Wednesday, June 27, 2012

hobbits & dwarves??

From an alternate perspective, one could imagine Key West was Middle-Earth. . .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

safe harbour

Safe Harbour, for my out-of-town readers, is a real place.
It's a deep water marina and floats beside what's left of the shrimp boat fleet and the Hogfish bar & grill out on the Atlantic side of Stock Island.
It's a peaceful, easy place.

This floating house is out there. I like it and have spent probably too much time imagining how I might
make it mine.

But it's not the place, Safe Harbour, but the concept of "safe harbour" that I wanted to think about today.
To my mind,"safe harbour" is a transient kind of illusion.

You, like me, have good friends, a comfy place to live with all the bills current and a few extra bucks stashed away and, we think, "all is well with the world".
And it is, for the moment, but there's always a storm just over the horizon. Then, in a New York minute. . .

It's like the song suggests,
"safety's just danger . . .out of place".*

* "Honestly Now", Harry Connick, Jr.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

on the water

The toughest thing about kayaking, at least for me, is keeping my digital camera dry.
(trust me, you don't want salt water getting on or in your digital camera).

Other than that, kayaking is a fun, relaxing thing to do and a good upper body workout.
Beyond that, it's a quick and easy way to get out on the water. 
And here in Key West, that's where you want to be. . . 
out on the sea of green.

Whether it's on a floating hotel or a schooner or a Victoria 18 or a kayak (like I was when I got both these shots), in the summertime, on the water is the place to be.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


This is what happens when you're lucky enough to have survived your adventurous youth. . .

Yeah, somehow I've been very, very lucky.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


It's been an interesting week. New places, new faces and
it's all good.

When I got back home I noticed that my neighbor Ed's orchid tree had grown something new too.

With my head full of new things to think about, the new bloom on Ed's tree reminded me that the smart money considers anything and everything from as many angles as can
be imagined.

At the end of the day that approach keeps life liquid. It saves us from the stress of having to "draw a line in the sand", enables us to stop pummeling ourselves to find answers and offers surrender to a belief in the questions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

a wonderful bird is a pelican

digital illustration by Art Winstanley, ©2010 Arthur A. Winstanley

"A wonderful bird is a pelican, 
His bill will hold more than his belican. 
He can hold in his beak 
Enough food for a week; 
But I’m damned if I know how the helican."

Even though that poem is attributed to Ogden Nash, I've heard it said that the "pelican poem" was written around 1910 by Dixon Lanire Merritt, editor of Nashville’s newspaper,
"The Tennessean".

Now, I don't know what it is about me and pelicans. But for as long as I can remember, I've been captivated by them. Which I sometimes think is pretty weird for a kid who grew up in Queens, N.Y. and Jersey City, N.J. where there just aren't any pelicans to be found.

The fact is I never saw one up close enough to touch until I moved here to Key West as an adult.
Yeah, they'll let you get close up and personal. You've just gotta move slowly, think mellow thoughts and have a bit of fish in your hand.
(slow moving good vibes aside, I'm pretty sure it's the fish that's the deal maker)

Anyway, I can and have watched the little buggers (well really, they're not so little) for an hour at a time just flying and fishing or sitting on the rail at the pier.
They really are cool birds.

Have you ever seen how they hunt and catch fish?
Check this out. . .
You've gotta wonder; how can he do that, several times twice a day, every day of his avian life and not get a headache?

". . .I’m damned if I know how the helican."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

beatles in key west

It's no great secret that I've been known to spend some quality time with friends at the Green Parrot Bar. It's a great spot for good company, cold draft beer and some of the best blues
on the rock.

 indoors at the Green Parrot Bar

Among other cool things at the Parrot, there hangs an eclectic collection of cool stuff on the walls. Not too long ago I noticed - not too far from the portraits of Smirk and the cross - eyed Lincoln - an 8 x 10 black and white photograph of the Beatles and got to wondering, "what's the connection?"

Here's the connection. . .

In September of 1964, as the next stop of their first tour of North America, the Beatles flew out of Montreal for a concert at the GatorBowl in Jacksonville Florida.
But, at the last minute, their flight was diverted to Key West.

The reason for the diversion was due high winds and unpredictable weather conditions caused by the approaching hurricane Dora. A storm that ultimately did come across northern Florida and reached in as far as Gainsville.

aerial view of the Key Wester Motel, c. 1964

So, their flight was diverted and the Beatles had a day or so of R&R and spent it at the Key Wester Motel, next to the airport on South Roosevelt Blvd.

While they were there, they indulged in Key West's most favorite, well - second most favorite, sport. . .
(face it, Key West is a drinking town with a tourist problem) they chilled out poolside and jammed with New Orleans rhythm and blues singer Clarence "Frogman" Henry.

When the storm had passed, they were back on the plane and headed again to Jacksonville for their September 11th GatorBowl gig.

After they'd gone (Beatlemania being what it was at the time) water from the swimming pool where they'd hung out was collected and sold in vials and the cottage's bed sheets were torn into strips and sold as well.
(talk about your true "cottage industry")

In time, except for the cottage where the boys stayed, the Key Wester Motel was demolished and replaced by the Hyatt Windward Pointe Resort.
The original cottage became a shrine of sorts and today it's been preserved as an "historical place of interest" as an outdoor, poolside tiki bar and restaurant called the  
"Abbey Road Snack Shack".
(yet another place to grab a cheeseburger in paradise)

stained glass at the HardRock Cafe