SEAPLANES!!! CUBA, AND JONELL MOSSER!!!
^ Listen to the demo of “The Things We Always Knew”, which a proper version is slated for the next CD^
Seaplane and Prop Update
Back in March I reported, after reading in the local paper, that the American Eagle turbo props, the last prop airline servicing Key West, would be discontinuing their turbo prop service to Key West as of April 5th. Well, here we are in August and the American Eagle ATR 72’s continue to serve Key West. In checking on the internet, it seems that at this point, the props will continue until around November, or so. As I suggested back in March, I strongly recommend that some airlines should look into the Antilles Seaplanes G21 Super Goose to serve both Key West and perhaps the Caribbean, based out of Key West. A brand new seaplane featuring turbo prop engines and state of the art electronics, housed in a classic design.(On a curious note: That particular blog gets the most hits from all over the world week to week!) Pan American started here serving Cuba via Key West as America’s first airline. A Key West to Ocho Rios would be ideal, as would Key West to Grand Cayman, not to mention other ports of call throughout the Caribbean. Key West, in many ways, is akin to stepping back in time when one visits. Adding a prop service to and from the island would be such an enhancement to that theme, not only for those flying in, but also for everyone who has the opportunity to see the planes flying in as well. Add to that, we’re also talking about a seaplane and it just augments the idea one hundred fold. Like the Phil Collins lyric goes “Is anybody listening?”
How does Cuba have a tie in with Key West? Prior to the English taking possession, Key West, then known as Cayo Hueso (say “cai oh WAY so”, which translates to Bone Key), was colloquially known as “North Havana” in Cuba. Only ninty miles apart, Key West and Havana are naturally sister cities. To this day, the Cuban connection with Key West is very strong and old. In the 1800’s Cubans had over 150 cigar factories in Key West and also set up a school for their children on Duval St. named The San Carlos Institute. Though no longer a school, The San Carlos Institute exists to this day and is a majestic building open to the public. On a related note; we recorded the rhythm section to “Shanghai’d and Marooned In Key West (things could be worse)” in the auditorium of the San Carlos.*(see end of blog)
To start with, myself, I am no supporter of a communist system. In essence in its true form when broken down to the essentials, it’s the same as a fascist system, in that you have one guy who dresses up in a military uniform and runs the country with an iron fist, to his liking. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pinochet, Castro, Stroessner, Mussolini, Samosa, Ortega, Ceausescu, Franco, …. Communist or fascist, it’s all a one man ego show and in most cases, the only way to get them out of power is if they die, be it natural causes, like Mao, Stalin, and Franco, or die a violent death as a consequence of their failures, as in the case of Hitler, Samosa, or Mussolini. No, I prefer a democracy, thanks!
Having stated that, if I wished to go on a vacation to Red China, as a U.S. citizen all I need to do is get a visa and I’m off to see that fascinating country, Great Wall and all. I would stay in hotels there, eat at fancy restaurants, travel the country side and meet all kinds of interesting people. I can do the same with Viet Nam. As a matter of fact, a childhood friend of mine, Robbie Eddy, has lived in communist Viet Nam for years and years, has a business there as a recording engineer and is finishing up a new studio. It’s not as though he went there and was seeking asylum. He went there and started a business and comes back to the U.S. at his discretion and remains a U.S. citizen working abroad, an ex-pat, if you will.
Then of course we have Cuba. I find it odd that as a U.S. citizen, I cannot travel to Cuba without jumping through hoops of fire, yet I can travel to other communist countries, live and even start a business there, fairly easily. One of the key rules we, as U.S. citizens have in traveling to Cuba, is that technically we can go, but we can’t spend any money. In other words, if I actually traveled to Cuba I could be tossed in a federal prison if I so much as bought a five cent Cuban Coffee in Havana. Point is, you can’t last a half a day anywhere without spending money, so Cuba is off limits and if you go you’re automatically guilty, most likely will be arrested on your return to the U.S. if you are honest and say you went there.
On the flip side; if a Cuban refugee who sailed on a raft, landed, say in Key West a few years ago and wanted to go back and visit their relatives, it’s no problem! They can get on a plane in Miami, (soon to be added, Key West) fly to Havana, see their relatives, spend money, even give relatives money. In addition to that, that same Cuban refugee living in Miami can wire money, the exact same U.S. dollars that say natural born U.S. citizen Christopher R. Rehm, born January 3 in Newark, N.J. is forbidden to use in Cuba, to their relatives in Cuba.
As an American citizen, and someone who fully supports The Constitution of The United States of America one hundred percent, I find all of this appalling. We’re dealing with double standards on every level.
As a citizen of the United States of America, I was brought up that this is the land of the free! However, while I’m more than welcome to go and actually make investments in communist Beijing, I cannot go spend five cents in Havana on a Cuban coffee. That’s not being “Free”.
Meanwhile my neighbor, who floated across the Straits of Florida (God bless him) for a more prosperous life here a few years ago, can go there with fistfuls of cash to spend or give to his relatives.
A very accurate phrase which can be used to describe that situation is: “Discrimination against a U.S. Citizen by the government in Washington D.C.” . Plain and simple: The United States Government is offering a much higher level of freedoms (Note: Plural) to a foreigner, than they are to a natural born United States citizen. What’s wrong with this picture?
Let’s be clear on this; I’m not suggesting we take away the refugee’s abilities to visit and support their families in Cuba. What I’m saying is that I, as a United States Citizen demand, at the very least minimum, the same rights, if not more than are currently offered to the Cuban Refugees.
The rules have been relaxed to a minor degree about a year and a half ago, pertaining to educational and religious trips, but it’s still a major fire hoop you have to jump through to do it. It is not as though you just get your passport and hop a jet to Havana, as it was pre 1960 and granted, perhaps it shouldn’t be that easy. However, the restrictions put on the American citizen regarding traveling to Cuba in this day and age, need to be seriously be revised.
Meanwhile, as Communist China is in the process of launching a nuclear aircraft carrier, multiple nuclear submarines, stealth fighters, and a military space program, Cuba is a poverty stricken country, with most of the people looking to where their next meal is coming from. Their system sucks however and I am of the opinion that if money filters into the hands of the people, the system will change, just as it did in Poland, Russia, Hungry, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria… ex.
I have never gone to Cuba, but as you can see, I’d love to go. My first wife was from Cuba and I find the idea quite alluring. On the flip side I consider myself a law abiding citizen and I’ll wait for the rules to change. Additionally, I think the embargo and restrictions originally put on Cuba by the US, was justified for four decades, or so. However, times and conditions change. So, in the meantime, I’ll hop on my soapbox to voice my opinion. I may be discriminated against the way things are currently; others have the freedom and I don’t, but I still have freedom of speech to voice my opinion.
On the music front we had a big buzz going on around town as Jonell Mosser hit the Hog’s Breath Saloon. The word on both the street and the Coconut Telegraph was that Ms. Mosser is the female vocalist of choice for producer Don Was. Quite a lofty accomplishment when one looks at Mr. Was’ productions which include The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Al Green, Bonnie Raitt…the list goes on and on.
I wandered over to the Hog’s Breath to catch her show and Mike McAdam, who divides his life between Nashville, Key West and the road, put together a band for her, which also included Ericson Holt on keyboards. Jonell Mosser was indeed a treat to listen to! What a great show she put on as well. Later when I talked to her on the break, was a delightful and fun woman, who laughed easily. The only disappointment was that she doesn’t live in Key West because she’d make a great fit here!
One complete surprise was her smoky, slow version of “Stop In The Name Of Love”… quite different than the version made famous by the Supremes. All I could do was smile ear to ear! Her recorded version of the song was produced by… you guessed it! Don Was.
Something like this also just reinstates what an amazing place Key West is as far as music goes. You can walk into a place like The Hog’s Breath, Smokin’ Tuna, The Green Parrot, Schooner Wharf and catch world class music. There’s no cover charge either. If a place started charging a cover charge, there are a plethora of other options to choose from that wouldn’t. Consequently, the place that charged a cover would close their doors in a month. Welcome to Key West!
Key West Chris’ Website:
Key West Chris’ CD “Shanghai’d and Marooned in Key West (things could be worse)” is available for download from iTunes, CD Baby, CD Universe, Rhapsody, and Beachfront Radio. Physical copies are available from CD Baby, CD Universe search under “Key West Chris”. Also available at Greenworld Gallery and The Key West Bait and Tackle Shop, both in Key West.
*Anyone interested in recording at the San Carlos should contact Dan Simpson at Private Ear Studio