IRMA AND ME…..5 HOURS

Spent five straight hours working on Irma and Me yesterday afternoon. Noon to 5. Completed rough draft and sent it off to the publisher.

Still have to work on the Index, Introduction, Acknowledgements, a FINI segment, add pictures, and put together a cover.

Poor Liz. My dear friend. I visited her in the hospital early evening last night. She has been in 8 days. Her diabetes out of control. She has been a diabetic since birth.

Liz is my older friend. She is 83, one year older than me.

I admire her. She has an excellent mind. Liz was Dean of two law schools.

One of the things discussed was how the NBA would handle its basketball players from a legal perspective should they opt to kneel when the National Anthem is played. The NBA season begins soon.

We discussed death also. Quite a jump from basketball to death. Death is something persons my age and Liz’s think about on occasion. Not a morbid talk. I would characterize it as inquisitive.

An excellent Chart Room last night. Many tourists. Interesting because the streets were empty.

Met Lisa and Greg. Visiting from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Two children. A son 23 and daughter 16. Lisa especially charming. She is a school proctor. Greg manager of a distributing company.

They visit Key West 3-4 times a year. Plan on some day buying here.

Then came the Cat! Her name. Actually a nick name. Short for Catherine.

Cat was at the other end of the bar. Told Shaun to buy me a drink. We had not talked yet. Not even a hello or nod of the head. I first refused, then said why not!

Cat is from Iowa. One of my favorite places. Told her of my dear friends Cindy and Tom. I do not recall what city Cat was from.

Cat a sharp woman. Had to be to buy me a drink! I joke. Smart because she is a CPA. My greatest asset for more than 40 years was my CPA Bill Hatfield. I made no economic moves without his advice. Which I always followed.

Cat’s husband is Kenny. A cattle baron of sorts. Sells cattle.

Cat returns for Fantasy Fest. Bringing a group of friends with her. We discussed beads, Sloppy Joe’s toga party, etc.

Cat a fun person. Hope I run into her at Fantasy Fest.

Now came Jill. It was my night!

Jill has been in Key west 30 years. We never met till last night. She is a bartender at Rum Barrel. Studied English at Western State and Colorado. Most Key West bartenders are college educated. Bartenders because they make more money at bartending than they would in another pursuit.

Jill benefited when Irma hit. She was vacationing in Portugal and could not return. Lucky her!

It was after 9 and I still had not eaten. Drove to Tavern ‘n Town for the 9-11 Happy Hour. Sat at the bar, read the newspapers while enjoying an order of fried calamari.

This Las Vegas incident horrific! Fifty plus dead, 200 plus wounded. Described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Crazy people are always with us.

A truism. One which involves Trump. Never fails. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

Trump does not listen. He shoots from the hip. Does things his way. Fails to take into account repercussions. Fails to follow the advice of advisers.

He knows everything.

A wonder!

Trump decided to pick on Venezuela. Felt sorry for the people. He sanctioned Venezuela, banks were restricted from doing business with Venezuelan entities, etc.

He also threatened Maduro. Made comments that sounded like a military effort might follow.

I understand Venezuela. I have followed Maduro since he became President more than 4 years ago. A bad President. A corrupt one, also.

Venezuela ran out of toilet paper soon after he first took office. Venezuela still does not have enough toilet paper. Then Venezuela ran out of food, jobs, etc. Terrible conditions have existed for more than 4 years. Increasingly worse with each passing day.

I have maintained that Venezuela’s problems are their own. Within. A civil war is required to change things. The problem is the people of Venezuela do not have the balls to stand and revolt. They threaten, come close, but never make it.

Venezuela is not our problem. Venezuela presents no threat to the United States.

I suspect Trump might be interested in Venezuela because of its oil reserves. It has the largest oil deposits in the world. Invade under one pretense and take control of Venezuela’s oil might be the Trump motivation.

Sorry for the long introduction re the point I want to make.

Years ago, the U.S. got a rule into effect which most countries to this day follow. Any purchases of oil must be accomplished by the use of U.S. dollars. OPEC supported. Referred to as petrodollars. Keeps our dollar sound.

Maduro has said screw you to Trump. He announced last thursday that all businesses signing contracts with  Venezuela would do so in a foreign currency other than the U.S. dollar.

He intends for Venezuela to primarily use the Chinese yuan. China is thrilled. As is Russia who is in the middle of everything.

China wants its yuan to replace the dollar. Other countries are already in China’s fold.

China is and has been in an economic war with us. They are subtly beating the U.S. At every turn.

Trump does not see it. He would rather threaten military action rather than understand the ongoing economic war and its consequences.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

IRMA AN EXPERIENCE

Irma an experience! No question about it!

Not just the hurricane itself. The peripheral, the tangents. The whole picture.

Dinner the big event of the day for we evacuees at the Thornton home in Birmingham. A lengthy telephone call from a Key West friend this morning and other information I have obtained re Irma.

There is another world besides Irma. Time for me to begin a return to it. Slowly. ergo, I will write about a couple of non Irma items.

The  friend who made it back to Key West telephoned this morning. Key West not yet ready for people to return. Not unless they can do with out electric power, sewers, food, and gasoline. Which means as a practical matter, no air conditioning, toilet flushing, eating, cars to drive, and working generators.

I start with this morning’s phone call.

He and a lady friend ran off to Boston. Made their reservations to return to Fort Lauderdale. Plane reservations honored. $99 deal when made. Airline honored the price, also.

They had a hotel reservation in Lauderdale made a week ago. Honored, no gouging.

People trying to return to the Keys who do not have reservations have difficulty getting a room. The hotel permitted them to sleep in their cars in the hotel garage.

My friend rented a car to drive to Key West. No gouging here either.

Florida City the re-entry point. They attempted re-entry yesterday. His lady friend is a nurse and medical emergency trained. She has an identification card to that effect. She was going down to help. She was a go. My friend had nothing.They let him through because he was driving her.

The roads clear and repaired all the way to Key West. From Florida City to Islamorada, debris stacked on side of road and in the center. Anything that could float or be blown. More refrigerators than anything else. Many boats, also.

From Islamorada to Key West, no debris visible anywhere. The trees were bent from the wind. Items did not fly around. Wind significantly less than elsewhere. A reason why Key West missed the brunt of the storm. Fifteen miles closer and Key West would have been like Cudjoe Key and Big Pine.

In Key West itself, little property damage. Many trees down, however.

My friend owns a home in Key West. Very minimal damage to the outside of his home. None inside, except the house smelled big time. He opened the windows to get the smell out. His pool water was black. Trees in the pool.

Adding to the smell was the fact he did not clean out the refrigerator and freezer before he left.

Few gas stations open. In and on the way to Key West. In Key West, certain gas stations were pumping gasoline from the gas trucks. Not going through the pump.

The two businesses who appeared prepared for Irma were the primary gay bars. Bourbon Street and 801.

He enjoyed the evening with a friend at Bourbon Street. They had air conditioning, alcohol, food and ice. The air probably provided by large generators. The ice delivered.

He told me a large truck showed up in front of Bourbon Street. Dumped bags of ice at the front door. Then went across the street to 801 and did the same thing.

Curfew is from dusk to dawn. Bourbon Street locked its doors at dusk and was not bothered by the authorities.

End of the friend report.

Since the end of the call, I have learned other things which change or may change certain portions of my friend’s report. His report through last night. What follows from this morning.

Two people have died and 10 injured as a result of Irma in Key West.

Gasoline. Continues to be scarce.

Sewer treatment facility functioning. Some house toilets backing up, however. Those that have water or a bucket of water are able to flush toilets. Water still a problem.

Power. Remains a problem. From the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West, only 7 percent have electric power. The upper Keys, 30 percent. The power people are giving special attention to Cudjoe and Big Pine which took the worst beating. Overall, there are 300 downed polls which take time to fix.

Airport. Still closed to commercial and general aviation flights. Expected to reopen tuesday for all flights.

Food. Old Publix opened for a few hours yesterday. Other Publix and Winn-Dixie in Key West remain closed. Publix in Big Pine opened only a few hours yesterday.

Evacuees. People like me. Though what I report is not how I feel. there is a rising tension being reported. Evacuees want to return to their Key West homes. In spite of the negatives I have reported. Believe officials too cautious. I do not want to get on the road till I have motel reservations where needed, know I can get gas all the way back. And when I get back, I have power, air conditiong, gasoline, food, etc.

Return date. Just heard US 1 to Key West opens tomorrow. People are being permitted to return even though things still not as they should be.

Some other bits of information.

Key West is located in Monroe County. Monroe County has one of the most stringent building codes in the United States.

Florida’s citrus industry took a beating. The loss statewide is estimated at 50-75 percent.

Re-entry stickers are being forged.

A rumor has spread that a truck was found in the Keys full of dead bodies. Not true.

Now to last night.

Dinner at the Thornton’s again. Two guests. Dan and Paula. Not related or connected in any fashion. Both Birmingham residents.

Dan an IT person for a hospital conglomerate that has hospitals from Birmingham south to Broward County. He visits Key West 1-3 times a year. Is a good friend of Jean and Joe.

Dan provided the meal. Bags of Mexican food. The dining room table could not hold all the food.

Wine consumption remained consistent. Tequila added. I missed the tequila. I was tired and went to bed early.

Paula joined us. A friend of the Thornton’s. Lovely and charming. Never been to Key West.

Dinner tonight at an Italian restaurant. My treat.

I was going to write of other things. The Irma report took too many words. Already over a thousand. I will save the non Irma news for another time.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELIEVE

God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world.

The Lord knows everything, even before it happens.

He is all merciful.

So why do disasters like Harvey and Irma occur? Wars? Genocides? I could go on.

I believe. Though no longer a Church goer. Speak directly to Him. Generally in times of adversity. Rarely to say thank you when things are good.

People believe in different ways.

Which brings me to the story of Jackie Tee and a silver toe ring.

Jackie’s first trip to Key West was 20 years ago this month. With her husband, 4 1/2 year old son, and sister. Jackie purchased a silver toe ring. She has worn it for 20 years.

A couple of months ago, she noticed the toe ring was starting to split. Irma hit Key West September 10. That same day, the toe ring totally split. Jackie found the same ironic. Perhaps meaningful.

Jackie has a friend who she describes as a “new age spiritual.” Her friend told her to have the ring repaired: Repair the ring, repair the island. The two went together from the friend’s perspective.

Jackie is having the toe ring repaired.

As a side note, Jackie has returned to Key West almost annually the past 20 years. She says the island draws her. It does. Many persons.

Some Key West information.

Wendy’s hit hard by the surge. Seven to 10 days before lower Keys residents can return. No power, water, sewer, limited food.

US 1 bridges all ok. Side road bridges not yet tested. Road debris being removed.

Five food drop sites have been established. Food and water was to be available. People went. Only two had food. All 5, no water. People upset. The first rumblings.

Cell phone service spotty. Persons outside the Keys do not seem to understand. Many complaining why relatives and friends in and from the lower Keys do not call them.

Cell phone service went down 3 hours after Irma hit. I read a report which described the event…..Everything went eerily silent.

Social media has been the savior. I now understand why Trump went to it during the campaign and now as President. Facebook especially helpful.

Hardest hit were Big Pine and Cudjoe Key.

No casualties reported through yesterday.

Re-entry for residents and business owners to MM 73 permitted. Islamorada.

Dusk to dawn curfew remains in place.

A few gas stations beginning to open in the upper Keys.

I received a text yesterday from Shavon White. She is a producer at FOX New York City. She required information about Key West, identification of some who stayed, how to make contact, etc.

Trump arrives today to inspect Irma damage. A proper thing for a President to do. My question is why he is not visiting the Keys. Air Force One could easily land at the Naval Base at Boca Chica. A few short miles from Key West in one direction and Big Pine and Cudjoe Key in the other.

We in the Keys are people too! Could use the lift a Presidential visit brings.

Trump is visiting with EPA head Pruitt. There is an irony to the visit. Both have been working hard to cut disaster relief programs from the federal budget.

They arrive today to take bows for doing a great job in the recovery. First Texas, now Florida. When the budget comes up, they will continue to oppose federally funded disaster relief.

Now a Trump/Sessions scenario of which most are unaware.

Recall the federal program that provided surplus military equipment to police organizations. Police organizations included university police/campus police. What is known as Program 1033.

The program was stopped two years ago by Obama.

Trump signed an Executive Order permitting a resurgence of the program. Supported of course by Sessions. Intent being that law and order prevail on college campuses where students have recently become exceptionally rowdy with demonstrations.

The program is delivering to college campuses grenade launchers, armored trucks, pistols, assault rifles, etc.

The militarization of college campuses! Something like 117 already receiving various items.

I find it difficult to comprehend why military equipment is required to put down college demonstrations. The student will view it as police state activity.

I read somewhere that most students graduate with a debt of $37,000. That much money and they have to oppose heavily armed campus police!

Most campus police today are privatized. Bothers me. They lack oversight. Quick trigger fingers in the making.

Just received a call from Guy de Boer. KONK Life publisher. He was in Homestead,. Leaving the Keys!  Homestead has cell phone capability. Guy was calling friends to see if ok, where they were, etc.

He is leaving because he needs cell phone capability to run his newspaper. He will be doing it out of Miami for a few days.

Enjoy your day!

 

“NOBODY RESPECTS WOMEN MORE”

“Nobody respects women more.” So says Donald Trump.

From the heart the mouth speaks. Trump’s words opens his heart for viewing. Clear viewing. Gropping/debasing women ok.

“I did try to fuck her.”

“I moved on her like a bitch.”

“”Just start kissing them.”

“Grab them by the pussy.”

The last statement and especially the last word of the sentence reveal most clearly what we knew about the man: He is not Presidential timber.

Trump has already advised that he will attack Hillary tomorrow night re Bill’s misdeeds. Won’t fly. Yesterday’s news. No one is interested.

He will further attack because Hillary spoke poorly re some of the women who claimed sexual affairs with her husband. I thought then and think now that she was a woman defending her husband against attacks that at the time she considered false.

Few marriages are perfect. Hillary opted to make hers work. Apparently it did. Trump is in his third marriage. He bailed out of the first two when his prick led him in different directions.

In the meantime…..Last night after the Trump revelations had become public, Wikipedia came out with some more e-mails. Some of Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street and corporate America.

Hillary obviously has changed her position on things said 3-4 years ago. Hell, Trump changes his position on things he said last week.

A wonderful evening last night. The Chart Room. John back from his Puerto Rico vacation. It was exciting!

Sheila and Cori at the bar. Spent my time with the ladies. Sheila is at the Key West Citizen. Cori is Curator at The Key West Art and Historical Society aka The Custom House.

Good conversation. We got into everything. Interestingly, little Trump. More of what is going on in the world. The Middle East, Euro Union, London, afterlife, etc.

Tonight special. Dinner at the Hot Tin Roof with Lizabeth. Love talking with her. Liz’s former life included the Deanship at two law schools. Stetson and Cleveland State.

The Key West Airport has an unusual problem.

There is an all glass cross walk from the second floor of the garage to the second floor of the main airport building. Birds are flying into it and either being killed or injured. Especially warblers. The County has allocated $25,000 to tint the windows in a horizontal pattern to warn the birds.

Screwworms. The federal government this coming week will drop 2.5 million radiated male flies over Big Pine and No Name Key. A proven tested method used for years to eradicate a screwworm problem. For several weeks following, an additional 1 million per week will be dropped.

Matthew still out there. Now a category 1. Beating the hell out of Georgia and the Carolinas.

Key West has been advised not to be concerned about Matthew looping back. If it does hit, it will be sufficiently dissipated so as to do no damage.

I loved Great Balls of Fire. Jerry Lee Lewis standing up at a piano keyboard bellowing the song out. One of his best sellers.

Raised in the southern Assembly of God Church. At first, Lewis did not want to record the tune. Said it was anti-religious, contrary to his upbringing, etc. Finally gave in.

He was the new Elvis Presley. Not for long, however. His reputation went downhill after he married his 13 year old cousin. Apparently not contrary to his religious upbringing.

This evening at 7, Syracuse/Wake Forest. Dinner with Liz will be more fun than watching the game.

Enjoy your day!

CITIZENS’ VOICE

The Key West Citizen at page 2 prints the Citizens’ Voice each day. A place where readers can complain about anything and everything.

A comment this morning: “On Big Pine, the Key deer are endangered, but in Key West the locals are far more endangered. Enough!”

My good friend Sheila Cullen is responsible for the column. It is her responsibility to sift through the many comments received and select those she deems worthy of publication. She takes her job seriously.

As Sheila constantly tells me, she tries to select both sides of an issue for print. I smile each time. She sounds fair and balanced like FOX. Fair and balanced she is. FOX she is not.

I did some background digging re the place where the Paris shootings took place. Bataclan. General consensus is ISIS attacked because of France’s participation in Syria. The Times of Israel suggests another reason in addition. Israel/Judaism.

Bataclan was owned for 40 years by a Jewish family. In 2011, a high member of ISIS is reported to have said, “We plan an attack against the Bataclan because its owners are Jews.”

The group playing at the time of the attack were the Eagles of Death Metal. The group played in Tel Aviv’s Barby Club in July.

The family sold Bataclan in September. They now live in Israel.

Merely sharing.

Fine tuned my blog talk radio show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou for broadcast last night. I threw in the Bataclan story just shared. I also shared some portions of this week’s KONK Life column Sex Tales of Old. Post show comments indicate the Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin stories the most popular.

KONK Life hits the news stands today. Read my column Sex Tales of Old. A change of pace article. I had to get away from the heavy stuff.

The Comment section of WordPress was buried yesterday with multiple Chinese I don’t know what. Could not translate, so do not know what was said. Turned out to be spam. Sloan cleaned the section up and hopefully we will not be bothered by the problem again.

My evening was busy. Syracuse/St.Bonaventure basketball 7-9. Tuesday Talk at 9. I caught all but the last minute of the game.

Syracuse won 79-66.

I was not impressed with Syracuse the first three quarters. I had bad vibes. A poor basketball season? Syracuse then turned it around with 15 minutes to go. Went on a 34-14 run.

Recognition must be given St. Bonaventure. An excellent team. Especially good for a small school. I was impressed.

Love that Syracuse is now in the ACC. I no longer have to run around town finding a place with a TV carrying the Syracuse game. Every Syracuse football and basketball game thus far have been televised and were available to me in Key West. I watch the games from home and couch.

The Havana Thunder Challenge is having a hard time getting off this week. Winds too strong and waves too high. Three boats left yesterday and made it to Havana. Three more plan on leaving thursday. Nine have withdrawn from the event.

That I am not a fan of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been obvious. I was unaware till this morning the group was active back in 1966. At that time, the Bishops eliminated the rule against eating meat on friday.

You have no idea the fear imposed on me by the no friday meat rule. I was 7, 8, 9 years old while the rule was in force. Occasionally, I would cheat and have a slice of bologna or something on friday. On saturday, I would stand in line waiting to go to confession scared as hell. In Church! I was afraid of what the priest was going to say to me because of my sin.

My wrongdoing generally ended up in three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.

Point. The meat thing was a man made rule and could be changed. Much of what the Pope wants to correct/change today involve man made rules. The U.S. Conference of Bishops hold hard in opposition to the Pope’s position.

Wednesday is screw off day for me. My heavy research and writing days are saturday through tuesday. Wednesday, my first day free from responsibility.

Love wednesdays!

Enjoy your day!

 

GOING OUT TODAY

I continue to heal. Black eye lighter. Still obvious. Cuts by eye not totally healed. Scab fell off lip. Cuts still obvious, however. Back better, but not good.

It is called progress.

I have not shaved since wednesday. I have a good start on a beard. Not sure which way I will go.

I have been in since wednesday night. Time to get out of the house today. A brief walk somewhere. Tonight the Friends of the Key West Library at St. Paul’s. Author Edward Hower is speaking re his latest book about writing personal essays and travel stories.

Syracuse plays Virginia tonight, also. Normally, I would miss the Friends event and watch the game. It does not make any difference this season however. Syracuse plays Virginia, #2 in the country. I expect it to be as the Duke game went saturday.

If I work things properly, I should be able to watch the second half of the game.

Syracuse only has two games remaining. They have won 18 so far. The goal is always 20 wins. It has been years since Syracuse failed to reach 20. Though two games are left, I see Syracuse losing tonight. Which would mean that at best it might only be a 19 win season.

Nobody’s fault. It was a hard year for Syracuse from the beginning. Three players from last year expected to return this year did not. They went pro. Our big freshman center was injured early on and has not been able to play. I am not even throwing the NCAA investigation into the mix.

Wait till next year! The whole team returns with the exception of Christmas.

There was an article of interest in this morning’s Citizen. A four year study has revealed that Big Pine, No Name., and Bahia Honda have the lowest death rates in the County. Makes sense. The area is quiet country. Limited hell raising. Tranquility.

On this day in 1951, Harry Truman started a three week vacation at the Little White House. I often wonder if he ever visited the local haunts in the Duval Street area. We know he read, swam, fished and walked. Enjoyed a drink. Truman is recognized as a regular guy. He had to be at Sloppy Joe’s on occasion looking for the next Hemingway to talk with.

Enjoy your day!