Tuesday, June 29, 2010

another key west sculpture garden

Turn any corner in Key West and you're very likely to "stumble upon" outdoor sculpture.

Whether they're entries for "Art In Public Places" or "Sculpture Key West" or privately held collections like "Nancy's Secret Garden" or these pictured here at
"The Gardens Hotel".

I found my way to the Gardens Hotel a little over a week ago to cover a political rally.
After spending a couple of hours covering the event, hobnobbing with any number of politicos, pundits and the like, my attention shifted and, as is my way, I wandered off.

I found myself in the quiet and secluded luxury of the Gardens' garden and under the tropical canopy, in and among the ground greenery, I found yet another Keys eclectic collection of sculpture.
(Well why not? Like I said at the start, turn any corner
in Key West. . .)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

blog interviewer

A kind of cool thing happened at Key West the Blog the other day. A comment was posted to my June 9th entry, "A creative day to be born", from Mike Thomas. . .
"Your blog has been recommended to us as an interviewee's favorite blog! We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for Blog Interviewer. We'd like to give you the opportunity to give us some insight on the person behind the blog."

I didn't know a Mike Thomas so my first thought was that it was more than likely just another spam scam like those viagra and work at home schemes or meet and marry Russian women so, I didn't give it any more thought. But then a few days later I got curious. I know Key West the Blog has gratefully grown a very healthy following during it's 2 plus years of being and that it gets anywhere from 500 to 1000 visits a day; not exactly Huffington Post volume but maybe enough to be noticed.

Anyway, long story short, I checked him out, it seemed on the level and I allowed the interview.

You can, if you care to, read it at Blog Interviewer.

It's been a few days now and happily I still don't use viagra, no one's calling to teach me to work at home (which I do already anyway) and no single Russian women have come to the door. (which, on second thought, wouldn't be all bad)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

hot as sun, addendum

As felines go, my girl Max is pretty smart.
She's had an indoor/outdoor, as she pleases, lifestyle since we've lived in Key West but she knows where the eats are so she always stays close.

When we lived over on William, I kept a bedroom window propped open for her so she could ingress and egress but when we moved over here to Ashe, where we have jalousie windows, propping a window wasn't do-able. So instead, I designed a way to rig the front door so she could get in or out at will. It took her maybe 15 minutes, but she did figure out how to open the door from either side.
(I thought that was pretty cool)

Anyway, for the past few months as our weather's warmed up, she's been spending most of her time out on our porch where the tile flooring is (or must be) cooler and comfortable for her.
But in the past handful of days, as our weather's gotten hot and sticky, she's figured out that the A/C is on in the art studio. So at just about 2pm she'll break from her sleeping and preening out on the porch, open the door from the outside, come in, go back to the studio and continue her sleeping and preening under my drawing table. And there she'll stay, cool and comfy, until about 8pm, when things are cooling off. Then she'll open the door from the inside and assume her position back out on the porch. I just love watching her figure stuff out.

By the way, when it's January/February she's smart enough to get under the covers at the foot of the bed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

hot as sun

It's hot as sun out there these last few days.

Surely it's summer in the Southernmost City.
89, 90, 91 degrees; but the weather girl says the heat index is makes it feel like 105 (yeah, I'll buy that).
At least it rained a little yesterday and cooled things off a bit, but today, not so much.

I'm not complaining, mostly I like the feel of the heat and I know the drill; air condition the bedroom, take three or four cold showers a day, wear as few clothes as humanly possible and, of course, keep the ceiling fans going 24/7.

After that, move like a Mexican. . . very slowly.

I've been to Mexico a few times and learned that when it comes to dealing with summer swelter, they are very wise people.
Work from dawn to one, siesta through the heat of the sun
and party from dusk 'til the new day's begun.
No push, no pressure, no problem.

And I'm pretty sure it's the heat that slows the pace of our island lifestyle down here in Key West.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

southernmost weekend

This is that time on a Saturday or Sunday. . .
To late to be mid-afternoon, to soon to be sunset.
The time when you tell yourself, "that's enough beach for today" and, while you're rolling up the beach towel, ask yourself , " What's for dinner"
or "who's playing at the Parrot tonight?"

The relaxed ride home is long enough to drift
in your sun-baked head. Time enough to think about parents, kids, the girl you just met at the concession stand;
What the hell was her name?
To think about the things you got done during the week,
the things you didn't get done and wonder whether or not any of it really matters.

You know you'll be home in time for Garrison Keillor on NPR and the news from Lake Wobegone will carry you back to that warm fuzzy place where an old girlfriend lives in the back of your mind. What if, what if?

Familiar thoughts, familiar feelings; A kind of comfort zone.
No, maybe not today.

Maybe better to stop along the way for a couple of cold ones at Willie T's with the handful of friends you know you'll see there; Dennis, Byron, Maureen and Miles, Faith and Fred. It's been another perfect weekend in the Southernmost City.
Why not celebrate it?

New things to do tomorrow but no need to worry about that now. Just travel from the beach to the bar, to home, a shower and some eats.
Then maybe later, to the Parrot to meet that new chick.
God, what the hell was her name?

Friday, June 18, 2010

pridefest, key west & other odd bits

I think what I want to do today is ramble on about this and that from no particular point or perspective.

Where are we now with the oil clusterf#*k in the Gulf?
60 godamned days and all we get is more adolescent irresponsible political theatre. Between that mess, the bankrupt economy and their endless pointless Afghan war, it's no wonder I walk around with one of the angriest songs I know, Bruce Cockburn's "If I had a rocket launcher" ringing in my ears.

Twice a year, once at New Year's and again at this time of year - when my chronology grows a year older, I take a little time to unravel any unsettled issues I might have knotted up in my head. They're not usually big ticket issues, my life in paradise is pretty simple, but I know me and, if I don't take stock, life's bullshit becomes baggage I'm not interested in carrying.

This summer's issues have included, reclaiming whatever might be left of my mind after a year of my body being not quite right, accepting the loss of a loved one, welcoming the warmth of another lover and replacing the microwave.
Like I said, small stuff but life stuff.

Most of you know I'm a history junkie. I haven't mentioned it before, but last year I subscribed to History.com and what that gets me is a daily e-mail to tell me what happened on this or that particular day in history. For me, it's a cool thing and maybe you'll like it too. Here's a link. . .
By the way, on this day in history, President James Madison signed a declaration of war against Great Britain and the war of 1812 began. On this day in 1815, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and in 1967, Jimi Hendrix rocked the Monterey Pop Festival.

If you haven't already had a chance, take a look at Google Earth. Christ it's cool!! Interactive satellite pictures of almost everywhere on this blue marble of a planet. You can find your house or explore places on the planet you've never been. It's even got a flight simulator feature. It is really very cool.

You all know (or ought to) that I've always got a book going. Last week was Jack Finney and the week before that, Isaac Asimov. This week, it's "The Audacity of Hope, thoughts on reclaiming the American dream", Barack Obama's second book. You can say what you like about the guy's politics and presidency, hell - day to day I don't know what to make of them but, damn the dude can write. At 300 plus pages it's an engaging, easy read and he makes good points.

Early this morning, while I was settling in for meditation, I heard Maxine (you remember Max the cat) scrambling around the living room. She's always been an energetic soul but it was a little weird because she knows the pattern and when I sit to meditate, she normally gets quiet and sits with me. So I got up to see what was up and it turned out, she'd found herself a frog/toad and was chasing it around the house.

Well I figured the terrified little critter didn't really want to be in the house in the first place and I committed myself to help it find a way out. The trouble was, to escape feline fangs, it had stuck itself 9 feet up on my 12 foot walls, (higher than Max can jump or I can reach). So it became a something of a project. I dragged out the step stool, reached up to grab the critter and of course it didn't want to be grabbed and jumped what I guessed was three feet to another seemingly safe place.

I was impressed! I never imagined they had that kind of range. Well I moved the stool, tried again and he jumped again and I moved the stool, tried again and he jumped again and I moved the stool, tried again and he jumped again. . . You get the idea.
All that went on for the better part of an hour before I actually got my hand around the little guy.

Climbing down off the step stool, frog in hand, I learned a couple of things. First, the little pecker was stronger than I'd imagined, I really had to hold on and hoped I wasn't breaking anything. Second, when he knew he was had, in the palm of my hand he just surrendered. No fear, no ego, no struggle. He looked at me like "o.k. human, you've caught my sorry ass, what's next?"

Now I knew that all I wanted to do was release the poor bugger back into nature. But for all he knew, I could've been a French chef looking for legs or a guy like Joe Cartoon, ready to put him in the blender.
In the end, I did release him back to a safe place on the grassy property where, I noticed, he stayed motionless for almost an hour; Like he was thinkin', "what the hell just happened?"

Our lives are filled with those kinds of experiences and odd bits and we ought to do our best to embrace and accept them. It's like I heard Sinatra say, "live every day like it's your last, because one day you'll be right."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

a creative day to be born

Just a little fun with iMove, GarageBand and my new age.

click arrow to start video, run time 1:10

Sunday, June 6, 2010

matthew's talking points

I didn't need to be a successful professional in Marketing, Advertising or Visual and Sound Design for 30 years to know that the most effective sales campaigns require two key elements, a strong logo and an energetic spokesman. Almost everyone knows that. (I needed to be that successful professional to create and execute those elements for my clients) To get the maximum range of brand recognition a strong logo relies on simplicity. It wants to be easily read and remembered. The same is true with the spokesman's presentation. A positive (engaging, welcoming, confident) tone, both in voice characterization and physical demeanor and a clear, direct delivery of talking points in as few words possible.

Some of the most effective logo/spokesmen teams include:

Nike & LeBron James

Golden Arches & Ronald McDonald

The Great Seal of the United States & a new spokesman every four or eight years

Disney & Mickey Mouse

Back in the day, there was Budwieser & Ed McMahon

Gatoraid &, once upon a time, Tiger Woods

Pepsi & Michael Jackson were successful for the longest time but stuff happens and now Pepsi fronts with whoever the current pop-culture flavor of the month happens to be

Even our own Conch Republic has a logo &
Sir Peter Anderson
is our spokesman

But, by far & without doubt, the ultimate, most screamingly successful and enduring logo/spokesman team of all time is. . .

The Cross & Christ

Please don't take offense, my intention is not to malign anyone's faith or rattle their sensibilities; Just consider it, Christianity has had and likely will always have the world's strongest brand recognition in history. Everyone recognizes both Christ and The Cross, and understands what they represent, in whichever of the thousands of varied forms they are presented.

Although Christianity has always employed the same spokesman, early on it went through a major re-branding.
The first Christian logo was a fish. (we still see them on people's cars today) The message was way too wordy and with four copywriters, a bit contradictory. The brand wasn't catching fire as well as everyone had hoped it would so, the early Christians made some changes.

They adopted The Cross as their visual symbol (logo) and one of the four copywriters, Matthew, simplified the Christian message to two clear, direct talking points, delivered in as few words as possible.

The first. . .
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
And the second. . .
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

After that, The Christian brand hit the ground runnin'
and never looked back.

As I said at the start, my intention is not to malign anyone's faith or rattle their sensibilities and, I'm not selling anything either; I'm not a bible thumping anything at all.
I'm a Marketing, Advertising and Design guy, attuned to these constructs. I see them everywhere, including in religions.
I also happen to be a man of faith and a yogi.

Over the past few years I've been studying aspects of Hinduism and I've learned that the spirit of Matthew's talking points are also key tenets in the Hindu tradition.

Coincidence? I don't think so, I'd say just universal common sense. Maybe what it's gonna take to shift the negative energies that are drivin' this world to hell in a bucket is more of us (including me) taking Matthew's talking points a little closer to heart.

What the hell could it hurt?

Friday, June 4, 2010


"When you fall in love with sailing, you seldom fall easy.
It's obsession at first sight."

Obsession, by Art Winstanley

Digital illustration; 6" x 9"
My impression of a peaceful night sail
beneath a Crescent Moon and the Southern Cross.

Dynamic Display

This limited edition, gallery quality, archival semi gloss print is available for purchase in 2 distinct display styles.

Standard Display - $75.
6" x 9" archival semi gloss print in a 11" x 14" acid free mat

Dynamic Display - $ 100.
6" x 9" archival semi gloss print in a 16" x 20" acid free mat

Shipping: $20.

For details and to order,
call: 305.293.9552
or e-mail: keywesttheblog@gmail.com

Standard Display

Thursday, June 3, 2010

postal networking

Doing business at our Sonny McCoy designed Post Office, especially around Christmas and tax time, has always been an adventure. Lately though, it's more like science fiction; Step inside and run the risk of not being seen again for hours;
like going over the event horizon and into the black hole.

If I go by there and the length of the line sets off my mind's "you've gotta be kidding" alarm, forget it - nothing's that important. But yesterday I got there during one of those rare postal customer traffic lulls. I was 4th in line and, I was 4th in line for 20 minutes.

It was enough time to get on a first name basis with the lovely woman, MaryBeth, who was 3rd in line. MaryBeth and I chatted intermittently, I pulled out my sketchbook and started noodling a few quick sketches until I heard Ester's voice ask, "can I help you?" Then I was 3rd in line; and I was 3rd in line for another 10 minutes.

Turns out MaryBeth works in an office on Southard St.
I mentioned that my friend and lawyer, ConchBob, had an office there too and said she knew him but not well.
(Everyone knows everyone in a small town.)
The Cuban gent behind me, 4th in line, grumbled, "it'll be good when FedEx takes over this mess." I smiled at the thought and nodded in agreement.

"Can I help you" asked Ester again. The line shuffled forward and MaryBeth and I were now 1st and 2nd in line. 1st and 2nd in line for another 15 minutes.

MaryBeth, I learned, had 2 kids who were still very young and she made the commute to her job on Southard from her home on Sugarloaf Key. She likes the job, the pay's o.k. and she's lucky that her husband's mom lives with them so they don't have to pay for daycare.

By now the line growing behind us snaked it's way back to the door when Carolyn, another postal employee, appeared from the bowels of the post office to announce in a loud voice, "anyone just picking up doesn't need to wait in the line, just come to this window." Everyone looked at everyone else but no one moved and Carolyn disappeared behind the wall.
Some guy further back in the line grumbled an exasperated, "Jesus Christ!" and just left.

"Can I help you?" MaryBeth turned and gave me a smile, it was her turn and now I was 1st in line. "See you around campus." I said.
She handed Ester the certified mail card she'd been holding, Ester left the window to retrieve the package, my heart sank and there was a quiet groan from the line behind me.
My heart sank and that groan went up every time Ester left the window. I mean, how could we be sure she'd come back? She was facing a long line of people waiting for what was seeming like forever and some of them were getting a little ornery. Who'd really blame her if she left town?

But Ester did come back and MaryBeth was on her way back to the office. "Can I help you?" The line shuffled forward and now the Cuban gent who stood behind me was 1st in line.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

keys congress

An avalanche of sound was in the wind. It pushed the memory button in my brain; Something I'd experienced on Montauk Point or Cape Cod?

A gathering of gulls on their secluded roost; squawking, laughing and whining and squawking some more to shout each other down.

So familiar. . .
I closed my eyes and listened longer to the cacophony in a language I didn't understand. No rhythm or rhyme, no quality of tone, no harmony; Just the mad chaos of mindless noise.

Eyes still closed, a picture began to form in my mind and all at once the recognition came to me. It was as though I were watching C-SPAN 2 and it's gavel to gavel coverage of Congress.

I opened my eyes and yes, there she was, Pigeon Pelosi; Center stage at the Dias holding court in an ocean of mindless chatter. Unable or unwilling to bring or maintain order. The ruckus reigned supreme until, as though a recess bell had been rung, the flock at once scattered.

Now it was "every man for himself" each competing against the other for the satisfaction of their own best interests.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010