HURRICANE HOLE

My Saturday was quiet. As was Friday, the day before.

Slowing down in my old age.

I spent a part of yesterday afternoon continuing research for this week’s KONK Life column.The subject mater sand. The world is running out of usable sand. Comparable to the world’s water problem.

So bad, a black market in sand already exists in certain countries.

I look forward to writing the article this afternoon. Few are aware of the sand problem.

Got out last night! Dinner with Donna and Terri at Hurricane Hole.

Hurricane Hole is a hole. Therein lies its charm. A small marina on a small bit of water surrounded by mangroves. An open air bar and tables. Nothing fancy. Food good, however.

Not easy to find. Hurricane Hole sits on US 1. Less than .2 of a mile outside Key West. Just over Cow Key Bridge going north on US 1.

My ladies were tired. Getting ready to move. In a week. Still packing boxes. Their new abode will be in Bahama Village. At the corner of Whitehead and Petronia Streets.

Terri is doing well and not so well. Her eyes get worse by day. She needs assistance walking. An arm on her arm. She has a walking stick. Uses it well.

Some vision available for minor uses. Like eating. She wears two sets of glasses. One upon the other to get minimum vision. Soon, there will be no vision.

They have had Bear to the seeing eye dog trainer to determine if he qualifies. He does. Soon, the training will begin.

BOB an excellent learning tool, as well as informative.

Bob and Ann Smith were having lunch at Road Kill Cafe. Before my time. Never heard of it.

The waitress an acquaintance. She came up to Bob and asked if he had a smoke. He offered a cigarette. She was looking for a joint.

A conversation ensued re the high cost of grass. The question arose as to why? Because of golf, Bob said.

Bear with me. I am not sure even after reading the chapter several times how the two are interconnected. The story however interesting.

Bob explained that when they lived in Buffalo, there was a lot of snow. Everyone carried jumper cables in their cars. In the middle of the night, Bob’s front door bell rang. It was the police. A passer by had seen someone steal Bob’s jumper cables. The police were able to quickly apprehend the culprit. They wanted to make Bob aware.

Bob obviously was pleased. He asked the officer to hand him the jumper cables. The officer refused, explaining that the theft of jumper cables in New York was a Class A Felony and had to be retained for evidence.

Two weeks later, Bob received a notice to appear in court. The notice further advised that if he failed to do so, a warrant for his arrest could be issued.

Bob appeared. Directed to a large court room and told to take a seat. Bob estimates 300 people in the room. Bob was dressed suit and tie for the occasion. Most others, not.

Soon several of the others began asking him about the proceedings. Bob explained he was not a lawyer. Merely like them. Which he was not. Most were defendants waiting to go before the judge. Bob had been directed to the wrong room.

He went into the hall. Saw the public defender representing the man who stole his jumper cables and the arresting police officer. He went over and chatted with them.

Bob was anxious to get out of the place and asked them what had to be done. They said the action was on the floor above. Nothing really moved on the floor they were on.

So upstairs the three went. Into a maze of offices with a lone secretary sitting in the middle. Several assistant district attorneys plea bargaining cases. Bob described the scene as chaos.

The public defender and police officer knew what to do. Soon the guy who stole Bob’s jumper cables case was resolved.

Bob was free to leave.

He asked how plea bargaining came to be.

At first plea bargaining was used to get one defendant to turn on another in order to get a sweet deal. Flipping. The system worked well. Cases moved.

One judge said, in effect, hey this works terrific! Why don’t we use it to negotiate sentences so a sole defendant will agree to plead to a lesser charge. His motivation was that judges could get out of work earlier and have time each afternoon to play golf. In fact, he thought they could be out by lunch.

Plea bargaining born to provide judge’s with the opportunity to play golf. What all this had to do with the high cost of pot, I still do not understand.

Children separated from parents at the border. Commonplace recently in the United States. We read and talk about the impact on the children. To hear about it first hand from a person it actually happened to impactful.

The New York Times began an OPINIONS section this morning. It will run every Sunday. People writing about first hand experiences.

Victoria Smolkin today a history professor at Wesleyan University and an author. Thirty years ago, 8 years old. She, her parents and family were escaping Communist Russia. They had necessary papers. They reached the crucial point at the border. Theirs bags searched. The mother’s contained an inexpensive broach that was a family heirloom. The Russian guards thought she was taking expensive jewelry out of Russia.

The mother was taken away. The problem resolved two days later and her mother returned.

Here it is 30 years later. Victoria recalls how she developed a huge bald spot on the right side of her head and wet the bed for two years.

Trauma? You bet. Imagine what the immigrant children in the U.S. are experiencing and will suffer therefrom  for years.

Victoria wrote: “…..separating families at the border…..not about law and order…..about power, and the abuse of power – because if, in the collision between border and body, no one protects the body, the border always wins.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

TARIFF WAR WITH CHINA BAD FOR U.S.

Respectfully, most things started by Trump end up being disasters. The immigrant children the most recent. Soon to come, a tariff war with China.

If the war proceeds as presently described, a disaster for the U.S.

Nine States each exported more than $1 billion worth of tariff eligible goods to China in 2017. Five of the States red politically.

All nine States will take a big time beating.

By some time in 2019 (next year), unemployed will increase to 6 million. In 2020, unemployed will be at 8.6 percent.

If the numbers are correct, the U.S. will be plunged into a recession. The world will soon follow.

My yesterday, a lazy one. I did not feel that great. Did some research for next week’s KONK Life column, watched some TV, and napped. Did not go out last night.

The KONK column will be about sand. Sand, today. As with water, failing supplies. Sand has become gold.

Hard to believe. True, however.

BOB reported that in the 1990’s, a live mine was found floating in the Marquesas. The Marquesas a few miles west of the Keys. The mine was a model MK6 left over from World War II. Three feet in diameter and covered in barnacles.

During World War II, German U-boats were regularly in the waters off the Keys. The U.S. Navy set out 4,328 MK6 mines.

Following the War, 2,316 were accounted for.

BOB wanted to know what happened to the rest.

The mine discovered was live. The remaining 2,000 plus unaccounted for would still be alive, even today. There were no “off” switches after a period of time on mines then as there are today.

Again, BOB curious. What happened to the other 2,000 mines?

BOB also reported a Duval Street robbery. From an adult store. A full sized anatomically correct female blow up doll with a built in vibrator. Obviously, a straight guy.

This blog goes out over at least a dozen sites. One is WordPress. Comments are fiery. My blog provides many with a place to vent.

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria still discussed. Patrick against several others. The issue concerning help/no help for Puerto Rico to this day. I mentioned months ago Patrick was wrong. He persists in his position. Repeatedly gets knocked down.

Months after Maria and still arguing.

My undergrad school was Manhattan College. The Jasper Jottings blog recently shared a story how some present day Manhattan students did their small part in helping Puerto Rico.

Worthy of sharing with you.

A small group of engineering students and a professor went to Puerto Rico 3/9-3/12. To Colegio De La Salle in Anasco. A La Sallian grade school, kindergarten through 12th grade. With only intermittent power. Without clean water.

The students designed a Water and Solar Power Project. Cheap and easy to construct. The next step, someone has to build it. Puerto Ricans themselves or perhaps the students will return.

The purpose of the story. Puerto Rico still in desperate need of assistance. Even a little help is a lot. Helping hands required to fill in where Trump/the U.S. have failed our fellow citizens.

The confinement/detention centers for the immigrant children receiving continual discussion. One person recently said, “A prison is a prison is a prison, whether we want to call them nice euphemisms…..If people aren’t allowed to leave, then its imprisonment, and so we need to be clear about that.”

My concern about the babies grows with each passing day. Why no photos of them or visits to them? I pray this is not a further tragedy in the making.

A side point of interest. The CEO of the largest private non-profit caring for the children is paid $1.5 million a year.

Dinner with my lesbian wives Donna and Terri tonight at Hurricane Hole. I have not seen the ladies in two weeks. They are packing day and night preparatory to moving by the end of the month.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

Unusually Good Chart Room Last Night

Chart Room unusually good last night. Chatted with two lovely couples and an old friend. All interesting people.

Met Catherine and Stephen from St. Augustine. Both with interesting backgrounds.

Catherine is in program management with Winn-Dixie. I got an education from her re the super market business. Husband Stephen is a retired electrical engineer. While in the U.S. Navy, served on the submarine USS Jacksonville.

Married 25 years. Have visited Key West 3-4 times.

Then came Dawn and Mike. From Jackson, Tennessee. Dawn a customer rep for a truck line. Husband Mike, a truck driver.

Mike is Dawn’s second husband. Her first husband Greg died in his 40’s. Greg the son of Cal Perkins. Cal Perkins wrote Blue Suede Shoes. Later made famous by Elvis Presley.

Mike a look a like for movie star Sam Elliot.

Dawn’s first husband Greg was fond of Key West. His ashes were spread along Smathers Beach.

Dawn flew from Jackson with Greg’s ashes. Security avoided looking in the container carrying his ashes when she told them what the container contained. They sort of stepped back from the dead.

I did my first book signing a few months ago at the Andrews Inn. Author Robert Codrun put the event together and asked me to participate.

Robert lives in California. He is back in Key West. Arrived yesterday. A couple of hours before we ran into each other at the Chart Room.

A big week is coming up for mystery writers. A very large group will be in Key West to participate. Robert returned to be part of the event.

While all this was going on, Ollie was standing at the end of the bar as overseer. His eyes on everyone.

My stomach told me I was hungry. Stopped at Five Guys. The perfect meal for my diet. Two cheeseburgers wrapped in lettuce. No bread. And a diet soda.

I have some Trump observations. A walk back in history first. Nothing to do with Trump.

Henry Hudson. We all learned in grammar school he discovered the Hudson River. As Columbus before him, he was looking for a passage to the East.

On Hudson’s fourth trip to the New World, he continued north on the Hudson River to Hudson Bay. Winter was setting in. He waited too long to get his ship out into open water. It froze stuck in the waters of Hudson Bay.

A cold winter. Insufficient food. Hudson’s crew not happy campers.

In June when the ship was able to move, the crew mutinied. They were unhappy that they had been forced to suffer the winter and blamed Hudson for his poor judgment.

Hudson, his teenage son and seven crewmen were placed in a small boat and set adrift.

Hudson not a Captain Bligh. The tyrannical captain of the Bounty who had a similar experience but guided his small boat thousands of miles to safety. Hudson, his son and the seven sailors were never heard from again.

Trump time.

Melania visited a Lutheran shelter for immigrant children yesterday. Children 12-18. The kids had already been there for some months. The place looked terrific. The staff appeared professional and caring.

On the surface, a big deal Melania visited the place. Not enough from my perspective. It would have been better had she visited the caged and otherwise detained babies, toddlers and those under 10. She should have been, and we should have been able to see, the down and dirty of the past few days.

A good move by the first Lady. Short of what it should have been.

Trump has several shortcomings hitting him all at one time. Deservedly so. America must see who the man truly is.

His biggest fiasco the breaking up of families. The immigrant children. Thousands who may never be able to reconnect with their families.

Trump’s immigrant move unquestionably a failure.

The immigration bill. Two failed yesterday. A third one is being worked on over the weekend. It may be voted on next week. Perhaps not. It is not what Trump wants. He mentioned on TV they should hold the vote next year at a time when a new Congress might pass it.

Lies galore. By Trump and Sessions. To cover up the poor judgment behind the immigrant problem. The public will not be deceived. Both are being shown on TV before the breakdown of their plans telling us how right it was, the legal thing to do, etc.

Military base facilities are being prepared for 20,000 immigrant children. Instead of wasting money on fixing and staffing new facilities to house and care of them, the money should be spent to quickly determine which children belong to which parents and get the families together.

I have written several times recently that big corporate dollars are involved in caring for the immigrant children. I referred to it as a million dollar business. Not so. The New York Times yesterday reported it was a billion dollar business.

Most are private prison corporations. One has been paid $955 million since 2015. Several others have been paid millions of dollars.

Fraud guaranteed! Someone should follow the money.

This tariff thing is going to break the back of the U.S. Perhaps the world. China’s media claim the U.S. has “delusions” as the impact of the trade war spreads.

Trump does. Millions of U.S. jobs will ultimately be lost. The economic impact will be world wide. A recession similar to 1929 could occur. Recall, Hoover  became President. The late 1920’s were booming. The market at an all time high.

Hoover believed tariffs were appropriate. As Trump does. He was wrong. The Great Depression occurred.

It could happen again.

Trump tells us Saudi Arabia is our friend. Have always been our friend. Bullshit! Never forget Saudi Arabia gave us $4 a gallon gasoline.

The U.S. in recent times had enjoyed a dominance in the energy field. We now export more oil than ever before. The world our customers. Saudi Arabia has had to take a back seat.

Saudi Arabia and OPEC not happy with the situation. They have joined with Russia to regain OPEC’s dominance and diminish that of the United States.

My KONK Life column this week is Sit AT Attention Or Die. Recall last week Trump mentioned he liked it the way people sat at attention when Kim spoke. He wished his people would.

Kim’s people sit at attention because it is death not to. He killed two high ranking officials for the way they sat when he spoke. One for slouching, the other for falling asleep.

The column appears in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast also.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

POLENTA

Enjoyed a light meal last night at Roostica. Meatballs and polenta. Sounds heavy. Mine was not. I ordered the appetizer portion.

Polenta is an Italian dish. Cornmeal. Generally, boiled. Can be fried or baked.

Never enjoyed polenta while living in Utica. Tried it a couple of times. Did not like it.

Now, I love it!

I have been to Courmayeur in northern Italy several times. God’s country. Sits 4,000 feet up Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc being the tallest peak in Europe. Four thousand feet sounds like a lot till you look up and see Mont Blanc’s snow covered peak at 16,000 feet.

Courmayeur beautiful. Swiss chalets abound. Residential and commercial buildings alike.

Polenta is the traditional food of Courmayeur. Courmayeur world known for its polenta. Prepared every which way.

Every restaurant serves polenta. Regardless of what else is ordered. A large bowl is deposited in the center of the table at the beginning of each meal.

I got to like polenta during my Courmayeur stays.

Courmayeur is situated close to the French border. Less than an hour’s drive. Opposite Courmayeur on the French side is Chamonix. Another famous Alpine resort.

Connecting Italy and France is the Mont Blanc Tunnel. The only way to get to Chamonix from Courmayeur. The tunnel is 7.15 miles. Through the mountain, not over.

I found it strange. You drive through the tunnel with the windows closed and the air conditioning/heat off. Less you be asphyxiated from carbon monoxide fumes.

Trump makes it sound like borders are protected everywhere. Not among the democratic countries of Europe. I was impressed I could drive through the tunnel without showing a passport or stopping. Like driving from Florida to Georgia or New York to New Jersey.

I highly recommend a Courmayeur vacation. Summer or winter. The buildings magnificent, Mont Blanc overwhelming, the people nice.

Before Roostica, I stopped at the Chart Room.

John introduced me right away to Lana and Gary. I was thrilled to meet them. They are daily blog readers and had bought and read Irma and Me.

Presently live in Crystal River, Florida. Manatee country. You can even swim with the manatees in Crystal River!

Both originally from New York State. Lana, Rochester and Gary, Catskill. Lana a school teacher. Gary a retired fireman who now works as a ticket broker. Both in their late 40’s.

They are in Key West celebrating their third wedding anniversary. Today the day. They were married three years ago in Key West.

Gary asked Lana to marry him three plus years ago on the stage at Irish Kevin’s. In front of the world! He needed a ring. Stopped at a souvenir store on Duval and bought a 10 cent multi colored plastic one.

Enjoyed my time with Lana and Gary. Good people!

Sloan and I have not been together in weeks. We have reached a point where I e-mail a need and she performs. However every now and then, we have to sit together. Mechanical things to be done. Tonight at 5:30.

Something new was started last year in Key West. The Key Lime Festival. This year sponsored by KWAHS.

The event takes place at the Key West Lighthouse on Whitehead. From 11 to 2:30 next saturday, June 30.

The reason to attend is to view or participate in the Key Lime Pie Drop from the top of the Lighthouse. Seventy three feet. The idea is to place a key lime pie in some contraption invented by the dropper and let it fly. The winner is the one whose pie lands without damage.

A difficult feat.

I have written several times that while Trump goes around demeaning other nations, those nations are slowing moving off the dollar to the Chinese yuan. Each time this happens, the dollar is devalued. It is occurring frequently since Trump took office.

Some nations, especially small ones, are moving off the dollar or yuan to gold. They believe the world is too volatile to remain with the dollar or yuan.

Back in the 1990’s, the Keys were declared a National Marine Sanctuary. Took several years and much work to attain the designation.

BOB got upset at a time thereafter. The federal government decided it wanted to build a missile launching pad at Cudjoe Key. To test antiballistic missiles launched from Cudjoe to Panama city.

The National Marine Sanctuary and a missile launching site seemed inconsistent to BOB and he vented re the situation.

I am unaware of the missile site ever being established at Cudjoe Key. Bob Smith’s opposition must have helped.

In recent years, we have been told that in a 100 years, non-whites will outnumber whites in the U.S. A recent study indicates an acceleration. The study now indicates that by 2045, there will be more non-whites than whites.

A major contributing factor is that whites are dying faster than white babies are being born. The study indicated increased white births would not help. The whites are too far behind.

Such is life.

Enjoy your day!

 

ERIKA BIDDLE…..A MOST INTERESTING WOMAN

The plan was to meet Jean Thornton at Dueling Bartenders last night. Bobby Nesbitt the scheduled guest performer. Found Jean at the bar seated next to Erika Biddle.

I probably have run into Erika no more than five times over the years. She is unique. The woman has tasted much of life. Both good and bad.

Erika was born in Germany in the years immediate following World War II. Though having avoided the war itself, she remembers clearly the destroyed cities, the debris, etc. waiting for reconstruction. Recovery was slow.

She recalls going without food. The lack of food experience was evident later in the evening when we dined at Antonia’s. I never saw a plate so clean at the end of a meal.

Erika came to Key West in 1994 after living in several cities around the world. She was immediately aware Key West was for her. She once said regarding Key West, ” This was the only city I ever visited where I’m not the most eccentric person around. Here I’m the normal one.”

Her eccentricity best reflected in a nudie calendar venture she put together. An avid environmentalist, Erika came up with a way to raise money for environmental purposes.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once mentioned something to the effect that the environmental cause was best reflected by a nude woman. Soon after, an English movie came out where a bunch of elderly English women needing money for a charity did a nudie calendar of themselves.

Erika was emboldened. She convinced 15 Key West ladies to agree posing for a nudie calendar. Titled: Women Sustaining the Earth. The women between 44 and 78 years of age. All lovely. The calendar tastefully done.

Sold well!

Erika’s life or parts thereof great book material.

It rained for 2 hours early in the afternoon. Big time! Roaring thunder! Brought to mind Zeus, ancient Greece’s sky and thunder god. King of Mount Olympus.

The Key West Citizen’s weather person a humorist.  Yesterday’s prediction: Mostly cloudy, a shower; free car wash. The shower could have been better described. It was a monsoon! The “free car wash” right on. My car shiny bright after the sun dried it off.

I am ahead of the game time wise re my next KONK Life column. This week’s already done and at the printers. It is titled Sit At Attention Or Die. A bit of Kim/Trump. It is the article for a week from tomorrow that I was working on.

A change of pace topic. Felt compelled to get away from Trump. Environmental. About sand. As with water, in short supply world wide. Hard to believe.

Sand is the new gold.

I read yesterday that recent wind storms have affected Florida’s sandy beaches drastically. The sand loss described as Gone With The Wind.

An interesting article in the making.

The music at Dueling Bartenders the best. Always is. Bobby, Tom Luna and Rick Dery made the walls shake.

Bobby recently married Mike Mulligan. They had lived together 37 years. About time! In honor of the nuptials, Bobby sang I’m Getting Married In The Morning from My Fair Lady.

Jean, Erika and Louis walked over to Antonia’s for dinner. Jean and Erika interesting women. I enjoyed being with them.

Diseases come and go. Initially death causing and then man finds the pill/shot making it possible to avoid the sickness.

Yellow fever was a major killer in the mid 1800’s. The Citizen’s Keys History section mentioned that on this date in 1865, the vessel Adventure arrived in Key West in distress. Four crew members had yellow fever. The four were taken to the Marine Hospital.

The yellow fever spread from the four to Army troops stationed in Key West. Three hundred thirty one cases. Seventy one died. The number of civilians infected and dead not recorded.

A thought. Mull it. Conservative Americans are all about family – unless the family has darker skin and is from another country.

Child abuse in the news constantly these days. The immigrant children taken from parents. The abuse takes other forms and occurs on a smaller scale around the country.

An undocumented mother lives in San Antonio with her 4 year old daughter. A San Antonio Sheriff deputy was having sex with the four year old. Apparently on a regular basis.

The four year old told her mother over the weekend. The mother confronted the officer. He did not deny. He made it clear however that if she told anyone, she would be deported.

Fearing the police, the mother went to a fire station and told the fire officers what was going on. The deputy was arrested yesterday.

What is occurring on the border sick. What happened to this four year old equally sick.

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine sharp. A quick half hour of me pontificating about anything that tickles my interest. Provocative. Eye opening. Guaranteed you will enjoy.

Join me. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

CHE A NO SHOW

Several of us were at the Chart Room at 5 yesterday to visit with Che. An old friend, Chart Room cohort, one who has an empty hole in the bar awaiting his ashes, a first class debater in any friendly argument, a man soon to be 84.

The meeting had been arranged by Jean Thornton. Che has become a recluse in recent months. His health failing. He would not open his door if someone knocked. We wanted to visit with him.

No Che. Failed to appear. Probably decided he simply did not want to do it. No problem. Che has earned the right to call them as he sees them.

We sat at the round table and enjoyed ourselves. Jean, David, Cori, Nic, Captain Frank, Valerie, Lisa, and Louis. Later, Quincy Perkins showed up.

Jean made a batch of deviled eggs and brought them for all to enjoy.

Later, Jean and I had dinner together at Hot Tin Roof. Sheila bartending.

Jean and I are a match. We get along well. I consider her a benefactor. Escaped Irma by staying at her home in Birmingham for 12 days.

The Ocean Key House pier was severely damaged by Irma. The contractor waited six months to get back to Ocean Key that he could not do the job for the price bid. Another company has stepped in. They are swiftly working. A huge crane, huge wood posts, etc. I understand the entire pier is going to be redone in concrete.

My sunday afternoon was spent writing this week’s KONK Life column. Sit At Attention Or Die. A Kim/Trump tale. Mostly, Kim. It hits the stands wednesday evening.

The article was well researched and wrote swiftly. I had time left over. Skimmed the internet a bit to determine what the following week’s article will be.

Came up with the subject! Sand! The world is running out of sand. A black market has developed. I did some preliminary research. Interesting.

What a difference 100 years make! Price of Key West Hotel rooms.

In 1914, the Panama Hotel was located at the corner of Eaton and Elizabeth Streets. A new hotel. Running water in each room. A big deal! Rates $1.00, $1.50, and $2.00.

A sad situation. Paul Donnelly was the Key West Citizen Controller. In a management restructuring in March, Paul was one of the those let go.

Paul got in trouble last thursday in Plainview, Michigan. He robbed a bank. Walked up to a teller, handed her a note saying this is a robbery and my bag contains a bomb.

Paul walked out with $4,700. Eight hours later, he was arrested without incident.

Paul was in Plainview visiting relatives. The relatives claim Paul was suicidal, the bank robbery a call for help, he was fighting alcoholism, the sudden loss of his job had affected him, and he had recurring problems from a brain tumor.

Several years ago, I wrote a KONK Life article re Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. The Waterloo battle was waged this day in 1815.

I discovered in my research at the time that the popular reason for Napoleon’s defeat was not correct. It was not the genius of the Duke of Wellington, though his military prowess probably did make some contribution.

Napoleon had hemorrhoids. They were extremely painful the night before. He doped himself with some narcotic that evening and in the late morning when he woke to kill the pain. He overslept. Did not get to the battlefield till just before noon. The battle had started in the early morning.

He could not sit comfortably on his horse. As a result, he did not move around the battlefield to personally view and assess conditions.

The battle was lost early evening.

My research clearly indicated it was the hemorrhoids that did him in.

The immigration children problem disturbs me as it must most of you. Children separated from parents. Sort of a Sophie’s choice, though not as final.

Totally un-American. Not what good people do. I am ashamed my country is doing this.

The problem has to be resolved like yesterday. Realistically, by the end of this week.

How would Trump have felt if his three oldest when young were taken from him and his wife in a fashion similar to what is occurring at the borders? Or, Barron today?

Cock fighting in the lower Keys was a big deal back when. Perhaps even today. I recall a few years ago a group was arrested for involvement with cock fighting.

BOB reports British Peter had a cock fighting experience.

The time would have been the mid 1990’s. Peter was driving cab for a living. New to the job. Got a call asking if he would go to Rockland Key to pick up a fare. Peter jumped at the chance. The fare $17 plus tip.

He picked up 3 young boys each with a paper bag on a side road off US 1. They asked to be taken to Bahama Village. Made sure they had money to pay. Started up and reached the intersection with US 1.

All of a sudden, a huge truck was behind the cab. Lights glaring, horn blowing, and the driver waving out the window. Peter had no idea what was going on. He immediately called for help. The Sheriff’s Department arrived in 2 minutes.

The guy in the tuck ran to the cab. The boys jumped out and ran onto US 1 emptying their bags as they ran. They assumed the chickens would run into the woods. Not so. The chickens were fighters. They engaged in a mammoth cock fight on US 1 in front of the Sheriff Deputies.

The guy in the truck was arrested. The kids taken into custody. The chickens collected.

A problem arose. The Sheriff/County had no place to keep the chickens pending trial. Evidence. They solved the problem in Key West fashion. The chickens were turned over to the now defendant truck driver who they assumed knew how to safeguard them.

BOB does not tell  us how the case ended. Was there a trial? Were the chickens produced? I doubt it. These chickens were lucky if they saw the light of day following the incident.

The situation bothered Peter. He put a sign in his cab: No Rockland County trips, no Rockland County residents.

Dueling Bartenders tonight.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

BRITISH PETER

Bob Smith shares the Key West of the 1990’s in his book BOB. One character of that time and still alive is Peter. Commonly known as British Peter.

I was fortunate to know Peter. As many today who still enjoy the Chart Room. It was the Chart Room where we all met and became friends.

Peter was British through and through. Appearance wise, tall, thin, with a white mustache. His accent decidedly British. His demeanor conservative. BOB says “a more polite and erudite fellow you will never meet.”

Peter for many years lived on a sailboat. Moored it 2 miles out into the Gulf. Used a dingy to go back and forth. One night, Peter had a bit too much to drink. A moonless evening. He went out to return to his sailboat.

He left the dingy when he thought he was at his boat. He was not. Dingy floated away. Peter floating. Had to find the boat or die. He swam around a while and fortunately bumped into his boat.

Another Peter tale involves his world travels. He was somewhere in the Pacific off a small island on a sailboat. Pirates came upon him in the dark of night intending to rob and perhaps kill him.

Peter no slouch. Always prepared. He shot and killed one of the pirates before leaping off his boat and swimming to shore. As Peter tells the story, he fully anticipated the pirates to find him the next day and kill him for having killed one of their own.

Peter was off the island as dawn broke.

BOB talks about Bob running into the Peter at the West Indies Lounge on one occasion. I do not recall the place nor could I find it on the internet. However, I am sure it was den of inequity with Peter and Bob observing, not participating.

Peter no longer with us in Key  West. He had inherited a home in the State of Washington years ago. Five years ago, he decided to move to the home and spend the rest of his days there. Peter has returned at least 3 times over the years to visit.

BOB shares another Peter story. One involving Rockland Key and cock fighting chickens. Saved for tomorrow.

One of Peter’s closest Chart Room buddies was Che. They discussed everything. Argued a better description. Che an in your face type. Peter would not let him get away with anything.

Che now 85. Ailing. None of us have seen him at the Chart Room in at least 6 months. He has become a recluse.

Jean Thornton thought it was time he got out. She has arranged for Che to be at the Chart Room at 5 this afternoon to meet and greet friends.

Che has a distinction. One of the holes in the Chart Room bar bears his name. He is one of two remaining alive. A portion of his ashes will be deposited in the bar when he passes on.

Spent yesterday afternoon researching this week’s KONK life column. Ten pages of notes. Not sure of the title yet. The topic involves Kim and Trump. Kim’s background emphasized. Trump is in bed with a dog who has fleas.

I will write the article this afternoon.

Snuck out for an hour for a pedicure and manicure with Tammy. Love Tammy! Respect and admire she and her husband Ricky’s success. They deserve it!

Last night, the Chart Room. Met Mary Anne. Has lived in Key West since 1990. We never met before. Amazing!

A small world. Mary Anne knows Bear. And, Donna and Terri. Mary Anne is the assistant manager at the Lower Keys Animal Clinic on Kennedy. A vet’s office. The Doc Bear’s vet.

Cori Convertino stopped by to say hello. Talented. Hard working. She is actually Dr. Cori Convertino. Has a Ph.D. She is in charge of the exhibits at the Custom House. Ever changing, time absorbing to erect. Each one a “work” in itself.

Jenna! My love! We have not seen each other in months. My fault. She calls, I am too busy. Accidentally saw her last night.

Jenna and her beau stopped in for a drink before seeing a movie at Tropic Cinema. We swore we would get together soon. Very soon!

Read an interesting report this morning. A recent study shows millionaires now control half of the world’s wealth.  Personal wealth globe wise in 2017 totaled $201.9 trillion. Up 12 percent from 2016.

The rich getting a lot more richer and doing it a lot faster.

Happy Father’s Day to all who will be remembered and to all who will not. Life moves in strange ways.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

 

ESPRESSO MARTINI

Espresso Martinis were popular in the Key West of the late 1990’s. Locals and tourists alike imbibing. Even me.

Not consumed as much these days. I hear the drink rarely ordered. Till last night.

I was at Berlin’s waiting for Jean Thornton to join me for dinner. Two couples came in. They were a party of 20, early, having a drink at the bar while waiting for the rest of their group.

The ladies exceptionally lovely. Hair and make up perfection. Dresses obviously from the world’s finest stores. Jewelry like you would not believe. The real stuff. I have not seen that much expensive jewelry on a woman in years.

The ladies were polite, but demanding. They knew exactly what they wanted. Both espresso martinis. Directed Shaun how to prepare them. Each drinking a slightly different variation. An espresso martini is generally prepared with vodka, coffee liqueur and espresso coffee.

The group must have been off one of the 165 foot yachts being seen more frequently in our harbor.

As usual, a pleasant evening at Berlin’s. Jean the best of company. Bria singing. Shaun and Gage to chat with. Janyne arrived. Waiting for friends for dinner in the restaurant itself. Joined us for a drink. A charming woman. She has been operating the Pier House Beach Bar for 17 years.

After the two couples left the bar area, I asked Shaun and Gage who had discovered/invented the espresso martini and where. My impression was Key West in the late 1990’s. Gage checked with someone in the kitchen. He said New York City in 1977.

I checked it out on the internet this morning. Wikipedia says Dick Bradsell in the late 1980’s at the Brasserie in the Soho section of London.

Jean and I stopped at the Chart Room after dinner for a nightcap. Business slow. John bartending. Jean left. I was getting ready to pay the bill when a lady came in and sat next to me. The bar seats were all empty.

She said, “Hello, Louis” I smiled and said hello in return. She said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I politely said no. She said, “The Chart House last year.”

“Oh, I said.” Truth be known, I still did not recall her.

We made small talk and I left after paying for her drink.

BOB time.

Military evacuation when a hurricane is approaching. Primarily Navy. In the 1990’s, the Navy had a huge contingency in Key West and the Boca Chica Naval Base 10 miles up Route 1.

Military personnel and their families were taken to secure shelters or flown to points north on Navy planes. Free of charge, of course. A plan already in place. Each military person had a number and directions for he and his family.

BOB did not approve. The military were getting a free ride at taxpayer expense. A convenient ride. Whereas poor civilians had to gas up and slowly drive north under adverse conditions.

Amy Bondurant and husband David Dunn for real Key Westers. They moved to Key West more than a year ago and call it home. In their other lives, Amy was an Ambassador under Bush 2, David a prominent Washington attorney.

They still maintain a Paris home dating back to Amy’s ambassador days. Amy e-mailed me from Paris. They intend soon to bicycle through Denmark.

Amy sent as part of the e-mail an article which she thought sobering and wanted to bring to my attention. The article was written by Benn Steil and appeared in the 6/12/18 edition of Foreign Policy. Titled: The World Will Die So Trump Can.

The thrust of the article was the United States as we know it was in decline and responsible was Donald Trump.

He attributed such to the recent failure of the G-7 summit, Trump’s negative remarks re Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Trump’s glowing misunderstanding/non-understanding of tariffs, Trump’s sucking up to authoritarian leaders while making enemies of our friends of 50 years.

Steil’s concern was that Trump has/will become the “new normal.” The U.S.we knew gone. Perhaps never to be again.

This blog goes out over a dozen sites. Some have comment sections. Yesterday’s blog title was Sessions’ Improper Use Of Bible. A reader and frequent commentator is I’mNotLou.

I don’t make the names up!

I’mNotLou’s comment: “Sessions is more a religious forger than a person of faith. He is like too many ‘religious’ folk these days – a student of pick and choose for what suits your taste or your bigotry.”

Trump is dragging the U.S. into a tariff war with China, amongst others. China is the biggest importer of soybeans grown in the U.S. Soybeans a huge part of the economy of several states. Most of which supported Trump in the election.

China will not take this tariff increase sitting down. Trump is picking on the wrong nation to abuse. Beside intending to meet the tariffs dollar for dollar, China has already advised it is looking to the soybean fields of South America for future purchases. Argentina, for example.

Mexico also imports U.S. soybeans. Mexico says it will be looking to South America.

U.S. farmers growing soybeans not happy campers.

Enjoy your day!

 

SESSIONS’ IMPROPER USE OF BIBLE

Thousands of immigrant children taken from their parents. Placed in fenced-in areas inside abandoned Walmart buildings. A tent city being planned.

They are the concentration children of America. I am not proud. I am ashamed. Ashamed that something like this could happen in the United States. Many are likewise ashamed. A large number not, however.

Attorney General Sessions can claim major credit. He tells us he is enforcing a law that has not been enforced recently. Incorrect. What he is doing is using a new philosophy to justify his handling of the children. There is no law permitting what is being done.

Sessions considers himself a God-like man. He even quoted the Bible in a speech yesterday in Fort Wayne to support his wrongdoing. The New Testament Book of Romans Chapter 13 wherein St. Paul commanded that the laws of the government be obeyed because God had ordained the government for his purposes.

One problem, however. Sessions misused the Biblical quote. He failed to read the entire passage. The balance would have made him aware of Chapter 13’s true meaning.

The same quote Sessions used was relied upon by others in the past.

Southerners used the quote to justify southern slavery in the 1840’s and 1850’s. South Africa invoked it during apartheid. Hitler to justify his authoritarian rule in the 1930’s.

Even Nero got in the act. He was anti-Christian. Enemies of the state, he said. Killed them. Necessary to quell dissent. He relied on the quote when ordering Christians dipped in oil and set on fire. To light his gardens at night.

Sessions should read Matthew 25:35…..I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

There is nothing in the Bible saying children should be separated from parents.

America, wake up! We are turning into a bad people! Silent acceptance of improper deeds builds up. To a point where Trump could become the Pied Piper. The masses blindly following him.

Sessions did do something good recently. His Department of Justice announced the successful conclusion by a task force of a 3 month operation called Broken Heart. The goal of the task force the identification and arrest of suspected child predators. The crime, child sex trafficking.

The task force consisted of federal, state, local and tribal officers/agents working in unison. The group totaled 4,500.

A successful effort. Two thousand three hundred arrested.

The media has failed to report or comment.

BOB reflected on the cry to evacuate when a hurricane threatens. Only one way out. Drive. The government says gas up and drive to the mainland 150 miles away.

BOB considers the government direction to be ill conceived. There is not enough gas in Key West to fill everyone’s tank.

I must compliment Gov. Scott. He had it right for Irma. He knew gasoline would be a problem. He used one lane or a shoulder of a highway to get the gas filled tankers to the Keys.

I direct your attention to this morning’s Key West Citizen. The weather report section on page 2. Whoever writes it has a sense of humor. Today’s forecast is “Clouds, sun, a t-storm.” The writer’s comment in small print below: “Nature confused.”

Dinner tonight with Jean Thornton at Berlin’s.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

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!