WORLD NEEDS MORE BARBARA BUSHES

Three breaking news items last night. The most important and most sad was the death of Barbara Bush.

Wife of one President, mother of another. A class act. An independent women. Wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother. A political influence in her own way.

The world needs more Barbara Bushes.

Another breaking news item involved a Supreme Court case and Justice Neil Gorsuch. A Trump appointee. Trump’s only appointee so far. A conservative. Tipped the balance of power on the Court to 5-4 in favor of the conservative block.

A good Justice/Judge is one that cannot be depended on to vote the party line, so to speak. Gorsuch has generally been voting with his conservative brethren. Not in the Sessions v. Dimaya decision rendered yesterday.

Gorsuch voted with the liberal block. As a result, the Court struck down a part of one of Trump’s immigration laws having to do with the deportation of illegal immigrants who had criminal records. Thousands of immigrants affected.

Gorsuch wrote a decision saying the law was vague. What is a cime under the statue? Everyone? Traffic offenses?

Gorsuch wrote, “Vague laws invite arbitrary power.” I view Trump as an authoritarian figure. Arbitrariness part of authoritarianism.

Trump had to be upset. I can hear him now. I gave the guy the best job a lawyer can have. Made his career. And he does this to me!

May Trump experience more surprises!

The third breaking news item involved Sean Hannity. Turns out he has more than one Trump attorney. Victoria Toensing and Jay Sekulow have joined the club.

More interesting the nature of the representation.

On May 25, 2017, Toensing and Sekulow jointly wrote a letter to a Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station. They signed the letter as Counsel For Sean Hannity.

A conservative activist had said on a show that Hannity had been “creepy” towards her and invited her to his room.

The Toensing and Sekulow letter was a warning to the radio station to cease and desist from any further comment re the woman’s claims.

The woman’s name was reported.

I care not how many Trump lawyers Hannity uses. Though I do wish he would come clean on an issue that has nothing to do with anything.

By being silent, he may have opened the door to real aggravation. The woman’s statement. Time will tell.

Key West is to be honored tomorrow. Trump is visiting. Only for two hours. He is meeting with a military anti-smuggling group. An in and out trip.

This morning’s Key West Citizen says to expect protests. Meeting places include the White Street Pier and City Hall. Those protesting are asked to dress in black and carry signs.

Key West will not be behaving as One Human Family tomorrow.

KONK Life is a weekly publication. Covers the Keys.

I wrote a column for several years for KONK Life. The Key West Lou COMMENTARY. I considered the column the best writing I did.

I had too much on my plate and stopped doing the column two years ago. I have missed it. I believe I am better organized today.

My first column will be published in the KONK Life edition which hits the stands tomorrow. Concerns the Post Office. I believe the Post Office has been stomped upon in recent years. They are not at fault for today’s Post Office debt and insufficient help. Congress is the culprit.

The article is titled Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt. Eye opening.

Jenna Stauffer is a love of my life. My producer when I did my TV show for 3 years. Taught me everything.

Jenna continues to have a finger here and there in Key West life. One involves videoing for realtors houses they intend to sell. Her work professional. I know. She has videoed me several times over the years and each time I came out looking better than I did.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of our Revolutionary War in The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere. He wrote the work in the 1860’s. The ride of Paul Revere took place in the 1775. It involved Concord and Lexington and the beginning of our war for freedom.

Longfellow made Revere hero of the day. He was a hero, though not the only one. There were other riders through the night shouting…..To arms, to arms, the British are coming.

Besides Revere, William Dawes, Samuel Prescott and a Dr. Peterson.

The British captured Revere early in his ride. Questioned him roughly for two hours and then let him go. Dr. Peterson is reported to have completed Revere’s ride.

Dawes was captured also. He escaped by jumping his horse over a stone wall.  Subsequently, he lost his horse and had to walk to Lexington.

Prescott originally was not part of the ride. He was returning from a lady friend’s house at the awkward hour of 1 am. He was recruited for the ride. The British captured him, also. He escaped and rode on to Concord warning Patriots along the way.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

WOE THE WEB WE WEAVE…..

My legal career was spent in the court room. When ever I would catch a witness in a lie or a party’s case full of lies, I would start my summation to the jury by looking them in the eye and with all seriousness say…..Woe the web we weave when first we seek to deceive.

I would follow it up with the story of throwing a pebble into a still pool of water. The pebble would cause a small circle to surround it. The circle in the water would get bigger and bigger. As a lie got bigger and bigger and took in more people.

Yesterday it was Michael Cohen and Sean Hannity.

Trump’s lies ultimately bring everyone around him down. Including his children.

Will Trump throw them under the bus as he has others? Will he take the rap to save them? Interesting.

Saw Dr. Jones yesterday morning. He scheduled me for an endoscopy and colonoscopy for a week from tomorrow.

I am anxious for the endoscopy. For the past six months, food gets stuck in my throat. Cannot wash it down. Fluid shoots back out my mouth. Takes a bit of gulping to get the food to pass.

Till last night.

I was enjoying lamb chops at the La Trattoria bar. Carrie bartending. Fortunately.

A piece of meat got stuck in my throat. Carrie saw I was in trouble. She came running over and started with back blows moving to the Heimlich. Did not work. Gulping did not work.

I could breath.

I walked out. Gulped for two blocks. Finally the meat moved down.

A relief. The longest it has taken. Thank God I am doing the endoscopy next wednesday. Dr. Jones is aware of my problem and will stretch my throat and esophagus while I am under.

Lunch yesterday after the Dr. Jones visit at Sandy’s Cafe. My favorite snack. Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large cup of Cuban coffee.

The waitresses at Sandy’s are a happy bunch. They spread that joy to the customers as they wait on them.

Last night Dueling Bartenders. Bobby Nesbitt guest performing. Tom Luna and Rick Dery doing their usual. The three singing a song together outstanding!

Many Bobby Nesbitt friends in attendance. Lynda and Bob Frechette, David, Lisa, etc.

We sang along with Tom, Rick and Bobby.

Loved it!

It was after Dueling Bartenders that I went to La Trattoria for dinner.

Marty Leshaw and I were Key West friends for years. We would meet at the Chart Room and then have dinner together somewhere. Marty left Key West. Returned to his primary residence in Fort Lauderdale.

Marty and I communicate infrequently. I heard from him yesterday. Did I hit 40 yet? Meaning pounds lost. Whatever the inquiry or statement, I always enjoy hearing from Marty. Though we disagreed on almost everything. Especially politics.

I have fond memories of our relationship.

Trump is visiting Key West thursday. For two hours. He flies into Boca Chica. Then he will be part of a caravan of cars taking him to the Truman Waterfront. He is visiting the Joint Interagency Task Force South. A military anti-smuggling center.

Some are thrilled by his visit. Others could care less.

Diana Millikan returns to Key West tomorrow. She e-mailed me she plans to stand on the corner of Truman and White and wave at Trump as he passes. She has been a die hard Trump fan since day one. Part of that 35-40 percent.

Global climate change a concern to us who live on the ocean. We have been warned for several years that the waters will rise and take away some homes built on the water.

Michael Mann is a climatologist.  He says the change is coming and sooner than thought.

All has to do with currents. Southern waters, including the Gulf Stream, will flow northward. The colder deep waters of the north will flow southward.

I do not understand this changes things. The bottom line however is that the scenario will not be good. Our water levels will increase 1.6 feet. Surface temperatures will be warmer for most of the US east coast. Europe will be colder because of changes in the Gulf Stream.

Mann says “…..we’re close to a tipping point…..the changing currents are without precedent…..the event about a century ahead of schedule.”

He also says all this may not happen. That we are dealing with systems we don’t fully understand.

Love the Citizens’ Voice in the Key West Citizen. Readers say it the way it is.

This morning’s column had a note from a local. The iguana problem the subject.

The writer had the solution. Bring in about a hundred Jaguars and mountain lions. The natural enemies of iguanas.

My  thought is the suggestion will help resolve another problem. The too many people on the island problem. Jaguars and mountain lions are the natural enemies of humans, also.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk  with Key West Lou. Join me at 9 my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. I express my thoughts as to the conduct and sins of many. Guaranteed you will like the show. A quick moving half hour.

Enjoy your day!

 

MR. PRESIDENT…..WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

I refer today for the first time to Trump as Mr. President. Not because he has achieved that recognition in my mind. Because for the first time he may be leaning that way.

My concern Syria.

The President has challenged Putin for the first time. Especially this morning. Recognizes Russia as a partner with the bad guys in Syria and bearing responsibility for the gasings.

The President said he was going to do something re the chemical attack. That was over the weekend. All recognized time was of the essence. If there was to be retaliation, it had to be immediate. Don’t give Putin and others time to move their war machinery around, get ready for a military hit, etc.

The President screwed up. It is now wednesday. The too long a time has passed. Putin however kept it alive with his tweet that he and his friends had the where with all to knock down any missiles the US might shoot.

An added concern is that the US has at least 2 Naval vessels in the area that are subject to retaliatory missiles.

I believe we have no choice but to go for it. Destroy something big time in Syria. Take the gamble with Putin. He has thrown down the gauntlet. The US cannot do what Obama did. Nothing.

Note that Russia is in bad shape. Their economy is way down. The ruble fell again last week. Putin cannot afford an all out war.

I further believe if Putin sees the US is serious, he will back off on the rhetoric and find a way to quiet the confrontation. He has done such in the past.

I criticize the time it has taken with no reaction yet by the US. Where is our planning? Where have the CIA and military been? Plans should have already been prepared and held in abeyance till needed.

An obvious failure in Washington in protecting the US. This fault may include the Obama administration.

Yesterday, my first book signing. Sold ten books in 3 hours. Not disappointed. Did not think prior to the signing I would sell one.

More experienced authors Reef Perkins and Robert Coburn participated also. I doubt they sold more than 10 books each.

The problem was no one came. We were alone for 3 hours in the hot boiling Key West summer sun.

Ross Pipkin was part of the program. Ross does voice overs for books. He did a reading. Interesting and humorous.

I thank good friends Kate Miano and Lynda Frechette for attending. A Jane who I never met before.

Towards the end of the 3 hours, Bob and Stevie from the Chicago area arrived. We had never met before. They came especially to buy my book. Bob and Stevie are loyal readers of this blog.

They leave today for home. Hopefully, we will meet next year when they return. We agreed on the Chart Room.

My favorite female bartender Nicolle showed up with her partner Dara. Nicolle works at Antonia’s. She did not buy a book. Did not have to. She had already purchased a copy through Amazon. She brought the book in for signing. My pleasure!

The book signing was at the Andrews Inn. Michael and Albena new owners. Eight months. Albena from Belgium. The Inn was run down when purchased. They have fixed the place up. Irma interrupted and added to the renovations.

The Inn is lovely. Tiny adding to its quaintness.

Michael noticed the crowd was sparse. Actually, non-existent at one point. He showed ingenuity. Went out on the street and dragged about 20 tourists in. Induced them with the free food and drink. A smart guy. The Inn cannot fail.

The book signing was a charity fund raiser. Titled the Bow-Wow Meow Book Signing. A fundraiser for the SPCA. Help the dogs and cats.

Not much help yesterday. I feel guilty. I plan on sending a check.

I enjoyed doing my podcast last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A mix of topics. Key West, Anchorage, and a little Trump. I try to include topics about what is going on involving persons other than Trump. He is available enough on the media.

The weather continues to be hot. Summer definitely here. Eighty six yesterday. And humid! Will be the same today.

Very likable and talented artist Jon “Tosh” McIntosh died last month. A memorial service will be held this saturday at 3:30 at St. Paul’s Church.

Sons and Daughters of Italy meeting tonight.

I was doing a Key West Lou Live video every day til about 2 months ago. Louis ranting and raving about some issue for a few minutes.

Renewed the show this morning. It is revived! Look for it daily on Facebook.

Enjoy your day!

 

BUSY…..BOOK SIGNING AND PODCAST

Yesterday, busy. Today, busy. Adrenalin flowing. Ready to go.

Today, the Irma and Me Book Signing. Tonight, my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Both required preparation. Especially the podcast.

Yesterday was get ready time. Began at 5:30 am.

Got an early start on the day’s blog.

Then an hour getting things ready for today’s book signing. Finding a bag to carry the books, a box to hold cash, a bank run for a roll of nickels and different cash bills, prepare tonight’s Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou show, and I don’t recall what else.

Finished all by 4. I was ready. Almost, still needed today’s blog which I am doing at the moment.

Out for the evening. Needed a drink. Enjoyed one at Catherine’s when I picked her up. Felt better.

First stop was Aqua’s for Dueling Bartenders. Terri performing. Would not have missed it.

Bear greeted me. Getting bigger. He was with George and Art.

Lynda and Bob Frechette at the bar. I went over leaving Catherine at the other bar. Who are you with, Lynda asked. I could not remember Catherine’s name. I was doing good.

Lynda and Bob will be at the book signing.

Dinner afterwards at Antonia’s bar. Nicole bartending. She made my day. Not only is she stopping by the book signing, she has already ordered the book via Amazon.

Finished the evening early. I was tired. Dropped Catherine off and went directly home intending to hop in bed. Changed my mind. Instead prepared notes for the blog I am presently writing.

I received a call from Jean Thornton during the day. She called to wish me well at the book signing.

Jean is an integral part of Irma and Me. It was at her and Joe’s home in Birmingham where I stayed for 12 days having escaped Irma. Louis, six other humans, and three dogs.

The book signing will be sort of a reunion. Five of the others have e-mailed and told me they will be there. The sixth, McKee, also e-mailed. He will not. He is on a cruise somewhere.

Neither will Jean and Joe. They leave from Birmingham today for a one month European cruise. Sounds exciting. Fly to Barcelona and get on a ship. Their home for the next 30 days. Primarily Scandinavian countries. Twenty different ports.

The Irma and Me book signing noon to 3 at Andrews Inn. Located at Zero Whalton Lane. A street running perpendicular to Duval between Truman and Olivia. Across from Viva Cafe.

Tonight at 9 my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. All done and ready to go. Some interesting topics. Only two involving Trump. I try to get away from Trump in my talks. We get too much of him otherwise every day.

Topics include visits to a few old time Key West bordellos, a discussion concerning Florida beaches which are no longer public, a transgender vote by the people rather than elected officials in Anchorage, the caravan, Syria, and more.

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

My blog for today done! And it is only 8 am rather than 11 am. Last night’s prep helped. I have nothing to do till 11 when  I leave for the book signing.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

FLORIDA PUBLIC BEACHES NO MORE

Strange laws are made. For strange purposes. By strange men.

Most Florida beaches have been public like forever. Now a law has been passed. One whereby beachfront property owners can kick people of the beaches.

The new law recognizes beachfront property owners to have claim to “the land above the mean high-water tide level.” Means private property beach owners can kick the public off beaches that heretofore were public.

The power behind the new law the rich. Wealthy beachfront homeowners and hotel owners.

Governor Scott owns a home on the beach in Naples. He was not concerned . He indicated people should not worry….rich people were unlikely to abuse their new powers.

As good as an assurance that it will never snow again in the Arctic.

Every now and then a person makes a special connection with Key West. Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffett for example. Most recently, Diana Nyad.

Diana is a long distance swimmer. In 2013, she swam from Cuba to Key West. No easy task. Ever since, there has been a marriage between Diana and Key West.

She did not establish a residence. However does visit frequently. Key West honored her accomplishment with a memorial at the beach.

Irma knocked the hell out of certain parts of the lower keys. Many still recovering. Easy to understand when one realizes that 4,000 plus residential dwellings were destroyed in the keys as a whole.

Diana is in Key West for a month. Together with a group of friends. All runners, not swimmers. They are presently working every day along side Habit for Humanity repairing Irma damaged homes. Presently in the Big Pine area.

Key West showed its love to Diana. She is returning it ten fold.

Stability is lacking in our government. Tariff wars and sanctions lead to fighting wars.

Japan a perfect example. President Roosevelt was squeezing Japan in the time before Pearl Harbor. Japan had invaded China. Roosevelt wanted Japan out of China.

Japan a big importer of oil. Could not survive without oil. Roosevelt put the squeeze on Japan by placing an embargo on oil that normally would go to Japan from various parts of Asia. Plus, other sanctions.

Japan said…..Up yours! Pearl Harbor resulted.

Roosevelt was successfully choking Japan economically. Japan could have capitulated and agreed with Roosevelt’s terms which included Japan’s total withdrawal from China. Or, Japan could have taken the position you cannot do this to us and gone to war.

The answer we all know.

World War II resulted in a marriage of three nations. Germany, Italy and Japan. All fascist nations.

The Democracies plus Russia won World War II. Russia an immediate problem. However the Democracies kept Russia in tow.

In April 1945, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin Bunker. Mussolini’s corpse was hung upside down at a gas station in Milan 2 days earlier. Following the War, Tojo was executed by hanging for war crimes.

Fascism for all intents and purposes was dead. Till recent years. It has returned. Big time. Trump the Pied Piper.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright wrote an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times 4/6/18 re the issue of fascism titled: Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late.

Some countries were authoritarian leaning before Trump. Some since. Trump most definitely authoritarian. Another way of describing a fascist.

Other world leaders say if Trump can be a dictator of sorts, why can’t I? Leaders in Hungary, the Philippines, Poland and Turkey. Moves toward fascist states in Egypt, Syria and Venezuela. Russia under Putin already there.

Albright wrote that fascism on “the world stage is enhanced by the volatile Presidency of Donald Trump.”

I started this part of the blog discussing sanctions and tariffs being economic wars leading to fighting wars. China today is the U.S.’ primary adversary in an economic war. China a tough adversary. Would never even think of capitulating. Face too important.

So China will do everything to win the economic war Trump has guided us into with China.

Gao Feng, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said recently, “We will not start a war, we will definitely fight back…..No options will be ruled out.”

Feng was speaking of tariffs. However, the tariff war of today can easily turn into a fighting war tomorrow.

And who would we have to thank? Donald Trump!

A message to T-Shirt Jordan. Please send me your full name and address.

Forget not my Irma and Me book signing tuesday noon to 3 at Andrews Inn, Zero Whalton Lane, Key West.

Enjoy your day!

 

BLOOD ON THE SAND

Tyranny abounds. It begins in the White House.

Tyranny has many definitions. Basically, government or a ruler gone amiss. I selected three which fit Trump: Cruel, unreasonable or arbitrary use of power or control…..Cruel and oppressive government or rule…..Unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.

Government under Trump moves fast. Every day something new. Everything an immediate problem. It is the immediacy which concerns me at the moment.

Government used to be a studied drawn out affair. Issues were discussed and analyzed. The President spoke with Congress. Congress spoke with the President. Congress debated. Etc.

No more. An issue hits today. Requires resolution yesterday. No debate, no thought entering into the process.

The United States is a nation with roughly 12 million illegal immigrants at the present time. In the last 48 hours, we have been hit with another and different immigration problem. One involving 1,200 people.

Trump has announced he is calling in the military. The National Guard. He is already working with the Governors of the States involved.

The “caravan” from Honduras and Guatemala the meager 1,200. Consists of men, women and children. Families. Videos on TV show women carrying small children. Walking from Central America to the U.S. border.

Some will seek asylum. The legal approach. Others will try to sneak over the border.

Trump is rabble rousing the public. He is gearing up like a major invasion is in the making which has to be defended against. He is preparing for a war on a small number of poor people.

I fear blood on the sands at the border. Blood that will also be on Trump’s hands.

We are told the National Guard will have no physical contact with the immigrants nor will they process them at the border. The purpose of the National Guard will be to provide  surveillance via air and through camera monitoring of the border.

I don’t buy it.

Too much man power. I feel the worst will result.

A few observations.

It has been reported that Trump decided to call in the military without advising his advisers. They were caught by surprise.

Where is the money coming from to finance what is about to happen? The budget for $1.3 trillion was approved only two weeks ago. Not in the budget.

You have to give credit where credit is due. Trump has acted with expediency. Swifter than he did with Puerto Rico following the hurricanes. He recognizes value. The border in this instance more important than the lives of hundreds of thousands still suffering in Puerto Rico.

I received a sad telephone call at 5 yesterday afternoon. My cousin Theresa had died. I cried quite awhile. Tears in my eyes as I type this.

Theresa roughly my age.

We grew up in the same houses. First, the three story six family house in East Utica. Theresa lived in the first floor rear apartment. I in the third floor front.

My parents bought a two family home in 1941. Soon thereafter, Theresa, her parents and sisters moved into the upstairs flat.

We grew up together. Like brother and sister.

I have not seen Theresa in 15 years. Families grow and move on. Marriages and children occur. The children have children. Some family members move from their place of birth to other parts of the country.

We see each other no more. The last time I saw Theresa was 15 years ago in the parking lot of a supermarket in Utica.

Never the less, I love Theresa as much today as when we lived in the two homes and when last we met in the supermarket parking lot 15 years ago. Life moving on separated us physically, but not in the heart.

Lunched with Guy de Boer tuesday at Harpoon Harry’s. His beard large. He could easily be taken even in every day clothes as Santa Claus.

Guy is publisher of KONK Life and KONK Life E-Blast. Guy got me started in writing and radio many years ago. For years I wrote the Key West Lou COMMENTARY for KONK Life.

I am returning to write the weekly column in two weeks. Why? I have missed it. It was a place where I could pontificate to my heart’s content on one issue. The only difference this time is that the one issue will be limited to 500 words.

Irma and Me and me will shortly undergo a new experience. A book signing. I never did one. The book signing is next tuesday April 10th. At the Andrews Inn at Zero Whalton Lane in Key West. Whalton Lane is a side street off Truman between Duval and Whitehead. Time, noon to 3.

Three other authors will be signing books. A speaker is scheduled to do a reading.

Come join us.

Last night dinner at Donna and Terri’s. A good time as usual. Got to see Bear again. It had been two weeks. I was amazed at how he has grown.

Donna and I spent three hours after dinner working on a trailer/ad piece and poster for the book signing. The lady is talented!

Enjoy your day!

I’VE RETIRED FROM THE FIELD OF HOMOSEXUALITY

I have been coming to Key West for 30 years. Bought my home 20 years ago. In all that time, Key West has been One Happy Family.

Not so 10 years before I first came. The winter of 1979-80 was a time of flux. Straights versus gays. Violence commonplace. The gays generally on the losing end.

A bigoted man of God resided in Key West. A Baptist minister. His goal was to drive the deviates out of town. He bought an ad in the Key West Citizen. His position simple. He recommended 100 men with baseball bats walk down Duval Street and hit the “freaks” in the head.

The good minister claimed that was the way it was done in Key West in the days he loved and remembered.

One of Key West’s leading citizens at the time was Tennessee Williams. Thirty years a resident. Resided in a quaint bungalow on Duncan Street.

Williams had a gardener who cared for his grounds. The man was found in a pool of blood at his home. He had been killed by point blank shots to the head and neck.

The man was a friend. Williams took his death badly.

Six days after the gardener had been killed, William’s home was broken into. Vandalized, some minor thievery.

Williams was further disturbed. First time in 30 years anyone had invaded his home.

One month later, Williams and a house guest friend were coming out of the Monster. A gay disco off Duval. Late at night. Both men feeling no pain.

Williams and his friend were jumped by 4-5 guys. Williams struck and thrown to the ground. His glasses broken. His friend knocked down from a blow to the jaw.

The friend shouted they may have knives! Let’s get out of here! Williams refused. He stood his ground: “I am not in the habit of retreat.”

Some time thereafter, a group appeared in front of Williams home. They threw beer cans at the house. Shouted, “Come out, faggot.” Then threw fire crackers.

Williams and his friend were in the house. The fire crackers sounded like bullets. Williams and his friend thought they were under attack.

A little history.

Beginning in the mid 1960’s, Key West began becoming economically depressed. The Naval Base had significantly down sized, businesses were closing down. Many left.

It was then that the gays began arriving. They sensed Key West was a place for them. A place they could make home. They were like immigrants. Worked hard from day one to make Key West a better place.

With the gays came problems. Not just the disturbed minister. The gay improvements to the community caused real estate prices and taxes to go up. The gays were buying more and more property.

Some of the gays were not typical of non-gay Key West residents. For example, Williams’ gardener who was shot in the head several times was an eccentric. He would walk around Key West shouting, “I am a woman.”

Male prostitutes arrived on the scene. I find this fact amusing. If the new residents were gay, why did they need male prostitutes?

Drugs and crime accelerated. Assaults and battery common place. The gays were under siege.

Key West was Williams’ home. Had been for 30 years. He refused to leave. He also withdrew from sex at the time saying “I’ve retired from the field of homosexuality at present…..because of age, I have no desires.”

Williams understood why the gay community was being warred upon. Bad gays had followed the good gays to Key West. The bad ones were giving the good ones a bad name.

Key West soon became known as the Fire Island of Florida. Williams said the name did not fit. He viewed the bad gays and others as punks and predators.

Williams was possessed with foresight. He believed this anti-gay sentiment would pass. He firmly believed the violence would be gone by the next year. He was correct.

In the meantime, the Baptist minister kept ranting and raving. He threatened to bring Anita Bryant to Key West to assist in his anti-gay crusade.

The minister thought things would go one way or the other. He gave it 5 years. He took the position by the end of that time, there would be a revival of a “normal society” or the homosexuals would have taken over.

The good guys won.

During the winter of fire, Williams became exceptionally careful. He stopped walking or riding a bicycle down Duval late at night. He claimed he was “more frightened” in Key West “than I am in New York.”

Williams refused to leave Key West: “I have been here longer than they have and I’m not leaving.”

I never sensed the war like atmosphere when I arrived in Key West for the first time 10 years later. Gays owned businesses. Gays were in business with straights. No feeling of discrimination existed. Everyone loved everyone else. One Happy Family.

 

EASTER SUNDAY

Matthew 20:19…..On the third day he will be raised to life.

Luke 24…..He is not here, he is risen.

Such Easter Sunday’s religious joyous connotation. There also is another joyous one. In a popular sense. Best exemplified by Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade: In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.

I used to believe death was the only constant. Life has taught me otherwise. Change is a constant, also. Nothing remains the same. Nothing is as it was.

Easter Sunday attire is reflective of change. Big time. Mike Ragland is a retired police officer living in the Rome, Georgia area. He recently wrote a change type article for the Rome News Tribune titled “In Your Easter Bonnet.”

I have combined some of my thoughts with his for today’s blog.

The tale of Easter Sunday attire begins with Constantine I. Emperor of Rome in the early fourth century. He ordered his subjects to dress in their finest clothes and parade in honor of Christ’s Resurrection.

His decree developed with time.

In Tudor days, superstition originated which claimed that unless a person had new homespun cloth available at Easter, moths and crickets would eat his old clothes.

The Irish added a vestige that stated, “For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes.”

A 15th century proverb from Poor Richard’s Almanac stated that if on Easter Sunday some part of the outfit was not new, one would not enjoy good luck during the year.

German settlers in Pennsylvania as early as 1782 paraded on Easter Monday. Easter Monday was widely celebrated as a holiday. The parading continued for over a century.

Then came the big one!

In 1870, ladies of congregations along New York’s Fifth Avenue began decorating churches with fresh flowers to commemorate Easter Sunday. A New York newspaper noted over half the female congregation members were decked out in their best finery while so doing.

A few years later, ladies and their escorts began walking to other churches to view floral arrangements and to be seen. The strolling area extended from 49th Street to 57th Street on Fifth Avenue.

By 1900, Easter Sunday  was rivaling Christmas as a merchant’s dream and was spreading to other cities.

Irving Berlin’s 1933 Easter Parade glorified the day as it had become. Fifteen years later, Judy Garland and Fred Astaire made the movie Easter Parade. One of the most profitable movies made to that time.

I am 82. In my youth, the whole family dressed on Easter Sunday. Where affordable, of course. I first noticed the everyone dressing up thing during World War II when I was 5-10 years old.

We dressed for church. Walked to and back from church as a family. Everyone smiling and exchanging hellos with neighbors and friends.

Followed by Easter Sunday dinner. Exceeded only by Christmas dinner.

The ladies wore hats. New ones, big ones, little ones, frilly and flowered.

I recall Easter Sundays in the 1960’s. Married with four little ones. We all dressed, went to church, and then to a huge family dinner.

The historical Easter Sunday and the one I knew is no more. A thought to be constant having disappeared. No one dresses as they did. Hats, what hats? Few families go to church together. Few go to church. The big meal, rare.

I am glad I was fortunate to have lived through those times. The memories real and warm.

My friends, whatever way you celebrate Easter Sunday, whatever you wear, whatever you eat, enjoy the day. This is what it is. Not bad, not as good, just the way it is.

Happy Easter!

 

 

STATIONS OF THE CROSS REINACTED

Christ lived, died, and was resurrected.

Catholics believe He was crucified yesterday, lies entombed in a rock cave with a large rock blocking the entrance today, and will rise from the dead tomorrow.

Tomorrow being Easter Sunday.

Current writings by sociologists and political scientists suggest religion is dying. I see it in my Catholic religion. Churches closing, Catholic schools disappearing, very few women entering the nunnery, priests a problem unto themselves, etc.

Then an occurrence. One that makes me question the premise that religion is dying.

Yesterday in Portland at the Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish Church, the Stations of the Cross  were performed. Part of Good Friday activities.

Normally, the Stations of the Cross involve a priest and two altar boys/girls going to each of the 14 Stations and reciting what occurred.

The Portland Church enacted the 14 Stations.

Participants were dressed in the garb of 33 AD. Roman soldiers in dramatic red and gold uniforms. An estimated 100 parishioners in the dress of 33 AD. The cross was large and wood. There even was a replica of a stone burial chamber.

The place Jerusalem. The Stations beginning with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Ending with Him being laid to rest in a tomb of stone.

The parish an immigrant one. The people poor. They come to the United States from other parts of the world. They bring their religion with them. The Stations were recited in French, Spanish and English.

Makes me wonder whether I have been correct in assuming religion is dying. The experts write it is. Universities teach it.

Could it be that only those that need God believe in Him? Did we in the U.S. and other advanced countries become too intelligent and too affluent forgetting Him?

I do not know. But how religion is handled in the Portland Church causes me to stop and think.

Seder last night. With Donna’s family and friends. At her daughter Stacey’s home. Thirty two in all. From 3 to 82. Guess who was 82?

I have been celebrating Seder with them for many years. Always a warm family event.

My dinner companion was Terri. We sat next to each other. Her eyes failing more rapidly than anticipated.

Love the lady!

A unique experience at lunch time. Stopped in Sandy’s Cafe. There was my grandson Robert and a lady friend. A girl friend. The two enjoying lunch.

Robert handled introductions well. Was not flustered. His lady friend a bit intimidated.

Robert has gone to another level in my mind. No longer a boy. He is a young man. He will be 14 in two months, in high school in August, college in 4 years.

It was only yesterday Robert was born. Lisa insisted I remain for the birth. Her husband holding one leg up and I the other. Yelling at Lisa to push while Lisa was responding with a loud I can’t do this!

Three hours later Robert was on a helicopter to Miami Children’s Hospital. He was born with cancer of the liver. The tumor larger than his liver. Two major surgeries the first 8 days of his life.

God is good. All is well today. And…..He has a girl friend!

The Sons and Daughters of Italy have a scholarship fund. One of their fundraisers is a bocce event. Tonight from 5:30-9:30. At the bocce courts across from the White Street Pier.

Come join us. I will be cooking sausage and hots dogs and teaching bocce to novices.

A fun evening. Cost $20 for adults and $10 for children.

I will be rushing home right after the event. The Final Four begins tonight. I should be able to catch the last game.

World population grows. The scientists tell us at some point there will not be enough food to feed everyone. It is therefore important that we develop alternative ways to grow/create foods. The laboratories of the world become important for this.

Zen Honeycutt published an interesting article on the problem in ECO Watch 3/27/18. The work was limited to Monsanto, glyphosate, herbicides, and pesticides.

I sometimes hate Monsanto for what they do. Other times, I recognize the cause of feeding the world’s peoples is an overwhelming task not without pitfalls.

Glyphosate is bad stuff found in Monsanto’s Roundup. It is also a part of other herbicides and pesticides.

Glyphosate has been discovered in certain wines and beers world wide. Some in popular U.S. brands. All U.S. brands are moving rapidly to change over and use other herbicides and pesticides.

The article makes reference to a Save the Children 2013 report. The report indicated the U.S. has 50 percent more infant deaths on day one of life than all other developed countries involved. The question raised was whether such was due to the widespread use of herbicides and pesticides like Roundup.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

MAJOR RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS BACK TO BACK

Jewish and Christian religions overlap this weekend. Beginning today.

Tonight, the beginning of Passover. Seder.

Seder is a Jewish ritual feast. Marks the beginning of Passover. Celebrated with a huge dinner. A family and friends event. The meal begins with the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

The narrative of the exodus is called Haggadah. Special blessings and rituals are involved. Commentaries from the Talmud are read. A special Passover soup served. Followed by the eating of symbolic foods, wine drinking, eating matza, and reclining in celebration of freedom.

A big deal!

Followed by a meal of brisket.

I am invited yearly to celebrate Seder with Donna and her family. Tonight, at her daughter Stacey’s home. Thirty to forty people.

Donna’s children and grandchildren return to Key West each year to celebrate the holiday with Donna. Mandatory. No one misses it.

Donna has spent the past three days cooking all day. Her children help. A lot of work. A labor of love for them.

Today is also Good Friday. The day Jesus was crucified. Hung on a cross. For three hours till dead.

Christians world wide mourn his death today. I know of the day from my Catholic upbringing.

Traditionally, Jesus is hung on the cross at noon. Three hours of agony follow till He expires.

Fasting and Church services today. Part of the services include the Stations of the Cross.

Passover Seder and Good Friday coincide this year. Not necessarily so every year. Though both occur close in time.

I had a difficult experience in Church one year during the three hours.

I went to a Catholic high school. Sisters of Charity taught us. I was a freshman. Fourteen years old.  The three hours was mandatory for students.

Seated in my row two seats from me was one of the nuns. Directly in front of me in the row in front of me was a lovely woman. Early 20’s I would suspect.

A sensuous ass. I could not get my eyes or mind off it for three hours. I had an erection. I was praying to God to make it go down. No help. I feared the nun would see it. Fortunately, she did not.

It was a difficult three hours. My time for pain and suffering.

For some reason, I was tired all day yesterday. I had intended to go to The Studios to hear author Arlo Haskell of The Jews of Key West. He recently received the Florida Book of the Year award for the writing.

Never made it. I spent the day and evening lying around. Dozing on and off.

Feel fine this morning.

I mentioned yesterday that there had been a change in the operational heads of the Key West Citizen. The publisher and controller were let go.

Turns out the scenario was sort of coup. The change took place monday morning. The publisher must have been aware. He did not show up. The controller did. He was escorted off the premises by two police officers. Two police officers were stationed at the Citizen monday and tuesday.

Key West is a giving community. Many organizations award scholarships for college study. I am a member of The Sons and Daughters of Italy. We have a scholarship program.

One of the ways of funding it are special events. Tomorrow night The Sons and Daughters are having a bocce fundraiser. Tried it for the first time last year. Successful. Hopefully will be as successful this year.

One does not have to be a member to attend. Last year, I would estimate 70 percent of the attendees were not members.

The event is from 5:30 to 9:30 at the bocce courts on the ocean at the corner of White Street and Atlantic Boulevard. Cost $20 for adults and $10 for children. Includes food, drink, bocce equipment, and instruction for those who have never played.

I am one of those providing instruction. Did it last year. Many of those playing had never played before. Everyone had a good time.

Interestingly, many of those who attended merely to support a fundraiser subsequently joined The Sons and Daughters. I made several new friends as a result of the event.

In March 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Carmen Basilio to regain the Middleweight Boxing Championship. Robinson and Basilio held both the Middleweight and Welterweight championships at different times.

Basilio had beaten Robinson to win the Middleweight title. The same title Basilio lost to Robinson that March 1958.

I knew both men incidentally.

I attended Manhattan College in New York City 1953-57. Located at 242 Street and Broadway. Robinson’s mother lived at 238 Street and Broadway.

Whenever Robinson visited his mother, word spread on the campus. It was easy to know. Robinson drove a big pink Cadillac convertible. We would hustle down to 238 street hoping to see the champion.

If successful, Robinson was always quick to smile and say, “Hi, guys!”

Basilio I knew a bit better. A little bit.

Basilio’s home was Canastota, New York. Twenty miles from my home town Utica.

Canastota is well represented in Key West. Many from the area have homes here. I attribute it to onions.

Canastota is the onion capital of the world. Was in 1958 and remains so today. Everyone I meet in Key West from Canastota was or is in the onion business.

Basilio was known in the boxing world as the “Upstate Onion Farmer.”

At some point in time after Basilio and Robinson had been champions, the International Boxing Hall of fame was opened in Canastota. Yearly inductions.

It was at the inductions I got to see and greet Basilio up close. No more than a hello and how are you. Basilio later became physical education director at Syracuse’s Le Moyne College. I ran into him at some college functions when I was active at Syracuse University.

Enjoy your day!