CONCH REPUBLIC DAYS

It was April 1982. Drugs and illegal immigrants were coming in through Key West and the lower Keys. The U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and checkpoint at the northern end of US 1.

Traffic backed up big time. Many locals and tourists were inconvenienced and angry.

A federal court action was brought to have the roadblock/checkpoint removed. It failed.

Key Westers were undaunted. Their mentality prevailed. A group of local citizens decided to protest. In humorous fashion, of course. They went to the roadblock/checkpoint and opened one on their own. Under the auspices of the newly formed Conch Republic. The day, April 23.

History was made!

The men assembled advised the U.S. Border Patrol that Key West had seceded and was an independent nation. They further advised that then and there they were declaring war on the United States.

The group waited one minute and then advised they were surrendering. In addition, they demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.

The aid never came. However much has developed since that 1982 day.

The Conch Republic has won a form of recognition from the U.S. It has a capital headquarters in a yellow conch house on Simonton Street. The Conch Republic flag flies in front.

The Conch Republic has an Army, Navy and Air Force. Officers uniformed. An ocean going fleet consisting of the Schooner Wolf and ten civilian boats. An Air Force consisting of several pre-World War II bi-planes.

A female contingent exists. Young lovely ladies. Their uniform, bikinis.

Even a national anthem. Working In The Conch Republic.

The 35th anniversary of the birth of the Conch Republic is being celebrated with a week long event. Begins tonight at the Schooner Wharf Bar at 7. The event is the Conch Shell Blowing Contest.

A major event is the Great Sea Battle which will take place in a few days. The Conch Republic and United States engage in war!

Off Schooner Wharf, the Conch Republic Navy consisting of the schooner Wolf (a pirate ship in reality) and several small motorized vehicles will engage the big ships of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch’s will fire sea water via large hoses at the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will retaliate with fire hoses.

The Conch’s will throw cabbages, eggs and tomatoes at the Coast Guard. The bikini clad ladies will be holding on from the yardarm doing most of the throwing. They will be attired as pirate ladies. The men as pirates, also.

The air battle is terrific. U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica will engage Conch Republic bi-planes. The bi-planes will also bomb the Coast Guard cutters. With rolls of toilet paper which open up and flutter down on the Coast Guard vessels. Something to see.

Don’t miss the Great Sea Battle! It’s a winner!

Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon are in town. I hope to go out to dinner with them tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

LINCOLN JUMPED OUT A WINDOW TO STOP A VOTE

I was chatting at the Hot Tin Roof bar last night with a couple from Montana. Trump supporters.

A congenial conversation. Opposing views expressed.

At one poin,t they were expressing their disgust with the Democrats having failed to turn up for one or two committee hearings yesterday. Hearings scheduled for votes re two cabinet picks.

I smiled. Then shared with them a story I wrote in this blog 4-5 years ago.

It was 1840. The actual date December 5. Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Illinois Legislature. He was a Whig at the time.

The Democrats the opposing party.

The Democrats needed a quorum to vote on a piece of legislation they wanted passed. They suspected the Whigs might leave the Chamber so there would not be a quorum. The Democrats had the door locked.

Lincoln was no fool. The Chamber was on the second floor. He walked over and opened a window. Jumped out and ran off. Thereby denying the opposition for the moment the quorum required.

I told my friends, denying a quorum is All American. If Lincoln could do it, so too today’s Democrats.

Sex seems to affect children at an earlier age these days. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine has graduated to sexually explicit classmate photos.

Horace O’Bryant is a Key West school. Kindergarten through 8th grade. An investigation is underway. Sexual photos being shared. The pics taken off campus. Transmitted initially via social media. The pics of middle school students.

Parents, pull your hair out!

A haircut at noon yesterday with Lori. She told me about her recent long weekend Caribbean cruise. Fun. She recommends it.

At one point, the water got rough. Her stomach began to flutter. The remedy was to drink more, she said. The alcohol balanced out the woozy stomach.

Stopped at Farmers Market afterwards. To buy bread. A young immigrant couple sells their home made bread under one of the tents. I who ask everyone everything have never asked them where they came from. The bread is delicious. I bought 15 small loaves. I freeze the bread.

Ran into Boomer at Farmers Market.

The Chart Room and Hot Tin Roof last night. Both places relatively quiet. The Montana couple sat at the bar near me.

The Sons and Daughters of Italy present Buonasera Venezia tonight from 5-8 at the Bottlecap.
A charity fundraiser. I will be there. With Liz. She called yesterday and said she wanted to go. Venice her favorite place. She and her now deceased husband spent many happy days in Venice.

I have been visiting or living in Key West more than 25 years. When first I came, the men did not wear jackets. Dress jackets. Sport jackets. Then one could be noticed every few months. We locals would look at each other and quietly whisper…..Tourists.

I see more and more men wearing jackets the past couple of years. Especially the past few months. Especially when cold. Even however when it is merely part of the dress costume for the evening.

Includes locals.

Key West is changing.

Poet John Keats died in February 1821. Twenty five years old. One of the world’s best romantic sonnet writers.

Keats died in his bedroom in Rome. A four story narrow building at 26 Piazza di Spagna. Immediately next to the Spanish Steps.

I was in Rome 35 years ago with my family for a  month. My wife and daughters deserted me one day to shop. The American dollar was strong. Everything cost one-third of what it did back home.

I was walking around. Sat a while on the Spanish Steps and watched the world go by. Took a walk. Passed the building described. A small brass sign on the side of the door read The Keats Shelley House.

I went in. Explored the four floors. The top floor was the important one.

Keats’ bedroom had been preserved as it was at the time of his death. An outer room had some of his first edition books and manuscripts of his writings. All under glass.

I came across one writing that moved me emotionally.

Recall first that Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg  Address on a brown paper bag. The bag that had carried his lunch.

Keats wrote the opening stanzas of one of his most famous poems on a piece of crumbled paper. The opening lines to Endymion. A several volume work.

Few know Endymion. Most know its opening lines as penciled in on that piece of crumbled paper: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever…..”

Tomorrow at noon Syracuse/Virginia. Tough game. Virginia ranked #9 nationally. I refuse to get excited in spite of Syracuse’s spectacular victory over North Carolina State earlier this week.

I just remembered! I will not be watching the game. At noon, I will be marching in Steve Attis’ New Orleans funeral parade. Followed by mass at St. Mary’s Church.

Enjoy your day!