Monday, February 23, 2009

fidel tells it like it is

You may not know that, in addition to being the semi-retired dictator of the Cuban workers' paradise, Fidel Castro is also a newspaper columnist! He writes regularly for Granma, the totalitarian state's major print news organ. Recent topics include "media terrorism" and the fact that he, Fidel, has outlasted 10 American presidents. In his February 9 column (drawn to my attention by this fun New Yorker piece which in turn comes to me from An), Fidel offers some cogent reflections on Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's White House Chief of Staff. His writing here has an addled stream-of-consciousness flavor to it - James Joyce with head trauma and a 50-year-old axe to grind. You could read the whole thing here if you'd like, but I've summarized it below, so that one might more easily appreciate the fine structure of El Comandante's thoughts. Each bullet point represents the thesis of one paragraph, in order, from Fidel's column.

Rahm Emanuel
by Fidel Castro

-Rahm Emanuel has a funny name!

-Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher, but he spelled his name with an 'I'.

-The Cuban ambassador to Venezuela wrote a book called The Transparency of Enmanuel.

-That Enmanuel is the son of Clara Rojas Gonzalez, who unsuccessfully ran for president of Colombia before being kidnapped by the FARC.

-He was born in the jungle during Rojas Gonzelez's captivity.

-She stayed there out of solidarity with Ingrid Betancourt for six years.

-I also spent time in prison after trying to seize control of a fortress in 1953.

-After the revolution, I sometimes thought about Kant.

-I took over Cuba before Obama and Rahm Emanuel were even born!

-Rahm Emanuel served in the Israeli military during the first Gulf War.

-America sells lots of weapons to countries in the Middle East.

-American racists would like to assassinate Barack Obama.

-Obama and Rahm Emanuel cannot fix the US economy.

-Even Kant, Plato, Aristotle and John Kenneth Galbraith could not fix the American economy. But maybe Abraham Lincoln could.

-Capitalism is bad.

The End

Thursday, February 12, 2009

birdsday gets counting

This weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Hunt. Count birds in your own backyard (or, for New Yorkers, the alley visible from your apartment window) from February 12-16, and submit your results here.

animated bird count

image from

Thursday, February 5, 2009

birdsday chocolatey goodness

For birdsday today we bring you glad tidings of chocolate penguins. Or one chocolate penguin, as presented (and given to me) by An Xiao. Penguins are birds after all!

chocolate penguin

Important facts about penguins:
In their avian form, penguins smell very bad.
In their chocolate form, penguins taste very good.