Tony Smith's Home Page
Cuba (see above map from National Geographic Atlas of the World, Fifth Edition 1981) is now at the Atlantic Ocean, but about 100 million years ago it was in the Pacific Ocean (see sequence below from a Paleomap Project 1999 web page Java Applet).
In the first game of the 1999 (5760) World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves, El Duque (Orlando Hernandez, who came to the New York Yankees from Cuba on a boat) pitched 7 innings with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts, and giving up only one hit (a home run by Chipper Jones), as the Yankees won 4-1.
According to a 5 March 2000 article by Buster Olney in The New York Times, "... The drills that Orlando Hernandez does are a mystery to the other Yankees. ... He places his fingertips at his ears, extends his elbows out, turns to his right and spins around 10 times. Without pausing his motion, he then reverses himself, spinning around 10 times in the opposite direction. ...
... In one routine, he stands on his head, swinging his legs back and forth, as a form of yoga, something he learned 10 years ago in Cuba. ... Cone played catch with El Duque in spring training of 1998, and Hernández's fastball seemed to have an unusual movement. Cone asked Hernández to show him how he was holding the ball, ... Hernández held the ball out, and Cone was stunned: when pitchers throw a four-seam fastball, they brace their fingertips against the seams of the baseball, using the stitches as a lever as they pull down and release the ball. But Hernández placed his fingertips on the smooth surface, somehow managing to generate enough traction to make the ball turn like the standard four-seam fastball -- but with that added unusual movement. A dry four-seamer, Cone called it, because most pitchers gripping the ball on the smooth surface could do so only with the aid of spit or another foreign substance, making it a wet four-seamer. ...
According to a 24 October 1998 article in the Boston Globe by Steved Fainaru: "... Fidel Castro and two envoys sent by the archbishop of New York sat down to watch Game 4 of the  World Series via satellite from San Diego.The emissaries carried a personal letter from Cardinal John O'Connor, asking Castro to grant visas to the mother, former wife, and two young daughters of Yankees pitcher Orlando "El Duque'' Hernandez, who defected from Cuba last Christmas in a 20-foot skiff. ... Castro agreed, calling O'Connor personally in New York. The two emissaries then returned to their hotel, picked up the phone, and dialed El Duque in the visitors clubhouse at Qualcomm Stadium, where the powerful Yankees were about to sweep the San Diego Padres. ... El Duque ... was the winning pitcher of Game 4 of the  American League Championship Series and Game 2 of the  World Series, a fitting conclusion to a season in which he went 12-4 as a member of perhaps the greatest baseball team in history. He spent this  season living in the suite of a midtown hotel, surrounded by clothes, electronic equipment, golf bags, and other material courtesies of his new-found stardom in the mecca of capitalism. Inside the room he erected a makeshift shrine that he covered with offerings -- candles, a sunflower, a Cuban cigar, red wine, and a miniature Statue of Liberty -- he made to Chango, the deity of Santería, an Afro-Cuban religion. ...".
According to a 1998 article by Larry Rohter: "... since ... Fidel Castro ... took power ... Santeria has been allowed to flourish as never before in Cuba's 500-year history. ... under Castro ... the Communist Party abandoned atheism in 1992 ... An estimated three-quarters of Cubans were Roman Catholics before the Cuban revolution in 1959. But the majority of Cuba's 11 million people, including many who consider themselves to be good Catholics, are now believed to follow Santeria and to regard it as an essential part of the nation's identity. "In the African faiths resides a goodly portion of the Cuban soul," said Orlando Verges, acting director of the Casa del Caribe, a government-sponsored cultural institute here that studies and promotes Santeria. "Practically all of Cuban music has emerged directly from syncretic cults, and much of its best art and even literature have been subject to its influence." Santeria originated in West Africa and came to the Caribbean with the slave trade, which forced transported Africans to hide their polytheistic beliefs from their Spanish masters behind a facade of Roman Catholic saints. In Santeria, each of series of specialized gods are asked to intercede on behalf of petitioners. As a result, those deities acquired a dual identity so that, for instance, San Lazaro is also Babalu-aye, the god of healing, and the Virgin of Regla became Yemaya, mistress of the sea. ...".
According to the book Santeria, by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler (Llewellyn Publications 1998), Castro's orisha is Legba, and the orisha of Batista ( from whom Castro seized power in 1958, after being pardoned in 1955 from a prison sentence for his unsuccessful attack on Batista's army barracks in Santiago on 26 July 1953 ) is Chango. Batista survived the Castro Revolution, fleeing Cuba ( along with some cohorts such as Meyer Lansky ) on 1 January 1959.
In the 1930s, when Cuba ruled by Batista (through puppet presidents), my father went to Pinar del Rio in Cuba to investigate barytes mining possibilities. He did not like the conditions in Cuba, as hungry people were not allowed to raise food on large unused farms owned by foreigners, and he did not like having (and paying for) an escort of Batista's soldiers. When he left Cuba, he met with Batista and told Batista what he did not like, whereupon Batista threw this coin at him:
The 1920 coin has on its face the phrase Patria y Libertad and a 5-point star. Between each point of the star are 23 rays (1 very long in the middle, and 4 short plus 7 long on each side). If you include the points of the star, you have 5 sets of 24 rays. The 24 rays of each set correspond to the 24-cell and to the 24-dimensional Leech lattice. All 5x24 = 120 rays correcspond to the 24+96 = 120 vertices of a 600-cell, and to half of the 240 verices of the Witting polytope vertex figure of the E8 lattice.
The reverse of the Republica de Cuba 40 cent coin depicts the Cuban Coat of Arms. The 40 cents correspond to the 40 vertices of the root vector polytope of the D5 Lie algebra that is used in the D4-D5-E6-E7 physics model. According to a Liceo Cubano web page: "... the Cuban Coat of Arms ...
... consists of three divisions, crowned by the Phrygian Cap (Gorro Frigio) or liberty cap that has a sole star, with the borders of the divisions surrounded by an oak branch on one side and a laurel wreath on the other. ... In the first top division, horizontally, there is a key symbolizing Cubaís geographical position ....[between South and North America]... with a bright rising sun in the background. In ...[one lower]... division ... are ... stripes ... representing the three departments which divide the island: Oriental, Central y Occidental (the Eastern, Central and Western). In the [other lower] division ... there are pictures of mountains, rivers, the valley and most evident a Royal Palm Tree, the national tree of Cuba ...".
The coin is now on the chain of a watch given to my father by his father, about the time that my father was graduated from Cumberland Law School in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1927.
Tony Smith's Home Page