Saturday, November 08, 2003

Back to Cuba (from April '94)

A black Alabama state representative, Alvin Holmes, is well known for his single-minded promotion of the interests of blacks. Earlier this year, when the state legislature was considering a bill that would make it easier for the state police to help deport foreign criminals, Rep. Holmes took particular aim at Cubans:
“They all ought to be sent back to Cuba, including the ones that aren’t in jail .... They don’t do nothing but hurt the blacks. They all ought to be sent back .... I wish every one of their citizenships would be taken.” Not to be thought prejudiced, Rep. Holmes went on to recommend that all people from Norway, Sweden, Ireland, France, Germany and El Salvador be repatriated too.
Besides his duties as a legislator, Rep. Holmes is a professor of history at Alabama State University.

Tarpon fishing in the mangroves of Cuba's south coast tidal rivers was the first thing that lit a fire in me for Cuba. I had flown over the island fourteen times on my way to Ecuador but a National Geographic book on fishing published in '39 made me aware of Cuba's incredible fishing. In the future I will try to get some of those old pictures and text on the Web.


Friday, November 07, 2003

MARK HUGHES COBB: The Chukker: Breaking up is hard to do
November 07, 2003

One last shout for The Chukker: Even though it seemed everyone was there -- and like some Crimson Tide games and the Police concert at the Bama, eventually everyone WILL be there -- people still want to know about the last big bang.

So here it was: Long, sad, funny, dark. So jammed with mourners you couldn’t get to the bar or the bathroom without loads of patience and tolerance for claustrophobia.

By the way, I’d just like to thank the fire marshals for passing by that night, even though there were times the crowd could have used a good hosing down. It would have been all too ironic to shut the place down the night it shook apart. Guess there were barbecue grills smoldering on balconies somewhere.

Lots of fine old friends gathered around, including ex’s, but what the heck. If you can’t bury a ground-down axe (somewhere aside from my skull, that is) at the wake of a friend, when and where can you?

As all non-drinkers know, it’s just bad etiquette to report on drunks when you’re sober.

But nobody’s paying me Miss Manners’ bucks, so, there was this one guy who kept staggering behind me, trying to lean his half-conscious head on my back. At first I thought nothing of it. Figured it was someone I knew, someone in need.

Then I sensed the hitching breath of someone struggling not to vomit.

So I inched forward. He shuffled up, inclining his noggin somewhere around the 11th vertebrae. It was like having a baby duck imprinted on me. A big drunk baby duck.

Finally, I took a giant step forward, at which time he slumped to the floor like somebody had yanked the skeleton right out through his neck. The floor was a good place for him. Gravity, for once, was a friend.

Then D.C.’s bass player did a G.G. Allen (the infamous and dead performance artist/rocker) tribute, dressed only in tiny G-string, high-top Converse sneakers and white socks, which inspired much stage-/sdiving and a full-frontal flasher or two. Finally, a turn for the bizarre; up to then, it had been nearly high-school reunion sweet.

Speaking of costumes, there were the Osbournes, Hendrix, Sigfrieds and Roys, and of course, your friend Satan.

Cleverly, many folks came dressed as burned-out hippies, or bikers and drag queens. Fascinating attention to detail, and I’m telling you, those wigs were NOT coming off!

With the benefit of a nap earlier that evening and several Cokes from the bar, I hung in until the sun was fully up, IHOP-ing on the way home. When I left, there were still probably 150 people soaking up rays in the courtyard, or avoiding them in the bar.

Just one question: Where were all of these sad sacks for the past few years, when the club was sliding down the tubes? And where were they when the struggling bands were up on stage sweating their ends off for no money?

If I had to listen to one more stranger whine about how it stunk that the city council did this or Ludovic did that ...

Fine, oddball Chukker-type places are like public radio. Cough up the bucks, or the signal fades.

Rowbear’s song “Gypsy Business" (the reunited Club Wig closed with it) hit an emotional high point for a lot of folks: “I tried staying in one place / but everybody seems to move away / hey hey / hey hey / it was a sad, sad day / hey hey / hey hey / engines are rumbling far away."

Reach Mark Hughes Cobb at or 722-0201.


A Superb Salsa Website:

The problem of lifting up the negro in Cuba and Porto Rico is an easier one in one respect, even if it proves more difficult in others. It will be less difficult, because there is the absence of that higher degree of race feeling which exists in many parts of the United States. Both the white Cuban and the white Spaniard have treated the people of African descent, in civil, political, military, and business matters, very much as they have treated others of their own race. Oppression has not cowed and unmanned the Cuban negro in certain respects as it has the American negro.

In only a few instances is the color-line drawn. How Americans will treat the negro Cuban, and what will be the tendency of American influences in the matter of the relation of the races, remains an interesting and open question. Certainly it will place this country in an awkward position to have gone to war to free a people from Spanish cruelty, and then as soon as it gets them within its power to treat a large proportion of the population worse than did even Spain herself, simply on account of color.
While in the matter of the relation of the races the problem before us in the West Indies is easier, in respect to the industrial, moral, and religious sides it is more difficult. The negroes on these islands are largely an agricultural people, and for this reason, in addition to a higher degree of mental and religious training, they need the same agricultural, mechanical, and domestic training that is fast helping the negroes in our Southern States. Industrial training will not only help them to the ownership of property, habits of thrift and economy, but the acquiring of these elements of strength will go further than anything else in improving the moral and religious condition of the masses, just as has been and is true of my people in the Southern States.

With the idea of getting the methods of industrial education pursued at Hampton and Tuskegee permanently and rightly started in Cuba and Porto Rico, a few of the most promising men and women from these islands have been brought to the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, and educated with the view of having them return and take the lead in affording industrial training on these islands, where the training can best be given to the masses.

The emphasis that I have placed upon an industrial education does not mean that the negro is to be excluded from the higher interests of life, but it does mean that in proportion as the negro gets the foundation,--the useful before the ornamental,--in the same proportion will he accelerate his progress in acquiring those elements which do not pertain so directly to the utilitarian.

Phillips Brooks once said, "One generation gathers the material, and the next builds the palaces." Very largely this must be the material-gathering generation of black people, but in due time the palaces will come if we are patient.

by Booker T. Washington
Century Magazine 59 (1900): 472-478.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Kathleen Wyer Lane - Nov 5, 2003 View | Viewers | Reply to this item
Hello Everyone: I found the connection to Jose Garcia Innerarity from Cuba and Holsey which may shed some light on Cynthia and Tony's search. The connection is Alabama. A few months ago I posted the following: "Hi Cynthia: A big hello and Happy New Year. In two recent posts, I mentioned the Jose Garcia Innerarity connection and Cuba. I've always maintained that there was definitely a connection to this Innerarity and Jamaica. I guess that I wasn't clear in my posting. The name certainly connects to Tony's query regarding names etc, I wrote: I found a letter addressed to my father when he was in college at Florida A & M University or had just started teaching there. The date is the middle to late 30's. I can't find the letter at the moment. The letter was from a man named Hosey, on USDA stationary from Tuskegee. The letter mentions that a Mr. Jose Garcia Innerarity from Cuba was lecturing at Tuskegee and wanted to meet my father. I assume that this Innerarity was involved in agriculture since that was Tuskegee's focus." Innerarity and Alabama: I found that Albion Hosey was a very prominent African-American and a big supporter of Booker T Washington. The University of Ilinois has posted his papers in a searchable database on url. Just click on it and one of the pages describes Tuskegee's educational outreach to "Negro students" in Cuba. They received stipends and travel to and from Cuba according to this article. So this Jose GARCIA Innerarity was in Tuskegee as part of an historical educational outreach by Booker T Washington. Considering the repressive regimes in the 30's in Cuba by the rich and entitled, it can be assumed that this Innerarity was a man of color. The country was strictly segregated along racial and economic lines. This may be another research avenue for the Jamaica and Cuba connection. Here is the url. Good luck! Kathleen 4/html/455.html

Tuesday, November 04, 2003


What an epiphany is was to realize that the two words "academic shithead" were not on google!
Now my life truly has meaning!
My blog hasn't shown up on google yet but it's just a matter of time.
It's so easy to get material. All I have to do is type "university trip cuba" into google and the material flows.
Or should I say, "Stuff flows."
This feels so natural to me. You probably didn't know this but my first job after high school was working in the Dothan city sewers so I was primed when I met, Barney, the guy who regularly cleared the main during weekends on Bama's Sorority Row in ' 68(Hint: Never, Ever yell "PREGNANT!!!!" in a crowded sorority house).
In fact, Babbs Deal wrote a book about those days. It's called "When The Wall Come Tumbling Down."
check it all out at


Monday, November 03, 2003

Chukker's last hurrah melds angry punk rock with passed-out customers
By Graham Flanagan
Entertainment Editor
November 03, 2003

The following is Entertainment Editor Graham Flanagan's first-person account of the final hours of the Tuscaloosa bar The Chukker on Saturday morning.

As I waded through the sea of remorseful Chukker patrons at the nearly 50-year-old bar in the wee hours Saturday morning (the last official day for it to be in business), two distinct thoughts ran through my work-weary mind.

The first: "Hey, that guy is passed out on a table."

The second: "Hey, so is that guy over there."

I entered The Chukker after getting off work at another bar at about 4:15 a.m.; thankfully, the managerial staff had ceased to charge the rather unappealing $10 cover. Never before had I seen The Chukker hold a larger, or for that matter drunker, amount of customers.

While I do not and should not condone intentional intoxication by means of the excessive consumption of alcohol, I felt this moment was one when it was understandable to want to drown one's sorrows in drink.

While I, personally, cannot claim to have been a Chukker regular - I only recently turned 21 and entered a bar legally - I understand the reason for the sadness of its hundreds of faithful, former customers. In the past few months it has, for me, become somewhat of an automatic destination after a long Friday night spent working at the aforementioned "other bar."

I have numerous fond memories of losing at pool and sipping on Pabst Blue Ribbons after pumping multiple dollars into what I consider to be the most impressive and eclectic jukebox in town. By impressive and eclectic, I mean... Well, you read Friday's online edition of "The Weekend Warrior," didn't you?

"This song is for the c-------ers in the Tuscaloosa City Council!"

-- D.C. Moon and His Atomic Supermen bassist Ricky Lee

After only seeing one rock 'n' roll show (Charlie Hunter in 2002) at the 1956-established bar, I must confess that the performance (which began at 4:30!) delivered by D.C. Moon and his Atomic Supermen easily goes down as one of the greatest shows I have ever seen in Tuscaloosa, let alone at The Chukker itself.

Awash in rage and hostility toward the City Council, the performance contained a myriad of bizarre details and instances.

One particular instance, and the most memorable as far as I'm concerned, came during a performance of a song that I'll assume is titled "Dead Babies."

Amid the creepy instrumentation and lyrics ("Dead babies take things off your shelves"), the band added some theatrics to the mix by having a man wearing an S&M slave mask perform crude surgery on a blonde-haired kewpie doll and then hurling its body and cotton entrails into the crowd.

Case in point, D.C. Moon and His Atomic Supermen now own every local rock band. It's no wonder The Chukker's management decided to close out the night with their performance.

Aided by drummer Dave Standifer, host of the Metal Zone (Fridays at 10 p.m. on New Rock 90.7), as well as Celesta Riner (also a New Rock veteran) on vocals and Warren Eckstein on guitar, lead singer/guitarist D.C. Moon's performance Saturday morning certainly did justice to the well-known legacy of the infamous downtown booze-hole.

What a way for the place to go out: with mean-as-hell, ass-kicking rock 'n' roll.

I will miss hanging out at The Chukker. It was a unique spot with a unique environment.

I will always remember, though, the grade-A final performance that graced its very narrow music hall.

I can only look forward to the next time I get to see a live version of "Dead Babies," if that is indeed what it is called.


The Chukker has been a part of my life for more years than I care to admit. It has become both a family and shelter for me and always will. The disappointmant in its closing is felt nation wide if not world wide as our network hears of the impending doom of an establishment existing since 1956. Please realise that this was never just a bar. It still is the only bar I have and will ever call home.

From: "Thomas B. Wheatley" | Add to Address Book
To: "robert register"
Subject: Re: Schedule For Alabama- Cuba Week
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 19:42:57 -0500

For the same reason, the liberal press and liberal actors (actpersons?) love the psychopath. They can't admit they were so wrong for so long about the Red Menace.

----- Original Message -----
From: robert register
To: Thomas B. Wheatley
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 7:36 PM
Subject: Re: Schedule For Alabama- Cuba Week

The conference entitled "Alabama Cuba Week" will occur November 17 through November 20. The employees of The University of Alabama can't seem to get their lips and tongues far enough up Fidel's ass so they are trying to make up for it by showing the world how wonderful a socialist paradise can really be.
Thomas, why do these academic shitheads embrace mass murdering psychopaths with such love and compassion?

Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2003 23:11:47 -0500
From: | Add to Address Book
To: "robert register"

Are they joking bout exploring "present and future application of
management techniques in Cuba"? This is a totalitarian country that
dissident libraries, that bans access to foreign books and newspapers,
controls Internet access, jams foreign radio and TV broadcasts,
admission is controlled by politics.

I am interested in knowing why "Cuba currently lacks many essential
resources and financial capital," after leaving the Russians with a $20
debt, and not paying their foreign debt to many of the 177 countries
that Cuba
maintains diplomatic and economic relations with.


Quoting robert register :

> Tony:
> The seminar that interests me most will occur on the last
afternoon of
> the conference.
> Check out this description from page 7:
> This seminar will continue to explore present and future
application of
> knowledge management techniques in Cuba. Cuba currently lacks many
> physical resources and financial capital. This presentation will
explore how
> knowledge management techniques are applied in a country where
> capital has been the most abundant form of capital.
> So that's what Fidel's been up to these 44 years: building up the
> intellectual capital of his people. Now I get it!
> roberto

Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 09:33:24 -0500
From: | Add to Address Book
To: "robert register"
Subject: Re: Schedule For Alabama- Cuba Week

I would ask each visitor from Cuba during their panel presentation
only one
question: "What do you think is the biggest mistake Fidel Castro has
during the last 45 years?"
I would take a tape recorder to record their response and then put
each reply
and the name of the person on your website
I believe that they will be so intimidated from truthfully answering
question that they will either make a joke out of it or not answer it
They won't dare say to an American audience that Castro is infallible.
I don't
think that the Cuban "scholars" will admit their fear to answer the
truth and
therefore be exposed to losing their job when they return to Cuba. This
show that there is not academic freedom or free thought among Cuban
making the whole conference a farse.

Quoting robert register :

> Tony:
> I know you're busy but if ya get an opportunity, please look over
> agenda and let know what you think of it.
> saludos,
> roberto

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Sharon and I at The Chukker's Last Night!!!!

See the rest of the destruction at


The seminar that interests me most will occur on the last afternoon of the conference.
Check out this description from page 7:

This seminar will continue to explore present and future application of knowledge management techniques in Cuba. Cuba currently lacks many essential physical resources and financial capital. This presentation will explore how knowledge management techniques are applied in a country where intellectual capital has been the most abundant form of capital.

So that's what Fidel's been up to these 44 years. Building up the intellectual capital of his people. Now I get it!