Monday, November 23, 2009

Stark Poverty

Try this on for size: fifty million Americans in the last year have struggled to get enough food. Half the children in the United States during the course of the next year are expected to need food stamps to eat. Last year Goldman Sachs paid corporate taxes at the rate of one percent and this year is on track to show a record profit, and of that, nearly 17 billion dollars has been set aside to pay bonuses.

Do I sound like an old line Marxist if I suggest this gross inequality is unacceptable? I can assure you I am not a Marxist, but I am convinced no possible good can come of this state of affairs. Our President is doing nothing to rein in the banksters, we have spent tens of trillions of dollars, more than double the amount needed to pay off every primary home mortgage in this country, and we have a growing population of desperate, permanently unemployed workers. The number of unemployed is bound to increase.
In the third quarter of this year home foreclosures hit almost one million. More and more of us average joes are losing our homes, our jobs and with them our health insurance. meanwhile our Senators are debating how to screw us out of affordable decent health care coverage. The sort of coverage they enjoy as a matter of course. How is this possible?
Well, I suppose it's possible because too many of us still hope that everything will work out, that the American Dream will get back on track, that things will start improving soon. There are ten state sin the US that are considered to be on the verge of bankruptcy and it gives me no joy to note that Florida is one of them. This is a state that has no personal income tax and relies on sales taxes and property taxes, both of which are in precipitous decline. It is no wonder then, that the Sunshine State is on the verge of imploding. This is a state with a part-time legislature (!) that meets for a few months at the beginning of the year. In the legislature's absence the Governor and his elected cabinet run the state. From them we have had no peep that there is trouble on the horizon. Come on down! The winter sunshine is lovely!
So what are we to do? Well, gun stores are reporting massive sales and ammunition is flying off the shelves. I don't count that as an encouraging sign of the things to come. I keep thinking about that TV show called Dark Angel, in which the creators depicted a United States laid low and devastated by a mysterious electronic pulse. People lived shambolic Third World lives scraping a living under the watchful eye of jackbooted security police and robot guards. The lucky ones fled to Canada...
Happy Thanksgiving, is the phrase of the day and I suppose it means something for those of us with jobs, homes and health insurance. Everyone else? Good luck.

Watson Lane

This is another of those lanes that lead north off Truman Avenue toward the cemetery, and it's not really a lane because Watson cuts right across the middle of Key West for several blocks. However this small chunk between Truman and the cemetery fits my description of a lane...
The lane is peppered with signs of Awful Warnings thanks in part to the presence of the gruesome strip club nearby. They use the red cage sometimes to stick a scantily clad woman inside to prance around as a form of advertising.
No parking for lechers around here apparently. Aside from all the parking issues Watson Lane has some quite evocative little homes in this stretch. They reminded me of mountain cabins I have seen in Northern California or the Pacific Northwest:
With some fairly large multi unit dwellings in the key West style:
It was while I was standing in the middle of the lane pondering my next picture a woman walked up to me and, were this the fantasy of a humor writer she would have lifted her shirt and ordered me to take a peak. Instead this was real life and she asked if she could help me.
"Do what?" I replied, puzzled. Then she nodded her head and asked if I had come from the property.
"No," I said, "I'm not overly fond of Teasers." No, she clarified, asking me if I had come from the house. Which I found to be a weird question as I was obviously standing in the street holding a camera, albeit a small one. I had no burglar bag or any place to hide the loot.
"I'm taking pictures," I said as though the camera wasn't self explanatory. "I like to take pictures of my home town recording it as it changes." Humph she grunted, "I haven't seen you around." Probably I wanted to say, because I don't attend many of the tea parties you do, it's not that I don't exist! But she wandered off and I got back to the business at hand, which I may add was not burglary. Not in the middle of the day, with a camera in my hand in a photogenic town littered with tourists taking pictures. One has to respect people's right to be paranoid I suppose.
And here we have a fine example of that rare species the Honda Ruckus 250 scooter. They achieved cult status in the brief period they were imported. Personally I've never seen the attraction of the Big Ruckus or the 50cc version, lacking as they do, even the most rudimentary storage or weather protection.
I found the "lane" to be quite delightful, all trees and wood and shafts of sunlight.
This was some sort of outdoor garage or carport tucked in under the trees.
This was the source of the mid street controversy, a picture taken from well outside the boundaries of the house.And here across the street another cabin covered by greenery:
I thought the arrow pointed in the right direction for all of us, in the end:
And just to cheer you up here's a nice tree:
I enjoyed Watson.