Barbarians on the High Seas

Those of you that know me, know I spend all my kids would be inheritance on cruises. Writing the books and such is just an excuse to go on more cruises. But… there are one or two special cruises every year I don’t need an excuse for. I’ll share a bit of that with you.

Every year a hoard of Barbarians descend upon coastal areas and board a ship heading to the high seas. It’s happens often in Florida, but New Orleans has also become a Barbarians’ favorite. They arrive ready for wickedness and debauchery.

NO… Not those Barbarians…

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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.



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.



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.


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:

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.