Letting Tourons Back to Key West

I usually try to keep it lite in my posts… especially during hard times. But today, I’m taking a mostly serious look at the situation in which we find ourselves. I was spurred on by “Key West Lou.” I follow his daily blog about Key West and, of late, “no punches pulled political commentary.” CLICK HERE TO GO TO HIS BLOG

One of Lou’s recent blogs started with:

Key West is closed down. Duval dead!

One of Key West’s famous gentleman’s clubs is The Red Garter on Duval. A strip joint with class. There is a large sign in its window: Sorry….. We’re Clothed Until Further Notice.

A delicate touch! A Key West one!

Lou’s comments and the sign are clever ways to point out Key West is in dire straits during the Cootie Bug crisis.

This pic was posted on twitter by Reese Piper, a stripper at the Red Garter. The comment with the pic was, “My club in Florida’ Clothed Until Further Notice’”
Reese @reesepipewrites proclaims of herself: Freelance writer. Mostly sex work, disability, & the intimate details of my life. Stripper.

Key West (and all of the Florida Keys) are almost entirely dependent on tourism. There is no other industry of consequence in Key West. Right now, there is a roadblock preventing all but residents from entering The Keys. During normal times upwards of 20,000 visitors are in Key West every day… sometimes more. While the full-time resident population of “Bone Island” is small, about 25,000, I would venture to say 95% or more of the residents are in one way or another dependent on tourism. Key West is indeed in trouble.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Col. Lou Caputo directs a driver wanting to continue down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway near Key Largo, Fla. Friday, March 27, 2020. The Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors since March 22, because of the coronavirus crisis. Keys officials decided to established the checkpoint Friday to further lessen the threat of virus transmission to people in the subtropical island chain. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)
Road block allowing only residents into The Keys.

I sometimes comment on Lou’s blog… he’ll let anyone comment. So today, I commented about the “clothed till further notice” sign. I said:

Perhaps the sign should read, “We’re clothed until Fantasy Fest.”

(If you don’t know what Fantasy Fest is… it’s held around Halloween every year and can be best described as a “public tits & tease. I wrote about it last October.
For adults… HERE’S THE LINK TO THE FANTASY FEST PAGE. )

After reading Lou’s blog, I went looking for pics or videos of Key West during the shutdown. There’s one video of a bike ride down Duval just about sunset time. It’s eerie. All the places I like to go to have their doors closed and no visitors. Capt’n Tony’s, Sloppy Joes, and yes, The Red Garter, are all locked-up tight. There are no tourists. Even Margaritaville is closed except for take-out food.

Margaritaville closed! The horror of it all!!!!

(Here’s a LINK TO THE VIDEO, which is about 50 minutes long. Seeing The Rock like this is very eerie.)

There is some truth to my “clothed till Fantasy Fest” comment on Lou’s blog. I mean, unless you’ve recovered from the virus, there is no immunity. And with a vaccine maybe 18 months away, what are we to do. Visitors are the lifeblood of “The Rock.” Can it survive all the way to Fantasy Fest… or longer?

 And if Key West does open up for Fantasy Fest… or any time before there is an effective vaccination, what will happen? Of course… Tourons will flock to Key West by the tens of thousands. They will eat, drink, and party all over Key West… especially right down Duval.

(Touron = Tourist + Moron – Not all tourists are morons and vice-versa.)

Of maybe 20,000 visitors every day of Fantasy Fest, a few… maybe 100 or so, will have (or carry) Cootie Bugs into the bars and restaurants… and right down the middle of Duval. They will visit all my favorite places like the Chart Room, the “Trat”, the Rum Bar, or Aqua for dueling bartenders. And yes… Margaritaville!

So… I have to ask: Do you want Key West and the world to wait 18 months for a vaccine, or; perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time to rip off the Band-Aid and get it over with. Yes… it will be a lot like walking naked down the middle of Duval street… all exposed.

But that’s precisely what Sweden is doing. Not the naked part… but the “ripping off the Band-Aid part. They are allowing mostly “business as usual” and accepting that rather than taking months for everyone to get Cootie Bugs, they are getting it over with… and then on with life.

Hummm… thinking about it and considering it’s Sweden… maybe the naked part does apply.

So how long do we wait? It’s six months till Fantasy Fest. Is that long enough? Probably not. In a short period, the Turons are sure to bring the Cootie Bugs into every bar, restaurant, hotel, and t-shirt shop in town.

Southernmost Point before Cootie Bugs
Southernmost Point post “lock-down.”

Can we even wait until Fantasy Fest… six months from now? If we wait that long, then there will be no bars, restaurants, hotels, and trinket shops for visitors to come to. All but wealthy and retired residents will be forced to leave. They will have to find work elsewhere. Then there will be nobody to serve the booze, no musicians, no one to work in the t-shirt shops…. And no one will be at the front desk of the hotels. Those who make Key West the vibrant place that it is will be gone. The Rum Bar, the Trat, and maybe even the Chart Room will be gone. And I’m sure we can’t wait 18 months until there’s a vaccine.

Finally… if we’re not back to normal by Fantasy Fest, I’m walking naked down the middle of Duval street. That should be motivation enough to get re-opened.

So I ask… when should re-open? When do we “rip the Band-Aid off?”  I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision.

Just What The World Needs Now

In the midst of this epidemic, has your faith in mankind been restored?… at least a little bit? I mean… people are kinder… gentler toward each other. Every day… almost every minute you see some act of kindness. People are giving of themselves to others. Throughout time, ordinary people have stepped up to do extraordinary things… ordinary people becoming extraordinary heroes.

Before you read on, click on the Youtube link below and let it play in the background.

Read more about this video and music at the bottom of the page.

Today’s hero doesn’t fit the mold we’ve come to expect… or do they? We’ve come to expect a hero to be someone in uniform that goes into danger. But take away the uniform and what do you have? A mostly ordinary person who is put in a situation and decides they are going to make a difference.

Usually, it isn’t the Generals, Police, or Fire Chief leading the way into danger. More often than not it’s the low ranking, low paid “soldier” down in the trenches. Today’s soldier is the one that delivers your mail, packages, or groceries to your door. It’s the truck drivers delivering TP to your store. (Hurry up… I’m almost out.) They are taking a chance exposing themselves when the rest of us are “hunkered down.”

Those that are wearing uniforms are still out there too. Themilitary, police and firefighters are still on duty… answering the call inthe face of new danger. Then too, some are wearing uniforms we don’t ordinarilythink of as “soldiers.” Nurses, doctors, orderlies are especially on the “frontlines.” They are the soldiers in the middle of the battle.

Most of them will say, I was just doing my job… or it wasthe right thing to do. Today, in every walk of life, we see people stepping upto do the right thing. Sometimes it’s rich people donating their time andmoney, but more often than not it’s the everyday people that are out there “inthe trenches.”

In the deepest, darkest and desperate times of World War II in Great Britain, their Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech telling the people it would be remembered as their “finest hour.”

Perhaps this will be the world’s finest hour. I have seenmore good in mankind in the last couple of weeks than I have seen in a longtime. It’s not just here in the US…it’s all around the world. People are helping out any way they can.

People are working together in ways that we couldn’t imaginejust a few weeks ago. There’s the neighborhood that all go out to say the “Pledgeof Allegiance” with their kids in the morning. Neighbors throw impromptubirthday parties for little kids by driving around in their cars and truckshonking their horns. People everywhere are doing what they can to make adifference. They are looking out for each other. While having to remain apart,they are coming together

Keep it up humans.

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The music for “What the World Needs Now” was written by Hal David (Lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (Music) in the summer of 1965. It became a “top 40” hit. This video version is the “brainchild” of Shelbie Rassler, a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The video below from the March 29 “Sunday Today,” tells about how she and her fellow students came together to put together the video. It is yet another example of people coming together in ways we couldn’t imagine just days ago. (By the way… seems the music of the 60s is still holding up pretty well.)

Journey to the Land of Cootie Bugs

For the past few days I’ve been hunkered-down here on Kokomo Island. I want to avoid the dreaded Cootie Bug until it’s time to fly out to the Great Ho Chi Minh Trail Ride.By hunkered-down I mean I’m hangin’ in my safe-room bunker deep below the earth. This bunker is a cross between a man-cave and the NORAD command center buried deep in the mountains of Colorado. Except NORAD has nothing on this bunker. Mine is deeper into the earth and has much better stuff.

I have big screen TVs hard wired to all the sports channels. Oops… they’re all blank now. That’s okay, I’ve also got live feeds from entertainment venues all across the country. Oops… no live entertainment. That’s okay because I’ve got a tequila pipeline all the way to Jalisco, Mexico. So it’s “party on.”

But… today I had to come out of the safe-room to take care of some stuff I couldn’t put off any more. I had to go to the bank, the post-office and the store. It wasn’t pretty.

The Magic Bus transporter to beam me off Kokomo Island.

After the magic bus transported me off of Kokomo Island, I went to the bank. As I went in, I used my hands to open the door. You know… just the usual way. But then I thought about it and I was sure Cooties must have jumped on my hands when I opened the door.

OH NOOOOOO!!! I’ve got Cooties

I was 7th in line. Everyone in the line kept their distance. They all probably opened the door with their hands so they were certain to have had the Cooties too. Not to worry. I said to myself, “The Cooties are only on your hands, so just don’t touch your face… or any other parts… and you will be ok.”

Have you ever said to yourself, “Don’t touch your face.” As soon as I thought that, my nose started to itch. And I’m sure something was crawling on my cheek. And there was no doubt in my mind that a spider was spinning a web and laying eggs in my hair. Then my ear itched and then my other cheek. Pretty soon was about to leave. I couldn’t stand it. I had to go to the Magic Bus for some anti-Cootie wipes for my hands so I could scratch.

When it itches, but you can’t scratch your face.

But just then, it was my turn at the teller. First I had to put my card in the little machine and then enter my PIN. I hesitated to enter my PIN because I thought of all the people who had been putting Cooties on the keypad. But then since I figured I already had cooties on my hands, more wouldn’t matter… as long as I didn’t touch my face.

Now my face was on fire, but I managed not to touch my face throughout the transaction. The teller had been wearing those baby blue surgical gloves as she helped each customer. So those gloves must have had Cooties too. But, she wasn’t touching her face. I was wondering if her nose itched as much as mine, but I didn’t say anything.

I was getting cash out so the teller dutifully counted the the money. I saw she had it right the first time, and I just wanted to get out of there to wash my hands and scratch my nose. But noooooo.. she proceeded to count it again and again… 3,793 times to be sure the amount was correct. I should have asked her if her nose was starting to itch just for revenge.

Finally she was done. You guessed it… after all that handling, the money was surely covered in Cooties. So I asked the teller to put the bills in an envelope. She did and handed me the Cootie covered envelope with the Cootie covered bills inside. What could I do? I took the envelope.

Now my whole face itched. I ran back to the magic Bus as fast as I could. I used my clicker to unlock the doors. I had Cootie Killer wipes in the car so I ripped one open and cleaned my hands. After I cleaned my hands twice, I wiped down the door handle and the clicker. I put the Cootie infested envelope and money in the glove box. I then cleaned my hands again as well as the whole surface of the Magic Bus. Now I can’t use any of that money until all the Cooties die off… about 17 years from now.

By the time I was done with all that… my nose didn’t itch anymore.

When I got to the Post Office, there was a door and a line there. And the tellers were doing much the same as the one at the bank… handling everyone’s Cootie covered stuff.

I really didn’t need those stamps after all.

But I couldn’t avoid going to the store… I was low on toilet paper. Yep… you guessed it… no TP in the entire Northernmost Caribbean.  So I’ve implemented rationing.

This should hold me for about 73 days

And if that runs out… It’s a good thing I saved all those catalogs from Victoria’s Secret. Don’t scoff at me… I was saving them for an emergency. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Now I’m back in my man-cave – Cootie bug bunker. I flipped on ESPN… no good. I went to FOX Sports… nope. So I went to the emergency recorded material to find tonight’s entertainment.  I made myself a frozen concoction to help me hang on… and a shot of tequila… plopped down in the recliner and began to binge watch seventeen seasons of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Hey… I’m just a guy.

A Tradition of Stealin’

If you’ve known me for more than a day, you know Baseball is in my blood. In case you don’t know if I get a boo-boo, I bleed Dodger Blue

A few days ago, there was a bunch of hoopla about the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox stealing signs. I say to you, that’s just part of Baseball. Stay with me a few minutes here, and I’ll explain.

Stealin’ signs is part of the cat-n-mouse of Baseball. Teams and players have been doing it since day one. Abner Doubleday probably figured it would be there when he invented the game.

STOP THE PRESSES… STOP THE PRESSES!!!

Just as I was about to publish this op-ed, the news came out that the Houston Astros have been fined $5,000,000 by Major League Baseball… manager and general manager fired. Baseball will never be the same. News at 11… maybe

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Ole Abner knew that when the catcher wagged his a sign out to the pitcher, the runner(s) on base would try to figure out what that sign was. The runner wanted to signal back to their teammate what kind of pitch was about to be thrown… a fastball, curveball, screwball… or even a bean-ball.

I mean… this is as much a part of baseball as stealing bases and throwing spit-balls. It’s all part of the charm and tradition of the game.

Let’s take a step back from stealin’ pitch signs and look at all the other signs you see in a game. Sittin’ in the dugout, the manager performs all those quirky maneuvers to tell the third base coach what he wants the batter or runner to do… or not do.

For example, the manager touches his nose, then his chin, followed by his ear, and then grabs his crotch three times. That means nothing… it’s just a decoy… or maybe he just had an itch. But, if in full view of the television cameras, he does all those maneuvers and then scratches his butt twice, that means the batter is supposed to bunt.

Very funny bit… Sending signs… from A League of Their Own.

Following that, the third base coach has a whole different set of signs he sends to the batter… he adjusts his belt, sticks his finger in his ear, takes off his hat and rubs his head, and finally swats at a nonexistent bug flying around his head.

Then the batter steps up to the plate… but when the pitcher throws the ball, it’s nowhere near the plate, so the batter does nothing. And the whole thing starts again. You should see the gyrations managers, and base coaches go through for a hit-and-run play.

Of course, all this wagging, touching, scratching, and rubbing are in full view of the world… including the opposing team. And you can count on it… the opposing team is trying to figure out what all those signs mean too. You don’t hear anyone saying “ain’t it awful” to this stuff.

So, let’s get back to the catcher and pitcher. At the first-ever baseball game, when the catcher held up his arm waving, over his head that he wanted a curveball, ole Abner Doubleday was on second base. When Abner saw the signals, he hollered back to the batter, “He’s going to throw a curveball!” The batter hit a home-run.

After that, the catcher walked out to the pitcher and told him, “I’m going to show you 1 finger out in front of my crotch for a fastball, and two fingers for a curveball… got it?” Of course, Abner figured that out and started signaling back to the batter. And so it has gone for 181 years.

Now catchers have an elaborate set of signs intended to throw off the opposition. Catchers do more rubbin’, scratchin’, tappin’, and finger-wagging than the manager in the dugout and the third base coach combined.

Both sides know what’s going on. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. These days, catchers try to combat sign stealing by changing their sign patterns between innings. Sometimes in the middle of the inning, the catcher will run out to the pitcher to change the sign pattern.

And I think I’m probably right when I say, catchers have decoy signs. Just when they think the opposing team has stolen the signs, they change them to mean the opposite thing. A team steals what they think is going to be a curveball, and they get a fastball.

One more thing… the news media has said there’s so much at stake today, and technology makes it different. I submit it doesn’t make it different. Do you think the 1988 Dodgers thought there was any less at stake during the World Series? I don’t think so. Yeah, the dollar value has changed, but so has the price of a loaf of bread. Stakes now are the same as it was back in Abner’s day when they first hollered, “Play Ball.”

Some of you may think, “Ain’t it awful,’ but consider this. If baseball wanted to keep managers, coaches, or catchers from getting their signs stolen, they would just put a buzzer in the pitcher’s ear. Managers and coaches would use radios to the batters. The catcher would have a button under his big toe to press… once for a fastball, and twice for a curveball. No one could see anything. Of course, they would probably use a scanner to pick up the signals out to the pitcher.

And about that technology thing… first, it was just eyeballs… then it was a spyglass, then it was binoculars, then it was a camera on top of the stadium in centerfield. One day I’m sure they will have satellites looking down at the catcher’s crotch. Yep… stealing signs will still be going on then too.

So get over it. It’s part of baseball. It always has been and always will be.

By the way… “There’s no cryin’ in baseball.”

As for me, I can’t wait till February 21 when the umpire hollars out…

PLAY BALL!

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Rude comments won’t see the light of day.

New Year’s Resolutions

This year I’m breaking with a long-standing New Year’s tradition of mine. For years past, I had no resolution. I stopped because, like many of you, I broke the resolution faster than the 12 days of Christmas.

You know those kinds of resolutions I’m talking about. Like, “I won’t ogle women’s big boobs.” If you know me, then you know how that one went… ‘cause I’m just a guy.

Then there was the one where I resolved to only eat healthy stuff. Unfortunately, I was on a cruise over New Year’s. This one only lasted till I ordered Chocolate Melting Cake on New Year’s day. Hummm… did I say “unfortunately I was on a cruise?” I take that back. There’s never anything unfortunate about being on a cruise.

One year I did keep a resolution for at least a little while. I resolved not to make any political comments for the next year. It lasted almost all the way through January… till the Presidential Inauguration.

(DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Meneguin, U.S. Air Force/Released)

This year I’ve decided to give it a try again. But I have carefully selected resolutions I think I can stick to all year long.

2020 Resolution #1

I will not drink any more rot-gut tequila. All those “house” margaritas and unknown shots will be no more. No more Senior Gorditos or those $3.70 a bottle El Rancho. From now on, only the good stuff. As a minimum, it will be Patron… if they have it, I’ll order Don Julio.  And when I buy it for home, it will be Don Eduardo Anejo… mmmmmm mmmmm good.

Don Eduardo

2020 Resolution #2

I will donate more to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For this, I am totally dedicated. I might succumb to rot-gut tequila, but this is one resolution I will keep. At Saint Jude, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay, including travel, housing, and food. St. Jude also uses donations to fund research and innovative treatments for childhood illness and cancer.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO St. JUDE (you shouldn’t care, but just in case… it’s tax deductable.

OK… I wrote everything above here on New Year’s Eve. Then I started out the New Year with 2020 Resolution #1. This morning I’ve come up with one more resolution. I should be able to keep this one for at least most of next year…

2020 Resolution #3

I will not drink so much Don Julio tequila on New Year’s Eve in 2020.

Too much tequila

I wish a happy and prosperous New Year to everyone.