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!

 

 

GOOMBAY!

Finally! Goombay! Last night!

Goombay is of Haitian or some other Caribbean derivation. Goombay is a round goat skin drawn over a round or square wood or metal bottomless pail. Played with the hands. There were a lot of palms slapping on goat skin tops last night.

Goombay has become an annual event for some. Don entertains a group from his bar. He has been doing this for years.

We met last night at Don’s Place. A drink or two. Eleven of us in a cab ride to 801. 801 is one of the most popular Key West gay bars. It sits on Duval at the beginning of Goombay.

After a few more drinks, we headed out. First a group picture. We take one every year. No one has ever seen the finished product.

For some  of us, the initial walk is short. One block to the outside bar of Bourbon Street. Another premier gay bar. It has become a habit to stop there to listen to Blue. A singer. A long time friend of Don and David.

We sat enjoying a few more drinks. Some of the group danced. On soft sand.

The group at this point consisted of Don, David and Billie, Stan and Clare, Dan and Betty, and Louis. Don was my date.

Now came the walk up Petronia Street. Booths/stands on each side of the street. Music coming from everywhere. All kinds of Caribbean type food. The street crowded.

Similar to New York’s San Gennaro Feast, except San Gennaro is Italian in nature.

I had to eat. Opted for a sausage sandwich.

Once we left Bourbon St., we separated. Impossible for a large group to move together. The goal Blue Heaven.

I got there last.

Blue Heaven is a large outdoor restaurant. Packed.

I stayed for one drink. Exhausted. It was time to leave. I snuck off with no good byes.

As I was leaving, I heard Louis! Turned and it was Jean Thornton. She has been back two weeks and it was the first time we have seen each other. A big hug and kiss.

I will see Jean again this afternoon at a retirement party for Joe Lyles.

My car was at Don’s Place. A big walk. Especially with how my heart has been behaving recently. I took it slow and made it. No adverse physical feelings.

Today busy.

Syracuse/Boston College at noon. Will watch at home.

Then to the Hot Tin Roof for Joseph Lyles’ retirement party. Well deserved!

Tonight became a problem. I had a date scheduled with lovely Jenna for dinner. Does my heart good to be out with a beautiful 30 year old woman.

Then I found out that there was a bocce make-up game tonight. Don’s Place/Hell’s Rangers. Big time game between two big time teams this season. Don’s is alone in first place. Hell’s Rangers in third. Hell’s Rangers generally in first place most seasons.

The match has turned into a party. Hell’s Rangers bringing the food and Don’s the drinks. A cook out!

I wanted to see the bocce match. I gave up Jenna for a bocce game! A sure sign I have gotten old.

Jenna understood. We are going out together tomorrow night.

I mentioned the Rick Pitino situation yesterday. David Taylor wrote me a long in depth review of the situation from his perspective. David now lives in St. Louis. However, spent many years in Kentucky. He was aware first hand of facts I knew not. Will share them with you as the Pitino matter develops.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

JENNA and ME

Last night lovely! Jenna and I enjoyed dinner together. At Azur. We celebrated my birthday. I was Jenna’s guest.

Jenna and I have been friends eight years. When she first came to Key West. Green. Wet behind the ears. No more. An experienced woman in her field. Television, advertising, modeling. She is at her best when hosting and interviewing on a TV show.

Beautiful! A knockout!

We enjoy each other’s company though 51 years separate us.

Jenna is razor then. Runs 5-7 miles a day. A cheap date. She eats nothing. Orders an appetizer. Finishes only half. Takes the other half home. Her body slim.

She has taken up racing. Recently won her first race. A 5K.

Walked yesterday. Working at good health! Read and napped during the afternoon.

Hemingway Days around the corner. July 22-26.

One of the events scheduled is a poetry reading. Sponsored by the Key West Poetry Guild. Hemingway wrote poetry in his early days. His poems will be read. Blue Heaven. Tuesday July 22 at 5.

Hemingway was familiar with Blue Heaven. A regular of sorts. He refereed local boxing matches there.

No question, I am hooked on William Hackley. His 1855 diary being run on a daily basis by the Key West Citizen.

He and his wife Kate have a new born. Kate not making enough milk. William brought in a goat from Havana. The goat not doing the job. The baby is literally starving.

Kate tried breast fed twice during the night. Not enough. The baby is in trouble.

The British Open got to me right away. The first day Scottish time was 1:30 in the morning our time thursday. I watched the whole thing. Got about two hours sleep.

I did not watch last night. Slept.

Phil Mickelson doing well. Time is passing him by. He is 46. I would like to see him win this big one.

Three years ago, I wrote a KONK Life column on the medical care jailed inmates receive. The best! Better than you and I. And we pay for it. They do not.

The issue of special food has once again arisen. Certain Jewish inmates want kosher foods. Muslims and Seventh Day Adventists whatever their religions permit.

Special dishes cost extra money. Florida, $12.3 million a year. Florida wanted to say no more. everyone eats the same. An intermediate federal court said this week that jails must provide special meals for inmates who claim the same on religious grounds. The court also went on to say that the argument it costs too much money does not fly. Find it! Such was the court order to Florida.

Special religious meals are provided in 35 state jails and throughout the entire federal system.

This week’s KONK Life column The New Prostitution was linked to my Key West Lou website this morning. It also appeared on E-Blast.

What happened in Nice horrible! Eighty plus lives. A terrorist attack by one man.

I fear the attack may decide our Presidential election. Trump claims he is going to protect us. Shouts it loudly and clearly.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

FREEDOM AT LAST

Early wednesday morning, six Cuban immigrants safely landed in Key West. At the Southernmost Point.The end of South Street. The place where tourists wait in line to have their picture taken.

The dive boat that took them to safety could be seen behind the Southernmost Point. A warm sight knowing the circumstances. The six could not have landed at a better place.

Now that we have some sort of relationship with Cuba, I no longer can accept returning Cuban refugees who did not land with their feet on American soil. A concept that has outlived its time.

I saw on TV this morning, a Cuban who had just arrived and his father that had been in the U.S. 36 years. Embracing. Crying. The first time in 36 years father and son saw or touched each other.

Yesterday began normally. The anti-gravity treadmill first. I have exceeded my original top speed. Now 4.0 as opposed to 3.5. Miles per hour. Time equal to back when. Gravity still at 50 percent. I need it there or a while yet.

David Wolkowsky has been absent recently. He went to New York City. Ninety six years old and takes a few days off to visit the Big Apple. What a guy!

Followed it up with Ruby at the Cuban Coffee Queen. Ruby is terrific! She remembers your order and name. Similar to a bartender knowing your drink. All the time smiling.

A stop at Walgreens to pick up another prescription. I have 11 prescriptions requiring 13 pills a day to be taken. All doctor prescribed. My heart doctor says it is what is keeping my heart and blood pressure ok. I am “pill controlled” as he puts it.

I could sense it was going to rain last night at dinner time. Decided to stay close to home. Drove over to Hogfish. Sat at the bar. Knew we were going to get hit with a heavy rain. Monsoon type. You could small, taste and feel it coming.

It did. Fortunately, the bar area protected me from getting wet.

My happy birthday with Jenna this evening. My birthday. The last day of celebration. It is dinner at Azur. I am looking forward to Jenna and Azur. Both top of the line.

I am beginning to worry about William Hackley’s baby. He, a fried and what I assume was a nun stayed up all evening with the baby. Baby appeared better at 10 in the morning.

The thought occurs…..The Republican Party holds itself out as the party of family values. So they run a Presidential candidate who has had three wives. If Newt Gingrich is the VP choice, the heads of the Republican ticket will have had six wives.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…..” The opening phrase in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. “Let them eat cake.” Attributed to Marie Antoinette. Questioned by some whether she was the one who actually uttered the words.

They come to mind because it was on this date in 1789 that French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille. The beginning of the French revolution.

Pouring like hell at the moment. I suspect we may have slipped into the rainy season.

Enjoy your day!

 

BOBBY NESBITT BACK

It was back to the anti-gravity treadmill yesterday. Pushed myself. Got my time to within five minutes of what I used to do. Gravity level still at 50 percent though.

Spent the afternoon thinking and searching re this week’s KONK column. As usual, I came up with nothing. By 2 this afternoon, I must. Must complete research this afternoon preparatory to writing the column tomorrow.

Bobby Nesbitt has been away for a few weeks. He’s back. Knew he was going to be at Tavern ‘n Town last night. Planned on going.

Dee called me around 3. What are you doing tonight? I told her. She asked if she could join me. Of course.

Dee and I enjoyed dinner together while listening to Bobby Nesbitt last night.

I have been celebrating my birthday off and on all week. Tonight the last celebration! Jenna is taking me to dinner at Azur for my birthday. A double winner for me. Love Jenna. Always glad to be with her. Azur a fine restaurant. For some reason, I rarely go however.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article this week that indicated the price of gasoline had dropped dramatically in the last 20 days. There is a glut of gasoline.

No dramatic drop in Key West! Three cents. From $2.66 a gallon to $2.63.

The Journal article said gasoline dropped to $2.26 a gallon. Again, not in Key West!

Even better, the article stated more than 20,000 gas stations around the country are selling gasoline for less than $2 a gallon. Not in Key West!

Hemingway Days around the corner. July 19-24. Hemingway look alikes, the running of the bulls. Love it!

Mangoes. Key West not Key West without Mangoes. The restaurant is presently closed. Changed hands. Remodeling going on. I do not know the reopening date.

Everyone has had something happen to them at Mangoes. Sixteen years ago, I met Howard Livingston at the bar. We became instantaneous friends. Not today’s Howard Livingston. He was the Chicago CEO at the time.

The Beatles are coming to Key west. July 11 at 8 pm. The Key West Theater.

A group known as The Return performs a Beatles look alike, sing alike. Sounds interesting. A return to great music of yesteryear.

Enjoy your day!

 

RESPECT GEORGE WILL

George Will and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. With one difference. He is to the far right. I consider myself a liberal tending more toward the middle.

Will has been in the forefront of the Republican establishment forever. I read his columns. Enjoy the times he is on TV talk shows. Even though I do not agree with his positions, I enjoy keeping up with what the other side is saying.

Will announced yesterday that he is leaving the Republican Party because of Trump. A man of his convictions. He could have taken the easy way out and said he was not voting for Trump. No pussy footing involved. I respect that.

Will’s position simply is let the Democrats win this election. Work on 2020. Trump is that bad for the country and he must not win.

Speaking of Trump, I mentioned yesterday that no camera shots were shown of the crowd Trump was talking to in Turnberry. I suspected it was small. It was. The crowd was shown on TV this morning. Less than 30 people.

Spent yesterday afternoon researching this week’s KONK column. It will be about William Bligh. Captain of the Bounty. Remember the movies Mutiny on the Bounty.

Movie making takes liberties with the truth. In the Bligh/Bounty movies significantly. Bligh was not the bad guy. Actually good to his men.

Surprisingly, Bligh faced three court martials. He was exonerated in all three. Historians view him as a good leader wronged by events not of his making.

I plan on writing the column this afternoon.

Never got to see and hear Terri White at Blue Heaven last night. My reservation was for 7:30. Jenna got held up at work.

It was a later dinner for us at Martin’s inside. Wienerschniztel and brie. We ate in the air conditioned inside dining room.

Tuesday weighing on me. Don’t know why. I have been through this before. In addition, my sciatica has returned.

Can’t win.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

TERRI WHITE SINGS

Tonight…..Terri White sings! At Blue Heaven. 6:30-9:30.

This is Terri’s first Key West performance since returning. She is retired. Moved back home to Key West with her wife Donna. Terri will do an occasional Key West gig. Nothing more.

Terri is officially retired. She had no choice. She went blind rather suddenly in one eye. If my recollection is correct, her last solo performance was at Kennedy Center. She fell off the stage. Her depth perception is shot.

I will be at Blue Heaven enjoying Terri. My evening will be doubly pleasing. Jenna will be with me.

I did nothing yesterday. Laid around. Read, napped and watched TV. I am taking it easy till we are sure what if anything is going on with my heart.

Hemingway. I have been reading a lot of Hemingway this past week. Not his works. Stories about the man himself. Interesting and revealing.

Hemingway was not a nice guy all the time. Especially as he got older. Mean.

Once an enemy, always an enemy. He wrote of his former friends, now enemies, as characters in his books. Making them look bad.

His sex life all over the place. Besides several wives, he had at least two long term affairs with lesbian women. Who apparently became bi as a result.

Hemingway is considered to have been bisexual by several who wrote about him. Going as far back as F. Scott Fitzgerald during their Paris days.

I would love to write a Hemingway column taking in all these facets. Too much involved, however. Also, I would owe it to the man to research even more deeply than I have. A lot of work. A ton of material. It would have to be a novel.

Anna telephoned yesterday from the Milan airport. She was waiting for a plane to Athens. She decided not to let the immigration problem screw up her summer.

She will spend a few days in Athens in a small hotel near Playka. She promised to visit my favorite outside cafe and drink a silent gin and tonic toast to me.

Her second stop will be Santorini. Things safe there, she says. After that, not sure. Maybe Amorgos.

I envy her.

She mentioned that Silvio Berlusconi had heart surgery ten days ago in Milan. An aortic valve replacement. Appears to be doing well.

My primary problem is with my aortic valve. Interestingly, my father’s problem was with his aortic valve.

Anna follows Berlusconi’s doings closely. Most Italians do. In spite of everything, he is a loved man in Italy. Anna says Putin has been in constant touch with Berlusconi. The two are known close friends. Putin built a home next door to Berlusconi in Portofino.

Trump in Scotland as seen on TV. Boring. Unimpressive.

My sense is he did not have a crowd. Hard to determine. The camera remained on him and never showed us those listening to him.

Americans are movie lovers. Especially of the old west. On this day in 1876, the Battle of Little Bighorn took place. Custer and his 200 men were wiped out by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. The Native Americans had 3,000 against Custer’s 200.

I have to research this week’s KONK Life column today. I research on saturday and write on sunday. My usual problem again. Do not know yet what I am going to write about.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

DANCE CARD FULL

Generally, I many times have no idea of what I am going to do. Today, I know exactly into the evening.

I slept late. It is 10ish and I am just starting the blog. Then research for this week’s KONK Life column. About bees. Bees in warfare. Titled: To Bee or Not To Bee. Love the title!

Bocce. Playoffs today. My team ended up third. All alone. Without playing thursday night. Rained out. Six teams tied for third. One, us. We had beat the other five earlier in the season. Gave us third place alone.

The team plays at 3. I will be there to cheer them on. Spoke with Don yesterday. We are playing monday’s #1 team. Tough!

When the game is over, we will all head to Don’s Place. Win or lose. For the Preakness.

Not done yet.

After Don’s, going to a birthday party. At the Firehouse Museum on Grinnell. One block from Don’s place. The mamey tree 102nd birthday party.

The mamey tree in question lives on the Firehouse Museum property.

What is a mamey tree? I did not know till this morning. A tree common to Central and South America. Some in Florida and rest of U.S. Grows 60-70 feet tall. Bears different colored fruit in the shape of a football.

The father of all mamey trees in the U.S. is the one planted at the Firehouse Museum. DNA substantiated.

The fruit is made into ice cream, milk shakes and smoothies. I will try the ice cream tonight for the first time.

The party is 6-8 pm.

My yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. Jenny encouraged me to move on. I increased the speed. Though not by much.

I am a creature of habit, as mentioned many times. Which means I ended up at the Cuban Coffee Queen again for lunch. Cuban cheese toast and Cuban coffee. Plus, the newspapers. I sat an hour or two reading.

Then home. Early afternoon. Tired. The increased speed on the treadmill? Not sure. Whatever, I took a two hour nap.

Last night, a premier event. Dinner with Jenna at Michael’s. Jenna and I had not seen each other in three months. It was catch up time.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that the Oklahoma Senate had this week passed a bill making abortion a felony. A felony for the doctor performing the abortion. It reached the Governor yesterday. The governor vetoed the bill.

Words of wisdom from Aristotle: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”

Trump will never avoid criticism.

Enjoy your day!

 

HOPE EVERYTHING WORKS

I have had a bad week with the computer. Certain facts must be understood.

I am not computer literate. I am of that generation that does not deal with machines well.

Some have asked where was my backup. I try. Understand I write this blog read by thousands world wide from a desk in my bedroom. I am not NBC or the New York Times.

My backup hardware when I have a problem is to go to Lisa’s and use her computer. This I did. I knew I had a virus. The virus showed up immediately as I used Lisa’s computer. I shut it down immediately, of course. Whatever my problem, it had to do with the program I use.

I did not want to share the virus with all of you. It took this long to get everything resolved.

I am back! Hopefully.

The highlight of my week without having to do a daily blog, weekly newspaper column, and weekly blog talk radio show, was meeting Patrick. That Patrick. Not as bad a guy as he sounds when he comments. We had an enjoyable half hour conversation.

Last night was Happy Hour at Martin’s with Jenna. More than a month since we had been together. She is more beautiful each time I see her. We enjoyed great conversation and small lamb chops, brie, crab cakes and sushi tuna.

Martin’s Happy Hour is the best deal in town.

Sherry is a loyal blog reader. I forget from where. She wrote several months ago asking if I could help her daughter Cassie get an internship in communications, TV, etc. I spoke with Jenna. Jenna interviewed Cassie and took her on. Jenna has told me several times what a find Cassie is. She is better prepared than other interns who have worked with Jenna.

Cassie is a student at Ferris State in Michigan. Jenna believes the school was instrumental in Cassie being as job ready as she is.

David Wolkowsky and I have become friends over the past several months at physiotherapy. I wrote a column two weeks ago in KONK Life titled David Wolkowsky. The man is Mr. Key West. Now, 96. David built the Pier House and Reach. He gave Jimmy Buffett his first paying job.

David is aware I broke my toe. A nice guy. He had delivered to me today at big sponge cake with fluffy white frosting. Written in blue on top: A Place For The Toe. Thank you, David.

Tom Oosterhoudt is a well known man about town. Conch Color is his production.

Tom’s back got screwed up a couple of years ago. He has had several heavy surgeries. Conch Color is a weekly. Tom does an editorial each week. This week he made mention that while he was in Miami for the last operation, Randy Roberts visited him. Randy washed his hair and face.

I have never seen as many tourists as this season. Town packed. Sidewalks so crowded it is difficult to walk. You flow with the crowd.

Syracuse did not make the big tournament. I suspect we will play in the NIT. A disappointment. However, I did not expect Syracuse to make it. A horrible season! Every now and then it happens.

Trump is a danger to our country, democracy, and way of life. I continue to compare him to Hitler in the early and mid 1930s in Germany.

If he becomes President, the country will be in far worse shape than before the election.

Elizabeth Warren recently commented on the Republican Party and Trump’s candidacy.

She said the Republican Party has welcomed every radical group into the party over the years. Now, they are taking over. They have the party by the throat. She believes the Republican Party will pay the price for its own extremism. Her conviction is the Republican Party has only itself to blame.

I agree with Warren.

The U.S. owes China roughly $1.5 trillion. China is also buying businesses in our country. The most recent acquisition is the historic Hotel del Coronado near San Diego. A Chinese insurance company paid $6.5 billion for it.

We are selling ourselves to the Chinese.

I hope this blog appears today. My frustration and exasperation will know no end if it does not.

Enjoy your day!

 

MISSED DEBATE / FELL ASLEEP

The best laid plans…..

I had dinner with Jenna last night at Sq. 1. An early one. I wanted to get home in time to watch the Democratic debate. Got home in time. Laid back in my recliner to watch the show. Next thing I knew, it was 2 in the morning. I fell asleep and missed it all.

Dinner with Jenna was a pleasant experience. As always. She complained that she was 29 and next year would be 30. Mentioned 30 like it was a disaster. I laughed. I’m 80! And you’re worrying about 30?

Jenna is a talented woman. She has grown in her work. I enjoy our little meetings. She updates me on her progress. The good and the bad.

Sq. 1 was packed. Like it was season! Exciting!

I was especially taken by the Christmas decorations. In good taste. Just enough. I shared my feelings with manager Mandy.

It was Syracuse/Cornell at noon yesterday. Syracuse won 67-46.

The first half was terrible. Syracuse played poorly. You could sense Cornell smelled an upset. The second half was a different game. Cornell went on an 8-0 run immediately. I was disgusted. Then Syracuse went on a 20-4 run. That was it! Syracuse played top shelf basketball the rest of the game.

My basketball buddies are lining up. Dan will be here January and February. Don and Chris arrive December 30 for a week. All Syracuse fans. We watch the games together.

I spent considerable time writing this week’s KONK Life column yesterday. Around the basketball game. In the morning and later in the afternoon.

A Christmas column. An American Christmas. The intent was to trace Christmas from its earliest beginnings in pagan Rome to today. I worked with deliberation and got the whole thing done yesterday. My Sunday is free!

Learned something re Christmas I never knew. Where a red suited and rosy cheeked Santa Claus came from. Coca Cola. Would you believe!

In 1931, Coke wanted to be associated big time with Santa Claus. Its advertisers were told to come up with something that would go with the theme “Santa Claus Coke.” Coke thought a robust red suited Santa with rosy cheeks would be appropriate.

Ralph Nader was in Key West yesterday. He was on a cruise ship vacation and had scheduled a speech while his boat was in town. He also did a book signing.

I appreciate that in some circles Nader is considered a bit of a nut these days. He is. However, America and the wold owe him much. He stood up against the automotive industry when no would else would.

In 1965, Nader published Unsafe At Any Speed. An expose of the reluctance of the American automobile industry to introduce safety features in its designs. He hit Chevrolet’s Corvair hard.

Nader made a ton of money for himself with the book. Properly so. His work turned the automobile industry around. Safety began to be incorporated into auto design.

Nader’s book also formed the basis for several big dollar verdicts against Chevrolet and its Corsair. Many Corsair drivers/passengers had been killed or severely injured because of a design defect.

I repeat myself in this regard frequently: Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

The Keys History section of this morning’s Key West Citizen notes that on this day in 1949, Truman left Key West to return to Washington after a three week vacation.

Enjoy your Sunday!