A wonderful evening!

Stopped at the Ocean Grill for a bite to eat. Sat at the bar. Soon after, Larry Blackburn and family arrived.

Larry is well known in Key West. His profession photography. A photographer extraordinaire. Special. He literally captures the world around him.

Larry’s daughter Sydney Blackburn was with him.

To say Sydney is a beauty is to minimize her attractiveness. She is absolutely lovely! Naturally so.

Sydney is only 14 years old. I was surprised. Could pass for 18-20 with ease.

Sydney is appearing at the Waterfront Playhouse thursday and friday. She plays the female lead in Aladdin.

World famous. Aladdin is a Middle East folk tale. It has been seen on Broadway, a national tour, and as a Disney movie.

The beautiful and rebellious Princess Jasmine the female lead role.

I look forward to seeing Sydney in the role.

Key West’s premier videoer is Tim Dahms. He will be videoing Aladdin. Larry is doing the photography and public relations. Campo Bravo the sponsor.

Not to be forgotten is Stephanie Hellstrom, Larry’s wife. She and I chatted quite a while. She operates the Panama Hat Shop on Fleming.

Before going to the Ocean Bar, I stopped at the Chart Room. Shaun doing a great job. He has the Jimmy Buffett story down pat.

Where were you Charlotte? A former Key Wester now living somewhere in a mid Atlantic state, e-mailed me she would be in for the weekend, would we be able to meet? I e-mailed back the Chart Room. Nothing etched in stone. Charlotte generally spends most of her Key West time at the Chart Room.

Not last night. No Charlotte.

I was disappointed.

An interesting couple sat next to me at the bar. Very interesting. Charlie and Rhonda from Charleston, South Carolina.

Not newbies to Key West. Visit often. Charlie an engineer. Repairs train engines. I mentioned that in his other life, Howard Livingston was once CEO of a Chicago plant that made diesel railroad engines.

Charlie and Rhonda were familiar with Howard. They attend his shows frequently. Charlie said they have every CD Howard has made.

Rhonda’s job exciting. She is an ophthalmic technician. Thirty two years. I have bad eyes. Eight surgeries. I totally respect those in medicine who help people continue seeing.

They have been married 33 years. Two children. Their daughter a marine biologist. Their son an Army captain. The son is being deployed to Afghanistan soon.

So much for Charlie and Rhonda’s history. More impressive was our discussion that began with boiled peanuts.

I never heard of boiled peanuts. Roasted yes, boiled no.

Boiled a big deal in the Charleston area. They took me through the whole process. Boiled in the shells. Canned. When time to enjoy arrives, heat the peanuts in the micro.


Charlie is into grit mills also. Another education. His family got the recipe 80 years ago.

The food followed by a Charleston Bloody Mary mix. Special. Add horseradish before serving.

Charlie brings the boiled peanuts, grits and Bloody Mary mix with him when he visits Key West for his Key West friends. He and Rhonda have made many Key West friends over the years.

Charlie too nice. He wanted to rush back to his hotel to get a bag of the goodies for me. He said it would only take 15 minutes. I said no.

The compromise is he is going to leave a bag full for me at the Chart Room bar.

Something struck me about the couple. They are very pro Charleston. Their home town. Proud and big time supporters of the community.

It was a good night! Nice people at both places. Enjoyed myself.

Enjoy your sunday!


Received an e-mail from Mike Hoeflich yesterday. A voice from the past. We had not communicated in more than 25 years. Mike found me via this blog.

In the late 1980s, I was Chairman of the Syracuse University College of Law Board of Visitors. The Dean at the time resigned. A five person search committee was formed to select a new Dean. I was a member of the search committee.

We spent a year looking, interviewing, reading, etc. in our quest for a new Dean. I sometimes felt as if I was picking the next President of the United States. A trip! We wanted the best of the best. We got it in Mike Hoeflich.

As Board Chairman, I worked closely with the Dean. We were working for the good of the Law School. Mike turned out to be one of the finest people I have met. Intelligent, hard working, articulate, a leader, genuine, etc. It was an honor and pleasure to have worked with him.

Mike left Syracuse after six years as Dean. He moved on to Kansas University where he served as Dean for six years. Since 2000, Mike has taught law at Kansas. A big time professor. Chaired.

I recall Mike’s position clearly re law professors having to write and be published. He pushed the law faculty in this regard. He was a do as I do guy. Mike has published 15 books and 115 articles.

A good man in every respect!

I worked several hours yesterday fine tuning last night’s blog talk radio show. I decided to do a black America show. Stressed three areas.

The first was Charleston and the forgiveness thing. I believe forgiveness accomplishes nothing in solving our racial problems. I am not Jesus and could not turn the other cheek. Said why and what I thought should be done.

The next item involved the Confederate flag. Easy. Take it down! I fear the South Carolina legislature is going to delay. The legislature voted yesterday to debate the issue. Resolution could take forever, if at all.

The final item involved Josephine Baker. Traced her life. The discrimination heaped upon her. Her fight back.

Ran over to Roostica for dinner. Sat at the bar. Looked like a bum. Had not shaved in four days. I was hopeful of not running into anyone. Impossible.

Michelle joined me at the bar. Michelle and husband own Roostica. As well as Hogfish and Geiger Key. Enjoyed an interesting conversation. A I was leaving, Bobby arrived to join his wife.

Ran into Alex and Mary the other day at Publix. Alex, my horn blowing friend. A retired New York fireman, he is into his other life in Key West. He blows his horn at affairs. Many times accompanying Larry Smith. He has made several CDs and videos. He lives in Key West time.

Alex had read last week’s KONK Life column The Petticoat Affair. He was taken by it.

This week’s column publishes today. America, Land of the Free. The title selected with tongue in cheek. We are not the land of the free untill all people are equally treated.

Big day ahead! Anti-gravity treadmill at 11. Manicure at 12 with Tammy. Dinner tonight at Salute’s on the beach with friends. A typical Key West day!

Body Owners has brought me together with a new and different group of friends. All into physiotherapy. The sick, sore, lame and disabled. All ages. I am anxious to make my three times a week workouts. I want to see how my new found friends are doing, share tidbits with them.

Enjoy your day!




Happy Father’s Day!

Always nice to see the day come around again. Unfortunately, I do not think fathers are treated and revered as in days’ past. Something is different today. I hear it from every father/parent who has grown children.

I believe the cause is the way my generation raised our children. We gave them too much. We gave them everything. We wanted the better life for them we had not experienced.

We raised a generation who believe they are entitled to everything. The Age of Entitlement! Which means most care not as they should for their parents.

Another thought. Society is becoming fatherless. Many one parent families. When first one parent families came upon us, we cheered. Generally, it was the mother. What a great job the ladies were doing!

Not so great from my perspective. I admire them. I also feel sorry for them. And the children.

It has been said we live in a fatherless society today. True. Think about it.

I am old school. I believe there must be a return to old school. Two parent families. Whether straight or same sex. It does not take a village to raise a child. It takes two parents!

I am going to be bombed with comments tomorrow! No question. I have scraped the scab off a festering wound.

Lucky are we who live in Key West and the Florida keys. The weather generally great. Scenery always beautiful. Peaceful. Nothing like seeing water every day.

I am fortunate to live on the ocean. The slight blast of hot air that hit my face this morning as I stepped onto the deck irreplaceable. A great feeling. You just know it is going to be a great day.

Key West’s pace is invigorating. Invigorating a strange word to use. Everything is slow paced. Easy going.

Most happy, even those that have little reason to be.

All kumbaya!

I finally decided yesterday what this week’s KONK Life column will be. I spent yesterday researching. I have a bit more today and then the writing itself. Charleston motivated me. I intend to show the black problem from three perspectives. World War I, World War II and Charleston.

Anna has been my housekeeper for more than 10 years. A fancy description for cleaning lady. Whatever the title, I state it with the utmost respect.

Anna leaves me for two months every two years. She returns to Poland, her land of birth. The whole family goes. God bless them!

Anna and her husband work hard. They do not waste money. Ergo, they can afford the trip. They are received in Poland as rich Americans. Anna laughs when she tells me.

Key West is a conglomeration of those born in foreign lands. Some come and stay. Others have green card problems and move on. Most become citizens. Others save a few dollars and return from whence they came.

I have always had an interest in those who go back. It appears that if they have a few bucks in their pockets earned here, they can live better in the old country than here. They initially came for economic reasons. They return because the problem has been solved to some degree. They can now live cheaper back home.

I share the Anna and other immigrants story because most of us believe those from another country come to stay. Not necessarily so.

Another police shooting last night. Los Angeles. The neighborhood a safe one. The incident took place in broad daylight.

A man was standing by his car with a white cloth rapped around his hand. He was yelling…..Stop! Stop!… the police car as it approached. The police car stopped. They told him to “drop it” as he was raising his wrapped hand. He did not. There was nothing to drop. They shot him in the head.

The police claim they thought he had a gun. He did not.

The man is in critical condition. A resident videoed part of the happening. Sick to see!

The two officers are nonchalantly saying as the man lies on the ground something to the effect….Oh, how sickning…..his brains are coming out.

The man is lying on his stomach. While this discourse took place. At the same time, the video shows one of the officers handcuffing the unconscious brain oozing victim.

He is a victim!

Enjoy your Sunday/Father’s Day!


Dancing and frivolity of old will exist once again tomorrow evening in Key West. At East Martello. Midsummer’s Night Dream & Spectacle. In its ninth year.

The show, though proper in every respect, is a throwback to pagan days when the beginning of summer was celebrated with  big time partying. Way before Shakespeare’s time.

The show is Michael Shield’s baby. The originator nine years ago, he has continued to produce the event every year. Co-producer is the Key West Art & Historical Society.

My dear friend Jenna Stauffer is the emcee. I can visualize her in days of old. Prancing around in her fairy wings, tip toeing through the tulips. Orchestration by Skipper Kripitz. Perhaps the most honorable man in Key West. Singers include Larry Smith and Kathleen Peace. I love Kathleen! I love her singing! The walls of the East Martello Fort will shake during her performance.

My day yesterday began with a noon walk along the Atlantic Ocean. In the heat of the day. Not the best time. However, I did it. Then to the Cuban Coffee Queen for Cuban cheese toast and Cuban coffee.

Steve Braddock is a care giving Key Wester. He is a Catholic priest. He is active in assisting the homeless. A Saint Francis.

He is pissed off. The Lower Keys Medical Center claims he owes a balance for a hospital stay. $1,975. The hospital has sued in Small Claims Court. Before suit and since, Braddock has asked for an itemized bill. No itemized bill has been forthcoming.

The good priest is aware from prior assistance to the homeless that hospitals have a tendency to overcharge. Dramatically. He is defending himself in court. I would not want to have him as an opponent under the circumstances.

We have genocide in the United States. I refer to it as American genocide. The killing of blacks by whites. It has been going on since the earliest days of our country. It has to stop. Will it ever? I do not know.

The last 48 hours have brought the story of nine blacks in a church bible class shot by a white 21 year old. The place, Charleston, South Carolina. The 21 year old, Dylan Storm Roof. The killings in cold blood.

During the shootings, he said…..I have to do it… rape our women and you’ve taken over our country, and you have to go.

Roof has a history evidencing a drug problem. His father gave him a gun for his 21st birthday.

Roof was obviously misinformed as to the black conduct he described during the shootings. Probably heard it at the dinner table from his father.

These shootings are what they are. Racial hatred expressed with a gun. It must end! Otherwise as I have been saying on my blog talk radio show, the battle will not be between police and blacks. It will be blacks against whites. A people will take abuse only so long. There is a new generation of blacks and they will not be as patient and forbearing as their forefathers.

Anna is in Camogli. She has a beach front apartment. Camogli is part of the Italian Riviera. Next door is Portofino. Home of the renown Silvio Berlusconi. His close friend Putin has built a home nearby.

Tomorrow night’s emcee Jenna Stauffer is my date tonight. We are going to dinner. Love Jenna!

Enjoy your day!