May 122017
 
IN PRAISE OF UNSAFE SPACES

by Ray Jason……. The waters of the Archipelago of Bliss have been a wondrous reservoir of inspiration for me as I meander through my Middle Years. My secluded life amidst these tranquil islands has blessed me with a perspective and clarity that is difficult to attain by those chained to the cacophony of the Real World.

 May 12, 2017  Posted by at 12:55 am Island Voices, Issue #218 No Responses »
Apr 282017
 
Is it Noble or Foolish - or Both?

by Ray Jason……. The wind arrived swiftly. The waves built more slowly – but also more dangerously. Suddenly AVENTURA was no longer gently tugging at her anchor. She was lunging and jerking perilously. I let out more chain to calm her, but the seas kept pounding us. The gorgeous little island with its massive coral formations had protected me from the prevailing winds for the last two days. But now that we had swung around 180 degrees, those reefs were a million-machete menace. I had [continue reading…]

 April 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #216 2 Responses »
Apr 072017
 
Temporary Sanity

by Ray Jason……. I was awoken this morning by a tropical alarm clock – the joyous sound of wild parrots flying above my anchored boat. Their airborne chirping reminded me that the last thing that I heard as I dozed off the night before was also from the non-human world. It was the raucous barking of a troop of howler monkeys. Perhaps it was because my sleep had been book-ended by these emissaries from the realm of Nature – but I felt radiantly refreshed. Lying [continue reading…]

 April 7, 2017  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #213 No Responses »
Mar 172017
 
The Moon and the Proverb

by Ray Jason……. It was the last full moon of winter. My little ship, which was facing north, gently veered around to the east – as though she too wanted to admire the luminous moon as it rose above this jungle lagoon. Some unknown instinct had prompted me to write this essay not in the daylight or not by lamplight, but under the spell of moonlight. I abide by such mysterious murmurings. So I sat on deck with my back leaning against the mast. In [continue reading…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #210 No Responses »
Mar 172017
 
The Beer Wars: Delaware Brewery Forces Small Islamorada Brewery to Rename Their Beer

HOGFISH AMBER BECOMES SPEARFISH AMBER Florida Keys Brewing Company, the local brewery owned and operated by Craig and Cheryl McBay announced this week that their very popular American Amber Ale named Hogfish will be changing its name to Spearfish. The reason for the change came as quite a shock to the local brewers. Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE threatened the small brewery with legal action if they did not change the name of their beer fearing that consumers would not be able to differentiate when [continue reading…]

 March 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:32 am Island Voices, Issue #210 No Responses »
Mar 032017
 
A Pantheist Makes a Pilgrimage

by Ray Jason……. My heroes do not score touchdowns or lead armies or star in movies. Instead, those in my Pantheon think deeply and dream elegantly and write poetically. They are secular saints, who tried to decipher the mysteries of the human condition and who shared their discoveries with all of us. Out of reverence for their quests, I have tried to visit some of the places that were crucial to their personal and artistic development. I sat on the stone foundation of Thoreau’s tiny [continue reading…]

 March 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:52 am Island Voices, Issue #208 1 Response »
Feb 172017
 
Ocean's Edge: A Play in Four Acts

by Conch S. Fritter …….. County Commissioners appeared lost this Wednesday in the intricacies of their own laws. But for those who had followed the growing controversy over Pritam Singh’s Ocean’s Edge (175-room) Hotel the meeting looked like the last of the county’s many renditions of The Emperor’s New Clothes. The actors are real pros and they’ve played the part many times.

 February 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #206, News 4 Responses »
Feb 172017
 
Homage to My Little Ship

by Ray Jason……. When the world of “today” weighs too heavily upon me, I find solace in the world of “yesterday.” And I do not have to travel far to find that comfort. In fact, I am surrounded by it. That’s because my little sailing boat – which is also my little home – is a bridge across to the Old Ways. The building of boats is one of the earliest chapters in the book of human history. Tools and fire and dugout canoes were [continue reading…]

 February 17, 2017  Posted by at 12:42 am Island Voices, Issue #206 No Responses »
Feb 032017
 
Social Engineering on Steroids

by Ray Jason……. I spend a lot of time away from people – so that I can better understand people. But today I needed to surround myself with real people. A week of intense research on where Humanity is being herded has profoundly shaken me. I’m sitting in my favorite café here in the Archipelago of Bliss, gazing out on the main street, which should be called Avenida Anomaly, since it is so detached from the modern world. It is delightfully out of synch because [continue reading…]

 February 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #204 2 Responses »
Feb 032017
 
Convo with Pee-wee Herman on Inauguration Day 2017

by Kalo Clarke……. I contemplate Pee-wee’s face and words framed on my wall: Don’t Hate I’m pretty sure for this occasion he would caveat but scrutinize Adding my own flowing song to the flexible body America I go to Yoga class 11-12:30 leaving my TV tuned to the Weather Channel to tell Nielsen the whole damned world isn’t watching the raising of the right hand the 35 I-do-solemnly-swear words impossible images of prez #45 with Abe Lincoln’s Bible I grumble at Pee-wee about ominous imperatives: Lock [continue reading…]

 February 3, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #204 No Responses »
Jan 202017
 
Social Engineering for Dummies

by Ray Jason……. There is only one town here in the Archipelago of Bliss, and although it is in a beautiful seaside location, it has avoided the curse of gentrification. You would never confuse it with a cutesy, sterile, tourist destination that beckons to the cruise ships. But even though it fails the “postcard perfect” test – it gets an A for Authenticity. And it would get an F from any Social Engineer. In my previous essay, I discussed how those who are obsessed with [continue reading…]

 January 20, 2017  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #202 No Responses »
Jan 062017
 
Social Engineering for Fun and Profit

by Ray Jason……. I rowed ashore at twilight because I wanted my little gift to be more dramatic. My time in the islands was ending, and this little Indio family had made my weeks anchored off their simple homestead so exquisite, that I wanted to leave them a memento of my visit. As I stepped out of my dinghy, the littlest child was her normal enthusiastic and inquisitive self. At four years old, the entire world just seemed to her to be one gigantic magical [continue reading…]

 January 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #200 1 Response »
Dec 232016
 
A Christmas Reverie

by Ray Jason……. It is a few dawns before Christmas in the year 2016. As someone who finds his spirituality in the Cathedral of Nature, I note that today is the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow the spheres will align so that the light will increase and the darkness decrease. May we humans one day also adjust ourselves to embrace the light and renounce the darkness. And it is in this spirit that I share this Christmas essay with you. My topic is one [continue reading…]

 December 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:46 am Island Voices, Issue #198 No Responses »
Dec 162016
 
DESPERATE MEASURES

by Ray Jason…….          It was my very first day in the Archipelago of Bliss, and I sat savoring a meal in a waterfront restaurant.  Even though the food was excellent, what was even better was the fact that I was not bouncing around while I ate it.  After two weeks of sailing here from Key West, it was sublime to be motionless. Before my fish sandwich arrived, a wrinkled, old fisherman rowed up to the restaurant dock in a small cayuco that was hand-carved [continue reading…]

 December 16, 2016  Posted by at 12:39 am Island Voices, Issue #197, Water World No Responses »
Dec 092016
 
Amateur Night

by M.R. Willison……. Who are those scowling faces congealed from their resentful pasts? And smiling unctuous ones oozing from sanctimony? Or the tweeters and those who weave their fabrications into whole-cloth fantasy? They are disaster’s chorus who used to flutter at the screens but now have breached them by inattention and design to cluster at the incandescent source, to crackle their own and our skins, too in the game of power. The head conniver, having wrung concession from the prior prissy management convenes his random [continue reading…]

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 1:14 am Island Voices, Issue #196 1 Response »
Dec 022016
 
An Epistle to the Earthonians

by Ray Jason……. At the time, it was just an eccentric, utopian game. But now, a couple of decades later, I realize that it was a perfect metaphor for my deepest aspirations. I would find some nicely rounded, sea-worn rocks along the shore. My favorites were about the size of a mango and slightly flattened. On each one I would paint a short quotation from a wise thinker. Here are some examples that swiftly rise from my memory vault. Whitman’s “Question much and obey little.” [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #195 2 Responses »
Dec 022016
 
Fidel's Beard On The Day Of His Death

by Edgardo Alvarado-Vazquez……. Fidel’s Beard on the day of his death (for Doña Olga, Don Fernando, su esposo y su hija Lourdes, the first people that taught me about Cuba and Fidel Castro) Today it finally snowed in La Habana as the flairs of your beard fell to the ground one white irresolute hair at a time. In Miami, the pots and spoons come out, reminiscences of other protests in a lethargic and weary Latin America. In La Habana, nothing changes a memento of an ongoing [continue reading…]

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:44 am Island Voices, Issue #195 No Responses »
Nov 182016
 
The Sea Gypsy Path to True Freedom

by Ray Jason……. During the shrill cacophony of the U.S. election campaign, many friends and strangers asked me why I did not comment on it. The reason is because I try to observe the world as a philosopher – and not as a pundit. My belief is that pundits assess the short-term flux of events, whereas philosophers examine the long-term trends and consequences. Here are some of my conclusions. Intriguingly, they might provide some comfort to both camps – those devastated by the results and [continue reading…]

 November 18, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Island Voices, Issue #193 No Responses »
Nov 042016
 
Looking Astern

by Ray Jason……. A few hours into every long voyage there comes a precious moment. Most sailors pay it no heed – but I never miss it. Suddenly, the gradually thinning margin of land and sea disappears. The land has drowned. The sea surrounds. The domain of Humanity has vanished. The realm of Nature is resurrected. Now my only companions reside in the sea and the sky. The only laws are timeless and elemental – the mighty ocean currents and the churning atmospheric systems. Most [continue reading…]

 November 4, 2016  Posted by at 12:54 am Island Voices, Issue #191 1 Response »
Oct 142016
 
The Huxlandia Trap

by Ray Jason……. In my previous essay I tried to convince you that two of the great masterpieces of 20th Century literature have been disturbingly accurate in predicting the Human Trajectory. In George Orwell’s iconic 1984, he argued that humankind faces a totalitarian future where every individual is controlled and monitored by the State. “Submit or die” might be the most accurate way to describe his dark vision. Aldous Huxley, in his prophetic BRAVE NEW WORLD, suggested that the State would dominate the masses not [continue reading…]

 October 14, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Island Voices, Issue #188 2 Responses »
Oct 072016
 
Orwellia and Huxlandia

by Ray Jason……. Two of the most enduring novels of the 20th Century are Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD and George Orwell’s 1984. Unfortunately, these dark masterpieces have proven to be stunningly prophetic. Much of the grim, totalitarian future that they predicted has already materialized. And we are steadily careening towards a nightmarish Tommorowland even more diabolical than they predicted. Each author foresaw a bleak future where the Individual was completely subordinate to the State. Fortunately, we have not yet fully descended into a serf-like, [continue reading…]

 October 7, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #187 1 Response »
Sep 232016
 
Simple Consolations

by Ray Jason……. It was the silhouette hour. A cayuco came paddling towards me in the deep dusk as I sat with my back against AVENTURA’s mast. The oarsman’s stroke was smooth and strong. There was a child in the back tending the fishing line as her dad rowed. When they were 20 yards away I realized that it was not a father – it was a grandmother. Even though she was as ancient and weathered as her hand-carved cayuco, she propelled it like a [continue reading…]

 September 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:48 am Island Voices, Issue #185 No Responses »
Sep 092016
 
Sunshine and Sadness

by Ray Jason……. I walked into the little Panamanian drug store feeling sorry for myself because I had a nasty cold. Two minutes later I walked out feeling humbled … and desolate. Inside there was a mom and her young teenage daughter consulting with the female pharmacist. My arrival instantly turned the scene tense. I could sense it – but not understand it. Then I realized that the druggist was showing them how to use a pregnancy testing kit. Suddenly, the insignificance of my runny [continue reading…]

 September 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:50 am Island Voices, Issue #183 1 Response »
Aug 262016
 
The Ten Commandments of the Lords of War

by Ray Jason……. 1. Thou shalt not notice that those of us who start the wars never fight and die in the wars – and neither do our families and our friends. 2. Thou shalt never describe War with words like “despicable,” “sick” and “repellant,” but shall instead use only approved words such as “heroic,” “glorious” and “necessary.” 3. Thou shalt overlook the core Truth that War is the deliberate murder of innocent people with whom you have no grievance and who have done you [continue reading…]

 August 26, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #181 1 Response »
Aug 192016
 
The Old Hippie and the Banana Birds

by Ray Jason……. The old hippie has found his bliss. He runs a ten table restaurant down here south of many borders. If it wasn’t for the sign out front, you would never even realize that his business exists. It looks more like a garden with a roof on top. Besides serving food for the body, it also features food for the mind and the spirit. That’s because even though it doesn’t have walls, it has shelves filled with thousands of books. It is the [continue reading…]

 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #180 No Responses »
Jul 292016
 
Finding Joy in the Abyss

by Ray Jason……. Why do I linger here in the Archipelago of Bliss? After all, my stalwart little ship could carry me away to any of the exotic lands that have whispered to wanderers down the centuries. We could drop anchor amidst the palm-fringed isles of the South Pacific. We could explore the mist- shrouded coast of Japan. Or we could visit Easter Island – with its gigantic stone heads that endlessly stare at the Wide Waters. And yet I remain entranced by this little [continue reading…]

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #177 2 Responses »
Jul 082016
 
Sea Gypsy Nocturne #2

by Ray Jason……. Something startled me from sleep. Because solo sailors need to be extremely alert in order to avoid catastrophes, my finely-tuned emergency reflexes immediately kicked in. I lay on my bunk in the darkness listening for unusual sounds and monitoring abnormal movement. But I detected neither. Suddenly, I realized what had unsettled me, and I laughed quietly. I had been awoken by the intense stillness and silence. In a modern world drowning in frenzy and noise, such profound peace and quiet was … [continue reading…]

 July 8, 2016  Posted by at 12:30 am Island Voices, Issue #174 No Responses »
Jul 012016
 
Aw Gee Whiz, Growing Greener Every Day?

by Sloan Bashinsky……. My random thoughts on Amendment 4 and related “growing greener every day” Key West, based on what I’ve seen, heard and read. Amendment 4 is a pro-solar energy Amendment to the state Constitution, on the August 4 ballot. Amendment 4 would offer a tax exemption to commercial property owners who install renewable energy devices in a state that already allows the tax break for residential solar power systems. Since it’s a proposed amendment to Florida’s Constitution, Amendment 4 requires 60 percent of [continue reading…]

 July 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:38 am Island Voices, Issue #173 No Responses »
Jul 012016
 
White Street Pier Asphalting

The asphalted White Street Pier editorial I would have written: As a fairly frequent user of White Street Pier, I can say the surface of the pier did not need redoing. It never occurred to the city that resurfacing with black asphalt would make the pier a day time furnace during the hot months? Who, in the city government, made the decision to repave with asphalt? Who above that person approved using asphalt? The citizens are entitled to know. Why change the pier’s name? City [continue reading…]

 July 1, 2016  Posted by at 12:32 am Island Voices, Issue #173 No Responses »
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 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
 
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 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
 
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
 
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 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 »
Apr 292016
 
Sea Gypsy Nocturne #1

by Ray Jason……. In a far anchorage of the Archipelago of Bliss, the thick tropical night heat had glistened my little ship. As I came on deck, I was delighted to find her shimmering with moon glow. A single night bird was calling for a mate – or perhaps it was just saluting the almost unbearable beauty. I was carrying a pitcher of water to pour over myself with the hope of cooling down enough to go back to sleep. After dousing myself, I stood [continue reading…]

 April 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:40 am Island Voices, Issue #164 No Responses »