BIRTHDAY CONTINUED

My birthday continued into last night. Donna and Terri invited me to dinner. I did not realize they were going to do Happy Birthday.

I was greeted with Happy Birthday as I arrived. Imagine Terri’s crescendo! Drinks followed by a home cooked meal by gourmet chef Donna.

After dinner, Happy Birthday cake. Unexpected. Home baked brownies topped with whip cream. And two candles: One an 8, the other a 2.

Happy Birthday sung again!

Gift, a bottle of Beefeaters.

Received an e-mail from Joseph. Biblical. He thanked me for letting him participate in the “Feast of my Nativity.”

Joseph is 69. Ailing from a back surgery more than a year ago. Not perfect yet.

Joseph is 69. Short and thin. A white beard and mustache. Needs a cane. His cane is a rod. A six foot wood pole.

I refer to Joseph as John the Baptist since he began using the pole.

I spent yesterday doing nothing. Laid around all day. I was beat! Moving and unpacking had taken its toll. Shot!

My new neighborhood is a delight to behold. Cute single family homes. Greenery everywhere. Trees arching over the roadway.

Decided I would try to walk again. The peaceful surroundings called out to me.

I walked this morning. Early. Out of bed, into shorts and sneaks. Before I said, screw it!

The walk delightful. Once around a block. All of 10 minutes. I am starting off slow. Want to succeed this time.

Three popular Key West events on going or imminent.

Mel Fisher Days began thursday and end today. The event is to commemorate Fisher’s discovery of the Spanish galleon Atocha.

Mango Fest next saturday July 15. Bayview Park. All kinds of activities and mango foods. Sponsored by the Key West Police Athletic League. The League supports and participates in all kinds of children’s activities.

Finally, one of the best. Hemingway Days! Ten days of Hemingway fun beginning July 18. Including the Running of the Bulls, the Hemingway Look Alike Contest, and Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway Birthday Party.

The things I learn from William Hackley’s life. His diary for this day in 1856 records Hackley paying the rent on his Key West home. Paid for six months with a $450 Treasury warrant. Works out to $75 a month.

Can’t rent anything for $75 a month anymore! Hackley’s rent today would be at least $3,000 a month.

Hemingway. One of Key West’s most famous citizens.

On this day in 1918, Hemingway was 18. World War I three years old. The United States not yet in the war.

Hemingway wanted to participate. He joined the American Red Cross and was stationed in northern Italy as an ambulance driver.

While serving on the front, a mortar shell went off near him. Hemingway was seriously injured. Spent quite a while in the hospital because of shrapnel wounds. One leg especially beat up.

During his hospital stay, he fell in love with a nurse. A serious romance. After he returned home and was arranging for her to follow him, his loved dumped him for a lieutenant of royal lineage.

While living in Key West, Hemingway worked on his manuscript A Farewell to Arms and had the book published.

The book  reflected on northern Italy during World War I, the experiences of a Red Cross ambulance driver, his love affair with a nurse, and the tragic ending of the love affair. The nurse love died in the book.

Hemingway’s actual war time life experiences formed the basis for his first best selling novel.

In 1962, the movie PT-109 was filmed on Munson Island in the Keys. Pt-109 was the war time story of John Kennedy and his heroic experience following the sinking of PT-109.

A lot of local background.

Munson Island was owned at the time by Sheriff John M. Spottswood. Subsequently to become a Florida State Senator.

Kennedy was visiting Key West if my memory proves correct for a meeting with Great Britain’s Prime Minister MacMillan. Spottswood was close to Kennedy. He suggested a good place to shot the movie was Munson Island which he owned. Munson Island became the place.

Munson Island today is Little Palm Island.

Spottswood had five children. He was the patriarch of the family. A Key West icon. His children all successful today and respected community leaders. I only know one. Robert and his wife, Elena. Two fine people.

Cliff Robertson played Kennedy in the movie.

I met Robertson 12 or more years ago at the Mel Fisher Museum. The Museum was kicking off a national fund raising campaign. Robertson was honorary chairman.

The good looking young vital man of PT-109  days was now aged. Never the less, dapperly dressed and sharp of wit.

A Trump observation. He is out of his class at the G20 meeting in Hamburg. In over his head. Especially with Putin.

Enjoy your day!

 

SQUATTER’S RIGHTS

The side of the White House sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic, sales stands and any type edifice. Only pedestrians allowed.

All this the idea of President Clinton. In 1995, he closed Pennsylvania Avenue down for two blocks. For safety and precautionary reasons.

Authorities moved everyone and everything out. Dispossessed them.

One elderly woman refused to move. She had been there for years. A tent erected. She was anti everything. As far back and including the Vietnam War.

She contested her eviction. The courts said she could stay. The government had failed to file a necessary document. The courts permitted her to remain forever.

With one condition. The tent always had to be occupied at all times. Generally, by her. If she had to be away for a short time, by another. Never could be empty, however. The tent included several feet of street surrounding it.

And so the lady remains. She was there five years ago when I played tourist in Washington for a week. Short, thin and wrinkled. Her face weathered from the sun.

A police car remains 24 hours a day up Pennsylvania from her. Waiting for her to violate the occupancy provision of the court decree.

I spoke with her. In and out of her tent. A bit screwy. Remaining has become her life cause. As she put it, “They aren’t going to get me!”

I wrote at length about the woman in this blog or a KONK Life column following my visit. I cannot locate the specific writings. Ergo, I cannot provide her name.

Joseph’s 69th birthday last night. We had dinner together at Berlin’s. He is still walking with a six foot staff. I introduce him to people as John the Baptist.

An intellectual. Always a pleasure chatting with him.

Janyne was at the bar, also. Lovely lady. Sweet. She has been the day Beach Bar bartender at the Pier House for fifteen years.

It was good to see Bria again. Her singing special. She, special.

I wrote a lengthy blog about her around May 1. The Best of the Best…..Bria Ansara. Knew she had failed to read it. Makes me laugh. When I said nasty things about her, she did read it.

She had not read it. Was going to look it up when she returned home last night.

A woman of many jobs, one is art teacher at Montessori. The school Robert and Ally attend. She knew them both well. Was taken with Robert. She said he stays after school frequently to help paint the large mural her classes are doing by day. He enjoys painting, she said.

I saw a picture of a Mother’s Day skeleton in KONK Life this morning. Key West is a strange town. I did not know there was a holiday skeleton house on Virginia Street.

For Halloween, the skeleton was as expected. For Christmas, dressed like Santa Claus. For Mother’s Day, a mother holding a baby. Mother’s Day…..Gross, hideous, no teeth, rotten teeth. Ugh!

The Preakness 6:45 tonight. The second step in the Triple Crown. Will probably watch the race at Don’s Place.

Have to move my ass. A manicure with Tammy at 10:30.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

A COW’S LIFE

Many times it has been said…..In my next life, I want to be a dog. Most dogs have eternally been well treated by their owners.

Such may soon change. A cow’s life may be a better. A milking cow’s life.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an enlightening article on the new Dairy Queens.

A happy cow apparently is a cash cow. Dairy Queens produce more milk!

It is a new life for milk cows. Soothing classical music is played in milking rooms, fans and sprinklers to mimic spring breezes, robotic back-scratching sessions. Plus, manure clean floors and climate controlled barns. Cows milked when they want to by robotic machines. Perhaps the best, cows sleep on water beds.

Farmers believe cow cuddling to be critical. Free from stress.

It’s goodbye to a dog’s life, hello to a cow’s life!

My day began with a haircut with Lori. Always interesting. Fifteen years now she has been cutting my hair. Then I had hair. No more today. A once over with #1 on the electric razor and I am done.

Lori never wants to charge me. She says she does nothing. I always leave her $20. It makes me feel like I still have a head of hair.

Harpoon Harry’s for lunch. Hot turkey sandwich. Read the papers. Followed by a walk around the waterfront.

Last night at 6 at the Tropic cinema, the lecture I have been waiting for. The Jewish Underground Rail Road in Key West. The room was packed.

Primarily those of Jewish extraction. I may have been the only gentile. While waiting for the doors to open, a Jewish friend asked if I was waiting to see a movie. No, I told him. The lecture. He looked at me with a some what surprised expression.

I would like to say the lecture was fantastic! Off the wall! I cannot. I slept through the whole thing. For shame!

I dozed off as it was starting. Woke during the question/answer period. Fortunately, I sat in the last row end seat. The only one who knew I was sleeping was the woman next to me.

From the question/answer period. Stalin was anti-Semitic. He killed and threw Jews out of eastern Europe countries controlled by him through the 1920s.

America was anti-Semitic during the same years. Warren Harding in 1921 and Calvin Coolidge in 1924 had legislation passed limiting Jewish immigration. I have to add, Italian also.

History records both immigration laws as rigging the system against Jews.

Don’t ask me how the Jews got to Key West. I slept through that portion. However once here, there were underground tunnels in Key West. they hid and/or were moved through them to safety.

After the lecture, it was off to the Chart Room. Congenial John bartending. Ken and Alice there. Two people who worked hard, raised a family and now have almost totally settled in Key West. Purchased a home on White Street. Both always good company.

Things I learn. Gatorade is a Florida discovery. It was conceived in a University of Florida lab in 1965.

Today is Joseph’s birthday! Joseph, former manager of Hot Tin Roof. He and I are celebrating his birthday together tonight at Berlin’s.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

WORLD AIDS DAY

Today is World AIDS Day. Especially important in Key West. Too many lost over the years.

This morning’s Key West Citizen has an excellent front page article re this day.

At 4:30 this afternoon, the Candlelight Walk. Then at 6, the annual recollection ceremony. At the Edward B. Knight Pier. To remember loved ones lost to the disease.

The article notes an increase in HIV and AIDS cases in the past nine months. From 4 to 21. Sounds alarming. I doubt it is.

A new State law comes into play. This year the first for its imposition. The new law mandates HIV and AIDS testing as part of all annual physicals. Except where the patient opts out.

Increased testing means more positive results. Inevitable.

I completed my Key West Rotary history yesterday. Twenty six separate installments. Interesting to do. Onerous on occasion. Some days added as much as two hours additional work. A pleasure, never the less.

Martin’s for Happy Hour yesterday. With friend Joseph.

Joseph down to one cane. Big progress! He anticipates that soon there will be no need for a cane.

Conversation excellent. Joseph wants to do a blog. Needs to fill in his time now that he is retired. I told him I would have Sloan help him set up. I sense Joseph’s blog will be an intellectual one. Philosophical.

Martin’s food continues to be outstanding. I enjoyed small lamb chops and baked brie. Joseph, snails and schnitzle strips.

Magic bartending. From Poland. Many Poles have immigrated and settled in Key West. My Italian ancestors in the cold northeast many years ago. Weatherwise, the Poles selected better. Warm weather year round as opposed to biting cold winters.

Next stop, Don’s Place.

Chatted with Don and David.

Joanie is back. For the winter. Good to see her!

Quick stops on the way home at Walgreens and Publix.

Tonight, a manicure with Tammy at 7. Followed by dinner at 8 at Outback.

William Hackley writes that on this date in 1855, he paid William C. Dennis “for the hire of a negro woman.”

This Hackley has done in the past. Diana Millikan an historian of sorts. She believes one of the negro woman’s duties was washing Hackley during his morning baths. She believes it was a slave’s customary duty to be performed for her master. I told her to find authority for it somewhere. She is still looking.

The hurricane season ended yesterday. Hope hurricanes are aware that Key West should experience no further ones this year as November 30 has come and gone.

You can never be sure. I recall several years ago when October 31 was the end of hurricane season. We got hit by one the first week of November.

A big saturday awaits! The Christmas Parade. At 7 on Truman. Always fun. Especially for the kids. Tons of candy thrown from parade floats.

Enjoy your day!

 

UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER

The 99L tropical wave was supposed to dump rain and wind on Key West sunday. Nothing happened. Not one drop of rain.

Yesterday, an 80 percent chance of rain. Wind from the south. I thought also we would have rain. Not a drop.

Today, an 80 percent chance of rain. I give up. I don’t know. Neither do the weather professionals.

Did my podcast broadcast last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Interesting. I covered happenings in Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Indonesia, Russia and China. Plus, occurrences in four States. A fast moving half hour.

Revealing material. Some sad, some humorous.

A busy day ahead. An early business luncheon at Salute’s. I am looking forward to it. Salute’s has great mussels at lunch. Martin’s Happy Hour with Joseph from Hot Tin Roof. Then, Donna and Terri at Back Door.

No laying around today.

Anna, where are you?

Anna reports this week she is in three different villages hanging off the side of Mont Blanc. Traveling with friends. They presently are at her chalet in Courmayeur. Tomorrow, they cross the border into France. they will be visiting Chamonix and Megeve.

What a life!

Everywhere they go,   there will be chic chalets and cobbled medieval streets.

An historic morning! At 9:45, the first commercial flight between the U.S. and Cuba takes off. Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara. Santa Clara in central Cuba. A Jet Blue flight. The last commercial flight was 50 years ago at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.

Trump knows how to get publicity. He lets little slip through his fingers in that regard.

This afternoon, he will be in Mexico City for a meeting with the Mexican President. Tonight, Trump is in Phoenix giving his much awaited immigration speech. I am curious what this version will be.

The Mexican President is as foxy as Trump. I wonder who comes out ahead. He could make Trump look bad. Not that Trump needs help.

Hillary was in California last night at a fund raiser. At Jimmy Buffetts’ home. Hillary and the Beatles’ Paul McCartney danced.

Enjoy your day!

A DAY LIKE ALL DAYS

Busy yesterday. Did nothing out of the ordinary, however.

Started with a noon haircut appointment with Lori. Always a pleasure to spend time with Lori. Fifteen plus years now.

The Cuban Coffee Queen is around the corner from Blown Away. The heat/humidity too heavy to eat outside. Decided to pick up some things at Publix and feed myself at home.

Driving the Publix motivation was the fact that I had been dreaming for a couple of days of a home prepared chicken sandwich.

Bought a lemon pepper chicken.

Lunch was the desired chicken sandwich. A large soft roll. A thick slice of white chicken breast. Covered with a slice of tomato. A bit of salt and pepper. Then mayonnaise.

A dream come true!

Screwed around on the computer in the afternoon searching for a KONK column topic to do. Came up with nothing that excited me.

The Chart Room first last night. John told me Tom and Fran had been in earlier looking for me. Telephoned them. They were at Kermit’s enjoying key lime pie. Told me they would shortly join me.

Spent some time with Tom and Fran enjoying a couple of drinks. Then they were off to do sunset. Knew one of the entertainers and wanted to visit with him. The man with the cats jumping through hoops of fire.

I went across the street to the Hot Tin Roof for dinner. Enjoyed lamb chops again.

Joseph still on the mend. There is a new general manager. JP. We were introduced.

The Noble Group is not screwing Joseph. As I understand, there is an office job awaiting him when he returns.

Joseph has graduated from a walker to two canes. Progress slow.

Hello Jim Wenzel! Close friend of Tom Dixon. Both Buffalo bred. Jim now resides in Tampa. Tom told me he turned Jim on to the blog and he now reads it daily.

Welcome and thank you, Jim!

On the way back to my car, I passed the Chart Room. Ollie was at the bar. One of the heroes of the Zika test spraying fight. I stopped in to congratulate him. He believes Key Haven will defeat the test spraying proposal.

This week’s KONK Life column is German Persecution of Jews. It was carried this morning on E-Blast and also linked to my Key West Lou column. www.keywestlou.com.

My conscience Patrick posted a comment yesterday morning. He wanted to know why I had not commented on the $4 million/Iran/hostage situation. Simple. I only had the first blast of news. Accusatory. Did not make sense. Thought I should wait a day to see how the story played out.

Glad I delayed. Nothing wrong occurred.

Better safe than sorry. I concede I occasionally jump the gun. Rarely however. Sorry when I do.

Trump was terrific. Claimed he saw the whole thing on video. There was no video. He still kept saying he saw it on video.

Ronald Reagan was a tough guy.

On this day in 1981, he fired 11,359 air controllers. None to ever be rehired. When they struck and walked out two days earlier, he gave them 48 hours to return to work.

The union thought it was calling Reagan’s bluff. no way. He called theirs.

Reagan’s action was the beginning of the fall of union dominance in the United States.

Enjoy your day!

I FELL AGAIN

I fell again. Last night. At bocce.

A step involved again.

I had just made a great bocce shot. I was excited. I turned around swiftly and stepped up out of the court. A six inch rise. Moved too fast. Did not lift my right foot enough. Stubbed my right foot on the rise/step.

Little damage. A one inch in diameter scrape. Bit of bleeding. Washed it off and someone gave me a large band aid.

Why do I mention these falls?

This blog is, amongst other things, my Life in Key West. Falling has become a part of that life.

We won all three bocce games. Wowie! Next week we play the #1 team. The best of the best! They are miles ahead of every other team in the league. Including ours. Not a negative observation. A factual one. We will be up for the match, however.

My yesterday began with the anti-gravity treadmill. Impossible to fall on it. I am locked in from the waist down.

Then to 5 Guys for a cheeseburger. I have tried to avoid meat for a week. I had a sudden desire for beef. Enjoyed the cheeseburger!

Not many people in 5 Guys. Strange. Three when I entered at 12:30. Three more came in while I was there.

The Parrot Heads Convention this week. The Parrot Heads are holding their convention at Casa Marina. They were joined last night by Jimmy Buffett! The Parrot Heads have been Jimmy Buffett followers for 24 years.

Buffett announced he will be playing in Havana saturday night. Wonderful! An example the US/Cuba reconciliation is working.

I will be on the radio today. KONK News. 104.9. Sometime between noon and one o’clock. I will be interviewed concerning this week’s KONK Life column The Looting of Social Security.

Democrat debate tonight. Rachel Maddow the moderator. Her questions will be right on in comparison to what the Republican candidates have been subjected to.

I will be watching. Friday night home in Key West watching a political debate! Love it!

Power Boat Races start this weekend. Exciting and dangerous! US 1 will be crowded today with boats being towed in for the races.

Syracuse plays Louisville tomorrow. Louisville a two touchdown favorite. Does not bother me. I hope we win. Not important at this point in the season, however. Next year we will be much better. The following year in the mix. Syracuse is heavy with freshmen  and sophomore players. Most of whom are starting this season.

Ben Carson is starting to worry me. Joseph built the pyramids to store wheat? If so, where did all the jewelry and mummies come from that I have spent years viewing in various museums? Why does the Old Testament fail to mention Joseph’s feat? The answer simple. It did not happen as Carson portrays.

Carson wanted to or did hit his mother in the head and wanted to stab or did stab a friend in his early years. Tied in with the Joseph belief, I am beginning to question his state of mind to be President.

Enjoy your day!