POPE INNOCENT VIII, CATS, AND BUBONIC PLAGUE

Back better, but not there yet. Going to take a few more days. Lip the same. Black eye blacker.

Actually, I feel good except for the back.

I put together this week’s KONK Life column yesterday. Off and on. Could not sit in one position too long. I opted for lighter material. The world is heavy and my columns have been heavy lately. Enough. This week a bit of humor. The Minie Ball Pregnancy.

My bocce team did well thursday night. Won 2, lost 1. We are now 8-1 for the season. Best start ever!

Not only was I absent, so were Don, Norm and David. Don was in California for his sister’s wake. Norm had some minor surgery earlier in the week. David only was available for two  games. He had to be at work for the third. His company is doing some runway work at the airport which can only be done night time.

There is a Catholic archbishop in California raising hell with the Church’s position on such things as abortion, gay marriage, etc. The usual. He has imposed some severe rules on lay persons teaching in Catholic schools. Even those not Catholic. I view his actions a step too far.

Ergo, I was searching the internet for situations where the Catholic Church did something wrong which resulted in pain and suffering to many. I am not referring to the Inquisition which speaks for itself.

Witchcraft was in vogue from the 1200s through the 1600s. The Catholic cry was to get rid of the witches. They were the Devil’s representatives on earth. Good people were burned at the stake.

Cats got involved. Witches and cats go together. In 1232, Pope Innocent VIII declared cats diabolical, associated with the Devil.

That was it for cats. They were executed in large numbers. Very few, if any, cats were around for 400 years.

Cats are the #1 rat predators. Without cats, the rat population flourished. Rats were the ones that spread the bubonic plague aka black death.

It took 100 years for the effect of the slaughter of the cats to be felt. Europe experienced its first bubonic plague outbreak in the early 1330s. Three more thereafter. It is estimated 50 million died. The number represented 50-60 percent of the world’s population at the time.

All because a Pope assumed cats were evil.

Proof again that even the Catholic Church can err.

Enjoy your Sunday!

POST FALL DAY 3

From day one this blog has been primarily about my life in Key West. Since the fall has kept me home, my life is how I feel, etc. No bars, restaurants or dancing girls.

I now have a black eye! Started coming out yesterday. A beauty! I don’t remember the last time I had one. The cuts on the side of my eye still there. However, healing.

My back started hurting yesterday. I have had a bad back for years. Whether the fall caused my back to go out or it was just time again, I do not know. I do know it hurts like hell! Not sciatica this time. Pain confined to the lower lumbar region.

I bled the most from my lip. A scab remains where it was cut. I think the cut was good size. I cannot see it because of the scab.

I look like shit. However, I will be staying home so few will see me.

I am an expert on sore backs. Except for the sciatica one. A couple of Beefeaters has always helped relieve the pain. I am going to Beefeaters at noon. Two good drinks before lunch. Even if it does not relieve the back pain for a while, I am guaranteed to feel good.

I have no food. Called Anna. Gave her an abbreviated grocery list. She is picking things up for me.

Saturday night at home will not be bad. Syracuse plays Duke at 7. On ESPN so I will have no difficulty getting the game on TV. Probably enjoy a Beefeater or two during the game.

Duke is #4 in the country. Duke is a 14.5 favorite. I expect Syracuse to lose. I expected them to lose last week and they won! Who knows.

Years ago there was a movie about the gang that could not shot straight. The House of Representatives is a gang that cannot shot straight. They play politics with Homeland Security while we have threats of ISIS and soldiers being killed and wounded yet in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our country is disjointed. One solution is to vote the bums out who are playing games with our safety. Simple to say. Hard to accomplish. They are gerrymandered, locked in.

One further comment. Washington does not understand what is going on in the rest of the country. If they did, they would not be playing these games. Or, maybe they would. For some, the hatred for Obama is so deep they know no other way to legislate than to obstruct.

Enjoy your day!

POST FALL DAY 2

I appreciate the many comments expressing concern for my well being. They came from as far away as Thailand and Italy. Two suggestions had a common tread. One was drink more. The other get a cane.

An interesting observation. The blog has made us friends. Though few of us have met face to face, we have come to know and care for each other.

I felt lousy till mid afternoon yesterday. I would have assumed I would spend the day quietly reading and writing. I did neither. Felt blah! A bit uncomfortable.

Slept well last night. Woke in good shape. An hour after waking, I feel as I did yesterday when I spent the day in bed. It looks like I will be doing the same today.

Face a bit of a mess. Left eye and left jaw. Interestingly, no bruising.

The eye is decidedly swollen on the bottom side. The cuts longer than I thought. Two in excess of an inch.

The swelling has left my mouth. Two cuts. The one that bled the most, I cannot see. It is still coated with dried blood. I tried to take it off first with cold water and then warm. It would not budge and I was not going to push it.

As soon as I finish here, I am back to bed. It felt good yesterday and I assume it will today also.

Enjoy your day!

 

I FELL AGAIN

This blog is going to be short. I hurt all over.

Getting older is not without consequences. One of mine seems to be falling. Generally down stairs. The same way all the time. I miss the last step.

I was leaving Hot Tin Roof with Don. Missed the last step. Hit hard.

I was a mess. Broke my glasses. My face looks like I have been in a fight. Left eye swollen, going black, cuts on the side. Two cuts on the chin. Another cut on the left side of my bottom lip. My right knee with three large skin scrapes. My left knee immediately swelled.

Big time bleeding. Especially from the lip. Which is still swollen this morning.

I ache all over. It seems like every part of my body hurts.

It was fortunate Don was with me. A good man to have around if you get hurt. He helped me up. A difficulty under normal circumstances. He tried to wipe away the blood. However, it kept coming. Finally he covered the cuts with pieces of paper napkins just as you would with a piece of tissue if you cut yourself shaving.

I feel rough this morning.

I was not drunk. I was out from 5-9 and only had one drink. I drank diet Pepsi at the Chart Room earlier.

This will be a day at home. No haircut, no bocce. First, because I look like Muhammad Ali did me over. Second, because I ache all over.

Enjoy your day! I expect mine to get progressively better.

FOG DAY 2

Fog yesterday, fog today. Rare.

Why the fog? The reason given is that when moist air travels over warm water, it creates condensation which is brought onto the land by the wind.

One problem. There is no wind this morning. Absolutely none. My palm trees move not at all. The pool is like a mirror.

The fog this morning is thicker than yesterday. I can barely see the MTV house across the way.

I spent all day yesterday writing.

Last night was my blog talk radio show at 9. I was not surprised that the 3 teenage girls fleeing to Syria story was best received. Young ladies going over to ISIS to marry a jihadist and make babies has to be scary to all parents.

This week’s KONK Life hit the stands yesterday. My column consisted of my thoughts as to why young ladies find ISIS life attractive. Read it, if you can.

If KONK Life is not available to you, the column will appear starting this evening on Key West Lou. A top row description reads Key West Lou KONK Life Column. Click on it.

I have a new toy. ESPN streaming. Also known as ESPN 3.

Syracuse is not going anywhere this season basketball wise. The major networks have abandoned us. No one carries the games. We are relegated to ESPN streaming.

The Notre Dame game last night was the second Syracuse game in a row I have watched on my computer screen. Love it! Full screen. Clear and distinct. And for some reason, it appears I am closer to the game/action.

Syracuse not ranked. Notre Dame #9 in the country. Syracuse won 65-60.

My radio show interfered with my viewing. I was able to catch most of the first half. Then I had to stop to do the show. When I returned, there were six minutes left.

Worked for me.

Syracuse plays Duke saturday night. Duke is ranked #4. We are finishing the season against the big guys!

I received my royalty check and numbers for the last six months of 2013 yesterday. All of a sudden, the book is big in Canada. I do not know why. However, I am thrilled.

The World Upside Down is available on amazon.com and barnesand noble.com.

One of Key West’s most notable authors was Tennessee Williams. He resided on Duncan Street for roughly 40 years. He died on this date in 1983 in New York City.

Enjoy your day!

FOG AGAIN

When the sun came up this morning, there was a mild fog laying over the island. Within an hour, it was a heavy fog. Thick. It is now another hour later and the fog is lifting. Still out there, but drifting away.

About 3 weeks ago, Key West experienced fog on two different days. I mentioned how unusual it was to experience fog. Strange. Strange because it is not common to the lower keys.

Larry Smith was at his best last night! He was the speaker at Friends of the Library at St. Paul’s Church. Many in attendance. Twice as many as last week.

Larry served up a musical education. I learned some things about composing I never knew. Catherine sang some medleys which fit into Larry’s talk. I enjoyed!

Dan joined me for Larry’s talk. Wife Lisa did not. Their daughter and 5 1/2 month old grandchild are visiting.

Afterwards, we went across the street to La Concha for a drink. The bar located off the street has been redecorated. Strictly a wine place. Dan said there was another bar in the lobby. We had a drink there after which Dan left me to return to his grandchild.

I crossed the street and walked back towards the Gulf. My goal was the Hot Tin Roof. Streets crowded. People waiting in line outside of restaurants to get in. It appears to be a terrific season.

Today is tuesday. My blog talk radio show once again this evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Join me at 9 for a half hour of interesting and eye opening material.

Topics will include some background re the young girls running off to join ISIS, Home Land Security, Berwick, Pa. may soon have chickens running around like Key West, American people understanding, and more.

My diet. I have now lost 36 pounds. Not bad!

Two problems occurred recently. I got stuck at 27 pounds for 10 days and at 30 pounds for two weeks. My doctor says it was because my body discovered I was starving and was storing food. I guess I stopped starving each time.

I am not starving myself, though I am eating much less.

Syracuse/Notre Dame tonight. I anticipate Syracuse will lose. Notre Dame has an exceptional team this year. They are ranked in the top 10 nationally.

To the basketball gods, please let the basketball season end!

My home town is Utica, N.Y. The Adirondack mountains an hour drive away. I do not recall seeing any bears in Utica, though I did see many over the years when in the mountains.

I never considered the Florida keys as having bears, let alone a bear problem. This morning’s Key West Citizen reported on the problem.

Years ago, the bear population was decreasing in south Florida dramatically. The government made bears a protected species. Now Florida thinks there are too many. Estimated at 3,000. There have been four maulings recently.

The State says we are going to start hunting bears again, a few have to be killed.

I do not recall anyone ever having seen a bear in the lower keys. My recollection is that there might have been one or two seen in the mid keys. Whatever, a hunting we will go!

Enjoy your day!

 

LARRY SMITH TONIGHT

My friend Larry Smith is doing a presentation tonight. For the Friends of the Library. Six this evening at St. Paul’s Church. Besides being an overall good guy, Larry is an accomplished musician. He plays, composes and sings.

Larry’s talk will center on the types of music which influenced him as a musician and composer. The talk should be interesting.

Few are aware that Larry studied music in college. His first job after was teaching music at some school in a little hamlet in upstate New York. From there, he branched out into what he has become. A premier entertainer.

I spent my sunday writing. All day. First the blog. Then several hours composing this week’s KONK Life column. Young Ladies Join ISIS.

The column was motivated by the 3 young girls who are on their way to Syria to join ISIS. Each wishes to marry a jihadist and have babies. The girls are 15, 15 and 16. My article centers on the factors causing them and other young ladies to run off to Syria to experience such a life.

Keith stopped over later in the day. There were a few little things to complete in my bedroom. I must say…..The best bedroom I have slept in!

I have watched the Academy Awards my entire life. Always enjoyable.

This year I had a bit of a problem. I had only seen one of the nominated movies. American Sniper. Some winners were strangers to me. I do not get out to the movies much any more. Though I do watch many on television’s movie channels. Generally old films. Most of the stars dead and gone.

The History portion of this morning’s Key West Citizen has a 1960 picture of then sheriff John Spottswood and Harry Truman. Spottswood later became a state senator.

I never knew the man. However, I have known for more than 20 years his son Robert and Robert’s wife Elena. Two of the warmest people in Key West. Both moving forces over the years in developing Key West. Each getting things done.

Enjoy your day!

 

KEY WEST TREE COMMISSION

Key West has a Tree Commission. Not strange. Key West has a commission for everything. Talk about mini managing!

The Tree Commission came into being in 1971. It’s sole purpose at the time was to stop the paving of green areas. Since that time, the Commission’s power has grown. Today the Commission regulates all kinds of trees on public and private property. Things like branch removal, crown cleaning/thinning, and crown reduction.

Is the Commission a good thing? I do not know. What I do know is that every time a friend has received a letter from the Tree Commission, he/she was upset. Very upset!

I went to Don’s Place at noon to watch the Syracuse/Pitt game. I knew I could not get it on my home TV. Don’s Place could not either. Toni helped looking for channel numbers. The bartender was helpful. However no Syracuse/Pitt game.

I returned home immediately. I do not enjoy day time drinking.

My recollection told me the game might be available on the internet. It was. I sat at my desk and was able to enjoy 3/4s of the game.

I was impressed with watching the game on the internet. For real. You can get the picture to cover the whole screen. It seemed I was closer to the action than on TV. By at least 50 percent, crazy as it sounds.

Syracuse lost 65-61. Defense fair. Offense terrible. A continuing problem. Syracuse has difficulty getting the ball in the basket. Cooney scored zero points. His back was out . You could see it. He took very few shots. Normally he plays the entire game. Not last night. Probably less than half.

I am anxious for the season to be over.

Long Time TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford was in the keys yesterday. Tavernier. Kathie is also a wine producer. She was at the Winn-Dixie signing bottles of her Scheid Family Wines. More than 1,000 in attendance.

I misspoke when I said she was in the keys yesterday. She actually spends much time in the keys. She and husband Frank have a home in the Key Largo area which they have enjoyed for years.

I finished reading Maria Laurino’s The Italian Americans.

The first half was fascinating and informative. The second half not so much as I was somewhat familiar with the events covered.

Two new things I learned from the book. Both deplorable.

In the late 1800s, mob lynchings of Italians was common in New Orleans, Tampa and the south generally.

I knew that during World War II, those of Japanese descent were interned in camps for the duration. I did not know that Italians and Germans were also. They were interned and/or restricted.

Those who were interned were Italians who had lived in the U.S. for many years but had not been naturalized. Others were merely restricted. Which meant they could not go into certain areas and down certain streets. They were subjected to a curfew and were required to carry papers identifying themselves.

Joe DiMaggio’s parents were restricted for the entire war. Even though Joe and his three brothers all fought for the U.S. in the war.

Larry Smith is a dynamo. Loved by everyone, though frequently criticized. A musical entertainer of much talent.

Tomorrow night Larry is the featured speaker at the Friends of the Key West Library. The event is at St. Paul’s Church at 6. Larry is going to talk about the kinds of music that have influenced his career as a pianist and composer.

Go! Larry is always enjoyable. I plan on being there.

The sun is out and shinning. Key West is in for a second consecutive day of warm weather. Somewhere in the mid 70s.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

SIBERIAN EXPRESS GONE

The Siberian Express has left the Key West station. Hopefully not to return this year.

Last night was not one to go out. Cold!!! I did.

The temperature will return today to 76 degrees.

Supposedly Jenna and I were to meet at Tavern ‘n Town at 7:30. I got there at 7:20 and waited till 8:45 when I reached her on her cell phone. She thought it was for 7 and left at 7:15 thinking i had forgotten. How could I forget an evening with Jenna?

I said I would drive into town and pick her up. We would go to the Hot Tin Roof. I drove home first to get a jacket. I had gone out with only a sweater. I parked in the Marriott parking garage and had all of 50 feet to walk to the entrance. However the walk to the Hot Tin Roof would be longer from where I would park.

I hurried home to get my trusty leather jacket. A 15 minute trip. It was just after 8. I thought why hurry downtown and then walk in the cold to Hot Tin Roof. I called Jenna and told her we would not be going out and why. She understood.

I ate oatmeal and watched TV. My exciting saturday night in Key West.

I have never seen Tavern ‘n Town as crowded as it was last night. Another sign the season is in full swing. The bar was four deep. The wait for a table an hour.

My time at the Marriott was enjoyable. Met Audette and Darrell from Atlanta. They had just arrived for the weekend at the Marriott. We had a nice chat. Darrell attended Syracuse, also. When they were early married, they lived together in Syracuse while Darrell was going to school.

Audette proudly told me about their daughter Erika who lives in Chicago. She does a blog, also. A food blog.

I suggested some places to go. One was La Te Da after 10. Told them about Debra and Patrick. They were going to try it last night.

Some quick observations.

Forty eight years ago this month, David Wolkowski started building the Pier House Motel. The beginning of what today is  The Pier House, one of Key West’s premier venues.

There is a cohabitation law in Florida. Has been on the books for decades. Two unmarried people cannot cohabit. A misdemeanor. A bill was introduced this week in the Florida Senate to repeal the law. You would think it would pass in a rush. Not so. Florida is ultra conservative. The bill was before the Senate in 2011 and failed to pass.

Gasoline has risen in price 25 cents a  gallon in the past two weeks. Still cheaper than last year. However the upward creep worries me.

The media was talking yesterday about the three American girls who have gone to Turkey and will soon enter Syria. Two are 15 and the third 17. Their goal is to marry ISIS fighters. What is the attraction? What is the motivation?

Yesterday was D-Day for Greece and  the Eurounion. One had to blink. The Eurounion did. The Eurounion extended the euro loan for four months. They had no choice at the end. If Greece walked away from the table, all Europe would enter one of the largest recessions ever.

I am curious as to what happens in four months. In the end, Greece cannot lose. The recession hangs over the Eurounion’s head.

Syracuse/Pitt today at noon. I hope I can get it on my home TV. Syracuse a 4 point favorite. Pitt beat Syracuse earlier in the season.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE WEATHER

Number one news item the past few days unquestionably has been the weather. The whole eastern side of the U.S. is experiencing abnormal weather. Even we lucky people who live in Key West.

It dropped to 49 degrees during the night. Cold! I repeat something I have said before…..I need a woman to sleep next to me. It has been suggested, if not a woman then a dog. Who knows?

It is 53 as I write this morning. The high will probably be in the mid 60s. Today and tonight only minimally better. Saturday, a return to normal. The projection is for 76 degrees.

A cruise ship was required to avoid Key West yesterday because of high seas.

Bocce last night was played in a freezer. Not a refrigerator. It was 55 degrees. Blasts of cold weather were constant off the Atlantic. The coldest I have been in Key West.

I dressed for it. Long pants, a shirt and socks. Plus my leather jacket. The jacket is worn and old. Purchased it more than 20 years ago. Took care of the upper body. Not my legs and head. I was wearing a hat.

I discovered my body warmed up when I was playing.

We won all three games. We are now 6-0 for the season. A terrific start!

Good friends on the other team. Angus and Brenda from Schooner Wharf and Nate from Don’s Place.

My mind went back as I was sitting at bocce. Probably because of the cold. I remembered when I was young. Like 7 or 8 years old. Every time I got out of bed in the morning, the wood floor was freezing cold. My father would dramatically reduce the heat at night.

I was required to wear long johns in the winter. Clothes dryers were not invented yet. Or perhaps we could not afford one. So my mother used to hang the wash outside on the clothes line to dry. When taken in, the log johns were stiff as a board. Visualize it. From the waist to the ankle, flat like a pancake and hard. Cold, of course. I had to push and repush with my feet to get the long johns on.

Diana Nyad still in Key West. A welcome guest! She is performing in a one woman show which covers her life with emphasis on her successful swim from Havana to Key West in 2013. The show opened last night and continues through sunday.

Jenna tonight. We are having dinner together.

Enjoy your day!