2014 January

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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conch-house28Key West old houses used to have shake shingle roofs until a fire in the 1800s nearly leveled old town. Now only metal roofs are allowed. If the newcomers to Key /West have their way the roofs will be covered with elastomeric white coat so the rich people’s air conditioning bills will be less. I feel if they don’t want to live in an historic home they should move to another.

Over the years I’ve watched as the Historic Architectural Review Committee focused less and less on historic preservation and more on pleasing the wealthy. One of the charms of Key West is the historic homes. Just a couple of years ago they allowed aluminium windows instead of the historically accurate wooden windows. They also allowed aluminium shutters to replace the historically accurate wooden ones. It’s a shame how HARC is allowing the modernization of old town. What’s next, plastic siding?


Pete Seeger is dead at 94. Pete Seeger has long had a sad song to sing. For seventeen years, network television kept the talented folk singer on the blacklist, first for his strident opposition to McCarthyism, then for his refusal to answer questions in a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of alleged Communism in entertainment. Thus, when CBS announced that Seeger had been signed for last week’s “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” the network was widely applauded for its courage in breaking the ban.



Mike Puto is fondly referred to as “Mr. Marathon” for good reason; he loves Marathon and Marathon residents love him. He will do a good job as “interim” city manager while the hunt for a permanent replacement takes place.

Hopefully Marathon will find, and hire, someone who understands island living, and the friendly, easy-going, family-community that is Marathon.

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Checkers Burgers on North Roosevelt Blvd in KW will become a Starbucks Starting February 1.



I felt so bad for our snowed-in neighbors up north that I hopped in my boat and headed to the reef. It was a lovely day in the neighborhood for the lower Keys.

[Spies like US] Angry Birds is spying on you. NSA and GCHQ using popular leaky apps to spy, piggybacks on personal information these apps are gleaming when a user consents to installing them unaware of the privacy risks. Capability to turn on the cell phones microphone and listen into a rooms conversations. NSA also recently accused of spying overseas for economic and not solely national security issues. Seems obvious they are passing on this information to favored companies in exchange for them placing backdoors into or weakening the privacy and security of their products sold to consumers. Apple, Microsoft and Google all pretend to be shocked about the NSA spying, but then continue to ignore basic privacy and security in their products. Link


It sure is hard for some readers to let FTR alone. You have to feel sorry for someone so concerned about another’s opinion that he can not allow that voice to be continued. Put your money where your mouth is, FTR did and does.


This roundup assesses the password policies of the top 100 e-commerce sites in the US. some absolutely suck at security. Link 

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[Retro Yacht] While heading in from offshore we went through a time warp by Little Palm Island and bumped into Harry and Bess Truman visiting the Keys.

[Short Trip] Today in 1986 U.S. shuttle Challenger exploded 72 seconds after lift off, killing all seven crew members aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.


Hammer of Justice, Bell of freedom, Love between my brother’s & my sister’s, all over this land. Pete Seeger (1919-2014), you & your love for America, will be missed. If I had a Hammer … sing-a-long now!   Video

[Minimum Raise] The President’s going to raise the minimum wage for those contracting with the government to $10.15 an hour.

god snorts cocaine highway

Florida congressman Trey Radel who pleaded guilty to cocaine-possession charges last year says he will resign Monday evening, after several GOP leaders requested that he step down.

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[Chili Video] The person operating the camera at the chili cook off made me dizzy, panning way too fast.



SRD stands for State Road Department The State Road Department became the FDOT, the Florida Department of Transportation. R/W means Right of Way. The concrete post is an old Right of Way boundary marker.

[Pump Station Camouflage] If our Keys had any class we would do this for the water and sewer facilities, but it is the Keys, right? Link
[Citizen Of The Day Says] We may not all agree on everything around here, but we always back each other up in a pinch. 


This is for all you horney guys out there.

[“Disturbing your peace”] I too live in Eden Pines and I work all day, so I have not heard the gunfire. I have been woken up as early as 5 am by garbage trucks, boat motors, and every kind of power tool and lawn equipment on the market. I heard one homeowner on the radio and he stated that his immediate neighbors were notified of his plans and shooting time, I believe, is every Wednesdays between 3 and 4 pm.
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Have you ever wondered what it would look like if a human being fell into a volcano? Of course you have. Well, a few years ago some folks decided to find out. They tossed a large bag of organic waste into the lava lake at the Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia. The lake responds by erupting fairly violently. It seems the volcano doesn’t like being a trash dump. Video

Mike Puto was a lousy Marathon city manager, but they should be glad they have such a good man to act as interim city manager while they search for a permanent one.

I see this as a problem with these little Keys breaking off from the County to create new cities. There aren’t enough people living there who want to go into politics so they’re stuck with the same ones. The only people willing to be politicians are the few that wanted to become a city in the first place. It’s always the same people, sort a revolving door.

Florida is the first southern state to put legalizing medical marijuana on the ballot. It makes me think the south shall rise!

roseateternEvery year the Roseate Terns will nest on top of CVS and the Post Office on Big Pine Key. I remember being bombarded by them when they were being over protective.  They are still nesting but not a single egg will hatch.

Iguanas crawl up the tree branches that lean on the roof edge of CVS and the Post Office or close enough so that they can make the leap. The Iguanas take their time and get every egg.

I hate iguanas, they have become the new Big Pine rat and are everywhere. With all the tax and fee monies paid to FWS and USF&W you would think that they would protect the Terns.

It could be as simple as chopping down the trees that surround the buildings that the Terns nest on top of. Terns love a rocky roof and have lots to choose from, but their favourites like CVS, the Post Office and Winn Dixie have become Iguana dinner tables.

Are terns supposed to be protected within the Refuge? If so, why does the Refuge ignore the invasive iguana? 

We receive almost daily admonishments not to judge all Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are expected to judge all gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.



Caught on the Funyet yesterday.

[Local Smartphone Apps] Over 40% of the world now uses smartphones, can you afford not to have an app? I’m one of the few developers in the Keys who has been developing apps for the iPhone for a couple of years now and I have been targeting Keys related businesses. Currently I have 13 apps on the app store covering things like sailing charters, kayak tours, and key lime pie recipes.

A typical app starts at $500, or about the cost of a few thousand rack cards. My apps are easy to use including such features as maps, booking forms, and galleries. The average app takes about 4 weeks from start to final approval in the app store. Well worth the price to expose your business to millions of potential customers.

With the kind editor’s permission, here is a link for more info. Link


“Anything Goes” — borrowed from a 1934 Cole Porter musical — serves as the theme of a new exhibit in Key West showcasing quirky curios that curious locals have amassed over the years. Even for the Keys, some of these collections are downright odd.

Do you have a collection? Want to share & display it for all to see? Link


It’s Italian Tuesday here at Springers Bar and Grill. We have an Amazing special for you today, Beef Bolognese. With a sauce, Just like mama used to make. It’s sure to bring out the Italian in all of us.

Ready for another Super Bowl tidbit? Over 700,000 footballs are produced annually for official NFL use and 72 of them are used for the Super Bowl. Now that’s a lot of pigskin.

Speaking of pigskin, don’t forget our Superbowl pig roast on Sunday! You can enjoy some of the succulent pig, amazing side dishes, and we might even share some skin with you. Fun begins at 2 pm, game time 6:30 pm.

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[Iguana Control] “How can you change the environment on a concrete sea wall with a pea rock yard?” Block all the angled and horizontal access points with sufficiently high vertical ones. Iguanas legs and claws can dig well, but not for supporting their own weight when climbing completely vertical surfaces. If the seawall is angled then consider float netting with compact disks or other shiny objects attached above the waterline. (Ed: A pellet to the head is a lot easier and better for the environment than remodeling your seawall that would not work anyway and allow those destructive, exotic critters to thrive.)

[Gulf grouper recreational season will not close Feb. 1] This is a reminder that the Feb. 1 through March 31 closure that would have affected several species of grouper in Gulf state waters has been removed and will not occur as it has in previous years. This closure was removed at the September 2013 meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

A similar closure was also removed in federal waters shoreward of the 20 fathom line, or about 120 feet (excluding waters off Monroe County). To learn more about the federal closure, visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office at and click on “Fisheries,” “Gulf Fisheries,” “Reef Fish” and “Gag and Shallow-water Grouper Framework – Recreational Season.”

The closure would have applied to the following species: black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind.

The closure did not apply to gag grouper, which has its own season and opens April 1 through June 30 in state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties; and from July 1 through Dec. 3 in all other state waters of the Gulf (excluding Monroe County, which is managed under the Atlantic season).

More information regarding Gulf grouper fishing regulations is available online at by clicking on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

These days you need an attorney to fish!

post right-of-way


The SRD R/W marker may be a highway marker for the State Road Department (SRD) which existed until 1969 when it was absorbed into the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Thank you for you Chicken People song it made my day and expressed my thoughts and problems on the issue completely.
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pump vaneI started wondering if a grinder pump up at the north end of Little Torch Key could pump all by itself to US1. You can find a head loss calculator with an internet search. Engineer’s Toolbox has an excellent one. Each grinder pumps about 11 GPM. The forcemain starts out at 2″ and gets bigger as it gathers more flow from side streets. I was a little surprised to find that little 1 HP motor can pump the length of Little Torch all by itself with room to spare!

So I started adding grinders running at the same time, like what happens when the power has been out long enough to get your girlfriend pregnant while your neighbors are flushing and waiting for the TV to come back. Ten grinder pumps working at once is enough to strangle the flow due to friction before it gets to US; and that assumes there is an empty pipe on US1 and no pumps pushing into the SR4A forcemain on the way down the Key.

How could that goof have happened? It turns out that many of the hydraulic modeling software programs were designed for water distribution networks, where you just want to ensure adequate pressure. So another water main teeing-in actually helps. Not so with sewage, because the pressurized brown liquid doesn’t know it is supposed to turn left at the tee toward the treatment plant and help flow. No, it enters the collector forcemain pipe and tries to go both directions, bucking the flow from the upstream pump. Damn! This sewer system probably won’t even work! Don’t you hate when that happens?

They should have stuck with the sewer Master Plan instead of trying to be creative using E-1 grinders pushing for miles and not using other lift stations along the way to boost the flow. You know, the same way they get water to Key West from Florida City: lower pressure water comes in one side of the pump station and gets boosted and shot out the other side. That goes to show what happens when you trust a grinder salesman for your sewer expertise. You end up buying a lot of useless grinder pumps, and he just says, “Oops! I guess I was mistaken”, on the way to the bank.



[Soylent Grey] Man has quit eating real food for months now, survives on chemical concoction that provides all a body needs, has created a huge following. Note: It’s actually gray and it doesn’t contain people, yet (wink). Link

It seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. How come we never hear about welfare running out of money?  Is it just a coincidence that the first group worked for their money, but the second didn’t?
nira tocco realtor 9.12
Aspire to inspire before you expire.
mosquito12[Another mosquito borne virus arrives] Spreading in the Caribbean, the Chikungunya Virus has already infected at least 700 people since December, not usually fatal if your healthy. Like Dengue, the Chikungunya Virus is spread by mosquitoes and symptoms of both viruses appear similar, making detection of Chikungunya more difficult. It causes fever and other symptoms including headache, muscle pain, nausea, fatigue, rash and especially joint pain that lasts for weeks or longer. There is no vaccine or medicine to treat it. 
[Spies like US] Military surveillance blimps to hover over East Coast. News that this tracking and surveillance technology—used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan—will be deployed domestically is now sparking public outcry. We’ve had them in the lower Keys for years. Link
isaksen-flood-roof 4.23.13 
[“Opposed to releasing genetically modified mosquitoes’ Yeah, they do not want to hurt the mosquitoes”] How can you be so ignorant? It’s not the mosquitoes that we are worried about.
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[Captain Doom and Gloom] Man, I hope these nuts stay away from my Happy Hours. This is some really sicko stuff. Do they plan to take over the Keys! Link

What is the deal with all those short term rental ads on Craig’s List? There are not that many short term units in the Lower Keys available and for good reason.

from the right
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