Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yay Obamacare!

I grew up with single payer healthcare and for all it's short comings I prefer the individual freedom from fear that single payer offers. That single payer is the most cost effective system to deliver health care to the people is just the cherry. But the health care patch work system the President has been pushing is at least something. 30 million Americans gain access to insurance, insurance companies get a pool of healthy people to cover to spread costs, the capitalist way, and people like my wife with pre-existing conditions don't have to live in fear of refusal.

For the reactionary fuckwits who call it Obamacare derisively and take a "principled" stand against mandatory insurance, like auto insurance for instance, I say please do opt out and take your bankruptcy on the chin when you need medical help. I'm opting in.

I've been pretty down on the hope and change offered by President Obama, but this is one small victory for we the 99 percent. How odd it feels.

Mile Zero

I saw a gaggle of scooter renters gathered behind the famous mile marker.





In my grumpier moods I loathe how people treat the streets of Key West as a playground, where riding a scooter is a Disney ride, but really who can blame them? It's their vacation.




They do love the sign don't they? Everyone wants a picture of mile zero in their vacation folder.



Oh and as part of the whole experience here comes the horse.





Actually I saw the mounted patrol pull over a group of tourists in an electric car driving badly, Disney style on the streets of our fair city. Reality bites sometimes, even in Paradise.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bight Boats

The statue is supposed to represent the man who encouraged the commercialization of the fishing port called Key West Bight. I caught him looking longingly at a boat preparing to put to sea.


I would be no good as a charter fishing captain. I don't know how to chase fish but I am not too bad at sitting around waiting for something to happen.


This place is always busy with people out seeking controlled adventures on and under the water.


Unless they are at work, like Key West's finest patrolling the harbor.


Some visitors like to enjoy the tropical waters udder sail:


Some boaters look lime they live at anchor.


Others enjoy a special treat as graduation looms:


More workmanlike competence:


Some amateurish puzzlement:


And here they are again, circling and heading out this time, far from their class room.


Boating with a dog is hard work, I remember it well.


They look like they are having fun. Good for them.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Parrotdise Is Gone

The rumor mill is spreading like wildfire and saying this cheerful restaurant on Little Torch Key has been repossessed by the bank. Not so said an employee saying the restaurant was closed Tuesday night for a private party. I like the place and hope the rumors are crap, but that happy outcome seems less and less likely.

Parrotdise Essay

I was advised this evening that employees were only told Tuesday morning that the restaurant was done. No one seems to know, or isn't telling, what went wrong with this popular restaurant's accounts. Blame the workers as usual, I suppose, never management!

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Snapper Creek Rest Area Florida's Turnpike

Every fifty miles or so they have these rest areas on the turnpike across the middle of the state.


Snapper Creek is at Mile 19 which is nineteen miles north of Florida City, the southern terminus of the pay route. Until now it had been a crappy place to stop and stretch your dog's legs.


But they have refurbished the place and, bless their hearts, they have included a fabulous little dog park.


It's securely fenced and nicely equipped:


Cheyenne approved.


Press the button and fresh cool water bubbles up. Nice!


They have other facilities here, besides reasonably priced gas and an inconvenience store.


I like the dog park.


It was hot and the freshly planted saplings threw very little shade but Cheyenne likes to smell where other dogs have been.


She rooted around for a while.


I marveled at the thoughtfulness of whoever decided to offer this space for the dogs in this narrow and most urban of rest areas.


I know that in rural areas some rest areas encompass acres with massive dog walk areas but for a place that used to offer nothing at all this is a massive improvement. Great stuff.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Meadows Of Dan

Heading back to Florida from Roanoke I determined to see the Meadows of Dan, a much admired destination for people taking a day trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway.




The parkway is quite lovely in the Spring, green winding and easy on the eyes.




The parkway rises at Mile Zero in Virginia near the Shenandoah park and they mark the miles with discreet little cement markers.



At first sight the Meadows of Dan don't look like much:





And close up it's not exactly scenic. The name of this little wide spot sounds Biblical but in fact Dan is a river that runs through these meadows. During the Revolutionary war Continental soldiers retreating from the British skipped across the river and made good their escape near here, confirming General Nathaniel Greene's tactical brilliance. I have no doubt the river was named for the fifth son of Jacob founder of the tribe of the same name though I don't actually know that for sure but it seems likely as the Bible is a source for many rural American names.




There is a restaurant and a convenience store packed with stuff and overseen by a cheerful woman who treats y'all like we were family as we stood in line shuffling from foot to foot desperate to pay and get on the road.




Motorcycles rumble through here as the eatery has a reputation but I was just here for a couple of sodas and a tank of gas, a liquid far cheaper than anything I've seen in Florida.




Further along the parkway Cheyenne and I had packed a dinner and we found one of the rare picnic areas on the parkway at this attractively named location, Groundhog Hill:



I missed my Bonneville, though I love my furry traveling companion!





Better than pulling over and going in the bushes. Technically parking on grass is illegal along the parkway but the road is criss-crossed by accessible side streets if you do get taken short far from public restrooms.



The picnic table was isolated away from the road and we had a quiet half hour off the grid.




By the time the sun went down we were southbound on I 77 in the Carolinas.




Leaving behind these green fields...




...and farms and villages.




She settled in for the night...




...and soon the car filled with the rumble of her snores.




Next morning we found salt water.




And we were home and ready for a night at work back in the fabulous Florida Keys.

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