.Aula máxima es la biblioteca, y también lugar de recreo del espíritu.   - José Vasconcelos

       ISSN 1542-0647

SOL SAÚL 84   March 4, 2003     "Lately I wanna smack the mouths of these racists"   -Molotov

Big ups to Mexico's wheelchair rocket Saúl Mendoza who Sunday won his sixth LA Marathon in record time

Text-only version available at

SOL 84 Contents:

1. Enough, already, about Dame Edna

10. Art contest will bring kids to Mexico
2. Molotov's "Frijolero" 11. Library fines: Obscene in any language
3. "Diversity is Perversity": compassionate racism on MSNBC 12. Our Translation Corner turns its attention to duct tape
4. Howard Coble on jailing folks for their own good 13. Big new reference database from Gale and Océano
5. Your book ideas needed: Peace reads for kids 14. Collection development help from an amazing online source
6. An electronic pharmacy en español 15. What about the politics of library websites in Spanish?
7. Cancer info online for Spanish speakers 16. In Arkansas, focus groups help shape library services
8. Mad cataloger wins books... 17. Victor Villaseñor named to Steinbeck Chair
9. ...and so can you! 18. Polls find Latinos embracing computers, rejecting war

It was a big month for big mouths and for dim-witted racial and ethnic slurs.  Okay, we know every month is a big one for all those.  But in February an unusual number of them made headline news.

1. Edna was only the beginning

The least important yet most celebrated of these incidents involved comedian Barry Humphries, whose shtick is posing as the intolerably blue-blooded Dame Edna Everage, fount of upper-class crapola.  Humphries has a regular page in Vanity Fair.  Inspired perhaps by Salma Hayek's appearance on the February issue's cover and the star's genuinely shocking revelations about Hollywood's absurd disdain for her native tongue, Humphries had his mad matron take some outlandish pokes at the Spanish language, its literary canon, and people who speak it. 

The joke was ill-conceived and it offended an enormous group of people, including Hayek herself, who so eagerly took Humphries' alter ego to task that popular attention was diverted from far more disturbing words in the same issue of VF.  Hayek said in her interview that a studio boss once told her: "It doesn’t matter how good you are. You can never be a leading lady, because we can’t take the risk of you opening your mouth and people thinking of their maids — because that’s what you sound like."

2. "Te sacaré un susto por racista y culero..."

A couple days after Dame Edna hit the fan, FOX News noisemaker Bill O'Reillywho, unlike Edna, is unfortunately not a fictional figureattracted attention for uttering the epithet "wetback" on his highly rated program.  What made O'Reilly's gaffe still less brilliant was that the word didn't even make sense in context It just sort of drizzled out of his overworked piehole, a Freudian slip.

We decided, around the office here, that the nearly charming O'Reilly needs some intensive deprogramming.  As luck would have it the Mexican band Molotov, with the much-discussed video of their sensational new tune "Frijolero," has given us an ideal training aid for bilingual Insensitivity Training.  O'Reilly is hereby sentenced to view it repeatedly till he internalizes the message.  And if his Larousse doesn't define puñetero, he's welcome to ring us up and we will be happy to call him one.

3. Meanwhile, back in th' jungle...

The aptly titled The Savage Nation by beloved radio talk show host Michael Savage is contesting the top spot on the NY Times Best-Seller List with a study of Savage's own fan base, Stupid White Men.  Known for his gracious characterization of developing  countries as "turd world nations," Savage was rewarded for his healing wit in February with a TV show of his own on MSNBC.  Below are some nuggets of wisdom transcribed from his radio show:

"With the [Latino] population that has emerged, since they breed like rabbits, in many cases the whites will become a minority in their own nation... The white people don't breed as often for whatever reason. I guess many homosexuals are involved. That is also part of the grand plan, to push homosexuality to cut down on the white race."

"I'm beginning to think that women should be denied the vote. Their hormones rage; they are too emotional."

"You open the door to [third world immigrants], and the next thing you know, they are defecating on your country and breeding out of control."

4. More talk radio fun

Though Flaco is loath to say whether he himself is guilty of defecating on your countrythis is, let's be honest, a hard thing for any of us to deny outrightit must be confessed that he and the missus have been breeding like rabbits recently. 

While preparing for the March arrival of a semi-nisei baby, they naturally took an interest in the talk-radio pronouncements of one of our upstanding Congressional Representatives, North Carolina's Howard Coble, who in February endorsed the wholesale imprisonment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII.

It's refreshing that such progressive views would come from the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security; perhaps we can look forward to the sometimes nebulous "War on Terror" being recast much more descriptively, and accurately, as "The War on Immigrants and Brown-Skinned People."

5. He hasn't even replied!  So help us with a more constructive project

From: "Bruce Jensen"
Sent: Friday, February 07, 2003 3:09 PM
Subject: Japanese Internment: A suggestion

Dear Representative Coble,

 In Japan, when a political figure receives public attention for making a
 statement as outrageous as your Tuesday Feb. 4 comment about Executive Order
 9066, it's often taken for granted that resignation is the only satisfactory
 Won't you please resign from Congress?  Thank you!
 Bruce Jensen
 1800 N. Normandie Ave.  
 Los Angeles, CA  90027

Maybe you've noticed it by now: your friend Flaco is painfully preoccupied.  With these maniacs who are running the asylum, it's guns before butter, bombs before books.  Library budgets shrink as we secure the homeland; Brother Jeb blames Iraq for his slashes at the Florida state library.  What to do?

Well, with one of our compañeras on the Weapons of Mass Instruction list, we're compiling a list of childrens' and YA books that deal with war.  It will be an update of Cecil Ramnaraine's peace bibliography, but will also include bilingual and Spanish-language titles.  We'll publish it widely.  Please send us your book ideas, okay?  And if you want to help out with this project in any other way, that's cool too.

6. Webgenius Solina Marquis, Reina de la Red, on pharmaceutical sites

From: Solina Marquis
Subject: Meds info in Spanish  

Hi Willie,  
Saw your request in SOL 83 for some ideas on Spanish-language pharmaceutical reference guides. Don't know if you're looking for print or electronic, but here are a couple of sites you might try. They probably aren't what you're looking for, but sometimes we have to settle for less than perfect, I guess.

You may want to look first at . Type in the name of a medication (in English). Once you arrive at the page for that medication, you will probably see some options to click on for patient information in Spanish. Typically, no Spanish medication names are given, but this is a good source of patient information, and unlike some Web sites, you CAN enlarge the small type size of the information to make it fairly readable.  

Medicamentos en la Red:

Here's one of the sites that is linked from the one above that I thought was fairly good, though it may not fit your needs:  

Buena Salud has an Enciclopedia Farmacológica at , but like most of these Web resources, you can't find medications by the English name.  

Another source you may want to explore if you aren't familiar with it is Tu Otro Médico's "Medicamentos" page. Lots of good information, but not a particularly good search feature -- can't look for meds by name, only by category. Also NO English names of meds, only in Spanish. Usually this isn't too much of a problem because the names are so similar, but it could be a real impediment for users looking on their own:  

Good luck, Willie.  

Solina Solina Marquis, MLS Student
Texas Woman's University

[She's the greatest long-distance doula, too, but that's another story...]

7. Spanish-language cancer information

"ROCKLEDGE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 3, 2003--The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society are pleased to announce three new resources available to Spanish-speaking patients and their families.
    Ovarian Cancer, Melanoma, and Fever and Neutropenia are the newest additions to the
Treatment Guidelines for Patients with Cancer series in the Spanish language. Other Spanish titles include Breast Cancer, Colon and Rectal Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Cancer Pain, Nausea and Vomiting, and Cancer-Related Fatigue.
    The series, available in booklet form or online (, is dedicated to educating patients and their families about cancer..."

The entire press release is here.

8. "All my friends know the Low Rider..."

Katia Roberto conquered the quiz, and we're awfully happy for her.  Check out Katia's Diary of a Mad Cataloger website, and be on the lookout this fall for an exciting book she edited along with Jessamyn West, Revolting Librarians Redux, from McFarland. 

In addition to her other virtues, Katia is a George Lopez fan.  It paid off for her big time when she won a package of bilingual children's books from Raven Tree Press:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Katia Roberto"
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2003 7:46 AM
Subject: question!

 The theme to the George Lopez Show is "Low Rider" by War. Whoo hoo.

The optional quiz question last time was a real stumper: G-Lo and Gael García Bernal both appeared in the made-for-cable 2001 filmography Fidel.  Lopez was a drunken, donkey-riding cacique killed by the Cuban revolutionaries to set an example.  García Bernal, by the way, played Che Guevara, which he just finished up doing again in the upcoming release The Motorcycle Diaries

Since we're on the subject, word is that Benicio Del Toro is slated to portray Che in a Stephen Soderbergh project set to start shooting sometime soon.  Want more Hollywood news?  Sure you do.  Call me up Tuesday night and I'll let you know how our city council election turned out.

9. This issue's book giveaway

Hey, Soderbergh and Del Toro hooked up once before for that movie Traffic, about international drug dealing, right?  So let's give away a copy of the currently huge-selling drug-runner novel La reina del sur by Arturo Pérez-Revertethat's a twenty-buck value, with free shipping thrown in.  All you have to do is be the first person with the correct answer to an easy question.    Just come up with the name of the fabulous band that released a hit song based on the book you're about to win.  But send your answer here, nowhere else, okay?

10. Consulate sponsors kids' art contest for trips to Mexico City

From: Dee Goldman
To: Biblio (That's the listserv of the new Pacific NW chapter of REFORMAcongratulations, folks!)
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2003 9:17 AM
Subject: Art Contest

Hello all!  At a meeting yesterday I heard about this art contest for children sponsored by the Mexican Consulate.  Each year they put together a wonderful calendar with the children's art.     Dee  

From: Centro Mexicano

Dear Friends,
I am sending you some information about the drawing contest, "Este Es mi Mexico."

For the seventh consecutive year the children's drawing contest "Este es mi Mexico" will be brought with the support of the Verizon Select Services enterprise.

The theme of the contest is "Ay! Fiesta Bonita..." Children are able to draw any religious celebration, civic or historic days and festivals. Some examples may include Christmas, The Day of the Kings (El Dia de los Reyes), etc.

1. Children between the ages of seven (7) and eleven (11) years may participate.
2. The size of the drawing submissions is the same as in 2002:  30 x 30 cm/ 12 x 12 in
3. Fourteen (14) winning drawings will be selected instead of twenty-one (21) as in 2002.
4. The convocation receives the drawings in the Mexican consulates from the beginning of February until May 15th.

Lic. Estela García
PCME Coordinator & Liaison to the MCO
Tel. (503) 946-0100  /  Fax. (503) 478-0439

11. Looking for a polite way to put the $queeze on

From: Judy Falzon
Subject:  Spanish for "fines"?

What is the linguistic difference between using the word deuda and the word multa for "fines" (as in library fines)?

I have a Spanish speaking library worker who says she never uses multa because it sounds like a criminal offense.  She says it is much better to say deuda.  Is her interpretation a regional one (she is from Monterrey, MX) or does her observation hold true for most Spanish speaking library patrons?



Hey, Judy
What a fascinating question!  I'm going to put that in the SOL and maybe other folks will let you know what they think.  There is plenty of evidence that the word multa is applied to library fines in Latin America
( for e.g.) but the fact that your colega regiomontana squirms when she hears it can't be ignored.  She's a native speaker, after all.; I'm not, so I dunno.  Keep in mind that Mexican public libraries do not charge fines, which might help explain the dissonant ring she gets from that word.  Deuda translates pretty snugly to 'debt,' so while it comes close to what a library fine is, it's not precisely the same...I wonder how she'd feel about sanciones?  That still sounds vicious, though, too.   Ah, library fines are just plain evil, is what it comes down to...

Thank you for writing in, and for visiting the site!

12. Duct tape: A sticky translation question

From: "Warren Monger"
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003
Subject: Duct tape en español?

Dear SOL,

While were getting our Homeland Security "ducks" in a "row," so to speak, we discovered we don't have an elegant translation for duct tape.  As you know, this is a vital life-saving tool for all Americans, regardless of their language persuasion, so we'd like to tell our Spanish-speaking constituents how to seal themselves into an airtight closet now that we are on Orange Alert.  The Chief's Spanish is a little rusty and we were hoping you could help us out.  Thanks.

Dear Mr. Monger,

Thanks for this important question.  Of course there's a variety of terms we could use to describe duct tape's suggested uses in the Homeland Security context, but here are just a few to help you get started: pinche pendejada; chingaderita; and pura porquería que no vale nada, así pues váyanse al carajo.

Keep up the great work!  We all feel way safer since you guys took over.

13. Consulta database debuts

Consulta Spanish-Language Collection Launched by Gale /  by Barbara Quint

"Thomson’s Gale Group chose the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference to debut Consulta, its first Spanish-language Resource Center. The new product combines reference content from Océano Grupo Editorial, some of which has never before been available online in the U.S., with Gale reference content.

"The Consulta collection includes over 100 Gale and Océano reference publications, 60 full-text journals, over 1,600 primary source documents, and some 6,200 images. The company plans to continue to expand its line of Spanish-language products and services to help academic, school, and public libraries serve the Latino community, which now ranks as the largest minority in the U.S..."  

You can read the rest of Barbara Quint's article, if you want.

14. A rich resource for book ideas

A terrific collection development tool is Kat Avila's Buscando California site.  You'll find lists of books herelooking for Puerto Rican theater stuff?  Chicano folklore?  Asian/Pacific Islander resources?  Check it out.  Most of what's listed is in English, mind you.  Zillions of well-indexed links, too.

15. Connecticut: A great library website, and an interest in the politics of same

Subject: Greetings

I have been looking at your website and want to congratulate you on your work.

I wanted to suggest you try to include on your website anything that has been written on the political aspects of having a Spanish web page in a public library. I am giving a presentation on this based on my personal experiences at The Ferguson Library and would like to know what experiences other public librarians have in dealing with this issue. When I say political aspects I mean both from perspective of "office politics" (i.e. trying to sell the idea to administrators and colleagues)  as well as the community outreach aspects and the public's perception of the library as an institution that wants to address the needs of Spanish speaking citizens.

Also, may I ask you to consider for your section Libraries With Sites in Spanish our website at The Ferguson Library:

Muchas gracias.

José Ruiz-Alvarez
World Languages / Literacy Librarian
The Ferguson Library
1 Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT 06904
Voice (203) 964-1000,ext.228 ; Fax (203) 425-9789
Webmaster REFORMA (National)
The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking

16. In the news: Arkansas libraries refine Spanish-language services

From the Northwest Arkansas News (Rogers, AR), March 2:

"Nearly a dozen people met Saturday in a focus group to discuss how the library can improve its service to Hispanics. This is the first of several such focus groups tied to the library's support for a proposed 1-percent sales tax for capital improvement. If approved, $2 million of the estimated $80 million raised by the tax would be used to expand the library.

"The Rogers library isn't alone is assessing how it reaches Hispanics. Throughout Northwest Arkansas, cities scurry to bolster their Spanish-language collections and engage their newest constituents..."

More here.

17. Victor Villaseñor named first-ever Steinbeck Chair

Victor Villaseñor, whose deep and dreamy family novelsRain of Gold, Thirteen Senses, and morehave charmed readers of both English and Spanish,  was named in late February to the first John Steinbeck Chair at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.

"Con todo mi corazón—with all my heart—it's an honor to be here," he said.

You can read more about Villaseñor's appointment, and about the author himself.

18. US Latinos prefer surfing the Web to slaughtering Iraqi kids, surveys say

A pair of surveys released last month looked at various demographic groups' online habits and also their feelings about war with Iraq.  Average Latinos were discovered to be more Internet-hungry and less bloodthirsty than typical Anglos:

"Internet use among Hispanics has surged the past two years, according to new research.

"Nearly half of 300 Hispanics polled say they logged online for the first time since 2000 -- twice the national average. Hispanics also spend more time online -- at home and at work, says the study by America Online and market researcher RoperASW..."    Read more here.

Regarding the threatened war, the Pew Hispanic Center found, as a Reuters headline put it, "Hispanics cool to Iraq invasion."   Read all about it here.

Bruce Jensen

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