Jun 242016
 
WHERE THE HECK IS THE SOUTHERNMOST POINT?

by Dennis Reeves Cooper… The Southernmost Point. That big red buoy at the southern end of Whitehead Street. One of the top tourist attractions on the island. But most Key Westers know that the big red buoy does not really mark the actual geographic Southernmost Point. The actual Southernmost Point is supposedly a few blocks on the other side of that fence on Navy property, right? But if the buoy were placed over there, very few tourists would be able to go there and get [continue reading…]

Jun 242016
 
In Praise of Lower Education

by Ray Jason……. One of the great joys of my sea gypsy life is the wonderful sense of camaraderie that exists amongst the ocean sailing community. Because we have voluntarily embraced dangers that land-dwellers vigorously avoid, we have a deep sense of kinship. And when we gather together in foreign ports, we are extremely helpful to each other because we are essentially a wandering, water-winged tribe. This is a far cry from the isolation and suffocation of the modern suburbs. A common fixture of our [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am Island Voices, Issue #172 2 Responses »
Jun 242016
 
The Eyes (and Ears) in the Machines

by Kim Pederson……. Across the pond in England starting in 1811 and and ending roughly in 1816, a group of textile weavers, employed by others or self-employed, rebelled against the machines. The particular devices were stocking looms, spinning frames, and power looms developed as part of the Industrial Revolution. The weavers feared they would lose their jobs to lower-paid, less-skilled workers because of the new technologies and went on a region-wide machine-breaking rampage in the northwestern part of the country, one that had to be [continue reading…]

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #172, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 242016
 
Thousand Cats Hill

Thousand Cats Hill The Watrous boy said he saw a million cats on the hill in back of the house. His father admonished him that one should alway speak the truth. The boy reduced the number to a thousand. To a hundred. Ten. Well, there was a stray gone wild up on the hill. And it moved so fast it looked like there were two of them. At least two. Maybe more.

 June 24, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am ~ Artists ~, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Jun 172016
 
Oxitec: Lord of the Mosquitoes

by Alexis d’Albissin and Arnaud Girard……. “We’re guinea pigs in their science experiment,“ said Dick Nalley. Like many of his neighbors in Key Haven, he has dotted his front yard with angry placards. The government, you see, together with a British biotech company called Oxitec, plans to release three million genetically modified mosquitoes into their small island neighborhood, 5 miles northeast of Key West. The ultimate goal is to test this new tool for stopping the propagation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries dengue, chikungunya, and [continue reading…]

Jun 172016
 
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE IN KEY WEST?

  by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. I WAS JUST WONDERING. I have been writing columns for The Blue Paper since 1994. And many, if not most of the concepts for those columns started with “just wondering” about how something works or the truth about a particular topic. Maybe because I’m getting older, I have recently been wondering about what happens– or what HAS to happen– when a person dies in Key West. As with many stories, this one turned out to be more complex (and maybe [continue reading…]

Jun 172016
 
The Orlando Slayings: Ask the Wrong Questions, Get the Wrong—Or Is It The “Right”?-- Answers?

by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D…….. For 21 years I have been an ‘expert witness’ for lawyers representing LGBT clients from Brazil petitioning for asylum in the United States.  Seeking to avoid violent persecution in Brazil, as my asylum reports clearly demonstrate, LGBT Brazilians seeking US asylum believe that they are safer in the US than in Brazil. But considering the widespread US homophobia I often wonder, ‘Are LGBT Brazilians really safer in the U.S.?’  Certainly, the Pulse Club slaying in Orlando, Florida calls the safety [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #171, Martha Huggins 23 Responses »
Jun 172016
 
Roseburg Redux

by Alex Symington……. Back in October 2015 there was, yet again, another shooting spree in Roseburg, Oregon. In exasperation I wrote this: Now we can add Roseburg, Oregon to the infamous list of communities traumatized by mass murder. Another mentally ill (this one obsessed with religion) young man, with “small arms” (innocent sounding name of things so deadly) killed nine people in his community college English class then killed himself. You and I knew it was only a matter of time. It was inevitable. In [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:57 am Alex Symington, Issue #171 4 Responses »
Jun 172016
 
The Backside Story of Art History

by Kim Pederson……. Sadly, The Toast will itself soon be toast. If you’re not familiar with this “American anthology, humor, and feminist writing website,” you still have time to check it out (start here perhaps) before they fold their digital tent on July 1. I went to the site today after one of my Facebook friends posted a link for this article: “The Toast Looks Back: The Best of Western Art History.” While providing a number of intriguing story links there, writer Mallory Ortberg starts [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Issue #171, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 172016
 
About Language

by Kirby Congdon……. A Scotsman and I talk about English there in his native country and here in the colonies. We have some pet peeves by which we alienate people and send them to hell and damnation. We decided a major annoyance was hearing “I seen” instead of the past perfect. Journalists on television often swallow the verb “have” and perhaps we just don’t hear it. But in daily spontaneous speech this isn’t always so. An error of my own was brought up. “Personally, I [continue reading…]

 June 17, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Issue #171, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Big Coppitt – More Missing Documents?

by Margaret Blank……. Update: The FKAA responded right quick this time. I sent an email Sunday, got a response on Monday. This is new and different. Here’s a link to the agenda back up for the approval of award to Gianetti. A couple of things prompted me to take a look back at the Big Coppitt project. The Big Coppitt wastewater treatment facility experienced difficulties meeting effluent quality requirements for about a year. I discovered this completely by accident. It’s never been reported in the [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #170 4 Responses »
Jun 102016
 
WHO DO YOU CALL IF YOU SEE A PELICAN ENTANGLED IN FISHING LINE SO THAT HE CAN'T EAT OR FLY?

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. I hope you saw my story about the Key West chickens that appeared here in The Blue Paper April 29. In that story, I reported that, for several years, the Key West Wildlife Center (KWWC) has been contracted by the City of Key West to manage a program to rescue injured chickens, provide medical care, and arrange relocation to selected farms and orchards on the mainland where the chickens can retire in peace. As part of my research for that story, [continue reading…]

Jun 102016
 
A Super Bowl Epiphany

by Ray Jason……. It probably seems odd for me to post an essay on this topic in June instead of in February when the game takes place. However, the ideas in this piece just came to me in such a spontaneous gush, that it seemed like they wanted to get out into the world. So here is another example of my “fictional philosophy.” ******* During the third quarter of the Super Bowl, the legendary quarterback suffered a helmet to helmet injury that looked extremely severe. [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #170 No Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Ignorance Is...Well...Ignorance, Right?

by Kim Pederson……. The word “nescience” came up as word for the day recently. I’ve mentioned this word in passing in a previous blog (“Doorways to Nescience: Mind the Gap“) but never really explored it. The primary meaning for the term, which you might think of as “no science” based on the Latin roots, is lack of knowledge or awareness. Ignorance, in other word. That seems simple enough. But, as I should have known, nothing is ever simple. In this case, ignorance is not simple [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #170, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Knowledge Acquired By Systematic Study...

by John Donnelly……. Ignorance has never been Blissful. Indoctrinated absurdities presented as intelligent discourse, proffered by like-minded elitists has brought civilization to its knees. Educational systems producing paradigms of idiocy, have conditioned their protégés to accept purposeless nonsense; as unadulterated fact. Unchallenged volumes of opinionated rhetoric, presented in classrooms as immutable truth, is the established academic standard that all must adhere to; if one is to succeed. Brainwashing and punishing the creative genius that lies within each child, is the backbone of what has been [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #170, John Donnelly No Responses »
Jun 102016
 
Commitment

by Kirby Congdon……. If you have a hobby there should be no conflict between that interest and coping with the need for independence. However, if a preoccupation is more than a hobby, if it is your calling, if you feel it is the one thing you were born to do and if it lets you find out who you are, then you meet up with trouble and struggle because there is no test establishing your skills. You have to prove that you are who you [continue reading…]

 June 10, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #170, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Jun 032016
 
Some Musings on the Towel of Babel

 by Kim Pederson……. Is it just a slip of the tongue? I sometimes wonder what goes on in our brains when we write or speak a word that’s different from the one we intended to write or speak. Case in point. Yesterday, while blogging about “The Unconfusion of Tongues,” I intended to type “Tower of Babel” and instead typed “Towel of Babel.” I must have read through the entry three or four times before I noticed the mistake. But was it, I now ask, an [continue reading…]

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #169, Kim Pederson No Responses »
Jun 032016
 
Reef Perkins to Debut “Deep Air” - An Unconventional Life is His Muse

On Saturday, June 18, from 6 to 8pm, former combat veteran, smuggler, salvager and Conch Republic Navy Officer Reef Perkins will debut his third book, “Deep Air” at Grand Vin, 1107 Duval Street, Key West. Reading a tale written by Perkins is much like experiencing his storytelling in person. The language and story lines are fast-paced, improbable and wickedly entertaining – with a vaguely psychedelic feel. His style has been compared to that of Kurt Vonnegut. In “Deep Air,” Perkins describes a sailing vessel secured [continue reading…]

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #169, Literature, What To Do No Responses »
Jun 032016
 
Languages

Languages Birds, hidden within their cool recess, twitter and tweet behind the leaves as beyond the written page our own vocabularies rage to tell us what the world’s about when we find that any peace of mind reaches out for that light that hangs over the rooted craniums of earth-bound trees with their huge arms amazingly upraised while even each green leaf’s stem extends its sturdy place in its own season’s time to offer even more praise. Kirby Congdon

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #169, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Jun 032016
 
Sea Gypsy Philosopher - Third Anniversary

  Hello Dear Readers, Three years ago today I began my blog with the modest goal of sharing my unconventional outlook on Life with whoever might be interested. Because I come from a street performing background, where my juggling act was available for free to whoever walked by, I was delighted that my site could have the same sort of “give it away” purity to it. Even from the beginning I refused to litter my website with ads or to ask for donations. I wanted [continue reading…]

 June 3, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Island Voices, Issue #169 No Responses »
May 272016
 
FIGHTING FIRE IN KEY WEST

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Today, if you dial 911 to report a fire, the Key West Fire Department will typically be at the scene of the fire within five minutes. When I was researching this story and former Fire Chief Eddie Castro gave me that information, I asked the question again. “Come on, Chief, five minutes from the time the call comes into the fire station to fighting the fire does not seem credible.” “Well, actually,” he said– lecturing me like one of my old [continue reading…]

May 272016
 
School Board's Discussion on Henriquez Rehiring: "[silence]"

FRONT PAGE COMMENTARY by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. NOT TO SPEAK IS TO SPEAK, NOT TO ACT IS TO ACT We wondered this week just how the Monroe County School Board was going to justify the rehiring of a disgraced employee, twice embroiled in school district financial scandals. While the board did approve the $105,000 a year salary for Mike Henriquez in his new, specially tailored, Director’s job, they simply made sure, during the public meeting, to never once utter his name. This is how the board, in [continue reading…]

May 272016
 
A Monk Without a God

by Ray Jason……. A black-crowned night heron was clinging to my anchor chain, searching the quiet sea for a fish. As the sun eased its orange rim just above the horizon, the little bird looked up, and so did I. This sunrise held exceptional promise because of the cloud formations scattered about. There were immense walls of dense cumulus flanking a high ceiling of delicate cirrus. When the sun fully emerged from the sea, it transformed the sky into a magnificent, amber cathedral. Here was [continue reading…]

 May 27, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Island Voices, Issue #168 No Responses »
May 272016
 
As the World Turns (or Not)

by Kim Pederson……. “We did not notice right away. We couldn’t feel it. We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.” So opens Karen Thompson Walker’s novel The Age of Miracles. The major characters in this fictionocalpyse, Julia and her family, wake up one day and discover the earth has begun to spin a little bit slower and is slowing down more every day. Although it’s described in the book, [continue reading…]

 May 27, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Issue #168, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 202016
 
Peary Court: Affordable Housing Deal Goes Through / Units Can Legally Rent For $2709/Month

by Arnaud and Naja Girard…… This must be an all time record for how fast a small City like Key West can vet, vote, and authorize payment on a 12.5 million dollar deal. In just 2 weeks time the City dispatched 12.5 million dollars to a private company that will provide affordable housing [for up to $2709/month] for rent-burdened Key West workers. The last leg of this race to closing played out this week: the County’s Land Authority pledged the entire City reserve plus $300,000 [continue reading…]

May 202016
 
Cream Rises To The Top...

by John Donnelly……. Dare say, the rants denigrating law-enforcement officers, along with the chants calling for their murder, are difficult for me to reconcile with; while watching and listening to accounts of their extraordinary bravery and steadfast courage under fire, as President Obama decorates them with the ‘Medal of Valor’ at the White House. Just today, these ‘officers of the law’ appeared on TV as our president reverently draped this distinguished award around each of their necks. One mother was presented her son’s medal posthumously, [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #167, John Donnelly No Responses »
May 202016
 
I'd Rather Not Have One

by Kim Pederson……. Everyone needs help sometimes, especially with regard to putting the spark back into relationships teetering on the edge of gutteringdom. Guttering is a great word, isn’t it? It acts as a gerund for the verb “gutter” that denotes the melted wax that runs down a candle. The intransitive verb “gutter” means, in turn, to flow in rivulets as in wax down a candle, to incline downward in a draft or wind as candle flames do, or to burn feebly as again in [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 12:56 am Issue #167, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 202016
 
Poetry and Verse

by Kirby Congdon……. An important book on nursery rhymes, Iona and Peter Opie’s Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1952), pointed out that those light-hearted poems from Mother Goose were, in fact, documentaries, not just making things up. In those days an execution could be your punishment for embarrassing any political figure accused of mishandling civil rights — as if there were any! A few years ago, a local poet prefaced a reading of a poem by saying, “This really happened.” I asked myself, Does that mean [continue reading…]

 May 20, 2016  Posted by at 12:52 am Issue #167, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
May 132016
 
Medical Examiner Buys Himself Video Games, Gun Supplies and a Truck With County Money

by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. It all started with a dead body being hauled down US 1 on the back of an open-bed pickup truck. That was the unceremonious business practice of the new Monroe County Medical Examiner, Dr. Thomas Beaver. Families complained. Then employees at the Medical Examiner’s office began leaving. The first one to leave, Ryan Moe, claimed he was subjected to abusive treatment. He told the Keynoter last May that Beaver would leave him alone to conduct critical autopsy procedures, “He’d have [continue reading…]

May 132016
 
AL GORE SAYS THAT THE SEA LEVEL MAY RISE BY 20 FEET WORLDWIDE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING MAY AFFECT KEY WEST AND THE KEYS

Commentary by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Have you been keeping up with the climate change/global warming controversy? Well, if you live in the Florida Keys– and especially if you own property here, where most of the land area is only about five feet or less above sea level– you might want to at least try to stay current on this topic. After all, former vice president and almost-president of the United States of America Al Gore has said that “sea level could be rising as much [continue reading…]

May 132016
 
Open Letter to the School Board: Cash Settlements and School Discipline

Gentlemen: According to news reports, MCSD is considering a lump sum $550,000 payout to the family of a profoundly autistic elementary school student. Purportedly, the child was molested by a substitute teacher who is now in federal prison. Again, according to news reports, the suit in federal court was brought not entirely because of the molestation, but because of the allegations that the child’s mother reported the incident(s) to officials at Sugarloaf School and was ignored. One expects that there is a foundation, a truthfulness, [continue reading…]

May 132016
 
Thoughts on Hillary Clinton

by Alex Symington……. Because I express my views, I must expect opposing views. That is only natural. For most ideas and thoughts, there are counter ideas and thoughts, however, when I express my thoughts on Hillary Clinton I am confronted with a whole array of copy and paste presumptive reactions. “You are a sexist!” “You are in a boys club!”“Why don’t you just say it, you hate Hillary Clinton.” How to respond to that? First of all, I reserve “hate” for the deserving, not someone [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Alex Symington, Issue #166 8 Responses »
May 132016
 
Where the Blue Meets the Blue

by Ray Jason……. Never before and never since – had I felt such an elemental connection to our wet and wondrous planet. I was clinging to the top of AVENTURA’s mast, gazing at a panorama saturated in “blueness.” The dark blue of the Sea undulated to the horizon where it mated with the delicate blue of the Sky. It was like a “white-out” in a blizzard – but here in the Far Pacific it was a “blue-out.” I had climbed the 18 steps up my [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #166 No Responses »
May 132016
 
Creations of a Lesser God...

by John Donnelly……. ‘Kitten Cuddlers’ are needed. Our more advanced, enlightened and humane neighbor to the North, Miami-Dade County, is seeking ‘Kitten Cuddlers‘. Although Miami-Dade Animal Services receives approximately 30,000 discarded animals a year, rather than preemptively killing these abandoned creatures, they’ve networked with citizens in the Greater Miami Area to provide 24 hour a day care, for the most defenseless of these animals. During their twice a month workshop for the public, Miami-Dade Animal Services teaches the proper handling and treatment of discarded kittens. [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Issue #166, John Donnelly No Responses »
May 132016
 
In Favor of the Mutually Assured Smack Down

So who is Edith Garrud and where does she tend bar? If you had asked me this yesterday, I would have first given you a blank look. (I’m very good at this, believe me.) Then after the requisite ten-second minimum it takes for my mental gears to turn, I would have shrugged and said something like “Search me.” Thanks to the May/June 2016 issue of Mental Floss, however, I now know who Garrud is along with the fact that she does not tend bar. What [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:36 am Issue #166, Kim Pederson No Responses »
May 132016
 
On Some Categories of Poems

by Kirby Congdon……. The Curator and Librarian of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, Elspeth Healey, at the University of Kansas asked me, after I had sent her an early manuscript that had gotten misplaced among my own papers, how do I approach old work like that? Do I have difficulty making editorial changes or is the text considered, preferably, as a final one? The passage of time does give one a fresh view of old work. One’s ideas change. My reply to Ms. Healey is [continue reading…]

 May 13, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Issue #166, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
May 062016
 
Open Letter: Contretemps Over Drug Testing of Student Athletes

Gentlemen: I think we all know that there has been a major brouhaha over the proposed return of random drug testing for high school athletes. The proposal was brought to you at your recent workshop/meeting with very little, if any, explanation as to why the program was being revised. There was some mumbling to the effect that the principals and athletic directors wanted the random testing. This morning in his interview with Bill Becker on “Morning Magazine”, Superintendent Porter repeated that he and his staff [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:58 am Dr. Larry Murray, Issue #165 No Responses »
May 062016
 
Key West: An Art Colony

by Kirby Congdon……. The town of Key West makes you step back and look at it. This writer spent a summer in an art colony in Maine as a pot-and-pan boy in the kitchen to be able to stay there. I didn’t assimilate the need or the drive to be a creative person for decades. But I see it all around me now. This past season Auwina Weed and Joseph Lowe provided us with a keyboard concert for organ and piano very recently (April 28) [continue reading…]

 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Issue #165, Kirby Congdon No Responses »
Apr 292016
 
Peary Court: Plan B

by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. After 58% of voters rejected the purchase of Peary Court six weeks ago, some City Commissioners have a new plan: give the City’s affordable housing funds to a private company that wants to buy the entire former Navy housing complex on White Street for 60 million dollars. The City would pay the buyer 12.5 million. In exchange, the buyer would deed restrict the 157 existing units and any other units constructed on the 24 plus acre property for use as [continue reading…]

Apr 292016
 
LIKE KEY WESTERS OVER THE YEARS, THE ISLAND'S GYPSY CHICKENS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN DEFYING AUTHORITY

by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. Why does a chicken cross the road? No matter what the answer might be, one thing is certain in Key West– the chickens are always crossing the road. And in most instances, those of us who are driving cars or riding mopeds give them the right-of-way. Key West’s chickens are part of the color and history of the island. After all, they’ve been here for at least 200 years– or even longer. Some say that chickens came with the pirates who [continue reading…]