HARRY TRUMAN’S FATHER A FIRM DISCIPLINARIAN

Again…..Harry Truman loved Key West, Key West loves Harry Truman.

Truman’s early years were spent living on a farm. Both of his parents taught their children. Father Truman farm work, mother Truman reading. Character a given.

Harry had a pony. One day his father told him to come along with him to check the farm’s barb wire fences. Harry rode his pony.

Soon the barb wire inspection was complete. Harry’s father said lets check the cattle now to see if any are sick or injured.

They came across one of the cattle laying on the ground. Harry bent over to see what might be wrong with the animal. He fell off his pony.

Harry was not hurt.

His father was incensed, however. His face red with anger. 

Harry’s father said, “A boy who cannot stay on a pony has no business riding one, Harry. You’ll walk home from here.”

Father Truman took the reins of the pony and rode off. 

It was a long way home. Harry cried all the way.

That evening, Harry could hear his father and mother arguing.  His mother thought her husband had been abusive to Harry.

The Back Door at Aqua began my evening last night. Lauri Thibaud back!

Initially, I was her only customer.

Lauri all excited. In addition to her return to Aqua, she has another job. A new one for which she has no formal experience. Fear not, she will be a winner!

Lauri is going to have her own radio show. Drive at 5. Station 105.7. Three days a week from 4-7. The station a new one. Touted by its owners as the Keys only party station. 

Lauri will make it a big time party! She knows how to talk, make people laugh, etc. For 17 years, she emceed many of Aqua’s live stage shows.

Two gents from San Francisco stopped in. Lauri knew them from the night before. Jeff and Robert. The four of us discussed San Francisco and California’s many problems.

Liked the guys. Recommended they do Dueling Bartenders tonight.

I had a strange experience while sitting at the Back Door’s outside bar. I was seated beneath a huge tree. All of a sudden I heard a huge “plop” and felt something wet on my arm. An iguana had defecated on me…..almost. The main excretion landed on the bar a foot from my arm.

I hate iguanas. They shit in my pool, eat my flowers. No one likes them, except tourists who think they are cute. Three times I have had to empty my pool because of their crap polluting the water.

Florida has finally realized iguanas are propagating big time and taking over in a sense as the pythons have. The State is trying to figure out how to eradicate them. The iguanas are some sort of protected species. 

Would you believe!

Then to the Chart Room. John barftending. The bar itself crowded. 

There is a national group of lawyers who over the years have supported the legalization of marijuana. They have a one week convention each year at the Pier House. Hundreds attend.

The attorneys have won. Pot smoking welcomed in varying degrees in most States.

Stopped on the way home at Fernandy’s for Cuban toast and coffee. Fernandy’s Is Sandy Cafe’s new name.

Key West has become a small island with big cruise ships. The waters can be difficult in the winter months. Currents and winds a problem.

The inevitable finally occurred. A cruise ship was pushed by wind and current into a mooring as it was attempting to leave the Mallory Square port of call. The Silversea Silver Spirit, 691 feet long.

Damage was to a large concrete block atop pilings. Cost to repair estimated at $500,00. Three months to fix.

Fortunately, Key West has 2 other ports of call. The Outer Mole Pier and Margaritaville Resort Pier. However, Key West will lose one third of its cruise customers for 3 months. A significant financial hit to merchants.

The Studios of Key West continues to do itself proud. A roof top terrace is under construction. To be called Hugh’s View. One of the highest spots in Key West. The plan is to use Hugh’s View for sunset celebrations, intimate concerts, and quiet moments.

Our weather these days is like a yo yo. Winter is upon us. Seventy six the high today. Sixty this evening. A drop!

Wyoming was the first state or teritory to give women the right to vote. It was a territory at the time. December 10, 1869.

Gender equality had nothing to do with it. Sex the primary motivation. Wyoming had 6,000 adult males at the time and only 1,000 adult females.

The Khashoggi killing in Istanbul by Saudis disgusted the civilized world. The man was not only murdered, his body surgically cut into pieces for removal in suitcases. There is a question as to whether Khashoggi was dead before the chopping began.

History reveals similar other atrocities. One involves a wealthy white woman living in Louisiana in 1834. Delphine La Laurie. Slaves were money. She owned many slaves.

A sadist at heart, Delphine tortured and killed her slaves at random. Never made sense since she was killing off pieces of her wealth each time she did so.

An arson fire occurred at her home in 1834. The fire revealed the extent of her sick nature. African-American bodies were found hung, necks stretched, body parts stretched, limbs torn from bodies, intestines cut out and wrapped around waists like belts.

Delphine obviously had to leave town. She fled to Paris where she lived out her life.

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade has turned me on since I first read the poem in high school. The bravery of the men involved!

Every opportunity to mention the writing, I do. 

The Battle of Balaklava was fought October 25, 1854. Six weeks later, Lord Tennyson published his famous work.

The words I find most inspiring: “All in the valley of death / Rode the six hundred….. / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die.”

Enjoy your day!

WHAT A GAME!

College basketball at its finest! Syracuse/Georgetown. Titans of the Big East. Games played at the Carrier Dome, Georgetown Campus, Madison Square Garden, and where ever Final Four matches were played.

Each game hard fought! Most close. 

Neither side liked the other. Enemies. Even the coaches Jim Boeheim and Jim Thompson. They never talked. Ignored each other. The animosity ran deep.

Boeheim now in his 43rd year coaching at Syracuse. Thompson long retired. They met a couple of years after Thompson’s retirement at some event. They talked. Could not understand why they never became friends. Today, the best of friends.

Syracuse has left the Big East. Now part of the ACC. The two schools met yesterday in an out of league game. What a game! Just like days of old!

The last 5 minutes especially. Wow! Game close. Baskets exchanged. 10.6 seconds left. Syracuse down 1 point. Battle took an 18 foot jump shot with 2.5 seconds remaining. Clean! Syracuse up by one. Georgetown had a long 3. Well past half court. Popped it up just in time. Almost went in.

Syracuse won!

Everyone agrees. The 2 schools should schedule more games. Pure unadulterated basketball at its best!

Blue Macaw last night.

Finally saw Andrea and Joe again. The last time before Thanksgiving. Good people. Enjoyed a couple of drinks with them.

Also chatted with artist Jean Paul. An interesting guy. Jean, Andrea and I discussed internet dating. Jean Paul into it at the present time.

Everyone off to 801 to watch the Christmas Parade. I was lazy. Standing to watch the parade did not turn me on. I remained and had another drink.

Montana back bartending. A lovely young lady. Great personality. She had been on vacation for 2 weeks.

Remember Lauri no longer at the Rum Barrel on Sundays. She has returned to Aqua. She will be hosting the Back Bar beginning at 4.

Go! Lauri’s personality makes it special.

Harry Truman loved Key West. Key West loves Harry Truman.

C-Span recently did a poll to determine how U.S. Presidents through 2000 stacked up. Harry Truman ranked #5. Understandable. He inherited a full plate and handled things well.

Truman #5 behind Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Washington, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Trump is too stupid to recognize what is going on around him. The neocons are taking over. Led by John Bolton. A warmonger.

When Huawei’s Meng was arrested in Vancouver, China’s Xi, Trump and their staffs were having dinner in Buenos Aires attempting to work out the tariff problems. Meng was arrested at the same time they were dining.

Bolton knew Meng was being arrested. Never told Trump. Makes Trump look like an ass. Embarrasses Xi and China.

One item, not much revealed. Meng was arrested for an alleged violation by her company re doing business with those doing business with Iran. The U.S. takes the position that if anyone does business with Iran, they will be penalized by the U.S.

Strange power the U.S. has.

The sanction violated does not have to do with Trump’s recent sanctions against Iran. Rather for a violation of sanctions imposed prior to 2015 by Obama. 

Shameful for Trump. He should have at least made such a move on sanctions he imposed.

Another thing bothering me is why Canada has been involved. Canada merely the arresting nation under extradition laws. Hearings going on presently in Canada to determine if Meng is to be extradited to New York for trial.

Trump keeps pushing the U.S.’s long time friend and neighbor Canada around.

Does not make sense. Merely exhibits a bully doing what he wants without caring about others.

Enjoy your Sunday!

HEMINGWAY HATED HIS MOTHER

Strong title. Can’t argue with history, however. Fact is fact.

Hemingway hated his mother.

John dos Passos, famous writer and Hemingway friend, said Hemingway was the only man he ever knew who truly hated his mother.

His mother was Grace Hall Hemingway. An aspiring opera singer, she settled into marriage and family. Taught music and voice lessons from the Hemingway home. Strictly religious, a woman with a melodramatic and mercurial temperament.

Grace had a peculiarity. Probably what contributed to her son hating her. She had a fondness for dressing Hemingway and his older sister as twins. Sometimes as boys with short hair, sometimes as girls with flowery dresses and long hair.

Hemingway was concerned at Christmas time when he was 3 that Santa Claus would not know he was a boy.

He was 6 years old when his mother finally permitted him to cut off his long locks for good.

Historians claim being dressed as a girl, etc. is why Hemingway spent his life proving his masculinity to himself and those closest to him.

The bitterness of his mother’s treatment is further evident in the way Hemingway treated female characters in his fiction and the way he treated his 4 wives.

Life is strange. Strange the impact a parent has on a child. Good, bad, or indifferent.

Spent time at the Chart Room last night.

John bartending. Steve and Cindy at the bar. Also Mike, owner of the Grand Guesthouse.

Steve and Cindy unquestionably Key West historians. They have resided in Key West since the mid 1970’s. Steve owned a series of taco stands in Key West and throughout Florida. Cindy was Jimmy Buffett’s assistant for more than 30 years.

They both know everything there is to know about Key West for the past 50 years.

Mike owns the Grand Guesthouse in Key West. A year since I had last seen him. We chatted a while. Learned something I did not know. His wife is Chef at the Reach. She has to be an absolutely outstanding cook. One of the finest steak houses in Key West.

A side note. Common knowledge that David Wolkowsky built the Pier House. What most do not know is that he also built the Reach. Two fine hotels on the opposite sides of the island.

The Reach initially was a rough sand beach with a shack sitting on it. Owned by the Catholic Church. A gathering spot for druggies. Wolkowsky bought the property, threw the beach bums out, and built a magnificent edifice.

A busy afternoon ahead for me. Sloan at 2. Some important work to be done. One of my programs is screwed up. Then at 3:30, Syracuse/Georgetown. Old time Big East basketball foes. Syracuse 6-2, Georgetown 7-1. Syracuse a 12 point favorite.

Patrick Ewing was an All-American star at Georgetown in his college days. Syracuse coached by Boeheim back then. Boeheim now in his 43rd year as Syracuse coach.

Ewing today in his second year as head basketball coach at Georgetown. A Hall of Fame Coach and a Hall of Fame Player oppose each other this afternoon.

Tonight one of my favorite Key West evenings. The Christmas Parade. Like one no where else. The whole town turns out to watch. I sometimes think half of Key West is in the parade itself. An exaggeration, of course.

I generally watch somewhere on Truman. Near Don’s Place. With Lisa and the grandkids.

Don’t know if I will make it tonight. I will be tired from my afternoon and will probably end up staying home.

The stock market.. Like Humpty Dumpty……Falling down!

Blame Trump.

The tariffs and sanctions he has imposed.

Things are not getting better.

Last week at the G 20 in Buenos Aires, Trump and China President Xi were having a private dinner with staff to try to work out the tariff war which is greatly adversely affecting the U.S. and China.

Duplicity reared its ugly head.

While Trump and Xi were talking in Buenos Aires, the U.S. had a prominent Chinese business person arrested at the Vancouver airport. Huawei CFO Meng. Huawei is a major Chinese company. Heavily involved in cell phones in Africa, Europe and Asia. Meng’s father and Xi close friends.

Meng was on her way to Mexico. She was arrested because her company has been doing business with companies doing business with Iran. Contrary to Trump imposed rules.

Such bullshit!

The horror of it all is that Trump and Xi were supposedly trying to work things out tariff wise at the moment of her arrest.

China pissed! Big time! A major insult by way of Asian thinking to China and Xi.

The market has been dropping dramatically as a result. One day up, I think. The rest down. Big numbers.

Yesterday the market dropped 558 points to 24,388. The 558 point drop erased all market gains for the year.

Good job, Donald!

The drop in my opinion not over. The tariffs and sanctions remain. China the biggest concern. Arresting Meng did not help.

If the market drops below 2,000 by year’s end, it will be the beginning of a world wide recession. Hopefully it will not hit 2,000.

I predicted last year that late this year or early into next year, the U.S. would be in recession. Not because I am an economic genius. Rather because I am 83 years old and have seen recessions develop in the past.

Enjoy your day!

 

CHINA 2018 THE JAPAN OF 1941?

December 7, 1941. In the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “A date that will live in infamy.” Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor.

There is cause and effect. Every action does have an equal and opposite reaction. Are the U.S. and China on a path similar to that  which led to the Japanese attack?

Examine the facts.

It was December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor. U.S. intelligence less than adequate. Roosevelt had been told the Japanese fleet was heading for Thailand.

Roosevelt sent a telegram to Emperor Hirohito: “For the sake of humanity” intervene “to prevent further death and destruction in the world.”

Roosevelt amusingly told his wife Eleanor…..”The son of man has just sent his final message to the son of God.”

U.S. intelligence was wrong. Roosevelt relied on the erroneous intelligence. The next day, Hawaii was attacked. Not Thailand.

Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor? Japan was a non-entity in world affairs in the years leading to 1900. Isolated from the rest of the world.

In 1894 and 1904, Japan successfully engaged in wars against nations considered superior to Japan. During World War I, Japan participated on the side of the Allies.

The Great Depression affected Japan as most nations at the time. Tensions had begun  growing between the U.S. and Japan 10 years earlier. Driven by economic and demographic woes.

Japan invaded Manchuria and other parts of China. The League of Nations condemned the invasion. Japan withdrew from the League as a result.

The Sino-Japanese War began in 1937. Japan acted in an extremely brutal fashion. Perpetrated massacres. Mass killings and rapes.

It was obvious Japan was expanding globally. The U.S. tried to stop Japan’s expansion. The U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Japan, including trade embargoes on aircraft exports, oil, and scrap metal.

In September 1940, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. The U.S. not involved in war with Germany and Italy yet.

The U.S. and Japan negotiated Japan’s expansion, the sanctions, etc. for months. Without success.

The U.S. had hoped the embargoes on oil and other key goods would lead Japan to halt its expansions.

The opposite proved correct. The sanctions and other penalties actually convinced Japan to stand its ground. Stand up for Japan.

Japan became increasingly angered. Thought U.S. conduct a part of Western interference in Asian affairs.

Importantly also, Japan felt the U.S. was not paying Japan the respect to which it was entitled. Japan believed they had earned respect as a world power beginning with the wars surrounding 1900 and its actions into the 1940’s.

Respect/face very important in Asian thinking. Neither was forthcoming from the U.S. There was a failure to recognize the new kid on the block.

Japan realized war was inevitable. Japan recognized the odds were stacked against them in a military confrontation. Success depended on surprise. The target Pearl Harbor. Four thousand miles from Japan’s homeland. The U.S. would not expect it.

Pearl Harbor was perfect. The U.S. fleet, except for carriers, in harbor. The fleet and U.S. morale would be destroyed. There would be no will to fight back.

Japan underestimated the U.S. and its people.

Sanctions a major cause compelling Japan’s decision to attack.

U.S. sanctions in effect today against China. The tariff wars. War, global recession possible. Perhaps imminent.

The issues the same. Overbearing sanctions, the economies of both countries in disarray. Everything moving at a rapid pace.

Trump the creator of the present scenario. His intelligence advise questionable. Where it does exist, he does not pay attention. He refuses to be properly briefed.

An example is Meng Wanzhou who was arrested/detained in Vancouver saturday. At the same time Trump was sitting with China’s President Xi in Buenos Aires.

Meng is CFO of China’s second largest technology company Huawei. Her father founder and a leading Chinese figure.

Huawei has been violating U.S. imposed sanctions by doing business with Iran. The reason Meng was arrested. She is awaiting deportation to New York for a federal court appearance.

Note again she was arrested while Trump and Xi negotiating at the G 20. An embarrassing loss of face for Xi.

The question also arises as to what right the U.S. has to impose penalties on China for doing business with Iran. The Iran problem is between the U.S. and Iran, not the U.S., Iran, and China.

Word is that Trump was unaware Meng was being arrested. John Bolton says Trump did not know and had not been briefed.

Makes one wonder what is going on at the highest levels of U.S. government.

The outcome of any military conflict uncertain. Both nations have nuclear weapons. China considered the world’s second most powerful nation. It may be questionable whether it is behind the U.S. militarily.

In the past five years, China has gone all out improving its military. In excess of 350 new naval vessels constructed with up to date nuclear missile capacity.

China has also constructed islands where none existed in Asian waters. Islands out of nothing. Now airbases with planes and troops stationed thereon.

It makes me question whether the U.S. is still the strongest nation in the world. I would not what to find out the answer.

Similarities exist between the Japan of yesterday and the China of today. Especially as regards each’s relationship at the specific time with the U.S.

Hopefully both the U.S. and China will negotiate their way out of this mess.

We are entering a Don’t Tread On Me situation. Where one side will not take it anymore. Similar to the Boston Tea Party, the Alamo, Pearl Harbor. Not a comfortable time.

MERYL STREEP AND ANTONIO BANDERAS IN TOWN

Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas in Key West for a few days. Filming a movie. The Laundromat.

Movie stars Gary Oldman, also. Do not think he is here. Actual filming in Key West only 2 days. 12/5 & 12/6.

Filming taking place on Caroline Street. Caroline already Christmas decorated. Decorations had to be removed for the filming.

Locals hired as extras. $125 for a 12 hour day.

The Laundromat is the story of a group of journalists who took part in unearthing 11.5 million files linking the world’s most powerful figures to secret banking accounts to avoid taxes. The film chronicles how a Panamanian law firm allowed the wealthy and connected to funnel money illegally via tax havens.

Last night, a colorful one. The Lighted Bike Ride. Christmas decorated  bicycles and riders. Hundreds participated. The Ride ended at Mary Ellen’s on Applerouth. Applerouth one block long. Closed. A block party held for the bike riders.

Love Mary Ellen’s! Not 2 years old yet. A popular spot. Inexpensive. The best tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Funky decorated. Funky games. Like tuesday evenings at 9 for the Dildo Races.

Stopped at Blue Macaw. Cold! Seventy degrees. Temperature dropped to low 60’s during the evening. Heat back on!

Bar crowd skimpy. Said hello to Alisa and Stephanie. Chatted too briefly with Angie.

A bit warmer tonight. Low 70. Still heat time for locals. Our blood is thin!

I watched President Bush’s service at the Washington National Cathedral. Moving. Mourning and celebratory. More celebratory. Showed sides of the man not generally known. Bush had a sense of humor. Stories told which shared that facet of his life.

One of the more humorous involved Bush’s operation of the motorboat at his Maine home. Bush was less than a good driver. He scared the hell out of Putin!

Tears shed on occasion. By those in the Cathedral and Louis.

The eulogies personal and warm. Son George broke down and cried near the end of his. Former Senator Simpson could have had a career as a comedian. Former Canadian Prime minister Mulroney, also.

Jon Mecham articulate. Warm. Weaves words well. Described the President as Mr. Peepers who wanted to be John Wayne to the laughter of all.

Perhaps not everyone. I refer to President Trump. Perhaps Melanie, also. Both obviously uncomfortable, a strange addition to the rest in the Cathedral.

The former Presidents and their spouses sat together in the front row. Trump and Melania came in after they had been seated a while. Before their appearance, the former Presidents and wives were chatting and joking.

Trump arrived and everyone went stiff. Sat quietly staring ahead.

The Obamas were seated next to the Trumps. They briefly and respectfully greeted the Trumps. The Clintons would have nothing to do with him nor Trump they.

Trump appeared uncomfortable throughout. Scowling and arms crossed. Slouching forward. Looked like a slob compared to the other Presidents.

The thought just occurred. If you remove the T from Trump and replace wit with a G, it becomes Grump. Respectfully, what Trump appeared to be during the service.

Trump supported by the Evangelicals. A strong religious group in the United States. Trump did not appear evangelical yesterday. He did not participate in prayers or hymns. The Apostles’ Creed was recited by all. It was even printed in the program. Trump’s lips closed throughout, as were Melania’s. So too with the Lord’s Prayer.

One other Presidential observation. President Carter and Hillary. Sat next to each other. A “created” space between them. Appeared to be by choice. Never saw them talk to each other.

Family. The Bush family tight. Close. The influence of George Sr. and Barbara apparent.

It was obvious throughout that brothers Jeb and George have a close relationship.

Today ends the President’s final services. The family has to be beat. They  are in Houston for a service at the President’s personal Church. Then a 70 mile train ride to his Library where he will be buried with Barbara and Robin.

This is the first time in more than half a century a political figure worthy of note has been  train transported to his final resting place. Robert Kennedy. I clearly recall. A train took his body to Washington. The tracks along the way lined with people paying their last respects. As thousands had done a hundred years earlier for Lincoln.

God bless President Bush! God bless our having been reminded of him. It comes at a time in American history when we need to recall there have been Presidents of character, morality, empathy, humanity, etc.

Enjoy your day!

A DAY OF NATIONAL MOURNING

This morning at 11, family, friends, world, and national leaders will pay homage to George H. W. Bush at the Washington National Cathedral.

We no longer refer to funeral services as a time for sorrow, a time for mourning. Though in fact they are. Over the years those two words have transformed into a time for celebration.

Whatever, all apply.

While Bush’s life is being celebrated in the Cathedral, I will be full of sorrow. My heart will mourn for a good man gone.

I will shed some tears. Always do at events of this nature. A box of tissues nearby.

The Washington National Cathedral was completed in 1990. Following 83 years of construction. Though not complete till 1990, used for religious services in the years leading up to 1990.

Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller are laid to rest within the walls of the Cathedral.

Later today, Bush will be flown to Houston. Tomorrow at 5:15 pm, he will be buried on the grounds of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum next to his wife Barbara and daughter Robin.

Television yesterday showed former Senator  and Presidential candidate Bob Dole pay his last respects to Bush at the Capitol Rotunda. Moving. Friends and foes in the past. One saying good bye to the other.

Bush and Dole are members of the Greatest Generation. Both fought with distinction in World War II. Bush as a Navy carrier pilot shot down twice. Dole as an infantry man so severely wounded he was lucky to survive. Let alone still living today at age 95.

It was touching to watch Dole be helped from his wheel chair to offer a final salute to his friend and leader.

Syracuse won big time last night. Beat Northeastern 72-49. The team looked good. May they continue improving.

Syracuse’s next foe old time rival Georgetown. Saturday afternoon.

Immediately following the game, it was Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Enjoyed doing the show last night. Then again, I enjoy doing it every time it is done. The show went smoothly. Many thoughts shared.

My dear friend Lauri Thibaud has left the Rum Barrel and returned to Aqua. She will be working the Back Bar saturday and sunday evenings. Saturdays beginning at 5, sundays at 4.

Harry Truman time again.

I mentioned yesterday how Truman had bad eyesight, wanted to join the Missouri national guard in 1905, and feared he would fail the eye test. He cheated. Sort of. He memorized the eye chart. Passed with flying colors!

Truman now a private. Proud. Wanted his grandmother Louisa Young to see him in his uniform. He made a special trip to Grandview, Missouri to visit her.

Wore his uniform. Blue with red stripes down the trouser legs, red piping on the cuffs, and a red fourragere over the shoulder.

His grandmother was outraged! She told him the uniform reminded her of the Union soldiers who pillaged the family farm during the Civil War. She admonished him never to return wearing the uniform again.

He never did.

Enjoy your day!

WHY PARIS IS BURNING

Public demonstrations in Paris out of control. A month already. Fires everywhere. Big time damage. Four killed, hundreds injured.

Why? Because the government has imposed a new and higher tax on gasoline which was scheduled to go into effect January 1.

Driving is expensive in certain European countries. Italy and France examples.

Gasoline costs much more than in the United States. At least two times as much. The price of a gallon of gas in France today $5.54. Italy similarly high.

People do not fill their tanks up. Too expensive at one shot. Put in 10 or 20 euros. Like you and I putting in $10 or $20.

In addition to gas, there is an additional financial burden. Makes the cost of gas look minuscule.

Most highways are privatized. The government rents a roadway for 50 or 100 years to a private corporation or sells it outright to the corporation. The corporation in turn agrees to maintain and operate the highway.

No bargain to the consumer. Those who operate motor vehicles on the highways. The corporations impose tolls. The tolls astronomical. Beyond comprehension. So bad that locals opt to drive on secondary narrow pot filled 2 lane roads. Where people’s lives are in danger.

Drivers do everything to avoid privately owned toll roads.

The toll roads are kept in tip top condition. Bridges replaced. Everything done. After all, a money maker for the private corporation.

Trump has pushed privatization to defray the cost redoing our infrastructure. Don’t even consider it. Fight the concept. A pig in a poke. A toll too far.

Tie the cost of a gallon of gasoline to the toll and it is easy to understand why Paris is burning.

Last night, the French government announced the tax increase would not go into effect. As one French leader said, “No tax deserves to endanger the unity of a Nation.”

Busy yesterday.

Sandy’s for a leisurely lunch. Read the newspapers.  Then to Publix. I keep forgetting to buy shaving cream. Beard was cropping up again.

A manicure at 5 with Tammy. Slow day for her business. She says most mondays are lately.

Followed the manicure with a trip to Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. Rick Dery’s guest Bobby Nesbitt. A huge crowd. Great singing. Bobby opened with White Christmas. Put everyone in the mood.

Met Jean Thornton. We were scheduled to have a drink together. She left me at 7 to meet Haywood at Michael’s for dinner.

Mary showed up before Jean left. Then Lynda and Bob Frechette. Linda, too.

Mary and I had dinner afterwards at La Trattoria. I let Mary order. Don’t ask me why. The pasta was HOT! My esophagus burned all night!

Morgan appeared. A hug and kiss and a chat. Another hug and kiss as I was leaving.

Morgan absolutely impresses me. A beauty! Intelligent! Only 27 years old. She has a Masters in geography. Works with the government or one of its contractors at the Navy base.

The hurricane season technically ends November 30. Key West has a ceremony to commemorate the event. The burning of the hurricane flag. The ceremony was yesterday afternoon at the Waterfront Park.

I did not attend. Jean and Frank Holden did. Jean became irritated. Properly so. The beautiful large expanse of green grass that makes up the Waterfront Park was a mess. Uprooted in parts, sand thrown here and there.

The power boat race people by contract were permitted to use the area. They are required by contract to repair and replace any areas damaged. Apparently have failed or not gotten to it this year.

Jean is on Facebook this morning complaining about the situation and showing pictures of the grounds. She will goose the power boat people into performing. Don’t mess with Jean.

Syracuse/Northeastern tonight at 7. Syracuse 5-2, Northeastern 4-4. Too early in the season to project who will win.

I will be watching the game from home. My podcast follows the game at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A fast moving hard hitting half hour. I vent. Get excited about the good and bad in things. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. I repeat the statement often.

Which brings to mind another Truman story.

Truman had poor eyesight. Not blind as a bat, but close too it. It was 1905. He wanted to join the Missouri National Guard. Battery “B.” He knew he could not pass the eye test.

Missouri ingenuity came into play. Truman memorized the eye chart. Passed the physical with no problem. He became a private in the Light Artillery of Battery “B.” Served as a Captain during World War I. Retired from the Reserves 37 years after entering as a Colonel.

America is in mourning. President George H. W. Bush is dead.

Yesterday was emotionally heavy. The various activities shown on TV. Impossible not to shed a tear here and there. As they will be today and tomorrow.

Bush will be respected for the ages. What a man! What a President! Bush the personification of each.

Trump will never be. Character and virtue are required.

Enjoy your day!

 

GOD, MYSTICISM, BELIEF IN A SUPERNATURAL

Most people believe. Some in a God. Others a supernatural being of sorts.

Some that things happen for a reason. That an individual by his or her actions can compel a result.

I was at the Gardens last night. A sizeable crowd. Peter Diamond entertaining with songs born in my generation.

I was sitting alone in the back when Jackie Tee stopped by to say hello. I last wrote about Jackie a year ago. We met in the Chart Room. Following the meeting, I wrote her story. One involving a broken toe ring and Irma. One based in a religious type belief.

Some background first. Jackie a Canadian. Her first trip to Key West 20 years ago with her husband, 4 1/2 year old son and her sister. They have continued to visit every year for 20 years. Sometimes as much as 4 times a year. Always stay at the Galleon. As Jackie describes it, she is drawn to Key West.

While here 20 years ago, she purchased a toe ring. Wore it religiously for 20 years.

A couple of months before Irma, the toe ring began to split.

The toe ring totally split on September 10, the day Irma hit Key West.

Jackie thought some omen might be involved. A friend who she describes as a “new age spiritual” suggested the ring be repaired. Intimating some good might come as a result.

Jackie had the toe ring repaired. It was returned to her on the same day as Key West was opened for the first time permitting residents to return.

The toe ring have something to do with it? Perhaps. Jackie believes so.

With Jackie last night was her sister Donna. We had met last year at the Chart Room also.

Both Jackie and Donna read my blog every day. Love them!

A bit humid at the Gardens. No breeze last night. I was in need of air conditioning. Left and headed for the Chart Room.

John bartending.

Chatted with Carla and Jerry. First time in Key West. Staying at the Pier House. Both retired. Presently live on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

Jerry had an interesting career. Spent 31 years with UPS. A welder, his title aircraft master. Retired from UPS and went to work the next 10 years at a company called Alston. It was there he met and married Carla.

They are having a ball! No question, they will return.

John mentioned that another person at the bar was from Utica. My home town. Rarely run into someone from Utica.

His name Tom Burns. We talked a long time. An interesting guy.

Tom is not actually from Utica. From Forestport. Fifteen-twenty miles outside Utica. Otter Lake area. Beginnings of the Adirondacks.

He brought me up to date on the Utica hospital situation. The 3 hospitals are merging and planning on rebuilding. In a place presently covered by an old Police Station building and a relatively new City Court House. Both would be torn down.

I immediately thought how my friend Anthony “Muzzy” Garramone would be upset. Muzzy and I grew up together. He eventually became a Judge. Thereafter, Chief Judge of the Utica City Courts.

Utica desperately needed a new City Court House. Muzzy lead the drive politically. He was primarily instrumental for its design. A beautiful edifice the result.

The building was named after him. The Anthony J. Garramone Court House. Other than his marriage and the birth of his children, the biggest day in Muzzy’s life. Much deserved.

Tom is involved with telephones. Believe he mentioned Verizon. Forty nine years old. Has avoided matrimony. Single.

His first visit to Key West. Obviously enjoying it. Who does not?

I have not been back to Utica in 12 years. I have lost contact with the community. He brought me up to date on the local political scene. Especially the recent Congressional race.

The Republican incumbent the daughter of a deceased New York State Supreme Court Justice. The Judge could be a difficult man to work in front of.

The Democrat the young son of a Utica attorney. An outstanding trial lawyer. Extremely successful in the practice. Made his reputation early in his career representing prominent criminals. Successfully so on most occasions.

Tom told me a major issue in the campaign was the early checkered career of the Democratic candidate’s father.

The district traditionally Republican. The Democratic candidate won.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

GROCERY SHOPPING WITH THE BLIND

A unique experience yesterday. I took Terri grocery shopping. Donna was ill and asked me to step in.

It was the blind leading the blind.

I shop at the new Publix. Know where everything is. Terri shops at the old Publix. I knew where nothing was. Everything in a different place from the other store.

The experience began with the drive. I was on Whitehead approaching Truman. She said, “Take a left on Truman.” How did she know Truman was ahead?

When we arrived at Publix, she explained the game plan. We were to enter on the right side of the store. Get a cart immediately. She would drive. I was to lightly pull from the front to control direction.

We started on the right side of the store. Needed bacon. She got me to it.

So far, I was comfortable. Not bad. Then it began. Go 2 aisles right. Take a left. Half way down on the right. Top shelf. Box or can colored such and such. Brand name provided.

And so it went.

Occasionally, I took the wrong item off the shelf. She was able to tell by the size of a can if I did wrong. The size not being that much different from that which she wanted.

She directed. I followed. I was proud of myself. I did good.

She wanted me to go one way, I went another. I saw one of the items on her grocery list 2 aisles in the opposite direction from where she wanted me to go.

Blew it for her! Totally discombobulated! She was lost! Not panicked. Merely said to me, “You did wrong. I do not know where I am.”

I righted the wrong and we were on our way again.

I was impressed. She knew where most things were. The side of the aisle as well as shelf. Occasionally, she would tell me she was staying where she was with the cart. The Deli area an example. Too crowded for her. Gave me walking orders and off I went.

Checking out interesting. She can empty a cart, though I did. She pays with a credit card, not a debit. Merely push it in and it registers without her doing anything else.

I was impressed! Her only inability was driving the car itself. Who knows, some day.

Intended to go out last night and watch the Syracuse/Cornell game. Too tired. The shopping trip had tired me out!

Remained home and watched Syracuse beat Cornell 63-55. Cornell was winning by one point with 5 minutes to go. An unimpressive Syracuse game against a lesser opponent.

The nice thing was that Boeheim’s 2 sons were playing. On opposite sides. One for Syracuse, the other Cornell. Neither embarrassed themselves nor their father.

Driving down a street this time of the year in Utica and Key West the same. With one difference. Utica has snow. Otherwise, Key West homes are decorated as those up north. Christmas spirit exists regardless of location. The Key West homes I have seen absolutely beautiful. Obvious that a lot of thought and work were involved.

George H. W. Bush a frequent visitor to the keys. Primarily, Islamorada area. The President an avid fisherman.

Generally stayed at Cheeka Lodge.

Visited before, during and following his Presidency.

His biggest fishing experience involved landing a 135 foot tarpon. The largest game fish he ever caught. Bush was 84 at the time. Took him only 45 minutes to land the giant fish.

Bush used a live crab for bait. Afterwards he said, “It was a thrill of a lifetime…..A great fighting fish was finally baited.”

Bush’s character, sensitivity, caring, etc. coming out from every source. Things we did not know about him. I share two I came across.

In the 1950’s, the Bush’s lost their daughter Robin to leukemia. She was 2 at the time. Bush wrote a letter to his mother following Robin’s death…..”We need a legitimate Christmas angel, one who doesn’t have cuffs beneath her dress. You have to be a father to know this,” he wrote. “We need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. We need a girl. We had one once…..But she is still with us. We need her yet we have her.”

In 2013, Bush shaved his head in solidarity with 2 year old Patrick, the son of one of the agents on his Secret Service detail who was being treated for leukemia and had lost all his hair. He was that type man.

Another nature disaster. The Alaskan earthquake friday in the Anchorage area. A big one. One 7.0 in magnitude.

Trump immediately responded. Issued an emergency declaration making it possible for the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to act.

Trump told the people of Alaska, “Your federal government will spare no expense.”

Trump will fail Alaska as he failed Puerto Rico, Florida, northern Florida, and the California fire areas.

There is not enough money! It was more than color in Puerto Rico. Not enough money. Florida still owed billions to reimburse and /or complete rebuilding following Irma. No one hears about Florida’s Panhandle. Michael destroyed most areas hit. One city totally obliterated. We hear nothing about how great FEMA is doing in the Panhandle because it is not doing enough. California desperately waits dollars rather than criticism. Trump should sweep out the swamp people in his cabinet rather than recommend the forest grounds in California be swept.

He will fail Alaska also. His administration has misused, misallocated, and I don’t know what else, funds for natural disaster relief.

Talk is cheap. Put money where your mouth is, Mr. President. Our country needs you.

Enough for today.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

GEORGE H. W. BUSH PASSES ON

We have lost one of our better Presidents. George H. W. Bush. History will remember him as a great leader.

The character of the man first became evident with World War II. He was 18 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Yale was in front of him. Instead, he opted for the U.S. Navy.

Bush became the youngest commissioned aviator in Navy history. One hundred twenty six carrier landings, 58 missions, shot down twice.

Politically, a Republican. In the mold of Barry Goldwater.

Elected to Congress, he voted the Republican line. With a significant exception. He supported Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, believing it provided “a better life for all.”

Bush twice ran for the U. S. Senate. Defeated each time. By age 46, advancing politically did not look promising.

Undaunted, he went on to become Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief Envoy to China, CIA Director, Vice President, and President.

Bush was a one term President. Clinton defeated him.

When running for President the first time, the country was in rough shape economically. Bush promised no new taxes. His famous words: “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

The words came back to choke him.

While President, he supported a tax raise. The people neither forgot nor forgave him. The primary reason for his defeat.

Clinton’s dynamism another reason. An entertaining candidate. A distinct contrast with the soft spoken gentlemanly Bush. I voted for Bush. Bush’s character motivated me. I thought Clinton was lacking in that regard.

During his four years in the White House, the Berlin Wall came down. Bush was extremely helpful in molding the new Berlin and Germany.

Operation Desert Storm also occurred under his command. An act of military brilliance. Forced Hussein out of Kuwait. Bush put together a coalition of 28 countries. The war was over in 100 hours.

Two sons achieved political prominence. Son George W. Bush became President. Son Jeb Bush Governor of Florida and unsuccessful candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination.

The moving force behind Bush had to be his wife Barbara of 73 years. A forceful straight forward woman. She died several months ago.

The Nation will truly mourn his loss the next few days. Each of us will feel it. Respect will flow.