Trick or treat

“What sort of costume is that?”  Lucy scowled under her green makeup.

Charlie stood motionless as Lucy stomped around, inspecting him.

“There’s no chains!”  She pointed.  “There’s no scars. No bones, no skull, no grey rotting flesh.”

Making another circle, Lucy continued her verbal assault.  “Where are the ragged edges? Where are the tatters and tears? All I see are all these holes.”

Raising her arms in disgust, Lucy proclaimed, “Charlie Brown you are the worst ghost ever!”

Charlie simmered silently under his holey sheet.

“Well?”  Lucy challenged.   “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Charlie Brown leaned squarely into her face.  “Boo.”

For the Trifecta Challenge where the word of the day is Boo:  (verb) to show dislike or disapproval of someone or something by shouting “Boo” slowly

Cheese in the Cabbage

It’s amazing what you can ignore in your own back yard.  Since my move to Florida, I’ve been to Orlando, Miami, South Beach, St. Augustine, Sebring, Tampa, and Key West.  Along the way I’ve hit Disney, Universal Studios, Bush Gardens, as well as botanical gardens, music concerts, book fairs, and other places of gathering.  And yet, for all this, I almost missed a major landmark and cultural icon.  Cabbage Key.  Heard of it?  No, you’re not sure?  Hmm. Ever hear the song “Cheeseburger in paradise” by Jimmy Buffett?  Yep!   That’s the one.  Cabbage Key and The Cabbage Key Inn are the inspiration for that song and have been featured heavily on many travel and food shows up and down the television channels.

So how did I not see this for so long?  One reason is that you can’t drive to Cabbage Key.  There are no bridges that cross over to the little island and no roads there once you’re on it.  That means travel is limited to boats and water planes.  (Ok. You could technically swim it, but with hammerheads, blacktips, and lemon sharks swimming the intracoastal, I wouldn’t advise it.)  The other reason is that I thought it was much further up the coast.  With a week off, it was a perfect time to correct this mistake.

Taking the King Fisher out of Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda.

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Carol and I enjoyed calm waters as we steamed leisurely up Charlotte Harbor.  Passing the Island of Boca Grande, a few dolphins swam up to join us.

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The First Mate explained to us that the dolphins were not swimming alongside the ship, but were actually surfing the wake.  Cheers and clapping encouraged the finned coupe to jump through the air as they surfed just under the surface.  They also enjoyed giving the closets viewers an unexpected shower as the splashed close by the side of the boat.

After stopping at Cayo Costa state park to let off some passengers for the day, we continued south for another twenty minutes before reaching our destination.

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I was surprised by my findings.  Cabbage Key is small!  I was expecting an island three times larger.  At only 100 acres, it holds five houses, the inn, a water tower, a maintenance shop and a quick nature trail.

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Cabbage Key Inn has wonderful views and the restaurant is covered in the most expensive wall paper I’ve ever seen!   Carol counted over four hundred dollars on the pole alone.

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The wall paper may be a dull green, but the drinks are vibrantly colored.  Carol enjoyed the sweetness of the Chambord Margarita while I indulged in the classic Golden Margarita.  It may have only been two in the afternoon, but why not?

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When you go to iconic places, you have to try the food they’re known for:  Lobster in Maine; Pulled pork bar-b-cue in South Carolina; Paczkis in Hamtramck. Likewise I just had to have a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  I was not disappointed.  Thick and juicy, this perfectly sized burger featured lettuce, tomato, onion, topped with gooey melted cheese, all on a toasted bun.  It doesn’t overload the bun but compliments it.

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There is one deterrent to island life though.  With such limited space, there are no fries with any meal.  In fact, nothing is fried at the restaurant.  There is no cost effective way to store the new and used oil as well as shipping it over to the mainland for proper disposal.  On the bright side, every ingredient is guaranteed fresh as it is brought over on a daily basis.

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After our lunch, Carol and I walked off some calories touring the nature trail.  Full and content, we relaxed as we rode the still water home.  Cabbage Key and the inn found a place in our hearts just as we left a little of us to mark our visit.

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Bringing back a classic: America’s Cup Classic

 

Have you ever watched the America’s Cup?  To put it poorly, it’s a sailboat race.  (I think I just heard a multitude of fans just scream aloud in rage and smash their screens at that.)  In fact, the America’s Cup is THE pinnacle of sail yacht racing, full of history, excitement, and character.  In fact, the best way to describe the America’s Cup today is to compare it to Formula One racing.  The technology going into these “boats” is astounding!  Take a look for yourself.

Photo from yachtpals.com

This is the AC72; the ship that won the 2013 America’s Cup.

Photo from outsideonline.com

This thing shredded the water, reaching speeds of near 60 miles per hour and was putting so much pressure on the water with its foils (Those downward knife-like tabs on the bottom of the hulls of the catamaran) that the water would boil!  The main sail looks like it came off a 747 and is called a Wing sail.

 

Photo from komonews.com

 

Costing $110,000,000 the Oracle AC72 has as much in common with the average sailboat as a Formula 1 car has with that car in your driveway.

It makes for great television and great stories, but feels disconnected from the rest of the sailing world.  Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing new technologies and expanding the frontiers of boating, but I also think there is a huge gap left in its wake.

I’d like to see a classic America’s Cup series/division.

Use the basics of the 1968 to1983 12 metre rules of the America’s Cup from that era.  (A note for every nonboat person out there.  The 12 Metre or International America’s Cup class meant that all the measurements added together then divided by 2.73 needs to equal 12 meters.  I put in links for the formula, but I’m not going to delve that deep. I was never that good at math. Suffice it to say the classic cup will use that formula.)

A standard Monohull design (A single hull, like most boats have)

The correct number of crew members (17 +1, I believe)

A nonwinged keel

A skeg mounted rudder mounted separately from the keel

The hull of the boat can be made of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or steel.  No newer composites such as carbon fiber or exotic metals such as titanium.

Sailcloth needs to be made of the standard material in 1983 and free of advertisements.

photo from gonautical.wordpress.com

The goal here is to create a class of racing that put emphasis on teamwork rather than exotic technologies in a class that is monetarily easy to enter and maintain.

photo from solarnavigator.net

This new classic series could be raced either a day before the modern America’s Cup as a crowd warmer, or run in the same race with the modern boats as the ALMS auto race does with their Prototype and GT classed racecars.

Another thought would be to do an Am/Pro challenge where the Amateurs use the retired 12 Metre class boats that now are being used as charters.  (The trick here would be making sure that the levels are equal for the “new classics” versus the post ’83 racers which have winged keels and possibly rudders in front of the keel [called a canard].)

The America’s Cup will always have new technology moving it forward.  The America’s Classic Cup series keeps America’s spirit of teamwork and tenacity alive.

I’d like to see both.

photo from challengeandadventure.com

Bar Fight

“Disgusting.” Tom said as looked his drink sweating on the bar.

“Oh no.”  Groaned Mike as he shook his head.  “Here we go.”

Tom gestured emphatically with his hands.  “Look at it!  It’s all wrong!  Warm, glowing body color; cherries, lime, or cinnamon at the top; and garnished with festive colors.  Festive!  What the hell sort of drink is that?”

Mike rested his pale palm on his grey head before answering.  “You’re not getting the point, Tom.  It’s not called a Zombie for the way it looks.  It’s called a Zombie because the way it makes you feel the next day!”

Tom just stared at the happy drink before him with contempt.  “It’s still not right.”

Mike threw up his hands and spin in his seat with exasperation.

At that moment a bloody bartender set two small glasses on the bar. Inside wiggled moist pink chunks covered in maraschino cherry juice.  “Jello shot?”

“Brains!”  Cried out Tom and Mike with joy.

Brought to you for the Trifecta Challenge where the word of the day is “Zombie”.