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

[Rubber Square Groupers] Taking a walk on Long Beach peninsula’s beach today, we happened upon a straw-bale sized object wrapped in what appeared like some kind of cloth strips soaked in rubber cement (see photo). We figured we found our first “Square Grouper”, although the bale was extremely heavy. Water-logged, we figured. Hacking at it with a good-sized hunting knife, the mystery deepened, though: below a layer of the rubber stuff was…another layer of rubber stuff. An internet search revealed the truth: it is a bale of genuine natural latex rubber that likely fell of a cargo ship heading from producers in South America! It turns out similar rubber bales have been found on English and Portuguese beaches, some of them traced by their markings to now defunct 100+ year old rubber plantations in Indonesia. Closer to home, two months ago 3 such bales washed up further north at Palm Beach, and one in Belize. Wrapping sheets of natural rubber into bales for shipment has been done for centuries, and people in-the-know are even speculating the Florida ones may have come from an old shipwreck. As for its value, at current raw natural rubber prices, you’re looking at around $100 or less tops. So not quite a real Square Grouper! Get more fascinating info here.
[Controlled Burn] It made me think of the disconnect of government thinking. In California, many areas have lost hundreds of houses, and numerous lives, and the threat continues. Colorado has the two largest fires in its history that are still burning. Why would a hundred thousand dollars be spent to start an unneeded fire in a state that is beginning another surge in the pandemic, while ignoring out of control fires on federal lands in other states. It is very hard to understand the priorities and thinking of some government agencies. It is good to be in the Keys where the County Government closed the county on March 27, and enacted strong measures to control the spread of Covid. The rest of the state did not do very well by comparison. And in fact, has made the job of keeping things under control in the Keys more difficult.

 

 

[Burn Map] This is where the controlled burn will be on Big Pine Key during the first two weeks of November. The forest across the Blue Hole to the edge of Kohen subdivision. Link

Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin – it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring. ~S.J. Perelman.
[キージカを救え] Key Deer are doing better than their Japanese counterparts – Interesting fact from Save Our Key Deer, Inc.: The Japanese city of Nara and neighboring 1240 acre Nara Park is home to around 1200 “Nara Deer” (scientifically sitka deer) that through history are considered sacred. They are free to roam through the town and the park and are a major tourist attraction, with 13 million tourists visiting the area each year. They also exhibit one of the biggest deer behavior mysteries in the world: each day about 500 of them gather and lie down on a lawn in the town for about 2 hours, after which they disperse for the night. No one has been able to explain why they do this.
But there is a darker side to their popularity: First, unlike efforts here in the Keys to educate people not to feed the deer artificial diets, the Japanese sell rice cakes to the tourists to give to the deer. There are even estimates how many rice cakes each deer eats each day. Then came the Corona virus epidemic, and tourism plummeted. No tourists, no rice cakes. Recent studies are emerging that show some of the deer had a “rice cake addiction” and are now in deep trouble health-wise. In a related development, a number of the deer died as the result of ingesting plastic bags (likely smelling like rice cakes). A Japanese scientist just developed a “digestible” shopping bag for Nara town businesses to try to protect the deer. Learning from others, please, help SOKD keep our deer healthy by not feeding them.

 

 

[Toast] I might have a slight drinking problem. My husband asked me to toast some bread for him. I raised my wine glass and said, “Here’s to bread!”

[Covid-19 Test Kits] EverlyWell, a company we already relied on for a variety of health tests, now has its own COVID-19 test in stock. This test can be done in your very own home and can be performed single-handedly. Results in 72 hours. Link
[Stand Up America] Save your butt and back. If you can, take your laptop or desktop and put it on the countertop so you have to stand up to use them. Same goes for cellphones. You can stand instead of sitting like a lounge lizard on a recliner. This gets things back to flowing and muscles to regenerate.

 

 

[“Wile E. Coyote”] Somebody pointed out that a coyote can run twice as fast as a roadrunner. But Wile E. Coyote already caught Roadrunner. See what happened here. Video

[Cruise Ships] Why is there alarm over smaller, cleaner cruise ships in Key West? The millionaires are in an uproar. I do see the tourist drunk boats out there packed to the gills. Big Pine, Marathon, Key Largo have no mega cruise ships, their struggling along as everyone else, and might I add, with cleaner water! Let’s try and preserve what we have left for our children, grandchildren.

 

[Spider Chip Cookies] While cookies are still warm from the oven, take a toothpick and “pull” legs off the melty chocolate chips.

[Un-Fantasy Fest] So much for social distancing in Key West. Naked drunks running around, no masks, just body paint. I thought we are supposed to social distance?

 

[Cruise Ships Cheapen The Town] It used to be nice to live in old town, so nice that everybody wants to go there, hence the cruise ships.

[Tourist Bus] Typical Key West money grab. Duval loop used to be free for residents as well as tourists. A nominal fee of $1 for tourists and still free for residents. The city is going to slowly lose vacationers due to excessive money grabbing.
[R.I.P.] Country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote Mr. Bojangles, dies aged 78. The singer songwriter, who wrote late-’60s hit Mr. Bojangles, passed away on Friday. Jerry died of cancer and associated health problems. A couple of months ago the publicist had been asked to get an obituary together by Jerry’s widow and manager Susan. The crooner was inspired to write Mr. Bojangles after spending time in a drunk tank with a New Orleans street performer. He had battled throat cancer three years ago but got it into remission and subsequently wrote the 2018 album It’s About Time.
Jerry Jeff Walker — Mr Bojangles

 

Ask yourself  ~David Byrne
Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime

[Covid Surges] On Friday, the United States recorded a record high number of new cases of Coronavirus, 83,757 positives in a single day. The same day US Fish and Wildlife announced they wanted to burn on Big Pine Key in November. On Sunday, the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Palm Beach County, stated that Florida was on the verge of a Covid Resurgence. On Sunday, Florida cases increased by 3,377, to a total of 782,013 cases and 16,457 dead people. Saturday cases had increased by 4471 and 77 deaths.

 

[Give Me Your Blood] Who is feeling ghoulish? For those eligible, there is a blood drive Thursday. Donors will receive a special OneBlood Halloween t-shirt. Please click on the link & book a required appointment. Thursday, October 29 – 12-5 pm Bealles. Link

[Covid-19 Surging] Within the past week, there have been 24,365 new COVID-19 cases in Florida. The surge in coronavirus cases statewide brought the state total to 760,389 by Tuesday. Monroe County reported cases have increased from 1,958 to 2,093. One new death was also reported, a 90-year old woman who had underlying health conditions, according to the state. This brings the total number of deaths in Monroe County to 2.

 

[Massage Therapists Wanted] We’re going to be in the Keys next Spring and wonder if there are any good local massage therapists who can do massages outside, near the water with a strong fan? Same with having an outdoor pedicure. Is there anybody doing that yet? That would be a good business right about now since the beauty industry, along with others, are all in such distress. There are no listings in the BPK.com business for professional massage therapists and any suggestions would be appreciated.

[Cruxifiction] “Imagine Big Pine’s population crucified along US1 for miles” Sounds good to me. Do it!

 

 

[Sailing] Q: How long does it take for the average person to become a sailor>
A: The average person can never become a sailor.

KeysHelp.org, an innovative way to assist neighbors in need. United Way of Collier and the Keys is launching a virtual Remote Crisis Case Management System to help residents of Collier and Monroe Counties cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, UWCK is excited to announce KeysHelp.org, an innovative way to assist neighbors in need. Link

 

[Just When You Though You’d Seen It All Department] Hormel debuts its bacon-scented facemask. The hickory smoke filters out the virus. Link

 

[Name That Bird] For the past month I’ve seen what looks like a small woodpecker in the same place in rural Big Pine. It’s not a red-headed woodpecker that I used to see here, but I think it might be bluish/dark. I can’t really tell because I see it before sunrise and it’s usually in shadow. Can anyone offer suggestions as to what this poor description of a bird might be?

 

 

And now for your daily dose of nonsense. What a giant banana orbiting Earth would look like. Video