The weather was magnificent yesterday!

I started my day with a long walk along the waterfront. White boats, large and small, meeting the eye. A stimulating sight!

Later I lunched at Paradise Cafe. I was sitting outside reading the papers when the usual company appeared. Chickens! Specifically a rooster and a hen. All of a sudden one of the Paradise staff appeared with a large water gun and started spraying them. Of course, the chickens took off!

The gun is a child’s toy. About 18 inches long. And like all toy water guns, merely emits a small shot of water. Nothing special. Nothing different than what my grandkids play with. He told me they had purchased it for $1.75 at K Mart. Made sense. The purpose was to rid the property of the chickens.

Good luck!

Those 2 may have run off. However the neighborhood and all of Key West is loaded with chickens. I think all he experienced was a momentary victory!

Then to Borders. I was excited. I figured the Scott McClellan book would be in and I could start reading it. Not yet! I was told maybe today or perhaps Monday. So I started reading Richard Clark’s book covering basically the same topics.

Clark’s name is being mentioned these days in relation to McClellan’s book. Clark left Bush’s staff early on over the Iraqi war. He was severely criticizied for his comments at the time. Even McClellan as Press Secretary had some nasty things to say about him.

It is true however that what goes around, comes around! McClellan now is the one being criticized by the Bush people. McClellan and Clark ran into each other the other night. McClellan apologized to Clark for the comments.

All very interesting! Being the political junkie I am, all this stuff going on intrigues me.

Dinner last night at the Yacht Club with Merle and Susan. A good time!

Merle and Susan are from Stuart. They have a second home in Truman Annex. Merle is an economist. Makes his living as an expert witness in lawsuits. Susan is a psychologist.

Afterwards I intended to go directly home. However my wife wanted to stop at La Te Da. So we went to La Te Da.

We spent time there with good friends Donna and Mary Jo. Mark Watson joined us at our table. Mark is a celebrated singer and professionally a drag queen extraordinaire. He generally performs upstairs at La Te Da.

My wife and I even danced. A big night! Reminded me of the Frank Sinatra line in Chicago “…I knew a man, he danced with his wife, in Chicago my home town!”

Today will be exciting. I am anxious for the Democratic Committee to start its meeting at 9 am re seating the Florida and Michigan delegations. I will be glued to the TV set till it is over!

I hung out at the house yesterday morning. Did some paper work. Sunned myself. Read.

I had a 1:00 pm meeting of the Key West Symphony Board. It was at the Westin’s Bistro Restaurant.

I arrived precisely at 1:00. Everyone was finishing their lunch and the meeting was in full swing. The meeting was scheduled for noon and had begun at noon. Was I embarassed!

My dear friend Howard Livingston of Mile Marker 24 fame wrote a song containing these words: “I’m getting in Key West time…” That I am!

Sebrina Alfonso is the Director of the Key West Symphony. Actually she is the driving force behind the Symphony. In ten years she has brought it to a position of prominence and excellence. A difficult job. Sebrina has performed well both in front of the audience and behind the curtain.

One of the other Board members is Diane Schmidt. A lovely person inside and out!

Diane is the General Manager of the Westin. A big deal! She is a local girl who made good! She and the Westin are major supporters of the Symphony.

The thought just occurs to me that Sebrina is a local also. Here are two women who are shining stars on the Key West scene!

I stopped at the Yacht club last night for a couple of drinks. Talked golf with some of the members. I find it interesting that no one talks boats at the Yacht Club. Everything but.

Then to Kelly’s for wings.

The place was empty. Only 8 pm. No one at the bar and only about 3 tables with people. It is obvious the season is over!

I was home to bed and TV. The political junkie in my nature is having a ball! All this stuff about the Scott McClellan book!

Golf was an ordeal yesterday! We played in all type weather!

Normally about 12 guys show up to play. Yesterday only 5. The rest were too smart!

It had poured earlier. It was lightly raining as we teed off. It poured while we played.

Poured does not adequaely describe it! It came down in heavy buckets! It happened twice, 2-3 holes at a time.

You have to understand that those who play golf under any weather circumstances in Key West consider themselves real men. Testosterone types!

I must be one or I would not have palyed yesterday

And then the rain passed. The sun came out. And it was hot! Blistering hot!

The humidity was thick!

I never was so glad to finish 18 holes!

The 5 nuts who played were Larry, Yankee, Roger, Bud and Louis.

In spite of it all, I won some money. Not as much as the $15 of last week. But I walked away happy!

And tired!

Iwent home, climbed in bed and slept all afternoon.

Rain, rain, go away! Little Louis wants to play!

It has been pouring all night. Today is Wednesday. Golf day!

Yesterday was dentist day!

I survived on soup and coffee for 3 days so I would not damage the portion of the cap remaining. I knew from prior experience the dentist needed something to bond onto.

The first time the dentist blew air on the tooth, the balance of the cap dropped off. So much for my diligence!

So what I had anticipated would be a 20 minute visit turned into 2 hours of turmoil! I am being fitted for a new cap. Have a temporary in place. Return in 2 weeks for the permanent one.

I could not wait to go out to dinner last night. I could eat! And eat I did at Antonia’s.

Enjoyed dinner at the bar. Seated nearby were Marty and Captain Peter.

Marty is a court stenographer who has a home in Miami and an apartment in Key West. He is here week days taking depositions for attorneys.

Captain Peter is a Key West icon. Tall and stately. Bar handle moustache. White hair. British or Aussie accent. Distinguished appearing. However he does not operate a boat. Though he looks the part, he does not play it. He has sat at the same corner of the dock in front of the Conch Republic for years selling tickets for a sunset sail. Nevertheless he is known throughout Key West as Captain Peter.

Following dinner I was off to the Pier House for Larry Smith’s woman’s night. Madge Johnson was the featured vocalist.

Madge’s successful singing story is typical of the Larry Smith saga.

Madge is a school teacher by day. She now is also a professional singer by evening.

About 10 years ago Madge was one of the Larry Smith fan club. As I presently am. When he is playing, I go to watch and hear. One evening Larry cajoled her into singing. He sensed her talent. He thereafter worked with her, boosted her confidence and is responsible for the voice quality and professionalism Madge now has.

Madge also sings in the choir at St. Paul’s with Mary Deasy. At one point Mary joined Madge for a duet. They made beautiful music together!

I must have invoked the gods! The rain has stopped! I am off to golf!

The weather front is still upon us. Nothing bad! Really good!

The temperature has dropped from the mid 90s to the mid 80s. Humidity is at a bare minimum. There is a strong breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean. Actually a stong wind! It is the this air off the Atlantic which has cooled things down.

All of which meant I was freed from the Home Depot yesterday!

I walked instead on Smathers Beach which runs along the Atlantic. I took full advantage of the stimulating breeze!

Yesterday was Memorial Day so I could not see a dentist. I hope I get into one this morning. I am very self conscious about the gap in my mouth.

Also because of the dental problem, I did not eat normally yesterday. I am fearful of breaking off what is left of the cap thereby preventing a simple bonding to repair it. So it has been soup and coffee for me!

I stayed in the rest of the day avoiding the public!

However last night I had enough of staying in. Had to get out! Last time I was out in town was Friday. Baby sat Saturday. Stayed home Sunday because of the tooth. 72 hours of no fun would be too much!

I opted for dinner at the bar at LaTrattoria. Only soup. And a couple of drinks, of course!

Then to La Te Da. Bobby Nesbitt plays on Monday nights.

There was a good crowd of locals to see and hear him.

Mary Jo, of course. How she does it, I do not know!

And realtor Martha Robinson. A lovely lady and good friend. Martha confuses me. She once was married and had children. Then she became a lesbian for many years. Last year she switched back to men. Now she does both. Confusing is the proper word! I love this lady!

And the list goes on. Including Garden’s Hotel owner Kate Miano, female impersonator Randy Roberts and the charming Vera Schiff.

Wonderful people! A wonderful performer! All made for a great evening!

If you are interested, I spoke rarely. Kept my mouth shut. Smiled a lot. And no one was aware of my deformity!

What a beautiful day to wake up to!

It rained last night. First time in 47 days. For all of 5 minutes!

However there is some sort of front which is upon us. There is a strong wind. The water is moving rapidly with small whitecaps evident.

The temperature projected for today is in the mid 80s as opposed to the mid 90s we have been experiencing. A cold wave!

Yesterday was Sunday. Breakfast with the grandkids at Camille’s. Always a fun time!

Then to Lisa’s home to watch Meet the Press. My daughter Lisa and her husband Corey are political junkies also! The fruit does not fall far from the tree!

I was having lunch at home when one of my caps broke. I lost half of a front tooth. All that remains is the white gold post. Except that the white gold post is dark gray!

Respectfully, I look like a homeless person who has not seen a dentist in many a year!

This is a holiday weekend. How would I get a dentist? So I am stuck looking like this till Tuesday at least. Which means my vanity will not permit me to leave the house!

I read. I am into Virginia Senator Jim Webb’s book A Time To Fight. Good reading. The book provides excellent insight into Webb’s motivations. He would make a good Vice Presidential candidate to Obama. A Vietnam veteran, he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy under Reagan. He is a thinker also! I enjoyed observing the operation of his mind, his thought development, his rationalizations and justifications.

Since I was stuck home, I decided last night was a good time to watch the HBO special Recount, the story of the 2,000 Presidential election. The only problem, and one of which I was unaware, is that my expensive cable hook up does not provide HBO! Life sometimes sucks!

It was an early night to sleep.

Today I am going to walk. However I am going somewhere where I will see few people and no one I know. I do not wish to open my mouth!

I filled my gas tank the other day. $71.00!

My sports car requires premium/high test. I paid $4.20 a gallon. Regular was around $3.95 a gallon.

Yesterday regular was $4.20! A $.25 increase in only 2 days!

The question no longer is what is going on. We know what is going on. We are being ripped off!

No one seems to be doing anything about it.

And I fear that we as a people do not yet really care! We talk a good game. We complain. But that is about it!

There are 2 major gas stations at the same intersection in Key West. One had regular yesterday at $4.20 and the other at $4.04. A $.16 per gallon difference!

The more expensive station had 6 cars pumping gas and the cheaper one only 1.

You explain it!

Big night last night! The start of the Memorial Day Weekend!

That means an influx of tourists to Key West for the weekend. Festivity in the air. Good for the tourists! Good for the merchants!

Dinner was scheduled for 7:30 at LaTrattoria. Donna was to meet my wife and I at the bar. Not Donna the barmaid. The other one.

It was 8:30 before Donna showed up. She was unreachable by phone. I was concerned. I thought either Mary Jo had died or some sudden tragedy had befallen Donna. None of the preceding. She overslept! After working starting at 6 am and all day, she lay down for a nap and never even heard the phone!

Anyhow, we were happy to finally see her! Also hungry! I had already had 3 drinks too many while waiting!

Besides Memorial Day, Key West is celebrating Cuban Heritage Weekend. Roots are important. And part of Key West’s heritage includes its Cuban population which came to Key West back in the 1800s. To place it all in proper perspective, they have been here longer than my people who started coming over from Italy in the early 1900s.

Key West’s Cuban Americans today are an entrenched vital part of the community. Many hold prominent positions of leadership in business and government.

You are probably wondering why I am getting into such depth regarding the Cuban Heritage Weekend. The answer is simple. There was a huge parade down Duval Street last night commerating the event. Bands, floats, dancers, singers. The whole works!

At some point during dinner I went outside for a cigarette. LaTrattoria is located on Duval Street. Iwalked into the middle of the parade!

What a great event!

And it brought back to mind Jose Marti.

There were many drawings and pictures of Marti on the floats and also being carried.

Marti is credited with being the Father of Free Cuba. He was a poet, writer, professor and leader. He also was a revolutionary.

The Spaniards were bad guys back in the 1800s. Marti was twice deported to Spain from Cuba. He was first imprisoned by the Spaniards at 16 for 6 years.

He was the George Washington of Cuban independence.

He died in the battle for Cuban independence in 1895. He was feared by the Spaniards. The custom was to burn the bodies of the war dead. The Spaniards would not burn Marti’s body. They considered him a devil and feared they would inhale his ashes to their detriment. So his body was buried. And properly so!

Marti resided for many years in Key West. His residence was the same building that now houses La Te Da. By the way, Marti’s full name was Jose la te da Marti.

Marti used to give rousing speeches for Cuban liberation from the porch on the second floor of La Te Da. The exterior of the buillding is the same today as it was then.

After dinner, we went where? To La Te Da, of course! For a joyful conclusion to a very happy, and thoughtful, evening!

An overall nice day yesterday!

I stayed in bed late. Till around 11. Something I rarely do. I am generally up before the sun.

Started the day with a walk. At Home Depot again. I should get a job there! People keep asking me where things are! And I know!

Then to one of my favorite haunts the Paradise Cafe. Lunched inside however. There was this terrible stench outside! Apparently one of the chickens died under the porch and they could not get at it. With the heat and humidity, it was too much to handle.

All of a sudden I have 2 friends in the hospital. Mary Jo and Donna. So off I went to visit.

Mary Jo was doing chemo. Twenty four hours straight once every 2 weeks. Her condition was so bad the doctors predicted she would not make last Christmas! She is still here! And interestingly she has not been sick once from the chemo. Amazing in and of itself! Even more amazing is Mary Jo!

Donna the barmaid. No, Donna the bartender. Poor Donna had a knee replacement 3 days ago. Oh, the pain! Even the drugs were not helping. I felt very bad for Donna. She said she would rather deliver 10 sets of twins naturally rather than what she was going through. Again, poor Donna!

Last night was drinks and dinner at Square One. Michael Stewart has a new menu! Different! You build your own meal. For example, you select from a list of several the sauce you want to accompany the entre. Fun! And the food was good! The place was packed with locals last night. A good time was had by all!

Afterwards a short walk to La Te Da. Debra and Patrick appearing again. Great voices! Great people! I had just left them at Square One. They had dinner there also. I was surprised that they got to La Te Da so fast and were already working/singing when I arrived.

La Te Da is a fantastic place! A locals hangout. The crowd mixed. Gay and straight. Every one knows just about every one else.

Last night there were 2 different and special guests. One was someone’s father. He was 95 years old. The quiet type. He sat there with his son and enjoyed Debra and the attention everyone at the bar was giving him. The other was a woman who turned 100 last April 21. She sharply walked up to the bar, sat down and in a brisk tone ordered a chardonnay from Sassy. I was waiting for her to pull out a cigarette!

They were not together.

I spoke with both. Interesting people. I bet they have a lot of stories to tell!

Cora from New York wrote me yeterday. I assume she is from New York. She is girl friend to Mike Yutzy’s friend Pete. You will recall I had the distinction and pleasure of being with Mike and Pete for 2 consecutive nights. It is going to take a week for my body to return to normal!

Anyhow, Cora complains that I did not mention her in my blog. She is correct! Cora the blog is about my life in Key West! I should at least meet you first. Come down here! Next time impose on Pete to bring you! We will all do a Key West night on the town!

Let me tell you also Cora that Pete did talk about you. Actually he told my wife who was having dinner with us. He is in love. For about a year. And experiencing that closing in feeling that most men go through as they think the path in their lives may take a turn. Apparently in this day and age, committment for a man is a tortiously difficult thing!

I am up early today! Still dark. Black. No hint of the sun yet.

Great golf day yesterday!

I won $15! Says it all! I played well for me!

Our four some played a 2 man scramble. I was teamed with Roger. Our opponents were Larry and Aaron.

Roger is the best golfer in the bunch. He drives long like a pro. I am the worst. Never break a 100. So we were teamed together.

Larry and Aaron play about equal. Generally shoot in the low 90s and every now and then in the high 80s. So they teamed together.

No strokes for anyone.

Yesterday I did not need any! I played over my head!

It was a close match. We won 1 up on both sides and also the all over. A great feeling! It was a pleasure playing with you Roger!

Last night I met the bad guys from the night before. Mike Yutzy, Pete Alfano and Adam Alfano.

We were to meet at 6 at Kwest to hear Bobby Nesbitt. I was a bit late. Mike telephoned me to say he was a bit uncomfortable with the place and would wait for me outside.

Kwest is a gay bar. For 2 hours each Wednesday, the whole world is permitted to enter. Even women! For Bobby Nesbitt! Otherwise it is strictly for guys so inclined and features for example wet jock strap contests on the bar.

Well these worldly three were not comfortable with the surroundings. I was not on time. So they disappeared for awhile. They finally showed up. I tried to ease their self imposed discomfort.

It was like singing to the choir!It helped a bit, but not much. Mike had to take a wicked piss. He would not go into the men’s room! So suffer he did! And well deservedly!

Ho ho! No, ha, ha!

Later we had dinner at LaTrattoria. Another great meal!

And great conversation! These are intelligent guys. Very interested in the coming election. Mike seems to be a McCain supporter. Makes sense since he now lives in Phoenix. Pete is an Obama person! He is a creature of New York City. Adam is quiet. It was difficult for me to fix his political leanings.

But smart guys all! Being the political junkie I am, I found the table conversation stimulating and exciting!

Pete is obviously a ladies man extrodinaire! Smooth. He talks to ALL the women he can! Never passed a good looking one without stopping to chat. A talented communicator! I envy him. I never had the talent.

After dinner, they left town. Their Key West trip concluded, they were off to spend the night at Adam’s place in Ilseamorada. Adam had a 5 am fishing charter this morning.

They will return to Key West. I am confident of it.

The sun is up. Time to walk.