The death of Fidel Castro (and Ron Glass, too!)


By now, you’ve heard that Fidel Castro outlasted 10 U.S. presidents. I’ve read that several times. But I make it 11. Check my math:

  1. Eisenhower
  2. Kennedy
  3. Johnson
  4. Nixon
  5. Ford
  6. Carter
  7. Reagan
  8. Bush 41
  9. Clinton
  10. Bush 43
  11. Obama

Oh, I get it. They’re not counting Obama, since Fidel didn’t quite outlast him. Duh.

Whatever. Guy was in office a long time, longer than a lot of you have been alive.

And what’s he got to show for it? Almost six decades of oppression, and some beautifully preserved antique cars. I read over the weekend that since the thaw began, a huge part of the Cuban economy is American tourism and the officially tolerated sex trade, which takes us back to where he came in.

He’s been there so long, that it’s nice to do a recap to refresh your memory. Here’s one. Here’s another.

The big question now is, will things get better between the U.S. and Cuba now, or worse? I’m not overly optimistic, with you-know-who about to take over in Washington.

ron-glassAnd now, let’s pause a moment to remember Ron Glass, whom we all remember (if we’re old enough) from “Barney Miller,” but I recall more fondly as Shepherd Book from “Firefly.” As you may recall if you’re a Browncoat, one of the great unsolved mysteries from the short-lived series was just what sort of shady past the Shepherd had.

Now we’ll never know, even if there’s a revival of the series, which there should be.

Requiescat in pace, Ron… (Do they have Latin in the future ‘verse, or is it just English and Chinese?)


30 thoughts on “The death of Fidel Castro (and Ron Glass, too!)

  1. Doug Ross

    It’s interesting how much effort we put into overthrowing Saddam Hussein and Khaddafi but never could quite topple a banana republic a short distance off our shores. Human rights abuses were going on for decades right on our doorstep yet our major efforts to stop them were centered around banning Cuban cigars.

    “Oil” never understand why we didn’t try harder to help Cubans.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I think when the Soviets were a thing, we had to tread very, very lightly. Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and all that. Once the Soviets were no longer a thing, China still was. Now that China isn’t super political any more, we don’t care much to topple Cuba….

          1. Doug Ross

            Russia would have blinked. And what’s been the excuse since 1984?

            The best thing we could have done was opened up trade as much as possible plus use our supposed power with the U.N. to force out Castro much sooner. Airdrop food, etc. Push for humanitarian efforts to bring Cuba into the 21st century.

            That’s why I find organizations like the U.N. to be pretty much useless. Dealing with human rights should be the number one priority… and it fails at that. When was the last time the U.N. took on a tough issue and did something about it? It’s a bunch of show ponies. Let’s move it to some other country.

            1. The US Government

              “And what’s been the excuse since 1984?”

              Look, pal. It’s been on our “Honey-do” list for awhile, okay? We’ve been busy overthrowing lots of governments since then.

              We were busy with Nicaragua, Panama, and Albania early on. Then we got involved in Iraq and it just took longer than we expected. It was just one of those chores that we always pushed to the back burner, like cleaning out the gutters. Yeah it needs to be done, but it’s so tedious, and where did we put the ladder, anyway?

              You can’t expect us to do everything, now can you?

              1. Doug Ross

                “You can’t expect us to do everything, now can you?”

                I’d rather see the focus on humanitarian efforts than blowing stuff up. You’re a tough guy, Mr. U.S. Government.. picking on little guys. Maybe try a little tenderness? Got to, got to, got to try a little tenderness…

                1. Doug Ross

                  The Commitments is a great movie. And that song from the movie has been in my regular rotation for a long, long time.

            2. Doug Ross

              If we move the U.N. to somewhere in Europe, I know a guy who would LOVE to develop that building into luxury apartments.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I think that demonstrates our age difference. When “The Brady Bunch” was on, I was too old to be interested, and didn’t have kids yet. So “Barney Miller” is more my speed.

      I’ve never actually seen an episode of “The Brady Bunch,” I don’t think…

      1. Claus

        You haven’t missed much. Today the Brady Bunch wouldn’t last one season. The only reason for guys to watch it when it was on was to see Marcia.

          1. Doug Ross

            Max Gail is alive and well. 73 years old. Doesn’t appear to be doing anything in the business. Most of the rest of the cast is dead. Jack Soo, Steve Landesberg, Ron Carey.

        1. Bart

          Accidently run into Hal Linden on the street in NYC years ago when he was in a Broadway play. He looks in person exactly how he appeared on television and he is not a small person. Steve Landesberg was probably my favorite on Barney Miller.

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Florence Henderson was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for me until she was on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. She killed. Cool lady.
      Also a fine singer.
      The Brady Bunch was something I’d watch because it was on. Meh

  2. Bart

    For me the loss of Ron Glass is the greater of the two. I thoroughly enjoyed him on “Barney Miller”, “Firefly” and the “Serendipity” sequel to “Firefly”. He was in one of the many television versions of the “Odd Couple” as well. One of my favorites.

  3. Norm Ivey

    The cast of Barney Miller is one of the most talented ensembles ever to appear together in a 30-minute sitcom. You cannot say the same for Brady Bunch.

    Two episodes I remember well: The episode where Harris (Ron Glass) writes a tell-all book (Blood on the Badge?) that angers his colleagues, and the episode where Wojo brings in brownies made by his girlfriend and they turn out to be special brownies.

    1. Norm Ivey

      Oh, and the episode where Wojo convinces the others to share Polack jokes with him, and he gets so angry about it.

    2. Bart

      Agree about the ensemble cast of Barney Miller. One other very good ensemble cast was WKRP in Cincinnati. Two of my favorites episodes were the ones when they decided to break into a photographer’s studio and retrieve nude photos of Jennifer and the other was the infamous attempt to drop turkeys from a helicopter for a Thanksgiving promotion but they were live, not frozen and the live reporting by Les at the event.

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