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To the best of my recollection, I can’t recall ever being tear-gassed.
My first instinct should probably have been to turn around and run away from the plaza, just like everyone else who went scampering, screaming and covering their mouths. The old, indigenous woman, with the multiple petticoats and black pork pie hat, sitting at her usual location half-way up the block, from whom I usually bought a daily newspaper, suddenly bent over and vomited. Moments before, I had heard a “pop-pop” and saw white, billowing clouds of smoke. A young Ecuatoriano adult, running in a hooded sweatshirt, gave a sudden yelp and stumbled, after getting hit in the leg with one of the tear gas canisters.
It is Free!! It costs nothing!! Stated the elderly anesthesiologist to the boy’s family. To put your son to sleep for his surgery costs absolutely nothing!! It is Free!! Free!! But to wake him up??………very very expensive!!
Moments earlier, in the same pre-operative area in this public hospital in a large Central American city, I witnessed another local medical doctor, drill a metal rod horizontally and completely through an indegenous patient’s femur, with the patient wide awake, and only after injecting numbing medicine, not much deeper than the skin, on the entry site of the thigh.
Such is the plight of the poor and marginalized, of which I have witnessed as an anesthesiologist, in over 30 international surgical missions, and which dominate the lyrical content of Ojos Feos’ original psychedelic Afro-Latin rock compositions.