GHOSTS AND GOBLINS, TRICK OR TREAT NIGHT

Tonight, Halloween! Tons of kids running up and down streets, attacking front doors, shouting as the door is opened…..Trick or Treat!

The Trick or Treat thing I believe regional. In upstate New York from whence I came, it was Guess or Give. Either verbiage produced the same result. Goodies for the ghosts and goblins.

Halloween is of Christian origin. Some believe a pagan beginning.

I enjoyed Halloween with my children and then with grandkids Robert and Ally. I walked with my children and watched from the sidewalk as they did their thing and collected goodies. Robert and Ally I did in conjunction with their parents.

I never did the door to door thing when young. My mother was from the old country. She was convinced I would get in trouble if I was out Halloween night. A tough woman in this regard. Never relented. I never saw the dark of Halloween night while in grammar school and high school.

Maybe that is why I enjoyed escorting my children and grandchildren in my later years.

Ghosts a part of Halloween! Look closely and you might see one.

Key West has many ghosts. The one I will mention has been seen  many nights. Not just Halloween.

The Lady in Blue.

She can be found at Captain Tony’s Saloon. The bar and the Lady in Blue legendary. Captain Tony’s was at one time an ice house. Also, the city morgue. The ice helped keep the bodies from decomposing.

Captain Tony’s was the facility where hangings took place. Not always legal ones. The tree used for executions still lives inside the bar growing through the roof.

The Lady in Blue was not legally hung. The populace was upset with her. She brutally murdered her husband and 2 young sons. A mob lynched her.

She was hung in a blue dress.  The same dress she had worn while committing the murders.

The Lady in Blue today lives in the bar. She makes frequent appearances. Many claim to have caught a glimpse of her as she roams the bar. Women beware, it is said she often appears in the lady’s room.

Tropic Cinema has been closed for almost a month. Renovations. It has reopened.

The Fall is generally Key West’s slow season. Merchants are happy when Fantasy Fest arrives. They are more happy when Boat Season is here.

Powerboat racing. Accurately titled: Powerboat Racing World Championships.

Boats big and expensive. Owners arrive with crews consisting of drivers and mechanics. All bring their ladies. The owners are affluent. The hotels, restaurants and bars enjoy a week of extremely good business.

Spectators galore. The races exciting.

Powerboat Race Week runs from November 4 through November 10.

My podcast Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou last night. A hard hitting fast moving show. Most of the time spent discussing the Pittsburgh synagogue attack, the migration towards our southwest borders, and Hurricane Michael.

Hurricane Michael and the migration/carnival situation caused me the most concern. Michael probably because of Irma. Irma still with me. Michael much worse.

Michael hit 18 days ago. I said before Michael came ashore, and have said and written several times since, the federal government would fail in its response.

So far they have.

Little is reported re conditions at the Panhandle, for example. I suspect because FEMA and the federal government in general are not doing their job effectively. Water, food, shelter, power, etc. still a major problem.

Lets direct attention to the refugees traveling from Guatemala and Honduras to our southwest border. They are walking. Young, old, mothers carrying babies, pregnant women, children. A 2,000 mile trip. One thousand completed. Another thousand to go.

The group is doing 30 miles a day. It will take another month for them to reach U.S. borders.

Trump last week began with it is an “emergency” situation. An “invasion”. He said he was sending the U.S. Army down. Understand that already there are 20,000 border guards and 2,000 National Guardsmen.

The first day, we were told 800 Army personnel would be sent. Two days later, the number rose to 5,200. Last night, it was being reported that the number could go as high as 14,000.

Defense Secretary Mattis said Army soldiers would be at the border by the weekend. Equipment also.

It is against the law to deploy Army soldiers for action within U.S. borders. Called the Posse Comitatus Act. An exception is in the case of an “invasion.” Experts commenting this week have all said no way do these refugees constitute an invasion. At a minimum between Border guards, National Guardsmen and U.S. Army personnel, there will be 27,200 to guard our borders. Against the approaching caravan yet a month away.

The caravan was first reported as 4,000. A few days later, 7,000. Now, 3,500. It is obvious that fewer than 3,500 will reach the U.S. To be confronted by 27,200 to keep them out.

Overkill.

Last week, the news was the Army would neither have nor use guns. They were being sent for administrative assistance. Now guns are in the air!

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen made a trip to the border a few days ago. Upon her return, she was asked why she had gone. Her response, to work out “terms of engagement.” Means guns, firepower. When will the Army shoot at refugees? From no guns to shooting guns in less than a week.

We all know this is a political ploy on Trump’s part. He wants the immigration issue to play in next tuesday’s election.

Hope you are still with me. There is a point to be made here.

Why send the 5,200 U.S. Army troops to the border now? Or, at all for that matter? They should already have been in the Panhandle, etc. The Panhandle need is today. The caravan problem a month off, if at all.

Simple. Genius not required to understand what should have been done or be done.

Trump visited Pittsburgh yesterday. He was ignored. Major political leaders did not show up. It was Donald, Melania, Ivana, Jared, and about 3 other people walking around.

Families of the deceased refused to see him.

The street demonstrations were sorrowful. Many carrying signs indicating in effect they did not want Trump there.

The President was publicly insulted. He deserved it.

Enjoy your day!

ASEXUALITY

There are a number of  different sexualities.

The first began with Adam and Eve. Heterosexuality. No others at the time.

Since have come homosexuality, lesbianism, bi-sexuality, transgenders, and now asexuals.

Transgender as an item of public awareness is relatively new. I had never heard the term till several years ago when we were made aware of the large number, their personal needs, etc.

I thought transgenders would be the last of the sexual designations. I was wrong. We are now being made aware of asexuals.

An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction. It is not celibacy. It is an intrinsic part of who a person is. As with other sexual designations. With a significant difference. Asexuals have no sexual drive/attraction. For either sex.

Asexuality has existed since sometime after Adam and Eve. It is not new. Awareness and it being the subject of public discourse is new.

One percent of the world’s population is thought to be asexual. Some think more. Seventy percent are believed to be women.

Public awareness and discourse has resulted in Asexual Awareness Week. This year October 21-27.

Fantasy Fest began yesterday. The week begins slowly. More events to follow. Yesterday, a Zombie Bike Ride. Four miles. Costumed. Scary. Participants’ faces made up to look like zombies!

More events today. Included are the Green Parrot Beatles Tribute, the Southernmost Luau, a 5k run, and Sloppy Joe’s Comic Book Capers.

Dueling Bartenders will be performing at Aqua as usual. If you are here for Fantasy Fest, stop in. The best buy in town. Great singing all for the price of a drink.

Another event is the Kinky Carnival at First Flight. BDSM at its finest!

The oldest BDSM event in Fantasy Fest history. First Flight is the former Kelly’s Caribbean Restaurant. It started there.

Kelly’s at the time was owned by Hollywood star Kelly McGillis and her husband Fred Tillman. My neighbors in Key Haven.

I have only attended one such kinky event. When it was Kelly’s. It was 15 years ago. I was at a Fantasy Fest party when someone said let’s go to Kelly’s. I was with Donna that evening. Terri not yet in the picture.

We all went. I had always wanted to see a BDSM party. One of my deviations, I guess.

I was shocked!

Most of the people were running around bare ass. I was dressed. In a tee shirt and shorts. Never take my clothes off publicly.

The place was packed. Both floors. Impossible to get to the bar.

What was going on was interesting. Who was whipping who, who was hung on a cross, who was walking around on a dog collar and leash, etc.

I lost Donna. Satisfied my curiosity. Left after one hour.

I have never seen another since. Worth the experience however if you have even the slightest curiosity of what is involved.

An Irma update. I mentioned a week ago that Irma left 4,000 homes destroyed or severely damage. There are consequences. It has since been reported that in 2017 and 2018 there has been a population drop in every Keys city and unincorporated area.

The people of the U.S. were made aware on this date in 1962 of the Cuban Missile Crisis. President John Kennedy went on national TV and made the announcement. Russia was establishing missile bases in Cuba. The missiles would have the capacity to hit major U.S. cities.

I was an adult at the time. Twenty-seven years old with a wife, family, and a 2 year old law practice.

The situation quickly turned into the serious possibility of conflict. War drums were beating both in the U.S. and Russia.

Key West was directly involved. Cuba only 90 miles away. Smathers Beach was lined with anti-aircraft missiles. The U.S. blockaded Cuba so no new missiles or construction equipment could be delivered by Soviet ships.

The Russian Navy confronted our vessels. The vessels came close. Two only feet from each other.

War?

Fortunately, Russia blinked. The Russian close vessel turned around followed by other Russian ships and returned to Russia.

We were able to watch all this via TV. Interesting, worrisome, scary. The brink of war.

Trump announced saturday he is going to have the U.S. withdraw from the nuclear treaty with Russia. The treaty was agreed to in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Another dumb Trump move in the making.

Gorbachev is still alive. He said Trump’s desire “not the work of a great mind.” He added, “Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?” He concluded that “…..all agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and the limitation of nuclear weapons must be preserved for the sake of life on Earth.”

Too deep for Trump to understand.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

OLD COUPLE

Strange experience last night.

I did not want to go into town. Parking a problem during Goombay and Fantasy Fest. Three different times my car has been towed. $200 plus each time. Additionally, after 25 years I have seen all there is to see about the events. I have rarely attended in recent years.

Diane Millikan is back. Gave her a call and said join me for dinner. Meet me at the new SONIC across the street from where you are staying.

Sonic a new short order food operation in Key West. Mega bucks involved for the property. I was curious what it was like.

I opted to eat at an outside table rather than in the car. One orders by standing in front of a huge screen. The size of a 50 inch TV screen. The menu listed. A press button operation. Someone answers and you place your order.

When the food and bill arrived, I noticed something unusual on the bill: CUST INFO: OLD COUPLE.

Bothered me. Not because I am old. Because SONIC obviously had to have a camera built into the screen that automatically deduced Diana and I are old. SONIC probably requires the information for their purposes. However, it irritated me someone was taking my picture and labeling me without my permission.

See if I eat their cheeseburgers again!

The food sucked. Not because of the picture taking. It did. And the tables were dirty. All of them. I had to clean one off before we sat down.

Today the day! The beginning of Fantasy Fest itself. A wild week ahead. Tourists galore. As many as 60,000 the night of the parade. Every year, I wonder where they sleep. There are not enough rooms in the Keys to accommodate all of them.

A Michael update. Michael’s strength and the surge unearthed 15 19th century ships that had been wrecked off Dog Island by a hurricane. The hurricane occurred in 1899. The ships are siting on the beaches.

Syracuse/UNC an interesting game yesterday afternoon. I missed the best part. I fell asleep.

With 3 minutes to go, Syracuse was losing. I think by 3 points. That is when I fell asleep.

I assumed Syracuse lost and never checked the final score when I woke. I did last night when I returned home. Syracuse won in a double overtime 40-37.

Friends have been e-mailing me and asking…..Wasn’t it a great game!

Not the first time this has happened to me.

This morning’s news advises that Trump announced following his latest rally last night that the U.S. was going to exit its nuclear treaty with Russia. A treaty that was entered into in 1987 between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Reagan at the time used a Russian proverb as to how he was going to handle whether Russia was complying with the provisions of the agreement. Doveryai no proveryai. Trust, but verify.

Trump claims Russia has been violating the treaty. Why rush to a North Korea type confrontation? All Trump had to do was ask Putin if Russia was. If Putin said no, then Trump should be comfortable with the response. As he was each time Putin told him Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election.

I suspect Trump is playing this new game to show voters he is tough. The November 6 elections around the corner.

Also, this confrontation in the making provides Trump with evidence in the Mueller investigation that he is not friends with Russia. He’s willing to go to nuclear war with them!

Realistically, I doubt any war is about to occur. Russia militarily is not our equal. Except in their new submarine fleet that can shoot missiles onto our shores.

The only way Russia could stand up to the U.S. militarily is if China joined them. A possibility always. Putin and Xi have been making all kinds of economic deals the past few years.

Behind Trump’s present blustering is John Bolton. A bad man. A war monger. Most previous Presidents have been able to avoid him. Trump, not. Bolton talks tough. As does Trump. Birds of a feather.

Trump is turning migration into a campaign issue again. People are escaping Guatemala to avoid harm, to seek a better life for themselves and their children, etc. Trump makes it sound like an attack en mass is coming.

Many of the 4,000 are stuck on a bridge over a river separating Guatemala and Mexico. Body to body. No food, no toilets, no water, no shelter, etc. Sounds like the aftermath of Michael.

One woman interviewed crying while kneeling on the bridge clutching her 11 month old infant to her breast. The baby had a fever. The baby was without a diaper. There were none.

I continue to say if people are willing to walk 2,000 miles and go through these type conditions, they cannot be bad. They are in need. In need of a better way.

Forget the money. We piss money away on many things. Here at least it would go for a good cause.

This is not a crisis. Authorities say except for a spike here and there, immigration is at a 40 year low.

Time to help a neighbor. We forget. Especially the Golden Rule…..Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t respond with…..God helps those who help themselves. These people are trying to help themselves. They are walking 2,000 miles and jeopardizing the health and lives of themselves and their children.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

I DIDN’T WIN THE LOTTERY

I didn’t win the lottery. I never win.

The Mega Millions Lottery drawing was last night. No one won. Which is good. Means I still have a chance.

The next drawing is tuesday evening. $1.6 billion. I can wait. The extra money worth it.

The Royal Coronation Ball last night! At the Amphitheater. Larry Blackburn crowned King. Benadeta Restivo, Queen.

I know Larry. A nice guy. Well liked. A professional photographer. Can generally be found at Aqua’s monday nights for Dueling Bartenders.

Larry has a 15 year old daughter. Last year when 14, I heard her sing at the Waterfront Theater. Outstanding! Her career path already marked.

Unfortunately, I do not know Benadeta. I am sure I will meet her soon.

Being King and Queen an honor. No bargain, however. The King and Queen must attend every type function for the next year. A hard job!

The White Street Pier. An edifice. Everyone knows and loves the pier. Most have walked it out onto the water for exercise, to watch the sun rise, or attend a friend’s “burial” as ashes are sprinkled onto the water.

The pier was renamed the Edward B. Knight Pier 2 years ago in honor of Ed Knight who did so much for Key West. David Wolkowsky and Ed were close friends. Contemporaries. David told me often how he and Ed would joke as to who would be the last one left standing.

The pier will close October 29 for roughly 6 weeks. Work to be done The base of the pier requires reconstruction.

Keys residents do not forget deeds well done. Irma destroyed certain areas of the Keys. People came from all over the country to help. Donated food and money.

The Panhandle had their share of helpers driving to the Keys.

Reciprocation time. Keys residents have not forgotten. It seems like every few days another truck and group of helpers drive north to help those in the Panhandle.

Michael did a number everywhere it hit. Many victims. Michael one of the biggest storms in U.S. history. A group from the Monroe County Fire Rescue left this week for the Panhandle. They had collected essentials and $10,000 to be delivered also. The truck they intended to use to transport the essentials turned out to be too small. A bigger one was required.

Good for the Rescue team and those who generously donated!

Essentials cover a number of items. Some that we might not think of at the moment. A very much needed essential are baby diapers. Speaks for itself.

Staying with Michael for a moment, I continue to question how effective FEMA has been. I worry they will come up short.

With Trump dominating the news in every other area, we have been hearing next to nothing re the Michael survivors, whether their needs are being met, etc.

I came across a recent FEMA news release setting forth what is being done. Whether enough, I do not know.

FEMA claims there are 16,000 federal employees working Michael affected areas. Eight thousand of that number is made up of military.

FEMA claims that on a daily basis in Florida alone, it is serving 715,000 meals and 1.5 million liters of water.

In spite of all that help, many are still without shelter for example. A family of 12 who had been living in a building of 100 condos saw their building destroyed. Six of the 12 children.

FEMA said they have to get out. The remnants of the building dangerous. Problem, no place to go. FEMA approved hotels/motels filled. So the family remain in the dangerous ruins of their condo. No power. The nights dark. Most days the toilets do not work.

I recently came across the Shoestring Weekends Blog. Shostringweekends.com. Exceptionally well done.

Art Boza, the writer. Lives in Miami. At one time lived in the Keys. He writes a daily blog about the Keys. From Key Largo to Key West and all points in between.

I do not know how he knows so much. I am impressed. I sense he must have a source for the information. Impossible for any one person to be familiar with all the places he mentions.

Every now and then a blog appears covering a Key West site/story. Today’s concerns Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms. Hemingway published the novel in 1929.

Boza points out it was not written at the Hemingway House on Whitehead. Rather at what is now the Casa Antigua at 304 Simonton. On the second floor. Sort of a did you know article.

I skimmed through some of the articles. Discovered that 3 written in the past several months were the same story with a different title. Word for word in some instances. The Hemingway/Antiqua story previously shared an example.

Whatever way Boza does it, the blog is worthy of your reading.

I am 83. I am reminded of it when I mention to someone younger the name of a famous movie star from days past. One is Burt Lancaster. One of the greatest actors ever. Died in 1994.

Lancaster had 2 connections with Key West.

The movie The Rose Tattoo was filmed in Key West. Written by Tennessee Williams. Lancaster starred in it together with Anna Mangani who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

The movie was filmed in a house on Duncan Street. Williams’ home was on Duncan also. The two houses were on the same block. One at one end, the other at the other end. Four or 5 houses apart.

Lisa lives on Duncan. Two blocks from the Rose Tattoo house.

While making The Rose Tattoo, Lancaster hung out at the Rooftop. The same Rooftop Restaurant still operating today on Front Street. Prior to the restaurant’s remodeling, the walls were covered with enlarged photos of Lancaster at the bar, etc. Not sure they are still there today.

Lancaster’s first movie was in 1946. He starred in The Killers opposite Ava Gardner. The Killers was based on Hemingway’s short story of the same name.

My afternoon will be well spent. Syracuse plays the University of North Carolina at noon. Syracuse a 10 point favorite.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

REPUDIATE OR VALIDATE

Sixteen days to elections. The midterm perhaps the most important in U.S. history. In less than 2 years, Trump has taken us down a dark road. Evil at every turn.

Time to save the country. In the manner prescribed in the Constitution. The ballot. Vote!

Vote not as a Republican or Democrat. Vote as an American. To save our country.

The Republicanism Trump proclaims is not that your fathers knew. It is different. Tending to fascism and dictatorship.

Stand together. Republicans swallow your pride and vote for a Democratic Congress. Your vote must be cast to repudiate Trump. To vote Republican, is to validate him.

Trump has begun making immigration an up front issue again. A “caravan” of 4,000 has left Guatemala and Honduras and is on its way to the U.S. They are escaping death.

Trump says he will send the U.S. Army to the border to stop them. He also continues to believe separating children from parents will eventually put a damper on immigration efforts.

Does Trump ever wonder why people would walk 2,000 miles to reach the U.S.? Things must be extremely bad for them to undertake such a trip.

What happened to…..”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free?”

My mother and my four grandparents came from Italy. All poor. Peasant stock. “The wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” They yearned for the better life. For themselves and their children born and to be born. “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The 4,000 walking the 2,000 miles to our southern border a humanitarian crisis. Our borders should be open and not closed to them. The U.S. once took in masses in greater numbers from Ireland and Italy. They should do the same today for those soon to be knocking on our door.

One of Trump’s quirks is name calling. He finds a name for anyone he dislikes or disagrees with. I thought the names flowed freely from his demented mind. Turns out they are crafted and planned.

It has been reported Horseface for Stormy Daniels was practiced in the White House by Trump. He went around asking people what they thought.

Apparently as President he had nothing better to do at the time.

Then there is Jamal Khashoggi. First, the Saudis cut off his fingers. Then decapitated him. Concluded by using a chain saw to cut his body into parts.

Trump is not disgusted, not infuriated. More concerned with “friendship” of a country some consider an enemy and with money. The deplorable acts committed upon Khashoggi’s body cannot and should not be tolerated by any civilized person. Yet in his own fashion, Trump does.

I share these most recent examples of Trump actions to give further evidence of the road the U.S. is on. My friends one and all, vote Democratic next month. Repudiate Trump. Validate him not. Save our country in the process.

Yesterday, a full one. A haircut with Lori. Followed by lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Last night, Hard Rock Cafe and Chart Room.

Donna and Terri had me as their guest at Hard Rock. Enjoyed a large rack of ribs and the good company of my lesbian wives.

Stopped by the Chart Room on the way home. Visited with the new bartender Tammy. So lovely! Soft spoken. Sweet.

The Chart Room is her second job. Her first, the Garden of Eden.

Ollie was at the bar. A while since we last had run into each other.

Ollie’s full name is Oliver Kofoid. Why I share this with you, I am not sure. The name and the man do not fit.

Ollie is friendly and witty. A good guy. Community oriented. A citizen and scientist.

Ollie began his early life by getting kicked out of high school. Never returned. Eventually was able to get into a college. Earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science.

Today in his 50’s, Ollie has worked at the Key West Water Treatment Plant more than 20 years. The operator of the plant is OMI which is part of Jacobs Engineering. Ollie is a Lead Operator. A position of some importance.

He was dressed in his Coast Guard Blues last night. Ollie is an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Two rows of ribbons on his chest.

He has refereed soccer and served as a lacrosse official for Key West schools for years. He is President of his condo association. Ran twice for a seat on the Mosquito Control Board. Lost both times. Why I do not understand.

Ollie dislikes mosquitoes. Seriously. Considers them a plague.

Ollie has a strange sense of humor. He deals with sewage. He once had tee shirts made and gave them out to his friends. Inscribed thereon: “Input From Every Asshole In Town.”

Irma did a number on the wastewater treatment plant Ollie is responsible for. He and several others recently accepted on behalf of their company an award for their performance during the hurricane.

The generator had failed. Ollie and his team effected emergency repairs and kept things running. Critical wastewater and storm water services as a result continued till a new generator arrived. Property and the environment were protected big time because of their efforts.

The National Water Environmental Federation recently gave the Key West Wastewater Treatment Operators its highest award: The Water Heroes Award for going ABOVE & BEYOND.

Lynda and Bob Frechette are back in town. Welcome! You were missed!

Tonight, Goombay. I meet Jean Thornton at 7 at Bourbon Street to begin what I know will be a festive evening.

Enjoy your day!

 

EXCITEMENT BUILDING

Excitement is building. You can feel it. Especially if you are a Key West local. Fantasy Fest is coming! Begins tomorrow night with Goombay.

The Chart Room first last night. Met up with Buffalo’s Fran and Tom Dixon. Just returned from a Greece trip. We were meeting for drinks and then dinner where ever.

Love Fran! Takes care of me. From Buffalo, she brought me 6 jars of meat sauce. Meatballs, pork and beef included. I can depend on such a gift every time they return to Key West.

We spoke of their visit to Santorini. One of my favorite places. Got into Gary Hart. A recent Atlantic article says he was set up re the Bahamas boat pic by Republican campaign manager at the time Lee Attwater.

Tom’s brother Bill was Hart’s campaign manager which added to the flavor of the conversation.

Met the new bartender Tammy. An attractive blond. Will be working 2 nights at the Chart Room. The other 5 at Garden of Eden. The naked rooftop place above the Bull. I will be frequenting the Garden beginning soon.

I do not strip. Too embarrassed. Enjoy watching the bare assed ladies running around. My voyeur nature.

Barb and Carl from New Hampshire were at the bar. I met them last year. Barb is in insurance and Carl a firefighter. Due to retire in 2 years. Good for him!

They have a son C.J. who I met last year. Barb got him on her cell phone/skpe whatever and we chatted a few minutes. C.J. is 26. A fundraiser and advertiser for Meals on Wheels in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He also dabbles in writing on the side.

We decided on Ibis for dinner. Fran and Tom had been there the night before and said the stone crabs were fresh and delicious. I had a concern they might still be frozen. Michael whipped up our waters and I heard the stone crabs had been affected.

We enjoyed a $250 stone crab meal. Love Fran and Tom. But they were wrong. They had been frozen. I know, I can tell. I did not bust their bubble that we had gotten screwed.

Oh, well.

Next week, the stone crabs being served should be fresh everywhere.

I am moving fast this morning. A haircut at noon with Lori. Then a quick stop at Farmers Market. Have not been there in a while. Want to buy some big juicy tomatoes and small rolls.

Nine years ago, Key West was plagued with the Acevedo scandal. Theft from the school district.

Kathy Reitzel was bookkeeper at the time. She claims she discovered the takings and reported them. Then she was fired. She claimed she had been fired because she was a whistle blower.

Took 9 years to reach trial. The jury returned yesterday. Denied her whistle blower status. However awarded her a $60,000 verdict for breach of contract. A long wait for a poor return. The jury did not accept her as a whistle blower which was the main thrust of her case.

Never forget those who help you.

Monroe County staff and fire rescue crews have been to the Panhandle lending a helping hand. Those they were helping had come to the Keys to help following Irma.

The Key West Art and Historical Society sponsors a Distinguished Speaker Series. On October 25 at the Key West Theater on Eaton, Dr. Pamela Stephenson Connolly will speak on The History, Culture, and Politics of Bondage/Domination/Sadomasochism. Emphasis will be on the nature and role of BDSM among couples.

A fitting presentation during Fantasy Fest. Especially since several BDSM public parties are featured during the week.

Only in Key West!

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

THE COUGH THAT ISN’T GOING AWAY

I got a cold and cough big time 5 weeks ago. It seemed like everyone I know got it too.

Here it is 5 weeks later and I still have a cough. A very slight one.

I generally get the flu shot around October 1. Did not because of the cold, etc. You are not supposed to get the flu shot if you are sick in any way.

I went to see Dr. Norris yesterday. My real concern was whether I could get the flu shot yet. He said no. Must first get rid of the cough. Now he was concerned why the cough was still around 5 weeks later. He gave me a prescription for some drug and sent me off for a chest x-ray. Also gave me a sermon about smoking.

Last night, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua. Jean met up with me. We enjoyed Tom and Rick. Chatted briefly with Liz and Linda.

We wanted stone crabs. Yesterday, opening day of the season. Came up empty. No one had them yet. We will do it another time.

Went to La Trattoria for dinner. Guy de Boer joined us as we were finishing. A good meal and good company. Following which I headed home and Jean to Vino’s.

Friday Goombay! Jean and I are going to walk the street together. Then Fantasy Fest for a week. The wild time!

I am excited. Buffalo’s Fran and Tom Dixon arrived late last night. I will ba having dinner with them some night this week. Tom e-mailed Fran had brought a supply of sauce. Love the woman!

A hurricane comes and goes. Its effects remain a long time. Irma a perfect example. Irma hit the lower Keys more than a year ago. People without homes even today. A Rebuild Florida Bus will be parked at City Hall in Key West today and tomorrow. To assist those still without adequate housing.

Michael’s death toll at the moment 17. The number will grow significantly. Sixty thousand people missing. Search crews are out. Going through the rubble of each house.

Trump and Melanie were in the Panhandle and Georgia yesterday. The President never learns. Was it in Puerto Rico following Maria that he threw rolls of paper towels? Yesterday, it was bottles of water. Tossed and handed.

I’m beginning to think Trump is a frustrated ball player.

I saw on TV yesterday men running around wearing blue tee shirts with FEMA printed in bold white letters on the back. It seemed like they were intent in getting in the video being taken.

The video was being shot in Lynn Haven, a town in the Panhandle hit badly. There were food and water tents. The food and water were not delivered by nor being given out by FEMA. Their food and water still on its way. It was from volunteers who drove it in and were handing the food and water out themselves.

Good people, one and all. Key West an example of such good people. A large truck left City Hall yesterday loaded with things people will need in the Panhandle. Four or five volunteers went along. One said it was pay back time. A time to say thank you for the assistance the lower Keys received from the people of the Panhandle during Irma.

FEMA and other federal help appears to be directed to the search efforts for the 60,000 unaccounted for. FEMA and Governor Scott said a couple of days ago that is the way it had to be. Find those first who are trapped or dead. Then the flow of food, water, etc.

Does not make sense to me. FEMA a huge organization. Should be ready to assist in every respect when a disaster such as Michael occurs. They have had enough experience. They also knew before Michael made landfall the magnitude of the storm. The military can be called in to help if need be.

Several months from now, the Washington cry will be not enough money, can’t complete the recovery job, perhaps even can’t help anymore. The federal government still owes billions of dollars to Florida and Monroe County for monies the feds were going to pay re Irma problems. The State and County have had to play with their budgets, cut some services, raise taxes, etc. this year because the monies not yet paid.

Tonight my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou. Join me. I have much to discuss. Many things bothering me that should be bothering you also.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

THINGS I DID NOT SHARE

Michael has dominated my blog the past few days. Other matters, I let slip to the wayside. Just went through my notes. I want to share some of the items with you. I am reporting them as they appear with no order or sequence.

I was watching MSNBC yesterday morning. A reporter at a California college campus. Talking with 40-50 students.

Millennials. The hope of the Democratic Party.

How many of you are going to vote? Only one hand raised. When others were questioned, they said their only concern was school. An attitude like don’t bother me.

Based on news reports, I thought this was the year the kids were going to vote. A rush to the polls. Not so. If the Democratic Party is depending on them, forget it!

Something wrong organization wise within the party. Democratic Party leaders constantly talk about the millennial vote. Have they got it wrong! The millennials will not be contributing this election to saving America.

I came across this quote in How To Win A fight With A Conservative: “We can’t be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolph Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to Adolph Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential.”

Sounds like someone talking about Trump. Not so. Obama. Would you believe? Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga) expressing fears one week after Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. Broun believed Obama would create a security force akin to the Gestapo to impose a Marxist dictatorship.

The government screws up. Suddenly, the simple becomes a bureaucratic mess.

An Ohio woman got a ticket for failing to use her seat belt. When she went to pay, she was told her driver’s license had been suspended for 3 months for failure to pay child support. She told the Motor Vehicle person there had to be a mistake. She never had children. In fact, she had never been pregnant.

She has been busting her ass to get the problem resolved. A government goof has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare. No one can help her. Each agency blames the other or the computer. In the meantime, she is not driving.

Shakespeare wrote in the Merchant of Venice when he had Portia speaking to Shylock re mercy: “The quality of mercy is not strained.”

It was 2000. Two black brothers ages 21 and 20 were being sentenced for murder in New York City. They had murdered a gang member who had sexually assaulted one of their wives.

Justice Gustin Reichbach could have sentenced them to life. A maximum sentence. Never to be released.

The Judge felt a degree of sympathy for the brothers. Instead, he sentenced them to 17 1/2 years to life. Significant. It meant they would be able to seek parole after serving 17 1/2 years.

Both were paroled last year after 17 1/2 years.

Today, one attends Cornell and the other Columbia. All because one Judge saw something in the brothers that others might not have.

Senator David Perdue (R-Ga) is typical of a number of southern Republican politicians. Four examples why.

In the past few days, the Senator was being questioned by college students concerned that Georgia courts were preventing college students, primarily black, from voting based on a claim their registrations were improper. A total falsehood.

One of the students asked the question. He was holding his cell phone out to record the response.

The Senator “ripped” the phone out of the student’s hand.

The Senator’s office says it was an error in judgment on the part of the Senator.

The Senator in a recent speech compared Trump to Churchill. He said, Trump is “not a choir boy, but a man of history.”

Two weeks ago, he described Kavanaugh protesters as “Nazis.”

Can’t even leave Obama alone. At a recent Facts and Freedom Coalition in June, the Senator said let Obama’s days be few. He relied on Psalm 109:8: “Let his days be few.”

God loving men?

Now to yesterday news and happenings.

Stone crab season opens today! Hooray!

Stopped first at the Rum Barrel last night. Sunday night my Lauri fix. A wonderful lady.

Then to the Chart Room. Glad I stopped. Jean Thornton at the bar. She introduced me to Don Kincaid. They are old friends.

Don has been with Mel Fisher  in one capacity or another since the 1970’s. He is the man who found the first gold coin when the Atocha was discovered. He has written for National Geographic. Serves on the Mel Fisher Board. Today, a professional photographer.

Susan and Huggie came in. We had met before, though I did not recall them. They understood. Susan and Huggie are from Charleston, South Carolina and visit Key West twice a year.

Tonight, Dueling Bartenders at Aqua. Jean and I plan on meeting.

Enjoy your day!

I CALLED IT

I complained yesterday Trump and FEMA were failing as regards Michael. They failed to show up for duty!

Trump needs to make a few visits to the devastated areas. More important than flying around the country doing 3 political rallies a week.

Someone commented today better the President stayed away at this time. Might disrupt recovery efforts. What recovery efforts as  you will see as this blog unwinds. The affected people need to know their leader is behind them and cares. He does not even have to bring paper towels.

The real failure at the moment if FEMA. Still in Washington. Doing TV shows trying to bullshit the country as to the great job being done.

I stated people needed the basics. Water and food first. Then ice, power, sewage, and shelter. Most of the tiny barrier towns are reporting it will be at least 2 months before they have water, sewage, and power.

What do they do in the meantime? The government, federal and state, must step in and help. One of the reasons government exists is to help in times of disaster.

No one appeared to be complaining yesterday re  Trump and FEMA’s failures. I decided too. Not because I am a genius. My age comes into play. Eighty three. I have seen a lot over the years. Puerto Rico and other disasters. Government failure in New Orleans. Government failure in general in time of need.

I was disturbed the media was not talking about no water, no food, etc.

So I expressed myself yesterday. Today, FEMA’s failure big time in the news. Trump’s failure not mentioned yet.

The cry from Michael’s survivors is, “We’re not getting any help.” There is no food, no water, no FEMA. Survivors are furious. They have been left to fend for themselves, with little help from the government.

The Panhandle’s Chantelle Goolspy an example. She was able to get through to FEMA in Washington by phone. We need help! She was told to call the Red Cross. The Red Cross told her to call 211. 211 is a Florida emergency help number.

She said, “We need food, water, anything, we’re not getting any help.”

She was told to hang on. Do the best she could. It would be a few days before food, water, etc. would be forthcoming.

The people feel they have been forgotten by the outside world.

There is the Lipford family. They own, live on, and work a 160 acre farm that has been in the family since the Civil War. Michael left them cut off from civilization. The older Mrs. Lipford says the family feels like it has been shoved back to frontier days. She washes clothes in a bucket. She bathes in a creek where her husband made a small wall of stones to hold water.

Their daughter is 23. She is wielding a chain saw to cut away fallen trees, except that every two hours she must return to the house to breast feed her 6 week old son.

Mr. Lipford said, “I want power and water. The rest we can deal with.” Shades of a strong self help person from another day.

Panama City Beach has resorted to self-help. Not waiting for federal emergency assistance. Volunteers from other Florida areas unaffected by Michael have brought food and water to Panama City. A food kitchen has been set up. Fifteen hundred meals were prepared for locals.

A church has set up 15 stations within Panama City where it is prepared to deliver meals every day. Ready to go. Need the food to cook, however.

One comment from the area: “The American people are helping us, FEMA will come into the game and get the accolades in six months.”

A federal, state and local Emergency Operation Center has been established at Gulf State College. Telling people they have to ration the food and water they have. The group’s primary concern remains looking for survivors. Sixty thousand residents remained.

Governor Scott impressed me with Irma. He is not with Michael. He too is advising: “Everybody just needs to help each other right now.”

Many get their water from wells. Wells not helpful at the moment. They run on electricity.

This failure should not have been. Everyone knew Michael was coming. Trump told us on TV no problem, we have enough money.

In due course, we should be told two things. One, why the failure to prepare. The other, why is the money supposedly available not being used.

Enjoy your Sunday!

TRUMP AND FEMA YET TO REPORT FOR DUTY

Michael made landfall wednesday. Trump has yet to visit. FEMA boots on the ground few, if any.

A devastated people need to see their leader face to face. A visit/his visit would provide encouragement. Uplifting. Those affected need to see him.

Where is Trump? In different States most evenings conducting rallies to Make America Great Again and in anticipation of the November 6 elections.

Take your time Mr. President. The people of northern Florida are not going anywhere. In and out of the Panhandle next to impossible. However, Mr. President you have a helicopter. You can go everywhere. You should have been in Mexico Beach instead of Lebanon, Ohio.

FEMA. What is FEMA doing? What has it done so far? FEMA’s absence is obvious. FEMA’s boots on the ground are needed.

Instead, I see FEMA head Brock Long on national TV yesterday from Washington with a slew of other agency heads telling America what a good job they were doing. Shades of Bush 2, Brownie, and Katrina.

Talk is cheap at a time like this. Basics are needed. FEMA has to get them in. Water, food, ice, power, and shelter. Food and water immediately. Ice soon thereafter. To cool the body externally and internally. Power a given. No air conditioning, cooking, refrigerators operating, etc. without. Shelter. Something. Even a tent. It will be tent cities at first.

These people need help, not bullshit.

Irma hit the Keys last year. Heavy damage in some areas. Damage still exists in certain areas. As with many north Floridians, I evacuated. Eighty percent of Key West left. Irma was coming straight for us as a category 5. Fortunately, at the last minute it took a twist and went over Key West as a category 1. Sixteen miles up US 1 it became a 4. Destruction heavy from Cudjoe Key north to Marathon.

I wrote the only book re Irma. My personal feelings in getting out of its path, difficulty in avoiding Irma all the way up Florida, 12 days with friends in Birmingham, Alabama. The trip back. The destruction I saw coming down US 1. Key West’s desolation. Like the town had died. Difficulties the first few weeks. Difficulties yet to be resolved. Etc.

If you want to feel first hand what I did and what Michael’s ravishes have caused, read my book. Not technical. Personal. You will feel. It is available on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Dinner last night at Andrea and Joe’s. The lady is a cook! Baked breaded chicken, mashed potatoes heavy with butter and sour cream, her home made butter, warm bread, etc. Dessert, cheese cake likewise home made.

I made it a pina colada night. Joe’s pina coladas brought me back to Aruba’s beaches. He is the master pina colada maker.

It has been off season in Key West. All over come friday. Tourists will bury the town. As many as 60,000 the night of the parade. I don’t know where they sleep.

Goombay is friday and saturday. Then Fantasy Fest for a week. Goombay for the kids. Fantasy Fest for adults.

Wisteria Island back in the news. The Blue Paper yesterday, the Key West Citizen today. The government is suing present owner Roger Bernstein. To settle title. The federal government says it owns the island. Bernstein says he does and his family has for years. Been paying taxes on the island for 50 plus years.

My friend David Wolkowsky was involved at one point. David “owned” Wisteria Island. He was not sure, but had bought it at some point from a third party.

It was 1967. David was constructing the Pier House. Wolkowsky borrowed $20,000 from Bernstein to build the Pier House’s bathrooms. The note was secured by Wolkowsky with Wisteria Island.

Bernstein would not extend David’s time to pay. He took title to the island in satisfaction. David not being sure the title was good, gave a quit claim deed which Bernstein accepted. A quit claim deed says in effect I am not certain I own the property. If I do, you get good title. If not, you get nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

The federal government’s claim in the lawsuit is based on things that happened in the 1820’s and 1920’s.

David passed on a a few weeks ago. I am sure David is smiling in his grave. Smiling at Bernstein who refused to extend his time to pay, took his island, and now may end up with nothing.

Bernstein for years has wanted to develop a resort hotel on the island.

No Syracuse football today. A bye week.

I am into ghosts.

Last night when driving home from Andrea and Joe’s, I passed the Hemingway House. No traffic. I stopped in the middle of the street. A light in an upstairs window. Did not see Hemingway.

A weird ghost story follows.

Amethyst Realm is 28. She lives in Bristol, England. She is employed as a spiritual guidance counselor.

She claims she has had sex with ghosts. Somewhere in the area of 20. Prefers them to men.

The first time was 13 years ago. She and her husband had moved into a new home. New to them. The first time she felt an “energy.” It became physical. She felt pressure on her thighs and neck. A heavy presence on her body. She could feel someone breathing on her and stroking her.

She claims a 3 year affair with the first ghost. Till a night when her husband came home and saw a “shadowy shape” on top of her. The ghost swiftly departed, never to return.

Since then, she claims experiences with at least 20 different ghosts.

She wants to get pregnant by a ghost. She has researched “phantom pregnancies.” Claims a ghost can impregnate. The problem is carrying the fetus to term.

I came across several other similar stories. One by a man.

Psychotherapists claim such sex experiences are hallucinations. They occur as one is falling asleep. The time between awake and sleep.

Sex with a ghost a step too far for me. On the other hand should I ever actually meet a ghost, I might change my mind. If there are ghosts, it opens the door to the possibility.

Donna and Terri taking me to dinner tonight.

Enjoy your day!