HURRICANE HOLE

My Saturday was quiet. As was Friday, the day before.

Slowing down in my old age.

I spent a part of yesterday afternoon continuing research for this week’s KONK Life column.The subject mater sand. The world is running out of usable sand. Comparable to the world’s water problem.

So bad, a black market in sand already exists in certain countries.

I look forward to writing the article this afternoon. Few are aware of the sand problem.

Got out last night! Dinner with Donna and Terri at Hurricane Hole.

Hurricane Hole is a hole. Therein lies its charm. A small marina on a small bit of water surrounded by mangroves. An open air bar and tables. Nothing fancy. Food good, however.

Not easy to find. Hurricane Hole sits on US 1. Less than .2 of a mile outside Key West. Just over Cow Key Bridge going north on US 1.

My ladies were tired. Getting ready to move. In a week. Still packing boxes. Their new abode will be in Bahama Village. At the corner of Whitehead and Petronia Streets.

Terri is doing well and not so well. Her eyes get worse by day. She needs assistance walking. An arm on her arm. She has a walking stick. Uses it well.

Some vision available for minor uses. Like eating. She wears two sets of glasses. One upon the other to get minimum vision. Soon, there will be no vision.

They have had Bear to the seeing eye dog trainer to determine if he qualifies. He does. Soon, the training will begin.

BOB an excellent learning tool, as well as informative.

Bob and Ann Smith were having lunch at Road Kill Cafe. Before my time. Never heard of it.

The waitress an acquaintance. She came up to Bob and asked if he had a smoke. He offered a cigarette. She was looking for a joint.

A conversation ensued re the high cost of grass. The question arose as to why? Because of golf, Bob said.

Bear with me. I am not sure even after reading the chapter several times how the two are interconnected. The story however interesting.

Bob explained that when they lived in Buffalo, there was a lot of snow. Everyone carried jumper cables in their cars. In the middle of the night, Bob’s front door bell rang. It was the police. A passer by had seen someone steal Bob’s jumper cables. The police were able to quickly apprehend the culprit. They wanted to make Bob aware.

Bob obviously was pleased. He asked the officer to hand him the jumper cables. The officer refused, explaining that the theft of jumper cables in New York was a Class A Felony and had to be retained for evidence.

Two weeks later, Bob received a notice to appear in court. The notice further advised that if he failed to do so, a warrant for his arrest could be issued.

Bob appeared. Directed to a large court room and told to take a seat. Bob estimates 300 people in the room. Bob was dressed suit and tie for the occasion. Most others, not.

Soon several of the others began asking him about the proceedings. Bob explained he was not a lawyer. Merely like them. Which he was not. Most were defendants waiting to go before the judge. Bob had been directed to the wrong room.

He went into the hall. Saw the public defender representing the man who stole his jumper cables and the arresting police officer. He went over and chatted with them.

Bob was anxious to get out of the place and asked them what had to be done. They said the action was on the floor above. Nothing really moved on the floor they were on.

So upstairs the three went. Into a maze of offices with a lone secretary sitting in the middle. Several assistant district attorneys plea bargaining cases. Bob described the scene as chaos.

The public defender and police officer knew what to do. Soon the guy who stole Bob’s jumper cables case was resolved.

Bob was free to leave.

He asked how plea bargaining came to be.

At first plea bargaining was used to get one defendant to turn on another in order to get a sweet deal. Flipping. The system worked well. Cases moved.

One judge said, in effect, hey this works terrific! Why don’t we use it to negotiate sentences so a sole defendant will agree to plead to a lesser charge. His motivation was that judges could get out of work earlier and have time each afternoon to play golf. In fact, he thought they could be out by lunch.

Plea bargaining born to provide judge’s with the opportunity to play golf. What all this had to do with the high cost of pot, I still do not understand.

Children separated from parents at the border. Commonplace recently in the United States. We read and talk about the impact on the children. To hear about it first hand from a person it actually happened to impactful.

The New York Times began an OPINIONS section this morning. It will run every Sunday. People writing about first hand experiences.

Victoria Smolkin today a history professor at Wesleyan University and an author. Thirty years ago, 8 years old. She, her parents and family were escaping Communist Russia. They had necessary papers. They reached the crucial point at the border. Theirs bags searched. The mother’s contained an inexpensive broach that was a family heirloom. The Russian guards thought she was taking expensive jewelry out of Russia.

The mother was taken away. The problem resolved two days later and her mother returned.

Here it is 30 years later. Victoria recalls how she developed a huge bald spot on the right side of her head and wet the bed for two years.

Trauma? You bet. Imagine what the immigrant children in the U.S. are experiencing and will suffer therefrom  for years.

Victoria wrote: “…..separating families at the border…..not about law and order…..about power, and the abuse of power – because if, in the collision between border and body, no one protects the body, the border always wins.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

TARIFF WAR WITH CHINA BAD FOR U.S.

Respectfully, most things started by Trump end up being disasters. The immigrant children the most recent. Soon to come, a tariff war with China.

If the war proceeds as presently described, a disaster for the U.S.

Nine States each exported more than $1 billion worth of tariff eligible goods to China in 2017. Five of the States red politically.

All nine States will take a big time beating.

By some time in 2019 (next year), unemployed will increase to 6 million. In 2020, unemployed will be at 8.6 percent.

If the numbers are correct, the U.S. will be plunged into a recession. The world will soon follow.

My yesterday, a lazy one. I did not feel that great. Did some research for next week’s KONK Life column, watched some TV, and napped. Did not go out last night.

The KONK column will be about sand. Sand, today. As with water, failing supplies. Sand has become gold.

Hard to believe. True, however.

BOB reported that in the 1990’s, a live mine was found floating in the Marquesas. The Marquesas a few miles west of the Keys. The mine was a model MK6 left over from World War II. Three feet in diameter and covered in barnacles.

During World War II, German U-boats were regularly in the waters off the Keys. The U.S. Navy set out 4,328 MK6 mines.

Following the War, 2,316 were accounted for.

BOB wanted to know what happened to the rest.

The mine discovered was live. The remaining 2,000 plus unaccounted for would still be alive, even today. There were no “off” switches after a period of time on mines then as there are today.

Again, BOB curious. What happened to the other 2,000 mines?

BOB also reported a Duval Street robbery. From an adult store. A full sized anatomically correct female blow up doll with a built in vibrator. Obviously, a straight guy.

This blog goes out over at least a dozen sites. One is WordPress. Comments are fiery. My blog provides many with a place to vent.

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria still discussed. Patrick against several others. The issue concerning help/no help for Puerto Rico to this day. I mentioned months ago Patrick was wrong. He persists in his position. Repeatedly gets knocked down.

Months after Maria and still arguing.

My undergrad school was Manhattan College. The Jasper Jottings blog recently shared a story how some present day Manhattan students did their small part in helping Puerto Rico.

Worthy of sharing with you.

A small group of engineering students and a professor went to Puerto Rico 3/9-3/12. To Colegio De La Salle in Anasco. A La Sallian grade school, kindergarten through 12th grade. With only intermittent power. Without clean water.

The students designed a Water and Solar Power Project. Cheap and easy to construct. The next step, someone has to build it. Puerto Ricans themselves or perhaps the students will return.

The purpose of the story. Puerto Rico still in desperate need of assistance. Even a little help is a lot. Helping hands required to fill in where Trump/the U.S. have failed our fellow citizens.

The confinement/detention centers for the immigrant children receiving continual discussion. One person recently said, “A prison is a prison is a prison, whether we want to call them nice euphemisms…..If people aren’t allowed to leave, then its imprisonment, and so we need to be clear about that.”

My concern about the babies grows with each passing day. Why no photos of them or visits to them? I pray this is not a further tragedy in the making.

A side point of interest. The CEO of the largest private non-profit caring for the children is paid $1.5 million a year.

Dinner with my lesbian wives Donna and Terri tonight at Hurricane Hole. I have not seen the ladies in two weeks. They are packing day and night preparatory to moving by the end of the month.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

CHE A NO SHOW

Several of us were at the Chart Room at 5 yesterday to visit with Che. An old friend, Chart Room cohort, one who has an empty hole in the bar awaiting his ashes, a first class debater in any friendly argument, a man soon to be 84.

The meeting had been arranged by Jean Thornton. Che has become a recluse in recent months. His health failing. He would not open his door if someone knocked. We wanted to visit with him.

No Che. Failed to appear. Probably decided he simply did not want to do it. No problem. Che has earned the right to call them as he sees them.

We sat at the round table and enjoyed ourselves. Jean, David, Cori, Nic, Captain Frank, Valerie, Lisa, and Louis. Later, Quincy Perkins showed up.

Jean made a batch of deviled eggs and brought them for all to enjoy.

Later, Jean and I had dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Sheila bartending.

Jean and I are a match. We get along well. I consider her a benefactor. Escaped Irma by staying at her home in Birmingham for 12 days.

The Ocean Key House pier was severely damaged by Irma. The contractor waited six months to get back to Ocean Key that he could not do the job for the price bid. Another company has stepped in. They are swiftly working. A huge crane, huge wood posts, etc. I understand the entire pier is going to be redone in concrete.

My sunday afternoon was spent writing this week’s KONK Life column. Sit At Attention Or Die. A Kim/Trump tale. Mostly, Kim. It hits the stands wednesday evening.

The article was well researched and wrote swiftly. I had time left over. Skimmed the internet a bit to determine what the following week’s article will be.

Came up with the subject! Sand! The world is running out of sand. A black market has developed. I did some preliminary research. Interesting.

What a difference 100 years make! Price of Key West Hotel rooms.

In 1914, the Panama Hotel was located at the corner of Eaton and Elizabeth Streets. A new hotel. Running water in each room. A big deal! Rates $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00.

A sad situation. Paul Donnelly was the Key West Citizen Controller. In a management restructuring in March, Paul was one of the those let go.

Paul got in trouble last thursday in Plainview, Michigan. He robbed a bank. Walked up to a teller, handed her a note saying this is a robbery and my bag contains a bomb.

Paul walked out with $4,700. Eight hours later, he was arrested without incident.

Paul was in Plainview visiting relatives. The relatives claim Paul was suicidal, the bank robbery a call for help, he was fighting alcoholism, the sudden loss of his job had affected him, and he had recurring problems from a brain tumor.

Several years ago, I wrote a KONK Life article re Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. The Waterloo battle was waged this day in 1815.

I discovered in my research at the time that the popular reason for Napoleon’s defeat was not correct. It was not the genius of the Duke of Wellington, though his military prowess probably did make some contribution.

Napoleon had hemorrhoids. They were extremely painful the night before. He doped himself with some narcotic that evening and in the late morning when he woke to kill the pain. He overslept. Did not get to the battlefield till just before noon. The battle had started in the early morning.

He could not sit comfortably on his horse. As a result, he did not move around the battlefield to personally view and assess conditions.

The battle was lost early evening.

My research clearly indicated it was the hemorrhoids that did him in.

The immigration children problem disturbs me as it must most of you. Children separated from parents. Sort of a Sophie’s choice, though not as final.

Totally un-American. Not what good people do. I am ashamed my country is doing this.

The problem has to be resolved like yesterday. Realistically, by the end of this week.

How would Trump have felt if his three oldest when young were taken from him and his wife in a fashion similar to what is occurring at the borders? Or, Barron today?

Cock fighting in the lower Keys was a big deal back when. Perhaps even today. I recall a few years ago a group was arrested for involvement with cock fighting.

BOB reports British Peter had a cock fighting experience.

The time would have been the mid 1990’s. Peter was driving cab for a living. New to the job. Got a call asking if he would go to Rockland Key to pick up a fare. Peter jumped at the chance. The fare $17 plus tip.

He picked up 3 young boys each with a paper bag on a side road off US 1. They asked to be taken to Bahama Village. Made sure they had money to pay. Started up and reached the intersection with US 1.

All of a sudden, a huge truck was behind the cab. Lights glaring, horn blowing, and the driver waving out the window. Peter had no idea what was going on. He immediately called for help. The Sheriff’s Department arrived in 2 minutes.

The guy in the tuck ran to the cab. The boys jumped out and ran onto US 1 emptying their bags as they ran. They assumed the chickens would run into the woods. Not so. The chickens were fighters. They engaged in a mammoth cock fight on US 1 in front of the Sheriff Deputies.

The guy in the truck was arrested. The kids taken into custody. The chickens collected.

A problem arose. The Sheriff/County had no place to keep the chickens pending trial. Evidence. They solved the problem in Key West fashion. The chickens were turned over to the now defendant truck driver who they assumed knew how to safeguard them.

BOB does not tell  us how the case ended. Was there a trial? Were the chickens produced? I doubt it. These chickens were lucky if they saw the light of day following the incident.

The situation bothered Peter. He put a sign in his cab: No Rockland County trips, no Rockland County residents.

Dueling Bartenders tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BOB WISDOM RE HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

Bob Smith was an oracle of wisdom. He wrote BOB in the mid 1990’s, sharing his thoughts with the world.

Today, BOB and hurricanes.

My sense is naming hurricanes and following their path on TV was a relatively new thing in the 1990’s. BOB thought they gave a feeling of preparedness. A false feeling. Hype had nothing to do with being ready for 100 mile plus winds and rain.

He felt Hurricane Andrew in 1992 proved his point.

Evacuation always important. Many failed to leave. Almost always. Traffic extremely slow, not enough gas, etc.

BOB had the solution. Airlift Key West residents out. Like the Berlin airlift. The federal government could label the program the Florida Keys Evacuation Plan.

FEMA was not doing a good job. Useless. My observation is that FEMA improves with every hurricane. However 26 years after Andrew, still do not have it down.

BOB believed FEMA would never improve.

BOB disparaged politicians big time. Tiny brains. Did not know how to get the job done: “I have long since abandoned the idea that reason rules with these clowns.”

I took it easy yesterday. The previous 3 days had been hectic.

Began with a walk up and down White Street. Should be referred to as the new White Street. Many buildings remodeled. All type new businesses opened and opening. Exciting.

Then lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Situated right in the middle of White Street. It has become one of my favorite lunch haunts. I sit quietly, read the newspapers, and enjoy Cuban cheese toast with tomato and Cuban coffee.

Last night, a late one for me. I am usually in bed by 9. Last night, 12:30!

My evening began late. Bria Ansara’s birthday party was 8-10 at Bourbon St. Got there 8:30. Crowd building. By the time I left an hour later, the place was jam packed. People dancing, singing, waving their arms.

Bria entertaining. A lovely woman. Magnificent. A talented vocalist.

Saw her in a different light last night. Normally, I get to see and hear Bria at Berlin’s on the weekend. She sings on those evenings a lot of tunes from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. Music for oldies like me. Music from my time. The music of most Berlin customers.

Bourbon St. last night, A much younger crowd. No one even close to my 82 years. They were whooping it up. Bria leading them.

A lot of people I knew. Many from Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. Many women who perform in Key West, also. Fantasy Fest Queen Destiny, one of the bartenders from Berlin’s, Guy de Boer, Chris the photographer, Erin, and others I recognized but whose names I could not recall.

Since I wasn’t dancing, singing or whooping it up to today’s music, I left after an hour. Decided to stop at the Chart Room.  Glad I did.

Ollie was holding court at the end of the bar. A Key West icon.

Met Mandy and Gene. Ollie introduced us. Spent 2 hours chatting with them.

Gene originally from Syracuse. Grew up in Camillus, a small community adjoining Syracuse. Mandy and Gene today live in Smeltfield, Virginia. The home of Smeltfield Ham and Bacon.

They have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Gene still working. An industrial designer. He designs aircraft carriers. I was impressed.

Mandy retired. However her work background equally impressive. She spent her career working with the Navy and Coast Guard at their highest echelons.

We talked about everything. They hope to return for Fantasy Fest. Have never seen it.

I liked their attitudes. They are both 60. Kids educated and gone. They are ready to live.

Go for it!

My drive to Bria’s party found me on North Roosevelt Boulevard at the right time. There before me was the setting sun. A huge yellow ball. Caught the sun just as it was cutting the horizon.

A benefit of living in Key West.

I intend for today to be another Louis day. Only thing scheduled is a haircut with Lori at noon. Going to try to schedule a manicure and pedicure for later in the afternoon.

It’s a good life!

Enjoy your day!

 

ETHIOPIA BURN THE WHITE HOUSE?

Trump’s weak knowledge of American history has generated a lot of comment. One of the best appeared in the Justice Building Blog: “Neither Canada nor Ethiopia invaded and burned the White House.”

If not Canada, why not Ethiopia?

Visited Dr. Norris yesterday. He thinks I may be too old for the surgery contemplated. My primary care physician. My hear doctor said no problem. The endoscopy doctor was concerned that my age might be a problem.

I feel the best I have in 20 years and I am being told that at 82 I am too old for a relatively simple surgery.

My next stop Cleveland Clinic strictly for a consultation. To determine if my age is a concern to them.

Last night the Chart Room. Better than a doctor visit.

John bartending. Not that many people. Those who did stop in interesting.

Sheila arrived with her house guest Sandra. Sandra a nurse from Roanoke, Virginia. Loved Sandra the moment we met. She reads my blog every day!

A terrific couple from Marathon sitting to my right. Robert and Angela. In Key West to celebrate their anniversary. Thirty three years today.

Congratulations!

They live up the road a bit. Marathon. Visit Key West a few days here and there. Marathon a great place to live. However, its night life leaves something to be desired.

They have a 54 foot power boat. Showed me a photo. Magnificent! Generally come down with the boat for a one month stay in March.

Originally from San Antonio, Robert was a CPA. Today works part time/as little as possible as a private equity investor.

Angela a retired elementary teacher. Once owned a lower Keys taxi company.

Excellent conversationalists. Hope to run into them again.

David came in. Good to see him. We do not run into each other often these days.

Steve and Cindy arrived. Enjoy their company.

Cindy brought me Bob Smith’s book. Titled: BOB. He wrote it in 1990, 1997, or during the years in between. Cannot be sure.

The cover of the book is Bob in drag. He was straight with a warped sense of humor.

Married to Annie. A better woman does not exist.

Bob died several years ago. He is one of those whose ashes lie in the Chart Room Bar. A distinction!

He was a friend.

Bob’s book is a collection of Key West antidotes told from Bob’s perspective. I have decided to share some with you in the coming days. Probably months. There are that many.

How is this: “There are only two kinds of people in this world: assholes and the rest of us. Race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, you name it, doesn’t matter. You’re either an asshole or you’re not…..problem is you can’t easily tell who is and who isn’t…..Here’s what we need to do. When we come across a true asshole we need to brand them square in the forehead: A.H. Our proclivity for prejudice will finally be well placed and justified. The whole world will be better off.”

The G7 meeting today and tomorrow. Tensions will be great. Heated words may be exchanged, the calm shattered.

I wish I could watch the exchanges.

We as a Nation should be ashamed. I refer to the detention of immigrant children.

A few years ago, several Walmarts closed down. They are now being used to house the children. Reportedly in cages on concrete floors. The cages described as big. Fencing. Wire and nets stretched along the top to prevent escape.

The situation as reported described by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Or). Although he is a U.S. Senator, he was denied entry at one of the Walmarts. Police called. He was almost arrested. He did gain entry to another apparently without permission.

The White House has accused Merkley of spreading lies.

Bet he isn’t!

CNN’s gifted story teller Anthony Bourdain dead at 61. A suicide.

Suicides dramatically up in recent years. Locally, nationally, and internationally.

Tomorrow at 5 on Duval, the 15th annual Key West Pride Parade. Key West’s Sea-To-Sea Rainbow Flag extending the length of Duval carried on the hands of many with pride.

Enjoy your day!