Key West – Something for Everyone

Key West isn’t just a bunch of bars, of course there are bars like Sloppy Joes if drinking is your thing.

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And there is a bar called the Garden of Eden at the top of the Whistle Bar where you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage and clothing is optional.

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There are all kinds of water sports you can try.

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And boats you can charter.

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Short cruises you can take – maybe not Carnival.

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Every kind of shop imaginable.

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There’s art to look at.

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Churchs to check out.

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Music to listen to like Moose and the Bulletproof Blues Band at the Ninety Mile High Club where you can enjoy your favorite cigar.

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Odd trees to look at like the Banyan tree seen below or the Kapok tree on Whitehead St.

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Maybe enjoy the pool at your rental unit – I did.

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You’ll meet people you haven’t seen in awhile like Kelly (I’m standing next to her on the right) who used to be part of a large group of us that went camping every year up here in Ohio. New people like Denny – the conservative and his wife Janet who we met at the Conch Republic Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant has it’s own shrimp boat bringing in fresh pink shrimp daily – some of the best I have ever had and I know shrimp ! Not to mention the killer two for one Happy Hour everyday.

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And last but not least there are some of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see at  Sunset Pier.

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So check out Key West – this was my second visit there and we had an action packed four days. I guarantee you won’t leave there disappointed.

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Papal Training

Catholics the world over have a new leader, Pope Francis I.  The new pontiff is 76 years old, formerly a Cardinal in Argentina, and the first Latin American and first Jesuit to be selected to serve as Pope.

I’m not a Catholic, but I wonder:  When the hand of destiny falls on a new Pope, how does he get ready for the job?  Is there any kind of papal training that occurs?  How does someone prepare to lead a church that traces its history back for nearly 2000 years and has 1.2 billion members?

So far, Francis seems to be off to a good start.  He chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, who is famed for his friendship to the poor and downtrodden, and Francis I seems ready to follow in some of St. Francis of Assisi’s footsteps.  He has reportedly shunned some of the elaborate trappings of his office, including ermine-lined robes, and has advised his fellow Argentinian members of the Church to save the money they might pay to travel to Rome for his installation and give it to the poor instead.  He traveled around Buenos Aires by subway, and already has slipped away from the Vatican and driven around Rome in an unmarked car to pray at the church where the founder of the Jesuit order once prayed and to visit a sick friend in a hospital.

When new figures come on the world scene, we often focus on their prior personal lives to try to glean information about how they might handle their new, more prominent role.  It’s hard to know whether the signs of humility that Francis I has displayed previously mean anything significant, and clearly they don’t say much about his views, ultimately, on the big issues that face the Catholic Church, like how it handled — or more accurately, mishandled — the priest sexual abuse scandal. On that issue and many others, we’ll have to see how Francis I responds now that he can direct Church policy.

Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt for the Catholic Church to be led by someone who tries to focus the Church anew on some of Jesus’ core teachings — like trying to help the poor and the downtrodden.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

IMG_3395Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of our friends who are Irish and Irish wannabes.  Although we have a touch of Irish ancestry on my Mom’s side of the family, I’m not a green beer drinker or a huge celebrant of the holiday.  I decided to mark the occasion, instead, with some cookies shaped like shamrocks and the gold coins found in the leprechauns pot of gold that I’ll be delivering to Mom today.