October Stories–I Just Wanted A Photo Of Hemingway’s Chair

This article is copied and pasted from a post I wrote a couple of years ago.  WordPress being what it is, I can’t schedule a reblog, so it’s got to be like this.  Thanks, WordPress. 

Anyway, this is a true story, and the photos from my Samsung Galaxy are completely unretouched.  You’re seeing what I saw.  Enjoy…


I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sightsee a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store in Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).

wpid-20140713_102026.jpgAside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman.  We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place.  Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat.  It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days.  But I was curious all the same.

Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair.  In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.

And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair.  And there it was.  Right on the stern of the boat.  But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen.  It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you.  As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera.  Seriously?!

Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude.  There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair.  There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair.  I know.  It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter.  But it was cool.  Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk.  Edit sober. 

So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession.  I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum  would undoubtedly be down any second.  I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.

It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting.  I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them.  In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary.  In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter.  The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.

What is it?  I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing.  But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.

Before October is over, I’ve got another couple of weird stories for you.  Stay tuned…

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October Story Three

The original title of this post was I Just Wanted To See Hemingway’s Chair.  This story is from over a year ago in July of last summer while, on a little jaunt down to the Keys, we stopped in at a sporting goods store.  Ghostie business was the absolute last thing on my mind.  I wanted a photo to go along with a Hemingway quote.  That’s all I was looking for.  The four photos were snapped in rapid succession in a dimly-lit boat cabin.  The light you see is from my flash.  See what you think.

I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sight see a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store on Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).

wpid-20140713_102026.jpgAside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman.  We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place.  Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat.  It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days.  But I was curious all the same.

Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair.  In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.

And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair.  And there it was.  Right on the stern of the boat.  But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen.  It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were sitting in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you.  As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera.  Seriously?!

Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude.  There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair.  There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair.  I know.  It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter.  But it was cool.  Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk.  Edit sober. 

So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession.  I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum  would undoubtedly be down any second.  I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.

It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting.  I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them.  In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary.  In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter.  The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.

What is it?  I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing.  But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I love the wearin’ of the green.  I love to spend part of St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish pub listening to Irish music.  Last year, Mr. R. and I were in one of our favorite places, Ybor City, the old historic Cuban district of Tampa.

I know what you’re thinking.  Spending this, the most Irish of holidays, in the Cuban district of Tampa?  To which I would say, yes.  There’s the nicest bar there called the James Joyce Irish Pub where Mr. R. and I snagged a table and were there for about six hours, no exaggeration.  The atmosphere was friendly, the food outstanding, and well, the tiny little green shots, of which I had several, did not suck.  They had live music the entire time we were there and while I cannot recall the name of the band, they were terrific.

I love Irish bands.  I’m a huge fan of Dropkick Murphys, and I know, technically, they’re from Boston and not Ireland, however, they play great Irish punk.  Another of my all-time favorite jig-punk bands is The Prodigals.  I first saw them when they came to Irish Fest in West Palm Beach and after that, I made sure we saw them every year.  I even scheduled our March wedding around Irish Fest, but alas, they no longer make their annual appearance.

I did, however, have the amazing opportunity to see them play at their home pub, Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on the lower east side of Manhattan.  If they’re in town, they play late Friday nights, 11:00 or later.  Paddy’s is a tiny hole in the wall pub on 2nd Ave. and 29th, and it’s everything you’d expect to see in an Irish pub.  It’s narrow with a big bar down the left side and narrow seating on the right side.  Just past the bar is a tiny stage and beyond that is a back room with billiards.  And when The Prodigals play there, they don’t turn down the sound just because it’s a small room.

I’m including this video of The Prodigal’s Open Reel.  It’s long, nearly eleven minutes, and the drum solo at the beginning is exceedingly long, but if you hang in there, it will be worthwhile.

And so I give you this little Valentine to St. Patrick’s Day.  Yes, I’m mixing my February and March holidays.  So sue me.

And when I see some of you little buggers limping…I’ll know.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

October Stories–I Just Wanted to See Hemingway’s Chair

I took the folks down to Key Largo for a couple of days this past summer.  Before heading home, we drove south just to sightsee a little.  You can’t get that close and not cross the Seven Mile Bridge, right?  Mr. R. missed the trip because of work, but he recommended that we stop and check out an outdoor store in Islamorada called World Wide Sportsman (which is actually operated by Bass Pro Shops, but that’s neither here nor there).

wpid-20140713_102026.jpg

Aside from being a cool place to look around, as are most Bass Pro Shops, this particular store had something that interested me.  According to Mr. R. the store had a fishing boat that is the twin of the one used in the Keys by Ernest Hemingway.  Okay, it’s not his boat, but it’s one just like it.

And so it is that we stopped in at World Wide Sportsman.  We found the large shop fairly uncrowded and sure enough, the Pilar was sitting smack-dab in the center of the place.  Again, the Pilar is not Hemingway’s boat.  It just happened to be built at the same Brooklyn shipyard and is a twin of the more famous one that is supposed to be in Cuba these days.  But I was curious all the same.

Some years ago, I read an interesting novel by Michael Palin (yes, that Michael Palin, the one from Monty Python) called Hemingway’s Chair.  In the story, a mousy postal worker with a fascination for all things Hemingway learns that Papa’s fishing chair is about to be sold at auction and he schemes for ways to make the chair his own.

And so, having left the others browsing for souvenirs and trinkets, it was with curious interest that I climbed aboard the Pilar with hopes of snapping a photo of Hemingway’s chair.  And there it was.  Right on the stern of the boat.  But it was unlike any fishing chair I’d ever seen.  It was made of highly polished wood and sat low with a beam that jutted forward from the seat parallel to the deck with a footrest at the end, so that if you were in the chair, your legs would stick straight out in front of you.  As I puzzled over the unexpected style and how best to capture it with my trusty phone, a couple boarded the boat and the wife plunked herself down into the chair and began mugging for her husband’s camera.  Seriously?!

Annoyed, I took myself below deck, if only to escape the rampant dumb-assitude.  There, in the dimly lit cabin, I found something I liked even better than the fishing chair.  There was a vintage desk complete with typewriter and chair.  I know.  It’s not Hemingway’s typewriter.  But it was cool.  Plus, I thought it was the perfect illustration for one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: Write drunk.  Edit sober. 

So I snapped four pictures in fairly rapid succession.  I hurried, figuring Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum  would undoubtedly be down any second.  I had to use a flash in the murkiness of the room and I couldn’t actually see what I was getting, but I hoped that at least one photo would be good enough to post with the quote.

It was not until later when I wanted to choose the best shot that I saw something interesting.  I’ve arranged the photos in the exact order in which I took them.  In the first and second frames nothing seems out of the ordinary.  In the third you begin to see a hazy little anomaly to the left of the typewriter.  The anomaly is clearer in the fourth photo.

What is it?  I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m not really a huge believer in the whole ghostie thing.  But I’ve lived long enough to know that there are some things you simply can’t explain.

Before October is over, I’ve got another couple of weird stories for you.  Stay tuned…

But Not This One

Several years ago, Mr. R. and I took a cruise to the Western Caribbean.  We had an absolute blast!

Key West was our first stop, but it was not ideal.  We were in port from 7:30 am until noon and, simply put, Key West does not do mornings.  It’s more of a sunset kind of place.  Who wants to do a Pub Crawl excursion at sunrise?  We opted just to walk around town and do a little shopping.  At the time, Mr. R. was all about collecting shot glasses (he’s since gotten over it) so we stopped in a little souvenir place to browse.  He ended up purchasing a cool memento of our visit for about $5.

The next stop was Mexico.  We docked at this little pier in the middle of nowhere.  You had to take a cab to Playa del Carmen.  But the place had lots of vendors for those less adventurous souls who didn’t want to bother finding a way into town.  We checked out the blankets, baskets, marble chess sets, and other items for sale.  Then we came across a guy with shot glasses.  Mr. R. carefully perused his wares until he found exactly the one he wanted.

“How much?” he asked the vendor.

“Twelve dollars,” came the reply.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mr. R. objected.  “I bought a shot glass in Key West yesterday for $5.”

“Si,” countered the shrewd businessman.  “But not this one.”

Tampa Bay Comic Con Day 1: “Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”–Inigo Montoya

It’s the morning of Day 2 and we have to get going BUT I wanted to post a brief “sum up” of yesterday.  We arrived late, about 5:00 in the afternoon, and we spent a good half hour waiting for the official to meet us and give us our press passes.

wpid-20140801_175014.jpg

It was around 6:00 when we finally made our way into to the exhibit hall, only to hear the announcement, “It’s 6:00.  The exhibit hall is closing.  Please exit.”  Sigh.  But it was all good.  We found our way downstairs, got our bearings, and made our attack strategy.

Again, this is a quick post, I have copious details to share, but I want to tell you the highlight of our Day 1 experience.  Suffice it to say that Mr. R. is tons more observant than I am, and that being the case, he noticed this guy sitting all alone enjoying a burger and beer.

wpid-img_20140801_230840.jpg
(Probably) Not George R.R. Martin Photo by Mr. R.

Steely-eyed newman that he is, Mr. R. struck up a brief conversation and asked permission to snap a pic.  That accomplished, we thanked the gentleman and walked away, Mr. R. immediately tweeting the photo with this witty caption: “For the love of the 7 gods, don’t kill anybody.”

The live Twitter feed shown on the many screens throughout the venue soon displayed Mr. R.’s picture, bringing the entire place to a virtual standstill.  Choruses of “It’s him!” were heard echoing through the cavernous spaces of the Tampa Bay Convention Center.

Tampa Bay Comic Con.  It is, in fact, the Mother Ship.