trapped in “paradise” – various Key West sitcoms, and one Southern California escapee

Higgs Beach party

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Sancho Panza

Sancho Panza sent yesterday:

Subject: Imbuing yourself with the Life Force, – Effortless Being – Wu-wei
I think you and I can identify with this guy! You, are much closer than I… of course! Watch the video!

Dr. John Kitchin quit a medical career to pursue his passion: skating along the boardwalk of San Diego’s Pacific Beach. He calls himself “Slomo.”
March 31, 2014

Slomo came into my life at an opportune moment. Having just rolled into my 30s, I was looking for both a film subject and some wisdom on how to approach the encroaching “middle third” of my life — the years when youthful idealism is so often blunted by adult responsibilities.

Around this time, during a business trip to San Diego, my father had a chance meeting on the Pacific Beach boardwalk with John Kitchin, an old medical school classmate. My dad barely recognized Dr. Kitchin, who was meticulously skating up and down the promenade, blasting inspirational music from speakers hidden under his shirt. Disillusioned with a life that had become increasingly materialistic, he had abruptly abandoned his career as a neurologist and moved to a studio by the beach. The locals called him Slomo, knowing little about his past life, but cheering and high-fiving him as he skated by in slow motion. He had become a Pacific Beach institution. I was intrigued.

I’ve long been fascinated by people who make seismic changes late in life. It goes against the mainstream narrative: Grow up, pick a career, stick it out, retire. I was also curious about Slomo’s concept of “the zone,” a realm of pure subjectivity and connectedness that he achieves through his skating. The only thing Slomo loves more than being in the zone is talking about the zone, so it wasn’t hard to persuade him to take part in a documentary film.

Slomo’s combination of candor and eloquence made him a natural on camera, and his background as a neurologist legitimized his metaphysical theories about skating, lateral motion and the brain. But like many of the people who saw him skating by, I couldn’t help wondering: was this guy nuts, or was he onto something? And was his mantra – “Do what you want to” – translatable to those of us without the nest egg of a retired doctor? But just like the throngs of Slomo fans on Pacific Beach, I couldn’t get enough of him, and was determined to capture the effect he had on people in a cinematic way.

With this film, we hope to create a window into the ecstatic experience that Slomo has every day, transcending the trappings of the material world. And for my part, I continue to be intrigued by the particular joys and conflicts that define a person’s life once he decides to do exactly what he wants.

Op-Docs is a forum for short, opinionated documentaries, produced with creative latitude by independent filmmakers and artists. Learn more about Op-Docs andhow to submit to the series.

Josh Izenberg is a filmmaker based in San Francisco. “Slomo,” which is his first documentary, has received more than a dozen awards including Best Documentary Short by the International Documentary Association and the jury award for best short documentary at SXSW.

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 replied:

Interesting, but I don’t see a link for the video. I imagine our Frisbee Dave down here

Frisbee Dave 3

could relate better than most to Slomo’s “zone”, except Dave didn’t drop out with a nest egg, and his neurons sometimes synapse more harmoniously than other times. I wonder how the good Slomo would relate to the “zones” I endure, seldom sublime, usually quite hellish, but then, that’s where my boots seem to mostly keep hitting the ground. Once upon a time I was with a woman with whom, when we were in each other’s presence, we often mutually experienced what we called the “space”, her name for it; I called it “paradise”, which was not something that could be described to anyone else. Exquisitely sublime, clearly not of this world, it didn’t seem to have any biological or physical origin, quite wonderful, when it was there.

Sancho replied:

The link was at the end, but here it is…. watch it by clicking on the picture in the article, etc……

I wrote:

Thanks, wonderful documentary of the transformation of a self-labeled asshole; quite an up yours to conventional wisdom from a former neurologist/psychiatrist. Looks like Slomo indeed did reach escape velocity. I bet he and Frisbee Dave could have an interesting conversation most people would not be able to zone into.

I was told in my sleep in March 2006 that the species did not reach escape velocity, this had happened before, but I could still do it, and I was going to be given experiences designed to increase my pace so that I might be able to reach escape velocity. It then was likened to scientists sending a space vehicle toward the moon, the sun or another planet to touch that celestial body’s gravitational field and then leave it at a greater speed – the slingshot effect.

After hearing that, my experiences increased in weight, depth and intensity, externally and internally. Still underway. I wonder how a conversation between Slomo and me would go? Meanwhile, as I said, it seems he escaped; hope I do, too :-).

Escape from being trapped maybe seems to be the theme of today’s howling at, which might lead off with yours and mine.

I seem to go into a zone most of the times I speak at city and county commission and other government meetings, and at candidate forums; then reality sets back in, or maybe I should say, something sets back in :-). My remarks last night to the Key West City Commission on legalizing marijuana, which today’s howling will touch on, put me into a really fun zone, but even that was nowhere close to what the space felt like.


Sancho wrote:

I am zeroing in myself….. hopefully, it will be an easier ride than yours! *[]--- cook

Jerry Weinstock, M.D., Psychiatry (retired), an avid Key West area environmentalist, replied to yesterday’s various festive April fools adventures in “paradise” – Key West and Little Torch and Big Pine Keys, mostly post at, in which he had received favorable mention:

psychiatrist interviews

Sloan: on the positive side of life here; I exchanged
greetings with Peter Bacle yesterday; complimented
him on his book TRAPPED IN KEY WEST—which
has only been in limited release. It is very good with
much anecdotal richness (Peter owner of Stock Island
Lobster company) relates much history, struggle and
fascination —the book oozes with a fine atmosphere
that is all Keys. I would heartily recommend it. —Jerry

I replied:

Thanks, will try to get a copy of Trapped in Key West for reading after I’m done with Key West on the Edge: Inventing the Conch Republic. I imagine quite a few people feel trapped here, who were born here and did not have the money to go off to college, nor the job skills to leave and get a decent job on the mainland.

In my own way, I feel trapped here, and I don’t have the many old wonderful memories of this place, which you have. I have such memories of Islamorada, and to a much less extent of Big Pine Key. I assign to development, kinda rhymes with greed, the reason for most of the wonderful old memories being only that. It truly was very different back then.

Now Key West and much of the Keys are trapped in feeding what caused the changes, sort of like taking heroin, an addiction that can’t, or won’t, be kicked. Pritam Singh’s new hotel under construction in Key West, for example; the new Peary Court development, for another example, now being steered by Pritam’s sidekick Jim Hendrick.

My friend Mike Tolbert, co-owner of Daddy Bones BBQ on North Roosevelt Blvd, told me that the redo of that road didn’t hurt his business nearly as much as the closing and tearing down of a number of perfectly good modest hotels further up North Roosevelt, which will become new upscale hotels.

Naja Girard groused to me the other day that we don’t need any more hotels or upscale developments, what we need is a lot more affordable rental housing. I agreed, said if a waitress can’t afford rent on her earnings, it ain’t affordable; it’s a lie to call it affordable.

As The King, I’d decree Peary Court be left just like it is now, tell the new owner to do with it as is, as best can.

I’d decree razing and removing Pritam’s new gargoyle towers and dedicate the resulting raw land to the first of as many as possible pot farms, for export to places where Key West Weed might really be appreciated, Moscow, Singapore, Bejing come to mind, with the city taking 5 percent of the gross revenues and the pot grower getting the rest.

I’d decree the same fate for the planned new hotels on North Roosevelt Blvd.

To heck with the marijuana laws, turn a blind eye like happens for a week every year when NORMAL holds its annual convention in Key West. You can’t spend more than a few minutes at the Pier House that week without getting stoned. Duval Street reeks of weed vapors during that high festival, which the president of my Vanderbilt fraternity attends each year. I think maybe he stays stoned, wherever he is.

Wish I could, but weed gives me a terrible headache the next day, regardless of how or where it was grown. It ain’t nearly as destructive or dangerous as booze, though. I can’t recall ever seeing anyone stoned on weed be aggressive. If I had to wager a wild ass guess, I say about half of Key West High School students, at least, get stoned daily, if not more often.

Jimmy Weekley has a resolution before the City Commission tonight for backing State Senator Claude Bullard’s bill in the Florida Legislature to legalize recreational weed. I backed Claude in 2011, when I ran for the School Board seat in District 3, because he was a career school teacher. He knew what was up, was my take on him.

God only knows how much tax revenue could be generated from legalizing and taxing weed farmers and distributors. Might put a lot of state and federal DEA agents out of jobs, though. Maybe cause them to move to Key West and be trapped and spending nights at KOTS. The Sheriff could offer them jobs tending his marijuana farms.

I might mention some of that during citizen comments tonight, if such are allowed.

This is not an April fools prank.


Jerry wrote back:

Sloan: You have expressed quite a lot succinctly
and on target–hit the Bulls -eye. The trees on
Simonton trailer park—gorgeous and invaluable
cut down (commission lying saying they were
diseased -obviously healthy) Mangroves on
stock island supposedly trimmed absolutely
decimated –greenery GONE. Out of unadulterated
greed Cruise ship monsters destroying our water
and air—a frenzy to develop and kill all that
was beautiful —the charm and all that attracted us
fading out—shredded —it was paradise –but now
Paradise LOST !! I would vote for you as King !!
Sincerely Jerry

I replied:

Sandy Downs told me that her tree company, Tarzan, did the tree and bush work at Bernstein Park on Stock Island, and all they removed were invasive species; they did trim back the lower parts of mangroves, because people were hiding in there, littering the ground. Homeless people, and she said her crew heard from passersby that drug deals were going down in the undergrowth, now maybe it’s too visible for that.

Yeah, they did a great snake dance around the trailer park on Simonton Street. It’s a really popular dance, actually, in Key West and the Keys.

I told the City Commission last night most of what I wrote to you about Marijuana yesterday, and that Key West should copyright “Key West Weed”, it could become a brand name like Chanel. Teri Johnston objected to Jimmy Weekly’s Resolution on the ground that it could not possibly speak for all people in Key West, therefore it should not be on the agenda at all. It passed 6-0, Teri dissenting.

During the later closing citizen comments, I said people who oppose legalizing marijuana should remember that our Founding Fathers grew hemp to make rope and paper, and I imagined they used it in another way, too. And, for people super-opposed to legalizing weed, in Genesis it says God gave Adam and Eve dominion over the herbs, marijuana is a natural wild plant, it is not processed in a factory, and if God has no problem with weed, then why should anyone?

I received an interesting article and video from Sancho Panza yesterday, on a former neurologist/psychiatrist who told his job and live to take a hike and he went off into the wild blue yonder on roller blades. It will lead today’s post at, which might be a little while longer being viewable.

Yesterday, Judge David Audlin gave the Peary Court owners a free pass on having to pay land taxes, which must have left the mayor and city commissioners in a great mood leading into last night’s commission meeting.

During closing citizen comments last night, I told the commissioners that Jimmy Weekly had arranged a really important Peary Court redevelopment workshop with City Planning and the public, which was pushed for by the Meadows community, especially Angela Street. I said Mayor Cates knows about the meeting, and I figured they all had been emailed about it, and I hoped they all will be there to listen, even though they will not be able to speak or take questions from the public. I said they will have to make the final call, and they might want to get informed now, instead of wait until it all gets dumped on them later and they don’t know the back story, which they need to know before it gets to them officially.

Then was the Truman Waterfront item, mostly the architect’s next fee being approved, about $1.1 million. The architect said getting the Walshes to let people cross over Admiral Cut to the Merili McCoy part of the new park is crucial for that part of the park. Gosh, if so, what was that item even doing on the agenda, I later asked during citizen comments?

I also said I had attended the recent Historical Architectural Review Commission meeting on Truman Waterfront, as had City Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Tony Yaniz; I wished they all that been there, it was very informative.

For example, uncontroverted testimony from witnesses who were around back then, was that the only reason we were having this discussion about Truman Waterfront was because of Bahama Village, because the reason the Navy gave the city Truman Waterfront was Bahama Village. I said, after hearing that at the HARC meeting, I told them to give Bahama Village the 6.6 acres of Truman Waterfront it was supposed to get all along, or write Bahama Village a check for $10,000,000, which the head of the Bahama Village Committee sitting with the HARC commissioners had said he would take, and he laughed!

Naturally the Architect fee item passed, 6-1, Mark Rossi dissenting because he saw no revenue coming into to pay for it, because there is no revenue coming in to pay for it; they are massaging the city books to pay for it.

During citizen comments, Mark Songer, speaking for Last Stand, said of the new sports field they intend to put at Truman Waterfront, that artificial turf with lead base leads to skin burns and MRSA. During my citizen comments, thanked Mark, said I had nearly died of MRSA in Key West, and anyone who didn’t know what it is could find out by Google-imaging MRSA. I spelled it out for them – MRSA.

Erika Biddle sitting beside me with her husband Joel on the other side of her, said she liked best Joel’s idea to turn Truman Waterfront into a campground. I said I still liked that idea best. And, it looked to me a bunch of people had gotten together and gone on a shopping spree, and the result was what the architect had designed.

I told Erika, they could have done the North Roosevelt redo in 8 months, if they had worked round the clock like they are doing now, but the City Commission didn’t want to disturb the North Roosevelt residential neighborhoods at night. So, lots of North Roosevelt businesses folded, and others might fold before that project is finished.

Somewhere in there last night, I managed to say during citizen comments what Naja and I had discussed about affordable housing: rental housing was needed, and it is a joke, a lie, if a waitress cannot afford it on her salary.

Jimmy Weekley asked for the new noise ordinance to be postponed; I think maybe they are looking to have a public workshop on it later this month, or next month.

A good time was not had by all, but it was interesting, albeit probably not as interesting as the previous city commission meeting which threatened to go bare knuckles between Tony Yaniz and Craig Cates, at Yaniz’ behest.

I imagine Charles Darwin and Margaret Meade are having fun observing all of this from the fly on the ceiling position.

Jerry replied:

Sloan: she did destroy the greenery —there were NO homeless people
as I know friends who live RIGHT there;
Drug deals do NOT take place there
for certain—-; //// Marijuana is so helpful for people
with disease manifesting Nausea
some of my closest patients–2 suffer greatly
and refuse illegal drugs and one gets “illegally” pot and it helps
greatly with the pervasive nausea. It is a shame to let people
suffer so intensely. I got some nice pictures of her workers
who never had their pictures taken –as a courtesy but I need to
get them these fine photos. All the trash and garbage was just
left– they made no attempt to clean up. THe amount of greenery
destroyed in our CO2 absorbent crisis —-huge monstrous–DESTRUCTION
pictures will go into my book —all that homelessness and drug
dealing is in a word BULL-SHIT—I questioned the people who live all along there.

not that part of stock Island. with much sincerity—Jerry

Yesterday from Panama, Christine Russell email excerpt:

Christine Russell

I watched the City Commission meeting 2 weeks ago from our condo in PC – what a nightmare. Everyone is frustrated – on the dais, in the audience, and tv land – something has to change! The status quo is NOT working. When Tony asked Bob V about the outer mole study, I think Bob’s reply was the city had like 129 projects going!
Really! For a tiny island our size…maybe if the can would not continue to be kicked down the road, the plate of projects might not be so full.
I wish I could tune in tonight. I look to Teri and maybe a couple others to lead us out of the darkness and into civility again. If we as a city are to move forward, everyone has to learn to work together. Put on those rose colored glasses and let’s all go pick daisies together.
Elections here are May 4th. You think elections are nasty in KW. You should see these guys here – name calling, tweeting mean things, I expect them to start throwing rocks at each other any day. People are afraid of another dictator situation so Martinelli could be out, though I think the money (bribes) were so good the last 4 years he will do anything to stay in power. He can not run consecutive terms – so what does he do? Puts his wife on the ticket as VP and still keeps his sticky little fat fingers in the pot! Very creative.
It’s all very interesting 🙂
Miss you and everyone Sloan.


I replied:

Hi, Christine –

Been thinking about you lately, we are having some wonderful theater at City Commission meetings.

Thanks for interesting Panama updates, I remember when George Wallace, term-limited out, ran his wife Lurlene for Governor of Alabama, and she won, and he continued being Governor.

My heart is broken, however. You do not say you want me to be The King. Or even the mayor. Maybe you love me too much to wish that on me 🙂

Love and miss you, too.


Forwarded today from the Meadows/Angela Street community, which adjoins the proposed Peary Court development:

Peary Court lay out

Following is a letter to Michael Miller, chair of HARC from our neighbor Jane Winfrey, who lives on Albury Street. We feel that it is a very clear statement of the some of our concerns about the situation pending

From: Jane [mailto:janewinfrey@]
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2014 8:44 PM
To: michael@
Subject: Peary Court development

Dear Mr. Miller,

The objective of our letter is to persuade those responsible for oversight of the Peary Court project to defend and protect the integrity of the adjacent areas of Key West’s Historic District. We feel there are many reasons to do so and hope you will consider them all.

We’re writing as preservationists, house restorers and the current owners of two Historic District houses. In the 15 years that we’ve been fortunate to own property in Key West, we’ve witnessed gradual diminishment of the historic character of the Historic District. We are convinced that extending the street grid of the District into the Peary Court development would be very destructive. Conversely, preserving the existing differentiation will not create the dreaded “gated community” in either place.

Before moving to Key West, we lived in historic Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. There the Historic District has been successfully preserved in great part because of its definitive borders, mostly natural (Potomac River, Rock Creek Park), but also by the fact that most Georgetown streets are short and do not connect with the surrounding areas of the city. Thus, the residential areas have kept traffic down and have not had to widen streets beyond their historic precedents. The two thoroughfares of Georgetown that do connect beyond the historic district have, over the years, become conduits of heavy traffic and noise and, alas, both required widening while we lived there.

There is nothing precious or elitist about preserving an existing streetscape! Neither section of town will exclude the other, even if some people will consider one or the other (who knows which!?) to be more “posh.”

Regardless of the eventual design and layout out of Peary Court, it will not be a genuine extension of the Historic District. Why not celebrate each for what it is? Delineate the edges of Old Town with a significant jog or dogleg in the streets as they cross White Street into Peary Court, and keep them to a minimum. Create perceptible borders visually, and the side benefit is we won’t have created roadways of fast traffic across town. This is a win-win situation.

The historical precedents of Key West streets include a treasure of lanes, short streets and interruptions in flow. These add to the atmosphere of our antique architecture. Most of us would agree that these Old Town attributes are among Key West’s most valuable assets for residents and tourists alike. Why threaten the fragile fabric of an Historic District—especially since once a mistake is made, reversing it will be impossible?

There is no reason to create a grid of Old Town streets into Peary Court except that it looks neat and pat on a plan. It will not benefit the potential density or design of the development. The investors in Peary Court are bound to benefit greatly from its adjacency to Old Town. There is no justification for damaging Old Town in the process; in fact; that would work against the interests of all.

To quote the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. .. The Historic District needs stewardship to prevent its identity from being blurred and to protect its residential streets from increased traffic generated by new development outside its borders.

We look to you and all our current stewards to act responsibly and with foresight for future generations.

Thank you, most warmly, for your attention to our concerns.


Peary Court today, looks really in need of bulldozing, don’t you think?

Peary Court

Well, maybe if you are a gargoyle.


Architect and HARC Chair Michael Miller attended last night’s City Commission representing the Studios of Key West item, which passed enthusiastically – they are moving into the historic Mason’s Lodge building on Eaton Street. Maybe Michael was still there last night when I spoke about the Planning Department’s public workshop on Peary Court arranged Jimmy Weekly.

Mayor Cates is scheduled to meet with the Meadows/Angel Street community next Monday afternoon. I plan to be there. I need all the acceleration I can get to fly the coup to wherever.

Wiley Coyote

Meanwhile, it’s chop wood, carry water.


Sloan Bashinsky

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West


About Sloan

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