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Two interesting cruise ship revelation articles in today’s new issue of Key West the newspaper – www.thebluepalper.com, which you might wish to read.
BY DAVID LYBRAND
BY ELLIOT BARON
Bottom line, The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” mantra of the cruise ship huggers, based on a significant drop in cruise ship passengers in Key West since the peak cruise ship passengers year of 2003, is due to 9/11 caused many people to stop flying in commercial airplanes and cruise ship companies took advantage of that world wide and enjoyed a bonanza in 2003, after which many travelers began using airlines again.
On a more literal theatrical front, yesterday from William Benson, via his wife, Sarah - they are the parents of of Will and Jolly Benson, who have spearheaded voting NO for channel dredging and more and bigger cruises ships coming to Key West:
Sloan, have you seen this? What a hoot!
William Benson, President Benson Green Technologies 175 Overseas Highway Key West, FL 33040 (305) 296 3940 (305) 296-3940 www.bensongreentech.com
Achtung! Heil, Fuhrer Swift! To whom do I give credit for it?
“The Naked Conch” That might be you …except for the Conch part.
Jolly was discreet about this. It didn’t come from him. Sarah found it on Facebook.
But, it’s the sort of thing that could make a difference internationally. The French word would be “outré”
From Mark “Renaissance”, whose first sighting and contact with me about maybe being homeless in Key West was reported yesterday at this website:
Another fine article Sloan.
I am just thinking out loud here but I am really getting interested in the homeless situation. I’m not a big believer in a purpose driven life and maybe that is one of my many faults but I would like nothing more than find a way to contribute to that population. Unfortunately I am not financially able to contribute monetarily and it seems everything is of a volunteer nature , understandingly so. I am not a director or fund raising type but I would do whatever I could for room and board. Anyway, that was kind of off topic of my thinking. I often walk to stores in my area and I get disgusted with how much trash there is beside the roads. You never see it when passing in a car. I have thought this many times, even before my current situation, if there was some way to connect the cities need of cleaner streets with giving some homeless people some much needed cash. I know there are many bumps to the idea and I am sure it isn’t something new. Of course the city couldn’t hire them but I was thinking maybe a program could be set up where donations could be used just for that purpose. Maybe the homeless that would be interested could get assigned areas which could be monitored and work as a type of independent contractors . Could be just one day a week or whatever is called upon. In a broad sense, I see it as a win win situation. Some homeless get cash, the city gets cleaner and some of the anti-homeless camp might contribute if they feel some are making a contribution to their idealistic world. Has anything like that been discussed before?
On a side note. I read that you lived in Hawaii before. Is that correct? Were you ever introduced to the practices of Ho’oponopono or Huna?
Not in the exact sense you mean. I was introduced to the practices of Jesus, Archangel Michael and Magdalene-Melchizedek, and they let Pele [the Hawaiian fire/volcano goddess]
have a few swipes at me when I was on Maui in 2000, and on Kuai years before that, and on the Big Island a few years before that. First, they trained me to be a universal shaman. Then, they trained me to be something a lot worse. Now, they seem to take great delight in keeping me as uncomfortable as I can bear and still keep breathing. An adept Hawaiian shaman (kahuna) might commiserate. If I don’t get beaten out of doing it in my sleep tonight, there will be something on that general process in tomorrow’s post, without mention of Hawaii.
After entering the 2007 Key West mayor’s race, it came to me to propose that the city offer homeless people jobs as litter cops, they would be dressed like pirates, have fake pistols, daggers, swords, go around uttering pirate greetings to people and pirate warnings to litterbugs, such as being made to walk the plank, be keel-hauled, hung from the yardarm, if they did not pick up their litter, failing to get a good response, the litter cops wrote out real citations for littering. Upon somehow learning of that, a syndicated NY City radio talk show called and interviewed me, which led to other radio stations around America interviewing me, including a station in Honolulu. The city never expressed interest. Nothing came from it. I made the same pitch during the 2009 mayoral, same response from the city. I thought they were nuts. It would be a great tourist draw. Kids and adults would love it. Some homeless people would go for it, many would not, but perhaps as time passed, more homeless people would go for it. They would be paid to do it.
Yours is a good idea, but the city should pay homeless people for picking up trash, as hired city employees. The city pays Waste Management to collect trash once a week throughout the city and haul it all to the mainland to be segregated into recyclables and/or incinerated and/or taken to a dump. The city has its own street cleaning crews and machines for Duval and adjacent streets, which are out there working early every morning after the night before party. Some homeless people might go for it, others would not.
The angels told me about twenty years ago, “There are no fig leaves in Paradise, nor any secrets.”
Key West bills itself as paradise. Perhaps the angels took that as in invitation to remove Key West’s fig leaves. Perhaps Key West is a proxy for all of America. Perhaps as Key West goes, America goes …
Meanwhile, the day before yesterday brought a homeless flashback,
when I pedaled my bicycle by my old condo on Key West’s Fleming Street, a doorway where I slept every night on flattened cardboard boxes during the winter and early spring of 2001.
I stopped off at Faustos Food Palace just up and across Fleming, and went in and ordered a curried chicken salad sandwich on rye bread at the deli. A wonderful, inexpensive, filling meal, if you add all the trimmings – lettuce, tomato, onions.
From there, I pedaled up Fleming to the County Library, to eat my lunch in the nice little side park, where just a few days after 9/11 I had sat on the very same bench one afternoon after leaving the library because I was dozing off in there, which was against the rules and the deputy sheriff on station would give you a really hard time. So, sitting on the bench in the side park that day shortly after 9/11, I dozed off. Probably not for very long.
I awoke, there was the deputy on station, standing over me. He said I could not sleep on the bench. I said I knew that, and told him why I had come to the bench from inside the library. He repeated that it was illegal for me to sleep on the bench. I said I knew that, but I couldn’t help it. I said, actually, I had passed out. I passed out daily. Sometimes two or three times. The deputy asked if I had a medical problem? No, I had a God problem. God made me pass out in the oddest places, churches, city commission meetings, and when I woke up, there was something in front of me God wanted me to see. In this case, the deputy.
The deputy did not seem to take that well. He asked where I lived? I said I had no address. He whipped out his ticket pad and said he was giving me a no-trespass warning. “At Large,” he said he wrote down for my residence. He looked at my Alabama driver’s license, wrote down my name. Then, he ushered me out of the side park.
I could not resist asking if he didn’t have anything better to be doing, like criminals to catch and put in jail? He didn’t seem to like hearing that, either. He said I was banned from the library. I said, what? What did I do to get banned from the library? He left and went into the library and came back out with Tom Hambright, the County Historian, who agreed with the deputy, I was banned from the library. For what? I use the library every day! Everyone in there knows me! I was banned, they both said.
Then, the deputy ordered me off the sidewalk. I said it was a public sidewalk, he could not order me off of it. He pulled out his 2-way and called for back up. I kid you not. I asked why he did that? He had the pistol in his holster, it looked like a Glock. He had his right hand on the gun butt. I was posing no threat to him. He kept talking to the dispatcher about sending backup. Hambright stood by.
I turned and got onto my bicycle and pedaled off down the sidewalk until I reached a drive I could go down onto Fleming Street. Somehow, I escaped.
Just the night before, two KWPD officers had rousted me out of my regular doorway condo next to the bookstore. I had been gone for several months, it was my first night back. I asked the two officers what had changed since I was sleeping every night in that doorway since the past April? They said they could not allow me to sleep in the business’ doorway. I had to move on, or they would arrest me and take me to jail. I said I wondered if God was going to have me sue the city about that? The officers seemed not pleased to hear that. They seemed on the verge of cuffing me. I said, no problem, I was moving on. I picked up my backpack and carried it over to my bicycle locked to a light pole, and strapped the backpack onto the bike’s rear platform. The officers got into their patrol car and left.
Across the street, an old black man was sleeping on the sidewalk, against a building. He slept there every night. The officers had said nothing to him. So, I went across the street and set up a few feet from him, and spent the night there.
A little while after the deputy at the library called in for backup, a fellow I only had just met the night before, on hearing what had happened at the library and the night before at the Fleming doorway, said I could live with him and his son, sleep on cushions on their living room floor. He had internet access and a computer I could use to work online.
When wee had met the night before, he was interested in my saing a couple of nights before 9/11, I was asked in my sleep if I would make a prayer for a Divine Intervention for all of humanity? Which, on waking up, I did. He wanted to know what I thought America should do? I said, not counter attack. It will be a disaster for America.
He was astonished to learn that I not only knew of the Sufi poet Rumi (Sufis are the mystical branch of Islam), and could recite some of his poems, I also knew of Rumi’s teacher, Shams. After we had talked a while, he said I was a lot like what he had understood Shams was like. Shams was totally irreverent, irascible, beyond comprehension, totally unpredictable.
It was some time before I connected the dots between 9/11 and what I experienced the first night I was back in Key West in that Fleming Street doorway, and then the next day at the library three blocks further up Fleming Street. Unable to respond to the foreign perpetrators of 9/11, city and county law enforcement made homeless people the foreign terrorists’ proxy.
For a fact, that deputy at the library was terrified of me. He was shaking all over, muttering to himself, and all I did was tell him God made me pass out, and didn’t he have something better to do than be bothering me?
That deputy and the two city police officers had no clue, nor at the time did I have a clue, that when they picked on me, that was the seed that eventually launched me into Key West politics. Two years later, this ex-lawyer with two law degrees, J.D. and LLM in Taxation, this ex-published author, this ex-trust fund baby, this angel-conscripted mystic, ran for mayor the first time, while living in Florida Keys Outreach Coalition shelters. The rest, as they say, is history …
Yesterday’s post at this website featured the thoughts of popular Florida Keys singer and songwriter Adrienne Zolondick on America at war:
“My deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. There is no such thing as a coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. That our leaders are looking for another reason to meddle in the middle east around the anniversary of 9/11 should be a stark reminder to us all that we need not repeat the mistakes of the past. I pray that our country changes course. There are deeper reasons why 9/11 occurred. It is clear that the war on terror did not curtail “our enemy” in any way at all, it emboldened them and only creates more terrorists rather than less. Is Iraq safer now more than 10 years after the invasion? No. Does Al Queda still exist? Yes. Why do our leaders feel it is necessary to patrol the middle east when our country needs attention? Could it be they have something that we want? That’s a no brainer. Are american citizens told the truth about why we go to war? I doubt it. Telling a kid they can’t do something has the opposite effect than what a parent wants. How many of us actually listened to our parents when we were told NOT to do something? I understand that in Switzerland they train their citizens to use guns and it has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire world. Why? Because the would be thugs have to worry about getting shot. I am no gun advocate… but really… this is a fact. In this world there are bullies and there are nice people whether you’re a kid or an adult. Our country acts like a bully because there are bullies in charge of the money in this country, plain and simple, and they make the laws so they can have more money. Let’s believe in our hearts that we can turn this debacle around so that there will actually be peace in this world. There is nothing else to do but believe we can change it. Once we believe it, it will change.”
I nodded agreement, as I read what Adrienne wrote, until I reached the end, when I wondered if believing is enough for it to change, for peace to rule this world?
I have seen many people believing in lots of different things, which did not seem to make this world more peaceful.
St.Paul believed, and wrote to his followers, that Christ was coming back in his lifetime and they should stop having sex, as there was no need to make any more babies. If Christendom had obeyed Paul on that point, it would have died out in 2-3 generations.
Some people today might say it would have been better for Christendom to have died out. Some people would say the same about Islam. Some people would say the same about Judaism.
It looks to me those three religions had more than their fair share of making war against other people, in God’s name. Often have I told the angels who run me that humanity would have been better off if there never had been any religions, just having the angels to walk and talk with would be enough.
My personal experience with the angels, and my observation of people I have known being grabbed by the angels, is walking and talking with angels tends to disagree with the human perspective. Perhaps tends to disagree is too mild. Perhaps nearly always disagrees is more accurate.
For me, it’s about doing what is in front of me in the holiest way I can do it. That’s the entire program for me, day after day, week after week, other than being corrected and informed by the angels who run me, when I need correction and information, which is daily.
To say that way of living is steep might be an understatement. To say humanity would like to live in that way would be a big fat lie. If that way of living was imposed on all of humanity, maybe 5,000 people would survive.
Or, maybe the angels can wave a magic wand and, presto, people think and behave differently.
That said, perhaps Adrienne knows something I do not. Perhaps she represents an entirely new paradigm for me. I like what she wrote. I hope what she wrote catches on fire and infects all of humanity. I will drop dead from shock, if what I wrote above catches on and infects all of humanity.
Yet, how else can war be stopped? How else can mental illness, and addiction and homelessness be stopped? How else can greed be stopped? I could go on and on with how elses, and it might end up being a really long book. So, I will just give one other example of what is so terribly wrong just with America, that I do not personally feel that simply believing is enough to bring about change.
Yesterday, I had lunch at Coco’s Kitchen on Big Pine Key with Dr. Brian La Pointe,
who has home there and also a home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Our meeting was initiated by Joel Biddle, of Key West, who used to work for Reef Relief.
Before going into what Brian and I discussed, here are his professional credentials, as he stated them to me.
B.S. Biology, Boston University, 1973
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, 1973-1977
M.S., Environmental Engineering, University of Florida, 1979
PhD., Biology (Marine), University of South Florida, 1982
As Brian told it to me …
It was he, who first argued that increased salinity in the Bay of Florida caused by droughts and/or diminished sheet water flow through the Everglades had anything to do with the dying of the Florida Keys coral reef, which now is 95 percent dead.
It was he, who first argued that the death of the reef was due to south Florida farm chemical runoff, principally nitrogen, but also phosphates and other chemicals, into the Everglades, which chemicals made their way through the Everglades, into the Bay of Florida, and from there to the Florida Keys, and started killing the reef.
The chemical run-off also increased the acidity of the water in the Everglades, which ended up in the Bay of Florida. To add perspective, a PH of 7 is neutral. A PH of 6, is 100 times more acidic than a PH of 7. A PH of 5 is 1,000 times more acidic than a PH of 7. A PH of 4 is 10,000 times more acidic than a PH of 7. And so on.
Reef Relief, then headed by the Quirolos, its founders, was the only outfit who sided with Brian. Last Stand, NOAA [National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration], Congress, the White House, Tallahassee, Big Sugar, all held to the view that increased salinity was killing the reef, even though the reef is in the Atlantic Ocean, where salinity was high compared to the normal or Big Sugar-altered salinity of the Bay of Florida.
Eventually, litigation and Brian’s view won out, and Big Sugar was required to stop sugar farm chemical run-off into the Everglades. That was achieved by diverting the chemical run-off into Lake Okeechobee, which created problems for that lake’s ecology. It also created problems for the Sebastian Inlet community on the east Florida coast, and the Port St. Lucie community on the west Florida coast, because those communities received Big Sugar’s chemical run-off via a cross-state canal into which Lake Okeechobee drained.
The chemical run-off from Lake Okeechobee killed native sea grass on which manatee fed. The chemical run-off fed the red seaweed known as gracilaria, also known as the red tide algae, which multiplied exponentially. The manatee started eating red seaweed, which was poisonous to them, and they started getting sick and dying. Sebastian Inlet and Port St. Lucie got up in arms, demanded relief from the Big Sugar run-off from Lake Okeechobee.
Tallahassee recently decided to start letting Big Sugar send its chemical run-off back into the Everglades. Brian went to Tallahassee and testified before a Florida Senate committee about what had happened in the past, and what the renewed discharge of dirty water into the Everglades will do the the Everglades, the Bay of Florida, and what little remains of the coral reef in the Florida Keys. The state senators did not seem pleased to receive this news.
Later, Brian spoke with Florida US Senator Bill Nelson about the same thing. It seemed to be news to Nelson, who said he was glad to get the information, it was a complicated situation.
I told Brian I was going to write this up. It might have a few little mistakes caused by my ignorance, which will have to be corrected. It will be written so a 3rd-grader can understand it.
Therefore, I say, Bull Shit! It is not a complicated situation. The Everglades, the Bay of Florida, the reef, the manatee, Mother Nature, are infinitely more important than Big Sugar. Put Big Sugar out of business in south Florida. Put its employees on workmen’s compensation.
When I summarized all of that to Naja Girard last night, she is the current President of Last Stand and co-publishes Key West the Newspaper with her husband Arnaud, I said it now may not matter what happens. 95 percent of the reef is dead. What’s the point of trying to protect the surviving 5 percent?
We laughed over the Key West Chamber of Commerce’s pro-channel-dredging, more-and-bigger cruise ships Bonnie & Clyde couple, Dr. Robin Lockwood (an orthopedic surgeon) and Jennifer Hulse (a lawyer) boasting during the last referendum forum that, if the dredging happens, $23,000,000 will be available for mitigation – the entire reef can be restored. No way in hell any amount of money will restore a reef that size, which is 95 percent dead.
At that same forum, Jolly Benson said the $23,000,000 would be used up through divers trying to locate all of the corals in the part of the seabed that will be removed by the dredging, and transplanting those corals elsewhere, or planting farm raised corals elsewhere. Farm-raised corals, which have no clue what Tallahassee is about to let Big Sugar dump into the Everglades, again.
I wonder if a video of that last forum was made. Lockwood and Hulse reminded me of what Brian La Pointe told me about the people past and present, who claim Big Sugar’s chemical run-off did not, and will not, damage the Everglades and the Bay of Florida and the Florida Keys reef.
Borrowing the lead into the second cruise ship article in The Blue Paper today:
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – Mark Twain
As for me, I’m still trying to get used to being in The Witness Protection Program. That has to do with having my hair cut and my beard removed and not being nearly so easy for Keys people to recognize.