Alligators Overhead Trailer

Saturday, April 30, 2016

#atozchallenge: Z is for Jay-Z



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



So that's a rap! Another #atozChallenge has been completed by many intrepid bloggers around the blog-o-sphere. And me, too! Pat on back. And kudos. And where's the Champagne? I'll be back to regular blogging which means: Mondays. And I'll be responding to comments on my blog again. Here's to a wonderful May!





Answers to your T/F Quiz for Y:

FALSE 1. Generation Y people weren't born in the '60s and 70s. They were born between the 1980s and the year 2000. They're sometimes referred to as the Millennial Generation, or simply Millennials. 

TRUE  2. Sr Sánchez, like so many people born during the Russian era have Russian names, and a lot of them involve Y.







Okay, I had to reach for this one, so as if anyone cares, Jay-Z and Beyonce visited Cuba. Police had to provide escort and protection from an adoring mob. 

Global contamination. 

Sorry for the editorial comment. 

I gots no quiz for this one. But hallelujah I reached Z!

Friday, April 29, 2016

#atozchallenge: Y is for Yoani Sánchez

Bonus Y: Yes. I'm ready to send my next Email Connect and to announce my Follower for the Month of May. If you're interested in joining my list, you can do it by Subscribing to my Special Offers.  This month, I'm giving a signed hardcopy of an award winning book to someone on my list. 




 


Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for X:

TRUE 1. Xavier Cugat appeared in recitals with Enrico Caruso, playing violin solos.

TRUE 2. Later, Cougat went to work for the Los Angeles Times as a cartoonist. Cugat's caricatures were later nationally syndicated. 




Y is for Yoani Sánchez
 



Yoani María Sánchez Cordero is a Cuban blogger. She's won awards for her blog, Generation Y, and is internationally famous for her criticism of the Cuban government. She portrays what is real in everyday Cuban life, not what the propaganda says is true. 

She quite cleverly smuggles her posts out to friends in other countries, and they put them on the internet. The Cuban government may try to stop the truth from leaking out, but they simply can't. The internet may be the end to a lot of repressive governments in the world. Let's hope.






Your T/F Quiz for Y:

1. Generation Y covers people born between the 1960s and the 1970s.

2. Sr Sánchez, like so many people born during the Russian era have Russian names. 

Answers tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#atozchallenge: X is for Xavier Cougat



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for W

TRUE  1. Teddy Roosevelt was 43 when he became the youngest president the US had ever elected.
FALSE 2. Teddy Roosevelt wasn't assassinated soon after taking office or a long time after. There have been four sitting presidents assassinated: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy. 





Xavier Cougat was the Rumba King in the 30s and 40s. He was born in Spain but moved to Cuba as a young child with his parents. His music was certainly infused with Cuban rhythms.  Here's a LINK to an old recovered recording. I couldn't embed it because they didn't allow embedding. It's worth a few minutes to see and hear what Cougie offered up. It's all Cuban style a la 1940s.





Your T/F Quiz for X

1. Cougat was a famous musician, but he was also a noted cartoonist and book cover artist.
2. Cougat appeared in recitals with Enrico Caruso.

Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#atozchallenge: W is for War



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 





Answers to your T/F Quiz for V

FALSE 1. The Old Havana, Cuidad Vieja, wasn't founded in the early 1900s. The Spanish founded it in the 1500s.


TRUE  2. Some of Old Havana is still owned by private individuals, but the state owns most of it. 








W is for War
 
When Teddy Roosevelt came to help out the Cubans by getting rid of those wretched Spanish (please note the sarcasm) he had a couple of agendas in mind. First, this would probably be the last chance for a calvary to go to war. We were creating machines to carry us into battle. The horse was becoming obsolete in war. 

Good for the horse, I say. 

Anyway, he wanted to ride astride his steed for one more fight. Second, there was a presidential opportunity ahead and looking brave on a horse was a good vote-getting strategy. 

But here's a funny part of the story that Teddy probably didn't mention. When they sailed up to the island, they dumped their nobel steeds into the water, thinking they'd swim to shore. Wrong. They started swimming into the open water. What? And now what?

A young bugler saw that sharks might have quite a feast if someone didn't turn those horses around. So he sounded the charge, and by golly, those equine beasts headed dutifully toward the island where the charge was supposedly happening.

War isn't just stupid, it's really stupid.




Your T/F Quiz for W:    

1. Teddy Roosevelt was 43 when he became president.
2. Unfortunately, Teddy Roosevelt was assassinated soon after taking office.


Answers tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

#atozchallenge: V is for Cuidad Vieja



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, 
and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 







Answers to your T/F Quiz for U

TRUE 1. Having a military base on Guantanamo gave the U.S. a strategic                        location during the Cold War. Russia was a huge threat and very cozy                with Castro.

TRUE  2. Only 485 miles of water stand between Florida and Guantanamo.



V is for Cuidad Vieja

One of the most charming parts of Havana is Ciudad Vieja (Old City of Havana). The streets are mostly cobblestone, and one that runs in front of the old governor's house is wood. He didn't like the noise of wheels going over stone. Today most of the streets are reserved for pedestrians, so you can meander without fear of being run down by a bus or car. You do have to watch out at cross-streets because those are heavily trafficked. 

Colorful Cuban Women In Cuidad Vieja
The Wooden Street with Vendors


A Courtyard in Cuidad Vieja





Your T/F Quiz for V

1. The Old Havana, Cuidad Vieja, was founded in the early 1900s.
2. Some of Old Havana is still owned by private individuals, but the state own         most of it.

Answers tomorrow.

Monday, April 25, 2016

#atozchallenge: U is for The Untold History



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 





Answers to your T/F Quiz for T


FALSE 1. Thirteen Days is obviously a U.S. view of the situation, but it's not true that there are no other personal accounts available to draw from. The tape-recorded memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev were smuggled to the West, transcribed, and published in 1970. Later more of his side of the story was published in 1990.

TRUE 2. At one time during the crisis, a high ranking member of the USSR military in Cuba could have launched missiles at the U.S. And this was the most disturbing thing I learned. I'd never heard of the guy. He could have been a nut case with his finger on the red button. Pay attention to history. It does have some lessons for us all. 



U is for the Untold Story



Like everyone on our planet, I've known about Guantanamo (GITMO), but it was just a place on an island that I knew little about, except from the news. Since the Bush administration's War on Terrorism turned it into the center for civil rights violations, I've heard the horror stories that will haunt our country forever. However, I didn't know how it came to be established in the first place. Before I left on my trip, I had to find out, and so I read this book about the Untold Story. 

If you read my G post, you'll see the mention of Theodore Roosevelt and the Spanish-American War. And if you read that post and took the quiz, you now know that the U.S. has had a permanent military base at Guantanamo since 1898. It seems the Cubans can't get rid of us. Of course, now that Venezuela can no longer provide aide, guess who the Castros are looking to for financial support again? Let's see the hands.




Your T/F Quiz for U
 
1. One of reasons for the continuation of the U.S. presence at GITMO, stems           from the Cold War era when we feared the Russians and their ties with               Castro.
2. Only 485 miles separate Florida from Guantanamo.

Answers tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#atozchallenge: T is for Thirteen Days



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 




Answers to your T/F Quiz for S

TRUE 1. Today squares are primarily for strolling and finding good restaurants, but in the past they often were places of executions, bullfights and fiestas. The wealthy merchants who lived on the squares could enjoy at-home entertainment from their balconies. Talk about reality shows.


TRUE 2. Old Havana and its squares are now World Heritage sites. And so glad they are. They deserved to be seen by future generations.




T is for Thirteen Days by Robert Kennedy
 
I had a vague recollection of the history during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but vague is probably generous. So I decided I needed to brush up on that bit of history. I found this memoir absolutely riveting. I couldn't put it down because it made so clear just how close we were to nuclear devastation. 

Fate. Some good leadership. Luck. These all played into the relaxation of tension between the USSR and the US.

I highly recommend this book. It's a close-to-the-action account that no history book can duplicate.






Your T/F Quiz for T:

1. Thirteen Days is obviously a U.S. view of the situation, but there are no other personal accounts available to draw from.
2. At one time during the crisis, a high ranking member of the USSR military in Cuba could have launched missiles at the U.S.

Answers tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#atozchallenge: S is for Squares & Seismic Crimes


Bonus S: SEISMIC CRIMES

Today is the release of Chrys Fey's first novel!

BLURB: 
An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.
Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.
When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?


DIGITAL LINKS: 

ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!





Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!


I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for R:

TRUE 1. The Bay of Pigs (Invasión de Playa Girón) was an attempt by the U.S. to overthrow the Castro government. Unfortunately, the Cuban refugees who were backed by the CIA were ill-prepared, and the landing was a fiasco.


FALSE 2. The Soviet Bloc didn't collapse in 1969; it collapsed in 1991.




S is for Squares:

The squares in Havana are absolutely beautiful and some date from the 1500s. The Plaza Vieja was laid out in 1559 A beautiful area to explore and enjoy architecture and interesting statues. 


Plaza de la Catedral features the Categral de San Cristóbal and dates from the 18th century. The wide open, car-less area is wonderful to walk. Deep red Bouganvilla cling to the ancient stone walls and blue balconies and doorways blend with the color of the sky.
Naked lady with a fork and riding a chicken. Yep. 



The Plaza de San Francisco faces the port of Havana. The old customs house and the former stock exchange front this elegant, but more commercial plaza. The Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis was built in 1580 and the bell tower rises 42 meters into the sky. 


The Plaza de Armas is a place to stroll through palm-lined walkways and gaze at Baroque buildings. The Book Market is a favorite spot to find books and magazines that go back to the 40s and 50s. 

My picture didn't turn out. Here's the SOURCE for this one so much like it.



Your T/F Quiz for S:

1. Today squares are primarily for strolling and finding good restaurants, but in the past they often were places of executions.

2. Old Havana and its squares are now World Heritage sites.

Answers tomorrow.





Thursday, April 21, 2016

#atozchallenge: R is for Russia

Bonus R: I'm going to be revealing the cover for Sign of the Green Dragon starting May 1. I could use some help with that if you feel up to posting for me. Just tell me in a comment and I'll put you on my contact list for May. That is if I can still think clearly enough to do that. Now onward with this #atozChallenge, and don't spare the horses.






Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for Q

TRUE 1. The Chinese influenced Cuban music. They contributed the cornetín chino (Chinese cornet) It's a wind instrument. 

FALSE 2. A TRES is only a 6-string guitar, not 12. It's known for a distinctive tuning and used to help create the guaijira sound--a strident rural acoustic music.


R is For Russia:

Source
Following the Bay of Pigs, Castro aligned himself with Russia. He wanted protection from the U.S. and money to support the newly established Cuban government. Castro joined the COMECON, an organization of socialist countries designed to improve their economies, and Russia was the key player in that organization. All was moving forward--if not as economically successful for the people as it was touted--when the Soviet Bloc collapsed and all economic aid ended. Now Castro was forced to look elsewhere for money. Venezuela in fact. Now that oil is in the (pun alert) "tank," he's looking closer to home. And that would be the good old U.S of A. Ergo, his brother's now holding up Obama's hand.



Your T/F Quiz for R:

1. The Bay of Pigs was an attempt by the U.S. to overthrow the Castro government.
2. The Soviet Bloc collapsed in 1969.

Answers tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#atozchallenge: Q is for Quartets



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 





Answers to your T/F Quiz for P

FALSE 1. The average teacher in Cuba doesn't make anywhere near $100 a month. The information I got while there was they make about $15 a month.


FALSE 2. The government doesn't provide free transportation to workers to and from work to help them financially. Their transportation come out of their salary.






Two extra people stepped in to have their picture taken! 

Q is for Quartets

The Cubans are nothing if not musical, and everywhere you go you'll find groups playing great and very danceable music. Usually I found Quartets and they always had CDs available for sale. $10 seemed to be the going price. The quality of the home-made CDs is rather tinny, but the rhythm can't be beaten. 

The history of Cuban music is amazingly complicated. Spain brought its rhythmic flair. African slaves created many percussive instruments they remembered from their homeland. They formed social clubs called the cabildos and gathered together to play their music as well as socialize. Santeria, the religion from Haiti, added it's influence. The native folk music had its influence as well, and anthropologists are still tracing many of these early musical roots by talking to musicians today. They want to know what passed from Great-Grand Father to Grand Father to Father to Son. This crossroads of the Caribbean is a musical treasure trove of history.





Your T/F Quiz for Q

1.  The Chinese influenced Cuban music along with many of the other cultural groups that arrived on the island.
2.  A TRES is a 12-string guitar that has very special tuning and is popular in Cuba.

Answers tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

#atozchallenge:P is for Poverty


Bonus P: Preorder Sign of the Green Dragon at Barnes and Noble, iTunes Apple and Kobo. You can also add it to your library at Smashwords. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for helping me out with this book launch. It will be up on Amazon by the end of this month. Cover ready. Just waiting for blurbs to come in.






Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for O:

TRUE 1. Obispo does translate as bishop. In general it used to be "religious leader."
TRUE 2. Obispo is an Ancient Greek name that does come from those pre Christian times. The word it comes from is "episkopos", which translates as the overseer. "epi" meaning on or over, and "skopein" meaning to look. Aren't you glad you know this?




P is for Poverty

Every Cuban citizen is guaranteed an education through college. Every Cuban is guaranteed "health care." I put that in quotes because there are issues about that health care. So here's what happens. Everyone can go to school and see a doctor without a huge bill, but when he or she graduates, guess what? No jobs that pay enough to support a family. So people, for example, with doctorates in Botany are tour guides. It's a heck of a good deal for the tourist. It's not such a good deal for the people who would like to work in the field they studied.

Here's one of the guides at a national park. He was great because he did have a degree in Botany. He made my walk through this botanical paradise so interesting, and I should have taken notes because his tour was like taking a crash course in the native plants of Cuba.





Your T/F Quiz for P:

1. The average teacher in Cuba makes about $100 a month.
2. The government provides free transportation to workers to and from work to help them financially.

Answers tomorrow.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#atozchallenge: O is for Obispo Street



Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 






Answers to your T/F Quiz for N

FALSE: Johnny Weismuller, Edward VIII,  Jack Dempsey, Tom Mix, José Mujica, Buster Keaton, Errol Flynn, and the mobsters Santos Traficante and Meyer Lansky weren't guests in the sixties. They were guests in the thirties. 





O is for Obispo Street

Obispo Street is in the heart of Cuidad Vieja (the old city), and I was lucky enough to stay smack in the middle of it. The first day I stepped out onto my balcony at ten in the morning, the street was jammed with people (no cars are allowed on Obispo Street). That night about twelve hours later the street was still jammed. People were talking and laughing. From each direction music blared and it was beautiful. I had dinner. I went for a stroll and joined the fun. At midnight, the view from my balcony was exactly the same as it had been earlier. At two o'clock in the morning. . .exactly the same. Do these people never tire? The answer was yes. About three or four all is quiet. Here's a short video of my balcony overlooking Obispo Street at the wee hours of the morning. After all, I wasn't about to sleep.  








Your T/F Quiz for O:

1. In English the word obispo translates as bishop.
2. Obispo is an ancient word that has its origins in pre-Christian times. 

Answers tomorrow.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

#atozchallenge: N is for National Hotel

Just wanted to say this again to my visitors. I'm not replying on my blog during the #atozChallenge, but  I do read every one of your comments. Sometimes, if you have a reply email, I answer questions or continue the discussion. I love questions, and I love it when someone adds to the information on the post.  








Here's to a great AtoZ!

Join in the 
FUN.



This year I traveled to Cuba. You know, it's that little island that's spitting distance from Florida and should not be visited without special dispensation. I wanted to see it before MacDonald's arrived. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot and I met some wonderful people. It seems they like us. Now there's a change!

I'll add a short T/F quiz to each post the same as I did last year about Burma, and I'll post the answers to the questions the following day. 





There was no quiz for M. Yay! So here are a couple of pictures that sum up the atmosphere of Cuba. 


Anyone needing food can pick up a two week supply with their coupons. 


These nifty fifty cars are everywhere. It was like stepping back five decades.




N is for National Hotel


The Lobby's not too shabby.



This is behind the hotel at dusk. Sorry bad picture.





The National Hotel is where anybody who's important stays. I didn't stay there. Draw your own conclusions. But it is a beautiful place to wander the grounds and roam the areas the rich and famous have frequented. Here are some of the pictures I took that day while pretending to be among the elite group. Just kidding.


There  is one room with walls of posters. Each one has images of celebrities who stayed or performed here, and each poster covers a decade.



Your T/F Quiz for N:


These were notable guests at the National Hotel in sixties: Johnny Weismuller, Edward VIII,  Jack Dempsey, Tom Mix, José Mujica, Buster Keaton, Errol Flynn, and the mobsters Santos Traficante and Meyer Lansky.



Answer tomorrow.