SNOWBIRDS RETURN

The season has arrived. Unquestionably.

From what I can see, not as many tourists as normal. Might be Irma and the fear Key West not ready to accept tourists. Which is not the case. Or, it could be the cost of a Key West vacation. Pricey. I have begun to wonder if Key West is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

A different story as  to snowbirds. Those who have second homes in Key West and return on a regular basis. They are here ten fold.

I pointed out yesterday the massive turnout at the Gardens sunday. Mostly snowbirds. Last night the same at Aqua for Dueling Bartenders. The crowd unusually big.

Tom Luna and Rick Dery their usual selves. Their singing off the walls. Everyone joining in. The fun part.

Ran into Joe Lysle at Aqua. Made a  mistake a few days ago when I reported he was the new concierge at Casa Marina. He is a concierge, though at the Reach. Both Waldorf Astoria Hotels.

Enjoyed dinner at Tavern ‘n Town following Dueling Bartenders.

I frequently complain about bicyclists. A danger to themselves and the autos on the streets. Bicyclists have no consideration for rules of the road. One way streets, stop signs, red lights, etc. They think they own the roads. Tourists primarily.

Every day a danger.

In the dark of last night, I was returning home. Almost two accidents involving my car and a bicycle. Both bicyclists without lights and ran stop signs.

An accident did occur over the weekend. A bicyclist at 2:19 in the morning driving the wrong way on one way Olivia Street. Came into contact with a Key West police SUV at the intersection of Olivia with White Street.

The bicyclists hit his head on the front passenger door of the police vehicle. He was helicoptered to a Miami trauma center. The police officer and the K-9 dog with him sustained no injuries.

Irma’s after effects refuse to go away. Irma hit the lower Keys September 10. Work still to be done.

Debris clean up major! County and back roads the last to get attention. The County announced yesterday that all debris has been finally removed from County roads.

A major undertaking!

Next, the canals and waterways close to shore. Homes, boats, refrigerators, TV sets, etc. plugging the canals and shore lines. Together with trees and shrubbery.

The last chapter of my recent book Irma and Me is titled Post Irma and is dated October 15. I wrote at the time the debris clean up was on going. Noted…..The debris is non-ending.

I did not realize how correct I was! Here it is five months later and the work continues.

This morning’s Key West Citizen in its History Section mentioned Key West’s first electric trolley car began operation on Duval Street this date 1899. Carried 500 people the first day.

Brought to mind my youthful days. I clearly recall riding electric trolley cars in my home town Utica. The Bleecker Street line. In the late 1930’s into 1941. I was anywhere from 3-6 years old at the time.

I googled Utica and electric trolley cars. Came up with This Week in Mohawk Valley History. Includes Utica. The author Frank Tomaino, an outstanding newspaper man back when.

His article indicated Utica’s first trolleys were horse drawn. Began operating in 1863. The first electric trolley St. Patrick’s Day 1890. The last Utica electric trolley train 1941. Went to the barn forever.

Tuesday again. Comes frequently every week. Tonight, my podcast. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Nine my time. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

So much happening these days. Most news worthy. I am constantly revising the tuesday night show. As late as dinner time on tuesday. Things worthy of comment occurring hourly it seems.

Tonight will be a fast moving half hour show covering 10 or so topics of interest. My opinions also, of course. Join me. I guarantee you will enjoy.

Portraits of former American Presidents and their spouses hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Those of President Obama and Michelle were unveiled yesterday.

Loved Barack’s. Different. The artist Kehinde Wiley. A black man. Established.

News releases today indicated Wiley enjoys challenging the power of white women in his works. Black women decapitating white women.

Did the President know? He must have. He and Michelle selected their artists.

Michelle’s painting I did not like. The concept lovely. Problem is the painting does not look like Michelle.

Michelle’s artist Amy Sherald. A black woman. She had a heart transplant several years ago.

Trump never seems to blame men for sexual wrongdoings. Denial by the man sufficient grounds not to denounce him.

Trump is sick. His thinking probably motivated by the 17 odd women who claimed during the election that they had been sexually harassed by him. He denied the charges. Must be he does not want to blow his cover of denial by not accepting the denials of others.

Enjoy your day!

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY BLUME

One of Key West’s most admired and respected persons is world famous author Judy Blume.

Today is Judy’s birthday. Happy birthday!

My daughters knew Judy Blume before me. Well before me. In their formative teen years. Judy wrote young adult novels. For the growing young lady. Issues like menstruation, self esteem, etc. She also wrote children’s books and adult novels.

Her books have sold over 80 million copies world wide and have been translated into 30 languages.

Judy and her husband George Cooper were instrumental with others in bringing Books & Books @ The Studios to Key West.

Judy can be found daily at Books & Books assisting visitors in making book selections.  Stop in today and wish her a Happy Birthday! Stop in any time to say hello.

Sunday means The Gardens. Kate Miano’s fabulous place.

I stopped by last night. Shocked! The most people I have ever seen attending the event. Ninety nine percent snowbirds. They have returned! Love Kate’s sunday party!

On the way home, stopped at Publix. I consistently run out of food frequently. Perhaps I never purchase enough at one time.

The past few days, I have had a desire for capicola. An Italian meat treat! Tasty. Bought a pound last night.

Capicola’s story interesting. More interesting, I made capicola while employed at a meat packing plant while in college.

Let me share my knowledge of capicola with you.

Capicola brought over from Italy. Referred to as capocollo in Italy.

Purchased at the store in its finished form as a fatty pork/ham cold cut surrounded by red pepper. Thinly sliced. The fat gives the meat a unique flavor.

Capicola is made from the pig’s muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the shoulder or neck.

The next few steps in the process not the same. Location alters the processing somewhat.

After cutting, the meat I dealt with was placed in huge jars of brine. Not sure the precise nature of the brine. Some said red or white wine, garlic and herbs. My recollection is that the room where the barrels were stored smelled good!

The brinning room was a large refrigerator. Not freezing. Merely cold. The room very large.

Row after row of the barrels. The barrels huge. Five or six feet tall. At least four feet wide. Made of wood.

The meat was marinated in the brine quite a while. Exact time, I do not recall. When the meat was ready for casing, the barrels were transported into another huge room.

That is where I came into the picture. My job was to stand on a ladder and remove the meat chunks one piece at a time. Did it with a meat hook. Had to be careful to put the hook into the right place on the meat. Otherwise, the meat would appear damaged and I could get fired.

I wore rubber gloves. No thin plastic gloves as we have today. My hands hot inside the gloves. The reason being the cooking ovens were in the same room and immediately next to where I was working.

I took the hooked meat off the hook and rolled it by hand in a large pan containing red pepper. Then I threw the piece on a large table below me. There a dozen or so workers were placing the meat in casings. Hands and small machines required for the operation.

The pepper would get in the gloves. Between the pepper heat and heat from the ovens, the skin began flaking off my hands. I was transferred to another job.

Once cased, the product was placed on huge trees and then sent into the huge ovens to cook. The ovens each the size of a room. After cooking, removed and allowed to hang several days to cool before delivery to stores for sale.

The owners of the meat packing house were good people. Employees were permitted to eat any of the meats produced for lunch. We normally went for the capicola or hot fresh ham warm as it came out of the ovens. A feast!

Syracuse survived yesterday against Wake Forest. Won 78-70. Syracuse has to win almost all of its remaining games to make the NCAA Tournament.

Trump coming out with his infrastructure plan today. $1.5 trillion. He has the ideas, but not the money. I understand he will suggest the federal government put  in 20 percent. The rest to be paid by the States, local governments, and private investment. The last meaning selling or leasing roads and bridges to private corporations.

The Feds do not have the money. However, I believe it has to come primarily from the federal government. It always has. The States and local governments are broke. Where would they get the money?

Private sector participation a no no from my perspective. It would be like using mercenaries to fight our wars, contracting out various federal jobs, and privatized jails.

It does not work. As we are slowly finding out, costly and full of improprieties and wrongdoing.

Trump is looking to private corporations to fund most of the repair/reconstruction work. I have seen how this works in Italy. The roads and bridges are beautiful. No pot holes anywhere. Most roads tolled. Expensive to travel. The toll charges not cheap. As a result, most Italians look for narrow country roads to travel.

Another Trump folly, mistake, not thought out plan, in the making.

Enjoy your day!