HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT

My grandson is 14 years old. Robert, Happy Birthday! Poppa loves you!

I remember the day he was born. With cancer of the liver. Within two hours, he was on a helicopter to Miami Children’s Hospital.

Two major surgeries the first 8 days of his life. Frequent check up visits the next 10 years.

Today, a typical 14 year old. Graduates from Montessori soon. High school next.

A smart young man academically. A gentleman all the time. He is his father.

Tonight, Happy Birthday cake and blowing out the candles.

God is good!

Hurricane season is here. June 1. Seems like yesterday we were escaping Irma. Irma hit September 10.

Recent weather and weather reports suggest tropical storms may be around the corner. Too much rain lately. Every day. Big! Strong winds!

Sunday, Key West got 3.25 inches of rain. The intersection of Eaton and White Streets flooded. I have seen it in previous years. Twice saw people swimming in the intersection.

Weather reports indicate rain through next sunday.

Things can be different in Key West. A bit funky.

Page 2 of the Key West Citizen carries the weather report. The report for the next 5 days amusing. Small printed verbiage beneath each day. Rain of course predicted for each day.

Today, “ark flooded.” Tonight, “life preserver needed.” Wednesday, “thunderstorms; float feet first.” Thursday, “who’ll stop the rain?” Friday, “rain drops keep falling.” Saturday, “nothing worrying me.”

Another storm of consequence this early in the season would be devastating. The lower Keys are still recovering from Irma.

I wrote about Irma. My personal experience. Irma and Me.

If you have not read it, this may be the time to acquire it. It is a history of the before, during and after a hurricane. Available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

I have known Lee Ann Holland for 15 years. More beautiful each year.

Her picture on the front page of this morning’s Key West Citizen. She is being recognized as a Familiar Face.

Lee Ann has become an integral part of Key West Ambassadors. A lecturer at the program. Recently completed addressing her 16th group.

Lee Ann, congratulations!

Two things are constant in life. Death and change.

The U.S. Supreme Court presented us with “change” yesterday. The decision Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

A federal law was passed in 1992 prohibiting sports gambling. Nevada excepted. Congress was recognized as having the sole authority to regulate sports gambling directly.

No more. The Supreme Court decision recognized Congress had the right to regulate. However if Congress failed to exercise that right, then each State was free to act on its own.

Means two things in the offing. First, goodbye bookies. Second, a new area for State taxation.

We have all experienced the fish that got away. Always a big one.

Happens other than in fishing, also.

On January 1, 1962, the Beatles performed for Decca Records in London. The Beatles were looking for a recording contract. Decca turned them down. The person responsible thought guitar groups were on the way out.

Later in 1962, the Beatles signed with London’s Parlophone label. Still unknown. A struggling rock band.

Parlophone liked them.

Parlophone worked out deals with Apple and Capitol. The rest is history.

Trump does it again! An action difficult to understand. Unless something in the background that should not be.

During the campaign, Trump knocked the hell out of China for stealing jobs from the U.S. He pledged to stop it! To get jobs back from China!

ZTE is a Chinese smart phone business. In trouble financially. U.S. imposed sanctions on other countries killing Smartphone’s business.

Yesterday, Trump announced the U.S. was going to help the Company “get back into business fast.” He directed Secretary Wilbur Ross to do everything expeditiously to help.

Did not make sense to me. Did it have something to do with the China/U.S. talks scheduled this week in Washington?

Turns out remotely so, if at all.

Last night, the news reported that three days earlier, China had agreed to a $500,000 million loan for a new theme park in Indonesia which would contain Trump hotels and golf courses.

I assume the Indonesia deal was Trump’s motivation.

When will he learn he is not supposed to do these things?

By  the way, ZTE has a record of cyber crimes, espionage and hacking. Was ZTE involved with our 2016 election?

Tonight, my podcast show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. Join me. A quick moving interesting half hour.

Topics tonight have to include Trump. However, I open with other items of interest. Like the hurricane season, Chinese hog hotels, Germans invading Belgium and Holland in 1940, the eloquence of leaders in time of war,  and House Chaplain Father Conroy.

Then, Donald.

Enjoy your day!

29 POUNDS

The world is in upheaval. The U.S., Russia, North Korea, etc. threatening each other. Stormy Daniels causing Trump all kinds of problems. What do I title today’s blog? 29 Pounds!

More important than anything else, the scale this morning. Reflected a solid 29 pound loss. I am thrilled!

I had hung in at 27 pounds forever. Did not think I would ever lose another pound. Dieting in one’s old age calls for patience.

Next goal 30. A nice round number. Then, 40. I suspect it may take till Memorial Day.

Spent a few hours yesterday afternoon working on tonight’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Needs more work this afternoon. The show will cover a multitude of worldly sins, interesting information, and whatever strikes my fancy.

The show is only three years old. Acquires more and more listeners every week. Love the numbers! No where as many as this blog. However apparently significant in the podcast field.

Tonight, a first. I am dedicating the show to a particular person.

Join me at 9 my time. A quick moving half hour. Guaranteed you will enjoy. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

First stop last night Aqua. Dueling Bartenders. Tom Luna and Rick Dery. A guest vocalist. Never saw her before. Laura. Young, beautiful, and talented.

Liz sitting nearby. Went over and gave her a hug and kiss. New hairdo. She looked terrific!

Then to Antonia’s. Nicole bartending. Robert came over to say hello. He bartended at Outback for years. Now waitering at Antonia’s. A charming personality. He will do well.

Chatted a bit with a couple several seats away at the bar. In Key West for a month. Staying at Banyan Court. We got into Irma. They were very interested. Believe they will buy Irma and Me.

I used to enjoy stopping in at the VFW Post on North Roosevelt Boulevard. A sandwich, a drink and always good conversation. Irma put a stop to it. Peeled the roof totally off. Someone who saw it happen described the roof peeling back like an onion. Internal damage big time. Insulation and wiring hanging. Water damage.

Has not yet reopened. This morning’s Key West Citizen carried an article announcing the reopening hopefully by Memorial Day.

Whatever date, I am glad it is coming back!

Dusenberry is going home.

He is a 100 pound sub-adult loggerhead sea turtle. He was found off Key Largo in December unable to dive. Taken to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon. Examination revealed he was impacted. Medicines and a good diet fixed him up.

Dusenberry is being returned to the ocean at 10:50 tomorrow morning at Sombrero Beach. Per custom, there will be 100-200 persons cheering off.

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. The President spent 175 days in Key West over a period of 11 trips.

On this day in 1952, Truman left Key West after spending 3 weeks vacationing at The Little White House.

March Madness is upon us! This weekend the Final Four!

Big time basketball.

The championship game of the first Final Four took place on this date in 1939. The conclusion of the first ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Only 8 teams invited.

Oregon beat Ohio State 46-33.

The tournament has grown. Sixty eight teams now invited. It has become the most popular sporting event after the Super Bowl.

The rich have a new toy. I am talking about the 1 percent. Those that already have private jets, yachts, homes world wide.

Private railroad cars. To transport them from their city homes to their  weekend country homes.

There was a time referred to as the Gilded Age. The very rich had private railroad cars attached to the rear of trains. Those Gilded Age railroad cars valuable today. The 1 percent buying them. Remodeling costs generally $1 million.

Justice has a way of surfacing. Most get theirs in the end.

One of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers was Remington Outdoor Co., Inc. Note the word “was” in the previous sentence. Remington filed for bankruptcy protection sunday. Chapter 11.

Remington owes $950 million. Working out a plan to reduce the debt and turn control of the company to it creditors.

Remington’s business fell dramatically this past year. The reason, Trump’s election.

You would have thought his election would have increased Remington’s business. Not so.

Gun owners traditionally bought big time when anti-gun people were elected. They feared they would not be able to purchase guns and ammunition as they had.

Trump got elected. The fear was gone. He was a gun man! He told the NRA during the campaign they would have a friend in the White House.

Such being the case, gun  people did not purchase that many guns in Trump’s first year. The fear was gone. Their man was in the White House.

Enjoy your day!

 

JENNY FROM ARKANSAS…..BIG TIME FOLLOWER

I was sitting at the bar last night at the Chart Room when a lovely lady sat next to me. She started chatting immediately…..I was in last night looking for you, met you with my husband in November, etc.

I did not recognize her until she mentioned she was a librarian, her husband a dairy farmer and they lived in Arkansas. The bell rang!

Jenny 45, married to Spence.

Jenny’s mother Rita was with her. Karen’s husband Spence back home in Arkansas working the farm.

Rita told me she and the family have been coming to Key West for Christmas for 15 years. Impressive.

Jenny and I spoke at length. She is a fan. Reads the blog daily, has purchased and read Irma and Me, and listens religiously every tuesday to my podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Loves the podcast!

Jenny is the first person I have met who religiously follows the podcast. I have noticed the blog and podcast are distinct and separate audiences. Different.

Rita’s son, Jenny’s brother, was married saturday in Memphis. Mother Rita was stressed out from the event. Ergo, Jenny took mother to Key West for a few days of rest and relaxation.

I have become interested in farming. Especially farms that are in competition with or have become associated with the big corporations like Monsanto. In addition to dairy farming, Jenny’s husband Spence grows rice.

We had an interesting discussion re the pros and cons of doing business with major corporations.

Seated next to Jenny was Karen. Karen and husband Jim visiting Key West for the second time. From Cleveland. Two grown children. Son an architect, daughter a financial forecaster. Karen refers to her son as a Doctor for Buildings.

Jim an electrical equipment salesman.

Karen charming.

Made sure I got home in time for the Syracuse/Duke game. Close. Syracuse lost 69-65.

Good game. Both teams using zone defenses. Penetration difficult.

Syracuse lost the game near the end of the first half. It was neck and neck up to that time. Then Duke went of a 10 point run and went into half time with a 7 point lead.

I am proud of Syracuse. The regular season was disastrous. Syracuse did not have it. Then improvement began appearing in the ACC post season tournament. Major improvement in the 3 NCAA tournament games.

It is called redemption. A job well done!

The big students’ march today. High school students demanding improvement in gun laws. The big demonstration in Washington. World wide, also.

And in Key West! The Key West portion begins at noon at South Beach. It will go straight down Duval to Mallory Square. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

Irma still with us. There are post Irma effects. This morning’s Key West Citizen pointed out two.

Florida lobsters one.

The lobster season ends April 1. During Irma, 24,000 traps were lost. Translated into a 60 percent smaller harvest. The dollar loss totaling $38.6 million.

The hospitality industry hurting, also. Revenues down 20 percent. Tourists think Irma wiped Key West out and we are still rebuilding.

Key West an island of writers. Yesterday and today. One of the famous ones Tennessee Williams. Lived in Key West more than 30 years.

On this day in 1955, Williams’ play Cat On A Hot Tin Roof opened on Broadway. Two days before his 44th birthday. Twenty eight years before his death in 1985.

Williams lived on Duncan Street. My Lisa and family live 1.5 blocks down the street from the Williams home.

There is an excitement associated with passing the homes of Key West notables. People like Hemingway and Williams. I get a thrill.

An interesting article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal re human sperm.

Demand for human sperm is a fast growing market. U.S. sperm most in demand. In many locales world wide.

Demand for American sperm for example has skyrocketed in Brazil. In 2011, the demand was 16. In 2017, more than 500.

Wealthy Brazilian women creating the demand. Rich singles and lesbian couples. The DNA most in demand light complexioned, blond haired, and blue eyed.

Modern science absolutely amazing!

One of the most popular donors is #9601 at the Seattle Sperm Bank. He has all the characteristics demanded.

Tubes of semen from young men are frozen in liquid nitrogen and flown to Brazilian airports.

This is the day! At 7 this evening as the sun sets, the guns will roar, the band will play. Chris and Don will be saying their I Do’s.

Two special people tying the knot.

I will be there! On time!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS VLADIMIR

Some things I do not understand.

Trump telephoned Putin yesterday to congratulate him on his reelection victory. He did this after his staff specifically advised him not to.

Putin is our enemy. He is playing with the U.S. and laughing while doing it. Especially when Trump sucks up to him.

The blind cannot see. Maybe Trump is blind when it comes to Putin. Or, perhaps he can see but acts the way he does because of some nefarious activities in the past which Putin holds over Trump’s head.

My day yesterday was spent preparing for last night’s podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I believe the show one of the best done. It flowed. Covered everything from the Key West Cemetery to Trump power gone mad.

Tonight, the Chart Room at 6. The beginning of Don and Chris’ wedding celebration. They marry saturday.

This morning’s Key West Citizen ran an article re woonerf. Spelled correctly. Also known as a shared street.

The article advised Miami was going to try a woonerf in a four block area of the Wynwood section.

A woonerf is where cars, bikes, and pedestrians share the pavement on an equal footing.

Sounds strange. But, it works.

Experienced it on my several trips to Novara in northern Italy. Anna’s condo sits in a 1,500 year old building. The building sits on a wide street. Cars, bikes and people move freely over the street. There is no sidewalk. Everyone exercises caution. Cars travel a bit slower.

Never experienced a problem. Never even gave it a thought that the street was being shared by everyone.

The fourth northeaster of the month hitting the northeast. Don’t tell me global warming does not exist.

The northeaster incidentally affects Key West. The temperature will drop to 63 this evening.

Irma hit September 10. Though still recovering, the Keys have done well.

The story is not the same with Puerto Rico.

Things were bad at the beginning. I blame Trump for turning his back on the American citizens living there.

I saw some photos on the internet this morning of present day damage. Doesn’t look much better than six months ago. I continue to blame Trump.

The article I read said the US Army Corps of Engineers have pulled back on some of their assistance. Federal help has been grossly insufficient. I worry it will take a generation for Puerto Rico to recover.

I wrote a few days ago that Trump was mean and vindictive. The failure to properly assist Puerto Rico an example of his meanness and vindictiveness. Six months later, Puerto Rico is a society still in pain.

I sometimes wonder if his failure to help the Puerto Ricans has to do with the color of their skin. Most are tan.

Ben Carson is Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. His wife is Candy.

Carson thought his office needed a new dining set. The old worn, nails sticking out.

He left the task of securing one to his wife. Candy allegedly spent the $31,000 without his knowledge. Carson takes no blame. She did it!

Appears to me Carson threw his wife under the bus.

Enjoy your day!

 

TRUMP NOT MAN ENOUGH FOR LISTENING SESSION WITH DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

The kids from Parkland’s Douglas High School are tough. The buck stops with them! They appear committed to bringing the gun issue to a head.

Trump hears their cries. He has to do something. His nature.

It was announced yesterday that the President plans listening sessions this week with students and teachers. The announcement did not say what students and teachers.

Those from Douglas High School where 17 were killed? I doubt it. The students would make him look foolish. For two reasons. First, from the mouth of children comes truth. Second, the students know bullshit when they hear it.

The confrontation would be interesting.

I do not believe it will occur, however. A losing proposition for Trump. He would come out of it looking bad.

I believe that where ever and with whom ever the listening sessions will be held will be from another area. Trump will be working at rigging the meeting.

Remember rigged from the election?

Staying with the Douglas High School shooting a moment longer, there is a need for blood. O negative.

Enough blood was available to care for the injured victims. The supply is now tapped out. A request has gone forth to anyone who should wish to donate to help replenish O negative. Instructions direct traveling to their usual donation sites to give.

The AR-15 rifle in the news other than in Parkland.

Levi Patterson coaches a 9 and under baseball team in Nesoho, Missouri. Third graders. The team needs to raise money. The father of one of the players sells guns. He donated an AR-15 rifle for a raffle prize.

The team players, age 7-9, are selling the raffle tickets.

Coach Patterson sees no problem with the AR-15 being used. He believes people think differently about guns in his area. In effect, the AR-15 is ok.

Tyler Tannahill is a Kansas Congressional candidate. A month ago, he decided to have a giveaway contest. Someone to win an AR-15 rifle.

Douglas occurred last week. Tannahill refuses to withdraw the AR-15 as the prize. He is a passionate defender of gun rights.

Sometimes we see the same person over a period of several years and yet  never get to know their names, etc. Always a smile and cheerful hello in passing.

My situation with one of the concierges at the Marriott Beachside.

We discovered each other on a more personal basis yesterday.

My photo and announcement of Irma and I covered the front page of KONK Life last week. The concierge called out to me yesterday morning by name. She said she had not known it before, but had seen my pic and read the article. Told me she has begun reading my blog.

Her name, Toni Tarracino. Last name sound familiar? She is one of the daughters of now deceased Captain Tony. Key West Mayor, saloon keeper, icon, etc. Toni proudly told me she is known as Little Toni.

My day began with the stop at the Marriott Beachside. Followed by a business lunch at the Geiger Key Marina. At noon, hardly a seat. No question the season has arrived.

Back to my home. I had no hot water. A two day wait for a plumber. Called a friend who stopped over. Problem resolved in 15 minutes. After two days and three cold showers, it was a pleasure later in the afternoon to enjoy a hot one.

Last night, the Gardens. A comfortable way to finish sunday.

Many people.

Ran into Jenna Stauffer. A love of my life for 10 years. Jenna was the producer for the TV show I did for three years. She was all bubbly and excited. Just returned from Paris.

Also ran into June Hudson. A couple of years since we have seen each other. Unchanged. Charming and lovely.

Stopped at Tavern ‘n Town for a late dinner. A rack of lamb. Nothing else. Diet still holding at 19 pounds.

Iguanas are an exotic species. Look like small dragons. To Key West residents, disgusting.

The iguanas are not native. They started their invasion about 15 years ago. Now, all over the island.

They deficate all over, including in the pools. They eat your expensive planted flowers.

They fear not. You can walk up to one and it will not move.

All of a sudden, the State has become aware there is an iguana problem. Don’t know where the State has been. However the State does not wish them killed. The State has scheduled clinics to advise how to capture and arrange for their removal to another part of the State.

Capture and remove? How stupid. Authorize their killing.

A State representative said, “We do not know the extent of the threat.” Live here and you will know. They are all over the place.

The State should recall how it handled the python invasion. Too little, too late. Now number in excess of 1 million. They can only be controlled, not eradicated.

Can you imagine 1 million plus iguanas? They will be living in our homes. Laugh not.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

VOODOO

I mentioned Italy’s immigration problem in yesterday’s blog. Based on personal observation and as reported to me by my friend Anna who lives in Novara. Novara is near Milan.

Anna reads this blog everyday. She responded to yesterday’s blog with a long e-mail. I share excerpts from it. Italy’s immigration problem is different from ours in certain regards.

Italy’s immigrants are primarily from Africa.

“Italy is going down and down…..March the 4th election: right wing will win. Italy is fed up with politicians, mainly of the present government, democrats who packed Italy of immigrants mainly negros and mainly crooks, delinquents. It seems some do voodoo rites!!! Last week in Macerata negros killed, in a flat, an 18 year old girl, chopped her body with knives and machetes, washed them putting the pieces in 2 suitcases and abandoning them faraway in the country. But there was not her heart and bowels!!! Eaten??? A voodoo rite??? Soon after, a crazy white young man in order to revenge the girl, went around downtown Macerata and shot 6 negros injuring them seriously. I could go on…..”

Anna’s husband died several years ago. He served as a national Senator for years and then 8 years as a member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. At one time, she sent me a photo of her husband and Gorbachev their heads joined together in what appeared to be a serious conversation.

Spent a couple of hours at the Chart Room last night. John bartending.

Lovely Morgan at the bar. My charming 26 year old friend. A big hug. We talked alone at the round table for two hours.

An amazing young lady. Whoever is fortunate to win her over is going to get a great wife. She’s a keeper!

Friend Sandie at the bar. She introduced me to her visiting friend Janie from Philadelphia. Go Eagles!

As I was leaving, ran into Devon at the bar. I see Devon about once a year. A farmer from the midwest. Owns a condo in Key West.

Devon is a smart farmer. He and his brother own a huge farm. They did not fight the big corporations that entered the agriculture business. They joined them! Happy they are. The right move. They have prospered.

Diana Millikan is off somewhere. She travels the world. She e-mailed me yesterday. One of her Hilton Haven Road neighbors told her there were gun shots around 4:30 in the morning. There were. This morning’s Citizen reports a man staying at the Banana Bay Resort was shot in the leg.

No arrests yet.

Irma hit September 10. Its effects still with us.

The canals remain impacted with house, boat and tree debris. Non-navigable. Nearshore waters, likewise.

Monroe County has entered into a $6 million contract with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to begin a clean up.

Many still are without homes. The homes either completely destroyed or the owners do not have funds yet to rebuild. FEMA and the insurance companies have been unreasonably slow in making payments.

These people have to live somewhere. Some in tents. Others in hotels. FEMA announced yesterday that they would extend hotel time at FEMA’s expense another month till March 3. There will be further monthly extensions. This part of the Irma problem not being resolved.

Mom’s Tea Room. I have written several times about Mom’s Tea Room. A Key West house of prostitution. Alice Reid the madam.

On this day in 1941, the body of working girl Cecilia Thompson Trunk was found in Mom’s. An apparent suicide. On the same day in 1952, another body found. Rita Brown, an apparent suicide also.

Mom’s was a busy place. A big U.S. Navy clientele. The Navy had many stationed here. The Navy did not like Alice or Mom’s. Morality and venereal disease the reasons. They closed Reid’s place a couple of times. A smart woman, however. She would pop up in another location. Closed finally in the 1950’s, never to open again.

Same sex marriage. Its time had come. The world accepting/falling into place. One nation at a time. Till now.

Bermuda reverted.

Bermuda’s law recognizing same sex marriage was less than one year old. Bermuda’s President signed a new law yesterday banning same sex marriage. A reversal. A win for bigotry.

Those of the same sex can live together with all the same rights and benefits as if married. The new relationship called a domestic partnership. The title married neither available nor recognized.

Have to hustle. A haircut with Lori at noon.

Enjoy your day!

 

CELIBACY SYNDROME…..A FLIGHT FROM HUMAN INTIMACY

Back to normal. Three hundred sixty five days till Christmas again. A well earned rest.

The Japanese continue to move away from sex. Would you believe! I wrote about the situation several years ago. It remains ongoing and getting worse.

Especially with the young. One study indicates forty five percent have given up on sex. Women 16-24, 25 percent of the men. One third of those under 30 have never dated. Most believe love leads nowhere.

Another study suggests even higher numbers. Forty nine percent of women 18-34 and 61 percent of unmarried men have turned their backs on sex. They are not interested in any kind of romantic relationship.

True celibacy. A flight from intimacy. In addition to not being interested, many despise sex. Hard to believe. Such is the case, however.

No sex creates a problem. A big one. A diminishing population. Births thus far this year are just below 941,000. The lowest number since births began being recorded in 1899.

Several reasons are attributed for the movement away from sex. The economic stagnation of the past 20 years. A continuing nuclear scare. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The radioactive meltdown.

The men claim they cannot afford marriage. Job security no longer exists in Japan. Job uncertainty does. Women do not want them.

Young Japanese women have entered the work place. Most are successful. Much demanded of them. They do not wish to have a job and care for a family. Too much work involved. They prefer dinners at top restaurants with their girl friends and traveling. The ladies can personally satisfy their sexual needs personally.

Women consider marriage a grave.

Talk about cultural change. What is happening in Japan is a big one!

Lisa’s for dinner last night. Tons of left overs from Christmas eve.

Stopped at Don’s Place on the way home. Wanted to wish friends a Merry Christmas. Spent some time with David, Frankie and Sandy. Sissy bartending.

Key West is recovering well from Irma. Twenty miles up the Keys, they are not. From Cudjoe to Marathon, the mess remains. Cleanup and repair moving at snail’s pace.

FEMA did well initially. FEMA has already spent $118 million in Monroe County.

Much that remains is for the State and County to do. Therein I believe lies the problem. Neither the State nor County expected the devastation Irma wrought. The problem exceeded anything they imagined or planned for.

Self-help still available. Homeowners, neighbors and friends continue pitching in and helping. The Federal, State and County must up their efforts. If the recovery is too much for the State and County, it has to be even more/worse for those engaged in self-help.

I worry. About war.

Marine Commandant General Robert Neller speaking to troops in Norway said war could come. In the next year. In Russia and the Pacific Theater.

In December 1888, Van Gogh chopped off the lower part of his left ear with a razor. History tells us he was a bit off mentally.

No wonder. As an artist, he lived off his earnings from the sale of his paintings. In his entire career, he sold only one painting.

Following the ear cutting event, Van Gogh painted a picture of himself with a head bandage covering the ear. It sold years later in the millions. As most of Van Gogh’s paintings have.

Difficult to find anyone who speaks well of Comcast. A difficult vendor to have for TV, wi-fi, and landlines. Service the worst!

Washington State has decided to take Comcast on. The Attorney General has initiated a lawsuit charging Comcast with misselling its Service Protection Plan. The issue who pays for service call bills. Seventy three million dollars involved over a 5 year period.

Go Washington State!

Podcast time tonight! My blog talk radio show. Nine my time.

Between Trump and world events, there is always much to talk about. I never run out of material. This evening no exception. The ills and misdeeds of the world exposed. Here and there, a story that warms rather than chills the heart.

A fast moving half hour. Boring the show is not. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

CHRISTMAS MORNING

Christmas morning. Actually, the last hours of Christmas eve and the beginning of Christmas Day.

Christmas eve does not end with dinner and the dishes being done. The dishes an extortion in themselves.

Everyone gone. The kids sleeping. Time to get out Santa’s gifts and lay them around the tree, fill the stockings, and make sure the cookies and milk left for Santa were devoured. My job!

My wife always went to Midnight Mass. I not. So she got ready and was off. Not to return till about 2.

My job to put together the toys that required such.

I recall a Christmas in the 1960s. Santa had brought my son his first two-wheel bicycle. In a box. I had to put it together. This was before the days that stores provided the service for $5 or $10.

I began before my wife left for Mass. I was still working on it when she returned. We worked together till 3.

A pain! Hundreds of screws and bolts. Instructions required a Ph.D. If a screw or bolt were missing, you were dead!

Finally, the bike was together. Safe for our son to ride.

The wife and I got to sleep around 3:30. At 5:30, our 4 children were in our room asking if it was time? Could they go down to see what Santa had brought?

We were up and downstairs at 5:30. After 2 1/2 hours sleep.

Santa’s gift discoveries always a happy occasion. For the children as well as parents. My wife and I no longer tired.

Now, I am older. Much. My Christmas eve’s and morning’s different.

Dinner at Lisa’s last night. In laws and friends joining in. Lisa cooked the big meal. Not seven fishes. Two. Shrimp and clams. Better than no fish.

I miss the Christmas eve big fish meals of days gone by.

A warm happy family and friends’ gathering.

The night was over by 8:30. I said my good byes. Will return to Lisa’s some time today.

Next stop was Donna and Terri’s. Pajama party! I had never been to a pajama party before.

I do not  have pajamas. I do not wear pajamas. I sleep in the nude. If it is cool, I throw on a tee shirt.

My “pajamas” last night were a pair of short white shorts and an extra long tee shirt. Everyone else in night gear.

One of the ladies Jeanie Maes. A contemporary age wise. She is 5 years younger than me.

Jeanie an artist. Offers her works for sale on Duval in front of the Prudential real estate offices. Her works primarily wildlife. She paints at home 4 days a week. Sells the paintings on Duval  3 days a week.

Began life in Belgium. Then a time in Montreal. Now, a Key Wester.

A lesbian. Wrote a book about being a lesbian married to a doctor in Belgium. Divorced at some point, obviously.

She is working on a second book. On the Other End of My Life.

A personality.

Exhaustion hit me. I said my good byes and left at 10. Spoke with Donna this morning.

She said they went till well after midnight.

Dinner later today with Lisa and family.

I went off my diet. True blue for 30 days. Could not miss the good food, however. Especially Lisa’s home made Christmas cookies. I did a number on them! Topped Lisa’s sweets with Donna’s Spanish cookies. So good. My body had to be going carb crazy!

The trip home from Donna and Terri’s took me down Flagler. Beautiful! Just about every home decorated. Big time! I suspect a few fuses had to be blown along the way.

A surprise for me. Discovered yesterday that Irma and Me had received a degree of formal recognition.

My publisher is Absolutely Amazing eBooks. The publisher, in conjunction with The New Atlantic Library, designated Irma and Me as one of their 2017 Editors’ Picks. A 2017 favorite.

I am pleased. Actually, impressed.

Irma and Me continues to be in demand. Internet purchases back ordered three weeks.

Enjoy your Christmas Day. Go back to worrying about things tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

THE ANGEL ON TOP OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Christmas eve and Christmas day both important. Most Italian-Americans give a bit more attention to Christmas Eve.

Whether the day before Christmas or Christmas day itself, each I would describe as a conspiracy of love. Even relatives who avoid each other all year, bury their animosities. Everyone kumbaya.

The dinner the night of Christmas Eve a big deal. The end of several days of preparation. The day itself further preparation.

Cooking smells permeate the house. A big fish dinner ahead. Seven fishes.

In spite of all the preparation and planning, there are snafus. Last minutes ones. Additional groceries to buy. Last minute gift shopping. Grandma getting her hair done. Wrapping presents (takes forever and many hands), setting the table, finish decorating the tree, some one cannot make it on time, etc.

The conspiracy of love is pure confusion! It reaches its high point and ultimate reward when all sit down to dinner. Anywhere from 10 to 30 guests.

Card tables set up all over the place. Age determines who sits at the dining room table. Some adults are still relegated to the card tables at 25. Since tiny tots. Waiting to move up.

The meal spectacular! Grandmom and Mom did their usual best. Everyone enjoys! Grandmom and Mom taking special pleasure in seeing their family seated all around and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Which brings me to a comparable story. One involving confusion leading to Christmas warmth. And a special reward!

Joan Lunden for more than 20 years was host of Good Morning America. When she left, she turned to writing. Became an acclaimed journalist.

Eighteen years ago, Emotional Health printed one of her short stories. It was about Santa Claus and a bad day he was experiencing Christmas eve day.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainer elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones.

Santa began to feel pressure.

Mrs. Santa told him her mother was coming. Such increased Santa’s stress more.

Santa went out to harness the reindeer. Not all were in shape to travel the skies that evening. Three were about to give birth.  Two others had jumped the fence. To where, Santa knew not.

Santa began to load the sleigh. One of the floor boards cracked and a toy bag fell to the ground. Toys scattered all over.

Santa had had it for the moment. He needed a drink. Went inside for a cup of apple cider and shot of rum.. He went to the cupboard. Only to discover that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

He accidentally dropped the empty cider jug. Broke into hundreds of pieces all over the kitchen floor.

Santa went to get the broom to clean up. Only to discover the mice had eaten all the straw at the end of the broom.

Just then, the door bell rang. The noise further irritated Santa. Obviously not having a good day.

He rushed to the door and yanked it open. There stood an angel. Holding a large Christmas tree.

The angel said cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

The thrust of the story. After all the exasperations experienced, there finally comes a time when joy abounds. The angel at Santa’s door with the tree, the Italian family sitting down to Christmas eve dinner.

Another reason, also. The story explains the tradition why in many homes, a little angels sits at the top of the Christmas tree.

Love Christmas Eve! I look forward tonight to dinner with Lisa and the family.

Enjoy your day!