Happy Sunday!

Three mighty northeasters have hit the country in the past two weeks. So many so close together highly unusual. Snowfalls extremely heavy. Temperatures below zero. Travel next to impossible.

One of the most famous and treacherous winter storms was the Great Blizzard of 1888. Four hundred died. Snowfall 55 inches. Wind gusts up to 85 miles per hour.

New York City was exceptionally hard hit. Snow drifts reaching to the second floor of some buildings. Walking next to impossible. Many who did attempt to walk from one place to another died on the way.

One of those who collapsed in a snow drift and died was Roscoe Conkling. Fifty eight years old at the time. A recognized public figure.

I write of Conkling because he got his political start in my hometown Utica. Mayor 1858-1859. A Lincoln Republican, he ultimately was elected to the U.S. Senate where he served 14 years.

Twice he was asked to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grant wanted to nominate him Chief Justice. He refused the nomination. A few years later, he accepted a nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed him. Following confirmation, he changed his mind and refused to be sworn in.

We are in the middle of the flu season. The Keys have not been hit too bad. There are two strains out there. The one running rampant in California the bad one. Hundreds have died.

The worst flu epidemic in history began in 1918. Lasted two years.

The first cases of the 1918 flu epidemic were reported at Fort Riley, Kansas. One hundred one the first day. By the end of the summer, the flu had spread world wide. Twenty to forty million died. Six hundred seventy five thousand in the United States alone.

Researchers at Japan’s Yokohama National University believe they are on the path to a cure for baldness. The source of the cure was discovered in oil used to cook McDonald french fries.

The chemical dimethypolysiloxane. Big word! It has been found to grow hair follicles on mice.

Diana Millikan and I finally got together last night.

Diana is an excellent researcher. We have been collaborating on a book for two years. The History of Prostitution in Key West. Goes back as far as 1650. We are stuck. I say we need more research. Diana says there is no more to be found. She says write. I keep pushing her. Whether the book will evolve, I do not know.

Diana recently finished reading The History of Jews in Key West. The book excited her. She wanted me to see it. Brought it with her last night. I was aware of much contained in the book based on other researches I have completed re Key West. Jews played a significant role in the development of Key West. The book Diana brought to me was the first work I have seen incorporating the history in one 200 plus page volume.

We enjoyed drinks at the Chart Room first. Then to Mary Ellen’s for dinner. Diana had never been.

I forgot this was Spring Break week. The young people were all over Mary Ellen’s. No problem. We chatted with some while enjoying toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

The excitement of youth is overwhelming. To be that young again!

Got home in time to watch most of the Virginia/North Carolina game. The final one of the ACC Tournament. Virginia won 73-61. Though North Carolina is an excellent team, Virginia a couple of steps better this year. Virginia is ranked #1 nationally, has won 31 games and lost only 2.

Judgment time tonight. The NCAA Tournament listings will be announced. I have no anticipation that Syracuse will be one of them. It was not our season.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Sitting here in Key West enjoying 80 degree weather, I write first of snow. Lots of snow. The Great Blizzard of 1888. The northeast. New York City hit hard, as Boston  was in recent weeks. However, the Great Blizzard took only 24 hours.

Considered one of the most severe blizzards ever, it claimed 400 lives. Twenty to sixty inches of snow fell in different areas. Winds 45 mph. Snowdrifts in excess of 50 feet.

Roscoe Conkling had studied law in my home town of Utica, NY. He became District Attorney of the County and Mayor of Utica. Then engaged in a thriving law practice. He was considered a great orator. Conkling was elected to the House of Representatives several times and then served for 18 years in the U.S. Senate.

He became a major political figure state wide and nationally. He made presidents. One being Ulysses Grant. Grant offered him the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Conkling refused. Years earlier, he was nominated to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice and was confirmed by the Senate. He refused the nomination after his confirmation.

He was a known philanderer. A woman chaser. There is the story of the husband coming home early, Conkling going out the back window, the husband chasing him with a shotgun.

Conkling took care of his body. He worked out daily.

He was in his office on Wall Street when the Great Blizzard hit. He could not get a horse and carriage to take him home. Being in the excellent shape he was, he decided to walk. Three miles from Wall Street to 25th Street. He never made it home. He collapsed, came down with pneumonia and died.

He is buried in Utica. A simple yet massive stone. It sits on a little hill which runs along Oneida Street. The retaining wall holding the hill has been crumbling for years.

His stone faces west. Utica developed to the west. The cemetery to the east behind the stone. When Conkling was buried, he was placed in his grave as he was so that he could forever have an uninterrupted view of the valley before him. Progress decided otherwise and Utica developed in that area to the west, thereby placing his stone near a heavy traffic thoroughfare. Few take the time to look at the stone. Even fewer know Conkling is buried there.

I write about the blizzard and Conkling for a number of reasons. Today is the anniversary of the Great Blizzard. His career was outstanding. His stone and place of burial interesting.

I enjoy walking through cemeteries. The history of an area or the person is carved into the stones. What can be learned fascinating. I first came across Conkling’s stone and burial place on one of those walks many years ago.

Fantasy Fest seems to have survived its most recent onslaught. The Key West Commission and Fantasy Fest promoters met last night. Some minimal advertising changes were agreed to. Otherwise, everything will remain as it has been.

I agree with the outcome. My philosophy is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Spring break is upon us. The college kids appear well behaved. They seem to be having a great time.

I envy them. I neither knew of spring break nor could have afforded it had I known when I was in college.

My blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Listeners appeared most interested in the letter sent to Iran by 47 Republican Senators.

I spoke of Nicholas Maduro. He is President of Venezuela. I have been talking about him for three years. The man is a nut case. He becomes more troublesome by the day. Troublesome as regards the United States. The man bears watching.

KONK Life hits the streets today. If you have a chance, read my column. Mass Killings Common. I wrote the article because of recent ISIS atrocities such beheadings and burning people alive.

Enjoy your day!