With Friends Like These…

Blake_1793_Job's_Tormentors

“Buck up, Job. You’re getting what you deserve. Isn’t that what everyone wants?” (William Blake illustration of Job’s tormentors, 1792, US-PD)

Once in a while the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day email comes up with something surprising. Today the “word” was “Job’s comforter.” The term describes “a person who discourages or depresses while seemingly giving comfort and consolation.” The MW people offer this example to illustrate: “Danny, a reliable Job’s comforter, assured Shane that the girl who’d broken his heart had always been out of his league.” Continue reading

3rd Annual Chalkfest, Key West [2014]

Sponsored by the Art in Public Places Board of the City of Key West in order “to enhance and maintain the character and identity of our island community through the aesthetic of public art” the third annual Chalk Festival took place this November 19-23, 2014. Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) stopped by on the 23rd to see the completed works, speak to the artists and learn the results of the competition.

Both the local artists and the visiting professionals created stunning works to decorate our community and tantalize our minds. Michael Shields and the entire AIPP Board should be commended for organizing such a positive, creative event in our community. Please watch the attached video to see the work of our local and visiting artists.

Key Changes at the Chorale

Rick-Boettger smallThe Keys Chorale has gone through a major organizational change this year. It has gone from an independent chorale using the college, to being a part of the college, its “Mixed Community Chorus” offering for-credit units to its regular students as well as continuing education to retirees like me. It also changed its leadership.

While change and leadership succession is a way of life for all organizations, rarely does it happen so quickly, and with results so vividly on display for all to see. At its “Holiday Harmonies” concert on the patio at FKCC next Friday, December 5 at 7 PM, everyone can come and judge for themselves how we’ve done. Continue reading

Hold Your Head Up! Hold Your Head Up!

Illu_vertebral_column

(Human Spine, US-PD)

In 1972, the British progressive rock group Argent released a single called “Hold Your Head Up.” If you look up the lyrics, that line is basically the entire song, repeated over and over. (For trivia buffs, Argent was founded by Rod Argent, who was with The Zombies before that.) I thought of this song not because I was having a moment of nostalgia for the 1970s, but because I just read an article from The Atlantic titled “What Texting Does to the Spine.”

Please, Don’t Text and…Well, Anything Continue reading

Why We Write

3d gavel man reduced

A reader posted a poignant comment in response to my depressing litany of horrors arising from our genesis as ruthlessly competitive spermatozoa: torture, drone attacks, police violence, government abuse, etc.  All related to our irrefutable DNA heritage of selfish unconcern for others. He wrote:

It is difficult not to lose hope. 

I try to remind myself of the long moral arc of the universe, and how there are a few bad apples, and that we are many and they are few…but it is difficult, and requires concentration on my part to watch my attitude and remember to also allow myself input that is positive.

I answered, Continue reading

An End to Fantasy Fest?

Old City Hall, Key West

The Bethel Commission

Harry Bethel as commissionerGathered in the Commissioners’ Chamber of the Old City Hall, on November 17, 2014, former City Commissioner Harry Bethel brought together State Attorney Catherine Vogel, Police Chief Donie Lee, and approximately 50 concerned citizens of Key West to discuss the future of Fantasy Fest at a meeting labeled “Key West, Our Island Life”. Sitting behind the polished wood banister alongside S.A. Vogel, beneath a neon 3 minute speaker’s timer that was occasionally enforced, Bethel promptly began the meeting at 6 PM with a short speech that left no doubt as to his agenda.

He began by describing his impetus for this round of discussions on the subject being a massive influx of emails and personal comments objecting to Fantasy Fest becoming increasing lewd. He read into the record four suggestions offered to, not by, him (paraphrased here for brevity):

1.  Outlaw genital painting

2.  Clearly define and publish nudity laws

3.  New marketing ideas Continue reading

It’s the Thought That Counts

JohnDunsScotus_-_full

“You say tomato and I say not tomato and we are both right.”
(Philosopher John Duns Scotus, US-PD)

Most people (and this may be wishful thinking on my part) in the United States are familiar with the acronym SCOTUS. If you aren’t, I will give you a quick hint. It does not refer to a male body part. Rather, it refers to a group that includes male body parts but female ones, too: the Supreme Court of the United States. SCOTUS has been around since 1789, established by Article Three of the US Constitution. The article states that justices for the high and lower courts “shall hold their Offices during Good behavior.” This “good behavior tenure” means they have the job as long as they are “good,” which gets us (me at least) into thorny interpretive waters. During the court’s history, judges have been removed fourteen times, apparently for being naughty, by congressional impeachment. Two of these were for drunkenness, one for graft and corruption, and one for “failure to live in his district,” whatever that means. Continue reading

We Are All One Percenters

sperm crown

Today I am going to relate your brief life as a spermatozoa to what I expect will be the lack of a crowd at the Thanksgiving memorial to Charles Eimers. I have an important insight to the nature of your own personal life which I am sure you never thought of, and which you will never forget once I explain it. It will also explain and make us all feel better about the triumphant rise of the New Plutocracy in the good ol’ U.S. of A.  [Don’t know who Charles Eimers was?  Click here]

An unarguable fact is that every person alive on earth has won a lottery about a million times as unlikely as winning the Super-Power-Ball-whatever jackpot. Here are the numbers: of a woman’s one million eggs, only 300 get a shot at ovulating. And these are chased by an average man’s 525 BILLION lifetime sperms. So here is the image of myself I cannot forget: I only exist because I was one of 3/525,000,000,000 of my dad’s sperm to get together with one of 3/300 of my mom’s eggs. Continue reading

THE MOVIES REVISITED

because you never asked ad

Note: Obviously, this essay was written a number of years ago and the cinematic landscape in Key West has changed, but only slightly. In spite of its age, I find it all still relevant as I hope the reader will.

The inspiration for this essay was a piece I heard on National Public Radio commemorating the classic film The Graduate. I stumbled into the report after it had already begun, so I don’t know exactly what was being commemorated. Perhaps its 25th anniversary?

Before getting back to The Graduate, let’s examine what is playing at the movies as I write.

The town where I live is possessed of only one movie venue, that being the “Cinema 6”. This means there are six cinematic ways for adolescent minds to ward off boredom. Unfortunately, this is the role modern cinema has been reduced to, pressured into compliance by the omnipotence of the Global Economy. Any movie truly having to do with the human condition is purely coincidental and very rare. For that smattering of nerds with an intellectual formation beyond Notre Dame football, there is a dues paying Film Society, which sporadically accommodates their needs. In other words, not just in my town but in most places, the “Cinema 6” is it.

OK, what’s playing today? Continue reading