Here in the Keys, Christmas comes but twice a year. That’s right, festive fun-lovers: Christmas in July is tonight at the Brass Monkey, and New Years is the following Friday. Isn’t it funny that Christmas and New Year’s always happens around the same time as that other seasonal holiday: Lobster Mini-Season.

Perhaps we should call them the Christmas Crustaceans. Well, at least in Marathon, anyway. For those who don’t celebrate Christmas twice a year, you’re missing out on a lot. Stop by the Brass Monkey in Marathon either night (Christmas tonight, New Year’s the 31st), and you’ll see it’s like our own two mini Fantasy Fests. Really.

And before we get too far, let’s all say a holiday prayer for our hard-working commercial fishermen. When one considers all the fisherman has to deal with these days, from sport divers, state and federal fisheries management practices, trap reductions, and trap poaching, and it’s a wonder that anyone chooses to be in this business. Our fishermen are truly the salt of the earth (sea?), and deserve our respect and thanks… especially as we enjoy the fruits of their labors. Just think: without fishermen, there would be no Christmas Crustaceans… and that’s NOT the world in which I want to live!

Touching briefly on lobster mini-season, we’re proud to present the condensed Keys Disease Guide to Lobster Mini-Season Etiquette.
1) It is not cool to defend “your hole” with firearms the way some wacko nut job did several years back. You don’t own the water or the lobster submerged below.
2) It is not cool to take more than the legal limit. Neither is it cool to take shorts. Should you get caught doing either, you could wind up spending your vacation in Monroe County’s windowless “extended stay” facility.
3) Stupidity on the water could cost you your lobster, your boat, or your life. Please — don’t be a friggin’ idiot nutcase.

Speaking of friggin’ idiot nutcases, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing also brought out some of the wacko nutcases who actually believe we didn’t really go to the moon. Sure, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but damn! To take the fabricated “evidence” put forward by the Lunar Loonies at face value while ignoring all the real evidence and the efforts (as well as the implicit complicity) of the multiple thousands of people who worked in the Apollo/Saturn program signifies extreme stupidity and lack of basic cognitive skills. Listen up, nimrods: all your “evidence” has been credibly discredited. We really did go to the moon. The Earth isn’t flat. Find some way to deal with it, and get on with your pathetic little lives.

This makes the perfect segue to our modern-day conspiracy wacko nut bags: the “Birthers” who actually believe that Barack Obama is a foreigner and not a native-born American. The most recent evidence of this growing mental affliction happened at a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Mike Castle from Delaware. A lady in red stood up and basically started shouting at the congressman, among other things, that Obama has no real birth certificate, that he is a citizen of Kenya, and that she wants her country back (from the Kenyans?). The video is all over YouTube; check out her instability for yourself.

The fact that people will go out of their way to believe the most outlandish claims and ignore legitimate evidence is a sign of a spreading mental affliction (birther defect?) much worse than the swine flu pandemic. With swine flu, a person gets sick, and either recovers or dies. With the birther defect, a person’s brain turns to an oatmeal-like substance, and the person is susceptible to just about any strange idea planted in their heads. Then, they spout off at the mouth with all their crazy hypotheses.

If you find yourself wondering about Obama’s legitimacy, here are a couple of things to consider before the affliction takes over your brain and you start wearing the tinfoil helmet:
1) Obama has a legitimate birth certificate. There’s a copy of the long form certificate recorded with the Hawaii Department of Health that has been there since 1961.
2) Two newspapers in Honolulu recorded the birth announcement of one Barack H. Obama in August of 1961. If there were a conspiracy by Obama to forge his citizenship, it would have to have been conceived while he was in the womb.

Anyway, enjoy your hunt for lobster, try to avoid all mental afflictions, and we’ll see you at the Monkey. Merry Christmas!

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