As an epilogue to our magnum blog opus, we couldn’t help drawing your attention to Mr. Charles Bicht, cat lover and 2010’s Hemingway Lookalike of the Year. This was his 12th year going out for the prize, but apparently at 64 years old, he's now exactly the right age for it.
As a bonus, the prize fish was a 400-pound blue marlin (worth $25,000), and the running of the bulls was entirely mechanical.
The centerpiece of Hemingway Days kicked off yesterday in the form of the Key West Marlin Tournament, with dozens of boats taking to the Gulf in search of the largest Marlins they can haul in. It’s not quite as visible as that beard competition, but for our money this is the real show. It’s as bonafide as sport fishing gets, with an $1,800 entry fee and more than $50,000 in prize money on the table.
If you doubt how much of that “sport” tag is earned, consider this: the current record-holder hauled in a Blue Marlin weighing 570 pounds. We doubt the haul will be quite as big this year, thanks to BP, but it’s still one of the more spectacular long weekends the world has to offer.
The novels get most of the attention, but our favorite book from Papa is something with a slightly smaller scale: a collection of posthumously compiled short works called The Nick Adams Stories.
Taken together the two dozen stories lead the eponymous hero from boyhood to manhood, with a war, a murder, and a lot of fear-soaked wanderlust lying in between. It’s Hemingway at his quickest, with some of the stories lasting no longer than a paragraph. It’s also Hemingway at his loosest, which means half-formed sketches sitting alongside more polished gems, adding up to an impressionistic portrait of a young man adrift in a turbulent world.
It’s quite possibly the gold standard of over-50 facial hair, the envy of salty gentlemen across this great land of ours. To that end, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to cultivate a glorious muzzle of your own. Gentlemen, start your follicles.
You don’t get many chances to get drunk and do ridiculous things in the name of a literary icon, so when the chance comes along you’d better make the most of it.
In that spirit, we thought we’d bring your attention to a little festival called Hemingway Days, raging from July 20th to 25th in the Florida Keys. You’ve probably seen pictures of the lookalike contest but we prefer to focus on the more meditative aspects of the event, and just how great it is to grow out a snow-white beard, pack a few bottles of rum, swing through a reading and then go sport fishing. It would be pretentious if it weren’t so goofy…which isn’t such a bad place to find yourself.
So, in the spirit of the occasion, you’ll be seeing a lot of Papa on Kempt over the next couple weeks, including beard advice, overlooked works, and an introduction to something called the Conch Republic. And if you feel like pouring yourself a drink to celebrate, we’ve got one ready.