MY FAMILY AND ELLIS ISLAND

Ellis Island closed its doors as a point of immigration on this day in 1954. Today, it is an Immigration Museum. Visited by 2 million persons a year.

Prior to 1892, immigration was handled by the states. Effective January 2, 1892, the federal government assumed responsibility. Ellis Island was the first immigration center. The first person to pass through the new immigration center was 15 year old Annie Moore.

My family, my ancestors, passed through Ellis Island. My mother, her parents and 7 brothers. On my father’s side, his parents.

Ellis Island was named not for some public figure. Rather for the man who owned the island in the 1770’s, Samuel Ellis.

A bit of snobbery, prejudice, and caution involved in processing those arriving to the U.S. First and second class never stopped first at Ellis Island. They received a brief shipboard inspection.

Third class was another story. They were run through Ellis Island. These were the poor. The peasant and peons from the old world. My family among them.

Third class underwent medical and legal inspections. To insure against contagious diseases or legal problems that would make them a burden or danger to citizens of the U.S.

I am named after my father’s father. My grandfather Louis. He was 12 when he came over as a third class passenger. Just after the turn of the century.

He was held on Ellis Island for 3 months. Properly so. He had some contagious disease. I cannot recall what. He was treated, cured, and then permitted entry.

Two years ago, I met Valerie Leary and her husband at Martin’s. Visiting from Delaware.

Valerie together with several girl friends have been visiting Key West this past week. They did it all! Even the boat races!

Valerie and I got together last night at the Chart Room for a few drinks. An attractive woman. Fiftyish. A public servant since last we met. Now a Councilperson in New Castle, Delaware.

After a while, one of her group joined us. Megan. A lovely 27 year old. In the bug business. Her Dad’s. Will run it some day.

I filled Megan in on David Wolkowsky,  the Chart Room, Pier House and Jimmy Buffett.

The ladies were undecided where to dine. I suggested several places. Eventually the conversation worked its way to stone crabs. Neither had ever enjoyed them. I sent them to Conch Republic.

There are always 2 sides to a story. Two feelings in opposition. Especially politically.

I am unabashedly a Democrat. A Liberal. I believe government among other things exists to help the less fortunate.

There are those who do not agree with me, think Trump is the end all, etc. Roughly 50 percent of the population.

With tongue in cheek and wishing to show this blog is fair and balanced, I share with you a Letter To The Editor featured in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast. Written by a Paul Sofranac: “Most patriots are grateful to have a President such as Donald Trump. No, he doesn’t mince words and he is not PC but he’s as solid a leader we’ve had in a long, long time. Civility? What civility? Only results count and people love a benevolent dictator, one who cares for the nation and isn’t sold out to external interests or steep state agenda. Embrace him with all your might, as your whining accomplishes nothing but to bring further malaise and suspicion of ulterior motives for your rant.”

A quote from the opposite side of the spectrum. By Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A newly elected New York City Congressperson. Defeated in the Democratic primary a multi term Congressman.

During the campaign, she said, “I’m not running from the left; I’m running from the bottom. I’m running in fierce advocacy for working-class New Yorkers.”

William Holden was a terrific actor. The best of the best. He died this day in 1981 at age 63.

I knew Holden. Met with him several times. At La Costa outside San Diego. La Costa was a resort that catered to those who wanted to lose weight, work on an addiction problem, etc.

Back in the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, I used to go twice a year. To lose weight. A problem even back then. Eight hours exercise and 800 calories of food a day. It worked.

Holden went because he was an alcoholic. He went to dry out.

We met and became friends. Evening friends after the toil of the day was complete. We would sit in the bar at night, drink Perrier and smoke cigars. Sometimes Rodney Dangerfield would join us. A trip.

Holden a most humble person. His humility absolutely amazing.

Ronald Reagan and Holden were best friends. When Reagan and Nancy Davis married in 1952, Holden was Best Man. When Holden died, Reagan wrote, “I have a great feeling of grief. We were close friends for many years. What do you say about a longtime friend-a sense of personal loss, a fine man. Our friendship never waned.”

The college football listings are out. Syracuse ranked #12. The highest ranking Syracuse has achieved in 20 years.

It’s all on the line next saturday. Syracuse plays #3 Notre Dame. Notre Dame 10-0, Syracuse 8-2.

Syracuse can win.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua. Can’t wait. The best singing in Key West for the price of a drink.

Enjoy your day!

 

WHEN THE GUNS WENT SILENT

Today is November 11. One hundred years ago this day at precisely 11 am, the guns went silent ending World War I. An armistice had been arrived at.

One hundred years marks a call for major celebration. One is being held in France, the site of the worst fighting during World War I. World leaders present. France has prepared a commemoration.

A five day event. Began yesterday. The glory of the event dampened only by rain and Donald Trump.

The five day event is a Peace Forum also. Beginning tomorrow, three days of discussions involving joining together for mutual protection and climate change.

The first significant event yesterday. A visit to a U.S. Military Cemetery 50 miles outside Paris. The Aisne Marine American Cemetery. Two thousand two hundred eight eight gravesites, mostly American. An additional 1,060 names etched on a wall representing Americans who were missing, their bodies never recovered.

Trump opted not to go. The excuse was the rain caused security and logistical problems. The weather prohibited the use of a helicopter. Trump would have to have been driven.

All world leaders made the 50 mile drive, except for Trump. I wonder if Trump failed to go because of concern for his hair. I am serious. Not being facetious. Recall last week that Trump was caught in a drizzle as he spoke before being flown off somewhere. His precisely appointed hair was altered a bit as a result. He made mention of it the rest of the day.

Trump sent Chief of Staff Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford in his place.

The heads of all nations represented by their leaders. Trump sends the second team.

There is criticism Trump did so because he neither understands nor respects history. This was an American cemetery.

Today a similar story re Trump’s obvious disdain for the event. He makes like he does not want to be there. His conduct described as truculent and petulant. He appeared like a grouch to me.

There was a function prior to the actual ceremony commemorating the day. Trump did not attend the event.

Following the function, the world leaders walked to the Arch de Triomphe in a straight line, shoulder to shoulder, all carrying raised black umbrellas. All except for Trump. He rode over.

The commemoration took place at the Arch de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Well done.

No holding back. Europe concerned about Trump. France’s President Macron in his 20 minute speech said, “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” Aimed right at Trump who a few weeks ago on national television said, “I am a nationalist. There I’ve said it.”

Europe is opposed to nationalism. History recognizes nationalism as the cause of World War I.

The event solemn. No word better describes it.

Mention was made that 100 years ago at 11 in the morning, the bells tolled all over Europe in celebration of the armistice.

There is a feeling that Trump neither knows nor understands history. Nationalism caused World Wars I and II. The League of Nations failed because of nations going their own way.

Patriotism as part of relationships between countries may best be described as love of one nation for another. Nationalism, hatred of one nation for another.

A luncheon followed the event. What happened there not yet reported.

Three more days involved. The Peace Forum. Trump not attending. He leaves Paris this afternoon and returns home. The subject matter of the Forum working together and climate change. Topics Trump not interested in.  Whatever, an insult to the nations remaining.

So much for the commemoration and Trump.

Remained home last night. Watched Syracuse play basketball against Morehead State. Morehead a good team. I was impressed. Syracuse won 84-70.

In spite of the win, Syracuse did not look good. Something I fail to understand. We have 4 3 point shooters. Took few 3 pointers and missed most of them. The team generally drove to the basket. Seemed they did not finish when they did. Could have scored more baskets had they.

Syracuse has 3 point guards. All out with injuries. Have not played yet this season. Could be one of Syracuse’s problems. It’s like having a line man step in for the quarter back.

Boeheim has a deep bench. First time in years. He played it. The bench and starters did not jell. Maybe Syracuse cannot go deep.

Teri Johnston gets sworn in tomorrow morning as Key West Mayor. She has asked my beloved Terri White to sing.

Ernest Hemingway finished A Farewell To Arms the first three weeks he was in Key West. He wrote the last page 39 times before he was satisfied.

My car has been down for a week. I have not gone out during that time. I live one island up from Key West. Could have rented a car or used Uber. Decided instead to remain in and work. The car was my excuse to do some research and writing that was far behind.

Car now working. I feel house bound. Tonight, Louis is out!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

IN FLANDERS FIELDS…..

In Flanders fields poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row….. / We are the dead. Short days ago / We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,  / Loved and were loved, and now we lie / In Flanders fields….. / If ye break faith with us who die / We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields.

Veterans Day is tomorrow. However Key West is celebrating it today. A big parade at 5 running from Catherine down Duval to Front Street.

Ergo, I write of Veterans Day today.

The day was first known as Armistice Day. Transitioned over the years to Veterans Day. Whereas initially to honor World War I dead, today to honor veterans of all wars, living and dead.

The poem was written in 1915 on a battlefield in France. By Lt. Col. John Mc Crae, a Canadian physician. He was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier.

World War I was the war to end all wars. Man fooled himself. History has proven the goal wrong. Man enjoys maiming and killing too much.

I have been home bound since last weekend. Car problem. Required a new starter. Everything must come from Miami. First one, not correct. Finally got the car last night. Everything in order.

Need to get out and communicate with people, enjoy a couple of drinks, etc.

Last night was not to be. Nor will tonight. Syracuse played football last night and plays basketball tonight. For some reason, I prefer watching the games quietly and alone from home.

Syracuse beat Louisville 54-23. Syracuse now 8-2. I suspect the victory will move us into the top 10.

The victory was not consequential in itself. Louisville played like Syracuse had the past 20 years. Even worse most of the game.

Next saturday, a big one! Syracuse plays undefeated and nationally ranked #3 Notre Dame. Syracuse can win. Not wishful thinking. The team is good.

Syracuse basketball tonight at 7. Syracuse v. Morehead State. Syracuse’s second game of the season. Syracuse is expected to dominate the game.

The California fires are horrible! Horrendous! TV showings reveal nothing less than pure unadulterated disaster. Hurricanes bring the same. However, a hurricane comes and goes. A fire hangs around for days.

What has FEMA been doing to help? Not much. A pattern has developed where natural disasters are involved. Government does not seem to care, have enough money, etc.

One FEMA responsibility is to refund 75 percent of firefighting costs. Trump yesterday threatened to pull all federal funding if California does not shape up. He claims the fires being out of control are due to “gross mismanagement.”

The two reasons Trump claims California is not doing the job properly has to do with water and forest thinning. He claims California is dumping water in the Pacific it could use to fight the fires. He further claims the forests are dry and subject to easy fires because of California’s failure to thin them.

Experts galore say Trump is incorrect in both instances and does not know what he is talking about. They claim climate change is the cause. The climate change argument falls on deaf ears since Trump does not believe there is climate change.

Which brings me to Michael. Post Michael, a disaster. FEMA failing. The third biggest hurricane since record keeping instituted in the U.S. and we hear nothing about what is happening in northern Florida and elsewhere that Michael touched.

The reason obvious. FEMA and other governmental agencies failing. Another Puerto Rico.

The reason money and not having learned yet how to handle large disasters.

Money, money, money. At the heart of Trump’s concern, though not openly acknowledged. Recent years have brought one disaster after another. The government failed to have sufficiently funded natural disasters.

My admonition, Trump should stop worrying about $26 billion for a wall and concern himself with mega dollars for disaster relief.

Election day clearly showed people are primarily concerned with health care. Way more than immigration problems. Does not seem to have made a dent in Trump’s thinking.

Yesterday, he signed a proclamation suspending the entry of migrants seeking asylum through our southern border points for 90 days. Normally, migrants are permitted by law to seek asylum at any border point any time. Children traveling alone are excepted from the bar.

Typical of Trump’s mean side. Civil rights groups describe his conduct as immoral and inhumane.

What happens when those seeking asylum cannot even get in to make application? Will confrontation result? Will Trump get his “invasion” and the military be permitted to shoot at the migrants?

Will Rogers was a famous humorist and social commentator. He made fun of the government. Commented on their screw ups. He once said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Another way of intimating government would only do worse.

Rogers one smart man.

Enjoy your day!

CINDY LYNCH…..WE MET IN KEY WEST

Cindy Lynch, a love of my life. We met about 12 years ago in Key West.

Cindy and husband Tom are from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Until recently, spent 2 months a year in Key West.

Special. She has had 7 operations for 6 different cancers. Two for brain tumors. Lost one of her legs. All of it to the groin. Cannot be fitted for a prosthetic. Uses a wheelchair or titanium crutches or skips around short distance on one foot.

Cindy falls a lot. She tries to do too much I suspect with one leg. On the other hand, she is living life. A rare personality. Always up. Never complains. Fun to be with.

Her husband Tom a gem. Retired early to care for her. With her most of the time. Occasionally, Cindy goes off on her own.

She did this tuesday. Driving their car. Involved in a three car accident. Saw a picture of the cars. Bad!

She is home recovering in bed. Next week, a parachute jump!

Ernest Hemingway penned many true words. Words reflecting his life experiences. A quote attributable to him is…..”Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

Makes sense. I know.

I guess I am into quotes today. Winston Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

Sounds like some who comment to this column.

The votes still coming in. Being counted for the first time. Simultaneously, some States are already at the legally mandated recount stage. Florida and Georgia examples.

What initially appeared not to be a blue wave has definitely become one.

Another shooting. A college student hangout. Twelve killed.

A physicians’ journal recently carried an article decrying the NRA and its power. The NRA shot back. In effect saying to the doctors not your business, stay out of things you know nothing about.

The doctors hit back. One wrote and said we are involved. Challenged the NRA to stand next to a child coding from a gunshot wound.

Doctors involved in every shooting!

November 9 a day of significance.

On this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. It had been up 30 years.

Two years earlier. Reagan spoke standing before the wall. He said, “Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall.”

A story little known goes with the statement.

Reagan’s speech was constantly being revised by his speech writers in the weeks preceding his appearance before the wall. Reagan kept adding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down the wall.” His speech writers kept taking it out. Too harsh, they said.

The day before leaving for Berlin, Reagan was going over the speech again. The words had been omitted. He asked an assistant standing next to him…..I’m the President, aren’t I? The assistant responded….Yes sir. Reagan said…..Then it stays in!

This day in 1938 significant also. Sadly, however.

An event that took place in Germany and Austria. To Nazis the evening was known as Kristallnacht. Also referred to as The Night of Broken Glass.

It was the beginning of mass suppression of persons of the Jewish faith. Occurred prior to the Holocaust. The Nazis launched a campaign of terror against the Jewish people, their homes and businesses. The event marked a dramatic escalation in Hitler’s plan to purge Germany of Jews.

Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere.

Trump held a major press conference wednesday. CNN’s Acosta and he had words. I watched the entire press conference. Acosta asked a couple of questions. The President did not like them. He became extremely abusive to Acosta.

The event was videoed.

Trump took back Acosta’s White House press credentials.

A female intern attempted to take Acosta’s mike away from him while Trump was shouting sit down. The next day when the White House announced the removal of Acosta’s credentials, the video was shown.

Not similar to the original which had been shown the night before and earlier in the day. The White House video appeared to have been doctored. The White House version indicated Acosta had assaulted the intern. Not the case. The White House presented an altered version.

Today, friday. Love going out friday nights. Not tonight. Remaining in. For a better good. Syracuse playing Louisville at 7 in football. Syracuse 7-2 and a 21 point favorite.

Love it! We have not had even close to a decent team in 20 years. Hopefully, we are there.

Enjoy your day!

 

HIT ‘EM WHERE IT HURTS

Nancy Pelosi in all likelihood will be Speaker again. Good and bad.

I admire her governmental skills. She knows how to run her shop. Democrats generally stay in line, follow her direction.

Her shortcoming is one most Democrats seem to have. They are lousy fighters. Lack the killer instinct. Though she and her party may know legislative success is the goal, they are ineffective in getting there.

Democrats want to be “Congresspersons.” Gentlemanly and lady like. Republicans on the other hand, want to “win.” That means playing down and dirty.

The Democrats have to learn how to play down and dirty. The end in this instance does justify the means. Democrats must learn to hit the opposition where it hurts. In the balls to use a common refrain. Clobber the Republicans. Go for the jugular.

I take the time to write this today because Pelosi has already said she will not go after Republicans the way they went after Democrats.

I think it was the famous football coach Vince Lombardi who said…..Winning is everything!

The American people deserve no less.

Key West has a lesbian Mayor. First ever. In fact, first lesbian ever elected Mayor in Florida.

Terri Johnston the lady. I know her. She is experienced government wise. A head on her shoulders. She will do extremely well.

A lesbian Mayor is no big deal in Key West. Many residents gay and lesbian. Terri’s gender preference not even an item of conversation. Whatever a person’s lifestyle an accepted fact in Key West. One human family!

Ladies beware! Watch how you bend over to put groceries in your car. A 32 year old man was arrested for reaching up a woman’s skirt and touching her butt in a Publix parking lot as she was placing her groceries in the car.

The man has been arrested.

Not a first offender. Arrested in 2015 on a somewhat similar charge. He pinched he butt of a girl as she boarded a school bus.

The best thing that may have happened to Beto O’Rourke was losing. Now he is free to consider running for President in 2020. The man is Presidential timber.

Democratic activists in Iowa and New Hampshire have asked him to visit.

Keep in mind, Abraham Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate from Illinois in 1858. He lost. Two years later, he ran for President and won.

Water and oil do not mix. Nor does Trump and truth.

Trump held a press conference yesterday. A big one. He would have been better off staying in bed.

He was totally discombobulated. Strung out and strained. His composure and demeanor not one reflecting a President of the United States.

An embarrassing situation has evidenced itself concerning Melania and her African trip. Not her fault. I would like to know whose and why.

The Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel is in Cairo. Melania did not stay overnight. However, it appears she used the hotel room during the day for whatever.

The hotel’s regular room is $119 a night. The best accommodation, the Presidential Suite, $699 a night. Melania’s bill $95,050.

Something amiss. The U.S. government paid the bill never the less.

The bill was labeled for an overnight stay. The hotel said the cost was high because the staff spent 6 days preparing for her visit and the hotel also had to deal with Secret Service personnel prior to her arrival.

U.S. official spending records recorded the payment as “[First Lady] visit hotel rooms.”

My suspicious mind makes me wonder if  more than her visit was involved.

A lovely time of the year! Syracuse football and basketball at the same time.

The football team doing exceptionally well this season. First time in 20 years. The team plays Louisville friday night at 7. Syracuse presently 7-2 and a 21 point favorite.

The basketball team played its first game tuesday night. Beat Eastern Washington 66-34.

Syracuse plays Morehead State saturday at 7.

Syracuse preseason ranked #16. Hope it is more than just a good year for the team. All members of last year’s starting five back.

Enjoy your day!

AMERICA LOST

America lost yesterday. Winning the House alone not result enough to claim victory. There was no blue wave. The result merely bore fruit once again that there are two Americas.

The Democratic Party could not have taken a better shot at correcting things. Women and the young joining forces with the Party. The long lines. With what result? A draw from my perspective.

The best Democratic candidates lost. Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams.

All made good runs. Came up short. Abrams may still have a chance if there is a run off.

O’Rourke not finished. His career has just begun. Presidential timber. He is different. America needs different.

It is a disgrace that Gillum was beat by an obvious racist. Not surprising. Trump is a racist. Indication that half the country has racist tendencies.

Each side was rebuked. I prefer rebuked where one might consider wins.

The Democrats were rebuked because they did not win the Senate and three of their top candidates failed to win.

Trump rebuked because Democrats won Congress and a significant number of governorships.

What do the next two years hold? Escalated conflict or each side reaching across the aisle? Trump has already sent out a couple of tweets this morning. He is geared up to fight.

The Democrats are sure to use their subpoena power to cause investigations.

No marriage in the making.

The mid-terms a sad result.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BIG DAY TODAY

Big day today! The mid-term election of all mid-term elections. The direction the U.S. will take to be determined.

Vote!

Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.”

Canadian blogger Ian Welsh wrote, “Trump’s a very effective guy in certain ways, but he’s also a moron in a lot of other ways, and a crude and rather petty man…..Let’s hope Americans put a brake on him.”

I read something that gives me added concern re the polls. After Hillary’s loss, I find it difficult to accept polls as accurate.

What I read indicated the polls only make inquiry of registered voters from previous elections. For this election, there are many newly registered voters. Ergo, not included in the poll taking.

If such correct, how dependable can the polls be?

My evening full. Syracuse basketball at 7, my podcast at 9, the election results thereafter.

Syracuse playing its first official game of the season. Against Eastern Washington. An opening game in the 2 K Empire Classic. Supports the Wounded Warrior Project. The winner(s) will play in the finals next week in Madison Square Garden.

Come 9, my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A fast moving half hour of Louis ranting and raving about whatever moves him at the moment. Enjoyable! Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Finally, the election results to whatever time in the morning.

The caravan coming from Guatemala and Honduras keeps changing numbers/size. Began at 4,0000. Then 7,000. Reduced to 3,500. Now, 5,000.

FOX News now claims there are actually 4 caravans on the way totaling 12,000.

Does anyone really know?

Have you noticed how Trump is more and more referring to the caravan as an “invasion.” Simple reason. He has been advised American military cannot use their guns within U.S. boundaries unless there is an “invasion.”

The barbed wire being laid adds to the anticipated “attack.”

I hope we do not see the bodies of immigrants lying across the barbed wire.

Remember Forrest Gump? Among his other talents was cross country running. There is another. Pete Kostelnick.

Pete is 31. He arrived in Key West recently from Alaska. Ran the whole way. 5,400 miles. Averaged 55 miles a day. Began the trip July 31.

Not his first cross country race. Gump did it several times. In 2016, Pete ran from San Francisco to New York City. Three thousand sixty seven miles in 42 days.

Russian history, novels, etc. excite me. Full of drama.

On this day in 1917, the Bolshevik portion of the Russian revolution began. The revolution was over in 2 days. Vladimir Lenin and his followers formed a new government. The take over a near bloodless coup.

The Provincial Government first led Russia following the overthrow of the Czar. The government lasted only 3 1/2 months before being overthrown by Lenin.

Alexander Kerensky was the head of the Provisional Government. In effect, the first President of free Russia. He had to escape Russia when Lenin took over. He was to be eliminated.

Kerensky eventually ended up in the United States.

I took 2 Russian revolution courses while attending Manhattan College. My professor was Alexander Kerensky. The same Alexander Kerensky who was the first President of free Russia.

A wild experience! Being lectured by one of the men intimately involved in the revolution.

Enjoy your day!

 

A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

A catastrophic event has occurred. Smoking no longer permitted in Berlin’s.

New owners. The no smoking rule invoked. Surprising because one of the primary new owners a smoker himself.

Please, do not bury me in e-mails about the evils of smoking. Some remain who enjoy it. A personal choice. I do not criticize those who opt not to smoke.

If second hand smoke is a problem, do not attend a place that permits smoking. Only a few are left in Key West. Many non-smoking restaurants and bars available for the multitude.

Lets me share the Berlin story with you.

Berlin’s full name is Berlin’s Cigar and Cocktail Bar. It has been a place frequented by smokers since 1947 when it was first opened as Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton’s Fish House.

Eventually, the name was changed to Alonzo’s and Berlin’s Lobster House. The dining institution of the day. The place for a night out followed by a Cuban cigar. The affluent then hopping a plane for a quick flight to Havana for a night of gambling. Returning in time to bed down while still dark outside.

Those must have been the days!

At some point, the establishment was rebuilt. Always a perfect waterfront site. Class before and class after the rebuilding.

Berlin’s had a cool look to it. The feeling of Rick’s cafe. Some consider the swankiest spot in Key West.

Paul Tripp was owner at the time of rebuilding. He said, “I wanted it to be a men’s club, to have a masculine feel to it.”

It did.

An intimate room. Mahogany walls. Maroon leather bound stools and large comfortable easy chairs. Cigars stored in a humidor. The perfect place to sit back and enjoy a smoke.

The present day Berlin’s has the finest filtration system I have ever experienced. Even if the person next to you was smoking a cigar, you never smelled it. The filtration system sucked up the smoke  immediately. After leaving, your clothes did not smell of smoke.

Smokers generally ate in the intimacy of Berlin’s. A&B Lobster House, the restaurant portion is extremely large with a huge outdoor balcony to accommodate everyone else.

The food at the bar and restaurant the same. Always excellent. Pricey. Worth it, however. Especially when I could enjoy a couple of drinks and cigarettes before dinner and another after dinner while enjoying the last drink of the night.

The change makes no sense. It will not increase business. It might lessen it, if anything.

The Chart Room my only stop last night. John bartending. Ran into Diesel last year. Again, last night. We spoke at length. I enjoyed his company.

Diesel is from Ohio. Retired. He and his wife Lynise bought a home in Key West several years ago. Lynise was not with him. An early to bed person as I am most evenings.

They spend 6 months a year on the island. I told Diesel he was a snowbird. He did not like the title. Preferred to be known as a transient Conch. Don’t think it would fly with the Conchs.

Cori Convertino, how I envy you! Cori was on Ballast Key yesterday!

Cori is technically Dr. Cori Convertino. She is curator at the Custom House. Over the years, she became a close friend of David Wolkowsky. David you will recall died 2 month ago.

David enjoyed 3 homes in the Key West area. One was on Ballast Key. A small island 16 miles west of Key West. A magnificent edifice planned and built by David.

Not sure why Cori was there yesterday. Wish she had invited me. I assume she was there for some reason having to do with the furnishings. David was a huge benefactor to the Custom House.

I met Fritz Adare 12 years ago at a party at Larry and Christine Smith’s home. Nice guy. He was introduced as a personal trainer. Looked it. A magnificent body. Skin like a baby’s back end. A body that sparkled.

It was obvious Fritz was a good health addict.

I rarely saw him. We would run into each other one or two times a year. Always a cordial hello and a few words.

Yesterday’s Facebook listed the day as Fritz’s birthday. I sent him a Happy Birthday!

Last night, Larry and Christine telephoned me. I knew there had to be trouble if both were on the phone together. Fritz had died several months ago. I did not know.

Strange. I never saw his obituary. Looked for it this morning. Not in the Key West Citizen. Found it in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper. Fritz died on May 29. He was residing in an assisted living facility at the time. Age, 71.

May he rest in peace.

When older people who I know pass on, I get a bit nervous. I am 83. Fritz was 71. He unquestionably was a health nut. Always working out. Took all kinds of vitamins and supplement pills. Nutrition was a big thing with him.

I do not dwell on death. Mark Twain said, “Age is not an issue of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

What will be, will be.

An important thing in life. After saturday’s victory, Syracuse is now ranked 14th in the nation. A 7-2 record so far. Go ‘Cuse!

Enjoy your day!

 

HOT REUBEN CORNED BEEF SANDWICH

My taste buds were in for a treat last night.

Irish Kevin’s serves a hot Reuben corned beef sandwich. Continued hearing good things about it. Decided last night to enjoy one.

I love corned beef! Like my mother used to make. Boil the meat forever. Arrived at the table juicy and moist. Fat important. We probably ate the cheap cut so there was a lot of fat. Added big time to the taste.

Difficult to get a good corned beef sandwich these days. The meat tough, cold and without fat.

Not last night! Warm, juicy, tender and with a touch of fat.

Do yourself a favor. Go to Irish Kevin’s and enjoy one!

In addition to the great sandwich, you can enjoy the young ladies stepping on stage and exhibiting their breasts.

A perfect evening!

My night began at the Blue Macaw. Crowded. A group of seniors in a long congo line. Either from the cruise ship staying overnight or they were Parrotheads. I could not tell. They were having a good time!

Philadelphia Phil and Montana bartending. Chatted at the bar with Alica, John and Fiona.

Alica was doing her grocery shopping. On the computer. Walmart. Says she saves $500 a month. Buys everything but meat and items that melt. Primarily canned goods, some fruits, paper products and make up. Delivered to her front door, no charge. Of course being from Walmart, everything significantly discounted.

Drove over to the Chart Room. Crowded, also. Standing room only. No one I knew. Nodded at John, turned around and left. It was then I decided to try the corn beef at Irish Kevin’s.

My afternoon was spent watching Syracuse/Wake Forest. Syracuse won 41-24. Now, 7-2. Fantastic! It has been years since we had such a record.

The rankings are not out till tomorrow. I suspect we will go down to around #13.

Jimmy Buffett highlighted a Democratic rally last night in West Palm Beach. Gillum, Nelson and other candidates present of course. Many Parrotheads in the crowd. Some drove great distances to be there. I would not be surprised if some drove up from the Parrothead Convention here in Key West.

Buffett changed the lyrics to Come Monday to fit the occasion. The lyrics sung last night: “Come Tuesday, things will change. Come Tuesday, we’re making a change. Its been two insane years and its time to really switch gears.”

Staying with politics, it was on this day in 2008 that Obama was elected President. The first black person to be so elected.

With the election a few days away, a few random thoughts.

As a society, we are hemorrhaging in violence. Especially gun violence. The remedy is not to arm teachers, priests and rabbis.

Universal health care required/needed. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation to be without it. Universal health care would assure everyone receiving proper treatment and at the same time stop the multitude of personal bankruptcies the result of health care costs.

Immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras have heard the call of the words on the Statue of Liberty. They are looking to the place Reagan called a “shining city on a hill.” It is so inconsistent with our values to send the military to shoot them dead at the border.

Kill someone and that person’s family and friends will not forget. Trump has broken the deal with Iran. Additional sanctions will be imposed today.

Iranian people are dying from shortages of certain necessary items. Insulin being one.

Trump’s actions an abuse of power?

A President cannot unilaterally break a treaty. The Senate approved it initially. Such is the law. The Senate must vote to break it. I also believe Trump broke the treaty to show the world how tough he is. A bully!

There is another reason. Trump and Netanyahu are birds of a feather. Authoritarians. Even before Trump’s election, Netanyahu was crying for war against Iran. He wants the U.S. and other nations to join him against Iran. Especially the U.S.

Netanyahu’s real reason is not that Iran is going to blow up the world. It is that he wants it firmly established that Israel is the power in the Middle East. Neither Iran nor anyone else.

Enjoy your Sunday!

DEMOCRACY’S NEXT STEP?

Jair Bolsonaro is Brazil’s recently elected President.

An authoritarian.

Trump evidences similar tendencies. Trump can take us to Bolsonaro’s ways. Not there yet. He is a step behind Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro won with Evangelical support. He is frequently compared to Philippine President Duterte.

A few Bolsonaro quotes let you know the man.

“I am in favor of dictatorship, a regime of exception.”

Killing “…..some 30,000…..if some innocent people are going to die, fine, in any war innocents die.”

“I would not employ a woman with the same salary of a man.”

“I’ll give carte blanche for the police to kill.”

“We are going to gun down all those Workers Party supporters.” The Workers Party his opposition. He spoke these words at a rally while mimicking shooting a rifle.

Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz in a battle in Texas. Respectfully, I consider Cruz political slime. Trump suggested Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. He also insulted Cruz’s wife. Today, Cruz’s head is up Trump’s ass.

A relatively recent happening solidified my thinking of Cruz. Cruz said O’Rourke was illegally funding the caravan. A Trump type  statement. Not true.

The actual facts. Asylum seekers already processed and awaiting a decision are sheltered in churches in the Texas border area. Not part of the caravan. The caravan still 1,000 miles and one month away.

One of O’Rourke’s staff offices used prepaid cards to buy baby wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars for those awaiting decision re their asylum requests. Less than $300 involved. If more, if $3,000, not a crime and most certainly not funding the caravan.

Which brings me to Trump’s way of thinking re the migration caravan. The President should read/recall certain Biblical quotes.

Matthew 25:38: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Last night’s first stop was the Chart Room. Packed. Locals and tourists.

Met Lorne Davidson again. Met him last year at the Chart Room. From northern Florida. He was with Diane. Met her before, also. A friend of Sheila’s.

Steve, Cindy, and David at the bar. Good Key Westers all! Love them! We enjoyed good conversation.

The three are oracles of wisdom when it comes to Key West. They have been here a long time. Last night, Steve and I engaged in a long talk about the Key West of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The most important and exciting thing I learned from Steve last night concerns his sister Sam who lives in Seattle. Reads this blog everyday.  Lived in Key West for 2 years at one time.

Love you, Sam! Keep reading! Look forward to meeting you when next you visit Steve and Cindy.

A long talk with Paul and Stephanie. From Detroit. They have been visiting Key West since 2006. Now own three time shares at Banyon Court. One week three different times of the year.

Paul is a tool and die maker. Stephanie a dental assistant. They have a son 22 who is completing college.

Enjoyed my time with them.

Then to the Blue Macaw. Basically empty. Second night in a row. The rain could be the reason. Blue Macaw is an outside restaurant and bar.

A big parade sunday afternoon. The Super Boat Parade. Signifying the beginning of Super Boat Race Week. The boats magnificent. Huge power boats. Multi-million dollars in cost. The races a rich man’s sport.

My lesbian wives Donna and Terri celebrated their tenth anniversary yesterday. Married for real! Loving congratulations!

They were leaving for Tampa when I spoke with them. Terri’s cancer checkup scheduled.

People are confused as to why I call them my lesbian wives. One person recently told me she thought I was actually married to the two.

The true story is that when Donna and Terri were to be married, I was supposed to be Best Man. The day before, I had a pain, went into the hospital, and lost 25 percent of my colon.

Missed the wedding. For some reason, I mentioned at the time I considered them my lesbian wives and the label took hold.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon a wonder. Top professional full time care. Turtles with strange maladies flown from all over the world to the Hospital.

The Hospital’s motto: Rescue, Rehab, Release. They do!

A little World War II history.

Roosevelt was unhappy with Japan. Japan had invaded Indochina. He wanted them to not only stop the war, but get out also. To evidence his seriousness, he seized all Japanese assets in the U.S. and closed the Panama Canal to Japanese vessels. Roosevelt also cut off all oil supplies to Japan. A death knell for the island nation.

Japan was led by a tough group at the time. Tojo and his followers. They were offended by Roosevelt’s actions. They gave the order to bomb Pearl Harbor.

An interesting fact is that the order was given on November 3, 1941. Thirty four days before Pearl Harbor was actually bombed.

The order to bomb was known as Top Secret Order No. 1.

My question is why did we not know of the imminent bombing of Pearl Harbor. I assume the U.S. had intelligence people. Thirty four days and no one knew.

Difficult to understand.

In an hour and a half, it will be 12 noon. I will be glued to the TV set. Syracuse playing Wake Forest.

For the first time in 20 yeas, Syracuse has a decent team. It has been a long time. The team 6-2 so far this season.

Enjoy your day!