Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Musings

"Hope for the best! expect the worst!
some drink champagne! some die of thirst!
No way of knowing which way it's going
Hope for the best! expect the worst!"  Mel Brookes, 12 Chairs

"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf
Recently I watched "Mel Brookes at the Geffin."  What a show.  I had recorded it last month and forgot all about it.  Mel always inspires: the silly, irreverent, deeply human foibles that we all have.  What a life he has led...and now he and his long-time buddy Carl Reiner have dinner together every night on t.v. trays and shoot the bull.  Wouldn't you like to be a fly on THAT wall?

We were given a project by Peter Turnley when we left Cuba:  find something, a project, to study and photograph.  Get to know someone, some thing, and know it deeply.  After hearing Mel talk about his dream to be in show business after watching Ethel Merman on stage when he was 9 years old, I want to take a leap of faith and ask Mel and Carl if I can hang out with them and photograph their dinners.  Why not?  I could reminisce with them about Broadway musicals (I'm an expert on productions of the 1940s, 50s and 60s) and laugh myself silly at their banter.  What a blast.

Anybody know how I can get in touch with Mel?

His song, above, he wrote for "12 Chairs" at the urging of his darling wife Anne Bancroft, made me think of the Cuban people (of course).  They have been dying of thirst for 50 some years.  No champagne for them.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy the dictator Batista was thrown out, he wasn't doing them any favors. But these people have had a very hard slog for an unbearably long time.  Yet they appear to be optimistic.  How is that?  Not all are, of course, but in general the people I saw and spoke to have a sense of shared struggle. 

Their grit and ingenuity have taken them far.  Their love of life, family and country has given them joy and perseverance. 

I wonder how U.S. citizens could handle such economic impoverishment?  Probably not well.

I wonder, and I worry, about the Cuban peoples' future.  What will an infusion of U.S. capital and influence bring?  How can we do it better than we did it last time?  Will the almighty dollar trump everything?  Cuba's (U.S. imposed) isolation has been catastrophic in terms of economic growth, but (from an outsiders point of view) perhaps its saving grace.  I don't want to romanticise poverty, but there is a certain, and deep, satisfaction from knowing that a people can tolerate and even thrive despite a mighty giant stepping on their collective neck for half a century.

I AM LEAVING BECAUSE THE EARTH IS NO LONGER MINE
Because my feet are tired,
My eyes are blind,
My mouth parched
And my body docile and light,
Ready to enter the air.
I am leaving because there are no paths left for me on earth.
I emerged from water, I have lived in blood
And now the Wind awaits to sweep me to the sun...
I emerged from the sea...and I will expire in the flames.
- Leon Felipe (a favorite poet of Che Guevara)

"Hope for the best.  Expect the worst.
The rich are blessed, the poor are cursed.
That is a fact, friends. The deck is stacked, friends.
Hope for the best.  Expect the worst."
"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf
"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf
"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf
"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf
"Hope for the best! Expect the worst!
Some drink champagne. Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
which way it's going.

Hope for the best! Expect the worst!"
-- the opening stanza of the theme song from Mel Brooks's
The Twelve Chairs, written by -- who else? -- Mel Brooks
- See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2009/02/hope-for-best-expect-worst.html#sthash.Y4Qww8tp.dpuf

4 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in Cuba in this way. Cuba is on my mind and in my heart right now.

    Interesting tie-in with Mel Brookes and Carl Reiner (-:

    ReplyDelete
  2. " but (from an outsiders point of view) perhaps its saving grace." One of these graces is the preservation of unique natural habitats that Cuba has protected. My dream scenario for a project would be to have you come and photograph the cottage, garden and objects from 'our' long life together so that I could create a montage and put it to a music video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. consider it done, my friend. Email me and we'll arrange it.

      Delete