First, everybody hates Carlos Menem. The Cronista ran a weird poll asking which Argentine administration since 1983 has been the most democratic. The answers make no sense, as befitting a question which makes no sense. But Carlos Memem managed to get only 5% of votes, followed by Fernando de la Rúa at 3%. And to be fair, De la Rúa was really stuck cleaning up Menem’s mess.
Second, down in Neuquén City, native Mapuche demonstrators have occupied a national park and blocked roads. The reason is that the the national oil company, YPF, wants to drill on their land. The Mapuche asked for 3.8 million pesos per well ... about US$136,000, for wells that cost seven to fifteen million dollars.
The city government countered with ... zero. Actually, they outdid Michael Corleone: they offered the expropriation of Mapuche lands without any restitution. Now, these are not lands governed by vague traditional laws ... we are talking a 125 acre plot (about thirty New York City blocks) given to the Mapuche by the previous mayoral administration in the far off year of 2011. This did not stop Mayor Horacio “Pechi” Quiroga from saying, with great exasperation, “If the lands were theirs, they would have private titles!”
Third, Argentine Spanish has diverged from the rest of the world to the point of having their own conjugations. Consider the following from the Buenos Aires subway: “Registrá tu tarjeta.” Go ahead. Explain that conjugation to me. I dare you.
Finally, if an Argentine tells you that somebody is “saliendo con los tapones de punta,” it literally means that they are “leaving with their cleats in the ground.” Which makes no sense, even for a soccer player. But imagine that you are putting your cleats in the ground preparing to launch yourself at an opponent. Somebody who has “los tapones de punta” is ready to beat the shit out of you ... and if they are “saliendo con los tapones de punta” then they are “coming out swinging,” whether literally or figuratively. If literally, get your dukes up or run away you idiot, run away!!!! And if figuratively, gird yourself for battle however is appropriate.
Good night from Buenos Aires.