WHATEVER LOLA WANTS / DAMN YANKEES

There is always background music at WeBeFit. I suspect to take one’s mind off the pain.

As I was leaving the gym monday, I heard…..Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. From my college days!

This has been a music week. First, Don’t sit Under the Apple Tree and now, Lola. Music from the past. The distant past.

Lola was a featured tune in the Broadway musical and then movie Damn Yankees. I saw the movie. Unfortunately, not the stage show. Gwen Verdon  starred in both and sang Lola. Lola has something to do with the devil. A sultry woman, a sultry tune.

My blog talk radio show was last night. Because I screwed off monday, my show was not ready. I had to work on it quite  awhile yesterday to be ready for last night.

I opened with the Detroit water problem. I had spoken about it last week. Last night was an update. A detailed one. More facts had come out during the week. I was able to explore the nitty gritty.

A key factor is the unfairness involved. The water company is pursuing the little guy and not the businesses who owe. Anyone owing more than $150 or behind two weeks is pursued. Their water turned off. Only residential properties. Most of which are occupied by persons of color.

Many businesses also owe money. At least one auto company. Two businesses owe in excess of $1 million. A golf course over $200,000. The brunt of the money owed is from businesses and not residents.

When those in authority were asked why only the residents were having their water turned off and not the businesses, the reply was simple and stupid. It was claimed that a resident’s water ccould be turned off easily. Lift a small outside door, turn a switch and attach a wire. No special training required.

To turn off a business on the other hand, requires much more work. Purportedly complicated. Required special training which no one at the water company had.

Does not make sense to me. Go after the big bucks! Get yourself ready to do it! Do it!

Detroit came up this morning on Morning Joe. It was like many on the panel were not that familiar or were hearing about the issue for the first time. Mika said we will have to get into this tomorrow. I am discovering the live TV talk shows are generally a day or two behind in reporting an event. Whereas, the internet is right on!

The gym again this morning. I am into the scene. Though I dread it.

Enjoy your day!

 

LAZY DAY

Started my yesterday with the gym. Nothing different. Grueling. I get through it by saying to myself…..Louis, this is the best thing you have done for yourself in years!

My plan for the rest of the day was to work on tonight’s blog talk radio show. My preparation was 70 percent complete. However, I could not get going. I did not seem to care. I just wanted to take it easy. As Howard Livingston would say, I was in Key West time.

I did nothing. Which means I have to do it today.

I went out for dinner last night. Geiger Key. Glad I did. Very few customers. Quiet and peaceful. Sort of went with the mood I was in. I enjoyed my time there.

I mentioned yesterday Phoenix’s Wally Collins won the Hemingway Look A Like Contest. Further mentioned that it generally took 10 years of participation before a person became a winner. Not in Wally’s case. He has only been participating 6 years!

When I went to bed, the sky was a bit overcast. Looked like it might rain. It did. Poured! Wind howled! I went out on the deck this morning. My deck chairs are blown all over and toppled. They are heavy. Had to be a strong wind.

Lisa and family were returning from the grandparents who live somewhere in northern Florida. About an 8 hour drive. The car died in Florida City. The family, including Jake, spent the night in a motel. They are hopeful they can get the car repaired and get back on the road today.

It was party time for Robert and Ally. Pizza delivered to the room. I am not sure what Jake ate.

Tonight, my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine in the evening. One half hour. Fast moving and interesting. Revealing. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Topics will include why the recent epidemic of police brutality situations, CIA owing Michigan more than $20,000 of employee withholdings for state income taxes, a real expose re the Detroit water problem, what happened to the 219 girls abducted in Nigeria, Microsoft to lay off 18,000 in the next 12 months, Muslim honor killings up, RJReynolds hit with a $23 billion jury verdict, Venezuela now taxing air (you read it correctly), and more.

If you are unable to listen this evening, the show is archived immediately. Additionally it is now available on my Key West Lou Facebook page every day.

Enjoy your day!

 

TOUCHES OF KEY WEST

The Hemingway Look A Like Contest ran well into the evening saturday night. At Sloppy Joe’s. 131 contestants. Wally Collins, a Phoenix restaurateur won.

I do not know how many years Collins has been a contestant. The word on the street is it takes at least 10 years of participating before anyone is seriously considered. My friend Hank from Melbourne has been trying for 21 years. Has not made it yet!

Hemingway and Key West go hand in hand. He lived in Key West from 1931-39. Wrote To Have and Have Not and A Farewell to Arms while here. Worked on parts of other novels.

Tennessee Williams was another outstanding writer who made his home in Key West. From 1949-83, he lived at 1431 Duncan Street. One and a half blocks from where Lisa now lives. While visiting and not yet having settled in Key West, Williams wrote a first draft of A Streetcar Named Desire. He wrote it in 1947 while staying at the La Concha Hotel on Duval. The La Concha stands to this day.

During the Civil War, Florida seceded. Key West however remained in Union hands. The Union had a naval base and military personnel here.

A Conch today is a person who was born in Key West. A much respected designation. Those who came here to live but were not born in Key West, and have resided in Key West for seven years, are known as Freshwater Conchs.

The term Conch has a far deeper history. The first Conchs were persons of European ancestry who immigrated from the Bahamas. They came in increasing numbers beginning in the 1830′s.

By 1889, Key West was the largest and wealthiest city in Florida. The salt and salvage businesses though good were starting to decline. Cigar making was on the rise.

Key West was isolated prior to 1912. No railroad or highway. Water the only access. In 1912, Henry Flagler completed his railroad to Key West.  Flagler’s Overseas Railroad. Much of the railroad was destroyed by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935. It was never rebuilt.

US 1 was completed in 1938. A highway connecting Key West with mainland Florida. Called the Overseas Highway.

The one person close in Key West fame to Hemingway is Harry Truman. Truman spent a total of 175 days over a course of 11 visits while President. He stayed at a part of the Naval Base which is now Truman Annex. The building was known as the Little White House. It is now listed on the National Registry.

The Naval Base was first established in 1820. It remains to this day. Spread around and significantly smaller. At its strength, it had 15,000 military and 3,400 civilian personnel.

Cruise ships first docked in Key West at Mallory Square in 1984.

Key West is reputed to be the southernmost point in the United States. Close, but not actually. Ballast Key which is a privately owned island to the south and west of Key West is the southernmost point.

Cuba is a mere 90 miles from Key West. Closer than Miami which is 155 miles from Key West.

Hurricanes are always a concern. Yearly. Generally in the fall months. Though some on occasion a bit earlier. Wilma in 2005 and Georges in 1998 were the two worst hurricanes in recent years.

Hope you found these bits of information interesting.

Enjoy your day!

 

RUNNING OF THE BULLS

Yesterday was the day! The running of the Bulls! An integral part of Hemingway Days.

Over a hundred Hemingway look a likes gathered on Green Street. White pants and white shirts. Red berets. Red sashes around the waist.

The bulls not for real. Though they did look ominous. Made of wood. On wheels.  One Hemingway look a like riding and a dozen others pushing and pulling.

I don’t know why, but I love this part of Hemingway Days the best each year.

Last night was Tavern ‘n Town and Bobby Nesbitt. Sat quietly alone at a corner of the bar, read the newspapers, enjoyed a drink and had something to eat. All the time humming away to whatever Bobby was singing.

Manager Judy there again last night. Does a good job. The Marriott Beachside is a first class hotel. Top shelf dining a must. Judy helps supply it. Her dining room precision run.

I was hit with some nostalgia last night.

I was driving to Tavern ‘n Town. Had the radio playing. It was on Sirius station 4. Music from the Forties. The tune…..Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree. Don’t laugh. Songs with such names were popular back then.

It was during World War II that Don’t Sit Under the Apple tree was a hit tune. Around 1943. A popular radio show was Your Hit Parade. Saturday nights at 9. The top tunes of the week were sung. My father bought sheet music. Just the words. My mother, father and I would sit in the living room with the radio on. No TV back then. We would sing a long with the songs being sung on the show.

Snooky Lanson was one of the male stars. Strange, I remember his name. Even at 8, I sensed something was wrong with the name Snooky.

Frank Sinatra was one of the show’s performers. But only for a while. He was just merging as a popular soloist. He screwed up the words to the #1 song of the week. Don’t Fence Me In. Another one of those titles! The show fired him. How stupid! Little did they know.

The show was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes. Most adults smoked back then.

James Garner died yesterday. A great movie star. He was in his mid 80s. I enjoyed his movie and TV work. Our lives closely paralled age wise. I enjoyed him all my adult life.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

HEMINGWAY EVERYWHERE ONE LOOKS

Getting out of the house yesterday started with a mid afternoon appointment with Dr. McIvor, my heart specialist.  I was almost an hour late. McIvor said you should not have worried…..it took me 45 minutes to get in from the hospital!

The Boulevard construction has us totally screwed up. Now only one lane each way into town. Yesterday’s problem was at the triangle at the end of US 1 and the beginning of Key West. They were rewiring and otherwise working on the triangle. Police trying to help. Directing traffic. It took me 40 minutes to travel 2.5 miles. From where I enter onto US 1 at Key Haven until I reach Key West.

Part of my examination was my blood pressure. The nurse took it. It was high. To be expected! Took it 15 minutes later and everything was ok. McIvor said I was in good shape…..see you in 3 months.

It was well after 5 by the time I left the doctor’s office. Headed over to Don’s Place. Enjoyed time with Jimmy and Joanie, Erika and Hershel, and Grant.

My next stop was downtown. Duval! I wanted to see how Hemingway Days was doing.

Everywhere I walked there was a Hemingway. More than 130 are entered in this year’s contest. There was one or more in every bar and on the streets. Sloppy Joe’s had quite a few holding court.

Hemingway was a bit of a drinker. Quite a bit. He also was a bit paunchy. Today’s Hemingway Days activities  besides drinking include two athletic events. A 5K race and a paddle boat race. Not Hemingwayish.

Most of the contestants actually look like Hemingway. Not just his famous beard. The paunch!

Today is the actual look a like contest. Sloppy Joe’s at 1. Today also the famous Run of the Bulls. A sight to see!

Soapbox time again! Something is bothering me.

The 50,00 plus children who immigrated here. Washington is not doing enough. The Republicans are bucking the President. In the meantime, the children are in a downward spiral situation. Katrina all over again.

Don’t believe me. Go to the internet and search through the many photos appearing of the children. A picture does say a thousand words. We should be ashamed!

Illness is creeping in. Some of the kids are not getting proper physicals or follow ups. More children will get sick. What ever the bugs, they will find their way into our lives.

We need a better system/organization to deal with the situation. Obama’s $3,7 billion request would help.

My grandfather came over from Italy at the age of 12 around 1910. Alone. He never knew his parents. He grew up alone on the streets of Naples. When he arrived at Ellis Island, he had some communicable disease. Typhus, I think. Though I am not sure. Ellis Island had a hospital. My grandfather was hospitalized for three months before he was permitted to enter the United States.

The 50,000 plus children are living in makeshift facilities without proper care. There are those trying to help. Trying soon will not be enough.

I became aware that Florida is starting to receive some of the children. The Governor and his people are concerned. About communicable diseases.

Today is the anniversary of Don’t ask, don’t tell. Clinton put it into effect in 1993. I thought he was crazy at the time. He was avoiding the issue. I have since changed my mind. He was correct. He sensed the country was not ready to accept gays. His program turned out to be a bridge to today. Smart guy, that Clinton!

Tomorrow is the anniversary of man stepping on the moon. July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong. I shall never forget. The greatest happening in my 79 years.

Enjoy your day!

SOMETHING I DID NOT KNOW

I long ago realized that no matter how much I have learned about Key West, there is always more. Yesterday, a new discovery!

Captain Tony’s was once a morgue. In fact, bodies may still be lying around under and in the walls of the building. For real!

The building was erected in 1851. It was an ice house and the Key West  City morgue. Makes sense that in that time a morgue would be located as part of or very near an ice house.

There is a tree inside Captain Tony’s known as the hanging tree. So named because executions took place by hanging from the tree. I am not certain, but probably because the tree was located within steps of the morgue. Seventy five people were hung from the tree.

Ice found its way to the building from New York City. Sailboats loaded with bananas would travel to New York. The return trip found the boats loaded with ice for Key West. The ice had been removed from frozen lakes north of the City.

Key West got hit with a pretty bad hurricane in 1865. Corpses stored at the morgue went flying. All over Key West and the ocean. Only one body was returned. It is claimed that body lies buried in the pool room area of present day Captain Tony’s. The body was buried with bottles of holy water which were built into the wall.

At some point in time, a new foundation was being layed. The bodies of 16 pirates and one woman were found. How they were determined to to be the remains of pirates, I do not know. It is claimed the woman resides in the building to this day. She is a ghost. Generally remains in the ladies room. She has occasionally been seen floating around the bar area.

Sometime in the 1980s, repair work was being done. The old plywood flooring was ripped up. The skeletal remains of 8-15 people were discovered. Plus a grave marker with the name Elvira on it.

Hanging behind the bar today are the skeletal remains of a body. The bones are very aged. Brown in  color. It is assumed the skeleton was one of those found during the 1980s renovation work. The grave marker is now incorporated into and exposed in cement in the room where the pool tables are located.

The number of bodies discovered over the years amazes me. I always thought a morgue was an in and out place. Apparently the morgue staff was burying the bodies within and around the building itself.

Over the years, the ice house and morgue went. Other businesses moved it. The present day Captain  Tony’s was home to a wireless telegraph office, a cigar factory, a house of ill repute that also provided gambling and bootleg rum. Sloppy Joe’s Joe began operating his first bar out of the building in the 1930s. During the time he and Hemingway were friends. In 1958, Captain Tony bought the building and opened Captain Tony’s Saloon.

For additional and perhaps more accurate information, I suggest you take a Ghost Tour. Captain Tony’s is  one of the stops.

I became aware of what is contained herein yesterday for the first time. I was researching something else involving Key West on the internet and found some information which led me to the morgue story.

To verify my findings, I went to Captain Tony’s last night. I occasionally stop. Never paid attention to bodies or anything of that nature.

I saw the skeleton behind the bar for the first time. I probably saw it before, but it never registered. I walked the pool room looking for the Elvira grave marker and the place where one of the hurricane bodies was buried. I found neither. I looked through the room next to the pool room. Nothing. The ladies room was off limits so I could not check for the ghost.

I wanted to ask a bartender about the things I could not find.. However, the place was packed and I was lucky to even get a drink. Another time.

Enjoy your day!

CHART ROOM LAST NIGHT…..HEMINGWAY AND OTHERS

I wrote of Peter Anderson yesterday morning. Indicated he was ill and things did not look good. They were not. Peter passed away yesterday. Key West has lost one of its finest citizens and a most loved neighbor. May he rest in peace.

I started my yesterday with a gym visit. The first in ten days. Albert was waiting for me. The hour was grueling, especially since I had been away so long.

While Albert was abusing me, we talked about the children immigrating from Latin America. Albert shared an observation I had not considered. Imagine how bad/desperate things must be for parents to send their children off alone to the United States. How they must have scrapped, borrowed and perhaps stolen the $7,000 necessary to pay a coyote.

For two reasons. First, to make sure their children avoided the death and rape that might confront them if they remained at home. Second, for the better life America promised.

The Republicans in Congress make me sick. Almost to a person, they are opposed to the help the President wants to provide. Senator McCain was on television this morning saying in effect…..Put them on planes and send them back!

There is a child problem ongoing in South Sudan. Children are dying daily of malnutrition. A humanitarians crisis. Money needed from all over the world to help these children. The United States is doing its part. Last week, we sent $22 million. Total sent by the United States this year $456 million.

Where did this money come from? Was it part of a House bill? Was it appropriated? If we can help these kids on a foreign shore, why can’t we help the children who have made it to our shore?

It is all politics. Disgustingly so.

Dinner was with Lisa last night. The grandkids are away visiting their other grandparents.

Stopped at Don’s Place afterwards. Quiet. Chatted with Randy. Met a new person. Ann Marie. Lovely. Just got hired to work the outdoor bar at La Te Da. Good for her! A great job!

Then to the Chart Room for what turned put to be a big night.

I was supposed to meet Sheila. She was there. As was David, Jean Thornton and granddaughter Paris, and several others.

Friends Hank and Pat from Melbourne. I met Hank for the first time last year. He comes to Key West each year to participate in the Hemingway Look A Like contest. He has been doing it for 21 years. He is still waiting to win. Don’t know why he has not. He looks like Hemingway!

Dianne was back. Have not seen her in a year. She is a good friend of Sheila’s. Dianne is an artist from Champagne, Illinois.

A fellow sat next to me at the bar. There was an empty seat between us. He had white hair and beard. Looked like Hemingway! No question about it. I asked if he was in the contest. He gruffly said yes and then ignored me and everyone else, except for an occasional word or two with Emily. A most impolite individual. I hope he loses.

Billy and Cindy Schott showed up! Great people! Friends from Texas.

Billy and Cindy married in Key West in 2011 on Smathers Beach. They visit Key West frequently. This trip they are here till the end of August.

Billy has an interesting job. Something to do with college football and TV. His title is Big 12 Conference TV Liason.

Billy and Cindy know everyone. On the drive down to Key West, they stopped to visit their friend Kyle Chandler. I knew nothing of him, had never heard his name. Chandler is an actor. Has several featured roles in movies and television under his belt. He is presently starring with Sissy Spacek in the new television series being filmed in the upper keys. The show’s base of operations is Islamorada. Where they met up with and spent some time with their friend.

It was a big night at the Chart Room.

Enjoy your day!

 

PETER ANDERSON

A busy morning yesterday. Started with some scheduled heart tests at Dr. McIvor’s office. Then a manicure with Tammy. Finally an 11 o’clock business meeting downtown.

Spent a bit of time in the afternoon reviewing my notes for last night’s Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Dinner was at the Roostica bar. Chatted with the lovely Megan.

Showtime at 9. My blog talk radio show. Enjoyed doing it. I was disturbed about many things and vented. Things like the 52,000 children and China wanting to buy most of our American Fortune 500 companies.

Peter Anderson is sick. His condition reportedly serious. The cancer returned. He is bedridden and Hospice is attending him. Peter is the Secretary General of the Conch Republic. A major contributor to Key West history and folklore. Pray for him.

I continue to be concerned for the close to 300 girls who were forcibly removed from their school in Nigeria. Their captors said they were to be sold into slavery. That was three months ago. Nothing heard since. What has happened to the girls? Is anyone still looking for them?

Key West Citizen’s this Day in History section notes that on this day in 1941 Joe Di Maggio hit in his 56th consecutive game. Quite a feat! A record that stands to this day.

I met Joe Di Maggio twice. A privilege. Especially the second time.

The first occasion was in my home town Utica. Rufie Ventura owned a restaurant. Ventura’s. Each summer he sponsored a charity golf tournament. Joe Di Maggio would attend. He and Rufie were friends. I met Di Maggio at one of the tournaments.

The second time was years later. Di Maggio was long retired. I had finished playing a round of golf at La Gorce in Miami. I was sitting at a table with several La Gorce members after the game having a drink. We were in the Men’s Lounge. Di Maggio was a member at La Gorce. He came in and sat with us. He knew the others. I was introduced. I spent the next hour enjoying his company and graciousness.

I return to the gym this morning at 11. It has been 10 days since my last visit. Albert just telephoned to ask if I was going to appear. I was happy to say yes. I fear I am going to be extra sore after the workout because of the time I have missed. All for good health!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

PLUMBING PROBLEM

I am late in getting the blog to you this morning. Sorry. I had a series of heart tests scheduled. Worry not. I am ok. Merely part of a periodic check up.

The plumber came yesterday morning. Mark. Works for my friend Frankie who was nowhere to be found when I needed him. He and Sandy are frolicking in New York City.

Mark and a helper arrived. I explained the problem. My two kitchen sinks and one bathroom toilet were regurgitating at the same time. Included was the sewer smell.

Mark took a few minutes to look things over. Then kept repeating what a problem, what a mess! I became overly concerned. Got to take the toilet out, he said. More concern.

What ever the problem, he had it resolved in less than an hour with no mess. Mark is one fantastic plumber!

Don and Chris. Dear friends. Love them both. From the Syracuse area. Visit Key West 3-4 times a year. We are close.

I received an e mail yesterday from a Christine Maxam. She wanted to know Dan and Lisa Riordan’s e mail address in Skaneateles. I could not figure out who Christine Maxam was. Never heard of her.

In any event, I wrote to Don and Chris and asked if they knew the Riordan e mail address. Don wrote back that it was Chris who wrote me originally asking for the information. Christine Maxam is Chris of Don and Chris.

They had a good laugh! I felt like an ass.

Dan and Lisa. If you read today’s blog, e mail me so I have your address. E mail Don and Chris directly if you know theirs.

Dined at the bar at Tavern ‘n Town last night. Frankie Thomas singing.

Chatted a while with Judy the manager. She does a terrific job running the place. I want to thank her for her kindness to me last night.

Tuesday again! Time for my blog talk radio show. Tonight at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Join me. Guaranteed you will enjoy.

Topics tonight include what I perceive will be a screw up regarding the 50,000 plus immigrant children, Walter Lippman’s Indispensable Opposition, a Colorado marijuana update, my opinion that corporations that give up their American citizenship and become citizens of another country to avoid taxes should not have the right to contribute monies to American political candidates, China’s serious offer to buy all of America’s Fortune 500 companies, and more.

An interesting and exciting evening ahead.

Enjoy your day!

 

CHEERS KEY WEST STYLE

I love politics. Without question. Governmental and social issues have become my forte. I am happy it has occurred. Over my Key West years, the internet show, TV show, blog talk radio show, and KONK Life column have created this monster in me that enjoys speaking out. I almost forgot. Also, the book I wrote.

For many years, I have been of the opinion that Key West should have a Cheers type TV show. Generally regarding political and social matters. There is genius undiscovered in Key West. My words fall on deaf ears. No one envisions what I see.

There are two bars where untapped genius can be found. Don’s Place and the Chart Room. My vision is a camera at a corner of Don’s outside bar. Then a group drinking and chatting for three hours. Edit the time down to one half or an hour.

The comments elicited would blow your mind! The humor factor.

I seek the political and social, also. There are inquiring minds at Don’s Place. People like Hershel and Jimmy. I love talking politics and world events with these guys. Both are extremely and surprisingly knowledgeable. Jimmy is a house painter and Hershel an engineer of sorts. Both a bit left of center.

The Chart Room is another story. A great venue for a show. However, I prefer Don’s. There is less seriousness at Don’s Place. In any event, I doubt the Pier House would permit a politically engaging show to be performed on its premises.

I enjoy chatting with my local friends at the Chart Room. Emily can be tough, Sheila loving, David right on, Che opinionated.

My friends would provide the flavor. There are other minds that would make the political jargon challenging. It is the tourists. A good number are from middle America. Politically they range from conservative backward to tea party mentality. Most however conservative. Rock hard Republicans.

I enjoy chatting with them. I try to ease the conversations into politics to see how others think. They are happy to share. I have one problem. The middle country folk always seem to repeat Republican speaking points. I rarely find deviation.

I have only met one tea party person. At least, I think so. He was crazy! Enough said.

If anyone out there has any interest in my Don’s Place concept for a show, let me know. I would love to get such a show off the ground.

Hemingway Days start tomorrow. One of my favorite Key West events. The Hemingway look alikes. Some 125 strong. And the running of the bulls, Key West style. The bull run is saturday afternoon.

Me thinks I have a black cloud over my head. The car last week. Last night, my kitchen sinks and one of my toilets started working in reverse. I needed my friend Frankie the Plumber. Nowhere to be found. He is somewhere in New York City. After about seven telephone calls, I was able to track down one of his men. Mark or Pete. I cannot remember for sure. One of them will be here this morning.

Which means…..no gym again. I missed last week and will be missing this morning. Makes me unhappy. My routines will be more difficult when I return.

Enjoy your day!