TRIP AROUND THE WORLD

No blog yesterday. I was not sick. Comcast was. No wi-fi or TV from 8 to 2:30. When Comcast returned, it was too late to do the blog. By the time I finished, it would have been at least 4. Many would have missed reading it.

A senior plague is falling. Do I know! Donna fell last night. Broke her left shoulder.

Donna was dining at Mangoes with Terri and friends. Stood up from the table. Took two steps and dropped. Appears she went straight down. Terri believes Donna passed out. Ended up with the fractured shoulder and a bloody nose.

Wednesday night was quiet. Dinner at Berlin’s and early to bed. Last night, quieter. Early to bed.

Things moving rapidly world wide. I want to share a few that may not have come to your attention.

The Koch Brothers. Richer than rich.  Part of the one percent.

It is reported the Koch Brothers spent $20 million supporting passage of the new tax law. A pittance compared to the $1 billion to $1.5 billion they will save in taxes alone.

A worthwhile investment.

The day after the House passed the tax bill in December, the Koch network made a $500,000 contribution to one of Speaker Ryan’s campaign accounts.

Another good investment.

There is a robot revolution. I have been talking about it for at least two years. Many are. Is Washington listening?

Robots and artificial intelligence are transforming the United States. Are we ready? Jobs are everything. The future is automated. Every job at risk.

I disagree with Trump when he says jobs are coming back. Companies, yes. Jobs not necessarily. Most large companies now situated in Europe that might return are automated. Rely big time on robots.

Our government does not seem to be doing enough, if anything, to prepare for the robotic way of production. There is neither discussion nor action.

Mubarak was a great Egyptian leader. Our friend. A friend of Israel. The U.S. deserted him when the revolution came. The new government jailed him.

The present Egyptian regime is authoritarian. On the verge of totalitarian. A recent experience may foretell what might occur in the United States.

Keep in mind Trump is authoritarian.

Egypt has a Presidential election in March. Don’t think because an election is scheduled that a country is democratic. Putin is facing one in Russia in a few months.

Egypt’s present President had his top opponent and thirty of his staff arrested tuesday. Some family members, also. Most jailed in unknown places.

Justification…..The arrests were part of Egypt’s wide ranging war on terrorism.

Most agree that Russia influenced the U.S.’s most recent Presidential election via the internet. The use of social media.

Our close friend Israel is now doing the same thing. Just as Russia did. Israel’s goal to flood the internet with comments favorable to candidates Israel would like to see elected. Israel’s purpose to promote desired content on social media and search engines, including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Netanyahu is becoming a despot. I have not looked favorably upon him since he came to the U.S. to speak to a joint session of Congress. Invited by the Republicans. Not invited by Obama. The custom having been to be invited for a visit by the U.S. President.

Presently, Netanyahu a friend of Trump. Trump recently recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy would be moving there.

China drifting further and further away from the U.S.

China has become best friends with Russia. China has built and continues to build islands in the South China Seas. Islands where none existed before. To be used as military airfields. In the last six years, the number of Chinese Navy vessels has increased dramatically. New up to date war machines.

Now, China is working on creating a superhuman army. A top secret till recently.

During the last three years, 86 Chinese citizens underwent surgery to dramatically alter their genes. Chinese doctors selectively edited DNA cells in the patient bodies and replaced them with stronger genetics.

The U.S government is aware and concerned.

The Chinese have been involved in cloning. The Chinese recently announced two healthy monkeys “born” of cloning. Considered a step closer to cloning a human. Probable. Monkeys are primates. Primates include monkeys, apes, and humans.

Trump in Davos. Scheduled to speak today.

The African nations are upset with Trump’s recent “shithole countries” comment.

The word is the African nations will walk out when Trump speaks.

Trump met with the head of the African Union yesterday.  Their talk amiable. Trump did not apologize.

Whether a walk out occurs will be interesting.

Enjoy your day!

COMCAST SUCKS

The world has changed! At least for me.

I was up at 6 yesterday morning. Did my research for the blog. Went to begin the blog at 8. No wi-fi. No TV, no land line also.

Called Comcast. Everything will be working at 11:18 said the recorded message. Came noon and still nothing. New recorded message said 11:30 in the evening.

I learned yesterday I cannot live without the internet. I needed to pound the keys to get the blog out. Then research into the afternoon re other matters. I was a druggie in withdrawal.

The Comcast problem is the reason there was no blog yesterday.

Two days of thoughts to share.

Syracuse got their asses whipped by Virginia tuesday night. Syracuse has lost its last 3 or 4 games. This keeps up and Syracuse will not even get into the NIT.

Yesterday’s Citizens’ Voice brought Forrest Gump to mind. His famous line…..Stupid is as stupid does.

The people of Florida have the fourth weakest credit in the United States. Key West rents are off the wall. Unaffordable for many. Three and four workers required to share an apartment.

Yesterday, Trump once again proved he is all heart. The billionaire President has started the process whereby States will be allowed to impose a work requirement on their Medicaid programs. To qualify, a person must prove he/she is working, training for a job, or volunteering. Exempted are the medically frail (whatever that means) and pregnant women.

Which brings me back to Forrest Gump and stupid is as stupid does.

Most of the Key West workers live pay check to pay check. They voted for Trump because he was going to make their lives better. Thus far he has not. Nothing has changed.

They still love Trump, however. Give him time, the Democrats are screwing him up, etc.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Let me go another step forward. Jared Kushner, son in law to the President, is a special adviser to the President. Sits at his right hand in the White House.

Kushner’s other life had him involved in real estate.

A federal position as Kushner has requires that his position not be used for personal gain.

Kushner accompanied Trump on Trump’s first visit to Israel. Kushner’s White House responsibility involves U.S.-Middle East policy. Which includes Israel.

Just before Kushner left on the trip, a major financial Israeli investment firm invested $30 million in Kushner’s real estate company.

The rich get richer, the poor poorer.

And yet, many Key West workers continue to have faith that Trump is Moses. He will lead them to the better life. Not going to happen. Stupid is as stupid does.

Two important events to report.

Ladies, January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Get checked! If you do not have a physician, Womankind will help.

My love of history will be satiated later this month. 1776 opens January 23 at the Waterfront Playhouse.

Enjoy your day!

 

TONIGHT…..ANDREAS FRANKE

A special exhibit tonight. At Seven Artists Gallery on Simonton. Vienna artist Andreas Franke. A passionate diver. His preference underwater art.

Seven Artists’ jewelry designer Jennifer Badry responsible for Franke’s exhibition.

Show time 5:30-8:30.

I am familiar with Franke’s work. Outstanding! Worth seeing.

Busy day yesterday.

Started with lunch at Harpoon Harry’s with Guy de Boer. KONK Life and KONK E-Blast publisher.

Guy an old friend. Responsible for my writings, etc. Got me started 12 years ago with a KONK Life column and Internet talk show.

Guy is helping promote Irma and Me. In the very near future, Louis  will be featured in a front full page picture advising the publication of Irma and Me, together with a short article inside. Guy did a similar scenario in 2014 when I wrote my first book The World Upside Down.

A good friend.

After lunch, Guy took me to a back yard to see the boat he is repairing. Actually, rebuilding. A 36 foot power boat. The vessel a victim of Irma. Another boat was thrown into one side. The other side slammed into a dock. The boat a mess.

Guy fears not. He works daily on putting the boat together. Per his explanation of what he was doing, it was obvious he was familiar with the repairs.

He got the boat for nothing following Irma. It was heading for the junk yard. Guy took it off the owner’s hands.

A major job! The boat is a mess.

Spent the afternoon reworking Growing Up Italian. Been working on it 4 years. Four rewrites. My next publication. Hopefully by Easter.

The Chart Room last night.

Key West is normally quiet following New Years till the first of February. Not this year. Key West continues to be packed this week. The season is here!

The Chart Room was body tight. I was lucky to get a seat when I came in. Someone in front of me was leaving.

Old home week. Sheila, David, Steve and Cindy. And Jean and Joe Thornton. My Irma saviors. I spent 12 days at their home in Birmingham escaping Irma.

I was not aware Jean and Joe had returned. Turns out they have been here a week already.

While I was working on Growing Up Italian in the afternoon, a call came in from Jean. I did not answer. I did not want to interrupt my thought wave. They come and go so I have to be careful. Retention difficult in my old age.

I forgot to call Jean back till I was in the Chart Room at 7. Made my apologies. Jean said she and Joe would be with us shortly.

The reason Jean had called was to invite me to dinner. She had cooked one of her specialties. Chili and corn bread. To compensate, she brought a container of chili with her to the Chart Room. My lunch today.

Met a very interesting fellow at the bar. Paul. From London. We spoke for at least an hour. London, the U.S., travel, business, etc. To bad he leaves today. We agreed we hoped to meet again when he returns next year. This was his fourth visit to Key West.

Today, he leaves for Majorca. He and his wife have a vacation home there.

Then a quick stop to Publix. Out of diet food.

I have been at the diet since November 27. Cheated only Christmas eve and Christmas day. I am not losing. Stuck on 10 pounds since mid December. Depressing. I am losing inches. Clothes loser. Wearing clothes I could not get into.

Today going to be another busy one. A pedicure and manicure with Tammy at 1. Dinner tonight with my lesbian wives Donna and Terri. Donna cooking. Pot roast!

A couple of Trump comments.

Fire and Fury seems to be doing a number on him. If only 20 percent true, still devastating.

The book has opened a Pandora’s box. Brought Trump’s mental stability to the fore front. Dangerous for him. I have considered the President a nut since the primaries. He is not equipped to be a President.

It was announced yesterday that Trump had opened east and west coast waters to oil drilling. A disaster in the making. One big spill and environmental ruination for years to a vast portion of ocean.

The oil drilling thing an example of Trump sucking up to and pursuing the interests of big business.

Another Trumpy. Trump told us the huge corporate tax cut would add thousands of jobs. Comcast announced yesterday it let go 500 employees.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

CELIBACY SYNDROME…..A FLIGHT FROM HUMAN INTIMACY

Back to normal. Three hundred sixty five days till Christmas again. A well earned rest.

The Japanese continue to move away from sex. Would you believe! I wrote about the situation several years ago. It remains ongoing and getting worse.

Especially with the young. One study indicates forty five percent have given up on sex. Women 16-24, 25 percent of the men. One third of those under 30 have never dated. Most believe love leads nowhere.

Another study suggests even higher numbers. Forty nine percent of women 18-34 and 61 percent of unmarried men have turned their backs on sex. They are not interested in any kind of romantic relationship.

True celibacy. A flight from intimacy. In addition to not being interested, many despise sex. Hard to believe. Such is the case, however.

No sex creates a problem. A big one. A diminishing population. Births thus far this year are just below 941,000. The lowest number since births began being recorded in 1899.

Several reasons are attributed for the movement away from sex. The economic stagnation of the past 20 years. A continuing nuclear scare. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The radioactive meltdown.

The men claim they cannot afford marriage. Job security no longer exists in Japan. Job uncertainty does. Women do not want them.

Young Japanese women have entered the work place. Most are successful. Much demanded of them. They do not wish to have a job and care for a family. Too much work involved. They prefer dinners at top restaurants with their girl friends and traveling. The ladies can personally satisfy their sexual needs personally.

Women consider marriage a grave.

Talk about cultural change. What is happening in Japan is a big one!

Lisa’s for dinner last night. Tons of left overs from Christmas eve.

Stopped at Don’s Place on the way home. Wanted to wish friends a Merry Christmas. Spent some time with David, Frankie and Sandy. Sissy bartending.

Key West is recovering well from Irma. Twenty miles up the Keys, they are not. From Cudjoe to Marathon, the mess remains. Cleanup and repair moving at snail’s pace.

FEMA did well initially. FEMA has already spent $118 million in Monroe County.

Much that remains is for the State and County to do. Therein I believe lies the problem. Neither the State nor County expected the devastation Irma wrought. The problem exceeded anything they imagined or planned for.

Self-help still available. Homeowners, neighbors and friends continue pitching in and helping. The Federal, State and County must up their efforts. If the recovery is too much for the State and County, it has to be even more/worse for those engaged in self-help.

I worry. About war.

Marine Commandant General Robert Neller speaking to troops in Norway said war could come. In the next year. In Russia and the Pacific Theater.

In December 1888, Van Gogh chopped off the lower part of his left ear with a razor. History tells us he was a bit off mentally.

No wonder. As an artist, he lived off his earnings from the sale of his paintings. In his entire career, he sold only one painting.

Following the ear cutting event, Van Gogh painted a picture of himself with a head bandage covering the ear. It sold years later in the millions. As most of Van Gogh’s paintings have.

Difficult to find anyone who speaks well of Comcast. A difficult vendor to have for TV, wi-fi, and landlines. Service the worst!

Washington State has decided to take Comcast on. The Attorney General has initiated a lawsuit charging Comcast with misselling its Service Protection Plan. The issue who pays for service call bills. Seventy three million dollars involved over a 5 year period.

Go Washington State!

Podcast time tonight! My blog talk radio show. Nine my time.

Between Trump and world events, there is always much to talk about. I never run out of material. This evening no exception. The ills and misdeeds of the world exposed. Here and there, a story that warms rather than chills the heart.

A fast moving half hour. Boring the show is not. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

THE ANGEL ON TOP OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas eve and Christmas day both important. Most Italian-Americans give a bit more attention to Christmas Eve.

Whether the day before Christmas or Christmas day itself, each I would describe as a conspiracy of love. Even relatives who avoid each other all year, bury their animosities. Everyone kumbaya.

The dinner the night of Christmas Eve a big deal. The end of several days of preparation. The day itself further preparation.

Cooking smells permeate the house. A big fish dinner ahead. Seven fishes.

In spite of all the preparation and planning, there are snafus. Last minutes ones. Additional groceries to buy. Last minute gift shopping. Grandma getting her hair done. Wrapping presents (takes forever and many hands), setting the table, finish decorating the tree, some one cannot make it on time, etc.

The conspiracy of love is pure confusion! It reaches its high point and ultimate reward when all sit down to dinner. Anywhere from 10 to 30 guests.

Card tables set up all over the place. Age determines who sits at the dining room table. Some adults are still relegated to the card tables at 25. Since tiny tots. Waiting to move up.

The meal spectacular! Grandmom and Mom did their usual best. Everyone enjoys! Grandmom and Mom taking special pleasure in seeing their family seated all around and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Which brings me to a comparable story. One involving confusion leading to Christmas warmth. And a special reward!

Joan Lunden for more than 20 years was host of Good Morning America. When she left, she turned to writing. Became an acclaimed journalist.

Eighteen years ago, Emotional Health printed one of her short stories. It was about Santa Claus and a bad day he was experiencing Christmas eve day.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainer elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones.

Santa began to feel pressure.

Mrs. Santa told him her mother was coming. Such increased Santa’s stress more.

Santa went out to harness the reindeer. Not all were in shape to travel the skies that evening. Three were about to give birth.  Two others had jumped the fence. To where, Santa knew not.

Santa began to load the sleigh. One of the floor boards cracked and a toy bag fell to the ground. Toys scattered all over.

Santa had had it for the moment. He needed a drink. Went inside for a cup of apple cider and shot of rum.. He went to the cupboard. Only to discover that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

He accidentally dropped the empty cider jug. Broke into hundreds of pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Santa went to get the broom to clean up. Only to discover the mice had eaten all the straw at the end of the broom.

Just then, the door bell rang. The noise further irritated Santa. Obviously not having a good day.

He rushed to the door and yanked it open. There stood an angel. Holding a large Christmas tree.

The angel said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

The thrust of the story. After all the exasperations experienced, there finally comes a time when joy abounds. The angel at Santa’s door with the tree, the Italian family sitting down to Christmas eve dinner.

Another reason, also. The story explains the tradition why in many homes, a little angels sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Love Christmas Eve! I look forward tonight to dinner with Lisa and the family.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

‘Twas the night before Christmas…..The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, / In hopes St. Nicholas soon would be there…..

Opening lines from ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. Also known as A Visit From St. Nicholas.

First published in 1823. Its authorship disputed.

The original hand written copy recently sold for $280,000.

The Christmas presented in the poem not the way Christmas was at the time of its publication. A differently practiced holiday at the time.

The Christmas of today is based on the birth of Christ and paganism. Yes, paganism.

Back when, the Papacy was not as religious and honest as today. Popes married, waged wars, etc. A political force as well as a purportedly religious one.

The Catholic Church needed more members. The opposition was beginning to beat them. The Church openly solicited the pagan population to join them.

The pagans were just that. Pagans. A rowdy bunch. Prone to orgies and drinking.

The pagans were interested in preserving their holidays. Especially, winter solstice. A carnival type event lasting several weeks. Dancing, alcohol and sex. Germans, Anglo-Saxons, and Norsemen part of the pagan group.

The Pope at the time won them over. He said in effect we will blend our Christmas with your winter solstice and have one holiday. The blending promise also included Easter.

And so it happened. For political reasons, the two forces joined.

Pissed off big time many Catholics and non-Catholics who referred to the amalgamation as an apostasy. An abandonment/renunciation of a religious or political belief.

The Protestants went on a killing spree. Where ever a Catholic or pagan was found, the Catholic/pagan was killed.

Certain portions of the Catholic Church left and formed new religions as a result thereof.

The pagans brought with them into the new Christmas the word yule. Meaning nothing more than a winter festival.

The Christmas tree. What we erect in our living rooms today were then the great tall trees of the German forests. Decorated.

No Santa Claus, sleigh, reindeer or Christmas Eve yet. The celebration continued basically as a pagan one.

Until recent times, Catholics were generally disliked worldwide by Protestants. Adding to the fire, Protestants were upset to think Christmas Day had become pagan.

Now comes 1823 and ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. The Christmas we practice today is derived from the poem and several other writings of the time.

‘Twas The Night refers to the night before Christmas as opposed to Christmas day. The author wrote it this way so not to offend Protestants. Christmas day including pagan activities would not be to the liking of Protestants.

‘Twas the Night also contributed to Christmas practices not in existence before. Like Santa Claus. No Santa Claus at the pagan parties.

‘Twas the Night introduced gift giving. Santa Claus was scripted after a local Dutch handyman. First time for a sleigh and reindeer.

To appreciate the Protestant/Catholic conflict re Christmas, Boston banned the practice of Christmas for 22 years from 1669-1691.

Yesterday began with a visit to Tammy. Manicure time. The place was packed. Standing room only. I had no problem. Always make an appointment.

Tammy says it is women getting ready for Christmas. Last minute!

Then to La Concha for a quick bite. After which Larry Smith’s annual Christmas concert.

As with Tammy ‘s, the place was packed. The most people I have ever seen in recent years at a Larry Smith Christmas event.

Larry out did himself this year. His best show ever!

Unfortunately, I did not see the second half. I felt strange. Decided to get home. Waited till intermission. Chatted a few minutes on the sidewalk with Don, Tom, Pati, and Peter. Then to my car and home.

The second half of the show featured a Key West police officer who appears to have written the only song about Irma. He was going to sing it. Since I wrote the only book about Irma, I thought it would be especially interesting. Sadly, I missed his performance.

For whatever reason, Florida is slow to act/react when an invasive species moves in. First, it was the pythons. Now more than one million in number. Impossible to eradicate. Contain the only alternative. Difficult to accomplish.

Iguanas have joined the pythons. All over Florida. Their number indeterminable. Probably in excess of one million. The State wants to eradicate or contain. As with the pythons, good luck with eradication. Iguanas are her to stay!

This morning’s Key West Citizen explained that position in a cartoon on its editorial page. Two iguanas reading a newspaper and saying they want to get rid of us. Move to the last of the four part cartoon. The two iguanas laughing.

They know.

Enjoy your day!

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING

Too much heart ache lately. Harvey, Irma, Maria, Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas. Time for a change of pace. Something light. A bit of love.

Some enchanted evening…..Opening words to Some Enchanted Evening. Uplifting.

Heard the song sung for the first time in years monday at Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna singing as only he can.

Some Enchanted Evening opened on Broadway in 1949. An immediate hit. Starred Enzio Pinza and Mary Martin. Pinza sang Some Enchanted Evening.

The movie was not produced till nine years later. Pinza dead by that time. Rossano Brazzi starred in the movie version.

Rogers and Hammerstein wrote the music and lyrics.

I was in my first year of high school when the musical opened on Broadway. My second year of law school when the movie came out. Danced lovingly to some Enchanted Evening during the time frame and since. Unfortunately, rarely these days.

My podcast last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Primary topics Key West post Irma and Puerto Rico. Lambasted Trump re his Puerto Rico visit earlier in the day. He deserved it.

Blog Talk Radio produces the podcast. They offer it to advertisers with the representation: “Always an interesting perspective on everyday issues.” I try.

Stopped for a drink at Don’s Place late monday afternoon. Missy bartending. Enjoyed our conversation. She stayed for Irma. Her home small, but between 2 large concrete buildings. Her home equipped with all kind of helpful items. Like a generator that can run forever. She had stored fuel in anticipation. Ergo, her refrigerator and air conditioning worked.

Irma a tough time for her!

Stopped at Walgreens yesterday. Picked up 5 prescriptions. All generic. $194. Something wrong! Expensive! My acid reflux pill the killer.

Ran into David scootering out of The Gardens. His mobile home destroyed by Irma. FEMA putting him up for a time. List of FEMA provided hotels/motels included The Gardens.

David had never heard of The Gardens. The finest and most expensive hotel in Key West. Kate Miano’s wonder!

I told David to stay at The Gardens, if he could. I had to convince him.

Yesterday, he told me the place was terrific! He was in a cottage, had a suite, etc.

I have been trying to reach Dr. Langley’s office. I am changing primary care physicians. I had been telephoning to ask that my records be e-mailed to the new doctor. Phone never working.

Receptionist told me everything was still down with them. Wi-fi and telephone. Could not e-mail. She would print out my records and I will pick them up today.

Comcast’s record generally leaves much to be desired. Someone recently told me of an obituary they read where an elderly woman had passed away. The obituary reflected that her life was a happy one, except for three things. One of the three was Comcast!

Key West’s Irma recovery a day at the time. A little better each day. We will return in full force by Fantasy Fest.

I knock the Key West City Commission frequently. Incompetents at governing. They finally did something correctly, however.

It was announced that because of damages and repair costs due to Irma, the 3-5 percent real property tax increase contemplated was being rolled back. Means no tax increase for the upcoming year.

Governor Rick Scott has become my favorite political person due to his handling of Irma. He continues to be concerned and active.

Governor Scott will be in Key West tomorrow morning. The Marriott Beachside at 10:30. He is giving an Irma update. Open to the public.

Trump’s Puerto Rico visit yesterday a disgrace. I won’t bother you with the details. They are being reported all over TV and the internet.

Bottom line remains the same…..Trump is lacking sympathy and only cares about his image which he generally projects erroneously.

I am thrilled!

Parking in Key West a pain! Especially for those living outside its boundary lines. City issued parking permits are available to residents only.

I recently moved. My former residence was 2.5 miles outside Key West. Key West parking was not easy. My new residence is located on the Golf Course.

Turns out a portion of the Golf Course is a part of Key West. I live in that area!

I received a new card telling me I was henceforth to vote in Key West. Aroused my curiosity as to parking. Checked it out. Yes, I am entitled to a parking permit. Whoopee! Whoopee tells you how difficult it is to park in Key West.

Enjoy your day!

 

IRMA AND ME…..5 HOURS

Spent five straight hours working on Irma and Me yesterday afternoon. Noon to 5. Completed rough draft and sent it off to the publisher.

Still have to work on the Index, Introduction, Acknowledgements, a FINI segment, add pictures, and put together a cover.

Poor Liz. My dear friend. I visited her in the hospital early evening last night. She has been in 8 days. Her diabetes out of control. She has been a diabetic since birth.

Liz is my older friend. She is 83, one year older than me.

I admire her. She has an excellent mind. Liz was Dean of two law schools.

One of the things discussed was how the NBA would handle its basketball players from a legal perspective should they opt to kneel when the National Anthem is played. The NBA season begins soon.

We discussed death also. Quite a jump from basketball to death. Death is something persons my age and Liz’s think about on occasion. Not a morbid talk. I would characterize it as inquisitive.

An excellent Chart Room last night. Many tourists. Interesting because the streets were empty.

Met Lisa and Greg. Visiting from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Two children. A son 23 and daughter 16. Lisa especially charming. She is a school proctor. Greg manager of a distributing company.

They visit Key West 3-4 times a year. Plan on some day buying here.

Then came the Cat! Her name. Actually a nick name. Short for Catherine.

Cat was at the other end of the bar. Told Shaun to buy me a drink. We had not talked yet. Not even a hello or nod of the head. I first refused, then said why not!

Cat is from Iowa. One of my favorite places. Told her of my dear friends Cindy and Tom. I do not recall what city Cat was from.

Cat a sharp woman. Had to be to buy me a drink! I joke. Smart because she is a CPA. My greatest asset for more than 40 years was my CPA Bill Hatfield. I made no economic moves without his advice. Which I always followed.

Cat’s husband is Kenny. A cattle baron of sorts. Sells cattle.

Cat returns for Fantasy Fest. Bringing a group of friends with her. We discussed beads, Sloppy Joe’s toga party, etc.

Cat a fun person. Hope I run into her at Fantasy Fest.

Now came Jill. It was my night!

Jill has been in Key west 30 years. We never met till last night. She is a bartender at Rum Barrel. Studied English at Western State and Colorado. Most Key West bartenders are college educated. Bartenders because they make more money at bartending than they would in another pursuit.

Jill benefited when Irma hit. She was vacationing in Portugal and could not return. Lucky her!

It was after 9 and I still had not eaten. Drove to Tavern ‘n Town for the 9-11 Happy Hour. Sat at the bar, read the newspapers while enjoying an order of fried calamari.

This Las Vegas incident horrific! Fifty plus dead, 200 plus wounded. Described as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Crazy people are always with us.

A truism. One which involves Trump. Never fails. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

Trump does not listen. He shoots from the hip. Does things his way. Fails to take into account repercussions. Fails to follow the advice of advisers.

He knows everything.

A wonder!

Trump decided to pick on Venezuela. Felt sorry for the people. He sanctioned Venezuela, banks were restricted from doing business with Venezuelan entities, etc.

He also threatened Maduro. Made comments that sounded like a military effort might follow.

I understand Venezuela. I have followed Maduro since he became President more than 4 years ago. A bad President. A corrupt one, also.

Venezuela ran out of toilet paper soon after he first took office. Venezuela still does not have enough toilet paper. Then Venezuela ran out of food, jobs, etc. Terrible conditions have existed for more than 4 years. Increasingly worse with each passing day.

I have maintained that Venezuela’s problems are their own. Within. A civil war is required to change things. The problem is the people of Venezuela do not have the balls to stand and revolt. They threaten, come close, but never make it.

Venezuela is not our problem. Venezuela presents no threat to the United States.

I suspect Trump might be interested in Venezuela because of its oil reserves. It has the largest oil deposits in the world. Invade under one pretense and take control of Venezuela’s oil might be the Trump motivation.

Sorry for the long introduction re the point I want to make.

Years ago, the U.S. got a rule into effect which most countries to this day follow. Any purchases of oil must be accomplished by the use of U.S. dollars. OPEC supported. Referred to as petrodollars. Keeps our dollar sound.

Maduro has said screw you to Trump. He announced last thursday that all businesses signing contracts with  Venezuela would do so in a foreign currency other than the U.S. dollar.

He intends for Venezuela to primarily use the Chinese yuan. China is thrilled. As is Russia who is in the middle of everything.

China wants its yuan to replace the dollar. Other countries are already in China’s fold.

China is and has been in an economic war with us. They are subtly beating the U.S. At every turn.

Trump does not see it. He would rather threaten military action rather than understand the ongoing economic war and its consequences.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

IRMA AFTERMATH

Irma came, did her thing, and left. She left behind ruination, despair and hope.

How things stand today.

I drove down Duval yesterday. From the Gulf to the Atlantic. Not a pretty sight. Most storefronts and buildings still boarded. Physical damage on a varying scale to some buildings.

The most significant observation was the desolation. Few on the street. Very few. Like death had visited.

The bars are starting to open. Rick’s, Sloppy Joe’s, Irish Kevin’s, the Bull, and Jack Flats. More employees than customers. Except for the gay bars in mid Duval. Bourbon Street and 801. Packed.

There was a FEMA truck on Duval. Handing out food packages. Only the minority community evident.

I mentioned the FEMA sign up tents behind the Simonton fire station yesterday. Only minorities evident there. It appears we have left racial/ethnic groups behind. Same as Katrina. Not in assistance today. Rather in becoming part of the American dream.

A cruise ship coming in today. Why? Key West today not the Key West of yesterday. Key West needs time to recuperate. Downtown looks like hell.

Three more cruise ships expected this week.

Some say we have to get business going again. Bring the cruise ships in! Locals need to work. Rent is due the first of the month. Only one week away.

I spent yesterday afternoon resting. Actually, sleeping. The return drive killed me. Just as the drive to Birmingham had. My 82 years very evident in the tiredness I am experiencing.

Hit the Chart Room first last night. First time the Chart Room has been open since Irma.

I was the sixth person to arrive. An hour later when I left, I was the only customer remaining.

Shawn bartending.

Peter Petro manages 40 properties. One is the home I live in. I have been bugging the man ever since Irma was on the horizon. Even now since I have returned. Cleanup time. I am a tenant, not an owner. A wonderful experience!

Peter does his job well, even though I am a bit too anxious at times.

Peter was at the Chart Room when I arrived. With his wife Rebecca who I met for the first time. A nice lady.

Rebecca marries people in Key West. She is a Notary and notaries are permitted to do so. In fact, most marriages performed in Key West are by a Notary such as Rebecca. Rebecca also performs live theater at the Red Barn. She is featured in a show opening next month.

Then to Don’s Place to watch the Syracuse/LSU game. Don, David, Stan and Claire there.

Sitting next to me watching the game were Troy and Jenny. Troy a die hard Michigan fan. He was watching Michigan on one screen as I was watching Syracuse on the one next to it.

Syracuse looked good the first half. Gave up 10 points they should not have. Still in the game, however. Syracuse defense played well.

LSU got another touchdown at the beginning of the second half. Syracuse was basically 3 touchdowns behind. I viewed it as the beginning of the end. Went home to bed.

Never even tried to find out the final score till this morning. Syracuse came back. Sort of. Final score had LSU winning 35-26. A late 4th quarter LSU touchdown led to LSU’s 35 points.

Syracuse was a 23 point underdog going into the game. Syracuse played well. They did better than LSU stat wise. Note LSU was a ranked team going into the game.

This is not going to be a Syracuse year. Better than most in recent years I suspect. Perhaps glory will return a few years from now. It has been a long time.

Yesterday was the first day Don’s was open its full hours.

Ice is a problem all over town. Bar owners and restaurants are running all over looking for some to buy.

Our animal and fish friends are of concern also.

A Sugarloaf homeowner was looking out his window. Thought he saw a porpoise stranded in the mangroves. Called the Sheriff’s Office, who in turn contacted Wildlife Conservation and the dolphin hospital Dolphin Plus.

Representatives of all three groups hurried to the scene and effected a rescue. Two veterinarians involved. They waded out to the porpoise. A female. Slightly burned from the sun. Otherwise, ok. Carried her to deeper water and let her go.

I received a red flag call this morning from Jeanne H. Stevenson. Not a Key Wester. Her sister Anne is, however. She can’t reach Anne. Concerned. Wants to know if I could help.

Anne sells newspapers outside the church. All I was told about her.

Anyone having any information re Anne, please let me know so I can convey it on to her sister.

Key West’s curfew was lifted yesterday. Stay out all night folks!

The remainder of the Keys still have curfews.

Comcast making progress. A step at a time. Too little from my perspective. I had TV when I returned home last night. Still no land line or wi-fi.

Sloan due soon. A ton of catch up work to do.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Hot Dog Church

There is a first time for everything. Yesterday, it was Hot Dog Church.

Lesbians gather at 3:30 sunday afternoons at Aqua’s Back Bar. Social time.

Donna and Terri regularly attend. Men are welcome. They have invited me. I passed each time. Probably because I hate seeing a woman I covet and can’t have.

Barbara is visiting. The girls invited the both of us. We went.

Called Hot Dog Church. Strange name. So called because many times hot dogs are grilled. Sometimes, the ladies do pot luck. Everyone brings a dish.

It was fun. Not too many people. I learned most of the lesbians who attend are snowbirds. Long gone this time of year.

I stood out. I was male. Everyone talked to me. Enjoyed myself.

Afterwards, the four of us headed over to Antonia’s for dinner. One of my favorite restaurants 15 years ago. No more for a number of reasons. Rarely attend.

TK bartending. Good to see him! One of Key West’s most loved persons.

TK did me a good turn when I first bought my home here 19 years ago. He invited me to a party at his home. My first invitation. I knew few people. Following the party, I knew everyone. The invitations came pouring in.

Enjoyed a great meal! Antonia’s has a standard $10 cost for a dish of pasta. Made for a cheap night. The drinks were the killer!

Terri sings tonight. At Aqua. Dueling Bartenders. I have to pick her up at 5. Donna will be working.

Terri is an exciting vocalist! Her voice stretches the walls. Powerful. A joy to hear.

I mentioned last week William Hackley was a slave owner. He purchased slave Daniel. Paper work was completed on yesterday’s date in 1856.

The bill of sale carried Matilda’s name as the new owner. For whatever reason, William did not want Daniel in his name and instead placed ownership in his wife’s name.

Greyhound racing remains popular in Florida. Fraud and chicanery discovered again. Twelve racing greyhounds recently reported positive for cocaine.

I am waiting for Comcast to stop by and hook up my wi-fi, TV and land phone. Operating at the moment off an app on my cell phone. Convenient. However expensive if used too long. I have been using it for several days.

Enjoy your day! Hope you have it off and it is part of a long holiday weekend for you!