Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tropical Storm Warning

TROPICAL DEPRESSION SIXTEEN LOCAL STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE KEY WEST FL
157 PM EDT TUE SEP 28 2010
.WATCHES/WARNINGS...
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING
LOCATIONS...MONROE UPPER KEYS...MONROE MIDDLE KEYS AND MONROE
LOWER KEYS.

FOR MARINE INTERESTS...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR
ALL OF FLORIDA KEYS COASTAL WATERS.
...PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...
DUE TO THE WEAK AND DISORGANIZED TROPICAL SYSTEM...ALL PEOPLE IN THE
FLORIDA KEYS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF THIS SYSTEM.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION SIXTEEN FORMED IN THE NORTHWEST
CARIBBEAN...ABOUT 280 MILES SOUTH SOUTHWEST OF KEY WEST LATE TUESDAY
MORNING. THIS TROPICAL SYSTEM MAY BECOME A MINIMAL TROPICAL STORM
TONIGHT AS IT MOVES NORTH NORTHEAST AND ACROSS CENTRAL CUBA
TONIGHT...BEFORE APPROACHING THE UPPER KEYS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. AS
A RESULT...SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD SLOWLY INCREASE IN
COVERAGE TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...BUT THE BULK OF THE STRONGEST WINDS
WILL REMAIN EAST OF THE UPPER KEYS.
It's nice to think that being as how it's almost October that hurricane season would be finished. In fact hurricane season lasts, officially all the way through November and this is the height of the season for South Florida. Welcome Tropical Depression 16 to the Florida Keys and a tropical storm warning issued by the weather people. That means we should expect strong winds and lots of rain in the next thirty six hours. I think I will take the car to work tonight...
The National Hurricane Center in Miami is currently plotting the center of the course farther east of us, but we are still going to get wind and rain. Like we haven't had enough with just the regular summer downpours.The sky has been getting darker and rain has been slashing the side of the house so I suppose we are on our way. My preparations have been minimal, amounting to getting the laundry in and moving the motorcycle and the Vespa out of the way of any wind driven rain. 35 mile per hour winds are nothing to write home about, especially if the center of the storm moves across the Bahamas and into the Atlantic. There is always a chance that these things will suddenly develop and become a serious threat to land but the mountains of the Sierra Maestra in Cuba provide a nice buffer to break the storm's strength.It's odd and rather pleasant how the active hurricane season has produced lots of storms that have all tracked either toward Bermuda or toward Mexico. That this depression is failing to follow the format precisely is rather annoying. Rain and wind. Nice if that's all we get for the next two months.

Closed Eateries

It's been a while now but Key West no longer numbers Taco Bell among it's fast food eateries. I never did bother to note it's passing, largely because I am not fond of the food. However some of my colleagues in Police Dispatch mourned the loss of "Taco Hell" as they called it.I acknowledge that residents can't be eating specialty foods in expensive restaurants all the time so let me say I would be bereft if Miami Subs and Outback were to close, among other inexpensive eateries. Taco Bell? Hell no. The fact that it has stayed unoccupied for so long is not a good thing.When Belen came back from her most recent trip to Cuba she brought her brother-in-law a gift up to Dispatch as we exchanged shifts. Belen has permission from the Treasury department to visit her relatives on the island, the one we white people can't visit legally until President Obama buttons up his courage and opens travel up for everybody. (Can you tell I am resentful?). What on earth, I wondered, did she bring Noel from Cuba? Noel visited his relatives a few years ago and still shudders at the memory of his one and only trip. "Mud huts and outhouses" he mumbles still awed by the poverty he could so easily have been born into, as he fires up his kindle for another night in dispatch. The gift itself wasn't that interesting- it was a bottle of salad  dressing from The Olive Garden in Miami. Lots of islanders crave an Olive Garden in Key West, and Noel loves the dressing: "I bathe in it!". Islanders might also start craving fresh doughnuts. The one doughnut chain couldn't survive without illegal immigrant labor and they got shut down once too often. Now it's going to be pizza. More pizza. I remember the old Key West Diner next to the doughnut shop. It used to serve an all you can eat breakfast buffet that kept me feeling full all day while I was out on the water captaining boats. It's been closed for ages. I think Wilma did this place in around 2005. I like the plaster pineapples on the roof.Given that these places have been closed for a while one might wonder what prompted me to put this essay together now. My favorite barbecue place has gone, that's why. Mad Dawgz at Mile Marker 21 on Cudjoe Key has gone and left behind a few weeds and some good memories. The signs are still there.The last I heard they were planning summer music to pull people in but I guess it was too slow to keep them going. Quelle drag.The other closure just half a mile down the Overseas Highway surprised me even more. Coco's Cantina has been a staple on Cudjoe for a long time but they too are gone.
Their menu was eclectic, mostly Cuban with occasional Nicaraguan or Thai thrown in as the staff came and went.
Now Coco's is an empty building and a pile of junk piled up in the parking lot by someone who apparently had to clear the building in a rush.
I wasn't a regular there but the food was okay and the take out Thai food was great while it lasted. My wife is very fond of Thai food. Mostly though they served Cuban meals.Now the door is barred and the lock drilled out. I guess the closure was sudden and perhaps not friendly.Happily the Sugarloaf Food Company is only closed for vacation.
I suppose a slow economy makes everything harder for small business though I can't say of course if the economy is the reason for the closures. Sometimes it's just time to close. Which is shame. I will really miss the barbecue.