Thursday, October 27, 2011

Naked Breasts And Classic Motorcycles

It's that time of year again when people take off their clothes and parade about on Duval Street.

And they do like the attention.

It's a money maker is Fantasy Fest, and they raise money for charity too but when the thing was founded three decades ago it was an effort to bring some life to a tourist town in dead season. This year they have succeeded beyond the usual measure, with the daftly named theme of Aquatic Afrolic .

They tell us there isn't a bed to be had in the city. Rates have dropped as have minimum stays so everything has sold out and Duval Street is packed as a result.

Body painting is the big deal this week. The rules are that genitalia must be covered by something more than paint. Women's breasts may be covered in paint only as long as they stay inside the "Fantasy Zone" which is Duval Street and the side streets to Whitehead and Simonton, but no further.

Painting must be carried out behind screens And for some reason men don't have to have their breasts covered as well which is too bad.

By the way sex acts in public are not allowed thank God. Last year a husband and wife went to jail, and very tearful they looked in their mug shots after she knelt before him in the middle of Greene Street in front of a cheering crowd and a police officer. Alcohol has a lot to answer for when it comes to public tastelessness.

I am no fan of costumes or public drunkeness but I accept Fantasy Fest as a necessary nuisance, in the spirit of funding the tourist industry upon which we all depend. Not that anybody asks my opinion or my permission.

Yesterday evening it was the turn of the Red Party, at Fogarty's, and that involves nothing as exciting as a hammer and sickle. I was at work so I was spared.

Red refers to the clothing requirement.

Or sunburn perhaps in the lack thereof.

On the whole Fantasy Fest is a few days of mostly middle aged naughtiness, and a time when peaceful gatherings across the country are getting gassed and shot with rubber bullets, Key West as usual is a model of moderation.

Silliness is on display alongside the nudity and overt sexuality.

Though nudes expect to be photographed. So one obliges.

I rather like the practical combination of grass skirt, tastefully pastied chest, handbag and reading glasses, with an iPhone the ready. She was prepared for all eventualities.

This week pay attention to signage as locals have permission sometimes that visitors don't. And if that seems unfair remember someone has to haul all the stuff in for visitors to consume.

Skateboarding is illegal on Duval but youth and beauty fully dressed and serene somehow seems rather less illegal than some of the legal nudity. And by the way men in women's clothing is nothing to get worried about. Around here it's quite normal, unfortunately.

But a parallel twin from 1967 with 6500 miles on a machine handed down to the owner by his grandfather. That's quite different. The owner's landlord saw me admiring it and he filled me in on the details as clearly he was used to passersby asking about it. "Lovely," I breathed. "Much nicer than breasts," I said before I could stop myself.
"Oh yes," he said smiling.
"Well," I defended myself, "I happen to be straight. Not necessarily by choice no matter what they say."

"Never mind," he laughed, but it's true I did enjoy the Honda far from the madding crowds. And whatever else it is it's something other than a Harley, or a breast, just for a change.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Mike said...

and a time when peaceful gatherings across the country are getting gassed and shot with rubber bullets

Sometimes I'm left wondering if you even live in the same country as I do. These "peaceful and spontaneous protests," bought and paid for with contributions from unions, the Socialist Party USA and Communist Party USA, and other radical fringe groups are occupying public spaces and refuse to vacate lawful police orders. One would assume that, as a police dispatcher, you might understand that....except when dogma clouds reality. They're anything but peaceful.

The teaching of “self-esteem” in schools has bred insolence in youth, so that it never occurs to young people to think: “Hey, maybe I’m wrong.”

Sixty-six percent of those under 30 voted for Obama. When his policies fail, they are incapable of thinking that perhaps their choice was unwise. Instead, it must be some sort of trick, for which scapegoats are to blame.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

While I agree with the sentiment that government and business should not be intertwined, I don't think anyone has the right to be released from their responsibilities, especially the repercussions of their actions. It is life and damn it, it is not fair.

You know what? I am working to be part of that 1% (or at least the 4%). The 99%ers could to if they weren't in a park camping. I am for raising hell, but it is for naught without some cohesion.

BTW, the old broads with the fake boobies in the first picture remind of a rebuilt 1967 Mustang with a fiberglass hood; got some experience and muscle, sort of look good, but are plastic underneath.

Conchscooter said...

The constitution explicits permits citizens, employed or not to peaceably assemble to petition their government. That you or l like them means nothing. Shooting our own unarmed citizens in a public place is not contemplated by the key west police department, as far as I know.
I will defend to the death your right etc etc doesn't mean shit when what they say upsets you.
I have worked all my life not least because I enjoy it, but I live and work a happier life because I know the right to dissent is permitted. I would not do well under a dictatorship of left or right.
And you may be surprised to learn, neither will you.

Conchscooter said...

Jeffrey, your comment comes from fear which I understand. Your comment about "the old broad" is startling coming from you and a measure of how bad things must be. I hope you are ashamed.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

I have no shame in regards to pointing out plastic surgery of the baby boomers. There is no grace of age in the rebuilt booties and boobies most Floridian seniors. We are the second mecca for it, California being the first. Watching the debachary at some bars during season is gross. My wife working in the medical field tells me HIV and Hep C are on the rise in seniors partly due to that course. Have we not learned anything from the 1980-90's?

Could you elaborate on the fear comment?

I agree with your right to dissent, however I disagree with students who went into degrees, knowing there would not be a job with an ROI and taking the risk of the loans. Was there no common sense in their decision?

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

Jeff -

I'm surprised at your thoughts on this subject.

I know some of the protesters personally; they are neither young nor unemployed.

Let's atlk about the uneployed college gras for a minute, though:

When they enetered college 5-6 years ago, the economy was red hot. Placement for grads was in the 80-90% range, approaching 100% for some fields. Money was virtually free, a function of bankers bundling bad loans into traunches and selling them to hapless countries as investment grade "products".

They were promised, by the same people who now denounce them, a future whereby they could meet or exceed the standard of living of their parents.

The reality?

My recently graduated daughter cannot find a full-time job. The new reality for the recently graduated is to secure a number of part-time jobs (she has two) to make ends meet. Why part time? Well - it benefits the 1%, as corporations DO NOT PAY BENEFITS FOR PART TIME WORK. With true unemplyment around 17-19%, a stable of part-timers at $10/hr is the way to more $$ on the bottom line!

That's the new reality - $10/hr, no benefits, part time, college degree required. That's not the world I inherited.

Perhaps the protesters should all go home and have a big slice of chocolate cake. Wait. I forgot. At $10/hr, they can't afford a home.


Conchscooter said...

Oer the centuries of humans opressing each other those that feel they have the most to lose, those thatave the greatest fear of the future and of change tend to be the loudest and meanest in defense of the status quo, however immoral or unethical it may be. if you are struggling to keep your family together in Ft Myers, an epicenter of mortgage failure and unemployment you will join the chorus, as you have, of people who prefer to denigrate the peaceful unarmed protestors who are acting upon their lawful constitutional rights. Whether or not you agree with their politics or their demands. I am sure you agree that if Chuck's white middle class kids can't get commensurate jobs its their own damned fault. I promise you this: the economy will get worse, jobs will dry up and misery will spread. Wait and see, and when cops realise their pensions will never be paid see what happens then, as has been pointed out to me. Let history, not dogma be your guide.
I had hoped my blog would not attract trolls and Dagneys and unthinking knee jerk reactionaries. Silly me.

Christopher Shepherd said...


It is unfortunate that we choose to divide ourselves in every forum instead of fulfilling the simple demand: Perp-walk the bailed-out criminals. Nothing more, nothing less. Screw the socialists, and screw the nazis. Perp-walk the bailed-out criminals. They stole from you, and they stole from me. Don't defend them. Perp-walk these bailed-out criminals. They are the biggest criminals, the biggest socialists of all. Stop defending them. Be a man, stop defending the bullies who pick on you, even though they wear three-piece suits.

Yours truly,
Someone who has never voted Democrat or Republican

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

There was no fear in the comment.

If one cannot find work, perhaps start a business might provide some work beyond filling the coffers of the 1% (no offense, that is what I did after being laid off from a large blue chip, and I came from a family of union workers and teachers).

And Chuck, I am sorry your children cannot find work, but being from probably between your generation and your children's, I feel the baby boomers have a lot to answer for the current mess, but so what? Breath in, breath out, move on (and create your own job). I do, wish them luck - it has been a rough 3 years and it is getting better.

Perhaps the Troll

Conchscooter said...

cs: exactly so; and now my voting days are done.
jeffey: if you think things are getting better you are dreaming. greece is already rejecting the bailout as too severe. there are no jobs nor will there be. wait and see. and chucks daughters deserve more than electronic sympathy. they deserve futures.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Fair enough CS on the future instead of electronic sympathies.

What solutions are proposed? I gave mine as a possible one. Others?

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

This is healthy discourse - and if there's one thing about the various protests going on around the world, it's that it's raised the consciousness of the average Joe to the point where even the most brain dead amongst us understand something's happening.

Jeff -

Your solution works short term; it is unworkable in the long run without a social contract and transfer payments - a less egregious term for taxes. I've started several businesses, and one needs things like reasonably priced electricity, roads (both real and virtual) to move goods and services from point of origin to point of need.

But, perhaps more importantly, all of us (save the top 1% of the net worth crowd) are but one health issue away from bankruptcy. You can't run a business from a hospital bed - and one surgery wipes out a cash reserve. My wife's surgery, about a month ago, costs $50,000 - and she's been out of commission for a month.

I love the idea of small businesses; the shophouses I've seen throughout Asia are a perfect model of rabid captialism and entrepeneurship at work. In every case, though, there is a strong social contract which furnishes health care and infrastructure - two items which we seem to be hellbent on dismantling, even though our health care costs are 2X that of our developed contemporaries.

My daughters are lucky, as their dad saw what was ahead and they graduate debt-free. My financial house has been in order for years, I owe nothing to no one. The eldest has a job purely becuase she went to a good school; the kids with average degrees from average school are sitting at home with their parents - and their debt. BTW, she does have her own business, too. Hed to sell stuf to folks making $10 an hour - unless it's ramen noodles.

Solution? It's not a one liner. It requires austerity. It requires unity. It requires the forcible removal of politicians from the pockets of large corporate concerns and the high net worth crowd.

Make no mistake of this, though - our standard of living has backpedaled into the 70's, and will continue its slide for some time. There is no 'fix' for this, as we've been living beyond our means and on borrowed money/time for 30+ years. Until we've paid down our debts and the country has a solid balance sheet, this is the way it's going to be.

To Michael's point, however - we're an instant gratification society. We have neither the patience or the discipline to wait. The interim can get very ugly as the pendulum swings (and it has begin its arc) away from things that were.

Singing to Jeffrey's Tune said...

Chuck -

I concur with everything in your last statement. I in fact followed a similar plan and have only the house debt.

I do stand by my first assessment, people are attempting to leave the obligations they made while crying afoul.

Living in one of the epicenters of foreclosure, I saw people buy homes they could not afford, using interest only loans, then use them as cash machines to further an unsustainable lifestyle. I don't have sympathy (completely disagreeing with CS's post on his Common Sense blog of a similar vein). On the other side of the coin, I see the carpet baggers coming in to profit from the misery.

Nor am I saying is there not a place for art and music degrees (contrary in fact), but in a country where we are lacking math and science degrees, it was obvious one did the math of their ROI. And for people in creative degrees, they could use some creative problem solving classes to find a use for the degree.

In terms of a social contract and transfer payments for medical and infrastructure, I am not sure where the OWS even broached the subject. They seem to be asking what will alleviate their short term pain too.

There should be no naivety expressed, a single, simple solution to this horrible problem will not be found. People grasp to simple solutions to have a feeling of control. I think the real trick is to live comfortably with ambiguity, while having a "guide".

Conchscooter said...

Until somebody answers the question: why the bankers who knowingly made the loans to the poor, and got back stopped by our retirement funds are not getting regulated and punished, choosing to blame the poor and the stupid for the corrupt leadership that got us here makes me sick. It's time the 99 percent held the leadership to account and the Occupiers are trying to do that lawfully and peacefully. As I recall tea Baggers showed up to political gatherings armed and they were cheered by the idiots at Faux News. When they figure they are reduced to peasant status they will come back shooting and we will rue the unarmed, peaceful Occupiers assembled to petition their government by constitutional means.
It seems to me Jeffrey is taking the lazy route as usual and blaming his neighbors, the people he can see for taking loans offered by banks who made the loans for short term profit thereby putting our globalized economy at risk. When the crash came jeffreys neighbors lost everything and are stigmatized by his lazy thinking. Meanwhile the bankers, who knew what they were doing got government bailouts with no new rules imposed. Do you even know how to define moral hazard?
Mind you Jeffrey thinks things are getting better. Nice one. Peak oil hasn't gone away, climate change hasn't gone away. Seven billion people are still here demanding the good life and we who supposedly have it are demanding more and more drugs to dull the pain. So you need the bromide? Here: Sure things are getting better. That's why you are trying to stay out of debt, because you won't say it but you know that's bullshit.

Anonymous said...

There will always be a top 1%. The issue is how wide the gulf is between them and the rest of the world. Economic inequality has increased substantially in the US in the last 30 years and not because the 1% got smarter or worked harder but because rules were changed to help them.

Generational inequity is a middle aged woman partying in KW with her fake breasts while college grads in their 20s can't find work and live at home. We don't know their individuals stories but the general contours of the argument hold.

Jeff's observation was spot on and I've read enough of his thoughts on this blog over the years to know that it wasn't expressed thoughtlessly or maliciously.

Telling kids to create their own job sounds great but as a small business owner I tell you it's a tremendous leap of faith to shed the job and start your own business.

Artists, teachers, and street performers don't do ROI's and wouldn't be who they are if they did.

Anonymous said...

Peace. Yeah!