Sociopath is a word I have been employing frequently in chronicling current events. The dictionary defines the sociopath as, “a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” There is no shortage of this psychological characteristic in people in positions of power. In fact being sociopathic can play an essential role in attaining that power. Be it in law enforcement, politics, Fortune 500 corporations or the humble run-of-the-mill serial killer. Historically, we as a species have produced some humdingers that are indelibly imprinted on our collective psyche. We all know their names.
In accordance with my scientific training and the evidence that I’ve been able to review, as it relates to the ‘in-custody death’ of Charles John Eimers, along with my personal experience investigating and remedying a law-enforcement cover-up, as well as my conversations with an insider from the State Attorney’s Office; it is my opinion that the KWPD, FDLE and State Attorney’s Office may have collaboratively aided and abetted in selectively processing evidence, which may have prejudiced information related to the killing of an innocent man.
If true, these are all extremely serious crimes. We will never know the accuracy of these allegations, until a thorough and detailed examination of all the facts is completed by an independent and impartial investigative body. Continue reading →
For the average contemporary American, the title of this essay would not be metaphorical, but a direct reference to an iconic film made in 1992. Let’s take a phrase association test: “a few good men” – famous movie starring Tom Crews, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon, about a military incident where 2 Marines are accused of — so forth and so on.
You’ve seen it, right?
As mentioned previously in this ever growing mass of dubious philosophical patter, I have long ceased being a “cinophile”. The basic raw material offered by the film industry almost never interests me and the physical reality of sitting in a huge, dark, pulsating amphitheater of mega-sensory light and sound, does not appeal to me. I’d rather sit outdoors and try to figure out what the pigeons are doing when they fly around in dense formations (I can’t figure it out). Continue reading →
The duality of nature, with its accompanying ‘yin and yang’, have caused me pause. Through the years I’ve sought measures that would allow me to more effectively process these complimentary, yet opposite, realties.
As a young child in the South Bronx my grandmother pierced through these metaphysical philosophies with a clear and pointed revelation: “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade”. Continue reading →
Robinson Jeffers’ short, prophetic poem, “Shine, Perishing Republic” is especially poignant if not palpable today. Readers can experience the unraveling of our 238-year old republic on TV, which didn’t exist 89 years ago when he published it. Talk about vision.
Gonzo Journalist and activist Chris Hedges, America’s moral conscience today, recently chronicled the demolishment of our democracy: “Corporations have captured every major institution, including the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, and deformed them to exclusively serve the demands of the market. They have, in the process, demolished civil society.” (Truthdig Report: 12/7/14)
I thought of you the other day as I drove down Whitehead Street and nearly ran over a family of tourists. They had stepped out from between the parked cars to take pictures of your house. Your brick wall is still there. I always like to speculate about the wall. Was it to keep the tourists out as you worked? Now it keeps them in. It also keeps in the cats. I bet you would never have thought they would name a type of cat after you, but it wasn’t the African lion. Too bad. By the way, no one lives in your old house anymore. It is a tourist attraction. Remember when you wrote in “To Have and Have Not” that they were going to starve out the Conchs to make room for tourists? Turns out you didn’t have to worry about the Conchs. They ended up being a lot smarter than you thought. Continue reading →
After the presidential election of 2012 I wrote an essay where I said, “The Republican Party could find itself wandering in the wilderness for quite some time”. With their victory in the mid-terms of 2014, this statement might be put into serious doubt. But the situation could be more nuanced than that. Mid-term elections are local battles shaped by each little fiefdom’s particular brand of politics. A presidential election, where the nation acts more as an integral whole than as splintered pieces, is a different animal, one where the Republican Party will have to confront the deep schism in its ranks between the social conservative-Tea Partiers and the traditional oligarchs of wealth protection. Some kind of excrement will have to hit the fan because this problem has still not been resolved. In fact, these mid-terms have strengthened the Party’s more radical right. This plays well in Peoria, but does it play well from coast to coast? But none of this lets the Democrats off the hook for the limp wristed form of politics they play and their inability to defend even their most obvious successes. As with all large organizations, the leadership sets the tone and the “Great Black Hope” must take much of the blame. Before getting into that, I’d like to launch off in another direction that will eventually lead us back to where we’ve just come. Continue reading →
“Oh, that flagon! That wicked flagon!” (Joseph Jefferson as Rip Van Winkle, 1896, US-PD)
I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle today. It’s only been two weeks or so since my last blog, not twenty years, but time, as someone once said famously, waits for no one. For Rip, being asleep for two decades was a blessing of sorts. Washington Irving describes him as “one of those happy mortals, of foolish, well-oiled dispositions, who take the world easy, eat white bread or brown, whichever can be got with least thought or trouble, and would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.” He wasn’t happy at home, however. His wife berated him endlessly, with good reason, for not taking better care of his farm and his family. His escape from this was to wander off into the Catskill Mountains with his dog Wolf. Continue reading →
If the tree commission denies you permission to cut down trees that would damage your home in a hurricane, what can you do?
Pretty much nothing.
This happened to a neighbor, and I decided to look into it. I had an enlightening discussion with Asst. City Attorney Ronald Ramsingh. I had heard after Hurricane Georges in 1998 that some of the large ficuses that came down and damaged homes had been denied pruning, and sure enough, the pruning would have saved the tree and prevented the damage. Continue reading →
“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 →
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.
The 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 →
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.”
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.
Gathered 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):