My undergraduate school was Manhattan College. Over the past few years, Jack Kelly and I have run into each other at the Chart Room. Jack a Manhattan grad also. A bit younger than me. He graduated in 1968. I, 1957.

The Manhattan College thing provided instant bonding.

Jack once had a home on Cudjoe Key. Long gone. In recent years, he has been taking a week here and there to visit Key West.

Jack was at the Chart Room last night. Always good to see him. We talked a bit about Manhattan and some of the grads. One or two we both know. Then Jack surprised me. He is returning to Key West full time.

Jack is buying a home in Bayview. He is also in the process of closing on three restaurants. That’s returning big time!

One is the former Finnegan’s Wake. Last operated for several days as Backspace. Jack will be reopening it as Cayheuso. A tapas place.

Another is World of Beer. Near Sloppy Joe’s. Jack plans on naming the new establishment Jack Kelly’s Citizen. Such vanity! Not really. Turns out the location was the first home of the Key West Citizen.

The third place is on Front Street. Across from Two Guys. Not Island Dogs. Next door to Island Dogs. An empty two story commercial building.

The name of the new enterprise escapes me. Its purpose not. Jack intends it to be family friendly. In addition to food, etc., the restaurant will provide all kinds of games for the kiddies to busy themselves with. Even the parents.

Jack is retired Air Force. He presently lives in Washington, DC. He remains active with the Arnold Air Society.

Welcome back, Jack! Good luck!

Jack and I hung together for a few hours at the Chart Room. While there, I met Devin Callahan. A snow bird. He is in Key West frequently. Surprising we had not met before.

Then Wilk and Erin. Their second visit to Key West. Hail from Spring Lake, NJ. My cousin Lois had a summer home there and I frequently visited. A high rent district.

Wilk liked my watch. He kept looking at it and commenting. He has one similar to mine. The watch is nothing fancy. A SWATCH. I bought it at an airport kiosk in Athens three years ago.

I learned something about the watch. It is water proof. Never knew. He says he showers and everything with it on. Showed me on the back where it says Water-Resistant.

We got into Lobsterfest. Wilk and Erin are enjoying the event. He did mention however he was shocked when they had to pay $15 each for two broiled lobsters on the street. He initially thought the price out of line. So did I when he mentioned it. However after tasting and enjoying the lobsters, he said they were well worth it.

The high point of the conversation was when Wilk told me he was a Mercedes technician. Joy of joys! I bought a Mercedes 420 SEL new in 1987. Kept it 27 years before selling. In mint condition. Only 124,000 miles. Never driven in winter the last 20 years. Everything original and in good shape.

I took care of the Mercedes. Probably because it was the first expensive car I ever bought. Paid $54,000 cash in ’87. A lot of money for a car back then. A lot of money period!

Lobsterfest by the way appears to be a gigantic success this year. Makes me happy. Lots of kids. A family event.

Met Tyler and Sandy. Celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! They are from Cherry Hills, NJ. It was a New Jersey evening.

Tyler is in real estate. Sandy a distributor for Wegmans. Sandy was surprised I knew of Wegmans. Not a southern supermarket. I explained I originally am from upstate New York. Ergo, know Wegmans.

Jack, Tyler, Sandy and I ended up having a late dinner at Michael’s. Great food! Enjoyed the veal chop. The dinner conversation enjoyable. Humorous on occasion. Jack, Tyler and Sandy good company.

The lovely Suzette bartending.

A long day ahead for me. I will be writing this week’s KONK Life column. The research is complete. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway and Agnes von Kurkowsky. Their love story. Agnes was Hemingway’s nurse when he was recovering from war wounds. Agnes is Catherine Barkley in A Farewell To Arms.

There is more to the story than most know. I will be tracing the impact of their love affair into the 1960s.

Enjoy your Sunday!



On this day in 1815, the Battle of Waterloo was fought. Napoleon was defeated. His prominence ended.

Most historians credit the English and allied forces under the Duke Wellington for having defeated him. Others give credit to the Prussian army which entered the fray later in the day when the winner was yet to be decided.

Napoleon was a military genius. Not at Waterloo, however. Why? Why did he lose?  Did something other than the battle itself contribute to his defeat?

Napoleon suffered from hemorrhoids. They were bothering him big time the night before the battle. He was also suffering that evening from a bladder infection. He took a dose of opium to relieve the pain and help him sleep.

Napoleon slept well. He woke late. He had difficulty mounting his horse. He had to be helped. He did not arrive at the battlefield till around one o’clock in the afternoon. By that time the forces against him had made strategic moves and were in a better place to counter Napoleon’s moves.

Napoleon had the habit of riding around a battlefield while the fighting was going on. Personal reconnaissance. He could not that day. The hemorrhoids.

The pain/discomfort was intense. Napoleon took more opium.

The battle was a close one till late in the day. Whether the English or Prussians, the battle was won by the allied forces late in the day.

Historians rarely comment on Napoleon’s physical condition and medication on  the day of the battle. Nor the effect the pain and opium had on him.

In his incapacitated condition, Napoleon was defeated later in the day. I suspect he would have not lost were it not for the hemorrhoids and opium.

My yesterday began at Body Owners on Stock Island. The anti-gravity treadmill.

Then to my heart doctor, Dr. McIvor. To get the results of all the tests I had taken the past few days. A relief! Everything is ok. Nothing has changed. I have two aortic valve problems and was concerned there might be a problem with one of them.

While there, he complimented me on how thin I was. Was I still dieting? No, I was exercising. I explained the anti-gravity treadmill to him. I was singing to the choir. He has purchased one for his expanded offices. Soon his patients with bad hearts will be able to exercise without stress.

I am turned on by the treadmill. It made me feel better that he was going to use it with certain of his patients. Those who needed to exercise.  Starting slowly. I do not go slow, however. I move!

Last night, the Chart Room. Sheila and Emily holding court. And Liverpool Mike. I refer to him as Liverpool Mike because that is from whence he comes. Liverpool, England.

Mike recalled me from last year. Embarrassingly, I did not recall him.

Mike vacations once a year in Key West. This trip for two weeks.

He is a hospitality consultant. Arranges new restaurants and bars.

I mentioned to him last week’s KONK Life article re Portugal and drugs. I told him my research indicated that Great Britain was considering legalizing all drugs as Portugal had done. No way, he said. The big fight at the moment is reducing marijuana use from a felony to a misdemeanor. There is no talk of legalization.

I am sure Mike and I will share a drink or two together again during his visit.

Peter, aka Captain Peter, aka British Peter, is visiting from his present home in Oregon. Good to see him! Peter is special.

Che is under the weather. Peter is considering extending his visit to help Che get back on his feet.

One human family!

Word on the street is that Backspace closed. I mentioned Backspace several blogs ago. I went for dinner. Was not impressed. It appears I was correct.

There is a new Starbucks on the corner of Front and Duval. I love coffee houses! I went to give it a look.

The coffee aroma hits you as you walk in the door. Pleasantly. Adds to your desire to have a cup. The place is beautifully done. One negative. No table and chairs. It’s a buy and carry out.

It will succeed never the less. The new Starbucks will be patronized primarily by tourists. It’s location in the middle of heavy tourist activity.

Dinner at Hot Tin Roof. Quiet. Off season obvious. Had dinner at the bar. Diana normally a table waitress. Last night behind the bar. A lovely and charming person.

Jenna telephoned me yesterday. Let’s go out friday night. I said yes, of course.

Enjoy your day!



My time in Paradise being infringed upon. Too many doctor visits. Guess it goes with the turf. Turf referring to the aging process.

I had a scheduled heart doctor appointment at 9 in the morning. Blood work and an echo test. To be followed up tuesday with a CAT scan.

Then immediately to my primary care physician. My sciatica came back late the night before. Pain! Though better yesterday morning. Not bad enough for a steroid shot. I am on 800 milligrams of Ibuprofen 3 xs a day. Works well. Pain has become almost non-existent.

I had an 11:30 hair appointment with Lori. Had an hour to kill. Skipped breakfast because of the blood work. Stopped at Cuban Coffee Queen for a Cuban cheese toast and Cuban coffee.

Distinguished myself at Cuban Coffee Queen. Knocked over my large coffee. Made a real mess. Table top and floor. The staff was nice about it. Moved me to another table and replenished my coffee free.

Then to some pleasant time with Lori. She just returned from a houseboat trip in Utah. A grand canyon type trip. Told me all about it.

I read somewhere that Backspace had become a writers hangout. I was anxious to meet some writers. I know only a few. There are many in Key West.

Backspace is the new restaurant that replaced Finnegan’s Wake.

A magnificent remodeling job! Does not look like Finnegan’s inside at all. Everything opened up. A large bar and restaurant. The restaurant opens to the outside in back for dining also.

I was not thrilled.

There was next to no one. I asked Ben the bartender if writers met there. He did not know what I was talking about. Menu prices staggering. Hot Tin Roof prices. I was in a constant battle with the little ants running around on the bar. One I had to pick out of my food. Received two bites on my right arm while there.

Too much staff for not enough customers. No one in authority to oversee things.

I did not want to spend $30 plus for an entre. My stomach wanted a bit more than one of the $15 appetizers. The cheapest entre was a cheeseburger, which I ordered. $15.

There is a locals discount.

The cheeseburger was outstanding! For real! Great taste!

Would I try it again? Yes. Probably order an appetizer. I think it is worthy of another try. The place only recently opened. I consider last night Backspace’s shakedown cruise.

Two escapees in upstate New York still on the loose. The female employee who apparently fell in love with one of them in trouble. Jail time trouble. People in the area concerned for their safety.

Some 3o odd years ago, then Governor Mario Cuomo wanted to help the upstate economy. He had jails built all over. Several in the Utica area. In a place called Marcy. A suburb of Utica.

Everyone was thrilled. Jobs! Good jobs! The thrill died when David Berkowitz was sent to the psychiatric center that was part of the complex. Berkowitz was a notorious serial killer. Also known as Son of Sam.

The locals were up in arms! Suppose he escapes? He should not be there. He is a danger to us.

The State transferred Berkowitz after two months.

Anna takes the train to Milan frequently. Especially now that the World’s Fair is there. The train ride to the Fair twenty minutes. Yesterday, an event occurred on the train that Anna takes. One that makes several round trips a day. Fortunately, Anna was not on the train.

A group of 4-6 black men became upset with the ticket inspector. One of them jumped up, took out a machete and chopped the guy’s arm off. Left it barely hanging. Then turned around and sliced the machete into another train employee’s head.

The men are on the loose. They have been described as Central Americans. No one is certain yet.

The train company said it would not operate any more trains unless the government provided soldiers for protection. It took less than 24 hours for Army soldiers to start riding the trains.

The ticket inspector’s arm was reattached during surgery. Both injured men on the critical list.

I take the same train when in Novara. I love going to Milan. A cosmopolitan city.

I recall a few years ago being on the train. Returning from Milan. There were eight black men sitting nearby. Dressed strangely. Sort of Arabic. We were the only ones in the car. They appeared intimidating.

Somehow we got into a conversation. I am easy going. Talk with everyone. Two of them could speak a bit of English.

They confided they were from North Africa and trying to get to Sweden. I sensed they were in Italy illegally. Happy that they finally had made it to northern Italy. In the next few days, they would be in Switzerland. Then Sweden.

Sweden was their destination because Sweden welcomed immigrants from Africa. Provided them with food and money to get them going. It has been that way in Sweden for six years.

Sweden’s social fiber is now broken. A good deed with bad results. Too many immigrants. Not enough jobs. Costly to maintain the immigrants.

Enjoy your day!