Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meanderings: Of Books And Such

I've been thinking about books lately, not the stories but the actual physical things. With all these ereaders coming on the market, I fear the end of our long relationship is nigh. Mine has been a love affair. Aah. The physical heft, the dog-eared pages, that smell of paper and incipient mold...there is comfort.

For years I kept a collection of my favorite books, as well as the old standards every library should have- Bible, oversized dictionary, etc.... Course, I never had one of those wood paneled libraries to keep them in, and by the time I- in straitened circumstances- moved across the country to Florida, I came to the realization that there were no library ladders in my future, and I really didn't want to pay the freight, literally. So after donating my professional stuff to various libraries, I embarked on my new life, accompanied only by the books of my youth: The Happy Hollisters and Georgette Heyer romances.

To my surprise, I've survived quite nicely since then. Last year, I even sold the Heyer novels on Ebay, no problem. I've found that I feel lighter, the Feng Shui is better in my house. Those of us who live in Florida learn quickly that between the heat and the bugs nothing survives in sheds and garages, so books tend to become dust magnets. Fortunately we don't have basements, and attics are vestigial architectural appendages.

So part of me loves the idea of the ereader. No more searching the house at all hours of the night for something to read, hiring a private detective to locate an obscure author's early novels. Think of the convenience. They're fun. And who wants to be a dinosaur?

I comfort myself with the thought that the disembodied tale floating in cyberspace shares in the paperless state of the storytelling of old. Not so bad. But stories were told around a fire in the company of other human beings. The ereader seems a bit sad, a lonely, sterile undertaking.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cuba: The Hunger

We are all familiar with the hunger which is the semi permanent state of Cubans, not because of the tattered embargo but because of a political system both inept and corrupt. But recent events point to another kind of hunger altogether. The death from a hunger strike compounded by malicious neglect on the part of his jailers- he was reportedly denied water for eighteen days- of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, and the grave condition of Guillermo "Coco" Fariñas after a month on hunger strike in tandem with the hunger strike of activist Franklin Peregrino del Toro, as well as the news that Dr. Darsi Ferrer* has been on hunger strike for the past week lead to a thought.

Yes, we can say Cubans are hungry: hungry for food, hungry for change, hungry for freedom. But these brave men point to a deeper kind of hunger- to be acknowledged in the land of their birth as human beings with all the attendant dignity thereof and not as serfs, slaves, chattel. Deprived by the Stalinist regime of any semblance of self-determination, muzzled, abused, and subject to imprisonment in subhuman conditions at the whim of the current military junta, the hunger strike becomes the ultimate assertion of self, the last resort. They have taken away everything else, but it was Orlando, it is Coco and Franklin and Darsi who chose to exercise the ultimate power over their bodies. How wrong a system is it, when the only possibility of freedom is to dance with death, even that only allowed because it suits the regime?

*Recently Dr Ferrer, who is jailed for allegedly buying black market paint, I believe, and has never been tried, received an award from the US State Department and has subsequently seen the conditions of his incarceration decline. He has declared his hunger strike in response to his maltreatment in prison.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thought for the Evening: Irony

After a day of listening to Democrats attempting to portray those who disagree with the administration's policies as racists, I am reminded of candidate Obama who wanted his presidency to be a transcendant one. It occurs that his policies have so horrified huge segments of the populace that their fears for the future of the country have transcended any consideration of skin color.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ay mi Cuba

Unfortunately I could'nt get to a march, yet fasted this weekend instead. Next time I'm planning a march in North Carolina.

I smell it in the air.

Change is in the air. I feel it now more than ever. I wish my parents could be here with me to see it. After this weekend I realized it is only a matter of time. The Castro brothers can't fight the forward movement of time. They cant beat the internet and cell phone technology of the day. They will be less and less able to hide their atrocities. Although I was surprised of little mainstream media coverage it gets better and better all the time as does non cuban participation. This my friends is the beginning of the end. Libertad! Cuba Libre!!