Who Was That Masked Man? A Wrestling Priest


Fray Tormenta was a heroin addict when he was young. After getting clean, he enrolled at the seminary to became a priest and started wrestling to make money for the orphanage he founded. Credit Seila Montes

When it comes to professional wrestling, there are the famous American federations with slick promotion, well-paid stars and merchandise-mad, free-spending fans.

This story is not about that.

In Mexico, generations have grown up admiring the masked luchadoreswho, for a $50 prize, will flip and body slam opponents in epic fights in modest arenas packed to the rafters with screaming fans. Theirs is a world where nothing comes easily, and the struggle to support their families is often a never-ending battle. There must be an easier way to survive beyond the world of lucha libre, but don’t tell them that.

“What I saw was a love for the lucha,” said Seila Montes, a Spanish photographer based in Mexico who spent more than two years photographing the masked men (and women) outside the ring. “They’re not doing it for the money. The ones I photographed were not famous, and they only earned a little. But they transformed when they put on their mask and costume. That’s when the actor and showman comes out.”

India Sioux is married to Hombre Bala. She is now retired and works at home. Credit Seila Montes
Ray Mendoza Jr., formerly Villano V, is part of the Mendoza dynasty. Four of his brothers were fighters and he is the son of the famous Ray Mendoza. He is a dentist and also does acupuncture consultation. Credit Seila Montes

Those of us who grew up in New York still recall when these masked matches were a staple of Spanish television, as we gathered around the crate-sized Sears television and futzed with the circular UHF antenna to pull in a grainy broadcast of Mil Mascaras taking on all comers. And then there was El Santo — The Saint — who crossed over from the ring to movie stardom, becoming a pop culture phenomenon. With their colorful costumes and personalities, luchadores have long sparked the interest of photographers, too. None has been as prolific as Lourdes Grobet, who has spent decades chronicling these masked athletes who have become cultural avatars.



Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.06.31 AM.png


Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 8.04.23 AM

A D.C. lawmaker responded to a brief snowfall Friday by publishing a video in which he espoused a conspiracy theory that Jewish financiers control the weather.

D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) posted the video to his official Facebook page at 7:21 a.m. as snow flurries were hitting the nation’s capital. The video, shot through the windshield of a car driving west on Interstate 695 through downtown Washington, shows snowy skies while White narrates.

“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” he says. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”

The Rothschilds are a famous European business dynasty descended from Mayer Amschel Rothschild, an 18th-century Jewish banker who lived in what is today Frankfurt, Germany. The family has repeatedly been subject over the years to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories alleging that they and other Jews clandestinely manipulate world events for their advantage.


Reggie, famoso perro de avalancha de Portillo ~ Feb/March 2004 – March 2018 ~ What a Great Dog!


Cover Boy for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Portillo Chile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReggie’s first winter in Silverton as a avalanche intern along with his saddle pal Mark Rawstoned



Reggie’s 1st CDOT explosive training March, 2004 with The Brit & Don rōbert 


Another season in the San Juan’s with Mark and friends 


On a pisco tour in the Atacama

reggie 004

Getting seasoned in Portillo during a big Andean storm with avalanche forecaster & handler/compay, Mark Rawstoned




killing time in Silverton with the master 


                     Taking a nap after a long day of avalanche mitigation


Visiting el jefe (Henry Purcell) office Portillo Chile


Enjoying his retirement in the Andes with best friend Winnie.


Arizona’s Joe Arpaio can read Trump’s mind … sounds about right


Each of the Republicans running for Senate in Arizona this year claims a special bond with President Trump, but only one describes it as a supernatural connection beyond rational explanation.

“I can read his mind without even talking to him. I think he may be reading mine,” said the former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio. “Is there something that goes through the airwaves? Mental telepathy?”

The two men have, after all, long traveled a similar road from a distance, sharing the same ­obsession with their own media coverage, parallel claims of persecution from biased judges, an affinity for reality television and a focus on railing against immigrant threats.

“The more you trash me,” ­Arpaio likes to tell reporters, “the more votes I get.”

They even share a birthday, June 14, which Arpaio makes sure to mention at his campaign events. Arpaio’s cellphone has rung for years with Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” — a song, he points out, that Trump chose for the first dance with his wife during inaugural festivities last year.

“There is a silent majority out there, and that’s why he won,” Arpaio said at an event at a dun-colored retirement community here in February. “In fact, that’s why I won.”



* REPUBLICANS FRET ABOUT ARPAIO’S SENATE RUN: Michael Scherer reports that lawless, abusive former sheriff Joe Arpaio views his Senate GOP primary run in Arizona as a referendum on the popularity of Trumpism:

“There is a silent majority out there, and that’s why he won,” Arpaio said at an event at a dun-colored retirement community here in February. … Such comments have raised concerns of Senate Republican leaders, who worry about holding on to the seat held by Jeff Flake, who is retiring, in a difficult ­November general election.

Huh. If Senate GOP leaders worry that Arpaio would put the seat at risk, maybe there actually isn’t a silent majority out there in support of undiluted Trumpism, which Arpaio does represent perfectly.

The Washington Post

Smartphone Detox: How To Power Down In A Wired World ~ NPR




If the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov were alive today, what would he say about smartphones? He might not think of them as phones at all, but instead as remarkable tools for understanding how technology can manipulate our brains.

Pavlov’s own findings — from experiments he did more than a century ago, involving food, buzzers and slobbering dogs — offer key insights, into why our phones have become almost an extension of our bodies, modern researchers say. The findings also provide clues to how we can break our dependence.

Pavlov originally set off to study canine digestion. But one day, he noticed something peculiar while feeding his dogs. If he played a sound — like a metronome or buzzer — before mealtimes, eventually the sound started to have a special meaning for the animals. It meant food was coming! The dogs actually started drooling when they heard the sound, even if no food was around.

Hearing the buzzer had become pleasurable.

That’s exactly what’s happening with smartphones, says David Greenfield, a psychologist and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut.

~~~  READ MORE / LISTEN  ~~~

This girl scout is a very shrewd business woman …

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 8.08.16 AM.png

Selling Girl Scout cookies is meant to accomplish more than just distributing Samoas and Thin Mints to the world. Ideally, the girls would learn about setting goals, teamwork, money management and communicating with adults, among other things.

If the girls can develop some business acumen, all the better. And one young scout in San Diego has received nationwide plaudits for her shrewd entrepreneurial sense, setting up shop last week outside a marijuana dispensary.

The girl, who has not been publicly identified, sold more than 300 boxes in six hours, her father told ABC 10. Boxes now sell for as much as $5 in parts of the country, so she probably raised more than $1,500. Yes, there’s money in the munchies.

While some have praised the plucky scout for figuring out where the demand would probably be, the Girl Scouts organization has been wrestling with how to handle marijuana-adjacent sales as more states have legalized the drug.

~~~  MORE  ~~~

Donald Trump’s Twilight Zone ~ Matt Taibbi ~ RollingStone


llustration by Victor Juhasz


January 2018. We’re trapped in an intellectual prison from which there is no escape. The modern American experience has been reduced to a few grim lines: President Donald Trump says something crazy; we freak out. A leak comes out; we obsess over it. Someone gets fired; the deck chairs on the sinking ship of state get rearranged a little. Trump says something crazy again. Rinse, outrage, repeat.

It’s a fatal mind loop worthy of an early Twilight Zone episode, and if you think about it (although the next presidential tweet will likely pre-empt that possibility), we’ve been riding in this same moronic circle for more than two and a half years. Cycling through the Twitter opinions about the president’s latest brain belch has become an irresistibly shallow national ritual. It’s clearly a monster distraction from something. But what, exactly?

At the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, several crises seem to have quietly worsened under the cover of Trump’s insanity. A big one is the continuing collapse of the two major political parties – particularly the Republicans, whose dysfunction now seems beyond terminal. With characteristic myopia, the GOP establishment spent most of the past year trying to rid Washington of alt-right icon and former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon, instead of worrying about the larger problem, i.e., the voter rage that put Trump in the White House.

An intense inside game of leaks targeted the self-proclaimed Lenin of the alt-right. Bannon was blamed for the violent neofascist-march fiasco in Charlottesville and booted from the White House in response to it, despite being the only staffer to correctly predict the boss’s inability to believably denounce Nazis in public. Then Bannon was chucked from Breitbart by Trump’s billionaire pals, the hedge-fund Mercers. That was after sleazebasket wallflower author Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury depicted Bannon dumping on Trump’s “treasonous” Large Adult Son and Fredo-esque ex-bed-wetter, the embarrassing Donald Jr.

~~~  READ MORE  ~~~


Where the Real Los Angeles Meets the Dream ~ NYT

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 11.59.19 AM.png



Like Broadway in New York and Ocean Drive in Miami, Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles is both a real street and a myth. It’s where you go to gas up at the Arco station (5007 Sunset Boulevard) or grab a meal at In-N-Out Burger (7009 Sunset), and also to chase the dream of fame and eternal sunshine. Remarkably, Sunset lives up to the postcard.

Drive east to west, from where the street begins downtown to where it ends 22 twisting miles later at the Pacific Ocean, and at any point along the route, you will see the images that movies, TV shows and magazines have implanted in your brain.


In hip and historically Mexican Echo Park and Silver Lake, you’ll find trendy boutiques beside a 99 Cents Only store (3612 Sunset), and cool kids scarfing down tacos at Guisados (1261 Sunset).


In Hollywood, there are always weird Hollywood people, and tourists hoping to see weird Hollywood people, walking around near where Sunset meets Vine.             Like Bukowski.

~~~  GO FURTHER  ~~~