Thursday, June 30, 2011

anne's key west

Disconnected from the "real world" for as long as I've been, most folks don't know (and sometimes I barely remember) that I have - in my family - 4 sisters and a brother.

That being said, I'm reminded of an insightful comment from my own daughter when she saw us all together at some sort of family function or other; "they're all artists!".

Now, all that being said, let me introduce you all to my sister Anne, who lives and works way up north in Trenton, New Jersey. She is a gifted illustrator who works in pyrography and says this small sample of her ginormous body of work was inspired by some of the pictures I've posted here on Key West the Blog. I am flattered.

If, my friends, you like what you see and would like to see more, she hasn't got the website up yet so, drop an e-mail at:

I'm pretty sure she'll be willing to share.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"for love of the game"

One of the two athletic endeavors I enjoyed during my adventurous youth was bicycle racing.
The other, was baseball.

Little league, Babe Ruth league, a dubious flirtation with double-A ball, pick-up games wherever I could find them and finally, corporate ball.

I love the game.

There was never anything more sublime than anticipating the start of a game at my position in center field at the end of a summer day as dusk fell into night and the stadium lights came on.

Anyway, not long ago I drove a friend out to Northside Drive, here in town, for her annual visit to WomanKind. I knew full well she'd be an hour or so and I also knew that right next door to that colorful complex of doctor's, accountant's and insurance offices was the Clayton Sterling/Rosa Hernandez Complex of 4 baseball diamonds and 1 softball field. But I'd never really scoped it out so, knowing I'd have a little time to kill that afternoon, I took the opportunity.

Now, I've played on sandlots, public park diamonds, in minor league stadiums and even on the roof of a 20 story building in mid-town Manhattan. (a corporate league thing)

I even got out at center field at the old Yankee Stadium a time or two (the house that Ruth built); not as a player of course but goddamn, was that place a cathedral!

My point is, I've seen a few ball parks in my time and I think, that for younger ball players, these 5 diamonds are real gems.

Say what you like about our city government, we've gotta give them credit for creating and maintaining these ball-fields and managing the leagues, programs and clinics for very nearly 800 aspiring major leaguers from the ages of 9 - 16.

Kudos Key West!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

hercules & tilly

Ever since I was a kid, I've always had a thing for TugBoats.


The first one I ever saw was in a painting my mother was doing of New York Harbor in the corner of our living room she called her studio on 61st St. in the Glendale section of Queens.

In whatever language my 5 year old brain was speaking, today's translation would be, "that is too cool!!"

I know TugBoats aren't sleek or fast and I never much cared that they're the "workhorses of the waterways".
I've just always thought they looked so cool and seeing them has, somehow, always felt like home.
(something from a previous life?)

The first time I saw a TugBoat up-close and underway, was 100 years later when my 2nd ex-wife and I were on the Staten Island Ferry heading back to the city. A Tug came up along the port side and it was so close I could see the whites of the deck-hand's eyes.


I couldn't, in a million years, remember what she and I were talking about at the time but I can remember the rumble from the power of the Tug's diesels, how low she drove into the water and the wake she kicked up at her bow and stern rocked the ferry.
Again, my first thought; "that is too cool!!" and that was followed by, "I want one!"

Of course, at that time, I was knee deep in my corporate career, had the "house on the hill" (so to speak) and all the crap that went with it. So a TugBoat just wasn't in the cards.

But now, all these years later, calmed down and settled in my semi-retired stupor on the Keys, I have to admit, Hercules and Tilly have got me thinkin'. . .

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a lovely bunch. . .

This post is an example of how, so very randomly, one thing can lead to another.

The story starts at Boyd's Campground where I spent an afternoon shooting background for another project.
Back in the studio I found, among the mix of pix, this wonderfully grouped collection of coconuts.

Well, as good a picture as it may be, it didn't fit with what I was working on, so I put it aside. Then, a few middle of the nights later (it always happens in the middle of the night)
I got to wondering, "what do you call a group of coconuts?"

I mean like you've got a gaggle of geese or a pride of lions,
a herd of buffalo and/or a clusterf#@k of humans!
"what do you call a group of coconuts?"

So I looked it up and it turns out coconuts come in a bunch.
A bunch of coconuts.
Satisfied that I'd found my answer, I shut the lights and went back to bed.

But then the wheels started turning. . .
. . .A bodacious bunch of coconuts? A beauteous bunch
of coconuts?

And all at once it came to me!
A song my Aunt Lee used to sing when I was very, very - 3, 4, 5 years young. "I've got a 'lovely' bunch of coconuts".
It seemed to be one of her favorites.

(So by now, maybe you know where I'm goin' with this. . .)

"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" is a novelty song composed in 1944 by an English songwriter, Fred Heatherton.
It was made famous by Merv Griffin singing with the Freddie Martin Orchestra, in 1950, getting to the Billboard Top 10 and selling over three million copies.

Mervyn Edward "Merv" Griffin, Jr. (July 6, 1925 - August 12, 2007) was an American television host, singer, and media mogul. At age 19 he began his career as a radio and big band singer who went on to appear in movies and on Broadway.
During the 1960s, Griffin hosted his own talk show, The Merv Griffin Show, and created the game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. (He was considered an entertainment business magnate).

So there you have it.
From Boyd's Campground in 2011 to England in 1944 to Merv Griffin in 1950 to my Aunt Lee, circa 1954. . .
It just goes to show, when a notion takes you by the nose, follow it. It may be a sleepless but satisfying trip.

Here's a link to Merv singing the song itself:
"I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

flag day

Today, June 14, is "Flag Day" (it comes around every year).
"Flag Day" commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14th, 1777 by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Now, for 108 years after that resolution, nobody really gave a rat's ass for June 14th.
But long about 1885 B.J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin public school-teacher, arranged for his pupils to observe June 14th as
"Flag Birthday"
He promoted it in the media of the time as best he could and 4 years later (1889), another school-teacher, George Balch, in New York City planned ceremonies for the children of his school and soon the celebration of "Flag Day" was adopted by New York's Board of Education.

In 1891, the Betsy Ross House (in Philadelphia) held it's first "Flag Day" celebration and the next year, the "New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution" and the "Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames" (what a great name) celebrated
it too.
The concept of "Flag Day" was catching fire at the
grassroots level.

In 1914, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Franklin Lane, delivered a Flag Day address in which he repeated words, he said, the flag had spoken to him that morning. . .
"I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."
(really, I'm not making this up!)

Finally, inspired by three decades of state and local celebrations, "Flag Day" was officially established by the proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
Then in 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as "National Flag Day".

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

waiting for the light

So, it's happening again.
As it happens every year at about this time of year as I'm about to turn the page on being yet another chronological year older.
My mind starts to ponder "making a move".

When I was younger, full of all that piss and vinegar, I'd force the issue. . .
"Something wants to happen, something needs to happen, make something happen!"
But in these past few years, when that "need to make a move bug" bites, even though I still feel the hunger in my belly, I sit back and patiently wait for whatever it is that's going to happen, to happen organically.
Call it, as my late uncle Gene would say, "a function of age" or chalk it up to my comfortably settled and calm life-style in paradise; I'm content to wait for the motivational light to come on whenever it's ready to.

Some years there are inspired ideas and other years,
not so much.

It's never been a lack of interest or energy for me, it's coming up with the big idea and direction that's been the challenge for me. But once I get it, hide the women and children, Artman's on the loose.

So today, as I'm 365 days short of the big 6 - 0, I'm just gonna sit back and relax on this park bench at the foot of the pier and wait for that light to come on.