BARTENDER JOHN…..CITIZEN OF THE DAY

I mention John Holster often. The Chart Room bartender. Top notch bartender. Knows how to handle and entertain customers.

My friend.

John has been honored! By the Key West Citizen. He is Citizen of the Day. His picture and a few lines below appear at the bottom of today’s edition at page 3.

Congratulations, John!

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. It was for me yesterday. Laziness permeated my being till I left the house at 6.

Drove to Hot Dog Church. Not for services. Much too late. To meet Donna and Terri. They were the only patrons left at the Back Door. Laurie bartending and chatting with them.

I like Laurie. A straight forward no bullshit person.

I was about 2 hours late. My laziness the blame.

We had a couple of drinks and Donna, Terri and I headed out to dinner. Hogfish.

Sometimes I enjoy hogfish, sometimes not. Yesterday was a day I did. The hogfish outstanding! My guess is the quality of a hogfish meal depends on who is cooking.

Here it was the middle of the summer and Hogfish was packed. Occasionally, some had a brief wait for a table.

Hemingway Days begin this week. A big time!

Hemingway Days is a clean healthy event. Partying up and down Duval. The crowd a different breed.

I look forward to some of the activities. Especially the Run of the Bulls and the Hemingway Look Alike Contest.

Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea was published in 1952. Inspiration for parts and characters primarily from Cuba, Key West and San Francisco.

The fisherman Santiago  had many thoughts and some conversation with Manolin re his hero Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio suffered trials and tribulations as Santiago had. In the end, he accomplished great things.

For Santiago who had not caught a fish in more than 80 days, it was to catch the big one.

DiMaggio was Santiago’s inspiration.

Some believe that Hemingway drew on DiMaggio’s father for the character Santiago. Very few. If true, it would be because DiMaggio’s father was a Sicilian fisherman before immigrating to the United States and continued for a period of time to be a fisherman in the San Francisco Bay area.

Another writing giant who lived in Key West was Tennessee Williams. On this day in 1975, Anthony Quinn met with Williams in Key West. Quinn a fine actor. His greatness still a few years away.

Williams had written the play The Red Devil Battery Sign. Quinn starred in it. The play did not go over well. Closed on Broadway after one week.

Quinn was visiting Williams to see if the play could be revived. The play subsequently was in Vancouver and London. Though not with Quinn in the starring role and only a bit more success than had been achieved in New York.

Interestingly, Pierce Brosnan, then a young actor, starred in the leading role in the London revival.

Poor Venezuela!

I have been following Venezuela and its President Nicholas Maduro for four years. Ever since Maduro took office and Venezuela ran out of toilet paper within one year. Four years later and Venezuela still does not have an adequate supply of toilet paper. High infation, no jobs and no food, also.

I consistently ask why the Venezuelan people do not revolt. Yesterday, an informal referendum was held. Note the word informal. The vote had no binding effect.

Maduro wanted a new constitution. One which would guarantee his remaining in office. More than 7 million voted against Maduro’s plan. An overwhelming vote.

Will anything come of the result? Time will tell. However, I doubt it. For some reason, the people are reluctant/afraid to put guns, sticks and stones in their hands and attack the palace.

Enjoy your day!

BOCCE PARTY

I joined the Sons and Daughters of Italy last year. Actually, a reinstatement. I had been a member years earlier in Utica.

Glad I did! The Key West group are at the top of the fun list. Everyone friendly. Typical Key west, but more so.

The summer is dead. Why not have a party! And so it was last night. A bocce party.

A good crowd. Most had never held a bocce ball before. All anxious to learn. Prior to actually playing, dinner. Pizza, beer, wine and soda.

I did not play. Probably never will again. Amazing! I had to retire from bocce in my old age.

I participated. Sat with players and made suggestions, gave advice. Quietly and non offensively.

Allan Wimer. Loquacious, charming, humorous, considerate, a gentleman. The worst thing he could be accused off is that he left Key West. Transplanted himself to Naples.

Wimer a Facebook aficionado, also. We are FB friends. Came across an Amazing Stuff video he reran: If methadone is free to addicts because they have a disease…..Why is chemo not free for cancer patients?

Allan one smart man!

Some of us forget. Some of us are not even aware. There were times when certain diseases were horrendous. Killed or debilitated many yearly. Cures discovered. The diseases plagued us no more.

In days long gone by, Key West had its share of such diseases. The Key West Citizen in its Today in Key West History section made note of some over the past two days.

On July 16, 1887, the Marine Hospital reported 282 cases of yellow fever. Sixty three resulting in death.

A year later on July 16, 1898, the Army hospital reported a U.S. Army private had died of tuberculosis.

Finally on this day in 1954, 35 cases of polio had been reported for the year to date.

God bless medical research!

As one gets older, time remaining occasionally enter’s one’s thoughts. I know being 82.

Clive Cussler commented on the time issue in The Solomon Curse…..Time is a thief. It steals our memory, our hopes, and our strength, leaving only the sense there’s never enough of it.

The June 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump, Jr. The number in the room is now 8. Amazing how it grows almost day by day.

Truth a winner. A lack of it most always a guarantee of losing.

Again I revert to the saying of old…..Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

DALE AND KENDRA

 

Blog late this morning. 11:30 and just starting. Slept late, laid around in bed.

I had an exceptionally good time last night. My activities limited to the Chart Room and Antonia’s.

Old and new faces at the Chart Room.

Met Dale and Kendra. Great people! From  near Allentown, Pennsylvania. They have been visiting Key West every year for 10 years.

Both school teachers. Dale, a high school history teacher. Kendra teaches elementary school.

Parents of twins! A boy and girl. Now 5 1/2 years old.

This was a special meeting. For them and me. Dale has been reading my blog since 2010. Seven years!

He and Kendra have visited the Chart Room each trip during that time looking to meet up with me. Finally, last night.

We chatted a while. I enjoyed my time with them tremendously. Good people.

Jean Thornton! Last night, finally! She has been back several days and we have been missing each other. Jean’s sister was with her. Two exciting women.

These are Mel Fisher Days. Jean is back in Key West for the annual celebration.

Some 15 years ago, Jean went diving with Mel Fisher. Pushed herself on him. Took her a year for him to finally agree to take her diving. Fisher had already found $400 million in Atocha gold and emeralds.

Jean discovered some gold coins and emeralds herself that day. Would you believe! Quit her school teaching job and bought a condo in Truman Annex. Since that time, she spends at least six months a year in Key West.

Love her dearly!

Enjoyed a lengthy political discussion. With two Trump supporters. Interesting. We rarely agreed. Friends at the start and we were still friends at the end of the conversation.

One was Kevin. Kevin is a regular at the Chart Room. Owns a home on White Street. I knew he leaned conservative from prior discussions. Learned he leaned farther than I thought last night.

The other was Gordon Anderson. Gordon owns the Larian Motel in Tombstone, Arizona. Proud of it. Number one for two consecutive years on Trip Advisor.

Gordon visits Key West twice a year. A huge Mel Fisher aficionado. Took the tour yesterday of the Fisher lab. Learned how stones, jewels, coins and other artifacts are preserved. Excited him.

Today, the Mel Fisher Schooner Wharf Party. He and Kevin were making plans to attend.

The politics were good. Kevin and Gordon’s views generally diametrically opposed to mine. They enjoyed, also. We chatted back and forth.

Covered a multitude of sins. The Second Amendment. Both extremely knowledgeable about gun rights. Both conceal carry. Legal in Florida and Arizona. Kevin had me feel his gun which he carried in the back of his pants covered by his shirt. First time I was aware he carried.

They viewed Trump as the new Messiah (my description). Echoed the Republican speaking points. To the letter. Media responsible for the negatives heaped on Trump, everything is Obama’s fault. Both felt that if Trump were impeached, the people would rise up. Not tolerate it.

We have a problem. Our country is split 50/50. Both sides dug in. I do not ever recall politics this hard fixed.

The Chart Room crowded. John working hard.

Tom Cochran was a bartender back in the days when the Chart Room began and Jimmy Buffett was starting. The Chart Room’s bartender.

I have never met him. He was standing at the end of the bar. Tall. Cowboy hat. Tourists listening to him in awe as he described Jimmy Buffett’s beginnings, etc.

Never got to talk with him. The crowd surrounding him too tight. Hopefully, another time.

Time to eat. Opted for Antonia’s. Place packed. Fortunate to get a seat at the bar. TK bartending. I have known TK better than 20 years. Still looks as young as when I met him. He attributes it to botox.

Met Mike Grasso who was seated next to me. In advertising. Philadelphia. MCG Media LLC. His shop.

Knowledgeable. If I recall correctly, he owns or has a piece of Back Page.

We spoke of Philadelphia, Rittenhouse Square and David Wolkowsky. Exchanged growing up Italian stories.

Mike left. Replaced by Roddy and Clarisse. They had been seated a few seats away. Could tell I was a lawyer. Sat next to me for desert.

Both attorneys. Young compared to me. But then, everyone is. Married four years. Roddy a civil litigator in Orlando. Clarisse an immigration specialist in Miami. They have homes in Orlando and Miami.

We did lawyer talk.

Enjoyed them! The world their oyster. I wish them well.

As I was paying my bill preparatory to leaving, in walked John Marston. A Key West attorney and friend. He introduced me to his lady. A beauty! Great smile! I had never met her before. I am ashamed to admit I cannot recall her name.

Finally, home to bed.

Tonight, party time. I joined the Sons and Daughters of Italy last year. Love the members! Fun people!

A bocce party. Pizza, beer and wine. Good company and simple food and drink. Nothing better.

Enjoy your day!

 

ONLY IN THE CHART ROOM

I frequently write or say…..Only in Key West! Last night it was only in the Chart Room!

Great people. All interesting.

During the course of the evening, Jessica appeared. I mentioned Jessica a few days ago. The lovely 40ish woman who came into the Chart Room.

I was in the process of leaving. Jessica mentioned to the bar her husband had returned home that day. She was staying a week to have fun. The intimation sex.

Fine. Strange. Her business only. Why share.

Jessica reappeared last night. Stood at the end of the bar and said, “I’m buying for the bar. Shots.”

She then proceeded to tell us she was in a hurry. Someone was coming to her room. No intimation this time. Sex!

A meretricious relationship awaited her. The term a throwback to my lawyering days.

With that, Jessica was off.

Her total time in the Chart Room all of two minutes. Time enough to buy for the bar and announce what was next on her agenda.

An efficient use of time. Hope she was not as time efficient when she returned to her room.

The others at the bar were not revealing with regard to later evening intentions.

Met some nice people. No misunderstanding. Jessica was nice, too.

Sitting next to me was Jeff Wear. Got a boat education. Jeff is involved in boat sales in West Palm Beach. Mariner Marine. Specialize in Grady-White boats. Better described as elegant outboard powerboats.

He and wife Michelle have a 37 foot Grady-White that they frequently power to Key West for a weekend. The boat last night was at the Galleon.

Jeff once was a Keys resident. Lived 5 years in Islamorada.

Interesting. Jeff and Michelle live in Stuart and work in West Palm. A fun area. Yet they find Key West more appealing for get away weekends. The flavor of Key West difficult to find elsewhere.

Mike and Amy were seated on the other side of me. From western Massachusetts. They have visited Key West many times. The first time for their honeymoon.

At the other end of the bar were Mark and Kim from Connecticut. Their fourth visit. Mark builds computer boards.

John enjoyed himself while bartending. It was a fun evening.

I had not eaten. Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town on the way home. The Tavern’s new 9-11 happy hour terrific. Since it is late, I eat less.

The cost can’t be beat. Fried calamari, bread and two drinks. $18. I feel ashamed every time I pay the bill after a late evening there.

Spent yesterday afternoon reworking Growing Up Italian. Some day, I will finish the book.

This Trump meeting of a year ago involving Donald Jr. gets stranger by the day. Seems hard for young Donald to tell the truth.

We were informed yesterday there was a fifth person in the room. A Russian-American lobbyist who once was a member of Russia’s military and counter-intelligence.

A few minutes ago on MSNBC, I heard announced that one of Jr.’s attorneys called in and said their was a sixth person in the room. Sounds like a joke telephone call. By the end of the day, we will know if the message was genuine.

I do not mean to insult Donald Trump, Jr. by referring to him as Jr. Fewer letters to type.

A day or two ago, his father referred to him as a good kid. Probably is. He is neither Jr. nor kid, however. He is 10 days younger than the French President.

Got to hurry. A haircut appointment.

Enjoy your day!

 

INSTINCT AND LIGHT OF THE MOON

Turtle hatchling time.

The eggs sit beneath the sand. They start breaking up. Tiny turtles struggle out of their shells and upwards to the air. The ocean their goal. The moon their guiding light. Instinct and the moon light their way to the ocean and new home.

Salute’s sits on Higgs Beach. Sunday night the restaurant was full. All of a sudden someone ran in and shouted the turtles are hatching. Every one left their tables and ran out to watch. One hundred five baby turtles came up out of the sand.

A fine article re the occasion in this morning’s Key West Citizen.

An interesting observation in the Citizen. The female hatchlings will return in 25 years to dig their own holes with their back flippers to bury their eggs.

Nature is wonderful! Wish hurricanes were as predictable.

My yesterday began with a brief walk in the new neighborhood. Walked before the sun was up. The humidity a killer even though dark. Worse when the heat of the sun joins it.

My manicure/pedicure appointment at 1.

Tammy still in Vietnam. With the two children. Visiting the family. Ricky left home to watch the business.

Nina has been doing my nails in Tammy’s absence. A lovely person.

Nina a stunning woman. Beautiful. A slim body. The face of an angel.

Twenty three. Arrived in Key West from Moldova only 9 months ago. Did not speak English. I thought her fluent. She thinks not. Modest.

Moldova is a small East European country. Part of the old Soviet Union. Population 3.5 million. A poor country.

Nina studied journalism for three years in college in Moldova. Did not finish. Took no English courses. She learned how to do nails in Moldova.

Loves the United States! Her new home. Has no desire to return to Moldova, except to visit family. Her sister is marrying next year and she plans to return for the event.

As to my nails, she does an excellent job! Has my wants down to a science. Short, round and buffed. She has strong hands. Resulting in great hand and foot massages.

Welcome to America, Nina! May your every dream be fulfilled.

Mel Fisher Days begin today. Run through saturday.

Today’s featured event a day time laboratory tour. The Private Conservation Laboratory. Special. The lab is generally off limits.

Hurry and make an appointment. The tours are limited to 8 persons and last 45 minutes. Each tour was sold out last year.

William Hackley mentions today the death of two persons. Died on separate days. Each buried around 5-6 on the day of death.

Why buried same day? I assume because of the heat. If another reason, let me know.

Remember government of the people, by the people, for the people? It is slipping away. Becoming more and more government of the rich and influential.

A perfect example is what has been reported in the media this morning. Involves Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A Southerner. A bigot and racist from a 100 years ago. A person who believes he and his ilk can do what they want when they want.

Sessions has had a memory problem re his visits with Russians. In order to qualify for the Attorney General position, Sessions had to file a form listing his Russian meetings.

Some believe he was less than truthful in his responses recently before a Congressional Committee. A Federal Court order was obtained requiring the Justice Department to release within 30 days the form listing Sessions’ contacts with the Russian government.

The 30 days ended yesterday. The Justice Department failed to turn over the required document.

Note Sessions as Attorney General is the head of the Justice Department.

Guaranteed Sessions is going to get his ass reamed before this matter is over. You don’t screw with a Federal Judge.

Enjoy your day!

WHAT’S A LITTLE GLOBAL WARMING?

The block of iceberg that has been threatening to split from its much larger piece for years has finally done so. In the Antarctic.

Six thousand square kilometers. I tried to transfer the number into miles. I could not, even after googling the problem. The best description as to size is that it is half the size of Wales.

The block took 10 years to finally split off.

The immediate concern is that the iceberg will float into the North Atlantic and become a hazard to shipping. Long term,  contributing to rising ocean levels as it melts.

Worked on my podcast yesterday afternoon. Fine tuned it for presentation last night on Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Two particularly interesting topics concerned the Trump family and Somali-Sudan immigration into Europe.

Lying seems to run in the Trump family. Sad. The fruit does not fall far from the tree. The children grew up in their father’s shadow. They learned from him. Many things learned not nice.

We have seen the disaster which arose from Syrians fleeing their country. Hordes of immigrants. Europe overwhelmed.

It’s coming again. This time from Africa. Somali and Sudan. Projected it will be in the millions over the next five years. Many more persons than escaped Syria. War, famine, etc. the reasons.

Snuck out for a quick dinner at Hogfish before the show. Enjoyed pieces of battered fried fish.

Hogfish quiet. Off season obvious. Bar only half full.

Drinking water from the sea. A dream of man for years. Came to fruition in a small way this date in 1966 in the Keys. On Stock Island. Construction began. A desalinization plant. Perhaps the largest in the world at the time.

The plant was dedicated in 1967. A big deal. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended.

The plant converted seawater to fresh water. 2.62 million gallons per day. The plant was considered a marvel of technology. Now under supervision of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, the plant is being expanded to produce 4 million gallons a day.

I do not like war profiteers nor do I like private armies. The United States has been engaged with both for years.

The privatizing of a portion of our wars began in big style under Bush 2. He did not want the citizens of the U.S. seeing large numbers of death bags nor did he want the people of the U.S. to know the true number of war dead and wounded.

Privateers are a world unto themselves. They hire, pay and train those willing to serve. To fight and die, to provide peripheral services.

Obama used privatized servicemen also.

Trump may. Probably will.

It was announced July 10 that Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner had met with the CEO’s of Blackwater and DynCorp International. The largest private army owners in the world. To discuss hiring the companies to aid U.S. in war planning.

“War planning” bothered me. What are our generals for?

These companies make money by contracting out personnel to fight. No wars, no profit. No need for the private contractors.

Trump’s concern is the Afghanistan War now in its 16th year. Trump has been indicating an increase in troops is required.

Since Trump wants to privatize everything, it is not surprising he had Bannon and Kushner sit down with these guys.

Not healthy. Not a money saver. Does not provide for direct U.S. supervision. It is like operating in a black hole. No one knows what is going on, except for the war profiteers themselves.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

TOLSTOY’S WAR AND PEACE

A quiet soft-peddling day yesterday. Only time out of the house was for a walk in the morning.

Spent time working on tonight’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Intended to go to Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. Changed my mind. Instead remained home and watched a movie I last saw 61 years ago in 1956.

The move to a new home brought with it new Comcast equipment. One item, the remote control. Appears to have access to everything.

One thing that excites me is I now speak to change channels. No clicking anything. Only problem is you have to know what you want to see. Either channel name or whatever name.

One of the whatevers is a movie selected by name.

I was playing around with the remote around 5. A learning process.

In 1956, I was a junior in college. I took several Russian history courses. One required a reading of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and thereafter a paper analyzing the novel. The paper 25 percent of the final grade.

War and Peace an opus. The paperback version 1,440 pages.

I was working two jobs at the time. Six to 10 hours a day, depending on the day. Taking 18 hours. Something had to give.

I cheated. Not the usual type cheating. Cheating never the less.

The War and Peace movie had just come out. About 3.5 hours. The movie long as was the book. I went to see the movie.

Then to the library. Read a very brief synopsis and several lengthy comments.

Made notes along the way.

The time finally arrived. The paper had to be written. Sat down at my portable Smith-Corona and went to work. My recollection is the paper was about 12 pages single spaced. Redid it twice to get everything right.

I received a B+ on the paper.

I was proud and did not feel guilty.

I enjoyed the movie War and Peace last night. I had only seen it that one time in 1956. The new remote and Comcast programming permitted it.

The reason I was never able to watch it on TV over the years was it never ran. Available today as a pay film. Only $3.99.

War and Peace involves a Russian family and Napoleon’s ill fated attack of Russia in 1812. The theme song especially enchanting.

I consider War and Peace the second best Russian film I have seen. The other, Dr. Zhivago. Never read Zhivago. However, it never required reading in any course I took.

Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. have a propensity to lie. Must be an asset in the construction business. Not otherwise in life.

Lying always leads to trouble. The lies have to be expanded. Each to explain the previous.

Re lying, Abraham Lincoln and Mark twain said it well.

Lincoln said, “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”

Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

As I used to tell juries in summation in cases where I had caught a witness in a significant lie: Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

I am a bit of a hypocrite this morning. I criticize the Trumps for lying when I cheated on a paper. Not comparable. However, both immoral.

Podcast time tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Topics include the cost of housing and the dying middle class, Venezuela currency collapse, proposed U.S. Space Corps, Bernie Sanders’ wife getting unfairly beaten up.

Also, my thoughts re FBI nominee Christopher Wray, millions in the process of fleeing Somalia and Sudan for Europe, the capture of the golf course crocodile, and Hemingway Days.

Interesting material. A fast moving half hour. Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

BRICEN, MACARIO THE MONKEY, LAKOTA THE LION, AND HERMAN……CHATHAM VILLAGE BEARS

 

I met the parents of the Chatham Village Bears last night. Art and George. Designers and producers of tiny animals. Cute little ones. Like Brien, Macario the Monkey, Lakota the Lion, and Herman. Plus hundreds more. Too many to mention.

Art and George are Key Westers. Many years. They started making these soft furry animals. The animals caught on. Their business now world wide.

I met Art and George last week at Hot Dog Church. Art missed services this week. I arrived near the end to meet Donna and Terri. We had planned to have dinner together. George at the bar.

We invited George to join us. He called his husband Art. The five of us enjoyed a fun filled dinner at Antonia’s.

Take a look at  George and Art’s website. www.chathamvillagebears.com. You will be impressed. I ordered Macario the Monkey to sit on the corner of my desk. I need company.

Laurie was bartending for the Church at Aqua’s Back Bar. A personality! Originally from France.

I complain about traffic. Bicycles, also. Key West has become overburdened with people and machines.

A perfect example is what was reported in Citizens’ Voice this morning. Someone had driven to Fort Zach Beach. Had to go through “customs.”  The toll booth. Twenty three cars ahead of him.

The worst I have ever been is number 3 in line, with no one behind me.

The topic yesterday on Key West Lou Live, my Facebook video, were wedding cookies. I can only take so many days of talking about Trump.

The Wall Street Journal’s weekend addition had a front page article about wedding cookies. They have superceded the wedding cake and in many instances replaced the wedding cake.

A recent Youngstown, Ohio wedding had 500 invited guests. Eighteen thousand cookies consisting of 150 varieties served. No wedding cake.

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It was to be read to the people from the steps of Independence Hall. Printed copies were to be handed out.

The reading and distribution of copies had to wait till July 8. The printer could not get them out earlier.

On this day in 1925, the Monkey trial began. Also known as the Scopes trial. Evolution the issue. William Jennings Bryan for the People. Clarence Darrow for the Defense.

I wrote a lengthy article re the trial several years ago for KONK Life. The trial was a fraud. A phony. Perverted American history till recently.

The community involved was a small Tennessee town called Dayton. Business was poor. The city fathers decided something dramatic had to occur to correct the situation.

They decided on a trial involving a matter of national interest.

Evolution was much discussed back then. Whether man evolved from God or beast. It was against Tennessee law to teach evolution evolved from anyone other than God.

The city fathers convinced a young school teacher John Thomas Scopes to say he had taught evolution in his classes. Man evolved from animal.

The community leaders, the judge and Scopes were all part of the chicanery. No one else knew.

The trial did get national attention. The attorneys on both sides were unaware of the fraud being perpetrated and fought like hell in the court room. So much so, that William Jennings Bryan died five days after the trail.

Paris’ birthday this year will find the City more than 2,000 years old. Somewhere between 2,066 and 2, 267 years old. The actual date of its founding uncertain. 250 BC generally utilized. Historians acknowledge the uncertainty.

Enjoy your day!

LAZY GECKO…..SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN, ADIEU

Today, the last for Lazy Gecko. It closes at the end of business this evening. I give the Gecko a Sound of Music goodbye. Well deserved.

The Gecko has been part of the Park Ave. 200 block of Duval for many years. Seated between Sloppy Joe’s and Irish Kevin’s.

Word on the street is someone bought the building Gecko is in and raised the rent. Beyond what Gecko proprietors thought they could pay.

The number I hear is $30,000 a month.

High, but not high in comparison to rents of other lower end Duval properties.

Word on the street also suggest Irish Kevin’s got a kick up in the rent. To $65,000 a month. Irish Kevin’s is significantly larger than the Gecko and does a much bigger business each night than the Gecko.

There is a party tomorrow night at the Gecko for its regular customers. A going away event.

Gecko’s demise sad. Life, however.

My new neighbor is gone, also. The golf course crocodile.

The croc was a she. Nine feet long, 200 pounds. Caught in the middle of the night after a four hour struggle. The croc was taken somewhere up the Keys and released.

She was caught at her home at the 11th hole pond.

The crocodile had traveled a bit. In the less than the month’s time she lived at the pond, she had also been sighted on Stock Island and Key Haven. Key Haven my former residence.

Stopped at the Chart Room first last night. Who calls out Lou? My political adversary/friend from the other evening. Paul. The fellow from Indiana who lives in Mike Pence’s district and knows him. The same Paul who got excited while talking in support of Trump.

The guy is my friend! No question. We talked long last night. No politics. Met his wife Kim. A honey. Typical midwest. Warm and friendly.

Pete came in for a beer. We started talking. Age came into the discussion. I advised him I had just turned 82. He told me he was 76. Looked exceptionally great for his age.

Pete has been in Key West since the 1970s.

He still works. A civilian employee for the federal government. Said he had to. He has a 14 year old son to educate. Born of his fourth marriage.

I laughed, he laughed. It is funny when you think about it.

I admired his desire to make sure his last child’s education was totally paid by him. He had done it for his other children.

I told him I understood. I educated my four children. One hundred cents on the dollar. I did not want them to struggle financially through school as I had.

The one hundred cents on the dollar included a car and spring break vacations. I frequently thumbed. Spring break? What was that?

Near the time I was getting ready to leave, Jessica walked in. A Miss America type! Actually, Mrs. America. Around 40. Lives near Los Angeles.

I was in a hurry to eat. It was 9 and I had not had anything since breakfast. The growling in my stomach took precedence over Jessica.

My destination was Tavern ‘n Town. They have a new Happy Hour from 9-11. Tapas and drinks half price.

Last night was my fourth visit.

I like the late Happy Hour. A tapas, two drinks and a light bill. $18.

Can’t go wrong.

I made an error in yesterday’s blog. Mentioned Mel Fisher Days was ending today. Not so. Mel Fisher Days has not yet begun. It starts next thursday and runs through saturday. The event commemorates Fisher’s discovery of the Atocha.

This weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting article front page. Cookie tables at wedding have  become larger and more common.

I recall cookie tables at the weddings of my children. Their mother, the family and friends baked for weeks in preparation for the cookie table. I was unaware that it had now grown into a big time expensive item for what the Journal described as “modern weddings.”

The article reported a recent wedding in Youngstown, Ohio where 18,000 cookies consisting of 150 varieties were served.

Enjoy your sunday!

 

 

 

BIRTHDAY CONTINUED

My birthday continued into last night. Donna and Terri invited me to dinner. I did not realize they were going to do Happy Birthday.

I was greeted with Happy Birthday as I arrived. Imagine Terri’s crescendo! Drinks followed by a home cooked meal by gourmet chef Donna.

After dinner, Happy Birthday cake. Unexpected. Home baked brownies topped with whip cream. And two candles: One an 8, the other a 2.

Happy Birthday sung again!

Gift, a bottle of Beefeaters.

Received an e-mail from Joseph. Biblical. He thanked me for letting him participate in the “Feast of my Nativity.”

Joseph is 69. Ailing from a back surgery more than a year ago. Not perfect yet.

Joseph is 69. Short and thin. A white beard and mustache. Needs a cane. His cane is a rod. A six foot wood pole.

I refer to Joseph as John the Baptist since he began using the pole.

I spent yesterday doing nothing. Laid around all day. I was beat! Moving and unpacking had taken its toll. Shot!

My new neighborhood is a delight to behold. Cute single family homes. Greenery everywhere. Trees arching over the roadway.

Decided I would try to walk again. The peaceful surroundings called out to me.

I walked this morning. Early. Out of bed, into shorts and sneaks. Before I said, screw it!

The walk delightful. Once around a block. All of 10 minutes. I am starting off slow. Want to succeed this time.

Three popular Key West events on going or imminent.

Mel Fisher Days began thursday and end today. The event is to commemorate Fisher’s discovery of the Spanish galleon Atocha.

Mango Fest next saturday July 15. Bayview Park. All kinds of activities and mango foods. Sponsored by the Key West Police Athletic League. The League supports and participates in all kinds of children’s activities.

Finally, one of the best. Hemingway Days! Ten days of Hemingway fun beginning July 18. Including the Running of the Bulls, the Hemingway Look Alike Contest, and Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway Birthday Party.

The things I learn from William Hackley’s life. His diary for this day in 1856 records Hackley paying the rent on his Key West home. Paid for six months with a $450 Treasury warrant. Works out to $75 a month.

Can’t rent anything for $75 a month anymore! Hackley’s rent today would be at least $3,000 a month.

Hemingway. One of Key West’s most famous citizens.

On this day in 1918, Hemingway was 18. World War I three years old. The United States not yet in the war.

Hemingway wanted to participate. He joined the American Red Cross and was stationed in northern Italy as an ambulance driver.

While serving on the front, a mortar shell went off near him. Hemingway was seriously injured. Spent quite a while in the hospital because of shrapnel wounds. One leg especially beat up.

During his hospital stay, he fell in love with a nurse. A serious romance. After he returned home and was arranging for her to follow him, his loved dumped him for a lieutenant of royal lineage.

While living in Key West, Hemingway worked on his manuscript A Farewell to Arms and had the book published.

The book  reflected on northern Italy during World War I, the experiences of a Red Cross ambulance driver, his love affair with a nurse, and the tragic ending of the love affair. The nurse love died in the book.

Hemingway’s actual war time life experiences formed the basis for his first best selling novel.

In 1962, the movie PT-109 was filmed on Munson Island in the Keys. Pt-109 was the war time story of John Kennedy and his heroic experience following the sinking of PT-109.

A lot of local background.

Munson Island was owned at the time by Sheriff John M. Spottswood. Subsequently to become a Florida State Senator.

Kennedy was visiting Key West if my memory proves correct for a meeting with Great Britain’s Prime Minister MacMillan. Spottswood was close to Kennedy. He suggested a good place to shot the movie was Munson Island which he owned. Munson Island became the place.

Munson Island today is Little Palm Island.

Spottswood had five children. He was the patriarch of the family. A Key West icon. His children all successful today and respected community leaders. I only know one. Robert and his wife, Elena. Two fine people.

Cliff Robertson played Kennedy in the movie.

I met Robertson 12 or more years ago at the Mel Fisher Museum. The Museum was kicking off a national fund raising campaign. Robertson was honorary chairman.

The good looking young vital man of PT-109  days was now aged. Never the less, dapperly dressed and sharp of wit.

A Trump observation. He is out of his class at the G20 meeting in Hamburg. In over his head. Especially with Putin.

Enjoy your day!