CONCH REPUBLIC DAYS

It was April 1982. Drugs and illegal immigrants were coming in through Key West and the lower Keys. The U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and checkpoint at the northern end of US 1.

Traffic backed up big time. Many locals and tourists were inconvenienced and angry.

A federal court action was brought to have the roadblock/checkpoint removed. It failed.

Key Westers were undaunted. Their mentality prevailed. A group of local citizens decided to protest. In humorous fashion, of course. They went to the roadblock/checkpoint and opened one on their own. Under the auspices of the newly formed Conch Republic. The day, April 23.

History was made!

The men assembled advised the U.S. Border Patrol that Key West had seceded and was an independent nation. They further advised that then and there they were declaring war on the United States.

The group waited one minute and then advised they were surrendering. In addition, they demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.

The aid never came. However much has developed since that 1982 day.

The Conch Republic has won a form of recognition from the U.S. It has a capital headquarters in a yellow conch house on Simonton Street. The Conch Republic flag flies in front.

The Conch Republic has an Army, Navy and Air Force. Officers uniformed. An ocean going fleet consisting of the Schooner Wolf and ten civilian boats. An Air Force consisting of several pre-World War II bi-planes.

A female contingent exists. Young lovely ladies. Their uniform, bikinis.

Even a national anthem. Working In The Conch Republic.

The 35th anniversary of the birth of the Conch Republic is being celebrated with a week long event. Begins tonight at the Schooner Wharf Bar at 7. The event is the Conch Shell Blowing Contest.

A major event is the Great Sea Battle which will take place in a few days. The Conch Republic and United States engage in war!

Off Schooner Wharf, the Conch Republic Navy consisting of the schooner Wolf (a pirate ship in reality) and several small motorized vehicles will engage the big ships of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch’s will fire sea water via large hoses at the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will retaliate with fire hoses.

The Conch’s will throw cabbages, eggs and tomatoes at the Coast Guard. The bikini clad ladies will be holding on from the yardarm doing most of the throwing. They will be attired as pirate ladies. The men as pirates, also.

The air battle is terrific. U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica will engage Conch Republic bi-planes. The bi-planes will also bomb the Coast Guard cutters. With rolls of toilet paper which open up and flutter down on the Coast Guard vessels. Something to see.

Don’t miss the Great Sea Battle! It’s a winner!

Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon are in town. I hope to go out to dinner with them tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

SPECTACULAR MEAL

Key West has many fine restaurants. A few less than fine.

The last time I ate at Conch Republic was 15 years ago. A fried fish joint. Less than fine. Not to my liking. Did not return.

Donna and Terri took me to Conch Republic last night. They had recently eaten there and told me the food was outstanding. Since I was their guest, I let them do the choosing.

I was shocked! The meal spectacular!

We enjoyed oysters and stone crabs. The oysters large and juicy. The stone crabs good size and tasty.

I shall return!

The Conch Republic was formerly a brewery. When I purchased my home 19 years ago, it had been closed quite a while. Someone purchased the place, cleaned it up and opened as the Conch Republic. Retained the brewery atmosphere.

The restaurant sits on the bight waterfront. A marina to the front. No walls. Everything open. A marina to the front. Beauty surrounds.

Thank you Donna and Terri for a special treat.

The day before Easter. The big activity of the day coloring Easter eggs. Loved it with my children and grandchildren. Robert and Ally old enough not to need my help any longer. For them it has become a duty to color the eggs.

In my youthful days, egg coloring was done in a different fashion. Not sure if it was because we were poor or the coloring materials sold today were not available.

My Grandmother used to boil onion skins. The residue brown. We would dunk the eggs in the brown mixture. Voila! Brown colored eggs!

Names were written on the eggs prior to dunking with soap.

Hurricane season around the corner. Thursday the 2017 hurricane prediction list will be published.

Today is April 15. A significant day in history.

Lincoln was shot in 1865. The Titanic sank in 1912. Jackie Robinson became the first negro to play professional baseball in 1947. The Boston Marathon Bombing occurred in 2013.

California is generally ahead of the rest of the country in new things.

California has been permitting self-driving cars to be tested on its highways for some time now. It was announced this past week that Apple had begun testing. The 30th company to so do.

Key West is still fiddling around with whether to permit Uber and Lyft. With drivers, of course. By the time Key West gives its approval, California will be far ahead with autonomous vehicles operating on its highways. Uber one of the companies presently testing in California.

Key West seems opposed to entering the 21st century.

Mumps. Remember, swollen cheeks and glands. I had them. Way back in the early 1940’s. No vaccination back then.

Mumps are making a come back. Especially on college campuses. There is a national outbreak. One thousand cases this year alone. The year is less than 4 months old. Covering 37 states.

For Catholics who aspire to a special Easter mass, St. Mary of the Sea will hold a sunrise mass on the school grounds tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!

I AM CONCERNED…..

I am concerned. I am uncomfortable with the bombings. I do not approve of them.

There is a silence that permeates the past couple of days. When domestic issues were at the forefront, everyone was discussing what was going on. Especially related to healthcare. People on the street as well as the media.

We bomb Syria and Afghanistan, the silence is overwhelming. This weekend it could be North Korea. When North Korea, the bombings will be big time. Not 59 missiles or the mother of all bombs.

ISIS could still retaliate. On our shores. Several Boston marathon type hits. North Korea, a disaster. I envision the USS Vinson being hit and possibly sunk.

If we stay on the road of these military adventures, expect disaster to strike our shores. You hit me, I am going to hit you back and harder. We are inviting such action.

Then everyone will be talking.

Headed to bocce last night. No one there. No bocce. A bye night.

I headed over to Don’s Place. Sure to run into my team mates. I did. David, Stan, and Clare. Also, Frankie, Sandra and Mike. A couple of drinks and good conversation.

Stopped at Publix on the way home. Still dieting. Will not sunday. I buy diet groceries in small amounts so extra Publix visits required.

Donna telephoned while I was wandering the aisles of Publix. Invited me to dinner tonight. I am to be Donna and Terri’s guest at Conch Republic for stone crabs.

Can’t wait.

The streets were flooded yesterday. Rain extremely heavy in the morning. High tide mid morning. Never fails.

The drama continues. Count von Cosel and his love Elena Hoyos Mesa.

Von Cosel stole her body from the grave. He kept her remains in his bed at home for 7 years. Then discovered. He was never tried. Statute of limitations.

Von Cosel had a large mausoleum constructed for her remains in the Key West Cemetery. Some time later, von Cosel left Key west for good. Two hours after he left Key West, the mausoleum exploded. Fractured into several pieces.

It was believed von Cosel was responsible. Every one assumed he was guilty. Never charged. The town figured he was crazy and good riddance that he had let Key West.

Today, a sad day in American history. Lincoln shot. He was at the Ford Theater in Washington.  Shot in the back of his head.

He was taken across the street to the Petersen House. A boarding house. He was placed on a bed in a back room.

Lincoln died early the next morning.

I visited Washington as a tourist several years ago. For a whole week. My visits included the Ford Theater and the Petersen House.

Two recollections. The Ford Theater was small. The other was the bed that Lincoln lay on in the Petersen House. It had to be too small for a man of his stature.

Enjoy your day! If you are Christian, remember Jesus some time between noon and 3.

 

LET MY PEOPLE GO

At sun down tonight, Passover begins. Families and friends will join in what is referred to as a Seder dinner. Passover will last 8 days.

A celebration. Passover celebrates freedom of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

I will join my dear friend Donna and her family for Seder. Donna has always required her family to join her where ever she is for Passover. They come. Religiously! The one year one of her sons and his family could not make it, they were here for the Seder dinner via Skype. Skyped from both ends.

We are also celebrating Donna’s birthday tonight. Seventy. She does not care I mention her age. She wears it well. She is proud and happy she is still here.

I must mention my Father. Today is his birthday. He would have been 103. He died 5 years ago at 98. I miss him.

Back to Passover. The Hebrew word for Passover is Pesach. Means to pass over.

Moses had visited the Pharaoh. “Let my people go!” The modern version. Actually, “Set forth my people.” Intent of either: Set my people free.

Pharaoh said no. God delivered 10 plagues upon Egypt. All kinds of bad things. The tenth plague was that on this evening the first born of each family would die. Except for Jewish children. Death would pass over their homes rather than enter. The source of the term Passover.

My yesterday began with 5 Guys for lunch. I have been on a diet for 2.5 weeks. Lost 12 pounds. Only problem is I lost 11 the first week. However, I am losing inches. No question. Can wear shorts once too tight. More impressive, I can cross my legs.

The diet high protein.

Lunch consisted of 2 hamburgers, no bread, topped with mushrooms. No fries either.

Then to Walgreens and Publix. The worse time to grocery shop at Publix is sunday afternoon. So many people!

Conch Republic Days begin friday and will last a week. Fun time! Exciting events! My favorite is the Sea Battle. Conch Republic against the forces of the United States. U.S. jets versus pre-World War II bi-planes. Bombs of rolls of streaming toilet paper dropped on U.S. Coast Guard vessels.

The Conch Navy valiantly opposing Coast Guard vessels. Conch pirate ships hosing sea water on the Coast Guard together with eggs, tomatoes and cabbages. Many on the Conch vessels lovely bikini clad young ladies.

An event not to be missed!

I have been opposed to GMOs. I suspect the battle has been lost. A Republican President, Congress and Supreme Court make it impossible to win the fight.

Florida Keys Community College’s Bill Irvin will speak to the GMO issue next sunday at the Botanical Gardens at 1:30. He is a biology professor.

On this day in 1953, the 3-D color film House of Wax appeared on the screen. Starred Vincent Price.

I was a senior in high school at the time. Everyone went to see the movie. Young and old alike.

Especially thrilling was that we had to wear some kind of glasses while watching the film.

The scariest part of the film was not people being killed, dumped in hot wax, etc. It was a fellow on the street hitting a paddle ball. A hand paddle with a rubber ball attached by an elastic string. The ball came flying right out into the audience! Everyone yelped and screamed at the sane time!

Harry Truman time again. On this day in 1950, Truman left Key West after a one month vacation.

Key West loves Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West.

Enjoy your Sunday!

MISSED A GREAT GAME

I completely forgot about Syracuse/North Carolina State last night. For shame! Especially since Syracuse scored a great victory!

Syracuse was down 16 points with 8 minutes to go. Gillon threw in a 3 pointer with 2 seconds to go to tie. Syracuse won in overtime 100-93.

Gillon a double star. Scored 43 points.

I first was to have dinner with Liz last night. Cancelled because of Steve Attis’ death. Wanted to go to Don’s Place to learn more about it and details re Steve’s funeral saturday.

Spoke with David. Steve died in an automobile accident. I cannot say at 81 he should not have been driving. I am 81. However, our physical conditions dramatically different.

Go Live with Key West Lou attracting a following of its own. Comments moving up dramatically. Take a look. Facebook. Enter Key West Lou. See and hear me for short periods several times a day.

Stopped at Chart Room after Don’s Place. John bartending. An interesting evening. Couples from everywhere. England, Iowa, Chicago and Hempstead, Long Island. All previous visitors. One couple presently renting for 3 months.

Unquestionably, insanity prevails in Key West. Craziness. We are having a Polar Bar Plunge. I am laughing as I type this. So stupid! A polar bear plunge in relatively warm water.

Noon sunday behind Salute’s. The event officially titled the Conch Republic Polar Bear Plunge.

A couple of This Day items in this morning’s Key West Citizen.

This day in 1936, heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey was in town. Fought several exhibitions. Then continued his trip to Havana.

This day in 1953 found band leader Guy Lombardo and his family visiting. An extended vacation at the Casa Marina.

Guy Lombardo was big in the 1940s. He played to a sell out crowd every New Year’s Eve at the Waldorf Astoria.

My Uncle Gus and Aunt Louise lived in the Bronx. Each year Uncle Gus and Aunt Louise dressed for the occasion. My Uncle in a tuxedo, Aunt in long. They took the Jackson Ave. subway to Manhattan. The subways were safe then. Many dressed as my aunt and uncle.

Uncle Gus was well liked. A quiet man. A barber. Aunt Louise did hair in their apartment.

Ruben Navarette in a recent Washington Post column had some interesting words re Trump. His article titled Trump the Rocky Balboa of U.S. Politics. He wrote that with all the abuse thrown at Trump during the campaign and now as President, Trump is still standing.

James Joyce wrote many books. Most long. Big time long. I was glad I never took a course where I was required to read one of his books.

Joyce commented about someone he had had words with. Joyce said the individual should “…..devote his whole life to reading my books.”

Punishment, in effect.

His most famous work Ulysses had 265,000 words.

Enjoy your day!

 

LAST SNOWFALL IN FLORIDA KEYS

Last snowfall in Florida Keys? There has never been one. A real one. A year or two ago, Howard Livingston had many pounds of ice ground up and sprayed on his Summerland property. Snow everywhere. Deep snow.

Lynda Frechette is responsible for my snow reference this morning. Her weekly blog had attached a page from an old ConchTV.com issue. A comment from the page…..There has never been a recorded snowfall in the Florida island chain  since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1870.

If we ever get snow, there should be no question in anyone’s mind that global warming exists.

The Arctic storm beginning to hit the northeast will be in the Florida Keys tonight. Temperature in the high 60s. Then normal 80s by day weather for about ten days. At that time, the Polar Vortex will hit causing some cold in the Florida Keys.

Haircut with Lori yesterday morning. She has a new shop on Whitehead. New building across from Fausto’s. Lovely! Modern in appearance. Spacious.

Then to Publix to pick up a few things.

Pineapples for sale. I took one and drove the cart around the store with the pineapple sitting upside down. No one approached me, male or female.

I did not buy the pineapple. Returned it to its fruit counter spot before checking out.

Dinner alone last night. Just me and the newspapers. The bar at Conch Republic. Enjoyed stone crabs. Knew no one. All tourists. Bar half full.

John Glenn passed away yesterday. At age 95. An American hero. No question.

Flew 149 combat missions in World War II and the Korean War. The first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. 1992. Later, a United States Senator. He was the last of the original Mercury 7 Astronauts living.

The most telling feature…..He and his wife were married 70 years at the time of his death.

Tonight, I eat exceptionally well. Donna is cooking. I am having dinner with Donna and Terri.

Enjoy your day!

A NEW CONCH REPUBLIC IN THE MAKING?

The Conch Republic was born in 1982. On a day when the U.S. Border Patrol blockaded U.S. 1 just outside the Keys and before Florida City. Vehicles searched. Drugs the problem. The government wanted to stop drug trafficking from Key West and the lower keys into the Florida mainland.

Another blockade of sorts has been established recently. Near Key Largo. Mile marker 106. A check point.

Drugs not involved. Screwworms the problem. Been fifty years since last a problem. They have returned. Screwworms are deadly parasitic fly larvae. Prey on all type animals.

Screwworms are dangerous. Animals infected are euthanized. Whole animal kingdoms could be wiped out other wise. Forty Big Pine little deer have already been euthanized.

The purpose of the check point is to inspect all animals. Federal and State officials involved. It is expected the check point will remain till year’s end.

Does the activity call for another Conch Republic?

Staying with the Keys and non-human invasion, the birds have arrived. Hawks, eagles and falcons. A yearly event. They are migrating south. In the Key West area every September and October. Hundreds a day. Swooping around.

Yesterday afternoon was spent fine tuning last night’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

The show went on at 9. Probably had zero listeners. The same time as the Vice Presidential debate began. Fortunately, the show is archived.

An interesting observation involving the New York Times’ recent story re Trump’s $916 million loss carryover on his taxes.

The pot calling the kettle black.

In 2014, the Times had a $29.9 million before tax profit. The Times never paid a penny. Received a $3.5 million refund instead.

More than one person/group/company has good tax lawyers.

Hurricane Matthew is going to miss Key West and the Florida keys. Thank God! Matthew is now a 3. The mountains of Cuba broke it up. However, Matthew has now turned north and it is expected will increase back to a 4 soon.

Some part of mid to northern Florida could be hit. Definitely damage to some parts of the Atlantic coast all the away up to New York.

Key West has already been designated a safe harbor. Vessels already moving in. Some from as far north as Jacksonville. Others from the Caribbean to the south.

Vessels include those of the U.S. Coast Guard and 9 Royal Bahamian Defense Force Ships. Cruise ships will come at their discretion.

Power/electricity is expensive. I consistently wonder why solar panels are not more in use. My Greek isle travels revealed everyone using solar panels. From the smallest house to larger buildings. An average size home was powered by a 4′ x 3′ rooftop panel.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. An undying love.

On this day in 1947, Truman made the first ever televised Presidential address from the White House.

Another on this day item. The year 1953. The New York Yankees won their fifth consecutive World Series. My team. Everyone’s team from upstate New York. Baseball big at the time. Bigger than pro football and basketball. Baseball was the All American sport.

New York Yankee players on the team included Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, Billy Martin, Phil Rizzuto, and Whitey Ford.

Washington Post columnist George Will titled a recent article: Donald Trump’s Rise Reflects America’s Recent Decay.

Mull that around.

Enjoy your day!

WORLD’S LONGEST PARADE

Key West is enjoying Conch Republic Days. More festive than Fantasy fest. Cleaner in many respects, also.

Different strokes for different folks.

Tonight at 8 is the World’s Largest Parade. Part of Conch Republic activities. The parade runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Shore to shore. Along Duval. All of 1.25 miles. That is why it is called the Longest Parade.

If you are in town, join the parade. Then to Schooner Wharf to party.

Stopped first last night at Tavern ‘n Town. Picked up the newspapers, enjoyed a drink at the bar.

Then to Don’s Place. Everyone there. Don, Stephanie, John, Billy, Keith, Stan and Clare. Stan and Clare just returned from Washington, DC. Stan had business there.

Kevin, who I played bocce with a couple of weeks ago, stopped in. We had a great conversation. The Chart Room and GM mosquito problem.

Politics the big item of discussion with the others. No one seemed to like either Donald or Hillary. Interesting.

Stopped later at Duffy’s for dinner. I wanted to see Jennifer. She was hosting.

Anna leaves this week for a two month vacation to Poland. She will be visiting relatives. Jennifer stepped in to help me while Anna is away. Jennifer agreed to help again.

Ordered the prime rib. Good! Amazing! Might be the best in Key West. The cheapest, too.

Met Jana. She is the manager at Duffy’s. Been here ten years. Originally from Czechoslovakia.

Jana was all excited. She recently became a U.S. citizen.

I plan on taking it slow again today.

Enjoy your day!

BEWARE GREEKS BEARING GIFTS

Porn eliminated! Finally, yesterday. Godaddy did the fix. Supposedly will not happen again. My apologies those who received the porn.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts! The Greeks in this instance being Keys Energy Services. Keys wants to transfer the old power generating plant at Truman Waterfront to the City. Free of charge! Something for nothing!

Nothing is for nothing! Keys will transfer as is. Keys will bear no responsibility if environmental problems are discovered/exist within the plant.

Guaranteed, environmental problems exist! The nature of the facility makes certain hazardous substances remain. Any clean up will be expensive. Extremely expensive.

City Commissioners will be buying a pig in the poke should they take title without an environmental review of the property. And not a cheap one to save a buck. An in depth expensive one. It will prove much cheaper in the end.

I spent the last 25 years of my career as an environmental attorney. A significant portion of my work involved the cleanup of hazardous waste sites.

Spent most of the day researching this week’s KONK Life column. Lincoln: Nomination and Election. Except for a couple of hours in the afternoon when I snuck downtown to watch the Conch Republic Drag Race.

The curbs were crowded with spectators. Everyone whooping it up! Having fun!

Something struck k me. Something unusual. Many were using their cell phones to take pics. Most of those taking the pics were women.

Dinner last night at Geiger Key. Sat at the end of the bar watching the natives and reading the newspapers.

The Sheriff’s Animal Farm will be open to the public this afternoon from 1-3. Something to see. Adults and children are provided the opportunity to get close to the animals. A winner!

Whenever I see Truman’s name for any reason, I make mention of it and the activities surrounding it. Even where Key West is not involved.

On this day in 1945, Truman learned for the first time the details of the Manhattan Project. The development of the atomic bomb. He was told 12 days after taking office. In less than three months, he approved the dropping of atomic bombs on two Japanese cities.

Woke at 5 this morning. A good night’s rest. However I woke at 5. turned on the TV. Armed and Dangerous was playing. A 1986 movie starring John Candy.

Candy and two lovelies were attending a black tie function. A first for them. Tables full food.

Candy had to check out something. He was leaving the ladies for a few moments. He said to them…..Don’t eat too much, we’re going out for pizza later.

Enjoy your Sunday!

KEY WEST SECEDES

Even in this day and age, secession is a part of our political diatribe. My recollection is Texas was the last state to threaten secession. Governor Perry so announced on one of his soap box days a couple of years ago.

Secession was on the mind of Key West this day in 1982. The U.S. Border Patrol had done its damage and was to be tolerated no more. A group of Key Westers visited the roadblock at Florida City and announced Key West would tolerate the situation no more.

Key West seceded. The Conch Republic was born.

I had an early morning visit with my dentist yesterday. My implants were implanted no more. The problem was as I thought. Two screw caps had worn down. They were replaced and voila!, it was as if nothing had occurred. Took all of five minutes.

I can remember dentist visits back in time. As far back as the late 1930s. Dentistry was brutal in those days. Dentists hurt! Each visit was with fear and trepidation.

As with Virginia Slims…..Dentistry, you have come a long way baby!

I rested most of yesterday. Monday and tuesday had left me tired.

It was back to Louie’s Backyard for drinks last night. The weather was perfect.

I was heading for a small table near the end of the bar. Someone had a huge black dog. He jumped at me. Suddenly. Scared the hell out of me. Fortunately, he was on a leash. Fully extended, the leashed dog and I were inches apart.

I did an immediate about face and headed for a table at the other end of the deck.

Then to Ibis for dinner. I was in the mood for stone crabs again. Ibis’ stone crabs were much better last night than they had been a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed the meal.

Big day ahead! A haircut this morning, physiotherapy this afternoon, and bocce tonight. Amazing how in retirement the mundane becomes important.

Enjoy your day!