Mont Blanc Landslide

One of my favorite places in Italy is Courmayeur. I have had the pleasure several times in recent years of enjoying Courmayeur. The highest mountain in the Alps…..Mont Blanc and a tiny municipality sitting half way up the mountain. Glorious!

Courmayeur is in the northern tip of Italy. A half hour from France and one hour from Switzerland. The weather recently has been warm. Yesterday, there was a maxi landslide. It stopped before doing any damage. However, the landslide is unstable and is sitting above Courmayeur and the entrance to the Mont Blanc Tunnel which connects Italy and France.

No one is certain what, if anything, will occur next. If the slide starts up again, a portion of Courmayeur could be buried. Also, the entrance to the tunnel connecting with France. The tunnel was closed for 20 minutes yesterday.

I hope nothing happens. Mont Blanc is unquestionably magnificent to behold. However, it can also be dangerous as yesterday’s activities indicate. I have always viewed Mont Blanc from where ever I have been situated as a disaster waiting to occur. I used to get the feeling especially when I would sit in the Courmayeur Square sipping a gin and looking up at majestic Mont Blanc hanging over me.

We are working on having this blog publish also in KONK Life’s E-Blast each day. The blog will then be available this way and the Blast way. Still working on how to get the blog from here to there. Not easy for me.

I write a weekly column in KONK Life. Under the title of Key West Lou COMMENTARY. Last week’s article involved Sweden and the Muslim impact upon the country. Bad things are happening. Someone wrote a Letter to the Editor which was posted in yesterday’s E-Blast. The writer disagreed with my reporting and clearly indicated I did not know what I was talking about. Challenged me to list my references.

The gauntlet had been thrown. I responded with an Email to the Editor which will run in today’s E-Blast. Not only did I list that which was demanded, I also concluded the woman criticizing the column did not know what she was talking about. Read today’s E-Blast for the retort.

I am not perfect. I do err occasionally. However catch  me when I am wrong, not when I am correct.

Tonight is my blog talk radio show. Nine o’clock my time. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Interesting topics. Like Latin America striking back at Monsanto, Vermont passing a GMO food labeling law, the price of food to double in the next decade, oranges joining limes in becoming more expensive, a story of Jesus suitable for description today, Putin’s purported genius, and more.

Stopped first at the Chart Room last night. Che at the bar, Victor bartending. A tourist came in looking for Mel Fisher and Jimmy Buffet photos. Che was the right person to point them out. He is one of the two remaining persons whose ashes will find their way into the Chart Room bar rail.

Then to Don’s Place. Grant and Toni at the bar. Hello to both. Sat with Jimmy and Joanie. Both play bocce. Joanie described bocce night as a 160 person cocktail party. She was correct!

Outside bartender Tina stopped by to chat. It was her night off. However her Dad was in town and they were partying with friends. As I left, I saw Tina and her Dad and two others playing bean bags. Only in Key West!

I stopped at the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center on the way home and treated myself to a Philly cheese steak sandwich for dinner. Good!

Enjoy your day!


Italian ricotta cake. I mentioned it yesterday as an Italian Easter favorite. I was not sure of its spelling, so I spelled it phonetically. I even added in brackets afterwards that “gzzad” might not be the correct spelling.

I have been buried in comments. Some from those who could not find it on the internet under gzzad. Most telling me it is called cassata.

What can I tell you? I have eaten cassata every Easter until recently. It was pronounced in my family  with a “d” at the end.

I thank those who corrected me.

I learned something new, also. Cassata is a southern Italian dish. Primarily, Sicily. Its source was outside Italy. Two are suggested. One is an Arab influence deriving from the Muslim Middle Ages. The other Greece. My Greece!

Recall my writings several times in the past that I thought southern Italian cooking had a great Greek influence. It may have with the cassata.

Cassata existed even before the Roman empire. It was a favorite of Magna Grecia, the Greeks living in Sicily. The Greeks who immigrated to southern Italy to establish Greek bases of commerce. They intermarried and remained. Greek customs became established and blended with Italian ones.

Cassata is probably a blend of Muslim and Greek influence. Perhaps Greek alone. Besides the Italian cassata, there is to this day a Greek cassata. It is known as Greek cassata cake.

Celebrated Easter Sunday with Lisa and the family. Brunch at Lisa’s. A big ham and everything that goes with.

It was a last minute thing on my part buying the grandkids Easter baskets. Publix was closed. Walgreen had one. Note, one. A big one. $20. Very little candy. A lot of games. I had no choice. Bought it.

I thought Robert and Ally would be disappointed. To the contrary, they were overly excited. The games! They did not care there was little candy and they were glad to share the basket.

I did good! By accident.

I spent the afternoon working on tuesday’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Great topics. Some revealing. Like Catholic Church activity not founded in the Bible, world banks wanting water to be privatized, China becoming the most Christian nation in the world, America’s 5 per cent population world wide using 50 per cent of all pharmaceutical drugs, and more.

Took a ride to Smathers Beach later in the afternoon. Private enterprise has taken hold. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available to rent. White lounges with bright blue mattresses in a straight line as far as the eye could see. Reminded me of most European beaches where lounges and umbrellas are laid out in a similar fashion.

Conch Republic festivities began. Saturday the Queen Drag Race down Duval. In heels! Yesterday, Conch Cruiser Time. Cars and motorcycles painted wildly.

I mentioned yesterday some Italian friends who were celebrating the holiday at their Swiss type chalet near the top of Mount Santa Maria Maggiore in Italy. Twenty inches of freshly fallen snow!

What I did not know and learned after the blog had been published is that one does not drive up the mountain to the chalet. Cars are parked in a valley below. A cable car is taken to the top of the mountain. Cool!

Enjoy your day!




Happy Easter!

I love holidays. Things change as one gets older however. I miss my grandmother and mother’s Easter cooking. Especially the ghzzad (probably spelled wrong) and sausage pies. Easter foods. Heavy. Took forever to digest. So good, however!

I attached an Andre Rieu You Tube presentation on my Good Friday blog a few days ago. If you did not see and hear it, go back and do so. It is my Easter gift to you. Andre and his violin, together with the Nun’s Choir  with a rendition that may bring tears to your eyes.

I spent all day yesterday writing. Received a call about 5. It was Jenna. What are you doing? Lets go out. We did. Square One for dinner. It was catch up time. I do not see Jenna as often as I did. She is too busy with her television career.

I stopped at Don’s place after dropping Jenna off. Don and David at the bar. Don asked…..Where were you? Where was I what? The holiday dinner party at Hershel, Erika, Stan and Clare’s. Three smoked pigs.

I forgot!

Embarrassing, wow! More embarrassing when just at that moment Stan and Clare walked in. I told them the truth as I apologized. I forgot.

This seems to be Maggiore week. A couple of nights ago, I ran into Rocco Maggiore at the Chart Room. He used to live in Utica. This morning I received an e mail from Anna. She is spending the holiday on Mount Santa Maria Maggiore.

She is with her son Antonio, his wife Mariam, and their two children. Antonio has a chalet near the top of the mountain. Anna reports it is cold and there is 20 inches of newly fallen snow.

Enjoy the holiday!


My personal weather vane was working this morning. One hour ago I got up. The sun was shining. A relatively blue sky. But…..the wind was coming from the south. My palm trees were bending north.  Ripples in the pool were running north.Meant rain!

The weather report mentioned no south wind. Only a WNW one. Also, no rain.

It is now one hour later. It is pouring. Big time! My internal south wind barometer never fails.

Yesterday was fun filled.

Lunch with Robert and Ally. I decided on Burger Fi. They had never been. I told them we were eating cheeseburgers and french fries. They were game!

I know. I gave up on Burger Fi. However, thought I would give it another shot. I was pleased. The burgers were fantastic this time!

Robert and Ally agreed. They said…..Best cheeseburgers and fries ever! They are the experts!

I had a five o’clock visit with Dr. Mc Ivor, my heart doctor. The echo test I took a week ago came out ok. My heart problems had not progressed.

I worry about the aortic aneurysm. Mc Ivor worries about the aortic stenosis. He’s the doctor so I guess I should worry about what he does.

Went straight from Dr. Mc Ivor’s office to the Chart Room. I needed a drink.

Last night was one of the best times I have had at the Chart Room. Met some great people.

The Chart Room was quiet. Sheila, Emily, and another couple. We all started chatting. The gentleman was originally from Utica.

His name is Rocco Maggiore. Lived on Van Buren in Utica. He was with his friend Wendy from Central Square outside Syracuse. Rocco now hails summers from Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks and winters Jackson Hole. He labels himself a ski bum. Whatever, sounds like a good life. Almost as good as mine in Key West.

Rocco and I spent an hour sharing Utica and Utica character stories. We both knew or were familiar with the same people. It was a wild conversation! Sheila and Emily were wide eyed during most of it.

Rocco has visited Key West several times. He was leaving for Syracuse last night. Driving. I look forward to running into Rocco and Wendy again next year.

Rocco and Wendy left. David and Rhonda came in.

Another great couple!

David and Rhonda are from Birmingham. Alabama graduates. I was hoping Jean Thornton would pop in. Jean is from Birmingham and a die hard Alabama fan, also.

David is a retired hospital administrator. Rhonda works for a greeting card business. They have visited Key West several times. Rhonda made noises about perhaps settling here. They visit each year at this time.

Best yet, David and Rhonda read my blog! Love them!

I enjoyed their company. Hope to see them once more before they leave.

Where to eat? I could not make up my mind. Ended up deciding to go home and feed myself. As I turned the corner onto Route 1, I decided to stop at Marriott’s Tavern ‘n Town. Glad I did.

I enjoyed a small pizza and drink at the bar. Met a new Tavern bartender. Harmony. A lovely young lady. Said hello and chatted briefly with an old friend, Andrew.

Mike Emerson was playing and singing. He has been doing so at Tavern ‘n Town for four years. I enjoy listening to him. He came over during break and we had a terrific conversation involving Key West. Mike is a talent and nice guy all wrapped into one.

The Conch Republic Independence Celebration is about to begin. A week long event. The best part is the Great Naval Sea Battle next friday night. Weapons include marine grade toilet paper. Means biodegradable. Unfurling toilet paper rolls are bombs dropped by the Conch Republic Air Force’s bi-planes.

Since tomorrow is Easter, today is egg coloring. Love it! Always enjoyed it with my children. I am enjoying it a second time around with Robert and Ally. I hope to join them for the egg coloring. I am a kid at heart. It all depends on timing. Robert and Ally’s timing. They have become old enough to have schedules and I must fit into theirs.

Enjoy your day!



Buffalo’s Bob Saraceno is a blog friend. Yesterday he e-mailed an Andre Rieu You Tube piece. I share it with you this morning. What you are about to see and hear is emotionally moving, Enjoy it as part of the Holy Week spirit. Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, or whatever, God is God.

The singers are purportedly nuns. I am not sure. One site referred to them as the Nun’s Choir. They could be nuns. Today’s nuns are more commonly found attired in civilian clothes as they go about doing God’s work.

Sit back and take it all in! What you are about to watch and hear will make you feel good. Better perhaps than you have in a while.


Automobiles were big in the 1960s. Long and sleek. Sweeping rear fenders.

Ford came out with a new car in 1964. It was presented for the first time at the World’s Fair in Flushing, N.Y. It was called the Mustang.

The Mustang was small. Very small in comparison to other cars being manufactured. Low, also. The Mustang appeared to be part of the road it ran on.

The world went crazy over the Mustang! Everyone wanted one! There was a waiting period from order to delivery.

My sister Joan bought one. A convertible. I loved driving it! I could not buy one. Too small for the family I had by that time.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Mustang debut at the 1964 World’s Fair.

I spent two hours at the Pier House Beach Bar yesterday. Lunch time. I ordered breakfast. Ham and eggs. Read the newspapers.

A very lovely woman sat next to me to order a drink. We started talking. She came back two more times to talk. The last time with a bunch of friends.

Her name was Robin. A 40 year old nurse from somewhere outside Columbus, Ohio. A lovely body in a modestly brief bikini. Very little modesty.

I told her and her friends about the Chart Room. They were staying at the Pier House. They had arrived two hours earlier. They could not get into their rooms till 4. I suspected I would run into Robin last night at the Chart Room.

If she was there, I was not. I was exhausted at 6 when I finished my afternoon of writing. Instead, I made myself a sandwich and went to bed.

My afternoon was spent writing next week’s KONK Life column. The Catholic Church: Yesterday and Today. You will find it surprising. I had completed the research before yesterday. It took close to four hours to put the material together in column form.

Key West loves animals, fish, reptiles, any form of non human living creatures. Two events are scheduled reflecting such.

There is a pet stroll scheduled for April 22 at 5 pm. It starts at Mel Fisher and ends at the Westin Pier. It is a fundraiser for the Xena Fund. I hope Robert and Ally walk Jake. It will be a first for all three of them.

The Turtle Hospital is constantly busy. In January, a 140 pound loggerhead turtle was found floating and unable to dive. Obviously sick. The turtle was taken to the Turtle Hospital. Healthy once again, the loggerhead will be released back into the ocean at 1 pm saturday behind Salute’s. There will be a couple of hundred people watching, as usual. Always a big event!

Bocce tonight! I hope we win. This has been a tough season.

Enjoy your day!




If you live or visit Key West, it is difficult to escape the scourge of the fire ant. It is inevitable. You will be bitten. You will be attacked by several or a swarm at one time. Then comes the itching. And more itching. The white heads with black tops. It takes three weeks for the symptoms to disappear.

The place is an Amazon village somewhere in Bolivia. Two young men stole a couple of motorcycles. Their captors tied them to trees swarming with fire ants. Both ended up in the hospital. One in intensive care. The other required dialysis for kidney failure.

And we thought we had it bad!

Interestingly, fire ants originally came to Florida from South America. Most believe Bolivia. They immigrated in 1918 and then again in the 1930s on ocean going vessels.

Spent most of yesterday getting ready for last night’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. It must have been a good show. Immediately received several telephone calls following the show. Each caller appeared excited about what they had just heard. One call came from Milan, Italy. Another from Calitzdorp, South Africa. The others from the USA. The Italian and African calls came in the middle of their nights. I was impressed.

The telephone calls and comments that followed did not reflect a particular topic as the most interesting. Apparently each found the entire show to their liking.

If you missed the show, it is archived. Also on You Tube. Archived it can be found at You tubed under Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I am not sure last night’s show has been You tubed yet.

Prior to the show, I enjoyed a quiet dinner alone at Roostica. Reading the newspapers, of course.

There is a war going on in Key West. The War of the Plastic Chairs. At the tennis courts at Bayview Park. Rick Boettger has an excellent column on the conflict in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast.

This week’s edition of KONK Life hits the stands at 5 this afternoon. My first column under the caption Key West Lou COMMENTARY appears. The article concerns Muslim influence in what once was a sedate Sweden.

The columns are the same. Decided a new title was required. Over the years, the column had undergone a transformation. What started as legal observations slowly evolved into political and social commentary.

Enjoy your day!


Who would have believed? All of a sudden, limes are an expensive luxury. Do not expect them with your alcoholic drinks.

There is a shortage of limes.  A recent occurrence. Two reasons. A drought in Mexico. Plus, the Mexican drug cartel. The cartel is fighting for Mexican routes and roads. Limes cannot be safely shipped over the roads.

The price of limes has doubled and even tripled overnight. A case that cost $36 is now $110.

I learned of the lime problem last night. Jean Thornton, Merri and I were chatting at the Chart Room. Jean mentioned Captain Tony’s was no longer serving limes. She understood there was a shortage. My research discovered the rest.

There was a time when an attempt was made to grow limes in Florida. The attempt failed. Florida weather is too cold for lime growing. Additionally, diseases common to Florida vegetation did not help.

There is discussion of attempting lime growing in Florida again. Nothing definite as yet.

I finally was able to get into the art gallery I was not able to last week. Joy Gallery. It is located at the corner of Simonton and Eaton. A comfortable place inside. Chairs, couches and coffee. Free wi-fi. Come in and make yourself comfortable, even if you might not be buying. I suspect I shall be doing some of my writing from there occasionally.

The owner of Joy Gallery is Jim Wallace. Curator is the professional term. I enjoyed my time with him. He is a knowledgeable person.

Stop in and take a look at some of the fine pieces he is showing.

I lunched at Sloppy Joe’s yesterday. A thing I rarely do. I enjoyed lunch with the cruise ship people. A Sloppy Joe sandwich. What else!

I needed some groceries. Stopped at Publix. Apparently I needed little. The bill was only $42. I felt like I had made money!

Merri has been bartending at the Chart Room one or two nights a week for several years. Last night was her last night. Jean, Sheila and I were celebrating her departure. Yes, celebrating. Merri is only moving 100 yards down the walk way. To the Pier House beach bar where she will be working more days a week. More money and constant fresh air. Nil smoke inhalation.

Met Wally Miller in the Chart Room last night. Wally hails from somewhere in New Jersey. His nickname is Mayor. He has visited Key west before.

Wally, his wife and three other couples are staying at the Pier House.

Wally told an interesting story. He and his friends “steal” Key West menus. When home in Jersey, they try to cook certain dishes listed once a month.

It is Che’s birthday again! He is 81 today. Seems like yesterday we celebrated his 80th. Happy birthday Che!

Che sounds Cuban. He is not. Where he got the name Che from, I do not know. Che is a New York City Jew transplanted to Key West.

I briefly discussed neo-Nazism in yesterday’s blog. I was motivated by the Kansas City shooting by a neo-Nazi(s) at two different Jewish synagogues. Three persons were killed. I said the three were Jewish. Turns out one was. The other two were Presbyterians or some similar sect.

Two readers jumped on me in their comments. One said correctly that only one of those killed was Jewish. The other indicated none of the three were Jewish.

Whatever, I was wrong when I said all three. Mea culpa. I try to be careful and get the facts straight. Sometimes I do not. I am only human. I do make mistakes. I would suggest the Bible’s admonition…..Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

In defense, I offer the following. The national news media is always in a hurry to be the first out with a big story. Their facts are many times incorrect. Sometimes I only have those facts to deal with. I write that section of the blog when I read the news on the internet. When the blog is assembled, I unfortunately do not go back to check the facts. There is only so much time in the day. Occasionally, I repeat the erroneous information contained in the news report. As I did yesterday.

Please keep in mind this  is not a gotcha game!

My blog talk radio show tonight at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me. Interesting up to date material discussed. Sometimes with my personal take on the situation.

Tonight some information re the United States’ combat readiness, air pollution in China and France, the economy bringing down some big corporations, how Putin is gaining for his own bank account from monies recently being sent to Ukraine from the U.S., some things I did not know about the Catholic Church, Albuquerque police executing citizens, and more.

Enjoy your day!




I was in a thoughtful mood yesterday. My thoughts had to do with my life and Key West.

I discovered and started visiting Key West 26 years ago. Bought my home here 16 years ago. Retired to live full time in Key West 8 years ago.

My life has changed. There has been a total transformation over the years. I no longer dress. It is hard to remember the last time I wore a suit and tie. I do wear long pants (khakis or jeans) about six times a year when it is cold. I rarely know the date or what day of the week it is. I always wear shorts. Crocs, sandals or sneaks depending on the occasion.

Everyone else who has spent a number of years in Key West is as I am. A wonderful world!

I referred to Don’s Place yesterday as the adult playpen of the world. It is typical of Key West. Key Westers enjoy playing games. Just as when they were kids.

Yesterday was the 1st Annual Don’s Place Masters. Seventeen of us played before a huge crowd. The bar was packed! We putted on the bar floor into plastic cups. Not easy. Don’s floor is three different stages of concrete. The undulations were amazing. You could not see them. However, they were there. It was like putting on the closest cut greens ever. A light touch of the ball took you ten feet passed the cup!

The plastic cup holes had miniature flags on them. Hershel served as warden. He had signs saying Quiet Please. The whole scene was like for real.

We played 14 holes. The course was laid out with 7 holes. That is all there was room for. We played the layout twice. I had the highest score. Consistent with my life long lack of physical dexterity. I also attribute it to my age. I was the oldest person playing. Keith won. The spread between his score and mine was a city block!

I have been a Mad Men fan since the show’s inception some ten years ago. Last night was the first show of the new season. I was disappointed. As I was with last season’s shows. The story line has become boring.

However, credit must be given to the accuracy time wise of the presentation. It was around 1970. The accountants were taking over businesses, penny pinchers who knew nothing about a particular business running them. The sex. Wow! Women’s  clothes and hair perfect for the time.

The show brought me back.

Do we understand? What has been going on in Europe can easily cross the Atlantic and happen here. I refer specifically to protests and demonstrations and neo-Nazism. A body of water is no protection from what has been and is occurring in Greece, Italy, France and England.

We have experienced a touch of it in recent days.

There is Charles Bundy in Nevada. Apparently a man of principle. He opposed federal intervention re his cattle raising. Of itself, nothing to get excited about. What did concern  me was the 1,000 armed people who came from all over the United States to defend Bundy against the government. Militia men. Dressed in military camouflage uniforms. All carrying a weapon. All prepared to shot if the government took steps they deemed improper.

You wonder why gun rights have become so important in the United States. There are a sizable number in our society who do not trust government. They are anti-government as government exists today. They arm themselves in preparation for the day the government turns, from their perception, on them.

It almost happened in Nevada this past week. It did not because the government backed off. Whether correct, I have no judgment.

Then there is the neo-Nazi movement. Thus far primarily visible in Europe. Yesterday, in the United States. A group of neo-Nazis killed three Jews at two different Jewish Centers in Kansas City.

Does Kansas City represent the beginning of overt anti-Semetism in this country? Perhaps.

None of this is healthy. I sometimes feel as a nation we are teetering on the edge of a cliff. We must pull back. I am not certain it is possible.

Enjoy your day!


This is unquestionably the best season Key West has experienced in years. Tourists galore. Bicycles and scooters all over the place. Hotels and restaurants full.

Everyone happy! Everyone having a good time!

Hopefully, it will continue. Whereas twenty years ago, the season ended Easter Sunday, it now runs into June.

I have a concern, however. The market drop at the end of this past week may foretell coming economic problems. The more than normal world unrest does not help.

Dinner last night was at Square One. Square One is typical of Key West’s resurgence business wise. The place was packed! Happy laughing chatter throughout.

I had dinner with my good friends Tom and Fran Dixon from Buffalo. The meal was excellent. Tom and Fran excellent company. I was impressed to learn that they were at the Democratic Convention where Carter and Ted Kennedy were at war. They were sitting on the VIP podium an arms length away from both candidates.

The Key West Citizen carried an interesting article on the Vandenberg in today’s newspaper. The proud military vessel was sunk off Key West five years ago. It was intended as an artificial reef. Divers have been frequenting the Vandenberg since day one.

Time has been good to the Vandenberg. It was recently reported that the coral growth is much more than had been expected. Ten different types have been identified.

The Masters will be played in two places today. Augusta and Don’s Place. The Masters at Don’s Place begins at one. Seven holes. Putting only along the floors of the bar. Cups of some sort arranged.

Don’s Place has to be the adult play pen of the universe! I can visualize how the Masters idea was concocted. At the inside bar, of course. Don, David, and Hershel definitely. Maybe Scott and Nate also. Seated at the bar and indulging. Someone probably said…..we should do something for the Masters Sunday. After about two hours of dialogue, the concept for the first annual Don’s Place Masters was arrived at.

Guaranteed fun! I will be there with my putter!

Enjoy your Sunday!