I DIDN’T WIN THE LOTTERY

I didn’t win the lottery. I never win.

The Mega Millions Lottery drawing was last night. No one won. Which is good. Means I still have a chance.

The next drawing is tuesday evening. $1.6 billion. I can wait. The extra money worth it.

The Royal Coronation Ball last night! At the Amphitheater. Larry Blackburn crowned King. Benadeta Restivo, Queen.

I know Larry. A nice guy. Well liked. A professional photographer. Can generally be found at Aqua’s monday nights for Dueling Bartenders.

Larry has a 15 year old daughter. Last year when 14, I heard her sing at the Waterfront Theater. Outstanding! Her career path already marked.

Unfortunately, I do not know Benadeta. I am sure I will meet her soon.

Being King and Queen an honor. No bargain, however. The King and Queen must attend every type function for the next year. A hard job!

The White Street Pier. An edifice. Everyone knows and loves the pier. Most have walked it out onto the water for exercise, to watch the sun rise, or attend a friend’s “burial” as ashes are sprinkled onto the water.

The pier was renamed the Edward B. Knight Pier 2 years ago in honor of Ed Knight who did so much for Key West. David Wolkowsky and Ed were close friends. Contemporaries. David told me often how he and Ed would joke as to who would be the last one left standing.

The pier will close October 29 for roughly 6 weeks. Work to be done The base of the pier requires reconstruction.

Keys residents do not forget deeds well done. Irma destroyed certain areas of the Keys. People came from all over the country to help. Donated food and money.

The Panhandle had their share of helpers driving to the Keys.

Reciprocation time. Keys residents have not forgotten. It seems like every few days another truck and group of helpers drive north to help those in the Panhandle.

Michael did a number everywhere it hit. Many victims. Michael one of the biggest storms in U.S. history. A group from the Monroe County Fire Rescue left this week for the Panhandle. They had collected essentials and $10,000 to be delivered also. The truck they intended to use to transport the essentials turned out to be too small. A bigger one was required.

Good for the Rescue team and those who generously donated!

Essentials cover a number of items. Some that we might not think of at the moment. A very much needed essential are baby diapers. Speaks for itself.

Staying with Michael for a moment, I continue to question how effective FEMA has been. I worry they will come up short.

With Trump dominating the news in every other area, we have been hearing next to nothing re the Michael survivors, whether their needs are being met, etc.

I came across a recent FEMA news release setting forth what is being done. Whether enough, I do not know.

FEMA claims there are 16,000 federal employees working Michael affected areas. Eight thousand of that number is made up of military.

FEMA claims that on a daily basis in Florida alone, it is serving 715,000 meals and 1.5 million liters of water.

In spite of all that help, many are still without shelter for example. A family of 12 who had been living in a building of 100 condos saw their building destroyed. Six of the 12 children.

FEMA said they have to get out. The remnants of the building dangerous. Problem, no place to go. FEMA approved hotels/motels filled. So the family remain in the dangerous ruins of their condo. No power. The nights dark. Most days the toilets do not work.

I recently came across the Shoestring Weekends Blog. Shostringweekends.com. Exceptionally well done.

Art Boza, the writer. Lives in Miami. At one time lived in the Keys. He writes a daily blog about the Keys. From Key Largo to Key West and all points in between.

I do not know how he knows so much. I am impressed. I sense he must have a source for the information. Impossible for any one person to be familiar with all the places he mentions.

Every now and then a blog appears covering a Key West site/story. Today’s concerns Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms. Hemingway published the novel in 1929.

Boza points out it was not written at the Hemingway House on Whitehead. Rather at what is now the Casa Antigua at 304 Simonton. On the second floor. Sort of a did you know article.

I skimmed through some of the articles. Discovered that 3 written in the past several months were the same story with a different title. Word for word in some instances. The Hemingway/Antiqua story previously shared an example.

Whatever way Boza does it, the blog is worthy of your reading.

I am 83. I am reminded of it when I mention to someone younger the name of a famous movie star from days past. One is Burt Lancaster. One of the greatest actors ever. Died in 1994.

Lancaster had 2 connections with Key West.

The movie The Rose Tattoo was filmed in Key West. Written by Tennessee Williams. Lancaster starred in it together with Anna Mangani who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

The movie was filmed in a house on Duncan Street. Williams’ home was on Duncan also. The two houses were on the same block. One at one end, the other at the other end. Four or 5 houses apart.

Lisa lives on Duncan. Two blocks from the Rose Tattoo house.

While making The Rose Tattoo, Lancaster hung out at the Rooftop. The same Rooftop Restaurant still operating today on Front Street. Prior to the restaurant’s remodeling, the walls were covered with enlarged photos of Lancaster at the bar, etc. Not sure they are still there today.

Lancaster’s first movie was in 1946. He starred in The Killers opposite Ava Gardner. The Killers was based on Hemingway’s short story of the same name.

My afternoon will be well spent. Syracuse plays the University of North Carolina at noon. Syracuse a 10 point favorite.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

I CALLED IT

I complained yesterday Trump and FEMA were failing as regards Michael. They failed to show up for duty!

Trump needs to make a few visits to the devastated areas. More important than flying around the country doing 3 political rallies a week.

Someone commented today better the President stayed away at this time. Might disrupt recovery efforts. What recovery efforts as  you will see as this blog unwinds. The affected people need to know their leader is behind them and cares. He does not even have to bring paper towels.

The real failure at the moment if FEMA. Still in Washington. Doing TV shows trying to bullshit the country as to the great job being done.

I stated people needed the basics. Water and food first. Then ice, power, sewage, and shelter. Most of the tiny barrier towns are reporting it will be at least 2 months before they have water, sewage, and power.

What do they do in the meantime? The government, federal and state, must step in and help. One of the reasons government exists is to help in times of disaster.

No one appeared to be complaining yesterday re  Trump and FEMA’s failures. I decided too. Not because I am a genius. My age comes into play. Eighty three. I have seen a lot over the years. Puerto Rico and other disasters. Government failure in New Orleans. Government failure in general in time of need.

I was disturbed the media was not talking about no water, no food, etc.

So I expressed myself yesterday. Today, FEMA’s failure big time in the news. Trump’s failure not mentioned yet.

The cry from Michael’s survivors is, “We’re not getting any help.” There is no food, no water, no FEMA. Survivors are furious. They have been left to fend for themselves, with little help from the government.

The Panhandle’s Chantelle Goolspy an example. She was able to get through to FEMA in Washington by phone. We need help! She was told to call the Red Cross. The Red Cross told her to call 211. 211 is a Florida emergency help number.

She said, “We need food, water, anything, we’re not getting any help.”

She was told to hang on. Do the best she could. It would be a few days before food, water, etc. would be forthcoming.

The people feel they have been forgotten by the outside world.

There is the Lipford family. They own, live on, and work a 160 acre farm that has been in the family since the Civil War. Michael left them cut off from civilization. The older Mrs. Lipford says the family feels like it has been shoved back to frontier days. She washes clothes in a bucket. She bathes in a creek where her husband made a small wall of stones to hold water.

Their daughter is 23. She is wielding a chain saw to cut away fallen trees, except that every two hours she must return to the house to breast feed her 6 week old son.

Mr. Lipford said, “I want power and water. The rest we can deal with.” Shades of a strong self help person from another day.

Panama City Beach has resorted to self-help. Not waiting for federal emergency assistance. Volunteers from other Florida areas unaffected by Michael have brought food and water to Panama City. A food kitchen has been set up. Fifteen hundred meals were prepared for locals.

A church has set up 15 stations within Panama City where it is prepared to deliver meals every day. Ready to go. Need the food to cook, however.

One comment from the area: “The American people are helping us, FEMA will come into the game and get the accolades in six months.”

A federal, state and local Emergency Operation Center has been established at Gulf State College. Telling people they have to ration the food and water they have. The group’s primary concern remains looking for survivors. Sixty thousand residents remained.

Governor Scott impressed me with Irma. He is not with Michael. He too is advising: “Everybody just needs to help each other right now.”

Many get their water from wells. Wells not helpful at the moment. They run on electricity.

This failure should not have been. Everyone knew Michael was coming. Trump told us on TV no problem, we have enough money.

In due course, we should be told two things. One, why the failure to prepare. The other, why is the money supposedly available not being used.

Enjoy your Sunday!

TRUMP AND FEMA YET TO REPORT FOR DUTY

Michael made landfall wednesday. Trump has yet to visit. FEMA boots on the ground few, if any.

A devastated people need to see their leader face to face. A visit/his visit would provide encouragement. Uplifting. Those affected need to see him.

Where is Trump? In different States most evenings conducting rallies to Make America Great Again and in anticipation of the November 6 elections.

Take your time Mr. President. The people of northern Florida are not going anywhere. In and out of the Panhandle next to impossible. However, Mr. President you have a helicopter. You can go everywhere. You should have been in Mexico Beach instead of Lebanon, Ohio.

FEMA. What is FEMA doing? What has it done so far? FEMA’s absence is obvious. FEMA’s boots on the ground are needed.

Instead, I see FEMA head Brock Long on national TV yesterday from Washington with a slew of other agency heads telling America what a good job they were doing. Shades of Bush 2, Brownie, and Katrina.

Talk is cheap at a time like this. Basics are needed. FEMA has to get them in. Water, food, ice, power, and shelter. Food and water immediately. Ice soon thereafter. To cool the body externally and internally. Power a given. No air conditioning, cooking, refrigerators operating, etc. without. Shelter. Something. Even a tent. It will be tent cities at first.

These people need help, not bullshit.

Irma hit the Keys last year. Heavy damage in some areas. Damage still exists in certain areas. As with many north Floridians, I evacuated. Eighty percent of Key West left. Irma was coming straight for us as a category 5. Fortunately, at the last minute it took a twist and went over Key West as a category 1. Sixteen miles up US 1 it became a 4. Destruction heavy from Cudjoe Key north to Marathon.

I wrote the only book re Irma. My personal feelings in getting out of its path, difficulty in avoiding Irma all the way up Florida, 12 days with friends in Birmingham, Alabama. The trip back. The destruction I saw coming down US 1. Key West’s desolation. Like the town had died. Difficulties the first few weeks. Difficulties yet to be resolved. Etc.

If you want to feel first hand what I did and what Michael’s ravishes have caused, read my book. Not technical. Personal. You will feel. It is available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Dinner last night at Andrea and Joe’s. The lady is a cook! Baked breaded chicken, mashed potatoes heavy with butter and sour cream, her home made butter, warm bread, etc. Dessert, cheese cake likewise home made.

I made it a pina colada night. Joe’s pina coladas brought me back to Aruba’s beaches. He is the master pina colada maker.

It has been off season in Key West. All over come friday. Tourists will bury the town. As many as 60,000 the night of the parade. I don’t know where they sleep.

Goombay is friday and saturday. Then Fantasy Fest for a week. Goombay for the kids. Fantasy Fest for adults.

Wisteria Island back in the news. The Blue Paper yesterday, the Key West Citizen today. The government is suing present owner Roger Bernstein. To settle title. The federal government says it owns the island. Bernstein says he does and his family has for years. Been paying taxes on the island for 50 plus years.

My friend David Wolkowsky was involved at one point. David “owned” Wisteria Island. He was not sure, but had bought it at some point from a third party.

It was 1967. David was constructing the Pier House. Wolkowsky borrowed $20,000 from Bernstein to build the Pier House’s bathrooms. The note was secured by Wolkowsky with Wisteria Island.

Bernstein would not extend David’s time to pay. He took title to the island in satisfaction. David not being sure the title was good, gave a quit claim deed which Bernstein accepted. A quit claim deed says in effect I am not certain I own the property. If I do, you get good title. If not, you get nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

The federal government’s claim in the lawsuit is based on things that happened in the 1820’s and 1920’s.

David passed on a a few weeks ago. I am sure David is smiling in his grave. Smiling at Bernstein who refused to extend his time to pay, took his island, and now may end up with nothing.

Bernstein for years has wanted to develop a resort hotel on the island.

No Syracuse football today. A bye week.

I am into ghosts.

Last night when driving home from Andrea and Joe’s, I passed the Hemingway House. No traffic. I stopped in the middle of the street. A light in an upstairs window. Did not see Hemingway.

A weird ghost story follows.

Amethyst Realm is 28. She lives in Bristol, England. She is employed as a spiritual guidance counselor.

She claims she has had sex with ghosts. Somewhere in the area of 20. Prefers them to men.

The first time was 13 years ago. She and her husband had moved into a new home. New to them. The first time she felt an “energy.” It became physical. She felt pressure on her thighs and neck. A heavy presence on her body. She could feel someone breathing on her and stroking her.

She claims a 3 year affair with the first ghost. Till a night when her husband came home and saw a “shadowy shape” on top of her. The ghost swiftly departed, never to return.

Since then, she claims experiences with at least 20 different ghosts.

She wants to get pregnant by a ghost. She has researched “phantom pregnancies.” Claims a ghost can impregnate. The problem is carrying the fetus to term.

I came across several other similar stories. One by a man.

Psychotherapists claim such sex experiences are hallucinations. They occur as one is falling asleep. The time between awake and sleep.

Sex with a ghost a step too far for me. On the other hand should I ever actually meet a ghost, I might change my mind. If there are ghosts, it opens the door to the possibility.

Donna and Terri taking me to dinner tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

MICHAEL’S CONTINUING SAGA

The old hymn…..Onward Christian soldiers. Michael appears to have moved to the tune. Though not with God on his side. In and out quickly. Did not hang around. In less than two days, did a number on northern Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. Now over the Atlantic, 185 miles east-northeast of Norfolk.

The Panhandle pure devastation. Comments include unprecedented damage, a war zone, communities obliterated, an Air Force Base wiped out, catastrophic, looks like an atomic bomb dropped, cars and boats piled up like rubbish.

Keeps going. Entire blocks empty, houses on them smashed by storm surge and wind, washed out to sea.

First responders going in. Difficult work. The war zone description repeated frequently.

Michael maintained hurricane intensity 200 miles inland. Unusual.

Though Michael far out to sea, Virginia still experiencing dangerous wind gusts.

Michael gone. Recovery help required big time. I do not hear of FEMA’s involvement. Sure they must be there. Tell us. I am concerned Trump will fail the Panhandle as he did Puerto Rico. It all comes down to money. Soon I suspect we will hear there is not enough money. Then what?

Sad stories. Every one of them. One of the worst, 11 year old Sarah Radrey. Staying with her grandparents in Georgia. A car port crashed through the roof and killed her.

God help Sarah, her parents, and her grandparents. Tragedy of the worst kind!

Stopped into the Chart Room first last night. John working. Had not seen him in a week.

The room was packed! Tight standing room only. Forget getting a seat. Highly unusual this time of year. Off season.

Met two nice people. Lisa and Bob. Celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary.

Lisa and Bob from River Edge, New Jersey. Bob affiliated with the New York City Carpenters Union. Lisa works for a podiatrist.

Two grown sons. Twenty four and twenty two.

Their third visit to Key West. Second time at the Pier House. First time stayed at the Ocean Key across the street.

We talked of many things. A bit of politics. Lisa and I on opposite sides of the fence. She watches FOX News!

Liked them. Hope to see them again the next time they return.

David showed up somewhere along the evening. Always good to see David. I enjoy his company.

Then to the Blue Macaw. Enjoyed a drink, brie and good company. Andrea, Joe, John, Doug, Mary, Donna, and Terri.

I was anxious to talk with Doug. He is a tour guide at the Hemingway House.

I have been into ghosts the past few days. First, South Carolina’s Gray Man. Yesterday, Key West’s Angel of Mercy Maria Gutsens.                      .

Researching for more ghost tales yesterday, I came across an article claiming Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline were making nocturnal visits to the Hemingway House.

Hard to believe! Doug would know.

Doug said no to Ernest, maybe to Pauline, but suggested Asa Tift as the real ghost. Asa was a wrecker/salvager in Key West’s early days. A self made tycoon. Built the Hemingway House for he and his family.

I could find nothing to substantiate the Asa story. Did come across more re the Hemingways.

Ghost appearances are technically referred to as manifestations. Many manifestations at the Hemingway House.

Hemingway writing in his loft work room, seen walking around the house, and standing on the veranda occasionally waving at passersby.

Pauline standing at the top of the central staircase looking to the loft watching her husband working and out the window her children playing outside. Occasionally standing at night by the gate smoking a cigarette.

One manifestation is hearing the typewriter clicking in the early morning. Supposedly, Hemingway writing. Could not be true. Hemingway did not type his works. He hand wrote them with a pencil. Then either Pauline or his sister would type them up.

My home bound trip from the Blue Macaw evenings takes me right by the Hemingway House. I shall be looking manifestations.

Key West’s humorous weather man at it again. He predicts this evening at 78 degrees and partly cloudy. Follows it up with…..Stars play peek-a-boo.

Traffic is reaching the breaking point on US 1. The only way in and out of Key West. The only highway through 140 miles of the Keys. Traffic especially heavy the past two years. A recent study attributes the increase to tourists. Claim tourists jam the highway.

Merely sharing. I have no comment.

Another study suggests two major medical problems. The first obviously the flu. The other too many C-sections. The number world wide has doubled from 2000 to 2015. The increase in the U.S. up as much as 30 percent in certain years. China up as much as 62 percent.

The message most of the C-sections not required. Medical problems for mother and child increasing as a result.

DOW doing well. Two days ago, down more than 800 points. Yesterday, more than 500. Today?

Trump’s lack of character evident with the Jamal Khashoggi situation. Trump says U.S. economy more important. We have a $110 billion agreement with Saudi Arabia for planes, etc. Trump says Khashoggi not even a citizen. Correct. He is a legal U.S. resident however and writes for the Washington Post.

News this morning says the $110 billion agreement mostly a holdover from the Obama administration. Actually, letters of intent. Not binding. Saudi Arabia has never purchased anything pursuant to the agreement.

Tonight, I dine! Andrea cooking. Joe making pina coladas. Andrea’s food preparation dining without question. Joe’s pina coladas fun.

Enjoy your day!

 

SYRACUSE BURIES FLORIDA STATE 30-7

My orange blood boiled yesterday. From excitement! Syracuse beat Florida State. Handily, 30-7.

Mighty Casey did not strike out!

Florida State had won the previous 11 encounters between the schools.

Was Syracuse that good or was Florida State that bad? A combination, I suspect. The test comes in future games. Next week Connecticut. A Syracuse victory. The following week, Clemson. Who knows. A real test.

Star quarterback Eric Dungey got hurt again. Second quarter. Freshman Tom DeVito went in. What a game DeVito played!

It is exciting that well played football is returning to Syracuse. It has been a long time. If my recollection is correct, the late 1990’s was the last time the team experienced golden years. Duncan McNabb’s time.

Spent my Saturday night at Blue Macaw. Enjoyed!

Met Jean Paul. A Hatian by birth. Came to the U.S. at 19. Now 61. Entertained last night. Played and sang.

Jean Paul multi-talented. A musician and artist. Showed me some of his paintings. Magnificent! Paints his homeland in vibrant colors. He has an outdoor gallery on Duval across the street from Hard Rock Cafe.

The story is told that when Jean Paul came to the U.S. at 19, the family settled in a flat in Brooklyn. Cold! Colder than that apparently. Jean Paul was accustomed to Haitian heat.

We talked long. I like Jean Paul. Sense we will be friends.

Andrea and Joe were at the bar. We sat together. Good people!

Paul was there again with his sister Laura and brother in law Dennis. They escaped Florence. They are from Myrtle Beach.

Laura a former first grade school teacher. Dennis retired from the Post Office.

Larry Baeder played later in the evening. I learned Larry is quite a giving man. Generous of his time. He works gratis teaching the young children at the Community Center music and how to play musical instruments.

I did a Publix stop on the way home. It was 9:50. Publix closes at 10. I moved my ass around fast enough to spend $70 and be out the door at 9:59. The third time I have done late late night shopping recently.

Florence ain’t going away! More and worse flooding for several days yet. Those who failed to leave now being rescued by first responders.

I hope everything works out as Trump projected. The number of people requiring assistance grows by day. I question whether there will be sufficient shelter, water and food. I question preparations for Florence’s arrival. There was sufficient time to be ready.

Trump enjoys twittering. As of this coming thursday, he will have a new toy. Referred to as the Presidential Alert System.

A law was authorized in 2015 establishing an Emergency Alert System. Using cell phones. Provides for immediate contact by the President warning of disasters.

The system is for Presidential use. The subject matter must relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, other man made disasters, or a threat to public safety.

A good idea. My concern is whether Trump will abuse the new system. Use it as he uses Twitter. Probably.

FEMA will test the new system next Thursday for the first time.

There are good people in the world. We do not hear of them enough. I came across one this morning while glancing through John Reinke’s Jasper Jottings.

Dennis Frandsen is a mid west successful banker.  His bank has 35 branches in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Luck Public School is located in Wisconsin. This year’s graduating class will number 34. Frandsen has guaranteed each graduate a free college education. He will pay tuition for at least 2 years at a technical college.

The U.S. and Russia are pushing at each other in Syria. Let me share one person’s thoughts.

Ian Welsh is a Canadian blogger I follow. He recently wrote Syria could be straining the already strained U.S./Russia relationship. Russia together with Iran support Assad. The U.S. supports the rebels.

Saber rattling going on. Rumors afloat that Assad plans to use chemical weapons against the rebels. Trump has clearly said the U.S. will retaliate if he does. Russia is pushing Assad.

Welsh thinks the U.S. could lose in a fighting conflict with Russia. The basis for his belief is that the U.S. has fallen behind re missiles and missile defense technology. I believe him correct that the U.S. is behind missile wise.

Welsh describes Trump’s position as follows: He is against getting into a war with Russia “but he seems to have become deranged about Syria’s Iran ties…..U.S. foreign policy…..is doing what Saudi Arabia and Israel want, not what is good for the U.S.”

Sloan coming at noon. A busy afternoon ahead.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FEMA…..ARE YOU THERE?……ARE YOU DOING THE JOB?

I worry. Are we going to fall on our face once again when it comes to helping our own? Katrina a Bush failure. Puerto Rico Trump’s.

Florence here. Trump assured us he was ready. FEMA was ready. Both had enough time to get ready. We knew Florence was coming for days. We knew it was going to be a big one.

I am concerned that Trump fails to understand the magnitude of the Florence assistance required. We will know in a week.

FEMA puts out reports constantly. Bureaucratic bullshit. The official FEMA report published at 7 am September 14 spelled out in detail what was being done and would be done. The report was titled the Hurricane Florence Lifeline.

I hope everyone involved read it and are prepared to take on one of the largest natural disaster recoveries in U.S. history.

Last night the Chart Room. Quiet. John bartending. I wanted to say bon voyage and wish him well. He leaves sunday morning for a 10 day Jamaican vacation.

Mary was seated at the bar. I normally see her at Blue Macaw. Spent some time chatting with her. An intelligent woman.

Mary is a tour guide at The Little White House. I consider myself extremely knowledgeable re Harry Truman. Mary has me beat. I learned several new Truman things from her.

I left Mary at the Chart Room and headed over to Blue Macaw. Packed! No room at the bar! So I left.

It was Sandy’s Cafe for dinner. Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a cup of Cuban coffee. The bill $5.03. Can’t beat it.

Home in bed before 9. A good boy was I.

The Tropic Cinema is Key West. Conceived, constructed and operated by locals. A life like statue of Marilyn Monroe sits in front of the theater. Her skirt blowing upwards from a subway vent beneath her feet.

Monroe laughing.

On this day in 1954, the “skirt” scene was filmed. The Tropic Cinema did well in capturing that moment for Key West.

The VIP Gentlemen’s Club is at the quiet far end of Duval. 1221 Duval. There has been some sort of “club’ there for years. Young ladies siting on the front porch enticing men as they walk by. Young ladies inside.

It appears to be a house of ill repute. I do not think so. More of a rip off place. Men pay a fee to get inside. Once heard $300. Any service by the girls extra. Paid for. Not provided. The ladies do not engage in that sort of thing.

Credit car bills occasionally have a 0 or 2 added on.

The police rarely get involved. They view the problems as contractual/civil rather than criminal.

The place should have been closed years ago. It is a taint on Duval and Key West. No better than the hustlers at the other end of Duval ripping off customers in perfume shops.

Yesterday, the police did get involved. Not for the normal problems, however. Ashley Barrett, age 26, is a “stripper” at the club. She apparently got drunk during the day. Threatened her coworkers first with a knife. Later in the day with an iron.

She was arrested.

Paul Manafort buried Trump yesterday with his plea. He flipped. All the way. Caused Humpty Dumpty to fall off the wall. Ended up with Manafort’s heel on Trump’s throat.

Donald Jr and Jared next. Then, the big one! Deservedly so. He has brought America to the brink of disaster in many ways. Possible shooting wars, the tariff wars, etc.

A pleasurable afternoon awaits. Syracuse/Florida State at noon. Florida State a 2 1/2 point favorite. Syracuse’s first real competition this season. I am excited. Hope Syracuse wins!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

COMCAST DOWN AGAIN

The bigger Comcast gets, the poorer its service. Service in the Keys. Failed again yesterday. Internet, e-mail and television. From 6:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Failure of service has become a consistent pattern.

Comcast has become too big for its britches. In recent years, it purchased NBC. The company probably spends more time and is more concerned about big time NBC rather than Comcast. The Comcast I assume helped finance NBC’s purchase.

As a result of the service failure, I was not able to get the blog out. My apologies, even though not my fault.

I learned a lesson yesterday. Louis cannot live without internet and TV. I read a bit. Never the less, it was a long boring day.

Last night however made up for the day’s earlier frustrations. Partied at Andrea and Joe’s.

Donna, Terri and I were to stop by for drinks and then out to dinner. Never left Donna and Joe’s. My second Key West Julia Child had laid out a table of pickies that the best restaurant could not have topped. Everything from small pieces of meat to shrimp to dips to breads.

At one point, Andrea, Joe and I stepped outside for a cigarette. I know. Bad. While we were standing there, a car drove up. The woman in the passenger seat leaned out and started talking. It was mayoral candidate Teri Johnston.

She was campaigning. Brilliant, I thought! Teri lost the primary by one point. She failed to reach the 50 percent required to avoid a run off. Her opponent received 24 percent of the vote.

Instead of resting home secure that she would probably win in November with these numbers, Teri was out campaigning.

Andrea mentioned that Donna and Terri were inside. Teri is good friends with them. She came in.

The girls hugged and kissed. A happy mood prevailed. One of Teri’s workers walked in with a video camera. Teri, Donna and Terri were videoed while Terri was belting out a song.

Teri then left for her next stop. Another person or persons standing outside their home. By car. Smart campaigning.

Wednesday night was the Blue Macaw. Terri singing with Larry Baeder. For the first time as a paid performer at Blue Macaw. She now has a regular wednesday night gig.

Place packed. Everyone there.

Ran into Stephanie and Angie who I had met the night before.

Stephanie a daytime bartender for 17 years at Hogsbreath…..Ain’t no breath like hogs breath! Knows my friend George who also has bartended there for years.

Angie owns Crystals and Coconuts across the street. A smart shop. Exquisitely designed jewelry available.

Matthew McConaughey stopped into Crystals and Coconuts when he was filming in Key West a few months ago. A picture of the star and Angie appears on the internet of McConaughey purchasing a necklace for his daughter.

Irma had an impact on Key West in more than one way. I have lost my fourth couple friends because of Irma. Kentucky’s David and Marilyn. I received an e-mail from David advising they had sold their home around the corner from Santiago’s Bodega and returned to Kentucky.

I assume the fear of another impending storm. Scares the hell out of you. No question. I know.

David was a writer and basketball fan. I shall miss him.

Florence doing its thing. Rains and flooding big time. Two or three more days to go. Irma causes me to worry about these people.

Trump says he is ready for Florence. I hope so. I fear another Puerto Rico, however. Florence is big. The aftermath bigger. Excuses will not fly if there is failure. I expect there will be.

Does Trump know what he is doing?

The number of detained immigrant children has skyrocketed. From 2,400 in May 2017 to 12,800 this month. Causes alleged involve a reduction in release time, the number straining the children and system, and the fact that most of the children crossed the border without parents.

The last item portraying how desperate parents are to be sure their children will be safe and find a better way of life.

In the meantime, it was announced this week that Trump wants to pay Mexico $20 million to assist in resolving U.S. border problems. The Trump administration sent a Notice to Congress that it requires the $20 million in order to pay Mexico the cost of plane and bus tickets to return unauthorized immigrants in Mexico who are on their way to the U.S. The tickets are to return them home, not to the U.S.

Seventeen thousand unauthorized immigrants involved.

I have to hand it to Trump. He knows how to piss money away. Twenty five million for the wall, $20 million for plane and bus tickets.

I will be surprised if Congress gives him the money.

Syracuse/Florida State tomorrow. A Syracuse win will indicate the direction the season is taking. Florida State a 3 point favorite.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BOB WISDOM RE HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS

Bob Smith was an oracle of wisdom. He wrote BOB in the mid 1990’s, sharing his thoughts with the world.

Today, BOB and hurricanes.

My sense is naming hurricanes and following their path on TV was a relatively new thing in the 1990’s. BOB thought they gave a feeling of preparedness. A false feeling. Hype had nothing to do with being ready for 100 mile plus winds and rain.

He felt Hurricane Andrew in 1992 proved his point.

Evacuation always important. Many failed to leave. Almost always. Traffic extremely slow, not enough gas, etc.

BOB had the solution. Airlift Key West residents out. Like the Berlin airlift. The federal government could label the program the Florida Keys Evacuation Plan.

FEMA was not doing a good job. Useless. My observation is that FEMA improves with every hurricane. However 26 years after Andrew, still do not have it down.

BOB believed FEMA would never improve.

BOB disparaged politicians big time. Tiny brains. Did not know how to get the job done: “I have long since abandoned the idea that reason rules with these clowns.”

I took it easy yesterday. The previous 3 days had been hectic.

Began with a walk up and down White Street. Should be referred to as the new White Street. Many buildings remodeled. All type new businesses opened and opening. Exciting.

Then lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Situated right in the middle of White Street. It has become one of my favorite lunch haunts. I sit quietly, read the newspapers, and enjoy Cuban cheese toast with tomato and Cuban coffee.

Last night, a late one for me. I am usually in bed by 9. Last night, 12:30!

My evening began late. Bria Ansara’s birthday party was 8-10 at Bourbon St. Got there 8:30. Crowd building. By the time I left an hour later, the place was jam packed. People dancing, singing, waving their arms.

Bria entertaining. A lovely woman. Magnificent. A talented vocalist.

Saw her in a different light last night. Normally, I get to see and hear Bria at Berlin’s on the weekend. She sings on those evenings a lot of tunes from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. Music for oldies like me. Music from my time. The music of most Berlin customers.

Bourbon St. last night, A much younger crowd. No one even close to my 82 years. They were whooping it up. Bria leading them.

A lot of people I knew. Many from Aqua’s Dueling Bartenders. Many women who perform in Key West, also. Fantasy Fest Queen Destiny, one of the bartenders from Berlin’s, Guy de Boer, Chris the photographer, Erin, and others I recognized but whose names I could not recall.

Since I wasn’t dancing, singing or whooping it up to today’s music, I left after an hour. Decided to stop at the Chart Room.  Glad I did.

Ollie was holding court at the end of the bar. A Key West icon.

Met Mandy and Gene. Ollie introduced us. Spent 2 hours chatting with them.

Gene originally from Syracuse. Grew up in Camillus, a small community adjoining Syracuse. Mandy and Gene today live in Smeltfield, Virginia. The home of Smeltfield Ham and Bacon.

They have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Gene still working. An industrial designer. He designs aircraft carriers. I was impressed.

Mandy retired. However her work background equally impressive. She spent her career working with the Navy and Coast Guard at their highest echelons.

We talked about everything. They hope to return for Fantasy Fest. Have never seen it.

I liked their attitudes. They are both 60. Kids educated and gone. They are ready to live.

Go for it!

My drive to Bria’s party found me on North Roosevelt Boulevard at the right time. There before me was the setting sun. A huge yellow ball. Caught the sun just as it was cutting the horizon.

A benefit of living in Key West.

I intend for today to be another Louis day. Only thing scheduled is a haircut with Lori at noon. Going to try to schedule a manicure and pedicure for later in the afternoon.

It’s a good life!

Enjoy your day!

 

VOODOO

I mentioned Italy’s immigration problem in yesterday’s blog. Based on personal observation and as reported to me by my friend Anna who lives in Novara. Novara is near Milan.

Anna reads this blog everyday. She responded to yesterday’s blog with a long e-mail. I share excerpts from it. Italy’s immigration problem is different from ours in certain regards.

Italy’s immigrants are primarily from Africa.

“Italy is going down and down…..March the 4th election: right wing will win. Italy is fed up with politicians, mainly of the present government, democrats who packed Italy of immigrants mainly negros and mainly crooks, delinquents. It seems some do voodoo rites!!! Last week in Macerata negros killed, in a flat, an 18 year old girl, chopped her body with knives and machetes, washed them putting the pieces in 2 suitcases and abandoning them faraway in the country. But there was not her heart and bowels!!! Eaten??? A voodoo rite??? Soon after, a crazy white young man in order to revenge the girl, went around downtown Macerata and shot 6 negros injuring them seriously. I could go on…..”

Anna’s husband died several years ago. He served as a national Senator for years and then 8 years as a member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. At one time, she sent me a photo of her husband and Gorbachev their heads joined together in what appeared to be a serious conversation.

Spent a couple of hours at the Chart Room last night. John bartending.

Lovely Morgan at the bar. My charming 26 year old friend. A big hug. We talked alone at the round table for two hours.

An amazing young lady. Whoever is fortunate to win her over is going to get a great wife. She’s a keeper!

Friend Sandie at the bar. She introduced me to her visiting friend Janie from Philadelphia. Go Eagles!

As I was leaving, ran into Devon at the bar. I see Devon about once a year. A farmer from the midwest. Owns a condo in Key West.

Devon is a smart farmer. He and his brother own a huge farm. They did not fight the big corporations that entered the agriculture business. They joined them! Happy they are. The right move. They have prospered.

Diana Millikan is off somewhere. She travels the world. She e-mailed me yesterday. One of her Hilton Haven Road neighbors told her there were gun shots around 4:30 in the morning. There were. This morning’s Citizen reports a man staying at the Banana Bay Resort was shot in the leg.

No arrests yet.

Irma hit September 10. Its effects still with us.

The canals remain impacted with house, boat and tree debris. Non-navigable. Nearshore waters, likewise.

Monroe County has entered into a $6 million contract with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to begin a clean up.

Many still are without homes. The homes either completely destroyed or the owners do not have funds yet to rebuild. FEMA and the insurance companies have been unreasonably slow in making payments.

These people have to live somewhere. Some in tents. Others in hotels. FEMA announced yesterday that they would extend hotel time at FEMA’s expense another month till March 3. There will be further monthly extensions. This part of the Irma problem not being resolved.

Mom’s Tea Room. I have written several times about Mom’s Tea Room. A Key West house of prostitution. Alice Reid the madam.

On this day in 1941, the body of working girl Cecilia Thompson Trunk was found in Mom’s. An apparent suicide. On the same day in 1952, another body found. Rita Brown, an apparent suicide also.

Mom’s was a busy place. A big U.S. Navy clientele. The Navy had many stationed here. The Navy did not like Alice or Mom’s. Morality and venereal disease the reasons. They closed Reid’s place a couple of times. A smart woman, however. She would pop up in another location. Closed finally in the 1950’s, never to open again.

Same sex marriage. Its time had come. The world accepting/falling into place. One nation at a time. Till now.

Bermuda reverted.

Bermuda’s law recognizing same sex marriage was less than one year old. Bermuda’s President signed a new law yesterday banning same sex marriage. A reversal. A win for bigotry.

Those of the same sex can live together with all the same rights and benefits as if married. The new relationship called a domestic partnership. The title married neither available nor recognized.

Have to hustle. A haircut with Lori at noon.

Enjoy your day!

 

A HEMINGWAY STORY…..

Hemingway’s personal experiences are just as interesting as his novels.

Hemingway was a lover. A ladies man. Enjoyed his sexual adventures.

He was into  his second marriage. Pauline Pfeiffer, the wife. They were married 13 years. Ten of those years spent in Key West.

The marriage proved healthy for Hemingway’s writings. Most of his best works were written during his marriage to Pauline.

Pauline’s father wealthy. Pauline enjoyed inherited wealth. Provided Hemingway with a comfortable life style.

The home on Whitehead was bought during the marriage. Primarily with Pauline’s dollars. The home stands to this day. Now, a museum. The Hemingway House.

The gardens were to the front of the house. Hemingway had constructed a boxing ring. He was a boxing enthusiast.

Hemingway was off to Spain as a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. He met and fell in love with Martha Gellhorn there, she also a war journalist.

Word got back to Pauline in Key West that husband Ernest was seriously screwing around. Pissed her off big time!

Pauline had the boxing ring torn down and replaced it with a $20,000 swimming pool. A lot of money for a pool in those days. Had Hemingway billed for it. The pool was lovely. Its setting in the gardens perfect. The sunlight equally perfect. The water glistened.

When Hemingway returned home, he became angered when he found out how much the pool cost. He and Pauline had words. Hemingway took a penny out of his pocket and flung it on the ground saying, “Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so might as well have that.”

The penny has become part of Hemingway House folklore. There is a 1934 penny imbedded in the concrete at the foot of the pool. Whether the same penny, I do not know.

Pauline and Hemingway in due course divorced. Martha became wife number three.

Hemingway drew on life experiences for his books. He and Pauline had two sons. Pauline’s labor was extremely difficult for one. Legend has it Hemingway used Pauline’s suffering as the basis for Catherine’s death in A Farewell To Arms.

My podcast show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. A mix of Trump and local Key West stories. The show did not include the Hemingway one just shared. Key West has a slew of tales to be told.

The United States is getting better in dealing with natural disasters. Better not enough, however. More time and money must be spent planning how to react before a disaster even occurs.

New Orleans’ Katrina should have taught us a lot. Turns out, not enough.

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. FEMA immediately saw the need for food. FEMA contracted with an Atlanta firm for 30 million meals, clearly spelling out time was of the essence. Delivery had to be as soon as possible. Only 50,000 were delivered.

The Atlanta firm was Tribate Contracting LLC. A one employee firm. The sole employee the owner Tiffany Brown. Brown had no experience in large scale disaster relief.

The contract was for $156 million.

It was Brown’s responsibility to find and contract with vendors to prepare and get the food to Puerto Rico. She was only intended as a run through. A conduit. She would be paid handsomely for her company’s services in that regard.

Brown hired a wedding caterer with a staff of 11 to prepare and freeze dry meals.

FEMA cancelled its contract with Brown’s company.

In the meantime, many in Puerto Rico were going without food.

Italy’s former Prime Minister and political force Silvio Berlusconi is back in the news. He has not been heard from in recent years after being convicted of tax fraud and sexual involvement with a 17 year old girl.

Due to the convictions, Berlusconi can no longer hold public office. Nothing bars him from being a political leader/force, however.

A national election is scheduled for March 4.

Berlusconi now 81 years old.

Immigration the issue. Everywhere!

In  the past few years, African Muslims seeking a way to Sweden have moved through Italy. Many remained in Italy. Six hundred thousand.

In my several trips to northern Italy in recent years, I have become familiar with the problem. Seen it first hand. Novara where my friend Anna lives appears to be a black community rather than a white one. Anna and her friends are not happy about it.

The homeless are not well taken care of at all. They sit on formerly prosperous streets, their backs against the walls, day and night. They are everywhere. Black prostitutes openly working the neighborhoods day and night.

Berlusconi says he will immediately deport the 600,000 immigrants.

Sounds like Trump.

My travels took me to Portofino. Expensive! I was paying $20 for a glass of gin.

Two places have impressed me beauty wise in my travels. Santorini and the bay at Portofino.

Berlusconi has a home in Portofino. On the water, of course. Huge. Magnificent. The shrubbery and flower beds alone have to cost a ton  of money to keep up.

Berlusconi and Putin are, if you will excuse the description, asshole buddies. Putin had a summer home built in Portofino right next to Berlusconi’s.

Evidence the relationship is close one. Several years ago and prior to Putin constructing his Portofino home, Putin allowed his teenage daughter to spend the summer at Berlusconi’s Portofino home.

What a world!

Enjoy your day!