Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ballot Box Barbarians

As is the way in Key West the least little thing gets people all worked up and ready to argue. This year as we start the run up to Fantasy Fest, which takes place at the end of October, the theme has got the peanut gallery riled up.
Political Voodoo & Ballot Box Barbarians
How could you use a political theme this year of all years? the fearful wring their hands piteously. Well, it is an election year, the weirdest of election years so it seems to me the theme meets all criteria. Weird behavior, weird party, weird voters, weird all round. Yet the negative nellies fear the "political theme" will set off festival goers. It's always something to complain about.
One of my preferred rants is against people who use nasty plastic hardware signs to adorn their expensive old Key West homes. Blue Heaven above did it right, as did the homeowner below with color coordinated signs: 
I thought the store window was just a tad hopeful so I should complain about that: "save the world" indeed!
And the menu on the  wall at Johnson's Grocery ("coldest beer in Key West") looked odd to me. Prices include taxes the notice says. But...there aren't any p;rices!
 Perhaps the menu needs refreshing as the prices, subject to change as they are, need to be restored. 
 Fantasy Fest is another expression of that state of mind expressed by the flag. From Wikimedia:

According to Claude D. Valdez, the designer of the Conch Republic flag, the flag's construction and intended symbolism are as follows:
"The Background is a rich blue (for the blue skies of Key West); in the center is a pink conch shell (natives) upon a yellow sun with a flaming corolla (the sun always shines in Key West). Two constellations of stars are also part of the make up. In the upper right-hand corner is the date 1828, when the city of Key West and Monroe County were incorporated, and the five stars of the constellation Cygnus, the swan, which is also called the Northern Cross. The Northern Cross was chosen because it is a well recognized sky guide, shining where the Milky Way splits into parallel streams. In the lower left-hand corner of the flag are four more stars: the constellation of the Southern Cross. It can be seen from Key West at certain times of the year and is located at 60° south; it is six degrees long and points to the South Pole. Because the cross as a symbol is used by may religions, both the Northern and Southern Crosses on the flag acknowledge thankfulness to our Maker for the many blessings bestowed upon this island."
 I liked this garden decoration...Got an old fence? An old flag? Use one on the other. Brilliant!
I have to confess that as the fund raising begins and the Fantasy Fest hullabaloo starts to impinge on local consciousness my own qualms about this week long event come to the surface. On the one hand it is rather pleasant to have a local festival that blocks out the rest of the world to some large degree, but on the other its not a gathering that brings out the best in people. To stand on the sidelines and watch has rather the same effect as being a helpless observer at a train wreck of local good taste.
Like so many things in overly expensive Key West, Fantasy Fest is no longer the venue, if it ever was, of young people and there is some reluctance one finds, to embrace the slackening of good taste by people old enough to know better. To see a 25 year old drunk and disorderly in provocative costume is to see the world as it turns; to see a Mid Western grandmother in the same predicament is to wonder what Fantasy Fest is really about. Yet one cannot avert one's eyes completely.
I was amused in the photo above to see a candidate seeking support from an abandoned house. Apparently Trish Docherty Gibson, she of the red signs, has wrapped up this corner of Bahama Village- her signs are everywhere. She is the successor chosen by outgoing Public Defender Rosemary Enright who is retiring after almost three decades, though another attorney in that office, a new arrival is challenging the succession.
I saw this elaborate though not apparently too effective bicycle chain lock, above, and wondered if it will be enough to keep Fantasy Fest inebriates out of the front yard.
I like the bright blue color of the public housing. If I were to live there I'd prefer central air, and after this summer who wouldn't? But the paint work looks good.