Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
I can't believe how warm it is, day after day, eighty degrees and muggy as though it were June. I am told climatologists are leaving coastal cities in droves and are buying retirement homes in the mountains for fear of rising sea levels. We hear permafrost is melting, putting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and vicious storms and droughts batter our farmland. Skeptics point to record snowfalls and, missing the point by a mile, happily play on in their sandboxes and tell us climate change is an anti-business hoax. Climate change promises sudden and harsh storms, extreme temperatures and rising seas. All of which is happening. Had I any offspring I'd be worrying, as it is I shall be dead without issue by the time the Keys sink. May we all live in interesting times!
Cheyenne finds the heat enervating and even though it's not actually June her stamina has taken a hit. Which is actually good for me...a two hour walk cut in half gives me more time to futz around at home and this endless drought does require tIme spent with a watering can. However it is starting to be Spring around here too which means green leaves are sprouting and fruit are starting to appear. Check out these papaya:
It's hard to imagine parts of the country are under snow and blizzards are closing roads everywhere.
Road closures under snow sound dramatic but the big news around here continues to be parking. There has been grumbling about people "saving" parking spaces in front of their homes by putting trash cans and garden furniture in the street. The fact is street spaces are available for anyone, with residential spots for Florida license plates labeled "Monroe" or anyone who buys a parking permit at city hall. Handicapped spots are for anyone with a placard whether or not the space is In front of someone's home. However all these rules don't cut much ice with homeowners in Old Town who get fed up with having to walk from more or less distant parking spots...
However private spaces in front of condos is another matter altogether. Park here and get towed. You have been warned. Stumbling past the Hemingway House on Olivia Street Cheyenne startled a street feline. The cat took up the usual fear-filled pose while my dog ignored it completely.
Plans are moving forward to transform this scrubby open space into parkland with winding paths, parking lots, games, an amphitheater and so forth. I shall miss this pointless scrubby space after it is paved over and made suburban. There is something magnificently wasteful about unused land on the waterfront in such a small crowded town.
you'd think the Froggies would have the good manners to be up and gone before the sun came up. Not a bit of it.
Someone mistook a bicycle rack for a helmet rack; I wonder what the story was that landed this vital piece of snowbird cycling equipment here?
I got a comment from a snowbird the other day that had me pondering. They wanted Key West to produce a restaurant identical to that which they have "at home." Why then I ask myself do people come to Key West for a few weeks out of the year? It's nothing but the weather is it? Look at them...flocking like geese. Wild men, helmetless and hydration free.
I'm no good at that group bonhomie of riding around clustered to the exclusion of all around and talking loudly. Me and my dog went off to inspect a rare and unusual sighting in Key West: a public bench. Cheyenne was delighted by it with the discovery of delicious god knows what.
There are opportunities for self improvement too. Key West is hopeless in the recycling stakes and environmental stewardship. It's been an immense struggle to get started talking about installing sewers in the Keys. To its credit Key West did it a decade ago with a state of the art sewage treatment plant on Fleming Key, but recycling is a barely understood mystery in this town. Pass a recycling bin and see it filled with food and trash... The concept of setting aside fishing quotas to preserve fish stocks is akin to communism and unlike more enlightened communities in environmental critical zones the Keys remain a playground without consequences. Any idea of preserving now for future benefit is beyond the capacity of our short sighted little town sitting on top of a dying reef. We're all guilty.
The good news is chocolate is available and cheap.
It aggravates me half to death when the stores urge my neighbors to waste money before the holiday then mock them with seventy five percent sales after the holiday. Consumerism is mockery. Tell that to our endangered reef.
I need to walk more and think less on my days off.
Monday, February 25, 2013
This sight will no longer be seen in Key West, these vast great duck tours are gone, thanks to the Navy closing their access to the sea. The tours through the city to Truman Waterfront and around the harbor in these huge amphibious vehicles ended yesterday by force of military circumstances.
Perhaps not forever, as Historic Tours of America promise to set up a new base for these machines on Trumbo Road where they hope to be able to launch them one day in the future. How or if that will work out remains to be seen.
Meanwhile the newspaper reports the city is also concerned that at the termination of their contract with the Navy for the city's use of the Navy Pier, that facility might also revert to solely military use. Were that to happen the city would lose huge sums in port fees from loss of cruise ship business. I doubt the Navy will close the Outer Mole to civilian use because the economic devastation would be real, but I have no doubt many opponents of cruise ship expansion would be delighted.
I'm happy enough the ducks will be gone, hopefully for a very very long time, even forever, as they are too large and crass for Old Town streets.
I think Key West is on the verge of selling out to cruise ships with plans to widen the harbor channel, a little entropy there might be good. It doesn't seem healthy to seek to accommodate ever bigger ships in this small town.
Speaking of small towns...The owner of the duck tours took the Navy to task a couple of weekends ago in the newspaper, accusing them of failing to live up to their agreements with the city. The visible reaction from the Navy was a loud snore.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
My wife and I have a family disagreement over which we have at a certain point in the last decade reached some sort of compromise. An uneasy truce perhaps, and it's on the subject of Mexican food. Happily Lupita's has ridden into town and saved the day, so perhaps our California-Mexican period of deprivation is over at last.
My wife grew in Palo Alto California, south of the great city of San Francisco. Palo Alto ("tall tree" in Spanish) is home to Stanford University where her parents worked and where she learned to appreciate proper Mexican food. I spent my misguided youth in Santa Cruz California where I tried to learn to be an adult and part of that education was coming to terms with "ethnic" food. My childhood in Italy did not prepare me for the ethnic cuisine of a California University town. I never did grasp the concept of eating raw fish, but I had no problems scarfing rice and beans and assorted sauces and meats in the Mexican style.
The rice was perfect on both our dishes, properly cooked yet each grain was separate and distinct. The beans were exactly as they should be, cooked through and soft but distinct in that distinctive refried sauce. I even enjoyed the crisp cool lettuce properly shredded on its own corner of the plate. My wife ordered chicken molé the tart rich savory chocolate sauce and she was delighted to discover the meat was already off the bone, which is unusual but welcome.
We got our tortillas wrapped in foil inside the holder and I was figuring this might be the only place in Key West that offers these traditional serving dishes:
I forget the final bill but it was not high and the value for money was first class, and I want to go back as soon as possible and try out a few more dishes, the tacos the burritos (not a true Mexican dish but de rigeur in any self respecting Mexican restaurant north of the Rio Bravo) and my favorite: pork in chile verde.
Lupita's is easy to find across Bertha Street opposite the bilious landmark that is Shanna Key the Irish pub on the corner of Flagler. Its well worth a visit.