GREAT REUNION

 

Reunited with Bob and Helen after 20 years. Good friends long ago. Still friends. I was best man at their wedding 30 years ago.

We hugged and talked. Talked endlessly during lunch at Louie’s Backyard. It was as if we had last seen each other the day before.

An emotional meeting for me.

They are on a Viking cruise. One day in Key West. Several in Cuba. Both anxious to see Cuba.

The three of us are anxious to see each other again. Before we move on to that place in the sky.

Hurried home following lunch to watch the Syracuse/Kansas game. Syracuse lost 76-60.

The game was fine the first 10 minutes for Syracuse. Then it was Kansas. Syracuse’s problem is the team is not seasoned. They have not played together enough. Syracuse generally moved the ball well. Could not shoot, however. The ball was not finding the basket.

I have not given up on the season. Never give up on a Syracuse basketball team and Jim Boeheim.

Missed the Christmas Parade. Thought I would. I was comfortable lying around the house.

Don’s Place made the playoffs. The playoffs yesterday. Only 3 Don’s Place players showed up. Need 4 to play. Several out of town. Arrangements made for a team that had not made the playoffs to move up and play.

Game plan for today is the Gardens and Handel’s Messiah. Two separate events, two different locations.

Parking a problem for Handel’s Messiah. I probably will miss the Gardens.

Handel’s Messiah has been performed for more than 30 years at the United Methodist Church on Eaton and Simonton. The Church’s Chancel Choir performs together with musicians who come in from the middle and lower Keys. They practice for three hours beginning at 2. The show begins at 7.

Admission free.

I have never attended this holiday musical event. It is time.

Irma was the first instance I had the opportunity to view FEMA in operation up close. Their performance left/leaves me absolutely impressed!

An example. It has been announced that FEMA is hiring local residents to assist with the Irma recovery. Jobs! Much needed. Many Irma victims still without work. Their places of employment not yet operating.

Pedophiles are society’s worst. Adults who prey on children.

Some get caught and are prosecuted. Then there are those like Alabama’s Moore who are never arrested.

A New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force exists. In a sting referred to as Operation Safety Net, the Task Force caught 79 of the predators last week. Deviates pursuing children as young as 4.

Included in those arrested were a police officer, postal worker, and teacher. The Task Force arrested at least one person in every county in New Jersey, as well as persons from outside New Jersey.

Justice performing at its best!

Slavery caused Lincoln to say in 1858 that “…..a house divided against itself cannot stand.” We are a house divided today. Never in all my years have I seen two sides so opposed.

Do not forget Irma and Me. Available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks. The only Irma book written.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

WARMTH OF THANKSGIVING

Love the holidays! Especially Christmas and Thanksgiving. Christmas my favorite. Thanksgiving runs a close second.

I miss the large family gatherings for dinner. All ages. The dining room table for adults. The kitchen table and card tables for the young. Age determined seating. It was a big deal to graduate to the adult’s table. Took a long time for some. I recall one of my daughters being 22 before she made it.

Kitchen smells. Thanksgiving the best. The turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pies….all coming together as one from early morning. By the time dinner rolled around, you were really hungry.

Unfortunately, the holidays change for some. I for one. You live long and things do not remain the same. Does not mean the holiday is not enjoyable. Merely means you miss that which was.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stopped into the Chart Room around 8 last night for a couple of drinks. John bartending. Three tourists at the bar. Good conversation. An enjoyable evening.

Syracuse basketball has begun. Syracuse beat Toledo last night 72-64. Syracuse now 5-0. Means nothing. The big schools play the little guys early in the season. Provides practice and easy extra wins.

FEMA spending a lot of money in Monroe County. Properly so. $53 million so far. More needed. The money spent to provide assistance to homeowners and renters for housing and other needs.

Returning from Hollywood two days ago, parts of US 1 still sit in areas resembling a war zone.

Irma and Me available. I added on to the end of the book a chapter titled Post Irma. At the time, I thought the cleanup and return to normal would have occurred by now. No way. Irma was a big one!

Irma and Me is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KoboBooks.

The hurricane season officially ends in a week. November 30 to be exact. Don’t depend on it. The season used to end October 31. Then a hurricane or two hit after that date. Hurricanes tend                                                                                                     not recognize deadlines. So the day was extended a month.

Could still get hit by another one!

One of Key West’s most spectacular events is the Lighted Boat Parade. People decorate their boats, whether large or small, as one decorates a home at Christmas time. Then on one night, they all go out into the waters off Schooner Wharf. An armada.

An event! This year on saturday December 9.

You can watch from shore or go out on one of the boats. On a boat more exciting. However if it is a cold evening, it is colder on the water. You freeze your ass off!

I was in Hollywood monday preparatory to my heart catherization. I was not the only stranger in town. An 8 foot crocodile was discovered resting on the beach.

The middle class continues to die. The average U.S. household is $137,063 in debt. Thirty eight percent of millennials live with their parents.

One of my nurses tuesday mentioned she has three children. Two in their mid 20s, one 18. The 18 in college, living home. The other two working and living at home.

All refuse to contribute to their keeping. They do little to assist Mom and Dad around the house.

Yesterday, I demeaned Trump because he was returning 60,000 Haitians to Haiti. They have been here almost 8 years following Haiti’s massive 2010 earthquake.

Amongst other things, I referred to Trump as heartless.

I have to take it back as regards the Haitians. Though I believe the man is overall without sympathy for anyone, it was announced late yesterday that Trump has granted the Haitians an 18 month reprieve.

The man plays God.

Maduro continues to do a good job as Venezuela’s President. In 5 years as President, the country has run out of toilet paper, food and jobs. Inflation has now hit 4,000. How does Venezuela survive? I continue to be shocked the people have not revolted.

Signs suggest perhaps a massive earthquake in California. San Francisco and Monterey County.

One hundred thirty-four earthquakes suffered last week over a 3 mile stretch. Magnitude 2.5-3.0. Seismologists are getting nervous.

I end on an exciting note.

On this day in 1984, Doug Flutie threw his famous last second Hail Mary pass as Boston College beat Miami 47-45. The ball on the wings of an angel as it traveled down the field.

Enjoy the holiday!

JOHN WAYNE HE AIN’T

 

John Kelly is no John Wayne. I refer to the former Marine general who presently serves as Trump’s Chief of Staff.

Kelly looks good. Especially in uniform. Tough, honest appearing. Pure virtue.

He is not. He personifies the adage…..You can’t tell a book by its cover.

Kelly has difficulty telling the truth. He does not understand American history. Sound familiar? Two Trump failures.

Most recently, Kelly said the Civil War could have been averted by compromise and Lee was a great general.

Yes, the Civil War could have been averted. All Lincoln and the Union had to do was enshrine slavery forever in the United States. As to Lee being a great general, Kelly is creating history. He is forwarding a view of Lee with which most historians do not agree.

Time for a cholesterol lunch yesterday. A cheeseburger at Five Guys.

Then to Publix. Out of food again.

Grocery shopping continues to be tiring. Pushing the cart around the store, loading the car, bringing the groceries in, keeping the groceries. Knocks me on my ass! Not kidding!

Did my podcast show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Part of the program involved three separate stories involving children. Anger you and touch your heart at the same time.

It seems it is getting easier to prepare and do the show. I have been thinking about it. Why easier? The answer simple. Trump.

Seven topics last night. Trump directly or peripherally involved in five.

I continue to live and learn. Homeless children a major problem at the moment. I mentioned yesterday there are an additional 320 homeless children in Monroe County because of Irma.

Discovered today there is a Florida Keys Children’s Shelter in Tavernier. Free housing and delicious meals for kids 10-17.

Only 19 beds. Each filled since Irma. Parents whose homes are gone drop the children off at night and pick them up in the morning. Foster children cared for, also.

Obviously not enough beds. However, better than nothing. Every little bit helps.

The Irma homeless problem manifests itself in another fashion.Hotels provides free rooms to families. FEMA pays the tab. $201 per night in Key West. $93 a night outside Key West.

Some hotels did not close their doors to the Irma homeless because of Fantasy Fest. Those that did are trying to reopen them.

FEMA has extended its program to pay for hotel living through December 2. Many hotels though willing to take people in cite the Power Boat races and other events where hotel accommodations are in demand. Business is business.

The hotels are trying to be cooperative, work things out.

The numbers interesting. Immediately following Irma there were 2,700 households in need of rooms. The number has fallen. It is now 600. Still a healthy number.

On this date in 1512, the Sistine Chapel was opened to the public. Michelangelo had completed God and Adam’s arms stretching towards each other. The Creation of Adam.

A masterpiece for the ages.

Thirty five years ago, I did a one month Italy vacation with the wife, children and my parents. My Dad never was easily impressed. As we were standing with  heads tilted up to view Michelangelo’s work, my father asked…..What’s the big deal?

The Manhattan terrorist attack yesterday proves we are never going to be really safe. Could take another 50-100 years to resolve the terrorist problem.

Eight died and 11 were injured.

New York City vigilant. The last New York terrorist attack was 9/11/2001.  Sixteen years ago.

Some numbers recently released re police shootings of civilians. Thus far this year, 782 in the United States. Contrast that with similar shootings in England and Wales combined. In the 27 years from 1990-2016, 62.

My publisher has assured me Irma and Me will be available for purchase by the end of the week. I hope!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

TOGA PARTY…..WHAT TOGA PARTY?

I was sorely disappointed last night. Toga Party. What Toga Party? Hard to find.

I have been a fan of Toga Party since the mid 1980’s. Merely as a voyeur. For me, fun. Last night, there was little to be voyeured. Very little.

The reasons why two-fold from my perspective.

Irma obviously a contributing factor. Who would want to pay $700-$1,000 a night for a hotel room if Key West was still recovering from Irma?

The other is the leadership of the event. New leadership this year. The former head ran the show for many years. Complaints grew in recent years by certain locals that there was too much nudity, perversion, etc.

The squeaky wheel was heard by the new leadership. Advertising for this year’s event was not to the usual sources. Sexually inclined persons and groups.

Fantasy Fest an adult party. Always has been. People want to show off their bodies, play, etc. Hurts no one. The new leadership better study closely the reasons why this year’s event failed. And not be reluctant to accept responsibility where warranted.

I walked Duval in the usual Toga Party area last night. Sloppy Joe’s, inside and out. I would estimate the crowd no more than one-third of its usual number. Sloppy’s not crowded. Could walk the streets without problem. Duval not closed off. Cars driving through.

I saw no more than 10 persons in toga attire.

The failure of Toga Party probably a combination of Irma and the new leadership looking in the wrong places for attendees.

The Parade is saturday night. Normally 60,000 to 80,000 spectators. Terrific! Not this year. It will be significantly less.

Several years ago, there was another Irma/storm. Fantasy Fest was delayed into early December so Key West would be ready. This year greed dictated otherwise. There was a rush to get ready and hold the event timely. Hotels, bars, merchants, etc. needed the business.

The goose that lays the golden egg seriously hurt this year.Let’s hope it does not die not next.

I saw three sets of bare breasts last night. One at the Chart Room. Bugs Bunny. She and her husband from Kentucky. Breasts spray painted.

The other two on the street in front of Sloppy’s. One young, the other middle aged. Both spray painted.

In previous years, there would be hundreds in various degrees of undress. All having a good time. Even voyeurs like me. I sincerely hope the tradition does not end.

Enjoyed stone crabs again last night at Pier One. I was the only customer. Hovi the bartender. From Romania. Has been in Key West 5 years.

The Chart Room had about 15 minutes of activity. Otherwise, few customers.

Met Larry and Cindy. We are neighbors! They live on the golf course, also.

We chatted quite a while. Canadians. Sarnie, Ontario. Sounded like they have a family business. Mechanical contracting. Cindy serves as bookkeeper for the business.

Proud parents of two children and two grandchildren.

Liked them both. Hope to develop a relationship with them.

Problems developing post Irma. To be expected. Not everything works perfectly following a disaster like Irma.

The Monroe County School System announced that 320 students are homeless as a result of Irma. Many would not be had the City fathers and FEMA decided that the Irma homeless could no longer stay in local hotels paid by FEMA following last sunday. It was Fantasy Fest time. Time to make real money! Which I suspect will not be the case when the numbers are released.

If the kids are homeless, the parents also. Where are they living? In cars, trucks, mangroves and under the bridges.

Shame on us all!

Monroe County has requested 9,200 trailers. FEMA provides them. As of yesterday, 10 had arrived.

FEMA advises it only has 1,000 trailers allocated for the entire State of Florida.

How will the problem be solved? Will it be solved?

Enjoy your day!

VINNY THE GHOST

I drive a 2010 Volkswagen Beatle convertible. Blue and white. Got it new. Seven years later, only 36,000 miles on it.

One of my lady friends refers to it as Vinny. Why I am not sure. Suspect it reminds her of Vinny from the Joe Pesci movie.

Vinny has been acting strange the past few days. I suspect a ghost has found a home in Vinny. Three of the windows suddenly go up and down as I am driving. One window never moves, even if I am trying to open it. The door lock on the passenger door sometimes does not work. Lock up noises for the car itself not always heard. Windshield wipers suddenly working. Etc.

The car is at a mechanics. Since yesterday. I was landlocked last night. Too far to get anywhere without a car. Ergo, remained home. Can do without the car today. It is tuesday. Generally remain in because of my podcast show tonight. Definitely need it tomorrow. An early afternoon doctor’s visit I want to keep.

If you see a blue and white Volkswagen Beatle convertible driving down the road with no driver behind the wheel, it’s mine. Vinny driving!

A big Fantasy Fest day today! Lots of fun events. The Southernmost Beach Blast from the Past. Twisting the feature of the afternoon. Rick’s has Cocktails for those wearing animal tails. A Tutu walk/crawl parade. In the evening, a Tutu Prom at Dante’s. Captain Tony’s Plaid Party. Hot! The Green Parrot Green Party.

Plus, more.

Have fun!

An Irma housing crisis remains. Compounded by Fantasy Fest. Up to yesterday, 482 households had found homes in Key West hotels and guest houses. Booted yesterday. Fantasy Fest open. Hotels/guest houses needed the rooms. Big money!

Which means, 482 households looking for lodging.

The situation sucks!

Sears is Key West’s premier department store. Key West’s only department store.

Things have been tough for years for Sears nationwide. There is a constant concern we will lose Sears. Not the greatest store. Better than nothing, however.

Sears announced yesterday that due to a pricing issue, it will no longer sell Whirlpool products. Includes Whirlpool, Maytag, Kitchen Aid, and Jenn-Air. Sears will continue to handle Kenmore and other brands.

I hope the Whirlpool issue does not indicate the beginning of the end for Sears.

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time.

I have a slew of topics to discuss. Could be one of my better shows. Interesting and definitely eye opening.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Topics include too many generals in the White House, Trump’s corruption of General Kelly, the Niger situation, armed mercenaries, armed masked mercenaries still in Puerto Rico, a crocodile swimming off the White Street Pier.

Also, mastectomy breasts can be tattooed with nipple or anything else rather than nipple and areola rebuilding, a Terri update, Dickinson, Texas and an Israel boycott, active duty enlistment bonuses, Cuban missile crisis, draft or compulsory military service, poorer quality inductees, expanding U.S. wars, tip toeing towards war, and more.

I agree. Too many topics. It was that kind of week. More reportable happenings than normal. I will go till the half hour is up. Guaranteed you will enjoy!

Irma has affected my happy home.

The area of the golf course where I live was shaded with tall full trees. Higher than my two story home. Half the trees blown over by Irma.

The house recently has been warmer. The air conditioning running longer than usual. Hit me yesterday. The trees! Nature’s shade gone!

Enjoy your day!

GOOD TO BE BACK AGAIN

Stealing from Mac Arthur…..I have returned! Gene Autry…..I’m back in the saddle again!

It is good to be home.

I got in at 4 thursday afternoon after two days of driving. Birmingham to Key West. Eight hours each day.

No question, a few days does make a difference. Specifically with regard to traffic. Little traffic. Very little. Only spots crowded were Orlando and Miami. I used the Florida Turnpike.

No waiting in line for gasoline. Pumps available at all times.

The second day was depressing, however.

I spent all day listening to the radio re the Mexican school collapse and the search for Frida Sophia and perhaps several other children. Drama! Heart wrenching!

Yesterday, we were told by Mexican authorities that there was no Frida or any other children beneath the wreckage. Alive or dead. The situation “not a reality.”

There has to be more to the story. Does not make sense to me.

The search for the children weighed heavy. To it was added another sadness. I saw what Irma did to the Keys.

Beginning with Florida City, a relatively small tree down here and there. Just outside Marathon, you could sense things were going to get bad. They did.

Beginning at the Marathon point and down to Sugarloaf, everything got consistently worse. Debris piled on the side of US 1. Furniture and mattresses. Refrigerators. Boats upside down. Cars on their sides. Roofs off. Buildings down.

Big Pine, an absolute disaster. It was as if King Kong had stomped all over it.

Summerland, Cudjoe and Sugarloaf hit badly, also.

I had been informed I would see many refrigerators. Apparently they fly through the air with the greatest of ease. I even saw one in a tree. A big one. About 15 feet up, laying sideways on a couple of big branches.

The damage itself was too much to take. Coupled with the little girl under the Mexican school, both scearios combined too much to take. Tears were actually slowly rolling down my cheeks at one point.

Key West was a different story. Damage, yes. A roof gone here and there. Most signs blown through. Trees the real problem. Toppled. Size immaterial. Big and little ones.

My new home is in an area covered with large trees. A cathedral type appearance over the streets.

No more. I was shocked! at least half the trees down. The roads one lane. Piled debris on road side heavy.

My new home survived. No damage. Except for a big tree in front and 5 little ones (20 footers) in the back.

I thought I was returning to full services. No Comcast television, computer and landline. All three I discovered have been off since September 7. One day after I left, three days before Irma hit.

Comcast no help. Comcast’s attitude always the same. Don’t care/don’t bother me.

I called to ask when I would get service. The operator did not know. Asked if I was aware there had been a hurricane.

I am getting wi-fi from my cell phone. A special app. Extra cost.

I went out thursday night. Duval Street a ghost town. Places still boarded. No one on the street.

Met up with John, Kevin and Molly at Bourbon Street. Very few bars open. Food, forget it!

On the way home, I stopped at the Marriott Beachside. Asked for a menu. No food! Enjoyed a drink, met some nice folks who live on the golf course, also.

Yesterday a busy one. Up early. Stopped at Verizon and Publix. Only one Publix open. Customers looked sad. Heads down, asses dragging. A remnant of Irma?

Also got a haircut, manicure and pedicure.

I was energized all day. Assume it must have been the time I spent at Jean and Joe’s. Restful.

Dinner last night with Don and David at Pepi’s. One of the few restaurants open. They were only serving off the luncheon menu and did not have all of the items listed. I enjoyed a huge cheeseburger.

The tree in the center of the outside dining room did fall. Big time! Never more to stand. Destroyed part of the roof portion. The roots pulled up half the concrete floor.

One thing bothered me. The FEMA presence in the parking lot on Simonton behind the fire station. Two huge white tents. took up 2/3’s of the parking. Roped off. A couple of hundred people going in and out of the tents signing up for FEMA. Mostly Bahama Village residents. Everyone happy.

What bothered me were the two Homeland Security guards/officers. Uniformed. Never saw one before.

Tall, thin, crew cut hair, blue uniforms and guns on the hips. Reminded me of the neo-Nazis in Greece I have written about many times.

Their appearance bothered me. I asked myself why does this agency need its own military force.

A fire yesterday. 717 Duval. Reported flames engulfed the building. Fire Department got the fire under control. the building housed a tattoo shop.

Food is a problem. There is  scarcity. Monroe County announced free breakfasts and lunches to all school children till October 25.

I compliment Senator Mc Cain on his Obamacare stand.

Two observations.

Google maps. First time I ever used the service. Off my cell phone. Where have I been? Wow!

The Key West Citizen. Could be the beginning of the end. The Citizen is downsizing. Henceforth the Citizen will produce only two editions a week. A weekend edition on saturday. another edition on wednesday. The Citizen will also soon be moving its operation to Miami.

Sad. A Key West tradition.

Syracuse/LSU tonight. LSU favored by 23 points. Would like to watch the game, never the less. Jack Flats still closed. Might watch at Don’s Place.

I will be doing my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook later this afternoon. A quick few minutes. Interesting dialogue.

Enjoy your day!