LOVE IN ITS PUREST FORM

Thanksgiving in the air. Mentioned everywhere.

O. Henry was a famous short story writer from long ago. A giant. He said re Thanksgiving…..There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.

O. Henry’s name brought to mind one of his short stories. One dealing with man’s most sensitive emotion: Love. “The Gift of the Magi.”

I had not thought of the Magi gift story for at least 50 years. Till yesterday. A love story involving Christmas.

The Gift of the Magi involves a young couple very much in love. Della and Jim. Christmas was at hand. Neither had enough money to buy the other a gift.

Each sold their most prized possession.

Della had beautiful hair. She loved it. People commented her on it. She had her hair cut and sold in order to purchase a platinum FOB chain for Jim’s watch.

Unbeknownst, Jim sold his valuable watch in order to buy Della jeweled combs for her hair.

Love in its purest form.

I have only so much blood to give. My orange blood.

I spent yesterday afternoon watching Notre Dame beat Syracuse in football 36-3. Total destruction. Did not expect it. Thought Syracuse might win.

Basketball season has begun. Football and basketball overlap this time of the year. Syracuse played 2 basketball games in the past few days. Lost both. Not even close.

Depression does not accurately describe how I felt. So low, I had to look up to see bottom. Ugh!

Following the game, showered, dressed and was out to meet friends for dinner. Almost decided not to go because of how I felt. Glad I did go, however.

Dinner was with Donna and Terri and Andrea and Joe at Conch Republic. A couple of drinks, good food, excellent company and I felt better.

Oysters and stone crabs! The oysters large and delicious. The stone crabs…..Oh, so good.

On the way home, I made a brief stop at the Chart Room. Not many people. Sat and chatted with John a while. He had just made fresh popcorn. The smell got to be. Enjoyed a small bowel.

Elections still in the air. Reminds me of a Key West election 29 years ago. Captain Tony Tarraceno was running for Mayor. His fourth try. Lost in his previous 3 attempts.

His platform simple: Save as much of the old days and ways as possible.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal endorsed him. Would you believe!

Captain Tony was of the opinion that it took him so long to win because of 2 factors. One, he kissed mothers instead of babies. Second, he used a certain 4 letter word too often.

The Washington Post interviewed him about his use of the word, its effect on his running, etc. The Captain’s response: “I just hope everybody in Key West who uses that word votes for me. If they do, I’ll win in a landslide.”

Apparently enough did. He won the fourth time.

Anti-Semitism is history’s oldest hatred. A creeping sickness. Like cancer.

It is on the rise world wide. Dramatically in Europe and the United States.

A huge problem in France. France has the largest population of Jews than any European country.

Anti-Semitism’s ugly head evidencing itself in the United States in recent years. Incidents of anti-Semitism up 57 percent in 2017. The new-Nazi party has come out of the darkness. Fearlessly open about their hatred. Reveal it in demonstrations.

A form of neo-Nazism has developed in Israel. Not Israelis against Israelis. Rather, Israelis against Palestinians. Israel’s tendencies against the Palestinians described as “Judeo-Nazi tendencies.”

Netanyahu bears the major responsibility. Molded in the same form as Trump. Authoritarian. Nationalistic. A despot in the making. A war monger. He wants to destroy the Palestinians and engage in a war against Iran.

Netanyahu under investigation in his country as Trump in his.

Netanyahu continues to be reelected so I am not sure how his people feel about him. I wonder how Jews outside Israel feel about his Palestinian and Iranian moves.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

HARRY S TRUMAN LITTLE WHITE HOUSE’S ROBERT WOLZ

Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman.

Truman spent 175 days visiting Key West over a span of 11 trips. His place of residence each time the small white building which has become known as the Harry S Truman Little White House. Set on a tree shaded lovely lawn on grounds surrounded by the beauty of Truman Annex.

Today, an historical site visited by thousands annually.

A man instrumental in the preservation and operation of The Little White House is Robert Wolz. Executive Director. A position he has held since 1999.

Wolz is a person you don’t know is about. Quiet. Efficient. Dependable. Responsible. He takes excellent care of The Little White House.

Wolz’s life spans many years in Key West. He was General Manager of Historic Tours of America for 14 years from 1985-1999 before taking over The Little White House for what is now 19 years.

During those years, he found time to offer assistance in an advisory capacity  to various groups. The Sons of Union Veterans for 50 years and the Boy Scouts of America for 18 years.

Time is what you make it. He authored or co-authored several books. Included are Grand Army Men: The GAR and Its Male Organizations, Presidents in Paradise, and Israel and the Legacy of Harry S Truman.

Take the time while visiting The Little White House to say hello to Wolz. He will be happy to meet you.

Spent my yesterday researching and writing. Did a 4 minute segment for Key West Lou Live on Facebook. A tirade concerning Afghanistan and heroin.

The evening began with the Blue Macaw. Spent pleasant time visiting with friends. Among them, Alisia, John and Fiona, Angie, and Mary.

Then to the Chart Room. Packed. I knew no one. Got a drink and went to a table in the back. Watched the second half of Connecticut/Iowa. Connecticut was not the same team that beat Syracuse the night before. Whereas twelve 3 pointers went in for Connecticut in the Syracuse game, very few found the basket last night.

Iowa looked especially good. Has the makings of a top 10 team.

On the way home, my stomach began growling. I was hungry. Stopped at Sandy’s Cafe for a cheese toast with tomato.

One of the reasons I have lost 62 pounds in a year is that I keep next to no food in the house. Cupboard was bare again last night. After Sandy’s stopped at Publix to pick up a couple of items. Not much. Bill under $10.

Cool last night. Actually, cold. Wore a heavy shirt over a tee shirt while out. Temperature dropped to 70 during the night. I was buried under a quilt.

Those of you freezing up north, laugh not. Key West’s temperature dropped 15 degrees in one day.

A dinner fit for Kings tonight! Stone crabs! A group of us are going to Conch Republic. We’ll begin with oysters and then move on to the stone crabs.

Speaking of stone crabs, I continue to live and learn.

Whenever I go to Miami, I generally stay overnight. On the way up and on the way back, I stop in Islamorada for lunch or dinner. At the Islamorada Fish Company.

Great stone crabs!

The business sits in a large building on US 1. Inside, they sell great sports clothes and fishing tackle items. Reasonably priced. In the back, there is a large pond that separates the restaurant from the building. The restaurant portion sits on a huge dock on the ocean. The view outstanding! As good as the stone crabs.

The pond runs under the restaurant. Fish swim in and out.

I was unaware till yesterday that the pond is a meeting place for tarpon. They have been visiting for years. The pond has become known as Tarpon Pond. The tarpon have adjusted themselves to visit at the same time each day to be fed by visitors.

Never saw them, never fed them.

Big football game this afternoon. Syracuse and Notre Dame. Game of the week. On NBC at 2:30. Being played in Yankee Stadium.

Notre Dame is 10-0, Syracuse 8-2. Notre Dame ranked #3, Syracuse #12. Notre Dame a 10.5 point favorite.

The college game of the week. Syracuse can win. Hope they do. I have lost enough orange blood this week with the Syracuse basketball team’s 2 losses.

Enjoy your day!

AMERICA’S SEXUAL RECESSION

Would you believe…..America in the midst of a sex recession?

It is. Responsibility falls upon teenagers and young adults. Less sex apparently better.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Survey covering 1991-2017 startling. High school students having sex has dropped from 54 percent to 40 percent.

In other words in the space of a generation, sex has gone from something most high school students experienced to something most haven’t.

Oral sex has not been substituted. The rate for oral sex has remained steady.

Teen pregnancies down dramatically, also.  Dropped to a third of its modern high.

Two reasons why sex frequency if falling. One, the internet. Porn is being substituted by both sexes for sex with a partner. The other, young people are partnering less.

The pendulum has swung. The modern libido is down.

I am not a happy camper this morning. Two reasons. Syracuse lost and I did not sleep all night. The two unrelated.

Syracuse went down to Connecticut 83-76. It was Connecticut’s game all the way.

I don’t understand. Syracuse’s starting 5 has returned. New recruits terrific. The bench deep for the first time in years. Four players supposedly excellent 3 point shooters. Syracuse’s defense supposedly great.

Nothing helped last night.

Syracuse attempted few 3 pointers. Second game  a row. When the team did, the ball rarely went in. Connecticut could hardly miss a 3 pointer. If my recollection is correct, they made 12.

I fell asleep around 10. Woke just after midnight. No television. Comcast was down all the way. No internet e-mail, television or land line. The internet came back on at 6 this morning. TV at 8:30.

I need TV to sleep. I substituted it for book reading at bed time years ago. I leave the TV on all night. Sleep poorly. When I wake, I watch whatever is on for a while and fall back to sleep.

My crutch, the TV set, was not there.

In recent months, Comcast’s service has been sporadic. Pisses me off. We depend on its services. It should be reliable.

Comcast owns NBC. I do not see NBC suffering from glitches. Only we poor peasants who depend on Comcast for internet e-mail, TV and land lines.

I have vented!

My yesterday simple. Haircut with Lori and lunch at Sandy’s Cafe. Spent the afternoon home researching. My excitement level rising as the day reached 7 in the evening when the Syracuse/Connecticut game would begin.

Those of you who live up north laugh not. A cold spell is upon us today. The high will only be 75. That’s cold in Key West. Tonight, the temperature is expected to drop to 71. Really cold! Quilt time.

Key West has many pleasant experiences. One, its sunsets. Always a canvas. Different strokes each evening.

Water surrounds the Keys. Those living here develop a love and respect for those who live in the ocean.

Twin one year old manatees were in trouble. Their mother accidentally killed by a boat strike. Manatee calves stay with their mothers one to two years. The twins were not yet able to do well on their own.

They were found stressed out more than a year ago in waters off Key Largo. Weighed about 100 pounds each. Rescued by the Dolphin Research Center. Named Millennium and Falcon.

Transferred to the Miami Sea Aquarium. Subsequently sent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio for rehabilitation.

All better, they were recently released back into the waters off Key Largo.

The musical Sound of Music opened this day in 1959 on Broadway. An instantaneous hit!

I saw the show the following July. Actually, July 4. My first musical.

I was in New York studying for the bar exam. Six weeks. I already had put 4 in. Seven hours a day of lecture, the rest of the time studying. Seven days a week.

We had 2 days off . The 4th and one day adjoining it.

My wife and I had not seen each other in 4 weeks. She came down for the 2 days. Our blood was boiling. Except for seeing Sound of Music, we basically stayed in bed.

Our daughter Beth was conceived over those 2 days.

Florida is one screwed up State when it comes to ballot counting. This year no different. Broward County handed in its recount numbers 2 minutes late. Election officials refused to accept them. Thousands of votes will not count if a court does not reverse the decision.

Recall 2000. Bush/Gore. It all came down to a recount in Florida. Chads!

Not the first time Florida was in such a position. The 1876 Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden Presidential election ended in a mess. Tilden won the popular vote. Four States had election day problems. Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon.

Hayes Republican, Tilden Democrat.

Tilden was short one electoral vote.

The war was on!

Several months of bitter partisan wrangling. Finally, a special electoral commission was appointed to resolve the issue. Partisan politics here, also. Republicans picked the members. The commission ended up with one more Republican member than the Democrats.

Florida’s contested votes, together with those of the other three States, were awarded to Hayes.

The Democrats lost the first time. They lost again in the Bush/Gore dispute. It appears they will lose this time in the Governor and Senate races which are in dispute.

Trump an unhappy camper also today. The media tells us he has been so for several days. Deep anxiety has set in. The Democratic blue wave disheartens him. The Mueller investigation appears to be winding down. He has concern for not only himself, but also his family and friends.

He returned to tweeting about Mueller and his investigation yesterday. Trump says the Mueller investigation is a mess, there is no collusion, absolutely no collusion, Mueller and his people are shouting at each other. All a disgrace to the Nation.

Who truly is the disgrace?

Enjoy your day! Dress warm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TONI TARRACINO SHARES HER LEGACY

Captain Tony is a Key West legend. An icon. Remembered. Revered.

His former bar on Greene Street still bears his name. The bar inside and out as it was in his day.

Toni one of his children. Today, a concierge at the Marriott Beachside. Plus involved in a multitude of other things like marrying people, planning weddings, painting and blog writing.

Her blog is titled Sharing My Key West Legacy. http://tonitarracino.com. One of the best I have read. She has her hands on everything Key West.

I told Toni her material was so good I would be plagiarizing her recollections on occasion.

She wrote of the West Martello Fort. Its history. Today home of the Garden Club and a wedding venue. She mentions the Autograph Tree. Never heard of it. Yet, she knew.

The tree stands at the entrance to the Fort. People have scratched and otherwise written their names and initials on the leaves over the years.

Another story involves the fish sitting on the outside of Capt. Tony’s bar.  Second floor level. People always turning their backs to the fish and trying to throw quarters into its open mouth.

Toni shared the origin of the custom.

As a girl, she helped out at the bar. There actually was a slow season then. The summer. The bar was hot. She and other staff would take benches outside and sit on them. The heat inside too much.

One of those sitting with Toni was a rabid Larry Bird fan. He used to stand, yell “top of the key” and try to throw quarters in the fish’s mouth.

Toni and friends thought it too hot for him to do it as he was. They convinced him to stand on the curb on his toes with his back to the fish.And then try to successfully throw quarters into the fish’s mouth.

A tradition was born. You know the story. A continuing event born out of heat, boredom, and today a bit of alcohol.

My Key West yesterday.

A manicure with Tammy. Business slow. Will pick up next week. Tammy said women like to pretty up for Thanksgiving.

Then a visit with  Dr. Norris. He’s not concerned with what now has been determined to be a ligament or muscle protruding on the left side of my neck. Five inches long. I feared it was my carotid and I was heading for a stroke.

A late lunch at Cuban Coffee Queen. The Queen I was at is in the bowels of Key Lime Square. As is Dr. Norris’ office. I sat looking down the Square towards Southard. It was quiet. Peaceful. Few people. Sun hitting the trees and foliage just right. A relaxing moment.

On the way home, I drove pass David Wolkowsky’s home on Flagler. Someone was working on his Rolls Royce or some ancient roadster. The hood was up. David had two vintage vehicles. Each close to 100 years old.

Last night, Blue Macaw. Enjoyed!

Joe and Andrea back after 2 weeks in Ohio. Good to see them again. Terri singing. Donna at the bar, of course.

More Key West nostalgia.

Some small guys enjoy big ladies. Especially sexually. In 1993, Rocky was out and about. Rocky a 7 pound male Chihuahua. He saw an 80 pound female Rottweiler. One or both in heat. The dirty deed was done. The 80 pound Rott got pregnant.

The Rottweiler’s owners sued. I have no idea what the offspring looked like. In any event, the Rott owners won. The court awarded them $2,567.50.

Pythons have overtaken southern Florida. Actual number unknown. Estimated to be in excess of one million. Cannot be eradicated. Hopefully contained.

The government hires snake hunters. One recently killed the largest ever. A 17 foot 5 inch python weighing 120 pounds. In the Homestead area.

Imagine the beauty wrapping itself around you.

Another problem now out of control are iguanas. The State failed to pay attention. They eat our flowers and defecate in our pools. They are all over the roadways. A danger to driving.

The State has commenced a program to get rid of the iguanas. I hope it is not too late as with the pythons.

Tonight, Syracuse/Connecticut play basketball at 7 in Madison Square Garden. Two former Big East foes. Syracuse ranked #15 nationally. Connecticut not ranked.

I will be home watching the game.

A cold spell coming in. The temperature will be 75 degrees tomorrow. Down from 85 in one day. Most Key Westers will say they love it. I will say I’m cold! Just how it affects me.

Never got to the notes re world events I wanted to share. All less than a week old. Perhaps tomorrow. I got carried away today with Key West items.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

MY CUP RUNNETH OVER

My notes are piling up. Things I want to discuss. The reason for the over abundance is that too much is going on. Too much news.

I am going to briefly run through my notes today. Less they become stale. Most not even a week old.

Before so doing, permit me to share some Key West and personal items.

Never left the house yesterday. It was tuesday. My podcast at 9 in the evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. I spend the day preparing and fine tuning the show.

Today, busy. A manicure at noon with Tammy. A visit with Dr. Norris at 2. Sons and Daughters of Italy dinner meeting this evening. Hopefully, a visit to Blue Macaw afterwards.

Recall I lunched with Robert and Ally monday. Robert a freshman in high school, Ally in the 8th grade. I was curious as to what they were reading. I assumed they were reading the same books in school that I read when their age. No way!

I asked them what they thought of Ivanhoe, House of Seven Gables, and Moby Dick. They did not know what I was talking about. Never heard of the books. They told me the titles of books they were required to read. I never heard of any of them.

Called as the world turns.

Guy de Boer the past year has a monthly party at his home. Tuesday nights. I can never attend because I have my podcast show to do. Guy labeled the event Boys Night Out.

The name a copy of an event Mary Lou Hoover started 10 or more years ago. First in Key West. Now, State wide. Girls Night Out.

I must make one of Guy’s parties. He invites ladies also. Mary Lou does not invite men.

Tom Luna is one the most loved persons in Key West. A bear of a man. Always ready to throw his arms around you with a big hug.

Tom has been performing Dueling Bartenders at Aqua monday nights for many years. I understand he is taking 6 months off. Why, I do not know. The past year, he has had some illnesses. Nothing of consequence. Hope all is well with him.

The notes.

Melania not just a pretty face. She appears to be exerting more influence in the White House and over her husband than previously thought.

We are told she does not like John Kelly. Has been pushing her husband to get rid of him. She may finally have succeeded.

More importantly, Melania is not  enamoured with the Deputy  National Security Adviser, Mira Ricardel. Mira a friend of John Bolton. Melania wants Mira fired. Claims she “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

Someone close to Melania said “she can be a knife fighter.”

Mira claims she has never met Melania.

The Daily Beast recently ran 2 interesting articles. One had to do with the immigration problem. The article reported “Trump’s own team knows his caravan claims are bullshit.”

The other article had to do with people of color seeking permission to enter the U.S. The article suggests the blue wave be forgotten. There is a brown wave. Trump says the brown people are coming!

The article claims Trump has been riling up his base by stoking fear of a brown wave descending on Brownsville, Texas. At the same time accusing the Democrats and George Soros of making it all happen.

The election results and Mueller investigation appear to be taking their toll on Trump. He is losing it. Spending more time in his White House apartment, avoiding Presidential duties, etc. An example one of his tweets recently re French President Macron.

Criticized Macron for the Paris Armistice commemoration event. Criticized Macron for suggesting Europe had to set up its own joint military force to protect itself. Macron suggesting Europe could no longer depend on the U.S. He asked in effect how France could walk hand in hand with Germany. Germany caused World Wars I and II.

The Communist scare in the 1950’s and 1960’s was far worse than any war scares we are presently experiencing with nations such as Iran, China, North Korea and Russia. The Red Scare was everywhere. War was imminent.

A Mrs. White was a member of the Indiana Textbook Committee. She insisted that all references to Robin Hood be removed from school books. She was concerned because Robin Hood believed in stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The Communist line at the time was the same. Take from the rich and give to the poor.

Still have 5 topics remaining. Enough for today, however. Will get to them tomorrow.

I close with a George Sands quote: “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”

Enjoy your day!

AN AMERICAN HERO FORGOTTEN BY HISTORY

Two men with Armistice Day stories to be told. Two men who exhibited love and respect for their country in different ways.

World War I ended on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 am in 1918. The Armistice has been signed at 5 in the morning, scheduled to go into effect at 11 that same morning.

Henry Nicholas Gunther was born in 1895 of German immigrant parents. In Baltimore. Raised and schooled there.

He became a member of the 313th Infantry Regiment. Known as Baltimore’s Own. He arrived in France in July 1918.

Gunther was involved in fighting in the Argonne on November 11. Front line. Just before 11 am, Gunter’s group was confronted by a German road block which contained a machine gun. His sergeant ordered Gunther to fix his bayonet and charge the Germans.

Gunther did as ordered. As he charged, there was a burst of machine gun fire. Gunther was killed. He died at 10:59 am.

The Americans were unaware of the truce. The Germans were. They kept shouting at Gunther that the war was over. Gunther apparently did not understand and kept coming. They shot him.

Gunther was 23 at the time. He was the last American to be killed in World War I.

General Pershing recognized Gunther at an Armistice ceremony the next day. He referred to Gunther as an American hero.

Today, Gunther is an American hero forgotten by history.

One hundred years later to the day, it was Armistice Day again. November 11, 2018. The free world commemorated the occasion in Paris. The heads of the world’s free nations in attendance.

Trump was there. In his room at the American Embassy at a very special moment.

There was a ceremony at an American cemetery. Aisne Marine American Cemetery. Fifty miles outside Paris. The final resting place of American soldiers who died at the Battle of Belleau Wood.

Trump failed to honor his country’s war dead. He did not attend. It was raining. He was the only world leader who failed to attend.

A tale of two men. One a hero. The other, I am not sure how to label.

Hemingway personally experienced war as an ambulance driver and war correspondent. He did not like war. I question how he would have addressed heroism. Whatever, he did write, “In modern war…..you will die like a dog for no good reason.”

Busy day yesterday.

My cell phone was screwed up. A simple problem I could not resolve. I am not mechanically inclined in any fashion.

Hurried over to Verizon in the Win-Dixie Shopping Center. They set me straight in seconds.

Then picked up Robert and Ally. No school because of the holiday. Robert now a freshman in high school and Ally in the eighth grade.

Both adults.

We went to Sandy’s Cafe. They’re choice. A favorite of theirs, also.

They shared with me their present day experiences.

Robert loves high school. He received an award as the outstanding freshman student of the quarter. Based on grades, activities, etc. He continues to practice almost daily his tennis. A star in making. No question he will be on the varsity team when they begin play in January. He went to a dance. With a group. Talked to girls, did not dance.

Ally a typical eighth grader. Top year at her school. A big shot. She had straight A’s on her recent report card. She is developing into a beauty. Pure femininity. She is anxious to get to high school. Her brother’s comments make her so. She knows there is another world awaiting her there.

I noticed yesterday morning a bulge on one side of my neck. Vertical. About 5 inches log. Protruding out of the side of my neck.

Panic set in. My carotid artery. I was on my way to a stroke.

Was in Dr. Ivor’s office at 3 to see nurse Susan Neill. She and McIvor have been caring for my heart for 12 years. She checked me out. Not carotid. Ran some tests. Found nothing wrong. Perhaps my weight loss had caused some muscle or blood vessel to protrude.

I felt better. Still concerned, however. I am a hypochondriac. Told her I was seeing my primary Dr. Norris wednesday for some blood results. I would see what he had to say.

Susan and I have become friends over the years. I learned yesterday was her first day at work in 8 weeks. She was wearing a big boot on one foot.

She was not a happy camper.

She was at St. Mary’s Church. Placing some flowers on the altar. As she turned to step down, she went down. Fractured some important bone in her ankle/foot. Now has screws, pins, and gross discomfort.

I hurt for her.

It was 4 in the afternoon. Too early to go home. Too early to really go out. Had a choice to make. Went out. To Blue Macaw. A couple of drinks, a light dinner and some good company.

Everyone with physical problems. Doug, who is a tour guide at the Hemingway House, is in intensive care. His heart. His co-worker Alisia told me.

Paul and Ron came in. Paul told me he is experiencing the same throat problems I complained about 6 months ago. He is undergoing a procedure friday to correct it.

What a world! What a life! It’s called getting old!

I was home by 8:30. Went to bed. Fell asleep almost immediately. Woke at midnight and could not sleep the rest of the night.

Doug Bennett writes an interesting blog…..This Week On The Island. A series of events marked with photos.

His opening and closing verbiage paragraphs always read the same. Part of the introductory paragraph: “Everything is true except for those parts that are lies.”

The last paragraph: “Key West, Close to Perfect, Far from Normal.”

I especially like his last statement.

Today, tuesday. My podcast show tonight. Nine my time. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou.

Join me. I rant and rave about whatever moves me at the moment. A fast moving half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

MY FAMILY AND ELLIS ISLAND

Ellis Island closed its doors as a point of immigration on this day in 1954. Today, it is an Immigration Museum. Visited by 2 million persons a year.

Prior to 1892, immigration was handled by the states. Effective January 2, 1892, the federal government assumed responsibility. Ellis Island was the first immigration center. The first person to pass through the new immigration center was 15 year old Annie Moore.

My family, my ancestors, passed through Ellis Island. My mother, her parents and 7 brothers. On my father’s side, his parents.

Ellis Island was named not for some public figure. Rather for the man who owned the island in the 1770’s, Samuel Ellis.

A bit of snobbery, prejudice, and caution involved in processing those arriving to the U.S. First and second class never stopped first at Ellis Island. They received a brief shipboard inspection.

Third class was another story. They were run through Ellis Island. These were the poor. The peasant and peons from the old world. My family among them.

Third class underwent medical and legal inspections. To insure against contagious diseases or legal problems that would make them a burden or danger to citizens of the U.S.

I am named after my father’s father. My grandfather Louis. He was 12 when he came over as a third class passenger. Just after the turn of the century.

He was held on Ellis Island for 3 months. Properly so. He had some contagious disease. I cannot recall what. He was treated, cured, and then permitted entry.

Two years ago, I met Valerie Leary and her husband at Martin’s. Visiting from Delaware.

Valerie together with several girl friends have been visiting Key West this past week. They did it all! Even the boat races!

Valerie and I got together last night at the Chart Room for a few drinks. An attractive woman. Fiftyish. A public servant since last we met. Now a Councilperson in New Castle, Delaware.

After a while, one of her group joined us. Megan. A lovely 27 year old. In the bug business. Her Dad’s. Will run it some day.

I filled Megan in on David Wolkowsky,  the Chart Room, Pier House and Jimmy Buffett.

The ladies were undecided where to dine. I suggested several places. Eventually the conversation worked its way to stone crabs. Neither had ever enjoyed them. I sent them to Conch Republic.

There are always 2 sides to a story. Two feelings in opposition. Especially politically.

I am unabashedly a Democrat. A Liberal. I believe government among other things exists to help the less fortunate.

There are those who do not agree with me, think Trump is the end all, etc. Roughly 50 percent of the population.

With tongue in cheek and wishing to show this blog is fair and balanced, I share with you a Letter To The Editor featured in this morning’s KONK Life E-Blast. Written by a Paul Sofranac: “Most patriots are grateful to have a President such as Donald Trump. No, he doesn’t mince words and he is not PC but he’s as solid a leader we’ve had in a long, long time. Civility? What civility? Only results count and people love a benevolent dictator, one who cares for the nation and isn’t sold out to external interests or steep state agenda. Embrace him with all your might, as your whining accomplishes nothing but to bring further malaise and suspicion of ulterior motives for your rant.”

A quote from the opposite side of the spectrum. By Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A newly elected New York City Congressperson. Defeated in the Democratic primary a multi term Congressman.

During the campaign, she said, “I’m not running from the left; I’m running from the bottom. I’m running in fierce advocacy for working-class New Yorkers.”

William Holden was a terrific actor. The best of the best. He died this day in 1981 at age 63.

I knew Holden. Met with him several times. At La Costa outside San Diego. La Costa was a resort that catered to those who wanted to lose weight, work on an addiction problem, etc.

Back in the 1970’s and into the 1980’s, I used to go twice a year. To lose weight. A problem even back then. Eight hours exercise and 800 calories of food a day. It worked.

Holden went because he was an alcoholic. He went to dry out.

We met and became friends. Evening friends after the toil of the day was complete. We would sit in the bar at night, drink Perrier and smoke cigars. Sometimes Rodney Dangerfield would join us. A trip.

Holden a most humble person. His humility absolutely amazing.

Ronald Reagan and Holden were best friends. When Reagan and Nancy Davis married in 1952, Holden was Best Man. When Holden died, Reagan wrote, “I have a great feeling of grief. We were close friends for many years. What do you say about a longtime friend-a sense of personal loss, a fine man. Our friendship never waned.”

The college football listings are out. Syracuse ranked #12. The highest ranking Syracuse has achieved in 20 years.

It’s all on the line next saturday. Syracuse plays #3 Notre Dame. Notre Dame 10-0, Syracuse 8-2.

Syracuse can win.

Dueling Bartenders tonight at Aqua. Can’t wait. The best singing in Key West for the price of a drink.

Enjoy your day!

 

IN FLANDERS FIELDS…..

In Flanders fields poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row….. / We are the dead. Short days ago / We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,  / Loved and were loved, and now we lie / In Flanders fields….. / If ye break faith with us who die / We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields.

Veterans Day is tomorrow. However Key West is celebrating it today. A big parade at 5 running from Catherine down Duval to Front Street.

Ergo, I write of Veterans Day today.

The day was first known as Armistice Day. Transitioned over the years to Veterans Day. Whereas initially to honor World War I dead, today to honor veterans of all wars, living and dead.

The poem was written in 1915 on a battlefield in France. By Lt. Col. John Mc Crae, a Canadian physician. He was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier.

World War I was the war to end all wars. Man fooled himself. History has proven the goal wrong. Man enjoys maiming and killing too much.

I have been home bound since last weekend. Car problem. Required a new starter. Everything must come from Miami. First one, not correct. Finally got the car last night. Everything in order.

Need to get out and communicate with people, enjoy a couple of drinks, etc.

Last night was not to be. Nor will tonight. Syracuse played football last night and plays basketball tonight. For some reason, I prefer watching the games quietly and alone from home.

Syracuse beat Louisville 54-23. Syracuse now 8-2. I suspect the victory will move us into the top 10.

The victory was not consequential in itself. Louisville played like Syracuse had the past 20 years. Even worse most of the game.

Next saturday, a big one! Syracuse plays undefeated and nationally ranked #3 Notre Dame. Syracuse can win. Not wishful thinking. The team is good.

Syracuse basketball tonight at 7. Syracuse v. Morehead State. Syracuse’s second game of the season. Syracuse is expected to dominate the game.

The California fires are horrible! Horrendous! TV showings reveal nothing less than pure unadulterated disaster. Hurricanes bring the same. However, a hurricane comes and goes. A fire hangs around for days.

What has FEMA been doing to help? Not much. A pattern has developed where natural disasters are involved. Government does not seem to care, have enough money, etc.

One FEMA responsibility is to refund 75 percent of firefighting costs. Trump yesterday threatened to pull all federal funding if California does not shape up. He claims the fires being out of control are due to “gross mismanagement.”

The two reasons Trump claims California is not doing the job properly has to do with water and forest thinning. He claims California is dumping water in the Pacific it could use to fight the fires. He further claims the forests are dry and subject to easy fires because of California’s failure to thin them.

Experts galore say Trump is incorrect in both instances and does not know what he is talking about. They claim climate change is the cause. The climate change argument falls on deaf ears since Trump does not believe there is climate change.

Which brings me to Michael. Post Michael, a disaster. FEMA failing. The third biggest hurricane since record keeping instituted in the U.S. and we hear nothing about what is happening in northern Florida and elsewhere that Michael touched.

The reason obvious. FEMA and other governmental agencies failing. Another Puerto Rico.

The reason money and not having learned yet how to handle large disasters.

Money, money, money. At the heart of Trump’s concern, though not openly acknowledged. Recent years have brought one disaster after another. The government failed to have sufficiently funded natural disasters.

My admonition, Trump should stop worrying about $26 billion for a wall and concern himself with mega dollars for disaster relief.

Election day clearly showed people are primarily concerned with health care. Way more than immigration problems. Does not seem to have made a dent in Trump’s thinking.

Yesterday, he signed a proclamation suspending the entry of migrants seeking asylum through our southern border points for 90 days. Normally, migrants are permitted by law to seek asylum at any border point any time. Children traveling alone are excepted from the bar.

Typical of Trump’s mean side. Civil rights groups describe his conduct as immoral and inhumane.

What happens when those seeking asylum cannot even get in to make application? Will confrontation result? Will Trump get his “invasion” and the military be permitted to shoot at the migrants?

Will Rogers was a famous humorist and social commentator. He made fun of the government. Commented on their screw ups. He once said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.

Another way of intimating government would only do worse.

Rogers one smart man.

Enjoy your day!

CINDY LYNCH…..WE MET IN KEY WEST

Cindy Lynch, a love of my life. We met about 12 years ago in Key West.

Cindy and husband Tom are from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Until recently, spent 2 months a year in Key West.

Special. She has had 7 operations for 6 different cancers. Two for brain tumors. Lost one of her legs. All of it to the groin. Cannot be fitted for a prosthetic. Uses a wheelchair or titanium crutches or skips around short distance on one foot.

Cindy falls a lot. She tries to do too much I suspect with one leg. On the other hand, she is living life. A rare personality. Always up. Never complains. Fun to be with.

Her husband Tom a gem. Retired early to care for her. With her most of the time. Occasionally, Cindy goes off on her own.

She did this tuesday. Driving their car. Involved in a three car accident. Saw a picture of the cars. Bad!

She is home recovering in bed. Next week, a parachute jump!

Ernest Hemingway penned many true words. Words reflecting his life experiences. A quote attributable to him is…..”Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

Makes sense. I know.

I guess I am into quotes today. Winston Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

Sounds like some who comment to this column.

The votes still coming in. Being counted for the first time. Simultaneously, some States are already at the legally mandated recount stage. Florida and Georgia examples.

What initially appeared not to be a blue wave has definitely become one.

Another shooting. A college student hangout. Twelve killed.

A physicians’ journal recently carried an article decrying the NRA and its power. The NRA shot back. In effect saying to the doctors not your business, stay out of things you know nothing about.

The doctors hit back. One wrote and said we are involved. Challenged the NRA to stand next to a child coding from a gunshot wound.

Doctors involved in every shooting!

November 9 a day of significance.

On this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. It had been up 30 years.

Two years earlier. Reagan spoke standing before the wall. He said, “Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall.”

A story little known goes with the statement.

Reagan’s speech was constantly being revised by his speech writers in the weeks preceding his appearance before the wall. Reagan kept adding “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down the wall.” His speech writers kept taking it out. Too harsh, they said.

The day before leaving for Berlin, Reagan was going over the speech again. The words had been omitted. He asked an assistant standing next to him…..I’m the President, aren’t I? The assistant responded….Yes sir. Reagan said…..Then it stays in!

This day in 1938 significant also. Sadly, however.

An event that took place in Germany and Austria. To Nazis the evening was known as Kristallnacht. Also referred to as The Night of Broken Glass.

It was the beginning of mass suppression of persons of the Jewish faith. Occurred prior to the Holocaust. The Nazis launched a campaign of terror against the Jewish people, their homes and businesses. The event marked a dramatic escalation in Hitler’s plan to purge Germany of Jews.

Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere.

Trump held a major press conference wednesday. CNN’s Acosta and he had words. I watched the entire press conference. Acosta asked a couple of questions. The President did not like them. He became extremely abusive to Acosta.

The event was videoed.

Trump took back Acosta’s White House press credentials.

A female intern attempted to take Acosta’s mike away from him while Trump was shouting sit down. The next day when the White House announced the removal of Acosta’s credentials, the video was shown.

Not similar to the original which had been shown the night before and earlier in the day. The White House video appeared to have been doctored. The White House version indicated Acosta had assaulted the intern. Not the case. The White House presented an altered version.

Today, friday. Love going out friday nights. Not tonight. Remaining in. For a better good. Syracuse playing Louisville at 7 in football. Syracuse 7-2 and a 21 point favorite.

Love it! We have not had even close to a decent team in 20 years. Hopefully, we are there.

Enjoy your day!

 

HIT ‘EM WHERE IT HURTS

Nancy Pelosi in all likelihood will be Speaker again. Good and bad.

I admire her governmental skills. She knows how to run her shop. Democrats generally stay in line, follow her direction.

Her shortcoming is one most Democrats seem to have. They are lousy fighters. Lack the killer instinct. Though she and her party may know legislative success is the goal, they are ineffective in getting there.

Democrats want to be “Congresspersons.” Gentlemanly and lady like. Republicans on the other hand, want to “win.” That means playing down and dirty.

The Democrats have to learn how to play down and dirty. The end in this instance does justify the means. Democrats must learn to hit the opposition where it hurts. In the balls to use a common refrain. Clobber the Republicans. Go for the jugular.

I take the time to write this today because Pelosi has already said she will not go after Republicans the way they went after Democrats.

I think it was the famous football coach Vince Lombardi who said…..Winning is everything!

The American people deserve no less.

Key West has a lesbian Mayor. First ever. In fact, first lesbian ever elected Mayor in Florida.

Terri Johnston the lady. I know her. She is experienced government wise. A head on her shoulders. She will do extremely well.

A lesbian Mayor is no big deal in Key West. Many residents gay and lesbian. Terri’s gender preference not even an item of conversation. Whatever a person’s lifestyle an accepted fact in Key West. One human family!

Ladies beware! Watch how you bend over to put groceries in your car. A 32 year old man was arrested for reaching up a woman’s skirt and touching her butt in a Publix parking lot as she was placing her groceries in the car.

The man has been arrested.

Not a first offender. Arrested in 2015 on a somewhat similar charge. He pinched he butt of a girl as she boarded a school bus.

The best thing that may have happened to Beto O’Rourke was losing. Now he is free to consider running for President in 2020. The man is Presidential timber.

Democratic activists in Iowa and New Hampshire have asked him to visit.

Keep in mind, Abraham Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate from Illinois in 1858. He lost. Two years later, he ran for President and won.

Water and oil do not mix. Nor does Trump and truth.

Trump held a press conference yesterday. A big one. He would have been better off staying in bed.

He was totally discombobulated. Strung out and strained. His composure and demeanor not one reflecting a President of the United States.

An embarrassing situation has evidenced itself concerning Melania and her African trip. Not her fault. I would like to know whose and why.

The Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel is in Cairo. Melania did not stay overnight. However, it appears she used the hotel room during the day for whatever.

The hotel’s regular room is $119 a night. The best accommodation, the Presidential Suite, $699 a night. Melania’s bill $95,050.

Something amiss. The U.S. government paid the bill never the less.

The bill was labeled for an overnight stay. The hotel said the cost was high because the staff spent 6 days preparing for her visit and the hotel also had to deal with Secret Service personnel prior to her arrival.

U.S. official spending records recorded the payment as “[First Lady] visit hotel rooms.”

My suspicious mind makes me wonder if  more than her visit was involved.

A lovely time of the year! Syracuse football and basketball at the same time.

The football team doing exceptionally well this season. First time in 20 years. The team plays Louisville friday night at 7. Syracuse presently 7-2 and a 21 point favorite.

The basketball team played its first game tuesday night. Beat Eastern Washington 66-34.

Syracuse plays Morehead State saturday at 7.

Syracuse preseason ranked #16. Hope it is more than just a good year for the team. All members of last year’s starting five back.

Enjoy your day!