Vigor mortis: Say what you like about Fidel (unless you live in Cuba), you can’t accuse him of letting age, frail­ty or death slow him down. Right to the end, el Comandante was making appearances like this one, silently sticking it to capitalist imperial­ism—and his physical presence was just as powerful as that of the average alive person.


After fulfilling some last-minute media commitments, Fidel’s bloodless cadaver is incinerated and pulverized at a “magnificent” state funeral.

NEW YORK  Sunday

In Turt­le Bay, the United Nations lowers Israeli standards to half-mast.

LONDON  Sunday

In Kings Place, The Guardian lowers editorial standards to half-assed. 

The paper today eulogizes Fidel as “the original SJW” and a man “who was born in a mansion but loved the poor so much that he forged an entire nation of them.”

RIYADH  Monday

Sobbing inconsolably, the House of Saud—which has been friends with the House of Castro since forever—lowers women to half status, making them eighteenth-class citizens, for a respectful 40-day period.


All across the Scottish landscape, wind turbines will run at half efficiency this week by order of Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Alternative and Imaginary Energies, who hasn’t heard about Castro yet.


American flags are burned at half-mast today following Al-Jazeera’s revelation that Fidel had been in the prime of his life on Saturday morning when he died as a complication of CIA assassination. 

The Arab street (a leafy semi-commercial strip running from the crossroads of History to the graveyard of Empire) has been an occidentophobic, accidentophilic powder-keg ever since the turn of the millennium, when US intelligence admitted giving Yasser Arafat AIDS.

Observers of the neighborhood and its explosive residents are therefore unsurprised when a low-burning flag ignites a pro-Fidel, anti-infidel intifada at 4:41pm. 

HAVANA  Monday

Cuba’s current Castro sings the praises of Sunday’s pre-dawn state funeral, which he says “would have made El Comandante bloat with the gases of patriotic pride” had he lived a day or two longer.

“It was one of history’s cru­elest jokes to take Fidel from you [on Saturday], just before he could witness your finest hour,” Raúl tells his people in a special broadcast.

Cubans at home and abroad second the wish that their former President had been alive to experience his cremation.


On the proverbial Pyongyang omnibus, Fidel Castro’s name was pronounced with such affection, and such difficulty, that most knew him simply as 중요한 수염 삼촌 (Important Beard Uncle). 

In a spontaneous gesture of sorrow, North Koreans will switch off their lights and electrical appliances this evening—painting an entire country hearse-black for the second night in a row—say spokesmen for the Kim family, which owns the medium-sized Asian nation.

Axis of Empathy: In this famous photo, South Korea [bottom] is exposed as a heartless, self-absorbed society that never lets a neighbor’s bereavement get in the way of partying all night.

LANGLEY  Tuesday

Exports of freedom, democracy and American ideals to Cuba have been suspended for two weeks out of respect for the privacy and autonomy of the grieving island, announces CIA Director John Brennan.


Naomi Klein—the ubiquitous author and iconic symbol of the No Logo movement—observes an entire minute’s media silence, which is believed to be a personal record.

BEIJING  Tuesday

For 99 lucky dissidents this is the last day they’ll spend in Tiananmen Political Prison. In a salute to the humanitarianism for which Fidel was famous, Premier Li grants the criminals a 21-gun firing squad.

HAVANA  Tuesday

In an emotional broadcast Cuba’s President declares a mourning period of 365 days for his predecessor Fidel, the revolutionary leader who was “almost like a brother” to him.

The President (“Raúl” to his constituency) calls on all Cubans to show their sadness by giving up one luxury for a year—be it long-distance vacations, Italian automobiles, free speech, French couture, or whatever they feel they can sacrifice.

“Fidel would have wanted you to be miserable,” says his successor.

Raúl goes on to describe how—growing up—he somehow had a sense of identifying with, and yearning to take after, the great freedom fighter with whom he even shared a surname. If not for Fidel, muses the country’s 18th President, he probably never would have gone into the presidency profession himself.


Pope Francis orders the release of 99 puffs of fumata nera from the Sistine Chapel in memory of the guerrillero who showed him how to roll his first spliff. 

DAMASCUS  Wednesday

President Assad orders the release of 99 dissidents from a military prison in honor of his late friend and ally. Somewhere in the Syrian Desert the 87 men and 12 boys are given their freedom, a knife, a compass and a ten-minute head start.

RIO  Wednesday

At the bottom of Latin America’s pyramid of peoples, the dispossessed, under-represented, over-incarcerated castes always had a special place in their heart for the Great Leveler. 

This afternoon, in a silent and dignified demonstration, Brazil’s poorest million will remind the world of their sorrow by being black.

BRISTOL  Wednesday

Climate thinkers—who would normally be feeling terrified—have been in a devastated mood for a change this week. 

Today, thanks to the cat-herding skills of Stephan Lewandowsky, they manage to pull it together enough to take part in a 60-minute-long ‘no fly zone.’ The charity event, Grounded Hearts, raises £95,000 in pledges.

The concept is simple. Ordinary people everywhere “sponsor” their favorite scientists to abstain from non-recreational air travel for an hour. All proceeds will go to help the world’s most vulnerable people—Cubans with cerebral palsy—by funding innovative climate research. 

“Grounded Hearts has no administrative costs or overheads,” Lewandosky promises on the NGO’s blog. “So give generously, knowing that every cent goes straight to the community that needs our help more than ever this week[—the scientific community].”


Thanks to the passage of ‘Fidel’s Law,’ possession of Cubans is now a Class A felony.


North Koreans continue to grieve for their Caribbean comrades. Sources above the 38th parallel say they’ve ”barely eaten a thing” all week.

TEHRAN  Thursday

Construction cranes in Edalat (Justice) Square dip to half-mast today when 25 teenagers are hanged in a homophobic homage to Fidel.

HAVANA  Thursday

Officials finally name the woman—known popularly as Suttee Girl—who threw herself on Fidel’s pyre, achieving 15 minutes of excruciating, screaming fame on YouTube.

Sunday’s funeral turned to tragedy when the unidentified woman became unidentifiable by joining the beloved izquierdista, humanista and feminista in incineration. Cellphone video reveals that she shouted the words “¡Br-exit, Cl-exit, Castr-ación, no puedo más!” a number of times before jumping a security rope and immolating herself without warning.

Social-media forensics has succeeded where dental evidence couldn’t. It turns out that Suttee Girl was a meme-ber or ‘storm-troper’ of #WorstYearEver, a list of Twitter users who are opposed to the year 2016 AD.

The group’s thought system is thought to be expressed by the equation Brexit + Trump + Fideath = annus deplorabilis, says Thought Police Commissioner J. M. Castro.

The martyr, adds Castro, was a 29-year-old associate lecturer at La Universidad de Santiago de Cuba who cremated herself to raise anti-2016 awareness.

Her family becomes the front-runner to win this year’s coveted Revolutionary Medal for Child Sacrifice.  

MIAMI  Friday

Acting on a tipoff, CIA and Border Protection interdict eight shipping containers’ worth of freedom, democracy and American ideals bound for Havana. At a street value of almost $20,000, it is the largest seizure of abstract nouns in law-enforcement history.

Three Cuban-American males are being interrogated extrajudicially, deny officials.

Spontaneous: Cuban Americans in Miami are dealing with their crushing sorrow the only way the Latin mind knows how to deal with emotions—salsa!


  1. Drank some Bacardi, but then spat it out as I couldn’t tell if it was American or Cuban. Watched the fruitbats come home to roost.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not bad. I must warn you that Fidel was a made Saint in the Church of Espiritistas, and was surrounded by 9 demons and 111 babalaos who helped keep him alive and have access to Belcebú itself. This means you may get picked up in their spiritual radar as a M’Guri who must be eliminated from the realm of solid matter.

    The regime made sure Belcebú and the demons were kept happy, the 9 days of mourning follows the proper numerology, and the strict enforcement of mourning is said to allow transfer of the power from Fidel to Raul’s son, Alejandro Castro, also known as “El Tuerto”. Alejandro is in charge of all security services, including the medical assassins agency, which has agents skilled in delivering diseases to regime opponents.

    Therefore, now that you have marked yourself by mocking El Caballo, you must proceed to cleanse your body with one liter of coconut juice, and bathe yourself in a tub filled with water to which you have added 2 teaspoons of the perfume known as “Hugo Boss”. This will confuse any evil spirits sent to get you.

    For improved protection you could also imitate Obama and send a peace offering. Given that you don’t have any regime spies serving long sentences you can trade for an American tourist, this isn’t likely to work. Therefore you must do like me, change your name and always carry a pistola loaded with dum dums. You can get additional points if you set up an altar to Saint Barbara, offer her rum by spitting a mouthful in the air once a day, and pledge to vote republican for the rest of your life.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dr Kendall,

    is that what made you lose your drink?

    As a reporter, that’s not the effect I was going for. I was hoping what caused you to eject the contents of your oropharynx (nasally, preferably) would be the pleasant shock of discovering for yourself the quality of journalism and fact-checking we, the microblogosphere, are capable of delivering to our readers.

    If you’re still not convinced that the revolution in news is here, then here’s a challenge:

    Find just one mainstream, “reputable” organ that’s published any of the facts you learned in my story [above].

    If any of those sclerotic dinosaurs has had the agility to ferret out even 1% of the above-ferreted truth, I’ll eat a coprolith or other unappetizing fossil.

    Face it: we are the masters of exclusive, uncorroborated content now. The media universe is ours.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Plazaeme warned me about this.
    Thank the gods, this time I had not yet begun to drink my Río Viejo, nor to nibble my (home) fried almonds, because I have been laughing, and laughing, and the mess would have been terrible otherwise.
    I have copied this into my favourites, and am going to send it everywhere I can.

    ¡ Muchas gracias, Ha sido una gozada : lo he disfrutado y me he reído a carcajadas !
    Un abrazo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brad Sclerotic dinosaur is only half an insult because most were born that way. Ichthyosaurs as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dr Kendall,

    Apparently you’re not an expert in black studies, or any of the racial sciences for that matter. That’s OK—not everyone is cut out for such hard sciences. Vive la difference! It doesn’t make physicists and cell biologists any less smart that scientists of color, sex or privilege, just… different.

    So (simplifying a great deal) I’ll explain it this way: insulting people and extinct phyla for the way they were born is actually the most insulting insult, precisely because they can’t help it. I don’t want to go into technicalities given my audience, but most ethnic scientists would assign what I just wrote about the terrible lizards a coefficient closer to 150% than 50%. I was leveraging my white male non-sclerochthonous non-cartilaginous non-extinct privilege to cruelest effect, in hopes of getting through my victims’ thick and scaly skin.

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to enlighten you. You’ll have to excuse me now; I’m watching reruns of Ichthy and Scratchthtschy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How did I honour Fidel? Not much. But I didn’t insult the dead.

    54 years ago, the world’s most powerful country declared war on Cuba with a disastrous failed invasion. The war continues to this day (a commercial embargo is an act of war) and for that reason Castro has never held a free election, just like Churchill 1940-45. And because of the commercial embargo Cuba remains a poor country (though with health and education provision out of all proportion to its wealth) and the USA is hated by an entire continent and by the fourth most important country in the European Union, and by progressives everywhere.

    But Castro never gassed civilians in defence of Big Oil, as Churchill did in Iraq in the twenties. True, Castro has intervened in foreign affairs to overthrow governments, just like Churchill. Churchill, supported by the CIA, overthrew the democratically elected Marxist government of Cheddi Jagan in Guyana in 1953. And Castro intervened in the politics of Angola and South West Africa (now Namibia) with thousands of troops, leading to the success of the freedom fighters and eventually to the defeat of South African forces. It was the Soviet-supplied Mig fighters of the Cuban Air Force, and not the sympathetic Bishop Tutu, which defeated Apartheid and freed South Africa.

    Which is why I haven’t bothered to read this article. Brad is the funniest commenter on the climate scene, bar none. That’s why he was the first and only guest poster on my blog, and why I continue to love him to death. I don’t think this article is funny, but I’m not going to bother to find out by reading it.

    Which doesn’t make much sense, does it? It’s like that E.M. Forster thing about my country or my friends, though Brad and I are hardly “friends” in the E.M. Forster sense. In my Sceptics’ house there are many mansions.

    Meanwhile, the European Union has officially come out as a racist organisation. EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger referred to members of an official Chines delegation as slit-eyed rascals with their hair plastered down with boot polish, and has refused to apologise. A member of UKIP or the Front National who had made such a remark would have been banned. The unelected Oettinger remains unrepentant. The EU is now officially more racist than the extreme right that it officially castigates. What more do you need to brand all those Guardian-reading pseudo-leftists as brainless fascistoids? Trump has just upset the Chinese government, but has not referred to them as slit-eyed rascals. Evil is not always where you think. Which is why those Christian precepts of forbearance can come in handy for anyone who wants to advance understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Geoff.

    You did warn me. You did advise, exhort and beg me to “publish and perish.” Which I thought was clever. Hurry up, you said. Post it so I can vivisect it with a chainsaw, you said. LOL.

    That’s the last time I take anything you say with a grain of salt. Hope you’re happy!

    In case it helps, one can and should insult the dead (sic semper Fidelis), but the dead can’t be insulted.

    those Christian precepts of forbearance can come in handy for anyone who wants to advance understanding.

    Understanding is all well and good, but when advancing the art of overstatement it’s those Hitchian ripostes of “forgive your own enemies” that are probably more useful.

    But not to worry—Revolutionary Cuba is a deeply forbearant society rooted in Jesusian ethics, so I’m sure her leadership would forgive me, for I know not what I do.

    In fact “Turn the other cheek” is said to have been one of Castro’s favorite quotes from The Christ—second only to “Continuously towards victory!”
    Bible quote


  9. By the way Geoff,

    Many thanks for the jam-packed history lesson—or perhaps history reminder (if the enemy of history is oblivescence, not obliviousness)—it was much needed.

    … government of Cheddi Jagan … South West Africa … Bishop Tutu…

    Now you’re just making up words! (*incredulously searches Wikipedia*)


  10. Brad.
    My Wiki is smokin’
    So much to know, and to be informed by such self-professed experts.
    I should go easy with references to racial sciences, especially when you use the American spelling for colour.


  11. Hi Alan,

    sorry to hear your Wiki has fallen for the lies of Big Tobacco.

    Thanks for pulling me up on the antiquated language—I meant, of course, only to refer to persons of flava. (It’s hard to keep up with the dysphemism treadmill, but that’s no excuse for not trying my best.)

    Physicists now recognize a whole spectrum of flavas in the world of quarks (the building blocks of subatomic particles, atoms and, ultimately, the flavinoids)—but just like in the world of people, no flava is better or worse than any other, regardless of the spin culture tries to put on them.

    So we can agree, I think, that there’s only one human race: the race to understand the glue that holds the universe together before it’s too late. And that, says Hawking, may be the next best thing to reading the mind of God.


  12. Brad
    Sorry don’t know anybody from dat Flava TV station and dey don’t play my kinda musik.

    To be serious, I’m surprised you subscribe to the “we are one race” PC crap. I am Caucasian and accept it, my adopted daughter is 100% Chipewyan and was brought up to be proud of it; my granddaughter is of mixed race, beautiful and wonderful. We are one fantastic (and sometimes deplorable) species, but many races and mixtures. To admit the first, but deny the second is political correctness gone stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dr Kendall

    To be serious, I’m surprised you subscribe to the “we are one race” PC crap.

    OK, but I said we’re running one race, not “we are one race.”

    I’d like to think my writings on such topics as the Hopechanger, the issues facing today’s insane community, etc., suffice to clear me of any suspicion of PCness. 🙂

    I am Caucasian and accept it

    Yes, as a person of light-skinned Punjabi descent myself I know what it is to derive from the lowly mud of the Caucasus.

    I’m glad you’ve found some measure of acceptance. I hope, with time, I can also make my peace with it. I’ll never be proud of it, of course—it’s not as if it’s an accomplishment, like being black or Latino—I just want to stop beating myself up over it! Dinosaurs don’t blame themselves for being sclerotic; that’s just how they were made. So I’ve got to stop apologizing for the fact that my ancestors migrated from a particular mountain range in Eurasia.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Brad.
    I can tell when I’m in your good books: call me “Alan” and I am, but refer to me as “Dr Kendall” and I’m not.
    You did actually write “So we can agree, I think, that there’s only one human race” which all too commonly is PR speak for “talk of races is racist”. My view is that our differences should be both honoured and celebrated. I had no intention of implying you were at all racist, just that our views on race might be different.
    I taught my daughter to be PROUD of her heritage because she needed that support. In Canada, where we lived, there is a small segment of society who are very actively anti-“indian”. She needed whatever help she could get to stand up to abuse.
    I ACCEPT my Caucasian heritage because it comes with a great deal of unwanted baggage, not the least of which was an enormous unearned advantage, part of which came from my ancestors oppressing other races.
    Let us celebrate the special abilities of different races – the stamina of some East Africans at running, the etherial beauty of Balanese women, the life skills of the first Australians. Yet to some (not you or I) even to mention these traits being race related is anathema.
    To bring this back to Castro, I never realized that although black and mixed race people make up a large proportion of the inhabitants of Cuba, they never occupied positions of power in the ruling elite (or is this more fake news?)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Alan,

    I switched to “Dr Kendall” once I realized you had a PhD, that’s all—no books involved! 🙂

    We of Caucasoid skull should not, I think (in seriousness now) spend our lives apologizing for the oppressive actions of previous custodians of our mDNA, but rather resolving not to oppress people ourselves.

    Don’t read anything into my jokes about pride—I have to admit I didn’t even know what Chipewyan meant, though I’m glad to learn, and that you found a way to give your daughter armor against the racist element.

    > Let us celebrate the special abilities of different races – the stamina of some East Africans at running, the etherial beauty of Balanese women, the life skills of the first Australians.

    Well, I’d only quibble with the last example, in that skills like desert survival can be (and are) passed down culturally, not genetically, and between races, not just with them. I think you were being a bit loose there, but I wouldn’t call it anathematous!

    > although black and mixed race people make up a large proportion of the inhabitants of Cuba,

    Almost all Latin Americans are mixed-race. It’d be impossible to even staff a functioning state without putting mixed-race people in ruling positions, of some altitude at least.

    > they never occupied positions of power in the ruling elite (or is this more fake news?)

    Certainly not fake—there is a well-known, and well-deplored, correlation between ethnicity (or ethnic mixture) and social mobility in much of Latin America.

    To GREATLY simplify:

    – the purer one’s black (slave) ancestry, the lower one’s status

    – in many countries, the purer one’s pre-Columbian (“Indian”) ancestry, the lower one’s status; however, as I mentioned, almost everyone has *some* native ancestry

    Also, note that I wasn’t referring to Cubans—who may or may not enjoy more ethnic egalitarianism than other Latin societies, I simply don’t know. Having Castro-family mDNA certainly seems to be an advantage, and for what it’s worth that means being of pure European stock, which is a minority.


  16. Brad. Well I do know (or rather have heard of) something you don’t (haven’t) – thank goodness for that – I was getting a bit overwhelmed here – the word “anathematous” is rather conversation stopping. A study of Australian abilities to navigate within seemingly landmark-free bush showed that this was not just learned from elders. It was concluded that some genetically aquired ability, a special way of visualizing the environment was present (but was not present in other humans). I half remember that the Australian policy of schooling kids away from parents did not disrupt this ability, merely blunted it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Alan, we’re barely scratching the surface of my sphere of ignorance. Nope, I hadn’t heard of that study of Indigenous sense-of-direction heritability, but it wouldn’t perturb my worldview if true. I’ve never believed it was wholly coincidental that I and one of my parents happen to have indistinguishable-from-zero senses of direction.

    (I’d call the thing I lack an aptitude or talent, rather than a skill, to be pedantic.)

    If it’s nighttime and I don’t have the visual clues I normally use to cheat, I’m lost. I have to drive in a spiral search pattern to get to a destination. Would that I were exaggerating when I say that.

    Meanwhile a friend of mine is the antithesis: implausibly good at pathfinding. I was with him when he went to NYC for the first time, and he already knew his way around the city from American TV shows.

    The only part of your account that sounds dubious is the conclusion that freakishly good navigation abilities are not present in other humans. I expect people like my friend exist in every sufficiently populous “race,” though their prodigious knack probably goes underappreciated until they find themselves in a nullarboreal desert. Then it becomes the difference between living to reproductive age and… not living.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We musn’t forget his climate acheivments:

    According to the WWF, Cuba is the only country that has managed to combine an environmentally sustainable footprint per head of population with an acceptably high quality of life as measured by the UN Human Development Index. And if Cuba can do that without the latest and most economical technology, how much easier should it be for us?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Brad. I went searching for information about the supposed mental abilities of first Australians. I was frustrated by an inability to recall more about the programme I listened to. What I found supports your view. Navigation is largely a matter of learning “songlines” that are linked with astronomical features. In other words, as you suggested, its a cultural inheritance. I found no reference to “my” programme, but did find occasional reference to some mental differences, in particular greater use of visual intelligence – the ability to think in pictures rather than with words. I wonder if this was emphasized in the programme I saw.


  20. So these indigenous Australians would be able to navigate a featureless wasteland better at night?

    I’m confident that in pathfinding, there’s a role not only for skills such as you describe but also for the innate ability to hold a mental “map” of one’s environment that is more or less independent of visual cues—a kind of bird’s eye view, or an abstraction thereof, which is something I’ve never had. My friend, whose prodigious navigation skills I mentioned, is not more or less “visual” a thinker than me; it’s just that when he wants to get from A to B, his vision of the world is not hostage to the sights and sounds of his immediate perspective, the way mine is. So his ability to get to B is robust to changes in the lighting conditions, detours, local changes etc., whereas I can get thrown off track completely by something as simple as a vandalized street sign.

    True example: another friend lived on Kelly St, which had no signpost, so I’d always turn left onto the signless street when I went to his place. One day some genius decided to pay for a shiny new sign, saying Kelly Street, and that threw me. I missed my turn.


  21. Brad. Have you and your partners in climate apostasy here considered the appropriateness of the type of conversation we have just been having – conversations of interest to us (and hopefully to other readers) but which do not relate to the topic at hand? Over at Bishop Hill I always understood that, after an unspecified time period you were more or less free to move off along divergent discussions. Have you perhaps considered a “dethreaded” location where these divergent strands might be transfered to, leaving the original threads pristine and shiny bright?


  22. Brad. You wrote “So these indigenous Australians would be able to navigate a featureless wasteland better at night”. I would surmise, given the terrible heat of the day, that night is the preferred time for travel for other reasons.


  23. Surprisingly there are latitudes and months where and when it’s quite pleasant throughout the day here Down Under—admittedly less so in the more nullarboreal and feature-free hinterland, but still. So it would presumably be advantageous to have a good sense of direction even in the absence of sidereal cues.


  24. Brad. I really would like to know what cliscept ‘s views are/have been about wandering off on tangents, however interesting.


  25. Alan, I’m not sure—do you want me to ask the founding authors? AFAIK we’ve very rarely deleted anything on relevance grounds. Personally I’m not a great believer in the coherence of the concept of “the topic,” or of being thereon or thereoff. Threads tend to create their own topics, which is part of the fun.


  26. Anyway this was my post, so I’m the Modeleter In Charge, and I’ll let you know in advance if we’re approaching the critical distance from “the topic.”


  27. Thank you. I cannot agree more that threads seem to find their own paths and that is indeed much of the fun. So…
    yes I’ve been Down Under during your winter and still found it rather on the warm side. Stopping off at Mt. Isa we melted on the airport tarmac.
    I have only met and talked with FIrst people from Western Australia, some of whom organized our camping trips into the Canning Basin. The main organizer spoke about his walkabout, which if memory serves, lasted four or five months. So I doubt if he could have avoided hot weather.
    On the same trip I also froze my butt off swimming in Shark Bay, even with a wetsuit.


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