Now I know why our hotel is so cheap

I've been doing some research into the hotel we're staying at next week. Someone asked me yesterday what features drew us to this hotel, and I said, "It's cheap." Now I know why. It's one of the oldest hotels in the area. It's so old that Fidel himself used to use the swimming pool. The good side: it's supposedly got the best spot on the beach, which is public. The bad side: it's probably going to be a bit tired. It's a three star, and in Cuba, there's a world of difference between a three and a four start resort. Reviews are mixed (my favorite is "Never again even if it was free") but mostly positive, and my expectations are suitably low. The big bonus is being able to have the kids with us.

The man behind Sea Monkeys has died

From the Telegraph:
Harold von Braunhut, who died on November 28 aged 77, made a fortune by developing novelty mail-order gifts such as X-Ray Spex, Invisible Goldfish, Amazing Hair-Raising Monsters and, most famously, Sea Monkeys - microscopic dehydrated brine shrimps which "come to life" when added to water... Sea Monkeys sold in their billions, becoming a consumer craze. There are now web sites for Sea Monkey fans; CBS briefly had a Sea Monkey television series; 400 million of them went into space with John Glenn in 1998, and there is even a Sea Monkey video game which allows a player to care for a "virtual" cybermonkey colony. But Sea Monkeys were always less a toy than a test of childhood faith. The creatures may have lived dazzlingly heroic or romantic lives in the minds of their owners, but the physical evidence was always a bit disappointing. The biggest Artemia nyos ever grows is a tenth of an inch and the most interesting thing it does is follow a beam of light up and down its tank. Mostly it does nothing at all.
Ah, memories. I don't know how many millions of us were gullible enough to send away our money and wait by the mailbox everyday for our colony to arrive. If it's in a comic book, is has to be true, right? Right?

We're going to Cuba!

GUAR.jpgI spent the day looking for a warm vacation spot for us, and I found it. I could give a clinic on what online vacation websites do wrong (don't get me started on Expedia again), but in the end it was all for the best. A week's all-inclusive vacation in Holguin for all four of us for a price that's cheaper than what we could get in Florida without meals. Dirt cheap. Hello, sun! We leave Sunday. Update: We travelled to Cuba a couple of years ago and loved it (apart from the shark attack - I'm not kidding). I've heard some of the arguments pro and con about vacationing in a place with such poverty. Some say it's just wrong; others point to the benefits to the people there; that sanctions and boycotts don't work. I don't know where I stand, and in the end expediency won out over certainty. It's something I'm thinking about, though. That's living in today's world. Even a trip to Wal-Mart (or Cuba - never thought Wal-Mart and Cuba would appear in the same sentence, did you?) can involve some serious moral choices these days.

Porn cars aren't welcome at church

A fascinating story:
What if I was a porn producer and involved in this ìfilthyî XXX industry and drove my companyís vehicle to church because I was searching for God? Shouldnít the Church embrace and welcome me no matter what I do, what I look like or what kind of car I drive? Wouldnít you be thrilled that a ìtrue seekerî had entered your property? In a perfect world, you would expect and hope that was the case. But, in reality, the very thing that Erwin had spoken out against in his book had happened at his own church.
Unbelievable when they call the police on him but say they'd like him to come back to their church. Thanks to Andrew Hamilton for the link.