Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cow Key Channel North

My wife was busy in town and with an hour to myself I went one place I want to go with my camera every time I come into town.  I look out to the water north of Key West, with no opportunity to stop  and wish I could pull over and take a few pictures. So on this occasion I drove over to the welcome center, parked in the lot there and  walked back to the seawall, via the crosswalk which is a work in progress and is no way safe! As  a pedestrian I worry that what happened to me once, getting rear ended, will happen to one of the cars that courteously stopped for me...but all was well. I made it intact to the promised land.
If you look past the boat parking lot with the wrecks which my friend Rick in Santa Cruz calls "hovel craft" there is a stretch of gorgeous open water to the isolated mangrove islands in the flats to the north. 
Some of the boats are occupied like the one below,  which I only realized when I downloaded the picture and noticed the swimmer. Boats at anchor pay no rent and are therefore cheap housing ina  city that desperately needs it. 
However it offends the soul of a sailor in some respects to see boats  treated as mere cheap apartments. One would like to see the floating hovels kept smartly with sails furled and bird droppings washed off but usually they rot gently at their anchors.
And fiberglass doesn't rot, it will be around forever. From time to time there is a push to remove abandoned boats but the expense is damnable. The tow companies will drag them ashore, load them onto trucks and haul them to the dump after the hulls are broken up but the equipment and labor required to do the work is massively expensive and the landfills charge good money to dispose of all those square feet of relatively heavy boat parts. The worst of it is that there is an endless supply of abandoned boats waiting to take the place of those removed. How much do you want your taxes increased to clear them all out? It's a problem to which no one has found the answer.
Aside from the mechanics and cost there are also the legalities. Officials have to try to discover the owners names and then contact them to warn them that their "property" faces what amounts to confiscation by the state. While you or I might agree the fiberglass hulls are nothing more than eye sores no one wants to encourage the notion that private property is up for grabs simply because the neighbors are mad about it cluttering up the view. Due process is also expensive and time consuming. 
So there it is, a lifestyle, a  way to live, freedom, and bloody nuisance all rolled into one. And bear in  mind I like many others in this county, came here by boat and lived aboard. I did not however leave my boat to rot on it's anchor. I think the person I sold it to did that.  
And then when you live on a  boat you have to come ashore and therefore you need an accessible dinghy landing. 
You can circumnavigate the island on a jet ski tour if you feel like it and for those that don't you can enjoy watching them, and listening to them, while you are on land:
I liked this picture below which appears to make them tied at the stern. In face the standing jet skier was the guide passing by the red jacketed client heading out for open water, Stock Island is in the distance.
Last minute instructions and off they go. I'm going to have to do it one time before I die. I've never ridden a jet ski but I owe it to myself to try one more new experience, I think. The peanut gallery of disapproval will be ignored.
Mangroves lining North Roosevelt Boulevard while on the horizon you can see the brown block of the "Stock Island Hilton" the local nickname  for the county jail.
Let me close out this brief look at the anchored boats north of Key West with a view to the Gulf of Mexico in the distance.  Lovely isn't  it? 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Morning Walk

A typical walk first thing in the morning after I get home from night shift. Not yet seven o'clock but already starting to feel he heat, humidity and mosquitoes as there wasn't a whisper of a breeze.
 Reflections in the pools left behind by the previous day's thunderstorms, typical summer weather.

 An unaware Rusty quickly pulled off into the bushes for the man pedaling hard with his bottom in the air.
An uncouth type playing loud music and emanating  grim determination. The second guy along in spandex was much less hard core, cycling hard but with a pleasant good morning to the imbecile and his dog.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Francisco Goya

The Dali Museum in St Petersburg has for a while now been offering alternative surrealist views of the world by offering exhibits of other artists with similar ideals and visions. The latest is the Spanish painter known to the world as Goya.
 "Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) is one of the most important Spanish artists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, celebrated for his revolutionary paintings, drawings and engravings. Goya’s life and works deeply influenced Salvador Dalí in his early years, and are considered by many scholars to be the basis for “modern” art, bridging Classicism and Romanticism. Before Dalí: Goya – Visions & Inventions, sponsored by Tampa International Airport features two alternating suites of first-edition prints, published in Goya’s lifetime, alongside three significant paintings representing unique themes of Goya’s works. The works are on loan from the Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX, home of one of the most substantial collections of Goya."
The exhibit was laid out in three rooms, with a huge number of small sketches called Caprichios of which Goya  sketched 80 in his lifetime. He had to withdraw them at one point as apparently the Inquisition took a  turn against them. And you can see these drawings are incredibly modern in the context of an 18th century artist.
Goya drew pictures of people acting stupid, acting lustfully, acting scurrilously and the images are completely understandable by a modern audience.
You who can't is above and the beautiful teacher is below. Make of them what you will.
They flew, below put me in mind of drug smugglers carrying their marijuana bales though I doubt that was the original intent.
The pity of the exhibit was that there were but two paintings, a portrait of a courtier and a still life of dead ducks. Apparently Goya liked to hunt and these, his victims were a celebration of the sport.  
May God forgive her, and it was her mother he wrote of the Caprice below commenting on the lack of generosity by the young woman.
Goya was a complicated man as evidenced by his Wikipedia biography and he was not inclined to hold back:
"Goya was appointed court painter to Charles IV in 1789. The following year he became First Court Painter, with a salary of 50,000 reales and an allowance of 500  ducats for a coach. He painted portraits of the king and the queen, and the Spanish Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy and many other nobles. These portraits are notable for their disinclination to flatter; his Charles the Fouth of Spain and His Family is an especially brutal assessment of a royal family. 
Modern interpreters view the portrait as satirical; it is thought to reveal the corruption behind the rule of Charles IV. Under his reign his wife Louisa was thought to have had the real power, and thus Goya placed her at the center of the group portrait. From the back left of the painting one can see the artist himself looking out at the viewer, and the painting behind the family depicts Lot and his daughters, thus once again echoing the underlying message of corruption and decay."
They were fleeced is the above sketch, while the title below is Hush.
And below the suitor and the object of his affection is Who is most repulsed? It takes a second to understand the double meaning. 
Hunting for teeth below refers to the woman stealing valuable teeth from the executed prisoner left on public display to encourage everyone to behave. As repulsed as she is the teeth must be worth a lot to her.
Goya himself looked o be such a straight man, dare one say normal, not at all like Dali who dressed himself up to look spectacular. I enjoyed the exhibit and honestly I wanted more.