soul fishing in plain view – Key West and beyond

I posted on Facebook that an amiga from a few lifetimes back, a professional psychic, passed through here recently with her husband en route to Key West for a few days. Over lunch at the Galley Grill on Summerland Key, we talked some about USA. I said America went off The Cliff when it invaded Iraq and it’s just being noise ever since and it can’t be fixed. She said she agreed. I can’t imagine what our Nobel Peace Prize-winning war-waging President can do to fix anything in Syria without making it even worse there and probably worse down the road in USA. I can imagine Israel trying to fix Syria, though, without or without the Nobel winner’s help.
The past-life amiga replied on Facebook that she liked that. After we’d had lunch at Harpoon Harry’s in Key West yesterday, and I had taken them to the Hidden In Plain View homeless art, poetry and music exhibition at Studios of Key West, she messaged me:
Thanks, Sloan, for the awesome tour of Big Pine and Little Torch Key on Monday and the adventure to Harpoon Harry’s and Hidden in Plain Sight today!  You know I’m rarely left speechless!
Gloria Reiser Correction:  Hidden in Plain View, I meant.  By any name it’s such a memorable exhibit!
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At Studios of Key West, I told Gloria and her husband Marty about three of the homeless people in the black and white photos, whom I know pretty well.
Frisbee Dave
The only Jewish homeless person I know, Dave’s passion is frisbee. He plays a lot if frisbee with the owner of the Sugar Apple health food store, with whom I have had a number of spirited games of chess. Dave is bipolar, and when he is on his meds he does better than when he’s off them. He used to have a camp in the wetlands near the airport, and the mess he made there led, in early 2004, to homeless people being banned from camping in the wetlands. I was one of those homeless people, living in a tent, in a homeless encampment just inside the wetlands, across from Smathers Beach. We were allowed to move our tents out to the Bridle Path, where Key West people used to ride horses, and were allowed to camp there until KOTS opened that fall. Dave was my next door neighbor for several months on the Bridle Path. That’s how I came to know him pretty well. It was in March of that year, while I lived in that tent, that God healed me of MRSA, after the doctor’s drugs were unable to do that. Last I knew, Dave was sleeping nights at KOTS.
Melvin
A Bahama Village native, a conch, Melvin had worked on a shrimp boat for years, which is where he picked up his work hard, drink hard habits. I met Melvin in early 2005, when I when I rented a room in a Key West woman’s home. She had several renters, and Melvin, who did yard and house work for her, in exchange for a room. Melvin was prone to get into her whiskey, and eventually she ran him off, but they stayed in touch at Bayview Park, where Melvin hung out and she let her dogs run. Eventually, she talked Melvin into going into rehab, but he was so strung out that he was unable to live through the drive up to the Guidance Clinic in Marathon. So she gave him a glass of whiskey to tide him over, and I drove him up there, listening to him chatter about how this time he was going to get straightened out, as I kept telling him I didn’t want to hear predictions, I wanted to see results. He got through rehab, but he went back to drinking and hanging out in Bayview Park. I heard he got subsidized housing. Erika Biddle told me he eventually had a heart attack, and more recently had a stroke. A gentle soul, drinking got the best of him.
Jeanie
I met Jeanie and her parrot Scorpio at the picnic kiosk nearest the men’s side of the public bathrooms at Higgs Beach in January 2007. While we were getting acquainted, she told me of a homeless man who had beaten her up. Then, a fellow rode into the other end of the kiosks and started shoving and hitting homeless men. Jeanie said that was the fellow who had beaten her up. Brandon, she said was his name. Brandon looked down our way and saw Jeanie, walked down and told her that her days were numbered. I pulled out my cell phone and told him I was calling 911. He was right in my face, I was expecting to get beaten up. He was about half my age and looked big and tough enough to do it. I told the 911 operator what you just read, and that Brandon was in my face, threatening me. She asked who I was? I said it didn’t matter who I was, get the cops out to kiosks before somebody got really hurt or killed. She asked again who I was, I said I knew Mayor Morgan McPherson and the city commissioners, who I started naming, and the chief of police, whom I named, and the sheriff, whom I named, and the county commissioners, whom I named – Higgs is a county beach, but the city and the county share police jurisdiction over it.The 911 operator said she was dispatching the city police. In five minutes, three KWPD cruisers arrived. By then Brandon had pedaled off on his bicycle. The detective who arrived said he was going looking for Brandon, and would catch him. I don’t know if that happened, but that’s how I met Jeanie, who lived on the street when nobody would give her a room to be inside, which sometimes happened, but eventually it stopped working out and she would be back on the street. She has a very hard time being around other people for very long, but she is a dear soul, and her parrot is a major attraction. Zero chance Jeanie would stay at KOTS, or a new shelter on Stock Island. Zero chance she would give up drinking.
Some homeless people simply cannot stand to be around other people in close quarters, and will never go to a shelter. Others are afraid of going to a shelter and in their sleep being rolled, robbed, beaten up and/or raped. Others are afraid of catching MRSA or some other horrible disease. Any and or all of the above.
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When asked by the woman looking after Studios of Key West yesterday to sign into the children’s guest book, Gloria said she didn’t know what to say, she was speechless. I said to write that in the guest book, which she did. For Gloria to be speechless, not knowing what to say, is unheard of. I wrote below her and Marty’s comments that these are old friends of mine from Illinois, and I am a batshit crazy local transplant who … lost for words, too.

Gloria and Marty got to meet and talk with several of my good amigas at Harpoon Harry’s, who always treat my friends from out of town super, but perhaps this time it was even more super because I had told them Gloria is a professional fortune teller.

The way Gloria and I came to meet, by correspondence and telephone, was back when I published THE HIGH LEGAL ROAD: A New Approach to Legal Problems, in the fall of 1990. Writing that book totally changed my perspective of myself and just about everything which happens on this world. I hired Elizabeth Caulder, a New Age publicist, to help me promote the book. She introduced me to Gloria, who published Intuitive Explorations, a forward thinking metaphysical news letter/journal, and to Kay Henry, a talk show host on a big radio station in Salt Lake City.

I started writing stuff for IE. Gloria said yesterday that her readers loved what I wrote, or they hated  it. I said not much has changed, except with the Internet I piss off a lot more people today than I did back then.

I reminded Gloria of Kay Henry, and said Kay had ended up having me on her radio show maybe a dozen times, by phone. It was a live call-in morning show, and I kept the Salt Lake area Mormons and Christians really stirred up.

I told Gloria and Marty of Kay calling me around 7:30 a.m. on a day I was scheduled to be on her show, to ask me if I had heard the morning news? I said yes, I had heard it. She asked if I thought we still should do the show? I said, sure. Just promo the show before I come on the air as an interview with the Devil, from Waco, Texas. Janet Reno’s troops had only just killed most of the Branch Davidians.

When Kay asked the Devil on the air a little while later how he felt about what had happened in Waco, the Devil said he loved it, humans were doing all of his work for him, and he got to spend a lot of time vacationing in nice places like Maui, goggling pretty women without much on, on the beaches.

I told Gloria and Marty that I held my cover the entire interview, giving the Devil’s view of lots of things, and the Mormons and Christians burned up the telephones calling in to give the Devil what for.

Kay herself was Jewish, but mostly leaned toward the New Age. Was. She got demonically attacked a few years later in an exorcism she was brought in by the angels to help me do on someone who had screwed me over really good, which eventually would lead to my being homeless.

A few months after the demonic attack, Kay was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive cancer in her lungs, and there was nothing the doctors could do. I did not tell Gloria and Marty yesterday about that sad ending, although I did tell them while they were reading a list of not often considered causes of homelessness hung on a wall, that another cause of homelessness is angels. And another cause is war.

The woman looking after Studios of Key West yesterday said there never had been such a popular art opening there, nor one anywhere else in Key West, which she had seen. She said since the opening, Hidden In Plain View has enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, some times 40 a day, whereas other exhibitions at Studios of Key West might draw 5 visitors a day after an opening.

The Key West Citizen and its captive arts and events magazine Solares Hill have yet to review Hidden In Plain View.

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Received several comments on yesterday’s Key West hidden in plain view beauty pageant awards post:

From amiga Jan of Key West:

Hey Sloan, They should value your opinion! You’ve been there and done that-the Insight is invaluable- how would anyone else come up with such a brilliant stance? Of course you don’t want the drug users and abusers mixing with those who are wanting to help themselves. Too bad they didn’t let you speak longer! There should be a reprieve for the dropping of pearls of wisdom- there are always too many problems, and not enough solutions! maybe if they could implement an xtra minute for those who are “on a roll!” Thanks for getting yourself out there – our dearly elected should be so dedicated!

From Nashville J:

Sloan:

Congratulations on all you said at the meeting. Keep up with the number of commissioners who spend a week at KOTS or ONE NIGHT. Should be interesting to see that number in six months.

Ah, the Tree Commission – I look forward to the day that Key West is required to pay each and every citizen the money they previously collected in there RICO operation. Actually, RICO is triple damages isn’t it?

J

I replied:

Ain’t holding my breath, either. Perhaps RICO civil action side is treble damages; my current sense is folks behind bars will have more deterrent effect.

From distant North Carolina in-law Ron, a developer who once vacationed frequently in Key West:

SLOAN – both of your items today are very interesting to me.

Curious – did you get any positive feed back regarding your logical common sense suggestions regarding KOTS and the proposed new shelter?

Your knowledge, based on your personal experiences, are a resource that the Mayor and Commissioners should embrace.

You have to wonder about Clearwater and Morebut. If we weld the bathrooms shut, they won’t go ??? Clear thinking on that issue !!!

The Tree Commission criminals. There is a fair population of wealthy folks in KW. I am surprised that they have not filed suit against the Tree Commission and its heavy handed operation. Do they fear the conch’s? Hard for me to believe that the solid citizens tolerate such treatment.

BASH – Bama Nation needs to beware, I see that Auburn has hired a new Football coach to bring the big A down. Pulling for Bama against the No.Dames.

Regards, Ron K.

I replied:

Got some positive feedback today from you and two other readers, and Erika Biddle, who was at the City Commission meeting. To take down the Tree Commission would mean the wealthy folks in KW west would have to take down their mayor and their city commissioners. I don’t see the wealthy people of Key West doing that, but maybe the boastful incoming State Attorney will do it, failing which, maybe the US Attorney in Miami will. Way Bama Nation played its three toughest games, a bit sub-par, they might need a miracle or two to whip N.Dame.

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Had a long talk yesterday morning with Erika, after she called to say she really liked what I had told Mayor Cates and city commissioners at the city commission meeting the night before.

Erika said she expected Mayor Cates to take me up on my offer to be a free homeless consultant. I said I didn’t expect that, he likes what Robert Marbut, mentioned in yesterday’s Key West hidden in plain view beauty pageant awards post, has to say.

I said Mayor Cates’ crusade to move the city’s homeless people to Stock Island started shortly after he was elected, after his daughter ran over a homeless man on his bicycle in Key West, probably his fault, and he died.

Erika said she had been on the mayor’s homeless advisory committee and had quit attending meetings when she saw the committee’s focus was to tighten the screws on homeless people.

I said, if the city puts drug addicts into a shelter with men, women and women with children who are not drug addicts, it will be a cluster f**k. A concentration camp.

I told Erika a lot of things yesterday, which she had not heard before. Such as, the recidivism rate for long-term street people who go into shelters, then into subsidized housing, is about the same as the recidivism rate for addicts who go into AA, NA and/or rehab – about 95 percent.

Erika had trouble accepting that. Everyone has trouble accepting it. They try to make it different, but trying doesn’t change it. Only God can cure addiction. That’s plainly stated in the first three of the Twelve Steps.

I say only God can cure chronic street people of being chronic street people. That also is the local soup kitchen’s view. But what does that count? We, who know street people, do not say what the establishment wants to hear.

Erika asked about mentally ill homeless people, what could be done for them? I said little can be done to fix them. Psychiatry is barbaric, does not know what is really wrong with mentally ill people and makes their lives worse with pills which have terrible side effects and most mentally ill people hate taking those pills.

Erika asked if mentally ill homeless people should be allowed to just wander around on the streets? I said, yes, unless they are posing a clear risk to other people. She had a hard time taking that in, too. Everyone has a hard time taking it in. They try to make it different, but trying doesn’t change it. Only God can cure mental illness.

I said, again, the city should have two shelters, one for addicts, one for people who can produce clean urine. The latter have the best chance of being returned to mainstream living. Focus on them.

I said if the new shelter doesn’t allow in addicts, the neighboring golf course community will be okay with the shelter being on the backside of the golf course away from the homes.

Erika said, if the new shelter doesn’t accept addicts, it will be something like Florida Keys Outreach Coalition shelters. I said yes, but Mayor Cates doesn’t want to hear that. He likes what Robert Marbut says.

I say let Mayor Cates invite Marbut back to Key West on his dime. Let Marbut attend a duly advertised special city commission meeting at which the city commissioners and mayor can talk with each other without violating the Sunshine Law. Let Steve Braddock and me grill Marbut until he is well done. Let the city commissioners and city manager and the public see what the mayor is asking the city government and city taxpayers to pay for. That’s how Marbut should be vetted by the City Commission.

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On an entirely different front, this Facebook chat with a Facebook friend of Vietnam vet ex-pat shaman Jonathan Horwitz, now residing in Scandinavia:

You are Russian? Just curious.

Funny, I was sure I replied to this one the same day, but can’t see my reply. Yes, if you mean nationality, but only about a quarter if you mean ethnicity. I have also Jewish, Ukranian and Tatar blood in my veins. :)

I didn’t receive a reply, felt horribly jilted. Feel much better now. :-)  I have Polish Jewish blood, about 1/8th in my veins. My great grandfather. My cousins in Montgomery, Alabama, the family historians, say Leopold and his brother, who came over to US in latter 1800s, were the only two in that family the Nazis did not kill. I was raised in the Baptist Church, subsequent to Leopold and his Southern Baptist daughter of a Confederate officer wife deciding best to raise their kids in a Christian church in south Alabama, there not being any other Jews nearby. Leopold died a couple of years before I was born in 1942. I wrote a story about him, mostly what I’d heard from my family members, in the A Few Remarkable People I Have Known file/page in the right hand menu of www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Six bios in that little book, Leopold’s is entitled “He was a noble creation,” as I recall. Will check for sure after posting this, and post correction to title, if I got it wrong. The other 7/8s of me is Scot-Irish, but in my soul I have lots of African, which the second bio in that little book explains, “She works behind the scenes.” There is a pretty large East European community in Key West, where I tend to live when I don’t live 25 miles up US 1 highway from there.

:)  My father’s parents were killed by Nazis, the children ended up in children’s concentration camp, only my Dad and one of his younger brothers survived till they were freed by Soviet Army, grew up in an orphanage. While I knew about orphanage and the camp, I did not know that my grandmother was Jewish and that being the reason. In fact, my Dad hadn’t know himself till he went back to search for his past in his 40ties, already married to my Mother who insisted he should do it. Nevertheless he didn’t tell neither me nor my elder brother, I only learned about my Jewish side from my Mom after my Dad died, I was already 30.
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Here’s the link to the little book: A Few Remarkable People I Have Known , which fell out of me in the fall of 2004, amidst rivers of tears.
As if something was in the wind, the wife of Gloria’s son, both of whom I met for the first time at Harpoon Harry’s yesterday, is Russian. She came to the US to attend college in Nebraska, and now she speaks American English with no accent, and she and Gloria’s son have a delightful seven-month-old little boy.
Sloan Bashinsky

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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