Monday, September 5, 2011


September is the month chosen by tradition when facilities in the Lower Keys close. Chico's snapped in passing which prompted this reflection.

Labor Day is done, the cars are streaming out of Key West,

...and life returns to the torpor of a quiet town devoid of visitors.

Fall is an uncertain season because when the funnies in the newspaper publish drawings of leaves falling in Key West we look aloft and afield for hurricanes.

If the point were made once it was made over and over again in the gallery window. We Are Closed. And barring the odd weekend festival we remain so pending the first blast of Arctic weather Up North.

The waters are warm, the grocery stores continue to function and we have all we need, if we have set aside a few dollars from the fat times to carry us through the lean weeks ahead. A nice time to be at home in the Keys.

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Key West Oddities

Things that go bump in the night do not interest me as a general rule. My dog though is learning to be a guard dog. The house cleaners came by last week while I was sleeping, night work does that to your schedule, and Cheyenne woke me with loud barking. Good guard dog. Things that look absurd tickle me pink, like this sign on Government Road.

Granted there are a few cyclists and dog walkers in winter but common sense would dictate that the motorist would see them. Common sense says signs like these look moronic, but not nearly as moronic as fake bullet holes in one's car. Perhaps I am missing something, but this seems to be a fashion that could well be forgotten.

A novel and idiotic spot for a graffito on a window air conditioner on Fleming Street. Bending the vents obstructs cooling air flow and makes us marginally more dependent on foreign oil. Plus it looks bad.

I saw this sign on a doctor's door and I mulled it over for quite some time. I couldn't put my finger on it but it seemed cold and uninviting in some way. I like my own doctor's sign that says 'all welcome snow birds residents and visitors.' I suppose in our brave new world of messed up human relations expecting The Doctor to be more than a business is expecting too much.

A telephone pole that claims to be one human is a pole that is reaching for the stars. In a world where medicine is no longer a vocation but a business, a piece of wood that wants to be human is Pinocchio reborn.

I liked this sign because of the arrow. With a multitude of homes crammed into one tiny space any one of them could be on the market but for the arrow. There are no front lawns in old town!

I got a flyer in the mail from a new realtor in town. This one used to be the county administrator at a really bad time in the recent past when budgets were suggestions and the headlines were crammed with cockamamie stories about things that just couldn't seem to be made to work. It was the time of the Gang Of Three, when three county commissioners behaved like tinpot dictators. Unlike corporate CEOs we were able to vote those people out of office eventually.

A recent editorial in the paper praising the current quiet and steady hand on the tiller of county government made for an interesting contrast. Sometimes the good old days really weren't. I hope this guy finds joy happiness and prosperity in the private sector and the peace that the gang of three denied him and us in our county government.

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On And Around Fleming

I am very fond of the wordily named Southernmost Prayer and Something Church on Fleming and William streets.

How could one not be with a profile like that painted in a rich cream color that glows like gold in the sunset? But Nature has her gifts too in this area. I have no idea what these things are, though they looked like miniature nutmegs. That can't be right.

This is the cheerful and still blooming poinciana variously named that is still throwing splashes of orange around town.

The pineapple in Key West lore is a symbol of welcome, though I prefer to eat the few that I manage to grow in my garden as they are particularly sweet. This welcoming symbolic fruit seemed badly placed at a home apparently abandoned, to a bank maybe? and whose entrance was covered in fallen fronds. It looked very sad.

Hoe he gnarly. Really? How chill dude. So much of what passes for culture passes me by entirely in the modern world. My street cred must be at or below zero.

I thought perhaps it was a weight lifter with broken equipment but on closer inspection I think it is a paddler? And when it comes to mysteries this is one I hardly dare to ponder. How badly drunk was he that he abandoned his footwear at a pedestrian crosswalk?

Or is it performance art? I wish but in Key West alcohol takes precedence as an explanation when it comes to the inexplicable.

Now here's a store that seems to be doing quite nicely thank you and I have no explanation as to how a tuxedo shop thrives in this town which writes the definition for casual wear.

Cheyenne failed to thank the store owner for the water, he seated in a very Dickensian manner among his varied merchandise, but not at all like Uriah Heep. I have better manners than my dog, my late mother would be happy to know, so I took the time instead and was rewarded with a cheerful smile.

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Work on the 730 Southard Street house continues steadily and the place is looking much more solid than previously.

They've taken the precaution of adding hurricane shutters, and these are of the modern see-through plastic kind.

The church round the corner has similar precautions in place to protect the stained glass. It is kind of ugly but effective.

The old Harris school, once touted as a retreat for artists by the Rodel Foundation, a charitable group sunk by the Madoff ponzi scheme. Then it was bruited as a good place for a new city hall and that fell through. A developer bought it and there it sits, a monument to industrious private enterprise.

Bought cheap from the school district which had no clue how to sell a building at a profit in the years of the speculative land boom, and now open to squatters and the like. This fine hand written sign just adds to the ambiance of the place. I used a telephoto lens to get the picture from the sidewalk.

And of course a door wide open to the elements this rainy season. I look forward to the day someone does something attractive with this fine old building.

No labor this Labor Day. But this old roof on Carstens Lane is starting to look very good. This home has been deteriorating for a while and I'm guessing it has been inherited by someone who wants it as it once was.

It used to look like it was a goner.

I'm glad to see it's not.

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Keys Pix 10

What a funny use for a flag, as scrunched up sunshade. Happy Labor Day.

I saw this lonely little plane buried in the bushes at the Key West 'International' Airport.

It must be orchid season because these guys were flourishing on William Street. As pretty as the flag and a sight more appropriate.

A happy retirement for a tobacco store Indian. Where do people find this stuff?

Cheyenne shied away from this decorative fish for some doggy reason. My stolid yellow Labrador scared by a nicely painted fish?

It is not unusual to see a bi-plane flying over the city, as there is an advertising service that tows banners where visitors will see them.

Slightly more unusual it was to see two flying in formation over North Roosevelt Boulevard.

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