FRIDAY NIGHT IN KEY WEST

I finally felt good yesterday. Slept well the night before. Got over the tiredness feeling.

The weather has turned. Humidity has arrived. Three or four days ago. It will now be humid through the end of September. Not bad yet. The humidity will increase with August and September being the worst months. Those two months are like living in the snow belt up north in the coldest winter months. Just opposite.

Ran some errands in the afternoon. Stopped at Don’s Place to visit. Enjoyed a diet Pepsi and chatted with those drinking stronger brew.

Got all spiffed up for last night. Even shaved.

My first stop was Louie’s Backyard. I seem to have added it to my places to have a drink recently. A beautiful spot. Boring last night, however. Very few at the bar. One drink and I was on my way.

The Chart Room was next. A big friday night!

Emily bartending. Witty as usual.

Sheila and David there. I was happy to run into Sheila. It was the first time I had seen her since her brother died. After Sheila left, David and I sat at the round table and talked about all sort of foolish things.

I met Dan and Sarah. Locals, though we had never run into each other before. Dan an old friend of Sheila’s. They both drove Conch trains at one time. Dan now tends pools.

Sarah a charming person. She is a nurse in the emergency room at Lower Keys Hospital.

As I as standing at the corner of the bar waiting to pay my tab, I started chatting with the gent on the stool next to me. His name, Ken. A retired New York City police detective. Worked narcotics. He had a slew of pictures in his cell phone which he showed me with him and thousands of pounds of cocaine he had helped capture.

I would have enjoyed spending more time with Ken. Unfortunately, he leaves to return to New York today. Perhaps next year.

Took a quick look at the Great Sea Battle from the deck of the Pier House. It was winding down. The last of the toilet paper bombs unfurling.

I decided on wings at Kelley’s for dinner. The walk over was uneventful. The season is over. Though Duval was crowded, it was not anywhere near as crowded as in season. I could walk without getting knocked around.

I was shocked as I walked up Caroline. The Brazilian steak house Braza Lena was no more. In its place was a fishery. Appropriately named Keyviche Seafood Eatery. The place was crowded. More so than when it was Braza Lena.

When did Braza Lena close down? When did the new place open? Why the change?

I was unaware of the closing/opening when they occurred. Don’t know how I missed it. I read the Citizen every day and hear the talk on the street. Neither brought the matter to my attention.

I checked the change on the internet. Could come up with nothing definitive. I have a feeling the operation may have the same owners with a different menu.

Jimmy Weekly is a Conch through and through. A for real one as well as an individual that has always had at heart the best for Key West. Jimmy owns Fausto’s. World famous Key West grocery stores.

Jimmy has been a Key West Commission member and active over the years in community affairs. He is outspoken. I rarely agree with his views. However, he always believes he is correct and moves forward undauntedly with an idea.

Jimmy recently had a quadruple bi-pass. He is at home recovering. I wish him well.

A Key West generation is passing. The torch slowly moving into other hands.

The thought occurred to me when I saw a picture in this morning’s KONK E-Blast of Kate Miano at Peter Anderson’s grave site. Peter’s ashes were being entombed. Kate was dressed in her Conch Republic uniform. Peter had been Secretary General of the Conch Republic.

Home made backyard gun ranges are legal in Florida. Someone in Big Pine has one. He practices his shooting there.

An attempt was made to stop him. To no avail. The law was on his side.

Sounds sort of wacky to me to have a gun range in the backyard. But such is Florida law. A bill has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives to place some limits/safeguards on backyard ranges. I doubt it will get anywhere. Florida political leadership is much like that of Texas. Tough guys, don’t tread on me types.

Enjoy your day!

 

GREAT SEA BATTLE TONIGHT

The Conch Republic Celebration continues. Tonight…..The Great Sea Battle. One of the best experiences Key West provides.

The battle will take place off the Ocean Key deck. Pirate ships, Coast Guard vessels, Conch bi-planes and Navy Jets participating.

Conch Air Force members will drop rolls of toilet paper as bombs from the bi-planes. You have not seen anything till you see the toilet paper unfurl as it falls.

Conch Republic pirate ships will shot at the Coast Guard vessels using hoses of sea water. The opposing ships will toss ammunition at each other. Wet Cuban bread, lettuce heads, ripe tomatoes, etc.

A fun time!

The event raises a point of interest. The pirate wenches are attired in bikinis. Bikinis by their very nature are skimpy and revealing. Even more so when wet. Will those certain puritanical Key Westers complain as they did with Fantasy Fest?

Physiotherapy yesterday. Tiring. As bad as when I tried to climb the volcano on Santorini.

I have had physio over the years for very ailments/fractures. None affected me energy wise. What I am presently doing does. Big time! I am wiped out after one hour.

I suspect learning to balance by standing on one foot contributes. First with my eyes open. Then closed. My feet on soft squishy plastic that makes it even more difficult.

It may very well be because I am not physically fit. I let my self go over the years.

Bocce last night. We won 2, lost 1. Should have won 3. The result still ok, however.

My friend Larry Smith. One off Key West’s finest musicians. An entertainer! Larry is performing next friday evening, May 1, at The Studios of Key West. The show’s marque  reads…..Larry Smith…..His Music-His Visions-His Friends.

Sort of a history of Larry’s musical exploits. A walk down memory lane.

More than two dozen performers will join him. Among them, Kathleen Peace, Peter Diamond, Skipper Kripitz, and Larry’s very talented wife Christine.

Reunion time, also! It has been several years since Jenna Stauffer and Larry have appeared together. Back when, they co-hosted an internet show. Jenna will be co-hosting the Studios event with Larry.

I plan on attending. You should also.

This week’s newspaper column Drought and Water Profiteering published wednesday in KONK Life. It appears archived as of yesterday on my Key West Lou Facebook page. Read it. An eye opener as to certain greedy groups who are and will be benefitting from water shortages. You should know who they are.

Enjoy your day!

KEY WEST SECEDES

Even in this day and age, secession is a part of our political diatribe. My recollection is Texas was the last state to threaten secession. Governor Perry so announced on one of his soap box days a couple of years ago.

Secession was on the mind of Key West this day in 1982. The U.S. Border Patrol had done its damage and was to be tolerated no more. A group of Key Westers visited the roadblock at Florida City and announced Key West would tolerate the situation no more.

Key West seceded. The Conch Republic was born.

I had an early morning visit with my dentist yesterday. My implants were implanted no more. The problem was as I thought. Two screw caps had worn down. They were replaced and voila!, it was as if nothing had occurred. Took all of five minutes.

I can remember dentist visits back in time. As far back as the late 1930s. Dentistry was brutal in those days. Dentists hurt! Each visit was with fear and trepidation.

As with Virginia Slims…..Dentistry, you have come a long way baby!

I rested most of yesterday. Monday and tuesday had left me tired.

It was back to Louie’s Backyard for drinks last night. The weather was perfect.

I was heading for a small table near the end of the bar. Someone had a huge black dog. He jumped at me. Suddenly. Scared the hell out of me. Fortunately, he was on a leash. Fully extended, the leashed dog and I were inches apart.

I did an immediate about face and headed for a table at the other end of the deck.

Then to Ibis for dinner. I was in the mood for stone crabs again. Ibis’ stone crabs were much better last night than they had been a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed the meal.

Big day ahead! A haircut this morning, physiotherapy this afternoon, and bocce tonight. Amazing how in retirement the mundane becomes important.

Enjoy your day!

 

RAIN BARRELS

Good morning!

I am up extra early this morning. Implants screwed up yesterday. I have a very early dental appointment for repair work. A twist and turn of a small wrench here and there, and all should be well.

California has present day water problems. A drought. A big one. Key West suffered a drought 12-15 years ago. Water rationing rules went into effect. The community supported the effort and did the necessary. Like only watering lawns two days a week at specified times, washing cars only one time per week, etc.

The Key West rationing took hold. Some still practice water conservation to this day. One practice is the use of rain barrels.

Rain barrels collect and store water for yard irrigation and car washing. The process saves on water and sewer bills.

A Monroe County agency is conducting a rain barrel making work shop Sunday at Bayview Park at 11 am. Where to get barrels, how to build one, how to collect and store water, etc. The barrels hold 55 gallons of water..

My dear friend Sheila Cullen got into the rain barrel thing several years ago. She attended a class, put together a barrel, etc. Sheila lives in a third floor/rooftop condominium. She has an extensive outer balcony. To go along with a green thumb. Sheila grows all kinds of vegetables. The garden watered by her rain barrel.

California would do well to learn from Key West and Sheila. One reason California’s problem is as large as it is involves time. California waited too long to get a hand on the problem. They let the problem get away from them. Key West and Monroe Country recognized the problem early and went after it.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. An out of normal issue captured the most interest. Chimpanzees. Hercules and Leo are two chimps held captive and used for research purposes at a State University of New York campus. An animal rights groups claims chimpanzees are legal persons. So deemed because chimpanzees are autonomous and intelligent. A Manhattan Supreme Court will decide the issue.

Do not laugh. Recall that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a corporation was a person. At least chimpanzees live and breathe.

My column this week is Drought and Water Profiteering. The article publishes today in KONK Life. Read it, if you have the opportunity. It is an eye opener as to who will profit from California’s water shortage.

Enjoy your day!

A BUSY MONDAY

I left for Miami at 7 yesterday morning and returned at 10:30 last night. A busy day. The Volkswagen was in need of a 10,000 mile check up.

After dropping the car of at DEEL Volkswagen on Bird Ave., I had four hours to kill. I was directed to Meeker Center, a 10 minute walk. Meeker is a first class lovely three story shopping mall. All the big stores. Like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Tiffany. Lovely restaurants here and there.

Meeker was an interesting experience.

Attire. I was dressed Key West style. Shorts, shirt and crocs. No one wore shorts. Forget crocs. I was a stranger in my own country. Men wore long pants, some jackets. The women all dressed neatly and attractively. The six inch heels blew me out. I discovered flats are also in this year for women.

I looked out of place.

I rarely get off the rock, as we say. As I walked through Nordstrom, it struck me I have purchased new clothes rarely the past 10 years. Not needed if you live in Key West. It is a new tee shirt or two and an occasional pair of shorts.

I was taken by the sport shirts, then shoes and finally sport jackets. The tee shirts started at $98. Sport shirts were in the $150 range. Beautiful shirts! Shoes! Wild! I can not even wear leather shoes in Key West. Yet I spent at least an hour looking at them. From $200 to $600.

I used to visit Tiffany frequently on business trips to New York City. Generally to look, not to buy. I got to do it again yesterday.

I was wearing a three day beard.

People fell all over me trying to take care of me. I suspect they thought I was a rich eccentric.

From the heights of affluence to reality. I stopped at a Walmart on the way home. Bought some tee shirts, sport shirts and shorts. All for much less than one sport shirt at Nordstrom would have cost.

Walmart will soon have a store on nearby Rockland Key. It will sell groceries also. I walked around the food section checking out prices. Walmart had everything. Prices very low. Key West’s Publix and Winn Dixie will not be able to compete. They will have to lower prices to do so.

On the way back to Key West, I stopped at the Islamorada Fish Company for stone crabs. Broke my diet. They were delicious! The best!

Everyone was dressed like me.

Monday’s E-Blast carried an article re the Waterfront brewery remodeling. The property is city owned. It is being remodeled for the two tenants who will be occupying. A brewery and restaurant.

My concern is with over costs/over runs. Everything Key West does construction wise, involves the taxpayers getting hit with additional costs for alleged unexpected problems. The brewery thus far has run into two. An additional cost of $64,000. Not much, but more.

Over costs seem to occur on every type construction Key West is involved in. Sometimes in the millions. I never ran into this situation in other areas. Key Wet calls them unexpected. I call them a series of screw ups by the city in not properly investigating and/or discovering the work initially.

Key West never seems to learn.

My blog talk radio show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me for a hard hitting half hour. I rip the scabs off!

Tonight’s topics will include more on the California water drought. More than merely running out of water. Who are the real culprits and the unaware pain that occurs.

Also, Florida climate change and Governor Scott, more on police quotas, Greece soon to leave the Eurounion, the euro falling against the dollar meaning cheap European vacations this summer, and a tiny country most have never heard of that is making a ton of money as the new place to wash dirty money.

The show can be found on the internet at www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

UP EARLY

Today’s blog a minimal one. I am up early. I will be driving to Miami for the Volkswagen’s 20,000 mile check up.

I am not looking forward to the trip. It is up to Miami and back in the same day.

Sunday by day was spent writing this week’s KONK Life column. Drought and Water Profiteering. It publishes wednesday. Very revealing.

Spent a couple of hours at Louie’s Backyard watching the view and chatting with those around me.

Dinner was at La Te Da’s outside bar. Duck.

Enjoy your day.

ELIEZAIRE

I was having dinner at the Hot Tin Roof last night. A gentleman at a nearby table kept smiling at me. He looked familiar. I could not place him. He finally came over.

It was Eliezaire!

I know Eliezaire from my Yacht Club days. He was part of the Yacht Club staff. It was good to see him again.

We know someone for many years and yet know little about the person. Such it was with Eliezaire. As we talked, I learned he worked only one night a week at the Yacht Club and has been doing so for 10 years. His primary job is at Ocean Key. He has been an engineer at Ocean Key for 18 years. An excellent track record! Originally from Haiti.

Eliezaire was having dinner with his family. I went to his table to meet them. His lovely wife Erica and his three daughters. His son was not with them. Eliezaire and Erica’s daughters absolutely beautiful! Two were excited to meet. The third apprehensive. Like….Who is this guy?

I finally caught up with Jean Thornton. She was at the bar with Eddie. We exchanged big hugs. A mutual admiration society.

Jean had mentioned in Facebook yesterday that she was in her cow costume riding over to the Cow Key Bridge Run at 8:30. The race was not till noon. She was there early because she was working the event, in addition to later participating.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I never made the race. It suddenly became too much work to go out early in the day to walk 300 feet.

This morning’s Key West Citizen has an excellent article and photos of the event. More than 1,000 participated. Most cow look alikes. Ingenious costumes. Dogs participating also.

An utter here, an utter there run.

The Seven Mile Bridge Marathon was yesterday, also. It had 1,500 participants. The Cow Key Bridge event is only in its second year. A 1,000 turn out is excellent. It also shows how crazy Key West is! Any excuse for fun. We are all children at heart.

Stopped at the Chart Room before dinner. Chatted with Vic and a couple from Virginia.

My day was spent at home researching this week’s KONK Life column. It concerns the California water drought. Interesting. Tons of material. One portion will have to do with those who are and will be making big dollars off the suffering of others. It seems to have become the American way.

The bocce rankings are in the paper. We are still in third place. This week’s two losses did not alter our standing. Other near competitors lost also, which kept us in third place.

Key West is into the Conch Republic Celebration. Two of today’s events include a musical breakfast this morning at Smokin’ Tuna and a Conch Cruiser Show at Schooner Wharf this afternoon. Never a dull moment in Key West!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

CHARLOTTE IS BACK

I generally can be found at the Chart Room at cocktail time. Last night was different. I did not arrive till 9:30. Emily was shocked to see me.

I am glad I decided to stop in for a late night drink. Seated at the bar was the lovely vivacious Charlotte. Charlotte from the Carolinas. Charlotte who has lived on a boat for years. Charlotte worked for United Health Care. I used to beat her up with my United Health Care complaints.

The same Charlotte who is and has been in love with Skip. Skip is well known to Key West. He is a premier radio announcer and entertainer. Charlotte was with Skip at the bar.

Turned out they were visiting Key West last night. Sort of. Skip is now affiliated with an Islamorada radio station. They are living in Islamorada. Charlotte is looking for a job. She has an interview monday with the local Chamber of Commerce.

Charlotte runs. A marathon runner. Travels all over the country to participate. Oh, were I she. My body would look terrific.

A month from now Charlotte is running in a 50 mile marathon. From Marathon to Key West. She figures it will take her about 12 hours. It would take me 12 days! I admire her.

Prior to my Chart Room visit, I went to the movies. Saw Woman in Gold at the Regal Cinema. An excellent movie! I recommend it. Helen Mirren was her usual outstanding self.

I had a distasteful experience before the movie started. Buy pop corn, soda and candy was on the screen. I was chatting with the person next to me. There were a total of six of us in the theatre.

All of a sudden, I hear a voice yelling at me. A gentleman two rows behind and on the other side was upset that I was talking. I was talking quietly. However, apparently too loud for him.

I turned around and immediately apologized. He continued his ranting and raving. I politely said I apologize a second time. The guy would not stop. I was ready to say…..Asshole, go f–k yourself! I bit my tongue instead and turned around. He kept mouthing off another 30 seconds.

There is poetic justice in this world. Just before the movie started, about 10 ladies of senior vintage came in. They sat in two rows ahead of the bellower. They talked from the minute they sat down and throughout the movie. Bozo said nothing. He was screwed!

Lunched at Geiger Key. A beautiful setting!

Gasoline prices perplexed me. The Shell station on the boulevard was $2.75 per gallon. The Shell station at Key Haven $2.80. The Shell station at Geiger Key $2.65. Does not make sense.

Sheila Cullen’s brother died. Sad. Sheila is in Indiana for services. I feel bad for Sheila. I can’t wait for her to return so I can wrap my arms around her for a few moments.

The casserta I received is becoming a problem. I love the stuff! It is killing my diet, however. I ate it three times yesterday.

The casserta received was huge. I have only consumed 25 percent so far. I intend to freeze the rest to make it more difficult for me to get at it.

Today is memorable in history. On this day in 1942, Doolittle led American bombers over Japan. Our first significant retaliation of World War II. A dangerous…..you might not return…..type mission.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

COW KEY BRIDGE RUN

Two marathons tomorrow.

One is the Seven Mile Bridge run. A 7 mile marathon.

The other is the second annual Cow Key Bridge Run. The Cow Key Bridge is the first a person crosses on US 1 after leaving Key West. The bridge is 300 feet long. For those who might not have the physical dexterity to make the seven mile run. It is also for persons of good humor. Those having a Key West mentality.

At the mid-point of the bridge (150 foot marker), there is a water station. The run starts at on the Marriott side of the bridge. Runs north til the end of the bridge. It is anticipated all participating will finish. In good time. Well under 5 minutes.

Pets with Humans lead off the race. Followed by the Walking Cow Stampede, the rest of the runners.

At the end of the race is located the Hurricane Hole. Runners will receive the first beer free.

Registration for the race is being held this afternoon at the Green Parrot. The race is a charity fundraiser. Tee shirts and # bibs will be available. Registration tomorrow morning at the race site also.

Record time is 25 seconds. Some are committed to beating it tomorrow.

Only in Key West!

My yesterday began with a physiotherapy session. Tough! However I can see where it should have benefit. I was exhausted once again afterwards.

I followed physio with a manicure at Tammy’s. I had difficulty staying awake as she did my nails.

Bocce last night. I knew it was going to be tough. We won 1 and lost 2. I played the first game. We were down 13-5. We came back. Not enough, however. Lost 16-13. The second game was a disaster. Lost 16-1. We won the third game 16-5.

The breeze across the bocce courts was terrific. Especially over the court we were on. Court #1. Two hundred feet off the Atlantic.

I received a surprise yesterday. A friend up north read of my love for casserta. Italian Easter cake. Lisa made a vanilla one for Easter which was delicious. The one I received was chocolate. It arrived packed in hot ice.

The casserta was my lunch. Not good for the diet!

Enjoy your day!

BANKS AND WATER

Water is the oil of the 21st century. Water is not only a U.S. problem, it is a world wide one. Demand is constant and growing as the world population increases. Supply is limited. More so with every passing day.

There is another reason for my water/oil observation. It has recently been reported that banks are buying up water sources world wide. Banks are pigs. Guaranteed the price of water will gradually increase as the cost of oil did in the 20th century!

It is amazing how this blog and readers tie up. I mentioned yesterday running into Stevie at Publix. Stevie was bartender at the Wine Galley for years. John from New Jersey forwarded a comment…..”As I recall, Steve the bartender used to get up and sing Cry Me A River when Larry Smith was at the Wine Galley.”

Memories. Unfortunately, the Wine Galley is no more.

A quiet dinner at the bar at Tavern ‘n Town last night.

Bocce tonight. It is getting tougher!

We are tied for third. We play the team tied with us for third. A war!

The Florida keys are running out of telephone numbers. Commencing sunday, area codes must also be used when placing a call. Even if local. The area codes are 305 and 786.

Big race saturday! A marathon! Saturday morning the Seven Mile Bridge will be the scene. From one end to the other. At last count, 2,100 had signed up. Probably many more before race time saturday.

It has to be hard to run the Seven Mile Bridge. Sun glaring off the water and concrete. No shade anywhere.

The police problem confronting us is not going to go away easily. The police are geared up. They believe they are correct.

There is a bill in the Florida Senate soon to be voted upon. It mandates that videos taken in private places and/or involving medical emergencies and deaths can only be obtained with court approval. And if the judge thinks the video would cause harm to reputation of anyone in the video or reveal personal information, the court can deny approval.

The proposed legislation will keep the public in the dark where excessive police force is used.

What is happening to us? Where did our country go wrong?

I have to hustle. Physio this morning.

Enjoy your day!