CONGRESS TO BLAME FOR POST OFFICE DEBT

After a two year absence, I am returning to write a weekly column for KONK Life. My first article hits the stands wednesday. A timely topic. The Post Office’s debt. Titled: Congress To Blame For Post Office Debt.

Sloan came over around noon yesterday. I could not structure the article on my computer. She got me set up.

I wrote a detailed column concerning the issue. The bottom line is Trump should get off Amazon’s back. Congress the blame. Congress saw a cash cow in 2006 and legislated the scenario leading almost immediately to Post Office insolvency.

Prior to Congress getting greedy, the Post Office was solvent. One year before the legislation in 2005, the Post Office was debt free.

You will enjoy the article. Informative.

My sunday got screwed up. I wanted to do Hot Dog Church, the Chorale and the Gardens. Due to time constraints because of writing the Post Office column, I thought I might only make the Gardens.

I made none.

The Gardens was still an option when I received a call from Donna. Terri was to sing at the Gardens. Terri told me the Gardens was cancelling. A rainstorm coming in at 6.

The rain did not arrive till 7. Heavy, Even at that time would have had a couple hundred people scurrying for cover.

So, I took a nap around 4.

My big evening was James Comey’s interview.

One of the points he drove home was that Trump is not morally fit to be President. I agree. Especially now that “pee sex” is becoming part of the national debate.

How low can political discourse get? Trump brings us to a new level with everything he does.

I discussed the pee sex/morality issue during my Key West Lou Live video on Facebook this morning.

The Cow Key Bridge Race was yesterday. One thousand strong participating. Most costumed.

A new record established for the 300 foot event: 22.2 seconds. The previous was 23.1 seconds.

The athletes guzzled pints of beer the night before preparing for the race.

This morning busy. A business meeting at 10. A doctor visit at 11:15. First meeting preparatory to setting up a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The tests I mind not. It is the prep for the colonoscopy which is bothersome.

Jean Thornton’s trip of trips continues.

Yesterday, she and Joe still in Barcelona. The day began at 7 with a delicious breakfast. Then a brisk morning walk around the ship’s decks watching Barcelona wake up.

At 9:30, a tour of Barcelona with Julio.

Seven mountains surround Barcelona. The bus took them all the way up one. Jean reports the view of Barcelona below amazing!.

Following the bus tour, Jean and Joe took a walk around the old Gothic quarter. Discovered an old Cathedral and Roman ruins. Then discovered the famous Las Rambla Boulevard.

They lucked out. Ran into a political demonstration. Hundreds marching and chanting in support of Catalan independence. Flags, yellow attire.

Lunch time. Stopped at a tapas restaurant. Standing outside waiting for a table.

Jean and Joe must look like rich Americans or stupid tourists. A woman tried to pickpocket Joe. His turn.

He felt someone bump him. Felt a hand go into his back pocket. Fortunately, his money was in a pouch on his stomach.

Joe turned. Saw a nicely dressed woman. She immediately pointed forward. Joe looked ahead. When he turned back, she was gone. Lost in the crowd.

The story gets more interesting.

Immediately, a young nervous man was upon Jean and Joe. Flashed a badge quickly. Started asking about the confrontation. He was going to report the incident.

Jean and Joe wary by this tine. When the man asked Joe for ID, he said bring me a uniformed police officer. With that the man went one way and Jean and Joe the other.

The found another restaurant down a pedestrian walkway. After being assured there were no pickpockets, they were seated. Enjoyed tapas and wine.

On the walk back to the ship detoured onto a side street. A street that once housed Paul Guell’s private residence. The house was one of architect Gaudi’s famous works. Jean described the house as amazing.

Then back to the ship. A safety drill. Following which they set sail for Cartagena.

Between jet lag and a lot of walking, the Thorntons were dead. It was early to bed for the both of them.

The Trump administration announced yesterday additional sanctions on Russia. Sanctions on Russian companies and persons who were involved in making or helping with the chemical gas dropped on Syria.

I don’t know if I approve. We hit Syria with over a 100 missiles. Now chastise Russia with these sanctions?

I see John Bolton’s influence. Hit, hit, hit.

Russia is only a second or third rate nation military wise. However, Russia has a ton of nuclear weapons. The situation should not be aggravated more than it is. The U.S. made its point with the missile attack.

Sanctions can lead to war. Any war between the U.S. and Russia would be fought on U.S. soil also and affect our 300 million plus citizens very personally.

On this day in 1917, Vladimir Lenin returned from exile to Russia. He was the head of the Red Bolshevik Party. He returned home to take rein of the Russian Revolution. The Revolution up to that point was led by Alexander Kerensky and the White Bolshevik Party who were doing an ineffective job.

Lenin took over. Kerensky’s life as in danger. He fled Russia.

Many years later, I was a student in college taking courses in Russian history from Kerensky. It was exciting to hear first hand the happenings and intricacies of 1917.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

RAIN IN SPAIN DOES NOT STAY MAINLY ON THE PLAIN

First, a major screw up yesterday. The blog was titled Tosh Memorial Service Today. I forgot to click PUBLISH when finished. Ergo, it never got published yesterday.

Upon discovering my error this morning, I published the blog even though a day late. It bears today’s date. Read it with the mistake in mind. Otherwise, you will pickup on a Lincoln death date that will read wrong.

I am now doing today’s blog. Note both blogs will bear the same date. So read both.

Jean rode a high speed 196 mile per hour train over the high mountain regions of Spain yesterday. Madrid to Barcelona. Reports the landscape on the mountains desert like.

Started raining as the train descended into Barcelona. Jean wrote, “So apparently the rain in Spain does not stay mainly on the plain but rather near the train.”

From the train to a bus to the ship. Ship magnificent. She and Joe were greeted with champagne and warm towels.

Their stateroom gorgeous! King sized bed, flat TV screen, big closet, 2 sitting chairs, a coffee table and mini fridge. The bathroom large.

They were booked for an off ship flamenco dinner show. However, jet lag was beating them up. They opted to remain on board for dinner. The meal delicious. Then took in a Cuban music show. Jean said she could not keep awake. Her head kept bobbing. Left the show early for bed.

Jean has been in Spain 48 hours. She is already acclimated to the language and customs. Her good bye to me was “Adios!”

Attended Tosh’s memorial service at St. Paul’s yesterday afternoon. The respect for Tosh obvious. The Church was packed. I would estimate 400.

Service excellent. His children’s words touching. His grandchildren beautiful.

At the conclusion of the service, a Scottish bagpiper appeared. He played some tunes. Then led the Pastor, Tosh’s immediate family and close friends out a side door to St. Paul’s burial ground. His ashes were interned in St. Paul’s Memorial Garden and Columbarium in a private ceremony.

I started to write this week’s KONK Life column earlier in the afternoon. Could not put it together. Not the material. The set up on the computer. Got nothing done.

Sloan is due here this morning around 11:30 to set me up. Thank God for Sloan!

I hope she makes it. She will have to travel over Cow Key Bridge just before the race starts. A thousand people to get through.

I had planned dinner with Donna and Terri in the evening. Received an e-mail from Catherine earlier in the afternoon. I forgot I was supposed to join her for a sunset cruise anniversary party. Cancelled Donna and Terri. Understanding people.

The cruise was on a Southernmost Island Charter. A big vessel. One hundred fifty guests. Mostly members of the Key West Sunrise Rotary.

It was a 30th anniversary celebration. The host is a member of the Rotary and invited the members to join he and his wife.

Cruise 3 hours. Two in the sun. Followed by sunset. Then another hour on the water.

Food and refreshments excellent. A good time had by all.

The last time I did a sunset cruise was 5 years ago. Last night’s a reminder I should do it more often.

The Chorale Concert this afternoon at 4 at St. Paul’s. Fifty plus singers. Everything from Mendelssohn to Billy Joel.

A $20 donation requested at the door.

My day scheduled. Sloan and then actually writing this week’s KONK Life column. Followed by Hot Dog Church, the Chorale, and Kate Miano’s Gardens. Terri is singing.

I will only be able to make 2 of the 3, if I am lucky. Terri is a definite. The Chorale hopefully. Hot Dog Church will have to do without me this week.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

JOHN HERSEY…..TALES OF KEY WEST

Noted writer John Hersey spent his winters in Key West and summers in Martha’s Vineyard.

He was born in Tientsin, China. His parents Protestant ministers. Hershey spoke Chinese before English. He died in Key West March 23, 1993.

Hersey’s notable works include A Bell for Adano, Hiroshima, and Tales of Key West. It is Tales of Key West I wish to momentarily dwell on.

Tales was written in Hersey’s later years. He had seen and lived Key West first hand. Notable Tales include those of a man dying of AIDS trying to maintain his respectability, fake crime reports, and John James Audubon shooting staggering numbers of birds for the fun of it.

The item re the birds surprised me.

Summer is sneaking in. The seasons change dramatically in Key West. No slow slide. One or two days and the next season is here.

Key West springs always short. The temperatures the past few days indicative of summer’s arrival. Today, the high 83 and the low 76.

It is not the temperature so much. It is the humidity. I have felt it the past two days. Things get sticky. Your body warmer than it has been. Clothes uncomfortable. You’re sweating once again.

Publix at 9 yesterday morning. The cupboard bare again. Needed food desperately. No dinner the night before.

Saturday at 9 am a good time to shop Publix. No one there. Spent $100 and hurried home. Food getting more and more expensive. I do not know how families do it.

I had to complete yesterday’s blog. Researched the material before leaving for Publix. Did the actual writing upon returning.

I was Catherine’s guest for Happy Hour at Martin’s. A charming time. A few drinks. Followed by lamb chops and baked brie.

First part of today busy. Sloan at noon. I have to get back into a more disciplined work schedule. Completing Growing Up Italian on the agenda. Next week, I will begin writing the Key West Lou Commentary once a week for KONK Life. I have let Key West Lou Live slide. Have to get it back in the game.

Not difficult if my time is properly organized. We shall see.

Later this afternoon, I plan on spending some time at Kate Miano’s Gardens. Always a pleasant way to finish the weekend.

There was a fire yesterday on the 50th floor of Trump Towers. One dead, six firefighters injured.

The President’s personal home and offices are higher up on the top two floors.

This is the second fire this year in Trump Towers.

No sprinkler system! Can you imagine living or buying an apartment that high without a sprinkler system!

Sprinkler systems were not part of the New York City Building Code in 1984 when Trump Towers was built. The sprinkler system requirement did not become mandatory in new construction till sometime in the late 1990’s. Trump opposed it.

Scary living. Especially after having seen Towering Inferno a couple of nights ago for probably the 20th time.

Scott Pruitt is part of the swamp Trump promised to eliminate if elected. Instead he brought the likes of Pruitt and other scum to Washington.

For Pruitt’s misdeeds to date, he should be fired. Trump is not firing him. Instead, he praised him yesterday.

There has to be a reason why.

I suspect it is because Pruitt is an attorney and former Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Trump would like to get rid of Mueller. Sessions cannot do it because he recused himself. Rothstein does not appear willing to do it. Firing two Justice Department heads in one day would not look good.

I see the battle plan as follows. Trump fires Sessions. Replaces him with Pruitt. Since Pruitt has already been approved by the Senate for a cabinet position (EPA head), he does not need Senate approval to be Attorney General for seven months. He can serve on an interim appointment. In that time, he would fire Mueller.

Brilliant! Lousy! The stench will be overwhelming.

I am sick and tired of hearing Trump say ISIS has been defeated in Syria. Trump said he wanted to get out. Now his words are that ISIS is almost defeated and we’ll get out in several months.

ISIS is not defeated! They are hiding in their homes, mountains and caves waiting for the US to leave. Then, ISIS will return. The American lives lost for naught.

Another Syria problem is the US is there basically in opposition to Russia and Iran. In a friendly sort of way. Even Trump does not agree with the Russia-Iran position. However he avoids direct confrontation.

The US will be in Syria for years. You invade a country, you send troops in to help, you have bought the country for years.

The worst. Syria chemically attacked its people again yesterday. View the videos on TV. Men, women and children, alive or dying, foaming from their noses and mouths.

Syria is turning into another Vietnam time wise. As have several other Middle East countries. Afghanistan one. Quagmires. We get stuck in these places.

We go in, but never know how to get out.

Tuesday coming. My first book signing. Irma and Me. Andrews Inn at Zero Whalton Lane. Noon to 3. Three other authors signing, also. Someone doing a reading. Refreshments. Should be fun.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

 

FLORIDA PUBLIC BEACHES NO MORE

Strange laws are made. For strange purposes. By strange men.

Most Florida beaches have been public like forever. Now a law has been passed. One whereby beachfront property owners can kick people of the beaches.

The new law recognizes beachfront property owners to have claim to “the land above the mean high-water tide level.” Means private property beach owners can kick the public off beaches that heretofore were public.

The power behind the new law the rich. Wealthy beachfront homeowners and hotel owners.

Governor Scott owns a home on the beach in Naples. He was not concerned . He indicated people should not worry….rich people were unlikely to abuse their new powers.

As good as an assurance that it will never snow again in the Arctic.

Every now and then a person makes a special connection with Key West. Ernest Hemingway and Jimmy Buffett for example. Most recently, Diana Nyad.

Diana is a long distance swimmer. In 2013, she swam from Cuba to Key West. No easy task. Ever since, there has been a marriage between Diana and Key West.

She did not establish a residence. However does visit frequently. Key West honored her accomplishment with a memorial at the beach.

Irma knocked the hell out of certain parts of the lower keys. Many still recovering. Easy to understand when one realizes that 4,000 plus residential dwellings were destroyed in the keys as a whole.

Diana is in Key West for a month. Together with a group of friends. All runners, not swimmers. They are presently working every day along side Habit for Humanity repairing Irma damaged homes. Presently in the Big Pine area.

Key West showed its love to Diana. She is returning it ten fold.

Stability is lacking in our government. Tariff wars and sanctions lead to fighting wars.

Japan a perfect example. President Roosevelt was squeezing Japan in the time before Pearl Harbor. Japan had invaded China. Roosevelt wanted Japan out of China.

Japan a big importer of oil. Could not survive without oil. Roosevelt put the squeeze on Japan by placing an embargo on oil that normally would go to Japan from various parts of Asia. Plus, other sanctions.

Japan said…..Up yours! Pearl Harbor resulted.

Roosevelt was successfully choking Japan economically. Japan could have capitulated and agreed with Roosevelt’s terms which included Japan’s total withdrawal from China. Or, Japan could have taken the position you cannot do this to us and gone to war.

The answer we all know.

World War II resulted in a marriage of three nations. Germany, Italy and Japan. All fascist nations.

The Democracies plus Russia won World War II. Russia an immediate problem. However the Democracies kept Russia in tow.

In April 1945, Hitler committed suicide in a Berlin Bunker. Mussolini’s corpse was hung upside down at a gas station in Milan 2 days earlier. Following the War, Tojo was executed by hanging for war crimes.

Fascism for all intents and purposes was dead. Till recent years. It has returned. Big time. Trump the Pied Piper.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright wrote an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times 4/6/18 re the issue of fascism titled: Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late.

Some countries were authoritarian leaning before Trump. Some since. Trump most definitely authoritarian. Another way of describing a fascist.

Other world leaders say if Trump can be a dictator of sorts, why can’t I? Leaders in Hungary, the Philippines, Poland and Turkey. Moves toward fascist states in Egypt, Syria and Venezuela. Russia under Putin already there.

Albright wrote that fascism on “the world stage is enhanced by the volatile Presidency of Donald Trump.”

I started this part of the blog discussing sanctions and tariffs being economic wars leading to fighting wars. China today is the U.S.’ primary adversary in an economic war. China a tough adversary. Would never even think of capitulating. Face too important.

So China will do everything to win the economic war Trump has guided us into with China.

Gao Feng, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, said recently, “We will not start a war, we will definitely fight back…..No options will be ruled out.”

Feng was speaking of tariffs. However, the tariff war of today can easily turn into a fighting war tomorrow.

And who would we have to thank? Donald Trump!

A message to T-Shirt Jordan. Please send me your full name and address.

Forget not my Irma and Me book signing tuesday noon to 3 at Andrews Inn, Zero Whalton Lane, Key West.

Enjoy your day!

 

TONIGHT…..KATE MIANO FOR MAYOR KICKOFF CAMPAIGN PARTY

The day has arrived. Kate Miano candidate for Key West Mayor. Her campaign kickoff party. Six tonight at The Gardens. Friends, music, food and drink. Everyone come!

People are asking why I support her. Simple. I know her, her character, her business acumen, her concern for others. She is the best of the best. Key West has long been waiting for the type of political leader Kate would make.

See you at the Gardens tonight!

Busy day yesterday. Haircut and manicure. Lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Cuban cheese toast with tomato and a large Cuban coffee.

Last night, the Chart Room and Tavern ‘n Town.

Kevin was there as I had anticipated. I have not seen him in a few months. Kevin had the misfortune of a scooter accident. All kinds of bad injuries. Twenty four days in intensive care.

He is on the mend. Still a way to go.

Looked good. Lost a lot of weight. One shoulder lower and smaller than the other. His face shiny from the several plastic surgery operations. Several pins in various parts of his body. Appeared a bit tired. Anxious to be on the move, however. He was planning an afternoon bocce party for several of us.

His wife Holly sitting next to him. His pillar, his strength. A strong woman.

Hunger befell me. Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town for dinner. My protein meal. A prime rib. Nothing else. No veggies, etc. Sounds strange, but has been working. Twenty pounds lost so far.

We are experiencing a cold spell. When cold up north, cold in Key West. Sixty one degrees last night.

My air conditioning/heating unit went on the blink yesterday. Going to be completely replaced inside and out. New unit not available till wednesday.

I froze last night. Even under a thick quilt. Will be cold tonight also. The day and evening in the 60’s. Kate’s party will be cold. Long pants and a leather jacket for me.

School attacks always occur somewhere else. You rarely think of them happening at a place you know or where you are.

My home town is Utica. In the heart of central New York. Home of Utica College. Utica College the home of two terroristic threats. One monday, one tuesday. No shooting or bombing. Telephone threats. Violence threatened. Taken by administration and police as “a real credible threat.” Everyone asked to shelter in place.

The perpetrator arrested the second day. A senior student. Twenty three year old Fahriedin Omerovic. He will do time, a long time.

Omerovic used a cell phone app that prevented his identity being discovered. The police a step smarter. They used something that was able to determine who was making the calls.

Trump spoke at a rally on December 1, 2016 in Cincinnati. His words: “We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks. Our goal is stability, not chaos…..”

Trump’s Budget Funding Request for 2019 has been submitted. He seeks Congressional funding for a 60,000 man army to defeat ISIS in Syria.

Strange. Trump claims the U.S. has defeated ISIS in Syria. He tells us every other day. Considers it one of his major accomplishments.

Experts say the money is not being requested to defeat ISIS. They are already beat. It is to overthrow Assad.

That my friends is regime change. Something he said he would not do. It is also going to pit us head to head against Russia who has been supporting Assad.

I sometimes think Trump wants to be a war President.

Robots should have been a part of the steel conversation. Never mentioned. Trump’s concern for those who lost their jobs because of foreign competition. The unfair balance of trade.

Not quite correct. The two  not really related.

Thirty years ago, the steel industry employed 188,000. Today, 86,000.

One problem, however. No one seems to look at realities. A significant one: The United States produces as much steel today as it did 30 years ago. And does it with less than half the employees of 30 years ago “primarily because of technological advances – or, to oversimplify, robots.” So wrote Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell recently. She further wrote: “Don’t blame China and bad trade deals, Mr. President – blame the robots.”

Remember, The Gardens tonight for Kate’s party!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY OF REST

As far back as I can remember, Sunday has always been my lazy day. I plan to do much. End up doing nothing or next to nothing.

Yesterday, no different. My plan was to go to the Gardens later in the afternoon and then home to watch the Academy Awards. Missed the Gardens. Caught the Academy Awards.

My comments re the Academy Awards brief.

A good show. Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning a tight schedule time wise. Hoped winners would keep their thank yous short. Even offered a prize for the most short. A $17,500 Jet Ski. Thought the Jet Ski thing tarnished the show a bit.

If time was a problem, why were the commercial advertisements so long. Perhaps the longest for this show. Also, some of the musical numbers ran longer than normal.

Inconsistencies.

Another item I found troublesome. Support for the feminist movement profound. Nothing wrong with it. However, I do not recall any mention of the gun issue which is at the least of equal importance.

Whatever, I enjoyed the show.

I did spend some time reading in the afternoon. Finished Collusion by Luke Harding. The book cover says: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia helped Donald Trump Win. Not quite. I fear a race to the printer caused the book to fail in showing with particularity how Russia helped Trump to win.

The book ends with parts of the time frame during transition. Two more months and the author would have had significantly more to talk about.

Don’t waste your time reading the book.

Love Kate Miano! A good friend, a good person. Candidate for Mayor. Hope she wins!

Her campaign slogan: Expect Great! Elect Kate!

I like it.

Don’t forget Kate’s campaign kickoff party Friday night. Six at the Gardens. Free food and drink. Bring a friend or two. Kate deserves everyone’s help.

Been cool the past two nights. High 60’s. Turned on the heat. Today 76 by day and 66 by night. Heater back on tonight. Not all night. I use it to take the chill out of the air when I go to bed.

I don’t think Wilbur Ross is good for the country. Ross is presently Secretary of Commerce. The guy on TV the past few days explaining how a trade war would not really impact on the American consumer. Used a can of Campbell Soup and a can of soda to explain his position.

Recall Herbert Hoover began a trade war. Look where it got us!

Ross and Trump met during Trump’s Atlantic City casino days in the 1980’s. Ross was a Rothschild banker. His specialty then and throughout his career has involved the purchase of bankrupt businesses, get them going again, and then sell them for a profit. Much involved with steel mills in this regard.

Ross was and is known as the King of Bankruptcy.

Re Atlantic City, Ross was not representing Trump. He was representing one of the banks. Whatever, Trump ended up putting his corporations into bankruptcy while at the same time retaining control of the casinos. Brilliant! Ross thought to be responsible,

Ross has Russia connections all over the place. Some of which he failed to sufficiently disclose during his confirmation hearing. Shortly thereafter, the Paradise Papers bloomed. Leaked documents which showed Ross had failed to clearly disclose his financial ties to Russian interests. He provided further information and agreed to divest himself from some 80 companies he had an interest in which were doing business with Russia. Not disclosed by him the first time around.

It is suspected some of the companies remain undisclosed even at this time.

The Ross items not clearly or sufficiently disclosed include the following.

He was Vice-Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. A bank that did significant business with Russian persons.

His Navigator Holdings. Ross’s interest in a shipping company that transports petrochemicals for Russian gas and petroleum. The Russian company is Silbur.

Silbur has been sanctioned for its close ties to Russian oligarchs and Putin’s son in law Kirill Shamalov.

A question remains as to whether there has been sufficient divestment.

Ross checkered and questionable. Yet he sits at the right hand of Trump.

Senator Lindsey Graham shocked me with a comment he made yesterday. He thought a war with North Korea was “worth it.”

Graham acknowledged deaths in the millions. Tens of thousands of American soldiers. Significant non-military deaths up and down the Korean peninsula.

An American general said that such a war would involve brutality beyond the experience of any living soldier.

Graham’s words were based on his belief that such a war would bring “long term stability” to a region requiring it.

Trump is crazy. Is Graham also? Who under any circumstances would want a war of such devastation?

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

BUM FARTO WHERE ARE YOU?

That time of the year again. Bum Farto time. His name almost like Smuckers. The story has to be good.

Bum Farto was Key West Fire Chief in the mid 1970’s. Drugs big time in those days. Farto was convicted in February 1976 of drug charges. Awaiting sentencing. Jail time a certainty.

On this day in 1976, Farto’s wife reported him missing. Never to be seen again.

“Bum Farto Where Are You?” An instantaneous Key West saying. To this days. In conversation and on T-shirts.

One of two things happened to Farto. He might have decided he was not going to do jail time and disappeared. The other that he was ready to blow in other drug dealers and was made to disappear Jimmy Hoffa style.

Company finally able to get a flight out yesterday afternoon. Northeaster provided two extra days for Key West fun.

Rushed home to catch second half of Syracuse/Clemson. Syracuse won 55-52. Big win! Needed! If we win at least 2 games in the ACC Tournament next week, we might make the NCAA Tournament.

Visited Catherine later in the afternoon. We sat outside by her pool and chatted. About this, that and everything. An excellent conversationalist.

Following which we drove over to the Chart Room for a drink.

Shaun bartending.

Ted from Wampsville, NY seated at the bar. Wampsville the Madison County seat. A 40 minute drive from Utica.

Wampsville is the home of the Madison County Courthouse. An old stately structure. Spoke of yesterday. I tried many cases in Supreme Court there. I always felt Abe Lincoln was going to walk over and sit next to me at counsel table.

Ted was the Court Clerk for the County and Surrogate Court Judges. Meant he was intellectually smart. Wrote the judges’ decisions.

I never met Ted in our Madison County years. First time I met Ted was at the Chart Room bar 2 years ago. He is now retired and visits Key West once or twice a year.

We get together on those occasions.

Ted was with two Wampsville friends. One an engineer. Originally from South Africa. The other an accountant.

The accountant frequently ate at Pelletieri Joe’s Restaurant in Utica. An old type Italian restaurant going back to the early 1920’s. We shared many memories. I was the restaurant attorney for 30 years. Saturday night was generally Joe’s night.

Time for dinner. Catherine and I were both hungry. I suggested Firefly. She agreed.

I have always wanted to try Firefly. Never had. It is located on Petronia Street deep in Bahama Village. Famous for fried chicken. The reason I wanted to go. A desire for fired chicken.

Chicken good! Setting also. We were on a second floor porch overlooking Petronia Street.

A double header tonight. Kate Miano’s Gardens followed by the Academy Awards. Love the Academy Awards! Since they first started televising them way back in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s.

I remind you again that Kate Miano is a candidate for Mayor of Key West. I am not involved in Key West politics. However, I am supporting Kate. Simply because she is a smart, good hearted, helpful person. Honest, besides.

Kate’s campaign kickoff party is friday night at 6 at the Gardens. Free everything. Food and drink. Come visit with friends you may not have seen in a while. Bring a friend or two. Everyone should support Kate’s run.

This day in history important for two reaons.

On this date in 1952, Hemingway published The Old Man and the Sea. He thought the short novel his best work. Wrote it while living in Cuba. Turned out to be one of his best selling works and one for which he received the 1953 Pulitzer Prize.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated President for the first time this day in 1933. America deep in the worst depression ever. His famous inaugural words…..The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

The Georgia Legislature’s handling of Delta WRONG! Hard to believe. The Governor complicit.

Delta one of the companies that opted not to do further business with the NRA following the Douglas High School shootings. Involved was a discount relationship Delta had with the NRA. NRA members would receive a discount when flying Delta.

Only 13 NRA members ever took advantage of the discount.

The Georgia Legislature felt the discontinuance of the discount amounted to a punishment for people who cherished the Second Amendment. The Legislature eliminated a $50 million discount provided Delta on jet fuel.

Delta stands firm in what it did. CEO Ed Bastian said “…..our values are not for sale.”

Delta is one of Georgia’s biggest employers.

My position simple. It is not the purpose of government to punish in these situations. An example of government out of control! Crazies in power!

If I were Delta, I would slowly begin closing down small parts of my operation and move them to other States. I would also let the word out that Delta is ready to move its entire Atlanta operation to another State.

Thinking on the issue would change as soon as some Delta employees lost their jobs and others feared losing their jobs. It’s called hardball!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

ANOTHER CANCER SURVIVOR

Glad I stopped in the Chart Room last night. There sitting were Jenny and Scott. Friends from an earlier Key West visit.

Jenny a cancer survivor.

I met them last October. At the time, Jenny explained her recent mastectomy. Her breast had been reconstructed. No nipple yet. A waiting period involved. She explained she was going to have a nipple tattooed on. One of the Key West setting sun.

All new to me. Jenny gave me an education. Thereafter, I wrote about nipple reconstruction and as an alternative the tattooing method.

Jenny opened the door to my meeting further women who had had mastectomies. I got into the topic. One of the ladies even showed John and I her reconstructed breast. We could not tell the difference. Both looked the same, were balanced.

I learned from my initial Jenny experience. I learned more afterwards from research and meeting other women who had had mastectomies. With the exception of Jenny, all wanted to show me their new breasts. What I learned specifically was that women were proud of their new breasts. Natural appearing. Not freakish in any manner. Thrilled for the world to know.

Unfortunately, Jenny’s problem did not end when first we met in October. A genetic problem was discovered. One which could make her more susceptible to cancer again. She was required to undergo additional chemotherapy.

Her chemo recently concluded. She and husband Scott were in Key West to celebrate the occasion. It was all over!

Jenny a lovely person. Inside and out. Her hair similar to mine. Short. It is starting to grow in again. Even without hair, a beautiful face. Her smile bright. The smile of a winner.

Devon came in. We met in the Chart Room two years ago. He owns a home in Key West. Still lives in Illinois. He and his brother run a farm. I sense a big one. Corn and soy beans the product. Shipped down the Mississippi to as far away as China and Japan.

Devon an interesting person. His business acumen especially appealing. When the big corporations decided to get into the farming business, Devon and his brother decided to go the way of the big companies. Let them call the shots. Companies like Monsanto. Devon and his brother have prospered by so doing.

Dinner afterwards at the Hot Tin Roof. Stone crabs. Delicious. I even cheated. Enjoyed key lime pie with a graham cracker crust. Magnificent!

Syracuse/Clemson at 2 this afternoon. Clemson ranked #18.  The Vegas Line should favor Clemson by several points. Not today. The Vegas Lines favors Syracuse by 1.5 points. Syracuse needs the win to be considered for the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse not even on the bubble at the moment.

Locals, remember Kate Miano is a candidate for Mayor of Key West. A smart woman, a successful one. More importantly, a good person.

Kate is the owner and operator of The Gardens Hotel at 526 Angela Street. A beautiful property. She is having her campaign kickoff party friday beginning at 6. Free food and drink. All you have to do is have a good time. Bring a friend and meet other friends at the party.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon is a big deal. One of the few turtle hospitals world wide. Sick turtles are flown into Marathon for care.

The Hospital began operations in 1986. It was the first State licensed veterinary hospital devoted solely to sea turtle care. A full time staff of 20 and 3 turtle ambulances.

The Turtle Hospital is a not for profit. Its expenses covered by ticket sales and donations.

Stop by some time and see the miracles being performed. Amazing!

Tomorrow is election day in Italy. The people pissed big time. Immigration the problem. Over five hundred thousand Muslims from North Africa. As my friend Anna describes it, they have taken over the country.

Every one running a Donald Trump. Going to throw the immigrants out. Right away!

Populism on the rise. Sounds familiar, also. Several parties involved. Never enough votes for one person to win out right. A coalition government will be formed.

It is a north-south battle. Again just like the U.S.

The party of the south is the Five Stars Movement. Its candidate 31 year old Luigi De Maio. Anna does not like him. She is from the north. Claims Luigi is not formally educated and is too young.

Luigi is expected to garner the most votes. His southern support, the youth. Another familiar item.

Anna lives in Navaro, a community outside Milan. Their hero in the election is old friend Silvio Berlusconi. Thrice Prime Minister, twice convicted of crimes. Because of his convictions, he cannot run at this time. However his party is pushing for their candidate fully supported by Berlusconi. The party is Forza Italia.

Tomorrow election day. Going to be interesting.

Trump promised to clean out the Washington swamp. His track record thus far not good. He may even have to deal with son in law Jared Kushner.

Kushner may be using his official White House position in attempts to secure loans for his Kushner Companies which have serious financial problems.

Three situations stand out.

Joshua Harris is the founder of Apollo Management. He visited the White House several times. Claimed purpose to assist with infrastructure decisions and perhaps in due course receive an appointment. Actual reason, Kushner required a cash infusion for Kushner Companies.

In November, Apollo lent Kushner Companies $184 million. No appointment was forthcoming.

Michael L. Corbat is CEO of Citigroup. He was a 2017 spring guest in the White House to discuss finances and trade policy. In March, Citigroup loaned $325 million to Kushner Companies and a partner.

The worst situation involves Qatar. Qatar a small oil rich Middle East nation. A friend of the U.S. The U.S. maintains a base in Qatar with 10,000 military personnel stationed there.

Kushner wanted $500 million from the government owned Qatari Investment Authority. He arranged a meeting for his father Charles and the Qatari Finance Minister at a suite in the New York St. Regis Hotel. The second day of the meeting took place in a conference room at a Kushner property.

A high level negotiation. Qatar said no. Refused to invest.

One month later Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blockaded Qatar and threatened war. The claimed reason Qatar’s funding of terrorism.

Secretary of State Tillerson wanted to intercede. He knew the people involved and thought he could resolve the situation. Kushner blocked him.

The day after the blockade began, Trump appeared on television and took credit for the blockade. Said he was not going to tolerate Qatar’s funding of terrorism.

The question arises as to whether the Qatar blockade, etc. resulted from Qatar’s turning the Kushner family down re the $500 million loan.

Swamp contamination continues. The situation may be getting worse.

Enjoy your day!

 

TRUMP NOT MAN ENOUGH FOR LISTENING SESSION WITH DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

The kids from Parkland’s Douglas High School are tough. The buck stops with them! They appear committed to bringing the gun issue to a head.

Trump hears their cries. He has to do something. His nature.

It was announced yesterday that the President plans listening sessions this week with students and teachers. The announcement did not say what students and teachers.

Those from Douglas High School where 17 were killed? I doubt it. The students would make him look foolish. For two reasons. First, from the mouth of children comes truth. Second, the students know bullshit when they hear it.

The confrontation would be interesting.

I do not believe it will occur, however. A losing proposition for Trump. He would come out of it looking bad.

I believe that where ever and with whom ever the listening sessions will be held will be from another area. Trump will be working at rigging the meeting.

Remember rigged from the election?

Staying with the Douglas High School shooting a moment longer, there is a need for blood. O negative.

Enough blood was available to care for the injured victims. The supply is now tapped out. A request has gone forth to anyone who should wish to donate to help replenish O negative. Instructions direct traveling to their usual donation sites to give.

The AR-15 rifle in the news other than in Parkland.

Levi Patterson coaches a 9 and under baseball team in Nesoho, Missouri. Third graders. The team needs to raise money. The father of one of the players sells guns. He donated an AR-15 rifle for a raffle prize.

The team players, age 7-9, are selling the raffle tickets.

Coach Patterson sees no problem with the AR-15 being used. He believes people think differently about guns in his area. In effect, the AR-15 is ok.

Tyler Tannahill is a Kansas Congressional candidate. A month ago, he decided to have a giveaway contest. Someone to win an AR-15 rifle.

Douglas occurred last week. Tannahill refuses to withdraw the AR-15 as the prize. He is a passionate defender of gun rights.

Sometimes we see the same person over a period of several years and yet  never get to know their names, etc. Always a smile and cheerful hello in passing.

My situation with one of the concierges at the Marriott Beachside.

We discovered each other on a more personal basis yesterday.

My photo and announcement of Irma and I covered the front page of KONK Life last week. The concierge called out to me yesterday morning by name. She said she had not known it before, but had seen my pic and read the article. Told me she has begun reading my blog.

Her name, Toni Tarracino. Last name sound familiar? She is one of the daughters of now deceased Captain Tony. Key West Mayor, saloon keeper, icon, etc. Toni proudly told me she is known as Little Toni.

My day began with the stop at the Marriott Beachside. Followed by a business lunch at the Geiger Key Marina. At noon, hardly a seat. No question the season has arrived.

Back to my home. I had no hot water. A two day wait for a plumber. Called a friend who stopped over. Problem resolved in 15 minutes. After two days and three cold showers, it was a pleasure later in the afternoon to enjoy a hot one.

Last night, the Gardens. A comfortable way to finish sunday.

Many people.

Ran into Jenna Stauffer. A love of my life for 10 years. Jenna was the producer for the TV show I did for three years. She was all bubbly and excited. Just returned from Paris.

Also ran into June Hudson. A couple of years since we have seen each other. Unchanged. Charming and lovely.

Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town for a late dinner. A rack of lamb. Nothing else. Diet still holding at 19 pounds.

Iguanas are an exotic species. Look like small dragons. To Key West residents, disgusting.

The iguanas are not native. They started their invasion about 15 years ago. Now, all over the island.

They deficate all over, including in the pools. They eat your expensive planted flowers.

They fear not. You can walk up to one and it will not move.

All of a sudden, the State has become aware there is an iguana problem. Don’t know where the State has been. However the State does not wish them killed. The State has scheduled clinics to advise how to capture and arrange for their removal to another part of the State.

Capture and remove? How stupid. Authorize their killing.

A State representative said, “We do not know the extent of the threat.” Live here and you will know. They are all over the place.

The State should recall how it handled the python invasion. Too little, too late. Now number in excess of 1 million. They can only be controlled, not eradicated.

Can you imagine 1 million plus iguanas? They will be living in our homes. Laugh not.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

SNOWBIRDS RETURN

The season has arrived. Unquestionably.

From what I can see, not as many tourists as normal. Might be Irma and the fear Key West not ready to accept tourists. Which is not the case. Or, it could be the cost of a Key West vacation. Pricey. I have begun to wonder if Key West is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

A different story as  to snowbirds. Those who have second homes in Key West and return on a regular basis. They are here ten fold.

I pointed out yesterday the massive turnout at the Gardens sunday. Mostly snowbirds. Last night the same at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. The crowd unusually big.

Tom Luna and Rick Dery their usual selves. Their singing off the walls. Everyone joining in. The fun part.

Ran into Joe Lysle at Aqua. Made a  mistake a few days ago when I reported he was the new concierge at Casa Marina. He is a concierge, though at the Reach. Both Waldorf Astoria Hotels.

Enjoyed dinner at Tavern ‘n Town following Dueling Bartenders.

I frequently complain about bicyclists. A danger to themselves and the autos on the streets. Bicyclists have no consideration for rules of the road. One way streets, stop signs, red lights, etc. They think they own the roads. Tourists primarily.

Every day a danger.

In the dark of last night, I was returning home. Almost two accidents involving my car and a bicycle. Both bicyclists without lights and ran stop signs.

An accident did occur over the weekend. A bicyclist at 2:19 in the morning driving the wrong way on one way Olivia Street. Came into contact with a Key West police SUV at the intersection of Olivia with White Street.

The bicyclists hit his head on the front passenger door of the police vehicle. He was helicoptered to a Miami trauma center. The police officer and the K-9 dog with him sustained no injuries.

Irma’s after effects refuse to go away. Irma hit the lower Keys September 10. Work still to be done.

Debris clean up major! County and back roads the last to get attention. The County announced yesterday that all debris has been finally removed from County roads.

A major undertaking!

Next, the canals and waterways close to shore. Homes, boats, refrigerators, TV sets, etc. plugging the canals and shore lines. Together with trees and shrubbery.

The last chapter of my recent book Irma and Me is titled Post Irma and is dated October 15. I wrote at the time the debris clean up was on going. Noted…..The debris is non-ending.

I did not realize how correct I was! Here it is five months later and the work continues.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section mentioned Key West’s first electric trolley car began operation on Duval Street this date 1899. Carried 500 people the first day.

Brought to mind my youthful days. I clearly recall riding electric trolley cars in my home town Utica. The Bleecker Street line. In the late 1930’s into 1941. I was anywhere from 3-6 years old at the time.

I googled Utica and electric trolley cars. Came up with This Week in Mohawk Valley History. Includes Utica. The author Frank Tomaino, an outstanding newspaper man back when.

His article indicated Utica’s first trolleys were horse drawn. Began operating in 1863. The first electric trolley St. Patrick’s Day 1890. The last Utica electric trolley train 1941. Went to the barn forever.

Tuesday again. Comes frequently every week. Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

So much happening these days. Most news worthy. I am constantly revising the tuesday night show. As late as dinner time on tuesday. Things worthy of comment occurring hourly it seems.

Tonight will be a fast moving half hour show covering 10 or so topics of interest. My opinions also, of course. Join me. I guarantee you will enjoy.

Portraits of former American Presidents and their spouses hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Those of President Obama and Michelle were unveiled yesterday.

Loved Barack’s. Different. The artist Kehinde Wiley. A black man. Established.

News releases today indicated Wiley enjoys challenging the power of white women in his works. Black women decapitating white women.

Did the President know? He must have. He and Michelle selected their artists.

Michelle’s painting I did not like. The concept lovely. Problem is the painting does not look like Michelle.

Michelle’s artist Amy Sherald. A black woman. She had a heart transplant several years ago.

Trump never seems to blame men for sexual wrongdoings. Denial by the man sufficient grounds not to denounce him.

Trump is sick. His thinking probably motivated by the 17 odd women who claimed during the election that they had been sexually harassed by him. He denied the charges. Must be he does not want to blow his cover of denial by not accepting the denials of others.

Enjoy your day!