THE BEST OF THE WORST CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Today a significant one in Christmas folklore. Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol this date in 1843. The story of the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, Timothy Cratchit, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come. Their visits transform Scrooge into a kinder, gentler man.

The first Christmas Carol movie came out in 1938. My mother took me to see it. I was all of 3-4 years old. Scared me big time! Ever since, I have had a distaste for the film and change the channel when it shows up on TV.

Some believe the movie to be the granddaddy of all holiday shows. One critic described it as the best of the worst Christmas movies. I agree with the critic.

My writing mood continued into yesterday. Rewrote passages to Growing Up Italian all day. Into the night. Never left the house.

I have now been home two full days. Definitely must get out today. I will be at Kate Miano’s Gardens late this afternoon. Terri White singing. I can use a dose of Terri and conversation with friends.

The Christmas Boat Parade last night. Had I been out, I would have watched a bit of it from the ocean deck at the Pier House. The weather was good. The Boat Parade would therefore have been pleasant to watch.

The Key West Citizen publishes on Saturday for Saturday and Sunday. I have to wait till tomorrow’s edition to see the parade’s pics and review the comments concerning the parade.

Don’t forget Larry Smith’s Holiday Jazz Concert friday at 8 at The Studios of Key West. Larry has been performing the show for years. Changes it each year. Always good. A must to see!

Today big in the history of flying. On this date in 1903, the Wright brothers flew a plane they had created. The first plane ever to fly. All of 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet. History rarely reminds us that the plane flew a total of four times that day. The fourth time, 852 feet in 59 seconds.

In the 1960s when I was flying around the country on behalf of clients, I would occasionally think how far man had come with air travel since that day in 1903. Man stepping on the moon was the ultimate!

All achieved in the short time of 60 odd years.

Trump is taking things away from us a step at a time each and every day. The man a destroyer at heart.

The most recent tragedy involves the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The Center is tasked with saving and protecting the lives of the most vulnerable.

I am personally familiar with the Center. My environmental law work took me there many times. I was concerned with toxins. Hazardous substances that affected many. Nasty bugs that could kill many in an instance if released.

Trump’s interest is corporate America. He has stripped EPA regulations. His attitude is things are not as bad as some make them seem. If corporate America thinks something is safe, it must be. Keep the people in the dark. What they do not know will not hurt them.

The Trump Administration announced , no ordered, the Center to stop using certain words in 2018 budget documents. Seven specifically. Transgender, vulnerable, entitlement, science-based, and evidence-based.

Words have been suggested in their place. Modifying terms. Such that lower a danger involved and in certain instances by silence deny the existence of certain groups such as transgenders.

The recommendation is that descriptive words should be based on community standards and wishes.

Trump is weakening the truth. The order barring certain words reckless and dangerous. A major epidemic could overtake the country because the Center was not able to effectively warn against it and research the problem before it hit full force.

Trump will be signing the tax bill into law this week.  He will continue to tell us it is a big break for the middle class. Bullshit we all know. It is a tax break for the rich to the detriment of the middle class.

Trump has become an economic authority. Lyndon Johnson said, “Making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.”

Congress is screwing up probably more than any other time in history. The Republicans follow Pied Piper Trump and the Democrats fail to provide effective opposition.

John Kennedy stated re Congress, “What can you expect from that zoo?”

Want some pleasant reading? Buy a copy of Irma and Me. Good reading! Easy. Enjoyable. Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

Enjoy your Sunday!

SNOW! SNOW! SNOW! COLD! COLD! COLD!

The northeast was hit big time by snow yesterday and last night. Barbara telephoned from Utica. Twenty four inches. Bridgewater 20 miles away more.

That takes care of the snow.

The cold applies to Key West. Yes, I complain. Whenever cold up north, cold here. Though significantly less. Low 60s during the night. Sixty six at the moment. High expected 69.

Anything under 74 cold to we locals. Our blood thin from living in warm weather.

I have not yet turned the heat on. Perhaps tonight when 59 degrees is projected.

Spring break time in Key West. Some brave college students will be on the beaches. Most will  spend the day in bars. Party time!

The snow up north cancelled Syracuse’s game in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse was to play UNC-Greensboro in the opener of the NIT.

My time out yesterday was a 2 hour lunch break. Cuban Coffee Queen. Cuban cheese toast, Cuban coffee and the newspapers. I love sitting at the Cuban Coffee Queen and reading. A  quiet peaceful place.

Watch my new video show on Facebook. Find it under Key West Lou. Yesterday’s topic was Make America Sick Again. Trumpcare.

I cannot take credit for the title. Heard Eugene Robinson mention it.

I will be doing today’s video in a couple of hours. No title yet. Subject matter involves the money the US has spent in Afghanistan over 15 years with no appreciable results. Moe than the U.S. spent with the Marshall Plan in rebuilding Europe following World War II.

My podcast last night at 9 concerned Trump’s tax returns. How legally Congress could subpoena them if it so desires. Rachel Maddow was on MSNBC at the same time. Her show concerned Trump’s tax returns. She had two pages of his 2005 return.

I caught Maddow’s show in the middle of the night on a rerun.

The Battleship Maine is part of Key West history. The vessel left Key West for Havana. Many of its Naval dead rest in our Key West Cemetery. A special monument erected in the cemetery, also. The monument dedication was attended by 10,000 persons.

Today’s Custom House was a recently constructed federal building in 1898. On this date in 1898, the Battleship Maine Court of Inquiry began.

William Hackley’s story continues. One item in today’s diary mentions that he spent some time reading Household Words. Curiosity struck me. What was Household Words?

In the 1850s, Charles Dickens edited Household Words. A literary magazine. Serialized novels amongst other things. The work provided Dickens with some income while he was working on his own novels.

The title Household Words comes from Shakespeare’s Henry V…..Familiar in his mouth as household words.

Staying with Shakespeare for a moment, today is March 15. The Ides of March. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. A soothsayer told Caesar as he was walking to the Forum…..Beware the Ides of March.

Caesar’s best friend was Marcus Brutus. He was the first to stab Caesar. In the back. Caesar looked over his shoulder and saw Brutus. Caesar uttered…..Et tu, Brute.

Only Shakespeare could write the lines. The power of simplicity.

One other item of significance occurred on this day. This time 1917. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II abdicated. Civil War followed. White Bolsheviks and Red Bolsheviks. The Reds communists. The Reds won.

I view Putin as the grandson of the Russian Revolution.

Enjoy your day!

 

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS…..

Tonight! Christmas Eve! Santa Claus comes to town!

Love it!

Robert and Ally excited. Especially Ally. Just talked to them on the phone.

Dinner will be great! Seven fishes. Italian tradition. Last year, Lisa made it to five. Perhaps this year seven. In any event, what ever the number, Lisa’s cooking this special evening spectacular!

I started telling the story of Christmas in America yesterday. Not popular in the 1600s and 1700s. Banned in certain localities. Had to do with the pagan birth of the holiday.

This morning, three writings that had a decided impact on how we celebrate Christmas in America today. All three writings done in the first half of the 1800s.

Washington Irving one of our first great American writers. Most famous for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Many of Irving’s writings were in the form of short stories and essays. Written over a period of years and compiled over that period of time into the Sketchbook of Geoffrey Cooper. Three short stories written in 1809:  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas Dinner.

Wrote not as the holiday was, but as how he conceptualized it to be. A peaceful loving holiday. The work set the mood for present day Christmas. Not a pagan festival. Rather the beginning of Christmas as we know it.

In 1823 came ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse….. The opening stanzas to A Visit From St. Nicholas. Written by Clement Clarke Moore.

‘A Visit From St. Nicholas was a poem. Really spelled out what our Christmas is today.

The third writing was an 1843 novel by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol. Scrooge, Marley’s ghost, and crippled Tim Cratchet who as Tiny Tim touched everyone’s heart.

America was on its way to today’s Christmas! Not the entire country, however. Tomorrow, Christmas in the North and South, its Civil War impact, etc.

Made a Christmas visit to Donna and Terri yesterday. Sat outside and chatted.

Terri looked good and was on a high. She had chemo in the morning. Does not affect her the first day and leaves her feeling terrific. The second day, today, will be hell. All the adverse chemo effects will hit her.

Terri has thinned down. Thirty five pounds worth. Thin is good. Not the way she is achieving it, however.

Donna is hanging in there. Doing her loving spousal thing. Her tiredness obvious. She complains not, however.

Someday, I must meet Key West’s Roger Kostmayer. He writes letters to the editor. Expresses himself via that medium and any other he can. He shares his opinion. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes not.

Kostmayer had an interesting right on Letter to the Editor in this morning’s Key West Citizen. He asked where is the outrage over Russia’s hacking?

His final paragraph crystallized his position: “When did it become acceptable to view your neighbor as the enemy because he or she belongs to a different political party, while admiring a brutal foreign dictator who is attacking our core American institutions?”

I close on this special day with the final line of A Visit From St. Nicholas: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

BUBBA POLITICS AGAIN

Small town, small town politics. Favoritism sneaks into governmental decisions.

In Key West it is referred to as the bubba system. Friends taking care of friends.

The City Commission had before it a proposed increase in cab licenses. There have been 72 since 1992. Amazing! No need for an increase in all those years! Twenty four years!

Uber and Lyft came into the discussion. The City Commission’s position remains the same…..Wait till State officials rule on the matter. Called passing the buck. Additionally, the State may never rule on the issue.

One of the Commissioners came up with the excuse that Uber and Lyft would put too many cars on streets already congested. Bullshit! One of the purposes is to help relieve congestion. Encourage people to leave cars at home.

There is a saying the blind cannot see. In this instance, the Commission is not blind. Merely arbitrary. Protecting the 72 licenses as they have since 1992.

Which brings me directly into my Rotary installment for today. Installment 14.

In  1932, the Key West Chief of Police and Monroe County Sheriff were at odds. Harmony lacking between the two departments.

At the September 29, 1932 Rotary luncheon meeting, Police Chief Ivan Elwood and Sheriff Cleveland Niles were invited.

The problem being too much crime in Key West. The Police Department could not handle the volume. The Sheriff was reluctant to help.

Only one police officer on duty nights. To guard the entire City. Too much for one officer. Gangs were in vogue and breaking into homes and businesses on a frequent basis.

The Rotary pushed the Police Chief and Sheriff to work together. Join forces to combat the Key West crime wave.

Judge Jefferson B. Browne gave his opinion as to why Key West was experiencing so much lawlessness. Too many laws on the books. Covering minor things. Local emphasis had been placed on minor wrongdoings. So much so that there was no time for serious crime attention.

Key West is never without amusing occurrences. Probably what makes the community so popular.

The Key West Citizen reported this morning in its Today In Keys History section an interesting court proceeding. This day in 1993. A Court hearing for a retrial. Which was ultimately denied.

Rocky was a two year old 5 pound chihuahua who impregnated Camella, an 80 pound rottweiler.

The Court ordered Rocky’s owners to pay Camella’s owners $2,567.50 in damages.

An expensive sexual interlude.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..” Opening words to Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

On this day in 1859, the final installment of the novel was published. The last of three installments. Makes one believe the book was published in three parts.

Finally, yes. Initially, no.

Dickens published a weekly literary work. All The Year Round. He initially published A Tale of Two Cities in the weekly. Forty five chapters over a period of 31 weeks.

Interesting.

Tonight my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Topics will naturally include Trump’s election and the protests following. Other topics include Gingrich’s wanting a new House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities (shades of Joe Mc Carthy), and Necons, 9/11 involved persons and Goldman Sachs people on Team Trump.

Also, Nestles granted double water extraction 120 miles from Flint, schools offering counseling to students disturbed by Trump election, robots will soon take 2/3s of all jobs in the developing world, and more.

Again, 9 this evening. A fast moving revealing half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

FREEDOM AT LAST

Early wednesday morning, six Cuban immigrants safely landed in Key West. At the Southernmost Point.The end of South Street. The place where tourists wait in line to have their picture taken.

The dive boat that took them to safety could be seen behind the Southernmost Point. A warm sight knowing the circumstances. The six could not have landed at a better place.

Now that we have some sort of relationship with Cuba, I no longer can accept returning Cuban refugees who did not land with their feet on American soil. A concept that has outlived its time.

I saw on TV this morning, a Cuban who had just arrived and his father that had been in the U.S. 36 years. Embracing. Crying. The first time in 36 years father and son saw or touched each other.

Yesterday began normally. The anti-gravity treadmill first. I have exceeded my original top speed. Now 4.0 as opposed to 3.5. Miles per hour. Time equal to back when. Gravity still at 50 percent. I need it there or a while yet.

David Wolkowsky has been absent recently. He went to New York City. Ninety six years old and takes a few days off to visit the Big Apple. What a guy!

Followed it up with Ruby at the Cuban Coffee Queen. Ruby is terrific! She remembers your order and name. Similar to a bartender knowing your drink. All the time smiling.

A stop at Walgreens to pick up another prescription. I have 11 prescriptions requiring 13 pills a day to be taken. All doctor prescribed. My heart doctor says it is what is keeping my heart and blood pressure ok. I am “pill controlled” as he puts it.

I could sense it was going to rain last night at dinner time. Decided to stay close to home. Drove over to Hogfish. Sat at the bar. Knew we were going to get hit with a heavy rain. Monsoon type. You could small, taste and feel it coming.

It did. Fortunately, the bar area protected me from getting wet.

My happy birthday with Jenna this evening. My birthday. The last day of celebration. It is dinner at Azur. I am looking forward to Jenna and Azur. Both top of the line.

I am beginning to worry about William Hackley’s baby. He, a fried and what I assume was a nun stayed up all evening with the baby. Baby appeared better at 10 in the morning.

The thought occurs…..The Republican Party holds itself out as the party of family values. So they run a Presidential candidate who has had three wives. If Newt Gingrich is the VP choice, the heads of the Republican ticket will have had six wives.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..” The opening phrase in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. “Let them eat cake.” Attributed to Marie Antoinette. Questioned by some whether she was the one who actually uttered the words.

They come to mind because it was on this date in 1789 that French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille. The beginning of the French revolution.

Pouring like hell at the moment. I suspect we may have slipped into the rainy season.

Enjoy your day!

 

BUBBA SYSTEM AT WORK

Key West politicians take care of their own. Meaning Key Westers. In Key West called the Bubba System. What these politicos forget is that those they are protecting against generally are locals also.

The Uber handling thus far a disgrace. Shades of Duck tours.

It is easy to understand what occurred. When local cab companies and cab drivers became aware Uber was coming, they complained to City Commission members. The City Commission took care of their own. They passed an ordinance making it illegal for Uber to operate.

There are only 72 permits available for cabs in  Key West. Four cab companies the owners. Permits hard to get. There has not been a permit available for 26 years.

The new ordinance made it a crime in effect for drivers to operate under Uber auspices (though Uber was not mentioned specifically in the ordinance), subjected drivers to arrest and jail upon conviction, and worst of all provided that no jury trial would be available. The lack of right to a jury trial specific evidence of the intent of the City Commission to stand solidly behind locals to the detriment of others.

A we’ll get them attitude. The same attitude that cost Key West taxpayers $8 million in the Duck Tours case.

I am motivated to write about Uber once more because this morning’s Key West Citizen tells the story of a local who drove under Uber. He recently had lost a $900 a month management job. Uber was his God send. A way to make up the money. And not at $10-12 an hour. He was arrested yesterday by two undercover police officers. Sounds like a major drug bust!

The City Commission forgets Key West has many outside companies that provide jobs for locals and provide a specific service to residents. Think about it. Gap, Banana Republic, McDonald’s, Sears, Outback. Even hotels. The Pier House, La Concha, and the Southernmost Complex.

My yesterday was the anti-gravity treadmill, my dentist Dr. George Lindner, and researching for tonight’s blog talk radio show. Topics include how the U.S. has lost its way, Iran, the French Revolution, a Greece update, El Salvador refusing to use Monsanto herbicides, China not sitting on its ass, and more.

Join me at 9 o’clock for a fast moving interesting show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Th U.S./Iran deal announced this morning. I am fearful. I do not trust middle east nations. Iran and Saudi Arabia two examples. What they promise and what they ultimately do two different things. The U.S. is fortunate Israel is not buying in. Israel will bomb the hell out of Iran if their suspicions turn into realities.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..” Opening words of Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities. A story of the French Revolution. Today is the anniversary of the event. On this day in 1789, the French people went to the streets, stormed the Bastille, etc.

Enjoy your day!