Yes, it is Cinco de Mayo, and I am feeling sorry for myself. It's true. Indulge me while I whine. Or go ahead and go somewhere else. Whatever.
I am far from where I started, far from corner taco stands -- not that there were ever any here, per se, but close, no more than twenty minutes down the hill -- far from fresh, genuinely ripe fruit from a farmstand with which I could make frozen margaritas if I didn't have this &*%$ing sinus infection -- oh, wait, maybe I'll make some anyway. I've got some Patrón silver and a ton of grapefruit. Vitamin C and all that. Plenty of liquids. Cool.
Okay, never mind about the whining after all. Sorry, false alarm.
One more note:
If you want to know what this Cinco de Mayo thing is all about, other than the "drunken stockbroker coming down your chimney" alluded to by Jon Stewart on last night's installment of The Daily Show, try to find a copy of The Crown of Mexico: Emperor Maximilian and His Empress Carlotta, by Joan Haslip, publisher Holt, Rinehart & Winston (1971). Though it somewhat suitably seems to have disappeared into a vortex of untracked lending years and years ago, I discovered my own copy where someone else had left it behind, in a hotel room in Haines, Alaska, where I happened to find myself with a long night ahead and not a thing to read. Fortuitous, no? It's a great read, too. I couldn't put it down. And up to that point, all I'd ever known about any of this came from a surprisingly accurate (if necessarily thin) and beautifully cheesy movie named Juarez starring Bette Davis as Empress Carlotta. (Ah, she's delicious when she goes nuts on film. "Maxl! Maxl!" Who can forget?)
So wherever you are, if like me you are too old to be out partying all night in dive bars by the beach, kissing strangers and dancing on tables (sorry, didn't see those nachos there -- uh, you gonna eat those?), and you can't lay hands on the book, here's what I recommend. Hie thee to the nearest fruit source and pick up a lot of fruit -- a whole pineapple and/or a couple of baskets of strawberries and/or a half a dozen ripe peaches, if you can find them this early. Blueberries. Raspberries. You get the idea; just grab a lot.
Then get to the video store and grab yourself a copy of Juarez before they run out. And look, if you want to enhance your Benito Juarez experience with a little extra Bette Davis, heck, I'm no purist and it's fine by me. You can make it a double feature and check out young Ronald Reagan playing a generally useless young man in Dark Victory while you're at it. The contrast between Bette Davis as a mad, betrayed empress and Bette Davis as a spoiled rich girl with terminal cancer is not as broad as you might expect.
At home, make sure you have crushed ice, really good tequila (the expensive stuff -- not Cuervo or the like -- plata preferred), some Grand Marnier and some sugar. Peel and chunk the entire pineapple, or seed/pit/peel and chunk whatever you bought, as appropriate, about a pineapple's worth in volume. Throw it in the blender and purée. (If your blender is small, throw in only half and make two batches.) For each 8 fl. oz. of liquid your blender holds, throw in one shot each of tequila and Grand Marnier. Add ice and grind away until you get the right slushy texture. Add sugar (organic Florida Crystals preferred) to taste, and note that if you use peaches or strawberries at this season, it's probably going to be more now than later on in the season. Pour into margarita glasses and get pleasantly, crazily bombed with someone you love while watching Bette Davis pretend quite expertly to break her own heart in glorious black and white.
Salt is optional, but not required. Enjoy, and wish me luck with the grapefruit.
Or you could just go to Wikipedia. But that's boring.