Thursday, August 31, 2006

No paso na'...

Ernesto is gone. Here's a brief chronology of what transpired over the last few days, as our family prepared for the Hurricane:

Monday - My wife went to Target and bought a couple of batteries, 4 cans of Chef Boy-ar-dee, and a small box of emergency candles. Oh, she also bought a copy of the Shaggy Dog so we could watch it before the power would go out.

Tuesday - We closed up the accordian shutters. I went to Toys'R'Us to buy a birthday present for my daughter. The store was empty, so I had the run of the place.

Tuesday evening - Ernesto was heading right for us! We went to my sisters house, where my brother (in-law but really just my brother) prepared a delicious beef tenderloin, and we drank a great Cab'.

Tuesday, mid-evening - Ernesto was dropping some rain, hadn't picked up speed, and appeared to be weakening (Brian Norcross was pissed!) We broke out the dominoes and cigars and sat on the back porch, talking about Cuba, the art of the domino game, my grandfather, Cuba, and oh yeah, Cuba.

Tuesday, late evening - While Brian Norcross was in deep depression and certainly hitting a very large bottle of Grey Goose, we were feeling less stressed. The storm was becoming disorganized. We put our daughter to bed, and broke out "Shaun of the Dead". My sister had never seen a zombie movie (!), let alone a classic quaside-comedy like this one.

Wednesday - had a good nights sleep. No trees down. Very little wind. I spent the rest of the day catching up on work and last night, we went to Bahama Breeze for one more birthday celebration with our daughter. I asked the waiter to bring her a chocolate mouse with a candle, but not to sing happy birthday (she doesn't like that stuff). So, the dessert came out, her eyes lit up, and we mouthed the words to happy birthday, fake clapped, and she happily devoured the mouse (I helped her out of course).

Thanks for the good time Ernesto!

Monday, August 28, 2006

People of Miami, get your hammers and coffee ready!

Hurricane Ernesto is on the way! Aren't you excited? This is your opportunity to see what damage Ernesto does to your home, and dream about what kind of cash you can suck out of the insurance companies. Yay! Get your hammers ready to break your tile roofs, and coffee to create faux water stains on your ceilings.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the above is taken from real-life stories. There are many more stories of fraud and deception, but I won't go into them; not only because of time, but they are so outrageous you would not believe them if I told you. Miami is a sad, sad town; with the most "ethically challenged" people the USA has ever seen.

Brace yourselves insurance companies... Ernesto is on it's way to Miami!

For those of you who have a problem with insurance rates going up, you're preaching to the choir. But the old saying applies here -- "2 wrongs don't make a right". Also, allow me an Andy Rooney moment; you ever wonder why the insurance rates in Miami are higher than other cities in Florida, even though all the cities are subject to equal threat from hurricanes???

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Industrial Lights and Magic

Okay, so the old guy is alive after all (unless Lucas' people found a way to digitize a video of Fidel next to Chavez).

Believe it or not, there are no cries of "CURSE YOU FIDEL!!" on the streets of Miami today. We the Miami Mafia are content with the fact that his days are nonetheless numbered, and we can all dream and hope for a better Cuba (dreaming never hurt anyone).

Monday, August 14, 2006

"That is not Elian!"

So said Marisleisis (Elian Gonzalez's aunt, whose name I'm sure I just butchered) shortly after Elian was reunited with his dad several years ago, as she held up a photo of him (yeah I know this isn't that picture but I couldn't find the right one) in the arms of his father. She was certain it was a hoax photo. After all, how could Elian be so happy!

And now here we are, several years later, after the the 'masses' went out into the streets waving flags and cheering upon the news that Fidel was having some trouble with his bowel movements, confronted with photos of a cheerful Fidel in an Adidas sweat-suit, following what would seem to be a successful surgery.

I for one am dissapointed that he's still hanging around. But at the same time, I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions and say that the photos being sent out by Granma are Photoshop jobs. I mean come on, the Cuban government wouldn't do that! Please. I find it hard to believe that the same country that has warned it's people of an impending attack by the "Yankis" for over 45 years would Photoshop an image of Fidel, alive, on his hospital bed. Come on! Everyone knows that only Americans and the American press lie and invent crap like that.

As I thought about this today, I thought how he may still be alive and what that means. I also thought about him dead and what that means. Then I remembered Marisleysis and that Cuban pride - if you're Cuban you know what I'm talking about. That voice inside your head that won't allow you to let go; to lose even though things are unraveling before your very eyes. I remembered poor Marisleysis, reaching; not willing to go down without a fight. "That is not Elian", she said defiantly, in front of the world press. Soon after that Marisleysis faded away, Elian went back to Cuba.

I hear that these days Elian still, 7 years later, walks around with Cuban government agents escorting him about, because the "Yankis" or exiled "terrorists" might try to come back and get him. I guess it works; it's makes for great drama. It keeps the Cuban people in fear I mean -- always waiting for that impending attack from the USA, for the oppressors invasion.

It's hard for a Cuban to let things go. I guess it may be just as hard whether you're in Miami, or on the island on the verge of change. Watching things unravel before them must be difficult for the Castro(s...maybe). To think that after all these years it could all fade away; that you could fade away. That your legacy would be, to thinking people anyways, as important as a stain on dirty underwear. That you would be remembered as a beligerent old opportunist, who cared nothing for Cuba or it's people. That you would be remembered for using Communism as a front for your own gain.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?Luke 9:24-26

Monday, August 07, 2006

Another good post from Val at Babalu.

"Ice cream and cake

You're a six or seven year old in the first grade in Cuba. You are sitting at your desk along with all your classmates and your teacher comes in and says "Ok class. How many of you would like to have some ice cream and cake?"
The entire classroom, you included, raises their hands, giddy with anticipation, practically tasting that commodity you have had very few times in your life.
The teacher scans the room, sees all the raised hands and kids stirring in their seats and says: "Alright then. All of you bow your heads and pray to God to bring you some ice cream and cake."
And you, along with every other kid in the class, do just that. You bow your head and begin praying to God.
Dear God, please let us have some ice cream and cake. I love ice cream and cake, God, and I have behaved. Ive been a good boy. I would love some ice cream and cake. Please God, bring us some ice cream and cake.
You and your classmates sit there for what seems like forever praying to God for ice cream and cake. Every few seconds you look towards the classroom door, hoping, praying, that God will have sent someone to your classroom with some delicious ice cream and cake.
But after over ten minutes of praying to God for ice cream and cake, it is nowhere to be found. There is no ice cream and cake. God didnt hear your prayers. God didnt take care of you. God didnt send you ice cream and cake.
"Alright," says your teacher. "Have you all been praying to God for ice cream and cake?"
Everyone nods their heads. You and your classmates have prayed hard.
"Well now," your teacher says. "If you ve all prayed so hard to God, like I know you all have, why arent you eating ice cream and cake? Why didnt God bring you some ice cream and cake? You see, God doesnt take care of you."
After a brief moment of complete silence, your teacher chimes in again:
"Alright, now I want you to bow your heads once again and pray. Pray for the Revolution to bring you ice cream and cake."
And you bow your head once again as do your classmates and begin to pray. No sooner have you done so than the door busts open and its a miliciano, dressed in fatigues like the omnipotent leader of Cuba, with a five gallon bucket of ice cream and a huge cake.
"You see, children," your teacher says smiling. "You prayed to God for ice cream and cake but he did not give you ice cream and cake. Then you prayed to the Revolution for ice cream and cake and now you are all eating ice cream and cake. God does not love you like the Revolution loves you."
As an adult, you dont really like ice cream and cake all that much."


Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday 8/4

After listening to the radio today and watching TV last night, I'm encouraged by some of the talk going on in Miami regarding the Cuba issue. Encouraged because unlike the past, I'm hearing very little emotionally charged diatribes. Mostly, there is talk of a long process ahead, uncertainty of what actually will happen "when Fidel dies", and calls for calm and peace during this time.

It's all good for now. We're all just waiting to see what happens next. Let's hope the air of reason and calm lasts when it finally comes out that he's dead. I'm not against celebration, tears and cheering. I just hope we can all keep clear perspective and vision of who stayed behind, and how we can help them get back on their feet.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pack yer bags! We're goin' home!

Or not. My friend Robert (a good ole boy from Missouri, and proud of it) called me yesterday and told me "The bearded one is dead. Y'all can go home now."

I just wanted to share that with everyone. Though said in jest, there's true sentiment there. Problem is, "home" is 45 years gone. Are your bags really packed? Do you pretend to go back and recover something lost in time?

Let's all focus on those who stayed there, and how we can help them get things straight... that is if they want our help.

Me? I'm already home. God Bless America.


"Com' on, say it with me now... (Updated)
Update: Let's up the ante here. Allow me to add another parameter or two:
- Where's Waldo raul?
- Where's Dumbass Chavez? Why hasn't he come to Papa fidel's bedside?
- Why is the army mobilizing?
- Why is there no communication to and from the island?
Im just sayin'..."

Posted by Val Prieto at 12:54 PM Habla (70) Leenkaso (0)

I've been silent about the whole Fidel thing for 2 reasons. First, my reaction the day it hit the news that he had ceded power to Raul "I'm as gay as the cast of Queer Eye" Castro, was to turn over and go back to sleep. Why? Seen it before, read the book, saw the movie. Second, I have a life that involves working my own biz and being a husband and father; I'm busy.

Today I visited one of my favorite blogs, I met Val at Cuba Nostalgia, and bought my "CHE? STILL DEAD" t-shirt from him. These guys are awesome, and they've been keeping an eye on the situation as it develops, so for a biased yet intelligent opinion on the goings on of Castro and Cuba, I highly recommend checking out their site. (by the way, if biased means wanting Castro dead, freeing political prisoners, not arresting people and giving them 20 year sentences for selling beef from broken refrigerators, allowing free elections and letting people express themselves freely, then I guess I'm biased too).