Come On, Shake Your Body, Baby (Open Thread)


Possibly the best opening sentence of any news article, anywhere, ever:

Cuban leader Raul Castro’s daughter, a sexologist and supporter of gay rights, has urged Cubans to join a traditional “conga” dance against homophobia taking place in Havana on Saturday.

Well done, Ms. Castro. May your conga line stretch from Alamar to Zaragoza.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

63 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:


    Now, the conga’s no longer just a Cuban Socialist dance, it’s also Gay!

    Now, we Americans are left only with “line-dancing.” YUCK!!!

    FSM knows, no white American should ever try to do “The Macarena!”

    Oh, and “Moshing.” We can do that!

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    A sexologist? Is there no low those dirty soshulist communist pinkos won’t stoop to?

  3. 3
    gene108 says:

    I’ve been watching Game of Thrones on HBO, but haven’t read any of the books.

    I was wondering, if people think the books are worth reading or do they just cover the same material as the show?

    From what I understand Martin writes the books to match up with the show and they are deliberately tailored to be a vehicle for the show, as opposed to books that were written to be books that just happened to get made into movies or TV shows.

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: Haven’t seen the show or read the books, but for me at least, the experience of reading a book and watching a video are completely different and enjoyable in separate ways that often make it worthwhile to do both even if the content is parallel. YMMV, of course.

  5. 5
    Cassidy says:

    @gene108: I don’t watch the show, but I had a hrd time reading the books. I got about 100 pages into the first one and quit. I didn’t like the writing style.

  6. 6
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Since we’re taking about Latin America, I’ve only just heard the good news about Rios Montt in Guatemala. Convicted of genocide and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

    Now if only they could dig up the guy who gave him the weapons to commit genocide with and put him on trial.

    Still you take what you can get these days.

  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    @gene108: The first one was published in 1996. That’s some fine prognosticating!

  8. 8
    Viva BrisVegas says:


    From what I understand Martin writes the books to match up with the show

    The books predate the TV show by a considerable number of years, the first one published in 1996.

    The show is essentially a simplified version of the books, with a number of characters dropped and few new ones added in.

    Some of the subplots have been altered for no discernible reason. For instance, in the book the wife of Rob Stark is a minor aristocrat, not a foreign doctor as in the show.

    The Theon Greyjoy storyline was also very distorted but seems to be getting back to the same result.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    jon says:

    The Conga is one of those dances non-dancers are forced to do at certain, unfortunate events such as Very Seriously Fucked-Up Weddings and Extremely Misguided Employee Morale Retreats. It is the cultural property of the Cheerful Affirmation-Addict Enablers, also known as the Motivational Coach Assholes sublisted under Fake Happy People, Other. All previous cultural origins have been erased in an attempt to not have the shame become overwhelming and lead to increased drug use and suicide.

  11. 11
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    A friend who DJs purposely avoids songs that the ‘line dance fascists’ want to dance to. Because they push everyone else off the floor. I’m sure he’d be delighted to motivate people to Conga instead. Because that’s so fun for everyone and even a drunk can’t screw it up.

    I’m peering out the window and hoping it will rain. Because if it stays clear I have to do yard work. Blerg. If it rains I get to stay indoors and invent this new thing I already claimed to have invented (for pay).

  12. 12
    Maude says:

    Thx about Thrones. I won’t get the ebook out of the library.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: It’s raining here. Come on over!

    In personal news, my new podcast launched on Thursday.

    In a Purrfect World

    This has been over a month of technical acquisition and learning and stress and happiness; I’m thrilled that I’ll be reaching a whole new audience.

    Do check it out.

  14. 14
    MikeJ says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: What’s the new toy the rest of us get to build?

  15. 15
    Maude says:

    That reminds me that kids used to be made to do the Hokey Pokey. A form of abuse IMHO.

  16. 16
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Maude: try doing it on roller skates. That was every other Saturday for me when I was five.

  17. 17
    Todd says:


    the Hokey Pokey

    As Jimmy Buffett so poignantly wondered, what if the Hokey Pokey is really what it’s all about?

  18. 18
    scuffletuffle says:

    @gene108: The books have more detail and more characters, there are differences. I’m not crazy about GRRMs writing style, but still find the books readable, just not as viscerally enjoyable as, say, LOTR. Read them just for more detail on Tyrion, if nothing else.

  19. 19
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    What’s the new toy the rest of us get to build?

    A headphone amplifier with a bass boost that goes to 11. Miraculously, though not without heroic effort, I managed to source all of the parts from Radio Shack.
    It sounds tremendous.

  20. 20
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jon: oh aren’t you the wet blanket. Personally, I think we were better off as a society when we bunny hopped.

  21. 21
    WereBear says:

    @Suffern ACE: I’m one of those people for whom enforced group physical activity is the very bowels of hell.

    Let those who like it grow up to be chorus dancers; I’m not saying we must forbid it. But please, respect someone’s wish to make it voluntary, oh cheery purveyors of stress and humiliation.

  22. 22
    Cassidy says:

    @Maude: I’d get it from the library first and find out. I just found it a tedious slog. I have friends who swear by them as the greatest thing since Boromir in fantasy.

  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    @WereBear: OMG! Listening to your podcast reminded me of a dream I had last night (and had completely forgotten): In the dream, I had impulsively committed to rescuing a kitten from a litter that had been born on some stranger’s porch, and I was trying to figure out how to tell my cat-disdaining husband about it.

    Weird dream. Good podcast. I think you’re right about cat-haters being hemmed in by their expectation that cats will behave like dogs. I’m primarily a dog person, but I like cats too and would have at least one if my husband didn’t dislike them. Before I got married, I used to have a cat who loved to fetch the rings that detach from the lids of milk jugs. She was a sweet kitty, and I had her for 17 years, including the first several years of my marriage, which coincided with the kitty’s dotage. Hubby actually liked her just fine, but he claims she wasn’t typically cat-like, which is sort of true.

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE says:

    @WereBear: for you then, the hokey pokey! No touching there.

    Everybody now! Put your left foot in..yah pull your left foot out…

  25. 25
    Dead Ernest says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks SD.
    That was certainly entertaining.

  26. 26
    Glidwrith says:

    Since this is an open thread, I’m taking a trip to Salt Lake City. Anyone have good spots to check out? No car available…

  27. 27
    WereBear says:

    @Betty Cracker: Ha! If I had a nickel for everyone who “excused” their cat as “more like a dog, really” I might not be Koch Bros. rich, but I’d do okay.

    What do they mean by it, after all? The cat is affectionate and interactive? Doesn’t misbehave or cause trouble? Does amusing and loving fun things with us?

    That’s just a cat; operating properly. Which brings us to my Mission in Life… explaining that to the world.

    Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the podcast. :) Dream probably means you want a kitty… and such a scenario would force you to rescue… (she said tongue-in-cheek).

  28. 28
    WereBear says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That was fun!

    And you know what? The man’s no stylist. But he’s got a firm grip on narrative drive.

    Obviously, people overwhelmingly are able to appreciate the one without the other.

  29. 29
    Aimai says:

    @Betty Cracker: just the opposite, the books came out years before the series.

  30. 30
    Mike E says:

    @Betty Cracker: So funny ’cause it’s true! I’m primarily a cat person, and dogs love me for some reason (I smell like liverwurst to them, I’m convinced) but they are way too much work for me–I’ve raised a child, I’m done with that thankyouverymuch! Cats can be a bit like dogs, fetching and causing a racket, but they’re capable of doing their own thang in a manner that dogs would never see any profit in. Vive le difference!

  31. 31
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Betty Cracker: one of my cats I swear she thinks she’s a dog. brings me an object to throw so she can fetch it.

  32. 32
    lojasmo says:

    Eighteen years of marriage, many of them happy.

    Hat tip to Al Franken.

  33. 33
    Patrick says:


    When we visited SLC we tried this place. We thought it was very fun.

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    That’s as may be, but Dan Brown’s prose doesn’t even rise to the level of the more-heart-than-talent amateur. And Robert Langdon’s middle names must be Mary and Sue.

  35. 35
    WereBear says:

    @Amir Khalid: I agree. But as I pointed out, this apparently does not matter when it comes to selling books.

    Does seem to screw up movie adaptations, though :)

  36. 36
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I read the Da Vinci Code out of curiosity, and read all the way through even though I knew what I was in for in the opening chapter, when the professor of “symbology” was staying at the Crillon, or was it the George V?, while in Paris to give a lecture

  37. 37
    angus of god says:

    A humble reminder of how everyone on this blog deserves nothing more out of life than a violent and painful end to it as soon as possible.

  38. 38
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Say what you will about Dan Brown, but I blew through that book. He has a way of making you turn that page.

    That said, his last effort (The Lost Symbol) was abysmal, more because the payoff was incredibly lame.

  39. 39
    Svensker says:


    I was gripped by the books. Hadn’t planned on reading them but was stuck in a hotel room and my son had left the first one lying around. Picked it up and 5 hours later staggered out of the room looking for food. I absolutely loved them.

    Haven’t seen the shows because don’t get HBO.

  40. 40
    Cassidy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah, I could’t get past the incredibly handsome, smart, athletic unrealistic uber-male he uses for all his books.

  41. 41
    handsmile says:

    I realize this will be of interest to a teeny tiny handful of BJ readers (really only three I can think of), but last night I had the sublime and miraculous pleasure of listening to all four symphonies by Charles Ives. This rare (unprecedented?) concert was performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin at Carnegie Hall.

    Ives’ fiercely complex Fourth Symphony, which calls for two conductors, extensive instrumentation, a chorus, and performers placed both off-stage and on a balcony, concluded the evening. Until John Cage composed 4’33 in 1952, Ives’ Fourth (completed in 1916) was the most radical piece of music ever written by an American. So radical, so demanding in fact that its first full performance was not presented until 1965. In my more than 40 years (yikes!) of attending classical music concerts, I’ve heard this astounding work performed only twice before (the second time in fact last month by the NY Philharmonic).

    No need for a conga line, my body, my spirit is still shaking from what I experienced last night. Tonight it’s piano works by Bach and Frederic Rzewski. And tomorrow (National Living Treasure) Bill Frisell’s trio Beautiful Dreamers at the Village Vanguard. I’ll be weeping for joy by weekend’s end.

  42. 42
    Amir Khalid says:

    True, that. Not long ago I was at the bookstore and happened upon Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. On page 1 was a character Meyer had named Fords Deep Waters. Straight away I wondered if there was anyone in the book named Eats Junk Food or Talks Real Funny. (The movie, even though it stars the Irish prodigy Saoirse Ronan, is best avoided.)

  43. 43
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    @handsmile: you lucky, lucky bastard. I’m dying of jealousy.

  44. 44
    WereBear says:

    @Amir Khalid: Omg. She is one of my least favorite authors; I cannot read her, it is literally painful.

    And yet, the SM fanfic based on her work, Fifty Shades of Gray, is a similar phenomena; terrible writing and plotting, shallow thematically and ridiculously characterized, yet wildly popular.

    I see it as Literature-Very-Lite. I could be interested in a beautifully written story about a woman exploring big issues via SMBD. (Story of O did all right.) This is not it.

    But I don’t entirely blame the masses who consume it; are they given a choice? The US Publishing Industry is in love with celebrity driven crap; they see signs of quality as something that might turn off a money-toting segment of the populace; and they ruthlessly crush it.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I hope I’m one of the three. If not, ratchet the number up a notch.

    I envy you that opportunity. I knew Leonard Slatkin, very slightly and a long time ago, but from what i remember about him, this seems to me to be very characteristic of his kind of programming.

    What a fantastic weekend you are having! I’m settling in for an afternoon of Götterdämmerung — on the radio, this time, so at least I can move around occasionally :-)

  47. 47
    ruemara says:

    @handsmile: Sounds amazing. I’m off to a hippie fest. All I have to look forward to is avoiding impromptu drum circles.

  48. 48
    handsmile says:

    @SiubhanDuinne,@Forum Transmitted Disease: :

    SD, most certainly you were! (ef goldman and burnspbesq being the others who occasionally write about their love of classical music.) With FTD above (#42), I see I do have to ratchet up the number.

    Slatkin offered a delightful introduction to the Fourth Symphony last night, having separate sections of the orchestra play several bars of the second movement. At that moment, there are four different melodies/songs/harmonic, rhythmic material overlapping and both conductors are at work. Played individually and then together helped the audience to comprehend the multi-layered sonic complexity of the work. Slatkin assured listeners that Ives’ intention was to have them experience the entire roaring sound and not focus on its separate components. He began his remarks by revealing that he hated the piece the first time he heard it live, but went on to say that this only motivated him to understand and master the score which he now considers Ives’ greatest (along with Central Park in the Dark).

    I’d heard Slatkin with both the St. Louis and National Symphonies, and his warm-hearted and illuminating comments before playing unfamiliar works are a hallmark of his musical leadership.

    Yes, these are the kinds of weekends in the urban hellhole that make me a very lucky bastard indeed. I recognize my good fortune; no humble-bragging(?) intended. Do enjoy the Wagner (G. one of my favorites)! Did you happen to read about this ill-considered (to put it mildly) production of Tannhauser?

  49. 49
    PurpleGirl says:

    @WereBear and Betty Cracker:

    For people who want a kitten but can’t have pets or, specifically, a cat — watch a kitten live cam.

    There’s John Bartlett’s cam at

    This new bunch are named for the Mythbusters.

    Also, inspired to foster by John, there’s Cassie’s Kitten Kastle at

    Amanda and her babies, with an adopted kitten. The kittens are named for characters from Les Miserables.

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Did you happen to read about this ill-considered (to put it mildly) production of Tannhauser?

    Dear FSM, no. And I wish I hadn’t. The rhetorical “What the HELL were they thinking!?” seems too mild a question, by far.

    Haven’t checked it out yet, as I don’t want my ears to compete between Wagner and Ives, but there appears to be a YouTube of Slatkin discussing the Fourth in pre-concert comments. The DSO website links to it.

  51. 51
    WereBear says:

    @PurpleGirl: I so love the new Mythbuster’s kitten cam! The little beans are so tiny. Squee to the max.

  52. 52
    PurpleGirl says:

    @WereBear: My computer was out of action for two days. Of course, that’s when John got the new kittens and put them on live. And Cassie’s current bunch have gotten bigger in the two days; it’s amazing how they grow.

    I love watching the kittens. I’d love to have a cat. Maybe soon.

  53. 53
    Yatsuno says:

    @handsmile: Ives is very…challenging, even for experienced classical music lovers. Having said that, I would have loved the evening. Only wish my lesbyterian lawyer friend and her lovely partner could have gone as well, or even better all three of us. It sounds like a wonderful evening.

  54. 54
    Amir Khalid says:

    I love that the kitten Fantine is described as a “dark tiger” — a reference to that famous line from I Dreamed A Dream.

  55. 55
    scav says:

    @Yatsuno: Indeed. Loves me classical, and take solid runs every so often at the moderns but the brain just gravitates early. Isorhythms interesting but not 20th c? don’t get it.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    When I first heard Ives, 45-50 years ago I suppose, I HATED him. Over the decades, I have learned to appreciate him. He is not very accessible, true, and is hardly my go-to guy, but I can enjoy his music now, both viscerally and intellectually.

  57. 57
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Now that you’ve changed your nym, do we have to call you “Yahtzee” instead of “Yutsy”?

  58. 58
    Yatsuno says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Heh. I think that’ll be wifey’s choice. But Yutsy doesn’t put you into mod hell so I think we can keep it. :)

    @scav: I don’t care for Schönberg, but I loves me some Stravinsky. I tend to err more towards eastern Europe in composers. Fave is Sibelius.

  59. 59
    handsmile says:

    @Yatsuno: , @scav: , @SiubhanDuinne:

    Glad I wandered back here (compulsive behavior) and happy to have learned of a few more classical music lovers hereabouts!

    With Ives, I was very fortunate to have been introduced to his work (high school; Nixon reigned) through Central Park in the Dark, a composition for chamber orchestra. A ravishingly beautiful, soulful work; think Debussy’s La Mer for an urban setting. (Another link puts me into moderation limbo.) I’ve been an Ives aficionado ever since.

    I should admit that I’m an unapologetic aesthetic modernist (don’t get me started on my reverence for Olivier Messiaen and I worship at the church of Bela Bartok.) “I don’t get” some of Ives or other 20th century composers, but the same holds true with, say, Beethoven’s late string quartets (another constant companion). I find the challenge thrilling and sustaining (and humbling). We all have our crosses to bear….:)

  60. 60
    PurpleGirl says:

    @handsmile: I didn’t respond before, but I’m another of the classical listeners. I like a broad range of classical music, including medieval and early music. Do you remember WNCN? I miss that station so much.

  61. 61
    handsmile says:


    Happy you replied because, in fact, I was wondering whether you (or other NYC BJers) often take advantage of the staggering array of classical music concerts here. What makes it possible to hear so much of the live music I do is the number of free concerts of the highest quality and variety.

    During the school year, I frequent both faculty and student concerts presented at Juilliard and Mannes or professional ensembles at, for example, Scandinavia House or the Austrian Cultural Forum. And for all my claims above to be a “modernist,” few weeks pass when I am not sitting in some church listening to pipe organ recitals (the genre that has probably brought me the greatest pleasure in recent years). Here’s an indispensable link that may interest you:

    As for WNCN (not familiar with it), I must confess that radio of any kind/programming rarely enters my ears. I suspect there must be some disadvantages to this choice, but it’s been a long-standing one. Perhaps because I’ve never owned a car?….:)

  62. 62
    PurpleGirl says:

    @handsmile: I don’t get to many concerts. And I should go out more. Thanks for the link, I love organs. The Lutheran Church I attended for a decade had a Skinner organ, which we had reconstructed and repaired instead of buying a new electronic thingy.

    WNCN was an all-classical FM station. It was bought over and transformed into a rock station, with different call letters. It was embroiled in much legal tsouris in the 1970s and 1980s. At one point a listeners group tried to keep the “new” owners from selling the record library.

  63. 63
    JAFD says:

    @gene108: Hello, Gene,

    Oneovdezedaze will borrow the DVDs and see _Game of Thrones_ from the beginning. Anyway, having met GRRM at a couple of SF conventions in the 80’s, will say:
    1 – he’s a heckova nice guy
    2 – _The Armageddon Rag_, IMAO, is one of the two best books ever written about ‘America in the sixties’
    3 – should I ever meet him again, will ask if the characher (sword carrier, dies before end of first book) was named after me deliberately or subconciously.

    Anyway, your local library or thrift shop or… probably has a copy of TGoT v.1, take a look, if you like the writing get it, if not…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments are closed.