Tag Archives: Tim W. Jackson

Blacktip Island Entrepreneur Releases Seasonal Affective Disorder Panels

SAD panels

Blacktip Island sustainable scuba gear manufacturer Bamboo You is marketing retired restaurant chalk boards as ‘Sol-Less’ reverse-seasonal-affective disorder panels for overstimulated island visitors. (photo courtesy of Scottb211)

Blacktip Island entrepreneur Piers ‘Doc’ Planck Wednesday unveiled a new product line of black matte, light-absorbing panels to help island visitors manage their reverse-seasonal-affective disorders.

“People think of SAD only affecting folks in northern, low-sun latitudes, but the sunlight here can overwhelm newcomers,” Planck said. “Sometimes people need a downer, but they don’t know it. Or want to admit it. And our Sol-Less panels provide that.

“Visitors can get too upbeat and burn themselves out, what with all the sun and the light reflected from the water and the sand,” Planck said. “A lot of people overdose on sun and fun and crash by the third day or so. Next thing you know, they’re going to bed at 8:30.”

Planck associate Christina Mojarra explained how the panels counteract tropical sunlight.

“It’s based on the concept of subtractive lighting, like you’d use in photography,” she said. “Originally, we had test subjects sit inside for a bit, but no one wants to do that on a nice day. And the blacklights just made them hungry.

“Then we noticed people sitting by the blackboard at the Sand Spit bar were way chill, and the lightbulb went on,” Mojarra said. “In trials, overstimulated subjects sat beside our black matte panels for 20 minutes and it calmed them right down. They went from being out carousing and annoying the more low-key guests, to being low key themselves.”

The island’s scientific community is skeptical.

“Whatever Doc and Christina are doing may calm people down, but I’ve seen no causal relationship between sedate individuals and repurposed blackboards,” Tiperon University-Blacktip biology chair Catalina Luxfer said. “I think it’s more than coincidental their original test subjects were sitting at a bar mid-afternoon.”

Others objected to the panels’ marketing.

“Doc’s had some damn-fool ideas before, but this one takes the cake,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “He wants people to be less happy? How do you pitch ‘less happy’ as a good thing to potential island visitors?

“Tourists plan all year to come down here and get happy,” Cobia said. “It’s great he’s making money, but at what cost to the rest of us? Blacktip’s a 24-7 party, and he’s selling a buzz kill.”

Despite the criticism, end-users praised the panels.

“Sometimes the party, party, party side of a Caribbean scuba vacation can take its toll,” Eagle Ray Divers guest Quinn Blenny said. “The Sol-Less panels don’t squelch your fun, they just dial it back a notch or two. They let you enjoy your vacation in moderation and not need a vacation when you get back home.”

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Blacktip Island Uses Fin-Kick Technology To Generate Electricity

fin-kick energy

Blacktip Island scuba divers now have the option of generating electricity for the Caribbean island’s power grid by attaching modified wave converters to their fins. (photo courtesy of jqpubliq)

Scuba divers on Blacktip Island this week began generating energy for the Caribbean island’s electric grid with their fin kicks to augment the island’s electrical infrastructure, public works officials said.

“Electricity’s expensive on this little rock, and burning diesel to generate it is hell on the environment,” Department of Public Works chief Stoney MacAdam said. “We’re going green and sustainable by strapping mini wave energy converters to divers’ fins and offloading the power they produce into the power grid.

“We don’t have the funding to launch a large-scale offshore facility, but the dive operations have helped defray the cost of these person-scaled oscillating surge converters,” MacAdam said. “Volunteer divers clip them on their fins, run a wire up their legs, and the energy produced gets stored in a battery pack on their BC. They turn the batteries in to the dive shops, the shops offload the electricity and the divers get discounted diving.”

The program is not without its hitches.

“We’re still in the pilot stage, but it’s been good overall, with only a couple of minor electrocutions” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “Participating guests get a discount on their diving commensurate with how much electricity they generate, and volunteers are lining up despite the occasional zap.

“The big worry was how the batteries would hold up, but they’re doing fine,” Latner said. “With the lithium-ion puppies we’re using, you can slam power into them, then pound it back out without any negative effect. And the battery packs come with a quick-release buckle in case they overheat.”

Island visitors hailed the program.

“We’re helping the environment and getting a discount,” Gina Marlin said. “My husband and I made a game of it. We kick as big as we can, as fast as we can, to create as much power as possible. Then on safety stops, we race around the boat to make sure our batteries are jam packed.

“The only drawback so far is my collector battery drained some, and I didn’t get full credit for all the juice I produced,” Marlin said. “Whether that was a glitch or a bait-and-switch, I didn’t get nearly the credit I should have. Trip Advisor’s getting a smoking review about that.”

Some island dive staff are unhappy with the program.

“Clean energy’s good, but now we have yahoos doing big-ass flutter kicks to get their mondo discounts,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “The punters are blasting up sand and kicking the crap out of the reef just to save a few bucks. End of the day, this is worse for the coral.

“We beg people to use smaller kicks, to scull, so they don’t silt up the reef” Diesel said. “Now this is electric fin BS has them doing the opposite. What’s next, overweighting everyone so they kill even more coral?”

Officials remained optimistic.

“The scuba hippies can complain about damaged coral all they want, but this is good for the island overall,” MacAdam said. “The upside of this far outweighs some isolated reef damage.”

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Blacktip Island Celebrates Post-Christmas Kickboxing Day

Kickboxing Day II

Winner Clete Horn, left, and defending champion Rocky Shore square off in Thursday evening’s final bout of Blacktip Island’s annual Kickboxing Day festivities. The day-long event celebrates Colonial islanders’ struggles against Caribbean pirates. (Photo courtesy of Rudolph A. Furtado)

Blacktip Island residents Thursday celebrated post-Christmas Kickboxing Day with martial arts contests, children’s games and a cook-off at Diddley’s Landing public pier, sponsored by the Caribbean island’s Seaman’s Society.

“The festival started in Colonial times as a way to practice community defensive techniques,” Blacktip Island historian Smithson Altschul said. “Blacktip’s original settlers developed a unique fighting style to combat the region’s pirates. Every Blacktipper was required to learn to fight on land and at sea.’

“The original Kickboxing Days allowed islanders to celebrate Boxing Day while testing their skills against other settlers,” Altschul said. “Now it’s as much a part of the holidays as tacky Christmas lights, overcooked turkey and third-rate college football.”

This year’s festivities began with traditional island feats of endurance.

“We kicked things off with the 5K underwater pub crawl,” said Blacktip Island Seaman’s Society president Jay Valve. “A combination of oxygen-rich, nitrox-filled scuba cylinders and mimosas at each station help shake off any lingering holiday hangovers.

“After that, the Leftover-Off ran through mid-afternoon,” Valve said. “It’s amazing the variety of delicacies island folks can cobble together from holiday leftovers. Finalists this year included stuffing pancakes with cranberry syrup, frozen green bean casserole pops and deep-fried candied sweet potatoes.”

Some residents focused on the day’s physical contests.

“No K-Day’s complete without the Destruction of the Christmas Playlists,” Eagle Ray Cove divemaster Gage Hoase said. “Nothing makes the season bright quite like copying a holiday playlist to a CD, then flinging it as far as you can across the bay. With this year’s north wind, we had a couple nearly break the record.”

The highlight was the evening’s kickboxing competition. As ever, contestants were encouraged to compete in appropriate seasonal attire.

“This year I fought off Santa, two elves and Jesus,” said winner Clete Horn, who opted for reindeer attire. “One elf was a kick-heavy tang soo do dude. Then, in the finals, Jesus gave me fits with that monkey kung fu of his. But I whomped him in the end.”

Event organizers noted the festivities’ unifying qualities.

“At its heart, Kickboxing Day is a uniquely Blacktip tradition that brings the community together during the holidays,” Valve said. “We had smaller rings where kids could strap on gloves and footpads and just wail on each other. After an afternoon of that, and a shot of brandy, the kiddos sleep like logs.”

Residents agreed Kickboxing Day are an integral part of the island’s holidays.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year on Blacktip Island,” Ginger Bass said. “It’s cathartic, really. Nothing helps you cast off the old year, and gets you excited about the new one, quite like seeing someone who pissed you off get laid out with a roundhouse kick to the head. I still have one of Lee Helm’s molars from last year’s quarterfinals.”

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Blacktip Islanders Fight Against War on Festivus

war on festivus

A small, but determined, group of Blacktip Island residents is making a concerted effort to focus on Festivus celebrations this holiday season. (photo courtesy of 4marknelson)

A group of Blacktip Island residents Thursday took action against what they perceived as attacks on Festivus traditions on the small Caribbean island.

“Festivus provides an alternative to the commercialization and pressures of the Christmas season, and some Blacktippers have declared war on it,” resident Payne Hanover said. “They’re free to celebrate for religious reasons or commercial reasons or whatever, but we won’t let Festivus be relegated to second-class status.

“We’re taking a stand against the ‘what would Jesus buy’ aspect of the holidays,” Hanover said. “We’ll be displaying our bare poles, loud and proud, for everyone to see. Our response to any holiday greeting will be, ‘Happy Festivus.’”

Some island religious leaders decried the movement.

“Christmas is, by definition, religious,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “This imagined assault on a manufactured holiday is just the latest round of the real war on Christmas. Payne and his cronies are stirring up trouble to ruin everyone else’s holidays. We won’t be browbeaten by some multi-culti sensitivity nonsense.

“It wouldn’t be charitable to tell Payne what he can do with his Festivus pole, but we’ll have plenty of carolers to drown out his nonsense,” Grunt said. “We’ll make sure everyone keeps Jesus front and center, if it’s the last thing we do. If Payne wants a war, we’ll give him one!”

Other residents downplayed the dispute.

“Both sides need to shut up, have some eggnog and enjoy the pretty lights,” Olive Beaugregory said. “Celebrate your choice of holidays any way you want. Or not. But don’t harsh the season when everybody else is having a good time.

“I’m wishing people happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Bodhi Day without batting an eye,” Beaugregory said. “I’m even wishing the Pagans a happy Yuletide. Or Solstice. Whichever one they prefer these days.”

The island’s Ecumenical Council urged forbearance during the holidays.

“Blacktip’s a diverse community, and there’s room for every viewpoint,” BIEC president, former reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “The goal’s to have peace and goodwill on the island. However briefly. Blacktip’s always been an accommodating community. Antonio Fletcher’s been celebrating Hogswatch on the 24th for years, and no one’s complained.”

Hanover remained steadfast.

“We’re foregrounding the non-religious aspects that make this time of year so dear to our hearts,” he said. “We’ll air our grievances. We’ll perform feats of strength. And we’ll by-God celebrate Festivus miracles. Why, just yesterday I found my scooter keys!”

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Blacktip Island Christmas Tree Lighting Goes Up In Flames

tree lighting catches fire

Blacktip Islanders are still in shock after a glitch in the lighting ceremony caused the community Christmas tree to go up in flames Wednesday evening. (photo courtesy of Fir0002)

Blacktip Island’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony went awry Wednesday night when misunderstood directions resulted in the community tree catching fire and burning down, event organizers said.

“The lights were strung, the kids’ ornaments were hung and the tree was perfect,” chamber of commerce President Kay Valve said. “We were all gathered around the tree, holding hands and singing “I Believe in Father Christmas,” then WHOOSH! We had a Christmas fire-nado.

“Dermott Bottoms had been working on the tree and the holiday bonfire and got confused,” Valve said. “When we said, ‘light the tree,’ he took that literally and held a lighter to it. The rum on his breath acted as an accelerant. For a second he looked like a holiday dragon.”

Onlookers described a chaotic scene.

“The crowd was ducking for cover, and people were rolling on the ground to put out the sparks on their clothes and hair,” Rusty Goby said. “Other palm trees went up, too. The flames got up high in the fronds and spread, well, like wildfire.

“We formed an ad-hoc volunteer fire brigade—basically anyone sober enough to handle a bucket or wield a hose,” Goby said. “Somehow we managed to save the nearby structures. That’s our Christmas miracle this year. The whole community’s still in shock, though.”

Island emergency workers say physical injuries were minimal.

“Little Shelly Bottoms lost an eyebrow,” island nurse Marissa Graysby said. “She’s scheduled for some heavy-duty therapy as soon as the holiday season’s over, but, then, we all are. The only other person injured was Dermott, but his skin’s so tough, he only has first-degree burns. I’m pretty sure he still doesn’t feel anything.”

Some worried about the long-term impact on the community.

“We tried the Whoville thing where we gathered around what’s left of the tree and sang holiday songs, but that fell flat, and people choked on the ashes,” Elena Havens said. “Now we’re moving ahead with an alternative community tree to regain a sense of the holidays.

“We’ll have a Christmas sea grape shrub instead,” Havens said. “It’ll be festive and fire resistant. We’re also taking donations for new strings of lights, and the school kids are in overdrive making replacement ornaments. That’s helping a lot of them work through seeing their other ornaments incinerate.”

Others in the community downplayed the incident.

“It’s Blacktip Island. It’s not the holidays unless something goes horribly wrong,” Clete Horn said. “This year, the catastrophe’s out of the way early. Now we can relax and enjoy the rest of the season in peace.”

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Blacktip Island Players Stage Dueling Christmas Plays

Dueling Xmas

Blacktip Island Community Players cast members try on various costumes Thursday at the BICP’s holiday play dress rehearsals. The BICP will perform Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a Nativity play simultaneously to address a secular-vs.-religious divide among island residents. (photo courtesy of istolethetv).

Debate over the appropriate theme for Blacktip Island’s annual Christmas play has resulted in the Blacktip Island Community Players staging two different holiday plays simultaneously at the Caribbean island’s Heritage House, BICP representatives said Thursday.

“When we started planning things, there was a vocal contingent that wanted the play to focus on Jesus’ birth,” BICP director Doris Blenny said. “Others wanted a more lighthearted performance. We tried to incorporate both viewpoints, but that was a hot mess. The solution was to stage two plays.

“We’ll have a traditional Nativity play in a scale-model, turn-of-the-millennium Judean manger on the lawn, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer inside,” Blenny said. “We’re staging them simultaneously so people can choose which to watch.”

Some community leaders opposed the two-play solution.

“Jesus is the reason for the season. If we don’t keep that in focus, who will?” said the Rev. Pierre Grunt. “Religion is the heart of this community. Or should be. The Santa-and-reindeer play is misguided, and we’re encouraging folks to boycott it. And they don’t, well, they’ll have to walk past our manger scene to get inside.”

Others supported the dueling plays.

“We kicked around a bunch of inclusive options, but this was the only practical one,” said the former Rev. Jerrod Ephesians, chair of the Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council. “The runner up was a Baby Jesus vs. Santa cage match, and we axed that pretty quick. Our bottom line is whatever gets people out and involved is, by definition, good for the community. And people really enjoyed last year’s ‘Grinch’ production.”

Actors say the two-play option has stretched the island’s thespian community thin.

“Staging two plays simultaneously showcases new talent, but it has us reaching deep into the pool of performers,” BICP member Elena Havens said. “Actors chose which play to participate in based on their beliefs, or lack thereof, though we did ask the tone-deaf actors to opt for the non-musical Nativity play.

“The downside is we had to reduce the number of parts in both performances,” Havens said. “There’ll only be one shepherd in the manger, and it’s impossible to find a Wise Man on this island, so we axed that role entirely.”

Casts of the two plays include:

Rudolph

  • Payne Hanover as Rudolph
  • Cori Anders as Clarice
  • Finn Kiick as Hermey the Elf
  • Elena Havens as Santa
  • Jessie Catahoula as Yukon Jack
  • James Conlee as The Abominable Snow Monster of the North

Nativity

  • Kay Valve as Baby Jesus
  • Lee Helm as Mary
  • Marina DeLow as Joseph
  • Alison Diesel as The Shepherd
  • Dermott Bottoms as The Camel

Some cast members see the two-play solution as a growth opportunity.

“It really gives us a chance to stretch our abilities as actors,” Marina DeLow said. “So far the only real gaffe was during dress rehearsals the arrival of the shepherd outside was interrupted by Payne Hanover inside yelling, ‘She thinks I’m cuuuuuute!’ over and over.”

Many residents see the two plays as a holiday blessing.

“We get two plays instead of one,” Chrissy Graysby said. “We’re taking the kiddos to Rudolph Saturday, then the Nativity Sunday. Then we’ll celebrate Kwanza right after Christmas.”

The plays will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December 22.

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Blacktip Island Braces For Black Friday Shoppers

Gift World Souvenir Shop

The Eagle Ray Cove resort gift store staff is prepped for day-after-Thanksgiving shoppers during Friday morning’s Blacktip Friday sales event. (photo courtesy of Richie Diesterheft)

Blacktip Island retailers readied their staffs and stores Thursday for the Caribbean island’s post-Thanksgiving ‘Blacktip Friday’ holiday shopping event.

“It’s not quite the Black Friday craziness you see in the U.S.,” said Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort general manager Kay Valve, “but it can get wild, in an island sort of way. Everything’s in the gift shop’s marked down. Slightly. And guests are already scoping us out.

“We’re not expecting a massive rush, but we’ll unbar the doors at 4 a.m. just in case,” Valve said. “There’s tons of tourists on island right now, and they really love hunting for the perfect tropical tchotchke to take back as a gift. And a pre-dawn fight for it makes it more of a prize.”

Other resort gift shops made similar preparations.

“There’s not a lot of people at the resort, but our gift shop’s pretty small, so we’ve prepped accordingly,” Blacktip Haven owner Elena Havens said. “There’s been rumblings of a pre-dawn rush, so we have extra stock in a shed out back just in case. And Frederick from the kitchen’ll be on hand with his wooden spoon for security.

“It is Blacktip Island, though, so ‘discount’ doesn’t mean much,” Havens said. “We’ll be handing out free rum punch to shoppers to hopefully get them in a purchasing mood.”

The island’s lone grocery/hardware store is ready for a holiday rush as well.

“After a few breakfast cocktails, folks do like to wander through impulse buying,” store owner Peachy Bottoms said. “We don’t give discounts, of course, but we have marked two items in the store at half price, and shoppers are encouraged to hunt for them. A hint: one of them’s in the canned food section.”

Island bars are prepping as well.

“We’ll be open early, serving bloody Marys and mimosas to anyone who needs them,” Sand Spit bartender Cori Anders said. “We also made a special Blacktip Friday cocktail. It’s basically Long Island iced tea made with Guiness. And you have to drink it outside. We only have the one restroom.”

Many island visitors are planning to get up early for the shopping.

“I can get a Blacktip Island t-shirt any time, but getting up early to buy it is a holiday tradition, really, even if prices aren’t reduced much,” Lacey Pesce said. “Getting out before it’s light and fighting with complete strangers really gets you in the holiday spirit. Nothing says, ‘Happy Holidays’ quite like an elbow to the ribs or a gouged eye.”

Island residents say they plan to enjoy the sales from a distance.

“I’m gonna make some coffee and popcorn, pull up a chair outside Sandy Bottoms’ and watch the mayhem,” Belinda Graysby said. “Nothing there I need. Or want. But it’ll be fun to watch tourists beat the crap out of each other. And see which locals’ll join in.”

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