Junior High School was a zoo. I hated it. I remember gym class, it was the first time I met Todd Dice. Hi, Todd. Amazing we grew up and continue to live after that debacle. Remember the gym teacher’s a-hole-ish rant? Deas, Dice, Dodd. Like we needed that. I had a crush on Tony Deas’ sister, but I reckon that was obvious. Her name was Margaret. She refused to go to the 8th grade dance with me. I loved what you wrote in my yearbook, by the way. I can’t repeat in here, I’d get censored. But I love you, man, it was great advice. I gave that advice to my son when he graduated high school. He took me up on it a few years later. My grandson is living proof of that.

So anyway, the greatest piece of advice, the most stoic and relevant statement philosophically, can be found on a can of deodorant. I discovered this in junior high school, I think I was twelve. I didn’t think about it much back then, I was far too concerned with breasts and marijuana and big giant jocks with more pubic hair than I had. I think I read the words on that can of deodorant because I was too afraid of stepping into the shower with Mike Adams. Mike always treated me well, but holy crap, the guy was a jock before I ever understood what that meant. Mike Adams had hair on his chest before he was thirteen years old. Holy hell, what a Goddamn nightmare.

Todd and me, and even Tony, well, I imagine that we just read the words on the cans of our deodorant and waited for the showers to clear out. What else could we do, Todd? What else could we do? We all dreamed of screwing girls, but lacked the prerequisite pubic hair. We should’ve rented some loaner stuff from Mike. I sure as hell hope that Mike’s okay these days. He’s probably bald if he is, but I bet he had great stories to tell in high school.

* *

This is what the can of deodorant had printed on its backside, the most relevant philosophical verbiage you’ll ever read to this day. I promise, if you follow these words, you’ll gain a boatload of wisdom. It took me up until I was thirty-something to understand this. Hope you will do so at a younger age. This is it, sit down, have a seat, think about this:

“In Case of Continued Irritation, Discontinue Use”

Man, that would’ve saved me a couple of years off of my first marriage, a considerable amount of wasted time from previous employment, and a few wasted tax returns. Now that I’m almost fifty, it leads me to say goodbye to publications that print horsecrap lies. It’s taken me a while to process this great advice, but now that I have, I can easily kick to the curb any publication that prints untruths about where I live.

I walk out of my house, and I don’t get shot at. I realize that you won’t read that about Tijuana. After all, it’s a Goddamn war zone here. Plus, I certainly have to kick she-male hookers to the curb whenever I leave my house to buy a pack of smokes and a liter of tequila. And of course, all of our children have lice here. And when we get pulled over for a simple traffic violation, it’s two days in jail and a thousand dollars.

* *

I will take the advice of that deodorant and no longer contribute here. I will not write a story about how I can’t buy a passport. I will not write a story about how otherwise, life is swell here. No one wants to read that. It’s all about prostitutes and prison and lice. Go screw yourselves. Stay out of my country, please. I’ll write somewhere else. I'll write where people want the truth.


nan shartel Nov. 25, 2010 @ 11:03 a.m.

if u do this i'll never forgive u u goddamn fabulous writer u

WTF is the matter wid my homey...and WTF am i gonna do now that u've plunge a dagger thru my heart!!!

and on Thanksgiving Day 2...ur not leaving me much to be thankful 4

u know any publication is gonna write all kinds of opinions about everything including ur beloved country...chit u know i love Mexico!!!

we know that ur not living in a place where u need to put on a bullet proof vest everyday 2 go get another bottle of Tequila and milk for the family




~~goddamn it now my eye makeup is running~~

please reconsider...we can't afford to lose u hunnyshorts...Nan


nan shartel Nov. 25, 2010 @ 11:06 a.m.

i've had my peccadilloes here and curtailed my writing a great deal...but i haven' left... please stay


David Dodd Nov. 25, 2010 @ 12:02 p.m.

Nan, I adore you, I wish the whole world was full-up with people who had even half of the heart that you do and the kindness you show and the hopes and wishes you want for everyone. I think you are wonderful, I have always smiled whenever you post something here, and I will continue to read what you write, I would miss that too much.

But the Tijuana stories in here are way over the top. Some writers really try to get it right. John in Fin Del Mundo, that guy is amazing and accurate, and apparently much more patient than I am. The latest cover story here is horrible. Imagine that you live in, say, Chula Vista, and I go there for a couple of days and spin out some convoluted story that includes male prostitutes and lice and jail, and then I decide to represent Chula Vista with that story. I would imagine that anyone living in Chula Vista for a couple of decades would be lining the cat's litter-box with the article.

I told my wife about the latest story in here and she laughed her ass off. 99% of Tijuana is not a freak show. If print media only wants the 1%, then they can go straight to hell. Imagine how many times I've read this crap over and over again in the Reader. I don't need to keep reading it, I don't need the aggravation.

Chad Deal has written a couple of good stories about Tijuana, I think he is a talented writer and tries to get it right. But it's the same stuff, and it can't possibly be balanced because there is too much underneath the obvious, and people only want to read about headless corpses and bodies hanging from overpasses. I've written Chad on the side, he knows where I'm coming from, and I think if anyone will ever print a thoroughly accurate piece on Tijuana then perhaps he will get around to it.

No one gets it exactly right, it's very difficult to do. But to get it exactly wrong? Why would the Reader even print that load of crap about lice and prostitutes and two days in jail? Why not just call some redneck in Alabama, someone who has never left their own hometown, and give them a check to write a story about Tijuana? Would it read any different?

Honey, I'm experiencing continued irritation. I can't help but to remember the advice on that old aerosol can of Right-Guard in the boy's locker room at Rincon Intermediate School in 1974. Discontinue use. I love the Reader very much and love you and so many of the people here, have great respect for Holman and Grimm, but every stupid Tijuana cover story simply makes me look like a big giant liar, because our lives are swell here, all things considered. No lice, no prostitutes in my front yard, no jail-time for traffic violations. I shouldn't feel the need to defend that. No one should feel the need to defend the place they love.


MsGrant Nov. 25, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

I like your stories about life in Tijuana, RFG. I think you give us a real glimpse into day-to-day life that is true and not sensationalized or made to sound like your great city is a sewer. I completely understand where you are coming from. It reminds me of someone I once knew who would insult everything I liked. If I liked a restaurant, she would say the food made her sick. After awhile, you start to take it personally. But I do hope you continue to contribute and write your blog. I look forward to it. How else will we get the truth out?


David Dodd Nov. 25, 2010 @ 1:02 p.m.

Thank you, Ms. Grant, I very much appreciate your friendship and your kind words of encouragement. But here's the thing: I don't mind being a hired gun, even when I'm not well-paid for it. Twenty-something years ago I quit a newspaper, and I really loved that job, I loved writing. It was maybe the only job I can remember having where I never didn't want to show up. I LOVED it! Until they told me where I should and shouldn't aim my pistol. I was very good at what I did there. They even told me so in many ways and at many times. I never had anyone tell me I wasn't a good writer. There were a lot of guys who had been writing for that paper for more years than I had been alive at that point who told me I was good at it.

One day I submitted a story to my editor and he shook his head and rejected it, straight away. Why? He said it wasn't what people wanted to read. I quit that place two weeks later. What I wrote was the truth, and he knew it. And according to him, his readers didn't want to read the truth. Someone wants me to write the truth, I'll do it on the cheap. When they print lies to entertain their readership, then eventually I will feel compelled to seek alternative outlets. This is one of those times.

I would rather have someone hate my true version of Tijuana than be entertained by idiotic lunacy based on the sordid reputation of this great city.


nan shartel Nov. 26, 2010 @ 11:17 a.m.

take a break darlin' and come back swingin...even if u criticize and rant...i know at heart ur a gentleman RFG...a graceful throwback to days of long slow coolers drunk on a Spanish veranda

but don't walk away when peeps try to publically whip Tijuana...put the real life of the real people here to for all to see (as Grantie requested)

Steinbeck wrote the real people from humble origins in the days of a totally Spanish California...u've got that same knack...rest babe...rethink it....and consider again how much we need to hear ur side of Tijuana

i have so many pleasant and exciting memories of it...


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 12:33 a.m.

I won't be back, hunnybunch. I gave up too much to live here in the first place, I don't need to swing at something that obviously uses this place for a source of income. Publications have every right in the world to exploit Tijuana for fame and for profit. The Reader isn't the first to do it. They won't be the last. When I make a couple of sawbucks writing about this place, I'll be just as guilty I reckon.

But at the very least, I'll respect it, I'll love this Tijuana of mine. I owe that to my seventeen-year-old. I insisted that she be born here. I love her country and I love her city and I want to represent that positively. The Reader has made it very clear to me that they aren't interested in that. Better men that myself have told them to go screw themselves. I'm just another Tom Joad I guess. I can be that man's ghost somewhere else. Maybe I'll get lucky and that someplace else won't want for the easy droppings from someone else's stupid trainwreck. I can only promise you that it won't be my own.


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 27, 2010 @ 8:45 a.m.

I'll love this Tijuana of mine. I owe that to my seventeen-year-old. I insisted that she be born here.

So your daughter has duel citizenship with both Mexico and America-right?

How does that work exactly, can she keep both or does she need to relinquish one when she turns 18????

I know some people, usually those who are connected, have duel citizenship (Hi Gov!!!), but thought there had to be a choice at some point......what is the law on it???


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

Crys got it right, SP. Mexico recognizes dual citizenship, the U.S. doesn't. I wanted her born here because we live here and her mother is from here and I didn't ever want her to feel as though she owed the U.S. anything on my account. I got all of the kids Green Cards. They did most of their schooling here and all went to the last year or two of high school over there (The youngest that I speak of is a senior over there, it makes my head spin how fast time has flown by). Technically, I guess they could all automatically get U.S. citizenship. But I've always considered that to be something like getting a God. As a husband and a father, not only do I not have the right to assign that to them, I think I am obligated to ensure that they make up their own minds about it.

My wife's son, who is my son because I was lucky enough to be able to raise him and he was unlucky enough to have never known his blood-father who did not live to see his son born, he's a U.S. Army veteran and now a citizen of the U.S; Mexico still recognizes his citizenship by birth. My wife's daughter who I also raised and am proud to call my own, is now married and still lives here in Baja and works in the U.S. We had one of our own, my wife and me, she's seventeen and three-quarters now and almost six feet tall. I want her to go to college and she wants to be a model. This is what happens.

They all speak perfect English. I am very proud of them. When I met my wife down here, she worked for Fisher-Price Toys and spoke no English, while I had worked in aerospace and spoke no Spanish. My wife now works in Aerospace in the U.S. and I have worked in Baja running a grill since then. Sounds like irony, but all in all I think it's just a classic case of the old adage that some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you.

When I ran that grill here? I think I learned more about what it means to be a Mexican than I ever learned doing anything else. I've been lucky enough to count a lot of accomplishments that went along with a paycheck, from the first launch of the Space Shuttle to stealth technology to building the bio-hazard units that sat behind the driver's seat of the very M1-A2 tanks that my son took a wrench to in Iraq.

But I reckon I never smiled more at work than the third day the Mexican kid who worked as a doorman for the whore-house next to that grill here in Tijuana ordered up another bowl of chili beans, because where he was originally from in Oaxaca, they'd never had anything like 'em. I'm as proud of that as anything I've ever done in my life.


Russ Lewis Nov. 27, 2010 @ 1:45 a.m.

Gringo, thanks for all the humor, the excellent writing, and mostly being the voice of reason on these pages. I just wish I knew what that is in your profile pic.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:16 a.m.

Thank you, Russ, for your friendship and your intelligent comments. Profile pic is a shot taken by one T.B., it was a vain attempt to capture a copy-imperfect of the late and brilliant Frederick Exley. I love me some T.B. and love me some Exley, and I realize that we failed to portray his brilliance here. But I am none-the-less proud of the effort and proud of T.B. I matched a cigarette in the Nuevo Perico one afternoon and T.B. grabbed my camera. This is what happens :)


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 8:16 a.m.

Well, this fan notes that I actually like your picture better than the original.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 2:15 p.m.

Thank you, Ms. Grant :)

Incidentally, about T.B? A great friend who TO THIS VERY DAY denies writing stringer stories for the Reader. He's one of the all-time neatest people I've had the pleasure to meet, eat with, drink with, and watch a mutual friend die with. Every stringer story he submits here, whether it's something he gleaned from the local fish-wrap or something he sees in his daily travels through the gritty streets of Downtown Tijuana, is entirely true, even when it seems as though we live on another planet down here. Sometimes I really dig it when he just writes about the street work being done, it's something that we all have to trip over while they have things all torn up. But the hookers down here all have medical cards, these are truths I've never taken issue with, I mean, every city has hookers, some hide them and some don't. Fortunately, they don't all have penises.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m.

Rio De Janeiro is tranny-hooker proud. No one ever complains about Rio. There are hookers everywhere with a little extra "lady bits". It's part of the gamble you take when you indulge in a little hanky-panky for pay. Some seek them out specifically. Why Americans make such a big deal about Tijuana's transgendered has always escaped me. I find them fascinating.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:07 p.m.

I have several stories about them here. I think once I shared at least a couple. People are just people. There was one who I thought the world of, just a lovely human being. The story about him/her wasn't that he/she was a freak, but for me it was that one early afternoon we sand a duet in Spanish while I drank beer and he/she drank tequila. I bought. Don't know where he/she learned to play the guitar but it was awesome. People applauded. Damn straight they did, we were good together. No sex, no money, just a couple of people on a Tuesday afternoon, someone else's guitar, and a great memory I hope I never get too senile to forget.

Never saw him/her again. This is what happens. I wouldn't care anything for writing about what he/she did on a Saturday night when the tourists came to town, but that duet was solid gold. Wish someone had invented digital cameras or cells phones back then, it's a recording I would have loved to share.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:21 p.m.

That sounds magical. Hey, you could publish your essays in a book - call it "This Is What Happens".


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:01 p.m.

Throbbing manhoods and heaving milky-white bosoms? Bring it!! You would be a great romance writer, RFG. Your stories have a romantic quality to them already. You don't have to do the standard Joan Wilder stuff :).


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:26 p.m.

Oh, man, I would SO suck at that. I will publicly confess here that I've written and published three pornographic stories in my past, the product of a dare by a friend. They will never be shared and no one will ever get that nom de plume out of me with any amount of torture. While I did receive much praise from the readership, there was one solid and inescapable complaint that was repeated by not only them, but by the editors as well.

"Less plot, you don't need to develop the characters, concentrate on the sex."

My pal T.B. was much more successful, in his early days he made a good chunk of change writing pornographic stories for several publications. One story in particular will forever make me laugh out loud. It was about a young lady with inflatable breasts. Can you imagine? This character would walk into a bar and buy herself a drink and proceed to make her breasts larger while the boys watched with their jaws on the floor.

I will never match the awesome imagination it took to come up with that one. What was it that some Clint Eastwood character once said? "Man's got to know his limitations." Right on, Clint.

I know about as much concerning romance as Margaret Thatcher knew about compassion. I'm not going to pretend otherwise. I cried yesterday when Willie Nelson was arrested again for smoking dope. All I know is, after I read about it I played his rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust", and before I knew it my cheeks were wet. That's about all I know, Ms. Grant. Other people invent romance, I'm the dope with a tissue drying his eyes.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:41 p.m.

Sex sells!! Oh, come on, you have to share your porno stories...not fair!! Yeah, I suppose that stuff would be kind of difficult to write, from a women's perspective. I can see where men would be better at it. Did you know that many women do not like Philip Roth? Said he is a misogynist. I never got that from his writing, I always actually found his writing made me sad. He has a romantic quality to his writing, too.

There is a great scene in the last Terminator, where the girl terminator gets pulled over and she looks up a billboard with a picture of a woman with big boobs, and her boobs get bigger as the cop is walking up to her window.

As for Willie, I posted on Facebook today that he needs to stop putting his name on his tour bus. Like shooting fish in a barrel!! Of course they are going to find weed. I mean, honestly, what are they going to do? Put Willie in prison for a baggie of pot?


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:51 p.m.

Willie should get to smoke all of the pot he wants, the man deserves it. So many great tunes from him. That old hippie is one romantic bastard :)


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 3:58 p.m.

I know! We should be showering Willie with pot, baking it in brownies and offering them at his feet, which we have annointed with hash oil!!


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 4:02 p.m.

You know, you've probably also read "Portnoy's Complaint", and I can kind of understand how some women would be put off by it. I admit, I didn't care for it myself, I saw the protagonist as a glorified wussy. But I do see much relevance in your view of Roth, the writer, being a very sad man. Maybe Roth didn't deserve that misogyny rap, I never thought of it that way. Maybe a more sympathetic view of his work is warranted. History will sort that out, I guess.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 4:04 p.m.

I wish that Suz was around for this discussion, her literary takes are profound.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 4:30 p.m.

A lot of people did not care for that book, but I did not find it sexist. I actually thought it was almost a textbook "men are pigs" testament, that all men think about is sex, which, truth be told, they do, and he had the guts to write a monologue about it. But the underlying emotion of that book, while funny, was shame. So that is what I believe caused some to squirm.

Speaking of Suz, where is that girl?


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 5:13 p.m.

Don't know where Suz is hanging out, but I miss her lots.

Closing on Roth, I think that a lot of men are afraid of women. I think that Roth, underneath his character's insecurities, might have simply came straight out and proclaimed that many men are scared as kittens (pun intended, sex with a cat and all). Therein, lies that shame you see. At fifteen all they want to do is to have sex, and they're incapable of enduring the process other than to mate like some wild animal. Sometimes that never goes away in a man, he finds himself still unable to cope with the emotion that his would-be mate feels approaching the same event. The guy worries about getting her bra-strap undone, the girl was past that part a long time ago, she's worrying what he's going to tell his pals the next day before he even has his pants undone.

It isn't the act, nothing should ever contain such angst as a man makes sex out to be, but he'll as soon blame a woman for his own insecurity than he'll look at himself in the mirror and admit that he'll never understand what she feels when they're naked and rolling around in the sheets. I think that Roth's inability to rationalize a sexual relationship brought on however the critics receive his work. We're not supposed to understand each other, I've had a lot of time to learn that lesson. We just live with each other, choose mates, no magic wand in that (again, pardon the pun).

I've read quite a bit about how neurotic Roth was, but I'm not convinced that us neurotic people aren't our own worst enemies. Everything I ever wanted to teach my kids about sex can be found in the movie 'Bull Durham'. It's a simple thing that a lot of people want to make complex. I'll take Costner and Sarandon over Phillip Roth any day of the week. Clear the milk and the cornflakes off the the breakfast table and ignore the cat, it's a much healthier approach ;)


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 5:58 p.m.

Nice!! "but he'll as soon blame a woman for his own insecurity than he'll look at himself in the mirror and admit that he'll never understand what she feels when they're naked and rolling around in the sheets" - this is summed up in advertising, where mostly male advertisers hyper-sexualize everything from soap to cars. Most women shake their heads in bemusement at these ads, because sometimes it is ridiculous - HOW does a naked woman factor into a car transmission? But it's easier to reduce women to objects than try to understand what makes them tick - and admit that you might just be a little bit afraid of them. I am not referring to men like yourself or my husband, who LOVE women and have nothing but respect for them. And a little healthy fear ;)


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 6:09 p.m.

A LOT of healthy fear, ma'am. She knows where I store my cast-iron skillets and she knows exactly where I sleep ;)


nan shartel Nov. 27, 2010 @ 4:37 p.m.

Grantie quoted: u Throbbing manhoods and heaving milky-white bosoms? Bring it!! You would be a great romance writer, RFG. Your stories have a romantic quality to them already.


that's what i'm talkin' about!!!

u said: I wish that Suz was around for this discussion, her literary takes are profound.

another one who left us to drown in a quagmire of mediocrity...dang it!!!

~~of course i don't mean any of my favorite sites here~~

when u find another venue please let me know about it


nan shartel Nov. 27, 2010 @ 4:46 p.m.

and just remember RFG...it's ur kind of writing that makes a book a classic that persist in popularity over time...not the kind the READER chooses for a cover story :(

that's what i like about poetry ;-D


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 6:41 p.m.

I think if I was born to be a writer, then I was likely born to be a novelist, nan. Biggest complaint from my friends? "tl;dr" (too long; didn't read). Not my wife nor any of my children read a damned word I write these days. My wife has a couple of times a while back, about a few thousand words of the half-million I likely have embedded online. Know what she had to say about it?

"Yeah, that's pretty much true."

I had to laugh and kiss her on the forehead. I love her pragmatic approach to everything. That's why I married that beauty. My youngest read the story I wrote here about the lesbians, and I adore lesbians who do not hate men, (you non-man-hating lesbians are so stellar and fair and honest!) but I think my daughter was embarrassed by it. But it was true, every word. I hope my little girl at least respects her father for his honesty. I've never lied to her. The language I use in front of her would shock the Sunday preacher. Why would I behave any differently in front of her than I would paling around with my beer-guzzling friends taking in a football game at the local pub?

But no lice and no prostitutes. I'm not out for the Happy Hooker award in journalism. I just like to write, and I'm long-winded and unafraid to tell a tale on myself. I know it isn't what people want to buy these days. No boy-wizards, no vampires and werewolves. I know I'm up against it. But I have to be honest, even writing fiction, it has to be based on absolute truth. Steinbeck did that, you know. I'm not anywhere close to Steinbeck's amazing ability to paint a picture with words, but the least I can do is to not embarrass myself writing about where I live when the publication prints the exact opposite representation of it from other writers. One of us will look the fool. They know what makes them money, I'll trust their judgment and move on. No regrets.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 7:22 p.m.

I think my writing embarrasses my husband, too. But honesty has to be a factor in what you write if it is non-fiction. Maybe not so much embarrassed, but afraid I might disclose something. I come from a far less buttoned-up family than he, and we are all literally an open book. I guess I can understand that.

What I am having a difficult time with is why would you not continue to write the truth about where you live? Anyone with half a brain finds your stories far more entertaining and really eye-opening. I find sensationalism boring and played-out. It's just recycled crap that no one that has spent any time in Tijuana believes anyway. Do you think too much time has passed since 9/11 and people want to mythologize theses stories into truth? I don't get it. I wish people would just start going back. It's such a great place to eat and shop and people watch. Just like a lot of places here. Other people from out of the area think OB is a cesspool. They are clueless about the culture and I say good riddance. You would not be happy here anyway.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 7:44 p.m.

Best I can relate it: A lot of people have told me that I'm a pretty good cook. Now, my father is an excellent cook and so was his mother so maybe there's some sort of cooking genes, no idea, but I'm delighted when people like my food enough to compliment me on it. And then someone is bound to tell me this:

"You should open your own restaurant."

What I wind up telling them is that I'm willing to accept (and very much appreciate) being considered a good cook. But what in the hell do I know about running a restaurant? Two different things, cooking and running an eatery. I know that from experience. I ran a grill and didn't make much money from it, but the food was stellar according to patrons.

I reckon it's the same thing with writing and publishing. I'm willing to confess that I have no idea about publishing, and I'm willing to throw in the towel here, at least. People really want lice and prostitutes? Heck, maybe they do. There's no accounting for the tastes of the public, I mean, how many "Home Alone" movies did some of us have to suffer through before they finally pulled the plug on that nightmare? I don't know, Ms. Grant. I have no answers. I'm going to the store, I need a couple of packs of cigarettes and a bottle of Fresca. I only know that there will be no lice and no prostitutes and that no cop is going to shake me down on this trip. If the masses want to believe otherwise, then who am I to tell them different? Heck, it never even occurred to me that Tijuana had a section on Craig's List. We're just people here. We go to the store sometimes. It isn't much different than going to the store in OB. We just speak a different language and our colorful money looks a little odd in comparison.


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 8:13 p.m.

Well, I would rather hear about your trip to the store for cigs and Fresca than another person who was stupid enough to get their car impounded. I feel kind of honored to know someone who made the move to another country and enmeshed themselves into the culture without it having to have some sort of angle. I hope you understand where I am coming from. I come from New York originally, although I have been here for many years. Mexico, regardless of its proximity to San Diego, still remains to me an exotic locale, and one that I respect.


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 8:26 p.m.

The trip was great and practically uneventful. Honest story, took all of a couple of minutes: I was three pesos short on my purchase. It was either that or to have the lady change a twenty-dollar bill.

"Next time," she told me in Spanish.

I came back home and Anna had returned. Since she wanted to go make a telephone call at the phone booth over there, she offered to pay the lady the three pesos I owed. Welcome to Baja. It's like OB, except you owe three pesos instead of a quarter ;) And I have also given away food to hungry people with less change than they should have had. What goes around, comes around. Sometimes the bear eats you and sometimes you eat the bear. This is what happens :)


MsGrant Nov. 27, 2010 @ 8:50 p.m.

Phone booth?!?! Now that's what I'm talking about!


David Dodd Nov. 27, 2010 @ 9:29 p.m.

We still have 'em :) They're disappearing here too, but when the 17-year old wants to talk about sex with her squirrel of a boyfriend, that's where they hang out. I can see it from the bedroom window, so she isn't going to get away with much ;)


nan shartel Nov. 27, 2010 @ 10:55 p.m.

start that novel then pal...or finish it...u can do it!!!

The pen is the tongue of the mind. Miguel de Cervantes

A writer doesn't solve problems. He allows them to emerge. Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T. S. Eliot

The only time I know that something is true is the moment I discover it in the act of writing. Jean Malaquais

~~and of course my favorite writer...Anais Nin..."We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection" Anais Nin~~

because "Writing is thinking on paper" William Zinsser


Russ Lewis Nov. 28, 2010 @ 1:36 a.m.

There's more to life than lice and prostitutes, Gringo. You're forgetting coroners. And trannies. Friends of mine used to joke that Tijuana + prostitution + coroner + TVTSs = perfect Reader cover story.

Seems like Adam ("HelLA") Parfrey had that angle covered for a while.


David Dodd Nov. 28, 2010 @ 2:03 a.m.

There was a guy that wrote some neat stuff for the Reader many years ago, no idea where he ran off to. Wish I could've talked to him. He did Tijuana stories before I ever came here. His name escapes me at the moment, but I think he was a Jewish fellow. I'll look it up if anyone's interested.

Anyway, back then, I wouldn't have known any different. I believed anything that anyone ever told me about Tijuana. So years later, I meet a writer who knew him, she asked me about him, wondered if I knew him. Heck, I wouldn't have known if he ever set foot here. He likely did, though. But the thing is, no one should have such preconceived notions about this place. I keep wondering how such a white gringo could feel so lucky as to have met with such a great opportunity to live here. And to have the opportunity to write about it? Oh, man, that's frosting on the cake. You know, Russ, I hate to see that frosting wasted, spread all over something that no one can eat, never to be tasted.

But yeah, the Reader and other publications print what they print, I understand. There's some magic formula apparently, and if I knew what that was then I probably would be in publishing. Ever been to the City Coroner, here? Weird stuff. The big roll-up door is almost always open. No one's interested in the dead in that place. I saw a pal draped over the side of a metal table, lifeless limbs dangling like dead branches in a wintertime in some other colder climate. I wrote about that. The Reader wouldn't touch it in a million years. I understood why. He was a friend of mine, nothing more and nothing less.

It just wasn't that interesting to anyone else. No prostitutes, no lice. Not a single transexual within miles of that place. Not even a single impounded car. Boring, I reckon.


David Dodd Nov. 28, 2010 @ 1:39 a.m.

Ha! Great quotes! One novel is finished, waiting for the right climate to shop it. I call it "Breaking Judas", but some screwed-up literary editor will insist I rename it. The other is still in the oven, baking. I'd bet cash money the second one sells first, it's about as autobiographical as a novel can get changing the names to protect the innocent. That one will piss some people off. The finished one is much more of a story though, it's like this girlfriend I've been courting and I'll be damned if she'll ever give me at least one dance before they turn out the lights. I've never met a church-going person that would dare entertain Judas as having a relevant role in the birth of Christianity, but that's the basis of the novel. No man is born to be a traitor. I never believed for one minute that Jesus didn't have to spend hours breaking Judas, convincing him that the most important thing in the world was Jesus being nailed to that cross.

There isn't much of a mention of religion in the book, but the implications are obvious. It's never really about a few pieces of silver. At our very best, we often do what makes no sense to anyone for a few hundred years, and then one day someone comes along and points it out, and everyone says, "Well, for crying out loud, of course!"

That's one thing I've learned in my life that I would really love to share. Hope it gets published someday.


Evelyn Dec. 2, 2010 @ 12:11 p.m.

Have you considered self publishing, refried? I know of others that have used blurb.com to self publish their books... it might be an option, instead of waiting if you so choose.

otherwise, your writing will be missed.


Founder Nov. 28, 2010 @ 5:47 p.m.


At first I thought this was a "joke," then I see more than one blog has a post about thanks and good bye!

I must have missed the reasoning for your leaving, (until I read the above) but for all the reasons, ALL THE BEST!

RFG You say Good Bye I start to Cry

Now all I can say is (since my spanish is poor) ALOHA :-) + I'm truly sorry we did not get to share a bunch of habanero spiced street tacos and a few cold ones... let me know if you would like to meet in TJ.


Founder Nov. 28, 2010 @ 6:40 p.m.

  • For RFG -*

For RFG It's sad for Me

You say Good Bye I start to Cry

I wish your leaving was not true It won't be the same without you

I can understand your frustration About lies from another Nation

Please consider writing about TJ's allure It will encourage folks to come and take a tour

Please share all the info you now know If you write it we will know it is so

As for me and many others here We'll hold you in our heart as dear

And if stop writing in the Reader you must Please share an email address with those your trust

★ Manténgase bien y sé que será extrañado por todos nosotros! http://translate.google.com/#en|es|Stay%20well%20and%20know%20you%20will%20be%20missed%20by%20us%20all!

Kudos to Google Translate... *from http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/np-star/2010/aug/26/rhyme-a-day/#c78308


rhino Dec. 2, 2010 @ 11:12 a.m.

Bummer. As a fan of the good people of Tijuana, who has continued to visit from 1000 miles away despite all the misinformation, I've really enjoyed checking in on your column to revel in some quality perceptions of the city. I'm going to miss this. Best of luck.


MsGrant Dec. 2, 2010 @ 1:44 p.m.

Me, too, rhino. I wish RFG would reconsider, because I am not sure he realizes how IMPORTANT his blog had become to us long-time readers. Whenever I would see a new one post, I would drop whatever I was doing and read it. We got to know his family and him a little better through his writing, and I have never read anything quite like what he wrote about Tijuana. He made it so ACCESSIBLE. I want to believe that Tijuana is still the same place I love and he did that. Now all I am going to read is the same old tired tawdry garbage that does not interest me one bit and has been rehashed countless times in these pages. Sigh. I'm sad.


ParahSalin Dec. 2, 2010 @ 4:04 p.m.

Oh, heck, MsG, don't go gettin' yer tinsel in a tangle......trust me on this one - I know a quitter when I see one, and he ain't it!! Have a nice vacation, Reefer Guy!!!


ParahSalin Dec. 2, 2010 @ 4:38 p.m.

Well, I'm glad as all get out that you liked it! Truth be known, I got that from an elf who lives nearby....us bein' so far north and all. Didja know you can actually see the North Pole from here? It's true! We used to have some really coocoo Christmas parties, but I finally had to give that up 'cause I got tired of havin' to go out and look for a new job the next day. Speaking of which, I gotta run - Bristol's been havin' a hard time with her abstinence lessons. TTFN. PS


SurfPuppy619 Dec. 2, 2010 @ 5:07 p.m.

Didja know you can actually see the North Pole from here?

By ParahSalin

This is without a doubt, the best gimmick account I have ever seen-anywhere.

COME ONE ParahSalin-cough it up- what is your real handle, we need to give you the proper respect and congrats you [email protected]


nan shartel Dec. 4, 2010 @ 3:34 p.m.


ya gotta start a blog here!!!

and get Bristol a chastity belt (preferably stainless steel) and some dance lessons :-D


bohemianopus Dec. 29, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m.

I just now read this after finally taking a vacation from my high-stress, low-pay job. I've been so swamped, I haven't read much of the Reader lately, and was about to catch up on your writing.

I haven't read all the comments, so forgive me if I am reiterating what someone else has already said.

Folks write all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. When I would get upset about something someone said or wrote, and went crying to my non-English-speaking grandmother, she would say, "lef, no cry." I didn't grasp the full meaning of that until I became an adult. You have to laugh at the ignorance--but at the same time, you must inform. To retreat is to surrender, white flag and all. To retreat is to give the ignoramuses the final word. To retreat is to clear the path for more ill-informed members of the unwashed public to goose-step to all the nonsense.

Those of us that can form words into knowledge, feelings and truth have a duty to keep on truckin' when it comes to our gift with the pen. Our army of verbal soldiers must invade the land of Misinformed A$$holedom and plant our flag of understanding (queue in Battle Hymn of the Republic here).

I didn't read the article of which you speak, but I'm sure that the person who wrote it was looking for some sort of sensationalism or negative attention. After all, that is what sells, not any sort of intelligent, in-depth reporting or balanced view of things.

I ride the trolley every day with people commuting to and from Mexico. Some have become like family to me. My son (who speaks fluent Spanish) is going with a girl from Veracruz, and works with inner-city children in LA who are struggling to survive. I know the truth about the culture, the country and the U.S. politics. And I'm not giving up. I'm going to do my best to show the world all the wonderful things about Mexico and its people through my lens.

So, here's my hand. Get up outta the funk and tell me a story about Mexico. I'm waiting.


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