Who is feeding the children of the Keys post Irma?

Irma came and went 5 months ago on September 10. Things appear better in Key West. Duval booming. Though I suspect the tourist numbers are down. Down based on a fear that Irma’s effects still with us.

Physical damage more obvious as you move up the Keys. Especially from Cudjoe to Marathon. House damage, especially. Small tent cities evident. Cars visible housing whole families.

A food problem exists. Full employment has not returned. Too many businesses still closed because of Irma. Waiting for federal or insurance monies to repair or rebuild.

The food problem most evident with children. The schools have brought it to light.

I became aware via an excellent article in KONK E-Blast and the Key West Citizen editorial, both this morning.

The federal government ceased paying for school meals as of February 1. The kids still line up for food. Say, please charge it. The schools charge. Otherwise, many children would not eat.

The numbers shocking. Four thousand living units in the Keys damaged beyond repair. Prior to Irma, homeless children numbered 150. Now, more than 500.

Since February 1, it has been costing the School District $400 a day to feed the additional homeless and others whose parents have not yet returned to work.

The feds who cut off FEMA funding prohibit school food programs from acquiring debt or using surplus funding. The School Board has to figure out how the monies can be found administratively. In the meantime, donations are coming in to keep the children fed.

Another big evening last night.

Began with the Sons and Daughters of Italy’s scholarship fundraiser. Involved was a silent auction and drawing for a cooked and served Italian dinner for 8.

Free food at the event. Home made by the members. Outstanding! I could not have eaten better anywhere else last night. Dates stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon. Meatballs in sauce. More. All mouth watering.

Blew my diet a bit. Only as to the stuffed dates. Enjoyed two.

Catherine was with me. We went over to Louie’s Backyard afterwards. Sat on the deck outside enjoying a couple of drinks.

I ran into Kate Miano. One of the finest persons in Key West. She told me she decided to run for Mayor. She will win. If she is able to run the City as she does her Gardens Hotel, Key West will benefit big time.

I was pleased and impressed with the announcement by Mueller yesterday that 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies had been indicted for screwing around with our Presidential election. Knocks the legs out of Trump’s claim that the Russians did not. Recall, he said Putin told him he and the Russians had nothing to do with it. He believed Putin.

I switched to FOX News immediately upon learning. Curious as to how FOX would be handling the news. Hannity was on. He seemed out of kilter. Unusual for him. Always damning things not Trump. He was obviously confused. He was suggesting the indictments were serious business and proof the Russians had committed wrong.

A couple of hours later when I returned to FOX, it was obvious Hannity had received other orders. Nothing good re the indictments was coming out of his mouth.

This morning FOX was the same. Three newscasters chatting back and forth. All negative re the indictments, of course. They lack backbone. They also don’t want to lose their pay checks.

I came across a Woodrow Wilson quote. Fits Trump perfectly: “All the extraordinary men I have ever known were chiefly extraordinary in their own estimation.”

Trump visited Parkland last night. Stopped at the hospital. Spoke to two of the injured children. A boy and girl. Focused his statements on first responders and the wonderful job they did. Failed to discuss the shooting itself, guns, and change to our gun laws.

Governor Scott and Senator Rubio were with him. It is reported Rubio spoke to the President emotionally re the impact on local families: ” This is a community and a state that’s in deep pain and they want action to make sure this never happens again.”

Trump replied: ” You can count on it.”

Good luck!

Trump recently submitted his proposed budget. The budget calls for a 30 percent cut to an Education Department grant program that supports safe schools. The budget also slashes public funds for mental health treatment.

The President speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

Seems to be a Trump morning for me.

Another Trump story involving the ladies. If this paragraph were titled, it would read something like Same Place, Same Week, Same Bungalow, Lake Tahoe.

It was reported that at the same 2006 golf tournament at Lake Tahoe where the President purportedly had a sexual liaison with porn star Stormy Daniels, he had another. She revealed herself yesterday. Her name Karen McDougal. 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year. She received $150,000. Daniels settled for $130,000.

And no one seems to care. Morality out the window as far as this President is concerned.

Syracuse/Miami at noon. Vegas line has Miami a 6 point favorite. Syracuse needs the win. I will be watching.

Enjoy your day!










The world has changed! At least for me.

I was up at 6 yesterday morning. Did my research for the blog. Went to begin the blog at 8. No wi-fi. No TV, no land line also.

Called Comcast. Everything will be working at 11:18 said the recorded message. Came noon and still nothing. New recorded message said 11:30 in the evening.

I learned yesterday I cannot live without the internet. I needed to pound the keys to get the blog out. Then research into the afternoon re other matters. I was a druggie in withdrawal.

The Comcast problem is the reason there was no blog yesterday.

Two days of thoughts to share.

Syracuse got their asses whipped by Virginia tuesday night. Syracuse has lost its last 3 or 4 games. This keeps up and Syracuse will not even get into the NIT.

Yesterday’s Citizens’ Voice brought Forrest Gump to mind. His famous line…..Stupid is as stupid does.

The people of Florida have the fourth weakest credit in the United States. Key West rents are off the wall. Unaffordable for many. Three and four workers required to share an apartment.

Yesterday, Trump once again proved he is all heart. The billionaire President has started the process whereby States will be allowed to impose a work requirement on their Medicaid programs. To qualify, a person must prove he/she is working, training for a job, or volunteering. Exempted are the medically frail (whatever that means) and pregnant women.

Which brings me back to Forrest Gump and stupid is as stupid does.

Most of the Key West workers live pay check to pay check. They voted for Trump because he was going to make their lives better. Thus far he has not. Nothing has changed.

They still love Trump, however. Give him time, the Democrats are screwing him up, etc.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Let me go another step forward. Jared Kushner, son in law to the President, is a special adviser to the President. Sits at his right hand in the White House.

Kushner’s other life had him involved in real estate.

A federal position as Kushner has requires that his position not be used for personal gain.

Kushner accompanied Trump on Trump’s first visit to Israel. Kushner’s White House responsibility involves U.S.-Middle East policy. Which includes Israel.

Just before Kushner left on the trip, a major financial Israeli investment firm invested $30 million in Kushner’s real estate company.

The rich get richer, the poor poorer.

And yet, many Key West workers continue to have faith that Trump is Moses. He will lead them to the better life. Not going to happen. Stupid is as stupid does.

Two important events to report.

Ladies, January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Get checked! If you do not have a physician, Womankind will help.

My love of history will be satiated later this month. 1776 opens January 23 at the Waterfront Playhouse.

Enjoy your day!



I feel like a refugee. I am a refugee. Fleeing Irma.

Some random experiences/happenings the past 24 hours. All Irma related one way or another.

The media has pointedly described Irma: A looming apocalypse…..The surge a minor tsunami…..A lawnmower from the sky.

Spent yesterday afternoon watching Alabama/Fresno State. Alabama killed little Fresno State. My hosts Jean and Joe are Alabama graduates and die hard Alabama fans. I was glad for them.

Followed the game up with a nap. Still tired from the drive.

Rose for cocktail hour. Drinks/drinking excellent! Never had a Beefeaters last night, though a giant bottle was waiting for me when I arrived. Margaritas and wine. The wine exceptional.

Dinner a holiday table. Great food. A neighbor prepared lasagna. Another prepared a Texas streetcake. Chocolate. Absolutely delicious! The wine flowed continuously. Joe started things off with a prayer. Called for under the circumstances.

There are only 9 of us here. Feels like much more. Fortunately, the house is large enough so we neither run into each other and can get a degree of privacy if so desired.

Several slept on sleeping bags and couches last night. Jean had two neighbors who offered private rooms and  beds. We all opted to stay together in one house. Team spirit.

The Sheriff moved the 460 Monroe County Jail inmates from Stock Island to a facility in Palm Beach County. One hundred twenty five correction officers went with them and will remain with them.

I do not understand why the inmates were moved. The jail imposing stone and brick.

The Sheriff also maintains an animal farm. Many animals. Well taken care of. A place to visit. The animals were moved from the farm to the jail.

If the jail is safe enough for treasured animals, it should have been safe enough for the inmates.

As of 9 this morning, US 1 not flooded. Except for one lane in Islamorada.

The TV channels are not reporting Irma properly. A lot of talk and next to no video re Key West. Everything video wise primarily Miami.

It is obvious there are no TV people in Key West.

TV is trying to fool people. They got caught by those of us in this house. They ran a video of a flooded Key Largo street. Water rolling as far as the eye could see. 2-3 feet. Two streets.

The streets were Duval and Front in  Key West.


Saw a picture on my cell phone of a woman lighting a candle at St. Mary’s of the Sea in Key West. Large votive candles. A statue of the Blessed Mother.

The belief is if candles are lite and prayers said asking for relief from a storm, such conduct will help. I am not being disrespectful, but I have never seen a Key West hurricane avoided by such conduct.

Saw another video of the White Street Pier on Facebook. The Pier totally covered in water. Right up to the rails. Huge waves pouring over the rails. Two Key Westers running around taking the video. Finally, one of them shouted to the other: Lets get out of here…..this place is too dangerous!

The Marriott Beachside opened its doors yesterday or a day before to guests. Minimum rate. The place is packed with those who stayed. Like Mark Watson. The Marriott was built to sustain a category 5.

Mark Watson reported on Facebook yesterday that they had moved him from a first floor room to a third floor one. Sounded ominous.

La Concha is also taking guests. Built somewhere back in the 1920’s. Survived over the years. Thought safe.

I have considered Florida’s Governor Scott a flaming asshole up to this point. His political/social decisions rarely helpful to the populace in general. Favor the affluent.

He has turned me around. His Irma conduct beyond belief. His actions thought out and necessary. Like ok for a line of traffic to travel on highway shoulders. Move the cars faster!

In prior storms, all traffic lanes move in one direction. The game plan to get people out of danger’s way faster. For Irma, one lane kept open going the other way. Fuel trucks. To get needed gasoline to the southern part of the State.

Every conceivable way has been utilized to get people out of harm’s way. Buses provided. Sick and elderly removed from their homes to a safe place. Etc.

Reported that police and fire have left. Felt everything conceivable had been done to get people out. I would agree. I do not believe that some police and fire did not remain. My friends e-mail me that some have remained at the Marriott Beachside.

The Audubon House. On the corner of Whitehead and Greene Streets. Built way back when by a Captain Geiger.

In 1832, the famous bird painter John James Audubon spent 20 days residing at the house. He discovered 18 new breed of birds and painted them.

Our little group has some persons purportedly knowledgeable about Audubon in Key West.

The story told is that Audubon would discover the new breed in the morning. Kill it. Stretch it on something so he could paint it. Painted in the afternoon. Cooked and ate the bird for dinner at night.

It was the eating of the bird in the evening that I found extraordinary.

Those of us here are bonding. I am waiting for someone to suggest we have an Irma reunion once a year.

Enjoy your day!








Saudi Arabia and most Middle East countries behead. Historically, many other countries have beheaded.

It was 1637. The place Groton, Connecticut. The Pequot Indians and settlers were not getting along. Seemed the whites were on a mission to exterminate the Pequots. Several battles occurred before the Groton one. The settlers the winners each time.

Seven hundred Pequots had gathered in Groton for a green corn dance. Dutch and English mercenaries led the settler attack. All 700 Pequots were killed. By shooting, stabbing, butchering and burning.

In the victory celebration following the battle, the Dutch and English severed heads from dead Pequot bodies. Then partied by kicking the heads through Groton streets like soccer balls.

Bocci last night. My poor team still not with it. I may have to return.

The team lost the first game 16-15. Won the second 16-15. I left. Do not know the results of the third game.

The sadness of the whole thing is that the other team is in next to last place. Don’s should have killed them!

Chickens and humans have lived in peace with each other for years in Key West. Each group ignores the other.

Recently, the Key West Fire Department was called. A tragedy in the making. Two baby chicks had fallen through a storm grate. Death inevitable if not saved.

The event not a fire. Regardless of the situation not being their responsibility, the firemen went to work and rescued the two chicks. Reflects the heart and love found in Key West.

Big evening tonight at the Custom House. The Flagler Railway Exhibit opens. KWAHS and Dr. Cori Convertino’s baby. I plan on attending.

Tom told me at bocce last night that his wife Nicky’s drawing of Henry Flagler was part of the exhibit. Congratulations, Nicky!

I live and learn. Memorial Day around the corner. American flags will be flying all over Key West. Tradition dictates the American flag is to be flown at half mast till noon.

I doubt any will be. Who knew/knows?

Trump at the G7 meeting. The NATO meeting. His speech an insult to the U.S.’s European friends. The man is tasteless!

On top of which he exhibited he cares only for himself. A narcissistic bully.

Leaders of other nations were walking down a corridor. Trump apparently was at the rear. He shoved his way forward. Pushed the President of some small country out of the way so he could be up front and in the middle. Then he buttoned his jacket and looked ahead. solemn appearing. His jaw jutting out.

Reminded me of Mussolini.

Florida’s Governor Scott recently signed a bill into law removing feminine hygiene products from the sales tax. Tampons and menstrual pads. He referred to what he did as “common sense legislation.” The items being “necessary products.”

I ask why it took so long to recognize the fact.

Wear your seat belt from now till June 4th for sure. It’s click it time! Police will be looking to ticket drivers not wearing their seat belts. Includes others in the car required by law to wear a seat belt.

The ticket somewhere in the area of $160.

I got caught several years ago. I was wrong. Never the less, the size of the fine irritated me no end. Outrageous!

Enjoy your day!




I finally decided what to write for this week’s KONK Life column.

The subject concerns the loss of American values. The disintegration of our way of life.

I suspect the column will be controversial. Not all will agree with me.

The column was written yesterday. It will publish in KONK Life wednesday.

I snuck over to Publix in between writing the column. I never have enough food in the house. Glad I went. I ran into Mary Ann Westerlund in the parking lot. Her husband Roger died last week. I wrote about Roger two days ago.

Mary Ann was with one of their daughters. What can one say or do, except I am sorry and a warm hug.

Dinner last night at Roostica. The sunday night special is spaghetti in a pork sauce with meatballs and sausage. The meal close to my grandmother and mother’s cooking.

One exception. I do  not recall ever seeing spaghetti in the house. The closest we came was perchetelli. A thicker type spaghetti. My family’s favorite was ziti. Mine today are rigatonis. Known as stove pipes back then.

I subscribe to World War II History. A monthly magazine. Read two interesting articles last night.

One concerned Chuck Yaeger. He was a World War II ace. Following the war, he was a test pilot. He is best known for being the first to crack the sound barrier.

The other involved thousands of Russians who fought for Germany during World War II. In the German Army. Some as generals.

I was not aware.

The Russians were anti-Stalin. After the war, the Russians wanted to stay in Germany or some other European country. They did not wish to return to Russia. They feared Stalin would have them killed.

The Allies did not buy the fear story or did not care. Most were repatriated. Most were killed by Stalin over the next two years.

My column in last week’s KONK Life concerned Uber. A timely subject, I thought. It must have been. Unknowingly, two other KONK Life writers wrote about the same subject. Pru Sowers and Rick Boettger. Our articles did not overlap. We approached the story from different perspectives.

Yesterday or the day before, the Key West Citizen editorial concerned the subject. The message was give Uber a shot. Then yesterday morning, a one hour Miami talk show. Heavy hitters on the show. Plus, the owner of a taxi fleet. Except for the cab company proprietor, all were in accord Uber was a good thing and should be encouraged rather than fought.

The Key West Citizen and Miami TV show agreed with me. Rick disagreed. Pru took no position. Merely related the facts.

I live and learn. There is a crack down in Monroe Country re short term rentals. Less than 28 days. This I knew. What I did not know was that there is a Florida law on the books since 2011 prohibiting cities from passing local laws barring short term rentals.

How then can Monroe County be doing it? The law includes a grandfather clause. If a city banned short term rentals before the new law, the city was grandfathered in and could continue the banning.

A stupid use of the grandfather clause. Florida should be uniform on the issue.

Greece. My Greece. The word this morning is that there is a deal. It will be signed tonight. Whatever the deal, it has to be approved by the Greek Parliament.

The present Greek President was elected in January claiming he would no longer subvert Greece to the Eurounion’s demands. The deal proposed does exactly that. It is a continuance of what came before. It basically is the same document the new Greek government has been opposing. As well as a majority of Greek citizens.

I believe the proposal is not the end of the problem. The can has been kicked down the road. I say that for several reasons.

It subjects the Greek people to additional austerity. The thing that has been killing them. It does not provide for debt restructuring. Greece will never be able to pay the debt as presently structured. A portion has to either be forgiven or extended 20-30 years. Overall, the proposal will weaken rather than strengthen the Greek economy.

Greece will be kicked around a bit more. The eventuality is that ultimately Greece will leave the Eurounion. The can can be kicked only so far.

Enjoy your day!