Thursday, November 04, 2010

Overseas Eye-way is Watching

Often, when visitors ask how long is the drive between Miami and Key West, knowledgeable locals usually reply "3-hours - without traffic".

But how do you know if you are about to face a big delay on US1/Overseas Highway due to traffic?

Do what Big Brother does and check in on road conditions by viewing the 36 cameras set up by the Florida Department of Transportation along US1.   There is a camera every few miles!

The cameras produce a still image that is updated each minute of the day.

Kind of creepy when you think about it.

How do you feel about this?
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exactly What Jobs Has Morgan McPherson Created?

It's election season and the mailboxes are filling up with political propaganda.

I couldn't help but notice the District 120 Florida House race - pitting incumbant Ron Saunders with former mayor Morgan McPherson.

Today's McPherson mailer states:

"Morgan McPherson is a successful small businessman and job creator with the real-life business experience we need in Tallahassee."

The mailer lists his major accomplishments.  At the top is "President of the Florida Merchant Union, Representing South Florida".

Sounds impressive - doesn't it?

So what is the Florida Merchant Union?

Whatever it is, it was incorporated on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 -  four days after he filed his candidacy document.

Visiting the website of Florida Merchant Union shows a one page website deviod of contact information, phone number, address, or any evidence of a serious business. (click here for a Google search for Florida Merchant Union).

McPherson's effort to recast himself as a successful businessman may be a bit of stretch.  Especially if voters recall his brushes with foreclosure that the Miami Herald reported last year.

"Restore fiscal responsibility"?  How about just tell us exactly what jobs he has created.

You decide.

Get out and Vote!
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

YouTube Video: Family Films Fish Being Fed on Snorkel Trip

Hearing of Michelle Casasola's severe injury while snorkeling is so sad and unusual.

Locals and visitors have snorkeled countless times - nearly all without incident.

So what happened?

The family claims that the crew was throwing food, namely bagels, in the water to attract fish. Allegedly as a result, a three-foot barracuda attacked the nine-year old's hand - likely mistaking it for a yellowtail snapper.

What's it look like when you throw food in the water at the reef?

Check out this family video posted on YouTube on December 24, 2009 showing a family snorkeling in Key West with Fury.

During the last 20 seconds of the video notice the large school of yellowtail snapper in a feeding frenzy at something repeatedly tossed into the water near snorkelers.

The point is this: snorkeling in Key West is safe, fun, and rewarding - so long as people aren't throwing food in the water to attract fish.

Get well soon Michelle!
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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

McPherson's Bold Plan? Go Backwards

First off, you really just have to watch it for yourself.  This video is so full of vague and strange statements, one has to wonder is he serious.  Most of what he said/read sounded like it was produced by the tea party, Sarah Palin, and Glen Beck.  Or maybe Tina Fey lampooning all three.

Declaring at an Upper Keys Republican Club that he was the candidate to take us "backwards", Morgan McPherson stiffly read from a prepared speech that often seemed foreign to him while frequently mispronouncing the text and often reading from it sentence by sentence.

There is little doubt that McPherson is sincere in his drive to take Florida backwards.  His solution to the state's problems?  Cut taxes, cut spending, remove state and federal regulations on business, and lower the corporate tax to the lowest level in the country.  He thinks we are facing an abyss.  He wants to "take scissors to Tallahassee" - the same scissors he states households have been using to trim their budgets.

Morgan wraps up his speech by going biblical,  declaring "we need to take on that Philistine that sits in this seat", referring to Ron Saunders - the current state representative.

Philistine, huh?

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary:
Main Entry: Phi·lis·tine
Function: noun
Date: 14th century
1 : a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia
2 often not capitalized a : a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values b : one uninformed in a special area of knowledge

Hmmm.  Ron Saunders was born in Key West.  So definition #1 is out - he is not a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia.

So Morgan must be referring to definition #2: a : a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values b : one uninformed in a special area of knowledge.

Yet Saunders has consistently exhibited genuine concern for the Florida Keys above materialism, and supporting protecting the Florida Keys as a state area of critical concern, the arts community, and the diversity of Key West.  He is especially informed about our issues and constantly fights on Key West's and the Florida Keys' behalf in Tallahassee.

Having been ousted by the electorate in the previous election, McPherson somehow feels its time to take losing to the next level.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Humor: Green Flash at Sunset Explained

The "Green Flash" is an atmospheric phenomenon which occasionally occurs at sunset in Key West -  when the last bit of sun disappears below the horizon and a brief green glow is observable.  This is usually explained by the refraction of light at that angle appearing green and is only visible during specific atmospheric conditions.

Or, you could believe something else causes it.

XKCD, the online comic dedicated to uber-techie humor, posted their own humorous explanation.

(Be sure to hover over the image to see XKCD's embedded joke text)


The exact cause of the phenomenon is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to atmospheric refraction and you getting a really cool car.
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Thursday, July 08, 2010

US & Cuba Ready to Make-Up?

The dance between Cuba and the US continues further.

With a little Cuban cooperation the Obama administration just might reconsider the embargo.

All that is required is a gesture by the Cuban government that gives a not to democracy and freedom of expression.

That news may have just occurred.  According to reports, Cuba is preparing to free 52 of their 150 political prisoners.

The pending release is the result of talks between Cuba's Catholic church and international pressure - especially from Spain, who sent a foreign minister to meet with Raul Castro and the Church.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already weighed in, saying: "We welcome this. We think that's a positive sign. It's something that is overdue but nevertheless very welcome."

The pieces are falling into place for a respectable change in US policy.

With the recent news that a House panel has voted to ease Cuba travel restrictions, one has to wonder how long it is before ferry service from Key West to Cuba.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Oil in Key West (Fingers Still Crossed)

If you haven't heard the latest, let's make it clear:  There is no oil on the beaches of Key West.  Tar balls found earlier in the week were tested and shown not be from the BP leak.

While oil from BP's Gulf oil leak has not arrived on the Florida Keys, residents and volunteers are not acting complacent.  Reports that a small finger of oil has entered the Loop Current has locals already preparing a menu of efforts.

Shoreline cleanups are being held almost daily in the Florida Keys in an effort to rid the shorelines of any debris that normally washes up on the beaches and in the mangroves.

Weeks ago, when this disaster began, local Key West barbers began collecting hair clippings after hearing that hair was one of the best oil absorbers.  Other salons have followed suit, and today at 6:30 pm a "Hair Boom Response Meeting" will be held at Salute's on Higg's Beach.

What can we expect?

NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator Charles Henry answered press questions on the loop current. He noted that in the time it would take for oil to travel to the vicinity of the Florida Straits, any oil would be highly weathered and both the natural process of evaporation and the application of chemical dispersants would reduce the oil volume significantly."

Currently the beaches and seas of Key West are as beautiful as you know them - the stuff of travel magazines.  Seriously, its beautiful out there.  Fish are swimming in clear blue water at the reef, dolphins playing in the nearshore, birds wading for food, and humans enjoying the environment.  It's all the more reason to end drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and end oil's reign over our energy policy (but that is for another post).

While Key West isn't expected to see the type of oil innundation that the Louisiana is now seeing, locals are committed to protecting the fragile Florida Keys ecosystem.

If you are contemplating a visit to Key West, I would not change plans.  The bottom line is there is no oil in the Keys.

Oh, and BP - you suck...big time. (more about that in a future post)
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Think It's Cold? Here Are The Numbers.

Brrrr.  It's chilly.

Yet, suprisingly, when you look at the statistics, the past two months in Key West are only six degrees colder than normal.

Take a look at this chart of Key West's typical weather, with the 2010 stats added for comparison (statistics provided by NOAA/NWS).

2010 is definitely off to a cold start.

January 2010 saw an average high temperature of 69.4, and an average low temperature of 59.1 - a departure from normal of -6.1 degrees.

February 2010, so far has had an average high temperature of 70.2 and an average low of 60.4 - a departure from normal of -5.3 degrees.

Funny that a few degrees can be so dramatic in Key West.  Maybe it's due to Key West's steady daily climate: regardless of the time of year, Key West usually sees only a 10 degree difference between daily high and low temperatures.  Six extra degrees is a 60% change - explaining why the locals are dressed like Himalayan sherpas.

Regardless, Key West remains the warm spot in the U.S. - a break from true northern cold where six degree differences are barely noticed.
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