The History of the Stuff You Eat While Stoned

Burritos

I have a lot of personal, practical and familiar experience with burritos. As a child of one Hispanic parent and another who would rather cook refried beans than a roast, I ate my fair share of them.

When I was eight I asked my dad about where burritos came from, while enjoying one, and he casually mentioned they were originally sold from a donkey cart. (He’s Mexican, so I took his word as gospel.) My eight year old burrito loving soul was crushed, however, when the flimsiest of Google searches turned up that the story is somewhat suspect.

The tale of an enterprising Mexican Revolutionary named Juan Valdez selling quick and easy meals from his burro cart during the Mexican Revolution is probably a cartload of bullshit. But, like most charming legends, there is probably a grain of truth in there. Burritos were not referred to as such until that period (Around 1910’ish) so it’s safe to say that’s when the pocket food took off. What better way to feed an army of rebels than with food that had a wrapper you could eat?

The name of a thing can tell you a lot about where it came from, but hope is not lost if that trail runs cold. I still want to know what superhuman genius first thought to wrap marinated meat and other gut busting fillings into a tortilla shell.

To answer these questions, let’s step back and consider the traditional fair of Northern Mexico.

The Mixtec and Aztec cultures that comprised what we now know as Mexico relied heavily on corn. Wheat was not introduced to the region until the 16th century, so the burrito as we know it did not exist before Christopher Columbus graced the continent with his douchey presence.

Many of the foods you stuff into your Cheeto-hole while baked out of your mind does, in fact, come from Latin America. These staples were vacant from the tables of the syphilitic rulers of Europe until circa 1500:

  • Chocolate
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflowers
  • Vanilla

I know I missed a few, but I thought only listing the food stuffs most likely found inside a vending machine or convenience store would best serve the topic at hand.

So far the burrito is looking like the ill formed child of empire and war. All of the delectable ingredients wrapped up in the flour-ey oppression of the conquistadors.

Speaking of douchebags, the Spanish introduced a few things of their own to the Americas during the Columbian Exchange. ( Exchange is a generous word. Unless you count ‘everything you God Damn own for smallpox and yellow fever’ an exchange.) Mostly they were useless things like typhoid and Catholicism, but wheat, horses and guns would eventually prove helpful to the occupied nation.

You can only pillage, rape and murder the hell out of a culture for so long, though. Eventually it will turn into another culture, and probably try and kill you. Three hundred years later Spanish rule was politely asked to Get the Fuck Out with the aid of a bayonet point.

Sometime, between 1821 and 1940, the burrito was born. Maybe it was a revolutionary food, maybe migrant workers adapted to what was available to them in the orange groves and strawberry fields of mid-century California, and maybe it’s always been around. Whether wheat or corn, a staple that doesn’t need a name.

I didn’t actually figure out where the burrito came from but I did sneak in some history. Sadly, you are probably too stoned to notice. Although the fact that every culture on the planet pairs protein and starch, so a handheld version isn’t a far gone conclusion.

The History of the Stuff You Eat While Stoned

Jupiter Ascending Or “The Spice is People”

I walked out of Jupiter Ascending thinking:

“The Spice is people.”

There’s a scene at the end of the movie where Jupiter and the guy harvesting skin cells for immortality gets an Econ 101 lesson. “Human beings were made to consume…” Blah blah blah.

I get it, I get it. Couldn’t you guys have just said “Man is a wolf to man.” and gotten the whole thing over?

It was a bit heavy handed, although I did appreciate the fact that the royal family’s surname is shared by the Gnostic concept for the One. Slurping cellular matter from innocents goes a bit deeper than a bunch of Marxists taking a jab at capitalism. The antecedents of mankind are decadent and vampiric, feeding off the life they seeded eons previously, rad.

Talk about major distrust of the sensual. Oh, and let’s sprinkle some Oedipal echoes and Mommy issues for good measure.

I suppose I should be more forgiving, but their pointy eared Legolas-esque male lead at one point claimed to have been spliced with wolf DNA. The only thing that would have been more confusing is if he started using pieces of the surrounding architecture in a fist fight.

This review is terribly over-due, considering I saw this piece of garbage in theaters. (A testament to the fact that sometimes I just NEED to sit in a movie theater, god damnit.)

Jupiter Ascending Or “The Spice is People”

The Biographical Tarot: Mary Wollstonecraft and The Fool

Wollstonecraft,Mary“In every state of life the slaves of men”

In the later half of the eighteenth century a woman had certain rights.

If she were not married than she may enter into contracts under her own name, own property, and dispose of the proceeds of such property at her own discretion.

If she married then her status converted from ‘feme sole’ to that of ‘feme covert’. The Latin speaks louder than the law. Legally, she was joined with her husband, both bodily and politically. She had no rights over her natural children and any debts she incurred were ostensibly those of her husband. What we consider a symbolic act joining two families together today, women taking on their husbands last name, was the mark of a civilly disarmed woman.

By taking her husbands last name she became, in part, himself. Although, a much lesser portion of the whole:

Man and wife are one person, but understand in what manner. When a small brooke or little river incorporateth with Rhodanus, Humber or the Thames, the poor rivulet looseth its name, it is carried and recarried with the new associate, it beareth no sway, it possesseth nothing during coverture. A woman as soon as she is married, is called covert, in Latin, nupta, that is, veiled, as it were, clouded and overshadowed, she hath lost her streame . . . To a married woman, her new self is her superior, her companion, her master.

The Lawes Resolutions of Women’s Rights (London, 1603)

You might think, fuck it, I wouldn’t marry.

I don’t have to beat you over the head with the obvious obstacles. That no respectable tutor or profession was admitting women with open arms. Or that the manual labor and low pay associated with domestic service was not an enviable fate for the unmarried.

Even extremely fortunate daughters of the wealthy and the aristocratic had no viable alternative to marriage. She may expect a decent income, but Entailment was her doom. Fathers and husbands would often entail their large properties so that they would not be broken apart and parceled out down their female line. (It turns out not everything about Downton Abbey is complete bullshit.)

These are the bare facts of a woman’s status in the Western world as it spun into the modern era. Against the backdrop of American and French revolutions, woman stood with allies on both sides of the struggle with absolutely nothing to gain politically or legally from her involvement.

A woman with an independent spirit would have married as well as she could and either hoped for a kind husband or a dutiful son. That some widows were very merry should surprise no one at all.

Most women didn’t hope for independence, though. They did not take up arms against their male oppressors or complain much about their situation if it turned sour. They prayed and they had children and they tried to live and die respectably. Their world was an aperture, set to the smallest and most narrow setting.

No one can blame them. They couldn’t see through the pinhole.

In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft shocked the world by looking up, noticing she was getting a bad rap, and saying so.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects was the Communist Manifesto of it’s time. Deeply unsettling to both genders, it was the philosophical equivalent of teaching dogs algebra.

Never did any author enter into a cause, with a more ardent desire to be found, not a flourishing and empty declaimer, but an effectual champion. She considered herself as standing forth in defence of one half of the human species, labouring under a yoke which, through all the records of time, had degraded them from the station of rational beings, and almost sunk them to the level of the brutes. She saw indeed, that they were often attempted to be held in silken fetters, and bribed into the love of slavery; but the disguise and the treachery served only the more fully to confirm her opposition.

Memoirs. William Godwin

Mary became The Fool in 1792.

Literary critics like dogs tore at her skirt and the unmarried woman surrounded by liberals and revolutionaries was suddenly the most scandalous among them.

Visconti-fool

Not long after she entered into a physical relationship with an unmarried man, had an illegitimate daughter by him and was dutifully abandoned by the son of the bitch.

So, friendless, she stood at an unknown crossroads. At the time, her only income depended on her writing and in addition to her own skin, she now had a very small and insistent mouth to feed.

She would eventually bounce back, fall in love, and then promptly die in childbirth, but I want you to forget about the facts of her found in a Google search. Pretend you’re sitting with her, near a window or in a coffee shop, the dull and dry roar of social and literary critics at her heels. She is the first of her kind.

What did that feel like? Can you imagine the isolation and the uncertainty of such a place?

Mary Wollstonecraft is The Fool. Absolute freedom and total independence. You can go anywhere you like but you have no idea how to get there. It’s a good time to start over, it’s also a good time to get lost and die in a ditch.

Exciting and promising as it can be, I don’t always read The Fool in a positive light. A lot depends on the cards around her, but acting on a spontaneous change isn’t necessarily safe or sane.

Yes, Mary’s work helped the cause of Suffrage and those natural rights all humans posses, male or female. But it wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always pleasant. When The Fool lands within a read I talk about hope and I defer to caution.

The beginning is always today.

Mary Wollstonecraft

The Biographical Tarot: Mary Wollstonecraft and The Fool

Why I Read Tarot

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I was a shy kid who liked stories. Tarot cards were probably an inevitability.

When I pulled out my battered stack of the Goddess Tarot people around me noticed. It didn’t take long to realize the promise of a future foretold wasn’t the only reason my friends asked me to read their cards.

They weren’t passive querents. They talked, and when they knew I was listening, they talked more. I learned about broken homes and lost virginity. Stepfathers, totaled cars and childhood sins. The secret history of a dozen teenagers came spilling out faster than I could get to the page that explained the card in front of them.

It was invigorating and isolating.

I could fade into the background and become a vessel for their troubles. A false intimacy only because I was unwilling and likely unable to return the favor. ‘Yes, tell me about it- but don’t ever expect the same from me.’

I always read from the little book that came from the cards. While a friend hurriedly confessed an assault she endured I was checking the validity of the crossed cards in front of her. (The lovers inverted, the three of swords.) When a tickling, persistent voice in the back of my throat wanted to tell her she was safe, I squashed it.

That wasn’t my role, I reasoned, I was the vehicle for the cards. Or, at least, a catalyst for them to speak something they may have been holding in if not for a few dozen pieces of card stock. Even when I knew the meaning of the symbols my neurotic sense of ‘nothingness’, of being the vehicle wouldn’t allow me to speak the simplest of truths the cards were saying.

I was not a good reader until my late twenties, when I learned to do the thing people came to me in the first place for.

I listened to myself.

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It happened slowly, a few readings a month, sometimes years with my deck moldering on an altar I ignored as a soul deep atheistic depression carved it’s way through my life.

I knew what the cards meant. That’s the first ditch would-be readers fall into. The fallacy that if you know all of the meanings tucked away in your deck you’ll magically have the answers.

As if you needed the help. As if the stories in the cards would make it that easy to find them.

My relationship with my clients (yes, it is a relationship, brief as it is) is much healthier now. I respect them by listening to them and whatever fate has to tell in the reading I’ve pulled. If you want me to convince you of the validity of fortune telling, you’ve come to a frustrating impasse, my friend.

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Whether or not I can tell you if you’ll find a husband or a good job in the next year is completely irrelevant to the reading. It’s not really what you need. The future is waiting for you, but it can grow sour or sweet depending on the unresolved hurt behind you.

I’ll tell you what you need to hear, mostly I’ll just confirm what you were afraid you knew. It’s not always gentle, but like the advice of a good friend, it doesn’t come from malice.

I like reading tarot because I want to hear your story. Pulling a few cards and coaxing that story out of you is just easier. I want to know about the people who broke your heart and the things that make you proud. What you regret and what you covet. I want to know you, even if we’re strangers, for a few moments without judgement or expectation.

I’m still a shy kid.

Why I Read Tarot