BEGINNING OF THE END…..

June 6, 1944. D-Day. Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. American, British, and Canadian. One hundred fifty five thousand strong. Within 11 months, Germany would surrender.

This past weekend, Trump and company publicized this week would be a national tour by Trump to share with the people his infrastructure plan. To privatize infrastructure.

I support infrastructure remediation. I do not support privatization.

Instead of infrastructure, Trump appeared in the White House yesterday morning telling us about his plan for privatization of air controllers. I figured tuesday would find Trump into infrastructure.

Apparently not to be. At least not today. Trump news this morning says he wants to work on healthcare and the budget first.

Why the switch?

Aqua first last night. Tom Luna and Rich Dery singing as only they can. Destiny their guest performer. A knock out voice, also.

Liz at the bar. With girl friends Josefina and Mary. First time i have seen Liz in a few weeks. She is still with cane. Looking questionable whether her second hip surgery worked.

Photographer Larry Blackburn at the bar. We exchanged hellos and shook hands.

Then down the block to Bourbon Street. Wanted to hear Bria sing. No Bria. Discovered she has left for New Hampshire for the summer.

I was disappointed. Not for log, however.

Rocky Bottom was filling in for Bria. A terrific entertainer!

Bourbon Street is a gay bar. One of the top ones in Key West. Rocky Bottom, a female. Kept the guys entertained. Her tip bucket filled up rapidly.

Rocky Bottom sings to a different tune. A little wild. One song had fuck every other word. She sang the tune not sensuously. Hard and tough!

Joe Schroeder opened Bourbon Street twenty plus years ago. He was looking to establish a Beads, Boys and Booze operation. He succeeded big time.

Stopped at the VFW for a bite to eat on the way home. The VFW is open to the public. Prior military involvement not a requirement for admission.

I was at one end of the bar. A mature couple came in and sat at the other end. About a dozen people at the bar.

The new guy bought for the bar. He knew no one. His first time in the VFW. His name Mark and he was from Michigan.

On my way out, I stopped to thank him and shake his hand. He said, “Thank you for your service.”

I never served.

My meal was meat loaf. Mother’s cooking.

You can tell the humidity is heavy. Glasses fog up immediately when you get out of an air conditioned car.

Tomorrow at 10 am at the Custom House, Dr. Cori Convertino is giving a walking lecture telling the story of Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railway. Dr. Convertino is the KWAHS curator who devoted months putting the Flagler Railway exhibition together.

Coomey appears before a Congressional Committee thursday. Too much hype. Expectations running high. Too much may be expected. Certain of his testimony will be classified. Additionally, Special Counsel Mueller may limit what Coomey may reveal.

We shall see.

The emblem of the Democratic Party is the donkey. From whence did it come?

Andrew Jackson was running for President. The Party’s mascot at the time was the Rooster. Shades of Key West 175 years later.

Jackson’s opposition used a play on Jackson’s name to make fun of Jackson and his followers: Jackasses. Donkey in due course became the more tasteful replacement for Jackasses.

The Rooster did not completely die. The Democrat Rooster remains to this day on ballots in some states.

Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Usually, I list topics to be discussed in the evening in the tuesday morning blog. Not this week. With Trump out there, things change hourly.

The past few weeks, I have spent my tuesday afternoons adjusting my topics to fit breaking news. Today, I am waiting till one to formulate tonight’s program.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

SQUATTER’S RIGHTS

The side of the White House sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic, sales stands and any type edifice. Only pedestrians allowed.

All this the idea of President Clinton. In 1995, he closed Pennsylvania Avenue down for two blocks. For safety and precautionary reasons.

Authorities moved everyone and everything out. Dispossessed them.

One elderly woman refused to move. She had been there for years. A tent erected. She was anti everything. As far back and including the Vietnam War.

She contested her eviction. The courts said she could stay. The government had failed to file a necessary document. The courts permitted her to remain forever.

With one condition. The tent always had to be occupied at all times. Generally, by her. If she had to be away for a short time, by another. Never could be empty, however. The tent included several feet of street surrounding it.

And so the lady remains. She was there five years ago when I played tourist in Washington for a week. Short, thin and wrinkled. Her face weathered from the sun.

A police car remains 24 hours a day up Pennsylvania from her. Waiting for her to violate the occupancy provision of the court decree.

I spoke with her. In and out of her tent. A bit screwy. Remaining has become her life cause. As she put it, “They aren’t going to get me!”

I wrote at length about the woman in this blog or a KONK Life column following my visit. I cannot locate the specific writings. Ergo, I cannot provide her name.

Joseph’s 69th birthday last night. We had dinner together at Berlin’s. He is still walking with a six foot staff. I introduce him to people as John the Baptist.

An intellectual. Always a pleasure chatting with him.

Janyne was at the bar, also. Lovely lady. Sweet. She has been the day Beach Bar bartender at the Pier House for fifteen years.

It was good to see Bria again. Her singing special. She, special.

I wrote a lengthy blog about her around May 1. The Best of the Best…..Bria Ansara. Knew she had failed to read it. Makes me laugh. When I said nasty things about her, she did read it.

She had not read it. Was going to look it up when she returned home last night.

A woman of many jobs, one is art teacher at Montessori. The school Robert and Ally attend. She knew them both well. Was taken with Robert. She said he stays after school frequently to help paint the large mural her classes are doing by day. He enjoys painting, she said.

I saw a picture of a Mother’s Day skeleton in KONK Life this morning. Key West is a strange town. I did not know there was a holiday skeleton house on Virginia Street.

For Halloween, the skeleton was as expected. For Christmas, dressed like Santa Claus. For Mother’s Day, a mother holding a baby. Mother’s Day…..Gross, hideous, no teeth, rotten teeth. Ugh!

The Preakness 6:45 tonight. The second step in the Triple Crown. Will probably watch the race at Don’s Place.

Have to move my ass. A manicure with Tammy at 10:30.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

HE RODE INTO TOWN ON A DONKEY

Today is Palm Sunday. A Christian holiday. The day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

A donkey instead of a horse. Reasons two fold. First, to show humility. Second, to evidence to the people that He came in peace and not as a warrior king.

The people scattered palm branches in front of Jesus.

His entry into Jerusalem triumphal.

Less than a week later, Jesus would be dead.

Though not a major holiday, Palm Sunday was one my Italian family celebrated. Generally at my grandparents’. The whole family. Aunts, uncles and cousins.

The meal not unusual. That would come next week on Easter Sunday. A huge bowl of ziti. If a special touch at all, melted mozzarella on top of the ziti. A meat sauce, of course. Meat consisted of the meatballs, beef and pork which were part of the sauce. A huge pasta bowl of such meats. Salad. The meal concluded with espresso and fruit.

My grandfather would start dinner with a blessing. He would take a small piece of palm and dip it into a bottle of Holy Water he kept. He would say a few words and sprinkle us.

The palms were a big deal. You had to go to Church to get palms. They were given out during Mass. When I was a kid, all the palms a person wanted. In later years, each person attending Church got one. Cost, scarcity, or what? I could never figure it out.

My uncles were pros at making crosses and other things out of palms. Small crosses, large crosses. Horses and other animals. Like the balloons of today which can be molded into anything.

The Italian custom was to visit the homes of friends after Mass. To exchange palms. A hug and kiss. Followed by a Happy Palm Sunday!

I was invited by friends on Sugarloaf to party last night. Drinks at someone’s house first. Then dinner at Square Grouper.

About 20 miles each way. Too far for me if I was drinking. I wanted to have a few drinks since I have been avoiding as best possible alcohol while on a diet.

So, I opted for Berlin’s alone.

Shawn and Gage bartending. The lovely Bria singing. Tuna for dinner.

After dinner, I sat in the lounge for a while listening to Bria sing and sipping a Bally’s Irish Cream.

While at the bar, a hug from behind. It was Lynda Frechette. Together with husband Bob, ML and Brad. All good people. Especially Lynda who does for everyone. They were having dinner inside at A&B.

Bob was wearing a blazer. Confirmed my thought expressed earlier this week that the no jacket Key West no longer existed. Bob had jumped over the fence.

Another couple was listening to Bria also. Charlie and Margo. Margo visiting from Maine. Charlie originally from Fonda, New York. Like 70 miles from my home town Utica. Small world.

Bob now lives full time in Key West. On a boat located in a Stock Island marina.

Walmart, where fort art thou Walmart?

Roughly 10 years since it was announced that a private group was going to build a Walmart on Rockland Key. 335,000 square feet with some smaller stores.

Still not built. Key West Citizen reported yesterday size now 150,000 feet. No date to begin construction advised.

The problem has involved the land owners and developers. Ten years of fighting over money, including a court case.

I wish they would get the project off the ground. We need a Walmart in the lower keys. We wear shorts and t-shirts. Brooks Brothers we are not.

We also need a cheaper place to purchase groceries.

The Key West Citizen wrote on the first page of this morning’s paper that taxis are going the way of the dinosaur. No question about it. Such the case, the City Commission should get off its ass and approve Uber and Lyft for Key West operation.

Let me finish with Trump’s bombing of Syria.

I was/am generally opposed. Not our war. I don’t see the English, French or Germans bombing anyone. They’re too smart.

On the other hand, once the Rubicon has been crossed, Trump should have done the job correctly. Destroyed Assad’s Air Force.

What did Trump do? Fifty nine missiles. Directed at one air base. Twenty planes destroyed. Twelve killed.

In retaliation for 70 plus lives lost. Proportionate? No way!

Even worse, not one of the runways was damaged. It is said the U.S. spoke with Russia in the afternoon and advised what we were going to do. I suspect that during any conversations, Russia said no potholes in the runways, please.

The Democrats describe the bombing as a pin prick. I have to agree. Not a political conclusion on my part. A common sense one.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

EARLIER ERA DISCRIMINATION

Racial discrimination an in your face item today. Trump’s attempts to limit/stop Muslim immigration an example.

Today, it is Muslims. At another time, the Chinese. The year 1888. On this date in 1888, the U.S. passed a law forbidding Chinese laborers from entering America. Note the word “laborers.” Merchants, extra smart persons and seafarers not included.

California was the tender spot. Over 100,000 had come in. The Anglo cry was they were taking up the white man’s jobs and causing wages to be low.

By 1888, some Chinese had become successful. They owned and operated laundries and restaurants. Both considered women’s work up to that time.

The U.S. continued to discriminate against and exclude laboring Chinese till 1943. The middle of World War II. The Chinese were our ally and such blatant racism could not be permitted to continue.

Spent a little time yesterday reading about turtles and the Florida Keys. A tale of love.

Sloan came by mid afternoon. I called her. Needed her. I wanted to improve on my new Go Live videos on Facebook. Two problems. Quickly resolved.

Big night! Jenna at Berlin’s. We had not seen each other for several weeks. It was catch up time.

Jenna is absolutely amazing. Her professional life continues to develop. Her income accompanies the success.

She was excited I was doing FB videos. She was watching them. She quickly shared with me two things I could do to make the videos better. Love her!

Compared to Jenna, I am a rank amateur when it comes to social media, FB, video, etc.

She shared with me a recent exciting experience.

Jenna has been running the past year. I should be so thin! She has competed in several 5Ks. Comes in 1st or in the top 5.

She works out with Dante. Another thin creature. His abs pronounced.

Jenna ran a short video on FB of her and Dante standing waiting to run. Eleven thousand views! Wow! Even she was surprised. She could not figure out why the video became instantaneously hot.

Would I love to have 11,000 views!

Bria stopped by. Lovely! Enjoyed her singing afterwards.

Tennessee Williams time.

This afternoon at 2 at the Tennessee Williams Gallery at 513 Truman, a talk about the making of The Rose Tattoo. Starred Anna Mangani and Burt Lancaster. Filmed in Key West in a house 2 doors from Williams’ home. The movie based on a Tennessee Williams story.

One week from today at The Studios of Key West, a presentation involving Williams and Frank Merlo. Williams and Merlo were lovers. They lived together in Key West and elsewhere for years. I believe their love letters the basis of the show.

I wrote about the Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo relationship in an article in KONK Life three years ago. The emphasis was on the influence that Merlo had on Williams life and writing.

The State of Florida took like a 100 years to complete the reconstruction of North Roosevelt Boulevard. The State screwed up re the cross walks. How to long to spell out. If you live in Key West, you know.

Too many accidents at the crosswalks. Serious injuries the result.

The State has been screwing around about correcting the situation. Nothing definite from them.

City officials are trying again. The State has to come in and fix. It is a State highway. Even if the State agrees, I can tell you it will be an additional 2-3 years to get to it because of funding. Not in the budget or proposed budget.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. On this date 1950, the President arrived in Key West for a one month vacation. A working one. At the Little White House.

I am fortunate to live on this island. Warm most of the time. Experienced enough snow while living up north.

New York City got hit by a major snow storm in 1888. Began this date. Forty inches in 36 hours. The City was isolated for days. An example being that messages to Boston had to be routed through England.

Here I go again with robots and autonomous intelligence. It is not sneaking upon us. It has. And no one is talking about where those human employees being replaced by robots, etc. will work.

The issue is not bringing jobs back from Europe, Asia and Mexico. Such an issue 20 years ago. Over the next 3-4 years, it will be the robots taking over.

And no one talks about it. Not even Trump who professes to know everything.

California plans to permit no driver vehicles on its highways by the end of the year. No steering wheel, no pedals, no driver.

A biggie beginning at 5:30 today. The NCAA Selection Show. I do not expect Syracuse to be selected.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

FLU SHOT DOES NOT ALWAYS WORK

When it rains, it pours…..

Donna and Terri have been having a rough time of it. Battling Terri’s cancer.

Donna got the flu shot this year. Not the time to taunt the gods. Terri and the flu would not be a good combination.

Donna has the flu! Big time! The worst from her perspective. Strong coming from Donna who has had some heavy illnesses in the course of her life.

Donna has a type of influenza A. One of the influenza’s protected by the flu shot. Hit her New Year’s eve. Twice in the hospital yesterday. Temperature 103.

Donna says it is death. Even getting a little better is in the death area.

The flu shot does not always work. Some still come down from the flu. Not from the shot itself. You cannot get the flu from the shot itself. The virus injected is dead.

Hang in there Donna. Terri, stay away from Donna.

Spent yesterday afternoon preparing for tonight’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

A major topic is the Theft of Social Security. The Fund would be sound if the government stopped taking surplus funds out every year. Presently, the United States owes Social Security just under $3 trillion.

You will find the truth interesting. It will anger you as well.

More robot discussion. China is on the way to replacing in excess of 600,000 employees at one of its plants with robots. Also, further exploration of poor veteran care at Veterans’ Hospitals. The story of a veteran who died with maggots in his wounds.

Plus, a Texas police officer who sexually assaulted a 13 year old girl, a Mexican scheduled for deportation and/or removal 19 times who raped a 13 year old girl on a bus, the Miami cop who was fired for bragging the black neighborhood was a good place for gun practice, the EPA intentionally hiding radiation in water at a number of sites, the story of a 13 year old boy paralyzed from a chicken pox vaccine, and more.

Aqua big last night! Tons of people. The season ongoing.

Many friends. Sheila, Jean and Joe Thornton, Stephanie, Liz, Mary and Josefina. Tom and Rick doing the Dueling Bartenders thing.

Made two new friends. Anna and Everett. Owners of Anna’s Cabana. A lovely 40 foot power vessel. They live on the boat when in Key West. It is presently docked near A&B Lobster House.

Anna is the Captain and Everett the first mate.

You know who is boss in that family!

They told me they were steady dinner customers at Berlin’s. We hope to run into each other.

An Alabama night. Anna and Everett Alabama residents. As are Joe and Jean. Anna and Everett plan on being at the game in Tampa on January 9. Joe and Jean will be gut wrenched here in Key West.

In distant past years, there was a drop off of tourists immediately following New Year’s day. Not in recent years. Not this year.

I had difficulty finding a parking place near Aqua.

Liz and the ladies left early to have dinner at Virgilio’s.

Liz and her friends like to whoop it up. Spent New Year’s eve at the bar at Aqua from 5:30 to 11:00.

Then to Bourbon Street to her Bria sing. The best!

Tim and Scott at the bar. Enjoyed a couple of drinks with them. Friends of Donna and Terri. Know them from the Back Door.

They work for Bourbon Street, though not last night. They told me how busy New Year’s eve was. They were still tired.

Stopped at the street level bar/restaurant under Crabby Dick’s where Alex plays tuesday nights. Chatted with Alex and his wife. Met Alex’s brother who is vacationing here.

I was energized. Not tired enough to go home yet. Walked over to Virgilio’s to chat with Liz and friends.

Virgilio’s impressed me. A good 10 years since I had been there. A night club back then. Still a night club. However, a restaurant during dinning hours. The place was packed. Had there been room, I would have joined the ladies for dinner.

Dinner was at Outback. Easy. A cheeseburger. Watched the final minutes of the USC/Penn State Rose Bowl game. A tremendous finish! Just like pro ball. The last couple of minutes everything. USC won with a field goal in the final minute after intercepting a Penn State pass.

Somewhere along the way last night, Hard Rock Stadium  came into the talk.

When first built in 1987, it was the Joe Robbe Stadium. Joe Robbe was the first owner of the Miami Dolphins. He was also the prime mover in getting Joe Robbe Stadium built.

I was in Joe Robbe Stadium in 1987. For Super Bowl XXIII. The Stadium impressed me no end. Especially the elevators.

Think of the long almost vertical elevators at the Atlanta airport. Robbe Stadium had similar elevators. Multiple ones. Side by side. You rode up swiftly to your seat before the game. The elevators took you back to ground level after the game. All elevators were down only after the game.

When Robbe died in 1990, he left a $100 million estate.

Back in the early 1970s, I had a condominium at the Jockey Club in Miami. A private club. The place to be in the those days. Fun 24 hours a day.

Joe Robbe had a condo there also. Occasionally we would enjoy a drink together at the bar. A nice guy. Willie Shoemaker would join us on occasion. He lived at the Jockey Club, also.

Enjoy your day!

 

CHRISTMAS TWO DAYS LATE

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Blog Talk radio had a technical difficulty last week. My show never aired. Neither I nor listeners were able to get in.

Last week’s lead topic never heard will be presented tonight. The American Christmas Story. Two days after Christmas. The story still fitting. One most of you have not heard. A touch of paganism, its celebration banned in Boston in the late 1600s, not a celebrated holiday during our revolutionary years, A Christmas Carol, Civil War impact, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and on and on till today.

Join me at 9 my time. A quick interesting half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Last night, Aqua! Monday night. Dueling bartenders time.

Liz and friends Mary and Josefina at the bar. I joined them.

Liz’s relative Christina was there. With Brian. Liz and Christina are related. Christina and Brian Liz’s house guests for the holiday.

Sheila at the other end of the bar. Went over for a kiss.

Tom and Rick singing. Bria a visiting performer. She stopped by for a moment and gave me absolution once more for my poorly expressed thoughts concerning her several weeks ago.

Tom sitting next to me. Met him for the first time. His wife Claire with him. I did not get to talk with Claire unfortunately.

Tom, a retired attorney. A major law firm partner. He and Claire live in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Key West visitors for many years. Snowbirds. Presently here for a four month stay.

Claire has an interesting background. Initially, a science teacher. Then returned to school herself and obtained a Doctorate. In statistics. Returned to the working world as a professional statistician.

Walked over to Bourbon St. following Aqua. Bria sings monday nights. I was unaware she would be appearing also at Aqua last night. I enjoy Bria’s singing so treated myself to seeing her twice in one evening in two different venues.

Syracuse basketball tonight. Cornell. Syracuse should win.

The true test of the team’s ability begins January 1 when the ACC starts its season. Syracuse plays Boston College New Year’s Day.

I fear I am going to bleed a lot of orange this season!

Debra and Patrick back in town! Great entertainers. The best. There was a time they spent the season at La Te Da. No more. They moved north to Richmond, Virginia. Return sporadically to Key West.

Tuesday January 3, Debra and Patrick will appear at Virgilio’s as part of Skipper Kripitz’s League of Crafty Musicians. On saturday January 7, they will appear from 5-8 at Salute’s Sunset Happy Hour.

Do yourself a favor. Go listen to Debra sing and Patrick play.

Only in Key West. This saturday at noon the annual Dachshund Walk. Other dogs may participate. Costumes suggested. Noon at the Monroe County Courthouse.

Enjoy your day!

EVENING CUT SHORT

Busy day yesterday. Running around doing all kinds of tasks. Including Xmas shopping.

Do not get the impression I am buying a ton of gifts. Not. I am walking around trying to purchase the most thoughtful gift for the few I buy for.

So busy, I never had lunch. Which affected my evening activities.

I had a three pronged plan for last night. Aqua, Alex, and Bourbon Street. Only made Aqua.

Sheila at Aqua. Love her.

So too, Liz. And her friends Mary and Josefina. Joined them at the bar.

Liz dressed all in black. Dynamite!

I enjoyed three drinks with the ladies. They left for dinner at La Trattoria. I remained as it was too early for Alex.

Then my stomach started. Could not understand why. Finally realized that Louis had not stopped for lunch.

So much for Alex and Bourbon Street.

I started home. Knew I had to eat something. Bulk up. Figured 5 Guys would do it. It did. A cheeseburger and fries. I felt fine even before I finished the burger.

Tom and Rick singing at Aqua. A lot of Christmas carols. A lot of people. Twice the normal crowd. Obvious people starting to drift into Key West for a Christmas holiday.

Europeans and Asians included. Germans and Japanese primarily.

The Custom House tonight for its first special Christmas event. Music and holiday lights on the porch/promenade. The Custom House itself open to visitors. Should be good!

My podcast show tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. A fast moving interesting and revealing half hour.

Topics include more on robots replacing workers, General Motors closing five factories for 1-3 weeks, China returning U.S.’s submarine drone, whether Russia’s Turkish ambassador being shot in Turkey an Archduke Ferdinand, purpose of the electoral College, two separate groups of pharmaceutical houses sued by government for price fixing and doctor bribing, and more. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your Day!

 

IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT

I see it coming! they are going to “fix” South Roosevelt Boulevard. A fixing not required.

South Roosevelt Boulevard works well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! the recommended move from 4 lanes to 2 is not needed. The wide sidewalk running along the beach is more than sufficient for walkers, bikers, etc.

I walked the walk for years. almost every day. different hours. Never had a problem regarding too many people.

What is involved here is change for the sake of change. The lets do something mentality where nothing need be done.

I fear the decision has already been made. I am aware there are public hearings ahead, etc. the players at the Florida Department of Transportation want it. Certain City officials want it.

The terms being bandied around sound of something new and magnanimous. Like corridor study, repurposing, optimal configuration, and future reconstruction.

It has been reported that South Roosevelt being redone is the final improvement recommended by the Project Development and Environmental Study.

I did not even know a change was contemplated till a couple of months ago. This Project development thing makes me suspect it has been out there for years.

It is time for the City Commission to stand up and do the right thing. Instead of succumbing. Commissioner Kaufman has already indicated the reconstruction sounds good. Time for him to move over on the side of the people. Most of decisions thus far not the best.

My first stop last night was Office Max. I need earphones for the computer. Many earphones. Blew my mind. Too complicated. the sales person was no help. she knew less than me.

I bought nothing. called Sloan and told her to buy the right one.

Why the earphones?

I soon will be doing another show. Yes, one on top of what I do already.

It will be a streaming in effect on You Tube. Several times a day. Roughly 30-60 seconds. One topic/issue. As the day progresses and I see something worth mentioning, I will sit down and get it out. Easy. No big deal.

I will be doing the show from my desk in my bedroom. You will be able to see and hear me. The shows will be archived so you can go on at any time and catch up.

Once set up, you will be able to find me by Louis Petrone. Key West Lou did not work because I am already archiving my tuesday night podcast show on You Tube under the Key West Lou designation.

The show’s actual title is Louis Petrone Says…..

I will let you know soon the actual date the show will commence.

I may even wear a baseball cap on occasion.

Stopped at Duval Square to view Larry Blackburn’s photo exhibit. Spectacular!

Larry also has a hat and Ecuadorian store at 510 Fleming. Interesting items available.

Finally, Berlin’s. Dinner at the bar. No Bria. She was in a wedding. The food continues to be great. I enjoyed lobster and mushroom risotto.

A group came in. Ordered drinks. One of the men asked for…..Diet. The bartender looked at him. The patron responded to the blank look…..This is how I work out. Diet! Meaning diet soda, of course.

Great diet!

Christmas Parade tonight. The best! I will watch at Don’s Place and at the County Office Building. First with friends and then to join the grandkids.

Syracuse/North Florida at 4 today. No comment, other than I suspect Syracuse will win. Not sure these days.

Enjoy your day!

 

GOOD NIGHT LAST NIGHT

It is hard to have a bad night in Key West. Last night was extra special.

It was the company, food, and ambiance.

I was at Berlin’s for dinner with Donna and Terri. Celebrating their anniversary. The event was two weeks ago. The party had to be delayed a bit. Terri was diagnosed with cancer.

Terri has just completed two weeks of chemo. Her last treatment was wednesday. She said she felt well enough to go out last night. Glad she did. She enjoyed herself immensely.

Shane and Gage bartending. The lovely Bria entertaining.

Lynda and Bob Frechette showed up. They were having diner at A&B. Joined us at the bar after their dinner. Two of the nicest people in Key West. Unquestionably.

A lovely young lady came up to me. Striking. Could not recall who she was. I’m George, she said. We hugged and talked.

George is a female. Through and through. Known as George in Key West. Whether her real name, I do not know.

George is Lisa’s friend. George bartends at Hogs Breath. The past 20 years.

I have only seen George 4-5 times in my life. First time was Lisa’s wedding 14 years ago. We met at the martini bar at the reception. Enjoyed a couple of martinis each while chatting. She looks today as she looked then.

I do not recall what we talked about. I believe she does. A mystery surrounds the conversation. She has never shared it with me.

I was glad to see her again. I have made a mental note to stop at Hogs Breath some evening to see her again.

My yesterday began with a 11:15 business meeting. Then a haircut with Lori. My appointment was wednesday. I forgot. Fortunately, I was able to get  in yesterday.

I am a quick haircut. All of 5 minutes. Number 1 on the electric  razor. My hair gone.

Yesterday was Lori’s last day on Southard. Beginning monday, her business Blown Away will be housed in a new building on White Street. Across from Sandy’s.

Stopped for lunch at the Cuban Coffee Queen. I had not been there for three weeks. Could not eat at the Coffee Queen while dieting.

As to the diet, it is ended. I stopped wednesday night.

I am disciplined till I am disciplined no more. I need to see success on the scale. Lost 8 pounds the first week. Only 3 the following two weeks. Not worth the self denial involved.

I am watching my eating, however. Last night at Berlin’s, I had a small salad and two stone crabs. Plus, three drinks. It’s the booze that does it. Wasted calories.

It is amazing how much better I feel since off the diet. I feel good!

I ordered a cheese toast and Cuban coffee. The cheese toast left me feeling heavy. Understandable. Cuban bread is made with pig lard.

Dinner with Dee tonight. Excellent company. She does not know it yet, but I am taking her to the vegetarian restaurant Cafe on Southard. I am not a veggie. However some one in my party when I was last there enjoyed mussels. I love mussels. And the broth made for bread dunking afterwards.

The weather continues to be perfect. Eighty by day. Seventy by night. No humidity. No need for air conditioning day or night.

Don and Chris have returned! Have not seen them yet. Received an e-mail form Don asking if I wanted to watch the Syracuse game with him tuesday night. Does not work for me. I do my radio show tuesday evenings.

Syracuse has basketball and football games today.

Playing South Carolina in basketball. Both teams undefeated. Syracuse a 6 point favorite.

The last football game of the season with Pitt. Pitt a 24 point favorite. I am glad the football season ends today. Syracuse has won only 4 games.

Now for Installment 22 of my rendition of Wright Langley’s History of the Key West Rotary.

It was May 20, 1950. Armed Forces Day. A parade down Duval.

The Rotary sponsored a float. The float highlighted Rotary International. Four lovely young Key West ladies on the float. clad in full length white dresses.

The ladies would not be so attired today. Not that they would be dressed risqué. Simply, less clothing is worn by all today.

The Korean War ongoing in the early 1950s. Our first war since World War II. America still concerned for their military. Vietnam would later change the feeling.

A December 1951 meeting was held at St. Paul’s Parrish Hall.

Retired Major Earl Dillon appealed to the Rotarians to donate blood. They were running out of blood on the front lines in Korea. The need desperate.

So desperate, front line soldiers were donating blood for their fallen companions.

I was in high school during the Korean War. Never knew of the blood problem.

Dillon had a son serving in Korea. Dillon read from a letter received from his son: “This is no police action. This is war!”

Rotary responded immediately. A special committee was formed to organize the blood donations. The Rotary gave mightily.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

GATO HOUSE GHOSTS

Key West is home to many ghosts. Key Westers take the ghostly viewings amusingly but seriously.

One of the ghost stories involves the Gato House aka Casa Gato. Located at 1209 Virginia Street. People residing there.

What follows is my installment 12 derived based on a Key West Rotary history.

The Gato House ghost story begins for our purposes with the Key West Rotary luncheon June 2, 1932. The Rotary and Ladies of St. Paul’s Church were involved with the luncheon. The proceeds were donated to the Mercedes Hospital. The Mercedes hospital today the Gato House located at 1209 Virginia Street.

The Gato House was built by one of Key West’s early leading citizens. Eduardo H. Gato. A Cuban immigrant who made his fortune in the cigar business.

He built his Key West home at an end of the island facing the ocean. He purchased the lot in 1887.  Construction was completed in 1890. He brought carpenters from Cuba to build the house.

In 1911, Gato permitted a philanthropic group of Cuban residents to use the building as a hospital for indigents. Gato and his family no longer resided in the house.

Gato had one request. He wanted the hospital named in honor of his wife Mercedes. So done. The hospital was named Casa de la Pobre Mercedes Hospital. Referred to as Mercedes Hospital.

In 1919, Gato sold the property to the City of Key West. He retained title to the building itself. The property sold to the City later became Bayview Park.

The building was still being operated as the Mercedes Hospital. It was moved to its present location at 1209 Virginia Street. Same name, different address.

The Mercedes Hospital was run most of its years by Maria Valdez de Gustens. Addressed as Mother Gustens. Described by all as an angel and saint.

The Mercedes Hospital continued till some time around the beginning of World War II when it closed.

The former Mercedes Hospital  in due course became an apartment house. Commonly referred to as the Gato House. In the interim between being the Mercedes Hospital and an apartment house, the building was empty, windows broken. The rear of building became a popular place for cockfights to be held.

Since becoming an apartment house, it has acquired an additional description. A ghost house.

Jan Stefano was residing in one of the apartments. Night time. She was in bed sleeping with her boy friend. She felt someone touching her wrist. She woke immediately.

She observed a short stout woman at her bedside. Her hair in a bun. Wearing a gray dress with long sleeves and a high collar. Standing next to the woman was a man. The woman appeared to be in charge. Stefano thought the woman was taking her pulse. When she turned to wake her boyfriend, the ghosts disappeared.

Whether the ghosts have been sighted since, I have not been able to ascertain.

Most Conchs and long time Key Westers believe the event occurred and that Mother Gustens walks the house looking after its occupants.

My yesterday…..

Lazy. Some research and writing. Sloan back from Europe. We worked together in the afternoon.

The evening spent at Berlin’s with Liz. An enjoyable and interesting companion.

Bria her usual beautiful self.

I am still dieting. It will be one week tomorrow morning. No cheating yet. Ordered a 2 pound Maine lobster boiled. No vegetables. Only the lobster.

No drinking, either. It was water for me.

I had checked a calorie counter before going out for dinner. A 2 pound lobster has negligible calories.

One problem. I was hungry after consuming the lobster. Most of the 2 pounds is in the shell.

Berlin’s packed. Really packed. Waiting for tables inside A&B Lobster House. Monied people. Otherwise, they would not be able to afford the boats they race and the crews required to maintain them.

Today is the last day of the Powerboatboat races. If you have not seen, go! An experience!

This morning’s Key West Citizen listed voting figures. One impressed me. Monroe County consists  primarily of the Keys. 79.9 percent of registered voters cast ballots. A big number! Upstate New York my home for 70 years. Never anything near that percentage voted.

Syracuse beat yesterday by North Carolina State. 35-20. Not an excuse. Our star quarterback Eric Dungey could not play because of injuries. I suspect Syracuse would have won if he had.

The balance of the season does not look good. Even if Dungey is able to play. Our last two opponents are Florida State and Pittsburgh.

Next Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. Several Key West transgenders died this past year. Some suicides. The reason the day is one of remembrance.

Enjoy your Sunday!