Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A few shots of some rooflines that appealed to me on a recent walk.

Winter can be hell if you don't like temperatures in the 80s.

Take a seat on your winter porch and watch the world go by.

This is Key West so the theory is the whole world will eventually come by and say hello.

Take your pick of small homes and you'll be wedged into Key West.

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Bahama Village Stroll 1

I spent some time walking Bahama Village checking out the streets that over the centuries have seen little change overall but always see changes in daily increments.

Construction nationwide may be flagging despite the so called economic recovery but home repairs and construction in Key West seem to be booming still.

The cruise ships still call on the city and even as the debate about widening the harbor channel to accommodate huge new ships grasps the city by the throat, the "small" older ships with a mere 3500 passengers each, continue to unload humanity onto Key West's waterfront.

Backers of channel widening want the city to raise 5 million to study the thirty million dollars needed to actually widen the channel. Grant money they say will bring us ships capable of hauling 6,000 passengers each. One quarter of the permanent population of the city. Just what we need I'm sure.

Ignore the guard shack when driving to the Truman Waterfront through the Truman Annex. Sound advice for transiting the Truman Annex which is not actually East Berlin and thus not allowed to prevent access on a city street through it's property. Not as long as the Navy tells them to behave.

Walking up Southard toward the Green Parrot I noticed several nicely decorated homes. I don't generally think of wreaths as year round decoration.

But other people do, to nice effect.

I also passed a bicycle shop new to me. Key West is a vibrant economy and I doubt these customers came off the nearby cruise ship. There are so many elements that make up Key West's tourist economy it seems odd to me that civic leaders want to weight the scales so heavily in favor of one piece of the whole tourism pie.

But the way Key West handles tourism is an endless circular debate, passionate and aggravated like any other civic issue.

I have no idea what a couple's massage might consist of but this is real massage not a whorehouse posing as a back rub store front. Does one sit and watch one's other half getting rolfed? I think I'd rather read a motorcycling magazine as awful as that sounds.

If this Chinese scooter were fast it wouldn't need to proclaim it. Chinese exports are down Bloomberg Financial tells us. Get your Xhongxhing scooter while you can...They are all over Key West.

This is, I think a model T and all American at a time when thatmeant all components were built and assembled in the actual USA. Very splendid I'm sure, and so far from achievable today they insist, though I disagree. If we cannot build things at home, what's the point?

What struck me, on Mickens Lane, aside from thel ack of air conditioning was how this 80 year old logo looks identical to that on my 2007 Fusion.

I discerned a no parking instruction here below. Why one would want to park in a tree, and what one might park there I'm not at all sure.

I got more pictures on my walk and this meander through Bahama Village on a hot winter morning will be continued tomorrow.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Malabar Almond

Ashe at Frances:

I need to taste my own Malabar Almonds as I have two flourishing mature trees at my house.

The leaves are large and a rich waxy shade of green at their height but they go red and fall off the tree leaving a stark wintery look behind.

I am less enthusiastic than this home owner about picking them up, as a result I have lots of parchment like red leaves littering my yard this time of year.

My trees aren't near as impressive as this giant. I'm glad I don't have tom pick up the leaves from this 1918 model year Malabar Almond.

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Work And Play And Pedestrians

It's winter time and until April guest houses hotels bars and restaurants will see brisk trade.

This is the time of year when money is made in Key West and even though the economy is more year round than ever before winter tourist season is still at its peak during these months.

I could not make up my mind if these towels drying in the sun could be viewed as picturesque or as a blight. I dry our laundry under our house in the suburbs of the Lower Keys, but using Nature's bounty to dry clothes is I am told, considered tacky in the. Better quality gated communities.

I like air dried clothes: they feel softer and they last longer suffering less damage than that inflicted by infernal dryer machines. A tourist in Key West Kino sandals paused in front of sidewalk art:

A bunch of these rather prissy signs have popped up along Eaton Street encouraging pedestrians to take back their crosswalks.

The bright yellow signs are a nice bit of urban blight.

Key West has been designated as one of Florida's more dangerous cities of it's size for cyclists. So now there is a drive across the city to make the streets safe for bicycles.

There was even talk in the paper of creating bike paths and bike lanes which will no doubt produce storms of controversy about cars versus bicycles and parking versus bike lanes and on and on.

A worthy sentiment on a house clearly not occupied by a one per center.

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Morning Light

I heard a story on NPR a while ago about the husband of our fearless US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Just when we learned that in Florida's redistricting we are likely to get a different representative for the next decade.

Ros-Lehtinen will doubtless be unaffected by the scandal concerning her attorney husband as she is a senior member of the Republican caucus in Congress but it was disappointing to hear it anyway.

Somehow, heaven knows how, the estimable representative's husband got the contract to be the legal advisor to the Miccosukee tribe of Indians. By all accounts he was a strong advocate for environmental protection of the Everglades, traditional home of the tribe.

The Miccosukee are a secretive lot, living well thanks to their gambling palace on Krome Avenue at Tamiami Trail, but their government is a closed book to outsiders. In 2011 a new tribal leader saw mass firings in the tribal police department when half the department protested a hostile work environment and were fired, as though to prove the point.

The IRS have been investigating the tribe which recently fired it's counsel saying Dexter Lehtinen gave them bad tax advice. The story is as weird as a pair of lost panties in a Key West street. The tribe according to the WLRN story, have fessed up to a cool 26 million dollar oversight in their tax bill from the turn of the century as uncovered by Federal investigators.

The confession is, it seems a legal maneuver the tribe felt obliged to take to devolve the blame onto their attorney of record for his faulty tax advice. The only way the tribe could nail Dexter Lehtinen was by accepting that they had screwed the pooch on their tax returns.

The tribe claims that their attorney advised them, erroneously, not to file individual tax returns for the tribe's 600 members and thus they now find themselves with a rather large bill to pay.

Lehtinen's attorney says the tribe is nuts under the new leader elected in 2010 who has abandoned Lehtinen's pro-environment position in favor of focusing on gambling revenues.

Either way it seems like the Miccosukee are not going to be doing the Lehtinens any favors this election year. Se has been a good representative for the Keys, paying attention to the needs of this tiny portion of her South Florida constituency. Even though her support for the embargo is the price she pays for easy re-election by her Cuban base.

Locally the newspaper reported recently that the widow of a power boat racer who died in last year's race is going to sue the medical staff and organizer of the race. As a friend of mine remarked: "Put two people in a fiberglass shell powered by a jet engine and send them across the author as fast as they can go and what do you think is going to happen?"

It used to be people took up dangerous sports for then thrill and relied on themselves to get into and out of scrapes. This suit strikes me as being a perfect example of the inability of anyone to take responsibility for their own stupidity. I hope someone in the legal system shows them the door at their expense.

Meanwhile Key West continues on accommodating thousands of visitors and hundreds of negative comments in the paper bitching about parking and cruise ships and noise and bums and bad manners.

It makes you wonder why anyone bothers t move here, or live here in winter.

I like looking around and taking pictures and reminding myself what a great place this can be.

Winter sunshine, quiet early morning streets and not a complaint to be heard.

Besides I'm not a famous attorney so no one is suing me for untold millions so this must be my lucky day.

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Sammy Creek Park

"We need to go down to Sammy Creek and eat carrot cake," Chuck announced. Instantly I was overwhelmed by a pressing need to eat a large slice of extra rich home made carrot cake. The surroundings only made it better.

Chuck was at pains to point out that the newly created park is part of the kayaking trail through the Everglades and the Keys.

This plot of waterfront land at the very bottom of Sugarloaf Boulevard used to house a house which was demolished when the family deeded the land to the state which created a very fine public open space on the land just as the Sammy family desired.

In a time of increasing and blatant greed among the upper echelons the Sammy donation stands out as a very practical symbol of what can be done by people of good will. We enjoyed the hell out of it!

R-L, Chuck cutting cake, Wayne salivating and on the left their houseguest Kim from California learning to enjoy the year round sybaritic life of the Florida Keys. He will be moving into his Sugarloaf home full time pretty soon and I think he, like me, will enjoy the warmth of the Keys compared to the fog and wet of the northern California we both used to know so well.

Some other people have also discovered this public pocket jewel of a park.

We have had a spell of perfect summer weather lately with mild cool breezes, low humidity and temperatures in the mid 80s.

All of which means a dog likes her shade and Cheyenne found her spot strategically located to catch carrot cake crumbs.

After iced tea and a large slice of his own home made cake Chuck took either Tootie or Zuzu (I can't tell them apart) for a stroll. The Vizslas are nervous hunting dogs and need leashing unlike my lumbering Labrador.

The ocean looked fantastic, offering a whole range of summer colors to the winter sun.

See? Can you tell one dog from the other? One can barely tell Chuck (yellow shirt) from Wayne (white shirt).

It was an hour well spent along the old state road on the south shore of Sugarloaf Key. It's what winter in the Lower Keys is all about, being outdoors and enjoying the mosquito-free months.

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