MY MOTHER…..A WISE WOMAN

Big day today! Mother’s Day!

The person who knows us best.

My mother was unique. Then, I assume all mothers are.

She was born in Italy. The last of eight children. The first girl. The previous seven boys. Her parents felt fortunate they finally had a daughter. They named her Fortunata, Italian for Fortune.

She came to the U.S. at an early age. Never made it beyond the third grade. At 9, she was working 16 hours a day in a shoe factory in New York.

Move swiftly ahead.

I had become a lawyer. A successful one. On my drive home after work, I would stop to see my mother. She was always ready for me. A bottle of Beefeaters and a glass filled with ice on the kitchen table.

We would sit and talk. About nothing and everything. My day. The kids, her grandchildren. My father. Whatever moved us at the moment.

She could tell when I had something on my mind. What is the problem, she would ask. I would share and this woman with only a third grade education generally in her own way had a solution.

She has been gone more than 30 years. Missed! A day has not gone by when I have not thought of her.

On the wall opposite my desk, her painting hangs. She is in my face several times a day. I talk to her frequently.

I wish she could talk back.

Spent yesterday afternoon writing this week’s KONK Life column which publishes wednesday. Black Caesar…..Keys Pirate. Interesting. Big pirate back when. One of the biggest. His story.

Finally got out of the house last night. Catherine took pity and picked me up. We dined at the bar at Berlin’s.

Bria Ansara not singing. Home sick. Laryngitis.

Sloan’s daughter hosting. Always a warm greeting.

Catherine told me about a site I should take a look at. I did this morning. I am going to share it with you. Absolutely terrific! https://youtu.be/580dYcYneA.

The man Randy Rainbow. A humorous pundit.

Remember Sound of Music? How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria……He sang it with North Korea in place of Maria. While dressed as a nun.

Pouring this morning. As it did yesterday morning. Then, the rest of the day beautiful. Hopefully, it will be the same today.

Donna and Terri have promised to come get me and take me to Hot Dog Church later this afternoon.

I am a lucky man. Surrounded by loving women who want to care for me. Lesbians included.

I am a Manhattan College grad. As is John Reinke. John writes a weekly blog re Manhattan graduates. Titled Jasper Jottings. A slew of information.

This morning’s blog mentioned Japanese bus drivers. They are on strike. Striking differently, however. They have kept driving. The difference, they refuse to take fares.

There is an eloquence associated with great men. I read somewhere that Lincoln would not have been a great President without the Civil War and slavery. Churchill without World War II. Roosevelt without the Great Depression and World War II.

Whatever the reason, permit me to share examples of eloquence.

The bombs were falling all over Europe. Churchill elected Prime Minister. He said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat…..Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon taking office and facing the Great Depression: The “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” His address to Congress asking for a declaration of war following the bombing of Pear Harbor: December 7, “a day which will live in infamy.”

Psychics everywhere. Key West included. Not all for real. Some dishonest.

New York’s Psychic Zoe, aka Ann Thompson, is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant. Arrested. Charged with fortune telling fraud.

Took 2 victims/clients for $800,000. One for $740,000, the other $72,000. Each began with a $5 charge. The victims were plied with things like never being able to love again if the victim did not continue with the clairvoyant. Clearly chicanery. Clearly a fraud.

I feel sad for the gullible who satisfied an emotional need by succumbing to the lies in this instance of a fortune teller.

A psychic worth $800,000 should have been able to see her investigation and arrest coming and avoided it. What happened?

I am amused by North Korea making all these concessions prior to the actual meting between the two leaders. The most recent is North Korea has invited foreign journalists (including U.S.) to be in North Korea May 23-25 when North Korea dismantles its nuclear test site.

Query: What about the nuclear warheads, etc. which North Korea already has? I doubt Jung-Un will destroy them. In fact, I guarantee he will not.

Then what is Trump going to say? He has told us constantly that he is firm  in the total denuclerization of North Korea. Which includes nuclear weapons North Korea already has.

Hurricane season around the corner. Begins June 1. At a time  we are not yet finished with recovery work from Irma. Lets hope this will be a hurricane free season.

If you have not read Irma and Me, please do. It will provide the opportunity to understand what happens prior to, during and following a hurricane. My book combines humor and tragedy. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

GROSS DISAPPOINTMENT

I waited for 60 Minutes all week. Finally, last night. Stormy Daniels being interviewed live. Her attorney had kept us on edge for two weeks. Revelations to be made! Facts exposed!

I would describe her appearance as gross disappointment. Her attorney had promised too much and delivered too little.

As a result, my sense is that Daniels’ California civil suit is not strong. Her attorney is trying to force a settlement before depositions.

On the other hand, there is the question as to whether the $130,000 paid was a political contribution. Could involve a violation of the Election Law.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Never fails.

Saturday’s March For Our Lives an outstanding success. I thought it difficult for the NRA and gun supporters to counter. I should have known better. NRA supporters came out with a retort yesterday: “Saturday’s student-led March For Our Lives event was nothing more than a globalist-funded communist campaign in which the marchers themselves partook in trampling not only their own constitutional rights but the constitutional rights of their fellow countrymen in an outright push to further ban, suppress, and limit the Second Amendment…..”

Communist supported…..trampling on constitutional rights…..globalist funded.  Strong language. The Titanic going down and its short wave radio not working.

Some of the high schoolers will vote this year. Many more in 2020. All thereafter. The end of the NRA’s influence. Amazing! Brought down by a bunch of kids!

Everyone knows the students were assisted organizationally and with funding. What we saw saturday not possible without both. Why the NRA would complain, I do not understand. They have been taking in mega bucks for years from gun manufacturers and using it to dupe the American public.

Financial supporters of the March included George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Lyft, Women’s March Organizers, and Gabby Gifford’s Courage to Fight Gun Violence. There was a benefit concert Every Town for Gun Safety. A GoFund Me account raised $3.5 million.

Final Four next. Loyola-Chicago, Kansas, Michigan and Villanova. Big time! Exciting!

I was fortunate to attend four Final Fours. Three when Syracuse played, one just for the pleasure of it. Each an experience, each fun.

In March 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald published his first novel. This Side of Paradise.

He and his wife ran off to Paris thereafter. Fitzgerald became close friends with Ernest Hemingway. They drank their way through the bars of Paris. Still worked, however. While in Paris, Fitzgerald finished The Great Gatsby.

Something I never knew. Fitzgerald was named after his ancestor Francis Scott Key who wrote The Star Spangled Banner.

March 1953 a significant time also. I was a senior in high school. Polio aka infantile paralysis was a dreaded disease. Afflicted many, killed many yearly. Of major concern.

I recall a female high school friend who came down with polio.

She was sent to a special sanatorium high in the Adirondacks for two years till recovered.

Our President at the time Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been struck down with polio in 1921. It left him partially paralyzed the rest of his life.

Fear of the disease came to an end in March 1953 when a Dr. Jonas Salk announced he had discovered a polio/infantile paralysis vaccine. Salk’s vaccine saved thousands from the dreaded disease. To the extent, polio/infantile paralysis is rarely mentioned these days.

Several times over the past few years, I have written and spoke of Afghanistan. Not so much the war itself. Rather the successful and ever growing opium poppy fields which produce heroin. Ninety percent of which ends up on the streets of the U.S.

Rachel Blevins published an article March 25, 2018 concerning the why and where with alls of the problem. She claims the war has made poppy growth possible and imposed on our streets the worst heroin epidemic ever in U.S. history.

It seems the war has contributed to the success of heroin sales. At the time of the 2001 invasion, there were 189,000 heroin users in the U.S. In 2016, the number had increased to 4.5 million.

Heroin deaths are up 533 percent from 2016 alone.

Since 2016, Afghanistan areas under opium poppy cultivation have increased by 63 percent.

Bottom line. The war is protecting and encouraging the poppy growers. When is the last time you heard of a poppy field or poppy growers having been bombed? In a country that has been bombed to hell.

Something is amiss. Money has to be changing hands. In the meantime, we are experiencing the worst opioid epidemic in the history of the U.S.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua. Love Dueling Bartenders. An opportunity to have a couple of drinks, listen to great music, and sing along when the mood hits me.

Enjoy your day!

SPRING BREAK STORY

Spring break was not for me during my college days. Who could afford it!

My education however did provide many “spring breaks” world wide later in life.

Several years ago, I experienced a sort of spring break. Reported the story in my blog at the time. An amusing episode.

This has been spring break week in Key West. It brought a Key West spring break experience to mind. Several years ago, a couple were visiting. We were out on Duval one night. Took them to Irish Kevin’s. A young people’s place. This old man especially liked it because the young ladies were often induced to take to the stage and expose their breasts.

The place was crowded with spring breakers. My friends my age. We worked our way to the bar and ordered drinks. The college students were pleasant. They engaged us in conversation. One asked what we were doing in Key West during spring break? What were we doing in Irish Kevin’s?

I lied. I did not tell them about the bare breasts. Instead, I responded, “We’re retired senior citizens who returned to college to get our degrees…..Decided we should do spring break, also!”

We were the heroes of the night! Could not buy a drink. Spent three hours with the kids having fun. Just college students hanging out together.

Another good sunday yesterday.

Spent the afternoon watching the PGA golf tournament. Tiger Woods was playing. His best performance in recent years!

He came in second. One stroke behind. His putting failed him. Otherwise, he would have won by several strokes.

The man who went years without missing a putt under 5 feet, missed a few yesterday. Two from 5 feet. Two more from 2-3 feet. His age? He is 42. Or, does he need to work at it more?

Interestingly, he sunk 2 or 3 putts from the 20 foot range.

Later in the afternoon to Hot Dog Church. Pastor Lauri as usual presiding. George, Art, Donna, Terri, and Bear already at the bar.

Glad I went! Met two former Syracuse University people.

First, Stacey Veeder. She took the empty seat at the bar next to me. My last name sounded familiar to her. Not from Key West. Where? From the recesses of her mind. She spent most of her career working in administration at Syracuse University. I was active with the University during certain of her years.

She was married. To a man. Surprised me. Hot Dog Church is a lesbian gathering. I was there by special invitation.

Married if I recall correctly 37 years. To Steve Wexler. Steve was a professor at the Syracuse College of Law for 21 years. Beginning in 1979.

She telephoned Steve to come over so we could meet. We did for a short time. We had not met during his teaching years. I graduated in 1960. However, I was a member and then chairman of the Law School Board of Visitors for many years. There was much we could talk about.

Hopefully, I will run into Stacey and Steve tonight at Dueling Bartenders.

Terri sings tonight at Dueling Bartenders. Tom, Rick and Terri will blow the walls out with their powerful renditions of yesterday tunes.

Speaking of Syracuse, the team made it to the NCAA Tournament. The listing announced last night. Sixty eight teams invited. Syracuse #68. Who cares? We made it! That’s enough!

I was surprised. Still maintain we do not belong. God was good however and snuck us in.

He will be even better if He permits us to make it to the Final Four.

Dinner last night was at Donna and Terri’s. George, Art and I enjoyed Chinese take out with the ladies.

For the past two years, I have frequently written about robots. Always lecturing they are coming and we are not preparing for them.

Flippy was introduced to Pasadena hamburger lovers as Flippy the Burger Flipping Robot recently. He can cook 2,000 burgers a day. He was introduced by the Cali Group that operates several hundred fast food burger places.

Flippy lasted two days. He did his job. The support staff did not. They could not. I refer to the humans who prepare the patties for the grill and those who pile on lettuce and other fixins’.

The humans could not keep up with Flippy.

Flippy is on leave while experts look the situation over to decide how humans have to function to keep up with Flippy.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt communicated with citizens via a method which became known as a fireside chat. No television back then. Only radio. The President would speak to the nation in comforting tones and keep them updated on what was happening. His first  fireside chat on this day in 1933. A time of serious economic distress. Thirty percent unemployment. People scared.

Trump’s rallies are Roosevelt’s fireside chats. In form only. Not substance.

Trump rants and raves, demeans, criticizes, swears, etc. Far from Presidential. Not in the style of real leaders like Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson and Reagan.

His bully tough guy performances clear evidence the man lacks Presidential qualities.

Irma and Me doing well. I am impressed with the sales. My first book was a disaster sales wise. Those of you who have not yet ordered the book, please do so. You will enjoy!

Irma and Me is available through Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.

Enjoy your day!

PITTSBURGH JOHN

Friday night at the Chart Room. A good night! Tons of people. Interesting people.

Sat and chatted with John for a while. From Pittsburgh. In the concrete business. Responsible for concrete sales in several states.

John visits Key West three times a year. Religiously. February, July and October.

His youthful experiences unusual.

John was the bat boy at the Pittsburgh Pirates ball field. For the opposing team. Worked with visiting stars like Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Schmidt.

Not only was he fortunate to be a bat boy to professional players, he also got to shot hoops with another baseball luminary. Rocco Clemente. John lived in the right neighborhood. The Clemente family neighbors five doors away.

Ron and Tresha from Michigan. Interesting people. Ron a psychologist. Tresha owns a Midas operation. Used to own two, sold one. Between the two, they have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.

From out of the blue came Carol. Carol from New Hampshire. She visits Key West every season for two months. Rents the same apartment on Whitehead. We met the last time she was in Key West. At the Chart Room, of course.

Her downstair neighbor was with her. From Memphis. An annual renter, also.

In between, chatted with John. The best bartender in Key West!

Stopped at Outback on the way home. Prime rib.

Sat next to two interesting people. Husband and wife. Never got their names. The conversation interesting.

He is a retired executive from a pharmaceutical house. Just behind the banks in screwing the American public.

He obviously did not agree. Gave me all the stock reasons why prescription drugs have to be so expensive.

He buys his drugs from Europe. His actions speak louder than his words.

Spent a couple of hours on the deck yesterday afternoon. Reading some Civil War history. I took my first course in Civil War history my second year in college. Have been hooked on it ever since.

Parking for charter buses the brain child of the Key West City Commission. Took away many vehicle parking places in the lot and on the street.

So far, the lot is a failure. From my perspective. I have only seen one bus parked there. One time.

This morning’s Key West Citizen has an article setting forth the glories and successes of the parking lot. My experience not the same as reflected in the article.

The article says City representatives claim 4-5 buses using the lot a day. Again, I have only seen one one time.

The City charges $100 a day to park. The lot has been open six months. The buses still parking all over Key West. Illegally now. The City is going to start ticketing the buses. Fine $250.

I assume more buses will then be parked in the lot.

On this day in 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in Key West briefly. He was driven down from Miami. Did a quick tour of the inactive U.S. Naval Base. Then on the USS Houston to watch Caribbean war games.

Trump will not be giving a State of the Union address. A new President does not make such a report his first year in office. Makes sense. He has been President less than two months.

Trump will address Congress, however. His presentation is listed as an Address. February 28.

I worry. Trump is going to go a step too far at some point. Further than any mishaps to date.

It has been reported that a plan is being circulated in Homeland Security to activate 100,000 National Guard. Purpose to round up unauthorized immigrants. In one big swoop.

Don’t know if anything will come of it. Dangerous if done. I remind you once again to recall Germany in the late 1930s and Germany in the rest of Europe during World War II. Nazi soldier driving up to homes/apartment houses to arrest Jews and other enemies of the State.

We are better than that.

Enjoy your day!

HOGFISH OVERFISHED

Conservation/protect the species ever constant in Florida waters. Properly so. Use it or lose it does not apply to fish.

Hogfish one of the most popular denizens of the deep. Great flavor. During season, Key West restaurants feature hogfish on their menus. Stock island has the great Hogfish restaurant. .

Hogfish numbers have been falling. The powers to be have changed limits, etc.

Recreational catch will be dropping from 5 to 1 per day. Harvest season will run from May 1, to October 31. Limit size has been increased from 12 to 16 inches.

Note that the 5-1 limit per day is for recreational fishing. What about commercial? Where I assume more hogfish are fished daily.

I was at the Custom House at 6 last night for the author’s presentation re FDR On His Houseboat: The Larooca Log 1924-1926. Big title.

The author Karen Chase. The books is FDR’s story when he spent three winters on a houseboat in the Florida keys. It being thought the warm air and waters would help FDR’s polio.

Some interesting items.

Chase 72 today. She had polio also. Ergo, her interest in FDR.

She found the Log at Hyde Park buried under some letters. It is a day by day log of the trip handwritten by FDR. Everything included. Parties as well as places.

Chase says FDR’s language is humorous and captivating. Even in personal relationships, FDR exhibited wit and a penchant for personal jokes.

FDR never walked again after being struck with polio in 1921.

John Lawrence, co-owner of the houseboat Larooca, was an old college friend of Roosevelt.

The name Larooca was created by taking Lawrence’s initials. LA. The next three letters by using the first three letters of Roosevelt. ROO. The CO at the end stands for company.

FDR and Lawrence entertained frequently on the houseboat. FDR’s wife Eleanor on the boat seldom. Their marriage had been strained when she caught FDR cheating several years earlier. She never shared the same bed with her husband again.

Hostess on the houseboat was FDR’s 26 year old secretary Missy Le Hand. Historians record Missy as FDR’s girl friend for 20 years. FDR had more than one during those years.  He has been described as more Clintonese than Clinton himself.

On the last cruise in 1926, FDR, Lawrence and a crew member were fishing from a small boat. They hooked a Jewfish. A big one. If my notes are correct, 7 feet long and 5 feet wide. They had difficulty taking the fish in. The crew person even put 8 bullets in the fish’s head with a pistol. Whatever, appears a record catch.

Chart Room last night. David and John. Tourists coming in and out. Met Greg and Lisa from Sybania, Ohio. Near Toledo. Greg a retired school teacher. Lisa six months away from retirement. Their ninth trip to Key West.

Installment 16 based on Wright Langley’s Key West Rotary History.

The year 1935. Key West Rotarians were all excited. Most were planning on making the trip to Miami for a Rotary Inter-City Meeting. The Club’s slogan: All to Miami.

They never made the meeting. A few days before, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane hit. A 5. Especially bad in the mid and  upper keys. Hundreds died. The upper keys portion of the Florida East Coast Railway knocked out.

No way existed to get to Miami.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

EDWARD STRUNK JR…..PERSON OF ACHIEVEMENT

Installment 15 highlights a Rotarian who was a President of the Key West Rotary and who achieved extraordinary success while a resident of Key West.

Edward Strunk Jr.

Strunk became Rotary President in 1934. Deep depression years. His achievements while President include increasing membership from 19 to 29. No small feat.

During his tenure, he supported the establishment of the Everglades National Park.

The hurricane of 1935 presented many challenges. The railroad bridges had been demolished. Strunk  and Bascom Grooms were instrumental in clearing other bridges. People and businesses needed a way to move up and down the Keys.

Such is part of Strunk’s Rotary career. What follows is the story of the man.

Strunk was 16. Not living in Key West yet. He was in Miami. He had to decide whether to return to school or go to work. He opted to work.

One of his first jobs was working at the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad offices in Marathon. The Atlantic Coast Line the Flagler railroad.

Following the railway experience, he worked several different jobs. World War I found him serving in France for a year.

He finally made it to Key West. He went to work for the South Florida Contracting & Engineering Co. After 20 years with the organization, Strunk retired a part owner.

Nineteen thirty-nine was a significant year in Strunk’s life. He opened the Strunk Lumber Yard. First located on Mallory Square. Today, 1101 Eaton Street.

Strunk lumber became a significant Key West business.

In due course, Strunk sold the lumber company to Manley – De Boer.

Strunk remained in business, however. He opened a hardware store. Known today as Strunk Ace Hardware. Same location on Eaton Street.

The Strunk lumber and hardware businesses were family owned at all times. From 1939 to present day. Strunk’s great grandson Andy runs Strunk Ace Hardware today.

An interesting story. An American success story. The tale of a man who at 16 had to choose between school and work. He chose work and ultimately became one of Key West’s biggest successes.

The Key West Film festival began last night. It runs through sunday. Burt Reynolds will be in Key West attending the festival tonight. America’s heart throb and famous movie star of the 1970s and 1980s is to receive an award.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that an FDR book had been written by Karen Chase. It involved two years of FDR’s life when his winters were spent on a houseboat in the Florida Keys hoping the warmth would remedy his paralysis.

Chase is speaking tonight at the Custom House’s Distinguished Speaker Series at 6.

Should be interesting. I plan on attending.

Obama spent two days in Greece this week. He was not a welcomed guest. Protests both days. The first day 7,000. At one of the demonstrations, the American flag was burned.

I am surprised! I love Greece. Have spent much time there. My last trip was four years ago. For six weeks.

A more loving people I have never met. I was welcomed warmly everywhere. No question the Greek people loved Americans.

What caused demonstrations filled with hatred four years later?

It appears Russia and Greek communists. Putin thought to be the motivating force.

The reasons given for the protests speak for themselves.

One was that the United States was creating tensions with Russia and China. Another that the United States stood in the way of Russia seeking to overthrow the Ukrainian government.

How about this one? The United States is supporting Islamic extremists. Another, Obama supported the Euro Union’s stringent austerity program imposed on Greece.

All without basis. All fabrications.

Signs carried: Yankee Go Home. Five thousand police had to be called in.

I have written much re Greece. I have predicted at some point the Nazi Party aka New Dawn Party would be elected to lead Greece. I suspect it might occur in the next election.

The Communist Party small. Without significance.

I buy the belief that Putin was behind the protests.

College students all over the country are sad Hilary lost. Depressed. Universities have grieving areas on campus and have arranged for the students to receive counseling.

At the University of Michigan, students spent one of the grieving days sprawled in a college center playing with Play-Doh and coloring in coloring books.

College students should not be coddled. Their candidate lost. Tough! So did mine. That is the way it is. Go out and work harder next time.

College students of today do not know how to take responsibility for their lives. Administrators and professors should step back.

May this be the worst calamity in their lives. That Hillary did not win.

Enjoy your day!

FDR ON HIS HOUSEBOAT IN FLORIDA KEYS

I continue to learn.

This time that Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent the winter months 1924-1926 on a houseboat in the Florida Keys.

We have Karen Chase to thank for the knowledge.

FDR’s legs were paralyzed. It was thought warm air and warm water would help his condition. FDR and his friend John Lawrence bought a used 71 foot houseboat. They christened it Larooco.

FDR spent two consecutive winters cruising on the Larooco in the Florida Keys.  Fishing and swimming.

We would never have known had it not been for Karen Chase discovering FDR’s daily log covering the trips. Chase discovered the log a few years ago. She put the log into book form.

FDR On His Houseboat – The Larooco Log, 1924-1926 was introduced to the public two days ago at Hyde Park.

The Custom House has invited Chase to speak about FDR’s time on the Larooco as part of its Distinguished Speaker Program. She is scheduled to appear at the Custom House November 17.

Visualize FDR living on the houseboat. Paralyzed, yet fishing and swimming. In our beloved Florida Keys. A story!

It is finally at an end. The Presidential campaign. I will be voting for Hillary later this morning.

I started my diet yesterday. Made it through day 1. I did not leave the house at all yesterday. It was the only way I could avoid the near occasion of sin for me. Food and drink. I know my limitations.

Spent the afternoon working on tonight’s blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Great topics. Some thought provoking. Like the failure of government to see and do anything about two new areas of unemployment in the next four years.

Also, Comey letter #2, a Venezuela update where Vatican intercession has failed, Steven Seagal becomes a Russian citizen, Saudi Arabia extending its lobbying efforts to U.S. governors, a dozen drugmakers under grand jury investigation, a possible cyber war, the real reason behind the ongoing Syrian War, and more.

Join me at 9 my time. Guaranteed interesting! www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

On this day in 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected President. The nation was excited. The Eisenhower years had been good. Somewhat subdued, however. Kennedy was young and appeared vibrant. He had a young beautiful wife and family.

His years were called Camelot. America would achieve the best of everything. Excitement prevailed.

Unfortunately, Kennedy did not have enough time. He was assassinated in 1963. The dream died.

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

A statement I cannot make too many times.

On this date in 1948 and 1951, Truman returned to Key West to work and vacation. It is reported re the 1948 trip that Truman landed at Boca Chica. Twenty five thousand people cheered him on the drive to the Little White House.

The Key West Rotary. Installment 8.

One day. April 4, 1927.

A thursday. Rotary International President Paul P. Harris had left monday. Thursday was the regularly scheduled luncheon meeting for the Key West Rotary.

A big day. Time wise and work wise.

Members had been notified to come to the meeting in overalls. Overalls being the term used I assume for shoulder type dungarees or some other type work pants.

Work the members did! They removed rubbish the length of Duval Street. The event known as Scour Duval for Rubbish Thursday.

The clean up was done in conjunction with the Woman’s Club and the Chamber of Commerce.

Trucks were donated by businesses and individuals. The Rotarians manned them. Twenty trucks. One truck per block of Duval. The rubbish collected was taken to the city dump to be incinerated.

The meeting was also the election meeting.

Robert F. Spottswood was elected President. The Spottswoods have enriched Key West for years. Conchs. The family through the generations community minded.

I assume the new President was grandfather to the present day Robert Spottswood. Robert and wife Elena are my friends. Ever helpful. Work hard on behalf of Key West. One of Robert and his family’s present successes is the Marriott Beachside.

Rotary members went all out to be helpful during the 1920s. They could not do enough for Key West. An inspired group.

George A. T. Roberts was elected Sergeant at Arms at the same time Spottswood was elected President. He died three years into his term. His stone is inscribed with the Rotary motto: Service Above Self.

The men were believers all!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARK WATSON

Mark Watson, Happy Birthday!

Mark is one of the most beloved persons in Key West. Drag queen at Aqua, a Dueling Bartender, wednesday night Back Door bartender, present King of Fantasy Fest. On and on.

A nice guy besides.

I shall be sharing this day with him at a dinner party tonight.

My yesterday began with a haircut at Blown Away with Lori. My haircutter and friend of 15 years.

Lori is moving Blown Away. To a new building on White Street. Across from Fausto’s and Sandy’s. Next door to the building where I did my first radio show 10 years ago.

Then lunch at the Cuban Coffee Queen. Lovely Ruby working. The lady is talented. Hard working. Her work ethic impresses me.

Jay. Former chef at Sq. 1. Sq. 1 bought out. Jay moving on. Going to be the owner of his own operation. A sandwich shop. On Southard next to Bank of America. Around the corner from Key Lime Square. Near the Cuban Coffee Queen. Five door’s from Lori’s Blown Away.

From gourmet chef to sandwich maker. The sandwiches should be terrific!

Across the street are two coffee houses, a veggie restaurant, and Mr. T’s. A couple hundred feet up Southard, a noodle restaurant. All have been in business in the immediate area for many years. Jay should do well.

Opening, September 26.

Bocce last night. Ran into Jay. He has played bocce for years. My team Don’s Place doing well. I am the cheerleader. The team won all 3 games last night. 16-3, 16-0, 16-15.

It always happens that way. You kill the opposing team in the first two games. Then complacency sets in. An extra drink. Joking around. Concentration disappears.

Don’s was winning 14-7 in the third game. Needed only 2 points to win. All of a sudden, the game was tied 14 all. Finally, a one point victory eked out.

Norm is one of the player’s on Don’s team. A nice guy. We have been friends for years. Better friends because of bocce. One of my partner’s when I played.

Norm’s wife is involved community wise. She is a Rotarian. As was her father and grandfather before her. Rotarians have their hands in many of the Key West charity fundraisers. The Brewfest last week. She was one of the ones running the event. This week, she is working hard on Poker Run.

Ten thousand bikes start roaring into Key West today. For Poker Run Weekend. Big, expensive bikes. Drivers in black leather and crazy helmets. Look dangerous. Their ladies similarly dressed. Breasts dramatic. Intentionally so.

The humor is that most are doctors, lawyers and CPAs having what they consider a wild weekend. No more wild than any other, however. They will drink a bit too much, dine at the finest restaurants and have a great time!

You and me and the federal government are not the only one’s being hacked. The Monroe County Tourist Development Council’s website has been hacked. Florida Keys & Key West Facebook page 1.

Pics of beautiful Key West deleted. Replaced with photos of scantily clad provocatively posed women.

The Tourist Council cannot remove/delete the photos. Nor can they reach anyone at Facebook for help. Nor can they post an explanation.

My suggestion is they get a computer geek immediately to work on the problem. There are several in Key West.

The Mayflower departed England this day in 1620. Sixty six days later, landed at Provincetown. Not Plymouth as most of us have learned. Several months later, a group departed and landed at Plymouth. Of Plymouth Rock fame.

The Mayflower gave us the Mayflower Compact, Plymouth Rock, and Capt. Myles Standish.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Selective Service and Training Act into law this day in 1940. A draft law.

It is time we had a draft law again. Our professional voluntary army has been pushed too hard. Several deployments. As many as seven for some. No wonder 20 veterans a day are committing suicide.

I would require two years military service following high school graduation.

Guaranteed, I am going to receive a lot of comment on the position.

Enjoy your day!

FLAG FLOWN UPSIDE DOWN FREE SPEECH

It bothers me when I see someone in our country or in a foreign one desecrating the American flag. Like burning and stomping. Gets to me.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that such conduct is not criminal. It is the expression of free speech. Constitutionally protected.

Homer Martz is an Iowa farmer. Conservative, God fearing, patriotic. A Chinese pipeline was laid next to his well. No one told Martz it was coming close or that close to his well.

Martz opted to protest. No one would hear him. He hung the American flag upside down. Not to show disrespect. To be heard. Note that the flag pole had been there. He daily flew the American flag.

He felt he had been denied due process because of the failure to advise, give him an opportunity to complain, etc.

Martz was arrested. Iowa law makes it a misdemeanor to misuse in any fashion the American flag. The word misuse is mine. The statute actually has a number of instances where the conduct is considered illegal.

Sticking specifically to the law,  the arrest is a bum one. Again, the Supreme Court in two instances said American flag desecration is constitutionally protected free speech.

I address Martz’s problem for a reason. State and local governments should have known Martz’s conduct was proper. Failing in that regard to do so now subjects Martz to the expense of an attorney, his personal loss of time from his farm work, the taxpaying public  forced to pick up a prosecutor’s bill, a Judge’s expense, and salaries for a full court staff.

The Iowa law should have been removed from the books years ago.

I consider today a significant one in American history. President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act this day in 1935.

I am confident I will receive a number of negative comments re my position concerning Social Security.

Sixty years from now someone will be writing as I have here regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Has to be difficult be a President’s child! There is a video floating around the internet claiming to show Malia smoking a joint. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Melia was in a group of peers at some event where everyone was jumping and yelling. Kid stuff. Something persons her age do.

As to the toke, I question whether true. The video has only a quick shot of Malia. It is her. Took all of a second and gone. The toke part not clear. At all. Very interpretive she was smoking pot.

If true, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Michelle addressed the issue with Malia.

Worked with Sloan yesterday afternoon. Learning the new cell phone, utilizing it together with the computer, etc. A pain in the ass for me. I call it mechanical retardation. Generational.

Some of my readers commented the phrase was incorrect. Technologically retarded appropriate.

Whatever, it is still hard for me. And I am sure others of my generation.

It was Tavern ‘n Town last night. I decided to skip Lobsterfest. Let me share two reasons why.

Summer festival time with stands and shoulder to shoulder crowds, etc. on Duval is a steam bath. Twenty degrees warmer. Body heat. Pictures in this morning’s Key West Citizen show the crowd.

The other reason is that I am not a fan of Florida lobster. I prefer Maine lobster. Not being a snob. Florida lobster is tougher and has a different taste.

I read somewhere this week that the Maine lobster which is available for purchase at Publix is cheaper per pound than the Florida lobster.

What that means besides cheaper, I don’t know. Just sharing.

Ran into an old Syracuse University friend at Tavern ‘n Town. Steve. We had dinner together. Several years back when Steve was not so busy, he used to join me for Syracuse basketball games.

Met Katie Sottak. Steve introduced me. She is a hostess at Tavern ‘n Town. A lovely personable young lady. Twenty seven. Originally from New Hampshire. Has lived in Key West three years.

Her real love is art. Her works are presently being shown at Island Wynds Gallery on Simonton. The gallery next door to Books & Books.

The Hackley baby continues to concern me. I wish Hackley would write the baby’s name in his diary once so we would know.

Today’s problem as described by Hackley was wind and pain. He gave the baby some gin.

The gin thing does not shock me. All families have home remedies that have come down over the years. I recall when my sister Joan was teething. My mother would pour a little Canadian Club over her finger and then rub the finger over Joan’s gums.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

SYRACUSE CONTINUES WINNING

March Madness! What excitement! Great basketball!

Syracuse, the team that should not have been in the NCAA Tournament. Even I said it. A bad year. Syracuse did not deserve to make it.

We made it! Was I wrong! Syracuse has distinguished itself throughout the tournament.

Last night, Syracuse defeated Gonzaga 63-60. The final seconds wild. Syracuse made three outstanding defensive moves. Two succeeded.

Tomorrow, Syracuse the #10 seed plays Virginia the #1 seed for the right to go to the Final Four.

Syracuse today in the Elite Eight! Who would have thought? Who would have believed? Perhaps only the players.

There is joy in Mudville.

Lunched yesterday at Harpoon Harry’s. Ham, eggs and hash browns. As I consistently mention, Harpoon Harry’s has the best eggs. It’s the taste/flavor, perhaps preparation, that makes them so good!

An early dinner last night in order to be home to watch the Syracuse game at 9:40. Decided on the outside bar at La Te Da. Always an empty seat around 6. Turned out I was not hungry. Ordered the crab dip with crackers. Have enjoyed it before. An appetizer. Terrific! Try it. It was just enough.

During half time of the game, I treated myself to a bowl of chocolate and coconut gelato. And I wonder why I have gained weight!

Big research day ahead. I will continue researching this week’s KONK Life column Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa? The story of President Grover Cleveland and his purported illegitimate son. A tale of misused political power.

I write the column tomorrow.

At some point, I have to get Robert and Ally something for Easter. We start the day tomorrow at 9 with an egg hunt in their back yard. Even Jake has a couple of things hidden.

Tonight, busy. An early dinner at Hot Tin Roof. Then the Producers. The last performance. The show reported to be the biggest and best the Waterfront Theater has ever presented. Following the Producers, a closing night party at a friend’s home.

I will have been up late two nights in a row. Syracuse last night and the Producers tonight. Unusual for me.

Many of us are alive and well today and able to walk because of Dr. Jonas Salk. On this day in 1953, Dr. Salk announced a new vaccine for use against polio (infantile paralysis). I was a college student at the time. I had friends who were afflicted. Fortunately, none died.

In 1952, the year before the vaccine was available, there were 58,000 new cases in the United States. Three thousand died.

Polio is the disease that afflicted Franklin Delano Roosevelt at age 39. It left him in a wheel chair the rest of his life.

Enjoy your day!