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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Conch Republic Independence Week, USCG, Fried Phone

My phone fried itself. The AT&T Blackberry was under warranty, however AT&T were happier using the $50.00 deductible and charging me the fifty clams on the insurance. The charger input was rusted, although the AT&T store verified it had never been underwater. Hey! I live on an island in the Gulf Stream. Lots of salt in the air and things with electrical connections rust quite easily here. Don’t believe me? Just as Dan Simpson of Private Ear Studios who is religious about treating audio connections with an elixir-spray that prevents corrosion. Dan’s been here 25 years dealing with it, he knows. Knucklehead me, it never occurred that I should use it on my phone. Personally, I feel it’s a design flaw making it out of a metal that will rust, in an atmosphere such as the one we live in here in Key West. AT&T feel differently. Live and learn. Contract is up in fourteen months.

Key West imbibes in more alcohol per capita than any other city in both the Conch Republic and yes, the U.S.A. It’s funny. When I first moved here and got a job, instead of the early morning gab around the coffee machine regarding the ball game the previous night, here it was what bars were hit and the escapades that went on! “Oh man! We hit Willie T’s and I was doing shooters of Jaeger! Then we went to Cowboy Bill’s and there I started with Gossling’s and cola…. This guy comes up to me and I tell him ‘I OWN this town!!!! Then we ended up at Island Dogs where I switched to Mount Gay Rum and we met this guy from Chicago. I swear he must have been in the Mafia….” On a typical morning, that’s what I’d hear when I got in.

Michael McCloud’s “The Conch Republic Song”, which is the National Anthem of the Conch Republic, states speaking of Key West “… where the ladies are lovely and drinking’s considered a sport…”. This statement couldn’t ring more true, in this town. In other places it may be something approaching a taboo to speak about, however in Key West it’s the fuel that drives the economy. I’ve heard that there are 300 liquor licenses on this little two-mile by five-mile island. The Wine/Beer and Liquor trucks heading here from the mainland weigh more than the trucks hauling gasoline here, which are limited to ¾ full, because of weight on the bridges, hence our higher gas prices. Bar alcohol gets cart blanche however.

Because of this, this blog will, from this point onward, have a libation featured!!! Tonight’s feature is Hurricane Reef Pale Ale. Hurricane Reef Pale Ale is a very palatable ale indeed. 100% Barley with Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest, it’s a full American Ale, with a good body for the Spring weather we’re having currently….

Nights, low 70’s, days low 80’s, and there’s always a breeze. Perfect! The best time of year… perhaps!

Conch Republic Independence Days are at hand! On April 23rd, 1982 the Conch Republic seceded from the United States and the celebration continues to this day. This years events ran from April 16th through the 25th. Sir Peter Anderson, Secretary General of The Conch Republic, is at the helm of the event, as always. Events ranging from “Drag Races”, in which drag queens, in full regalia, run through obstacle courses, all run for the charity benefit of Helpline. Also, there’s the Conch Republic investiture party for the benefit of the Conch Republic Foster Children’s Fund. Pet Strolls benefits the Xena Fund. There’s also a bed race, sponsored by the Fairvilla Megastore. A Parade as well, naturally! With a multi day event, how could they not have a parade? A seven-foot Key Lime Pie in Mallory Square!!! The list went on and on.

Without doubt, in their finest moment, the Conch Republic Navy went into battle against the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sawfish. The Schooner “Wolf”, carrying the Admiral’s Flag of The Conch Republic’s Admiral Finbar, who participated in the original insurrection, 28 years ago, commanded the naval operations. The Wolf, along with John McKean’s Appledore Schooner and several other vessels of the Conch Republic Navy, in addition to the land based Army artillery section, plus a true squadron of Conch Republic aircraft from the Conch Republic Air Force, all took part. Weapons of choice were water balloons, toilet paper, and water cannon. Although it appeared that the Sawfish had The Conch Republic Nave entirely lathered with their water cannon, later at Schooner Wharf the commander of the vessel surrendered his sword to Admiral Finbar and was subsequently conscripted into the Conch Republic Navy, crew and all. A hilarious speech was given by the Coast Guard commander, which had the entire bar in stitches and really imbibed the spirit of Key West and the Conch Republic. Videos below! Who would have believed a commander in the USCG would have such a great sense of humor? Long live the USCG! Long Live the Conch Republic!

Big thanks to Sir Peter for anchoring the event, with a ton of help from lots of businesses and citizens in the community! Thanks to all!

“All The Best From Key West”©

Chris “Boris” Rehm


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