Friday, May 30, 2008

shell shock

A Conch (pronounced KONK) is a marine mollusk that used to be common in the Keys but after decades of commercial harvesting their population has plummeted to the point that it is now against the law to grab one. Conchs are good eatin' and most restaurants here turn the critters into fritters or a mighty rad gumbo. But because they can't be harvested locally, the Conchs, and these shells they used to live in, are imported from the Bahamas.

The Conch shells are a great souvenir if you've got a nine year old nephew up north because they're pretty big and easy on the eyes. But the best part is, if you nip off a bit of the pointed end, you can blow a Conch shell like a bugle. Noise too!
How cool is that?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

forms of expression

. . .spirited, animated, bold, upbeat, vibrant, aggressive, dynamic, irrepressible, excited, enthusiastic, lighthearted, vigorous, striking, passionate & full of life.

. . .soft, subdued, warm, sensitive, gentle, pastel, penetrating, introspective, thoughtful, tender, understated, easy-going, retrained, passionate & full of life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

everyone's gone to the movies

A place to see and be seen after dinner on a Saturday night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

memorial day - VIDEO

"Memorial Day" started out, way back in 1866, as "Decoration Day", to honor Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. It seems that the more genteel Confederate states had been honoring their own deceased defenders for years and, not to ever be outdone, the Federal government in Washington set aside a day for their dutiful dead as well.
Now don't read me wrong, I would never and have never disrespected anyone's offering the ultimate sacrifice of their own life, whether or not I agree with the politics that forced them into that dificult position of offering it. As it turned out, it wasn't in my karmic cards to serve in the military, the lottery for Viet Nam expired a few days before they got to my number. But, for a handful of friends from high school who didn't live to have grandchildren and for the dozen friends I have now whose survival of that time is severely maimed by government indifference, I have nothing but respect.
Out of respect, I stopped by the "Historic" Key West Cemetery to catch a bit of the Memorial Day services there. The cemetery hosts a monument and sectioned off resting place for the crewmen of the USS Maine that exploded and sank off the coast of Cuba on Feb. 15, 1898. That event justified the American government's declaration of the Spanish-American War.
I got to thinking, it's the same model. . .
The sinking of the Maine was 1898's "9-11". It doesn't matter who did what or why, it was a great pretext for imperialist war. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were the Rupert Murdoch of the day and were beating the battle drums for all they were worth. Then the next thing you know, Cuba and the Philippines are American territories, William McKinley takes a bullet and Teddy Roosevelt is digging a canal though Panama and masturbating the "Great White Fleet" for all the world to see.
It's the same stuff on a different day, 110 years later. . .
We honor the sacrifice of our fallen brothers and sisters but never remind ourselves that each war, was supposed to have been the last war.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

mallory square

Mallory Square is the place where all the pilgrims go to watch the sunset every evening. Mostly it's a pier chock full of gift shops and kiosks where all those who are temporarily enamored with the mechanics of nature can buy a keepsake tchotchke that they can carry home and have to dust once a week.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

i'm only sleeping

A caring father leaves his young son's favorite toy where he will see it the moment he wakes up.

A loving Mother watches over her dreaming children until their next day dawns.

We all know what it's like to wake hours before dawn to get a drink of water.

. . .a word from our sponsor - VIDEO

click the arrow to start video. runtime, 1:26

Friday, May 23, 2008

got milk?

Coconuts are interesting things but, as with everything else in this world, the interest indulged in depends on a given point of view. From the point of view of coconut consciousness, you're a seed. Your job is to grow, ripen and fall from your tree to the soft sand below. With any luck wind and rain see to it you're fed and protected long enough to let you sprout and be re-born as another palm tree and the gene pool continues. From the point of view of humans living in tropical climates, coconuts are a nutritious form of sustenance. The nutritional values of coconut water, coconut meat and coconut milk all answer in direct proportion to the needs of the humans living under the searing heat of the tropical sun and coconut butter helps you get a wonderful tan. But from the point of view of an insurance salesman, coconuts are a liability. I have a friend who had a coconut palm in front of her house. One day a tourist walked past that tree at just the same moment that a coconut decided it was time to fall from it's lofty height to make a new tree. So, instead of landing on the soft sand, it landed on the tourist's head and my dear friend was promptly sued for medical costs and damages. Now, with as many coconut palms as we have on our little island, your chances of getting beaned by a falling coconut are pretty good and it's more a question of the unlucky individual's karma than a malicious intent. The insurance adjuster knew all that, but still declined to pay on the claim unless, out of her own pocket, my unfortunate friend removed the perpetrator palm from where it had been living happily for at least 20 years. So out came the chainsaw and down came the tree. The tourist went home a few thousand dollars richer and the insurance company raised my friend's homeowner rates. But, at the end of the day, the marketing slogan on the side of the tree service truck said it all. . . "We're making America safer, one tree at a time!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

nature's way

The Heliconia's cupped blossoms catch rain water and create little pools it can live on in dry times. The geckoes know about those pools and visit them when it's time for a drink.
Can you spot the little bugger?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Our lives swell out of the ether like waves from the ocean;

No two are alike and never last long, just a short taste of breath in a frenzy of motion.

With a roll and a crash, each makes an impression;

In the calm of surrender, each learns a new lesson.

Then a moment of peace and the quiet return to the One.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


No more calls, no more walls at the end of the day,
a mild breeze, a light chop and you're out on your way.
Their surveillance is useless out here on the sea;
and when they can't find you, that's liberty.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wooden fruit

Name a day on Duval Street and you'll find a street fair going on. The lady selling these, said I looked like "an apple kind of guy". "Yes, you're right!", I replied, "my computer is a Mac but, when it comes to something to eat, I'm partial to peaches". "Oh, you wouldn't want to eat these unless you were a termite." she answered.
"hmmm", I thought, "and unless I were a housekeeper, I wouldn't want to dust and polish these things once a week either". So I gave her a smile, took my picture and moved on to get a slice of pizza.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

solar halo

It was a typically warm, blue sky, sunny Key West afternoon when I headed out for lunch at 12:30 on Tuesday, April 29. A few blocks from my house I passed a guy standing in the middle of the street pointing his picture taking cell phone up at the sky and saying, "that's the weirdest thing I've ever seen!!"
When I looked up I saw what a lot of folks were seeing. The sun seemingly surrounded by a rainbow. Frantic not to miss the photo-op, I was off my bike with camera in hand taking pictures like Jimmy Olsen at a Superman sighting.
I'd never seen anything like this phenomenon before so naturally, being the inquisitive type, three questions came to mind. The first called to my spiritual nature, "what kind of Divine Mind could imagine such a thing?" The next challenged my artistic sensibilities, "Symmetry, color, contrast, depth and motion! What are the elements at play?" The third question screamed at the political junkie in me, "What's the government up to now?"

The next day I did a little homework and learned that my "Solar Halo" was a "Gloriole" or Icebow and although they're pretty common in colder climates, lie Minnesota, they are very rare over warmer south Florida. The phenomenon is cause by ice crystals behaving like faceted diamonds refracting and reflecting the sunlight. Armed with that new-found, phenomenal information I thought, "hmmm. . ." Ice crystals in the troposphere, 85 degrees on the ground where I was flat on my back taking these pictures. . . What were the odds?
I chalked it up as another in my long list of "magical Key West moments".

Monday, May 12, 2008

my tern

Sunday, May 11, 2008


After working through his philosophic mood and in need of genuine camaraderie, Artman went over by the lobster traps where all the buoys hang out.

sittin' pretty

Every once in a while, I get my head out of my day-to-day, smell the cornflowers, look around and remember where I'm sittin'.