Howler Magazine - - & Entertainment Arts -

It's elec­tion time once again in Costa Rica. For those of you cu­ri­ous about how it works down here, I'll give you the ba­sics: It hap­pens every four years, there are usu­ally a cou­ple of rounds, and every now and then it gets kind of in­ter­est­ing.

True to form, this year's first round fell on the same day as the Su­per

Bowl. The lo­cal al­calde in Santa Cruz de­clared that no al­co­hol would be sold in his can­tón ( ju­ris­dic­tion) dur­ing vot­ing hours, and his plans to en­force this de­cree caused great alarm among the area's gringo-ori­ented sports and bev­er­age es­tab­lish­ments. This re­sulted in a large num­ber of peo­ple not hav­ing ac­cess to al­co­hol for sev­eral day­light hours, al­though I'm happy to re­port they sur­vived the or­deal and were able to com­mence im­bib­ing in time for the 6 p.m. kick­off.

The first elec­tion round saw 10 or so po­lit­i­cal par­ties go­ing at it, in­clud­ing sev­eral that failed to clear even 1 per­cent of the votes. These “ul­tra-fringe” par­ties in­cluded The Peo­ple's Pro­gres­sive Nud­ist Party (PPNP), The Na­tional An­gry Woman's Coali­tion (NAWC) and the Ex­tran­jeros Who Can't Vote Party (EWCVP), of which I'm proud to say I re­ceived 23 write-in votes.

Elec­tion can­di­dates who win at least 40 per­cent of the vote get to be pres­i­dent, which did not hap­pen this time. There­fore, the two with the most votes are go­ing at it again on April 1 … that's right, April Fool's Day.

Both can­di­dates have the same last name, Al­varado. Fabri­cio Al­varado Muñoz re­ceived 24.91 per­cent of the vote and Car­los Al­varado Que­sada got 21.66 per­cent. Nei­ther nom­i­nee rep­re­sents one of the two par­ties that have dom­i­nated Costa Ri­can elec­tions for the last 50 years. It'd be like a U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion with­out a Demo­crat or Repub­li­can con­tender. What a re­fresh­ing idea!

Front-run­ner Don Fabri­cio, who is well known as a Chris­tian singer and his op­po­nent Don Car­los, a for­mer min­is­ter, are both very critical of re­cent rul­ings by the In­ter-Amer­i­can Court of Hu­man Rights en­dors­ing same-sex mar­riages. This may not bode well for my wife and I, who have been in­volved in a Gay mar­riage for over 20 years! (Yes, my last name is Gay… re­ally.)

Of course, you read­ers of the post­elec­tion fu­ture al­ready know how this years' elec­tion turned out. Please don't spoil it for me.

Pink Beard

So here I am in my lower mid-60s play­ing bass in a band with a bunch of 30-year-olds, in­clud­ing our very

at­trac­tive singer with al­most no hair on her head.

How am I sup­posed to deal with this stuff ?

The band in ques­tion is PinkyGuaro. Pink is ob­vi­ously a theme, so we hit upon the idea of spray­ing my now very white beard with pink hair color, if I could find any. It took go­ing to Cologne, Ger­many, to find some in a weird lit­tle shop that sold hair col­or­ing prod­ucts. Stephanie, the singer, soon be­came adept at spray­ing my beard be­fore every gig, and it's safe to say I now make quite a state­ment while play­ing. I'm not sure though if peo­ple in the au­di­ence, who al­ways seem to en­joy­ing the show, “get” the pink beard thing.

I'll be stand­ing out­side a club af­ter the show is over and any num­ber of peo­ple will com­ment on the beard, most ap­par­ently as­sum­ing I'm some weird old guy that likes to have a pink beard, and ask ques­tions like “Is it per­ma­nent?” or “Can I touch it?”

I usu­ally counter with “Do you know why I have a pink beard?” and go into an ex­pla­na­tion about the name of the band. Ap­par­ently, al­though fans like the PinkyGuaro band, they don't re­ally pay at­ten­tion to its name.

So I guess I'll con­tinue to be Costa Rica's old­est pink-bearded bass player and hope the PinkyGuaro name will even­tu­ally be­come a house­hold word.

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