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!

 

MEASURING DICKS

We live in dangerous times. You do not need me to tell you.

A recent crisis that has the capacity to bring matters to the boiling point is Turkish planes shooting down a Russian jet. Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan are issuing inflammatory statements. Each threatening the other.

Turns out Putin and Erdogan do not like each other. There is personal animosity between them for other reasons. These guys will go nose to nose.

Pavel Felgenhauer is a defense analyst. He bluntly described the situation as follows: “Right now they’re measuring dicks, and that’s very dangerous.”

My yesterday began with a doctor visit. I decided to have breakfast out following the visit. Tried Sq. 1 sitting outside. Years since I have done it. I was pleased. Good food. A great place for people watching.

The Key West Aloe store is on Duval just around the corner from Duval Square. I stopped in. Wanted to try their shaving gel. No shaving gel.

I thought how sad the old Key West Aloe store on Front street is gone. The new owners moved the store and everything else several years ago to another spot in Florida. The new Key West store tiny. Well done in brown and white colors, as are the tubes of aloe products. No aroma.

A lovely place. However, nowhere as large and as nice as the one I remember.

Yesterday was Syracuse basketball again. The final game of the Atlantis tournament being played in the Bahamas. Syracuse beat Texas A & M 74-67. An excellent victory.

The other three teams in the tournament were all ranked. Syracuse, not. Syracuse will be when the new rankings come out monday.

Good wins for Syracuse. The two games tested Syracuse. We still lack that one extra tall muscle bound big guy unfortunately.

An interesting season ahead.

The Keys Coral Reef is bleaching. Not good. Could be bad, though not necessarily. Depends on things I am not familiar with. Extreme warm water doing it. Second consecutive year the bleaching has occurred.

The hurricane season ends in a couple of days. November 30 to be exact. Vultures have returned. Large congregations of them.

We do not need the date to tell us the hurricane season has ended. The return of the vultures signifies the end of the hurricane season. Nature telling us.

I continue to be repitious. Truman loved Key West, Key West loves Truman.

On today’s date 1949, Truman, wife Beth and daughter Margaret arrived for a three week vacation.

Two China items of interest.

China has a large growing middle class. They want all the things the middle class of any nation expects. One is good food. Beef to be precise.

China does not have enough beef to satisfy its middle class. No problem. A 14,000 square meter factory is being built at a cost of $313 million. Its purpose, to clone cows. The plant is expected to produce 100,000 embryos a year.

Reports indicate cloned beef ok to eat. Tastes like the real stuff. A question arises. Is this another GMO situation?

China continues to expand militarily. China is establishing its first military base in Africa. In a little country called Djibouti. The base is the first expansion of China’s military power beyond the Asian Pacific.

Bocce playoffs today. A big deal, as I continue to tell you. Exciting. We play at 3. If we win, at 6. If we win again, tomorrow.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

LABOR DAY

Unions are not what they used to be. Even the mighty fall. In the last 30 years, the power of organized labor has diminished. Perhaps properly so. Labor had gotten too big for its britches.

As the power of labor has become less, management/corporate power has increased. Too much so. A contributing factor being that labor’s power is not sufficient to counteract management.

The pendulum must swing back. To a middle ground.

Having said all that, it surprises me that Labor Day continues to be a popular holiday. There still are parades all over the country. Generally followed by parties.

The parades and parties are not by accident. Back in the 1880s when a holiday for labor was being suggested, the first outline for the proposed holiday specified street parades followed by festivals.

The first public parade took place in New York City in 1887. President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894. The purpose was of to honor the American labor movement and the contributions made by workers.

It appears Key West is not having a parade today. I could not find one scheduled. Sad, if such is the case. We celebrate everything in Key West. Why omit labor? Especially since most of Key West is made up of labor.

I spent considerable time yesterday writing next week’s KONK Life column. Tennessee Williams…..A Love. My motivation was the response I received to the recent column I wrote concerning Hemingway. Hemingway…..His First Love.

Everyone has loves in their lives. Some more than one. Prime examples being Hemingway and Williams. I hope the Williams story is enjoyed as much as the Hemingway one was. Each written from a different perspective.

Now comes Grace. A new hurricane forming off the coast of Africa. Key West is paying no attention to it. Too far away. Plus, the projections tell us worry not.

Womenfest begins in a few days. Womenfest Key West 2015. Lesbians and their friends converge in droves on Key West for a week of fun and frolic. The town jumps!

I read somewhere recently that there are 26 million blogs in the United States. Impressive!

Almost forgot! Tonight, Larry Smith performs! At 8. The Little Room Jazz Club on Duval. Across from Vinos. Join me for what I am sure will be a fun evening.

Enjoy Labor Day!

DANNY

It’s time again! Talk on the street last night….. Is a hurricane coming?

Danny is its name. It is presently nothing way out in the Atlantic. We will not know till next week if it will be a Florida keys problem. Probably not. But you never know! Wind is fickle.

Some thing screwy yesterday morning. My phone. I was on it from 7-11. Business. Made me late for my 11 o’clock appointment at Body Owners where the anti-gravity treadmill awaited.

Took my sweaty body over to Roostica for lunch afterwards. Bobby Mongelli moving around. An outstanding business person!

Another business person of note arrived for lunch. Joe Liszka. Joe and his partner Frank Romano started Key West Aloe around 1970. Became a gold mine. They sold about 15 years ago.

Frank is now gone.

I met Joe when I was going to WeBeFit. Joe is older than me. I admired what he was able to physically do. Better than me. While there, Joe invited me to a party at his home. An excellent host. He lives in Key Haven also.

Stopped at Don’s Place at 5. Stayed a couple of hours. Visited with Don, David, Nate, and Toni. Actually spent quite a while chatting with Toni. A charming lady. Good company.

I had a choice at that point. Go out to eat or go home and watch Donald Trump. I am ashamed to say I went home. I am a political junkie.

I am not a Trump supporter. His business success is admirable. Such in and of itself does not make a President.

Our country continues to be in difficulty. The 1/99 percent thing does not go away. Listening to Trump, I suspect his actions would be those favoring the 1 percent. This morning he said on Morning Joe that he was against raising the minimum wage. He believes it would make us less competitive against foreign manufacturers.

Strange. The guys at the top of the American companies continue to make millions of dollars annually for themselves. They have their 3-4 homes world wide and private jets. The wealth is not shared. Notice Trump has his jet and homes. Even a helicopter. Trump would have the 99 percent continue to suffer to keep the rich in their exorbitant toys.

This thing about no longer considering a child born in the U.S. of parents illegitimately here not citizens not right. Trump is crazy! It has always been and will ever continue to be that a person born in th U.S. is an American citizen.

Trump says the scholars tell him the law/Constitution in this regard can be changed. What scholars? If he wishes to pursue the issue legally, he will find lawyers to support him. If a fee is available, there is unquestionably a cause to be pursued.

Those Spanish galleons carrying all sorts of wealth that sunk off the Florida coast some 400 years ago present the opportunity for some today to strike gold. Literally!

It recently was disclosed that 4 crew men from the A/V Capitana discovered gold to the tune of $4.5 million three weeks ago somewhere off Florida’s east coast.

My column in this week’s KONK Life is Black Lives Matter / Play Tough. The article was linked this morning to my Key West Lou website. keywestlou.com.

Bocce tonight! The best!

Enjoy your day!

 

MOST RECENT BIGGIES

Key West is hurricane country! No question about it. The strange thing is that hurricanes do not occur with regularity. Fortunately. Weather is fickle and the hurricanes come and go as they please.

Some small, some big.

The threat of a hurricane lurks every season. We are warned a hurricane is on the way. Advised it is heading straight for Key West. People told to evacuate. Then the storm digresses and goes another way.

It has reached the point where locals pay little attention to warnings to evacuate. Most stay. Because they do not believe the reports. Also because they cannot afford to leave or have nowhere to go.

If the hurricane is 24 hours away and is still thought to hit, locals generally do the same thing. After protecting their homes or apartments, of course. They gather in the homes of a friend who lives on high ground. High ground is the second floor or a small area of Key West 10-12 feet above sea level.

Everyone brings food. It will only spoil if left home in the refrigerator. Electricity destined to go out. The food is all cooked before the storm arrives. Then eaten during the 1-3 days they all live together. Alcohol shared, also.

Some pick out a building that will with stand a major hurricane. Like Don’s Place. Concrete and building block. A protected party time area for the hurricane’s duration.

There have been two big hurricanes in recent years. Georges in September 1998 and Wilma in October 2005.

Georges was less than a 2 by the time it hit. Did some damage. Old Houseboat Row took a beating.

Wilma was the real monster! Started off as a 5 near the Yucatan. Hit on the Florida mainland around a 2. Key West was on the fringe.

The hurricane itself did little damage as it passed over. About a half hour later, the surge arrived. Unexpected. Damaged big time most homes and automobiles. Surge waters covered most of the island 6-7 feet. The water running suddenly through homes.

Water and humidity are a problem. Mold develops rapidly. Homes had to be gutted along the water line. Six to seven feet. Salt water soaked furniture had to be thrown out..

Forty eight hours later, the streets of Key West had mounds.  15-20  feet of plasterboard and furniture. Sitting in front of each home. A battle zone appearance wise.

Lisa’s home took a beating. Six and a half feet of water. Her car in the driveway went also.

Larry Smith tells the typical story. He and Christine were seated on their back porch saying how they were lucky to have missed it again. It being a bad storm. Suddenly, water began trickling from the house onto the porch. In minutes, six feet was gushing out.

Thus it was all over Key West.

The storm that really bothered me was not a hurricane. A mere tropical storm. Winds generally 50-70 mph. Heavy rains. Dark.

I cannot recall the name of the storm. Searched Google and telephoned several people. All remember the tropical storm. None recall the name. Maybe because it did little damage.

It sticks clearly in my mind as if it were yesterday.

My house was prepped for the storm. Plywood sheets covering every window and door. With one exception. A small door in the back leading to the deck. I needed a way to get in and out.

I did all the right things. Filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilets. Bought bottled water. Bought food that did not require heating before being eaten. Like peanut butter, crackers, dried fruits, etc. Candles and flashlights, too. The electric power always goes.

I hated the storm. It was supposed to last at most 24 hours. It lasted 5-6 days. It sat over Key West as a black cloud and did not move. I am stuck in my boarded up house all this time. Could not drive. The street in front of my home flooded.

The power went out on and off. Meant no TV,  no lights. Candle time. I figured I would read. I do not know how Abraham Lincoln read law by candlelight. I could not. So I spent a lot of time laying on my bed in the dark. Contemplating my navel.

I went out on the deck a couple of times. Dark and bitter. Just as bad as being inside. Except inside was dry.

We are into the hurricane season already this year. It lasts till the end of November. Nothing yet. Nor any warnings. However, hurricanes develop quickly. You never know.

Enjoy your Sunday!

RAINBOW DELIGHT

I got out a bit more yesterday. Day time only. Not ready for night action yet. I have not had a drink in two weeks. Soon, though not today.

I went downtown. Wanted to see the Rainbow cross walks the City had painted at the intersection of Duval and Petronia. A sight! A lovely one! Key West!

Key West is a gay/straight community. The cross walks are painted in hues of the rainbow. Light purples, orange, yellow, pink, etc. The location perfect. Key West’s two most famous gay bars on opposite corners. 801 and Bourbon Street.

Earlier, I visited with Tammy at Lee Nails. Manicure time. The nails were extra long because of being laid up.

Tammy always a pleasure to see. I admire her and her husband. They came from Vietnam about 12 years ago. Today, the owners of a flourishing business employing a number of people. The American dream existed for them. They purchased a lovely home with pool last year. They work. Six days a week. From 8 in the morning till 8 at night.

They deserve it all!

Then to the new parking lot behind Antonia’s. I once again have a parking place mid-Duval.

One parking meter. Sufficient. I walked over and there were six people huddled around the machine. A set of older parents and two 30ish couples.

One of the ladies was trying to figure out how to work the pay machine. It can be confusing.

As I approached, she yelled…..$38!…..I am not going to pay $38! Obviously, she did not know what she was doing. I was five feet behind and said not to worry. Hit the cancel button. She did.

She only wanted three hours. She again was confused. I walked up behind her and quietly asked if I could help. Without even turning, she yelled…..No!…..Get out of here!

So much for being helpful to tourists. Why let something so stupid spoil a vacation.

An item in this morning’s Key West Citizen claimed we could expect a less active hurricane season. Our last hurricane was Wilma ten years ago.

I am a bit superstitious. I wish it had not been said. It could be an invitation for a black cloud to hover over us.

Fellow came to fix a crack in my pool yesterday. He got all dressed in his black water suit, air tank, etc. He appeared to know what he was doing. The whole job took all of ten minutes.

It is 10 in the morning. I am about to take my last anti-biotic. Twelve days of them.

Enjoy your Sunday!

BOB AND SUSAN

My base of those I call friends has expanded greatly because of this blog. Many e-mail me from all points of the world. They share with me their joys and sadnesses. I learn of their children and parents. They offer comments and political observations to what I may have written the day before.

The friendships are genuine. Though we rarely meet face to face.

One of my blog friends is Bob Saraceno from the Buffalo area. He reads me daily, e-mails every couple of months.

Bob is in Key West this week. We made arrangements to meet last night at the Chart Room. The evening turned out to be one of the most pleasant I have experienced.

Bob is here with Susan. They are a couple. They have purchased a home in Fort Myers. Key West will be their vacation spot. It is a mere four hour ferry boat ride away.

No question, I am a liberal at heart. Bob, a conservative. Our respective political leanings have never affected our relationship.

The three of us talked about everything. We were together quite a while. At least three hours.

Bob is Sicilian. I am not. My people are from the Naples area. I told him I was fearful of Sicilians. They had a reputation of cutting throats in the middle of the night. I also offered that my mother in law was Sicilian and we never got along. I attributed it to her Sicilian ways.

We drank a little too much. Laughed more. Had a great time!

They asked for a place to dine tonight. I suggested the Hot Tin Roof. I am having dinner there tonight with Donna and Terri and will probably run into them.

Key West has a reputation of being a drinking town. It is. Tourists, especially. Many indulge a bit too much. Something bad occasionally occurs as a result.

The word on the street last night was that someone had dived into the water at the Hyatt, struck his head, and could not feel from the neck down. Terrible. Potential for a serious injury. As bad as a paraplegic or quadriplegic.

The morning paper ran the story. It was not the Hyatt. It occurred at the Galleon. The Galleon’s Tiki Bar.

A 40 year old tourist dove off the pier at the Galleon. Normally shallow, it was even more shallow at the time. The tide was out. The water only three feet deep. Hard rock at the bottom.

A tragedy.

It is not easy to dive into the ocean off the Galleon deck. There is a thick rope fence/barrier. Formidable.

An article in this morning’s Key West Citizen projects an easy hurricane season ahead.  Minimal. The report worries me. I would rather it was predicted that a bad hurricane season was ahead and nothing happened.

Key West got hit bad by hurricanes for a number of years. The last big one was Wilma in 2005.

My recollection is Wilma was only a #1. It was the water that followed. Like a tsunami. About an hour after the wind departed, the water arrived. There was no warning. The water height 6-7 feet. Lisa ended up with  6 1/2 feet of water in her home. Larry and Christine were sitting on their back porch chatting about how lucky they were that there was no damage to their home. Larry says all of a sudden the water started trickling in and within seconds was one foot deep and on its way up.

I learned something from reading the article. Key West and Pensacola are the two most hurricane prone areas in Florida. One end of the State to the other. Key West to the extreme south. Pensacola is part of the Panhandle. An area to the extreme northwest of Florida.

Enjoy your day!