Thursday, April 17, 2014

Random Thoughts Number …?

Originally, this blog was meant to touch on memories… times long past and moments of joy … or sadness. Or, whatever came to mind… As usual, last one won out...

As it often happens, when I come face to face with the computer all plans go out the window. Usually taking with them all the words and thoughts I had … oh, so ready… they all seem to fly out the virtual window in the back corner of my mind… as I watch, totally powerless, and see them disappear into the vastness of nothingness…

Oh My! … What should we write about? … Notice as the royal “We” gently rolls out of my fingertips while these deftly play the letter keys of this non-musical piano-like board on the computer…  

So, which way to go? Should I fall gently into the past and dig a bit deeper around those repressed memories that still abound? Or go boldly into the future and create memories to be? … Perhaps these last can be a bit sweeter and warmer than some of the ones life has actually created… but then, they wouldn’t have much weight to them… Oh well!!

I look around at what is going on in the world today and marvel at the sheer blind foolishness of mankind … I won’t go into the shallow idealism of “Why can’t we all get together?" cry of the late 60’s, when we lived an era that was shaped by an “in your living room, full color war” being played out courtesy of the evening newscasts, in the meanwhile consuming vast amounts of mind altering drugs, gyrating to the rhythm of some fool banging away on a tambourine, creating arrhythmic sounds… or maybe it was just noise which to our addled senses sounded like manna from heaven (or is it Manna from Mexico?)…

/// Here we are, several days later and not much the wiser…

The political landscape is as muddled as always; we are two and one half years away from the next presidential elections but the midterm elections this year are being called “stage setting” elections; do or die… on the one side, people are less happy with the current president’s results and directions than was expected by their own pundits and even the huge government marketing machinery can’t hide this. On the other side, however, potential contenders can’t shake the negative labels imposed on them by a mainstream media that insists on supporting the “liberal” government… do or die. It looks to be, in the political arena, a continuing war zone for the next two years.

And as these folk try to solve their own issues we, the people, pay more and more the consequences of all the created interests that come into play. But then … you knew that, didn’t you?

Our president keeps crying “foul” at the Russian president on the Ukraine issue and the other guy looks at him (and us) and basically says… Up Yours!! … What are you gonna do ‘bout it??? … He knows, we know, he knows we know and ... yes ... we know he knows we know the answer to that is … nothing.

As we see this crisis and others unfold on the international stage, we have to sadly accept that this presidency has managed to, in a few years of bumbling inefficiency, totally destroy the image of “friendly protector to our allies” our country had built over years and years of sacrifice and work…

I am readying myself for a constant mainstream media barrage of announced government “achievements” over the next few months, building up to the November elections; there is much negative groundswell that has to be quelled somehow. My only hope is that the average voter can see this for what it is… a basic “whitewash” of the real issues that are pressing more and more each day: inflation, real job issues; real exorbitant cost of the vaunted “Obamacare” structure, lack of budget control; foreign crisis that go unanswered or are mishandled… loss of faith, face and trust on the part of our heretofore staunch allies… and so on…

We will see…

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:

  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to

Monday, April 14, 2014

What Happened in Cuba?       
This is a question we have asked ourselves for the better part of a half a century. We still don’t have an answer. A friend (not Cuban) sent me a list of what he called “historical Cuban achievements” he had found on a website, of which the following is a partial listing, and asked the same question… I still did not have an answer… 
  •     First Iberian American country to use vapor powered machinery and ships was Cuba in 1829
  •    The third country in the world (after US and England) to have railroads was Cuba, in 1837
  •     First ether based anesthesia applied in the Spanish speaking world was by a Cuban MD in 1847.
  •  The first public electric light system in the Spanish speaking world was completed in Havana in 1889
  •  Cuba eliminated bullfights before the end of the 18th century, because they were “unpopular,        sanguinary and abusive with the animals”
  •  The first Latin American Trolley service was established in Cuba in 1900.
  •  The first city in the world with a direct dial (no operator) telephone system was Havana in 1906. 
  •   In 1915, the first Cuban Peso was minted; with values identical to the US dollar and until 1959, at times being worth 1-3 cents more the US Dollar
  •  The first Latin American country to approve a divorce law, in 1918. 
  •  In 1928 Cuba already had 61 radio stations, 43 of them in Havana, being the 4th radio market in the world at the time. Only the US, Canada and the Soviet Union surpassed Cuba.
  •  In 1937 by government decree, Cuba becomes the first country in the Spanish speaking world to have 8 hour work days, minimum salary and university autonomy.
  •  In 1940, Cuba becomes the first country in the Spanish Speaking world to have a black citizen elected as president, at a time when the population in Cuba was 75% white. 
  •  In 1940, Cuba approved the most advanced of all the Constitutions of the world at the time: women’s rights to work and to vote, equal rights of the sexes and races.
  • The first hotel in the world built with central air conditioning, was built in Havana: The Hotel Riviera, in 1951.
  •  In 1954, there was one cow per inhabitant in Cuba; it had the 3rd highest per capita consumption of beef after Argentina and Uruguay. 
  •  In 1955, Cuba has the second lowest infant mortality rate within the Spanish speaking world.
  •  In 1956 UN recognizes Cuba as having the second highest alphabetization level in the Spanish speaking world
  •  In 1957 the UN recognizes Cuba as having the highest per capita (1 per 957) number of Medical Doctors in the Spanish Speaking world; the highest % of households with electricity and the highest caloric consumption per person per day (2870).
  •   In 1957 Havana becomes the second city in the world to have 3D movies and multi-screen movies.
  •   In 1950, Cuba was the second country (after the US) to have TV transmissions; in 1958, Cuba is the second country in the world to transmit TV in color and has the third color TV station in the world.  
  •  In 1958, Cuba has the highest number of automobiles in the Spanish Speaking world (one per 38 inhabitants or 160,000); the highest number of electrodomestic equipment, the most Km of railroad and is the second in radio receptors.
  •  During the decade of the 50’s, Cuba fluctuated between 2nd and 3rd highest in per capita income in the Spanish speaking world; higher than Italy and doubling that of Spain.
  •  Despite being small in size and having only 6.5 million inhabitants, in1958 Cuba had the 29th strongest economy in the world
  •   In 1959, Havana was the city that had the most movie houses in the world (358). More than NYC and Paris which were #’s 2 & 3 respectively.
Our Caribbean island was not a perfect country; none is. We had ups and downs, inequalities and troubled times with folks who were not happy about how things may have stood. Still, after many years of traveling around the world, the memories I have of what was available as I was growing up in that island, surpass much of what I have come to see and witness in these travels, years after.

What happened?
We have been trying to answer that question for some 55 years now… there is still no real answer... and rhetoric is NOT an answer…

 “Socialism is the philosophy of failure; the creed of the ignorant ant the preaching of envy. Its one virtue is the equal distribution of misery”     Sir Winston Churchill

Be Well … Be Back!!!

Final Notes:

  • Pray for those who are fighting an illness which may take them away from their loved ones… Every request is heard, and counts!!
  • Follow us on Twitter … @RJAsPandora
  • Any comments please send to

Doña América and other memories.

I know she has already been mentioned somewhen along this line of sometimes unhinged memories as they relate to moments of my life , but y...