SIZABLE PORTION OF BIG SUR WASHED AWAY

America has been blessed with many beautiful nature scenes. One is Big Sur in California. Officiously known as California Highway 1.

Many years ago, I was in the area of Big Sur to play golf at Pebble Beach. My tee time one of the days was in the afternoon. I decided to see the Big Sur I had heard so much about.

Rented a car and was on my way.

The coast of California near San Francisco and running through Carmel is one huge cliff. Not as high as those in Santorini. High enough, however. At least 1,500 to 2,000 feet up.

A highway was carved out which runs sometimes on top of the cliff and other times a road has been cut into the side of the cliff.

Below the Pacific Ocean! Majestic waves pounding the base of the cliff.

Majestic! Beautiful! The only way to describe Big Sur.

I was sorry I was alone. The drive is one to be shared with someone with whom you have a close attachment. Such is the mood!

This morning’s news carries the sad story that a significant portion of the highway has been washed away by a winter storm. Obviously that portion of the highway will be closed till repaired. Could take quite a while.

One last observation. There are very few homes along the way. Only nature in all its pristine glory.

Joe Manchin is Governor of West Virginia. A Democrat who seems over the years to have voted more Republican than Democrat.

Can’t blame him. West Virginia a deeply Republican state. Coal mining a major industry.

It was announced yesterday that West Virginia was a “vaccine success” story. Eighty five percent of its doses requirement received and used. Yes, 85 percent of West Virginia has been vaccinated.

Only North Dakota has done better.

Why West Virginia and North Dakota can do it and the other 48 states still struggling to get going, I do not understand.

The numbers reported were by the CDC and not West Virginia itself.

A civil servant in charge of the program said it was the result of “creativity” and “innovation.” West Virginia studied what was happening in the rest of the U.S. and came up with their own plan.

The State did not activate the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Instead went it alone.

West Virginia is more rural than big city. The State went to the small independent drug stores. Many mom and pop operations. State officials thought such would prove productive. Obviously, they were correct.

The small drug stores went to the people’s homes and farms. They did not wait for them to come to town for a shot.

Many persons live 40-50 miles away from the big cities and chain drug stores.

One story told involves a mom and pop type operation with a couple of employees. They stored the vaccine in a special refrigerator in their home kitchen. Six every morning they were at their kitchen table figuring where to go that day and arranging the vaccines to be carried.

It all worked! God bless Joe Manchin and the people of West Virginia!

I would like Florida’s Governor DeSantis to plan better as Joe Manchin did. Every DeSantis planned program thus far has failed. Looks good up front and then peters out.

Going to run Day 6…..Greece the First Time at this point. Then return to some other news items I wish to share.

 

DAY 6…..Greece The First Time

Posted on June 2, 2012 by Key West Lou

Greece is a time bomb waiting to explode.

The people are unhappy. The financial crisis is choking them.

Economics is the topic of conversation everyday. Expressed with increased vehemence each day.

Riots around the corner. Protests already. The situation a tinderbox ready to ignite.

I was on my way to the Metro Underground beneath the plaza in front of Parliament yesterday. Thousands of people walk the plaza hourly. In one corner near the entrance to the Metro, several young people were carrying signs. One was talking into a loudspeaker.

Speaking Greek, of course. I neither speak nor understand the language.

About 50 persons milling about listening. I mingled in the crowd. I was able to pick up the gist of the protest from comments made by onlookers. Economics. The euro.

Listeners aroused. The name Merkle caused several to spit on the ground.

Recently, Greece had an election. Neither the left nor right obtained enough votes to control the government. So the Greek Parliament is floating along. The country in limbo.

A new election is scheduled some time in June.

Italy’s former Prime Minster Berlusconi announced yesterday that unless Germany backed off the euro, Italy should return to the lira. Germany appears the only European nation benefiting from the euro. The Greeks and Italians dislike the Germans. They feel Germany is being hard ass about doing something corrective regarding the economy. Whatever might be done would not be to the financial benefit of Germany.

Beware. I sense bad days ahead. Keep in mind that we live in a global world. Whatever happens in Greece and elsewhere affects us in the United States.

I spent 3 hours doing yesterday’s blog. I sat in one position and typed for the three hours. When I finished, my legs from my knees to my ankles were full of fluid. I went back to my room, took a fluid pill and lay on the bed three hours till the problem was relieved. Today I am getting up and moving about on occasion as I write.

I took the Metro Underground. It is a subway. I have not been on a subway since my senior year in college in New York City in 1957.

The purpose of taking the Metro was to visit Acropolis and the Parthenon. Way up a hill. Better to ride than to walk. One stop on the Metro.

A problem. The Metro Acropolis stop was still at least a mile from the entrance. An uphill walk. At a constant 30 degree angle. In the boiling sun.

Not my cup of tea. I had to stop not several times, but many times to sit and rest. As I sat, many passed me by going to the top. Many  older than I. Some obviously infirmed. While Louis sat, they marched.

The first part of the return trip was a problem also. The initial path down was of marble. Huge irregular blocks. Slippery. Small cuts in the marble to minimize the sliding factor. I slid, did not fall. It was not easy.

The trip was worth it. I was a part of history during the time I was on top. Acropolis, the Parthenon and other smaller temples. The most stimulating factor for me was the realization that all I saw was constructed BEFORE Christ. Way before.

Acropolis a temple to the Gods. The most exciting feature of the Parthenon the columns.

The smaller temples had columns also. However, they were copies. Some time back, there was a violent earthquake. The columns could not handle the movement. To protect them from a future abuse by nature, they were removed and replaced. The originals sit in a museum at a point down the hill.

Two generationally different fat cats responsible for much of what has been done. Pericles back in the 400s BC. The Rockefeller Foundation in recent times.

All the buildings are fragile. Thousands of years old. Modern man is constantly working to preserve that which was. There are scaffolds and cranes every where.

There had to be a topping on the cake after such a glorious walk back in history. It came in the evening. Dinner at Dionysus Restaurant.

Dionysus sits at the foot of the historical mountain. About a mile away. It is a huge outdoor restaurant. Top self. Great lamb. Greater view. Expensive. Worth it.

There in front of my eyes on top of the hill sat the Acropolis and Parthenon. All brightly lite. Awe inspiring. The viewing emotional.

Traditionally Dionysus was the God of the grape harvest. He was also known as Bacchus. Party boy! Festivals galore!

Did I sleep last night? Finally! The first full night’s sleep since starting this trip. I hope the jet lag is behind me.

Today is my last in Athens. Tomorrow I leave for Santorini. I still have not danced nor thrown dishes around. Hopefully tonight. There is a little Zorba in each of us.

Yesterday was Ally’s birthday. Seven years old. I forgot. I will Skype her later and make up for it. I selected a birthday gift for her before I left and gave it to her. So I am only half bad in forgetting.

I know not what today holds. Whatever, it will be good. I am in a place where it cannot be bad. And tonight….hopefully dancing and dish breaking.

Enjoy your day!

Back to today’s news.

Trump continues to have lawyer problems. Big ones! No one wants to represent him in the Impeachment trial. First Giuliani and some others withdrew or could not accept the responsibility for various reasons. A new team of 5 came on board.

The five lawyers withdrew with the trial scheduled to begin 10 days from today. The reason was a difference of opinion as to how the trial should be handled.

Trump insisted election fraud be the top item. His attorney’s disagreed. The trial should surround impeachment issues and not whether Trump was elected. Sixty one courts had already shot Trump down on that issue.

I admire the attorneys for withdrawing. A doctor does not let the patient tell him how to do the brain surgery surgery he is facing. So too with the attorney-client situation. A competent attorney would do as the 5 attorneys did. My way or the highway.

L. Lin Wood is a Georgia attorney who brought several election fraud conspiracy cases to court. Each wherein he represented Trump in one fashion or another.

The Georgia Bar Association has now entered upon the scene.The  Bar has asked Wood to undergo a mental health evaluation. Lin has refused. Refusal could mean suspension or disbarment.

Lin has opted to fight. He has taken the position he did nothing wrong, only exercised his Constitutional right to free speech.

Amazing isn’t it how many of those who have tried to help Trump eventually end up behind the eight ball.

What happened to the Republican House and Senate members who feared for their lives on January 6, who hid under tables and benches behind locked doors, etc.

With the Trump impeachment trial around the corner, their tune has changed. Poor Donald! He didn’t tell the demonstrators to do bad, etc.

Whores one and all!

January 6 reminds me of the Reichstag fire in Germany on February 27, 1933. Hitler inspired. The fire solidified the establishment of Nazi Germany. Hitler’s government became entrenched.

The U.S. is not yet entrenched in any movement opposite to what it has been for many years. However, it could be moving that way. People on both sides are aroused.

Sunday, oh Sunday! Will my home quarantine ever end? Some days I think it is getting to me.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

Day 5

DAY 5…..Greece The First Time

Posted on June 1, 2012 by Key West Lou

I LOVE ATHENS!

What a city!

Arrived yesterday.

Lets begin with the flight from Milan to Athens.

Flew a German line. Aegean. Aegean is an affiliate/subsidiary of Lufthansa. The plane was a new airbus recently constructed by a French company. A big plane.

The trip takes only two hours. We flew south along the eastern coast of Italy. The rear side of the boot. Above the heel. Where the spur butts out. Then a left over the Aegean Sea.

The spur of Italy where we turned is the Puglia region. My mother was born in Puglia. In the town of Foggia. For whatever reason, I have felt my mother’s presence this entire trip. As the plane passed over Puglia, even more. She died more than 20 years ago.

The attendants are not referred to as such in this part of Europe. They are still stewardesses. Young. Not even thirty. No male stewards. It would appear age and sex discrimination are still alive in this part of the world.

The flight took all of two hours. Lunch was served. Yes, lunch. Not peanuts or pretzels. A terrific lunch.

Lunch consisted of two lamb sausages with vegetables. Cheese. Some terrific chocolate dessert. A very tasty cheese. Crackers.

Coffee at the end. In a real cup.

I had diet soda to drink. My glass was twice the size of one served in the United States. No ice. The soda cold. More soda for me.

And now the best, free alcohol. The woman next to me had a good sized bottle of red wine. The couple across from me cans of Heineken beer. Again, free.

My ticket cost $180 one way. I flew economy class.

Why the differences between a European flight and one in the United States?

A twenty mile cab ride to my hotel. I had selected a hotel close to the Parthenon so I could walk there each day.

The cab took me through old run down Athens. Much like a similar New York City neighborhood. Then the neighborhoods changed. All of a sudden I was on embassy row and the homes of ambassadors. Magnificent structures. All ancient Greek in style.

I wanted to engage the driver in conversation. He did not speak English. I did not speak Greek. I mentioned one word however that ignited him. He communicated effectively with me at that point. The word…..euro. He spun around to look at me. Yelled in his language what I suspect were profanities. Made it clear to me he was opposed to the euro, felt it had brought on Greece’s economic collapse. All this time he is driving looking at me. I understood he wanted a return to the old currency. The dracma.

He mentioned that Spain would be next to fall. He made it clear he did not like the Germans. They were economically sound while his country was going down the tubes. This economic problem was Germany’s fault. I suspect shades of World War II were still upon him. On the other hand, I found Italians were not happy with Germans either.

The driver appeared to be in his 60s.

Driving is crazy in Athens. Get out of the way! We were in the middle of Athens on a six lane highway going one way. The drivers were cutting each other off and cutting in front of each other. At excessive speeds.

Rather than fear the situation, I respected their abilities to drive so effectively. And without accident. At least I did not see one.

We drove past the Greek Parliament. An imposing building. Even more imposing was the plaza in front of the building. A concrete slab that appeared significantly larger than a football field. The place where demonstrations and riots took place. Such past activities could be sensed as you passed by.

We finally reached the hotel. I was excited. Supposedly a hop, skip and jump from Plaka. A place I was told was a fun area.

I checked in and headed for Plaka. Only two blocks away.

Plaka may be best described as a neighborhood. A big one. It sits at the foot of Acropolis. It is the oldest area in Athens. Sometimes  Plaka is refered to as the real Athens. Blocks and blocks of sidewalk cafes. Many inexpensive clothing and jewelry shops. Thousands of people. Yesterday, the day I was there. All ages. From all parts of the world. Enjoying themselves!

As opposed to Navaro, these people were smiling. Also they looked normal. Many overweight. Very few thin people.

I sat at one of the sidewalk cafes. Under a huge tree. Much like a Key West banyan tree.

Talking with people is easy here. I spoke with a table of Greek college students on one side. An Australian couple on the other. Everyone appears to love Americans. They were anxious to talk with me.

I found the preceding surprising. I was warned by many before the trip that Europeans in general dislike Americans. I don’t know what countries these people visited!

I walked a bit around the Plaka area. Came across some old ruins. Hadrian’s Library. Built in 132 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Books were kept there. The building had reading rooms and lecture rooms, also. Sounds much like a 21st century library to me.

I was impressed with the use of the building. That libraries existed back then. I was also impressed with the construction. That which remained. Such precision in the workmanship. Each stone similarly cut and placed in perfect position. I thought, why not. The Egyptians did it with the pyramids well before Hadrian’s Library was constructed.

Plaka again is at the foot of a huge hill. A semi-mountain. Topside sits the Parthenon and Acropolis. Rising up the sides of the mountain are many outside cafes. It was past dinner time and I decided to try one.

The hill was steep. The stairs going up and down equally steep. People dining in outside cafes on each side of the steps.

Each restaurant had one or more persons working that I would describe as hustlers. They would stand on the steps and literally pull you into their restaurant.

I wanted to sit at the very top. It was a hard trip. I had to stop a couple of times and sit on a stoop to catch my breath. I finally made it. The hustler turned out to be from Canada. He was in his 60s. He told me his life’s story. His wife had divorced him after 40 years. I said don’t feel bad. My wife did it after fifty two years. He had recovered however from the misfortune. He now considered the divorce a fortuitous happening. He had met a younger woman. A Greek. Fell in love. Now lived in Greece full time with her.

The meal was only so so. I was disappointed. I had a lamb dish. The lamb was tough.

The strenuous walk up the steps was worth it. I could see all the way down and over the rooftops of Athens. It was dark and everything was lite up.

After dinner, I searched for some Greek music and dancing. I could find none. Perhaps it was too early. I did find a piano bar. Stopped inside. Stayed briefly. The entertainer was no Larry Smith.

Today it is my intention to go to the very top of the hill. By cab, I assume. The Parthenon and Acropolis await me.

I wanted to take pictures. I will before I am done. To share with you. I bought a new cell phone. I should not have. It is screwed up. By me. I cannot get it unscrewed. Cannot use it in any fashion.

At breakfast this morning, I met another couple from Australia. They had a tablet and offered it to me to write my blog. I knew it would take too long. As it turned out, I became totally frustrated with the learning process. My age was showing.

I am doing today’s blog from a second floor internet shop. About 40 computers available for rent by the hour. Cost is 3 euros an hour. That is about $4.20 American money. The way I type, it will take forever. My drinking money for today is being used up.

The room is large. Many people. Body heat and machine heat. No air conditioning. I will require another shower when I finish.

Enjoy your day! I am mine!


This mornings Citizens’ Voice had two especially interesting comments.

The first: “At the vaccine’s current availability rate of 600 doses a week, it will take through June just to vaccinate only those Monroe County residents 65 or older. Good luck!”

The other: “A Miami Herald article touted Key West as a ‘sort of lawless island.'”

The description offends me. And I am sure every Key West resident.

I have been in Key West in one fashion or another for 30 years. “A lawless island” is far from an accurate description. The rowdiness is limited to Duval Street. The haven visitors seek. They can get drunk, chase each other, and hopefully enjoy some illicit sex.

There is more to Key West than Duval. I have many times written or otherwise described Key West as a good place to live, raise children, etc.

Few residents go downtown. Not everyone is like me. I enjoy the Chart Room and the people I meet. I cannot recall the last time I might have drunk too much. Now, I rarely have a drink.

As to the sexes chasing each other, an extreme rarity if at all among residents. Residents are like family. See each other almost every night.

I am trying to think the last time a tourist chased me for sex. Has to have been a long time ago. No woman wants a man in his 80s. Then there is the problem the mind may be willing, but not the body.

On this day in 2015, Key West had 29 cigar factories, who employed 2,100 workers, who made 62,415,000 cigars, from imported Cuban tobacco.

Anne Ray is with the University of Miami’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. She said a most recent study indicated “Key West workers need to earn $33 an hour to afford Key West rents.”

I buy it. Rents are out of sight!

Key West has created a shortage of workforce housing.

No one cares, except for the working population. More and more leave Key West each year because they cannot afford to pay excessive rents and no longer wish to share a 2 bedroom apartment with 3 other people.

Mayor Johnston and the City Commission are aware of the problem. Everyone who lives or has lived in Key West understands it. Mayor Johnston and the Commission are into the problem and looking for how to make rents affordable. Even to the extent of hiring a full time Director of Housing to solely deal with the problem.

More than 50 House lawmakers want the new stimulus package to provide not for a one time $2,000 payment. Rather, $2,000 a month payments till the pandemic is behind the population.

The thought a wise and unwise one at the same time.

Wise in that those who need the money the most spend it swiftly. Such helps the economy. Everyone in effect is eating off the $2,000.

Unwise in that it might also break the bank – the U.S. economy. In addition unending payments might result in people not wanting to return to work if they can take in $2,000 a month without working.

Note the 50 plus Representatives want $2,000 per adult and each child.

My solution. Go for the $2,000 per month with a limit of 3 months. Then look at the problem again. If feasible, continue. If it has too many warts, do not renew.

One thing is certain in the U.S. Insanity prevails.

Two Ohio Republican members of the House of Representatives want a declaration calling for June 14 to be “President Donald J. Trump Day.” They are looking for co-sponsors to introduce the bill.

Two Louis thoughts.

Trump is not a Washington or Lincoln. He does not deserve such recognition.

The other is I was under the impression that naming a day after a person first required the person to be dead. If such is the case, we will have to wait to another time before the issue can be entertained.

Enjoy your day!

HAND SANITIZERS TOXIC

The FDA this week issued a warning. BEWARE of hand sanitizers. In January alone, hundreds were poisoned.

The hand sanitizers are ones primarily imported from Mexico.

In the January just concluded, there were more than 900 cases of accidental poisonings involving hand sanitizers. Five hundred involved children under the age of 5.

Poisoning can occur by the mere act of hand washing. Ingesting, also.

Nancy Pelosi is concerned about the safety of Washington lawmakers. She is uncomfortable especially with what she considers threats of violence from an “enemy” within Congress.

She may have a point. A lot of unbelievable trash coming out of the mouths of Representatives and Senators.

The Justice Building Blog discovered some “whatever happened to…..” A step back in time for those old enough to remember. Like “Whatever happened to predictability? The milk man and paper boy.”

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven was first published this day in 1845. One of the most popular books of all time.

Poe’s earnings not consistent with The Raven’s popularity even in the immediate years following publication.

Poe’s lifetime earnings from The Raven totaled $9. You read the number correctly. $9. In today’s money, $277.

Poe had other writings, made speeches, taught, etc. His total earnings for the 20 years he worked were $8,200. In today’s money, $191,087.

A comment in this morning’s Citizens’ Voice food for thought. Reflecting misplaced concerns: “Feed the homeless, not chickens.”

Information on wednesday’s Publix website clear evidence that the rich receive attention more rapidly than others.

Monroe County received 200 vaccines. Palm Beach County 8,000.

Concededly, Palm County has more citizens. However not 32 times more than Monroe County.

In every respect of our lives, the affluent always have a step up on others.

I see Governor DeSantis’ hand in the mess. He made the Publix deal and has been on the airwaves bragging/telling the people about it. Never the shortcomings from a distribution point of view however.

The CDC reported this week Florida has used only 53 percent of vaccine ready received. Where’s the other 47 percent?

Another bumbling result by DeSantis?

Today a significant one in American history. It was on this day in 1919 that the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment was certified. Prohibition had arrived! A glaring error pushed by do gooders who knew not that of which they spoke.

Prohibition was a folly that wrought more evil than the consumption of legal alcohol.

Big time crime was born.

Key West’s Januarys are sometimes cold and sometimes hotter than you would believe. Tend however to be on the cool side rather than warm.

May Johnson was teaching school in the morning of this day in 1897. It was so cold that at 11 am the schools were closed.

May was happy to go home earlier. It gave her time later in the day to “write a long letter to Everest.”

DAY 4…..Greece The First Time

Posted on May 30, 2012 by Key West Lou

I survived today. I finally fell asleep this afternoon for four hours.

I am sitting at the computer in the library of the apartment I am a guest at. It is a library as you would imagine from days gone by. Two walls of books floor to ceiling. Furniture galore. The room is not small. Furniture all antiques. The desk I am working at is the strangest I have ever seen. Strange only because new to my eyes. Different. Long, tall, wide, fancy heavy wood. A poor description, but the best I can do.  Old prints and paintings adorning the walls.

It is wednesday evening. Normally, I would be doing this blog in the morning. However, I must be up and out of here at 8 in the morning in order to get to the plane timely. I am not going out tonight. Too tired. So nothing will be missed by doing the blog at this time.

I hope to sleep tonight. Last night and this morning were disasters. I even took a pill this morning. I forget the name. It is what is taken in the United States to reduce swelling. It also induces sleep. It did not help me.

I lunched in at the apartment. The housekeeper took pity on me. She prepared a light lunch for me. She cooked a fish. A whole fish. Actually microwaved it. In oil. The fish is native to the Mediterranean Sea. I do not know its name. The name unimportant. The fish delicious!

She served me the fish and a fish knife. She said you know how to clean of course. I smiled and said, no. What would I know about deboning a fish and otherwise preparing it for consumption! She thought it cute that I was so inept.

I followed up the fish with a bowl of fresh strawberries.

When I was walking the streets of downtown Novara yesterday, I saw a chocolate shop. There were many. This one a Lindt. A Swiss company. The store had small thin hollow Easter bunnies. I love them! Bought one. Ate it as part of my lunch.

A couple of months ago, I read an article on Yahoo re chocolate producers. Lindt was listed as #1. The best chocolate in the world! I had asked Lisa to get me one for Easter. She still buys her father candy for Easter. She could not find Lindt in Key West.

I have spent a lot of time in bed the past 36 hours. Not necessarily sleeping. Trying to sleep. The mattress is wonderful. Hard. I love a hard mattress. This one the hardest I have ever slept on.

I inquired how so hard. The mattress is stuffed with sheep wool. Stuffed till the enclosure is at the breaking point. The covering holding the sheep wool was thicker than an American mattress and box spring combined. Big time comfortable! Even the pillows were so stuffed.

The mattress and pillows were not as down filled. The one I am sleeping on the rock of Gibraltar!

I mentioned the other day my acoustical theory about how pedestrians avoid cars. I was wrong. As far as I myself was concerned. Five times yesterday I almost got hit. I never heard the cars coming. Someone had to pull me aside each time. My theory needs adapting to I guess.

I am anxious to share with you my cherry and strawberry experience.

At dinner the first night, fresh cherries and strawberries were served. A huge bowl of each. Both looked anemic.

The cherries were small. The red coloring dull. Most yellowed.

A large bowl of water was set in the middle of the table. Spaghetti bowl size.

One of the guests had picked the cherries that afternoon. He took his ladder and climbed a tree to pick them. A bushel full.

I noticed everyone was picking up a handful of cherries and dipping their hand full in the water. Hand and cherries combined. Why, I asked. To clean the cherries was the response.

Although the cherries did not look appetizing, when in Rome do as the Romans do. I did. The cherries were the most delicious I have ever eaten

The strawberries looked anemic also. Small. Dull red. White in spots. Sweet! I asked if any sweetener was added. The host looked at me as if insulted. I explained why the query.

I shop at Publix in Key West. The cherries are huge and a deep purple. The strawberries fat and robust. No comparison between the taste of the fruit purchased in Key West and that eaten at the dinner party. The artificial additives to American fruit adds to its appearance, not taste. Whereas the natural fruit served in Novara with no artificial additives had a fantastically superior taste.

The weather is consistent. Hot by day, cold by night. Notice the use of the word cold as opposed to cool. From humidity in the afternoon to three blankets at night. The weather is much like that found in our Adirondack mountains in the summer. Think Old Forge. The only way to avoid the three blankets is to have body heat next to you which, unfortunately, I do not.

I will be in Athens tomorrow night. Another world I am told. I have been advised to be prepared to dance syrtachi and bouzouki. I am sure I have not spelled them correctly. My mind is already filled with Greek music. I can envision tomorrow evening and its pleasures.

So much for today. My next blog will report on my first day and evening in Greece. As much as some of you may not be able to wait to read it, I cannot wait to experience it.

Enjoy your day!

PENCE LAYING LOW IN INDIANA…..FEARS FOR HIS LIFE

Yesterday on Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said Mike Pence was “in fear for his life…..he was laying low in Indiana.” All because of Trump’s actions leading up to and on January 6.

Scarborough blamed Trump for putting the former Vice President “on the hit list.”

A shame from my perspective also. Pence could not have been a more loyal Vice President. From Trump’s perspective, Pence wavered at the end. From mine, he did his job in interpreting the Constitution properly.

Some came to kill Pence and Pelosi on January 6. Others decided to during Trump’s rally under the white tent before.

Trump put Pence behind the eight ball. Before and at the rally in suggesting Pence had the power to invalidate the election. Trump told everyone at the rally: Pence “did not have the courage to do it.”

Trump’s rabble rousers were ready. They had heard the words of their Master. As they proceeded to the Capitol, they chanted “hang Mike Pence.”

It has been reported 2 police officers died by suicide following what occurred at the Capitol. One a Capitol police officer. The other a member of the MDP.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a “national terrorist bulletin” yesterday. The bulletin indicated there was a “lingering potential” for “violence.” From persons motivated by anti-government sentiment following Biden’s election.

The Department suggested the January 6 riot emboldened extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

Amazing how many Republicans have jumped ship since the election. It was reported yesterday 30,000 Republicans changed their registration to another party.

The number is probably higher. Sufficient data is not available. Only a handful of states report voter registration and information about voters switching parties on a weekly basis.

Some things in life are carried a step too far. One is the removal of statues of persons who had ties to slavery in the past and public buildings named after those considered to have had black animosity.

San Francisco joined the group supporting name removal yesterday. The San Francisco School Board had a resolution under consideration for 3 months. Forty four schools involved.

The Board approved a resolution calling for removing names that honored historical figures with direct or broad ties to slavery, oppression, racism or the “subjugation” of human beings.

Some of the names on the list included George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Father Junipero Serra, Paul Revere, Francis Scott Key, and Dianne Feinstein.

A step too far.

Yes, Washington owned slaves. Everyone did back then. It was a form of wealth. People forget how Washington made it possible for our country to be born, the cold winter he spent at Valley Forge, and his crossing the Delaware in the middle of a freezing Christmas Eve to defeat the Hussein troops.

Without Lincoln, the black race might still be where they were 150 some odd years ago. He is honored. Referred to by Americans as the Great Emancipator. On a personal level, he was shot in the back of the head and died for the good he achieved as a result of the Civil War.

Would the colonists have won the Revolutionary War had Paul Revere not galloped through the night shouting: “To arms, to arms, the British are coming.” The Revolution might never have gotten beyond Concord and Lexington.

Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.

Dianne Feinstein is a today woman. What did she do to blacks?

San Francisco is a gay community. Overwhelmingly. Why not require San Francisco to tear down the statues of any persons who were anti-gay at any time in any fashion? Also, those public buildings that were named after anti-gay persons.

Another great inquiry in the Citizens’ Voice: “If the City gets 100 vaccine doses, what portion of that goes to second doses?”

Key West continues to receive acclimation as being a popular place to vacation.

The 2021 Travelers Choice Award for Destinations listed Key West fifth. Behind New York, Maui, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

Miami appears to have fallen behind after many years at or near the top. It is now listed #18.

DAY 3…..Greece The First Time

Posted on May 30, 2012 by Key West Lou

I cannot believe I have been in Novara only three days. It seems like a lifetime. Especially in view of my experiences.

Earthquakes still in the news big time here. Much destruction to Northern Italy.

I reported being in two earthquakes yesterday. Turns out it was three. Maybe five. Three hours after publication, I felt another one. I was sitting at the computer at that time also. I did not consider it of any consequence. After all, I had been involved in two already that day. Last night while watching television, it was reported that Novara had suffered two more quakes around eight in the evening. I never felt them.

Many dead. Significant damage. Sad. The people of Novara spoke of the earthquakes much yesterday. It was like being in Key West following a hurricane.

Speaking of hurricanes, I was thinking yesterday whether a earthquake or hurricane was worse. One is short and the other prolonged. Both cause significant loss of life and damage. They ended up equal in my mind. Better that both not occur, however.

Earthquakes are not common to this region. So I have been told. The word on the news is that whatever problem there is in the San Francisco area exists now in northern Italy. A shelf or whatever and it is moving. Italian news describes it as a mountain rising to the surface. The scientists have predicted at least 70 more earthquakes over time as a result. We shall see.

Lisa got Skype yesterday. We skyped for the first time in the morning Lisa time. The grandkids had already left for school. Corey joined in. It was exciting to see them both. I hope I get to speak with Robert and Ally soon.

Around 5, I decided to take a walk. I rambled up and down the streets of the historic centre of Novara. It was a high knowing that most buildings were a thousand years old. The first floor the best quality shops. Top floors great apartments. By the way, people live in apartments here. Homes are considered too expensive. I do not understand. Most of the apartments go for $1 million dollars plus.

My walk led me to discover the Piazzetta Delle Erbe. Piazzetta means little piazza. I am learning.

In English the Piazzetta is the Little Square of Herbs. Back when, probably a thousand years ago, growers and merchants came from all over Europe and Asia to buy and sell herbs at this market.

Close by, I made another discovery. The Broletto. I do not know what the term means. It was the place where the first market in all of Italy was established in medieval times. Everything and anything sold. It helped the Novara area at the time to gain financial independence

The best was yet to come. The Partigiani. It is at the Piazza Dei Martiri. Partigiani means partisans. The Piazza translates to the Plaza of Martyrs.

I learned the story of this special place while sitting at an outside cafe having a drink and watching the world go by. Two gentleman at the next table engaged me in conversation. They spoke English. Americans are revered here. I am being treated with kindness and respect because I am an American. It was not unusual for them to engage me in conversation. They started the conversation with…..American?

Novara was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. Some of the locals were not pleased.They became partisans. Guerrilla types working as the underground. Five were captured. They were placed against a brick wall and shot by the Nazis. In full view of the citizens of Novara.

After the war a small monument was placed near where they were killed. A tree was also planted. It still stands today. The tree. By itself against a large red brick wall. Bullet holes could be seen in the wall.

It dawned on me that the medieval thousand year old buildings I have been speaking about were in good shape. I asked were they not destroyed during World War II? Bombs, artillery and tank fire. No, I was told.There was never any fighting or bombing or what have you in and to Novara. The Nazis walked out and the Americans walked in. The people of Novara were very lucky. Other communities in the area, such as Milan, sustained significant damage.

My walk took me past many fine stores. I was particularly impressed with the shops featuring apparel for women. The most beautiful clothes I have ever seen! Absolutely magnificent! Bright, shiny and smart for summer wearing. The thought struck me it would have been nice to have a woman to take into the stores and buy a new wardrobe for.

Remember the 124 steps I spoke of yesterday. There are not 124. I counted them again yesterday. At a time when I was not suffering from jet lag and a bad stomach. There are 68. Still a lot of steps for this old man!

The effects of jet lag are still with me. I went to bed at nine last night. Did not sleep one minute. Finally got up at 5:30 in the morning to start this blog. I will pay for the no sleep later in the day.

Never got to Milan yesterday to view the Last Supper. The trains were out of commission because of the earthquake.

I cannot let this experience pass. At the dinner party three nights ago, one of the meats was a dark one. Deep purple. Sliced thin. Every one was going crazy over it. They loved it! A bit of lemon and they ate away!

I had a few pieces. Did not particularly like it. Other guests were surprised I did not.

Yesterday similar meat was served to me for lunch. I again was not crazy about it. I asked what is this? It was horse meat! Horse meat is legal in Italy. There are specialty butcher shops that sell horse meat. And lest I forget, donkey also. That was it. No more for me! I explained that horse meat was not legal in the United States for human consumption. My fellow diners were shocked.

The big deal today is for me to go to the bank. I have no euros. Only American money. The exchange process should be interesting. Is cash or a credit card required? Can both be used?

Stephanie Kaple is one of the loves of my life. She lives in Key West. She is known as the Island Shoe Girl. She only wears expensive shoes with high high heels. Looks good in them!

Stephanie now plays bocce. She joined the same bocce league I play in. She wears heels while playing. Not wise from my perspective. But that is Stephanie!

She writes a blog as I do. A recent one was interesting and funny. Take a look at it if you have the time. A short read. www.islandshoegirl.com.

That is all for today folks! Sorry for the length but there is much to share regarding my trip. Tomorrow I leave for Athens to start the Greece phase of this trip. Athens, Santorini, Mykinos and some deserted island. Five weeks will be spent in Greece. Then back to Italy for a while. Portofino and Morocco under consideration for the scheduled end of my trip. If I return. I am enjoying everything so much I might stay.

Enjoy your day!

AN ITALIAN GROCERY STORE

This video is fantastic! Funny! Humorous! Guaranteed to leave you happy! I thank Lynda Frechette for sending it to me.

Hope you enjoyed!

Now for my usual blog which will be followed at the end with DAY 2 of Greece The First Time.

Tuesday Talk is 9 pm. The show was ready at 7:30. I decided to rest and watch some TV. I fell asleep! I woke at 9:03, why I don’t know. Had to move my ass. I was already on the air so to speak with no one speaking.

Rudy Giuliani. He has avoided danger so far. He has brought frivolous lawsuits advising attorneys involved or being one of the attorneys of record and not been chastised or sanctioned by a judge. Sixty two lawsuits. His track record good. Won only 1. Lost 61.

His day of doom is about to befall him.

In certain of the lawsuits, he blamed Old Dominion. Old Dominion is an electronic technology company. Specializes in election machinery, including ballot counting.

All the Old Dominion lawsuits were thrown out of court as Giuliani could produce no factual proof to substantiate his claims.

Old Dominion spent a ton of money defending the suits. They also were defamed along the way.

Old Dominion now seeks retribution. The Company has sued Giuliani and his co-counsel Sydney Powell for $1.3 billion.

No way Rudy has the kind of money required to defend against such a lawsuit. Old Dominion is going to go after him with a multitude of legal counsel. Attorneys from the top law firms in the country. Ones that charge$700-$1,000 an hour.

These law firms will bury Giuliani in paper work. Every day. One motion after another. Giuliani has neither the manpower nor money to successfully defend. The case will break him financially.

It has been about a week since we’ve heard about “selling pardons.”

Over 100 pardons or commutations were given. Big bucks involved to attorneys or other persons representing those seeking the pardons.

My question is where did those monies go? Human nature dictates some portions had to be passed on to other hands. A subject for investigation to be investigated.

I have been writing about poverty in the U.S. for a year. It continues to get worse. Never better.

The end of 2020 found the sharpest rise in the U.S. poverty rate since the 1960s.

It increased 2.4 percent during the latter half of 2020. The prediction is it will get worse. Coronavirus responsible.

December alone had a poverty increase of 11.8 percent.

The various percentages equate to 8 million new people on the poverty rolls.

Primarily responsible is Trump’s failure to acknowledge and do the necessary to curtail the virus before it got out of hand. Thank you, Donald.

The number of coronavirus cases in Florida significant. We are like the third worse state in the U.S.

The vaccines have been coming out. Another disaster.

State officials reported happily yesterday that doses were now being sent out for second shots. I still have not received my first shot. I am 85 and unquestionably qualify.

Due to the ineptitude of Governor DeSantis and former President Trump, we are in deep shit.

DAY 2…..Greece The First Time

Posted on May 29, 2012 by Key West Lou

Jet lag is still with me. It hits suddenly and I am dead. Went to bed last night at 10:30. Woke at 1 and could not get back to sleep.

Apparently, I have been spelling the name of this community wrong. It is Novara. Not Novarro. It was easy to become confused. There are signs all over the city spelling this place. In typical Italian fashion, the name is spelled differently each time. I have it correct now, however.

I took a walk at lunch time yesterday. Once more I was impressed with the downtown area. It is referred to as an historic centre. Medieval buildings constructed between 1100 and 1300. Still standing in all their glory as if new today.

For whatever reason, Novara has been sacked and destroyed from earliest times. Even Attila the Hun beat up Novara. The Romans came. They constructed a stone walled city. The wall surrounded the entire city. The wall remained until demolished for purposes of urban development. Not twentieth century development. Rather construction of buildings such as I have seen. Buildings constructed between 1100 and 1300. The time referred to as urban development.

The new Novara was built on the ruins of the old.

I saw part of the old yesterday. The Roman constructed walls were discovered. They had been hidden for centuries beneath the ground. The Roman walls in small part have been excavated and are there for the world to see. I found the walls astonishing! At least three feet thick. Looked like poured concrete with outside coverings of stone. No weapon of the time could have penetrated the wall.

This downtown area is interesting and lovely. I walked up and down the streets open only to pedestrian traffic. Many people. Though not crowded shoulder to shoulder. I discovered cars are allowed. Those owned by the apartment residents. Makes sense. Otherwise they would have to walk several blocks to get home.

The cars came and went occasionally. Not often. Typical of Italian drivers, the cars moved fast. I noted that without looking, the walkers automatically moved over for a car to pass. The car was never seen. The people nevertheless moved out of way way.

I watched this wonder for a while. Then I figured it out. The buildings across the street from each other are very close. Ten to twenty feet. The road is worn brick. The noise of the approaching car is amplified greatly by the buildings and road. It is acoustical. The noise bounces off the buildings loudly. Pedestrians hear it and automatically move to the side.

The car drivers speed. Never slow down. As if they had no concern for the walkers.

The people are strange. They never make eye contact. I noticed this 25 years ago when I was in Rome.

The people are beautiful! No one is fat in Italy. The men must have 28-32 waists. I last saw 32 in college. Male and female alike dress elegantly. Even in  jeans. Most men wear jeans. Topped by a crispy shirt. Crispy is the only way to describe the attire of both men and women.

The people never seem to smile. I noticed this 25 years ago, also.

All of a sudden, I was hit by jet lag. I had to lie down. Rest. I was desperate for it.

I returned to the building I am staying in. There are 124 steps to the apartment. I counted them. Getting to the apartment is like climbing Mount Everest. I had to stop three times to rest.

I was with a group of locals last night. The husband and wife who own the rice paddies, golf course and castle on the hill were there. We found we enjoyed each other. They invited me out for a bite to eat. The wife spoke English. She had majored in it at universities in Italy and London. Her husband spoke no English. She interpreted for the both of us. The couple is in their mid 60s.

We went out for pizza. At a trattoria. Not a Pizza Hut or Dominos type place. A restaurant with tablecloths and cloth napkins. Real silverware. Clean.

We ordered pizza. Neapolitan pizza. Made with anchovies.

I was shocked when the pizzas arrived. We each were served with one whole pizza. Larger than a small and smaller than a large back home. How could I eat it? In Key West, I am a one slice person. Rarely two.

When in Rome…..

We dug in. It was very thin pizza. Crispy. I did not like it. The anchovies were baked into the mozzarella. I am an anchovy lover. But not served that way I discovered. Cooked anchovies were not to my liking. What to do. I ate it. What else. I could not insult my hosts.

They each devoured their whole pizzas. Again, I could not be the impolite guest. I ate all of mine. Horrible!

I noticed a couple of things in the restaurant. One was that every one drank bottled water. My friends, also. I ordered, as I do back home, a diet Coke. I asked why everyone was drinking bottled water. Because it was cheap, I was told. Much cheaper than my can of diet coke.

The other thing I noticed was that none of the people in the restaurant smiled or laughed during dinner. Strange. My table was roaring, primarily because of me.

Afterwards, my new found friends wanted to show me the golf course. We drove through miles of rice fields on each side of the road. They own all of it. They ship rice all over Europe, to Central America and to South America. None to the United States. I did not ask why.

The golf course was to the side of the rice fields. A nine hole course. Tees laid out differently if one wishes to play 18 holes. A nice clubhouse and several other buildings. The drinking/dining area warm and inviting. I was sorry I would not have time to play this trip.

They built the course themselves 20 years ago. The land was not suitable for rice. They wanted to put it to good use. Ergo, the golf course was born.

It was getting dark. I stepped outside. I could see trees every where. I could sense the area. It had the taste and smell of Fourth Lake in the New York Adirondack Mountains on a July evening.

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS! We just had an earthquake! They had a big one in this area last week. The one today lasted about ten seconds. Everything moved. The chandeliers are still moving. Some of the ladies panicked. Screamed. Still yelling. Italians are very demonstrative. I just sat here and thought…..Oh, shit!

What a trip this is going to be!

Getting back to last night, I returned home with jet lag upon me once more. I fell asleep as I was being driven home. On top of which, I had a sick stomach. The 124 steps were not easy.

Some odd ball items. Nothing can top the earthquake, however.

Enjoy your day!

GREECE THE FIRST TIME

DAY 1…..Greece the First time

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Key West Lou

I made it! I am in Italy! Screwed up a bit, no, a lot, from jet lag.

I could not write a blog yesterday. My head was all over the place.

So many things to share with you. I am going to run through as many as I recall.

Lets begin at Key West airport. The family saw me off. Robert and Ally excited. Each pulled one of my pieces of luggage. A big deal for them!

I have not flown in a while. The following may be old hat to you who do. To me it was new.

TSA security now permits those over 75 to go through with shoes on. No more shoes off. I am 76. Three different guards attacked me with shoes off! I looked, smiled and said I am over 75. They looked back in disbelief.  The scenario made me feel good. Vanity involved. Meant I do not look my age.

New cell phone a disaster. I still do not have its use down. This one has Bluetooth. Decided to use it in the airport. A mistake. I screwed things up. Every time the phone rang, no one was there. I could not correct it. I needed to put the cell phone on airport mode. Took me 20 minutes.  It is still on airport mode.

Trip from Atlanta to Milan a pain. Nine hours. I did not sleep a wink. It seemed like the whole plane slept but me. I walked the aisles and everyone looked dead as they slept.

Because of blood pressure and heart problems, I have a fluid problem. My ankles swell occasionally. I feared they would be huge by the time I reached Milan. I visited with my heart doctor before the trip. He said wear compression socks and take a water pill as soon as you get on the plane in Atlanta. I did both. Peed a lot. It worked! Swelling very minimal when I got off the plane in Milan.

Arrived in Milan 8 in the morning Milan time. Two in the morning my time. Permit me to interject, I was up 34 straight hours before I went to bed. There was no time to rest once I arrived.

My driver took me to Navarro. I am staying in Navarro a few days till I am over jet lag. It was a 30 mile drive.

The scenery reminded me of two things. First, it was like driving route 5 from Utica to Frankfort in upstate New York. A smattering of houses and barns. Fields otherwise. Second, in many places there was heavy foliage. Like that I saw in Virginia near Mount Vernon.

The fields were rice paddies. As far as the eye could see. Pools of water with what appeared to be blades of grass growing above. I had never seen rice paddies before, except in movies about China. Turns out northern Italy is one of the largest suppliers of rice world wide. The reason is the area sits at the foot of Mount Blanc. Water flows down the mountain. Fills the many streams and rivers. Water abounds below the land surface also. Easily tapable well style.

After miles and miles of rice paddies, there appeared a castle. Sitting on a mountain nearby. The driver told me the man who lives in the castle owns all the rice paddies. Plus a golf course nearby.

We drove over many bridges. All old in appearance. Some stone. Others metal. Napoleon responsible for them all. The people refer to Napoleon as King Napoleon. He conquered northern Italy in the early 1800s. Many French persons came to live here under Napoleonic rule. Their descendants still speak French. France itself is a hop, skip and jump away. Switzerland is nearby and French is common there.

I found it strange that in our 30 mile drive I saw very little traffic. Whether on a major highway complex or on a back road. I was told it cost money to drive. The price of gasoline is $12 a gallon. Additionally most roads have a tolling system which is expensive. When contracts are let to build or repair a road, the contractor gets a long time deal. Beside the construction or repair, the contractor gets to maintain the road for 30 years. It is the law! The contractor charges tolls purportedly to pay the cost of repairs. Actually it is a big money maker. Called positive cash flow. The tolls are very expensive. Some of the persons I discussed this topic with blamed the Mafia. In fact, in the short time I have been here I have discovered Italians blame the Mafia for everything.

We entered Navarro. I was impressed!

There is an extensive downtown area. Most of the buildings were built 1100 to 1300. They still stand. Are referred to as medieval. The roads are narrow. Very narrow. Like downtown Boston. The streets are all closed off, except to pedestrian traffic. No cars.

The buildings are magnificent. Majestic. Most muted pastel colors. Yellow, gray, tan and pink. Some concrete colored. Nothing big. Three to four stories. Ground floor expensive stores. A restaurant with outdoor seating here and there. Apartments on the floors above. The buildings appear to be of poured concrete. No wood. Tile roofs. Where ever stucco or brick is apparent, it is a facade. Merely attached to the wall of the building.

I am staying a few nights in one of the apartments. The buildings are magnificent as well. The staircases! I am staying in an apartment on the second floor. It is actually two stories. Once inside the apartment, there is a staircase to an upper floor. The apartment I am in is at least 4,000 square feet. Many rooms. Many baths.

The ceilings are art. Each is painted with a story. My bedroom is a hunt involving stags and dogs.

The furniture is all antique. It is like walking into a museum.

Every room has one or more outside balconies. Overlooking the street or inner court.

The inner court is a beauty in itself. Entrance is gained through a heavy wood door. The courtyard reminds me of the Roman courtyard to be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibit on the first floor to the left of the staircase as you enter the left hallway. Resident cars are parked in the inner court.

I attended a dinner party last night. Great food!

There was a mixture of people. Navarro is obviously cosmopolitan. People from all countries. I spoke at length with a Muslim woman from Morocco. Actually, Casablanca. 35ish. Lovely. Dressed like every one else.

I said Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman. She did not know what I was talking about.

Her husband is Italian. He converted from Catholic to Muslim to marry her.

They have two grammar school age children. Both attend Catholic school. Neither has been baptized or confirmed. Their parents are leaving it to the children to decide when they are older. The Catholic Church is giving them no issue. The priest and nuns welcome the two into school with open arms. I doubt such would be permitted in the United States.

I was told that Morocco is very modern. None of the women cover their faces or wear long black robes. Mini skirts are very much in style. Although there are wars in the African countries all around Morocco, there is no conflict in Morocco. The people are of a different mind set.

We drank Italian champagne. By the case. Apparently it is the drink of choice here.

Everyone was dressed as if we were at a party in Key West. Casual. Women in jeans. Men in  jeans and khakis. Too cool yet for shorts.

Everyone wanted to talk with me. All were interested in our Presidential election. All like Obama. He is respected for his international endeavors. They knew we had financial problems also, but did not understand them. The euro is on their mind. They agreed however that if Greece goes down, so will the rest of Europe. With the United States being severely impacted.

I am sleeping in a suite complex. All for me. A bedroom, dressing room and bathroom. Bathrooms are big in size. Decorated. Different from ours.

Mine has a bidet. I was pleased. I have one in my Key West home and have become accustomed to its use. I found this one strange. A bidet requires a water spout near center from which the water can shoot up to cleanse the underside. No spout.

I inquired why. Turns out Mussolini was the driving force in bidets. He made sure every Italian home had one. Like a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. At the end of World War II, Mussolini was not too popular. You will recall that he and his mistress were beaten to death and then hung by their heels. The post war government decided to do away with bidets since they were Mussolini inspired. A law was passed outlawing the spout on the theory it was bacteria/microbe infested. My bidet is nothing but another sink. Based on its height, for child use I assume.

I got to bed at 10:30 in the evening Navarro time. I had been up more than 30 hours straight. I fell asleep immediately. Woke at 2. Was awake till 4. Then slept to 8.

Writing this first blog has been an exercise. A frustration.

Electricity is rationed in Italy. The computer I was working on had rationed electricity. Fifteen minutes and it went off. And stayed off for an hour. All to conserve electricity. This blog has been written piece meal over the course of a day.

Enjoy your day! More to come tomorrow!

_____

I hope you enjoy Greece My First Time. The late spring and summer of 2012. I did this blog daily for the 80 some odd days I was away. I never published it in any but blog form at the time. Hope you enjoy.

The  Greece story opens today’s blog. Used it as such to introduce you to the writing. Not sure where it will appear from this point forward. I suspect as the closing topic.

We begin.

Schumer came out a winner. He called McCullough’s bluff. The Democrats will be the majority party for the next 2 years.

I am disappointed Schumer will be in a tough position in attempting to get rid of the filibuster. Two Democrats assured McCullough that they would never even have have an intention of getting rid of the filibuster.

A shame. More could be done if the Democrats were able to go for the nuclear option.

Each of the two Democratic Senators have their own reasons. Some to be respected. Some not.

Joe Manchin is a Democratic Senator from West Virginia. He has been a successful politician his whole life.

West Virginia is a Republican state. It is also a coal mining state. Manchin has always walked a fine line. In fact, he voted with Trump 50.4 percent of the time.

Krysten Sinems is a Democratic Senator from Arizona. Always a deep red state. The Democrats did well in November. Better than normal.

Arizona is definitely leaning Democratic. She should start throwing off her false Republican mantle. A conservative, she voted with Trump 25 percent of the time.

Twenty five percent does not seem like a lot in comparison to Manchin’s voting record. However 25 percent placed her in third place among Democrats supporting Trump policies. Ergo, the 25 percent is significant.

Schumer sounded confident last night that at some point the filibuster would go. I hope so.

A comment in Citizens’ Voice this morning spelling out the state of the COID-19 pandemic in the U.S.: “We were dying from COVID-19 and now we’re dying from state and federal incompetence.”

On this day in 1998, President Clinton lied re his engaging in sexual relations with Monica Lewensky: “I want to say one thing to the American people; I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”

When Clinton had to own up to the deed, his excuse somewhat difficult to understand. However showed the genius of the man that worked in many other ways for the betterment of the U.S.

Clinton’s position basically was that he did not have sex with Lewinsky, she had sex with him. It was limited to oral copulation and she did him. He did not do her.

I have wondered about Trump and his sexual life if any while President. The man had a terrific career of philandering. Having a wife never seemed to bother him when it came to cheating.

A  leopard does not change his spots.

Query: How went his 4 years in the White House?

One further observation since I am comparing Clinton and Trump. Clinton was a far superior President than Trump. Without question.

Tuesday again! My blog talk radio show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me at 9 my time. I may have less to rant and rave about this week. However, I promise to do my best. You will not be disappointed. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

I never understood the term the calm before the storm till I began living in Key West. In my approximate 30 years here, I have experienced a hurricane or two. Actually several.

There is a calm before a storm. No question about it.

The day before a hurricane hits, nothing moves. The water is like a mirror. Flat and quiet. There is no wind. The trees do not move.

Twenty four hours later, all hell breaks loose.

That is how it has been with regard to news the past several days. Trump is out of office. Twitter and several other social media sites have bared him from use of their sites.

With Trump significantly out of the news, there is a calm. It is the calm before the storm. A few days from now, the impeachment trial is scheduled to begin. I doubt it will on time. The first move by his attorney will be an application to the Supreme Court to declare an impeachment trial after a President is out of office as unconstitutional.

The filibuster will be front page. The Democrats if they have any brains will vote it out and go back to majority vote. The U.S. is in trouble. The public by the last election said in effect to both parties stop screwing around and get something done. The Democrats can.

Other items of significance will pop up. However today there is nothing of importance from my perspective. We are in the midst of the calm.

Ernest Hemingway spent 10 yeas of his life a resident of Key West. Even after his move to Cuba, he used to frequently return to visit.

He was a writer. One of America’s fines. His words resound to present day and will continue ad infinitum.

Hemingway understood war. He was injured while an ambulance driver in World War I. He was a combat news reporter during World War II.

His words of wisdom contain much re war itself. And the men who fight those wars. He wrote, “There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never cared for anything else thereafter.”

Trump in my opinion was incapable of leading a coup. He could encourage one. Rabble rouse his followers. However the actual financing, organization, planning and carrying out of the coup are beyond his capabilities.

So to protect the U.S. from terrorism, etc., any investigation of January 6 must go beyond merely arresting those who stormed the interior of the Capitol.

Who are the big people behind this attempt to overtake and/or destroy the U.S. One must look beyond the January 6 group who vandalized the sacred halls of our government. The money people and those who philosophically want to see the overthrow of the existing government of the U.S.

Ninety nine percent of the demonstrators lacked the fiances, planning, and organizing talents to put together a demonstration such as occurred January 6.

I fear our legislators will not go far beyond January 6. Such leaves the “big guys” free to play the coup game again in the future. A future not that far hence.

An interesting tidbit of information. Involves the police. Recognize Trump and the police have generally walked hand in hand.

A recent study revealed 84 percent of police officers are registered Republicans. Even more interesting, the study revealed 84 percent voted for Trump in the 2016 election.

Query: Are most of the police officers “cult” type followers?

Enjoy your day!

A REPUBLICAN DAY

It is 10 am and I am just beginning today’s blog. Sloan and I had a lot of work to do. All minor. However beyond my minimal computer capabilities. We worked from 7-10.

Accordingly the blog will be short today.

A warning from God.

Recall when you are reading something on the internet, there are always small boxes somewhere on each page. Direct the reader to an advertisement or a less worthy news item.

One of the little boxes concerned signs and showed small small pics of them. The top sign was the only one that actually could be read. I found it interesting. My mindset immediately to the effect it was directed to Washington, D.C. Republicans: DON’T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE. Signed, GOD.

Republicans are playing games already. They have forgotten how to legislate. They only know how to manipulate. Manipulate Congressional rules to their advantage.

It is obvious already this will not be a year for progress. Unless the Democrats take the affirmative and make necessary changes to Senate rules.  The Republicans neither understand nor know how to spell bipartisanship. They choke on the very thought of it.

McConnell has made it clear he will exercise the filibuster to block any Democratic proposed legislation he deems unworthy. That means most if not all.

With the Senate evenly divided., it will be impossible to get any Biden/Democratic legislation through the Senate. To stop a filibuster, 60 votes are required. No way possible to reach with a Senate split 50/50.

In order for Biden/Democratic legislation to get around the filibuster, the nuclear option is a must. The Democrats must go for it. Change the 60 vote rule to a majority one of 51 votes. Easily done. It only requires the Senate to vote a majority 51 votes for such to occur. With the Vice-President casting the determining vote in case of a tie, the filibuster will die an immediate death.

The Democrats appear afraid to replace the filibuster rule. Afraid that when they are not in power, they will be unable to block Republican proposed legislation without the filibuster being in effect.

Like fighting the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Instead of fighting to win.

Let me say this to the Democratic Party. If under Biden in the next 2 years you fail to pass significant legislation directly related to helping the American people, you will not have another chance for years. The people will vote Democratic majorities out and return to Republican domination of Congress.

The message is take the ball and run with it. Do not wait for the Republicans to do anything. Democrats control and must exercise that control. Otherwise, good bye for a long time.

A further admonition. It is felt by some Biden is waiting to see what the Republicans do. Wrong! Should not wait. Republicans are two-faced. Trust them not. Do your thing and let the chips fall where they may.

Insanity continues to prevail in the Republican Party. Trump insanity.

Arizona a state in point. Republican for years. Went for Biden in the past election. The Republican Party censured 3 of its members this past week. Censured them for “failure” to support Trump.

Former Senator Flake and John McCain’s wife Cindy two of those censured for openly failing to support Trump.

The third is Gov. Ducey because he purportedly exercised dictatorial powers when he initiated emergency rules to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

My observation: The Arizona Republican Party is killing itself. Proof of the pudding is that since January 6 and the attack on the Capitol, 8,000 Republicans have changed their party affiliation from Republican to Independent, Democratic or Libertarian Parties. The 8,000 did so in the 2 weeks immediately following January 6. From January 6 to January 20.

Self-destruction in the making.

In a few days, I will be starting something new. The story of my first trip to Greece 11 years ago. Two months. Day by day. It will be part of my blog.

My motivation the daily diary entries of May Johnson running in the Key West Citizen.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO ONE OPENS WHITE HOUSE DOOR FOR BIDENS

The following is typical of Donald Trump. It portrays the nature of the man. Petty, scumbag, and a sore loser.

The Bidens walked up the driveway to the front door of the White House. The first time they would be entering as President and First Lady.

A special thrill had to be theirs. A one time event.

Two Marines stood at attention.  One on each side of the doors. Normally, the Marines would open the door. For whatever reason, they did not move.

Another option would have the Chief Usher open the doors from the inside. No Chief Usher or butler opened the doors.

The Bidens were left standing there for roughly 10 seconds. Not a big deal. However, it was obvious something was amiss.

Finally, the doors were opened by some one from the inside. Who I do not know nor could I ascertain.

Reportedly, Trump set up the scenario.

He abruptly fired Chief Usher Timothy Harleth 5 hours before the Bidens arrived. No other butlers were available because Trump had sent them all home so “there would be no one to help the Bidens when they arrived.”

Petty, scumbag, sore loser. The labels all fit.

Today was going to be solely Catholic Church day. However, the Trump/Bidens story took precedence when I discovered it.

Now for the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church cannot agree on the quality of the man when it comes to Biden. Two factions. Pope Francis and the U.S. Bishops Conference.

Francis telephoned Biden and personally congratulated him. He also forwarded a telegram of congratulations. Biden is the second Catholic to hold the position of President. John Kennedy the first.

The U.S. Bishops Conference sent a letter offering prayers and outlining its disagreements with Biden on various matters.

Why such a different approach in offering congratulations?

The U.S. Bishops are anti-Francis. They may be properly described as right wing conservatives. Their primary goal is the removal of Francis from the Papacy.

Steve Bannon and the Bishops are close friends. They walk hand in hand. Recall that Bannon’s primary goal in life is to bring down established governments.

The Vatican is a government. Bannon has been working close to 2 years trying to get Francis removed. Bannon has spent much of that time actually at the Vatican.

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles is the President of the U.S. Bishops Conference. Again, the Bishops Conference wants Francis out. There is major disagreement between the two.

Gomez’s letter was a 1,200 word statement offering his prayers for Biden and outlining also areas of policy disagreements, particularly on the issue of abortion writing, “Our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils.”

A birds of a feather situation exists here also. Bannon and Newt Gingrich are close friends. Revolutionaries at heart.

Gingrich actively supported Trump in 2016 and 2020. Newt’s wife is Castella Gingrich. Trump nominated Castella Ambassador to the Vatican in 2017. She remains so.

Francis has his hands full with Bannon, Gingrich, the U.S. Conference of Bishops, and spies within the Vatican itself.

Hard to believe.

Francis has problems with the Vatican Bank. Not unusual. Every Pope in the modern age has.

The Vatican is very wealthy. It has its own bank. Finances money deals all over the world.

Everyone wants to control the bank’s cash flow.

The Vatican bank is the Institute of Works of Religion. Its former CEO was recently found guilty of money laundering. Eighty one years old, he has been sentenced to an 8 year 11 month term in jail. He was CEO of the Bank from 1999-2009.

The CEO is the highest ranking Vatican official to be convicted of a financial crime. The religious have been involved in bank shenanigans also.

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu was fired December 23, 2020 by Francis. Francis fired him with a one sentence statement.

The Cardinal was one of the most powerful members in the Church hierarchy. Considered by many to be number 3 in the hierarchy.

The Cardinal followed up Francis’ firing with a letter of resignation the next day proclaiming his innocence. He had been charged with embezzlement.

The Cardinal is suspected of having a connection to a financial scandal involving a London real estate transaction that hemorrhaged Church money but enriched middlemen.

Then there is the story of Pope John Paul I. He died August 26, 1978. Thirty three days after he became Pope. Allegedly died in his sleep. Several conspiracy theories surround his death.

The one claimed to be most believable is that John Paul I had discovered serious wrongdoing in the Vatican bank. Described as corruption at the highest levels. The misdeeds had to do with the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano.

The  most believable cause of the Pope’s death was that he had been force fed with valium. No autopsy was performed.

The movie Godfather Part III bears a resemblance to the death of John Paul I and the Vatican bank.

What is about to be described is personal to me and to this day I consider it funny.

My brother in law and sister in law had another baby. Good Catholics! They asked me to be Godfather. A big deal in the Catholic Church.

One problem. I was and still am a fallen away Catholic. I had not been to Church in 20 years at the time.

I agreed. Did all the necessary preparatory things like confession, mass and receiving communion.

A confession after 20 years is not an easy task.

My Godchild was duly baptized.

An outdoor cookout was held in honor of the event in my brother in law and sister in law’s backyard. Tons of people. Kids jumping in and out of the pool. Great Italian food!

I was sitting on a lounge chair talking with several people when someone came out and announced the Pope had died. This was terrible, but I thought it was funny. First time I go to Church in 20 years and the Pope dies!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

CULT IN REALITY…..TRUMP’S FOLLOWING

Many view Trump’s followers as a destructive authoritarian cult.

Vanity Fair published an interesting article by Joe Hagan on 1/21 concerning whether such is an accurate statement. Per Hagan, it is.

A question by Hagan was whether Trump’s followers could be deprogrammed.

Not that easy. Many of those brainwashed may be described as great, educated, functional people.

Hagan noted many of Trump’s followers have an intense passion for the man. They have to be deprogrammed in a fashion similar to those brainwashed after having been cult members with other groups in the past.

Someone working in a major Miami court house publishes a daily blog. The blogger’s identity unknown. The blogger yesterday wrote a piece titled Banned and Shunned. The article related to Trump’s standing today. Rapidly diminishing. History will record him as a “failed President.”

Portions of the blog: “Let his name be spoken nevermore…..he tested the edges of our Democracy…..leader of a cult personally…..rallied a segment of our country with lies pandering to their racist beliefs fostered by their disaffection of their failed lives…..precisely bcause they are uneducated racists.”

“He bent Democracy, but he did not break it. Democracy survived and will emerge stronger.”

“He has been banned by Twitter, the sword of his attack and lies.”

“And now we commit to never speaking or writing his name again. The worst punishment that can be meted out to the narcissistic sociopath is to be made irrelevant, ignored and forgotten. He shall forever be known as the former failed President, or POTUS 45. Nothing more.”

The Republicans gave Biden a 24 hour hiatus. Led many to believe that they had decided to take the bipartisan approach to government.

How wrong they were! The partnership is over. McDonnell and McCarthy are back on the “same old same old” path they have taken the past 8 years.

I have every confidence Biden will figure out a way to get things done, put them in their place, if necessary.

Impeachment does not require violation of a specific criminal statute. The standard is loose…..High crimes and misdemeanors.

The case of Brandenberg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969) comes into play in one fashion or another in either an impeachment or criminal proceeding.

Brandenberg held: Speech advocating illegal conduct is protected under the Fourth amendment, unless the speech is likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

I believe the President’s words, those of Giuliani and Donald Jr. also, made under the white tent immediately before the attack on the Capitol fall under speech likely to incite “imminent lawless action.”

A star was born during during the Inauguration ceremony. Amanda Gorman. The black 22 year old Harvard graduate who in a time earlier had been the National Poet Laureate of her age group.

Her appearance and presentation perfect.

Amanda had authored 2 books previous to her Inauguration presentation. Yesterday, she tweeted: “I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 AND #2 ON AMAZON AFTER ONE DAY.”

Amanda, it’s only the beginning. You will be noted for your poetry the rest of your life. Without question, you will be the U.S. Poet Laureate for many of those years.

No one seems to want Trumps for neighbors.

Donald Sr.’s right to live in Mar-a-Lago is under scrutiny. A 1993 agreement he signed prohibits anyone from staying overnight at Mar-a-Lago for more than 3 weeks a year. With the further prohibition that the 3 weeks cannot run consecutively.

Ivanka and Jared purchased a lot for $31 million at Billionaire Bunker in Miami. $31 million for the lot alone. They have been blackballed. Prior owners vote on who they want or don’t want as a  neighbor. Present owners do not want them.

Now comes Donald Jr. and his lady friend Kimberly Guilfoyle. Millions involved in their purchase of property in Jupiter. The Jupiter area known as Admiral Cove. Thirty homeowners have complained to the Home Owners Association they do not want Donald Jr. and Kitty as neighbors.

Today a significant one in American history. On this day in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized most abortions.

DeSantis is either the poorest or near poorest Governor in the U.S. Easy to understand. He was a Trump puppet. Also his brain capacity seems limited.  I make the representation in all sincerity.

“Vaccine tourism” became a popular thing the past 2 weeks in Florida. Somehow DeSantis’ rules or what have you re vaccines permissible for non-residents to receive became popular

A significant number involved. So far Florida has vaccinated 1.1 million persons. First doses. Of that number, 39,000 were non-residents.

There is not enough vaccine for Florida residents. It should not be shared. Let the non-residents go home and get it.

Allocations to states are not made on the basis of residents and non-residents. The allocation is made based on the number of residents.

DeSantis made a Trump type appearance on TV the past few days. He was putting a stop to non-residents getting their shots in Florida. He never accepted responsibility of course for the snafu.

Many wealthy Argentines have been flying to the U.S. for 30 days. Vacation and 2 shots each.

Vaccine tourism is becoming popularized. The following does not apply to Florida. However it could have happened before DeSantis’ recent ruling.

A British travel agency is advertising a $30,000 package. Refer to the package as “vaccine tourism.” The package includes air travel to Dubai, lodging, and both doses of the vaccine.

On this day in 1957 a fishing contest took place between 2 sport greats. Baseball star Ted Williams and golf’s Sam Snead. Labeled as a fishing duel. Took place in the Keys.

It must have been a poor fishing day. Williams won. He caught 2 bonefish to Snead’s 1.

Many important and delicate matters come before the Key West City Commission for decision. One recently involved chickens. The ones that freely roam Key West streets.

The chickens have apparently have become increasingly aggressive. I would not know. I have been in self quarantine for over 300 days.

The problem came up before the Commission. The Commission passed an ordinance prohibiting anyone from feeding the chickens. The street walking roaming ones.

An interesting question arose. The eternal question. Why do chickens cross the road?

Finally the answer.

To get to Stock Island where they can still enjoy a free meal.

Enjoy your day!