THE WIND IN THE TREES

The measles outbreak getting out of hand. It has spread across the U.S. Only one State not affected. Louisiana. Eighty four cases total.

An epidemic. World wide also.

There was no vaccine to prevent measles when I was a child. Nor was there for my children. Then some one discovered a vaccine. Twenty years ago, the vaccine had eliminated measles.

Measles have returned.

It will be dealt with effectively in short course. The suspicion is that the failure to inoculate all children over the years is the cause. Some parents feared death or some other adverse effect to the child. The courts supported their position and waived the requirement that all children had to be inoculated for that particular child.

I have a personal story to share involving measles. A touching one.

My cousin Bob Lavallo lived in Stamford, Connecticut. At age 3, he came down with the measles. The attack caused him to become deaf.

He succeeded in school and business, never the less. He learned to read lips effectively. Eventually owning a plant making specialized furniture for the rich. He became rich.

I was visiting him. His home in the woods.

A new hearing aid had been developed. The doctors thought it might help him. He was in his 40’s at the time.

He said, “Let’s go for a walk.” As we got outside, he placed the hearing aids in his ears.

We were well into the woods. He stopped and asked, “What is that noise?” “What noise,” I asked. I heard nothing strange. He said, “That noise.”

I heard it. It was the wind in the trees. He had never heard it before.

Heart doctor time yesterday. Dr. McIvor. The best! I respect his ability.

I was there for my cholesterol blood test results. Everything ok. Down the middle.

He was concerned about my aortic valve stenosis. A while since the last test. He has scheduled me for a CT test next week.

My blood pressure had skyrocketed. Skyrocketed to me. One hundred fifty five on the topside. Eighty three on the bottom.

My blood pressure had been a problem for years. McIvor had me under control. I was running around 80 over 60.

Why the 155? Could be pain induced from the disc problem or the dental pain. Whatever, he was not concerned. I was. I am going back to taking my blood pressure every day.

It was 3 in the afternoon by the time McIvor was done with me. I had not eaten all day. Had my guest appearance on Laurie Thibaud’s radio show at 4.

Stopped at the Pier House Beach Bar. Fish and chips. Read the newspapers. A calming time.

Joined Laurie at 4 on Party Time. Station 107.5 FM, WGAY FM.

Laurie’s doing a great job! Fist time as a radio announcer. She’s a natural.

We bantered back and forth till 5:30 about everything.

A good show. Join us next thursday. You will enjoy.

The radio station is across the street from the Pier House. It was an easy walk to the Chart Room.

Doug at the bar. See him very infrequently. It was good to chat with him. He works as a guide at the Hemingway House.

His Friend Dan came in.

Soon after, Mary arrived. We had planned to do dinner together. She was dressed for an elegant dinner.

Told her immediately…..No dinner! I ate at 3. I was a party pooper.

Mary handled it well. Then I added I was exhausted. I would be  going home early. A real party pooper!

Enjoyed a drink together and I was off to home. She and Doug are good friends so I did not feel guilty.

The Sheriff maintains an animal farm. Has for years. A big deal. An officer is in charge. The inmates help.

The farm continues to expand. Two armadillos were added this week. Hank and Cricket. Nine-banded. Common to the Americas.

Hank and Cricket previously had been someone’s pets. They had to be given up. The Sheriff took them. The word is they have adjusted well.

Tariff wars are good! So spoke Trump when he was getting the U.S. into them.

They are no good in most instances. Middle America’s farmers are hurting. Big time! They cannot sell the soybeans, wheat and corn grown. China their biggest customer. The tariffs imposed are too high.

Farmers cannot meet their bills. Especially their mortgages.

As a result, farmer bankruptcies are 2 times higher than 10 years ago. Ten years ago being 2008, the beginning of the recession.

Russia and Brazil are benefiting. They are grabbing China and other U.S. farmer customers. The business lost will take years to return.

Trump did a good job. He is destroying a major U.S. industry. A group that supported him in 2016. I doubt they will be there for him in 2020.

A massive Harvard study has been published. Concerning marijuana and its affect on a male’s testosterone. For decades, the public has been told smoking pot decreased the ability to produce sperm. No sperm, no conception, no children.

Such was the indication of previous studies.

The recent study took 17 years. Clearly showed an increase in testosterone level.

The word is for males to smoke pot if they want to impregnate their mate.

As good and as long as the most recent study was, the clinicians are uncertain if their conclusion is correct. The earlier studies were thought good, also. They say more studies are required.

They further suggest that the newest study might be the Bible and so see nothing wrong with smoking marijuana.

Enjoy your day!

BIG DADDY

 

I was curious. How did Tennessee Williams get the Tennessee first name? Research proved interesting.

Tennessee Williams real name was Thomas Lanier Williams. He changed his name to Tennessee Williams when he moved to New Orleans at age 28. He selected Tennessee because his father had been born in Tennessee.

A strange decision. Tennessee and his Dad did not get along. His father overbearing, demanding, more concerned with work than being a father.

Tennessee in later years would create Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin  Roof based on his father. Interesting in how Big Daddy’s relationship with his son was portrayed in the film. The son’s homosexuality quietly existing in the background.

Williams subtly combined his father and himself into main characters in the story.

A dentist visit began my day yesterday. I have implants. I suspected a screw change required. So too did the dentist.

Such was not the case.

Spent an hour in the chair while the dentist tried to match the screws up. They would not click. Pain and discomfort. Not supposed to be a problem when one has implants. Turned out not to be the case.

Problem hopefully resolved. Everything fits at the moment.

Last week, the disc problem came upon me. Much better. A shot of pain infrequently. I hope to avoid surgery.

I feel like I am falling apart all at once. Hell, I’m only 83. These things should not be happening!

The Chart Room first last night. Tammy bartending.

Tammy works at the Bull. Generally, the second floor. Occasionally, the roof top Garden of Eden. Clothing optional for customers at the Garden.

Tammy’s girl friend who also works at the Bull was at the bar. Chatted with her a while. Her regular job is tending bar at the Garden.

Our chit-chat was interesting.

Stopped next at Blue Macaw. Terri singing. Donna and Sally at the bar. Sat with them.

Sally a terrific woman! Friendly. Kind. When Donna recently was in New York for several days, Sally walked Bear, took Terri out, etc.

A good friend.

Mary showed up. Enjoyed a drink with her.

On the way home, stopped at Publix. Needed cold cuts. I had stopped the day before. Five ahead of me at the deli counter. I hate the waiting. Left without cold cuts.

Nine thirty in the evening a better time for deli shopping. No one at the deli. Prompt assistance.

A busy day ahead. Haircut at noon. A quick lunch. Heart doctor at 1:30. Radio show with Laurie at 4.

Trump in for an MRI. Of his finances. By Congressman Schiff’s House Committee.

Seems that in the 10 years prior to becoming President, Trump spent $400 million in “cash” transactions in purchasing real estate. Fourteen of the transactions were paid in full.

Realtors such as Trump rarely use their own money to buy or build. Borrow. Use the bank’s money. Why cash here and where did the cash come from?

Money laundering?

Son Eric said their company had good cash flow and used their own assets to complete the transactions.

Enjoy your day!

 

KEY WEST RACIST?

No way in hell Key West is racist! The farthest thing from the truth. However there is a person who has ranted the words. Zohar Alon of the Orogold cosmetic shop on Duval.

He said regarding Key West: “They are a racist people. The whole city, it’s a racist city.”

To the City Commissioners and others involved I say…..Get this problem resolved and soon! It is not healthy for our city and its residents. Nor representative. We are the farthest thing from racist. We ARE One Human Family.

The police should be involved. Somewhere along the line I recall being told the problem was contractual and therefore a civil matter. Not criminal. Wrong thinking! Fraud is the essence of the matter.

Tennessee Williams spoke well of Key West and its effect on him. He was a Key West resident 34 years. He said, “I work everywhere but I work best here.”

The sunscreen ban is now law in Key West. Though it does not go into effect till January 1, 2021.

The City Commission voted 6-1 to ban the sale and use of sunscreens containing oxybenz and octinoxate in. The claim was those 2 ingredients are harmful to our reef(s).

The Commission has chosen, though I believe erroneously. Only 2 other places have instituted such a ban. Hawaii and an island named something like Palau. Key West has the distinction of being third.

A race to judgment. I believe the Commission found an increase in sun cancer desirable in order to make some contribution to saving the reefs.

The reefs began dying 50 years ago. The sunscreen ingredients disparaged only came out 25 years ago. Authorities exist claiming each side of the issue correct.This has been a race to judgment on the part of the Commission.

The Catholic Church! My Catholic Church! First, it was the priests abusing boys. Now it is priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns. Pope Francis recently announced the same. He has begun dealing with the problem.

Turns out many nuns have been subjected to abortions or giving birth to children fathered by priests.

The Associated Press claims the situation is “global and pervasive.”

My last night totally screwed up. Too much I wanted to do. Something had to give.

It was Syracuse/Florida State. Probably better that I did not get to watch the game. Syracuse lost 80-62.

I had a conflict at 9. My Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou podcast and the President’s State of the Union Address.

My obligation was clear. The podcast. I would miss the first half hour of the State of the Union.

The podcast went well as usual. Interesting topics. At 9:30, I ran to the TV set. I was able to catch the final hour of Trump’s address.

The State of the Union! More aptly described as the State of Donald Trump.

The State of the Union is made for Trump. Pure theater. His years in television would make him look good to those not listening to the words spoken.

The Republican Senators and Congress persons had their marching orders. Jump up and clap enthusiastically at every opportunity. They were too much. They ended up cheering many of Trump’s remarks that did not warrant their enthusiasm.

One commentator reflected that the Republicans jumping up and down and clapping reminded him of a Jack in the Box.

The hour I heard did not impress me. The same tripe heard last year and during his time in office. At one point I thought why am I watching this! I heard most of it before.

There was also the problem of truth. Lacking in many of Trump’s statements.

The President dizzily moved from one topic to another. Moved fast!

I sensed that last night was the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

A new campaign issue arose. I did not expect it. He found it. Created it. Socialism. Trump warned of the rise in socialism and that he was not going to permit our country to fall into it. He compared the U.S. to Venezuela in that regard

I suspect he had Bernie Sanders and the new Congress woman from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in mind.

He made it clear he intended to end U.S. involvement in wars. Going to be a major campaign issue. He attached the war problem to investigations. It gave Trump his Nixonian moment when he said the U.S. could not maintain the success it has achieved under his leadership, especially economically, if we have wars and investigations. Stated with a bright smile on his face.

The immigration issue haunting him. He must erect some type wall.

His lies were most prevalent when discussing the wall and immigration. All kinds of bad things were and would be occurring because of the caravans coming north to the U.S., he claimed.

Difficult for me to accept as fact. Studies have clearly indicated that the number of illegals entering the U.S. today is the lowest since 1972. Dramatically so.

He claimed also that El Paso had been a community buried under criminality brought over the border by illegals. Until the wall was built. Now, the problem is way down. Criminality almost non-existent.

Another lie.

The Sheriff of El Paso issued a statement following Trump’s address that El Paso did not have a criminal problem before or after the wall was built. The President’s comments were erroneous.

Now that which I find hard to believe, but accept as true. Never the less cause me great concern.

CNN took a poll. Fifty nine percent of those questioned had a “very positive reaction” to Trump’s speech. CBS News, 76 percent.

I rose at 5 to begin today’s blog. Apparently a screw or something involved with my implant has gone astray. My teeth are moving. Dentist appointment later this morning.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

MARY POPPINS RACISM AND TENNESSEE WILLIAMS SEXISM

Race and sex, negatives where inappropriately applied. For the moment, part of our everyday lives. Political correctness gone amuck. Overwhelmingly so.

Mary Poppins and Tennessee Williams fitting examples.

Mary Poppins a great 1964 movie. Healthful entertainment for children and adults alike. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke starring.

White persons black faced are a no no.

Julie Andrews was black faced during a portion of the movie. A scene had her dancing on a roof top with Van Dyke and 2 children. She had been performing as a chimney sweep.

She ended up on the roof top after cleaning a chimney. Her face sporadically covered with soot. Rather than wipe it off, she powdered her nose and cheeks with the soot, thereby making her face even blacker.

The New York Times recently ran an op-ed by a Linfield College Professor. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner. Pelzner considered Julie Andrews actions racist.

Come on! Julie Andrews a racist under the circumstances? Mary Poppins likewise a racist? A step too far. Way too far!

Tennessee Williams had his day as a sexist. Though not in today’s time frame.

In 1955, Williams wrote the play 27 Wagons Full. The play was made into a movie in 1956. The movie Baby Doll. Starred Carol Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach. Eli Kazan directed.

The movie received several Academy Award nominations. Kazan won for Best Director. Williams wrote and co-produced the movie.

A hit!

However considered by many at the time as the “dirtiest American made motion picture…..ever…..legally exhibited.” Especially the Catholic Church.

The movie involved 2 southern male rivals seeking the sexual charms of a 19 year old virgin child bride. Carol Baker the 19 year old. A beauty. Sensuous even when not performing.

The denounced portion showed Baker lying in a crib, wearing a short night gown, and sucking her thumb. Another incident showed Wallach with his hands on Baker’s thighs just under the night gown.

Cardinal Spellman denounced the movie from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Twenty million Catholics picketed the movie on its opening weekend in New York and Los Angeles. Three quarters of the theaters pulled the film.

The movie otherwise ran. Was a box office hit. Is considered today one of the 1,000 best movies ever made.

The scenes criticized would not even receive an R rating under today’s standards. The movie would not be condemned by the Catholic Church. The only adverse result was Williams carried the stigma of being a sexist for a short period of time.

Sex condemnations fly easily these days. The woman says, I accuse! The man is automatically deemed a sexist. No due process. The charge being sufficient to attribute guilt.

Not correct.

My yesterday began early evening at Dueling Bartenders. A special treat. Bobby Nesbitt was guest performer. He and Rick Dery mostly sang the songs of yesterday. The “40’s and ’50’s. The audience’s age made it appropriate.

Loved it all! Sang along with most of the tunes!

My dear friend Liz was there with Mary and Josefina. Lynda Frechette came in. Try to make her Aqua Idol Show tonight. A hit this year again!

Donna and Terri arrived later. Terri looked terrific. Her clothes color blended well. Though 100 percent blind, she can select the colors and designs of that which she wishes to wear as if she actually saw them. The Blind Association has provided her with a scanner. She scans the clothes. The scanner’s audio tells her color and design.

Amazing!

Donna had just returned from several days in New York. Her son Brett’s 50th birthday. The whole family made it to New York for the event.

Donna’s trip proved that Terri can function alone for a few days. This was the second trip Donna recently had to make. Terri did alright in each instance. Bear and friends providing some assistance along the way.

Joseph arrived. Love Joseph! A great guy! No St. John the Baptist pole last night. He was walking with a cane.

Joseph shared some bad news with me. Linda died 2 weeks ago. Linda Patchett. I mentioned her frequently when we would run into each other at Dueling Bartenders. Linda had been an optometrist her entire life. As her father before her. I purchased several pair of prescription glasses from her over the years.

I liked Linda. A quiet sweet person. Always with a smile.

I told Joseph I missed her obituary in the newspaper. He said it had not been in. She died in Miami.

The Lord is pretty old. Been around many yeas. I can visualize Linda fitting Him with reading glasses.

Mary stopped in after work. We enjoyed a drink together and then went to La Trattoria for dinner.

Packed! The season is on! People standing everywhere waiting for a table.

Tiffany bartending.

Sitting next to me at the bar was Robert Spottswood. I had not seen him in a couple of years. He and his family own and operate among other properties the Marriott Beachside. It was catch up time.

I came across a December 15th Miami Herald article this morning having to do with the cosmetic shops on Duval. The shops that are troublesome. They have the reputation of ripping off older tourists with age defying cosmetic products.

The elderly purchasers do not realize they have spent thousands of dollars till they arrive home and get a credit card bill.

A local group last Fall began picketing the shops. They appear to be Israeli owned and operated. The group has been somewhat successful. A couple of stores have returned monies to elderly customers.

The group continues to picket and protest, carry signs. Such obviously not good for business.

The Miami Herald article claimed the staff of these stores were hired and trained in Israel. Everything. How to induce the customer into the store, how to handle the sale, etc. The sales team consists generally of sweet lovely young Israeli ladies.

December 15 was Counterprotest International Holocaust Remembrance Day. One of the store owners confronted the pickets with a sign of his own. It said “Nazis.” He was charging those picketing his business with being Nazis because he was a Jew. Turned out 2 of the protesters were Jews. One had lost family in one of the concentration camps.

This mishmash carried into January. The Key West City Commission wanted to pass a set of guidelines by which the cosmetic shops were to operate. It would have passed easily. However a lone Commission person, Sam Kaufman, said wait! There may be an anti-Semitic issue here.

The matter remains up in the air. The shops continue to operate. The pickets continue to picket.

Trump’s State of the Union tonight at 8. Supposedly will be conciliatory. I’ll believe it when I see it.

My podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou this evening at 9. A quick hard hitting interesting half hour. Join me. You will enjoy! www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

I close with a Happy New Year! A Happy Lunar New Year! Today is the Chinese New Year. The beginning of the Year of the Pig.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORNING STEW #4

This Morning Stew thing I discovered 2 weeks ago. When the material to be shared is voluminous, it is easier for me to sit back and enter each item in the order it appears in my notes. Organization takes time.

Many items to share this morning. The reason being yesterday’s blog: A Thing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever. When I began writing yesterday’s blog, the intent was to merely mention I had been in Rome and visited John Keats’ last home.

My thoughts and fingers got carried away. The Rome/Keats/Nuns story developed instantly and with ease. Ergo, nothing else was reported.

Today is a stew day. Two days of comments/observations to share. Set forth in no particular order.

Tennessee Williams was not an instantaneous success. Few notables are. Recognition takes time.

Prior to becoming the Tennessee Williams we know, he worked at a variety of jobs. He was an all night elevator operator, waited tables in New York and New Orleans, was a teletype operator for the U.S. Engineers in Jacksonville, and ushered at the Strand Theater on Broadway.

Syracuse beat Pitt 65-56 saturday night. A significant victory. Pitt was the third and last game of 3 consecutive road games for Syracuse. Syracuse won 2 of the 3.

I watched the game at the Chart Room with John and Mary. Afterwards, Mary and I had dinner at the Hot Tin Roof bar.

Ollie stopped into the Chart Room. He is an environmentalist by education and work. I asked about the sunscreen situation. He felt the 2 adverse reports were merely laboratory results and should not have been relied on.

Interestingly, a today morning internet story indicated there was a significant opposition to the sunscreen ban and indicated a compromise ordinance would be offered at tomorrow night’s meeting.

I had intended to watch Super Bowl with the ladies at Hot Dog Church. They had a gala planned to watch at the Side Bar. An inside bar at Aqua with a screen almost as large as a movie theater’s.

My back began acting up at 4. I never left the house. It ached till around 11.

As everyone knows by now, the Patriots beat the rams 13-3. A boring game. Punts the big thing. The moment of excitement came when Tom Brady was successfully throwing and did so to a Patriots’ touchdown. The sole touchdown of the game.

Disc problem periodically causing pain. When it does, atrocious! Getting out of bed the worse!

Big day for General Motors today. Bad day for 4,250 of its employees. General Motors will begin laying off 4,250 North America salary workers. The beginning of a planned reduction to be further accomplished by the closing of 5 plants and the total elimination of 15,000 jobs.

General Motors is not in financial trouble. Last year resulted in record profits. Management does not believe it needs the number of workers on hand as it changes the way it produces cars.

Also involved in the decision making were union problems. Non-union employees believe the Union is in cahoots with management regarding the cut in jobs. The reduction will benefit corporate greed and those employees who are union members.

Prostitution haunted Key West city fathers in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. Prostitution business was thriving. Bar keeps were making money.Key West officials would have turned their eyes and saw not. However the U.S. Navy was a constant thorn.

There was a huge contingency of Navy personnel in the area. The Navy thought ladies of the night were unhealthy for sailors so they constantly exerted pressure on the City to do something.

One of the somethings was the passing of an ordinance on February 3, 1953, outlawing soliciting of alcohol in Key West bars and night clubs.

Scores of B-girls were thrown out of work. Most B-girls were prostitutes. They solicited their “dates” at the bars by asking for and receiving a drink(s). Then taking the sailors in a back room or upstairs for the dirty deed.

There was a photo in yesterday’s KONK life E-Blast showing the B- girls standing on the bar of an establishment. Lovely! All clad in what could be described attire similar to today’s bikini.

Everyone in town talking about Pence’s visit. No one really certain he was here. The rumor however has taken hold.

The City Commission banned sunscreens because 2 ingredients were deemed to be harmful to the coral reef. I said when the ban was passed that the Commission had leaped before looking. The Commission had acted on insufficient evidence. Additionally, I thought human life more important than the reef.

Two days ago, a major article appeared on the internet. The article stated there was a bad coral disease killing the coral reef all the way down Keys waters to Key West. The article indicated the reef(s) would continue to suffer as the trend of the coral disease was to the south.

The article specifically said the reason for the slow death of the reef was unknown. No mention that sun screens might be a cause.

Please note Key West City Commission.

Dueling Bartenders tonight. Hope my back does not prevent me from attending.

Happy New Year! Tonight is the Chinese New Year’s eve. The year of the pig begins.

A great book and a great movie released this day, though in different years.

In 1826, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans. Recall Hawkeye, Chingachgook and his son Unca, and the bad guy Magua.

In 1938, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Recall the Wicked Queen looking in the mirror and asking “Who is the fairest of them all?” The seven dwarfs Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Sneezey, Grumpy, Bashful, and Happy?

A formalized God came early to Key West. In the 1830’s, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was established. It was the first religious organization on the island. Received a charter from the Territorial Council to operate as a church.

St. Paul’s is still with us. Today it stands nobly on a corner of Duval. Used by many regardless of religious denomination.

Porky Pig was a popular cartoon character in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His cartoon always ended with Porky Pig appearing, waving his hand, and saying: That’s all folks!

For me today, that’s all folks!

Enjoy your day!

 

A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOREVER

Forty years ago, I was concluding my first trip to Italy. A month long family trip. My wife, 3 daughters, 1 son and my parents.

I had rented a villa 45 miles south of Rome in a town called Livonia. The villa was on the Mediterranean. Livonia near Anzio where the Allied troops landed during World War II.

Rented 2 cars also. Utilizing the cars and trains, we traveled Italy.

The last full day of our trip found us in Rome. My group a bit smaller. My son and parents had left a week earlier. My son to begin studying for the bar exam, my parents to attend another grandchild’s event.

Left my wife, 3 daughter and me in Rome for three days.

Italy was undergoing terrible inflation at the time. One American dollar was the equivalent of 2,100 lire. A fortune! The American dollar could buy everything dirt cheap.

My wife made a proposal. She said give me $3,000 American money exchanged for lire. I want to buy clothes for the girls and me. Clothes, pocketbooks, shoes, etc. The works. I will not bother you for any money for one year for clothes for us, if you agree.

I agreed.

Took us all to the American Express office. Plopped $3,000 in Travelers Checks down. The man in the cage gave me lire in return. I do not recall the exact amount. I do recall it took 2 large brown paper bags to carry the money out. Remember, $1 was worth 2,100 lire.

I sat on the steps to the American Express office, organized the money and gave it to my wife. There was so much, she and the girls each had to carry a share.

Off they went. I was alone for a whole day. Not certain what to do, I walked around. Rome obviously an interesting place.

I tired and had sat on the Spanish Steps a while. Then up and began walking again.

Immediately next to the Spanish Steps on one side was a 3 story building. A small villa type structure. The bronze plaque next to the front door had emblazoned thereon John Keats Museum.

I had studied Keats in college. An English poet. Wrote romantic sonnets. The line that came to mind was “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

Keats died prematurely at age 25 in Rome.

Turned out the building I was standing in front was the place where he had died. In his rooms on the third floor.

I went up to the third floor. Viewed the tiny room and bed in which he died. Reminded me of the room across from the Ford Theater where Abraham Lincoln died after being shot.

Keats’ writings were all over the place. Covered in glass. I walked around studying many closely. I came upon a a piece of paper that obviously had at one time been crumbled by someone. Written thereon were the words: A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

An emotional moment. The words and how composed.

Again Lincoln came to mind again. He had written the Gettysburg Address on a ripped off portion of a paper bag.

When I hooked up with my wife and daughters later in the day, I became extremely upset. The overabundance of lire had purchased an overabundance of goods. My ladies would dress themselves a lifetime on them!

What actually bothered me was there were so many boxes and packages. My immediate thought was it will take forever to get through customs.

Purchasing was not done. Bought several large suitcases. In the end, the number of suitcases and boxes going through customs with us would total 19.

Being anal, I took all the receipts, placed them in order, outlined them on a piece of paper.

There was an additional problem.

The three nights we spent in Rome were at a pension. Run my an American order of nuns, commonly known as Black Franciscans. Their attire was black.

My cousin Rose who I wrote about several years ago when she died had been a Black Franciscan. So too was Sister Rose Vincent. Sister Rose (a different Rose from my cousin) was the administrator of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Utica.  A big shot in the Black Franciscan order. She had become a family friend over the years.

Black Franciscan nuns actually worked/operated the pension. Since we were friends with Cousin Rose and Sister Rose, we were treated like royalty.

Due to the lire situation, I spent much less than I had anticipated during our month long stay in Italy. A donation was in order. I gave the nun who was in charge of the pension $1,000. She refused to take it. Said she could not. We talked. She finally agreed to take the $1,000 if I agreed to let her use it to buy a new Blessed Mother. Their chapel needed one. So I helped in acquiring the new Blessed Mother.

A side story for a moment. A year later, a Utica friend and doctor’s wife visited Rome and stayed at the pension. She was shown the Blessed Mother. She told me that at the foot of the statue were the words: By the grace of God and Louis Petrone.

Maybe the statue will be my ticket to getting into Heaven.

The tale not yet finished.

During the $1,000 conversation with the head nun another issue arose. The pension had a solid gold cross which belonged to the mother house in the U.S. The mother house was located in Syracuse. The cross was heavy. About a foot tall and 6 inches wide. She wanted me to take it to Sister Rose who would see it got to the mother house.

The good nun wrapped the cross in a box in front of me. I became curious and nervous. How was I going to get the cross through customs? She said no problem. She wrote on the box the same words that ended up at the feet of the Blessed Virgin: By the grace of God and Louis Petrone.

I said no way! She said don’t worry. Customs will not be a problem.

Who was I to argue with an emissary of God.

Our 19 suitcases and boxes now became 20.

We were standing in line in New York waiting to go through customs. The woman in front of us had just been taken away. She had an expensive watch in the lining of her fur coat.

I would be joining her soon with the gold cross.

The customs man looked at us and our 20 items. Our eyes met. I smiled and held up the list of receipts. He looked at me expressionless a few seconds and then put the x’s on our bags and boxes and waved us through.

The good nun at the pension had been correct!

You may wonder why  I write about Keats, our Rome experiences, etc. today.

I had several other items assembled to write about when I came upon a small article indicating that on this date in 1820, John Keats had his first bout of lung hemorrhaging which subsequently led to his death several months later. It bought to mind “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Today’s blog the result.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

METEORITE FROM OUTER SPACE VISITS KEYS

A big ball of white light passed over the Florida Keys yesterday around 1 pm. Clearly visible from Marathon to Islamorada. The National Weather Service on Key  West received numerous calls from persons in the area. The Service verified it was a meteorite.

Fifteen minutes later, the meteorite landed on the western part of Cuba. Some Cubans saw the meteorite before it hit. Described it as a large fireball.

Those inside heard a big bang followed by walls rumbling and glass breaking. Most ran into the streets in terror.

There is little information this morning as I write re this visitor from outer space. Information from Cuba thus far indicates no deaths or injuries.

Word has it that Vice President Pence was in Key West yesterday. Insufficient information available also at this time. However there are several comments on the internet of his having visited.

Vaguely reported thus far is that Pence flew into Miami. He spoke at the Israeli-American Council’s National Conference at the Diplomat Beach Resort. The claim is that he then flew into Boca Chica and came into Key West as part of a caravan of cars.

There is no official confirmation of Pence’s visit.

Tennessee Williams lived in Key West for 34 years. Interestingly, Lisa and family live 1 1/2 blocks from the Tennessee Williams home.

Besides being one of the great writers of modern times, Williams was also a note worthy artist.

A close friend during his years in Key West was David Wolkowsky. The two spent much time together.

Williams’ paintings included 17 works described as especially creative and gifted. Sensual psychological dreamscapes.

Williams gave the 17 paintings to his friend Wolkowsky. Wolkowsky died recently. Prior to his death, he bequeath the 17 paintings to the Key West Art & Historical Society. They hang for public viewing in the Custom House.

See them if you can. Impressive works.

My Volkswagen Beatle is 10 years old. Has all of 41,000 miles on it. One of the front headlights went out. The front right on the passenger side.

The light may be described as two-fold. When ever the car is running, dim headlights are automatically on. The bright beams must be turned on if desired. They are when it gets dark.

The low beam died. Needed it replaced. Not simple.

It took my mechanic George 2 hours.

The Beatle is tiny. The engine on this model in front. The motor and everything else cramped into a little space.

The headlight must be pushed out from the inside. A task to do so! Took poor George 2 hours. He disassembled 25 percent of whatever was in the motor space. I got nervous. The parts kept coming out. I envisioned a large puzzle that could not be put back together.

George did it, though. I have to give him credit. He bitched and moaned, but he got the headlight out, replaced a very tiny bulb, and put everything back together. No parts sitting around.

The car worked perfectly when I turned the motor on. The lights, too.

I stood the 2 hours while George was laboring away. My back had not hurt all day. About an hour after I got home, it hurt. Like hell! Kept hurting off and on all night till 7 this morning. Mostly on.

Has not hurt since.

This disc problem is going to literally be a pain!

Today is Groundhog Day. The first groundhog day was this date in 1887. Took place at Globber’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Punxsutawney reminds me of Smucker’s. With a name like that, it has to be good.

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks. On occasion, they whistle. Generally when frightened or looking for a mate.

They begin hibernation in the late Fall. Their body temperature drops significantly, heartbeat slows from 80 to 5 beats per minute.

In February, the male emerges from his burrow. Not to see if it is warm enough to come out. The popular conception is wrong in that regard. The wakening male is sex driven. He is looking for a mate.

Another misconception is if the weather is going to be good, the groundhog can see his shadow and does not return to hibernation. Actually whether he finds a mate or not, he returns to the burrow. Sometime during march, the groundhog leaves the burrow for good. Hopefully with a mate in tow.

Enjoy your day!

A GLACIER WITH A HOLE IN IT

Stories re global warming keep popping up. Those that do not believe better start believing. Our world is in danger.

The Thwaites glacier is located in western Antarctica. It has become unstable. An enormous hole has been discovered in the glacier. An underwater cavity.

The glacier itself is  two-thirds the size of Manhattan. One thousand feet tall. The cavity the size of Florida.

Due to climate change, the glacier has been melting. Climate change causes ocean water to overheat.  The over heated water eats away at the ice. Accelerates the cavity melt down. It has been determined that the cavity has resulted in 14 billion tons of ice already having melted in the past 3 years.

NASA scientists believe that melting glaciers are already responsible for 4 percent of the world’s rising sea levels. They believe that if the Thwaites glacier melts as anticipated, it alone will cause the world’s oceans to rise over 4 feet. Oceanfront properties will erode and wash away.

The weather outside…..Supposed to have hit a high of 73 yesterday. Did not. Surprised us. Went to 80 degrees. Today’s high anticipated to be 77 degrees.

Joy prevails!

Spent a couple of hours late yesterday afternoon with Laurie Thibaud. I guested on her radio show Party Time. Station 105.7 FM, WGAY FM.

Fun time! We banter back and forth. About everything. Foolish and serious. Whatever strikes us at the moment.

Finished Laurie’s show and walked across the street to the Chart Room.

Kevin and Holly seated at the end of the bar. Back from their world travels. Kevin in Ireland and Holly Ireland and Prague. Good to see them again!

Ran into one of the ladies from Don’s Place. My memory fails me. I cannot at the moment recall her name. In any event, it was good to see her again. We spoke of many things, including Don and David.

My next stop was the Blue Macaw. Spoke with Andrea and Phillip. Let me know they were joining Terri at 801 sunday for the drag show at 5. I have never seen the 801 drag show. Told them I would meet them at the bar.

Sat and chatted with Dan and Ron a while. Good people.

It was around 7. Decided my night was over. I was tired. On the way home decided I would enjoy Dion’s chicken for dinner.

For the unaware, Dion’s is the best chicken in the world. Dion’s prepares it at all their stores. The chicken parts are deep-fried. When done and warm, tender and tasty.

Bought a large breast. Delicious!

I was in bed before 9 and for some reason asleep soon thereafter.

The wall. When Trump’s history is written, the wall will be a major portion of the writing.

I question the value of a wall. Came across an interesting article this morning. Tunneling is commonplace beneath the walls already on the border.

A sophisticated one was recently discovered. The description of the wall is clear evidence the wall will not do the job Trump believes it will.

The tunnel is 60 feet in length. At its deepest point, 30 feet below the wall. The border wall 10 years old..

Apparently there was no problem in constructing the wall. An impressive undertaking. Fortified by 4 x 4’s with plywood on top and on the sides. It even had rails. Two parallel rails running the length of the wall. Purpose to move people and goods.

The tunnel is so well constructed that it cannot be taken down by shoveling or any normal method. The plan is to place explosives within the tunnel and blow it down.

Mexico refuses to pay for Trump’s new wall. Trump plans to get it done with U.S. funds from where ever he can get them. His present plan is to declare a national emergency and take the funds from those allocated to other jobs.

Borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Never pay Peter back, however.

Private persons and groups are raising monies to assist in either constructing new walls or removing the walls as already constructed and to be constructed.

Two different GoFundMe efforts are underway. One to help dig tunnels under the walls. The other to pay for ladders to climb over the walls.

A Rigo Torres started a GoFundMe account to supply tunnel builders with shovels. Don’t laugh. The GoFundMe account already has $4 million. The other GoFundMe account to thwart the walls is labeled Ladders To Get Over Trump’s Walls. Thus far has raised $156,000.

The opposition, the other side, those supporting the construction of walls has an account. The GoFundMe is titled We The People Will Fund The Wall. It raised $4 million in 3 days.

Instead of waging war with the House of Representatives for the $5.7 billion Trump wants for the wall, it might behoove him to start a GoFundMe account for the monies.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

A DISC PROBLEM

Pain 95 percent gone yesterday. This morning, 100 percent.

Saw Dr. Norris yesterday afternoon. X-ray report received. Not sciatica. A disc problem at L2 and L3. Only going to get worse, I was told.

Great!

Pain will reoccur. When I can’t handle it, surgery. Fortunately because of modern medicine it will probably be same day surgery.

I am not concerned at the moment. My psyche is to worry when it reaches the operational stage.

Ran into Tom and Claire at the Doctor’s office. Met them last year at the Chart Room. Loyal blog readers. From the Washington area. Bought a home in Key West last year.

I saw them in the reception room before I saw the Doctor. Tom told me of 2 disc problems he had and the operations involved. Not a big deal. His words made me feel better when I was told I had a disc problem.

Tom and Claire made an interesting observation. They had been snowbirds for years. Made some friends. Nothing big. Since they bought the house, everyone wants to know them.

That’s the way it is in Key West. Same thing happened to my wife and I 21 years ago when we bought our home in Key Haven. Everyone was our friend, invitations to dinner and parties galore, etc.

Then to the Chart Room. I had not had a drink in about 10 days. Savored the first one.

Joined Lynise and Diesel. Met them last week at the Chart room.

Snowbirds. Bought a home in Key West a few years ago. Primary residence still near Columbus, Ohio. They have 4 children and 9 grandchildren. Sounds like my family.

Chatted with Lynise and Diesel quite a while. Turned out to be a fun evening.

Rushed home to catch the Syracuse/Boston College game at 8. Syracuse won 77-71. I thought the team played well. Apparently not from Coach Boeheim’s observation. His comments following the game indicated the team still has a long way to go. He spelled out the team’s deficiencies point by point.

I did not see much of what he criticized. That’s why he is the coach and I am not.

Weather improving. Temperature 66 at the moment. Going to 73 this afternoon. Up north, they are still taking a beating.

The federal government has been on Facebook’s ass big time this past year. Security/privacy a problem.

Facebook countered that the increased cost for security would adversely affect Facebook’s profit. Revenues would slow down.

Facebook was wrong. It was recently reported that Facebook pocketed a record $6.8 billion in profit this past year.

Love Trump! He was going to bring industries back to America. His success thus far not impressive.

Last year, Trump participated in a groundbreaking ceremony in Wisconsin. Foxconn was going to build a plant employing 13,000. Trump took credit. A big day for him!

The day has vanished. Foxconn announced it has cancelled plans to build the large plant. They have decided instead to construct a Research & Development facility which would employ 1,000. A far cry from 13,000. Further aggravating the situation, most of the R&D employees would come from outside Wisconsin. Ego, few if any new jobs for Wisconsin people.

Wisconsin never the less is committed for the $4 billion in inducements to Foxconn.

The numbers interesting. One thousand new employees at the $4 billion inducement comes to $4.1 million per each of the 1,000 new employees. None of whom are presently residents of Wisconsin. They will be brought in from outside the State.

A job well done Mr. President!

Two significant observations. Foxconn has a history of playing this way. Get the big dollar inducements with the promise of an extreme number of new jobs and then back off reducing the number of new jobs to be had.

Didn’t anyone check into Foxconn’s game playing background?

Foxconn is a Chinese company. Does the Wisconsin situation have anything to do with the tariff war the U.S. and China are presently engaged in?

I close with a quote by Mort Sahl regarding the President.

Sahl is a comedian and social satirist. He is considered the first modern stand up comedian since Will Rogers.

Sahl said of Trump: “…..he was hospitalized for an attack of modesty.”

Our President modest?

I will be guesting on Laurie Thibaud’s radio show for 1.5 hours this afternoon. My appearance at 4. Radio station 105.7 FM, WGAY FM.

A party! Join us! Fun!

Enjoy your day!

HI-YO, SILVER! AWAY!

One of my boyhood heroes was the Lone Ranger.

Noble. Upstanding. Never smoked, swore, or drank alcohol. Used grammatically correct speech free of slang, never shot to kill.

The Lone Ranger made his debut this day 1933 at Detroit radio station WXYZ. Created by WXYZ’s owners George Trendle and Fran Stricker.

The masked rider of the plains was an immediate hit. Soon 20,000 million were listening to the radio show on a regular basis. The Lone Ranger became was a popular and enduring hero of the 20th century.

The Lone Ranger had 2 sidekicks. His trusty steed Silver and his loyal Indian scout Tonto.

Together the three battled evil western outlaws and Indians.

The radio show continued while moving successfully into movies and TV. Clayton Moore portrayed the Lone Ranger in the 1950’s TV series.

Nothing is forever. The show’s popularity diminished and by the end of the 1950’s the Lone Ranger disappeared from radio, screen and movies.

I forever remained faithful.

In the 1970’s, I came across an ad for a CD of the Lone Ranger. Ordered it immediately. Thrilling! A return to days of old! My childhood hero still battling wrongdoers.

I played the CD incessantly. Especially on long road trips. Loved it!

Good people also are postal workers. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The postal workers’ creed tells us the mail man gets through all kinds of weather. Normally correct. Cannot be said now. The arctic storm Jayden is burying 2/3rds of the country. A bad storm. The Post Office has suspended mail delivery in parts or all of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

Nature overpowering man from his normal duties. It happens to often these days.

A great podcast last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou went well. Discussed among other things the breaking news yesterday afternoon of Trump and Putin meeting secretly and alone at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Putin accompanied by a translator, Trump only by Melania.

Trump a hard ass. He who knows all knows nothing. Trump refuses to follow normal protocol when having these meetings. He should have his own translator and an aide with him.

Spent some time with Venezuela. Went back 5 years when the starving began to present day.

Return to my primary care physician this afternoon for my back. I feel 90 percent better. Thank you, Lord!

Tonight at 8 Syracuse/Boston College. Not sure where I will be watching the game.

Enjoy your day!