Mike Mongo reveals the worlds of marine, shoreline, and in-land eco-biology

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We've moved to....ecopathic.net!

New address:


Check for the latest posts at our new website!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kenmore Square (Boston) kids going crazy for Obama win

Harvard Yard celebrating Obama win

Grant Park. Obama Wins.

Hampshire College on Obama win night

Seattle Gay Bar turns speakers outwards on Obama Victory. Resulting dance party.

DC. Obama. Victory night.

Santa Cruz and the Obama win

Obama's victory night win in Baltimore

Obama's win in Richmond

Obama's win in Madision

Cambridge celebrati ng Obama's win

Hotlanta (Atlanta) upon Obama's win

Obama's election night win in Portland

Obama announced winner in Boston

LA loves President Obama!

UF (Gainesville) celebrating Obama's victory

Philly after Obama's victory is announced

Oakland off the chain after Obama wins

Rutgers (New Brunswick) on night of Obama win

Boulder celebrates Obama win

Obama victory night — San Francisco

Austin on Obama victory

Seattle on Obama victory

Times Square on Obama victory

Colin Powel emotional response to Obama victory

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Things To Do With Google

As everyone knows, I use Google. In fact, most of my head-facts and the greater part of my information set I now leave to managing by way of my google-fu.

On popurls.com today, I came upon this handing link, 52 Things To Do With Google.

It's like my birthday! And I get to share the gifts! So I use over 30 of the 52 things on the list already, that's still 22 that are new to me!

And for many of us, I am sure that there are 52 new Things To Do.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm here.

And good Google, I surely appreciate Google! After all, I had been waiting for it my entire life! (Dewey Decimal system, anyone? Pass the Google!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Loggerhead Turtle Rescue


Wow! What a morning! I was headed into shore when I came across this really big turtle with its head sticking up. Since it didn't dive I figured it didn't see me, so I slowed down and maneuvered over towards it. Funny thing, it didn't spook....

So I motored around it for awhile snapping photos, and I started to wonder if it was in some kind of crisis. True, I have been around enough big turtles to know that occasionally they hang out and let you get a good look at them, or even show interest in us, but generally they are out like a shot.

Eventually, I can see that it is letting me get very close to as I very slowly go round it. Something was definitely wrong here.

Pulling up right to it, with my hand I gave it a gentle nudge. It was surely alive but not going anywhere. With engine in neutral, I went to see if I could hold on to it. And indeed it let me grip its shell where its head was protruding. (Believe me, I was careful. That big head comes complete with powerful jaws!) And it let me. This one was in trouble.

I tried to haul it in, but realistically the creature weighed between two and three hundred pounds. In other words, no way. Finally, it did get tired of me handling it and dove down but only around four or five feet. I followed it for a while figuring out what to do. (A coast guard boat came by as I was right in front of the base, but when I attempted waving them down they thought I was just saying hi. Doh!)

What I did do wound up saving the day: I went to shore, and called my good friend Wade Miller. Wade is one of the captains at Danger Charters, and very ecologically-minded, and as luck would have it he had the number for the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. That number was just what the doctor called for. The phone was answered by a young man named Shane told me he was on his way.

In less than an hour he arrived, and we jumped back into my Carolina Skiff and went out to see if the great beast was still with us. To be honest, I was uncertain whether or not we would be able to locate it. I called in my buddy Cliff the Palm Weaver, another animal-loving individual like myself (and one of the most dependable guys I know), who happened to be out there and nearby on his boat.

While I was calling, Shane who was keeping watched spotted our quarry! It was floating on the surface, lifting its head, and only 30-40 yards from where I have parted company with it an hour before! That's when Cliff showed up, and thankfully he did; I am uncertain how we would have managed without him. The turtle was huge! Shane confirmed my original estimation of age: This turtle was in the 90-to-100 year old catgory. As I said earlier, it weighed between 200 and 300 pounds!

Between the three of us, we managed carefully lift it out of the water and as gently as possible flip it into my big skiff. There was a very bad injury on its underside, the shell was cracked but not cracked open (that's good). We immediately headed to shore, and Shane's awaiting ambulance.

We pulled up to the two-hour tie-off outside the window of Half-Shell Raw Bar, where the seats were full with lunch-time crowd. "Get ready to have your minds blown," I announced to the seated diners as we tied off. Then the three of us lifted the big beauty (a boy, you could tell by its claws—hooks on the fins for clasping during mating—and its large tail), and like I said, people were amazed. It was loud ooohs and aaahs the entire time. "So that's a dolphin," I mugged to the crowd, and everyone laughed. It lightened the mood considerably. Lots of people came out to take photos while we went for the "gurney" (dock cart). I would have if I had been them, and they had been me!

A number of fellows came up to help lift the 100-year old on to the gurney, and then kept up with us as we wheeled it over to the ambulance. (Yep, it is an actual ambulance, sirens, lights and all. After all the damage we did to the turtle population in the past, we now take their care seriously here in the future.)

And now it is being treated in Marathon. My thanks to Wade, Shane, Cliff, and the passerby's who helped today. It took all of us to make it happen, and one way or another it was worth the effort!

Key West Irony

one mccain family

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama Sign-Making Party and Voter Registration at Blue Heaven Today

And footmarch through the streets and down Duval in support of OBAMA at 6PM! Read on...

Today at Blue Heaven, from 12 PM to 5PM, we are gathering to hand-make our own Obama for President signs.

Our goal is to have children and adults come by, voters and non-voters, and by making our signs encourage a sense of ownership for the direction of our futures.

At the beginning of the presidential campaign, I was for Dennis Kucinich. Then, after the primary, I was for Hilary Clinton. Therefore, having followed my conscience all the way through, it has been with the greatest ease of conscience I am able to endorse Barack Obama for president.

When Suanne Kitchar suggested to me the idea of a sign-making, I was immediately thrilled by the idea. For me, America as a is more than just voters. It is all of us. In fact, America is limited by boundaries. For me, the ideals I have learned, and absorbed over time—such as truth and justice, liberty, the pursuit of happiness—extend beyond boundaries of land. They even extend beyond the boundaries of cliche!

For me, these ideals are real in the way life is real.

Barack Obama is not the embodiment of them. He is a man, and a professional, and a Democrat, and a politician, and a candidate. And with all those failings—mortal as all of us—he understands life's true value. And it is not money, power, or fame.

It is hope.

Yesterday, Suanne went to see Obama speak in Miami. But as luck would have it, the Key West contingency of women who journeyed together for the occasion were invited to sit behind and to the sides of Barack Obama at the podium. And after waiting three hours for the speech, and after seeing him and hearing him just feet away from this individual who has come to embody the hope for the future, as luck would have it, she met the man. She was there and she shook his hand. Here's the video of the speech. (And here.) (Update: And here.) Suanne is at 3 o'clock. You can see the sign that says "KEY WEST MOMS for OBAMA". She's next to that.

Whatever happens from here on out, Barack Obama's place in history is sealed. But what can happen from here on out will determine the direction of our planet's future.

And sometimes things do work out in the most unexpected ways. In fact, whenever things work out, it is always unexpected.

Barack Obama is unexpected.

Join Suanne and I and our friends at Blue Heaven from 12PM to 5PM as we enjoy fellowship and conversation while entertaining the idea of a hope-filled future. Kids welcome. Non-voters welcome. People who have been sitting on the fence welcome. Supporters welcome. It's a Obama sign-making party, and everyone is welcome. There will be materials and refreshments. (Or bring your own boards, and use our paints. Any extra materials are welcome!)

Then meet up with us at Blue Heaven, the corner of Thomas and Petronia, as we go for a walk with our new Obama signs.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Increasing Our Network: Computers headed to Jamaican school!

The collection of unused/refuse computers Lincoln Thompson and I began early this summer has been successful: As you can see in the video above, packed for transportation for shipment are ten complete work stations...plus an assortment of computer accessories, peripherals, and odds and ends. Most of this stuff was sitting around or headed for the trash. Now it has been cleaned, re-vitalized, re-purposed, and is already on its way to a "second life."
Lincoln and I (along with Lincoln's brother Clive and their cousin Kevin) collected about double this amount of stuff. Between all the computers and monitors, we cobbled together seven solid desktop stations and three laptops (including an assortment of Macintosh computers—one green iMac, an old (but working) MacBook laptop, and for those who know about such things, an old old Power Computing Macintosh clone running system 9!). It was dirty work, it was tricky work, and there was a plenty of work, but getting to sit down for days at a time cracking open all those computers and stuff, and then piecing it all together to make whole working computer work stations, well, that was just about as fun as it gets!

[Also, special thanks to Conch Town Cafe and Blue Heaven restaurants for the generous loan of space and resources. And extra special thanks to Sloppy Joe's, who provided us with a gift of used computers and peripherals which wound up accounting for about 25% of our collection. It was a terrific surprise to see such a huge player on our Island as Sloppy Joe's come to the table with such generosity.]

Speaking of which, there are (of course) two more things we could really use:

1) Unused Windows XP and Macintosh system disks.
2) A decent condition, good-sized wall unit air conditioner.

The use for the disks is obvious. To re-build some of the systems on the computers should anything go wrong. Back-ups.

The need for an air conditioner, however, is inspiring: The school Bramption Primary has re-dedictated and had rebuilt an entire room for the use, up-keep, and security of their new computer workstations. Since the computers have already shipped by container vessel (boat), an air conditioner will have to fly with us directly. But if we find one, I'll make certain it gets there.

Incidentally, if anyone knows of any students here are the Island who need computers, please let me know. I may be able to help with a solution.

And that's it. Lincoln and I are set to fly into Montego Bay on September 26. His wife will pick us up, and then I'll be there with them for two weeks of computer installation and instruction at Brampton Primary, Trelawny District.

Now think about that! A school of ninety kids (and their teachers) getting computers and being connected to the internet where before there has been neither! And remember, Olympian champion Usain Bolt is from Trelawny Parish! These kids are world-famous and don't even know it yet!

Can you imagine? Stay tuned. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Large Hadron Collider rap

Alright, it's not rap, it's more like song sung in regular speech. But the lyrical content is spot-on:

"LHCB sees where
the antimatter's gone
ALICE looks at collisions
of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They're looking for whatever
new particles they can find
The LHC accelerates
the protons and the lead
and the things that it discovers
will rock you in the head"

And this article does a bang-up job of filling in any holes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Ike in Key West—Wednesday Night!

It is as much to my own surprise as anyone's that the weather continues to be noteworthy here in any sense other than it's great! Strangely enough, we are still being belted by powerful winds, yet Hurricane Ike is 300 miles Southwest of us!

Tonite, at the end of Duval, the presence of the winds is obvious from the waves overflowing the pier at the end, beating down the human-made sand dunes with great waves, and covering the entire block with saltwater, seaweed, and sand.

Tomorrow should be interesting: Sun or rain?

Hurricane Ike from the Grinnell Street Parking Garage, Key West

This the from where I recorded last night. It has the amazing features which produce the most unusual "wind song" Additionally, from the top of the Grinnell Street parking garage, there is an amazing view of the Island and the harbor.

Hurricane Ike's effects are nearly gone from Key West. Tomorrow, undoubtedly our world will return to the state of Paradise we are used to here in the Conch Republic. Trust me, everyone is stir crazy! But good news: There are already tourists back on the streets!

First Key West rooster in four days of Hurricane Ike

When I heard this, my first thought was, "What kind of bird is that?"

Why, it was an out of practice rooster!

But the interesting thing is the effect it had on everyone. It was as if a spell had been broken, like break time was over, and life had officially resumed again. Other roosters then picked up the call.

In Key West, you can say its over when the hoarse rooster calls.

Hurricane Ike in Key West—Tuesday Night

This was taken atop the Grinnell Street Parking Garage. It is an unusual spot due. Not only is it four stories above ground and lend itself to an amazing daytime vantage point, it has these very peculiar harmonics which are triggered by big winds: The garage sings.

Winds are blowing between 20 and 50 miles per hour, with gusts to 60 and 70. This is interesting as Hurricane Ike, now far out in the Gulf of Mexico, is about 250 miles away from us, and is itself rated at only 70 miles per hour.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pre-Hurricane Ike, Key West from the top of La Concha

Recorded a few hours ago, it is amazing how terrific the weather continues to be. What's the point of technology? I mean, yes, we get it, a hurricane is coming. But all the hullabaloo about that resulted in stress when this is the third false alarm this year!

Anyhow, it is starting to get breezier, I am happy no hurricane is coming (right?), and this is my report.

Today, everyone just went around and saw everyone. It was like a real intimate and small town scene. The reporters are all in place, most businesses are closed, and it's like an enforced vacation. Work that is non-hurricane related is all pretty much off the table. I get calls to come to hang-out.

It has taken me all day to post this, some sort of glitch on various DSL lines. But I wanted everyone to see what we are having while traditional media hogs the spotlight with infotainment: Impending doom is okay I guess if it's just for show.

Anyhow, all of us are expecting some wind tonite, standing by.

pre-Hurricane Ike in Key West: Sunday Night on Duval Street

Everyone is gone except for locals with time under their belt, a few tourists of questionable sense, and newly arrived locals who are uncertain of what to do/interested in what a hurricane is really like. (ha/ouch)

So this was Duval Street last nite, pre-Hurricane Ike. Everything is boarded up, and it's quiet, and really something else. The funny thing to me is how I wish everyone could experience how quiet it is, but if they were here it wouldn't be quiet! Go figure.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mike on Hurricane Ike, Key West—Sunday at Sunset

Yesterday evening, late, before bed I was talking with my good friend Cliff the Weaver, and looking at the weather report. Somehow, it seemed like it was Sunday instead of Saturday. And according to the report, winds would start blowing by 7AM. To be honest, I was freaking out a little: There was still so much left to do!

Cliff made me look again. Oh, I see, there is still a day to go! It was a sudden lift of weight.

To be honest, there was only a bunch of little stuff to do. But all of it was important. Because in a hurricane, it's the little stuff that counts. For instance, one of my sailboats for which I am responsible needed chafe gear. That's portions of firehouse chopped and wrapped around the contact point of the anchor line that rubs on the boat. In a storm, that contact point becomes a weak point from all the bucking the boat will do from the wind and waves.

Another thing I had to do was get my personal belongings that were important to me to shore. Since I live on boats, that means all the tools and books and food and clothes stay. What comes ashore are papers, affects, writing, data, and legal (certificates, ID, receipts, etc.) The key here is to select what's important ie not replaceable and then hoping for the best for the rest.

So that's why the details count. I want my stuff to have the best chance of making it through unscathed and intact as I can provide. Even out on the water.

On land, nearly all the stores are closed, most restaurants, and some bars. Naturally, this being Key West, there are always bars open. Even I had a cold draft beer this evening. After all the work of the past two days, it was what hit the spot.

It's two AM. I just finished watching Serenity (again). I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow/today is the big day. In fact, as calm and warm and just absolutely perfect as it has been all day, right now the wind just started to stir in that way that says that it's time.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday Night—pre-Ike—"It is beautiful tonite"

Here's what I did today. Upon waking up, I went immediately (pre-con leche) to West Marine to buy 100' of line, and parts for my outboard's gas tank. From there, I hopped on my bike, dropped all the gear off with Cliff the Weaver, and hustled over to Garrison Bight to meet up with the Danger Charter's boats. The Danger boats were being tucked into the channel next to Banana Bay resort. It's a tedious process which involves spider-webbing lines from the boats through the red mangrove trees along the shoreline, and then around the hardwood mangrove tree trunks.

The mangroves can withstand winds as high as 180 mph. This process has protected Danger's (and many other's) boats many times over the years.

There are three Danger boats, all in the 70' range, and the whole thing takes about four hours. As the weather was as good as it can get, it was bright, sunny, and hot. We went through gallons of water. Everyone was soaked with sweat, covered with mangrove tree bark.

Channel 10 Miami local came by and filmed the whole thing for television. Here it is, titled "5AM advisory could change the Keys evacuation order" (type in 5AM into the search).

When that chore was done, I ordered a grouper burrito from Bad Boy Burrito, drank a Coke and ate a quick lunch, and then Cliff and I hucked it out to the boats to work on engines, check lines, batten hatches, dive on the moorings, and attach new chafing gear to all the lines on the boats. It went fast. Then it was done. I shot the video after washing done and changing to head to town for some dinner.

The weather was gorgeous all day. But the sunset tonite was absolutely breathtaking.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hurricane Ike, Key West, FL

Here's what's up with Ike. Everyone I know from here is already getting there stuff together. Looking like it's going to hit is not how I gauge storms; how the other people I know who aren't just "from here," but actually have a feel for the place are like living barometers. We wake up everyday knowing things that simmer just under the conscious. It's what I called my "under-mind" this morning talking to Eric D. He knows boats and water as good as anyone around here. And when I told him I was already jumping through hoops, he asked me why I thought this storm was any different. I told him it was in my under-conscious. He said, "Trust your under-conscious." That was enough for me. It meant he was feeling something suspect, as well. Better safe than sorry when it comes to hurricanes.

I have two boats out in the water, on heavy moorings, Navy chains strung across the harbor about a century ago to catch big Navy ships that dragged because of storms. Each link is the size of my hand. And I have big hands. So, I'm doing work on my already-strong lines, adding plenty of chafe gear (old firehose cut into sections and z-tied in place). And I am extending the line I have out from about 100 feet to 150. Even so, with winds of 150, I don't know what to expect. I'm nervous. I'm bringing in the stuff that is irreplaceable.

That's the report. It is bright and shiny and lovely outside today. That will last through Saturday, maybe Sunday. Unless the scary storm changes its path, Sunday afternoon, Monday it should get dark and breezy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

8-foot Hammerhead at Eastern Dry Rocks, Key West, FL

The most amazing thing about this short footage is not that I swim within five feet of this 8-foot hammerhead shark; it's that this was recorded at the reef, about seven miles SW of Key West, and was the first of its kind that had been seen there by myself or any member of the crew on the boat: 29 years cumulative experience in this area!

Now, I know most people might think swimming in the water with a shark of this size is a crazy (much less swimming down twenty feet to swim at its side), but for me it was bliss.

So what happened was this: Out at the reef here off of Key West, a great hammerhead showed up. As a local, I was just there catching a lift with one of the public charter boats for a quick snorkel on a perfect Saturday morning. As it is, I picked the right day, I guess.

There were about 80 people in the water and 20 on the big catamaran when this big shark made its appearance. Then I calmly called up to the captain, "There's an eight foot hammerhead right here!" Sticking my head back in the water, I heard someone yell, "Shark!!!" I was later told that the numbers reversed in an instant.

By luck, the hammerhead swam right next to the port side of the boat and everyone could see the shark in contrast to me from the boat, and it dwarfed me.

To me, sharks are majestic. Just look at how it moves! My heart was racing, I tell you, not pounding, racing. It was honestly better than sex. It was that good.

I had to consciously think to relax. What I was experiencing—the excitement!—is what gets sharks interested! (As a species, they have developed a sensitivity to racing hearts and increased electrical activity.) My first thought was disbelief. My second thought was that I was as happy as a little kid and that even while snorkeling I had a goofy grin that just would not quit. It was that good.

Aside from my buddy Pete, whose last day town it was and was why we went out when we did, the person I have to thank the most is the boat's captain, Wesley. As captain of the snorkel charter boat I was on that day, he saw the whole thing taking place, and he kept everyone's cool and watched over everything else. His actions insured that the experience I had was world-class. When I got back on his boat, he was so excited for me - "I wanted to jump right in with you but I knew it would scare it away!" - that I knew that I owed his a share of gratitude. As I said, from the deck of the big boat, the size of the shark could clearly be seen in contrast beneath and besides my meager 6 1/2 feet. The shark was big enough to wrap my arms around. But it was Wesley's professionalism that made the day.

Now, the shark was heading away from the boat, and the current was heading that way, as well. Soon I realized I was heading out to deeper water (30ft and deepening). It was now or never. That's when I dove down to swim besides the hammerhead.

As I did, I looked at the video camera, studied the display counter and prayed, "Be recording this. Please be recording this."

And thankfully it was.

The hammerhead definitely knew I was there. It glanced at me catching my eye once and gave me the once-over, but it was non-threatening. I never once felt threatened. Next to it, I felt natural.

In fact, the only time I felt any trepidation was heading back to the boat. Swimming backwards against the current with the large shark now out of sight, that's when I got a slight chill. Just out of alertness while swimming backwards, I did keep my eyes open on my way back on-board, where an adventurer's welcome awaited.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mike Mongo on Danger Charters

This weekend, I worked at Danger as a fill-in mate during the long 4th of July holiday weekend.

To tell, the truth, I needed the break. For what it's worth, the two full days of sun, sea, water, and work was good for my soul. More to the point, it was good for my spirit.

While I love working on computers and websites and all things tech-related, there is a downside. And that is, I get little real physical work-out putting out fires on laptops and desktops, or building networks and websites. In fact, consistently I feel as if I have been put through the wringer when I wake up in the mornings: No physical relationship to my work and the physical aspect of my being falls apart.

Working on Danger is non-stop physical activity for crew, particularly mates. Raising sails, lifting anchors, swimming, kayaking, carrying trays, serving drinks, running the length of the ship all day, it is a wonderful experience. By the end of the day, what I feel is complete physical reward and satisfaction.

For me, the mental side of being a mate is draining. There is as much attention paid to the guests as a good school teacher pays to a class of students. Only it's a class that lasts four-to-six hours at time, and twice a day. (Plus, for some with alcohol!)

But where the experience is unlike a school or classroom, is that this is vacation. The guests who come out on Danger appreciate the degree of learning, research, and experience that the Danger crew brings to the experience yet the idea is to present entertain rather than educate. Any education which transpires—and believe me, much does!—is an added bonus. In fact, it is commonly understood among all members of the Danger crew that a "great trip" is one where genuine transformation occurs for one of the trip's guests. This too happens more often than on any other excursion on the Island. This of course is why I was successful at Danger in the first place.

Nonetheless, working this weekend was a vacation for me. Imagine! A vacation of labor. That is exactly what it was. I met some wonderful people, and I saw (and did) some of my favorite things: Sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and—most of all—educating.

Still, for me, the perfect job is teaching in a setting that fosters both physical and mental growth.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Update: Computer Drive for Students of Brampton Primary, Trelawney Parish, Jamaica

Our "weekend" computer drive is entering its third week. Today, we got yet another desktop PC. Yesterday, a laptop arrived in the mail....from Wisconsin! [See below]

When we began this, I had no expectations. As I stated previously, seeing as there are so many computers either laying around—or worse, being thrown away—any number of which I see day-to-day while on rounds making repairs on them for clients and friends island-wide, as well as how wonderful the people are with whom I work here on the island, my hopes were high.

Here's where we stand: As of this morning, eight computers, four printers, fifteen monitors, two scanners, and a box of random accessories. That's four desktop PCs, two desktop Macs, and two laptop PCs. ollege students/summer residents/computer geniuses Daniel and Ben have begun piecing them into cleaned and functioning independent workstations.

What now? Well, now that we have really got this ball rolling, it is my belief we can get seven more computers. In fact, if the three others which have been promised materialize, then we are just four short of goal!

That would be the total to fifteen workstations for ninety students. Clearly, this this is exactly the right number to get things rolling for students who have yet to use a computer much less use Google! Fifteen will entire classes to make use of them together and at one time.

So I post this to let everyone know what a fantastic success we have had so far, and to remind everyone who thought of recycling their old computer that we are having the drive one more weekend, and to spark anyone else who may know of anyone else who has an unused computer that could be put to good use. And one of the most important "R's" of recycling is re-use!

We are accepting computers, software, and peripherals again all week-long at Conch Town Cafe [map link] at 801 Thomas Street, across from Blue Heaven Restaurant. As a matter of fact, pictured here is Conch Town Cafe and Lincoln Thomas (whose wife is a teacher at Brampton Primary, and who had the inspiration for the drive in the first place).

Or , if you would prefer—and can resist having an excuse to stop-by and pick-up one of Conch Town Cafe's Jamaican curries or some maybe some conch salad—I will come to you, and that unused or discarded computer can be picked up.

To me, this is such a great effort. When I see all this gear that may have been wasted or lost to a landfill instead being made good important use of, I get really charged! All the people who are helping to make this happen, you're the best!

Lastly, while all the contributions are wonderful and appreciated, this laptop holds a special place in my heart. Watch the video and you'll see why:

Very Large Land Crab

Monday, June 16, 2008

Key West Computer Drive for Students in Trelawny, Jamaica

Trelawny Students
[Trelawny Students photo by Ian G]

To get where we are going, I'd like to share some things about me with you.

First of all, computers are my life. I repair them, I use them, I get people on the internet—helping them get websites, or by getting their computers and internet up-and-running.

The other thing you must know is I am dedicated to a future where kids can dream of space travel. That's why I wrote HUMANNAIRES! Mike Mongo's Astronaut Instruction Manual for Pre-Teens. [link]

Lastly, I recycle. I recycle or re-use everything I use that I can. And I work to help others who want do the same.

Recently, an opportunity which combines all three of the above presented itself.

Seeing as we are a prosperous Island nation, here on the de facto center of the Conch Republic's capital, Key West, while I am out repairing computers and/or being "computer tutor," I often see unused computers. What more, I regularly see computers sitting by the roadside, discarded by new computer owners.

We have so many computers here on Key West they sit unused or get thrown away! That's good news and bad to me. I am happy we are so prosperous here, yet unhappy that things that can be put to good use are being wasted.

Seeing as this is something that I think of all the time, three weeks ago I was telling one of my client's whose "sick" computer I was cleaning and bringing back up-to-speed. "My wife is a teacher for elementary kids in Jamaica," he tells me. "They have one single computer for ninety kids, and it belongs to one of the other teachers. Why not collect the unused computers and we can ship them over there?"

At first, it seemed impossible. But you know how these things go here in the Conch Republic. Three weeks later, the owners and staff of Conch Town Cafe and I am are lining up shipping and internet sponsorship for the school—Brampton Primary in Trelawny Parish [link]—and suddenly the time has come for a computer drive!

Remarkably, this weekend is also Juneteenth [link]. What an auspicious weekend to "increase our network"!

We are collecting computers—desktops or laptops—and monitors and peripherals. Likewise, if you have CD copies of Windows that are being unused, we will take them, too. Several visiting college computer science students and I will then spend next week piecing together complete work stations to be shipped to Trelawny Parish. I will then escort them there next month and install the computers myself at the school, and spend a week training the kids and adults in their use. Officially, this is to be the first HUMANNAIRES! outreach project.

The drop-off is Conch Town Cafe [link] in Bahama Village, 801 Petronia Street (across the street from Blue Heaven). They will be the accepting station for donated computers all weekend long. Get some fried conch while you are there, or a $3 smoothie.

If getting your disposed or unused computer to the restaurant is a challenge for any reason, then I will come to you. My friends at Blue Heaven have donated the use of a transportation vehicle for this purpose.

Often, I assist in placing computers for kids (and adults) here on the Island who need them. But now there are computers at the schools and community centers and just about everywhere. Pretty much anyone here on Key West who wants internet access has it or can get it. This is an opportunity to bring internet and the benefits that go along with it to a group of kids on a neighboring Island who have yet to have it, and I am really grateful to be part of this effort.

See, if anyone knows the value of computers to a young mind, it's me. Computers opened doors for me. Computers and the internet change people's live.

If a single child in Trelawny takes advantage of the presence of internet and computers, and then make an opportunity for their self, this project is worthwhile. Imagine: For kids in rural communities, the internet can be a genuine lifeline.

Will you help us "bring the google" to kids from a nearby island who are presently off-network?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Baby Iguana

It was about six inches long, and looked heavy enough to 1) stop me in my tracks, 2) really look formidable though adorable. And it let me video it, so I caught this excellent footage of it last Sunday.

Iguanas are not "indigenous" to the Keys, yet here they are, and they "work": It's like they belong here. Indeed, though heck on many of the plants around here—which is why they are considered by many to be a "nuisance"—they are far less bothersome than say the presence of Burmese pythons. And they have been here for as long as I can remember. I really like them.

One cool thing about iguanas is that they are all over our golf course. So you have to "play through" lizards that are over 4 feet in length. Talk about a hazard!

Another cool thing is I have seen one be inside a mailbox when the mail deliverer opened the door on the box and it stuck it's head out. Needless to say, scream, letters flying, great hilarity.

Here's a story about the "invasion" on NPR from a few years ago.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mynah Birds in Key West

Mynah birds in Key West? Yes.

It's been a while since I have seen any around here in islands (since I was a kid?), and to recall this is the first time I have seen any in Key West, but here they are.

And a mating pair! Seeing as they mate for life, that's exciting.

The song was lovely on my ears, it's what drew my attention to the pair in the first place.

If you are here on the island, and want to see for yourself, just stop by the Pier One at Winn-Dixie Plaza on N. Roosevelt. Look in the Pier One sign on the front of the buidling. Their nest in in the "e".

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Faroese People: Killing and Eating Whales...Is Making You DEVOLVE!"

Usually, I get upset with individuals who injure, maim, or kill animals in a wanton and inhumane manner. But when it is an entire community or sub-culture pitted against another species, it feels as if getting angry is wrong. Instead, it feels more like the modern world is working to get through...but somehow is not being heard.

Up until today, I had no idea that an annual drive hunt against pilot whales was taking place in a. But because I was searching for video of New Zealand celebrity dolphin Moko's amazing rescue effort of a mother and off-spring pygmy sperm whale by Hawke's Bay, Mahia.

In my effort, I landed upon this video [WARNING: Depiction of graphic blood-letting of live intelligent creatures]....

....of the annual Faroe Island hunt drive of pilot whales, and my heart broke a little. What the video shows are living breathing intelligent homo sapiens crowding intelligent mammals into a single bay/harbor, and then slaughtering them bloody murder. It is as if the
Hellraiser movies become real. And it's humans such as we are doing unspeakable things to other living creatures using hooks and great knives.

I read up on the situation in the entry found at Wikipedia, which led me to this next 20-year old animated film (narrated by Anthony Hopkins)....

....which shows that this has been going on and disturbing people globally for some time.

The Faroe Islands are an autonomous province of Denmark. They have become more and more autonomous since after "World War II" in 1948, and are now dedicated to the premise of independence. Be that at it may, the Faroese people are unfortunately slaughtering whales. Perversely, it it now shown that the eating of the slaughtered whales—which are laden in mercury—is causing the people to literally become mentally retarded, and to be exterminating the Faroese people.

And now it is learned that the whale meat these residents are eating has been poisoning them with Mercury for generations. This is the sort of poisoning that leads to mental retardation in forming human fetus. They are actually taking their ownselves out of the game—by the process of devolution! In fact, two studies, this 20-year (1984-2004) Harvard study of 1,022 Faroe Islands mothers and children from 2004—including this letter from the
the chief physician for The Faroese Hospital System stating the mercury found is "not from fish but specifically pilot whale", and this study released last year [PDF] at the International Conference on Foetal Programming and Developmental Toxicity (PPTOX), shows this to actually be the case! In fact, PBS aired this video report on the subject last year. By consuming Pilot Whales, residents of the Faroe Islands are systematically and routinely institutionalizing physical disability and mental retardation!

I am unable to be angry with an entire nation, to be polarized against an entire, unmodernized culture. That sort of anger is uesless—other than to start a fight.

But what I want to do is encourage a change of spirit, and to encourage human growth! Instead, I write this letter to the Faroese people of the Faroe Islands:

Dear Island people of Faroe,


If you knew what you were doing, you would stop. The fact is that these are entire families—of whales—you are massacring, generations and families together, and you are doing it with such tremendous violence, and the pain and suffering being caused is without limit. In order to participate in the 21st Century, all of us have had to make changes, and this is one being necessary of you for your entry into our new modern world. From a perspective on this side of that necessary leap, the step you must take to make it here is worth it.

No one wants whale meat. In fact, the animals you slaughter you yourself no longer yourselves use. The EU will not buy products made from whales, for it is tainted morally and now poisonously. Worse of all, as a consequence of whale-killing, your children are being emotionally hampered and amputated, and physically weakened and diminished. Killing whales is to the 21st Century what enslaving people was to the 19th, and restricting human rights was to the 20th. It is wrong, and we know it now.

For your own sakes, as well as for the sake of the intelligent and emotionally sophisticated creatures being caused mortal anguish and harm to perish, stop killing whales.

These are not some hogs, cows, or chickens. They are intelligent just as you and I. And they are not yours to kill. They belong to all of us. Just as you are to us and us to you, they are this world's. Killing whales is wrong. And I am one of at least a billion who are asking you to stop and look at it this way. Just look and see.

Mike Mongo
on behalf all of us who care
BTW, politely emailing may help. Let the Faroese people know that whaling is in fact murder of whales. The Prime Minister Jóannes Eidesgaard's email address is info@tinganes.fo

And lastly, here is a petition to sign. Even this does help as it lets the Faroese people know how many of us care enough about whale killing to be counted as against it.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sperm whale surprise next to underwater oil rig cam

The video says it all. There is no background on the story that I have located as of yet, but I'm looking into. Great footage! SURPRISE!

Sea Shepherd Battling Illegal Whalers

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dolphins Blowing Rings

Dolphin Blows Bubble Rings

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My Danger Charters colleague (and good friend) Wade Miller sent me this link.

While I am familiar with this from Beluga Whales, I am astounded at the skill with which dolphins manipulate these thing rings of air around the water. Enjoy!