ZOMBIE BIKE RIDE / CRZBS

Last night was the final evening of Gombay. I did not go out. It poured heavy several times during the evening. I hope it did not disrupt Goombay too much.

Today, the beginning of Fantasy Fest itself. Shed your clothes and join in!

Joking.

Tonight at 6, the Zombie Bike Ride. Thousands will participate. Riders costumed and made up. Some scary weird. Bikes decorated, also.

Bicycles big in Key West. Sole means of transportation for many.

Though not an official part of Fantasy Fest, Kate Miano’s Gardens from 5:30-8:00. Kate’s sunday evening event has become a Key West tradition.

Entertaining this evening are the CRZBs. Supposed to be  excellent. A jazz ensemble. The only player I know is Skipper Kripitz. An excellent drummer and an extremely fine person.

Sunday at the Gardens always a fun time.

My day yesterday was watching the Syracuse/Miami game. Syracuse lost 27-19. A different play result here or there, the score could have been reversed.

Syracuse played poorly in the first half. Dungey had nothing working for him. His second half a beauty, however!

Syracuse’s defense excellent.

If I had to pick one item that contributed big time to Miami’s victory, it was their speed. Fast off the line. It took almost all of the first half for Syracuse to accommodate.

Syracuse has gained momentum as the season has worn on. They will make a bowl this year. Next year, watch out! Dungey back!

King and Queen of Fantasy Fest have been identified. King is “Saint Paul” Murphy. Queen, Destiny Montgomery.

I know Destiny. Sings often with the Dueling Bartenders. A lovely young lady with a magnificent voice!

Several years ago, a local group worked hard to bring a film festival to Key West. They succeeded. This year’s Key West Film Festival is scheduled for November 15-18. Thirty films will be shown.

This day in 1962, President John Kennedy announced he had ordered a blockade of Cuba in response to Soviet missiles being installed in Cuba. Kennedy warned the U.S. was ready to retaliate if any missiles were launched.

The Cuban missile crisis was upon us. The crisis continued for six days. A nuclear war was imminent. no question about it. Either the Soviet Union backed off and removed them or a nuclear war would occur.

Naval war vessels from both sides were face to face in the waters between Key West and Cuba.

Both sides came to an agreement and war was avoided.

It was an emotional moment to watch on TV the Russian vessels turning around to return to Russia.

Feelings were high. The situation tense. What is happening presently with North Korea kid stuff in comparison. Though no less serious.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev a nut. Similar to Trump, far worse.

Key West was in the middle of the fracas. Artillery guns were erected on Smathers and other beaches pointing towards Cuba. Military personnel were transported quickly and in large numbers to Key West.

Khrushchev blinked. Fortunate for everyone. Kennedy had met the enemy and beat him.

Some things are nor readily revealed to us via the media. An example is the Executive Order Trump signed this past week recalling 1,000 retired pilots to active duty.

We are fighting in so many places that we have an insufficient military personnel. Another example is that the military has lowered its standards for successful enlistment. The U.S. will now accept applicants who have a marijuana history.

For several years, I have suggested a return to the draft or mandatory military time following high school graduation.

I believe we would be in fewer wars if more families were directly involved. A President and Congress would be reluctant to engage in new wars if the people back home had a direct personal interest in those fighting.

Still waiting on Irma and Me. I had a desire for strawberry ice cream at 3 this morning!

Enjoy your Sunday!

MUSSELS FOR LUNCH

Many staples of my youth are epicurean delights today. Snails and mussels, for example.

We were an Italian family. My mother had been born in Italy. The cooking definitely Italian.

The snails are now known as escargot. Fancy!

At home, prepared differently than today. My mother would boil the snails in a large pan. The pan had to be large. The snails would try to climb up the sides to get out. The cooked snails were then placed in a huge spaghetti bowl. Sauce poured over. Toothpicks used to snare the snail from the shell.

Mussels. The mussels of today the same as the mussels of yesterday. Boiled. Covered with a tomato or buttery sauce. Bread dunking to clean the plate.

There was a third dish. Tripe. I hated tripe. Most must have. You rarely if ever see it on a menu today. Tripe is a cow’s stomach wall.

My Mother loved tripe. She cooked it. I had to eat it. Ugh!

I enjoyed mussels yesterday at lunch. At Salute’s. Best mussels in town!

I do not eat at Salute’s enough. Don’t know why. Food outstanding. Located on the beach, the view spectacular. Especially of the bikini clad ladies. At my age, the best that can be.

Last night a Chart Room one. Sat at the corner of the bar. Chatted with John.

Two ladies from Des Moines, Iowa seated at the round table. John, I and the ladies chatted away.

Laura and Lisa. Sixtyish. Attractive. One a widow, one divorced. Staying at the Pier House. Leave this morning.

Laura works for an insurance company as a workmen’s comp adjuster. Lisa in logistics for a trucking company.

Everyone expects to enjoy a little deviance in Key West. The ladies were interested where on Pier House property could they have sun bathe topless. I advised not on the main beach. Just to the right, however. under the overhang.

Next year, they will!

This morning’s Key West Citizen ran an article advising that the Navy is training four bottlenose dolphins in Key West waters for a month. The dolphins being trained in underwater detection. Apparently, dolphins are natural discovers of certain type weaponry buried underwater beneath the sand.

I have a dolphin family living in the waters off my house. Used to be four. Down to two now. If I am out on the deck as the sun rises, they will be all of 50 feet away looping up and down in the water.

Big night tomorrow! Don’t forget! The Big Sea Battle. The Conch Republic taking on the forces of the United States. Seven from Mallory Square to Schooner Wharf.

Thirty one years ago yesterday on April 26, 1986, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in the Ukraine suffered a chemical explosion. Big time bad time. Fifty tons of radioactive material released into the atmosphere.

In 2000, a mother came to me with her baby girl. Eight months old. Lovely. Bubbly. The child had been born with half an arm on one side. The left arm ended just above where the elbow would have been.

Turned out her husband had been working 15 miles from Chernobyl at the time of the event. I did a little digging. The baby was born with one arm missing as a result of the Chernobyl incident.

The mother was not in the area. The father was. It had been established medically that male semen for years thereafter had been affected.

A situation! The father refused to accept it was his semen that was responsible. The mother always crying as her husband beat on her and in her desire to protect/help their daughter.

I tried to put the case together. Beyond my experience and capabilities. Worked with experts in New York, London and Milan.

Sadly, we could not do it. For a number of reasons not pertinent to this portion of the story.

The Trump tax cut that is being bandied about the past 24 hours confuses me. Republicans for years have been decrying the national debt. Has to come down!!! All they would say. No, not say. Shout!

The proposed plan will increase the national debt anywhere from $3-10 trillion over the next ten years.

The Republicans are quiet.

Enjoy your day!

PRESIDENT CARTER’S KEYS VISITS

Happy New Year! As with practice safe sex, practice a safe evening. Drinking and driving don’t go together tonight or any night.

Most are aware Harry Truman visited Key West many times. His favorite relaxation venue. Few are aware that Jimmy Carter has been visiting the Keys annually for years. To welcome the New Year. Also, to enjoy a vacation.

I first became aware of Carter and his wife Rosalyn’s visits some 15 years ago. I was visiting Howard Livingston at his Summerland home. He made mention that Carter was staying down the road with friends. Mentioned it to me again the next year.

Carter is here for what has become a traditional post Christmas vacation. This time with an entourage. Carter, wife Rosalyn, one grandchild, ten great grandchildren, and other family members. Some 40 people.

I doubt they are staying with friends with such a large group. However, they are somewhere in the Keys this week.

As evidenced by the story and photos of Carter and some of the great grandkids in this morning’s Key West Citizen. Carter and family were at the Marathon Turtle Hospital. He and the great grandkids helped return rehabilitated loggerhead turtle Salty to the ocean yesterday.

Orange Bowl party last night. At Sharon and Giorgi’s home.

Stan a Michigan grad. An enthusiastic one. We watched the game together in his honor.

Unfortunately, Michigan lost by one point to Florida State. 33-32. Michigan played poorly in the first half. Came roaring back in the second half. The last few minutes compared to the final minutes of a pro game.

In addition to those already mentioned, the group consisted of Donna and Bob, Karon, Matt Babich and fiancée, and Paul.

Typical separation of the sexes. The ladies watched in the living room, the men in the den.

Food outstanding! Sharon, the gracious hostess, had prepared well!

I met Paul for the first time. A retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer. We spent quite a while together. Even missed part of the second half of the game. My inquiring mind enjoyed his professional experiences. He performed his professional tasks on the ground, not from a Washington office.

I learned a lot from Paul. An interesting man. I suspect we will get together again for a longer chat.

I have avoided going out New Year’s Eve for several years. Primary problem parking. I prefer remaining home in bed watching the ball fall in New York City and Sushi in the shoe at Bourbon Street on CNN.

Four drops tonight. Sloppy Joe’s, Bourbon Street, La Te Da and the Ocean Key’s Sunset Pier. A huge crowd at each venue. Bodies pressed together. By 12:15, the crowd gone. Into the bars or home.

A fun experience. I will do it again sometime when I have transportation to and back.

Dachshund Walk at noon today. Pets dressed for the occasion. Parade begins at Monroe County Courthouse on Whitehead.

The Casa Marina Hotel opened this day in 1920. A Henry Flagler enterprise. Still standing and continues to be one of Key’s West’s most beautiful places to stay. The pool and beach atmosphere outstanding.

My daughter Lori was married on the beach some 15 years ago precisely at sunset. It was figured to the minute. The sun broke the horizon as they said their I do’s.

Followed by a black tie reception.

A memorable event.

Everything seems to suggest a kumbaya situation developing between Trump and Putin. Do not rely on it.

On December 29, 1961, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sent a holiday message to President John Kennedy. He told Kennedy he looked forward to a threshold year. He further suggested steps be taken to liquidate centers of military danger.

Kennedy sent a cordial response. Wished the Premier a Happy New Year.

Both messages claimed cooperation one to the other in the coming year.

It was not to be.

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October 1962. We were on the brink of war. I recall the time distinctly. I was a young practicing lawyer with a wife and four children. I feared war was forthcoming. The resolution boiled down to who would blink first, if at all. Fortunately, Khrushchev did.

What happens if Putin tests Trump? Who will blink first, if at all?

Again, a safe and happy New Year!

 

LUNCHED AT NAVIGATOR

Wes is a relatively new friend. We met through this blog. Wes a retired U.S. Navy Captain. An Annapolis graduate. He and his wife snowbirds. There Key West home at 1800. Home other times is Annapolis.

I was Wes’ guest at lunch yesterday. At the Navigator on Boca Chica. Boca Chica is a Naval Air Station. Wes was stationed at Boca Chica early in his career for submarine duty. Returned in later years in another capacity.

Wes loved his Key West time. He lived in Key West during his high school years. When the Navy stationed him at Boca, it was going home time for him.

Boca Chica is a huge facility. Never appreciated the size. I had only been on base two times previously. For bowling parties.

The Navigator is a bar/restaurant facility at one of the far ends of the base. Sits on open water. Could see and hear the planes flying over low to land.

Boca Chica sits four miles up U.S. 1. A state of the art training facility for air to air combat. Homeland Security on the base. Drug interdiction offices also. In addition to other governmental stations.

A U.S. Naval presence has existed at Boca Chica since 1814. The pirates Blackbeard and Captain William Kidd were raising havoc with commercial shipping. The U.S. stationed Navy vessels at Boca Chica to ward the pirates off.

The base was technically opened December 15, 1940. A busy place during World War II. A huge German submarine presence existed off the Florida shores.

Another major time in the base’s existence was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Boca Chica is not in full use today. Appears desolate. Activity minimal. I closed my eyes and could envision the base when fully operational. Had to be exciting!

Spent my afternoon yesterday doing some further research re Wright Langley. Author of the History of the Rotary Club of Key West. I plan on doing installments re the work. I will deviate on occasion to write about matters connected to Rotary, but outside the purview of Langley’s work itself.

Guaranteed. Will be interesting!

The author Wright Langley a person of consequence. I have been fortunate to make connection with his wife Joan and son Mark in preparation for the Langley portion.

In recent years, I have generally avoided Fantasy Fest. Parking the major problem. My car was towed three times. Plus, Fantasy Fest does not excite me as it once did..

With one exception. I love seeing the bare breasted and otherwise nude women. The pleasure has never left me.

I got a fill last night.

On my way to Berlin’s and then back home, I had to pass through 3-4 blocks of party goers. It was all there for me. Breasts and bodies. One problem. The lighting was not good. I was lucky not to have run into someone.

Shaun bartending at Berlin’s. Met a number of interesting people.

Cecci and John from Naples. Plus, a lady visitor from England with them. Cecci and John looking to buy a home in the Keys. Interested in Cudjoe.

Two guys sat next to me at the bar to eat. From the Morristown area in New Jersey. Their tenth Fantasy Fest. Staying at the Pier House. Never been to the Chart Room. Sent them over to see John.

I was not that hungry. A wedge salad and bowl of lobster bisque. The bisque to die for!

Tonight, the parade! A big event! About 40 floats this year. The lighting will be good. The scanty clothed women on the floats easy to see.

The floats themselves magnificent.

I will not be there for the same reasons I have not been attending other Fantasy Fest events.

Liz is watching the parade. She purchased tickets for seating in front of St. Paul’s Church. Invited me to join here. I begged off.

Watched about five innings of the Cleveland/Chicago game last night. Great pitching. Either team could have won.

Enjoy your day!

STONE CRABS

U.S. politics is at its worst. The world is in turmoil. All take a back seat. Pure unadulterated pleasure the reason. Stone crab season opens tomorrow!

From my perspective, man’s finest food. I cannot wait to gorge myself tomorrow night.

Yesterday began with a noon haircut with Lori. Lori is moving. Was supposed to be this week. Told me yesterday it will be at least another month. Typical of Key West. nothing ever begins or finishes on time.

It’s the sun! Slows everything down, including people.

Lori had to take delivery yesterday of her new chairs. New place not available for storage. They are sitting on the sidewalk in front of her present place of business on Southard. Ain’t no one going to steal them. Hercules needed to move them.

A few doors down Southard is Jay’s new sandwich shop Cuzzy Bubbaz. His grand opening was to have been this past tuesday. I stopped in for lunch after my haircut. Doors locked. Looked in the window. Place a mess. Still under construction.

Ran into Jay at bocce last night. The electrical screwed up. He is required to make changes. It is in the process. He hopes to be open for Goombay.

Can’t win.

The best thing that happened to Don’s Place in bocce was my retirement. The team remains in first place. 16-2. Alone in first place.

Hell’s Rangers had already lost two when I arrived last night. I do not know the result of their third game.

Don’s Place won two without David and Norm last night. David sick and Norm out of town.

Watched Michelle Obama speak yesterday. Outstanding! Trump has to be having trouble walking today.

Several news broadcasters have mentioned that when husband Barack was first elected, she hated public speaking. No more. The woman is another Eleanor Roosevelt!

This morning’s Key West Citizen notes that Trauma Star carried 471 patients in fiscal 2016. Eighty six more than 2015.

The new helicopter has arrived. Not in use yet. The crew still training.

Trauma Star is the County’s free helicopter service for patients who need rushing to a Miami hospital. There is also a private service. Rip off big time! $60,000 a trip and not covered by insurance.

I have mentioned the past few years in this column, in my daily blog and on my podcast show that Putin has become rich as the head of Russia. He gets a piece of everything. Ten to 20 percent.

I might be wrong as to the percentage. Thomas Friedman in a recent New York Times article wrote, “Putin owns some $30 billion in property, hotels and factories.”

Trump has to be doing business in Russia. Borrowing money, especially. Whatever, Putin could own a piece of some of some of Trump’s American properties.

The Cuban missile crisis began today. A U.S. reconnaissance plane took 900 plus photos over Cuba this date in 1962. The photos identified Soviet mid-range ballistic missiles. Pointed at the U.S.

By October 23, Key West had become an armed camp. Fifteen thousand troops. Some berthed in the Casa Marina. Anti-missile weapons and machine guns on Key West beaches.

Cuba was John Kennedy’s first test. He performed well. Russia blinked and the confrontation came to an end.

A visit to Dr. McIvor late today. I continue to tire easily and sometimes gulp a breath or two.

Enjoy your day!