Thursday, November 29th, 2001: Just a quick note to let you all know, Rodney and I are headed for Walt Disney World for a mini-holiday Friday, Saturday and we'll be back on Sunday evening. I'll have lot's of pictures and things to tell you about when we get back. If you're in the Magic Kingdom this weekend, look for us! We'll be the ones molesting the mouse!
See you in December! Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, November 26th, 2001:   <sing> "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen...Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But, do you recall, the most famous reindeer of all? .....dah dah dum dum"
My ALL TIME favorite Christmas special, "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer" (Original Burl Ives version) was on CBS Saturday night. Unfortunately, Rodney was working, but thank gawd for video tape! I taped it and since he'd never seen it before, we made popcorn and watched it! Honestly, if I'm remembering correctly, that show has been around since I was about 5 years old, and THAT was a LONG time ago! It still is my favorite and it just isn't Christmas for me unless I see it.
The Abominable Snow Monster! WOOOO!
My favorite character is, of course, the Abominable Snow Monster, (with or without teeth). He used to scare the HELL out of me when I was a kid.
"Bumbles bounce" -Yukon Cornelius, 1964
If you're looking for something to send me for Christmas, Here's a few suggestions. (not so subtle hint). It was the best time begin able to watch the show with someone who'd never seen it before. And to think that the show was made in 1964, with such , at the time, crude animations. Every year, they used to air "Rudolph" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" back to back. Once it came on, I "officially" felt like it was Christmas. Wanna see something REALLY special? Click here! Weird huh?! It's the original!
    And let me settle a couple of long held UNtruths here and now. The little elf who wants to be a dentist....? His name is NOT Herbie! In spite of the fact that most toy manufacturers call him Herbie, his name in the show WAS Hermey. And if you need proof, click here! That link is a copy of the original script for the show. You can clearly see, his name IS Hermey! Not that I am really hung up on this show or anything, (hehehe - ya think?)
Okay, one more then I'll get off this....
What is wrong with the little doll, from the Island of Misfit Toys? There doesn't appear to be anything "misfit" about her. In the opinion of one of the producers of the original show, her problem is......... psychological! The fact of the matter is, she is barely mentioned in the original Romeo Mueller script. He describes the important characters in GREAT detail and the Misfit Girl doll wasn't even in the original 10-63 draft at all! Charlie is the only Misfit with lines, even in the revised script. The spotted Elephant and The Misfit Girl doll got a few extra lines in 1965 at the end when the return to the Island Of Misfit Toys was added in due to public response. She became a more important character in the second broadcast, but was not fully developed in the script....hence the mystery! I guess we'll just have to accept the producer's explanation!
Back to my life in Key West. My roommate Mark went Christmas shopping yesterday and came home with the KEWLEST gifts for Rodney and myself!
(You see how this all ties together nicely)
Here's what he bought for us:
Bumble Boxers!
Thank you Mark, Yer da greatest!  Of course, I'm not sure of the message I want to put out there ,with the word "ABOMINABLE" plastered on my ass! hehehe Stay tuned to the webcams. I'm sure you'll see at least one of us modeling those for you! hehehee
<sing again> ".....then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say, 'Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight. Then how the......"<fade out>

Talk to you again soon! (BTW-I take a size medium)

Saturday, November 24th, 2001: I'm STILL stuffed!
Thanksgiving went off almost without a hitch. We had a real "International" Thanksgiving feast! I'm talking about the guests, not the food! That was all traditional and Rodney, who had never cooked a turkey before did an incredible job! It really was delicious, so you'll hear no more comments from me about this "brine-ing" process! He also made the most incredible mushroom gravy ....out of this world! I helped mostly by keeping out of his way in the kitchen, but just so you don't think I'm totally helpless around pots and pans (I'm not!) I made the mashed potatoes and helped chop all the vegetables for the finger food trays, and I also made my specialty, mushroom caps stuffed with boursin cheese, which is a smooth creamy french cheese flavored with garlic and herbs. They're simple and quick, but REALLY tasty! We had NO room left on our little dining room table between all the food AND the guests! But our first dinner party was a smashing success!
On to the guests. THIS is what made our Thanksgiving international. More than half the people around our table were from other countries and since this is a purely American holiday, for some it was a "first" Thanksgiving. Bertrand, Rodney's manager and a sweetheart of a boss, is from France. Michael, an intern at the same hotel where everyone works, is from Germany, Rodney, of course is from Malaysia. The "americans" at our dinner were also a mix, Xavier's heritage is African, Kenya's bloodline hails from Mexico, and I'm the mutt of the group: A mix of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English, and American Indian (Mohawk). See what I mean!
Michael (from Germany) had never experienced Thanksgiving at all, in fact hadn't even heard much about it before this past week. After we were finished and everyone was WAY too stuffed...he said "I think I like this Thanksgiving thing!" Oh and of course the webcams were both set up in the dining room/living room areas so for those of you who looked in, hope you enjoyed sharing our meal, we enjoyed having you! And by the way for those of you who wrote and asked, yes, Michael IS cute, but he's also "straight" (but not narrow!)...sorry! I did not get any screen captures of the event, so if anyone out there did, please email them to me!
Now, as for leftovers? I am seriously thinking about going out and buying another refrigerator! Mine hasn't a single space for even a spare olive! Honestly, it is stuffed to the max!
Yesterday Rodney made the most wonderful turkey soup with a bunch of the leftovers. It hit the spot!
I'm leaving the living room camera in it's new location for a while. It's where I moved it to for the party and I think I like it better there. Let me know what you think. I know the sun sometimes, especially in the late afternoon, makes the iris go crazy on the camera, but overall I like that angle better.

My friend Charles sent me two of the cutest pictures I wanted to share them with you here. These links, like all of them will open in a new window for you
This one is one is called Extreme Sports and this one is my favorite. We don't get many perps THIS cooperative! 

I just took a break from writing and went out on my balcony and it reminded me of some advise I meant to pass on about living on a tropical island. 
Avoid Cockatoos and Parrots at ALL costs! Now listen, before I start getting emails form bird lovers out there. I agree, they ARE beautiful birds, they are wonderful to look at, a lot of fun to watch, blah blah blah. JUST DON'T OWN ONE! I never have, I never will. When I first moved to Key West, I had the usual dreams of a house on the beach that looked kind of like the one Christopher Atkins built for Brook Shields in Blue Lagoon. (complete with Christopher himself at my beckon call!) with a couple of parrots and cockatoos playing around the front porch. Then, I moved here and the kindly people we lived with when we first arrived, had a HUGE cockatoo. It has the most obnoxious, loud SCREAM you have ever heard! It can wake the dead. The worst NEVER stops! So, take this advise if you like, let your friends own them, you can stop by and play with the nice birdy when you feel like it, and the best part when you're done, you go home and the loud bird stays there!
I'm reminded of this story because one of my "lovely" neighbors has just moved into the building next door and fenced in his balcony as a kind of aviary, and guess what? He has a cockatoo! I'm 50 feet away or so, but it doesn't help. That damned bird sits out there and YELLS every 5 minutes. SO, the test is on, can I live with this ridiculous bird squawking away 24/7, or do I have another bird meal so soon after Thanksgiving? (KIDDING! Geeeeez!)

One more quickie before I close for today, I just found the most incredible website. It's such a blast! I'm sure you've heard of the Kevin Bacon theory. Kevin being the center of the Hollywood universe and everyone is connected to him through his movies by a very few steps. Well, the University of Virginia Computer Science department has set up a site called the "Oracle of Bacon" You type in ANY actor or actress name and it tells you what their "Bacon Number" is. Try it here! It's a hoot!

Wednesday, November 21st, 2001: Woo Hoo! I LOVE short work weeks! and THIS one is REALLY short!
Tomorrow's Thanksgiving of course and we're getting ready. We have some friends coming over to share the holiday with us. Kenya, Bertrand and Xavier, and possibly a couple of others. We really don't know exactly how many people will show up, so we're preparing for a few extras and will probably have lot's of leftovers.
What is all this talk this year about "brine-ing" your turkey? Damn! Everywhere I turn someone is "brine-ing" their bird. Have I had my head in the sand for the past 43 years, or is this something new? I mean, I don't claim to be Wolfgang Puck, or Ming Sai but my memory of my Mom's turkey was her homemade chestnut dressing, and she'd stuff it in the oven with butter, salt and pepper, and then just baste it in it's own juices with that big plastic "baster thingy" (I learn that technical term from the Food Network!) for hours and hours. None of this Brine-ing stuff.... Well... regardless, Rodney is brine-ing our bird (oooo!) as I type. It should be fun and I'm going to try and set up both cameras in the dining room/living room area so you have your choice of shots to watch the festivities from.
Other exciting events from this week so far. ERIC! I have a bunch of "internet" friends, but unfortunately, most of them I never get to meet in person. Well I have finally had the chance to meet another in person, and he is a sweetie! He's from New York City and has an exciting job, as some kind of international jewel thief or something exotic like that. (j/k) He messaged me and told me he was back in Key West. We've missed each other on previous trips by, sometimes, just hours. This time I'm hoping to actually get to  say "hi" in person!
Click here for a larger image
Here's his picture and if you'd like to write him, he'd love to hear from you.
He travels all over the world, he's adorable and (more importantly) available!

I did the interview with CyberSocket Magazine over last weekend, it's coming out in their January/February issue. The funny thing is my arch rival (his choice-not mine) DJ Paris from NYC is also featured along with me in the article. I got an advanced copy and it's a great piece. I'll be sure and let you know when it's available on the web.
One of the other gay resource websites that have linked to me and have me listed is QPlanet. It's a great resource. When I got my listing I thought it was just another of thousands of website listed, but just the other day I was checking out my links and found that apparently the listings at QPlanet are not just a random listing of every gay site available out there. Apparently they're picky and select a few "choice" site to feature. Mine included! Here's what they say on their site about the ones they list:

"With thousands and thousands of Queer personal web pages out there, it would take you months of fairly boring online time sorting through the clutter just to find the "good" ones. The QPlanet list of the best personal homo-pages on the net saves you from doing all the work. And, as quickly as we find pages we like, we'll add them here. What qualifies a page for this subjective list: (1) cute/hot guy; (2) creative design; (3) good content; (4) interesting or unique links; OR -- best of all -- (5) all of the above. This is NOT a simple listing of people "out" on the net. These guys EARNED the right to be listed here. Trust us: you'll enjoy "meeting" these guys -- we sure did!!"

Awwwww! NOW I feel REALLY special! Thanks QPlanet!

What are you REALLY thankful for? I mean REALLY. Think about it before you answer.
This Thanksgiving has me thinking about what I'm thankful for this year. I'm thankful that the universe has kicked my ass, forcing me to grow in ways I'd never imagined.
I'm thankful for my family, who have given me their constant love, support, and blueberry jam. I'm thankful for my friends - the old ones who have stuck around, and the new ones who keep blowing my mind. I'm thankful for Key West. I feel lucky to live here every time I walk down the street or watch the morning sun rise or evening sunset.
I'm thankful for this silly chihuahua licking my face as she sits in my lap. I'm thankful for the web for giving me an amazing outlet and the ability to connect with people all over the world. People like you.  Most of all, I'm thankful for having met the one guy on earth who has truely made me happy, has given me a new reason to live and enjoy every minute of my life all over again. I'm thankful that he loves me as much as I love him. I'm thankful and I realize every single day how much I really DO love him and how much he means to me.

Thank you, for being there with your emails and letters and well wishes. There are some events happening in my life in a few short months, which I'll talk about here soon, but it makes my future very uncertain in a number of ways. Exciting, ...but uncertain. Enjoy the ride!
The future is not promised, the past has escaped us, we have the "now"....enjoy
I can only wish and hope it's with someone you love, who loves you back.
....and don't eat to much tomorrow!

Friday, November 16th, 2001: Long time - No Update! I know, I know. I'm's been another one of those weeks!
But, here I am Friday night sitting in front of the computer screen, Rodney's at work and I have some time to update things, so....where to begin?! It was a busy week!
First , if you got here through the front page of this site, I hope you noticed the new "holiday" logo for Jay Sheldon Dot Com. I designed it to kind of spruce things up around here the season. You'll also find that logo on some of my new holiday merchandise, but more on that later.  I also updated the "Links" pages. There's a few new things in there. If you haven't taken the time to check out all the links I have there, do that one day. You'll find lot's of great people and places and information scattered all over those pages including a couple of new friends of mine who have begun another adventure into the world of the "www".
Pistol & Enema! I know, ...but it's a catchy name! hehehe. They're a couple of sweethearts who have an information and gossip site in Key West. They're almost crazier than I am and they do NOT hold back ANY punches! They "calls 'em like they sees 'em" It's a really funny site and when you have a moment, check it out. Let them know you found them through Jay Sheldon Dot Com too!
The new merchandise I spoke of, is now available through my official Jay Sheldon Dot Com store. There are some adorable Christmas items there and a new offer, FREE SHIPPING AND a FREE Plush toy for orders placed for the holiday! The Jay Sheldon Dot Com Key West Teddy Bear is ADORABLE!
Shop Jay Sheldon Dot Com for the Holidays!
You can see the full size images and details on these holiday items and more by clicking here to the Official Jay Sheldon Dot Com Store!

NEWS from Key West this week: Divas was sold! (Jay Sheldon Rant to follow) After Epoch went to HELL in a handbasket for us GAY folks, Divas was the last decent place to dance here (and that's not a REALLY big endorsement) but I'm REALLY worried now, I just read an interview with the new owner in Celebrate, our local gay and lesbian community newspaper. From the interview, it sounds to me like the little bit of a dance club it was, is going to get even smaller! AAAAAARG!!! What the HELL is wrong with these people down here?! When I first moved down here 4 years ago, Epoch was gay owned and operated, it was a gay dance club with an incredible dance floor, sound and effects to rival even Ft. Lauderdale clubs. About a year after that it was closed, reopened, sold ,reopened, renamed, tried a venture as a "straight" club, then eventually evolved into a "teenie bopper" club. 18 to 20-something year olds. It's NOT a pretty picture. I went once and will never go again as long as it's current "theme" exists.
I don't know if the gay community here just didn't support it, or if they figured they'd make more money with it's current evolution, but COME ON!!! We're gay men! We like to DANCE! Honestly, if Divas makes their dance floor any smaller there will, in my not-so-humble opinion, be nowhere to go for a fun night of bumping and grinding. Bourbon street is a GREAT club, I'm there a lot, but it's NOT a place to dance. The dance floor is smaller than my living room. 801 HAS none.
SOMEBODY, pleeeeeease open a dance club in Key West! I promise I'll be there every Friday and Saturday night! ...spending LOT'S of money! ...and I'll get my friends there too! and FREE advertising on my website!
Okay, enough whining! Divas: Keep the music, effects and floor the same, Change the rest...but we need a place to kick it up!
Now, our Thanksgiving plans are slowly coming together. We have a few friends who have all but comfirmed for Thanksgiving dinner here at our place. We're still planning the menu and trying to get things ready for the party.
Yesterday Rodney and I went on our first Holiday excursion to the Miami area malls. (after all, Burdines was having a One Day Sale!) It was a lot of fun, a long drive for a day trip, but we had a blast! AND....we bought our first dinnerware set! (awwww-they're shopping together for housewares!) We found an absolutely beautiful set, at a HUGE bargain, per place setting, and found the most unique flatware set too. Everything was at something like 75% off! It's really a beautiful set.
Click on the thumbnails to open a larger picture in a new window.
Click for a larger image       click for a larger image
It was a fun day, then dinner at Tony Roma's (GREAT ribs!) and then the long drive back to Key West.
Oh! The CyberSocket Magazine interview about the website! I'm doing it tomorrow, and I'll let you know when it will be published! Woo Hoo!
We plan on going out to get ourselves into some trouble tomorrow night, so if you're around and about, look for us. We'll be the couple crammed on the small dance floor, having fun! hehehe... Please, if you are in Key West and see us, come on over and say hello. I have received emails from people saying they saw us out and were going to say "hi", but didn't want to bother us. You're NOT bothering us! We love meeting people who are fans of the site. Don't be shy!
Until next time, ...tell someone you love, how much they mean to, and every day. Don't take anything for granted.

Saturday, November 10th, 2001: This week could NOT have been any crazier! Gawd! This is the first moment I have had to actually sit and not be pressed for time or late for an appointment ,(which I hate. I'm an "on time" FREAK!) or have to run out to something or other.
Well, let me tell you about my week. After the "Hurricane-that-almost-was", wasn't... I had to go to Clearwater Beach for an Internal Affairs conference. Our entire office went so Luis, Cindy, Susie and I, of course, found the biggest mall in the area and shopped our feet off! It was a great mall actually. The hotel we stayed at was a flop house, but the conference was informative and it was great to get to network with a bunch of fellow IA people. I didn't get back into town until about 10PM Thursday night after a long 6 hour drive back! When I returned Rodney had made a great dinner he was keeping warm for me and I got some much needed sleep finally!
Friday I had to drive to Marathon, to teach a class for our supervisors on how to write up officers! woo hoo! It was fun, Cindy and I taught together.
When I did get back and checked my emails, DAMN! I shouldn't go away like that! I had SO many emails to write back to and catch up on. HOWEVER, one of those emails was from a writer from CyberSocket magazine! He's doing an article on the best webcams and wants to interview ME! WOO HOO! CyberSocket is a gay, online and print magazine about the internet. It's a great site! My webcam and site is NOT by the way, listed or nominated for there "best of the web" awards, BUT you can click on the voting link on there site and "write in" my site. (hint-hint) all you need is an email address and you can cast your vote. And, voting could win you a brand new computer! how's THAT for incentive! once you're at the site there's a vote link on the left hand menu, just enter your email address, scroll down the list and when you get to "personal homepages" and "Web Cam", just click the button beside the blank space and write in, (or whatever your favorite site might be!) I'll let you know how the interview went, he's supposed to call me this weekend! I'm very excited about it. It should be fun!
You know, it's suddenly occurred to me as I do my usual job of hunt and peck typing, and I'm looking down at my hand "flying" across the keyboard, that in all the excitement of Rodney's return from Malaysia and my being away from the site for a bit, I never told you about the most wonderful gift that Rodney brought ME back.
When we returned from the airport that memorable day, I had him open his gifts that I had gotten for him while he was gone and after we settled in for a bit, I had noticed that he had a new ring on his finger. It was a beautiful silver ring with a bright blue topaz set in the top. He presented me with a black velvet bag and inside was a heart-shaped box. When I opened it there was an identical ring with a beautiful amethyst! He placed it on my ring finger, and it has not left there since. (and never will) I was in tears. It truly is the most beautiful thing anyone has ever given to me. Being the hopeless romantic I am, this ring means more to me than you will ever know. It is beautiful and elegant and from the love of my life. It could be a cigar band, and I would cherish it just as much. Thank you my love.
Speaking of tears, and drama queens....There is a song playing down here on WOW 92.7FM that was produced by their sister station in Dallas, Texas. It's a country song, although their format is hot hits. The group is Lonestar. The song "I'm Already There", is a beautiful song anyway, but what someone has done, is to edit in greeting from wifes, husbands, sons and daughters to their loved ones serving in the war. It is absolutely the most incredible song I've heard in a long time. It's only been out for a little bit and if you're not in the Keys, or the Dallas-Ft. Worth area you may not hear it. I am going to see if I can fond a copy and get permission to put it here on my site for you to download. I get teary-eyed every single time I hear it. I got a picture from Jim and Ron of the four of us at lunch that I mentioned in an earlier journal entry. Click on the thumbnail below to see the most dangerous quartet in Key West.
Who ARE those Divas?!!? 
That's Rodney-Me-Jim and Ron (in order of appearance)

Rodney and I went out last night with Troy and Joe, Kenia and Bertrand, and got sticking-rotten-falling-down drunk. Danced our asses off at Divas and Bourbon Street Pub, and had a GREAT time. After a week like last week, I needed to let loose and have some fun! The tourist season is beginning to pick up down here about now, and it's getting busy. Lot's of cuties in Key West to window shop! (ONLY SHOPPING-NO BUYING on my part!)
Life in Key West is great. I hope your's is too. The holidays are just down the road, and we're planning to have company over for Thanksgiving. Just a few of our friends that aren't leaving to visit family. We thought it would be nice to invite them over and be together for the holiday. I'll give you the details and of course the "turkey" cams will be running.
Until next time.....tell someone you love how much they mean to you, now, and every single day....

Tuesday, November 6th, 2001: Well, so much for the storm that almost was!  (wipes brow) Whew! Actually things didn't turn out so badly down here. We wound up on the very northern edge of the outer bands of Hurricane Michelle and only got some high winds and rain, but having lived through Hurricane George 3 years ago, it was nothing!
Everyone fared very well and this afternoon, just a few short hours after the storm moved away, it turned into one of the most beautiful days we've had in the Keys in a while. Bright blue skies and warm sunshine! That's' not all, if any of you live in the Miami area or further on up the east coast of Florida, you may have seen me on Monday morning's newscasts! I was interviewed as the spokesperson by Channel 5, the NBC affiliate and Channel 7, Fox news. They both actually used quite a bit of my interview I guess. I got a few emails including one from my sister in Port St. Luce, who was surprised to see me as she was getting ready this morning! Here's a few pictures from the storm. not much to see, but then again we didn't get much!
Click on the thumbnails for a bigger picture
Wind and Rain          More wind and MORE rain!          A little street flooding
Now, just in time to get the job and life back to normal, ...I'm leaving again! YUCK! It's some damned Internal Affairs conference in Clearwater, Florida. None of us really want to go much, after all the crap dealing with this storm and everything, long, weird hours, etc. I know I'd really just like to get things back to normal for a while before running off to "parts unknown", but I guess it's been scheduled for a while and, in spite of the fact that our lives were just sent into a turmoil for a few days, here we go again, running off to another conference. (Am I sounding too "whiny" here?) Where the HELL is Clearwater?
I'll be back on Thursday and update things around here a little better, right now I've just finished catching up on a TON of emails (not to mention SLEEP!). Thanks to those of you who took the time to write and message and ask if everything was okay with us down here during the storm. I think I finally got around to answering almost everyone. If you haven't heard from me, you will soon!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2001: I have to take of first things first. I'M SO SORRY Kenia! and I'm REALLY sorry TOBY! In the October journal I mentioned that Rodney and I went out for a walk with Kenia and her dog, I forgot her dog's name and "took a shot" at what I remembered.....Apparently I had an "etch-a-sketch" moment! Her adorable dog is NOT named Tanya, but TOBY! Hey I got the "T" right! Anyway, my apologies to both Kenia AND Toby! Forgive me. Hey, I could have called him "Michelle"! :)

Okay, now on the lesser important stuff.... HURRICANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh Gawd! Well beginning tonight at 5:30 I have to report to the Emergency Operations Center in Marathon, which is about 50 miles up the Keys from Key West, and work for the Public Information office for the Sheriff's Department. I'll be there until 6AM Sunday morning. Then, depending on where this damned thing is going, I'll be coming home and returning Sunday night for another 12+ hour shift. It's THAT shift that worries me. If this thing tracks any more north than what they're predicting at this moment, we could, (stress COULD) be in for some trouble! I might wind up being locked in there and not able to return until after it passes. Rodney and I have made arrangements so I won't have to worry too much about if he's okay or not, but, you know me.... I will anyway!  I, on the other hand, will be inside the E.O.C. which is a safe shelter.
The Weather channel is my "barometer". When we've been threatened by storms before I always watch where they send their reporters. By the way, it's usually that cute reporter Jim Cantore, WOO HOO! He IS a hottie! Anyway, the way I figure it, they put one "safe" prediction on the air, the one that warns the public, but isn't pinpointing what they REALLY think, and "behind the scenes" where they REALLY think things are going to get "hot"... that's where they send the reporters! So, when that cutie Jim Cantore starts reporting from Key West (and right now he's in Hollywood, Florida)...I'll start to worry!
It's just my little theory, but having been in the broadcasting business for a long time, I think it has at least SOME merit!
By the way, I'm going to TRY and turn the living room camera so it shoots outside looking from our balcony. I don't know with the "auto iris" how well this will work, but we'll try. Live Hurricane Cam!
All righty, I have to get some sleep. It's going to be a long night. Again, it looks as if it's late Sunday - Monday when things will get busy here, if they're going to. SO I may have a moment to update the journal one more time, after that....The cams will be running until the power goes out. The site will remain up no matter what, as my host servers are somewhere in Idaho or  Arizona or some damned place. Rodney will be here watching the dogs and himself. Send him an email and let him know you're thinking about him, huh?
I know I will be!

Thursday November 1st, 2001: Happy new month! ....and that is the last thing in this update you'll read that will be pleasant!
I need to say this....I love my Sheriff, I love my Under-Sheriff,       (Insert a big "BUT")... I work for the most gawd-damned, OVER-reactionary (Is that a word?) Sheriff's department on the face of the earth!
WARNING- Jay Sheldon Rant to follow!!
For those of you who follow such things, you know that tropical storm Michelle is swimming around WAY down below Cuba, somewhere near Equator or some damned place FAR away. Her projected path, which is a HUGE - INACCURATE prediction on the part of weathercasters, might bring her close to the Keys. Of course, there is just as good a chance, in fact an even better chance, that she won't even come close to us. Well, that apparently doesn't matter to the "powers that be" We were informed today that we are being placed on 24 hour telephone stand-by. In Sheriff's lingo that means that if you had a vacation planned, it's cancelled and all of us have to be available at the other end of a telephone to respond at a moments notice if we're called. They also said that as early as tomorrow, we may be but on A/B - 12 hour watches, which means a bunch of our lives will be (my opinion) UNNECESSARILY interrupted and screwed up, as we have to work 12 hours on and 12 hours off. I have been informed I will be assigned this time to the P.I.O which is the Public Information Office. Those are the guys that issue press releases and talk to radio and television people about all the good things we're doing to protect the citizens of Monroe COunty and inform the public of things they should do and what's happening in the case of an emergency. You know the typical "talking head" you see on the 6 o'clock news. I guess my background in broadcasting helped me get this cushy assignment! So, if and that's a BIG "IF" this silly little storm should happen to swing our way and you live in Florida, check out your local news, you just might see ME with the latest updates on what's happening in Monroe County. Woo Hoo!
Now, back to my being pissed off about the whole thing. Honestly, I really do believe that we just love the drama and will take any little piece of information, no matter the source, and run with it. Why people do that to themselves I have never figured out, but you should see the people because there is a small chance this storm may head our way. It's as if they LOVE to worry about something. I have noticed that even back when I was in the radio business. People would call me with "rumors" they heard or take one small piece of information and expand it until it hardly resembles the original rumor.
Here's a classic example: Just today, I was in the office and someone said something like, "I hope they don't close the schools, because it would be tough for me with kids to be able to stay home with them." At that point, someone else walked in the office and heard what they wanted to of the conversation, and said "They're closing the school? Oh gawd! I have to call my wife and let her know!" You see how those things start?
And forget anyone who watches the news, Here in South Florida we have the undisputed champions of "shock-journalism" A storm hundreds of miles away with only slight chances of heading our way, is instantly turned in to the "Storm-Of_The_Century" Death and Destruction. South Florida in a standstill...those are the types of headlines you'll regularly see on television station even at this early point in the game.
Anyway, in my humble opinion, while I'll agree it is POSSIBLE that Tropical Storm Michelle MAY cause us some trouble, even may strengthen to hurricane level and hit us directly, the predictions are SO early and uncertain, it is to soon for us to be screwing up people lives. Forget the fact that down here in "tourist-dependent" Key West, if they start evacuating the tourists, (the first to go) the already tight hotel business, and other tourist related businesses, will be devastated. The last thing we need is government officials jumping the gun. I know these guys have a tough job, trying to be early enough with their warnings to protect lives, but balance it with trying to not be too reactionary, but for GAWD's sake, THIS is, again, my opinion, WAY to early to be starting this kind of action.
Okay, bottom line...If I'm not around for a few days, it's because they over-reacted and put me on 12 hour A/B watches and I'm working. If things DO get bad, The web-cameras will be running until we lose power and my battery backup's fail. after the news, who knows, you might just see my ugly mug there! :)
Now, take what you've read here and go out and start some really nasty rumors about how the Florida Keys were all destroyed by Hurricane Michelle.... People will love you for it!

Whew! I almost feel better now.....

Happy November!