CASA ANTIGUA / KEY WEST ROOM ESCAPE

The Casa Antigua is an integral part of Key West history.

One of Key West’s first built hotels. In 1919. By Benjamin Trevor and George Morris. Constructed with bricks from Fort Zachary Taylor and a building torn down at the time across the street. The Casa Antigua located at the corner of Simonton Street and Rose Lane.

The facility was named the Trev-Mor Hotel. On the first floor was a Ford distributorship also called the Trev-Mor.

Ernest Hemingway is primarily responsible for the building’s historical notoriety.  He and wife Pauline arrived from Paris. they were on their way to New York. Intended to drive. Pauline’s uncle had bought them a new Ford which they were to pick up at the Trev-Mor distributorship.

The car was not waiting for the Hemingways. Late in arriving. They were told it would be there in two days. Ernest and Pauline put into the Trev-Mor Hotel to await its arrival.

Two days turned into ten before the car arrived. In those ten days, Hemingway discovered Key West. He fell in love with Key West. Remained ten years.

During the time, he wrote A Farewell to Arms.

There are other stories concerning the Casa Antigua. They remain for another day to tell. Except for the most recent one.

A new Key West attraction opened two weeks ago on the first floor. The Key West Room Escape. Sound’s like a fun place!

Sort of a search and find items of Key West historical significance.

Teams of up to eight customers are locked in a room. The room filled with all kinds of objects. The team has sixty minutes to find a hidden item. Like the missing page of a manuscript.

Clues are given. An announcer behind a window gives hot and cold clues.

The cost is $35 for an adult and $25 for 16 and under.

Sounds like a fun place. My game plan is to take Robert and Ally.

Did a late Hot Dog Church yesterday afternoon. The Back Door empty, except for Donna, Terri and Laurie. Spent a couple of humorous hours before returning home.

I continue to run tired. Kept to home basically the past few days. See the heart doctor at 5 today for the results of last week’s tests.

The semblance of a storm forming in the Gulf 50 miles off Tampa. Not a hurricane. Right now a tropical depression. Result of low pressure. Not expected to become a big deal.

There will be big time rain today and tomorrow however as a result. Winds will not be of consequence.

Appears hurricane season as a practical matter is around the corner.

East Martello Fort is going to get a $2 million repair job. Money coming from grants.

East Martello is a Civil War Fort. Built by the Union to help in warding off Confederacy ships. The Confederacy ships never arrived.

One hundred fifty five years old. Time again for a touch up.

Two strange events of a similar nature occurred in 1975.

On this date, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared. On September 9, Key West Fire Chief and convicted drug dealer Bum Farto disappeared. Both swiftly swept off by third parties never to be seen again.

Farto’s disappearance left Key West with a famous saying. On tee shirts, in the media and conversation: Bum Farto Where Are You?

Multi-talented Terri White coming over later to change a shower fixture and put together a new desk chair for me. The benefits of having a lesbian wife.

Enjoy your day!

 

VENEZUELA’S DESCENT INTO HELL

Nicolas Maduro has been President of Venezuela for four years. His Presidency a steady decline to the gates of Hell. First no toilet paper. Then no food. Finally, pets and zoo animals eaten. Along the way, people disappearing or killed.

Today, Venezuela stands at those gates. It is election day. A special election day. Maduro wants to replace Venezuela’s National Assembly and adopt a new Constitution. The new National Assembly will be composed of persons nominated by Maduro. The new Constitution will give him the powers of a dictator.

I have written about Venezuela the four years Maduro has been President. I was intrigued when the nation ran out of toilet paper.

It has bothered me the people never revolted. They protest in huge numbers. In recent weeks, a handful have clashed with Maduro supporters.

Turns out Cuba is behind it all. Yes, our tiny neighbor 90 miles to the south. Cuba is responsible for everything that has been happening in Venezuela.

Cuba is the power. It controls the levers of power. The government and those who support it.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote an excellent opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal’s July 17, 2017 edition. Titled: How Cuba Runs Venezuela.

Cuba has been trying for 50 years to sow its ideological revolution in South America. Concerning Venezuela, it has succeeded.

Cuba needs Venezuela to transport Colombian cocaine to the United States and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan oil.

Cuba has established a Soviet type hold on Venezuela. Working in Venezuela are 50 high ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers, and 34,000 doctors and health professionals who are there to defend Cuba’s tyranny with arms if necessary.

Thousands of other Cubans hold high level Venezuelan government positions.

The Cubans have toilet paper and eat well.

Similar to Soviet oversight, each Venezuelan military commander has a civilian minder. A person who watches every turn and reports to higher ups any deviation from expected conduct.

I find it amazing how relatively silent the American media has been over the years re Cuba’s influence.

Today’s election is most important. I fear Maduro and his followers will win. Nothing good can come from the victory for the Venezuelan people and the rest of the world.

Last week when Trump lifted our new relationship with Cuba, I thought he was succumbing to that small group of Cubans who had to flee Cuba fifty and more years ago and now reside in Miami. A poor reason I thought.

Now, I wonder if Trump was motivated to show the world he stood against the evils imposed by Cuba upon Venezuela.

Regardless, the Monroe Doctrine has been forgotten.

Yesterday was Saturday. It became my Sunday. My lazy day.

I never left the house. Read, wrote, napped and watched TV.

Hackley’s journal has suggested, at least to me, that Hackley used slaves. Not as an owner. He rented them.

Further indication of Hackley as a lessee is found in his entry of this date in 1856. Hackley speaks of his cook Black Matilda. It was yellow fever time. He wrote she had “some fever and pains in the head.”

Hackley got Black Matilda out of the house immediately. Delivered her to someone else to worry about.

Some generally unaware history concerning Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West to this day loves Harry Truman.

On this date in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. He did so at the Truman Library in Independence. Truman was still alive and attended.

Why the Truman Library and in Truman’s presence?

Truman was the first President to propose national health insurance. Congress opposed. He could never get it passed.

Johnson further paid tribute to Truman by enrolling Truman as Medicare’s first beneficiary.

Enjoy your Sunday!

HEMINGWAY RECALLED

The past few hours have been Hemingway time! Hemingway time recalled.

I stayed in last night. I was tired. Watched TV. Hit a gold vein! Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. The 1943 movie starring Gary Cooper.

Woke at 4 this morning unable to sleep. Turned on TV. The gold vein had not run out. Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms playing. The 1932 movie starring Gary Cooper.

I believe A Farewell To Arms was Hemingway at his best.

More Hemingway.

Hemingway frequented Sloppy Joe’s. He and Joe were best of friends. Hemingway started drinking at Sloppy Joe’s when it was located on Green Street.

Late in the evening on this day in 1935, Joe moved his business to its present location on Duval. Hemingway helped him move. Carried tables and bar stools. Took the ceramic urinals home. Those urinals today are hooked up to the water system and supply the cats who make their home at the Hemingway House on Whitehead.

A special morning weather wise. Absolutely no breeze. Water calm. Like a mirror. Sky blue. No white clouds. There is a taste/smell in the air. Of spring, not summer. Interesting since the past two weeks have been humid and I have been describing it as summer time having arrived.

Lunched at Waterfront Restaurant yesterday. Business poor. Few customers. I ate at the bar. Was not crazy about my lunch. First time I have felt that way. I am concerned for the viability of this generally fine Key West restaurant. I wish the proprietors good luck. They have big dollars invested.

Road construction in the area did not help. Lower Caroline and the huge parking lot being repaired at the same time. What idiot in City Hall made that decision?

Big race saturday morning! The Zero K Race. Course is the length of Cow Key Bridge. Three hundred feet. 1,500 runners expected. Many dressed as cows. Record time 23.1 seconds. Some will be out to beat it.

This week’s KONK Life column is titled When education Fails, A Nation Fails. It is on the stands. Also linked to my Key West Lou website this morning. .keywestlou.com.

Navy Seal commandos have returned. They are training in Key West harbor waters.

Merle Haggard died. A country music icon. He had 38 #1 country hits.

When we think of the American Revolution, it is of the land battles. Concord, Lexington, New York, Trenton, and Saratoga are recalled. Rarely do we hear of the naval battles.

Today is significant in the annals of naval battles at the time. On this day in 1776, there was a second Lexington battle. The U.S. warship Lexington defeated and captured the British warship Edward off the coast of Virginia. A big win for our new country.

Part of Key West folklore/history is Count Carl Von Cosel. His lady love Elena Hoyos died. He stole her body. Kept her in a bed for several years while treating her in every possible way to make her appear alive.

An attempt is now being made to memorialize the event. The Morbid Anatomy Museum is located in Brooklyn. Ronni Thomas is a filmmaker in residence and director of the film.

Funds are being raised to produce the film. $50,000 the goal. Thus far $5,550 raised. Deadline for the fund raising is April 26.

Von Cosel’s a Key West bred story.

Take a look at the website re the film. An historical document. Interesting. http://bit.ly/voncosel.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

MISS KEY WEST 1940

Another magnificent morning! The beauty shines as bright as the sun. Blue sky, blue waters. Mangoes and palm trees reflecting the sun.

Who could ask for anything more?

There has to be one happy woman this morning in Key West. Ninety year old Gloria June Suarez White. She grew up at 617 Grinnell St. In 1940, at the age of 15, she was Miss Key West 1940. This morning’s Key West Citizen has a picture of the lovely 1940 beauty queen. I wish they had run a picture of Gloria in her 90 year old glory, also.

I spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. It publishes wednesday. The Selling of America. The story of how political contributions rule America. Guaranteed enjoyable reading.

Tavern ‘n Town for dinner in the evening. Interesting reading and interesting people.

I was glancing through the Key West Weekly. A couple of great lines/thoughts. Like Trump…..It’s his hair! Another …..You might be a Bubba if…..You’ve been kicked out of Don’s Place for a dress code violation.

I had the good fortune to sit next to James “Jim” Wallis and friend Arlene. The conversation was interesting. Jim lives on Torch Key. He works at Little Palm Island. A great place to be employed!

Jim once ran for President. President of the United States. I could not understand how. Write in, whatever. He got two votes. Good for him! He is probably the only living former Presidential candidate living in the Keys.

Yesterday was Battle of the Bars. A local charity fundraiser. In its 22nd year. Bartenders do all kinds of crazy competitive things. Like racing each other with a tray of drinks. Cannot lose a drink!

Battle of the Bars is a Schooner Wharf centered event. The best place for it! Last year’s winners both of the event and the bragging rights that go with it was the Half Shell Raw Bar.

Unfortunately, I missed the event yesterday. I did not plan my time properly. Getting this week’s KONK Life column out took precedence.

Monroe County is considering using tax money for affordable housing. As I consistently hold, Key West businesses should pay higher wages. You can’t pay a mortgage on $10 or $12 an hour. The hotel and tourist businesses have had five consecutive good years. Spread the wealth a bit! Leave tax dollars out of the equation.

Those who have been here a while can remember. The Copa Nightclub. Burned down in a fire this day in 1995. Rebuilt, though not as the Copa of old. A similar business has never made it in the same location. The magic went down with the fire.

Hemingway finished writing A Farewell To Arms while living in Key West. I enjoy old movies. During the night, I had difficulty sleeping. Flipped on the TV set. There was A Farewell To Arms staring Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones.

Hemingway and his A Farewell To Arms characters spent much time at Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore sits between Italy and Switzerland. The row boat escape took place on Lake Maggiore.

I have been fortunate to have visited Lake Maggiore several times. Beautiful old Italian towns. Obviously once a high end place to vacation. Still is. The hotels are old, though well kept. I drank in Hemingway’s favorite hotel/bar. Like going to Church!

Enjoy your day!

PHYSIOTHERAPY ENDS

Let the drums roar! I am done with physiotherapy!

I went because I was falling. My doctor said I needed balance sessions. I disagreed, but went. The doctor was correct.

I only attended 3-4 weeks. Twice a week. Grueling! Hard! Knocked me on my ass! I was exhausted when I was done each day.

Hopefully, it worked. I was told yesterday that I now have an 8 percent chance of falling. As opposed to 20 percent when I started.

The physio worked on my core. That is the lower part of one’s stomach. Had to strengthen my core. The physio included a how to climb stairs program also. I thought it a joke when I started. No joke! It has made me very conscious that I am climbing stairs when I do so. I now concentrate on each step. Sounds foolish, I know. But we forget as we age.

Now, we shall see. Hopefully no more falls.

I did the physiotherapy at Body Owners on Stock Island. I was pleased. The group is very professional, attentive and knowledgeable.

Part of my session included 20 minutes on a treadmill. Not the usual type. It is called an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Cool! Lowers your body weight as you walk on the treadmill. In my case, made me feel 50 pounds lighter. Ergo, I did not tire easily.

To describe the machine is difficult. You wear some kind of big shorts. The shorts and a large box you are in are blown up with air. The air lifts your body a bit. The reason why you feel lighter as you walk.

I am taken by the machine. Today, I start a three day a week program just using the treadmill. Thirty minutes each time. This is not part of the physiotherapy program I just concluded. I hope it will make me stronger and get my body in better shape.

Spent a couple of hours yesterday fine tuning last night’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. My police/black discussion garnered the most interest. I said today police/black, tomorrow black/white. The  black economy a motivating factor. The scenario could be upon us as soon as this summer. Hope I am wrong.

This week’s KONK Life column hits the stands today. 99 44/100 % Pure. The story of Ivory soap. Very interesting. Even has sex thrown in. A change of pace article for me. Thought it was time for something light.

I read somewhere this morning that the poppy fields in Afghanistan  experienced the highest production level in 2014. Afghanistan is the world’s largest supplier of opium and heroin.

I make mention because of something that came to my attention about three months ago. I discussed it briefly on my blog talk radio show at the time.

We all now the devastation the war has wrought on Afghanistan. Destruction everywhere. But one place. The poppy fields. Not one poppy field has been damaged in the fighting.

A message here?

Let me close with Hemingway and Truman.

I watched A Farewell to Arms on television last night. The second time in two weeks. Much of the story takes place in northern Italy near the Swiss border. One of the locations is Lake Maggiore. Scenes of Lake Maggiore frequently appear in the movie.

I have been to Maggiore several times. A beautiful place. The lake has several islands. One I visited for dinner in a quaint small Italian bistro. I thought at the time and do now how lucky I have been to enjoy Lake Maggiore. It is a God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world place.

Came across an interesting statement by Truman. I share it with you.

“My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference. I, for one, believe the piano player job to be much more honorable than current politicians.”

Enjoy your day!

HEMINGWAY’S SPAIN

It is impossible to think of Key West and not Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway spent ten years in Key West. During that time, he did all the things people do when on the island. Drank, partied and fished. He also completed writing A Farewell To Arms.

Hemingway’s grandson Michael Hemingway was in Valencia, Spain yesterday. He met one of his grandfather’s closest friends, Francisco “Canito” Cana. Cana was a bullfight photographer during his Hemingway days.

Cana shared many stories with Michael. Especially, the “…..feasts and binges.” He told him of Pamplona and the running of the bulls. How he and Hemingway would eat a huge dinner the night before with much wine. The next day, they would watch the running of the bulls. Followed by coffee in the Plaza Castillo.

Cana added that Hemingway loved Spain, their drinking sprees, the wine they guzzled, and the flask of vodka he always carried.

First it was Syracuse, my Syracuse. Today it is Manhattan, my Manhattan. My poor Jaspers!

Not a basketball year for me.

Manhattan lost in the first game of the NCAA tournament. Manhattan had to play its way in. Had they won, the prize was playing Kentucky next.

Manhattan lost to Hampton College 74-64. Surprising since Manhattan was an 8.5 point favorite. Also, Manhattan’s record was 19-13. Whereas, Hampton’s 16-17.

Such is life! There is always next year!

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. A part of Duval Street was closed off. The area jam packed. Most wearing green and drinking glass after glass of green beer. Everyone on a Duval crawl!

An interesting factual correction re  St. Patrick. He did not drive the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland was too cold for snakes. St. Patrick did drive the idol worshiping Druid religion out as part of his Christianizing most of Ireland. Over the years, the Druids being driven out has transformed into the snake story.

Netanyahu won. Surprising. You cannot always trust the polls. Query: How will this affect Iran’s thoughts re a nuclear agreement? Iran may now fear Israel and use that reason for not entering into a deal with the United States. It is assumed Israel has nuclear bombs.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I spent half the show discussing Tom Cotton. The new kid on the block as I described him. A far right tea party type. Also, a neocon. Backed by big money and powerful people. Beware was my message. The man is being groomed for a Presidential run at some point.

This week’s KONK Life publishes today. My column is the Making of a Star. The Tom Cotton story. Read it. A guaranteed eye opener.

I am sick and tired hearing about Hillary’s e-mails. A red herring going nowhere. When are these idiots going to start discussing things like jobs and income inequality?

Nancy Robinson is a Key West icon. A lady. Known to everyone in Key West. Mother of Martha Robinson.

Nancy has been sick. She is still sick. In and out of the hospital. Now home. Definitely not well. Say a prayer for her.

Enjoy your day!