BERLIN’S WITH FRAN AND TOM

I am not a happy camper at the moment. Hit the wrong key and lost today’s blog prior to publishing.

Here I go again. Breviated, however.

A great evening. Dinner with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom at Berlin’s. Wonderful people! A fun evening!

A hug and kiss from Janyne. Always a pleasure to be on the receiving end.

Sloan there, also. Introduced me to her twin sister. Don’t look that much alike. However, Sloan has a unique voice. Her sister has the same unique voice.

Discovered Sloan’s daughter hosts at A & B. An absolute beauty and charming young lady.

Bria her usual lovely self. Sean and Gage bartending. They remind me of New York City bartenders. The best! Great personalities!

Fran lost 30 pounds. Atkins. I hate her!

Fran continues to care for me. This trip she brought me three frozen containers of sauce, meatballs and pork. Three meals. She forgot the homemade pasta in Buffalo. She carries the frozen sauce in her suitcase.

Also brought me a container of her home made candies. All kinds.

I think she likes me. Feels sorry I lead a bachelor’s existence.

I was their guest last night. Tonight, Donna and Terri are taking me out.

Must have done something right in my life.

Weather sucks. Fourth day in a row. Heavy rains today all day.

The Conch Republic Drag Race on Duval at 2 this afternoon. The guys will have to lift their skirts as they run to keep them dry.

The Great Sea Battle friday night. I can’t wait. Love it!

Even Harry Truman involved in Conch Republic Days. The Little White House is sponsoring a Truman Legacy Symposium this weekend. At the Little White House, with a few of the talks at the San Carlos Institute.

I was with my bocce team mates thursday night. My cheering them on did not help. They lost two games.

Hard to understand. For five consecutive years, the team has done exceptionally well. Fighting for first place some seasons. All of a sudden, nothing works right.

Keys History section of today’s Key West Citizen carries a picture of Robert Wagner and Peter Graves standing on Duval. This day in 1953. They were here with several other actors making the movie 12 Mile reef.

I was a freshman in college at the time.

The picture shows a very young Robert Wagner. Graves went on to have a successful cowboy TV series.

Other notable stars included Terry Moore, Gilbert Roland and J. Carroll Nash. The big stars Moore and Wagner. The others well known character actors.

They all stayed at the Casa Marina.

Amazing how many movies have been filmed in Key West over the years.

Enjoy your day!

CONCH REPUBLIC DAYS

It was April 1982. Drugs and illegal immigrants were coming in through Key West and the lower Keys. The U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock and checkpoint at the northern end of US 1.

Traffic backed up big time. Many locals and tourists were inconvenienced and angry.

A federal court action was brought to have the roadblock/checkpoint removed. It failed.

Key Westers were undaunted. Their mentality prevailed. A group of local citizens decided to protest. In humorous fashion, of course. They went to the roadblock/checkpoint and opened one on their own. Under the auspices of the newly formed Conch Republic. The day, April 23.

History was made!

The men assembled advised the U.S. Border Patrol that Key West had seceded and was an independent nation. They further advised that then and there they were declaring war on the United States.

The group waited one minute and then advised they were surrendering. In addition, they demanded $1 billion in foreign aid.

The aid never came. However much has developed since that 1982 day.

The Conch Republic has won a form of recognition from the U.S. It has a capital headquarters in a yellow conch house on Simonton Street. The Conch Republic flag flies in front.

The Conch Republic has an Army, Navy and Air Force. Officers uniformed. An ocean going fleet consisting of the Schooner Wolf and ten civilian boats. An Air Force consisting of several pre-World War II bi-planes.

A female contingent exists. Young lovely ladies. Their uniform, bikinis.

Even a national anthem. Working In The Conch Republic.

The 35th anniversary of the birth of the Conch Republic is being celebrated with a week long event. Begins tonight at the Schooner Wharf Bar at 7. The event is the Conch Shell Blowing Contest.

A major event is the Great Sea Battle which will take place in a few days. The Conch Republic and United States engage in war!

Off Schooner Wharf, the Conch Republic Navy consisting of the schooner Wolf (a pirate ship in reality) and several small motorized vehicles will engage the big ships of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Conch’s will fire sea water via large hoses at the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will retaliate with fire hoses.

The Conch’s will throw cabbages, eggs and tomatoes at the Coast Guard. The bikini clad ladies will be holding on from the yardarm doing most of the throwing. They will be attired as pirate ladies. The men as pirates, also.

The air battle is terrific. U.S. Navy jets from Boca Chica will engage Conch Republic bi-planes. The bi-planes will also bomb the Coast Guard cutters. With rolls of toilet paper which open up and flutter down on the Coast Guard vessels. Something to see.

Don’t miss the Great Sea Battle! It’s a winner!

Buffalo’s Tom and Fran Dixon are in town. I hope to go out to dinner with them tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

FRIDAY NIGHT IN KEY WEST

I finally felt good yesterday. Slept well the night before. Got over the tiredness feeling.

The weather has turned. Humidity has arrived. Three or four days ago. It will now be humid through the end of September. Not bad yet. The humidity will increase with August and September being the worst months. Those two months are like living in the snow belt up north in the coldest winter months. Just opposite.

Ran some errands in the afternoon. Stopped at Don’s Place to visit. Enjoyed a diet Pepsi and chatted with those drinking stronger brew.

Got all spiffed up for last night. Even shaved.

My first stop was Louie’s Backyard. I seem to have added it to my places to have a drink recently. A beautiful spot. Boring last night, however. Very few at the bar. One drink and I was on my way.

The Chart Room was next. A big friday night!

Emily bartending. Witty as usual.

Sheila and David there. I was happy to run into Sheila. It was the first time I had seen her since her brother died. After Sheila left, David and I sat at the round table and talked about all sort of foolish things.

I met Dan and Sarah. Locals, though we had never run into each other before. Dan an old friend of Sheila’s. They both drove Conch trains at one time. Dan now tends pools.

Sarah a charming person. She is a nurse in the emergency room at Lower Keys Hospital.

As I as standing at the corner of the bar waiting to pay my tab, I started chatting with the gent on the stool next to me. His name, Ken. A retired New York City police detective. Worked narcotics. He had a slew of pictures in his cell phone which he showed me with him and thousands of pounds of cocaine he had helped capture.

I would have enjoyed spending more time with Ken. Unfortunately, he leaves to return to New York today. Perhaps next year.

Took a quick look at the Great Sea Battle from the deck of the Pier House. It was winding down. The last of the toilet paper bombs unfurling.

I decided on wings at Kelley’s for dinner. The walk over was uneventful. The season is over. Though Duval was crowded, it was not anywhere near as crowded as in season. I could walk without getting knocked around.

I was shocked as I walked up Caroline. The Brazilian steak house Braza Lena was no more. In its place was a fishery. Appropriately named Keyviche Seafood Eatery. The place was crowded. More so than when it was Braza Lena.

When did Braza Lena close down? When did the new place open? Why the change?

I was unaware of the closing/opening when they occurred. Don’t know how I missed it. I read the Citizen every day and hear the talk on the street. Neither brought the matter to my attention.

I checked the change on the internet. Could come up with nothing definitive. I have a feeling the operation may have the same owners with a different menu.

Jimmy Weekly is a Conch through and through. A for real one as well as an individual that has always had at heart the best for Key West. Jimmy owns Fausto’s. World famous Key West grocery stores.

Jimmy has been a Key West Commission member and active over the years in community affairs. He is outspoken. I rarely agree with his views. However, he always believes he is correct and moves forward undauntedly with an idea.

Jimmy recently had a quadruple bi-pass. He is at home recovering. I wish him well.

A Key West generation is passing. The torch slowly moving into other hands.

The thought occurred to me when I saw a picture in this morning’s KONK E-Blast of Kate Miano at Peter Anderson’s grave site. Peter’s ashes were being entombed. Kate was dressed in her Conch Republic uniform. Peter had been Secretary General of the Conch Republic.

Home made backyard gun ranges are legal in Florida. Someone in Big Pine has one. He practices his shooting there.

An attempt was made to stop him. To no avail. The law was on his side.

Sounds sort of wacky to me to have a gun range in the backyard. But such is Florida law. A bill has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives to place some limits/safeguards on backyard ranges. I doubt it will get anywhere. Florida political leadership is much like that of Texas. Tough guys, don’t tread on me types.

Enjoy your day!

 

GREAT SEA BATTLE TONIGHT

The Conch Republic Celebration continues. Tonight…..The Great Sea Battle. One of the best experiences Key West provides.

The battle will take place off the Ocean Key deck. Pirate ships, Coast Guard vessels, Conch bi-planes and Navy Jets participating.

Conch Air Force members will drop rolls of toilet paper as bombs from the bi-planes. You have not seen anything till you see the toilet paper unfurl as it falls.

Conch Republic pirate ships will shot at the Coast Guard vessels using hoses of sea water. The opposing ships will toss ammunition at each other. Wet Cuban bread, lettuce heads, ripe tomatoes, etc.

A fun time!

The event raises a point of interest. The pirate wenches are attired in bikinis. Bikinis by their very nature are skimpy and revealing. Even more so when wet. Will those certain puritanical Key Westers complain as they did with Fantasy Fest?

Physiotherapy yesterday. Tiring. As bad as when I tried to climb the volcano on Santorini.

I have had physio over the years for very ailments/fractures. None affected me energy wise. What I am presently doing does. Big time! I am wiped out after one hour.

I suspect learning to balance by standing on one foot contributes. First with my eyes open. Then closed. My feet on soft squishy plastic that makes it even more difficult.

It may very well be because I am not physically fit. I let my self go over the years.

Bocce last night. We won 2, lost 1. Should have won 3. The result still ok, however.

My friend Larry Smith. One off Key West’s finest musicians. An entertainer! Larry is performing next friday evening, May 1, at The Studios of Key West. The show’s marque  reads…..Larry Smith…..His Music-His Visions-His Friends.

Sort of a history of Larry’s musical exploits. A walk down memory lane.

More than two dozen performers will join him. Among them, Kathleen Peace, Peter Diamond, Skipper Kripitz, and Larry’s very talented wife Christine.

Reunion time, also! It has been several years since Jenna Stauffer and Larry have appeared together. Back when, they co-hosted an internet show. Jenna will be co-hosting the Studios event with Larry.

I plan on attending. You should also.

This week’s newspaper column Drought and Water Profiteering published wednesday in KONK Life. It appears archived as of yesterday on my Key West Lou Facebook page. Read it. An eye opener as to certain greedy groups who are and will be benefitting from water shortages. You should know who they are.

Enjoy your day!