Stop the presses!

Taco Bell has released the name of the Chihuahua dog that the company uses in its television commercials.The dog's name is "Dinky."

Not "Jose," "Desi" or "Raul."

But "Dinky."

And maybe that's fitting, since the dog's Spanish sounds a little suspect to me, anyway.

Most native speakers I know never say things like "Yo quiero Taco Bell" (I want Taco Bell). They'd say "Quiero Taco Bell," because the pronoun is implicit in the verb itself.

But then most of them wouldn't say "Quiero Taco Bell" either. They'd say "Vamos a Taco Bell."

But then they wouldn't say that either, since Taco Bell isn't exactly their cup of tea. It's too bland. As one of my Mexico City friends said during his vacation here, "American tacos aren't tacos at all, they're hamburgers in taco disguises."

He had a few unkind words for our bean-dip, as well. He said most of it was really lentil-dip.

As for Dinky the dog, well, I'm not convinced he's a dog at all. I recall Jan Brunvand, the folklorist at the University of Utah, writing about the urban legend where a woman thinks she's buying a tiny Chihuahua dog, but she's really buying a large Chihuahua rat.

And admit it. Dinky does have a vague aura of rodent about him.

Just the same, thanks to Dinky, Chihuahua dogs - real Chihuahuas - are hotter than salsa these days. Everyone wants one.

There was even a time I wanted one. Years ago I'd see the ads in the back of comic books for those Chihuahuas that fit in a teacup, and I'd wish for one. The last time I was in Mexico I even considered getting one. I figured I could smuggle the thing across the border in my pocket. The only thing that stopped me was I knew if I were caught, "dog smuggler" looks a lot like "drug smuggler," and most of my friends would never read the papercarefully enough to make the distinction.

Looking back, I remember I couldn't even pronounce the name of the breed when I was a kid. And most people still can't. They simply go to the kennel and ask for "Taco Bell" dogs.

Which, come to think of it, is better than the radio announcer I remember from my youth.

She was reading the want-ads on the air and said that a woman in town was selling a "Chi-hoo-ah-hoo-ah Pet."

There were no takers.


Yo quiero un Hires hamburger.