This week’s lesson is from typing class

Dear Readers:

We begin, as we do each week, with cojones, although the huevos in question deal with my column a couple of semanas ago on why gabachos prefer the former term for testicles as opposed to the latter. I gave a rough etymology of the two (cojones comes from the Spanish singular cojón, testicle, from the Latin coleo — sack — while huevo actually means egg and derives from ovum). A sometimes-reader wrote in with a clarification.

Dear Mexican:

A recent column contained comments on huevos as opposed to cojones. As a retired Latin teacher who is also fluent in French and moderately competent in Spanish, I offer this correction, not as a quibbler but as someone hopeful that you are always open to learning something new. The language of your columns suggests to me that this is the case. In Latin, coleus was a popular word for the testicle, and coleos habere was a proverbial expression equivalent to “to have balls (courage).”  The derivation of cojon (sorry, I don’t know how to type the accent) reflects the transformation of the sound “L + yod” into “j” by Latin speakers in Spain. Other examples are hijo from filius and hoja from folia. Thus, the correct etymon of cojon/es is coleus. Your citing ovum as the etymon for huevo/s is, of course, correct.

Tar Hill Tory

Dear Gabacho:

Gracias for the clarification, although you didn’t correct anything — you offered the plural origins of cojón, while I explained the singular. Pero chichi for tat: As I’ve previously explained but will again not just for you but for the muchos who continue to preguntar this, it’s facil to type out all the diacritics on both Macs and PCs that the Spanish language uses. To make an acute accent appear on a Mac, hold down the Option key, hit the E key, release Option, then type the vowel you want accented. Spanish’s other diacritics get registered roughly the same way. An umlaut appears by pressing Option, pressing the U key, releasing Option and typing the letter wanted; do the same if you want a tilde, but hit the N key with Option instead of the U key, then hit N again. For upside-down exclamation points, hold down Option and press the 1 key — ¡voila! An upside-down question mark is a bit trickier — hold down Option plus Shift, then punch the question-mark key, ¿comprende?

Microsoft Word is somewhat harder. Upside-down exclamation points and question marks require that you push Control plus Alt plus Shift, then type whatever you want flipped around. Acute accents pop up after you hold down Control, then hit the apostrophe key; release and type in your vowel. A tilde: Control plus Shift plus squiggly mark, release, the letter N. Both Macs and Bill Gates require that you hold the Shift key after executing the above instructions if you want a diacritic to top a capital letter. And remember, people: No grave accents in Spanish or tildes on letters other than N — that’s the domain of the mongrel tongue known as Portuguese.

Dear Mexican:

Who is Carlos Slim Helú?

Guillermo Verjas

Dear Gabacho:

Mexico’s answer to Bill Gates, except fatter, less charitable by nine-tenths, and with a monopoly on Mexico’s telecommunications that would’ve made Rockefeller seem like a rag picker. Should focus on buying California instead of The New York Times to make the Reconquista legit.

¡ASK A MEXICAN BOOK CONTEST! In 25 words or less, tell me your favorite local Mexican restaurant and what makes it so bueno. I’ll soon be traveling ’round los Estados Unidos on my trusty burro to research my upcoming book on the history of Mexican food in the United States, and I need places to haunt and cacti to sleep under. One entry per person, one winner per paper, five winners total for areas that don’t carry my column, and contest ends when I say so!

E-mail The Mexican at, find him at, or write to him via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433. Letters will be edited for clarity, cabrones. And include a hilarious pseudonym, por favor, or we’ll make one up for you!

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