Zachary Sanders, 38, traveled to Cuba as an unauthorized tourist 14 years ago. He was 23, and had been teaching English in Mexico. He decided to travel to Cuba for a couple of weeks in 1998. "I wanted to learn about how a socialist country worked in practice," Sanders says. "I had no illusions. ... I'm not like some diehard supporter of the (Cuban) government or anything like that." The U.S. Treasury Department penalized him for not having filled out the proper forms, and a long-running legal battle ensued. Today, Sanders reached a settlement with the government: he must pay $6,500 for his mistake
. — Xeni
My daughter and I share a trick memory for lyrics. Part of our bed-time ritual is singing three songs -- two "new" songs (that she hasn't heard before) and one "old" one (from a previous night). It's really challenging to come up with two new songs whose lyrics I can remember (or fake) well enough every night. Last night, I found myself singing Desi Arnaz's "Cuban Pete," as performed on I Love Lucy, and we both agreed that it was a keeper, particularly for the "chick-chicky-boom" refrain (not to be confused with the likewise excellent and legendary "CHICA CHICA BOOM CHIC" refrain from Carmen Miranda). YouTube being the collective memory of a large slice of the species, it naturally has a clip of Desi and Lucy performing "Cuban Pete" from the 1951 I Love Lucy episode, "The Diet."
Back in 2006, I blogged about
photographer Simone Lueck
's gallery of photos of TV in Cuban families' homes. She's since gotten a deal to print the photos in a handsome volume
, recently out from Mark Batty: "In Cuba, television is the most important communication medium and a national pastime. No matter that the TV sets themselves are outdated, pre-revolution relics imported from America or sets from Russia over fifteen years old; green-hued beasts jimmy-rigged with ancient computer parts and fantastically adorned like religious altars."
Cuba TV: Dos Canales
CubaTV (online gallery)