lower Florida Keys sewer grinder pump update with some interesting, for me, revelations; conservative Christian from my Alabama past and I discuss Iron Bowl and Divine Intervention therein throwing Auburn into the BSC championship game and Alabama into purgatory perhaps; a curious road rage tale which started in Key West and ended up there, after numerous totally unbelievable stops along the way

Feather Talk

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Sandbar Cafe

I counted 20 people, plus me, at the anti-grinder sewer pump meeting yesterday afternoon at the old Parrotdise, soon to be Sandbar Cafe again, on Little Torch Key. Some people were from Big Pine Key, some from Little Torch Key, some from Keys below those two Keys. Some interesting tidbits I carried back to Key West with me.

Starting with the ending, after the meeting, Deer Ed, the pirate who publisheswww.bigpinekey.com‘s popular Coconut Telegraph bitch and praise blog, told me that back when the new water pipe was brought down from Florida City many years ago for the Navy and Key West mostly, experts and engineers said the pipe needed to be 18 inches in diameter, but the county government and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) went with 12 inch diameter pipe, and not long afterward it all had to be removed and replaced with 18 inch pipe. Ed said it would have been hell to pay if the Navy had not picked up half or maybe it was all of the cost of tearing out the 12 inch pipe and replacing it with 18 inch pipe.

Banks Prevatt, who convened the meeting, reported on his and other people’s visit with FKAA yesterday morning. FKAA’s CEO Kirk Zeulch (who used to be FKAA’s legal counsel) said FKAA preferred gravity systems because they have no moving parts and do not break. Zeulch said when the County Commission told FKAA to come up with something to sewer the lower Keys, FKAA presented what mostly was a gravity system, with grinder pumps only used in places where gravity would not work. Zeulch said the County Commission rejected that plan because it was too expensive, and told FKAA to come up with something less costly. FKAA went back to the drawing board and came up with a cheaper proposal using grinder pumps in many places FKAA would not otherwise have wanted to put them.

Banks said back when the 1 percent sales tax referendum was passed to fund sewering the Florida Keys, it was understood all of that tax money would go to sewering the Keys, and none of that money would go to anything else until the Keys were sewered. Banks said the County Commission’s view is the second and cheaper FKAA plan for the sewering the lower Keys is fully funded, so any of the 1 cent sales tax collected over and above that can be used to repair bridges, such as Seven Mile Bridge, buy marinas, such as Rowell’s on Key Largo.

Banks said it appears Florida Department of Enviornmental Protection has issued permits for Cudjoe regional sewer district, which should not have been issued – perhaps because DEP is sympathetic to the County Commission because it is under a lot of pressure from Tallahassee to sewer the Keys.

Some people grumbled about the County Commission buying the Hickory House and its marina on Stock Island just above Key West several years ago, instead of using what was paid for that property on things the county needed. The Hickory House was bought at an inflated price from a good friend of one of the commissioners, Dixie Spehar. So far, nothing as been done with the Hickory House but try to sell it and nobody has been willing to pay anywhere close to what it cost the county taxpayers.

Throughout the meeting, angry comments were made about County Commissioner George Neugent,


in whose voting district the Cudjoe regional sewer project lies, having written an article recently in the Keynoter extolling grinder pumps because he’d had no problem with the grinder pump at Porky’s, his BBQ restaurant in Marathon, before he became a county commissioner.

What I’m hearing is Porky’s grinder pump worked great because it was in constant heavy use. Grinder pumps do okay under constant heavy use. But they are known for not doing so well under residential light use, and they are notorious for ceasing to function if they are not used for a good while while, say a snowbird homeowner goes back to Ohio or Canada for the summer, and then returns six months later. Wouldn’t surprise me if half the homeowners in George’s voting district are snowbirds.

And say a hurricane comes, power is lost for two weeks. Nobody can use their grinder pump system. Banks said Zeulch said at yesterday morning’s meeting that FKAA does not have the manpower to deal with something like that, but will deal with it when/if it happens. Consider Hurricane Wilma in 2005 covered the entire lower Keys with 3+ feet of salt water. How would grinder pumps stand up to that? How would grinder pumps stand up to being buried in a plastic casing in salt water which lies just beneath the surface of the land in the lower Keys?

I heard other concerns about grinder pumps last night. They need to be serviced every five years, or they start breaking down. They have to be dug up to be serviced. If the lines spring leaks, which they will, there is no way to know where the leaks are without digging up the lines. Grinder pump systems could pollute the lower Keys more than septic tanks and cess pits now do. I heard lots of really unhappy and worried people.

They were alarmed to hear Banks say he was told by the County Administrator’s office yesterday that the grinder pump item on this Wednesday’s County Commission agenda was pulled because FKAA had said it does not have the grinder pump figures ready for that agenda item. The grinder pump item now is slated to be on the January County Commission meeting agenda. Meanwhile, FKAA continues laying lines for grinder pumps. State Road 4A on Little Torch Key, where I lived, has lines lying on the surface ready to be buried.

After the meeting, Banks told Deer Ed and me that he sold a lower Keys lot to a mainland engineer, who works in this field. The engineer is building a home on that lot and comes down from time to time to check on how the construction is going. The engineer told Banks he was really glad he will have a gravity system and not a grinder pump system.

Ed said he is receiving anti-grinder pump cards and letters from people who never before wrote in to the Coconut Telegraph. Ed lives far from a paved road on Big Pine Key. He said he will install an on site sewage handling system just for his home – perhaps that is what all remote lower Keys homeowners should do.


Confession time.

The report above is the third draft. I wrote the first draft, a typical Sloan raving, last night. I turned in. The angels wore me out about what I had written. I got up about 2 a.m. and modified it substantially. I turned back in. The angels wore me out again. I got up about 6 a.m. and modified it substantially again, removing me almost entirely from it. I turned back in. This time in my sleep, the angels seemed okay with it.

Just after I put all of this post together this morning, this below came in from a fellow at last night’s meeting:


Hi Sloan,

Here is the story you asked me to send you yesterday.

I had a boat for sale and a man from Cudjoe Key came to look at it. While here we got on the subject of the new sewer upgrade as it is a hot topic.

The man advised that he was in an area where they were installing a gravity system and said from the plumbing they were putting in the roads, it appeared that 15 to 18 homes where flowing into a central pit for further pumping or processing. I took note as one setup like that would basically handle all the homes here in the Big Pine Shores subdivision.

The man went on to say he is glad they are on a gravity system as his father in Illinois (I think he said), was on the grinder pump system same as what is going in here as the lot sizes there are 5 to 10 acres each.

He went on to say that it cost about $5k for his father to get the system put in. He thought that was either his share of the pump or probably the piping costs to the mail line. The system worked ok for about 5 years, then failed.

Initially the grinder pumps we’re supposed to be the county’s responsibility but several years into the new system the costs were high and the county transferred the grinder pumps to the home owners.

With some effort his father found a plumber who dealt with the grinder pumps. In the end, his father’s options were a new grinder pump assembly at about $5k or a rebuilt at about $2500.00. The man went on to say he was not sure if that was the unit cost of installed.

The plumber advised his father that he should be pleased as he had 5 years out of his pump unit. The plumber went on to say that he has found that about 5 years is all one can expect from the units before rebuild. Note that is is a full time use system and not in a salt environment.

This story highlights two issues for all of us in the proposed new sewers system. It shows how a County can dump the costs back on a home owner when they have made a mistake on a system, and It shows the costs and life expectancies of the system,

Sloan, hope this story helps.


Iron Bowl 2

I have known the fellow below since he was a kid, he and my younger brother Major were friends. He first appeared as an unknown correspondent in yesterday’s post at the good morning websites, via an email  to me and other email recipients I did not recognize, providing a link to something he felt bereaved Alabama Crimson Tide fans would laugh over for a very long time, while Auburn Tiger fans were laughing for a very long time, if not forever and ever, about the last play in Saturday before last’s Iron Bowl.

Iron Bowl finale

He wrote:

Sorry Bash – I forget sometimes that my name isn’t on my Yahoo email. It’s Craig Fulford. Labman refers to the years after I sold my business and actually became a professional trainer for AKC Retriever Field Trials. Degenerative disc disease forced me to retire after over 7 years with the dogs. (I had a 50 acre farm in Clanton and trained mostly Black Labs but had the occasional Golden retriever and Flat Coat. Also a few Yellow Labs but zero Chocolate’s.)

The Kentucky game short video excerpt provided a great opportunity to take some of those “sports types” on the tube to task. The Tide is constantly under attack by those guys and most of the time their comments are both unreasonable and falsely critical. It really had nothing to do with the Kentucky game except that’s where these “wonderful and hilariously ridiculous” comments occurred.

I don’t know what made me think of you when I emailed it to my usual group of Bama fans but something did so I included you.

Needless to say the season ended on a very sour note but so many bad things happened in that game it had to have been foreordained. Awful game plan, team emotionally flat, sloppy execution, pitiful play selection offensively, defensive assignments constantly missed, no kicking game whatsoever and some of the most awful officiating I’ve ever seen.

As badly as we performed the Refs still determined the games outcome. As you noted we still should have won. The only game I remember having worse officiating was Seattle’s only appearance in the Super Bowl against Pittsburg. If you remember there was a real national outcry resulting in thousands of NFL season ticket holders retiring as NFL fans.

One thing for sure, FSU is gonna have to do make some real adjustments if they want to handle Auburn’s “Gimmicky New Offense”. (reminds me of the old Delaware winged T) So far even the refs are at a loss and trickery, not football, has become the order of the day. Even worse, Auburn’s scheme has produced a record number of illegal plays that either go unnoticed or uncalled. Illegal receivers down field, illegal contact on defensive backs by linemen and questionable formations that in retrospect are illegal but are confusing enough to the refs that they are reluctant to call them in real time. I realize it’s hard for a bunch of 50 year old lawyers and accountants to keep up with the pace of these games. But these kind of gimmicky offenses create unfamiliar “looks” that leave the refs not knowing exactly what to do. So they do nothing!

The refs become part of the “hurry-up” and assist the offense. Also, something I’ve noticed in watching the HUNH type offenses is these offense’s (especially Oregon’s and the Aubs) never truly “set” before snapping the ball and always have constant/multiple movement before the snap, yet they don’t get called. But the more traditional offenses will get flagged for breathing too hard and not “setting” for 2-3 seconds before the snap. Hell, we got called for one of our linemen farting. Don’t laugh, multiple replays showed no movement whatsoever so what else could it have been!

Although Saban would never say so publically I hear he and several other big name coaches, will be meeting with the powers that be over these problems. Off the record he has said that it’s bad enough that violations of the rules are NOT called but that’s part of what teams doing it count on. Chaos is their friend!

Dang, sorry for the rant but I feel better! Hope you are well and don’t have a white Christmas (excluding the sand of course).

Roll Tide,

PS You said, “in case you didn’t notice, the football god, same deity church folks worship, didn’t want Alabama to win”

The “god” worshiped by most football fans today and for that matter most people is not capable of helping because he doesn’t exist. The God that does exist could help but it’s not on his priority list nor is He even inclined to do so in the first place. I realize you were just making a point but it’s amazing how many people in this country have a view of God that would include thinking He would be a fan of their team.

But perhaps it’s not so incredibly unbelievable given the belief systems of today. Over the last 50 years especially, the Christian Church has all but disappeared. Sure, most still say they are “Christian” but don’t even come close to teaching historical biblical Christianity.

Watching people getting swallowed up in liberal denominations, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches is a reflection of where we have gone as a society. It’s quite frightening!

Even the Theological Cults like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Roman Catholic Church are having some of their false doctrines adopted by what use to be called Mainline Denominations.

And don’t even get me started on the Benny Hinn’s, Kenneth Copeland’s, Joel Osteen’s and all the many new Mega Church, word of faith, New Age “preachers”. It’s no wonder that Christians are looked at with such contempt. Non-believers actually think these heretics and thieves represent the Christian faith when nothing could be further from the truth.

Trying to find a church today that still teaches biblical Christianity is almost an impossibility. There is one branch of the Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church of America PCA not USA), a few reformed Baptist churches and some recently formed independents.

Pastors like John MacArthur and R C Sproul are getting up in age and the crop of young reformed pastors is there but not as easy to identify as they once were.

You might enjoy listening to MacArthur and Sproul. They certainly won’t insult your intelligence OR tell you to send them money so you can get rich, lol.

MacArthur http://www.gty.org/

Sproul http://www.ligonier.org/

I wrote back:

Hi, Craig – darn, long time no see or hear, sorry to hear you’re ailing, sounds like the dog training really suited you.

Your elucidation of my ignorance about Auburn’s offense is appreciated; it certainly had Alabama’s defense guessing and often missing; I was not aware of illegal aspects, maybe SEC and NCAA will tighten that up some. Yeah, the Alabama right tackle on the field goal that was made and would have put the game away must have farted, I been a wondering what got him flagged after watching the replay during the game. Saban was livid. Maybe the refs were on the take? Whatever, it definitely looked like a hex was thrown, or God was pissed off, and the outcome was forgone concluded. The maddening details made for all the more agony, if you were a Tide fan, joy, if an Auburn fan. Wonder if the War Eagle camp will ever figure out that they were given that game by something far bigger than them or Alabama? Hope they don’t forget how they got into the BSC for all the marbles game. I don’t remember a running back of late gaining over 300 yards in a game, and not against a team like Missouri, which must still be in near-fatal shock.

Do not see how any Alabama fan watching the video you suggested, or anything, not even a staged resurrection of the Bear Jesus his own self, will ever erase the memory of Auburn running back a missed 109 field goal attempt with no seconds left on the clock. That video will be played in Alabama for decades, just like the 1992 “punt bama punt” video of David Langner fame.

I did a somewhat tamer “analysis” of the bowl pictured in today’s post at goodmorningkeywest.com.

As for Christianity, the four Gospels, in their many translations today, still pretty well depict Jesus back then. I have had lots of dealings with the churches/people you lament, and with conservative churches/people. Frankly, I have yet to encounter any church or congregation living as Jesus lived and taught others to live. They often don’t even talk about the parts of the four Gospels they don’t live. They have twisted Jesus in the Gospels into an imaginary person, like God for eons was twisted into an imaginary deity; in people’s own image they made God, and then Jesus. To the point, I have started telling people, who ask me if I’m a Christian, or what I think about Christianity, that it has become a superstition and I do not belong to it.

Jesus and Archangel Michael snatched me in early 1987 and have been riding hard herd on me ever since. Sometimes they farm me out to other of their heavenly confederates. I tell people it’s a tag team event impossible to imagine unless it’s happening to them.

My trainers told me indeed there was a Providential intervention in the Iron Bowl because Saban and Alabama officials did not say Alabama would not play Florida State with the rape charges hanging over that school’s head unresolved. That was what the then No. 1 team in the nation should have done to be a role model for the rest of college football.

Jesus said in the Gospels, to those to whom much is given, much is asked in return. Much was given to Alabama and it did nothing in return, when it could have done a great deal. Jesus also said something about not hiding your lamp under a bushel. Now Alabama will play Oklahoma, which wasn’t anywhere near in the running for all the marbles, and Auburn, which had no hope of being in the BSC championship, will play for all the marbles.

With God, all things are possible.



I wonder how Craig, or any Christian, would fare with the experience that resulted, finally, in my meeting a spiritually-gifted younger woman in early March 2005, with whom I reconnected in June of that same year?

holy fire

It began with my having my heart ripped out of me, again, over the way my then wife’s (and my last wife’s) relationship was going. Unbeknownst to me, the latest heart shredding was foreshadowed in a soul drawing I’d just done, which I showed to some vicious van dweller criminals sitting around playing music and singing songs near the small pier on Higgs Beach. One of them said he could not bear to look at the drawing any longer, it made him too sad. He offered me a beer, I declined; I had been told not to drink. But I said maybe that was changing, maybe the angels were taking pity on me. I’d have to think about it.

Not long after, I decided to ride my bicycle over to the Green Parrot and have a draft beer and see how that went. I had two draft beers. Then I pedaled my bike back to where I had left my 1993 Chevy Blazer, which I’d only been able to buy used a few months before after a smallish unexpected money windfall came my way. I’d had an apartment in north Georgia. I’d driven to Indiana and brought my absent wife back. It had not worked out, again. She went back to Indiana and I went back to Key West. I was sleeping nights in the back of the Blazer, with the bicycle hung on a rack mounted in the trailer hitch connection. The bike and the Georgia license tag perhaps gave the impression the vehicle was a tourist’s vehicle. I parked it each night across from the first set of condominiums east White Street Pier. Numerous other cars parked there. The windows were tinted, hard to see inside from outside. Nobody bothered me at night.

On this night, I had a string of dreams. I was told I’d been told I was not supposed to drink. I was to give my car to women in the church and go to Kansas City on Greyhound. The music to “Kansas City” started playing in my head, and continued to play. Duly terrified, that morning I went to see a woman I knew about letting me park my bicycle in her yard, chained to a tree, while I was gone. I told her what had happened and I figured I was supposed to give the Blazer to St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. She said she needed a car for her and her four daughters and one of them’s infant. In fact, she had no vehicle. I signed the title over to her. She took me to the Greyhound station at the airport. I went to Kansas City.

It was a nightmare ride, I nearly jumped ship several times and headed back to Key West. In the Kansas City bus station, I asked the woman behind the ticket counter if there was a YMCA there which rented rooms? Not that she knew. I asked if there was a Chamber of Commerce? Yes. I called the Chamber, hoping they could tell me where I could get a cheap room. I had some money in my bank account and a debit card, and some cash in my wallet. The Chamber said there was no such place. I asked the woman behind the counter if there was a homeless shelter in Kansas City? Yes, there was one about half mile away down the road over there across an intersection. I headed down that road on foot. The sun was just going down.

The shelter intake people said I could stay there. As I was waiting for someone to assist me further, a fellow who seemed to work there but was a resident client asked, “Have you heard about Jesus?!” I said I thought everyone had heard about Jesus. He said that wasn’t what he meant. I said I knew what he meant and if he knew Jesus like I knew him, he would wish he’d never heard of Jesus.

I won’t recount the entire lovely next two days and nights, other than to say I did soul drawings to pass to time when nothing structured was happening.

In one of the group meetings, a former resident but now dressed up all slick and talking like he was God’s right hand man, asked if any of us had ever seen the devil? Nobody raised their hand. I raised my hand. He looked at me a moment, said nothing, went on being God’s right hand man. When he was finishing up his preaching, he said nobody has ever seen the devil because the devil is a spirit and people can’t see spirits. I thought to myself, I was looking straight at the devil, acting as if he was God’s right hand man.

Another man, considerably farther along in the spiritual sense, seemed to take an interest in me and we had a few talks. He, too, worked there, but also had an outside job. He represented the church which ran the shelter was my impression. The more we talked, the more he seemed flummoxed by what I was telling him about my experiences with what he had never come close to experiencing. Finally, he said there was someone coming tomorrow he wanted me to meet. I said okay. I wondered if that other person was the one who would try to have me put in a mental institution for my own good?

That evening, I met with another man who was coming in there at night to speak with residents. This man was genuine, a seeker. I took him aside and gave him a tract I had written maybe two weeks before, which he seemed ready for. He thanked me. I told him he would be tested and to not turn away. He thanked me again.

That night in my sleep, two women travel agents came in a dream and apologized for my ordeal and gave me a bus ticket. I awoke just before dawn, collected my meager belongings, and left the shelter and walked to the Greyhound station. Alas, the bus headed east was just leaving. It was full. The next bus was at noon. Rats. I lay down on a bench, my head on my travel bag containing clothes mostly. A man came into the station in a Greyhound uniform. He had brought a second bus headed east, if anyone wanted a ride, get on the bus. I got on the bus, glad as hell to get out of there. For all I knew, the church people running the shelter were looking for me, to have me put away.

When I reached Atlanta, I knew I needed to get a bus up to Gainesville, and there try to reconnect with people I knew on past there, where I had spent three recent summers, where I had left my last wife now back in Indiana. I called them on my cell phone, which still had enough charge in the battery for a few calls. No dice. There was nothing up there for me. Rats. I asked the woman behind the ticket counter if I could borrow a telephone directory to call a cab, I had seen one pulling away from the bus station when I got off the bus. She gave me a phone number and let me use the station’s telephone.

The same cab came back. A woman driver. I got in, said I needed a ride to Atlanta, could she take me? Yes. How much? She told me. I could handle that. I said I needed to go to the local library first and check my emails. She said okay. We did that. We started talking. I asked if she was the kind of person who had spirit experiences she could not take about with anyone else? She said yes. We talked all the way to Atlanta. I told her if she ended up running with me, she would come to wish he had never met me. She let me out at the bus station and drove away. I went inside and learned a bus to Miami was just about to depart. I got on the bus already having a ticket to Key West purchased in Kansas City.

The ride to Miami was not without its own weird adventures, which are not relevant to my meeting that woman who would be put under my wing and under my ability to look out for her financially. She came to wish she had never met me. She told me that many times. I came to wish I had never met here. I told her that many times. But I knew I needed to do all I could to help her, if I didn’t want the angels letting me know how they felt about me abandoning her.

She told me yesterday morning, in a dream the night before, she was in heaven and there was gold everywhere and it was wonderful. Then, I came to her in later dream and asked if she knew what a shaman was, and she said it was someone who stands between angels and people and helps people. I said that was good enough for most people to hear, but there is more to it.

A shaman takes on the sickness of the people the shaman is helping, because the people do not know how to help themselves. She has been taking on other people’s sicknesses for years, and it has nearly killed her quite a few times, and it has nearly driven her insane quite a few other times. The Florida Keys grinder pump war caused me several times to feel like my G.I. tract and liver were dying, and me, too.

That was part of her training. I had nothing to do with it but watch it happen and talk with her about it. I have no clue what the angels have lined up for her. I have no clue what the angels have lined up for me. I wonder how many Christians of any sect or political persuasion, or how many non-Christians, would care to know Jesus and Archangel Michael and their heavenly confederates in the way this woman has come to know them? In the way I have come to know them?

Oh, when I finally reached Key West after leaving Gainesville, I spent that night and the next night at KOTS, the city of Key West’s homeless shelter. I not stayed there before, and after what I experienced there, I never wanted to stay there again. And, so far, I have not stayed there again. The next night, I stayed where I am staying now. I had stayed here before that, and I would stay here after that. This home is on Seminary Street. Poetic.

I opened the two ministers’ links, which Craig provided. I found quite a few items I would have to pay money to see or read. I wonder how they would fare with what I live with, for which I paid everything I owned and even my own life?

Next month’s story telling theme at Little Room Jazz Club is “road rage”. Maybe I will tell about my trip to Kansas City and then to Gainesville. The next month’s theme is “Ex-files”. My seven marriages might provide plenty of fodder for that night’s entertainment.

Sloan at Coco'sSloan in collarSloan with troll

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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