2019 April

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Letters to the editor with pictures since 0202. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.



[Temporary Fix or Forever] My outboard engine was having fuel flow problems. It kept sucking as much air as fuel. I finally found the problem was in the fuel pickup tube inside the tank. It was broken into pieces and crumbled in my hand when removed. I duct taped the fuel line directly into the tank to motor home. At home, I switched to another tank that had been working fine the last time it was used. Same problem with air. Again, the problem was the pickup tube. The photo is of the second one. One was a Tohatsu tank from 2005. The other was an aftermarket one from West Marine, I think about 2009. I tried a piece of tubing as a replacement, but it curls in the tank, so I substituted a piece of 5/16″ OD white plastic Pex tubing, using 5/16″ soft tubing as a coupling. Copper would probably make a better pickup tube.

Say what you will about what a great company Publix might be, but I know two things. 1. After Hurricane Irma when Marathon’s Winn-Dixie was so badly damaged it closed, Publix increased their prices since there was no competition.

2. Winn-Dixie was one of the corporate heroes on Big Pine after the storm.  They were handing out food and water without charge to residents days before the government or other organizations showed up to help. The manager and a couple of employees opened the day after the hurricane and did what they could for all with almost no resources.


[The Captain Conch Splatter Shield] Here’s the latest improvement, but don’t look for it on Shark Tank any time soon because I found they were using such a shield since they had those hand-cranked ‘egg beaters’ of my youth. I wish I’d stop inventing things that are already invented!

[“If It Walks Like A Duck…] The issue about the residency of Big Pine’s current County Commissioner has to do with the purchase of a house in the Big Pine district just to run for the district position; and yet continuing to live in the same house the commissioner has lived in for years — outside the district. Not illegal (Senators and Congressman have been doing it for years) but it sure doesn’t look good in a small community like ours. This information is available on the County’s public property records website.
But Light is the first beer to list its ingredients. A brave move by them as beers are not required to list ingredients. No longer will there be rumors of formaldehyde in your beer.




[Mel’s Botanical Retreat] This is my friend Afro’s Jamaican guest house listing on AirBnB. This is the real Jamaica. Link

[Chocolate] Chocolate is not originally from Mexico or Central America 4,000 years ago. It was discovered from organic residue found on artifacts that the Mayo-Chinchipe culture was making the stuff nearly 5,500 years ago, in what’s now Ecuador.
[Transgender] A guy who likes to eat, drink, and be Mary.



The Friends of Bahia Honda State Park.benefited from Winn Dixie reaching out to the community Saturday, March 30. Big Pine Winn Dixie store manager Jay Villavioencio matched the $1000 profit from the Burger Bash sponsored by and held at the Big Pine Winn Dixie, with an additional generous donation by the store of $1,000

[“Modern Capitalism”] In the movie EDTV, Mathew McConaughey is asked if he wants a Coke or Pepsi and the star says, “Pepsi”. Within the next minute there appeared a Pepsi machine and then a Pepsi truck. I believe the minute plug was squished together so those objecting to gross commercialization could edit it out of the movie



[Winn Dixie] Weekly ad. Link

Why are politicians refusing to turn over the Muller Report? It’s inevitable that it will be released in full. Why the delay? No one could keep it secret.



[Boating] Josh discovered today that his boat has an autopilot system. He missed the part in the manual where you’re still supposed to stand watch though.

[County Commissioner Requirements] There are just too few people on each Key to get any qualified and able person to run for election on each small island. Five thousand live on Big Pine, the biggest. How many of them are eligible to run? then how many want to run? Very few. With residency requirements you limit the number of candidates and the same people will run year after year. That was a big reason the Villages of The Lower Keys initiative failed. People wanted to combine a few Keys into a city several years ago. Even when combining them, there weren’t enough people living here to form a city or have the same few people run year after year.
[Full Moon Kayak Excursion] Paddle with us Wednesday, April 17th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, for a fun, easy going evening paddle along the mangrove shoreline of No Name Key.  Watch the sun set in the west as the full moon rises in the east. Sponsored by Big Pine Kayak Adventures, proceeds benefit local wildlife through the Florida Keys Wildlife Society, the official friends group for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. The $25 donation includes kayak, gear and experienced guide. Please call Captain Bill 305-872-7474 for reservations.  Plan to bring a flashlight, drinking water, and arrive ½ hour before launch time. If you are interesting in becoming a volunteer, please call Nancy 305-731-6362 or email


China bought lots of Florida lobster despite tariffs. Keys fishermen paid the price. Video

I think Brexit is so much fun because no one can tell you what it’s about, even after three years.



[Engine] I don’t know what the part of an engine but this one looked so cool I had to stop and take its picture.

[Womansplaining] That is when a woman explains something that is obvious, but the difference is that it’s usually necessary. ie: when I can’t find ketchup in the fridge and my wife womansplains how it’s right in front of my face.
[17-foot long python] It was found in a Florida preserve and was carrying 73 eggs. The Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida has reported catching a python that was more than 17 feet long and weighed 140 pounds. (Ed: I’m confused because the video is in an office.) Video
[Night Cramps] They claim that about 60% of old people suffer from night cramps, usually in their legs. We are talking about something that can disturb your sleep way worse than the snoring and flatulence of that lump beside you (Out, damned Spot!). After too many days of limping due to muscle knots the night before that bruised me, I researched the issue and found a solution that works for me. I am a huge fan of magnesium oil as a remedy for back strain and as a way to boost magnesium without panicked runs to a toilet after popping pills. It is not really an oil but is simply a brine of magnesium chloride flakes and distilled water (half each by volume if you mix your own) that feels oily before it is absorbed through your skin. It turns out that night cramps are linked much more closely to low magnesium and dehydration than to low potassium. That’s why taking too many potassium pills was not stopping my night cramps. My very effective remedy (gleaned from a combination of other internet remedies) is two glasses of distilled or R.O. water with a splash of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and a good rub of magnesium oil on all the muscles that have been cramping. I have had no cramps and I sleep soundly all night since I began this routine. It is cheap, effective, requires no prescription, and all the side effects are wonderful. You can add honey or stevia to the cider water if you find it too tart. I put just enough cider vinegar in my water that it is about unsweetened tea tartness. Link
[“Winn Dixie”] So who is Lone Star Funds? It is John Grayken, a man worth conservatively $6.5 billion. Born outside of Boston to relatively modest means he attended the University of Pennsylvania. His claim to fame there was setting a new record for the hockey team. Most penalty minutes ever. Should have been a signpost. After getting his MBA he got involved in the Savings and Loan debacle in the late 90’s, buying up distressed mortgages and repackaging. Wonder where the taxpayer bailout money went? Look no further.
He made a ton of money, so moved his country of residence to Ireland to avoid paying US taxes.
In the mid-2000s he started Lone Star Funds. Primary investments were distressed properties. A good term you may be familiar with is vulture capitalist. After the subprime mortgage disaster, Lone Star was heavily involved buying up properties, repackaging and eventually selling. The funds made a lot of money for the investors, and John Grayken. Distressed properties, payday loans, shadow banking is their stock in trade.
Mr. Grayken now lives in a $70 million estate in England, owns a 15 bedroom manor house outside of London and has a $45 million penthouse in Boston, so he can visit each year and still avoid paying U.S. taxes. Grayken/Lone Star does not limit his work to the U.S. Apparently we are still accepting of our capitalists who used to be known as robber barons, grave dancers, or the aforementioned vulture capitalists. Globally perhaps not so. In South Korea he is known as “eat and run capital”; in Germany “the Executioner from Texas”, and in Japan “bald hawks” which probably loses something in translation but doesn’t sound like a term of endearment.It should be pointed out that in addition to enriching himself, Lone Star has made a lot of money for the investors in its funds. Who are these investors? Primarily public pension funds. Returns of 20% per year are the norm, and some public pension funds look the other way when that kind of money can be made.Grayken has been investigated, castigated and charged over the years, but as in his formative days he is more than willing to drop the gloves and fight.

So my point is there is nothing good for the country about the recent Winn-Dixie story, and LoneStar/Grayken capitalism. But with corporate debt at records, corporate virtue hard to find, and the focus all on short term shareholder/owner profit…it looks to me like mostly all “eat and run capitalism”.



[Art] Deborah Goldman

[Crooks] Almost half a million dollars was diverted out of the Tallahassee’s employee payroll Wednesday after a suspected foreign cyber-attack. Link



[Kharma] A rhino poacher was killed by an elephant then eaten by lions in South Africa. Link

[“Afraid of a word”] Socialism is grossly misunderstood. People think the of Soviet or Stalinist failures and can’t imagine that we’ve learned from those failures. Socialism should only take care of our basic needs: defense, health, legal, social security, and education. The rest should all be at market rates. That’s the kind of socialism I’m in favor of





New York Harbor, end of WWII, 1945. The liner Queen Elizabeth is filled with the American troops coming home from war.

Deer County Commission candidates, The government is not your friend. It cannot save you. This Republic (yes, the U.S. is a Republic not a democracy) was designed to serve the elite from it’s inception. That is why only white male landowners had a say in the early votes. Too many politicians at every level seek their fortune in politics at the cost of the very people who elected them. Being an elected official is the highest paying part time job you could ever have. Good luck!


Has anyone noticed that the annual snowbird migration has started?  Traffic seems a little better and the attitude in the W/D a little kinder. I am not sure why they feel compelled every six months to pack up and move? Maybe they are like salmon and go upstream to their birthplace to breed.

[Ice machine across from Walgreens] Who maintains this machine as the trash can needs to be emptied more frequently. Ice bags & other trash blowing around and polluting our lands & water killing wildlife with plastic bags





[Gator] Sunning in the canal on a sea grass clump on No Name Key.

[Arab Torture] Formerly imprisoned women, some of whom have been held in solitary confinement for months, have told the court they were abused during interrogations, including being waterboarded, caned, electrocuted, sexually assaulted and threatened with rape and death. Link

[Scholarships] Despite what some may try to tell you, Education Freedom Scholarships are privately funded and do not take any money from public schools. Link

[Obit Tells It Like It Is] Tim Schrandt of Ridgeway, Iowa 1955 – 2019. We are considering establishing a Go-Fund-Me account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim’s business. Keep them in your thoughts. Link


[Captain Doom and Gloom] The Keys are dying and nobody cares. First we had nothing here but escapees from Yankee towns. Second we get developers to build junk housing. Third we get factory built debris that mimics plastic boxes. Fourth we’re getting shipping containers for useless eaters. Fifth will probably be old dumpsters for AA members. Next will be tent cities for the invaders. Then beach bums sleeping in body bags. God help the Keys!

I listen to the rules of the church. Anything they condemn must be worth trying.