2020 January

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Letters to the editor with pictures since 2002. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

[Important Key Deer and Refuge Updates] Learn about the status of the Key deer and hear important Refuge updates at the Thursday, January 9 annual meeting of the Key Deer Protection Alliance.

Acting Refuge manager Jon Wallace will discuss the USFWS Key deer species assessment-delisting process and talk about habitat management for three ecosystems critical to Key deer.  He will also describe Refuge volunteer possibilities.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions.
Wallace, normally the USFWS Deputy Chief of Fire Management for the SE United States, has long experience in the Keys, having worked here with projects related to controlled burns, the New World Screwworm outbreak, and aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Also discussed at the meeting will be the status of the habitat protection lawsuit challenging 1300 additional ROGOs, management changes at the Refuge, US1 fencing repair status and signage, and more about extra traffic enforcement patrols underwritten by KDPA.  Election of officers will be held.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 PM at Lord of the Seas Lutheran Church, 1250 Key Deer Blvd., Big Pine Key. The public is invited, and refreshments will be served.

[Sewer Leaks] Some of the FKAA guys had a nasty New Year’s Eve thanks to a raw sewage forcemain break at 22828 Overseas Hwy on Summerland Key. The break was caused by a faulty weld at a coupling. This is a common cause of failure in HDPE pipe. As the pipe ages it become brittle due to losing its plasticizers to off-gassing and leaching. Faulty HDPE welds often leak just a little when fresh, then fail catastrophically later. Because of this, HDPE pipe manufacturers say that any leakage at all during testing is a failure. But the FKAA testing procedure allowed some leakage because they used improper test criteria designed for iron pipe with rubber gaskets. Most of the piping in the Cudjoe Regional sewer system is HDPE because it was cheapest. Most leaked a little when new, including the Niles Channel crossing which was leaking barrels per day but was passed. Because the open-trenched pipe was bedded in coarse gravel, many pipe leaks may never be found. The sewage flows through the trench gravel until it finds good escape paths in the porous trench wall and flows out to the ocean. Cesspits would be an improvement.




Marvel’s newest super hero, Amulet, an Arab American. Link

BRRRRRRRRR, anyone know who owns a snowplow in the Keys?? Brrrrrr!
[Wag The Dog] A political term and concept that refers to any effort to distract from an important and/or scandalous issue by creating some artificial sensation, often through military action. This originates in the saying “a dog is smarter than its tail, but if the tail were smarter, then it would wag the dog.”




[Seven Mile Xmas Tree] I got this photo in the dark on the 7 Mile Bridge.  It isn’t very good, but better than stopping!

The corrupt and opulent nobles of Rome gratified every vice that could be collected from the mighty conflux of nations and manners. Secure of impunity, careless of censure, they lived without restraint in the patient and humble society of their slaves and parasites. The emperor, in his turn, viewing every rank of his subjects with the same contemptuous indifference, asserted without control his sovereign privilege of lust and luxury. ~Gibbon, The Rise and Fall of Rome


I don’t give a ship!

[Advertising] If I could change the world I make all fast food joints have the photographs in their advertising look like the food they sell.  Those ads show their dream vision of how their food should look. The Big Mac they advertise on television should look like the squashed, flattened thing we’re served at the store. That big fat burrito they show on tv is appetizing, but when I went to Taco Bell (before it got defunct) I was sold a flat , soggy and limp Mexican-flavored grey thing (maybe that’s why they got defuncted in Key West).



[Printer For Sale] PIXMA IP7220 Digital Photo CD/DVD Printer. $50. (305) 395-0588. Link

[Marine Sanctuary Redundant] Mote Marine has grown coral and planted it on the reef.
The Nature Conservancy had grown and transplanted sea urchins to the reef to eat the algae on the coral.
Reef Relief has placed mooring balls on all the reefs.
The Conch Republic Navy has been cleaning up the shoreline and canals.
Other grass roots organizations have also cleaned up the shore.
What has the Marine Sanctuary done of note? I would like to see their list of successes.

[“Guns”] When I see the headline “Guns” I get bad feng shui or something. Maybe I’m too sensitive or reminded of their purpose.
[Electronic Sign] The last few times driving back through Marathon, I was surprised to see the change of attitude in the Sheriff’s Dept reflected on their message board that flashed “DRINK AND DRIVE” and then “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”. Wow! Alright! This last trip through I had to stop for a red light and saw the first part of what was a 3 part message: “PLEASE DON’T”. Bummer


[Can You Hear Me Now?] One of the trickiest things about getting older is losing the ability to predict fart volume.


[Betelgeuse] Beginning late summer of 2019, the reddish star Betelgeuse has dropped from the 7th to the 21st brightest star in the nighttime sky.  No need to panic, but if it exploded, the flash would be visible in the daytime, and rival the brightness of the Moon for weeks.

[Iran] Is Key West and the rest of South Florida preparing for any hostel happenings from the middle east bad guys? It’s getting scary out there!


I finished my bucket list.  It’s ice and beer. Maybe some tequila if things go wrong.

[Hyperbole] That is what politics is all about–anything to get attention. Let the truth be damned. “My cause is most important. It’s okay for me to say anything to get elected. I’ll say anything to get elected.” Politics is like shock radio, say anything to anger people. Angry people vote.
[Wounded Warrior Bike Ride 2020] Over the course of my life I’ve never been able to shed the memories of  Marines dying in combat or clasping onto life in the hope of being medically evacuated. Apolitical service in the Armed Forces of the United States has involved selfless action from American citizens for 243 years.

“Pledging to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” is a far cry from the hate filled speech spewed across our airwaves throughout the day. Toxic political rhetoric charged with rancor and intonations of violence; directing Americans to assail one another, simply because they may hold a divergent perspective of life is a  stressful and dangerous way to live. The emotions tied to such fascistic and tyrannical indoctrinations has unhinged sound reasoning  and objectivity, while “green-lighting” forceful disagreement by whatever means necessary. This destructive movement has been accepted and reinforced by too many politicians and media outlets. It has taken hold of our culture and society, with what appears to be only a rear-guard action of dissent and resistance pressing back.

There aren’t any Democrats, Republicans or Independents  fighting in combat.  There aren’t any colors in battle, everyone bleeds  “blood red”. The stains left behind from the wounded bodies torn apart in combat.

On Friday, January 10th at 8AM, the Wounded Warrior Bicycle Ride will begin at Upper Keys VFW Post 10211, in front of Arthur’s Island Kitchen restaurant at mile marker 102 Oceanside. If you can, please come and greet these Wounded Warriors when they disembark from the buses. If not, perhaps you can give them a wave as they ride South on US1,  during the first leg of their trip to the Coral Shores High School rest stop.

Riding with my “Purple Heart Brothers and Sisters” for the last 14 years has provided me with an opportunity to share in the healing and rehabilitative wonders that occur during each ride.

State Attorney Dennis Ward and the magnificent Wounded Warrior Project Staff have diligently coordinated and maintained this therapeutic event through the wondrous works of Sheriff Rick Ramsay; and many unsung heroes. Thank you.

[Angry Birds] I heard this ruckus out by my shed where there is a large mirror on one wall carefully framed and trimmed to look just like a real sash window, flower box and all. The tapping was from a male cardinal banging on his reflection and doing battle with the enemy bird in the mirror.


[USPS] Every time I mail a parcel they girls ask if I have anything that will explode in it. Good idea, but I just received four 12 gauge emergency flares in the mail. Why are these explosives allowed? Does the square at the top of the mailer indicate that it is okayed by the ATF? because it reads ATFM? Is that what ATFM means?

[Terror] One of the largest crowds in world history gathered in Tehran mourning the slaying of their military leader General Soleimani. I think they are really pissed. Watch out!



Elvis spotted alive in six bizarre sightings as The King’s 85th birthday nears. Conspiracy theorists have long believed Elvis Presley is alive and supposed “sightings” of the legendary singer have resurfaced ahead of his birthday. Link

[Australia Fires] Heartbreaking footage shows koala and kangaroo carcasses as a billion animals feared dead. Video



[Free Tax Prep] United Way of the Florida Keys is again offering 2 free tax preparation options for Monroe County residents with limited incomes, at locations throughout the Keys or online. Link

Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.   ~Augustus Hare



[Dildo] Naturally, when you hear the word “dildo” you immediately think of the Florida Keys, right? Well, I learned from a 1960 Golden Book on the “Everglades and the Nearby Florida Keys” that dildo are indeed native to the Keys (although coconut palms are not). But since the native dildo are a variety of cactus, one should not try to substitute the plant for the made in China version.

[Always Vote] The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men.  ~Plato