Sunday, September 24, 2017

red neck mystic memories, funnings, symphonies, trials & new beginnings in the wake of Hurricane Irma

I posted on Facebook a link to yesterday's post at this website:

As I have reported, my oldest daughter flew me out of Key West shortly before Hurricane Irma arrived. She met me at the Birmingham, Alabam...

Davis Broadway Sloan... I (and Slotnick) wondered how you fared the storm. nice of your daughter to fly you out. Call me.....NGa Hick !
Sloan Bashinsky Will call you shortly, tell Slotnick he's still gonna have to wear a sailor suit in eternity, where he also will get to read everything I wrote that he didn't find in the Bible already, which is a heap 
Jacqueline Bush-Holcomb Seems like your Angels are being very good to you. Take care Bash.....

Slotnick and I attended the same grammar school in Birmingham. 

I was slow maturing. He was one of the "he men" in our class. 

He, and other he-men, teased me about my rich family and its company, Golden Flake Potato Chips, it was then called. 

The hobo clown was its mascot. 
Sometimes people later in my life asked if the clown was me? No, the clown was there long before my grandfather and his brother in law bought the business after World War II. However, maybe the clown was me. I became a hobo.

Back to grammar school.

Slotnick and the other he-men started calling me "a greasy old potato chip", because I brought to school my own homemade lunches, including potato chips, which I steadfastly declined to share with Slotnick and his other he-men beggar friends. I could not stand the food served in the school cafeteria. 

Greasy old potato chip was shortened to simply "tater", and most of the kids in our class called me "tater", or "Bash", which was my nickname.

Many lifetimes later, I met David Broadway, born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, who somehow (attending the University of Alabama) had become friends with Slotnick, who much later in life had converted from Judaism to Christian evangelist deeply remorseful over how he had treated me in grammar school, including teasing me about a white sailor suit my mother early on had made me wear to school. After that, I wore blue jeans, a t-shirt, and high-top Keds.

I told Davis to tell Slotnick that he had stopped growing in 8th grade, but I had started growing after that and I had gotten a lot bigger than him and I was gonna come to Birmingham and whip his ass and Jesus was not gonna save him from it.

As time passed and Slotnick kept moaning about how sorry he felt about how he had treated me, I told Davis to tell Slotnick that maybe he wasn't nearly as saved from his sins by Jesus as he had believed he was and I still was gonna come there and whip his ass.

Oh, I left out that Davis gave Slotnick a copy of the manuscript of a novel I had jump out of me just before I met Davis in June 2001. The novel was a serious stretch for any converted Jew to Jesus, and for just a regular born again or always saved by Jesus. After Slotnick read it, he said he didn't exactly agree with much of it.

Later, I told Davis to tell Slotnick that his karma was after he dies and goes to be with Jesus, he wears a sailor suit for the rest of Eternity.

That banjo got played a few times.

When I called the north Georgia Hick (Davis) last night, he said he was gonna pick that banjo again, he had already left Slotnick a voicemail. 

I said, what we called Slotnick in the 8th grade was Slobbernick, and now I had something important to do, watch Alabama play my Vanderbilt alma mater in Nashville, so adios, but I want a report on Slobbernick's spiritual progression.

Undefeated Vanderbilt players had taunted undefeated Alabama earlier in the week. Final score: Vanderbilt 0, Alabama 59. Best not to piss off no
Alas, my oldest daughter and her hubby's precious undefeated Mississippi State Cowbell Bull Dogs got bonked by them scruffy undefeated Georgia Junkyard Bull Dogs, 31-3.

Tuscaloosa symphony email invite yesterday:

Do you need ticket to Symphony Monday night:

I replied:

Long time since I went to a symphony. Do I have to dress up? Been ages since I had a coat and tie or even a dress shirt.

This came back:

Would you like for me to try and get you a ticket? I think I may be able to get you a good seat.
A dress shirt and slacks would be preferable .
I hope your home in Key West did not sustain too much damage.
Just let me know. Hope to see you there.

I replied:

Let me see what Dianne can come up with as a dress shirt, I have a pair of slacks that have one cuff chewed a bit by my bicycle's chain. Don't need to dress up to do symphony or plays in Key West. Sandals, shorts, polo shirt pass muster.

My home in Key West is an efficiency in the home of good friends. Their home was not damaged by Irma. Many others less fortunate. Lots more homeless people in Key West and the Florida Keys - lots more - than before Irma.

Below are links to two articles at my friend's online newspaper, Key West's version of Al Jazeera.

I suppose Irma a symphony of sorts.

On the traditional homeless symphony front:
My homeless girlfriend Kari Dangler, homeless for several years, told me the other day that she had not seen a wild chicken on Key West since Irma. Before Irma, wild chickens were all over the island. However, my Key West landlords told me this morning that they have seen wild chickens, but no chicks. I breathed a sigh of relief, for them wild chickens, which actually fly, eat all sorts of varmints. Bugs, scorpions, centipedes, baby mice, rats, lizards, snakes. Without them wild chickens, Key West might be uninhabitable.
Kari had told me that she weathered Irma in the breezeway bathroom of a vacated motel on the main road into town. She was trying to get to the community college on the next island up, which was built to withstand a category 5 hurricane. It was built on landfill, it's high ground, has lots of outside breezeways and metal stairs up to second floor where a number of homeless people were intending to ride out the storm when it came. 

Kari said wind too strong to make the trip, she lucked into finding the bathroom unlocked, running water, toilet flushed, AC until power went out. She holed up there until storm had passed. 

Then, hell began. 

No electricity, no running water, sewer plant not working, no cell phone service. She stayed in the loop listening to her small battery-powered radio. It was about a week before Kari had cell phone service and called me. I had heard from someone else down there that she had been seen and had made it through the storm. I figured she had survived, because I was having dreams about her.

Kari likes vodka. She had no money. Said after post Irma she went through the DTs living on the street, sleeping outside at night. Got serious-burned by the sun and had a heat stroke, which she knew had happened, because she'd had a heat stroke years before. 

Said her mother had wired her money via Western Union and earlier had mailed her money, but the post office was closed and Western Union offices also closed. She'd had her food stamps cut off through some glitch, and that was not going to start back up until the 25th, tomorrow. But for the relief effort, food and water flown in and handed out in shopping center parking lot, she would be dead.

Kari and a number of other homeless people did not evacuate on the free buses to a mainland hurricane shelter in Miami at Florida International University, where plenty of not homeless (yet) people also took refuge. Then, they either stayed up there and were homeless, or they took a free bus back to where they had been before Irma. 

The new homeless in Key West and the Keys probably are in greater distress. FEMA's temporary housing already deployed in Houston and nearby. FEMA not on top of renting hotel rooms in Key West and Keys as temporary housing. 

Homeless symphony chat yesterday with Biker Chick, who used to live in the lower keys and now lives in the American mid-west where only tornados roam:

This was weird. Thought it would interest you.


Er, what happened to the program, or was it hype?, a few years back about Salt Lake putting all its homeless people into free housing, because it had been calculated that was considerably $ cheaper than leaving them outside? Cheaper on law enforcement, jails, medical facilities, etc.?

Salt Lake was the pioneer what came to be known around America as "housing first" for homeless people, put them into housing, then try to get them clean and sober, medically well, mental health treatment, etc. SHAL still preaches a version of that. But, yes, I imagine, if KWPD really cracks down on city homeless people, some, or many, of them will leave, and maybe one or two or more will put the city into the local federal court under the Pottinger case, which ruled the City of Miami could not used its police force its homeless people to leave Miami.

Damn you're smart!


Naw, I have the memory of a camel, er, elephant.

SUN 9:47AM


Ahead of Hurricane Irma, Miami authorities took the rare and controversial step to forcefully protect homeless people from the storm.

On the can't afford Key We$t anymore front:

Barbara Ramey is thinking about life at Casa Ramey.
Key West, FL
I have been putting this off too long. I had wanted to get my own head around it all first. In mid Aug I made the decision to leave KW. I needed to get some things done before I did a FB tell all.... landlord... all 3 job owners... etc . The pending storm was more important so I put it off further But that did not take away the reality of it all. Its lots of reasons: Simply I cannot afford KW any longer... My health issues... though not that major I need full range of motion back to continue behind a bar... I cannot afford medical care rent on my wages in KW. My dad can help me cheaper ( for he's been my $ rock) If I go live with him. In return he is 93 and so hopefully I will be able to help him as well. He along with my Mother which died 2006 brought me into this life and have helped me alot so If I can help him now at his age in return for all he has done so be the plan. I do not like the changes of KW...the over built, the loss of the funky But I do love the people I only wish the rest of the USA could learn from the diversity of us.. I am going to carry that with me to Greenville NC, boy are they in for a shock!..I have had a fun filled life here since the early 1990's, I have lived! Met people from all over this great world have traveled through so many customers, stories of their lives, and yes the bar bizz gave this to me. KW actually humbled me made me a better person, for I know all people are just that folks! This is what is hard to leave. My apt complete time has been my home longer than anywhere ever. My last 17 yrs at 801 Cabaret and the Tree Bar, have been a long good haul of work. I tried to be involved from charity civic and politics, to give a damn. And believe it or not Irma and hunkered down in the safety of my closet... make me wanna stay rebuild help.... for that is what KW does.I will miss many, but FB will be my friend there. Now back to my anxiety of the pack for I am taking my KW life belongings with. Much love to you all 4ever RAMEY... Barbara Ramey

On the Key West Citizen Editorial Board front:
Irma shook our complacency and our confidence

Irma is now in an elite category — one of the top five most devastating hurricanes ever to hit the Florida Keys. Although the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935 was by far the most devastating in terms of loss of life, Irma ranks up there with Donna in 1960 as one of the strongest and most devastating in terms of loss of structures, housing and infrastructure damage. The three storms, according to NOAA, followed virtually the exact same path.

If you live in the Keys, you learn to understand the risks of living in paradise. Monroe County is one of the most vulnerable areas in the country, and although there hasn’t been a so-called “major” hurricane since Wilma in 2005, the Keys have been dealing with massive and disastrous storms for centuries.

Following the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey in late August, residents seemed to be more alert and responsive to calls for evacuation, especially as the storm wavered between a 4 and a 5. Thankfully, a record number apparently left the Keys before landfall, resulting in a relatively low cost of lives. However, due to the handling of the storm’s aftermath, unfortunately, it’s doubtful that many will ever leave again.

Yes, everyone understands the lack of services — power, cellphone service, water, etc. — available in the immediate aftermath but many were more than willing to take those risks. The delay in being able to reach their homes to survey the damage and salvage their possessions caused eruptions of anger at the blockade in Florida City and an unnecessary amount of manpower just to prevent residents from getting to their own homes.

All the table top exercises in the world simply cannot prepare those who haven’t been through a hurricane for the actual event and the aftermath. With many new officials in disaster management and elected positions since the last really big storm in 2005, the initial response was far less than residents expected.

In the first days following the storm, confusion reigned. Officials, utilities and emergency operations got together in meetings and on daily conference calls to discuss plans and issues, leaving the press — and the public — completely out of the loop. 

News media were only privy to what little information was released, and unfortunately, social media and disinformation filled in the gaps. Two newspaper employees were ordered to leave meetings in Key West and Marathon, leaving us to wonder what was discussed that they didn’t want the public to know about.

Perhaps if officials had been more forthcoming and open, their representatives would not have been pleading with The Citizen and other news outlets on nearly a daily basis to “correct misinformation” that had “somehow” gotten out into the public. Officials appeared to be fighting among themselves, others were posting a mishmash of correct and incorrect facts, and by and large, no one seemed to know who the actual decision makers were.

When information is kept from the public, it only hurts the recovery process. Perhaps if residents had a clearer picture of what was happening on the ground, they wouldn’t have been so angry and impatient to return. Treating residents as “just another mouth to feed,” as one official stated, was a disservice to those fully prepared to endure what they needed to in order to get to their homes.

By leaving the public in the dark, by not having a clear chain of command, officials allowed misinformation to spread — often from within their own ranks. Communication is as vital in the aftermath as in the preparation, and unfortunately, the mistrust fostered will very likely hinder any future evacuation orders.

Overall, however, the Keys are very fortunate. Utilities, thanks to a tremendous outpouring of support from outside agencies, were able to get back online relatively quickly. The loss of life was low, and thanks to the new strict building codes, the loss of structures, especially those built in recent years, was minimal.

Unfortunately, the hardest hit always seem to be those who can least afford it, and low income housing, trailers, and old homes and structures built before the new codes were implemented were the ones that took the most devastating losses. Thousands are now virtually homeless and many will not return, creating a serious void in our workforce.

The Keys will recover — we already are well on our way — but the wounds and mistrust left by Irma will take years to repair.

—The Citizen

On the Sloan front:

Learned this morning from my landlords that the AC in their home is not working, but their home otherwise is okay.

Told them I'm still in limbo about return to Key West, waiting to see who the new judge is in the Birmingham lawsuit filed against me and if a new hearing is set soon. 

No AC no big deal with me. The efficiency is downstairs, the cool part of the home. The efficiency has a ceiling fan. I lived 2 years in my trailer on Little Torch Key without turning on the AC. Used box fans. Sweated plenty. But did not die. Cut electric bill by 3/4.

Just as I was about to publish all of that above, into my email inbox came a salutation and inquiry from a very good and dear old Vanderbilt Kappa Alpha fraternity brother and his lovely wife, whom I indirectly introduced to each other several lifetimes ago:

This is a belated but heartfelt inquiry as to how you fared with the recent hurricane.  We understand you may have returned to Alabama before it hit.  We hope that is the case and that your property survived most of the destruction.  Our biased view is that mother nature is pushing back on mr. Tramp for being an arrogant narcissist, among other things.

Marty and i are doing our best with the aging process and want you to know that we have fond thoughts of our time together.

Out oldest grandson just started his freshman year is college, hard to believe.  My body will no longer let me play the games that have allowed me a broader voice in the world, whereas Marty remains the best thing that will ever happen to me.

Please take care, and please know you remain in our thoughts and prayers.

I replied right away:

Hola, Dan and Marty!

So very wonderful to hear from you. Many fond memories me, too.

Yes, I was evacuated from Key West. By my older daughter, in conspiracy with her mother, my KA Rose, in whose home in Tuscaloosa I have stayed since Thursday before Irma arrived Key West and Florida Keys.

Return to Key West still up in air. Home there of friends, in which I rent an efficiency, is okay, and they are okay. They stayed. You might like their online newspaper, Key West's version of Al Jazeera.

Lawsuit in Birmingham might, or might not, hold me in Tuscaloosa, where I have invitation to stay for so long as I like. Not a second time around thing. Just human kindness and love.

I still participate full bore in all past life sporting events, in my dreams and on TV. My back won't even let me swing a golf club anymore. 

My pen, on the other hand, well, the keyboard on my laptop seems to keep limbering up and taking me places I imagine at least some angels fear having anything to do with.

My daughters are 49 and 47, two kids each. Good husbands. I taught them by my inverted example that was a good thing to have.

Older daughter's kids out of the nest.

Younger daughter's progeny need more time in flight school.

Yeah, I think Mother Nature might be striking back, but I don't get why she hammers little poor islands before she hammers environment-truant U$A.

I kinda imagine Marty feels about you like you feel about her. I recall my toast at your wedding: to your (both of you) quiet sincerity.


(305) 407-4285

P.S. I've been reporting and musing on Irma impact Key West and Florida Keys and other stuff most days at Perhaps reading it at night will help you two fall asleep, or pray even more *;) winking