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When Cuba Was Cuba

International Casino, Hotel Nacional de Cuba, 1952

A month after the Bay of Pigs invasion, on February 2, 1962, President Kennedy called his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, into his office and directed him to buy as many Cuban cigars as he could find. The next morning Salinger walked into the Oval Office with 1,200 H. Upmann Petits, the president’s preferred brand. “Fantastic,” Kennedy said, placing them under his desk. Then, as Salinger explained at a Cigar Association of America annual meeting in 1987, the president “pulled out a decree banning all Cuban products from the United States and signed it.”

In acknowledgement of the embargo’s golden anniversary this week, Kempt looks back on an extraordinary time and place, the likes of which may never be experienced again.

The time: 1956. The place: Havana, Cuba...»

Constance Jablonski is Disoriented by her Hairstyle

The Wisdom of Khakis: Eunice Lee of Unis weights in on the wisdom of the male uniform. [Details]

The Conversation: A compulsive networkers guide to compulsive networking. [Fast Company]

Paging Dick Dale: A Fender factory tour circa 1959. Commence drooling. [The Etsy Blog]

I’m Going to Speak Italian to Michael…: Why not spend a few minutes watching an awesome scene from The Godfather and reading about how awesome it is? [A.V. Club]

Take the Gun


One of the quintessential masculine movies is getting a Blu-Ray enhancement, complete with a restored print, a set of somewhat off-the-wall appreciations (Sara Vowell?), and the usual commentary tracks and deleted scenes.

A lot’s been written about *The Godfather*, but so many elements of it seem worth their own film, from the corrosive effects of power, the decaying family unit, and the increasing paranoia of postwar America. The unflinching brutality of the killings still strikes a chord, even after twenty years of horror-movie densitization, and the cinematography is still some of the best in American film.

And, in case you’d forgotten, Part III still sucks.