A deviant Saturday

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We got to La Plazuela just before 2 p.m. Few other customers had arrived. That’s an actual half-car hanging on the wall, sliced right down the middle.

WE’RE PRETTY staid people, and our days don’t vary much, especially Saturdays when it’s baking in the morning, and hawking pastries downtown in the afternoon.

But we chucked all that yesterday and broke out of our mold.

We drove down the mountainside to the state capital with just frivolity on the agenda, not shopping, which is normally what takes us to the big city.

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First, we dined at a Cuban restaurant called La Plazuela. We ordered what’s called “the Banquet.” That’s it on our table. We ate it all.

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View in the other direction, toward the bar.

In 2012, we had quite a few Cuban meals at ground zero, the communist hellhole of Cuba itself, which is where we went for our 10th anniversary. You can read about that here. But we prefer our Cuban food in a free world.

After the meal, we headed to a movie theater, one of those fancy ones with the wide seats where waiters come to where you’re sitting to take orders, but we ordered nothing.

We were full of Cuban food.

The movie was Rocketman, the life of Elton John. It was a very good movie. I’ve long been an Elton John fan. The English actor Taron Egerton did a superlative job of portraying the singer and actually singing Elton’s music.

Elton John overcame his serious addiction to the bottle and drugs almost 30 years ago. He’s an old coot now, just two years younger than I am.

Saturday was notable for another thing: the initial lawn mowing of the year. Abel the Deadpan Yardman started his work for the summer of 2019. He arrived at 10 a.m. and finished before we headed to the state capital.

The lawn looks very nice this morning.

Sometimes, you gotta break out of your mold. It’s fun.

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Not a tall blade in sight. That’s an aloe vera on the right.

36 thoughts on “A deviant Saturday

  1. I’ll try the Cuban restaurant next time we’re in Morelia.

    Wish you’d stop calling Cuba a hellhole. Been to Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, the Gaza Strip, etc., and Cuba is not exceptionally hell-holish by comparison.

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    1. Señor Lanier: Nice restaurant. Highly recommended.

      Just because other places are hellholes, does not make Cuba less of a hellhole. Plenty of hellholes to go around. But those other hellholes you mention, rightly so, are places where one can pick up and move away. Cuba, not so much, which puts it into a category all by itself, a communist, prison hellhole.

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      1. There may be a devil in your phrase: “places where one can pick up and move away.”

        It is a valid distinction between Cuba and non-totalitarian states where people who feel aggrieved can pack up and move. But, as both you and Al have noted, the world is filled with hellholes, or as President Trump indelicately put it: “Shitholes.” That is why the Middle East, northern Africa, Europe, Mexico, and The States are now facing a wave of people who would like to get away from their own personal hellholes. And there are very few arks for them.

        The options of the aggrieved are quickly narrowing. And that may not be a bad thing. The people who live in those hellholes may decide that violently tossing out the governments that cannot provide them security is the best option. Of course, that often leads to an exasperated problem. I would offer, as an example, that paradigm of popular-socialist turned communist turned fascist — Daniel Ortega. That has not worked out very well for Nicaragua.

        That does not alter the distinction you made. It is one I would have made myself. But I fear that distinction is becoming a less realistic option than it once was.

        The world is in a much better place than it was a century ago, but it certainly is not an example of Enlightenment options.

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        1. Señor Cotton: The world is better off now than it was a century ago? That would be 1919, the end of the First World War. Germany was in the pits in 1919, of course, but I think much of the world was better off then than now. At least Western Civilization was.

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          1. Eastern civilization was living under the yoke of western imperialism. Mexico was just ending a horrible revolution. Blacks in the U.S. still lived under Jim Crow laws and legislated discrimination. Women in the U.S. couldn’t vote. Fifty million deaths worldwide from the Spanish flu. Et cetera, et cetera. It was the best of times.

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            1. Gerard: Better in some ways, worse in others. Times always change. As for blacks living under Jim Crow laws, that was only in the Old South. But in other ways, blacks were better off. Families were much more intact. The illegitimacy rate was far, far less than now. LBJ’s “Great Society” screwed blacks good, making them welfare dependent. As for women voting, they won the right nationwide in 1920, but could vote in some areas before then. But don’t get me started on universal suffrage. I’m no fan. I like H.L. Mencken’s remark that “democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” I believe the right to vote should be restricted to people with a certain educational level and probably only property owners too. Most people are absolutely too ignorant to vote. That AMLO is now president of Mexico is a lovely illustration of that.

              And I stick with the proposition that America was better off in 1919 than it is now. Far less societal conflict for sure.

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                1. Señor Lanier: My preferred type of government is the enlightened monarchy. However, that has a fatal flaw in that it cannot be guaranteed that the monarch will be enlightened more than one generation. Sad.

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        2. You forget that Cubans left their island-prison by the hundreds of thousands, sometimes fleeing on rafts, etc., but mostly legally, with the blessing of both the American and the Cuban governments. To keep on throttling the people in Cuba, Iran etc. in hopes of popular uprisings and democratic redemptions. is not a sure-fire solution either. Quite the opposite — an opening — might actually be a more productive strategy. But who knows?

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    1. Thirsty: Good movie. In some spots, it’s like a musical, but it’s not a musical as one usually thinks of it.

      Elton John apparently made no demands of the movie, told them they could say whatever they wanted. The lead actor is very good.

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  2. Glad to hear you “broke a routine”! The movie hasn’t gotten here yet that I know of but glad to read your review. I would imagine that was a hard movie to make. There are many hellholes in the world and, as you mentioned, one can’t get out of all of them.

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  3. I used to be a big fan of Elton’s music and played a lot of it in piano bars along with Billy Joel and other artists of the time. I was a bit disappointed when he came out gay as the lyrics of some of his earlier songs no longer made sense. I got over it and still think he was a great songwriter 30-40 years ago. I won’t go to see Rocketman or any of those other biopics about Queen and other ’70s bands. I guess that makes me an old poop. I am, however, learning songs from some great Spanish-speaking bands like Mana, Julieta Venegas, Miranda, Babasonicos, Gilda, Hilda Lizaradu and the Ratones Paranoicos (bet you’ve never heard of them!). Trying to stay fresh in this rotten world. It’s not easy.

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    1. Brent: I believe it was Red China that would not allow Rocketman to be shown unless all the gay references were removed, and they were. Wouldn’t really tell Elton’s story without the gay stuff. Too bad you’re gonna skip the movie. It’s very good. You’re an old poop indeed. I did not see the Queen movie because Queen never interested me. As for the Spanish-speaking bands, I never heard of any of those you mention. My wife probably has, or maybe not. Her musical interests kind of ended with Julio Iglesias.

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      1. You’ve never heard of Mana ? They’re one of Mexico’s biggest bands. You must listen to Banda or Mariachi. Anyway, I don’t mean to pick on Elton. I’m sure the movie is good, but we’re not really movie theatre people. We tend to buy old classic films off eBay and watch them at our cabin where we have no internet or TV. As for Julio Iglesias, there seems to be a lot of women hung up on him, and I don’t think it’s just the music. 😉

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        1. Brent: I couldn’t tell you the name of a single Mexican band. Just don’t pay any attention to them. Pay scant attention to any music these days.

          Yes, my wife was sorely in luuuuuuvv with Iglesias when she was a youngster. Still is, I think. Julio and I are the same age. Rod Stewart and Michael Douglas too.

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  4. Did you have someone with you, to help eat all that food?

    Why would you chose Saturday for your Deviant Day? Pastry Day?

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    1. Beverly: No, it was just us. We got it all down the pipes quite easily. There was a dessert included in the price, but we passed on that part. Didn’t even ask what it was. Thinking back on it, I wish we had. Of course, that’s because I’m not stuffed at the moment.

      Why did we choose Saturday? We just got a hair up our backsides for something different.

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  5. Felipe: I worked as a designer for a company owned by Siemens, and myself and another guy were sent to one of their facilities To cut a car in half. They wanted to do some aerodynamic testing on it at the university, but it wouldn’t fit through the door. We explained that it would be cheaper to make the door bigger rather than cut a brand-new car in half, but it ended up cut in half.

    My experience with Cuba is much different than yours, but I went there expecting to enjoy it. I talked to a few people who told me there have been a lot of changes over the last few years, such as having small businesses, etc. The hotel we were in is Canadian-owned. The manager is Canadian and most of the guests were Canadian, along with some Russians, Chinese, etc. There were some Spanish speakers, and I asked one of the hotel workers where they were from. He said they were Cubans, that they had a steady clientele of self-employed Cubans.

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    1. Kris: I will refrain from mentioning the Kool-Aid thing.

      Cuba is an iron-fisted, communist dictatorship, currently kept afloat primarily by tourism. That’s the long and the short of it.

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      1. Felipe: Russia, North Korea and China among others are worse, yet they are the best friends of your idol the angry Cheeto. I can manage to see the good and avoid the bad. I had numerous conversations with people there who enjoy their lives. They may not have much to compare it with, but they do have Canadian TV networks, which carry U.S. programs, so they’re not isolated from what happens in the world.

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        1. Kris: North Korea, a Stalinist despotism of the worst sort, is worse than Cuba. Russia and Red China are not worse than Cuba in any way. They are far better, nicer.

          It is in the best interest of the Cuban dictatorship that tourists see happy things and leave with a smile. I see it was successful with you.

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  6. I first ate at La Plazuela with Ms. Red Shoes. Cuban food has long been one of my favorite cuisines. I was initiated to its wonders by Cuban friends in Portland — Castro groupies all, who prefer to support oppression from the comforts of The States, rather than in the Socialist freedom grinder. And then there have been my occasional forays to Miami where the best of Cuban cooking seems to have been transplanted.

    So, when I went to Cuba in 2001, I fully anticipated I would be astounded by the home-cooking of the homeland. I wasn’t. For one good reason — a reason I had known for years. There was very little food to be had, and what was available was of pathetically low quality. The cooks did the best they could with what they had been provided by the state. And, in that sentence is the rub of the problem.

    Bill Buckley once told me a joke which I can only paraphrase. The left used to complain that under Batista Cubans were tossed into jail and were fed only one banana a day. Under Castro, they no longer get the banana.

    I look forward to dinner at La Plazuela in the near future. Perhaps the four of us.

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    1. Señor Cotton: That Miami has the best Cuban food is not a surprise. However, when I was in Havana in 2012, over a decade after you, the food was pretty good. Things had changed in that time, clearly, as the regime courts tourists, about its only source of income since the fall of the Soviet Union and later the death of Hugo Chávez. I specifically remember big boiled lobsters. We went to that joint twice in the week we were in the communist paradise. Tourists get pampered and fooled, all at the same time.

      Great joke that one.

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    2. I was in Cuba in 1998 and the food was awful, but then I returned with Stew in 2013, and the food was plentiful and inexpensive, not only in Havana, but also Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and just about anywhere we went. What was curious was the abundance of pork and the almost complete absence of beef.

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