The last day of the year!

I am glad the year is coming to an end. It was not the best of years. A new year means a new start. And perhaps a better time.

How will I spend this last day of 2008? Playing golf, of course!

I am not sure what I will be doing this evening. I have three options, one of which is staying home and going to bed early.

We shall see.

Good morning America! It is great to be able to sit down this morning and write my blog! I missed it the past two weeks.

The weather is good. Low 80s and no humidity.

Key West is packed. Visitors every where. Good for the visitors and good for the merchants. Every one is happy!

Duval is packed. Bodies going every which way. It is difficult walking. One has to maneuver through the crowds.

I had dinner at the bar at La Trattoria last night. I was lucky to get a seat.

Interesting people all around. The couple to my right were from Seattle. First time in Key West. He is an attorney also. Works as a lobbyist. Good conversation. Tom Hanks type people as in Sleepless in Seattle.

When they left, I started talking to the couple on my left. It was lawyer’s night! He was an attorney also. In fact, he graduated from Syracuse, my alma mater.

Then cousins Karen and Sergio showed up. So it was a family night also. Karen’s Samantha and boy friend are in town and they arrived also. I had an enjoyable drink with all of them.

When I meet visitors from out of town, I tend to become sort of a travel agent. I share with every one what I consider are the good places to eat and visit. Of course, I always recommend Larry Smith and the Wine Galley. A couple of local matrons sat next to me after the Seattle couple left. They had overheard me recommmending Larry for entertainment. One of them told me she was going to tell Larry how nicely I speak of him. Well, I am telling you first Larry. Don’t let it go to your head. You are still a pain on the golf course!

I finished the evening at the Keys piano bar. Packed also. A gold mine!

Terri sang brilliantly. Randy Roberts was there and he entertained a bit.

And guess who I sat with? The couple from Seattle. They took my advice and were happily enjoying Terri when I arrived. They bought me two drinks. That was two too many for me. My temples are pounding this morning.

Enjoy the day.

I AM BACK!!!!!

Technical difficulties like you would not believe! I am happy everything is straightened out however. And I will not bore you with my problems, except to say that the domain name and blogging indistries are as screwed up as the banks!

Many parties during the past 2 weeks. One of the best was Larry and Christine’s. Fun!

The Jewish holidays are upon us also. I got to have a Hannakua dinner with Donna and her family. Lit a candle, chanted a bit and ate potato pancakes. A good time!

I spent Xmas eve and Xmas day with Lisa and the family. Santa Claus came to visit Xmas eve. Reggie is my Santa Claus. He captivated the kids!

New Year’s Eve is around the corner. I am not sure yet what I will be doing. But rest assured, it will be fun!

The weather has been great the past 2 weeks. High 70s to low 80s. No humidity. Cool in the evening. We are lucky. This is when it is supposed to start getting cold.

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to all of you! My apologies again for being late in sharing the greeting.

In closing, it took my little disaster to show where my many friends are who daily read this blog. I heard from Milan, Venice, somewhere in Russia, Paris and London, as well as all over the United States, asking what happened to me and/or the blog. Obviously I am alive and well and the blog is back!

As my good friend Tino said, the lack of the blog turned out to be the blog that destroyed Xmas for him! Good man, Tino! Thank you!

A good day yesterday!

Played golf in the morning. With Aaron and Tino. Tino and I played a money game.

We started with Tino giving me a stroke a hole and 2 on the 5s. At the end of the first nine, Tino was winning 8 holes to 1! I was playing my usual suck game. I shot a 59 on the front side.

Tino is a gentleman. He saw I was hurting. He volunteered to up the handicap to 1 on the 3s, 2 on the 4s and 3 on the 5s. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth! I was happy to accept the added strokes!

Then the world changed!

I have not broken 50 for 9 holes in about 8 years. I shot a 46 on the back side! And that is with 3 balls in the water!

After applying the increased handicap to my score, I destroyed Tino!

By the way, Tino played well yesterday. He shot a 99.

I won a whole $1.25. We were playing a quarter a hole. Not much, but it makes the game more fun.

Again Tino, thank you for being a gentleman. I enjoyed playing with you.

I had dinner with Donna and Terri last night. Terri has returned to Key West. She was opening at the Keys after dinner.

I was tired after golf. I was still tired at dinner. So I was straight home to bed by 9 and soon asleep. That is why I am up so early this morning doing the blog. It is not yet 5 am! Pitch black outside.

Larry and Christine are having a Christmas party tonight at their home. I look forward to it. They throw a terrific party! Great hosts!

Enjoy your day!

The weather is great again!

Warm! Day and night! Just right!

At lunch time, I put the top down on the car and drove up to Big Pine. About 30 miles north.

The sun felt great on me! The view spectaculer! Ocean on both sides.

I bought a bunch of papers and had a long solitary lunch at Boondocks. Boondocks is an outside bar with a thatched roof covering it.

Last night, I went to the movies. I love movies. However for some inexplicable reason, I rarely go.

Australia was playing and I wanted to see it.

A spectacular movie! I recommend it! See it!

It is an opus! 2 hours 45 minutes long. Never boring, however. Moves at a good clip. Will keep you on the edge of your seat on occasion and also cause you to shed a tear or two.

Haircut time again! Today. I have an appoinment this morning with Lori. Again I will tell you how strange it is that I require a haircut so frequently. When I had hair and my hair was long, I rarely got a haircut. Now I have next to no hair and I need one every 2-3 weeks. And the hair which I have is short cropped to begin with.

Strange!

If it were not for the opportunity to see Lori, I would not be happy going.

Wal-Mart has crossed my path twice in the past few days. First, in some written material. Then on Meet the Press. Wal-Mart’s CEO was a guest on Meet the Press yesterday.

As the recession deepens, Wal-Mart becomes more successful. The reason why is quite simple. They sell everything at reduced prices. From food to clothes to what have you cheap!

Wal-Mart has become America’s store of choice!

And whatever Wal-Mart seems to do, it does it better than its competitors.

What I have learned about Wal-Mart:

1. Americans spend $36 million every hour of every day at Wal-Mart. Every hour!

2. Wal-Mart’s profit on that gross is $20,928 per minute. More than some people earn in a
year!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 thru St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 than Target
sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco and K Mart combined.
That’s big!

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. Interestingly,
most of its employees cannot speak English.

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world. Impressive! Like Noah building the ark!

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined. Keep in mind Wal-Mart
did this in only 15 years.

8. During this same 15 year time period, 31 supermarkets sought bankruptcy.

9. Wal-Mart presently sells more food than any other store in the world.

10. Wal-Mart has approximately 3,900 stores in the USA. This is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.

11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. Note I said …a store. Multiply that number times Wal-Mart’s 3,900 stores. Then contrast the final figure with the Earth’s population which is approximately 6.5 billion. Mind boogling!

12. Ninety per cent of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart. Smart planning! Wal-Mart’s top level execs obviously are capable of exercising better judgment than the auto CEOs!

Such is the pertinent data re this shopping giant of today which we know as Wal-Mart.

Wild! Interesting!

The bottom line of the written material I read was that Wal-Mart should bail out the banks and auto companies. David Gregory asked Wal-Mart’s CEO the same question. Why doesn’t Wal-Mart do the bail outs? The CEO coyly smiled and said that Wal-Mart would stick to the retail business.

To be garnered from all this is that Wal-Mart is doing OK big time! It is providing what the American consumer wants and needs today. Things on the cheap!

What bothers me is that much of what Wal-Mart sells is produced in China and the Far East. And that is one of the things that has got us into trouble today!

The solution to our economic problems I do not know. However what I do know is we cannot have it both ways. We have to become a manufacturing giant again and buy American produced products!

Not complex.

Babysitting and the Christmas Boat Parade!

Yesterday was the best!

Lisa is reluctant to let me babysit. Says my attention span is limited. So I rarely have the opportunity to play grandfather alone with Robert and Ally.

Lisa must have been desperate yesterday. She let me sit for 3 hours while she and Corey went Christmas shopping for the kids.

I came prepared! I went shopping first and bought each of them something to engage their attention and mine. I found a terrific toy/game. A pillowcase with special crayons to color on it. The pillowcases had pre drawn designs. Robert’s had a football, soccer ball, basketball and baseball. Ally’s had flowers.

These were for real pillowcases. The kids colored within the lines. I sat with them while they colored. We discussed strategy, like what color to use where. And other things.

These pillowcases are terrific. When finished, they are to be ironed. The heat soldifies the crayon into the material. It cannot thereafter be extracted. The kids can sleep on them and they can be washed.

Only in America!

However it is to be noted that the pillowcases were made in China. And that is our problem!

We had a good time with the coloring. Now we were done. What to do next?

They wanted to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinder. OK by me.

They gave me the DVD. Lisa and Corey have a new plasma TV. I could not even figure out how to put the DVD in, let alone turn it on! Robert and Ally observed my frustration. They came over. Robert took the DVD and put it in the machine. Ally hit a few buttons and turned the thing on. Voila! We were watching Rudolph!

It’s a generational thing! I am 70 years older than the two of them. I could not figure out how to work the xy#&*z thing!

So much for the baby sitting. I survived! The kids survived! And we all had a good time!

Last night was the Christmas Boat Parade. A great event!

I was a guest of the Fury. Terrific food, unlimited booze. A band also. About 150 of us.

The weather was so delightful…..cold!!!!!!! 66 degrees in reality. The chill factor about 50. Big cutting breeze. Choppy water.

I dressed for the occasion. Socks, jeans, sweater and leather jacket. Could have used a scraf, gloves and hat. But I survived. And had a wonderful time in the process!

People go crazy in Key West for this boat parade every year. About 50 boats were entered. All decorated to the hilt with lights and what have you reflecting the holiday.

There was one of a martini glass. At least 10 feet tall. Well done! Even to the green olive! And the red pimento inside the olive!

Another boat had a huge octopus. And its tentacles constantly changed colors and moved!

A peace sign boat, a crocodile boat, xmas trees galore and Santa Claus’ galore! What ingenuity and effort went into the decorating process!

And the shoreline was mobbed with people watching as far as the eye could see!

It was a great party and I thank the Fury for inviting me. Of course, I was cold and exhausted by the end. So it was straight off to home and bed. I got 7 solid hours of sleep last night. Had to be the cold air!

I am glad it is Sunday. My day of rest! It is supposed to be warm today. 76. I look forward to it.

Cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

60 degrees this morning!

I am sure my friends up north are smiling. Their weather this past week has been in the minus column. Yet, cold is as cold is! I am cold!

I was fortunate to have lunch yesterday with a very lovely lady. My daughter Lisa.

Lisa took a vacation day so we had some time to sit over lunch at the Yacht Club and chat. Love her dearly!

Last night was dinner at the bar at La Trattoria. Busy. Saw some friends. Exchanged holiday greetings with all.

Then it was off to Keys for a drink. Good music! Excellent singing!

The Keys continues to be packed. Not locals, however. Mostly tourists. A different crowd.

Two big deals ahead today.

First, Lisa is permitting me to baby sit this morning. Only the second time ever. She and Corey need some time to Christmas shop for the kids.

Tonight is the Christmas Boat Parade. I have been invited aboard one of the boats. Last year was so beautiful and such fun. I look forward to this evening.

It will be cold out on the water. Jeans, sweater and leather jacket time!

I am cold sitting here. Enough. Back to bed under the warm covers!

Great bocci party last night! The best!

When I was young, my Father went to his bowling banquet each year. It always excited him.

Last night was my first bocci banquet, so to speak. It excited me.

I am not quite sure of the number of teams in our Thursday night bocci league. I think it is 16. If wrong, I am close.

The party was not for all 16. It was only for 4. Four of the teams made a side bet that whoever won amongst themselves would be feated at a party paid for by the 3 losing teams. We won! Bat Construction! Captained by David!

The party was held at the outside bar at Don’s Place. Don played on Bat Construction also.

The losers paid $15 each for the party. Whatever the total, it resulted in a paid bar and food for all! And the food was terrific! David did the cooking, assisted by Michael.

They started getting ready for the evening party at 1 in the afternoon. First, tons of shrimp were cleaned and cooked. Yes, shrimp. No screwing around here! Only the best! Plus other appetizers.
The entre was roast beef. Rare, tender and delicious. Two big roasts. David starterd cooking them on the outside grill at 1 and by 8 they were ready to eat. Michael made a great pasta.

Yankee Jack provided the entertainement. On occasion he was ably assisted by Christine, Larry and bartender Jill. Yankee was his usual terrific self! We even sang Christmas songs together!

There was a feeling of camadreship evident. Fairfield was one of the losing teams. You will recall they mooned us last week. A great bunch, ass wise and other wise. They “created” a trophy which they presented to Captain David in recognition of our winning. A nice touch. Thoughtful. Well appreciated.

It will hang in the inside bar at Don ‘s Place for all to see. A deserved tribute to our success!

Where else but in Key West!

I see the U.S. Senate has voted down the auto bailout. When I was young, probably back in my high school days in the late 1940s or early 1950s, there was a saying that…..whatever was good for General Motors, was good for the nation!

If General motors goes down, do we as a nation soon follow? These are uncharted waters.

I suspect General Motors will get bailed out by President Bush directly. He has the power to use the TARP funds. Those are the $350 billion left from the initial $700 billion authorization for the banks.

I do not understand. We gave all that money to the banks. But we cannot loan a measley $14 billion to the auto industry. Insanity! Does not make sense to me.

It is grandstanding by certain memebers of the Senate. Sure, most of us are against bailouts. However when it gets to the down and dirty, there is no choice! We must do it! Or we may face our own and a world wide recession that will shame 1929.

I am anxious for this transition period to come to an end. It is almost like having no President while we wait for January 20. No adverse reflection intended upon Bush. It is just that it is a vacuum period and he has little actual power.

Additionally the time frame is also providing some Senate Republicans with the opportunity to make a few final disruptive gasps. We live in dangerous times. Politics must be put aside. All must work together for the greater good. Or there will be no good for any one!

A new day is coming! Difficult though it will be, I believe Obama will get it done! If he does not, we are in real big time trouble! What we are experiencing today will only be kid stuff in comparison!