Cemetery story

Here I am, carving a rubber stamp for next letter’s hand-printed envelopes…this is the one and only test video I made for Patreon, before my iPhone went for a swim in the saltwater harbour (*sob*)

The motifs are directly from Ta Makuende Yaya, a key book about Palo Monte, the Congo religion that slaves brought with them to Cuba. It was one of the first books I bought and read while I was in Venezuela, learning Spanish (June-October 2015).

In Venezuela, Palo had been given a bad name because it was linked to a rash of grave robbing. Residents in the capital of Caracas claimed that many of the graves at Caracas’ Southern General Cemetery had been pried open to have their contents removed for use in Palo ceremonies.

The relationship between this juicy snippet, and my letter, is one of very loose association:

I write about my quest to a Colombian cemetery for a specific ingredient, and how a misunderstanding  with the gravedigger results in my coming home with something unexpected…

There’s still time to become my subscriber on Patreon, and be among the people who will receive this crazy story as a beautiful letter in the mail, along with a freshly-printed new postcard design: Voudoun’s Baron Samedi!

Cut-off date for this letter is October 30.

samedi postcard mock

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Where have all the good men gone?

THIS is the standard by which we should be judging our presidential candidates—indeed, all of our government officials.

The great José ‘Pepe’ Mujica, of Uruguay. He has been described as “the world’s ‘humblest’ president” due to his austere lifestyle and his donation of around 90 percent of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs. He has also been called “The World’s Poorest President”.

This is what a president should be…a servant of his people, not a celebrity. A man with his feet on the ground, his head clear and unswayed by power or money, and his heart filled not only with his people and his own country, but also with his planet and every other human being on it.

INCORRUPTIBLE. Not because it was his platform or because he was being ‘watched’ but because wealth and power simply did not interest him.

A selfless, simple man who refused to live in the presidential palace, or drive a presidential car (he drove his 25 year old Volkswagen to work every day when he was president) In 2010, the value of the car was $1,800 and represented the entirety of the mandatory annual personal wealth declaration filed by Mujica for that year. In November 2014, the Uruguayan newspaper Búsqueda reported that he had been offered 1 million dollars for the car, which was manufactured in 1987; he said that if he did get 1 million dollars for the car it would be donated to house the homeless through a programme that he supports.

A president who chose to spend taxpayers’ money on a rescue and medical helicopter for remote areas, instead of on a presidential jet. A man who never thought of his own comfort or pockets when he was in government. Who did not allow himself any luxuries that the most ordinary citizen of his country could not have.

After his 5 year term he refused to run again…and he went back to his old profession of flower farming with his wife.

Troubadours

I was going to fix this video up some more, before posting it, but we are now in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (actually, two weeks) and life rushes forward, every day is busy, I can see there will be no time to tweak this short film, despite its many, many flaws. So here it is, in all its unedited, unrefined glory. Don’t stress over the Spanish, it’s not that important.

This is just a messy, noisy bunch of video clips, with lots of slow, boring parts, that I made, using my DSLR,  during the last afternoon I spent with the musical ladies of La Casa de La Trova, drinking Bucanero beer, talking in-between songs, and making lots of promises to come back to Cuba soon.

Taking a friend’s advice…

Thank you, Miri…I promise that I will never, ever die. 😉

hauntingly beautiful

it’s a wonderful life/happy mashup

Good for a chuckle, considering how over-played “Happy” has been, of late.

It’s a Wonderful Life/Happy mashup by Tough Poets Publishing (a.k.a Rick Schober) on youtube