Caroline Walkabout – Part 2

Here’s the second part of the Caroline Street Walkabout. Click on the link to open another window to youtube. Let it play in the background as you read on. Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street.

After you finish your coffee at the Coffee Plantation, walk less than a block more you’ll come to the “heart” of the old  “Caroline Street”… the part Jimmy Buffett’s sings about.

Look over to the left as you cross over William Street and you will see down to the seaport. That’s where Schooner Wharf Bar is. Maybe you will want to stop in there for a little “refreshment” on your way back.

After you cross William, B.O.’s Fish Wagon is right there on the left… the corner or Caroline and William. Whenever I tell someone about B.O.’s they always make a funny face and ask why in the world would anyone name a place to eat, “B. O.’s?”… Pppp-Uuuuu. Well, the real reason is that the owner’s name is Buddy Owen (or maybe it’s Owens). And the “Fish Wagon” part comes from the old mobile food truck… the fishwagon… inside and where the food is prepared. The fishwagon hasn’t moved in years.

B.O.’s is a funky place. Don’t expect any fancy tablecloths or even silverware. You get an almost outdoor setting… just sitting under umbrellas… garden furniture and picnic tables. There are always two or three… or more of Key West’s “Gypsy Chickens” wandering around looking for a morsel that makes it’s way to the cement floor.

B.O.'s Fishwagon

B.O.’s Fishwagon

This old derelect truck at B.O.'s is probably worth a fortune... but it just sits there collecting stickies.

This old, derelect truck at B.O.’s is probably worth a fortune… but it just sits there collecting stickies.

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Don’t let the name or any of the other stuff stop you from going in to have a bite to eat. The fish sandwiches are among the very best on an island that serves fish sandwiches everywhere. And the homemade black beans & rice are also mmmmm-mmmmm good. You can get beer and wine at B.O.’s but no frozen concoctions to help you hang on.

Right across the street from B.O.’s is the “Red Doors’. Today, the Red Doors has a boutique in the lower level. But back in the times Jimmy sings about, the Red Doors was one of the roughest, toughest, and rowdiest saloons anywhere. The upstairs area was a brothel.

The Red Doors... with a history of booze, broads, gambling and fighting. Fun in Key West.

The Red Doors… with a history of booze, broads, gambling and fighting. Fun in Key West.

According to Tiffany, who also does a blog about her travels, her Great-Great-Grandpa owned and managed the Red Doors back in the 1920s. It was called the “Bucket of Blood” back then. She says it was called that “because of all the stabbings, violence and occasional ‘quiet’ murder.” (I couldn’t confirm Tiffany’s last name, so I’ll let you be the detective. Link to Tiffany’s Blog)

I always wonder what goes on upstairs above the “Bucket of Blood” these days. One time I wandered into the boutique and asked the attendant about the upstairs. She only gave me some vague non-answer. I don’t know if she was trying to add to the mystique of the place, or just didn’t want to say. So, I still wonder if there is any “business” of the old days.

A couple of “doors” down is Pepe’s Cafe… which claims to be the oldest eating establishment in the Florida Keys. From the looks of the building, I’m sure it is very old. In most places of the world, I would never consider eating in any place looking that old and rundown. But this is Key West.

Pepe's Café... est. 1909. No doubt it's that old.

Pepe’s Café… est. 1909. No doubt it’s that old.

Pepe’s used to be a great place for breakfast. I say “used to be” because these days, you may not be able to get a table. There’s an inside area and a covered patio area, but the visitors have discovered Pepe’s. You’ll have to wait at the bar on most mornings before you can get a table.

Sometimes the wait at the bar isn’t so bad because they do make good Bloody Marys… but these days I’m not willing to wait very long… especially when the Schooner Wharf Bar is close, and they have good breakfast too. BUT… if you do get a seat at Pepe’s the food will be good. Over time I’ve had eggs (build your own breakfast), French toast, and pancakes and all were excellent.

Oh… and don’t forget the Mimosas or screwdrivers made with fresh squeezed orange juice. Both are mmmmm-mmmmm good. They also claim to have “fresh squeezed Margaritas,” but I’m not sure what that is and never had one.

The last block of Caroline Street has the “Flagler Station Railway Historeum. The name Flagler probably doesn’t mean anything to most of you. But without Henry Flagler, much of Florida and Key West wouldn’t be what it is today.

Flagler Station - A significant part of the history of Florida and Key West

Flagler Station – A significant part of the history of Florida and Key West

Flagler became partners with John D. Rockefeller… yeah, that Rockefeller. I won’t try to tell you the whole story here… you can google it… but the essence is: Flagler was rich. He built the railway all along the east coast of Florida down to Biscayne Bay in Miami.

Then when Flagler was 75 years old, he built the railway that connected the Mainland (Homestead) to Key West. It was started in 1905 and was finished in January 1912. At the time, it was the only way to get to Key West other than by ship. The Overseas Highway didn’t come along till much later.

The railway ran until the 1935 Labor Day hurricane took out sections of the railroad. You can still see sections of it today as you drive the Overseas Highway. The museum has a little house and a train car that shows the railway history with artifacts and videos. It only costs three bucks and is worth the time.

 

My next walkabout (in a few days) will be to the sunset celebration at Mallory Square. It’s one of the things that puts the character and characters of Bone Island on full display.

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Caroline St. Walkabout – Part 1

It seems the last few days I’ve been obsessing about Key West. OK… maybe I’m always obsessing about the place, but the last few days especially so. Anytime I’m overdue a trip to The Rock I begin obsessing.

To give me a little bit of a “fix,” I decided to write about Caroline Street. A few posts back, “Dear Ben,” I wrote to Ben Gentry about the Jimmy Buffett song, “Woman Going Crazy on Caroline Street.” The song is about Caroline Street in Key West. The lyrics tell the tale of the street back when fishin’ and shrimpin’ were king in Key West… back when it was rough and rowdy.

Click on the link to open another window to youtube. Let it play in the background as you read on. Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street.

Today Caroline street is different. So I thought I would take you on a “walkabout” down the street… if only in my mind. I’m including pics so you will get the feel.

Starting at the corner of Duval and Caroline there’s the Bull & Whistle. It’s one of my favorite bars to stop into and have a frozen concoction to help me hang on. “The Bull” is the downstairs area. Starting about noon and going well into the night they have some kind of live entertainment. If you sit by one of the open windows right on Duval, there’s plenty of entertainment out there doing the “Duval Crawl.”

Check out the roof top garden. It will be an eye opener

Check out the roof top garden. It will be an eye opener

The second floor is the Whistle. I can’t say much about it because I haven’t spent much time there. The Whistle does have a balcony all around so you can watch the Duval Crawl from there. I suspect it’s a great place to watch any of the hundreds of doo-dah parades down Duval.

The third floor, actually the roof of the Bull & Whistle, is… well… I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself. Go there on a cool afternoon (in Key West that means the low 80s) or one weekend in the evening after the sun sets. I promise you it will be an eye-opener for you.

We start our walkabout heading toward the old seaport… away from Mallory Square and the Cruise port. By the time you are one short block away from Duval, all the craziness is left behind. Caroline becomes a sedate, almost stately neighborhood.

Tall mature trees and palms line both sides of the road and almost form a canopy covering the street in some places. The houses are mostly two-story with a mix of colors and surrounded by white picket fences. Most have a wide veranda around the bottom floor and a balcony around the top floor.

Many of the houses have been divided into small apartments. Most of those are little more than the size an efficiency in any other town… around 300 square feet. Each one costing way more a month than the original cost to build the entire house. Such is the cost of living there.

Sedate and stately just one block from Duval

Sedate and stately just one block from Duval

If these houses could tell stories, I wonder what they would say.

If these houses could tell stories, I wonder what they would say.

Walk a little more down toward the seaport and a bit after you pass Elisabeth Street, you will come to my favorite little coffee house in all of Cayo Hueso… The Coffee Plantation at 713 Caroline St.

The Coffee Plantation is half coffee house, half art store. I found the place because an artist I know once lived near there. I always stopped in hoping to see some of the artists work or to maybe run into the artist. But that was not to be… the artist had moved before I found the Coffee Plantation.

Have a "cupa" and enjoy the "mullet wrap."

Have a “cupa” and enjoy the “mullet wrap.”

Just the same, I still go to the Coffee Plantation every time I’m in Key West. Besides good coffee, you can have a seat in one of the couches inside or around the outside porch. Inside you’ll see some magnificent local art. I always want to take some home… until I see the prices.

So I just sit there and sip my coffee and maybe read the local newspaper… the “Key West Citizen.” Some call that paper the “mullet wrap.” Like most newspapers, it has fallen on hard times lately, but it’s always an interesting read. While sitting there, inside or outside, it’s more than likely that you will strike up a conversation with another of the patrons. It seems like most people are friendly there.

Next up… Caroline Street, part 2

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Key West – TV Series

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I have a love affair with Key West. I can’t tell anyone why or what it is about the place. I try to describe it’s quirks, the characters that live there, the unusual history, but words just don’t do it.

Hummmm… “unusual history.” I guess the word “unusual” doesn’t give a good picture. From the early pirates… to the rum runners and bootleggers of prohibition… from the artists and writers like Hemingway & Tennessee Williams… to the Mayor of Margaritaville himself, Jimmy Buffett… they have all combined to give Bone Island some of its character.

Unusual can’t possibly describe all the weird stuff that happens… and all the weirdos that live there. I use “weirdos” lovingly. People from all walks of life live there from lawyers to lawbreakers hiding down at the end of the world.

Yesterday while trolling the internet for something interesting… using search words, “Key West”… I came across a 1990s TV series named, “Key West.” It was on Fox in 1993 and ran for 13 episodes. I found it on YouTube and of course, I had to watch. The first episode opens up with a distorted twist on an Irish proverb:

“ May the wind at your back never be your own”

It opens with our factory worker hero, Shaun O’Riley played by Fisher Stevens, winning the lottery. It fades into a scene with Shaun driving a 1970s Pontiac convertible down the Overseas Highway… the Seven Mile Bridge… with dolphins jumping in the water. Before the opening credits are run Shaun drives by the Lighthouse (On Whitehead street catty-cornered from the Hemingway house), the famous “buoy” at the Southernmost Point, down Duval and an aerial view of Smathers Beach.

SouthernNLighthouseThen our hero drives past a phony-baloney “mile marker 0” (MM0) sign, across the beach and into the ocean. Anyone knowing anything about Key West knows MM0 isn’t at the beach. But that doesn’t matter to me… I’m hooked, and I’ll allow them the “poetic license” with MM0.

I watched the whole episode. That’s 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. The whole thing is poorly acted… overacted. It’s poorly written with dialogue no one would say. And if I knew anything about directing I would say it was poorly directed. They did keep my attention with “dancers” in skimpy… very skimpy bikinis, but then hey, I’m just a guy. The skimpy bikini dancers didn’t seem to have anything to do with the plot.

There’s a reason it only lasted 13 episodes. If it hadn’t been on Fox back in the day, it wouldn’t have lasted that long. Sure, Fisher Stevens (our hero) has become an accomplished actor, director, and producer… but not back then. Perhaps he did the best that could be done with the script.

With all the stuff I just said… no matter how bad it is… somehow it manages to capture the essence of Cayo Hueso. Its characters are unbelievable, but maybe no more improbable than real characters of Key West. When you first hear the story of the real-life Capt’n Tony you might not believe it… nor that Jimmy Buffett was his campaign manager when he (Capt’n Tony) ran for Mayor of Key West. So although the characters of this show are not realistic, they do show just how quirky The Rock can be.

A sub-plotline has politics of the town that might also be unbelievable, but it’s amazing how close the 1993 show reflects the politics of today… not only the Key West politics but also the current National politics.

I can’t in good consciousness recommend you watch this show. Besides how bad it is, the quality of the video and audio on YouTube are poor owing to an umpteenth generation copy. I searched and couldn’t find a better version on Netflix or the like. So just in case you want to see for yourself, here’s the link:

Key West (TV Series)

That’s all I’ve got time for today. I’ve got to go watch next episode.

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The Boys of Summer

Some people like the seasons… fall, winter, spring and summer. I’m sure it has to do with fond memories of times they had in those seasons. For me, it’s always summer. I’m just a summer person. Every year I look forward with great anticipation of summer… and lament it’s ending. I do everything to make summer last as long as possible.

For me, summer makes all things possible. You can swim in the summer. You can walk around barefooted in the summer… or if you have to you can wear flip-flops all summer. And if you’re bold, you can go skinny-dipping in the summer. Yes, I’m a summer person.

Today I drove by the Little League fields in Destin. All the young ball players were out there dressed in pristine white baseball uniforms. It reminded me of when I played Little League. It reminded me of the “boys of summer” and my mind flashed to the greatest baseball movie ever made… “Sandlot.” It reminded me of my summers.

It reminded me that I’ve been a summer person almost all my life… certainly as far back as those Little League days. But it wasn’t just playing baseball. It was trips to the riverbottom. The riverbottom was a forbidden place of great adventures. It was a time for bathing suits… and discovering girls in bathing suits.

The game of baseball, at least for the boys of baseball I saw today, has not changed since I played it those years ago. I stopped and watched a little bit. As the batter stepped up to the plate and tried to imitate professional ball players, the players in the field started that chatter… hey batta batta batta. A player on the batting team hollared out, “Pitcher’s got spaghetti arms.” I guess I’m not sure what that really means, but I remember I yelled out the same thing when I was in the dugout.

As the pitcher wound up to throw the ball the chant got louder… batta Batta BATTA. As pitcher delivered the ball it went… batta batta SWING. The batter did swing, and missed. But that was only strike one. He would have more chances. I’m sure the whole sequence of chatter and pitches went on throughout the day. The thought of that put a smile on my face.

For the rest of the day, the warmth of the day (downright hot) and memories of sandlots and baseball kept the smile on my face all day. Today… at least for a little bit, I was a boy of summer again. The sun has set today, but some of that warmth remains. And tomorrow when the sun comes up, I will again be a boy of summer.

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Dear Ben… an official “Request”

Everyone that knows me, knows that I have an addiction… cruisin’. I also have a love affair with Key West… and of course, I’m a parrothead.
[def: par-ought-head — Fanatical, out of control, aficionado of Jimmy Buffett and everything Margaritaville. ]

It wasn’t that long ago that I dreaded the idea of a cruise. The idea of spending a week going places was ok. But the idea of all the time floating around getting there… especially all the nights with nothing to do… terrified me.

Boy was I wrong. I discovered the piano bars on cruise ships. Night after night of absolute fun… laughin, singing along, maybe dancin’ a little, and certainly drinking too much. For me, it has become not so much where the ship is going, but rather, who the piano bar entertainer is.

I should tell you, the piano bars on Carnival cruise ships are not the “elevator music” type piano bars you may see in some hotels or other cruise lines. Carnival tries to provide a piano bar that is rip-roaring, sing-along fun. Late night it is often irreverent, politically incorrect and usually a bit naughty… sometimes a lot naughty. For me, it’s a blast.

Now days, before I book a cruise, the first thing I check is what ships my favorite piano bar entertainers are going to be on. I do that even before I check to see where a cruise is going. In fact, my last cruises have been booked solely because of one magnificent entertainer; Ben Gentry. And I’m doing it again. Simply put, it’s my opinion that Ben is head and shoulders above the rest, the best of the current PB entertainer Carnival has.

Now if it sounds like I’m “sucking up” to Ben, it’s because… well… I am. But what I just said is also true. I’ll get back to this in a minute.

First, for those that don’t know, Carnival is “cheap” when it comes to compensating their employees. (That’s not earth-shattering to those of us that cruise on Carnival.) Carnival depends on gratuities to supplement the income of many of the crew members. I think in some cases, gratuities may be the main source of their income.

The same thing is true for piano bar entertainers. They depend on folks to “put bread in their jar”… tips. This is true of land-based piano bars too, but I think more so on cruise ships.

(By the way… I’m sure all piano bar entertainers HATE and at the same time love Billy Joel.)

Anyway, lots of folks want to have the entertainer play their favorite tunes… like… ummmm… let’s say a Jimmy Buffett tune. Now… since most of the piano bar entertainers also don’t like doing Jimmy Buffett stuff, if you just write your song on a piece of paper and send it up to the entertainer, then that is just a “suggestion.” Most likely it won’t get played. At best it will go to the bottom of the stack.

However, if your suggestion is wrapped in paper currency, it becomes an official “Request.” If the denomination of the paper currency is like a Peso, then the request will still be at the bottom of the playlist. The larger the denomination, the higher in the playlist it goes.

I should mention that you shouldn’t expect the PBE to play your request instantly. You see, they often get on a roll and have the folks singing, clapping and dancing to a set of themed songs. So don’t expect your request for “God Save the Queen” to be played in the middle Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog.

Well… I suppose if the request for “God Save the Queen” is wrapped in the US currency that doesn’t have a picture of a past President on it, you may well interrupt the bullfrog.

So now to the main point and why I’m sucking up to Ben Gentry. You see, the last two cruises with him I left him with a “Future cruise credit request” for songs Ben didn’t know at the time. Of course, these were proper “requests” and not suggestions… and of course with it was wrapped in an appropriate dead president. (Sorry… not one of those other two bills.)

Ben did a magnificent job the first time with a song that is very difficult for anybody to do. He did such a good job it almost got me laid… almost.

So… the last time I cruised with him I left him with another future cruise credit. This time I gave a list of four of the more obscure Jimmy Buffett songs that he didn’t know. My note to him was to pick one.

But… these weren’t just obscure songs. Each one of them has a connection… a significent connection to Key West. Therefore, here (in no particular order) are the stories for each of the songs from which I hope my request will come.

Tin Cup Chalice – Jimmy got his “musical footing” when he went to Key West. He was just out of a bad marriage and deeply in debt. A friend took him down US1 to Key West in an old Packard. (Packard is a now-defunct car company.)

When he first got there, Jimmy played for beer in a corner of a place called the Chart Room. I think every bar and honky-tonk in Key West claimed Jimmy played there. This one has pictures to prove it. It’s a tiny place and hard to imagine any entertainer would play there, but he did.

Tin Cup Chalice is the first song Jimmy Buffett wrote after he got to Key West. It’s about the Sunset Celebration. Every Day on Mallory Square there is a Sunset Celebration… at least on days when clouds don’t block the sunset. Crowds of people go there every sunset, and they all applaud when the sun drops into the ocean.

The lyrics to Tin Cup Chalice are about the sunset, the sailboats on sunset cruises and life in Key West.

Ben… if you pick this Tin Cup Chalice, please change one part of the lyrics to the way I always sing it: “With a tin cup for a chalice, fill it up with good red wine”… change “good red wine” – to – “tequila and lime.” I don’t know why Jimmy didn’t write it that way… maybe it was before Margaritas and such.

Woman Goin’ Crazy Caroline Street – The street in Key West, Caroline Street, is where the “red light district” used to be. The main “red-light” area was down by what is now known as the “Schooner Wharf.” (Yes, that’s where the Schooner Wharf Bar is.)

Back in the olden days when shrimpin’ and fishing were king in Key West, the sailors would come into the Schooner Wharf from days, weeks or months at sea. They would get paid and immediately head to Caroline Street for a little “liquid refreshment” and “companionship.”

One of the places they would go was one of the roughest and toughest bars Key West has ever known… the Red Doors. Downstairs was the saloon and upstairs was the brothel. Today the Red Doors houses a little boutique downstairs, and air conditioners poke out of the walls upstairs.

This song starts with, “There’s a woman goin’ crazy on Caroline Street…” and goes on about a rough and rowdy bar. Pay attention to the lyrics, and they will tell all you about the woman and Caroline Street.

Ever notice how some of the Buffett songs have weird lyrics in some places. This next one is a good example… starting with the title.

Last Mango in Paris – The title of this song is misleading. It really should be “Captain Tony’s” Almost everyone who has been on a cruise to Key West has walked right by Captain Tony’s bar on their way to Duval Street.

This song starts out, “I went down to Capt’n Tony’s… to get out of the heat.” The next time you are in Key West, step into the doorway entering Captain Tony’s. There is a fan there blowing cool air down on you. Every time I go into Captain Tony’s I stand there for a minute to cool down and hum the tune in my head. (I don’t dare sing out loud.)

Anyway, the song is about Captain Tony rather than about the bar. Captain Tony was Tony Tarracino; a character and icon of Key West. I can’t tell the whole story here… it’s too long. But, before he opened the saloon, Tony was a shrimper, charter boat captain, a gunrunner for the CIA.

Capt’n Tony ran for Mayor of Key West four times. One of those times Jimmy Buffett was his campaign manager. Really! You can see the newspaper clippings in the bar. The last time he ran… the time he won, he came under fire for using the word “shit” in his campaign: “All you need in life is a tremendous sex drive and a great ego – Brains don’t mean shit.”

When his opponent tried to make a big deal out of the profanity, Capt’n Tony responded, “If everyone who uses that word votes for me, I’ll win by a landslide.” He won by 32 votes.

The next time you are in Key West, you owe it to yourself to go down to Capt’n Tony’s to get out of the heat… and then spend a bit of time there reading and learning about the place and the man. You’ll discover that he probably really did:

Eat the last mango in Paris…”
“Take the last plane out of Saigon…”
“Took the first fast boat to China…”

I think of the songs, this next one is should be the National Anthem of the Conch Republic. (If you aren’t sure where the Conch Republic is, try Google)

Semi-True Story – Key West is full of tales. Presidents, writers, minstrels, and characters… Truman, Hemingway, Buffett, and Terricino all add to the lore of Cayo Hueso (the original Spanish name of the island). No matter where you look… no matter what corner of the island you go to, there’s a story that goes with it.

Names like Bumfarto, Sushi, and Sloppy Joe all add color. Every little bar from the Speakeasy Inn to the La Te Da, to the Schooner Wharf Bar, to the Chart Room have a story to tell about Bone Island (the translation from Spanish of Cayo Hueso).

Everywhere you go you will hear a story… and every one of them true… at least according to the rules of this song.

As much as anything else this song personifies “The Rock” and is why I like it. Well… then there’s that tequila thing too.

So Ben… it’s your choice. It is looking like I’m going to be seeing you this fall and I’ll give you a better “heads up” when I’ve booked. But this should give you enough to ponder for now.

Strumpet

I wanted to write about fun stuff today. Lots of fun stuff… Margaritas, the beach, cruises in the Caribbean, or Jimmy Buffett songs of Key West. Anything about fun and sun. But events of this week have created a black hole in my psyche. Every night when I go to sleep, I try to think about what I might write, but Strumpet takes over my thinking… and my dreams. So I should get this out of my system.

First a definition. I looked up “Strumpet” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Here it is:

s·trump·et
1. A prostitute
2. S-Hole – Trump – et all.

So you see… the definition fits perfectly for the current occupant of the White House and all the cronies in the administration.

I couldn’t believe all the spin, distortions, mistruths, and flat-out lies that came out of Strumpet this past week. It started with all the spin from the meetings with “RocketMan” (Strumpet’s words not mine.) The United States got nothing… nada, zip. RocketMan got an invitation and place of prominence on the world stage.

Furthermore, RocketMan got what he wanted most… any form of a concession from Strumpet. He got a public announcement that the United States would stop war games with its ally, South Korea. I’m sure that was far more than RocketMan dreamed of.

And did you see that photo op of Strumpet saluting the North Korean General? The North Korean film crews got years worth of propaganda about how RocketMan made Strumpet cower in their presence. Way to go Strumpet.

This was on the heels of Strumpet pissing off six of our allies at the G7 conference. Strumpet even wanted Russia back in the club to once again make it the G8. Of course, that makes sense if you think about it. The other six members are pissed at Strumpet. So now he needs his butt buddy, Putin, back in the club. Maybe if Strumpet could get RocketMan in the club… they could have a threesome.

There is no sleep for the wicked. The situation along the U.S – Mexico border is shameful… a disgrace. The United States is setting up concentration camps there. What makes it worse, is that they are child concentration camps. Nazi Germany set up such camps where they separated families. I don’t have an encompassing solution for the immigration problems we have, but this is not it. I thought we were better than that… maybe not.

I should mention that Attorney General Sessions claims that he is supporting the law. Well folks, no law supports what he is doing. Sure there are laws about illegal immigration, but those laws don’t say to separate children from their parents while awaiting their case. It is the Strumpet administration that is doing that, pure and simple.

Then Sessions had the balls to use the bible to justify his actions. First, I don’t know what God is really thinking, but there’s no God that I know of that would condone this. Furthermore, the same passage Sessions quoted was used by Southerners to justify slavery, and by Hitler to justify his authoritarian rule in the 1930s.

That’s the problem with just someone’s underlined parts of the bible. The meaning can get distorted when the whole picture isn’t there. Sessions quote was from a tiny portion of The Book of Romans, Chapter 13. He used the part where St. Paul commanded that the laws of the government be obeyed. I think it would be good if Sessions would read the rest of the Romans… then he would know the real meaning and not justify the child concentration camps the government is setting up.

Those concentration camps are immoral. If you just sit there and do nothing about it, may you burn in hell. If we as a people do nothing about, may we go to hell.

Pewwwww… but I’m not done yet. Neither was Strumpet. He went on to put out a series of “spins,” half-truths, misstatements and flat out lies.

The one that bugged me most is that he said the current problems at the border (concentration camps) are the fault of the Democrats. That’s undeniably wrong. But before I go there, I’ll list the other stuff.

  1. Strumpet claimed his now-jailed campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was only his campaign manager for “49 days or something like that.” Fact: Manafort was campaign manager for 144 days… nearly 5 months.
  2. Strumpet said the Department of Justice IG report criticizing former FBI director James Comey exonerated him (Strumpet) from any wrongdoing in the Russia probe. “No Collusion” Fact: That report had nothing in it about the Russia probe. The Strumpet doth protest too much, methinks.
  3. Strumpet changed his tune on the firing of Michael Flynn as United States National Security Advisor. This time he said, “Some people say he lied, and some people say he didn’t lie.” Fact: Strumpet is the “some people.” When Strumpet fired Flynn before the cameras he said, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI.” Flynn has pled guilty to lying to the FBI. This is just another case of Strumpet playing loose and free with the truth.
  4. Strumpet is blaming the shameful separation of children from their parents along the US border on the law passed by Democrats. Fact: There is nothing in the immigration laws requiring separation of children from their parents.

I don’t understand why he does this. It goes on and on. Perhaps it’s because Strumpet can’t help the lies. I don’t know what he’s thinking. When befuddled, he makes up stuff. Or perhaps he is incompetent or senile. Well, we know he lies about lots of stuff. He has been caught in blatant lies many times.

But perhaps it’s a combination of all the rest. Strumpet makes stuff up, is befuddled, is incompetent and is senile. This makes perfect sense. First, he makes things up because he thinks you and I are too stupid to know or find out the difference. Maybe he thinks we don’t care. Well if that’s what he thinks about the American people, then he is the stupid one.

Perhaps the later three of the possible reasons is the essence of the problem. He is clearly incompetent. He’s a game show host and had no experience for the position he holds. The “Peter Principal” has been proven again. To remind you of the principal, it holds that some people rise to their level of incompetence.

It’s clear that Strumpet makes things up. When he is asked a question that he knows nothing about, he will never say, “I don’t know.” That’s not in his nature. When he recently proclaimed the immigration laws now being enforced were the Democrats laws, Strumpet just couldn’t help himself. He made it up and had no idea if it was true. It wasn’t true or even close. The laws were made over many years… more of them under Republicans than Democrats. The fact is that what’s going on in the concentration camps is the policy put forth by this administration’s Attorney General, Sessions.

The other two options for Strumpet’s behavior are that he is befuddled or senile. Well, I don’t think he’s senile, but he is often befuddled. Just consider the COVFEFE incident. This is not only that he tweeted the babble, but mostly the way he tried to weasel his way around admitting he was befuddled.

I could be wrong, so you choose from the possibilities:

A. Strumpet flat out lies.
B. Strumpet thinks you’re stupid.
C. Strumpet makes things up.
D. Strumpet is incompetent.
E. Strumpet is befuddled.
F. Strumpet is senile.
G. All the abo… well you know.

Perhaps you think I’m wrong with the list. Indeed, I may not have thought of something. If so, you choose something you think explains all of this from Strumpet. Post it here. I welcome you to express your opinion.

Oh… before I end my rant, I would like you to consider one more thing. It’s the other definition of strumpet… prostitute.

In this case, prostitute is just a nice word for whore. And that’s just what I think Strumpet is… a whore. He will do anything, and go to any length to help himself… even supporting bigots if he believes it will help him. Here’s the latest case in point.

The two pictures below say it all. They are taken from a campaign video for Corey Stewart. I can’t even believe I’m saying this… he is the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in the state of Virginia. Republicans!!! Have you lost your minds!!! This guy is proud of “pro-slavery icons.” Don’t the words racist and bigot mean anything to you?

But wait… there’s more.

There's no place for this man in our government.
There’s no place for this man in our government.
People of Virginia... your vote in November can prevent this guy from getting into our government at one of  the highest levels

People of Virginia… your vote in November can prevent this guy from getting into our government at one of the highest levels

Now, I don’t think we should tear down all the statues of the Old South. I think there is indeed a place for a statue of General Robert E. Lee. That is part of our heritage and history. We need to know it, and I thought we had learned from it. But… and it’s a big BBBUUUUTTT. “Proud of pro-slavery icons” probably tells you all you need to know about this guy.

But wait, there’s still more. Strumpet has once again proven he will be a whore for anything he thinks will help keep a majority of Republicans for him in Congress. First, Strumpet supported Roy Moore. You remember him… he’s the guy that was seen as a racist and a homophobic… holds the belief that Christianity should order public policy… and probably had past ties to neo-Confederates and white nationalist groups. He was running for the Senate and Strumpet supported him. Yeah… that guy. Fortunately, he lost.

Now Strumpet is supporting Corey Stewart. I hear you… you say, “Naw… Strumpet can’t be that stupid.” Well, he is. Don’t believe me? The next pic is of the tweet Strumpet sent out supporting Stewart. Strumpet will indeed prostitute himself for anything.

Strumpet will prostitute himself for anything that helps him.

Strumpet will prostitute himself for anything that helps him.

Here’s what I can’t figure out. Strumpet’s supporters seem to let anything he does “slide.” Everything I’ve laid out here is just the last week. This has been going on and on yet I still see posts on social media proclaiming;

“This is what we hired him to do.”

Really? Is this what you hired him to do? The only thing I’ve seen him do is to claim credit for massive permanent tax cuts to big business, and a few bones given as temporary tax cuts for some in the middle class. How much has your paycheck increased as a result of the tax cuts?

Even if you like the new tax stuff… then what else has Strumpet done. Nada, Zip. Don’t try to tell me his dealings with RocketMan have done anything. Nothing has come of that but a bunch of photo-ops.

So why is it some folks let him slide? What is it he does that makes them turn a blind eye to everything else? He was caught saying about women, “I can grab them by the pu**y.” And during his campaign he said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” The way Strumpet acts, he thinks he can do anything and get away with it. Maybe he’s right. I just can’t figure it out.

The November elections aren’t that far away. It’s your chance to do something. If you like what we have and want to keep Strumpet in power, then maybe I will go on a very long cruise to the Caribbean. But, there are enough seats in Congress to take away the Republican majority. (I didn’t believe I would ever say that.) Leaving Strumpet without a majority on Congress will leave him a eunuch.

It’s up to you.

 

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Big Sunday Plans

Did you ever have one of those days where you planned to do lots of stuff? Sure you have. Today was one of those days for me.

First I was going to go for a bike ride… at least five miles. Then I was going write at least a chapter in the next book I’m working on. I also planned to edit a chapter of another book. Then I was going to wash and vacuum the car. To cap the day off I need to change the spark plugs and air filter on the Magic Bus.

Of course, it was Sunday. So you know where this ended up going. First, I was in serious need of coffee. Not just any coffee would do. I have become addicted to McDonald’s coffee. So once my eyes were clear enough, I went and got the coffee. The McDonald’s is just a few blocks down from me here on Kokomo Island, so I just walked.

I just got coffee, but Sgt Pepper wanted a Sausage & Egg McMuffin. Since they have a special on Sausage & Egg McMuffins (one for $3 or two for $4), I bought two. So much for my diet today. After wolfing down the McMuffin, I refilled the super-giant sized coffee and headed back to Casa Kokomo Man.

I should really call it “Shanty Kokomo Man.” It’s a giant cardboard box with a 67-inch big screen TV and a LazyBoy recliner. What more does a man need?

I sat down to sip my coffee and flipped on the TV. Sports was preempting my usual news. Tennis was on. It was the French Open. I thought to myself, I’ll drink a little coffee and then get to work. I spent the next hour and a half checking my eyelids for cracks. When I woke up again, Rafael Nadal had won the match.

I decided that I would just outline the next chapter in my book. But first, I wanted to check on any NASCAR news.

So I watched this show I had never seen before. It was a couple of people in Key West discussing NASCAR and interviewing some NASCAR personalities. I’m not making any of this up. A man and woman in Key West were the hosts of the show. I have no idea who the man and woman were. They seemed to have a little NASCAR knowledge, but then so do I. I guess this is just another of the little known Key West stuff.

After “Key West NASCAR,” the Fox Sports 1 pre-race show came on. Of course, I had to watch that to find out all the information on today’s upcoming race.

By this time I thought I would just edit the chapter already written and start work on the new chapter tomorrow. It turned out it was raining, so the race was being delayed. It would be an hour or so before the track could be dried.

Sgt Pepper chimed in:

“Barrraak – Sunny day… Time for the Beach – Barrrrak”

He was right. Since the race was delayed, and since it was such a nice day I decided Sunday wouldn’t be a day for working on any writing. I would spend some time on the beach and then do the work on the car and Magic Bus.

The beach really was nice. It was about 88 degrees, and the water temperature is about 83. I love living in the Northernmost Caribbean.

On the lookout for boobies

On the lookout for boobies

Sgt Pepper and I spent a couple of hours on the beach. I went for a swim… need the exercise, and Sgt Pepper talked with the sandpipers. More than anything else, we just hung out on the beach soaking in the warm sun and searching the horizon for boobies. NO!… not those kind of boobies…. seabird type boobies. Sgt Pepper likes to play with boobies.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I didn’t get anything useful done today. But you would be wrong. I got some work done on the car and Magic Bus. Well… ummmm…. errrrr… ok, it wasn’t much work. I got online and ordered the spark plugs and air filter. They will be here Wednesday.

But really… can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

.

Overlord

I watch the news everyday; morning, noon, and night. When I watched this morning, there was nothing said about one of the most momentous events ever that happened on this day; June 6. The significance of today will probably pass without much mention. I hope I’m wrong, but the events of June 6, 1944 aren’t in the consciousness of many people still alive. After all, that was 74 years ago. I wasn’t even born then, and neither were most of you reading this.

But I bet your grandfather, or father, or possibly great-grandfather would know. Names like Utah, Omaha, and Point Du Hoc would still reverberate in their minds. For the British, Canadians, and Australians… the names Gold, Juno, and Sword would have been burned into their memories of those earlier generations.

Tom Brokaw has called them “The Greatest Generation.” I don’t know if they were the “Greatest,” but I do know that on this day in 1944; 153,115 men of the Allied forces went ashore in the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever known. It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

Maybe Tom Brokaw is right… maybe they are the “Greatest.” I can’t imagine what it must have been like. Soldiers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions jumped out of airplanes into the black of night. No night vision goggles, no infrared images of what was below… they just jumped out into the blackness not knowing what was waiting below them. I have no idea where they got the guts to do it.

Think about the two hundred or so Rangers that had to scale the cliffs of Point Du Hoc with the Germans up on top raining “Potato Masher” hand grenades down on them. Their job was to get to the top cliffs and disable massive German artillery that could be destructive to the Americans landing at Omaha and Utah beaches. They had no idea how many angry Germans were waiting for them on top of the cliffs. They just knew they had to get to the top no matter what the enemy was throwing down on them. I have no idea where they got the guts to do it.

The rest of the forces going ashore knew that the Germans were waiting for them. The Nazis had planted mines, wooden stakes, tripods and anti-tank traps to stop invading forces. As the soldiers waded… sometimes swimming or drowning as the went ashore… the Germans fired down on them from the fortifications they built to stop any invasion. The soldiers going ashore knew the Nazis would use everything they had to kill them and keep them from the beaches. I have no idea where they got the guts to do it.

But they did do it. Over 150,000 soldiers from the US, Britain, Canada, and Australia went ashore on “D-Day,” June 6, 1944. The toll was high with over 10,000 casualties… at least 4414 confirmed dead. Many movies, books, and stories have been told that try to tell us what it was like to go ashore on that day. But I don’t think any of book or movie can tell us what it was really like. Only those that were there really know. It doesn’t matter to me if they received some kind of award, badge or formalized honor… everyone that attacked the Nazis that day was a hero.

If this map looks complicated, it's because it is. Landing 150,000 soldiers in a short time is complex.

If this map looks complicated, it’s because it is. Landing 150,000 soldiers in a short time is complex.

The success of Operation Overlord can’t be overstated. Within one week of D-Day, 326,000 men and 50,000 vehicles were put ashore. By the end of June, nearly a million allied soldiers were in France. It would still take another eleven months and many more sacrifices before Nazi Germany was defeated. But June 6, 1944 was the beginning of the end.

There are very few of those D-Day heroes still alive. Estimates vary, but at best, of the 150,000+ that went ashore that day… only a few thousand are alive. Of the 16 million who served in WWII only a bit over 500,000 were alive a year ago. As it will with all of us… age is catching up with them. All are over 90, and over 130,000 die a year.

Going ashore into the barrage of enemy gunfire.

Wading ashore into the barrage of enemy gunfire.

So today… no make that every day… go out of your way to find one of those old guys wearing a WWII Veteran ball cap. Shake their hand and tell them “thank you.” But more than that, take a little time to talk with them. Ask them where they were and what they did in WWII. Ask them about their life, their children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Listen to their stories if they will share them with you. Do it today… you don’t have much time left till those stories are gone.

.

Escape to Key West – Part 2

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since I was in the Keys. I guess time goes fast when you’re having fun. It seems that every time I get ready to write about the rest of the trip, something else pops up. Although I started writing this a week ago Monday, I finally forced myself to finish up.

Key Largo – My time in Key Largo was cut short. Little Bastard Alberto was churning up in the Yucatan. While it wasn’t a complete loss… I did get one afternoon of SCUBA diving in. Little Bastard Alberto made diving any more a bad idea. Sgt Pepper and I did spend an evening at Sharkey’s foot tappin’ (claw tappin’) to a good old-fashioned rock-n-roll band. Then it was on down the road.

One of the things I wanted to see was how much damage remained from last fall’s Big Bitch Irma. Mostly I discovered how fickle she was. Most of the area seems to have been untouched… at least that’s what it looked like. Maybe it has been fixed up. But starting about mile marker 85 there were places that were destroyed.

Most houses or businesses were in great shape. But then it was bizarre. In between the perfect condition places something would be utterly devastated… with no chance of repair. Then drive along for miles with no apparent damage, and then BAM… another place all smashed up. For the most part, there was only a little damage remaining.

With Alberto brewing, it was raining on and off. Sgt Pepper is easily scared by such stuff, so rather than seeing much along the way we only stopped at the Sunset Grille. The Sunset Grille is right at the southern end of Marathon. I think there used to be a man-made beach there, but if there was, it was completely eroded away. Otherwise, everything else there, including the pool and patio, were in great shape.

We only stopped for a bite to eat. I had a Cuban… I’m driving so no booze for me. But Sgt Pepper on the other hand had two Tiki Parrots. Really… that’s a booze drink they serve there. I don’t know what’s in it, but after two, Sgt Pepper needed me to carry him to the car. Then it was on down the road. Next stop… Bone Island

Barrrrrark… Are we there yet?… Barrrrrark

Key West – Thanks to Little Bastard Alberto, it rained almost the whole time on Cayo Hueso. Cayo Hueso is the original Spanish name of Key West. It was a heavy rain most of the time with a little bit of wind. But I wasn’t about to let the rain spoil my fun.

I took a look around to see how Bone Island is doing after last fall’s Big Bitch Irma. As it turns out, there is very little damage remaining that I could see.

All of my favorite places for liquid refreshments were fine. I suspect some may have had new coats of paint. In any case, everything was bright and shiny. I took a couple of pics to show you what I mean:

A "La Te Da Cosmo"... mmmmm-mmmmm good

A “La Te Da Cosmo”… mmmmm-mmmmm good

 

The best Painkillers this side of the island of Jost Van Dyke

The best Painkillers this side of the island of Jost Van Dyke

There was one exception… a t-shirt shop on the corner of Green and Whitehead was almost destroyed. It used to be the “Tropical Corner”. This was the first T-shirt shop most cruise ship passengers would come to as they walked into Key West. The place right next door was where they sold tickets for the “hop on – hop off” bus. It’s gone. The following pic shows the before and the after of the stores.

Hard to believe this is the same place... but it is. Before Big Bitch Irma... and after.

Hard to believe this is the same place… but it is. Before Big Bitch Irma… and after.

I’m going to leave out all the debauchery along Duval Street. You’ll just have to buy the book when it comes out. I do want to tell you about one special place. I was making my way to some of my old haunts… with Sgt Pepper on my shoulder. He was suffering a bit of a hangover from the two Tiki Parrots yesterday afternoon and was being kinda quiet.

I was peddling my bicycle on my way along Elisabeth street from Caroline, going to Amelia and then over to Duval. (Actually, I was headed over to visit folks… and a “painkiller” at the Rum Bar.) Suddenly Sgt Pepper went berserk.

“Barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark, , barrrrrark, barrrrrark, barrrrrark.

When I was finally able to calm him down a little bit and asked, “What’s wrong?”

He answered, “Barrrrrark, Nancy Forrester’s barrrrrark”

He flew off my shoulder… he never does that… and landed on a sign at 518 Elisabeth Street. It was a sign for Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden.Now I knew about the “Garden of Eden”… the roof-top place on top of the Bull & Whistle. So I wondered what Sgt. Pepper was getting me into.

Well, I have to tell you… Nancy Forrester’s garden is way better than the one on the top of the Bull & Whistle. Nancy’s garden is in her backyard. It’s a place where she rescues parrots. It’s small and way underfunded, but she is currently caring for 23 unwanted parrots. She relies entirely on donations. (More about donations in a minute.)

I couldn’t believe it…. nobody wanted these parrots. They were beautiful!. Nancy spent a lot of time telling us about what she does there. Of course, I already knew that a parrot is a lifelong friend, partner, and companion. It takes commitment to have a parrot. A parrot can live to be 100 years old. So if you want a parrot, it is indeed a lifelong commitment.

While we were there, Nancy introduced us to two of the parrots she is caring for. First was Mr. Peaches… an astonishing Moluccan Cockatoo. Mr. Peaches would sing and dance, but maybe most amazing is that he would play games on visitors smartphones. Really! He learned to use his tongue on the screen to play games. These Cockatoos are an endangered species, and Nancy wants to do what she can.

Mr. Peaches lovin' the music.

Mr. Peaches lovin’ the music.

 

Next up was “Batman”… a magnificent McCaw He was a bit of a talker. He and Sgt. Pepper carried on quite a conversation. I have no clue what they were talking about since I don’t speak parrot. But knowing Sgt. Pepper, he was getting information on all the hot chicks in the area.

Batman spreading his wings.

Batman spreading his wings.

You can tell Nancy is passionate about what she does. She welcomes visitors to her garden and will spend as much time talking about her passion as you would like. Her garden (and her kindness) are one of those little-known places in Key West everyone should visit.

Don’t be shy. There’s just a little path along the side of her house that leads to her “Garden.” If you weren’t looking for it… or had Sgt. Pepper with you… you almost would miss it. From the front, it looks like many of the houses in Key West. But the path does lead to the garden and Nancy welcomes everyone.

She asks for a 10 dollar per person (or per parrot) donation. It was worth way more than the $10 bucks. As soon as I got home, I sent her some more to help out. You can donate with a credit card or Paypal. With the weather the way it was, she hasn’t been getting many visitors and needs to care for a lot of birds.

It was a great way to spend the late morning. Sgt. Pepper and I sat there sort of playing with all the parrots… feeding them some banana chips… talking with them… and listening to Nancy tell about the parrots. Even Sgt. Pepper learned stuff.

We were there for at least two hours. It was sprinkling on and off most of the time. I would have stayed longer, but it started raining harder, so we left.

I spent the rest of the day doing Key West stuff… visiting old haunts, and having liquid refreshments. But my time at Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is one of my best Key West memories ever. Anyone visiting Key West owes it to themselves to visit and spend some time there.

Visit Nancy’s website or her facebook page.

Click here for Nancy’s facebook page

Click here for Nancy’s web site.

The trip to the Keys was way too short, and I spent too much time hunkered down due to all the rain from Little Bastard Alberto. There were no sunsets… no walk-abouts (or crawls) down Duval… and none of the adventures I hoped for.

So… another trip is in order. SOON.

“Barrrrrark, When are we going back… when are we going back?  barrrrrark”

Read part 1 – Escape to Key West – Part 1

 

 

Escape to Key West

I’m in serious need of an escape. And Key West is the perfect place to escape to. They are accepting of anyone and anything. I’m pretty sure you could march butt naked down Duval Street with a bottle of Patron, drinking shots and with a boom box blasting out LMFAO’s Shot, Shot, Shot… shot, shot – Shot, Shot, Shot… shot, shot, EVERYBODY”… and no one would bat an eye.

 

So that’s the first thing I’m gunna do when I get there. Well… except for the naked part… and ok… maybe not down the middle of Duval. But the Patron Tequila and the shots are on… along with a few of my other favorites.

You may think that because I live in the Northernmost Caribbean (Northwest Florida on Kokomo Island,) it would be easy to get to Key West. After all, it’s Florida… just a hop, skip and a jump. But you would be wrong. It’s not so easy.

First, I have to get off Kokomo Island. The mail boat only comes once a month, and since Jimmy Buffett quit flying his Albatross, he won’t come to pick me up anymore. So I have to pack the magic bus with everything I own to have enough stuff to make the arduous journey. And don’t forget… SCUBA gear… enough stuff to almost sink the magic bus.

Ummmm… about the magic bus. I can’t tell you much about it or the genie letting me use it will take it back. Let’s just say, that it will get me across the expanse of water from Kokomo Island to the mainland. Once there, it turns into sort of a modern version of a 60’s hippie VW bus.

MagicBus2

That’s all the magic I’m allowed to use. After that, I have to drive it down the highways and byways just like any other vehicle. It does have other magical properties, but I’m not allowed to use it except in emergencies. One day I’m going to find out what that red button in the middle of the dash does.

So… after crossing the great channel I’ve still got about 700 miles to go to get to Key West. I hear you… you’re screaming, SEVEN HUNDRED MILES!… But you’re already in Florida… how can it be that far?” Well believe me, it is. And that last 100 miles is down a two-lane road. The lookie-loos driving that road are going so sloooooow. It seems like they are always going along at 20 mph trying to find turn off to “No Name Key”… or to the “Square Grouper Bar and Grille.” There’s no way you can make good time down that road… the “Overseas Highway.”

But I always have a plan for that last 100 miles. I take a separate day for that part. I stop in Key Largo and spend a day or two there. Key Largo is the SCUBA capital of the world. This may be the only tourist area in the world that has more SCUBA diver operations than T-shirt shops.

I spend a day or two or three in Key Largo SCUBA diving. That way I can have breakfast at Bogie’s… “Here’s looking at you kid.” I also have a mahi-mahi fish dinner at Mrs. Macs in Key Largo.

After my time in Key Largo, I spend a whole day driving that 100 miles down the Overseas Highway… U.S. 1. I go to No Name Key… have a slice of pizza at the No Name Bar… and stop in at the Square Grouper.

By the way… this and all the places I’ll be stopping at are all part of an upcoming book, “Travels With a Naked Parrot.” I’m making this trip with a parrot. His name is Sergeant Pepper. You’ll recognize him and me because I go almost everywhere with him. He’s perched on my shoulder most of the time.

So off I go on a week-long trip to Key Weird. I hear it already:

“Barrrrak, Are we there yet… Barrrrrak.

Read more about the trip at: Escape to Key West – Part 2