Friday, December 31, 2010

Last post of 2010

Let's say someone you don't really know, perhaps a co-worker asks you the most feared question of our century: Are you on Facebook?

Now, keep in mind that you don't want to give this person access to know everything about you. And of course, you don't want them to read your deep and insightful status updates, such as "I love frosted flakes." This is a serious thing. But then again, you have to see this co-worker everyday.

What do you do? You can't say you don't have one, because they can look you up by name.

So what you do?

This a very difficult subject. Experts will debate about it for decades.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A little announcement

Hi there, I know I haven't written in a while. And yes, this sounds like the typical opening post of the person who will never write on their blog again, but it's not. I may take a little break from Little Comment, but pretty soon, in early January, I will take on a project that will have me writing everyday!

No, I can't tell you what it is yet, but it'll be real fun. And you can tell your friends! But don't tell them yet, I need to write first. Thank you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Long live Christmas!

I love Christmas. I mean, who doesn't? (besides the people who don't celebrate it, but that's their loss) It's such a wonderful and joyous time. Of course, the main thing of Christmas is, Christ. I mean, his name is included in the celebration.

As we know, it is politically incorrect nowadays to say "Merry Christmas" at work, or in school I suppose. But that doesn't stop me from saying "Merry Christmas" to people, no matter what venue I may be in. Doesn't free speech count for something anymore?

I know this may seem silly now, but in the direction that the world is going, I don't discard the possibility of that phrase being illegal in the future. And even if that were to happen in my lifetime, I would never stop saying it, and I would never stop telling people about Jesus Christ.

And if they were to get rid of all "Christmas" things and replace them with "Happy Holidays," then they will have a hard time eliminating all the classic songs. There will be no, "We wish you a Merry Christmas," and "White Christmas," and I would be out of songs to sing all year-long. Yes, I sing Christmas songs at any time of the year. Just ask my wife. She knows. Go ahead, ask her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Moveable Feast

There are certain books that you read that forever stay with you. No matter how much time passes, you can always quote certain parts and the mere thought of reading it again brings pleasure. For me, one of those books is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.

Perhaps I like it so much because it's about a writer in Paris. It's a short memoir written by Hemingway about his time in this magical city. Isn't that the dream of every writer? To live in Paris, to talk about poetry and politics in a café, to walk the ancient streets with  joei de vivre, to fall in love with the City of Lights?

That's the dream of this writer. Maybe that's why I love the ending of this book so much.

“There was never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed… Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Facebook vs Google

My interest in social media, especially the giants, has grown recently. So, I'll certainly share news and curiosities on here.

Turns out that Google and Facebook do not get along. Part of it maybe that about 10 percent of former Google employees have switched to Facebook. In the latest development of this saga, Google is banning Facebook from automatically importing Gmail data.

According to Google officials, they are only trying to match Facebook's practices. As it turns out, Facebook is more strict on privacy matters. Facebook only allows companies that have cut deals with them to import their data. Microsoft and Yahoo are examples of such companies.

A Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "It's important that when we automate the transfer of contacts to another service, users have some certainty that the new service meets a baseline standard of data portability. We hope that reciprocity will be an important step towards creating a world of true data liberation--and that this move will encourage other websites to allow users to automate the export of their contacts as well."

As you can see, the two Goliath's of social media don't get along too well. It's all about growth and revenue. As Facebook is increasing in popularity, Google is trying to slow it down. Some say that part of the reason is to give Google enough time to launch their own social network. The code name for such network? Google Me.

Ironically, that was one of my options for the name of this blog. Go figure.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Israel/Elena Project

Okay, so I'm about to admit something that no man in the history of the world has admitted before, last night I saw Julie & Julia with my wife...and I really liked it! Perhaps it has to do with the fact that in a way, the movie is about writing. And very much of my liking is because of Meryl Streep's excellent acting!

Julia Childs seemed to be a very cool lady. She was always in a good mood and never let anything bring her down. She's like a giant care bear that you'd desperately want to hug because she smells really nice. Her marriage seemed to be very happy, despite the fact that she married kind of late in her life. Whenever she felt a bit down, her husband encouraged her and vice cersa. This reminds me a lot of my wife and I. We always support and encourage each other.

I love you honey!

After the movie, we watched a little part of "The French Chef" with Julia Childs. (Working in a library has many perks). And the real life Julia was just like the one Streep portrayed in the movie.

I really didn't like Julie Powell much. I wish the movie would have been more about Julia Childs. How about that Hollywood? How about making a movie on the life of Julia Childs? I would certainly go watch it on opening day!!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Movies and more movies

The past couple of days my wife and I have been watching many classic movies. It has been really fun, and while our count maybe only close to 8 now, who knows how many that would be in a year? I plan on reviewing some of the ones that really affected me somehow.

For instance, there's Strangers on a Train and Rear Window, both by Alfred Hitchcock. If you ever misplace your nail clipper, just rent any of these two movies and you'll bite your fingernails! Those two movies really kept me at the edge of my seat, or my bed to be exact.

The George Kaplan Film Society may end up giving my wife and I an encyclopedic knowledge of American cinema, and perhaps a few foreign ones here and there. So, forget IMDB, just check out the George Kaplam Film Society! Well, maybe not, but you'll certainly get more personal reviews from us, that's for sure.

I will soon be posting some movie reviews, so keep on reading!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


As part of the George Kaplan Fim Society, my wife and I get to watch classic American movies from the 1920s to the 1980s. We selected this time frame because movies back then were more classy. For the most part, there was no nudity and no crass language. Sure, they were innuendos and things of that nature, but they were generally cleaner.

One of those great movies is "Charade" with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) is being chased around Paris by three men seeking a fortune her murdered husband stole. Confused, she turns to the help of a mysterious stranger (Cary Grant). But in the City of Lights, nothing is usually what it seems.

So, that was my attempt at writing a movie description. Not too bad, eh? There's drama, comedy and romance in this fantastic 1963 film. Cary Grant plays a mysterious character with his usual smooth and suave style. Audrey Hepburn's character is very witty and pretty adventurous. Pairing them both is cinematic genius. The script is really well written, plus the many twists and turns make any mystery fan a very happy person.

I really enjoyed the movie. It's definitely one that I can see myself watching again, despite the fact that I know how it ends. There are many great quotes, but I'll leave you with this exchange:
Reggie Lampert: Well, wasn't it Shakespeare that said, "When strangers do meet in far off lands, they should e'er long see each other again"?
Peter Joshua: Shakespeare never said that!
Reggie Lampert: How do you know?
Peter Joshua: It's terrible. You just made it up.
Reggie Lampert: Well, it sounds right...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

'Jappy San Givi'

Hi everyone! For a more serious post on Thanksgiving, you can check out my other blog. The thing about having two different blogs, with two different themes and tones, is that when it comes to holidays, I feel like I'm supposed to write on both.

I must keep both audiences up to date! (That's assuming that anyone else except for my wife and a few of her good friends read this blog)

I'm thankful for many things this year. For once, I'm married to a wonderful woman. She's so beautiful and awesome. And she's a great woman of God too. Plus, she makes really amazing pies. Seriously, her pies are definitely a piece of the divine. If it wasn't because we go grocery shopping together, I would say that her ingredients fall down like manna from heaven.

The cool thing about this Thanksgiving is that my wife is going to experience a Cuban Thanksgiving. Or as we Cubans pronounce it, 'San Givi.' She will have turkey with rice and black beans. It will be pretty great. Of course, there will be salsa dancing, loud family members (99 percent of Cubans are loud) and my grandfather's old school Mexican songs. It really will be an unforgettable night.

So, from my family to yours, Jappy San Givi!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Facebook infidels

Rev. Cedric Miller, pastor of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, has instructed his church officials to delete their Facebook profiles. The reason? According to him, the social networking site leads to infidelity.

He has counseled over 20 couples in his church, after a spouse connected with a former flame over Facebook. "The temptation is just too great," Miller stated. He said he will also strongly encourage his flock to do the same.

I disagree with the Reverend's approach. A cheating spouse will cheat whether on Facebook, or with someone at his or her job. Infidelity is not a matter of binary numbers, but a matter of the heart. If a person is not committed to their significant other, if a person takes their vows before God to mean nothing, then that's not a problem that is solved by going offline.

I would suggest that those spouses involved in adultery, or even flirting with the idea, should really examine their hearts. If they use Facebook for that purpose only, then yes, perhaps going offline would be a good first step. However, the most important step is getting your heart right with God. That's the most important thing any person can do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska

Last Sunday, my wife and I decided to watch Sarah Palin's Alaska. The outcome was as I hoped; the greatest sitcom in America. Seriously though, I had no idea what was going on. The show focused on Palin going out and about with her family. She went fishing and even mountain climbing.

Why not call it, Sarah Palin's Family Video?

The real question is, why is America so fascinated by her? Love her or hate her, but you can't stop watching. Whether you see her show out of admiration, or as a ridiculous comedy (like my wife and I do). For me, Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live really helped. And of course, Sarah Palin's way of speaking is pretty hilarious too. Once, she went to Charlotte and encouraged the state's "mountain mamas to keep Manchin the mansion." Now, that's pretty great.

Recently, she was asked if she was considering running for president. She said, "I am. I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here.*" If she runs in 2012, the Mayans may have been right about the world coming to an end.

In the show, Sarah Palin has a neighbor who allegedly is writing a book about her and her family. He sits outside his home and just watches them as they go out into the wild of Alaska. Sarah really dislikes him. They never show his face though. It'd be a real twist if it turned out to be Joe Biden in disguise. Now that would be some good television!

So there you have it, whether you think she's the solution to America's problem, or whether she's evil personified, Palin and her show are here to stay.

Am I going to keep watching? You betcha!

*New York Times Magazine - The Palin Network by Robert Draper

Friday, November 19, 2010

God and George Kaplan

My wife and I started a film society. Yes we are the only two members, for now at least. After watching North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock, we came up with the name, The George Kaplan Film Society. Pretty fancy, eh?

After much celebration for our clever name, I went to work the next morning. Now, if you didn't know, I work in a library. Translation: a place where people use computers and check out DVDs. Sure, we have books, but those are seen as exotic bones in museums. You look, but you don't touch. I know, very sad.

Anyhow, the following morning, while I was thinking  of other Hitchcock movies to order, someone came in and returned two of his movies. It happened just as I was thinking about it! Now, you hippies may think the Universe was at work here. Unfortunately for you, the "Universe" does not think, it is just matter, energy, planets, etc.

So I started thinking. Does God want me to watch these movies? Well, I'm not sure if God is fond of Alfred Hitchcock, but I am sure that God is very fond of marriages. The film society is another way for my wife and I to enjoy our time together. It brings us closer as we laugh, ponder and even make little comments about the movies (Yes, I plugged in my own blog).

I believe that God can and will use anything to makes marriages flourish and grow. He is the creator of love and marriage. And God, not the universe, is in control of everything that happens. I mean, He created the universe. What's impossible for Him?

If you're observant, you will spot all these little "coincidences" that bring you closer to the will of God for your life. Just open your eyes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I used to rap, and it wasn't all bad

When I was a teenager I spent a lot of time online.

Many of you know that I love writing. But what none of you know (except my wife) is that I used to.....well, I used to be an online rapper. Yes, you read that correctly. After you stop laughing, let me explain to you how that came about.

I was fascinated by the online world. I loved how anyone could express themselves and just put it out there for anyone to see. Back then, I wasn't really into blogs. However, I was really into poetry and also into hip hop. Hip hop, not to be confused "gangsta rap" or anything like that. I really liked intelligent lyrics that made you think. And if those lyrics had a catchy beat, then that was a plus.

So, after searching for a online communities of that kind, I found one. I began to write lyrics. Let me make clear that I never rapped, as in with my voice. I can't do that, but I did write a lot of lyrics. I also got into battles with other "rappers." I was so recognized in that community, that I became a "Living Legend." A Living Legend was a status assigned to the most popular and skilled rappers. Everyone thought I was older than I was. And I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was African-American. As a "Living Legend," I had a special password to a special forum that only other legends had access too. It was pretty fantastic.

So what was my rapper name? It was "Prince."
Okay, okay, you can laugh some more. Why was it Prince? First, let me make it clear that I had no idea there was someone who wore skin-tight clothes, and questionable apparel for a man, named Prince. I was raised in Cuba until I was 11, so I wasn't very familiar with American pop culture (my wife would say I still need catching up). I chose the name "Prince" because in my early teens I was a huge fan of the Fresh Prince of Belair. It was my favorite show growing up, although at the time I understood half the things being said.
Even with a rapper name like Prince, I still managed to earn "respect" in the online rapping world. So much so, that an actual underground record company mailed me a contract. Yes, if I had signed, I would have probably been known in the rapping world by now. I was a 16-year-old boy from Cuba with an offer to sign a record deal. The executives of the companies all knew me from the website and wanted to meet me in person. I was scared, so I turned the offer down and disappeared from the web. It was time to move on.
It was a "freestyle" web site. In the hip hop community that means improvisation. The actual Web site, which is not in service anymore, was
I don't seem to find any of my old rap battles. But thanks to some research, I did find some of my comments on other posts. This is how I wrote back then, just fitting in with the community.
"No doubt, the vocab and wordplay waz dope. If I'm not mistaken this is directed to hip hop, not only to hip hop but to words, to art." - Prince (1296 posts by then)
Who would have though, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inspiration from around the world wide web

You can't really talk about technology and blogs, without mentioning Seth Godin. The guy is a genius when it comes to marketing. His blog is one of the most widely read in the world. And he has some inspiring words in his latest entry. Check it out:

No knight, no shining armor

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Google and world domination

There's this joke between my wife and I, where I always say that Google is trying to take over the world. I say that half-joking, because Google is really making the world a smaller place. And although I say that with  a Big Brother tone, I always use Google for all my searches. I've become pretty good in finding things in Google. I can find answers on any topic in less than ten seconds. I'm a pretty fast typer, plus I also have developed a skill for keywords that return results.

And, well, I'm also reading and reviewing a book on Google. And if you haven't joined me in that quest, you really should. The point is that Google is a pretty amazing company. There are many things that you can do, that you really never have to visit another site. Not even Facebook. I know, that's almost sacrilegious to most of you. But hey, I'm a fan of Facebook too. I've recently become a self-taught social media connoisseur.

So, this blog, besides having random things about my life, will also cover any new and exciting things about certain social media sites, or just technology in general. And yes, there will be plenty on Google, since I happen to love using it.

Did you know that you can get email updates about anything you wish? You can monitor news stories or follow your favorite sports team. You can get email alerts pretty much about anything you wish. You can sign up at Google Alerts.

Also, Google is competing with giant, when it launched their own store. You can check it out (get it?) over at Google Checkout.

These are only two products that they offer. I will cover some more in entries to come. They have some pretty amazing stuff.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eggs: a True Story

There is one question that you have asked all of your life. You have stayed up for hours, tossing and turning in bed, but with no answers. Here's the question:

Why don't eggs sold in the supermarkets hatch? (This being another question that came up, as my wife made scrambled some eggs for me)

I know, a tough one. Fortunately for you, your life got a little less mysterious. According to the extensive research I have done (read Google), the eggs sold at the supermarket are not fertilized. In other words, the rooster is not present at the farm. The hens lay eggs whether or not a rooster is around. No rooster, no breeding, no fertilized eggs.

Now, there's also the factor that the eggs need to be incubated for a period of time. The eggs need warmth. This of course, will not happen since you buy your eggs from the refrigerated section of your supermarket.

And there you have it. You may now sleep at night. And in the morning, when you wake up and feel a little hungry, you may eat some eggs with a big smile in your face. And of course, you will have no fear that when you open the fridge a chick will come running out.

You're welcome America.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I do when I don't remember your name

Let's say that someone walks up to you and they call you by name, engage in a friendly conversation, and are so happy to see you, but all along you realize that you don't really remember them.

What do you do?

It is a tough question. This one is up there with, "Is global warming real?" Anyway, this happened to me recently. I was at 5 Guys (an amazing burger place) with my wife, when this guy that apparently really knows me came up to me. He was very warm and friendly, but I had no clue where he knew me from. He remembered my name and everything.

He seemed so happy to see me that I didn't want to crush his joy by asking, "where do we know each other from?"

His face looked familiar, but I had no clue where we met, or who he was. So what did I do? Well, I motioned my wife to come over so that I could introduce the two, and then hopefully he would say his name and my brain would light up like fireworks on July 4th.

Hands were shook, but no names.

After a very brief conversation, he left. Then my wife asked me, "Who was that honey?"

"I have no idea."

We laughed it off, but we came up with a signal to tell each other when we don't know a person's name. That way, one of us can always ask, "what is your name again?" It's a pretty subtle but effective gesture.

And no, I'm not telling you the signal. What if I don't remember your name?

The Google Story, part 2

This blog series is not a biography on the Google founders, but just a brief look at what made the company so successful in so little time. Without spending any money in advertisement, Google expanded its popularity by the millions rather quickly. If you want to know more details about the founders, I suggest you buy the wonderful book, The Google Story by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.

Here are my notes.

From the Introduction

Google was created by two Stanford students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. We’ll learn some more about them later, but for now let’s take a look at one of the best-kept secrets at Googleplex, the company headquarters at Silicon Valley.

Google’s biggest is secret is this; to power its search, Google employees assemble and customize hundreds of thousands of PCs, which are run on Google-patented programs. “No word in the English language exists to describe this seamless melding of hardware and software at such a massive scale, so we have named it Googleware.” The PCs are stacked one on top of the other in refrigerator-size racks in secure facilities at Googleplex. When a PC burns out, it is not replaced, but another PC takes over. There’s no human intervention.

When the Google stock became public on August 19, 2004 at $85 per share, it soared to $300 in less than a year.

What makes Google different from other companies is that instead of thinking of ways to make money and build products for that, their engineers think of ways to solve a problem, and only later do they think of ways to make a profit.

This is Google’s charm. If you take a look at their homepage, there are no banners, no ads, and no clutter, but just a simple and friendly logo (Take a look and compare with rival Yahoo!). This says a lot about their philosophy, since the home page is considered to be the most valuable piece of online real estate property.

Google’s appeal is so universal that to google, means to search. It has become a verb in English and in many other languages around the world.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Google Story, part 1

I’ve been always fascinated by computers. What specifically fascinates me more about computers is the Internet, especially the World Wide Web. I got my first computer when I was around 15 years old, along with the eternally slow dial up. I remember that AOL was king back then, but there are some new kids on the block now.

If I didn’t hate math so much, I’d really think I would have come up with some cool and innovative new “thing” that would have changed the online world. That may sound a bit preposterous, and maybe even pretentious, but I really think I could have done something special. I really did spend a lot of time online early on in life. In my teenage years, I taught myself basic HTML and JavaScript. I created several web sites on the once popular Angelfire and they became pretty well known in their niche. There are many stories about those sites that slowly but surely I will share in this blog.

But most of all, you should know that I love writing. Combining my love for technology, ingenuity and writing, I plan on reviewing the following book: The Google Story, by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.

What made Google so popular? Where did their catchy name come from? How do they make money?

These and many more questions are promised to be answered in the book. I plan on blogging on four or five chapters each time, just giving you the interesting details, the lessons learned and the answers to these and more questions.

So, tell your tech-loving friends about this blog, or better yet, tell them to google me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why I'll never become a librarian or why librarians love cats

I work in a library. I am not a librarian though. Not that there's anything wrong with being a librarian. It just isn't for me. I do want to see my books in libraries one day. That will be really cool.

Perhaps one thing preventing me from being a librarian is that I hate cats. I'm a dog person. And even if I wasn't, I'd still dislike cats. It's almost like an unwritten code that librarians must love cats. I'm sure they don't tell you that in library school, but they may use subtle hints, such as:

-An impromptu performance of Cats by the professor and senior staff

-The professor not saying a word but silently petting his cat "whiskers" for the entire hour

-A painting of a group of cats playing poker

You know, subtle stuff.

Now, it is a fact that most librarians prefer cats. But how long has that been the case? And why? These questions came up during a conversation with my wife (We talk about everything). So, I did a little research on the subject.

It is recorded that in the Middle Ages, monks domesticated cats and employed them in monasteries to prevent rats from eating their manuscripts. Also, in the 1800s the British government paid libraries to house cats in order to prevent rodents from eating the books.

But the history of cats and libraries goes way back to ancient Egypt. Back then, certain cats were trained to stop mice and serpents from entering the Egyptian temples. In these scared places, many manuscripts have been unearthed. The cats not only protected the Egyptians from disease by the rodents, but they also protected their precious manuscripts.

Even with all that history, I still don't like cats. But that's okay. I'm not planning on enrolling in Library School.

Friday, November 5, 2010

All of these kids who think they're quick on the draw

I was introduced to the music of Josh Ritter by my lovely wife. Well, she wasn't my wife then, but she was certainly on her way to becoming Mrs. Sánchez.

His music has the power to evoke a sense of nostalgia but with a spark of hope. Not only does it make you look back to the "good old days," but it hypes you up for the future. He almost came to our wedding. As a surprise to my bride, I got in contact with his manager. She wrote about it here.

This song in particular is really fun, but also daring. It has attitude. A kind of "don't mess with me" feel to it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little comments, big ideas

Why should you read this blog instead of millions of others online?

There are two main reasons. One, I'm curious about many things. And I also love to write. For instance, I plan on reviewing books, such as The Google Story, and find out how and why that company became so popular. How did "google" become the synonym of "search."

I also plan to research some other silly things that randomly spark my interest, such as why don't the eggs from the store hatch into chickens?

Most of these random blog entries ideas have developed after conversations with my wife, who happens to have a very lovely blog and you should read it, too. So, I will not only write the facts, but also my observations and how these topics came about. This blog will include day to day musings, trips, experiences and everything else that makes life magical and alive.

So yeah, read on, and leave a little comment too. That's always nice.