyed by the news will be hard to tell, from this far away. However standards of living did go up under President Fox, the oily Coca Cola salesman, during the boom years, and one can hope that a calm governmental budget scene will allow them to hold on to their gains.Plus there is the new drive to form a trading group in South America and the Caribbean excluding the US and Canada and forming their own currency, the SUCRE ( not the old Ecuadorian sucre) and trading by barter. With the decline of our empire other forms of trade and one hopes humanity, will fill the void.So much for the speculators of doom suggesting Mexicans will pour across the border to take over our economy as theirs fails, a cross-border replay of the 1910 revolution. We've already seen a net export of undocumented Mexicans going home as our economy implodes. Perhaps it won't be too long before we see Gringos pedaling pedi-cabs in the resort towns of Mexico...

More Sculptures

This is a dragonfly, and it's made of reused bric-a-brac. It sits on display at the Botanical Gardens on Stock Island as part of the annual Sculpture Key West show.It was a clever piece of work and though I have lamented previously on this blog, let me take a moment to point out how annoying it is that the Sculpture Key West show has been split through three locations. I preferred it when it was all centrally located at Fort Zachary Taylor. There it is and I shall complain no more, unless I make it to the third location, the West Martello Tower at Higgs Beach to check out the last group of pieces on display. The dragonfly was accompanied by a large display explaining in more depth than I ever imagined how these insects live and move:This phrase below caught my eye and gets the prize for least information in a clause: "...but was introduced to Hawaii around 1973." Who, why, what, etc... all spring to mind, but because mine is the mind of an old school journalist these hanging thoughts will have to remain dangling.
Big men with powerful cameras find the gardens attractive for real photography: I wandered, caught between my own impediments of pocket camera, wife and dog. Then we came across a vast spider's web which is supposedly: Ludwicka Ogorzelec's dream like fantasy out of sheer translucency or something like that.All I can say is it looked like a spider's web to me.This stray plastic bag bore a striking resemblance to the spider's web:
At first I thought it was a dog, but the sign post put me right:Made, rather cleverly out of a diver's air tank, aluminum baseball bats, bronze pots and I don't remember what else.This next one was, shall I say, enigmatic?
Because I am not an artists I would have called it "Ball On Chair" and gone home for tea.
This next one looked daft but was actually very cool.
It was a mirror lying on the ground:
And, because it was just that, a mirror, you could make it "see" whatever you want:
At the entrance to the gardens there was this sand sculpture which I found captivating. They call it Africa and apparently it is located underneath the alluringly named African Sausage Tree. What can I say, I am very fond of sausages?They have an open air workshop conveniently located across from Sandy's Café where they will teach you to do stuff like this.
It is so amazingly intricate I have no idea how they can learn this stuff never mind teach it. But the evidence is there before our eyes:The details are astonishing. I loved this croc appearing mysteriously from the sand itself:
I thought the whole thing gained weight and allure by the very fragility and temporary nature of sculpting outdoors in sand:Here today, gone tomorrow. And adult sand castle! Not a sculpture, my car with a couple of strangers standing by:I thought that Nissan looked familiar.