HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT

My grandson is 14 years old. Robert, Happy Birthday! Poppa loves you!

I remember the day he was born. With cancer of the liver. Within two hours, he was on a helicopter to Miami Children’s Hospital.

Two major surgeries the first 8 days of his life. Frequent check up visits the next 10 years.

Today, a typical 14 year old. Graduates from Montessori soon. High school next.

A smart young man academically. A gentleman all the time. He is his father.

Tonight, Happy Birthday cake and blowing out the candles.

God is good!

Hurricane season is here. June 1. Seems like yesterday we were escaping Irma. Irma hit September 10.

Recent weather and weather reports suggest tropical storms may be around the corner. Too much rain lately. Every day. Big! Strong winds!

Sunday, Key West got 3.25 inches of rain. The intersection of Eaton and White Streets flooded. I have seen it in previous years. Twice saw people swimming in the intersection.

Weather reports indicate rain through next sunday.

Things can be different in Key West. A bit funky.

Page 2 of the Key West Citizen carries the weather report. The report for the next 5 days amusing. Small printed verbiage beneath each day. Rain of course predicted for each day.

Today, “ark flooded.” Tonight, “life preserver needed.” Wednesday, “thunderstorms; float feet first.” Thursday, “who’ll stop the rain?” Friday, “rain drops keep falling.” Saturday, “nothing worrying me.”

Another storm of consequence this early in the season would be devastating. The lower Keys are still recovering from Irma.

I wrote about Irma. My personal experience. Irma and Me.

If you have not read it, this may be the time to acquire it. It is a history of the before, during and after a hurricane. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

I have known Lee Ann Holland for 15 years. More beautiful each year.

Her picture on the front page of this morning’s Key West Citizen. She is being recognized as a Familiar Face.

Lee Ann has become an integral part of Key West Ambassadors. A lecturer at the program. Recently completed addressing her 16th group.

Lee Ann, congratulations!

Two things are constant in life. Death and change.

The U.S. Supreme Court presented us with “change” yesterday. The decision Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

A federal law was passed in 1992 prohibiting sports gambling. Nevada excepted. Congress was recognized as having the sole authority to regulate sports gambling directly.

No more. The Supreme Court decision recognized Congress had the right to regulate. However if Congress failed to exercise that right, then each State was free to act on its own.

Means two things in the offing. First, goodbye bookies. Second, a new area for State taxation.

We have all experienced the fish that got away. Always a big one.

Happens other than in fishing, also.

On January 1, 1962, the Beatles performed for Decca Records in London. The Beatles were looking for a recording contract. Decca turned them down. The person responsible thought guitar groups were on the way out.

Later in 1962, the Beatles signed with London’s Parlophone label. Still unknown. A struggling rock band.

Parlophone liked them.

Parlophone worked out deals with Apple and Capitol. The rest is history.

Trump does it again! An action difficult to understand. Unless something in the background that should not be.

During the campaign, Trump knocked the hell out of China for stealing jobs from the U.S. He pledged to stop it! To get jobs back from China!

ZTE is a Chinese smart phone business. In trouble financially. U.S. imposed sanctions on other countries killing Smartphone’s business.

Yesterday, Trump announced the U.S. was going to help the Company “get back into business fast.” He directed Secretary Wilbur Ross to do everything expeditiously to help.

Did not make sense to me. Did it have something to do with the China/U.S. talks scheduled this week in Washington?

Turns out remotely so, if at all.

Last night, the news reported that three days earlier, China had agreed to a $500,000 million loan for a new theme park in Indonesia which would contain Trump hotels and golf courses.

I assume the Indonesia deal was Trump’s motivation.

When will he learn he is not supposed to do these things?

By  the way, ZTE has a record of cyber crimes, espionage and hacking. Was ZTE involved with our 2016 election?

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me. A quick moving interesting half hour.

Topics tonight have to include Trump. However, I open with other items of interest. Like the hurricane season, Chinese hog hotels, Germans invading Belgium and Holland in 1940, the eloquence of leaders in time of war,  and House Chaplain Father Conroy.

Then, Donald.

Enjoy your day!

REAP THE WILD WIND…..FINANCED A KEY WEST HOME

Thelma Strabel was a writer. Her most popular novel Reap The Wild Wind. A story involving Florida Keys wreckers.

The book writing experience filled Strabel with a desire to live in Key West. The Saturday Evening Post serialized Reap The Wild Wind. Strabel took her royalty checks from the serialization to build a Key West home.

On this day in 1940, Strabel took out a building permit allowing her to construct a house costing $12,000 at 400 South Street.

The book was also purchased for movie making purposes. The movie Reap The Wild Wind was well attended. Starred John Wayne.

Strabel considered her home the southernmost in Key West and the United States.

Strabel sold at some point. A subsequent owner tore the building down to erect a bigger home.

Key West weather has sucked the past three days. Rain, big time! Accompanied with noisy wind. Sounds like a hurricane category 1 or 2 upon us.

The weather reports are confusing. One has the rain continuing two more weeks. Another, two days. Always accompanied by wind. Ten to twenty miles per hour.

The rain screwed up my sunday. I am still landlocked. No vehicle. Donna and Terri were going to pick me up for Hot Dog Church. They cancelled because of the weather.

My sunday was never the less enjoyable. I watched old time movies all day.

The Songwriters Festival ended yesterday. Thousands braved the weather to attend. The rain did not affect the excitement of the day.

This was the 23rd annual festival. It has grown! In recent years, top hit makers, labeled newcomers and performing songwriters have made up the 200 performers putting on 50 shows.

The combined love of music and Key West atmosphere attracts performers and viewers alike.

A little Shakespeare. From Macbeth: “It is a tale / Told by an idiot /  full of sound and fury /  Signifying nothing.”

Clearly depicts Trump.

I refer to his words this week re the cost of prescription drugs. He finally was getting to his campaign promise to bring down the cost of prescription prices. Trump claimed what he was going to do was the “most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people.”

Bullshit!

During the campaign, he accused the pharmaceutical industry of getting away with murder. His campaign pledge was to use the massive buying power of Medicare to negotiate lower prices for seniors.

Trump has walked away from that commitment.

His present plan promises to focus on competition and more openness to reduce prices.

The plan will produce nothing significant.

What happened to using Medicare?

Another campaign position is in the process of taking a back seat. Trump argued consistently that he would not permit certain countries from taking any more jobs from the United States. One was China.

Trump announced this morning that China’s smartphone business is in trouble. He pledged the United States would help China get back to work in the area. He promised to see that ZTE, the Chinese business involved, got “back into business fast.”

U.S. sanctions involving North Korea and Iran the cause of ZTE’s economic problems.

Trump has directed the Secretary of Commerce to do everything expeditiously to help ZTE.

Screw ZTE! Who in China was looking out for the U.S.’s interests as China took more and more jobs from us over the years?

To place matters in perspective, trade talks are scheduled in Washington this week. I can see what happened. China’s President Xi telephoned Trump and asked if he knew what was happening. Trump said no. He then agreed to help Xi and China by correcting the ZTE problem expeditiously.

As I sit here and write, the ceremony opening the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and Trump’s position recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is on TV. My ears are locked onto the audio.

At the moment, Netanyahu is paying all kinds of tributes to Trump. He says Trump will be remembered by history for his actions.

I view Trump’s actions to have been premature and gained the U.S. nothing. But, that is how Trump acts! He knows not what he does.

A senior Palestinian aide recently said the world needs real leaders and not those in the White House who are real estate dealers.

Increased violence between Israeli and Palestinians probable. While everyone kumbaya at the ceremony, people were dying. On both sides. More Palestinians because Israel bombing them at the moment. Egypt has been asked to intervene and help.

American Evangelicals should get their noses out of U.S. government. All religions.

Two American Evangelicals offered prayers as part of the ceremony in Jerusalem. Both bigots at the highest levels.

John Hagee believes Trump has achieved “political immortality” because of his actions re Jerusalem.

Robert Jeffress has said Mormonism is a cult, the Catholic Church has been led astray by Satan, Obama paved the way for the Antichrist, Islam is an evil religion that promotes pedophilia, and Jews are going to Hell.

I don’t understand.

Enjoy your day!

MY MOTHER…..A WISE WOMAN

Big day today! Mother’s Day!

The person who knows us best.

My mother was unique. Then, I assume all mothers are.

She was born in Italy. The last of eight children. The first girl. The previous seven boys. Her parents felt fortunate they finally had a daughter. They named her Fortunata, Italian for Fortune.

She came to the U.S. at an early age. Never made it beyond the third grade. At 9, she was working 16 hours a day in a shoe factory in New York.

Move swiftly ahead.

I had become a lawyer. A successful one. On my drive home after work, I would stop to see my mother. She was always ready for me. A bottle of Beefeaters and a glass filled with ice on the kitchen table.

We would sit and talk. About nothing and everything. My day. The kids, her grandchildren. My father. Whatever moved us at the moment.

She could tell when I had something on my mind. What is the problem, she would ask. I would share and this woman with only a third grade education generally in her own way had a solution.

She has been gone more than 30 years. Missed! A day has not gone by when I have not thought of her.

On the wall opposite my desk, her painting hangs. She is in my face several times a day. I talk to her frequently.

I wish she could talk back.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column which publishes wednesday. Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. Interesting. Big pirate back when. One of the biggest. His story.

Finally got out of the house last night. Catherine took pity and picked me up. We dined at the bar at Berlin’s.

Bria Ansara not singing. Home sick. Laryngitis.

Sloan’s daughter hosting. Always a warm greeting.

Catherine told me about a site I should take a look at. I did this morning. I am going to share it with you. Absolutely terrific! https://youtu.be/580dYcYneA.

The man Randy Rainbow. A humorous pundit.

Remember Sound of Music? How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria……He sang it with North Korea in place of Maria. While dressed as a nun.

Pouring this morning. As it did yesterday morning. Then, the rest of the day beautiful. Hopefully, it will be the same today.

Donna and Terri have promised to come get me and take me to Hot Dog Church later this afternoon.

I am a lucky man. Surrounded by loving women who want to care for me. Lesbians included.

I am a Manhattan College grad. As is John Reinke. John writes a weekly blog re Manhattan graduates. Titled Jasper Jottings. A slew of information.

This morning’s blog mentioned Japanese bus drivers. They are on strike. Striking differently, however. They have kept driving. The difference, they refuse to take fares.

There is an eloquence associated with great men. I read somewhere that Lincoln would not have been a great President without the Civil War and slavery. Churchill without World War II. Roosevelt without the Great Depression and World War II.

Whatever the reason, permit me to share examples of eloquence.

The bombs were falling all over Europe. Churchill elected Prime Minister. He said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat…..Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon taking office and facing the Great Depression: The “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” His address to Congress asking for a declaration of war following the bombing of Pear Harbor: December 7, “a day which will live in infamy.”

Psychics everywhere. Key West included. Not all for real. Some dishonest.

New York’s Psychic Zoe, aka Ann Thompson, is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant. Arrested. Charged with fortune telling fraud.

Took 2 victims/clients for $800,000. One for $740,000, the other $72,000. Each began with a $5 charge. The victims were plied with things like never being able to love again if the victim did not continue with the clairvoyant. Clearly chicanery. Clearly a fraud.

I feel sad for the gullible who satisfied an emotional need by succumbing to the lies in this instance of a fortune teller.

A psychic worth $800,000 should have been able to see her investigation and arrest coming and avoided it. What happened?

I am amused by North Korea making all these concessions prior to the actual meting between the two leaders. The most recent is North Korea has invited foreign journalists (including U.S.) to be in North Korea May 23-25 when North Korea dismantles its nuclear test site.

Query: What about the nuclear warheads, etc. which North Korea already has? I doubt Jung-Un will destroy them. In fact, I guarantee he will not.

Then what is Trump going to say? He has told us constantly that he is firm  in the total denuclerization of North Korea. Which includes nuclear weapons North Korea already has.

Hurricane season around the corner. Begins June 1. At a time  we are not yet finished with recovery work from Irma. Lets hope this will be a hurricane free season.

If you have not read Irma and Me, please do. It will provide the opportunity to understand what happens prior to, during and following a hurricane. My book combines humor and tragedy. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

POST OFFICE LONG LINES…..RETIREES NOT REPLACED

Reporting my local experiences have been limited this week. I have not related my Key West nocturnal activities. I have not left the house since sunday.

The reason is my car is waiting for a part from Miami.

I live outside Key West so walking is not even a consideration.

It has not been bad. Caught up on some research I have been meaning to do. Read a bit. Watched a ton of old movies on TV.

Now, I have had it. Must get out this evening. Someone will have to pick me up. I also need groceries. Enough left in the refrigerator to prepare one last meal.

You would think laying around would cause me to have gained weight. Not so. Lost 2 more pounds. Total now 38 pounds!

I feel like Little Jack Horner…..eating his pumpkin pie…..he stuck in his thumb, pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy am I!

In April, I wrote a column for KONK Life titled Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt. The reason obvious.

The Post Office was solvent. Money in the bank.  For real. Congress wanted to use the sitting money. Passed a law requiring the Post Office to pre-pay in 10 years long term pension and health care liabilities. Covering 75 years.

The money would sit in a different account till needed. Congress could dip into it. And as with Social Security, never pay it back.

The 10 years has passed. The Post Office could not meet the pre-pay. Onerous. Owes $49 billion to it.

Congress was unhappy. On paper looks like the Post Officenow in debt. Not really, if not compelled to make the pre-payments.

What other business pre-pays pensions, etc. 75 years into the future?

Congress has been mini-managing the Post Office under the guise that obviously the Post Office cannot mange itself. Congress passed another law. As postal employees retire, they would not be replaced. A money saving gambit.

Why do we stand in line forever at the Post Office? It is not the postal workers fault. They are not slow. The problem is there are not enough of them because of Congress’ law re replacing retirees.

The Chinese are smart people. A relatively recent example are the hog hotels being constructed. Pig hotels, another name.

America’s experience is with Perdue and other chicken farms. Place the chicken/hog in tight quarters and grow them.

China presently has 2 seven story buildings to grow hogs. Breed and raise them. One thousand hogs per floor.

The buildings are sow breeding operations more than anything else. Eighty percent of the pigs are adult female swine. Sows. Twenty percent are gilts. Young sows to replace the sows when they get pregnant.

Gestation is 114 days.

Disease the danger. Protected against in every possible way.

No one talks about the male pigs who provide the seed. They must be exhausted! It takes the male 20 minutes to ejaculate. I do not know how many times a day the male is called upon to perform. Nor do I know the average number of times a sow or gilt must engage in sex to become pregnant.

A good sized liter is 16 piglets.

Four new hog hotels are in the planning stage. One will be 13 stories.

Family Separation Policy. Love these fancy governmental terms. The three words relate to the Trump/Sessions plan to separate children from parents in situations where families cross our southern border.

Both men are sick! How long before Congress begins exercising its Constitutional powers? Especially the Republicans. Stand up and be men. Legislators not afraid to oppose Trump.

I was against the Iraqi War before it even began. Made no sense. History agrees.

Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of State at the time. I thought he was a horse’s ass. He thought he was smart. There was a question whether the U.S. had sufficient troops, etc. to go to war. Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Contrast this with how Hitler handled things.

In May 1940, Germany invaded Holland and Belgium. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned. Winston Churchill replaced him.

Holland and Belgium were not military giants at the time. Never the less, Hitler hit them with everything. More than was needed for a German victory. One hundred thirty six ground divisions, 2,500 aircraft, and 16,000 airborne troops.

A country prepares for war. If unexpectedly attacked as the U.S. was at Pearl Harbor, then you begin the fight with what you have.

Enjoy your day!

 

SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL

Key West is in the middle of this year’s Songwriters Festival. The event began May 9 and ends May 13. Five days and nights of live music. The faces, voices and stories behind the songs.

Two hundred plus performers and fifty plus shows. To be seen and heard on parts of Duval and its side streets and in many bars and restaurants along the way.

Key West will be over run with music lovers from all over the world.

A post Irma report has just come out re tourism revenue. In the eight months since Irma, tourist revenue is down 11-24 percent depending on the month.

The ad agency representing Key West has recommended that more money be spent in advertising to attract the number of tourists lost.

I disagree. Key West is over touristed. The island is sinking beneath the added weight of too many visitors. Traffic is heavy, bicyclists a danger, pedestrians crossing streets without looking, etc.

Greed is killing the goose that lays the golden egg. Key West cannot continue to receive more and more visitors each year. There is a breaking point. We are reaching it.

Some things cannot be questioned. One, man needs water to survive.

As far back as Aristotle, water was a concern. Being the genius he was, Aristotle shared his thoughts and solutions for his time: “Salt water, when it turns into vapour, becomes sweet and the vapour does not form salt water again when it condenses.”

Aristotle also noticed that a fine wax vessel would hold potable water after being submerged long enough in seawater, having acted as a membrane to filter the salt.

Ocean going ships over the centuries had a desperate need for fresh water. Ways to desalinate were improved for vessels.

Thomas Jefferson came up with a better method to desalinate on ships. Decals with his instructions were prepared and placed on the back of all shipping permits.

Desalinization improved following World War II. So good that optimization became the goal.

Which brings me to the why I have spent this time on desalinization.

The Florida Keys need water. Especially, Key West. We pipe our water in from the mainland 150 miles away. Scarcity periodically a problem.

On this day in 1967, a $3.3 million desalting plant was constructed to assist Key West and its immediate surroundings. The new plant capable of producing 2.62 million gallons of fresh water a day.

The plant ended a critical water shortage at the time.

Trump and his staff show little respect for John McCain. McCain has brain cancer and is reaching the end of his days.

McCain qualifies as a torture expert.

One day after he announced opposition to Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel, a White House staff meeting was being held. Trump was not present.

It is claimed that during the meeting, Special Assistant Kelly Sadler while discussing the torture issue and McCain’s position said, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

Her comment has been perceived as mocking McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. Sadler says she meant it as a joke. However it was not received as such. It has been reported there was a dead silence in the room following the statement having been made.

Sadler apologized to one of McCain’s daughters following the incident.

A Pandora’s box has been opened. The $4.4 million Michael Cohen received following Trump’s election. The question arises: Where did the money go after leaving Cohen’s hands? Any of it to the President?

I mentioned yesterday how the new US ambassador to Germany on tuesday advised the Germans they should stop doing business with Iran. The Germans laughed at him.

Other European nations are reacting. France’s Finance Minster said yesterday that Europe is not a US vassal, not the world’s economic policeman.

I have followed Venezuela more than 5 years. Ever since Nicolas Maduro became President. Maduro is doing a lousy job. I cannot understand why the people have not revolted.

Starvation exists. Everyday. Little relief. The pets were eaten three years ago. Babies fed every other day with some sort of powder concoction. On it goes.

Several months ago, Maduro said something nasty about Trump. I do not recall what. The next day Trump said the US was considering invading Venezuela to relieve the poverty that had befallen its people.

On monday, it was announced that the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Venezuela. On 3 Venezuelans personally and 20 Venezuelan companies. The justification claimed was narcotics trading tied to Maduro.

Almost simultaneously, Pence appeared before the Organization of American States and told the audience that there was a need to take greater steps to isolate Maduro. The drug issue the justification again.

Something wrong here. How do you sanction a nation whose people are already starving? Who ate family pets? Whose babies get fed every second day?

The narcotics claim is disturbing. Venezuela is the other end of the Earth from the US. The real drug problem affecting the US is Afghanistan. Afghanistan produces 95 percent of the world’s heroin. Most of it ends up on our streets. Our people dying big time daily from its effects.

The US has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for 17 years. In that time, the poppy fields have grown, heroin exports increased dramatically. Little done by the US to stop it.

Something stinks and has stunk in Afghanistan re drugs since the US became involved with the country.

Enjoy your day!

TOBY BRUCE…..HEMINGWAY FRIEND AND CONFIDENT

Hemingway had many friends in Key West. Most we are aware of. One not as well as the rest. Telly Otto “Toby” Bruce.

The year was 1928. Hemingway and his wife Pauline were in Key West for the first time. Pauline was pregnant. She wanted to be near her mother when the child was born.

The couple remained in Key West two months and then moved to Pauline’s parent’s home in Piggot, Arkansas.

The baby came. Living was a bit tight and noisy. Hemingway was having trouble sleeping and writing.

A barn was behind the house. Toby Bruce was a Piggot furniture maker. He and Hemingway got together. Hemingway had Toby convert the barn into living quarters.

Hemingway and Toby became close friends almost immediately. The two were sad when they parted. The new family returned to Key West.

The next time they met was 1935. Hemingway had purchased the home on Whitehead Street. He asked Toby to come to Key West to build a wall around the house.

Toby came and stayed. Over the years, he became Hemingway’s man friday, driver, money holder, and secretary.

The two remained best of friends till Hemingway’s death in 1961.

Toby remained in Key West till his own death. He is buried in the Key West Cemetery.

Toby had married. Betty.

After Hemingway’s death, Hemingway’s fourth wife Mary Welsh Hemingway visited Toby and Betty. Mary stopped at Sloppy Joe’s. Hemingway had left boxes containing writings, etc. in a back room.

Mary took some of the papers with her. Left many with Toby and Betty. The papers remain today in the hands of Dink Bruce, their son.

Dink is a charming guy. Referred to as Key West Hippy Royalty. He can be found many evenings at cocktail hour at the outside deck bar at Louie’s Backyard.

Key West loves Harry Truman and Harry Truman loved Key West. Truman remains an intrinsic part of today’s Key West.

The Annual Truman Legacy Symposium will be held friday and saturday May 18-19. At the Harry S Truman Little White House. This year’s subject matter will be a review of how Truman dealt with Russia and the Cold War.

This morning’s Citizens’ Voice printed a right on observation by a reader. The issue affordable housing. The reader wrote that vacation rentals are “…..a primary cause of our affordable housing problems.”

I agree. I have agreed for years. I have written re the problem.

The solution to the problem is not spending tax dollars and building affordable housing. The solution is to enforce local rental laws. Without a special license, owners cannot rent for less than 28 days.

Most do, however. As a result, homes and places that normally would rent at prices affordable to Key West’s workers, rent out at exorbitant prices by the week. Many in the thousands of dollars.

Again, the law says such a no no. However the law does not enforce its own mandate. When someone is caught, they go before a special court and promise to sin no more. The fine a reasonable one. Many return to sinning.

The law permits the hearing officer to fine such owners the exorbitant rental monies collected. Rarely is this done. If done, affordable housing construction would not be required.

Moving on to the national scene, Attorney General Sessions is my first target.

Sessions announced at a recent Arizona border enforcement conference that the “massive influx of illegal aliens across our Southernmost Border” had to stop. He had a plan to discourage the influx. Which by the way is no longer “massive.” The solution: Take children away from their parents.

What are we becoming? Separating families. Especially children from parents. Shades of Nazi Germany.

For shame!

On the same day or within days, two other matters occurred re the Trump Administration and children which confuse me.

Melania Trump came out and said her mission as First Lady were children. She had plans to help kids in various ways.

I believe her.

Her husband apparently does not see the connection between what Sessions is doing and his wife’s plans.

The other is the President himself proclaiming he was going to ask Congress to remove $15 billion in spending. Included are monies from the already approved Children’s Health Insurance Program CHIP).

Apparently, Donald and Melania do not talk to each other that much.

Washington Post columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. recently wrote regarding Trump’s desire to close the U.S.’s southern “open borders.” His article suggested the borders are not open as Trump proclaims. He wrote that the U.S.-Mexican border is fortified, militarized and patrolled by more than 17,000 Border Patrol agents.

Trump fails to realize that being President of the United States does not make him President of the world. An example is the new U.S. Ambassador to Germany. His name Richard Grinell. He assumed the position tuesday.

He met with German representatives and advised that Germany was to immediately stop doing business with Iran. Wind down immediately!

Who does Grinell think he is? Who does Trump think he is? The Germans laughed at Grinell.

Grinell has extensive United Nations experience. He also has worked with FOX News.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IRAN AND AMERICAN INDIANS HAVE MUCH IN COMMON

Trump got his way yesterday. He withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear agreement with Iran. Chaos will result. Problems arise. Hopefully Iran and the remaining nations to the anti-nuclear pact can keep things on the straight and narrow.

Iran and the American Indians have much in common. The U.S. could not maintain agreements with either. Deals were made to be broken. Agreements kept only as long as it served the U.S.’s interest.

Honor becomes meaningless under the circumstances. A nation’s word, a person’s word, has to have meaning….. You can stand by me, I keep my word.

Trump’s walking away from the deal could also be part of a march to war with Iran. Some Republican Congressmen favor it. Saudi Arabia and Israel definitely. Both nations have sucked up to Trump big time since he became President.

I was beginning to feel sorry for Michael Cohen. Did I make a mistake! He is not merely the poor lackey of Donald Trump. Not when he is sitting on $4.4 million plus.

The question now is did he get to keep most of it? Or did it move into other hands?

Religion and government are like oil and water. They do not mix. The recent House/Speaker Ryan situation with House Chaplain Father Conroy a perfect example.

Washington Post opinion writer E. J. Dionne, Jr. wrote on May 5 concerning the event. Dionne commented, “The House Republican leadership was more inclined to push out a chaplain than to impose accountability on a President who is a proven liar and trashes the rule of law for his own selfish purposes day after day.”

Jennifer Rubin wrote in an opinion on December 15, 2017 that the religious right was not doing much for religion. Re evangelicals, she wrote that the group has become a politicized clergy who have made the word evangelical “toxic and divisive.”

American history took a back seat yesterday. A proud historic day forgotten. Buried beneath Trump tripe.

I refer to V-E Day. Yes, yesterday was Victory in Europe. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.

Such days must be remembered and celebrated. Otherwise, we forget who we are. Or should it be “who we were?”

Poor Venezuela. I have been following Venezuela closely since Maduro became President some five years ago.

The country is economically depressed. Inflation rampant. Paper money worthless. Food worse than scarce. People starving. They ate their pets long ago.

Maduro survives because he has the army and Venezuela’s congress behind him. All on the take. All benefiting while babies do not have milk.

Things have become so desperate that bartering has replaced currency. Things are swapped.

A haircut costs 5 bananas and 2 eggs. A cab ride a carton of cigarettes. A restaurant meal several packages of paper napkins. A spot in a parking lot a freshly baked baguette.

Medicine for humans hard to come by. Many are being treated with dog medicine.

Diapers are equivalent to a bar of gold. Pirates bring them in from Trinidad to trade.

While such is occurring, Venezuela continues to have the largest oil reserves in the world. Somehow Maduro has never been able to make the oil work to the benefit of his people.

Last night, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

It was a fast moving half hour. From V-E Day to Iran and Stormy Daniels.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

V-E DAY…..EXUBERANCE AND JOY

I was 10 years old. All of a sudden, there was noise and commotion such as I had never heard before. I ran outside.

People were on porches and in the street. Yelling and screaming. Crying. Waving American flags. Hitting pans with spoons.

Germany had surrendered. The day became known as V-E Day, standing for Victory in Europe.

No one worked. My father kept me with him all day. I suspect he knew how special the day was and wanted me to experience it.

We traveled around Utica. The atmosphere the same everywhere. Exuberance and joy. At some point during the day, Hitler appeared hung in effigy out of windows and on poles.

Downtown Utica a spectacle. Utica’s main four corners known as the Busy Corner. For two blocks in all directions, people crowding the streets. Crying and laughing. Much hugging and kissing. Dancing in the streets.

Other than V-J Day which arrived several months later, I have not observed such emotion following the end of a war. Feelings today not the same. Perhaps because not everyone has a piece in the war. Everyone in one fashion or another was involved during World War II. The pain felt in every household.

Dueling Bartenders last night. Terri singing! A wonder! The best!

Good friends Tom Luna and Rick Dery joining in. Liz and David in the audience.

Per usual, a good time!

Stopped at Publix on the way home. On the trip to my house, left Publix by the back side. Traveled a few blocks when a police car pulled me over.

I knew I was not doing anything wrong. The officer introduced himself. Before he could even ask for my driver’s license, etc., I asked what I had done wrong. Both brake lights were out, he said.

How would I know?

He checked my paperwork. Then quite politely told me no ticket, I was probably unaware, I should have the brake lights fixed in the morning. Also wanted to know if I knew hand signals. I went through all of them at his direction.

A gentleman. Performed his duty professionally, yet gently. The result an appropriate one. I rarely engage with the Key West Police Department. I assume the officer last night was typical of the Department.

Google News in its Key West Section has carried several of my blogs each day. Excites me!

Yesterday and today, the Section also ran the column I wrote for this week’s KONK Life: Can An Independent Be Elected President in 2020? Guy de Boer has to be happy as I am.

The reason I mention it is the photo Google ran with the column. An old one. At least 10 years. A bit of hair and a white beard. Google had to dig to find it.

The photo is of me in Greece . In the Village of Katapola on the island of Amorgos. In my friend Methos’ restaurant. Doing my blog. Never missed a day on the trip.

Amorgos is a favorite place of mine. Each trip, I spent at least a month there. The island is not tourist developed. A hundred years ago. Quiet and peaceful.

Time I returned.

The cost of housing in Key West out of whack. Sale and rental prices. I continue worrying the community is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Yearly rental prices at $3,000 a month common. Don’t get much for the money size wise or condition wise. Many sale prices in the millions again.

Colorado has a similar problem. Landlords evict renters who no longer can pay. Colorado laws must be easy. In Key West, it is difficult for a landlord to evict.

In any case, real estate costs are skyrocketing in Colorado. Especially in the Denver area. Forty five thousand evictions last year state wide.

Note this is occurring at a time when the economy is good for most. Better than in years.

Colorado officials tells us the problem has arisen because the economic recovery is uneven, there has been stagnant wage growth, and there is a lack of affordable real estate.

Sound familiar? Key West.

Ah, the Key West prostitutes of days gone by. Diana Millikan and I have been searching for Key West prostitutes going all the way back to 1650. To write a book. Difficult to find. Need to identify more to make a book.

Came up with a new one today. Thanks to the Key West Citizen. Alice Reid Griffin. Proprietor of a Key West house of ill repute in the late 1930’s and into the early 1940’s.

Alice brought two 17 year old females from Georgia to Key West to engage in immoral work. Alice was arrested for violation of the Mann Act/contributing to white slavery. Convicted in Federal Court. Sentenced to 3 years.

Three years a tough sentence back then for the charge. Behind the scenes, prostitution arrests were motivated by the U.S. Navy. Thousands of sailors were stationed in Key West. The Navy considered the whore houses immoral and unhealthy and constantly pushed local officials to make arrests.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Join me for a quick moving hard hitting half hour. Tonight should be especially interesting considering the Iran announcement Trump will make this afternoon and Giuliani’s value to the Trump defense.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

A BEGUILING HISTORY…..THE SOUTHERNMOST HOUSE

Big trees from little acorns grow.

The story of Key West. A tiny island 4 x 2.5 miles. A huge history. Whatever the eye can see, a story anxious to be told.

The Southernmost House. 1400 Duval Street. The corner of Duval and South Streets.  An historic mansion sitting on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Southernmost was built in 1897 by Judge Jeptha Vining Harris. The cost $250,000. An extremely huge sum in those days.

The Judge’s wife was Florida Curry. Florida was the youngest daughter of William Curry, Florida’s first millionaire.

A three story structure. Queen Anne Victorian in design. Open water views. Public rooms, two story balconies, and large glass stained windows to catch the ocean breezes.

Elegant.

The new Curry home had one oddity. Only one bedroom.

Electricity was a novelty at the time. Florida retained the services of Thomas Edison to oversee the design and installation of an electrical system.

Socialization and entertainment on a humongous scale took place during the years the Judge and Florida resided in the House.

Soon came the prohibition years 1919-33. An air conditioning system was installed. Air conditioning as new as electricity was when installed.

The use of the mansion changed. It became a speakeasy. The first floor was turned into a restaurant. The second was utilized for casino gambling. The third for “socializing.”

The Southernmost was visited during the prohibition years by celebrities and gamblers. The House was a stop over on the way to Havana.

The 1940’s found the House being turned into a night club. The Cafe Cayo Hueso. A gathering place for the rich and famous. Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Tallulah Bankhead, Louis Armstrong, and Charles Lindberg.

The Southernmost was completely renovated in 1949 for use once again as a private residence. Many dignitaries visited. Spain’s King Juan Carlos, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter.

Today, the Southernmost House has acquired a new dignity and elegance. One bedroom when constructed in 1897. Now a class 18 room bed and breakfast.

Spent yesterday afternoon at Hot Dog Church with Donna, Terri and friends. A weekly lesbian gathering. Good food and company. A few males are welcome. I am one of them.

The event is held at Aqua’s Back Bar. Lauri in charge.

Later in the evening, I enjoyed a light dinner with Donna and Terri at their home.

Bear is getting big. Only 18 weeks old. Looks full grown already. Well trained. I am still his buddy. He lay next to me with his leg on mine.

Terri singing tonight! She is the featured performer at Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. The place will be packed with those wanting to hear Terri sing.

I am doing the blog late this morning. I had to be at the hospital early this morning for a barium swallow test. Suspect I will be in Miami in June for surgery.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

ROGER J. GOEBEL DIED

Roger J. Goebel met his Maker on April 20, 2018. Roger was 82.

The meeting had to be an interesting one. Roger an intellectual. A genius. Few could match his mental acumen.

Roger’s life was committed to the law. The last 33 years as a Professor at Fordham Law. He might very well be serving as a counselor to the Lord today.

Strange I am writing about Roger today. The last time I saw him was on the day we both graduated from Manhattan College in 1957. My only connection with him since has occasionally reading about him in the news. Prior to teaching law, he was a partner with an international law firm. He spent many years in the firm’s Paris office.

Roger and I developed a strange relationship. He was beyond me mentally. I doubt anyone was of his intellectual level. Which meant he was a loner.

For some reason, we became friends in our last two years at Manhattan. We would walk one or two evenings a week around the campus chatting. Sometimes at his level, sometimes at mine. I found him to be a lonely person. His intellect setting him aside from others.

God love you, Roger! Sad we never spoke again after Manhattan.

I would never have known Roger died were it not for a fellow Manhattan graduate, John Reinke. Class of 1968. Reinke publishes a weekly internet periodical Jasper Jottings. Manhattan College is known less formally as the Jaspers.

How John gets Jasper Jottings out amazes me. Alumni detail big time.

Keep up the good work, John. You help so many of us in small but important ways.

Another Manhattan graduate who also became a lawyer is presently in the news daily. Rudy Giuliani. Not a class mate of Roger and I. Giuliani graduated some 8-10 years after us.

I have spoken/written of Giuliani the past few days several times. In this blog, my newspaper column, my podcast, and Facebook live video. The man is over the hill. His time has passed.

I suspect Trump has brought him on his team as an ego booster. He is not helping him legally.

Perhaps Trump does have a genius. By keeping Giuliani at his side, he keeps the news on Giuliani and not himself.

Yesterday morning, I wrote this week’s KONK Life column. It has to be to the publisher on Saturday. The paper hits the stands on Wednesday.

This week’s topic a change of pace. A walk back in history. A relatively unknown part.

The article concerns General James Wilkinson. Part of George Washington’s team and involved in American politics and military service in one fashion or another till after the War of 1812.

I wrote about Wilkinson because he was worse than Aaron Burr. For whatever reason, history rarely speaks of him. A devious man.

One example of his less than honorable ways is when he was serving as an American general, he was also on the payroll of the Spanish government as a spy against the U.S. Spain paid him so much in silver that he had difficulty getting it back to the U.S. Too heavy to transport.

Lunch afterwards at the Cuban Coffee Queen. Spent a couple of hours sipping Cuban coffee and reading the newspapers.

I was supposed to party last night at one of several places. I made none. As the race approached, I decided to watch it alone at home. A sign age is catching up with me.

I received several photos from the different parties. All suggesting the same thing…..See what you missed!

I was impressed with Justify. Three inches of rain fell before the race. The track muddy. The race only in doubt for a split second.

The Washington Post ran an interesting internet article yesterday afternoon. Concerned Trump. Title: “As The ‘King Of Debt,’ Trump Borrowed To Build His Empire. Then He Began Spending Hundreds Of Millions In Cash.”

The article claims that nine years before Trump became President, his company spent more than $400 million in cash for new properties. Fourteen transactions involved.

Real estate money men do not buy real estate by paying cash. They take on partners and borrow as much as they can. Debt is the way business is done.

All of a sudden, Trump has large amounts of cash! Does not make sense. Especially noting that the recession of 2008 occurred during the nine year period.

Where did the cash come from? Are these deals part of any investigation?

Glad it’s Sunday. Always a good day. I will probably attend Hot Dog Church with my lesbian wives Donna and Terri, followed by Kate Miano’s Gardens.

Enjoy your Sunday!