Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Snippets: Odds of Ends

Memoirs of a Geisha? Reuters article on the disappearing world of the Geisha feautres Kokin, the world's oldest at 98, who reminisces about the glory days and laments the passing of her world. Geishas, it seems have fallen on hard times, forced lift their exclusivity and (shudder) perform for tourists. Karaoke?

The Name of the Continent. Library of Congress is displaying the 1507 Waldseemuller map that labeled the continent America. Seems a later version of the same map, omitted the name. In another map by the same monk, created in 1516, North America is labeled "Terra de Cuba."
Read it here.

Pride and Prejudice. The New York Times got around to reviewing The Boys from Dolores by Patrick Symmes. Guy Martin gets it right in the main about the tome, although the heavy insistence on privilege is a bit superfluous. And we weren't "gallegos," as he maintains, despite having been descended from them. Remember, you read about it here first! Now you can read about it there.

Gone with the Beards. A write-up of the "Masterpieces of Cuban Painting" exhibit in Daytona. Laura Stewart's take seems to be that its scale, both physical and emotional- she uses the word bombastic to describe a painting- conveys a "mythic" Cuba. Of course, that means I'll probably like it just fine. She makes me want to undertake the five hour car ride to see it.
Read it here.

Oh, and here are this morning's headlines about Cuba:

"Cuba allows foreign firms to pay in hard currency" from Reuters. Isn't that nice? The regime is now going to allow Cubans to get paid in something other than the near worthless currency the rest of Cuba has to use. Before you get all weepy at their munificence, they are doing it so they can tax the earnings. No word on whether the employees can now be paid directly or whether the powers that be are still going to absorb 80% or so of the same salaries.

"Cuba apologizes for police raid on Catholic church," another entry from Reuters. They said they were sorry to the church. Still awaiting an apology are the twenty plus, not seven as the report indicates, dissidents who were pepper sprayed, beaten, and hauled off.

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