The nice part about dying is that people finally think fondly of you. Even if you're a total fuck up while you're alive [link to Stockbauer on you tube hahaha], once you're dead the slate is wiped clean. As usual the Mexicans got it right (remember – they're MexiCANs, not MexiCAN'Ts). When it comes to honoring the dead, it's best to throw a big party. On Saturday, I was at the Oakland Museum of California where they spent some of their fancy museum money to throw a community celebration for Days of the Dead. The morning started auspiciously with a dead cat in the koi pond. Alters were erected upon which visitors placed their remembrances of loved ones. Of course being Mexicans these included sticky glasses of foamy pulque and cheap cigarettes. Some people went all out and typed up essays about the deceased, but I liked the more basic efforts. The best one was the stick figure of the dead cat, which was apparently more beloved than the koi pond cat, since no one made an offering for it before we pitched it into the dumpster. Some say that lilies are the flower for funerals, but the Mexicans go with marigolds for their gaudy color and rank smell that are said to attract the dead. They also burn lots of incense just in case you can't smell the flowers when you're dead. It's a colorful, stinking affair, just like most good parties. Add Aztec dancers with feather headdress; senoritas in white blouses, ribbioned braids, and traditional skirts; kids with their squishy little faces painted like skeletons; ladies making tortillas; hand painted sugar skulls; taco stands; a guy in a devil costume, an alter to dead gay lesbian and transgenders (it is the Bay Area after all), and a mariachi band selling peyote buttons, and you've got a party thrilling enough to raise the dead.