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!

ROBOTS ARE COMING…..SOONER THAN YOU THINK

The market crashed. It has had a couple of up days. Not enough to compensate for the overall loss.

Last July, I began predicting a market crash late last year or early this year. A February crash occurred.

I have been speaking of robots and artificial intelligence for over a year. Coming big time! No question about it!

Already on U.S. shores minimally. An onslaught between now and 2020.

My concern and one which I reiterate is that we are doing nothing to prepare for the robot invasion. Few, if any, government programs in place to train and retrain our population.

Andrew Yang has already announced his candidacy for President in 2020. A tech millionaire. He claims unemployment similar to the Great Depression will occur. Which he believes will result in a societal breakdown. Destabilization.

He sees robots replacing truck drivers, retail workers, call center workers, fast food workers, insurance company and accounting firm employees.

All about the same time!

Trump can save our ass. It is on his shoulders. Companies will return to the U.S. Not with the human manufacturing jobs Trump talks about. Most will be robotic jobs. The argument that robotic jobs will create other type human jobs not realistic. Those claiming it are talking pie in the sky.

Trump must recognize what is around the corner and gear up to meet the robotic invasion by training and retraining programs now.

I doubt he has the vision.

Hit the road late yesterday afternoon. In the company of Catherine. We did Martin’s Happy Hour and the Chart Room. I introduced Catherine to the Chart Room.

I was home early. Watched Alex Haley’s Roots till 2 this morning. Roots being shown because February is Black History Month.

There is a Key West Black History Month event scheduled for this coming friday at 3 in the afternoon at Bayview Park. To honor Key West’s Forgotten Soldiers.

Forgotten Soldiers are those Key West blacks who fought on the side of the Union in the Civil War. One hundred twenty six of them.

Featured speaker is Maxwell B. Shavers. Maxwell is 15 years old and presently lives in Richmond, Virginia. His great, great, great grandfather Peter Shavers one of the Forgotten Soldiers.

Eight Key West Shavers fought with the Forgotten Soldiers. One, Frederick Shavers, the only to be killed.

Bear is better. Eight weeks three days old. Donna says slept better last night. Means Donna and Terri slept better also.

The veterinarian put Bear on a boiled chicken and rice diet as opposed to dog food. Bear was experiencing a bowel problem. Seems to be on the mend, also.

I bought Bear a small toy rubber mouse. Squeaks when pressed. Donna says Bear finally started playing with it yesterday afternoon. She sent me a pic of Bear attempting to destroy the mouse.

The label whores fits more than ladies who sell their bodies for income. Men utilizing their services can be referred to in the same fashion. Especially a public official who have campaigned against prostitution and then used public funds to pay for the motel room where he enjoyed sexual pleasures from prostitutes.

A form of hypocrisy.  A do as I say and not as I do thing.

Utah GOP State Representative Jon Standard publicly anti-prostitution. Fought to increase the fine for women convicted of prostitution. Spoke of prostitution’s evils. Blamed the women, never the men purchasing their services.

A prostitute Brie Taylor blew him in.

Standard is married and has four children.

He has resigned his position.

Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to 14 year old Marie-Bernarde Soubirous for the first time this day in 1858. At a location near Lourdes, France. The Lady appeared 18 times.

Mary-Bernarde died at 35. Later canonized and now known as St. Bernadette.

Thousands travel each year to Lourdes seeking the curative powers of waters that flow where the Virgin Mother appeared. There have been significant recoveries.

I have known only one person who went to Lourdes seeking Mary’s help. He was dying from cancer. He was not one of the fortunate ones.

An 80 degree Key West Sunday in the making. Another glorious day ahead.

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

 

BEAR IN TOWN

There is a bear in town. By name only.

Donna and Terri’s family now 3. A dog. Named Bear. A golden retriever. Eight weeks old.

A baby!

Met Bear last night. Enjoyed dinner at Donna and Terri’s with Bear.

Bear arrived the night before. Flew in from Detroit. Spent 11 hours in a cage.  A 3 hour stop over involved.

Cried all night. Can’t blame him. Stripped from his mother and 8 brothers and sisters. A new environment.

Talked with Donna this morning. He cried again all night. Terri does the night shift.

The game plan is to have Bear trained as a guide dog. Terri is blind in one eye and the other is going. The eye problem has nothing to do with the cancer. Terri is in remission and beaming.

The new Key West Amphitheater presently featuring a four day musical festival. Appears a success. Many tourists in town for the concert. When not at the Amphitheater, they are filling the downtown bars known for good music.

Apparent reason for the early morning shooting at Banana Bay Resort coming to light. Drugs. Police found 4 adults, 3 children and the drugs in one room. Lots of drugs. Marijuana, crack and powder cocaine, MDMS, and drug paraphernalia. All wrapped for sale. In a car outside, oxycodone pills.

Frequent Key West visitor Don Teich spends most of his year working in Asia. He and Chris Maxam are to be married in several weeks here in Key West at the Hyatt.

I mentioned Hemingway recently. For some reason, Don was in Spain. Pamplona to be exact. Where the bulls run. He sent me a photo of him running on the street where the bulls run. At night. Don running, no bulls behind him.

Courageous!

Pebble Beach Golf Tournament this weekend. Watched a bit.

What a course! I played it and its sister courses several times. Pebble Beach the most difficult course I ever played. The pros have their work cut out for them this weekend.

What does a husband do if his wife cheats? Leave, shoot the wife, shoot the lover, whatever?

Marital infidelity appears to have been dealt with in a different fashion in 1829 in Key West. A Mexican Naval officer named Charles Hawkins fought a duel with William Allison McRes, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Four shots fired. One man shot in the wrist, the other in the thigh.

Satisfaction obtained.

Why the duel? Hawkins saw McRes leaving his wife’s bedroom via the window.

Anna wrote to tell me one of the African negros involved in the voodoo killing was apprehended in the Milan railway station. Brought back memories.

About 10 years ago, Anna and I were in the Milan station. I fell down the stairs. Did a number on my arm. An open cut and bleeding.

Anna panicked and rushed me to a drug store in the plaza. She was going to take care of me. Needed bandages, etc.

The bandages, etc. were behind the counter. Anna is yelling for help. The girl was slow. Anna went behind the counter, grabbed what she needed, and wrapped me up.

As I think back, it may have been the first of my falls.

A new mosquito killer is being tested in Miami. The concern dengue fever and ZIKA. The company MosquitoMate.

Male mosquitoes are sterilized in a lab. They are then incapable of impregnating females. The males do not bite, have healthy sex drives, and will mate with females whose eggs then won’t hatch.

Six thousand were dropped on Brewer Park in South Miami thursday. It is expected that over a six month period, a total of six million will be released.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And vice versa.

California Assemblywoman Christina Garcia has been active in the local and national #Me Too Movement.

A male staffer said that in 2014 following an Assembly softball game, Christina approached him, squeezed his buttocks, and tried to touch his crotch. He told two friends immediately afterwards.

Both the Assemblywoman and male staffer agree she was drunk. She has no recollection.

The matter is under investigation.

Ian Welsh is an English blogger I recently began reading. His most recent blog concerned gender pay equality. Women should be paid as much as men for doing the same job.

He reported how the British Broadcasting Company was handling the situation. The BBC is the largest public broadcaster in the world. Twenty thousand nine hundred fifty full-time employees. An additional 35, 402 part-time, flexible and fixed contract staff.

Rather than increase women’s salaries, the salaries of men are being decreased. As much as 30 percent. All in an effort to tackle the gender pay crisis.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

I PAINTED THE FORDHAM RAM GREEN

So much to discuss today. Material galore. Don’t think I will be able to cover it all.

Lets begin with my yesterday. So much, I may not get beyond Key West exploits.

My car was filthy. I am not a clean car fanatic. When it gets to the point I cannot stand it, the car gets cleaned.

I drive a 2010 Volkswagen Beetle convertible. Only 38,000 miles. Last time cleaned about a year ago.

Stopped at the car cleaning place on White Street. Fausto’s a bit down the street on the other side. The car was detailed there a year ago. $50. Told the owner to do it again.

Could I have the car back in 2 hours? No problem.

Walked down the block to Blown Away. Haircut time with Lori. She has been cutting my hair close to 20 years. Takes all of 3 minutes. Includes a rinsing afterwards.

I have next to no hair. She never wants to charge me. I always give her $20.

Close to 2 hours remaining till the car would be ready. Decided to have lunch at the new Sandy’s Cafe a couple of doors down.

Sandy’s Cafe recently opened.  Run by the group that ran Sandy’s for 17 years at the corner of White and Virginia. They had a rental dispute with the building’s owner. Moved to the new place where I had lunch.

A major war has erupted. The landlord at the old place opened a Sandy’s at the old place. Both using the same name. Who has the right? A federal court issue. For real. A lawsuit already pending.

The new Sandy’s had a steady crowd. Very attractive. It is a restaurant. Booths, a bar with stools, etc.

I grabbed a handful of local newspapers. Knew I had to kill almost 2 hours before the car would be ready. Enjoyed a cheese toast with tomato and diet coke. Excellent!

Almost fell asleep in the booth. The waiting seemed like forever.

Went for the car.

Oh, so beautiful! The sun sparkling off it. The owner of the establishment showed it to me with pride. He knew he had done a good job.

To be frank, the car looked new inside and out.

The question is whether I can go another year before getting it cleaned/detailed again.

Late in the afternoon, stopped at Don’s Place. A while since my last visit. I needed to talk with Stan. While there, I also briefly chatted with David, Clara, John, Angus, and Michael.

Ran into Don as I was leaving. Looks good, feels good. Told him not to worry. What will be will be. Enjoy! Don is into heart problems. A stent and pacemaker the past several months.

Bocce opened last night. A new season. Just spoke with David. Don’s Place won all 3 games.

From Don’s Place to the Chart Room.

Two women down the bar from me. We began chatting. Turned out one had gone to Fordham. I went to Manhattan. A huge park separated our two schools.

A fun conversation ensued.

She told me Fordham girls used to come to Manhattan looking for boys. We referred to ourselves back then as boys and girls. The Green Leaf Bar down the hill from Manhattan is where they camped. A good place. Where Manhattan students did their drinking..

I laughed. Manhattan was an all boy’s school. We searched for girls. At the girl’s colleges in Westchester County.

Never the twain did meet! I never met a Fordham girl…..till last night.

A collegiate rivalry existed between the schools.

Fordham’s mascot was a ram. Always a real one. Tradition being what it was, a tall statue of a ram was also on the Fordham campus.

As the annual Manhattan/Fordham basketball game approached, the respective schools did evil things to each other.

Green was Manhattan’s school color. The year 1954. The game a few days away. A group of Manhattan men sneaked onto the Fordham campus and painted the ram statue green.

Ho, ho! A big deal! And we didn’t get caught!

Finished the evening at Tavern ‘n Town. Enjoyed the prime rib medium rare. My diet meal.

Stuck at 18 pounds.

Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

VOODOO

I mentioned Italy’s immigration problem in yesterday’s blog. Based on personal observation and as reported to me by my friend Anna who lives in Novara. Novara is near Milan.

Anna reads this blog everyday. She responded to yesterday’s blog with a long e-mail. I share excerpts from it. Italy’s immigration problem is different from ours in certain regards.

Italy’s immigrants are primarily from Africa.

“Italy is going down and down…..March the 4th election: right wing will win. Italy is fed up with politicians, mainly of the present government, democrats who packed Italy of immigrants mainly negros and mainly crooks, delinquents. It seems some do voodoo rites!!! Last week in Macerata negros killed, in a flat, an 18 year old girl, chopped her body with knives and machetes, washed them putting the pieces in 2 suitcases and abandoning them faraway in the country. But there was not her heart and bowels!!! Eaten??? A voodoo rite??? Soon after, a crazy white young man in order to revenge the girl, went around downtown Macerata and shot 6 negros injuring them seriously. I could go on…..”

Anna’s husband died several years ago. He served as a national Senator for years and then 8 years as a member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. At one time, she sent me a photo of her husband and Gorbachev their heads joined together in what appeared to be a serious conversation.

Spent a couple of hours at the Chart Room last night. John bartending.

Lovely Morgan at the bar. My charming 26 year old friend. A big hug. We talked alone at the round table for two hours.

An amazing young lady. Whoever is fortunate to win her over is going to get a great wife. She’s a keeper!

Friend Sandie at the bar. She introduced me to her visiting friend Janie from Philadelphia. Go Eagles!

As I was leaving, ran into Devon at the bar. I see Devon about once a year. A farmer from the midwest. Owns a condo in Key West.

Devon is a smart farmer. He and his brother own a huge farm. They did not fight the big corporations that entered the agriculture business. They joined them! Happy they are. The right move. They have prospered.

Diana Millikan is off somewhere. She travels the world. She e-mailed me yesterday. One of her Hilton Haven Road neighbors told her there were gun shots around 4:30 in the morning. There were. This morning’s Citizen reports a man staying at the Banana Bay Resort was shot in the leg.

No arrests yet.

Irma hit September 10. Its effects still with us.

The canals remain impacted with house, boat and tree debris. Non-navigable. Nearshore waters, likewise.

Monroe County has entered into a $6 million contract with Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to begin a clean up.

Many still are without homes. The homes either completely destroyed or the owners do not have funds yet to rebuild. FEMA and the insurance companies have been unreasonably slow in making payments.

These people have to live somewhere. Some in tents. Others in hotels. FEMA announced yesterday that they would extend hotel time at FEMA’s expense another month till March 3. There will be further monthly extensions. This part of the Irma problem not being resolved.

Mom’s Tea Room. I have written several times about Mom’s Tea Room. A Key West house of prostitution. Alice Reid the madam.

On this day in 1941, the body of working girl Cecilia Thompson Trunk was found in Mom’s. An apparent suicide. On the same day in 1952, another body found. Rita Brown, an apparent suicide also.

Mom’s was a busy place. A big U.S. Navy clientele. The Navy had many stationed here. The Navy did not like Alice or Mom’s. Morality and venereal disease the reasons. They closed Reid’s place a couple of times. A smart woman, however. She would pop up in another location. Closed finally in the 1950’s, never to open again.

Same sex marriage. Its time had come. The world accepting/falling into place. One nation at a time. Till now.

Bermuda reverted.

Bermuda’s law recognizing same sex marriage was less than one year old. Bermuda’s President signed a new law yesterday banning same sex marriage. A reversal. A win for bigotry.

Those of the same sex can live together with all the same rights and benefits as if married. The new relationship called a domestic partnership. The title married neither available nor recognized.

Have to hustle. A haircut with Lori at noon.

Enjoy your day!

 

SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE DISGUSTING

This morning with us facing a crashing market and Trump issues all over the place, I deem what is occurring with the local education system more important.

I learned yesterday that the Monroe County School District graduation rate for 2016-7 was 79.2 percent.

Disgusting!

Parents, the community and the School Board should consider the number unacceptable. And do something about it!

The problem has to have existed for a number of years. To the School Board I say what is happening in the classroom is more important than housing. Get your priorities straight! The kids come first!

School officials say there is cause for celebration. The percentage is a bit higher and close to the State’s. The State graduation level also sucks. 82.3 percent.

I have a selfish interest. Robert and Ally shortly will be attending the Key West High School. Thus far they have been educated by Montessori. I am impressed at the degree of knowledge they have acquired. I do not want it to stop when they enter high school.

The Dow dropped 665 points friday and 1,100 plus yesterday. Wow!

Trump keeps taking credit for the market. I felt the market’s meteoric rise could not continue. At 82, I have seen similar markets in my life time. I said and wrote last year that the market could not sustain itself. There would be a crash. I thought it might occur by the end of last year or early this year.

I spoke of an impending crash last week in one of my Key West Lou Live Videos. Suggested it could occur anytime. If not the immediate future, sometime into the year.

My reasoning simple. What goes up, must come down. Especially a market that moves with abnormal swiftness. Everyone getting rich thinking there is no end to the success.

I referred to Trump at the time as the Herbert Hoover of 2018. So certain I was that the market would take a dive.

It began friday. Continued yesterday. Probably will continue today. The European and Asian markets went down during the night. Our misfortune affects the world.

The market corrects itself. No one knows precisely why. The market is like a person in certain respects. If it gets too rich, it regurgitates. Pukes. That is what it is doing now. It will continue till the market feels it has reached a price correction.

To place the market’s meteoric rise in proper perspective, lets look at a couple of numbers.

The market rose 1,900 points in the first 18 days of this year. Since Trump’s election, the market has risen 8,300 points. Mind boggling increases. Not normal. Shades of 1929.

Since Trump took credit for the market’s rise, I am curious to see how he handles its nose dive.

Pelosi’s fault? Democrats? The FBI’s?

A term rarely heard. Part of market jargon. The dead cat bounce.

Market lingo for a recovery after a market decline based on fundamentals. Some people buy in at a time referred to as dips. Investing for a quick profit. Makes everything look peachy and wonderful when it is not. The market is moves upward a bit. After the quick profit is taken, the market goes back down.

Last night a quiet one for me. Dueling Bartenders at Aqua and dinner at the outside bar at La Te Da.

Tom Luna missing last night. Bobby Nesbitt sitting in for him. Not a band substitute.

Aqua Idol tonight! Lynda Frechette’s baby. A fund raiser for the Waterfront Playhouse. Great singing! Big crowd! Fun!

My podcast tonight. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. So many things to talk about. I have notes covering 23 topics. I am lucky if I get 10 in.

Join me tonight at 9. The show’s following grows weekly. Amazing! I even have national sponsors! www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!

 

LOST REEF ADVENTURES

Yesterday being sunday, I decided to breakfast out. Went to one of my favorite haunts. Harpoon Harry’s. No room at the inn. People standing outside waiting to get in.

Walked one block to the Gulf. Enjoyed breakfast at Turtle Kraals. Sat outside. Excellent view of marina boats.

I have written about Turtle Kraals and the area it is situated several times over the years. At one time, it was the heart of Key West’s thriving turtle industry.

The industry long gone. A few old buildings remain. Turtle Kraals may be one of them. There is a much smaller building about 50 feet away. A one story wood structure. Now a turtle museum operated by the Mel Fisher Museum.

I took a walk after breakfast. Not far. Across the street. To Lost Reef Adventures. Sloan’s partner of many years Nick owns the place.

Lost Reef Adventures is a full service dive shop. Sits plum in the middle of the Historic Seaport. Snorkeling, scuba and a sunset cruise daily. Also, a one day scuba course is available for those interested.

Lost Reef Adventures has been in business for 30 years. Operators and staff safety conscious reliable locals.

Then to Publix. Out of food again. Purchased more diet food. Loss now 18 pounds.

Publix was packed. It was obvious most were last minute shoppers preparing for Super Bowl. Moving fast through the store.

Publix must have anticipated a large demand for already cooked chicken wings. All kinds were packaged and ready for sale.

Yesterday’s Super Bowl can only be described as a great game. Thinking about it, most of them are. The Eagles finally won. 41-33.

The Eagles always a small step behind. Making them that much better. It showed in the final score.

Tom Brady continues to amaze me. Forty yeas old and going strong. Said he will be back next year.

The Eagles quarterback was the team’s back up one till December when the starting quarterback was injured and out for the season. He was a Tom Brady yesterday. Voted MVP.

Good for him!

I mentioned last week or the week before that a political party that runs candidates like Alabama’s Roy Moore is doing a disservice to the country. Every nut will think he is qualified to run.

Several are running. One is Arthur Jones of Illinois. The district he is running in contains a part of Chicago.

He has no opposition. Filing for the Republican primary passed in December.

Jones is openly anti-Semitic, a racist, supporter of the radical left, and a neo-Nazi. He denies the Holocaust. Claims it is an international extortion racket.

Jones will lose. The district is overwhelmingly Democrat. Some day however, these nuts will begin winning. Then more problems for our country.

Crazies believe it is ok to run for office. Trump’s election the reason. He is not the most stable of individuals. His policies lacking. Their belief being if Trump can be elected President, I can be elected to Congress!

God help us!

Speaking of Trump, he did it again! Lied!

Trump claims his State of the Union address drew the highest number of viewers in history. False. The First State of the Union speeches by Obama, Bush 2, and Clinton drew more.

Trump concerns me for a number of reasons. In addition to his frequent misrepresentations. The most recent is his belief that the country needs something to happen to unify it. To me, that means war. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 the best unifiers ever.

In recent days, Trump has also said North Korea needs a “bloody nose.” Do unity and giving North Korea a bloody nose go hand in hand? Is Trump getting ready to bomb North Korea?

Enjoy your day!

 

WHO IS THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL?

The woman who uttered the words while looking in a mirror…..Who is the fairest of them all? The Wicked Queen. Snow White, the response.

So began Walt Disney’s great film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The animated movie made its film debut this day in 1938.

An instant hit! Quickly grossed $8 million. Big bucks in 1938. The $8 million represented the most money made by a film up to that time.

I saw the movie in 1938. My mother took me. I was 3 years old. We watched it at the Rialto Theater in Utica. Two movies were shown in those days for the price of one ticket. I recall the other film, also. Gunga Din.

The seven dwarfs blew me away. The Wicked Witch scared me at the beginning of the film. A mean looking woman.

Of all the dwarfs, Dopey received the most accolades. Charlie Chaplin said that Walt Disney “created in him one of the greatest comediennes of all time.”

Watched Syracuse go down to defeat yesterday. Lost to Virginia 59-44.

I hurt when Syracuse loses. I especially hurt this year for Jim Boeheim. A class act. In his last years as a coach.

I know Boeheim personally. We initially came together because of the University. I was a heavy contributor. It was sort of a requirement that he play golf with me once or twice a year. His club in Syracuse, mine in Utica.

At first, I was embarrassed. Boeheim was a 2 handicap. Me, a 35 plus. He never complained. Spent time in the woods helping me look for my ball, etc. Even took the time on occasion to recommend a change in swing or grip. Teaching as he does with his players during a game.

Unfortunately, I was a hopeless cause.

Tavern ‘n Town for dinner last night. I had planned on a quick one. Turned into 3 hours.

Sat at the bar next to Jill and Steve.

Vacationing from the Point Pleasant area in New Jersey. Both avid fisherman, especially Steve. They have a 62 foot custom made fisherman. Steve understood what I meant when I said he considered fishing a battle of man against nature.

Jill can only be described as an enthusiastic conversationalist. She kept me glued to my seat.

Jill has been involved with Johnson and Johnson for 25 years as part of its vision care division. Contact lenses and contact solution. She is a top sales performer.

Steve, a demolition contractor. I did not have the opportunity to talk with Steve that much. I would have been interested in what he did as a demolition contractor. A wrecking company? I worked for one the summer between high school and college. The hardest job I ever had! I started at 7 in the morning and was exhausted by 7:05. A bit of an exaggeration. Believe you get the point, however.

If I had any thought of not going to college, that job remedied it.

An Irma update. Debris removal continues to be a problem. Irma hit September 10. It has taken that long and will take longer to collect the trees, shrubbery, busted up homes, trailers, etc. piled on roadsides.

The Lower Keys of concern. Upper Sugarloaf, Lower Sugarloaf, Ramrod, and Summerland Keys completed. A final pass will be made this coming week to Cudjoe, Little Torch, Big Pine, and No Name Keys.

Other problems still exist. Some remain without housing. Families still living in tents. Food and water in short supply. FEMA rebuilding money coming in slowly.

Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West and Key West loves Harry Truman. He spent 175 days covering 11 separate trips enjoying Key West. The Admiral’s quarters where he stayed renamed the Harry Truman Little White House.

The first time Truman visited Key West he had a bad cold he could not get rid of. His doctor recommended a “heart starter bourbon drink.” The prescription, bourbon and orange juice. Between the bourbon and sun, Truman recovered quickly.

Presidents Day Weekend around the corner. Friday to sunday February 16-18. Part of the celebration includes a bourbon and barbecue cook off.

Super Bowl today! Game time 6:30 on NBC. Love it!

I have been invited to several parties. Normally, I would watch the game a Don’s Place. I have already decided I will watch the game alone at home. The reason being my diet. I would drink a bit too much and definitely eat too much were I out.

I started with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which opened in movie houses this date in 1938. I close with another art form. the written word. On this day in 1826, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans was published.

Cooper was born, raised and spent most of his life in what is Cooperstown, NY. The Home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, also.

His home stands to this day. Known as the James Fenimore Cooper House, aka James Fenimore Cooper Museum.

Cooperstown is a mere 40 miles from Utica. I have visited theHouse many times. Professionally and socially.

The House sits on a modest hill overlooking lovely Otsego Lake. The House can only be described as magnificent! Cooper’s father built it.

He was a man of means. His son never really worked, other than his writings. He considered himself a gentleman’s farmer which meant servitude was not part of his life style.

Cooperstown when the father Cooper built it and during the years his son lived there was the frontier. Initially, nothing west of Cooperstown.

The frontier life and Indians making up The Last of the Mohicans accordingly familiar to Cooper when he began writing the book.

Enjoy your Sunday! Enjoy the Super Bowl!

 

 

AYN RAND…..DIFFERENT

 

Ayn Rand considered absolutely brilliant by some. Crazy by others. Some initially overwhelmed by her only to later become disillusioned.

I am in the later group. First, amazed. Considered her thoughts brilliant.  Then realized the nut she was.

Ayn Rand’s birthday was yesterday. She was born February 2, 1905. Died March 6, 1982.

To many, she was and is considered a philosopher. To others, a writer.

Two of her novels initially captured my thought process. I was a young attorney when I first read The Fountainhead. What a book! Its message that individual rights were the ultimate. Societal collectivism be damned.

Wow!

Rand’s message was that society had forgotten “I” and replaced it with “we.” She fictionalized a society where totalitarian collectivism had triumphed. Her hero, an individual true and true who fought the onslaught.

Many questions were left unanswered in my mind after reading The Fountainhead. They were answered when I read her second successful novel, Atlas Shrugged.

Rand believed in laissez-faire capitalism. An economic system in which transactions between private parties are free from government intervention such as regulation, privilege, tariffs, and subsidies.

The true Republican/Conservative in thought. And in action. She supported Barry Goldwater for President in 1964.

Her individualistic philosophy is best typified by her own words: An individual should “exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.”

None of this is mentally imposing. Easy to comprehend. I must concede a movie helped. Atlas shrugged starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Their unusual love affair formed the basis for what Rand perceived as the individual vs. collective society war.

Rand thought much of herself. She claimed her greatest influence was Aristotle. Followed by Thomas Aquinas. She said if a history of philosophy were written, the three top philosophers would be Aristotle, Aquinas, and Rand. Signifying how high she held her own thought process.

My disillusionment came two years after reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I became aware that Rand was publishing a weekly newspaper in New York City. I subscribed to it.

The woman was absolutely mad! Her columns represnted her thought process carried to the ultimate. No frills. The woman was not stable. Wacky an excellent description. Dangerous, another.

Such was the end of my acceptance of Rand’s philosophy.

In spite of my change in thinking, I still recommend The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged for reading. An experience!

Spent last night at the Chart Room. Quiet. John bartending. Chatted with Christina.

Second time I met Christina. Sheila introduced her to me a month ago at the Chart Room. Christina is on the staff at the Custom House. She and Sheila worked together at the Custom House one time.

The conversation pleasant. The evening pleasant.

This afternoon Syracuse/Virginia. Virginia #2 in the country. Syracuse will probably lose. On the other hand, Syracuse is in for a good game. Overdue. You never know. Hope springs eternal.

The Republican “memo” a dud. Its anticipation full of sound and fury. In the end, signified nothing.

The Republican Congress worries me. They serve the Party rather than the people.

Partially responsible is Trump’s magnetic personality. He is a Pied Piper. Most Republicans blindly follow him.

Yesterday morning, the employment numbers were announced. Two hundred thousand more jobs. Big!

It was also announced interest rates would be going up.

By the end of the day, the market closed 665 points down. The sixth largest one day decline in history.

A crack in the dyke? A tiny one, I suspect. The market will be up monday. Money to be made by buying the stocks that went down. I ask however if there is a message in the 665 point drop. An indication of that which is to come.

Justice is confusing these days. Trump responsible for a good share of the confusion.

California legalized marijuana. Now, California is moving through the court system to vacate thousands of felony and misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back to 1975.

At the same time that Attorney General Sessions’ Justice Department is gearing up to seek more marijuana prosecutions.

Both actions amazing!

I close with a bit of Florida Keys information.

I never knew how many Keys there were. Merely assumed a lot. In case you have an interest, there are over 1,700 islands. Few populated. Most small. Only 43 connected by bridges.

Enjoy your day!

 

GROUNDHOG DAY…..IT’S ALL ABOUT SEX

Key West is buried with chickens. All over the place.

Several years ago, I wrote an article in KONK Life about the chicken problem. One of the items covered was the rooster’s cock-a-doodle do.

Up to that time, I always thought the rooster cock-a-doodle-do’d to wake people from their long night’s sleep. No.

The rooster screech announces to the hens he wants to get laid. His sex call. He’s looking.

Place what I have just shared into practice. The next time you hear a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing, watch closely. The hens all run in the opposite direction.

Today is Groundhog Day. February 2 has been Groundhog Day since 1887. The first and most popular place to watch if the groundhog will remain or scurry back to his burrow is Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

What a name for a town.

The groundhog hibernates from the Fall to sometime in March. He does not come out on February 2 voluntarily. He is prodded out so Groundhog Day can occur.

The fable is if the groundhog comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. The groundhog’s shadow scares him and he runs back to his burrow.

If no shadow, there will be an early spring.

A crock. Not true. Whenever the groundhog comes out, whether February 2 or March, he is looking for a female. He has slept the winter away and wants female companionship. Sex!

Man creates stories that last hundreds of years. After a while, fiction becomes truth. The fairy tale replaces truth.

Punxsutawney is not the only community celebrating Groundhog Day. There are others. Some form of rodent involved. Groundhogs are not native to every area.

Other places celebrating the day have named their groundhogs/rodents uniquely. Birmingham Bill, Staten Island Chuck, Canada’s Shubenacadie Sam, and New Jersey’s Milltown Mel.

Punxsutawney’s is named Phil. Phil since 1887.

The groundhog leaving his burrow has already taken place this morning in Punxsutawney and New Jersey. Phil saw his shadow and returned to his burrow signifying six more weeks of winter. Milltown Mel did not, thereby signifying an early spring.

Geiger Key for lunch yesterday. A while since I had been there. The place was packed!

Sat at the bar and looked at all the happy faces around me. Actually looked at the food they were eating. And enjoying!

Something snapped in my mind. Screw the diet! I did and ate! So good! The best, mashed potatoes covered with gravy. Ate last night, also.

A wonderful day! On top of which, I lost a pound!

The Chart Room first last night.

Enjoyed a few gins and popcorn. Delicious popcorn at the Chart Room.

John bartending.

Met Richard and Mary from Chicago. They have been coming to Key West one week a year for 30 years. Richard is retired from UPS. Mary an attorney and still practicing. Specializes in real estate and estate planning.

Mary’s lawyer background interesting. She is the last of her family’s law firm. Started more than 100 years ago in 1913. No family member to take her place when she retires.

John told me seated at the round table were vacationing women from Syracuse. Before I had an opportunity to talk with them, they were up and leaving. I shouted a Syracuse and Utica. They turned. We exchanged pleasantries including a little Syracuse basketball and they were off.

The bartenders were waiting for me when I arrived later in the evening at the Chart Room. They had a copy of yesterday’s KONK Life. There I was! The whole of the front page. Standing with a row of shrimp boats behind me. The announcement of Irma and Me at the bottom of the page.

Inside on page 8 was another photo and a brief article titled: Petrone Writes Again!

Such drama!

Age takes its toll. The older I get, the worse pictures come out. Wrinkles, jowls, eyelids that only open half way, and no hair.

One of the comments this morning was from Anonymous. Wrote Congrats on KONK Life and Shayna Punim.

Shayna Punim? Googled it. Means a beautiful face. Thank you, anonymous for being so generous.

My thanks also to KONK Life owner Guy de Boer for running the photos and article.

A closing observation. Trump tells us the economy is good. He should make a trip to Los Angeles and tell it to the homeless. LA’s homeless has surged 75 percent in the past six years. From 32,000 to 55,000.

Homeless all over the city. The lawn in front of City Hall and across the street from the Los Angeles Police Department a homeless day camp. Tent cities abound. Even in the best of neighborhoods. Two hundred twenty two at last count. Three out of 4 live in cars, campers, tents and leantos.

Enjoy your day!