IT’S A SMALL WORLD

Yesterday, interesting.

Started the day with Lori. Haircut time. I was in the chair less than 5 minutes. We covered a multitude of sins during the time. It has always been so during the 20 years she has been cutting my hair.

Radio show with Laurie Thibaud at 4. Station 105.7 FM, WGAY FM.

Party Time!

We get better together every week. Exchange thoughts about everything. I enjoy doing the show with her.

The station’s owner was in. Michael Stapleford. Not sure where his permanent home is. He has taken an apartment in Key West since opening the station.

Fiftyish.

Talk about it being a small world, Michael and I have similar roots. He was born and raised in the Utica area. St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital. Raised in nearby Clinton. His Dad a physician. Ob-gyn. Practiced at the Slocum-Dixon Clinic.

It gets better.

Michael went to Syracuse. Graduated from Newhouse. He had to be smart to get into Newhouse. One of the finest communication schools in the country.

Today, I do a small show once a week with Laurie at a radio station he owns.

The show over, I walked across the street to the Pier House. The Chart Room, of course.

Great time!

Ted from Cazenovia at the bar. My retired court clerk friend. He is in Key West till the end of the month.

Farmer friend Devin came in. A midwest farmer taking a beating because of Trump’s tariff war with China.

Further down this blog, I have written a bit about the farm industry being in a coffin waiting to be buried if the tariff war with China is not soon resolved.

David showed up. I was surprised. David was a Chart Room regular every evening. Now, I am lucky if I see him once a month. He tells me Aqua’s Side Bar is his new watering hole.

As I was leaving, ran into Boomer and his wife. Boomer a long time bartender at Don’s Place. I was glad to see them both. Don’s Place has fallen off my places to imbibe so I have not seen Boomer in well over a year.

I told him to say hello to Don for me.

Funny, Don called me 2 weeks ago. First time we have spoken in 2 years. We stopped seeing each other for reasons other than a falling our. Don called yelling over the phone, “Louis, we have not seen each other in a long time. We have to go out to dinner. I’ll call you.”

I’m still waiting. If he does not call by next week, I will call him.

The big event of the evening was Syracuse/Baylor at 10. The first game for both teams in March Madness.

My concern was whether I could stay up that late to watch. I am in bed and asleep most nights by 9. I made it through the first half. Looked at the computer this morning to see who won. It was not Syracuse. Baylor beat Syracuse 78-69.

I am glad the season is over. Too much to take. We won some games we should have lost. We lost games we should have won.

A depressing season.

Power went out this morning. Not for long. Took forever for my computer to kick back on. Wi-fi not connecting. Ergo, I am behind with the blog.

Looking forward to tonight. Dinner with friends at the Conch Republic. The company good. Even better, the meal. Stone crabs. Preceded by oysters.

Dinner companions Donna and Terri, Andrea and Joe, and Barbara.

Two famous people who were in Key West this date in separate years.

In 1902, Mark Twain. Here only for a day. On his way to Cuba.

In 1951, Key West’s beloved Harry Truman. He left for Washington after spending 3 weeks on vacation. Stayed at The Little White House, of course.

This day important for another reason. Not because a particular person was here. Rather a national event occurred. Today’s Key West would be a depressed town economically with out it.

It was 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Beer and Revenue Act. The new law legalized the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Can you imagine Duval Street without bars selling alcohol. The town would be deserted.

Trump continuously destroys the good in whatever he attempts.

The farm crisis one example.

America’s farmers were basically doing well. Especially in the midwest. They were in the modern swing of things. Many doing business with China.

Trump decides China is not treating the U.S. fairly. He begins a trade war. I recall him saying trade wars were good. He would straighten China out. The U.S. would make more money as a result.

Trump thought the Chinese would back down. He knew them not. Trump was publicly spitting on another major power. An Asian one. Asians always concerned about saving face also.

We have been in the tariff war with China for several months. Trump keeps indicating resolution around the corner. Never comes.

The result is America’s farm country is in a casket. A casket waiting to be lowered into the ground. Buried.

Farmers are suffering their worst economic crisis in 30 years. They cannot sell what was grown. Fortunately, soybeans and corn can be stored. No cash flow, however. No money to meet interest payments. Some losing their farms.

Three causes involved: Low commodity prices, trade war pressures, and record flooding.

The effect of U.S. farmer problems is upending economies around the globe. Trump’s “booming economy” has not touched the farmers. Trump’s trade war with China is killing the American farmer.

A little warm heartedness called for after sharing the American Farmer’s plight.

When I was younger (a long time ago), saturday afternoon was spent at a local theater watching the movies. A double feature, series, and cartoon.

The cartoons were Walt Disney at his best. The one’s starring Porky Pig utilized the same sign off each time. It would be Porky smiling and waving his arm from one side to another saying “That’s all folks!”

For me, that’s all for today. Enjoy it!

BORDER FENCE WIRE BEING SOLD ON STREETS OF TIJUANA

Another Donald Trump success story.

The razor sharp wire TRump had U.S. troops line certain fence areas along the southern border were stolen and then sold on the streets of Tijuana.

The wire was to keep migrants out. Not a smart move. Thieves were able to remove and steal portions of the wire.

Where were border guards? The U.S. military? Who was watching the shop. It takes longer to remove the wire than to climb over a fence.

The wire is not easy to remove. Takes time. The thieves stole whatever they did with no problem.

Fifteen persons have been arrested by Mexican authorities. Some Americans.

The stolen wire was transported down the streets of Tijuana in shopping carts. The thieves shouting out the cost and willingness to install. Forty pesos per home. In American dollars, less than $2. Covered cost of the wire and installation.

Tijuana residents anxious to buy. Murder rate high in Tijuana.

Amazing. American wire protecting Mexican homes. Americans having paid for the wire. The U.S. could not get Mexico to pay for the wall. Mexico has inadvertently got the U.S. to pay for the wire protecting the Tijuana homes.

Good job, Donald. No other person could have obtained such a result.

Barbara still visiting. I eat better with her here. She makes some Italian dishes I fail to get. Yesterday, it was greens and beans. Cooked in oil. Bread dunking enjoyable.

Immensely enjoyed Tom Hambright’s presentation at the Library last night. A full house.

Tom’s talk consisted a short history of Key West.

Tom knew it all.

I continue to live and learn. Tom mentioned that at one time there were oil drilling rigs on Big Pine. New to me.

Did some research this morning.

Oil well drilling did take place on land in the Keys at one time. Big Pine, Sugarloaf, Key Largo, and just outside Marathon.

The State of Florida responsible. Concern for the environment not as it is today.

In the 1940’s, Florida passed a law: Florida Oil Discovery Award. Fifty thousand dollars to anyone striking oil.

Over the next 2 decades, the Keys’ wells were dug. Some as far down as 12,000 feet.

The drillings were not successful. Not enough oil available. The structures eventually taken down.

Ran into Chart Room friends Tom and Clare at Tom’s talk. Clare a charming woman.

On to Blue Macaw after Tom’s talk. Terri singing. As usual, outstanding!

This afternoon, I join Laurie Thibaud on her radio show. Party Time. Station 107.5 FM, WGAY FM. Laurie will on from 3-7. I will join her for the 4-5:30 segment.

Join us. We are an interesting duo. Never know what will be said. Especially by Laurie.

Then to the Chart Room.

I will be up late tonight. Syracuse/Baylor in the first game of March Madness. Playing in Salt Lake City.

Syracuse team hit with bad news yesterday. Syracuse starter Frank Howard has been suspended indefinitely. Mystery surrounds why. Everyone tight lipped. His suspension described as based on “athletic department policy.”

Some people have no difficulty in moving their asses when required. Written in a complimentary fashion. New Zealand’s President announced yesterday that all assault rifles would be banned. Military style semi-automatic weapons.

Her announcement follows the recent shootings in New Zealand which left 50 dead.

She is being supported in the move by both of New Zealand’s political parties.

Contrast and compare with the U.S. Our legislators are bought and beholden to the NRA. Sale of guns more important than human lives.

Today, there are more guns than people in the U.S. Additionally, more have died from guns in the U.S. 91.45 million) than in all wars in American history (1.4 million).

Vaccinate or not? Not really an issue. Should be mandatory. Yet some states permit parents to exempt their children.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin one of those persons. He does not believe in chicken pox vaccine. He has 9 children. Refused to have them vaccinated.

A neighbor got the chicken pox. He took his 9 children next door to what has been described as a “pox party.” All 9 were infected and came down with the chicken pox. The Governor’s position: “This is America and the federal government should not be forcing this on people.”

The Governor was irresponsible as to his children and others. Must be in his blood. Anyone who fathers 9 children in this day and age can be described irresponsible also.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

TOM HAMBRIGHT TONIGHT

There is one person intimately familiar with all that has occurred in Key West. Tom Hambright. If he does not know or cannot find the information sought, it does not exist.

Tom has been a part of Key West and the Key West Library for many, many years. His technical title is Curator of the Florida History Archives.

I am ashamed to say I have never met him. Tonight, I plan on hearing and meeting him. He is giving a talk titled A Short History of Key West. At the Library. Six o’clock.

It is not easy to officially have a book placed on the Library shelves. Such requires Tom’s blessing. I wanted Irma and Me to take its place in the Library. Diane Millikan told me I should leave it to her, not easy to do, and she knew Tom.

Diane was successful.

I am not certain whether it was Diane’s efforts or the quality of the book. Whatever, I am proud and pleased.

The lecture is over at 7:30. I will be off to Blue Macaw. Terri is singing. Probably will eat at Blue Macaw, also.

Last night was podcast time for me. Tuesday Night with Key West Lou. Enjoy doing the show. Last night’s topics included Trump and McCain, the book Kushner, Inc., big time Pentagon waste, Yemen, and Trump’s meeting with Brazil’s President Bolsonaro.

May Sands died this date 1956. She was 71. A respected school teacher for 47 years.

The May Sands School on Union Street was named after her.

I have visited May Sands often. Robert and Ally attended/attend Montessori there.

Ally still in the building. In the eighth grade. On the volley ball team.

Robert is a freshman at the Key West High School. Number 2 on the varsity tennis team. Unquestionably, a tennis player.

I came across a Key West leprosy story yesterday.

In the early 1900’s, a man died at his home. The home on Virginia Street. In those days, the house had to be burned in order to eradicate the possibility of further leprosy contamination. The house and contents were put to the torch and under the supervision of Fire Chief Fulford.

Leprosy a Key West problem back then.

Turns out leprosy not the dreaded disease it once was considered. Though none would want to have contacted it then or now.

Today, leprosy is curable. A multi-drug therapy involved. Treatment is free. The World Health Organization picks up the bill.

As a result, the number of leprosy cases has dropped dramatically. In 2016, 160 cases globally. Down from 5.2 million in the 1980’s. What modern medical science can do!

The nation with the highest leprosy rate is India. The filth in India’s water the primary cause.

The increased cost of Key West real estate reflected in the following.

On this date in 1923, fire destroyed an abandoned cigar factory on the corner White and Newton Streets. The fire was not containable and spread. Forty three homes destroyed. White, Ash, Angela, and Petronia Streets involved.

The total cost of the 43 destroyed homes was estimated at $125,000.

You can’t buy one house today for $125,000! Not even close!

A strange traffic stop shooting.

On July 25, 2018, a woman was stopped for a traffic violation. She gave the police some lip. They handcuffed her behind her back.

Not sure what happened thereafter. However, the story continues as reported by the police.

The woman died. She was shot in the mouth. The police reported it as a “suicide.” Handcuffed behind her back at the time of the shooting.

The police camera malfunctioned. The police reported it was “knocked offline.”

A furor ensued. The police are reinvestigating the incident. Eighth months later, people still waiting for the new report.

Only in America!

A few days ago I mentioned South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigief was impressive. A candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

He was on Morning Joe today. Still impressive, if not more.

Mayor Pete is 37, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes scholar. An Afghanistan veteran. Gay. Married to a man.

I find him brilliant, right on when it comes to answering questions. His responses not  the usual bullshit.

Keep an eye on him.

My enthusiasm for his performance does not mean I am ready to support him. Still a long way to go.

Wow! A strange thing has occurred. Donna Brazile is now on FOX. Donna a Democrat all the way. A former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, she takes no guff. Knows the parties’ positions well.

Her job title is Commentator.

She and Sean Hannity debated for the first time last night. The first of many such debates, I am sure.

Trump met with Brazil President Bolsonaro yesterday in the White House.

Both men cut from the same cloth. Both despots, autocrats, nationalistic, white supremacists, anti-female, and anti-color. Bolsonaro known as the Trump of the Tropics in Brazil and South America.

Following the meeting, Trump said he wanted to get Brazil into NATO. Either as a non NATO ally or actual member. He was going to look into it.

I find it strange Trump wants Brazil as a NATO ally. He is continually knocking NATO for a number of reasons

Bolsonaro wants military equipment. As a NATO member in any fashion, he would be able to buy equipment at a dramatically reduced price.

Trump said after the meeting that both countries were unified in the global fight against socialism. Trump getting ready for 2020. He has already begun spouting that the Democrats are no longer liberals. They are socialists. The next step, communists.

A discomforting occurrence leading up to the Trump/Bolsonaro meting. Two nights earlier, Bolsonaro had dinner with Steve Bannon. A troublemaker of the worst kind. He wants to overthrow existing governments. I sometimes think for the fun of it.

I am reading In The Closet of The Vatican. Bannon is mentioned. He visits the Vatican often, is friends with many in the hierarchy opposed to Pope Francis, etc.

Enemies to our way of life popping up everywhere.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

ISLAND RINSE

Island Rinse a weird title of sorts. Sounds like a movie header.

Not so, however.

It is raining today. Pouring. Strong winds. The Key West Citizen weather report says rain today and tomorrow. We can use it.

The Citizen has a practice of printing beneath its weather report of the day a quip. Usually humorous. In recognition of the rainy day ahead, this morning’s quip is “island rinse.”

Great phrase! Fitting!

Dueling Bartender’s last night unusually good. Terri White sang. Joined by Rick Dery.

Liz at the bar with her usual entourage. Joe was with her. I met Joe about 2 years ago at Liz’s home. He was her house guest. If my memory is correct, Joe is a law school Dean. In her other life, Liz was Dean of 2 law schools.

What a woman!

Afterwards, Terri and Donna joined Barb and I at Antonia’s for dinner.

We got there a bit earlier than Terri and Donna. Enjoyed a drink at the bar. Nicolle bartending. One of my favorite Key West people.

When I had the book signing for Irma and Me, Nicolle came. I was surprised to see her. She had already purchased the book through Amazon. Brought it with her for me to sign.

I was touched.

Sitting next to me at the bar was Sherry. A first time meeting. She has been in Key West 2 years. Sherry is a bookkeeper. Her husband a bartender. Works 3 places: Little Room Jazz Club, Smokin’ Tuna, and 801.

Sherry and her husband were married 2011.

Children? No children, she said. Three dogs.

Enjoyed our brief conversation. Look forward to running into her again.

Terri is a wonder. Whether watching her perform or sharing dinner conversation, you would never know she is blind. The woman amazing in every respect.

Safewise recently did a study which was posted on its website. The study ranked Florida cities based on violent crime and property crime per capita.

Key West ranked #77 out of 142 cities.

Not very impressive.

Actually, I question the ranking. In my many years here, I have found Key West to be a relatively safe community. Never have I had any concern day or night for my safety, for example.

The Key West Police Department interesting in its own right. I would describe them as…..rarely seen, always there.

It’s tuesday. My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Join me at 9, if you can. The show can be quite interesting when I get wound up and begin ranting and raving about this and that. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro is sitting at the moment with Trump in the White House. The place for him. He and Trump birds of a feather.

Bolsonaro elected in January. In the short period of time he has held office, it is obvious what the man is. Trump’s moralistic twin.

He has been described as a fascist, has attacked the LGBTQ community, attacked women and people of color. He has curtailed personal rights, privatized public services, and has opened the Amazon to business exploitation. Re the Amazon, trees are being cut down for their lumber sale value. Mining for minerals also underway.

The claimed purpose of the meeting three fold.

Brazil borders on Venezuela. Trump wants Brazil’s help in whatever plans he has for Venezuela. The other 2 topics involve military assistance and economic aid.

Bolsonaro will walk away from today’s meeting enriched with American money and all kinds of military equipment. In return, he will probably assure Trump he stands with him on any plans he has for Venezuela.

To support my conclusions, I share John Bolton’s statement re the meeting: “An historic opportunity.”

Anything Bolton likes cannot be good. The man is a warmonger.

Michael Snyder is a syndicated writer. I read his columns religiously. The man sees what others do not.

The title of Snyder’s column published today is “Why Does The Main Stream Media Purposely Ignore Mass Killings of Christians Around The Globe?”

I really never gave the topic any thought till today.

One of Snyder’s examples involves the shooting of Muslims at 2 mosques in New Zealand this past week. A major news event.

Christians are being killed because of their religious status world wide. Last year, 4,136.

Why no U.S. publicity? Snyder believes the mainstream media consider Christians to be one of the main obstacles to “progress” in the U.S. The media does not want Christians to be viewed sympathetically. Nor positively.

I do not know if I agree with Snyder in this regard. I take a wait and see attitude. If the preceding paragraph is accepted by me as accurate, I will have joined Trump in his position as regards the press. Can’t be!

Christian prosecutions are up in Asia. Especially China and North Korea.

Trump’s love brother Kim may be one of the worse villains in history. In recent years, Christians have been nailed or tied to crosses and then laid over burning fires. Others have had a steam roller run over their bodies.

Trump continues sucking up to Saudi Arabia. They have his number. They know how to play him.

Yemen. Horrible atrocities. Under siege daily. Famine. People dying in significant numbers each day.

Saudi Arabia is bombing the hell out of Yemen. The bombs dropped are U.S. bombs.

A new book became available for purchase today. Certain to make the New York Times’ best seller list.

The book “Kushner, Inc. Greed. Ambition. Corruption.” By Vicky Ward. Reveals Jared and Ivanka’s actions, thoughts, lifestyle, etc.

I read a rather lengthy excerpt from the book this morning. I suspect it reflects the book’s contents: “Most people go into government for public service. They do seem to have gone in for self-service.”

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

COME ON AND HEAR, COME ON AND HEAR…..ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND

Music has to be a trillion dollar business world wide. Most everyone loves music! Hear, sing, whatever.

CD’s and downloading the most popular sources. Vinyl on the way back.

There was a time when there were no “records.” Music lovers depended on sheet music. Lyrics and music printed on paper. Purchased at as music store. Taken home and played/sung around the family piano or merely sung.

The cost pennies.

The business grew. Especially from 1900 to 1920.

Irving Berlin a major contributor. His songs great then. Greater today. They will never die.

On this day in 1911, Berlin copyrighted Alexander’s Ragtime Band. An instant hit. Sold the most pieces of sheet music ever.  In the multi-millions. Made music big business nationally and internationally. Alexander’s Ragtime Band a phenomenon culturally and economically.

The tune was catchy. Its opening lines: Come on and hear, come on and hear, Alexander’s Ragtime Band…..the best band in the land.”

Hollywood made a move in 1935 titled Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Some parts factual, most fantasy. Great movie, however! Starred Tyrone Power, Alice Fay, and Don Ameche.

I sometimes wonder at my age how many remember these stars as I do. Alice Fay, a bit of a stretch. However Tyrone Power a swashbuckling hero for decades. Don Ameche the best supporting star in any movie he was portrayed in.

Two great meals this weekend.

Saturday night at Andrea and Joe’s. All kinds of goodies. Andrea decided on an appetizer repast instead of a full blown dinner.

How good is evident from the asparagus served. I hate asparagus. Never eat it. However was the good guest and ate what Andrea had prepared. Outstanding! Huge pieces wrapped in bacon. Broiled or fried. A rare treat!

We partied long. It was Andrea and Joe, Donna and Terri, and Louis.

I have not had corn beef and cabbage in years. Every year every restaurant I went to on St. Patrick’s Day had run out. Not this year!

I picked up Barbara at the airport around noon. She was hungry. I have to eat, she said. She had worked till one in the morning. Slept on a couch in the hospital lounge. Up in time to catch a 6 am flight.

She had to drive 40 miles to the airport. Typical upstate New York winter weather. Twenty six degrees and a blinding blizzard. She lucked out and was able to follow a huge snow plow. Otherwise would not have been able to see the highway.

I told her, “It’s corn beef and cabbage.” She agreed. I had read Schooner Wharf would be serving it. No room at the inn when we arrived. Every table and bar stool occupied.

We walked across the street to Harpoon Harry’s for eggs benedict. Harpoon Harry’s tuned out to be a great choice. They had a corn beef and cabbage special.

Absolutely delicious. Moist. Enough fat to give it taste. So good! We both went crazy. Talked not till done. The meal too good to interrupt with idle chatter.

Last night the Chart Room. John bartending. Met Shirley and Larry from South Dakota. Charming people. Funny. I learned South Dakota is so small population wise that it has only 1 Congressman and 3 electoral votes.

My friend Devin came in. My modern day farmer friend from northern Illinois. Barbara was into him right away inquiring how Trump’s tariff war with China was affecting his business. First time she had heard the fall out from someone actually involved.

I enjoy Devin’s company. A swift amusing mind.

We stopped at Publix on the way home. Barb upset my cupboard so bare.

You would have thought we were a family of 6. Two baskets full. Bill around $200.

If nothing else, I will be eating good for a couple of weeks. So much for watching my weight!

The Comment section to this blog has some interesting exchanges. Especially in the political arena. JustSaying wrote: “Dump Trump 2020. That will surely Make America Great.”

My girl!

Staying with Trump for the moment, the man is totally lacking in respect, good taste, manners, and the like. He insulted John McCain again. Trump has apparently never heard Let The Dead Lie.

America will never forget John McCain. Forever an honest to goodness war hero. He will live on in the history books forever.

Trump claims he had bone spurs which kept him out of the military. I think he was a draft dodger. He cannot hold a candle to McCain’s almost six years in a prison camp.

What bothers me most was Trump’s speech before CPAC last week. He spoke negatively of McCain. The crowd cheered, some even stood.

America has problems. A type which is dangerous. One which can easily turn into violence.

Dueling Bartenders at Aqua tonight. Terri White singing!

Afterwards, Barbara and I are having dinner with Terri and Donna at Antonia’s.

Some person or persons are going to get rich! Powerball up to $550 million. No one has won thus far.

The odds in winning are 1 in 292.2 million. Twenty five times harder to win than making a hole in one.

God blessed whoever wins! No question a life changer.

March Madness upon us. The Big Tournament. Begins thursday.

Syracuse an 8th seed in the Western Region. Play #9 Baylor thursday night in Salt Lake City.

Enjoy your day!

WORDS HAVE CONSEQUENCE

The New Zealand shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant is a nationalist, white supremacist. Before going on the rampage with 2 others which resulted in 50 deaths and many injured, he issued a 74 page manifesto. He bragged of his support for white power and made many observations in support of his position.

One regards our esteemed President Donald Trump. Many in the U.S. recognize Trump as a nationalist and white supremacist.

Tarrant wrote re Trump that he was “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Putting everything into perspective, it is obvious one of Tarrant’s motivations were Trumps words over the past 2 years re white supremacy.  Tarrant had to think if the President of the U.S. thinks this way, it has to be good. Something like the Smuckers slogan.

Trump must  learn to bite his tongue, to think before he speaks. His words impact the world. He will not however. Not his nature, not the man.

Instead of spreading good, he encourages evil. Tarrant and what occurred in New Zealand one example.

Ho, ho, ho. Not Christmas. St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone is Irish!

St. Patrick was of Roman-English origin. When 16, he was captured by Irish pagan warriors and taken to Ireland. He spent 6 years in Ireland before escaping back to England.

Patrick became a priest. Returned to Ireland. His intent to convert the pagan Druids to Catholicism. He was successful. A reason he was elevated to saint status.

Shamrocks cover lawns by the thousands. Everywhere. Patrick used the 3 leafed plant in helping with the pagan conversion. He was having difficulty explaining the Trinity concept. Three persons in one God. He used the shamrock to get his point across.

It is claimed Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Not true. All scientific findings are clear there were no snakes sin Ireland. Had something to do with glaciers centuries before.

He did drive certain persons out of Ireland, however. Druids who refused to convert. The Druids over the years have transformed into snakes.

Duval will be packed with party goers today. Big time. Most going from one bar to another for a drink. Many will drink too much and pay for it later.

Schooner Wharf and Irish Kevin’s will be bursting at the seams with customers.

I am not sure I will be on Duval. I am at a stage in my life where these huge gatherings have lost their interest. Perhaps I did it too much in the past.

Have to hustle. I have a house guest arriving this morning. Doing the airport pickup.

One of the difficult problems with a house guest is getting the house ready. I have been at it a couple of days. A real pain!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

ST. PATRICK’S DAY…..THE WEARIN’ OF THE GREEN

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. Two whole days this year because of the weekend. Everyone is Irish. Most will be wearing the green.

Party time! Two days of the Duval crawl. Imagine! Drinking all that beer. Colored green, of course.

Key West party goers are fortunate. We have in excess of 300 bars.

Corned beef and cabbage. Oh, how I look forward to it. Only once a year. On St. Pat’s Day. One problem. Can’t get it. Everywhere I go, even with reservations, the restaurants are sold out.

I have a house guest coming in tomorrow for 2 weeks. Barbara. I am going to surprise her! Buy a piece of corned beef from Publix and ask her to cook it for me some day this week.

Hopefully, she will be amenable.

Key West will be crazier than normal these 2 days. There are locals, tourists, and spring breakers. My running around will be limited.

Chart Room last night. Still feel heavy re Che’s death. That feeling.

John, Steve and Cindy at the bar. Some Che discussion. Not much. I suspect everyone wanted to avoid the topic.

Mary there, also. We ended up having dinner together at Pier 1 outside on the deck. A beautiful evening, a beautiful view. Boats going back and forth in the distance. The boats returning home after watching Key West’s fabled sunset.

I must share something. Pier 1’s food is exceptional. A new chef was hired last year. She is amazing!

Living on an island, one learns respect for nature, fish, birds, little deer, etc. Something about it. Man becomes conscious of nature.

You are already aware of the nut who jumped off a pier onto a pelican. Can’t do it. Pelicans Federally and State protected.

William Hunter Hardesty the guilty tourist.

He left town. A warrant for his arrest was obtained. Everyone is upset with the man. He had the event videoed and run on Facebook, also.

A warrant was issued for his arrest. Evidence of the seriousness of what occurred is that the warrant was 10 pages long. Highly unusual.

Hardesty was vacationing yesterday in Ocean City, Maryland. Bragging to everyone re his exploit with the Key West pelican. Some had read in the news re his wrongdoing and that the police were looking for him. They called the police. Hardesty has been arrested. Bail $80,000.

The charges include cruelty to a migrating bird and intentionally feeding a pelican.

The message: Don’t jump on our pelicans! Serious wrongdoing!

I have been preaching for several years that robots are coming. People everywhere are aware. Our politicians not. Government is not doing anything to plan for the invasion and retrain the multitude of humans that will be out of work.

A new robot was introduced yesterday. The Guardian LFI, Mark 3 Underwater Robot.

Perfect for Keys’ waters. The robots’ sole function are to control the lionfish population.

Lionfish generally reside on coral reefs at a depth that divers cannot safely reach. The depths where lionfish breed.

The robot can dive to the depth a human cannot. The robot stuns a lionfish and brings it to the surface. Each robot can stun up to 10 lionfish a dive.

Lionfish are extremely dangerous to native reef fish. Scientists estimate lionfish ae reducing native reef fishes by 79 percent.

This blog has in excess of 69,000 subscribers. Readers from all over the world. I hear from distant followers frequently.

Today, Theodore Markis. A Greek. I love Greece!

First time I have heard from Markis. He sent via Facebook a copy of a Greek newspaper. A newspaper published in Epirus called Proinos Logos. A copy of the 3/4/19 edition.

Markis lives and works in Ioannina, Greece. Don’t know what he does. He studied at Northwestern.

Markis has become friends with Key West artist Raymond Rolston. They have been together in Key West and Greece.

The purpose of the newspaper was to introduce me to the artist Rolston. He shows at Sunset at Mallory Square and the Island Arts Gallery.

Rolston has done a number of paintings incorporating Key West and Greek scenes. Makes for special works.

I am ashamed to say I have never met Rolston. I will do so soon. Hopefully Markis and I can have a continuing e-mail relationship. I ask Markis to write me directly at louispetrone@gmail.com.

The following galls me. It will gall you.

September is the last month of the Federal budget/fiscal year. No one tries to save money. Any monies remaining in the till in September are spent. God forbid a surplus at the end of the year. Such might mean fewer dollars in the next year’s budget.

Trump says we are hurting financially. He wants to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Before he does so, he should look at the wasteful September spending in the government.

September found the budget with $197 billion unspent. Working under the use it or lose it philosophy, following are some examples of where our taxpayer dollars went.

The Pentagon spent $4.6 million on lobster and crab. Someone ordered a $9,341 Wexford office chair. $11, 816 on a foosball table. $258,901 on pianos.

Pigs!

Enjoy your day!

 

CHE THE LAST OF HIS GENERATION IS DEAD

A sad blog I write this morning.

Che is dead. A Chart Room friend. Not sure when he died. His body was found some days afterward. Jean Thornton called me last night to tell me of his demise.

Che had a special distinction. HIS ASHES WILL BE PLACED IN THE CHART ROOM BAR. His hole in the bar has been ready and waiting for years.

Key West is strange in that locals do not care who you are, what you did, etc. when you come to live here full time. Important is who you are today. Hopefully a good and loving person.

Che and his friends were those kind of people.

A little Che background.

Che’s name. Richard Kohen. Originally from New York City. Came to Key West in the 1960’s or 1970’s. Never left. Key West his home till the day of he died.

Never called Richard, always Che. Sometimes confused for a Cuban.

I never knew Che’s real name til last night. Jean called to advise it. She had just learned it.

When Che first arrived, he and Chart Room friends used to fish daily. Whoever caught the most fish, cooked the fish and had dinner at his home that night.

After a day which found Che with the biggest catch, Che as he left his friends yelled, “Come to Chez Kohen’s tonight for dinner.” The French “Chez” for house became Che and thus has he been known for years.

I first met Che some 15 years ago at the Chart Room bar. We became friends. Che had many friends. I would describe Che as a first generation Chart Room patron and those I am about to name second generation.

The second generation can be considered newbies. Though some have been here almost as long as Che. Jean Thornton, John Holster, Sheila Cullen, David Hecht, Steve and Cindy Thompson, Valerie Chelley, Marty Leshaw, Frank Holden who died 2 weeks ago, Cori Convertino, Ollie Kofoid. Janine Brown, Merri Brown, and Louis.

We of the second generation visit the Chart Room frequently. Do not have holes for our ashes in the bar unfortunately.

Che never changed from the day I met him.

Five foot six. Very thin. Always stood at the end of the bar. As if he was holding court. Marty Leshaw lived in Key West for years. He would stand at the end of the bar with Che. I always felt they were competing for the spot.

Che was argumentative. A sharp mind. Disagreeable, however. Knew everything. Never in an offensive manner. Merely Che.

Marty and he were philosophically from opposite ends of the spectrum. Argued frequently. Loudly sometimes. Always friends, however.

There was a time years ago when Che, Marty and I would go to Kelley’s after Happy Hour on wednesdays for wings. Then Kelley came up with a tuesday night Maine lobster special. $18.95. We immediately became tuesday night customers.

In his later years, Che became increasingly reclusive. He died recently at 85. As his 83rd or 84th birthday was approaching, Jean Thornton arranged for our second generation group to throw a birthday party at the Chart Room. Jean is mother Hubbard. Caring. Concerned. Takes care of everyone.

Jean arranged for food with the ladies and some small gifts for Che. She knew Che might not show. She had him swear he would be there. Don’t worry, he said. Che never showed.

To best understand Che, you have to understand the Chart Room and the bar holes. Those places of internment.

A little history in order.

The Chart Room first.

A local blog from 2011 to 2015 was Key West Wind. Its author No Nonsense. I could find no better name nor do I know if No Nonsense is still alive. He wrote a terrific blog about the Chart Room and the first generation group. Dated 9/25/2012. The blog can be found at keywestwind.blogspot.com.

So good is the blog, I am compelled to plagiarize on occasion. To do less would be to do a disservice to the blog, the Chart Room, the holes in the bar, and the members of the first generation. Where I plagiarize, quotes will be used.

The Chart Room is “…..deep in the intestines of a big resort hotel…..there is a dingy low ceilinged room that could pass for a large storage closet…..a heavy mahogany bar with seven battered bar stools ending at a popcorn machine last cleaned during the Carter administration…..Crowded into one corner a round table with sagging chairs…..The floor is carpeted with shells from a huge barrel of peanuts; the walls are covered with cracked and fading photos of patrons past, and the air is permanently saturated with the acrid essence of booze, beer and cigarettes. No sunlight has ever intruded here…..ever.”

The first generation founded a club which led to the holes in the bar. The first generation consisted of seven members. Che obviously one of them. Initially, a rowdy dinner club. They named their club the Chartroom Gentlemen’s Club and Occasional Choir.

Boozers all. Significantly so.

The Club became known locally by the acronym CGCOL,  “commonly understood to mean Fuck You in Klingon.”

The members seven. Six now gone. The one survivor James Cox, Jr., a Houston banker. Son of member James “Whistle” Cox.

The seven members in no particular order.

Mel Fisher. The most famous of all. The man who discovered the Spanish galleon Atocha. The treasure first found amounted to $400 million. Fisher bought the drinks that night.

General Geof. Commander of the Conch Republic Army.

Bob Smith. A semi-retired software guru. He occasionally took me out on his small sail boat. He provided the food. Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Panamah Peat. Also known as Peter Hill. He died when his liver gave out. He resembled a desiccated old pirate. “Widely known in Key West as a talented jewelry designer, skilled photographer and hopeless drunk.” Panamah’s body lay unclaimed in the Veterans’ Hospital for six months till his family was located. The story goes the family did not want to give a small portion of Panamah’s ashes to the group for internment in the Chart Room bar. Someone somehow got into their hotel room and took a shot glass full. The theft never discovered.

James “Whistle” Cox. A “drunk.” Nicknamed after a tiny whistle he attached to each pair of cabana pants he made for local clothing shops. Loved to sing. “Lubricated his vocal chords by consuming a quart of Smirnoff Vodka each day.” Led singing at meetings and dinners of Club members. Some songs a capella. He provided sheet music to accompany the a capella music. He conducted the singing with sweeping arms. Occasionally losing his balance and falling. Died in his mid 40’s.

Che. I already shared earlier what I know about him. No Nonsense described Che as “a fast talking gravelly-voiced New Yorker who was also a founding member of the CGCOC.”

James Cox, Jr. I know nothing of him. He may be dead. He was the son of Whistle Cox and may have had his hole in the bar drilled at the request of his father.

I provided all information re the members I could find or learn. Most long gone, difficult to ascertain more than I have been able to provide.

A closing thought.

The six already gone have to be creating havoc in the after life. I can see the Lord putting up with their antics. I doubt however St. Peter and the Guardian Angels are so inclined.

How did these crazy Key Westers get here they may ask. Drinking, singing and otherwise having a good time all the time.  Now and forever.

God bless them!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THE WRATH OF GOD

The Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting regarding the Cow Key Bridge repair. The meeting March 26 at 5 pm at the Marriott Beachside.

The State will explain the plan for the repair. Questions and comments afterward.

The State’s representatives better come prepared. Prepared to listen and act on what they will hear.

Key Westers are outraged at the State’s plans for the bridge repair. Eight months. They are not happy campers. The State’s reps will hear loud and clear.

The bridge has 4 lanes. Two each way. The State plans to close one lane at all times to facilitate traffic. Initially, 2 lanes were to have been closed.

Traffic in and out of Key West must go over Cow Key  Bridge. No other way in or out. It lies about 300 feet from the intersection of the Boulevards and U.S. 1. Traffic is horrendous.

Bumper to bumper traffic almost to Key Haven Road coming into Key West. Traffic beyond McDonald’s moving towards U.S. 1. Slow moving, when it moves.

Closing one lane of traffic will dramatically increase the delay. Easily add another 20 minutes to one half hour.

Every day for 8 months.

There has to be a better way. An engineer I am not. However, I have heard there is a temporary bridge that can be constructed to handle the traffic. I am sure the issue will be raised at the meeting.

I live on the Golf Course. Going into town at 5 yesterday. Headed towards U.S. 1 from the second road up that leads to the Golf Course. A traffic jam each way. Nothing moving.

I got smart. Or, so I thought. About 200 feet down after I got onto U.S. 1, I crossed over into Stock Island. Decided to beat the traffic by having an early dinner at Hogfish.

The dinner was good. Meat loaf. Can you imagine? Excellent meat loaf at a fish restaurant.

Left about 6:30. Felt like Little Jack Horner…..Pulled out a plum and said oh, what a good boy am I. I beat the traffic jam!

No way. Still bumper to bumper. Not as bad. Moving 30 percent faster.

Need I say more.

Finally made it to the Chart Room. Tammy bartending. David at one end of the bar.

Ran into friend Devin. Sat next to him. We spent a long time chatting.

Devin has a home in Key West. He visits several times a year.

I have written about Devin in the past.

Devin is a farmer. He and 2 brothers have operated a farm in northern Illinois for years. A successful business. Till Trump screwed things up last year.

Devin grows soybeans and corn. His soybeans went to China. Most of the corn turned into ethanol and shipped to China. The rest sold for feed.

A comfortable living.

Except China is no more. Not till the Trump induced tariff war ends.

Devin now flies coach instead of first class.

What has been raised is stored. Devin told me soybeans and corn can be stored for years if done properly. Storing affects cash flow, however. No money coming in. Interest still has to be paid on bank notes.

Whatever warm feelings he had for Trump, now gone. His feelings parallel mine.

The high point of the evening followed. Stopped at Publix to get some groceries. The cupboard bare again.

Arrived home by 9. In time to watch the Syracuse/Pitt game.

A bad first half. Syracuse losing by 6. Tempted to turn to another channel and watch a movie. Fortunately, I did not. Syracuse had a hell of a second half. Won 73-59.

Syracuse’s #1 player Tyus Battle could not play. Injured his tail bone. The coach’s son Buddy Boeheim started in his place. Scored 20 points. A record high for him

Tonight at 9, Duke.

Syracuse and Duke have already met twice this season. Syracuse won one and Duke the other. Syracuse beat Duke when Duke was ranked #1 nationally.

I expect a Duke victory. You never know, however.

The Charge of the Light Brigade has always fascinated me. The poem one of my favorite literary works. First introduced to it in an English literature class in college.

The poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Concerns an historic attack during the Battle of Balaklava.

The battle electrified the world! A suicidal charge. Brave men carrying out orders in spite of what they knew. The inevitable outcome for them was death.

The battle took place October 25, 1854. Tennyson did not observe it. However the world was talking about it. Tennyson read an account of the battle in The Times 6 weeks after it occurred. He sat down and wrote his poem commemorating the event in 15 minutes.

The poem a milestone in literary history.

A few lines. Lines that show why I and millions have been moved by it.

“Half a league, half a league / Half a league onward / …..into the valley of Death / Rode the six hundred /…..When can their glory fade? / O the wild charge they made.”

You may wonder why I write about the poem again today. In the 1930’s the movie The Charge of the Light Brigade was filmed starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland. I watched it on TV yesterday afternoon. Moved me to write about it again today.

Secretary of State Pompeo yesterday said Russia and Cuba are propping up Venezuela’s Maduro. Isn’t the U.S. doing the same thing. Except the U.S. is propping up Maduro’s opponent.

The pot calling the kettle black.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

BO’s FISH WAGON

Bo’s Fish Wagon is a Key West fixture. Part of the community for many years.

Originally on Duval or somewhere in the downtown area, a time came when Bo had to move. Progress causing Bo’s need to relocate.

So popular was Bo’s that every effort was made to relocate it somewhere in Key West.

Note that Bo’s was nothing more than a shack. Easy to move. Ended up on the corner of Caroline and William Streets.

Today’s Bo’s larger than when the move was made. Added onto every few years. A bigger shack now.

On this day in 1995, Bo’s celebrated its Grand Opening at the new site.

Specialties of the house are grouper and mahi mahi sandwiches. Friday night music. A jam session.

Bo’s is old Key West, a dive, a dump. Yet people love it! Tourists and locals alike. Always packed.

There are few Key West places of yesteryear. Others include Schooner Wharf, Don’s Place, and my favorite the Chart Room. The Chart Room not a dive per se. Merely looks like one. The Chart Room the same as it was when first constructed in 1967.

Visit Bo’s. Enjoy one of their fish sandwiches. Sit at the open bar facing on Caroline and watch the world go by.

Did my podcast show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Hit Trump’s proposed budget hard. Spent a lot of time spelling out the evils the federal government has wrought on Social Security.

People should be aware Social Security takes in more than it pays out each day. Since the 1980’s, the government takes the excess monies and uses it for other things. Never pays back!

The biggest U.S. creditor is not China. We owe China $1.8 trillion. The biggest creditor is the Social Security Trust Fund. The U.S. owes the Fund $2.8 trillion.

If the government began paying back, cries of Social Security is on its death bed would end.

This college scandal is terrible! Can’t believe it! People bribing other people to guarantee their children will be accepted at a particular college. A high tiered one, of course.

The dollar amounts astronomical. Some in excess of $1 million.

A rigged admission scheme. Bribery. A lot of people will be going to jail or embarrassed big time.

My concern involves character. What happened to character in the U.S. The coaches and parents involved definitely in the…..They should be ashamed pool. Their children will be affected when they find out. They will find out now since the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office are involved.

Immigration a problem even way back before the birth of Christ. People periodically found it necessary to move in mass. Generally because of a natural disaster.

Pompeii created a problem A refugee problem of magnitude back then.

Mount Vesuvius exploded. The explosions and lava flow continued for 3 days.

Pompeii is the city normally associated with the Vesuvius eruption. Pompeii was buried in lava. Another community involved also. Nearby Herculaneum. The 2 communities covered with hot ash, pumice, and molten rock.

The combined population of the 2 was 15,000. The experts conclude that 2,000 died. Their determination made by the “voids in the ash.”

The other 13,000 escaped. Mostly women, slaves and freed slaves. Why not the men, I do not know.

The 13,000 were refugees. They poured into nearby small communities not affected by Vesuvius. The towns welcomed their neighbors with open arms.

Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the smaller communities were part of the Roman Empire. Rome recognized its responsibility to the people and did everything to help. Rome provided money, raised money, constructed new and necessary infrastructure.

Rome and the towns’ reactions have been described as following their hearts.

I mention Pompeii, etc., today because of our refugee problem. The difference seems to be leadership. Rome got involved and made everything work. Trump has failed to do so.

Today a memorable one. On this day 2013, Francis was elected Pope. A breath of fresh air. The challenges he has experienced beyond contemplation. The little man has a lot on his shoulders.

Trump is rattling the war saber. He is pushing for war with Venezuela. Pompeo announced 2 days ago the U.S. was pulling all its diplomatic personnel from Venezuela. An indication that war might be forthcoming.

Trump has no concern for the poor people of the country. He is after the oil. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Russia wants the oil, also. Russia and Maduro are in bed together. It was recently announced that Venezuela’s state owned oil company was moving its offices to Moscow.

We don’t need another war. The U.S. is presently involved in 17. A couple of years ago, China’s President Xi said the U.S. has financial and infrastructure problems because it continues to be involved in wars it should not all over the globe. The war monies he said should have been used to solve the U.S.’s internal/personal problems.

This is college basketball tournament week.

The ACC tournament is underway. Syracuse plays Pitt tonight at 9. ESPN2. Syracuse a #6 seed, Pitt a #14. Syracuse favored by 7 points.

We shall see. I don’t believe anything anymore when it comes to this year’s team. We win the ones we should lose and lose the ones we should win. We do not play well in the second half. In the last 5 season games, Syracuse led at half time in 4. Lost all 4.

Enjoy your day!