May 02
Half brain gets half license

Strictly Drivel

I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s possible for someone to get half a driver’s license.

I know it’s not, but if the driver has half a brain, why should they get a whole driver’s license?

This comes to mind after the last couple of weeks as I’ve watched folks just seem to only half finish the job of driving.

Let me explain.

Last week during a trip to the shopping center on Big Pine, I wanted to turn up the aisle from the grocery store side to a parking space about halfway up.

There’s that pesky half again.

Continue reading ‘Half brain gets half license’

Apr 25
Cruisin’ those nasty old backroads

Strictly Drivel

Someday, someone will probably write a book that includes homespun tales of traveling through Big Pine, the sights and sounds of the islands, the people and the places.

I hope they devote a chapter to moving around the island without using US 1.

It is possible to go from one end of this island (excluding Ship’s Way and connected streets) to the other without getting on US 1. You just have to be willing to either take it very slow, or sacrifice your suspension to do it on a routine basis.

I’m not the only one around here that drives a light, high-off-the-ground SUV. And I know I’m not the only one that slips around on the back roads of the island to avoid the mass of confusion that is Big Pine on US 1.

I’ll go half a mile out of the way to avoid the remote possibility of a left-hand turn anywhere but the light. The way I figure it, if I use an extra 10 minutes bouncing across a back road, at least I’m not waiting for traffic to clear enough to turn left, and then only if I leave a little bit of rubber on the pavement.

But as I travel the byways of Big Pine, I notice how steadily more deteriorated the road bed becomes.

Continue reading ‘Cruisin’ those nasty old backroads’

Apr 18
I have really pissed off some lizards

Strictly Drivel

I may have to stop writing about the evil intentions of iguanas for a while.

You see, I think they’re learning to read.

And I don’t think they’re happy with me.

Let me tell you why I might get this impression. And let me also say that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

Three times last week I had run-ins with an iguana.

Continue reading ‘I have really pissed off some lizards’

Apr 11
Travel lane dancing is not very fun

Strictly Drivel

Maybe two extra lanes aren’t good traffic control devices.

Just when we thought we had won the battle with our friendly neighborhood tourists and our roads, it seems that they have left a few stragglers behind. And these stragglers seem to have little idea that they are traveling on an island with limited roadways.

For the first time in months, I was actually able to make a left hand turn on U.S. 1 on a Saturday without waiting 15 minutes for the traffic to clear. I pulled out of the post office, made a left hand turn–yes you heard me right–a left hand turn in the space of about two minutes. I accelerated into the northbound lane and was sailing along smoothly right up to the strip where Walgreen’s starts.

I was happy.

Then, I was attacked by the “I don’t know which way I need to go, and I’m going to take both lanes until I do” folks.

Continue reading ‘Travel lane dancing is not very fun’

Apr 04
Somebody has to lead this dance

Strictly Drivel

I had every intention of writing this week’s drivel on my disappointment with our community that not one single April Fool’s Day prank was attempted on the general public.

I made a futile stab at it with last week’s Drivel, but I didn’t see one single public display of an April Fool’s Day prank.

There were no torso-less Key Deer heads poking over the fences on US 1. There were no new controversial businesses coming to town. There was no clothing optional resort, nobody tried to sell the Blue Hole, no one tried to put a boat-up McDonald’s at the old swimming hole.

All in all it was just another boring holiday, and I was extremely disappointed.

But just before I sat down to write this piece this week, I got sidetracked with one of my favorite pastimes, which is watching what I call the “Detroit iron foxtrot.”

Continue reading ‘Somebody has to lead this dance’

Mar 28
April Fool prank goes very wrong

Strictly Drivel

In five days, it will be that most dastardly of holidays.

It will be April 1. April Fool’s Day. The day of mischief and mayhem.

In year’s past, my community has pulled some very good pranks for April Fool’s Day.

And there have been years where the pranks have fallen flat. There have also been years where there were no pranks.

Those were disappointing years.

Continue reading ‘April Fool prank goes very wrong’

Mar 21
Oh so many reasons to dislike the cats in this world

Strictly Drivel

As if I didn’t have enough reasons to dislike cats, the cat that has been adopted by our commercial strip has given me more.

I don’t know if I’ve ever fully explained my aversion to cats. The reasons are many.

Continue reading ‘Oh so many reasons to dislike the cats in this world’

Mar 14
Get yourself ready for more paddleboat hijinks

Strictly Drivel

Our annual paddleboat races are set to go in just under a month, Saturday, April 12. This is an event you’d pay to see if you had to, but since you don’t you really need to come out to Looe Key and watch.

Sponsored every year by the Big Pine and Lower Keys Rotary Club and the News-Barometer, with prizes offered up by local eateries and liquor stores, the Paddleboat Pursuit is just plain fun.

We give racers a very minimal amount of materials to build a wooden boat powered by paddle wheels, which are in turn powered by human muscle.

The creativity that goes into the design of these boats is amazing.

Continue reading ‘Get yourself ready for more paddleboat hijinks’

Mar 07
A free vaudeville show for my long drive to work

Strictly Drivel

Sometimes, the last thing anyone wants to do in the morning is drive to work. Even if, like us, you only live a few miles away. No matter the distance, driving to work can be a real pain in the behind, and unless you have something else to do, very boring.

As I drove to work this morning, I had no reason to fear boredom, for I soon discovered that I had front row seats to my own traveling road show.

Continue reading ‘A free vaudeville show for my long drive to work’

Feb 28
Put up those dukes you feral cats and raccoons

Strictly Drivel

It was kind of funny even to me to see our cartoonist Dan Schwab bring his strip by one morning like he always did in the past, and the subject be wild raccoons versus feral cats.

I guess it just goes to show that truly warped minds do really think alike, because I had already started this outrageously funny column about exactly that issue.

I was going to talk about clandestine meetings in the wilds of Big Pine between wild raccoons and feral cats and the conversations they must have since both are now targets of the trapping program.

Something like this:

Continue reading ‘Put up those dukes you feral cats and raccoons’

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