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Monday, April 23, 2007

Is That A Chopped Chicken?

Well I went and looked at the mystery boat that the lady wants to sell.

First I should mention that I had to drive into el barrio to see the boat. I was in chicken chopper town. Across the street from the seller of the boat were two dead chickens. One was just laying there collecting flies and ants, the other was half in a plastic bag.

NOTE - this post contains a 100% true story about chickens and stuff. Scroll down if you want to.

Well I was not born yesterday. I know what time it is when I see that shit. Chicken Choppers. Also known as people who practice Santeria. Santeria is a form of voodoo. It came to the new world from Africa with the slave trade, and took root in some places. Most notably in Cuba. But the Spanish were not that cool with voodoo so the people switched some voodoo Gods with Catholic Saints. Anyhow, people into Santeria are commonly sacrificing chickens and leaving them all about town. Every morning employees have to remove dead chickens from the courthouse steps, because during the night Santeria and Voodoo "curses" are cast upon the courts or spells are cast so that defendants are found not guilty. Really. This is somewhat common here.

Anyhow, the boat turned out to be a dud. Not because of the dead chickens, but for other reasons.

Number one on the list was that the boat is not in any way "new". My original spy report said it was a 1996 or 1997 or something. Well it is a 1979. The sellers "did not know" the year till I looked at the hull ID Number and asked "is this a 1979 hull?". So the boat is pretty old.

Being a 1979 hull the thing probably contains a fair amount of wood. Wood is heavy stuff. And it is prone to rot. I did not detect any soft spots, so the hull seems to be solid enough but I did not check it that well. The engines were newer than 1979, but I do not know when they were made. The steering worked well, and the engines looked to be in decent shape, as far as corrosion on the mounting brackets and steering go. The engines had not been painted, which is good. They were not trying to hide anything there. There was surface oxidation of the skegs, but this is to be expected. That just happens.

But the engines were only 120 horsepower each. That means 240 HP between the two of them. The boat is a 25 footer and being a 1979 hull it is a heavy hull. I think that the boat is under powered. It needs at least twin 150s. And by "at least" I mean no less than. If I were going to repower that boat I would be looking for twin 175 or 200s.

Oh and the trailer is illegal. It needs brakes. In Florida, if the gross weight of the trailer and the object on the trailer is more than 3,000 pounds then the trailer must have brakes. This trailer has no brakes. I would at least have surge brakes on that thing.

And to top it all off, the boat is having some electrical problems. The good part is that the wiring is very easy to get to. The bad news is that the electrical system probably needs a total overhaul.

So I will probably NOT buy the thing. I do not mind a boat that needs some things, but I do not want a "project" boat. I do not mind having to replace a bilge pump, or re running the wires for the navigation lights or something (this is just crap that has to be done from time to time) but I do not want a 1979 hull, underpowered engines, and a trailer that has to be recycled and made into beer cans. That is too much.

Now for my ALL TRUE chicken chopper story! Did I mention this is ALL TRUE?

Years ago I went to a scuba camp in the Florida Keys to take a 5 day instruction course as part of a BSA "high adventure" program. Anyway, my parents made arrangements to "camp" in long Key State Park (by "camp" I mean chill out by the ocean in a pop up camper with AC and electricity in a State Park that had full heated shower facilities and toilets that flush and whatnot). I was to be dropped off at the scout camp not too far from Long Key so that I could spend the next 5 days learning to breathe compressed air underwater.

When the day to leave arrived, a friend of mine who was going to the same program showed up at the house and we all packed into the old DARK GREEN 1981 Ford station wagon, hitched up the pop up, and took off.

But before we left someone noticed a strange bag across the street from the house. We lived on a quiet residential street with only other houses around - not in a mixed zoning area. The people that lived behind us were into that Santeria shit because there were little statues in their yard and chickens in the backyard and whatnot. Once they even had a GOAT for two days, then there was some kind of gathering in their yard, some camp fire was made, the goat vanished, and by pure coincidence a headless goat carcass was dumped in a nearby canal.

Anyway, the bag was leaking blood. So my dad called the po po. This is the thing to do when you find a strange bag that drips blood when you pick it up.

The cop that showed up took one look at the bag and said "Santeria". He refused to touch the bag, and did not even want to take it away. He pointed at the knot and said that the bag was "holding in bad luck or a curse" or some crap.

PLEASE! How can you bag "bad luck"? So my dad asked the cop if he wanted him to cut open the bag. The cop agrees, because the bag had to be investigated. There could have been a human head in there or something.

So my dad cuts the knot in the black bag and finds some other color bag with another knot. The cops explains what it means and stuff. I do not remember how many bags there were to cut open but at the end they were just chickens. So the cop says to load the shit in the trunk of his car (the "bad luck" had been released safely) and drove off. We finished loading the station wagon and left to the Keys.

It is important to point out that the car was DARK GREEN, and it was July or August or some other ungodly hot month.

Somewhere in Homestead, the Ford overheated. So we had to stop at a gas station and put more water in the cooling system. But even with more water, the car was running hot. So we had to drive WITH THE HEATER ON FULL BLAST. This helped. On the 20 mile "death strip" of US1 south of Florida City and before Key Largo it was hit and miss. The car would run hot, then cool down a bit, then run hot again. Once in the Keys we had to stop at a few gas stations to put more water in the radiator along the way to the camp. Did I mention the car was DARK GREEN? Dark colors absorb sunlight, and therefore heat. And the heater worked great. The back seat windows of the Ford only rolled down half way.

I made it to the camp, and the car made it to Long Key with the camper in tow. But in the park, once unhooked from the camper trailer, the car threw a timing chain and the engine got fucked up. AAA had to send a flatbed to rescue the Ford, and my dad had to go back to Miami to rent a car that could pull the trailer back.

The engine in the Ford had to be rebuilt. When the timing chain broke, pistons slammed into valves (or something like that).

Other than that the trip was fine. The 5 days on Long Key were apparently fun (I was not staying in the pop up, I was at scuba camp that featured barracks style housing with NO AC), and I had no major incidents learning to breathe underwater. Well there WAS the run in with the nurse shark, but that was not me. Some other idiot from Missouri or something decided to harass a nurse shark because they are "harmless" and got attacked. It was pretty funny really. At least it was for me. I tried to warn the dude that no animal is "harmless" if you corner it. I should note that with all the nurse sharks I have seen, I have never once been attacked by them. But I do not go around pissing them off either. I have a general rule with sharks - I agree to not mess with them if they agree to not mess with me. This is the same policy I have with bears and stuff.

But anyway - the dead chicken bag killed the Ford. So I did not mess with the dead chickens I saw while looking at the boat. I did not want to curse my Toyota.

I have another voodoo story that I may recant tomorrow. It involves the airport, my career as a federal baggage screener, and a bag in transit to or from Haiti.

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Anonymous Goat People are People Too said...

Fords are the DEVIL, especially dark green ones that break down and crap...

ESPECIALLY ones that are minivans with dinged doors.

Anonymous Polly Want A Finger said...

There once was a man from Missouri
Who didn't have one bit of worry
Twas a shark he did harass
It got mad and bit off his...arm.
When the arm passed it was no longer furry.

Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

Polly and Goat People are such characters.

Too bad about the boat. That's always a downer to find out it's not what you expected.

Chicken voodoo is disgusting. I'd be upset too, finding that thing.

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

I think this family that lived in the town where I grew up was into Santeria because for about two weeks there was a decaying goat head hanging on the back of their house. I don't know much about this particular religion, so I do wonder what the goat head was supposed to attract, besides flies.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Goats - the Ford was actually fairly reliable, for a Ford. It lasted at least 15 years before the transmission decided to crap out.

Polly - great limerick! That is pretty close to what happened, except the nurse shark did not bite off any body parts.

Emma - I am used to seeing chopped chickens. Usually not in my area, but I do see evidence around town. Around here I sometimes see little Santeria lawn statues and shrines, but not chopped chickens.

CM - the goat head was probably supposed to ward off things. Like your neighbors. I do not think this was Santeria. It could have just been demented.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I am pleased to have this knowledge of chicken chopping, although I have never heard of it, nor have I run across it. I live in a more sheltered area of the country I spose. However, yesterday I saw this gross redneck in the mini mart, with tattoo's on the backs of his arms, one said "white" and the other side said "pride". I thought maybe it should say "personal pride" and he should take a shower or quit smoking and drinking cheap beer, but I don't think he wanted to change them. I was not proud to be associated with him in the aspect of color swatches.

Blogger Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

too bad about the boat but you don't want something that big.

That chicken stuff sounds weird. I use to have chickens on the farm but no more.

The older i get the more scared of sharks I am. I no longer swim at night wearing shiny jewelry.

Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

Ba Doozie - Miami is a strange place. Mix the third world with first world standard of living, and you have Miami. Chicken chopping is huge here.

Caiman - I would be more worried wearing shiny stuff while swimming in the daytime.

Blogger Kristen said...

My family took a road trip in 1980. We drove to Philadelphia in a 1978 Rabbit that had no air conditioning. During a heat wave. It was awful, and at least there were no chopped chickens, but I did meet a one-armed woman at a wedding. She was dressed up, so instead of just letting her stump hang out, she dressed it up with a shower cap that matched her dress.


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