LOVE IN ITS PUREST FORM

Thanksgiving in the air. Mentioned everywhere.

O. Henry was a famous short story writer from long ago. A giant. He said re Thanksgiving…..There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.

O. Henry’s name brought to mind one of his short stories. One dealing with man’s most sensitive emotion: Love. “The Gift of the Magi.”

I had not thought of the Magi gift story for at least 50 years. Till yesterday. A love story involving Christmas.

The Gift of the Magi involves a young couple very much in love. Della and Jim. Christmas was at hand. Neither had enough money to buy the other a gift.

Each sold their most prized possession.

Della had beautiful hair. She loved it. People commented her on it. She had her hair cut and sold in order to purchase a platinum FOB chain for Jim’s watch.

Unbeknownst, Jim sold his valuable watch in order to buy Della jeweled combs for her hair.

Love in its purest form.

I have only so much blood to give. My orange blood.

I spent yesterday afternoon watching Notre Dame beat Syracuse in football 36-3. Total destruction. Did not expect it. Thought Syracuse might win.

Basketball season has begun. Football and basketball overlap this time of the year. Syracuse played 2 basketball games in the past few days. Lost both. Not even close.

Depression does not accurately describe how I felt. So low, I had to look up to see bottom. Ugh!

Following the game, showered, dressed and was out to meet friends for dinner. Almost decided not to go because of how I felt. Glad I did go, however.

Dinner was with Donna and Terri and Andrea and Joe at Conch Republic. A couple of drinks, good food, excellent company and I felt better.

Oysters and stone crabs! The oysters large and delicious. The stone crabs…..Oh, so good.

On the way home, I made a brief stop at the Chart Room. Not many people. Sat and chatted with John a while. He had just made fresh popcorn. The smell got to be. Enjoyed a small bowel.

Elections still in the air. Reminds me of a Key West election 29 years ago. Captain Tony Tarraceno was running for Mayor. His fourth try. Lost in his previous 3 attempts.

His platform simple: Save as much of the old days and ways as possible.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal endorsed him. Would you believe!

Captain Tony was of the opinion that it took him so long to win because of 2 factors. One, he kissed mothers instead of babies. Second, he used a certain 4 letter word too often.

The Washington Post interviewed him about his use of the word, its effect on his running, etc. The Captain’s response: “I just hope everybody in Key West who uses that word votes for me. If they do, I’ll win in a landslide.”

Apparently enough did. He won the fourth time.

Anti-Semitism is history’s oldest hatred. A creeping sickness. Like cancer.

It is on the rise world wide. Dramatically in Europe and the United States.

A huge problem in France. France has the largest population of Jews than any European country.

Anti-Semitism’s ugly head evidencing itself in the United States in recent years. Incidents of anti-Semitism up 57 percent in 2017. The new-Nazi party has come out of the darkness. Fearlessly open about their hatred. Reveal it in demonstrations.

A form of neo-Nazism has developed in Israel. Not Israelis against Israelis. Rather, Israelis against Palestinians. Israel’s tendencies against the Palestinians described as “Judeo-Nazi tendencies.”

Netanyahu bears the major responsibility. Molded in the same form as Trump. Authoritarian. Nationalistic. A despot in the making. A war monger. He wants to destroy the Palestinians and engage in a war against Iran.

Netanyahu under investigation in his country as Trump in his.

Netanyahu continues to be reelected so I am not sure how his people feel about him. I wonder how Jews outside Israel feel about his Palestinian and Iranian moves.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

MY FAMILY AND ELLIS ISLAND

Ellis Island closed its doors as a point of immigration on this day in 1954. Today, it is an Immigration Museum. Visited by 2 million persons a year.

Prior to 1892, immigration was handled by the states. Effective January 2, 1892, the federal government assumed responsibility. Ellis Island was the first immigration center. The first person to pass through the new immigration center was 15 year old Annie Moore.

My family, my ancestors, passed through Ellis Island. My mother, her parents and 7 brothers. On my father’s side, his parents.

Ellis Island was named not for some public figure. Rather for the man who owned the island in the 1770’s, Samuel Ellis.

A bit of snobbery, prejudice, and caution involved in processing those arriving to the U.S. First and second class never stopped first at Ellis Island. They received a brief shipboard inspection.

Third class was another story. They were run through Ellis Island. These were the poor. The peasant and peons from the old world. My family among them.

Third class underwent medical and legal inspections. To insure against contagious diseases or legal problems that would make them a burden or danger to citizens of the U.S.

I am named after my father’s father. My grandfather Louis. He was 12 when he came over as a third class passenger. Just after the turn of the century.

He was held on Ellis Island for 3 months. Properly so. He had some contagious disease. I cannot recall what. He was treated, cured, and then permitted entry.

Two years ago, I met Valerie Leary and her husband at Martin’s. Visiting from Delaware.

Valerie together with several girl friends have been visiting Key West this past week. They did it all! Even the boat races!

Valerie and I got together last night at the Chart Room for a few drinks. An attractive woman. Fiftyish. A public servant since last we met. Now a Councilperson in New Castle, Delaware.

After a while, one of her group joined us. Megan. A lovely 27 year old. In the bug business. Her Dad’s. Will run it some day.

I filled Megan in on David Wolkowsky,  the Chart Room, Pier House and Jimmy Buffett.

The ladies were undecided where to dine. I suggested several places. Eventually the conversation worked its way to stone crabs. Neither had ever enjoyed them. I sent them to Conch Republic.

There are always 2 sides to a story. Two feelings in opposition. Especially politically.

I am unabashedly a Democrat. A Liberal. I believe government among other things exists to help the less fortunate.

There are those who do not agree with me, think Trump is the end all, etc. Roughly 50 percent of the population.

With tongue in cheek and wishing to show this blog is fair and balanced, I share with you a Letter To The Editor featured in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast. Written by a Paul Sofranac: “Most patriots are grateful to have a President such as Donald Trump. No, he doesn’t mince words and he is not PC but he’s as solid a leader we’ve had in a long, long time. Civility? What civility? Only results count and people love a benevolent dictator, one who cares for the nation and isn’t sold out to external interests or steep state agenda. Embrace him with all your might, as your whining accomplishes nothing but to bring further malaise and suspicion of ulterior motives for your rant.”

A quote from the opposite side of the spectrum. By Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A newly elected New York City Congressperson. Defeated in the Democratic primary a multi term Congressman.

During the campaign, she said, “I’m not running from the left; I’m running from the bottom. I’m running in fierce advocacy for working-class New Yorkers.”

William Holden was a terrific actor. The best of the best. He died this day in 1981 at age 63.

I knew Holden. Met with him several times. At La Costa outside San Diego. La Costa was a resort that catered to those who wanted to lose weight, work on an addiction problem, etc.

Back in the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, I used to go twice a year. To lose weight. A problem even back then. Eight hours exercise and 800 calories of food a day. It worked.

Holden went because he was an alcoholic. He went to dry out.

We met and became friends. Evening friends after the toil of the day was complete. We would sit in the bar at night, drink Perrier and smoke cigars. Sometimes Rodney Dangerfield would join us. A trip.

Holden a most humble person. His humility absolutely amazing.

Ronald Reagan and Holden were best friends. When Reagan and Nancy Davis married in 1952, Holden was Best Man. When Holden died, Reagan wrote, “I have a great feeling of grief. We were close friends for many years. What do you say about a longtime friend-a sense of personal loss, a fine man. Our friendship never waned.”

The college football listings are out. Syracuse ranked #12. The highest ranking Syracuse has achieved in 20 years.

It’s all on the line next saturday. Syracuse plays #3 Notre Dame. Notre Dame 10-0, Syracuse 8-2.

Syracuse can win.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua. Can’t wait. The best singing in Key West for the price of a drink.

Enjoy your day!

 

A CATASTROPHIC KEY WEST HAPPENING

A catastrophic event has occurred. Smoking no longer permitted in Berlin’s.

New owners. The no smoking rule invoked. Surprising because one of the primary new owners a smoker himself.

Please, do not bury me in e-mails about the evils of smoking. Some remain who enjoy it. A personal choice. I do not criticize those who opt not to smoke.

If second hand smoke is a problem, do not attend a place that permits smoking. Only a few are left in Key West. Many non-smoking restaurants and bars available for the multitude.

Lets me share the Berlin story with you.

Berlin’s full name is Berlin’s Cigar and Cocktail Bar. It has been a place frequented by smokers since 1947 when it was first opened as Alonzo Cothron and Berlin Felton’s Fish House.

Eventually, the name was changed to Alonzo’s and Berlin’s Lobster House. The dining institution of the day. The place for a night out followed by a Cuban cigar. The affluent then hopping a plane for a quick flight to Havana for a night of gambling. Returning in time to bed down while still dark outside.

Those must have been the days!

At some point, the establishment was rebuilt. Always a perfect waterfront site. Class before and class after the rebuilding.

Berlin’s had a cool look to it. The feeling of Rick’s cafe. Some consider the swankiest spot in Key West.

Paul Tripp was owner at the time of rebuilding. He said, “I wanted it to be a men’s club, to have a masculine feel to it.”

It did.

An intimate room. Mahogany walls. Maroon leather bound stools and large comfortable easy chairs. Cigars stored in a humidor. The perfect place to sit back and enjoy a smoke.

The present day Berlin’s has the finest filtration system I have ever experienced. Even if the person next to you was smoking a cigar, you never smelled it. The filtration system sucked up the smoke  immediately. After leaving, your clothes did not smell of smoke.

Smokers generally ate in the intimacy of Berlin’s. A&B Lobster House, the restaurant portion is extremely large with a huge outdoor balcony to accommodate everyone else.

The food at the bar and restaurant the same. Always excellent. Pricey. Worth it, however. Especially when I could enjoy a couple of drinks and cigarettes before dinner and another after dinner while enjoying the last drink of the night.

The change makes no sense. It will not increase business. It might lessen it, if anything.

The Chart Room my only stop last night. John bartending. Ran into Diesel last year. Again, last night. We spoke at length. I enjoyed his company.

Diesel is from Ohio. Retired. He and his wife Lynise bought a home in Key West several years ago. Lynise was not with him. An early to bed person as I am most evenings.

They spend 6 months a year on the island. I told Diesel he was a snowbird. He did not like the title. Preferred to be known as a transient Conch. Don’t think it would fly with the Conchs.

Cori Convertino, how I envy you! Cori was on Ballast Key yesterday!

Cori is technically Dr. Cori Convertino. She is curator at the Custom House. Over the years, she became a close friend of David Wolkowsky. David you will recall died 2 month ago.

David enjoyed 3 homes in the Key West area. One was on Ballast Key. A small island 16 miles west of Key West. A magnificent edifice planned and built by David.

Not sure why Cori was there yesterday. Wish she had invited me. I assume she was there for some reason having to do with the furnishings. David was a huge benefactor to the Custom House.

I met Fritz Adare 12 years ago at a party at Larry and Christine Smith’s home. Nice guy. He was introduced as a personal trainer. Looked it. A magnificent body. Skin like a baby’s back end. A body that sparkled.

It was obvious Fritz was a good health addict.

I rarely saw him. We would run into each other one or two times a year. Always a cordial hello and a few words.

Yesterday’s Facebook listed the day as Fritz’s birthday. I sent him a Happy Birthday!

Last night, Larry and Christine telephoned me. I knew there had to be trouble if both were on the phone together. Fritz had died several months ago. I did not know.

Strange. I never saw his obituary. Looked for it this morning. Not in the Key West Citizen. Found it in a South Bend, Indiana newspaper. Fritz died on May 29. He was residing in an assisted living facility at the time. Age, 71.

May he rest in peace.

When older people who I know pass on, I get a bit nervous. I am 83. Fritz was 71. He unquestionably was a health nut. Always working out. Took all kinds of vitamins and supplement pills. Nutrition was a big thing with him.

I do not dwell on death. Mark Twain said, “Age is not an issue of mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

What will be, will be.

An important thing in life. After saturday’s victory, Syracuse is now ranked 14th in the nation. A 7-2 record so far. Go ‘Cuse!

Enjoy your day!

 

DEMOCRACY’S NEXT STEP?

Jair Bolsonaro is Brazil’s recently elected President.

An authoritarian.

Trump evidences similar tendencies. Trump can take us to Bolsonaro’s ways. Not there yet. He is a step behind Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro won with Evangelical support. He is frequently compared to Philippine President Duterte.

A few Bolsonaro quotes let you know the man.

“I am in favor of dictatorship, a regime of exception.”

Killing “…..some 30,000…..if some innocent people are going to die, fine, in any war innocents die.”

“I would not employ a woman with the same salary of a man.”

“I’ll give carte blanche for the police to kill.”

“We are going to gun down all those Workers Party supporters.” The Workers Party his opposition. He spoke these words at a rally while mimicking shooting a rifle.

Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz in a battle in Texas. Respectfully, I consider Cruz political slime. Trump suggested Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. He also insulted Cruz’s wife. Today, Cruz’s head is up Trump’s ass.

A relatively recent happening solidified my thinking of Cruz. Cruz said O’Rourke was illegally funding the caravan. A Trump type  statement. Not true.

The actual facts. Asylum seekers already processed and awaiting a decision are sheltered in churches in the Texas border area. Not part of the caravan. The caravan still 1,000 miles and one month away.

One of O’Rourke’s staff offices used prepaid cards to buy baby wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars for those awaiting decision re their asylum requests. Less than $300 involved. If more, if $3,000, not a crime and most certainly not funding the caravan.

Which brings me to Trump’s way of thinking re the migration caravan. The President should read/recall certain Biblical quotes.

Matthew 25:38: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Last night’s first stop was the Chart Room. Packed. Locals and tourists.

Met Lorne Davidson again. Met him last year at the Chart Room. From northern Florida. He was with Diane. Met her before, also. A friend of Sheila’s.

Steve, Cindy, and David at the bar. Good Key Westers all! Love them! We enjoyed good conversation.

The three are oracles of wisdom when it comes to Key West. They have been here a long time. Last night, Steve and I engaged in a long talk about the Key West of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The most important and exciting thing I learned from Steve last night concerns his sister Sam who lives in Seattle. Reads this blog everyday.  Lived in Key West for 2 years at one time.

Love you, Sam! Keep reading! Look forward to meeting you when next you visit Steve and Cindy.

A long talk with Paul and Stephanie. From Detroit. They have been visiting Key West since 2006. Now own three time shares at Banyon Court. One week three different times of the year.

Paul is a tool and die maker. Stephanie a dental assistant. They have a son 22 who is completing college.

Enjoyed my time with them.

Then to the Blue Macaw. Basically empty. Second night in a row. The rain could be the reason. Blue Macaw is an outside restaurant and bar.

A big parade sunday afternoon. The Super Boat Parade. Signifying the beginning of Super Boat Race Week. The boats magnificent. Huge power boats. Multi-million dollars in cost. The races a rich man’s sport.

My lesbian wives Donna and Terri celebrated their tenth anniversary yesterday. Married for real! Loving congratulations!

They were leaving for Tampa when I spoke with them. Terri’s cancer checkup scheduled.

People are confused as to why I call them my lesbian wives. One person recently told me she thought I was actually married to the two.

The true story is that when Donna and Terri were to be married, I was supposed to be Best Man. The day before, I had a pain, went into the hospital, and lost 25 percent of my colon.

Missed the wedding. For some reason, I mentioned at the time I considered them my lesbian wives and the label took hold.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon a wonder. Top professional full time care. Turtles with strange maladies flown from all over the world to the Hospital.

The Hospital’s motto: Rescue, Rehab, Release. They do!

A little World War II history.

Roosevelt was unhappy with Japan. Japan had invaded Indochina. He wanted them to not only stop the war, but get out also. To evidence his seriousness, he seized all Japanese assets in the U.S. and closed the Panama Canal to Japanese vessels. Roosevelt also cut off all oil supplies to Japan. A death knell for the island nation.

Japan was led by a tough group at the time. Tojo and his followers. They were offended by Roosevelt’s actions. They gave the order to bomb Pearl Harbor.

An interesting fact is that the order was given on November 3, 1941. Thirty four days before Pearl Harbor was actually bombed.

The order to bomb was known as Top Secret Order No. 1.

My question is why did we not know of the imminent bombing of Pearl Harbor. I assume the U.S. had intelligence people. Thirty four days and no one knew.

Difficult to understand.

In an hour and a half, it will be 12 noon. I will be glued to the TV set. Syracuse playing Wake Forest.

For the first time in 20 yeas, Syracuse has a decent team. It has been a long time. The team 6-2 so far this season.

Enjoy your day!

A NUMBER OF ITEMS…..

Busy morning ahead. Doctor visit, hair cut appointment, etc. Ergo, I am briefly hitting on some items I think  or would like to think need mentioning. No special order involved.

Fifteen thousand U.S. Army personnel now on the way to the southwest border. The number ha gone from 800 to 15,000 in a week. Fifteen thousand as many troops as we have in Afghanistan.

Watched Beto O’Rourke being interviewed for an hour monday night. Reminded me of Robert Kennedy.

Economy doing good? General Electric has a crack in its wall. Under financial stress. Dividend 119 years old. This year reduced to a penny a share.

Staying with the economy, General Motors experiencing tariff and market pressures. Eighteen thousand jobs to be eliminated. Salaried employees going via buyouts.

Harry Dent an economist. Called the financial bust of 2008. Says the DOW will experience a catastrophic plunge. As low as 6,500. Hard to believe that low. Claims it could happen as soon as the next few months. An economist I am not. However, I have been predicting a recession since last year. Thought it would occur late this year or early next year.

China’s President Xi has ordered his military to “prepare for war.” Diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing have hit rock bottom.

Chart Room first last night. Tammy bartending. Parrotheads in town. Took over the Chart Room. I only stayed for one drink. All seniors, they were not talking to each other or to me. Merely staring ahead.

Drove over to Blue Macaw. Better. People communicating. Terri singing. Chatted with Lynda and Bob Frechette, John and Fiona, and Mary.

Syracuse football doing well this year. So far, 6-2. Saturday, Wake Forest at noon. Hopefully Syracuse will continue its winning ways.

Syracuse basketball has arrived. Thrilled I am! Played Le Moyne in a practice game last night. Syracuse won by 37 points. Don’t laugh that it was Le Moyne. Le Moyne made it to the Elite Eight last year. Season officially opens tuesday when Syracuse plays East Washington.

Beware! Big Brother increasingly looking over our shoulders. His presence has greatly increased since Trump became President. The U.S. is accelerating efforts to monitor social media to preempt major anti-government protests. Social media posts of American citizens who don’t like Trump are the force promoting latest U.S. military funded research.

Think of all that is happening involving the U.S. Question: Is the U.S. on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

On this day in 1512, the Sistine Chapel was exhibited to the public for the first time. One of Michelangelo’s greatest works. Thirty five years ago, I was in Rome and had the good fortune to see it. Magnificent!

Fantasy Fest over. I am waiting for the Citizen to print its analysis of the event. Business volume and number of participants. Up or down? I have been asking around what locals think. Generally, more risqué and fewer people.

This has been fun!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

PATRIOTIC EMOTIONS

The Comments Section of this blog generally a war zone. Opposing political positions. No place for the timid.

A comment today emotionally moved me. A video. Touched my patriotic nerve. Brought tears to my eyes.

I recommend you view it. Seven minutes long. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDdY46iAwHI&feature=youtu.be

Food for thought. Hatred is being spewed by those at the very top of the American political stage. Such the case, the Pittsburgh synagogue incident didn’t just happen. It was bound to happen.

Though the Comment Section has its moments of ferocity, occasionally a touch of humor appears. I consider the following humorous recognizing at the same time it insults a portion of American society: Ban Pre-Shredded Cheese. Make America Grate Again.

My last night began with the Chart Room. Vacationing trial attorney Scott at the bar again. He knows a good place when he finds it. I have seen him there 3 nights recently.

Also at the bar were Sheila, Carol and Jean Thornton. Carol visiting with Sheila for the week. A Californian. Professionally, a costume designer. She and Sheila were out every night of Fantasy Fest in a different costume.

Love of my life Jean Thornton sitting with them.

Chatted with all 3 ladies for a time. Then Jean suggested I join her for dinner. Stone crabs at the Pier One Restaurant. She was buying.

How could I say no.

Jean and I pigged out on stone crabs. Ordered nothing else except a drink each.

A glorious day for Syracuse. The college football rankings came out today. Syracuse is ranked #22. The first time Syracuse has been ranked since 2001.

Syracuse travels to Wake Forest saturday. Hope the ‘Cuse winning ways continue. Syracuse 6-2, Wake Forest 4-4.

When the federal government recommends privatizing jails it is for the benefit of the corporations owning them. Not the tax paying public. Mucho dinero involved. Political donations huge.

I have been opposed to jail privatization since day one. Two primary reasons. The U.S. crime rate has steadily been going down. The other is that corruption occurs within the privatization system. An issue I have written about in the past several times.

The New York Time Editorial Board in an Opinion Piece 10/28/18 titled “The Hate Poisoning America” wrote in part: “Violent crimes remains at historic lows across the United States. But by various indexes, hate appears to be on the rise.”

Justice moves slowly. The axiom Justice delayed is justice denied occurs in many scenarios. One is the length of time it takes for a death sentence to be carried out. Ten to twenty years not uncommon.

I am totally in support of a defendant sentenced to death to receive every legal theory available to avoid the death sentence. However, 10-20 years is a bit long. The victim died in a much shorter time frame. Minutes to days in most instances.

It was not always a long stretched out period. An example involves President McKinley.

The President was shot on September 6, 1901. He died September 14, 1901. His assassin was executed October 29, 1901.

Eighty four days from the commission of the crime to the carrying out of the death sentence.

The assassin was executed by use of the electric chair at Auburn Prison.

I go out of my way to mention Auburn Prison. I was in the prison several times to depose witnesses. Not a pleasant place even to visit.

Terri sings tonight! Guest performer with Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Broadway musicals open. Some become successful. Those that do are followed by an album.

Jesus Christ Superstar a Broadway smash hit. The album came first, however. There were economic and other problems getting the show on Broadway. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice decided to come out with the album first.

The album was released on this day in 1970. An instantaneous hit!

The Broadway show followed. Likewise a hit.

I was into Broadway musicals in the 1970’s. I was fortunate to get tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar the second week of its opening. Blew me out!

The Chart Room first last night. John back bartending. He was off the previous 3 nights. Done in by all the partying.

Some friends from the previous evening. Scott the trial lawyer. Ted and Terri.

Ted is a Cazenovia friend. Visits Key West twice a year. Here with his friend Terri. They had spent the day fishing. Ted goes out every day. They went 40 miles into the Gulf to fish. On the way passed Ballast Key, one of David Wolkowsky’s homes. Ballast sits 16 miles west of Key West.

David entertained world and national leaders, movie stars, persons of brilliance, at his beloved Ballast Key. The menu always the same. One that only the very rich could provide. Turkey hot dogs, potato chips, and champagne.

A Fantasy Fest partier at the bar. An engaging woman. Between 35 and 40. Lovely. Attired only in a black thong. Magnificent breasts. Her body well tanned.

My one and only moment of Fantasy Fest excitement this year.

Not quite. On my way through the Pier House to the Chart Room, I passed 2 women totally body painted. Head to toe. One silver and one chartreuse.

They were arguing with their husbands or boy friends as I walked between them. I stopped. Complimented the ladies on their beauty and told the four of them not to waste a beautiful evening. They looked at this crazy guy, smiled, and then laughed.

Over to Blue Macaw after the Chart Room. John and Fiona in with 3 house guests. The five having a roaring good time. I had a drink and ate something before leaving for home.

I have been stopping in front of the Hemingway House each night on my way home. Have not seen Hemingway’s ghost yet.

The Fantasy Fest Parade tonight. The biggest event of Fantasy Fest. Floats galore. The sidewalks packed. Sixty thousand expected. Everyone yelling for beads to be thrown to them from the floats.

I was fortunate many years ago to ride on a float. Once was a enough! Throwing beads is hard work. I was exhausted at the end of the parade and went straight home.

The float was Howard Livingston’s. It was Howard’s first year as an entertainer. He was trying to break into the business. The theme of the float obviously was musical. Howard playing his guitar and singing. Pirate themed also. I was dressed as a pirate. Howard stood me next to a water pipe. Periodically, I was to suck on it as if smoking pot. I would like to say I got stoned. However, there was nothing in the water pipe.

Howard did a good job. The float won the prize for Best Musical. Howard was all excited.

Last night was the Masquerade Parade. A strange event. Began years ago primarily with locals. Now a combination of locals and tourists.

Everyone dresses. Great costumes. They walk. It is simply a long walk. The participants boisterous and happy. The parade begins at the cemetery. Weaves up Fleming. Then to other streets. Ending up somewhere on Duval.

From a handful of locals, the parade is now more than 10,000 doing the walk. One of the more successful Fantasy Fest events.

Though I costumed twice over the years for Fantasy Fest, I have never participated in the parade. There is another facet to the parade. More to my liking. People party on their porches as the parade passes by.

Great parties! Food and booze galore. Good company. Parade participants occasionally running up to one of the porch parties to tank up before traveling further.

Key West’s Police Chief is Donnie Lee. I never met him. He is retiring. December 3. He has been a member of the force 24 years. His accomplishments many. Well respected.

Most significant in his background is that he is a Conch. A fifth generation Conch. Being a Conch a big deal. Means one was born in Key West. I find it exciting for Robert and Ally that they are Conchs.

Syracuse/North Carolina State tonight at 7. ESPN 2. I will be staying in. Watching the first half from an easy chair and the second from my bed.

Powerball Lottery drawing tonight at 11. Forty four states participate. $750 million to the winner!

The odds of winning 1 in 292 million. Could be worse!

Enjoy your day!

 

I WAS WRONG…..

I was wrong.

I have been in Key West during Fantasy Fest some 30 years. Initially, I did them all. One year after another. After a while it became you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. So I stopped attending.

Toga Party was my favorite event. Thursday night at Sloppy Joe’s and in the street in front of Sloppy’s. I wrote in detail yesterday what it was like. My last Toga Party (always as an observer) was at least a dozen years ago.

A voyeur’s dream!

I decided to go last night.

I stopped at the Chart Room first. Friend Ted from Cazenovia, NY was there, with friend Terri. Ted is a former attorney. A terrific guy. Visits Key West two times a year. He came specifically for Fantasy Fest. His first. Terri’s, also. Terri a 20 year veteran of corporate finance.

Being a helpful soul, I advised Ted and Terri a good event to see last night. My admonition: Don’t miss Toga Party. Explained what and where it was.

My good deed for the evening.

Around 8 o’clock, I walked over to Sloppy Joe’s. Excited!

In the past, Duval in front of Sloppy Joe’s was cordoned off. A block on either side also. No cars. Pedestrian walk. Totally crowded with party revelers. Last night, cars as usual.

Strange, I thought. It came to mind there was little traffic when I drove down US 1 and along Truman Avenue. Normally took extra long to get into town. It also dawned on me I had no problem finding a parking spot. Open places all over.

Something amiss.

I got in front of Sloppy’s. About 3/4’s filled inside. Less people than when a cruise ship comes in. The sidewalks crowded, but walkable.

Few bare assed women wearing togas! I saw a total of 4. Walking down the sidewalk with their husbands or boy friends who were similarly attired.

Things had changed in the last 12 years. Wow! Big time! The “adult party” appeared no more. Subdued considerably.

The same local company had run Fantasy Fest for years. Three years ago, some felt the event had become too risqué. A new company was hired. One that promised a more subdued event. Subdued? Killed!

I wonder how long the merchants will put up with a quieter, cleaner Fantasy Fest. The sole purpose for Fantasy Fest was to give merchants an opportunity to make money during Key West’s slow time.

I apologize to my readers for yesterday’s total erroneous representation of Toga Party. I also apologize to Ted and Terri. My only interest was to make their evening more enjoyable.

While in the Chart Room, met another attorney. Scott from Poughkeepsie. He has been visiting Key West since 1992. A Simon Court regular.

Scott has had a distinguished career. Cases litigated from Puerto Rico to Key West to New York.

We exchanged lawyer war stories.

Disappointed with a Toga Party that sucked, I drove over to Blue Macaw. Ran into Mary. We enjoyed dinner and a couple of drinks together. Mary works at The Little White House. A Harry Truman expert.

The parking meters have changed. Cost to park in Key West has increased. From $3 an hour to $4. Disgraceful! A gouging!

These attempted bombings scary. The 11th discovered this morning. Directed to New Jersey Democratic Senator Corey Booker.

What is occurring is domestic terrorism. Can you imagine how we would feel if the attempted bombings had been successful? Two former Presidents, a Vice-President, a former Presidential candidate, Congressional members, and a movie star not afraid to speak out on political issues, dead or injured. The country would be in mourning. Republicans, included.

We are in a cold war. A Democrat/Republican one. Tempers are boiling. The cold war could easily tun into a hot one. Bullets and molotov cocktails flying. Citizens killed and injured.

The last time the U.S. was confronted with such anger and ill will between political parties was in the 1850 years leading up to the Civil War. It took a Civil War to settle the issues.

Trump proudly said on TV the other night he was a nationalist. “There I said it,” he said.

Does the man know that of which he speaks? Nationalists is a  fancy cover up word for neo-Nazis and members of the Klu Klux Klan.

Bravery in war not uncommon. For God and country commonplace. We do not hear of the many acts or events of bravery. One became immortalized by the famous poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Charge of the Light Brigade.

The battle fought on yesterday’s date in 1854. Known as the Battle of Balaclava. Part of the Crimean War. British Light Forces and  Russians on opposite sides.

The British task an impossible one. They had to take a Russian position at the top of a hill. Russian guns on three sides as they rode up the hill. To the left, right and in front of them. The Brits suffered a high number of casualties.

Tennyson’s poem portrayed the battle and bravery of the men: “Into the Valley of Death / Rode the six hundred. / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die…..Cannon to the right of them, / Cannon to the left off them, / Cannon in front of them…..Into the jaws of Death, / Into the mouth of Hell / Rode the six hundred…..When can their glory fade? / O the wild charge they made! / All the world wondered. / Honor the charge they made! / Honor the Light Brigade, / Noble six hundred!”

Enjoy your day!

REPUDIATE OR VALIDATE

Sixteen days to elections. The midterm perhaps the most important in U.S. history. In less than 2 years, Trump has taken us down a dark road. Evil at every turn.

Time to save the country. In the manner prescribed in the Constitution. The ballot. Vote!

Vote not as a Republican or Democrat. Vote as an American. To save our country.

The Republicanism Trump proclaims is not that your fathers knew. It is different. Tending to fascism and dictatorship.

Stand together. Republicans swallow your pride and vote for a Democratic Congress. Your vote must be cast to repudiate Trump. To vote Republican, is to validate him.

Trump has begun making immigration an up front issue again. A “caravan” of 4,000 has left Guatemala and Honduras and is on its way to the U.S. They are escaping death.

Trump says he will send the U.S. Army to the border to stop them. He also continues to believe separating children from parents will eventually put a damper on immigration efforts.

Does Trump ever wonder why people would walk 2,000 miles to reach the U.S.? Things must be extremely bad for them to undertake such a trip.

What happened to…..”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?”

My mother and my four grandparents came from Italy. All poor. Peasant stock. “The wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” They yearned for the better life. For themselves and their children born and to be born. “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The 4,000 walking the 2,000 miles to our southern border a humanitarian crisis. Our borders should be open and not closed to them. The U.S. once took in masses in greater numbers from Ireland and Italy. They should do the same today for those soon to be knocking on our door.

One of Trump’s quirks is name calling. He finds a name for anyone he dislikes or disagrees with. I thought the names flowed freely from his demented mind. Turns out they are crafted and planned.

It has been reported Horseface for Stormy Daniels was practiced in the White House by Trump. He went around asking people what they thought.

Apparently as President he had nothing better to do at the time.

Then there is Jamal Khashoggi. First, the Saudis cut off his fingers. Then decapitated him. Concluded by using a chain saw to cut his body into parts.

Trump is not disgusted, not infuriated. More concerned with “friendship” of a country some consider an enemy and with money. The deplorable acts committed upon Khashoggi’s body cannot and should not be tolerated by any civilized person. Yet in his own fashion, Trump does.

I share these most recent examples of Trump actions to give further evidence of the road the U.S. is on. My friends one and all, vote Democratic next month. Repudiate Trump. Validate him not. Save our country in the process.

Yesterday, a full one. A haircut with Lori. Followed by lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Last night, Hard Rock Cafe and Chart Room.

Donna and Terri had me as their guest at Hard Rock. Enjoyed a large rack of ribs and the good company of my lesbian wives.

Stopped by the Chart Room on the way home. Visited with the new bartender Tammy. So lovely! Soft spoken. Sweet.

The Chart Room is her second job. Her first, the Garden of Eden.

Ollie was at the bar. A while since we last had run into each other.

Ollie’s full name is Oliver Kofoid. Why I share this with you, I am not sure. The name and the man do not fit.

Ollie is friendly and witty. A good guy. Community oriented. A citizen and scientist.

Ollie began his early life by getting kicked out of high school. Never returned. Eventually was able to get into a college. Earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science.

Today in his 50’s, Ollie has worked at the Key West Water Treatment Plant more than 20 years. The operator of the plant is OMI which is part of Jacobs Engineering. Ollie is a Lead Operator. A position of some importance.

He was dressed in his Coast Guard Blues last night. Ollie is an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Two rows of ribbons on his chest.

He has refereed soccer and served as a lacrosse official for Key West schools for years. He is President of his condo association. Ran twice for a seat on the Mosquito Control Board. Lost both times. Why I do not understand.

Ollie dislikes mosquitoes. Seriously. Considers them a plague.

Ollie has a strange sense of humor. He deals with sewage. He once had tee shirts made and gave them out to his friends. Inscribed thereon: “Input From Every Asshole In Town.”

Irma did a number on the wastewater treatment plant Ollie is responsible for. He and several others recently accepted on behalf of their company an award for their performance during the hurricane.

The generator had failed. Ollie and his team effected emergency repairs and kept things running. Critical wastewater and storm water services as a result continued till a new generator arrived. Property and the environment were protected big time because of their efforts.

The National Water Environmental Federation recently gave the Key West Wastewater Treatment Operators its highest award: The Water Heroes Award for going ABOVE & BEYOND.

Lynda and Bob Frechette are back in town. Welcome! You were missed!

Tonight, Goombay. I meet Jean Thornton at 7 at Bourbon Street to begin what I know will be a festive evening.

Enjoy your day!

 

EXCITEMENT BUILDING

Excitement is building. You can feel it. Especially if you are a Key West local. Fantasy Fest is coming! Begins tomorrow night with Goombay.

The Chart Room first last night. Met up with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom Dixon. Just returned from a Greece trip. We were meeting for drinks and then dinner where ever.

Love Fran! Takes care of me. From Buffalo, she brought me 6 jars of meat sauce. Meatballs, pork and beef included. I can depend on such a gift every time they return to Key West.

We spoke of their visit to Santorini. One of my favorite places. Got into Gary Hart. A recent Atlantic article says he was set up re the Bahamas boat pic by Republican campaign manager at the time Lee Attwater.

Tom’s brother Bill was Hart’s campaign manager which added to the flavor of the conversation.

Met the new bartender Tammy. An attractive blond. Will be working 2 nights at the Chart Room. The other 5 at Garden of Eden. The naked rooftop place above the Bull. I will be frequenting the Garden beginning soon.

I do not strip. Too embarrassed. Enjoy watching the bare assed ladies running around. My voyeur nature.

Barb and Carl from New Hampshire were at the bar. I met them last year. Barb is in insurance and Carl a firefighter. Due to retire in 2 years. Good for him!

They have a son C.J. who I met last year. Barb got him on her cell phone/skpe whatever and we chatted a few minutes. C.J. is 26. A fundraiser and advertiser for Meals on Wheels in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He also dabbles in writing on the side.

We decided on Ibis for dinner. Fran and Tom had been there the night before and said the stone crabs were fresh and delicious. I had a concern they might still be frozen. Michael whipped up our waters and I heard the stone crabs had been affected.

We enjoyed a $250 stone crab meal. Love Fran and Tom. But they were wrong. They had been frozen. I know, I can tell. I did not bust their bubble that we had gotten screwed.

Oh, well.

Next week, the stone crabs being served should be fresh everywhere.

I am moving fast this morning. A haircut at noon with Lori. Then a quick stop at Farmers Market. Have not been there in a while. Want to buy some big juicy tomatoes and small rolls.

Nine years ago, Key West was plagued with the Acevedo scandal. Theft from the school district.

Kathy Reitzel was bookkeeper at the time. She claims she discovered the takings and reported them. Then she was fired. She claimed she had been fired because she was a whistle blower.

Took 9 years to reach trial. The jury returned yesterday. Denied her whistle blower status. However awarded her a $60,000 verdict for breach of contract. A long wait for a poor return. The jury did not accept her as a whistle blower which was the main thrust of her case.

Never forget those who help you.

Monroe County staff and fire rescue crews have been to the Panhandle lending a helping hand. Those they were helping had come to the Keys to help following Irma.

The Key West Art and Historical Society sponsors a Distinguished Speaker Series. On October 25 at the Key West Theater on Eaton, Dr. Pamela Stephenson Connolly will speak on The History, Culture, and Politics of Bondage/Domination/Sadomasochism. Emphasis will be on the nature and role of BDSM among couples.

A fitting presentation during Fantasy Fest. Especially since several BDSM public parties are featured during the week.

Only in Key West!

Enjoy your day!