Today marks the 79th birthday of Cuban President Fidel Castro...or 78th depending on whom you are asking. It seems quite strange to me that we don't know how old he is. Yes, he has been around for a very long time, the period of ten American presidents, but someone should know this sort of thing. I checked CIA information online and they also have cited either date...the CIA. Don't you think the government agency that has attempted to assassinate the man numerous times would at least know how old he is? Best guess, Castro was born either August 13th, 1926 or August 13th, 1927. Either way, he's getting up there.
Recently Castro came up in a discussion I was having and since I've been thinking quite a bit about the future status of Cuba. With Raul Castro so high in the chain of command one must wonder whether or not he is waiting in the wings to take power following Fidel's death, but also one must wonder if Castro dies will Cuban Communism also? Communism is waning in China, has long since seen an end in Russia, the previous communist threat in Southeast Asia is gone, Cuba really is all that is left. An island forgotten by most of the world since 1961 & 1962 (except for the occasional mention of Gitmo) , Cuba economically is unsound, trade barriers are enforced, and the last thing out of Cuba before the U.S. embargo was a box of Cuban cigars, ordered by President John F. Kennedy. Years of desertion could equal years of instability.
Regardless of its future, Cuba's leader is merely a year older. He did quit smoking those cigars years ago. Maybe he's there for the long haul. You could probably put Castro in the category with cockroaches and Cher...after nuclear devastation and the end of the world, they'll still be standing.
I read political cartoons. I even have favorites. There is this guy out of New Jersey that I keep an eye on. During the Terri Schiavo ordeal he was right on the money and ahead of most other political cartoonists and every so often he sketches something great. Being out of New Jersey he also covered the gubernatorial debacle and the subsequent frauds, embellishments, and lies that followed. Anyway, in the last few weeks since the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, I've noticed the political cartoons taking cheap shots at NASA. Not just shots at the administration, shots at the astronauts, the engineers, the whole nine yards. I guess my point, if I had a point, is this...political cartoonists are a dying breed, they of all people should understand an entity trying for dear life to hold on to something that was once great. Just as quickly as the shuttle program is headed out the door so are those insensitive cartoonists. Give NASA a break!
Tonight I was channel-surfing and stopped on CMT for a moment as something caught my eye...it was a caisson caring a flag draped coffin. Not something I'm used to seeing as I flip through the channels, I watched carefully the new music video from Trace Adkins for his single "Arlington." I have a soft spot for Arlington National Cemetery; it is one my favorite places in the world and the humbled feeling you get there is unreal. As I watched the video, I completely ignored how much I don't like Adkins' voice, completely ignored the grammatical imperfections of the lyrics, and became completely immersed in the pictures. The graves, the fallen, the 21-gun salute, the flags. It was breathtaking.
It seems that we live in a time of bitterness and cynicism. Since 9/11 we have had a few other country singles including "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," "Have You Forgotten," and "Courtesy fo the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)," but never have I felt the sensitivity, the honor, and the understanding, the recognition of the war's costs until "Arlington." It isn't about a war we should or shouldn't be fighting. It isn't about a president we should or should not be supporting. It's merely about a small, sacred, and hallowed ground, right in the heart of this nation, where brave men and women have been laid to rest, in recognition of their service and sacrifice. This is what our divided nation needs, not another reminder of it's failures, shortcomings, and anger.
For the lyrics to "Arlington" here is a link and if anyone knows where online I can watch that video again, please let me know.