HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERNEST HEMINGWAY

July 21, 1899. Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois. A great day for literature, a great day for Key West.

Hemingway is part and parcel of the fabric of Key West. Visible in many ways 365 days a year. At the moment, Hemingway Days. Today, the famous Running With The Bulls. Get down to Sloppy Joe’s around one. Watch the Hemingway Look a Likes assemble and then run with the bulls.

Dinner last night at Donna and Terri’s. Good drink, fantastic meal and their special company as always.

I learned last night I too have to adjust to Terri’s blindness. There are occasions where two persons can communicate merely by looking at each other. Realized I cannot do it any longer with Terri. She can’t see me. I must speak to engage her.

How awful it must be for Terri.

Terri is not permitting the problem to keep her down. She sings tonight at Blue Heaven. From 6:30-9:30. Jean Thornton and I are having dinner tonight at Blue Heaven. Specifically to enjoy Terri.

The present Key West Cemetery has been in existence since 1847. Many of the graves are unmarked. The Cemetery is attempting to identify the occupant of each grave. A tedious almost impossible function.

When identification is complete, the Cemetery will establish a search engine on the City’s website.

Give a helping hand to the Cemetery. If you know someone who is buried in an unmarked grave, contact the Cemetery and let them know.

The Key West Citizen’s weather person continues to amuse me. Today, partly sunny and mild. Described as “…..nice day to hit the beach.” Tomorrow’s verbiage the winner. Partly cloudy and humid. Described as “…..think Saturday with a little sweat.”

Two quotes have caught my attention.

A Mark Twain one in the Comment section to this blog: “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

The other, I cannot recall where I came upon it. Wrote it down to share with you, however: “The House and Senate are ostriches burying their heads in the sand.”

Both quotes related to Trump in some fashion.

I did my Key West Lou Live show on Facebook earlier this morning. Titled: God Is A Republican?” Religion and politics. The harm religion can cause when involved with government. The Evangelical influence today.

Take a look. You might enjoy. You also might not agree with me.

Rome burned this month in 64 AD. Much of Rome destroyed. Nero rebuilt it.

Some claim Nero started the fire because he wanted a new and more modern Rome. Most historians disagree. Though Nero did want a new modern Rome.

A false story also exists that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. He did not. The fiddle had not yet been invented in 64 AD. Nero was 35 miles away at the time of the fire.

Nero did use the fire to his advantage, however. He disliked Christians. Considered them a danger. He used the fire as an excuse to arrest, torture and execute hundreds of Christians. Most were fed to the lions or burned to death.

Nero used as an excuse that the Christians had caused the fire.

BOB still tired. Working, however. Fantasy Fest next.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LYNDA FRECHETTE

Happy Birthday Lynda Frechette! Twenty nine and still going strong. Key West is never the same when you are gone.

Two other noteworthy items for today.

Mel Fisher found the Atocha mother lode! This day in 1985. Four hundred million dollars. He had a dream. Stuck with it. Bore fruit 15 years later.

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon! First man to do so. This day 1969.

I recall watching the event on TV. It was 11 at night. My children all asleep. All grammar school age. Woke them up and brought them to the family room to watch the event.

I considered Armstrong’s descent onto the moon’s surface to be sufficiently important for them to see. They would remember it for years.

They were tired. Could not understand why I was all excited, etc.

None of them remember.

My day yesterday began with doing the Key West Lou Live video on Facebook. I spent a few minutes chatting about being a senior citizen. A change of pace show. Finished today’s show before I started the blog this morning. Topic: Putin’s White House Invitation. Would you believe!

Visited Tammy at 1 for a manicure. Always good company.

Then to Sandy’s Cafe for a late lunch.

The Chart Room first last night. Had new friend Casey meet me there. He’s the fellow I met three weeks ago at Hogfish. The one with the 77 foot catamaran. Casey lives on the boat. I offered to pick him up. No, he wanted to dingy in.

Neal and Connie at the bar. Met Neal the night before. Connie, last night. Nice people.

My love Jean Thornton arrived. She has been in Key West a week. First time we have seen each other. A big hug and kiss. Jean, Casey and I chatted a while. Jean and I are having dinner together saturday evening at Blue Heaven. Terri is singing.

Speaking of Terri, I am having dinner with Donna and Terri tonight at their new condo. Donna cooking. Always a treat! Enjoying a Donna prepared meal is like listening to Terri sing.

A fireman and his wife from outside Chicago were also at the bar. I failed to get their names. They had an interesting story.

They lived in Homestead in 1998 when Andrew hit. Evacuated. When they returned 3 days after Andrew, pure carnage. It looked like Hiroshima after the atom bomb fell. Everything flat. Nothing left standing. Andrew was a 5.

The destruction was so bad they could not locate their home. Nothing defined. A flat level mess.

Stopped at Blue McCaw for a bite to eat on the way home. Ran into Paul and Ron again. Real nice guys. Enjoyed chicken wings and their company over a couple of drinks.

Blue McCaw a winner! Happy Hour 4-9. A fun place! I recommend it.

The Key West Citizen’s weather person an excellent writer. Comes up with little tidbits to describe the weather.

Today the temperature will be 92. A morning thunder shower predicted. Wrong, thus far. 10:30, sun shining bright. No sign of rain. Means nothing, however. Rain comes to Key West in a split second without prior warning.

The excellent writing has to do with the fine print under the rain warning. It read: “Sun, what sun?”

The weather report may be wrong. The sun reference however reads well with or without the rain.

Key West still into Hemingway Days. The Running of the Bulls tomorrow. Go down to Sloppy Joe’s around 1 to watch the Look a Likes get ready. The race itself probably at 2.

Enjoy your day!

 

MEL FISHER…..THE INDIANA CHICKEN FARMER WHO MADE GOOD

Some persons become legends in their own time. Key Westers recall their legendary figures. Among others, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Sloppy Joe, Captain Tony, Mel Fisher.

Mel Fisher concerns me today.

Key West annually celebrates Mel Fisher. Mel Fisher Days this year are July 12-14. Party time. All kind of activities befitting Mel Fisher.

Mel Fisher’s claim to fame is that he discovered a part of the Spanish galleon Atocha. Recovered $400 million in gold, emeralds and other jewelry.

His story.

Mel was a chicken farmer from Indiana. Eventually, he,  his wife Doe and family, ended up in Key West. Fisher was convinced there was gold in off shore waters. He spent 16 years looking for it. Lean years. Sacrificing time for the Fisher family.

Fisher would begin each day by telling his crew…..Today’s the day! For 16 years.

Finally, he scored.

The Atocha was ladened with gold, emeralds and other jewels. On their way to Spain. Atocha was one of a convoy of 28 ships. Some had problems. The convoy left 6 weeks late. Five weeks into the tropical storm season.

A hurricane hit the second day out. The Atocha went down.

On August 20, 1985, Fisher discovered a part of the Atocha. He was able to salvage $400 million in gold, emeralds and other jewelry.

Still not his. Spain made claim to the fortune. Fisher fought Spain and others all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Fisher won. The Court ruled in effect…..Finders keepers!

Obviously changed Fisher’s life and that of his family.

The man earned it.

My evening yesterday began with Liz Moody’s birthday party. Eighty four years and going strong!

A beautiful woman. A glowing face and personality.

Many friends in attendance.

Age is taking its toll. A broken hip that never mended properly. A diabetic whose problem frequently gets out of control. She was released two days ago from the hospital where the fight to stabilize her sugar took place for 15 days.

Liz parties well. She had a good time. I had a good time. Everyone had a good time.

Then to the Chart Room. Looking for Kevin. He had purchased tickets for a group of us to see Howie Mandell monday evening at the Key West Theater. Needed to pick up my ticket and pay $59. A bargain from my perspective.

I have always enjoyed Mandell. It will be good to laugh continuously monday evening.

David stopped by for a moment.

New friends Ray and Augusta at the bar. Enjoyed their company.

Stopped at Sandy’s Cafe on the way home for something to eat. Food at Liz’s party. I drank however instead of eating. Read the newspapers and enjoyed a Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large Cuban coffee. The gin earlier was not enough to give me a bang. Needed the Cuban coffee.

Home early. In bed by 9:30. Slept well. Slept late this morning.

Trump, Brussels and the NATO Conference. Trump embarrassed us. His conduct disgraceful.

He beat the hell out of Germany’s Angela Merkel. Improperly so. He never has his facts right. Referred to Germany as “totally controlled” by and “captive” to Russia.

He deficated upon NATO as a whole for failing to keep up with individual payments to NATO. Implied clearly the U.S. was being forced to pay more than it should. He said the U.S. was paying 90 percent of NATO’s bills. Not correct. Sixty six percent. Note that payments are determined by how much money a nation earns per year.

A press conference this morning. Trump made it sound like everything was now kumbaya. Everyone happy. Claimed he made it so. He forced the others to agree to reach the 2 percent level by 2024.

The 40 minute press conference crowded with additional Trump lies. The English like me. He was headed to England following the press conference. The English hate him! Only 11 percent like him. The 2 percent going to 4 percent soon after 2024. No such promise made. Merely Trump’s idea.

He failed to explain some pertinent facts. Perhaps he did not know. He does not prepare for these meetings.

Trump claimed England buys 70 percent of its gas from Russia. Not true. Only 33 percent. Note most European countries buy gas from Russia. It’s cheap. The U.S. cannot compete with the Russian charges because of the distance and lack of a pipe line.

Trump was not aware that although most NATO nations were behind in the 2 percent contributions, they were far ahead of the United States in humanitarian aid. Eurounion countries provide such aid to the tune of $12 billion a year as opposed to  the U.S.’s $6 billion.

Trump can only see one way. He does not take into account peripheral items.

He forgets also that NATO troops have been fighting along side U.S. troops in Afghanistan for 16 years. Eleven thousand non U.S. NATO troops have died.

A question. The U.S. imports 43 percent of its imported oil from Canada. Does that make the U.S. “totally controlled” by and “captive” of Canada?

Paul Manafort was moved yesterday to another jail. It was discovered his jail time came with unique privileges. He had a larger than normal cell, a private bathroom and shower, a personal telephone (made 300 calls), separate work space to prepare for trial, and was permitted to have a lap top in his cell.

Not normal. Unusual. Reminded me of how Mafia bootleggers were treated when jailed back in the 1920’s.

Have to hustle. Haircut time.

Enjoy your day!

AMERICAN PATRIOTISM

A line I read a couple of days ago keeps running through my mind. I want to share it with you: America needs more patriotism, not Trumpism.

Day time yesterday spent as a recluse. Back still sore, though a bit better.

Last night figured a couple of gins combined with the Advil would help. It did.

I did my imbibing at the Chart Room. Charming Dorothy Downs and her friend Carmen there. Enjoyable conversation. Dorothy likes to tell stories as I do. Everything from American Indians to art.

Interesting front page story in the Key West Citizen this morning. The City Commission is seriously thinking about doing something with plastic disposal. Plastic straws and plastic bags the culprits. Plastic items end up in the ocean and cause harm to marine life.

Several stories running on the internet this morning re the plastic issue. Noted that Starbucks has already decided to do something. Starbucks has designed a “strawless lid.” Will not require a straw in order to drink.

McDonald’s in the fray, also. McDonald’s is testing the use of paper straws in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Hope to be fully invested in paper straws in those two locations by the end of next year.

McDonald’s is also testing paper straw use in certain U.S. areas.

A negative factor involved with regard to Key West. Glass not permitted on Duval or other streets. Bars permit drinkers to take booze from a bar. In a plastic glass. The drink must be transferred to a plastic glass in the bar.

An exception for Key West and other communities permitting street consumption of alcohol if in a plastic container?

Ernest Hemingway. A literary giant. One of Key West’s all time favored sons.

He completed A farewell To Arms while living in Key West.

An item of local color not well known involves the book, Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky. Agnes was Hemingway’s first love.

Hemingway was a Red Cross driver in Italy during World War I. Eighteen at the time. A mortar shell did a number on his right knee. He was in the hospital for six months.

Agnes was Hemingway’s nurse. They fell in love. The war, the love, Lake Maggiore, all part of A Farewell To Arms.

After recovering, Hemingway was returned to the U.S. Agnes was soon to follow. She did not. Sent him a Dear John letter instead.

Following his ten some years in Key West, Hemingway moved to Cuba. He was residing in Cuba in 1951. The same year Agnes moved to Key  West and worked as a librarian. She lived in Key West till 1965.

Hemingway experts tell us Hemingway never knew she was here. He periodically would return to Key West for a few days. Agnes never tried to communicate with him.

An interesting twist to what may have been the great romance of their lives.

The Thailand soccer team story one for the ages. Good people working hard to bring a proper resolution to a most dangerous situation.

Five of the boys removed as of this morning.

Steve Bannon’s name keeps popping up. A bad influence on Trump. He was part of Trump’s campaign team and worked in the White House for a time.

Bannon’s thinking dangerous. Representative of a twisted mind.

Prior to supporting Trump, Bannon was Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network. Breitbart supports an alt right platform. Seeks an all white state.

Breitbart/Bannon carried a contrary belief as to how the U.S.should be run. Two inflammatory headlines evidence such: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” “Gay Rights Have Made Us Dumber, It’s Time To Get Back Into The Closet.”

We know tsunamis can be big. How big I never realized. This morning’s World Almanac section of the Key West Citizen reported that on this date in 1958, a megatsunami hit Lituya Bay, Alaska.

One thousand seven hundred twenty feet!

The largest recorded tsunami in history. It was caused by an 8.3 magnitude earthquake off the Alaskan coast.

Evel Knievel was a daring motorcyclist. Up, up, and away on a cycle. His exploits death defying.

He passed on a few years ago.

Travis Pastrana is the new Evel Knievel. Even more daring than Evel. Pastrana is referred to as Michael Jordan on a motorcycle.

This past weekend, Pastrana did a tribute show in Las Vegas honoring Knievel. He performed daring acts while using a motor cycle similar to the ones used by Knievel and while dressed in a Knievel look a like costume.

I share this information with you because I knew Evel Knievel for a short time. It was back in the 1970’s. I had a condominium at the Jockey Club in Miami. My time there the most fun I have ever experienced. My Shangrila.

Knievel was at the Jockey Club for a time. His boat was docked there. A 165 foot job. Touched off with  two motorcycles perched on the back. A sight!

We quickly became friends. The bar and pool brought us together.

One day, he telephoned me. What are you doing, he asked. Sunning myself on the terrace. Throw some clothes in a bag and meet me at the boat in 30 minutes. We’re going to the Bahamas for a few days.

What a time! Never left the boat. About a dozen of us. Party time, big time!

Knievel used to constantly say that he “…..enjoyed life as much as he could.”

He did.

BOB still screwing off.

Dueling Bartenders at Aqua tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

HEMINGWAY INJURED

 

My topic for next week’s KONK Life column changed from yesterday to today.

My plan was to write about ICE. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. A group some view as Trump’s private army.

I began research during the week. More to do yesterday and then write the article. It never happened. I got out of my desk chair to get something and my back went out. An every 5-6 year experience. Back just goes. Killer spasms.

So much for any further research or writing yesterday.

I rose early this morning to complete the ICE research and write the column. Even before writing this blog. I completed the research. Eight pages of it.

I decided I would write today’s blog at that point and leave the ICE column for this afternoon. In searching internet for information suitable for the blog, an item on a history site garnered my attention.

On this day in 1918, Ernest Hemingway was a Red Cross driver on the Italian front. It was World War I. A mortar shell hit nearby. He received serious right leg and knee injuries.  Kept him hospitalized for six months.

Hemingway fell in love with American nurse Agnes von Kurkowsky. The relationship formed the basis for A Farewell To Arms.

Part of Hemingway’s recovery found he and Agnes spending a week at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromees in Stresa. On Lake Maggiore which separates Italy and Switzerland.

I have visited Stresa and Lake Maggiore several times. Enjoyed drinks each visit at the Grand Hotel. A huge magnificent structure from days gone by.

I made appropriate inquiries and was shown the bar room where Ernest and Agnes imbibed. A small room in the back of the first floor with one window overlooking gardens. No longer a bar. Today, a storage room.

In August 2015, I wrote what I considered a short but interesting rendition of the Ernest/Agnes relationship. It ended when Agnes sent him a Dear John letter following his return to the U.S.

Many years later after Ernest had departed Key West for Cuba, Agnes moved to Key West. Worked as a librarian for years. The two never met during any of Hemingway’s infrequent visits.

The 2015 column contains the Ernest/Agnes story from beginning to end. Covering a span of almost 40 years.

I was moved when I reread the 2015 column. I decided to rerun it next week as my KONK column and hold my notes concerning ICE for another time. Love always more interesting than pain and suffering.

Hemingway’s First Love hits the stands Wednesday.

Happy Birthday! continued into last night. Dinner with Lisa and the family. Loved it!

Robert and Ally are betting big. Fourteen and thirteen respectively. Young adults. Ally still enjoys the experience of singing Happy Birthday and watching the candles being blown out.

At 83, I only get one candle. Eighty three plus one would probably blow my heart out as I tried to blow the candles out.

I blew my diet. Per request, Lisa made a white cake with chocolate frosting. Two big pieces. Loved it!

My back pain was tempered. Had taken 3 Advil. Still sore. Tolerable, however.

Following Lisa’s headed over to the Chart Room. Kevin back in town. Arrived yesterday at 5. Two gins with Kevin and my back felt even better. Enjoyed our conversation.

Sleep came easy because of the Advil and gin. No pain till I got out of bed this morning. Three more Advil.

A stormy morning. It has been raining for at least an hour. Heavy. Exceptionally loud thunder and lightening. The lightening periodically coming through the blinds.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

83rd BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY’S NEWS

My 83rd birthday came and went too soon. Hopefully, I will be here to celebrate my 84th next year. Sounds foreboding. There is always a concern at this age.

A nice day.

The many Happy Birthdays received appreciated. The internet a wonderful thing. Keeps us connected and remembering each other.

Lisa and family woke me early. All on the phone singing Happy Birthday Poppa! A good way to begin the day.

Celebration time not over. I am having dinner with Lisa and the family tonight. By special request, my cake will be white with chocolate frosting.

Last night, Donna and Terri took me to dinner. We celebrated at Tavern ‘n Town. George and Artie were with us. A good time.

It was still early when dinner ended. Decided to stop at the Chart Room for a drink. Glad I did. Ran into Dorothy Downs. We talked quite a while.

Dorothy’s husband Maurice passed on last year. He was a Miami orthodontist. They had homes in Miami and Key West.

In previous meetings, we never chatted more than five minutes. Last night, quite a while. Turned out to be fortuitous. Dorothy discovered I was a nice guy. She told me she always thought I was arrogant. I probably was. Time softens us.

Several times yesterday, I heard people talk about the new hurricane on its way. Beryl.

I can see concern is going to set in early this hurricane season. Irma left people with a touch of fear.

Beryl is not coming anywhere near Key West. It has been described by the weather folk as a tiny one. About 1,000 miles south of the Lesser Antilles. It may run over Puerto Rico. Should not be a problem. Predicted to be winds of 40 mph at that time.

This morning’s Key West Citizen notes in its Keys History section that the John Kennedy World War II movie PT-109 was being filmed at Munson Island. Cliff Robertson played the title role.

Let me add some additional local color. Munson Island is today known as Little Palm Island. One of the world’s most famous and expensive resorts. It was wiped out by Irma and is still under reconstruction. It will return!

The island at the time was owned by John Spottswood. A Key West legendary figure. Sheriff and State Senator for many years.

President Kennedy was in Key West checking out fortifications during the Cuban missile crisis. Spottswood accompanied him. They were already friends. Hollywood had decided to do the movie. A search for a location was underway. Spottswood suggested Munson Island. The rest is history.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned. About time. He probably contributed to the swamp condition more than any other Trump appointee.

The man replacing him not much better. Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler is a former coal lobbyist. He spent much time working for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla). Inhofe denies climate change. Refuses to accept it exists.

Trump has appointed another winner!

The blind cannot see. Or if sight is possible, then as Forrest Gump   was wont to say…..stupid is as stupid does. I refer to the tariff war with China. Should not be. The irresponsible brain child of Donald Trump.

In one year’s time or less, two major U.S. industries will take a big hit economically. Jobs lost big time. Soybeans and lobsters.

The U.S. is the biggest supplier of soybeans to China. Several farm States depend on selling their soybeans to China. China’s attitude is don’t screw with us. China is already entering into agreements to purchase soybeans from Brazil.

China is a major importer of U.S. lobsters. Multi-millions of dollars involved. Maine and Florida lobsters. The lobster industry will be destroyed. This includes Florida’s spiny lobsters. Many are fished off the Keys.

I have said this before and repeat it again. Recall when Hoover became President. The stock market was at an all time high. Booming. Hoover for some unfathomable reason decided the U.S. should impose tariffs with regard to certain countries. Within one year, the Great Depression of 1929 was upon us.

Expect no less from what Trump has initiated.

Water is sacred. Not enough. Insufficient concern unfortunately. The U.S. must watch how it uses its water.

Recall several years ago California. Bottled water companies were buying municipal water big time. The companies got a break cost wise because they were buying in bulk. Homeowners paid a hell of a lot more for water than the bottled water companies per unit.

Governor Brown has been working on the problem.

Today, the problem has reared its ugly head in Chiapas, Mexico. Coca Cola the culprit. Coca Cola bottles and sells water.

Wells are the primary source for water. Homeowners dig down only so far. Accustomed to getting all the water they needed. Coca Cola comes in and digs wells deeper. Significantly deeper. Cause the homeowner wells to go dry.

Coca Cola’s bottled water has now become the water supply for homeowners.

The following sickening. Occurred in a Houston school. Twenty two sixth grade girls were in a music class. Fifty dollars was missing. School administrative officers were called in. A resource officer, also.

The resource officer said, “Girls like to hide things in their bras and panties.”

A strip search followed. Each girl was separately taken into  a bathroom with a nurse. The nurse checked around the panty waistbands, loosened bras, and lifted the girl’s shirts so that the young ladies were exposed shoulder to waist.

Parents were never called for permission. Some of the girls asked to call their mothers first and were denied permission.

What possessed the principal. assistant principal, nurse and resource officer is beyond me. Some things your gut tells you cannot be done.

The girls sued. The court threw out their case. Said the facts did not permit a lawsuit. An appellate court decided otherwise this week. Ok to sue the bastards! Not reported in such indelicate language, of course.

My KONK Life column is on the street. This weeks title: Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries. Irma got me into hurricanes with both feet.

BOB says you must wait another day.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUIS

 

Today is my birthday. Eighty three years. Wow!

Time moves fast. Everything just yesterday. High school, college, law school, marriage, children, grandchildren, court cases, successful practice, mistakes made, lessons learned, etc.

I feel good for my age. The body breaks down as we go along. Mine started around 60. You go to the doctor and hope they can fix whatever it is. Generally can. As you get older however, you become concerned about the day something many not be able to be fixed.

Mentally, I am still 35. Amazing! The issue of mental age comes up in conversations among the elderly. Everyone is between 25-45. Interesting.

My poor Mother. Several times she reminded me of my birth. Mid summer 1935. Hot. Humid. No air  conditioning. Not invented yet. The hospital sweltering!!!

Took 26 hours of labor for me to make my entrance.

I was born in Utica’s General Hospital. A welfare type hospital for the poor. Amazing how this country provides the opportunity to live a better more affluent life.

I look forward to 84. Hopefully many more years following. My Dad made it to 98, his father 94, his sister 102. One condition. I would want to be in good shape physically and mentally.

Midnight was the beginning of a dark day for global trade. Trump permitted his threatened tariffs re China to go into effect. China waited hoping Trump would back off. When he did not, China imposed retaliatory tariffs.

China described what occurred as the beginning of the “largest trade war in history.” An economist described the event as “typical trade bullying.”

The first salvo has been fired. America will be the first casualty. Trump does not understand. An example the soybean farmers who will not be able to sell their product. The U.S. supplies China with 60 percent of its soybean imports.

Take a walk back in time. Herbert Hoover elected President. It is 1928. The stock market booming. At an all time high. Hoover a protectionist. Believed in tariffs. Could not leave well enough alone. Imposed tariffs. One year later, the Great Depression.

Trump was in Montana last night at a rally. His audience a mere 6,500. Down dramatically from the many thousands who previously attended. A smaller audience, seated closer together, to make the place look more full.

Trump’s mouth his worst enemy. Among other sad/improper things uttered last night included knocking Bush I and John McCain. Both war heroes. Bush shot down twice during World War II. McCain spent six years in a Vietnamese concentration camp, tortured non stop.

Trump was a draft dodger.

The man knocks everyone and everything. Lies consistently. Thinks he knows everything. He is leading us to a doom.

Chart Room last night. As always, a good and interesting time.

Steve and Cindy back. I have been looking to their return. They lived in Key West in the early and mid 1970’s when things were different. On the wild side! I take notes rapidly. Add a bit of research, each becomes a story to be written.

Dorothy in for a few days. Her dentist husband died two years ago. It was good to see her again. An author who achieved success. Dorothy has a sharp mind. It was evident when a new friend, Ray from Dublin, told us a great joke. Dorothy had an instantaneous  follow up that fit.

Met a most interesting couple. One Ray already mentioned and his wife Augusta. World travelers of sorts. Ray has been in the oil business over the years in one capacity or another. Retired now, invests primarily in oil stocks and other types he believes are going to move. Apparently successful.

Enjoyed their company. Ray and I disagree on one point. He has traveled the world living and working. He believes Trump will be viewed as the greatest U.S. President since Reagan.

Bothersome. Worries me.

Trump overwhelms the news. As a result, we fail to get sufficient information re what is going on in the rest of the world. Nicaragua, for example.

A horrendous conflict once again. The government killing people randomly. The war relatively new. Three weeks. A full blown civil war in the making.

The conflict includes the Catholic Church which is opposed to what is going on. Involved are President Daniel Ortega. He was President many years ago. And his wife Rosario Murillo. She, Vice-President.

The Vice-President wife recently said God favors repression against priests and people. Trump not the only one who is sick.

Bad days in Nicaragua that will only get worse. People will flee the country. U.S. borders will be closed to them.

BOB begged off again this morning. Still tired from the fireworks. The trial result and what followed left to tomorrow. Hopefully.

One thing I learned last night was that Bum Farto was involved in more than drugs. Prostitution. He drove El Jefe around dropping off prostitutes and picking them up when their work was done.

Enjoy your day!

BIKINI BORN

 

This day in 1946 a significant one regarding female beach attire. The bikini was born. A two piece bathing suit. Skimpy. Exposed the navel and much of the buttocks.

Available female bathing attire even more skimpy today. The thong bottom leaves little to the imagination. The top piece lucky to cover the areolas

Prior to World War II, female bathing suits were generally one piece and skirted. The War changed that in the United States. Fabric was rationed. As a result, the skirt panel and other superfluous material were removed.

Not as dramatic as the bikini which would come later.

The navel was considered sacred. Always covered. The two piece bathing suit born in the U.S. covered the navel. The bottom panty would be described as granny panties by today’s standards. The top a full bra.

I recall the Virginia Slims cigarette advertising of the 1970’s: You’ve come a long way ladies! As to today’s bikinis the saying applies also. No question. The next step in the progression, if there is to be one,  total nudity.

I have decided on next week’s KONK Life column. ICE. Began my research yesterday afternoon.

We hear the term, but know little about it. It has become a forceful police agency. People should be aware. My column will tell the story of its rapid growth since just after 9/11 when it was born.

This week’s KONK Life is available. My column this week: Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries. Not boring.

The Chart Room, Hot Tin Roof and then the Chart Room again last night. I was to meet Fran and Tom Dixon and their daughter at 6 at Hot Tin Roof. I was early. Hot Tin Roof does not open till 6. Ergo, a Chart Room stop first.

John bartending. Good friend Ollie at the bar. Met John. I will refer to him as New John so as not to confuse him with the two John bartenders.

New John had lived in Key West years ago. He returned the day before. He assumes he will remain for at least 5 years this time. He is a liquor distributor. We enjoyed an interesting conversation re Key West.

Then to the Hot Tin roof.

I love Tom’s wife Fran. She is the absolute best. Cooks for me in Buffalo and brings the goodies with her each time she visits. About 4 times a year. Last night, 4 jars of sauce with meatball, sausage and pork. Home made fudge and another type candy.

Always good to meet with them. Tom and I reviewed Syracuse football for the coming season. He is a die hard Syracuse fan, also. He reported the season is not anticipated to be a good one. It has been years since we have had a good team!

Their daughter with them. Her name escapes me. I apologize. Old age.

A smart woman. Retired from the Army a major. Recently received her MBA from Harvard. Has a job already in Boston with a big time company. She starts monday.

She and her husband recently purchased a home in Wellesley.

We ate, drank and had a good time.

They left at 8. Tom had made reservations to be on the FURY to watch the fireworks.

I am not into fireworks. Seen one, seen them all. I stopped back at the Chart Room, enjoyed one drink, and headed home.

BOB tired. Stayed up late watching the fireworks. Taking today off. Tomorrow will be the finish of the Bum Farto trial and saga.

The tariff war with China begins tomorrow. Midnight July 6. China and the U.S. in different time zones. Our July 6 is midnight. China 12 hours ahead. Their July 6 midnight noon today.

Tariff wars are devastating. Everyone seems to know it, except for Trump. There are no winners. A world wide depression probable.

China advised it will not start the tariff war with the U.S. So it will wait till midnight our time to see if Trump backs off. If not, bad shit will follow over the next several months.

Key West has one industry that will definitely be hit. Florida lobsters. Referred to also as spiny lobsters. South Florida ships millions of dollars worth each year to China. A major Key West business will take a big hit.

Yesterday, July 4th. America’s birthday. Two hundred forty two years old. The Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Most of us recall the beginning words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…..” The document obviously contained other passages of equal importance and significance. One dealt with the right and duty of citizens to raise up and abolish governments that “becomes destructive.”

The paragraph written from a long time ago. However, its words may have special relevance today. I leave such to your judgment: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to their ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…..when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is the right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security…..Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

Thank you, Thomas Jefferson.

Enjoy your day!

“I’LL PROBABLY GO THE SAME WAY”

 

Fifty seven years ago today. July 2, 1961. A sad day.

Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. At his then home in Sun Valley, Idaho.

One of the greats in the annals of literary history. A favorite son of Key West.

Hemingway’s father Dr. Clarence Hemingway committed suicide many years earlier. Hemingway said at the time: “I’ll probably go the same way.”

A quiet evening last night. A drink at the Chart Room and grocery shopping at Publix. The refrigerator was empty again.

BOB returns. The Bum Farto saga continued.

Authorities did not initially pay attention to drug dealing in Key West. Farto and friends became aware. He and some Bubba friends decided to make some easy money.

Farto fixed up El Jefe and his personal appearance. What he was doing became open and notorious. El Jefe was lime green to begin and carried a sign with El Jefe on it. Farto added a bright gold eagle to the hood, together with reflective glass and two sawed off shotguns.

He uniformed himself. He wore a shocking pink uniform, rose colored glasses, and a generous helping of gold jewelry.

Farto was on the way! His new career took off! Drug dealer!

Ssles and deliveries were made from El Jefe. The drugs secreted in McDonald lunch bags and pizza boxes.

Dealing drugs did not interfere with Farto continuing his regular job as Fire Chief.

The operation expanded. Thirty some odd fellow Key West citizens became involved. None, including Farto, were Mafia types. They merely happened upon an easy way to make money and said why not. Never seriously considering the consequences.

Federal authorities became aware. No one sure how. The flamboyant manner in which Farto was doing business? Someone squealed? The answer not known.

There was a massive arrest by authorities. Thirty in all. Farto included. Referred to as the Big Bubba Bust.

The timing had one inconvenient factor. Key West’s primary bail bondsman was among those arrested. The only other bondsman was out of town on vacation.

Who was going to bail these good citizens of Key West out of jail?

The bonding company Bankers Casualty Insurance Company became involved. Probably because they did not want to lose all the money they could make bonding thirty good and true men out of jail. The Company arranged for the release of the bondsman who in turn bailed out the remaining 29 defendants.

The best is yet to come.

To be continued…..

ICE is going to become well known to the American people. Some have begun referring to ICE as Trump’s private army. A scary thought.

My immediate concern is where are the babies and girls? Yesterday, photos of some of the girls were shown. Where are they? Where are the babies? What is going on? Time to open the doors and let the media and public in. I fear something bad has occurred.

On this day in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. A monumental moment!

Color would no longer be an issue. Did not work out that way. Things are better. However, race still an issue in our country. Trump I suspect a racist.

We have a long way to go.

On this day in 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died some 80 days later. His doctors killed him, not the assassin who shot him.

A few yeas ago, I wrote a KONK Life column on the topic. I asked Sloan this morning to dig it out. If she finds it, I plan on running the column as tomorrow’s blog adding only a brief introduction.

The moment of truth is upon us. The truth re Trump’s use of tariffs to enhance the U.S. economically.

Yesterday, Canada began adding new tariffs totaling $12.6 billion on U.S. products. China begins friday when it will add new tariffs totaling $34 billion. U.S. soybean farmers are going to be hit big time. China’s tariffs are being imposed on the same day the U.S. is adding $34 billion on Chinese goods.

Harley-Davidson has already said it is moving a significant number of its production lines out of the U.S. because of the tariffs. Nine thousand jobs will be gone.

General Motors and Polaris warned in recent days that they may have to take certain of their businesses overseas.

The largest U.S. nail manufacturer, Mid-Continental Nail, announced it has laid off 60 employees already because of the tariffs. The Company further advised that if something is not done to correct the situation, it will be out of business by Labor Day.

Helicopter assisted escapes from jails becoming commonplace. Forty nine since 1971. Thirty successful, nineteen failed.

Yesterday at a jail outside Paris, Redoine Fain successfully escaped. A stolen helicopter landed inside jail walls, picked up Fain, and were up and away in less than a minute.

Since 1971, seven movies, a number of TV shows, and several books have been written re the “art” of jail helicopter escapes.

Tonight, one of my Key West favorites. Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. I find it relaxing to sit, have a couple of drinks, and sing along with the bartenders.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BOB…..RECOLLECTIONS OF BUM FARTO

On this lovely Sunday morning, no better way to begin than with a Jimmy Buffett quote. A profound one. “I’d rather die while I’m living then live while I’m dead.”

BOB is back. The Afro Sheen Caper is next in the book. Only problem is I do not quite understand what BOB wrote. Nor did research provide any help.

Anyone who has knowledge, please forward to me.

In the meanwhile, it becomes Bum Farto time. BOB gives a history of Farto leading up to…..Bum Farto where are you? Interesting. A bit lengthy. I have added some info I discovered to BOB’s rendition. Ergo, the Bum Farto portion may take 3-4 days to report.

Hang on! The ride is good!

BOB titles the chapter Bum Farto And The Lime Green “Jefe” Car.

Farto was born in 1919 in Key West. A for real Conch. He grew up across the street from a fire station. He was constantly charming the firemen to give them their loose change. Resulted in Farto being nicknamed “Bum.”

Farto became a fireman. Started as a nozzleman. Eventually became Fire Chief.

Along the way, he supplemented his income by driving a hearse for a local funeral home.

Farto became Chief in 1964. His first run in with the law occurred two years later in 1966. He was charged with multiple counts of having misused Fire Department funds. The claim was he signed the names of various firefighters on their checks and cashed them.

Farto lucked out. The bubba system saved his ass. His nephew headed the Civil Service Review Board. Farto was tried by his nephew. He was found not guilty of all counts, except for one. That he had threatened to fire one of his employees. He received a 30 day suspension.

As Chief, Farto drove a lime green vehicle. On the side was a sign which read “El Jefe.” El Jefe is Spanish for Chief.

Tomorrow, Farto and the drug trade.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column. Got it out to the publisher last night. Hits the stands Wednesday evening.

I initially was going to write a history of the Key West Cemetery. As I researched further, It became obvious there was more to the story than merely a history of today’s cemetery. The hurricane that hit Key West as a 5 on November 11, 1846  definitely a part of the tale.

My column went from A History of the Key West Cemetery to Hurricanes and Key West Cemeteries.

You will enjoy!

Ocasio-Cortez’s name in the headlines the past few days. She is the Democrat Socialist who defeated 20 year House of Representative member Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary.

The lady is 28. Makes an excellent appearance. Appears intelligent. She may represent the wave of the future for Democrats. Liberals tending beyond progressivism to socialism. A mouthful.

Ocasio-Cortez is described as a radical. I question the label. The reason is that she stands for things I do. Such as free tuition, true universal health care, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and describing Israeli shooting of Palestinians a massacre.

I believe that the Trump tariffs will destroy our economy and that of the world within 1-2 years. The tariffs  seed for another recession. A big one.

A recent study indicates Trump intends to impose a 20 percent tariff on EU cars. Recognize many are made in the U.S. today. Regardless, the price increases are startling.

Luxury cars will suffer the biggest increase. A 2018 Mercedes SL Roadster’s starting price will increase $17, 640. From $88,200 to $105,840. A lower priced car now costing $34,600 will suffer an increase of $6,920 to $41,520.

These increases will appear about 2 months after the tariff goes into effect.

The tariff war coming is senseless. The brainchild of Trump. A man who knows not what he does.

Enjoy your Sunday!