Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders. A country music group. From yesterday.

American Bandstand’s Dick Clark was Cactus Dick. A live television show. Back in the early 1950’s in my home town Utica.

After graduating Syracuse University, Clark worked a year for a radio station in Rome. Fourteen miles from Utica. His uncle owned the station, his father managed it. He filled in for the vacationing weatherman and announced station breaks.

A spot opened at Utica’s WKTV  television station. Clark went for it.

The rest is history. Clark hosted American Bandstand for years, as well as other TV shows. Became a multi-million dollar producer.

An American success story. From the weather on radio to Cactus Dick on TV to American Bandstand.

I write about Clark today because of a note I saw this morning. Clark died this date in 2012.

My evening last night began with Aqua and the Dueling Bartenders. Friends Tom Luna and Rick Dey. Strangely, not one patron I knew. I did meet some new interesting people, however.

Tom introduced me to Margaret and Lou. Lou aka Bud. From Tampa. Have owned a place in Key West for years. Bought at Truman Annex’s Shipyard pre-construction. An outstanding purchase!

Good company. Sure we will run into each other again at some point.

Also met Gina and Mike. Visiting from Chicago. Second time in Key West. Gina a waitress and Mike in software. Interesting people. Spent quite a while with them.

Hungry! Decoded I needed/wanted a good meal. The diet has begun getting to me. Stopped into Antonia’s. Ate at the bar.

Antonia’s was one of two of my favorite places for years. The other Square One. Owners change. I think I have only been to Antonia’s once in 10 years.

The ambiance the same. Still. Quiet. Decor beautiful. A pleasant place to enjoy a fine meal.

Food still good. I had escargot and linguine bolognese.

Met bartender Alexis. Nice guy. From Romania.

Slept late this morning. I am two hours late in getting this blog out. You will not be getting it till after noon.

Heard from Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon. They will be here from thursday through tuesday. Great people! They visit several times a year. We have become good friends.

Love Fran! She brings me goodies. Cooks all kinds of things and carries them in her luggage. The last trip home made pasta and meat sauce with meatballs. The sauce and meatballs frozen. Stayed frozen during the trip.

Immigration has always been a problem. One way or another.

On this day in 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol blocked exit from Key West and the Keys at Florida City. They believed illegal aliens were gaining entry to the U.S. via the Keys.

Traffic was backed up 15 miles.

American pride got a big boost this day in 1942. Jimmy Doolittle and his raiders bombed Tokyo. First successful U.S. attack following Pearl Harbor. Doolittle led 16 B-25 bombers on the raid. They flew off the carrier USS Hornet. From a distance 650 miles from Tokyo.

My podcast tonight. Nine my time. A fast moving and revealing half hour. Join me.

Topics include Donald and Ivanka Trump’s Chinese trade marks recently acquired, Afghan missile deaths up to 94, India ATMs out of cash, American liberated Libya now ISIS controlled with slave markets everywhere.

Also, a 3 month old brought in by English authorities as a terrorist, an Alabama sheriff starving prisoners, robots ready to build new homes, India uses Coca Cola and Pepsi as pesticides, Venezuela’s Maduro may be close to a fall, and more.

The lead topic will be China’s horrendous way of harvesting body organs.

Enjoy your day!


Time changes everything. Nothing remains the same. Change constant.

So too with Key West and visitors.

I have been doing Key West for 26 years. Except for the first year, for extended periods each year. The last 11, full time.

Until 5 years ago, Key West was predictable as regards the leaving of tourists and snowbirds.

The monday after Easter Sunday, half left. Their sudden absence obvious.

One week later, the rest left.

From that time forward for several months, locals used to say you could throw a bowling ball down Duval and hit no one.

Did you ever wonder why locals get a discount at restaurants? Simple. Locals used to be the sole source of business after Easter and into the Fall.

No more.

Five years or so ago brought a dramatic change. Tourists and snowbirds still come and go. Yet Key West is always crowded. A bit less after Easter, but not that much so.

The reason why our streets are crowded with cars, bicycles and mopeds. And, of course, pedestrians.

The change the result of excellent advertising of Key West by  State and local groups.

Another change is occurring. The flavor of Key West. The funky disappearing. We are becoming as other Florida vacation spots. Men even wearing sport jackets.

My Easter was different. I did the Easter egg hunt and breakfast with Lisa and family. Invited to four dinners/parties in the afternoon. Thought I would hit one or two.

Never made it. Got lazy. Laid around reading, watching TV and snoozing.

Micky Mantle one of baseball’s all time greats. On this day in 1951, Mantle made his major league debut with the New York Yankees.

TV was still in its infancy. Not all baseball games being televised. TV screen 6 inches by 4 inches.

You went to the ball park if you wanted to see the Micky Mantles play. I was privileged to watch Mantle play at Yankee Stadium several times.

Enjoy your day!



I enjoyed a cheeseburger in paradise experience yesterday. Before elaborating, a conflict requires explanation.

I have always been under the impression Jimmy Buffett wrote Cheeseburger in Paradise at a drug store once located on the corner of Simonton and United. An old time drug store. A bar with stools that swiveled. Several tables with old time rubber checkered tablecloths.

Buffett enjoyed cheeseburger lunches there. I did, also. Years later, of course. The cheeseburgers were good. I went however for the Buffett memory.

Recently, I was advised that Buffett did not write the song at or about the drug store. Rather, Buffett was on a Caribbean cruise and only had canned vegetables and peanut butter to eat. He dreamed of a cheeseburger. The first island stopped at, Buffett got himself a cheeseburger. Cheeseburger in paradise!

I do not buy the Caribbean story. I have never heard any other than the drug store one for 25 years.

Which brings me to why I am writing about Cheeseburger in Paradise this morning.

I started my evening yesterday at Aqua’s back bar. Mark Watson and friends.

Then decided to take a walk on Duval. Just a couple of blocks. Walked past Margaritaville. Stopped. Why not go in? In 26 years in Key West, I have only been inside twice.

Sat at the bar. Ordered a cheeseburger, of course.

Seated next to me were Dan and Anna from Grand Rapids, Michigan. We chatted. About Flint water, Michigan’s governor, and many other things.

Dan and Anna are around 70. Retired. Children gone. Seeing the world now.

Dan was involved in the manufacture of furniture. I learned that Grand Rapids is known as the Furniture City. Anna, a retired kindergarten teacher.

A good time.

My morning began with the anti-gravity treadmill. I cut everything back another 50 percent. Even time. Only on the machine 15 minutes. Learned something. I went back to my big time speed too soon. I have to crawl before walking. I was not tired at all afterwards nor any time during the day.

Then a Cuban cheese toast and Cuban coffee at the Cuban Coffee Queen.

It took forever to place my order.

There were two couples placing their order in front of me. Probably my age. They only wanted coffee. They asked the counter girl every conceivable question about each of the coffees. Then the sweeteners. What would she recommend? Finally, one guy and one woman walked away and left the completion of the order to the other two.

Came time to pay. Counter girl gave them the check. Oh no, we want separate checks!

Fortunately, I was in good humor. Actually found the whole thing interesting.

I have to compliment the counter girl. Took it all in stride with a never ending smile.

Not the end of the story.

When all four were seated at their table, the ladies took four subs out of their bags. Subs they obviously had purchased elsewhere.

Several years ago, the DC Madam was arrested. Her list of 800 plus prominent Washington big wigs confiscated. Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s name was on the list. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President at the time.  That was the end of that. Though he was reelected to the Senate by Louisiana a couple of years later.

Recently, someone went to court to have the entire customer list released for public viewing. The reason being there were names thereon of persons possible candidates for the 2016 Presidential election.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request to release the names. Without opinion.

Greece, my Greece! I love Greece!

Greece has had and continues to have big time financial problems. Greece had to be bailed out by the Eurounion. What was unknown at the time was that the bailout dollars were required to meet bank obligations. Shades of the U.S. We bailed the banks out directly.

A study was released last week showing that 95 percent of the monies loaned went to pay off Greece’s bank obligations. Only 5 percent to help the Greek people in crisis.

I spoke to this in a blog last year. Also, on my blog talk radio show.

Many say Greece placed itself in the debt position. So screw them! All must agree with me however that the Eurounion arranging for the multi-billion dollar loans was only to save the European banks’ asses. Not help the Greek people.

Enjoy your day!


Strange how things worked out yesterday.

I was working on a Tennessee Williams column for this week’s KONK Life. Tough to research. A lot of detail. Verification difficult and time consuming. Finally decided I could not get everything done in time to write the column today.

Went to an easier topic to research. Gertrude Bell. Bell was the female Lawrence of Arabia. She is the one who initially screwed up Iraq by having it carved out as it is. Probably more responsible than Bush 2 for what is transpiring in Iraq and the Middle East today.

When I finished researching Gertrude Bell, I had this compulsion to get back to Tennessee Williams. I did. Though it took a while, I finally had it researched. Ergo, I will be going this week with Tennessee Williams…..A Love. Gertrude Bell is on the shelf for another day.

The Tennessee Williams piece involves his relationship of 14 years with Frank Merlo. A good portion of those 14 years were spent here in Key West at 1431 Duncan Street.

Tennessee Williams and Gertrude Bell ate up much of my saturday. I was too tired to go out last night. Watched some college football and old movies on TV instead.

Oreos have been a part of my life. Love them! Hard not to eat a whole package once I get started. Many have commented over the years how difficult it was for them to stop enjoying Oreos once started. So I wrote about the new Oreo Thins yesterday.

I hit a sensitive spot. I was correct. Oreos are important to many. Received a large number of comments. All not favorable to Thins. Even those who had not yet tried them. Double sugar filling was the cry!

Buffalo’s Tom Dixon wrote. A die hard Syracuse fan, also. He advised that the freshman Syracuse quarterback was Eric Dungey. Son of Tony Dungey, former coach for Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

Tom also suggested I not get excited. One game does not make a season. He is correct. However, hope springs eternal. We have waited so long.

There is a new video on the internet. Released today. Covers a Paris riot that occurred in July involving immigrants. Take a look. Interesting.

The Eurounion position of we must help is admirable and proper. However, the numbers coming in are so great, they may not be up to the task.

There is a school of thought that suggests some of the refugees are precursor North African and Middle East muslims intent on creating an Islamic Army to conquer Europe. Their goal to open new Islamic territories.

Don’t think me crazy. There is a world wide movement afoot by muslims to accomplish such goals. Keep ISIS, al Qaeda, and 9/11 in mind. These people are smart and compelled.

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!



Great writers have found their way to Key West over the years. Judy Blume one of them. Judy calls Key West home. Still writes. Her books have sold 88 million volumes.

She is the icon of children, teen and adult fiction. Her writing personal. Especially her earliest works which were and continue to be helpful to young ladies world wide. Her books concerned issues facing young women growing up. Things like periods, birth control, and anxiety about bra size.

Her early works were censored. They were penned at a time when sex and puberty were not matters for public discussion.

Today’s Guardian carries an interesting article. Titled The Ten Best Judy Blume Quotes. I never read the Judy Blume books for young ladies. Periods and bra size were never my concern. The quotes indicate the need for what she wrote and what I missed. Missed I believe as a father. The matters she wrote about were better left to mother.

Some of the quotes set forth in The Guardian.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get married. Why would I? All it does is make you miserable.”

“Like my mother said, you can’t go back to holding hands.”

“That’s not a bad word…hate and war are bad words, but fuck isn’t.”

“Are you there God? It’s me Margaret. I just told my mother I want a bra. Please help me grow, God. You know where.”

My KONK Life column this week was published yesterday. It is carried in today’s E-Blast and has been linked to my website Titled We Lost Our Way. About screw ups which reflect our moral compass has been lost.

Greece. My Greece. Woe!

Greece is and has been since 2010 a nation under occupation. Economically. The Euro nations dictating policies and priorities. In every conceivable way. Micro managing. The noose was placed around Greece’s neck. The Euro nations led by Germany squeezed Greece tighter and tighter.

Blame not Greece alone. The Eurounion bears responsibility. It has had the governmental control of Greece in hand for five years. Things have not gotten better in that time. Worse, actually.

Enjoy your day!




What a beautiful place Key West is! Waking up mornings especially lovely. Sun, sky and water. Combined. Brightness everywhere. A God is in His Heaven, all is right with the world time.

Key West may be a little spot on the map. A tiny island. It tries to keep up with the times. I noticed something new in the Marriott Beachside parking garage yesterday. Three parking places for electric cars. A power cord hanging on the wall for each spot.

Observed something else that seems to be commonplace of late. Electric cars on the roads.

By electric cars, I am not referring to a regular sized vehicle that uses electricity in place of fossil fuel. The small open air electric cars. Ones that look like golf carts. A bit larger.

I have recently seen two.

The house next to mine is presently rented to vacationers. They have rented an electric cart. Apparently for the length of their stay. Every day I see them coming out of the driveway, driving up to US 1, and proceeding into the Boulevard in Key West. The other day, I observed it turning north on US 1.

There is also another vacationing family out there that has rented an electric cart. I see them riding up and down the Boulevard.

Generally, each car has an extra passenger. One too many. Sitting on someone’s lap or hanging on the back.

Disasters in the making! Dangerous! For other drivers on the road as well as themselves.

It was saturday night at Tavern ‘n Town. Went to enjoy Bobby Nesbitt. No Bobby Nesbitt. Michael Thomas sitting in for him. Another of Key West’s premier singers.

Thomas’ New York, New York outstanding!

I saw something unusual also. Three couples dancing in the bar area by the piano while Thomas sang.

It was a happy group of vacationers at the bar.

Omar Sharif died. Sad. I enjoyed watching him. He loomed large on the movie screen. Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, and Fanny three of his best performances.

I spent yesterday afternoon pondering what  my KONK Life column will be this week. I have to get it out today. I played around on the internet and did some thinking. Came up with nothing. I have about four more hours before I must have a subject. I will. I came across three items that are interesting. Not sufficient for a column information wise. Worthy of sharing, however.

One has to do with Jews. Anti-Semitism. Something which continues to grow world wide.

There was mention in my search of a World News July 30, 2015 article of anti-Semitism. Titled “Where Jews Assaulted in Europe, Anti-Semitism Drops.” Sometimes to a significant degree.

Is this type assault a cure for anti-Semitism? Can it be made to work effectively? At what rate are Jews to be killed to keep anti-Semitism at bay?

The world never learns.

Peggy Noonan had an interesting article in the Wall St. Journal yesterday. Prompted by Donald Trump’s recent comments re immigration. She said illegal immigration is a tragedy. An admission by a nation that it has lost control not only of its borders but of itself.

I close with decapitation. Someone losing his head. Not in the Middle East. In Tampa.

Police problems grow. Not only with blacks. Also with whites. Though more frequently with blacks. Whitewashing has accompanied many of the situations. The police held not responsible.

On June 28, a Tampa detective was driving an unmarked police car. The detective was responding to a robbery call. He hit a 60 year old white man.

He took the man’s head off. Decapitated him.

The detective never stopped. Rendered no aid. Kept going. Did not report the accident to his superiors nor make a record of it. Eleven days after the accident, the man’s blood was found to match droplets of blood on the police vehicle.

The detective is on administrative leave. No charges filed yet. Authorities claiming they are making a detailed investigation.

Two observations.

One is that if the driver of the vehicle was other than a detective, the individual driving the car would have been arrested immediately upon discovery of the blood match.

The other is that there has been little national news re the event. Sounds newsworthy to me. Why has it not received the media attention it deserves?

Enjoy your Sunday!



Insanity continues to prevail in Key West. As regards the actions of the Key West City Commission.

I am beginning to think the City Commission considers itself omnipotent. That every issue is one for their consideration. No limits exist.

Every time the City Commission steps out of the box, time, energy and cost is wasted on an issue that is none of their business.

Road construction, trees, parking, contracts, the Police Department…..examples of what should be on their plate.

Not their most recent trip into never never land. I refer to the resolution that will be voted on regarding smoking in public places and parks. The resolution is scheduled for a vote tomorrow night.

As I understand the situation, the City Commission watched a movie regarding the dangers of second hand smoke. They were appalled. Decided a local law was required to prohibit smoking in public places and parks. Then found out they did not have the authority to do so. Smoking bans are the exclusive province of the State.

Not to be dismayed, the City Commission decided to pass a resolution instead. You can wipe your behind with a resolution. It has neither power nor effect.

The resolution asks the people of Key West to please not smoke in public places and parks… have consideration for others. Simultaneously, the City Commission is seeking a way to get the State to permit municipalities to rule on the issue. Not the State.

The City Commission is not elected to tell me or anyone else that smoking is prohibited in public places. It is a step too far as regards the smoking issue. Especially by a City Commission that assumes more power than it has.

Drums tonight! Not Drums Along the Mohawk as was written a few miles outside Utica. Near La Te Da Christopher’s home town also.

Tonight, it is Drums for Peace in Key West. At the corner of Truman and Duval. From 6-10. People can participate or listen. Whatever their pleasure. Drums will be provided.

I spent the better part of yesterday writing this week’s KONK Life column. It took a while for me to decide on a topic. I zeroed in on a political fray. As Tom Cruz stopped the government, so too did Washington ladies during Andrew Jackson’s Presidency. An interesting story. Shades of David and Bathsheba. Titled The Petticoat Affair.

KONK Life and the column hit the stands wednesday.

Michelle Obama is not going to the World’s Fair in Milan alone. Daughters Malia and Sasha are accompanying her. Together with grandmother Marian Robinson. The two day trip includes in addition to Milan, stops in London and Venice.

Michelle has responsibilities at each stop. Speaking in support of women’s education, health issues, and visiting American troops. A full plate for a 48 hour visit.

The Greece situation is reaching the boiling point. Perhaps one from which there is no turning back. Discussions sunday ended in 45 minutes. Nothing decided. Both sides adamant.

The unknown awaits. A European recession? A world wide one?

All interesting. Proving to the world that global activity is not necessarily in the best interests of those involved. The proposed Asian pact being another.

Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. No man above the law. Not even a king. The right to justice and a fair trial spelled out.

A freedom recognition document.

These freedoms are being trampled upon in the United States today. By Congressional decisions and Supreme Court opinions.

Enjoy your day!




The Siberian Express has left the Key West station. Hopefully not to return this year.

Last night was not one to go out. Cold!!! I did.

The temperature will return today to 76 degrees.

Supposedly Jenna and I were to meet at Tavern ‘n Town at 7:30. I got there at 7:20 and waited till 8:45 when I reached her on her cell phone. She thought it was for 7 and left at 7:15 thinking i had forgotten. How could I forget an evening with Jenna?

I said I would drive into town and pick her up. We would go to the Hot Tin Roof. I drove home first to get a jacket. I had gone out with only a sweater. I parked in the Marriott parking garage and had all of 50 feet to walk to the entrance. However the walk to the Hot Tin Roof would be longer from where I would park.

I hurried home to get my trusty leather jacket. A 15 minute trip. It was just after 8. I thought why hurry downtown and then walk in the cold to Hot Tin Roof. I called Jenna and told her we would not be going out and why. She understood.

I ate oatmeal and watched TV. My exciting saturday night in Key West.

I have never seen Tavern ‘n Town as crowded as it was last night. Another sign the season is in full swing. The bar was four deep. The wait for a table an hour.

My time at the Marriott was enjoyable. Met Audette and Darrell from Atlanta. They had just arrived for the weekend at the Marriott. We had a nice chat. Darrell attended Syracuse, also. When they were early married, they lived together in Syracuse while Darrell was going to school.

Audette proudly told me about their daughter Erika who lives in Chicago. She does a blog, also. A food blog.

I suggested some places to go. One was La Te Da after 10. Told them about Debra and Patrick. They were going to try it last night.

Some quick observations.

Forty eight years ago this month, David Wolkowski started building the Pier House Motel. The beginning of what today is  The Pier House, one of Key West’s premier venues.

There is a cohabitation law in Florida. Has been on the books for decades. Two unmarried people cannot cohabit. A misdemeanor. A bill was introduced this week in the Florida Senate to repeal the law. You would think it would pass in a rush. Not so. Florida is ultra conservative. The bill was before the Senate in 2011 and failed to pass.

Gasoline has risen in price 25 cents a  gallon in the past two weeks. Still cheaper than last year. However the upward creep worries me.

The media was talking yesterday about the three American girls who have gone to Turkey and will soon enter Syria. Two are 15 and the third 17. Their goal is to marry ISIS fighters. What is the attraction? What is the motivation?

Yesterday was D-Day for Greece and  the Eurounion. One had to blink. The Eurounion did. The Eurounion extended the euro loan for four months. They had no choice at the end. If Greece walked away from the table, all Europe would enter one of the largest recessions ever.

I am curious as to what happens in four months. In the end, Greece cannot lose. The recession hangs over the Eurounion’s head.

Syracuse/Pitt today at noon. I hope I can get it on my home TV. Syracuse a 4 point favorite. Pitt beat Syracuse earlier in the season.

Enjoy your day!