Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lanes

I'm not sure how but I was in Bahama Village on a lovely winter afternoon and I was alone.
 It was cool and breezy for me though I heard some tourists complain of the heat. 
 No sidewalks not much room for large cars, conversations floating off porches.
 I'm not alone!

 Rusty liked it too.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

616 Eaton Street

I would never have believed it possible but the Key West Citizen is reporting that plans to convert an old mansion on Eaton Street into a 6700 square foot modern palace have been pushed back by sheer force of protest. This is how the property looked for the longest time before it was sold for $1.8 million according to the newspaper:
The old owners were apparently horrified when the new owners suddenly submitted plans not only for the restoration of the mansion which has been completed as  shown below, but also to turn the large city lot into a vast "family compound" in a modern style. How they got the city's Historic Architecture Review Commission to approve the carbuncle needs to be investigated, as do several other HARC bungles but in the event neighbors did what city officials could not do and they stopped it dead.
It seems the new owners have given up and are selling the restored building and lot back to the original owners and all will return to normal on this part of Eaton Street. Luckily I suppose the house is being traded between people with enough money to bandy the cash around at will. Below I have included an illustration published last year in the Citizen showing the plans for the giant compound to be built in the back over the protests of the neighbors:

I should never have believed their success in stopping this awful plan could have been possible but protest does work apparently even in Key West. This is the town where the dice sometimes seems loaded against good taste and common sense. Why the city hasn't hired a new commission of people to oversee preservation of Old Town Key West I don't know. I think the largest historic wooden home neighborhood in the US deserves better protectors than the bozos currently occupying that position. There are enough ugly glass and cement buildings springing up around Old Town to prove my point. This hatchet job was prevented by good citizen neighbors not HARC.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Cock Fighting

You walk around Key West, you see chickens in the wild. Their story isn't very well documented but the myth says they came over with Cuban refugees who used them for cock fighting back home. Which makes no sense as  they wouldn't have brought chickens as well, you only fight roosters.
Anyway the chickens are on the streets and the tourists love them. I'm not that fond of the chickens actually as they are noisy  and  messy kicking gravel over the sidewalks...But they are harmless and do their bit for the city.  
Then you see small boys chasing them. They chased the rooster over and under the tables of a nearby restaurant(!), they hunted the rooster here and there. They do this on Stock Island too and people fight them in illegal rings. Cock fights have been outlawed in Florida for a while but they still happen. And someone has to supply the talent. Enter fast small boys on the street looking for pocket money:
The rooster's empty pointless life on the streets is over. No crime here, just a kid with a pet bird...
The conversation was about fighting the newly caught bird with the dude limin' behind his fence.  
My anger spilled out when I stopped the kid and asked him what did he plan to do with the bird and he ignored me. Why shouldn't he, it's none of my business as I wander his community. So how much of this is gross abuse and how much is culturally entrenched customs that ought to be respected? Beats me, Is it worse than dog fighting..? Depends how you feel about chickens and dogs I suppose. Had I slapped the kid and deprived him of his pocket money for a day I would have been at fault. The street chickens are cute maybe, but they don't bring out the best in us.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Play Group

A funny thing happened to me this winter, Rusty found a play group. Two old white guys, like me but older happened to be at the water's edge with their dogs and Rusty had so much fun playing I went back.
 I lie. I went back because the two old white farts, like me a bit, made me laugh. And think. I discovered they weren't annoying but they were interesting. 
We talk politics though they are harder to label than am I (a Sanders Democrat), they are sort of libertarian no party affiliation, socially liberal free thinking common sense rough and tough retirees.
Rusty plays with Sam the chocolate Labrador, whenever Sam isn't chewing on seaweed or sticks, and he runs from Lucas the fat, speedy Dalmatian who lives with Rich, the less hard of hearing of the two (in the black shorts). Brian is from Kentucky and he is the funniest driest commentator on the human condition you ever heard.
I tell myself I take Rusty to the beach so he can play and splash and get socialized like any happy dog.
The truth is, its as much for me as it is for him. We talk about the state of the world, their travels as they plan their return trips to Kentucky and Connecticut, their insomnia, their retirement activities, Trump, riding motorcycles and fishing.  It is the best way to unwind after a night of 911. I go once a week at least...for Rusty.
It's all coming to an end and I don't know how to break it to Rusty.
 At least I'll still have my camera.
 How do I break it to Rusty?
Winter is coming to an end and in a couple of weeks they will be gone. I am truly bummed; I surprise myself.
Now we have a reason to look forward to next winter.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Summer In Winter

The seasons everywhere are going haywire thanks to that Chinese hoax called climate change. Or not, perhaps a snow-free winter will be the norm just because in the decades to come. Perhaps California will go from drought to flood and back again like a meteorological yo-yo, just because...Don here in the Keys the weather has gone weird. We are coming into Spring and we had but a couple of nights with temperatures below 60 American degrees or 15 Canadian. That is the new normal.
And then the rain comes and goes at random just like it was summer. Walking back to the car from Sugarloaf Creek, almost two miles of dirt road it started to rain and I wondered if I was going to get wet. Rusty didn't seem to mind and honestly I wouldn't have minded so much as it was a hot humid morning and rain might have cleared the air...But it stopped as soon as it started. Typical summer weather nonsense.
 Rusty is the one with the brown fur, I'm the one going gray,.
 I told you it was a hot morning and this was taken around 8 o'clock:
 A sea grape leaf. I was bored while Rusty paused so I was playing with macro functions on my Lumix  camera.
 Yes, it has been raining at random, we even had summer thunderstorms that night. It's not normal I tell you. Perhaps the Chinese aren't running a hoax but the real thing?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Wheels of Commerce

Rusty was ambling with his nose down and I was looking around through the eye of my camera lense, a  habit which makes me focus on the details I otherwise wouldn't notice. I saw the scooters parked under the thatch palms and without my noticing the telephoning cyclist hove into view. I see it all the time: people on bikes and scooters (and skateboards too!) with a phone glued to their ear, or shouting into an earbud microphone...All things are critically important for those of us equipped with a  portable electric telephone.
 And then there are those moments of introspection when we present a blank face to the world as we ponder, and finish a Cuban sandwich. I kept Rusty on a  short leash because, even though he isn't very food driven he won't ignore low hanging fruit, especially in the form of a proffered Cuban sandwich from Five Brothers. The owner of the food woke up suddenly and withdrew his hand as my furry predator got closer.
Limin'  - a Caribbean term denoting hanging out and chatting and accomplishing nothing more. He was buried in his paper behind his bare feet, something I doubt he would do in his suburb Up North, while the dog was far from limin's and looked ready to challenge Rusty on a  mere pretext but my boy ignored him as you do bullies.
I laughed when I saw the prim and crisp representation of a modern chef caught between the stacks of just-in-time supplies from mainland warehouses. Rusty paused long enough for me to compose the picture before we were off again.  
Some lime, some wheel boxes of food under the winter sun, some turn bicycles into offices. And the wheels go round.