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

[“Daily migration of the Great Herons and Ibis”] I often wonder where they go. I see them roost up on an island on the west side of BPK and it’s great to see them fly in at dusk. They usually come home individually or in small numbers. As they approach the island they are in a steady decline, so their wings are out stiff in a nice controlled glide. It seems to be a delicate balance of when to come back to the island. They don’t want to come back to soon (I don’t know why) but they also want to get a good spot on a branch. It is a small island with about a hundred birds. They then begin squawking back and forth. And of course, your mind fills with the possible conversations, “I want that branch.” “Get away from me.” “Did you hear about…” “This is what I did today.” “I sure would like to stroke your feathers.”  But eventually the chatter settles down and we all get some sleep. Until the next morning, when we start to stretch and take in the new day, a low murmur of chatter can be heard and the occasional departure of an individual or two. But what is really cool is the grand departure, when the vast majority of the flock take off in a flourish. I never know what the trigger is for when they suddenly fly off together, but I always enjoy the climax.
The birds are one of the reasons why I love the Keys. I am glad someone has a different vantage and enjoys the view.
Peace, love, and happiness.
[Tiny Houses] The developers and local politicians found yet another way to cram more housing and people down here: tiny houses. Now instead of one house per lot they can put 3-4. What won’t these people do to make a buck?

 

 

[“Cheap TVs”] I agree, tvs have never been so cheap. I just bought a 50” 4K TV for $218 plus tax (total $234.35) from Walmart—delivered. Link

[Lobster] Visitors asked me where they could get local lobster.  I told them, “China.”
[Improvements] Every time I drive up to the mainland, I see more and more road projects wasting my bloody tax money. Aluminum railings on top of concrete barriers, stupid crosswalks in the middle of nowhere, red light crossing sites to stop a 1000 cars and burn up people’s time and fuel, repainted road lines that are down-right dangerous in a rain, extra lines to create bike paths right on the road! when we spent millions for safe off-road bike paths. Idiot speed limits through hick towns to get people to see the local merchants, and all kinds of maintenance projects except fixing the potholes. What the hell is going on? Enough of this crap. I want to know who is making all the money with these “busy work” projects.
[Scientists Discover Another New Phase of Matter] It’s electronic—and it’s a big deal. Scientist says he believes this discovery is part of the new “second quantum revolution,” where physicists are taking their massive and ever-growing amount of knowledge of quantum systems and using that to start building “quantum computing, quantum teleportation, quantum communications, quantum sensing,” and more. Video
[Dumb Bus Driver] They spent probably tens of thousands of dollars to build the “Bus Only” pull-offs along the side of U.S. 1 from Key West to Marathon.  Yet, the other day I was stuck at the stop light at Key Deer Boulevard, heading west, for several cycles because the traffic on U. S. 1 was only moving at a snail’s pace.  Once I got around the corner, I could see the problem.  The bus, rather than pulling all the way into the space and out of the way of traffic, had driven into the carefully constructed, expensive, bus loading zone with only his right-side tires off the highway.  Even worse, the driver had pulled the bus into the space at an angle, leaving the rear of the bus almost completely blocking the lane of traffic, making it actually worse than before when there was no dedicated space at all at the stop.
Where do they find these people?  I thought that getting a chauffeur’s license was some indication of competence.  I guess I was wrong. Don’t you just love it.
[National Marine Sanctuary] They’re having the final public meeting on Knights Key before the Sanctuary shoves its new plan down our throats. I’ll bet it’ll be lively with thousands against it and only a smattering of bureaucrats in favor, pretending the new plan is good for us.

 

 

[‘Tis The Season] Just about 7 more weeks until we get our island back.  I love our snowbirds but it’s good to wave adieu for another season.

[“Politicians down here have no guts”] They have big guts and big balls and get away with anything to fill their coffers and wallets with your gold. Like everywhere else, politicos are legalized pirates in suits and us fools can’t see them for their grins and swords[?]. They might not get actual cash, but most get favors like jobs or free golf, etc when they leave office as payback for their favors while in office. Someday all this will end, and this rock will recycle back to the tiki bar culture that worked. Amen to that time.

 

 

[ROGO] I got the letter saying they are going to move the building rights from the old trailer parks on the Avenues to someplace else. Moving building rights just seems wrong. It defeats the prohibitions against development that County codes were designed to protect and regulate.

[A Nun’s Journey In The Amazon] In her work aiding Brazil’s rural poor, Sister Jean Bellini practices “accompaniment.” The term gives Catholics a way of ministering to, or alongside, all suffering people, including those who don’t fully share their faith. Link

 

[Wisdom] Dog farts and old people farts are the stinkiest. Therefore, we can only infer that dogs are reincarnated old people.

[A Priest’s Confession] What the Catholic bishops knew. CBC Canada public broadcasting. Video

 

 

 

[Hide the Key] Dear Mother-in-law, I just wanted to tell you that the keys are in the flower pot.

[Moving the Deer Heard] Climate change and Key Deer. A response to last Friday’s post that with rising sea water levels, Key deer should be relocated to the mainland. Save Our Key Deer Inc. has been active on this subject. We invite you to read several articles in our October 2018 Newsletter that discusses sea level rise issues related to our deer, and where there are other isolated deer in the Caribbean. Link
In our opinion, the subject has not been gathering enough attention speed from both federal and state agencies. Any translocations to areas with other deer populations will most definitely result in quick interbreeding and a total loss of the genetic uniqueness of the Key Deer. On the other hand, putting a bunch of them in an isolated zoo environment would be a very lame, 19th century solution to supposedly preserve a sub-species from extinction. SOKD intends to work with federal and international agencies to study potential translocation site alternatives
[Privacy] I finally discovered that an invisible “tracking pixel” hidden in an email that you open or a website that you visit can enable the sender or site to collect a bunch of information about you without your consent or knowledge. If your email program shows a preview of what is in the email, then you do not even have to open it for the sender to steal information about you. That includes spam emails that you delete without opening. Here is one article explaining what is happening and what information can be collected. If you use Gmail, there is a free add-on at uglymail.com that will show an eyeball next to email that tracks you. There are other add-ons available for other emails. Simply setting your email preferences to block images may also work. Link

 

 

This guy’s project is doomed to failure, guaranteed!

[“’Ears’ – the deer with missing top of her ears”] As we promised, we forwarded photos to veterinary experts at Tufts University for their assessment of a Key deer doe with both of her upper ears gone. The original poster wondered if it could be a genetic defect. Two Tufts’ top vets responded:
1)It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on with the ears, but if you were further north, I’d say they almost look frostbitten! Since that’s hardly the case, there might be something leading to decreased blood circulation to the tips of the ears or perhaps an infectious process. I doubt this is a genetic abnormality since it looks asymmetrical and you’d expect other problems too. Possibly some sort of abuse but, if so, it looks like the wounds are healed now. Sorry not to be more definitive but perhaps others have ideas. (Professor/Director, wildlife clinic, Tufts U.)
2) I second what Flo said. Really – if up north then frostbite. For down south possibly had some trauma and then the flies did a lot of secondary damage? A disease causing a vasculitis? If she’s walking without lameness (where I would be more nervous about a vasculitis having harmful sequelae…..) then I guess it’s hopefully just cosmetic. (Staff Vet.)
Since the initial photos made the social media, SOKD has received additional photos of other deer with similar conditions on their ears, some appearing relatively freshly wounded, and reports of a deer with its tail missing. Detailed analysis of the photos makes us believe that animal cruelty, not disease or natural causes, may be the actual cause. We are sharing all information including locations etc. with Federal and Florida Wildlife Authorities and the MCSO ~Save Our Key Deer.
[Trivia from the Bathroom Readers Institute] In 1982 Californian Larry Walters tied 45 weather balloons to his lawn chair, hoping to fly 300 miles to the Mojave Desert. Instead, he rose to 16,000 feet and used a pellet gun to pop the balloons on the way down.
~The Downtown Hotel bar in Dawson City, Yukon, features a unique drink: the Sourtoe Cocktail. It’s a beer stein of champagne with a severed toe in it. (Swallowing the toe has happened a few times but is not recommended.) Link
~Elvis Presley was related to both Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter.
~Al Capone’s brother Vince was a policeman in Homer, Nebraska.
~Taiwan and Luxembourg both have more cell phones than people.
~During World War II, the Japanese navy launched about 9,000 balloon incendiary bombs into the United States. Most landed harmlessly, but one in Oregon drew curious folks on their way to a church picnic. The bomb then detonated, killing five children and one adult.
When driverless cars are the norm, will we still need collision auto insurance? I think not. There probably will be a pool funded by road use, gas tax,  or something that pays for any accident, however rare they will be.
[Island Grass Music Fest] A benefit Habitat for Humanity. Join Terry Cassidy and friends at Boondock’s Grille and Draft House, 27025 Overseas Hwy on Sunday, February 23rd for the 21st Annual Island Grass Music Fest. There will be live music from 1pm – 6pm featuring Terry Cassidy & Mike Bailey, Brian Roberts, Cory Young & Ty Thurman, Pat McCune, and Howard Livingston. Come and bid on your favorite items in the huge silent auction with over 100 items from your favorite Keys businesses. There are vendor spaces available for a small donation. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane recovery and affordable housing programs. For more information, contact info@habitatlowerkeys.org or call (305)294-9006