Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Paradise In Suspension

I was in CVS picking up my wife's prescriptions, one of those complex orders that require fifteen minutes by a highly trained pharmacist to put thirty pills in a bottle, when my eye fell on the magazine rack.

It's the fantasy isn't it? I can't wait for my porch remodel to be finished so I can join the ranks of the magazine dreamers. However every Paradise has it's serpent. Up the street at the fine community bank that hordes my wife's money there was a dork who couldn't park to save his life. I felt like sliding the Bonneville into the half spot next to the driver's door but he's the kind of dimwit who calls 9-1-1 for such huge problems.

All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thee's a little odd.

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Coming and Gone

I am off Cuban con leché and cheese bread for the time being as I recover from the excesses of my Italian trip but it's nice to see the relatively new Cuban Coffee Queen doing well.

Simplicity is a great virtue and I have no doubt when starting a business It is a heat help too. Tis place has it down, reasonable prices, a minimal foot print and decent grub. I miss it.

And their cheerful sign is long since completed.

This sad story remains shuttered and dusty. Waterfront Market is long since gone and the hopeless chain that took their place never looked like a winner.

There was talk of a bowling alley or a brew pub occupying this city owned space but so far the city seems to prefer to keep it empty for some reason. Bowling is a humiliation for me and I can't score to save my life but if I can't have a brew pub that's better than nothing.

Still, if I'm off Cuban coffee for the time being I don't think my wife would cheer me on at a brew pub opening. The market might as well remain as an unsightly monument to lack to of municipal ambition. Besides the city has it's hands full trying to figure out how to widen the ship channel to bring in more waves of cruise ship visitors.

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Around Packer Street

I am not fond of the streets that run south from Truman. They lack sidewalks, and doubtlessdon't rssidents want them for fear of loss of parking in a place where cars crowd the already narrow streets...

...and oh dear, I do sound like a boring straight laced suburbanite. But Packer and Varela and Watson have their own charms.

According to J. Wills Burke's 'Streets of Key West' Packer Street was named for the doyenne of a New England trading family which owned property in the area. This home, shown below looks like a bank owned abandoned property. What a drag.

Burke speculates that the name 'Packer' is actually a corruption of 'Parker' spoken with a Boston accent. I like the idea but I don't know how Josephine Packer/Parker would feel about it.

Like I said, awkward walking on a city street:

But a streak of sunlight makes everything look better.

I've seen these plastic owls used on boats to scare away shitting seagulls. They don't work but seen on a porch they look mildly cute I suppose. Dustcatchers everywhere.

Yellow flower, yellow house, yellow dog.

Happiness all round.

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Keys Pix 8

Rainy season is a summer wonderland for Cheyenne. She turns her nose up at the fresh clean water I carry in the car for her. We don't need no stinkin' water bowls...

This is a household recycling bin. Imagine how many brown bottles they throw in the trash on Lower Duval each night. A couple of years ago the paper ran an article about a $5,000 glass crusher designed to fit under a bar and reduce bottles to powder on the spot suitable for recycling. Well, that was a nice idea.

This next photo is in response to all the people who ask what I do when it rains and I am riding the Bonneville. I get a wet bottom if I don't put my waterproofs on first. I rarely die of rain.

This cheerful looking Scarabeo is just one of several such Aprilias around town. They are very practical large scooters but I always wonder why the Italian factory hired a former East German motorcycle engineer to design these bikes.

Practical, capable and agricultural. And to enhance practicality a cup holder in case the long distance ride across town threatens the rider's caffeine levels.

Back to school. I am happily child-free so the only way I know school is opening is because my wife the teacher shows signs of stress and the big yellow farm sheds start reappearing on the roads.

One can only imagine how delightful a barbecue with (not of) friends would be on this terrace. The only question is how did they get it up there? Sheer brute force is the only answer in my experience.

A puddle unruffled by a thirsty Labrador.

Big cars are not easy to park for some people. A modest Honda Del Sol (convertible Civic two seater) was in the space in front with room to spare.

Food to spare for a hungry malnourished Labrador. People prefer to forget how much our "companion animals" are related to the call of the wild. I like to see Cheyenne expressing her full nature.

Grrr! Yum yum! Woof woof. End of story.

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Bowling For Key Deer

Imagine my surprise when I opened the newspaper and found our County Commissioner suggesting a speed limit INCREASE on Highway One. How very cool.

The thing is that every time a stretch gets repaved we lose a few more chances to legally pass dawdlers as they tend to replace dotted yellow lines with solid double yellow lines. And now here we have a powerful voice suggesting the speed limit be raised. Extraordinary!

The stretch in question is just north of Big Pine Key where the limit is 45mph by day and 35mph by night. The idea behind the restriction is to stop cars from killing Key Deer. Which sounds reasonable enough except for one thing. Or rather eight million things.

The state decided that with a death toll of about 30 dead deer a year it was time to do something. They built an elaborate overpass and fenced it all in at a cost of eight million dollars.

Access to the overpass is protected by cattle grids and the sides are covered by deer proof fences which have all been very effective at keeping out the deer. All of which has also created a secure passage for vehicles.

Motorcyclists Up North worry all the time about deer in the roadway at night but on this overpass such deer have been banished.

The deer, whose reserve has been split by the Overseas Highway, have two underpasses connecting both sides.

The overpass itself is a magnificent roadway with clear sight lines.

And yet already one voice raised itself in anguished anonymous protest in the paper when the idea of increased speed limits was aired. The protest made it sound as though increasing the limit to 55mph would lead to wholesale deer slaughter.

Then of course the protest concluded with the time worn question: what's the hurry? As though everyone driving the Overseas Highway is retired or on vacation. I wish people who dawdle spent their time dawdling and paying attention while behind the wheel. Well, as they say we can't get everything. You either drive the limit and pay attention, or you dawdle and fiddle with your phone and admire the view. God forbid you should pull over and let those with a deadline go by!

I suppose this speed limit idea will die a death, as most common sense ideas do.

I also read in the paper that feral cats have been photographed ravaging marsh rabbits and traps are scheduled to be set to catch the wild moggies. That idea has raised a shit storm because the untrusting folk who feed the cats suspect they won't go to a retirement home when caught.

It turns out trust is in short supply where wild animals are concerned, one way and another.

However when you look at Big Pine Key full of deer and fence-free, where speed limits aren't going to be raised, and then you look at the elaborate barricades built just north of this section you have to wonder how it is the two sections merit the same speed limits. But that sort of common sense question is better never asked.

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