Monthly Archives: February 2006

Nixon Redux III

Just as did Nixon, the republicans are using IRS audits to punish their opponents.

The Washington Post Report


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This past Sunday Armando, my 88 year old (soon to be 89) Cuban American neighbor asked if he could take me lunch at a local cocina economica/bar I had told him about. I of course accepted.

A week or so ago Armando asked if I would email his granddaughter and let her know that his mailing address had changed. I did. In her response his granddaughter expressed her concerns for his health.

So with Armando’s authorization I emailed this picture to her to show her that her grandfather is in such a shape that those of us who might live to 89 could only wish for.

Armando has been wonderful to me, particularly in helping me to understand local ways. He is also a great source of information of Cuban history, of which I’ve been recently grilling him while reading “Cuba – A New History”. He left Cuba for the USA in 1957 and retired here 27 years ago.

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Tomorrow, being Ash Wednesday, Catholics will begin their observance of Lent, the forty days preceding Easter characterized by withdrawal and reflection. Certainly during Lent no behavior such as has occurred here the last few days will be permitted

Today, Fat Tuesday, Merida businesses have been closed, I suppose so folks can get serious about their final day of Carnaval debauchery. (The word Carnaval reportedly derives from Latin meaning “goodbye meat”.)

Tonight will be the Battle of Flowers, the final parade of Carnaval 2006, which involves a flower fight with the spectators. The parade will be followed by the usual music and dance.

El Macho Grande asked, in a comment to my Friday post, if I have been too hung over to post since then. I can report that I have not over indulged to the point of hangover during the entire celebration, despite the $10 peso beers available at the ubiquitous Sol, Corona, and Modelo booths. In fact, I haven’t even been to any of the parades or parties since Saturday night, when this geezer reached his fill of the shoulder to shoulder crowds.

Thursday afternoon, as I earlier reported, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the young children, in their thematic costumes, and their adult chaperones dancing down the street during the afternoon “Preschool” parade.

Friday evening I walked the three blocks to the Paeso Montejo an hour before the parade to ensure a good seat from which to take pictures. I parked myself at the very end of the top bench of one of the sets of bleachers that had been set up for block after block on the boulevard median.

Soon Nelson, Cynthia, and their young son sat on the end of the top bench of the bleachers across a two foot aisle from my perch and a couple of very innocent looking, obviously shy high school sweethearts took the seats to my left. Introduction were made all around and soon the party began.

It wasn’t long before Nelson climbed down, disappeared into the crowd and returned shortly with three Sols, one of which he handed to me. We sat, drank and chatted as we waited for the parade. Nelson and Cynthia were both very patient with my sometimes inadequate Spanish. Next it was my turn for a trip to the Sol booth, during which I also picked up Cokes for the high school sweeties, who declined the offer of beer.

Pretty soon a rather rotund fellow and his family parked themselves in the aisle between Neslon and me, introductions were made, and he immediately joined in the beer run rotation. Nelson returned from his next beer run with a Sol Carnaval T-shirt which he handed to me and explained that with each 5 empties one gets a T-shirt or hat. So we of course had to accumulate five more for a T-shirt for Neslon.

The Corso Parade, which was almost parenthetical to my Friday evening experience, featured costumed dancing groups and elaborate commercial floats from which generally scantily clad, dancing women and men threw various items into the crowd. My conversations with Nelson, his wife, and the rotund fellow and his sons was far more entertaining.

When I arrived on the Paseo Montejo Saturday evening, for the Fantasy Parade, there wasn’t a bleacher seat to be had so I found a spot in the row between two set of bleachers from which I would have a good view. In short order, a fellow seated on the top seat of the bleachers with his family tapped me on the shoulder and directed me to climb up and sit next to his wife. I thanked him heartily and climbed on up. He and his wife and their three freshly scrubbed and combed children, two boys of about 4 and 5 and an adorable daughter of 11 months, were delightful company.

It wasn’t long before the little girl, bedecked in her crisp pink dress and beaded corn rows, reached over from her mother’s lap and playfully poked me in the cheek. I gave a return poke to her cheek and she burst into giggles. The poking game went on for a bit, until one of her brothers decided to move on down to see what the fun was all about. Once the parade began the little guy, steadying himself with a hand on my shoulder, pointed out and explained the coming parade entries to me. Not that I understood what he was saying. Again the parade, which was pretty much the same as the night before, wasn’t nearly as interesting as was my interchanges with the wonderfully friendly family.

Tomorrow things will return to normal and mostly likely be another great day in the Yucatan.


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Carnaval 2006 kicked off Wednesday evening with the ceremonial Burning of the Bad Moods on a stage set up in the street in front of the Municipal Building adjacent to the Plaza de la Independencia. The elaborately decorated stage was as wide as the street.

The ceremony was preceded by a dance contest amongst a number of girls selected from the audience, the participants in which were judged by audience applause.

Yesterday afternoon was the Children’s Parade, the first of six parades in six days.

Various Jardines de Ninos (Children’s Gardens), which is what kindergartens are called here, dressed up, elaborately, in accordance with themes, such as Aladdin, Snow White,
Wizard of Oz, Tarzan, and etc., and danced down the street to the music from a huge sound system in the back of a pick up truck which preceded each group.

The adult chaperones of each group boogied right along with the kids.

The streets were lined four or five deep for block after block and chairs and bleachers were set up in the parks abutting the street.

I nestled into a spot behind the three deep chairs from where I had a fairly good view of the procession but as parade time neared it soon became shoulder to shoulder. I ended up pressed against a tree with barely enough room to wrest my day pack from my back to get more film and reload my camera.

As you can see in the lowest picture, even the children spectators got into the act of dressing in costumes. It was a wonderful experience to see the hundreds of children in their elaborate costumes dancing along the street and the thousands of spectators smiling, applauding and holding their children aloft so they could see the parade.

I realized during the parade that the children I had seen practicing dance routines in Celestun, while I was waiting for the bus, were practicing for Carnaval.

I have noticed here, as I noticed in Cuba, that everyone loves the children; and that the children in Merida, and their clothing, are always immaculately clean.

Tonight is the “Corso Parade: This is the first parade where the dance groups start their competition for best group. The ex-Kings and Queens and grade school kids are in the parade. Along the parade route there are 20 bands of national and international fame. The fun of Carnival begins!”, as described on the official Carnaval 2006 web site.

I will walk the three blocks to the Paseo Montejo and try to get a seat on the bleachers set up, for block after block, in the median. The Montejo is lined with Coca Cola, Pepsi, Corona, and Sol cabanas/vendor booths.

One of the next few days I will research the relationship between Carnaval and Lent and inform those of you who, like me, don’t know. During my research I’ll probably also discover what Lent is all about. Being a heathen, I’ve never Lentenized.


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Send O’Reilly to Darfur Pledge Drive Report

“Kristof’s Pledge Drive Yields $727,568 to Send Bill O’Reilly to Darfur”

And I thought it was a joke. This should suggest an income opportunity to the unscrupulous.

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Birth Announcement

The avocado seed I planted some weeks ago has given birth to a sprout which is now developing its initial set of leaves.

As you can see in the picture below, my little tree nursery on the patio now includes the papaya that my neighbor Ignacio wrenched from his yard and dropped to me over the back yard wall, which can be seen at the right center; a mango that had sprouted from a seed below the large mango tree in the back yard, which I transplanted into a container, and which can be seen at the top center of the picture; about 20 smaller papayas from seeds I planted; and ten mandarins from seeds.

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Francis Fukuyama

Can someone please tell me why anyone should give any credence what-so-ever to what Francis Fukuyama has to say, let alone buy his books?

The guy is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and cranks out books like pasta, probably on the university’s dollar; but he changes is ideological clothes like an adolescent in the midst of his political pubescence.

A mere seven, or so, years ago he was riding posse with the like of William Kristol, Robert Kagen, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and the other neofascists, to whom, in accordance with their self promotions, everyone refers to as neoconservatives.

Fukuyama, along with the aforementioned fanatics, signed onto the 1998 letter to then President Clinton encouraging U. S. military action to remove Hussein; and now, after his fellow travelers have completely botched the job, in his latest trope, from within his academic insulation, he is lecturing us on the failures of his previous ideology de jour.

I suppose that since his latest pedantic offering is getting lots of play in the media Johns Hopkins will give him a raise. Or maybe name a chair after the hack.


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