Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vespa Collection From Pinterest

I am not, if I'm honest, much of a social media fan. I have  a Facebook account on which I post nearly daily pictures. I did try Twitter which defeated me as it is to my way of thinking an advertising and promotional tool for business people. I find Twitter rather boring honestly. On the other hand Pinterest is starting to be a little more appealing to me. Perhaps because it is so visual. This first Vespa has been ridden to North Africa and this photo was an ad for the 4W solar panel attached to the front luggage rack. 
I find myself in a  country where scooters are viewed with disdain, an attitude I find to be extraordinary. I have read web posts where motorcyclists refuse to take off their helmets to avoid being identified with a fellow traveler on a scooter. I am astounded. I grew up riding anything with two wheels and an engine and to me the simple act of riding is pure pleasure. I don't care if I'm riding my Vespa, my wife's automatic or my motorcycle, to me anything is better than four wheels. I'm not sure I ever want to attach my Vespa to a sidecar like this one busy crossing the USA:
But a little 125cc job like this below would be fine.  I don't get the prejudice, if you are out riding that's what counts. Over the Memorial Day weekend I got caught in traffic with mainlanders who were freaked out by my 60 mph moped. They tried to cut me off, pull away or brake suddenly to get rear ended by me. I am an old hand so I just keep riding. Freaks.
This Vespa and trailer are being ridden around Australia by a motorcyclist who puts his dog on the platform behind the handlebars while he rides, towing their gear in the trailer. I don't suppose he does 60 mph but he's riding around hanging with riders of "real" motorcycles. It's  not the US so small wheels don't scare big bad motorcyclists.
I have read this guy's blog which is in Italian and here he is in Australia in the middle of his eight month journey around the world on a 1967 125cc boosted to 175cc for the trip. Europeans don't mind riding small machines. I like the adventure myself and I am starting to think my own 1979 Vespa is proving reliable enough for some touring, as much as work allows.
This English owned Vespa crossed Spain to Morocco and had a good time doing it, mostly. I think his basic maintenance could have been better does what one can with what one has. This Rally 200 looks great doing it:
An American!  A New England trip to Vermont from Boston to visit family by this member of the Modern Vespa community. He later moved to Northern California and took his P200 with him. No more road trips reported.
An Italian touring Vespa with fancy saddlebags and compact luggage. I don't like carrying gas on the floor boards as I like to set my feet crosswise especially when I am in the saddle all day. I like to use the luggage hook to carry supplies bought on the road, like a bag with dinner or lunch prior to a stop, or wet laundry or some other sudden need. The hook gives you a place to hang the unexpected impedimenta that lands in your lap on the road.
This unlikely traveler is an Indian built LML which I found to be horridly unreliable. This owner seems confident. Great stuff. Plus he has gas on the useful front rack and room for his feet to move around. The windshield will slow him down and these  bikes in my opinion aren't fast enough to warrant barn door protection to the properly dressed rider.
Another hopeful traveler with saddlebags and spare tires everywhere. He was starting a successful trip from South Africa to Dublin in company with several other identical Vespas.
Found this on Pinterest. Cool dude.
My fleet at home, my wife's not so modern anymore automatic 150cc, my Bonneville which goes too fast for the Keys (!) and my P200.
Have a good weekend, what's left of it.
New PODCAST in the morning!

Monochrome Night Walk

As observed on a walk around the cemetery on a midnight lunch break:

Key West  family wagon: a child carrier in front, a child bike behind...seen at Mangia Mangia.

Typical scenes of Key West sleeping, far from the bars. I sometimes forget these scenes and this peace is not typical in urban America. Too bad because it should be.
A technicolor pedicab on Windsor Lane to end the essay in shades of "real life."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Limin' At Higgs Beach

We were hanging out at Higgs Beach, the county park embedded in the south shore of the City.
Coast Camp, a summer of fun, the poster promised. I am interested to check out the artistic space on Stock Island before too long.
 On Facebook I quoted the lines from Macbeth to accompany this picture of a walking shadow:
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Salute, the Italian restaurant on the beach operated successfully by the owner of Blue heaven, not yet open for business:

 Summer thunderclouds building:
hanging out or chillin,even partying 

(a word frequently used by trinidadians)
(Eg) we were limin on the corner 

we were hanging out on the corner 

(eg) i was limin with some friends 

i was hanging out with some friends 

(eg) me an my friends went out to lime last night 

me an my friends went out to party last night 
by trini boy January 09, 2009 

That Urban Dictionary definition defines most of the car occupants staring at the beach with glazed eyes:

 The dog park, after all the dogs have left for the morning, just how Cheyenne likes it.
 She is as anti-social as I am.
Good dog.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cuba Inches Toward Change

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama recommended Tuesday that Cuba be removed from the U.S. government's list of state sponsors of terrorism. Long sought by the Cuban government, Obama's decision, expected for weeks now, will likely expedite plans to re-establish embassies in both Washington and Havana.
In a brief message to notify Congress of his recommendation, Obama explained his action was based on specific criteria that warranted Cuba's removal from the list.
"The government of Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding six-month period; and the government of Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future," the President said in the message.
Exploring Cuba's old world charm
Exploring Cuba's old world charm10:17
Obama's move drew criticism from Republican contenders in the 2016 presidential race.
"We're not a step closer to freedom in Cuba because of the steps the president is taking," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters after an event in Ohio.
But Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, said it's wise to remove Cuba because "that list ought to mean something," and that it could help diplomatic relations with Cuba.
"I know [Republicans] don't agree with me on this issue, but I think it was the right move to make and I'm glad the president did it," he said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
    Cuba was placed on the state sponsors of terrorism list in 1982 when Havana was busy supporting armed insurgencies in Latin America, during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
    Last December, Obama announced his intent to normalize relations with Cuba, insisting that previous U.S. efforts had failed to topple the governments of Fidel and Raul Castro through diplomatic isolation. Instead, the President argued a new approach of engagement was needed to ease tensions between Washington and Havana.
    Almost as soon as the new discussions began, however, Cuban officials complained their nation's placement on the list of state sponsors of terrorism was unfair and outdated.
    Last week, the State Department recommended to Obama that Cuba be removed from the list, concluding Havana was no longer a sponsor of terrorist activities abroad.
    "Circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism because of its efforts to promote armed revolution by forces in Latin America," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement on the President's decision.
    "Our Hemisphere, and the world, look very different today than they did 33 years ago," Kerry added.
    The most dramatic sign of the improved U.S.-Cuban relationship came last Saturday, whenObama and Raul Castro sat down for an hour long discussion on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was the first such meeting between U.S. and Cuban leaders since 1959.
    Congress has 45 days to pass a joint resolution blocking the President's decision. But a senior administration official said it was unlikely lawmakers would be able muster the votes needed to override a presidential veto.

    And from Al Jazeera this commentary on the Internet in Cuba. Interesting stuff (that would drive me crazy!):

    Rock Solid Key West

    The sun coming up on a few  Key West monuments. The San Carlos long a symbol of  the connection across the sea may get that status back one day. These days anything seems possible, even likely when it comes to Cuba.
    The Strand was once a theater, now its just a lovely facade with a banal chain pharmacy inside. Oh well. Nothing possible there.
    Fausto's  Food Palace is a survivor in a world of conformity. Still there. LINK
    Churches everywhere.
    Public laundries. Dog water water bowls too. Helpful institutions both.
    Flame trees burning orange to usher in summer.
    The pineapple a symboil of welcome in Key West, now framing a godawful cheap ugly plastic Bugger Off sign. Irony and bad taste rolled into one. Keep Key West ugly.
    Pineapples were a Keys export on the railroad. Nowadays tropical fruit is standard everywhere but once it was an expensive thing to eat, a luxury. This vehicle has a Key West business on an out of state tag, thus not paying road taxes in the Sunshine  state. Thanks, but not exactly one human family.
    Long shadows across what was once a  shrimp fleet harbor.
    The view from Alonzo's into what is now a recreational harbor:
    Institutions come and go and new ones take their place. A short memory helps.

    Thursday, May 28, 2015

    Bridge Sunrise

    The color of sunrise, the land shaded in black the sky still dark blue and the sun promising a rapid and permanent change to the landscape at West Summerland Key.

    The Old Bahia Honda Bridge is one of the more recognizable landmarks in the Lower Keys and yes, I still find it as photogenic as ever.

    So I thought to myself I wonder what the textures would look like in monochrome (black and white).

    I really like the "noir" setting on the iPhone camera as it gives sharp definition that suits the bright natural light of the sub tropics. Here the weathered chalk looked to my eyes like a lunar landscape.

    Even the mildest of cloud formations over the old pump house get a wildly mysterious and ghostly cast:

    The scene looks banal and pretty in color. 

    In black and white and even with Cheyenne, you'd have expect Orson Welles to come stumping into the scene. Which reminds me. its time to order the The Third Man disc  from Netflix.
    Great scenery standing on the shore.

    A good walk.