As this is the sixth year I've published my quirky perspective on life via this blog, I thought I would check my readership statistics. I am amazed and humbled to see that I have readers all over the world--in places I have never been and may never see.
The Great Spike of July 2011
Web traffic reached an all-time six-year high this week when I published my TxDot Grant Rant. Oddly, no one has commented publicly thus far but I have gotten lots of feedback in private. (What are y'all afraid of? The Boogeyman is only really after me, you see. And if you believe that, you've learned nothing from reading my taxpayer advocacy diatribes.)
To Cuba and Beyond!
I'd like to say guten tag and willkommen to the folks in Germany. Either I have one crazed reader in Germany who views my blog a lot, or Germans really like my brand of humor. Either way, I am not complaining. Danke!
Also well-represented are the Netherlands, Canada (which makes me feel a tad bit guilty because I do poke so much fun at our Northern neighbor), Ukraine, Brazil (may I come visit!?!), Japan and France (Qui vous aime, bébé!?!). Not sure if that translates. I'd like to do a shout-out to Hungary who just destroyed all of the GMO corn growing there. Nice work! At least their people and livestock will not be sick and hungry in Hungary.
My personal goal is to get a reader in Cuba before Thanksgiving. Anything you can do, dear international reader, to help would be marvelous. I know some of the taxi drivers and hotel workers there pirate internet in their homes at great personal risk, depending on their personal connections. Do you know anyone in Cuba? Referrals are coveted.
The only openly Communist country in the Western Hemisphere is a constant source of fascination for me. Her food, music and people are so amazing. The culture itself seems quite lovely and vibrant.
But did you know that 1/3 of Cuban residents are incarcerated as political prisoners? That should give us all pause. Look at the "justice" system in your country. Is it equally broken? I'd love to hear from you.
A final thought...I vacationed in Calgary and Banff last December. Would you like to know what greeted me as I switched on the TV in my hotel room that first night? A Cuban Department of Tourism ad...Come Visit Cuba!
I was stunned. Suddenly, the Customs form I'd just filled out made a bit more sense. You can bring to Canada, duty-free, ONE bottle of wine and FIFTY cigars. I don't know about you, but it would take me one dinner to drink a bottle of wine and 25-50 years to smoke 50 cigars, and that is if I tried really hard to break my mother's heart.
The moral of the story is that perhaps Canada is quietly trying to offset the financial punch the U.S. has delivered to Cuba for the past five decades.
Our policy is inconsistent, at best. Look at the reasons for the Cuban embargo and then examine our policies with China. We are a two-faced country. While digging around on this issue, I found the following quote. I officially agree with this Democrat, George McGovern.
In June 2011, former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern spoke out against the travel ban before visiting Cuba, remarking: "It's a stupid policy. There's no reason why we can't be friends with the Cubans, and vice versa. A lot of them have relatives in the United States, and some Americans have relatives in Cuba, so we should have freedom of travel ... We seem to think it's safe to open the door to a billion communists in China but for some reason, we're scared to death of the Cubans."
In closing, if you are ever in Dallas, Texas, please visit the Havana Social Club in the American Airlines Center's Victory Plaza. It's a swingin' joint with incredible rum drinks, a state-of-the-art air purifier, and some fine tobacco products. Tell Carlos I sent you.
Now if I could just find a friend from Brazil...