NEARER MY GOD TO THEE

Some things awaken a person to a fact. A fact known to exist, but not considered till late in life. Life is not forever! The older one gets, the closer death.

I am 84. I am close to the end. Could be tomorrow or 20 years from now. My father made it to 98, his father 94, his sister 102.

All had ailments. Interestingly, we are what our parents were. I have all the maladies at this stage of my life that my father did.

Why this aging/death thing? Two recent occurrences in my life force me to face it.

Today, I begin wearing a medical alert. Around my neck day and night. If I fall, have an attack of some sort, etc., I press the button. Help is on its way within 15 seconds.

It was time. I am falling too much again. Already did physiotherapy. Something additional required at this time. My doctors tell me it is my blood pressure medication. I need a lot. Getting out of bed or up out of a chair too swiftly and I go down.

In case I forget to pause now, I have the button.

Less I forget, the alert system not cheap. All companies advertise $19.95 per month. That only gets one the barest necessities. The same as being without it. I added a number of things. The bill now $54.95 a month.

The other is the use of a cane. I do not have one yet. One of my doctor’s says it is time. I have begun to walk wobbly. Like sideways a bit instead of forward.

The cane is hard to accept. Means I am old! I know it! Fight accepting the cane, however.

I tried a cane the other day at Publix. Publix sells them. Walked back and forth several times in front of the drug counter. Works! Helped tremendously! Don’t be surprised if at some point I let you know I have capitulated and accepted the cane.

Sloan was with me early afternoon yesterday setting up the medical alert operation. Confusing. Took almost 3 hours. I would never have got it done if I had to do it alone. Simple it was not to put together.

I was supposed to have lunch with Mary at Harpoon Harry’s. Did not make it till 4.

Came across an interesting quote concerning mothers and the first place a child resides. “My mother was my first country: The first place I ever lived.”

This is Apollo 11 Week. Amazing how time flies!

Only 50 years ago. July 20, 1969.

Two things have impressed me in life. Man walking on the moon and the Berlin Wall coming down.

My wife and I were glued to the TV set the evening of the landing and first walk. It was after 11 in the evening. I was excited!

My 4 children all asleep. Ages 5-10. Over my wife’s objection, I woke them and had them join us downstairs to watch the landing/walk. I sensed it was a memorable occasion and one I wanted them to remember their whole lives.

Good luck! None of them remembers.

The threats of war in the Middle East bring to mind oil shortages. There will be should a war occur.

I had two experiences with the oil shortage. Back in the 1970’s when Jimmy Carter was President. Respectfully, not the greatest President. The best post-President, however.

Things were tough oil wise. We were told to lower our thermostats to 60 in the evening. Cold! Especially if winters where I lived could drop 10-20 degrees below zero.

Not enough fuel for cars.

My parents, wife and I had spent a long weekend in New York at a family wedding. For some reason, we opted to leave New York just before midnight on sunday. A 4 1/2 hour drive ahead.

No gas stations open. My fuel gauge suggested it was going to be close. It was. We were on the New York State Thruway 4 miles from Utica when we ran out of gas. No stations, etc.open at night to help during the crisis. You had to be crazy to be on the highway at 4 in the morning as we were.

We napped in the car till 7 when the Thruway came to life again.

That same winter, I had rented a condo in Pompano. We were there a couple of weeks at one point. Time to get gas. The kids and I drove to a gas station. The line had to be at least 1/2 mile long. Maybe a mile. It took 3 hours to get to the pump.

Carter went on national TV on February 2, 1977. He was to deliver a special message as to how to deal with the oil crisis. It was not what anyone expected.

His advice: “Wear a sweater.”

For real. He was serious. He was wearing a sweater as he gave his talk. He considered wearing the sweater “a mild sacrifice.” Of course, thermostats should be lowered, etc.

On another issue, some quotes by a prominent government official: “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth…..The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence…..If you tell a big lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed…..The man who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes…..I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few…..He alone who owns the youth, gains the future…..The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”

The author Adolph Hitler. Anyone else come to mind?

Yesterday was the third sunday ICE was to perform massive raids and arrest for deportation some 2,000 immigrants illegally in the United States. For the third sunday, nothing happened.

Why?

Was/is the threat another by Trump full of sound and fury signifying nothing? Did Trump become aware the U.S. is not equipped to handle the large number to be arrested? Or was Trump waiting for a more convenient day when the opposition would not be as strong?

Yesterday a significant number of advocates across the country took to the streets to demonstrate in protest of the promised roundup.

Our nation continues to be sick re the immigration problems. I say the “nation” since half our people seem to tolerate what is being done and the manner in which it is being accomplished.

Can anyone question that Trump is racist? His most recent indication were his comments re the 4 freshmen Congresswomen who have been openly advocating against him. In a tweet, Trump said in effect they should go back where they came from.

Three were born in the U.S. The fourth a naturalized citizen.

The venom that comes out of Trump’s mouth. Every time he opens his mouth, venom spews forth.

In a recent New York Times Opinion Column, the author wrote, “We are not “a white country built by white men and destined to be maintained as a white country.” It was further stated, “We are watching a very dark chapter in this nation’s history unfold in real time.”

The comedian Joey Adams once said, “Do not worry about avoiding temptation. As you get older, it will avoid you.”

How true!

Tonight Dueling Bartenders followed by dinner at La Trattoria.

Enjoy your day!

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES…..

Charles Dickens portrayed Paris at the beginning of the French Revolution best. It was this day in history 1789. All hell broke loose in the French capital.

Dickens authored A Tale of Two Cities. His opening words well describe France in 1789: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..”

The book’s closing words were uttered by the novel’s hero Sydney Carton. He was about to die. Execution by guillotine. He had fooled the authorities and was going to his death not as Sydney Carton, but a close friend. Carton’s last words: “It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done; it is a far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Between the two lines, Dickens does an excellent job of portraying the gore that was the French Revolution.

The Bastille was a royal fortress and prison. Better known as a prison. Many French persons had suffered and died within its walls. The building symbolized the tyranny of the French monarchs.

The attack on the Bastille and its falling marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Heads would fall. Thousands guillotined, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Today most believe the attack on the Bastille freed hundreds of persons jailed. Not so. Only 7. It was primarily being used at the time as a warehouse for guns and ammunition. It was attacked for what it symbolized and to obtain the guns and ammunition.

It was the first time the guillotine was used for such a large number of executions. A form had beheaded many in other countries in the centuries before. However, it was not until just before the French Revolution that the guillotine was refined and subsequently put to full time use by France for 200 years.

France considered the guillotine efficient and painless. The head was eliminated from the body swiftly. The last French execution via the guillotine was in 1977. In 1981, France abolished the death penalty and it has not been used since.

Why today Dickens and the French Revolution? I woke early and could not get back to sleep. Turned on TV. There before me was the movie A Tale of Two Cities. A 1935 film. The great actor Ronald Coleman playing Sydney Carton.

Later when I read today was the anniversary of the French Revolution and storming of the Bastille, I immediately knew what my blog for today would be.

Hope you have enjoyed.

I have several other matters I was going to share. However, I consider A Tale of Two Cities special. So it is the lone topic for today.

The homosexuality and false homophobia in the Catholic Church, the ICE raids later today, Barry, the latest British leak that Trump scrapped the Iran nuclear deal to spite Obama, and Key West off season, will have to await another day.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

FRANCES WATSON CLARK…..SHE WROTE A BOOK

Frances Clark Watson was at the Chart Room last night. Fran an author. Wrote the spectacular Key West. A story of our community.

I had not seen her in a while. She is a snowbird. Owns an historic home in Old Town. Visits frequently.

Charming best describes her.

The book’s forward written by Mindy Miles of the Key West Citizen. A small portion of her comments: “The vibrant community…..and significant historic sites make Key  West one of the most interesting places in the United States.”

The book is interesting. Frances  is interesting. Hope I run into her again soon.

John bartending. He is anxious to get to Columbia. He leaves August 12. He previously had a degree of familiarity with Spanish. Has been working on the language for a couple of weeks now. One of those courses that claim it will teach you how to speak the language in a short time. John says, “It’s working!”

A couple of pigeons have taken over the outside of the Chart Room. I suspect because tourists have been feeding them. Whatever the reason, one just had a baby. Everyone feels like a grandfather/grandmother now.

Cindy and Steve at the bar. Great people! Cindy was Jimmy Buffett’s right hand girl for almost a quarter century. His assistant now retired. Husband Steve has been in Key West since the 1970’s. He knows every thing there is to know about Key West then till now.

Mary stopped in. We chatted a bit and then left for dinner at the Pier House’s Pier 1 deck. The food continues to be outstanding. The chef obviously talented. I enjoyed the tuna again. A good sized chuck lightly seared on the outside.

Diana Millikan back in town. A writer. A fantastic researcher. She finds the nitty gritty of things more than 100 years old with ease. A talent.

She is supporting Guy de Boer in his desire to sail around the world. Helping him along. Especially with fund raising.

The trip expensive and long. Around the world means what it says. Guy will be out there without even a telephone for 5 months, if I recall correctly. Whatever, some abnormal amount of time.

The trip begins August 21, 2022 from a French port. It will take him through the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn.

The best or worst aspect is that Guy will be sailing alone. No first mate or companion.

I think he’s crazy. However, to each his own.

Barry moving slow. Five miles per hour. Taking its time. It will hit land when it does. Now expected to be this afternoon. Louisiana the landfall point.

A low grade category 1 hurricane at the moment. Wind not the problem. Rain. Now estimated to drop 25 inches on certain areas of Louisiana. New Orleans in trouble. Will the levees hold?

Most of the damage is expected from flooding. Picture all those houses under 3 feet or more of water. Some totally submerged.

Climate change has to be involved. Trump is beholden to the fossil fuel industry. Will not admit it.

A “natural disaster” once occurred every 100 years. Now, every year.

What I am about to share is a strange story. Strange because of its facts? My age? Or, a combination of both?

A transgender child involved. Parents divorced or in the process of being divorced. The child was labeled a boy when born. Father says he still is a boy. Mother says a girl.

The court being asked to be Solomon.

The child James. The mother claims he is a girl, identifies as one, calls him Luna, envisions hormone therapy and sex change at 8. The sex change will be accomplished by chemical castration. Between now and then, the mother is engaging James in social transitioning.

James goes to school. No one knows of the gender problem. He is a girl to all concerned. The father is barred from discussing the matter outside the court room.  Publicly, James must be addressed as a girl by the father in front of others.

The father says his son is perfectly comfortable with being a boy.

At the moment, the court has awarded temporary custody to the mother and requires the father to pay for all transgender therapy.

The transgender problem is a serious one. Three percent of the population are thought to be transgender. A significant number.

I don’t know if it is my age, upbringing, or what. I find the whole thing crazy. Especially castrating the boy at 8! And the mother promoting it!

James is not screwed up. The whole system is. Mother and the court especially.

Or, maybe it’s me.

The American dream. Once for real. Began after World War II. Get an education, a good paying job, marry, buy a home, educate your children, retire comfortably. Not so anymore. The reason being the wide discrepancy in growth involving incomes, rents, and house prices.

The numbers substantiate what most believe. Since 1960, incomes have risen 16 percent. Rents have gone up 72 percent. House prices 121 percent.

A society cannot survive unless it has a healthy middle class. Wages must go up, rents and house prices down. Each must meet somewhere. Hopefully, in the middle.

Is it possible? I don’t know. Our country is under a black cloud unless changes occur.

Another problem exists which could adversely affect our society. Result in changes. The immigrant problem. Especially how they are detained.

Americans will not tolerate physical and mental abuse of others.

Pence and a handful of Republican Senators visited 2 detention facilities on the border. One was in great shape. Large uncrowded rooms, air conditioning, cots, games being played, children watching animated movies and eating snacks.

Everything kumbaya!

Such I expected. Clean the place up before the inspection. Let Pence ask what the problem was. Question whether something was wrong with the Democrats, etc.

The other, horrible conditions! The worst!

Sweating, hot, no showers, smell of sweat and overcrowding, no room for cots, men sleeping on concrete floors under mylar blankets. This was the for real. Shown to make America aware it was happening because of the Democrats. Give me a break! Typical Republican cover their ass claims: Democrats won’t give us enough money!

The truth is simple. Trump does not care about these people. They are persons of color, a group he appears to not be particularly fond of. They are “immigrants.” Trump made them an issue during the campaign and he keeps pushing the issue. Cares not that he punishes the innocents while so doing.

Tomorrow could be a bad day. ICE is going to seek out some 2,000 immigrants who should have been deported long ago. Opposition groups have formed throughout the country. Purportedly, they will be in the 9 cities ICE will be working tomorrow to capture certain people.

I worry. Today, a protest. Tomorrow, a demonstration. Next on the agenda, physical conflict. It is inevitable.

One of the group “protecting” the immigrants tomorrow said, ” You have to come through us.”

Them’s fighting words!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

BARRY TOMORROW

Irma sticks with me. I am sure with all of us in the lower Keys.

Barry concerns me. I have been following it for several days. Tomorrow Barry makes landfall. Primarily, Louisiana. New Orleans right in the middle.

The experts say the levees will hold. Going to be close though. They can handle up to 20 feet of water. Barry is expected to rise to 19 feet. The comparison leaves no one comfortable.

Barry presently a hurricane. Category 1. Not expected to go higher. Still bad! Especially where flooding is a factor. No question there will be flooding. Many New Orleans streets began flooding 2 days ago from the heavy rains preceding Barry.

I have been up since 2 am. Couldn’t sleep. Comcast no help. TV not working. Computer down. Landline phone also. Till just after 9 this morning.

I hate Comcast! I should not be so heavy on them concerning this failure. After all, Comcast has provided excellent service the past 6 months. Six months without anything going down! Wow! Such a large company and its service record has been perfect all of six months!

Wonder of wonders!

Last night, my first some what normal evening since I was sick. I did the Chart Room and had a good time! Not drinking, of course.

The no booze is not easy. We do what we have to, however.

Tammy bartending. It was her birthday. Belated blog Happy Birthday! I wished you personally last night also.

Rich at the bar. Carrie the bartender at La Trattoria his wife. He was on his way out to meet her. She had a night off.

There was a boat captain at the other end of the bar. He had taken a couple out yesterday. The water rough.

The lady part of the couple was sunbathing nude. How nice! Till she got seasick. Then she was hanging over the back end of the boat.

I have been sea sick a few times. Death becomes your sole wish. The funny thing is once you are on shore, recovery comes quickly. Like in 10 minutes or less.

David came in. We chatted a while. Tammy joining in as much as she could.

David a beer drinker. A steady one. After a while, I hated him! He was getting happier with each bottle.

Tammy was in Colorado for the weekend. Morrison, Colorado. She went to visit a girl friend and attend a concert. The concert at the Red Rocks amphitheater.

The Avett brothers were performing. They had appeared at Key West’s new amphitheater a couple of months ago.

The amphitheater open air of course.

It rained. Heavy rain. To add to the discomfort, hailed also. Yup, Tammy got hailed on! Did not enjoy it.

She had to leave the amphitheater 3 times because of the rain and hail.

Fish will be fish. Not an old saying. I just made it up.

On this day in 1993, a female visitor from Tampa was on a rented houseboat. She was in the cabin. A barracuda suddenly leaped into the cabin.

She required 200 stitches.

People are losing faith in government. Except for Trump followers. They think Trump’s way of governing the end all!

Three examples from my perspective why the remaining American people are losing faith.

First, Trump himself. He is ruining the country. Placing us all in harm’s way.

Then there is the very recent federal court decision that found Trump was not violating the emolument clause of the Constitution. The decision basically determined a President can benefit financially from his private business without substantial checks and balances. At issue was the profit the Trump Hotel in Washington has been making.

Finally, engagements in Middle East waters that could spark World War III.

Many more examples. These three typical happenings.

Prepare yourself. I suspect Vice President Pence and a handful of Republican Senators are about to try making fools out of the American people.

They are flying to the border today. To inspect for themselves a detention center. Convinced the stories emanating from them re care being provided to adults and children are not correct.

Pence said they are going to counter “abuse claims.” He also said that the care being provided would “make the American people proud.”

What fools Pence thinks we are! It was announced he and his group will visit only one detention facility. I am sure it has been scrubbed clean and everything to be seen will portray the best available care.

Reminds me of the few times the Vietnamese permitted American reporters and the Red Cross to visit prisoner of war camps. Everything looked good for them also!

Pence is a religious fanatic. He worries me.

I shared an example a year or two ago. Pence was at a religious breakfast. He arrived first at his table. He sat. The second person to arrive was a woman. She sat.

Pence got up and walked away. He does not sit at a table alone with a woman not his wife.

Pancakes were part of the breakfast. Syrup containers on the table. The clear plastic bottle containing the syrup of a nude woman. He asked the waiter to remove it. He would not touch it. Later when Pence wanted syrup on his pancakes, he asked the waiter to pour it. Again he did not wish to touch the bottle.

The Middle East continues to warm up. I refer to what is occurring involving Iran. Happening in important international waterways. Those where huge tankers transfer oil.

The U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel on one side. Britain supporting the U.S. Iran supported by several Middle East countries. Iran being backed by Russia and China also.

How did we get into this predicament that could spark a world wide conflict? Many reasons. The most significant at this time is Trump throwing out the nuclear agreement with Iran and his imposing at will heavy onerous sanctions on Iran.

Manna from Heaven. How about money?

Yesterday on an Atlanta highway, an armored truck was traveling. A side door suddenly opened. Cash flew out! Loose bills!

About 15 cars pulled over to collect the cash and then drive off.

The police have issued a warning. Return the money or be arrested. Everything on video. Faces included. Plus license tag numbers.

Gotcha!

A police officer said, “We hate to be the Grunch who stole Christmas…..it’s pretty reasonable to suspect the money belongs to someone else.”

It’s a tough life! Can’t win for losing!

Enjoy your day!

VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE NO MORE

The last Volkswagen Beetle ran off the assembly line in Mexico yesterday. Volkswagen has been turning out its Beetles in Mexico for years.

Volkswagen has decided to stop making Beetles. Apparently the market no longer exists for the vehicle.

Sad though the occasion was, it was party time at the Mexican plant yesterday. Excellent food and drink. A confetti shower. A mariachi band playing and singing.

This is the second time Volkswagen has stopped producing the Beetle in recent years. Eleven years ago it said no more. Two years later Volkswagen began manufacturing them again.

That was 9 years ago. I bought one of the first manufactured. A 2010 Volkswagen Beetle convertible. It was not the run of the mill Beetle. It was a special model. Only 1500 were manufactured.

Over the years, I have learned that the first year of any car and the last make the vehicle extra special for sales purposes. Bring in top dollars. Sort of a windfall.

I purchased the convertible in anticipation of making a buck when I sold it. Volkswagen having stopped manufacturing makes the car worth even more.

Almost 10 years I have been driving the convertible. Only 44,000 miles on it. The car has only been some distance outside Key West on 2 occasions. In good shape. If I ever sell it, I’ll probably make the extra dollar.

The convertible my second Beetle. My first a 1969 Christmas present for my wife. Fire engine red. She came upon it Christmas morning in the drive way with a large bow around it.

She drove it for 10 years till it died. For real. She forgot to put oil in and the engine block split. Her next car a yellow Mercedes-Benz.

How the world turns!

The thing I recall most about the new Beetle purchased in 1969 was its cost. $1,900. Those days gone forever!

This morning’s Key West Citizen reports property values in Key West on the rise. I am not surprised. I believe they are the highest ever. More million dollar homes available at one time. Many priced in the several millions.

What goes up, must come down. No question. Inevitable.

I recall the 2008 crash. Home values dropped swiftly and dramatically. Some as much as 2/3’s.

Real estate values have risen 7.5 percent each of the past 2 years.

Keep in mind my admonition. What goes up, goes down. If anything, now is the time to sell. Not buy.

The Keys are in the middle of the turtle nesting season. Hatchings in the dark of every evening.

Many eggs will hatch. The problem is a very few will survive. One in 1,000 will survive to adulthood.

Barry ain’t Barry yet!

The Gulf storm soon to be a tropical storm. At that moment, the name will apply.

The storm is expected to grow to tropical intensity tomorrow morning. Then its name will officially be Barry.

Barry could also turn into a category 1 before it hits land.

Landfall is presently projected for Louisiana. Right up the Mississippi to New Orleans. If Barry turns a bit, it will hit hard the Mississippi shore line.

Landfall is expected sunday or early monday.

Irma was the Keys’ last hurricane. September 10, 2017. A day everyone in the Keys will remember.

Almost 2 years later, recovery work still not complete. Government long overdue with payments. FEMA slow as hell! Bureaucracy the problem.

It has been announced that FEMA will be paying $4 million for Irma cleanup work done almost 2 years ago. $3 million to Monroe County. One million to the State.

Both amounts to reimburse for debris removal.

Note that FEMA has “announced” the monies. I wonder how long it will take from this point to make the payments?

As indicated here and on my blog talk radio show, the Epstein probe will involve more than Jeffrey Epstein himself. Many prominent figures will be exposed.

The first names mentioned include Bill and Hillary Clinton. Does not mean actual involvement. Only means at this time they have been mentioned.

It is alleged that Epstein sent $3.5 million to a secret Swiss bank account in the name of the Clinton Foundation. The information based on a leak. The leak claimed to have been by  whistleblower.

Another interesting name. Prince Andrew. A teen girl claims she was forced to have sex with him on Epstein’s orgy island. She has so sworn in an affidavit. She also claims she saw President Clinton on the island. He has recently issued a statement that he was never there.

Disasters generally come a step at a time. Get worse with each step.

Car sales in India an example. Perhaps an example also of an impending world wide economic slow down.

India has been the 5th largest auto market in the world. Till this year. Sales have fallen off dramatically. Sales down 24 percent for June and 26 percent for May. The decline has been growing for over a year.

The decline has had ripple effects. Job losses and dealership closings the most obvious. Three hundred dealerships have closed already this year.

The car loan business has also been affected. Especially “shadow banks.” Shadow does not imply wrongdoing. Shadow banks are called such because they only make car loans. Do no other banking business. Shadow banking has been 40 percent of the auto financial market. No more. Down dramatically.

The “regular banks” are also taking a beating. They have been even before this problem. Regular banks over the years caused their own problems because of bad loans and banking scandals.

Do the drop of car sales in India and the end of the Volkswagen Beetle indicate a pending doom in the auto industry?

Trump has announced ICE raids will begin sunday. The raids to begin the deportation of “millions” of immigrants remaining illegally in the United States.

This is the third time Trump has announced a beginning date for the raids. Is he serious this time?

The raids were previously postponed because ICE and other immigration officials have told Trump they were neither ready nor prepared to handle the number of people involved, did not have sufficient detention quarters, not enough judges, etc.The first group to be collected will be 2,000. Covering 10 major cities. Babies and young children will be arrested also.

Two interesting considerations.

The law prohibits ICE from entering a home if the person(s) inside refuse(s) to open the door. The other involves the lack of proper warrants by ICE to make the arrests. It is claimed that ICE in the past has made visits and arrests without the benefit of a warrant signed by a judge. They flash warrants unsigned. Not permitted. The warrants must be signed.

Enjoy your day!

 

GOODNESS WILL RISE

An unusual occurrence last night. My blog talk radio show only went 15 minutes. Normally, a half hour show.

The company I operate the blog through keeps me advised time wise what is happening. End of the show especially. I receive a 60 second warning and then a 30 second one. I hear them. You do not.

Last night, I heard the 60-30 second warnings at the end of 15 instead of 30 minutes. Nothing I could do but sign off. I swiftly explained to my audience what was happening.

Only the second time this has occurred. The last time no one could tell me why. Sloan will check it out and see if there is a reason this time.

You might think I could use the unused material next week. Does not work that way. Material has to be fresh. most reportable events stale after a week.

During the past Presidential race, Trump assured the American people he would clean up the Washington swamp. He has failed to do so. If anything, the swamp is in worse condition. I would describe it at this time as a cesspool. Maybe even a toilet.

There is a saying that quality rises to the surface. So it does also with goodness. Goodness will overcome the pollutant which has become our national government and is best represented by Trump himself.

Occurrences everywhere. If you do not see them, you are blind. Abuses of all kinds. To children and women. Evangelicals having sold their souls to politics. A President whose greatest claim on the road to the Presidency was his success with women. A President who paid 2 women significant monies prior to his election to keep their mouths shut re his extra-marital activities.

Republicans for over a 100 years were the protectors of Christian values. Now fearful of offending the President, they quietly accept his malfeasances. The abuses heaped upon immigrant children. A President who shows no respect for anyone or group other than himself. A man who is delivering the U.S. into anarchy. The newest scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein could prove to be the biggest of all time. It will touch many. Perhaps even the White House.

So many things. The preceding a mere handful.

I hope the U.S. will survive. Goodness and character return. It is difficult for me to believe that 250 years of democratic government can be torn down by one man in 2 1/2 years.

Let us hope not.

Three times a year Mel Fisher Treasures sponsors a treasure search. The most recent one a search for emeralds.

Mel Fisher’s boat the Magruder still in service. The crew this time took interested persons to the underwater Emerald Island. It sits near the portion of the discovered Atocha.

Several Mel Fisher staff members join in the search.

A winner this year! Another Jean Thornton!

Megan McDowell is the public relations and marketing manager for Mel Fisher. She saw what appeared to be an emerald sitting among some rocks. She swam over and took it.

Turns out the emerald is relatively large. Like 2 carats. High quality. Value to be determined by experts.

Megan has a winner!

Lobster Mini Season will soon be upon us. Two days. July 24 and 25. Strictly for sport fisherman. Commercial boaters not permitted. The regular season runs from August 6 to March 31.

Fun time!

Recall all the boats going out in Shark to capture the denizen of the deep. That is how it is during the 2 day mini season. Hundreds of boats. Thousands of fishermen.

Barry not yet Barry. Close, however.

I mentioned yesterday that a tropical storm was brewing in the Gulf. Might turn into a hurricane. If it made tropical storm, the government would name it Barry.

The storm is still forming. Not yet at tropical level. Expected to be there tomorrow. So I will refer to it as Barry from this point forward.

Heavy rains, flooding and strong winds expected. Barry will hit somewhere along the Louisiana coast. If not, Mississippi. Could be the Mississippi and Florida’s Panhandle. Could be all three. Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

Nothing certain yet.

Rain will begin wednesday morning and continue through saturday. Much too much rain expected. Ten to twenty inches.

Barry hitting Florida’s Panhandle will be an additional hit for the area. It got beat up with Irma and Michael. Not recovered as yet. Only minimally.

On this date in 1821, the American flag was raised for the first time at St. Augustine and the Spanish flag lowered. The event marked the end of Spanish rule in Florida.

A bit of humor and an environmental disaster.

Jim Beam is killing tens of thousands of fish. Alcohol! Even marine life can suffer therefrom.

The fish did not become drunk, however.

Jim Beam has a facility for the making of its product in Versailles, Kentucky. Part of it is a large warehouse. Forty five thousand barrels stored in the warehouse.

A fire occurred. The 45,000 barrels were displaced and their contents flowed into a nearby river. The fish were contaminated by the alcohol. Not made drunk. Did not die from alcohol poisoning. Affected otherwise.

The fish cannot breathe due to the sugar in the alcohol. The sugar creates a microbe feeding frenzy in the water which reduces the water’s oxygen level and suffocates the fish.

The recent Jim Beam event not the first such. In 2000, a fire occurred at a nearby Old Turkey warehouse. Seventeen thousand barrels involved. Ten of thousands fish  killed.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BAD MOVE TRUMP TAKING ON COURTS

Trump the mighty one! So he thinks. Omnipotent. Boss of bosses. Rules the U.S. What he says goes.

He will meet his match this time. He is taking on the Court system. Supreme Court included.

This past month the Supreme Court decided the citizenship question. Whether it could be added to the census questionnaire. The Supreme Court said no. With one exception. The appellant must come up with a better rationale for adding the citizenship question.

No time to do so. Census questionnaire already to the printer without it. Justice told the Court that if the case was not decided favorably for Trump by July 1, there would be no time to get the questionnaire printed and out.

Yesterday, Trump decided that what he could not accomplish before the Supreme Court, he could do on his own by Executive Order. No way, Jose! Executive Order will not fly in this instance.

So bad is that which Trump did that the entire team of lawyers from the Justice Department that handled the case refused to represent the U.S. any further. A very very seldom heard move. An act of courage. A new team has yet to be announced. Trump’s people will come up one.

Attorney General Barr continues to ride Trump’s horse. He believes the administration can find a legal path to incorporate the question.

The Constitution makes Congress responsible for overseeing the change, not the President. Means nothing to Trump.

Trump could lose because of the preceding. However, I believe a court will not have to go that far. Trump is totaling ignoring a decision of the Supreme Court. The ink not even dried on the decision. Trump’s action is equivalent to Trump spitting in the face of the Supreme Court.

Trump’s action so flagrant that I doubt even his 2 conservative choices will support him.

My health  has been interfering with my play time. I have missed many Key West things I enjoy. For several weeks. One of them Dueling Bartenders.

Made it last night! Rick Dery singing.

No sooner was I in the door thnt he had a bottle of Beefeaters in hand and was pouring me a drink. I explained to him. Diet soda my drink of choice from now on.

Mary arrived. She drank her wine and smoked cigarettes.

The deprivation is getting more difficult to handle.

We stopped at La Trattoria afterwards for dinner. Carrie bartending. I ate the egg plant appetizer and drank 3 diet Pepsi’s.

Dinner over, I left Mary at the bar and went home. It was not even 8 o’clock. Mary was ready for more fun and I was not.

We are into hurricane season. Maybe one on the way. A long maybe.

A storm has developed over the Gulf. Right now wind and heavy rain. Still out over the Gulf. It is expected to reach shore in the middle and norther areas of Florida, as well as Louisiana and Georgia.

Could develop into a tropical storm. The experts say maybe a hurricane. Too early and too far out yet to make a determination.

If it becomes a tropical storm, it will be named Barry.

I have a degree of concern. Tropical storms/hurricanes are fickle. Never know what they are going to do.

All the charts save one show the storm hitting northern Florida and Gulf states as already described. The one not agreeing has the storm making a right turn and coming down over the Keys.

Could take through monday to actually know. Whatever the storm is and where will be known with precision tuesday when it is scheduled to hit land.

Ernest Hemingway in the news. While living in Key West, his good buddy was Joe Russell. Owner of Sloppy Joe’s. The 2 were out fishing in Cuban waters on Joe’s boat this day in 1933. Hemingway caught a large marlin. Twelve feet eight inches weighing 468 pounds.

By now the whole world knows the British ambassador to the U.S. reported to his superiors that Trump was ‘inept” among other things. Somehow the memos to British home office were leaked.

Trump is pissed. Says he will no longer do business with the Ambassador.

Our President is thin skinned. He fails to recall what is good for the goose is good for the gander. He calls everyone everywhere bad/insulting names. The world goes on. Nations and their representatives still work together.

Frank Bruni is the talented New York Times columnist. Always writes the truth.  A by the book guy.

He recently wrote a column about Ivanka Trump….. “Oh, If Only All Of Us Could Be Ivanka Trump.”

Bruni recognizes Ivanka does everything people of affluence do. Sunbathe in the Seychelles, ski in Aspen, ascend the Himalayas.

But, only Ivanka can do all that and be at the demilitarized zone, meet with Kim Jung Un, and return with a keepsake from North Korea.

Bruni describes Trump taking Ivanka to North Korea as a sort of “Take Our Daughters to Work Day.”

Husband Jared receives comment in the column also.

Bruni final column pointed and somewhat humorous: “They’re shamelessness made flesh. In Homer’s epic poems and in Greek mythology, no flaw rival’s hubris, but in the Family Trump it’s as non-negotiable as veneers. Pride isn’t what goeth before the fall. It’s what gets you to the inaugural ball.”

The pre-sale of body organs. Body organs valuable world wide. Each extremely expensive. Money not an issue when one is facing death. Assuming the person has money. Otherwise life ends for that individual.

Iran permits the sale of body organs in certain circumstances. One is  a prisoner sentenced to death. He can arrange to sell his body organs. Permission in writing given before execution. A sum paid for the organs when delivered. Family generally benefit.

Not a popular law among Iranian physicians. Iran’s Association of Surgeons strongly oppose the law. I suspect merely for public relations reasons.

The need for body organs desperate in Iran. In 2018, 2,500 were awaiting organ transplants. Only 926 were available.

A black market has developed. Poor Iranians advertise their willingness to sell a kidney for example. For $250.

Deutsche Bank having its problems. In recent years, they have been doing business with less than desirable persons. The Bank is economically in trouble. It announced friday that 18,000 employees were to be let go. Discharges had already begun in Asia.

The reason given for the discharges is “restructuring.” Even with the restructuring and loss of 18,000 jobs, Deutsche estimates a net loss of $8.3 billion by 2022.

Deutsche is world wide. It has offices in the U.S. One is located at 60 Wall Street in New York City.

Yesterday was monday. Yesterday the 60 Wall Street location had a revolving front door. People were being let go. It is estimated that for every 5 walking out, only one entered. Portraying a significant number of lay offs.

Today, tuesday. Tonight, Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Join me at 9 for a fast moving and interesting half hour. There is much to rant and rave about this week. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

HEMINGWAY IN CUBA

So many great writers. So many outstanding articles. Every now and then however a writing appears which is a step above the others.

SALON published on July 6, 2019 such an article. Titled: Searching for Ernest Hemingway in Cuba. The author: Andrew Feldman.

Whereas Hemingway spent 11 years in Key West, he lived in Cuba 21 years. His home Finca Vigia. A long bus ride outside of Havana.

Feldman spent 2 years researching in Cuba the book finally published. Ernesto: The Untold Story of Hemingway in Revolutionary Cuba. Feldman’s article in SALON can be found at https//www.salon.com/2019/07/06/searching-for-ernest-hemingway-in-cuba/.

I suggest you read at the very least the SALON article. A great piece!

A calm sunday yesterday.

Enjoyed a late breakfast at Harpoon Harry’s. Season over. Not crowded.

Then a walk around the waterfront.

The remainder of the day at home. A sport day.

First the championship game for the Women’s World Cup. Outstanding soccer. The USA team won 2-0.

In my young days, no one had even heard of soccer. Then as refuges and immigrants found our shores, the game started picking up. First on dirt fields with no line demarcation or anything. Followed by better improvised playing fields. Came a time when the popularity of the sport was growing. Schools began sponsoring soccer teams.

Today soccer has to rank as  a major sport in the USA. An example being the fact that the USA Women’s Team has won the world championship in 4 of the last 10 years.

Golf later in the afternoon. The final round of the 3M Open.

An unusual result. The winner Matthew Wolff. Twenty years old. His third pro tournament. He won with a 20 foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole.

A player to watch.

The history of Key West and the Keys in general is unending.

About 30 miles outside Key West is Little Torch Key. To help place it in perspective, the next Key after Little Torch is Big Pine.

Several miles off Little Torch Key on the Atlantic side is what is known today as Little Palm Island. One of the best and most expensive resorts in the world.

Little Palm Island took a big time beating with Irma. Completely destroyed. Still under repair. Actually, a rebuilding. Hopefully will be completed by year’s end.

Little Palm Island has had several names over the years. At one time, Munson Island. In the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s it was owned by John Spottswood. A prominent Democrat. He served as Sheriff and State Senator.

President Kennedy was visiting Key West to inspect the U.S.’s fortifications during the Cuban missile crisis. He was driving around Key West. Spottswood and the President sitting together in the back seat of a convertible.

The men knew each  other. They had previously met.

At the time, Hollywood was planning to film PT-109. Kennedy’s story when his boat was shot out from under him in World War II and the subsequent days he and his crew spent on a little island awaiting rescue.

A locale for the movie had not yet been selected. Spottswood suggested that Hollywood might enjoy making it on his island, Munson Island.

It came to pass. Munson Island is where PT-109 was filmed.

The Spottswood family continues to live in Key West. The father John Spottswood is long dead. His children now in their 50’s at least run things. Their business interests have expanded.

Good people. I especially know Robert and Elena Spottswood. The best.

Trump continues to not recognize the rule of law. Without it, the U.S. is nothing. He is in the census battle at the moment. The Supreme Court ruled against the Trump proposal a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, Trump is still pursuing it.

The Justice department lawyers who handled the case have been fired from it. A new set appointed. I assume the first group told the President the issue was dead and it would be wrong to pursue it further in view of the Supreme Court decision.

What Trump is doing in effect is mocking the Supreme Court and its decision. Trump fails to understand when the Supreme Court speaks, that’s it. At least for a substantial number of years.

Trump is going nowhere with the continuing litigation. Wasting time and money.

Putin is Trump’s friend. Trump would have us believe that Putin and Russia are our friends.

If such is the case, why did Russia’s state media make fun of Trump’s July 4 celebration?

The Russian media mocked the military equipment that was part of the parade. Out of date, they said. Correctly so. The tanks alone were put to rest in 1957. Russian media said the tanks were held together with “adhesive tape” and covered with “peeling paint.”

The parade itself was described as “low energy” and “weak.”

Some friends!

Following the Women’s Championship Soccer match yesterday, FOX News had a reporter in a Lyons, France sports bar. As the reporter began speaking on TV, someone shouted “Fuck Trump!” Everyone immediately joined in. “Fuck Trump!” loud and clear!

The man lacks respect in most parts of the world. Not the U.S. however. He continues to maintain that roughly 40 percent who follow him blindly.

Not healthy.

Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of minors in the news again. It will be for a long time to come. Don’t be surprised if many Democratic and Republican politicians are named who will have been involved peripherally.

I have not talked about robots in a while. They are back in the news.

Robots are increasingly being used in many areas. Replacing humans.

The newest area. Space travel. Our next bunch of space explorers will be robots. There will be no more Neil Armstrongs.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE GHOST OF MARY SURRATT

Key West has ghosts. Several observed with frequency.

Key West does not have an exclusive on ghosts. One comes to mind today. Her name Mary Surratt. On this day in 1865 Mary was hung in Washington, D.C. Executed. Her crime: An alleged conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Mary bears the distinction of having been the first woman executed by the U.S. government.

She was hung at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington. Today, the site of Fort McNair.

She went to her death wearing a long black dress. Hands and feet bound. Her head covered.

It is claimed that Mary still walks the grounds of Fort McNair. Children of soldiers stationed there claim they play with a “lady in black.” Others have seen her walking the grounds of the Fort.

There is an old wive’s tale that ghosts continue  to remain at a particular earthly place because of some unhappiness, some unfinished business. In Mary’s case it might be because her involvement with Lincoln’s assassination was questionable. She may have been innocent. Many thought her innocent. Others, the death penalty too harsh.

It was thought President Johnson would pardon her at the last moment or reduce her sentence to life in prison. Her morning scheduled hanging was held off till the afternoon in anticipation of one or the other. Neither came. She was hung.

Celebrated my 84th birthday last night with good friends Donna, Terri and Mary. Dinner at Tavern & Town.

Terri in great shape. Since she had the stent put in 2 weeks ago, she is full of energy.

When it came time to blow out the candle, my dear friends began singing Happy Birthday. Soon Terri’s voice overwhelmed them. She sings magnificently! Happy birthday like you have never heard it.

The dining room cheered her when she was done.

As we were walking out following dinner, we passed Bobby Nesbitt who was performing in the bar area. He shouted out…..Louis Petrone, Happy Birthday! He started to sing Happy Birthday. Terri joined in. At the end, the bar gave Terri another great hand.

My personal thanks to all who e-mailed and telephoned yesterday. It made me feel good.

Key West’s old City Hall sits on Greene Street. Still used for such things as community meetings. A new City Hall was opened on White Street 2 years ago. A lovely building!

KONK Life ran a photo of a Key West City Hall on Greene Street which was dedicated July 4, 1876. Sort of looks like, could be, the old City Hall still standing on Greene Street. I say maybe because it does not look like the 1876 one. Then again hard to tell. Throw a couple of small additions on a building and a staircase and it could be the same one.

Mario Sanchez is one of Key West’s famous people. An artist. He did bas relief carvings. Then painted over them in vibrant colors.

KONK Life ran another photo this morning. One of Sanchez working in his “studio” on July 7, 1962. The studio unique. In the shade outside under trees.

Cary Grant made Operation Petticoat in Key West. While here, he purchased 4 of Sanchez’s pieces. When Grant later made That Touch of Mink, the Sanchez works Grant had purchased could be seen in the film.

Sanchez’s wood paintings outstanding. Relatively small. At one point in Sanchez’s career, they were selling for $50,000 a piece.

I fear the California earthquakes of the past 2 days will be with us for another month. Experts are predicting up to 10 more. Some aftershocks, some actually new quakes. Anyone could be above the 7.1 on the rector scale recorded yesterday.

Yesterday’s quake is being described as the worst in 20 years.

Twenty years ago, my dear friend Bob Marks was working in the San Francisco area when the quake hit. He telephoned me 3 days after. He still could not get home. In order to do so, he had to cross the San-Francisco-Oakland Bridge. Big. The top section of the bridge had collapsed. Would take forever to fix. Access to the other side not yet worked out.

The earthquake a big one. Rector Scale reported 6.9. Sixty seven people killed. Thousands injured. Five billion dollars in property damage.

The ultimate cost to rebuild the bridge $6.4 billion. It is claimed the new suspension spa will withstand the strongest earthquakes that may occur in the next 1,500 years.

Hope we don’t find out the estimate is incorrect.

I thought today would be a day without Trump. Not to be.

This morning’s news report comments made by British Ambassador Kim Darroch about Trump. The comments are in memos sent to the British Foreign Commonwealth. Somehow released and verified to be so contained.

Remarks made were between 2017 and now.

Observations like “inept” and “incompetent.” “Uniquely dysfunctional.” U.S. government “divided.”

Re collusion between the Trump election team and Russia: “The worst cannot be ruled out.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUIS

Today is my birthday. Eighty four years old.

Never thought about getting this old. The years move swiftly. All of a sudden, you are there!

The years get shorter, also. There was a time when a year took a long time to pass. No more. They add up rapidly now. Too fast.

The body ages, not the mind. At least in my case.

My body has been having problems since my early 70’s. That’s the way it is. Things start breaking down. The body is like a car. The older it gets, the more problems it has. You hope when a problem occurs, it is fixable. Lately every time I get sick I wonder if this is the one that will not be.

The mind is amazing! Mine is still 35 years old, except as to wisdom. I have heard many times during my life wisdom comes with age. No question about it. I am mentally sharper today than ever before. I also know more. New things are learned every year. They add up.

Tonight, Donna and Terri are taking me to Tavern and Town to celebrate. We will have fun. Terri will rock the place when a cake is presented. She will sing Happy Birthday in her loud magnificent voice.

Lisa and family are out of town. Taking Robert to tennis camp somewhere in mid Florida. He will be there a whole week. Robert may be tomorrow’s Roger Federer.

Earthquakes. California getting hit bad. Two in 2 days. The first a 6.4. The one last night 7.1.

I have experienced 4. Number 3 was Acapulco. Thought it was the worst till the one I experienced about 10 years ago in Italy. I thought the walls were going to collapse on me.

I was staying at Anna’s apartment in Novara, outside of Milan.

Anna’s apartment magnificent. A 10,000 square foot apartment. For real! The building was old. Constructed around 1500 A.D. The outside had been redone giving the impression the building was new.

The apartments were not. Remained as they were in 1500. Why 10,000 square feet, I cannot tell you. Covered 2 floors.

The rooms beautiful. High ceilings and windows. Frescos covering the ceilings.

I was in Anna’s office writing my blog. All of a sudden the building shook. Walls moved. Chandeliers swung. Books fell off shelves. Pictures off walls.

An earthquake. Not a quicky as most are. It kept coming.

I sat there waiting for the walls to collapse. Saying to myself, I don’t believe this. Anna went crazy. She was running around screaming.

The earthquake occurred about 100 miles away. TV later showed buildings down big time. Damage similar to that from a hurricane. Some buildings down in Novara. Actually not much damage. The shock the worst. I can only imagine what it was at the actual place it occurred.

I don’t recall the rector scale number. Probably never heard it. The media in Italian. My Italian not good enough to comprehend.

About 2 hours after the initial shock, the first aftershock hit. As bad as the earthquake itself. I thought what a fun trip this is going to be.

Minor aftershocks continued for 3 days.

Italians handled the earthquake well. Anna called her friends and had a huge earthquake party that evening. I enjoyed!

Last night, the Chart Room first. David was there. We chatted a while.

The Hemingway Look-A-Like contest about 10 days away. One of the contestants came in. White beard and all. This would be his 26th competition. He felt confident he would win this year.

Not drinking bothered me. David was knocking down the beers. The Hemingway look alike hard liquor. Louis, diet soda.

Suddenly, I had to get out. I could not take it any longer. Everyone was happy, laughing, getting boisterous and having a good time. I was sitting quietly, disenchanted with everything going on. I was not part of what was going on.

Stopped at La Trattoria for dinner. Carrie bartending.

Holly was having dinner at the bar also. I had not seen her in years. Holly is part of the Gerber baby food family. They sold years ago. Everyone has seen Holly’s picture over the years. The baby on the Gerber label.

Enjoy your day!