2017 December

Friday, December 29, 2017

The-Coconut-Telegraph-w-CoconutsPublished Tuesdays and Fridays. Letters to the editor with pictures.​ Since 0202.​

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[Metal Roofs] Now our county commissioners, who have proven themselves incapable of even correctly filling out their own financial disclosure statements, are trying to set themselves up as engineers by requiring everyone to put a metal roof on their house.  They base this decision, which has the potential to cost homeowners thousands of dollars, on the fact that they have heard that metal roofs held up better than other types during Hurricane Irma.

While it is likely true that metal roofs, as a whole, fared better than shingle roofs, they are choosing to ignore a major factor.  Metal roofs, when installed correctly, are essentially a monolithic entity.  This makes them more difficult for the wind to blow off, but it also makes them more prone to catastrophic failure if it does happen.  Generally when a metal roof comes off, it comes off as a unit and the sheathing underneath is likely to come off as well, exposing the entire inside of structure to rain and wind.  A shingle roof, on the other hand, will lose any number of tabs and still provide some measure of weather protection.  Think of it as grabbing the tail of one of the little anole lizards that are so common on our islands.  The tail pulls off, but the animal survives with only partial damage — that’s what happens with a single roof.  Try to stomp on the same little guy with the heel of your boot.  Most of the time you’ll miss and he survives unharmed, but when you’re successful, he quickly becomes an ex-lizard — that’s a metal roof.  Putting a metal roof on a house with a deck not designed and constructed for the forces that will be exerted by the wind lifting the whole roof at once is a recipe for disaster.

I would urge the commissioners to listen to the roofing contractors associations and the roofing manufacturers who have repeatedly advised them that this proposed ordinance has a great potential for disaster.

My new year’s resolution is to be more optimistic by always seeing my cup half full–with tequila!


[Evil Comcast] I phoned Comcast to cancel my $258 a month bundle and they said, “Oh, you’re such a loyal customer we can offer you the same bundle for $179 a month.” What thieving arseholes. It’s no wonder everyone hates Comcast.

[Supermoon] On New Year’s Day a supermoon will be low-hanging in the sky and experts say that’s the best time to see it. This is the second supermoon in a three-part sequence. The first happened Dec. 3. If you missed it, Jan. 1 is your chance to see it again. A rare one follows at month’s end.

The moon’s orbit isn’t perfectly circular, nor is the Earth perfectly centered within. Instead, the moon travels in an ellipse that brings it closer to and farther from the Earth. The moon orbits the earth every 27 days. A supermoon is when the moon is closest to the Earth on its orbit. The moon’s closest orbit point, called the perigee, is 30,000 miles nearer to Earth than its further point, apogee. The average distance between the two bodies is 238,900 miles.

I spent some time with Betty Brothers on her birthday, December 22nd. She is 99 years old and in a care center in Broward County. Anybody that has been coming to the lower Keys for more than thirty years probably knows Betty. She lived on Little Torch Key next to the Pine Channel bridge and had a real estate business and motel. She developed most of Little Torch and built the Dolphin Marina. Betty is best known for her pet dolphins which people loved to visit and feed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She wrote and illustrated many books about the dolphins. Happy 99th birthday Betty Brothers. A living Keys legend!
[Electric Cars] Whether you’re an Elon Musk skeptic or true believer, it’s hard to deny the Tesla Model 3 has generated iPhone-level buzz about electric cars. Since this “affordable luxury” $35,000-and-up sedan was unveiled in 2016, roughly 450,000 people have preordered one. Now if only Tesla could make them. Significant manufacturing issues keep pushing back the Model 3 delivery timeline, but there’s a good chance you’ll see some on the road in 2018. What’s the big deal? Tesla is forcing all car companies to act more like consumer tech companies, pushing into electric and making standard such capabilities as accident prevention and connectivity. My favorite Model 3 idea: It comes with the cameras, sensors and computing power it needs to eventually allow the car to drive itself.
I am surprised at the number of BBQ grill piles on the side of the road after Irma.  Not much to BBQ grills, they sell replacement burners and piezo starter buttons. There’s really not much that can’t be repaired easily. Why are people so quick to toss their grills?  It seems without power after the storm, grills would be the primary cooking device for many (as it was for me). Are people counting on their homeowners’ insurance for replacing their grills? did they not like them and want to get rid of them?  did they float and wind up in other people’s yards and those people set them out so their owners could find them? Each hurricane seems to have a favorite trashed item. After Wilma wasn’t it lawnmowers? (Flooded lawnmowers are much more challenging to repair than a simple propane BBQ grill.)
[FEMA Trailers] The attached article appeared in today’s Miami Herald.  The more I learn about additional FEMA trailers and their likely appearance in Monroe County, the more discouraged I become.  Conclude what you will.

I was surprised to learn that FEMA trailers are only available for 18 months and are leased at some indeterminate cost.  Not sure who pays the lease–the local government or the inhabitants.

Maybe the smart thing would be for the county to buy some of the trailers on Craigslist! FEMA Trailers


My new year’s resolution is to try and forget the entirety of 2017. It was the worst year of my life (even before Irma).

[Florida Indians 1527] Vigilance of the Indians in War. They are the most watchful in danger of any people I ever knew. If they fear an enemy they are awake the night long, each with a bow at his side and a dozen arrows. He that would sleep tries his bow, and if it is not strung, he gives the turn necessary to the cord. They often come out from their houses, bending to the ground in order to make themselves less of a target
[Diver Down] A 69-year-old man from Ozark, Missouri died Monday while snorkeling on a charter boat off Sombrero Lighthouse.  Owen Holmes was with Starfish Snorkeling in Marathon.



The railroad Pullman car from Knight’s Key is now a part of Crane Point Hammock in Marathon, Florida Keys. Video

[Rubber Stamping] 90 percent of renovation projects submitted to Key West’s historic architecture board by homeowners in Key West’s historic district have been approved over the last two years.
[Crooks] Nine vehicle burglaries occurred overnight last week on 50th Street and 50th Court in Marathon. Detectives say all the vehicles were unlocked when they were burglarized.


Here’s the difference between a meteoroid, meteor and meteorite for those who were wondering.

[Conquistadores 1518 Mexico] We bandaged the wounds of our men with linen, which was all we had for that purpose. Those of our horses we dressed with melted fat, which we cut from the dead bodies of the Indians.

For want of oil we dressed the wounds of our men with the fat of a corpulent Indian who had been killed. We made our supper off young dogs, which we found here in great numbers.

I notice that after the storm they cleared the lot where Montego Bay used to be.  It’s been for sale for years.  Anyone know if something is planned for the site?



Twinkies are now a complete meal.

W/D weekly ad. Link
A message for Glenn Reber, a Big Pine Key resident who cannot be located or reached. Your mother’s second husband John Brincko passed away recently after a four year courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Sad. Just thought you would want to know.


This map shows travel time from London in 1881. And from what I understand it’s also accurate for this holiday season’s travel delays.

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