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This Week In The Dream Antilles


Coming Soon To A Town Near You

There is nothing quite like a summer scandal (Note: your Bloguero hesitates to call it “a sex scandal”).  The temperature and humidity are both in the mid-90’s in New York.  The air is fetid.  Movies that are heavily air conditioned are expensive.  The subway is a complete Schwitz.  And as if all of that weren’t miserable enough, there’s the quease-inducing idea of a 46-year old Congressman sexting with mid-20 year old women (are there more than six?) whom he has never met in person and who either like or do not like receiving such digital “stimulation.” (Note: your Bloguero cannot resist such puns.  The heat made him do it.)  In the midst of all this folly, that pinnacle of human garbage, Andrew Breitbart, got a public apology from the Weiner.  And MSNBC is now writing about how Democratic women aren’t screaming for Weiner’s resignation, let alone consulting with Lorena Bobbitt about appropriate sanctions. My father-in-law often said of that old the promotion, “New York is a Summer Festival,” “Yeah, New York is a summer vegetable.”  How very true and prescient.

On Tuesday, your Bloguero was incensed by the kidnapping of Syrian blogger Amina Abdallah, and he wrote Free Amina.  Amina had to be crazy, your Bloguero figured, writing from Damascus, being an out lesbian in a country where that is illegal, and criticizing the current despot, who appears to believe in armed violence against all protesters.  But crazy or not, your Bloguero was outraged that Amina was targeted and whisked off the streets by armed goons and disappeared.  What is this, your Bloguero shouted, do they think Syria is Videla’s Argentina or Pinochet’s Chile?  Your Bloguero promptly withdrew the remark: evidently Syria is cut from exactly the same fabric.

And then, cold water was immediately thrown on your Bloguero’s outrage.  It turns out that the entire story might be a hoax or fabrication or disinformation of some kind.  How Many “L’s” Are There In “Gullible” detailed the many problems.  Your Bloguero notes that as of Friday afternoon, there are no new entries at A Gay Girl In Damascus, which your Bloguero reads as confirmation of a hoax of some kind.

Weiner: Make Me One With Everything was a rant about Weiner’s public apology to Andrew Breitbart.  Your Bloguero is not holding his breath until Andrew Breitbart apologizes to anyone, much less Shirley Sharrod, for being a piece of barnyard excrement and for the mischief he has made.

On June 6, 2011, your Bloguero noted the anniversary of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

Your Bloguero is a football (as in futbol, as in soccer) fanatic.  This may be because other ball sports give unfair premiums to big or tall persons, and your Bloguero is neither.  It may be because your Bloguero loves to play the game.  So your Bloguero’s hall of fame is filled with people like him, of small stature who are the wizards of futbol skills. Two of these: Lionel Messi, who is your Bloguero’s size, and Diego Maradona, who ever so slightly smallter at 5’5″.  Both are from Argentina.  Diego Maradona Pwns FIFA noted that Maradona had spoken the truth about the governing powers of futbol, FIFA, calling them out as corrupt and saying that they should step down so that former players could run and preserve the game.  Your Bloguero agrees 100%.

Meanwhile, in Chile, Puyehue volcano erupted, dropping ash in Chile and Argentina and forcing evacuations.

And in a dramatic highwire act without a net, Visualizing That Tightrope, Part 2 your Bloguero celebrated the feat of Nik and Delilah Wallenda, his mother, in safely completely the very stunt that killed Karl Wallenda.  Your Bloguero is in awe of this kind of daring.

Your Bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature. Your Bloguero, though needs encouragement.  From you.  It’s easy to give him that.  If you read this Digest, please click the “encouragement jar” in the comments.  That’s the only way your Bloguero will know that you visited.  Hasta pronto.

How Many “L’s” Are There In “Gullible”?

Egg meet face. Or maybe not. Yesterday, your Bloguero became incensed that Syrian authorities or other bad people had seized or kidnapped Syrian Blogger Amina Abdallah, and your Bloguero rushed to post about it, not just here but at about five other sites, using a photo your Bloguero (and most of the world’s media) then thought was Amina Abdallah.

Almost immediately, the claim arose that the woman in the photo wasn’t really Amina.  No, it was apparently somebody else, from England, named Jelena Lecic.  OK, your Bloguero thought, somebody is trying to undercut the kidnapping story. Then your Bloguero, ever suspicious, thought, no, Amina had used somebody else’s picture so that she would not be so easily identified by Syrian police thugs.  That made sense.  Then your Bloguero thought, well, and maybe her nom de ecran isn’t her real name either.  And then, gnawing at your Bloguero’s brain stem, the thought arose, “Ut oh.  Maybe you’re gullible and maybe this whole thing is just an enormous hoax.”  That ugly, reptilian thought was one your Bloguero immediately filed in his vast personal filing cabinet of ugly, reptillian thoughts.

Your Bloguero thought, “Well, let’s see what is next.”  Today what was next was not pretty. MSNBC reported that Jelena Lecic claims that Amina stole her identity:

The reported disappearance of a gay Syrian-American blogger has attracted skepticism after a London woman claimed the photos published by news organizations worldwide are of her, not of the blogger, and that the blogger stole her identity a year ago.

… News sites, including, reported the 36-year-old writer’s disappearance on Tuesday, along with a photo of her.

On Wednesday, a London publicist said photos circulating are actually of Jelena Lecic, a Croatian woman who works as an administrator at the Royal College of Physicians in London. Lecic believes her identity has been used before by Arraf.

Jelena Lenic, who lives in London, said her photo was used alongside stories about a missing Syrian blogger. The blogger has previously claimed photos of Lecic were of her, she said.

“Just over a year ago, a friend called Jelena up and said, ‘Do you have another identity up on Facebook? Because there’s someone else who has your pictures up but not your name,” publicist Julius Just told “She and her friend complained, and Facebook removed it, and she believed it was the end of the matter.”

But when news of Arraf’s disappearance broke, Just said Lecic saw her photo alongside the story in London’s Guardian newspaper. It was one of the same photos her friend had spotted on Facebook a year ago under a different profile name: Amina Abdalla Arraf….

[Lecic’s] publicist said he questioned whether Arraf was a real person.

“She could be a composite. Who knows? She claims online that she was born in the United States, but researchers can find no records of her born in the U.S.,” Just told “Why would you take another woman’s identity and claim it as your own? If she is real, Jelena is extremely concerned for her and her family, but her identity has been stolen. This is a serious situation.”

Egged on by the “publicist” MSNBC reported that apparently nobody had seen Amina in person.  And it wondered aloud whether she existed. It accepted without investigation that claim that there was no record of her in the US.  Heaven knows how the “publicist” could know that. One thing is for sure: if she didn’t exist, the story of the kidnapping was baloney. Hmmm.  That too sounded odd.

So apparently a woman who is an administrator at the London College of Physicians has a “publicist”.  And that publicist is now speculating on whether or not Amina really exists.  And talking about an investigation of US records about Amina.  How curious.

Maybe your Bloguero should go around with a shirt with an enormous “G” for gullible stenciled on it.  Maybe not.  The compelling part of the story is that a blogger would be targeted by the government or thugs because of what she said and would be kidnapped or seized or maybe even disappeared.  As a blogger, your Bloguero felt compelled to speak out about this.  And he did.  But today there is still that loud gnawing on your Bloguero’s brain stem.

Is your Bloguero (and the rest of the Blogosfero) being played for the sentimental, self righteous fool?  And if he is, is this just the latest attempt by Syrian and other despotic authorities to silence the chattering Blogosfero?  Or is the story a real one?

Amina’s blog, “A Gay Girl In Damascus,” hasn’t been updated since late Monday.  The story in the Traditional Media is now no longer about a kidnapping.  It’s about whether there was a hoax.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Free Amina!!


MSNBC reports that Amina Araf, who under the nom de plume Amina Abdallah, wrote the blog, Gay Girl In Damascus, and was “an unlikely spokesperson for the largely anonymous anti-government protests sweeping Syria” has been seized (or is the word “kidnapped”) and is missing:

American-Syrian Amina Araf… was walking with a friend when three men in their twenties grabbed her, someone claiming to be her cousin wrote. Being openly gay is very unusual and risky in the region.

“One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad,” a person identifying calling herself Rania O. Ismail wrote on the blog Monday night.

In other words, she is much like you, dear reader.  She was just a blogger.  She wrote about what she was experiencing in a Syria in flux. And she talked about her life.  But in that corner of the world, her views, her life were both enough to bring serious reprisals.  Like kidnapping.  Like summary arrest.  Like being disappeared.  

The blog reports:

I have been on the telephone with both her parents and all that we can say right now is that she is missing. Her father is desperately trying to find out where she is and who has taken her.

Unfortunately, there are at least 18 different police formations in Syria as well as multiple different party militias and gangs. We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her.

From other family members who have been imprisoned there, we believe that she is likely to be released fairly soon. If they wanted to kill her, they would have done so.

That is what we are all praying for.

What an extremely scary story.  She is someone other bloggers should immediately stand up for.  We should be demanding her immediate release.

Please contact the Syrian Embassy in Washington and demand that Amina be freed.  Please broadcast this request widely.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

This Week In The Dream Antilles


Your Bloguero is a digital protégé of Samo.  Every night when this city loses its caffeine induced excitement and finally nods off in sweaty slumber, when entropy arrives and it finally collapses in torpor, your Bloguero takes out his metaphorical chalk, and his metaphorical spray paint, and he fills the city’s huge, unpainted walls with meaning.  On these walls he publishes his message.  He draws his allusions, his metaphors, his similes, his invective. These must always express the grinding dissonance between the “official story” and the gritty reality of the city’s people.  These express the difference between the sanitized pablum in the Traditional Media and the aching, quivering, suffering flesh of real people.  Your Bloguero is vigilant as he works.  He watches for the thought police.  For the art police.  For the grammar police.  For the fashion police.  He watches for reactionaries.  The elites who will call 911.  The dupes who think that private property is not theft.  He is persistent, and he is clear, and he continues to put out his message in places where it can be seen and where it remains until it is obliterated and expunged by ruling class flunkies.  Too bad for them.  Your Bloguero always comes back.  He always returns to repeat himself.  He will never stop.  He can go on interminably.  He will continue until he can no longer speak.

It doesn’t matter whether the walls are in Brooklyn or Manhattan or Paris or Buenos Aires or like this very wall, on the Internet.  It doesn’t matter whether 3 people or 3 million see it.  Your Bloguero knows that writing can be revolutionary.  And that persistence is vital.  And that, as the bard wrote, the readiness is all.  Occasionally, your Bloguero goes in the wee hours of the morning to a wall only to find that someone else has already decorated it with a message.  Your Bloguero loves that.  Your Bloguero wishes that more people who see his work would reach for the metaphorical spray paint and chalk and stencils and stickers.  Your Bloguero wishes that more people would write. Perhaps in time.  As Basquiat, as Banksy, as a zillion other artists have inspired your Bloguero, so too, your Bloguero hopes you, amig@, will eventually be inspired not only by his work, but by his persistence.  This, dear reader, is an endurance event.  It is not for the easily distracted.  Or the easily tired.  No.  It depends on following through and bringing your inspiration to visibility.  To keeping on keeping on.

The week ended with Russian Writer, Straw Hat, Summer, a tale of your Bloguero’s purchase of a straw hat in New York’s East Village.  What fun.  And you can find a picture of your Bloguero in a hat Tolstoy would have loved.

The Land Of Haiku is a series of three haikus with a theme.  Your Bloguero loves haiku and they are a feature of The Dream Antilles.  Your Bloguero, however, is not comfortable with the appellation “poet”. He prefer to think of himself as a writer who can also make Haiku.  If your Bloguero could turn out a decent Sonnet or Villanelle (he can’t), he might take on the “P” word as a description.  Alas.  Your Bloguero aspires, but no puedo hacerlo.

Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky has Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock on video and your Bloguero’s suggestion that we all go back to August, 1969, and find out where we got off the tracks.  How else to unravel the current mess?  How can we have gone from such a perfect moment to such a complete mess?

What A Surprise, Oh My Goodness is the satisfying story of your Bloguero’s addiction to the Argentine cookie “Frutigran” and the wonderful favor done for him by a blogger in sending this impossible treasure to your Bloguero.  An inspiring story of community.  And perhaps of your Bloguero’s gluttony.

Your Bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature. Your Bloguero, though needs encouragement.  From you.  It’s easy to give him that.  If you read this Digest, please click the “encouragement jar” in the comments.  That’s the only way your Bloguero will know that you visited.  Hasta pronto.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Spring, or maybe it is Summer, has finally arrived in the green corner of Eastern New York occupied by your Bloguero.  It is Friday evening of the three-day Memorial Day weekend.  The garden isn’t in yet because it’s been too wet.  The cat is screeching because she has caught a small field mouse and is summoning her imaginary children and the dog to the feast snack.  Your Bloguero can hear mowers in the distance.  The baseball game is on the tube.  The air is wet, and there is a chance of yet another thunderstorm.  The world is green, and as ee cummings put it, “mudlucious.”  It’s getting dark.

Your Bloguero has found nostalgia in the twilight.  He is thinking about when he was a child in that odd corner of Newark, New Jersey, he called home.  He is unsure whether he is remembering things as they were, or whether he is repeating an exaggeration told by others, or whether he is making it up from whole cloth.  Does it matter?   To your Bloguero, no.  To readers who would like to distinguish their fiction from their facts, perhaps.  Regardless, your Bloguero, now about 5 years old, is sitting in the family kitchen at a small table.  Dinner has been over for a while.  The light overhead is three fluorescent tubes.  The white refrigerator is small and rounded and humming softly.  It is still hot.  The baseball game is playing somewhere; he can hear it.  It is not playing on the television in this house, because playing the television without sitting in front of it is a “luxury” of later decades.  The man of the house, your Bloguero’s dad, is sitting in a chair with a bottle of beer.  He is wearing what is now called a “beater” but what was then called an undershirt.  The woman of the house, your Bloguero’s mom, is leaning back against the old porcelain sink.  They are talking quietly about the events of the day.  It’s Friday night and summer.  It’s getting dark.  And there is something heartbreakingly wonderful to your Bloguero about this tiny, fragmentary moment: he sitting on this wooden chair at this cool Formica table and doing nothing.  It is wonderful. Your Bloguero enjoys this moment again now, as if it were new.  But it’s not.  Your Bloguero has revisited it for decades, and every time he enjoys it anew.

Friday was Miles Davis’s Birthday.  Your Bloguero marked the event for other lovers of great music with a Youtube recording of “All Blues” the fourth track on Miles’ seminal album “Kind of Blue” that was released more than fifty years ago.  It is remarkable how fresh this music is even after all of this time and all of the imitation.  Miles was a genius.

Ghost Bloggers In The Sky mourns the darkness at Writing in the Raw, a group blog your Bloguero had high hopes for.  Maybe your Bloguero’s concerns about its demise were premature.  I hope so  Maybe it will now just gutter before it goes out.  Either way, your Bloguero registered his sadness.  Your Bloguero doesn’t like it when the lights go out, or stars die.

Your Bloguero celebrated Bob Dylan’s Seventieth Birthday.  He finally found a Youtube of “dogs run free/why not we.”  Your Bloguero notes in passing his favorite role model, a fellow punk poet with defiant attitude and a sneer, who is now 70.  What a complete surprise to have traveled this far.

Your Bloguero’s second novel, Tulum, is just about done (it needs proofreading for stupid typos and mistakes), so your Bloguero decided to experiment with Photobooth and fiddle around with making a new photo for the jacket in This From The Persona Warehouse.  It was fun.  It was more fun to make fun of people who actually do this for a living.

Graffiti brings to your attention a wonderful short story by Julio Cortazar about two street artists during  Argentina’s military government.  A stunning, wonderful short story, one to be ferreted out and devoured.

Finally, Demonstrations Called For June 10 in Ciudad Juarez asks for support for Javier Sicilia and the People’s Movement to end the violence in the Mexican Drug War.  This is a People’s movement as vital as those in the Arab World.  Why, one might ask, is it being ignored in the US?    

Your Bloguero notes that this Digest was once a weekly feature. Maybe it’s a weekly feature again. Who knows? Your Bloguero, though, needs encouragement. He hates playing to an empty Internet.  If you read this Digest, please click the “encouragement jar” in the comments.  That way your Bloguero will know that you visited.  Hasta pronto.


This Week In The Dream Antilles

First things first:

Your Bloguero is still here.  So apparently are you.  You might have wished that you and/or your Bloguero would disappear or be somewhere more celestial today, but, alas, there’s bad news, here’s that old keyboard, and the screen, and the chair, and the rest of it.  (Warning of coming cliché). Same thing, different day.  And that pesky weekly Digest.  (Warning of coming cliché). It’s déjà vu all over again.

Lest you think your Bloguero thought there was any chance at all that he would not be here, you’d be sorely mistaken.  How, your Bloguero wants to know, could the world end in May, 2011, when the Mayan Calendar extends into 2012?  And (Warning of coming insult) how could anybody think that even the end of that venerable calendar would mean the actual end of the world?   Your Bloguero has it on good authority that there is an actual, physical day after the “last date” in the calendar  (Warning of coming insulting cliché).  You can take this to the bank.  Nobody, your Bloguero is beginning again to fulminate, is leaving  Earth until its inhabitants, and that would include your Bloguero and you, dear reader, clean up their extensive, unremitting, toxic mess.

The idea that there is escape makes your Bloguero (Warning of coming unusual word) “splenetic”.  Your Bloguero’s friends at Merriam Webster put it this way:

marked by bad temper, malevolence, or spite

(Warning of coming colloquialism) That would be your Bloguero to a T.  And why, you might inquire, is your Bloguero in such pique?  Your Bloguero will make believe you didn’t ask that particular question.  You, he is sure, do not want to read the 900-page list of what might be called humankind’s “toxic messes” that need immediate, focused attention, rather than this (Warning of coming cliché) “dog ate my homework” scenario where it’s ok just to (Warning of coming cliché) close the door, turn out the lights, and go home (as if this weren’t your planetary home).  Your Bloguero wishes to point out that the planet deserves more.  A lot more.

The Dream Antilles was relatively quiet this week.  Nothing was posted after Sunday.  Your Bloguero found himself enmeshed in terrestrial and extraterrestrial concerns.  No, he is not going to discuss them here.

Visualizing That Tightrope is so much fun.  Your Bloguero put a photo of Philippe Petit crossing a wire between the tops of the World Trade Towers in1974 with the greatest video of “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae.  This is just a wonderful music video, and Janelle Monae is a Goddess.  Your Bloguero hopes you will check it out.

Your Bloguero broke his usual silence about local, legal issues to post two pieces.  The November Judicial Race In Columbia County focuses on the fact that the electorate has no clue what goes on in the Columbia County Courthouse in Hudson, New York, and your Bloguero’s view that this ignorance is a huge problem.  And Enough. A Plea To Abolish New York’s Town Courts” looks at the enormous waste and duplication statewide in local, Justice of the Peace courts that really in your Bloguero’s opinion should be closed down.  It’s a topic that has emerged time and time again for four decades.  Oddly, those who are concerned about deficits and taxes find this multi-million dollar boondoggle invisible.  (Irony Warning: maybe they see it and just ignore it? (Warning of coming cliche)  Ya think?).

And finally, por que estamas hasta la madre, Demonstrations Called for June  10 in Ciudad Juarez announces that Javier Sicilia and the movement will be marching and demonstrating in Juarez on June 10.  (Warning of coming cliché).  Be there or be square.

Finally, your Bloguero notes that this Digest was once a weekly feature.  Last week’s was supposedly the last of that series of Digests.  But just like the end of the world, some things continue regardless of what anyone may predict about them.  Or wish for.  Your Bloguero, though, needs encouragement.  You don’t need to send him money (though you could click the the Donation Box at the Dream Antilles).  He’d be happy if after you read this Digest you just clicked the “tip jar” in the comments.  That way he’d know that you visited.  Hasta pronto.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Well, that’s it.  Your Bloguero has finally decided that he’s had enough of writing weekly digests that probably don’t get read widely, so he’s going to take this weekly digest to the last roundup.   Unless unforeseen events require otherwise, this is the very last one.  It’s just like Gene Autry sang in 1933 but without the yodeling:

Be sure to wave your sombrero as your Bloguero rides off with his comic sidekick into a cactus filled digest sunset.   He’s riding that old paint to The Dream Antilles, his home sweet home on the range.  (Ironic Note to Reader: Where the antelopes play? Wiki says no antelopes are native to North America.)

(Further Note to Reader: A brief but probably necessary disclaimer.  Your Bloguero does not necessarily support the raising and/or slaughter and/or eating of cattle.  Your Bloguero, however, reserves his right to choose appropriate metaphors that might involve non-native species and/or cows and/or an excess of sentimentality.  No violence was done to any animals to produce these metaphors.)

Your Bloguero has been fulminating about the death penalty for decades.  This week, when it looked like Connecticut was finally going to join the rest of the civilized world by abolishing the death penalty, the forces of reaction won an important battle.  Connecticut Clings To Death Penalty  Barely.  skewers the tortured nonsense relied upon by two state legislators to change their promised vote for life to an ignominious vote for death.  The battle continues, one step forward, two steps back.  (Note to Reader: Your Bloguero apologizes for this cliché.  Like all clichés it fit like a glove.  Sorry.)

Estamos hasta la madre means “We’re fed up!” and is the rallying cry of the people’s democracy movement in Mexico to end the drug violence.   One of its leaders is the poet and teacher, Javier Sicilia, whose son was killed.  Sicilia’s dramatic story is in the essay.  And his incredibly important speech to the march this past Sunday in the Zocalo (Mexico City’s Central Park) is required reading.   Your Bloguero compares this movement to the democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt.  Unfortunately, the traditional media seem unwilling or unable to make that connection, and apparently prefer to continue to report the lurid, horrific violence in the border states and to ignore the efforts of Mexicans to end the violence.

Sunday Evening Inspiration is a wonderful music video produced by Amnesty International.  Your Bloguero counsels you to turn this up, get back from the keyboard, get out of the chair, and shake it.  Your Bloguero is with Emma Goldman, “If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolucion.”

An important writer you’ve probably never heard of is Horacio Castellanos Moya.  Born in Honduras and raised in El Salvador, he is now living and writing in Pittsburgh.  “Senselessness” (Insensatez) is a short, scorching, scary novel, and one that your Bloguero highly recommends.   Sometimes The Dream Antilles actually resumes its focus as a “lit blog.”  And when it does, your Bloguero likes to inform about the Latin American writers your Bloguero enjoys so much.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest was a weekly feature.  This is the last of that series of Digests.  Your Bloguero tried to post these Digests on Saturday morning early.  He almost never succeeded in that.  And so, the series goes out as it began, posted at the wrong time.  Hasta pronto.


This Week In The Dream Antilles

OMG!  OMG!! Has a week already elapsed?  Is today almost  Saturday?  Again? Is it time for that weekly digest?  Inquiring minds, including your Bloguero’s, want to know whether there was anything posted this week at the Dream Antilles for which your Bloguero is willing to take public responsibility.  

It was a complicated week, one beyond facile description.  Perhaps beyond comprehension.  And the writing?  What writing?  The writing at The Dream Antilles? That is best described by this rising and then descending sound: “Harrrrrrrrrrgh.”  Yes, your Bloguero confirms, as you may already have guessed, that to his dismay, your Bloguero’s muse apparently went fishing.  Again. This time for brown trout.  Her present whereabouts are undetermined.  And your Bloguero hasn’t heard from her.  She was last seen wading thigh deep in a rushing stream during a rain storm.  She was wearing a hat that looked like Indiana Jones’s and rain was dripping off the brim.  Your Bloguero briefly contemplated putting an ad up for her return (with a generous reward) on Craigslist, rejected that idea and then more characteristically began to sulk.  And mope.  Whining will probably be next.  These unattractive behaviors threaten to abound.  Until she returns.  And your Bloguero elects now to veil these unattractive behaviors from your view with an imaginary curtain.  There.  On with the task at hand.

The Elephant. (Parenthetical Note to reader: Quite a transition wasn’t that? (Parenthetical Note to reader to the previous Parenthetical Note: Your Bloguero misses the writing of David Foster Wallace.))  A short piece inspired in some fashion by writing by Macedonio in Museo de la Novela de Eterna, and with a must see video of a swimming elephant.  One reader (perhaps, in candor, this should read, “the reader”) inquired if the elephant was happy when, after swimming, she returned to land.  Your Bloguero noted with great comfort that the guy in the red hat in the video is Jacques Cousteau, and that, therefore, no animals’ feelings were hurt in any way in the making of this video.  (Parenthetical Note to reader: This is a professional elephant.  Do not try this at home with amateur elephants.  Or faux oceans.)

Death Of A Mass Murderer notes the killing of OBL and your Bloguero’s disappointment at the chanting, the partying, the cheering, the celebration of death.  Your Bloguero quotes extensively from a piece written by Rabbi Arthur Waskow that captures your Bloguero’s feelings.  The Bible, your Bloguero notes, is really useful here because among other things it is a repository for the Mythic.  The rejoicing of the Israelites at the death of their Pharaoh seemed to fit this event.

One other comment about the death of OBL.  Your Bloguero is alarmed at the repeated euphemistic use of the verb “got” to describe this event.  As in “we got him.”  This is not “got milk?”  This is not, as GWB uttered about Sadam H, “We got him,” meaning that he had been captured by troops and imprisoned.  This is a different “got.”  It’s now apparently a euphemistic synonym for killed.  It resembles in some ways that age old junior high school taunt, “I’m going to get you for that!”  Other verbs for the salient part of the event, which are probably more descriptive and at least as accurate as “got,” might be “shot” or “killed” or “executed” or even “murdered.”  If killing OBL was such a wonderful event, and evidently it is claimed to have been one, doesn’t it deserve to be called by its real name?  Not just by Obama, but also by the Trad Media?  Or is the use of “got” as the operable verb in this case chosen because it most resembles what imaginary TV cowboys might say and prolongs one’s feelings of justifiable revenge?

Finally, your Bloguero notes the passing of Ernesto Sabato a giant of Argentinian writing.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature.  Your Bloguero tries to post this Digest on Saturday morning early.  He almost never succeeds in that.  But this week, to his utter amazement, he almost did.  Your bloguero will be back next week, hopefully on Saturday morning early if his Muse returns.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

A week of sighs.  And gratitude.  Spring finally arrived in the formerly frozen tundra in which your Bloguero has been confined since the Fall.  There are now daffodils and tulips.  The shagbark is in flower, and the leaves have finally started to unfold.  Among the sounds your Bloguero hears is his own sigh of relief after a very long, very hard winter.  The next sounds will probably include lawn mowers.  And the hatching of the starling chicks in the nest these uninvited birds have built for the fourth year running in your Bloguero’s bathroom vent.  For now, it is enough again to put duct tape on the switch for the fan, and sit idly in the sun and feel its warmth.  Gracias, gracias, gracias, gracias for your Bloguero’s long journey from Winter to Spring.

Others have been far less fortunate.  The Storms in Alabama and other parts of the South have killed hundreds and devastated communities.  And in Ecuador Tungurahua has erupted.  The radiation in Japan continues, though it has slipped off the front pages.  It was a week in which Pachamama again undermined belief in the planet’s immutability and demonstrated her capacity for constant change, ever evolving impermanence.  She is clearly unhappy.  Humankind, however, apparently doesn’t pay attention.  Or seek supplication.  It is far happier with the facile, the grotesque spectacle of an imperial wedding and the Republican sociopathy when confronted with the President’s birth certificate.  It’s no wonder that Pachamama is so unhappy.

Phoebe Snow passed on.  For many, many years she devoted her life to caring for her child.  She and her flutelike voice, sometimes almost a yodel, will be sorely missed.  Thank goodness for Youtube.

A Dangerous Idea transformed your Bloguero’s expressed giddiness at the idea of his metaphorically becoming a human cannonball into dour sobriety.  An English human cannonball was killed when his safety net “failed to engage.”  A sad story.

A Victory Cigar announced your bloguero’s completion of the manuscript for his second novel, Tulum.  What’s it all about?

The book, set in Tulum in Mexico’s Yucatan and in Cuba, is at once a travelogue, a love story, and the story of the unlikely friendship of a Mayan Curandero and a middle aged, gringo expat with a shady past, who ultimately embarks, as an apprentice, on the path of becoming a Shaman. There will be no spoiler here. The book, drawn from the deep cenote of Magical Realism, adopts Carlos Fuentes’s guidance:

A writer should never know the whole story. He imagines one part and asks the reader to finish it. A book should never close. The reader should continue it.

Put another way, your Bloguero’s not telling much.  Not yet.  He’s turning it over to you, the reader.  He’s telling just enough to whet your materialist streak, the part of your internal dialogue that whispers, “You know, I really should buy a copy of that and read it.  Did he say it was his second book?  What was the first one like?”

And your Bloguero noted Shakespeare’s birthday with his favorite quote from the Tempest.  You know the one.  After all, your Bloguero believes, we are all such stuff as dreams are made on.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature.  Your Bloguero usually posts this Digest on Saturday morning early.  He hopes that you will (again) forgive his putting it up a trifle early.  Your bloguero will be back next week, hopefully on Saturday morning early.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

At long last, your Bloguero’s Muse returned from her long vacation, all tanned, relaxed, full of stories of exotic places, and most important, offering encouragement for completion your Bloguero’s novel.  As far as the novel goes, it’s much easier to deal with the Muse than with her partner in creativity, the Crone.  If the Muse is air; the Crone, fire.  Suffice it to say that the novel moves steadily toward completion, at all times gingerly keeping a step or two ahead of the flames.  The Muse was sweet.  And poignant.  “How were things while I was away?” she asked.  I lied.  I said they were ok, fine, going well, moving right along.  “Now, now, now” she replied in a whisper, shaking hear head.  “I’ve read what you’ve been writing.  Let’s try to be accurate with each other, shall we?”   At least she didn’t suck her teeth.  Or call me a prevaricator.  This is a conversation that I don’t ever want to have with her fierce partner.

Thursday was a huge milestone,  The One Thousandth Post On The Dream Antilles.  Your Bloguero is astonished to have reached this point.  He can hear some people muttering, “Well, so that’s what you’ve been doing with your time instead of….”  The long string of objects after that “instead of” is the catalog of things that evidently were less important to your Bloguero than sitting at the keyboard.  Your Bloguero is not proud of the list.   Only time will tell whether these choices made any real sense.  The cliché has not yet been written about whether people on their death beds say they wished they spent more time writing for their blogs.

Step Right Up And Meet The Mets notes that the Mets are simply awful and are losing at a rate guaranteed to make them lose more than 100 games this season. It’s just April, but based on what your Bloguero has seen so far, their season is over.  They are toast.  Why is this important?  Because the Mets are a distraction your Bloguero enjoys.  And this year, to be blunt, because they stink they are not adequately distracting him.

Your Bloguero celebrated and noted in passing 420 Day.  The War on Drugs, so named by Richard M. Nixon, has been raging for more than forty years.  As wars go, it is among the most expensive, stupid and unproductive.  Your Bloguero joins with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley to say, “Legalize it!”  And he encourages you to make a donation to NORML.  Four decades of stupidity is quite enough.  Your donations might turn the tide.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest was a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance.  It appears for reasons that your Bloguero is extremely hardpressed to describe, that the PWA is no longer.  It has disappeared.  Regardless, your Bloguero presses on.  He usually posts this Digest on Saturday morning early.  He hopes that because of the holiday weekend, you will forgive his putting it up a trifle early.  Your bloguero will be back next week, hopefully on Saturday morning early.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Your bloguero’s muse seems to have gone on vacation.  Or at the very least has decided not to take his calls.  He dials, asking for inspiration, and what does he get?  He gets to leave his message after the beep.

His muse, however, isn’t the only one who has ostensibly cut your bloguero off.  That would be too simple.  No.  There are also 537 politicians in Washington who are unwilling to address your bloguero’s concerns.  More important, they also categorically refuse to demonstrate that they have souls.  Evidently proof of the capacity for compassion is far less important in the Nation’s Capital than spurious questions about documents showing live birth.  And what one does to the least of my brethren, the poor, the elderly, the sick, is apparently far less important than cozying up to plutocrats.  There’s nothing new about this.  Not really.  But your bloguero senses that among those who wish to speak truth to Power, exhaustion stalks their every step, and frustration, their every thought.  To no one’s surprise, the politicians curry favor with those fat cats who pay for their almost eternal tenure, not with those pajama wearing DFHs like your bloguero who chide them, heckle their bloviation, and insist on pointing out their stupidity.   They will show us: just you wait.

The Dream Machine is something your bloguero picked up at the Market of Dreams.  You can find in it the influence of Eduardo Galeano, whose trilogy, your bloguero has completed.  “Memory of Fire” is essential reading.  Your bloguero wonders why so few people have heard of Galeano and why so few in the US have read him.

Your bloguero’s muse delivered two very nice Haiku before leaving for Ibiza or Tulum or wherever muses frolic when they’re not working.

A Plague of Forgetting is a history lesson.  It begins with bananas and will change the way you your supermarket’s banana selection.

Your bloguero notes that this Digest is a weekly feature of the Port Writers Alliance and is now posted Saturday morning.   Your bloguero will see you next week, if his muse shows up for work.

A Plague Of Forgetting


This story begins in 1928 with bananas.  On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, campesinos who are employed by United Fruit are paid less than $1 per day for backbreaking work.  They live in filthy hovels.  And they die of malaria and tuberculosis.  Then they form a union.  Then they go on strike and paralyze the exportation of bananas.

General Carlos Cortez Vargas announces in Aracataca at a dinner put on by United Fruit that he will end the strike.  

The workers are told that a manager of United Fruit will arrive to accede to their demands, so they gather together to hear the announcement of their victory.  Instead of a United Fruit manager, General Cortez Vargas appears.  He doesn’t issue a concession.  Not at all.  He issues instead an ultimatum: get back to work, end the strike right now.  Or else.

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