GO WEST, YOUNG MAN

“Go west, young man” is attributed to New York Tribune publisher Horace Greeley. He used the verbiage in an editorial in 1865.

Actually, Greeley lifted the phrase from something a John Babasone Lane Soule wrote in 1851.

Neither actually wrote the phrase as presented here. Each had a slight variation.

History behind us, I want you to know this old man went west. I am in Birmingham, Alabama. At the home of Jean  and Joe Thornton. Jean the famous Key West Golden Girl.

Both were kind enough to invite me. Worked perfectly. The hotel had no room for me. I could not get a room anywhere else. The cone began to run over Atlanta.

Birmingham is 2 1/2 hours directly west of Atlanta.

Traffic normal Atlanta to Birmingham. Gassed up mid way. Some pumps are empty. Not because of everyone wanting to tank up. I suspect the gasoline is being shipped to parts of Florida badly needing it.

Alabama a beautiful State. Reminds me of upstate New York. Heavy green foliage. Trees. Big. Type of tree different. What I saw today were 30-50 foot high ones not with leaves. Looked like huge Xmas trees with the branch needles stretching upward.

The Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta was some hotel. Huge with all kind of niceties.

I have been in Key West too long without getting off the rock. Maybe 8-10 years. People dress differently on the mainland. Long pants and jackets for men. I have no long pants or jackets that fit any longer. My only shoes are a worn out pair of crocs. Big toe peeking out on each side.

I talk with everyone in Key West. I felt awkward in Atlanta. The big city overwhelmed me for a while. Overcame it soon.

No question, I have become a Key Wester through and through.

A receptionist at the Marriott by the name of Ella busted her ass trying to get me a room. She did get me an extra day which I passed on. I feared I would run into the Miami escapees if I waited a day longer to leave for Birmingham.

A big hotel well run. Makes our Marriott in Key West look tiny. And we have the largest dining room in Key West! Atlanta’s could not match Key West in restaurant size.

Marriott’s manager is a Sean John. Left him an e-mail complimenting Ella and sharing my thought of what a well operated facility he ran.

Cheap, too. $137, without tax. I use a Marriott credit card. Got me an upgrade to a semi-suite that was huge. The Concierge Room was outstanding. Breakfast, hors d’oerves, and drinks.

I was on the 39th floor. Could not help thinking what would I do if there were a fire. Reminded me of that movie way back with Paul Newman and William Holden. A high rise on fire and a big party on the roof.

I never left the hotel yesterday. Never got to buy long pants and shoes. Did not visit the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. The driving the day before caught up with me. After lunch, fell into bed and slept 3 hours.

Kind of the Thorntons to take me in. And the many to follow tonight and tomorrow. Jean has been cooking ahead in preparation. Meat loaf tonight because it is comforting. Tomorrow, lasagna for dinner. Alabama football in the afternoon.

Joe drinks socially and smokes. I have a friend! Outside on their back porch. No smoking in Jean’s house!

Received a telephoned call from Marty Leshaw last night. He was sitting on a boat in Santa Clara, California enjoying a drink.

Marty and I were bosom buddies several years ago. Every night out on the town. Would meet first at the Chart Room. Moved on from there.

Marty semi-retired. He has a beautiful home on the intercoastal in Fort Lauderdale. Plus, a fun house on tall stilts which sits in the ocean somewhere. Marty figures Irma will take them both down.

Marty thought it was time to leave. His wife disagreed. Marty left. She stayed. She did not want to leave her son and family. The son’s home several blocks inland and she thought it would be safe.

Marty disagreed. It came down to …..I’m going…..you do what you want. She did. She stayed. Hope she and the family get through this well.

This is blog #2 today. I did a short one as I hurried this morning to get on the road.

Enjoy your day!

 

I FOUND MY BIRTH MOTHER

I found my birth mother. A touching statement. Made not by me, but by another.

Let me share her story.

I was in Aqua last night watching Dueling Bartenders. Jean and Joe Thornton there, also. Jean introduced me to her sister. I was not aware Jean had a sister. A half sister. Her name Laura.

Jean was 37 when she received a telephone call from Laura. Laura then 25. Jean did not know she had a sister. Laura said, I am your sister, I am looking for our mother.

Jean was in Birmingham at the time. Laura in Nashville.

Their mother had not made Jean aware she had given birth to another child when Jean was 12 years old.

Laura was taken in by another family and eventually adopted by another.

Laura told Jean she wanted to meet her mother and Jean. Jean made the necessary arrangements and in due course the three met. Their Mother told Jean she had kept the birth secret.

A glorious meeting. Tears and joy. A unit since.

Laura is in key West visiting. She will be here till the end of the month. She now resides in Louisville.

Laura told me she refers to the woman who adopted/raised her as her Mom and her discovered mother as her birth mother.

Jean and Laura loving sisters. So they appeared and acted. Jean could not wait to introduce her sister to me.

God is good. He provided the path and determination for Laura to successfully discover her birth mother and sister.

A lucky threesome.

While still at Aqua, a lovely young lady approached and asked if I was Key West Lou. Her name, Pat Grady. A Key West resident. I am fortunate. A loyal blog reader. Thank you, Pat.

Great game last night! Clemson beat the perennial victor Alabama. By a touchdown made with one second remaining on the clock. The final score 35-31.

Wild!

Tonight Syracuse/West Virginia. West Virginia a 4.5 point favorite. I will stick my neck out. If Syracuse plays as it has in its last two game, Syracuse will win decisively.

I continue to learn.

Enzio Pinza was a great singer and movie actor in the 1950s. He was vacationing at the Casa Marina.

The mood at various times of the day at the Casa can be revealing, overwhelming. At some point one evening, Pinza was seated on the Casa’s terrace overlooking the ocean and moon. He was so taken by the sight, he stood and sang Some Enchanted Evening. A song he had made popular.

The Casa and Pinza singing a fitting combination.

I am listening to Session’s Senate confirmation hearing. Just began. Two Democratic senators have already spoken who have failed the Nation. Both were supportive of his nomination. Disgusting. The man is an obvious bigot. Will work to restrict civil and voting rights. Not support them.

I am ashamed of the two Democratic senators. They lacked the courage to do the right thing.

I have to hustle. Barb is visiting for two weeks. I pick her up at the airport in an hour.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

THE THORNTONS…..HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Jean and Joe Thornton…..Happy Anniversary! Forty years!

The event was celebrated with a small group of friends last night at Berlin’s. Janyne one of the party.

Bria payed Jean and Joe lovely compliments and then invited them to dance as she sang.

A lovely couple. A Key West loved couple.

I was at Berlin’s last night with Jenna for dinner.

At least two months since I’ve seen Jenna. She is always working, on the road or running.

She spent Christmas in Indiana with the family. Followed by a week in New York City as Reuben’s guest.

Jenna…..Always beautiful, always striving.

I think Anna and Everett were at Berlin’s also. Shamefully, I did not recognize them. Realized as I was leaving they were new found friends from Aqua and the Chart Room this past week.

My apologies.

Exciting days coming at the end of the month. Exciting to me.

From 1/30 to 2/2, three World War II planes will be on exhibit in Key West. Three planes that helped win the War. Three planes I played with during the War years. Making models.

The B-24 bomber, B-25 bomber, and the P-51 Mustang fighter.

The place, the Key West Airport.

The planes are on a 110 city tour.

Syracuse/Pitt at noon today. Syracuse a 3 point favorite. The game not available on TV. I had wanted to watch the game with Dan Reardon. When your team sucks, TV ignores your team.

On this day in 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United states. Only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. Voting restrictions existed even back then. Its purpose then and now to protect the turf of those who are part of the so called establishment.

More re the robot invasion.

IBM Watson has designed and produced robots to replace insurance claim workers at a Japanese insurance company. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance.

Thirty four human insurance claim workers will be replaced. Beginning this month. Replaced by the IBM Explorer AI robot.

The robots will scan hospital records and other documents to determine insurance payouts, factoring injuries, patient medical histories, and procedures administered.

The robot cost $1.7 million. Plus maintenance of $128,000 a year.

Fukokou will realize a savings of $1.1 million per year on employee salaries. Providing a return on its investment in less than two years.

In addition, productivity is expected to increase by 30 percent.

Just the beginning! Time is now to worry about how human employees replaced by robots will be transitioned. Actually, yesterday was the time. We are always late.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

FRIEND PACKED CHART ROOM

The Chart Room last night was mostly friends. Some old, some recent, some new.

I walked into John, Sheila, Jean and Joe, Tom and Clare, Nanette and Jean Louis. Later, David, Anna and Everett, and Paul.

Sheila, the love of my life. Always happy. Joe and Jean smiling and chatting. Waiting for the Alabama game saturday. Jean will jump off a building should Alabama lose.

Tom and Clare from Aqua a couple of weeks ago. Tom a retired lawyer. Wife Clare, a former teacher and now PhD statistician. Tom and Clare were with friends from Florida’s New Port Richey. Nanette and Jean-Louis.

Nanette a retired middle school principal. Jean-Louis an energy consultant.

Nanette brought to mind a Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy musical film from the 1930s. No, No, Nanette.

Chatted a bit with everyone. I was waiting for Paul. I met Paul at Giorgio’s home the night some of us watched the Michigan game last week. Paul is retired Naval Intelligence. A good time to talk with Paul in view of the intelligence political items on the front burner in Washington. I was not disappointed in our talk. Enlightening.

Saw David at the end of the bar as I was paying the bill. Seated next to him were Anna and Everett from monday night at Aqua. Their boat named Anna Cabana. Nice people.

David, Anna and David Alabama fans also.

Headed home. Stopped at Roostica on the way for lemoncello wings. Lucked out. Sat next to a bocce opponent. His name escapes me. A tough adversary. He loved to roll first. Long. Ninety nine percent of the time, his ball was right on the polina or mere inches away.

Things that surprise me. The number of people familiar with smelts. I wrote about smelts yesterday. My favorite Christmas fish. Many responded. Many aware of smelts. I received an education re where they are available to be harvested. One spot is western New York State. I did not know.

One of yesterday’s items that I did not have room to get to involved Richard Nixon. On January 4, 1974, Nixon refused to hand over tapes subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee. It was the beginning of the end for Nixon. He resigned eight months later.

Another item held over to today involves the Marathon Turtle Hospital. A unique rare facility.

Fifteen juvenile turtles were air lifted from Cape Cod to Marathon. Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. An endangered species.

The baby turtles had pneumonia. Brought on from cold Cape Cod waters. Weighed anywhere from 2-10 pounds.

Today in Keys History carries a photograph of the ground breaking for a Masonic Temple in July 1950. The building today The Studios of Key West.

A three story building. Where did the Masons go? Is there a formal Masonic Temple in Key West somewhere else? I don’t think so. Surprising.

William Hackley day. On this date in 1856, he was up and raring to go at 7 in the morning. Rain coming in  from the northwest. Hackley wrote, “It is so dark now in the office that I can scarcely see to write.”

No electricity in those days. Everything by candle light, if possible.

Candle light tough to work by. I recall one of the Key West hurricanes where I was stuck in the house for several days without electricity. Candles only. To this day, I cannot understand how Lincoln studied law by candle light. Reading tough!

Skaneateles restaurateur Dan Reardon back in town. A snowbird. Two to three months a year. A die hard Syracuse fan. We will be watching some games together.

Syracuse played Miami last night. Syracuse won 70-55. Game not televised.

I am pleased Syracuse won the game and in good stead. Miami came into the game 11-2, Syracuse 8-6. News reports state Syracuse’s fabled defense finally worked, the players crashed the boards and their offense was effective.

Pitt saturday at noon.

Roger Kostmayer is a Key West resident. I have never met him. However from his letters to the editor have come to know him. I would describe him a walking conscience.

In a recent letter to KONK E-Blast, he wrote: “Without warning or debate, in the dark of the night behind closed doors, the Republican caucus effectively killed the Office of Congressional Ethics, an act of extraordinary hypocrisy.”

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESLIE CARON

Beauty is beauty! Cannot be denied! Leslie Caron was a beauty.

Leslie goes back a few years. Late 1950s. Her first movie was An american In Paris. She co-starred with Gene Kelly who discovered her. Cyd Charisse was scheduled to co-star with him. She got pregnant. Kelly was in Paris at the ballet. Saw Leslie dancing and convinced her to perform Charisse’s part.

The rest is movie history. She starred in many films. One of the best known is Gigi with Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jordan.

Why Leslie Caron this morning? The History portion on page 2 of the Key West Citizen noted that on this day in history she visited Key West and was the house guest of Tennessee Williams. Yes, she stayed at the lovely corner house on Duncan street.

Big day yesterday! I walked! I am not walking enough.

I walked Duval back and forth. It was cool/cold. Sweatshirt time. The coolness made it easier to walk. The cold lasted all of 36 hours. Today it is predicted the temperature will be in the high 70s.

On my way home from downtown Key West, I stopped at the Marriott Beachside. Sat in one of the comfortable lobby chairs and read the newspapers. Whereas most  hotels have free coffee in the morning, the Marriott was serving champagne. They even came around pouring and refilling glasses.

A New Jersey couple arrived to check in. The wife was seated near me. Not a happy camper. She was complaining of the cold. I assured her it would pass and she would be happy. I don’t think she believed me.

Stopped at Don’s Place last night. Thought I was to meet Don at 5:30. Apparently not. He was not there. I stayed a while and chatted with Jimmy.

Then to the Chart Room. Busy. Jean and Joe Thornton in attendance. Celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary. Congratulations to the both of them!

Met Jill. She has lived in Key West for years. She is a bartender at the Rum Bar. Not the Rum Barrel. The Rum Bar is in the tiny white house at the far end of Duval near La Te Da. It is also a guest house called The Speakeasy. We had an enjoyable time. Jill has a place in Maine on a lake where she spends a good part of her summer each year.

I looked forward to KONK E-Blast this morning. My column Rank Insubordination was to appear. Never made it. There was a screw up. My Christmas column from three weeks ago was run.

I am told Rank Insubordination will run tomorrow. I consider it one of my better columns and definitely of interest. It concerns Mayor de Blasio and the New York City police.

Enjoy your day!