There is a well intentioned group in Key West that reminds me of the vigilantes  and lynch mobs of old. Sometimes the wrong person got hung.

Key West’s modern day group is known as the Key West Rip-Off Rapid Response Team. The bad guys the “rip off cosmetic shops on Duval.”

The ripoffs directed at older persons walking along Duval. Generally, tourists. Outside certain cosmetic shops stand good looking young men and/or women.

They work for the cosmetic shop. With smile and kind words, entice the elderly into their shops. Youth regenerated skin one of the pitches. Who would not want to look younger?

The “customers” are oversold. Enticed. Purchase too many items. Some credit card slips have an extra “0” added after the customer leaves. A hundred dollar purchase turned into a thousand dollar one.

The tourist returns home. Realizes in one fashion or another he or she have been ripped off. Generally contact the Key West police for assistance. Only to be told the problem is a”civil” one, not criminal. The customer will have to pursue the matter civilly, probably will need an attorney.

The police are wrong in my opinion. The scenario stinks of fraud. It is a police matter to handle.

The problem was becoming pronounced. The Rip-Off Rapid Response Team was formed. Good hearted locals. Mostly elderly. Well intentioned. Made up signs and began protesting by walking back and forth in front of cosmetic shops. Not good for the cosmetic shop business.

The Rapid Response Team v. the cosmetic shops has been ongoing for more than a year.

One of the cosmetic shops is “Oh La La.” The Rip Off team has had some degree of success against it in the past.

It is claimed part of a previous solution was that the owner of the store/building who rented to Oh La La would evict Oh La La at the end of the year. The owner Michael Halpern. A respected Key West business man.

Whether the representation was actually made, I do not know.

In any event, Halpern also owns the Southernmost House at the Atlantic end of Duval. Saturday evening the Mayor’s Ball was held at the Southernmost House. A charitable fund raiser. Many local luminaries in attendance.

The Rip-Off Team decided to bring Halpern’s purported failure to evict Oh La La to the event. They apparently had a don’t screw with us attitude. A disgraceful display by the group occurred. Embarrassing to all.

The Rip Off team has announced it will contribute $1,000 to each of the charities involved and an apology to the Southernmost House, Halpern and those who sponsored the Mayor’s Ball.

My admonition to the Rip-Off Team, knock it off. You are wrong. The responsibility to act belongs with the City and Police. Harass them. Get things worked out. Attention is most often paid to the squeaky wheel.

Cold!!!!!!Last night and today!!!!!!!

When I left home last night, it was 67 degrees. Today’s high projected at 65. Tonight, 54.

The heat is on.

My first stop last night was Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. Rick Dery and the fabulous Terri White performing. Great singing!

Terri’s birthday is thursday. Drop her a Happy Birthday! I am sure she will be pleased to receive it.

Donna was already there when I arrived. Donna is Terri’s wife.

Also at the bar were “my dear friend” Stephanie Kaple and her parents Marilyn and Ben. Visiting. Love Marilyn! She is an avid reader of my blog.

Skaneateles Dan and Lisa came in. Syracuse fans! They are into sort of a semi retirement. Sold their restaurant outside Syracuse in November. Leading the leisurely life at the moment.

With Dan and Lisa were their friends David and Judy. I had met them in previous years. They reside in Orlando.

I left early. I was cold. Did not dress properly. I did not realize how cold it was when I left the house.

Stopped at Antonia’s for dinner. Sat at “my seat” in the corner of the bar.

Nicolle bartending. The nicest of the nice. One reason was my one and only Irma and Me book signing.

Initially, it was only me and a pile of books. No one was coming. Then appeared Nicolle and her friend. My first customer! I will never forget.

Nicolle is slimming down. Dieting. She was on the heavy side. No more. Has proudly lost 31 pounds. Working on the next 30. Looks terrific!

Enjoyed conversation with a gentleman who sat next to me. From Aspen. Is building a home on Von Phister and Walton.

Trump’s impeachment trial begins today. A sorry event to unfold. Not the impeachment itself. Trump deserves to be impeached.

Rather it is the method by which the Republican Senate plans on conducting the trial. I will not even go into the sordid details. They are all over the news.

My concern is the Republicans are behaving like a bunch of kids. Unreasonable in the rules they have formulated. They forget they are supposedly statesmen and not juveniles. The best thing that could happen to our country is if there was a way to throw them all out. Democrats and Republicans alike.

Then start all over!

In the meantime, our “esteemed” President is in Switzerland at the world wide Davos economic meeting. He spoke early this morning. I watched on TV.

Finally gave up after 10 minutes. All he was doing was telling everyone the glorious things he was accomplishing in the U.S. Some factual, most bullshit.

Tomorrow night, Syracuse/Notre Dame. Hope Syracuse continues its recent winning ways.

The past several years, Tibetan monks have visited the Keys. An annual January event. This year’s visit begins saturday. I know no other details at the moment.

Some 1,600 of the world’s leading CEO’s were recently interviewed as part of a survey. The survey issue whether an economic slowdown in growth was expected in 2020. The survey was done in preparation for the Davos meeting.

Fifty three percent expected an economic slow down. The number was contrasted with last year’s similar survey for 2019. At that time, 57 percent expressed optimism for record levels.

The numbers have turned. If there is validity to this year’s response, the world wide recession which has been expected will occur.

Two reasons were claimed for the adverse turn around. Political unrest and uncertainty of the China-U.S. deal.

A man who left his marked imprint on history died this date 1924. Vladimir Lenin. He was 54. A brain hemorrhage caused his death.

Whether one agrees with his politics, Lenin is an historical figure of note. The architect of Bolshevism and the first leader of the Soviet Union.

January 21, 2008 was not a good one in American history. Referred to as “Black Monday” and the “Panic of 2008.”

The stock market crashed. The second biggest market failure in U.S. history. Topped only by the recession which began in 1929.

Banking abuses were the cause. The government had to bail the banks out. Not the millions of home owners who lost their homes, however.

Another crash is coming. I thought it would occur last year. It is inevitable. The government is already supporting and coming to the aid of banks and hedge funds with their “repo” actions.

Tonight is the night! Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me. Interesting topics! Our nation and the world is crazy!

Enjoy your day!


Remember that cold wintry day in January 2009 when a jet airliner put down on the Hudson River. One hundred fifty five persons aboard. All saved.

The pilot an instantaneous hero. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

During the Democratic primary battles, the world for the first time has become aware that Joe Biden has a stuttering problem. Took a long time to discover.

Some people are mean. Mock those who stutter or once did stutter. One of those is Trump’s daughter in law Lara, wife to Trump’s son Eric. On a national TV show, she made fun of Biden. Skillfully. Had to be planned. The word stuttering never used.

Her words directed at Biden were: “Joe can you get it out? Let’s get the words out Joe.”

Sully came to Biden’s defense. His words to Lara: “Stop. Grow up. Show some decency. People who can’t have no place in public life.”

Sully described the Biden attack as part of a “culture of cruelty.”

What compelled Sully to speak out? He stuttered as a child. He knew well how other children made fun of him and how difficult it was to overcome.

John Mulholland is the U.S. Editor of Guardian. Over the weekend he wrote,  “America is at a tipping point, finely balanced between truth and lies, hope and hate, cruelty and nastiness.”

So it is.

January 20 is Presidential inauguration day in the U.S. Every 4 years on January 20.

Kennedy was sworn in on this day in 1961. He was a “President.” Trump was sworn in 2017. He not a “President.”

Kennedy’s inaugural address left us with passages that will last forever. Especially, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

I recall no memorable words in Trump’s address.

Comment is frequently made that at 38, Pete Buttigieg is too young to be President. If he were elected, he would be 39 years old at the time of his inauguration.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Recalled by Americans for all the good he accomplished in the civil rights movement which lead to his death.

King was 39 years old when assassinated.

His age did not affect his work and leadership qualities. Buttigieg’s age will not affect his ability to lead.

One either has it or does not.

Age should not be an issue. He speaks well and is thoughtful. Trump in his 70’s when elected. A buffoon. Not intelligent. Knowing little.

A sensitive day ahead. In Virginia. A gun rights rally. Both sides will probably be present. Violence likely.

A sorry day.

One of Key West’s leading singers Terri White performs tonight at Dueling Bartenders. The former Broadway star is always at the top of her game.

I plan on being at Aqua to hear Terri.

A reminder. Lynn Frechette’s Aqua Idol opens its season wednesday. A not to be missed event.

Laurie Thibaud is emcee. Recall I did several Party Time radio shows with her several months ago. A talented woman.

Enjoy your day!






















“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

I believe Trump retained Alan Dershowitz as one of his impeachment defense counsel because of the book Dershowitz wrote 1n 2018. “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.” Dershowitz claims Trump cannot be impeached because he committed no crime. No crime, no impeachment.

Dershowitz’s opinion a minority one.

The majority opinion is to the effect that violation of an established crime is not required. Such scholars are of the opinion the Founding Fathers left the standard loose to cover things they could not even think of.

The Constitution does not define “impeachment” precisely. Rather in general terms: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Loose language. Possible of encompassing many things.

As a result, most Constitutional scholars believe grounds for impeachment do not have to involve the breach of a criminal statute.

The Harvard Law Review 12/10/18 published the article “High Crimes Without Law.” Spelled out therein: “The majority view is that a president can legally be impeached for intentional, evil deeds that dramatically subvert the Constitution and involve an unforgivable abuse of the presidency – even if those deeds didn’t violate any criminal laws.”

Again, it is obvious that the Founding Fathers had the vision to keep the application of impeachment loose. Basically, if it looks wrong, it is wrong. The Duck Test is like a sniff test. If what has been done stinks, impeachment might very well apply.

Trump’s conduct show he failed both tests.

It is going to be interesting to see how many Republican Senators understand the Duck and Stink Tests. There is nothing difficult in applying both to the facts and coming up with a decision removing Trump from the White House.

The women of America showed their disdain for Trump the day following his inauguration. The Women’s March. Millions of ladies on the road nationwide.

The results of the 2018 election show the women remained involved.  The House results prove it.

Yesterday, The Women’s March group held rallies in 180 cities. The turnout, though less than the day following Trump’s inauguration, significant. Guaranteed more as election day comes closer.

One of the Washington marchers best described Trump. The “biggest bully in the world.”

Trump will find it difficult to win later this year with the attitude of the ladies of America being such.

Victory, Victory, Victory! Syracuse won again yesterday. Beat Virginia Tech 71-69. Terrific game. In the final 7.4 seconds, it was Boeheim’s coaching that guaranteed the win.

Notre Dame wednesday.

Last night enjoyable, also. Dinner with Donna and Terri at their home. Donna cooked.

I have said it before and say it again, Donna is an absolute talent in the kitchen

The menu simple. Chicken soup with matzoh balls and sandwiches made from the soup chicken.

Donna made the chicken soup friday. Boiled 10 pieces of chicken for several hours,. Some vegetables thrown in. She made the matzoh balls.

The sandwiches sourdough bread. The chicken pieces moist and tasty.

All I can say is WOW! What a meal!

Cannot forget Bear. He must eat well, also. Has never tasted table food. Bear is not yet 18 months old. Weighs 88 pounds. My wives tell me he is still growing.

Lynda Frechette. A Key West jewel!

For something like 12 years Lynda has been organizing and running Aqua Idols. A fundraiser for the Waterfront Playhouse.

A successful endeavor each year.

Lynda searches Key West for singing talent. Convinces those she discovers to participate in Aqua Idol. A multiple week contest involving 16 performers. A weekly elimination involved.

Lynda has announced that the evening of the event has changed. It has been a Tuesday event. No more. Wednesday evenings.

First show of the new season January 22. Show runs 6:30-8. Suggest you get to Aqua around 5. The place a bit later will be jammed and you will not be able to get a seat.

Another worthwhile Key West event is the annual Historic Key West Cemetery Stroll. Another activity I suggest you not miss.

The Key West Cemetery is full of interesting history. Local, national, and militarily. Many of the Battleship Maine sailors buried there. The stones of locals tell interesting stories. The best in my opinion has always been: I Told You I Was Sick.

Virginia and the Second Amendment will be under attack tomorrow in Virginia. There may be blood on the streets. Rallies opposing each other. For gun restrictions, against gun restrictions.

Videos of those against gun control are on the internet. They are uninformed up and bearing all type military equipment. Guns alone appear formidable.

The Governor has already called out the national guard.

Trump is helping. He announced yesterday his support in effect for the wannabe soldiers supporting guns. He tweeted “They are trying to take away your Second Amendment rights.”

Blood on the streets? Trump will bear a portion of the responsibility.

Enjoy your Sunday!


I was out last night. The talk was Jimmy Buffett was in town and would be performing tonight at Margaritaville on Duval. Purportedly he was in Key West to do some recordings today.

Not sure. People hyped, however. Again, I may not be correct. Go at your own risk. The worse that can happen is you will enjoy a good burger.

My night began at the Chart Room. John bartending. My farmer friend Devon from northwest Illinois at the bar.He had just returned from Illinois. Checked things out, bought some seed, visited his bankers.

Devon still not a happy camper as far as Trump is concerned. May never be. As he tells it, Trump has screwed everything up in the farming industry. People in his area are going out of business or hanging in there suffering big time.

He and his brother run a large farm. Big time farmers! Soybeans their primary product. The soybeans are filling barns and lying under carps on the ground.

Devon is happy the Canada/Mexican deal is a go. He won’t make more money. He will make the same, however. Nothing will ever make up for the loss his operation has suffered.

The China deal does not impress him. He has experienced China shenanigans before. He will believe a somewhat China resolution when that which he grows moves and sells.

In the meantime, Devon enjoys Key West. He is a snowbird. Owns a huge condominium complex at the corner of Fleming and William Streets. Purchased when things were good.

Stopped at the VFW on the way home for a bite to eat. A grilled cheese sandwich.

Met Abigail. Cute bartender.

The VFW has dancing music friday nights. I was unaware. Many couples. Happily dancing the night away.

I did bad last night. Had 2 drinks. Beefeater on the rocks. I said screw it! It was time to cheat a bit.

One at the Chart Room, the other at VFW.

This day in different years Key West movie time.

On this day in 1956, The Rose Tattoo premiered at the Strand and San Carlos Theaters in Key West.

A movie filmed in Key West. Most of the filming done at a house on Duncan. Two doors from Tennessee Williams’ home. Williams had written the play The Rose Tattoo.

My Lisa lives 1 1/2 blocks from The Rose Tattoo house and Willams’ home.

Burt Lancaster and Anna Mangani starred in the movie. Mangani won the Academy Award for Best Performance by a Woman.

Come 1959 and Operation Petticoat was being filmed in Key West. A humorous World War II submarine movie starring Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.

Trump’s attorneys for the Senate impeachment trial have been announced. Two are Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz.

My thoughts concerning each.

Ken Starr is now 73. He “prosecuted” the Clinton impeachment. I considered him a slime then and still do. His pursuit of a case of oral copulation and a lie would have been comparable to Hitler or Stalin having been out on trial for their wrongdoings. I did not like the manner in which he pursued “victory.”

I was especially disappointed when he obtained court orders forcing Secret Service agents who were protecting Clinton to testify to whatever they knew of his transgressions. A first for the Secret Service “telling” on the man they were sworn to protect.

Starr had a distinguished legal career before becoming  Special Counsel. He had been a federal appellate judge and Solicitor General of the U.S.

I suspect he took on the “heavy responsibility” of proving a blow job because he thought it might lead to a U.S. Supreme Court seat.

He was fooled. He ended up a Professor of Law at Pepperdine University and then Chancellor/President at Baylor University.

Interestingly, sex initially made him popular and some time later sex led to his downfall. There was an accusation of sexual violence having occurred at Baylor and the Administration not doing anything about it.

Baylor “punished” Starr by removing him for the President’s job. He was permitted to stay on as Chancellor. The only class thing I give Starr credit for involved what happened thereafter. He resigned the Chancellorship and left Baylor saying, “The Captain goes down with the ship.”

Monica Lewinsky was made aware of Starr’s appointment to the President’s team yesterday. She tweeted, “Are you f–king” kidding me?”

I would expect nothing less from her. Starr maltreated Lewinsky badly during the investigation. Like secreting her in a hotel room away from counsel while grilling her as to what had occurred. Starr and staff beating up in effect on a young lady hidden away from an attorney and her family.

Alan Dershowitz. Now 81. An outstanding attorney most of his life. I am not sure as to his ability at this stage of his life. Time may have passed him by.

Dershowitz spent most of his career as a Harvard Law Professor. During those years, he was permitted to practice outside of his teaching duties. His 2 most famous cases involved Claus von Bulow and O. J. Simpson.

His efforts have been all over the place in recent years.

He campaigned against Trump in 2016.  He has already endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Dershowitz has been critical of many of Trump’s decisions. Like the travel ban, rescission of protections for Dreamers, and failure to single out white national provocations in Charlottesville.

On the other hand, he does not believe Trump’s firing of Comey constituted an obstruction of justice, believes the Michael Flynn conviction strange, and Russia’s collusion in the 2016 election not a crime.

Regarding impeachment itself and perhaps the reason Trump selected him, Dershowitz published in 2018: The Case Against Impeaching Trump.

Enjoy your day!


Evangelist Franklin Graham was in Key West yesterday. His visit to Key West specific. Key West is gay friendly. He wanted to save the souls of the homosexual/gay community.

A pompous ass!

His hatred towards the LGBT community is well known. He preaches homosexuality is a sin. His lead up to the Key West visit included these words: “I’m going to Key West to tell everyone how they can have a relationship with God through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.”

My initial reaction to his visit was…..Get out of here! You are a troublemaker!

My anger faded. He has a right to speak as to his beliefs. Referred to as freedom of speech. I have the same right, though I speak in direct opposition to his beliefs.

His pre-appearance public relations shared his bigoted thoughts. He compares homosexuality to adultery, lying, stealing and having pride. He said, “I am sure a lot of people in Key West have committed adultery.”

Yes, some with the same sex, others with the opposite sex. No one goes through life without lying. More than once, many tomes. Stealing I am not sure. Don’t believe that many steal.

Pride. A sin of magnitude. I view Graham as one who wears his pride on his sleeve. See world how good I am!

Proverbs 16:16 tells us “pride goeth before a fall.”

Then there are those who believe they are without sin. Christ did not believe so. Recall John 8:7. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

I was not able to attend his talk at the Amphitheater yesterday. Supporters and protesters alike did. Those I have spoken with indicated an equal group of each.

We are one human family. Not only do the straights accept gays, the gays accept straights. Never an issue.

Graham would be surprised to know that the Mayor of Key West and the Mayor of Monroe County are gay women married to other women. Healthy God fearing women, not immoral.

At some point yesterday, I stopped at the Fairfield. My lesbian wife Donna is concierge. She is married to my other lesbian wife Terri.

I have been sickly the past 3 months. Never made it to deliver Christmas gifts to my beloved ladies. Dropped them off to Donna yesterday. Better late than never.

Donna chewed my ass out for staying in so much. Claims if she was 84, she would be out evenings having a good time. Including a drink or two.

Why so many inconsistencies in what Trump tells us? Another lie/misrepresentation. A simple thing. Iran’s retaliation to the killing of Soleimani were missiles fired at 2 U.S. airbases in Iraq. The missile attacks occurred somewhere around January 8. Trump and Pompeo immediately advised no U.S. personnel killed nor injured.

Yesterday, the U.S. military announced 11 U.S. troops were injured. Concussions. Were flown to Germany and Kuwait for treatment.

Rachel Maddow interviewed Lev Parnas 2 evenings in a row. Interesting. He sat at the table during the Iraqi/Biden/ hold back the money scenario. He appeared to be telling the truth. We will know better if he is permitted to testify at the Senate trial.

A Letter to the Editor in the Los Angeles Times yesterday concerning the Senate trial.


The Senators have taken their oath of impartiality as jurors. However, most have already indicated they do not want to hear witness testimony nor compel the presence of any witnesses.

Sort of a dictatorship approach to things. The jury is told in advance what to believe and how to vote. A clear vision to the world of just how corrupt our government has become.

The letter writer however thought it all would amount in the final analysis to a hill of beans. By the time of the election, there would be no impeachment winners or losers, only participants.

Another example of Trump caring more for corporations rather than people.

Round-Up a deadly herbicide. Known to be so for years. Cancer causing.

Several countries have banned its sale. Two or three yeas ago even Russia. Putin said in effect let the Americans kill themselves, we’re not.

Monsanto the bad guy manufacturer. Recently sold its entire operation to Bayer AG for $63 billion.

Thousands of lawsuits are pending against Monsanto. Bayer AG probably assumed liability for them under the sales agreement. That is how the game is played.

Two significant verdicts have come in against Monsanto. Both involving California ground keepers. Each got cancer which the jury in each instance held Monsanto responsible for. The grounds were failing to inform customers the product was capable of causing cancer. A common ground for holding a company responsible when its product causes cancer and there has been no warning it could.

The judgments for $289 million and $25 million respectively.

Both cases are on appeal. The EPA and Justice Department are on the side of Monsanto/Bayer AG. They want the judgments overturned  and a determination that Round-Up is not cancer causing.

Donald, prove to America your belief that Round-Up is safe. Square off a sizable area on White House grounds. Treat the grass with Round-Up. You, personally. Do it several times. Have one of your children help you each time.

Sign a waiver before that you will not sue if you come down with cancer. Might as well protect these corporate giants all the way.

Guess what? The odds are you will be afflicted.

Earlier this morning, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei led prayers in Tehran. The first time the Supreme Leader has done so in 8 years.

Part of his presentation included mocking U.S. officials. They are “American clowns.”

Enjoy your day!




Walter Scott’s words penned in 1808 in Marmion: “O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Trump and his cohorts are tangled. Details in the Ukraine story are coming out. None supportive of Trump.

Two interviews over the weekend were nails in the coffin. Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow. Interviewed was Lev Parnas. Indicted but talking.

He reveals those primarily involved. Trump himself. Then Vice-President Pence, Attorney General Barr, Congressman Devin Nunes, and Rudy Giuliani

Parnas claims all Ukraine activities had nothing to do with corruption within Ukraine. Rather with guaranteeing Trump’s 2020 victory. In Parnas’ words: “For him to stay on for four years” more.

All will ultimately go down. Some will do jail time.

The scenario reminds me of Nixon and Watergate.

Those close to Nixon went to jail: Attorney General Mitchell, Chief of Staff Haldeman, Assistant to the President Ehrlich, White House Counsel Colson, and White House Counsel Dean.

I sense it happening again. Especially if John Bolton testifies.

A children’s poem comes to mind: “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, / Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; / All the king’s horses and all the king’s men / Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

Assuming all plays out as I suspect, there is a humorous and ironic aspect at the end. Nancy Pelosi will become President. The Constitution places the Speaker of the House in succession if the President and Vice-President go down.

A totalitarian on the other side of the world may be in trouble. Vladimir Putin.

Putin has been experiencing internal problems the past 2 years. Especially, the past year. Unpopular reforms and a stagnant economy.

There is a growing unhappiness among the Russian people. Protests have become commonplace.

This past week, Putin submitted proposed sweeping changes to Russia’s Constitution. All directed at giving Putin more power.

Putin may have gone a step too far.

Putin’s Cabinet balked and resigned in mass in protest.

Putin is no fool. He may ultimately resolve the situation. If not, he is extremely wealthy. Considered the richest man in the world. He should take his money and leave.

Silvio Berlusconi is Putin’s close friend. He lives in Portofino. Years ago, Putin built a home next door to Berlusconi in Portofino. He could live a good life there.

An admonition: Those opposing Putin should beware of dying from unknown causes.

Syracuse won again! Two games in a row! Beat Boston College 76-50.

Has the season turned for Syracuse? Or, 2 lucky wins?

A busy Louis day ahead. Haircut, manicure and pedicure.

Enjoy your day!



Bolita is a form of gambling. A lottery. A numbers game.

The term bolita means “little ball.” One hundred used to play the game every day.

One hundred small balls have numbers running from 1-100 placed inside. People place bets on a certain number. If their ball is drawn, they win.

Small money involved. As little as a nickel. Sometimes, a dollar. The higher the amount bet, the higher the multiple for the winner.

The balls were placed in a bag, shaken and then someone picked one of the balls. The ball picked was cracked open. The number inside was the day’s winning number.

The game came over from Cuba in the late 19th century. Initially began in Tampa. Moved its way south till it arrived in Key West.

Bolita’s customers were working class Hispanics, Italians, and members of the black population.

When bolita made its appearance in Key West, the Cuban population was one third of the Key West population.

Cash flow was big. Nickels turned into dollars. Though gambling was illegal in Florida, bolita flourished. Numbers could be bought on the streets and in saloons. Local politicians and law enforcement bribed.

In the 1930’s, turf wars were commonplace. Especially from Tampa to Miami. Italian mobsters got involved. They saw the opportunity to make money and felt they could control the numbers game.

The turf wars are referred to as the “Era of Blood.”

The Trafficanti crime family was based in Tampa. It was 1950 and bolita was being widely played in Tampa, Miami, and Key West.

In 1951, one hundred bolita houses were operating in Key West. Each evening, 3 balls were drawn in a room behind a bar at 1925 Truman Avenue.

The Trafficanti family wanted their piece/control of Key West’s bolita activity.

The Key West bolita kingpins were locals. They did not welcome outside interference.

The “syndicate” sent 3 “enforcers” to Key West to take over the bolita trade. A bad move. All 3 ended up dead.

The first was found in a Key West public swimming pool. His hands tied behind behind his back and a line running around his neck, knees and feet. His body weighted down with old time window weights.

Another was found on Stock Island lying on the ground dead having been shot.

The third was found on South Beach. Shot and dead.

No guns were found near the bodies on Stock Island and South Beach.

The Justice of the Peace determined all 3 deaths were “suicides.”

Key West for Key Westers!

Bolita slowed down later in the 1950’s. Returned with a huge resurgence in the 1960’s.

Authorities investigated big time. A joke. Arrests were made by the State Attorney’s Office and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Kingpin Louis “Blackie” Fernades and several others were arrested.

In the front door and out the back of the jail in minutes. Fines generally small. Did not discourage the bolita trade.

A “cozy relationship” was enjoyed with the Justices of the Peace and others in the criminal justice system.

Bolita was a way of life in Key West!

The many years I have been in Key West I have neither seen the sale of nor heard of the bolita lottery. Somewhere along the way it was gone. How and when I was not able to ascertain.

Enjoy your day!




The term “proportionate response” has been mentioned many times in recent days. Motivated by the Soleimani assassination. So much so I decided it was time to take a closer look at the term.

Proportionate response is generally defined: When someone initiates an attack against you, a proportionate response is one that suffices to prevent further attacks.

May not sound like it, but the definition is interpreted to mean “tit for tat.” Equal destruction.

When the term first came into use was difficult to ascertain. Some believe it was first mentioned in the popular TV show The West Wing in its 10/6/99 episode. Recall the series. Martin Sheen starred.

Could have been earlier. I have no idea.

Chapter VII-Article 51 of the UN Charter is relied on for proportional retaliation. I reread it several times. Did not understand it at all. Could not even figure out what it had to do with proportionate response. Gobbly gook as far as I was concerned.

The term or policy was not in vogue at the time of World War II. Imagine if the U.S. response to Pearl Harbor was the bombing of Tokyo Harbor.

The U.S. response was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan has neither attacked nor threatened anyone since. Nor has any war broken out comparable to World War II.

Recall Carthage attacked Rome. Rome wiped Carthage off the face of the earth. For centuries thereafter, it was Pax Romano. The Rome peace.

Germany sunk a lot of U.S. ships and then declared war on the U.S. In return, the U.S. flattened Germany’s cities, killed or captured hundreds of thousands of its soldiers, and occupied its land.

I don’t buy proportionate response. You hit me, I am going to hit you back harder. Making sure you become reluctant to ever screw with me again. Cannot say it any simpler.

That is the way the U.S. should function. No sense in being the strongest nation in the world if the strength is not used.

Iran lives to fight another day. Afghanistan has been doing so for 20 years. Iraq for a long time also. Not the way. Demolish the enemy in the first instance. Make them fearful of ever attacking the U.S. in any fashion again.

From Iran, etc. to Duval Street. The issues not the same, however.

There are 16 empty rentals on Duval. The message?

Cuban cigar making took off in Cuba. Why didn’t it stay in Cuba? What was the motivation for it to move to Key West?

The 1860’s, 1870’s and 1880’s found Cubans moving to the U.S. to work in the cigar making business. The Key West cigar industry was growing. Tobacco factory owners imported tobacco from Cuba, rolled the cigars in Key West.

The move re making the cigars involved money. It was expensive to sell Cuban cigars in the U.S. Custom duties the problem. If the cigars were made in the U.S., the Key West cigar was cheaper and competitive in the market place. Ergo, Key West cigar making flourished.

By 1871, more than 2,000 Cubans had immigrated to Key West to work in the cigar factories. They were producing 62 million cigars a year.

Key West became a rich community. It was recognized as the Cigar Manufacturing Capital of the World.

By the 1880’s, one third of the residents of Key West had been born in Cuba. Welcomed by those already living on the island. The Cuban immigrants came to work in the cigar factories. They offered no competition to those who lived in Key West. They offered no danger. The Cubans were not interested in working in the wrecker or sponge businesses.

Cigar making brought a side benefit. The odor of the tobacco leafs and the cigar making itself produced a smell. An enjoyable flavored one. It covered the island. No one complained. It was the smell of history.

This weekend the annual Florida Keys Seafood Festival. Bayview Park. Saturday and sunday.

The freshest seafood  will have been caught, prepared and served by local fishermen and their families.

Entertainment also.

Admission $5. Children under 12 free.

Go! A great time!

The Philippine volcano is spewing. Expected to be a sizable eruption.

The Philippine eruption is merely the most recent natural disaster.  This past week, earthquakes in Puerto Rico. Wildfires ongoing in Australia. California wildfires. Seasonal hurricanes. Tornadoes becoming a weekly event.

Climate Change? Or is nothing different from days past. I wonder if we are concerned about what is occurring today because we know about it. Between TV and the internet, we are aware quickly as to what is occurring and we see it generally same day on television.

Or a combination of ordinary nature and climate change?

Just wondering.

Remember the earthquake that ravaged Haiti on 1/12/2010. A 7.0. Several aftershocks. All 4.5 or more.

The island was wiped out. Its residents in extreme distress. Deaths exceeded 100,00. Mass graves had to be utilized.

The U.S. contribution in aid Haiti at the time totaled $884 million.

Haiti’s recovery was slow. Very slow. When Obama was President, he provided additional U.S. assistance. He sent thousands of troops and tons of aid.

Would Obama’s type of assistance happen today? Absolutely not. Trump already exhibited where is heart is with Puerto Rico. He made clear what his position was in his first State of the Union address. He spoke of his “America First” theme. He proclaimed his dislike of programs such as humanitarian aid aimed largely at countries in Latin America.

Big football game last night. I missed it. LSU is the new College Champion. Beat Clemson 42-25.

Sport reports this morning are touting LSU as the greatest college football team of all time.

Tonight my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me at 9 my time. A lot to talk about. A lot for me to rant and rave about.

Enjoy your day!



Some things are too much for me. I have gotten too old. It is impossible for me to understand. Especially in the area of sex education.

Teaching kids sex is on some curriculums and seems to be in line for more.

A Warwick local school in the United Kingdom teaches 6 year olds how to masturbate.

Would you believe!

I did not know 6 year olds were into the art of self-pleasure. A few more years were required. At least it was in my case.

Why teach something that comes naturally. Once a youngster becomes aware of masturbation, whether male or female, the horses are off and running. You can’t do it enough!

There is a move in Austin, Texas to teach grades 6-8 anal sex.

California really wants to be on the cutting edge.

A new sex curriculum was proposed and adopted. Eighth graders were to be taught anal, bondage, sex involving blood. Shocking additions in a chapter labeled Kinky Sex: Role-playing, , bondage/restraint, body fluid play, and sex toys. A whole chapter on anal sex.

The California textbook was labeled SEX.

Juvenile sex experts claim sex as described “has become increasingly normalized in some progressive school districts.”

When California parents became aware of what was to be taught, they rebelled. The content described was pulled from teaching materials.

California has come up with another odd ball approach to a situation not involving sex. Suspension is no longer a viable policy to punish students who disobey. Since more blacks than persons of other colors were suspended, complaints came in from African-American peoples.

Since coloreds were disproportionately affected by the suspensions, they have been disallowed. No longer is suspension a viable punishment.

Yesterday, I published a lengthy blog titled Hippies and Mallory Square. In the article, I briefly mentioned 2 or 3 times that homeless were also a problem. I did not dwell on the homeless since there were not that many in the 1970’s.

This morning’s Key West Citizen ran a front page story involving 2 homeless persons and Mallory Square.

Homeless have many protections. The Mallory Square of today no way comparable to that of the 1970’s.

Key West has certain designated areas where the homeless can panhandle. One is located at Mallory Square.

Two homeless men got in a fight. A brutal encounter. One had to be flown to Miami for medical attention. The other is sitting in jail.

Today, a significant one in Civil War history.

Few are aware that during the Civil War the State of Florida seceded and joined the Confederacy, except for one city. Key West. It remained a part of the Union.

Why and its significance.

On this day in 1861 in the dark of the night the Civil War having become a fact, Captain James M. Brannan marched his Army troop to Fort Taylor and took command of the fort. Captain Brannan was commander of the Key West U.S. Army  barracks.

His action ensured Key West would remain in the Union and provide the Union Navy with a secure base to blockade Southern ports.

Syracuse came out a winner Saturday night. A decisive one. Defeated 18th ranked Virginia 63-55 in overtime.

Syracuse won because of the number of 3’s that dropped in the overtime. I wish they could score those 3’s in every game.

A big win for Syracuse. Especially since it was a road game. The season remains a disaster however unless Syracuse can continue such play. Syracuse’s next game is Wednesday against Boston College.

America is a wonderful country. No question about it. An individual can move high in the business world and earn a ton of money. Employees in some industries do ok, but could do better.

A recent example. Boeing. The following was reported Friday.

Dennis Muilenburg resigned as CEO of Boeing. Boeing has been having big time problems with its 737. The fleet has been grounded world wide.

Muilenbug was out as CEO as of Friday. His payout $62 million.

At the same time, it was announced 2,800 employees were being layed off. Reason simple. With the 737’s grounded and no new orders coming in, there is no work available for those working on the 737’s.

The 2,800 employees each received 60 days severance pay.

Only in America!

It bothers me that more people are not upset by the lies Trump and now Pompeo throw at the public just about every day.

The most recent reported this morning by NBC News.

There has been confusion as to what the “imminent danger” was that allowed the Soleimani assassination. Yes, an “assassination,” not a “killing.”

The most recent White House explanation to the effect Soleimani was preparing to attack 4 U.S. embassies. Imminently. No factual proof to back it up. What embassies, when did the White House first know, etc. Just that it was “imminent.”

NBC reported the 4 embassy justification has no basis. Trump had agreed to Soleimani’s assassination 7 months ago in June. He conditioned his agreement to one thing. Wait till more Americans are killed.

Two weeks ago, 1 American was killed. Not a U.S. soldier, a civilian contractor. That was sufficient. The order was given and Soleimani assassinated.

NBC says it has received confirmation of its story from 5 current and former senior administration officials.

Defense Secretary Esper did the Sunday talk shows on behalf of Trump. Esper said he saw no evidence Iran had targeted 4 embassies.

Enjoy your day!


The story of hippies and Mallory Square is one of transition, Mallory Square development, and local acceptance and rejection.

Hippies came upon the scene in the 1960’s. They moved big time into the 1970’s.

A hippie was a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs. They wanted to understand everything, understanding being the operative word. Some traveled to India in search of enlightenment.

A simple description would be they believed in live and let live, love, and had a concern about others. Love led to many engaging in group sex and communal living.

Mallory Square has always been and still is a spectacle of the sun sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. Today a festival featuring street performers, arts, crafts, and food carts.

It was not so back when. Back when being the 1950’s when it was first discovered that the setting sun could be enjoyed from Mallory Square.

Rex Brumgart operated a concession stand at South Beach. It was a Sunday evening. He was bored. He packed a small carry on with an ice-cold martini shaker, some Triscits, a wedge of brie, and a spot of caviar. Under one arm, a folding chair and a small folding table.

Mallory Square that evening not even close to the Mallory Square of today. Old docks consisting of rotting water-soaked planks. Mud everywhere. It was the site of the Champion Seafood warehouse and a major shrimp boat mooring.

He probably nodded to the many fishermen about. Numerous cats were running around sniffing the fishermen’s bait.

Brumgart went to the end of the rotting dock, opened his chair and table, and set out his martinis and food. He proceeded to get smashed a bit. While doing so, the sunset was slipping closer to the horizon.

The sunset that evening was spectacular. A luminous gold ball.

As the sun broke the horizon, Brumgart stood, lifted a toast, and shouted “Bravo!”

Brumgart continued his evening visits. Initially, fishermen joined him. Then locals. One by one. Artists, writers, business people included. The sunset celebration soon became a “tradition.”

Tennessee Williams initiated the ritual of applauding the sunset with a gin and tonic in hand.

The site of the present day Pier House was nearby. David Wolkowsky began construction of the initial Pier House Motel in the mid 1960’s. The physical features of the area comparable to Mallory Square at the time.

The sunset celebration grew. Not rapidly. It took time and more residents to discover the beauty of it all.  Mallory Square became the place to be at sunset during the early 1970’s. The crowd had grown, yet still small. Some nights as many as 40-50 people. Some evenings, less.

Gays were beginning to discover Key West and Mallory Square. The affluent of Key West, also. And street people and hippies. For tourists and residents, gays and straights, street people and the well heeled, and hippies, Mallory Square was the place to be at sunset.

What Brumgart had begin in the 1950’s had begun to bloom.

Minimal improvements had been made to the area in the 1960’s. Remaining in the 1970’s were the old docks, rotted dock boards, cracked sidewalks, and pot holes.

Throughout the 1970’s, entertainers preformed nightly. Jugglers, musicians, the Iguana Man (who walked around with 3 lizards on his shoulders), and others who “spontaneously” performed.

The crowds became bigger.  Hippies became a significant number. A few homeless, also.

By day and night, Mallory Square became home to the hippies. Their sleeping quarters at night included. Their attire ratty. Though of a nature acceptable today as being well dressed. Jeans and shorts with holes in them. Bandannas wrapped around their heads. Sandals.

They were into drugs. Hallucinogenic and regular such as marijuana. Some locals were upset with the drugs. Something I find amusing as the 1970’s were the hey day for drugs in Key West. Both for introduction into the U.S. and use locally.

The drugs were not the only concern for certain locals. The hippies were dirty, unkept, etc. Laid around smoking pot. Enjoying sex occasionally.

Certain locals wanted them out of Mallory Square and Key West in general.

City Commissioner Mary Lee Graham complained hippies and street people had found their way to Key West. They were “unwelcome newcomers” who had become regulars at Mallory Square. She was especially upset that they panhandled and slept on the streets as well as Mallory Square.

The Chairman of the Mallory Square Advisory Committee said he would never visit Mallory Square late at night. A person never knew what would happen with the hippies around.

In January 1973, 2 of the most prestigious groups in Key  West called for a “ban on hippies.” The Key West Woman’s Club and the Key West Garden Club. Mostly women at the time, the 2 organizations claimed hippies were responsible for the increase in crime and the decision of many downtown merchants to close early.

The Chamber of Commerce was anti-hippies also. The Chamber “refused” to be “identified” with the celebration. They refused to tell tourists about the sunsets at Mallory Square.

Joe Pinder was a banker and influential member of the Key West business establishment. He called the hippies “vagrants.” Wanted them arrested and sent to jail.

Some hippies were thrown in jail. Only for a few hours. For violating a local law that banned 2 or more musicians from performing in Key West without a permit. An improper charge in most instances. Those arrested were not musicians.

Not everyone agreed with those opposing hippies. There was a different perspective. Those persons expressed themselves publicly as did the anti-hippie group.

The Old Town Civic Association had been formed to foster an environment where tourists could feel safe. Its Director spoke of the “longhairs.” He argued they were not to be blamed for indecent exposure, panhandling, and profanity in the Mallory Square area.

City Manager Ron Stack said, “You can’t stereotype the elements that break our laws and commit crime. Our records show arrests of local citizens, transients, and the military. It’s unjust to single out any particular group.”

The Key West Citizen surveyed downtown businesses. None cited the presence of hippies as the reason they closed early.

An editorial disagreed with the “serious minded Chamber of Commerce members.” Urged them and Key West citizenry to visit Mallory Square for the sunset celebrations: “In none of the glories of the universe is this eternal display of brilliant color and fabulous design, is the mad wonder of the wild collection of our hippie community who make sunsets at the Mallory Docks a ritual experience.”

A primary reason the Chamber of Commerce and certain other entities were opposed to hippies is they brought no “disposable income” with them. They would not be spending money as they had no money.

Enjoy your Sunday!