DINNER WITH JENNA

Jenna Stauffer and I have been friends for more than 10 years. We first met when she graduated college. She came to Key West seeking a career.

I had just started doing an internet show for Guy de Boer. Jenna taught me the ropes. Then proceeded to get involved with my show. In effect, becoming its producer.

Later, Jenna was instrumental in getting me a spot on Key West’s only TV station at the time. I did a one hour a week talk show that went from Key West to Fort Lauderdale. Jenna was a big shot at the studio at the time. She still made time for me and my show, however.

Jenna was doing her own TV talk show at the same time.

In those early  years, we both got involved with Larry Smith and an internet show he put together. I did not last long. The show was primarily music and jokes. I had no singing voice. A joker I was not. One show and I was out.

Jenna and Larry made a good fit. Jenna co-hosting the show with Larry. She got a great deal of experience working with Larry.

Jenna is off to all sorts of great things today. A successful free lancer. In addition to her Key West activity, she is frequently in Miami hosting a show here or there and doing some modeling.

Last night was the first time in months we were able to get together. Our schedules conflicted. It was a pleasure seeing her. As lovely as ever. As bright and cheerful as ever.

Dinner at Berlin’s.

Jenna is in love. I am happy for her! The relationship seems to be moving in the right direction.

I am to meet the lucky man. Probably a week from now. To provide grandfatherly approval.

Bria Ansara sang. She leaves in 8 days for Norway and Germany. A much deserved vacation.

Stopped at the Chart Room for a night cap and chat with John before going home. Met Melissa. A manager at Schooner Wharf.

BOB is still on a sort of sabbatical.

There has been much conversation recently re civility in politics. I find it difficult to agree with most I read.

Republicans and Democrats are at war. Big time! Primarily because of Trump and his crazy ways. Feelings being stomped on. Many becoming aggravated. Trump administrative persons have recently been the center of embarrassing situations while dining in restaurants.

It bothers me that many Democratic leaders are saying such conduct was bad. Should not continue. Be civil!

How wrong their attitudes.

Republicans fight down and dirty. They go for the jugular. Democrats pussy foot around. With apologies to Michelle Obama, I do not agree with her philosophy that when “they” go low, we go high.

You hit me and I am going to hit you back. Harder. I am a don’t tread on me type guy.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently wrote a column regarding the issue: Democrats Must Channel Anti-Trump Fervor Into Winning Midterms.”

The column’s opening and closing paragraphs clearly express my feelings. I am glad that another, especially a Eugene Robinson, shares my thoughts.

Robinson wrote in opening: “Let me get this straight. President Trump and his associates treat politics like a back-alley knife fight, but his critics are supposed to pretend it’s a garden party? I don’t think so.”

His closing paragraph: “The remedy is not for progressives to choose their words oh-so-carefully and hope no one takes offense. It is to be loud and clear-and tough as nails-in fighting back.”

In June 1914, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo. A series of events followed leading to the beginning of World War I a few months later.

I mention the Archduke’s assassination and the precipitating factor it became re World War I in order to make a point. In an unruly world, we never know what incident will result in the carnage of a world war.

The world society is unsteady today.  The constant fear exists that some leader/country will perform an act leading to a major war. Significant deaths resulting in a short time.

I worry in these times that some idiot will press the button. The button’s size being immaterial.

Today is the day I write my KONK Life column for next week. I have not yet decided on a topic. I would like to do another that does not involve politics, war, etc. A change of pace story.

Last week it was sand.

I am toying with the idea of doing something about the Key West Cemetery. There is a local effort to identify all buried persons. Many graves are without stones or markings.

Perhaps a history of the Key West Cemetery.

Enjoy your day!

 

ESPRESSO MARTINI

Espresso Martinis were popular in the Key West of the late 1990’s. Locals and tourists alike imbibing. Even me.

Not consumed as much these days. I hear the drink rarely ordered. Till last night.

I was at Berlin’s waiting for Jean Thornton to join me for dinner. Two couples came in. They were a party of 20, early, having a drink at the bar while waiting for the rest of their group.

The ladies exceptionally lovely. Hair and make up perfection. Dresses obviously from the world’s finest stores. Jewelry like you would not believe. The real stuff. I have not seen that much expensive jewelry on a woman in years.

The ladies were polite, but demanding. They knew exactly what they wanted. Both espresso martinis. Directed Shaun how to prepare them. Each drinking a slightly different variation. An espresso martini is generally prepared with vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso coffee.

The group must have been off one of the 165 foot yachts being seen more frequently in our harbor.

As usual, a pleasant evening at Berlin’s. Jean the best of company. Bria singing. Shaun and Gage to chat with. Janyne arrived. Waiting for friends for dinner in the restaurant itself. Joined us for a drink. A charming woman. She has been operating the Pier House Beach Bar for 17 years.

After the two couples left the bar area, I asked Shaun and Gage who had discovered/invented the espresso martini and where. My impression was Key West in the late 1990’s. Gage checked with someone in the kitchen. He said New York City in 1977.

I checked it out on the internet this morning. Wikipedia says Dick Bradsell in the late 1980’s at the Brasserie in the Soho section of London.

Jean and I stopped at the Chart Room after dinner for a nightcap. Business slow. John bartending. Jean left. I was getting ready to pay the bill when a lady came in and sat next to me. The bar seats were all empty.

She said, “Hello, Louis” I smiled and said hello in return. She said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I politely said no. She said, “The Chart House last year.”

“Oh, I said.” Truth be known, I still did not recall her.

We made small talk and I left after paying for her drink.

BOB time.

Military evacuation when a hurricane is approaching. Primarily Navy. In the 1990’s, the Navy had a huge contingency in Key West and the Boca Chica Naval Base 10 miles up Route 1.

Military personnel and their families were taken to secure shelters or flown to points north on Navy planes. Free of charge, of course. A plan already in place. Each military person had a number and directions for he and his family.

BOB did not approve. The military were getting a free ride at taxpayer expense. A convenient ride. Whereas poor civilians had to gas up and slowly drive north under adverse conditions.

Amy Bondurant and husband David Dunn for real Key Westers. They moved to Key West more than a year ago and call it home. In their other lives, Amy was an Ambassador under Bush 2, David a prominent Washington attorney.

They still maintain a Paris home dating back to Amy’s ambassador days. Amy e-mailed me from Paris. They intend soon to bicycle through Denmark.

Amy sent as part of the e-mail an article which she thought sobering and wanted to bring to my attention. The article was written by Benn Steil and appeared in the 6/12/18 edition of Foreign Policy. Titled: The World Will Die So Trump Can.

The thrust of the article was the United States as we know it was in decline and responsible was Donald Trump.

He attributed such to the recent failure of the G-7 summit, Trump’s negative remarks re Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Trump’s glowing misunderstanding/non-understanding of tariffs, Trump’s sucking up to authoritarian leaders while making enemies of our friends of 50 years.

Steil’s concern was that Trump has/will become the “new normal.” The U.S.we knew gone. Perhaps never to be again.

This blog goes out over a dozen sites. Some have comment sections. Yesterday’s blog title was Sessions’ Improper Use Of Bible. A reader and frequent commentator is I’mNotLou.

I don’t make the names up!

I’mNotLou’s comment: “Sessions is more a religious forger than a person of faith. He is like too many ‘religious’ folk these days – a student of pick and choose for what suits your taste or your bigotry.”

Trump is dragging the U.S. into a tariff war with China, amongst others. China is the biggest importer of soybeans grown in the U.S. Soybeans a huge part of the economy of several states. Most of which supported Trump in the election.

China will not take this tariff increase sitting down. Trump is picking on the wrong nation to abuse. Beside intending to meet the tariffs dollar for dollar, China has already advised it is looking to the soybean fields of South America for future purchases. Argentina, for example.

Mexico also imports U.S. soybeans. Mexico says it will be looking to South America.

U.S. farmers growing soybeans not happy campers.

Enjoy your day!

 

SESSIONS’ IMPROPER USE OF BIBLE

Thousands of immigrant children taken from their parents. Placed in fenced-in areas inside abandoned Walmart buildings. A tent city being planned.

They are the concentration children of America. I am not proud. I am ashamed. Ashamed that something like this could happen in the United States. Many are likewise ashamed. A large number not, however.

Attorney General Sessions can claim major credit. He tells us he is enforcing a law that has not been enforced recently. Incorrect. What he is doing is using a new philosophy to justify his handling of the children. There is no law permitting what is being done.

Sessions considers himself a God-like man. He even quoted the Bible in a speech yesterday in Fort Wayne to support his wrongdoing. The New Testament Book of Romans Chapter 13 wherein St. Paul commanded that the laws of the government be obeyed because God had ordained the government for his purposes.

One problem, however. Sessions misused the Biblical quote. He failed to read the entire passage. The balance would have made him aware of Chapter 13’s true meaning.

The same quote Sessions used was relied upon by others in the past.

Southerners used the quote to justify southern slavery in the 1840’s and 1850’s. South Africa invoked it during apartheid. Hitler to justify his authoritarian rule in the 1930’s.

Even Nero got in the act. He was anti-Christian. Enemies of the state, he said. Killed them. Necessary to quell dissent. He relied on the quote when ordering Christians dipped in oil and set on fire. To light his gardens at night.

Sessions should read Matthew 25:35…..I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

There is nothing in the Bible saying children should be separated from parents.

America, wake up! We are turning into a bad people! Silent acceptance of improper deeds builds up. To a point where Trump could become the Pied Piper. The masses blindly following him.

Sessions did do something good recently. His Department of Justice announced the successful conclusion by a task force of a 3 month operation called Broken Heart. The goal of the task force the identification and arrest of suspected child predators. The crime, child sex trafficking.

The task force consisted of federal, state, local and tribal officers/agents working in unison. The group totaled 4,500.

A successful effort. Two thousand three hundred arrested.

The media has failed to report or comment.

BOB reflected on the cry to evacuate when a hurricane threatens. Only one way out. Drive. The government says gas up and drive to the mainland 150 miles away.

BOB considers the government direction to be ill conceived. There is not enough gas in Key West to fill everyone’s tank.

I must compliment Gov. Scott. He had it right for Irma. He knew gasoline would be a problem. He used one lane or a shoulder of a highway to get the gas filled tankers to the Keys.

I direct your attention to this morning’s Key West Citizen. The weather report section on page 2. Whoever writes it has a sense of humor. Today’s forecast is “Clouds, sun, a t-storm.” The writer’s comment in small print below: “Nature confused.”

Dinner tonight with Jean Thornton at Berlin’s.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

MY MOTHER…..A WISE WOMAN

Big day today! Mother’s Day!

The person who knows us best.

My mother was unique. Then, I assume all mothers are.

She was born in Italy. The last of eight children. The first girl. The previous seven boys. Her parents felt fortunate they finally had a daughter. They named her Fortunata, Italian for Fortune.

She came to the U.S. at an early age. Never made it beyond the third grade. At 9, she was working 16 hours a day in a shoe factory in New York.

Move swiftly ahead.

I had become a lawyer. A successful one. On my drive home after work, I would stop to see my mother. She was always ready for me. A bottle of Beefeaters and a glass filled with ice on the kitchen table.

We would sit and talk. About nothing and everything. My day. The kids, her grandchildren. My father. Whatever moved us at the moment.

She could tell when I had something on my mind. What is the problem, she would ask. I would share and this woman with only a third grade education generally in her own way had a solution.

She has been gone more than 30 years. Missed! A day has not gone by when I have not thought of her.

On the wall opposite my desk, her painting hangs. She is in my face several times a day. I talk to her frequently.

I wish she could talk back.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column which publishes wednesday. Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. Interesting. Big pirate back when. One of the biggest. His story.

Finally got out of the house last night. Catherine took pity and picked me up. We dined at the bar at Berlin’s.

Bria Ansara not singing. Home sick. Laryngitis.

Sloan’s daughter hosting. Always a warm greeting.

Catherine told me about a site I should take a look at. I did this morning. I am going to share it with you. Absolutely terrific! https://youtu.be/580dYcYneA.

The man Randy Rainbow. A humorous pundit.

Remember Sound of Music? How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria……He sang it with North Korea in place of Maria. While dressed as a nun.

Pouring this morning. As it did yesterday morning. Then, the rest of the day beautiful. Hopefully, it will be the same today.

Donna and Terri have promised to come get me and take me to Hot Dog Church later this afternoon.

I am a lucky man. Surrounded by loving women who want to care for me. Lesbians included.

I am a Manhattan College grad. As is John Reinke. John writes a weekly blog re Manhattan graduates. Titled Jasper Jottings. A slew of information.

This morning’s blog mentioned Japanese bus drivers. They are on strike. Striking differently, however. They have kept driving. The difference, they refuse to take fares.

There is an eloquence associated with great men. I read somewhere that Lincoln would not have been a great President without the Civil War and slavery. Churchill without World War II. Roosevelt without the Great Depression and World War II.

Whatever the reason, permit me to share examples of eloquence.

The bombs were falling all over Europe. Churchill elected Prime Minister. He said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat…..Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon taking office and facing the Great Depression: The “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” His address to Congress asking for a declaration of war following the bombing of Pear Harbor: December 7, “a day which will live in infamy.”

Psychics everywhere. Key West included. Not all for real. Some dishonest.

New York’s Psychic Zoe, aka Ann Thompson, is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant. Arrested. Charged with fortune telling fraud.

Took 2 victims/clients for $800,000. One for $740,000, the other $72,000. Each began with a $5 charge. The victims were plied with things like never being able to love again if the victim did not continue with the clairvoyant. Clearly chicanery. Clearly a fraud.

I feel sad for the gullible who satisfied an emotional need by succumbing to the lies in this instance of a fortune teller.

A psychic worth $800,000 should have been able to see her investigation and arrest coming and avoided it. What happened?

I am amused by North Korea making all these concessions prior to the actual meting between the two leaders. The most recent is North Korea has invited foreign journalists (including U.S.) to be in North Korea May 23-25 when North Korea dismantles its nuclear test site.

Query: What about the nuclear warheads, etc. which North Korea already has? I doubt Jung-Un will destroy them. In fact, I guarantee he will not.

Then what is Trump going to say? He has told us constantly that he is firm  in the total denuclerization of North Korea. Which includes nuclear weapons North Korea already has.

Hurricane season around the corner. Begins June 1. At a time  we are not yet finished with recovery work from Irma. Lets hope this will be a hurricane free season.

If you have not read Irma and Me, please do. It will provide the opportunity to understand what happens prior to, during and following a hurricane. My book combines humor and tragedy. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

My Yesterday…..Research, Berlin’s, and Bria Ansara

 

Enjoyed my yesterday.

Researched all day. Love digging for information.

Berlin’s last night for dinner. A full house. Got the last seat at the bar. The meal excellent as was Bria Ansara. Her singing touching everyone.

A big night ahead.

Syracuse/Duke at 6:15 on ESPN. Duke ranked #5 nationally. Going to be a tough game. Syracuse needs the win. We shall see.

Dinner with Donna and Terri tonight at La Trattoria. Cocktails first at their home. I have to see Bear. It has been a week.

Key West the home of writers. One, Tennessee Williams. Lived here more than 40 years. Williams died this day in 1983.

Williams’ The Glass Menagerie played yesterday afternoon on Turner Classics. I captured a small portion of its end. I have seen The Glass Menagerie at least twenty times. Amazed each time by the power of Williams’ words.

Spent a bit of time watching CPAC. Second day in a row. The first day, wild screaming Wayne La Pierre. Barbarians at the gate.

Yesterday, the master of exuberance Donald Trump. He was before his people. That 37 percent.

CPAC an ultra conservative group. Not the conservatives of yesteryear, however. Neither Barry Goldwaters nor Ronald Reagans.

What I saw were extremists. Too many Lock Her Up chants. Encouraged of course by Trump. He beat Hillary. I do not understand why he cannot let the dead rest.

The audience reminded me of street thugs. A tough appearing and tough acting crowd. The absolute fringe of the Republican Party.

Their apparent rowdiness meshed well with the Trump we have come to know.

CPAC had difficulty attracting speakers. Prominent politicians avoided the show. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, for example. The only Senator was Texas’ Cruz.

I cannot understand Cruz. During the primary, Trump accused Cruz’s father of being involved somehow in the Kennedy assassination. Cruz now sucking up to the man.

Prominent non office holders also absent. None!

The speakers consisted of Trump and members of his White House staff. Plus FOX News.

Even the mighty fall. Inner corrosion eats away.

The Douglas High School shooting the beginning of the end of the NRA as a power in American politics. The wrong group attacked. High school children. They have no fear. They are like a snowball that starts rolling down a hill. Small at the beginning. Gets larger with every turn. The students with every day.

Corporate America is turning its back on the NRA. Several have severed ties with the NRA. Ties involving co-branding partnerships, discounts to NRA members credit cards, etc. An economic blow to the NRA. Swiftly like a saber decapitating a person.

Corporations involved include Hertz, Avis, Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, Symantec, Enterprise, Chubb Limited, MetLife, Delta, and American Airlines.

Justice comes in many forms. One the soon to be filed bankruptcy application by Remington. In trouble financially. The filing will be for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company may survive. Whether it will be the giant it has been for two centuries remains to be seen.

Remington began in 1816 in Ilion, NY. Fifteen miles from my hometown of Utica. Remington remains the major employer to this day in Ilion. It also has other plants throughout the United States.

Remington is America’s oldest gun maker. A definite part of  American gun culture. The name Remington appears on frontier flintlocks as well as US Army .45’s.

I learned something in the last 24 hours while researching this topic.

Guns sales rose dramatically in the 10 years prior to Trump’s election. Since his election, sales have fallen dramatically. The reason is gun sales rise when politicos are elected who want to pursue more stringent gun control laws. People run to stack up on guns.

Trump supports the NRA, its members, etc. Gun laws supposedly not going anywhere under him. So gun lovers fear not and buy fewer guns.

Such has been Trump’s first year. Till now. I am assuming gun sales have shot upward based on post Douglas talk.

The down trend in gun sales is one reason Remington got into financial trouble. The other is that it was a Remington manufactured AR-15 that killed the first and second graders at Sandy Hook. Remington has borne the burden of defending against lawsuits arising out of the Sandy Hook incidence, though Remington itself was not found liable. Lawyers cost money. Especially in big money cases.

A side note of interest. Remington built a new plant in Huntsville, Alabama in 2014 to manufacture AR-15s. Prior to 2014, they were manufactured at the Ilion plant.

A soap box morning. Required sometimes. Things have to be said. People made aware.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

TRIP AROUND THE WORLD

No blog yesterday. I was not sick. Comcast was. No wi-fi or TV from 8 to 2:30. When Comcast returned, it was too late to do the blog. By the time I finished, it would have been at least 4. Many would have missed reading it.

A senior plague is falling. Do I know! Donna fell last night. Broke her left shoulder.

Donna was dining at Mangoes with Terri and friends. Stood up from the table. Took two steps and dropped. Appears she went straight down. Terri believes Donna passed out. Ended up with the fractured shoulder and a bloody nose.

Wednesday night was quiet. Dinner at Berlin’s and early to bed. Last night, quieter. Early to bed.

Things moving rapidly world wide. I want to share a few that may not have come to your attention.

The Koch Brothers. Richer than rich.  Part of the one percent.

It is reported the Koch Brothers spent $20 million supporting passage of the new tax law. A pittance compared to the $1 billion to $1.5 billion they will save in taxes alone.

A worthwhile investment.

The day after the House passed the tax bill in December, the Koch network made a $500,000 contribution to one of Speaker Ryan’s campaign accounts.

Another good investment.

There is a robot revolution. I have been talking about it for at least two years. Many are. Is Washington listening?

Robots and artificial intelligence are transforming the United States. Are we ready? Jobs are everything. The future is automated. Every job at risk.

I disagree with Trump when he says jobs are coming back. Companies, yes. Jobs not necessarily. Most large companies now situated in Europe that might return are automated. Rely big time on robots.

Our government does not seem to be doing enough, if anything, to prepare for the robotic way of production. There is neither discussion nor action.

Mubarak was a great Egyptian leader. Our friend. A friend of Israel. The U.S. deserted him when the revolution came. The new government jailed him.

The present Egyptian regime is authoritarian. On the verge of totalitarian. A recent experience may foretell what might occur in the United States.

Keep in mind Trump is authoritarian.

Egypt has a Presidential election in March. Don’t think because an election is scheduled that a country is democratic. Putin is facing one in Russia in a few months.

Egypt’s present President had his top opponent and thirty of his staff arrested tuesday. Some family members, also. Most jailed in unknown places.

Justification…..The arrests were part of Egypt’s wide ranging war on terrorism.

Most agree that Russia influenced the U.S.’s most recent Presidential election via the internet. The use of social media.

Our close friend Israel is now doing the same thing. Just as Russia did. Israel’s goal to flood the internet with comments favorable to candidates Israel would like to see elected. Israel’s purpose to promote desired content on social media and search engines, including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Netanyahu is becoming a despot. I have not looked favorably upon him since he came to the U.S. to speak to a joint session of Congress. Invited by the Republicans. Not invited by Obama. The custom having been to be invited for a visit by the U.S. President.

Presently, Netanyahu a friend of Trump. Trump recently recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy would be moving there.

China drifting further and further away from the U.S.

China has become best friends with Russia. China has built and continues to build islands in the South China Seas. Islands where none existed before. To be used as military airfields. In the last six years, the number of Chinese Navy vessels has increased dramatically. New up to date war machines.

Now, China is working on creating a superhuman army. A top secret till recently.

During the last three years, 86 Chinese citizens underwent surgery to dramatically alter their genes. Chinese doctors selectively edited DNA cells in the patient bodies and replaced them with stronger genetics.

The U.S government is aware and concerned.

The Chinese have been involved in cloning. The Chinese recently announced two healthy monkeys “born” of cloning. Considered a step closer to cloning a human. Probable. Monkeys are primates. Primates include monkeys, apes, and humans.

Trump in Davos. Scheduled to speak today.

The African nations are upset with Trump’s recent “shithole countries” comment.

The word is the African nations will walk out when Trump speaks.

Trump met with the head of the African Union yesterday.  Their talk amiable. Trump did not apologize.

Whether a walk out occurs will be interesting.

Enjoy your day!

THE MAN WHO WOULD NOT DIE

The man who would not die. His name, Rasputin.

History tells us he was a con man supreme, a self-proclaimed holy person, one who caused a royal dynasty to fall. Romanov Russia.

Rasputin helped bring revolution to Russia. He made possible the birth of Communist Russia.

Born Grigory Efinovich Rasputin. To a peasant family. At some point, he underwent a religious conversion. Proclaimed himself a healer.

Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra’s son Alexi was a hemophiliac. Rasputin seemed to have the ability to stop Alexi’s bleeding. The year 1908. From that time forward, Rasputin was an accepted friend, confidant, and adviser to Nicholas and Alexandra. Especially, Alexandra. History believes she had an ongoing affair with Rasputin.

He became a dark influence on the royal family.

All of Russia disliked Rasputin. Nobles, church orthodoxy, and peasants alike. He was constantly drunk, a womanizer, an evil in the Romanov homes. He was concerned not with the best interests of Russia. His concern at all times was his image. Some what like Trump today.

A group of Russian nobles were eager to end Rasputin’s influence over the royal family. They murdered him the night and early morning of December 29-30, 1916.

Even at the time of his death, Rasputin exhibited messianic powers. He was a man who would not die.

The nobles laced his food and drink with cyanide. No effect. They then shot him at close range. He revived and tried to escape. The nobles shot him again. He continued to live.

The nobles finally tied Rasputin up and tossed him into a freezing river.

That did it!

The nobles killed Rasputin. Rasputin killed Romanov Russia. The peasants in due course revolted. In 1922, Soviet Russia was born.

Rasputin put into motion a series of events which even to today affect the world. U.S./Russian relations an example.

Last night, a lovely evening. A charming companion. Catherine.

We dined at Berlin’s. Guy de Boer sitting next to me at the bar. Berlin’s the busiest I have ever seen. Makes sense. Christmas week the busiest tourist time of the year for Key West.

I enjoyed a prime rib again. Terrific! Just the meat and au jus sauce. Part of the Atkins diet.

I am into my fifth week of the diet. Only cheated Christmas eve and Christmas day. I should have lost 15-20 pounds by now. I lost 10 pounds the first week. Not an ounce more since.

Discouraging.

I am thinner. Into shirts and shorts one size smaller. I need the pounds off, however. The scale speaks the truth!

Worry not, I will continue with the diet.

Big event tomorrow at noon. The Annual Dachshund Walk. Hundreds will congregate at the Courthouse on Whitehead to watch the parade.

Only in Key West!

Trump upsets me this morning. I saw the news that a small group had protested in Iran. Trump announced to the world how terrible the Iranian government was, good luck to the protesters, etc.

Trump does not know when to keep his mouth shut and when to speak.

The world is dividing into two camps. Just as Germany and the Allies did prior to World War II. Iran and Russia are friends. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia friends on the other side. Trump should not encourage further division. He has yet to learn it is better to make friends than enemies.

I wonder how Trump would have felt if after Charlottesville, Iranian and Russian leaders spoke out telling the world the U.S. was bad, good luck to the protesters, etc. Trump would have shouted back that each country should mind its own business.

Trump continues to be a growing menace to the health and security of the U.S.

The weather started turning last night. Today’s high projected at 73. The low tonight 64. Cold for us. Warm to my friends up north suffering in low teen freezing cold and tons of snow.

It will continue cold for a few days. Long pants, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. for us. For me, the heat on tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

THE ANGEL ON TOP OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas eve and Christmas day both important. Most Italian-Americans give a bit more attention to Christmas Eve.

Whether the day before Christmas or Christmas day itself, each I would describe as a conspiracy of love. Even relatives who avoid each other all year, bury their animosities. Everyone kumbaya.

The dinner the night of Christmas Eve a big deal. The end of several days of preparation. The day itself further preparation.

Cooking smells permeate the house. A big fish dinner ahead. Seven fishes.

In spite of all the preparation and planning, there are snafus. Last minutes ones. Additional groceries to buy. Last minute gift shopping. Grandma getting her hair done. Wrapping presents (takes forever and many hands), setting the table, finish decorating the tree, some one cannot make it on time, etc.

The conspiracy of love is pure confusion! It reaches its high point and ultimate reward when all sit down to dinner. Anywhere from 10 to 30 guests.

Card tables set up all over the place. Age determines who sits at the dining room table. Some adults are still relegated to the card tables at 25. Since tiny tots. Waiting to move up.

The meal spectacular! Grandmom and Mom did their usual best. Everyone enjoys! Grandmom and Mom taking special pleasure in seeing their family seated all around and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Which brings me to a comparable story. One involving confusion leading to Christmas warmth. And a special reward!

Joan Lunden for more than 20 years was host of Good Morning America. When she left, she turned to writing. Became an acclaimed journalist.

Eighteen years ago, Emotional Health printed one of her short stories. It was about Santa Claus and a bad day he was experiencing Christmas eve day.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainer elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones.

Santa began to feel pressure.

Mrs. Santa told him her mother was coming. Such increased Santa’s stress more.

Santa went out to harness the reindeer. Not all were in shape to travel the skies that evening. Three were about to give birth.  Two others had jumped the fence. To where, Santa knew not.

Santa began to load the sleigh. One of the floor boards cracked and a toy bag fell to the ground. Toys scattered all over.

Santa had had it for the moment. He needed a drink. Went inside for a cup of apple cider and shot of rum.. He went to the cupboard. Only to discover that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

He accidentally dropped the empty cider jug. Broke into hundreds of pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Santa went to get the broom to clean up. Only to discover the mice had eaten all the straw at the end of the broom.

Just then, the door bell rang. The noise further irritated Santa. Obviously not having a good day.

He rushed to the door and yanked it open. There stood an angel. Holding a large Christmas tree.

The angel said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

The thrust of the story. After all the exasperations experienced, there finally comes a time when joy abounds. The angel at Santa’s door with the tree, the Italian family sitting down to Christmas eve dinner.

Another reason, also. The story explains the tradition why in many homes, a little angels sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Love Christmas Eve! I look forward tonight to dinner with Lisa and the family.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES COME WITH GLITCHES

I am not technologically adept. A generational thing.

During my Holly wood trip, I purchased a computer monitor. Thirty two inch screen! A few days before in Key West, a new keyboard. All put together on 11/24. My guru TV person Tim Reynolds working with me from Tampa. He hooks up and can operate my computer from Tampa.

I have noticed minor problems the past two days. Need Sloan to correct. She will be here Wednesday.

A major problem today. It may have encumbered your ability to read this blog on Facebook.

I have two Facebook accounts. Key West Lou and Louis Petrone. The blog is supposed to come up on Key West Lou when I direct it from WordPress. The past two days, it has shown on Louis Petrone instead.

Sloan told me on the phone how to temporarily correct it. I hope it works this morning. Whatever, everything will be fine by Wednesday evening.

There is nothing for you to do at your end. I have to perform at mine.

If I fail and it does not come up for you, merely enter www.keywestlou.com.

An excellent weekend food wise. Important because I start a major diet tomorrow.

Dinner Friday night with Barbara at Berlin’s. Sean and Gage bartending. The wonderful Bria singing.

I continue to live and learn. A conversation at the bar involved hurricanes. Turkey vultures have returned to Key West. All over our skies. Someone mentioned that the return of the turkey vultures is an indication the hurricane season is over.

I hope so. We have had a few post hurricane season storms over the years.

Thanksgiving dinner last night at Donna and Terri’s. My second Thanksgiving dinner in as few days. I need the diet!

Donna is a superior cook. The meal magnificent! The company as good.

George and Art joined the festive occasion. Their business strange. They make what they describe as self sculptured art. Stuffed animals. Bears, dogs, octopuses, etc. Anywhere from 6 inches to 26.

Not cheap. A world-wide market. George just returned from a sales trip to Beijing and Taipei. He described their product as having a niche market.

Considered one of the best if not the best movies ever is Casablanca. Starred Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. A touching weepy love story.

Casablanca premiered in New York City this date 1942.

My recently published book Irma and Me mentions a day at the Thornton’s in Birmingham when my other evacuees and I watched Casablanca.

I was stunned. The women all cried throughout. Two knew the lines perfectly and said them at  appropriate moments.

Definitely a woman’s picture. I have seen it many times. Enjoyed. Never cried.

December 7, 1941 a despicable day. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

On this day in 1941, the Japanese aircraft carrier strike force left Japan for Pearl Harbor. A 12 day trip to Pearl Harbor. Too bad no cyclone/hurricane arose during the trip.

Another live and learn item. One which took too many years to become evident.

MIT released the results of a recent study. Electric cars are not green. Pollute more than petrol and diesel cars. The reason being that a majority of the energy which charges the batteries of electric cars comes from national grids. Many grids use fossil fuels such as gas and coal. All at an environmental cost.

A similar study was released last year in Norway. The study did not receive as much attention as I assume the MIT one will.

Donald, oh Donald. I know not where you come up with things.

Yesterday, Trump announced that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was bad for the banks: “Financial institutions have been devastated.”

So wrong. The Consumer Bureau works to reign the banks in from wrong doing. They oversee such things as mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, and student loans.

Never forget banks are whores. They gave us the 2oo8 recession. Millions lost their homes because of devious and improper mortgage dealings.

Most recently, a major bank such as Wells Fargo devised another illegal approach to increasing profits.

In each event, the banks paid huge fines. Nothing compared to the money the banks made far in excess of the fines paid.

Since 2008, I have been consistent in saying send the CEO’s of these banks to jail. It will only take a few incarcerations to stop the improprieties. There is a problem, however. Our government refrains from arresting and charging any higher-ups.

The failure to arrest/jail will continue under Trump. One way will be to do away with the Consumer Bureau that oversees the banks.

My recent book Irma and Me is available. The story of how Irma chased me through several States. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your Sunday!

SLOW DANCE

Facebook friend Aung Lin sent me a poem. A touching poem by a teenage young lady who will be dead from cancer in six months. The poem, Slow Dance.

Her message is to live life to its fullest. Recognize this young lady will never make it to a prom, graduate from high school, or be married and have a family of her own.

Read and be touched. Impossible not to be.

SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round? / Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground? / Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight? / Or gazed at the sun into the fading night? / You better slow down. / Don’t dance so fast. / Time is short. / The music won’t last. / Do you run each day on the fly? / When you ask “How are you? / Do you hear the reply? / When the day is done, do you lie in bed / With the next hundred chores running through your head? / You’d better slow down / Don’t dance so fast. / Time is short / The music won’t last. / Ever told your child, / We’ll do it tomorrow? / And in your haste, Not see his sorrow? / Ever lost touch, let a good friend die / Cause you never had time / To call and say ‘Hi?’ / You’d better slow down. / Don’t live so fast. / Time is short. / The music won’t last. / When you run so fast to get somewhere, / You miss half the fun of getting there. / When you worry and hurry through your day, / It is like an unopened gift….. / Thrown away / Life is not a race. / Do take it slower / Hear the music / Before the song is over.

God bless!

Last night was Berlin’s. First time since Irma. Berlin’s and A& B took a beating. Windows blown out, roof leaks, etc. Still on the mend.

Business slow. Very slow. Only two of us for dinner, several for drinks. No Bria. Not enough customers. Closing time was 9.

I was not that hungry. Oysters Rockefeller, a Caesar Salad, and a couple of drinks.

Two of those stopping in for a drink were Gene and Frank. With Hurricane Disaster Relief. Met one of them lat year at the Chart Room.

Met also Heidi Schramm. An interesting lady. Born in Germany. Now a bartender in Marathon. Marathon took a beating.

She stopped into Southernmost Tattoo on Duval the night before. The place that had a fire a couple of weeks ago. She has a new tattoo on one ankle. A palm tree bending over in the wind. A rest of her life reminder of Irma.

Quick stop at Publix on the way home.

A busy day ahead. Finishing all work related to Irma and Me. Sloan will be helping. Publication soon.

Fantasy Feat around the corner. Goombay, Friday.

I wonder how big a crowd. Business still slow. Many restaurants and bars will not be open till after November 1. Repairs lengthy.

Trump. Oh, our President! In his other life a builder. As President, a destroyer. Examples the Iran agreement, Obamacare, and Puerto Rico.

Enjoy your Sunday!