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Todd German asked me over lunch yesterday about the email exchanges I had published between John Benson and me in the mania-driven causes vs. callings to serve – Key West and beyond … post at goodmorningkeywest.com. Todd said he felt the emails did not need to be published.
I said I had told Benson the emails were about something a lot bigger than just him and me. That something bigger was he was homeless, he was on SHAL’s Board (Southern Assistance Homelesess Assistance League), and him being on SHAL’s Boarod said something about the rest of the Board and SHAL.
I said Benson has lived at KOTS (the city’s homeless shelter) for years. SHAL runs KOTS for the city, for a fee. SHAL has a poor track record. Father Steven Braddock (of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition) got off the SHAL Board because of how it was going about things. SHAL had Mayor Cates ear. SHAL persuaded Mayor Cates to bring in Robert Marbut, to pitch Key West having a super homeless shelter, for which pitch the city paid Marbut $20,000. Marbut inflated the number of Key West’s homeless. Marbut offered nothing Key West could use.
Todd said, in that sense, he agreed it was important that I publish Benson’s and my emails.
Later in our conversation, Todd said he tells people I am pathologically truthful. I laughed, said, once my Jewish friend, who was into the New Age and eastern spiritual practices before the same angels who had grabbed me grabbed him, was told by the angels to write a letter of introduction for me, TO WHOMEVER IT MAY CONCERN. In it, he wrote that he felt I was constitutionally incapable of not telling the truth.
Todd said, another way to say pathologically truthful. But sometimes I seem to tell the truth just to beat someone up. I said it is important to be careful. I did not say I had not published what I had written later about SHAL to the person, who was drunk, he later admitted, when he clobbered me for starting off that post with Benson’s and my emails, instead of with Project Lighthouse, which ministers to runaways and at-risk kids, having funding difficulties. I would have published what I wrote to that critic about SHAL, but the angels told me in dreams the night before to tread solftly that day.
Todd said anyone who reads my writings and then writes to me is asking to be published, unless it is clear it should not be published. I said, I don’t publish everything people send to me. Sometimes it is not relevant to something bigger than just us, or isn’t relevant to anything I’m engaging.
I laughed, said, “pathologically truthful” sounds like an oxymoron, or a non-sequitur, or impossible. Todd laughed, said he was looking at it – me.
Sancho Panza replied to Sunday’s Judas’ karma, and other unconventional views of the Gospels and thereafter … post, the only person so far to chime in on that one:
A Monday prayer to toil in the garden,
In the name of GOD horrible things have been done and are being done… before there was GOD, there was/is Hunger and the freezing Cold of Winter, before the fear of GOD there was/is the Love of family and a sense of community with all things… stupid GOD sucks all that out of us and puts it in the hands of scribes… fuck GOD and all its minions!
The Wind called to my heart one bright morning with an odor of jasmine
and the Wind said:
“I will trade you the odor of your roses for the odor of my jasmine”
I answered, “but I have no roses, all the flowers in my garden are quite dead”
The Wind said, “Then I will take the withered flowers, the yellowed bramble and the silent cries of your dried up fountains” and the Wind left.
And I cry to my self, “What have you done with the Garden that was entrusted to you?”
Llamó a mi corazón, un claro día…
Llamó a mi corazón, un claro día,
con un perfume de jazmín, el viento.
-A cambio de este aroma,
todo el aroma de tus rosas quiero.
-No tengo rosas; flores
en mi jardín no hay ya, todas han muerto.
-Me llevaré los llantos de las fuentes,
las hojas amarillas y los mustios pétalos.
Y el viento huyó…Mi corazón sangraba…
Alma, ¿qué has hecho de tu pobre huerto?
A true lover of wisdom has hands too busy to hold on to anything! He learns by doing and every pebble in the path becomes her teacher! Oink
I wuz wondering what the Judas post would bring back from you? I was not around before God, or I don’t remember being around. For sure, scribes caused much trouble and suffering. Then, you go and quote a poet who laments what he did to dry up and wither the Garden, which had been entrusted to him by … God? I was talking with the angels yesterday about 2004 and 2005, which was when I came to be terrified of them and of myself, something I don’t anticipate getting over in this life. Before that, I neither feared the angels nor myself, although the angels had put me into several dark nights, one I called the killer dark night. Maybe that’s when the terror really was seeded, but 2004 is when I first came face to face with it, and again in 2005. After that, I live in constant terror of fucking up what is given to me to engage. And in equal terror of not engaging what is given to me to engage. I suppose that’s a poem of sorts, too. As is, I suppose, freedom is nothing left to lose.
Sancho sent something back, and I replied, and he replied, and none of that I report here, because it is not relevant to something bigger than Sancho and me, at least not at this moment. And, my dream maker last night told me not to report it today.
Even later Sancho sent:
…….. we all sort of reinvent ourselves (everyday), we need a story, an excuse to keep going once we’ve ran into that wall of meaninglessness… it’s lonely being the one who sees this… in all things…. Don Quixote and his Dulcianea; you, and your Angels are the lucky ones… don’t knock it so much… for you, as for him, there is no other way… nothing to go back to!
Then Sancho sent:
… that’s right… lose your mind and see a thousand angels dancing on the tip of a pin!
Last night during Harpoon Harry’s open mike
I visited with a woman who is the only person in Key West with whom I can converse about a thousand angels dancing on the tip of a pin. The only person I know in Key West who knows the chickpea in Rumi’s poem by that name. The only person I know who is a chickpea, beside me, and knows she is a chickpea.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google Rumi and chickpea poem, and see for yourself. However, reading the poem ain’t exactly the same thing as living it. About as close as a pig being a thousand angels dancing on a pinhead, which a lawyer and his new lady friend learned a bit about in HEAVY WAIT: A Strange Tale, www.publishamerical.com.
Am still waiting on the starving writer saga to end, but hope springs eternal.
Meanwhile, I told mi chickpea amiga last night at Harpoon Harry’s that there have been chickpeas in Christendom, but there were not many because of the magic salvation formula, which guaranteed salvation and dying and going to heaven, and discouraged being a chickpea and traveling the road to heaven while you are still on this planet, like Jesus and his disciples traveled it. I told her the Sufis knew the chickpea road much better, because they did not have the magic salvation formula. And the Taoists and various yoga and Buddhist sects also knew the chickpea road, for the same reason.
I said Jesus in the Gospels walked the chickpea road, as is seen Peter and Paul walked it in Acts. I said, in the Gospels, Jesus told his disciples, if a man loses his salt, his seasoning, his essence, what is left of him? The chickpea is having its salt restored, so it will not be nothing. I told mi chickpea amiga that she and I are having our salt restored.
I said, after a little over three years, Jesus had to leave his disciples because he had taught them everything he could teach them, lots of times. He sometimes berated them in the Gospels for not hearing what he was telling them.
I said Jesus told his disciples that he was turning them over to something else to take care of them, the Holy Spirit. I said he needed to do that, so he could get on with what he had to do, and so the disciples could get on with what they had to do. For, if they had not been weened from him, they would have clung to him and not advanced, while dragging him down, too.
I said Jesus told his disciples that they could blaspheme him, and they could be forgiven, but if they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, they would not be forgiven. I said, in telling the disciples that, Jesus indicated he viewed the Holy Spirit as more important than himself, and if they treated the Holy Spirit the way they had treated him, they would be in deep doo doo.
I said, after Jesus left the disciples, they grew up under the Holy Spirit’s discipline and became useful to God, which is seen for Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts.
I said, above all, the most important thing for anyone is to be led by the Spirit. We need to stay on that road, regardless of how other people might feel about it. Mi chickpea amiga had told me enough to think perhaps the Spirit might be going to let up on her a little, and I hoped that meant the Spirit might be going to let up on me a little, too.
The angels told me twenty years ago that the Holy Spirit is the female, or the mother side of God.
Then, they set out to prove it to me. They convinced me. I doubt I can convince anyone else, but I imagine the angels can.
A different reader wrote about yesterday’s Fantasy Fest ends, Key West returns to “normal” post at goodmorningkeywest.com:
How about “Sloan’s Key West Bicycle Tours” ? $20.00
you could also gather material for your blog and future book(s),
Love and Kisses
I wrote back:
After breakfast today at Harpoon Harry’s this morning, I pedaled by bike down Caroline Street, heading toward the post office. Between Elizabeth Street and Duval Street, three different aggressive automobile drivers nearly clobbered me on my bicycle. Already after the first near miss, I was asking the angels, “What’s going on?”
Right after the third near miss, I saw Robert Cintron, Attorney at Law,
walking past me headed the other way on Caroline. I hailed him, asked if he was causing County Administrator Roman Gastesi difficulties?
What that was about was Robert had dragged records out of ATT, which corroborated Lisa Drukemiller’s
claim that Gastesi had come into her office, plopped two $100 bills on her desk, and told her to make it happen! That is, get him two cheap I-phones for his kids, as I have read and heard the story. That was the beginning of Drukemiller selling county Iphones cheap to other people, on the county taxpayers’ dime.
Cintron had introduced the ATT evidence at Druckemiller’s sentencing hearing, and she had gotten a far lighter sentence than she she would have received without that evidence. Back when she was indicted, the Grand Jury declined to indict Gastesi just on Druckemiller’s testimony, because the ATT records were not available to corroborate Druckemiller’s side of the story – her boss had pressured her to do it. It was said back then that ATT had reported the records were no longer available, but Cintron had dug into it and gotten ATT to cough up the records.
Yesterday, Cintron said he did not see anything being done about Gastesi. He did not think State Attorney Catherine Vogel would prosecute. He said, former State Attorney Dennis Ward was in too big a hurry to indict. He wanted to make a political statement during his bid for reelection. If he had waited and gotten the ATT records said not to exist, the Grand Jury would have had those records and Druckemiller’s testimony before them.
I said if Gastesi was charged by Vogel, that would not be double jeaporday? Cintron said no. But he didn’t see Gastesi being charged. The Grand Jury did recommend back then that Gastesi be fired, but the County Commission did not take that recommendation to heart. I wonder if the County Commission will take to heart what Cintron drug out of ATT and caused a local judge to give Druckemiller far lighter sentence than she would have gotten but for the ATT records? That might be a facetious question.
As for the rest of your email, I created a PayPal account yesterday, which will be activated in a couple of days, as things now stand, for Sloan Bashinsky dba goodmorningkeywest.com. This you recommended several times that I do, so I finally did it because you kept refusing to send me money by mail to support what I publish.
However, another thought came to me after reading your email. Inasmuch as you have told me that you ended up having, through no effort of your own, more money than you once ever knew existed, why don’t you pay me a living wage, by Key West standards, to keep on publishing what you seem to like reading? And, why don’t you start giving away to local needy people and causes some of that more money than you never knew existed?
You surely can’t take it all with you, and your health ain’t all that great, and you don’t seem to like your relatives all that much, and you really don’t need to buy a jet airplane you don’t need just to get a tax write-off. If you give to tax exempt local charities, that will create income tax deductions and reduce the size of your estate and go toward fucking the US Government out of estate taxes due on your departure from this planet.
Maybe you can figure out a way to deduct as a business expense the living wage you pay to me, for pubishing goodmorningkeywest.com – just call me your slave and the 50 grand slave wages on your tax return. $50,000 a year ought to take care of my needs after I pay the income taxes. That’s slightly less than county commissioners are paid by the county tax payers. If you like, I will prominently position your photo, name, address, phone number, etc. in every post at goodmorningkeywest.com, and give you credit for keeping the bicycle tours rolling.
By the way, continuing part of another bicycle tour I made in Key West not all that long ago, in the Key West Citizen today is a front-page article reporting the county will remove all the Australian pines at the kids playground at Higgs Beach because of advanced internal carpenter ant damage. The playground will remain, apparently. Only adults with kids will be able to use the kiosks in the playground. Meaning, 99 percent of the people who use Higgs Beach won’t be able to use the kiosks to picnic, get out of the sun, etc. All, of course, to make sure no homeless people use those kiosks. Your county tax dollar at work.
What do you think about the county government tossing Roman Gastesi into that wood pile and running him through the county woodchipper, too? Not that I don’t like Roman, I do. But it do seem he went and shat and sat in it, don’t it?
Moving up to Birmingham, so to speak,
received this last night from a former really important employee of my father’s company, but my father did not understand how really important this employee was.
Sloan… saw this in the al.com web site and was shocked at the low performance. I knew that had financial issues with debt, but did not realize their profits were so off. Mike M.
What’s the best-selling snack food for Golden Flake? The answer may surprise you
Company is marking its 90th year.
Dawn Kent Azok | firstname.lastname@example.org By Dawn Kent Azok | email@example.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 28, 2013 at 9:15 AM, updated October 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Ask Mark McCutcheon what his favorite snack food is, and the answer is no surprise.
“Plain potato chips, of course,” said the man whose business cards read: Chief Potato Peeler.
But the best seller for McCutcheon’s company, Golden Flake Snack Foods, may surprise some people.
It’s Sweet Heat, the sweet and spicy barbecue chips that are shipped to customers around the country who live outside of the company’s footprint in the Southeast.
“Sweet Heat has such an almost cult following that it has overtaken plain potato chips in our business,” he said. “That’s an anomaly in the industry.”
McCutcheon is chairman and chief executive of Birmingham-based Golden Enterprises Inc., Golden Flake’s parent.
The company, which started in the basement of a grocery store 90 years ago, today has about 1,000 employees and produces more than 200 different sizes and varieties of snacks.
Along with plain potato chips and Sweet Heat, there are cheese puffs, cheese curls, tortilla chips, snack crackers and a host of other flavored chips made at Golden Flake’s sprawling factory complex in southwest Birmingham.
See videos of potato chips, cheese puffs and pork skins being made.
Fried pork skins are popular, too, with demand driven by the popularity of low-carb diets. Sales of pork skins and cracklins, a similar product, grew 13 percent last year, and the company is looking to add another shift on that line.
Golden Flake’s snack-making operations are an automated process monitored by employees. The production lines turn potatoes into chips, cornmeal into cheese puffs, dehydrated pork pellets into fried pork skins, and so on, with some high-tech touches to prevent mishaps.
At the end of the chip line, for example, a photocell ID system blows off bad ones by spotting those that sport green spots, undercooked areas or too much potato skin. Later on, after they’re bagged and boxed into cases, an X-ray machine examines the packages for any foreign objects.
For the fiscal year that ended May 31, Golden Flake reported $137 million in net sales, up 1 percent from the previous year. But net income fell — to $1.1 million from $2.2 million a year earlier — amid higher selling, general and administrative expenses, due to the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning system.
For the quarter ended Aug. 30, the company’s sales and earnings increased. It earned $771,528, or 7 cents per share, on $35.1 million in revenue.
The new ERP technology is expected to improve efficiency across Golden Flake’s operations; part of it includes a function that will help track down products more easily in case there is a problem.
“If you buy a bag of chips in Publix, we can tell you where the potatoes were grown, what shift time the chips were made, where the other ingredients came from and where the packaging came from,” McCutcheon said.
Alabama-made is a regular al.com feature about the state’s homegrown products and businesses.
I wrote back:
Hi, Mike -
Yes, I had heard from Herman Faulk of the company’s struggles.
I don’t know if I told you this before.
After my father died in August 2005, a fellow I knew in Key West approached me about helping him get in to speak with the people running Golden Flake. He said he had a patent on a “beef chip”, which would be made out of a blend of dried, or dehydrated, pork and beef. The raw dried meat would be processed much like tortilla chips are processed. Rolled into a wet masa, cut into chips, run through an oven, or perhaps an oil cooker, I don’t recall now. Then packaged like potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, pork skins. Apparently very long shelf life, stales not a significant factor. Low calories, high protein.
I saw the potential immediately. If Golden Flake got the patent rights and paid this fellow an ongoing royalty, the company and he could get really rich. Golden Flake could license the patent to Frito-Lay and other snack food companies. It sounded too good to be true. My father came to me in dreams all for it. I called Mark McCutcheon and told him all of the above. He said to have the fellow call him. The fellow called. McCutcheon said Golden Flake could not use the product, and referred the fellow to someone up in West Virginia maybe.
What do I know? Maybe if I had kept my name and face out of it, had just told the fellow to call McCutcheon cold, it might have gone differently. And, maybe I’m being facetious.
Hope life going okay for you, given all you have survived and have on your plate today.
I forgot to say in the Todd German part of this post, that he said yesterday that I had had a really interesting life. I think that was shortly after he said a lot of homeless people would be in mental institutions, if they had not been closed down. I said, yeah, including me.
I told him of when I had taken four court-appointed commitment cases, when I was in the killer dark night of the soul in 1997. My law license was active then. I was trying to stay busy, even though half my brain seemed to have died. I was not dreaming when I slept. I felt hardly alive.
I said I went into the psychiatric ward at the University of Alabama medical school, where the four “defendants” were being held and read their charts and interviewed them. I felt three of them should not be committed to the state mental hospital. They were homeless people, who had not really done anything to deserve to be locked away. The fourth defendant, who was really drugged by the psychiatrist, was truly dangerous and should be committed, I felt after reading his chart. He was too drugged up to talk with and learn anything. Nearly comatose.
The judge came over to the hospital to hold court. The assistant district attorney tried to get me to lay low, said I didn’t have to try to represent my clients zelaously. I said what? They were up to be locked away in the state mental, I was to go along with that, if I didn’t think that’s where they belonged?
The cases were set on different days. Two of the three men I felt did not belong in the state mental were sent there by the judge. During the later trial of the third man, I said, well, if these are grounds to put someone away, then I should be put away, too. That caused raised eyebrows. I did not reveal just how true what I had said really was.
Then came the fourth trial. The psychatrist and social worker assigned to that defendant agreed he was truly dangerous and should be sent to the state mental. But the family objected, said they wanted to keep him at home, they would keep him on his meds, which basically had him in a comatose state.
The fellow’s chart indicated he had terrified his family, before he was apprehended and put on the psych ward. I said I had no objection to him being committed. Then, into the hearing came the chief psychiatrist, who told the judge it would be okay to release the defendant into the custody of his family, who would keep him on his meds. I sat there, stunned. The judge released the defendant to the custody of his family, who’d had him put on the psych ward.
I took my name off the appointed lawyer list. I could take no more. Little did I know, in three years I would be homeless. All part and parcel why Todd said I had had a really interesting life.
He also said, back when Erika Biddle was awarded Citizen of the Week in Key West,
she said in the article that what she really liked about Key West was, where she had always lived before, she was the most eccentric person, but she was not the most eccentric person in Key West.
After visiting with my chickpea friend last night, I pedaled by Erika and Joel’s home, which was not far away, and called her on my cell phone. They had only just gotten home. Erika came out to the sidewalk, then Joel came out. We had a nice chat about various eccentric Key West people, including ourselves.
I bid them goodnight and pedaled home darn glad I was not locked up in a state mental institution, not in Alabama,
into which I had stupidly gotten myself for couple of weeks until I was sprung by my wife and friends from out of the frying pan into the flames, which was the killer dark night I did not yet know was coming.
Interesting don’t necessarily mean fun, but it can be.