Saturday, September 25, 2010

bike week - part 1

I know I'm late to the party on this one but, what the hell, here goes anyway. . .

Personally, I'm not a big on motorcycles although I have every respect for people who are. My issue with motorcycles is nothing personal; just an aspect of my issues with unnecessary loud sounds. Other stuff like mopeds, car alarms, overbearing loud mouth women (you know who you are), garbage trucks, sirens, boats with motors (I prefer sail) and navy jet fly overs make me crazy too.

All that said, I did get out and about last weekend for a few hours to the annual bike week festivities and being of the "visual artist" and "all for fun and fun for all" persuasions was again excited by the bike designs and generous energy of the bikers who dig them.

For folks out-of-town, the thing that brings bikers to Key West is the last stop of the Poker Run at the Schooner Wharf Bar. Now, I was told by one biker I spoke with that the Poker Run is a mostly unknown event for folks outside of South Florida.
So, in a nutshell (or a conch shell if you prefer). . .

Every year thousands of bikers register for the annual, for charity event up in Miami and begin the rumble down the 150 or so miles of the Overseas Highway to Key West.
Along the way there are 5 (sometimes 7) stops where the bikers each draw a playing card and the biker with the best poker hand at the end of the run is the winner.

I tried, but never did, catch up with this year's winner so I don't really know what the prize for winning is (and if anyone knows, I'd be happy to hear) but, when the bikers roll into town, they get treated to a weekend with a hog roast and bikini fashion show at Schooner's and the Biker Bash at Sloppy Joe's on Duval.

Prize or no prize the events around town seem like ample incentive to come rumbling down the Keys.
There's my "all for fun and fun for all" thing again.

Still, with my loud sounds thing going on, I'd personally pass on it. But if there's ever a Poker Run for smooth cruisin', quiet riding drop top Cadillacs, I'm there.

Monday, September 20, 2010

hand rolled

. . . and what a smooth smoke it was.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

snail mail

Just a bit of fun with photoshop here.
(or should that be phun with fotoshop?)

Anyway, late last Saturday morning it started crazy raining and I put my plants out from under the porch roof to catch some of it. While I was gettin' it done, I noticed a snail climbing up the side of my mailbox and in my head, heard Curly Howard's voice say, "ooo! snail mail!".
He was about in the position you see him here but by the time I'd finished with the plants, grabbed my camera and got back out there, he'd moved to a place that didn't tell the story so well anymore. (either snails move quicker than we usually think or I was having a slow moving Saturday morning)

So I waited and watched and eventually decided the little bugger was not gonna give me another one shot photo-op.
So I shot one of the snail (yes that's really him), and another of my mailbox. Then this morning, with a little time to kill on my hands, put this image together.

Artists, go figure. . .

Monday, September 6, 2010

remembering labor day

Widely accepted as the brainchild of Peter J. McGuire, (general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor) Labor Day is "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers."

The first ever Labor Day celebration was scheduled in New York City on the first Monday in September of 1882 but, for one reason or another, was held off for a day (probably called on account of rain) and so the parade and picnic were held instead on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.

Held as an annual "workingmen's holiday", by 1884 labor organizations in other cities joined the celebration.

The first governmental recognition of Labor Day came through local municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886 and from them came a movement to secure state legislation. By 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers.

In June of that year, in the aftermath of the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the US. military and US. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland made reconciliation with Labor a top
political priority.

Fearing further strikes and riots, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress and unanimously signed into law just six days after the
end of the strike.
Cleveland also signed a bill designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day while hoards of hungry unemployed were marching on Washington to demand relief.

But here in the Keys, the first Monday in September
is notorious for only one event. . .
. . .The Labor Day hurricane of 1935.

75 years ago, on September 2, 1935 a category 5 storm made landfall in the upper keys at Islamorada bringing sustained winds of at least 160 mph and storm surge of 18 to 20 feet.

It would be the first of 3 category 5 storms to find their way to the United Sates in the 20th century (the other two being Camille in '69 and Andrew in '92)

Damage from the Labor Day Storm was estimated at $6 million (1935 dollars), it kicked the holy smoke out of Henry Flagler's Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway and took 408 souls. Those, ironically enough, mostly World War I veterans who were "workingmen" along the rail line.

So to close out this post for Labor Day 2010, I'll borrow a line from local songwriter Terry Cassidy's tune,
"Henry and his Railroad". . .

". . .This morning we'll remember what not to forget."