BURMESE PYTHONS REVISITED

I spent my Sunday in bed yesterday. My back problem continues. Better, but not right yet. A pain in the ass!

I filled my day from the bed with visiting the Burmese python situation again. Additionally, I watched two great basketball games. Still having time on my hands, I communicated with several friends in Italy regarding Obama’s visit.

There is nothing new to report re the Burmese python invasion. The past year has been undramatic.

Recall there are an estimated 150,000 Burmese pythons living in the Everglades. Where did they come from? Florida is not their natural habitat. It is south Asia and southern China. They most certainly did not swim here.

Hurricane Andrew is given part of the blame. A #5, it is thought the hurricane captured pet pythons and the winds dropped them off in the Everglades. From whence they mated and gave birth to the multitude.

I learned something new. The female after mating can store sperm. For years. She also can store eggs. The baby pythons are born years later.

I am aware of only two sightings in the Keys. One in Key Largo. The other in Key West. Key West’s was a seven footer. It was discovered in the grass off one of the airport’s runways. There is a question as to whether it got there by itself or someone dropped it off nearby.

Two years ago, a Miami family got up one morning to discover a 13 footer in their pool.

I learned another new thing. Burmese pythons are fresh water reptiles. The Everglades are soft water. They are not salt water beings. The keys are salt water. Ergo, the possibility of Burmese pythons reaching Key West is remote. Not impossible, however.

A year ago, the State of Florida permitted a one month legal hunt for Burmese pythons. The State figured the python population would be diminished with a western type shoot out. Permits were required. Five hundred obtained. The number of Burmese pythons caught in that one month period totaled 68.

The bottom line is nothing of any importance occurred since my last story regarding Burmese pythons a year ago.

Great basketball yesterday afternoon! Connecticut was a #7 seed. Beat Michigan State in an exciting game. Kentucky a #8 seed beat Michigan with a very long 3 point shot with 2.3 seconds to go.

Next week The Final Four! More exciting basketball!

I watched the games on TV and the internet. The internet is not a bad place to watch the games. Yes, the screen is much smaller. However, you are right there on top of each play. A constant closeup. Audio included. Try it. Free. NCAA.com.

I spoke with several acquaintances in Italy again. How did the Obama trip go? Any more news?

Contrary to what the American media is reporting, they were not impressed with Obama’s visit. They were of the opinion that Obama was there to sell them gas and planes.

Italy presently gets a significant portion of its gas from Russia. It comes through Ukraine pipe lines. Italy has been in close negotiations with Russia for some time regarding a direct pipe line from Russia to Italy. It would bypass Ukraine and run under the Black Sea. Obama wants Italy to scrap the plan.

Italians seem uncomfortable with any long term plans being entered into at this time. Their concern is they have a new President every several months. They would prefer to wait till their government is more stable before deciding anything so important.

Tomorrow night my blog talk radio show! Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine o’clock. A fast moving revealing half hour.

One of the topics will involve my opinion that the international banking system is a more deadly threat to Ukraine than Russia. The Euro Union, the United States, and the International Monetary Fund are ready to give Ukraine $17 billion plus now. Conditioned upon austerity measures being put in place immediately. As in Greece, Spain and Italy. An inevitable disaster in the making!

Enjoy your day!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANKIE!

Today is Frankie the Plumber’s birthday. He is sixty years young. Happy birthday Frankie!

Frankie is one of the most loved persons in Key West. Friendly by nature. One of the island’s best bocce players. Owner of the largest plumbing business in Key West.

A big party is scheduled for 2 this afternoon. I am invited. The whole town is invited. His home will be overflowing with people.

Unfortunately, it does not look like I will be making the party. My back! It was getting better. Then slipped back (a bit of redundancy?). I spent yesterday in bed. The big item of the day for me were the two basketball games I watched. Today, the back is only slightly better.

Florida looked awesome. They are #1! I was pulling for Dayton. Out of respect for Stephanie Kaple. It was not to be. A valiant run by Dayton. However, not competition for Florida. At least not yesterday.

I was excited by Wisconsin’s one point win over Arizona. For John Lukas! He is as much a Wisconsin fan as I am a Syracuse one. The game could have gone either way.

Officiating has been less than stellar this year in college basketball. Had Arizona won, officiating would have played into the post game commentary big time.

History repeats itself. I came across two historical items supporting the proposition.

We all know 1492 was the year Columbus discovered America. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella supported him financially. 1492, and specifically this day in 1492, was the day the King and Queen signed a decree expelling all Jews from Spain.

Then there is this day in 1856. Russia and Crimea two of the principals. Russia was at war with Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. Over Crimea. Russia lost. The Peace of Paris was signed this day ending the Crimean War.

I read an interesting article yesterday concerning Ukraine. I have spoken to the issue several times in the past. The article suggests worldwide banks will destroy the Ukraine and not Russia. I expect to speak to this topic on my Tuesday blog talk radio show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

JJ…..WHERE ARE YOU?

JJ was one of the bartenders at the Chart Room. He changed his place of work to the Galleon a couple of weeks ago. I decided to visit JJ.

Good luck! I have been twice to the Galleon and no JJ! The first time was my fault. I did not know his schedule and went on a day he was not working. Yesterday was my second time. However, I checked first. JJ was working thursday and friday from 4 on. I was there at 4:30. JJ nowhere to be found. The bartender Todd told me JJ had gone home.

The Galleon sits at the end of Front Street. Water on two sides. People own condos, time shares, and a few rent. I had been to the outdoor bar only twice. For weddings. Yesterday, for a drink.

The bar sits directly on open water. Boats going back and forth constantly. A large square bar, well shaded.

I did not enjoy my time there. The atmosphere was strange. Every bar I go to in Key West is full of friendly drinkers. Whether locals or tourists. No one talked to anyone at the Galleon. Everyone stayed to themselves. Most starred straight ahead. Even couples. Sad. Could it be the ownership factor? I do not know.

After the Galleon, it was the Chart Room. Quiet. Early. Around 5. Just me and Emily. Then me, Emily and Sheila. I had one drink at the Galleon. Was not in the mood to drink any more. Had two diet Pepsi’s at the Chart Room.

Ate some popcorn. Emily makes the best popcorn on the island!

Where to have dinner? I finally decided on Orgami. It was a while since I had enjoyed sushi. I sat outside at a small table.

Orgami is located in Square One. Just across from Square One Restaurant.

Big basketball tonight! Dayton/Florida. Six o’clock. I have decided to watch the game from the comfort of my home. I am curious to see if Dayton can continue its winning streak. A tough game. Florida is #1 on everyone’s list of top teams.

Enjoy your day!

VICTORY AT LAST!

We are already 6-7 weeks into the bocce season. Until last night, our team had not won one match. Don’t ask me why. None of us know. We are not that bad. It just has not worked for us till last night. Our team won all three games.

I did not play because of my back. I sat and cheered the team on. Plus, two players from the opposing team.

Last night was unique. Florida schools are on vacation this week. Kids and their parents traveling all over the State. My Robert and Ally are in Cape Coral visiting the other set of grandparents.

Only one player showed up for the other team. An automatic win for us. However, the player had a visiting friend and his two children. Visiting from Point St. Lucie. Our team agreed to let the visitors play. Including the children.

I have to mention the visitors were black. Normally, it would make no difference and I would not mention color. However, last night it contributed to what was an All American evening.

Emma is 9 and her brother Julian 7. They had neither seen a bocce court nor played bocce before. They played well!

Neither bashful. Both well behaved, however. They threw like they had been playing for years. Especially, Emma. She understood the mechanics of the game immediately. She killed us! She even took the wind into consideration. There was a heavy breeze off the ocean. She yelled at one of her balls that was dying that the wind should take it. I might add she gave Hershel a hard time in the second game. She frustrated him. Hershel would throw a good shot. Emma would follow it with a better one.

Emma and Julian were kids and behaved like kids. Children having a good time. They jumped around excitedly each time something happened.

The best description of the evening…..A scene from a Norman Rockwell painting.

The big tournament moves on.

Stephanie Kaple is all excited. Would not leave me alone. Came over to our court several times to let me know Dayton was winning last night. Telephoned me when I was home in bed to tell me Dayton had won. I told her not yet. I was watching the game. There was still 2 minutes to play.

I am happy for Stephanie and her parents. May Dayton go all the way! Tomorrow night is Dayton’s hardest game so far. Florida. #1 in the country, #1 in the seeds.

Then there is my friend John Lukas. John is as much a Wisconsin fan as I am a Syracuse one. I am thrilled his team won last night, also.

There has been a war going on for several months involving sound and Duval Street. Duval is noisy. Always has been. Neighbors are complaining the noise is too much.

There is a sound ordinance. The neighbors want a tougher one.

I do not know what the Key West Commission is going to do. They have been arguing the issue for several weeks. They will do something.

My opinion is the neighbors should not complain. They should put their tails between their legs and back off. When they purchased their homes, they knew they were in or close to Duval Street. They were aware of the noise coming from the bars. They should not complain at this stage.

Enjoy your day!

KANSAS’ RAYLENE AND GARY

Today’s blog going out very late! Sorry! I had a big morning. I had to tidy the house up. Realtor showing it this morning. Then had to get out early because the first group was arriving. Walked around Duval for an hour before my hair appointment. Then walked Duval some more. People watching. By the time I returned home, it was after noon and I was tired!

Began last night at the Chart Room. Glad I did. Met a couple I met sometime last year. Raylene and Gary from  Kansas. Dorothy country. They were staying for four days at the Pier House with their two young adult children. Good looking kids!

Raylene and Gary return to Key West early every October for two weeks. To celebrate their anniversary.

Nice people. I hope I get to see them before they leave this trip and definitely in
October.

Raylene is extra special. She she told me bought my book and read it! Also mentioned she was looking forward to my next book, Growing Up Italian.

The season is in full bloom. I walked the first 3 blocks of Duval. Jam packed! Walking impossible. Everyone moving at a snail’s pace.

Ended up at Kelly’s. Jennifer and Amy working the bar. Two lovely ladies. I enjoyed an order of wings and read the newspapers.

Two fellows sat near me at the bar. They appeared to be Europeans. Speaking English. Jennifer asked if they were from Holland. Yes, they responded. She could tell from their accents. Jennifer’s grandmother was from Holland, also.

The new Netflix TV series I mentioned earlier this week  will start shoting in the next few days in Islamorada. As previously mentioned, Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek stars. I discovered her co-star last night. Sam Shephard. What a combination!

This has been a spectacular lobster season! Not the most lobsters caught in a season. But the most dollar wise. Prices per pound wholesale are up. The Asian market has opened big time. Daily flights take the lobsters live packed in ice to Asian markets.

I find it amazing how the Florida lobster trade has grown world wide.

Frankly, I do not enjoy Florida lobsters. I am a Maine lobster snob. I rarely eat a Florida lobster. They are good. However, once you have tasted Maine lobster, it is  difficult to enjoy local ones.

An American tragedy occurred yesterday. The NLRB announced that scholarship college athletic students are employees and accordingly have the right to unionize. I disapprove of the ruling. The fallout is going to be fantastic. It will in effect be similar to 9/11. Change will take place in college athletics. Big time!

Northwestern was the university involved.

President Obama has been in Italy the past two days. Surprisingly, my Italian friends wish he had not come. They are not happy with him. Much of Europe is not.

Bocce tonight. I am going to cheer my team on. With a glass of gin in my hand, of course. I will not be playing. My back. Besides the pain,  I fear that one of the times I bend over, I will not be able to return to a standing position.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

LOU HARRIS / SUGAR RAY ROBINSON / CARMEN BASILIO

What a combination of famous names in the title! Lou Harris, the famous pollster and political columnist. Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio, two world boxing champions.

This morning’s KONK Life E-News Blast carried a report regarding Lou Harris. Harris was for many years the leading, if not only, reliable political pollster in the United States. He also wrote political columns for the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune.

Harris is long retired. Ninety three. Lives full time in Key West.

Once or twice a year, Harris gives a talk to The Friends of the Key West Library. His talks are always well attended.

Last night Harris spoke about a danger to our government. He said, “…..the forces of government destruction are at our gates.”  There is a “…..coup to destroy U.S. government.”

Heavy words from a respected man. He blames the Republican right.

I happen to agree with Harris. I have been writing and preaching a similar message for a couple of years in this blog, my former TV show, and radio show.

I guarantee there will be an avalanche of comments tomorrow agreeing and disagreeing with me. Those who will be disagreeing, though not blind, refuse to see.

I am into a newspaper kick this morning. The Key West Citizen in its World Almanac section yesterday made mention that on March 25, 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Carmen Basilio to regain the middleweight title.

Normally, such an event would receive no attention from me. However, I used to see both during their days of glory and with Basilio, even thereafter. I knew neither man personally. Merely was able to observe them frequently. And not in the ring.

I attended Manhattan College in New York City from 1953-58. Manhattan College was located at 242nd Street and Broadway. Sugar Ray Robinson’s mother lived at 237th Street and Broadway. Robinson frequently visited his mother. We knew. Robinson drove a large sleek pink Cadillac convertible with a white top. It was always parked on Broadway under the subway el. Occasionally, we lucked out and saw Robinson. I would like to say he said hello. He never did. He was sullen appearing and usually walked by with his head down.

Carmen Basilio comes from central New York. The Canastota area. Some refer to Canastota as the onion capital of the world.

Basilio was a home town boy. During his career and after, central New York was his stomping grounds. He was frequently to be seen in Utica and Syracuse. Always a gentleman, always a warm hello and smile.

I did a first time the other day. Had lunch at the new White Street Station. It is a food truck/stand next to one of the gas stations on the corner of Truman and White.

The new establishment is owned by Dennis and the two owners of Michael’s Restaurant. Dennis was general manager of Michael’s for many years. He left several years ago to return to Chicago He is back in Key West operating the White Street Station.

Good food! Excellent food! No question about it. Gourmet sandwiches. I should not have been surprised. Less could not have been expected from people associated with Michael’s Restaurant.

A cold day in Key West! 64 degrees this morning. High will only be 71. A long pants day.

I am not complaining. Yet. My friends on Cape Cod are being buried in another severe snow storm.

Whenever it is extremely cold up north, it is colder than normal in Key West. The cold wind is blowing down from the north this morning at about 20 miles per hour.

Enjoy your day!

 

BILL GATES…..THE WAY IT IS

Woke to the big band! Howling wind, thundering sky and monsoon rain! Interestingly, from the south. Very unusual. Occurs only a few times a year. Just happened two times in one week.

My blog talk radio show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine o’clock. I am kicking ass! www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I am 78. I do not think I am old. I do not feel old. But, obviously I am. The number of years on earth make me feel I have lived through a significant portion of history. I have, as has everyone in my age bracket.

I was born six years before World War II. My parents were poor. I was born on whatever the welfare program was at the time was.  My parents tried to give me everything. They wanted a better life for me. They instilled the work ethic in me. Work hard and succeed. Plus, you MUST get an education.

The generation following mine were the baby boomers. We of my generation screwed up in raising them. We wanted everything for them. Gave them everything. I for one did not want my children to “suffer” as I did in working several jobs in high school, college and law school, in having to pay for most of my education, in not having a car till I graduated from law school and could afford one on my own, etc.

Ergo, I and most of my generation gave our children the world. So much more so than our parents had given us. The baby boomers turned out not such an admirable group. They were the age of entitlement. They wanted everything. They were entitled to everything. They did not want to work for anything. Along the way, most forgot their aging parents.

Now is the time of the children of the baby boomers. They are more world wise than their parents. They believe the world owes them everything. Because they are. Because they exist. For no other reason.

Bill Gates recently gave a talk to a group of high school students. He set forth eleven rules they did not and would not learn in school. His remarks stated that today’s kids were feel good, politically correctly imbued and that such had created a generation of teens with no concept of reality. He said such set the kids up for failure in today’s world.

June Hudson of Key West, Delaware and Jersey Shore fame sent me a copy of Gates’ 11 rules. I set them forth intact and unedited for your reading. The rules say it all.

Rule 1. Life is not fair–get used to it.

Rule 2. The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3. You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity.

Rule 6. If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7. Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in life.

Rule 9. Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. (Do that on your own time.)

Rule 10. Television is NOT real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Enjoy your day!

 

CALABRIA…..THE FOOT OF THE ITALIAN BOOT

The sky is overcast this morning. Accompanied by a moderate breeze. The breeze is carrying the morning smell of the ocean into my kitchen. Pleasant.

It was back to bed yesterday. My back! Thought I was ok. Apparently not. The spasm takes my breath away. Not much better this morning. Been through this before. At some point, the spasm will cease. I wish it would hurry up!

The Wichita/Kentucky game last night will be remembered as one of the greats. Kentucky squeaked out the win. Coach Louis thought the difference between the teams and the reason for the Kentucky win was conditioning. Towards the end of the game, the Kentucky players were still going up and down the court as if the game had just started. Wichita began making mistakes. Mistakes that seem to have been brought on by the tired factor.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog how much money Patrick raised at the fundraiser. Patrick cut his very long dreds for charity. Raised $12,000! Good for you, Patrick!

A couple of weeks ago, I told you Fuddruckers was opening up next door to Burger Fi. I was wrong. Not Fuddruckers. It is Johnny Rockets.

I have never seen a Johnny Rockets. Most people have, however. They tell me a 1950s place, waitresses on roller skates, etc. A burger joint. I look forward to trying it.

My Italian friend Antonio spent an interesting few days this past week. Antonio lives in Novara. His wife I love dearly. Mariam from Morocco. A chef, she cooked a birthday dinner for me a couple of years ago.

Antonio and two of his buddies went on what was described as a hiking trip. Into the Sila Mountain range. Still snow covered, much of the trip was made wearing whatever one wears on their feet while walking on deep snow. I am experiencing a mental block. Permit me to describe them as  like tennis rackets. Snow shoes?

Sila Mountain is in southern Italy. In Calabria. Calabria is located in the boot of Italy.

The Sila Mountain range consists of three separate mountains. One of the mountains is called New Greece or Greek Sila.

You will recall that during my first Greece trip, I realized I had to have Greek blood in me. I who thought I was pure Italian my whole life.

While in Greece and especially the small islands, I noticed the Greek food I was eating was exactly like the Italian food I had been raised on. My grandmother and mother’s cooking. Everything. Even down to the bread.

I started asking questions. Then went to the books to verify what I had been told. I wrote a blog about this three years ago and did a segment on my television show.

Greece way back when was a great commercial nation. Way back when means hundreds of years even before the birth of Christ. Greek ships conducted commerce throughout whatever the known world was at the time.

Greece was interested in doing business with southern Italy and Sicily. Hundreds of Greek citizens were sent to these two areas to settle and develop trade with Greece. The Greeks and Italians got along extremely well. The Greeks remained. Intermarriages were common.

We are all aware that northern and southern Italian cooking are radically different. The difference is a result of the Greek immigration. For whatever reason, the Greek food predominated. Ergo, the Italian food I grew up on is the same as the Greek food I ate on the tiny Greek isle of Amorgos for a month.

Interesting.

Enjoy your day!

RIP

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Grant them eternal rest, oh Lord.

The season ended for Syracuse last night. The team lost to Dayton 55-53.

It was a game like most Syracuse games this season. If you saw one, you saw them all. Close. The last few seconds everything. Whether against a good team or bad, the games played out that way.

I am glad it is over. I did not enjoy the season. An emotional strain!

Never the less, I congratulate Coach Boeheim and the team for their 28-6 record. The numbers are good. The actuality not.

I watched the game at Lukas’ place with the lovely Stephanie Kaple. Second time in a row I have enjoyed her company. She was cheering for Dayton Her parents went to school  there or live in Dayton.

We both were emotional. At one point, she claimed I hit her. I had not! I pushed her. Anyhow, she text her mother re the abuse. Mom text back…..Hit him! She did.

Everything else that occurred yesterday was non-consequnetial in comparison to Syracuse’s defeat last night.

I am in mourning.

Enjoy your Sunday!

NEW KEYS TV SHOW / SISSY SPACEK

Big time TV coming to the Florida Keys for filming!

Netflix announced yesterday that a new television series starring Sissy Spacek will be filmed in the Keys. Islamorada to be specific. It is an original series, yet untitled. A mystery. Sissy Spacek plays the mother of a some what dysfunctional family. An old hotel/motel is involved.

Filming starts next week. The series is sixteen weeks. A crew of 125 involved. Each episode will take nine days to film. The cost of each episode $8 million.

Most of the crew will stay in Islamorada, Tavernier, and Key Largo. Star Sissy Spacek at the Ocean Reef in Key Largo. President Obama and Michelle stayed there last week.

The show will be a boon for the Islamorada area. Good for them!  I doubt it will make a dollar impact here in Key West. Islamorada is a one hour forty five minute drive from Key West.

I can understand Islamorada being the site as an old hotel/motel was required. Islamorada is an old Keys vacation spot. Most of the lodgings go back to the 1950s and before. The place is nice, but very elderly. You will recall when I occasionally want to get away from Key West for a few days, I drive up to Islamorada.

An interesting dinner last night at Square One. Darling Jenna. She wanted me to meet Tamara. Jenna is doing a documentary regarding Tamara. The specific subject involves a psychopath. I have an interest in psychopaths and at some time down the road plan a major book involving the subject. Jenna asked me to dinner because of my interest. She also wanted my take on the victim Tamara and her story.

It was some evening!

Afterwards, I stopped at Don’s Place. Chatted with Jeff, Grant, and Angus. Dougie bartending.

Syracuse basketball this evening. 7:10. Against Dayton. Syracuse a 6.5 point favorite. Means nothing. Syracuse has lost several games where they were favored. Also, the mighty are falling in the tournament. Dougie told me last night Mercer beat Duke.

I shall be watching the game at Lukas’ Sports Pub.

Stephanie Kaple telephoned me yesterday. To give me a hard time. I sometimes think she has no one else to beat on. She is a Dayton grad. I invited her to join me tonight. She said she would call. I am still waiting.

Note that my enthusiasm for Syracuse’s chances at the moment are non-committal. I am taking each game as it comes.

A magnificent morning! Sun out. No wind. Absolutely none. The water still. The tide is out. Very much so. I can see the roots of the mangoes across the way. It is a silent time. Dead silent. Generally, the only noise is the moving water. It is one of those God’s in His Heaven, all’s right with the world times!

My book! If you like political, historical and social commentary, buy it. I guarantee you will enjoy the book. The World Upside Down is available on amazon.com and barnsandnoble.com.

Enjoy your day!